A Very Good Idea

Had this idea the other day and had to share it with you.  My good friend is having some facial surgery (no, not the kind we all are thinking about.  She has a mass inside near her nose, and we are all praying that it is not cancer.)  So I was thinking about what I could fix her to eat that would be a treat, and I realized that she probably wouldn’t feel much like eating for at least a few days afterward.  And i came up with the idea of pre-made smoothies.

This idea started with my practice of making frozen banana cubes.  I know I’ve talked about these before, but I don’t think too many of you have taken me up on this idea.  So I thought maybe a picture essay might entice you.

You have to start with extra ripe bananas.  Sometimes they are on sale real cheap at the store, and sometimes I just buy the ripest ones and let them sit on the counter for a few days.  If they are really ripe, they will be the sweetest, of course.  Which is what we all want, right?  Really, in a lot of our healthy recipes, we are using bananas as a sweetening agent instead of sugar, so if they are not really sweet, they don’t work as well.

I start by peeling the bananas and putting big chunks in a bowl.  I use a potato masher from the dollar store (cost $1.00) and mash the living daylights out of them.  I don’t want too many chunks, and I like them nice and liquidy.  This is pretty easy to do IF THEY ARE REALLY RIPE.

Then I pour the liquid bananas into an ice cube tray and stick them in the freezer.

And voila!  Frozen banana cubes.  These are good for any number of things.  Ready to add to smoothies, or used as is to make ‘soft serve fake ice cream.’  (I really like them combined with a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt.  That really does taste like the “original tart” froyo that I love so much.)  They are good to add to recipes.  And probably my favorite way is to thaw one and a half cubes to use as a topping on my protein pancakes (that I make with walnuts in them–banana nut protein pancakes–yumm!)

Okay.  End of frozen banana cube commercial.  Now for the VERY GOOD IDEA!

I just made a variety of smoothies and put them in the ice cube trays, and then packed the frozen cubes in some disposable plastic boxes.  All my friend’s husband will have to do is to partially thaw some cubes and then throw them in the blender or food processor to provide a fresh delicious frosty smoothie for my friend.

I made her some “Apple Blackberry Sour Cream Pie Smoothies” and a “Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.”  (Those are two of her favorite pies!  And yes, I realize I am doing exactly what I criticize other people for–naming food items after things that they are not…)  Not pictured are the Strawberry Banana Smoothies and a mixed fruit/almond smoothie.  No green smoothies for her.  She said she’s not that adventurous yet.  Even though I don’t make smoothies that often for myself, I have most of the ingredients on hand.  I used flax seed meal, almond meal, vanilla protein powder, eggbeaters, almond milk, yogurt, leftover whey from my strained yogurt (I think this makes a delicious addition to any smoothie,) and of course a wide variety of fruits.  I had quite a smoothie production going on on Saturday morning!

I think this is a nice alternative to making meals for someone who is ill or post-op.  I am going to send a box of almond milk and some written instructions with the cubes.  They don’t need almond milk, but in case she wants to lighten them up, she can use almond milk or water, or maybe even some seltzer water.

Its also a good way to store extra or leftover smoothies.  Then you have something for a little treat when the mood strikes.

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18 thoughts on “A Very Good Idea

  1. Aren’t you clever?! (I already knew that.)

    I don’t mind the faux naming if the dish in question is even somewhat reminiscent of the real deal. Mock apple pie with wonton wrappers, for example. The flavors are there, just not the flaky crust.

  2. You are a very, very good and thoughtful friend, Debby. I think the names are fine because smoothies are close to tasting like the original dish. Unlike cauliflower pizza crust (shaking fist)!

    Best thoughts go out to your friend.

  3. Ah, I caught on to the ice cube tray thing awhile back. Since I strain my homemade yogurt to make it thicker, I always freeze the whey in trays for smoothies. I was curious though as to why the extra step with the bananas. Sam’s usually has a buggy of older bananas marked down to .50/3 lbs so I buy them in quantity, but I just slice them an inch or so thick, flash freeze on cookie sheets, then throw into a gallon ziplock. Works like a charm!

    Earlier this spring, I had some quart bags of peaches and strawberries given to me by MIL that I needed to use. Thawed them, pureed the thawed fruit, then froze in ice cube trays for smoothies. Again, worked like a charm.

    I truly love the idea of ice cube smoothies and am filing it away for future use.

    • I guess its because my main reason for using them is the topping for the pancakes and sometimes other baking recipes. So it eliminates one step at the other end. Plus, ahem. Some of us don’t have room for cookie sheets in our freezer.

  4. WOW!!! I am seriously impressed…this is why I love the blogosphere! We have a fridge that has an ice maker in it, so I don’t have any ice cube trays, but I can sure go out an buy some!

    Thinking positive healthy thoughts for your friend!

  5. Great idea! I hung on to a few ice cube trays and love this idea. It’s a wonderful idea for post-op, too. Beat’s the classic tuna-noodle-Campbell’s cream-of-mushroom casserole hands down! Thanks for sharing! I’m not a banana fan, but peaches, strawberries, and mangos sound great.

  6. That’s awesome!! What a great gift for your friend, and so thoughtful on your part!!

    Now, I hate, HATE, very ripe bananas – they make me gag, even when they are blended into a smoothie. That overripe-banana taste stays with me all day long. Ugh! Bananas have to be absolutely perfect before I’ll eat them, and by perfect I mean slightly crisp and not brown at all. I like them the day after they stop being green. It’s like the planets have to be perfectly aligned or something. Weird, I know.

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