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On A Smoothie Quest

August 4, 2009

OK, so in an attempt to not eat oat bran for every meal while in Colorado, I’ve been trying to concoct the perfect HEAB smoothie recipe.  

No ordinary smoothie will do, and I’m pretty picky.  Following is my list of criteria:

  • It must be filling, especially if I’m going to have the smoothie for breakfast.
  • A HEAB smoothie must be thick and creamy.  I grew up on ice-cream milkshakes y’all. Glasses full of watery pooh don’t cut it for me.
  • I want to look forward to it…actually crave it.  Tossing back a glass full of something that I don’t even really enjoy? That’s no fun!
  • Simple ingredient list – Lots of add-ins tend to stress me out.
  • It needs to clock in at under a 1,000 calories…okay, preferably 300 to 400 calories. 😉

I thought frozen rhubarb was the answer, and although this healthy fruit does make for a yummy smoothie, I wasn’t going to bed dreaming of my morning rhubarb/rice protein powder shake, ya know?  It makes for a lovely snack in-between meals if I’m really hungry, but that’s about it. Then…CONFESSION TIME…in a moment of weakness, I did something I haven’t done in years. I bought Raspberry Ice flavored Crystal Light.  I did, and I’ll be honest – it makes for a delicious fruity low-cal shake. However, I don’t need to go down that road again, and so no more!

After 2 weeks of experimenting, I think I have found my favorite recipe.  I’ve had different versions of this smoothie in the past, and I just keep coming back to this combo…

Chocolate Pudding Smoothie

Chocolate Pudding Smoothie

If given the choice between fruit or chocolate, I’ll always choose chocolate. Besides, as you know, I try to keep my fruit to one serving a day.  For any new readers, I have issues with fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit.  You can read about it here. Anyway, this recipe is fairly simple, fills my belly, and I totally look forward to every last bite!

  • 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum

Freezing the avocado and banana would make for an even creamier smoothie, especially if you don’t have the gums on hand.  However, I used fresh this morning. Xanthan and guar gums are natural thickeners. You can read about both at Bob’s Red Mill website. They are not necessary, but I LOVE adding them to my smoothies – so much fluff, and the creaminess factor is to die for! They are pricey, but a bag will last you forever as you use so little at a time. A shout-out to reader Deb for kindly keeping the Uniblogger Cabin’s gum supply stocked here in Colorado. Love you Deb!

So, what happened to the rest of the Crystal Light you ask?

CD does it again.

CD does it again. He even dusted them in cocoa powder. So fancy. 🙂

Last night, CD made dark chocolate raspberry truffles.  They contained:

Artificial sweetener?!? Dairy?!?  The horror, I know…but you know what? I ate one, and I’d do it again.  That was one kick a$$ truffle CD!

What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

58 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracy permalink
    August 4, 2009 11:30 am

    How do you make your shakes w/Crystal Light? Was it just the fruit and Crystal Light? I love the Lemonade Crystal Light…I know it’s not the greatest thing for me, but it does help me drink my water 🙂

  2. August 4, 2009 11:35 am

    Josh lovessssss the crystal light. I have been trying to get him off it with no luck. Glad you found a smoothie you love- I think nana is really key!

  3. August 4, 2009 11:37 am

    I like any smoothie that contains PB and oatmeal!

  4. August 4, 2009 11:37 am

    your smoothie sounds great! I wonder how it would work without those thickeners since I don’t have them….hm.

    I love cherries + almond butter. yum.

  5. August 4, 2009 11:38 am

    My favorite smoothie recipe? Unsweetened almond milk, jay robb (thanks to you, actually, I went out and bought this and I’ve been obsessed ever since), frozen banana, lots of ice, a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a couple handfuls of spinach. IT tastes like a chocolate milkshake, honestly. So good!

  6. balancejoyanddelicias permalink
    August 4, 2009 11:39 am

    I’m trying to make smoothies for breakfast too! this looks delicious!!! Frozen avocado and bananas make it sooooo creamy!
    And chocolate is just irresistible! 🙂

  7. August 4, 2009 11:39 am

    I’m a long-time reader, but this is my first time commenting! I just wanted to say hello. Mainly because your post about smoothie criteria totally rang a bell. I always have such good intentions to drink smoothies, but they just don’t satisfy me the way solid food does. Especially in the a.m.

    I’ve actually started doing smoothies at night, after dinner. (Sort of as dessert, I guess?). My best tip is trying chopped fresh date in there – assuming you have a decent blender. They add sweetness, and every so often you get a tiny chunk…in a good way!

  8. August 4, 2009 11:40 am

    Favorite smoothie?

    frozen banana
    peanut butter
    vanilla whey protein

    Sometimes I add cocoa powder or use chocolate whey protien for my chocolate fix. Otherwise my original green monster recipe is my go to smoothie.

