Tag Archives: vitamix

How I Prep Chicken & Grilled Veggies

I am a big-time food prepper.  In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it has to be easy and for me that means keeping healthy food in the fridge ready to go.  It’s easy to grab some carbs to round out a meal, so having some protein and veggies ready is key.

For years now I have been prepping mass quantities of chicken breasts every few weeks.  I’d rather do a WHOLE BUNCH every once in a while than every few days.  BBQ in bulk I say.

This is the method that works for me and I thought it might be of interest to you.  My Greek marinade recipe is so simple and not a perfect science in that it is a little bit different every time…I don’t do any precise measurements when I make it.  Growing-up my parents made a Greek Lemon Oregano Chicken and that is what this is based on.

With regards to counting macros, I know some people would count the lemon and the olive oil, but I take a somewhat laid-back approach to that and don’t include that in my daily macros because let’s be honest, most of the olive oil cooks off on the BBQ and just makes it so it doesn’t stick to the grill.  Now, if my chicken had a sauce poured over it after it had been prepared and was served to me that way, I would most definitely count that in my daily macros.

For the “cup” measurements I just use those that are written on the side of my Vitamix.  Today I doubled the recipe since I was making 15 chicken breasts as well as 2 bunches of grilled asparagus.

Balanced Grettie Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade Collage

Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic olive oil (I buy mine at Costco)
  • 1 head of garlic, break apart the cloves and peel them
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs whole pepper corns
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano

Method

Place all ingredients EXCEPT for the dried oregano into the Vitamix and blend until smooth.  Add the dried oregano and blend briefly so you preserve the leaves and don’t pulverize them (just personal preference).

CHICKEN & VEGGIE PREP

When it comes to prepping the chicken, the best trick I have discovered is to pound it.  By pounding the chicken and making it all the same thickness, you end-up with evenly cooked chicken and chicken that BBQs a heck of a lot faster!  It is super moist vs. having uneven dry spots like so often happens with THICK chicken breasts  (as long as you don;t overcook it!).

I allow the chicken to marinade for 4-8 hours…with this amount of lemon overnight would be TOO much (learned that the hard way)!  Make sure you reserve some of the marinade for your veggies.  This works awesome with asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

I like to place a flat black trash bag on my counter in order to avoid chicken juice flying everywhere (and it makes the clean-up a snap).  I also pound the chicken inside a produce bag from the grocery store for the same reason.  As for how the rest of the prep goes…I’ll tell it in pictures.

Balanced Grettie Chicken Prep pounded

Balanced Grettie Lemon oregano Greek Chicken prep pounding method Balanced Grettie Marinating Asparagus in a bag

Chicken Asparagus Prep 2

Once my chicken is BBQ’d and has cooled, I put about 4 breasts in the fridge and I vacuum pack bags of 4 and put them in the freezer.  When I am running out of prepped chicken in the fridge I pull out a bag from the freezer and defrost it in cold water (MUCH better result than defrosting in the microwave…I’m not a huge microwave fan).

Do any of you have food prep tricks you’d like to share?

 

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Filed under Gluten Free, IIFYM and Macros, Main Dish, Nutrition, Paleo, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt

CREAMY SMOKEY SPANISH DRESSING

I have been missing Spain lately and wanted to create a dressing/dip/sauce (It is very multi-functional) that would remind me of our summer there and the wonderfully flavorful meals we enjoyed.

This dressing/dip/sauce makes me smile every time I eat it.  I have been enjoying it on salads, brown rice bowls, and as a dip for veggies, gluten-free crackers, you name it.

In my never-ending quest to try and eliminate oil from my diet (click HERE to find out why), I used nuts as the base and thickener for this recipe.  You will be amazed by the wonderfully creamy texture you can achieve using nuts.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted nuts (any variety)
1 ¾ cups filtered water OR for a creamier dressing, So Delicious Milk of choice
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos
Heaping ½ tsp hot pimenton…more if you like spice (Spanish paprika)
Heaping ½ tsp sweet pimenton (Spanish paprika)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs maple syrup
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Place all of the ingredients in your high speed blender (I use my Vitamix) and blend until very creamy and smooth.

NOTE – The dressing will thicken when refrigerated.

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE. .

Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Dip, Nuts, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

PURELY MANGO POPSICLES

Mangoes rank right up there with dark chocolate in my book.  I will happily eat any and all varieties of mangoes, but Champagne mangoes are insanely delicious this time of year. One of my favorite after dinner snacks is a bowl of frozen diced mango.  I am always amazed by how creamy plain frozen mango is and the last time I sat down with a bowl of them inspiration struck…these need to be popsicles!!! There is no point in even writing down this recipe because there is nothing in these bad boys other than 100% pure mango. Remove the skin, dice-up the mangos, place them in your Vitamix, and puree until smooth as silk.  Pour the mango puree into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. Looks like I found a new after dinner treat! Click HERE to see some super fun popsicle molds…I think I need to get some more. ..  Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Sorbet, Vegan, Vegetarian

STRAWBERRY FRUIT ROLL-UPS

When I go grocery shopping and walk past the snack aisle I am always shocked by how many different fruit roll-ups there are, not to mention the fruit snacks.  Trust me, I understand how good they taste…like candy, but that us essentially what they are.  Have you ever looked at how much sugar they add?  My guess is that the manufacturers feel they have to add so much sugar because they are probably using fruit that isn’t truly ripe as the basis of their product.

I am so thankful that I have an Excalibur dehydrator.  They are pricey, but I eased some of the hurt by buying a Factory Refurbished model ($199 vs. $299) which still has a 10 year warranty!  I use my dehydrator a lot and have been using it a ton lately because there are such wonderful organic strawberries at my local farmer’s market.

Making fruit roll-ups couldn’t be easier.  Simply wash the berries, remove the stems, place them in your Vitamix high speed blender (I squeezed in an orange for extra flavor, however doing so is not necessary), blend until smooth, sweeten if necessary (you can use dates, maple syrup, stevia, honey),  and blend again to incorporate the sweetener.

Pour the mixture in batches on to your dehydrator trays lined with non-stick drying sheets, spread with an offset spatula (This tool is such a help…I first learned about this trick from Kristen Suzanne’s blog) as thin as you’d like making sure that it is evenly spread and there are no holes, and dehydrate at 125 until firm to the touch.  I spread my roll-ups to about 1/8″ and they dehydrate within 3-4 hours.  If you would like to keep the roll-ups “raw,” dehydrate at 115 degrees (it will take longer).  You can also make the roll-ups thicker, it will just take longer to dehydrate.

Once you remove the roll-ups from the dehydrator, allow them to come to room temperature and carefully peel them from the non-stick sheet.  Line the back of the roll-ups with parchment paper, cut them to size, and roll them up!  I store my roll-ups in glass jars.

Recently I have used this method to make a ton of different flavors; mango, pineapple, apple cinnamon, and white peach.  I was so pleasantly surprised by the pineapple fruit roll-ups…they were AMAZING!!!  I can’t wait to make my next batch and have been dreaming-up all sorts of flavor combinations.

*TIP – try to keep the roll-up “batter” as thick as possible and do not add extra liquid if possible.  You will find that certain fruits are less watery than others i.e. mangoes produce a thicker batter than apples do (the result is much more watery).  Dehydrating time will change depending upon which fruit / fruit combo you use.

If you do not have a dehydrator, you can make the roll-ups in the oven by following Catherine McCord’s method on her blog, Weelicious (Click HERE).

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Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.


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Filed under Cooked Fruit, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – High Speed Blender vs. Juicer

I thought I would share with you one of my Chic Vegan “Ask Grettie” columns…

So, after catching my second sore throat/cold/whatever in a month I am starting to think that I need to add something to my diet and am ready to take the plunge and start juicing.  I did a bit of research and found two options, a juicer or a Vitamix.  A friend of mine really is pushing the Vitamix for two reasons:  you keep the fiber and you can add things that you can’t really juice like kale, etc. and get more out of it.  Thoughts?

Thanks,
Alison

Hi Alison,

I am so sorry to hear that you have been sick so much, but I applaud you for wanting to take steps to strengthen your immune system through nutrition.

I see tremendous value in both juicers and high speed blenders.  Both products serve different needs, though both are great tools for you to use to boost your immune system.

It is true that with a Vitamix you retain the fiber and that is very beneficial for the digestive tract.  I use my Vitamix every single day of the week to make green smoothies.  A high speed blender makes it so easy to add veggies to a smoothie while pulverizing them into a smooth drink.  My Vitamix is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  It does need to be said that a high speed blender can be used to make juice, albeit with a bit more work.  To make juice with a high speed blender, you would essentially make a smoothie and then strain it through a nut milk bag.  A Vitamix is very diverse and can be used to make everything from soups to dressings and raw desserts (ice cream, cheesecake, etc.).

