Tag Archives: juicing

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Great Day to Pick Some Grapes!

The weather here in Minnesota has been really nice the past few days.  It’s been in the 80’s, and feels much more like summer than fall!  I have so much yard work to get finished before we leave for India and this weather has been perfect for it, but I haven’t done any!  Nope.  I haven’t picked up a rake or touched my shears.  I haven’t pulled out the tomato plants from the garden nor have I mulched anything.  Instead, I decided I wanted to buy some grapes and make jelly.  I never actually got around to making the jelly yet (are you surprised?!), but I did make nearly 30 cups of concord grape juice!

After searching online for concord grapes, I was surprised that I could find them right here in Rochester!  I ran a few errands and then plugged the address into my phone.  It was a little outside of town, but very easy to find.  The farm is called Firefly Berries (you can check out there website HERE).  I’ve never picked grapes before and didn’t have any idea what to do, how to tell if they were ripe, or how many I would need to make some jelly and juice.  The lady that helped me was very nice and answered all my questions.  Picking the grapes was kind of fun and it went really quickly.  I picked 17lbs of grapes, and at $1.00/lb, I thought it was a good deal!

I also bought a container of the juice they make there.  I thought Piyush would really like it.  I wasn’t sure exactly how much juice I would get from the grapes I had bought and wanted to make sure we could enjoy some fresh concord grape juice when I was done making the jelly.  I’m not a juice drinker really (probably why that juice diet never really stuck all that well), but concord grape juice is probably the only one I crave once in awhile.  I usually just want a taste.  Man!  The juice they made was awesome!  I can’t wait until next year when I have some time to put up a bunch of grape juice myself.

Once I got the grapes home I became a little terrified of all the bugs hanging out in that box with them.  I didn’t want any bugs or spiders (eeeekkk!) coming inside my house so I got a few bowls and set everything up on the trunk of the car.  I started pulling the grapes off  and sorting through them.  This is when I started wishing Piyush was home because I desperately needed someone to take care of all those bugs!  There were a lot more than I had expected, but I realize that I intruded on their habitat and they weren’t there just to annoy me, so I probably shouldn’t complain too much.  I don’t like to kill them and I don’t like to touch them, so I’m sure my neighbors were laughing at me dancing around in the garage with a stick in my hand trying to coax them away.

They were everywhere!

I survived, thankfully, and then left my bowls of beautiful grapes in the garage while I filled the sink up with water.

I figured that soaking them this way would clean them real good and also allow for any stems (and bugs!!!) to float to the top, where I could skim them off.  It worked well.

I tried using my juicer, but realized it would take forever. Seeds kept shooting back out of the top at me whenever I took the plunger out to put more grapes in.  It just wasn’t going to work.  So I pulled a big pan out of the cupboard and filled it with about 3lbs of grapes and 1 1/2 cups of water.  I smashed the grapes and cooked everything until it boiled.  Once it boiled, I reduced the heat and cooked it for roughly 10 more minutes.  I then dumped everything into a sieve to separate out the juice from the skin, pulp and seeds.  Once the juice was separated I poured it into large jars that went into the fridge.  Making juice this way also took quite awhile, but I enjoyed it.  We ended up with approximately 30 cups of juice!  That’s enough to make about 48 cups of jelly!!!  I don’t think we need that much.  I put some in a pitcher to drink (strained it through a cheesecloth and added some water until I was satisfied with the taste).

I also made a grape cake this morning when I got home from the gym (it’s cooling now, so hopefully I’ll have a post up about it soon!)  For the rest of the juice, I’m going to give some to a couple friends and then freeze the rest for when the “jelly makin’ bug” bites me in the middle of winter…and I know it will!

Oh!  One other thing I learned today about concord grape juice:  Do not give it to a 1 1/2 year old—no matter how much you dilute it (and I diluted it a LOT!)—when you are babysitting.  They will get a major sugar high and act like a crazy animal! And definitely do not give it to them in a sippy cup, even if the sippy cup says “leak proof”.  It will most definitely leak, and grape juice is really hard to clean up (especially on white cupboards!!!)!

Piyush and I were watching my niece, Madelyn, while my sister and brother in law went out for dinner and to a movie.  She’s so cute and I love spending the day with her, but Piyush was definitely not ready to keep up with all her energy.

Madelyn loves picking cherry tomatoes off my decrepit plants. She picked a bowl full last week too.

It was hard to get a photo when they were both looking at me...this is the best I could do.

By the time my sister and Brian got back from their movie (at around 10pm), Madelyn was still going strong…and Piyush was ready to pass out!  It was kind of funny.  But lesson learned.  No more grape juice for Madelyn!

