recipes

My Life in Jars

I have to come clean about something.

I, Christina, am obsessed with mason jars.

It’s not a new concept to store food in these cylindrical, glass beauties. In fact, if my mommom saw this she’d slap me over the head because she (as with most older, wiser people) has used mason jars in her kitchen for a century, and has also been jarring gravy for the same amount of time, in a massive collection of her own masons.

But it must have hit me when I started working, cooking, and storing food for myself just how great these are, and how the uses for them are practically innumerable. No longer do I have to worry about whether or not my soup, smoothie, coffee, dressing, sauce or any other liquid I might carry somewhere has spilled all over the inside of my bag. No longer am I thinking about the BPA seeping into my food when I microwave it later. No longer am I thinking about how quickly I have to eat what’s in there before it goes bad.

Well that last one is a little presumptuous – food can still go bad. But when its sealed that tight IN GLASS?? It definitely lasts longer than any other kind of container you might be using.

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Either way, the pack I bought at Target for $8.00 (!) have more than paid for themselves in the probably-a-year I’ve had them. Here are some of my favorite uses for maybe mankind’s greatest invention:

  • Overnight oats: the easiest = rolled oats, almond milk, blueberries, cinnamon, peanut butter… awesome and perfect breakfast! (pictured)
  • Storing my cold brew coffee (pictured)
  • Storing my favorite homemade soups for easy grabbing when making lunch (work well freezing too!)
  • Mason Jar salads (pictured) also for easy grabbing when making lunch
  • Smoothies – I’ll make a few early in the week, label the ingredients, and take them with me for breakfasts, lunches etc. The fruit and contents doesn’t go bad or taste any different!
  • Baking soda air freshners – DYI, all natural, no chemicals in the air and REALLY, HONESTLY work!
  • Vase for short, bundles of flowers I get at a farmer’s market
  • Storing and keeping fresh various grains – quinoa, farro, rice stay fresh for months in seal tight mason jars
  • Chia detox water: chia seeds purified water, fruits like frozen blueberries and strawberries, and lemons!
  • Chia pudding

The list could go on and on. What are your favorite uses for mason jars??

Thanks for reading!

– x

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Trying out The Whole 30

Paleo Diets have been the new big thing for a few years and may be singlehandedly keeping Pinterest in existence (can you look for any recipe on there without a Paleo one coming up? try it). Through an Instagram friend I came upon something that is the same, but different, called The Whole 30.

From what I can tell thus far (from reading the website, not the NYT BEST SELLER book) the main difference is in the details. For example, there are a number of specific chemical components (carageenan, MSG or sulfites) used in prepared foods that are to be avoided, but coffee and salt are allowed (not Paleo). The general idea of no refined sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, processed foods, etc are the same.

Much to my dismay, the Whole 30 does stress the avoidance of the Paleo-type cheats that have been widely used (See: pinterest). As the site says:

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” – See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.tqhCuUVy.dpuf

They have a point. But I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now consistently, and I just have to have something sweet after dinner, so I’ve been whipping up a banana-ice cream (with almond butter) and YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT IT.

The idea I like about The Whole 30 is that it has an end time. It feels like a game to try to be getting to the finish line, instead of a diet, which feels more easily cheat-able with no end in site. And if I gain some knowledge and positive good habits along the way, SO BE IT!

So far I feel so great and less bloated without any dairy or grain. I also feel so much less crazy without any sugar. This isn’t new news, but I sure do feel the noticeable difference between having and not having sugar – when I don’t have any, I don’t crave it. But when I give in to those donuts in the office kitchen…. I want more the rest of the day. The addictive properties of sugar are no joke, and if you’ve never seen the segment on sugar from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, please do so.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve been whippin up on the reg since doing The Whole 30

FRITATTA

I’ve been making frittatas for ever but for some reason they’ve gotten more tasty in doing this eating plan (and as I get better at making them).

