Spinach soup & then some

Before I submersed myself in a delightful yoga session at home this morning (Sean Conley podcast, of course!), I made a full on mess in my teeny tiny kitchen. When I started I thought I was only going to make my usual breakfast but it quickly turned into a bit more. I blame the energy I got from sipping the greens…

First was this morning’s green that included:

Handful of kale
Handful of romaine
2 celery stalks
1/2 lemon
1 cuke, peeled
1 1/2 apples
1 small piece of pineapple (what was leftover from what I wolfed down while washing the veggies)
2′ piece of ginger

Per usual… best breakfast eva.

I got ambitious and figured I’d make a carrot juice since I haven’t for awhile and had 5 lbs in my fridge. Then I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and make spinach soup if I was juicing carrots. SO, into the juicer went 2.5 lb of carrots. All washed & ends chopped off.

Carrot pulp was saved and stashed in fridge for a creation to be decided upon later this week. Probably crackers or a raw bread in the dehydrator.

I saved roughly 8 ounces of carrot juice for my snack and threw the rest in the blender. Finished up the juice with some jalapeno (obsessed), an apple, lemon, and ginger.

At this point I had food and utensils everywhere. My kitchen imploded. I had carrot pulp all over my floor, bags of compost in my drying rack and on the stove, veggies in the drying rack, lettuce on top of my fridge, food all over my stove and in my sink(!!), the veggies in the sink were sharing space with dirty dishes, juicer parts all over….. ah. If you’ve seen my kitchen you know it’s a feat just to cut an apple. No joke.

Once I got ahold of the mess I made the soup. SO good!

Spinach Soup

~16 ounces carrot juice
5 SMALL cloves of garlic
1″ piece of peeled, fresh ginger
tiny chunk of jalapeno
touch of lemon juice
LOTS of spinach
Fresh pepper

Blend everything except the spinach until well blended. Add spinach and fill to top. Blend. Add more. Blend. Add more. Blend. Add more. You get the picture.

I thought I went a little nuts with the garlic. However, five cloves was in fact perfect. The sweetness from the carrot toned down the power of the garlic. I enjoyed this cold, alongside a kale, carrot pulp, and mushroom salad with dijon lemon dressing. Yum.

I’d say I got my dose of greens today.

Squirrelin’ Around

My family has this thing for squirrels. I happen to think they are the cutest “rodent” around. In fact, as a child I often hoped to one day have a squirrel as a pet. My Dad, however, wouldn’t have it. He thinks they are just pesky vermins. Especially pine squirrels – aka nut grabbers.

Upon returning from Wisconsin after Christmas our fam had a gift awaiting our arrival – thanks to my mom’s friend Denise. Say hello to the newest addition to our family:

Ramon (named appropriately after my father, Ray)

Ramon is a our magnetic squirrel. He came with various outfits… depending how he wants to dress for the week. This week… cowboy Ramon.

And Pilot Squirrel!!

Yesterday my Mom sent me a picture of these squirrels chillin’ in an owl nest in a friend’s yard. See…. squirrels are cute!

Even if they are nut grabbers!

Heart Healthy Juices

Just a few months ago I thought the idea of juicing GARLIC was appalling. Like seriously who in their right mind would consider putting one of the smelliest foods into their juice? Back in December I finally gave it a whirl on a day I knew I wasn’t required to venture into public anytime soon. So into one of my regular green juices I threw in a clove of fresh, locally grown garlic…

and the verdict was…

delicious! One clove to ~16-20 ounces is enough.

The taste is very subtle and not at all overpowering. It is an excellent way to load up on all the benefits of garlic without suffering with the subsequent garlic breath! ;)


Another fun veg to add is a jalapeno! If it wasn’t for Chelsea’s bravery I would have never thought to do this (or at least would never have tried it).

Making sure to combine it with a sweeter juice, I juiced up the following:

bunch-o-carrots
1 apple
1/3 jalapeno (seeds & all)

Sip slowly at first… make sure the ratios are to your preference and that your mouth doesn’t catch on fire. Or your lips. It’s like salsa in a juice. Oddly delicious.

Gratitude

If I could sum up in one word that conveys what is most alive in me right now, that word would be grateful.

I am grateful for…

… my family. My parents and brother are my world and without them I’d be lost. Without my Mom I would not have my best friend & mentor, without my Dad I’d have no reason to google “toilet paper obsession” (just kidding! he’s my hero :)), and without Brian I would not have a friend who thinks I’m a complete nutcase yet still loves me (I have a feeling he isn’t the only one).

… my friends. Near & far – I have a community of friends whom I wouldn’t trade for anything. My friends continue to strengthen my character, inspire me, and remind me how it is the little things in life that count.

