Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Drinks & Cocktails

The Juice is Loose

Yeah you read that right. We’ve been juicing! Anil really is the best hubs ever and decided to get me a belated Valentine’s day present last month. This is awesome for two reasons: 1) We don’t even exchange Valentine’s day gifts because there’s rarely a good sale on anything around that time and 2) I got a Breville juicer!! I feel like we’re the last people in the first world to get a juicer, but hey, it’s been amazing. Life changing is really more like it. So far, we’ve juiced mixes of carrots, green apples, kale, celery, sweet potato, cilantro, ginger, and zucchini.

The main benefit of juicing? You get nutrients delivered directly to your bloodstream. And you can feel this: every day that we’ve juiced, we have felt a jolt of energy and have not touched caffeine of any kind throughout the day. It’s so cleansing and you just feel so fresh and energetic. It’s also pretty cool to throw in an entire apple without having to cut it. It’s magic.

Breville Juicer

The main downside of juicing? Because a professional juicer takes out all the flesh and skins of fruits and veggies you lose out on fiber and need to make sure that you’re adding that back into your diet some other way. If you juice too many fruits, you may also be getting too much sugar directly into your bloodstream, which is why we stick to mostly veggies. Now the juicer is great, but it takes a lot of work to clean it up and we weren’t crazy about the fact that you’re not getting fiber from all the produce. So now, we mainly juice on the weekends, when we have a little more time to spare in the morning. For weekdays…

Blendtec

Enter the Blendtec. Smoothies give you the fiber you need and keep you fuller longer since they’re slower to digest. There’s also only one jar and lid to clean. Problem solved. We have an old (15+ years?) blender in our cabinet, but it’s no match for the Blendtec. When you start researching blenders, you’ll soon find that the Vitamix and the Blendtec are the top 2 high end blenders on the market. They’re both highly reviewed (and pricey), but we went for the Blendtec for several reasons: the Blendtec allows you to simply add your ingredients, close the jar, push a button and sit back. With the Vitamix, you may have to push down the food or may have to switch speeds. Small extra steps, but important ones. We also read some complaints about the jar being so tall that it did not fit under standard kitchen cabinets. This may have been fixed, though. The Blendtec also comes with a touch interface and is touted as “the iPhone of blenders”. Switches may last longer, but we’re suckers for clean designs. We were sold and have been making smoothies almost every single day since. Even soon-to-be 18 months Dilan participates. We usually feed him a protein or non-GMO cereal alongside the smoothie or juice, but as soon as he hears the sound of the Blendtec, he wants in. It’s a great way to sneak in extra fruits and veggies. As health nut and foodie parents, we just love this. We cut up fruits and veggies the night before and ta daa, breakfast is done in minutes. I used to bake breakfast breads for the week on Sundays, but smoothies and juice have now replaced these.

Stay tuned for our favorite smoothie and juice recipe making their way to the blog soon. Cheers!

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Five Ingredient Kale Smoothie

I know what you’re thinking: you’re not quite done sipping on hot chocolate yet. Don’t worry, we do our fair share of sugar and fats damage during the holidays. When we are on staycation for a full 10 days though, we try to get  some more exercise in and slip in some detox foods like this five ingredient kale smoothie. I’m not a smoothie connoisseur, so don’t know a ton of green smoothies to compare this to, but what appeals to me about this one is that it only has five basic ingredients and it doesn’t taste like a ton of grass :-)

Here’s how you whip one up:

Ingredients

About 3 kale leaves, torn up
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup coconut milk (any kind)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Directions

Simply add all ingredients to a blender and liquify away! Makes about 2 tall glasses. Enjoy cold.

kalesmoothie

Mulled Wine in the Espresso Machine

It’s fall! That means loads of slow-cooker meals, comfort foods, and warm drinks in our house. Anil and I love mulled wine or apple cider and this weekend, he came up with the genius idea of running the wine through our espresso machine. We’re not huge coffee drinkers, but we are latte snobs. Hence the espresso machine, but lack of coffee machine in our house. If you have a coffee machine instead, you can still pull this off! If you’re not a wine drinker, you can try this with apple cider as well. Here’s what you do:

mulled wine in espresso machine

Mulled Wine in the Espresso Machine

1. Clean out your espresso or coffee machine by running water through it a few times. Be sure to discard the water.

2. Load up the part of your machine where you normally put the ground coffee beans with mulling spices. Be sure to pack them in really tight. We absolutely love the Mulling Spice mix from Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t have ready-to-go mulling spices, you can make your own by mixing together cinnamon, orange peel, allspice, and cloves.

