Sounds gross but is delicious: Green Smoothies! [and a Magic Bullet review]

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My parents are cool and bought me a Magic Bullet for my birthday.  I’m not really one for TV infomercial stuff, and didn’t ask for it by name.  I told my mum I wanted a mini blender/food processor because I hated dragging out my giant blender or food processor to make a smoothie for myself or a small batch of hummus, mainly because both were such a pain in the ass to clean, and neither fit in my dishwasher well.  So she got me the Magic Bullet.

Having had many sleepless nights in college with assignments due the next day, I have seen the entire Magic Bullet infomercial all the way through.  It’s surprisingly long, and they mostly make things like nachos and cheesecakes and fettuccine alfredo.  It’s mostly processed stuff, which I thought was disappointing because you could make so many better things.  Like berry compotes, and apple butter, and such.

Ryan thinks my Magic Bullet is ridiculous and a gimmick.  He wants to hate it, but I think is secretly jealous now that he sees what all I’ve made with it.  So far, I’ve made a cheesecake (in batches, those tiny little plastic canisters don’t hold much), pesto, lemon curd (again, in batches), salad dressings, guacamole, lots of minced garlic and onions, and countless smoothies.

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The Magic Bullet infomercial people always claimed that you could do anything in 10 seconds or less.  This is not true.  If whatever you are making is mostly liquid, you’ll have better luck, though if you want stuff blended well, you’re going to be blending a while.  Though I only blend in 10 second maximum intervals for fear of burning out the motor (Amazon reviews cited this as one of the main complaints, though a replacement motor base can be bought for cheap).  By the way, if you’ve never seen the infomercial, it’s ridiculous.  People are hungover and smoking, and the “hosts” are ridiculous and perky, and it’s TV gold.

Solids and things that you’d use a food processor for over a blender give the Bullet the most trouble.  For instance, I had the most trouble to date blending graham crackers for the cheesecake crust.  First I tried to mush them in and blend, but the blade refused to catch the pieces and left most whole.  I tried to add butter to make it easier, but then it just turned into doughy mush and I had to scrape it out and mush by hand.

The Magic Bullet is good at things blenders would be good at.  It’s pro at salad dressing and smoothies and things with lots of liquids.  It makes perfect self-servings of smoothies, and what I like best is that it’s already in it’s serving cup, and you just unscrew and wash the blade, screw on a travel top, put in a straw, and go (this is especially good for making smoothies and taking them out the door on my drive to work).

I was coming down with a cold last week and have been experimenting a lot with green smoothies.  Green smoothies seem to be having their moment now, especially in LA.  You basically make a smoothie with greens (like spinach, kale, etc). and mask the greenness with enough fruit to make it drinkable.  Some people drink green juices, but I can’t afford a fancy juicer, so they’re getting blended.  Thoses little Odwallas and similar smoothies are $4 each for tiny little bottles at our Ralph’s, and the flavors are always kind of weird, so I figured it’s way cheaper and yummier to make my own.

I posted about an earlier foray into green smoothies in an earlier post.  I’d been making a lot of Spinach-based smoothies because our 99c Only (the closest thing we have to a dollar store in West LA) has an awesome produce section (some of it isn’t the prettiest, but you can get things like bags of baby carrots, red peppers, pomegranates, and even bags of greenery and herbs for a dollar!).  For instance, they carry bags of baby spinach, which I love to stock up on and throw directly into the freezer (reserving one or two for salads).

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So that’s what I usually add to my smoothies.  And the recipe I’m sharing today uses spinach.  In chocolate.  Which I know sounds weird.  So weird that I almost didn’t even attempt it.  But I’m a brave soul, and wanted this to work, and it really did, so hooray!

Anyway, on the subject of green smoothies: you really have to watch what greens you use.  I naively assumed any greens could be masked by some blueberries and pineapples, but this, my friends, is simply not the case.  For instance, the other day, our Ralph’s had these babies on sale:

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It all sounded so perfect.  Supergreens!  Extra Nutrition!  Superfood!  Washed 3 times so you don’t have to!  Pow!  I was sold.  Especially since it was $.99!  And nowhere near the sell-by date.  I guess they just had too many.  Sometimes I love my Ralph’s.  I bought two clam shells of the stuff.

