Jump on Juice: An Overview of the New Juicing Diet Trend

Juicing fruits and vegetables for health has been going on for centuries, but movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead bring the trend into the mainstream. Many people start juicing as part of a weight loss plan, for cleansing the digestive system or to replenish nutrients after an illness. However, the main benefit of juicing is that it’s a simple way for you to start consuming healthier foods you may not have ate otherwise.

With so many different juicing products on the market, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of these health benefits. This is especially true now that modern juicers do much of the work for you.

Here’s a quick rundown of how juicing works, its pros and cons and how you can get started today.

How Juicing Works

In simple terms, juicing refers to the process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables. The modern juicing trend usually refers to centrifugal juicers, which push fruits and vegetables through a feed tube and into a chamber where the juicers grind them. The juice moves through a tube and into a pitcher, while the pulp is left behind.

Masticating juicers are also popular. These machines work more slowly and require you to cut up the fruits and vegetables before juicing them due to the smaller feed tube diameter, but they tend to extract more juice from each item. They often produce juice with more pulp than centrifugal juicers.

Manual, handheld juicers can also be used to produce juice. The benefit here is more portability and a much lower cost investment, but these juicers require a great deal of effort to use. Manual juicers are best for infrequent juicing.

Health Benefits of Juicing

In fact, juicing advocates espouse the health benefits of ingesting a high level of nutrients in larger quantities than is possible by eating the same number of whole plants. Juicing delivers vitamins and phytochemicals to the body rapidly and in large quantities. Juice is highly caloric but quickly digested.

Juicing for weight loss is the primary goal for most people who are new to this diet trend. Juicers often follow juicing diet plans that last for weeks or even months in an effort to lose weight. This trend is echoed in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There are many online communities devoted to juicing for weight loss.

On the other hand, some people prefer to incorporate juice into a more typical diet as a way to get more healthy nutrients into their system. For instance, many juicers opt for a juice made from fresh vegetables or fruits for breakfast or drink juice as a snack. It is also common for athletes to drink freshly juiced fruits and vegetables after a workout or athletic event to replenish lost nutrients and hydration.

Health Dangers of Juicing

While there are definitely many health benefits associated with juicing, we must also point out some of the potential dangers associated with the process.

First off, health advocates are quick to point out that juicing should never be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to deliver many essential vitamins and minerals, but should never be your only source of these important foods. This is due to the amount of fiber that is extracted from your fruits and veggies during the juicing process. Ensuring you consume the recommended dietary fiber no only lowers your risk for developing many dangerous health conditions, it also assists in your weight loss program.

Another potential danger of juicing is the consumption of too much sugar. Fruits are full of sugar, in fact one apple has approximately 23 grams of sugar, which is also about the same amount one orange has. In comparison, one 12 oz. can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. If you were to juice just one apple and one orange, you would be consuming more sugar than a can of Coke. One could argue that it’s a different kind of sugar in the two drinks, which is fair, but there’s no denying the potential dangers of adding an abundance of extra sugar to your diet.

However, don’t let these potential dangers stop you from juicing. There’s no denying that juicing has many health benefits and can help assist in a weight loss program or just improving your overall diet. Just remember to watch your sugar intake and find other sources of fiber. As the old saying goes — everything in moderation.

Popular Juice Combinations

Fortunately, juicing is extremely versatile. Just about any vegetable or fruit works in a juicer, and there are countless combinations that make a tasty juice. Experiment with your favorite produce to come up with unique blends. It is also a good idea to read up on the health benefits for specific fruits and vegetables to target specific health goals.

Juice fasts typically include different types of juice throughout the day. A breakfast juice, for example, often includes fruit like apples, oranges, melons or grapes. Suggested dinner juices tend to include heavier produce like zucchini, kale or spinach. Juicers sometimes include spices like ginger, garlic or even hot sauce to add more flavor.

One very popular juicing recipe for any time of the day is a green juice. Sometimes referred to as “Green Goddess Juice,” green juices include a base of fresh greens like kale, spinach and other dark, leafy greens. There are many excellent variations beyond the green base, but typical recipes call for ingredients like green apples, cucumber, lemon juice, celery and additional liquid like coconut water or almond milk. Green juice is often part of a juice fast, but it is also typical of the kind of juice in a typical healthy diet.

There are hundreds of juicing recipes out there. Try out a few of these recipes, experiment with your own ingredients and you’re guaranteed to find a juice that you’ll want to drink all day long.

