Thursday, May 22, 2014

Make Ahead {Shake-able} Smoothie Packs

Last week I had some fruit that was not going to last very much longer.  Knowing that I was planning on making homemade fruit snacks this week, I decided to puree my fruit, freeze it, and use it for fruit snacks the following week.

But I messed up.  I had forgotten that fresh pineapple has an enzyme in it that causes gelatin to not set.  And pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries were what I pureed.  Bummer.

Not to worry, though.  I froze my puree in ice cube trays to use for future smoothies.  Yum.  It was just like the old days of making baby food.

So when AKD asked the other day if we had any of "those smoothie things," I was prepared.  He was referring to these:

I only bought them that one time because they were free.  {Tangent: can you call it "buying" when you don't actually pay any money for them?}  But apparently they made an impression on AKD.  All you  have to do is add juice and shake.  It's kind of fun, actually.

But you know, all those are is fruit, pureed and frozen in small chunks, along with yogurt frozen in small chunks.  There's probably a lot of sugar and artificial flavor and other things I don't want my people eating in there as well...

So I told him, yes, I do have some of those smoothie things, and got out my frozen fruit cubes, along with a tub of yogurt, some orange juice and the blender.  He was skeptical, but was willing to try it.  {He was not, however, willing to add spinach or cilantro.}  And he loved it.  AKD told me I needed to blend up some more fruit, pronto, and get some more yogurt, too, while I was at it.

I, of course, said sure!  I'd love to!  Because I love to see my kids choosing to eat things that are good for them.

I bought a quart-sized tub of vanilla Greek-style yogurt and froze that in ice cube trays as well.  Once the cubes were frozen, I popped them out of the tray and into a freezer Ziploc bag.  Now when AKD wants a smoothie, he just pops 4 fruit cubes and 2 yogurt cubes in the blender with about a cup of orange juice.  It's the perfect recovery drink after sports.  Smoothies help rehydrate quickly, while replenishing energy and providing protein and fiber.

To make it even easier, and more like those smoothie things (or if you don't want to use the blender in the morning because it's really loud and will wake up your wife and kids and you're much too considerate for that), puree and freeze your fruit, yogurt, and greens (if desired) in ice cube trays ahead of time, then pop out when frozen.  Add the cubes, in whatever combination you like, to individual bags.  Then use a food mallet to crush the heck out of 'em. 

Stick the bags back in the freezer until you're ready for your smoothie, then simply pour the contents into a shaker or cup with a lid, add juice, milk, or water, and shake.  I love this method because it means we can have fresh fruit smoothies anytime. 

And since my people are somewhat inconsistent in their fruit consumption (one week we go through 10 bananas, the next week no one likes bananas anymore, but they'll eat half a quart each of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries before suddenly not wanting berries anymore ... it's impossible to keep up with their whims),  I can just blend up and freeze any fruit that no one's interested in eating so nothing goes to waste.  Win.

Easy.  And so yum.

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