Green Juice #1

green juice

 

My apologies for the horrible, horrible photo. It’s 11 pm and I just realized about 20 minutes ago that I wanted to have green juice ready for my breakfast in the morning, on the fly to work. So, I made a batch of what has become my personal favorite juice, bottled it, (dotcha like the bottle? Isn’t it adorable? T.J. Maxx. $4.) and wanted it share it with you. I just stuck a pad of newsprint paper behind it to block the other, more hideous clutter from view. I wanted to illustrate just how GREEN this stuff is. I love it! This is what The Jolly Green Giant drinks for breakfast, I’m pretty sure. He sits around with The Hulk, discussing how to get more kids to eat their vegetables.

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Home-Made Perogies

 

It’s been a while since I made Perogies… in fact, when I couldn’t remember which book my recipe came from, I checked in my old food blog, and it was 3 years ago that I was in the habit of making them. Wowzers, how time flies. Mom’s been bugging me to make these lately, and since it’s a Saturday and we need something to keep the kids occupied all day, I thought to myself “What better way to keep them busy than to inflict labor-intense Perogie assembly on them? BWAHahahaha.”
I’m such a good sister.
So, I figured I might as well share the recipe on here, since my old blog is pretty much a thing of the past. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d take new pictures of the process today as I work on them, but I won’t. You’ll just have to make do with the pictures from before I knew how to use my camera properly.
Be careful with this recipe. These are hearty and high-carb, full of cheese and butter, and for your health’s sake, wait til the official meal and don’t snack on 20 as you cook them. *sigh*
Ukrainian Perogies
For the Dough:
2 C flour
1/2 C warm milk
1/2 C mashed potato
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs oil
Mix all ingredients, adding a little more milk if it’s too dry. Knead on a lightly floured surface until it forms a ball. You want it to be just slightly sticky. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel to rest at least 30 minutes.
Filling:
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/4 C butter
2 C mashed potato ( a good use for left-overs, or boil fresh and season with salt and pepper)
1 C grated white cheddar
Sauté the onion in butter until well cooked and starting to brown. Mix with potato and cheese. You might want to add salt to taste, but keep in mind that the cheese has quite a bit of salt already. If you use hot mashed potato, allow to cool a bit before filling perogies.
Set a pot of water to boil (the wider it is the more you can cook at once). Roll the dough very thinly on lightly floured surface (0.125″ to be precise. *cough*) adding as little four as possible to keep it from sticking. Cut 3″ circles with a wide glass/biscuit cutter.

Press scraps into a ball, and allow it to rest again so the dough can be re-used. It relaxes significantly after 15 minutes or more.
Scoop 1 1/2- 2 tsp filling into each circle (you’ll figure out how much is too much pretty quick, it’ll gush out the corner.), fold and press closed. The dough sticks together very well compared to some other pastries. The first time I made these I thought they’d pop open, but they didn’t.
Place in boiling water to cook. Stir once to keep them from sticking to the bottom. They will float after about 2 minutes. Cook about a minute longer, then remove with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle cooked perogies with melted butter and toss. You can either eat them now as a ravioli-like dumpling, or….
…. fry them until golden, as we do. I actually like them either way, but most of my family only likes them fried.

Lunch

 

Blue potatoes, Spanish Spice peppers and yellow summer squash, fresh from the garden. We still haven’t had a frost, which is very surprising, heading into the second week of October.  I obviously didn’t eat everything pictured here, but I did slice up half an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic with half a diced pepper and sauteed until the onion was soft. Then I pushed the onions to one side of the pan and put in a few slices of chicken breast, and after turning those I laid thinly sliced squash over everything, salt and pepper and put a lid on everything until the squash was tender and everything was ah-mazing. I’ve had good squash and I’ve had disgusting squash… this was probably the best yet.

