Monday, December 30, 2013

Baby update and Vitamix Pro 750

Sorry for the long pauses between blogs, things just keep chugging along here. Baby girl is doing fantastic and so is Momma. She was jumping and dancing around during last ultrasound and you could make out a few of her features. Oh my goodness I'm so in love with this little girl already.

Six months have come and gone and I've still been able to trail run and lift weights though not at the intensity I was pre-pregnancy. As for the trail runs, I can still do roughly the same mileage but the speed is slower and my recovery takes longer. Weight lifting is shorter sessions, slightly less weights and 7-8 reps of 4-5 sets instead of 10-15 reps of 3 sets. My recovery time between sets is slowly expanding while I pant to recover. Overall, though, I feel great. My body is expanding but still "toned" and I feel so beautiful. As I get closer and closer to the beginning of my third trimester though I realize that my definition of "big" right now is going to significantly change. I'm totally at peace with this. Yes, my thighs touch where they've never touched before. Yes, my boobs are ginormous. Yes, my belly now bumps into things and I can barely tie my shoes without gasping for breath. Yes, rolling over in bed (never mind the thought of the actual preparation of getting ready for bed and all the strategically placed pillows) can be quite the event. But, for me, this changing of my body is an amazing process and one I don't take for granted in the slightest.

When I see my belly bounce with her movement or feel Cowboy wrap his strong arms around me and a hand slides down to lovingly caress my bump, all my woes melt away.  Pregnancy is wonderful.

Okay, enough about baby stuff:)

For Christmas we received a Vitamix Pro 750 as a gift from my in-laws. Holy cow what a gift! I cannot rave enough about this machine. Prior to the Vitamix my favorite kitchen items were my Kitchenaid Pro-600 stand mixer, my Cuisinart DLC-2014 food processor, and my Lodge cast iron cookware. Vitamix would have replaced the food processor's place if it could shred and slice things but since it can't, the Vitamix will tie for first place alongside my Kitchenaid. Cowboy and I have used the Vitamix at least twice a day every single day since we opened the blender. This thing is a beast. It purees everything (including kale) to a silky smooth texture. You can put cold ingredients in and puree them until they come out steaming hot. It has several pre-set buttons that allow you to custom make certain foods. Ice cream, soups, smoothies etc. It even has a self-clean feature which has completely won my husband over.

Yesterday I made homemade almond milk in just a few minutes. It was creamy, delicious, and incredibly easy. Plus it tasted even better than our favorite store brand. 1c. almonds and 3c. water (plus an optional dab of sweetener) = tasty almond milk. The Vitamix heated up the milk when freshly poured from the pitcher. I was surprised at how much I really loved hot almond milk! I strained half of the almond milk to get out the "paste" of the puree and left half unadulterated. It appears that most people strain their milk. However, I preferred it un-strained as it gave it a good mouthy feel and a much creamier consistency. This would be wonderful to put in smoothies too!

After that I made homemade peanut butter which came out so smooth, spreadable, and very yummy. I was, again, surprised by this because I have gotten fresh ground peanut butter from our local Whole Foods and disliked the taste and grittiness of it. The Vitamix pulverized the peanuts to almost a pudding-like consistency. After chilling overnight it hardened a little but still very spreadable and no oily mess to mix in. Pure peanut butter: no oils, no sugars, no added junk. I did use salted dry roasted peanuts because I like my pb a little salty. At a much lower cost and healthier for me, this will be replacing my current favorite pb store brand also. Cleanup was not quite as simple as making smoothies but it still wasn't anything to complain about; just a little bit more elbow grease. Next up to try is almond and other nut butters!

As a bonus, the Vitamix came with a huge hardcover recipe book specifically for Vitamix use. We have made several smoothies from the book and every single one of them have knocked our socks off. Most cookbooks that come with large appliances are crap. I know a lot of you are nodding in agreement with me here. The Vitamix company has outdone themselves as this book has us tripping over our jaws. So far, every recipe has been "a keeper". My favorite so far: frozen strawberries, green and red grapes, and ice. Simple and absolutely delicious.

I will be purchasing a separate "dry" container to blend up homemade flours from grains. The instruction booklet states that the Pro 750 wet container can easily do grains and spices but from many reviewers online I found that getting a separate dry container will be to our advantage over long term. The grains tend to mar and cloud up the container and although the wet container is sufficient, it doesn't do quite as awesome of a job in blending grains to flours as the dry blade does. I see this as a long term investment of heavy use (especially when baby turns 6 months and can start testing out her taste buds on foods) and I don't mind paying a bit extra for things like that to make it last out its full potential.