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Halloween post – my new routine and the cold-pressed blood juice

Cold Pressed Beetroot Juice

I have a new routine. For about three weeks now, I’ve been doing half-day juice fasts for two or three days each week, and it’s been great. I will talk about this more in the next blogpost, but today, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of my routine, what I use to juice, and share a Halloween-themed juice recipe – Cold Pressed Blood Juice, seeing that the big trick-or-treating day is just around the corner.

Cold Pressed Blood Juice

My half-day juice fast routine

Essentially I’m drinking just juice from the morning until the afternoon. When possible I’m trying to have my first juice as late as possible so I can maximise my ‘fasting’ period. I normally undertake this routine on Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday as well.

I find it easier to do the juice fast during the first half of the week as I have more time to prepare on the Sunday prior, and I like to make my juices in advance so I needn’t waste time in the morning juicing. Cold-press juicing does take quite a bit of time, and since I personally hate cleaning up, I always like to do everything in bulk so I won’t have to clean the juicer every day.

Green Juice

Here’s a breakdown of my juice fast day

  • 8 pm (the night before): Finish dinner
  • 9 am: Breakfast – 450ml green juice (kale, spinach, celery, parsley, green apple and lemon)
  • 11am/12 pm: Lunch – 450ml carrot and beetroot juice (carrot, beetroot and ginger)
  • 3pm: Afternoon Snack – 450ml orange and carrot juice (or other fruit juice)
  • 5pm: Light snack (can either be fruits, nuts, rice cakes or other light snacks)
  • 6:30-7pm: Normal dinner

My Cold Press juicer

I use the Hurom H25 Alpha. It’s a bit pricey but it’s a great little machine. It’s much smaller than my old Breville Fountain juicer that I used way back in the day.

I must say that assembling the machine for the first time was quite daunting. I’ve never used a cold-pressed juicer and there were so many more parts than what I’ve used to. I had to actually read the user guide (as you should!) to make sure that I was assembling it correctly.

It has a pretty small chute, which means that you have to chop your larger fruits and veggies so they fit through. I had known about this requirement from reading reviews of the juicer and I honestly don’t mind the process. I mean, as a vegan, I already spend 80% of my time in the kitchen chopping fruits and vegetables so a bit more chopping won’t hurt. And, furthermore, I find chopping to be rather… therapeutic.

Cleaning the machine has been a breeze, especially now that I’ve gotten used to it. It took me 10 minutes to clean at the beginning but now, I’m down to about five minutes flat.

Overall I’m very happy with my Hurom H25. It does its job, it’s quiet and compact, and it looks pretty slick on the kitchen bench.

Hurom H25 Alpha

Here’s the video to see me (and the juicer) in action, making my favourite carrot juice and the Cold Pressed Blood Juice.

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar!

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar! Cold-Pressed Blood Juice (makes 500ml)
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1 jar
Ingredients
Method
  1. Wash and rinse your vegetables. Chop them if required.
  2. Add the carrots, beetroot and ginger into your cold press juicer and run as per manufacturer’s instruction.
  3. Transfer to a jar and top with coconut water if required.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.

What’s your favourite cold-pressed juice? I’d love to hear from you!

Keren x

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How to make truffle vodka

What’s better than soft and smooth vodka? How about truffle vodka?

Do you remember when I went to Canberra for the truffle festival? I ended up making this Truffle infused vodka not long after. I had some fresh black truffles from The Truffle Farm and it seemed really silly not to try and make Truffle Infused Vodka, so I went ahead and did it.

 

Infusing Truffle Into Vodka

The process is quite simple. You just need to mix truffle with vodka and let it sit, and that’s it. The only questions you might ask is how much truffle you need, and how long should you wait before you can enjoy it.

After conducting some research (i.e., rummaging around the internet), I discovered that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to making Truffle Infused Vodka. Obviously, the more truffles you use, the stronger the taste is going to be. I think a 8-10% weight/volume ratio of truffle to vodka is enough to impart a nice and savoury truffle flavour into the vodka without making it too strong or overwhelming.

