Plant-Based Chapters + CocoBeet Concoction Juice!

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What happens when a light sleeper gets bombarded with 23 texts at 3 in the morning?  An overly productive morning and a Rent sing-a-long.  Oh, and lots of juice!  I’m a big advocate for making use of everything in my kitchen, and that includes the stalks of broccoli I saved after using the florets for soup the other night.  Using broccoli stems as the base, I threw in some beets and carrots, and a whole bunch of cilantro.  To top it off, I added some coconut water to the end product. Holy yum!

CocoBeet Concoction

  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 beets
  • 2 stems broccoli (or 1 whole head broccoli)
  • 8 oz. natural coconut water

Add the coconut water after juicing all vegetables.  Enjoy!

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Does your kitchen look like this at 3:30 in the morning?  I think my neighbors are hating me through our very thin walls right now.  At least Bran isn’t terrified of the noise anymore.

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I’m so chill while mom juices.  Sometimes I get to eat the pulp!

Last night, I had dinner & drinks with a good friend who has been a vegan for years, and we got to talking about things that changed for us when we made the transition.  She started talking about different “chapters” in the life of someone adopting a plant-based diet, and seeing as it’s been almost a year since I fully dedicated myself to adopting a plant-based lifestyle, I’m seeing truth to her theory.

One of the big changes we talked about was the amount of alcohol we consumed.  I thought I was just out of the “college phase” and that was the explanation for my abrupt drop in tolerance for cocktails.  Nope.  Turns out a plant-based diet can lower tolerance over time, and it makes sense.  Lowering processed food intake and eliminating animal products altogether makes for one very clean and efficient machine of a body!  Nothing to clog up digestion or block absorption of nutrients; this holds true for alcohol as well.

You can take one of two approaches with your attitude in regards to this.  You can be upset about the fact that keg-stands are probably not going to stand in your life much longer, or you can get as stoked as I was about not having to buy 3 or 4 beers since I’m satisfied with one or two now!

Sorry for the short post, but I’m off to enjoy my juice and save the world one puppy at a time.  I’ll be posting more this week, so don’t worry!

Happy Juicing!

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!

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?

Kale Chickpea Curry & Tropical Smooth Dessert Smoothie

I started off my day right this morning with one EXTREMELY green juice!  Celery, cucumbers, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, and an apricot.  Holy yum!  I felt great and was ready to take on the day!

No amount of juice could have prepared me for the weather though.  The weather today has been absolutely insane.  Most businesses in the area shut down around 3:00 due to a tornado warning AND a flash flood alert.  The sky turned an eerie green almost instantaneously and torrential downpour stranded me as well as the rest of the city.  Hail pelted relentlessly at my windows and I thought to myself “I had better cook some food while the power’s still on!”  The only question was what to make?

I don’t know about you all, but lately I seem to be on a Middle Eastern/Indian food kick.  Curry powder, cumin, and paprika have been my go-to spice trio for the past few months (My Italian mother is not at all thrilled by my lack of basil, oregano, and thyme).  I ended up throwing together a kale and chickpea curry, served over a bed of brown rice, and what’s better to wash down that tastiness with than a mango-papaya smoothie?  Enjoy both of these recipes.  Whether you make them together or separate, they will taste amazing!

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Kale Chickpea Curry on Brown Rice

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1/2 bunch kale (4-6 stems), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • Unsweetened coconut shavings, for garnish (optional)

Start cooking the rice while you work on the rest of the dish on another burner.  Once your rice is simmering, pour the olive oil into a separate pan and cook the garlic and onion on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add in the tomatoes after the onions have become translucent, and add in your seasonings as well (curry paste, paprika, cumin, coriander).  Let simmer for another 5 minutes.  Then add your can of undrained chickpeas.  The liquid should give the mixture a stew-like consistency.  Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes.  

Right before taking the mixture off the heat, add the kale.  Cook just until it wilts.  

Serve over a bed of brown rice.  Add coconut shavings for garnish.

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Tropical Smooth Dessert

  • 1 cup frozen mango, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen papaya, cubed
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

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Add all ingredients into your high-powered blender and blend on high until the consistency reaches that of ice cream.  You must freeze the fruit thoroughly prior to blending for this recipe to work properly.  

Enjoy!

Stir-Fried Juice

You know how sometimes you open your fridge and there’s nothing to eat?  Same thing happens with juicing, and it makes me so very unhappy!  I have all these recipes, but not all the ingredients for even one of them!  This was the situation I found myself in after my daily workout this afternoon.  The juicer was ready to go, but I had nothing to put through it.  What to do?  

My mom used to make stir fry growing up when there was nothing to eat in the house.  She pretty much just emptied the fridge of whatever was left and threw it all together in the frying pan.  I don’t remember those meals being too bad, so today I tried the concept for myself.  I made a “stir-fried” juice!

Here’s what I could russel up from the fridge:

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Doesn’t look all that appetizing together now, does it?  I would never throw this group into a frying pan on the stove, but in a juicer this strange combo works magic.  

  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 nectarines
  • 1/2 lemon
  • hunk o’ ginger
  • broccoli stalk
  • dinosaur kale (4-5 leaves)

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Hellooooo deliciousness!  There was about 1/2 cup of juice that didn’t fit into this glass, but look at all that nutrition!  All those fruits and veggies in one tasty glass.  Not bad for a seemingly empty fridge!