Kale-Navy Bean Mix in a Green Pepper Bowl

Plant-Based. Fast. Flexible. Delicious. Four principles I strive to bring to every Juice Junky post. And this meal hits the jackpot! A quick, delicious, vegan entree that doesn’t call for any fancy schmancy ingredients or some 50 hour prep time. … Continue reading

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How to Make Time For Juicing in Your Already Busy Life

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Now that the Polar Vortex of 2014 is finally over (fingers crossed!), 14 degrees on a Wednesday morning is practically Spring Break weather!  I’ve been doing my best to stay healthy during this cold and icky germ season, and one of my most powerful weapons (besides the holster of Purell on my belt) is juice.  Not Day-Quil.  Not a packet of Emergen-C.  Just good ol’ veggies and fruits and all the goodness they provide.  

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It’s not easy to think about health when it looks like this outside!

I’m not gonna lie; I woke up Monday morning feeling foggy, with a tickle in my throat and pressure in my ears.  I pretty much dove towards my juicer as soon as I woke up and made a couple “shots” of Flu Buster Juice (1 lemon, 1-2 inches ginger, 4-6 garlic cloves, dash of cayenne on top)..  Hands down, better than any cough syrup I could have tried, and immediately my throat was like “thank you, thank you!”  I also made a big pot of green vegetable soup, which I swear will cure anything you’ve got!  I’m still working on perfecting the recipe, though, so look for an upcoming post about it!

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of “I don’t have time to juice”.  I’m not criticizing; I’ve been there too!  As a part of my New Year’s Resolution, I decided that I needed to make a conscious effort to juice more.  Now, I’m not saying every single day, because things happen.  I’m not going to set myself up for failure, and neither should you.  I want to get as close to that mark as possible, though, and I know that the “time” factor can definitely affect anyone’s juicing habits.  Lucky for you, I did a little experiment in my kitchen this morning to help debunk (even to me) the “I don’t have time for juicing” myth.  

Steel-cut oats have been my go-to breakfast lately, so I started the water boiling to make some.  These take about a half hour to cook, so after throwing in the oats, I started prepping my veggies:

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I was already throwing carrots into the juice, so I cut up a few extra to bring as a snack to campus with me.  Then I juiced my delicious concoction and scrubbed down the juicer.  Surprise, surprise, my oats were still cooking by the time this was all done.  I had time to make a bag of trail mix for class as well before my oats were ready to go.  Within 40 minutes of waking up, this is what I had to show for myself (on top of making hot lemon water, drinking my supplement, and taking my vitamins):

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Not too shabby if I do say so myself!  I know some of you are thinking “I don’t have 40 minutes between waking up and leaving my house to get all this stuff ready.”  Okay, but in all fairness, the juicing took ~15 minutes total, and the rest of the time went to making tea, mixing trail mix, stirring my oats, and cutting up veggies for my midday snack.  You can always stick to doing the juicing alone, but my morning routine requires some waiting around (like when I’m cooking breakfasts like steel-cut oats or an apple bake), so why not spend that time being productive?  I even got some packing done!  Side note: I’m so happy I’ll be moving into an apartment without such crappy lighting soon! My pictures are going to look so much nicer.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone can sneak in healthy habits where they might not realize they’ve got a little time to kill!  When I’m not using my “oat-cooking” time to make juice, I spend it practicing yoga or meditating, or even reading for school.  Whether you juice, sneak in a workout, read the paper, or write in a journal, making choices that are kind to your body & mind, especially in the morning, can really set the tone for the kind of day you want to have.  I find that when I take the time to make myself a yummy juice like the Broccoli Citrus Blast I’m about to share with you, I feel good about myself, and I radiate that goodness and project my positive attitude onto others.  Try it! You will feel great, I promise!

Time for the juice!

Broccoli Citrus Blast

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery

Juice and Enjoy! It may not be the prettiest of colors (orange and green don’t exactly mix to create a sparkly rainbow) but it’s delicious, I promise!  Feel free to add a granny smith apple as well; I didn’t have any on hand but I’m sure it would have been delicious!