As for how long you should wait for it to infuse, following my little experiment. I’d have to say a minimum of one week.

I’ve gotta say… I’ll be making this again during the truffle season this year. And it will be a bit more (or a lot more) than 300ml!

Here’s a quick video on how you could do it.

And here’s the recipe!

How To Make Truffle Infused Vodka

Ingredients/Equipment:

  • 330ml good quality vodka (I use Grey Goose)
  • 30g sliced fresh black truffle (mine comes from The Truffle Farm)
  • Glass bottle
  • Funnel

Method:

  1. Slice black truffle thinly
  2. Using a funnel, pour vodka into the bottle. Add sliced truffle.
  3. Close the lid and turn a few time. Sit for at least a week before consuming.

 

Enjoy!

Keren x

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How To Make Almond Milk

Almond Milk

If you like almond milk as much as I do, why not try make it with your own almonds at home? It’s simple to do and you can control the quality of the milk. Here a simple tutorial on how to make almond milk at home.

But first, did you know that almond milk has been consumed since the Middle Ages? While almond milk has emerged to become one of our favourite plant milks, it was a staple in the medieval kitchen, as it keeps longer than cow’s milk (and it’s better for the health, too).

Nowadays you can find almond milk almost everywhere. However, most of the brands you see at the stores contain such a small quantity of almonds that you’re essentially paying for water and thickener. According to Choice, the most common content is 2.5% almond, which is equivalent to 2-3 almond kernels in 100 millilitres of almond milk. Shocking, isn’t it? This is why I never buy almond milk at the shop, unless I can find Inside Out Nutritious Goods, which contains 12% almonds. You pay a bit more, yes, but you’ll get better quality almond milk.

But if you have a bit of time, making your own almond milk is very fulfilling, not to mention tasty. Seriously, home made, fresh, almond milk. There’s nothing like it.

How to make almond milk at home

It involves three basic steps. Firstly you need to do is to soak the almonds in water overnight (you can also refrigerate them for about two or three days in the fridge to give yourself more time). After that you need to drain and rinse the almonds and then blend them with water. The resulting liquid, once you squeeze out every drop from the blended almond mixture, is fresh almond milk. It only lasts around three days in the fridge, because it’s raw and unpasteurised, so make just enough to keep you going for a few days.

How To Make Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 4 cups water, plus more for soaking
    A pinch of sea salt
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

Equipment

  • Nut bag or cheese cloth
  • A good blender
  • Two clean 500ml glass bottles

Instructions

  1. Place almonds in a large bowl and cover with about two cm of water (I use a large measuring cup to save on washing up). Cover and let stand on the kitchen bench overnight, or refrigerate for up to two days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk.
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked almonds (they should look big and plump). Transfer the almonds into the blender and add the water.
  3. Blend for one to two minutes until you get a smooth almond mixture.
  4. Line a large measuring cup with a nut bag or cheese cloth. Wash your hands.
  5. Pour the almond mixture into the bag or the cloth and the squeeze and press to extract as much almond milk as possible. Transfer into the clean glass bottles.
  6. Add sea salt and vanilla extract to flavour the almond milk. See notes for making other flavours. Store the in the fridge for up to three days. 

Chocolate Flavour

  • 500 ml fresh coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

Caramel Flavour

  • 500 ml fresh coconut milk
  • 1 tsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp mesquite powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

 

What to do with the leftover almond meal:

You can use the leftover almond meal to add to smoothies, oat porridge, muffins or other baked goods. I keep mine flattened in a ziplock bag in the freezer and just break off a piece each time I need it.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me in the picture.

Keren x

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Matcha Latte

Drinking matcha latte has become a morning and afternoon ritual for me. It’s soothing and comforting, not to mention smooth, creamy and delicious. The act of making the tea itself is very calming, especially on a very busy day. It brings me back to me. It allows me to pause, breathe and enjoy a moment of calm among the bustle. I’m here, right now, alive. Life is good.

