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5 Secret Benefits of Juicing


Not too long ago, I wrote about the different types of juicers. Our family uses our electric juicer 2-3 times a week. In fact, I’ve created my own pinterest board of my favorite juicing and smoothie recipes. (Click here to access) The benefits of juicing are clear for our family.


Benefit #1 – Juicing Saves Time


Because juicers are large contraptions that take time to assemble, I like to juice on the weekends and prepare for the week. I use canning jars to house my juice and like to freeze them and store them in my deep freeze. One of the benefits of juicing is just that it saves time. Our family travels for work a lot and we are both self-employed entrepreneurs, there really is not enough hours in the day. If I can squeeze in an extra 15 minutes to spend time with our family or an important work call, then I will.


Benefit #2 – Juicing Travels Well


I’ve been known to juice and travel especially if I’m hopping on the train to the city or in the car driving to my destination. This helps me to make better food choices and avoid fatten fast foods that are just downright bad for me. In 2013, I went an entire year without eating fast food. One way I avoided the temptation was by juicing.


Benefit #3 – Extend the Life of Your Produce


When I go to the grocery store, I always have good intentions and I tend to over buy produce because I like to think I will have the time and desire to eat all those yummy foods I’m purchasing. Even the best of intentions often result in leftover produce that would otherwise go to waste. And while I would send them to my compost pile, it’s really a waste of money. Juicing extends the life of your produce. A couple weeks ago I had some pears that we purchased and I had intended to make for dessert. Fast forward to today and they were really ripe so I threw them in the juicer with my green veggies to sweeten the kale and celery and without a lot of effort, I have extended the life of my pears and produce.


Benefit #4 – Juicing Fights Cancer and Disease


In 2006, we lost my father in law to cancer that he battled for the third time. Juicing helps to ensure that I am eating and drinking healthy foods that naturally fight cancer, sickness and other health challenges me and my family might face. It’s easy to see why juicing is a more healthy option. Having watched my father in law fight but ultimately suffer, our family eats organic as often as possible. Fruits and veggies are an important part of our cancer and disease fighting strategy.


Benefit #5 – Juicing is a Family Activity


My daughter is an opinionated and independent one. She likes to be involved in EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t have it any other way which is why juicing at our house is a family activity. Ryleigh likes to add in the fruits and veggies for our morning orange juice just as much as she likes to hit the “on” button on our blender for our morning smoothies. Cooking is an important family activity. Juicing is too and makes for a great time to discuss eating healthy especially since eating healthy is something I have personally struggled with my entire life. I want my daughter to make better life choices than me.


More Juicing Recipes & Resources



Understanding Different Types of Juicers


After moving to California and experiencing all the wonders of fresh fruits and produce, our family wanted to try juicing. The two orange trees in the backyard were begging to be made into orange juice,  orange marmalade, candied oranges, and pretty much everything. We quickly realized like most kitchen electrics that all juicers were not equal. Most importantly, there are two main different types of juicers and it’s hard to decide which type is right for your family.

Different Types of Juicers: Masticating and Centrifugal

Electric juicers typically fall into two different categories: 1) Masticating and 2) Centrifugal. That’s nice you say, but what does masticating and centrifugal mean when it comes to different types of juicers?

Masticating juicers squeeze the veggies and fruit to extract the juice. The liquid or juice isn’t necessary always removed from the leftover pulp on its first try. There are times I put the pulp through the masticating juicer two or three times to extract as much juice for me and my family. With masticating juicers, you need to remove orange skins, core of the apple, stems and sometimes seeds. That can be time consuming.

Centrifugal juicers chew the veggies and fruit to extract the juice. The machines operate at a much higher speed. With centrifugal juicers, you don’t need to remove the skins, core, stems or seeds. The pulp is less juicy because the liquid is being chewed out of the fruit or veggies.

Benefits of Juicing

For our family, the benefits of juicing are clear. My family can sneak in healthy fruit and vegetables into our everyday meals especially our busy lives. At present, two friends are battling different types of cancer, and I feel better knowing that we are making efforts to eat more healthy. That peace of mind is another one of the benefits of juicing.

Having tried both masticating and centrifugal juicers, the centrifugal juicer is better for our family. It’s faster and removes the liquid out of the fruit or vegetables more quickly. While most reviewers say that you get more juice out of masticating juicers, I’m not completely sold. My pulp with my centrifugal juicer is less liquidy. There’s more juice being extracted. There’s less mess having to run the pulp multiple times. Plus, it saves me time which is precious when it comes to getting ready for school and work in the mornings.

Our current juicer of choice is pictured above which is a centrifugal juicer called a Breville. Look for review soon on the Breville and Bella Pros juicing models from me.