Strawberry Balsamic Salad Dressing

Just yesterday, I began tinkering with xanthan gum and guar gum as thickeners in my food. I’ve read up on each (and quite frankly have the two entirely confused in my mind… but that’s okay, I use a combination of both in most things. ), and it’s been fun whipping up home made coffee coolattas, thickening the sauce in home-made chinese food-that-has-no-name (can’t use corn starch on hcg) and then tonight, I made salad dressing.

I started with a vinaigrette recipe from my friend Anne’s blog ‘Will Cook For Food’ She’s made a number of mouth-watering salads and dressings, and tonight the strawberries in my refrigerator beckoned me as as I chopped veggies for my salad. (I love salad. I do.) So I decided I would make Anne’s strawberry vinaigrette – a chance you use my immersion blender, yay! And then it struck me that people use xanthan gum in dressings. Or rather, it’s in the dressings you buy at the store. Normally when people talk about home made dressing they complain about  how you have to shake it violently and frantically drizzle before it has a chance to separate again. Or if it’s a creamy dressing it’s because the recipe includes mayo or buttermilk or something terribly bad for you. Xanthan gum is an emulsifier and binder, so… click through below to see what happens.

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Start-the-the-day-right Smoothie

 

Breakfast, anyone? I just got off my second round of HCG drops, during which you have to be on a very restrictive diet. Today was my first day of ‘Phase 3’, or P3 as we call it, and now anything but sugar and starch is on my menu. So. What should we have for breakfast? Eggs and bacon? Coconut flour pancakes? Why, NO! The one thing in the whole world that could possibly satisfy is THIS:

 

Start the day right Smoothie

AKA “Valerie has lost her mind and now actually craves vegetables” Smoothie.

1 cucumber, peeled and chunked. If the seeds are big and hard I’d get rid of them.

1 large handful frozen strawberries (Or whatever fruit you like – blueberry is good, but your smoothie will turn out brown. Just sayin’.)

1 large handful fresh baby spinach. From your garden if at all possible.

A good big glob of plain yogurt – maybe 1/4 cup.

2 Tbsp flax seed (half that if you have flax meal)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional. There’s protein in flax and yogurt, so it’s up to you.

2-3 packets Sweetleaf stevia or natural sweetener of choice.

About 1/4 C water or juice, my blender at least doesn’t do much until there’s some liquid in there.

Blend, blend, blend away,’til you’re smoothie’s done! Sip it through a big fat straw, then exclaim “Oh yum!”.

Yes, I just wrote that to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  Maybe this wasn’t the best way to start my day…

 

Rosemary-Cheddar Scones with Herb Butter

Another savory addition to the menu. I love a good savory scone. Well I love nearly any sort of scone when it comes down to it. I wish I had gotten a picture of these as they came out of the over, they were truly beautiful. Mock me if you like, they were. The rosemary is subtle in a good way. The chives in the herb butter (a little creation of my own, thank you.;) ) really complimented the cheddar, and the sprinkling of sea salt on top just really finished them off. Yum, oh yum.

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Turkey Avacado Tea Sandwiches

 

The tendency with hosting a tea is to kill everyone with sugar. I’m not saying I’ve mended my ways and served a vegetable platter, but I did try to make sure some savories made their way into the menu. Next time I’ll lean even more toward the savory. These little sandwiches were a good start. They were SO flavorful and (seemingly) light. Definitely a sandwich I would make any day of the week for lunch, as well as for tea.

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Pineapple-Walnut Tea Sandwiches

Okay, this picture is another photographic fail on my part. In the hubbub of the whole production, I forgot to get good individual pictures of each recipe… this is as close as it gets (I even googled, and nobody else has pictures that I could sneak in.), and admittedly it does not look that appetizing. But trust me. I could eat the whole plate full if I weren’t to the level of health-consciousness that I am.

The original recipe I worked from actually made a sickeningly sweet filling. It needed tweaking*, so I  re-worked it until it was the right blend of pineapple-sweet and cream-cheese flavor and YUM.

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