a horrible photo of a delicious smoothie

Good enough, Day 2: The Freezer-Burn Smoothie

It has been more than a good-enough summer here in Los Angeles; it has been nothing short of spectacular. Warm (but not overly so!) days, sandwiched by mornings chilly enough for long walks and evenings cool enough—with the assistance of cross-ventilation and some strategically-placed fans—for the winter comforter. (L.A. “winter”, anyway.)

But, oh! There is a give-and-take to all spectacular things, is there not? In this particular case, what has given is smoothies, a mainstay of my summer-in-L.A. diet for a good 10 years, or whenever I bought my crappy old blender. I have a somewhat inefficient internal temperature regulation system, you see. I don’t shed heat well, except in winter—yes, even L.A. “winter”— when it bleeds from my extremities like Jesus on the cross. Smoothies were introduced as a corrective—a means of bringing down my core temperature a half-degree or so when the temperature here in the E-Z-Bake Oven climbed over 85ºF—and they work. (This could, of course, be purely psychological, but I resist looking up the science involved, because you try living in this joint without air-conditioning or hope in the middle of a monthlong heat wave.)

Here’s the thing, though: if the temperatures do rise and catch you unprepared, you are hosed, smoothie-wise. The (sorry) smooth preparation of smoothies requires, among other items, a ready supply of frozen bananas. And because of my fabulous-yet-persnickety diet, my smoothie-bananas have to be black when they go into the freezer, which requires even more foresight. So the surprisingly clement temperatures gifted us by the roller-coaster ride that is global warming, coupled with my apparent inability to remember to check weekly forecasts for the errant day from hell, did not just throw me off my smoothie game—they took me out entirely.

But oh, the gifts a challenge comes bearing under its own, sweaty wing. In my desperation, staring into the minuscule, apartment-sized freezer for the 75th time, hoping bananas would miraculously appear, I spied a stash of diced avocado (stuck in there during a stretch of exasperated thrift, no doubt). I had enjoyed avocado smoothies elsewhere over the past year, in Ojai (deadly hot) and Portland (you’d be surprised, and they are TOTALLY unprepared for that shit). Yes, these were professionally blended in budget-killers I will never save enough Amazon points for, but hey, I could give it a try. The worst that would happen was my own blender dying, which would suck eggs, but something-something zombie apocalypse anyway, right?

I am DELIGHTED to report that this desperation introduced the most delicious smoothie variation I have found since I learned to replace OJ with apple juice. My avocado/coconut milk/strawberry smoothie went down like (insert sexist, circa-1956 locker-room joke here), and did a bang-up job of cooling me down.

The Good-Enough Freezer-Burn Smoothie

4 ice cubes
1 good handful frozen, diced, ripe avocado
1 good handful frozen, sliced strawberries
1 cup coconut milk*
1/4 cup apple juice (if you like it sweet, like I do; otherwise, add more coconut milk)
1-2 tablespoons honey (again, for sweet-toothed folks)
1/2 cup yogurt (optional)

Pulverize ice cubes in blender. (It should scare the cat.) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend together until smooth. If you have an old-timey blender like mine, keep an ear out for the motor sticking, and stop/hand-stir, and/or add more liquid.

Makes two 1 1/4-cup servings, or one big-ass serving.

*I made this the lazy-man’s way. It’s a little gritty, made with an old-timey blender, but you don’t notice the grit in a smoothie.

Good enough!

xxx
c

Image by me, and definitely good enough—just!

8 comments

  1. Smooth enough for me to give it a try. We are in the second half of our monsoon season and it is cool and pleasant and quite cold in the nights. Often, very wet too.

  2. That sounds weird enough to be great, C! And incredibly flexible, depending on current contents of the fridge, freezer and cupboard. I never thought of freezing avocado, though I do have sacks of reduced chicken broth cubes.

    And ta-hell with “the science” behind “smoothies cool me down” or not – if it works for you, it works for you, and that’s Good Enough! :)

  3. Gotta say, my Vitamix was one of the best investments ever – but I have green smoothies daily. You can find excellent reconditioned ones for less on their site or on ebay, if you shop carefully. Craigslist is always worth checking too!

  4. Clarification please: do the smoothies work best with black avocados or is that just a banana thing? How about the strawberries? Can they have a grayish tinge as well? Most of my frozen fruit tends to be in various states of decay as they are usually bagged and flung into the freezer as a last ditch effort to save them from the compost pile. Well, if I had a compost pile.

    1. @ Elaine…LOL. One word: compost?! Only FRESH fruits and veg have any nutritional value for humans, not to mention palatability, and anything else should be given back to the earth. It’s ok to eat fresh ripe sweet fruit, even if frozen! And it’s ok to throw it out if it is not. Really, it is. You’ll be flushing useless pulp either way.

    2. Sorry, I was unclear!

      For SCD, the bananas have to be overripe. Avocados that have gone “black”—or soft, I guess—I use up in guacamole.

      The ones I had on hand in the freezer were in that just-past-perfectly-ripe phase. There were simply too many to eat in time, so Me of the Past thought, “Hey, what would happen if I froze them, I wonder?” Me of the Present made a happy discovery, and that’s that!

      But yeah, what Elle says below. Fresh is best for nutrients.

      1. Actually I was being a little bit on the facetious side – when you talked about using black bananas I thought about how that would be no problem for me since I always seem to be one step behind as far as eating my fruits and vegees in a timely fashion. Your post did inspire me to run to the kitchen and use my overripe…everything…and make a smoothie. I used almond milk instead of coconut milk and put too many baby cucumbers in (they were really on the brink of becoming bunny food) but turned out yummy and hopefully there still were some nutrients lurking about in the semi-rotting fruits/vegees. I’m looking so forward to more of your posts – like so many, I’ve really missed your presence!

  5. I also recommend the Vitamix 6300. You’ll never buy another one again. The ONLY gripe I have is that it sounds like a jet engine but…. it be smooth!!

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