Happy (early) Farmers Market Week!

So, National Farmers Market Week is August 6-13. I went today…

I love the farmers market! I’m not going to say too much today. I’ll just share a few pictures from the market today. The one in my town is set up every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Even though it was quite overcast this morning, it was still a nice day to go! Yippie!

Roots and Peppers
Roots & Peppers!
Veggie Basket
I am looking for giant tomatoes, thank you…
Perfect Tomato
Found them!
Eggplant
Eggplant & Zucchini – My dietary staples…
Honey Soap
I like the local non-food items as well…
Honey Sticks Sale
…and I love honey sticks! These are some yum flavors too!
Haul
My haul…Radishes, plums, giant tomato, purple basil and donut peaches…
Honey Sticks
I got a few of the honey sticks too…I don’t remember the flavors. I just know that one is root beer and one is pina colada!

I’m going to post the recipes I come up with, using today’s finds. I have one planned for tonight! Stay tuned…

 

Thirsty Thursday – Summertime!

I have made some awesome beverages since the summer started. They hardly get any love on Instagram, even though the photos are gorge and they taste delish (yes, so good I have to use the shortened words)! So here they are, in their beautiful, refreshing glory…

We’ll start with Beet-Ginger Lemonade

Beet Ginger Lemonade
This is not a petri dish…

This screenshot was taken from a short video demonstrating how awesome my frother is (I LOVE MY FROTHER!)!

I make the beet ginger lemonade in 16 oz mason jars. The ingredients below are for one mason jar:

  • 1 teaspoon of ginger (I like lots of ginger! You can use less, more…)
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (a scant 1/4 cup, not over & I’ll show what I use below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of beet powder
  • Enough water so the jar is almost full
  • Several drops of liquid stevia (to taste, you have to find your perfect dropper amount) AND…the secret ingredient…
  • The juice from half an orange!

Just blend this all up until it looks pink and lovely! The orange adds more sweetness and goes so well with the beet flavor. I might have Beet Orangeade coming up soon!

Now, on to the trendy recipe – Mermaid Lemonade!

Mermaid Lemonade
Okay, don’t let the sea monkey-looking stuff on top scare you. It’s just algae…whoops…

See, remember how I said that I don’t really keep up with food trends? Well, here is another exception to that rule. Spirulina. I actually like it. Not only is it good for detoxing your body (or making it feel detoxed), loaded with vitamins – it makes things pretty. And that’s the most important thing.

Again, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 1/4 cup of the lemon juice I’ll show you below
  • Several drops of liquid stevia
  • 1/3 teaspoon of spirulina powder
  • Water until jar is almost full

Mix with your frother(!) or you can put the top on and shake for more fun!

Okay, now for something exotic…

Prickly Pear Lemonade

Prickly Pear Lemonade

 

You know how you have that sense memory, and if you smell or taste something it just takes you back? That’s what happened when I made this. It reminds me of a brunch I had at Citrus in NYC several years ago. I had Crab Cakes Benedict (eggs, hard poached. Yes, I’m that dweeb) and Prickly Pear Lemonade. It was my first time tasting prickly pear and I was a little nervous. Why? Because I have so many odd allergies, duh (dweeb). But it was delicious! And I wasn’t allergic! So, I had the brunch and then I saw Shel’s Shorts – 14 Short Plays by Shel Silverstein – it was a nice Sunday!

Anyway…I was at my local fruit stand and I saw a tiny basket of these magenta fruits and I had to buy one and try to make that lemonade I had all those years ago (well, only like 9 years ago, but whatever)…

First, break down the pear:

  • 1 prickly pear
  • 16 oz water

Blend in your blender (Nutribullet, Ninja, Vitamix, whatever) until smoothish. Use a fine mesh strainer to add the mix to:

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (it’s coming, I swear!)
  • Several drops of liquid stevia
  • Water to fill the jar

Put on the lid and shake, or mix with your frother!

I can’t really describe the flavor. Okay, maybe like a deeper watermelon. Like a watermelon with depth. You know what I mean. Heartier! Yes! A heartier watermelon. Phew!

So, now that I’ve finished up the lemonade section I can finally show the juice I use…

Lemon Base
The “secret” lemon juice…

Ta-da! That’s it! Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lemon Juice! I’m sure you have some already, I was just being dramatic. I use this in everything! I’ll buy bottles of unsweetened tea, add this and stevia and bam! It tastes like something I’d actually want to drink!

