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13 Jul

Yay, it’s finally the weekend! I love that cozy place between last week’s craziness and preparation for next week. Saturdays are where the magic happens!

After a glorious 8 hour slumber, we headed out for breakfast and the farmer’s market.

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fruit/yogurt/granola parfait, scrambled egg, Companion 5-Grain toast, and coffee.

Today’s haul included eggs, beets, peaches, blackberries, green beans, sweet corn, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and summer squash.

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We also made a quick stop at the mall (before it got crazy busy) and made it home by 11a.m. Love Saturday mornings like that!

Let’s reverse– some highlights from last week…

Overnight oats with the sunrise. Blueberry/peach is my new favorite combo! I’m also loving Wallaby greek yogurt. This batch of oats is topped with toasted crushed walnuts.

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Christmas in July! French press for one with Nutcracker Sweet inbru that I found in the depths of the cabinet.

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Gracie wishing I’d made French press for two…

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Food For Life Ezekiel Flax toast, scrambled eggs, and peaches +blueberries…

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My new favorite snack: frozen banana slices with a schmear of coconut almond butter.

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Popcorn + almonds

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A few epic salads were devoured last week….

This one is a mix of greens, roasted corn/green beans/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and tofu. Baked salt & vinegar chips on the side.

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And this one is greens, a crumbled veggie burger, brown rice, cucs, tomatoes, and dolups of hummus and greek yogurt. The salt & vin chips made another appearance!

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The best dinner of the week was this Mexican bowl, hands down!

Brown rice, smashed pinto beans, sautéed summer squash and onions seasoned with chili powder/cayenne/paprika, tomatoes, greek yogurt, cilantro, and a heap of nooch! So. Good.

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Also had some fun with the spiralizer. More on that later!

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Also last week….

Mornin’ garden gazin’ (check out that bedhead, hehe)

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And a midweek Dave Matthews Band concert! Out past 8pm on a Wednesday night? Who are we??

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ve got some good stuff in the drafts folder! Thanks for reading 🙂

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French Press Iced Coffee

14 Jul

Those that knew me in a time that now feels like a past life would probably not use words like “simple” or “low-maintenance” to describe me. You see, I used to really love my “stuff”. It was the time of watching Clueless on VHS non-stop (“as if”, “whatever”, and “loser” with the accompanying hand gestures were in my day-to-day vocabulary), crying because Santa got me the wrong color of Limited Too striped pajamas, and having an older sister with the best nail polish collection ever. It didn’t stop in grade school. I spent the majority of my high school years in heels, with a designer purse on one arm and a Tiffany’s bracelet on the other. I was still the same person I am today, I had plenty of substance under my “stuff”. However, my reference point for “need vs. want” has greatly changed- particularly during the recent past. It’s been a year of changes, surprises (both wonderful and horrible), and many transitions. Welcome to adulthood, Kayli. 🙂

A few examples of how we’ve reassessed our need vs. want:

  • Most people consider Kleenex to be a “need”. Not us. Have a runny nose? Find something reusable like a towel or your sleeve. We’ve also gotten quite skilled at the “Hobo Blow” technique 😉
  • If you come over, wear as few clothes as possible. It’s hot in here- sometimes even hotter than it is outside. Good thing I like to sweat.
  • Unplug every appliance if you aren’t actively using it. And the wireless internet. And the television. If we factored in the time it takes to unplug and re-plug in everything, I’m convinced we might break even on this one, but every little bit helps right?
  • Oh, and unplugging the television is no big deal because we don’t have cable anyway, but who needs cable when everyone in the apartment is half-naked? 🙂
  • No, please don’t throw away that stale bread and random broccoli stalk. It will be re-purposed into dinner. Waste not, want not….

Things have definitely changed around here- in my opinion, for the better. Those Starbucks cups that used to be part of my everyday uniform? No longer an option. However, making and drinking coffee at home with JWD every morning has become a ritual I greatly cherish. But what’s a girl to do when it’s 95* in this city and 100* in the apartment? You know what they say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”- or in this case, iced coffee.

I am always blown away by the cost of iced coffee at coffee shops- especially when I realized just how easy it is to make!

Easy French Press Iced Coffee

Step 1: Grab your french press. If don’t have one, then get one. French pressed coffee will change your life. This is the one I have. Add coarse coffee grounds and water to the french press. I like 1/2 cup coffee grounds and 4 cups of water. This makes a strong brew. It’s easy to dilute the final product- but there’s no turning back if it’s to weak.

Step 2: Give it a little stir.

Step 3: Put the lid on, make room in the ‘fridge, and refrigerate overnight (for about 12 hours).

Step 4: After 12 hours, gently press the coffee.

Step 5: Pour over ice, add water and/or milk to adjust the strength, and enjoy. I store the extra in a jar in the refrigerator. Love having iced coffee on-hand for the week!

I like mine strong with a little almond milk.

