Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Confessions of a Half-hearted Juicer

Confession #1: I let lettuce shrivel in the fridge.
Confession #2: I forget there is one lone apple in the back of the fridge.
Confession #3: I'm so frugal we didn't get an ice maker for the fridge.
Confession #4: I've been known in the past for going on fad diets and then tiring of them real quick.

Do you get the picture? I have a love/hate affair with fresh produce and my fridge. It's like out of sight, out of mind. As much as I love our farmer's market, I dread going and seeing only large bunches of veggies. If I had all the money I've wasted on fresh produce over the year I could buy an apartment in Paris. Well, maybe just go to Paris for five days and stay in a student hostel (shiver, been there and done that) but you get the picture.

All my family and friends juice and are healthier for it. My friend Mary C has a VitaMix , the Cadillac of juice extractors.  It pulverizes veggies like no one's business. Thanks to her daughter, who favors the single serving making Nutribullet, she's also become a whiz mixing with additives like hemp protein and flax oil.

Then there's my daughter-in-law Shannon who has a Ninja, a large high-powered blender. She is the queen of smoothies. She loves them as a runner. The grandkidlets just plain love them. Do they know they're healthy?

What did I have? A fear of juicing. Not because of the thought of all that healthy stuff coursing through my brain but my household budget hasn't allowed me to consider an appliance that is almost a hundred dollars. Add in the fact I neglect to use my veggies and I like to chew them besides.

Well, I decided to apply my repurpose credo to juicing. What did I already have? A mini processor and an immersion blender.

Hmmmm. Now to figure out the waste issue. I bought a small pint of local blueberries. A resealable package of spinach.  A pack of organic shredded carrots. And one small green juice drink rather than all the bunches of kale, heads of broccoli, cucumbers, and other green things that would otherwise die a meaningless death under my watch.



First I pulverized my spinach, blueberries and carrots in the processor by processing, adding a bit of the green juice, and processing some more.




Then I poured the semi-solid concoction into my immersion blender cup and really let it go to town. That's all it took.



And it was pretty tasty.

Yes, I had more dishes to wash. But for a first try it was pretty successful. If you have a regular blender and use frozen fruit and a banana (sniff, I'm allergic!), it will be even thicker. I like a bit of crunch in my drink but if you don't, you can buy carrot juice in small bottles as well.

The leftovers? Most will be used tonight as ingredients in dinner. No waste.

Only time will tell if I decide I like the ease of a Nutribullet or the Ninja. If it is worth it, I can save up for one. But, for now, my make-do plan is working. I like veggies I can sip down and drink up! 

Frugal Cheater's Healthy Drink

1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup shredded carrots (or carrot juice)
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup "green" juice
1 banana (optional for additional sugar and smoothness)

Process or blend veggies until as smooth as possible. Add juice and optional banana. Process again and drink. 

Epilogue: I am still juicing after a week. AND I discovered Earthbound Farm Organics has a packaged baby kale, shard, and spinach blend that is perfect. No waste.  Feeling so much better. So I may just have to save my pennies up for an upgraded machine after all.

Earthbound Farm makes it easy to get your power greens. Click here for more info

Caution: Remember that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There is some research saying that too many servings of kale and other greens can affect your thyroid function. Too much fruit and not enough protein affects diabetics. Not eating a balanced diet is just not a good thing. Use good judgement when juicing and talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns due to your own health situation.   
 
So, are you a juicer? Do you prefer to drink your veggies and fruits rather than chew? What is your favorite smoothie, homemade or bought?
  

  

 
       

34 comments:

  1. I like to chew! I've done some smoothies but not the green kind yet. something I think about doing every so often but afraid it'll be gross - like v8 - blech :-( except the fruity kind of v8 that's tolerable for me. friend of mine uses her nutribullet and likes to use blueberries and spinach and adds almonds and some other stuff- it was pretty decent the time I tried one of her creations.
    Susanna

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    1. "I like to chew." That's probably my entire food motto right there.

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  2. I like to chew too. I think green smoothies will be an occasional thing for me when I don't have time to chew!

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  3. What a fun insider's look at juicing, Julie! I'm not a juicer, but I can see how juicing has helped so many folks get onto a healthier track, and that's awesome. I've been researching the prairie and it's amazing how hard work and lack of food thins a population! Remember in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books how she talked about homesteaders being "thin and brown".... I can totally see that, working in the sun and wind, sustenance food, and not wasting a thing. And leisure time was loved but scarce!

    I think those homesteaders were brave, smart and had a work ethic that puts us to shame in this millenium. I think we're on the right track, adopting and adapting to simpler lifestyles, but the work ethic the successful pioneers shared is one of those more elusive traits!

    It's funny that the original pilgrims were thin, but as farms developed and cooking/planting/harvesting/milling became the norm, the women plumped up in the kitchen... and then when they moved West where supplies were scarce and work abounded, we thinned down again. So much to learn from the past!

    Now if I could just teach myself self-control.... Oy!

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    1. Great insights! I wish I lived in an environment where I worked my exercise.

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    2. Did Ruthy just say we should all homestead on the Nebraska prairie?

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    3. Jan - that's what I got out of it! no thanks I'll stay fat before I live a hard life like that!
      Susanna

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  4. I don't have any of the gadgets either, so I'm glad to hear you can do it with a food processor! I do have a small, blender in a cup (a cheaper version of the Nutribullet, I guess). So I can do small drinks. I usually make a smoothie with strawberries, frozen peaches, blueberries, yogurt and some almond milk. I've never tried a green juice but would love to!

