The Smoothie Move

As I type this, I am enjoying a delicious strawberry smoothie made with the Smoothie Pro 700 from Back to Basics. And... whoops, now it's gone. I personally have trouble controlling myself when I'm presented with a cold glass of blended fruit, juice, ice and yogurt.

And the rest of the country seems to be joining in the craze, happily spending $4 or $5 a glass at chain restaurants for fresh juices and smoothies. But with wallets getting tight these days, it's a good thing that professional-quality appliances like the Smoothie Pro are now available, at a size and price range perfect for the home kitchen. If you can get your hands on some fresh-fruit, you can create your own healthy and refreshing masterpieces, like the one I just drank too fast.

The chrome Smoothie Pro 700 may not offer the same high-capacity container and high-pitched variable-speed whir you've peeked at behind the counter at Jamba Juice, but with its stylish design and a few practical perks, the model we tested looks great and gets the job done. The shape of the container focuses ice and ingredients into the center, where the blade will quickly smooth out your yummy treat. The container is clearly marked for volumes of 2 or 4 servings, with a total smoothing capacity of 48oz. We might have preferred a glass container to the plastic, for easier cleaning. For the super-health conscious, glass is preferrable to plastic. But then again, plastic doesn't chip or break.

The unit's powerful 700 Watt Pulse-Power Motor smooths ice and fruit into cool, healthy refreshment. The MIX, SMOOTH, PULSE, and OFF buttons keep everything simple, and we saw little need for additional blending speeds. On "smooth", the blade managed to blast its way through an entire tank of ice cubes without much difficulty. The cover of the Smoothie Pro includes a slide-in attachment that makes it possible to stir the contents without touching the bottom or the spinning blade.

By far the best feature of the unit is the dispenser valve located on the front of the unitl. The tap serves up smoothies quickly and cleanly, and as allowing for continuous mixing and serving. Gone are the days of messy pours, of digging with a spooon or spatula for that last hard-to-reach drop. Very cool.

The container and blade shape make the unit practical for more than just shakes and smoothies; we also found it ideal for blending gravy or cream soups to just the right consistency. It's not bad for margaritas, either. We double-checked with a second round of drinks, just to be sure.

The Smoothie Pro 700 is one of many health-conscious products and kitchen appliances available from Back to Basics. Available in White, Black, Brushed Chrome or Traditional Chrome finishes, the Back to Basics smoothie makers range from $39.99 to $89.99 (SRP), and are sold at national retail stores, as well as from national home products catalogs. For more information or to locate a retailer, call 801.571.7349, or visit Back to Basics

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