Tag Archives: vita-mix

bachelor living with Edgar

7 Oct

Okay, so in the last post I mentioned that I’m not much of a girly-girl. And now here is more evidence to the contrary.

Jim was out of town last weekend and it made me think of a scene from an episode Sex and the City (yes, I’m a huge SATC fan) where Carrie is talking about her fears of living with Aidan (who was the best boyfriend, IMO, but he deserved better than Carrie) and her love of single behavior. She talks about how she likes to eat grape jelly on saltines while standing in her kitchen reading fashion magazines and wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it with him there. And I totally get it. I’ve been married for almost seven years and having the house to yourself is a rare thing. All of those single things, those self-indulgent things that we would be embarrassed to have someone else witness, have either come to the surface and been accepted at this point or have died a natural death.

But on the rare occasion when you have the house to yourself, you have the option of living like a bachelor again. Dishes piled up in the sink and I don’t care? Check. Unabashedly wearing mismatched sweats with bedhead because I’m not leaving the house today? Check. Eating food that doesn’t really qualify as a meal for dinner? Check.

In my preveg days a bachelor-style weekend would have probably meant lots of chicken Caesar wraps, fries and pizza. And it could have been vegan pizza this weekend, but I was too lazy to leave the house for the fixin’s (hence the sweats and bedhead). My bachelor food is not very scandalous and is far more animal and body friendly, but does involve another man: Edgar, the Vita-Mix.

In case you ever questioned it, yes, I am this lame. 🙂

But I’m going to share with you one of my favorite new beverages since coming upon the Vita-Mix. It’s truly the definition of “refreshing”.

You start with this:

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Grape-Lime Slush Spritzer

Rough recipe for 1 serving:
1 cup rinsed grapes
1 very thin slice lime (with rind)
1/2 cup ice
bubbly liquid of choice (spring water, seltzer or champagne for a sLUSHy!)

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Place everything (except bubbly) in the Vita-Mix. Process for about 20-30 seconds on variable speed 8 or high.

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You can either enjoy it as a slushy or add some of the bubbly to make it a thinner spritzer.

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Seriously delicious and guilt-free.

And now for the shameful bachelor dinner I had with this lovely drink.

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That’s it. Just a giant plate of garlic roasted brussel sprouts. Nothing more, nothing less. Paired with this drink and enjoyed in front of some Netflix Watch-it-Now. What can I say, I’m a boring old married gal at heart, I guess. 🙂

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cherry, cerise, cereza, nom!

7 Jul

First off, episode three is undergoing post-production behind me as we speak, so it will finally be up on Thursday I’m thinking. Sorry about the long time between episodes. We’ll be shortening that up, you know how crazy summer can get!

Last weekend, we got a great tip from our friend Amy about a farm in Hood River where u-pick cherries are $1 a pound. Bing, Lambert, Van and Rainier, all $1 a pound! Jim and I knew what we had to do, so Sunday morning we headed out, bright and early, geared up and ready for some pickin’.

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The trees were heavy and flush with ripe cherries. It was really a sight to behold.

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The full trees made quick work and soon our buckets began to fill. We focused on mostly Bing and Rainier, with some Lambert or Van (not sure which they were) filling in the cracks.

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In less than an hour we had picked 21 pounds of cherries. 21 pounds of anything can be hard to conceptualize, so here’s a better view.

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You are probably asking yourself, “What on earth do two people need with 21 pounds of cherries? What are they going to do?”

Well, we froze quite a bit, for feeding to the Vita-Mix. But the large majority went here:

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Jam on it! Earlier in the weekend I made another batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam while rhubarb is still lingering. With the canning bug in full force, I decided to make two large batches of cherry jam: Rainier and Vanilla Bing. Two words of advice if you plan to make a lot of cherry jam: cherry pitter. It’s a miraculous invention, especially if you decide to pit 17 pounds in one day.

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Vanilla Bing Jam

Makes 4 1/2 pints

4 lbs of chopped Bing cherries, weighed after pitting
juice of 1 medium lemon
2 cups of sugar
1 box of pectin (1.75 oz)
2 large vanilla beans

Place chopped cherries in a stockpot and combine with lemon juice. It’s very easy to chop the cherries with a food processor. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until cherries begin to break down and release a lot of juice.

In a small bowl, combine sugar with pectin and add to cherries after initial cook time. Combine well, stirring often and bring to a low boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, slice open vanilla beans and scrape seeds into jam. Continue cooking until it begins to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.

Test for gel by spooning a bit of jam on a plate and putting it in the freezer for 1 minute. After the minute, remove it from the freezer and push the edge with your finger. If it wrinkles up from the pressure of your finger, it is ready. If not, let it cook for 3 minute intervals, checking the gel after each interval.

Spoon hot jam into sterilized canning jars and follow good canning practices for storing your jam. Let jam sit for at least 12 hours to set up.

*Alternately, you can use pure vanilla extract, 1 teas. added after jam reaches gelling consistency.
**For the Rainier variation, sub Rainiers for the Bings and omit the vanilla.

After a long day of canning, I decided to make a treat.

