Make Ahead Frozen Smoothies

Hey friends! Today I wanted to share with you one of my newest obsessions- smoothies for breakfast! Although you may remember my love/hate relationship with smoothies, Jacob and I recently discovered a great smoothie place right next to our gym that fits my needs! Most smoothie places use either plain yogurt, milk, or a milk-based powder to ‘fill out’ the smoothies, and that’s usually what ends up disagreeing with my stomach. These kinds of smoothies are super common in chain smoothie places (I’m looking at you- Starbucks, Smoothie King, and Jamba Juice) since it’s essentially a cheaper way to make the smoothie. I was pleased to find out that Jamba Juice has a new menu of diary-free smoothies that I was able to try out, and it was amazing! A lot of Austin smoothie places are sensitive to this and great for non-dairy smoothie lovers, but unfortunately there are no JuiceLand or Austin Skinny Limits locations nearby us :( BUT, as I mentioned, we found a new place nearby that uses nothing but fruit and juices! Such a simple idea, honestly, but seemingly revolutionary in this day and age :P Shout-out to The Juice Bar in South Austin for making all my smoothie dreams come true!!

But what’s better that getting smoothies? That’s right, friends- making smoothies! Inspired by the deliciousness we discovered at The Juice Bar (and not wanting to pay close to $5 for each one!), Jacob and I set out to make our own smoothies, and be able to make them ahead to enjoy smoothies on-the-go all week long.

So where to begin? First, we had to figure out the best way to have smoothies every morning, without actually making smoothies every morning. For a few days, we tried the freezer bag method. We took the ingredients for one smoothies at a time and froze them into plastic baggies, so in the mornings all we had to do was plop the contents of the bag into the blender, add a liquid, blend, and go! Except… it wasn’t blend and go. It was- find a container to put the smoothie in that won’t spill in the car. Figure out what to do with the excess smoothie in the bottom of the blender. (Drink it all now? I have to leave for work in 3 minutes- ain’t nobody got time for that!). Rinse out the blender at the very least, since smoothie sitting in the sink all day is not a pretty sight to come home to. Aaaaand then go. There had to be a better way.

Well, since Buzzfeed can pretty much read my mind at this point and knows exactly what I need, they came to the rescue with this article on freezing smoothies ahead of time for the week. Perfect!! First step was to find the right containers. I knew I wanted something with a screw-on lid that had the absolute least chance of spilling, and that I needed a lot of them (10 total- one for Jake and I each day of the week). My original idea was to nix the Mason jars used in the Buzzfeed article and try to find a plastic alternative, but everything I found was way too expensive to justify buying so many of them. I ended up doing some more research on freezing glass, and finally succumbed to Mason jars from the nearest Hobby Lobby. Most were $2.69 each and I think the larger ones were $3.29. Note- I did find a 12-pack of Mason jars in the size I needed at Walmart for close to $9, but they weren’t the right kind for freezing. What you’re looking for is a wide-mouth version- something without ‘shoulders’ that adds extra pressure to whatever you’re freezing. I bought six 1/2 pint sized, and four 1pint sized for variety, figuring we can use the larger containers for meal-replacement smoothie. Bring those babies home and get them washed!

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And now, to actually making the smoothies! First off, we went to buy tons of fruit. In hindsight, actually planning out what we needed for each smoothies we wanted to try would’ve been a great idea, but as always, hindsight is 20/20. We bought a mix of frozen and fresh fruits so we don’t have to add ice to the smoothies, thinking that would just water it down eventually. Since it’ll all be frozen then thawed out again, I guess maybe it really doesn’t matter? In any case, full flavor was our way to go. Here’s a list of a few things we got for our smoothie prep. A few things we already had on hand, but most of the frozen things we bought specifically for smoothie-making.

  • The Liquids- Most of these we had on hand. I didn’t have a problem buying bigger sizes in these though, since we’ll drink them and they’re sure to last more than a week in the fridge. I like Silk brand almond milk, VitaCoco coconut water, and Simply brand pineapple juice. Our HEB nearby had 11.5oz mini-size Simply brand juices $5/5, so we bought those.
    • Almond milk- I always have this on hand- I need something to eat cereal with after all!
    • Coconut water- I’m not a fan of it on it’s own, but with pineapple juice it’s pretty great
    • Apple juice
    • Orange juice
    • Pineapple juice (I just used Simply Tropical!)
    • Green tea- Had some Bigelow tea bags on hand, so I made a few cups and let them chill for a green smoothie
  • The Frozens- Fruits that are a pain to cut up. I’ve lost one too many battles with a pineapple, thanks. Again, it probably doesn’t matter what you use fresh or frozen in these smoothies, but I feel like I’m not very good at cutting up certain fruits without wasting some of it. Also, berries are much more expensive fresh. So frozen we go.
    • Frozen mango
    • Frozen pineapple
    • Frozen mixed berries
  • The Fruits- Pretty obvious one here. Add these for sweetness and texture.
    • Grapes
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Strawberries
    • Peaches
  • The Greens- Whether you like it or not, if it’s green and from the ground, it’s probably good for you. Throw it in your smoothie and hopefully all you taste is sweet fruit deliciousness.
    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Cilantro- not my favorite ingredient, but I read it was super good for you and it’s in a recipe I wanted to try
    • Cucumber
    • Avocado- makes everything smooth and yummy in texture!
  • The Extras- Some extras boosts of flavor, antioxidants, and over-all goodness.
    • Mint leaves
    • Almond butter- yeah, we’re those people now. But in all honesty add this with some bananas, a bit of chocolate protein powder, and almond milk, and you’ve got yourself a pretty rad meal replacement smoothie
    • Ginger
    • Lemons
    • Limes
    • Shakeology Green Berry- believe it or not, I had this on hand. It’s been sitting in the pantry sad and unused for a couple months now, so I figured it needed to be put to good use.

