Monday, December 31, 2012

Juicing 101

Because we have had many conversations with folks who say, "I want to juice! Where do I start?" we felt like we needed to put together a "Juicing 101" article.

I have to admit I love talking about health with others who are on that same journey, but admittedly, I am still learning.

       First, about juicing, juicing alone doesn't mean your healthy. There are lots of life changes that make people healthy. In fact, I will not wear the label myself until I actually exercise regularly. However, if you made no other dietary changes other than adding 16-24 Oz of organic vege juice per day, you'd be alot more healthier.

      Also, I want to mention that if strange juice freaks you out, you are not alone. I had a really hard time my whole life with anything other than V8 or and Odwalla- that was as far as I could go. So I am gonna give you a couple tips on an easy start.

What kind of juicer you use does matter, you can take my word for it since I spent the 10 hours researching already, or you can do more research on your own. I suggest a juicer like this: Champion or Omega. We use the Omega J8006. I also try to use the pulp extracted in muffins, meatloaf, and anything else I can creatively come up with.

OK, here's my basic green recipe. (remember, anything 'green' really should be organic)

Gina's Green Juice

2 Medium Organic Apple (yes! organic! They are #1 on the Dirty Dozen List!) 2 Stalks Celery
1/2 Large Cucumber 1 Large Golden Beet + Beet Greens (or Red Beet) 2 Cups Cut Kale (or 4 Large Kale Leaves) 2 Cups Spinach (sometimes we substitute Chard or other greens if we're out of spinach) 2 Large Carrots (Johnny uses 6, which adds about 4 more ounces) 1 Sliver of fresh ginger

     Chop everything to fit in your juicer well, always juice harder items first,  i.e. carrots, beets, etc, apples last. I put leafy stuff in after my beets and before my carrots. That seems to push the most juice out of my spinach etc.

Oh and if you use red beets, you wont have green juice... you'll have brown juice. Tastes the same, looks questionable :)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Carrot Oat Muffins

Carrot Oat Muffins are the perfect way to sneak "health" food into your kids! I came up with this idea when I saw I had one banana that needed to be used (I hate throwing any food away) and thinking of things to do with carrot shavings. 

Let me back up real quick... why do I have excess carrot shavings? A couple months ago we finally invested in a heavy duty juicer, and ever since we started juicing, I am always looking for things I can do with the shavings I don't drink. You will start seeing lots of those recipes here. :) 

[side note: our juicer of choice is the Omega 8006 Nutrition Center, I will probably refer to things we are making with it from here on out]

Anyhow, so I found a basic recipe over at and adapted it below! Enjoy!


1-1/2 cups whole oats
1 egg
1 cup Flour (whatever  kind you like, we used regular)
1/2 cup milk (or Almond Milk)
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 cup Raw Organic Honey
1/4 cup Canola Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1-2 cups finely shredded carrots (these came right out of my juicer & I used about 1 1/2 C)
1 Mashed very ripe Banana
1/2 teaspoon Ginger (I put the raw ginger in the juicer before the carrots & threw them in together)

Mix all the wet ingredients & beat with a mixer.
Then in a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly pour the wet into the dry as you mix.
If it looks too dry, as mine did from the excess carrot shreddings,  pour a little carrot juice or milk in until its the consistency of oatmeal cookie dough. Use a spoon, and fill up a greased muffin tin or cupcake holder, 3/4 of the way. (They won't rise much)

Our Muffins were *slightly* sweet, if you want them sweeter, you'll need to add more honey or a sugar substitute, but the sweetness was perfect for us!

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eating Organic on a Tight Budget

Eating organic on a tight budget is hard, but not impossible. It was ingrained in me that I "couldn't afford to eat organic" for years, and I honestly don't know where that came from. Sure, organic produce is a little more expensive, but when you look at your grocery bill as a whole, organic living doesn't break the bank.

Healthy Eating Costs Alot. False.

     For example, before we sought out to eat "real" food, I was spending $3 on a box of 6 granola bars, $4 on a box of 6-8 fruit snacks, $3 or more on a small jar of peanut butter (we make our own now), and I can't count what was spent on cheese. The biggest difference now, is we make our snacks, and rarely buy packaged snacks. We also eat little dairy products, so what we do buy, like eggs and butter, we buy in bulk and save $. Also, because we are a bigger family, one box of a snack wouldn't cover my families needs, I would usually have to buy 2 or more packages of everything.
    So when you take into consideration that we are saving money on those items, I can pay an extra $1 per pound on apples, or chard. Look at your bill, and see what things (like snacks and other convenient items) you can make yourself and save money on!

   Doesn't this take a long time? Yes. Honestly, because I have struggled with health, there are many weekends I do not have the physical ability to prep our food for the week, like today, but start by replacing one item at a time and it will eventually become a good healthy habit.

What is "Real Food"?

   If you are saying to yourself, "I want to get healthy but I have NO idea where to start". Here's my 1.2.3...

Look at the labels on your packaged foods. Throw away anything that says in the ingredients:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Monosodium Glutamate
  3. Hydrogenated, or Partially Hydrogenated Oils (of any kind)

You are on your way! Wait,  you say? There's no MSG in anything anymore! Oh my dear friends, check your Doritos, or your Ranch Dressing. Sad, sad, sad. It snuck back into everything while we weren't paying attention.

Discontinuing buying these items will save you money right now! In fact, Costco sells Organic Heinz Ketchup, with no HFCS, for $6.99 for 2  44oz bottles! We were paying 2.99ish per bottle of the bad stuff before with almost half that size bottle!

