Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

January 9, 2014

Breville Juicer

I’M IN LOVE! :-)

I never would have invested in a juicer, but BigSis bought us this bad boy for our Anniversary back in August and when she came back to So Cal this past November for her birthday, she gave me a little tutorial. I admit that I was more than I little intimidated.

I wish that I liked raw cucumber and celery; but I don’t. I actually can’t stand it. If BigSis hadn’t practically forced it down my throat, I never would have tried it. But; I’m glad that I did.  I LOVE it!  I’ve always loved V-8, but even the low sodium version has too much sodium for me; that’s why it’s so nice to be able to make it myself, to my own taste.

BigSis published her Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe back in April but mine is a little different, so here goes. I don’t care for beet or red pepper so you won’t find that in my recipe.

For my version of Spicy V-8, these are my veggies of choice.

veggies3

Gorgeous fresh veggies.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

4 or 5 Romaine leaves
Handful spinach leaves
2-3 curly Kale leaves
2 cucumbers
4-5 celery stalks
5 or 6 Roma tomatoes
2 lemons
2 carrots
3 small purple carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/4 – 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 – 1/2 t. salt; to taste

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Cut ends from carrots and cut into chunks; cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery in half; peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

A great tip from BigSis  is to remove this lovely pulp from the pulp bin and run it back through the juicer.

Pretty, huh?

Pretty, huh?

 Look at how much extra juice you get from juicing the pulp!

pitcher-juice

 So far, this is the best batch of V-8 that I’ve made.

In my opinion; PERFECT!!!

juice-glass

As BigSis and I call it;  ”Green Gold”!

~LilSis

Happy New Year from Even More of Us!

January 1, 2014

Big Fat Pig Butt

Photo credit: pmarkham via flickr

Happy New Year!

We’ve been out of touch for a while, but are really excited to get back to our favorite little blog baby! While we were gone taking care of some of life’s plot twists, something happened that we have to fess up to.

We both gained an extra 10 pounds and now we feel like our backside resembles the porkie guy above, but not nearly as cute! I can’t imagine why we’d see the scale shoot up though…

Coronado Pizza

Coronado Brew

Coronado Mexican

Coronado Cheese Soup

Coronado Biscuits

Coronado Omelette

Coronado Guacamole

BigSis Birthday

Ok, so we did take an indulgent trip to Coronado Island for my birthday, and from our camera roll, it would appear that we ate our way from one side of the island to the other, wrapping up with an awesome birthday cherry pie! We enjoyed every single bite but now we’re paying the piper, even though we have never stopped exercising.

We’re going to do something about this ASAP, and will be doing a series of posts on the challenges and successes we find along the way. The goal is to get rid of this excess hiney by the end of February, and we’re putting together a plan to get us there. You know the old saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Maybe corny, but true.

These are the common sense things we KNOW we have to do in order to lose 10 pounds as 50+ women:

  • Eat less, move more
  • Cut out the processed foods, sugar, simple carbs, chips
  • No evening snacking
  • No alcohol except occasionally on weekends
  • Continue our vegetable juicing
  • Cardio workouts at least 3 days a week
  • Get back to strength training and yoga
  • Shake up our workout routines with something new since they aren’t working any more

Starting on Monday, I’ll be jump-starting my challenge with 3 weeks of the Clean Program detox, and will then continue with a slightly less restrictive version of it afterwards. LilSis has a family to cook for, and will be going with the Mediterranean diet which is more guy-friendly. We’re going to have a little competition to see which approach works better. Any bets?

Stick with us through the series, and hopefully we’ll have some tips to share that might be helpful if you’re feeling a little porkie right now too!

Note from LilSis: In reviewing this post, I notice that BigSis is very kind to say that I’ll be doing the Mediterranean diet because it’s more guy-friendly. That is true; because I live with two meat and potato eating “big guys” who don’t consider a veggie or a salad to be a real meal. But; in all honesty, even if I lived alone, I think the Clean Program detox is more strict than I could possibly adhere to, even if for a week. Hats off to BigSis for being able to do it! She’s done it before so I know she can do it again!

