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Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)

My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculou...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Hummus & Avocado Open-Faced Sandwich


Don't you just love it when lunch only takes 5 minutes to make?  Even better when it's healthy, and fills you up without weighing you down.  To me this is far tastier than a processed meat turkey sandwich on gluten containing wheat bread.  It's loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.  Perfect alone as a light lunch, or with a bowl of vegetable soup. 

     1 slice Gluten Free bread  (steer clear of the gluten free loaves that are made up of potato and tapioca starch, they are not much better for you than white bread.  The ancient grains bread I use contains quinoa, amaranth, sesame seeds, and millet, just to name a few ingredients. )
     2 Tbsp. hummus (I used sun-dried tomato flavor, roasted garlic is really good with this sandwich, too)
     2 Tbsp. avocado
     Micro-greens (optional)
     Sea Salt
     Cayenne Pepper

*Optional:  For an extra kick, stone ground mustard

1.  Toast the bread. 
2.  If using mustard, spread a thin layer on.
3.  Top with hummus and spread evenly.
4.  Smash the avocado with a fork, season with a tiny bit of sea salt, turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Drop little dollops all over the sandwich, and evenly spread.  Top with micro-greens, and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lemon-Garlic Quinoa with Baby Spinach

This is my favorite way to eat quinoa.  It's simple and fast, and a big bowl keeps all week in the fridge.  I can't decide if I like it better cold, warm, or room temperature.  It's delicious at any temp.  When I'm hungry in the middle of the afternoon a couple bites holds me over until dinner.  It's amazing with feta cheese, if you're vegan, simply leave it out. 

     1 cup quinoa
     1 1/2-2 cups vegetable broth
     2 small cloves of garlic (or 1 large clove)
     1/4 cup olive oil
     juice of 1 lemon
     1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
     1 tsp. basil (I use the basil in the tube that you find near the salads)
     1/4 tsp. sea salt
     3/4 cup baby spinach
     1 small container Feta cheese

1.  Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.  (This takes away the bitterness naturally found in quinoa.)
2.  Bring the vegetable broth to a boil.  Slowly stir in quinoa.  Reduce heat and simmer, about 25 minutes.  If it keeps drying out, add more broth or water, and place a lid over the pot.  Stir frequently so it doesn't burn on the bottom. 
3.  While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, basil, and sea salt. 
4.    When the quinoa is light and fluffy, taste to make sure it's tender, and season with additional sea salt to taste. 
5.  Stir the olive oil mixture in while the quinoa is still warm, and quickly add the baby spinach.  (You can chop or chiffonade it if you like smaller pieces.)  The heat from the quinoa will wilt the spinach.  Allow to cool slightly, then add the feta.  (Start with 1/2 container, if you really love feta, go ahead and add the whole thing) 

  Try it with feta!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Power Greens Smoothie

 I can't think of a better way to start your day than a big pile of greens.  This is a cleansing, alkalizing, and energizing drink that gives you more energy than coffee.  Don't be scared by the color or ingredient list, the pineapple and lemon both help to cut the green taste, and the result is a vibrant, sweet juice that even the kids will love.  (It may help to rename it Monster Slime or something similar for them).  If you're brand new to juicing/blending or just desire a little extra sweetness, throw in a banana.  I like to make this and put it in a to-go cup to sip on while I run the kids to school.  It sure beats a bagel any day. 

     2 stalks of rainbow Swiss Chard
     1 Collard Green leaf
     4 sprigs of Parsley
     1/2 lemon
     1 cup Pineapple
     1 Apple
     1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
     1 scoop wheat grass powder
     1/2 cup green grapes
     1 cup water

*My lemon and spinach were frozen because that's what I had on hand.  If you use all fresh ingredients add a small handful of ice.  Unless of course you are using a juicer, then run all of the fresh ingredients through, mix with wheat grass powder, and serve over ice. 