Why I love my Matcha Latte

Unlike green tea where leaves are discarded after they are infused into the hot water, with matcha you’re drinking the actual leaves. It’s rich in antioxidants and nutrients. But above all, I love the taste of matcha, especially matcha latte. Matcha itself has a very strong earthy taste but it becomes a lot milder after you mix it with milk (soy milk in my case). It also has a high amount of caffeine (similar to a cup of coffee) but unlike coffee, it doesn’t cause adrenaline spikes. It creates a rather calm alertness with no spikes and crashes. It comes on gently and leaves just as gently. It’s beautiful.

I currently use organic matcha tea powder from Kenko Tea, which are pure stone ground tea leaves with slight sweetness, and grassy tones with a slight tannin. This is one of the best tasting matchas I’ve had here in Australia. Yes, it may seems quite expensive at first at $44 per 30 grams, but it’s actually cheaper than a buying a cup of latte. 30 grams gives you around 30 cups of matcha latte so it works out to about $1.50 a cup.

Matcha latte-6

This is how I make my matcha latte almost every day. It’s nothing fancy and it’s probably not the best way to do it, but it works for me. I don’t use a sieve and most days I don’t even use a milk frother (though it will taste even better if you do). But honestly, you can just use warm or hot milk and it would be just as nice. You really can’t mess it up. Matcha latte is amazing and I hope you will try it one day, if you haven’t already.

Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte
 
Prep time
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Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 scoop of organic matcha tea powder
  • ¼ cup of hot water
  • 1 cup of soy milk
Method
  1. Add matcha tea powder to cup.
  2. Add a bit of hot water and whisk the powder with the bamboo whisk until pasty.
  3. Then add the remaining water and whisk vigorously to dissolve and make lots of air bubbles.
  4. Heat soy milk on the stove on in the microwave for 40 second on 'high'.
  5. Add to the matcha tea and stir the surface using the bamboo whisk to make air bubbles (I'm not very good at this).
  6. Sip and enjoy the moment :)

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #littlegreenhabits.

Love and (matcha) greens,

Keren Natalia

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Easy Homemade Cashew Milk Recipe

If you’ve never had cashew milk, you need to do yourself a favour and find some, or make some.

Why I love it:

It is absolutely delicious, creamy and refreshing and is great on its own, as a smoothie base or served alongside your favourite cookies. What makes cashew milk different from other nut milks is that it requires no straining after blending. That means you don’t need a nut bag, and you don’t need to figure out what to do with the pulp. Less messing about and less waste. All you have to do is pour it into a glass and enjoy. I love adding some vanilla extract, cinnamon or other spices such as ground ginger, nutmeg or cardamom to give delicious flavour to my cashew milk.

Cashew milk is also full of nutrients and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and zinc as well as protein and healthy fats.

Notes and Tips:

I soak my cashews before I blend them. Soaking helps with the blending process and also helps release some beneficial enzymes.

Add vanilla extract, cinnamon or other spices such as ground ginger, nutmeg or cardamom.

Homemade Cashew Milk
 
Prep time
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Simple, no strain nut milk that is creamy, delicious, and nutritious.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Method
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 4 hours. Alternatively you can soak them overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Drain the cashews and rinse until the water runs clear.
  3. Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender.
  4. Start on a low setting and increase the speed until the cashews are totally pulverised. This could take 2 minutes in a high-powered blender or longer in a regular blender.
  5. Blend in 2 cups more water,* and your sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, sea salt or cinnamon (optional). If your blender can't totally break down the cashews, strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
  6. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should keep for 3 to 4 days.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #littlegreenhabits.

Love and greens, 

Keren Natalia 

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Simple Green Smoothie

Do you notice how green drinks are hitting the mainstream cafes and juice bars now? Maybe it’s just me but when I go out, I see green juice everywhere. All the major juice bars seem to have it on their menu now. It’s so exciting and encouraging to see that green drinks are becoming more mainstream. Things are changing and I think it’s awesome.

