Morning Juice

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Am I weird for wanting to bro out every so often? Go camping for 4 days without showering, call everyone “dude” and let them call me that right back?

Girls do that, right? Because I definitely do that. Often.

For one thing, I’m a sucker for action movies. Give me a pair of 3D glasses and a fistful of popcorn and I’m all set for the next 2.5 hours. This is the first summer since childhood that I’ve made it a point to watch nearly every blockbuster that comes out.

Except Fast & Furious part 1289494. Why do those exist?

I think bro-ing out is important to keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Sure, there’s running a 5K, practicing yoga, and cutting out processed foods — but sitting down for a few evenings with a cheap can of beer, a blazing fire and conversations amid farts? It reminds me that there’s a chunk of me that doesn’t care about nail polish, brushing my hair, or that parachute pants are back in style (Seriously, when did that happen?).

But don’t worry guys, I’m still here. By Sunday morning, I’m looking up recipes for kale salad and pulverizing vegetables into juice.

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Kale, celery. I’m really sorry for what I’m going to do to you. It’s going to be loud. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s borderline plant murder.

Also, hey, I know not everyone has a juicer. They’re expensive, bulky, and you really have to be willing to deal with a single-purpose contraption, unlike blenders, which make smoothies, margaritas and salsa. But the juicer I just bought was $100 and it’s probably the best thing I’ve bought all year. Actually, here’s a list of my favorite kitchen things.

So nix that end-of-summer clothing shopping spree and invest in something with a little more sustenance.

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I’ve made four different kinds of juices thus far without using a recipe. I’ve yet to make a bad batch because a) vegetables taste delicious and b) it’s all about balancing the greens with the sweets.

For example! If you’re packing in 4 cups of spinach or kale, make sure you complement it with sweet beets and pears. Apples are also spectacular sweeteners and give you an energy boost in the morning similar to coffee.

Oh, and ginger. In everything. Please.

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I should paint my nails in that color.

Morning Juice.

4-5 stalks lacinato kale
1 large pear
2 large carrots
1 chunk ginger, about a 1″ cube
2 small beets
6-7 stalks cucumber
1 large cucumber

Shove the ingredients in the blender in the order listed above. It’s always good to start juicing with leafy greens.

Serve with ice or at room temperature. You can make a large batch at night and drink it in the morning so you don’t wake up your roommates with what sounds like an alien spaceship hovering in the kitchen.

Makes about 20oz of juice.

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Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins

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Let me tell you why throwing something out is a trillion times worse than ripping a bandaid.

I’m a reuser. I’m a recycler. My roommates have mentioned on more than one occasion that they’re sick of drinking from jars. We…might be drinking from glasses formerly known as candle holders.

And it’s not just that.

Having three pennies in my wallet for those times when the total is $7.48 gives me probably the greatest joy in the world. The red sneakers I got seven years ago will have their comeback.

Call me weird. Call me a pack rat (Except I’m not really a pack rat because I really have very few things and I give stuff away all the time and I don’t want you to think my room is full of what you’d find on an episode of Hoarders.).

But being this way has its advantages, guys. Especially in the kitchen.

Did you know that you can save your  vegetable butts (onion skins, carrot greens, celery ends) and make some amazingly delicious broth? And brown bananas are the perfect excuse to bake something. Duh.

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Or like those times you get 67 bananas instead of just four because you want potassium something awful?

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And then you’re all “I’m gonna smash you and turn you into muffins, bananas.”

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I’m not much of a carrot eater. But when a bundle of organic ones are on sale, I have to get them, right?

While the rest of the girls are compulsive lip gloss buyers, I’m busy getting far too many vegetables.

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So, some oats are going in these. You’re lucky this round didn’t get flax seeds.

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Can I also just say that repurposing string to hold up jewelry is the best?

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So stop throwing things away. Make some broth. Something about lemonade.

Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until only a few chunks remain. Add the vanilla and almond milk and mix with a fork. Whisk in the brown sugar until no clumps remain.

In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients. Fold into the banana mixture about half a cup at a time.

Add the oats and grated carrots, lightly folding until fully incorporated.

Put batter into muffin tins or ramekins, filling only about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Makes enough muffins for you to resist leftover Easter chocolate. For…maybe 5 more minutes.

In Defense of Kimchi

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So…about that time I “liked” that thing you posted on Facebook, then quickly “unliked” it because I didn’t want you to know I was thinking about you. That was weird, right? You probably didn’t even notice it. Maybe you did. But I really did like the thing you posted. It was pretty snazzy.

And that time you walked to the kitchen with some loose-leaf tea and I followed you to fill up my water bottle? I guess I was a little thirsty? OK, that might’ve been a little creepy. But you totally do it all the time, too.

Or when “WHOA I was just listening to that!” and “WAIT you watch Jeopardy, too?!”

Sometimes, I let the first train go because I have a small hope you’ll be on the next one.

Serendipity is whatever you want it to be. Choose your own ending.

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So there was this one awful time when I made the mistake of bringing a kimchi sandwich to work. Everyone did the little peer-over-the-computer glance dance from their desk.

Yeah. I get it. It’s pungent, guys. But once you get over the initial aroma, it’s incredibly delicious.

Seriously. It’s so yummy.

And here’s the health spiel: Because of the fermentation process, it’s filled with probiotics and bacteria that aid in digestion and boost your immune system. Plus, it’s got vitamins A and C, along with a ton of calcium and iron. That sore throat I had Saturday night? Gone Monday morning.

Eat that, haters.

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I’ve yet to make my own batch of kimchi, but I hear it’s super easy. A Set It And Forget It kind of job.

Like rice. Two parts water, one part rice. Boil. Simmer. Done.

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Japanese daikon is thinly sliced while carrots are julienned.

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And pickles because I just can’t get enough pungency.

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Kimchi salad

1/2 cup vegan kimchi (it’s typically made with fish oil, but look for brands that leave this ingredient out)
1/2 carrot, julienned
1/2 cup wild rice, cooked
2 Japanese daikon, thinly sliced
1/4 dill pickle, thickly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, optional

Put everything into a bowl and gobble it up like you’re fighting the flu you would’ve gotten but you didn’t because you eat kimchi and drink kombucha.

Carrot Bread

Beneath this veil of cooking, baking, crocheting and gardening, I love me a good football game.  And when there are back-to-back games, my entire afternoon and evening disappear amidst the squeals and gasps of watching professional sports.

Don’t worry, I was making ear warmers all the while.

And I always cry when the Olympics are over.  You don’t want to be with me when the flame is extinguished this year.

So watch out, Super Bowl Sunday.  You’re gonna get so many finger foods and dips you’ll be quadruple-fisting your beers and cheeses.

But feast on this savory bread first, because you’ll be pretty bloated in a couple of weeks.

Honest, I was going to make a carrot cake.  But the voice in the back of my head got the best of me.

Come to think of it.  I’ve been making far too many healthy snacks as of late.  That’s gotta stop.

I totally worked up a sweat peeling and grating these.

Yeah.  That’s cumin.  Crazy bread!

And another thing.  Loaves are super easy to make all the time.  You should never hesitate to make some sweet or savory breads.  Like Blackberry Banana Bread.

This bread sits well.  Two days after baking, it’s still dense and even more moist.  It crisps in the toaster.

Cream cheese the poop out of it.

Carrot Bread.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 tablespoon cumin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups carrots, peeled and finely grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients, including the spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, coconut oil, sugar and carrots until fully mixed.  Create a pocket in the dry ingredients and pour in all of the wets.  Mix with a large wooden spoon until fully incorporated.

Grease a 9×3 bread pan and pour in all of the batter.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Feeds only Patriots fans.  Go Pats!