Best Of

BestOfLogoHey all!

Here’s what I’m loving this week–going to share it in non-collage format. Makes it a little more straightforward to comment on each thing:

IMG_1414.JPG

Joan’s Corn Toaster Muffins– The other day at Whole Foods I met Joan herself, who was handing out samples of her gluten free toaster muffins. I was about to say no immediately upon hearing the words ‘gluten free’, because I love me my gluten, y’all. I’m naturally a little wary of gluten free products, but YUM these are good corn muffins.  I ended up buying a pack, and they don’t disappoint. Not a paid advertisement, I just really liked them! And I love supporting a woman-owned, small business!

vanishedImage Source

Clear Clinic Laboratories Vanished Clear Spot Treatment– The other day when out to drinks with a friend at a dimly lit restaurant, she let me know I had something on my face, food she thought. T’was actually a big fat zit, thanks for pointing that out. I have to admit, taking off my makeup at the end of the day and properly moisturizing/ tonerizing it (I know I made that word up), is such a drag, so sometimes I just do the bare minimum and end up zitty.  I like this spot treatment, it’s better than any I’ve tried so far. I found out about it through my Ipsy membership. I’m finding that with each monthly box, both Ipsy and Birchbox, I find one product I really love, which makes it worth it to keep up the subscriptions even though I have beauty samples coming out my ears. Again, not getting any money for plugging this (or any product on here).

jr_marbellamid_platinum-9235Image Source

 Jack Rogers Wedges– I saw a girl wearing a similar pair of Jack Rogers wedges the other day, and gosh darn it they were cute. Definitely going on my wish list.

bf6f070d1492fb940b308db0beba6094 (1)

Image Source

Gap Ultra Skinny Pants– These pants are my jam, y’all. I heard about them from Nicole at Making it Lovely, and man are they a great pair of pants. Just an overall great fit, and I always get tons of compliments when I wear them. Great wardrobe basic.

My sister has a new foster dog, Bagel. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in adopting him, check out his profile page. Here is a cute video she put together of him!

Also,

Have a great Thursday, all!

Healthy Peanut Butter Bites

Healthy peanut butter bites: PB + honey + oats + powdered milk + wheat germ.  Yummy and sugar free.I mixed up these puppies during Lent when I was off sugar and craving something sweet.  They were delicious, so simple to make and totally helped with my sugar cravings.

I honestly couldn’t give you measurements, because I didn’t measure anything, I just pulled out what I had in the kitchen and added more of one of the other ingredient till I was happy with the taste and texture.

  • Organic Peanut Butter (from here on out assume all the ingredients are organic)
  • Honey
  • Wheat Germ
  • Old-fashioned oats (although quick cooking I’m sure would be fine.  I like the chewiness of old-fashioned)
  • Powdered milk (which I couldn’t find, so I used malted milk powder, which worked just as well)

Just mix it all together (I heated the PB up in the microwave for about 30 seconds beforehand to help it out of the jar and to help it mix easier.  I scooped them into balls with my small cookie scoop and froze them.  I popped them in a ziplock- it was great having them on hand when I needed something sweet.

Recipe adapted from several on here.

Banana Bread Muffins

Today in Julie's kitchen: sugar free (honey sweetened) banana muffins. #100daysofrealfood

I made these the other week while I was still on my 40 days of no sugar regimen.  They are honey-sweetened so they are not overly sweet.  I put them all in individual ziplock bags and threw them in the freezer, they are a great grab-and-go breakfast, by the time I get to work they are thawed out, I just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds so they are nice and warm.  I adapted the recipe from the 100 Days of Real Food blog, so for the recipe stop by their website.  The only changes I made were that I used white flour since that’s what I had on hand, I used veggie oil because again that’s what I had on hand, I used Greek yogurt, and don’t do like me, I was out of regular salt so I used my Kosher salt.  Not the greatest idea.  If you know Kosher salt, it is bigger and flakier, and you can definitely taste specks of it throughout the muffins.

I am going to try and swap out honey and raw sugar for white, granulated sugar as often as I can when baking.  I actually enjoy the not-so-sweet taste more so than traditional banana bread.  Honestly since I’ve been back on sugar since Easter this past Sunday I feel grody and am thinking of going to a really low sugar diet.  After I eat the Reese’s PB Eggs that are in my freezer.  Night all!