I usually throw a huge handful of spinach in my smoothies, and followed suit with these Supergreens.  I also added half a (small) bag of frozen blueberries (also from 99c Only), big chunks of pineapple (we bought some big pineapples when my mum was here and had leftovers), more frozen mixed berries, some cran-grape juice for sweetness, and half a vanilla greek yogurt.  I blended up, stuck a straw in it, and dashed out the door for work.  And it basically tasted like sweet grass.  It even tasted vaguely arugula-y.  And though I’ve never eaten chard by itself, I have a feeling it tasted chard-y too.  It didn’t have a gross aftertaste or anything, but it just tasted like I was drinking sweet, kind-of-berry-flavored grass.  It wasn’t so gross that I didn’t finish it, but I’m going to be more careful with my greens of choice in the future.  If you don’t mind grassiness, it wasn’t bad.

Tonight, I was hungry after dresser building.  We didn’t have enough room for our clothes, so we bought another dresser from Ikea after fishing on Saturday to match the one we already have.

Every time I build a piece of Ikea furniture, I swear that I’m never doing this again, and that we’ll save up and somehow buy real furniture in the future and never go through this ordeal again.  And then, somehow, I always ending up buying more boxes of MDF furniture pieces and stuffing them into my car and dragging them up to my apartment, and the vicious cycle repeats.  It’s those damn meatballs.  And the cheap tea lights.

Anyway, after we built the frame and one drawer, we called it quits.  Plus we were hungry.  Ryan ate leftover Pioneer Woman soup from the other night.  I made a smoothie.  I had spinach and a new can of chocolate protein powder that I got in the markdown aisle the other day for $4.  So clearly, both of these things should be combined.

Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

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That’s a truly awful picture, but you can see how it ended up looking.  I drank about half before I bothered taking a picture.  You can also see what state the dresser is still in.

You also certainly couldn’t “sneak” this recipe on someone.  You can see the little green bits.  But you don’t taste them at all.  Actually.  Not like those recipes where they say “oh, you can TOTALLY substitute chick peas for flour in your cookies and it’s EXACTLY the same but healthier.”  Those are crap and inedible, just like black bean brownies and all those other too-good-to-be-true food swaps.  All I can say is I didn’t taste the spinach.  Maybe the orange does it, maybe I just added a ton of chocolate (though I don’t feel like I did), but it’s good.  And there’s honest-to-god a bunch of spinach in there.

Ingredients:

One big Magic Bullet travel cup thing (I don’t know what they call it; it looks like this) or just a normal blender

One giant handful spinach

Chocolate protein powder

Ice cubes (I used 4)

1 navel orange (peeled, whole is okay)

almond milk (or whatever milk you want.  I poured about two inches into the blender)

chocolate syrup (to taste, I didn’t measure, but I poured some in the beginning and added some just before blending because I was worried about it being spinachy)

Blend it up, pour it in a cup or switch the blade for a lid, stick in a straw, drink.

Maybe I should clarify, this isn’t really a “healthy” smoothie.  There’s chocolate syrup in there.  But there’s also an orange, and a bunch of spinach.  And I know some people are anti-protein powder.  I wouldn’t have had any on hand except that it was on sale.  I’ve heard of people doing chocolate-peanutbutter-spinach smoothies, too.  Haven’t tried it, but it’s probably not bad.  I guess if you were going to eat a chocolate milkshake and felt bad about it, you could add spinach.  And an orange.  So that’s how we’ll categorize where this falls, health-wise.  It’s not really a smoothie, more of a chocolate spinach milkshake.  But that sounds grosser.  Meh.  It can be a smoothie.  I’m done defending it.  I will make these again.  It was delicious.  You should try one, too.

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**the photos in this post, for the most part, are not mine.  They belong to their respective owners.  I’m just lazy, and mostly used the pictures from the websites of their makers.**

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3 thoughts on “Sounds gross but is delicious: Green Smoothies! [and a Magic Bullet review]

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