Six Million Dollar Smoothies: Smoothie Hacks

I had my appointment with the surgeon today to discuss my MRI Arthrogram, and walked away less than thrilled with the results. I wrote about what I was hoping would happen yesterday—you can read that post here if you’re curious.

I’m going to post about the result within the next day or so, but I want to get my head screwed on straight first, and restore the positive attitude that’s so important to getting and staying well. I’m also holding off on another more important post that I have in the pipeline, just because I want to make sure the quality doesn’t suffer because I’m a little down.

Smoothie stuff is basically becoming my filler content, but it’s quality filler, since I know at least a few of you are actually making and enjoying these recipes. Filing my filler as a win!

Today’s smoothie post is going to be a little bit different. I’m going to share a couple of “smoothie hacks” I’ve learned over the past several weeks. Some of them I came up with on my own, others come from awesome websites, all of which I will link to.

First things first, let’s talk smoothie prep. I’m proud to say I thought this little gem up on my own. A lot of people will tell you to fill ice cube trays with coconut water, fruit juices, coffee, tea, etcetera, so you have a quick and smart alternative to ice for your morning smoothie. This is very smart, but I realized I could take this idea a step further.

TripleS3CUCUMBER ICE CUBES

That’s right people. I made cucumber ice cubes!

Cucumbers are mostly water, so it make sense that they’d cube-ify easily. If you’re like me, you love fresh produce, but also end up throwing a lot of it out because of poor planning. Never again shall I toss out a cucumber! I have seen the light!

As soon as I got home from the store on Sunday, I sliced up my gigantamous hothouse cucumber and processed the living daylight out of it. I own an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, cheap but effective food processor, so processing was, in fact a process… but it was totally worth the extra prep time!

So, when—in future Six Million Dollar Smoothie Recipes—you see “Cucumber ice cubes,” this is what I’m talking about!  You can always use your regular, old, boring cucumber if you want… but know that somewhere out there, a grad student with no money and a less than active social life is judging your life choices.

Borrowed this image from The Diva Dish, one of my favorite recipe blogs. At least SOMEBODY understands the basics of food photography. Click the image to check out the website.

Borrowed this image from The Diva Dish, one of my favorite recipe blogs. It’s SUPER vegetarian and vegan friendly, and the recipes are proof that health food can taste great. I’m showing my appreciation through photo thievery. It’s you’re own darned fault, Arielle, for understanding the basics of food photography. Click the image to check out the website.

SMOOTHIE CUBES

I’m not the only person who’s taking smoothie prep to the next level. Over at The Diva Dish, I learned a tip that probably should have been intuitive, but nevertheless struck me as freakin’ miraculous.

Make your smoothies in advance, stick ‘em in an ice tray, and then throw in a blender with your milk or dairy-free product of your choice! Insta-smoothie for the days when you’re teaching, need to be on campus early, or just… can’t.

I’m actually planning to invest in a bunch of ice trays. My freezer is going to look utterly ridiculous, stacked to the brim with run-of-the-mill ice, smoothie prep stuff, and pre-made smoothie trays.

A BETTER WAY TO CLEAN YOUR BLENDER

This one is courtesy of Pinterest. Here’s the thing, I don’t actually use Pinterest… I honestly don’t even understand how I was able to grab the image. Needless to say, I can’t give this tip proper attribution, which—given that citing sources is in my job description—makes me feel a bit squicky. Realistically though, you can totally find this if you need it. I believe in you.

Smoothie hack

The picture pretty much speaks for itself. Realistically, I think the “rinse part of the equation should also include at least a quick swipe of the sponge (especially if you’re making smoothies with spinach or chia seeds or whatever), but the principle is definitely sound, and beats my “soak the thing in soapy water until you want to use it again” technique. A domestic goddess I am not.

I hope that some of these tips prove helpful to those of you out there who are joining me on the quest to get healthy and save money with smoothies! If you have other tips to share, PLEASE share them. I’ll pass said tips along (with attribution, of course) and actually use them myself!

If you’re catching the smoothie bug and want another recipe to tide you over until my next post, check out The Bluth Banana!

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

Six Million Dollar Smoothies: The Bluth Banana

Prepare yourself. I'm going full "Arrested Development" fan girl in this post.