Organic Produce

Lastly, I want to address produce. I am not a big believer in everything being "organic" labeled, story for another time, but regarding produce, there are pluses and minus to organic. If you are like me, watching your wallet, your saying, "what produce absolutely has to be organic for my family to be safe?"

Well, let me just tell you what I do, and maybe that could help? First, it depends on what I am doing with it. Personally, I don't care if it's organic if I am cooking it. I figure the toxic stuff will die when its boiled. If its not something I am cooking thoroughly, or I am eating it raw, or juicing it, I follow the Dirty Dozen list. Basically, organic produce is better for you, as it is thought to be more nutritious, but no one really knows how much better. What we do know, is depending on the amount  pesticide saturation, organic produce is proven to be safer. For my pocketbook, I follow the dozen, plus the extra two. (Because I juice raw veges daily to boost my immune system, I want my greens organic.)

The lowest priced organic produce we have found here in the bay area, California, is at Trader Joe's and Sunflower Market, though we are investigating purchasing from local farmers.

What have you done already to get healthier? Do you have any tips or tricks on saving money and eating well? I'd love to hear!

Happy Sunday!
- gina

Monday, August 6, 2012

40-Days of Wellness

Today is a big day. It marks 40 days of wellness for me! I haven't spoken too much publicly about my health battle, other than some facebook posts, but I have had this on again-off again deteriorating immune system. There has been no physical medical reason for it other than a combination of smaller variables, like low vitamin D (which every American has) etc.

In an effort to minimize my chronic throat flare ups and sinus infections (usually about 6-10 per year) I had my tonsils out May 24 of this year. My immune system was outraged, and in return I was hit with some mega virus. I decided that would be the "last virus"!

Prior to June 26th of this year, I was sick on average 2 days out of every week, which in January of this year increased to only two non-sick days in between "bugs".  My kids thought I was dying because they pretty much only saw me in bed when I was home. After the tonsillectomy, I spent many hours online researching how to boost my immune system, and that's when I found the blog that changed my life.

One of the first articles I read was about the Coconut Smoothie. I was intrigued, and desperate. I live down the street from several Asian markets, so my husband ran out and got me some Raw Young Coconuts. [you can look and see if there is a ranch 99 near you here]

So today was my 40th day eating a raw coconut. (Well, one day I had to settle for coconut water canned, but that was it!) Most days I made the smoothie on Chris' website, but if I couldn't for some reason, I at least had the coconut.  (click here for the Coconut Smoothie Recipe)

I did do other things too, but the coconut was consistent every day. [Benefits of Eating Fresh Coconut Here]

So how has my life changed so far?
  1. When I have felt worn down I normally would wake up sick the next day. So far at least 4 times my body's immune system kicked in and I didn't get sick!
  2. I had only enough energy to make it til 2 pm or so each day. So when I would get home, I couldn't cook, do laundry, or anything! In the last week I have taken the kids out (totally new thing), worked in the garden, caught up on laundry, cooked meals, shopped, in addition to just getting back from a kids camp!
  3. Before, I was very foggy headed and needed that caffeine in the morning, mid-day, and sometimes even before bed. Now, I am going 2-3 days before feeling the urge for a little coffee, I have no headaches, and my mind is thinking so clearly.
  4. The coolest thing, is that my kids now LOVE coconut and line up at the counter for a sip of the water each morning, and I pour them each a little of the raw shake. They think its sweeter than candy! (Oh, and they are off sugar now too!)
I hope I have encouraged you to go after a coconut a day! And hey, if you have a good knife suggestion, please pin it below, we're in the market for a better one!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Maple - Baked Sweet Potatoes

Maple - Baked Sweet Potatoes

Unfortunately for me, I love sweet potatoes but was running out of ways to serve them! (besides with butter, brown sugar, and hosted marshmallows on top, right??) So I came up with a new recipe that was a hit with the whole family! Enjoy!

Side Dish Serving Size: 6-10
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

2 Large Orange Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Raw Honey (or your preferred sweetener)
1 Tbsp Maple Sugar
2 drops Mapleine 
1 Tsp Salt

Slice the Sweet Potatoes keeping the skin on. (The skin is good for you! teach the kids to eat it young!)
put them in a medium sauce pan, add the water, honey, mapleine, and salt. Stir so the salt mixes in over all the potatoes. 
Cook on Medium until a boil begins, then turn to low and let them steam in the pot. Set a timer, they should be steamed thoroughly in 10 minutes. Check, they made need a bit longer. (I have a gas stove which only takes ten minutes) Pour into a bowl and serve!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I made WEDNESDAY!

I am linking up today with Shirley over at the Orange Windmill...


so I had so much fun crafting my Little Hannah's Birdie Hair Pins I decided to put some in my ETSY Shop!

I have also had a lot of vintage lace and flower inspiration... so here are a couple other new creations...

shop handmade!
          And... Happy Wednesday!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Birdie Birthday Party!

My youngest girl turned 7 a few weeks ago, and thanks to Pinterest I was able to chalk up a little inspiration! (If you want to see where the inspirations came from you can check out my Birthday Ideas Pin Board)

Again... I had to talk a child out of one party theme to another... (do you do that too??) And we settled on Yellow Birdie Birthday. So here are the cuties I DIYed.

The Banner "Hannah"
Close Ups

The Cake

The Cupcake Toppers

 conveniently, to go with the theme, the frosting turned out looking like birdie poop :)

The Centerpiece... branches with hanging felt birdies!
The Birdies were ornaments we let each party attendee take home :)

Finally... to promote my ETSY shop... the girls all got to pick a handmade set of hair pretties!
 and a little touch of birdies on the buffett...
with a cup of gummie worms! (Of course birdies like worms!!)

It was a great day! Happy Birthday Inspiration!
- gina