3.21.14 Spring Forward

Smoothie 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

Can you feel it? The axis of the earth is increasing its tilt toward the sun. Days are longer and filled with more light. I’m not fully rejoicing yet because I hear there may be another nor’easter in our near future, but I’m getting ready for greatness. Our palates are preparing for the change, eager for the delicate flavors of spring: fresh goat cheese, the first slender stalks of asparagus and rhubarb, tender greens, sweet peas. These lighter foods act like a tonic upon us, awakening what has lain dormant, much as the sweet air brushing against our skin is revitalizing. This is a wonderful time to do a detox or a cleansing fast, to purge, freshen and take stock. There is something about that sparkling feeling, wiping the slate clean, that allows us to move ahead with great optimism. I urge you to shed some layers and wipe away the cobwebs—literally and figuratively. Soon we will be loosed from the shackles of winter and there is promise of great things to come.

Forgive the lack of photos here. It has been an incredibly busy time for me and I haven't been able to document much of what's been happening in my kitchen. I've been preparing for my reading at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, as part of a small group called Who Cares. This is our official description:
Through the prism of personal experience with an aging parent, a dying sibling, a child with a disability, a partner with a chronic illness, and a job in a white lab coat, these five writers represent the collected thoughts of those engaged in the give and take of care. The event includes a reading and a panel discussion on nurturing the self while tending to others. 
Anyone interested in attending our presentation on Thursday, March 27th at 7pm at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass. can find details

Leading up to this, I will be at Kripalu for a three-day yoga retreat that will entail meditation, clean eating, yoga (of course), hiking on the beautiful grounds and massage. I am beyond excited and feel so lucky I get to do this, especially right now when I really need it!

I have also signed up to participate in a 21-Day Detox, a group cleanse led (virtually) by my marvelous health coach, Sara Seinberg. It starts on April 4th and includes a wealth of ideas for cleansing the body, mind and spirit in preparation for the new season ahead. Follow her on Facebook for more info and updates.

With all that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the smoothies and juices and soups I have been enjoying and will continue to enjoy over the next month (and beyond, of course). I'll often make a green juice of some sort to start off the day, and then I have a nutrient-packed smoothie after my morning workout. In the evenings, I've been eating a lot of simply roasted fish with vegetables and salads, or even just a bowl of green soup. (Like this one; or this asparagus soup.) I have not been feeling deprived, although I still do have sugar cravings which are somewhat assuaged with a strong cup of cinnamon tea. If you have never tried this, I think you will be amazed by its natural sweetness. I like this one.

If reading this is making you feel restless, inadequate, lazy and fat, I totally empathize. But at some point, you just have to replace all the negative feelings and self-judgments with something that—in the long run, if not right away—feels a whole lot better. One immediate pay-off? Regular workouts have eliminated those little aches and pains, and even the more serious lower back issues, that I've been experiencing. Healthy eating makes my skin glow. Can't find the time? You just have to make up your mind that you love yourself enough to give yourself what you need. More on this subject? Pick up this book.

The orange drink, above, is one of my new favorite smoothies:

1/2 garnet yam (raw, skin on), in chunks
1 carrot, in chunks
1 tablespoon coconut cream
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maca powder
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup coconut water
ice cubes

Blend at high speed until well combined. It comes out a little chalky but tastes great - sort of like an orange julius!

I'm also loving this one:

2 large handfuls baby spinach
1 green apple, in chunks
1 knob ginger
1 small frozen banana, in chunks
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 scoop green protein powder

Blend at high speed until well combined.

For more smoothie ideas, and my recipe for vegan protein powder, go here.

As far as juices, some recent favorites include:

pear, fennel, watercress, lemon, ginger

pineapple, cucumber, romaine, cilantro, jalapeño

grapefruit, orange, lemon, ginger, cayenne 

spinach, celery, green apple, parsley, ginger

I love, love, love my Vitamix for smoothies and can now officially endorse my Hurom slow juicer, which has been doing a fantastic job for the better part of two years. (Breville juicers and blenders of all sorts work just fine, too.)

I look forward to hearing about what you're doing to wake your body up after this long winter.

Sending you much love xo


I wish I could teleport to your reading. I am navigating some similar terrain with my Mother who had a massive stroke this past April 2013. I'll join you in praise of soup and juicing; both help. :)
Pritha on March 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm —
So sorry to hear about your mother, Pritha. I may post my piece here in the weeks to come. xo
laura on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm —
Thank you. Looking forward to your essay, if it appears!
Pritha on March 31, 2014 at 12:40 pm —
I've been juicing yams the past few weeks with carrots, beets, and oranges. Can't believe how good it is. Exciting to try recipes. xo
Maria on March 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm —
No surprise--you've once again found me right where I am dwelling, one foot in the green juice/detox/re-boot, and one in the beat-myself-up-for-not-being-more-committed-to-it. L'chaim on the yam cocktail and hooray for plugging our evening!
Janet on March 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm —
I would love to come hear you read at Kriaplu. I lived there in 2012 and am certain you'll have a restorative time there. Maybe I'll see you soon! Thanks for the juice and smoothie tips. I wrote a short story for the Berkshire Women's Writers and it is on my blog under "Morning Milking." xoxo
Hannah on March 23, 2014 at 10:07 pm —
Nice to hear from you, Hannah! I will definitely check out your story. xo
laura on March 24, 2014 at 7:51 am —