Stay Well & Happy Juicing!

14 Popular Juice Recipes

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2 posts in one day… I’m a wild woman!  I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and I’ve had a few readers requesting these juicer recipes for a couple months now.  Being my uber-productive self, I finished one of my deadlines early this afternoon (I believe Starbucks may have contributed), and what better study break is there than blogging?  I know this blog is for “The Juice Junky” in all of us, but my new-found discovery of plant-based vegan recipes and holistic health practices can sometimes overshadow the juicing aspect you all come here for!  

I have compiled a list of the 14 most popular juice recipes to share with you.  Keep in mind, these are the most common recipes that I use myself, but there are obviously thousands of recipes that others may see as more popular than the ones listed here.  Also to keep in mind for those new to the juicing practice, these recipes are only a guideline.  Don’t be like “I have everything but the apple for this recipe so I guess I can’t make that one…”  Feel free to mix and match!  Once you get the hang of this crazy awesome world of juicing, you may move away from the recipes (I know I definitely have)  and follow the general 80/20 rule while creating your own delicious concoctions!  

The 80/20 Rule: You are not only allowed to make up your own juice recipes, you are encouraged to!  Like I said before, you may not have all the ingredients for a specific recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sub out apples for oranges or cucumber for celery, or even just omit an ingredient altogether (I can’t handle juicing radishes, no matter how many times I try!  I leave those suckers out of any recipe calling for them).  This brings us to the 80/20 rule: When creating your own juice recipes, the general guideline is to make your creation ~80% vegetables (preferably greens!) and ~20% fruits. You can ALWAYS up the vegetable percentage!

Fruit juice is okay in moderation (I mentioned making apple juice in my previous post), but it’s something that should be done as a “once-in-a-while-treat” basis.  When fructose (fancy word for fruit sugar) is consumed without being coupled with fiber (fiber is removed during the juicing process) there is nothing from stopping the fructose from flooding the liver in one heavy hit.  Eating an apple is okay, because the fiber combats the fructose and acts as a sort of “time-release” mechanism.  Drinking apple juice, there is no fiber, so the digestive system is hit with all that fructose at once, which can be detrimental in high doses.  I can go into detail on this in a later post if you’d like; just comment below and let me know!

Okay, enough science junk.  I’m the one in school, not you.  Time for the yummy part of juicing!  Without further ado, I give you my list of the 14 most popular juices in my kitchen! That’s one new juice a day for two weeks! Please share your juice recipes and experiments in the comment section below!

Heavy Metal Detox

  • 1/2 pineapple core
  • 1 small Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Lemon (peeled of not organic)
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 small head of Romaine
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/2 bunch kale

When the liver detoxifies, it sends those toxins to the intestines with the intention of getting them out of the body.  Many heavy metals going through this process end up being reabsorbed into the bloodstream repetitively.  Cilantro binds to these metals in the body and carries them through the intestinal tract so they are excreted once and for all, and don’t get reabsorbed, or stay in risky places like the brain.

ABC (a.k.a Fruit Punch)

  • 2 apples
  • 2 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pear (optional)

Ultimate Beet

  • 1 beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 apple

Mean Green (Original)

  • 2 small apples
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 4 stalks celery

Carrot Cucumber

  • 4-6 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 beet
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1 inch ginger root

Flu-Buster (I swear by this!)

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 4-6 whole cloves garlic

JUST SHOOT IT!  You will feel instantly invigorated; I promise!  Shoot it even when you’re not sick.  When your throat is sore though, this shot will coat it and you will feel improvement within minutes.

