KALE: Your New Friend with Benefits!

Hi Lovelies!

I want to share with you my favorite leafy green!

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How my friendship with Kale began…

I started eating Kale a couple years back when I first discovered Kris Carr. I read her book, Crazy Sexy Diet and watched her documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer, and was totally inspired. This book is a must read, and the documentary is a must see.

Her Story…¬†

After being diagnosed with a slow moving rare cancer that has no cure, Kris Carr used food as her medicine. She became vegan, and ate a whole food mainly raw diet, based on an alkaline PH level. She juiced everyday, slurping down healthy gorgeous green juices made from kale.

How I eat Kale…

I love juicing Kale, or mixing it in with my protein shakes. I also love adding it to salads. I actually started eating Kale so often I started growing my own. Anyway, just recently I discovered this amazing Kale recipe in the cookbook I am obsessed with, Super Natural Everyday, by Heidi Swanson.

Miso-Curry Delicata Squash

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INGREDIENTS

  • Summer Squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste
  • 4 medium new potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut squash and potatoes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, miso, and curry paste.
  • Combine squash and potatoes with miso-curry paste. Toss.
  • Roast in a glass baking pan for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft.
  • Add kale, lemon juice, tomatoes, pine nuts
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let cool, add cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

This is a quick easy dish that taste amazing and is full of health benefits. This dish is organic, vegetarian/vegan. It can be eaten as a main dish or a side dish.

Questions for You…

  1. How do you eat kale?
  2. What is your favorite leafy green?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Clean Eating…

Keep-it-simple.-Eat-clean.5
So Lets talk about Eating Clean…

Eating Clean: To eat organic whole foods.  To eat 5-6 small well balanced meals a day,  consisting of a protein (does not have to be animal flesh) and complex carb. in 2-3 hour intervals. The idea is to fire up the metabolism, providing energy, and promoting weight loss.

 

eatclean

I have been really cleaning up my diet since the beginning of 2012. I would have to say I eat clean 80% of the time, so it is still something I am working on. The transition of Eating Clean is not the easiest or cheapest alternative, but it is totally worth it.  It makes you feel good Рfull of energy, and it taste amazing.

As you may know, my clean eating lifestyle began with the 2012 New Year’s resolution – To try one unique exotic food once a week.¬†This got me shopping at organic markets and local farmers markets. This led me to read books such as ¬†Skinny Bitches, The Eat Clean Diet, and¬†The Crazy Sexy Diet¬†which led me to buying a juicer. Which led me to start a veggie garden. Which led me to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals. Which led me to research more, read more, seek more knowledge.

 

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All of this led me to crave a stronger body, in order to enhance myself as a runner. Now I am running further, faster, stronger. Eventually, this led me to start the Livefit trainer, which taught me how to meal prep. Which also taught about supplements and protein shakes. Which also taught me about calorie counting and carb-cycling. Which led me to using a kitchen scale, and measuring out my food. (I am not that picky though, and don’t always measure everything, but the point is I have the knowledge now, and tools, to do this if I desire too.)

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Side note: (Although, I would like to point out that, I do not label myself as vegetarian or vegan. I would rather choose the purest form of food, the highest quality of food, the lesser of two evils. And take note on this, that in some cases the vegan option can be just as highly processed. For example, I would rather eat a local organic egg, then a highly processed powder egg substitute that is vegan. )

Which ever nutritional lifestyle you choose, whether Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, High Protein, when it comes down to it, most nutritional lifestyles include organic non-processed foods.

So start eliminating those processed foods from your diet today. Start eating clean. Trust me it is worth it!

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

I was in a Sweet and Spicy kinda mood!

Today…

I ran.

I bought groceries.

I gardened.

Today…

Although, I did all of the above, I will admit, I spent most of my day playing in my kitchen…

I was in a Sweet and Spicy kind of mood…

so I baked these…

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These are homemade Ginger Cookies, from my favorite cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. If you have been following my blog, then this book will be familiar to you, for I have shared with you several of her recipes. She’s the best!

Sweet Tooth

Because I am an endurance athlete, I normally crave healthy fats and salty food. However, sometimes, I desperately desire something sweet – I am human.

