Beet & Honey Froyo

There's less than 20 days before summer officially starts, but the sun beating down through my window could fool me! Our apartment is like a sweatbox in the middle of the day...

A few days ago, a friend of ours had a small birthday gathering at a nearby ice cream place, and since then, all I've had is ice cream on my mind. It's my favorite food, and it's really fun to experiment with all possibilities.

And experiment, I did. Hehe. Say hello to...

IMG_20160531_183143.jpg

...a beautiful beet & honey froyo!

It might sound weird, but it's delicious, and I had one remaining packet of my Love Beets I was trying to use up - it's easy to make, refreshing for a (almost) summer's day, and super tasty!

One thing I really love about frozen yogurt is its tartness, which I find to be more prevalent in the flavors of greek yogurt. You an also use regular yogurt for a lighter flavor. Because we're adding in honey, I use plain yogurt; this way it doesn't dilute that honey flavor, and you also get the added bonus of being able to have better control over the sweetness factor, as well as how much sugar is actually going into your food.

Now, while you could technically make the base of this fro-yo with regular yogurt and ice, I decided to freeze my yogurt so that I could use less ice cubes; this is purely for preference, but the more ice you add, the more like a sorbet this will be. If the majority of your frozen element is ice, then it will also freeze into a harder block. I try not to dilute my cream/fat factor in my creamy frozen recipes, so frozen yogurt cubes it is! This *does* take some pre-planning, though, so if you're doing this on the spot, then plain yogurt + ice is fine!

You can also choose to replace the sweetener in this recipe, but I think that the flavors of beet and honey work really well together. If you use a more neutral tasting sweetener, it might taste more like beets. I do recommend using a liquid sweetener, and instead of measuring by cup, I just filled my container with honey until it hit the bottom blade (I would use less if you're using flavored/sweetened yogurt, but I am using plain). This recipe ends up making about 3 cups of froyo, so you can adjust the sugar to your taste accordingly! If you try this recipe with a different type of sweetener, please let me know how it tastes :)

Lastly, I used pre-cooked beets in this recipe, because, if you've ever made a smoothie with raw beets, you might have discovered that raw beets have a strong, earthy taste; it's great in smoothies, but I think it would take away the refreshing aspect of this dessert. If you have some raw beets on hand, I recommend boiling, steaming, or roasting them first (and of course, wait for it to cool down or even freeze them before making an ice cream!)

 

 

Beet & Honey Recipe

Honey up to the bottom blade (~1/4 cup)
2 cooked beets
1 or tbsp of beet juice (opt, I just used what came out of the package)
1-2 cups of frozen yogurt cubes OR 1 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 cup of ice cubes (set aside)
slice of lemon (opt)

*NOTE: this recipe is designed for the tall 64 oz container - if you have a low profile 64 oz container (Pro 300/5300/6500/7500/Pro750+ models), double this recipe.

Fill your container in the order listed, aside from the ice cubes, and blend on high speed. Use tamper accordingly, until mixture is blended smooth and you see the "four peaks" at the top. If the blend is too liquidy, add in a little bit of ice at at time while blending until desired consistency is reached. You can also store in freezer for a few hours to harden.

If mixture freezes into a hard block in the freezer, thaw for 5-10 minutes before scooping and serving.

The Quietest Vitamix: Hushpad Sound Dampening Review

Hey everyone!

We finally have our Hushpad Review up (AND our first video! woo!) check it out here:

Order your Hushpad at blenditup.com, and remember to use our coupon code BLENDERBRAIN to get 20% off! Our coupon code applies to your entire purchase, so you can also order your favorite protein powders and soup spices, too!

About the Hushpad/First Thoughts

The 3 models we used in the Vitamix are the 3 standard manual Vitamix models: the 5200 (Classic style), the 7500 (Next Gen style), and the 5300 (the in-betweener Costco styles that has the Next Gen motor and the Classic style shell casing/appearance). These three Vitamix models come in different names and also have automatic counterparts (the 6300/Pro 500, the Pro 750, and the 6500), and we used them because they are the three different Vitamix designs for the standard models.

Blenditup's new Hushpad is designed for the Classic style shell casings, which means it will only fit on the Classic style Vitamix (TNC, CIA, Creations, 5000, 5200, 6300, Pro 200, Pro 500) and the inbetweener Costco styles (5300 and 6500). It will NOT fit on the Next Gen styles (Creations Elite, 7500, Pro 300, Pro 750, Pro 780).