I think I need to have a talk with myself,  because right now, all I want is a piece of that pizza! :-)

~BigSis

Emergency Bake Sale for In-Sync Exotics

July 15, 2013

Apollo from In-Sync Exotics

Apollo

We’ve done our Christmas bake sale the last two years for In-Sync Exotics. We’ve been thrilled to support In-Sync, since we’re huge cat lovers and they do such amazing work. In my opinion, In-Sync is holy ground, and that’s not something I say lightly.

In this economy, it’s rough for any non-profit to keep things going, even when things are kind of normal in their world. Last month, however, things took a horrific turn at In-Sync when their lions and tigers were hit with a random outbreak of Canine Distemper, probably spread by an infected raccoon. As of today, we have lost two tigers – Apollo and Abrams – and one lioness; Layla.

This Thursday, we are holding an emergency bake sale to assist in any way we can with the enormous costs incurred over the last few weeks. Volunteers and staff are working 24/7, caring for and treating all of the cats at risk. The financial and emotional and physical burdens have been overwhelming.

We can’t fix this, but we can do what we know, which is bake to try to help ease a teeny tiny bit of the financial burden. If you’re in the Dallas area, please join us. We have a sponsor who will match the proceeds of the event 100%.

The sale will be in the lobby of the Premier Place building at 5910 North Central Expressway, near I75 and Mockingbird Lane. If you have any questions, email us at kittybakesale (at) hotmail (dot) com. If you’re not local, please go to In-Sync Exotics web site to contribute to the work they’re doing.

Thanks in advance for your support.

~BigSis

How to Survive without Google Reader!

July 8, 2013

google reader

Adios, Google Reader! By now, you might have heard that Reader retired on July 1st. Yep, it’s Gonesville. Forever. Google says that usage of the product declined since its debut in 2005, so they decided to discontinue it for good.

LilSis and I both used Reader to manage our blog subscriptions, so we were bummed to hear of its demise. There is hope though for life after Google Reader!

The first thing you need to know is that even though you can’t use Reader to view posts any more, you do still have a few more days to salvage all of your subscription info. I definitely didn’t want to lose track of all the blogs I’ve subscribed to over the years, and I don’t want you to either.

Here are the steps you need to take asap to avoid losing your subscription info:

  1. On July 15th, all of your subscription data will be permanently and completely deleted, so take this first step before then. Go to Google Takeout to download your information, and click on “Choose Services”. You probably only care about Reader, so select that. You’ll be taken to a screen that shows the size of the download Takeout will generate and the number of files involved. Click on “Create Archive”.
  2. You’ll be taken to a page called “Control Your Data”. When your archive is finished, you’ll see “Complete” and the file name at the right side of the status bar. When it’s complete, click on “Download”. During this process, you may be asked to provide your Reader login user name and/or password.
  3. When the file has finished downloading, you’ll see that it is a WinShrink file that contains several files, including one called subscriptions.xml.  To make these files available for use, click on “Extract” and pay attention to where you tell WinShrink to save the files. If these steps have gone as planned, you have now retrieved the information you need from Google Reader, so that you can import it into another program and use it.
  4. The next step is to decide which program you want to use to manage your blog subscriptions from now on. I can’t say that I’m an expert on this topic. Your options include Feedly, NewsBlur, the Old Reader, Reeder and several others. This alternative summary will give you a little info on each. I already had Feedly downloaded a while back (for some reason), so that’s what I’m using. It seems to be a popular option. When you’ve made a decision, you can click on the product you like, and download it right from this page.
  5. The only thing left to do is now import your subscriptions.xml file into your program of choice. With Feedly, I just had to click on “Import OPML” and then tell Feedly where I had saved the extracted WinShrink files; specifically subscriptions.xml. Once I did that, all of my subscriptions loaded in the categories I had specified in Reader, so now I’m up and running without missing a beat. Voila!

