Green Blender: Blend it Your Way

By Joseph Winters ’20
I love smoothies. Smoothies in the morning, smoothies for snacks, smoothies before bed—there’s no bad time for a smoothie. At home, they served two main functions: 1) they were a good way to eat more greens without even realizing it, and 2) they helped my family reduce waste by allowing us to use whatever fruits and veggies were lying around in the fridge, a little past their prime but still edible.
The ultimate dream would be for Annenberg to have a smoothie station, where students have anytime access to a fridge full of fresh ingredients and a quality blender. Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case. As freshmen, we’re pretty much stuck with using whatever blender we can find in the dorm kitchens, or renting from the FDO.
Not to mention, the ingredients! I’ve swiped my share of bananas from Annenberg, but most smoothie recipes call for teeny amounts of things like chia or hemp seeds, apple pie spice, fresh ginger… Without frequent trips to Whole Foods, it’s hard to imagine being able to stock the right smoothie ingredients all the time.
That’s what GreenBlender can help with: they deliver weekly smoothie boxes, complete with prepackaged and portioned ingredients that go with five recipes (two servings per recipe—so ten smoothies per week). I was intrigued, so I emailed GreenBlender, and they agreed to send me a box in exchange for this review!
Here are the ways you can subscribe to GreenBlender:
  • Fresh Start: a week-to-week subscription for $49/box
    • $4.90 per serving
  • Monthly Challenge: a monthly subscription for $176
    • $4.40 per serving
  • Healthy Habit: a one-year subscription for $468
    • $3.90 per serving
My box arrived just before Thanksgiving Break, so the recipes were all Thanksgiving-themed. The ingredients were meticulously packaged in plastic baggies, with convenient labels for things I might not recognize, like maqui powder. Plus, I really appreciated that they weren’t the stereotypical smoothie recipes that you might find at some pseudo-health smoothie place, laden with just fruit and yogurt and honey or syrup; three of the recipes had greens, one had a summer squash, and one used sweet potato. No nauseatingly sweet stuff here! Also, everything GreenBlender sent was organic, which I thought was a great feature of their service.
Here are the five smoothies, with my comments:
Maqui Apple Cleanse
This smoothie was surprisingly delicious. It wasn’t too sweet, but very refreshing. I mostly tasted the applesauce, but the grapes gave it some tartness. The squash made the consistency a little fibrous, but that would have been remedied if I’d just blended it for a minute or so more.
1 yellow squash, chopped
5 oz grapes
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp maqui berry powder
1 cup water
1 cup ice
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Maple Almond Apple Pie
Many health foodies are familiar with the concept of the “açai bowl”, which is basically a really thick berry smoothie. But I don’t think the açai bowl needs to limit itself to açai berries as a base; I like to make “smoothie bowls,” which are basically smoothies with less liquid. That’s what I decided to do with the Maple Almond Apple Pie recipe that GreenBlender sent. I put all the ingredients into the blender as normal but omitted the cup of water. Into the blender went:
1.5 oz baby kale
1 tsp apple pie spice
2 apples, chopped
1 tbsp maple almond butter
1 cup ice
If you don’t have a powerful blender, I’m not sure this would work, but Vitamixes and Blendtecs should do the job handily! The consistency was a little meltier than frozen yogurt, and while it didn’t taste like a real pie, the apple pie spice definitely gave the smoothie bowl some holiday flavor, and—of course—the kale was undetectable.
I like this smoothie-eating method particularly because I could never drink only a liquid smoothie for breakfast—I’d be hungry within an hour. This way, I get some more carbs from toppings like granola (and a scone on this particular morning!), and a healthy schmear of peanut butter makes it a little more like an actual meal.
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Cranberry Ginger
While it wasn’t bad, this smoothie was probably my least favorite of the smoothies I sampled. It was the kind of smoothie someone might accuse of tasting “healthy” in a derogatory way. “Healthy” is a taste I’ve acquired and come to like, but it’s definitely not for everybody. That being said, it still made for a nice smoothie bowl breakfast. I would have added more ginger than the tiny slice that came with the ingredients, though, since I could barely tell that it was there.
1.5 oz spinach
2 oz cranberries
2 dates
1 pear, chopped
1/2 inch ginger
3 tbsp walnuts
1 cup ice
Pineapple Kumquat Passion
When I think of classic smoothies, this is what I think of. Super citrusy, pleasantly sweet, and deceptively green-colored. It was the first smoothie I made, and I shared it with one of my friends. She even woke up for a nap just to share in the smoothie-making. Both of us agreed that it was a quality sip of Vitamin C.
I also commented that GreenBlender helped me control my tendency to shove about five fistfuls of greens into the smoothie in the name of health. Doing this usually makes the smoothie extremely fibrous and completely unsatisfactory—with the recipe they provided, the smoothie had just the right amount of greens: still tasty, but with a healthy boost.
1.5 oz swiss chard
3 oz kumquats
1 orange, peeled
4 oz pineapple
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup coconut water
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Pineapple Kumquat Smoothies!
Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
This was the smoothie I was most excited to make. I love sweet potatoes, I love smoothies—what could go wrong?
4 oz raw sweet potatoes
1 banana
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp cashews
1 cup water
1 cup ice
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The outcome was amazing—sweetness from the banana, spice from the cinnamon, sweet potato-y goodness from the sweet potatoes. As with many banana smoothies, this kind of tasted like a milkshake. In fact, it was so good that, after my GreenBlender trial, I looked up the recipe and bought all the ingredients at Whole Foods so I could make it again. The second time, I had some extra coconut milk on hand, so I subbed it for the water and got a super dessert-like, creamy consistency.
After my week of smoothies, I was pretty sold on GreenBlender. I recently did a review of the meal delivery service Plated, but my conclusion was that it didn’t make sense for undergraduates on an unlimited, mandatory meal plan. GreenBlender, however, might make sense for those who are already devout smoothie lovers. They ease the difficulty of having to find quality smoothie recipes, go to the grocery store to find the ingredients (where you might have to buy a huge container of maple syrup even if you only need a tablespoon), and haul them back to your dorm kitchen.
Also of note is the fact that GreenBlender publishes all its smoothie recipes to its website! It’s definitely worth checking out, especially some of the candy bar-themed smoothies. Even if you don’t purchase your own subscription to GreenBlender, you can still make some killer smoothies from their enormous recipe index!
Website: https://greenblender.com/
Use the coupon code CRIMSONCRAVE when paying for a 20% discount from Green Blender!