40 Days

Hello world!  I feel like I’ve been light on the blog posting lately.  I’ve been super focused on school for the past few months and it’s consumed most of my time and energy.  But here I am.  How are you?  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

I gave up sugar for lent which turned out to be a really awesome experience.  Besides the spiritual aspect of it, I was also looking to kick a mild sugar addiction which in turn would (I assumed) lead me to drop pounds quick.  Wrong.  When it was all said and done, I ended up gaining a pound (seriously?).  I really don’t understand that one.

Like I said, it was a great experience because I learned several things and adopted some new routines:

  • I was indeed addicted to sugar, and I was consuming it at nearly every meal, knowingly or unknowingly.  
  • Sugar is in EVERYTHING.  Let me rephrase, sugar is in nearly everything that is processed.
  • I was eating so much more processed food than I realized.
  • I was eating out a lot more than I realized.
  • Eating out costs a lot of money.
  • Cooking at home, when you are now trying to cook all natural and organic costs a lot of money.
  • Crappy, sugary food was around me constantly, everywhere I went.  Work, school, there was always cookies, cake, etc and before I would always go “yes of course I’ll have some.”  During my 40 days sugar-free, when I couldn’t have any, it made me realize that I really don’t want all that junk.
  • After a few days off of sugar, I was craving REAL food.  Veggies, fruits, grains.

Prepping to cook for the week. Switching to a non-processed real food only diet is EXPENSIVE! #100daysofrealfood

  • I started cooking a lot more at home.  I’ve mentioned before that I have a cookbook problem, so I had a whole arsenal of recipes to start with.  I had recently purchased a new cookbook, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, a slow cooker cookbook and I had bought a new, larger 7 quart slow cooker from Williams-Sonoma so I jumped right in to slow cooking

Excited for my new cookbook!

  • Slow cooking makes A LOT of food.  My fridge is jam-packed with corn chowder and broccoli cheese soup.  I am sick of both already and I still have enough of it to eat it for every meal till next Sunday.

Made enough corn chowder to last me till 2018...
Here it is... Doesn't look too appetizing but it's good. I need to get an immersion blender. Great cookbook :)

  • I thought giving up sugar was going to be so difficult.  It ended up not being too bad, there were a few days where my sugar tooth was really nagging at me, but when that happened I would eat a Clif Kids Z Bar, (my savior).  I love them because they don’t sweeten with sugar, and the chocolate chip ones taste just like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.  I actually ended up loving the freedom from sugar.  It was so nice to be able to say “no I don’t want that” and really mean it.
  • It reminded me of Geneen Roth’s food rules, which I try to live by, but every once in a while you need a refresher.
    • “Eat when you are hungry.
    • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
    • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
    • Eat what your body wants.
    • Eat until you are satisfied.
    • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
    • Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.”

-Geneen Roth

  • I have a lot more I could say about how fabulous Geneen Roth is, about food and eating issues, but I’ll save that for another time and another post.  For now, let me just add to the rules (or guidelines as I really should be calling them, because that is what she calls them), is that EVERYTHING IS OK IN MODERATION!  Please don’t ever deprive yourself of any food.  It just leads to over eating, which is no fun.  Enough on that for now.
  • Today, being Easter, I got to break my no sugar regimen, and boy did I break it.  And boy do I feel like junk.  The day started out with a chocolate chip pudding ring (it is a beyond delicious cake they carry at my local grocery store’s bakery) and ended with Girl Scouts Samoas which I am currently snacking on.  I’ve missed by old buddies of chocolate and white refined sugar, but I am sure that we are going to have a less dependent relationship from now on.
  • I really enjoyed having a goal or something that I am working on, so I think I am going to continue on with a 40 day challenge.  Starting tomorrow I am going to (eeks I don’t even want to write this) do a cardio workout of some sort every single day.  Whether it being a 20 minute walk (which is cardio when you are so out of shape like I am), or zumba at the gym, I want to do something.  Over the past 40 days I’ve started working out more than usual (as in I’ve started working out) and I feel so amazing after I do.  It is so true what they say about it being a natural stress reliever.

So that’s all for now.  I hope Easter treated everyone well.  Have a good week and Carpe Diem!

Crack Broccoli

IMG_3524

Seriously people, this is the best broccoli ever.  If I didn’t have a sliver of self-control I could eat 5 heads of broccoli, which would be no fun for anyone.