Prepare yourself. I’m going full “Arrested Development” fan girl in this post.

Today was a terrible day from start to finish. My plans got hijacked by a situation entirely beyond my control.. I quite literally did not accomplish a *single* thing on my to-do list, despite working non-stop from 6 AM to almost 4 PM. Made myself sick, because once the adrenaline wore off and I shifted out of emergency mode, I realized that I’d not eaten in nine hours. Oops. 

We’ve all been there, for one reason or another… one needs to recover from days like this.

I know, right? Seriously.

I know, right? Seriously.

 

Good thing I know how to make an insane chocolate smoothie! Not only is it yummy, but it makes me think of a TV show that’s brought me tremendous joy for over a decade now: “Arrested Development.” It’s been a coping mechanism of choice for a long time now, and has seen me (and several of my closest friends) though days FAR worse than today.

Strap in, folks. Chocolate therapy is about to begin.

A quick refresher for anybody who isn’t a regular reader: I AM in the midst of a diet, but you don’t need to be to use these recipes. I’ve become a smoothie evangelist because—if you’re smart about how you make them—they can be (1) healthy, (2) dirt cheap, and (3) excellent meal replacements.  If you want a low calorie smoothie, you can tweak the recipe below, and easily half the calorie content.


There's ALWAYS money in the Banana Stand. I could make Arrested Development references all day if you wanted me to... No? Oh. Alright, then.

There’s ALWAYS money in the Banana Stand. I could make Arrested Development referenced all day if you wanted me to… No? Oh. Alright, then.

The Bluth Banana: “Ten cents gets you nuts!”

This is an EPIC smoothie. Intentionally thick, and high in both calories and protein, it’s perfect for breakfast. If you aren’t a glutton like me, you should probably have half for breakfast, and refrigerate the remaining half for dessert, or a snack later in the day.  

NB: Take out the Greek yogurt and you’ve got a vegan smoothie, though I’d suggest adding tofu or something similar to improve the texture.

The Bluth Banana in all her glory!

The Bluth Banana in all her glory!

Ice cubes, 4-5

Chocolate almond milk 1 cup

Greek yogurt, ½ cup (I prefer vanilla, but plain will work too)

Banana, 1 whole, cut into pieces

Chocolate whey protein powder, ½ scoop

Creamy peanut butter, 2-3 tablespoons

Calories: 724

If you’re catching the smoothie bug and want another recipe to tide you over until my next post, check out The Strawberry Banana Debacle!

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

Six Million Dollar Smoothies: The Strawberry Banana Debacle

September is here! Why is this exciting? Because I’ve made the not-super-original claim that I—a grad student who makes well under living wage—am saving tons of money by using smoothies as meal substitutes. This month, I’m actually going to keep track of exactly how much money I spend on food. I think this might be a personal finance game-changer for me, so I’m excited to see what happens when, to quote the classic Nickelodeon show “Guts,” I “take it to the leaderboard, Mo!”

In the meantime, though, here’s another recipe!

A quick refresher for anybody who isn’t a regular reader: I AM in the midst of a diet, but you don’t need to be to use these recipes. I’ve become a smoothie evangelist because—if you’re smart about how you make them—they can be (1) healthy, (2) dirt cheap, and (3) excellent meal replacements.  If you want a low calorie smoothie, you can tweak the recipe below, and easily half the calorie content.


A more appetizing look at the Strawberry Banana Debacle. I LOVE the taste of spinach, so my smoothie looks really green, If you're not a big spinach fan, yours, my friend, will be an unsightly brown.

The Strawberry Banana Debacle: it looks like I forgot the strawberries, but trust me, they’re in there! I LOVE the taste of spinach, so my smoothie looks really green, If you’re not a big spinach fan, yours, my friend, will be an unsightly brown… hence the name. The good news: nobody’ll bogart your smoothie!

The Strawberry Banana Debacle

I named this recipe “the strawberry banana debacle” because, depending on the ratio of spinach to strawberries you use it may end up looking, well, like a frothy cup of a big mistake. But it doesn’t TASTE like a mistake, and that’s all that matters, right?

