Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Soup is a great way to get more veggies in your diet with great flavor. In the past week we've made Baked Potato Soup Cold Avocado Cucumber Soup  and Butternut Squash and Apple soup. This Broccoli Soup is one of my favorites and is chock full of nutrition. Here it is, quick and easy!

What you need:
2 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
6 cups Broccoli (about 1 large bunch)
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 tsp Ginger Root, minced
2 Cups Skim Milk (or Soy or Almond)

Optional Garnish:
Purple Onion, finely chopped
Shredded Cheese

1. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
2. Add the chopped Broccoli, Garlic and Ginger. Reduce the heat to low and cover.
   Steam  for about 5 minutes or until Broccoli is tender. Remove from heat.
3. After the Broccoli has cooled slightly, puree it in a blender. Return it to the sauce pan.
4. Add the Milk, warm over low heat.
5. Serve sprinkled with chopped Purple Onion and/or Shredded Cheese
All of these soups are full of flavor and full of nutrition. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. What's your favorite way to get nutritious food and enjoy it?

Monday, December 26, 2011


It's not been very cold in Phoenix yet this winter, so maybe I'm hoping if I keep making good soup recipes that we will get some cold weather. Either way, there's nothing like a warm bowl of good homemade soup in the winter. I hope you get to enjoy sipping  hot soup while watching it snow. Try this recipe for Baked Potato Soup, it's another great cold weather soup. And coming up we'll share Broccoli Soup and Cauliflower Curry Soup.
I really like soups that are very tasty and healthy at the same time. This Butternut Squash and Apple soup is so flavorful and so healthy. It is definitely one of my favorites. I also love that it is easy to make.

The worst part of preparing squash, in my opinion, is trying to peel and cut the squash when it is raw. Squash is so darn hard that it is just a difficult job and not very pleasant. Even cutting it in half and scraping out the seeds takes too long in my opinion.

My solution to that is to bake it first. I pierce the Butternut Squash a few times with a fork and put it in a 350* oven for 40-45 minutes. When I can stick my fork in it, it's done. Simple as that. After baking it, I cut it in half and easily remove the seeds. And the peel practically falls off of the baked squash. So easy! I frequently bake a couple of squash (even different types of squash) at the same time to make several different dishes. It's amazing how quickly you can whip something together if the squash is already baked.

What you need:
1 Butternut Squash (2-2 ½ lb)
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped
1 Small Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Peeled and Sliced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
8 Cups Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth), or make your own with water/bouillion

Optional Garnish:
Peeled and Chopped Apple
Sour Cream

Roast squash-stab it a few times with fork and bake in 350* oven for 40 – 45 min.
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Peel squash and chop in large pieces.

Saute’ onion and carrot in olive oil for 5 minutes until onion is clear.
Add broth and apple, simmer 10 minutes until apple is soft.
Add squash, salt and pepper.
Puree in blender (or use immersion blender)
Garnish with chopped apple or a dollop of sour cream.

So easy! So Good! Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite winter soup? Please share…I’m always looking for new recipes to try!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Just a quick post to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL!

In recent weeks I have watched dear friends of mine deal with life threatening issues. Two have had surgery to remove brain tumors, for the SECOND time! A third is grateful to be alive and fighting to walk again after a hard landing in a helicopter. Another is fighting breast cancer and is being told she will be lucky to have two more years with her husband and young children. Others are dealing with loss of loved ones and other health issues.

Each of these situations serves to remind me that spending time with those we love is so much more important than any gifts we can buy. I encourage you to give the gift of time. Spend time with your spouse. Spend time with your kids. Spend time with aging parents and siblings who have their own busy lives.

Create memories that will last forever. Gifts will be used, lost and often forgotten. But memories will be with you and your loved ones forever.

If you are Christian, as I am, I ask you to remember the reason for this season. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, gave his life for us. He reminds us that this is a season for service. What greater gift can we give to those we care about than that of love and time.

May you have a blessed Christmas Day. My hope for you is that you are able to spend it with those you love.


Friday, December 23, 2011


Will you be having baked potatoes or mashed potatoes with your Christmas dinner? I love fresh mashed potatoes, but I inevitably make about four times too much! What to do with the leftovers?!

