Sunday, February 5, 2012

Frozen Smoothie Mixes

See the verdict at the bottom of the post.

Breakfast has always been difficult for me. I need something quick because I am ALWAYS running late (I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination); something I can eat on the run, and I don't like sweet stuff first thing in the morning.

This last week, I started experimenting with smoothies. Turns out, it's FUN! LOL! So, on grocery day, I bought more ingredients to make more, including plain yogurt (trying to avoid all the sugar in the flavored stuff), cottage cheese, frozen fruit, and spinach. I had some cranberries that I bought on sale after the holidays ($.50 a bag!). I even got the yogurt on a deal because it was close to it's expiration date. I'd planned to freeze the yogurt and the spinach, but then I saw this post on Pinching Your Pennies, and I just had to take it to the next step.

I flash-froze the spinach on waxed paper on cookie sheets. The cranberries were already frozen, since that's where I'd tossed them when I got home from the store. I also had a few fresh blueberries from a recent sale. I froze the cottage cheese (added for protein) and the yogurt in ice cube trays.

The ingredients this time around:
Blueberries (only in a few of them cuz there weren't very many left)
Yogurt (2 cubes)
Cottage cheese (1 cube)
Frozen strawberries
Frozen mango

The resulting packets. Aren't they pretty?

I have to admit to a bit of environmental guilt over the plastic bags, but I'm not sure I've got a better idea. The inexpensive plastic containers don't generally hold up well in the freezer....they get dropped and the frozen plastic breaks very easily. I'll keep thinking.

A note about the frozen fresh spinach: It freezes fast, but it also thaws out really fast. So next time, I'll leave it in the freezer until the very last second, and add it to the bags last.

I made 11 smoothies packets today. Cost breakdown goes like this:
Blueberries $1.88 (on sale)
Yogurt $1.19
Cottage Cheese $1.25
Spinach $1.69
Strawberries $2.50-ish (I don't remember exactly. I had a coupon so I bought the name brand.)
Mango $2.50-ish
Cranberries $.50

Total: $11.50, which makes the cost about $1.00 each. I'll add a cup of milk (or thereabouts) when I blend it, plus some almond butter for more protein.

I'm toying with adding coconut milk or water too, but only because I've heard it's supposed to be fabulous for you. We'll see. That'll add to the expense, since it's $1.00 a can at my local Sunflower Market, and more expensive if I get the name brand.

Now I just need to add a Magic Bullet to my wish list to make the prep a bit faster and easier.

The verdict: I made one yesterday morning. I added maybe 2 T of sugar? Probably less as I just dumped it in until it tasted sweet enough. I had to add at least 1 1/2 cups of milk to make it drinkable through a straw, which meant that the smoothie was probably 16-20 oz and waaay more than I could drink for a morning meal. I saved the extra after loading up my travel cup and had it for a snack yesterday afternoon. It turns a bit funny-colored in the fridge, a combination of the blueberries and spinach, I think. It winds up looking rather gray. But it tasted DELICIOUS!

Next time, I'll have to decrease the contents of the bags, but I'm not sure how just yet. As with most things in my kitchen, it's always an experiment, and it's always in flux. :-)

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