An average smoothie at Jamba Juice costs $4. A “cold-pressed” bottle of juice from your local juicery costs around $7. A bowl of tortilla soup from your favorite Mexican restaurant costs at least $8. A margarita, outside of Happy Hour, costs $9. All of these small expenses add up, costing the average consumer a lot more than $400 per year.
A year ago, I laughed at the thought of paying $400 for a blender. Now, the Vitamix is one of the most used products I own in my home, not just my kitchen. Here’s why:
A Healthy Dose of Vegetables
- I could never consumer this much kale or spinach in one day. Or convince my 6-year-old to do the same. There are many recipes here, but I usually add 1 cup kale or 2 cups spinach, some liquid (almond milk, coconut water, juice), water, ice and fresh or frozen fruit. It’s also easy to add things like protein powder or chia seeds. For younger kids, add more fruit than vegetable and call it your “Hulk Drink.”
Reap the Rewards
- The benefits of delicious juice without the pitfalls of cleaning the juicer (which I own and use once per year). I don’t partake in the juicing craze because a day without solids renders me useless. However, on days when I’m not feeling all the fibrous goodness of the above, I simply use a strainer, cheesecloth or even a pair of tights to make any kind of juice. I then take the remnants and add it to dog food.
More Bang for Your Buck
- I thought that hummus from Trader Joe’s was a good deal at $2.99 for 10 ounces. Now, I can make double for less than $3 using 1-2 cans of garbanzo beans, some good olive oil, garlic, lemon, and various herbs and vegetables (e.g. cilantro, red pepper, chili). Many recipes here.
Use, Don’t Toss
- Vegetables going bad? Steam, roast or boil. Then add some garlic, chicken broth and/or a cream base and ta-da—delicious pureed soup. The best part is that Vitamix does heat it up so that you can serve without stovetop. My favorites include Butternut, Carrot and Potato & Broccoli. More recipes here.
- Margaritas are delicious, but dangerous for your waistline and for your budget. You can find healthier versions omitting sugar or at least a budget-friendly version. Yes, you can make margaritas with most blenders. However, in my unofficial taste tests, you will not get the same, smooth consistency.
- I used to think that there had to be some magical ingredients in pesto to make it so delicious and so expensive. Well, the magical ingredient is pine nuts and while it’s a bit pricey, it doesn’t justify the cost of most good pesto. Even as a Vitamix novice, I made some delicious pesto without any preservatives. All you need is basil, good olive oil, pine nuts (Trader Joe’s had the best price), parmesan cheese, some salt and garlic. Take the leftovers, freeze them in ice trays, and now you have fresh pesto any time of the year. My favorite recipe is here.
The Proof Is in the Pasta
- Should you ever find yourself with a pallet of tomatoes teetering on the edge of going bad, grab a few Ball© jars, herbs, olive oil, salt, garlic (again!) and get to work. I made the most delicious pasta sauce from Romas and salsa from tomatillos. It takes a bit of effort to peel and roast, but a few hours yields enough to last you for months.
These are just seven of my favorite ways to use a Vitamix, and I haven’t even started exploring all the amazing desserts and sauces. I realize that $450 is a lot of money, but I think the reason there are so many Vitamix evangelists out there is because the Vitamix is an enabler of a healthier lifestyle. My favorite quote from this Slate article sums up why I love mine so much and think it’s worth every penny: “I began to use the Vitamix almost like a garbage disposal, the main difference being that I drank what it produced.” Needless to say, there are very fruits and vegetables that ever go to waste in my house.
Before You Shop: If the $450 price tag is too hard to swallow, try searching for a used one on Craiglist or refurbished one directly from Vitamix that comes with a 5-year warranty and 30-day guarantee. Or better yet, enter our #SuperheroMom Giveaway to win one this week!