We were on the lookout for a compact appliance that would crush ice, chop nuts and seeds, as well as produce fruit smoothies and veggie juices. Something that wouldn’t take up a large amount of counter space and would be easy to use and maintain.
Enter Cuisinart’s new SmartPower® Portable Compact Blending and Chopping System. It’s sleek, BPA-free, and full of power, as I whipped up morning antioxidant-rich blueberry, yogurt, and flax seed smoothies, slushies with iced tea and seasonal fruit, as well as iced coffees and ground seeds and nut butters.
Out of the box, the set includes a 32-oz. BPA-free blender jar made of Tritan™, an 8-oz. BPA-free chopping cup with its own blade and storage lid, a digital base with High, Low, and Pulse settings on a sleek LED electronic touchpad, four BPA-free 16-oz. travel cups with sipping lids, and an instruction/recipe booklet.
The system runs on a 350-watt motor; for the blender’s size, it’s pretty mighty, as we crushed ice in less than 10 seconds, into a fine, slushie-like texture.
The one-touch operation couldn’t be easier.
The 8 oz. (236 ml) chopping cup comes with a storage lid so once you’re done grinding, you can remove the blade assembly and use the lid for keeping dry goods ready to use. Grinding flax, hemp, and other seeds is pretty quick and easy. We chopped 1/4 cup flaxseed in 12 seconds, 1/4 cup hulled organic hemp seed in 5.35 seconds, and a cup of unsalted cashews into homemade cashew butter in under a minute (the instructions advise to only pour in 1/3 cup of nuts at a time).
Cashew butter on toast makes an excellent, high-protein light meal; almonds, pecans, and peanuts work great in the chopper as well, or why not combine a few sorts?
We created a refreshing iced tea drink by combining Pure Leaf’s Lemon Brewed Iced Tea (a new product we recently tried that uses fresh tea leaves from India, Africa, and South America) along with a cup of strawberries and some ice.
Iced coffee is equally easy to make with a cup of brewed coffee placed in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then crushing some ice in the blender, adding milk, and then the cold coffee. Very tasty!
That same blending jar will also whip cream, in case you’re looking to make a fancier liqueur-enhanced coffee. Speaking of which, the blender jar is also perfect for blending frozen cocktails.
This compact Cuisinart system is also handy for mixing sauces and for puréeing soups.
Cleaning is also pretty easy with warm, soapy water. As well, the blade assemblies can be loaded in the top rack of a dishwasher.
Just a word of warning about the sharp stainless steel blades: while the chopping blade isn’t that dangerous, the blender’s blade is pointy and SHARP! I learned that from the start when my pinky brushed against it when initially cleaning it.
Best to handle this blade assembly by its round plastic outer edges. Both blade assemblies are self-aligning and fit on the base with ease and are interchangeable.
The heavy-duty base has slip-proof feet at the bottom; its cord can be stowed by wrapping around a circular area under the base.
The 32-oz. (.9L) blending jar has measurement markings on it in cups, ounces, and milliliters.
Each 16 oz. (473 ml) travel cup comes with its own sipping lid that can accommodate a straw, for enjoying on the road, at the office, or gym.
The moment you drop the blender jar into the base, it automatically powers the system in standby mode. To pulse, press the Pulse button and then choose from High or Low to pulse accordingly. There’s also an Auto stop feature.
We couldn’t find any cons with this appliance. It’s an easy, smartly designed, practical system for everyday chopping, blending, crushing, and whipping.
The easily portable system comes with a three-year warranty and is available online for CDN $94.99/US $69.95. I also noticed that Best Buy Canada sells it for $69.99 online.
I was sent the SmartPower® Portable Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System for the purpose of test-driving for this feature.