Speaking of iced tea…

Here’s some Goji Berry Green Tea for ya!

Goji Green Tea
Goji Green Tea! That’s all I got…

So, to me, goji berries taste similar to craisins (that was easy), and they have some great health benefits, such as antioxidants, which make it known as a superfood. I added it to another superfood, green tea, and it tastes great! I am a fan of this one…

For 3, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 3 mason jarfuls of water
  • 9 green tea bags (they don’t have to be special, unless you want them to be…)
  • The juice of three limes
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of goji berries
  • Liquid stevia drops, to taste

I like to put a heaping tablespoon of the goji berries in each of the jars first. Then juice each of the limes in each jar. While the juice and the berries sit in the jar, I bring water to near boil in a saucepan (I’m fancy) and add the tea bags. Let them steep, but not for too long because green tea gets bitter quickly. I remove the tea bags and pour the green tea over the goji-lime mix. After all of that I add the stevia drops…

Then, into the fridge and a few hours later…beautiful, tasty tea!

Speaking of beautiful tea…I’ll end this post with my favorite tea and favorite beverage picture…

Grapefruit Green Tea

Grapefruit Green Tea

This is my favorite! I love grapefruit! I am a fan of tartness and this is just so perfectly tart and sweet! Yum!

For 3, 16 oz mason jar servings:

  • 3 mason jarfuls of water
  • 9 green tea bags (whatever brand…)
  • The juice of three ruby red grapefruits
  • Liquid stevia drops, to taste

It’s so simple, too. I mean, just juice and strain the grapefruits right into each jar and make the tea, like I painstakingly explained in the last recipe, and combine! Add your stevia in the end and, yay! Delicious…

Actually, with all of these recipes, you might think you added enough stevia but once you taste them a day or two later, you will want to add a few more drops. That’s just what I’ve found.

Yay! So, make these drinks before summer ends! I can’t believe it’s August already! Next week, where I in the Hudson Valley, it’s supposed to be rainy and in the mid-70s! Wow! Actually, if it wasn’t raining I’d be really happy about the temperature drop (I hate the heat)…

 

Birthday Breakfast!

Today is my Solar Return day! Yay! To celebrate I decided to make a cheat-y breakfast. Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes! Peanut butter is my most favorite sweet thing in the world so I had to get it in somewhere today. These aren’t that bad for me either – not a real “fall-off-the-lifestyle-change-wagon” treat. Once you see the ingredients, you’ll know that it only looks and tastes unhealthy…

Pancake Ingredients
I feel pretty good about this!

See? Not bad, not bad at all…

PB Cup
Nom…

Okay, maybe the Justin’s Peanut Butter Cup. I only used one though!

I made the Kodiak Cakes batter according to the directions and added about two tablespoons of the Crazy Richard’s Pure PB Plus.

Once I got the mix in the pan I topped it with some of the chopped peanut butter cup…

In the Pan
I added more than this!

I only made two pancakes…and I forgot to take a picture until I was 2/3 done!

Pancakes - Eaten
#SorryNotSorry

It was worth every carb and calorie! Happy Birthday to me!

Zucchini Roses!

I saw something like this on “Tasty” or one of those random food videos on Facebook. The other recipe had carrots (blech), which made for a more colorful garden, but I think that yellow and green squash worked just fine. It also had a crust, but I am low-carbin’ it so no crust for me!

I started by making ribbons of the squash using my veggie peeler…

Zucchini Ribbons
The vegetable peeler makes great ribbons…

This time making ribbons wasn’t so bad. When I made Zucchini Lasagna in the crock pot it took forever to make the ribbons I needed to fill the pan, even only 1/4 of the way full! I used tiny squashes today, because I was just using my small Corningware dish.

Then I made the base of the “garden”…

All Cheeses
All the cheeses!

I mixed ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning right in the dish. No need to measure, just mix in however much you want! I also added mozzarella on top of the mixture…

More Cheese
More cheese!

The cheese will help keep the “roses” together in the dish.

Then I started rolling and planting…

Zucchini Garden
Zucchini rose garden…

This part was a little bit more annoying than I though it would be. That’s only because I was hungry and I had no patience. Maybe I was even a little hangry. Just a bit…

I topped off my freshly planted roses with olive oil, more parmesan, salt and pepper…

Cheesed Up
All cheesed up

I popped the dish in the toaster oven for about 30-35 minutes and…

Zucchini Roses

Yay! Something new to add to the low-carb repertoire!

