Avocado Kiwi Smoothie and a Jus by Julie Cleanse Giveaway

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April 15th, 2014


Boy, do we have a treat for you today. A few weeks ago, the ladies from a Brooklyn-based juice company Jus by Julie reached out to us about their 3 day cleanse and the possibility of a giveaway. We rarely do giveaways and only when we love and believe in a product. This was certainly the case with Jus. What’s unique about these particular drinks is that they consist of blended fruit and vegetables, with fiber intact. You might be thinking smoothies, and the blended juices are smoothie-like, but much smoother and less creamy than your average shake.
We loved the cleanse – it was much more manageable than normal juice cleanses – it feels as if you are drinking whole meals made of the freshest ingredients. There are six juices a day, and they vary in flavor, which eliminates boredom, which is always my problem with cleanses. And you do feel cleansed and rejuvenated at the end.


Jus creator Julie Maleh is a certified nutritionist and we asked her a few questions:

Hi Julie! In the never ending discussion about what is better for us – juices or smoothies, you’re a big proponent of keeping all the fiber from fruit and vegetables in the glass. What is your take on it?
I strongly believe that keeping all the fiber in the juices is essential because that is what keeps you feeling full and nourished all day long. The fiber also aids in digestion and ridding your body of impurities and toxins. On the other hand, cold pressed juices remove all the fiber and are just comprised of the sugars from the fruits and vegetables, not the fiber.
When reading about the concept behind your juices, I thought they would be much more like smoothies – thick and chunky. After trying them, it turned out that they still very much resemble juice in texture and thickness, which I love. What is the special process you use for making the juice?
We use a unique industrial blender system as opposed to a traditional cold press juicing system in order to retain the fiber and pulp from the produce.
What are your most popular drinks?
Island Coconut, which is made from coconut meat and water, dates, and cinnamon. Chia Berry, made from strawberries, chia seeds, lemon, and pomegranate. And Sweet Spin, made from spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, and mango.
What is your typical day of eating like? How many of your juices do you drink every day?
I start my day with a Morning Glory juice and egg whites, which keeps me full and satisfied until lunch. For lunch, I have a salad with a lean protein such as tuna with a fiber filled carb such as brown rice or quinoa. I like to snack on fruits and veggies in between meals, like apples with almond butter or carrots with hummus. I usually drink half of an Island Coconut juice before dinner. Other half after dinner. For dinner, I have a protein with vegetables and drink the other half of my Island Coconut for dessert. If you really want to feel like you’re indulging, place the Island Coconut in the freezer for an hour or two before and it will taste like creamy, rich ice cream.
Tell us about your cleanse.
JUS by Julie’s cleanse is a good fit for anyone, young or old. Whether someone is juicing in order to detox their body or lose a few extra pounds, it benefits everyone because we don’t give our bodies enough of these nutrients. Our 3 Day cleanse provides easy access to the abundance and variety of nutrients that our bodies crave, plus the fiber needed to satiate us, while flushing out the toxins from our bodies.

avocado smoothie

And since it’s finally Spring and we’ve got this wonderful smoothie giveaway going, it’s about time to share a good smoothie recipe of our own. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with making smoothies without bananas, which I have nothing against, but really wanted to explore other possibilities. This Avocado Kiwi smoothie is very mildly sweetened and that’s what I like about it. If you prefer sweeter shakes, add any sweetener of choice like soft dates, frozen banana (eliminate ice in this case), etc. The drink is satisfying, creamy, and packed with nutrients – just look at the list of ingredients.


To enter the Jus by Julie 3 day cleanse giveaway, leave a comment here by Monday, April 21st. The winner will be selected at random. And if you aren’t the one lucky winner, the ladies at Jus came up with a 20% off promo code for all Golubka readers, to be used when buying anything on the Jus website - GLBK20JUS image

Avocado Kiwi Smoothie
1 avocado
2-3 ripe, sweet kiwis
about 4 cups packed leafy greens (hard stems removed if using kale and such)
1-2 tablespoons vanilla pea or other vegetable protein
about 2 cups almond milk or more, to the consistency that you prefer
a few ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Tags: avocado, drink, greens, juice

A Salad for the Weekdays

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April 1st, 2014


I’ll start off by saying how grateful and excited we are to be nominees in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards. The company we’re in is amazing, and it truly is an honor. If you enjoy our recipes and photos, please consider voting for Golubka Kitchen in the Special Diets category – it would mean the world!


