Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Try This! Creamy broccoli soup

During the colder months all I want to do is eat grilled cheese and soup.  Unfortunately, when the snows melt and my hibernation body is revealed in spring, I'm not a fan of what I see.  This broccoli soup is a healthy alternative that will still be satisfying.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add 1 diced medium onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Stir until tender.
  • Add 4 cups of Cleansing Broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add 6 cups of chopped broccoli and cook, covered, until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 3 cups of baby spinach.
  • Transfer the soup to a blender and add 1 chopped avocado.  Puree until smooth.
  • Garnish with 2 pieces of crumbled bacon
The texture of this soup makes it more filling and satisfying, with the occasional bite of bacon to get you chewing.  I also love the creaminess of it, even though no dairy products were used, so I'm not craving grilled cheese as much.  The subtle heat from the red pepper flakes is the final note of this soup and warms you, and your taste buds, up.

What comfort foods do you crave during winter?

Friday, February 21, 2014

TGAF: Yoga accessories

I'm usually a little belated with my New Year's resolutions and get started a month late.  I've been wanting to try yoga for a while and this month I finally did it.  I'm so glad that I did because I absolutely love it.  As a way to reward myself and encourage further commitment, I decided to invest in a couple items.
  • Banyan & Bo Earth Saver Yoga Mat from Target
    I thought the best investment would be in my own mat, so that I could practice at home.  I awkwardly tested out a bunch at Target, but this was my favorite.  It has sufficient padding for support, doesn't feel sticky and is lightweight.  I also love the relaxing blue color.
  • Capri Leggings from Cotton On
    On a daily basis, leggings that are a little bit sheer can be covered up with longer tops, but I knew I needed legitimate pairs for yoga.  If you're like me and Lululemon and Nike are out of your price range, these are a great pair among many options from Cotton On.  They're comfortable, but stay in place, so I'm not constantly readjusting.
  • T-shirt and tank from Cotton On
    I usually try to diversify my posts, but while I was shopping for leggings I was stunned to find a sale section full of tops under $5.  There were tons of options and I was excited to build my fitness clothing collection in an affordable way.  This shirt is so comfortable and soft, but is longer in the back to keep you covered.  The tank is simple, but the side lace adds a feminine touch.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Wellness: Stay away from canned soups

One of the best parts about making my own broth was knowing exactly what was in it and that it would be a healthy contribution to my diet.  I've heard that canned soups weren't good for you, but never took the time to find out why.  After doing some investigating, I definitely will be making my own soup from now on.
  • Some soups have cornstarch added to help make them thicker.  While cornstarch isn't bad for you, it does contribute calories without any nutritional value and should be avoided.
  • Many soups are high in sodium from the addition of salt cubes for flavor.  Excess sodium increases blood pressure and puts strain on the heart.  This increases your risk of stroke and heart failure.
  • The plastic lining inside of cans contains a chemical called bisphenol a (BPA).  This chemical has been linked to several health problems, which include hormone disruption, cancer and diabetes.  Sometimes I just accept that there are toxic chemicals all over the place and live with it, but this statistic completely changed my mind.  A study published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" in 2011 found that participants who consumed canned soup for five days had 1,221 percent more BPA in their urine than participants who didn't eat the soup.
What foods have you been shocked to find out are unhealthy?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Try This! Vegtable broth

As I attempt to become a better and healthier cook, I think mastering some basic skills is important.  I'd never made my own broth before and was a little exhausted from the process, but I'm proud of my accomplishment and relieved to know exactly what's in it.
  • In a large pot combine 1 large chopped onion, 6 chopped carrots, 1/2 head of chopped celery, 1 halved head of garlic, 2 chopped large sweet potatoes and 12 cups water. Bring water to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups of spinach and 1/2 cup of parsley and simmer 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Strain the liquid and discard the vegetables.
This broth is a flavorful base packed that's packed with nutrients from all the vegetables.

What do you put in your broth?

Friday, February 14, 2014

TGAF: Gin Gins candy, That Awkward Moment, Mercury glass containers

  • Gin Gins Candy
    My friend, Michelle, offered me one of these candies and, even though I'm not a big fan of ginger, I decided it couldn't hurt to try.  Surprisingly, I fell in love with these quirky candies.  They're extremely chewy and start off sweet, but slowly begin to make your mouth tingle with the spice of ginger.  They're perfect for when you just need a little treat during the day.  If you'd prefer something sweeter they also come in flavors like Caramel, Spicy Apple and Hot Coffee.
  • That Awkward Moment
    I have to admit that I mostly saw this as an excuse to stare at Zac Efron for an hour and a half.  Zac was beautiful as always, but I really enjoyed the movie as well.  It was funny and witty with relatable characters that you'd want as your friends.  It slightly reminded me of New Girl, but without Jess, so it was a lot of hilarious male banter.
  • Mercury Glass Containers from West Elm
    The sale sections at these stores are always dynamite and worth the effort to rummage around.  This week, I blissfully discovered that they were having a major sale on mercury glass containers.  I ended up taking home an angular vase, footed hurricane and log-shaped vase.  The size, quality and low prices on these items was just unbelievably awesome.  The only drawback is that you can't put water in them, so I'm trying to find silk flowers to use instead. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Try This! Spiced cashew cream with fruit

I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter, so I was excited to test this recipe as an alternative option.  It's slightly more involved than just opening a jar, but not by much.  I make a batch at the beginning of every week to enjoy and it works out well.
  • Soak 1/2 cup of cashews in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the cashews and water to a blender.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey.  Blend until smooth.
  • Enjoy with fruit slices!
The cashews provided just enough sweetness and was balanced by the slight spice of cinnamon.  The simplicity of the cream worked perfectly with apple or pear slices.  I also really appreciated that it wasn't sticky like peanut butter, so I didn't feel heavy and full after eating.

What do you enjoy with fruit?

Friday, February 7, 2014

TGAF: Limited Edition Oreos, Lydia, Pink phone charger

  • Limited Edition Oreos
    These bad boys were released this week to a lot of hype.  Unfortunately, I thought the Cookie Dough just tasted like chocolate filling and was a disappointment.  I liked the Marshmallow Crispy kind much better because it had the buttery, marshmallow flavor of Rice Krispie Treats.  I was surprised that these weren't better after the major success of the Birthday Cake flavor.  I do love the song that Tegan and Sarah did for Oreo though.
  • "Devil" Lydia
    I recently learned that Lydia had gotten back together and put out a new album.  I listened to them occasionally in the past, but was curious about their sound now.  I'm extremely impressed and love the entire album, which is pretty rare.  This new music is much more positive and slightly upbeat, while maintaining the melodic and beautiful sound that makes them unique.  I really recommend that you check it out.
  • Light pink iPhone charger
    This is a bit of a cheat, but I'm so excited about it that I still wanted to share.  My phone charger completely ripped in half the other day, so I needed a quick replacement that wouldn't be costly.  Of course, I immediately headed to eBay and found out that there are tons of phone chargers for sale that are really cheap AND in adorable colors.  I bought this light pink one for under $2 and received in a couple days.