You’ll notice, I like to use the toaster oven a lot. This is especially the case in the summer. If I don’t have to turn on the oven, I don’t.

Try it, it’s easy! Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Friday!

Okay – here’s where I get a little dweeby. I am admiring my past photos of fruit salad, from my Instagram, and sharing them here. Fruit is just so photogenic. Fruit and sushi are very photogenic, actually (random thoughts). So, here is my latest salad…

Fruit Salad 1
Usually with the kombucha…

I made this one on Independence Day…

Fruit Salad 2

Patriotic…

I must’ve been really thirsty when I made this one…

Fruit Salad 3
So refreshing…

So, I guess I was low on fruit here…

Fruit Salad 4
Not the best combination – I really felt like the pineapple was eating me back…

I needed some healthy fats to round out my salad here:

Fruit Salad 5
It helps to eat fruit salad with chopsticks…

I must’ve had a nighttime fruit craving…

 

Fruit Salad 6
So dark~bad lighting

And finally, this beauty below. It was so pretty, I had to take it outside to eat it (made for a nice photo)…

 

Fruit Salad 7
I will always try to live up to this one…

I’ll make sure to post regular fruit salad updates…

Charcoal Latte…

I’d like to think that I’m not susceptible to food trends. Rainbow bagels? They look stupid. Unicorn Sundae? Eww – there is too much going on there. But, sometimes something sneaks in. This is especially the case when it’s a healthy food trend. When I scroll down my Instagram feed and I see mac & cheese chips, collagen smoothies and kale-herethere-and-everywhere I realize that I too can get caught up in food fads. Take this morning for instance. I woke up and decided to make myself a Charcoal Latte.

Yup, I actually have the activated charcoal capsules already…

Charcoal Capsules

I bought them because, well, I’d heard so much about them on the interwebs. You can make a facial mask with them, they are good for hangovers, they can whiten your teeth – they must be amazing. Of course, I have not tried them for anything other than something food/beverage related. I recently made a delicious Black Lemonade for the wonderful detoxing qualities, and I’d like to think it worked. Well, I need something that works like that today. I am feeling quite waterlogged and my face looks puffy, and I have no idea why (like with most things that have started happening to my body for no reason after I turned 35). As it says on the bottle, activated charcoal provides “digestive support”, so de-bloating and detoxing. Let’s see if this latte helps…

Charcoal in the Cup
All in the mug…

I start by putting my (opened) charcoal capsule, a packet of stevia and a teaspoon of coconut oil in my latte mug. I also put a mugful of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, two packets of stevia and a nice pour of vanilla extract into a pan on the stove. I’ll just let that heat up and come to a near boil. You’ll want to make sure you really add flavor to the milk because the charcoal is flavorless. I am thinking next time I’ll add coconut or almond extract…

Charcoal and Oil
Cookies and Cream?

 

I added about 3/4 of the the heated milk mixture to the mug contents and 1/4 to my frothing cup. It looks pretty cool already – like cookies and cream ice cream! <wishful thinking break>…

I begin to froth in my mug to get all of the ingredients incorporated…

Charcoal Frothing
Yay! Frother!

I also froth up my milk in the frothing cup.

Again, the frother is the best kitchen tool ever. I’ll never stir with a spoon again!

Charcoal Pour
Will I get a real shape this time?

So there I go, attempting to do latte art…

Charcoal Latte Art
I have no idea…

So, this is a mustache? Something? I don’t know. I still have not gotten any better at the latte art! I will keep trying!

Grey Latte

So here we are – a lovely grey latte on a summer day! It’s so vanilla-y and yummy! Here’s hoping my face will return to normal before I have to go out into the public today!

Cheers!

 

Yogurt Sticks!

 

Yeah, I know how exciting the title sounds. I’m not even going to cheerfully type “But they are exciting!”. They may not be the most exciting things, but they are very useful. Think about the good bacteria! I guess, maybe they can be made to be exciting – I actually got several ideas once I started taking pictures of the process…

Anyway…

Yogurt Sticks. For me they are essential for a good smoothie. They add thickness, almost like adding ice cream or store brought frozen yogurt. That’s what this is like, “breakfast frozen yogurt”. Instead of buying a carton of frozen yogurt and putting scoop after scoop into a once nutritious smoothie, you get to add your own clean, healthy ingredients and control the amount of sugar added.

