Cooking tools

3 day Blueprint Juice Cleanse : I did it !!

Posted in Cooking tools, Life on October 22nd, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I endured a lot of stress at work recently -> trouble sleeping -> i was too tired to cook ->  ordered more takeout…and my whole body started to feel the effects of too much processed foods/sugars/fats and lots of vino.
I needed something drastic, a change. I desperately needed to hit the “reset button”. I looked at juice cleanses and recently heard of the Blueprint cleanse. A set of 6 juices to help detoxify the body, and nutritionally designed so that you are still able to stand “vertically” at the end of the day. It took me a while to go for it, the main hold back was the price (65$ per day – delivered to your door). When I saw one of my local market was carrying their juices (way to save a few bucks), I decided that I would start trying it for 1 day. So I bought the 6 juices there, at the end of the day I was feeling good so bought enough for day 2 and decided that for day 3 I would get the stuff fresh and delivered. I did ask the Blueprint people why the in-store juice had an expiration date two weeks later (given that the stuff is “raw”) and here’s their reply :

typo - meant bouGHt but was way too excited about this topic...LOL

Fair enough ! I am still extremely curious about this “secret proprietary” method to make something raw lasts for weeks….This is why i really wanted to check the difference and get that stuff fresh (as in “made that day”) for the last day of the cleanse.
I prepared for a couple days before the cleanse with lighter meals, salads etc…I think it made it easier…It would not have been the right time for an all-Mexican meal with frozen margaritas, if you see what I mean 😉

Day 1 was a little rough, I started my morning as suggested with warm water with a squeeze of lemon (supposedly to “alkanize” the body) and then started with my “green” drink, at 11am i was staring at pictures of food online, experienced some mild digestive cramping…at the end of the day i used my gym’s sauna for 20 minutes and then took an icy cold shower to help with the detoxification process. I was very anxious about the end of the day, when i veg’ out on the couch, watching silly reality TV (yes I do that too) but I had their marvelous “cashew-cinnamon-vanilla” milk – it was so filling i could hardly drink the whole bottle. It contains 7g of proteins and 300 calories…And I must confess i “only” drank 5 juices that day and not 6 that daa. I basically drank juice everytime i started getting hungry.
After my first day I slept literally like a baby, it was the first time in a while (kinda like I do after a session of Bikram yoga). When I woke up, I truly felt refreshed, like a new “me”….(I also spent lots of time in the bathroom if you see what I mean- OK OK TMI- but still that’s what “detox” is all about, isn’t it ?).

Day 2 seemed easier, maybe because it was a very busy day for me ? I enjoyed a deep Swedish massage to get the blood flowing…You should have seen the therapist’s face when i asked her “Can you massage my liver, I’m detoxing”…Never thought I would ever say something like this…My French ancestors must have rolled over in their graves…

Day 3 went by very fast, I felt energized and was even considering going for 5 days…I did not look so great but still felt fine. I did feel as light as a feather.

At the end of the cleanse i used “common sense” and basically had fruit for breakfast/lunch and had a light vegan dinner. I did not experience any discomfort but I was very anxious about my body’s ability to get back to “normal” foods. Overall I lost 4 pounds (which will probably come back) but this would be a great way to kick off a new diet.

Overall I really liked the convenience, the fresh juices (the ones delivered) did taste slightly better than the ones bought in the store and really liked the feeling that resulted from it. All the juices tasted delicious and slightly on the sweet side which made the whole thing easier…My son loved the red juice and he made sure he had half every day :

Nothing's cuter than a red beet juice moustache...

This cleanse is great if you have deep pockets and live in NYC…but I think that I will invest into a “press” juicer like the innovative Hurom juicer and make the juices at home for the whole day, at least it will also be guaranteed organic – the blueprint people “try” to include as many organic veggies and fruits as available.

The Hurom is a very interesting juicer that does not damage the raw ingredients with internal heat like other juicer may (unlike the Vitamix blender). Its extraction process is quite innovative and it can even handle nuts like almonds, cashews…etc (unlike other juicer that don’t do so well with nuts).I think this is going to be my next “investment”, kids will also be able to enjoy it !

