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nut butters
little bit at a time
food processor
How To Use A Vitamix
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When I got my first Vitamix several years ago, I was so excited. I knew I would use it every day, and it would make my life as a health nut much easier. From the advertisements, it was clear I would have smoothies in seconds, as well as soups, nut butters, ice cream and even bread doughs. Heck, I was sure I could pretty much put rocks in my Vitamix and it would turn into something edible. Good thing I didn't try.

The first time I tried making a nut-based pate, I ran into problems. I stacked the blender full of everything called for in the recipe - nuts, seeds, carrots, zucchini, parsley, celery - I filled it to the rim excited to have an instant pate. I turned it on and watched as the heavy-duty blades began to spin. The nuts and seeds that were closest to the blade were the only items that seemed to be moving. Soon, they were stuck to the sides of the Vitamix, and all of the vegetables just sort of sat there doing nothing.

I was very disappointed. I thought this thing was supposed to be a food processor as well as a blender. How come nothing is processing?

Maybe you've made this mistake, too. It took me some experimenting to realize that in spite of it's impressive power, I can't just throw anything in and expect it to blend. There are some tricks to the trade.

First of all, if you want to use the Vitamix as a food processor (and this goes for its biggest competitor the Blendtec, also) you can only add about 2 cups of ingredients at a time. The base of the jar is much smaller than a regular food processor, so it is necessary to process in smaller batches. I find if I put in 1 cup of nuts and turn the blender on a fairly high speed, it will quickly become a fine flour. Then I immediately add another cup while the blender is still going. Once it's processed nicely, I dump that into a bowl and start over. It's the same with vegetables. They all process well as long as you only do a little bit at a time.

Some other tricks that might help you have a better blending experience are to make sure that when you put frozen items, including ice, in your blender, that you add them after you add your liquid and other foods. For example, if you are making a smoothie, I would first put in the liquid like water or juice so that the blades turn easily. Then I would add the fresh fruit like strawberries or bananas. Then I would add a couple of handfuls of spinach or kale. Last, add the ice or frozen fruit. This will help so that the frozen items don't get stuck to the blade and prevent everything else from blending.

One more thing, and this is very important!! A lot of people make this mistake! Whatever you do, don't use the tamper without the lid on. You must always put the lid on first, and then put the tamper through the hole in the lid to scrape down the sides and push food into the blade. If you can't reach, turn the machine off before you try to get any deeper into the jar. I can't tell you how many people, including myself, have had their tamper ripped to shreds by getting to close to the blade. So, be careful!

Now, if you're looking for some great recipes to get you started using your Vitamix, some of my favorites are cherry almond coconut ice cream and a delicious green goddess salad dressings. Start there, and you will soon be making soups, nut butters and much, much more!

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