It's a challenge for me because I'm horrible at it. But I need to do it for my health. And Jeff needs to do it as well since he's none too happy with the way his weight has been going these days.
"I'm getting chubby," he says.
Weight issues are common with quadriplegics. The nurses at Rancho told us that once we got home, Jeff would start gaining weight. And that we would need to keep his weight in check.
So one way we are trying to stay healthy is by making fruit and vegetable shakes (or 'smoothies' as we sometimes call them).
Evie, not surprisingly, loves the "pink shakes" - the ones with strawberries, bananas, and yogurt.
She's not too fond of the "green shakes" - the ones with kale, kiwis, and other green stuff.
Here she is trying her first green shake.
The green shake has been resurrected in our family in the last couple months, and luckily, most of them taste better than Evie indicates in the above photo. You see, before Jeff's accident, we started drinking them. And one of our first experiences in making them is a hoot.
If you haven't already heard the infamous "Green Shake" story, you're in for a treat.
* * * * *
About six months before Jeff's accident, he was getting in really good shape. His 40th birthday was on the horizon, he was planning a football trip with his brother to Nashville, he was jogging consistently, and was eating healthy.
During this time, he became interested in making kale shakes.
He did a lot of research online about the best blenders out there for making these healthy shakes. Even though he really wanted a Vitamix, the cost was a little too high to justify. So he went with a NutriBullet, which actually worked quite nicely. He made several shakes in that thing - even sending me off to work sometimes with an extra green shake in hand.
But he really wanted to make a shake that was super smooth in consistency - no little gritty pieces.
So one morning, he decided to use our traditional blender in a rather non-traditional manner.
He and I were both in the kitchen, and Evie was milling around the living room, doing whatever 4 year olds do in the morning while Mom and Dad are busy in the kitchen. I was making myself a sandwich for lunch, and he was loading up the blender with greeny goodness.
I heard the blender whirr to life as I spread the peanut butter on my sandwich.
Just as I was starting to spread the jelly, I heard the motor of the blender make a ... different sound. It was jumpy, as if the unit were being shaken.
I turned and saw Jeff holding the entire blender and base in both of his hands about two feet off the counter. One hand on the lid of the blender, one hand on the bottom of the base. And he was shaking it - diagionally - in a furious effort to make this the smoothest shake ever.
Just as I was about to unnecessarily say "I don't think you're supposed to use it like that," the blender slipped out of the base, the motor made a wild whizzing sound, and green shake shot forth like a projectile. The bulk of the green goo thudded onto the tan carpet, and the force with which it hit the floor made it splatter up the white vertical blinds.
It looked like an alien was shot in our dining room.
We stared at the mess in silence. I clapped my hand over my mouth not knowing if I should laugh or shout an obscenity.
The empty glass blender was still spinning on the countertop.
Evie had made her way under the dining room table by this time, and after a few seconds, her quiet giggles broke the silence.
Before I could join in the giggling, Jeff looked at me and said, "You can just leave for work. I'll clean this up."
He was mad - at himself - probably for not just buying the Vitamix in the first place and now having to deal with the aftermath of a jerry-rigged blender.
I told him it would take him two hours to clean this up on his own. So we grabbed towels and set to work.
We had most of it cleaned up in 30 minutes.
I left for work still having not discussed the incident. He was still fuming.
It wasn't until I got to work that I could let my laughter out when I regaled two co-worker girlfriends with the story.
When I got home, Jeff was already hard at work with a rented carpet cleaner from Home Depot. He had the green spot almost entirely gone - and with a little extra work, he was able to remove the entire thing and rid the house of the aroma-o-kale. He assured me afterward that he was a professional at cleaning stains as he'd done it on several occasions in his youth when he spilled soda on his mother's white carpet only to expertly remove it in record time without her even knowing (sorry Linda!)
* * * *
Fast forward to 2014, and we're back on the green shake kick. This time without the mess, but with the addition of ...
My sweet Aunt Denise was visiting us last month, and for our 9 year anniversary, she surprised us with the much sought-after blender.
We were shocked at and so thankful for her generous gift. After lots of hugs and plans for making delicious blended food, Jeff and I looked upon the new blender with awe. We had wanted one for several years. And now it was ours.
Then Jeff looked at me with a little sadness. "I just wish I could use it," he said.
I gave him an understanding "I know" in return.
But considering what happened the last time he had his hands on a blender, it's probably best to leave this one to me.