Oatmeal Breakfast Tarts with Vegan Pumpkin Cream Filling & Chocolate Chips

My favorite flavor combination on the planet is pumpkin and chocolate.  (Shhh, don't tell peppermint and chocolate).  So it's not surprising that my 6 year old loves it too.  So much in fact, that he has had a bowl of oatmeal swirled with pumpkin and cinnamon and topped with mini chocolate chips every day for breakfast-for the past two years.  I was getting sick of it for him.  But that's all he ever wants.  I'm not complaining, at least he's getting a shot of beta-carotene with his fiber containing oats first thing in the morning.  But I wanted to shake things up a little bit.

The Winter White ~ Vegetable & Fruit Smoothie

Snow day!  After a few days of near 60 degree weather the boys and I were excited to hear it was going to snow again.  I wanted to make their morning juice festive so I thought I would go with the winter white snow theme (who doesn't like a theme, anyway?)  and make them white.  Not that easy, since we're used to bright greens and vibrant berries in our juice.  But it worked!  By cutting off the peels and stripping off the leaves that is.  I saved them for tomorrow's juice.  Today, it's all about the snow! 

DIY-Sequin embellished, rolled cuff capris

I've been looking for white capris already this year, but I was having trouble finding the right pair.  I really wanted some kind of sparkly embellishment on them, but not really on the back pockets.  What about sequins on the rolled cuffs?  Perfect!  Or not.  Can't find anything like it, anywhere.  So, I decided to try to make them myself.  Not one of my favorite activities, DIY-ing that is.  But it couldn't be that hard, right?

1.  First I grabbed a pair of white jeans from last year, and cut them a little longer than capri length, that way when you roll the cuffs they will be the perfect length.

2.  Next I used fabric glue to secure the cuff so it wouldn't keep unrolling.  Make a 1/2 cuff, and glue that, then roll the cuff up to the desired width that you want (make it as your ribbon).   Oh I know, I know, shouldn't I just sew them??  You can, have at it!  I can't even sew a button. 

3.  Next, cut the sequin fabric, very carefully to fit over the cuffs.  I ended up using this ribbon with simple studs from the Project Runway ribbon line.  They had so many fun ones to choose from that is was hard to make a decision!  Try not to cut the sequins (or whatever embellishment you're using) in half at the edge. 

4.   Now glue the ribbon all over and press onto the cuff.   This was a little tricky.  Just keep holding the fabric down as you go. 

5.  Press down for a minute or two to let it set to the fabric, then leave it alone and let it dry overnight. 
6.  That wasn't so hard after all!  Pretty, sparkly white capris in no time.  Next up, my black jeans that were always just a little too long??


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tropical Escape Oatmeal

We are busy getting ready for a spring trip to the islands, so I've been in quite the tropical mood with all of the packing.  I've been making this oatmeal for years, usually in the summer, but a little more lately to get in an island state of mind!  This creamy breakfast is comforting, but wakes you up with the fresh taste of pineapple, perfect for breaking up the long days of January!

Vegan Grilled "Cheese" with olive tapenade and sunflower cheese

Cheese is one of my favorite things on the planet.  But after lots of reading about nutrition, I've come to realize that dairy is not so great for you.  So dairy milk was swapped for almond or coconut milk, Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt, and cheese for.....nothing.  Sad face.  Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the vegan cheese in stores, to me they taste nothing like cheese.  Most of the time I add other healthier ingredients to make up for the missing cheese taste.  On my favorite lunch-black bean and cheese tostadas, I found salsa verde mixed with guacamole gave me that same sour and fatty taste.  Parmesan free pesto with a squeeze of lemon is good on pizza.  And yes I do cheat sometimes and eat dairy (restaurants, when we have company, etc.), but I try really hard to avoid it at home.  But you can't make a grilled cheese without cheese.  So I've been making this sunflower seed cheese, which is much better for you than dairy.  The seeds contain calcium, magnesium, and copper.   The vitamin E in them makes your skin glow, and they're a good source of selenium and antioxidants.  Paired with the sharp taste of the olives, I trick myself into thinking I'm eating a grilled cheese for lunch.  Just a little less gooey one that is.


