Monday, July 30, 2012

Glowing Green Smoothie


I've got a new beauty secret for you! The glowing green smoothie makes you beautiful from the inside out, from your liver, to your digestive tract, to glowing, radiant skin. It's no secret that I love green smoothies as evidenced by this post, and this post, among more, but this one is unlike the others. The others contain fruit and/or yogurt in an effort to makes the greens taste, well...sweet. Theres nothing wrong with that, but you are limited by the actual amount of nutrients from green ingredients since you must leave room for all the fillers to make it palatable. Enter this beauty...

While my Aunt Kellie was visiting, she turned me onto this drink and I cannot get enough. Honestly. As much as I like sweet things, I love salty, lemony, savory things as well. You heard me right- this drink is not sweet, contains mostly green ingredients, and it still rocks the house in the taste department. In louurve, I am.

While my aunt was still here, we did a girls afternoon, invited Danielle over, gave ourselves facials and made this smoothie. It was very spa like. I recommend. My daughter Isabella was thrilled.



We steamed our faces over a pot of hot chamomile tea for ten whole minutes, then we washed, applied a polisher, a hydrating and nourishing mask, next came an anti-aging mask, and lastly, we moisturized with face cream. It was quite serious. Then we drank this smoothie. Cheers!


Feel free to play around with ingredients in this recipe. It's delicious as written, but sometimes I'll throw in a kale leaf or two (not too many or it will get earthy), sometimes we add mint, or more salt or lemon, but the general quantities stay the same.

I'll write the recipe for serving both 1 and 2 people because with a smoothie like this, you want to get it right, and your blender is only so big- so you can't exactly just double the recipe. Lucky for you, I make it both ways quite a bit and think I've perfected the blend. Keep in mind, even one of these smoothies makes a lot because the point is to make it a meal, but you could still split one serving into two smaller ones easily for more of a snack.

Glowing Green Smoothie
1 serving

1/2 cucumber, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 big handful flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups spinach
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 Tablespoon sea salt (Himalayan pink salt, or Celtic, preferably)
1 scallion or green onion, roughly chopped
1/2 an avocado
1 1/2 cups water
6 ice cubes

Glowing Green Smoothie 
2 servings

3/4 cucumber, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 huge handful flat-leaf parsley (about 3/4 cup)
4 1/2 cups spinach
juice from 11/2 lemons, (if lemons are very juicy, you may only need one)
1 avocado
1 scant tablespoon sea salt (himalayan pink salt, or Celtic, preferably)
2 scallions or green onion, roughly chopped
2 cups water
7 ice cubes

Blend everything together in a powerful blender, such as the vita-mix on the highest setting until very smooth. If you are using a regular blender, you may need to add more water to get it to blend properly. Always taste before you pour. If it tastes bland or you are in doubt, add more lemon and/or salt. It's always the answer.

Whoa! A 1/2 or whole tablespoon of salt? Yep. As long as you are using good sea salt, it's very good  and provides your body with essential minerals. Consider it a health food! It is not the same as table salt, and you shouldn't have to watch your intake unless you have a very specific health issue. Salt makes the smoothie taste good.

You might hate me for pointing this out, but owning a vita-mix is going to make a world of difference with the outcome of your smoothie. My friend Melissa makes it with a normal blender and says it's fine and she still enjoys it, but the vita-mix blends this baby until it's smooth as silk.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breakfast Salad

Breakfast Salad

I don't believe I'm being overly dramatic when I say that two words have changed my life forever.

Breakfast. Salad.

Breakfast salad!

Salad for breakfast.

Do you see what I'm trying to tell you? You can have bacon and eggs with arugula and basil and blue cheese, and balsamic vinegar, for breakfast. The words definitely do not do this justice. Rebecca Romijn was on the cover of Health magazine last month, which I might have mentioned before, because I literally made or bought every thing she suggested. She has impeccable taste, clearly. She says, this salad is the yummiest breakfast she has ever eaten. The basil makes it.

Word, sistah.

