Mint Chip Smoothie

In middle school, I gave myself a facial treatment I read about it in a magazine by  rubbing a caffeinated bag of tea on my face for 5 minutes. Interestingly (and horrifyingly), my skin turned out to be sensitive to the type of tea I had chosen. Instead of having a cooling and soothing effect, I was left with a red-hot face and extraordinarily puffy eyelids for 24 hours.  It was cute.

I bought sunless tanning lotion the day I heard it existed, and promptly turned my legs, abdomen, chest, and arms a nice shade of carrot orange.  My knees, elbows, and hands were neon. I’ve heard that self-tanners have since improved, but I’m still scarred from my first experience

I got a perm in 5th grade. It lasted about 1 day. My hair prefers to be stick-straight.

I once drank water with lemon, cayenne pepper, and a splash of honey for a day to ‘cleanse myself of toxins.’ I’m not sure if the toxins ever left me, but I do remember the excessive urination and feelings of extreme hunger.

Most recently, I’ve decided to switch to non-toxic products. So far, I found a mascara made of all-natural ingredients that burns my eyes when I apply it, a sunscreen that doesn’t absorb into the skin, but creates a white coating of what appears to be oily latex paint when applied,  and created a streaky mess while trying to clean my bathroom mirror with a windex-alternative. The good news is that my mirror is so cloudy I can’t see to apply that mascara that was really burning my eyes. So far, this toxin-free living is going well.

I could keep going and going, but I think you catch my drift. People do crazy things for beauty.

If you haven’t read “The Sun and Her Flowers,” you should.  It’s a collection of poetry by Rami Kaur.

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I’d love to tell you that these words resonated so deeply that I immediately vowed to never again be negative about my physique or try a weird DIY in the name of beauty, but I’m human and that’s not realistic. It’d be nice if once a month, we could all just wake up and feel completely content with ourselves.

It seems fitting I’d post something slightly healthy, but mostly delicious after typing about weird water diets and failed facials. I’m not really sure if this smoothie can change your life in any way, but it’s tasty, contains an optional sprinkling of algae (which I assume is good for you in some way), and is a very delightful shade of green … and that all counts for something.

 

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Mint Chip Smoothie
Source: Superfood Smoothies Cookbook 
Printable Recipe

1C dairy free milk (almond, rice, or soy)
1C baby spinach
1 frozen banana
1/2C raw coconut water
1/8C raw walnuts
1 1/2T cacao nibs
1T fresh mint leaves, minced
optional: sweetener to taste, 1/4tsp chlorella powder

Add items into blender.
Blend until smooth.
Enjoy!

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Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went ahead and had another birthday.

31.

I refuse to allow myself to feel old, but there was something about 31 that felt distinctly older than 30.

On my birthday, I started jotting down a list of things I wanted to accomplish over the next year. Climbing mount Everest wasn’t mentioned. It didn’t take me long to have a lengthy list of vague goals that included eating better, drinking more water, getting more hours of sleep each night, exercising with more frequency/intensity, shopping less, limiting phone time, etc, etc.

I threw the list in the garbage shortly after creating it.

I like a good goal, but I think maybe age 31 should be the year I stop worrying so much about goals. Maybe I run because I want to run. I eat more veggies because I like veggies. I drink more water because drinking more water makes me feel better.

Ya know?

Goals are good, but just living life with intention is even better.

These cookies are delicious, and eating 6 of them quite literally provided the exact nutrition needed to power me through the end of a very exhausting overnight shift. A part of me really wanted to tell you that eating 3 of them had helped, but I ate 6… maybe 7.  I’ve seen and tried healthy cookies that boast quality ingredients like egg whites, applesauce bananas, oats, and chia seeds. Don’t get me wrong. They can be very tasty, but real cookies with sugar, chocolate, butter and flour are on another level. These are quite simply the perfect (and decidedly not healthy) cookie.

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Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Genius Kitchen
Printable Recipe 

2 + 2T sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2C sugar
1/2C brown sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2C flour
3/4C cocoa powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
2C chips (peanut butter, semisweet, or white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Combined dry and wet ingredients.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet lined in parchment.
Bake for 9 minutes, until set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Brussels Sprout and Leek Pizza

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I recently saw a show on food network where Bobby Flay claimed that “Brussels sprouts have had the greatest comeback story of any other vegetable in this century.”