This process is actually easier than the five steps make it appear, so I hope you won’t be intimated to do it. The most important thing you can do is make sure you grab your archive from Google Reader before it is deleted on July 15th! If you do that successfully, you could wait and follow steps 4 and 5 later. The risk in waiting until after July 15th for those last 2 steps however is that if you had any glitch in downloading the info, you won’t have a second chance to try to retrieve it again.

I think I’m going to like Feedly, and don’t see a big learning curve. I hope this little tutorial helps you make a smooth transition to life after Google Reader! Good luck!

~BigSis

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Memorial Day: Freedom Isn’t Free

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Freedom Rock

Photo of Freedom Rock by Don3rdSE via Flickr

On this Memorial Day 2013, we are beyond thankful, and we honor the sacrifices made for us. We don’t express our gratitude often enough or loudly enough.

  • Thank you to everyone who has served our country and given their lives.
  • Thank you to all of the veterans who have protected us and made it back home safely.
  • Thank you to all of those servicemen and women who were wounded or disabled on our behalf.
  • Thank you to all of the families who kept the home fires burning while their loved ones protected us.
  • Thank you to everyone who is serving our country now; defending our freedom in the crazy dangerous world we live in. We pray for a hedge of protection around you.

Thank you all. We thank God for you.

~BigSis

Patriotic Dessert: Red, White & Blue Fruit Flag

May 26, 2013

Patriotic Dessert: Red, White, & Blue Fruit Flag

This no-fuss, festive Fruit Flag is the perfect patriotic dessert to take to your Memorial Day or 4th of July celebration!

I found this idea on http://pinterest.com/bigsistexas/ and it was super easy and fun to make.  You could make your flag larger or smaller, depending on the size of your platter. My platter was approximately 12″ x 16″ so I used fourteen 10″ bamboo skewers. To make this size, you’ll need 9 or 10 bananas, a couple of quarts of strawberries and one quart of blueberries.

Wash the strawberries and blueberries, cut the top off the strawberries and cut in half lengthwise. Cut the bananas into about 2″ slices and put a little lemon juice on them to keep them from turning brown so quickly.  Put the fruit on the skewers, line up your fruit kabobs nice and pretty on your platter, and your Red, White, and Blue Fruit Flag is ready to go!

(I made four extra skewers with just the blueberries on top and laid those in between the others to fill in the blue part of the flag.) You could also use large marshmallows for the white stripes instead of the bananas, if desired.)

We hope everyone has a very safe and Happy Memorial Day!

~LilSis

The Benefits of Juicing: Why Should You Juice?

April 27, 2013

Benefits of Green Juicing

I’ve been pretty juicy lately. You have my recipe for spicy healing green juice, and homemade spicy V8 juice. Maybe now you’re wondering why you would go to all this trouble and expense to make something that might not even sound good to you? I think that’s a good question!

I won’t lie; juicing isn’t cheap and it isn’t quick. I calculate that my spicy healing green juice costs me close to $5 per 16 ounce glass if I’m able to buy all organic produce. You can buy a soda for a fraction of that price, and it won’t take you an hour to shop for it either. Shoot, you could buy a whole fast food meal for that price and in less time. To juice you have to shop for organic ingredients, prep the produce, make the juice, and clean up your mess. That’s a process you’ll go through at least every couple of days.

So, why juice? These are my thoughts on the benefits of juicing, especially green juicing, and why I choose to do it. I should also add that I’m enjoying 1 or 2 glasses of fresh vegetable juice a day; I’m not suggesting that juicing replace a healthy balanced diet including some cooked and lots of raw veggies.

