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Juicy

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About ten years after the first time juicing was so hot, I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Actually, it’s been long enough that it’s once again THE thing to be doing, so I’m not unfashionably late — I’m on-trend! There’s a new one!

Also, it’s important to note that I’m still too cheap and indecisive to actually buy a juicer, and this conversation wouldn’t be happening at all were it not for the fact that my darling sister gifted me her [very, and I do mean very] gently used one. Score! Another important factoid is that I would never have done it more than once if said juicer weren’t easily dismantled and cleaned. Your talking about a woman who really can’t be bothered to clean the pot from the morning oatmeal in a timely fashion, so…yeah, a whole juicing contraption is a bit of a stretch.

But!

People can change, because I’ve been juicing like a boss and that thing is clean as a whistle. I told you we were doin’ things around here, people!

Okay. Now for the juice:

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Carrot Apple Ginger was the first one. Delicious! Really, just about anything with the apple-lemon-ginger trifecta is going to be a winner in my book.

Oops — well, not really. This one ended up getting the eventual thumbs down from me. Kevin *loved* it; absolutely couldn’t praise it enough. In fact, he keeps asking me to make it again — and I will, because I love him — but it hasn’t happened.

It’s the celery. Oh, I can hardly think about it without getting queasy all over again. I was able to drink it, and even thought it was sort of refreshing, but that celery taste is pronounced. I spent the whole night convincing myself that I wasn’t actually going to be sick, that it was just the thought of the celery flavor that made it seem that way.

I should point out that I hate celery. Hate it. But I thought that maybe it was just crunching into it that I hated, and maybe the subtle hint of it in the juice would be delightful. I can’t stress this enough: IT’S NOT SUBTLE. If you hate celery, by all means, leave it out yo’ juice. If you like it, though, blend away — I hear it’s a winner.

(Also: the whole reason I never liked V8 was because of the celery overtone. Should’ve been a clue.)

Not all green juices are created equal, though. The next one was minus the celery and cucumber, and included kale, parsley, and mint:

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And yes: that big ol’ pile was ground down into a single little jar of juice.

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Well, what can you expect from a pile of leaves? I only wish that I’d been doing this when the glut of winter greens was rolling in — making juice really cleans out the fridge! The bag of carrots that we’ve received every week in the CSA box have been disappearing rapidly, and never have I used up the beets and been looking for more. (The beets are for this one — so sweet and good!)

Even more exciting is having Kevin eagerly asking about what’s on the juice menu. I never thought I’d see the day! Of course, he’s asking for a V8-type fix (see above for my feelings on that), and it’s always a little sad to see him pound his glass in five seconds, but still!

The only question is this: Is it wrong to have Chick Fil A for lunch and a cleansing, fresh juice in the afternoon? I think I may have just hit on one of my main stumbling blocks on the road to optimum health….

31 Days: Make It Work

 

I can cook a nice meal or I can do the grocery shopping, but I can’t seem to bear doing both in the same day. Therefore, shopping day requires a different — much more thrown together — plan. This week featured a humdinger of a good salad: romaine topped with leftover pork chops, thinly sliced apple, and balsamic vinaigrette. The grown-ups added granola [surprisingly delicious on a salad!] and feta cheese. Since I’m still going for the gold, though, I did whip up a white bean and artichoke spread to top the ciabatta toasts; that filled things out nicely.

We started the morning off with a power outage, but it went up from there. The high point was going to the mall and finally buying seasonally appropriate shoes for the girl. Turns out she is long overdue, but it’s hard to remember when it’s hot every other day, and Crocs are pretty forgiving. That’s what I’m telling myself, at least.

Fresh From the Farm

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So far this year, we have been blown away by the beautiful produce our CSA farm has been delivering this spring. It’s amazing what a little rain will do!

This is last week’s selection, which pretty much represents every other week in April:

The password is “greens”.

Chard, collards, lettuce, beet greens, kale and more kale — lots o’ greens. There was a cauliflower or two at first, but that ship has sailed. Now come the onions. What am I going to do with all of those onions?? So far, I’ve only used one; good thing they keep a while! Do you think it would stink up the freezer if I caramelized a bunch and put them on ice?

Hey, do you see the big white thing in the bottom right? It’s a watermelon radish. Biggest radish I’ve ever seen. Tasty, too! And those brownish things are Indian Corn Cucumbers — such a delicious cuke.

