DIY Juicing on a Budget

In the fall, the term “basic” is tossed around in the direction of those well-coifed women clutching their pumpkin spice lattes and rocking boots and vests for 3 months straight.

I think the summer equivalent would have to be a Lululemon-clad lady, yoga mat swinging from her shoulder strap and a pricey green juice in the other.

And if that’s basic…. I’m guilty as charged.

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you’re damn right I am.

Nothing like a fancy juice after a workout class to make you feel like you’re on a different level of healthy.  Which is why, after 2-3 weeks of straight up INDULGENCE on the eating front, I decided to reboot with juice (let’s take it down a notch from Jordan’s Whole30 experience). 3 days, 5 juices, on meal of vegetable and lean meats.

Unfortunately, Ryan Crown Juice Club seems to be MIA, and is more expensive than I’d be able to handle. Even if I nabbed my juices at Philly’s most affordable “juice bar”, Fuel, it’d be over 20 bucks a day, and I’d be working with what they offer. Even the cheapest “juice cleanse” I found online seemed steep, and I hate paying for what I can do at home.

Luckily, I had all I needed to DIY my juice on a budget:

  • An affordable juicer (the least “budget friendly” portion of this, I received mine as a gift, and isn’t that exact model, but is similar. I’m not going to include this cost in the price, as I received mine as a gift, but “I get it”, they don’t grow on trees.)
  • A few hours of free time

I modeled my juice “recipes” and timing off of BluePrint, one of the better known “Juice Cleanse” companies online (who ships your prepared, bottled juices directly to your home!) And then I made a list of ingredients I needed and headed STRAIGHT to Reading Terminal Market to bring back fruits and vegetables from Iovine Brothers and OK Produce. (This is Philly specific but I’d recommend you just go straight to your local produce market, if possible).

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New FRIENDS!!

Green Juice (2/day)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples
  • Little bit of parsley
  • KALE!
  • ROMAINE!
  • SPINACH! (the amounts on the greens are up to you, but you truly can’t taste them at all)

Snack Juices (2/day)

  • Spicy Lemonade  (I just used honey instead of “Agave” because we had some)
  • PAM (Pineapple Apple Mint)

Dinner Juice (1/day)

  • 2 large green apples
  • 2 beets
  • 3 large carrots (or 1/3 bag of mini carrots!)
  • 1 lemon
  • Honking chunk of ginger

I got all the ingredients for these (other than the honey, which I already had) for $33.86, or about $11.28 per day. I used the leftover kale for my “greens” and I did buy a pound of turkey for $3.99, making the total cost for all the food-products I put into my body $37.85 for 3 days.

A 3-day “Renovation Cleanse” from Blueprint costs $195 (and does NOT come with turkey, though they do include a sort of dessert juice with cashews and blueberries).

The cost difference is $157.15. That’s enough to buy a juicer and still have money for savings.

I’ll admit, it took me about 40 minutes a night to make the juices for the next day and they didn’t come in sexy BluePrint bottles. Toting them was a bit weird, as I’d have glass bottles in my bag headed to work each day.

But I’ll take a tasty and fresh juice that clanks when I walk if it saves me $157.15…

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This is kinda pretty, right?

After the three days, I actually had enough ingredients for another green juice in the morning. I also felt fantastic and refreshed. I didn’t weigh myself, and I didn’t take photos. I just wanted to remind my body what all those good veggies and fruits tasted like, and see if I could do it on a budget.

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Mission: accomplished.

Now, can someone pass me a carb?

DIY Chipotle’s Salsa

Just another perk of living in the city of Philadelphia (or, I assume, any city) – Sometimes you come across something like this:

Fancy meeting you here.

A mid-day salsa tasting and technique class in the middle of the garden?  Don’t mind if I do.

I’ll admit, I’ve attempted to make salsa before. It involved a food processor and resulted in a big watery mess, which I tried to remedy with some hot sauce… Hot sauce in salsa?

I know, I recognize how ridiculous this is in hindsight.  Luckily, I let the pros show me how to do it right before this attempt.

