The Power of Soup and Rest

Tuesday of last week started off great, but somewhere in the afternoon I began to feel off somehow. My energy was down, I was aching everywhere, and I had a headache accompanied with sinus pressure. Wednesday morning, I felt worse. I immediately decided to focus on self-care. I kept telling myself “no, you’re not going to get sick” and took it easy.

I drank tons of my favorite tea, took a walk outside and took in the fresh air, and made sure to have a nice big bowl of soup. The rest of the night, I laid on the couch next to my pug and finished a Christmas film I had started earlier. Holiday films or my favorite movie, “Because I Said So,” will put me into a more willing mood to sit and rest. By ten o’clock last night, I was in my room turning off the lights and crawling into bed.

Wednesday morning, I felt much better. My nose was still stuffy and I still felt achy, but not half as much as I did the day before. I believe what I did Tuesday (and I continued this into the weekend) worked. I took the time I needed to slow down and really feel how I was feeling. I did what was necessary to rest. I even disconnected a bit and made time to go outside into the fall air and go for a walk.

Practicing rest is important to keep our mind, body, and spirit in tip-top shape. Do a quick inventory: what could you do right now, or this week, that could help you practice rest?

Feel-Good Food: Quinoa Veggie Bowl

I’ve fallen in love with quinoa. I might be a little late to the game, but still, I’ve arrived. And I’m ready to play.

Does the name “quinoa” frighten you? Well, don’t be. Here are the basics: quinoa is a considered a whole grain but is actually a seed, its easy to cook, is a complete protein, and tastes great by itself. To translate: it’s filling, delicious, and you can make it in less than 15 minutes. It’s tiny and round and can be used in place of rice in things like burritos or stir frys. You can read more in this article.

I bought my quinoa in bulk from Whole Foods for about $3.69 a pound.

So, now that you have an idea of what quinoa is, what should you do with it?

Like I mentioned already, it’s easy to cook. I was inspired by Caitlin Boyle’s Veggie Bowl recipe, which you can find in her book, “Healthy Tipping Point.” She has tons of great ideas for making veggie bowls using different grains like millet or wheat berries, and fillings from vegetables to nuts.

Quinoa Veggie Bowl

1 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups water
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup corn, either fresh or frozen
1 cup fresh or frozen mix of red, green, and yellow bell peppers
shredded cheddar cheese, optional

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp minced onions
1 tsp onion powder

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and boil for 9-10 minutes.
2. While quinoa is boiling, place the drained black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chili powder, garlic powder, minced onions, and onion powder. If you’re using fresh or canned corn, add that to the saucepan. I used frozen corn, so I cooked it in the microwave for two minutes before adding it to the black beans.
3. Once the timer goes off for the quinoa, drain as much water as you can, and set the saucepan back on the burner. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.
4. I used frozen bell peppers, so after fluffing the quinoa, I cooked the peppers in the microwave for 2 minutes.
5. Add everything into the saucepan with the quinoa, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, along with a sprinkle of cheese.

Enjoy!

Time for tea: Chai latte recipe

This week, I discovered the amazing power of the chai latte. I don’t think I’ve made chai anything since I last made this chai chocolate banana smoothie.

Yes, it’s been awhile.

The best part about this chai latte? It’s easy!

What You’ll Need:
2 chai tea bags
1 cup of water
1 coffee mug
1/2 cup milk
1 small sauce panย 
1 whisk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp- 1 tbsp white sugar
1 large coffee mug
1. Heat water in a microwave-safe coffee mug in the microwave for 1 minute and thirty seconds.
2. Place two chai tea bags in the coffee mug. Set aside.
3. Pour about 1/2 cup milk into a small pan.ย 

4. Warm the milk on the stove over medium heat.
4. Warm the milk on the stove over medium heat.
5. Whisk in cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.
6. Whisk on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the milk. You don’t want it to boil, you want it warm. Taste-test with a spoon and adjust to your taste. (This also helps determine how warm you want the milk.)
7. ย Pour milk and chai into large coffee mug and enjoy.