This recipe for Baked Potato Soup can be made with leftover baked potatoes or leftover mashed potatoes. It is super easy and SUPER DELICIOUS!

What you need:
4 Large Baked Potatoes OR 3-4 Cups leftover Mashed Potatoes
2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
6 Cups Skim Milk (could use 1%)
3/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1 Tbsp Salt (note- if using already seasoned mashed potatoes, use S&P to taste)
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Chopped Green onions

Toppings (optional):
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Green Onions, chopped
Bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. If not using leftover potatoes (Baked or Mashed), then preheat oven to 375*, pierce with a fork and bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Let them cool. Cut open and scoop potato out. Coarsely mash them in small bowl (leaving some chunks). Set aside.

2. In a large soup pot, add the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick, about 8 minutes. Add mashed potatoes, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts.

Note: Do not overdo S & P if using already seasoned mashed potatoes.

3. Add in Sour Cream and Green Onions. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated, do NOT boil the soup.

4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with choice of toppings. Serve warm.
You may also want to try Broccoli Soup or Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Winter is a great time to try new soup recipes. I was going to share some of my favorite soup recipes right after Christmas, but since I am now on a strict diet of juice, soups and smoothies for a period of time, it's a perfect time to share some great soups. While I love all of those things, it is easy to get bored with the same thing all the time.

Surgery was to remove a tumor in my jaw; this is the second time around. Two years ago, when the tumor first made itself known, the surgeon told me that while it was quite a rare type, it has a very high rate of recurrence. He was right, two years later it's back. I'm a 'get in and get it done' kind of gal, so 4 days before Christmas...well, I'll still cook Christmas dinner for family and friends, but I will be eating the 'soft side' of dinner.

If you've read previous posts, you know that I love to juice (in my Omega 8006 juicer) and blend (in my Vita-mix). One of my favorite smoothies is a Sweet Green Smoothie. It's a great way to get the super nutrition of kale and spinach, but in a sweet smoothie. Trust me, when you add all the ingredients I've listed, it doesn't taste like spinach! Try it, you may be surprised.

Juicing fresh fruits and veggies is another way to get super intense nutrition. A couple of my favorites are Mickey Mouse Juice  (when you look at it, you'll see why I call it that), and Carrot/Apple/Ginger . Poke around previous posts for some additional ideas as well.

Today's soup is a cold soup. I don't usually think of soup as being cold, but I'm trying to stay away from a lot of heat for a few days to help the inflammation in my jaw and cheek go down. I found quite a variety of Avocado soups online; some hot, some cold. I took ideas from several of them and put them together to make this version. It turned out AWESOME the first time. Note to self: this will be a great cold soup to serve at a brunch in the future!

The creaminess of the avocado and the yogurt in the recipe make it unnecessary to add sour cream or heavy cream. This is a much healthier version than most others I've found, yet tastes so thick, rich and creamy. YUM!

What You Need:
1 Cucumber (English or regular doesn't matter), peeled and diced
1 Avocado, pitted and scooped out
1/2 tsp grated Lemon Zest
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1 Scallion (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Cup Nonfat, Plain Yogurt
1 Cup Cold Water
1 1/2 tsp coarse Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Tblsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Throw all ingredients into a blender and puree.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Serve as is or with garnish of cilantro and/or finely chopped Cucumber

So easy! So good!!
Do you have a favorite soup recipe? Please share and I will try it out!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Now that we've cooked Perfectly Crisp Bacon, and made BLT's for dinner, what do you do with the rest of the bacon. One of my favorite Holiday Breakfasts is Personal Frittatas. These are always a huge hit at the holidays. You can customize them if needed and family can serve themselves while you are busy preparing the big holiday meal.

You can make a batch of these on the weekend and put them in baggies in the fridge to heat during the week for quick breakfasts. They also freeze well for future use.
What you need:
12 Eggs
Veggies/Meat of Choice (I'm using Bacon, Spinach & Cheese)

In this demo I am using Crumbled Bacon from Perfectly Crisp Bacon, Fresh Spinach and Cheese. You can use Sausage, Canadian Bacon, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Peppers (Red or Green), well, pretty much any meat and/or veggie makes a great addition to this Frittata.