I usually start the “yogurt stick process” with a huge tub of plain Greek or regular yogurt. Not today. Why? Because yesterday at the grocery store I stumbled upon one of those “Buy these now because the expiration date is coming up soon” deals. It was for Chobani Yogurt and it was 87 cents!

Yogurt
Not too shabby…

I usually don’t buy flavored yogurt. Mainly because the sugar is out of control and for a little carton, it’s not worth it. This yogurt though, it has less sugar and more protein (yay!). Yes, I see there are 14 grams of sugar in one carton. I only use half of the carton in my smoothies though (so there)…

I start by scooping the contents of each container into two separate cups. Then the magic happens (seriously, it takes very little to make me excited)…

Yogurt Mixes
Flavorings…Necessary…

Then, I add different flavorings to each cup (woo hoo)! The yogurt is already vanilla flavored, but why not boost it by adding your own ingredients? Since I usually buy plain yogurt, this step is a must.

In the one on the left, I have cocoa powder and vanilla extract. The one on the right has cinnamon and ginger. These will go well with the the two flavors of protein powder I am using right now. So…stir them up…

Yogurt Mixed
Stirred!

After they are stirred and smoothed out, I add them to plastic “baggies”. I used basic, fold over baggies and not freezer baggies only because I know I am going to use these in 2 to 3 days. If I was saving them longer, I’d use a sturdier baggie.

Yogurt Bags
Get excited!

The good thing about these (cheaper) fold over baggies is that they can be stretched out to have a flat base on your surface, so it’s not such a mess putting the yogurt in them.

As you can see, I divided the mixtures into two so I have four baggies of yogurt. Less sugar, but you still get the good bacteria that yogurt adds to a smoothie. Yay, probiotics! Yay gut health!

I freeze these bad boys, usually overnight, and this is how they look:

Frozen Stick
Frozen yogurt stick!

I add the stick to my blender cup and then add all of my smoothie supplements. With this frozen stick, I don’t have to use as much ice either. Which is great because I usually forget to make ice…

Here’s what I’m talking about, with the corresponding flavors…

Both Smoothies
Natural Whey is THE BOMB! Yes, I just said that…

I use the cinnamon-ginger yogurt stick with the snickerdoodle protein powder and the cocoa with the decadent chocolate.

So, try this. It’s very easy and YAY for more flavor! Doing this just gave me a ton of other ideas…I’ll have to make and share!

Enjoy!

Quickest Meal Prep Ever…

So, it’s Monday. Luckily I am working from home (as I do 60% to 80% of the week) so I can throw together a quick meal prep for when I do have to leave the house this week. I follow a low carb-high(ish) fat meal plan.

I had heard about all of the low carb and no carb variations for years but I was skeptical. I thought “Is this really going to work for me?”. I was so stuck on the “fat makes you fat” rule we were all programmed to follow for weight management. Low fat had worked for me for years BUT I believe that is what put me on an up and down weight roller coaster. I’d do the low fat/low cal thing and then, because it is a deprivation diet, I’d binge when I lost all the weight I wanted, only to gain it back again. I feel like I eat so much now that I am shocked when I look at myself, look at the scale and put on clothes. I am losing weight! I thought I’d gain weight because I have been eating things that were considered “bad”.

This meal prep is not all I eat all day. I have a couple of protein smoothies during the day, a salad of some sort and usually some cheese or lunch meat and “fat bombs” here and there along with this. There aren’t any recipes today, but at least the pictures are colorful and appealing…

It all starts with mason jars and Pyrex…

MasonJars
Mise en place…that applies to storage containers too…

Thanks to Pinterest for putting me on to glass jars all those years ago! I was always a Pyrex fan – because I hate stained, old plastic storage containers. Now, mason jars have taken me to the next level (of perfectionism)…

Nectarines
Nice nectarines, nice…

The nectarines looked good and they were fairly cheap – a great combination. I love random pictures of fruit…with shadows, because it’s pouring outside this morning…

FruitsinJars
Gorgeous fruit…In jars…

Oh, what’s this? Nectarines AND strawberries? Really great produce sales this week, what can I say? Plus they look so nice in the jars (my precious jars)…

So, on to the main course. Dinner is pretty easy as well…

MainCourse
Turkey Meatballs and Broccoli-Cauliflower Mash

These are turkey meatballs that I got from the frozen section. I haven’t found a recipe that I like enough for meal prepping. I’ll have to try and report back here. I just cook these frozen ones in marinara, put some mozzarella on top, pop them in the toaster oven to melt the cheese and I’m done.

