Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Juicing - The Summary

I've blogged about juicing for ten days now & I have some "summary" thoughts on this subject.

1. Juicing absolutely, without a doubt, changes the way you feel - for the better.  This must be the result of the large amount of nutrients going into your body from the juice.  Most glasses of juice contain more fruits and vegetables than I would actually sit down and eat at a time.  For example, the juice in my glass right now contains one half a pineapple, one pint of strawberries and one half of a lemon.  While it is possible for me to sit down and eat all of that right now, I probably won't.  However through juicing I can put all the nutrients from those into my body...it really is a great option.

2. We will continue juicing - we are hooked. How hooked are we?  My thirteen year old son was begging me at 9:55 last night to fix him a glass of fresh juice before he went to bed. I told him no, but had to promise him that I would have some ready for him first thing in the morning.  And since this has begun everyone else has come to me at some point asking the same thing...will you fix me some juice?  They really don't even care what it is, they just want the juice.  Well, that's not entirely true, the girls aren't ready for the mean green juice, neither am I! I'm guessing we will continue with at least one glass of fresh juice a day.

3. Juicing makes a mess.  The juicer is an efficient power tool for the kitchen, but it is messy to clean up and has to be cleaned after each use.  While most fruits and vegetables can be juiced whole, some chopping, cleaning, etc still has to be done. The bright side for us is that all of the leftover pulp and discards can be fed to our chickens and pigs.  For those of you without the extra animals, those discards can be composted.  I even think there are some recipes of other things you can do with the "pulp" from the juicer, but I haven't tried those and might never.

4. Juicing can be expensive.  Let's go back to the pitcher of juice I have just made. One pineapple - $2.99, one quart strawberries - $1.99 and one half lemon - $.59.  That's $5.57.  And that will make two full glasses of juice, which come to about $2.79 a glass.  Sometimes our glasses might be more expensive than that, sometimes less, but I'd say that's a good average.  I think it's worth the cost.

5. Now that we've experienced juicing, I want to put more effort into trying the fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies. I'll keep you posted on what we try.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Juicing - Day Ten

It has been a few days since I've made fresh juice & I have definitely felt the effect.  Low energy, sluggish, yucky...are just a few ways I would describe the last few days.  I couldn't wait to fix the juice this morning.  I needed it & I knew it.
The picture is a little blurry, but you can see the beautiful color of the apple/plum juice that I just fixed.   O & I did add just a dash of lemon juice. One of the struggles for us is getting a variety of fruits and vegetables into our juice mixes.  We live in a rural area where there's just not an abundance of choice at this time of year.  I'll have to start working harder on not letting that be an obstacle.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Date Night Meal

Omelets & biscuits are the way we are starting our "date" tonight. The greatest ingredient in our omelets will be the fresh spinach that we are still getting out of the garden!!  The winter has been mild enough to let it continue growing...so we are taking full advantage of that.
Six eggs, a heaping tablespoon of greek yogurt, shredded cheese, some chopped up onions, spinach and mushrooms and that is a perfect dinner for two.  Dessert we will be covering open biscuits with fresh local honey & molasses. Yum!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Juicing - Day Nine

We have juiced a couple of times today.  Our family-sized juicing this morning was a whole fresh pineapple (minus the outside & the core), a quart of fresh strawberries (caps & all), a fresh mango and two apples.  It was wonderful as always.

We have had a full day & Tony still has a full night of ministry ahead of him, so the one thing he asked me to do for him was to juice two grapefruits up for him to drink when he came in this afternoon.  I always juice grapefruits the old fashioned way.  Here's my antique juicer...well actually it's my mom's antique juicer.

Two other key tools are in this picture, a great cutting board & a great knife.  This cutting board is a bamboo one that Tony gave me for Christmas one year.  It stays on top of our counter all the time.  The chef's knife is also an invaluable tool for us.  I think we have three in all and we use them constantly for chopping & slicing, especially with all this juicing!!  A big shout out to Rada knives for being my personal favorite.

So here's the juice from one red grapefruit...
Here's the juice from two. He drank it all down & headed out of the door for a full night.
Fresh juice = more power for living!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Juicing - Day Eight

Here's everything that went into the juice.
Carrots, apples, limes, ginger and one stray kiwi.
Here's what it all looked like ready for the juicer - minus the limes which I squeezed by hand.

Here's some of the "ugly" leftovers.  I have decided that most people don't juice simply because of the mess that it makes.