Ginger and Cacao

Along with sweet, my all time favorite ingredient is ginger! I love, love, love ginger – can’t even express how much. Ginger also has many health benefits, including being an anti-inflammatory, and improving digestive health. Lately, I have been cooking with it quite a bit. So when I came across this recipe, I just had to try it. This recipe also includes Cacao, which is known for being rich with disease fighting antioxidants. I am a chocolate lover, so this was definitely a plus. I mean, if I am going to indulge in something sweet, I want ¬†to go all out, and have a pastry made from high quality ingredients. I also think everything taste better when you cook or bake it yourself. It is true, give it a try.

So here we go…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao)
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Shave chocolate into large bowl.shaved choco

shave chocolate

 

  • In another large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt.¬†ginger cookies flour
  • Heat butter, molasses, sugar and fresh ginger in a pan on medium heat.¬†molassesginger
  • beat egg, mix into warm mixture in pan. Note: The yolk is very deep in color, because they are organic and from a local east coast farm. It makes a big difference in flavor.¬†eggs
  • Chop dried apricots.apricots
  • Pour mixture from stove over flour mixture. Add apricots. Stir.
  • Stir in chocolate.chocolate
  • Scoop dough with a spoon and roll into little balls. I dipped every other dough ball into sugar. Place each dough ball onto parchment paper cookie sheet.¬†cookies 2
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy!Cookies

These Ginger Cookies definitely met all of my standards. They are made from all of the highest quality organic ingredients. They not only taste amazing because I made them from scratch myself, but they also made my whole house smell sweet and spicy.

So if you are in a sweet and spicy kinda mood… these are a must try!

What Sweet and Spicy combos are your favorite?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Protein Shake Recipe!

Lets talk about clean eating…

As you all may know, I am currently doing the Livefit trainer by Jamie Eason. Besides the daily weight lifting and cardio sessions, Jamie Eason teaches us how to eat clean. Boy have I learned a lot! For those that are totally clueless, (don’t worry if you are, I was too at one point) she has a meal plan written out, along with grocery list, videos, and recipes… all on bodybuilding.com.

Here is what goes down…

  1. The meals consists of mainly a protein, complex carb, and healthy fat.
  2. Ideally, with in an hour of waking eat your first clean meal, then continue to eat 5-6 small clean meals a day in 3 hour intervals.
  3. Never workout on an empty stomach.
  4. Use measuring tools, such as a scale, to get exact portions.
  5. Use apps, such as fitness pal to record calories. It is important to get at least 1600-2000 calories in order to build muscle, (but it also depends on your size/BMR.)

When reading this reviews on this trainer, a lot of people claimed they were vegetarian and following the meal plan was impossible. But nothing is impossible.¬†If you are vegetarian or vegan, you should be getting the same amount of protein as someone who eats meat. I am not going to label myself as a vegetarian or vegan, but I do cook most of my meals meatless. I will eat eggs and fish, but for those who don’t…¬†Stop thinking that protein is animal flesh,¬†because it doesn’t have to be. ¬†You can sub, animal protein for many things example: beans, or lentils, and there are tons of vegetables that are a great protein source.

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I found these charts on google, while researching protein for you guys!

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Supplements

Along with a multivitamin, BCAA, and fish oil/flaxseed oil, Jamie Eason suggests we drink a protein shake. Research claims that if you drink a protein shake with in 30 minutes to an hour after exercise, you will see more muscle growth/recovery, and less soreness.

I have always been a very big fan of juicing. I will make a green juice a couple times of week and have been simply adding my protein powder to that. I actually started to grow my own kale in my vegetable garden because I use it so often. But right now during these cold months of winter, a lot of produce is not in season at the moment, so I have recently began playing around with different ingredients. I finally came up with this amazing protein shake.

Protein Shake Recipe

protein shake

I know it looks like a Starbucks coffee drink, but the reusable travel plastic cups work perfect for protein shakes.

Ingredients

  1. 1 banana, (really good source of potassium, which helps with muscle cramping.)
  2. Cacao powder (good source of antioxidants)
  3. Chocolate protein powder (I use Vega Sport because it is vegan, soy free, and created by an iron man athlete.)vega
  4. Wheat Germ (good source of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, very good amount of protein, 27g per 115-gram serving.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/2707-facts-health-benefits-wheat-germ/#ixzz2MtlCygsN

  5. Flax seeds (omega 3s)
  6. Coconut Water (good source of potassium, and hydrating)
  7. Spoon full of organic all natural peanut butter (make sure nothing is added. This is an additional source of protein and healthy fat.)

