much of a juicer. Never have been. I’ve always been a little down on what I see as a glorified consumption of sugar. That might sound a little harsh, and I admit that it is. But more often than not I’d rather drink a smoothie with all of its fiber, or just eat a piece of goddamn fruit.
But, last week, there I was. I felt a tickle in my throat. Oliver had just finished reading me a news story about how the flu was out of control this year. And I decided I needed a boost. Green juice.
Have you been there? The “please, please, please don’t let me get sick,“ feeling? That’s what this juice is for.
It is SUPER high in Vitamins C, A and K. Like nature’s Emergen-C! But, 100% natural.
I drank that green juice down (and loved it, citrusy, with a touch of ginger). The next morning, The tickle at my throat was gone, but two days later Oliver complained of a sore throat too, so there I was again making green juice again--the same green juice I had made for myself just a few days before.
Now, I’m still not that into juice. You'll find no recommendations on juice cleanses here. But this juice is like a multipurpose vitamin... like an insurance policy. You drink it with a wholesome breakfast and you get all those extra vitamin packed in.
So far, I'm still flu free: maybe it had something to do with this juice, or maybe not. Either way, I fell in love with green juice somewhere along the way. At least this green juice. The insurance policy.
The day you read this, it will be the fourth day of 2018, and I will be headed to Monterey, California, but as I write it's only a few days after Christmas.
My office closes for the holiday, and I have the entire week to do whatever I want. A week ago I had tried to corral friends into organizing a trip to Red Rock Canyon (we went last year, and it was so so beautiful), but I had been late to the punch and it seemed everyone already had other things going on. Still, I didn't give up on my wanderlust: even early on Christmas eve, and I pieced together a half-baked plan to go to Santa Fe. Drive time, a place to stay, and a list of possible climbing spots. And of course, swooning over images of turquoise doors, cliff dwellings, and desert sun.
I could almost feel the heat, even there sitting at my computer. But instead of warming in the sun, hot air was blasting from the vents as our thermostat worked to combat the dropping temperatures outside. Wanderlust had me riveted, and begged me to go. Visions of a simpler time, when I was ten or so, floated through my mind: I had dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer, but at some point convinced myself that it wouldn't work. I liked traveling, sure, but I like being home too. I knew I would tire of being on the move. Plus, adults had bills to pay, and art wasn't stable...even my overly mature ten-year old self knew this. But right then, looking at images of Santa Fe, regret poured over me. I wanted--no, needed- to go.
My bubble deflated as the coffee set in and I came down from the clouds: a six-and-a-half hour drive on icy roads and in a foot of snow? "Fun" isn't the right word for a road trip like that. And I had been craving snow, fiercely. So instead we bundled up (long under wear, wool socks, snow pants, down coats, snow boots, gloves, and hats) and made our way through the white winter wonderland just outside our door, to hike through the foothills.
The cold preserved individual snowflakes, creating the fluffiest snow possible: not a spot of slush or sludge. Overcome with a childlike happiness, wanderlust momentarily forgotten, I wanted to plunge straight into the snow and make snow angels. Frozen pine needles glowing in the winter light; sparkling hills; the smell of winter in the air. Such beautiful things, right here under my nose. Besides, in just one short week I'd be in the California sunshine.
This smoothie takes the freshest, brightest flavors of winter and throws them all into a jar. The result is a gradient of pinks and magentas--a bold spot of color on a winter morning. When you're stuck looking at images of exotic places, or find yourself wishing for some adventure, try this smoothie. It's a rejuvenating splash of bright and bold that reminds you that there's no where better to be than in the now.
Serves: 2 | Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 grapefruit, peeled, plus two grapefruit wedges of garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on microplane
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
- Combine first four ingredients in a blender (affiliate link) and puree until smooth. Divide evenly among serving glasses.
- Slowly pour half of the pomegranate juice into each glass. It will sink to the bottom, creating a gradient effect.
- Garnish with grapefruit wedges and serve immediately.