  • Greens combat inflammation, which is believed to be the source of many ailments we face, including cancer, arthritis, heart conditions, joint pain, and Alzheimers. Inflammation can be created by processed food, food cooked at a high temperature, alcohol, smoking, stress, pollution, chemicals, pesticides, trans fats, meat, sugar, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, poor sleep, and pretty much just living in this world. Green juicing gives us a weapon to fight back against those powerful forces. We need it!
  • Greens also help create an alkaline environment, which is the opposite of acid in our systems. Disease loves an acidic environment, so maintaining a balanced pH in our body is crucial. Excessive acidity weakens the body overall, and contributes to accelerated aging, kidney problems, immune problems, cardiovascular issues, and low energy. Acidity can be caused by many of the same lifestyle and diet factors that cause inflammation.
  • Greens are healing. In my spicy green juice recipe, the greens provide vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, folate, iron, chlorophyll, potassium, and magnesium to name just a few. You get antioxidants, cancer fighters, and detoxifying benefits for your liver and kidneys. There are also benefits for your cardiovascular system, circulation, digestion and relief from water retention. Green juicing is low-glycemic too, so you won’t have a blood sugar spike.
  • Nutrients are more efficiently absorbed from juice, as opposed to piles of produce. It makes sense that it’s easier on your system to soak up vitamins, minerals and enzymes from juicing, instead of going to all the trouble of digesting the veggies before the nutrients are accessible. Also, many beneficial enzymes in fruits and vegetables are destroyed by cooking. Keep in mind that if you include too much fruit in your juice, all that sugar is going into your bloodstream at turbo speed too.
  • There is a place for both smoothies and juices in our day. With a smoothie, you get the fiber you need, but you get filled up because of it. With a juice, you get the benefit of ALL that produce that you could never eat in one meal or in one entire day. Can you eat 6 to 8 servings of produce a day? I’m vegan, so veggies and fruits are my bread and butter (so to speak), but I know I don’t always succeed at that quantity. By juicing, you get the healing benefit of the micro-nutrients without having to spend your entire day chewing, chewing, chewing.
  • I’m consuming a wider variety of produce than I ever would have without juicing. I don’t even like cucumber or celery, but I can enjoy their juice if it’s masked with other flavors. The wider variety of veggies we have in our day, the better chance we have of getting all of the nutrients we need.
  • Juicing is not cheap and it does take time, but it’s not an expenditure that we’ll never recoup. It is absolutely a commitment, like anything else you do that’s important and valuable. It’s also an investment; not  just an outflow of money and time, but an investment into your health. I’m gambling that spending $5 on a glass of green juice right now will ultimately pay huge dividends in my quality of health. That could mean fewer doctor bills, fewer prescription drugs, fewer hospitalizations, and less missed work time. I’m pretty sure this gamble is a sure thing.
  • Most of all, the bottom line for me is that after 3 weeks of having 1 or 2 glasses of fresh juice daily, I just feel better right now than I have in probably 3 years. Menopause has been doing it’s darndest to suck the life outta me, cause that’s what it does. It’s made me exhausted, grumpy, moody, blue and just generally out of whack. I’ve found some great ways to manage the annoying side effects of it (I should share those with you another time), but I can honestly say that nothing has made a real difference in my energy and my mood until I started juicing. Because of that I can enjoy my life more today. Who can say they don’t want that?

Those are the reasons I’m juicing. In a nutshell, I just like it. No, actually, I love it. The process is really fun, and I love that I’m doing something that I know is great for my body and my future. That’s as good as it gets! :-)

 

~BigSis

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

April 20, 2013

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

I’ve always wanted to find a good homemade spicy V8 juice recipe, since the store-bought juice is just too darn salty. I absolutely love it, but the sodium level gives me salt bags of epic proportions. Not a good look, and definitely not good for you.

I’m a total juice fiend lately – ever since I started having green juice every day – so I decided to try my hand at a homemade spicy V8 juice recipe. I have to tell you that I’m thrilled with the results!

Store-bought V8 juice is made of reconstituted juices of carrot, tomato, watercress, lettuce, parsley, beet, celery and spinach. I didn’t have any watercress, my spicy healing green juice used all my lettuce up, and I don’t like the flavor of parsley, so I used spinach for all the greens this first go-round.