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This protein shake recipe is very high in protein, heathy fats, and potassium. It is also enriched with other vitamins, and omega 3s. I drink this to refuel after my workout, and use this as one of my my meals.

No need to waste calories on Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. It definitely satisfies my chocolate and peanut butter craving.

Question for You

  1. What is your favorite ingredient for a protein shake?
  2. What is your favorite protein powder?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Missing my RUNNER’S HIGH.

Tuesday was Mardi Gras. Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Today, is Valentine’s Day. All of these special days falling in one crazy week. I am so thankful today, although it is everyone’s Thursday, it is my Friday. (If that makes since…)

AT THE SALON

This has been a crazy work week for me. I have had a week full of hair color transformations. It is only mid February, but for some reason everyone wants to go lighter. I wasn’t expecting to change my brunettes to blonde bombshells until March or April, but it happened this week, which meant long days, and late nights at the salon.

LIVEFIT UPDATE

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PHASE 1, WEEK 3, DAYS 16,17,18

DAY 16, Monday, 2/11/13,

BACK and BICEPS

  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (30lbs) alternative work out PULL UPS
  • Seated Narrow Grip Cable Rows¬†– 3 sets 10 rep – (30lbs)

  • T-Bar Row¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (10lb weight, 20lb bar, total 30lbs.

  • Back Extensions¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (body weight or hold weight with arm across chest) NOTE: This is my new favorite work out for lower back muscles.

  • ¬†¬†Barbell Curl¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (20lb straight bar) NOTE: I really felt this worked my biceps. They were super sore the next day.
  • ¬†Incline Dumbbell Curl¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (started first set with 5 lbs just to work on proper for then went up to 10 lbs for the rest of the sets)¬†
  • ¬†Alternate Hammer Curl¬†– 3 sets 10 reps – (10 lbs)

Tuesday, 2/12/13, REST DAY

The original plan for this day was to hit the gym at night. I am busy all day with an art class and work, so night time is the only time I have to work out. I ended up not being able to get home until 9:00 pm and the gym closes at 11. I decided I didn’t want to be the one closing the gym, so I used this as a rest day and planned to do that day’s work out, Day 17, the next day along with that day’s work out. Double duty. Didn’t want to fall behind.

THE DOUBLE DUTY DAY

DAY 17 & DAY 18, Wednesday, 2/14/13

CHEST, TRICEPS

LEGS

Today, Thursday, 2/14/13 is DAY 19 of LIVEFIT. I will be hitting the gym this afternoon, to work on Shoulders & Abs. I will not be taking any more rest days until the end of phase 1. If for some reason I can’t make it to the gym, I will take a rest day and do double duty the following day. But this is only if for some reason I am desperate and can’t make it to the gym. Jamie Eason does have 2 videos of at home work outs just in case, but I’d rather just try to stick to the program as closely as I can.

SEEING RESULTS

First things First. I am desperately missing my RUNNER’S HIGH! But I also can’t believe how fast Phase 1 is flying on by. Today will be the last day of week 3 and then I am moving right on to week 4. 1 more week and then Phase 2 begins, where you can introduce cardio into the program, and for me running. Yippee!! Can’t wait to experience my runner’s high again. However, I will admit that I have really enjoyed focusing on getting stronger. I think that it is super important, and it gave me the opportunity to focus on eating clean as well. Plus, waiting to run, will just make my runner’s high that much sweeter.

I also wanted to tell you, that I am starting to see some results, and feel them too. I didn’t think I would see much results especially this fast, because I am an athlete already in pretty good shape. But, my arms are starting to take shape, and I have began to see even more definition in my legs and abs. As for feeling results, I am feeling stronger. I also have been really tired lately, but I think that has a lot to do with work and not really the Livefit program. I am pretty sore though, everyday. I am also much more hungry, but I think that is because my growing muscles need fuel and my metabolism is fired up.

CHALLENGES

I have already been eating clean for about 9 months now, but I was having challenges with eating enough calories. I am doing much better about preparing my meals, and packing my food. The two things I need to work on now, is drinking more water, and making more protein shakes. But I am still taking my other supplements.

So that sums up my update with the Livefit program. I can’t wait for Phase 2 to begin, in about a week, because during Phase 2 I will also start my half marathon training.

I found this on tumblr... Now she is hardcore!

