A smoothie primer

Smoothies have been around for a long time and are an excellent way of working in some low effort, health, food into your diet.  The term smoothie came out of the 1970s but some form of the drink has been around since about the time that blenders became commercially available in the 1930s.

Smoothie Basics

All you really need to get started is a good blender, some fruit, and berries (fresh or frozen), vegetables, ice, fruit or berry juice and, usually, some dairy product or a dairy substitute.  

Smoothies As Time Savers

Smoothies can be a very quick, easy, and tasty way to work some fruit and vegetables into your day.  I will admit a preference for the fruit smoothies, but there are a large number of perfectly good vegetable or green smoothie recipes available, as well. They can be consumed as meal replacements, when in a hurry, as a tasty relaxing dessert, or simply as a nutritious and refreshing drink.

Smoothies As A Hot Weather Beverage

Because smoothies are usually made with frozen fruit, ice or ice cream, smoothies are a cool drink will which can be very refreshing and a nice break from the heat of a hot day. The ease of creating smoothies can make them a crowd pleaser when entertaining or juice a healthy tasty drink for your family.  few children would turn down a tasty fruity drink after some hard play time.  The children really don’t need to know or care that it can good for them.     

Beware Of Commercially Prepared Smoothie Mixes

I recommend that you use a combination of fresh and or frozen fruits and berries.  However, take care if you are considering buying a commercial prepacked smoothie blend.  Unfortunately, many commercially prepacked smoothie’ blends have added sugars, food coloring, and other less desirable ingredients.  For the healthiest smoothies use fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit and or berries, and vegetables (if you are into green smoothies). Even a little unsweetened juice can be used as a dairy substitute, to add some color, and flavor to your smoothie.

Smoothie Experimentation

Smoothies are easy to experiment with you simply switch out an ingredient or two and see if it meets your tastes.  I do recommend starting with a couple of recipes which you know you like already and use them as a foundation by adding or swapping an ingredient or two at a time, that way you ease your way into new flavor combinations.

Time To Get Started

 Well, if you are still reading this article, I assume you are ready to get started, so, go find some recipe which appeals to you and has a fun wonderful smoothie adventure.

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Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream
Homemade Irish Cream

Here is a simple homemade version of my wife’s favorite drink, Irish Cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup Irish Whiskey
  • 3 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon espresso coffee or instant coffee

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender and place in the refrigerator to chill.

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Café Olé Coffee Recipe

Café Olé Coffee Recipe
Café Olé Coffee

Café Olé

This Café Olé recipe is a simple coffee, which comes from the southwestern food traditions.  It is a coffee with a little extra character, which makes an excellent drink those cool autumn evening at home.

Recipe Ingredients

IngredientUS measureMetric measure
Hot Black Coffee8 Cups1900 ml
Lime Juice (fresh squeezed)3 oz.90 ml
Sugar6 teaspoons14 grams
Whipped cream9 oz.270 ml

Recipe Directions

  • Combine all Ingredients, except whipped cream, and stir
  • Pour into eight serving cups
  • Add a dollop of whipped cream on top and serve

Recipe Alternatives

  • Using a nice flavored coffee as the base can add a nice flavor variation of this recipe. So, you may want to try making it with a nice vanilla, Mocha, Caramel, or Almond flavored coffee.

Servings

  • Makes 6, 8 oz. cups

How best to serve the dish?

  • This drink is best served hot

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Cool summer drinks – Iced Coffee New Orleans Recipe

Iced Coffee New Orleans
Iced Coffee New Orleans

Iced Coffee New Orleans is a nice vintage recipe that has the benefit of being cool and refreshing.  Also, I’ve copied New Orleans containing two of my favorite ingredients, mainly coffee and vanilla ice cream.  It’s a nice way to have your coffee in a little bit a dessert when the weather is hot and it’s really simple to make;  No heavy cooking required.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
  • 1-quart strong coffee
  • Crushed ice
  • Nutmeg

Directions

  • Place one large scoop of ice cream and two crushed ice cubes in a frosted twelve-ounce glass.
  • Pour in one cup of chilled strong coffee Stir rapidly with a long spoon.
  • When the ice cream is blended with the coffee and the ice is completely melted, sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Serves

  • four

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Cool summer drinks – Argentine coffee recipe

Argentine coffee
Argentine coffee

With summer weather setting on in hot temperatures rolling in, it’s time to consider those cool beverages which will help keep the heat off you at least make you happy and come more comfortable as you enjoy the days.

