It's still January, Eating Light month
at The Kitchn, and I'm still going to talk about ways to eat light without mentioning salads or losing weight, which is what it feels most culinary publications wax poetic about every January.
If you didn't think I was nuts last week, talking about eating in silence and other suggestions on the theme of Eating Quietly, you might after this week. Last week many people misunderstood my suggestions and pooh-pooh'd them. I am merely putting out some ideas for shifting the way you look at your food and your cooking, not saying there is a right or wrong way, and not at all suggesting you make any changes permanently. Life is an experiment, and cooking is very much about experimentation. When you experiment, change sometimes happen. Openings reveal themselves.
So, on to that three-pound pile of vegetables above that I turned into our thirty fluid ounces of dinner last night. WHAT??
Juicing. If you have a juicer, I invite you to dust it off and run some fresh vegetables and fruit through it. Try having a juice for lunch or dinner when you're not too hungry. Wait, before you dismiss the idea ("juicers are expensive!"... "that's not healthy!"... "my family will never go for that!"...) just hear me out.
Drinking (or eating; I'll give you an idea for a juicer-less "juice" below) a pile of vegetables for a meal is merely a way of giving your body a break, while still providing it with nutrition. And by the way, juicers are also great for making concentrated bases for soups and sauces. I sometimes juice a pile of kale, and simmer it into a sauce with a thickener, like potato. A juicer is a great tool for vegetarians. There's an initial investment, but if you really use it, it pays for itself over time.
No juicer and still want to experiment with this kind of light meal? Some powerful blenders, like the Vita-Mix, will take care of that for you. Or just cook it all: take your pile of veggies and simmer them in water or some vegetable stock. The hardest (carrots, beets) go first, down to the softer pieces and then the leafy bits. Cut everything into bite-sized pieces and cook until tender. Brighten your soup with a squirt of lemon. A little sprinkle of sea salt might help it along. Enjoy a cleaning, light meal. Then go back to your pasta and roast chickens.
The pressure we cooks and food lovers feel to create a gourmet meal every night can sometimes be overwhelming. We are busy, we have families and social lives. Try, even if it's just once in the few days left in this month of eating light, to skip putting together an elaborate meal, and instead of reaching for the take-out or go-out alternative, eat (or drink) something really simple.
The next thing you eat will taste all the better, and you'll have more room for seconds.
Regarding the juicer itself: I've had a juicer for many years, which was a real pain to use but every so often I'd get into a juicing kick and make myself a tall, frothy green drink for a snack every day for a week straight, or even replace lunch or dinner with a juice if I wasn't feeling too hungry. A year ago, that juicer, the Omega 9000, finally busted and my juicing days were over.
Then our friends over at Breville told me about their line of juicers, so I decided to give the Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain a try. What a machine: fast, not too loud, doesn't hop around like an overloaded washing machine, and relatively easy to clean. The only downside is it does have a pretty big foot-print so you need a nice space to store it if, like me, you're not blessed with endless counter-top space.
• Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain (Amazon, $179.99)
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