Juicing is a wonderful way to support the immune system since juicers strip the fiber from the plant resulting in a tall glass of nutrients.  Since there is no fiber in the juice, the nutrients are immediately available and do not require much digestion.

With regards to kale and juicing, I add kale to my juicer all the time!  Juicers usually have at least two speeds and one of them is optimum for juicing kale and other leafy greens (Read the insert that comes with your juicer for specific instructions).  When I make a kale salad I strip the kale from the stem and keep the kale stems in the fridge to use in my juice the next day.  I also keep the broccoli hearts to do the same (if I am too lazy to peel them and use them in my cooking).

It is a tough decision whether to go with a high speed blender or a juicer, but I do see real value in both.  Since your immediate goal is to strengthen your immune system, I would suggest that the juicer is the way to go initially because of the maximum nutrient load you will get from veggie juice.  Juicers are also available within a wide price range.  Costco usually carries a decent juicer at a very reasonable price.  High speed blenders tend to be on the expensive side, but also available at Costco on occasion.  Either way you won’t go wrong.

Here’s to health!

Gretchen

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Filed under Alkaline, Chic Vegan Column, Detox, Education, Immune System, Vegan, Vegetarian

SWEET CORN and APPLE PORRIDGE

I dreamed-up this recipe while on a bike ride two days ago.  It had been grey and cold outside (In my native Californian opinion).  Finally on Wednesday the crisp air turned blue and it was gorgeous.  Despite this, I planned on working all day on the backlog of posts I had been meaning to write.   Enter other plans…I was hit with a computer virus.  While the virus scan was going there wasn’t much writing I could do, so I decided to hop onto my trusty mountain bike and get outside.

Sometimes things happen for a reason.  It felt so good to be outside enjoying the beautiful day.  Out of nowhere I began to think about corn and how wonderfully sweet it is all on its own.  Quickly my mind turned to apples and it all came together when I realized how nice it would be to combine the two.  Sweet Corn and Apple Porridge was born.

I really wanted to keep the ingredients to a minimum for this recipe.  When you are working with so few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is paramount.  The end result of this porridge will be drastically different if made with ingredients sourced at your local farmer’s market versus the grocery store.  Using superior ingredients will also reduce (if not eliminate) your need to sweeten the porridge with stevia; I didn’t need any.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups fresh corn (I used 5 small ears), divided
2 large apples, small dice
1 c. apple juice 
1 c. vanilla non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 c. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats  (optional)
stevia to taste (optional)
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Pour the apple juice and non-dairy milk into your high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix).  Add 2 cups corn, and half of the diced apples to the blender.  Blend for 1 minute until very smooth.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the remaining corn and diced apple.  Mix to incorporate.  At this point either serve the porridge cold or heat it gently on the stove until it is warm.

I ate a large bowl of the fresh cold porridge.  Afterward I added some cinnamon to the remaining porridge along with the gluten-free oats and put it in the refrigerator.  A few hours later I snacked on this and it was soooo good!

I ate the ENTIRE batch myself in the span of a day…I promise to share next time!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Quick, Raw, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

FALL PERSIMMON PIE SMOOTHIE

Happy almost Thanksgiving!  I LOVE this holiday and how it encourages us to get together with our loved ones.

I am spending Thanksgiving with 27 loved ones and can’t wait! I thought I would share my children’s Thanksgiving placemats with you.  It is a tradition where I live that kindergartners make placemats for their Thanksgiving feast at school and then they bring them home as a keepsake.  I love these.  It is so funny to see what the kids write and to watch their parent’s reaction to what they are thankful for.  Last year I read my son’s Thanksgiving poem that highlighted all he was thankful for and all I could think after reading it was that I was thankful for that fact that his family was listed before Biz Markie (who knew he even knew who Biz Markie was???).  Really???  Out of the mouths of babes…

Tomorrow is a wonderful day of cooking which also means a wonderful day of eating.  I encourage you to start the day off right with a nice Fall smoothie.

TIP – When I go shopping at my local Mother’s Market I treat myself to a fresh-squeezed juice.  I always bring the container home, wash it, and save it in the cabinet so I have a great container to use when I am running out of the house and want to bring a smoothie with me on the run.  Recycling is the best!!!I made this smoothie the other morning as I was running out the door to go to the hairdresser and ended-up happily sipping it throughout my appointment.  I loved it so much I made it for breakfast the next day too.  Stock-up on persimmons at the Farmer’s Market…they are wickedly good right now.

