9/26/2016

THE BEST SLOW COOKER BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP...

butternut squash soup
If we were face to face and you asked me what I was smiling about these days, I would say fall. I am SO excited that fall is here. It's my favorite season - and even if it wasn't, it would probably become my favorite because I feel like we all fried to death this summer! 

Anyway, one of my favorite things to do in the fall is curl up on the couch in a warm blanket and eat soup while watching TV. I recently found and tried a soup recipe that I'll be doing just that with this season. Butternut squash and in-season apples are two of my favorite fall vegetables. I adore them And I adore my slow cooker - like more than life - especially now that I cook ALL the time. I recently found this butternut squash soup recipe that uses all of those things and it is so good!!! It has earthiness from the butternut squash, garlic, cinnamon, and sage. It has a good amount of sweetness from the fresh Granny Smith apple, and it has a little richness from the splash of creamy coconut milk that is stirred in right at the end. It's easy to make, makes your house smell divine, and warms your soul. It's kinda perfect... :)

butternut squash soup


Prep Time: 15 minutes (YES!!)
Cook Time: 3-4 hours (using the high setting)
Gluten-Free, Vegan

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven


Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable stock 
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed (or minced if you don't have a garlic press)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, uncooked, peeled and diced (I peel mine with a y-shaped peeler and dice it with a sharp knife!)
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk

Directions
  • Add the vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, cinnamon, and salt to the slow cooker. Stir. You might feel like you need to add more stock, but you don't!! 
  • Cook on high for about 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the butternut squash is tender. 
  • Once it is done, fish out the sage. Pour in the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Taste for seasonings and add more salt or cinnamon to taste. 
  • If you want a chunkier soup (that's how I like it), use an immersion blender to blend the soup up while it's still in the slow cooker. If you want a creamier soup, transfer the soup in batches to a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Then, ladle some soup into a bowl. Drizzle a little more coconut milk on top if you prefer. Then curl up on the couch with a blanket and a bowl of this soup and enjoy. It tastes even better when you eat it that way... :)

You might also like this Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili!


Images by me
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9/19/2016

A PEEK INSIDE MY FRIDGE...

Well helllooo!! How are ya? Sorry for the silence over the last few weeks. I was taking care of a deadline at work. It's all over now, so I'm back at it! 

So one of my favorite, and perhaps not so polite things to do, is to slyly look in other people's shopping carts at the grocery store to see what they are purchasing. I also like to peek in my friend's fridges to see what they have. That is so entirely nosy I know, but I just like to see! So in case you are like me (and I know many of you are!), I thought I would give you a little peek inside my fridge. Remember that I'm still on the Autoimmune Protocol diet (I'm feeling so much better!!), so it's mostly all healthy stuff. But hopefully this is inspiring and helpful (and maybe entertaining??) no matter how you eat!

My fridge primarily consists of four things: Meat, drinks, vegetables, and fruit. So fun right?? Ha. Here are some deets on those...

Meat: I've never been big on meat - until now. It's a requirement of my diet and I honestly feel much better now that I'm eating more of it. I always have these three things:

1. Chicken: I make chicken from time to time, but most weeks I still always have an organic rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. This saves times and allows for quick meals. 

2. Ground Beef and Turkey: I always grass-fed beef or organic ground turkey for burgers, meatballs, or for simple sautéed ground beef or turkey with onions and garlic. 

3. Fish: I eat wild salmon a few nights a week, which I store in my freezer. I buy a bag of fillets from Costco, which is WAY cheaper than buying them individually from a regular grocery store. 

Drinks: The four drinks that are always in my fridge are water, almond milk, Kombucha, and sparkling water. A few details on those...


1. Water: I drink a LOT of water and I got really tired of buying bottled water. It's expensive, terrible for the environment, and the bottles were taking up too much room in my fridge. My fridge has filtered water, but I don't like the way it tastes. So I did some research and decided to buy this PUR 18-cup Water Dispenser. I LOVE it! The water in my area rates pretty good to start with, so I felt pretty comfortable drinking water from the faucet that is filtered again by the dispenser. It only takes up a small amount of room in my fridge. Most importantly, the water is so good and I'm saving so much money!! 

