Your Holiday Shopping Just Got Easier
Just in time for holiday entertaining, I’m proud to announce that my latest book has arrived in bookstores. The 300 Best Blender Recipes Using Your Vitamix (Robert Rose $24.95) is already #76 in Baby Food and #87 in Blender Books on amazon, so it is off to the races!
Of course, baby food is just the beginning, as you can see by the decidedly grown-up drink in the photo above. This project was an exploration of every kind of recipe that the Vitamix makes easier.
Yes, there are smoothies, whole juices, and creamy soups, the first things most people think of when they start lusting after a powerful blender. “Mmm, I could make smoothies after I work out,” goes the thinking. But there is so much more.
Image credit: Colin Erricson
The Versatile Vitamix
We all know that the Vitamix, and other powerful blenders, are great for smoothies. But have you ever used one to grind fresh flour and make bread? Or mince vegetables for a chunky tomato sauce, before you puree the tomatoes to silky smoothness? How about make body care products, like lotions and face masks?
Oh yes, my deep dive into blending will take you there. If you want to get your money’s worth out of your Vitamix, you can find yourself using it several times a day. Grinding coffee, making powdered sugar, even whipping cream is super quick in the blender. I have a whole chapter on energy balls and bars, essentials to take to the gym or on a long bike ride. Fresh nut butters run the gamut from peanut and almond all the way to pistachio and cinnamon walnut. Alternative milks, which cost a pretty penny at the store, are a snap to make, and you can make incredibly fresh and healthful drinks like Golden Almond Milk, infused with turmeric, with my recipes.
Fresh is Best
Grinding your own flours means that you can make just about any kind of flour, from Kamut and Spelt to gluten-free grain or bean flours. I created a fun assortment of breads, pizza crusts and other baked goods. Yes, you can even make cakes and muffins in the blender.
Using the blender to make spice blends, marinades and dressings gave me a chance to really take the blender around the globe. If you love Chiles based sauces like mole, the blender is your friend. My Ancho Chile and Plantain Mole or Green Pipian Sauce will make your south of the border menus more interesting. Ginger Mango Sriracha Sauce, Thai Blackened Chile Sauce, or Cashew Sambal may be just the sauce for your Asian food cravings. Or, blend up the Instant Creamy Spinach Sauce or Classic Swiss Fondue.
Make Holiday Entertaining a Snap
The book has a whole chapter on dips and spreads, so that you can whip up party fare or sandwich fillings in minutes. Mayonnaise, Cheesy Jalapeno Queso (and Vegan Nacho Queso) and Tapenade are just the basics, and Spicy Beet Dip or Salmon Mousse might be more your style. You can even make a whole assortment of veggie burgers and loaves- Pecan and Beet Burgers and Gyros with Yogurt Sauce are just a couple of the choices.
The book offers plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, so that you or your guests will have just what they want.
The chapter that you won’t find in most blender books is the body care one. I had a blast making scrubs, masks, lotions and skin treatments. Go ahead, read the ingredients on that bottle of lotion in the bathroom, I’ll wait. Once you look into some of those ingredients you’ll see just how much better it is to craft your own version at home, with easy to find natural ingredients. Plenty of the recipes use food you already have in your kitchen!
Make a Signature Cocktail For Your Party
But for today’s post, I’m going to help you out with your Holiday entertaining. Anybody can open a bottle of wine. You want your party to stand out with a unique cocktail. In this one, you start a day ahead to make a thyme-infused lemonade concentrate, then freeze it in ice cube trays.
And you’ll use fresh lemons and herbs, so that you get the most delicious cocktail.
Then, on the night of the party, you just blend the lemon-thyme cubes with vodka, limoncello, and tonic water. It’s like the best slushy ever, with a sweet-tart kick and a herbal note that makes it a step above your usual vodka mixer. You can easily make virgin versions for some of your guests, too, so everyone is covered.
Once you get your blender out and start harnessing the power of this kitchen tool, you won’t want to stop!
Lemon Thyme Vodka Slushy
If you like lemonade, you will love this cooling, zesty slush. You’ll need to start a day or two before you want to drink it. Once you have the lemony syrup cubes in the freezer, you have delicious drinks in the bank, to dole out on hot afternoons, or for a party.
Makes 4 servings
- Fine-mesh sieve
- 2 ice cube trays
- 4 margarita glasses
Lemon Thyme Ice Cubes
3 cups water 750 mL
1 cup granulated sugar 250 mL
Strips of zest from 1⁄2 large lemon (see tip)
35 sprigs fresh thyme 35
11⁄4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice 300 mL
2 oz vodka 60 mL
2 oz limoncello 60 mL
12 Lemon Thyme Ice Cubes 12
1 cup tonic water 250 mL
4 sprigs fresh thyme 4
- Ice Cubes: Place the water and sugar in the Vitamix container and secure the lid. With the switch on Variable, select speed 1 and turn the machine on. Quickly increase the speed to 10, then flip the switch to High and blend for about 5 minutes, until the syrup is steaming.
- Place the lemon zest and thyme in a 4-cup (1 L) glass measuring cup or heatproof container and pour in the hot syrup. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, pressing the zest and thyme up against the sides of the cup to release the flavors into the hot syrup. Cover and let steep at room temperature overnight.
- Strain the syrup through the sieve into another measuring cup or bowl, pressing on the zest and thyme; discard solids. Stir lemon juice into syrup.
- Pour into ice cube trays and freeze for about 8 hours, until solid. Once frozen, transfer to sealable freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. (Makes enough ice cubes for 8 servings.)
- Slushy: Place the vodka, limoncello and ice cubes in the Vitamix container and secure the lid. With the switch on Variable, select speed 1 and turn the machine on. Gradually increase the speed to 10, then flip the switch to High and blend for about 10 seconds or until slushy.
- Turn the machine off and stir in tonic water. Pour into margarita glasses and garnish each with a sprig of thyme. Serve immediately.
For the strips of lemon zest, use a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife to pare off the yellow zest in wide strips, avoiding the white pith.
There’s no need to remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs; both the stems and leaves will infuse flavor into the syrup.