Tuesday, April 29, 2014

6 Days of Green Juice, 3 Recipes & 8 Tips for Juicing Efficiency

About $15, 90 minutes, and 65 oz of fresh organic juice 

I tend to go into phases when it comes to juicing, and now that spring has sprung, I've pulled my Champion Juicer out of the cabinet and am ready for some juicing fun. A few friends have mentioned that they are getting their juices from a local delivery company, so I thought I'd do an experiment to see if it was economically and energetically worth it for me to spend the $36 dollars a week, which actually seems very reasonable.

I went to Sprouts to pick out some yummy organic fruits and veggies and was ready for some fun. Part of the intention is to boost our immune systems,  as with a toddler we get exposed to everything. So I want my tot to like the juice, so he will actually drink it.

List of Ingredients: (& overview of benefits)


Organic Green in sink - juice recipe by Creative and Crafty Events
Kale - 1 bunch
Collard greens - 1 bunch
Dandelion leaves - 1 bunch
Mint - 1 bunch

Fruits & Veggies

Lemon - 3
Cucumber - 1
Pineapple - 1
Carrot - 1 bunch (discarded top - too bitter, some people can get an allergic reaction to it)
Apple - 3
Beet - 1

A few timesaving and helpful tips:

1. Prepare and wash all ingredients before you start juicing 

I like to use a fruit wash as well, as organic fruit often comes with critters and I'm not into the added protein. It's much faster if you get everything ready beforehand, rather than cutting and washing as you go.

2. To be nice to your machine and take off hard stems of dark leafy greens 

As a rule of thumb, if you can't roll the greens into a ball, easily with one hand, it's too much stem. This also helps avoid cleaning the filter and blade more then necessary.

3. Clear your workspace

Have a coffee maker on the counter? Move it, and make your cleanup faster later on. Take your trash or compost bin out from under the counter. It will make your life easier if you don't have to reach, or touch anything else to get to it.

Cutest boy ever 4. Forget the colander and just use the sink for washing fruits and veggies.

That way they have room to soak with some extra space for you can sort through as you go. Also you conserve water and have less to wash later. Your colander will find other things to do...

5. For efficient juicing order, alternate leafy and juicy ingredients, and leave the stringy ingredients for last

By alternating leafy and juicy ingredients, you will put the least amount of stress on your machine. You will also maximize juice flow and will have to clean out the filter less. Of course, this varies according to your machine. Stringy ingredients, like ginger, gets caught up in the blade, so you might as well leave it for last. I don't mind cleaning the filter in between juices, but don't want to have to take the machine apart to clean the blade until I'm completely done as that adds more time and ruins my flow.

cheerio fun -  Creative and Crafty Living blog 6. Have camera handy to capture mini culprit making mess with stolen goodies from cabinet right under your nose.

Creativity is contagious and juicers are loud, making it easy for trouble to be found by those seeking it.

7. Tone it down when juicing for kids

When adapting to little taste buds, limit the use of ginger, as it is often too spicy for them. Also go lighter on the dandelion leaves, as they can be a bit bitter. You can add more apples to offset that and make it sweeter. Another trick is to just cut it with water to mellow out the intense flavor.

8. Trust your gut and creative process

Instead of going for exact measurements, try feeling out how much of each thing to put in, and tailer to your taste buds.


1. Pina-collarda


Collard Greens
Dandelion Leaves

Kid test - cut with 1/2 water and Tuck loved it

2. Rainbow

juice for kids - juice recipe - Creative and Crafty Living blogKale
Collard Greens
Dandelion Leaves

Kid test - I think it was a bit too much ginger for him, though he still drank a bit of it.

3. Rainbow Light

Collard Greens

Kid test - He liked it! I cut it with a little bit of water, but not much.

In Conclusion... 

When I drink drink fresh juice I feel a noticeable difference in my mood, energy and overall health. Investing ninety minutes a week seems more then worth it. (For those that don't have to stop and clean up cereal off the floor, it would probably take less time.)

The bottom line in deciding to do it my self, or use a service, comes down to that I love having control of what is in my juice and find it fun to adapt my juicing to what's in season and change it up according to my own whim. The juices I tasted from the delivery services were admittedly very good, though I prefer a more robust juice and these were a bit watery. They are made with a vitamix, which requires added water since it's a blender. The added benefit is that it grinds up the whole ingredient, so you get more fiber. If you aren't into juicing yourself this is a great and affordable option, especially considering the exorbitant cost of fresh juice at the store, not to mention they deliver! The local companies that my friends use are Super Tasty Greens and Chef V  (Chef V offers a free week trial). 

