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My husband and I had decided the time had come to seriously lose some weight. So we investigated some diets and came up with a combination that we would both feel happy with. One of the ideas was to have smoothies as meal replacements, for instance as a snack for before or after an exercise session. Of course the best smoothies are those you make yourself, as you can make sure it covers three important aspects i.e. tasty, nutritious and importantly fills you up. Of course we were lacking one important factor in smoothie making - a smoothie maker. So I did some research and found this one going at a nice price on the Tesco's Website. Of course, now I come to look for it, they don't have it any more, but it was under £30. You can get it on the Amazon website now for £37.40.
What I found great about it, once we'd received, washed and set it up, was that all you need to do is put in your fruit, milk/yoghurt and other items, and whiz it until you have the right consistency and voila, you have your perfect nutritious drink. Somehow, it is more satisfying than buying a readymade drink.
Of course there is a bit more to it than that. You do need to practice to get it perfect. And while I found the smoothies to be a nice thick consistency for me, my husband was always complaining it was too thick until we ran out of yoghurt, so I made it with milk and ice cubes instead. But that is too be expected with many things of this nature, and trial and error can actually be more fun than getting it right first time. And it's nice to try different ingredients, although I am reliably informed that salmon smoothies don't work. However recipes are provided that you can use, and there are many books that offer smoothie recipes.
What it consists of:
1.8 Litre jug Great for making smoothies for two people. Could make for more, but maximum three or four relatively decent size smoothies.
Tap What more could you want from a smoothie maker, but a tap to ensure that you can pour the smoothie straight out into a glass? Unfortunately due to the positioning of the tap, you can't completely drain the smoothie maker, but the jug does have a pouring lip and you can disconnect it from the base to use as a normal jug. Just be sure to disconnect it at the right point.
Blades Plenty of warnings about the sharpness of the blades in the in the instructions, but so long as you're not letting a child handle it, and exercise reasonable care, these shouldn't pose a safety problem.
Lid With cap for blending or stirrer for smoothie making. I've not made much use of the stirrer, apart from trying to get powder into the smoothie which has been sprayed onto the topmost parts of the jug, but the more smoothie you make the more you may need to stir the fruit towards the blade.
Base This of course contains the motor, and should be treated with same amount of care as you give to all electrical items. To clean wipe it down with a damp cloth, taking care not to douse it in water. (Well, of course.) Due to the liquid nature of smoothies, it naturally does have some protection against shortage caused by spillages. Fortunately, or some of my experiments might have gone a bit pear-shaped. There is a rubber washer for connecting the jug and blades to the base, but I haven't always found this to be 100% liquid proof. All other parts i.e. jug etc, can be washed in the normal washing up, although it's not recommended to wash in a dishwasher. All parts should be dry before connecting to the base.
Instructions come with the smoothie maker and are relatively straightforward. I say relatively, as my husband still leaves it up to me to put it together. Understandably, as you will see later on, he doesn't want to do it wrong.
As I said before, it is really easy to use. And the buttons can be either pressed on to stay on, or you can press them in lightly to just give a quick spin. It has two levels, slow and fast. On the lower level you can use the ice button to give quick bursts of speed. You can also use this as an ice crusher if you do a lot of entertaining. Just stick some ice cubes in along with an appropriate amount of water. It is important whenever you use it to keep the lid on. I'm sure you can imagine the glorious mess that would be made if you didn't.
Of course as with any electrical appliances, you have your glitches. One day, having showed my husband how to do it, he duly cleaned it and put it back together. Unfortunately, he put it back skew, so of course it didn't work at all. Pressing all the buttons, absolutely no attempt to work. And I suddenly noticed all the liquid was coming out the bottom. Checked the troubleshooting, no clue. Then I tried looking at other smoothie makers, and one mentioned that it had a special safety feature that stops it from working if the maker is not set up correctly. Bingo I thought, and after having duly cleaned it again, tried it without anything in, and it worked. Which was great, but had it just mentioned that in the instructions or troubleshooting guide, it would have saved me a lot of trouble. I really thought it had blown or something.
Other glitches: First time I used it; I didn't screw in the tap quite tightly enough. It ended up spilling milk all over the place. It tells you not to screw it in too tightly however, so I find it difficult to get in the right position for pouring and, tightly enough to avoid spillage. Also, I have found that sometimes all the liquid collects in the bottom underneath the blades and doesn't mix in very well with the rest, so when you pour you have some thin yucky gloop before you get the rest of the slightly thicker and better consistency smoothie. I have tried to compensate by putting the liquid in last, but this does make the smoothie maker lose a few points. As this is the first smoothie maker, or indeed blender (because it can be used as a blender), that I have used, I don't know if it is a universal problem or not, but it is annoying.
Overall, I am pretty satisfied with this. It does what it says on the box, which is quite important. It was also relatively cheap, which goes with the budget constraints. A few minor annoyances, but these can be overcome, and overall, it does what we wanted.
And by the way, I have lost nearly a stone, but it can't all be put down to the smoothies.
-----Update----- Further to comments on this review, I realised there was something I had forgotten to mention. The noise level on this machine is pretty much what you'd expect from a blender. It's a 550 watt motor, so not enough to make too much noise even at full speed.
Also, you do have to keep your hand on the lid to make sure it doesn't come off. It does screw on, but due to the blending action there is the risk it might come off while in use. So it would be inadvisable to go away and leave for any length of time. Added to which it usually only takes up to three minutes.
The tap, so long as it's screwed in right, shouldn't leak., but it may not close properly immediately, so it is best to wait until it's dripped its last before removing your cup or other container.