Cucumber Beet

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 beet
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Simple Cucumber Love

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 lemon (peeled if  not organic)

Cucumber Apple

  • 2 stalks fennel
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 inch ginger root

Perfect Skin

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (I prefer yellow, but red or green work too!  Purple is not my favorite)

Operation Detox

  • 1 tomato
  • 5 spears asparagus
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon

Hangover Cure

  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Mango Salsa (my favorite “dinner” on a juice cleanse!)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 mango (pitted)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 jalapeno (discard seeds)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 lime (peeled if not organic)

Greens on Greens on Greens (my personal concoction)

  • 1 bunch celery (~10-11 stalks)
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 2 inches ginger root

When all else fails, there is this awesome infographic from CrazySexyJuice.com to help guide new juicers on their own juice-creation journey.  Definitely check this website out; Kris Carr is amazing and she is a true inspiration to anyone looking to improve their health through nutrition.

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Again, please feel free to comment and tell me about your favorite juice concoctions and kitchen experiments!

Happy Juicing!

Coconut Raspberry Steel-Cut Oats

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Good Morning and Happy Tuesday!  With yesterday being a holiday, I actually got a break from my 7-day work/school schedule and it. was. GLORIOUS.  It’s back to the schedule today, though, and like I said last week, planning is key.  I made up my shopping list yesterday and hit up Earth Fare for some groceries and was able to find some really good stuff!  Am I the only one who gets more excited in a supermarket than a mall?  Possibly, but I’m okay with that!  I got home and wrote out all my meals on my kitchen board so there will be no meal confusion this week!

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As you can see, I’m a bit of an organizational…. “enthusiast”.  Yeah, let’s go with that.  With work, school, and everything in between though, being organized (especially in regards to nutrition) is what keeps me going!  This simple meal calendar only takes me about 15 minutes to create on Sundays during my lunch break at work (yeah for multitasking!) and it really 1)eliminates the stress of what the heck I’m going to eat each day on the go and 2) saves me tons of money, since if I didn’t pack my food, I’d be scouting out all the Chipotles and Pita Pits I could!

A wonderful surprise happened on Sunday: a ton of apples were donated at work for the horses.  Like, a whole big crate of them.  How is this beneficial to me?  Well, so many were donated that we weren’t going to be able to  use them all before they’d go bad.  I obviously volunteered to take them off their hands. Nothing beats fresh apple juice!  It’s like dessert!

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Okay, you’re probably wondering where the heck this steel-cut oats recipe is!  A little background first: so I bought a canister of oats a few weeks ago, not reading the label.  When I got home, I realized they were steel-cut oats, and when I opened the canister, it did NOT look like the oatmeal I was familiar with.  I was so confused!  I bought it though, so I was going to eat it.  I let it simmer for a half hour just like the directions told me to and….. They were insanely good!  I’ve been on an oat kick ever since, and I’ve found that a few unlikely ingredients have made for one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever made!

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Coconut Raspberry Steel-cut Oats

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (make it yourself here)
  • handful of pumpkin seeds
  • small handful organic raspberries
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut butter (or coconut shreds)

 

  1. Bring the water and the milk to a boil.
  2. Add in oats and coconut and reduce to low/medium heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Do some yoga or paint your nails while you wait. (your kitchen will start to smell amazing)
  4. Pour into a bowl and add in pumpkin seeds and raspberries.
  5. Savor the foodgasm and sing my praises.

This breakfast is delicious, filling, and energizing!  It’ll keep you going till lunch, I promise you!  You can always experiment with different fruits, or added sweeteners if you’ve got a little sweet tooth going on in the morning. I’ve added apricots to this recipe before and it has been awesome as well!

Stay healthy and Happy Juicing!

Planning Ahead: a Plant-based Plan

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Happy Tuesday everyone!  Has it really been 4 months since my last post?  I sincerely apologize; with a full time job and a full time class schedule, life can definitely get in the way of everything else sometimes.  And I won’t lie to you: these next four months are going to be even more hectic and insane than ever, so bear with me.  We will make it out alive; I promise!  