All in all, I'm happy with my little champion. For now. :) And though it would certainly be easier to just order juices, I think for what I value, I'm going to see if I can stick with the plan to make my own batch of weekly juice.

juice recipes by creative and crafty livingjuice recipes by creative and crafty living

-Lisa Ratner

BTW- Would love to hear about your favorite juice recipes??

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pumping Pistons

My son is really into trains, his favorite story/movie is "The Little Engine That Could". In the movie, there is a part where the little steam engine can't move because she has a leak and no water left in her tank. I relate to her dilemma this week. So the question is How do I get this creativity train moving?

Fueling Up
Finding a way to fuel up seems like a good place to start. Ahh earl grey tea, possibly not strong enough to get my engine purring. I think the real problem is that once the momentum stopped, and the juice from the initial creative high was gone, it got a lot harder to stay motivated. And everyone knows that nothing is as good as that initial high. The refuel, isn't the same.

The Obstacle
The trailer project seems to be going a lot slower then anticipated. The curtains need to be readjusted for a third time, as I need to do final adjustments on the length, now that I figured out how I'm going to hang them. Yesterday, I went to do some work in the trailer and found evidence that a mouse was taking up residence, gross. So I'm not feeling the flow.

Do it Anyways
"Do it anyways" is a phrase I've told myself through the years to trek though the mud of inertia. That phrase inspired me to move past my excuses in a variety of circumstances. For example, when I committed to doing a 6 day yoga practice, starting at 6 am. Often, I wouldn't want to get up and had every excuse in the book of why I should skip it and sleep in. That phrase helped me disassociate with that part of my brain that was impeding my practice and my state of being. If I caved, sure I enjoyed the extra sleep, but afterwards, I felt like I failed myself. (I'd give anything for that 6-day a week morning practice now, but with a toddler that's not in the cards for the moment.)

Discipline Trumps Inspiration
So that is the plan, not to sleep in, but to do it anyways. There's still plenty that needs to be done. ...And instead of waiting for inspiration, I'll just keep on keepin' on. At least my train is on the track, even if I'm not feeling the groove. (Maybe if I upgrade to coffee?) That part isn't as important anyways. I'm showing up for myself by sticking to my commitment and that's what is important. The greater goal is that I aspire to live more creatively. Expecting inspiration to always be there is unrealistic. That is what discipline is for. After many struggles to get out of bed with the yoga thing, I never once regretted actually going to class. We tend to regret only the things that we don't do anyways. Thomas Edison says genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois says yoga is 99% practice, 1% thereoy. So here I go pumping my pistons towards becoming the better version of me. Chug, chug, chug, puff, puff, puff, I think I can, I think I can...

Trailer Remodel Update:


Ugg, I'll get back to you when I have something nice to say.

Dividing Curtain:

I cheated on this one by literally cutting the ugly old curtain off of the hardware and hand-sewing the new curtains on... 

Building the Business Update:

Check out the logos that my beautiful friend Belinda Pearl did for me. She is an amazing artist, and super easy and fun to work with. I created a pinterest board with my logo inspirations and from that she came up with some ideas that we collaborated on together. Here are the winners...

creative and crafty events logo
creative and crafty living logo by CCEvents

Actually, her first attempt for the website logo, is the one I ended up going with, even though she kindly humored me with my ideas for alternative renditions. I didn't start out even wanting a logo for the blog, but I loved the second choice so much, that it seemed perfect. (All we needed to do was switch out "living" for "events") I am very pleased with these! So a big thanks to Belinda!!!

Check out the new business card that I made with the new logo...

business card for creative and crafty events
business card back for CCEvents

I'm not sure if going greyscale was the best option or not?? Here's what it looks like in full color. Thoughts? 

Light, love and laughter,
Lisa Ratner

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Up-cycled tradition

Sometimes motivation comes out of the blue, rips the sunglasses off of your head, so there’s nothing you can do but experience the light. Other times, it’s more like you’ve walked inside from a bright day and you can’t find your inspirational bearings.

I experienced both this weekend. I had lofty ideas about everything I wanted to accomplish on our weekend festival getaway. But once we arrived, I wasn’t motivated in the slightest to do anything creative. The last night I found some creative flow, but it wasn’t until I got home that I was truly inspired. 

Once we got home and settled, I made a trip to home depot in preparation of my day off of work, which I allocated to working on the trailer. The winds shifted then, as I got a call from my friend Elisheva, who had invited us to Passover dinner. I had previously told her that we couldn’t go, since it was starting so late. As it turned out, Tucker took a 3 hour nap, waking at 4:30, so when Elisheva unexpectedly called to check in about his nap, we dropped what we were doing and went for it, getting ready in record time. I’m so grateful we didn’t passover this opportunity, as it was a lovely evening of up-cycled tradition. 

