Juices and Smoothies: My Best Tips



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Green Juice

I have been the proud owner of both a juicer and a blender for a while now. I’ve had a bit of a learning curve with both and I imagine I’m not alone, so let me pass along some of my best tips for juicing and smoothie-making.

If you want to report back on your own experience and share tips of your own, I would love for you to do so in the comments! I’ll be interested to compare notes with you, and other readers will benefit as well.

When is a good time to drink juices and smoothies?

My initial resistance in adopting juices and smoothies was this: I couldn’t quite see how they would fit into my daily eating habits. I wasn’t really looking to consume more food than I already was, and wasn’t too keen on trading any of my favorite eats (vegan lunch bowl, anyone?) for a tall glass of anything.

But! Those tall glasses quickly won me over and they are now most welcome, on three occasions in particular:

  • Smoothies as a standalone breakfast, which I can sip on while getting ready for work, or sitting on the couch watching my kids punch each other — mostly in good fun — with my boxing gloves. (I took up boxing, people! It’s so fun! Have you tried it?) Because I add filling elements (see below), a 7am smoothie holds me over until lunchtime, even through pretty active mornings.
  • Cold-pressed juices as a complement to my lunches. I love my weekday lunch bowls and they are typically vegetable-heavy, but some days it’s faster to make myself a quick sandwich, and round it out with a green juice.
  • A smoothie or a juice is an amazing afternoon pick-me-up. It’s energizing and refreshing, and serves the double purpose of feeding and hydrating me.

I don’t, however, make it an obligatory or daily thing. Some weeks I crave them every single morning, other times I feel like eating other things instead. Or my schedule gets busier and I can’t get my act together to prepare them. It’s all good.

Pink Smoothie

Do you need recipes for juicing and smoothie-making?

Let’s be clear: I don’t follow recipes.

I get a weekly basket of vegetables from a producer, so I just wing it using what I have and what’s in season, shooting for a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 balance between vegetables (the focus is on them) and fruits (just enough to sweeten and round out the flavors).

In terms of produce, I typically draw from the following:

  • Greens: kale, baby spinach, lettuce, beet or radish greens, various salad leaves
  • Easy wins: carrots, beets, cucumbers, zucchini (these can do no wrong)
  • Use sparingly (strong flavors, don’t overdo it): celery, radishes (pink, black, daikon), fennel, cabbage
  • Herbs: parsley, chervil, mint, cilantro
  • High-flavor roots: a tiny knob of fresh ginger or turmeric
  • Fruits: apple, pear, kiwis, berries, stone fruits, grapes, banana (for smoothies only)

I also like to add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, but that’s an extra step I don’t always take.

For smoothies, I also add a thickening ingredient or two to make the texture smoother: a banana, an avocado, or a big spoonful of nut butter or coconut butter.

I use chilled water as the liquid in my smoothies, and find the other ingredients are flavor-dense enough (especially the nut butter or coconut butter, and powdered superfoods, see below) that the result doesn’t taste watery at all. Coconut water or non-dairy milks are good options, but it’s rare that I use them.

Should you peel and trim the produce for juices and smoothies?

I use organic produce and don’t peel them; I only wash or scrub as needed. I do remove the stems and cores for smoothies, since they won’t be filtered out, but I leave them in for juicing (except for the stones and pits of stone fruits!).

As an organization trick for juicing, I clean all the fruits and vegetables before I begin, but only cut them into chunks as I feed them into the chute. This saves a little time, and also prevents me from overstuffing and jamming the juicer, which I tend to do otherwise because I am Jack’s complete lack of patience.

Green Smoothie Bowl: Toppings

Can you use superfoods in smoothies and juices?

I got interested in superfoods through the excellent French company Sol Semilla, which imports high-quality and ethically traded superfoods in dehydrated and ground form. I always have a few of my favorites on hand, such as lucuma, açai, purple corn, carob or nopal.

I combine equal parts of the ones I have with some raw cacao nibs (or raw cacao powder) and chia seeds, shake to combine, and add a tablespoonful or so to my smoothies as a booster of texture, flavor, and nutrition.