How you do it:
Preheat oven to 350*
Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
Crack an egg into a bowl, add 2 tsp water and beat the egg.
 Pour the egg into a muffin mold. Repeat 12 times. (I told you this was easy!)
Now add the Crumbled Bacon and Chopped Spinach (or veggies of your choice).
Sprinkle with a little Salt and Pepper.
Next top with Shredded Cheese.
Put into the 350* oven and bake for about 25 minute, until puffy and golden brown on top.
Run a plastic knife around each Frittata to remove easily. Serve with Fruit and Toast for a complete breakfast.

Do you have a favorite Holiday Breakfast food? Feel free to add a link to your favorite recipe in your comment.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


During the holiday's especially, I like things that help me get more than one meal from my efforts. For example, cooking bacon once and using it for  three or four meals.

Do you agree that bacon goes with almost everything? I love bacon!
I don't eat it very often, so when I do, I want it to be perfect. To me that means evenly browned and definitely crispy.

The worst part of bacon is cooking it. I can only fit a few pieces in a frying pan and I always end up with grease splatters all over the stove. I HATE BACON SPLATTER! Wow, that sounds a little strong, but I really do hate cleaning up bacon grease.

So, I'm going to show you how to make perfect bacon every time, with no grease splatters!! And, it's EASY! In the oven.

On the day I cook the bacon we will have BLT's for dinner (or lunch on weekend), crumbled bacon for personal frittatas and some bacon in the freezer for a special salad or casserole.

First - do NOT preheat the oven.

Start by laying out the strips of bacon on a cookie sheet. I tend to always put foil on my cookie sheet no matter what I'm cooking, but it's not necessary.
Put the cookie sheet in the COLD oven and turn it on to 400*.
Set the timer for 17 minutes and stay close by.
Check it at 17 minutes. If it is nice and brown, take it out. Depending on your oven it may take up to 20 minutes. Don't walk away after the 17 minutes, it will burn in 30 seconds. My oven makes perfect bacon in 19 minutes.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and use tongs to transfer the bacon to another sheet lined with paper towels.
VOILA! Perfectly crisp bacon every time!

If you want to freeze bacon for future use, remove it from the oven about 30 seconds early. When cooled, put in baggies and freeze. Take out and microwave for 30 seconds for a quick breakfast.

I typically cook 2-one pound packages to have enough for today's for BLT's today, a batch of Super Easy Personal Frittatas  some to put in the freezer for future use. 

If you like to use bacon grease for cooking, you can pour it from the cookie sheet into a glass jar.

When cooking multiple batches, I turn the oven off as I remove the bacon and leave the oven door open while I transfer the bacon, pour off the grease and spread new bacon strips on the cookie sheet. This helps the oven to cool down before the next tray goes in.

However, each batch will cook a little faster than the last because the oven is not completely cooled. Typically about a minute faster each time. Keep an eye on it!

Friday, December 16, 2011


I think my all time favorite salad dressing is Olive Garden Salad Dressing. When I saw this copy cat recipe I just had to try it. With a few modifications, my recipe is adapted from Bare Naked Chef blog. Although I thought her directions were straightforward and clear, I noticed that a lot of readers had commented that they were confused and asked for clarification. I think you will find the recipe below very easy to follow and yes, it DOES taste just like Olive Garden Salad Dressing. Woo Hoo for having salad for dinner every day now!!

What you need:
 2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian Dressing, PREPARED PER BACK OF PACKAGE with oil and water.

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar (distilled white vinegar is same thing)
1/2 tsp dried Basil 
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/4 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp Salt
Black Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Water

 Mix the two envelopes of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix per package instructions (w/oil & water) in the blender.

Leaving the mixed Italian Dressing in the blender, add all remaining ingredients into blender. Blend on high until combined, about 30 seconds.
Makes a large batch. Pour into salad dressing bottles or put in a plastic container.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Stir or shake before serving.
Do you have a favorite knock off recipe to share? I am always up for trying new recipes.
Do you have a favorite restaurant item that you'd like to FIND a knock off recipe for? If so, 
what is it? If I have it, I'm happy to share it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

FUN Caprese Salad!