The Best Juicers on the Market

The Best Juicers

It’s easy to add more juice to your diet. First you need to find the right juicer for you. We have a wide selection of juicers available for you. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

The Top 3 Juicers on the Market

  1. Kuvings Multi-Purpose Masticating Slow Juicer (Model #NJE-3570U)
  2. Metrokane Citrus Power Juicer (Model #1009)
  3. Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor (Model #67608)

When done with a balanced diet, juicing provides a number of remarkable health benefits. Just be sure to keep an eye on how much sugar you consume, as well as make sure you’re still consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you have any doubts, it would be wise to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist prior to starting a juice diet.

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5 Margarita Recipes to Make Your Next Summer Party a Smash

Summer get-togethers are not complete without a tasty plate of food in one hand and a cold drink in the other. One thing that is sure to take your party from good to great is a fun fiesta theme – complete with margaritas. Here are some tips and a couple of recipes to make sure your summer fiesta makes Jimmy Buffett proud.

Your Margaritaville party deserves the best. But remember, Margaritas are only as good as their worst ingredient, so use quality, 100% agave spirits, real Triple Sec and freshly squeezed lime juice. For those who like salted rims, use coarse sea salt or kosher salt – never table salt. Make sure to run a lime wedge around the rim to make the salt stick.

The Classic Margarita

Before you go crazy with variations, first you must master the classic margarita.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of tequila
  • 3 ounces orange liqueur
  • 3 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce agave nectar (optional)
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass with a salted rim. If your mixture is too sweet, add more lime. If it’s too tart, add more agave or orange liqueur. The agave nectar is optional, but the earthy flavor adds an excellent touch. For a less strong margarita, cut back on the tequila.

The Ultimate Margarita

Much like the classic, the ultimate margarita possesses some of the same ingredients, but adds a few more for an extra kick.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of Patrón Silver
  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 cup of Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite lager beer
  • 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Set the beer to the side, and shake the rest of the ingredients together with ice. Strain the mixture into a salt-rimmed glass and add a splash of the beer on top.

Watermelon Margaritas

Nothing says summer, like a wedge of watermelon. So, why not add that same summer taste into your favorite cocktail?

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite tequila
  • 3 tablespoons of Triple Sec (1.5 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 3-4 cups of cubed watermelon (no seeds)
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until the mixture is at your desired consistency. Pour into a glass with a few icecubes to ensure it stays cold. For bonus points, be sure to add sugar on the rim of your glass.

The Spicy Margarita

To add some spice to the mix, try a margarita variation that simply swaps one citrus out for another. You can also sub in aged tequila like Reposado or Mezcal for the more typical blanco. Instead of adding ingredients, try this “less is more” margarita recipe.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of 100% agave tequila
  • 4 ounces of Grand Marnier
  • 4 ounces of freshly-squeeze lime juice
  • 4 ounces agave nectar syrup
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain into your favorite margarita glass. For an extra spicy kick, garnish the margarita with a fresh-cut serrano or jalapeno pepper.

The “Morning After” Margarita

The “morning after” margarita is the perfect alternative to a mimosa or Bloody Mary.

What you will need:

  • 6 ounces of your favorite tequila
  • 3 ounces of Cointreau
  • 3 ounces of freshly-squeeze lime juice
  • 4 ounces of mango nectar
  • 4 ounces of fresh tangerine juice
  • 2 ounces of ginger juice
  • Yield: 4 Margaritas

Directions: Shake all of the above ingredients with ice. Strain and pour over ice in a glass. For garnish, skip the lime wedge and add a tangerine wedge.

Margarita Party Accessories

Margarita Machine

Whatever variations you choose for your margarita party, remember that quality, fresh ingredients make the most memorable margaritas. But why stop there? Make your summer party a real success with one of these margarita party accessories:

Do you have a favorite margarita recipe? If so, we’d like to hear in the comments below.