3. This is optional, but if you want some extra sweetness, add 1/4 cup of sugar to a quart of red wine, or add some agave syrup to your cup (this is what we did). Run the wine through the espresso machine and serve warm with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy the warmth!

Tip: Don’t forget to clean out your espresso machine or coffee maker afterwards by running some water with a splash of vinegar through it. Otherwise, you’ll be enjoying some boozy coffee!

Trader Joe's Mulling Spice

 

Watermelon Mojito

This is by far the most refreshing drink I’ve had this summer, even sans alcohol! The recipe is quite simple too. Use either a seedless watermelon or make sure you remove the seeds out of a regular one. Cut the watermelon up into small cubes and add about 3-4 cubes to a tall glass. Muddle the cubes and a few ice cubes along with some fresh mint leaves and just a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add a shot (or two!) of your favorite white rum and top off with ginger ale. Say ahhh and enjoy :-)

Mango Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

This smoothie is great for breakfast early in the morning because it’s refreshing, healthy, energizing, and not too sweet! Perfect for summer!

Ingredients (for 1 smoothie):

1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup of fresh sliced mango
1/4 cup of water
about 1/2 an inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled

Directions:

Simply throw all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a few ice cubes to cool this down even more and add more water if you like your smoothie a bit thinner.

Fresh Strawberry Margarita

Summer is right around the corner…and you know what that means: margaritas by the pool! Although I love margaritas, I’m not a big fan of pre-made mixes since they tend to be high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup and add a ton of calories to your drink. Because of this, I decided to take things into my own hands and blended together a fresh strawberry margarita for me and the hubs. I didn’t look up a recipe anywhere, so went completely off my instincts. Check it out and let me know if you like it as much as we did!

 

Ingredients (for two margaritas)

6 to 7 fresh strawberries, washed and leaves removed
1 cup crushed ice cubes
2 shots of your favorite tequila
1 shot of Cointreau, triple sec, or other orange liqueur
1 shot of sweetened lime juice
1 tablespoon of confectioners sugar
a squeeze of fresh lime juice

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into two margarita glasses and enjoy with your favorite Mexican food, or, all by itself!

 

 

Health Nut Food Faves of the Month – October

It’s finally fall and is starting to feel a bit more like it as well in my area. With cooler weather, here’s what I absolutely love this month!

Trader Joe’s Mulling Spices

If you’re looking for a warm, fat free dessert, this is going to be one of your new fall favorites!

What I love: These mulling spices lend the perfect amount of sweetness, warmth, and flavor and can turn either apple cider, apple juice, or red wine into warm (or cold, if you prefer that) fall treat. I heated these spices in warm apple juice and they were just amazing. The apple juice was not only very soothing, but made the entire house smell fantastic as well. I want another mug just thinking about it!

What I don’t like: There’s really nothing to like here. If you don’t have a muslin bag or cloth, you will have to add the spices to your drink, which means that some of them will float, some of them will hang out at the bottom of your mug or cup, and you might accidentally bite into a clove, which has a very strong flavor. However, I actually enjoyed chewing on the small pieces of lemon and orange peel, so did not mind this at all.

The verdict: If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you must look for these in the tea section! With autumn flavors such as lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, all spice, and cloves, you can’t go wrong. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can always try making this yourself or trying the mulling spices at other grocery stores. I believe Williams-Sonoma has these as well. Give it a try, I promise you’ll love it =).

French Lemon Martini

This is a slight twist on the traditional French martini (one of my favorites!). To be precise, this is a lemony twist on this refreshing, slightly sweet cocktail. Since this drink is quite strong, you can adjust the amount of pineapple juice or substitute with club soda if you like your cocktails to be less sweet.

Ingredients

1 shot of vodka
1/6 shot of Chambord raspberry liqueur
1/4 shot of limoncello
1/6 shot of pineapple juice or club soda
a handful of ice cubes

Directions

1. Add ice cubes to a martini glass and let stand a few minutes in order to cool the glass.

2. Mix the Chambord, vodka (I like Grey Goose or Three Olives, but pick your favorite), limoncello, ice cubes and pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker and shake away! If you’re using club soda, add this after you’re done shaking.

3. Pour into the glass (without the ice cubes) and enjoy!

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