Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventures in Juicing

After the fasting detox I knew I wanted to incorporate the health benefits of juicing into my family's diet. They are not too keen on eating vegetables beyond carrots and the occasional broccoli but I figured drinking the veggies would eliminate the issue entirely. I imagined having a juicer would increase our nutritional intake by leaps and bounds and we'd all smile happily in our juice infused stupor as we guzzle down our green goodness.

Of course, it didn't exactly play out like that. I went to Target to get a juicer and begin our super foods journey. I was immediately priced out of the market. Well, it turns out my mother-in-love has had a juicer in her kitchen cabinet for YEARS. I've been married to her son for nearly 20  and I NEVER knew this? I guess some secrets are worth hiding. She let me have it.

Well, the machine works great! So great in fact that I went a little crazy the first night juicing everything in sight. Naturally no one was interested in my brownish, orange concoction of super 'green goodness'. I couldn't even play my 'authority' card and get the 11 year old to drink it out of fear of never playing a video game again!

Cups and cups of mutilated and sacrificed veggies stood before me in the form of frothy liquid. I certainly didn't want to waste it, so the next evening while everyone was too busy avoiding the kitchen to notice, I emptied the cups into the spaghetti I was making. The juice was the perfect color for it. No one knew the difference and I felt like a fantastic mom, boosting my family's nutritional intake with out having to beg, bribe or nag!

This week I was even more on top of my mom-game and went grocery shopping with a *list* AND a menu plan for the week.  One of the planned dinners was whole wheat spaghetti with ground Italian sausage, salad and bread with butter. Last night I went to work to see if I could create my own spaghetti sauce using strategically chosen veggies and my juicer.

I dug into my 25 lb bag of juicing carrots and went to work. The base was carrots but that left the juice very orange. I added a leaf of kale for aesthetics mostly but I also know it's a popular juicing ingredient right now too. That turned the juice into a darker color--I was getting closer. I tried broccoli, it helped with color but not a good choice as far as actual juice production goes. I almost forgot to add the actual tomatoes!

The color was achieved but now I needed to work on flavor and consistency. I added salt and pepper, fresh and dried oregano from my garden, multiple fresh squeezed garlic cloves and chopped onion. Almost there, but it was still too thin. Aha! I reached into the mushy excess that is left over from the vegetables after the juice has been sucked out of them and tossed a handful into the mix. It began to thicken. It needed just a bit more of something...Cheese! That was it! I added a handful of grated cheese and stirred it in. It melted and suddenly the 'sauce' was perfect.

I refrigerated it and used it tonight with rave reviews. We never got around to the bread or salad but I don't feel too guilty considering the spaghetti sauce was all vegetables, no preservatives or any other unnatural additives.

Yay for juicers!
And Yay for menu planning!

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