When you're a food blogger, you have to start celebrating Cinco de Drinko early. It's mandatory. How else would you get your recipes ready for use before the big day? And you probably should invite your friends over for test runs. How else would you be able to do quality control? How else would you know if your zero-simple-syrup and agave-syrup-free cocktails were sweet enough to make the cut? When you're a food blogger, your cocktails always look prime and perfect--Errrt!
Reality Check: Tomorrow, when all of the other students in my class join forces and overtake some bar on 16th Street Mall, I'll slyly slip out and drive home. They know by now that no matter how many times they invite me to tag along, I'll probably disappear after class. And when I get home I'll probably eat some vegetables, or an apple, or even some soup. That's what you're supposed to do on Cinco de Mayo, right? ...I guess How Old Robot was right when it added 10 years to my actual age. Maybe it should've added 20.
I am more of a home-body these days than a typical college student. It's not that I think the drinks at the bar have too much sugar (though that might be a night excuse to try out...), I just don't see the appeal anymore. I would *way* rather have a couple of friends over for a mellow night that can be fully serviced by a single blender. That's why I celebrated Cinco de Mayo early!
My go-to Paleo-friendly cocktail recipe is a Pineapple Ginger Margarita. It gets it's natural sweetness from pineapple, so there's no need to add simple syrup or agave. Pineapple is quite acidic, so it pairs well with tequila, and ginger adds a spicy kick that makes it interesting. I rimmed the glasses with a Vanilla-Lime Salt and used some cocktail "swords" my Grandmother bought in Toledo in the '50s to finish the deal. Olé!
Even since my trip to Chile, my favorite liquor has been Pisco. It's actually made from grapes, so it's a Paleo-ish beverage, in the same sort of way tequila is. Traditional Pisco Sours are made with lemon juice, sugar, and egg white. That sounded 1) way to simple for me--yawn- and 2) like too much white table sugar. I reimagined that classic to make this summery Cucumber Melon Pisco Sour with Mint. The final result is not even in the same realm as a classic Pisco Sour, but it's still amazing! With a little muddled mint, it's like a Pisco Sour and a Mint Mojito went on a date to a juice bar.
The crowd was split as to which one was better, though I think in the end the spicy margs won out. I supposed that's appropriate--it is Cinco de Mayo, after all. Which one sounds best to you?
Yields: 1 cocktail | Total Time:
For the drink:
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 2 oz lime juice
- 2 oz tequila, (I used Sauza Silver)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- Lime wedges and ginger slices for garnish
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Vanilla powder
- Zest of 1 lime
- Mix the ingredients for the Vanilla-Lime Salt in a shallow bowl that is wide enough to fit the entire rim of your glasses. Wet the rim of your glass with a lime wedge, and then dip the rim in the salt to coat.
- Add pineapple, lime juice, tequila, and ginger to a high powered blender. Blend on high until completely liquified. Pour into glass.
- Skewer a lime wedge and a slice of ginger with a cocktail pick for garnish.
**Recipe for Cucumber Melon Pisco Sours follows.**
Yields: 1 cocktail | Total Time:
For the drink:
- 3 oz Cucumber Melon Juice (see below)
- 2 oz pisco
- 1/4 cup ice
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
- Cucumber and mint leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
Mint coconut sugar:
- Mix the ingredients for the Mint coconut sugar in a shallow bowl that is wide enough to fit the entire rim of your glasses. Wet the rim of your glass with a lime wedge, and then dip the rim in the sugar to coat. Shake off any larger pieces of mint.
- Place mint leaves in your glass, along with the Pisco. Use a fork or a cocktail muddler to mash the mint leaves a little bit. Add the ice, and then pour the juice over top. Stir briefly.
- For garnish: use a vegetable peeler to slice a long ribbon of cucumber. Skewer a mint leaf on a cocktail pick, and then fold the cucumber ribbon over on itself and skewer that as well. (I do this twice per cocktail pick).
Cucumber Melon Juice:
- 2 cups melon
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Roughly chop and peel the melon. Dice the cucumber (leaving the peel on the cucumber adds nice color to final juice).
- Place all ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend on high until completely liquified.
- Position a nut milk bag over a large bowl. Pour the juice mixture through the nut milk bag to filter out the pulp. Massaging the bag a bit can speed up the straining process.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.