Our well-used black Oster blender was a practical wedding gift from a generous, sweet soul some 13 years ago (already?). Initially, we’d use it a few times a year for mixed drinks for parties or to concoct spicy, chunky homemade salsas. In the past couple of years, it took on the duty of weekly fruit smoothies for our girls with limited success. For one thing, at a mere 500 Watts, ice and frozen fruits were impossible to crush much less turn into decent smoothies within a few minutes. To want a smoothie on any given day would require that one plans ahead for it. Instead of ice, I always use frozen fruits for my smoothies. Therefore, my frozen fruits must be in the glass pitcher, thawing away for at least 45 minutes to an hour before the blade can even make a slight turn when the “On” button is pressed. What a damper! Who the heck plans for a smoothie? The other negative is the darn blender will never reach a smoothie consistency to save its soul despite pulsing on/off for a million minutes. The result is more of a crossroad between a chunky fruit salsa and smoothie want-to-be. As a bonus, it produces a slight, burnt motor “aroma” that’s quite unpleasant. Seeing my 19-month old baby struggling to suck her smoothie through her straw because pieces of fruits are obstructing the flow is upsetting. She even gets annoyed and gives her mama the “What the hell?” look.
Today, we bid farewell to our blender of yesterday and called in the big gun, the Ninja Professional. No, it’s no Vitamix but I’d have many sleepless nights if I parted with $370 for any small kitchen appliance. This Ninja includes 1200 Watts of power, a 72 oz. pitcher with 6 blades, a 64 oz. food processor bowl with 4 blades, and 3 single serve drink cups with its own blade. All this equates to the most reasonable alternative and better bang for my buck.
First things, first! Got to put the Ninja to the fundamental smoothie challenge: how quickly and effectively can it produce a smoothie. I took a Ziplock bag of mixed tropical fruits right out of the freezer, still rock-solid and gave the bag a whack to break up some of the fruit chunks. They went straight into the single serve blender cup. Added my smoothie necessities (dairy, banana, liquid, etc.). With the small blade attached, lid closed tightly, I anxiously flipped the single cup upside down. I hesitantly turned the power on and pressed ‘single serve’ button as my mind is blended (pardon the pun) with an ounce of doubt but expecting a cupful of miracles at the same time. The outcome? Let’s just say I won’t be using the Ninja when the girls are napping. Whoa! The Ninja is “quite” loud when it’s on. It reminds me of being seated at the very back row of a descending 747 aircraft and all the engine noises are right at your eardrums. However, the noise is expected given there’s 1200 Watts inside that sturdy base. The Ninja’s loudness is offset by its swift and thorough abilities. Whereas, my Oster blender would just tip toe around the frozen fruits, this Ninja crushes and blends those suckers in a snappy 5 seconds with just 3-4 pulses! Amazing! The result was a delicious smoothie in a flash. The texture was velvety smooth as it gently flowed down my throat. Farewell to chunky fruit salsas! For $120, this Ninja was worth every penny. I’m so SOLD!
I’m looking forward to endless possibilities and truckloads of different recipes I can task this mean machine with to reduce my prep time. Creative juices (another pun – couldn’t help it) are already flowing in my head. I can designate one of the single serve cups strictly for savory marinades. I’ll just throw in my sauces, spices, roughly chopped aromatics and give it a buzz. A marinade for meats or veggies in seconds. This will eliminate the need for whipping out my heavy duty food processor; not to mention less to clean up. More recipes using my Ninja coming soon…
For now, I’ll split the smoothie up into smaller cups for my girls. For any remaining smoothie, I’ll put them in ice pop molds and allow them to set in the freezer for a healthy, cool snack at a later time, perfect for these hot (and humid) summer days we’ve been “blessed” with thus far.
Here’s my snappy fruit smoothie recipe. Enjoy! Makes 1- 16 oz. single serve travel cup.
1/2 Cup organic orange juice
3/4 Cup organic 100% pear juice
1/2 Tbsp honey or granulated sugar (optional)
3 heaping Tbsp organic whole milk yogurt (I used Horizon)
1 1/2 – 2 Cups frozen fruits (Mine was a mix of pineapple, mangoes, strawberries, papayas)
1 ripen banana
Add all ingredients to Ninja single serve cup. Tighten lid with built-in blade. Turn cup upside down. Attach cup to the base. Turn power on. Press “Single Serve” button 3-4 times. Smoothie is ready to be served.