Home Passion

Easy Yet Delicious Plum Jam Recipe

Love canning? Click here to read about my orange marmalade recipe.

One of the things about living in a new house in California is the surprises that your yard brings. We have a number of trees and bushes here that are fruit bearing. Every new bloom is a tasty surprise in the making. A couple weeks ago, I realized that we had fruits on one of our front yard trees. I took to Instagram and Facebook to ask my friends exactly what this fruit might be.

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The consensus was a plum which my neighbors later confirmed. It is a Santa Rosa plum tree to be exact and apparently, it’s quite famous on our little cul de sac. Having never made plum jam I spent last weekend with my daughter and hubby pitting plums, cooking and creating.

We made two different canned items from the plums from our front yard tree: 1) Plum jam and 2) Plum chutney. I’ve included the recipe for the plum jam below. The plum chutney recipe will be posted at a later date. I use a pressure cooker in my canning. Once you get the hang of it is so easy. Before I share my recipes, here is a helpful video I recommend the explains how to seal and sanitize your canning jars with a pressure cooker.

Plum Jam Recipe

This recipe came to me from my friend Jen who was the first to identify my plum tree from the photo above. I am a fan of simple cooking and ingredients making cooking fun and easy. *Note: I made a small addition to her recipe and added 3 teaspoons of vanilla as well as mint I had from the garden which I sprinkled on the top of the jam just before sealing the lid.

6.5 lbs of plums

2 lbs sugar

2/3 cups rum

3 teaspoons of vanilla

chopped mint

Pit and half them and get rid of flaws…if you leave bruised pieces in, it will be bitter.

Add sugar and rum and toss until they are coated.

Put it in a big turkey roasting pan and bake at 400 covered for 30 mins (don’t overfill, it will get hot and bubbly)

Stir with wooden spoon only

Remove lid and cook another 2 hours or so stirring at least every 30 min

Put into hot sterile jars

Add a pinch of chopped mint to top jam

The most time consuming part of this recipe was the pitting. My daughter helped me separate the pits from the meaty plum pieces. I kept the skin of the plum on them. The plums were so juicy making them extremely hard to pit. I finally figured out my own system where I would just turn the plum and cut around the pit. I didn’t feel too bad about being wasteful as my plum scraps went into my composter to be used on my vegetable garden at a later time.


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The recipe called for a turkey roaster so I improvised and used my cast iron dutch oven. Be very careful not to overfill. The mixture can and will bubble over filling your kitchen with smoke and making your oven a mess. Add the sugar, vanilla and rum. Stir well. Don’t forget to set your timer and use a wooden spoon.

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I really love adding the mint once I added the jam to the sterile jars. It makes for a yummy touch later on. My jam set really quickly literally overnight, and the results are yummilicious! My family gives this recipe two thumbs up and just can’t get enough.

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Love canning? Click here to read about my orange marmalade recipe.



Put Down Roots

It’s been 10 months since we moved to Silicon Valley, and looking back I’m glad we took the risk to move 2,000 miles with our family. The things that have gotten me through the tough times of adjusting to the California way of life have been going old school with eating meal together, gardening and canning. Moving to California feels like moving to another country. It’s what I think moving to Canada would be like only warmer here. They speak the same language, but there are small instances you can’t put your finger on that are just different. It feels weird. It feel awkward. The move among other things has been challenging and life changing. My back yard has become my sanctuary. My friends jokingly refer to me as the Martha Stewart of California. I am in love with gardening, cooking and creating in the backyard of my home.

It’s been a place where my daughter has finally learned to swim. We’ve invested in a swimming coach 2 times a week to come to our home and her transformation has been amazing as seen in the video below.

In March, my backyard became a place of protection and where I sought refuge from the world when we miscarried our baby. My vegetable garden in particular became a place that gave me inspiration and comfort helping me through those very dark times. I was able to re-discover my love of gardening currently experimenting with strawberries, tomatillos and back eyed peas which I can’t wait to add to a soup maybe all at the same time, who knows. Finally, 3 months later I feel like I’m me again after such a huge loss to our family and I owe that to all the time I spent working through my emotions and feelings channeling them into my gardening.

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This is one of our three tomatillo plants. We’ve loved watching the bees pollinate the plants. It’s a science experiment in the making for Ryleigh.

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This is one of two of our raised beds. This picture was taken in February. There are remnants of onions and herbs left over from our winter garden. We’ve already harvested beans and peppers from this bed here. The second one is filled with cucumbers, cilantro and strawberries which my daughter loves picking.

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We have 6 different tomato plants. I’m looking forward to making homemade tomato sauce, salsa and canning tomatoes this year.