Juicing is time consuming in that you have to wash your fruits, veggies & do limited prep to them.  There is also quite a bit of waste...especially from the pulp that is spit out of the juicer. I have read that you can reuse the pulp in other recipes, but haven't tried any of that for myself.  All of our leftovers go straight to the chickens and pigs.  They LOVE it that we are juicing!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Juicing - Day Seven

It's almost ten p.m. here & I am just now making a serving of fresh juice for everyone.  Some days get away from us!!  Tonight's juice has half a fresh pineapple (skinned), three apples, one pear, 2 cups of fresh spinach, three carrots and one mango.  I have some fresh arugula that I thought about trying, but decided not to.
Here's a picture of how it all looked before I mixed it up good.  When I make a family sized pitcher, I have to juice some then add more and mix it all up.  I thought tonight's juice looked pretty before it was mixed, you can see the distinct orange from the carrots, the green from the spinach, etc.
Here's what it looked like in our glasses, it was wonderful.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Juicing - Day Six

This mornings juice is pictured here with all it's ingredients...except for a bag of fresh cranberries.
It included one whole pineapple (shaved of all the outside skin), one whole mango, two carrots & one bag of fresh cranberries.  For those of you, like me, who need help learning how to cut up a mango, here's a great tutorial.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Juicing - Day Five

This is the juice that was waiting for us all when we woke up this Valentine's morning. Tony had made it all by himself.
It looks very "valentine" doesn't it?  And it was great.
He used:
One bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of strawberries
4 apples
1 grapefruit (peeled)
3 cuties (peeled) - these are those little seedless tangerine type fruits, we love them
1 mango (peeled)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Juicing - Day Three & Four

Day three was a busy day.  I won't go through everything we did, but I will summarize our favorites for that day.  We raise a large garden and can tomatoes through the summer, so I pulled out a couple of quarts from last summer & made Tony & I two different tomato based juices.  Mine was simply one quart of canned tomatoes with one clove of fresh garlic.  Those two simple ingredients were amazing & so very filling.  I couldn't believe what the garlic did to the flavor. I loved it!

For Tony's I did the same, except I added two whole tomatillos one whole green pepper and one quarter of a bunch of fresh cilantro.  The whole green pepper was also from last year's garden. I had frozen a bag of them whole (I do that sometimes at the end of the summer when I get lazy!)  I figured this combo would mimic a cilantro/tomatillo salsa that we love.  And evidently it worked because he loved it.  The only thing he said he would change would be to add a little more heat so we dashed in a little hot sauce in it.  I wish I had thought about taking out some frozen jalapenos to add, but I didn't!

Today is Day Four & I made our first "family sized" pitcher of juice to get everyone's day started.  We added one whole fresh pineapple (skinned & cored), one and a half cups of pitted fresh cherries, three cups of fresh strawberries, two apples, and three cups of spinach.  Everyone drank it & thought it was great.
I don't think the kids would have drank a glass of this on the first day, it's just not attractive.  I had read where you should start with basic fruit mixtures, like we have done & gradually add in more vegetables.  So that advice seems to have worked for us.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Juicing - Day Two

I've discovered why Wayne loves juicing for everyone.  The juice machine is basically a super cool power tool for the kitchen!!  As cool as it is though, I've decided that sometimes the simple hand tool, works best.  I've tried putting citrus through the juicer, but it takes so much work to get the peeling off a grapefruit or lemon that I've gone back to juicing them with my mom's old glass juicer.  I'm also convinced that I get more juice from them this way. 
This morning Dara wanted some fresh grapefruit juice before she left for the ACT.  Hopefully it will be the "brain-food" she needs for the test.  Here's the amount of juice I got from the one grapefruit.
After I got her off to the test I made a couple of different juices for Tony & I to start the day.  His, in the mug, is 2 pears, about a cup of red grapes, and the juice from half a lemon.  I also added one whole banana, which doesn't really juice!  So don't try that.  My juice is about one cup of strawberries, one apple, one mango & the juice from a half a lemon. 
Jamilyn loves smoothies so we whipped one up for her this morning.  Her smoothie includes one banana, one half cup of strawberries & one mango.  We didn't add any yogurt, water or ice, just the fruit.  She said it was very filling.  And, as you can, it was very pretty.

Juicing - Day One

Day One of juicing for us started off well.  Before school Jamilyn & Wayne had the apple & strawberry juice pictured below.
Dara wanted just plain apple juice. I didn't take a picture of that, but did take a picture of this peach, strawberry, apple, lemon juice of mine. 
But the bravest juice of the day came when Tony tried the "Mean Green" juice recipe he has here. I tried it, I'm not ready for that yet.
Here's the recipe we used for it:
1/2 cucumber
2 cups spinach
1 bunch cilantro
2 stalks celery
1/2 lemon (peeled)
1" slice ginger
1 apple

We are going to be juicing daily to hyper-nutritionalize ourselves.  However you could get the same results from fresh fruit & veggie smoothies created in a blender.  I'm sure we will be trying some of those too.  Keep reading.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eating out....

I've never posted about eating out, but it's something we all do...probably more often than we'd like to admit.  Tony & I just returned from a trip for two & I thought I'd share some of our experiences.

