MAKE-AHEAD BERRY BANANA SMOOTHIES
The act of making a smoothie for breakfast pits the logical, healthy-lifestyle loving side of my brain against its lazy, potato-chip loving counterpart. The logical side recognizes that a smoothie is one of the smartest ways to start my day and will give me nearly half of my daily servings of fruits and veggies. The lazy side doesn’t want to go to the trouble of washing the blender, just for one little smoothie. This kind of mental agony is too much for me to handle before 7 a.m., which is why I’ve adopted today’s easy make-ahead smoothie technique. With just a few minutes of prep, you can have smoothies at the ready anytime!
The process for make-ahead smoothies be used for any combination of fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. Although strawberry-banana is what you will most commonly find in smoothie shops, at home I enjoy experimenting. Avocados are one of my favorite additions, because they make the smoothies ultra creamy, and I also find smoothies to be an ideal vehicle for any excess fruit I’ve impulse bought throughout the week.
Smoothies are also a great way to use up overripe bananas, which my counter forever seems to have in prolific supply. I slice and freeze them in baggies (be sure to peel them first!), and I also love using frozen mixed berries and frozen cherries. They are much less expensive than fresh, taste just as fabulous once they are blended, and can be enjoyed year-round too.
To make smoothies in advance, start by blending up your smoothie recipe of choice. I like my smoothies to be rich and ultra thick, which is why I’m so glad to have my KitchenAid® Diamond Blender. It makes pureeing even the thickest smoothies a breeze and is so easy to clean too. I owned several blenders before this one, and none compare to the Diamond Blender’s speed and power.
Once the smoothies are blended (make a big batch!), pour the “batter” into empty ice cube trays and place them into the freezer. If you only happen to be making a single smoothie, this is also a great way to save any extra smoothie puree that doesn’t fit into your drinking glass.
Once the cubes freeze, your smoothie is portable! Simply pop as many cubes as you like into your glass or to-go mug, and they will be thawed and ready to drink in about an hour. There is no need to reblend the cubes or refrigerate—just give them a quick stir. Sometimes I’ll set a few cubes out first thing in the morning so they are ready by the time I’m showered and out the door, or I’ll bring a reusable water bottle filled with them to the gym. I’m much more motivated to do an extra set of weights, when I know I have a smoothie waiting for me after my workout.
I’ve included my ever-reliable banana-berry smoothie recipe for you here, but feel free to adapt it to your favorite flavors (or leftover fruit). I have yet to find a combo that can’t be made-ahead, which makes both sides of my brain very, very happy.
Make Ahead Berry Banana SmoothiesMakes 2 large smoothies (will fill about 3 ice cube trays)
2 cups frozen berries, or other fruit of your choice
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
2 medium ripe bananas, peeled, sliced into pieces and frozen
2 tablespoons mix-ins, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, nut butter (optional)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, any flavour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk, skim milk, or fruit juice
Place all of the ingredients into the KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and puree until smooth. Smoothie may be drank at this time or frozen for later.
To freeze: Pour the smoothie puree into an empty ice cube tray. Freeze overnight.
To take smoothie to go: Place as many cubes as desired in a to-go mug or drinking glass. Allow the smoothie cubes to thaw for about an hour. Stir and enjoy.