FeaturesAug/Sep 2014 Issue

Fresh & Frosty Blender Creations

Chill out. Cool down. Whip up these super-easy, super-healthy recipes from Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl

Photo by Anson Smart

Photo by Anson Smart

To me, summer screams of fresh produce—and my blender. Hot weather is the time for cold recipes that are blended with the season’s best.

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Smoothie and Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Smoothie are two of my most popular recipes. Always crowd pleasers, these dessert-style shakes satisfy the need for a sweet treat in less than five minutes. If you’re looking to expand your smoothie repertoire, explore some interesting flavors with Pineapple Salsa Smoothie. One of my all-time favorites, this drink is a pleasant surprise that’s bursting with complex flavors with just the right balance of sweet, savory and spicy. It will take your taste buds on a joyful journey.

For a quick, savory snack, you can’t beat the simplicity of Artichoke and White Bean Dip. A healthier alternative to dairy-laden dips, it’s like an exotic hummus. The best part is that it takes just five minutes to throw together with ingredients from your fridge and pantry.

Cold soups make a wonderfully easy meal or snack and they’re incredibly satisfying and refreshing in the hot weather. Chilled Avo and Cuke Soup is not only super-quick to make (just throw it in the blender), it’s chock-full of flavor and loaded with healthy nutrients.

Don’t miss Watermelon Gazpacho, an explosion of the senses in every bite. Like a wonderful sangria, the flavors deepen with a 24-hour chill. A happy mix of sweet and spicy, it’s a winner.

Photo by Oksana Charla

Photo by Oksana Charla

Power Pops The smoothies on this page make delicious popsicles. Just pour them into popsicle molds (or small plastic cups with popsicle sticks) and freeze. Make a big batch and store them in your freezer to enjoy whenever you crave a cool treat. “My kids just love these. My son eats one after every soccer game to help his body restore its strength.” - —Oksana Charla Design Director

Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Smoothie

SERVES 2

This decadent shake will satisfy the most in-withdrawal cream dreamer. To get the full effect, you have to soak those nuts. For a nut-free version that isn’t as creamy, omit the cashews and replace the coconut water with an equal amount of coconut yogurt.

1 cup coconut water or water
½  teaspoon probiotic powder, optional
¾ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
½ banana
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more to taste
1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
1 pinch finely grated lemon zest, more to taste
-  Pinch of salt, optional  
1 cup ice cubes, more if using fresh berries

1. Put all ingredients into your blender and process on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy.

2.
Add a bit more lemon juice, sweetener or zest, to taste.

Each serving contains 428 calories, 25g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 135mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 20g sugars 12g protein, 16 Est GL.

A GOOD SOAK  Soaking the cashews delivers nutritional benefits and makes a creamy shake. Cover them in warm water. Stir in a pinch of natural salt and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Let soak 2 to 4 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly before using. To quick soak, cover cashews in boiling water in a bowl for 10 minutes.


Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Smoothie

SERVES 2


One taste and you’ll understand why kale-phobic omnivores line up to get their fill of this smoothie. This is the Holy Grail of kale. For a nut-free version that isn’t as creamy, replace the cashews with 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds or raw shelled sunflower seeds.

½ cup water
½ teaspoon probiotic powder, optional
½ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1 cup torn-up curly green kale leaves, stalks removed, more to taste
2 ripe bananas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup chopped pitted dates, soaked, or 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more to taste*
½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
2 cups ice cubes (a little less if using frozen bananas)
½ teaspoon minced ginger, more to taste, optional

1. Put all ingredients into your blender in the order listed and puree for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy.

2.
Tweak flavors to taste.

Each serving contains 422 calories, 19g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 21mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 31g sugars, 10g protein, 25 Est GL.

*TIP With a conventional blender, you’ll get the smoothest consistency if you use maple syrup or chop the dates finely.


Photo by Anson Smart

Photo by Anson Smart

Pineapple Salsa Smoothie

SERVES 2

This green smoothie packs a powerful punch without pushing out the paunch. It bursts with complex flavors that dance on the tip of your tongue and tickle your throat. This recipe is a stunner and it does justice to every bite of even the best pineapple salsa. It’s not to be missed.