BluePrint Renovation Cleanse – what exactly is it ?:
6 juices to be drank in this specific order:
1) and 3) are green drinks : Romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, lemon and ginger
2) the “mojito” : pineapple, mint, apple
4) “detox” afternoon : lemon, water, cayenne and agave
5) the “red” one : beet, carrot, apple, ginger, lemon
6) the “yummy -super filling-white” one: cashews, water, cinnamon and vanilla


Make room in your fridge for the Blueprint juice cleanse !


I also used that time to meditate and reflect on my life and realize what was really important to me : a loving husband and fun healthy kids.

It doesn’t help to have a clean body if your soul isn’t after all…


Making my own pasta…

Posted in Cooking tools, Recipes, Techniques on April 20th, 2011 by Natacha – 1 Comment

KitchenAid pasta press

When i saw a pasta extruder that fits my KitchenAid stand mixer, I went nuts and had to have it !

I used a basic egg noodle recipe and I was very surprised at how easy it was to make your own pasta!

And it was sooo much fun, my 3 year old loved watching the macaronis coming out !

To go with it I made a simple Andouille sausage/fresh tomato sauce….we found pasta heaven last night !!

Macaronis coming out of the extruder

Basic egg pasta recipe (for 2 people) :

  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 0.5 to 1 Tbsp. water (adjust)

Mix flour and salt, then add eggs and water in stand mixer, then knead by hand for 2 minutes and prepare walnut size balls of dough to feed the pasta extruder.

The water is critical in the dough, if you put too much it will not work, you needjust enough so that the dough sticks together but remains pliable.

Use pasta extruder and voila ! I let my pasta dry for a couple hours before throwing it into a pot of boiling water with some olive oil and salt, after 2 minutes they started to float, that’s how i knew my mini-macaronis were ready !

Ready to be cooked !

I can’t wait to start experimenting with flavors…etc….Bucatini alla Bolognese for this weekend ! Stay tuned !


On a lighter note, my mother-in-law would love for the world to know about her favorite cosmopolitan cocktail recipe…So there it is :

Ellen's cosmo


1.5 oz. Absolut Raspberri vodka

1 oz. Triple Sec liqueur

1/2 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Enjoy!











Vintage anyone ?

Posted in Cooking tools, Recipes on September 9th, 2010 by Natacha – 1 Comment

My mother-in-law let me borrow her 1975 one foot missing waffle maker…So I fired it up and made waffles !

Vintage waffle maker

They did not have the regular shape (due the the appliance) but tasted awesome !

My husband made me return the appliance, I guess I know what i’ll get for Christmas this year…

Waffle recipe :

  • 1 3/4Cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 Tsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk

Separate the eggs, beats the whites with the salt – set aside.

Mix the yolks with the milk and add remainder dry ingredients. Then add the oil and fold the whites into the batter.

Using my new siphon, I made a maple syrup whipping cream (1/4 cup maple syrup + 3/4 cup of cream).

Ultimate cooking tool

Posted in Cooking tools on September 1st, 2010 by Natacha – Comments Off on Ultimate cooking tool

If I had to own ONLY one cooking tool, it would be my hand held immersion blender.

It s easier to clean than a blender, easier to store etc…My immersion blender is the BEST present I got at my wedding (OK the second best after the trip to Seychelles), I use it several times a week, to make soups, sauces, purees for the baby….

Be careful to use it in glass or non teflon coated pots because i would suspect it could scratch teflon (which I hate-Teflon that is).

I just put the old blender to retirement because that immersion blender is so easy to clean (important when you have 2 kids and NO time), takes 2 seconds to set up and is not bulky nor gets stored on kitchen counters…


Posted in Cooking tools, Molecular Gastronomy on August 30th, 2010 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I have sleepless nights over my latest acquisition : a siphon.

Isi One pint Gourmet

Used in molecular gastronomy, this tool will elevate my cooking to new levels.

It has been ordered and will arrive this week.

Basically it allows you to add “air” into your preparation, it can be commonly used for whipping cream but can also make a mousse out of anything…and I mean it ANYTHING…Dreaming of espresso mousses, Bellini cocktail toppers, fish foams etc…

Williams and Sonoma started selling them but you can find them for much much cheaper on other websites.