This recipe comes from the 1940s. It is a simple easy way to combine a couple of favorites, namely coffee, and ice cream while staying cool the same time.

Argentine coffee

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pints chocolate ice cream
  • 1-quart strong coffee
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream  (whipped ) or commercial whipped cream (optional)
  • Nutmeg

instructions

  • Place a generous scoop of ice cream in each tall glass.
  • Fill each glass with strong (according to your tastes), chilled coffee.
  • Top each glass with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg.

Notes

  • If desired, you could add some ice to this drink
  • Also, you can stir or blend the ice cream and coffee until it was smooth

Servings

  • Makes four glasses

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Hibiscus Tea (Agua De Jamaica)

Hibiscus Tea (Agua De Jamaica)
Hibiscus Tea (Agua De Jamaica)

I know this tea from the Mexican with cooking tradition and it is a favorite summertime drink around our home.  The flowers used for Hibiscus tea are easily obtained online or in your local grocery, at least in the Southwest. In the Mexican tradition, it is known as Agua or Water, but it is actually a tea made from the flowers of the Hibiscus plant. While usually drank chilled and/or on ice, it makes a perfectly fine hot beverage, as well.

Hibiscus scarlet colored tea is a flavorful and versatile drink, which can be used in a multitude of ways, including:

  • To add flavor and color to a berry or fruit smoothie, or simply, to thin a smoothie a bit.
  • Frozen to make Popsicles
  • To make colorful ice cubes for your summertime drinks
  • Added to Jell-O for more depth of flavor and or color
  • Added to beery jellies, jams, and other recipes to more depth of flavor and or color. This is especially true of strawberry recipes.

Also Known as:

  • Agua De Jamaica
  • Jamaica Water

Hibiscus tea is very simple, though many recipes make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Basically,  you need the hibiscus flower and water.  A sweeter is strictly optional.  Actually,  to provide maximum flexibility, I recommend you don’t sweeten the tea until the time of consumption.   This allows each individual to sweeten the tea according to their personal tastes and/or needs.  Also, It makes a perfectly fine unsweetened drink, which is my favorite way to drink Hibiscus ice tea.   Also, if you skip the sweeter, it not only keeps it very low calorie,  but it is the most flexible way to allow you in incorporate the tea into other recipes, which may have already been sweetened and/ or don’t need the additional sweeten.

Recipe

Ingredients

Ingredient1 Quart Measure12 Quart MeasureNotes
Hibiscus Flower½ cup1 cup 
Water1 quart2 quartsI use 2 cups for boiling and the remainder cold
Sugar/Sweetener6 tablespoons¾ cupStrictly optional
    

Directions

  • Rinse the flowers quickly to remove dust and debris
  • place flowers in saucepan with 2 cups of water and
  • Bring water with flowers to a boil.
  • Reduce to a slow simmer for ten minutes
  • Permit to cool
  • Strain through a fine wire strainer to remove flowers into a pitcher
  • Add cool water and/or ice according to pitcher size
  • Server Chilled

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Garden Food: Cucumber Water

If you’re looking for something to do with all those summer cucumbers here’s an option, cucumber water.

Our family recipe is outlined below:

  • pick five or six medium-sized cucumbers and wash thoroughly
  • peel, if desired – we like to leave the peel on for the extra color and nutrition.
  • dice into medium to small pieces
  • place in blender
  • add water
  • Add the juice of 10 or 12 small limes – optional
  • add a few leaves of fresh Mint – optional
  • blend well
  • pour into a two-quart pitcher and top off with water
  • add your favorite sweetener to taste
  • serve over ice or refrigerate to serve later.

Now, you have a quick and healthy summer drink and you have to use your cucumbers.

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