Viva la VitaMix

Whining and shuddering as it laboriously smashed coffee beans into only slightly smaller pieces, I could tell that my trusty food processor was finally on its last legs. After all of the abuse I’ve put it through over the years, I’m impressed that it’s lasted this long, but it has suddenly become abundantly clear that the motor is no longer as quick or powerful, and those blades are about as dull as an old war documentary. After ten minutes of fruitless spinning, my beans were still so coarse that they stop up the filter in my coffee machine, but what could be done? This machine had given its all.

Sure, I drooled over new models, dreamed of upgrading and putting this old food processor out to pasture, but I wasn’t sure which would be my absolute best option. One name in particular caught my attention though, and that was the VitaMix. Everywhere I looked, this was the brand that professionals and home cooks alike seemed to be raving about. Somewhat pricey, but supposedly worth the investment, I wrote down the name and kept it under consideration… When out of the blue, I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the one, the only, the VitaMix! I couldn’t wait another second to send out an enthusiastic “YES!” in response.

Pulling the lovely blender out of the box, I already had a number of ideas for testing it out, but when I read the instruction manual and handy recipe book, that list increased exponentially. Little did I know how truly versatile this thing was!

The first thing I bookmarked in that cookbook was the simple recipe for rice milk. I was thrilled to see that they have instructions to make a number of non-dairy milks, and many vegan or easily veganizable recipes as well. The rice version simply sounded the quickest and easiest, plus I had everything on hand already. 1/2 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of agave and a small splash of vanilla go into the massive carafe, and two minutes later, all that remains is a perfectly smooth, creamy white liquid. This is something that my old food processor could never do, even in its prime. No trace of the original grains remained, no straining required, and the resulting rice milk was so impressive, I think I may quit buying non-dairy milk altogether. Just think of the money and packaging this could save!

Seeing how well the VitaMix performed making rice milk, I was excited to think that maybe I could finally jump on the bandwagon and try making green smoothies. Fearful of getting mouthfuls of leafy grit in the past, green smoothies were never on the menu for me, no matter how good the recipes sounded. A simple mixture of bananas, spinach, and rice milk sounded like a good way to ease into it, and boy was it! Again, a perfectly smooth amalgamation awaited me when I pulled off the carafe’s lid. I’m already plotting millions of green smoothie combos for quick breakfasts and snacks now!

One feature that I just had to see to believe was that the VitaMix has the ability to actually cook food. Literally, heat the contents of the blender to the point of steaming! So I tossed in all the ingredients for a Moroccan chickpea soup, set it on high for about seven minutes, and voila- Perfectly blended, creamy… and piping hot! This proves that it takes just as much time, if not less, to cook a great meal from scratch versus heating up something frozen. I will definitely be taking advantage of this fantastic feature a lot during these cold days!

Finally, to really put this thing through its paces, I absolutely needed to see how it would make nut butter. And not just any nut butter- Oh no, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to try making nutella again. While it was very good the first time, it was definitely chunkier than the real thing, and not nearly as creamy. Testing out a new recipe at the same time, I ended up with the most incredible homemade chocolate hazelnut spread I’ve ever tasted, with absolutely zero effort. This time around, not only did the VitaMix make a huge difference, but I also decided to use a mixture of nuts to give the spread a greater depth of flavor.  In case you’re curious, my formula was…

1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup Toasted Cashew Pieces
3/4 Cup Toasted Almonds
3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Salt

Simply heat the non-dairy milk without bringing it to a boil, and pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for a few minutes to melt, and then stir thoroughly to combine.

Meanwhile, in the Vitamix, throw in all of the nuts, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let it run for about two minutes on high, using the tamper to continue pushing the nuts into the blade. Once smooth, pour in the chocolate mixture, and let it continue to run until combined. Done! (Just note that does become thicker once chilled.)

I hate to sound so much like an infomercial, but I must admit that I’m seriously smitten with this machine! The only thing that could make it any better would be if it could clean itself, right? Well… It does! I was highly impressed that it could “become its own dish washer” with just a few cups of water, a drop of dish soup, and two minutes on high speed. Rinse the carafe out and you’re good to go.

Now, I just need to get the dry blade so I can grind my own grains…!