Friday, June 29, 2012

Beauty and Health Supplements


Since this is a blog where we talk about food, I thought I'd do something a little bit different and tell you all about some new supplements I've started to take which have stellar beauty and health benefits.

1) Wild Sockeye Salmon Oil


I eat avocados and coconut oil, but I need to be eating more omega's, and from all different sources. You probably should be too. Wild salmon oil contains amino acids, which are proteins derived from food. Easily digested and absorbed, these proteins help repair cells, bones and muscles and regulate your metabolism.
This will not only keep you healthy on the inside; it'll make your skin glow and your hair and nails super healthy. Make sure to get a good quality brand like this one and check to see it's from wild salmon. With any supplement, quality is key. It's like comparing the health benefits of raw chocolate to a Cadbury chocolate bunny. Spend the moolah and be rewarded. You can also get omegas from an all plant form, and you can take both. I plan to get the plant based pill too.

2) Chlorophyll


Greens! We all know greens are important for our health and the vital antioxidant properties within, but this will also do wonders for your skin! I have a different brand than the one pictured. This one says it's mint flavored, but mine is pure and tastes like grass. BUT, if you add a tablespoon to a tall glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a dash of sea salt, it's actually kinda good. I try to eat as many greens as I can in a day, but sometimes just can't keep up. This definitely helps.

Um...not sure why it says "internal deodorant" on the bottle. Perhaps there are some extra benefits I don't know about!

3) Himalayan Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt



Yes, this is actually a supplement to provide vital minerals your body needs to function on. Let's have a heart to heart, shall we? Table salt and Kosher salt are not even close to the same thing as Sea salt. You know how you always hear too much salt is bad for you? Not this kind of salt. The more the better, actually. Table salt has nothing in common with natural salt. Table salt is 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals, then it's dried at excessive heat and alters the structure of the salt. Natural Himalayan  and Celtic salt contains all of the 84 elements found in your body (that means you are getting 84 minerals!) and the benefits include: regulating the water content throughout your body, promoting a healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly brain cells, promoting blood sugar health and help reduce the signs of aging, assisting the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body, absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract, promoting bone strength, promoting sinus health, prevention of muscle cramps, regulating your sleep, supporting your libido...I mean the list goes on and on. And, in conjunction with water it is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure. 

I sprinkle it on my food, sure, but I also make a conscious effort  to consume more. I mix about a teaspoon into a clay that I mix with water (my next supplement) to make it more palatable and to get more into my system.

4) Montmorillonite Clay


This clay provides more than a few alkalizing minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, sodium, sulfur and silica. Also, these minerals exist in nautral proportion to one another, so they are more easily absorbed into the body. Why would I drink clay? Good question. The minerals in clay are highly negatively charged-full of electrons that absorb and eliminate many positively charged toxins in the body. It flushes toxins out! Quite powerfully, I might add. It's all natural and can be used internally and externally as a facial mask. Clay also provides a wide range of benefits including improved digestion and elimination, better circulation, higher quality sleep, increased energy, stronger immune system, weight loss, balanced sugar level and more.

I mix a scoop of the clay with 6-8oz water and a teaspoon of Celtic salt, daily. It's not yummy. I'll level with you. But I love what it's doing for me, so I stomach it. It tastes like watery clay. But mild. Surprise, surprise. But, it sucks toxins out!! Worth it. Worth it. 

5) Magnesium


This is an essential dietary mineral. Magnesium plays many an important role like helping cells produce metabolic energy, supporting optimum nerve function, helping muscles relax, and maintaining a health heartbeat. It also helps you poop. :) Like how I slipped that in there? You may think you're regular, but chances are you're not. You should be going two-three times a day. Disease starts in the colon. Keep things moving and take your magnesium.

Why am I taking these?

My Aunt looked at my blood the other day. Long story short? I need more good fats (Omegas), greens, and minerals in my diet. Chances are, you do to. It's very, very common. I also need to cut back on my sugar intake a bit and sweat more. I need to sweat because my body has a hard time getting rid of built up toxins. I SAW these toxins. In my blood. Scary stuff. But totally normal for our environment and how we eat even though I eat well and organic most of the time. I have metals from vaccinations and stuff. I also switched my skin care regimen over to an all natural-chemical free variety and started to use paraben free-chemical free sunscreen. I prefer not to gather more harmful toxins while I try and prevent sun damage and skin cancer. Logical, right? More to come on that later. 