Okay, I've had enough of Christmas treats...I need something healthy!!
While I love to cook, I do have one criteria...it must be simple! I get impatient if a recipe is too lengthy or confusing.

Caprese Salad is always good, but this is a fun way to jazz it up a little. Anyone can make a fabulous Caprese Salad whether they consider themselves a great cook or not!

A fanned Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Olive Oil and S & P. So easy, so good! I originally saw this idea on The Party Dress. I'll include variations that we like as well.

What you need:
Tomatoes (one for each person)
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
S & P

How to do it:
Set the Tomato on it's side and cut slices about 1/4 inch apart, being careful not to cut all the way through. You can use any type of Tomato and any size. Just to prove it, I used Roma Tomatoes here.
Cut thin slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. Put a fresh Basil leaf and a slice of Mozzarella together and slide into the cuts. When using smaller tomatoes like Roma, I use smaller Basil leaves or break large ones in half. It is easiest to slide them in together.
Sprinkle on a little Sea Salt and top with a couple grinds of Fresh Black Pepper.
These can be prepared ahead of time. When serving, drizzle a little Olive Oil & Balsamic over them.

Variations: My family loved them with a little Olive Garden Salad Dressing Knock Off drizzled, instead of Olive Oil.

Warm Variation: We also enjoyed them warm (and a little melty). Stuff the cut tomato with cheese ONLY, and put in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes. Watch it closely and take out as the tomato gets warm and the cheese is melty (not sure that's a word, but it works for me). After removing from oven, stick the Fresh Basil Leaves in with the melty cheese. Drizzle a little Olive Oil & Balsamic or Olive Garden Dressing over it and serve.

NOTE: If you put the Fresh Basil in the oven it will get black and wilty and does not look (or taste) very good). Adding it after melting retains the Fresh Basil flavor.

Here's another variation of Warm Caprese Salad.

Super fast, super easy salad to serve with any meal. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Okay, only one more Christmas treat this week, then I am moving to some really easy recipes for quick and special holiday breakfasts and lunches.

This recipe doesn't go into the Goodie Bags, but can be whipped up in 5 minutes flat and put in the freezer for dinner or company or office party...it's always a hit at the office party!

This Butterfinger Pie recipe is soooo easy, yet soooo good!

What you need:
6 Butterfinger Candy Bars (or 18 mini's)
3 oz Cream Cheese, room temp (1/3 of standard package)
1-8oz container whipped topping, thawed (like Cool Whip, but any brand will work)
Pre-made Graham Cracker Crust

Crumble the Butterfinger candy bars into a bowl.
Add room temp Cream Cheese to it and mush together with a fork.
Add whipped topping to bowl and mix thoroughly with fork,
Pour into Graham Cracker Crust.

Wasn't that easy? Let me put emphasis on FREEZE. The family couldn't wait to eat it, so the pie in the pic below isn't totally frozen. I was lucky to get a picture before the whole pie was gone.But the more frozen it is, the better it tastes!! 
Served here with hot chocolate...Mmmmmm!!
My favorite variation is Heath Bars. Recipe exactly the same using 6 Heath bars. I like to put this one in a chocolate cookie crust. Again, you can purchase the pre-made chocolate cookie crust. (Also goes well in graham cracker).

You can't go wrong with this pie at any holiday gathering! Enjoy!
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The third treat for goodie bags this year is Red Velvet Snowballs. Mmmmm......
The first was Pretzel Kisses and the second was Oreo Bark and Peppermint Bark.

We don't get much snow in Phoenix, at least not that sticks. Last weekend we had enough snow on the ground that cars actually left tracks in the road. But this doesn't happen very often, so we have to get our snowballs other ways.

Only a few ingredients are needed, although you can decorate them with sprinkles or other holiday candies. Let me apologize right now for the first blurry pic. I didn't realize it was blurry until I was done cooking and then, well, it was too late. Because I promised to get this post up today, I didn't want to wait until I could purchase new ingredients to photograph.

