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5 Tips for Perfect Smoothies

August7

5 Tips for Perfect Smoothies - Mama's High Strung

Everyone knows how to make a fruit smoothie, right? But do you know how to make the perfect fruit smoothie?

Here’s are my 5 tips for perfect smoothies:

  1. Add the liquids first. This will help blend all the ingredients evenly. Milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut water, juice, tea and even kombucha or kefir are great base liquids.
  1. Fat is your friend. As much as we want to save calories, using nonfat yogurt is NOT the way to go. It leaves the smoothie tasting like you’ve tried to pulverize sand and it’ll be grainy. Use low-fat yogurt instead.
  1. Use frozen fruit. Frozen fruit thickens and adds flavor without diluting your smoothie. In the off-season, frozen fruit usually has more flavor than what you’ll find in the market. In season, put your fruit in the freezer for a few hours before popping it into the blender. Always pulse the blender a few times because the fruit can refreeze!
  1. For a creamier (and healthier) smoothie, add ripe avocados or bananas. Those darker bananas will be sweeter so don’t worry about a few freckles! Honey, chia and flax seeds are also great thickeners.
  1. Add the ice last. If you still want some icy-coldness, make this the last thing you put in the blender. Ice will thicken the smoothie without adding any additional calories.Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender

Oh… and here’s one more important tip: always use the Hamilton Beach® Wave~Action Blender® for the creamiest smoothie!

My good friends at Hamilton Beach® sent me one of these good-looking babies to try out and, I’ve got to tell you, this blender is my go-to for smoothies. The Wave~Action blades continuously force the ingredients from the bottom to the top in a wave, so everything blends perfectly.

If you’ve got a big family, you’ll love the big 48-ounce glass jar (which is dishwasher-safe, by the way). The spout on the dispensing lid makes pouring super easy, with minimal drips. It also comes with a stir-spoon for thicker foods and mixtures.

Here’s the delicious Raspberries and Cream Smoothie I whipped up in the Wave~Action Blender!5 Tips for Perfect Smoothies - Mama's High Strung

 



Creative K Kids

The Best Water Bottle Ever: The Snack-DuO

March7
BPA Free Snack DuoI’ve found the perfect way to stay hydrated and energized during a blogging conference, trade show or any event where you need to keep your star-power bright.

You’re going to want one of these, especially before all the spring-time travel begins! This is the best water bottle ever!

My good pals over at Dexas International know me soooo well. They know that I’m always on the go… or just playing catch-up with my crazy life.

Drinking lots of water is the name of the game (as we all know), but having something healthy to eat when you are on the verge of your next meal is just as important (that’s when we make bad choices… or at least I do).

Dexas has the answer: The Snack-DuO water bottle… the only bottle that has two side-by-side chambers: one to hold whatever you like to drink, and another to hold a snack.

BPA-free Snack Duo Water BottleAnd, before I continue, because this is important, the Snack-DuO is made of Tritan™ copolyester, a BPA and BPS-free plastic. No bisphenols in this high impact-resistant bottle! Good to know, especially because there’s so much talk about the risk of using plastic water bottles that aren’t BPA free!

Do you workout or go to the gym? I really try (key word: try) to work out everyday. I know that after a workout I need to eat something… especially something healthy. Before I work out, I fill the snack-side of the Snack-DuO with protein bar bites, trail mix or almonds. Okay, sometimes I fill it with M&M’s, but that’s only sometimes.BPA Snack Duo Water Bottle

The bottle is watertight and holds 12 ounces of liquid. The snack chamber holds 1½ cups of your fave snack, which is more than a serving size of most healthy snacks. Love that the Snack-DuO is also dishwasher safe.

The Snack-DuO is great for commuting… or for making sure the kids have a healthy snack before their after-school activities!

Now… doesn’t this sound like the best water bottle ever? Order your Snack DuO here!

posted under Gadget Tree | 6 Comments »

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Tart

January7


Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion - MHS

How’re you doing with that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier?

Well, I’ve got one last rich dish to offer up before you pitch everything creamy and indulgent that’s still in the fridge:

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Tarts.

My pals at Welcome Home Brands sent me these disposable oven-safe 4-inch ruffled baking cups… just perfect for making individual tarts. They’re great for any fun event (they come in a lot of other colors and shapes). Adds a pop of fun, don’t you think? You can also make this dish in a pie or larger tart pan, as in the recipe below.

So here’s the last blast… full of fat and flavor and, oh, so delicious: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Tarts.

You’ll need a 2-lb butternut squash for this recipe. If your squash is bigger and you have extra, roast all of it and save it for later in the week… you are going to start eating healthier, right?



 

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Green Salsa

October1

Roast Pork mama's high strungLife around my house is lived as though someone stepped on the accelerator—going 80 miles an hour, everything and everyone in constant motion (that happens when you have five kids). Lots of running around.

Last month is a good example—getting everyone ready to go back to school is a balancing act… no, a juggling act, beyond compare. Clothes to pack. Doctor appointments. School supplies. Planes to catch. Trains to catch.

And no real time for meals.

So, it’s kind of ironic that my salvation during all this activity isn’t something that moves fast. Just the opposite…it moves slowly. Methodically. It’s my slow cooker…and it’s a life-saver. Uh, make that a time-saver.

-HB Slow Cooker with Ingredients for Pork Roast with Green Salsa Mama's High Strung

My good friends at Hamilton Beach sent me their Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker to try out. What do I think? In three words: I. Love. It.

Raw Roast Pork - Mama's High Strung

What’s really great is that I’m able to prep meals the night before… like this Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Green Salsa recipe. First I sliced an onion really thick and put the slices in the bottom of the Slow Cooker’s crock. I rubbed the pork shoulder with spices and set it on top of the onions… and then put the crock in the fridge.

The next morning I added the chicken stock and programmed the Slow Cooker to be ready by the time I got home. The salsa is so easy to prepare, I made it while I got the rest of dinner ready, but you can also prepare it in advance.

Slow Cooker Roast Pork Tacos with Green Salsa - Mama's High Strung

I shredded the pork, stirred in half of the salsa and served it with warm tortillas so everyone could make their own tacos as we all sat down for dinner… and put on the brakes for a little while.

And if you have any salsa leftover, it goes great with eggs the next morning!

One other cool thing is that this slow cooker comes with a temperature probe so that you can cook large cuts of meat, whole chickens or even turkey breasts by relying on the internal food temperature to test for doneness.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Spoon and Lid

I used the probe to cook a 4-pound chicken on High in about 4 hours (internal temperature 180°F in the chicken’s thigh). The skin didn’t crisp up and brown the way I like it, so I but it in a roasting pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes… beautiful!

One more thing… head on over to my friend, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, to find more delicious recipes… just like this one!

                             

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mama@mamashighstrung.com.