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.

Not Your Average Salads and White Wine Sangria

Five things I did this weekend (that you may or may not want to do, too):

Slept in until noon. Oh, the joys of light-blocking curtains and quiet neighbors.

Learned “Something” on the ukulele.

Took a walk despite having to wear a brace.

Found a treasure trove of heirloom tomatoes and kale with a sign reading “These are all free! Please help yourself!”

Succumbed to a Martha Stewart recipe for quick pickled cucumber.

It wasn’t a moment of weakness. She had the easiest recipe for a salad I first tried ages ago during a Fourth of July barbecue. Let’s not talk about this ever again? Thanks.

Oh wait. Guys. I also made white wine sangria with infused mint simple syrup. That one’s all me.

Above-average salads start with a mandolin slicer and crisp cucumber. And if you’re like me, here’s a word of advice: Use those little hand protector things that hold the vegetable you’re slicing. It’ll save you from getting nicked when you get too close to the blade. I…let’s not talk about it.

Thinly sliced onions. Apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper. Tossed and marinated overnight. Martha, you got me on this one.

Oh wait, I made this, too. Am I going too far? Am I just spewing out photos of things I whipped up? It’s okay, I have some catching up to do. This bean salad doesn’t even need dressing. That’s how good it is. And yeah, those are baby heirlooms from the vegetable angels.

Of course, what Labor Day weekend would be complete without some white wine sangria? More nectarines means more reasons to cling to every last sinew of summer. And pinot grigio means fewer excuses to run to the bathroom to brush your teeth because of wine teeth. Crisis averted.

Hi. My name is Mimi. You look like a refreshing summer beverage. Let’s be friends.

Quick pickled cucumber salad

adapted from Martha Stewart

4 cucumbers, thinly sliced with a mandolin or steady hands
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Chuck everything into a bowl, toss lightly and cover before putting into the fridge to rest over night.

Black-eyed pea salad

adapted from Didi Emmons

4 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
6oz mozarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 large sticks of celery, chopped into 1/4 inch sections
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Throw everything in a bowl and toss. Eat immediately.

White wine sangria

2 bottles dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or chardonnay
1 litre club soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup hot water
4-5 sprigs of mint, de-stemmed and rinsed thoroughly
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint blackberries
1-2 nectarines, sliced

In a small sauce pan, bring the water to a near boil before turning off the heat and adding the sugar. Stir constantly until all of the sugar crystals are dissolved. Add the mint leaves and let infuse for at least 30 minutes. Sieve through a wire mesh to get the leaves out before adding to the sangria.

In a large bowl, pour in the wine and all the fruit. Add the infused simple syrup and stir gently. Let sit for at least 4 hours so the fruit soaks up the wine and vice versa.

Just before serving, add club soda and garnish each glass with fresh mint.

Cucumber Dill Dressing

This morning I woke up, turned over, picked up my electronic-device-that-plays-music-and-video, perused Netflix, watched The Birdcage for 20 minutes, turned over, and went back to sleep for another two hours.

I live a simple life.  Like this dressing.

Cucumber Dill Dressing.

1/2 cup greek yoghurt
3/4 cup cucumber, skinned and chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried dill, or a tablespoon of fresh dill
splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, chop the cucumber into a pulp.  Add all other ingredients and blend until incorporated.

Serve on a salad or as a vegetable dip.