A smoothie starts with a blender. If you want ice in it, the blender must have sufficient power to blend ice cubes and frozen fruit. Blenders come in various capacities and power as well as with an array of preset or manual blending settings.
I have used various powered blenders to make smoothies, from 200 to 1200 watts and though you can often blend ice with the lowest wattage, the lower the power - the harder the blender works and that will eventually shorten its expected life. It really depends how often you use a lower-powered blender and how long you blend. Remember that Pulse means short bursts of power, using an on and off operation.
If you'd love to make a smoothie several times a week, buying a blender with a minimum of 600 watts is strongly recommended. And always confirm that your selection can indeed blend ice. Not all can and the shape of the blade is also important when it comes to smoothies.
You don't really have to spend a lot of money on a blender unless you want to.
It depends whether you will use this counter appliance for other food prep, or just want one for making smoothies. Hamilton Beach's personal blender is a good choice for an affordable compact blender.
If you are planning on doing more (besides smoothies) with a blender, the Nutri Ninja Blending System with Auto-iQ, Smooth Boost and Extraction offers terrific value and you can blend a nutritional beverage too. I love the preset settings on this blender, which take the guesswork out of blending.
Making a smoothie can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. And it's up to you if you want to make a healthy smoothie or not. Though you'll find several brands of packaged smoothie mixes in the market place, you do not really need one to make a tasty refreshing beverage.
And prepackaged smoothie mixes will also include additives that you might not really want in your frozen beverage. Making your own from a few ingredients allows you to tailor it to your preferences and within the boundaries of your specific dietary regimen. If you are trying to cut down on sugar, making your own is the best. You'll soon realize that the natural taste of fruit (without added sugar) is really awesome.
The following is my popular simple smoothie with limited ingredients, yet it's totally refreshing and healthy too. Plus, you can add more fruit to it if you wish. Remember, you're in control of this smoothie.
How to Make a Simple Smoothie: Recipe
To make a personal smoothie, in your blender jar or cup, add the following essential ingredients in this order (it will blend more easily):
- 4 to 6 Ounces of milk, almond milk or other dairy substitute
- One ripe banana in 1" pieces
- 1 Teaspoon of vanilla
- A handful of ice cubes (smaller cubes blend more easily)
Optional: Add one or two strawberries, raspberries or other fruit if you want to vary the taste. It doesn't take much fruit to add more flavor and color. The banana is essential is you want it to be creamy. You can also add a little flax or chia seeds without affecting the end results.
Blend or pulse to your desired consistency. How long to blend will depend whether you prefer to have lots of ice shards in it or not. You can also add a little yogurt too.
Pour into a glass or travel mug and add a straw. That's where a personal blender cup saves on clean-up, since you can enjoy it right from the small blending jar. Making for two or more? Just double or triple the ingredients into a regular size blender jar. Enjoy!