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Green Sludge

I slept in today!  It was really nice to lay in bed and just feel completely relaxed.  Once I finally stumbled out of bed and decided to start my day, it was time to go to the grocery store.  I’ve been going through so many veggies and fruits lately that it seems I have to go to the store every couple days.  Juicing is expensive!  Since Tuesday I have spent roughly $50 dollars just on produce.  I should have enough stored up now to last me until Wednesday, maybe Thursday.

I started out today with a juice I’d like to call “green sludge.”  It looked disgusting, although I don’t think the photo makes it look as gross as it actually was.

It was made using green apple, kale, 1/2 cucumber, celery, 1/2 lemon, disc of ginger, pear and carrot.  The taste wasn’t super bad, but it was maybe a little bitter.  I hope I can find a green juice that I would love to drink soon!   I’ll have to search the web for some good recipes.

I enjoyed stomached the juice along side a simple salad dressed in balsamic.

Lunch!

I also made another juice to take along for work tonight.  I’ll be taking the remainder of the green sludge but I wanted something a little sweeter as well.  Its Sunday, and Sunday means treats at work!  Actually, everyday there are treats at work, but nothing like what will probably be there today.   I threw some fruits, a beet, and a little ginger in the juicer.

green apple, pear, gala apple, small beet, disc of ginger

This combo turned out pretty good on the initial taste test.  I really prefer the juice cold, so I’ll have to let you know how it was when I get home from work.  It was a very pretty color, which I think makes it look more appetizing.  I also added a little (4oz) coconut water to this juice so that it made a full 16oz.  I sure hope this can keep me from snacking tonight and that it will curb my sweet tooth!

Rumbly Rumbly in my Tummy!

Long day! I had to work a morning shift today, which I don’t usually do. I had brought some fresh apple juice to work for breakfast and a gorgeous salad with blackberry ginger balsamic/olive oil vinaigrette. I was really excited about it, but in the morning I was so hungry (was I really? or was it mostly habit?) I ordered an egg omelette with sausage from the work cafeteria. Total calories for the omelette were approximately 400. I wasn’t feeling too bad about the decision because I knew that it would fit in with my daily allowances (although, it wasn’t juiced). It tasted okay, but it made me extremely sick! When I got back from break, the pains in my stomach were so terrible I could hardly handle it. I felt really disgusting and nauseous. I’m sitting here 14 hours later, and my stomach is still pissed at me.

I ended up just having water for lunch and believe it or not it left me craving my green juice. I’m not sure if the omelette was cooked funky, or if she used too much oil to cook the sausage. Maybe it was the meat, I don’t know. It left me wondering if my body was beginning to feel “happy” that I wasn’t overloading it with junk, and this was it’s reaction to my impulsive decision to eat things I had been avoiding. Maybe it was telling me that it liked the idea of being fed veggies and fruits, that it was excited that I wasn’t feeding it sugar, dairy and meat. I’m not sure exactly what it was trying to tell me, but I did get the message that it was pissed off!

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m looking forward to moving forward. I work tomorrow evening but get Monday off to relax with my husband. I think we may go see a new Hindi movie…I’ll just have to make sure to stay away from the samosas at the concession stand. This will definitely be a test of my willpower!

mean green juice

Mean and Green

Okay…it’s not really mean, but it sure is green!!!

I was feeling a little hungry and it had been almost 4 hours since I last had some juice so I thought I’d make another one. This time I decided to make a green juice. I got all the ingredients ready and prepped (forgive the photos, my camera battery died so I had to use the cell phone).

I cleaned up and then got to juicing! I don’t have a fancy juicer, in fact, one of my co-workers gave it to me. She said she found it at either a garage sale or at Good Will, I can’t remember. As there is no brand name on the unit, it’s definitely not high-class technology, but it gets the job done.

Recipe:
1 large cucumber
1 bunch of kale
1/2 lemon
4 stalks celery
thin piece ginger
2 small fugi apples

The Verdict:

This juice tastes okay.  It definitely needs to be chilled though—so I add a few ice cubes.  I don’t know that I could drink this warm.  It also tastes very cucumber-y.  As someone who isn’t partial to cucumber…at all!, this is a little hard to drink.  I think it would grow on me though.  After drinking only 1/2 the glass, I already am starting to feel full.  I have another glass in the fridge as well, so this really makes a lot of juice!  My tummy feels a little funny, but I’ll give it awhile and see how it feels.

Note to self: Next time use less cucumber! YUCK!

