Back to School: Morning Routines & Juice

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Loving this chill in the air!  Autumn is on its way and my apartment smells FANTASTIC with all these Autumn-y additions!  I bought cloves and squash yesterday and got so excited!  Pumpkin smoothies are just around the corner!  Currently, my entire apartment is smelling like the vegetable stock I’ve got on the stove, and it’s making my mouth water.  If you haven’t seen my post on making vegetable stock, check it out here.  It is so simple and easy, and if you don’t have juicer pulp, you can always save up your kitchen scraps in an airtight container and use those!  That’s what I did today.  I made ratatouille last week as well as some vegetable soup, and had plenty of scraps to make stock this morning.  I also used basil, rosemary, and thyme from my herb garden.  I may never wash my hands again; they always smell so divine after picking fresh herbs! 

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I’ve started to get into a morning routine now that classes have resumed.  For those of you who don’t know, I am in graduate school at Case Western Reserve University pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health.  I like to wake up, shuffle into the kitchen to put the teapot on the stove, and drink a nice, hot glass of water with a lemon wedge squeezed in.  I find that if I do that before anything else, even breakfast or a workout, it really makes me feel invigorated and ready to start the day!  After my lemon water is downed and I’m caught up on important things like Facebook and Pinterest news, I do a 30-50 minute yoga routine.  My favorite place to find at-home yoga routines is here.  All the routines are free, and yoga is my way of creating an oasis in what I know is going to be a crazy day!  Then it’s juice time.

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My juice today was very reflective of this mildly chilly weather.  I also used other vegetable scraps to make it, like broccoli, zucchini, and tomato.  To add a bit of sweet, I juiced the apple cores I saved from a couple of apples I ate yesterday.  Pretty yummy and not too sweet, and very green!  Not to mention, the perfect fuel for my studies!

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For those of you resuming classes, may the curve be ever in your favor!  For everyone else, keep doing what you’re doing!  Just because the weather is changing doesn’t mean it’s time to slack on your health!

Stay healthy, and stay HAPPY!

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Day 3- Clean Eating Cleanse: Homemade Almond Milk & Juicing with Leftovers

ImageTuesdays are to me what Saturdays are to the rest of the world with normal jobs.  I love my day off, and while it’s usually spent lounging around or moseying around town lazily with friends, I decided that today had to be a productive Tuesday.  I woke up with a mission, and I could almost hear my kitchen’s sharp, anticipatory inhalation as I entered, like it knew it was going to get quite the work out!

To go into detail about every little treat my kitchen spouted out today would take far too much time than I have to document, but in a nutshell, I made almond milk, almond meal crackers, zucchini hummus, vegetable stock, raw avocado soup, and, of course, a big jar of green juice!  Yeah, I wasn’t kidding when I said my kitchen got a workout.  I’m sure my Ninja doesn’t want to hear from me for the next week, and my oven is very thankful to finally get a little rest.

If you don’t already know how, you can read how to make vegetable stock here.  It’s one of those foods that is a totally evolving organism, looking different every time.  I know the recipe I originally posted shows pictures of a deeper colored, reddish concoction, but due to a variation of vegetables (I used pulp from a GREEN juice), this batch came out looking mean and green!  I also threw some more herbs from my garden into it, making my kitchen smell absolutely heavenly.

Now, the soup and the crackers were tasty, but that’s not what I want to focus on.  What I want to do here today is tell you about this discovery I happened upon in my research that I can’t get enough of!  Have you ever made your own almond milk? It’s super easy.  ANYONE can do it, I promise!  It tastes way better than the store-bought stuff, too!

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Almond milk is becoming more and more popular as our population continues to pursue alternatives to dairy milk.  It has entered almost every grocery store you can think of, and is absolutely delicious!  The problem?  Store-bought products like almond milk have additives like refined sugars, preservatives, and other icky stuff that I just can’t deal with while on my Clean Eating Cleanse.  I LOVE almond milk, though, and need it for many of my recipes.  What’s a girl to do?  Make her own, that’s what!  Only 2 ingredients and you’ll be good to go.  Not bad, huh?

Start with a cup of almonds.  Soak them overnight so they get nice and soft and fleshy.

Add the almonds to your Ninja (or VitaMix or whatever!) and pour 4 cups of water in.