This week, I neglected to take a picture before packing it all away, but here’s the rundown: more cucumbers, chard, beets, onions, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and blackberries. I’m thinking of making pickles out of some of the cucumbers and carrots, because the thought of wasting even one is too terrible. As for the beets, they’re starting to pile up a little, so tonight I made a batch of chips to go with our sandwiches.

[Oh would you look at that. I managed to use the one chipped plate for my little photo shoot, here. Nice!]

This is the recipe I use for the chips. The only change I made was to toss the vegetable slices with olive oil rather than spray the pan, and that’s only because I didn’t feel like using the spray. The beets roasted up in about ten minutes. The whole bunch of beets only makes enough for about four servings, but they don’t really keep so it’s perfect.

I’m telling you, I can hardly wait to see what’s waiting for us next week. They say that melons should be coming soon. MELONS!

 

 

When Life Gives You … Chard

Spring is here, and — thanks to the mild, somewhat rainy winter — our CSA bag has been filled to the brim with lots of goodies. Mostly greens.

Lots and lots of greens.

I’m not going to lie: it has taken me a full year of receiving shares to get the hang of efficiently making use of the veggie assortment. Seeing as how we really didn’t eat all that many vegetables before, it’s been a little overwhelming at times. Maybe some of the beautiful produce went to waste; I’d rather not say.

But! This is a new year, and I’ve been putting those greens to good use.

Kale in the morning smoothies? Check!

Yakisoba to use up the cabbage? You bet!

Salad with dinner? Natch!

And then there’s chard.

 

Lovely, no?

The thing is, I only know how to make one or two dishes with it, and I’m kind of sick of them both. It’s really good in smoothies, but, you know, there’s all the kale to consider. When we received another bundle in this week’s share, I knew that I had to do something big. To the internet! Hmm…grind it up into pesto, you say? Perfect!

[In my haste to get dinner on the table, I forgot to snap a pic of the finished product. Total amateur hour around here. It looks just like the picture in the link, but you probably guessed that already. Pesto is pretty much pesto.]

I subbed out pecans for walnuts, since there’s no way a walnut is making it into the house on my watch, and added some pecorino. It’s like a really mild, slightly bitter version of the traditional basil sauce. The family’s response was so-so on night one, but I used it on a sandwich the next day for lunch and that was really super good. And we’re back down to one bunch of chard leaves in the fridge!

 

I’m not sure that Big Turnip’s story will have such a happy ending. So far, I’ve managed to use part of it in a slaw, only to be reminded that I don’t like the taste of turnips. Our lovely farmers included a couple of recipes to help clueless folks such as myself, but, well, there’s the whole not liking the taste aspect. Still, we’re trying new things all the time around here — there’s still hope!

TGIF, friends. T.G.I.F. It’s been a long week, which hasn’t gone at all the way I’d planned (because who actually plans for their kids to get in an orderly fashion?), but the weekend is here and the boy may finally be on the mend! And, on the bright side, I’d forgotten that being housebound and somewhat stressed out is actually the perfect formula for spurring this girl into action. Looking forward to sharing some of the progress with you next week. Til then, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy weekend!

But Not Meatless

So far, it feels like I’ve spent most of 2012 in the kitchen.

We are trying very hard to be ever-so-slightly healthier around here. The first step was to implement a No Drive Thru January; that lasted about a week. It’s new name is Less Drive Thru January.

Next on the list: Eat more greens. Lucky for me, I have a crew of pretty good eaters. They like most veggies, and even the salad-hating boy has come around to being something of a fan. There was fear in the eye of the man of the house, though, when I started flipping through vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.

“We’re not getting rid of meat, are we?”

“No.”

“Because I’m all for upping the vegetables…as long as they’re served with meat.”

“Gotcha.”

Here’s my compromise: pork tenderloin, served with collard greens and sweet potatoes, and a quinoa salad [not shown].

The greens and sweet potatoes were super good, much to even my surprise. The rest of the week, we had soups, pasta, and then some of the leftover pork in a big salad. Yes, we had big salad — in the middle of winter. Every time we have a vegetarian dinner, I’ve gotten to hear how tolerable it is in light of the fact that “we still get to eat meat, which is important.”

Gotcha. Again.