Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blood Orange & Rosemary Foot Soak

Good Morning, All!

Before I get started here, would you do me a favor?  Go ahead and sign up to receive email updates (on the right side bar) or subscribe to me in your Google Reader.  "Why?" you ask.  Well, I guess they are going to take Google Friend Connect away and I don't want you to miss anything.
I promise, I have lots of exciting stuff coming up ;)

Ok, on to the post:

Are you a foot soaker?
I think you should be.
Soaking your feet is super relaxing and makes your tootsies nice and soft (and fragrant, too).

In continuation of blood orange week, I thought I'd show you how to make a quick foot soak.

Ok, you only need 3 things.  And you don't even have to go to the craft store to get them.  Some of you might already have this stuff laying around the house.

1. Coarse sea salt
2. Blood orange zest (grapefruit zest would be great here, too)
3. Fresh rosemary sprigs

We have rosemary in our garden and it's awesome.  I usually make bread or soup with it.  But I thought I'd try something new this week.

When I went out there to clip some for this foot soak, I noticed that it has grown some pretty, violet flowers on it.  Who knew?

Anyways, you throw some of the rosemary in whatever container you have laying around.  I used little mason jars.  You could even use a Ziploc or tupperware.  Nobody has to know.  Unless you are giving it as a gift.  Then put it in a cute little jar.

Zest your blood orange with a microplane zester or a fine grater.  Then in a small bowl, combine the sea salt and zest until incorporated.  Pour it in the container with the rosemary and let it all sit together for a while.
*note-for the small mason jar, I used about 2 tsp of orange zest
A couple hours later, after you have been on your feet all day, dissolve about 2 tablespoons of foot soak in some hot water and enjoy your spa like experience.
I wouldn't recommend this as bath salts, though, because there is zest and rosemary floating around in there. I even threw an extra sprig of the rosemary in the water for extra oomph.
Aaaah.  So soothing.

Oh, make an extra jar for a friend.  They will love it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blood Orange Pancakes

It's official.  I have a new obsession.
And it is the blood orange.
So awesome~like a grapefruit and an orange hybrid.  
And I love the pretty colors you get when you cut into it.
So, in honor of this magnificent fruit popping up in stores this season, I am dedicating the entire week to blood oranges. 
Naturally, breakfast comes first in this scenario.
Namely, pancakes.
Blood Orange Pancakes

(Your favorite pancake recipe/mix + the juice of one blood orange and a tsp of zest)

Here's my recipe for 1 generous serving:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp butter (or butter substitute)
1/2 cup yogurt (Chobani blood orange yogurt would be cool, but I used plain)
1/4 cup milk (I used almond)
1/2 of a beaten egg
the juice of 1 blood orange (about 2-3 tbsp)
1 tsp of blood orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 splenda packet (optional-to cut the tartness)

Mix flour, salt, baking powder in a small bowl.  In another bowl, melt the butter for about 15 seconds in the microwave, then add the yogurt, milk, egg, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla & splenda.  Then incorporate the dry ingredients and combine.
Using a ladle or 1/3 cup measuring cup, spoon the pancake mix into a pan or on a griddle.  Flip when the edges start to bubble.
Top with toasted coconut and syrup.

For more pancake recipes, try my oatmeal protein pancakes or my yogurt short stack.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

If you have ever done Weight Watchers, you know all about some taco soup.  This is kind of like that.

The flavor is similar, but not all the ingredients are the same.

If you are looking for a hearty, healthy, protein packed bowl of yum~you must make this now.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
serves 6-8

1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can pinto beans
1 15 oz can corn (or use frozen corn)
4 stalks celery,chopped
1/2 bag of baby carrots, chopped (or use 3 regular carrots)
1/2 onion, diced
bell pepper diced (I used yellow)
tiny can of tomato sauce
1/4-1/2 cup salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
3-4 frozen chicken breasts
about a can of chicken broth (enough to cover everything)

Toss all of this in your crockpot (don't drain the cans) and cook on low for 8 hours.  Shred the chicken with some forks.  Serve with whatever garnish you want.  I used fat free sour cream and low fat cheese.

