Wednesday, December 30, 2009

..And, we're back!

Thanks for all of your kind words and support during my hiatus. I really appreciate it, along with your patience. While I still haven't found a concrete answer for what is ailing me, certain kinds of fat is definitely part of my problem. So, that means minimal amounts of dairy, no red meat (though I did sneak a piece of bacon), and avoiding hydrogenated oils and fake fats. Staying away from these types of foods seems to help my discomfort. I've had to change some cooking habits, but I don't mind a challenge.

It's been over a month since I last posted here (!), and I never intended to be away for so long. I've been pretty busy with Christmas, making cookies (I was able to eat a few--small amounts of homemade baked goods seem to be OK), a yule log cake (I'm showing it off above--again, a small slice), and a bunch of other things. It seems a little late to share those with you, though. Next December, I hope to have a wide variety of recipes to share as the holidays approach. But for now, It's time to taper off from the near constant doses of sweets and other rich foods.

I've wanted a juice extractor for quite a while, and now that I have a limited diet, it seemed like a good time to have one. I was very generously given two kinds of juicers for Christmas--an extractor and a specialty juice blender--so now I can make lots of juice and smoothies. Without a juice extractor, you could also purchase pre-made juices and mix them yourself, though that is liable to become expensive.

While juice extractors can also be very expensive, they are a healthier alternative to buying juice at the grocery store. Probably the best price for a quality juicer is the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer, sold for about $75.00 on But according to reviews, this machine, and its upgraded model, the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer Pro ($149.99 on, are really no match in quality and price, respectively, for the Breville NJE200XL 700 Watt Compact Juice Fountain, $99.00 at and Best Buy Stores. Can you tell this is what I have? I did some research and this was the conclusion that I came to. I should also note that other high quality models are sold for $250-300 and up, which I really don't think is necessary, unless you are planning on opening a juice stand!

The Breville Compact works nicely and cleanup is fast. Since I haven't tried any other juicers (the $75 Jack Lalane would be my second choice), I really can't say how it works in relation to others, but I am very pleased with it. There is still some peeling and pit removal involved--basically, anything that you wouldn't eat doesn't go in the juicer), but you can put in whole, unpeeled carrots and apples, for instance. The chute has a vacuum power that is quite impressive.

Some good combinations that I have tried:
Mango and kiwi
Kiwi and cucumber
Carrot, apple, ginger

The juice that results from these concoctions is surprisingly sweet, so there is no need for sugar. You can also use the pulp from the fruits and vegetables to make a variety of other things, especially cakes and breads. And while I am consuming more of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables than I would otherwise, I still have to be sure to consume fiber.

And, in case you were wondering, I do still intend to cook treats and goodies and write about them here. I just got a new cookbook, called Gingerbread, that is full of delicious-looking, gingerbread-based desserts. While most of them are just perfect for a cold winter's day, there are some summer desserts, too. Gingerbread has inspired me to invent a ginger dessert of my own, which I hope will be good enough to feature here...