Vegan Tool Box: the Blender

blending-bad-1There are tons of questions when you are a new vegan.  I asked most of them myself in the beginning and now I get to hear them again when lending an ear to the newly veganated.

A common question involves the tools that are needed to prepare vegan grub.  Ex-omnivores often find themselves with a small collection of appliances that don’t have any place in a vegan kitchen.  George Foreman Grills and bacon toasters can certainly be repurposed to create herbivore dishes but unless you have acres of counter space it is probably time to sell them on  I have found that there is a small collection of tools that can be very helpful for cooking like a veganaut.  None of them are mandatory, but they do save time and help create some culinary magic.

In today’s inaugural “Vegan Tool Box” post we’ll be celebrating the blender.  You may get the impression that I am using this as an opportunity to brag because we finally bought our Vitamix.  If so, I can only conclude that you are a very astute person.

We’ve had our new (refurbished) food mower for about a week now and in that time I have seen proof that it is a force to be reckoned with.  We purchased our darling Blendy Lou directly from Vitmaix and patiently waited a little over a week to get her.  After paying around $350 for this industrial powerhouse it was too painful to shell out the extra dough for two day shipping.  The new blenders are two and three hundred bucks more, but the refurbished models still have the full-replace-repair-seven-year warranty so we went with the more frugal purchase.

Now some of you are channeling my mother and thinking, “Holy Tofu! Why would you pay that much money for a blender??”  Well, Mom, as it happens, we did months of research before buying it, thank you very much.  There are two high end, mega blenders on the market that are powerful enough to liquify a cell phone.  One is the Vitamix and the other is the Blendtec.  There are minor differences that draw blender lovers into one camp or the other but they can both turn solids into liquids like magic.

Shannon and I got by with a Magic Bullet and a Deathstick for the first 15 months of the vegan adventure. The Magic Bullet is a little single serving cup blender that is great for making morning smoothies, salsa, and oatmeal flour.  It is a very versatile tool but we were using it as a place holder for months while we dreamed of the big league.  For a month or two we even lived without a Magic Bullet because our first died an untimely death.  During that time we used the Deathstick.

Some people call this an immersion blender but they are kidding themselves with a benign name like that.  With a regular blender you have to stick your hand all the way down into the pitcher and then flip a switch to lose fingers and dangerous amounts of blood.  Not with the handy Deathstick!  Mad scientists took the vicious blades of a blender and attached them to then end of a stick that you can wave around like a light saber.  And unlike a blender with a switch that you have to flip, the Deathstick has a button that you gently press with your thumb.  It is so conveniently and ergonomically placed that many times, I found myself blending in midair thanks to a gentle pressure I unknowingly placed on the button.  Luckily, this never cost me any digits but I can only imagine the carnage this handy kitchen tool has left strewn in it’s wake.

Now the Vitamix sits proudly on our counter.  It takes care of all our blending jobs with what I believe to be a diesel engine from an 18-wheeler.  The flax seeds and blueberry seeds are no longer noticeable in the morning smoothies.  They are disintegrated into nothingness.  If I wanted to add a snow ski to my smoothie, I am sure the Vitamix could handle that as well.  In fact…

I recently watched the first episode of Breaking Bad so I could finally see what all the overblown hoopla was all about.  Two sleepless days and nights later I’d seen every episode of this dark trip into the vicious meth industry.  Protagonist, Walter White is diagnosed with cancer and can’t pay for treatment so he solves the problem by cooking meth.  On one hand I spent a lot of time thinking about how this show would have been over in a single episode in Canada since there is no need to create a meth amphetamine lab if there is universal healthcare available.  On the other hand I saw that a lot of Walt’s problems in the business involved getting rid of incriminating evidence.  Now after a week of Vitamixing the hell out of fruits and vegetables I can’t help but think that this device could have helped him get out of a lot of jams.

Whether you go straight for the big time blenders or spend months with a $35 Magic Bullet, blenders are probably the most versatile and important appliance in the vegan tool box.  Just promise me, please promise me, that if you own a Deathstick now or buy one in the future, you will treat it with respect… but if there is an accident, apply pressure and head for Canada.


About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. View all posts by jasongillett

23 responses to “Vegan Tool Box: the Blender

  • Patricia Ross

    I bought a Vitamix about 2 years ago and it has never gone more than a day without being used… best money I ever spent, bar none. Honestly, I’m almost positive it’s in the “Welcome to Veganism” handbook ;D Great post!

  • nomeatbarefeet

    Got a Vitamix for Xmas…hallelujah! Love it. Though ours blends great, i sometimes can smell the motor burning or something. Seems to work fine. Let me know if you have the same prob. And have fun with it! Smoothies galore!

    • jasongillett

      Hallelujah!! I might be wrong, but I think that might just be power tool smell- I got a whiff of what I think you are smelling. The motor is really intense which is why you have to do the power-up with the dials and switches. In any case, we don’t often register our appliances but this one is different. We’ll be able to send these back to the company for any problems between now and 2020.

      Smoothies are a whole new ball game- did you know that you can/should add an avocado, pit and all, to the occasional smoothie? It takes a hella blender to be able to handle that job and we have one! Blend on! : )

  • The Savvy Sister

    Classic (and helpful) post as usual. LOVE the image!

  • An Unrefined Vegan

    When our $30 Walmart blender died (okay, I dropped the glass pitcher which may or may not have been deliberate sabotage on my part) I decided it was time to upgrade to a Vitamix. (I went w/ the Vitamix over the Blendtec cuz Vitamix is located my home state.) I discussed the purchase with Kel and explained that well, it was a bit pricey. He asked, what – like $100? I just chuckled to myself and ordered the beast. We’ve used it every day since and he hasn’t objected once to the amount spent. It’s now part of the family.

