Thursday, December 16, 2010

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice

I love the scent of fresh lemons.  When shopping in the produce section of my local Costco, I spotted packages of meyer lemons and couldn't pass them up.  I brought some home with me and decided to freeze the juicy goodness into ice cubes.  It's very simple and adds the perfect touch to any lemon dessert.  I wanted to also try and freeze the peel, so I zested it and froze what I could into two ice cubes.  I haven't used any yet in a recipe, so I can't tell you if it tastes just as good as fresh or not.  

A good zester is a must.  Mine is a Microplane.

I stuffed the zest into two ice cube molds and filled the rest with the juice.

I made a total of 32 lemon cubes.  I only used about 6-8 lemons.  Once the cubes are frozen I take them out of the molds and store them in a freezer zip lock bag.  When using in a recipe make sure you allow enough time for the cube to melt; otherwise, try the microwave.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My New Blender and Homemade Peanut Butter

I've been researching the best of the best blenders for quite a few years now.  I narrowed it down to two: the Vitamix and the Blendtec.  I reviewed Consumer Reports, youtube videos, websites and even the actual blenders themselves.  I'm lucky enough to have two people in my family with  both.  I decided on the Blendtec for a few reasons.  There are two sizes that the Blendtec jars come in.  The standard is the 64 ounce and then they have come out with a new 96 ounce jar that has a four inch blade.  The actual blender itself comes with a 64 ounce jar.  I purchased the larger jar in addition to the 64 ounce one.  I have my reasons for wanting two jars.  The rest of my reasons for purchasing the Blendtec over the Vitamix are as follows:

Fits under a standard cabinet
Lighter base
More shallow jars (easier for scraping things out)
No plunger needed

There are more reasons, but those are the major one's.  My family, like most, love green smoothies.  This machine makes them so easy to make.  No shaking of the blender, or plunging ingredients down.  In 20 seconds or less we have a wonderful, nutritious, green smooth packed with wholesome goodness.  I purchased mine through Costco and got an additional 4 year warranty making the total warranty 7 years.  That is identical to Vitamix.  I like the Vitamix also, I just decided to go with the Blendtec because I liked it a little bit better.  

Today, I made homemade peanut butter in less than a minute.  I put in three cups of dry roasted unsalted peanuts.  Set the level to 1 and let it grind for about 15 seconds.  Then I turned the speed to level 5 and let the machine do the rest of the work for an additional 30 seconds or so.  I made smooth today, but chunky would be just as easy.  I added about 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  I had a few empty peanut butter jars so I filled them right up.  I made a total of three batches (3 cups of peanuts in each) and filled two Costco size peanut butter jars (the organic kind).  I love the flavor and so does my family.  I bought the bag of peanuts in the bulk section at my local Winco.  I paid $4.81 for the bag.  

I have a list a mile long of all the different foods I want to try out.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.  For now, I will easily use my blender 2-3 times a day.  It even whips fresh whipping cream in a matter of seconds.    If you are in the market, I highly recommend Blendtec.  It's definitely an investment, but one worth making.

{I was not paid by Blendtec to write this post.}