My New Breville Juicer

My doctor recommended a juice cleanse. This was in response to my complaints of no energy and feeling generally bad. I’ve juiced off and on for years, but not recently. I’ve never done a cleanse.

I bought juice from Coco Greens to get me started. Coco’s does a three day, re-packaged, cold-pressed juice cleanse. You go into their store and they’ve got all the juices you need in a thermal bag sitting in their fridge waiting for you. They also offer a soup cleanse. And you can purchase juices and soups a la cart if you prefer. They didn’t have any thermals ready when I got there so I bought a selection of juices and soups. Even though the soups are also very much like juices, I felt like I was “eating” a meal when I heated up some soup instead of drinking a cold juice.

At first it was easy, then it wasn’t. But once I got past day three, I began to feel better. I decided to continue – not 100% juices, but at least one juice a day. I loaded my fridge with produce. Then my JuiceMan burnt out. It was a Friday morning. I had just starting making my morning juice and it pooped out in the middle of the kale. Nuts.

Not to be discouraged, I Googled “Best Juicers” and found a site that rated the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus as “Best Bang for your Buck.” Next stop –! I have Amazon Prime which gets me free shipping, and due to a new delivery option, my brand new Breville arrived at my door at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning! Life is good!

Today was my first chance to use my new juicer. I had purchased a bunch of veggies for juicing prior to the burnout, and while waiting for delivery of the Breville I had a gallon growler filled at the I Love Juice Bar to carry me through. So…by the time I got to juicing, my produce had been in the fridge five days – it had to be used. Instead of looking up recipes, I decided to juice all the produce I had on hand in one big batch.

Turns out, I like juicing a larger quantity. I’ve always juiced a single serving at a time, believing that the nutrients are best when fresh. But…juicing a single serving takes almost as much time as juicing a larger batch, and I’m more likely to drink juice if it’s handy.

What you’ll see below is apple, carrot, spinach, kale, romaine, beet, cucumber, lemon, grapefruit and ginger. I like to go heavy on the ginger because I like the taste.

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I had enough produce to fill the pitcher twice. I did the kale, romaine, beets, a cucumber and a couple apples in the first pitcher, when poured it into a gallon jug. I finished up with the remaining produce.

As stubborn I was about getting started on this, I have no desire to go back to eating three solid meals each day. I have much more energy now, my mood is better and I am no longer suffering from fatigue. Have I lost weight? Um, no. But that’s fine as long as I feel better.

I ended up with about 1/3 of a gallon of juice, which will last me through my mid-morning juice tomorrow.

The aftermath: It does make for a lot of dishes – another argument for juicing a larger batch!


I really like my new Breville juicer! It’s much quieter than the Juiceman, and it is built for bigger batches. It has a larger feed tube, so I was able to put the apples in whole (they were small). I followed the user’s guide suggestion to line the pulp container with a plastic bag. What I didn’t do – and should have – was check the pulp container for fullness after filling the pitcher the first time. When I was all done and took the machine apart to clean it, the pulp had backed up in the chute and there was a big ball of it remaining in the filter cup. Lesson learned!

I’ve been at this a few weeks now, and while I no longer have cravings, I kind of miss them! But – feeling good is so much better than having a craving for something that will make me feel bad! The plan I’ve been following is:

  • Before Breakfast: Large glass of water with the juice of one lemon (I sometimes add Stevia to make it less tart.)
  • Breakfast: 16 oz juice
  • Mid-Morning: 16 oz juice
  • Lunch: 16 oz juice or salad
  • Afternoon: 16 oz juice
  • Dinner: Soup or salad
  • I also drink LOTS of water throughout the day
  • Additional Snacks/Refreshments: Pumpkin Seeds, Various Nuts, Hot Tea, Coffee

I am not going to label myself a vegan or even vegetarian, but I am having good results on this plan. And while I plan to continue eating this way into the foreseeable future, I’m sure there will still be a juicy burger or some chicken wings happening on occasion!

Celebrity Solstice – Day 2 at Sea

NEXT STORY: Noumeau, New Caledonia – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Day two at sea on the Celebrity Solstice was soooo much better than day one. Day one was filled with nausea due to rough seas and me not having found my sea legs.

I awoke on day two feeling ready to relax and enjoy the ride! After breakfast I did some on-board shopping and then headed for our workshop, which was scheduled from 1:30 to 4:15. (I’m traveling with a group who are all here to – in addition to seeing beautiful islands – participate in some new age / motivational workshops.) I learned from the previous day’s workshop that if you are at all queasy, it is best to sit more near the center of the ship.