I really, really enjoy mashing cruciferous vegetables. Nope, not just cauliflower, but broccoli and even Brussels sprouts (Yes, I know there are more cruciferous veggies. I didn’t want to list them all, but yeah, I’ll mash those too!)…

Here is the completed prep! So small, it fits on my cutting board…

AllTogetherPrep
Added some olives, too…

Beet Obsession!

I don’t know if I’m obsessed with beets so much as I bought a one pound bag of beet powder from Nuts.com and now I feel compelled to put it in everything. I’m sure that’s a big part of it, but I actually like the taste. Mmm, earthy-sweet beet flavor. I’m making it sound weird, but it’s really good. Not only that but it’s good for you. The ways? Let’s see…

Beet Kombucha

BeetStuff
Ingredients for Kombucha Gummis – Yum!

With any kombucha, because of the probiotics, I immediately think of the benefits to the Solar Plexus chakra – the gut, your core. Digestive motility is a very important topic to me – which you’ll see as the blog goes on. With beets in the mix, it adds that extra “blood cleansing” property. That’s how I remember one of the benefits – they look bloody, they help with blood flow (great visual!).

Beet Latte

The key to a good beet latte is the vanilla. Without vanilla, you’ve just made yourself a cup of creamy beet soup. Taste your milk before adding it to make sure it has a nice flavor. This latte has such a pretty pink color and and it’s healthy! Some essential minerals are added to this latte via beets – potassium and manganese. Potassium, for heart health and manganese, for bone health. Here is my recipe:

In the mug:

  • 3/4 teaspoon Beet Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • (A little less than) 1/4 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Stevia Packet

On the stove:

  • 1 mugful of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Stevia Packets
BeetMix
Aww! In the mug!
  • Bring  milk, vanilla and stevia mixture to a near boil
  • Pour 3/4 of the vanilla milk into the mug and 1/4 into your frothing cup.

Froth in mug!

BeetFrother
The frother is the best invention ever!

Froth in frothing cup!

MilkFrother
Yes, this is a real frothing mug. I go all out for my food!

Try to do latte art!

MilktoLatte
The pro tip is to pour high, then low…

Fail at latte art…

BeetLatte
It’s clouds – or something(?) Mushrooms? I see mushrooms…

Enjoy!

Beet Chocolates

These chocolates are pretty much “Fat Bombs” – which are very important in a keto diet to help induce ketosis (burning of fat).

In a bowl:

  • 3/4 Tablespoon Beet Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Stevia Packets
BeetCandyMix
Yes, more cocoa than beet…
  • Whisk with a fork to smooth out the chunks (beet powder can be clumpy) and to combine the dry ingredients.
  • Add about 3 tablespoons of melted Coconut Oil
  • Whisk with a fork until smooth
  • Pour in molds
BeetMolds
Cute shapes! Yay!
  • Let the coconut oil harden in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes
BeetCandy
The red peeking out is so pretty…

Enjoy!

Of course they are heart shaped! These are the valentines you send to say “I care about your blood pressure, my love”. You can eat them as is, or, what I really like to do with these molded “fat bombs” is add them to a smoothie. Adds extra flavor and more supplements!

Beets are awesome! I can’t help but think of this song every time I cook with beets, even though it’s about a different type of beet…

New Moon~New Blog

I was trying to decide when to “go live” with my blog for a few weeks, and then I discovered – July 23rd is the New Moon in Leo, conjunct Mars, which falls directly on my natal Venus/descendant. If you’re into astrology then that’ll mean something to you. If not, it just means it’s a good day to take action (Mars) and start new creative endeavors (Leo New Moon) for others to enjoy (Venus/descendant).

This blog IS NOT about astrology, though it’ll likely seep in every now and then. It is one of my dweeby interests and hobbies, so yeah…

So what is this blog about?

Food, health and work-life balance. Day trips and long trips – usually food related. Learning and teaching. Family. Some New Age principals. Some music. Dorky-dweebyness. Lots of positivity.

The dweeby stuff we do and think about every day…

Be Awesome
Do what the mug says!