Yesterday’s breakfast was full of jars.

I made overnight oats using steel-cut oats for the first time. They stay really chewy kind of like Grape Nuts. I added some old-fashioned oats and cereal for texture variety.

In a society driven by money, materials, and “things”, it is all too easy to lose sight of what really matters in life. We let our stuff define us. Sadly, it usually takes a life-altering turn of events to learn this. When I look back at the girl I once was and the life I once had, I don’t feel sad. In some ways, I am still that girl. However, I am grateful that the shifts in my life have touched my feet to the ground and opened my eyes to all the wonderful, incredible, priceless, “non-things” that I have. So when life gives you lemons, make iced coffee, raise your glass, and repeat after me “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.” Cheers.

Thanks for reading 🙂

My Love Affair With Coffee

6 Oct

I’ve known coffee for a long time. Our relationship has been quite the roller coaster ride.

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It all started in high school. I drank coffee because drinking coffee was “cool”. Showing up to school with a Starbucks cup in hand was so Ashley Olsen and I was all over that. Nevermind that driving all the way to Starbucks (definitely not on the way to school) always made me late for 1st hour. In college I drank coffee as a necessity. Caffeine was a must if I wanted to keep my eyes open in my 8 a.m. class after staying out too late the night before with a certain someone (ahem, JWD).

And then coffee and I had a falling out. I blame it on my new love affair with health. I read Skinny Bitch along with several other nutrition books and they all said coffee was death. poison. The drink of the devil. So I gave it up cold turkey. I can’t say that I didn’t reminisce from time to time about sitting in a little coffee shop and sipping a latte while I studied. The holidays were the hardest of course. I had to turn the other way when I passed Starbucks because I couldn’t bare the sight of those festive red holiday cups filled with gingerbread and eggnog lattes.

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My heart was broken, but I pressed on. Not long ago I decided to change my major from business (the land of coffee necessity) to nutrition. I arrived at the nutrition department in the fall of ’09 pure, detoxed, and coffee free only to face major shock. Everyone in the program drank coffee. Everyone. All of my svelte nutrition teachers happily sipped their java while lecturing in morning classes. All of my nutrition savvy classmates toted their daily dose of caffeine in cute reusable mugs. I began to reconsider the decision to banish the black “poison” from my life…

This brings me to my current relationship with coffee. It is a happy and healthy one, I must say. No longer do I drink it to look cool, no longer do I rely on it to function. In fact, I usually enjoy my one-cup-a-day in the privacy of my own kitchen. I love coffee because I love the experience of coffee. I love waking up and smelling it brewing. I love the comfort that holding the warm mug brings. I love the smooth, rich flavor. And, I’ll admit it, I love the little pep in my step that it gives me.

So What’s The Deal With Coffee?

We’ve all heard the controversy over coffee’s relationship to health. So is it good or bad? Well, it’s a little of both. (nothing is ever black and white)

Benefits

Coffee is chock-full of antioxidants (antioxidants prevent free-radicals from causing tissue damage), but it is unclear if the antioxidants actually end up absorbing into the body after consuming coffee.

Although the jury is still out on most of these claims, a growing number of studies are supporting that coffee may…

  • help prevent type 2 diabetes
  • decrease heart rhythm disturbances, a risk of for heart attack and stroke
  • lower risk of Parkinson’s
  • lower risk of Alzheimer’s

Drawbacks

Unless you drink decaf, coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine has it’s own set of side-effects including…

  • anxiety
  • sleep disruption/insomnia
  • irritability
  • raises blood pressure
  • dehydration (coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to go to the bathroom more frequently leading to dehydration)

The acidic nature of coffee can cause or irritate existing heartburn.

Coffee is basically a zero-calorie drink… until you dress it up. All the little coffee “extras” can really add up- and add to your waistline. Creamers, sugar, and syrups can make coffee a (calorically) expensive indulgence.

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Bottom Line

Coffee has yet to be classified as either a “junk food” or a “health food”, but the latest research seems to be leaning in favor of us java drinkers with more and more studies showing a connection between coffee and lower disease risk. Just beware of coffee calorie traps that are full of fat and sugar. A Starbucks grande Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream will cost you 540 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 76 grams of sugar!!! Ask for sugar-free syrups and soy or fat-free milk whenever possible. And if you can live without the whipped cream, do it. Avoid the calorie (and money!!) pit altogether by brewing your own coffee concoction at home. Here’s one I’m going to try this week:

the health nut’s homemade pumpkin spice latte

How do you like your coffee? I drink mine black because I’m hardcore like that. I really love flavored french press coffee and lately I’ve been hooked on Park Avenue Coffee Pumpkin Spice and Kaldi’s Cinnamon Hazelnut. Flavored coffees are a great way to add a little sparkle without adding calories. I love collecting different coffee cups and travel mugs too.

Stay tuned for a healthified comfort food post this weekend!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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