3 Tbsp. sunflower seed cheese (recipe below)
1/4 cup marinated mixed olives, chopped (or save yourself some time and buy pre-made tapenade from the deli)
2 slices of Gluten Free or whole grain bread
Melt spread (or butter)
*Melt is a spread made up of coconut and other healthy oils and has nothing to do with margarine!

Sunflower Seed Cheese:
2 cups  raw sunflower seeds (ideally soaked for 2 hours, then drained)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup water
Add all ingredients to food processor and mix until smooth.  The consistency should be a little thicker than cream cheese.

Spread the 2 slices of bread with Melt or butter.  Lay 1 slice on the pan with the olive tapenade on top.  Put 3 Tbsp.'s of the sunflower cheese on and top with the other slice.  Cook over medium until browned on both sides and warmed throughout.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Sparkling Strawberry ~ Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and I wanted to make a special juice for my boys that morning.  My middle son loves strawberries, so I thought they would make a perfect red drink. Valentine's Day and strawberries just screamed "sparkle" to me (most things do), so I needed some kind of seltzer water as the liquid.  My husband usually has a bottle of sparkling water in the fridge, and it just happened to be strawberry-kiwi flavored, perfect!

     1/2 red bell pepper
     1 cup frozen strawberries (is using fresh be sure to add a handful of ice cubes)
     1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
     1 small or 1/2 large beet with red beet stems
     1/2 stalk red swiss chard (mostly stem to keep the red color in the juice)
     seltzer water, regular or flavored
Place all ingredients in high speed blender.  You will have to add some seltzer to get the juice to blend, but it will turn flat after being blended.  Pour juice into a glass and top with an additional 1/2 cup of seltzer.  
If using a juicer instead of a blender, simply use all fresh ingredients and run through the juicer.  Mix with seltzer and pour over ice. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler Smoothie with Purple Cabbage and Spinach

I needed something a little more substantial this morning.  With both kids in school and the baby napping, I was planning on doing a longer workout, and wanted something with protein powder and oats.  This ended up tasting like dessert, but it has absolutely no added sugars!  And I still managed to sneak in a cup of greens, undetected. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegan Collard Green Taco Wraps

Wait!  Ok, so this doesn't sound like your favorite cheesy, carb heavy Mexican fare, but even so, it is delicious.   This recipe is adapted from the book "The Beauty Detox,"  by Kimberly Snyder, one of my favorite nutrition books ever.   You can check out her books here - http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/
This allows you to give into that craving for Mexican food, but in a very clean, healthy way.  It's basically a salad, disguised as a burrito.  The taco "meat" is made up of walnuts and taco seasoning.  The walnuts are a great source of healthy fat to make your skin glow.  Collard greens are loaded with vitamin C and chlorophyll, as well as calcium.  I add black beans, and sometimes avocado and cilantro.  My husband and kids even like them, so you know they're good!
1.  Place 1 cup of walnuts into a food processor bowl.  (I recently bought the Hamilton Beach Bowl Scraper Food Processor (70730), and it works amazingly well.  There is a scraper that you twist so food never gets stuck on the sides, genius!  I use it almost every day.)  http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/food-processors-bowl-scraper-food-processor-70730.html

2.  Next add your spices to the food processor:

1 1/2 Tbsp. pre-made taco seasoning, OR:

you can make your own:
     1/2 Tbsp. cumin
     1 tsp. coriander
     1/2 tsp. chili powder
     1/2 tsp. of turmeric
     Pinch of cayenne pepper

with both packaged taco seasoning or homemade, add:

     1 Tbsp. low-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
Other ingredients:
1/4 cup black or refried beans

     squeeze of lime

3.  With a sharp knife, cut the stem of the collard green out, about 2/3 of the way up. 

4.  Place a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture on the top part of the leaf, above the cut out stem.  Top with black beans and salsa, and avocado and cilantro if using. 

