Friday, November 29, 2013

Review/Giveaway: Suja Juice 3 Day Cleanse

So I’m going to be upfront an honest with you right now – I hate celery.  I have hated it since the beginning of time, even having the uncanny ability of being able to detect celery salt in recipes (thanks for passing along this trait to me Gramps!).   So why did I decide to do a juice cleanse where ½ of the juices contain copious amounts of celery?  1) Because I know celery is good for me and wanted to experience the cleanse in all it’s glory 2) Because I honestly didn’t realize just how much celery I would be consuming until after I agreed to review this cleanse.   Do I still hate celery after completing this cleanse?  You bet I do.  Now, onto the review:

I’m the type of person that really likes new beginnings.  New Year’s day is the ultimate new beginning, being the day that most people start eating healthier (myself included) and break old habits.  I have been wanting to eating healthier for awhile now, and I knew that if I didn’t start before the holidays, I would overindulge, knowing I was about to start a healthier eating regime as soon as the holidays were over.  For me this cleanse is the start of a new, healthier chapter. When Suja offered to send me an entire 3 day supply of their juices, I knew this would be just the kick start I needed.

So what did I think of the flavours?


Glow – This one tasted A LOT like celery. I was hoping the fruit juices would mask the taste, but all I could taste was my vegetable nemesis.  I didn't mind it so much on the second day (it's a nice light, refreshing juice) but on day 1 it was a bit of a shock to my usually celery free taste buds.

Fuel – This one was absolutely delicious.  I really looked forward to this juice on the second and third day!  I stopped by my office for a bit and one of my co-worker’s tried a taste - she thought it was delicious as well.   It was by far my favourite of the veggie juices, and I would definitely buy this one again.

Purify – This juice was definitely the earthiest tasting of them all. Having only recently discovered that I don't actually hate beets as much as I though I did,  I wasn't sure how I would feel about this juice.  I  didn't mind it though, and I even found myself craving it after I finished the cleanse.  This is also the drink that you get to have around lunchtime, and since it kind of reminded me of soup (borscht), it almost felt like I was having a real meal.  

Fuji – I was really looking forward to this one because I love fuji apples.  Once again though, the 6 stalks of celery in it completely took over my tastebuds.  I let a friend of mine try all of the juices and she said that this one was her favourite.  If you don't hate all things celery like I do, then you will probably think that this one is delightful.

Green Supreme – I was incredibly relived to see that this green drink didn’t in fact have any celery in it (whew!).  It reminded me of the wheatgrass shots I get at Boosterjuice (I don't really like the taste of them, but I know they are good for me so I power through).  I love kale when it’s steamed, or made into a chip (although in all fairness pretty much anything tastes great when it's made into a chip), but I'm not a huge fan of it in smoothies or juices.  This drink did make me feel really great though, so I would probably drink it just for the health benefits alone. 

Vanilla Cloud – This one was a pure cloud of deliciousness at the end of each night.  It’s extremely dessert like, and I love how thick the coconut made it.  The second I opened it I got a huge blast of  cinnamon and nutmeg goodness.  It also contains areola cherry and camu camu putting it entirely in a league of it's own.  I would seriously drink this one every single day.  



A few people expressed concern that I wasn't eating anything for the duration of this cleanse, and they were worried I wouldn't be getting enough nutrients.  On the contrary, I consumed more fruit and veggies each day than you could possibly imagine! Here’s all the fruit and veggies an entire days worth of juices contained: 

9 apples, 14 stalks of celery, 3/4 of a cucumber, 2 handfuls spinach, 3 collard greens, 3 bunches kale, 3 lemons, 16 carrots, an orange, 1/2 pineapple, 1/2 beet, 1/2 coconut, 12 almonds, 1 tsp areola cherry, 1 tsp honey, a spring of mint, a pinch each of cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, camu camu, and turmeric.   

As you can see, I still consumed a ton of goodness totalling just under 1,200 calories.

The pureness of the ingredients in the juice were also really great - nothing but pure fruit, vegetable goodness.


Now, onto the cleanse itself!

Day 1
Cravings:  Coffee, carbs, something warm… chewing in general
Cheats: a handful of almonds (around dinnertime I started feeling sick and headachy - I had to teach a 2 hour class this evening so I had about 12 almonds or so just to be safe). 
Water: 6 - 8 oz servings
Comments: I felt pretty hungry around mid afternoon - I think better preparation for the cleanse would have made the transition much easier - next time I will be preparing 2-3 days in advance (which Suja recommends) rather than having pizza for supper the night before starting a juice cleanse (ya, I did that).

