I have discovered two tools for my kitchen that have proven more valuable than any other. These are my blender and my steamer. I honestly do not see how I would be able to prepare these healthy and delicious meals without them. Well, maybe I could, but it would be much more difficult and I would have to work extra hard not to lose focus. Since I am so easily distracted from my diets, I made these a central part of my kitchen. Because they have been so helpful in my diet, I will be discussing them in separate posts.
I finally broke down and purchased a Blendtec blender. The particular model is the Total Blender Classic Wildside.
This set me back more money than I like to talk about, (a car note) but I had burnt through quite a few blenders (mostly Oster, Black and Decker, and other brands sold at Wal-Mart) and vowed never to buy another until I found one that was strong enough to do the job. Two of my sisters owned a Blendtec blender and I was able to see it in action before I bought it. The fruit and spinach smoothies produced by this blender are absolutely fabulous. The jar is large enough to prepare a double batch – enough to fill two big meal sized glasses of smoothie, and wide enough that I can easily reach into it with a sponge to clean it. Yet it is short enough that it can easily fit underneath my kitchen cabinets.
It has a 4 inch blade that is thick and powerful.
The motor inside it is amazingly powerful. It never gets bogged down. It can bust hard frozen strawberries into powder. Now, with thicker smoothies (i.e., the kind where you need a spoon) I have to be careful of how high I run the blade because at the higher speeds, the blade pulls a vortex with the thick liquid so hard that it sucks in air and creates an air pocket right at the blade. The blade then just spins inside the air pocket without doing any blending. At medium speeds, it creates a nice steady vortex and pulls the food right on down to the blade for smooth blending.
Clean up is a synch. I can just put in a little soap and water and turn it on. This cleans it quite well, however, I like to give it a wipe down with a soapy sponge since I can do that easily due to its wide dimensions.
There is another brand of blender that is on par with the Blendtec. It is the Vitamix blender. I initially thought seriously about getting a Vitamix blender but ultimately decided on the Blendtec. Vitamix is a very high quality blender, and can pull a nice vortex like the Blendtec. (Look up the YouTube post with Alton Brown – the guy on Food Network and his smoothie). I studied the two models, trying to find the differences between them. While there were a few small differences, they were pretty trivial, and there was no clear winner between them. Some reviews claim that the Vitamix is able to make a finer flour from blending wheat or coffee, but the Blendtec can make better nut-butter. Also the Blendtec is reported to be a little more powerful (the Vitamix is plenty powerful; we may be talking overkill here). The Vitamix is taller though and that might be an issue if you like to store your blender underneath your cabinets. I am one of those people. I also thought the wider format would be easier to work with when I put my food in it and that it would be easier to keep clean.
One other option for those of us who can’t justify the expense of this blender is a food processor. My daughter is in college so a blender of this magnitude is out of the question. But she does enjoy a good fruit and spinach smoothie on most mornings. I visited her recently and she prepared one for me with her food processor. The spinach was not as pulverized as much as it would have been with the blender but it was still delicious. The food processor did a wonderful job of cutting it all up and blending it together. This is a very good alternative to the blender.
With the blender, my wife and I make these absolutely fabulous fruit and spinach smoothies every morning. The spinach is chopped so finely and mixed so well with the fruit I cannot detect it, other than by the wonderful way it makes me feel. After drinking one of these smoothies, I feel like Pop-Eye. 🙂