  9. Pam permalink
    August 4, 2009 11:45 am

    Your smoothie sounds good but the truffles look to die for!!

  10. August 4, 2009 11:52 am


    My favorite smoothie combination = the Blue Sunset at One Lucky Duck (pineapple, mango, coconut, banana, blueberry, and vanilla).

  11. August 4, 2009 12:02 pm

    the truffle looks so professional! i don’t think i have a favorite smoothie combination. anything with banana though! yummy yummy.

  12. August 4, 2009 12:04 pm

    I am SO picky about my smoothies too!

    Fave is definitely frozen banana + lots of ice + lots of vanilla extract + some sort of non-dairy milk (preferably homemade almond milk!) + raw cacao powder. You can add a little coconut too. It tastes like a cookies’n’cream shake!

  13. Carolyn permalink
    August 4, 2009 12:05 pm

    Eating chemicals! I am so proud of you… I have a serious Crystal Light habit…she said with no shame… Beats sugar filled soda, and no bubbles…But i must admit Chris tops us all with the Raspberry Ice “balls” addition…

    50/50 mix of Strawberry Orange Banana CL and Lipton (Diet) Green Tea Citrus is a pretty good quencher for me. Weird flavor but yummy..

    I think all this Colorado good livin is getting Chris’s mind working overtime on creative food…

  14. August 4, 2009 12:31 pm


    I still get way too many artificial ingredients in my diet… oh boy!

    But for me, frozen bananas are always key for my smoothies… so frosty 🙂

    My fav combo so far

    1 cup unsweet. chocolate almond milk
    1 frozen banana
    1/2 cup frozen cherries
    almond butter
    protein powder (preferably chocolate!)

    Yummy 🙂 I only had a wrap for lunch… I may go make one now 🙂

  15. Kristen permalink
    August 4, 2009 12:56 pm

    Lately I’ve been loving kiwi in my smoothies. That and spinach!

  16. Lauren permalink
    August 4, 2009 12:57 pm

    If you had to pick only one of the gums to purchase to add to your smoothies, which would it be. Do you think I could achieve the same results as you by only using one of the gums? Thanks

  17. August 4, 2009 1:00 pm

    That smoothie looks and sounds delicious. I might need to try it! 🙂
    ❤ jess

  18. August 4, 2009 1:08 pm

    i use almond milk, a banana, some seeds and lots of spinach 🙂

  19. August 4, 2009 1:19 pm

    Banana and chocolate is my favorite combo of all time but there are so many that I like. I was on a “green monster” kick for a while and I just bought some spinach so I’m ready to experiment with those again 🙂

  20. August 4, 2009 1:32 pm

    I wrote down both your smoothie and your truffle recipes! I have so much fun trying the stuff I find on your site!!

  21. August 4, 2009 1:34 pm

    it’s DEF Dryer Lint!
    DEFINATELY hands down! With almond butter on top!

    as a matter of fact!!! maybe that’s what I should have for dinner, or dessert, or snack?

    or your choco avo naner one looks MMMMM


    I just gave away my packets of crystal lite!
    been looking at them for months… obviously I am done!

  22. August 4, 2009 1:47 pm

    mail me over some truffles! LOL

  23. August 4, 2009 2:02 pm

    I actually got up and made a smoothie half way through your post!! Food Blogging is dangerous!

  24. August 4, 2009 2:34 pm

    I have been crazy with my smoothie variety lately..some good some bad…honestly I can’t remember what’s really my favorite any more!!

  25. August 4, 2009 2:44 pm

    I love almond milk, banana, spinach, amazing grass, and flax 🙂

  26. August 4, 2009 3:08 pm

    WOW That smoothie sounds great… so i am guessing that you gave up crystal light? I really need help with that. That is the only thing I drink. Can you give me some tips?

  27. August 4, 2009 3:15 pm

    I appreciate the Crystal Light confession. I had a stick of sugarless gum last Wednesday. Some super garlicky hummus made me do it. I’ve resisted the coffee thus far. I know its a slippery slope for me, and the sooner I cave the sooner I’m back to half a pot a day with a cup of Coffeemate!

    Love the xanthan, haven’t tried the guar. My stupid blender didn’t really blend the chia seeds like I’d hoped (but I still loved trying them…thanks!). Yet another reason to get a Vita Mix, as if I needed another one. Come on!

  28. August 4, 2009 3:18 pm

    truffles out of crystal light!? that is CREATIVE!!! i’m impressed.

  29. Faith permalink
    August 4, 2009 3:52 pm

    ok, since you’re in the boonies, i have one for you with cheap and easier to find ingredients:

    1c lactaid (you might be able to use a soy or almond milk…)
    3/4c greek yogurt
    frozen banana
    2T sf pudding (this is where you get to choose the flavor and other fruit additions)
    bit of ice
    since you’re heather i’m sure you’ll add almond butter

    seriously this makes a concoction of soupy deilcious ice cream

    my favorite combos:
    sf chococlate pudding with frozen nanner and pb

    sf white chocolate pudding with frozen raspberries!!