Wow. All the smoothie ingredients! Most of smoothie making is actually just mix and match, so Jacob and I really didn’t plan out too much. We just each took turns thinking about what would be good together and mixed it up! I did decide to try this recipe from hello natural that is packed with tons of good-for-you ingredients to start the week off right!

  • 1 cup green tea, chilled
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 cup loosely packed organic baby kale (or another baby green)
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ avocado

This was the only recipe followed by measurement. Much to Jake’s disliking, I continued to make every single other smoothie without measuring a thing. I’ve written down my best guess at measurements for your benefit, but these recipes are in no way meant to be ‘set in stone.’ Smoothie-making definitely isn’t an exact science, so feel free to adjust any of these recipes as you see fit. And definitely feel free to experiment like we did! We definitely didn’t use all the original ingredients listed, but we came up with some new favorites!

‘Strawberry Oatmeal’ Disclaimer: Not my favorite. At all. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong. But I at least wanted to share so maybe you don’t make the same mistake? Or maybe I made it right and just couldn’t deal with the texture. Either way, this smoothie has a few more steps than the rest, so proceed with caution.

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs honeyIMG_1152

First step was to grind down the oats. Easy enough.IMG_1153IMG_1154

Next was 1 cup of almond milk.

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Then simply add your fruit and blend! BUT, there is an extra step! You’ll need to let this smoothie sit in the fridge for 4-6 hours to let to oatmeal really absorb the liquid and become softer, similar to overnight oats. This is where I think I messed up. I let it sit in the fridge, and even took the recommendation to blend the whole thing an additional time before setting it to freeze, but the day of the smoothie had an overwhelming taste of oatmeal and was so thick it was hard to drink. Again, maybe you’ll try this and have better success than I did. Just sharing in hopes someone learns something new!

Inspired by The Juice Bar’s ‘Source of Power’ Smoothie:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 apple juice
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 tbs honey

It’s a smoothie. So I hope to further instructions are needed? Blend and enjoy :)

Inspired by The Juice Bar’s ‘Sweet Citrus’

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 cup kale

Inspired by The Juice Bar’s ‘The Original’

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup apple juice

‘Alyssa’s Mix’ Inspired by my brain :)

  • 1/2 pear
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (I used Simply brand Tropical juice)
  • 1 cup kale
  • Handful of fresh mint (optional- I was lucky enough to have some fresh mint on hand from my parent’s garden!)

‘BananasNBerries’ This clever title also comes from my cranium :)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries mix
  • 1 cup coconut water
All my hard work turned into beautiful smoothies!

All my hard work turned into beautiful smoothies!

I decided to label each one to make things easier in the morning. Since I knew Jake didn’t want anything to do with my citrus smoothie, and he added much more kale to his smoothies than I did, I also denoted different ones with an ‘A’ or a ‘J’. I definitely could’ve picked a better labeling system… While the washi tape was cute, it was pretty hard to read.

Pear, mango, kale and mint

Pear, mango, kale and mint

A few quick tips/things we learned throughout the week:

  1. These take super long to defrost. Needing to leave and have the smoothies ready to drink by 8 am, we aimed to take the smoothie from the freezer to the fridge by 8pm, then out of the fridge to thaw on the counter by 7am. Note that it was safe leaving the smoothies out unrefrigerated because none contain any dairy that could spoil.
  2. For a smoother drink, try blending your greens of choice with the liquid of the smoothie first, then adding the rest of the fruit.
  3. Also, the kale that we used was just the heads, the really dark, green, leafy part. I feel like this is the main reason we ended up with such ‘leafy’ smoothies-where the kale didn’t really break down all the way and blend into the smoothie like we’d like. Next week we’ll experiment with using fresh/frozen spinach and different parts of the kale.
  4. To reduce the risk of the glass shattering in the freezer, we made sure to put them in the freezer with the caps initially pretty loose, then later went back and tightened the caps all the way, after the smoothie had mostly frozen and expanded to where it needed to.
  5. Also on the subject of preventing broken glass in your freezer- pay attention to that freeze line! If your mason jars don’t have a marked freeze fill line, you’re probably using the wrong kind and are more likely to end up with shattered glass :(
  6. I also read that not letting the glass touch in the freezer would help keep it from shattering? If you’re using the correct freezer-friendly wide-mouth mason jars, it’s pretty hard for the glass of each of them to actually touch, since the mouth is the widest part (hence, wide-mouthed. Go figure). Still, to be on the safe side I made sure each glass had a little bubble of air around it that nothing else touched.
  7. Have a plan for your smoothies! We basically just tried to emulate our favorite Juice Bar smoothies, but if you’re at a total loss, a simple Pinterest search with smoothie + your favorite fruit will bring some inspiration!

So there we have it friends! Our first week of drinking smoothies for breakfast was a success! I can’t wait to keep moving forward and adding smoothie prep to my snack and lunch prep Sundays. I hope ya’ll found this post helpful, and I hope to see you here again soon!

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