I am currently taking all of these and plan to do a follow up to let you know how what I loved and what I highly recommend and why.

Do you take any supplements? What are the benefits? Which of the ones above are you most interested to try? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coconut Water-Lemon Martinis

Coconut Water-Lemon Martini

This is Trudy Roo
Trudy Roo

Trudy Roo guard martinis well
Trudy roo guards the martinis

Very well

Oh, Trudence, you the cutest.
Trudy Roo

Except for my dog, Ham

The end.

Trudy is my Aunt Kellie's dog. She has nothing to do with the martini story other than she was present the night they were consumed and she photographs very well. She is also a beautiful dog who looks nothing like Liza Minnelli and does not have fish breath in the slightest. Not true. I'm also writing this post after drinking said coconut water-lemon martini and, writing about the dog just seems like a better idea than it normally would.

Ah, vodka.

I got this cocktail idea from the devastatingly goregeous Rebecca Romijn who was in this month's Health magazine. I used to be scared of martini's, but given this photo:


And this:

I seem to be coming around. You can make martini's as stiff or light as you like, so if you are scared too, just add a wee bit of vodka and go from there.

Coconut Water-Lemon Martini

Coconut water provides the base for this drink, which has many a health benefit. It's also naturally sweet, so no need for added sugar, and is very hydrating. Technically, you can hydrate while you dehydrate! Lemon juice adds acidity and mixed with the coconut water makes the most refreshing lemonade-esque drink ever. If you are pregnant or don't drink alcohol, this alone will be a great summer refresher. If you likey the vodka like I've learned to, it just adds to the party.



Coconut Water-Lemon Martini

Coconut Water-Lemon Martini
adapted from Health magazine, and Rebecca Romijn
makes 2

You don't really need a recipe. You want juice from 1/2 a lemon to a glass of coconut water and add vodka to taste. But for all of you who need measurements...

1 1/4 cups Coconut Water- we use Zico Brand
juice from a 1/2 to 1 whole lemon
2-4 shots of good vodka or coconut vodka- we used about 3 1/2 shots of Grey Goose

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add coconut water, lemon and vodka. Stir and taste. Add more coconut water if you like it sweeter and more lemon to make it more tart. Place the top on the container and shake it with the ice for 10 seconds. Strain into 2 martini glasses.

Also! I guess he liked it...


Because he put a ring on it!

Congratulations to my sister, Kaylee and Patrick on getting engaged!!! Sorry for the turkey carcass pic, but this was my absolute favorite day with you two.
Nov-Dec 08 073

Our response?
(Cousin Harrison, Aunt Kellie, Me, and my friend Kel who were with me when I got the news)

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Raw Brownie and Aunt Kellie


We have company!! My Aunt Kellie is staying with me! She is the best, and a very clean eater, plus a blood analysis expert, which means she knows how bad food effects your blood, which in turn, starts disease, which I'll admit is a-scary. It also means that when you want an iced coffee during the day, you completely hide that fact from your Aunt. It doesn't matter that she herself bought a cookie at the restaurant earlier and you did in her book is a HUGE no-no. So I smuggle my lidded cup to the kitchen, wait till she walks upstairs until I fill it with coffee, add a smidge of stevia and coconut milk and a dash of cream, then hide the cup in the cabinet until she leaves the house. That's the thing with my Aunt. It doesn't matter what she chooses to "cheat" with, yours is always worse. I love her to death, but our eating philosophies don't completely get along. Close, but no cigar.

My beautiful Aunt Kellie. She's 50. Can you believe that?!

1) I don't monitor my fruit intake like she does because I believe whole heartedly in whole organic foods and the abundant antioxidant properties contained in them which shouldn't be limited. She'll agree but with some stipulations, which I'm sure I'll hear after she reads this post. :)

2) I also eat whole grains. She's scared of them. Something about mold.

3) She avoids mushrooms and blue cheese for the same reason. I eat mushrooms and when I had them on my salad the other night she was repulsed. Did you catch that? I was eating -not nachos or tacos- but a salad, people! And blue cheese is delicious, but I have no argument for it being good for you. It's not. Boo!

4) She won't touch bottled salad dressings, soy sauce, vinegar, or anything besides vegenaise basically. And while I generally make my own salad dressings, I'm not above ordering one from a restaurant. It's for my own sanity.