2. Almond Milk: I can't have dairy, so almond milk is my go-to. I have zero time to make my own, so I rely on the store for it. My favorite brand thus far is Califia Farms. I specifically love their Coconut Almondmilk. It is SO SO good! I use it in my morning smoothies and I think the addition of the coconut cream creates a creamier smoothie. It also adds a good healthy fat to the smoothie as well. You can find it at Target, Whole Foods, and most regular grocery stores. 

3. Kombucha: I always have a few bottles of GT's Lemon Kombucha in the fridge. Kombucha is a nutrient-rich, naturally fermented tea that improves gut health, mood, and mental clarity - all of which are critical for me given my autoimmune issues.  It's really carbonated and potent, so I feel like I'm getting the same effervescence that I would get if I were drinking soda. Love it.   

P.S. I can't drink alcohol right now, but I always have rosé, red, and white wine chilling for company! :)

Vegetables and herbs: Organic vegetables are everything for me, so I always have lots of them in my fridge. Here's a bit on what I have and how I store them:

1. Favorite vegetables: My vegetable drawer is always filled with celery, cucumber, carrots, and leeks. They seem to last longer when I store them in plastic produce bags. I also always have zucchini and squash (great for noodles), cauliflower for "rice," asparagus, broccoli (I typically buy these frozen), and Brussels sprouts, and sometimes beets. I use these glass storage containers to store leftovers and pre-prepped veggies. Love them... 

2. Leafy greens: Kale for juicing and sautéing, swiss chard for my morning smoothies, and arugula and romaine lettuce (seen in the first pic) for salads. I store the kale and swiss chard in large plastic resealable bags that are stuffed with paper towels. The paper towels seep up the moisture, which keeps the greens fresh and helps them last longer.  I keep the salad greens in the plastic containers they come in. I add a paper towel to the container as well to keep the greens fresh. 

3. Herbs: I always have fresh rosemary and thyme. Those are great for roasting meats and sweet potatoes. I also have basil, parsley, and cilantro to use in juices and pestos. 


Fruit: I get excited every time I open this drawer! I love the colors... I store most of my fruit in a drawer in the fridge, which helps the fruit last longer. I always have apples, oranges, lemons, limes - all of which I use for juicing and homemade salad dressings. 

That's basically it! If you want to know anything else, just ask!

Photos via my iPhone...

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8/31/2016

HOW I'M TACKLING DARK CIRCLES & DRY LIPS...

Soooo... I'm definitely at the point where I have to put just a tad more thought into my beauty regimen - which is why you have seen the topic of beauty here a bit more often. I remember the days when I would skip over the beauty section of magazines or websites because I didn't wear makeup or didn't really have an interest in skincare products outside cleansers and moisturizers. But oh how things change with age!! I still don't care for shopping for beauty products, wearing lots of makeup, or spending lots of time and money on trying different things. But my skin is aging and I'm at the point where I need to invest a little more time- when necessary - on finding good products for my skin. 

Notice I said "when necessary." My normal cleansers and moisturizers are still working great (I use the cleansers in this post and the moisturizer in this post), but I've noticed that I've needed a little more help lately when it comes to my eyes and lips. The dark circles and the fine lines are more visible - especially when I don't get enough sleep. I've also had a life-long issue with dry lips. So I took some time to find and try some new products that I want to tell you about in case you are having the same issues... :)

Even though I drink tons of water, have a really clean diet (two of the BEST beauty products in my opinion), and use an eye cream twice a day,  I noticed that the skin under my eyes would still get dry and puffy at times - especially after a few nights of less than stellar sleep. So I set out to find a better eye cream that was more hydrating, helpful with the puffiness, free of harmful ingredients, and not super expensive. I settled on this Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream by Fresh and I LOVE it! I have been using it in the morning and at night. Just a tiny bit goes a long way, so this little container should last a while. It's definitely hydrating, smells amazing (like roses!!), is cooling, has brightened the area underneath my eyes, and is helpful with the puffiness. It's also light, which makes it perfect under the new concealer that I'm using needing lately. Let's talk about concealer for a second... 

