Posts Tagged by blender
|May 10, 2014|
I was SO excited when Fairfield Farms invited me to take a tour of their organic blueberry farm. I’ve never been on a commercial farm before and honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect.
Fairfield Farms is in Pauma Valley, San Diego County CA. I drove with Tanaya from Tanaya’s Table, and driving there seriously felt like we were lost. We got off the freeway and it looked like there was nothing there. But as we kept driving, there were fruit stands and little mom & pop cafes … then we found the farm.
It was absolutely beautiful! We got to the gate and I was just in awe. Maybe other farms have beautiful gates, but I’d never seen anything like this other than movies. So for me, it was a little surreal.
What was even more exciting was Fairfield Farms has previously never been open to the public. We were invited the week before they officially open the gates to the public to launch their U-Pick weekend events. (More info on how you can visit to pick your own organic blueberries after the recipe.)
Meet Harrison (in the middle), our tour guide and blueberry expert for the day. He is also one of the family members that owns the farm. Yes – Fairfield Farms is not only organic, but also family owned! (I made him take a selfie, haha. #shameless)
It was really interesting learning about organic farming and what it’s like to work on a family farm with your parents and siblings. I asked if he ate a lot of blueberries and he said there are literally more blueberries than can ever be eaten. I guess that makes sense when they’re producing just over a million pounds of blueberries a season.
The packaging factory was definitely not what I expected. I guess when I think of any food that has a label, I think big, sterile, overwhelming warehouse, but this was nothing like that. Sure they label their berries and you can find them at major grocers on the west coast like Whole Foods and Sprouts, but it was very family friendly and Harrison knew everyone by name.
In the packaging warehouse, first the berries are measured by weight. They’re tracked by who picked them and where they were picked. And when they go through the sorting machine (which makes sure all the berries that get packaged are ripe and beautifully blue). At the end of this machine, they are packaged and the Fairfield Farms label finishes it off like a bow and stored in the biggest fridge I’ve ever been in.
Picking the berries was a lot of fun! I will definitely be going back with my mom and sister and making a day out of it. The views are spectacular and you can’t beat fresh blueberries right off the bush. They were so juicy and sweet! And the neat thing I learned was that the blueberries you buy in the store are actually a variety of blueberry types. This is why sometimes some look larger than others. It was so much fun tasting the different varieties as we picked. You can tell the different varieties by the bush. Some bushes leaves were greener while others had a yellow hue or rougher leaf. The difference in taste was very slight. I mostly noticed that ones on the first two rows (my favorite rows) were big and luscious and much sweeter than the other berries down the row. But of course, taste also has to do with when you pick them and those first two rows Harrison said he made sure no one touched so when Tanaya and I arrived, they’d be full of juicy fruit.
Want the insider secret to keeping your berries fresh?
I asked Harrison for the insider tip… He said the most common mistake people make is washing the berries and then putting them back in the fridge so they are ready to eat. But blueberries are very prone to mold when introduced to moisture. Only wash the berries you plan to eat or cook immediately. If you wash more than you need by accident, make sure they are completely dry before putting them back in the fridge. They can literally grow mold within hours of being exposed to moisture if you put them back in the fridge wet!
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
Macros: 1.5g Fat, 72.5g Carbs, 4g Protein
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 large handful of fresh blueberries (or 3/4 cup)
Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until all the ingredients are well pureed. If you have a lower speed blender, you might not be able to fully liquify the blueberry skins but that’s ok. It will just look a little different but the taste will be the same.
Thanks you Fairfield Farms for inviting me to tour the farms and pick some berries to take home. If you want to visit the farm in Pauma Valley to pick organic blueberries, join them Thursday thru Sunday from 8am-6pm. The season ends June 1 so get out there before all the blueberries are gone!