 
FALL PERSIMMON “PIE” SMOOTHIE
 
INGREDIENTS
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk)
1-2 Tbs salba, chia, or flax seed
1 very ripe Hachiya persimmon (That is what I used)
OR
2 nice ripe Fuyu persimmons
1 frozen banana
1 cup ice
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
 

Place all of the ingredients in your high -speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until nice and creamy. Enjoy!!!

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Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Holiday, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY ALMOND MILK

Strawberry Almond Milk

Strawberry Almond Milk

Homemade almond milk is sooooooo creamy and NOTHING like the almond milk you buy in the store.  Today I made some plain almond milk and when my son came home from school I used it to make him strawberry almond milk, which is one of his favorites.  As we were sitting around the kitchen island drinking the strawberry milk, I mentioned that I was going to post my recipe for plain almond milk and my husband told me that I NEEDED to post my recipe for the strawberry milk as well (he was literally telling me this while drinking the tiny amount of strawberry milk that was left straight out of the blender container).  I hope you enjoy the strawberry milk as much as we do!

INGREDIENTS FOR PLAIN ALMOND MILK

2 cups raw almonds

4 cups filtered water

INGREDIENTS FOR STRAWBERRY MILK

1 cup plain almond milk

1 ½ – 2 cups frozen strawberries

2 tsp. raw agave syrup (adjust depending upon the sweetness of your berries)

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Place the raw almonds in a container and fill the container with filtered water.  Place the container in the fridge overnight to soak.

Soak the Almonds in Water

Soak the Almonds in Water

Almonds Soaked Overnight in Fridge

Almonds Soaked Overnight in Fridge

NOTE: The almond milk can be made without soaking the almonds, but I strongly suggest that you do.  Soaking the nuts will make the milk more creamy, but the main reason you want to soak the nuts is to destroy the enzyme inhibitor.  Nuts were created with an enzyme inhibitor that prevents them from prematurely sprouting.  This inhibitor also makes it hard for many people to digest nuts well.  When you take the time to soak the nuts, the inhibitor is neutralized and the enzymes come to life…per my earlier post enzymes are very beneficial to us.

Rinse the soaked almonds under cold water.  At this point you may remove the almond skins if you’d like.  I personally don’t mind the skins and keep them on when I make my milk.

Rinse the Soaked Almonds

Rinse the Soaked Almonds

Remove the Skins if You'd Like

Remove the Skins if You'd Like

Place the clean soaked almonds in your Vitamix or blender with 4 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth (2-3 minutes).
Place Rinsed Almonds in Vitamix w/ Water

Place Rinsed Almonds in Vitamix w/ Water

Blend Thoroughly

Blend Thoroughly

Put the nut milk bag into a large bowl.  Pour the almond mixture into the nut milk bag and squeeze the liquid into the bowl.  Once all of the liquid is out of the bag your plain almond milk is complete. 

Place Nut Milk Bag in a Large Bowl

Place Nut Milk Bag in a Large Bowl

Pour Blended Mixture Into Bag

Pour Blended Mixture Into Bag

Squeeze Bag

Squeeze Bag

Only Pulp Remaining

Only Pulp Remaining

 Reserve the nut pulp for another recipe.  I put my pulp in a bag and lay it flat in the freezer until I am ready to use it in a recipe.

Almond Pulp

Almond Pulp

The plain almond milk is now complete.  I prefer to store the almond milk in the fridge in its plain state (great with cereal)…that way I can embellish however I’d like. 

Plain Almond Milk

Plain Almond Milk

Store Plain Almond Milk in the Fridge in a Mason Jar

Store Plain Almond Milk in the Fridge in a Mason Jar

Sometimes I will add some stevia for a sweeter taste or add some chocolate syrup and make chocolate milk (warmed-up it makes a very yummy hot cocoa), but our family’s FAVORITE almond milk is the strawberry…

Rinse out your blender.  Pour 1 cup of the plain almond milk into the blender.  Start the blender and add the frozen strawberries one at a time through the opening in the lid.  Blend until smooth.  Add the agave syrup and blend again.  Taste the strawberry milk and add more sweetener if needed.  Drink immediately as this is when the flavor is best.  It will not store well, so it is best to make it in small batches that you will drink right away.