From Bla to Ahh...

My childhood reflections of Passover are filled with impatience, hunger, boredom and a couple of fun songs. Let’s not forget fish from a jar, bad wine, if you could call Manischewitz wine, and a belly ache the next day from eating too many Matzohs. While I appreciate the traditional imprint this has on my heart, I don’t think I’ve ever considered that it could be a holiday filled with creativity and joy until I experienced it with my friends, David and Elisheva. They both put so much of themselves into creating and upholding a sacred space for this event that everyone there, I’m sure, was touched by it. 

As the Passover story was told, in traditional fashion going around the circle reading a paragraph each, guests occasionally opted out of their section and instead interjected with questions or relatable stories of their own, which made it feel relatable and relevant for both the jews and non-jews at the table. I was impressed at how they opened the door for inspiration and provided it a seat at the table... It takes special intention to foster space for this type of exchange. They are a special couple, with a shared love for Judaism and it was nice to share in their joy, as well as experience the scholarly knowledge and wisdom of the other 2 other rabbis there, not to mention the catholic ex-nun that had some lovely stories to tell as well. 

Every little touch was infused with a sense of traditional symbolism as well as their personal flair. This is the best way to approach traditions in my opinion, and they nailed it! From the design of the service, to musical interludes, to a beautiful table and creative and yummy food. They even went as far as to provide several options for dietary restrictions. (I haven't eaten Charoses, maybe ever, as it always has nuts, and she made not two but 3 versions, including a 3rd version without wine.) There was also real wine and fresh fish. They had some lovely personal touches as well. For example, the eggs were dyed shades or purple and brown, with imprints of herbs on it. (If I were a good blogger, I would have taken a picture, but as my friend said as we almost refused to eat her work of art, “sometimes, things are just meant to be experienced”. However, she has given me the recipe to share - see below. For those that celebrate Easter, this is perfect activity to do with kids.) During the hand washing portion of the service, there was drumming and humming. So nice! The whole thing was lovely. I left feeling glad to be a Jew and guilty for not being Jewish enough, as this is probably the only Jewish thing I’ve done since their Seder last year.

I consider myself a creative person and a spiritual person, but not really a religious person. Experiencing an evening like this makes me think I am overlooking something meaningful. As my friends breathed life, like bellows, into this stale holiday tradition, I am reminded that religion, creativity and spirituality doesn't have to be separate. There are goodies in all traditions and religions. We are the ones to decide which are meaningful to us, and worth investing in. And when we do, it is our job to own it. Just because we've been brought up with certain ideas, doesn't mean that's all there is. Well, that is one choice, of course, but perhaps there's more. Perhaps if we invest in making a sacred fire, the blaze will burn off what was impure about it, as that's what fires do.

Purple died eggs with garden herb imprints  - DIY

1. Pick herbs from garden
2. Get pantyhose and tie around egg to hold herbs to the egg (twist ties work better, as it's easier to keep the herbs where you want them)
3. Put 1 cabbage, 3 yellow onions, and 3 tbl vinegar in big pot (you want about 3x the amount of water)
4. Boil, reduce to simmer, place eggs and leave for 1 hr.
5. Let cool, admire your creation
6. Eat!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doin' it Up

Doin' it Up - Phase 1

So this weekend we are going to Lucidity, a music festival, as my partner Wayne is helping out there with rigging. For me, it is the perfect time to think about a new look, some new threads and how to gussy up this old camper.

…Not me! Not that it's a bad idea. These events tend to bring out the fashion forward artist. (Sometimes really far out!), and I could probably use some gussying up myself. ...But that's another subject for another time. For now, I'm actually talking about our trailer. It's in desperate need of a makeover. I haven’t done a thing to it since we got it. Shame on me. I'm going focus my energy, for phase 1, on curtains and coverings; as that is the simplest way to transform the look and feel. Replacing the awful the cushions and window treatments is my first priority.

The walls are covered with this weird wall paper, but maybe with the new curtains it won't be so bad. I considered giving it a whole new coat of paint, but as this first project will happen while we are actually at the festival, I'll wait on that for now. Also I want to see how the place feels with the initial changes. I have many ideas of what I'd like to do, but until I'm in the space, it's hard to tell what will really work. Sometime things that work perfectly in my mind, don't exactly translate to reality as intended. Such is life, right?! They say "you want to make G-d laugh, tell her your plans". I have this idea that I'd like an accent wall, so maybe at the end of our trip, if it still seems like a good idea, I'll prime it as we pack up to leave, so I don't subject my son to the smell. Tucker likes to help his daddy pack up the outside, as I clean and prepare the inside of the trailer for travel, so that could work out well.

