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Smoothies Recipe Add-Ins

How to Make Your Fruit Smoothies Even Better

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Strawberry Smoothies

Strawberry Smoothie

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It's easy to learn how to make smoothies. Recipes aren't really necessary - just follow my basic formula of frozen fruit plus liquid plus yogurt, and you'll have frothy, milkshake-like fruit smoothies the kids will go nuts over.

But if you want to jazz things up a bit, here are a few flavorful ingredients you can add-in to your fruit smoothies to make them even more tasty:

  • Nuts - Walnuts, almonds, peanuts are all good choices. A sprinkle of nuts (1/4 cup or less) added to any smoothie recipe will enhance the flavor and increase the nutritional value of your fruit smoothies. Want to add more nuts? Just blend the nuts (no more than 1/2 cup of nuts) with the liquid first, then add the remaining ingredients in the order listed in the smoothie recipe.

  • Seeds - Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are similar to nuts. They add flavor and nutrition to your smoothies. Follow the same rules for adding seeds as you would for nuts (above).

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Spread - Use Nutella, Nocciolata (compare prices) or make your own with my easy chocolate hazelnut spread recipe. A teaspoon or two is all you need to add sweetness and chocolate flavor to fruit smoothies. My chocolate cherry smoothies and chocolate banana smoothies are great examples of how just a little chocolate hazelnut spread can turn a healthy breakfast smoothie recipe into a decadent dessert.

  • Coconut - It's sweet and adds a tropical flavor to just about any smoothie recipe.

  • Lemon Curd - Sweet and rich with lemon flavor, lemon curd would make a great addition to blueberry fruit smoothies, antioxidant smoothies or any smoothie that calls for lemon yogurt or lemon juice. A little lemon curd goes a long way - 1-2 teaspoons is enough for a smoothie recipe that serves 2-4 people.

  • Orange juice concentrate, lemon juice concentrate or lime juice concentrate - These juice concentrates add a wallop of sweet citrus flavor in a small quantity. They're more flavorful than the juice itself, but watch out - some juice concentrates are made with artificial corn sweeteners and syrups. Read the labels and use sparingly.

  • Chocolate chips, cinnamon chips or white chocolate chips - Like chocolate hazelnut spread, chocolate chips can make healthy fruit smoothies taste like dessert. The key is to use just a little bit - 1-2 Tbsp. and make sure the chips are blended completely.

  • Graham crackers or cookies. When I want to make a smoothie that has the dimension, texture and flavor of a dessert, I'll add a graham cracker or cookie to the recipe. My pumpkin smoothies are a great example. Even though pumpkin pie isn't normally made with a graham cracker crust, the graham cracker gives these pumpkin smoothies a more pie-like taste.

  • Flax seeds, wheat germ or oatmeal - These ingredients add fiber, nutrition and texture to your smoothies. One tablespoon is all you need - otherwise, the smoothie may become gritty.

With all of these smoothie recipe add-ins, the key is making sure you blend your smoothies well. You don't want to taste pumpkin seed bits or gritty wheat germ when you're drinking a smoothie.

I use the VitaMix Blender to make my smoothies. What I like about it is it can crush frozen fruit like a dream. But it isn't cheap. You have to plan to make smoothies frequently -- or use the blender in other ways in order to make it worth it.

Alternatively, use a blender (you may have to stop and push the fruit down into the blades several times in order for it to puree) or a food processor (I recommend the Cuisinart duet (compare prices).

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