I think using a variety of greens would give the juice even more depth of flavor, so that will be the first change I make in the next batch o’ BigSis V8. Technically, what I have here is V7. :)  Next time, I’m going to use romaine and a few kale leaves for part of the spinach, so I guess I’ll have V9 juice then.

I love the balance of tomato to carrot to beet, and the celery and bell pepper are adding in the right touches of flavor too. The spinach and lemon bring it all together.

This first version leans a little spicy, but it’s not quite as zippy as my green juice. Feel free to leave out the garlic, horseradish and cayenne to make a more pure V8.

One last note about this recipe is that it’s raw. I’ve seen some homemade V8 recipes online that were cooked, which baffles me a little. Cooking the veggies defeats the purpose of juicing for me, so we’re going raw here. I betcha you could lightly run some tomatoes through the blender and mix them into the fresh juice if you really want a thicker texture to your juice.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

6 carrots
1 very small beet
8 Roma tomatoes (you want a firm tomato for juicing)
1 red bell pepper
3 huge handfuls of spinach
3 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
4 small or 2 large lemons
1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not creamed)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Remove seeds and stem from pepper, and cut into large chunks. Cut ends from carrots and beet, and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Half the tomatoes, and cut celery into big pieces. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

This recipe makes round 32 ounces. Drink within 2 days for maximum nutrition.

I don’t drink vodka, but I also think this juice would make a heck of a Bloody Mary! :)

~BigSis

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

April 14, 2013

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Produce

I’m obsessed with this spicy healing green juice recipe. I’m one of those people who is either all in or all out. I know nothing of moderation, so it’s no surprise that when I juice, I really juice!

I bought my Breville Juicer a couple of years ago, and started juicing every day. I even dove into green juice. I was new to it though, and made some mistakes. To start with, I couldn’t really figure out how to integrate juicing into my day, so it didn’t become part of my routine.

I like to have a blueberry smoothie every morning. I’m a morning person and I have to have breakfast, so the smoothie gives me something in my tummy first thing, and provides the energy I need to do the things I want to do. I can also take my morning supplements with a smoothie, but they’d be too harsh with just juice, especially green juice.

Then when I get to work, I automatically gravitate toward the Keurig and have 2 or 3 cups of coffee during the morning. So where did juice fit in? Nowhere really. I felt like I was trying to cram it into the day when I didn’t even want it.

Besides scheduling, the other challenge I had with my first attempt at juicing was the fruit/veggie balance. I made a rookie mistake and used too much fruit. You know what that means…too much sugar! It’s natural sugar but it’s still sugar, and that leads to blood sugar peaks and crashes, and cravings for more sugar. Not good. Not what I was going for with juicing.

The bottom line was juicing wasn’t working for me. I felt kind of guilty that I had this nice new juicer, but I wasn’t seeing the health benefits I was hoping for. I just generally didn’t feel great about the whole experience.

So I quit. I told you; I’m all in or all out. My pretty Breville Juicer sat and collected dust for almost 2 years. It stayed on my counter though, and I knew that eventually I’d come back around to it.

Fast forward 2 years. I’d been reading about this new juicing company in town called Vim + Vigor. When they ran a special coupon recently, I grabbed the chance to buy some of their juices and do a 3-day juice cleanse. My favorite of all the blends I got to try was the detoxifying No. 01, which is kale, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber, apple and lemon. I was shocked at how much I loved that juice.

When the 3 days passed and I was out of Vim + Vigor juice, my body was screaming at me. Get me some green juice now! I was kind of shocked at how good I felt on this juice, whereas my previous juicing experience left me feeling crummy.

The difference? Green juice was a necessary part of my day now. First, a smoothie and supplements. Second, not more than one cup of coffee. Third, green juice mid-morning when my energy starts to wane. Then a healthy big lunch and a light dinner; often raw like a salad or my favorite raw spinach and avocado soup.

The other major difference? I’m using lots of veggies, and just enough fruit to make the juice taste delicious. The general rule – I know now – is 3 veggie parts to every 1 part fruit. That limits the impact on your blood sugar.