First cut is the deepest….

The Chipotle employee showed me that the best way to chop an onion is by not cutting it all the way apart at the end, that way it stays together when you cut the other direction.

Like this:

Safety first, she had a chain-mail glove on

She dumped a perfect pile of chopped onion into the bowl before moving onto the next ingredient.

That’s how she gets her jollies 

She sliced the jalapenos into itsy bitsy bits, not bothering to remove the seeds. I’ve never heard of such a practice, but who am I to argue with greatness?

I forgot to snap shots of the chopping of the tomatoes, distracted by this little jewel.

Freebies flock to me on my birthday

A miniature order of chips and salsa distracted me just long enough to miss the (vine-ripened) tomato chopping BUT don’t worry, I developed laser-like focus when it came time to watch the cilantro be chopped finely as I’ve ever seen cilantro chopped.

Beautifully green, and grown in Jersey!

Apparently, Chipotle’s done a great job of trying to focus on as much locally sourced and organic ingredients as possible. About 80% of the cilantro they use is organic, so you know it’s good.

Let’s mix it up!  Squirt some lime in there and….

Got that cilantro sprinkle…

Since they couldn’t serve me the good stuff they’d just showed me how to make, I had to take matters into my own hands. Luckily, the Rittenhouse Farmer’s Market was the next day and, since the Chipotle folks gave me my own little recipe card, I went to work.

Ingredients from the market!

I got everything but the cilantro from the market, and got to chopping.

I love how Chipotle uses red onions (my favorite of the onion family) for color and taste, and all that chopping, though tedious, resulted in a MUCH more successful salsa.

The final product!!

I halved the recipe here, but here’s the version they gave out:

  • 6 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (which I did not use in my version)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Dice the tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos (and go super fine with those jalapenos). Combine all the ingredients and season to taste!

Serve with your favorite chips or do as I did and top your favorite taco salad with this chopped salsa.

Or, if you’re tired and lazy, go to your nearest Chipotle and get the pros to serve you some…

Tomato, to-mah-toe.

Ever make your own salsa? What’s your recipe??

If not, where do you get your favorite salsa?

 

 

 

 

Candied Christmas Cashews!

Yesterday, I received one of my first “holiday” gifts from a coworker.

Merry, indeed!

Though that festive looking Snowman tried his damndest to hoard all the sugared almonds, I finagled the bag away and managed to enjoy the entire little baggy over the course of yesterday afternoon/evening. I was totally hooked, and after she mentioned that the “recipe” was basically “Pour, mix, let them cool, gobble them up!” I knew what I had to do when I got home.

All I really needed. I like recipes like that.

With the help of a barely-eaten bag of raw cashews that I got a while ago for a Foodie Penpal Exchange, some sugar, and cinnamon, I was on my way.

Mixah Mixah Mixah!

Here’s the recipe, full credit to my coworker Anne, though she’s blogless, so just imagine a lovely blonde California marathon runner serving up a warm batch of these:

Cinnamon Sugar Almonds Candied Christmas Cashews!!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

3 cups raw almonds Cashews (or any other nut)

1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup water

 

Directions: In a large skillet combine the sugar, cinnamon and water. Add the almonds cashews and stir constantly with a spoon over medium heat, coating the almonds nuts with the syrupy mixture. Keep stirring until the sugar crystallizes. Remove the pan from heat and scoop the almonds cashews onto wax or parchment paper. Let the cinnamon almonds cashews cool before serving. These can be made a few days ahead.

I could hardly wait for them to cool before I popped a few in my mouth.

Terribly tempting

Trust me, though, they’re just as tasty the next day during lunch as they are right after making them.

Color block Jordan APPROVED!

And since I wanted to show off my bag of goodies and my brightly colored outfit, I even nibbled a few outside in the crisp 65 degree December weather.

Though it doesn’t feel as cold as Christmas time, yet, these would make great presents for anyone who isn’t allergic to nuts. So much so, in fact, that I hope to receive a 3lb bag of my own.

Have you ever gifted or received a DIY present?  What was it ?!