14224 Old Cole Grade Rd
Pauma Valley, CA 92061
Blueberries are $5 a pint and they accept cash and all major credit cards.
|January 28, 2014|
So I finally broke down and bought a juicer. I love my Vitamix but some times you just want a juice. There are definitely pros and cons on both sides of the juicing-blending spectrum. Since I bought my juicer, I really can’t say which one I like better.
Blending vs. Juicing
When you juice, most of the fiber is stripped from the fruit. However, with the lack of fiber, fresh juice requires minimal digestion giving the digestive system a break. The concentrated form of nutrients can be more quickly absorbed in the body. That being said, that also means the natural sugars from the fruit and veggies will also be absorbed quicker and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Blending only breaks down the fruit you put in so all the fiber is left in there for you to drink. It’s still in a liquid form so it still delivers nutrients faster than eating the whole fruits would be, and without significantly spiking blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content. However, if you’re comparing how much fruit and veggies yielded one cup of your drink, juicing uses more fruits and veggies, packing in more nutrients. And when blending things like carrots, it is very unlikely you will get a juice consistency without watering it down.
Having now been juicing for a week (supplemental to solid foods), I do think despite the fact that juice is not rich in fiber like smoothies are, it does not mean it won’t “clean you out.” Haha! So really, it’s personal preference and up to you to do your research. There really isn’t and answer to which is better for you because our bodies all take what we eat differently. But I CAN tell you I am kinda addicted to my juicer now. It’s super fun! I already have some more juice recipes planned for you all 🙂
Orange Carrot Juice
Macros: Fat 1g, Carb 56g, Protein 4g
- 2 oranges (peeled)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 apple (cored)
- 1 cup fresh spinach (or one large handful)
Follow your juicer’s instructions and juice those babies! Feel free to try different apples and figure out which is your favorite. I personally went the cheap route and bought a bag of whatever was on sale. Recipe should give you 2 servings as a snack or one serving if you’re having it as a meal. (Macros were calculated on the whole recipe, not by servings.)
And if you’re new to juicing, my friend Catherine from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth wrote a great post called “Juicing for Dummies.” It covers everything from shopping for your fruits and veggies to cleaning your juicier.
Note: Some say it’s ok to juice whole apples because the seeds don’t have enough cyanide to be harmful. I decided why even eat ANY cyanide at all when it only takes a few seconds to core it. But if you core it you might not get as much juice because you’re wasting some of the apple. It’s up to you.
|October 7, 2013|
When Starbucks re-releases their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, who isn’t excited? At least for a foodie, it’s one of those things you look forward to every year. When you walk into the coffee shop and you see the writing on the chalkboard welcoming the Pumpkin Spice Latte back onto the menu, feeling excited, you know it’s going to be a good day.
… ok, you can see why I might struggle with my weight. Haha. Starbucks is a very bad habit of mine.
I made a skinny, healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte Frapp (because it was pushing 90 degrees in SoCal this weekend) that you can actually enjoy year-round if you wanted. Struggling with the temptation to take full advantage of Starbucks’ seasonal menu, life is a lot easier when you know you can make one at home that’s healthier and cheaper. Not to mention mine has real pumpkin – no fake syrups here!
Pumpkin Spice Latte Frappuccino
- 1 cup ice (or about 8 ice cubes)
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup puréed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 tsp instant coffee (or one Starbucks VIA packet)
- 3 tsp stevia
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Blend all the ingredients together. Pour into your favorite jar, mug, cup, or tumbler. This recipe should fill a venti size cup.
If you don’t want to add the protein powder, add 1 tsp vanilla extract and an additional 2 tsp of stevia.
Optional: Top it off with your whipped cream of choice. Try my Vegan Whipped Cream recipe for a 100% vegan frap (assuming you are using a vegan protein powder).
|September 20, 2013|
While it may still be pushing the upper 80°s at my house, Fall has officially begun. Despite the heat, I LOVE soup and have every intention of enjoying it even if it means I am sweating in the process.
So mixing my love of easy blend-everything-together type recipes and fall, I thought what better than to try out Butternut Squash Soup?