Strawberry Almond Milk
Strawberry Almond Milk

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Dessert, Drinks, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

MY KID’S MORNING JUICE

Ready to Juice

Ready to Juice

As often as I can I try to start the kid’s morning off with fresh juice made from my Breville juicer.  The school week can be really busy and it isn’t always easy to cram in all of the nutrients they need to fuel their afterschool activities.  Fresh squeezed juice is a fantastic way to give their bodies what it craves.  In a perfect world my kids would drink 100% vegetable juice, but reality is different.  I can get the kids to drink their green veggies as long as I temper them with the sweetness of apples and carrots.  Little by little I have been able to add more and more greens. 

These were the ingredients in my kid’s juice this morning:

My Kid's Morning Juice Ingredients

My Kid's Morning Juice Ingredients

If your kids are new to juicing, start them off with apple juice (I have never met a kid that didn’t LOVE fresh squeezed apple juice).  Move on from there by slowly adding more and more carrots to the mix (also very sweet).  After a while you will be able to add in greens.  I find spinach, romaine, and sugar snap peas to be very mild in taste, so those are your best bets when starting to add greens to your juice.

You don’t need to own a juicer in order to make fresh juice.  If you own a blender or a Vitamix and have a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, then you can make juice.  It will be a bit more work, but well worth it.  In order to make juice with a blender you will need to add some water to the pitcher, chop in your veggies (watery veggies and fruits should go in near the bottom where the blade is), blend and then strain through the nut milk bags into another bowl.  Work in batches until you are done.

Nut Milk Bag

Nut Milk Bag

Cheesecloth

Cheesecloth

To make the juice, prepare all of your fruits and veggies by washing them and cutting them down to size if they are too big to fit through the opening of your juicer.  Once your produce is ready, set-up your juicer.  In order to minimize clean-up, I like to line my juicer’s pulp collector with one of my recycled produce bags.  Also keep some paper towel or an extra cup on hand for when you remove the juice pitcher.  I block the juice nozzle with a paper towel whenever I move the juice pitcher away…otherwise it will drip onto the counter.

When you juice, make sure you juice the softer fruits and vegetables first (i.e. romaine, cucumber, sugar snap peas, tomatoes) and then push the rest of their pulp through with the harder fruits and vegetables… this will ensure that you get as much juice out of them as you can. 

Softer Produce First

Softer Produce First

Most importantly, get your kids involved.  When children participate in making their food, they are much more likely to actually consume that food.

Get the Kids Involved

Get the Kids Involved

Some kids are very put off by the color of juice that has carrots or greens in it.  I have found a way around that by purchasing some fun cups in different colors.  When my daughter drinks out of her fun green cup with the cool straw, she has no idea what color the juice actually is.  You could also get some wacky straws to help encourage your children to drink the juice.

Using a Fun Colored Cup

Using a Fun Colored Cup

Since we are on the subject of juice, I thought I’d show you what my morning juice consisted of.  Most of you won’t start with this many veggies…work up to it with the same method as described above for the kids.

My Morning Juice Ingredients

My Morning Juice Ingredients

When my daughter saw the juice she named it “Mommy’s Rainbow Juice.”

Rainbow Juice

Rainbow Juice

Don’t forget to compost your juice pulp…your garden will thank you.

Here’s to health!

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Filed under Food Journal, Fresh Juice, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

FOOD LOG – JANUARY 3, 2011

Today's Green Smoothie

Me & My Liquid Health

So here’s the low-down on what I ate today.  Since I am in recovery mode from the holidays, there is a bunch of green juice to get my nutrient levels back to where they should be…I guess you could say I am doing a cleanse of sorts.

6am – 32 ounces of water with an entire lemon squeezed in

8:15am – 20 ounces of green juice (made in my Breville juicer)

RECIPE (this made enough for the day)

  • kale stems that I saved from making kale chips
  • mixed greens
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 huge cucumber
  • 1/2 head of napa cabbage

10am – handful of raw nuts… almonds, walnuts, pecans

1pm – 16 ounces of green juice (made in the morning and put in a 16 ounce mason jar filled to the lid in order to prevent oxidation…a trick I got from Kris Carr)

2:30pm – green smoothie

RECIPE

Blend all of the ingredients in the blender.  I use my Vitamix since it completely emulsifies everything.  If you don’t have a Vitamix, any blender will work…you may have to add some more liquid to get it all to blend.

4pm – the rest of the green smoothie

6pm – brown rice, baked beans (recipe from weelicious.com), roasted brussel sprouts

7pm – 3 Cuties tangerines

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Filed under Cleansing, Detox, Food Journal, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian