Friday, June 26, 2015

Making Food... Ninja Style

Once upon a time, one of my favourite things to do was to go to Costco and peruse their samples.  Fred and I even had a name for it... Redneck Dim Sum. 

Before you decide we're totally lame, let me preface that for you. We used to be broke.  Like totally and completely broke.  Our grocery budget was $20 a week.  One of the ways I would keep the budget down is we would take advantage of coupons, 2 for 1 meals, eating at the Costco food court, and when we had no money left... Redneck Dim Sum.  Yes, we would eat Costco samples as a meal.

Ah, the good old days!

And you could always tell it was going to be a good day if the "Blender People" were there.  The wonderful people that would churn out sample after glorious sample of yummy goodness.  If you parked yourself by their table you could get an entire meal... soup!  Smoothie!  Ice cream!  I vowed that one day I would own one of these machines.

So when I was offered the chance to try out a Ninja Blender (with Auto-IQ one-touch intelligence!), I was a little excited. And try it, we did!

The Machine
I won't lie to you, I was a little overwhelmed when I pulled it out of the box.  The base has lots of buttons.  The one you press depends on what you're trying to do.  Plus, as well as the blender pitcher, you also get 3 smaller cups of different sizes; 18, 24, and 32 oz.  So I had to sit and look at the manual to figure out what cup to use, and what button to press.  Sounds easy, but try doing that when you have three kids yelling, 'Smoooooooooooothie!" in your ear at the same time.

The base feels very sturdy and has little cups on the bottom to suction it to your counter. The buttons are big and respond well when you press them. The Ninja is pretty loud when in use, but I think that's true of any of these types of blenders.

The Equipment
The blender pitcher is quite large and is capable of holding many servings of your creation.  The total crushing blades did a great job of pulverizing all the ice and frozen fruit I used in my smoothies... no annoying lumps!

I also really liked the smaller cups for making smaller portions.  My favourite things about those are that they double as a cup (it comes with 3 lids), and can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Let's Blend!
Honestly, I haven't used the Ninja to make anything other than smoothies yet.  I will at some point, but let's face it, smoothies are pretty easy to make and my kids love them.  Our first creation was Elise's recipe:

We used the 18 oz. cup and used fresh and frozen strawberries, half a banana, 1/2 c of OJ, and about 2 tbsp. of the protein powder.  We weighed all the ingredients to figure out the carb factor (don't know what that is?  Click here to learn all about carb factors).

Calculating... and we have a carb factor of .10. I have notebook upon notebook with these scribbles.  

And the finished product.  Super yummy and smooth!  Elise really enjoyed it and has asked for it repeatedly.

The boys wanted a some more fruit in their smoothie, so I broke out the 32 oz. cup and threw in some frozen pineapple, fresh and frozen strawberries, half a banana, a peach, OJ and protein powder.

This one was definitely my favourite, the sweetness of the peach really came out.  If you read the instruction manual, it tells you exactly how to layer the ingredients so it blends well. 

For these smoothies, I used the "Ultra Blend" button, which pulsed the blender on and off automatically for 60 seconds at irregular intervals.  I'm guessing this method helps to blend it completely, because we never had any lumps in our drinks.

One thing I love about smoothies (and using blenders in general) is that you can sneak healthy ingredients in and the kids are none the wiser.  Spinach, kale, avocado are all things I've used in the past.  The Ninja came with a book of 25 recipes including several smoothies, chocolate mousse, and even a margarita recipe!

It also came with another book called Eat to Lose, Eat to Win. It also had some recipes as well as healthy eating tips, but I found the author's overall tone to be a little holier-than-thou and rather off -putting. The advice was good, but I didn't care for how she made it sound like she never made poor food choices, just everyone around her did (if she did, I might not have made it that far into the book... I just didn't care for her writing style).

So Joanne, is it worth spending up to $200 for a blender? That depends how much you will use it.  I have one of the older models of another big-name blender and I use it almost everyday.  I've made smoothies, soup, peanut and almond butter, butter, waffle batter, ice cream as well as varying types of flour.  For me, it's a useful addition to my kitchen and I can't imagine not having one. For me, it's well worth the money, and the Ninja blender will always have a spot on my counter.

My sweet boy and his smoothie.  My other two will rarely pose for pictures anymore

***Though I was provided the Nutri Ninja Blender for free, that doesn't mean my opinion can be bought. This review is comprised of 100% honest thoughts and feelings that are completely my own.


  1. Mr.Lucas you sure are a smoothie cutie! I want to try and get my little guy into smoothies over the Summer and would love more of your tried and true recipes, especially the ones with the veggies that he doesn't like to eat much of! Where do you buy the blenditup? xoxo

  2. Redneck Dim Sum!
    Brilliant. That's how I'm always going to call my Costco sampling from now on.

  3. Redneck Dim Sum cracked me up too! My kids love when I make them smoothies and when I juice for them. Great nutrition in them too. Love the pics of your adorable kids! :)


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