To make this quicker, you could use a frozen pepper and onion blend and a frozen soup blend instead of chopping stuff.
Recipe adapted from: Family Fresh Meals

Friday, February 24, 2012

Secret Ingredient Cookies

Well, it is clearly not a secret anymore.  The secret is out.  These cookies are packed full of these:
I made these cookies with no plan to share them on the blog.  Shame on me!

But they were so dang good, I had to post these for all to see.

The texture of these cookies is perfection.  I have no other words.

Secret Ingredient Cookies
Makes about 12 cookies (double if you want more)

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter Cheerios
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together butter & sugars, then add egg and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients separately, then mix it all together.  Add in the cereal and chocolate chips last.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Seriously, if you are going to splurge on a cookie (or two), this is worth it!

recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

D.I.Y. Coffee Bean Necklace

Oooh, I love coffee.  
Let me count the ways.
 I'm so excited about this craft that I'm posting a gross pre-workout pic of me on the Internet.

Don't judge.  I'm just displaying my love of coffee.

So I asked my favorite local barista for a couple coffee beans for a craft.  She gave me a little cup of beans for free!  But then I bought a 5 dollar latte.  Sigh.

Well instead of drinking the essence of the coffee beans, I decided to make my own coffee bean necklace based on this inspiration (which is totally $40).

coffee bean necklace

Here's your supplies to make your own necklace:

  • Coffee beans
  • Jewelry findings (little rings for pendants~found at Walmart for $2)
  • Super glue
  • Spray paint (I used brushed nickel paint & clear glaze)
  • Necklace chain ( I used one I already had)

Step 1:  Clean your coffee beans with a damp cloth.  I did not do this and the waxy coffee bean resisted the spray paint, and I had to paint several coats.
Step 2:  Super glue the rings on the beans.

Not like this!  I realized after I glued them that the rings need to be turned sideways so the coffee bean will face forward when on a chain.  Head slap!
I had my two best craft helpers observing my every move.

Step 3: Spray paint the coffee beans and let them dry (again, note the WRONG direction of the finding rings), then put one on a chain.

This is after just one coat of spray paint.  See the resistance. 
How cute is this?  I love it :)
It's my new favorite necklace!
Forgive my wet hair.
There, that's better.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake

Ok, so I never got the whole protein shake thing until I started making them.

I get it now.

They are like really awesome milkshakes that help you get healthy and stuff.

Love them.

Need them.

No, seriously, I only do a protein shake only once or twice a week.  You don't want it to be your main source of protein.  I get my protein from lean meat, beans and legumes mostly.

But this is an awesome treat & you should totally try it.

Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake

  • 1 frozen banana (note- peel your bananas before you freeze them)
  • 3/4 -1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk)
  • 3 Tablespoons old fashioned oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (this is my protein powder of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. 

Recipe from Eating Bird Food

Or if you just have to have a cookie, try this giant oatmeal cookie or this skinny cookie pie.

Oh, by the way, just found this awesome website where you can customize a print with you & your sweetie's initials:
Here's mine!  Here's the link: The Wedding Chicks.  I am totally printing ours out & framing it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let's Talk About Snacks, Baby

Sorry, I couldn't resist a little Salt & Peppa reference today :)

I love love love snacks!  I usually eat at least 2 snacks a day.

Here are some of my current faves that are super quick and easy.

1. Nuts
Nuts are so healthy and filling, but it is easy to over snack on them when eating them straight from the can.  That's why these packs are my current favorite snack:
Planters NUT-rition, Snack Packs, Heart Healthy MIx

I love the convenience and portion control of these mixed nut packs.  The heart healthy mix is my favorite, because it has pistachios!  I also like the energy mix (found at Target) packs.

2. Fruit
Fruit is super satisfying, because it is sweet and juicy (most of the time).  Right now I am loving cuties!

They are so much easier to peel than regular oranges and they are so awesomely delicious.  I throw 2 in my lunch bag for a morning snack most days.  I also enjoy apples, bananas, strawberries and pears.

3. Wasa Crackers
Wasa's are the perfect vehicle for so many snack-y combinations.  They even have a whole recipe section on their website.
Light Rye

My favorite way to eat these crackers are with a smear of Justin's Almond Butter or Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese Wedge.  

