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Happy St. Patrick’s Day / 1 Year Blogiversary

March 17, 2015

a sweet fruit smoothie stuffed with greensFirst off Happy St. Patty’s Day! I hope you are all having a lovely, safe and luck-filled holiday. Second, I wanted to stop in to thank you for reading this blog. If the title wasn’t a dead giveaway, today marks one year of writing for this beautiful space. And though it hasn’t always been consistent at times (I’m sorry times a million, guys!) it’s been such an amazing creative outlet for me, and I am SO extremely thankful for that.

a sweet fruit smoothie stuffed with greensIt’s been an insane year looking back at it.

I started with a green-themed St. Patrick’s Day post. After a lot of struggle over the years, I adopted a pretty permanent healthy lifestyle and found a remedy to my stomach issues. I started writing for brit.co and conquered some intense DIY projects. I married my best friend and traveled through Italy for two weeks. And, I survived another Midwest winter.

Now, I’m moving on to the next chapter. I’m a wife, moving into a new apartment (in the next month!) with my husband. Hoping to finally decorate and DIY (and share it all with you guys!) and maybe even adopt a puppy (insert EXTREME happy giggles).

green-stuffed sweet smoothieAnd for this blog, I hope to write better posts, take prettier photos, maybe record a few videos (something I’m seriously looking into right now) and give you guys more of the good stuff you’re looking for. Of course, if you ever have any ideas on posts or topics or things you want to know, please feel free to email me, drop an idea in the comments section or post on my facebook page.

a sweet fruit smoothie stuffed with greensObviously no blog birthday would be complete without sweetness…but let’s get real, cake’s off the table with beach season right around the corner. So I’ll share a healthy smoothie recipe to help you get your St. Patrick’s Day greens instead!

fruit smoothie stuffed with greens
 
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Get your veggies in your breakfast.
Author:
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 6 fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup spinach (or as much as you can stuff into your blender)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 banana
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth(ie). Enjoy!

a sweet fruit smoothie stuffed with greens

DIY Drinks

DIY your own non-dairy milk, no sugar or additives

February 1, 2015

the only way to drink almond milk without an additives: make your own!Guys, I suck.

Go ahead, you can say it. I’ve been shit at updating this blog the past two weeks.

As you may know (or get the vibe) I love to be busy, but these past two weeks have been a whirlwind. So, again, a million apologies for the tardiness of this week’s posts. It is a wrong I am certainly going to right this week.

the only way to drink almond milk without an additives: make your own!the only way to drink almond milk without an additives: make your own!In the meantime, look at this awesomely beautiful almond milk! I made it for you! I mean, maybe you know how to make almond milk, but just in case, I thought I’d share how.

Plus, this was my first crack at it and I succeeded. That alone says how easy it is.

the only way to drink almond milk without an additives: make your own!I’m not 100% if it’s the most cost-effective since almonds can be quite pricey and it expires after about a week, BUT it’s like the only almond milk you’ll get that doesn’t have a ton of junk added in. Major bonus, in my book.

the only way to drink almond milk without an additives: make your own!Then you put it in a pretty little mason jar and voila! Almond milk for all your fave recipes and smoothies.

homemade almond milk
 
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The best way to get pure almond milk (no sugar or additives)? Make your own!
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Ingredients
  • +1 cup almonds
  • +2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Soak almonds overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Pour almonds in food processor with water. Blend until liquified.
  3. Pour mixture through a cheese cloth, into a container.
  4. Refrigerate for up to a week.
  5. Tip: Save leftover almond bits to make almond flour!

P.S. Do you love how I’m sharing this post as the majority of the U.S. is watching the Super Bowl? #priorites

Drinks

you know those disgusting, giant green leaves? yeah, I made a smoothie with that.

January 9, 2015

organic (rainbow) chard smoothie that actually tastes goodFor the record, that photo title is actually not sarcastic (for once, ha).

I really did make a delicious smoothie filled with organic, rainbow chard.

Gosh, chard just sounds like a gross word. Confession: I’m too afraid to try it straight up in a salad, but throw it in a blender with some fruit and I’m good to go.

organic chard smoothie in a beautiful mason jarThis smoothie was my way of mixing up my snack on this LeBron Challenge, which is going…pretty good. I’m craving a Sprinkles cupcake like a mother, but other than that I feel good.

Last night I binged on white cheddar popcorn though, after finding out it had no added sugar. So beware of that, I suppose.

