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SMOOTH TALKING START YOUR BLENDERS WITH TRICKS FROM THE EXPERTS.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

If you're not eating the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily (and the majority of Americans are not), pull out the blender and whip up some cool, irresistible smoothies or other delicious juice drinks in a jiffy.

You'll find plenty of refreshing, indulgent flavor combinations and creations - including Aloha Pineapple, Be Boysenberried, Apricot Affinity, Raspberry Rush, Silken Strawberry Whip, Raspberry Cream Pie, Mango Berry Fusion and more - in two new volumes - ``Jamba Juice Power'' by Kirk Perron with Stan Dembecki (Avery; $15.95) and ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices'' by Wai Lana (Wai Lana Productions; $24.95).

Perron, founder of San-Francisco based Jamba Juice Co., includes more than 45 smoothie and eight fresh-squeezed juice recipes. (Don't expect to find copies of selections at Jamba Juice stores - the company won't share any trade secrets.) In addition, there's a step-by-step 21-day Smoothie and Juice Guide.

Wai Lana, a yoga teacher and television personality (seen locally on KOCE, Channel 50, at 8:30 a.m. weekdays), features more than 80 juice, smoothie and dessert recipes with gorgeous color photos that transport you to an island paradise. Both books are designed for health-conscious consumers.

Fast, convenient and affordable to make, these frosty, thick smoothies provide an easy way to get a few servings of fresh fruits into your diet. They're great as a meal replacement for breakfast, lunch or dinner (many have 400 to 500 calories each), as a snack or even dessert fare to satisfy sweet-tooth cravings.

Perron views smoothies - a blended thick fruit drink that's a combination of fresh fruit juice, fresh or frozen fruit, ice and sometimes a sherbet, sorbet or nonfat frozen yogurt - as the ``ultimate fast food.'' You can sip them on the run - in the car, at a meeting, your desk, class or the gym.

``Juices and smoothies are often more satisfying and more of a pick- me-up than a sandwich or a bowl of pasta,'' says Wai Lana, adding that she often has juice or a smoothie for an energizing meal, especially for breakfast. Wai Lana, a native of Hong Kong who's now based in Hawaii, emphasizes that ``the fresher your drink is, the better. Fresh juices and smoothies are loaded with nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Fresh tastes better, and it's healthier.''

Make your own juice (fruit or vegetable) with a good-quality juicer whenever possible, and dilute fruit juices (with up to half water), especially for children and those in frail health, she advises. ``Nothing beats fresh from the garden - or off the tree.''

Although most smoothies contain ice, Wai Lana opts to make hers without any. ``There are some frozen fruits in some of my recipes, but they're combined with other nonfrozen ingredients so that these drinks aren't overly cold,'' she points out, noting that she tries to minimize the amount of iced cold drinks in her vegetarian diet.

Perron, a native of Los Angeles and a fitness buff, started in the smoothie and juice business with the opening of his first store, Juice Club, in 1990 in San Luis Obispo. Although he didn't invent the smoothie - it was served in various shops at the time as a drink option - he created a niche for the made-to-order variety. By 1993, there were three stores, and in 1996 the company changed its name to Jamba (an African word that means to ``celebrate'') Juice. In 1998, the company acquired Zuka Juice (with 90 stores scattered throughout the West). Today there are 400 Jamba Juice stores nationwide (about 40 percent of them are franchised).

In the last decade, sales have grown from $2 million to $200 million system-wide, notes Perron. The company anticipates a 20 percent sales increase this year due to existing store growth along with planned openings of about 50 new stores.

Natalie Haughton, (818) 713-3692

natalie.haughton(at)dailynews.com

MANGO BERRY FUSION

1 1/2 cups mango pieces

1/3 cup raspberries (fresh OR frozen)

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 cup water OR milk

In a blender, combine all ingredients, blending until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices,'' by Wai Lana.

ALOHA PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1 cup pineapple sherbet

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup bananas

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup ice

Pour pineapple juice into blender. Add sherbet, yogurt, bananas, strawberries and ice. Blend on low speed 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and blend until smooth and thick. Turn blender off, remove lid and tap on side of blender while pouring. For the proper thickness, smoothie should form a mound in the cup. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Jamba Juice Power,'' by Kirk Perron.

SILKEN STRAWBERRY WHIP

1 1/2 cups papaya pieces

6 strawberries

1 generous tablespoon avocado

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/3 cup water OR milk

In a blender, combine all ingredients, blending until smooth. (To boost, add a scoop of protein powder, if desired, and blend in.) Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices,'' by Wai Lana.

RASPBERRY RUSH

1 cup raspberry juice

1 cup nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup bananas

1/2 cup ice

Pour raspberry juice into blender. Add frozen yogurt, raspberries, bananas and ice. Blend on low speed 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and blend until smooth and thick. Turn blender off, remove lid and tap on side of blender while pouring. For the proper thickness, smoothie should form a mound in the cup. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Jamba Juice Power,'' by Kirk Perron.

