The Honey Moon Phase – What I’ve Learned After 3 Months of Juicing

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I’m a little over 3 months into a new relationship… with my juicer.

As with any relationship, the first few weeks were very exciting. I tried all sorts of juices… green juice, carrot juice, even beet juice (not my best choice). Every week was a new adventure with a different fruit or vegetable. My very favorite juice to make is fresh orange juice (pictured here). Simple, yes, but it’s irresistibly good. Never will I ever again buy Minute Maid. Nothing beats a glass of fresh, cold orange juice with breakfast on a sunny Saturday morning.

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Three months later, my juice experimentation has slowed, but I’m still loving this new addition to my life. It has become staple appliance in my kitchen, used more frequently than most of my other plug in appliances (my poor blender, rice cooker, and kitchenaid are starting to feel neglected). While I’m certainly still in the honey moon phase, I’m hoping to ride this wave for a while. I’ve only had my juicer for 3 of the coldest, dreariest months of the year – and in just a few more months my farm share will start stocking my kitchen with fresh vegetables eager to be juiced.

This 3 months has taught me a lot – so for all of you newbie or soon-to-be juicers out there, here’s some tips, myths, and general advice:

  • Juicing is pretty expensive. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but I’ve surrended. Juice is not a meal replacement (for me, at least, since I can never get more than a day into a cleanse). I treat juice an addition to my diet, like an extra snack. So everything I juice is purchased in excess of what I have to buy anyway to, you know, eat. I love a good deal so I like to think I’m a pretty savvy juicer regardless, which brings me to my next point…
  • Choose a cheap veggie that holds a lot of juice as a base. Vegetables like celery and cucumber are relatively inexpensive and produce a lot of juice, and you can add tastier ingredients (like, kiwi, strawberries, or apples) in smaller quanitites. Choosing a less expensive base can make your more expensive ingredients go further.
  • Juicers aren’t that hard to clean. The number one complaint I heard from juicers was that it’s a pain to clean up. I have a slow masticating jucier, and I have to say it is super easy to clean. The juicing parts come right off of the base and you can very easily hand wash them in soap and water. They are even dishwasher safe. (On the other hand, this type of juicer takes more prep time – apples must be peeled and cored, for example.)
  • Think about color when you build a juice. It really does matter. I made a watermelon cucumber juice which tasted delicious, but was a weird muddy pink color because of the green from the cucumber. Also, peeling can change the color of a juice. For example, peeled carrots have a brighter color than carrots that are juiced straightaway.
  • Juice will keep for 2-3 days. Some people (juice purists, we’ll call them) will insist that you must drink juice the same day you juice it. People like me, who can’t juice every day, will juice a big batch that will last for a few days. After that starts to taste and smell different.
  • Apples, limes, and ginger make everything taste good. Seriously, everything.

Here’s to a healthy, happy lifetime of juicing! Bottoms up!

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Orange Chicken with Roasted Bok Choy

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Greg must have been 10, meaning I was about 12, and we were all crammed around our circular kitchen table in what seemed to be a who-could-eat-the-most-the-fastest competition. Mom and Dad had ordered take-out from our favorite Chinese place. My face buried in a bowl of pork fried rice and chicken fingers, I was hardly paying attention to Greg – until he starting screaming.

“Something’s happening in my mouth!” he yelled in panic, his eyes wide with fear. He had mistaken a hot chili pepper for an orange peel in his favorite dish – orange chicken.

You’d think our response would be concern – and initially it was. My mom went to his rescue, giving him a glass of milk to counteract the heat. But once we learned what was going on, we all started laughing. Something’s happening in my mouth? He couldn’t have come up with something more specific to say? Maybe, “I ate something too spicy!”

To this day, every time my family orders Chinese (which is often) the “something’s happening in my mouth” story comes up. Although we laugh at how funny it was and tease Greg for his over-reaction, we all take extra care to examine our plates and avoid those hot chili peppers. None of us want to be the family joke for the next 15 years (notice I skipped the peppers in this recipe!).

Orange Chicken with Roasted Bok Choy
Yield: 2 servings. Per Serving: $3.28, 477 calories, 18g fat, 60g carbs, 24g protein

Cook ½ cup quinoa according to package directions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 2 tablespoons flour with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cut 2 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and toss in the flour mixture. Cook the chicken over medium heat in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan (this helps reduce the amount of oil you need). Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is lightly browned.

While the chicken is cooking, juice 2 oranges. Combine the juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and ½ tablespoon honey in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add to the skillet with the (cooked) chicken and simmer on medium-low heat until the mixture sticks to the chicken.

Quarter 2 bok choy and remove the core by cutting the ends off at a diagonal. Put in baking dish in a single layer and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, flipping once, until the leaves are bright green and starting to brown.