5.  Begin folding the bottom part of the leaf towards the center.  Next fold in the sides, and finally the top, squeezing it together tightly and flipping it over so it is fold side down on a place. 


6.  Slice in half diagonally, and enjoy!  Maybe I need to develop a margarita flavored green juice to accompany?

The Lemon Drop

I love lemons, especially with greens in my juice.  This smoothie is delicious and refreshing, with a burst of fresh lemon flavor.  Depending on how leafy the greens are on your bok choy, the color may turn green more than yellow.  I use a whole lemon, if you really like lemon you could even add another half. 

1 lemon (peeled and seeds removed, if using a blender)
1/2 large parsnip, peeled
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup pineapple or papaya (I use frozen)
1-2 stalks bok choy
3 sprigs parsley
1 banana
*optional-if you like sweeter juice, add 1 golden apple

*As with every recipe, if using a juicer, double the quantity and omit the banana.  Lemons can be dropped in the juicer whole and un-peeled.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Favorite Fitness DVD's

These are some of my favorite workouts.  With 3 little boys, I don't have time to join a gym.  While I would love an uninterrupted hour to myself to exercise, for me it is just quicker and easier to sneak in a quick workout while they are busy playing, and not worry about loading everyone up and driving to the gym. 

1.  Workout, One-on-One Training with Jackie, by Jackie Warner.  This is divided into 3 different sections- upper body, lower body, and core.  Once in a while I do the entire DVD, but usually I do one or two of the 20 minute workouts.  It's really great for targeted toning, with a little bit of cardio thrown in.  The core section is just the right amount of killer. 

2.  Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer.  I just recently purchased this, and I'm glad I did.  While a 10 minute workout is not ideal for me, it completely takes away the excuse "I don't have time to workout today."  No matter how busy I am I can throw it I and it's done before I know it.  They get your heart pumping, and I actually feel some muscle burn-all in 10 minutes!  There are 5 workouts-Total Body, Lower Body, Abs, Cardio, and Yoga Flex.  The DVD comes with a resistance band and cardio belt. 

3.  Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30.  This one is great, and in typical Jillian fashion really gets your heart pumping.  There are four 24-minute workouts, each one gets a little harder.  Every workout includes 3 minutes of strength, followed by 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs.  That circuit is repeated throughout the 24 minutes.  I'm not a huge cardio lover, except for running I mainly stick to lifting weights, so this one is great for me.  It really gets my heart rate up, but I feel like I'm mostly doing weights or at least a body weight workout. 

4.  P90X Extreme Home Fitness box set.  This will always be my favorite.  Twelve intense workouts that really whip you into shape.  I am storing it on a shelf right now, looking forward to the day that I have time for the hour-90 minutes that it requires each day.  Once in awhile when I really want to burn out a muscle group I'll throw one in, just for old times sake:)  And I love the sore muscles the next day, I can't help it.   
5.  The Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout.  This is a gentle toning DVD (but it burns!)  that targets your smaller helper muscles.  As Tracy says, it helps to "re-engineer your muscular structure, wake up your accessory muscles, pull in your larger muscles, and shift your shape into something you never knew you could achieve."  While I don't love the standing abdominal work, (too easy) I really like the leg and arm sections.  Somehow she creates the burn with little to no weight.  I like to do this DVD on off days, or days that my larger muscle groups are too sore and tired to do much.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tahini Miso Dressing