I started having green smoothie about two years ago. Since then I’ve been having it almost everyday for breakfast. I did lots of trials with different recipe to find the perfect combination of fruit and vegetables and have since found a base recipe that works for me. There’s so many green smoothie recipes available online and offline that it can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out.

I used to put so much stuff (protein powder, superfood supplements, etc) to make it taste good but I have since simplified the recipe to make it easier for me to make (it’s not fun having to take out 10 different things out of the pantry every morning). So this is actually an updated recipe of my old green smoothie recipe which has twice the amount of ingredients. I’ve cut it down such that it can tastes great without having to put tons of fruit in it. Not that there’s anything wrong with fruit but if’s going to be a vegetable smoothie, I figure it should have more vegetables than fruit.

Currently, my favourite smoothie base consists of Frozen Kale, Spinach, Banana, and Avocado. I then add to it more veggies, fruits, herbs, nuts and seeds depending on what I have and what I feel like.

You can get a bit creative with it, adding different kind of fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, protein powder, superfood mix, etc etc. Here’s my basic breakfast Green Smoothie recipe which I have made over 200 times and shared with people. My hope is that you will give this recipe a try and start making your own green blend.

Simple Green Smoothie
 
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Imagine being addicted to something so healthy as this. I am. Not because it's healthy but because it tastes great and it makes me feel great.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 big handful (~ 3 cups) of baby spinach
  • 2 big handful (~ 3 cups) of kale leaves (washed and freeze overnight)
  • 2 medium size ripe banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 6 sprigs of parsley
  • 10-15 mint leaves (the more, the better)
  • 2 cups of non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Optional - 1 tbsp of each of your favourite superfoods, soaked nuts or seeds
Method
  1. Add ingredients in a blender starting from the heaviest item (so it catches the blade of the blender, it helps the blending process). Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and serve.
  3. Can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to 3 days or store in the freezer for about a week

So, what do you think about green smoothie? Are you a green smoothie drinker? If so what’s your favourite green ingredients?

Lots of love,

Keren

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Probiotic 101 and How To Make Rejuvelac

In this post I will show you how to make rejuvelac easily using quinoa. I came across rejuvelac while looking for ways to make vegan cheese. I gave it a go and have since successfully made a few batches. As it turns out, rejuvelac is not only easy to make but is also rich in probiotics. 

By the way, if you want to make vegan cheeses, I highly recommend the Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner which, I must say, is ah-mayyy-zing! I’ve made several non-dairy nut-based cheeses using her recipes already. Anyway, I digress…let’s get back to our topic here: rejuvelac and tiny little microorganisms which call our body, home.

Warning – I’m going to geek out a little talking about science-y stuff here because bacteria is a topic that is very close to my heart. I love them because small as they are, they play a significant role in our very existence.

So, on that note…

Did you know most of our immune system lies in the gut?

If yes, well done! You must have paid attention in Science class.

If no, well, you’ve learned something new today and you can brag about your new-found knowledge tomorrow to your friends or colleagues.

Here’s another fun fact. A healthy human body is home to around 100 trillion bacteria.

That’s a hell lot of bacteria! That’s 100 microbes for every 1 gene in our bodies! We have more bacteria in us than we do genes.

Fascinating isn’t it?

Each of us has our own unique ecological community of microorganisms called microbiome that literally share our body space, living in our gut, mouth, skin, etc. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some just sit and watch the fight between the two. They can even make us fat.

A  recent study showed that when a scientist took gut bacteria from human twins — one lean and one obese — and transferred them into lean mice, the mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that received bacteria from lean twins stayed lean. This just goes to show how  important our gut bacteria are to our metabolism and our digestive system.

 

How To Make Your Own Probiotic

Probiotics are good bacteria which serve to prevent the overgrowth of potentially harmful microorganisms. Although study on probiotics is limited, we have tons of anectodal evidence that they are beneficial to our immune system and our digestive health.