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Blend that sucker for about a minute.  In the end, it should look like this:

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Yum.  Frothy goodness.  Side bar: I know my photos show 2 sizes of blenders, but that’s just because I thought the little one would be big enough; it’s SO not! Use the bigger container if possible, so you don’t have an almond explosion on your hands.  That’s one mess you don’t want to clean up! (well, are there any messes you really want to clean up? Probably not.)

Now comes the tricky part.  If you have cheesecloth, it’s not so tricky.  If you’re a broke mother trucker like myself, you’ll have to find a (CLEAN!) cotton t-shirt you’re willing to part with in order to strain out the almond pulp.  I used an old cotton dress:

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Line a bowl with your cheesecloth (or t-shirt, or dress!) and pour the mixture in!  squeeze the fabric to get all the water into the bowl.  Voila! Houston, we have almond milk!  Some people choose to add a bit of honey to their milk, but I’m a “less is more” kind of lady, so I keep it as is.  Make sure to store in an airtight container and use within the week!  Save the almond pulp.  There are so many awesome recipes that call for it, and it’s really expensive in stores!

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Now, in true “juice junky” fashion, let’s talk about my morning juice!  Today I juiced cucumber, celery, grapefruit, ginger, kale, and leftovers.  What are leftovers, you ask?  Well, I had vegetable soup last night, and I saved the ends of the carrots I chopped, the base of the celery stalk, even the top of the onions and green peppers I chopped.  I don’t believe in waste, so I threw it all into a Tupperware container until this morning, when it all went into my tasty breakfast! It turned out pretty great!

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Have you been cooking from scratch lately?  What other kitchen staples would you like to learn to make at home?  I’d love to do some more experimenting!

Homemade Vegetable Stock- Utilizing Juicer Pulp: Part Two

After using up all of my fruit pulp to make some delicious apple coconut pops, I still had a huge bag of vegetable pulp.  What was I going to do with a bag of beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, tomato, spinach, and kale bits?  Surely not make popsicles out of it!  I love my veggies, but that just sounds like a bad idea that should never happen.  I know some people sneak these pieces into breads and muffins, but I’m on a juicing cleanse, so I wouldn’t be able to eat any of that.  The only solution I could think of was to cook up a batch of vegetable stock—a BIG batch of vegetable stock!

This recipe was perfect!  Nothing but water and veggies; all perfectly allowed during a fast.  If I weren’t fasting, I would have probably added a teaspoon of coconut oil to the mixture, and perhaps a pinch of salt, but aside from that, this stock is delicious!  I have been heating it up and drinking it for a little change in routine.  The cold, refreshing juices definitely hit the spot but after days of nothing but cold beverages and hot water with lemon, a nice hot bowl of vegetable broth really hits the spot.  I even ate it with a spoon, so it felt like I was “eating”!  It’s the little things like that which get your mental self on board with tough commitments like a juice cleanse.  As I’ve said before, juice fasts are always easier when you have a partner to lean on, but unfortunately I no longer have that option.  Maybe I’ll write about how to get through this on your own, once I get through my first fast by myself!  Anyways, I’m rambling.  Check out the recipe and let me know what you think!

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Vegetable Stock

  • Vegetable pulp from four (4) 16 oz. juices (probably about 8 or 9 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 18-20 cups water

Materials:

  • Cheesecloth (You can even use an old but clean t-shirt! Or coffee filters, panty hose, etc.)
  • A large bowl
  • Canning jars

 

A few notes about the ingredient list:

  • Use whatever spices you like, don’t confine yourself to basil and oregano just because those are the spices I had on hand!
  • it doesn’t matter what vegetables you use in this recipe; it’ll be good no matter what!

 

  1. Add 3 or 4 cups of water and juicer pulp to a large stock pot and turn the stove burner to medium/high.
  2. Once the water begins to boil, add the spices and garlic.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the water to the pot.  Keep the burner on medium/high heat and let the concoction come to a boil.
  4. Turn heat down a few notches and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.

 

Lay the cheesecloth (or shirt!) in the large bowl like a liner.  Once the mixture has cooled, ladle out small amounts at a time into the cloth and strain the liquid out into the bowl.  Transfer the vegetable stock into canning jars and seal.  If freezing (like I did), make sure you leave enough space at the top of the jar for the liquid to expand!  Nothing says epic fail like opening your freezer to what looks like a murder scene of vegetable stock splattered on the walls.

Let me know what you think of this use for juice pulp!  I thought it was pretty delicious!

Until next time, be well and happy juicing!