  30. August 4, 2009 4:01 pm

    I love your blog Heather! So, I am happy to tell you that I am awarding you with The Honest Scrap Blog Award! Read my blog from today for details 😀

  31. Tiffany S. permalink
    August 4, 2009 4:11 pm

    You already know I’ve had the same smoothie for breakfast for the last 3 years: 1 c. froz berries/vanilla whey powder(really gives in volume)/ground flax seed + flax oil/Vitamin C powder (I swear I’m sick less)/half c. carrot or fruit/veggie juice + half c. water, plus now spinach or AB or both!

    That’s probably too much fruit for you between the berries and the juice but homemade carrot juice works great (and I love the rhubarb too – I boil it down first to soften it though Vitamix could probably handle it).

    I can’t have bananas because they make my blood sugar spike. I can only have them towards the end of the day and even then it’s risky.
    😦 That’s why they don’t make my smoothie list.

    Sf pudding mixes are great (mmmm, butterscotch) but again, mostly chemicals. The smoothie you’re stickin’ with sounds perfect!

    PS. I have the teensiest AB gripe. I drink my smoothies with bubble tea straws because they’re bigger and nothing gets stuck in them (I’m looking at you, blackberries), and I usually rinse them and use the same one for a little while before tossing (into the landfill, I imagine). Now the AB sticks in them and I can only use them once! Sad landfill! (I know, I should eat it with a spoon but I don’t have time! Usually I have the smoothie in one hand and the hair dryer in the other!)

  32. August 4, 2009 4:16 pm

    That smoothie looks yummy!

  33. Samantha permalink
    August 4, 2009 4:38 pm

    I have smoothie envy…I need to get me some gums. 🙂

    Dear Heather, you’ve been on my mind a lot the past few days. Hoping your trip out west is going wonderfully, helping you have some getaway and recharge time!

  34. August 4, 2009 5:18 pm

    I should look into those gums…I love me a thick smoothie too! My favourite combo is almond milk, chocolate protein powder, yogurt, banana, ica and almond butter 🙂 I have yet to succesfully do a smoothie as a meal replacement though. I think I just digest them too quickly!

  35. Evan Thomas permalink
    August 4, 2009 5:20 pm

    It’s not big enough to be a meal replacement, but I enjoy 140 grams frozen peaches, 4oz vanilla greek yogurt, and 1/2 cup carrot juice. It’s super thick and tastes like a creamcicle. That tops off at about 165 calories. You could soak 40g oats in the carrot juice before blending to add another 150 cals and some whole grains. That’d be more like a meal.

  36. August 4, 2009 5:52 pm

    I love that smoothie combination! I will have to make that one ASAP! I had another strawberry-rhubarb this morning and it was amazing!

  37. August 4, 2009 5:54 pm

    Crystal Light in a truffle? Wacky but I love it!
    And I love that smoothie of yours. I seriously want to use avocado in a smoothie but I keep forgetting to do so! I have the worst memory. I need to write myself a note. But I DO have an overripe avocado sitting in the fridge just waiting to be eaten… hmmm. Yum!

  38. August 4, 2009 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the links on the gums, I will try the smoothie recipe. Thank you again, and glad to get two blogs from you in two days, I missed reading them lol

  39. August 4, 2009 6:48 pm

    I totally agree with you on the need for thick, creamy smoothies. A frozen banana always helps.

  40. August 4, 2009 6:57 pm

    I’m thinking I need to buy some of this gum business… I’m all for smoothie improvements!

  41. August 4, 2009 7:34 pm

    That’s like an all-star smoothie!

    When I get something crystal lite-esque i always feel weird. i used to drink diet things all the time and now, even though they taste good, it’s just weird.

    chris is so smart. 😀

  42. August 4, 2009 8:09 pm

    Your smoothie sounds yummy! I’ve been scared to try avocado in mine, but after seeing yours I think its time for me to take the plunge.

  43. Deb permalink
    August 4, 2009 9:12 pm

    Genius, pure genius both you and CD. Your shake is only about 350 cals and that’s a great deal if it fills you up.

    My go-to smoothie is one I’ve been doing for years now and I call it my PB&J Smoothie:

    frozen Rhubarb, frozen mixed berries (straw, blue, rasp, black), Xanthan, Guar, Sugarfree Peanut butter torani syrup (I know I Know- will be cutting that out when i run out of the stuff), stevia, almond extract and Peanut butter. For some reason it doesn’t work with almond butter (the flavor gets lost, unless of course it’s on a spoon, which I do often).