5) She only drinks alkaline water. Only. Alkaline. Water. This means she carries a water bottle with her into every restaurant and literally shutters to think about drinking what they serve from tap. She will literally go thirsty if she has forgotten her bottle, which she doesn't. Ever. I drink alkaline water at home because I have a filter, but I drink regular water when out or at other peoples houses.

6) She doesn't drink wine very often, but is fine with a strong vodka martini because it's low calories and no sugar. I get it, but I still argue since there are antioxidants in red wine and actually health benefits if enjoyed in moderation. It doesn't matter. The sulfates are poison or something like that and will cause imminent death. Vodka is pure and clear and beautiful and perfect and doesn't damage the liver at all. I'm being snarky.

"He was being very snarky with me. Yeah, snarky. Its a word, google it." 
-Dane Cook

So it goes, and I chuckle. Not because I'm convinced I'm right, but I do my research and I'm pretty educated about such things. I need to come up with the right choices for me without hating my life and having to sneak almond chips into Mexican restaurants since apparently, corn chips are like the devil and must be avoided at all costs...much, MUCH more so than the toffee-carmel-chocolate square my Aunt ate after dinner. I didn't have dessert, for the record, since I had already "picked my poison" in chip form. And margarita form. And mushroom form. In fact, I might die tonight.

Aunt Kellie with her son Harrison and my kidlins last year. Yes, Olivia's hand is in her pants. Charming, I know.

My Aunt and I spend a lot of time talking about what the other has to say about food because it's our favorite topic. Except, no one actually gets mad because we love each other. So we have that going for us. This very real dialogue that took place between us this morning:

Aunt Kellie: One of my clients gave me a great roasted vegetable recipe. It has a little cheese in it, but it's okay because you get spinach, zucchini, broccoli, red peppers...I mean it's unbelieveable.

Me: You should try Gwyneth Paltrow's broccoli and cheese soup, it's delicious and loaded with broccoli, arugula and onions with the tiniest bit of pecorino romano cheese.

Aunt Kellie: Oh, I don't eat cheese

Me: but, you just said...

Aunt Kellie: I LOVE cheese, don't get me wrong, and if my neighbors go to Holland, I have them bring me back some gouda becuase they make cheese differently over there. I don't eat cheese from here. Especially gorgonzola. Very, very rarely. Tillamok is so waxy. Have you ever noticed? Do you know why? Oh, but that gorgonzola...It's mold you know.

Me: No, but all I'm trying to say is that theres only a tiny bit of cheese in the soup, just like your roasted vegetable thing.

Aunt Kellie: I know, but I don't eat cheese or broccoli cheese soup.

Me: AUNT KELLIE! You JUST said you ate a small amount of cheese in the roasted vegetable dish, didn't you?

Aunt Kellie: Yes.

Me: Okay, that's all I'm trying to say. You could make this broccoli cheese soup because it only has the tiniest bit in the whole pot with a lot of vegetables. That's all.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. Let me be clear. My Aunt is one of my most favorite people in the world. But, it does get overwhelming when you think, contemplate, discuss or defend everything you put in your mouth that doesn't happen to be kale. This isn't even her fault most of the time, as I tend to bring it on myself, calling attention to whatever it is. Most times, I want to hear her input. And most times she's very gracious and doesn't say a word, but her expression tells all. That woman has no poker face. It's hilarious


One thing we can agree on? These brownies. They are made with omega-3 loaded nuts, antioxidant rich cacao powder which is also a superfood, sweetened by Medjool dates that taste like carmel, and these babies are raw. I've made raw brownies with an avocado base that were much creamier and fudgier. This one is chewy and mimics a dense cakey brownie and holds up very nicely. I made these the last time my Aunt came out to visit, and we kept going back all week for little fixes. They are kept in the freezer and I love them a frozen thin mint cookie. Except these are not mint. Or cookies. They are, however, rather delicious.

The Raw Brownie
adapted from My New Roots

2 cups whole walnuts
2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place the walnuts in a food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground. Add cacao and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).

In a large bowl (or the pan you are putting the brownies in), combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds. Press into a lined cake pan or mold. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve. It is also easier to cut these when they are very cold, so the freezer is best. Store in an airtight container in freezer or refrigerator.

My cousin Harrison and I would say that these brownies are "Dr. Young Approved". Dr. Young is who my Aunt studies under and where she derives most of her healthy food habits from. You don't need to know who he is (or maybe you do?), but just that he approves avocados, young coconuts, a bunch of other green/alkaline things, and these brownies.