There were no instructions with our Hushpad, but it was pretty easy to figure out how to pop the Vitamix into place - it only fits one way. There are indentations for the cord, as well as space for the "On/Off" button that's on the Costco style Vitamix's.

Note that the circles at each corner for feet placement; the Hushpad has a similar peace-sign shape - the front of the Vitamix will face the direction of the STRAIGHT line, and the two slanted lines at the bottom will face the back


Note that the circles at each corner for feet placement; the Hushpad has a similar peace-sign shape - the front of the Vitamix will face the direction of the STRAIGHT line, and the two slanted lines at the bottom will face the back

Hushpad has room in the front for On/Off button


Hushpad has room in the front for On/Off button

Hushpad has room in the back for power cord


Hushpad has room in the back for power cord

The Vitamix will sit pretty comfortably on top of the Hushpad, and it will stay on pretty well, too, so if you're household is the type to move your Vitamix around, you don't have to worry about the Hushpad falling off and will be able to store everything attached together. It also pops off easily, so if you need to remove the Hushpad for whatever reason, it will certainly not be a struggle.

On the 5200/Classic Style Vitamix

The way that the Hushpad works is that it redirects airflow from the bottom of the motors to the back, dampening the sound so that it doesn't echo off your countertops. The biggest sound difference was with the 5200 - the Hushpad definitely seemed to dampen the high pitch customers often complain about with their Classic style Vitamix's, and we found that the sound became tolerable when using the Hushpad. As a result, we would definitely recommend anyone who finds the sound of their tall style Vitamix uncomfortable to order a Hushpad, as an alternative to upgrading to a new machine.

On the 5300/Costco Style Vitamix

For anyone deciding on purchasing a new model, one of our biggest questions was: Would the Hushpad make the Costco style 5300/6500 styles quieter than the Next Gen style motor? In fact, the only difference between the 5300 and the 7500 model is the sound - the motor, power, functions, and button usage are *all* the same - so if the Hushpad really did dampen the sound of the 5300, then it would make more budgetary sense to purchase with the Hushpad, rather than the more expensive 7500 model!

The moment we turned on the 5300 with the Hushpad on, we were amazed by how pleasant the sound was - it was MORE than tolerable, and we felt like it sounded almost like a regular blender. The Costco style Vitamix + the Hushpad really *is* the quietest Vitamix option.

Height-wise, we've noticed that without the Hushpad, the 5300 is actually almost 1/2 inch shorter than the 7500, and with the Hushpad, it's only about 1/2 inch taller. Here are the exact measurements:

5300, without Hushpad - 17 inches tall
7500 - 17.5 inches tall
5300, with Hushpad - 18 inches tall

The height difference seems negligible to us, but we know everyone has their own preference.

Last Thoughts

During our editing phase,  we saw the audio readings through the video editor, and included them during the side-by-side comparisons so you could see how the computer analyzed the sounds. Here is a picture:

You can definitely see a difference between having the Hushpad on and off on the machines.

All in all, we are impressed with the Hushpad, and will continue to use it with our Vitamix! Remember to use our coupon code BLENDERBRAIN on www.blenditup.com to get 20% off your order, and definitely let us know your own experiences with the Hushpad!

Demonstration Recipes + Hushpad Giveaway [CLOSED]!

Hello everyone! These past few weeks have been super hectic - first we spent some time moving, and then we went back to work almost immediately after the move! Check out our new space:

Moving in is one thing...getting everything into it's space is another :P


Moving in is one thing...getting everything into it's space is another :P

We have been working at the Novato Costco for a pre-Easter roadshow this past week. If you're in the area, come say hi! And if you're visiting our site for the first time after meeting us, welcome!!

We have been slowly figuring out a new platform for our site, and will soon launch a whole new site in a few months. Part of our website goals is to create easy recipe sheets that you can pin on your fridge. We are blending lots of different combinations to make sure every recipe we share is tested first! We'll always have the recipes available here, and soon you'll be able to find videos to watch when you aren't able to find us at a live demo!

We get asked about our demonstration recipes ALL the time, so we've made our first printout sheet. Since our demos are sometimes surrounded by sweet samples, we tend to add a little extra sugar into our demo recipes, so feel free to cut down on the sugar and/or replace them with your own favorite substitutes! 

Click here for our demonstration recipe printout!