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Nutrition On The Go: Healthy Smoothie Recipes

fruitsmoothieTypically I begin any weight-loss program with a good amount of enthusiasm. Procrastination and a busy schedule will often win over good intentions. That is why I rely on good nutrition to make up for times I’m unable to fit in a workout.  Even then, making sure I fit enough fruits and vegetables in my diet can be a challenge.  Learning how to make healthy smoothies has made all the difference. All you need are a couple of basic smoothie recipes then you can add ingredients to boost their nutrition. Drinking a smoothie in the morning can help blood sugar, increase metabolism, and provide a balance to help manage cravings. Two of my favorite smoothies are The Basic Green Smoothie and The Basic Protein Smoothie:

The Basic Green Smoothie

Step 1:  Blend the following for about 60 seconds until smooth

  • Place 2 cups of filtered water into your blender
  • Add a dash of Stevia
  • Juice from 1/4 of lemon
  • Add 2 cups combo of Organic Spinach/Kale (or any other greens like chard, collard, and purple kale)

Step 2:  Add the following to blender and blend again

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Small organic apple
  • 1 cup organic frozen berries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • A couple of ice-cubes

The Basic Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup skim milk or almond milk
  • 1 serving of probiotic yogurt
  • 1 scoop organic protein powder
  • A couple of ice-cubes or frozen fruit for flavor

*Blend together until smooth.

We recommend the Dash Chef Series Premium Digital Blender.  Coupled with the ability to process fruits and veggies needed for making your perfect smoothie is the power to blend almost anything to perfection.

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Take Me to Margaritaville

In honor of the first day of spring, and with summer around the corner, I wanted to share some of my favorite margarita recipes. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been pinning  recipes all winter in preparation. Sure, you can sip on a margarita or daiquiri any time of the year, but let’s face it, they taste ten times better at an outdoor beach bar or backyard BBQ.

There’s no better line of drink makers to get these parties started than Margaritaville. Unlike your everyday household blender, they shave the ice before mixing the contents of the drink thus providing a perfect frozen drink consistency every time. With Margaritaville, you’ll be serving restaurant quality drinks at home!

Here’s just a few of the recipes we’re planning to try this spring and summer with our favorite frozen drink makers.

Strawberry Sriracha Margaritastrawberry margarita with sriracha

We love a hot cocktail and have all jumped on the sriracha kick lately. Try this Strawberry Sriracha Margarita for a spicy spin on a strawberry margarita.                                 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 16 oz. (2 cups) tequila
  • 2 oz. (¼ cup) Contreau or orange flavored liquor
  • ½ tbs agave nectar
  • ½ to 1tsp sriracha
  • 2 – 3 cups Ice

Instructions:

Put ice into the ice reservoir and shave. Then, simply add all remaining ingredients to the blending jar blend and serve.

We recommend:

The Margaritaville Bahamas (DM0500). It’s perfect for your smaller, more intimate parties.

We found this recipe here

wine smoothieBerry Wine Smoothie

Here’s a funky recipe to get your guests raving about your creativity. There’s always going to be an attendee with a taste for something other than margaritas and this wine smoothie will surely do the trick.

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen fruit – we used a mixture of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
1 cup white wine

Instructions:

For this recipe switch the control to blend only, add ingredients to the blending jar, blend and serve.

We recommend:

The Margaritaville Fiji (DM2000). A necessity for your next family BBQ, pool party, or beach vacation. The Fiji is quite versatile with 4 automated settings, has an ice reservoir that can hold enough ice for 3 pitchers, and of course, the shave & blend feature.

This recipe comes from here

Peach Margarita

Ingredients:margarita with fresh peach

  • 1 cup fresh peach chunks
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 cups ice

Instructions:

Put ice into the ice reservoir and shave. Then, simply add all remaining ingredients to the blending jar blend and serve.

We recommend:

The Margaritaville Key West (DM1000). Perfect for the pool side or outdoor bar. With programmable settings, you can entertain guests or just relax while your drinks are blended perfectly with every recipe.

Virgin Frozen Margarita

Frozen drink machine for multiple recipesIngredients:

1 (6-oz) can frozen limeade concentrate
¾ cup orange juice
¾ cup grapefruit juice
2 -3 cups ice
Lime wedge
Coarse sugar

Instructions:

Put ice into the ice reservoir and shave. Then, simply add orange juice, grapefruit juice, and limeade to the blending jar blend with shaved ice and serve with lime and coarse sugar on rimmed glass.

We recommend:
The Margaritaville Tahiti (DM3000). Try the Peach Margarita and Strawberry Sriracha Margarita along with your kids’ favorite virgin drink in the Tahiti, which uses, not one, but three 24-oz blending jars.