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They’re really easy, and can incorporate any vegetables you have. I usually use zucchini, tomato, peppers, kale, spinach… whatever I have around that can be roasted or sautéed. After preparing them, I beat 3 or 4 eggs (I WOULD throw in some parmesan cheese, but not on the Whole 30), and pour them over the veggies I’ve prepared in the same skillet.

Cook on low until the egg is solid and cooked, and you can flip it.

I’ve eaten this for breakfast, lunches, dinners… I usually make a big one and cut it in pieces for different meals!

Next recipe for the Whole 30 coming up later this week! Thanks for reading!

The Best Pumpkin Seed Recipe

I love Fall and everything that comes with it. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, literally just pour pumpkin spice sauce on everything I eat and I’ll be happy.

I especially love CARVING pumpkins, and with that, using everything in it for something delicious. First let’s talk about pumpkin seeds.

My favorite recipe is what I like to call PUMPKIN PIE PUMPKIN SEEDS. Here’s how it goes:

 

1 TBS Maple Syrup per cup of seeds

a few drizzles of olive oil

1 TSP Pumpkin Pie spice per cup of seeds

1 TSP Cinnamon Sugar per cup of seeds

a few pinches of sea salt

 

You want to wash off the seeds, try to remove all loose pumpkin from them. Rinse in a colander like so.

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Then let them dry overnight. This will allow the ingredients to stick to them better. Lay out on a baking sheet on a piece of wax paper, and cover with a paper towel.

 

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Once they’re dry the next day, you can pour them all in to a bowl, and add all of the above ingredients. If you want to add a little more of the spices to your taste, feel free! Mix around so each seed is well covered. Preheat the oven to 360.

 

 

Spread these out on a baking sheet again, making sure they’re well spread out. Let them bake for about 15 minutes, and at that point check if they look golden or toasty. Flip a few of them over, you want to try to get them toasty on both sides. Once they are you can take them out and let them cool!

IMG_4009Very good, and tasty snack for Fall!

GOOP Detox

Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. Before actually perusing her website/blog GOOP, I’d only heard very pompous sounding excerpts from the it in other stories, or articles criticizing GOOP, and I thought “ugh, another celebrity who thinks they should be giving the general public health and lifestyle information. As if the privileges their lives afford them are in any way comparable to my life…”

BUT I actually gave it a chance when stumbling upon it again, and I have to say, I don’t hate it (insert the monkey covering it’s mouth emoji).

Take a look at this link below, to a detox she discusses doing (and provides “doctor” information for) around the dead of winter. Lately I’ve been overindulging and was looking for a healthy way to feel a little bit cleansed, and these light, simple, and somewhat nutritious recipes will definitely do the trick over starving myself with juices. Even if I don’t follow the plans exactly, the recipes like the carrot ginger dressing, and the broccoli arugula soup sound good enough to eat any time.

http://www.goop.com/journal/make/15/detox

Let me know what you think, or if you’re a regular GOOP-er!

What’s the BFD with ACV?

acv

Amongst the blogs, twitters, and instagrams I follow that discuss health stuff, the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar repeatedly comes up. I’ve read countless articles, and most of them say that either by ingesting or using topically, RAW Apple Cider Vinegar will do any of the following:

  • clear your skin
  • boost your immunity
  • clean your hair
  • help you “detox”
  • help you lose weight
  • give you energy
  • enhance your mood
  • save the whales

But my question is, has anyone actually seen these benefits first hand? It’s easy to write a blog post echoing a study that you think someone did once, or repeat information you read somewhere else that you think works. But what about some hard investigative reporting where said blogger follows up  with what they find out?