I laughed.
Out loud.  (= LOL for those in the know)
On the treadmill.

But honestly, I think it’s true. I don’t remember a time in my childhood where my mother offered us Brussels sprouts. I don’t recall seeing them grace menus at restaurants ever … at least not at the rate they currently seem to be present. I actually don’t really recollect ever seeing them at grocery stores, although I’m sure they were somewhere in the corner of the grocery store if you really needed them.

Now?

EVERYWHERE. They are everywhere. In fact, I just purchased a kitchen towel that says, ‘Everyday I’m brusellin.”

Brussels sprouts are all the rage.

I currently consume Brussels sprouts at an alarming rate. I sauté them, roast them, and grill them. I slice them thin and eat them raw. Have you added bacon or balsamic or miso or sriracha or anything to them?  You can place them on salads, flat breads, sandwiches, and even on pizza.

PIZZA.

I have yet to try dessert sprouts, but I’m sure that is coming soon.

Cheers to the come-back veggie of our century, and to the resultant chocolate Brussels sprouts cookies I will soon be making.

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Brussels Sprout, Leek, and Gouda Pizza
Source: Everyday Annie
Printable Recipe 

Pizza dough for 1 pizza
8-10 brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2tsp olive oil
salt, pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
1tsp lemon juice
3oz shredded, smoked gouda
3oz shredded mozzarella
1/2C thinly sliced white/light green leek
1/2tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 500. (preheat pizza stone if using)
Roll out dough to 12-14″ round shape.
Brush with olive oil. Top with gouda and mozzarella.
In a small bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Top with Brussels sprouts and leeks. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Transfer to preheated oven.
Bake until cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Enjoy!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Broccoli is a word I still struggle to spell. I always feel as though it should maybe have one less ‘c’ or perhaps another ‘l.’

I took second place in the 3rd grade spelling bee. I feel confident that the winner probably could spell broccoli. I bet she could even spell broccolini.

Words are weird that way.

I am in fact a genius but I can’t spell the word to save my life.

Speaking of saving lives, if a patient with exzema is hemorrhaging I will most certainly need to simply declare that the patient with the rash is bleeding heavily.

I definitely still can’t spell definitely. I’d tell you that not being able to spell definitely at the age of 30 is ridiculous… but alas, I can’t spell ridiculous.

While the age of smart phones, dictation devices, smart texting, and autocorrections have certainly saved me more than a time or two, I can’t help but wonder if I’d be better off if I had to learn to spell these words instead of relying on technology to save me.

I’d love to end this post by telling you that I won the spelling the bee in 6th grade, but that’s not true. I wish I could tell you that I made flash cards of the aforementioned words and plan to study them nightly. I’m simply going to tell you to make this soup. It contains a green vegetable that has a stalk, a crown, and can be cut into florets.

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Creamy Broccoli Soup
Source: Everyday Annie
Printable Recipe

2T butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2tsp red pepper flakes
1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets
4C veggie broth
1/2tsp salt
ground pepper
parmesan rind (optional)
1/2C low fat greek yogurt
optional: 2C baby spinach

In a large pot, melt the butter.
Add chopped onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Saute until the onion is clear and softened, about 5 minutes.
Add broccoli.
Stir in veggie broth and parmesan rind (if using).
Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. If using spinach, add this in after about 9 minutes or just before the broccoli is done.
Remove from heat.
Blend soup in food processor, blender, or using an immersion blender.
Stir in greek yogurt.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Enjoy!

Sheet Pan Tofu

Sometimes, I really want to cook something complicated. The type of recipe where I’ve managed to dirty every dish in the kitchen, dump a 1/4c of spelt flour on the floor, made at least 2 trips to the local speciality grocery store, and spent no less than 3 hours in the kitchen in order to produce a relatively small quantity of food.

However, there are those times in which I really just want to eat chips out of bag… or order delivery pizza… or maybe just pretend dinner doesn’t have to be consumed at all. Lazy dinner days happen to the best of us. There is nothing (NOTHING) wrong with the occasional chipotle excursion, but meals like this one are nice to have on hand.

Minimal ingredients.
Simple steps.
Quick.

Sheet pan meals are my new jam, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.