I’ll give you a full update after I complete the Challenge next Tuesday. Till then, enjoy this sweet (yes, it’s actually sweet!) chard smoothie. Nutritious, easy to make and a sneaky way to get some greens in you.

sweet, delicious organic rainbow chard smoothie
 
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It may have chard in it, but damn it's good
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 3 leaves of organic rainbow chard
  • 1 banana
  • lots of pineapple
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 frozen strawberries
Instructions
  1. Start by blending the banana and water with the chard.
  2. Add in a few chunks of pineapple, blend.
  3. Add in frozen strawberries and blend.
  4. Finally, add a bit more pineapple.
  5. Blend until totally smooth and enjoy!

happy a happy weekend, loves!

Drinks

get holiday happy with this eggnog matcha green tea latte

December 23, 2014

matcha green tea latte with eggnogLike all good food bloggers, I’ve been craving eggnog all season long.

And I’ve been looking for ways to bake up something new with eggnog (I’m 24, not 4, so it get’s tough to justify drinking it straight from the carton at this point), but haven’t been intrigued by any recipe thus far.

Then, some Christmas magic happened.

Through way too much internet surfing, I was struck with an idea: matcha. green. tea. latte.

What annoys me is that a pure version of this is next to impossible to find at any coffee house. Check off one more reason I should open my own coffee shop/rent-a-book store. But, I digress.

matcha green tea latte with eggnogI’m sure the tea experts may be slightly shocked at this combination, or my novice technique, but it got the job done, wouldn’t you say? Just look at that sweet, warm concoction.

But…if we are going to throw a sugary drink (eggnog) into anything, I like to make sure there is at least some “healthy” component. Of course, that’s where the matcha powder comes in. A few fun facts about matcha:

  • It burns calories by increasing your metabolism
  • High in antioxidants (one bowl of tea has 5x as many antioxidants as any other food)
  • Boosts memory and concentration
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Increases energy and endurance
  • Improves cholesterol
(source)

With benefits like that, I might start chugging this up on the daily.

matcha green tea latte with eggnogTo start off, I very generally followed this recipe. Aka I tweaked it quite a bit.

The great thing about adding eggnog to a matcha green tea latte is you don’t need any additional sweetener! The eggnog does that job overtime (in the best possible way).

A few important notes worth mentioning:

  • I recommend getting good, organic matcha green tea powder in order to reap all the amazing benefits. But, just a warning, it is kind of expensive (my little bag cost about $10). Check the ingredients label and make sure it’s organic Japanese matcha (some teas will try to save some bucks by having a Japanese matcha filled in with Chinese matcha).
  • If you don’t make your eggnog at home, I recommend purchasing Organic Valley from Whole Foods. It has whole ingredients, not those icky fillers.

matcha green tea latte with eggnogmatcha green tea latte with eggnog

eggnog matcha green latte
 
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a ridiculously easy drink to whip up, right before Santa's visit (or maybe for Santa himself)!
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea
  • ¾ cup eggnog
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Pour eggnog into a small pot, on medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Place matcha green tea powder into a mug.
  3. Bring water to a boil either on a stovetop (kettle) or by placing it in a heat-safe bowl and microwaving it for a little over a minute.
  4. Pour boiling water into mug and lightly whisk, to break up clumps.
  5. Heavily whisk eggnog in pan to create a foamy mixture.
  6. Pour hot, foamy eggnog into the green tea and enjoy by a fireplace (with a good book in hand!).

matcha green tea latte with eggnogmatcha green tea latte with eggnogI’m highly considering bringing this powder back to my parents’ place and whipping up a batch for them.

1. Because it’s super easy.
2. It’s insanely delicious.
3. It’s 110% totally Christmas.

(Sorry, did not mean for that list to rhyme. Guess it’s just holiday hyperness!).

Anyone else have any good eggnog recipes?

Drinks

healthified bloody mary with two spooky twists

October 29, 2014

healthified bloody maryFirst off: Sorry this post is late today. I couldn’t figure out the name of this particular spice, and didn’t want to give you guys the wrong name. Plus, my internet was moving at 90s dialup speed. #bloggerproblems

See these Bloody Marys? I love em. Seriously. Alcohol can be iffy for me sometimes, but I can NEVER pass up a Bloody Mary. And aren’t they so choice for Halloween (don’t mind me…just trying to bring back Ferris Bueller).

Any who, I bought a Bloody Mary mix awhile ago…but that mix had a bunch of crap in it, so I decided to clean it up a bit. I used a basic recipe–using clean ingredients–and went from there. Though, there are hundreds of different Bloody Mary recipes online, if you wanted something with a slightly different vibe.

The main stunners on these drinks are the “cocktail sticks,” which I (of course) decorated in a Halloween fashion. I told you – I love a good theme!

First, I poured the Bloody Mary ingredients (see below) into a skeleton glass (Michaels, of course). I mean, it can only get better from there.