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5 Easy Weeknight Recipes Using a Toaster Oven

Kalorik Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is the perfect appliance for small spaces because it combines the utility of a toaster and a microwave, allowing you to cook food evenly and quickly for fast snacks and on-the-go meals. The versatile Kalorik 4-slice toaster oven lets you to change between a variety of cooking methods: broiling, baking, and toasting with a selector switch. With a full range temperature control (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), you can also get that perfect crispy pizza crust or crunchy french fries without the grease. Toaster ovens are a space and energy efficient alternative to full-sized convection ovens that can heat up the whole kitchen.

5 Easy Toaster Oven Recipes

The following recipes are delicious, quick, and easy solutions to your dinnertime blues – all solved by the amazing toaster oven.

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Spread olive oil and Italian herbs on a piece of pita bread. Top it off with Kalamata olives, feta cheese, arugula, and tomatoes. Toast until the pita bread is at your desired crispiness or the feta is melted.

Maple-Mustard Salmon

Marinade salmon for 30 minutes in 3 Tbsp of dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1 Tbsp of champagne vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake fish until opaque, about 7-8 minutes.

Crab Bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta

Mix together 8 ounces of crab meat, 1 cup of sliced plum tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 clove of minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and top with the mixture. Toast for 5-8 minutes.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

For the asparagus, toss it with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 large cloves of sliced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of basil and a pinch of pepper. Turn oven to 450 degrees F and roast for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Flautas

Chicken Flautas

Mix together 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken, ½ cup of roasted poblano pepper, ¼ cup of corn, 2 Tbsp of yogurt, ½ small chopped onion, ½ cup monterey jack cheese. Spread the mixture on a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place in the toaster oven for 10 minutes on each side, so 20 minutes total.

 

What’s your favorite meal to make in a toaster oven?

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Immersion Blender Recipe: Garlic Mashed Fauxtatoes

Immersion Blenders

Immersion blenders are a product that I have recently fallen in love with. They just take the hassle out of blending. In a previous life, I would often burn myself while I was trying to transfer whatever hot mixture I was cooking up into the blender while making soups. And it never failed that I would splatter ingredients all over my kitchen and my shirt while I was trying to use a hand mixer to whip up some mashed potatoes. Then, one glorious day, I came across an immersion blender (also known as a stick mixer) and I have not looked back since.

Now, when I am cooking soups or whipping up mashed potatoes, I just get out my immersion blender and stick it right in the pot that I have been cooking the ingredients in, flip the switch and that’s it. It makes for less mess which means less clean up and less time.

The latest thing I have been whipping up with my immersion blender is No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes.”

No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes”

Ingredients

1 Head of cauliflower
2-3 Tablespoons of sour cream
3-4 Laughing cow cheese wedges
3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons coarse ground pepper
Salt to taste

Directions

1. Steam the cauliflower and drain water from the pan.
2. Add all other ingredients to pan with cauliflower.
3. Take an immersion blender and blend until desired consistency. (I enjoy my “fauxtatoes” smooth, so I blend until there are no chunks left.)
4. Enjoy!

What recipes do you make with an immersion blender?

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Food Processor Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Foo Processor Peanut Butter

A trend that I have seen lately is people are tending to eat less processed foods and therefore, they are eliminating the foods that include ingredients they cannot pronounce from their diet.  To do this people are eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats as well as making more foods from scratch.  Unfortunately making things from scratch can be time consuming, but there are definitely some things you can make from scratch that will have you wondering why you ever bought them pre-made in the first place because they are so simple to make.

Many of the simple items to make can be made with the help of a food processor. Personally I feel that no home should lack this kitchen staple because there are so many things you can use it for.  If you do not already have one, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor and I love it.

One of the simple items to make with a food processor is homemade peanut butter.  It is so easy I hate to even call this a recipe, but here it is:

Homemade Peanut Butter

Ingredients

4 cups of roasted unsalted peanuts
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar (optional for sweeter peanut butter)
Salt to taste (I only add a dash)

Directions

Place all ingredients in the food processor and turn on.  Let it process until the peanut butter consistency is to your liking.  I like the consistency of my peanut butter to be smooth and creamy so I usually let my food processor run for several minutes.

As mentioned, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-cup food processor and I would recommend it to anyone.  I not only make peanut butter with it, but I also use it to make salsas, hummus, soups and even bring it out to chop onions because I always tear up when I do it by hand.

Let me know in the comments if you use this recipe to make your own peanut butter!

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