Sunday, 17 June 2012

Homemade Juices and more !!!

Summer is officially here and besides ice pops, Fresh homemade juices are a necessity for Hot Summer days.  When Alki and I first moved to California, all I wanted was a juicer. We were given one as an engagement gift from my family and have been addict to it ever since.  Not having any idea where to start with juicing I ran to  Barnes and Noble and picked up a few books on juicing; I also needed some books for my bookshelf anyway so it was perfect :)

I knew for sure I loved Cucumber- but didn't know what health benefits it had as far as eating and juicing. And of course Carrots are great for your eyes... but what else? If I was going to juice I wanted to do it right and know exactly what I was drinking and what it's benefits were, especially if I was going to be feeding these questionable colored juices to my husband. Along with information in the books I bought, I also did some research online.

So today I laid out all day by my pool. Being in the sun for so long I felt really dehydrated and desperately needed a juice pick me up. I picked out whatever I had in my fridge and decided to make a fresh juice for my hubby and I- No juice recipe book needed today LOL. But I did go through a few to choose a some juices that looked good so I know what to buy when I go Food shopping tomorrow.

With a juicer at home, you get to keep the left over skin or pulp from the fruit and veggies and use for a number of things. I read online that you can put it in your dogs food, which I did and they loved it. I also read people have taken the left overs and made dried fruit leathers with it, mixed it into muffins and added it to a compost pile in their yard. If you think about how much money you spend at a juice shop, whole foods or a restaurant for a juice - having your own juicer is well worth it.

I lined it with a zip lock bag because I like to keep the pulp and use it for a number of different things. Also makes for an easier cleanup.  

The color is a mucky green brown- BUT tastes incredibly healthy and refreshing

The left overs I will feed to my dogs in their food. I have also read people using it as a natural face scrub and putting it tint the dirt when they plant mew flowers. Why throw it away when you can do so much with it :)

The Juicer we have is a  Breville Stainless Steel Juice and Blend . The Breville company offers many juicers at different prices and I have been really happy with it. It's also very easy to clean which is important. The Jack Lalannes Power Juicer Express I've heard is a good one and is also sold on ebay,, Officemax and Kohls- although having said that- the ratings on amazon don't seem amazing for this juicer.   The  Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor also looks like it is good, is only $65 on and has 4 out of 5 stars; 716 reviews!!! If you don't have a juicer you should definitely invest in one; Its a great appliance to have .

I went through some of the books and found it so useful that they included in the beginning what each veggie and fruit was good for. I included a few recipes that sounded super yummy and not too involved.  Having given up meat in January of this year I found that I started bruising a lot more easily due to the lack of iron in my body. Spinach is a great source of Iron but I can't stand eating it all the time. With a juicer I can mix it in with and apple and other fruits to mask the taste and still get all the nutrients my body needs!

I think the wheatgrass powder can be found at whole foods!! Haven't tried it yet 

I thought these were interesting. It tells you the condition and then next to it what veggies they recommend you consume to help with the problem. Very Interesting!

Another Super healthy veggie that I love and just found out its a natural diuretic is BEETS!!! I love putting beets into my juicer and having fresh beet juice, it's so refreshing and has amazing benefits.
When I lived in NY I would eat these pickled beets right out of the jar! I LOVED them- but only this particular brand.
They are nothing special, you can buy them anywhere but they are sooooo yummy. I would buy the sliced one though :)

"Remember all those legendary Russian centenarians? Beets, frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer."

The pigment in Beets is called Betalains- and we can thank them for their function both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. 

The pigments that give beets their rich colors are called betalains. There are two basic types of betalains: betacyanins and betaxanthins. Betacyanins are pigments are red-violet in color. Betanin is the best studied of the betacyanins. Betaxanthins are yellowish in color. In light or dark red, crimson, or purple colored beets, betacyanins are the dominant pigments.
The betalain pigments in beets are water-soluble, and as pigments they are somewhat unusual due to their nitrogen content. Many of the betalains function both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules. At the same time, they themselves are also very vulnerable to oxidation (change in structure due to interaction with oxygen). In addition to beets, rhubarb, chard, amaranth, prickly pear cactus, and Nopal cactus are examples of foods that contain betalains.

For more helpful and interesting information on beets check out this website:

I also found this super yummy recipe using beets that I cannot wait to try.
I ran across a fun way to use beets, in gnocchi! They look beautiful and taste great too! I have to admit that I don't enjoy the earthiness of beets, but loved this recipe because the parmesan and ricotta balanced the strong flavor. If you love beets, use more than the recipe calls for.

Here is the recipe (makes 4 main-course servings):
3-4 small beets, trimmed
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh rosemary sprigs, or bunch of basil, chopped
Additional Parmesan cheese, shaved
Additional basil leaves, to garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool 15 minutes. Slip skin off beets; discard skins. Coarsely grate beets. Place grated beets in large bowl. Stir in ricotta, egg, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Mix in 1 cup flour. (Gnocchi dough can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Lightly dust baking sheet with flour. Place remaining flour in small bowl. Using a tablespoon as aid, scoop dough into small rounds; transfer to bowl with flour, roll to coat. To shape the gnocchi: hold a salad fork in one hand so the tip rests on the work surface at a 45-degree angle. Place a piece of the dough at the top of the tines with your free thumb in the center. In one gentle motion, quickly press and roll the dough along the tines to make groves in one side of the dumpling. The other side will have a small dent from your thumb, perfectly suited for holding a sauce. Transfer gnocchi to prepared baking sheet. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Melt butter with rosemary or basil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add olive oil, set aside. Working in batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of simmering salted water, 3 1/2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to skillet with butter, olive oil and rosemary/basil. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently to coat. Transfer to plate; sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Recipe and post taken from :

Sorry.. this post was suppose to be about juices, but I did so much research last night and found this recipe by mistake and had to share!! LOL
My next appliance splurge will be on a dehydrator so I can make my own dried fruits and not have to worry about what has been added to them. Yummy healthy snacks!!

If you have a favorite juice or a different way of utilizing the left over pulp please share with us in the comment section!!! Happy Juicing everyone <3


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