I found this on tumblr… Now she is hardcore!

Oh BTW, I updated my about page, so check it out. I also updated my race times. Please follow me on twitter, athlinks, and instagram.

Questions for You

  1. Do you eat clean? What is your favorite eat clean food/meal?
  2. What challenges do you have it your fitness routine?
  3. To my Runner followers: What is the longest amount of time have you gone with out running?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Vegan Strawberry Waffles

“That’s when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.” ¬† ¬†–¬†words of wisdom by Scott Jurek

Along with doing Jamie Eason’s, Livefit trainer, I am currently reading Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek. I have to get my run fix in somehow, and because Phase 1 of livefit bands running, I decide to read about ultrarunning.

Eat and Run, is about Scott Jurek’s life as a ultramarathon runner and his transition of becoming a vegan. This book is perfect for me because I too am a runner, who eats mostly a plant based diet. I am always challenging myself to cook as many vegan dishes as possible, and this book is full of amazing recipes.

I plan on trying every recipe in this book, and ¬†so far I have tried the Vegan Chili, and the Apple Cinnamon Granola. What I love most about his recipes is how full and satisfied you feel after eating them. When people think of vegan meals, most of the time they think it will be a light meal, lacking protein – but that doesn’t have to be the case. Scott Jurek doesn’t just proof that, but he out does himself with each new recipe I try.

Today, I attended my friend’s baby shower, which in our world, is translated into a vegan brunch. So I woke up early to prepare the food I was bringing. Normally I don’t plan ahead, but because others would be eating my food, I decided to test it first. So earlier this past week I whipped up a batch of Scott Jurek’s Vegan Strawberry Pancakes.

“Then one Sunday morning, after a 20 mile run… I served them my first batch of banana-strawberry vegan pancakes. They were golden brown and sweet dense, and hearty. The fruit flavors met on my tongue, then tangled together in a way fruit flavors had never done before. That is when I decided I could live without butter and eggs. ” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† – Scott Jurek

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (I didn’t have this one, so I just omitted it and added extra oat flour.)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour. (I used a 1/2 a cup of oat flour to make up for the buckwheat flour I didn’t have.)
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup barley flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal (You can use either yellow corn or blue.)
  • 1/4 ground flax seed or chai seed (I used flax seeds and ground them up in food processor.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cups of rice milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • strawberries and bananas (I used fresh strawberries not bananas, but you can do any fruit you would like or add nuts.)
  • wheat germ¬†(I added this, for additional nutrition.)
  • maple syrup for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine flours, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, and ground seeds in a large mixing bowl.¬†pancakes
  • Add rice milk, olive oil, agave nectar, and vanilla. Mix well.pancakes2
  • Grease a skillet with coconut oil and heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour 1/2 -3/4 cup of bater onto the skillet for each pancake.pancakes3
  • Cook until golden brown and then flip.
  • Top with strawberry or maple syrup or both. I made strawberry topping by throwing a bunch of strawberries in a food processor.¬†pancakes4

I was beyond impressed with this batter, however for the baby shower, aka, the vegan brunch, I used the same batter recipe, but made waffles instead. The reason I went for the waffle over the pancake is simply because it looks prettier. I guess it is my artist side coming out, but no matter what I make or create it has to be visually beautiful. And although, Scott Jurek made pancakes, my pancakes always look sloppy, while my waffles always look perfect. waffles

At the brunch everyone loved the waffles.

As for a brunch beverage, I juiced a bunch of minneolas. Minneolas is a fruit that is part of the citrus family. It is a mix between a grapefruit and tangerine. They are very juicy, so they make for a good fruit to juice. I bought them fresh and organic from MOM’s organic market. One of the employes there let me sample one, to make sure it was sweet and not sour. They ended up being very sweet and made a wonderful juice.

juice

Both the batter and the juice are two recipes that you have to try.

Questions for You?

  1. What is your favorite fruit juice?
  2. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

Clean Eating, Rest Days, Livefit

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow are rest days in the Livefit trainer. Yesterday, was a perfect day for me to have a rest day, because it was Tuesday. Tuesday always ends up being really busy for me, because I have my art class in the morning, and then I head straight to work. But because of that, I wasn’t able to prepare any meals for the day. I did the best I could under the circumstances, but there were times when I felt hungry, and I don’t think I got enough calories. Remember, I am suppose to be eating immediately when I wake up, and then in three hour intervals. I also did not have a protein shake- this was a major fail.