Often times, restaurants will put a ton of butter or cream and a ton of salt in their recipes. But butternut squash already has so much flavor, and like most foods, if you cook it with the right spices you don’t need to add the fat.
Hope you enjoy my recipe. I can literally say I put my love, sweat, and heart into it. (Praying for the heat in CA to chill off.)
Skinny Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 cups of low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegan)
- 1/2 tbsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
Slice or chop the onion into large pieces. Sauté them in the olive oil until they become slightly translucent. – I sautéed them in the same pot I planned to cook the soup in because I am a lazy dishwasher like that.
Peel, scrape out the seeds, and chop your butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Peel the skin of the garlic cloves. Put the squash, onion and garlic into a pot with the chicken broth and simmer until the squash is soft (approx 20 min).
Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the squash, onion, and garlic cloves. Place in a high speed blender or food processor, adding a few cups of the broth so it will blend easier. Purée the ingredients until smooth. Depending on the size of your blender or food processor, you might need to do this in a few batches.
Pour the puréed ingredients back into the pot and stir, allowing the broth and puree to evenly mix together. Add the spices and seasonings. (I personally didn’t add any salt because the broth had enough for me. Depending on your broth and personal preference, you may want to add salt. The pepper, I added 1 tsp but again, your own personal preference.) Simmer for another 10 minutes uncovered.
For a creamier soup, top it off with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.
|September 16, 2013|
So this recipe I actually created as one of the first recipes for my blog, but I came across the issue of not having a high speed blender OR a food processor. If you aren’t sure if you have a high speed blender versus a regular blender, generally the question to ask yourself is, “does my blender work as well or better than a food processor.” Ok, well that may not be the official question to ask yourself but I sure asked myself that one.
The first time I tried making this I put the avocado and banana in a blender with the almond milk, thinking that it might blend like I was making a smoothie and I would add all the other ingredients after. FAIL! There was not enough liquid so it barely blended and there were still chunks of avocado and banana. I ended up pouring it into a bowl and trying to mash it by hand and then I whisked the ingredients together. I ended up with chunky pudding, and no one wants chunks of avocado in their pudding. It was gross. So if you get chunky pudding, you might not have a high speed blender.
But after all said and done, I am finally sharing my recipe (and it tasted good this time) because I finally got my kitchen essentials. I got a food processor as a house warming present from a friend and this Summer I bought a Vitamix at the OC Fair. So giving it another whirl, my recipe really was good once the chunks were no longer in the equation. Enjoy 🙂
PS – I promise you that you can’t taste the avocado. It’s my secret ingredient … it adds the creaminess to the pudding without any dairy products.
Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding
- 1 ripe avocado (pitted & peeled)
- 1 overripe banana
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if you can’t eat it all in one sitting. It should serve two for a snack or one for a full meal. Feel free to garnish with an extra banana cut into slices (to get a similar look to my photos).
If you are like me and add protein powder to everything: Reduce the honey to 2 tbsp and hold the cocoa powder. Add a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the blender or food processor. Then add raw cocoa to taste. You probably wouldn’t be adding any more than a few tablespoons max. Most flavored protein powders will have enough chocolate to flavor your pudding. Also, they usually have added sweeteners which is where the decrease in honey comes in. Of course if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can add more honey.
As for using the raw honey – You don’t have to use raw, I just prefer raw because it’s less processed. Easy 1:1 conversion for raw versus regular honey if you don’t have raw. Although I suggest you try raw honey at some point. It tastes amazing!!!
|July 23, 2013|
We all need a cheat day in our lives every so often. I’m not going to lie and say I ate healthy at the OC Fair. And while I thought it would’ve been a cool idea to scope out the healthiest fair food, let’s be honest – when you go to the fair, you want to eat those once-a-year treats. (And I sure did enjoy the occasion!)
While I’m not going to preach to you about eating healthy at the fair, I’ll give you some other great tips about cheat day survival at the fair. And of course – what I ate!