And yes there’re still more research that need to be done to better understand how probiotic helps to promote health but I don’t see what you can’t self-experiment – most (great) scientists do it. I do it. Configure your body to promote healthy bacterial colonies and see how you feel.

You can get probiotic supplements from most health stores, but  they can be quite expensive; and why buy when you can make your own probiotics at home, by making rejuvalac.

Rejuvelac

Rejuvelac is an enzyme-rich, probiotic living drink made by fermenting sprouted grains such as rye, barley, millet, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, or other grains. It contains lots of vitamins B, K and E, proteins and enzymes that aid digestion, and the growth of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus bifidus and Aspergillus oryzae.

It tastes slightly tangy and earthy with a subtle hint of lemony sour. It is slightly fizzy and refreshing to drink. Again, it is very easy to make and quite inexpensive. You basically soak the grains, rinse daily until they sprout (i.e., produce a cute little tail at one end), add water, wait a few days while it ferments,  strain and voilà, you just made rejuvelac.

I highly recommend using organic quinoa as they are quick and easy to sprout, but feel free to use other whole grain if you wish, bearing in mind that it may take longer to sprout other grains. Avoid grains that are already sprouted, and irradiated grain (this usually done on rice) which prevents sprouting. If you’re a first-timer, go with quinoa. Get the freshest and the best quality quinoa you can afford to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

Rejuvelac

Here’s a simple recipe which you can experiment with.

How to make Rejuvelac

Rejuvelac (makes total of 4 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic quinoa
  • Water, preferably filtered but I tried with Sydney’s tap water and it worked
  • 2 clean glass jars, I used ex-pasta sauce glass jars :)

Method

Step 1. Sprout the quinoa

  1. Rinse and drain 1 cup of quinoa.
  2. Fill up the jar with water. Cover with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
  3. Soak overnight. My quinoa sprouted the next morning so if yours do the same, just drain the water and proceed to Step 2. Otherwise, continue below.
  4. Drain the water, leaving the quinoa moist, but not covered in water.
  5. Rinse and drain quinoa a couple of times a day until they sprout (maybe once in the morning and once in the evening).
  6. Note: It only took 24 hours before my quinoa started to sprout.

Step 2. Ferment sprouted quinoa to make rejuvelac

  1. Fill the jar containing the sprouted quinoa with 2 cups water. Cover with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
  2. Place in a cool dark place.
  3. Taste each day until it develops an earthy, tangy, fermented taste – usually 2 to 3 days depending on the temperatures.
  4. Once ready, pour the liquid into a glass and serve.

Step 3. Drink and make a second batch

  1. Serve rejuvelac with some fresh lemon juice. You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for about 7 days.
  2. To make a second batch. Add another 2 cups fresh water to the soft seeds so they are just covered, and after a further 1-2 days pour off your second batch.
  3. Discard the quinoa seeds or add them to your salad.

Tips

  1. If you see some white bubbly scum on the surface of your rejuvelac during fermentation, just scrape it off.
  2. Always check the smell. It should smell fermented but not off. If it smells bad or if there is the slightest sign of mold, throw the whole lot away.
  3. I like to drink it chilled with some lemon juice.

So I hope you would try making your own rejuvelac. And if you do give it a go, let me know what you think.

Keren x

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Simple Acai Berry Smoothie

Here’s another ‘superfood’ with which you should get acquainted. Açaí (ahh-sigh-ee) is a berry harvested from palm trees found in Brazil and Peru in Central and South America. It has become really popular due to its varied health benefits, as it is high in antioxidants, minerals, healthy fats, and vitamins.

 

Açaí berries come in several forms such as dehydrated in capsules, in frozen pulp, or as freeze-dried powder. I have only used the freeze-dried powders but I’m keen to try the frozen pulp form as it has a stronger taste, texture, and higher nutritional content. Though the freeze-dried form is very convenient to have laying around as you can add it to juice, smoothies, porridges, desserts, and pretty much anything which takes berries, to instantly boost the nutritional content of your meal.

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