So outside of lipstick, I don't like to wear makeup - at all. But I have accepted it and only wear it for photo shoots, nights out, and special occasions. Even then, I only like to wear products that enhance my natural look. That's it. I have yet to find a magical eye cream that completely eliminates dark circles. I wear glasses on most days (seen here), which are great at concealing dark circles. But I've had to enlist a good concealer to help with the eye situation on the occasions I listed above. The concealer I was using (which was just ok), got a little old, so I wanted to try something new. Mary from the blog Memorandum recently mentioned the Lancôme Complete Coverage Concealer on her Snapchat account (probably one of my favorite Snapchat accounts). She said it was her saving grace after several nights in a row of little sleep. That's all I needed to hear. So I went to Sephora and tried it on. Peeps - this is some GOOD stuff. It's creamy, light, and has great coverage. It lasts, too! There's a certain way I apply it (or any concealer) to make it just right for me...

I apply three little dots of the concealer under each eye. I then use this foundation brush (pricey I know, but it's so good!) - and sometimes just a clean finger - to lightly and evenly apply the concealer under my eyes. Once it is set, I then apply this MAC 'Mineralize' Powder around my face and over the concealer to set it. The powder is amazing and what I prefer to use instead of foundation. I also use the concealer to conceal any blemishes I might have. It's good stuff... 

I think I've had dry lips since the day I realized that I had lips. They've always been dry. Exfoliating using them with this homemade scrub, applying a good balm under my lipstick during the day, and Vaseline at night has been lip regimen for years. Sometimes when I need a quick fix, I run my Clarisonic over my lips, which works like a charm when they are really chapped. In an effort to wean myself from Vaseline (yuck), I set out to find a good deep moisturizing balm to wear at night. I stumbled on this First Aid Lip Therapy while perusing Sephora and I must say that I got pretty lucky. I had never heard of it before I saw it in the store and my lips love it!! It has the look and feel of Vaseline minus the harmful ingredients. It also has a little hint of mint that I love. A tad bit goes a long way, too! My lips are moisturized and soft in the morning when I wake up, which is a far cry from so many other products (other than Vaseline!) I've tried over the years. Love it.



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8/24/2016

10 SIMPLE WAYS I'VE SIMPLIFIED MY LIFE...


I don't know about you, but I just feel better when things are simple. The process of living everyday life can be complicated (even more so as we age I think!), so I'm always trying to find ways that I can be at my best and relieve the pressure of trying to get everything done on a daily basis. I'm certainly not an expert on the art of simplicity, but there are some tried and true ways that have really helped me out. I thought I would share some of them with you today. Some of these may be old news, new news, common sense, or seemingly complicated given how "busy" we are these days, but either way I hope they are helpful. HoweverI must preface this post by saying that while some of these are simple in words, they require discipline in thought and in deed. But it has been so worth it!! Here's what I know for sure works for me... 

1. Implement and stick to a "One In - One Out" rule.

Keeping restraints on clutter is huge if you want a more simple life and lifestyle. I've talked about the One In - One Out rule a few times here on the blog because I swear by it. The rule is simple. When you buy one thing that goes in the house, one thing comes out of the house. This is the number one thing that keeps my house free of clutter. It keeps my closet organized (see a full post on that here), my kitchen cabinets, pantry, and fridge free of anything I don't use, and my bathroom free of any products I don't use.

And while we are on the subject of clutter...