Breakfast Salad

I ate this the other day with my friend and we raved for hours. Probably because we were eating bacon and we don't ever eat bacon. Vegetarian friends, I'm sure you could leave the bacon out and it would still be very good. The saltiness and sharpness from the blue cheese can carry you through. It's the basil you don't want to leave out.

You know why this is such a winning combination? The soft boiled egg is creamy, (the yolk should not be particularly runny, but you want it loose) the bacon is salty and crunchy, the arugula is peppery, the basil is fresh, the blue cheese is strong and creamy, and the balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top ties all the flavors together. It just works. And, it's divine.

Breakfast Salad
serves 1

2 cups of arugula
1 tablespoon shredded basil
1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
2 strips cooked bacon, broken into bite sized pieces
good balsamic vinegar
Olivie oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1-2  eggs

To soft boil your eggs: place eggs in a pot, barley covered with cool water. Place the pot on a burner and turn on the burner to high heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes at sea level and 11 minutes for high altitude. Take the eggs out as soon as the timer goes off. The water will be boiling before the time is up. Rinse them with cold water and let them sit for about two minutes in the cool water before peeling. If you are making a big batch and using a large pot your water will take longer to boil. A good rule of thumb is once the water does come to a boil, let it boil for three minutes before taking off the heat and cooling.

*tip- boil one more egg more than you need as a tester. If the tester egg is undercooked, you can re-boil the remaining eggs again for a couple more minutes before doing the cooling and peeling process again. We also found that the cooler an egg is, the less runny it is when you slice it open.

Mound the arugula on your plate and sprinkle with the basil, blue cheese and bacon. Place eggs on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top and enjoy!

If you're not a fan of blue cheese, sub some goat or feta cheese instead.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Krysta's Favorite Things Of Late

Annie's Eats, a well known food blogger does this segment called "What I'm Loving Lately". In it, she profile things that have made her happy. Most of these items are not food! Gaw...The thought of a food blogger writing about something other than food make me cock my head to the right and question, but  it also made me think I wanna play! I wanna play!

So I will

Except,  I'll include the recipes  I'm loving as well. That way, I won't feel totally guilty about the whole stepping out of my well defined space in the food blog world. I'm a rule follower you know.

My favorite things:

1) Mod Cloth's Thread Of Roses Dress. I wore this to a baby shower last weekend and can't get over how well it fits and pretty I feel in it. It's shaped almost exactly like my mint "milkshake polka-dot" dress I bought from Mod Cloth a few months ago. I wore it in family pictures and am tempted to wear both of them for no occasion at all, like a quick run to the grocery store. In fact, I probably will. If you don't know Mod Cloth, check them out. It'll probably be love at first sight.

2) Rebecca Romijn brought attention to Smash Box O-Gloss in the July addition of Health magazine. The gloss goes on clear and works with your skin chemistry to make a custom shade of pink for your pout. Sold, and used all the time up in here.
Smashbox O-Gloss

3) Do you watch Downton Abbey? The first season was good. The second is fantastic. The new phrase in our house is "Lets put the kids to bed and watch a Downton."  And, it's definitely one of my favorite things of late. It's smart, fantastically written, has a stellar cast, and is scandalous in all the ways a 1914 British show can be. 

4) Annie's Eats Strawberry Bruschetta. Do I really need to explain the sheer genius of this simple appetizer? Were all food people here, right? This is perfect for a a ladies night or shower. Loving it.
strawberry goat cheese bruschetta

5) I've been loving my African Black Soap. I have heard about how great for the skin black soap is for a long while now and have finally tried it. This liquid version is perfect used in the shower as a body wash (use a bar for your face). 

6) Mrs. Meyers Geranium Countertop Spray- This makes your house smell like a florist shop for about an hour after you've sprayed it. No joke. I love Mrs. Meyers anything because their products are all natural and good for you and the environment, so go ahead and sniff away.


