Completely customizable: Smoothies will cool you down & fill you up

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent

   

Smoothies, with a variety of mix-ins, are delicious and nutritious. / Logan A. White, Times-News correspondent

It’s summertime, and that means cool mornings quickly  transform into sweltering afternoons. All of that heat is  best paired with a fresh treat that will cool you down and  fill you up without making you feel weighed down.    Smoothies are the perfect summer mini-meal — they’re  cold, light, healthy and amazingly delicious. One of the  best features of smoothies and other blended drinks is that  each creation completely customizable. You can easily  add different ingredients to make an infinite variety of  flavor combinations.
Before you begin adding fruits and veggies to your  smoothie, you need a neutral base that will serve as a  blank canvas for your edible creation. Here’s what you’ll  need to make a basic smoothie base:

•12 ounces crushed ice
•1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
• A splash of milk (optional)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Makes two to three servings.
If you want to make this base dairy-free, experiment with almond or soy milk in place of the yogurt and/or milk, adding it as a liquid or even freezing it before blending. You can also use other liquids, such as juices, as mix-ins for your base — for example, a fruity base could be made with blended ice and orange juice.
If you’re feeling indulgent, make a milkshake base with ice cream and a splash of milk. The base of your blended drink is a personal preference — tweak the recipe until you find a mix that works for you. Now that your base is ready, here’s five of the best mix-ins that you can add to your summer smoothies.
Bananas: these tropical fruits are the perfect addition to any smoothie. They’re creamy once blended and work well with almost any flavor combo, adding a light sweetness to the mixture without being too overpowering. Try freezing them in slices before adding them to your blend for a cooler, creamier texture.
Nut butters: packed with protein and satisfying flavor, nut butters (especially peanut butter!) are a fantastic way to add a new twist of flavor. They’re best paired with simple flavors, like bananas, that allow their subtle flavor to shine. To achieve maximum nuttiness, add two tablespoons per serving of smoothie while blending.
Sweet potatoes: a filling mix-in that has a wonderful creaminess, sweet potatoes add both color and unique but mild sweetness to smoothies. Since their flavor is unconventional, it’s best to experiment with different fruit combinations. They’re also delicious as a solo smoothie— add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to spice things up a little.
Peaches: this southern fruit is often overlooked when it comes to blended drinks, but it can really pack a punch of flavor. It’s best added to the blend fresh, so you get all of the sweet juiciness in your drink. Try combining peaches with pineapple and frozen banana for a tropical twist.
Chocolate: yes, this craveable mix-in can be indulgent and healthy. Dark chocolate can add the perfect rich undertone to any smoothie. It’s especially delicious mixed with bananas— you can even skip the smoothie base and blend frozen bananas and slightly melted chocolate to make an easy breakfast ice cream.
Try these fun and yummy additions in your smoothies this summer or create your own cool creation with your favorite ingredients. Don’t sweat it— beat the heat with a custom treat.

Logan A. White is a rising home-schooled senior and a Teens & 20s writer.

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