Then, I gave my first drink a set of eyes.

halloween bloody maryTo do this, you need to purchase skewer sticks (found at your local grocery store), small caprese balls, some olives and whole cloves.

bloodymary1 bloodymary2Thinly slice an olive, so it forms a small empty circle shape. Poke the skewer through the caprese ball, and place the olive on top of the caprese ball, securing it with a clove. Of course, make two, unless you’re going for the scary, one-eyed bloody monster look. Which is also totally okay.

halloween-themed bloody marysThe other Halloween-themed Bloody Mary skewer I made was more friendly looking.

Now, beware: if the cheese “pumpkins” are not thick enough, the skewer will pierce them and crack the cheese in half. It’s a fine balance.

healthified bloody maryEssentially, cut two thick squares of cheese. Using a small knife, round the squares out by cutting off their angles. Next, use a skewer to carve little faces into the pumpkin. Skewer the pumpkins in the middle (where a pumpkin stem might go) and garnish by poking a very tiny hole in the top, with a skewer, and sticking a small thyme leaf in it. Tuh-duh!

halloween-themed bloody maryshalloween-themed bloody maryshalloween-themed bloody maryshalloween-themed bloody marys

healthified bloody mary with a spooky twist
 
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Bloody Mary recipe for a spooky Halloween!
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 6 oz tomato juice (or more if you prefer)
  • 3 tbsp vodka (or more if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ⅛ sea salt
  • 5 drops Tabasco sauce (because I like it hot)
  • 5 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • couple grinds of pepper (muy importante)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a glass. Add ice. Voila!

 Halloween is coming guys! What are you doing to toast the holiday?

Drinks

pumpkin pie spice smoothie recipe (for breakfast)

October 7, 2014

perfect for fall!I promised you pumpkins and dammit, pumpkins I will give you!

I oddly never really liked this fave Autumn veggie until very recently. I always had trouble with that traditional pie, with way too much whip cream. Yuck. BUT, I have come around to loving a good pumpkin spice dessert!

Before I break down the recipe, can we just run over all the benefits of consuming pumpkin :

  • Low cals
  • No saturated fats or cholesterol
  • It’s a veggie!
  • Aids in weight loss (hooray for that protein!)
  • Great source of vitamin C and vitamin E
  • HUGE source of vitamin A…like, more than 200% of your daily intake
  • Rich in minerals like copper, calcium and potassium
  • May reduce cancer risk
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Helps protect your skin

[ source // source ]

Okay, now that we got that all of the way, a MAJOR bonus of this smoothie? It’s delicious, of course (seriously, I swear it would also make a good after-dinner dessert), but it also has tons of pumpkin in it! And I even added some extra protein powder for more “fill you up” power.

delish pumpkin spice smoothieAlso, this is pretty easy to make.

But, like other smoothies I’ve made, I do love them thick! So feel free to “water this down” with more almond milk or crushed ice. Just be careful not to add too much and dull out the flavor. It can be a real bummer.

However, if you do keep the thick consistency, you can throw it in the fridge for a pudding-type consistency, and have it as an after-dinner dessert. Talk about flexible.

protein-packed pumpkin spice smoothie

pumpkin spice smoothie
 
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Your favorite Autumn dessert got smoothied.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder (I used vega one)
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 ripe banana
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend on high, or on "smoothie mode," until everything is mixed well.
  3. Pour into a cup of your choice.
  4. Add a cinnamon stick for some extra sass, or throw into the fridge for a "pudding-like" treat later in the day.
Notes
Nutrition on this is a rough estimate. It depends on what brand of almond milk you use and what protein powder you use (if any). // Feel free to split this up into two servings too! That's what I did - breakfast & dessert!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 336.5 Fat: 4.7g Carbohydrates: 69.1g Sugar: 38.0g Sodium: 171.2mg Fiber: 10.8g Protein: 12g Cholesterol: 0

And happy Tuesday beautiful people! I’m not sure why, but I’m so happy it’s Tuesday today. I get to see my nutritionist and I got to go for a walk with Ryan before work this morning. It’s the little things 🙂

Drinks

spiced apple chai tea latte

September 30, 2014

spiced apple chai tea latteA few weeks ago, Ryan and I drove to my parents’ house to go see Book of Mormon at the PAC. Btdubs, highly recommend that venue, if by some sheer force you end up in Appleton, Wisconsin. Anyway, along with errands and farmers market runs, we made sure to stop off at Copper Rock Coffee–one of my all-time favorite coffee houses. Maybe it’s the nostalgia (it was the place to hang out in high school) or because of their turtle lattes (which are probably illegal in 15 countries they are so good), but I love this place.