After the workshop I made a beeline for the Martini Bar and ordered a Cosmopolitan. I was behind on my alcohol consumption due to the previous day’s queasiness! After the martini, I made my way to one of the outside bars and had a glass of sparkling wine.

I then met up with a couple I’ve been dining with since the first night. They are a Ukrainian couple living in Melbourne, Australia.  She is a violinist for the Melbourne Opera. They are both very sweet, and it’s nice to have a little consistency at the dinner hour. We share our stories of where we’ve been and what we’ve done throughout the day and then after dinner we go our separate ways…until the next night’s dinner!

I’ve met many very friendly people on the trip, so almost everywhere I go I run into someone I can say hello to and chat for a minute or two.

After dinner I was back at the Martini Bar for a chocolate martini – they have an ice-covered bar!

Chocolate Martini on Ice-Covered Bar
Chocolate Martini on Ice-Covered Bar

I then moved to a bar on the next deck below. I told the bartender there that I wanted a coffee drink but didn’t know which one. She said, “No problem! I make for you!” I watched as she proceeded to add healthy pours of at least three liqueurs, then some coffee, and whipped cream on top. You can never go wrong with a whipped cream- topped drink!

NEXT STORY: Noumeau, New Caledonia – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Touristing in Sydney

NEXT STORY: More About the Surf Shack – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

On my last full day in Australia before the cruise, I ferried may way back to Circular Quay and then wandered the streets of Sydney by the bay. Highlights included:

Aboriginal Musicians were set up on the wharf, playing the didgeridoo, dancing and selling hand-painted boomerangs.

I wandered over to the Opera House and had a beer in the Opera Bar. The wait staff were very nice there! I didn’t do the tour. If I had been with someone who was interested I would have, and I’m sure would have enjoyed it, but by myself it wasn’t at the top of the list. Beautiful place though, and I took lots of pictures of it on land and by ferry.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

I stopped at several art galleries, which carry mostly aboriginal art – very interesting and even mesmerizing to just stand and stare at some of these pieces. One style is lots of tiny dots that form a larger pattern; another is small petal-like swatches of paint that form patterns. (I wasn’t supposed to take pictures, but I wanted to remember and share the style of the work found here.)

Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal Art

I spotted Fortune of War, Sydney’s Oldest Pub and decided to stop in for some Fish & Chips and a beer. Apparently it’s Australia’s version of a “Good Ole Boys” club, because the only female in the pub was behind the bar, and – though she did make eye contact several times – she never acknowledged me or attempted to serve me. I got the message loud and clear and headed down the street to The Rocks Café where I had some lovely Fish & Chips and a Pure Blonde beer (very light, and only 1.7 carbs)!

Fortune of War, Sydney's Oldest Pub
Fortune of War, Sydney’s Oldest Pub
The Rock Cafe
The Rock Cafe
The Rock Cafe Fish & Chips
The Rock Cafe Fish & Chips
Pure Blonde
Pure Blonde

I don’t know what this place is. It was in the middle of a cluster of buildings containing businesses. Very interesting little space where i imagine people may go to have a quiet lunch.


There are so many interesting little vignettes throughout Sydney.  Here is a courtyard where I enjoyed a glass of Shiraz.


After Shiraz I made a stop at a  Gelato shop (Salted Caramel, please!) and then headed back around to the wharf, where I listened to music performed by Pete Raven. Such a beautiful voice! I was really surprised at the sound quality here.

Next I headed to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, where tomorrow I will board the Celebrity Solstice! I dropped in at the Cruise Bar and had a (very pricey) margarita.

$16 Margarita
$16 Margarita

I have come to the realization that the cost of living in Sydney is much higher than in Nashville, TN. I could have looked that up ahead of time, but…I am the consummate “seat of the pants” traveler!

Now back across the bay to Manly by ferry for my final night at the Curly Surf Shack! I will be sad about leaving – it is such a serene space!

Now that I’ve written it all down, I realize I’ve had quite a bit to drink today! No wonder I was so tired when I got back to the shack!

NEXT STORY: More About the Surf Shack – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Breakfast at the Beach, Sydney Style!

NEXT STORY: Dee Why Beach, Australia – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

So I’ve really done it! I have traveled over 20 air hours from my home to another country where I know no one and am unfamiliar with customs and transportation systems and where to find what. Speaking of finding things, top on my list are: 1) Power converter, 2) nail file, 3) alcohol (not necessarily in that order).