*Disclaimer: I don't know for sure if Dr. Young approves these brownies. Dates contain sugar after all, even in their natural form. But Harrison tells my Aunt everything is "Dr. Young Approved" that he wants her to eat, from the donut he bought her a while back, to his container of (probably smuggled in) chocolate milk in the refrigerator. Harrison is snarky too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deeply Chocolate Gelato

Deeply Chocolate Gelato

Guess what? You don't need to be afraid of making gelato!

If you were not afraid in the first place, just take a seat next to me in the know-it-all club and let us school the rest of you's...see? You totally said that in your head with the accent and all. Don't even lie.

Here are the top three reasons why you should put gelato on you summer to-do list:

1) Homemade gelato is the best thing in the world, and the chicest dessert to serve ever.
2) Gelato is made with mostly milk (or coconut milk in my version) so it has less calories than ice cream
3) Making gelato is easy and who doesn't like a cold scoop on a hot night?

I like people to know what to expect when they try a recipe so you should count on two things with this one:

A) You are going to dirty your kitchen aid mixer, plus a saucepan, a bowl, two measuring cups, a whisk, a mesh strainer, and measuring spoons. So, that's kind of a lot. If you know this ahead of time it helps.

B) You are going to need time to make gelato. The process only takes about 15-20 minutes, but your gelato will have to set in the refrigerator and get cold before you process it through an ice cream maker. Then, it'll have to freeze some more before it can be served so plan ahead.

All that said, it's worth it and you'll find that the process, though a few steps, is remarkably easy piesy.


Deeply Chocolate Gelato

Deeply Chocolate Gelato

This chocolate gelato with some toasted slivered almonds on top is heaven.  It's true to it's name as well, this isn't some wimpy chocolate flavor. This is in your face, rich, deep and cocoa-y. A little goes a long way

Deeply Chocolate Gelato

Here's a tip: next time your at your favorite gelato shop (ours is Ciao Gelato) take the spoons with you when you leave. Mine were fine in the dishwasher, and now I have quite the little spoon collection for my homemade treats.

Deeply Chocolate Gelato
adapted from Ina Garten
serves 6

2 1/4 cups whole milk, or coconut milk (I used Silk original coconut milk)
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 extra-large egg yolks
2 tablespoons Kahlua (or coffee)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Large pinch of Kosher salt

  • Heat the milk (or coconut milk), cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.
  • Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F. Don’t allow the mixture to boil!
  • Pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl (to remove any lumps) and stir in the Kahlua, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.
  • Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze in covered containers. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.
You can always chop up chocolate candies and mix them in while your processing through the ice cream maker.  I found this best served after it's been processed and in it's container in the freezer for 2 hours. It scoops easily then. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Roasted Salmon with Butter and Herbs


Roasting salmon in the summer seems like a cardinal sin. Grilling is usually the way to go. However, we eat a lot of salmon during the sumer months when you can get it wild and fresh, not previously frozen, and meatier. Roasting salmon is simple and frees your grill for other things, like vegetables or grilled potatoes with lemon and chives. Roasting salmon with butter and herbs is out of this world delicious. Your house will smell like a steakhouse, because they always smell like roasted butter more than steak, interestingly enough. The other thing is, you don't need much butter for this method and most of it melts off and crisps the bottom of the fish more than gets on your plate. Unless you decide to pour it on or something-which wouldn't be such a bad idea, actually. Mmmmm, browned butter. 


Try to get your fish as fresh as possible since the butter highlights the natural flavor instead of masking it. And, I hate to be a snob, but wild, fresh fish is always so much better than frozen. Always. Period. It's not available year round, especially here in Colorado, so take advantage while it's here. Fresh salmon cooks better, doesn't dry out as easily, never has a fishy flavor, and is silkier. It might come with a price tag to match, but you get what you pay for and it's frequently on sale. I always eat salmon the day I buy it and never keep it in the fridge. It's a great way to ensure you eat the freshest fish possible. This recipe would work well with halibut, too.

This is great with asparagus and potatoes as a side, with a glass of crisp white wine to go with. Fresh berries with chocolate whipped cream is a perfect, light dessert to finish it off if you happen to be entertaining.


Roasted Salmon with Butter and Herbs
adapted from Everyday Food, Martha Stewart
serves 6-8

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 salmon fillet (2 to 3 pounds), skin on (or you can cook individual fillets the same way)
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving 
Chopped fresh chives, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place 3 tablespoons of butter on a rimmed baking sheet and season  with salt and pepper. Place sheet in oven until butter melts, about 1 minute.