    • jasongillett

      Honestly, Shannon had to hold my hand and walk me to the edge of the cliff one little step at a time. She has a way of pacing her pitch that lulls me into submissiveness long before dollar amounts are discussed. I’m pretty sure Kel and I had the same question at one point: What- like $100? Glad to have our Blendy Lou in the family now : )

  • Karin

    Your postings almost never fail to bring tears of laughter! (wiping eyes) I am still awaiting the glorious day when I can purchase a Vitamix.. I think I’ll go with the refurbished variety. For the time being, I have an old school beehive Osterizer with two speeds: on and off. I must say it works very well, with the exception of those pesky blueberry and flax seeds, and I would not chance an avocado seed in there!

    • jasongillett

      Thanks Karin! I’m blushing : ) Old school blenders are surprisingly strong. I was looking at Blendy Lou this morning and was shocked by the simplicity of design. I think the older blenders have that going for them. No buttons and settings getting the way. However, I am rooting for a Vitamix miracle for you!

  • Shawna

    Huge congrats on the new Vitamix! We’ve had ours for about 2.5 years and it gets used in some capacity nearly every day. Whether we are making frozen coffee drinks, blending pea soup, grinding flour or coffee beans, making play dough, or something else, it has paid for itself at least once, if not over and over. The more you use yours, the more you will love it. It is hands down the best kitchen appliance ever, isn’t it?

    We have a Deathstick, too. It sits forlornly and dejectedly in a cabinet with our obsolete food processor.

    Here is a helpful tip for your readers: Costco frequently has them on special, new, with cookbook and cheesy DVD. They also have the dry blade container for $99. I forget how much the blender setup costs, seems like it is around $350 or so. Trouble is, Costco doesn’t announce when they will have the Vitamix in store.

    Costco takes AmEx too, so if you pay for it with the AmEx card, the warranty is automatically doubled.

    As for Breaking Bad, I have never seen it but keep hearing great things. Now hat you mention it, yes. A Vitamix could help with incriminating evidence! Haha! Dexter, too! Huh… Maybe Nurse Jackie could use one, a well.

    Anyway, have fun with Blendy Lou! Happy blending!

    • jasongillett

      Thanks Shawna!! We’re pretty juiced up over it. Great advice on Costco- the double warranty is insane. If you liked Dexter- I think Breaking Bad will be right up your alley. Down with Deathsticks!! : )

  • Aggie

    After blowing up a cheap blender and a couple of cheap food processors (don’t ask), I finally (finally!), bought a Vitamix. While waiting for it to arrive, I kept thinking “Did I really fork over this much money for a blender?”. Then it arrived, the skies opened up, angels sang and I don’t know how I lived before it’s existence.

    • jasongillett

      I gotta say Aggie, we went on a similar journey there. I am a cheapskate in a lot of ways but I have recently become more comfortable buying the kinds of appliances that are going to last as long as 5 cheap versions. I wont ask about your appliance apocalypse but I am going to wonder ; )

  • nburgart

    I agree, I just recently purchased a blendtec… I thought it looked cooler for my counter, forgive my vanity. 🙂 Anyway, its the best thing ever. It certainly makes it far easier to stomach greens in my smoothie.

    • jasongillett

      I know right? I have increased the spinach and kale intake because of it. I thought long and hard about the Blendtec but we have a very uncool counter ; ) It is like Coke and Pepsi as far as I can tell- same amazing job. Blend on~ blend on…

  • Jenn

    Mom is no doubt rolling her eyes about the cost but she would be so thrilled you are getting healthy she might be able to overlook a blender.

    • jasongillett

      She would NOT overlook the blender- but she would buy herself a nicer one : ) And she is really missing out on a recipe laden hobby that she would love to be a part of. Ah well. Must be getting close to March.

  • thecrueltyfreereview

    I’m glad to know that refurbished Vitamixes can be bought. I don’t have enough room in my tiny kitchen for one, but once I move into a big-girl house, nothing will stop me from blending the sh*t out of stuff! I do love my Deathstick though. And I love it even more now that you gave me the idea to wave it around like a lightsaber.
    As for Breaking Bad…I can’t tell you how quickly we devoured every episode as soon as we got it from Netflix. So between that and The Walking Dead, I think I’m set for just about any extreme situation I might end up in. I could make meth and give it to the zombies. That’s bound to have a negative effect, right?

    • jasongillett

      Wasn’t that a ridiculously exciting show to watch?!? I spent the whole 2-3 days on the edge of the couch leaning into the TV while being ready to hide my eyes at a moments notice. Amazing story. I was searching Amazon so I could pay 1.99 for this week’s episode with no luck- so I Googled BB for more info- and found that it wont be out until this SUMMER!! AAAARGH!!! I can’t wait that long- I have a sick cliff hanger that needs to be dealt with I never thought I’d have to wait this long~

      May the Force be with you as you brandish your Deathstick : )

  • Dehydrator Love | anunrefinedvegan

    […] I don’t have a recipe to share today, just some low-quality, iPhone photos of a raw pizza that kinda rocked my sheltered plant-based planet.  You see, I recently acquired an Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator, an item that had been sitting patiently on my Amazon Wish List for many, many months while I accumulated enough points (freebie!) to hit the Order button.  To many vegans, purchasing a dehydrator produces feelings akin to having a sturdy high-speed blender (there are two camps: the Vitamixers camp and the Blendtecers) gracing their countertop. (For insight into how people feel about owning a high-speed blender, please read this very funny post.) […]

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