I finally broke down and bought the Vitamix I’ve been lusting over for the past couple of years. I’ve watched the Vitamix Lady’s demonstrations on YouTube, seen demonstrations at Whole Foods, and read about how awesome they are, but I just couldn’t justify forking over $500 for a blender (blasphemy to call it that now, I know; it needs its own category). I thought there’s no way it could be worth that much.
One night a few weeks ago, I found myself watching the videos again. Lea Ann (“the Vitamix lady”) has a lot of great information about the nutrients we can get from fruits and vegetables that have been blended in the Vitamix as opposed to using a regular blender or chewing them with our teeth. The amazing power of the Vitamix breaks down seeds, stems, leaves, skins, etc to the cellular level, unlocking a lot of nutrients that generally pass straight through our bodies, unutilized. Ok, so it’s amazing, but still… $500+? I pay less than that for 6-months of car insurance!
I decided to email Lea Ann for more information. What I really wanted was for her to justify the price. I wanted to be convinced it was worth it. She sent me SO much information, there’s no way I could fit it into a blog, but she sure did convince me. Not only that, but she really educated me on the value of the refurbished 5200 model and saved me a lot of money. I got it for around $350 with tax and she included all sorts of free goodies, including 2 huge cookbooks, 3 spatulas, 4 cutting boards, and a nutmilk bag for straining fresh almond milk, rice milk, etc.
I must admit, when it arrived last week (with free shipping – thank you Lea Ann!), I was a bit intimidated. It’s HUGE! You can see below that it towers over my Oster blender.
The base that the motor is housed in is double the size of my blender and the pitcher holds 64 oz, so it’s pretty big too. I had watched videos where people mentioned using it incorrectly and “re-painting” their kitchen with smoothie, so I was a little anxious about using it for the first time. I read all of the instructions and watched the DVDs and my mind was put at ease. Although it has a knob with 10 settings and two switches, it’s not complicated at all. I had absolutely no issues my first go, which was this morning. And that brings me to the recipes (and more Vitamix bragging)…
I used the Fresh Fruit Syrup and Oatmeal Cranberry Pancake recipes from the large, gorgeous, colorful Live Fresh cookbook that Lea Ann included.
Fresh Fruit Syrup
3 cups fresh or frozen fruit (if using frozen, thaw first) I used strawberries and blueberries)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Put everything in the Vitamix in the order listed. Select Variable 1 and turn the machine on. Slowly increase the speed to 10 and then flip the switch to high. Blend for 3-4 minutes.
Ok comments on this are necessary because this was my first recipe ever made in my new Vitamix. First, it’s not as loud as I thought it would be. It’s actually not as loud as my Oster! I read a Vitamix review online that said it was as loud as a lawnmower and that’s just not true. I was initially worried about having to blend recipes 5-7 minutes since I live in an apartment. I didn’t want people banging on the walls or complaining, but that’s not going to happen. Again, it’s not as loud as my Oster, which I actually have to stick my fingers in while I use because it’s so loud. No earplugs required with the Vitamix!
As you can see below, it made a beautiful colored syrup. When I’ve made smoothies in my Oster before with strawberries and blueberries, no matter how long or how fast I blended, it would always have strawberry seeds and bits of blueberry skin in the finished product. NOT WITH THE VITAMIX! After 3 minutes, I had silky smooth fruit syrup with not a trace of seed or skin and I actually got giddy and did a little dance when I opened the container. It was steaming! Warm fresh fruit syrup? YES PLEASE!
You can see below how the color changed in the 3 minutes it blended. The end result is slightly darker because the strawberry seeds and blueberry skins have been fully broken down.
While the syrup was blending, I got my skillet oiled and pre-heated and gathered my ingredients for the pancake mix. I gave the Vitamix a quick rinse in the sink and then started the pancake batter…
Oatmeal Cranberry Pancakes
1 1/2 cups soy milk (I used almond)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I used raisins)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (I omitted because I didn’t have any)
Put the first 6 ingredients in the Vitamix. Select variable 1, slowly increase the speed to 10, and then flip the switch to high. Blend 20 seconds then turn off.
Add the oats, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Select variable 1, turn on, and blend for 15 seconds, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes.
The batter will be thick. These pancakes are hearty and very filling. I used my Vitamix spatula to scoop the batter into the pan and then spread it out a little. Cook 2 minutes on each side on medium heat, spraying the pan with non-stick spray in between flips.
I know this isn’t the greatest pic. It looks more like country fried steak drenched in something unmentionable, but I promise it tasted delish! The fruit syrup is not overly sweet, but just sweet enough. I felt very healthy eating this dish. My blood sugar didn’t spike and then drop like it does when I use maple syrup. After 2 pancakes, I was completely full and stayed satisfied until lunch. My partner said this was her “favorite breakfast ever.”
Lea Ann told me cleanup would be easy, but when I saw that thick pancake batter all over the container, I had my doubts. Despite my Vitamix noobie skepticism, I did just what she had told me to do. I filled the container half full with warm water, put a tiny drop of dish liquid, and blended on high for 30 seconds. CLEAN! Rinse, leave it upside down on a dish towel and walk away. It couldn’t be any easier than that!
I’m so excited… let’s see what else I can blend…