Firstly, if you haven’t been following your eating plan very well, it may not be the best time to put the OC Fair cheat day into your week. Before you nom on all the fair goodies, prepare yourself by strictly following the diet or eating plan you’re on and be sure you didn’t cheat on your fitness regimen. I would also not suggest doing any sort of juice cleanse to prepare either. Just stick to your normal diet. If you try a cleanse leading up to the cheat day and then feed your body the absolute opposite right after, you might end up with an upset stomach and it’ll ruin your day.
Next thing to do is get your metabolism in check. It’s always good to start the day off with a little fitness, but on a cheat day it’s necessary. You want your body burning all day to minimize the damage to your your dieting efforts. Wake up and go for a run or hit up one of the classes at your gym.
Now for my cheat day! The OC Fair has a “Rise and Shine” discount for $3 entry before 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, which I took full advantage of. The fair can get expensive when you add it all up. If you don’t work Fridays, they have a “Taste of Food” promotion from noon to 4pm where many of the food vendors offer a smaller portion of one of their menu items for $2. This would have been a great way to sample everything. I did this last year and would highly recommend it.
If you are like me and can’t make it out for Friday lunch because of work, what my boyfriend and I did was share everything. Every drink to every meal – this is how you can try more food places without eating 6 different meals in one day.
We started off with the FryBQ Ribs from the diet-ruining-famous Chicken Charlie’s. I had been wanting to try these forever! They were very good. You’d think after being fried that the meat would be pretty tough, but it was surprisingly tender. The sauce was also good. It had a little more tang to it than other BBQ places at the fair, similar to a St. Louis sauce. Really, my only complaints are that you can’t order the ribs by themselves. You had to buy them with the fries which puts you over $10. Also, the sauce was like finger paint on your hands. It dyed them red like Flaming Hot Cheetos do.
We walked around a bit after foodie adventure #1. There are a TON of great things for foodies at the fair. This year there were so many more demos and chefs to talk to and watch. We stopped at Chef Ray Duey‘s booth where he was demonstrating fruit carving. There wasn’t an official demonstration time because he was just there for the majority of the day so you could walk up and just start talking to him while he carved. (Hopefully he was carving a new food fountain because the one on display was starting to stink.)
Next up we stopped for some drinks (shared of course). We ordered the Lime-A-Rita at a small beer stand. It was $12 and much larger than the sugary frozen margaritas near the Hanger. Still pretty sweet so if it’s sugar you are trying to escape, good luck.
We made our way to the farm animals which was a slight disappointment for me. There were so many animals and competitions but they had signs everywhere that were “farmer’s market” themed. So the whole time I was there I was thinking I was going to get to meet some farmers and network some contacts that I might be able to purchase grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken. Wrong! Wishful thinking. Shows you were my mind was… burgers.
We played some games (which are harder than they look) when I saw someone walk by with chicken teriyaki served in a pineapple. First thought in my mind was, “I need that!” So of course, we scoped it out and found Pineapple Express. We came to find this lovely cheat day item was also owned by Chicken Charlie’s. They originally gave the pineapple to us in one of those flimsy paper nacho cups but we lost a huge chunk of chicken on the ground. When we went back and told them we dropped a bunch of chicken, so they gave us more chicken (how nice of them!) and they put our pineapple in a larger brown box so if anything fell, it fell into the box. But I wonder why they didn’t serve it like that in the first place… The chicken was way too salty for my taste but I am not sure if I just had a bad batch or if it’s consistently just a salty recipe. I wouldn’t order that again.
Although I personally opted for the less healthy options and ate the greasy foods, if you’re looking to enjoy the fair in a healthier way, try some of these items. These are general items you can find at almost any fair.