I. love. this. stuff.  I put it on everything.  It's my favorite salad dressing, but I also mix with quinoa, slather it on roasted veggies, stir it into lentil soup, and spread it on toasted nori wrappers that I fill with chopped veggies to make a wrap.  So delicious.  It takes 5 minutes to make and I keep a big batch of it in a jar in the fridge at all times.  It's made from tahini, which is simply ground sesame seeds.  Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium, and are good for your hair and skin.  The tahini is mixed with miso paste, which is fermented soybean paste.  Not only does it give food that great unami taste, it's full of good probiotics for you.  You can usually find miso paste in health food markets, in the refrigerated section by the tofu.  Tahini is often in the Asian aisle of the grocery stores, but I've seen it next to the peanut and nut butters too.  Or you can make your own!
Mix 1/4 cup tahini with 1 Tbsp miso paste.  Mix well by mashing it down with a spoon, adding water or lemon juice as you go.  If I'm making this for a salad dressing I thin it out with quite a bit of water (1/4 cup).  I've also used apple cider vinegar to thin it, as well as added crushed garlic for flavor.  But I prefer it just simply with just lemon juice.  And I usually double this recipe.  Ok, triple. 
(Nori seaweed salad wrap with greens and tahini miso dressing)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Favorite Beauty Products


I decided to do a post on my favorite hair and make-up products, because with so much to choose from in stores, I find it helpful to read other people's opinions on things before trying them out.  I try out a lot of products so hopefully this is helpful!

1.  Favorite self tanners-
 I think I've tried almost every self tanner on the market.  With red hair and fair skin, I use it all year long!  My absolute favorite, hands down, is Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads.  They not only give me the darkest color, but also true to their name make my skin glow, have little to no odor, and the best part (in my opinion), they are individually wrapped in little foil packets.  That makes them perfect for travel.  No bulky bottle to take up space, and no shimmery bronze lotion spills at the bottom of my bag. 
I also love the St. Tropez line, which was my favorite before discovering Dr. Dennis Gross.  It too develops into a rich, dark tan.  I still like to keep a bottle of the foam self tanner at home, to use as more of a daily self tanner. 
2.  Mascara-
I just recently discovered "they're Real!" by Benefit and I looove it.  It does everything you want a mascara to do-lifts, curls, volumizes, and does not smudge.  Or flake.  Or smear.  I have gone to bed without removing it (shhh), and woke up the next morning looking like I just applied it.  Love. 
3.    Hair Volumizer-
This root-uplifting gel from kerastase is great for adding volume to your hair before you blow dry.  Because it's a gel it coats your roots better than spray, and the volume lasts until the next day.  It's a bit pricey and the bottle is small, so I save it for special days.  Like days that I actually have time to do my hair. 
4.  Hair texturizer-
I love beachy waves.  Most of the sea salt sprays that I've tried have left me with dull,  frizzy hair and very little wave.  Then I tried "it's a 10, miracle texture fiber."  My first thought was, oh no.  It's very sticky, and a little goes a long way.  I suggest a dime sized amount, rather than the amount I used.  But once I worked it though my hair and scrunched while I blew it dry, my strands were separated into perfect beachy waves.  It takes a little practice but if you have heavy, thick hair and want some texture,  this is for you. 

5.  Sunscreen-
 I try to avoid chemical ingredients like oxybenzone in my sunscreen at all costs.  That's why I love this physical blocker (Zinc-Oxide, non-nano) sunscreen.  It's "Burn Out KIDS,"  but I use it too.  No chemical sunscreen, petroleum and paraben free.  Plus it's non-greasy.  I mix a little bronzing gel (not self-tanner) into the palm of my hand and mix it with this product to take away any hint of white residue that physical sunscreens can have.  Although, I don't really notice white with this product, and I've found once they soak into your skin you can't see a trace anyway. 

6.  Foot Cream-
Rough Skin Eraser by Dr. Scholl's is perfect for keeping your soles silky between pedicures.  It contains a non-abrasive chemical exfoliant that dissolves dead skin while you rub it in.  I use it at night and put socks on afterwards (it becomes chalky, that's how you know the dead skin is dissolving).  Baby soft feet by morning!