Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Carrot Juice

If you are a follower of this blog or if you know me personally you know all about our families challenges, I am an open book.  One of the challenges we have been dealing with for the past almost 2 years is that my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  It was a small, slow growing cancer and after much thought, prayer, and research he made a decision to not take the medical advice given at the time to remove the prostate or do radiation.  Instead to at least try taking a holistic approach.  I won't go into everything he has done but if you need information concerning his complete program please do not hesitate to ask, he is an open book too.  One of what he considers is key to his improved health is drinking fresh carrot/veggie juice.  For the first 6 months or so of drinking approximately a quart a day he did turn a bit orange.  After discussing this w/ our naturopath we discovered this is just a sign that the liver is being cleansed and not a sign that you should stop juicing.  She was definitely correct because he no longer is orange.  The benefits of carrot juice are very easy to find, google it and the list is long.  Chances are if you found this blog searching the internet you already know the benefits and are just looking for confirmation that it is a good thing for you to do.  We will be going in for a follow up biopsy in the next month and are praying the cancer is completely gone or at least not growing.  Regardless of what the results are Mike knows juicing will always be a part of his life.  His general health has improved so much.  For a long time he juiced for himself daily.  A few months ago he told me he was completely burned out with the task, not the drink but the chore of juicing.  Therefore I took over, I have no shame and he offered to pay me, I know that's awful of me.  I have this juicing thing down to a science.  I juice 2 days worth at a time.  There is a 48 hour window that nutritional benefit is at it's best after that enzymes are lost.  Don't waste your time with the kind bottled in the store.  This is my recipe, it tastes really good to us but if you don't like it start w/ more apples and give yourself time to develop a taste for it.

I talk to people often that tell me they have a juicer but don't use it.  Sad to say but all juicers are not the same.  I don't completely understand this but cheap juicers do not extract the juice in a way that the juice is greatly beneficial.  There are 2 home type models that are recommended for greatest benefit.  The first and considered best is the Green Star which costs around $500.  The second is The Champion, which is what we have and I paid $250 for it at Our Daily Bread, a local health food store.  We have had it 5 years and it has been used and used a lot and still in great condition.  Spend the extra money and get a good machine.

Carrot Juice (Important to use all organic ingredients)
2 lbs. organic carrots
1 large tomato
3 apples
1 stalk broccoli, or anything green we use kale sometimes but it is strong
I do not peel the carrots, just was really well.  Cut everything to a size that will fit into your juicer.  Juice, bottle, be sure there is very little to no air in the jar.  Enjoy w/ in 48 hours.

One issue many people struggle with when it comes to juicing is the pulp.  I hear ofter "what about the fiber don't we need that?"  Yes we need fiber and lots of it but the point of juicing is removing the fiber so your body completely absorbs the nutrients.  Look at the pile of veggies we juiced, you could not eat that much but juicing it you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals in a small quantity.  Get your fiber in other ways, I personally recommend beans, Mike eats them every day.  As far as the "waste" of the pulp.....a couple of options.  You can add it to a compost pile, or better yet feed it to chickens.  Mine LOVE this stuff.  They thank me on a daily basis by providing our family with all the eggs we could want.

The pulp, aka chicken food.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poncho Fever

If you happened to have read my blog around New Years you know that I learned to knit around that time. I happen to have been lucky or just crazy blessed to have found a daughter in law that is multi talented and more than willing to share her talent.  No my stepson gets no credit for finding her, haha.  Anyhoo, I knit a pretty large prayer shawl during January which was a big deal.  You would have to know how high strung I am to know what determination it took me to relax enough to learn.  I think I started over 10 times on the thing.  It is done and ended up being large enough for me to cover up with during a nap, ahhh.  Since that monumental accomplishment I have quickly knit a couple of scarves but my most recent project was a poncho.  I bought a book at our local knitting store, which is a wonderful and most helpful place, titled "The Knitting Experience, Book 1: The Knit Stitch" by Sally Melville.  It was super simple but I LOVE it!  Maybe even a good project for beginners since it was one stitch for the entire thing and you just knit two rectangles then sew them together.  I used an acrylic and cotton blend because in Louisiana wool is not usually necessary.  It is wonderfully light yet I think it will be perfect for LSU games, go Tigers!  I may actually get in the mood for tailgating this year.  Not only will I have something cute to wear I can knit while everyone else parties which isn't really my thing.  Yes I'm weird:)

 With my leftover, rather expensive yarn I also made this glove.  Yes only one, I have to decide if I will actually wear it before knitting the other, I certainly wouldn't w/ the poncho, too matchy matchy.

Disclaimer:  My 8 year old took the pics of me, sorry they are a little blurry.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Turkey Lombardi

I have looked so forward to summer's arrival this year.  We have had a bit of a rocky year with school at least in my 8 year old's life.  So I have daydreamed of relaxed days by the pool and no agenda or schedule. Boy was I WRONG!  We have not stopped so far.   I won't bore you with our schedule but having a 14 year old that is active can keep an entire family on their toes.  One of my goals for summer was to be sure my kids ate healthy and home cooked food as often as possible.  Last week I cooked ONE meal.  Very frustrating!  This week I am determined to cook at least 3.  Blogging is hopefully going to help me.  I am aspiring to make meals that both of my kids and my very health focused hubby will eat.  Easier said than done I assure you.  So this was my one meal last week.  I will blog the meals this week as I get them done and have thumbs up from my three men.  This recipe was adored by the entire family and completely gone w/in 2 days, it makes a big pan.  One important note.....you can make almost any dish wholesome by using quality ingredients and sneak in a few veggies.  Organics are important to us but you could make it easily w/ groceries from you local grocer if they aren't an option for you.

The ingredients
Turkey Lombardi
1 lb. ground turkey thighs (you could also use ground beef)
2 zucchini, grated, they are abundant right now
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 jar pasta sauce (this is my staple, I use it in place of canned tomatoes to avoid heavy metals in our food)
1 lb. egg noodles, boiled al dente and drained, very important not to over cook b/c it's going into the oven
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, I use organic to try and justify all that fat :)

Sneaking in my veggies, by the time it simmers the kids will not notice them.

Simmering and making the kitchen smell wonderful.

Food makes this child extremely happy, one of the important reasons to teach him about quality ingredients.  I want my kids to be food snobs and think of themselves as too good to eat junky food.  We aren't quite there yet ;)

Brown ground turkey with onions and garlic.  Add grated zucchini and pasta sauce.  Allow to simmer until zucchini are cooked, 30 minutes or so, taste and season with salt and pepper, you could also add something to make it a little sweeter if you want, maybe honey.  When the sauce tastes perfect mix with noodles and one cup of the cheese.  Place in 9x13 pan and top with remaining cheese if you like cheesy, you could always use less if calories are a big deal to you.  Bake on 350 degrees 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a salad and you have a wonderful balanced meal.
The finished product!  This is so simple but you will not be dissappointed if you make it for your family.  My favorite parts are the little crispy pieces of pasta on the edges after it bakes, yum.