(Note: If you want to try Sol Semilla‘s superaliments, use promo code CANDZ15 to get 15% off your order until November 1, 2016.)

Ugh, do you really need to save and reuse the pulp from juicing?

When juicing fruits and vegetables, the bulk of the nutrients go into the juice, and the pulp that remains is mostly fiber. There are many ways to make use of it — muffins, soups, pancakes… I commend people who do, or at the very least compost it, but so far it’s not happening for me. Some day perhaps. I don’t stress about it.

Is it okay to experiment? How do you deal with fails?

Because I don’t really use recipes and try new formulas every time, I try to note (in my head or in a notebook) my most successful combos so I can reproduce and build upon them.

Being willing to experiment also means that occasionally I make misguided decisions, like the time I insisted on adding ALL THE LEAVES from a full bunch of celery to my green juice. The result was barely drinkable. But it was so full of good stuff I didn’t want to throw it out. What did I do? I just used it as a base for a smoothie the next morning, with a banana and some raw cacao powder. Best smoothie ever! (PSA: make celery salt with celery leaves instead!)

Can you prep for juices and smoothies the night before?

If I want to pave the path for a morning smoothie, I prepare all the ingredients the night before. I wash and trim the fruits and vegetables, cut them into biggish chunks, and place them in an airtight container in the fridge.

I measure the superfoods powder, scoop out the nut or coconut butter I plan to use, and put them directly in the blender, since they’ll do fine at room temperature overnight. In the morning, barely awake, all I need to do is tip the contents of the container into the blender, add some chilled water, and pulse until smooth.

As for juices, the day-before prep simply involves selecting the produce I will use, washing and scrubbing as needed, and placing in a container in the fridge for easy access the next day.

The ingredients for my Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl.

The ingredients for my Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl.

Can you make a big batch of smoothie or juice?

I always make more than I will drink right away, but no more than I can consume within a day or two at the most. I realize there is some loss of vitamins when a smoothie or juice has to sit around for a little bit, but they are still nutritionally beneficial (also: still delicious). And it’s the only way I can make it work in my life, so there’s that.

For smoothies, I make a double portion and use a container such as this one to store and refrigerate the extra serving.

As for juices, I pour the extra into a glass bottle, and use this vacuum pump (originally meant for wine, a fabulous little tool) to remove the air in the bottle, and limit oxydation.

Let’s talk cleanup!

I won’t lie. Cleanup isn’t the most seductive part of juicing. But I have found my own model (more about it below) to be fairly easy to clean. I have timed myself (sorry, is that dorky?) and, now that I’m used to the task, it takes me a little under 5 minutes to disassemble, wash, and set the different components out to drip-dry. Reasonable, no?

Cleaning the blender after making a smoothie is a much quicker process. To get as much as I can out of that tall jug, I use one of my beautiful tasting spoon from Earlywood, which have a long handle but a small bowl, and are therefore perfect for the job. Then, I just press a drop of dish soap into the jug, half-fill it with hot water, and run the blender on high for a few seconds. Pour out, rinse — you’re done!

My Optimum blender from Froothie, and my Whole Slow Juicer from Kuvings.

My Optimum blender from Froothie, and my Whole Slow Juicer from Kuvings.

About my high-speed blender

After years of yearning for a high-performance blender — to make really smooth soups, quick sauces and marinades, nut butters and milks, and of course smoothies — I finally got one. Based on my research, I picked the Optimum 9400 blender, distributed by Australian company Froothie, as an alternative to the better-known Vitamix or Blendtec. It’s a vortex blender that’s just as high-performing, if not more so, and the 2-liter (2-quart) jug works for both dry and liquid ingredients.

(I have been so happy with it I entered into a partnership with the brand and have a discount to offer. If you’re interested in buying a Froothie blender for yourself, use promo code CD-Optimum-Blender-20 to get $20 off your purchase of the Optimum 9400 or 9200A on the US store. The same code will get you 20€ off on the French site, the Belgian site, or the Luxembourg site. For my Canadian friends, the code is CD-Optimum-Blender-25 and you’ll get CA$25 off on the Canadian site.)

About my cold-press juicer

After careful deliberation (sensing a pattern here?), I decided to invest in the Whole Slow Juicer, manufactured by Korean company Kuvings.

It is among the most performant “masticating juicers” of the market (commercial models notwithstanding), which means it yields a very high amount of juice, leaving behind pulp that is almost dry. It is super easy to use and pretty fast, with a chute that is wide enough to take large pieces (= less time spent cutting the produce = so important).

And because it is a vertical model, it takes up minimal space in our small kitchen — less than the average food processor would — so we can justify keeping it there and available for quick, near-daily access.

When I bought my Kuvings juicer, it came with two extra attachments: one to make smoothies (I use my blender for these, but it’s a good option if you don’t have one), and another to make instant sorbets from frozen fruit — think instant banana sorbet, but I’ve also used mangoes, berries, and even ice cream custard frozen in an ice cube tray.

Top 3 Resources

If you need to look at set formulas to gain confidence or to get your creative juices flowing, here are a few recommendations:

– The “Simple Green Smoothies” Instagram and recipe book,
– Cassie’s staple smoothies,
– Vanessa Simkin’s hot-off-the-press Big Book of Juices, and her website All About Juicing.

Green Smoothie

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Well Fed Weeknights: A Giveaway!



Buy Clotilde's latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

Well Fed Weeknights

{Scroll down to enter to win Well Fed Weeknights.}

There is no one-size-fits-all in nutrition. It isn’t a popular thing to say because we all prefer quick fixes and overnight transformations. But the truth is, health is highly individual, and self-experimentation and self-discovery are the only pursuits that will get you anywhere.

I myself have an inclination toward vegetarianism; I turn to plant-based foods by default. However, when I have leaned too far in that direction, I have noticed I don’t do well relying so heavily on grains and legumes. And when I dabbled at a paleo style of eating* I realized that it may, in fact, be closer to what my system needs to thrive. (This explains all the paleo-friendly recipes in my archives.)

I am, however, an omnivore by taste and by trade, and I strive to find a happy middle ground between what my brain tells me I want to eat, what my body tells me I need to eat, and what the world tells me is available to eat. Day by day, meal by meal, I follow my appetite and try to stay in tune with how I feel.

But the common theme woven throughout is my insistence on real food, and no one is more on board with that than Melissa Joulwan, whose paleo blog is based on that very premise.

Burgers Well Fed Weeknights

Melissa writes about life, exercise, and food, and she has just published a truly inspiring cookbook, Well Fed Weeknights, that highlights healthy, paleo meals designed for weeknight cooking.

Melissa’s voice is fun and approachable, and she does a great job of de-mystifying the paleo lifestyle, showcasing the wonderful foods that do remain when you forgo grains, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar, and processed ingredients.

Best of all, the recipes can be made in less than 45 minutes. Melissa celebrates the bold flavors of real ingredients with inventiveness and style, making sure that no meal is ever boring, from date-nut kale salad to pizza noodles to Yucatan sauté with cumin-lime sauce.

Chicken Paillard Well Fed Weeknights

Beyond the recipes, she shares tips on eating paleo in the outside world without stress (removing some of the pressure by declaring, “You’re not aiming for perfection”), suggestions of 50 comforting things (running the spectrum between the cool side of the pillow to someone scratching the itch you can’t reach), and downloadable grocery lists.

For a quick taste of what’s inside Well Fed Weeknights, Melissa has made available a free sampler that you can download to get access to recipes from the book: just click through to her store and the download link is at the top. And if you want a further peek inside, you can watch Melissa flip through the book. (Strangely hypnotic.)

Giveaway Details

And Melissa is offering to send five copies of Well Fed Weeknights to C&Z readers! She has generously offered to open this to international addresses as well, so you can participate wherever you are in the world.

To enter, please fill out this form before Thursday, October 20, midnight Paris time.

I will then draw 5 names randomly (if you’re curious this is the service I use), and announce the winners here the next day. Good luck to you!

* Um, wat does the paleo diet consists of again? Here’s Melissa Joulwan’s primer.

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Chocolate Chip Brioches Recipe



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Chocolate Chip Brioches

It has been entirely too long since we last discussed French brioches, and I really don’t know why because they are a passion of mine.