~*GIVEAWAY INFO*~ [THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED]

In other news, we just received our new HUSHPAD, and in lieu of our review, we have decided to also have a surprise Facebook GIVEAWAY!

To enter our giveaway:
1. Like our FB page - www.facebook.com/blenderbrain
2. Share our HUSHPAD giveaway post!

Every "like" and "share" will count as 1 entry. We will announce the winner next Monday, March 28th!

The New HUSHPAD Is Out!

Vitamix has been around for AGES (can you believe it's already been over 25 years since the Vitamix 5000 came out?!), and one of the biggest comments we get from owners who have had their Vitamix since the 90s is that the motor is very loud, and we totally feel the same way (after all, our job is to just blend stuff all day!)

That's why we are so excited to announce....

Our friends at Blenditup have been working on this new product for a long time, and it's finally available for purchase on their website. The new hushpad is a great addition for your Classic Vitamix and will reduce the sound by over 50% - wowza!

We will make a video review of the Hushpad soon, but in the meantime, you can order them here, and don't forget to use the coupon code BLENDERBRAIN to get 20% off your ENTIRE purchase! Yes - this means you can order your favorite protein powders and soup spices with your new Hushpad, and it will all be 20% off :)

2016 Update!

Happy (belated) New Years, everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it? After a really successful and busy holiday season, we decided to take a break in January, and got to use the time to travel around a little bit - we went to a wedding, CES 2016, and also home to see family. Here are just a few pictures from our break!

Will and I are currently at the South San Francisco Costco on El Camino Real; come say hi if you're in the area, or if you'd like to come pick up a new Vitamix :P We are also really excited to announce some big changes happening in the next couple of months for Blender Brain!

1. Next month, we will be moving into a new space, which means a bigger kitchen for us to shoot more videos, including reviews and how-to's! It also just means more space for us to test more recipes and not feel like we are creating chaos in our current, studio apartment kitchen (stay tuned for a post on making custard)!

2. We are also planning on switching platforms for our website that will allow us more versatility and ease for posting recipes, as well as setting up online orders (although we'd rather see you face to face at our in-store demos!) 

3. During the holiday's, we've met a lot of people who follow all sorts of different diets, and so one of our biggest goals this year is to create more recipe's that fit different diets. If you have a specific diet you follow, please let us know!

Thank you everyone for all your support and for checking out our website - we hope to continue to serve all our wonderful customers and friends that we've met at our demos! We are so excited for the upcoming changes and for this new year to be a BLAST! Stay tuned :)

Tips & Tricks for New Vitamix Owners!

Happy December, everyone! If this is your first time visiting Blender Brain, welcome! We have been having a great holiday shebang of a sale going on at our roadshows and online orders and are excited about all the new Vitamix owners! Congratulations to all!!!!

We are so excited when new families take home a Vitamix, but we also know that sometimes it can be scary to get used to something so awesome! We want to help! Here are some tips to owning a new Vitamix:

Our Vitamix and cactus plant are best of friends!


Our Vitamix and cactus plant are best of friends!

1. Take it out of the box and keep it on the counter! - We know this sounds a little silly, but sometimes we get owners who have had their Vitamix for a month and still haven't opened the box! It is definitely the first step to start making some delicious smoothies or soups! We live in a pretty small apartment, but we made sure to make room next to our cactus plant so we can keep our Vitamix out all the time - this is important because it ensures you use it more than if you keep it hidden in the cabinets! We know it can be tough to make room in a small kitchen, but we promise you will not regret it!

2. Start with something simple - The easiest smoothies are the ones you'll make every single day. You can always find new ideas on our recipes page, but if you have a favorite fruit you love, then start out with that! Our favorite lazy smoothie is frozen mango with spinach and coconut water! Sometimes, less can be more, especially when you are first starting out and trying to get in "smoothie for breakfast" habit!

A lot of ice is A-OK! There will be a slight burning smell the first few times you use a lot of ice, frozen fruit, or hard ingredients like nuts (to make nut butter), but the smell will go away once the motor is "broken in"!


A lot of ice is A-OK! There will be a slight burning smell the first few times you use a lot of ice, frozen fruit, or hard ingredients like nuts (to make nut butter), but the smell will go away once the motor is "broken in"!