Have a great Thursday night! ๐Ÿ™‚

~Ashley

A Cookie Recipe I Thought I’d Lost

Hello everyone and happy Friday to you all!

Today I had a craving for a cookie I’d made about two years ago. I’d been reading one of my favorite blogs, Vitamin G, and came across this post about a vegan banana chocolate-chip cookie recipe. You can find the original recipe here.

I thought I’d saved the recipe in my email. (I didn’t.) I thought had bookmarked it, but I lost my bookmarks awhile back.

I found the blog post I’d found the link to the recipe on. But then, when I clicked on the link to the original recipe I found myself staring at the screen: the link didn’t work. IT WAS GONE.

After frantically searching for another link to the recipe, and eventually finding a link that did work, I realized: I had the recipe, all along, in my “Family Recipe” binder. I compared the recipe card to the recipe online. It was the same, and I was set to go!

I love these cookies.

Straight out of the oven, they’re perfect. They might need a minute or two to set once out of the oven, but you don’t have to wait if you don’t want too.

Straight out of the fridge they’re perfect.

The batter even tastes delicious (and better yet, there’s no raw egg. It’s the cookie dough no one will yell at you for eating raw.)

Here are a few changes I made:

-I used 2/3 cup of brown sugar, like the Vitamin G blogger had mentioned.
-I only had one large banana, so I added about a 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
-I used oats instead of oat flour, but used the same amount (2 1/4 cups).
-The batter was a bit too sticky, so I added about a 1/4 cup flour to thicken things up.
-I put the batter in the fridge in between batches. It helped keep the cookies from browning on the edges too quickly.

Other changes I’d make for next time:

– I had larger dark chocolate chips, so I’d scale back on the amount of chocolate.
– Though the cookies tasted fabulous even with the addition of applesauce, I’d rather have the second banana the recipe calls for.
– I’d like to add crunchy peanut butter.

I hope you’re having a great night!

~Ashley

Daily Discovery: Let’s get “retro rad” with Emily Ellyn

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great Halloween. In my earlier post about Halloween, I shared a recipe by my friend and Food Network’s Next Food Network Star Top 10 finalist, Emily Ellyn’s recipe for spiced applesauce. I wanted to share some of her Halloween-inspired recipes, along with showing you pictures of her “retro rad” food and fashion 2013 calendar, which is now available to pre-order. Check it out, and enjoy:) There are only 250 copies, so if you want one then you better hurry.

In case you missed her competing last season, Emily is the “Home Economics teacher you always wanted.” She “takes the retro, remixes it and makes it rad,” as she says in her bio.

My boyfriend and I were huge fans from the get-go because Emily was chosen by our absolute favorite foodie, Alton Brown (and if he ever reads this, I hope you don’t mind being called a “foodie.” If so, I do apologize.) We thought she was the most interesting, fun, and creative. One of the most memorable parts of her being on the show was her ham hat she created for a challenge taking place during Fashion Week.

Click on the images to find out more and to preorder.

And now… the recipes!

Recipes (she made these for her appearance on Fox35 this morning):

Drinks and Appetizers:

Retro Rad Pumpkin Cheese Ball:

Ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) blocks extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8-ounce) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 broccoli stalk
Red and green apple wedges, to serve
Crackers, to serve
Grapes, to serve

Directions:
1. Mix with hand mixer until blended the cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 4 hours or until mixture is firm enough to be shaped.

2. Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth entire outer surface with a frosting spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips.

3. Cut florets from broccoli stalk, and reserve for another use. Cut stalk to resemble a pumpkin stem, and press into top of cheese ball. Serve cheese ball with apple wedges.

Note: To make ahead, wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap without stalk, and store in refrigerator up to 2 days. Attach stalk before serving. Also, if tome does not permit decorate a store bought Cheese ball with a broccoli stem!