    I often buy the boxes of greens you shared. Love the baby kale and also the Power mix. :) Will be tossing some in my fruit smoothies now!

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    1. See it can be done. And you won't notice the greens either.

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  5. Hmmm. DS loves smoothies, and I wish I could sneak in some veggies but the color would change...I may have to try it.

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    1. It works well with blueberries or chocolate!!!!

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  6. My daughter and daughter-in-law both have juicers and have encouraged me to try them, but the thought of drinking something green kinda makes me gag. You know the feeling--like the smell of mushrooms cooking or the taste of liver... I know I should try to convince myself that the green is from all the kiwifruit I would put in it.

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    1. Yes, keep telling yourself that you are eating salad. Assuming you like salad.

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  7. I was the same way about meaning well, but wasting too much. I have a nutri-bullet and love it! It makes just the right amount, with minimal clean up. As for me, I love the fruit smoothies. I just hate to throw "greens" in a smoothie, but I go through periods where I will throw a little spinach in. Joyce

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    1. My sister told me Spinach hides itself well in a blueberry smoothie and she was right! My kids don't notice a thing.

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  8. I had to laugh at the condition of your produce drawer! Mine is the same! Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

    I've been using frozen veggies to add greens to my smoothies (like frozen, chopped spinach), but I like the idea of using the green drink. I'll have to look for it. I've also found that berries (like blackberries or raspberries) help mask the "green" flavor.

    I have a high end blender that I bought with my Bosch mixer. That puppy pulverizes ice cubes - and the frosty cold green drinks go down a lot easier!

    And I've read that about too many raw greens and thyroid function. Moderation is key.

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    1. The great thing about the berry family is they are lower sugar than mangoes or peaches. Moderation really is the key to everything. If you binge, you are more likely to stop getting your greens and you want healthy eating to be a life time habit.

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  9. I'm a juicer! I asked for gift cards for Mother's Day last year from all kids. Bought the WONDERFUL AND AMAZING BREVILLE JUICER.

    I eat a meal a day now which is usually a salad and juice twice a day. I am down -lets just say-alot. If I get a protein headache I eat 25 gram of protein something like Greek Yogurt.

    I discovered I hate, hate, hate spinach in the juicer.

    Fruit except apples are a waste in the juicer. You should never juice bananas.

    Smoothy bananas and all other fruit except apples.

    The best juice known to man is two gala apples, four carrot sticks and a lemon.

    Another good one is Kale, celery, a granny smith or two and a lemon.

    I also shred Kale and eat it in my romaine salad.

    The best book on the topic is THE JUICE MASTER'S ULTIMATE FAST FOOD. BY JASON VALE. Meaning fast food not fasting.

    Even he eats his fruit and juices his veggies. Because you can't usually get enough veggies in by eating.

    He also suggests taping your fruit juices with mineral water to avoid the sugar load of natural sugar.

    I could talk about this until the sun goes down.

    Thanks, Julie for a great topic.And you are right. When I first started juicing I bought way too much produce. Now I stick to a few basics. Celery (cut and dry and wrap in tin foil to keep for two weeks). Kale, wash and dry and put in a covered bowl with paper towels to keep longer. Those cheap bags of apples for 3.50 which is enough for a few days and uncut carrots. a buck or a so a bag. Way cheaper. The above total is less than ten bucks.

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    1. *waves to another juicer* We love granny smiths, carrots, half a beet and a bit of ginger. I won't give amounts because I make a huge batch. I have four here who will drink a whole glass.
      I found a used juicer in great condition on our town's yard sale site. It's originally $350 or something (a Breville, too 800JEXL) and I got it for $70. We used it almost every day for a couple months and then I got tired of it.
      I need to juice some more!

      P.S. My daughter didn't like the juices with a half a beet. She said it made it taste like dirt.

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    2. Ginger. I agree. I must roast my beets and then they don't taste like dirt.

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    3. I thought the beets gave a dirt aftertaste too - but it slowed me down otherwise the effect would've hit before I got close to home :-(
      Susanna

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  10. Love Galas so that recipe is a keeper. I have to watch my sugar consumption so very little fruit for me, maybe one gala instead? I also love cucumber juice.

    One meal for me and one liquified. But I definitely need the greek yogurt protein.

    Thanks so much for your contributions, Tina!















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  11. Great conversation. Julie knows I love my juice/smoothies. The reason I love my Vitamix is because it pulverizes everything so you're getting the full vegetable.

    My current favorite is cucumbers mixed with something citrusy - either grapefruit, lemon or lime. So refreshing.

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    1. Mary, I am making a cucumber watermelon drink tonight in your honor.

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    2. I've been thinking about the different types of juicers because a friend said the same thing about "keeping all the fruit" instead of just the juice. I never had thought about how much fiber you lose that way.

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  12. Cucs with citrus. I can do this. I am not crazy about cucs with kale. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. It's that whole genetic tastebud thing. I can only do kale if it is in its infancy!

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  13. Oy -- I'm the vegetarian in the group and I kinda gag at the thought of swallowing green slime too. But reading your post and all the comments is making me rethink...a bit. I don't have a juicer though -- just a little cheap imitation bullet thingy that I make smoothies in.

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    1. Kav, I have an easy tip for the gag reflex. Straws. I can drink anything if its through a straw.

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    2. I think maybe "slime" would be bad, but a good green juice that isn't slimy... I could do that. I tried a few green juices but really never liked any of the recipes.

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  14. I agree. I ice all my juices and use a straw.

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  15. All you have to do is add a little water to thin it if it seems too thick.

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