Classes officially began yesterday, though I was in and out of meetings last week as well.  Some exciting changes in my life since last we spoke:

  • I will finally be getting out of this horrendously-lit apartment at the beginning of February!  Goodbye outskirts, hello downtown!  I can’t wait to be in the heart of this great city and take part in all it has to offer!
  • I adopted a kitten!  What’s crazy is that I’m a self-proclaimed “dog-lover” to a fault, and one day at work my heart just told my head that this little guy was mine.  His name is Bran (after the character on Game of Thrones).  I figured since Bran Stark is in a wheelchair and my little one is missing a leg, they had a bit in common!  My Instagram feed (Khaleesi_Kate) is now all food/health photos and tons of pictures of Bran.  Hashtag “crazy cat lady”!

Okay, now to the good stuff!  Balancing work, school, and a life are going to be more challenging than ever in these next few months, and I know that in order to succeed, I need to make sure I make things like meals and shopping as organized as possible.  I created a meal plan for the week and hung the clipboard next to my stove.  Now I don’t have to stress about “What do I bring to campus for lunch today?” or “What the heck am I having for dinner?”  It only took me about a half hour to write it all down, and that made the shopping trip 100x easier.  With a few staples already in my kitchen, I managed to keep the bill under 30$… not bad it I do say so myself!

The menu for this morning included my hot lemon water (as always) and a kale-banana smoothie with the almond milk I made last night.  I’m a creature of habit, and I always know it’s going to be a good day when I am able to stick to my routine in the mornings.  Again, planning is key.  My morning routine looks something like this:

Stumble out of bed and wander blindly to the kitchen to turn on the stove and heat my water.  glance at my meal chart and see that a banana-kale smoothie is what’s happening this morning.  Wash 1000 mg Vitamin C and 1000 mg niacin down with a full glass of water while I pull out everything I will need from the fridge.  My counter looks something like this:

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Bran wanted to help photograph the food this morning.  He’s hiding in most of my pictures now, so be on the lookout!  As you can see, I’ve already cut up lemon slices, and everything has been prepared (I did chop the kale this morning though).  If you look in the right corner of the picture, you can see the edge of my clipboard hanging on the wall!  I sip my hot lemon water while checking emails and once I finish, I head to the kitchen to make breakfast.  If I make something like an oatmeal bake or roasted apples, I take that oven time to get my yoga on. This banana was not nearly as ripe as I prefer (the browner the better!) but the smoothie was still delicious and I always feel good about making a meal from ingredients I have prepared myself.  The jar of brown stuff in the back is almond meal.  If you remember my post about making almond milk (refresh your memory here)  I talk about making almond meal from the leftover almond “pulp”.  It’s quick, easy, and I added it to my kale-banana smoothie to up the fiber content, which is never a bad thing!  Feel free to omit this if you are using store-bought almond milk, since prices of almond meal at the grocery store are a bit outrageous.  

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1 ripe banana
3-4 leaves kale, chopped
2 tbsp almond meal (optional)
1 cup almond milk

To reiterate what I said in my previous post about almond milk, I can’t stress enough how easy and effortless this process is!  Yes, the almonds need to soak beforehand, but I did that while I was in class.  And the almond meal has to go in the oven for an hour or two… which I just read and did work for my classes while that was happening.  All in all, you probably only will spend about 10-15 minutes doing actual work.

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Today’s menu includes brown rice & broccoli for lunch, mashed sweet potatoes and steamed kale for dinner, and some carrots and hummus as a mid-day snack.  I’ll try and post as often as I can this semester, so let me know if there’s a certain health topic you want covered or an ingredient/recipe you’d like to see on here!

Wellness Wednesday: Blue

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Conflicted.  That pretty much sums up my entire Wednesday.  This morning, I got up to go for a run (after my hot lemon water and some stretching of course!).  I got less than a mile into my run before I turned around unexpectedly, deciding I just wasn’t feeling that particular trail.  So then I run all the way back to the beginning and set out in an entirely different direction, thinking that would solve everything.  It didn’t.  Over a mile into that route, that path wasn’t right either.  Exasperated with indecision, I ended up running over to the high school and doing laps around the football field until I was good and spent.  My pace was decent according to my Nike app, but my mentality wasn’t.