2. I don't let snail mail make it past one room in my house.

I'm not a fan of snail mail, but I guess it's here to stay for now. So my rule is to not let it get further than one room in my house. For me, that is the kitchen because it's the first room I enter into when I get out of my car. I don't have a cute tray or basket that collects it because I think that invites clutter. Instead, I go through it within the first hour or so after getting home and shred and discard what isn't worth keeping - which is usually 90% of what I get. It takes a little discipline and time to do it sooner rather than later, but I think it's worth it.

3. Just say "no." 

Simply put - outside of what has to be done (enjoyable or not) - I don't do anything these days that I absolutely 100% don't want to do. Gosh that might sound so negative, but I don't think it is at the end of the day. Spending my free time doing things just to please other people and focusing on what others think of me drains my energy and inevitably makes the most simple tasks more complicated and the things I really enjoy doing less enjoyable. Yes, sometimes there are exceptions. That's life. But asking myself first if I really want to do something is always at the forefront of my mind these days rather than at the back - and I'm a happier person because of that.

4. Make time for downtime. 

This past Saturday morning after my workout and errand running, I came home, made lunch, put my pjs on and crawled back in bed and watched two movies on Netflix. I wasn't tired. I felt great. I had a ton of things I could have been doing. But I chose downtime instead. Do I always get to take hours out of a day to do nothing? No. Sometimes it's only 10 minutes. But I know my body and my mind appreciates times of not having to work or make any decisions. I know that because the I always feel replenished afterwards and look more forward to getting back to reality no matter what's ahead. Things get done faster and I do it with a better attitude. That = simple.

5. Automate bills.

So the older I get, the more responsibility I have and the more likely it has become that I forget to do things. Or maybe I'm just starting to forget things because I'm getting older. Either way, the less I have to remember to do, the better. Automating bills has helped me out a lot. I used to review every single bill via paper before paying it. But now I automate those bills that are around the same amounts each month (i.e. car payment, insurance, mortgage, cell phone, etc.) I still review bills that vary each month, but the majority of them are on autopay. It's so much easier...

6. Pre-schedule appointments that are recurring and try to keep them. 

This also frees up space in my brain... Any appointments that recur on a weekly, monthly, bi-annual, or annual basis are easy to remember if they are scheduled in advance and put on the calendar. For example, my bi-annual dentist appointment that I have this week was scheduled at the end of my last dentist appointment that I had six months ago. Things like my hair appointments and recurring doctors appointments are also pre-scheduled. Sure, sometimes last-minute things come up and pre-scheduled appointments have to be changed, but I try my best to work around standing appointments before changing them. A lot of my providers have apps or websites where I can pre-schedule appointments, which also keeps things simple.

7. Aim to do one household chore a day - during the week.

I don't do anything serious like window cleaning or anything like that. When I don't use my housekeeper, I might vacuum one night, complete a load of laundry another night, fold the laundry the next night while I'm watching TV, clean a toilet one night... Simple stuff like that. I might be exhausted from the day while doing it, but little things like that really don't take that much time to do. They go a long way and make time for more fun things on the weekends.

8. Consistently adhere to a bedtime routine.

Because consistently following a bedtime routine pretty much guarantees a good night of sleep. A good night of sleep makes you feel better, think better, and do better. Feeling better, thinking better, and doing better automatically makes everything more simple. Just my opinion... You can see my bedtime routine here.

9. Sleep on it. Then buy it. Or not...

Debt stresses me out - even the normal kind like a mortgage or car payment, so I live debt-free outside of those things. So if I NEED something, I have to have to have the money for it. If I don't have the money for it or feel comfortable spending that money right now, I make a plan and start saving for it. Like right now, I need a new high-quality mattress - something I believe in because I use it 8-10 hours a day. I'm saving for it. If I WANT something, I put it in my cart (if its online) and sleep on it a day or two before buying it - sometimes longer depending on what it is and how much it is. The point is that I think before I buy at all times and I live within my means.