First of all, when we are traveling we've always had a "loose" rule to chose the individually owned restaurants as much as possible.  Sometimes this isn't possible, and sometimes we just don't want to, but on our trip this week we did follow that rule.  On top of that, we tried to chose restaurants that source their food locally from non-corporate farms.

On our way to the Smokies, we stopped at Somerset, Ky and ate at "Guthrie's River House", overlooking the Lake Cumberland. Tony had one of their famous steaks.  I had pecan encrusted chicken over sweet potatoes with a brown sugar & sherry glaze.  Both meals were amazing.  We finished with a creme brulee for two - love cracking that sugar shell on top!  This is the second time we've eaten at Guthrie's and each experience has been fabulous.
Creme Brulee at Guthrie's

While at the Smokies, we ate at two breakfast joints frequented by the locals.  One was the "Log Cabin Cafe", which provided us a very nice, made from scratch breakfast.  One was "Atrium Pancakes", which we think we ate at 23 years ago on our Honeymoon.  Their syrup was definitely the star of the meal, it's homemade & wonderful.  Tasted like syrup used to when I was a child.  It's so good that they even sell it in pint jars to take home!

Our favorite meal of the trip was at "Bistro 109", which is right beside the old courthouse in downtown Sevierville. We started our meal with the lamb lollipops, moved into seafood dishes & finished up with a creme brulee.  There were subtle things in each dish that made the entire experience unique.  The cherry gastric with the lamb, the corn-pepper-bacon reduction with my crab cakes & the blueberry glaze with Tony's scallops were perfectly chosen complements to the plates.  Definitely one of the best meals we have ever had in our lives.  You can click below to see their full menu & much more.  As you will see, their prices are so similar to what you'd pay at a major chain, which makes them a great value as well.  On top of all of this, the atmosphere was impeccable & comfortable, from the table linens to their music selection it was a great place to spend some time.
Lamb Lollipops at Bistro 109

On our way home, we stopped again at Somerset & chose to eat at "Life is Sweet."  It is a quaint little restaurant on their downtown square.  The atmosphere was warm & charming & we were soon enjoying both of their daily specials.  Tony chose the open faced pork sandwich with potatoes & gravy while I had their lamb gyro.  Both were wonderful.  I can't say enough about the cucumber sauce & spiced lamb in my gyro, they were perfect together.  The dessert case was filled with amazing looking desserts, but by this time in the trip we had indulged enough so we didn't try any.
Life Is Sweet on Urbanspoon

It takes a little research to find these places, we use Urbanspoon.com alot.  We also use Localharvest.org, which highlights restaurants that locally source their food. Sometimes these restaurants cost a little more than a chain, but it has always been worth it. The important thing to remember is that even if you find something occasionally that you don't love, you've had a unique experience & you will eat at least twice more in the next 24 hours, so you really haven't lost much. Life is too short not to be adventurous!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Growing & seeding

Came home from worship this afternoon & dug in some dirt.  It's honestly one of my most favorite things to do.  I used dirt left over from last years containers on the porch....fertilized it with some of the "unsuccessful" juice from last night (haha) and seeded both some basil & some swiss chard. The cups I used are from someone's 70's kitchen.  I love them.  I also recycle yogurt cups for seeding. Wrapping them with saran wrap is just necessary for a day or two until the seedlings emerge.
The second picture is my "regrowing" celery!  Saw the idea on pinterest & decided to give it a try.  I pulled in one of my small containers from the backporch & just buried the very tip into the dirt enough to cover it.  I set it on our kitchen's windowsill and this is what has happened. Can't wait to see how it does from this point. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Juicing - trial & error

Tony & I have decided to try some juicing this spring.  I don't know exactly what our experience will look like, but I do know we are excited.  Our inspiration came from watching "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" a feature length documentary on Netflix.  I don't think we will do anything like Joe Cross, who documented his journey.  But we sure do want to hyper-nutrionalize our bodies! If you have netflix, it's worth the watch.

We bought a brand new juicer from walmart.com & picked it up last weekend.  It's been riding around in my cherokee since then.  Tonight Wayne wanted to get it out & start making some juices, so our journey began.

Our hands-down favorite was the "Lemony Apple" recipe that we found at http://juicerrecipesnow.com/ 
- 2 apples with skins on
- 1 lemon
- 1" slice of ginger
Wayne was excited about the apples & lemon, but a little uncertain about the ginger, until it was sliced & he could smell it for himself.  It has the greatest scent.

We also enjoyed our apple & strawberry juice, made with just those two fruits.  But MY epic fail was one stalk of celery, one cucumber, one kiwi, one pear & some spinach.  Too much green & not enough sweet I'd say was the problem, but it is strong & pungent in a wrong way for this juice beginner.