Day 2
Down 1.3 lbs
Cravings: peanut butter, protein 
Cheats: a tbsp of peanut butter around 11:30pm.  I couldn't sleep and felt like I really needed protein. 
Water: 6 - 8 oz servings
Comments:  I felt incredibly energized and not all too hungry.  I missed eating though.  The juices were a bit harder to swallow and a few of them even made me gag (I'm looking at you Glow and Fuji).  I was behind a juice pretty much all day (had my breakfast juice at around 10:00 am instead of first thing in the morning.  I ended up drinking Fuji and Green Supreme pretty close together just so I would fit all the juices in. It was cold and snowy out and I was craving something warm so I drank hot water all day instead of coffee - I think this really helped with the hunger.  This wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and after awhile I didn't even miss coffee.  

Day 3
Down 4.7 lbs
Cravings: Cauliflower, quinoa
Cheats: N/A
Water: 4 - 8 oz servings
Comments: I had a good amount of energy and was incredibly productive this day.  I ended up finishing a bunch of projects I had been putting off - my mind felt clearer.  Even though I watched Marc eat all day since it was Saturday and we were both home, I didn't feel hungry until dinnertime.  After savouring my last Vanilla Cloud, I felt satisfied. 


On day 3 I had the brilliant idea of combining my two favourite juices (Vanilla Cloud and Fuel)  I was going for a "creamsicle" kind of flavour, but what it ended up tasting like was pure deliciousness - it was like carrot cake in a glass!  I wish I would have thought of this on Day 1 but better late than never, right? 



A few observations along the way... 

It was nice not having to make breakfast or worrying about packing a lunch.

I had a lot of energy, especially on the 2nd and 3rd days.  I felt healthy.  I had that “clean” full feeling like when you eat sushi for dinner instead of pizza.

I’ve always struggled with acne, even in my twenties.  This cleanse made my skin look a lot better – and it gave my normally pigment challenged face a nice healthy glow. 

I lost 5 pounds in 3 days. Great motivation to continue eating healthy after the cleanse.

Overall conclusion
Would I do the cleanse again?  Absolutely.  I would try and be better prepared for it first though, and I would definitely try swapping out the celery juice next time (watermelon strawberry looks delightful!).  I think I’ll try doing another cleanse after the holidays – it will also be great for summertime when all I’m craving are cool drinks!  I would absolutely recommend this cleanse to my friends, the health benefits alone made it worth it! 

Disclaimer: Suja sent me this cleanse to try, though all opinions are completely my own. 

Giveaway
Suja Juice has graciously offered to send one lucky reader an entire 3 day cleanse ($162 value!) shipped straight to their door!   Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Find out more info about Suja Juice here.
Follow Suja Juice on Facebook here.
Follow Suja Juice on Twitter here.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quinoa "Mac" & Cheese au Gratin

We've had quite a bit of snow here lately leaving a beautiful blanket of snow covering everything.  It's making me want to stay warm and cozy inside the house - and eat warm and cozy comfort foods.
  
Macaroni and cheese is always one of my favourite comfort foods, but I was out of macaroni noodles and didn't want to defrost the car and run uptown just for that.  I did however have quinoa, so I decided to try that instead - wow was I ever impressed!  Quinoa makes an awesome "macaroni" and cheese and - comfort food without all the carbs! 

To be honest, I wasn't sure what Marc would think of me serving this as the main course - he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy after all!  He really liked it though, and even asked me if to make it for dinner again!  You could easily add your favourite veggies (broccoli - yum!) to make this dish even heartier. 

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
For topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp butter

Directions

Cook quinoa as per package directions (I like to use my rice cooker to cook quinoa - I use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup quinoa). 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan set to medium heat.  Add flour and cooking until light brown with a nutty aroma.  Add milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking frequently to prevent clumps.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened.  Add shredded cheese, whisking until the cheese has incorporated into the sauce.  

Place cooked quinoa in a medium size cassarole dish - add cheese sauce, stirring until combined.  Sauce will appear runny, but it will thicken up during the next step. 

For topping:

Add panko crumbs to melted butter and sprikle over quinoa mixture.  Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven until bread crumbs are golden brown. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. 

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cuppow and BNTO Giveaway

Eggnog Latte in the Regular Cuppow 

So you might remember Cuppow from back when I hosted the very first Giveaway on Cooking With Jax. 
I have been using my Cuppow for over a year now, and every single time it's on my cup I get a ton of people asking me where I found it.  It's not only a great conversation starter, but it is an extremely functional and useful product. 
 
