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3:07 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

Summer fruit smoothies go down really slick

With all the fresh fruits available throughout the summer and the tendency to spend long hours outdoors, a great way to refresh is with SMOOTHIES. They are one of the reasons I look forward to summer as they are good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as an afternoon pick-me-up anytime. These recipes also adapt to using frozen fruits when fresh is not available, but for right now it is, so let’s enjoy! Also, just think of all those good vitamins and antioxidants you are getting for good health!

The other great thing about smoothies is that you can be creative by changing ingredients to your personal taste and also adjust sweetness. Just about anything goes, so have fun experimenting! You can even freeze bananas and it gives it a thicker, colder drink. For those who avoid dairy milks, you can substitute soy, rice, or almond milks.

• BASIC FRUIT SMOOTHIE

1 c. fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, etc.) - 1 fresh banana - 1/2 - 1 c. milk - 1/2 c. vanilla or choice of flavor yogurt - opt. May add 2-3 ice cubes to mix to make it colder (especially if fruit is room temperature); also opt. 1 -2 T. honey or maple syrup, or sugar.

•CANTELOUPE COOLER

3 c. canteloupe, cut into cubes - 1 c. orange juice - 1 c. pineapple juice - 2 tsps. each lemon and lime juice - 1 tsp. sugar (opt.)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve over ice. About 4 servings with only 64 calories each. Best if you have a very sweet, ripe melon. Garnish glass with mint sprig or strawberry!

• THE BETA-CAROTENE QUEEN

(For a real vitamin treat)

2 apricots, pitted and sliced - 1 1/2 c. cups carrot juice – 1/2 c. peeled and sliced mango (remember how to cut them from last week’s salsa column?) - 1 c. peeled, chopped papaya - 3 T. frozen orange juice concentrate or 1 c. fresh orange juice.

Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high 1 minute. Yields 4 cups with 100 calories per serving. Pour into tall glasses, garnish with mint.

• PEANUT BUTTER-BANANA BREAKFAST DELIGHT

1 c. fat-free or low fat milk – 1/2 c. frozen banana slices - 1 - 2 T. peanut butter - 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon – 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract - couple dashes of sweet cocoa powder (opt.)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy. 1 serving, but may double amounts for more. Garnish by sprinkling cocoa powder on top.

If desired, you can always add 1 T. wheat germ to any of these smoothies for some extra B vitamins.

• RASPBERRY DELIGHT SMOOTHIE

1/2 c. fat-free milk - 1 c. ea. raspberry and orange sherbet - 3/4 c. fresh or frozen raspberries - 2 T. frozen lemonade concentrate – 1/2 c. ice cubes.

Blend milk, sherbets, fruit, concentrate and ice cubes. Garnish (opt.) with raspberries or kiwis on side of glass and/or top.

• STRAWBERRY-

PINEAPPLE COOLER

In a mixer or blender, combine 2 c. milk - 2-1/2 c. (1 lb. 4-1/2 oz.can) chilled crushed pineapple and 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream until just smooth and blended. Do not over beat. Pour into tall glasses and top with sliced strawberries or garnish with mint. 6 servings.

• JUST PEACHY SHAKE

1 pint frozen vanilla yogurt - 1 med. fresh peach, peeled, pitted and cut up OR 1/2 c. frozen peach slices - 1 T. honey - 1 T. creamy peanut butter (opt. garnish) - chopped peach and finely chopped peanuts.

In blender container, combine frozen yogurt, cut up fresh or frozen peaches, honey, and peanut butter. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses. Garnish as desired. 2 six oz. Servings.

You may also add 1 - 2 T. dry non-fat milk to boost the calcium content.