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Now it's all in the mix: easy blender recipes

The best thing about Good Housekeeping's newest cookbook is just about every cook already has the most important ingredient you need: a blender.

Blend It! (Hearst Books, 2003, $14.95) is a collection of 150 recipes from the folks who do simple better than anyone else, Good Housekeeping magazine's triple-testing editorial kitchens, under the direction of author Susan Westmoreland.

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And the appeal of this cookbook is that the blender isn't the only ingredient that cooks often have on hand.

Aside from the fresh fruit required for the smoothies, this is one cookbook that doesn't require a trip, or two, to the specialty grocery store.

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As you might imagine, most of the recipes are for concoctions served in a tall glass: smoothies, soda-fountain and coffee-bar drinks, fizzies, slushes and frozen cocktails.

But that ubiquitous blender is also good for mixing cream soups, salad dressings and batters, uses most of us don't think of right away.

Tomato vinaigrette is the perfect end-of-the-summer salad dressing. And the buttermilk pancakes, with real buttermilk, are a delightful change from the boxed dust that passes for pancake mix.

But when my teen-age daughter kept snatching Blend It! to try yet another smoothie recipe, I concluded that this cookbook had found its niche.

A favorite recipe - for both my daughter and me - was the Breakfast Jumpstart. My daughter liked it for the hint of honey. I liked it for the completely disguised taste of soy milk and wheat germ.

Like all the recipes, it is easy, too.

Breakfast Jumpstart

Makes 1 serving

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1 cup soy milk

1 frozen banana

1 cup strawberries, hulled

2 tablespoons wheat germ

1 tablespoon honey

In blender, combine all ingredients and blend until mixture is smooth and frothy.

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Tip: Keep sliced bananas in individual zip-closed bags in the freezer so there is always one ready to go.

Per serving: 342 calories; 13 grams protein; 66 grams carbohydrate; 7 grams total fat (1 gram saturated); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 33 milligrams sodium


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