As always, If you want to up the protein—especially if you’re a vegetarian (like me) or not actively trying to lose weight (unlike me) I suggest adding one scoop (100 calories) worth of vanilla whey powder. I don’t think it hurts the taste, but try it and see what you think.

The recipe makes about a serving and a half, but I drink the whole thing, because why not? If you’re less ambitious, this recipe is big enough to share with somebody.

NB: Take out the Greek yogurt and you’ve got a vegan smoothie, though I’d suggest adding tofu or something similar to improve the texture.

An aerial view of the Strawberry Banana Debacle. Looks disgusting, tastes great.

An aerial view of the Strawberry Banana Debacle. Looks disgusting, tastes great.

Ice cubes, 4-5

Coconut milk, 1 cup (I use ½ cup unsweetened and ½ cup unsweetened)

Greek yogurt, ½ cup-1 cup (I prefer vanilla, but plain will work too)

Frozen strawberries, 1 ½ cup (or more if you want)

Banana, 1 whole, cut into pieces

Fresh baby spinach, 2-2½ cups (or however much you can stomach!)

Calories: 327-372

Keep in mind that spinach should be the LAST thing you put in the blender, because it can clog everything up. In fact, your life will be much easier if you blend everything else first, and push the spinach down into the blender afterwards.

If you try this recipe and you aren’t thrilled by the taste for whatever reason—you used a nasty tasting whey powder, or you have a strong aversion to spinach—try adding ½ cup of frozen pineapples (41 calories) to the mix. If you aren’t loving this smoothie then, this ain’t the recipe for you.

If you’re catching the smoothie bug and want another recipe to tide you over until my next post, check out The Big Purple Giant!

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

Six Million Dollar Smoothies: The Big Purple Giant

There are a great many food bloggers out travelling the information superhighway, and personal finance bloggers too! I don’t consider myself to be either of these things. SMDS is about learning how to survive and thrive in graduate school, with a dash of my own research interests for color. It’s hardly surprising, however, that my first-ever food-focused post turned out to be quite popular. After all, grad students love food, especially cheap food. I got a few requests for recipes, so I’m going to space them out over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to keep experimenting… see how many of these bad boys I can think up.

I cannot emphasize enough that I am NOT a food blogger. If you needed any more evidence of that, here's photographic proof. I promise I'll get better.

I cannot emphasize enough that I am NOT a food blogger. If you needed any more evidence of that, here’s photographic proof. I promise I’ll get better.

A quick refresher for anybody who didn’t read my last post: I am in the midst of a diet, so I am using smoothies because—if you’re smart about how you make them—they can be (1) healthy, (2) dirt cheap, and (3) excellent meal replacements. If you want a low calorie smoothie, you can tweak the recipe below, and half the calorie content.

Ask and ye shall receive dear reader. Without further ceiling staring and shuffling of feet, here’s my first recipe in my ridiculous new series: Six Million Dollar Smoothies. 


 

The Big Purple Giant 

This is a great way to get your greens in without sacrificing taste.

If you want to up the protein—especially if you’re a vegetarian (like me) or not actively trying to lose weight (unlike me) I suggest adding one scoop (100 calories) worth of vanilla whey powder. I don’t think it hurts the taste, but try it and see what you think.

The recipe is HUGE, but I drink the whole thing, because why not? If you’re less ambitious, this recipe is big enough to share with somebody.

NB: Take out the Greek yogurt and you’ve got a vegan smoothie, though I’d suggest adding tofu or something similar to improve the texture.

The other great thing about smoothies that I forgot to mention? You can *actually* get work done while drinking them. When I try to eat at my desk, it's a comedy of errors.

The other great thing about smoothies that I forgot to mention? You can *actually* get work done while drinking them. When I try to eat at my desk, it’s a comedy of errors.

Ice cubes, 4-5

Coconut milk, 1 cup (I use ½ cup unsweetened and ½ cup unsweetened)

Greek yogurt, ½ cup-1 cup (I prefer vanilla, but plain will work too)

Frozen blueberries, ¾ cup

Banana, 1 whole, cut into pieces

Fresh baby spinach, 2-2½ cups (or however much you can stomach!)

Calories: 352 – 307

 

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.