Everyone needs a little magic in the kitchen, but a Magic Bullet? Maybe not
As Seen on TV. There was a time when those words were my siren song.
As a child, I was obsessed with commercials. I didn’t watch a lot of television, but I had a knack for knowing when the commercials would air. When they were on, I would run into the living room and stand in front of the TV to watch strangers tout clothes, cars and food. Given this history, it makes sense that when I was awake with fussy babies, infomercials were my late-night TV choice.
Correction. Kitchen gadget infomercials were my late-night TV choice. Slap Chop. Turbo Cooker. Sensei Slicer. Rubber baking dishes whose name I can’t recall but still remember how an Italian-American family celebrated the ease of cleanup at the end of their weekly family dinners. I watched them all and wanted them all.
The infomercial for the Magic Bullet was, and still is, my personal favorite. This wasn’t a commercial, people; it was a production! At nearly 30 minutes in length, I got to see how one little appliance — that took up less space on the counter than a cup of coffee — could mix muffins, prep omelets, grind coffee, shred chicken and more. Even better, all of this took place in Mick and Mimi’s kitchen the morning after what must have been a great party because Berman was majorly hung over at the start of their pitch. But Berman isn’t the highlight of the cast; that would be Hazel. She shuffles into the kitchen wearing a housecoat, her hair piled haphazardly on her head and a cigarette dangling from her mouth.
The commercial sounds cheesy and it was. It was so over the top and so easy to make fun of, but it sold its product. So many of the infomercials I remember watching in my darkened living room were for products that no longer exist, but the Magic Bullet still is around, even if you must visit YouTube to watch the infomercial.
I didn’t buy a Magic Bullet. My husband bought one for me. I remember walking into the house after a late night at work and seeing it on the kitchen table. I was so excited! I think I made mousse right away to celebrate the best husband in the world.
Unfortunately, I didn’t use my Magic Bullet for much after that first dessert. Like many As Seen on TV purchases, it wasn’t as necessary to my everyday life as the commercial made it seem. When I got it down from the top shelf of the pantry to make smoothies for this column, I remembered how much I had wanted it, but even my trip down memory lane wasn’t enough to persuade me to keep the Magic Bullet in my kitchen.
It still makes for an entertaining infomercial, though — and yummy smoothies, too.
2/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup nonfat milk
1 teaspoon sliced toasted almonds
1 peeled banana, cubed and frozen
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of cold water if the smoothie is too thick.
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Source: “Cook Yourself Thin Faster: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Over 75 New Recipes You Can Make in a Flash” with Laureen Deen (Lifetime Entertainment Services; 2010)
PUMPED UP PEANUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE
2 tablespoons chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 small peeled banana, frozen
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons low calorie sweetener
2 tablespoons vanilla or chocolate protein powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice
Place all the ingredients, except the ice, in a blender. Blend to mix. Add crushed ice and blend on high until the ice is completely incorporated.
Source: “Eat What You Love: More Than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories” by Marlene Koch (Running Press Adult; 2010)
BLUEBERRY BLAST SMOOTHIE
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon honey
Put all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
Source: “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life” by Ellie Krieger (The Taunton Press; 2008)
VANILLA FRUIT SMOOTHIES
1 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, dark sweet cherries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple, mango)
1 medium peeled frozen banana
1 cup light vanilla soy milk
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Drop fruit of choice and banana into a blender. Whisk soy milk, honey and lemon juice in a 1-cup measuring cup. With blender on high, add soy milk mixture through feeder tube, stopping and stirring as necessary, until mixture is smooth. Pour into a glass or cup and serve.
Source: “The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great” by Pam Anderson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2008)