Monthly Archives: March 2012

Fresh Orange Juice

Open any cookbook and you’re likely to see the phrase “mise en place.” This is French for “putting in place” and when you cook, you’ve got to have everything out and ready to go. When I cook, bake or do any kitchen task, I have to have my “mise” ready.

And this doesn’t come in handy more than when you juice.

Dealing with large volumes of produce, a sharp knife, a juicer that sounds reminiscent of a small jet and begging canines (no? just me?) makes it vital to have a good set up!

This is my basic set up for juicing. Below are the steps I follow to make the most amazing orange juice EVER~

I created an assembly line over the sink. The fruits and veggies are cleaned and prepped in the sink then plopped on the cutting board. The discarded peels and trimmed ends can be quickly wiped off the board, leaving the fresh produce ready for the beast (read: juicer). I also had extra jars on hand. (Being new to juicing, I was unsure of how much liquid I would end up with. I wasn’t about to let the delicious nectar spill on the counter!)

Chop the tops and bottoms off the oranges to give yourself a stable platform. Nothing is worse than an errant orange. (Say that 5 times fast!)

Using a knife you are comfortable with, carefully remove the peel and pith from the side of the orange. Leaving you with delicious orange jewels. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eat one. It looked too good…I blame my peeling skills.

Depending on your juicer, turn it on and set it to the proper speed for citrus. Start dropping in your peeled and prepped fruits and watch the magic happen. The end result it foamy, frothy and heavenly sweet. It is a dessert masquerading as a healthy beverage!

This is Ryan’s favorite treat. He is an avid orange fan and the promise of fresh OJ was really what convinced him that we HAD to have a juicer.

Hope you have a great week/weekend!

-Brittany

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Juicing for Newbies

We bit the bullet and bought a juicer a few weeks ago. It is a great product to have in your kitchen and the nutrition benefits of juicing are numerous. I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” which lead to my initial interest in juicing. After reviewing several options and doing my product research I narrowed down the make and model of my dreams (The Breville Ikon). We discussed the pros and cons of the juicer and finally decided it was worth the investment.

Juicing can be VERY expensive. Apart from the initial purchase of a juicer, you also have to consider the large amount of produce you will be juicing. The benefit of being able to eat many more vegetables and fruits comes with a *sometimes* hefty price tag. However, you can easily make juicing fit into your lifestyle by following a few general rules:

1. Budget, Budget, Budget: If you are anything like me you are easily swayed by the prettiest of produce in the grocery store. Kale will call you, celery will sing to you, and suddenly you’ve got $75 worth of fruits and vegetables and no money for anything else. If you budget accordingly, it is easy to juice and not overspend. Depending on your personal finances, you can make juicing a “once a week” or “once a month” splurge. Choose a week that will be your juice week and budget accordingly.

2. Buy what’s in season: Again, while pineapple tastes FANTASTIC, the price in January is quite steep. Leafy greens can be found most of the year and they pack a punch of nutrients for a pretty low price. If you stay in season, you’re going to save money in the long run. (This website shows what’s in season depending on the month!)

3. Pre-Shop: Before making your list, head to the grocery store and see what’s in stock. There could be a special on apples, or you might discover a great deal on cucumbers. By pre-shopping you can make better decision about what is on sale, or more affordable. If you walk in with mangoes on your mind and discover they are $4.99/lb it will give you the time to be more creative and find a way to work with a different fruit.

4. Be Flexible: Be willing to try different combinations! I’ve found with enough apples, I can drink any vegetable in juice form. And for goodness sake, DON’T BE AFRAID OF KALE! When I did my research on juicing almost every blog said, “Don’t juice kale until you’ve developed a taste for veggie juice” etc etc! But kale has such amazing nutritional value, I couldn’t pass it buy without a try! If you hose it down really well and clean out the grit, add some granny smith apples, an orange or two and a lemon (to brighten the flavor) you will wind up with a great tasting juice that most anyone will happily drink!

Let me know about your adventures in juicing or if you have any favorite recipes!

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A Charleston Adventure

Two weeks ago Ryan and I packed up the pups and headed to Charleston for the weekend. We had a very fun and relaxing mini-trip!

We enjoyed walking around and taking pictures of the area.

We snapped one of our best photos together EVER by the water!

We had a wonderful time exploring and sampling the local wares.

I purchased some GORGEOUS earrings from a local shop and we obviously enjoyed some local eateries (which will be covered in a separate post)

We stopped at the Air Force Base in Charleston and I was AMAZED by the commissary. It was humongous! And the selection was fantastic! They had so many organic options (for great prices) and the produce was wonderfully fresh. We did a grocery shop on our last day, to stock up for the rest of the week and utilize our newest purchase…

A JUICER!

 

It was one of those things that you want for awhile and after doing LOADS of research you finally cave and purchase it. It has paid for itself in delicious juice. Plus anything that allows me to sneak in extra vegetables for a certain guy of mine is a WIN in my book.

After a fun and relaxing weekend  it was back to the grind. A weekend goes by WAY too fast!