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Then came time to decide which delicious blue food recipe I was going to feature today, and again I was met with conflicting emotions and indecision.  Since only one “blue” food really exists in the natural food world (with the exception of some very rare blue potatoes), blueberries were the obvious food choice.  There’s no variety in the blue category, and I hate when I’m left without a choice!  Blueberries are super delicious, though.  But what to make with them?  I usually just eat them raw, or I add them to juice and use the pulp in popsicles.  I didn’t want to juice them since I was in too much of a hurry to really be able to preserve the pulp today, so I went for a smoothie.  I don’t have a specific recipe for this one, but basically a few (like 3 or 4) heaping handfuls of spinach went into my blender, followed by my pint of blueberries from the market and some silken tofu (about half a brick).  I added about a cup and a half of unsweetened almond milk and blended that sucker till it was creamy and totally liquid.

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Man was that just what the doctor ordered after an hour of running!  Feel free to add your own sweetener to this blend (agave, honey, stevia, etc.).  A lot of people don’ t think my smoothies or juices are sweet enough, but I personally am not huge on super-sweet concoctions (I understand I’m pretty much alone in this!).  Since my first juice fast in July 2011, my cravings for sugar have gone down significantly, and I don’t always use sweeteners. Currently, I don’t even have any type of sweeteners in my home.  Like I said though, a couple tablespoons of agave may be just the key to making this smoothie your new go-to breakfast concoction!

If you head over to my good friend Allison’s Allison in Wellness Land, you’ll find some rockin’ info about blueberry nutrition on top of another awesome blueberry recipe with only two ingredients!  Allison shows how to make Blueberry-Chia Jam, and it’s crazy good! Can’t get more simple/healthy/delicious than that!

Not every day is perfect.  I’m not always a 100% up-and-at-em, vegany power superhero (as some of my friends would put it).  Some days, I wanna say screw it, just like you do, crank up Alanis Morisette, and scream at every car I see on the road, even though I know they can’t hear me.  We all have those days. While I can’t say I got a whole lot of emotional satisfaction from today, I am able to reflect on the fact that despite my moodiness, I was able to run over five miles, contribute to a very satisfying inter-professional meeting at Case, and eat some very healthy meals.  Being able to see those accomplishments in print makes my day a bit more satisfying than I thought it was!

What do you do when you’re having an off day?  Are you able to see positive actions even in the midst of conflict and indecision?  Comment below and let me know how you get over your less-than-perfect moments.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow holds less conflict and more clarity.

Stay happy, stay healthy!

Wellness Wednesday: GREEN

 

ImageHappy Hump Day!  Honestly, Wednesdays are the Mondays of my life right now, since I work from Wednesday through Saturday.  That’s okay though, I won’t be bound to that schedule forever!  I kind of like having Tuesdays off right now.  Since most everyone is at work or school, I’m pretty much free to do as I please, traffic and line free.  Who can complain about that? I got a nice 3 mile run in today after work, too.  Can you spot the heart in the trees?

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On top of Hump Day, looks like it’s GREEN Wellness Wednesday, too! Make sure you head over to Allison in Wellnessland to get a killer kale pesto recipe this week and hear about her adventures with kale in the kitchen!  Okay so not only is this my favorite color, but it’s the color of most of my favorite foods!  What to choose?  There’s kale, broccoli, spinach, celery, cucumbers, chives, tomatillos, cilantro, parsley, avocados, artichokes…. I could be here all day people.  Each are delicious in their own right and each bring their own unique nutritional benefits to the table.   Anyone who knows me knows I am indecisive to a fault (don’t think you can fix me!) and won’t be surprised when I say I chose a veggie combo for you all to enjoy this week.  Hey, at least I’m consistent.