10. If I don't know it or can't do it, then I just ask for it.  

I'm a very independent person. My mom would tell you that I was born that way. But doing everything on my own and doing it right is simply not feasible. I don't know everything. No one does. I've learned that YouTube and Google doesn't know everything either. Sometimes you just have to ask the right person for help. Doing so alleviates stress and saves so much time. I often meet new people and learn a lot by doing this, too.

Anyone else have any tried and true tips to living more simply?????

Image by me. Oprah's book, "What I Know For Sure" is here. (definitely a favorite of mine!)
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8/19/2016

ENJOY TODAY + LINKS...

The weekend is here! So excited as always. What's on your agenda?? This is my one busy month of the year at work, so I gotta work a bit in between my workout, errands, a dinner, finishing this book, and watching the last few days of the Olympics. The Olympics have been a complete obsession of mine as of late. I don't have a thing for track and field, beach volleyball, water rafting, or long-distance biking, but I've watched all of those events plus more. I just think it's incredible to see people's hard work pay off and dreams come true in real time. Fascinating. Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Good Things
The print above that bed is only $5... Such a cute shop.
My first purchase for fall... $25 well spent.
Pretty for work or a wedding I think...
A new favorite fashion blog. Simple style done so right...


Good Spaces 
A city hall wedding done so beautifully. That dress though...
She's moving again!! This is going to be good...
Ina Garten has a new apartment that's obviously lovely...
Dream closet. Just a dream...
I could sleep here every night. Could you?
And I could cook here every day...

Good To Know
I suffer from anxiety and I swear this helps...
I'm moving to Sweden. They have 6-hr workdays...
A prescription for a full day of happiness...
This girl is just amazing... Fun presentation of the article, too.


Good Food & Drinks
How pretty is this???
Now this should be interesting...
The fastest way to find your new favorite food blog...
21 things to do with those overripe bananas on your counter...
The first thing I would eat if I could suddenly have dairy. It HAS to be good... 


Image via Luminous Prints / Etsy
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8/15/2016

A FEW FAVES...




































































Peeps... I opened up Photoshop over the weekend and used it for the first time in FOREVER!! If that's not a sign that things are looking up energy-wise for me, then I don't know what is... So excited about that! Anyway, I thought I would do a little round-up of a few things that wanted to show & tell you about...

THE BACKPACK // The older I get, the more I value ease and convenience - especially when I'm traveling and running errands. Backpacks make things really easy and keeps the hands free - and I'm so glad they are sort of coming back! This classic structured leather backpack by Camelia Roma is gorgeous, made in Italy, and super reasonable in price compared to other backpacks I've seen. It's definitely been wishlisted. Everything made by Camelia Roma is gorgeous by the way...

A MOUNTAINSIDE REMODEL // The bathroom in a home remodel by Studio McGee is gorgeous!! The walls have thick 10-inch shiplap, which makes a huge statement in what looks like a small space. Love the idea... The whole remodel is definitely a must-see...

SLIP SILK PILLOWCASE // This pillowcase is definitely one of the best purchases I've made lately. I have long hair that can look atrocious in the morning without the help of wearing a silk scarf. The problem with wearing a silk scarf is that it was hard to keep it on all night. After some not-so-good experiences with cheap faux silk pillowcases, I splurged on this pillowcase and it was so worth it!! It feels amazing, stays in place, and is very cooling. I can wear my hair in a simple bun or ponytail at night and it isn't the least bit dry or frizzy in the mornings. The pillowcase also keeps the skin on my face hydrated all night. Love it...

EVERYTHING WE KEEP // I love a good suspense/relationship novel, and this book is so good!!! A sous chef, Aimee, is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart - only to find out that he vanishes days before the wedding during a fishing trip. He is pronounced dead and the funeral is held on the day of their wedding. Aimee is devastated, but goes on with her life despite the unsettling feeling she has that he isn't really gone. That might not be an original plot, but the way it's written has me hooked!! I'm halfway through this book and I am dying to find out what happened!!