3. Burning smell? It's OK! - Brand new Vitamix's from our roadshows have never been out of the box or turned on, so it's normal to have that slight burning smell when you first start blending! Depending on how often you use your Vitamix, the smell could go away within a week (if you use it every day), or a few months (if you only use it once a week!) We have a friend who never used their Vitamix for anything other than making smoothies out of fresh fruit for over 10 years, and the first time we showed her how to make an ice cream, there was also the burning smell because she never properly broke in her motor with any hard ingredients like 3 cups of ice! 10 years!

4. Register your Vitamix - If you purchased your Vitamix through us, then your Vitamix is already covered under warranty via the serial number. But if you want to make sure that your Vitamix is registered, you can do that here. All the information is stuck on the back of the machine, including the Vitamix phone number and your serial number :) 
**Important: If you happened to purchase a 2nd container with your Vitamix machine on the same receipt, then registering it online will ensure that your 2nd container's warranty extends to 7 years. Otherwise, it will be covered under the standard 3 year container warranty.

5. Join our FB group! - To stay updated, you can always visit our blog for more tips and tricks (and soon, reviews!) We also created a Facebook group to create a supportive Vitamix community. Feel free to ask questions, share recipes, or any of your own tips and tricks from owning your Vitamix! 

We will be sure to regularly update this list as we think of more tips for new Vitamix owners, and stay tuned for additional tricks in the next few weeks for different recipes  :) Feel free to also ask us any questions via our Contact page, and we will promptly answer! If you need help making a recipe, let us know and we can even send you a video on how to do it!

If you still haven't picked up a Vitamix, find us at one of our roadshows, or send us a message and we will make sure you get equipped with the #1 food preparing machine in the world :)

Happy holidays and happy blending!

Thanksgiving Favorites!

Oh my goodness, I can't believe Thanksgiving is in LESS THAN THREE DAYS! We have been running around like crazy in preparation for our holiday roadshows - we are excited to be having Black Friday roadshows for the first time in a long time! If you haven't already picked up a Vitamix for your kitchen, CLICK HERE to check out our Calendar to see where you can catch us (and let your friends and family know, too!)

How to fold a napkin turkey!


How to fold a napkin turkey!

We know that Thanksgiving can be a time of stress, especially when you're the one responsible for preparing dinner! The Vitamix website is full of neat recipes, and we have rounded up some of the top holiday favorites to help relieve some of that Thanksgiving kitchen stress:

Soup Appetizers
1. Sweet Potato Soup
2. Bacon Cheddar Potato Soup
3. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Sides
1. Squash Frittata
2. Potato Cheddar Breakfast Bake
3. Butternut Squash Casserole

Condiments
1. Stress-free Turkey Gravy
2. Cranberry Relish Sauce
3. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Desserts
1. Sweet Potato Pie
2. Low Fat Pumpkin Pie
3. Apple Pie Ice Cream

Other Tips and Tricks
1. Substitute a quarter to half of your potatoes with roasted cauliflower for a lighter mashed potato dish!
2. Substitute your heavy whipped cream with coconut cream for a healthier dessert!

Have other tips up your sleeve? Share with us in a comment below!

Red Veg Power Smoothie!

Our most popular recipe amongst Vitamix owners is the green smoothie - not only does it taste great, but the green color reminds you that you are drinking your vegetables! But we understand that there are some people out there who eat with their eyes, and a green drink may seem unappealing. In fact, I've had more adults make a face at my green smoothies than kids!

We have been hard at work developing new recipes between our roadshows for our upcoming 21-day smoothie challenge (be on the lookout for it in the new year!), and one of our goals was to create a fruit and vegetable smoothie that is just as energizing and tasty as our green smoothie, without the green color. As a result, we created a delicious red veg power smoothie!

Special Event: Extra Container for $50!

We always want to make sure you know the latest news on how to get the best deals on the Vitamix, and have we got some great news! 

From now until November 21st, you can get an extra 2nd container for $50 (orig. ~$150) with the purchase of any NEW C- or G- series machine!

If interested in purchasing, please fill out our inquiry form so we can help you choose the best model for you and your kitchen and make sure you are up to date with the best pricing, along with payment plan options that will work with your budget. At Blender Brain, you always get the inside info, because are direct from Vitamix!

For those who already have a Vitamix, there is still time to enter our Cookbook giveaway! Check out our facebook page for more details.

**UPDATE** - We have received word that our upcoming roadshow in Antioch, CA and San Leandro, CA will also have a similar promotion (it will be an extra 2nd container available for $50 (orig. ~$150) with purchase of a brand new G-Series). Check out our Calender for more information and visit us to pick up your new Vitamix! :)

Dessert Binge: Chocolate Cake!

