Juicing for lightweights

As advertised, I attended the golf league Christmas party and had a pretty good time … although I seriously need to work on my conversational skills. One of the women asked me if I was all done decorating for the holidays, and I said, “We don’t decorate.” Definitely a little Wednesday Addams. A bit abrupt, at best. She actually looked kind of devastated. Like I poked a hole in her Christmas stocking. I’ve been practicing do-overs. Such as, “Almost! How about you?” In hindsight, I can see that’s a better choice. It looks like we’re headed for a week or two of rain, and it should start late this afternoon. We had the gutters cleaned yesterday, so that was good timing. No tall ladders for us anymore! We’re happy to see wet weather. To celebrate, I’m making cabbage rolls tomorrow, and Dale is making rye bread to go with. Good rainy day food. I played golf with a woman last week who doesn’t allow bread in her house. Jeez. Ours is like a bread factory. My mother wasn’t much of a cook. I use her recipe for cabbage rolls, although I jazz it up some. For one thing, I use ground bison instead of ground beef. Way more flavor. As for spices, I don’t think she knew there was anything beyond salt and pepper. We had one tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce that lasted my entire childhood. The recipe is on an old notecard in her handwriting. I love reading, “A half a small glass of vinegar.” For years I tried to calculate the exact measurement, but now guess what I do? I get out a small glass, and I fill it halfway with vinegar. Problem solved. Last night was turkey soup from the freezer along with blue corn muffins. Last time, I forgot to put baking powder in the muffins. They were edible, but kids, don’t try this at home. The muffins came out great this time. Dale’s making cashew chicken tonight. He likes this cookbook for Chinese take-out recipes. Years ago I bought a juicer. I thought it would be a good way for me to poke down more fruits and vegetables. I figure real food ought to be better (and tastier) than those pills they advertise on TV. The juices were delicious, but even with all the fiber removed, a big old hanging glass of that stuff was too much for my sensitive stomach. I recently decided to try again. Fresh juice doesn’t stay fresh for long, so I froze 4-ounce portions and thawed one out every other day to drink and see how my stomach responded. To be safe, I stuck with non-cruciferous vegetables – mostly combinations of spinach, carrots, beets, celery, apples, grapes, and cucumbers. I’ve had absolutely no problems and don’t always skip a day. I’m starting to branch out with 6-ounce portions and other fruits and vegetables. Green juice sounds like it would be awful, but it’s really delicious, and hopefully, a healthy addition to my diet. And depending on what you put in there, it’s not always green! Once I knew I would stick with it, I bought a new juicer. The old one was a Breville Juice Fountain. They’re about $100. It’s a centrifugal juicer, which features a fast-spinning blade to chop up fruit and vegetables against a fine mesh filter to separate the juice from the pulp. The Breville worked great, except it’s hard to clean that mesh filter, and it doesn’t quite get all the leafy greens, so there’s more waste. There’s also more froth, and the juice oxidizes faster. My new one is a NAMA J2 Cold Press Juicer. I had a discount code, and the total came in at right around $500. This type of juicer is also called a slow or masticating juicer. It uses a crushing, squeezing element known as an auger to extract the juice and separate the pulp and fibers. The result is less waste, less oxidation for slightly longer shelf life. And the best part of all – it’s way easier to clean. I mean, you have to disassemble the whole thing and wash it all by hand, but all the leftover food is easily rinsed off, and you don’t have to scrub that mesh screen. I let it air dry on a towel. And because I make the juice in larger batches and freeze it, I don’t have to drag the machine out all that often. The juice is perfect. With smaller servings, I can still enjoy the benefits of juicing without burning through tons of produce every week or becoming a slave to the machine. Dale wants no part of it. I made him take a sip of my spinach-grape-apple-celery juice, and he said, “Well, it’s not poison.”

This content was originally published here.

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