1 cup coconut water or water
2½ cups diced pineapple, fresh or frozen
1 cup firmly packed baby spinach
1½  teaspoons finely chopped red onion, more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
¼  cup finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño chile, more to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste
-Pinch of finely grated lime zest
-Pinch of salt, more to taste, optional
-cup ice cubes (omit if using  frozen pineapple)
-Natural sweetener, optional

1. Put all ingredients into your blender in the order listed and puree for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy.

2.
Tweak flavors to taste. You may like more onion, jalapeño, lime juice, salt or sweetener, depending on the ripeness of your pineapple.

Each serving contains 138 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 142mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 24g sugars, 3g protein, 9 Est GL.

Photo by Anson Smart

Photo by Anson Smart

Watermelon Gazpacho Is The Bomb!

SERVES 6

Gazpacho rocks and this concoction delivers a surprising taste explosion with every spoonful. A blend of sweet and spicy, the flavors in this chilled first course (it serves 8 as a starter) or main mellow nicely with time. In fact, the change in flavor is quite pronounced. This soup is delicious a few hours after preparing, so don’t feel like you have to wait beyond the 3-hour chill. But  it’s even better the next day.

4 cups roughly chopped seedless watermelon
6 cups diced seedless watermelon
2 cups diced tomato
1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
½ cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced red onion, more to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed  lime juice, more to taste
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 teaspoons minced ginger
½ teaspoon minced green serrano chile, more to taste
½    tablespoon natural salt, more  to taste
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1. Put 4 cups chopped watermelon into your blender and puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds until liquefied. Pour into a serving bowl.

2.
Add 6 cups diced watermelon and all remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well.

3.
Tweak flavors to taste. You may like more onion, lime juice, chile or salt.

4.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 3 hours (preferably 12 to 24 hours) to allow flavors to fuse and the vibrant red color to develop.

5.
Before serving, tweak flavors again. If it’s too spicy, add some lime juice. Pass additional lime juice and salt at the table.

Each serving contains 98 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 589mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 18g sugars, 2g protein, 7 Est GL.

Chilled Avo and Cuke Soup

SERVES 4

Serve this soup in bowls garnished with a fan of sliced avocado, a bit of diced cucumber and a sprinkle of cilantro. For a party, serve in 32 shot glasses, each one topped with tiny pieces of avocado.

1½ cups water
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced  cucumber, more for garnish
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and  chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced, for garnish
¼ cup firmly packed arugula
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, more to garnish
3½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
½ teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile, more to taste
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

1. Put all ingredients into your blender and puree on high 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more chile, if desired.

2. Transfer soup to a bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 2 hours.

3.
Remove from refrigerator and salt to taste.

Each serving contains 320 calories, 29g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 3g sugars, 4g protein, 4 Est GL.

Photo by Anson Smart

Photo by Anson Smart

Artichoke and White Bean Dip

MAKES 1½ CUPS


This dairy-free dip is like hummus on steroids. It tickles your taste buds with every bite. Try it with raw veggie sticks, gluten-free pita chips or flatbreads or spread it on gluten- free wraps and sandwiches. The rosemary flavor intensifies if the dip stands or is chilled overnight. If rosemary isn’t your favorite, reduce
the amount by half.  

¼ cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk or milk of choice     
1(14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, plain (not marinated), well rinsed and well drained
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons diced yellow onion
1½ teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
 ¾ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (not dried)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Put all ingredients into your blender and puree about 1 minute until smooth and creamy like hummus. If you’re using a conventional blender, you may need 1 tablespoon of water to help the blades do their work.

2. Transfer dip to a bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Each tablespoon contains 52 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 106mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein, 2 Est GL.

Writer, actor and voiceover artist Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl (blendgirl.com), is author of The Blender Girl, 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes. Recipes reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl by Tess Masters, © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

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