On rest days, I am not working out, and should have more time to focus on nutrition.  So Today, Wednesday Р1/30/13, is another rest day! Have I mentioned how sore I am?

Today, I was going to go for a short run because a warm front came through and it is 65 degrees out. However, it is also overcast and looks like rain. This was a really hard decision for me, but I actually decided to skip the run and stick to the plan, of “NO CARDIO” in Phase 1. So instead I used this time to prepare my meals for the day. I have noticed eating small clean meals on regular intervals have really given me tons of energy. I haven’t felt tired, or had headaches, but instead super energized. I also have noticed that when before I wasn’t a morning eater and didn’t begin having an appetite until the afternoon, I now¬†wake up, hungry.

Below are some examples of the clean foods I ate today.

livefit toast

For breakfast, instead of having my normal, hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt with homemade granola, I saved those for later, and had toast with almond butter. ¬†I used Ezekiel bread as my toast. I have been wanting to get my hands on Ezekiel bread for some time now, but could never find it. I finally found it in the freezer section at MOM’s. J and I split a loaf because I don’t eat that much bread and didn’t want to have a whole loaf and let half go bad. Anyway, this bread is all natural, organic. It’s ingredients are inspired by the biblical passage Ezekiel 4:9, hence its name. This bread is high in fiber and protein, while being totally flourless.

livefit veggiesLater in the day, I ate an arrangement of organic veggies with organic hummus. Have you ever had hummus with cilantro in it? This is my new favorite!

lifefit shakeI also prepared a protein shake with Vega protein. I juiced kale, celery, and pineapple. I poured the juice over the protein powder and added some coconut water. Really yummy drink.

Anyway, those are just some examples of some things I munched on today. I am hoping these clean meals inspire you, and give you new ideas of things to pack for your day.

Questions for You…

  1. Do you eat on regular intervals?
  2. Have you ever made your own hummus?
  3. What is your favorite “clean eating” meal?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Granola… made from scratch!

Granola is a great addition to your breakfast greek yogurt. It is also a great snack item you can pick on through out the day. However, store bought granola can be very fattening and overloaded with sugar. So that is why I am suggesting you make your own. You become in complete control when you mix your own batch. You can also get very creative by using any spices and flavors you desire. For example, my cousin Shelly, mentioned using spices you would find in Chai Tea, in your granola.

In the last week, I randomly came across two different granola recipes in two different books I have been reading. It must be a sign, right? I thought to myself, I must try to make this. So I did, and it was super easy, satisfying, tasty.

This Granola recipe is from the book, Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek.

INGREDIENTS

  • rolled oats
  • hemp milk
  • coconut oil (to coat bottom of baking pan)
  • apple, cored and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup or 1 tbsp of agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • wheat germ (I added, not from original recipe)
  • flax seeds (I added, not from original recipe)

DIRECTIONS

  • Soak four cups of rolled oats in hemp milk over night. Make sure hemp milk is covering all of the oats. Hemp milk softens the oats, and adds a creamy sweetness. Hemp milk is also rich with omega 3 fatty acids.¬†GRANOLA 1
  • After oats have soaked in hemp milk overnight. Drain excess milk, that wasn’t absorbed from oats.granola 2
  • Cut apples.granola 3
  • Add coconut flakes, apples, cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to the oats.¬†granola 4
  • Put mixture into food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Scrape sides and process for another 30 seconds, if necessary.Granola 5
  • After processed, transfer to a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, raisins, and wheat germ.granola 6
  • Coat bottom of baking pan with coconut oil. Spread mixture to pan and bake for 2 hours in oven heated to 250 degrees. Check sporadically flipping granola ever so often to make it into crispy golden clusters.

Final Result

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So there you have it! This recipe is really easy. And although, it took  2 hours to bake, it is well worth it because it makes your home smell like amazing apple cinnamon!

What is your favorite flavor of Granola!? Lets trade recipes!

© 2013 sweat daily

New Years Resolution for 2013

My last post focussed on the idea that setting a New Years Resolution is unnecessary for me because it is in my nature to strive to be the best I can be. Because of this, I set goals for myself in most aspects of my life, sometimes not even realizing I do. And when those goals are met, I set new ones. Always challenging myself.

