Monday, October 25, 2010

Is that spinach in your teeth?

Guess what I’m drinking right now? If you guessed spinach, you’re right!!

Add to that, two leaves of kale, half an apple, a quarter lemon, a handful of frozen raspberries, one scoop of protein powder, a cup of water, two ice cubes and you’ve got yourself the makings of a green smoothie.

Of course, you’ll need a blender or food processor of some kind.

I’ve got the Ninja… as does Bonnie, and Nancy, and probably by now, Ruth, and several other members in my dinner group!

Our friends can really influence us, can't they?

Bonnie had the first Ninja in our group. I learned about it one morning a couple of months ago when I stopped by her house to return a book. Bonnie is a neighbor and also a member of my dinner group. There are ten of us. We've all been meeting for dinner the second Tuesday of every month for more years than I can remember. Bonnie is the most health-conscious among us, and so, without a doubt, the most in-shape. We’re all envious of her tight abs. She teaches yoga and is also a vegetarian. There’s not one ounce of fat anywhere on her body.

Anyway, Bonnie had just finished breakfast and her Ninja was still sitting out on the counter. I don’t remember how or why the conversation got around to what she’d had for breakfast (I probably asked) but we eventually got around to the Ninja.

For those not familiar with the Ninja, it is a very simple to use, yet powerful and very unique blender/food processor. I understand it is a hot item on many Christmas lists this year. It is unique in that rather than a single blade, it has dual blades, thus the name Ninja.  Is that cute, or what? It can make a green smoothie or a strawberry daiquiri faster'n you can say "Kung Fu Fighting!"

I know that now, after using it for two weeks. I can’t say, though, that I rushed right out after leaving Bonnie’s and bought a Ninja. The idea of drinking greens didn’t really sound all that appetizing. I did start noticing the Ninjas more and more, though, when I shopped. They were actually hard to miss once I knew about them. They were everywhere - Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target, Belk’s, Sears, Bed Bath and Beyond. They were always around the same price, too - $59.99.  Then I got lucky and came across a Ninja on sale for $39.99!  I can’t even remember where I was.  Who knew if it would ever be that cheap again, so I bought it, brought it home, stuck it in the kitchen cabinet where it stayed unopened until two weeks ago.

Thank goodness for my friends...

It was our monthly dinner gathering. As usual, our favorite topic came up ~ food. Well, Nancy started talking about her new Ninja and how great it was. Then Ruth piped in that she’d been to Nancy’s for a demonstration and thought it was pretty special too.

"Hey, I have a Ninja!"  I spoke up.  But that's all I could add to the conversation. I couldn’t tell them which model I had, what color the Ninja head was, or even if mine came with two containers or three. All I could do was just sit there and listen to them go on and on about their fantastic Ninjas and the delicious green smoothies! I was getting left behind!

Well, that’s all it took. I stopped at Harris Teeter on my way home and bought all the ingredients for my green smoothie, and I’ve been drinking spinach almost daily since.

You ought to try it. I highly recommend it. That’s why I included the recipe at the beginning of this post.

The quantity for the spinach ~ a handful.  Just watch out for spinach in your teeth!

Judy's Mighty Ninja

Don't expect your green smoothie to always be green!  It seldom is. 
This one's green because I forgot the raspberries!

My Wonderful Dinner Buddies. This picture is a few years old,
but, hey, we all still look pretty much the same  (smile)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back on the subject of milk...

I seem to be spending a lot of time talking about milk lately, and not just me, my friends are talking as well.

I blogged about milk last time, or more specifically, the various mammals from which milk is obtained for human consumption. As you recall, the list just blew this city girl away ~ cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, zebras, moose, reindeer, llamas, etc. Who knew? And I'm not at all certain that this list is all inclusive.

Few of my friends have read my blog though, so I'm not the reason for this sudden discussion about milk among my friends.

Seems that several of my friends have switched from dairy milk to almond milk. I was greatly surprised to learn this, because I've been drinking almond milk for several months now. I love it, and haven't missed dairy milk at all!  Imagine my surprise during a discussion over dinner recently to find that at least 4 of my best friends are also drinking almond milk! (You'd think we'd know something that important about each other!)

I started drinking almond milk back in May. My husband Bob has a lactose intolerance and so was already drinking almond milk. (In addition to being lactose free, almond milk is also cholesterol free and high in protein and calcium.)

