Great Tasting Shakes

Immersion Blenders 1If you want some blenders to make your smoothies and shakes with, then immersion blenders are the best way to go. The Kitchen Resource Stick Blender: This pricey immersion blender easily crushes ice and frozen fruit to make a super-thick smoothie. It comes with lots of accessories including a chopper, a whisk, and separate blades for aerating milk or mincing veggies. However, it struggled to purée a thick soup in two minutes, which makes it a better choice if you’re a frequent smoothie drinker and don’t care about blending soups. Available in silver and black.

The Oster Hand Blender: Looking for an immersion blender with the look of a high-end auto? You’ll like this model’s European styling. It’s made from high-end plastic that mimics the look of chrome. This is a smart choice if you’re willing to pay for good performance and an upscale look. Extra accessories like a food chopper and an egg beater attachment are only sold in a separate kit, which costs $50. Available in chrome.

This simple plastic immersion blender struggled to purée a thick soup and can’t be used to chop frozen fruit or ice. While the relatively low price makes it tempting, you’re better off buying another model. Available in white.

Great Tasting Protein Shakes

If you’re serious about working out, losing weight, or getting stronger, then you already know the importance of having a lot of protein in your diet. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle growth. Muscle magazines recommend 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. That can seem like a daunting number, and many guys turn to supplementation to get their daily intake.

The problem is: protein shakes suck. They don’t taste good, they’re chalky, they clump, they’re expensive. I’ve tasted a number of brands and flavors over the last 8 years and some were better than others but none of them were great. I eventually came to rely on a brand called Optimum Nutrition, usually playing it safe with one of the variations of vanilla or chocolate. They always tasted okay, better than many of the other options but still not that enjoyable.

A few weeks ago Amazon was having a sale on a flavor by Optimum Nutrition called “Extreme Milk Chocolate.” It had 4.5 stars and almost a thousand reviews, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did; it tastes great — almost good enough that I actually look forward to drinking it. Good flavor and good consistency when I used my hand blender. Extreme Milk Chocolate sort of tastes like cold hot chocolate, and as with all protein powders, tastes better with milk than water.

Then it happened. I got adventurous with some old standbys one day and threw in a banana and a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. And my face exploded.