Saturday, February 4, 2012

Smoothie Starters

I know, smoothies are so simple! Why on earth would you need a "starter"? Well, B "needed" some new popsicles and I am planning ahead for the elim diet (less than 6 weeks until I start) and needed some sweet, but healthy treats. Plus, she loves making smoothies (even though she won't drink them--- chokes and gags, which kind of sucks the fun out of smoothies). We freeze hers into popsicles and I store the rest in ice cube trays for--- SMOOTHIE STARTERS!

What is a smoothie starter? Essentially you make an extra thick (thicker than you would likely want) smoothie mix with safe fruits and just enough coconut (or other safe milk) to allow the blender to actually move and mix things up. Freeze it into 1oz cubes (standard ice cube tray cubes are perfect size) and once frozen, store in a freezer bag for future use. When you want to make your AM smoothie, simply throw in 2-4oz of cubes along with about a cup of your safe milk (if you want extra creaminess, you can throw in 2-4Tbsp coconut manna to the mix as well) and blend. Instant smoothie without needing to do all of the fruit prep work. Yes, you can buy something similar to this in the store, but let's face it--- there are extras in the store versions and if I am going to do an elim diet, I am going to do it carefully. And you save money this way, which is always a bonus! The recipe below made 8 2oz popsicles and 14 1.5oz cubes (I overfill my cubes and use a slightly larger than normal tray). You could probably get between 30 and 32oz of smoothie starter from this recipe, which should get you a weeks worth (or a bit more) of smoothies. B "created" this recipe (I put fruit in front of her, she dumps as much as she wants of each into the blender. I measure as we go.)

Smoothie Starter
2-3 cups cubed pineapple
2 cups cubed strawberries
2 cups frozen raspberries (I buy them in the summer for cheap and then flash freeze)
1 cup blackberries
1 large banana (if this isn't safe, I would add 1/4cup of coconut manna for the creaminess factor)
1/2 cup coconut milk

Have a small child happily dump all ingredients into the blender for you, creating a pretty pattern as she goes. This small child may sample the fruit here and there and she will reassure you that she is just "checking the temperature to keep you safe, mama," with a knowing look. Be sure to keep the power button out of reach until all ingredients are added and the lid is tightly on the blender. Blend at the highest speed, stopping to stir if/when necessary. Once fully blended, scoop out 1-2 Tbsp for your small chef to sample--- it will be very thick, almost like soft serve ice cream (a tiny bit runnier). Wait for her assessment of the creation and be ready to dump in additional fruit if needed. I also like to sneak in cooked pureed frozen spinach cubes. For a recipe such as this, I can usually get away with adding around 4oz without affecting the taste at all. Frozen pureed beets would also add a nice compliment and surely a lovely color. If you do add veggies and the taste is a little strong, banana and strawberries are excellent fruits to increase in amount to conceal the veggie goodness. All veggie additions at our house have been previously very well cooked and prefrozen.

For an adult (and for some kiddos too!) you can play around with other additions, such as adding in ground up hemp seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. I have even done this with roasted ground up sesame seeds. The flavors do work well with most fruits so experiment away, especially if you are trying to get this as nutrient rich as possible.

Just remember, if on an elim diet and still learning your LO's trigger foods, be sure to label in detail the ingredients in each batch of "starter" so that you don't accidentally expose your LO if something that used to be safe becomes a fail (hopefully this won't happen, but just in case). Also, if you have a smoothie-seeking spouse or non-FA child digging through the freezer, labeling YOUR or YOUR LO'S safe smoothie starters in detail, perhaps including threats of bodily harm if consumed by an unintended individual (spouse, not child! No threats for small ones!). You love to share but it is also important that you reserve enough for yourself!


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