7) Lulu Lemon's Run Fast and Free Crop and Hot But Not Tank. Zumba class is much more fun with these new purchases of mine. I have the tank in hot pink, but it looks to be sold out. Some of the other colors are still available though. I prefer tight workout pants because when I move, I jiggle less. :) This pair have a pretty little ruffle going up the leg. Such a cute accent.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Vegetarian Tostadas

Vegetarian Tostadas

This is the equivalent of "taco night" in the MacGray house. Well, unless were making Roasted Chickpea Tacos.  Black bean tostadas don't get much easier or better than this. Start with Ezekiel tortillas or a corn tortilla of your choice and lightly pan fry in a bit of grapeseed or olive oil until crisp. Top your shell with a layer of warm Amy's refried black beans (or refried beans of your choice) chunky guacamole, salsa, cilantro, black olives, shredded lettuce or baby greens, and hot sauce.

Vegetarian Tostadas

You can up the ante by adding tofu thats been crumbled up with taco seasoning in a pan (with a few tablespoons of water) and sauteed until warm and toping with that as well. But  most of the time I like to keep it simple. If you go with Amy's brand for the beans, there's already a taco like flavor to them so theres no need to add more. You could always add taco seasoning to refried beans if you can't find Amy's brand, just add a few tablespoons of water so it mixes up well.

Vegetarian Tostadas

We like to whip this up for quick weeknight meals regularly.

Vegetarian Tostadas

Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas, or corn tortillas of your choice
Amy's refried black beans (1 can makes about 9 tostadas)
Lettuce (Shredded romaine, iceburg, or mixed baby greens)
Black olives (optional)
Chunky style salsa
Avocado, cut into chunks (we need 4 avocados for 4 people. We like guacamole)
Lemon juice
Garlic Salt
Grapeseed or Olive oil for frying tortillas
Cholula hot sauce

Other optional add ons- Crumbled tofu (see paragraph above recipe), Jack cheese, sour cream

Combine chunks of avocado with a little lemon juice and garlic salt and mix to make a quick, chunky guacamole. Then mix in some more garlic salt, because you probably didn't add enough the first time ;). Set aside.

In a small frying pan, heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan generously and heat on medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add in the tortillas, one at a time and fry on one side until crispy, about 1 minute, then flip to the other side and fry for about 30 seconds longer. You may need to turn the heat down as you go if they are browning too quickly. Stack on paper towels to drain.

(alternately, if you are using Ezekiel tortillas, you can bake the tortillas until crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. I do this in a pinch, but I don't prefer it.) 

Heat the beans up in a small saucepan with a few tablespoons of water to thin them out. If you are using a brand besides Amy's, you may want to add in a taco seasoning packet as well.

To make tostadas, slather the tortillas with an even coating of beans on the bottom, then top with lettuce, guacamole, salsa, olives, cilantro, and Cholula if desired.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

Happy Friday! 

Remember my post on the Perfect Vanilla Iced Coffee? Well, meet her cousin, the Salted Caramel Iced Coffee. She doesn't mess around. She's sweet, unconventionally trendy, indulgent, and she'll make you very, very happy. 

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

I'm off to the mountain river this morning with friends so the kiddies can play, but thought I would leave you with this easy idea before I go.

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee
serves 1

Coffee, frozen in cubes (or hey, you can just use your leftover coffee over ice) 
Store bought caramel sauce ( I used Torani brand)
Sea salt
Coconut milk, or milk of your choice

For an 8oz cup, place about a teaspoon of the carmel sauce in the bottom of a cup. Sprinkle sea salt on top. Pour a little milk into the bottom of the glass and stir with a spoon until caramel is dissolved. Fill your glass 3/4 of the way with frozen coffee cubes (or regular ice and coffee) and fill  the rest with coconut milk and stir. Drizzle a bit of the caramel sauce over the top of your cup and sprinkle again with sea salt. 

I let mine sit for about 5minutes before drinking so the coffee ice cubes can get a chance to melt into the drink.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sweet Lavender Scones and My Sisters Tea Party Baby Shower


Theres a lot of new people hanging around here lately. Do me a favor? Introduce yourselves in the comments, I'd love to meet some of you! If commenting is not your thing- no worries, just keep silent. But remember that your actions make me look like a blockhead for asking.