1 Red Velvet Cake Mix (usually requires eggs, oil and water)
1 Can Cream Cheese Frosting (room temp)
1 lb Candy Coating or Almond Bark or Candy Melts
Make the cake mix according to directions. Let it cool completely.
Using your hands, crumble the cake into a bowl.
Microwave the can of frosting for 30 seconds, then mix in with the cake.
Use a cookie scoop to drop snowballs on a cookie sheet. (You can also use a spoon to scoop and roll it in your hands)
Put the candy coating (or melting chocolate or almond bark) in a bowl and melt in the microwave. Start with one minute and stir with a plastic knife. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring each time, until it is completely melted.

Spread the candy coating over each cake ball, allowing it to collect at the bottom here or there. Lumpy and bumpy is okay, it makes it look more like a snowball.

If you want to put sprinkles on top, you will need to frost two and then sprinkle them. Frost two more and sprinkle them. If you wait longer than the time it takes to frost two, they will harden enough that the sprinkles will not stick.

These Red Velvet Snowballs are quite rich and oh, so good.
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Here is the 2nd of several quick and easy treats to make for the holidays. Can whip these up in a matter of minutes for last minute guests or to fill goodie bags. If you missed the 1st treat, you can see the Pretzel Kisses here.

Today's recipe has variations so you can actually create multiple flavors quickly. Here I will show Chocolate Peppermint Bark and Oreo Bark.

This process is so quick and easy. Start by crushing candy canes and Oreos in gallon size baggies before starting.
Purchase Almond Bark in chocolate and vanilla. You can also use 'melting chocolates' or 'candy coating'...different names in different stores. I found Candy Coating at Fry's and Almond Bark at Walmart. Michaels, JoAnn's and all grocery stores will carry one or the other.
Almond Bark typically comes in a 1 pound package.
Break it in half and put one half in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave for 1 minute. Use a plastic knife or silicone spatula to begin stirring. Continue to microwave in 15 second intervals until melted. It will continue to melt as you stir.
Now you can use a variety of containers to create the candy. I prefer a flat plastic storage container because I can twist it to pop the hardened candy out. You can use several small ones or a larger (9x13) size flat container. You could also use a cookie sheet, you just need to be able to twist it a little. I spray my plastic container with non-stick cooking spray. I'm not sure it is necessary but I do it anyway.

Pour the melted chocolate into the plastic container. Spread to about 1/8 inch thick.
Next put 1/2 pound of the Vanilla Almond Bark in another bowl and melt. Start with one minute in the microwave and stir. Add 15 seconds increments, stirring between each one.

Pour the melted Vanilla Bark on top of the Chocolate. I like to dribble it all over. It will not spread as you pour, so it's important not to dump it all in one spot. If you do, you will end up with a 'dirty' mixture of black and white as you try to spread it. That's not so bad, you can cover it with candy and it still tastes great. After dribbling the white on, take a plastic knife and gently cut through it, which spreads it and creates cool designs. You can do it nice and neatly, or a little chaotic.
Next, pick up a handful of crushed Peppermint and sprinkle on top. It's important to have the candy already crushed because you don't want the chocolate to harden while you are busy crushing candy canes.
Now, stick the plastic container in the fridge to harden.

Next I take 1/2 pound of Vanilla Bark (white), put it in microwave bowl and melt. Same process...start with one minute, stir, add 15 seconds, stir, etc.

When melted, add a couple handfuls of crushed Oreos and gently fold in. Pour into another flat plastic container and spread gently with the plastic knife. Put it in the fridge to harden.
When hardened (only takes a few minutes), twist the container so you can pick up the entire piece of bark. Gently break into pieces of whatever size you want. Here is a plate of peppermint and Oreo bark side by side.
This is great in goodie bags for neighbors, friends, co-workers, car-pool buddies, postal carrier, hair dresser, and well, anyone! It is also great to set out at a party broken into small pieces. It is always the first to go!
Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I know I usually post about healthy habits, including recipes, exercise, juicing etc. Don't be confused with this post. I still value and support a healthy lifestyle. But, it's the HOLIDAYS! And I just can't help but make treats. So I thought I'd share some of them.

There are always people we like to give a little something to. Heck, if I was independently wealthy I'd buy gifts for everyone I know! I love seeing the look of surprise and pleasure when someone receives something unexpectedly.

