(Are you ready? This is a long one.) Meet my new Vita-Mix 5200…I’ve been using it everyday!
When I first received an inquiry asking whether I wanted to test a Vita-Mix blender, I must admit I couldn’t believe I had really been asked. It was so unexpected, so positively dreamy it took me a day or two to snap out of it and try to play it cool in my response (which was “YES,” just to be clear), while inside I was jumping for joy! When my package finally arrived at my trusty workplace, I walked it home in a snowstorm, cradling the cardboard box in my arms and occasionally dusting off the snowflakes.
Years ago I was living in Vermont with a family who owned not one but two Vita-Mixes. I used it to make smoothies a few times and I knew that I was using a special piece of equipment that I couldn’t afford either at that time or after buying a very decent multi-tasking Bosch Universal Mixer last year with the blender attachment. And back then, I didn’t know that in addition to making the smoothest smoothies and creamiest nutmilks, I could also make nut butters, hot soup from scratch, 30-second ice cream, chunky guacamole, and juice from whole fruits and vegetables. Just to name a few things! I researched the Vita-Mix website and though amused by the invariably cheesy infomercial acting, I watched in growing anticipation as various videos demonstrated its numerous feats.
My number one use for this is, of course, green smoothies. I’ve been making these pretty consistently for the past couple of months to take with me to work in the morning, and while I felt my blender did a pretty decent job at blending kale (my favorite greens) with bananas, frozen fruit, and almond milk, I could still detect a few fibrous leaf bits in there. Not so with the Vita-Mix. In less than half the time it took with my old blender, I was making the creamiest, smoothest green smoothies I’ve ever had. So smooth and blended, in fact, that I’ve stopped using (expensive) nut milks as my liquid and replaced it with water because I can’t taste the difference. I have gone through three bunches of kale, just for smoothies, in less than a week! I usually make enough to fill up a quart-size mason jar a day for work, but on my day off I got to fancy it up a little:
(Some of you might scoff at the idea of putting fat into your smoothie, but I promise you that half an avocado or a tablespoon of coconut or flax oil will not only round out the flavors and give you a dose of HEALTHY fat, but also fills you up until your next meal rolls around.)
Having a Vita-Mix on hand got me really excited about raw food again, because I knew there were some things my old blender just couldn’t handle. The past week has evolved into a bit of a fruit and vegetable extravaganza (with a few nuts and seeds thrown in), and one of the first things I made was a raw zucchini hummus. I based it on this recipe, and a minute or two after I’d thrown the roughly chopped zucchini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and whole sesame seeds (not tahini) in, I had a rich, creamy, and easier-on-the-digestion dip for some crackers I’d dehydrated. I was worried that the sesame seeds would just get stirred around in there, but as the main consumer of this batch, I know there was not a single seed in there! As this was made on New Years Eve, I made some red pepper and avocado dip, too, because I was having so much fun:
One night’s special dinner was some raw zucchini noodles topped with the Ultimate Italian Sauce from Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, served with an avocado-based Caesar dressing from the same book. The sauce has fresh tomatoes, soaked sun-dried tomatoes, celery, olive oil, and both fresh and dried herbs. I’m glad I made a half-batch, because I still have some left in the fridge (and I’m out of zucchini!). I don’t think the dressing was particularly Caesar-y, but it was decadently smooth and ultra-creamy. It actually fluffed up and almost doubled in size in the Vita-Mix!
Now for the fun stuff: raw vegan whipped cream! I made two batches of this, the first being a combination of almonds and cashews, mixed with fresh orange juice and a little maple syrup (not raw, of course, but delicious), based on Juliano’s recipe. I served it over fruit salad with a sprinkling of cinnamon:
While tasty, I had intended this to be almond-only whipped cream and in a smaller batch than the recipe called for. So far, decreasing or increasing recipes has been the only problem I’ve run into using the Vita-Mix. I should perhaps say that relatively significantly increasing/decreasing quantities has led me to add more ingredients (such as cashews and water to my first batch of whipped cream), or end up with almond foam all over my countertop after taking the lid off when I made a 1.5 batch of almond milk. Luckily, the foam lost was a mere fraction of what remained, and I now have a delicious batch of homemade almond milk in my fridge…and the super-fine (oh, so powdery!) pulp I strained out is now being turned into almond flour for a raw bread I’m hoping to make soon!
My next batch of whipped cream was a far greater success, probably because of a longer soak time for the cashews, and the fact that cashews are softer than almonds. I still had to add extra juice and water to get it fully blended, but this is perfectly creamy, fluffy, and decadent cashew whipped cream that clings to a spoon and forms soft little peaks when you ladle it over fruit and raw pancakes:
Believe it or not, there are things I’ve made in the past week that I haven’t shown you due to poor lighting conditions (some strawberry-hempmilk ice cream and two batches of soup, one raw and one cooked… check out Hannah’s post to see a gorgeous photo and description of piping hot Moroccan chickpea soup made in the Vita-Mix) or time constrants (a silky smooth whole food juice made hurriedly in lieu of a green smoothie before work one morning). Or the fact that when simply rinsing out the lid and container doesn’t get it as clean as you’d like, you can add a few drops of dish soap and water and blend it clean. And there are so many more recipes and ideas to try! (Making your own flour and then kneading the bread in a blender, anyone? Or how about making your own organic plant pest repellant out of hot peppers and water? Or liquid compost for that matter? Those last two not in the same container you make your food in, though )
No, madams and sirs, this Vita-Mix isn’t going anywhere. (And my fingers are tired from typing all this. Bravo if you made it this far with me!)