WHIM 5-FREE NAIL POLISH // Did you know that nail polish can be super toxic?? It's definitely always smelled toxic to me, but it wasn't until my autoimmune diagnosis that I began to really read up on it. Most polishes are laced with hormone-disrupting ingredients like toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. I can barely pronounce all that, so I know they aren't good! I always have a pedicure, so I've been on a hunt for a good polish that is free of those ingredients. I've landed on Whim, a polish free of five of the most dangerous polish ingredients. It goes on really smooth, dries fast, and is long-lasting. I'm loving the base coat, this color and this color for fall...

BR HEELED SANDALS // So if you've gotten this far in the post, then clearly you know that I'm ready for fall! I am crazy in love with suede sandals these days (I STILL wear these almost daily!), and I'm loving this pair for fall. They would be great worn with skinny or flared jeans and a lightweight sweater or with a sheath dress. Super cute...

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8/10/2016

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE FOOD PREP TIPS...

I got my camera out and took photos of food! Can you believe it?? I can't either... I know it's been a while since food has made an appearance on the blog. It's all because food and I have been redeveloping our relationship over these last few months. My new diet has required me to eliminate lots of foods that were familiar and easy for me to make for foods that are mostly organic and freshly prepared. That's fine, but preparing food like that takes lots of planning and time! Foods like that either taste really good or really bad, can go bad fast, and can get boring. So once I find, make, and tweak recipes, I then focus on finding ways to save time on making them so that I'm not living in my kitchen! I figured I would share a few simple fruit and vegetable food prep tips today for some of my go-to quick recipes- tips I think would be helpful for anyone no matter what! I promise I will share some more in-depth recipes soon, but this post will at least give you some good basics!

SPIRALIZED VEGETABLES

I've been substituting vegetable noodles for pasta and I LOVE them!! It's true that you eat with your eyes first, so just looking at these for me makes me want to eat them. I use this spiralizer (love it!) to make cucumber, sweet potato, zucchini, squash, and carrot noodles. They look so pretty and they can be spiralized ahead of time. 

How I prep them: I typically spiralize the vegetables on Sundays and simply store them in a container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3-4 days, and cook quickly, which are huge time savers for me.  

How I cook them: I simply saute zucchini, and squash noodles to make a quick side dish or base of a "pasta" dish. I start by sauteing some onion and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. I then add the vegetables and cook them for about 5-6 minutes or until they are mostly soft, but still have a slight bite to them. If I am cooking zucchini or squash noodles, I season them with salt and pepper at the end. Seasoning them while they are cooking draws out their water, leaving you with a watery, gloopy mess once they are done. I cook sweet potato noodles the same way, except  I use coconut oil instead of olive oil. I also add a little cinnamon. So good. Raw spiralized cucumbers and carrots make great ingredients for salads...

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Roasting vegetables in the oven during the summer months may be a bit much, but the way they taste makes a hot kitchen so worth it!! Roasting them really boosts their flavor and they make the perfect easy side dish, base for quick soups, or tasty addition to salads. 

How I prep them: Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts have longer shelf lives than other vegetables, so I like to prep and wash them early in the week. I wash and cut up the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and store them in a container for up to 3-4 days. I make sure they are the same size in case I decide to roast them together. I sometimes "rice" cauliflower using a box grater. I store the rice in a large freezer bag so that I can whip up some cauliflower rice (I use this recipe) in a pinch during the week. I wash, trim, and halve brussels spouts and store them in a container in the fridge as well. 

How I cook them

Roasted Vegetables: I love mixed roasted veggies just as much as I love them roasted alone. If I roast mixed veggies, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. I add the veggies to the pan (make sure they are the same size so they cook evenly). I spread them out (so they roast instead of steam) and drizzle them with either avocado oil or olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons for a large batch) and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until they are golden and tender. 

Roasted Broccoli: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the prepared broccoli florets out on the pan and season it with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Don't forget the lemon zest!! Toss them in some olive oil, spread them back out, and roast them for about 20 minutes, or until they are kinda toasty on top. A little drizzle of fresh lemon juice is really good to add at the end, but that's optional... 