But, I digress...little holiday bags full of homemade goodies are  perfect for neighbors, co-workers, carpool buddies, mail carrier, music teacher...well, you get the idea. Goodie bags are great for everyone. It's a little piece of homemade love.

Here is the first item I made to fill my goodie bags. I call them Pretzel Kisses. They are so easy and so good!
Preheat oven to 225* while preparing pretzels
Place pretzel squares or knots on cookie sheet
Place Hershey's Kiss centered on each pretzel
Put cookie sheet with pretzels and kisses in the 225* oven for 3-5 min. (You can test one by pressing M&M into it until you get the feel for  how they look when warmed completely.) If you heat them at higher temp they will melt and drip. Heating at low heat just warms and softens them.

When kisses are warmed through, remove from oven. Set M&M on top and gently press into kiss. I used plain and peanut M&M's. You could also use peanut butter M&M's.
Place cookie sheet in fridge for 30 minutes to let chocolate harden. Then you can throw them all into a plastic container for storage until you are ready to fill your goodie bags. I like to keep them in the fridge until giving them away.
Stay tuned for more goodies for holiday gifting or parties.
Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blending VS Juicing

The question that was posed to me is: "Can I make juice in my Vita-mix?" (or other turbo charged emulsifier) 

You can make smoothies, soups (cold or hot), and blends in a blender or emulsifier. But you can only get juice by using a juicer. I have both a vita-mix and a juicer. I use them for different purposes and love them both...I would not want to give up either.

Putting carrots in your vita-mix will give you a thick, sludgy carrot soup type blend. Putting carrots through your juicer will give you a nice sweet carrot juice with little pulp. Pour it through a strainer for an even clearer juice.

A juicer gives you the nutritional and antioxidant value of the fruit and veggies without the pulp that requires chewing. It allows you to get the nutrients of 2-3 lbs of veggies in one juice, where it would be next to impossible to eat that amount in a meal.

A commercial strength blender gives you the opportunity to make smoothies, blends and soups from raw ingredients. This allows you to enjoy the foods you love while getting the full nutritional value available because you are eating them in raw form. Even hot soup in the vita-mix has not been cooked, thereby retaining full unaltered nutritional content.

If you don't have either, and want to purchase one piece of equipment to help you move to a healthier lifestyle, I would recommend getting a juicer first. (Next post we'll discuss types of juicers and recipes).

If you have both, then you have the opportunity to enjoy a diet of intense nutritional therapy prepared in a variety of ways.

But since the questions posed to me today was about the Vita-mix, here are a few raw blender recipes:

1 Cup Fresh Tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 Extra Lg Vegetable Bouillon Cube
1/2 Cup Boiling Water 
Dash Dry Mustard
Optional: Dash Salt

Note: For a cold version, use 3/4 cup ice in place of boiling water, and run for 1 minute or until smooth.

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and gradually increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Serve immediately.

2 Medium Oranges, peeled and quartered
1/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Ice Cubes
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract (may use a little more, to taste)

Variation: Add 1/2 cup fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple if canned without sugar)

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 1 minute or until smooth. Serve immediately.

20 oz Water
1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
1/2 Tbsp Hemp Seed
4 Tbsp Protein Powder (should be 1 scoop or 1/2 scoop depending on your brand of protein)
1 Cup fresh Kale (1 large kale leaf)
4 Cups fresh Spinach (roughly 4 good handfuls)
3 large frozen Strawberries (see below tip)
1/2 frozen ripe Banana (see below tip)
1 Lg spear frozen Pineapple (roughly 1/2 cup, see below tip)

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and slowly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 1 minute or until smooth. 

Makes approximately 40 oz of smoothie. Definitely a full meal or enough to share or to carry with you through out the morning or afternoon.

I keep sandwich baggies in the freezer containing 3 strawberries, 1/2 banana and cut up pineapple. When I make this smoothie I can grab a bag that is ready to go (saving time) and it makes the smoothie ice cold like a smoothie should be.

Do you own a juicer or a commercial strength blender, or both? Do you have a favorite blender recipe? Please share it so I can try something new.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Is there fiber in juicing?

