rockstar juice

I got a juicer a couple weeks back, and there are few things that make me feel more saintly about my healthy habits than drinking a big ol’ glass of fresh fruit and veggies. I love it! If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of juicing, I recommend checking out this post, or do some of your own Googling and reading up. There’s a LOT of information out there on it.

Here’s my gal. Isn’t she pretty, all full of juice pulp?

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My favorite juices so far are this beauty, called “Sunshine in a Glass” which consists of 1 grapefruit, one apple, 3 carrots, and a chunk of ginger {yum!}. This one is great for digestion, and the grapefruit helps liver function and will make your skin glow!

IMG_1333And this beauty, made of 1 beet, 2 apples, & a bit of Maca powder for an energy boost. Isn’t that color amazing? This blend is great for detoxifying the blood.

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I’ve also made a few legitimate green juices.. That is – leafy greens and mild green veggies like celery and cucumber mixed with my fruits. They are REALLY good {and perfect for getting rid of greens that are getting too limp for salads}.

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More recipes will be coming soon as I practice and experiment. I bought a 25lb bag o’ carrots this week, so that’s gonna influence the menu for the next couple weeks!! Do you juice? What are your favorite combos?

healthy pesto

I love this time of year because it means all that work in the garden really starts paying off. Then it’s work in the kitchen!

I have an insane amount of basil growing – I keep giving it away but I simply can’t keep up with it. In the next couple of weeks I will start drying some.

But today, I made a couple double batches of my favorite – pesto! Garlic and basil are probably two of my most favorite things, and it will be a treat to get some garden pesto out of the freezer this winter.

To make a double-batch (which yields about a cup) you will need the following..

  • 2 cups of basil leaves
  • 2 palm-fulls of chopped walnuts
  • 6 tbs of lemon juice
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (I like mine garlicy)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste

Simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor and whirl til smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. Put the pesto into small freezer containers and freeze!

I know lots of pesto recipes call for pine nuts, but walnuts are cheaper and just as delicious. And I omit the cheese and include lemon juice so it’s healthier.

Besides putting this on pasta, you can use it to make panini sandwiches, bruchetta, mix into a marinara sauce, use as a pizza topping, mix into a pasta salad, or stir a little into tomato soup. A little goes a long way so you can chisel a few tablespoons out of your frozen pesto at a time if needed for any of the above ideas. Have you ever made your own pesto? What kinds of good stuff are you getting in your garden (or at farmer’s markets) this summer?

PS: Look how cute my apron is. My sister-in-law Chalese gave e this for my birthday and I wear it nearly every day and it makes me feel so 1950s housewifey.

early(er) mornings & a healthy iced coffee

I’m making it a goal this week to start going to bed earlier and wake up earlier a little at a time. My goal is to be up and walking or jogging with the dogs well before work in a few weeks. But this is the kind of thing I have to break myself in gently for so this morning I was up making a tasty iced coffee, writing out my to-do list for the day, then typing up this blog post (which is still a big change from my usual fast-fast-fast last minute morning routine).

This iced coffee’s gonna change my life. I got the idea from Pioneer Woman but skipped the half&half and sugar, so mine’s only 20 calories (making it healthier than my DIY frappuchino, which, while tasty, is not an every day beverage. THIS is the kind of thing to get your Monday’s going).

Here’s what you need:

  • Strong brewed iced coffee. I made mine with Starbucks Breakfast Blend grounds. I put about 1/2 a pound of grounds in a pitcher and added about 5 cups of water. I let is cold brew in the fridge for about 12 hours then strained the grounds out with a mesh strainer lined with paper towels. I decanted the brewed coffee into a couple of jars for the fridge and it should last me all week. Net week I may add a few tbs of Espresso grounds for a kick.
  • Almond milk (or soy milk, or regular milk. I just prefer almond). I used 1/3 cup for 20 cal.
  • Truvia or another natural sweetener. I used a tsp for 0 cal.

Mix them all together. I used a cup from yesterday’s $3.19 iced coffee. My batch will make a week’s work of coffee for about $3. Yippee!

I love how milk looks poured into strong, dark coffee. So pretty.

I hope everyone’s week starts out fabulously!

practically free friday #6 – make a starbucks frappuchino at home

Happy Friday!

It takes a little planning the day before, but you can make a Starbucks Frappuchino at home for practically free.

Why the planning ahead? Because the secret to the awesomeness isn’t blending coffee with ice, but making ice OUT OF coffee. I can’t believe I just discovered this because it’s so obvious!

The rest of the ingredients are up to you.

In mine (which yielded 2): unsweetened almond milk (about 1.5 cups), baking cocoa (about 2 TBS), mini chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup) , and of course the coffee cubes (about 1 cup of coffee, then frozen into cubes). It wasn’t quite chocolatey enough so I ended up adding a scoop of whey protein powder and 2 packets of Splenda, then blended again (to make two beverages).

I sorta just kept tweaking the amounts of everything as I went so I didn’t come up with a recipe – it’s all about personal taste anyway. I brewed my coffee extra strong for the cubes and as a result my frap is pretty strong, in a good way. Since I used up leftover coffee and bits of random pantry staples for this, it’s a practically free Starbucks fix, perfect indulgence for my Friday off and start to my four day weekend!!

vegan peanut butter cups

Wanted to share one of my favorite recipes from The Kind Diet. These get requested a lot around my household and when I make them, I generally allow myself to eat only one from each batch. It’s a challenge because they are sooooo sooooo good. But because they are super rich they really a better occasional indulgence. I eat them sloooow. One little crumbly bite every 5-10 minutes. Cuz I’m weird like that.

I’m eating mine today, with an almond milk chai latte while I study for Wednesday’s midterm and the dogs sleep at my feet. Makes homework a little less painful (the cute workspace helps, too! We do what we can..)

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Servings:
12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balancebutter
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened and unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
  • 1 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips
  • 1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts

Directions:

  1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups.
  5. Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted.
  6. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture.
  7. Top with chopped nuts.
  8. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.

I hope everyone’s having a fabulous Sunday.

veggie-riffic easter dinner menu

This year, I’m hosting an Easter dinner. Newbie holiday meal-maker here, and I’m very excited!

Here’s the {ham-and-lamb-free} menu:

 

Also on the agenda: fitness, dog park, yard work, and bike riding! I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter weekend.

 

1 minute vegan chocolate cake .. it exists!

I’ve seen these 1-minute cake recipes everywhere. My mom recommended one, and Pinterest is full of them. I found this one on one of my favorite blogs {and the only dessert-specific blog I ever look at. All her recipes are healthy, vegan, and most are quick}. This is my kind of baking. Since I *slightly* adapted her recipe {to make it coconut-y and oil-free}, I am posting my version:

One-Minute Vegan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons white flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 splenda packet
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs shredded coconut

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add liquid, and mix together. Add shredded coconut. Transfer to a coffee mug. Microwave  one minute. Let it cool about 30 seconds before eating.

I just doubled everything in a bowl and divided it between two mugs, and microwaved separately, to make one for hubby and me. YUM.

Yup.

PS, If you are tracking calories like I am, here are the nutrition facts Katie worked out for the no-oil version:

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 30g
  • Fiber: 6.5g
  • Protein: 5.5g