FRUIT

Fruit is the only sweet thing I can have these days, which means fruit is everything to me. I buy all kinds of it and eat it in lots of different ways! Here's some of what I do with them:

How I prep and eat it:

Bananas: I use fresh bananas in my breakfast smoothie each day and I make ice cream out of them! I simply freeze 3 or 4 whole ripe bananas (minus the skins). I then chop them up, put them in a food processor, and blend for about 5-7 minutes until really smooth. You have to scrape the mixture down a few times during the process, but what's left is soft serve banana ice cream. HEAVEN! Sometimes I'll add cinnamon, vanilla extract, or melted high-quality non-dairy dark chocolate chips. This diet always gives me major FOMO - but I don't feel that way when I eat this "ice cream." It's that good... 

Berries: Berries are at their finest and cheapest in the summers, so I take advantage of that. I will often buy them in bulk, wash them, and freeze them for my smoothies. Buying them and freezing them on your own in the summer is often cheaper than buying them in the freezer section of the grocery store. However, the frozen berries at Costco are always a good deal... 

Salad Dressings: If I have some fruit that is about to go bad, I love to make homemade salad dressing out of them! I simply put about 1/2 cup of fruit in my Vitamix with about 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice - then blend! Strawberry salad dressing is my fave. I often add fresh chopped basil to the mix when I make that. Oh and peach salad dressing is amazing, too... 

Green Juices: I make a fresh green juice about every other day. So sometimes on Sundays, I will make "juicing bags" that include all of the ingredients for one juice. My favorite green juice mix is a handful of a dark leafy green, parsley, 1 carrot, 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1 apple, and 1/2 of a peeled lemon. I chop those ingredients up, divide them into single servings (minus the greens - otherwise they get soggy), and place each serving into a plastic bag. I squeeze the juice of the lemon into the bag to keep the apple from turning brown, then toss in the flesh. Once that's done, all I have to do during the week is grab a bag from the fridge, dump the contents in my Vitamix, add the greens, add a tiny bit of water, and blend! I then strain it using this nut bag to get a smooth juice. I don't have a juicer and this method works perfectly... 


Phew!! I know this was long, but I hope it's helpful! I promise I will share actual recipes with you soon!
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8/03/2016

THE BEST BRA... EVER.


You guys... I know it's not normal for me to post a photo of some chick in her bra and underwear here on the blog, but I promise I'm doing this for a good reason. And I'm not doing it because someone paid me to do it. I'm doing this because right now I am wearing the bra you see there and I have no desire to take it off... That's a HUGE deal for me and I wanted to tell you about it.

I hate bras. Hate I said. Sometimes at the end of the day, I take it off first before I even take off my shoes. But I wasn't blessed enough to go out without wearing one, so I'm always looking for the perfect, most comfortable bra. If I'm lucky enough, it might even look remotely attractive. Well I've found one that is all three of those things!! It's the Natori 'Feathers' bra. I recently read about it on Victoria's blog, and ordered it in what I thought was the 1000th ditch effort at finding the "perfect" bra. I got it a few days ago, tried it on, and was amazed. It was light, attractive (right??), smooth, fit perfectly everywhere in my regular size, the lace isn't itchy, and it didn't create any back rolls  (you know - the back rolls that only appear when you have a bra on - ugh). I then wore it around the house (at the end of the day) because I thought that wearing it an hour or two would make me want to rip it off - like how I feel with all of the other bras I own. But I didn't think to take it off. So I'm writing to tell you about it because I know I'm not the only one who hates bras and gets super excited when a good bra comes along.

And guess what?

It's on sale (through August 7th). For a really decent price. Right here. In lots of different colors.

Go grab yourself a few.

And oh... I ordered some Natori underwear, too. I don't feel the same way about underwear that I do bras... ha. But they are now the most comfortable underwear I own. And they are on sale, too!

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