Vitamix basics class

There are a few kitchen tools and applicances out there that can change the way you cook, and eat, forever.  They can encourage healthy eating, cut down on prep time, and expand your culinary horizons.  My new Vitamix Ascent series falls into that category.  I’m never turning back!   


To make best use of my new machine and get acclimated with the various settings and capabilities, I attended a Vitamix basics class at the company’s one and only brick and mortar store in Solon, Ohio.  The store manager Michelle, and her team helped a small crowd get to know all the delicious, versatile and healthy creations one can make with this awesome blender.

Attendees were treated to generous samples and invited to help out in executing the 8 recipes demonstrated during the class to have a more hands on experience.  I did a Facebook live during the first portion of the class.  If you’d like to check it out, click here:  Vitamix Basics Class Facebook Live Video


We started with a cocktail, a healthy one made with spinach. Since the class, I have made this at least a dozen times, even putting my own twist on it occasionally, adding things like half an avocado or almond milk to make it creamy. 


Next we sampled and prepared an example of what Vitamix is famous for, smoothies.  This one had beets, strawberries, and cranberries in it.  Since I couldn’t find frozen cranberries in my grocery store I substituted with frozen cherries when I tried this at home, plus I added some of the green beet tops for additional nutrients.  This one is another new go-to for me in the mornings.  Look at the vibrant color on this!  

I don’t know about you, but summer salads are a staple in my lunch box and dinner table, especially with all the lettuce varieties I have planted in my garden this year.  But I am always looking for new bold dressings to spice it up.  The creamy raspberry vinaigrette was a sweet tart punch, that would be beautiful with a nice spinach salad, for example.  I have a bucket full of fresh picked strawberries that are super ripe, so I’m planning to try this recipe with those as well.  

For a “main course” of our class, Michelle demonstrated a black bean soup.  Technically the Vitamix doesn’t cook the soup, but the blades run for five minutes to fully blend all of the ingredients together and the finished product is piping hot.  You can transfer the soup to a pot to cook further, or freeze it if you’d like. It was creamy, spicy and filling.  I can see us making this a great quick-fix weeknight dinner option, or an easy meal to take to friends houses when you’re visiting a new baby or new home.  


This class also helped me think of the Vitamix not just as a blender, but also as a food processor.  It’ll cut down your chop time significantly on recipes like homemade salsa.  I tried it on a pineapple salsa I was making for a TV demo and was thrilled at the results.   

Want something you can make your kids with only two ingredients? Try the raw applesauce.  I love knowing it only has natural sugars in it when I spoon it on to their plates. 


Hummus is anothe recipe people rarely seem to try on their own, but it is so very delicious when made fresh.  The version Micheel made for the demo was creamy and easy, and a perfect make ahead item for a party or healthy option to have in the fridge for the week. 

We made the Vitamix work the hardest when we saw Michelle turn four cups of cashews into homemade cashew butter.  I would spread that on a tire and still want to eat it! To be honest, I was hoping that making it myself would make it a little less expensive.  That isn’t necessarily the case, depending on where you buy your nuts, but it may still be worth it for those who eat it by the jar, or who would appreciate knowing the nutritional content, and controlling it. My daughter now claims she can taste the difference between my homemade peanut butter and store bought.  I actually believe her. It’s that good. 


Can’t believe the machine actually cleans itself out after that, especially with something so sticky.  Michelle shared a great tip too!  On days she makes nut butters, before she cleans out her container, she will make something with the residual product, like a peanut sauce or a peanut butter milk shake.  Great Cheftovers ideas!  

For dessert, we had a refreshing strawberry lime sorbet.  I’ve been picking fresh strawberries and stocking up on beautiful other berries while they’re in season, then freezing them.  Can’t wait to put them to use with a sorbet using my “frozen dessert” program on my own machine.

When I got home from the class, I immediately wanted to start putting all of these great ideas and applications to work.  I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.  But I have been working on some pesto recipes using my Vitamix, like a mint pea and a kale walnut combo. Tell me what you think!

Kale Walnut Pesto

  • 1/3 walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. Chopped kale
  • 1 T. Lemon juice
  • 1.2 c. Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1/4 pepper

Add all above ingredients except the olive oil into your Vitamix or food processor. Begin mixing and slowly stream=a in your oil until the mixture is smooth.  Add more if it’s too dry.  Taste for seasoning and refridgerate or use immediately.  

Disclosure: I was invited by Vitamix to attend this class free of charge.  All opinions are my own.

Double Dipping

When I had some girlfriends over for a little red wine and red carpet reviews during this awards season, I made a few of snacks for us to nibble on.  After all…we weren’t the ones who had to squeeze into one of a kind gowns that fit like a glove.  Among the apps we passed around while sharing thoughts that were equal part admiration and jealousy, was a creamy shrimp dip.  Knowing it wouldn’t keep if it sat out as long as these awards shows last, I put half of the recipe I made in the fridge.  And I had about two cups leftover.  Better make use of it…there was good shrimp in that!  

leftover shrimp dip

At least once a week, I find ways to use tortillas.  And taking a look in my fridge, I also spotted the rest of that salsa verde I was looking to use up (See previous post-Freezer Games)  I thought about using this creamy shrimp dip as the base sauce for some enchiladas!  Besides the shrimp, It had cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in it, plus some celery, green onion and cocktail onions (which I used instead of the pearl onions the recipe called for) I didn’t know if it would work, but you won’t know unless you try.

First step was to grill up the single defrosted chicken breast I had in the fridge (also something I needed to use before it spoiled).  I seasoned it with salt and pepper, cumin, and chili powder, then cooked it on a grill pan.  My husband, who by now could smell what was developing in the kitchen, wisely suggested I shred the meat.  It was a good call.

shredded chicken

Having the chicken in that form made for a better filling and, I think, stretched that one breast a little bit further.  Gradually, I added spoonfuls of the shrimp dip until the filling was the consistency I was going for.

chicken enchilad filling

I put about 3-4 tablespoons of the filling near one end of a tortilla, tucked that end underneath the filling and rolled it tightly.  Then I put them seam side down in a greased casserole dish.  I repeated the process until the filling was gone (had enough for four, perfect!)

salsa verde on enchilada

I also had just enough salsa verde left over to pour over the four enchiladas.  I topped them with a shredded Mexican cheese blend, covered it with foil and baked my “double dip delight” at 350* until it was warmed through and the top was bubbling.

chicken and shrimp enchiladas

I was really pleased with the way these creamy chicken and shrimp enchiladas turned out, and it was all inspired by a little leftovers from a little girl time.

This weekend is the Academy Awards.  What are you making for your watch party?  More importantly, what do you hope you have leftover?