In this home, we’ve went back to basics and reconnected as a family. We’ve made jam together, juiced together after spending a lazy Sunday at the farmer’s market and squeezed fresh oranges and lemons from the amazing fruit trees. Just last week I discovered that we have a plum tree and excitedly began researching recipes for making plum jelly and compote. I’ve started painting again and creating again. This year has been one of the most challenging of our lives, but it’s also been the most satisfying. It’s the first time in 5 years since the death of Greg’s father that we’ve been able to slow down and just enjoy well, life. I guess that’s California living.

With all the stress and turmoil that we’ve personally went through, this home, has been a place for us to put down roots and explore California as well as ourselves. Mostly importantly, this home has allowed us to make new memories.

This week I learned that our landlord might not renew our lease for another year. Renting especially in this California market is absolutely new to me. We’ve been homeowners having lived in our Oklahoma house for 7 years together. Before that I owned 2 other homes. I like stability and consistency for ourselves and my daughter especially after the heartache we have went through losing our baby. We don’t want to leave this home, but I need stability in our lives as our daughter starts her kindergarten with the friends she made at the Little Acorn Preschool. I need to put down roots. I’m protecting my family so we are faced with a choice one that I really don’t want to make. I don’t want to move to a new place. I can’t hope that we can live here for another year without the security that a lease brings. I need to know that my daughter will finish her kindergarden year with the same teacher and class she started. We only just got here and began making memories. I feel deflated, sad and violated which is why we are considering moving back to Oklahoma to our old house and to a life that I know offers roots even if not in the location we want or need.

After talking to the owner of the property management company, I told him if the lease was not renewed, we would move home. I think it’s hard for him to understand. He doesn’t know the love we’ve put into this place and how much we’ve enjoyed living in this home. That’s why I’ve decided to write a personal letter to the homeowner. I’m including a link to this article to explain what her home really means to us. We love your home. It’s what’s keeping us here in Mountain View. It has allowed us to put down roots even during such a sad and stressful time as when we lost our baby.

I hope the homeowner reads our letter which I’m mailing out this afternoon and maybe reads this blog post to understand how much she has meant to us this last 10 months. Thank you for letting us love your home and put down roots. Here’s hoping to make another year of memories.


Colorful Outdoor Seating Poolside

Since I’ve been sharing our outdoor photos on Instagram, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people who are loving the fun videos and photos of our home. California seems to be all about outdoor living. People have very made up and beautiful yards. That’s not our style. We like to be colorful, fun and comfortable just like our personalities. Here are some pictures of projects I’ve completed in the backyard since I moved to Silicon Valley.




We have a strange shaped yard when you add in the pool at our rental house. Since I have a sectional outdoor sofa I snagged on Craigslist when we moved, we are limited in what we can do. You can see a small glimpse of the sectional in this picture on the right. I’m hoping to purchase new slipcovers for the cushions from Pottery Barn when they go on clearance later this year. I opted for a nice square table from Lowes and added some colorful chairs from World Market, one of my favorite California stores. The pillows are a combination from Etsy and Target but the theme is really turquoise, red and blue colorful California comfort. You can see more of my inspirations by checking out my Outdoor Living Pinterest board.

Hubby found the umbrella for us on Amazon and it was a good price. Only after we received it in the mail, did we realize it needed a stand too. Bummer. I love it because it is a solar one and provides some light for us in the evening hours. The art on the wall is something I made using extra torn bits of scrapbooking paper that are glued to a canvas and then covered in Mod Podge to protect it from the elements. I have a number of pieces like this for Ryleigh’s bedroom which is elephant themed. That’s a blog post for another day.




One of the things I love is succulents. When I stayed at my best friend’s in Orange County earlier this year, I came home with a huge bag full of succulents from her and her neighbors yard. I added them to this container I picked up for $5 at a yard sale. I added a couple larger succulents from the nursery, but was surprised that I could just plant the cuttings directly in the ground without starting roots in water. You were right, Rayanne. These will grow beautifully! The plant on the far bottom is what is called a Kangaroo’s Tail and it is doing really well in the pot. I was tempted to plant it in the yard but I love the ability to move pots from place to place. It’s holding up just fine with twice monthly waterings.

Since moving here I am putting aloe vera on my face at least once a day picking it straight off the plant you see in the crock planter. I think it’s one of the reasons my skin is looking so good. Last week, I was in Miami for the Top Recruiter Gala and reality show. I had to wear a fancy gown and get my makeup and hair done. My skin looked amazing and I believe it’s because of the aloe vera and my amazing esthetician Irena. She’s in Palo Alto and I’m happy to pass along her contact information to you. Such a wonderful person too.

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