Look no further my MANY (few) followers, I am here. I am going to put a few of the Raw Apple Cider Vinegar recipes I’ve found to the test, and let you know what kind of results I get. Currently I could stand to lose a few ten pounds, as well as could do ANYTHING to clear my chin acne, and both of those things already bring down my mood, so I would be happy to see any of that eradicated. Also, I am definitely going to drink it before lunch and see the effect it has on my “afternoon slump” at work. Here are the few recipes I found if you’d like to play along:

ACV based vinaigrette – from Refinery 29

Any of these great juices – from The Healthy Honeys

Or these juice recipes

and This ACV and Aspirin toner

Also in everything I’ve seen, it’s important to use RAW Apple Cider Vinegar, such as Bragg’s, which is available at Target!

If anyone has truly done these before, please let me know your experiences or how you prefer to take it! I’ll take all the advice I can get. 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Cold Brew Coffee – my summer savior

When I wake up every morning dreading the slow crawl from my bed, to the gym, to the job I hate, there is one thing that reminds me “YOU CAN DO THIS, DON’T BE A WUSS.” And no, it’s not the fear of disappointing my family and friends, and it’s not the alternative of no longer having a steady paycheck. No my readers, the thing that’s getting me out of bed and reminding me to seize the day no matter the circumstances – my own cold brewed coffee.

I know you’re thinking “coffee is coffee, there’s not coffee so good that it’s reminding you you want to live,” and to that I say NAY. If you love iced coffee like I do, the ability to have it already made and in my veins before getting to my desk makes all the difference in the morning. And making the iced coffee just like your favorite coffee shop does is so much easier than you think, not to mention so much more flavorful and stronger, when it’s not heated.

There are two ways to separate the grounds in cold brewing, either with a french press (which I use) or with a large tea bag like material that can soak grounds in water. So far I prefer the french press, so here are all the other VERY simple details to wake up your summer mornings.

– You can use completely normal grounds that you would buy in any store for any coffee you would make. Try to find course grounds. These have always worked better for me in the quality of the final product, as well as in the least amount of grounds that are left over in what I am drinking.

– Use 2 cups of grounds to every 4 cups water, in a large pitcher. Use 3 : 4 if you want a REALLY strong brew. Sometimes I will also add some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to the grounds beforehand.

– Stir the grounds and water around a bit, and let sit overnight in the fridge. I like to have it sit for anywhere from 9 – 11 hours.

– Use the french press to separate the grounds from the coffee – pour the mix in into the press, and push the plunger down. The pour what is separated into a separate container or my preference, mason jar.

– Add your regular coffee accoutrements and enjoy! You’ll notice how much less bitter your coffee is, how many more subtle flavors you can taste, and how you might need less of what you’d normally use to mix (milk, creamer..) because the flavor will be stronger.

 

Let me know how this goes, or how you make your cold brew coffee! Thanks for reading!

Make Drinking Water More Fun

I love jumping on (and you know, getting in on the ‘ground floor’ of) new health fads. Or I guess I should say, I like finding new ways to distract myself from the fact that I’m not eating chocolate or pasta all the time, like I wish I was.

My new favorite way of pretending to be healthy is “infusing water”, as some pinners may call it. Basically throw some fruit in your water bottle, pitcher, or jars, let it sit overnight or several hours, and voila! WATER ISN’T AS BORING ANYMORE!

Really though, the first few times I saw this I was like “I mean… I don’t want juice, if I want water. So why would I do this?” But in reality, it’s delicious. I’m someone who LOVES lemon in my water, and this is like that but even better. You need the right combinations, though. Below is a picture of my latest combo, in my favorite mineral water Voss – lemon, blueberries, and mint.

water infusion

It all mixes up so well with just a hint of flavor, and allll the same great benefits of drinking water (plus more as blueberries are high in antioxidants, lemons aide in digestion, the list goes on). Other great fruits to use include oranges, starfuits, blackberries, strawberries.. the combinations are endless, so see what you like! AND WHATS MORE, just like a nice glass of sangria, you have a snack at the bottom of the bottle!

h/t to one of my favorite instagrammers – bysaber and detoxskintips. Check out some of her posts for amazing recipes as well as great tips and info!

 

Thanks for reading!