Off to the interwebs I went in search of green juice recipes with the ingredients I fell for in No. 01. Finally I came up with the perfect combination for me, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. My green juice recipe is super spicy, healing, delicious and addictive. I’m using ginger, cayenne, lots of lemon, and a touch of salt…all working together to create something I want to drink and actually enjoy the taste of, rather than just choking down a glass of grassy flavors.

I recommend buying organic produce whenever you can, especially with these juice ingredients since all of them (except for lemons) are very susceptible to contamination from pesticides.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

Spicy Healing Green Juice
(makes about 32 ounces or 2 large servings)

8 large leaves kale
2 giant handfuls spinach
8 large leaves romaine
8 stalks celery
1 large seedless cucumber
2 small Granny Smith apples
2 large lemons
1 small piece ginger
Salt and cayenne to taste, about 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp each

Wash all the produce. Remove tough ribs from the kale. Chop the celery and cucumber into big chunks. Core the apples and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters.

 Spicy Healing Green Juice Prep Recipe

Start juicing! I think I get better yield from everything by juicing slowly, and also by mixing up ingredients with a similar texture. I start with the leafy greens, mixing kale with romaine and spinach. This is what the juice looks like after all the leafies are juiced. Pretty concentrated stuff, right? That’s a micro-nutrient powerhouse just chomping at the bit to attack any bad stuff in my system!

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Greens

Once the leafy greens are done, I move onto lemon, cucumber, celery and finally apple.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe ToDo

This recipe makes around 32 ounces, depending on how big your items are. I drink half of the recipe one day and have the rest the next day. Ideally, you’d consume your juice fresh as soon as it’s made, but that’s just not practical for all of us. If you store your leftover juice in a glass jar, refrigerate it immediately, and use some citrus in the recipe, you’ll cut down on the oxidation a little bit.

It’s definitely a lot of work to juice, so every other day works best for me. It takes me around 30 minutes to prep the produce and juice it, and then another 15 minutes to take the juicer apart and clean all the components and dishes…

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Mess

and you have this leftover stuff to deal with too:

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Waste

There’s actually not that much of it, which makes me really happy! Some people are creative enough to use the pulp in recipes, but I usually donate it to a friend who composts.

I’m really excited about this green juice, and think I’m going to stick with it this time since I’m doing it the right way. If you try my spicy juice or have a favorite recipe of your own, please share! To your health!

~BigSis

Easter Chicks Deviled Eggs

March 29, 2013

Easter Chicks Deviled Eggs

I first saw a photo of these cute little Easter Chicks Deviled Eggs on Pinterest several weeks ago so I repinned it to my LilSis Holiday Goodies board so I wouldn’t forget to make these for Easter. This would be a fun little project to get the kids to help with because these little Easter Chicks are sure to be the hit of the party! Let’s get started.

First, cut a little slice off the wide end of your boiled eggs to create a flat surface so the chicks will sit flat and not roll all over the plate. Next, on the narrow end, cut a wider section off, that will become the chick’s little hat; (about 1/3 of the egg). Carefully remove the yolks from the eggs and place in a bowl.

You can start with your favorite recipe for the deviled eggs; but for this little project, a very basic deviled egg is perfectly fine. It’s more about the cuteness of the little chicks than anything else.

For mine, I simply mashed my egg yolks, added a splash of pickle juice, a little mayo, ground mustard, and lemon pepper to taste. No reason to measure, just don’t use too much mayo or pickle juice because you don’t want the egg yolks to be runny.

When you’ve got your deviled egg mixture ready, just put in a plastic baggie and cut a little hole in the corner and squeeze the mixture into the egg.  I used capers for the eyes and little triangles of baby carrots for the beaks.

I got in too big of a hurry to take photos along the way, but if you need the visual instructions,  A Thrifty Mom website has some easy step by step photos.

Easter Chicks Deviled Eggs

These are fun, simple and inexpensive to make and almost too cute to eat, don’t you think?

Easter Chicks Deviled Eggs

Almost. :-)

 

~LilSis