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Giant (sort of healthy) Peanut Butter, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookie

 I've been really itching to bake lately.

Well, really I've been itching to eat baked goods, if we are being honest.

And I think we are.

Anyways, I have not been baking lately for two major reasons.  One, I have been on a healthy kick and two, I have been out of butter and eggs.

So when I was at Target this week, I actually remembered to get butter.

But I forgot eggs.

And this recipe only uses one tablespoon of butter.

Where am I going with this?

Well, let's just get down to brass tacks, shall we?

Giant (sort of healthy) Peanut Butter, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookie
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 2 tbsp water (or just use 2 tbsp of a beaten egg)
5 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats (I used old fashioned, but quick outs would be good, too)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all this together & form dough on a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet.  You can either form 4-6 little cookies and bake for 10 min or form a giant cookie and bake for 15.  Your call.  Bake in a 350 degree oven.

Makes 4 servings.  This cookie is chewy and hearty.  It would actually be a feat of tummy strength to eat the whole thing.
Intrigued by giant cookies?
Check out my Sock Monkey Cookie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Hi, all.  Hope everyone had a great V-day yesterday.

I thought I'd share some books with you today.

Because as we all know...

It's true.

Here's what I just read:

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Ok, I clearly love me some Elin Hilderbrand.  Her novels are really well written and they are hard to put down.  This one was no exception.  There is this private island where the Tate family inherited the house, but  have not been there for over a decade.  When a bunch of stressful situations come up for the family, the 2 sisters, mother and aunt all decide to go to the island for a month.  I like how it is written from each of their perspectives and how it flashes back to what brought them all there in the first place.

What I'm reading now:

Thin is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel

I stumbled upon this book while looking for another Frankel novel (It's Hard Not To Hate You), but this was the only one of her books checked into the library.  I'm glad I got it, because it is freaking hilarious.  It is a memoir about Frankel's lifelong struggle with her weight.  She's a comedy writer, so of course she puts a spin on it.  I think it is definitely something that alot of women can identify with and laugh about.

What's up next:

Groundswell by Katie Lee

I found the recommendation for this book on Jen Lancaster's blog, so I knew it had to be worth reading.  From what I gather it is about a famous lady who catches her also famous husband cheating and has to escape the paparazzi.  So naturally she goes to some island paradise and adventure ensues.  The book is actually really small (240 pages), so it should be a quick read.

I'd love to hear what everyone else is reading.  Feel free to share in the comments ;)

Have a great day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Last Minute Valentine's Day Shirt

Whew!  Is anyone kind of not ready for V-day to be here?

I'm not.  I just have so many heart related crafts swimming around in my head and not enough time to do them all!

Well, I had to squeeze one more shirt in before heart day gets here.

If you are at a loss for what to wear to be festive tomorrow, make this shirt real quick.  You'll look adorable!

What you'll need:
Blue & red fabric paint
Painters' tape (or masking tape)
X-acto knife & cutting board (unless you have skinny tape)
Small piece of freezer paper
Paint brushes
Cardboard (or something to put in the middle of your tee)

Here's the paint I used:

So, if you have fat tape, like mine, you can cut it in half on your cutting board with an X-acto knife.

This is before I cut it.  I followed the lines (you can barely see them through the tape)

Then lay 3 pieces of your tape where you want to start on the shirt & take off the middle piece.  This will give you more accurate spacing.  Repeat until you have enough stripes.

Paint in between the tape lines.  I had just enough paint from this little bottle.  So if you are making more than one shirt, buy more than one bottle.

The bottle says you should wait 4 hours for it to dry.  Um, that is not happening.  I am like the world's most impatient crafter.  That tape came off in 30 minutes!

Then cut a heart in your piece of freezer paper (free hand it or use a template). 
Freezer paper looks like this (in case you've never bought it) & can be found on the Ziploc aisle at the grocery store.
Reynolds® Freezer Paper
Iron it down & paint your red heart.
Note: If you don't want the stripes to show through, lay a heart down before you paint your stripes.
Yay!  All done :)

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!