Finding time to spend in the kitchen is never easy. Between work, school, children and taxes, cooking can quickly become the last thing you want to worry about as your tired self. I think one of the most challenging things to plan for is lunch to take to work or school. But bringing lunch instead of buying it is much more economical, will most likely be healthier and, dare I say, even tastier.


What I like to do is prepare a few separate components over the weekend, which can quickly be assembled into a big, tasty salad on the weekdays. Beans, legumes or grains are an important base – they will keep you nourished and full. A variety of roasted or steamed vegetables will add flavour and juice. Olives and maybe even a nice, soft cheese like Bulgarian feta will contribute a bit of depth and salt. Sliced avocado is always great for its natural fats. Garnish with herbs, seeds or nuts, lay it all on a bed of greens, and after a squeeze of lemon and maybe a drizzle of olive oil, you will have yourself a lunch. No dressing necessary. The valuable thing about this kind of recipe is that all the components can be prepared ahead of time, and you can always keep switching them up when you assemble, so as not to get tired of eating the same thing. I find that having your own home cooking for lunch at work is quite comforting, and it always tastes extra delicious.

lunch salad

Weekday Salad Components

1. Eggplant
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and score diagonally. Sprinkle with salt, optionally brush with olive oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft, depending on the size. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container. If you’re not into eggplants, grilled zucchini will work great too.
2. Roasted Bell Peppers
Cut peppers in quarters, remove seeds. Place on a large baking tray with minimal overlapping and bake for 20 minutes at 400F (200C). Alternatively, turn on the broiler and place whole peppers on a foil-covered tray under the broiler. Check and turn peppers frequently until all the skin is burnt. Remove and cover to let sweat, until cool. Peel the skin away. Slice and remove the stem and seeds, keep refrigerated.
3. Beans and Legumes
Pre-soak and cook any kind of beans and or lentils until soft, drain, and let cool. Or rinse canned beans. I like a variety of beans such as chickpeas, kidney, black, white, puy or black lentils, etc. – any will do. To keep things even lighter and healthier, you can sprout your beans/lentils instead of cooking them. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste to your cooked or sprouted beans, add a small amount of minced garlic and plenty of fresh herbs, such as dil, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil – whatever you prefer. I’m partial to dill and parsley here. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine thoroughly. The salad will become more flavorful after marinating in the refrigerator for some time. Alternatively, make your favourite grains.
4. Good Olives
I love Cerignola and Castelvetrano, which can usually be found at the salad bars of health food stores and Italian markets.
5. Other add-ons:
Sliced cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Sliced avocado
This Shredded Beet Salad
Fresh salad greens
Goat’s and/or sheep’s milk feta cheese

Assemble any way you like! I like to arrange salad greens on a plate or in salad bowl. Top with a small amount of chopped grilled eggplant and sliced roasted peppers. Add a tablespoon or two of beans, olives, avocado and cheese and squeeze more lemon juice over, together with olive oil (even though it’s optional here). Grind more of black pepper on top, if desired.
Optionally, add a scoop of beet salad, if using. Add sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes instead of or together with other ingredients. Enjoy!


