Free smoothies you say? As you may have read in my About page, I used to be Dutch. I’m still Dutch I suppose, but i’m really, really Australianised now. I’ve lost my cute, awkward accent, I’ve ditched my wooden shoes for cowgirl boots (as I live in the bush, it seemed only suitable), my skin is no longer translucent and I use the word ‘mate’ a lot.
However, there are certain Dutch things that stick with ya. Like doing whatever every sign says. It says ‘do not park here’; I will not park there. It says ‘jump’; I jump. I’m getting better, adopting my husbands vision of ‘signs are only there for guidance, mostly to be ignored’.
The need to be cheap, not just for free smoothies
One thing I can’t get over is the need to be cheap. If I got a dollar for every time the thought: ‘What’s that worth then?’, I’d be a rich woman. But I’d still think cheap.
There are strict rules in my family. You have half a steak (if you eat meat), not a whole one, what do you think that’d cost! You have treats on Saturday night from 7:30pm to 8pm. Sandwiches have one topping, like cheese or salad. Not both. You shower every 2nd or 3rd day, water’s not free you know.
So, who better than me to come up with:
8 money saving tips for making free smoothies
Dandelion can be found just about anywhere, growing wild. Make sure you get the real Dandelion (1 stalk with 1 flower, not 1 stalk with multiple side stalks and flowers). You can also find Fennel, Asparagus, Nettle and Purslane growing wild. Read my article on identifying, cooking and eating Dandelion
Some great additional info on edible weeds for your free smoothies, with photo’s, can be found on the ABC Health & Wellbeing website, and I recommend the Weed Forager’s Handbook, which is a guide to edible and medicinal weeds in Australia.
2. Use left over breakfast, lunch & dinner for free smoothies
If you have kids like mine, they’re compelled to not eat their whole meal. Use the left overs for free smoothies. Any cereals will work, along with any yoghurt or milk. I get a smoothie a day from the left over muesli! A few added tablespoons of flaxseeds, Chia seeds and nuts and you have a balanced smoothie with plenty of nutrition.
Save uneaten veggies from dinner too, they’re already cooked and ready to go. Place them in the freezer overnight if you like an icy cold smoothie. I’ve been known to add left-over crusts (peanut butter and all) in my smoothie too – just add a bit more liquid than usual as the bread tend to make a very thick smoothie.
My favourites are any greens (which often get pushed to the side of the plate), beans, rice, pumpkin & sweet potato.
3. Use water as base for free smoothies
A bit boring it may be, but water is free (if you’re on tank water like me, or very cheap if you’re on town water), and it’s easy to flavour. It also doesn’t have sugar or preservatives; a perfect base to tweak to your taste. An avocado or banana will turn watery water into creamy smoothieness very easily, and chia seeds (soaked in the water for a few hours) also bulk it up.
A bag of organic, steel-cut oats costs around $3.95 for 1/2 kilo. 1 cup of oats makes 3 cups of oat milk. One cup of oats weighs around 90 grams, so there’s a bit over 5 cups in 1/2 kilo. Each cup makes 3 cups of oat milk, so $3.95 will give you 15 cups of oat milk. If you use a cup for smoothie, that’ll make 15 smoothies, costing $0.25 each – nearly free right!
5. Use home-made milk pulp
Once you’ve made your oat milk, or nut milk, or whatever milk you’re into, freeze the pulp to add to future smoothies. My last creation was the almond milk from ‘the Blender Girl’ book ‘Super-easy, super-healthy meals, snacks, desserts & drinks’, with vanilla extract, a little coconut oil and some golden syrup. Just about the yummiest milk I’ve ever tasted and the pulp is perfect for smoothies.
Double the water when you make your cuppa; drink half and smoothie half. Especially beneficial when you’re looking for a medicinal quality to your smoothie. Use a chamomile base when you feel stressed, fennel for indigestion, Nettle for an iron boost, ginger for nausea… Your possibilities are endless.
7. Use left over juicer pulp
I love making juices with my kids. They enjoy putting the fruits and vegetables in the shute and watching the auger grind them to pulp. I have a cold press juicer which produces very dry pulp, but it still contains fibre and some of the vitamins and minerals.
The pulp is great for bulking out smoothies. Just make sure you plan a little bit beforehand about what kind of smoothie you’re going to make, so you can put those fruits and veg in first, collect the pulp, and separate it from the other pulp. You could start with watermelon, strawberries, ginger and mint to make The Blender Girl’s ‘Pink Cooler’, and then juice pears, spinach and kale for a different smoothie.
8. Freeze veggies and fruits when they’re in season or on special
This is an oldie but a goodie! I go the sunday markets sometimes, always towards the end around 11am, and I pick up boxes of bananas for $5 (they look terrible but are perfect inside). Also boxes of oranges, mandarines and whatever else they’re wanting the get rid off before going home. Freeze them peeled, or already blended in ice cube trays to easily add to a smoothie. No need to defrost, they’ll add yummy frostiness, like a sorbet.
Keep an eye out for the follow up article –