Being in a hurry one morning, I poured my Cheerios into my bowl only to find I was out of milk. Rather than pour the cereal back into the box and search for something else to eat, I decided to use some of Bob's almond milk.  It was delicious!  I've been thoroughly enjoying it ever since ~ and it's available in chocolate too!

Anyway, since we've recently discussed milking goats, milking donkeys, and milking camels, I couldn't resist this one ~ milking almonds!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There are some things we city girls just don't grow up knowing - or doing

Just in case you haven't yet read Karen's blog since Saturday (Holes in My Jeans), you should take a few minutes and go there. She and Adam actually helped process over 650 chickens this past Saturday!

It's really quite an interesting read, as are all her posts, but just a little warning to my "city" friends before going there ~ there are such words as gutting, scalding, plucking, and beheading, just to list a few. Such words for us city girls can be nightmare-inducing.

Though I am a city girl, I've actually had a little experience myself with chicken processing ~ maybe not actual hands-on, but certainly eyes-on.  My grandfather used to raise chickens, and on most Sunday mornings he'd bring one of his chickens over to our house and actually behead it right there in front of us kids.  That headless chicken would then flop all over the place for what seemed like an eternity while us kids just watched wide-eyed and mouth agape. Mom would then put the chicken in a large galvanized tub and pour hot scalding water over it which apparently made plucking the feathers a lot easier.  She would then gut it and whatever else one does to a freshly-killed chicken before frying it up for Sunday dinner.

I never ate one of those chickens. Couldn't.  My chicken had to come from the grocery store. I guess it was easier for me not knowing the chicken personally.

I enjoy reading Karen's posts.  She make me think, and often times remember (as in the case above). I learn a lot too. Take those two earlier posts that addressed donkey and camel milking. Until I read those,  I never knew one could milk a donkey, let alone a camel, and then actually drink the milk.  Or maybe I just never thought about, thinking back, I really didn't know. There are just some things we city girls just don't grow up knowing. Heck, I really didn't know you could milk a sheep. Now I know that some of the best mozzarella cheese comes from water buffalo milk, and that milk from a horse (donkey too) is similar to woman's milk. Zebra milk is drinkable, but one of the least nutritious sources of mammal milk. Llama milk is lower in fat and salt and higher in phosphorous and calcium than even cow or goat milk, but unfortunately is produced in such small quantities that only baby llamas can benefit. Moose milk is commercially farmed in Russia; and reindeer milk, while drinkable, is very difficult to obtain. (Wow! Like that's a surprise. It can't be easy milking something that flies!)

Anyway, I've only ever tasted cow's milk, and fairly recently, goat's milk.  I owe my experience with goat's milk to Karen.  If you follow her blog at all, you know she has acquired quite a few goats in the last couple of years, and now starts and ends each day with goat milking.  It was because of our friendship that this city girl even ventured out to taste goat's milk in the first place. 

Now she has a donkey...

My Favorite Time of Year!

I love the fall!

I just came in from outdoors where the temperature this morning is a crisp 50 degrees. Couldn’t see my breath yet, but I know it’s just around the corner. My cheeks are rosy, so’s my nose, and the tips of my ears are a little tingly.

Back when I used to run a little, 50 degrees or lower meant ear muffs for me. While my hands seemed to warm up about a mile down the road, my ears never seemed to.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it - the changing colors, the crisp air, the sound of the leaves as they crunch underfoot and the absence of mosquitoes!

Sweater weather, many call it, and another reason I love it. Cool weather clothes are my favorite ~ sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants, jeans, and big old wooly socks! Puts me in the mindset of both activity and relaxation. Put on a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt and you’re ready to walk a brisk couple of miles or throw a leg over an armrest for an hour or so of reading or napping.

Cool weather is energizing. Just the other evening, I met my walking buddies at the greenway for our Monday night walk. The air was cool. Everyone had on sweaters or sweatshirts. The energy in the air was undeniable. We walked more briskly, laughed and chattered more than usual, and even punched and hugged each other a time or two, something we don’t do much of when we’re hot and sticky and just trying to get our three miles in.

I think winter, too, often gets a bad rap. I actually prefer winter to summer. My husband is just the opposite. I don’t think it gets too hot for Bob. He says it’s too cold to do anything outside in the winter. I say it’s no different in the summer. We escape to the air conditioning to get out of the heat which I don’t find nearly as comforting as escaping to a warm kitchen to get out of the cold, or better yet, to a nice cozy chair in front of a nice fire.

Ahh! I’m excited! It’s my time of year.