Devil-ish Eggs:

Ingredients:
5 cups hot water
1 (0.3-ounce) bottle red liquid food coloring
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
12 large unpeeled hard-cooked eggs, with shells cracked
12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 green onions, finely minced
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Green food coloring, as needed
24 halved pimento stuffed olive for eyeball garnish

Instructions:
1. Stir together water, red food coloring, and vinegar in large bowl; add eggs, and let stand 1 hour. Remove and drain on paper towels. Peel eggs to reveal pattern on whites.

2. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop the yolks out into a medium bowl and reserve the whites until needed.

3. With the back of a fork, mash the yolks until smooth.

4. Add mayo, onions, parsley, mustard, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Color to a green consistency. Top will a halved pimento stuffed olive.

Again, I hope you all enjoy the recipes and take a moment to check out what retro-radness Emily is cookin’ up on her website, http://www.emilyellyn.com/, and even order her calendar!

And though the recipes are Halloween-inspired, I think both recipes could be used throughout the entire fall/winter season too! I don’t know about you, but we have a cheeseball on Thanksgiving (and pumpkins are so gorgeous for the entire season), and deviled eggs usually make an appearance at the Christmas party. Maybe then they’ll be called… Angel-ish eggs? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And thanks to Emily for letting me share your recipes!

Happy Halloween (again)!

~Ashley

Happy Halloween: A Collection of Cute Things.

Hi everyone! Are you dressing up today?
Here’s a collection of some of my favorite and adorable Halloween-related things from around the Internet:

Recipes:

Homemade Crispy Twix Bars from Oh She Glows.

Pumpkin Cheese Balls from Betty Crocker via Pinterest.

Homemade Mounds Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie

Spiced Applesauce recipe from Emily Ellyn.

Pumpkin Designs:

Lace Pumpkin.

Pugs in Costumes:

Happy Halloween! I plan on watching a few Halloween-related movies: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Casper,” and of course, “Hocus Pocus.” Stay safe and have a great day!

~Ashley

Daily Discovery: Makeup YouTube Channel

Hi, everyone!

Today’s Daily Discovery is all about… makeup. ๐Ÿ™‚

I recently discovered Cassandra Bankson’s YouTube Channel, Diamondsandheels14 ,about a week ago and I love her videos. The reason why it’s an ingredient to my life’s recipe? I can’t help but smile when I’m watching her videos and seeing how happy and passionate it she is about what she does to help others.

Her videos are inspiring, positive, and worth watching.

In fact, it’s helped re-inspire me to get creative with my makeup. I’ve always loved makeup and I love to play around with it and play up my features. (I love my eyes- they’re my favorite feature.)

Anyway, if you love makeup, and as she says “if you like being happy,” check out her channel. I also love HelloGiggles’ Nails of the Day posts (especially the adorable tuxedo nails inspired by Zooey Deschanel).

Have a wonderful Wednesday night!

Ash

Small Kitchen Cooking: Scones

I made a batch of cranberry scones, using this recipe from the cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood, for brunch this morning.

The pictures didn’t do the scones any justice, so I didn’t want to share them. So, you will have to rely on my saying that these scones are by far my favorite.

The scones recipe is incredibly versatile as well. I have made pumpkin spice scones, raisin scones, and golden raisin scones. (If you make golden raisin scones, stay by the oven. The time I made them, they burned. Burned golden raisins are not good. At all.)

On my list of scones to try are chocolate chip scones and lemon scones.

Here are my additions:
– Substitute the fruit measurement for dried cranberries. The dried cranberries make the scones burst with a sweet tartness and also make the scones less dry. I prefer them this way.

– Make sure to sprinkle sugar on top for an added bit of sweetness. I used raw sugar.

– Make sure to put a glob of butter and orange marmalade on top. Perfect for a Sunday morning. (Or, any morning.)

Yum. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your favorite breakfast pastry?

Have a great Sunday night!