 

-Brittany

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Post of Shame

Vanessa may say she’s the “worst” blogger…but I am the owner of that title.

At least she has a reasonable excuse for her absence, whereas I…do not.

This weekend I promise to document some baked goods (mama has a hankering for some scones!)

I also plan on updating you on my Newest Kitchen Appliance! We invested in said appliance this past weekend when Ryan and I took a trip to Charleston. I promise to provided photo documentation, as well as a review of the 2 restaurants we enjoyed while there.

For now, enjoy a gratuitous Boo shot.

He loved the Holidays.

 

We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming…stay tuned!

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Guess Who’s Back?!

first things first, I’m the worst blogger ever! I’m SO sorry for pretty much abandoning the blog for over a month. I’ve moved a ton of times in my life, so you’d think I would have remembered how stressful and time consuming moving is, even when it’s an exciting move (out of the 5 major out of state moves I’ve made: 2 of them were extremely exciting, 1 move I absolutely positively did not want to make, and the last 2 weren’t particularly exciting or traumatizing) . But somehow, I always manage to forget about the adjustment period. Up until now I just haven’t had the time or the mental energy to work on the blog. Aside from all the adjustments that come with moving, I’ve also had to adjust to working a real, grown up, full-time job. I also have a significant commute for the first time ever. In total, it takes me approximately an hour to get to and from work each day. I get off work at either 5 or 6 depending on whether Congress is in or out of session, I don’t get home until about 6 or 7, then I have to make dinner, some nights I have homework, and I have to be in bed early so I get can up at 6! Needless to say, it was completely overwhelming at first! Monday it will be three weeks since I started working and I’m definitely getting into a routine, thank God. I do have some new recipes to post, but I’m going to save those for now. Today I want to talk about one of the biggest changes I’ve had to make since moving, because it has to do with food. but first, here are a few pictures of my new kitchen

Yay for not taking up any counter space with that bad boy!

There are a few things about this kitchen that have required some adjustment on my part (no double sink, smaller pantry, only two drawers in the whole kitchen). But as a whole, it’s much nicer than my last kitchen and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Now here’s how my relationship with food and cooking has majorly changed:

First of all, I didn’t bring my car with me. As little as I would use it, it just didn’t make financial sense. Thankfully, nearly everything I need is within walking distance or accessible by the Metro (New Yorkers call it the Subway, we call it the Metro, but it’s the same thing). however, because I’m in the city, there are certain stores I have to go into the suburbs for, and that means a cab ride. I can get a lot of things at the CVS near my apartment (they have far more groceries than any CVS in the suburbs), but there are other things I can only get at the grocery store. In Fort Wayne, I’d gotten used to going to the store whenever I wanted, sometimes every other day, but now it would be a huge waste of money to spend $7 on cab fare just to grab one thing at the grocery store. So now I go every 2 weeks and when I go I really stock up. of course I also have to be cognizant of perishable items and how much I can realistically consume on my own before they go bad. Furthermore, not having a car and always buying A LOT of groceries when I go means that grocery shopping has become a huge hassle. But I suppose that’s a good thing since I love food and could easily spend way too much money on it when I had easy access to multiple grocery stores 24/7. And now for the other big change…

We’ve already established that I don’t naturally enjoy cooking, that’s why I’ll never be quite as good as my mom. Well when I get home after an 8 or 9 hour day at work and I only have about 4-5 hours before I have to head to bed, the LAST thing I want to do is cook. But I’m definitely not going to subsist on microwave meals like I did last summer. So the solution was to cook on the weekends, refrigerate half the recipe, and freeze the other half. Voila! the only cooking I have to do after work is popping leftovers in the oven and making some kind of vegetable for a side dish. Not only do I enjoy not having to cook after work, I also discovered that I enjoy cooking FAR more when I’m not hungry and trying to get it done in time for dinner 🙂 I do get tired of eating the same few things every night (there’s only so much room in my freezer after all) so on those nights I rely on some of my fastest simplest recipes like cream of mushroom chicken and rice, pumpkin gnocchi soup, BBQ chicken breasts, and good ‘ol spaghetti. I’m always looking for more recipes that make a lot of servings and freeze well so I don’t have to make the same thing over and over again. but for now my favorites are baked ziti, best ever mac & cheese, and hearty vegetarian pasta (are you sensing a theme here?!).

So if there’s anybody out there looking for tips on cooking and/or grocery shopping less often, I’m sure I’ll be sharing a lot about that as I learn more. My wonderful parents helped me do a major stock up trip while they were here since there were three people to help carry stuff, and now I just stock up on perishables, bottled water, and a lot of canned goods as I need them. To give you an idea of what my freezer and pantry look like, I took some pictures for you 🙂

Sorry, I cannot get WordPress to rotate this picture

Note the ice maker. That might be one of my favorite things about this kitchen!

I’ll be back soon with some recipe posts, but I wanted to let everyone know that I had dropped off the face of the earth! Have a great weekend 🙂

XO,
V

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