Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Of Green Smoothies and Grateful Readers

Mary Hunt on

Some days I can't believe how lucky I am. Not only do I get to communicate with this growing audience of readers, but many of you find your way to my blog, sign up to see me in your inbox every morning, and even reciprocate with lovely responses. Every single day I open my mailbox and out spills wonderful notes, letters -- even an occasional multiple-page tome. Mostly you send me questions, but now and then it's just a wonderful thank you note. Always, I'm grateful for your feedback.

Dear Cheapskate: I am marching in your army of green smoothie breakfasters! Is your recipe (see previous column, "Turns Out It IS Easy Being Green") for one or two people? (Asked as she obligingly drinks the whole thing, which seems quite adequate!) -- Christine

Dear Christine: You just made me laugh out loud envisioning you marching in your green uniform, smoothie in hand. It is a recipe for one 16-ounce smoothie, and yes, it makes for a very adequate, healthy breakfast. You could easily divide this to make two smaller servings, but I do like your style. Happy to have you in the army, by the way. (For curious readers who may have missed that column, you will find a rerun of the column Nancy refers to below.)

Turns Out It IS Easy Being Green

Have I got a story for you. I don't like to think my husband and I cave easily to peer pressure, but apparently that is the case.

We have these friends who are way into the healthy lifestyle -- clean eating and extreme exercise. I call anything with the words "running," "jogging" or "cycling" in it extreme. They're so into these things, they don't even think about taking a short hiatus when we visit. Oh, no. We're talking green smoothies all around, every morning. No question, no excuse.

Let me just say right here that my husband has never met a vegetable he enjoys. He's just not into them. Never has been. But he's kinder than he is finicky, and so in the interest of friendship, he (OK, and I) would put on a happy face and down the green whenever we visited our friends Carol and Steve. And Harold would kind of shudder in a way only I was aware of -- the way kids do when they have to eat something they think is really gross. This always made me laugh, but I tried really hard not to show it.

I cannot fully explain this, but after several of these occasions, something went off inside of both of us suggesting that perhaps, just maybe, we might think about doing this ourselves. At home.

One thing led to another -- by that I mean we started with bananas, apples and one teeny, tiny leaf of baby spinach -- until without quite knowing what hit us, every morning we were actually making smoothies that turned out the color of wet concrete.

We decided to gradually increase the spinach to just shy of the amount that would be required to actually taste it. And we added cucumber to see if we could get the color a bit more greenish.


Long story short, it's been more than a year. Once again I bow to the power of habit. Mostly green smoothies each morning have become a real, bona fide habit. It is our new way of life.

It's so easy too, since I came up with a way to do all the work ahead of time, assembly-line style -- once every two weeks.

I start by opening these bread bags (I got a box of 1,000 on Amazon to demonstrate my level of commitment) and fashioning them into "bowls" on the counter. Into each bag goes a chopped banana, a handful of baby spinach leaves, four baby carrots, four fat slices of cucumber and half a chopped apple. That's it.

I twist the bags, tie them loosely and into the freezer they go. Done.

Each morning we take out one bag, whack it on the counter a couple of times, dump the contents into a blender, along with about 3/4 cup of water (juice, kefir or whatever's handy) and hit the "smoothie" button. In less than 3 minutes, voila! A healthy, actually quite delicious, lovely green smoothie.

Don't tell a soul, but with each batch I'm increasing the amount of spinach. I'm trying to get our green up to a color that is actually pretty -- the way green smoothies are supposed to be.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.



John Darkow Lisa Benson Kirk Walters Mike Peters Carpe Diem David Fitzsimmons