Juice at Home this February!

So far, 2014 has this “outdoorsy” gal deep in hibernation mode. In Burlington’s arctic January, nothing imaginable seemed more appealing than huddling over my stove wrapped up in sweaters and cooking all kinds of things I don’t normally make, hoping that they would make feel warmer. Is that why they call it comfort food? Must be.

As February dawned, I finally realized that though winter is far from over, it was time to lighten up. While still in full swing of many epic kitchen projects, I am shifting my focus from heavy, filling meals and guilt-laden treats to simmering satisfying stocks and squeezing fresh juices at home.

The ritual of washing and prepping the fruits and vegetables, feeding them into the juicer and watching the jewel-like droplets of juice fall into my glass on a bright and cold morning is *almost* as good as baking muffins. But guess what? You can use the leftover pulp from your juice to make delicious, high-fiber, vegan muffins! And you don’t even have to feel guilty about it. Not one bit. More about that great idea later.

If you are the proud owner of a juicer (if you aren’t yet…treat yourself!), then the Produce department has the perfect recipe for you to enjoy a potent, fresh juice in the warmth of your own kitchen. The Juice at Home bags we feature in the department are a little different from what’s offered at the Espresso & Juice Bar, but just as good. This is because our knowledgeable staff bags up their favorite combinations, and the results are a little different each time!

You can usually count on having carrots, apples and leafy greens, rounded out by a lemon or a lime, some citrus or pears, and a beet or two. Or you can use your imagination to dream up an infinite number of combinations…my most recent discovery of pineapple, spinach and meyer lemon, pictured above, was divine. Another favorite was blood orange and pomello. Kale pairs well with pears…And don’t forget ginger! Ginger is my favorite things to juice and this is one of the best ways to access its many benefits. This leads me to my all-time favorite juice blend: Carrot Ginger.

Classic enough to drink daily, and so nutritious that you should, carrot juice is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, and C, as well as biotin. While sweet, a glass of carrot juice only contains half the sugar of orange juice, and its earthy flavor shares none of the orange’s acidity, making it an excellent choice for breakfast. Ginger, besides its immediate sinus-clearing effects, reduces inflammation in the body and boosts immunity against colds. It also stimulates your digestion and improves nutrient absorption, making it a great catalyst in any juice. Drink to health!

While your glass of juice is pressed, the carrot pulp is squeezed dry and collected in another container—for what? Most people compost their juicer pulp, but I propose a better use for this nutritious fiber. And believe it or not, we’re going to take care of that muffin craving, too.

Using 2 cups of pulp from your morning juice, you can innocently whip up a fresh batch of Banana Cacao Tea Cakes. Yes, when you inevitably make your 3rd consecutive cup of tea one polar afternoon and need something hearty to nibble on, my Tea Cakes have got you covered. These dense, satisfying and delicately sweet treats are the perfect thing to warm up to. I used carrot-ginger pulp, but you could use the pulp from any juice including fruit, roots or greens. It’s all good to use in this recipe, and did I mention that they are vegan? Don’t take my word for it—try them yourself!

Banana Cacao Tea Cakes

  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • ½ cup flax meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrot ginger juicer pulp
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs, plus more for garnish

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas with the honey and melted coconut oil until smooth. Blend in vanilla extract and almond milk, then gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Then fold in the pulp, ginger, and cacao nibs, mixing evenly.

Preheat your oven to 400 while you grease a 12-well muffin pan with coconut oil. Spoon the muffin batter into the wells, garnishing each with a pinch of cacao nibs. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops start to brown. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Lighten up your routine and your winter kitchen with fresh juice, and let us do the work for you! Stop by the Produce department today and check out our feature display of Juice at Home bags, made specially for you with love.

– Produce Extraordinaire, Anna