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Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
Source: The Kitchn 
Printable Recipe 

12oz extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
2T reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
3 cloves garlic, minced
1T honey
1T fresh grated ginger
1tsp sesame oil
1lb green beans
1/4tsp red pepper flakes
kosher salt
black pepper
1 scallion, sliced thinly
sesame seeds (for topping)

Preheat oven to 400.
Coat a baking sheet with no-stick spray or lightly oil.
Whisk together soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, and sesame oil. Set aside.
Cut tofu into triangles and place in a single layer on one side of tray.
Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Drizzle mixture over the tofu pieces and flip each piece.
Add green beans that have been trimmed to the opposite side of the baking sheet in a single layer.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt.
Return to the oven. Bake until tofu is golden brown, about 10-12 more minuets.
Remove and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.
Enjoy!

60.

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My mom is really good at seeing the value in others. She always tells me how so-and-so is incredibly smart, her friend xxxx is so athletic, or aunt such-and-such is impressively thoughtful.  It doesn’t matter who you are. If my mom has met you, she has most certainly told me something incredibly nice about you.  She claims that even the most horrible person on earth might have nice feet. If you ever meet her, I hope she doesn’t ask to take a look at your feet.

Today is my mom’s birthday.

She has nice feet.

I’m kidding.

But, I think understanding that everyone has value is a beautiful life lesson, and I feel lucky it’s one that my mom has always emphasized.

She is a really good listener. I’ve called her late at night on more than one occasion (read: all the time), and she always is willing to listen. I should clarify that late at night in my mom’s world is 9pm, but she’ll always stay up VERY late (i.e. 10pm) if I need to talk. If you ever meet my mom, she will listen to you too.

My mom is outstanding at seeing the humor in all situations.  It’s one of my favorite qualities about her. She always tells us that we need to be able to laugh at ourselves.  She often tells of the time she was so overtired from a combination of night shifts and raising 4 children that she wore slippers to the grocery store. She got the grocery shopping done and that’s the important part of the story.

My mom is a hodgepodge of the best adjectives. She’s very driven, hardworking, thoughtful, and smart. She’s a talented artist, an impossibly fast walker despite her short legs, a compassionate individual always willing to give of her time to anyone in need, and truly my dearest friend.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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Coconut Lime Shortbread Cookies
Printable Recipe

1/2C shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
1/2C sugar
2T lime zest, (about 3 limes)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2C flour
1C butter, cold and cut into cubes
2C powdered sugar
1tsp lime zest
1T lime juice
2T water

Preheat oven to 325.
Pulse coconut, sugar, lime zest, vanilla, and flour in a food processor.
Add in butter and pulse until just combined. Dough should be crumbly and dry in appearance.
Transfer to bowl. Knead slightly. You may need to add a bit of water if the dough fails to come together.
Divide dough and roll out portions on lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick.
Cut with cookie cutter of choice.
Transfer to lined baking sheets and bake for 15-16 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cooling rack.
While cookies are cooling, whisk powdered sugar, zest and lime juice. Add a tablespoon or two of water to achieve a thin glaze.
Frost each cookie using a spoon or simply drizzle with the glaze.
Enjoy!

PB Granola

I scoffed at the amount of sugar listed on the granola available at my local grocery store. I can do better I thought.

I went home, googled a few recipes, and set out to make my own.

I found a great-sounding recipe that was nearly devoid of sugar, but I quickly found myself adding honey to sweeten the concoction.

When I finished, I added chocolate chips.

This recipe represents that time I set out to make healthier granola. This recipe also represents that time I didn’t success in making healthier granola. This recipe does represent a very delicious granola.

It’s called moderation, people. Moderation.

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Peanut Butter Granola
Source: Inspired by Eat, Live, Run
Printable Recipe

3C old-fashioned oats
1/2C peanuts (or nut of choice)
1/4C flax (optional)
1/3C smooth peanut butter (sugar free)
1/4C honey
3T melted coconut oil (or canola oil)
1tsp vanilla
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/3C dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300. Line baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine oats, peanuts, and flax seed. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Heat for 20-30 seconds and stir to combine.
Pour mixture over the oats. Stir.
Spread mixture onto lined baking sheet.
Bake for ~30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking and avoid burning the mixture.
Remove and allow to cool.
Once cool, add chocolate chips.
Enjoy!