I went out on a limb and ordered their Spiced Apple Chai Tea Latte with almond milk and…guys, I don’t have words. It was the best thing I’ve had this season. It was like hot apple cider, but better. I made my dad smell it because even the aroma was Autumn perfection! Well, obviously I was a woman obsessed.

So I came back to Chicago. And I Googled and searched for ways to replicate this delicious fall flavor, but–go figure–I have yet to find something that comes close to this (and as we all found out, Starbucks doesn’t count when you have that much sh*t in your drink. No way you can feel 100% good about drinking that). If you’re from Chicagoland and have some recco’s, I’m all ears. But, in the meantime, I made a DIY version that is pretty damn close to the original, if I do say so myself.

apple2apple4Now, there are a lot of spiced chai recipes out there, but I used this one. From there, I tweaked the measurements to adjust for one serving and to add that apple flavor I was dying for. The result was apple perfection.

spiced apple chai tea latte

spiced apple chai tea latte
 
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Spiced apple chai tea latte for the perfect Autumn treat
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 black chai tea bag
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • Dash of cardamom
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • ¼ organic apple juice
  • ½ cup almond milk
Instructions
  1. Start by boiling the water.
  2. Add honey, tea bag, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, cloves, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.
  3. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove tea bag.
  5. Add milk and apple juice.
  6. Bring to a boil, but continue stirring.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Pour through strainer (catching cloves and cinnamon stick) and into a mug.
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
If you really like apple juice, feel free to add a bit more!

spiced apple chai tea latteWhat’s your favorite fall drink?

Drinks

cool down with this watermelon mint juice

July 30, 2014

watermelon mint juiceHola mis muchachos. Tis Humpity Hump Day today! And you wanna know why this particular Wednesday is uber special? Well, it’s Ryan’s 25th birthday! Anndd…our wedding is officially 30 days away! *gasp* NO clue how it came up on us so fast. There are so many things to do still. Like, I don’t know, renew my passport so I can go on my honeymoon! You know, little things like that.

Anyways, I have quite a few recipes to share that are just sitting in my iPhoto app right now. And this was one of them! This delicious, two ingredient watermelon juice. Legit, it’s just watermelon and a few mint leaves, blended up together in a big, beautiful mess of a drink.

watermelon mint juicewatermelon mint juicewatermelon mint juiceObviously it’s perfect for summer. Plus it’s almost like a tropical drink…that you take to work…on a Wednesday.

Well, I tried.

watermelon mint juicewatermelon mint juicedelicious and nutritious

cool down with this watermelon mint juice
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ baby watermelon
  • 2-4 small mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Scoop out watermelon.
  2. Throw watermelon in blender.
  3. Add mint leaves.
  4. Blend together.
  5. Pour in cool mason jar glass thing.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Drinks

Cinnamon Bun Smoothie Recipe

July 23, 2014

cinnamon bun protein smoothieI love smoothies. Especially protein smoothies. But in the past few months, I’ve gotten lazy. And started just getting my morning fuel from Protein Bar around the corner from my office. Now, Protein Bar is the bomb. Nothing wrong with Protein Bar. But, I probably should watch my wallet better when I’m about a month away from my wedding.

That being said, I’ve also started to track my Macros (fat, carbs, protein and alcohol consumption). Please don’t be startled if the month of August is teeming with fitness, macro or healthy food talk. I am definitely trying to tone down before my wedding and honeymoon to Italy.

cinnamon bun protein smoothie cinnamon bun protein smoothieBut back to the protein smoothie. I shared this baby back in the day when I had another blog. The recipe was handed down from my bestie, who found it somewhere on Pinterest (we could never find the link) and then I altered it slightly. Feel free to alter it as you will too! But I recommend using this as a starting base, to get that cinnamon-y bun flavor.

cinnamon bun protein smoothieIt really is delicious (P.S. Do you like my nail polish? Apparently I was distracted by it when taking this photo). So delicious, in fact, I made it because I’ve been craving it for weeks. Just out of the blue! Like a really good dessert, except really good for you. In fact, the macros (if you’re interested) look something like this:

3.07g of fat
17.15g of protein
59.14g of carbs

Not bad, I’d say. Especially since I’m trying to up my protein levels (found out yesterday, I’m fairly balanced with carbs and fats, but probably go a bit overboard on them to compensate for my severe protein deficiency–who knew!). Note: Don’t be afraid of the dark brown/green color. That’s from the Vega protein powder I used. If you use whey, or another type of protein brand, you may get a different color.

cinnamon bun protein-packed smoothie
 
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The perfect dessert-like smoothie to start your day off with a protein-packed punch.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into at least four pieces
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Vegan French Vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together in blender, and enjoy!

 

Hope you enjoy!