I left my home 6 days ago (really 5, but I’ve crossed the International Date Line). I’m not gonna lie – there have been several times I’ve questioned my sanity for doing this. More than once I have momentarily wished myself back to the security of my home and community of friends – and my sweet puppies! But mostly I am amazed at the idea that I. did. this.

I am here right now, sitting on a park bench in Dee Why, Australia, listening to the sound of the surf, smelling the scents of the ocean, and people watching.

Dee Why BeachDee Why Beach

To get to the beach from where I’m staying, I walked up the street to the top of the hill, then followed it downhill about 8 – 10 city blocks. Across from the beach are coffee shops and restaurants, one after another. No touristy shops here, just lots of food! And all very busy on a Sunday morning!

Restaurants at Dee Why Beach
Restaurants at Dee Why Beach
Aubergine Restaurant

I stopped for breakfast at Aubergine and had the best (to be honest, probably the first) Eggs Benedict ever! Meat options were ham, bacon or smoked salmon. Smoked salmon was the perfect choice! I thought it a little pricey at $17.90, but totally worth it!

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon
Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon
Oh, yes - it was yummy!
Oh, yes – it was yummy!
Decaf Latte – in a glass.

NEXT STORY: Dee Why Beach, Australia – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Honolulu – Day 2

NEXT STORY: Traveling from Hawaii to Sydney Makes for a Very Long Day! – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

My only priorities for day 2 in Hawaii were to get to two recommended places; one for sushi and one for a Mai Tai. I elected to cab it around town today to give my knee a break. Charley’s Taxi had gotten me to the Urgent care with no trouble, so immediately after my x-ray, I called them again and had then take me over to Lewers Street.

At Teppan & Sushi KAIWA I ordered The Artists Palette (of course) and it was YUMMY! The photo in the menu was pretty accurate. The only challenge with this item is how to eat the end pieces gracefully!

MenuMenu Pic

Is This One Bite?
Is This One Bite?
The Real Deal
The Real Deal!

After lunch I checked my GPS to locate Rum Fire, the location recommended for a Mai Tai. The tricky thing about Rum Fire is that you can’t just drive there. When I tried to map it on my phone there wasn’t a road directly to it, but I knew it was on the beach, so I decided to walk the beach to find it. Turns out it’s actually at the back of the Sheraton Waikiki complex – so you must be staying at the Sheraton to know about it – or walk the beach.

I did a walk-through to scope the place out, and explored the many shops in the open breezeway that runs through the center of the space. There’s also a Koi pond on the left side of the property, with a row of rocking chairs along the edge for people to take a calming break. (I hung there for a bit while waiting for Charley’s to pick me at the end of my visit.)

Koi PondKoi Pond

The Sheraton was so open that I walked in from the back at Rum Fire, through the shopping area and out to the front loading/unloading area, stopped at the coffee bar to get a latte, and then sat at a table in the front of the complex watching people coming and going…for about an hour…and nobody seemed to care! I was fascinated by the number of wedding parties coming through the lobby. Later, I noticed they have a marriage license registration office inside the Sheraton!

Couple Heading Toward Marriage License Office
Couple Heading Toward Marriage License Office
Turtle Sculpture in Front Lobby
Turtle Sculpture in Front Lobby

Back at Rum Fire, I found a seat on the patio that had a tiny bit of shade. The inside (open air) seating was filled and I wanted a view of the ocean so I was willing to get a little warm.  So I settled in…and ordered my Mai Tai! There are several versions to choose from – I went with the Signature version. It was very good!

Mai Tai Options
Mai Tai Options
Signature Mai Tai
Signature Mai Tai

From my seat on the patio I had a great view of the water where there was no beach, so the water came right up to the walkway in front of the restaurant. As I enjoyed the view, I noticed two turtles swimming in the area right in front of where I was seated! I tried to get a good photo, but they were quick! They’d come up for just a second and then – right back under!

The green sea turtle is called “honu” in Hawaiian. It is considered a symbol of good luck. Legend has it that the green sea turtle lead the original inhabitants of Hawaii to the island. 

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle, far away
Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle, closer

The decor at Rum Fire is really pretty cool. There are lots of areas that are just a little different, like this sitting area near the front entrance:

Rum Fire Flaming Chairs
Rum Fire Flaming Chairs

And then there’s the patio…

Patio Area
Patio Area
Patio Seating
Patio Seating

I managed to kill enough time to be hungry again, and I really wanted a burger. I also decided to move to a shadier place while eating – I can’t enjoy a meal when I’m blazing hot! Based on my waitress Teresa’s recommendation, I ordered the Truffle Burger – excellent choice! Teresa was a sweetheart. She was covering too many tables, but she remained pleasant and even let me take her picture before I left!