I've been having the worst (or the best?) sweet tooth lately. Whenever we do our roadshows at Costco, we have to go into the bakery to get our wash water for the day, and every morning I have to walk past the delicious smelling cakes that they are baking! I just had to take matters into my own hands.

Since Will and I are only two people, I don't bake a lot because I always feel like we will end up eating too much cake. We just recently bought a set of pyrex dishes, though, and I realized I could use one of the larger lunchboxes as our baking pan! I found an online recipe for vegan chocolate cake, cut it in half, and used our smaller 48 oz container as our mixing bowl!

It was really scrumptious - you'll notice that our baking pictures are more "yellow". It's because we made this at 10pm when we were both craving chocolate cake! It took us less than an hour (most of the time was spent baking), and we were both very happy. We were so excited that I forgot to snap a picture of the finished product, so I only have one bite to show you :P We both had a small piece before bed, and then ended up eating the rest for breakfast!


Original recipe: Wacky Cake (altered for the Vitamix)

Wet ingredients:
3/4 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 cups cold or iced water

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour (we used gluten free)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. Add dry ingredients in order listed into container, pulse or blend on speed 5 until well mixed.
3. While Vitamix is still running on speed 5, slowly pour in wet ingredients, one by one, until well mixed into batter. Blend until mixed together, but be careful not to over-mix or cake won't turn out as fluffy :)
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Midnight Dessert Cravings + COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]!

Have you ever had those moments when, all of a sudden, you have a huge hankering for ice cream? And you know that there aren't any ice cream cartons in your fridge, and you don't want to go out and buy it because you're trying to cut ice cream out of your diet, anyway. But then you argue with yourself for a while and finally convince yourself that you deserve a dessert, and so you stand up to go to the corner store, only to take a glance at the time: 1:36am. What store is going to be open at this time of night?

Well, the good news is, you can make an easy ice cream at home, with a lot less fat and in a lot less time than traveling to the store and trying to pick a flavor. A while back, we made a post about making an all natural sorbet, purely from frozen fruit. While that is just as tasty of a treat, there are times when I just want something that tastes rich and creamy, just like real ice cream, and this is the perfect recipe.

I used our "Tiny Hiney" Cashew Ice Cream recipe as the base, and added in 1 cup of frozen blueberries and a squirt of lemon juice (recipe found below). The cashews help give this dessert a rich, creamy texture, without the cream! And with only a few simple ingredients, you can feel good about knowing exactly what you're eating, every time.

With the Vitamix, you can make all of your favorite foods, with a "natural" twist - in our ice cream, we replaced 1 cup of heavy creams with 1/3 cup of cashews, and added some fruit for flavor. You can also use yogurt, bananas, avocado, or anything else that has a creamy texture to make a healthier ice cream. The possibilities are absolutely endless - let us know what your favorite homemade ice cream flavors are!


"Tiny Hiney" Cashew Ice Cream

1/3 cup cashews (roasted works best)
1/4 cup agave
2-3 cups ice
optional flavorings: 1 tbsp baking cocoa / 1 tsp vanilla / 1 tsp mint extract / 1 tsp almond extract / 2 tsp instant coffee / 1 cup frozen fruit and a little lemon juice

Blend on high speed until smooth, but frozen


[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED]

We are also super excited to announce our FIRST GIVEAWAY! We know it is easy to get stuck in a "Vitamix rut", when you are stuck making the same recipes every day and you are unsure of what else you can make. While we strive to help inspire you through our blog and recipe page, a nice big cookbook can also be very helpful!

To enter the giveaway:
1. Join our fb group (if you haven't already)
2. Like & SHARE the giveaway post on facebook
3. Leave a comment telling us what is your own favorite recipe to make at home :)

For an extra entry to increase your chances of winning, follow us on Instagram @blender_brain!

Invite your other Vitamix friends to our group so they can enter, too! We will select a random winner on November 15th~

Pancake Stacks!

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Okay - so I know I said I might make a dessert in my last post, but I promise this is just as good. We made pancakes for breakfast yesterday! And I made a video! Actually, I thought I made a video. Turns out I pressed some random button that was NOT the record button...so I'm sorry to say I have no video to show you :(

Making batters in the Vitamix is super easy - you can virtually follow any cake, brownie, pancake, waffle, etc recipe and just use your Vitamix the way you would use a standing mixer. I like to pulse the dry ingredients together first, and then adding and mixing the wet ingredients second.