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All Juiced Up

I’m attempting a juice fast.  It hasn’t been easy, but I need to clean up my palate and I think this will be the best way.  My taste-buds crave sweetness.  They love sugar and chocolate and candies of all sort.  They do not really appreciate the natural sweetness of carrots or the flavor of beets.  My taste-buds are quite discriminating.  They always have been.  As a kid, I never ate veggies aside from potatoes, corn and canned peas and green beans.  Oh, and ketchup.  I loved ketchup!  Does that count as a veggie serving?  I didn’t even know that there were such things as parsnips, snap peas, or asparagus.  I thought garlic was just a type of bread, bought in the freezer aisle,  to accompany my spaghetti. My mom hated veggies…so I did too.   My dad liked veggies, but he didn’t do the shopping, and even he preffered sweets.

When I went away to college I was overweight.  I think I’ve always been overweight, or “chubby” if you want to be “cute” about it.  Eventually my taste-buds began to slowly evolve.  I tried fresh spinach.  I loved it!  I remember once when I was a kid my mom bought me spinach because I begged her and nagged her (thanks, Popeye!) until she finally gave in.  It was in a can, and it was disgusting!  I tried goat cheese, asparagus and ethnic foods.  To give you a better idea about how big of a deal this actually was, I’ll tell you a little story.  My freshman year of college all my roomies wanted to order chinese food.  The closest I had ever had to chinese food was chow-mein in a can over those crispy brown noodles and minute rice.  I wasn’t a fan.  They all ordered their food, and I ordered a cheeseburger.  That’s right, folks, I ordered a cheeseburger from a chinese restaurant.  I went on doing this for about a year until I finally mustered the guts to order pineapple chicken.  And there were these big green chunks of green pepper mixed with it.  I’d just eat around those usually.   I tried Indian food and that’s when I realized that veggies could taste amazing, sweet even!  I started adding things like tofu, soy, spice and balsamic vinegar into my diet.  I began cooking with olive oil.  Although I was making all these wonderful advances, I still had quite the love affair with chocolate and candies.  I can honestly say that there are probably less then 30 days in my whole life (ages 5+) that I didn’t have a candy bar or some sort of sweet.  Usually I ate more than one, and I’d wash it all down with a can or 2 of soda.

I haven’t drank soda now for nearly 4 years.  I drink only water.  Juice or wine on occasion, but very rarely.  For awhile I was doing really good with my diet.  I even lost 50 lbs and was at a normal weight.  I still wasn’t really eating many veggies though or whole foods for that matter.  I’d buy all the “diet” food, the “sugar free” crap loaded with chemicals.  It tasted weird, but I got used to it.  Then, I fell off the wagon.  Hard.  I gained back approximately 60 pounds.  So this time I know I have to do something different, and I’m confident I will.  I think the first step is going to be to kick this sugar addiction I have.  I really do believe I’m addicted to sugar.  It’s like a drug to me.  I don’t know how many times I’ve went to the store and bought chocolates, feeling guilty and looking around hoping that no one I know is anywhere near me.  I’d get into the car and tear the package open and practically inhale the whole thing so fast that I couldn’t even taste it.  How sad is that?  I’d hide the evidence, and then still need more.  If that’s not an addiction, I don’t know what is.

So here I am, on a juicing fast.  I’m trying to extract my sweet tooth cold-turkey and I’m hoping that this helps me realize just how naturally sweet fruits and veggies can be.  I’ve read that it can take 3-7 days to wash the physical addiction but it will take much, much longer to beat the emotional attachments I have to sugar.  But anyway…on to the juice!

This morning/afternoons juice is a pretty orange color.

It’s a simple juice made with carrots, kale, strawberries, apple and pear.

Recipe:

2 large carrots

1 medium apple

1 small pear

big bunch of kale

5 strawberries

1 small disc fresh ginger

I’ve got to say, it’s quite good.  And believe it or not, I really feel like the juice fills me up.  Yesterday I had a juice (a different recipe than today) for lunch before I had to go to work.  I probably drank it at around noon.  It kept me full and satisfied until around 5:00.  I had another juice for my dinner at around 5:30, (this was a delicious green juice made with a ton of kale, apple and pear) and this kept me full until around 11:00 pm.  When I got home from work I was a little hungry, and it was too late to turn on the juicer because my husband was in bed.   I decided I’d have a clif kid’s bar.  So, I guess I haven’t been totally fasting for my juice fast, but I’m really not the kind of person who will stick to something if there are such black and white rules.  I like a little give in my “diet”. I will probably have food for supper tonight as well, but I will not be adding sugar to anything.

Wish me luck!!!!!