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Austin Food Bytes
Beat the Heat with Smoothies

There are certain kinds of regional foods that simply can not be replicated in other geographical areas. Try as I might, I have never found serviceable barbecue in California. Creole cooking never tastes the same when it’s not prepared in the vicinity of a Louisiana swamp. Bagels that are not from the east cost share only the name and shape with their lesser cousins from elsewhere. And since I’m from California originally, I can safely say that most people wouldn’t know a good smoothie if it was dumped in their laps.

That being said, you have a few options, even in a land as far removed from the west coast as Texas, when you want an authentic, tasty and healthy smoothie. A few places in town make serviceable to good smoothies. People’s Pharmacy makes a good smoothie. The Castle Hill Fitness Cafe has smoothies with all sorts of healthful additives like bee pollen and herbs, and they’re not bad either. Jamba Juice is a chain that was started in San Louis Obispo, about a hundred miles north of my hometown. They have great smoothies, but be sure to check out the ingredients. If they put sorbet in your smoothie, it pushes the sugar content way up. There are several local locations. My favorite Jamba Juice smoothie is the “Bright-Eyed Blueberry”. I get it with a protein boost, and I have them add mango. In the 16 oz size, this yummy concoction totals under 300 calories, but provides you with about 3 servings of fruit. What a deal!

I make my own smoothies at home. I suspect that every Californian has their own smoothie recipe, my friend from the Bay Area makes one that I love, but can’t replicate. Here is my favorite recipe:

1/4 cup frozen grapes (red or green) – if you buy grapes regularly, just freeze them when they start to go soft. They add body and sweetness to the smoothie without the texture of banana, which some people dislike
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
Vanilla Silk soy milk
mango juice

Dump all the fruit in your blender. Fill with soy milk to about 5/6ths of the top of the fruit, top off with mango juice. I also like to add Dannon Vanilla Immunity Boost – if you use that, add it first, then proceed with the rest of the liquids. Blend until smooth.

Smoothie tricks:
Once your smoothie has gotten somewhat blended, it will become stiff, and can create air space in the blender. Avoid this by using the pulse button, or turning the blender off and pushing it down from the sides with a spatula.

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