Sweet + Tart + Green Lemonade

IMG_3941As I mentioned in my last post I was in Disneyland last week with my family. There is one thing holding Disneyland back from actually being the happiest place on earth…a juice bar. Ok, I admit I may be the only person in the world who thinks a juice bar is the one thing holding Mickey Mouse’s motherland back from being the happiest place on earth, but I’m pretty sure there are many people who would enjoy this service. Eating a nutritionally balanced meal is hard work at Disneyland. There aren’t many options. Which makes sense…I don’t think there are many kids who think broccoli and beets belong in the happiest place on earth. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed some traditional Disneyland fare. Who can resist an ice cream bar shaped like Mickey Mouse? But I was craving some liquid nourishment.  Immediately upon my arrival home, I broke out my juicer and made a big batch of Green Lemonade. It was a great welcome home.

Hosting a ladies brunch? This would be delicious with a splash of champagne. A green juice mimosa…hmm maybe Mr. Walt should consider adding that to the Disneyland menu.

[recipe]

 

Oat + Berry Bars {gluten free}

IMG_3811A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the raspberry oat bars at Whole Foods. OMG are they good. The Whole Food bakers have mastered the perfect ratio of crust to berries to oat topping. I bought one thinking it would last a couple of days…wrong. It was gone before I made it out of the parking lot. These bars only have one flaw- they are super heavy. I am pretty sure my biceps got a workout by lifting it up to my mouth. After tasting them I knew I had to make a lighter version. One that wouldn’t leave me feeling weighted down. After a few recipe tweaks I think I have found the perfect replacement. There is still a place in my life for the occasional Whole Foods Berry Oat Bar, but I will be keeping a stash of my version in the freezer for when I am having a craving.

[recipe]

 

Peanut Butter + Jelly Smoothie

IMG_3768There are two reasons this peanut butter and jelly smoothie is a current favorite of mine.

#1- It transports me straight back to my elementary school days. Remember the good old days when all that mattered was how well you played in the tether ball game at recess? Yea, those days were the best. So were the PB&J sandwiches my mom would pack in my lunch every so often. She mastered the perfect ratio of peanut butter and jelly, which is essential for a good sandwich. Too much jelly results in it squirting out the sides of the bread causing a big sticky mess. No good. So, thanks mom for keeping my lunches mess free.
#2- It looks like cupid’s heart exploded in my cup. Valentine’s Day doesn’t top my list of favorite holidays, but I am a sucker for the pink hearts and lovey dovey decor. It screams happiness and makes you instantly feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love that? A bright pink smoothie goes perfectly with the love that is in the air this week.

[recipe]

 

Peppermint + Ginger + Lemon Tea

IMG_3746Flu season is in full swing and it isn’t pretty. I know this first hand because earlier this week it hit me like a wrecking ball. Let me tell you, Miley Cyrus is right…wrecking balls hurt.  One minute I was fine the next I was hugging the toilet. Ok, enough details. You don’t need to picture me embracing the porcelain god. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water, but knew I needed liquids with electrolytes and needed to steer clear of straight water, because of the hard minerals. I had my husband pick up some watermelon juice from my favorite juice bar on his way home from work. He transformed into a nurse and fed me drops of watermelon juice every 5 minutes the rest of the night.  I felt and looked like a little baby bird.

Thankfully, the bug only lasted 24 hours and by the next morning I was able to keep my stomach in check. I went straight to the kitchen and made one of my immune boosting teas to help bring my system back up to speed. I made a Peppermint Ginger Lemon Tea. The list of health benefits goes on and on (and on and on). If I listed all of them this blog post would go on for days, which is a big no-no in the blogging world. Below is a run down of the health benefits of peppermint, ginger and lemon.

Please drink this tea to help ward off a stomach bug, flu, cold or just because it taste good. At one point during my 24 hour battle with the bug I am pretty sure I asked to die. It sounds dramatic, but the thought definitely went through my mind. I don’t want any one else to go through it.

 

Peppermint– aids in digestions, cold and flu remedy, protects against cancer, helps skin conditions, aids in IBS.

Ginger– cold and flu treatment, helps with nausea, migraine relief, heartburn relief, reduces menstrual cycle cramps.

Lemon– high in vitamin C, helps soothe sore throats, immune boosting, fights bacteria.

 

[recipe]

Veggie Spring Rolls + Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

IMG_3728Now that the Seattle Seahawks are officially in the Super Bowl (we all saw it coming), it’s time to start menu planning for the big party.  First on my list- Veggie Spring Rolls. They are the perfect balance to the typical heavy game day appetizers. Light enough to keep you out of a food coma yet fulfilling enough to keep you satisfied.

Speaking of the Seahawks…unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past week there is a very good chance you have heard about Richard Sherman’s interview declaring he is the best corner back in the NFL. Well if you haven’t, let me fill you in. He proclaimed his amazingness in an interview with Erin Andrews seconds  after he tipped the ball out of a 49er’s hand to secure the win for the Seahawks. His adrenaline was still pumping and he may have let his mouth run a bit too much. At the time I thought he should have kept his confidence on the hush hush, but after making these veggie spring rolls I can relate to him.   Had Erin Andrews been in my kitchen the moment I finished folding my 12th spring roll I would have proclaimed (with certainty) that they are the best appetizer of all football appetizers. Just like Sherman I wouldn’t have been able to control my words or my confidence. Unlike Sherman, my declaration that veggie rolls are the best super bowl appetizer would not have made it on national news or in every single facebook post.

