Taste the Rainbow – Just Juice!

That’s right ladies and gents, I have earned my juice cleanse badge!  Just recently, my roommate and I completed our first DIY juice cleanse.

taste the rainbow

A juice detox cleanse is something I’ve always been curious about.  And after watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,  a documentary of a man on his journey to health through a 60 day juice cleanse, I was inspired to test my willpower.

Lucky for me, my roomie was equally inspired and we began talking through our plan of attack.  Now there are several different bottled pre-planned juice cleanses, such as BluePrint and Cooler Cleanse, that I’ve heard some great things about.  We even discussed walking down to Liquiteria each morning and grabbing our morning juice along with 5 other bottles each morning.  But after pricing out a couple of options and reading through some reviews we thought, “Why not just do our own?”

Off to Fairway!

After 45 minutes in the produce section and $77.44 later we headed home to stock our fridge with pounds of fresh fruit and veggies.

Three days with a couple of variations of the below recipes.

Green Monster –  Spinach, Kale, Parsley, Cucumber,  Celery, Lemon, Apple

Beetz – Beet, Apple, Pear, Lemon

Sunrise Juice – Carrot,  Orange, Ginger

Pineapple passion – Pineapple, Apple, Pear

Cons?

  • Had to redefine my social life for the weekend – NYC is notorious for revolving social events around food.  The cleanse forced me to pass on a couple get together’s and make plans for myself that would not put me in a position where I’d be subject to stray from my goal.
  • Need to moderate or cut back on exercise.  Working out on a cleanse can be challenging.  My workouts are typically pretty intense and I didn’t think it was the wisest choice for me to keep with them.  When I returned to the gym on Monday, getting back into the swing of things was both mentally and physically challenging.  I felt a little light headed and when I skip a workout it’s tough for me to get back into the mental groove.
  • Now, this isn’t a con for most people but for me it was: sugar headaches.  The cleanse called for more fruit in my diet than I usually eat, which means more sugar.  The first day, I had a headache adjusting to the amounts of sugar and after the cleanse was over I found myself continuing to crave sugar.

Pros?

  • The juices are DELICIOUS!
  • Gave my body a rest – I was able to have three full nights of sleep, Monday morning I felt so incredibly refreshed and energized.  I found myself getting sleepy around 6 PM each day during the cleanse and didn’t exercise beyond a little walking but I was able to give my body a break.  I honestly don’t know the last time I’ve slept so well.
  • For three days I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat.  I was able to provide my body with vitamins and nutrients it needed without thinking.  This allowed me the clarity to focus and think about other things, like reading, or working on my resume eek.
  • I became hella hydrated  – there wasn’t anything I drank besides the juices and the water so I was able to rehydrate vs. dehydrate my body (which is a typical result of the weekend)
  • Test of my willpower – finishing the cleanse is a huge self esteem boost.  I felt super accomplished for completing the cleanse and was more motivated to maintain a healthy diet once I started to reintroduce solids.

All that said, I found the juice cleanse to be an overall positive experience.  So much so, that my roommate and I scheduled our next attempt!  We’ll see if I have any new takeaways from a round 2!

Have you ever tried a cleanse?

 

Lara (Bridal Bootcamp) Bars

I am currently sitting on an Amtrak train trying to distract myself from watching the minutes pass on the clock as I get closer and closer to the beginning of a weekend filled with family, friends and fun in the hometown and VA!

Let’s bring the focus of this post to my Saturday and the inspiration for my recipe of the week.

I’ve got a pretty lil former teammate and roommate who’s gettin’ hitched this summer! I was fortunate enough to be honored with the request to be in her wedding party and… SHE SAID YES!!! (She being me… yes, of course I said yes!) and this weekend I’ll be making my way to VA for her bridal shower!

I’d been racking my brian trying to think of the perfect gift. You know the one… the gift that so clearly represents you and the gift receiver’s friendship. Something sentimental, with the right amount of practicality. And standing in the check-out line at the grocery store it hit me… Lara bars!

…What?

Lara Bar

Lara Bars!

Okay, okay… Let me explain. It’s safe to say that being on a field hockey team for four years together the girl and I have bonded over our fair share of healthy habit tips and struggle discussions. You know what else we’ve bonded over? FOOD. She and I got our grub ON. In college, I often cooked little family dinners for her and her hubby-to-be and other friends and roommates. She would often stand in the kitchen while I was preparing the meals so she could later try out my recipes. Aaaaand I would often stand in the kitchen as she pulled rock hard brownies out of the oven and try to bite back my laughter. Okay, fine, that happened once, but I knew I wanted to supply her with a treat and recipe to carry with her into her marriage.

