It is hot outside today. A scorcher.
I, for one, love warm weather thanks to my days growing up in sunny Florida. But living in the Midwest has given pause to my days of sun and warmth as the majority of the year is spent under gray skies and sub-freezing temperatures. Thus, any day that is both sunny and warm is beheld as a treasure to me and many of my fellow residents here in Chicago.
The blessing of sunny days and warm temperatures bring out some of the things that I adore about the city, including the numerous festivals, outdoor concerts, and sailboats that dot Lake Michigan from June through September. But, inevitably, the summer heat makes me crave one of my favorite drinks: a smoothie.
I cannot remember my first smoothie. But I do remember the first time I went to Jamba Juice. It was in the Fall of 1999 in Palo Alto, California, and the smoothie company was a huge hit. A classmate of mine directed me to the small store that was on Stanford‘s campus where I ordered a Strawberries Wild smoothie and fell in love! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed that first smoothie. It was almost like a light came on for me.
I have always eaten fruit, but I have never been a big fan of eating a lot of fruit. So, when I realized that I could have multiple servings of fruit that doubled as a healthy-er alternative to a milkshake, I was sold.
Although I am still a huge fan of Jamba Juice, I realized later that I could make similar smoothies at home with a little practice and a great blender. Not only are they just as good, but they are less expensive to make since I control the ingredients.
My smoothie recipe is very simple, yet highly customizable: fruit, yogurt, milk, and juice. I use fresh fruit that I freeze (store-bought frozen fruit is just as good), soy milk (I am lactose intolerant but any milk–nut, rice, cow’s, etc–works fine), vanilla yogurt (I prefer low-fat, but fat-free or full fat is ok), and whatever juice is in my refrigerator at the time. Over the years I experimented with different types of fruit but have found that I tend to return to strawberries, bananas, and mangoes as my top three choices.
Not only does this “treat” taste good, but it is a welcome and refreshing drink on a day like today. So go ahead and have fun experimenting. I am going to get back to enjoying the sun.
Lexyne’s Strawberry Smoothie Recipe
1 banana, frozen
2 cups strawberries, hulled and frozen
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup orange juice
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, increase milk and/or juice until desired consistency.
Makes about 4 servings