Burger Menu
Burger Menu
Live Version of Burger
Live Version of Burger
Dinner Guest
Uninvited dinner guest
My Waitress, Teresa
My Waitress, Teresa

NEXT STORY: Traveling from Hawaii to Sydney Makes for a Very Long Day! – or – Back to South Pacific Cruise page

Best New Thai Restaurant in Nashville!

Originally Published August 19, 2015

If you haven’t been around the South Nashville much lately, you may want to head this way. Great food is happening here! Today I tried the Bangkokville Thai Restaurant located at 395 Haywood Lane. Not only did I have the pleasure of a tasty lunch there, but I also got to chat with the owner, “Dew” Vangsri.

Dew immigrated from Thailand with his family in the ’70s. He has a true passion for authentic Thai food, which he explained to me as my eyes and nose ran from the heat of the chili sauce! He also told me how his sisters and other family members have all contributed to his business in some way, from the cooking to the decor – it’s all authentic! The wait staff wears Thai clothing. Dew wears Thai clothing. Dew even designed the sign he recently had painted for the front of the restaurant to ensure it would be an authentic Thai style.

If your last visit to this restaurant was before Dew took over five months ago, you owe it to yourself to give it another try! I know you’ll love it!

My New Fav Green Smoothie

I just made this one up today. This is also my first try putting ginger into a smoothie. I’ve heard lots of people trying it, but I’d never had the courage before. I really liked it!

Here’s the recipe:
1/2 pineapple, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon, 2 carrots, romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp coconut cream, 1 tbsp hemp oil, 1/2 inch fresh ginger, almond milk, water.

To blend it, I started my Vita-Mix on Variable speed 1 and added a couple slices of pineapple, then gradually turned it up to 10, adding more sliced up pieces of fruit and the romaine. Then I added the coconut cream, hemp oil and ginger and flipped it up to high for a minute or so to let it all smooth out. I also added some almond milk to thin it out some, and in the end decided to add some water as well.

It actually was more orange than green because of the carrots…and the romaine was light in color…but it was very yummy!

I ended up with about 40 oz. of the stuff, so I had a nice big glass for breakfast and another for lunch.

In case you’re wondering about some of the ingredients, I’ve provided some info. You can read more by following the links.

Ginger: According to the website, in Eastern societies, ginger has always been known for its healing powers. They site it specifically for treatment of nausea and motion sickness, migraines, arthritis, blood clots and cholesterol issues.

Coconut Cream: The site, describes Coconut Oil as a food that:

– can help you lose weight
– can help boost your energy level
– can help you age better and be healthy
– doesn’t mutate like vegetable oils when heated at high temperature (frying, for example)
– is rich in Lauric Acid, a proven antiviral and antibacterial agent
helps digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Colitis
– is a powerful agent in killing intestinal parasites
– boosts metabolism and raises body temperature of thyroid sufferers

(I should note that coconut cream is a more condensed form of coconut milk, and that by adding water to coconut cream you get…you guessed it…coconut milk! I bought mine

Hemp Oil: In an article on, hemp is touted as “Nature’s Perfect Food for Humanity.” It is said to have a pleasant nutty flavor. (I wouldn’t know about that. When I mix it in my smoothies the other ingredients overpower it, so I really don’t think I’m tasting it at all.)

Hemp Oil is full of Omega 3 & 6 oils, which we all know by now are “all good.”

The site lists symptoms of Omega 3 deficiency as:
Growth retardation, weakness, impairment of vision and learning ability, motor incoordination, tingling in arms and legs, behavioural changes.

Omega 6 deficiencies are said to cause:
Eczema-like skin eruptions, loss of hair, liver degeneration, behavioural disturbances, kidney degeneration, excessive water loss through the skin accompanied by thirst, drying up of glands, susceptibility to infections, failure of wound healing, sterility in males, miscarriage in females, arthritis-like conditions, heart and circulatory problems, growth retardation.

The site also states that, adding these good oils back into the diet can virtually turn these symptoms around. That’s good news!

There really were so many benefits listed in the article you’ll really have to read it for yourself, but the claim is that hemp oil “could provide all of our Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) requirements for life.”

I will say, however, that cold-pressed is what you want. If it is heated when it’s processed, it’s no better than all those icky cooking oils you find in the grocery store.

Drink up!

My Beloved Vita-Mix!

(Warning: This is part personal opinion and part advertisement…but it’s all good!)