It is so super simple to make:

  • Broccoli, rinsed and cut at the stems.  Cut the florets in half so they lay on the baking sheet flat.  Throw the broccoli in a bowl.
  • Olive oil- drizzle as much or as little as you want on the broccoli.
  • Garlic- dice a clove or two and throw it in the bowl with the broccoli.
  • Sugar!  The secret weapon.  A tiny sprinkling is all it needs, it adds such a great flavor.  Sometimes I am bad and sprinkle on more than a tiny bit.
  • Roast on a foil-lined pan (preferably with edges in case the EVOO runs) at 400 degrees till done.  You can roast it as long as you like, I like mine practically burnt, it gives the broccoli and the garlic (which you will end up eating as well) such an amazing flavor the longer you keep it in.  The picture above is not quite done, when I make it the broccoli is pretty much charred.

Eat and be amazed.  Recipe adapted from here.

 

Spices

20121014-201205.jpg

How long do you keep spices for?  I think I read somewhere once that you should toss them out after three years.  I recently just looked through all my spices and tossed out everything that was older than three years- the picture above is everything that was chucked.  Feels like such a waste of $$.

20121014-201217.jpg

A few years ago when I was a more organized person, I labeled all my spices with when I bought them to make it easier to remember when to toss them.   I eventually stopped because they are labeled anyways with a sell by or use by date.

20121014-201230.jpg

Whatever this spice was, it was five years old before I tossed it. So how long do you keep spices for?

Thrift Store Finds

I’ve never been a fan of thrift stores. I think it’s the unknown aspect of it- what if someone was wearing that shirt when they died? I know it’s really strange, but I generally just get creeped out by them. Who knows what negative associations the stuff in there has with them.  #paranoid #OCD.  However I have been popping in one recently that is operated by the retirement community where I work for my day job. (I know, I’ve never talked about my day job before. It is probably because it has nothing to do with the career path I am heading down and there are so many stories I’d love to tell about working with senior citizens, but I can’t, so I will leave it at that). Being that these items come from the residents within the community who are all former military officers and their spouses, there are some really nice things as the residents generally well-off after a lifetime of being a military officer.

I think this is my favorite- it’s a pretty white cake plate. I just love the detail.  I’m sure the pattern has a name… kind of a scalloped edge and then the dots on the bottom.  I think it was $10 which is a steal.

20121007-185746.jpg

20121007-185838.jpg

How about my awesome photo styling skills?

20121007-185901.jpg

20121007-185925.jpg

I also found on a separate occasion this bowl and plate set and a appetizer type thing.  I really need to learn what they are actually called.  Again I love the detail- the little dots on the rims.

20121007-185955.jpg

20121007-190018.jpg

20121007-190039.jpg

This Fall

I usually dread summer ending and Fall starting because that means cold weather is just around the corner, and I am no fan of cold weather.  But this year something is different, I don’t know if it’s because it was hot a blazes this summer or what, but for the first time I’m really looking forward to fall.  You can kind of smell if coming in the air.

Here are some things I’m excited about this fall:

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is being released October 30.  I love her blog and can’t wait to read the thing cover to cover.

 

 

You’ve Got Mail.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I love watching it every Fall because it reminds me of the Fall.  (By the way, Rest in Peace Nora Ephron.  Such a brilliant lady.  Some of my favorite movies are Nora Ephron movies… Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally…)

 

Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice.  Which I just found out is available all year long, but can you imagine drinking it in May?  Ew.  It’s perfect on a chilly fall/ winter day.

 

Photo Source

 

Besides that….. A new wardrobe.  My beloved boots.  Tights.  Long sleeve shirts that cover my jiggly arms.  That fall smell that’s in the air.  Boots, boots, boots, boots.  I really love boots.

Etc

A few random thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, because it’s Saturday.

1.  My dog Henry decided to sleep in the bathtub the other night.

2.  I bought Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook which I have been waiting for for months and I have not had two seconds to look at it.  When I get a new cookbook I like to read it cover to cover.  I still have this cookbook in the queue of books to read.

3.  Once a year I turn all the hangers around in my closet and then once I’ve worn them I turn the hanger the correct direction.  That way by the time January comes around I’ll know if I haven’t worn something in over a year which means it’s time for it to go.

That is all.