02/25/2013

Juice to Your Health

Many people may prefer a cup of coffee, (I fall into this category 99% of the time!), some a fresh brewed pot of tea, and others might even prefer an energy drink to start their day.  However, if I could only choose one drink to help me wake up, nothing provides a bigger boost of energy than a fresh squeezed juice from those fancy juice bars stationed at places like Whole Foods and Earth Fare.  I love getting in my fruits and veggies servings, while also receiving a large dose of energy from a natural and delicious source.  Unfortunately though, spending $5+ per drink can be a little hard to swallow on an every day basis.  Not to mention the gas it takes to get there and the time out of the day for travel; the expenses continue to add up.  My health and mind may be thanking me in the end, but my wallet and schedule…not so much.

I know an alternative to purchasing these drinks out is to just buy a heavy duty juicer for my home and make them myself.  It is difficult enough though to justify a $5 drink, much less a $150+ big and bulky juicer that would make an unnecessary dent in my financial budget.  Plus, I would have to drag the clunky machine out every  morning and find a storage location for it that is easy enough to get to when needed.

So what other options do I have for making juice on a budget?  According to the many articles and posts I have read on the internet, I can make juice by simply using a blender:

These sites immediately caught my eye as I ran across the word blender.  I then quickly peered into my pantry and saw my blender, a Ninja that I got for Christmas from my Aunt and Uncle, sitting on a shelf staring right back at me.  I use my blender almost every day to make protein shakes, so I figured I may as well give it a try at juicing too.  I had nothing to lose, so into the blender went whatever I could find in the fridge.

 

FYI – This recipe does not actually classify as a juice per se!  Since I did not separate the juice from the pulp, it is much more similar to a smoothie consistency.  However, if you want to make it an actual juice, just strain out the liquid using a cheesecloth or similar product.  I don’t mind the pulp, (fiber is good for you in moderation!), but it may bother some so absolutely feel free to strain to your heart’s content!

 

Coconut-Lime Green Juice Smoothie

DSCN2934

  • 1 cup Coconut Water
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 stalk celery (If not straining, remove celery threads around the outside of stalk)
  • 1 apple
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 teaspoons Stevia
  • * Optional – 1/2 cup of ice (If not straining)
  • * Optional – Splash of 100% Orange Juice

Finely chop celery and apple.  Then, into the blender goes the coconut water, spinach, chopped celery and apple, lime juice, stevia, * ice and small splash of *orange juice if desired.  Blend until combined if straining, or until desired consistency is met if not straining.  (Since I didn’t strain, I let it blend for at least 2-3 minutes).

green juice

Being my first attempt, I am happy to say that the taste was pretty spot on.  I can definitely see myself making these homemade in the future, while leaving the expensive store/restaurant bought for those certain special occasions.  I know there are many varieties of juices to make and I am looking forward to using the following ingredients in my recipes at some point as well:

Veggies:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage
  • Ginger

Fruits:

  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Lemon Juice

This website has a ton of recipes for juicing if you are looking for a good place to start!

 

Questions for You:

  • Have you ever juiced with a blender?  What has your experience been like?
  • Do you own juicer?  Would you say it was worth the money?  If so, what brand of juicer do you love best?
  • What are your favorite juicing combinations of fruits and veggies?
02/22/2013

A Little Reading Material

The weekend ahead is one that I have absolutely been looking forward to all week. Tonight, I have dinner plans with my friend Meghan, and then Saturday night I’ll be going out with some of my girlfriends to celebrate another friend’s birthday. Besides that, my weekend is going to be filled with the usual catch up of laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, and hopefully a long walk with Tebow thrown in there too, that is if the weather permits! I also hope to help Tim work on our half-bath remodel since this entire week was busy and we didn’t make much progress. My goal is to have a few progress pictures to share with all of you Monday, so make sure you stay tuned!

In other news, this weekend is a big deal in my house since it is the last one before my husband starts his new job! I have been waiting to say anything until his office made a formal announcement, but on Monday, Tim will be beginning a new position within the larger entity of his current company.  Let’s just say that we couldn’t be more thrilled! He is one who always likes to be on the move, and this job entails traveling most of the day and creating and following his own schedule. We prayed a lot about the position and it just feels right, so Monday will be the start of a new adventure for him and our family.

Work this week for me was definitely pretty crazy, so by the time I’ve gotten home in the evening my brain has been fried.  Today, instead of writing out a long post of my own, I thought it would be nice to share a few of my favorite posts and links from other sites I have ran across throughout the week. So sit back and relax, curl up with a comfy blanket, grab a hot mug of tea, and get ready to read some awesome posts ranging everywhere from life in general to yummy food; to spring fashion, and then all the way to The Bachelor!

weekend reading material

Life:

Eat:

Blog:

Fitness:

Fashion:

…And for more Bachelor Fun:

 

 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

Questions for You:

  • Have you ever had a career or job change? What was the experience like for you?
  • What are your plans for this weekend?
  • Do you have a favorite post/blog/article you read this week? Feel free to add a link, (even if it’s your own)!
02/20/2013

WIAW: Spring Fever

Okay, it’s official.  It may not even be March yet, but I have all the symptoms and am officially diagnosing myself with the highly contagious, spring fever.  Monday’s temperature were in the high 50’s, complete with a clear sky and plenty of sunshine rays, now has me anxiously awaiting the days of blooming flowers, fresh-cut grass, and flowy tops and strappy sandals.