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Banana ice cream, made in the Vita-Mix, with chocolate sauce and some fresh cherries. I made the ice cream using a couple of frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk, vanilla extract and a couple of ice cubes to keep it thick. It was so delicious. Next time I think I will add a little peanut butter.

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What good is all of this canning without sharing? It’s time for a giveaway! One lucky commenter will be randomly drawn on Friday and will receive a jar of my Rainier Cherry Jam. Just leave a comment about jam. What flavors do you love? Homemade or store-bought? What kinds of jam have never tried, but want to? Have you ever made homemade jam? I don’t expect that you answer all of these questions, they are just some suggestions.

I can’t wait to read your comments! And keep an eye out for episode 3!

*Edited to announce our winner- Erin! I will email you, Erin and congrats!

fruits and little labor

2 Jul

The Foodie Fights results are not up yet, but I will update when they come in.

Jim and I are working on a bunch of stuff for the cooking show. We’ve got some exciting plans up our sleeves, so expect a new episode in a few days and some surprises this summer.

Well, summer is truly here. It’s supposed to hit 95 today and I’ve got produce coming out of my ears! Between the farmer’s market, stores and friends, I can barely keep up with the bounties of summer. If you’ve managed to avoid eating well and getting in shape before summer rolled out, there is no time like the present. Plus, it couldn’t be easier when the weather is great and fresh food is abundant.

My lovely friend, Sandy, gave us some goodies from her garden, including these beautiful flowers.

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With some fresh lettuce from her garden and berries from the farmer’s market, we made an awesome salad including walnuts, chickpeas, mandarin oranges and a raspberry vinagrette.

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Sandy also gave us some basil and arugula, which I turned into a yummy pesto.

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I cooked up some tricolored shell pasta and sauteed some veggies- asparagus, zucchini (leftover from the challenge), bell pepper, Walla Walla onion, garlic and chickpeas. Yummy…

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Tossed together with the pasta and pesto, this made a wonderful dinner after a long workout. Plus, leftovers never hurt. I also had some leftover raw crackers from Blossoming Lotus, which topped off our dishes perfectly.

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Paired with our new nightly ritual- a Vita-Mix smoothie. This one was kind of sickly colorwise, but tasted great. It included a whole apple (including the core), strawberries, kale, spinach, Very Green powder, raspberries and almond milk. Yum! I’m really loving having Edgar around. We’ve gotten into the habit of having smaller dinners and giant smoothies- perfect for warm summer nights. Or post-workout I throw in a big scoop of hemp protien powder and call it good. All hail the Vita-Mix!

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I’m on a new nut kick with pistachios. So underutilized are these delicious nuts! They cannot simply be confined to holiday nut bowls. They are so fragrant and beautiful. I am working on a bundt recipe some ground up pistacios in it. I tossed in some fresh raspberries for good measure.

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It was pretty darn good, but still needs some tweaking.

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Have a Happy 4th and I’ll be back with episode three of the cooking show early next week!

an affair to remember

22 Jun

I’ve been married for 6.5 years, but it’s taken less than a week for me to fall in love with another. I know, I know, a fickle heart is nothing to boast about… but wait until you see us together.

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Meet Edgar. Our love has been a long time in the making. Lengthy visits online to the Vita-Mix website, drooling over recipes, babbling on to friends and family about how “it’s not just a blender” while they pretend to care. Over the course of our marriage I have ruined 3 blenders and 2 food processors, and I knew it was time to step up. So on my monthly trip to Costco for organic quinoa and evaporated cane juice, when I came across a man demoing the Vita-Mix, I stopped dead in my tracks. I sampled some delicious juice made from red grapes, a slice of lime (with rind!) and ice cubes. I gazed at the Vita-Mix with love and longing. When the man confided in me that you don’t need the dry blade container to grind flour, thus saving me about $150 from what I had originally planned to pay, coupled with the bargain price, plus not having to pay with shipping… I was sold. And so Edgar came to join us.

So far we have made juice, soup, smoothies and ice cream. Everything has turned out beautifully and I am in complete awe of the ease of use with this machine, especially clean up! It seems like some too-good-to-be-true dimension, where I can deliciously eat the whole fruit or vegetable, whip up food in a matter of seconds (literally), and clean up just as quickly.

For example, as part of our dinner tonight we had smoothies.

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A banana, some soy yogurt, soy milk, frozen mixed berries, frozen strawberries, baby spinach and green powder from Trader Joe’s. With the help of the tamper, in under 1 minute it went from the above picture to this:

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Ah, heaven. So, for you green smoothie folks, did you ease yourself in to them or did you just take the plunge? I’m a little scared of drinking all of those greens, raw.

The other part of our dinner tonight was my take on one of my favorite entrees at Blossoming Lotus.

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Kale, sauteed with olive oil and garlic, under some Soy Curls that I hydrated with veggie broth, coated in a mixture of nutritional yeast, dried basil and sea salt and then lightly pan fried. On the side, sauteed asparagus. I can never come close to the simple complexity that is Blossoming Lotus, but it tasted pretty darn good.

More adventure with Edgar to come!