- Grilled Kebabs
- Giant Pickles
- Corn on the Cob (skip the butter)
- Frozen Bananas
- Fresh Fruit
- Peanuts and Jerky
After the pineapple, I was on a mission. Whether my boyfriend knew it or not, the whole day I had plans to hit the Vitamix booth. Slowly but surely, we went from building to building with the intention (or my intention) to end at the wonderful world of blending. We got there and I got straight to it – how much does it cost? what are the specials? Being the foodie that has watched their demos with googly eyes time after time for years, they didn’t need to sell me. I think my mind was already made up before I even got there, although I did take time to walk around the building again just to be sure. It is a pretty pricey blender after all.
Comparing their deals to the ones you normally see at Costco – they were similar. At the fair they were only selling the 5200 classic model but said you can pretty much order anything with them. What I DIDN’T know was that you can buy reconditioned models. The reconditioned models are the blenders that have been used for demos at expos, fairs, and Costco locations, etc. so they have not been used for more than a month or so but many have only been used for a few days straight. Also, they gut the whole blender so really the only used part is the motor. They also offer an extended warranty, more than the online reconditioned warranty. (Yes! You can buy the discounted refurbished ones online too!!!)
Obviously, with all my refurbished Vitamix excitement, you can probably tell that’s the option I went for. But other deals that were special to the OC Fair (and probably your local fair if they are there) is they offered the Dry Grains container free as a bonus with your purchase. This offer wasn’t valid for the reconditioned buyers, like myself, but it was a very tempting offer. Also, whether you are buying a recon or a new one, they offer a 5 month payment plan. The interest only came out to about an extra $20 bucks for me. That alone was well worth it. Especially because at Costco you have to purchase it using a debt or cash which is definitely a damper on the wallet. I’m a credit card girl all the way.
Anyways, on my way home I stopped by the market and decided to BLEND EVERYTHING! So expect a bunch of smoothie, soup and sauce recipes from me 🙂
PS – No really. I even thought about blending the tamales we have and making tamale soup. Let my Vitamix addiction begin 🙂
|July 8, 2013|
A coworker of mine brought in a ton of HUGE white grapefruits for everyone to take home. I didn’t know much about white grapefruits. Most grapefruits I’ve eaten are pink inside. After doing what anyone would do (hello Google!) I discovered white grapefruits are generally a little more tart and bitter than the pink ones, which tend to be a little sweeter.
So I figured I’d try it in recipe like a lime. Less sour so I could make a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, no salt needed to balance out the sour. I’d never experimented with them before but my recipe was a success!
Sneak peek into my next recipe: it also includes white grapefruit and has my best friend’s stamp of addition on it, so you better buy some extra grapefruits. I’ll post that one later this week once I get my new memory card reader in the mail. (I lost mine, fail).
White Grapefruit Cilantro Dressing
- 1/2 white onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic (I used 4 because my cloves seemed larger than usual)
- 1 bundle of cilantro (about 1.5 cups chopped)
- juice of 1 white grapefruit (no more than 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure it says for dressing and not for frying)
Put the onion and garlic in the food processor and chop fine. Add the juice and chopped cilantro. (My cilantro comes from the regular market in a bundle and I have seen it like that at multiple stores. But if your store doesn’t sell the cilantro in a bundle, once you chop it up it should equal around 1.5 cups.) Once it’s all chopped, almost like a pesto, add the olive oil and continue to allow the food processor to do it’s work until it’s all mixed and chopped into a pesto (or liquid) form.
Recipe makes about a full bowl full. If you make it, plan to eat it all week or freeze some for later.
Note: A really nice high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec will be able to process the recipe into a liquid. More cost effective products like my food processor (a Cuisinart) will produce more of a pesto texture.
ALSO!!! This recipe tastes amazing cooked as well!!! Sorry, I don’t have any photos but I have been making my scrambled eggs with it, and using it as a sauce for chicken on the BBQ. It’s very versatile. If you prefer a less potent garlicky oniony taste, you can sauté the garlic and onion before adding it to the food processor. I keep mine raw until I add it into my recipes (like my grilled chicken) so I have the option to cook or not to cook. AND, pre warning you – worst garlic breath ever. Definitely not a good date food, haha.