My Valentine’s Day gift from Tim this year was actually a spring getaway trip to Hilton Head for a long weekend!  We aren’t going until April, but you can bet I am already counting down the days until we leave.  I haven’t been on a vacation since Myrtle Beach last July and Gatlinburg in September, so having a few days away to leave behind those typical worries and stresses of life sounds like an absolute dream.  We used to go to Florida every year for Spring Break when Tim and my brother played high school and college baseball together, but we haven’t gone anywhere for the last few years.  You can bet I am absolutely more than ready for some serious fun in the sun.  Hopefully I will be able to contain my excitement for a little longer since we leave in exactly two months, April 19th!

Bringing myself back to reality, while the weather has brought itself back to winter reality today, let’s liven things up and dive right into this week’s WIAW.  Thanks Jenn!

What I Ate Wednesday: Love Your Veggies

This week’s documented eats are from yesterday.  I find that having yummy meals are imperative to making a Tuesday exciting, especially a cold winter one at that!

Yesterday was my morning off from working out and it felt great to sleep in until 6:30 a.m.  By the time I headed downstairs, I only had one meal in mind to warm me up: oatmeal.  Not just any oatmeal though, my Vanilla ‘Custard’ Oats recipe that I have been obsessed with lately.  They take a few extra minutes to make than my typical breakfast, so I have been taking advantage of those days off from the gym when I have some extra time in the morning to make a bowl.

vanilla custard oats placemat

Around 10:30 a.m. I had a half an apple to hold me over until lunch.  If you read my first blog, you may remember me mentioning that some foods I eat cause stomach pain, and apples I found are one of the main culprits.  I don’t want to completely eliminate apples since they are one of my favorite snacks that are also so good for me.  After trial and error, I have found that only eating half an apple allows me to enjoy it without any pain that would inevitably follow if I ate the whole thing.  My body just has a hard time breaking down all of that fiber, even if it is deemed ‘healthy.’  This is just a reminder that what is right for one person may not be right for another, and we have to learn to listen to our bodies and nourish them properly.

There was a meeting during my lunch hour today so my company brought food in from a local grocery story, Dorothy Lane Market, which also delivers. 

dlm boxed lunch

We placed our order on Monday for box lunches and I requested the Chicken Salad on Classic 10-Grain Bread, a bag of baby carrots, a side of pasta salad, and one DLM Original Killer Brownie, multiple layers of chocolate brownie, rich gooey caramel, and chopped pecans.  If you have never eaten one of these brownies before, let me just tell you that there are literally no words to describe how decadent one is, and this is coming from a girl who has sampled a lot of brownies and chocolate throughout her life.  These brownies are rich, delicious, dense, and heavy; weighing in at nearly 1/3 of a pound!  Don’t even ask about the calorie count, because the truth is that a) if you going to eat one, the last thing you should be concerned about are saving calories b) nobody eating one really wants to know and c) I can tell you what the calorie count is – a lot!

I had about 3/4 of my sandwich, all of my baby carrots, skipped my pasta salad, and ate about 1/3 of my brownie at lunch, then saved the rest to take home.  I know Tim also adores these brownies so I always try and save him some whenever I get one.  Besides, I probably would have passed out in my desk chair in a sugar coma for the rest of the day had I eaten a whole one by myself!

At about 4:00 p.m. I had a rice cake with a smear of peanut butter, and then when I got home I took Tebow on a wonderful yet freezing cold jog.  Brrr!  Talk about the return of winter and when compared to Monday, it was like night and day.  Since Tebow just got his bath Sunday, we hate to let him outside to run around by himself since we know he will get dirty and muddy so we are really trying to walk him instead as much as possible.  At least we are both getting some fresh air and exercise though, even if it means bundling up and heading out into a snow storm!

At dinner, I decided to try a new-to-me recipe from Cooking Light, Tex-Mex Calzones.  The only thing I changed was using lean ground beef in place of the ground turkey.  I had made the whole wheat pizza dough over the weekend in my bread machine and had just been storing it in the refrigerator until today.  For some reason, this batch turned out really thick and didn’t want to roll out very easily, (I think I may have added too much salt to the dough), so I just did the best I could and turned out with more of a double crusted pizza than a calzone. 

tex mex calzone

 Still tasty though!

tomatoes and tex mex

I added a dollop of sour cream on top and had thick sliced tomatoes on the side, which I think added that perfect finishing touch.  I absolutely love calzones stuffed with fresh mozzarella and creamy ricotta, so this was a fun and unexpected twist to add a little Tex-Mex flavor to an Italian staple.

tomatoes and tex mex close up

 

Yesterday evening ended with me plopping down on the couch to watch the newest episode of Pretty Little Liars.  The Bachelor was on again, (I am officially Team Lindsay!!), but I realized it wouldn’t be feasible for me to stay up and watch Sean’s tell-all without being a grump today.  Instead, it looks like I will be watching the episode after work thanks to my DVR.  Seriously, what did we all do before DVR?  Miss out on our favorite shows?  Constantly lack sleep?  Skip social events to guarantee we are home in time for the episode?  Oh, the horror!

Questions for You:

  • Have you ever eaten a killer brownie, or a brownie pretty similar?  Tell me, what is the most decadent dessert you’ve ever eaten?
  • Are you a calzone lover?  What are your favorite ingredients to include?
  • What did you do before DVR?  Skip the show, or just miss out on life?!