Carefully remove sheet from oven and place salmon on top of butter, skin side down; top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter (just arrange in slices on top) and salt and pepper. Return sheet to oven.

Roast until salmon is just cooked through, 8 to 12, minutes, checking frequently. It will flake easily when done but still be juicy soft if the salmon has not been previously frozen. If it has, it will likely be firmer in texture. Sprinkle with parsley and chives and serve with lemon wedges if desired.

If you are only making this for a few people, cooking time is the same for smaller fillets of salmon so it adapts well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Arugula and Fresh Herb Soup

Arugula and Fresh Herb Soup

This past weekend, I planted a garden with help from my wonderful mother-in-law. I love gardening! I had a garden in my last house, but was too busy to keep up with it properly. This time around, I'm determined to weed, prune, water, feed and whatever else this little garden of mine needs. Horticulture is going to suit me well, I can tell. I like taking care of things and seeing them through.

My friend drove by in the middle of my work and remarked that she had never seen me so dirty. She thought  I would hate it. Listen, just because I have manicured nails, doesn't mean I'm afraid to get them dirty. Just so long as I can make them pretty again asap :)


Being in northern Colorado, we don't have a lot of options for growing vegetables. I plan to grow zucchini and cucumbers and lots of herbs in my backyard for starters. Although, I've heard we can grow lettuce really well here, too. I might try arugula since I'd be able to make this soup for next to nothing. And this soup is really fresh and good.

You need a lot of herbs for this soup -the more the better- mint, basil, tarragon, chives. I used all of the above and justified spending the money on all of them by using the leftovers to toss into roasted fingerling potatoes for a side dish later in the week, and making mint iced tea. But if I grew them in my garden, I wouldn't have to worry about such things, would I?

Worried about serving soup in the summer? Don't be! We always have those cooler nights, and if not, this is great served cold with a dollop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream. I put the Greek yogurt on hot or cold.

Worried a soup doesn't make a meal? Don't be! This one is so flavorful, which is a key for feeling satisfied. Whip up some whole wheat beer bread, which takes 5 minutes of your time, and your good to go.

Arugula and Fresh Herb Soup

Arugula soup is my new favorite. It screams summer, and kids love it too!


Arugula and Fresh Herb Soup
adapted from Emeril Lagasse
serves 6

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1/2 cup low-fat evaporated milk, or milk of your choice *see note below
2 (5-ounce) containers baby arugula
1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (mint, chives, basil, tarragon and parsley)
Non-fat plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream, for topping

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic cloves; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch and whisk in the chicken broth and evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the containers of arugula and the mixed herbs. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and set aside until greens are wilted, about 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or blend in a blender). 

Divide among 6 bowls and garnish each with a dollop of Greek yogurt and more chives. 

can be served hot or cold. 

*And, oh the health in this pot is unreal. I usually don't like using evaporated milk in my cooking, but I tried it and understand why. Evaporated milk is slightly sweet and takes away the peppery taste arugula can have and makes the soup balanced. I bet you could substitute regular milk or an un-sweetened nut milk just fine though.

Just one more thing, and on a serious note: Please pray for Kelce. She has Angelman's syndrome, like my little daughter, and is preparing to go with our Father in heaven. I realize this is a heavy and maybe inappropriate way to bring this up, but I figure if your reading this and you pray- it's worth infinitely more than how clumsily it was brought to you. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Perfect Vanilla Iced Coffee- Dairy free to boot!


I had no sooner taken the last sips of my green smoothie (aka-my lunch) when I knew I would be needing something more. Not because I was still hungry but rather, I wanted a treat after what seemed like my never-ending day. With it only being nap time, I still had a long way to go till day's end, but I was determined to relax and enjoy myself a bit after having plumbers and audio visual guys in my house, up in my business all morning, making spaghetti o's from scratch, laundry, running errands, and having to answer Melissa when she asked why I wasn't wearing any make-up...again. Sheesh, free will man. Actually, its because I always wear make-up and I've only recently resolved to not wear it occasionally to give my face a break. Unless I have allergies, which is what happened today. Itchy, wattery eyes and mascara = gross and scary.



