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Nothing, I mean nothing, was sexier to me in 1999 than Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. (The thrills! The beautiful people! The intellectual foreplay!)
As I struggled to balance being a normal undergrad (partaking in the, ahem, more-than-occasional late-night cheese fry from the food trucks) and an ambitious training schedule (as captain of the figure skating team), Russo's green-juice-like smoothies totally fascinated me. (Hey, if Catherine Banning drank them and looked LIKE THAT, well, they must be worth it.) But saying that the spirulina-heavy slop found at juice bars in New England back then was less than enjoyable is an art-heist-sized understatement.
Thanks to celebrity culture, the raw foods movement, and a little-documentary-that could called Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, green juice recipes are about as ubiquitous on Pinterest boards as DIY nail art inspirations. (Jack LaLanne would be so proud.)
Recipes vary wildly, making the flavors of these superfood drinks refreshingly diverse and hard to make monotonous. My favorites are the ones that combine simplicity of measurements (easy to memorize) with fresh fruits and veggies at peak freshness and not much liquid, resulting in condensed frozen cups perfect to pop in the blender on busy mornings.
One of the first things I ever pinned to Pinterest was this recipe from Muffin Tin Mania, loving how simple it was: one blender full makes 12 servings, or one week's worth of fresh green juice for two adults (with one cheat day somewhere in there), frozen in cupcake pans.
The best part is that you can easily customize the recipe to your favorite flavors, whatever shows up in your CSA box that week, or whatever happens to be in season at the farmer's market. The only must is that you blend the greens, coconut water, and nuts first to be able to fit everything else into a single blender jug.
I also updated the quantities so that they were easy to remember — everything has a two in it:
DETOX GREEN SMOOTHIE CONCENTRATE
The trick to removing the cups, once frozen overnight, is to thaw them with the cupcake tins facing upside-down over a cookie tray, or to submerge the tin (right-side up) in a warm water bath to loosen them. I also stored mine stacked in a reusable pitcher, versus a plastic bag.
When you're ready to make a smoothie, just pop one frozen cup along with 8-10 ounces of water or coconut water (16-20 ounces for two frozen cups) into the blender and mix at high speed, then serve. You may find that the frozen cups are easier to blend if you break up into chunks with a fork first, depending on the strength of your blender. The cups are best when used within a week or two of freezing, but can last up to a month in the freezer.
After watching me make this recipe, my neighbor is already on her second batch and said she's lost several pounds in three weeks by replacing one meal a day with the juice. Compared to celebrity-endorsed programs like BluePrint Cleanse, which start at $65 per day for a beginner's cleanse, this recipe costs just $14 to $20 every two weeks.
If you're already in the juicing habit and want to shake things up, here are some more of my favorite Pinterest-worthy smoothie recipes:
Or check out all the photos from my DIY Superfood Green Juice experiment on Flickr. Love to hear your experiences with green juice and juice cleanses, too!
Story & photos: Copyright 2012, Shoestring LLC & Melissa Massello.