On a side note- This may be the only time in my life I will be able to relate to a NFL football player. Actually check back in a few months when I am 9 months pregnant. There is a slight chance I will feel as big as a line backer.

 

[recipe]

Piña Colada Green Smoothie

IMG_3683The entire country seems to be jumping on the cold weather band wagon.  I think it is safe to say we could all use a break from the bone chilling weather. Lucky for you I have a way you can bring a tropical vacation into your kitchen, no airplane ticket or packing required. My Piña Colada Green Smoothie will take you from the numbing cold to white sandy beaches in seconds. It tastes like a vacation.

There are a few reasons this green smoothie has become a favorite of mine. Number 1- It tastes like a vacation. Number 2- it is the smoothie that turned my husband into a green smoothie lover. He is always a bit reluctant to drink my smoothies, but this smoothie was different. He smelled it, took a sip, took another sip and then finished it off in one big gulp. It was a proud moment of mine when he told me he could drink it everyday. I could too.

Swap kale for spinach or any other greens you have on hand. You’ll still achieve the full tropical vacation effect. If you don’t have any hemp seeds, feel free to use flax seed, chia seed or a mix of all three. They all blend well into this recipe

[recipe]

 

 

Pomegranate + Gingertini

IMG_3217With November in full swing and December around the corner, there is good chance your weekends will soon be filled with holiday parties. Which also means your weekends will be filled with  sugary cocktails. Those drinks taste good going down, but usually make you feel a bit bloated and headachy the following day. Bloated and headachy…not the best way to spend your weekends, especially when you are wanting to rock a small sparkly dress.  Don’t fret, there is a way to stay Merry during the holidays and still enjoy a few cocktails. It requires some seasonal fruit, coconut water and a blender. That’s all you need to stay healthy during the cocktail party season. Sounds pretty easy, right? It is. I blended fresh pomegranate seeds with an orange, coconut water and some fresh ginger. Gave it a whirl in the blender and wa-la a healthy holiday cocktail. Add your alcohol of choice or drink it in the virgin form. Both will leave you feeling Merry and Bright.

You may want to start off with a 1/4th inch piece of ginger and add more to your liking. I like the spice the ginger adds so I used a 1/2 inch slice of ginger. If you are feeling extra bold, add even more.

 

[recipe]

Fall Salad + Maple Tahini Dressing

IMG_3178The first of November marks the day I officially start planning my holiday menus. It also appears to be the day stores start playing Christmas music.  I love Christmas music and was definitely singing along, but shouldn’t we let the Halloween treats digest before jumping to December?  Anyways…back to holiday menu planning. It is one of my all time favorite things to do. If I were on match.com it would forsure be in my bio under interests. Thank goodness I am not on match,  I am pretty sure that would deter all potential (cool) dates. By the second week in November I have a folder full of potential dishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I am not brainstorming recipe ideas, I am in the kitchen recipe testing. Gotta test out the recipes and make sure they are holiday table worthy! Today I tested a Fall Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing. It definitely passed the test and will be on the holiday table. Tart granny smith apples mend well with the sweet dressing, salty pumpkin seeds and red onion. I threw in some chewy dried cranberries, which complements the crunchy apples and seeds. Very well balanced and a  great way to get some greens on your holiday plate.

Use whatever nuts or seeds you have in your pantry. The pumpkin seeds are perfecto in the salad, but walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or any other nut/seed would work well too. A little blue cheese would also taste great on this salad.

[recipe]

 

Spice Apple Cider

IMG_2907OMG…buy some apples, get out your juicer and make this cider right now. Or even better, make this cider, put it in a to-go cup and head straight for the pumpkin patch. If you follow these commands directions, your Fall will be complete.  I promise. There is something so nostalgic about apple cider. It transports me straight back to the days hyper color t-shirts were still cool (I am afraid they will make a comeback), when my mom would bring home jugs of freshly pressed apple cider. It was the perfect way to warm up after a crisp fall day. To this day, she still has the fridge stocked with apple cider during the holidays.

If you don’t have a juicer, please don’t turn your back on this recipe. You can still make homemade apple cider by using the old school (and flavorful) boiling method. Quarter your apples and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the apples. Add the spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for an hour or until the apples are very mushy. Once apples are mushy, mash with a potato masher. Place a very fine colander over a large bowl. Drain the apple mixture. And there you have it- apple cider without a juicer.

[recipe]

Criss-Cross Applesauce

pumpkinsWelcome back, Fall. The switch from summer to fall seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Grocery stores swiftly change their entrance displays from flowers to pumpkins, the beloved pumpkin spiced latte makes a comeback, and Halloween super stores pop up out of nowhere. There is zero time to mourn the loss of summer. Although it is still 90 degrees here in Austin, I decided to jump on the fall bandwagon by making cinnamon applesauce. Nothing gets me in the mood for fall faster than the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house. I was ready to throw on my leggings, zip up my boots and wrap a scarf around my neck. Then I remembered I live in Austin and the weather won’t chill out until late October (at the earliest). I was tempted to blast the air conditioning in our apartment just so I could pretend it was a perfect brisk fall day, but decided that would be an irresponsible waste of energy. So instead I sat out on my patio in shorts and a tank top and enjoyed my applesauce full of fall flavors.

[recipe]