Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Playing With The Vita-Mix

Well, naturally I have been playing with my new "toy". I want to make sure that I learn to use it and then *use* it. My hubby works hard for our money and I don't want to waste it. The kids are fascinated by it and even watched the instructional DVD with me twice. I have watched it about 5 times just because I think of something else I didn't remember. Of course the kids all lined up with their little chairs in the entrance between the kitchen/living room to watch what I was going to do next...and wait for samples.

Yesterday I made smoothies twice. We have lots of frozen berries because I didn't get jam made this past year and because my folks brought some or my favorite Washington Raspberries down with them. (They grow in CA but they don't taste that great, it's just not raspberry weather here.) I also froze some peaches. I haven't experimented with those yet. The first was bananas, orange, blueberries and strawberries. That was so pretty, a raspberry/burgandy color. The second for after dinner was oranges, bananas and strawberries. My son, who is the pickiest, did not like them at first. Of course he needs to train his tastebuds that not everything that tastes good is sweet. I have tried to feed him healthy, but he just came out with a taste for sugar and chocolate in particular. He is one of the reasons that I am doing this.

For dinner last night I made the tortilla soup recipe. I started with boiling water, but the other ingredients are cold and I was a little timid about using the machine, so it did not come out as hot temperature wise as we like. So, we did end up heating it in the microwave and there were a couple things we would change but we really liked it. Hubby said that was the first time he had ever voluntarily eaten cabbage! lol The soup recipes are very adaptable and most of them involve much less heating than a regular soup would have, so they are healthier. I would like to try doing a soup night once a week. This will save grocery $, be nutritious and get us out of the habit of thinking we need a slab of meat on the plate to call it dinner! My husband had two servings, so that is a good sign. :o)

This morning I wanted to make bread. I knew I had some wheat that had been in the freezer and was shocked to see that it had a date of 12/2005 on it! I defrost and clean my freezer every 6 months and we do a lot with the freezer, so I was a little surprised to find something that old! Oops! I decided to try it anyway, since there is no $ until payday on Friday. I was really impressed with how quickly it made flour. I followed the bread recipe but I am not sure what I did wrong, but it was too wet, like a batter. I decided to cook it anyway to at least taste what it was like. It actually tasted really good and was not heavy like some all wheat breads. So, right now I have a second loaf that I made from some white whole wheat flour I had on hand and it rose nicely. The verdict is still out though.

You may be wondering why I am doing wheat if I want to go gluten free. Well, I am only one of five in our family and I am the only one who is doing this. In the mean time I would like to find a good recipe of bread to make on a regular basis. I think when I find a recipe, I may try it with the Kitchen Aid mixer because I can do more than one loaf at a time. However, if things continue to progress so well, I will probably be able to eliminate the bread machine, which I don't use for making bread anyway, mostly mixing dough for pizza and cinnamon rolls. Time will tell. Also Charlotte mentioned that gluten free bread is easier to do in a bread machine. I would imagine that less handling helps that. There is a gluten free recipe in the Vitamix cookbook and I will try that too.

Today I have also been making ice. We just have one ice cube tray since we don't usually use ice and don't entertain. So as soon as it gets done, I dump it into a ziploc and put more water in the tray. Hubby would like to try the pineapple smoothie recipe tonight and it requires ice cubes.

I almost forgot, we made a smoothie of our own concotion today at lunch. We haven't hit a formula yet that works for the picky boy! :o) We are trying. This one had carrot, cabbage, 2 apples, 2 bananas, honey, rice milk and strawberry Keifer. I thought it was really good and it was a peachy color. The girls drank it but D could only get half a cup down. It's a start and I know he wouldn't touch cabbage or carrot with a ten foot pole otherwise! I think that next time I will use half a carrot. Diane, the woman who sold me the Vita-Mix cautioned that a little bit goes a long way. And I figured this would be true because you could really overload on too much fruit or certain nutrients and get sick too. Charlotte also cautioned me about Beta-Carotene. I had to laugh at this, because when I worked in peds it was one of the most common calls I had from first time moms..."my baby's nose is turning orange, what's wrong?" "Did you just begin feeding solids?" "Yes." "Have you introduced carrots?" "Why yes! Baby loves carrots!" There you go! LOL Charlotte mentioned beta-carotene poisoning and I meant to ask her more about that, but forgot...hey Charlotte, if you read this, will you comment? I am also very cautious about eating carrots because Vitamin A in high doses is one of the triggers for Pseudotumor Cerebrei, a horrible disease I experienced and never want to go through again. But carrots do give it a pretty color, so all things in moderation.

Okay, if you read this far, do you have any recipe suggestions for the Vita-Mix? Please let me know.


Danielle said...

My mom has a Vita-Mix. In her smoothies, which are good, but less sweet than you are making, she uses some protein powder, frozen fruit, ice, carrot, cabbage, and celery. I think she uses a hand full of cabbage, 2 carrots and 1 celery rib and then fills the rest of the blender up with fruit and ice. She also adds some flaxseed oil or other healthy fat, sometimes. I've heard that a little beet can add sweetness and pretty coloring, too, but she hates beets and won't try it! :)

Charlotte said...

Hey Theresa, sorry it took me a while to read this and post. The issue with poisoning concerns is related to fat-soluble vitamins. Too many of them your body can't flush like water-soluble vitamins (like Viatmin C). My hubby works at a Co-op where he has seen a good number of unnaturally orange people. Some people take the stuff for a fake tan. But you can overdose on vitamins and the fat-soluble variety are the ones to be really careful of. Like Beta-Carotene. Ever read Dr. Weil? I'm not an expert but my grandfather was--Dr. George K. Davis-he hammered the vitamin overdose thing into my head-Be Careful of all Vitamins and Their Amounts. Some of the people we know weren't aware they were orange-y as the shift in their skin tone was gradual.
Kind of freaky. Carrot people.

Deborah said...

Did I give you the formula for date shakes? Make almond milk with raw (not that you can get these anymore) almonds and water. (1:3 ratio of almonds to water) Throw in some pitted dates and frozen bananas and make a shake. Very yummy!

Teresa said...

Oh my goodness! This is the first time I've found someone else who had pseudotumor-cerebri! I would love to hear your story. I was diagnosed in January 2001. Looking back I'd had symptoms since Aug. 2000, but in January 01 I had double vision. It took them a week to finally diagnose me with a spinal tap. Not fun! I was on meds for 3 or 4 years and finally came off. I still have a ringing in my ear, but that's all. I worry about it coming back from time to time. That's one of the big reasons I want to lose weight and get healthy.

Lonnie Myron said...

Basic Bread recipe for the Vitamix

2 cups wheatberries (or other)
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4cups warm water
active yeast
1/4cup honey

In a bowl, dissolve honey and yeast into warm water and set aside for 10minutes to activate. Grind your 2 cups of wheatberries (or other grains) in the Dry Grinder until flour cakes and lifts and forms a crater in the middle. This should take about one minute.

Pour the water-yeast-honey brew carefully in the "crater", cover the pitcher, and pulse on high once and let stand for one minute. After that, pulse twice and scrape sides about 5 times and forms a ball of dough just off the blades.

Put the dough in your breadpan and let rise.. then bake on 350 deg for approximately 40minutes.