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

3 apricots OR 6 dried apricots, soaked

2 cups pineapple pieces

4 strawberries

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. (To boost, blend in some fresh ginger.) Serve immediately. Makes 1 or more servings.

From ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices,'' by Wai Lana.

RASPBERRY CREAM PIE

Juice of 3 apples

1/3 cup raspberries

1 banana, frozen

1/3 cup water OR 1/2 cup milk

Raspberries and whipped cream for garnish

In a blender, combine apple juice, raspberries, banana and water and blend until smooth. (To boost, add a scoop of protein powder, if desired, and blend in.) Serve immediately, garnished with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices,'' by Wai Lana.

HAWAIIAN LUST

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup bananas

2 tablespoons coconut

1/2 cup ice

Pour pineapple juice into blender. Add frozen yogurt, strawberries, bananas, coconut and ice. Blend on low speed 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and blend until thick and smooth. Turn blender off, remove lid and tap on side of blender while pouring. For the proper thickness, smoothie should form a mound in the cup. Makes 1 serving.

From ``Jamba Juice Power,'' by Kirk Perron.

GRANT'S SMOOTHIE

This is one of my son's favorites.

1 cup small ice cubes OR crushed ice

3/4 cup unsweetened frozen whole strawberries

3/4 cup water OR orange juice

1 large banana, peeled and halved

In a blender container, whirl together all ingredients until thick and smooth. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 1/2 cups, 1 to 2 servings.

PEACH MELBA SMOOTHIE

1 cup unsweetened frozen whole raspberries

1 cup unsweetened frozen peach slices

1/2 cup nonfat frozen vanilla yogurt

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup water

In a blender container, whirl all ingredients together until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 1/3 cups, 1 to 2 servings.

STRAWBERRY ORANGE BANANA SMOOTHIE

1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened whole strawberries

1 banana, peeled and cut up

1/2 cup orange OR apple juice

1/2 cup nonfat vanilla OR other flavor yogurt (not frozen)

1/2 cup small ice cubes

2 tablespoons protein powder (optional)

In a blender, whirl together all ingredients until smooth and thick. Serve immediately. Makes about 3 cups, 2 servings.

Blend these tips for best smoothies

Here are some smoothie tips shared by Jamba Juice Co. founder Kirk Perron, and from my years of experimenting with frosty, homemade concoctions.

--For the best results and a thick smoothie, be sure to start with some frozen fruit. Avoid making the drink too thin (with too much liquid) from the outset, as it's often almost impossible to thicken it up, even by blending in extra ice or frozen fruit.

--When possible, buy and use 100 percent juice - and go for those with less sugar or no sugars added. Buy orange juice with pulp as it has more fiber. If you don't have orange juice on hand, use a few tablespoons of orange juice concentrate from a can in the freezer along with a little water. You can use nectars, buttermilk and other fruit juices in place of orange or apple.

--Experiment with different fruits and juices according to your palate (once you get the knack you won't really need recipes), but be aware that some combinations of not-so-popular fruits may not turn out as well as anticipated. Think of smoothie flavor combinations you order and like (at shops like Jamba Juice) - and if there's one you think tastes great, try to copy it or at least include those basic ingredient flavors in your homemade versions.

--Small ice cubes (fill trays half full) and crushed ice work best and will not leave unblended icy chunks in your drink.

--If the mixture seems too thick after blending, add a little more juice or water, but go easy.

--If the mixture is too tart, add a little sugar substitute, powdered sugar or honey.

--Although it's feasible to buy ripe fresh fruit and freeze it (takes from two to four hours to become firm), it's much easier and less hassle to purchase unsweetened individually quick-frozen fruits to portion out of the freezer as needed (you can return the rest of the package for later use). Lots of frozen fruits - strawberries, raspberries, peaches, mango pieces, blueberries, berry medleys, pineapple pieces and more - are available in supermarkets and Trader Joe's.

--If you're counting calories, avoid using frozen yogurt or sorbet or sherbet in your smoothies. Nonfat yogurts (not frozen) in your choice of flavors can be used, if desired.

--Fortify smoothies with boosters like protein powder, lecithin, vitamin C, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, rice bran, wheat bran, soybean powder, etc. if desired. However be aware that they could change the flavor, texture or taste of the smoothie.

--Keep in mind that all blenders are not created equal. If you plan to make thick smoothies often, invest in a heavy-duty blender like a Vita Mix (that's what Jamba Juice stores use) for best results.

- Natalie Haughton

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) FAST & FRESH

Whip up healthy, refreshing fruit drinks

(2 -- color) MANGO BERRY FUSION

(3 -- color) RASBERRY CREAM PIE

(4 -- color) FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Photos by Michal Napierzynski from ``Wai Lana's Favorite Juices,'' Wai Lana Productions

Box:

Blend these tips for best smoothies (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 25, 2004
Words:1838
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