It finally happened. After 11 years of almost daily use, our old Vita-Mix container began showing signs of wear (that time I accidentally left a stainless steel spoon in the blender and turned it on probably didn’t help…but the spoon lost).
So we got a spiffy new one! The 5200 model we got has some nice new features — new lid, new handle, BPA-free container, and it’s quieter than our old one, too.
I’ve raved over and over about the Vita-Mix on my blog and in my books, but I hear what you’re saying: “It’s a blender, Jennifer. What on earth could make a flippin’ blender so special that you would spend that much money for it?” (At least, that’s what I think you’re saying, because that’s what I said to my husband when our old Vita-Mix first arrived.)
To give you some idea of why I love my Vita-Mix oooh so much, I present you with A Day in the Life of a Very Busy Vita-Mix:
5:30am: Our busy blender’s day begins at the crack of dawn with a smoothie for Hubby shmoo (his smoothies involve raw eggs, so I’m not even going into it).
7:00am: I’m finally awake and it’s time for my morning smoothie.
My breakfast smoothie is almost always the same: 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup hemp milk, 1 tbs. flaxseed (whole, no need to grind them first), a banana, 2/3 cup frozen blueberries, 1/3 cup frozen pineapple, and about 2/3 cup chopped organic frozen spinach.
A quick blend and the flaxseed and spinach disappear without a trace. I pour the smoothie into my travel cup, take a couple sips, and head for the gym. When I’m done working out the smoothie is waiting for me in the car, still cold.
10:00am: I whir up a batch of creamy Nacho Cheese for our afternoon out with friends. My mom reports that her regular blender never gets these vegan cheese sauces as creamy and smooth as mine.
This Indian Cabbage Soup is nice and spicy. I serve it with dahl and brown rice.
7:00pm: Dessert, our favorite! And here’s something a regular blender really can’t do: make sorbet. Tonight I go all-out and make Healthy Fruit Parfaits.
I start by bringing out the bins of frozen fruit I have in my freezer and washing a bowl of fresh (not frozen) blueberries. I blend frozen peaches with a bit of orange juice, using just enough liquid to get the blender going while keeping a thick consistency (I use the tamper to keep things moving). I put the peach sorbet in a bowl in the freezer for just a minute while I rinse out the container and blend frozen strawberries with a few pieces of frozen pineapple and just enough soymilk to get it going again.
I have to start by giving credit where it’s due because this was Darlene’s idea. She thought the week of breakfast was fun and since it’s winter it might also be fun to try a new soup recipe every night for a week. This started after she made a variation of the Pho recipe from Quick Fix Vegetarian. This recipe is itself a variation on a Vietnamese beef noodle soup, using seitan instead of beef. We didn’t have seitan so she made a quick seitan batter (wheat gluten and water), then tore off little pieces and cooked them with the soup. She also added a can of coconut milk, which isn’t authentic but sure was good.
The next night our fridge was looking sparse but we did have canned chickpeas so I made this chickpea soup recipe I found in a back issue of Vegetarian Times. It was fairly light, like more of a first course, but we had it with a salad and bread and it made an OK dinner. Here it’s garnished with chopped parsley and chili oil.
We started next on a trio from Veganomicon. First up was the Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup. Only we couldn’t find eggplant so we went with sweet potatoes instead. I know, sweet potatoes are quite different from eggplant but they really worked well with this peanut butter and tomato based soup.
Next it was a quick minestrone from Quick Fix Vegetarian. Honestly I’ve had better minestrone but this was thrown together quickly with canned tomatoes and chickpeas and frozen vegetables and it made for an easy weeknight meal.
Then it was back to Veganomicon for the Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons. We baked the potatoes ahead of time so the soup came together fairly quickly, but it definitely took me longer than the 30 minutes suggested in the book. But I admit to being a rather slow cook. At any rate, it was worth it as this was an awesome potato soup with kale and earthy spices (I never would’ve thought to put fennel in potato soup). And the cornmeal-breaded and fried potato wedge on top was the perfect accompaniment.
The last in our V-con trio was the Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple. I never would’ve thought to put pineapple in lentil soup either but it worked well. This was another weeknight meal so we simplified it considerably by skipping on the homemade ancho chile powder and just using store-bought chile powder. I’m sure it’s much better with homemade but this was the quick version. It would also be better with fresh grilled pineapple but in our quick version we used canned pineapple that we sautéed in a little Earth Balance.
Last but certainly not least was the Taco Soup from Nava Atlas’ Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. This is a newly released re-issue of her excellent book Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons. This particular recipe is not much different from a chili. It was excellent on its own, but was made even more so by the addition of some righteous vegan cheese. And that’s a story for another post.