If you have one of the classic Vitamix models without a pulse button, you can still easily pulse your batter on any variable speed by turning your machine on and off! But pulsing is optional - you can also just let the blade run until your batter is well-mixed. Depending on what you're making, be sure to keep a watchful eye so you don't over mix your batter (might lead to a denser or less fluffy outcome). For mixing, I usually keep my variable speed at 5 or 6.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.20.11 AM.png

Using the Vitamix as a standing mixer means easy mixing, easy pouring, and, everyone's favorite part, easy cleaning! Some people will try rinsing off as much of the batter under the sink faucet, first, but most of the time, I am too lazy to do that, and just go straight for the normal cleanup method: running water and a drop of dish soap on high speed! Instead of regular cold tap water, though, use hot water with a drop of dish soap, and let your Vitamix run on high speed for a few minutes; it's like its own little dish-washer! It's best to wash right away, but if you accidentally left your container out and the batter dries out, just run it for a little longer. You might also want to keep a bottle brush handy if you end up needing scrub. This will also work for other sticky recipes like peanut butter, hummus, etc.

What are your favorite ways to use your Vitamix outside of juicing? Join our new Facebook community group and share pictures of your own creations with us!

BuzzFeed Food Making Muffins!

5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Muffins

Posted by BuzzFeed Food on Sunday, October 4, 2015

Check out this video I just saw on facebook from BuzzFeed! A fast, 5-ingredient peanut butter muffin? Don't mind if I do! I love using the Vitamix as a standing mixer because you can pour your batter straight from the container into the pan without making a mess. And of course, the cleanup is easy peasy!

Anyway, just HAD to share! Maybe next time I will make a dessert of my own to share with y'all :)

Goodbye, Alaska!

Today is last day in Alaska, and we are getting ready to fly back to California tomorrow. From the Alaskan fairgrounds to both Anchorage Costco's, we have met so many people and want to thank everyone for making this trip fun and memorable!

If you are visiting and wondering about the PFD sale, our friend Chris is continuing the sale at the Dimond Costco until October 11th! So if you weren't able to pick one up while we were there, say hi to Chris for us!

Goodbye, Alaska! Until next time :)

To Sugar or Not To Sugar...

My last post was about using Agave Nectar, and we get a lot of questions about other types of sugars to use in recipes. There are a lot of types of sugars and sweeteners out there, and it can be confusing which one is the most nutritious. We like to tell our customers that sugar is sugar, no matter what form (syrup, nectar, floral, etc). No matter which type you end up using at home, always use your sweeteners in moderation!

If adding a little bit of sweetener will help you drink your green smoothies, then we encourage using your favorite type of sweetener. A lot of us grew up drinking sweet drinks like apple juice, and we've been conditioned to drink sweet things, so don't feel bad about wanting to add in a little extra sweetener at first! The goal is to use less sweeteners to your morning breakfast smoothie every day, until you don't feel a need to add any at all. This may take a little time getting used to, but it's all about adjusting your taste to more natural foods. 

??????? WHICH ONE TO USE ????????


??????? WHICH ONE TO USE ????????

Since we've already talked about agave nectar in our last post; here are six other sugar substitutes you can use for your recipes at home:

1. Over-ripe fruit (aka NO sugar, pt 1!)
When you are aiming for a healthier lifestyle, one of the number one recommendations is to cut some sugar out of your diet! Usually my number one recommendation for customers who are looking to make healthier juices is to buy over-ripe fruit from the grocery store. A lot of produce sections will have a little bin of fruit that is about to go bad for real cheap - so not only do you have a healthier juice, but you get to save a little money, as well! Green grapes and pineapple are my personal favorites to use because they are so sweet and juicy when past ripeness; all you have to do is prepare them (like peel the rind off the pineapple and chop it up), throw them in the freezer, and use them as you wish. When you freeze your fruit, you also have an ice substitute! Two for one - it doesn't get better than that!

2. Soaked dates (aka NO sugar, pt 2!)
Another type of natural sugar you can use is dried and pitted dates! We like to buy these in one of those bulk plastic containers; you can find them real cheap at wholesale markets. You can take your dried dates and put them in a mason jar with water and keep it in your fridge - the longer they soak, the more syrupy the water becomes, and you can use both the dates and the syrupy water as a natural sweetener! I like using soaked dates in less fruity recipes, like hot chocolates or coffee drinks. Dates are also a great substitute for sugar in pie fillings or crusts!