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… my faith. I believe in believing.

… my health.

… everything. The good & the bad. ’cause the bad just teaches me how to love the good.

… the ability to live, love, and laugh. You can never have enough.

Twinkie vs. Carrot

Why does a twinkie cost less than a bundle of carrots? Michael Pollan will sum it up for you in under two minutes:

Twinkie vs. Carrot

Last night in my Sustainable Consumption class it was brought up that Hostess filed for bankruptcy. At first someone mentioned the twinkie was no longer going to exist. WHAT?! I almost had a heart attack. Not that I’ll ever eat a twinkie again. They are however a (somewhat) unfortunate nostalgic reminder of my youth. My mom always let me go to the 7-11 to get my double pack of Twinkies after I had my haircut. Clearly I do not agree with anything that is associated with a Twinkie yet it would be strange if Ho-Hos, Hostess cupcakes, and Twinkies became a thing of the past. Yet it would be entirely what I stand for. Funny how it invoked such a strong, yet fleeting reaction.

Well, off to enjoy some CARROTS!

Staying Nourished

After three absolutely wonderful weeks at home with family & friends in Chicago and Wisco, I’ve settled in quite nicely back in Pittsburgh. Any apprehensions I had on returning were immediately dissolved. My first day back last week I feasted on a very.delicious.juice. I probably say this everyday (to myself). But really, it was great. I decided to experiment with my usual green so I gave it a citrus twist.

Citrus Green Juice:
Yields:~16 ounces
1/2 grapefruit, peeled
1/2 lime
1 peeled cucumber
1 1″ piece of ginger
handful romaine
handful kale
1 Fuji Apple

I’ve been on a lime kick (thanks, Heather!) The lime in this juice really comes though but is not overwhelming. And the grapefruit is just enough to be sweet and not bitter.

Another juice I’ve really been enjoying as of late is carrot, beets, and apple. A natural liver detoxifier, beets are a great veggie to add to your diet, particularly at this time of the year as many of us are trying to eat lighter and detoxify a bit after the holidays. If too much liquor and rich foods were part of your holiday fare, start the healing process by adding more beets to your meals. The beet substance betaine is responsible for allowing liver cells to release toxins – thus exiting the body as opposed to camping out or getting recycled into your system. I can never get enough carrot and apple juice-I swear I could live off this stuff.

Carrot-Beet-Apple:
Yield: ~ 16-20 ounces
Handful and then some of carrots
1-2 Fuji Apples
1-2 red beets
1/4-1/2 lemon
1 1″ piece of ginger

Any juices that call for carrots I make sure to juice them first and save the pulp. I love adding carrot pulp to salads, eating it straight, mixing into muffins, and rolling up into homemade sushi or veggie wraps (see collards wrap below). Or my latest favorite is turning it into mock tuna salad (recipe below)!!!! Thanks to my lovely friend Molly- my world has been turned upside down with this newbie.

With collards on sale this week at Whole Foods I bought a huge bunch with the intention to make tahini and veggie wraps. While I haven’t been into any nut butters for awhile now, I still get a taste for tahini every once now and then. To save the packaging and to control the ingredients (i.e. salt, toasted sesame seeds) I make my tahini at home. In a food processor I add ~ 1 1/2 cups of sesame seeds and ~1/4 cup olive oil. Blend for at least 5 minutes until a creamy, uniform spread is formed. You may need to scrap the sides and bring the mixture to the center a few times, otherwise the seeds and tahini get pushed to the bottom and sides of the bowl and the blade can’t reach. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator up to two or three weeks.

To make the collard wraps I take a collard leaf and score out the center stalk so I have to pliable leaves. Next, spread 1/2-1 tablespoon of tahini at the bottom of the leaf. Layer on that carrot pulp, sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, sprouts, and any other veggies you like. Tightly wrap everything up and you have yourself a gluten free and raw veggie wrap! If you don’t like collards, dino kale is another tasty and sturdy green that works well.

And my favorite! Molly and I went to a raw foods potluck on Sunday evening- the mock tuna being her contribution. I brought my go-to thai coleslaw. Her and I both became instant fans of each other dishes and went home with each others bowls to finish the leftovers. This recipe is so good and super easy… and comes without the risk of mercury!

Mock Tuna Salad
3 cups carrot pulp
1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup yellow or red onion, chopped

Add to that some regular mayonnaise or for the raw aioli version:
3/4 cup water
1 cup cashews
1/2 tsp garlic, minced (or more according to preference)
pinch or two of sea salt
*combine these ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add to carrot mixture and viola! Wrap in lettuce or serve with crackers of preference. For cheese and bread lovers try it on a piece of your favorite toast topped with melted cheese.