I have a new love in my life. It is my new Vita-Mix 5200. When I received my Federal Stimulus check I deposited it, and then immediately went online to order my fabulous new toy. Check it out…isn’t it beautiful?

I’ll be straight with you…they’re expensive. My total purchase came out to almost exactly the amount I had deposited – which is a lot of money for a piece of kitchen equipment – but they’re virtually indestructible and they come with a seven year warranty, so I felt it was a good investment. Besides…everyone in the raw food community I had talked to up to that point had said they loved theirs, so I was very excited at the prospect of having my very own machine, in spite of the cost.

So I ordered the 5200 and got the package with both the wet and dry blades, just in case. I haven’t used the dry blade yet. That one is for things like grinding nuts or seeds into something like flour. You can also mix and kneed bread with the dry blade, but I’m not sure I’ll use mine for that since bread isn’t on my good food list.

I have used the wet blade, though, for all sorts of raw and vegetarian goodies. Here’s a short list:

  • Green Smoothies My favorite is baby spinach with just about any combination of fruit. Add a little Hemp oil and you’ve got a great energy drink!
  • Mango Sorbet Fresh organic Mango and some ice – it’s that simple!
  • Chopped Cabbage for Salad The first time I tried chopping cabbage things did not go well. Then I waatched the DVD that came with the machine and learned the trick – it’s actually super easy!
  • Vegetable Soup (Not raw, but very tasty!) I like to use sauteed leeks and onions as a starter, then add organic vegetable stock to complete the base. Chop up a variety of your favorite organic veggies, and you’ve got a great healthy soup! To give it a creamy base, put a cup or two of the broth into the Vita-Mix and give it a spin, then pour it back in with the rest of the soup.

The Vita-Mix website even has a section for raw foodies. And there’s a community for Vita-Mix owners of all types to connect and share information. It’s called Vita-Village (corny, I know).

I’ve had my Vita-Mix only a few months, but it is one of the most effective tools I have to support me in my raw food adventure.

If you think you might like to try one, Vita-Mix offers a 30-day no-risk in-home trial…and you can get FREE Standard Ground Shipping if you click the banner above or use this link! If you prefer to upgrade your shipping method, the banner or link will get you a discount off of expedited shipping.

Happy Eating!

Raw Carrot & Orange Cake – It Rocks!

I have to pass this recipe on to you because it’s just so yummy! If you like carrot cake, but the “real” stuff is too sweet (or unhealthy) for you, this recipe is perfect! Not only does it not contain all those things I need to stay away from (flour, oil and sugar), but – believe it or not – it tastes very much like the real thing!

I found the recipe quite by accident. I had been searching for a recipe for something like raw mushroom pate because I had these great looking portobello’s in my fridge and I was anxious to try something new with them.

But the Universe had other plans for me. Somehow, as I was searching, I stumbled onto this great recipe for raw carrot cake! Now, understand, I’ve seen plenty of raw carrot cake recipes in my travels, but so far the pictures haven’t made me want to try them. This one is different. The picture above the recipe (see top of post) looks very appetizing, and the cake I made looks even better!

I won’t post the full recipe here…you can pop on over to Raw Food Chef Russell James’ blog when you’re ready. But I will provide a couple of tips from my experience making it.

First, I made it in an 8 x 8 baking pan, so mine came out a little higher than the one in the picture above. I’d say mine is about 1 1/2″ to 2″ high.

I made the “icing” first, and set it in the fridge while I prepared the base. That worked well, and the base was plenty firm enough that I didn’t have to worry about tearing up the cake as I iced it.

Last, I did not put it into the dehydrator, as the recipe suggests. I just finished the base and put the icing on it right away, covered it all and set it in the fridge.
About 10 minutes later I pulled it back out of the fridge so I could have a piece (I couldn’t wait!).

Getting that first piece out of the pan was a little tricky, but I managed to do it without mangling it too much. It really was no more difficult than getting the first piece of any kind of cake out of a pan like mine. And when I pulled the pan out of the fridge this morning to cut myself a piece for my lunchbox the rest of the cake was still in very good shape…no bleeding or falling over of stuff into the empty space I’d left the night before.

Here’s a picture of my version after I’ve been in it a few times 😉

That’s it! There are several ingredients, so there’s a lot of chopping to be done for the base, but you can chop each thing and dump it into the bowl right on top of the last thing you chopped, and then when you’re all done chopping, just mix it all together. Simple!

I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone who has ever moaned in ecstacy over a warm slice of carrot cake! (I’ll have more on the fate of the portobello’s in a later post.)