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There's nothing I hate more than craving something like a refreshing smoothie on a hot summer day or following a long productive workout and being forced to fork over upwards of $8 for this delicious treat. I understand that fresh ingredients aren't cheap, especially if they are organic, but for heaven's sake, what's a girl gotta do to get a break on her wallet?

I decided to conquer at-home smoothie-making. I bought myself a handy little blender and started experimenting with dumping just about anything into the glass pitcher to see how it tasted when it was all mixed together. After several unsuccessful attempts, I consulted my all-time favorite Chicago-based private chef, Kendra Peterson. Kendra is the founder and owner of Drizzle Kitchen, about which you'll hear a lot more in future posts.

Kendra graciously helped bring this experiment of mine to a whole different level and has suggested the following three smoothies for a refreshing treat. They are all very different, so choose the one that meets your needs, be it a meal supplement, a rejuvenating pick-me-up, or a little nourishment after a long night out or an intense workout. Play around with the ingredients; the amounts below are only suggestions, but add more amounts of one or another to please your taste buds.

Lemon-Lime Smash Up

Ingredients: Lemon juice, lime juice, coconut water, avocado, agave syrup and spinach blended together. This is so refreshing and delicious! Because avocado contains "good" fats, it keeps you full, so you don't gush through the shake and then have hunger pains an hour later.

Tip: I add more lime than lemon for this one, but more amounts of coconut water than either citrus juice. If you want to sweeten it up, just add more agave syrup!

Banana Almond Cinnamon Delight

Ingredients: Frozen banana, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. You may add a little agave syrup if you'd like it more sweet. The banana provides a lot of potassium for sore muscles (this is good for runners!), and the almond butter provides some fat and protein to keep you satiated for a good period of time.

Tip: For those that are kitchen rookies like myself, make sure you peel the banana before you freeze it...duh.

Vitamin Blast

Ingredients: This one is a doozy of ingredients but you will feel so healthy after you drink it! Mix any combination of berries, half of a frozen banana, one-fourth of a cup of frozen mango, one-fourth of a cup of beet juice, one-fourth of a cup of carrot juice, the juice of one lemon, a handful parsley, a handful spinach and agave nectar together.

Tip: For nutritional add-ons to this already healthy blast, add vanilla protein powder (I use Terra's Whey) and dehydrated berry-green powder (Kendra loves Amazing Grass). Both are available at Whole Foods in large containers and also individual packets, which is great for sampling and experimenting (something I know all too well)!

Signing Off Properly Fueled,


Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter, or see what she's up to on Facebook!