3. Honey
Honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of things - wounds, sicknesses, sore throats, etc. It is full of enzymes and anti-bacterial properties, so it is considered one of the more nutritious sweeteners out of them all. It is best to buy honey locally; even though it might cost a little more, having a relationship with a local bee keeper is helpful in knowing exactly how the honey is harvested and the conditions of which the bees are raised. Different types of honey have different flavors, so it's fun to experiment which types are best to use in which recipes!

4. Tree Syrups (Maple, Birch, etc.)
During our Alaska trip, we visited the Birch Syrup Farm on our way to Talkeetna, and got to taste different types of foods that were made with birch syrup! They even gave us a small sample bottle to use during the fair, and we made some delicious birch syrup ice creams during our demo. Different tree syrups have their own flavors, so it's great to be able to match them with different recipes. I recommend tree syrups for sweeter bread doughs, blended coffee or chocolate drinks, and ice creams! 

5. Cane Sugar
Cane sugar, which everyone is familiar with, is also a great sweetener to use, especially since it's now widely available in all organic sections, and you can get it raw or white or brown! You can actually use your Vitamix to turn cane sugar and water into simple syrup (which I've found a lot of coffee shops have as a condiment with their creamers and such!) All it takes is 1 cup of cane sugar to 1 cup of water, and you blend it in your Vitamix on high speed until it's smooth. Cane sugar might not be the most ideal type of sugar to use, especially since there's such a wide variety of sweeteners out there, but it does work well when you are looking for a flavorless sugar.

6. Stevia (aka NO sugar, pt 2 1/2!)
Stevia is an herb in the chrysanthemum family, meaning it's an all-natural sweetener with no calories. The aftertaste of stevia is very similar to aspartame, the artificial sugars in diet drinks, so a lot of people confuse the two of being the same and try to avoid consuming it. Unlike aspartame, though, stevia is not made in a lab; it is an herb that is usually sold in a ground up powder form and its history dates back to ancient times. Stevia is 30x sweeter than sugar and does not affect blood sugar, because it is not an actual sugar, it's a plant! I personally don't like the aftertaste, but we have noticed that it does enhance sweetness. So if you aren't crazy about the aftertaste of Stevia, you can mix it in with the sugar of your choice to enhance the flavor, meaning you can cut down the amount of sugar you use without sacrificing the flavor!

What are your favorite types of sweeteners to use in your recipes? Are there any that you like to use that we didn't list? Let us know!

All about...AGAVE

If you have been to our demonstration, you might have noticed us using Agave Nectar as our sweetener for our juices and frozen desserts. We try to keep our demonstrations Vegetarian/Vegan, meaning we stray away from using any meat, dairy, or animal products. Out of the sweeteners that are appropriate for such diets, we choose to use Agave because it has a neutral flavor, and doesn't affect the taste and flavor of our recipes too much.

An agave plant


An agave plant

The agave plant is actually a type of succulent, and when the sap is processed, we get what is called Agave Nectar, which is what we end up using in the demos. Fun fact: if you ferment the sap, it turns into tequila!

Some people like using agave nectar because it has a low glycemic index, meaning it will not spike one's blood pressure right away. Please note that this does not mean it will not spike your blood sugar at all; all sugars will raise your blood sugar levels, but it's just a matter of how quickly. So even though some diabetics enjoy using agave nectar as a sweetener, it is still used sparingly. 

That being said, agave is not necessary to use as your sweetener at home! Using any type of sugar in any amount is a judgement call. In fact, at our house, we don't add in any extra sugars and sweeteners other than what is found inside the fruits we add. Next time I will write about other sugar substitutes you may use at home!

Happy blending!

Last Stretch in Alaska...

We are almost through the last half of our stay in Alaska - a few of you have asked us if we will be around after the Alaska PFD's. Unfortunately, we were unable to extend our show at the DeBarr Costco, and will be ending on the 27th, as scheduled, which is right before PFD's are issued. That's the bad news.

BUT...GOOD NEWS is that we will have a last minute mini-show at the other Costco on Dimond from Oct 1-3.

****However, please note that at Dimond, we will ONLY have 5300s (no presets). So if you were planning on grabbing a 6500, get it at our current show while you can!****

You still have another week to pick your new 6500 up! Come say hi!