Anyway, as luck would have it, I had frozen my leftover coffee that morning in ice cube trays. I also had creamy coconut milk, agave and vanilla. Why not put them together? Why did I have to go to Starbucks for a great iced coffee? Why is their vanilla version so sweet? Why did Mc Donalds want me to pay $2.08 for their vanilla iced coffee, when I could make it at home for free? Ah, the questions of life. Okay, so I'm not really cheap. I'd pay a couple bucks for iced coffee on the run any day. But today, by golly I was taking matters into my own hands.

The thing is, I always have to ask Starbucks for only two pumps of vanilla instead of their standard four. Four pumps is really, really sweet. I don't handle that much sugar all that well, especially when mixed with caffeine. Plus, I think coffee tastes better only slightly sweet. If you like it sweeter, just add more agave.

Agave works well as a sweetener because it dissolves well in cold drinks so no need to make simple syrup. The coconut milk is rich and creamy, making the need for full-fat milk obsolete. Yay! Dairy free, and sugar controlled! If you have a sweetened vanilla coconut milk, you might not even need the agave. Three cheers for that!


The frozen cubes of coffee means there will be no ice cubes watering down your drink.

The Perfect Vanilla Iced Coffee
makes 1 glass

Freshly brewed coffee (regular or decaf), frozen in ice cube trays
Coconut milk (I like Silk, pure coconut original)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon agave nectar or maple syrup

Measure out vanilla extract and agave in the bottom of a glass. Fill the glass with frozen coffee cubes (I used 5 big cubes for an 7oz glass) and then fill the glass up with the coconut milk. You are looking for a 50/50 ratio of coffee to milk. Mix together with a spoon and let it sit for five minutes. Stir again and start drinking. Adjust sweeteners or vanilla to your liking.


Almond Iced Coffee- Substitute almond extract for vanilla.

Chocolate Iced Coffee- Leave out the agave nectar, and sub 1-2 tablespoons Hersheys syrup. Leave the vanilla the same.

The coffee cubes will melt as you drink, making it stronger and stronger. I like it, but if it bothers you, try making this in a to-go cup before work and letting it sit and melt together for the drive so you can enjoy it when you get there. You will have some left over coffee cubes before you get done, so another idea is add in one more cube than you need to make up for the ones that don't melt all the way. Or, you could simply add some more coconut milk and have a second cup!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Healthy Homemade Spaghetti O's- I pinned it, then tried it


I pinned this recipe, then I tried it. First things first, because I don't like to set people up for disappointment-

This doesn't really taste like the canned stuff

This may or may not be good news to you. It is just like what you'd think a homemade version of this might be though. It's a silky blended sauce with pasta dotted through (shells since you can't find O's), eaten with a spoon, hot and soul-filling. Parmesan cheese on top is the perfect topper.


Not only is this a homemade version of a canned product, it's also really healthy! I was pleasantly surprised by this. The sauce is pureed roasted tomatoes, carrots, onion, two whole heads of garlic and vegetable stock. It's a little bit of prep but doesn't take long and it's well worth it. Since it's summer,  I found beautiful tomatoes to use for this, but since roasting improves the flavor, you can use winter tomatoes as well. I might make a batch or two while the tomatoes are at peak and freeze the sauce for the fall months for a quick dinner.


Homemade Spaghetti O's
adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in A Skinny Body
serves 6

  • 3 lbs roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 thick slices
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped (you don’t have to peel them, unless you want to)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated (but not peeled)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock for non-vegetarian/vegan)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta noodles (shell, elbow, alphabet, or O’s)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On 2 baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silpat mat (optional), lay the sliced tomatoes, chopped carrots and chopped onions in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add the garlic cloves on top (Unpeeled. The peel comes off really easily after they roast)
Bake the vegetables for about 35 minutes, until the tomatoes are wrinkling and the onions and carrots start to get brown on the edges.
Peel the garlic, toss the skins. Transfer vegetables and garlic to a crockpot (or large pot on the stove). Add the vegetable stock and salt and pepper.
Crockpot method: cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
Stovetop: bring to a boil, then simmer over low/medium heat for about an hour.
Transfer veggies and stock to a blender or food processor and puree until really smooth. You might have to do this in 2 stages because it’s a large amount.
Transfer pureed veggies back into either the crockpot or stovetop. Allow to simmer over a very low heat, just to keep it warm while the noodles cook.
Cook the noddles until al dente. Drain noodles and dump into the tomato sauce.
Scoop into bowls and enjoy!
Not that it needs it, but if you wanted, you could stir in a bit of butter and cream to the sauce for more luxuriousness. It really wouldn't be spaghetti O's then, but who would care?