As friends become interested in juicing, they often ask "will I lose all the fiber in the vegetables by juicing?" The short answer is "No".
Did you ever wonder what fiber is and what it does; why it is important to eat fiber?

Fiber is the portion of the plant that moves food through the digestive system. It is generally categorized as either 'soluble' or 'insoluble'. Both types of fiber help to increase bulk, soften stools, and shorten the transit time of food moving through the intestinal tract. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are present in whole plan foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains. There is generally only soluble fiber in juice.

Soluble fiber (like pectins and gums) partially dissolves in water and forms a type of gel, but it is not digested. It absorbs digestive bile, which is made from cholesterol. When it's eliminated, it causes more cholesterol to be converted to digestive bile, thereby lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps sugar be more slowly absorbed, which helps regulate blood sugar and control diabetes.

The best vegetable sources of soluble fiber are broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, squash, and pumpkin. All of these can be juiced and the taste 'hidden' by other ingredients. So, if you don't care for the flavor of any of these veggies there is a way to get the nutrition from them while not tasting them.

Insoluble fiber is also indigestible, but does not dissolve in water. It absorbs water and serves as a bulking agent as it passes through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also helps to maintain a balanced pH in the intestines. It is important in cleansing because it removes toxic substances that tend to accumulate in the colon. There is lots of insoluble fiber in vegetables like dark, leafy vegetables, green beans, and root vegetable skins, as well as fruit skins.

In simple terms, fiber doesn't stay in your system. It moves through the intestines, scraping away toxins and residue that line the intestines as a result of the 'not so healthy' things we eat.

In the past it was thought when juicing fruits and vegetables, a significant amount of nutrients remained in the fiber of fruits and vegetables, but that theory has been disproved. The Department of Agriculture analyzed twelve fruits and found that 90% of the antioxidant activity was in the juice rather than the fiber.

In other words, drinking a glass of fresh juice gives you the same amount of antioxidants as eating 2-3 lbs of fruit.

It was also thought that the juice had no fiber. Juicing got a bad rap in the early nineties because it was thought that the juice lacked fiber. But that assertion was simply not true; only the insoluble fiber is removed in the juicing process, and it's loaded with soluble fiber, which is excellent for the intestinal tract.

A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, found that "Cancer and cardiovascular benefits may be more attributable to antioxidants rather than fibre." The researchers concluded that " the theory that pure fruit and vegetable juices are nutritionally inferior to whole fruit and vegetables, in relation to chronic disease risk reduction, is not justified."

In other words, the high antioxidant content and intense nutritional therapy provided by fresh juice is an excellent and proven way to fight and prevent cancer as well as other chronic diseases.

The recommended fiber intake for adults is between 20 and 35 grams per day, but the average American's daily intake of dietary fiber is only around 14 to 15 grams. It is easy to double that by juicing once each day. You can drink 2-3 lbs of veggies in one juicing, where it would be next to impossible to eat that amount in a meal.

So, the bottom line is that most people get more fiber from juicing each day than they would from eating regular meals, unless they are already eating a diet very high in raw vegetables including a very large salad every day.

Go ahead, try it! You may be surprised at how much better you feel after juicing for just a few days.

Are you thinking of juicing? Do you already juice and would like to do it more frequently? Are you a regular juicer and won't give it up?

Reference Material: 'Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life', Cherie Calbom, MS (all references to studies and research found in chapter 2 references).

Friday, September 30, 2011

Juicing Mickey Mouse

I didn't mean to juice Mickey Mouse, it just happened. And it tasted so good!

Sometimes when I juice it just looks like a mess. Unfortunately, sometimes when trying a new recipe it also tastes like a mess.

This time what I saw in the bowl looked bright and inviting. Then Mickey jumped out, promising a fun and happy experience with bright and vibrant colors like that of an Arizona sunset. And then I tasted it and the flavors did a happy dance on my tongue and I knew immediately why Mickey was claiming this as his.

So, after all the faces people have seen in tree trunks and toast, I got the happiest face on earth in my juice and it tasted great!

Mickey Mouse Juice
1 Lemon
1 Lime
2 Pears
2 Green Apples
2 Wedges Purple Cabbage
2 Large Carrots