    There are ZILLIONS of other combos though if you go down the evil route of buying all of the sugarfree jello pudding flavors and the torani flavors, not to mention every extract known to mankind. Yet I return to my PB&J.

    But I do agree with the readers- a frozen banana is what makes it thicker and creamier. I should do it more, but I love my PB&J so much and a nanner wouldn’t go well with it!!

  44. August 4, 2009 9:37 pm

    haha omg bravo cdizzle! Those sound stellar 😀 I hope you’re still enjoying the OB for every otha meal at least!!

  45. WholeBodyLove permalink
    August 4, 2009 10:24 pm

    My smoothies could use more of a creamy texture. I need to get in touch with some “gums”!

  46. August 5, 2009 12:05 am

    Very bold of you to admit the Crystal Light and I think you’re awesome for it! I have loudly admitted my own coffee addiction on my blog and I really don’t care anymore what people think of it. I do my best to do everything else as healthy as humanly possible, so I have coffee…oh well 🙂

    I think your smoothie recipe sounds great! What kind of cocoa powder do you use? That’s another one…Green & Black’s to me is overpriced and they dont seem to readily stock Hershey’s Dark in San Diego and I am left with store brand Kroger and ya know, it’s darn tasty for the price. I would love to be more enlightened though…but not at $38 bucks a can which is what WF here charges for cocoa powder, kid you not.

  47. Luna permalink
    August 5, 2009 2:19 am

    Hello Heather!Your blog about fructose was inspiring, I’ve recently been trying to eat more fruits and raw vegetables in the form of green smoothies, but 1)had stomach and belly issues 2)felt hungry and sleepy 3)gained weight!!!Now, I assume FRUIT could be the reason, thank you for sharing! (By the way, I am an “avid reader” of your blog, but I never leave any comments though…as always, same as for every blog I follow and that keeps me company at breakfast time every morning!!) have a nice day!!

  48. August 5, 2009 2:24 am

    “Glasses full of watery pooh don’t cut it for me.”

    I just snorted my cup of tea with that line… brilliant!

    Banana and avocado must be so smooth together… hubba hubba! Will defo give this a go. Where would we be without cocoa powder? Love that choccie hit without remorse 🙂

  49. hayleycepeda permalink
    August 5, 2009 5:56 am

    This xanthum stuff seems to be magic. I was reading back over your ice cream post and I’m thinking I have to try that sometime in the very near future (as in today). I haven’t made a smoothie in a while, but I’m getting lots of great ideas!

  50. August 5, 2009 7:40 am

    I’m still stuck on the old school strawberry banana smoothies!

  51. August 5, 2009 9:00 am

    my fav smoothie = 1 cup oj (not from concentrate), handful frozen blueberries, cherries, raspberries, 1 large scoop plain non-fat yogurt, huge handful spinach, sprinkle in protein powder, dash of wheat germ or ground flax. The frozen berries make it cold and the yogurt gives it the creamy, ice cream texture. Tons of flavor and not a zillion calories!

  52. Deb permalink
    August 5, 2009 9:09 am

    WHoops, forgot Crystal light Berry Ice as a star ingredient in the PB&J shake. Sadly it does make a difference and none of the other ones cut it (Berry Splash, Wild Strawberry, Cherry-pomegranate. I might try something natural when I run out (in the year 2032) like concentrated blueberry or cranberry or pom juice, but I know it won’t be the same 😦

  53. Deb permalink
    August 5, 2009 9:12 am

    Correction: Crystal Light RASPBERRY ICE! Brain not yet awake 😀

  54. Holly permalink
    August 5, 2009 9:21 am

    i don’t think i’ve actually met a smoothie i did not like…

    my fave crystal light is the peach raspberry – holy yum! i save it for special occasions 🙂

  55. kim permalink
    August 5, 2009 10:38 am

    Heather, that smoothie looks amazing!! love, love, love all the tips you’ve turned me on to. i’m adding guar gum to my to-buy list now. can’t wait to try it!

  56. August 5, 2009 11:08 am

    My favorite smoothie is and always will be the simple banana+romaine combo. But yours looks absolutely amazing!!!

  57. August 5, 2009 8:33 pm

    I used to love Crystal light and now it has a crazy taste to me. I have some left in the cupboard and I don’t know what to do with it. I may just have to try those truffles.

  58. August 6, 2009 1:19 pm

    There is Crystal Light at my new job and out of pure desperation I tried it the other day. Ah…why is it good?! LOL – I am so not an artificial sweetener girl, but I must admit it was delicious. If it was in a CD-personalized truffle, I think I would have been in heaven. Those look amazing!

    I’m digging all of this wonderfulness from Colorado – especially that picture of you doing yoga in your earlier post. It’s so beautiful! I’ve been doing P90x yoga and it’s quickly becoming addiciting. I love the way it makes me feel!

    Good luck with your smoothie quest. It looks like you have done a great job so far 😉

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