Monday, June 4, 2012

White Wine Spritzer with Peach


On the phone:

Jeremy: I'm headed to the liquor store to pick up some beer. There's only one in the fridge, so I didn't know If you wanted one or not?

I'm not going to tell you it wasn't "real" beer he intended to pick up, but O'Doul's- whoops! I just told you.

Me: No, I'm good, I'm drinking a wine spritzer

Jeremy: (chuckle) a wine spritzer?

Me: Yes


Jeremy: That's so 1982

Au Contraire. I think it's making a comeback. That's what I think, and I'm sticking to it. And really, why shouldn't it? It's a fab way to cut calories, stretch a drink and still enjoy a refreshing beverage without noticing either. A spritzer is just a 5oz glass of a fruity white wine such as pinot grigo (but really, it can be anything) served over ice with a nice splash of club soda. I like to up the ante with a slice of fresh peach and any of the juice that happens to go with it. I like to drink this on Monday nights. I know this because it's Monday night and I'm currently drinking this, while blogging and making dinner. I knew I had to be good at some sort of multitasking.


One wine spritzer = 120 calories. Get on this shiz-nit. Let's bring back 1982.

White Wine Spritzer with Peach
makes 1 drink

5 oz fruity white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Ice cubes
A good splash of club soda (about 1/4 cup)
Peach wedge (or another ripe fruit on hand-strawberries, raspberries, apricot, and mango work well)

Combine all in a wine glass

Hawaiian Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs


Y'all. I got 12,828 page views on my Watermelon-Lime Frosty post last week. Um...What?!? Pretty sure that has never happened before! I'm shocked. And you can tell when I'm surprised because I generally use words I wouldn't normally,  i.e., y'all.

Whoo-wee! That's my news. That's all I have.

Anyway, these babies should be on the menu for your next cook out. Kabobs are always fun and easy so long as you don't mind the skewering part. And this marinate will not disappoint. It's sweet and salty goodness delicately flavors the shrimp, peppers and onions. The pineapple is perfect for a juicy pop of flavor.

Whenever I make kabobs, I make sure to cut all my ingredients first, then separate them into ziplock bags (meat or seafood separate from veggies or fruit) and let them each sit in the marinade for a few hours before skewering and grilling so the flavor can get really infused and concentrated. Serve these outside with some brown rice, cervesa, sunshine, friends, Aerosmith and you are set, my friends. What does Aerosmith have to do with it? Nothing except that if you could see me at this very minute, I am completely rockin' out to "Cryin"on my itunes. Typing a word or two here and there, then hands up in the air, hard core lip-synching, head swaying for a line or two, then back to typing.

I heart Cryin'. It makes me want to work out. Unless Olivia is anywhere in the vicinity.

---Personal story alert---

Olivia chose to cry through part of her nap time the other day, and consequently my yoga video. Downward dog and crying. Boat pose and crying. Warrior and crying. Never was this more annoying than at the end when the yoga lady said:

"Your only job now is to sit and be still. Pay close attention to the sounds and noises around you concentrating only on them and your breath"

---And done---


Mushrooms would be good with this marinade if your into that. Also, chicken can be substituted for the shrimp. But please, for all that is holy, don't leave the pineapple out. These are Hawaiian after all. 

I was a little skittish about the amount of sugar called for in the marinade, but, the majority of it gets discarded after the veggies/meat has soaked up all it can, so I felt a little better about it. The flavor is spot on, so don't mess with it too much.

Hawaiian Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs
adapted from Grocerybudget101
serves 6

6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar 
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb. medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fresh pineapple cut into bite sized chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into bite sized chunks
1 red onion, cut into bit sized chunks
Kosher salt

*Wooden skewers, that have been soaked in water for 30 min. to prevent burning

In a medium sized bowl, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder until combined. Place the cut pieces of red bell pepper, onion, and pineapple in a large ziplock bag and pour half of the marinade over. Seal and toss to coat all the pieces, then store in the refrigerator. Put the shrimp in another large ziplock bag and pour the remaining half of the marinade over and toss to coat and place in the refrigerator. Let veggies and shrimp marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Skewer veggies, pineapple and shrimp on each wooden kabob. Sprinkle with salt.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the kabobs for 8 minutes, turning occasionally, or until shrimp is cooked through.