A Cuppow is a lid that fits over a mason jar, turning it into the perfect to-go cup.  I've never been a huge fan of aluminium or plastic to-go mugs. I always find that hot drinks take on the flavours of the container they are put in, which is why I always use glass or ceramic to-go mugs.  Before Cuppow came along with their brilliant invention, I limited using mason jars as a mug to home, and other spill free environments.  Cuppow made it so that any household mason jar can be easily turned into a to go mug, and now... a lunch kit. 
When Cuppow sent me their new product BNTO to try, I was really excited!  So far I have been using it to take healthy breakfasts to work:
Yogurt and granola using the BNTO

Cereal and Milk using the BNTO

I know Marc will be this in his lunch for salads/dressing, veggies/dip, tortilla chips/salsa... the possibilities are endless! 
Cuppow has graciously offered to send one lucky reader their entire product lineup! 
The winner will receive:
1 BNTO
1 regular Cuppow
1 wide mouth Cuppow

Tell me in the comments below, what would be in your mason jar?  

Good luck! 

I was not financially compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.  I simply love Cuppow and wanted share their wonderful product with you, my readers.  Must live in Canada or US to participate.  

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals: October 2013


This month my Foodie Pen Pal Package was put together and sent by CeeCee from Within the Kitchen.  She sent me some truly amazing stuff! 


Chocolate - I mean hello, the greatest thing ever to include in any kind of package to someone. 

Chickpea Curry - I really enjoy curry and last year I tried chickpea curry at the Canada Day Festival in my hometown - the recipe on the back of this package looks really similar so I'm excited to try it! 

Beans -  We cook a lot of soups and stews this time of year so I'm sure these will get used sooner!
 
Blueberry Sea Salt - One of the very first foodie pen pal packages I received contained a floral sea salt made by the same local company.  It was an awesome salt and went really well on popcorn.  I was over the moon when I saw this container of blueberry sea salt - my popcorn was never be the same without it.
Fig Butter - I had a delicious pastry at a conference this past September that was made with figs and I immediately thought of it when I saw this fig butter.  I'm going to try and recreate the pastry later this month and post the results, so thank you CeeCee for including this! 

Strawberry Jam - This jam tastes wonderful - it nicely captures the taste of fresh BC strawberries.  I've hidden this in the back of the fridge in hopes that Marc doesn't find it and eat the entire jar (he's a bit of of a jam fiend).  I hope to savour this jar for the occasional taste of summer throughout the winter. 

Maple Butter - I have a recipe for this pinned to one of my boards on Pinterest though I've never tried it before - I'd love to tell you all the great things I put it on, but Marc and I took turns enjoying this with a spoon until there was nothing left of it. 

Thanks again CeeCee for putting together such a thoughtful package!  

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Chicken Noodle Soup


Here is my latest column in The Hinton Voice.  If you live in the Hinton or Jasper area, you can find my column in the first issue of every month.

[With cold and flu season readily upon us, this recipe is a good one to keep close by.   This soup requires very little prep, making it ideal not only when you are feeling under the weather, but also when you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

My favourite way to make chicken noodle soup is to boil an entire chicken (bones and all) for a few hours, which creates a great base for any soup.  This can be time consuming though, and let’s face it - the last thing you want to do when you’re not feeling well is to spend much time doing anything but snuggling up on the couch with a warm blanket.  This recipe is quick and easy, and uses ingredients that you likely already have at home.

I often make a double batch of this soup and freeze any leftovers for easy weekday meals. If you are planning on making a big batch, be sure to freeze it before you add the noodles. The pasta will soak up the broth and leave you with mushy noodles and a dish that more closely resembles stew than soup.  
  
So the next time someone is feeling sick in your house, be sure to make this recipe.  Aside from the couch, there really is nothing more comforting that a bowl of warm, homemade chicken noodle soup.]

Recipes makes 6 Servings

Ingredients
- 1 tsp butter or oil
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- ¾ tsp poultry seasoning (1/4 tsp rosemary, 1/8 tsp each marjoram, sage, thyme, parsley)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or add ½ tsp garlic powder to the above seasonings)
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced (optional)
- 2 L chicken broth
- 2 cups noodles (egg noodles work great, but any noodle will do)

Directions

Pre-heat a frying pan over medium heat (tip: to see if your pan is pre-heated enough, run a hand under the tap, and then “flick” a drop of water onto the pan.  If it sizzles, your pan is ready).   Melt butter or oil in pan, and then cook diced chicken with seasonings until no pink remains (about 5 minutes).

Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook until onions are slightly translucent (about 2-3 minutes). 

Add chicken broth and turn heat to medium-high until it starts to boil.  Once soup comes to a boil, bring the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the carrots are nearly cooked through (about 20 minutes). 

Add raw noodles and boil as per package directions (if using egg noodles this should be around 5 minutes).

Serve with soup crackers and plenty of warm blankets.

- Nutritional Info (per serving) -

Calories - 177   Fat - 3    Carbs – 16     Protein - 22   Fibre – 1

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