smoothie kick.

I've been on a smoothie kick lately. There's just something about summer that makes fresh fruit sound extra delicious. But who am I kidding? I'll eat a banana if it's not too ripe (or green), and though I like the taste, the texture of peaches kind of weirds me out. I'll eat spinach in a salad, but berries are just dessert toppings, right? So I've started making smoothies. A little bit of prep, and I've got smoothies to go. Here's how it works.

First, stock up on fresh fruit, spinach, and plain or vanilla yogurt. I got 5 bananas, a couple dozen strawberries, a nectarine, 3 peaches, pineapple, and frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). Most of the fruit is cheaper fresh, I think, but I bought the berries frozen because a large bag of frozen berries was the same price as a tiny container of fresh. I also bought a large container of vanilla yogurt.

Second, cut it all up. Put a sheet of waxed paper on a baking sheet, lay the fruit out, and freeze for a few hours. Overnight works too. The idea is that if you freeze it a little first, it won't stick together in a big frozen cube in your baggies. You don't need to freeze the spinach. Also, scoop the yogurt into an ice cube tray and freeze. My large container of yogurt made a couple dozen cubes.

When everything is frozen, start assembling bags. I basically put a little of everything in each 1 qt. freezer bag, which makes about 2 smoothies each. I put in a generous handful of spinach, and just 1/4 cup raw oatmeal. I repeat: generous spinach, easy on the oatmeal. I don't think you can taste the spinach in the smoothie, but you can taste the oats and I haven't loved some that have been too "oatey." Also add all sorts of fruit, and two yogurt cubes.

I try to include banana in each bag because I think it sweetens up the smoothie, and from personal preference, I include berries in each bag and then use peaches/pineapple as mix-ins. I haven't made a smoothie yet that I didn't like, but I don't imagine I would like a plain spinach and pineapple smoothie.

I labeled some of my bags with an S, which indicates they contain raspberries or blackberries. Those have seeds, which Nate doesn't like. I don't mind them too much. You can label your bags based on ingredients, but these were all basically the same—a little bit of everything.

And there you have it. Keep these in the freezer, and when you need a quick snack or meal, dump the whole thing into the blender (I recommend spinach/oats in first so they blend up best). Just add liquid: OJ or milk or soy milk or even water and protein powder. My favorite is orange juice, though we got some leftover soy milk from Nate's fam this week and it's been good.

Tip: After you dump the ingredients into the blender, rinse out the freezer bag and use it again the next time you prep smoothies. I ran out of freezer bags last night and wished I had saved some.

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