However, ever since I was a little girl, I have always set a New Years Resolution so although, it is not necessary, I will continue the tradition for fun, and set one for this year.

In 2011, I was in a rut. I use to speed through the grocery store throwing the same items in my cart every time. And most days, it was just faster and easier¬†ordering the same take out everyday. ¬†Although fast and easy, I was getting really bored, plus take out definitely was not the healthiest option. So I decided my New Years Resolution for 2012 was to try one new exotic food a week. This New Years Resolution was¬†not only really fun, but it was more specific then saying, I was going to eat healthier- making it easier to follow. ¬†This New Years Resolution made me leave my comfort zone, as¬†I started to explore Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and local farmer’s markets, on a constant quest for a new unique flavor. ¬†After purchasing these new exotic flavors, I realized I did not have a clue to how to prepare them, so this New Years Resolution also made me seek knowledge, which led me to new blogs, and later creating this blog. It also led me to the kitchen, forcing me to cook, later discovering a new passion. So as you can see, one small change/goal/challenge can lead to an array of others.

This year, 2013, I want to continue on with my last years resolution of trying unique food, and cooking new recipes- mostly plant based and organic. I can’t give that up, it is now a part of me. What use to be uncomfortable, has now become my comfort. However, with that being said, my New Years Resolution for 2013 is to get my kitchen perfectly organized, in a way that will better suit my way of cooking.

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in a home. Trust me, a bad kitchen can make you struggle as a cook Рit being to small, no storage, no dishwasher. A very bad kitchen can make you never ever want to cook- appliances being old and out of date.  A really really bad kitchen can make you never want to store food or eat there ever- small, no storage, no dishwasher, appliances super old, unusable. I have lived in places that have had really really old bad kitchens.

In May of 2012, our dream came true. My boyfriend and I moved into our very own home, after two years of searching. (It was totally worth the wait.) But we are in the city, and being in a city means places are tiny. So although, the kitchen is my favorite space in our new home, it still is a bit small. This year I want to organize my tiny kitchen so it maximizes the space. I want to find new ways of storage and displaying things, but still keeping it minimal.

This is what I have come up with so far…

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These are stainless steel magnetic spice holders. I love them. I have them stuck on the side of my fridge. ¬†They have holes on the side – smaller side to sprinkle, larger side to get a good amount of spice out. I don’t have much cabinet space, so this frees up a shelf that would have been taken up with spices. Before I use to hate digging in the cabinet to find a spice. Sometimes I would think I had a spice and then I didn’t. Other times I would not see a spice and I would but two of the same. With these spice holders stuck to the side of my fridge I can see what I have, and what I don’t. I also can easily reach for a spice whenever I need it. I picked these up at Bed Bath and Beyond.

63613_10100914740519716_1795314128_nThese are my favorite. I found these at Anthropologie. I first got the bigger size ones, that hold pasta, but I ran back and got these smaller ones as well. The size of these are 8 oz. They are a significant amount larger than the magnetic spice holders. I decided to store some of my favorite go to ingredients in these containers. All of these ingredients are raw, natural, organic. They are full of antioxidants, and I usually use them in my my morning smoothies, oat meal, or muesli. I am glad they are close at hand. My favorite part of these containers are the chalk boards. I also love the fact that you don’t have to commit to one ingredient being in one jar. When you are done with the ingredient and the jar is empty, ¬†you can easily erase the name on the chalk board, rinse out the jar, and replace it with something else.

602950_10100914738718326_557535506_nIn this photo, I wanted to point out two things – my magnetic knife strip and my utensil holder.

Once again hanging your knives is a brilliant idea because they are easily accessible and they free up a drawer. Also try to invest in a good set of knives. Good knives make prep work fast and easy.

As for my utensil holder, it is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. The pottery is hand made, by an artist that sells his work at Eastern Market. My Aunt Kathy, when she came to visit, bought it for me as a house warming present. I think it is beautiful and does a great job holding all of my kitchen utensils. Again it is nice to have everything accessible. All of my wooden spoons are right there at reach, whenever I need them. Just as it is good to invest in a good set of knives, you should also invest in a good set of wooden spoons. These spoons are carved from olive wood from Italy, that I hand wash only.