Keeping conscious of my inability to keep my fingers out of the batter bowl when baking and her own fitness goals for the wedding I wanted to make something both healthy, sweet, and satisfying. So I went with the Lara Bars… an added bonus that there’s something in the name!

I looked through a couple different recipes for homemade energy bars and in the end decided to go with my own recipe… Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. They turned out better than I could have imagined – I even did a little custom wrapping to provide my signature touch! See the recipe below.

What do I need?

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup almonds (or nut of your choice)
  • 2 tbs PB2 (could use peanut butter here as well)
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Green & Black’s organic dark chocolate and “chipped” it myself)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lara Bar Ingredients

And then…?

Start by adding the almonds to your food processor. Process until the nuts are about the size of peas. Next, you want to remove the nuts and pulse the dates in the food processor. Give these a good 15 second processing.

After it looks like you’ve hit them all you want to add the nuts back into the processor and the additional flavoring (in this case PB2, water, chocolate chips and vanilla extract). Blend until everything is mixed evenly (see below).

processor

The ingredients should be mixed enough where you could grad with a hand and make a ball. Once you’ve achieved this consistency, take what is in the food processor and roll it out onto a piece of wax paper. Pop it in the fridge overnight and slice in the morning! I cut mine into 6 rectangles (about the size of chewy bars) but you’re free to cut them as big or small as you’d like!

That’s it?

That’s it! Simple as that. I ended up making some custom packaging to add a signature touch for my bride to be using wax paper and some tissue. I had a chance to sample the bars as my perfectionist counterpart trimmed the edges and they were delicious – can’t wait to see her reaction! I’m going to have to make a couple of these to keep in my kitchen as a healthy grab and go treat!

Bridal Bootcamp Bars

I have blurred the packaging for privacy of the bride.

What are your favorite homemade grab and go treats?

B easy’s Burgers

Last night a few friends from high school came over for dinner.  As I mentioned before, I’d been trying to figure out just what I wanted to make that would be a crowd pleaser and relatively easy.  Feeling nostalgic for high school tailgates and late night fast food runs (when my metabolism could support it) I opted for burgers!

Being as I’m trying to keep healthy, I went with my own personal recipe to trick these boys into eating their veggies and keep me from feeling like I strayed too far from my goals.  Follow below to see what I did!

What do you need?

1 package ground turkey (roughly 1 lb)
1/2 zucchini squash
1/2 yellow squash
1/4 cup of mushrooms
1 egg white
Mrs. Dash seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
1/2 avocado
1 tomato
Cheese of choice (we used munster and cheddar)
5 Hamburger buns
OR the wheat free option? Bib lettuce 

 Where do I start?

Begin by mincing the vegetables into small cubes.

Chopped Veg

You may allow your expert chopper to take the blade on this step. In my case, my sue chef and roommate, Samantha did the chopping while I prepped our side salad and potatoes.


Next, take a large mixing bowl and place the meat on the bottom.  Add in the chopped vegetables, egg white, and dry seasoning.

I added fresh basil to the mix this round, get creative with your seasoning!

I added fresh basil to the mix this round, get creative with your seasoning!

Now for the fun part!

Get your hands dirty and mix the ingredients in the bowl together.  Knead the meat to collect all of the vegetables and distribute seasoning evenly, add as you go if necessary.

Once everything is mixed together, you can start making your patties.  One package of ground turkey should make about five 4 oz burgers.

Bring the heat!

Spray your skillet with cooking spray and place your patties on the stove.

IMG_3781

Cook at medium heat.  I cover the pan with tin foil to ensure that the meat cooks all the way through and flip the burgers when they start to brown.

Once both sides of the burger are browned, I begin to toast the buns and add the cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt while you slice tomatoes and avocado to top the burgers.

Plate and serve!

wheat free!

Because I’m not eating wheat, I ate my burger on a slice of bib lettuce and made myself a lettuce wrap – it stayed together surprisingly well!

We served our burgers with a side of garlic roasted potatoes and a salad.

We digested during a couple friendly rounds of Boggle before we moved on to homemade chocolate and banana milkshakes.

Not a bad way to attack a Monday!

What are your favorite burger toppings?  How do you like to set the tone for the rest of the week?  Comment below!