Brioche is a yeast bread enriched with eggs and butter, the very one that Marie-Antoinette didn’t actually encourage her starving people to eat*.

It is one of those treats that most (normal) French people leave in the hands of their boulanger. But if you’re the kind of person who, like me, likes to see magic at play in the kitchen, or you have no French baker handy, it is completely within your reach to produce perfect little loaves to serve and devour for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack.

Chocolate Chip Brioches

Making brioche provides the baker with the thrill of working with a leavened dough, and as the golden brown, domed buns come out of the oven, the buttery and yeasty smell is enough to make anyone in the house drop what they are doing and rush into the kitchen to trace the source.

You can make your brioches plain or stud them with pearl sugar, but when I last made a batch I folded into the dough some of these chocolate drops meant for baking. The resulting chocolate chip brioches flew off the cooling rack faster than any I’ve ever made.

Chocolate Chip Brioches

What I love about brioche is that it is an in-between treat: not quite bread, not quite cake, a little bit of both. You can enjoy it as is, especially when it is super fresh, or you can split it open and spread the inside with a little butter (preferably salted), honey, jam, or — and this is especially successful with these chocolate chip brioches — the nut butter of your choice.

Oh, and do you know the meaning of the French expression prendre de la brioche, gaining brioche? It means getting a pot belly! For more on this, and many other food-related expressions, pick up my book Edible French.

Related: My recipe for kouglof (Alsatian brioche) and the chocolate bettelman I make with brioche leftovers, on the off-chance that there are any. Also, a discussion on the origins of brioche.

Chocolate Chip Brioches: Dough, divided

* Marie-Antoinette is often misreported as having exclaimed, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” — “Let them eat brioche” (not cake) — when told that her people had no bread to eat. I don’t know who first botched the translation, but it’s not actually Marie-Antoinette who said it, and the queen who did didn’t mean it that way. More about the misunderstanding.


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Chocolate Chip Brioches Recipe

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 13 hours

Makes 12 individual brioches.

Chocolate Chip Brioches Recipe


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) lukewarm water (if you dip your finger into the water, you shouldn’t feel a difference in temperature)
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) raw cane sugar
  • 400 grams (14 ounces, about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 large organic eggs
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 160 grams (1 cup) high-quality chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate


    Start preparing the dough the day before.
  1. In a bowl, combine the yeast with the lukewarm water. Set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy at the surface. (If it doesn’t get foamy, the yeast is likely too old; start again with a fresh packet.)
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast mixture, salt, and sugar. Break 4 of the eggs in and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Switch to medium speed, and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the butter.
  4. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Making the dough
  5. Knead until incorporated, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Making the dough (2)
  7. Add the chocolate chips and knead just to evenly distribute.
  8. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Adding the chocolate chips
    (Brioche dough can also be kneaded by hand on the countertop; it just takes a little persistence as it is a very sticky dough. Plan to knead for about 10 minutes before incorporating the butter, and 10 minutes after.)
  9. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature in a draft-free corner of the kitchen, until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  10. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Dough risen
  11. Scrape into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the next day.
  12. The next day.
  13. Remove the brioche from the refrigerator and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  14. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg lightly with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons water.
  15. Scrape the brioche dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 12 equal pieces.
  16. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Dough, divided
  17. With lightly floured hands, shape each into a ball. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  18. Chocolate Chip Brioches: Dough, shaped
  19. Brush off the excess flour from the top and sides, and brush the top and sides with egg wash.
  20. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes; reserve the remaining egg wash in the refrigerator.
  21. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
  22. Brush with egg wash again.
  23. Insert the two baking sheets into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, switching the position of the sheets halfway through for even baking.
  24. Serve just slightly warm, or at room temperature, with "regular" butter or almond butter.


  • The dough can be frozen just after shaping. Place the whole sheet(s) in the freezer for 1 hour, than transfer the dough balls or flowers to a freezer bag. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator on a sheet of parchment paper, then continue on with the recipe.
  • You can also freeze the brioches after baking; thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and pop in a 175°C (350°F) oven for 5 minutes to revive the texture before serving.

Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are copyright Clotilde Dusoulier.

Chocolate Chip Brioches

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