I'll let you know what happens over the weekend. I'm bringing some crafts materials and my sewing machine in case I get divine inspiration for renovation while I'm there. Hopefully I'll have some fun things to report next week. :)

So here are some of the projects that I have prepared for this first round of renovations...

DIY Cabinet Knobs - A perfect first project (for you too!)

Seriously, this is the easiest project ever, and a great way to transform the look of any cabinet or drawer. 

  1. Buy knobs with flat surface from home depot ($.99 each)
  2. Get image - any image will work, you could even have your kid draw on a paper (I chose to upload digital paper I found on etsy called moroccan lotus tiles)
  3. Print on regular white paper 
  4. Use knobs to Trace circles and then Cut out the circles
  5. Glue (with mod podge) paper to knob, press out air bubbles, and wait for it to dry (If you don't have mod podge  - use elmers glue and water, as that is what mod lodge basically is! Shocking right!)
That's it! I love quick projects like this. They are perfect for getting your creative and crafty feet wet, as they are instantly gratifying.

DIY Cabinet knobs by CCEvents

Covering it up... 

The obstacles:
I can't cut a straight line to save my life. Possibly, it's just that I lack the patience required to measure things out exactly. And while we're at the confessional, I'm also not a good sewer, my skills start and end at sewing a semi-straight line. Anything fancier than that is above my pay grade. However, what I lack in ability, I make up for  in ingenuity. As a kid, I watched duck-tales. There is an episode that has stuck with me all these years... The uncle duck was working in a factory and instead of working the line, doing one thing at a time, he rigged up a bike, so all he had to do was pedal. The lesson to the little ducks, was "Work smarter, not harder!" 

DIY Black-out Curtains 

Curtains are not hard to make, but to tell you the truth  - nice fabric is expensive and often you can find nice panels at stores like Ross or TJ max for a fraction of the cost and you can always amend them to suit your needs. Here's how I will turn regular curtains into blackout curtains in 8 quick steps.

  1. Buy cheap panels (Cheap in price, not quality! if you don't really love them, it isn't a bargain!)
  2. Buy thick fabric from fabric store (any thick fabric that you like will do, check the bargain bin.)
  3. Cut and match up fabrics (if your panels have rivets, cut fabric lower, as to not cover up the holes) 
  4. Turn inside out (so the sides that you want to go out, are towards each other)
  5. Pin fabrics together about along the outside edges - go about 1" in. (Pin both sides and the bottom. For now you leave the top alone) * Here's a trick - if you pin vertically it's super easy to take out as the pins approach the needle of your machine
  6. Sew along pinned edge for all 3 sides 
  7. Turn right side out and pin the top edge (under rivets if you have them)
  8. Sew top edge and done! 

Black out Curtains by CCEvents

An insight into my creative process...

Trouble-shooting Seat Cushion Covers   -  When you don't have a plan just sit on it

seat cushion cover by CCEventsSeat cushions are tricky, since they are 3-d and not flat. So I did what I do when I'm stuck, I let it marinate. (I.E. I left the cushions in my living room corner for 3 weeks to taunt me.) Finally one day, Tucker was napping, I had 90 minutes!!, and was ready to do this thing. Since I needed to start somewhere, I took the foam cushion out from the old cover to see if I could just follow the pattern. ...Nope! That plan would require a lot of cutting. Moving on! Next idea - maybe I could use the machine to sew it directly onto the old cushion inside out or something? ...Um, no. I couldn't get the sewing machine around the fabric, that probably should have occurred to me. Dumb idea, but not entirely! Actually, I could reach the edge by the zipper and having that done, it would anchor the fabric to make stretching and pinning easier. Then it wouldn't be hard to do a simple stitch around the other 3 edges by hand. Sounds doable! Not to mention, I wouldn't even need an exact cut, just fabric cut a little bigger then the cushion, in order to tuck the edges underneath and sew directly onto the old fabric. Luckily, the bottom material was plastic-ish material that I liked, and wanted to keep anyways, so this plan was perfect.

The trick to the eyeballing it cutting technique, is to know where you can cut corners, and where you should not.. It is unacceptable to me that my work suffer, because I have an aversion to taking the time to cut straight lines. My secret…  pin, pin, pin! This way I can see what it will look like before making any big mistakes, or wasting my precious hour and a half of free time.

So you may think that it is time consuming and monotonous to sew all that by hand. That's a matter of perspective. It actually went by quickly as I found a nice rhythm. Also since it was pinned, I didn't need to think about it any more and could just sew away and enjoy my audio book. ("The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd - it's very good, I highly recommend it)  

seat cushion covers by CCEvents

If you decide to do any of my projects, I would love to hear about your experience and see a pic of how it came out!