1127_10100913259757176_1044208321_nMy sister J, bought this tea kettle for me as one of my Christmas presents! It is by far one of my favorite things I got for Christmas! I rarely microwave anything. I boil water for hot tea. I boil water for oat meal. I am always boiling water. So instead of wasting a pot, I leave this on my stove, and only use it for water.

I will never forget my water is boiling because it whistles when it is ready. My favorite thing about this tea kettle is the color. Turquoise is my favorite color, and the accent color for the rest of my house. She found this piece at World Market!

314093_10100688154270376_747974023_nThis is my pot holder! I highly recommend you hang your pots and pans. Again this makes your pots and pans accessible, and you are freeing up a drawer or cabinet.

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So this is a photo of my kitchen! The pots and pans are hanging on the other side next to the fridge. There are still some things I need to work through, but I think this is a really good start. Because I have been enjoying my kitchen, cooking has become enjoyable. I actually have been cooking up a storm, and I have four new recipes to tell you about, a new spice to tell you to try… so keep your eyes open, I will be posting those in the next couple of days.

So that sums up my New Years Resolution for 2013… which I am only setting not because it is necessary, but because it is tradition and fun!

198580664791257349_rtdvtzuf_cQuestions for You…

  1. What is your New Years Resolution for 2013?
  2. What is your favorite space in your home?
  3. Do you have any fun storage ideas for your kitchen?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin!

I know… Thanksgiving was soo last week.

But I can’t help it, I have to share with you, this amazing pumpkin pie I made, ate, and now keep wishing I still had some left.

It is funny, how the mind works… When I was thinking about what I was going to prepare for my portion of my family’s thanksgiving dinner, I kept thinking about the Oprah show.

Back in the day, I remember watching Oprah, and this amazing pie was made on her show. So I went to her website and with a simple search of the word pumpkin, there it was… I was so thankful the recipe was still there on her site.

PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE

click here for recipe found on Oprah’s site.

INGREDIENTS – exactly the same from original recipe on Oprah’s site, except for those in bold text.

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. giner
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I used organic, or better yet make your own pumpkin puree with a real pumpkin.)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust ( I did not store buy my crust, I made mine from scratch. I will teach you how below.)
  • Whipped cream for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Now this is how we do it…

Part 1 – Pumpkin

  1. In a pan, over the stove, combine gelatin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg.
  2. Then stir in egg yolks, milk, pumpkin.
  3. Cook over heat, until bubbles and thickens.
  4. Remove from heat, chill in fridge until it is partially set, no less than 1 hour.
  5. Remove chilled pumpkin mixture and give it a stir.
and this is what your pumpkin filling should look like so far.

And this is what your pumpkin filling should look like so far.

Part 2 –¬†Whipped Cream

  1. Pour heavy cream into a bowl.
  2. Use an electrical better and whip it until whipped cream forms.
Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream

Part 3 –¬†Pumpkin Filling

  1. Use a different bowl and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.
  3. Combine both fresh whipped cream and egg whites and sugar with pumpkin.
  4. Fold ingredients together until totally combined.
  5. Pumpkin filling should be light and fluffy.
  6. Set aside.

Part 4 – Crust

In the recipe found on Oprah’s site, they used a store bought crust. I made my own. This is what I did…

  1. Take a box of graham crackers, remove two packs from the box.
  2. Crush and crumble graham crackers.
  3. Melt one stick of butter in the microwave, or over the stove. Whichever method you prefer. I quickly melted my butter in the microwave.
  4. Add graham cracker crumbs to a pie pan.
  5. Add melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs in the pie pan.
  6. Use your hands to mold the graham cracker and butter combo in shape of the pie pan. Making sure the bottom and walls of the pan are completely covered. Make your crust as thick as you want by adding more crushed up graham crackers. 

Part 5 – The Pie

  1. Pour pumpkin filling mixer into pie crust.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Top the pie off with extra whipped cream when serving. TIP: If you put the whipped cream on to soon and it ends up sitting out the whipped cream may melt. So I always  just put the whipped cream on each slice when serving.
Pumpkin Pie! Yum! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie! Yum! Enjoy!

I hope you choose to make this pie. Enjoy it during your next holiday party!

My sister and I on Thanksgiving! Finally you can see me without my running clothes on.

My sister and I on Thanksgiving! Finally you can see me without my running clothes on.

Questions for You…

  1. What is your favorite holiday food?
  2. Is it pumpkin pie?

© 2012 sweatdaily