Friday, July 6, 2012

Gluten Free Friday ~ Refreshing Juices and Cool Ice Pops

 When life gets full and crazy, it also gets difficult to eat right.  Things have been so non-stop around here, that instead of a smoothie for breakfast, it's almond butter quickly spread on a rice cake, and instead of a big salad for lunch it's rice crackers and hummus and a few cheese slices.  Now, I realize there are many worse things I could eat, but getting healthy fruits and veggies in on busy days requires effort and forethought, so it often just doesn't happen. The tyranny of the urgent always seems trump real, fresh, slow food.

I did have a chance to create a fresh juice for breakfast on Monday.  My friend, Karla, was visiting from Oklahoma, and since the weekend had been so full, we made no plans for Monday morning {except that Kayla was having several friends over!}, went for a walk and run, and then came home for a late breakfast.  I had bought some fresh ingredients for juice the day before, and Karla was hesitantly open to trying my concoction.

Here's what I used:

2 apples
4-6 celery stalks
4-6 carrots
1 lemon
1 orange
4 small beets
1 cup spinach

The beets turn the juice a bright red {as well as your fingers}, as you can imagine, and Karla looked a bit skeptical as they went into the juicer along with spinach and celery.  I poured each of us a glass {it made about three glasses}, and she smiled and said she liked it ~ even said she enjoyed the taste that the celery gave it.  The beets, carrots, orange, and apples give it enough sweetness to overpower any too-savory-veggie taste. was nice to finally have a chance to re-boot my system and diet!

Photo by Simply Sugar and Gluten Free  ~ Check out her blog here!
{Juicers can be expensive, though!  Believe it or not, Robert picked ours up for FREE one Sunday as he drove home from church.  A woman was waving people over to her tag sale along a side street near our house.  I had passed her up, as I had people coming over for lunch, but Robert stopped.  When he walked over, she told him to take anything he wanted for FREE.  We had just been to see the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and had been wanting a juicer, but couldn't really afford one at the time.  He snatched it up quickly and was so proud of his "purchase" when he got home!}

Sarma Melngailis, the author of Raw Food /Real World says this in the "cook" book's section on juices:

"Think of juices as liquid vitamin supplements, only better tasting.  They are concentrated nutrition, the FedEx of foods ~ a delivery service that gets there in half the time.  Juices give the body a break from the arduous process of digestion, which is why they are great for cleansing; the nutrients, packed with antioxidants and essential amino acids, are rapidly assimilated.  If there's one thing that has the most positive and immediate impact on your health, it's drinking organic green juices daily."

Here's another juice recipe to try from her book:

Hot Pink Juice

1 medium beet, peeled
1/2 medium pineapple
1/2 pint strawberries, no stems
1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger

And even though we've {really it was Kayla that made them!} only made one batch of pops this summer, I thought I would re-run a couple of recipes from previous summers.  They are so nice to have in the freezer for these summer days, and full of real fruit, fresh, whole ingredients, and natural sweeteners.

Tropical Pops

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks (or fresh)
1 cup frozen mango chunks (or fresh)
2 bananas
1/2 - 1 cup plain yogurt
maple syrup or agave if needs extra sweetener

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Pour in popsicle molds. Freeze until hardened. Wrap individual popsicles in waxed paper or plastic wrap.

Chunky Monkey Pops

2 bananas
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp cocoa
2Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
maple syrup or agave if extra sweetener is needed

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze until hardened.  Wrap individual popsicles in wax paper or plastic wrap.

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