Gluten Free Frozen Yogurt Granola Cups

Oats!!! Oats are the main ingredient found in granola. But what’s so bad about oats you ask? Oats for gluten free consumers like myself were once considered taboo. The controversy surrounds the fact that most oats were not considered to be “pure” and were processed with a contaminant that people with gluten sensitivity could not tolerate. As the demand for more variety in gluten free foods rise, more research and refinement in the preparation of oats free of any gluten contaminants has become a booming and helpful source of fibrous nutrition for the gluten sensitive or allergic person. One of my favorite frozen desserts contains gluten free granola. These frozen yogurt granola cups are easy to prepare and taste great! They are creamy, sweet little treats that are perfect on a spring day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 24 oz gluten free yogurt any flavor (ie Chobani)
  • fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • cupcake holders

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Preparation:

  • Combine 1 cup granola, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and 1 Tbsp. honey. Mix well.
  • Line a muffin tin with the cupcake holders and line the bottom with equal amounts of the granola mixture.
  • On top of the granola mixture, fill each cup with yogurt.
  • Top with fruit.
  • Freeze for 2-4 hours.

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These refreshing gluten free treats can be kept frozen for a quick snack on the go, or for a light dessert after a meal. Oats have never tasted so good, and of course they are gluten free!

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Fall Fruit Dip

by Caroline Gentile ’17

One of the best things to eat in the d-hall at this time of the year are the apples.   After a while, though, I get sick of eating them plain or with peanut butter.  This creamy, cinnamon-y dip is the perfect complement to the crisp, tangy apples, and all of the ingredients for it can be found in the dining hall!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Apples!

Directions:

In a cereal bowl, combine the yogurt, cinnamon and honey.  Add the peanut butter and mix well.  Enjoy!

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From the Farmer to the Foodie

by Landy Erlick ’19

If you don’t have a class near the Science Center on Tuesdays, you might be missing out on some sweet and savory treats. The Harvard University Farmer’s Market sets up shop from noon to 6 pm, and it only runs through the end of October, so if you’re looking for fresh fruit, soft bread, or green vegetables, it’s best to come sooner rather than later.

brightly colored pumpkins and cornberries and fruit bundles

Walking under the big tent, there are several rows of delicious and varied cuisine. From the delectable choices at Taza Chocolate to the garden-fresh flavors of Ward’s Berry Farm and the enticingly spicy Alex’s Ugly Sauce, it’s practically a guarantee that you won’t leave disappointed. There’s even a spot to buy lobsters!

Fish & Donuts!

Most of the vendors are cash only, and as a result it’s best to be prepared with something other than a credit card in hand. Prices aren’t too high, but it definitely costs a little extra for items that are freshly made or just picked.  While sweet corn is worth $0.75 an ear, containers of raspberries and grapes are around $5.00. The highly-coveted donuts from Union Square are $3 a piece, and at that price the highly desired flavors like Belgian Chocolate and Maple Bacon tend to sell out fairly quickly. Overall, staying within budget might be hard with so many tempting tidbits around.

vanilla bean donut from Union Square
Vanilla Bean Donut (Union Square)

The open space and bright colors help to maintain a welcoming environment, unlike some farmer’s markets which can be slightly overwhelming if you arrive without a game plan. If it’s your first time exploring the plaza or you don’t need any food in particular, it’s a great idea to walk the rows and be inspired. Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to get a free sample of cheesecake or peaches!

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chocolate chip brioche roll

Before the snow comes, and sweet, juicy fruits become a treasured rarity, be sure to stock up on some cartons for your microfridge. Or, if you’re like me and can’t ignore any form of bread or pastry, try a chocolate brioche roll (above)! It’s the perfect size – big enough to share, but small enough to keep all to yourself without feeling guilty. Fruit, vegetables, baked goods, and other items vary each Tuesday, so make it a weekly trip.