Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Juice

As most of you know, Jene and I have been trying to eat low carb for the last couple of years. One of the ideas behind low carb is to eat lots of vitamin rich dark leafy greens. One of the problems we have is getting enough of those. It’s easy to cook protein but eventually I run out of ideas for the veggies or just don’t take the time to cook them. After watching a couple of documentaries on Netflix (Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead) we decided to give juicing a try.

Now, this idea has been around for ages. There has been all kinds of hype and paid infomercials touting the benefits of juicing. I tend to be pretty cynical about this type of thing. However, after watching some documentaries that chronicle the lives of people who have done this, Jene and I thought it was worth giving it a try.

juicingsetupThis post shows our juicer and most of what Jene put in his juice this morning. There’s chard, red kale, parsley, carrots, a habanero pepper, orange, celery, cucumber and lemon. He might have snuck a few more things in there but that’s most of it.

My breakfast was orange, carrot, blueberry, parsley, kale and chard. I tend to go heavier on the fruits in the morning and increase the greens later in the day.

We’ve also tried avocado, mango, grapefruit, lime, grapes, cilantro, dill, spinach, beets, and broccolini. It’s not pretty but it tastes really good.

breakfastjuice

It acquires this kind of icky looking greenish brown color but for all that, it’s worth drinking. In one large cup of juice I’ve managed to get in a whole days worth of fruits and veggies (especially the veggies) and I’ll probably have another cup later in the day. Jene and I usually have from 2-3 cups of this juice a day and I have to say, I think it’s good for us.

Now, there are a couple of side effects… when you first start drinking this kind of juice it WILL clean your insides out. But a bit of a colon cleanse never hurt anyone lol. Secondly, if you add beet juice, expect to SEE beet juice when you go potty. Jene says his pee was bright red after having some beet in his morning juice. I cracked up laughing 😉  I figure I’ll try some golden beets next time.

We didn’t buy one of those super expensive juicers either. The ones they run infomercials on… They probably ARE better but it’s no good spending $300+ on a juicer unless you know you’re actually going to use it. If we’re still juicing in a year, maybe. Instead we got a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth juicer from Amazon for about $60. It does a good enough job for us a this point.

Anyway, that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been posting about food. I haven’t been cooking, just drinking juice lol. But don’t worry, I’ll be posting my low carb pork chili later today or tomorrow 😀

 

 

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The joy and the sorrow of leftovers :) (edited)

After writing this yesterday I realized I left out some bits of information, like why I hated one dehydrator and loved another one. All I can do is plead exhaustion and brain fog lol. Work was nothing but tech issues all day and my brain was fried. So I’ve gone back and added some information that you might find useful. 🙂

So the obvious joy of leftovers is that there is food ready and waiting to go when you get hungry. The sorrow is that I really don’t have anything to write about today lol. So I thought I’d write about food dehydrators since I mentioned them yesterday.

The basic idea of a food dehydrator is to dry food for preservation purposes. Some models are vertical and have a fan either on the top or the bottom of the unit with the trays stacked over or under the fan. The horizontal models feature a fan at the back of the unit that blows fan over the trays.

I grew up with my mom using a dehydrator to make everything from beef jerky and dried fruit to fruit leather (think home-made fruit rollups.) Her dehydrator was the horizontal model with two separate units stacked on top of each other and a wood butcher block top. On wheels, it was perfectly sized to fit at the end of the kitchen counter or double as an extra piece of counter top. I have no idea where she got it or the brand name. She’s had it for over 30 years and it still runs like a dream. I want it when she dies lol.

So to go back to discussing what I use for dehydration… Once upon a time I used a little round food dehydrator that I can’t even remember the brand of. What I will say is that I used it once, hated it, never used it again. There were a couple of reasons I hated it… 1. the round trays were SMALL and not designed to hold large pieces. So if I wanted to dry strips of something, it wasn’t going to happen. 2. while the fan moved the air, it did NOT heat the air. By using unheated air, the drying process was incredibly slow which is bad when working with something like jerky which can spoil quickly. So when I decided to get serious about dehydration about four years ago, I bought a MUCH better dehydrator.

I own an Excalibur 3900 horizontal dehydrator. I LOVE this machine. It’s got 9 trays that pull out and total about 15 square feet of drying space. This model does not have a timer (available on newer models) but it has a nice thermostat and does a good job of providing even heating. I’ve included a picture although mine is solid black. The reasons I love this machine are basically the reasons I hated the other machine. The large horizontal racks allow plenty of space for large items, such as zucchini or beef jerky slices. The thermostat heats the air and improves both drying time and drying quality. You also don’t have to worry about food poisoning from jerky that took too long to dry. (This isn’t such a problem in dry climates but is difficult in humid ones.)

You might be wondering what I’ve made using this nifty kitchen gadget… The most popular is beef jerky. I don’t know anyone (other than those poor vegetarian/vegan people out there) who doesn’t like beef jerky. It makes great gifts too. Stick a batch in a plastic bag, stick a bow on it and people are happy for hours (even days if they can manage not to eat the jerky all at once.) I’ve also dried fruit and made tomato leather.

I suspect you just blinked at the idea of “tomato leather.” If you take your tomatoes, puree them, add some seasoning and spread the mix on (the solid sheets you can get) racks in the machine, you can create a dried tomato paste. It’s a fabulous way to add tomato flavor to soups, stews, rice pilaf, etc without adding any extra liquid. The flavor becomes very concentrated and gives a gorgeous tomato flavor to food. This is also a good way to preserve the flavor of your summer home-grown tomatoes. I love tomatoes and always plant a ton of the each year. This year I have something like 9 plants producing and expect to have an insane number of tomatoes to process shortly. 🙂

So now that you know a little (very little lol) about dehydration, I’m going to go eat some of that leftover lasagna 😀

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