Tags: beans, eggplant, lentils, olives, salad

Gingery Rutabaga and Pear Handpies

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March 23rd, 2014

Finally, our plans have been set in stone, the tickets have been bought and all the arrangements made. Paloma and I are flying to Moscow in a month. We’re staying in the city for a day to see some friends and then jumping on a train for the 24-hour ride down south to my hometown. Paloma has never yet been to Russia, and as hard as I imagine the 12 hour flight will be for her, I’m sure she’ll love the train. The rest of the family will join us at the end of May, when we intend to visit to a couple of other places in our region, including Sochi. We’ll be back in the States just in time for our cookbook release day – June 10th. I am getting very excited to see family and friends, all of whom I haven’t seen in years. I am also dreaming about all the delicious Russian food I will inevitably consume, prepared by some of the best cooks in my book –  my mom, aunt, and girlfriends.
As any Russian, I grew up eating a lot of pies (pirozhki in Russian). Yeasty, doughy shells stuffed with meats, cabbage, eggs, rice, sorrel, or fruit. My favorites were always cabbage pies, that my mom makes with lightly sauteed cabbage and hard boiled eggs. The dough recipe for pirozhki is a frequent conversation subject among many Russian women – everyone has their own secret to the perfect dough. The question of ingredients, ratios, types of yeast, and oven temperature are not to be taken lightly. These days, I try to avoid pirozhki as much as I can, but individual homemade pies take me back to family tea times of my childhood like nothing else.
Since I often experiment with healthier, lighter varieties of doughs and fillings, I decided to share this lighter handpie recipe I’ve been coming back to often throughout the winter. And before peas and asparagus take over the greenmarkets, I thought I’d squeeze in some nourishing wintry flavors one last time. The pies are a curious combination of sweet and savory in one shell, combined with the ever-balancing flavor of ginger. They are great to enjoy with a meal, a cup of tea, or as a snack to take to work or school.IMG_8217
And since there are so many inspiring handpie recipes in the world already, I thought I’d share my (most likely incomplete) list:

1. Despite how it may seem now, summer is not far – soon will be time to make Laura’s Strawberry Handpies and maybe even the ice cream too?
2. Lindsey’s gluten free Cranberry Poptarts with Ginger Glaze will definitely be in my dreams until the next cranberry season.
3. Ashlae’s mouthwatering Blackberry Jam Pies so beautifully presented by her inspiring photography.
4. Beth is a true handpie master, making all kinds of flavors work in her pie fillings – Muscadine Rose Handpies, White Peach Rose Basil Handpies, Blueberry Basil Goat Cheese Handpies.
5. Shauna’s dreamy Savoury Handpies, which gave me the idea to use rutabaga in mine.  hand pies2

Gingery Rutabaga and Pear Handpies
makes about 15 handpies

for the dough
1 1/4 cups sprouted or whole spelt flour, or half each sprouted/whole and light spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
generous 1/4 cup coconut oil – solid
2-3 tablespoons ice-cold water

for the filling
1/2 small yellow onion – diced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root – peeled and minced
couple sprigs fresh thyme – optional
1/8 rutabaga – peeled and diced
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper – optional
1 ripe but firm pear – cored and diced
coconut sugar for sprinkling

to make the dough
1. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix.
2. Cut the coconut oil into small pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until incorporated.
3. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together when pressed between fingers. If it’s too dry, add one more tablespoon of water.
4. Form a disc with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate while making the filling.

to make the filling
1. Warm up about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion, ginger and thyme and cook, stirring, at medium heat for about 4 minutes.
2. Add in rutabaga, salt and pepper and cook for another 7-8 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly, the stir in the pear.

to make the handpies
1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into any shapes you prefer, using a pastry or cookie cutter, ravioli stamp or a shot glass. Reshape, re-roll and cut more, until all of the dough is used up.
2. Arrange half of the cut pieces on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Spoon a small amount of filling on each piece and lightly sprinkle with coconut sugar. Cover with the rest of the dough sheets and press around the edges with a fork.
3. Place the tray into the freezer for 10 minutes. Take it out and quickly score or prick the tops to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden around the edges. Let cool. Store for about 3 days in an airtight container at cool temperature.

Tags: ginger, pear, rutabaga, snack

Ethiopian Injera with Mustard Lentils and Braised Cabbage

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March 16th, 2014


One of the best things about the warm winter here in St. Petersburg, Florida is our Saturday morning market. Situated right on the waterfront in the heart of downtown, the market buzzes with crowds of people, who come here to enjoy the live music, plenty of sunshine, beautiful local produce, and the array of ethnic food stands. Produce from the local organic Warden farm has become so popular in the past few years, that we have to get up earlier on Saturdays if we want to get there before all the red baby kale, salad turnips, huge bushes of fragrant herbs, and lots of other amazing things are sold out.
Somehow, it’s become a tradition among our circle of friends to meet by the Ethiopian kiosk for some spicy vegan fare every Saturday, after packing our bags full of local produce. The food there is very simple yet flavorful and fresh. I, along with most of our friends, prefer their lentils and cabbage with the spongy sour bread, injera, which is traditionally used in place of utensils and pairs perfectly with spicy food.