No pressure or anything.

My little sister is having a baby girl!! Paisley Sue Ayres is due October 17th, 2012 to my sister Kaylee and her Fiancee, Patrick.


Are they not the cutest?

Kaylee wanted a tea party theme, so on July 7th, we did it up with both hot and cold black tea, cream and sugar, tea sandwiches, crudite, scones, petit fours, and a Chinese chicken salad. I know, that last one is out of place isn't it?  I had to serve it you see, tea theme or not, because I had Chinese chicken salad at my first baby shower for Isabella and wanted to make it tradition.

Be a fly on the wall?






Kel and Danielle took lots of pictures for us!






This would be me posing like the Hostess Whisperer. Yep, I'm afraid I did.


And this is a random dog named Buckingham who lives down the street and decided to crash the party.


We might have illegally gambled at this baby shower. We placed our bets and smacked our name on the calendar on the date and time (am or pm) we thought Kaylee would actually have this kid.


I've got my fingers crossed for October 21st in the am. It would be great if I won because then I could keep the $20 Starbucks gift card all to myself.

Kaylee scored with the gifts and took a cool hour plus to open all of them. Slowest. Unwrapper. Eveeerrrr.


We served 4 kinds of scones at the shower- Dried cherry and almond, buttermilk, chocolate coconut, and sweet lavender.


I was most excited about the lavender, but loved all of them. Before you go off and bake these, make sure your lavender is food grade and not meant for soap. There are different kids. I got mine from the spice guy at a farmers market in Denver. You can also order it online.

These scones are buttery, lightly scented with lavender and lemon zest and go well with Devonshire cream, honey butter, or lemon curd. Eat them warm, fresh out of the oven while they are still slightly crunchy on the outside. If you let them sit for longer than two hours, scones start to lose their outer crust and become soft throughout and start to taste more floury. It might sound nice, but it's not. Trust me.


You can make scones ahead of time (including cutting and topping with turbinado sugar) and store in a Ziplock freezer bag in the fridge or freezer. Bake directly from either. Scones from the freezer will need about 5 minutes extra to bake.


Sweet Lavender Scones
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
makes 6 very large or 16 small

  • 3 cups all purpose four
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • Turbinado Sugar, for garnishing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
By hand: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Add in the butter and rub with your fingers into the dry ingredients until a coarse meal forms. Add in the lavender buds. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and combine it into the butter flour mixture.
Food processor method: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add lavender with the heavy cream and vanilla and run the machine until the dough gathers into a ball. You'll have to knead it a couple times with your hands to get it to come together when you take it out of the machine. 
For larger scones (makes 6): Form the dough into a 1-inch thick disk and cut it into 6 wedges.
For smaller scones (makes 16): Pat out into a 10x6" rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. 
If making the scones right away, brush each scone with some heavy cream. If saving a baking later, skip the heavy cream and skip to the turbinado sugar. Sprinkle each scone generously with the turbinado sugar and press in lightly so it sticks. Sprinkle with a pinch of lavender buds, if desired. Transfer the wedges to a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 17 to 18 minutes for large, and 13-15 minutes for small scones, turning the pan halfway through. Serve warm.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Recipe for Silky Summer Legs

Sugar scrub

Okay gals, your next date night out, you must try this method for getting baby soft legs using really common ingredients. I bet you have everything you need in your kitchen right now. Afterwards, you'll want to put on a mini dress and rub your legs together all night!

There's no magic going on here, just a simple sugar scrub and an even simpler method which renders fab results.  This is beauty 101. If you already have a store bought sugar or salt scrub with an oil base, you can use that and skip the recipe.