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1/2 jalapeno, de-seeded
1 lime
1 cucumber
1 mango
2 scallions
1 bunch cilantro

This recipe is probably my most favoritest juice of all time.  Yeah, FAVORITEST. Like, if there was a juice law that said this was the only juice allowed forever, I’d drink it all day every day and never complain about it. Ever.  It’s called mango salsa, and I’ve mentioned it on here several times, but it’s a drink that’s worth the extra attention.  It’s health benefits parallel it’s foodgasmic flavor (yep, I said it), making it a win-win.  You seriously CAN’T go wrong here people.  Unless you don’t like cilantro.  Which makes you a communist.  Meaning that YOU are the one that’s wrong, and not my precious juice.  Can you tell I really like cilantro?  How could you not, with all it’s amazing benefits? 

Did you know that cilantro is one of very few foods which actually bind to metals in the body and are able to carry them through the digestive tract to help our bodies get rid of them?  Pretty cool, huh? 

And oh, the jalapenos.  Capsaicin is what gives the pepper its spicy kick, and researchers have found that capsaicin releases endorphins. Maybe that’s why this drink makes me so happy.  Some studies are even in the works to study capsaicin’s effect on weight loss, but I’m not terribly concerned with that, and you shouldn’t be, either.  Here’s the way I see it: “I got so fat by eating vegetables” said no one ever. Does it really matter if something inside a vegetable speeds metabolism to weight loss?  Who cares! 

Cucumbers are another green item found in the mango salsa drink, contributing to most of the concoction’s bulk.  Something you might not know is that cucs contain about 20% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and the distribution of calcium.  Basically it’s your “injury prevention” nutrient, and cucumbers are full of it! 

Mangoes are not green by any means, but the limes in the juice definitely are!  Limes, on top of being delicious, carry almost 30% of your daily vitamin C in them.  Not too shabby! 

Add all these power foods together, and you will be ready to take on just about anything.  I guarantee it.  Please make sure you de-seed the jalapeno before throwing it through the juicer, though.  Oh, and wash your hands after touching the jalapeno.  Like right after you put it down.  Do not, I repeat, do not rub your eye with your jalapeno-y fingers while drinking your juice.  Not that that’s something I’ve ever done, but you know, it just sounds super painful.  Like, you might spill your delicious juice on your way to dive into your shower, fully clothed.  Again, not saying that actually happened to me last week, I’m just saying you should be careful…

Okay!  That about wraps up Wellness Wednesday! Stay well, stay happy!

And get your juice on!

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!

Day 6- Clean Eating Cleanse: Stuffed Green Peppers

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What?  No post yesterday?  I know, I’m sorry!  Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind, and I did not stop moving until about 11 o’ clock last night.  It was a kitchen scrub-down kind of day, so I mainly juiced yesterday and focused on the cleaning to be done.  I did get in a solid 3 mile run though, so not too shabby!

Tonight however, I did get into the kitchen to make a little magic!  I diced all my veggies and, after nearly losing a thumb, got down to business and cranked out some KILLER stuffed green peppers! Just to be clear, this wasn’t “mama’s home cooking” stuffed green peppers.  I don’t know how your mama made it, but mine threw in plenty of beef, cream of mushroom soup, and white rice.  I don’t think I have any of those ingredients in my kitchen right now.  I’m on a CLEAN EATING CLEANSE for crying out loud!  I did the next best thing, though.  Quinoa, cooked in homemade vegetable broth.  Garlic, onions, celery, and chopped kale.  Plenty of cumin and just a teeny bit of nutritional yeast.  Oh yeah, now we’re in business.  Tasty AND clean-eating approved!

Side note* It makes things a hell of a lot easier if you prep your veggies in advance!

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Stuffed Green Peppers (makes 10 servings)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes cut in half + ½ cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • A few healthy shakes of cayenne pepper (only if you want it spicy!)
  • ¾ cups quinoa, dry
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 green peppers, sliced lengthwise & seeds removed

Cook your quinoa in the vegetable broth and set aside.

Sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for about 5 minutes, and then throw your diced tomatoes and spices into the mix.

Add in your kale, and stir until kale is wilted.  Then throw your nutritional yeast, quinoa & black beans into the mix! Simmer for 10 minutes.  (At this point, if the whole mixture seems a little dry, add an extra quarter cup of vegetable broth to the mixture.)