Of course, being as cooking crazed as I am, I presented myself with the challenge of recreating the injera bread recipe at home, which turned out to be quite an easy and interesting process. I found out that traditional Ethiopian injera is made of teff flour, native to Ethiopia, which I never used before. After experimenting with teff, I can justify that it tastes just like rye, only it’s gluten free. It has a slightly grainier texture than rye and is very nutritious. I happen to absolutely love the taste of rye, so teff won my heart right away. After making my own injera from 100% teff flour, I realized that our Ethiopian vendors from the market add wheat to their injera, which would make the process a bit easier. It’s like that time I tried to make sourdough bread both completely gluten free and with gluten – the glutenous recipe went much smoother, and there is no need to add yeast in this case. But I decided to stick to the gluten-free injera, which is not complicated or labour intensive to make at all, but takes five days of waiting for the teff mixture to ferment. A word of warning – the starter has an unpleasant smell during the process, and not in the fruity, cozy way that a wheat sourdough starter does. Once bread is cooked, the smell disappears and the taste is wonderfully earthy.
I looked to an Ethiopian recipe to recreate the Mustard Lentils, while the Braised Cabbage recipe is my own idea of tasty cabbage inspired by our Ethiopian market stand.


Ethiopian Injera
(adapted from here)

to make the starter
1/2 cup teff flour
1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast
3/4 cup water at 70 F (20 C)

1. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl or a glass jar, cover with something breathable like cheesecloth and leave to rest at room temperature for 2 days. You should see some rising along the way.
2. Stir the starter – it will smell very grassy, almost in a spoiled kind of way (it might even make you think that it went bad – it likely did not). Resist the urge to throw it away, the smell indicates fermentation and that’s what we’re looking for. You also should see bubbles on the surface. Feed the starter with 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water, cover and leave to ferment for another 2 days.
3. The starter may separate into two layers at this point – that’s fine. Stir it and feed with another 1/3 cup teff flour and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let ferment for at least another 4 hours or overnight. After that, your starter is ready.

to make the injera
1/4 cup starter from above
1 3/4 cups water at room temperature
1 3/4 cups teff flour
generous pinch of sea salt

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the starter in water. Add in the flour and whisk into a smooth pancake batter. Cover and let it ferment for 5-6 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of starter for the next batch if desired.
2. Add in salt, whisk again to dissolve and begin cooking the injera. Optionally, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to get more bubbles.
3. Heat a non-stick pan or a skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Lightly grease it with vegetable oil using a paper towel.
4. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter to the pan, depending on its size, tilting it and swirling the batter to cover the surface evenly. Cook for about 1 minute until bubbles appear on the surface.
5. Cover with a lid and steam the injera for about 3 minutes, until the top is set and the bread easily pulls off the pan. No need to flip it over. Remove it and continue with the rest of the batter. It will take a few tries to get the temperature and the cooking time just right.
6.  Keep the cooked injera covered and warm. Serve with any spicy dish like this lentil salad.

Braised Cabbage

1 medium cabbage head – cut into 8 wedges
2 medium carrots – peeled and diced
1 large onion – peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
pinch red pepper flakes – optional
1 teaspoon turmeric – optional

1. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Snuggly arrange the cabbage wedges in a lightly oiled baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and broth/water over it, followed by salt, pepper and turmeric, if using.
2. Cover with foil and braise for 1 hour. Remove the dish from the oven and carefully flip the cabbage wedges. Braise for another hour. Increase oven temperature to 400 F (200 C).
3. Remove the foil and place the dish back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the cabbage is golden brown.

Mustard Lentils

1 cup lentils (I used puy, but green or black would work just as well)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chile or jalapeno – seeded and minced

1. Cook the lentils in plenty of salted water until soft, 15 minutes or so, depending on the type of lentils.
2. Grind the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add in the salt and cayenne and pour 1 tablespoon of boiling water over the spices. Add lemon juice and olive oil, stir to combine.
3. Add the chile/jalapeno into the lentils and pour the dressing over them. Toss well to combine, adjust salt.

Tags: bread, gluten free, lentils