What you'll need: Lemon juice, white sugar, oil

Silky Summer Legs Sugar Scrub

Silky Summer Legs Sugar Scrub

1 1/4 cups sugar 
1/2 cups oil of your choice *(see note below on which types to use)
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl

*Neutral oil works better since it doesn't smell. If you happen to have almond oil or coconut oil that would work best because it smells heavenly, but grapeseed and olive oil work just as well*

Step 1- Soak legs in warm water for 5 minutes
Step 2- Shave legs (you can do this without soap or with, doesn't mater)
Step 3- Rub sugar scrub onto your legs and give yourself a mini massage
Step 4- Rinse scrub off legs
Step 5- Shave again, rinsing razor every now and again as dead skin and oil will build up on it
Step 6- Get out of the tub and lotion up

Rawwrrr. You are ready for your night, you sexy thing, you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice


Emily, the Bachelorette, kicked off Sean who the rest of the world apparently loved but reminded me of a hairy, beefy, bright red tomato. Discuss.

More to come on that later.

Technically, I was supposed to share this recipe with you back in September, 2010 when I blogged about Pineapple Black Bean Enchiladas. If we can put behind us the fact that I'm a complete flake, we can focus on the task at hand. Let's get something straight. My goal here is to inspire you to make this meal. With that in mind, I have to say this is absolutely one of my family favorites, so I'm a little biased. I don't make this a whole lot, only because you need to break out the food processor for this one and it always spooks me off. Weird, considering I have no problem breaking it out for pie crusts and scones. Perhaps I'm motivated by sugar? Shhh, Aunt Kellie, you didn't just read that.

If you have a magic bullet, definitely use it instead of a food processor. Seems to help me.

You might have heard I've had family visiting over the last two weeks, so naturally I've been busy. But my weeks have looked like this:









So, I'm not complaining :)

As a side, Is my sister not the most gorgeous, pregnant, little thing you ever saw?

And while were still completely off the subject of Cuban Black Bean Patties, let's talk about the Bachelorette, shall we? Long story short? I used to like Arie. Arie got a bit too passionate/face sucky, then admitted he gets up in the morning at 9am and "goes out with friends" at night.

Since Emily is basically running the "Bachelorette Baby Farm" here, I can't see how this is going to help him.

TEAM JEF! All the way, baby.

You have to admit he's interesting, stable, sharp, humble, and loyal. He's the keeper if she can get past the fact that he looks like 12 year old Danny Pintauro from "Who's The Boss?"


Am I right?! I'm right.

Okay, and now we find ourselves in that no-mans land where I've gone off on too many a tangent without telling you what you actually came here for. My bad.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

Back to the food. The bean patty is very well flavored, Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside from the cornmeal, served hot on the warm pineapple rice and topped with cool and creamy avocado and a tangy Greek yogurt (or sour cream) sauce. Each of these components comes together quickly and highlight the rest of the food on your plate, plus it's easy enough to throw together on a weeknight. The patties can be assembled the night before even, and kept in the refrigerator until you cook them. The pineapple rice can also be made and kept ahead of time. Just warm it through before serving.

This one is such a pleaser because it has all those key components going on- warm, cold, hot, sweet, savory, tangy. Try it!

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice
adapted from Cooking Light magazine
serves 4

2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed black beans, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1 cup shredded Jalapeno Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup cornmeal
Sliced avocado, for serving

Brown rice, prepared for 6 people according to package directions (it will serve 4)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
juice form 1/4 of a lime
1 cup diced fresh pineapple (I add a bit more)

1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
juice from 1/4 a lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

To prepare the rice: Mix the cooked rice with the cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice and pineapple and set aside.

Mix all ingredients together for the Greek yogurt sauce, and hold in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To prepare the patties, place 3/4 cup of beans, and egg whites in a food processor or magic bullet. Process for 30 seconds or until well combined. In a clean bowl, add the remaining beans, garlic, cumin, and salt and partially mash with a fork. Add bean puree to mashed beans in the bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture; stir until combined. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a patty. (If you are making these in advance, wrap patties in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Dredge the patties with cornmeal just before you cook them). Place cornmeal into a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. 

Divide the pineapple rice among 4 plates, and place cooked patty on top. Top the patty with sliced avocado and a dollop of the Greek yogurt sauce.