I’ve never claimed to be a good cook. I’m mediocre on my best day. It’s a multi-symptom kind of problem: part picky eaters; part lack of time (read: lack of planning); part lack of skill. I actually come from a long line of fabulous cooks – both of my grandmothers, my mom, and my sister are AMAZING cooks.
Me? Not so much.
I often think about how my kids will probably never ask for my recipes – buttery noodles and steamed veggies are hardly recipes. Plus, I’ve complained loud enough that they probably know that I hate everything about cooking (was I supposed to hide that from the kids?), and they’ll probably hesitate to bring up a touchy subject.
I hate the planning; I loathe the grocery store – I always seem to forget one or two ingredients and my substitutions are never quite right; and, I am completely disheartened at watching all that planning, money, and time going down the garbage disposal when the fam pushes things around their plates. Oh, and I also hate the begging, pleading, and bribing it takes to get my kids to eat new things.
The WORST is baking. Good lord, baking! It’s like a science class gone wrong for me. It’s too exact, too precise, too PERFECT. And, I am the opposite of perfect in the kitchen.
I’ve always said I’m more of a sandwich maker. There’s more creative license in sandwich making. I am the first one to volunteer to make lunches at family gatherings, and I can absolutely WOW you with my mixture of condiments. Have a Panini maker? Sign. Me. Up. Oh, and salads. Yes, I can whip up an amazing salad. You won’t even need dressing. They’re THAT good.
Sandwiches and salads: the extent of my cooking repertoire. That is, until I bought a Vitamix. And the world of smoothies opened its magical doors to me.
Now, I know that one does not need a Vitamix to make smoothies. I just happened to save my dough (no pun intended) and spring for one. That thing is so special to me that I leave it sitting on my counter, which I think is key for using it every single day. I’ve discovered that smoothies are like candy to my kids. I should’ve known. They’ve begged for years to go to Smoothie King. It’s always a No.
No, there’s no drive-thru.
No, it’ll cost us $60 for four kids’ smoothies.
No, too close to mealtime.
No, no, no.
But with Mama’s new Vitamix, smoothies are now an everyday staple at our house. And I must say, I am pretty darn good at smoothies. They allow some creativity, a little give-and-take, and a lot of poetic license (which is exactly what I need in the kitchen).
I try my hardest to make the kids’ smoothies with plain Greek yogurt and fruit (they’re not completely sold on the green smoothies – I am working on that). I sneak in avocado and chia seeds on occasion. Every smoothie has at least 3 different kinds of fruit, a serving of yogurt, and almond milk. Basically, they’re the healthiest desserts they’ve ever gotten. I serve smoothies for snacks and sometimes for breakfast – we’re single-handedly keeping that big neon sign lit at the Chiquita’s headquarters Uptown (and we were once a family who rarely ate bananas).
The other day, my 8-year-old sipped his smoothie “dessert” and said, “Mom, you make the BEST smoothies.” My husband says I am the only one who makes the smoothies right (I’m gonna take that as a compliment and not code for I don’t want to make them myself).
It’s like that souped-up blender has hypnotized my family into thinking I’m a real cook.
Hey, I’ll take it. And I’ll take some recipe cards. Time to start documenting a little proof that Mom WAS in the kitchen during their childhood.
Here are some of my fave inspirations for smoothies. Just remember, a smoothie has a ton of leeway – you don’t have to be perfect! Just use these as inspiration.
The Whole Tulip’s “Let’s Cook” e-cookbook has great smoothie ideas (and the authors are LOCAL moms!!)
Smarty Wendy has some yummy ideas in her blog that inspired me to get a Vitamix – Smarty Cooking School: A Love Letter to my Vitamix
Note: We’re constantly pinning Vitamix (or any other blender!) recipes on our Pinterest Board! Keep up here!
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