Preheat the oven to 350 while your mixture is simmering.  It is at this point that you want to add the 3 vine-ripened tomatoes and ½ cup vegetable broth to your Ninja (or blender) and puree the mixture.  Pour contents out onto baking sheet and spread around evenly.

Your pot on the oven should be done simmering by now. Remove from heat and begin stuffing your peppers!  Fill each pepper with a heaping amount of the quinoa/veggie mixture.  I filled 5 peppers (10 halves) with this amount.  Place each pepper onto the baking sheet, on top of the tomato puree.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Enjoy the hell out of your amazing dinner and be proud you made it from scratch!

Not only was my dinner tonight totally healthy (seriously, name ONE thing in this recipe that isn’t good for you!), it was made using all locally harvested ingredients! Minus the canned black beans. It truly was a win-win situation tonight in my kitchen, and the veggie scraps were all thrown into Joey, my trusty juicer, along with a couple apples, to create the perfect cleansing juice!  Now, some of you are probably wondering why the hell am I making 10 servings of this meal when I live alone!  Well, one possibility is that I was extremely hungry… okay, even I couldn’t eat that much, no matter how ravenous I was.  So the only logical explanation is… yep, you guessed it!  I’m freezing the leftover peppers in individual serving sizes so I can have a quick and easy meal on-the-go whenever I want!  Winner winner chicken vegan dinner!

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Green Juice made from kitchen leftovers:
1/2 tomato
2 stalks celery
3 small apples
1 cucumber
1/3 zucchini
2″ ginger
1/2 lemon
3 kale leaves

I would absolutely recommend a clean eating challenge to anyone looking to look good, feel healthy, and just totally RADIATE awesomeness!  I can’t tell you how great I feel, and how empowered I am by cooking from scratch!  Making something out of nothing is a thing of beauty, and it’s just so dang satisfying!  I will admit, tomorrow will be a tricky day since I will be on the road straight after work heading for Toledo.  Eating clean on the road is hard, and fast food or even eating out in general is not my favorite activity.  I may do a post from the road, though, so be on the lookout!

Day 4- Clean Eating Cleanse: Roasted Cabbage and Fresh Salad

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I have to say, one thing I love about a fridge stocked with whole foods is the versatility I have with meals.  Combinations, portion sizes, and prep time are all totally in my control.  Sometimes, I get home and I’m ready to take on that intimidating new ethnic recipe I’ve wanted to try.  Other times, I want to branch out on my own and do a little experimentation.  And other other times like tonight, I just want something fast, light, and satisfying. Cooking from scratch means the fridge is always full, and the possibilities are truly endless.  While I did plan on tackling a particularly interesting recipe tonight, I came home from work mentally exhausted, and was able to throw together a dinner that was much more suited to my mood. 

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Roasted cabbage is something literally ANYONE can cook.  All I did was pre-heat the oven to 375 and toss a couple hunks of cabbage in.  I lightly drizzled some olive oil, and completed the dish with some garlic and onion powder, pepper, and basil.  Pop those suckers in the oven for a half hour and you’re in business!

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I also threw together a salad with produce from my trip to the farmer’s market last Sunday.  Chopped romaine, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, & pepitas with a little balsamic drizzled on.  That’s the stuff.

All in all, dinner took about a 20 minutes to prep (the cabbage obviously took a little longer than that to cook, but prep time was super short!).  Yes, my salad WAS prepared in a pot.  I just threw all my dishes in the dishwasher and had to improvise!  Still tasted amazing though! 

I know foods I post sometimes have lengthy prep times, or seem complicated to reproduce, but hopefully today’s post proves to you that eating a clean, unprocessed diet can be both healthy AND simple! Food is either as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, and tonight I ate a clean, vegan, totally unprocessed meal that I was able to enjoy less than 40 minutes after walking in the door after a long, crazy day of work. 

What healthy meals do you prepare when you’re short on time?