Monday, May 23, 2016

Happy Belly Smoothie

Entering my early thirties has been wonderful but, while I don't feel much older at heart, I'm starting to notice some physical changes, mainly with my belly.  It's taking a little more mindfulness lately to maintain healthy digestion (no more guzzling down three slices of pizza and a milkshake on a Friday night, what the heck!) Aside from being mindful of what I'm eating on regular days (because pizza on the weekend is still necessary), I've found that adding a certain amount of healthy probiotics to my daily diet makes an enormous difference in how I feel. 

One of my favorite ways to keep my belly happy is to consume live active cultures, found in most healthy yogurts and certainly in kefir.  If you've never tried Kefir, I would highly recommend it.  It has a very "tangy" flavor similar to plain Greek yogurt- but a little more tart.  It's also drinkable, which makes it perfect for smoothies!

If the taste of plain kefir is too intense for you, adding berries and other fruits to the blender totally helps.  Here's a really simple, yummy way to make a probiotic smoothie:

Happy Belly Smoothie
Blueberry, banana, with kefir

1 1/2 Cups plain, unsweetened kefir
1/2 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Whole banana

Add kefir, berries, and chopped banana to a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

The great thing about this smoothie is you can sub in different berries and fruits to keep it exciting.  Strawberries, mango, or peaches are awesome substitutes for the blueberries...mix and match!  Have fun with the flavors!



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A Slow Spring

It's been a slow spring...slow in a relaxed way, taking every day as it comes and enjoying small moments of awakening outside. Bonfires with friends, trips to the chilly beach in anticipation of summer days, and lots of garden prep and planting at home.


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

No-Mess, Washi Tape Easter Eggs

Two weeks until Easter! Egg decorating is one of the best Spring activities, I love trying out new ideas each year to create cheery, spring-inspired eggs.  This year I found some adorable washi tape, and some even cuter fabric washi tape, and took a few rolls to some beautiful farm-fresh eggs.  The end result? adorable, no-mess/no-fuss Eggs!

This little project is so easy, it needs little explanation, just snip, stick, & enjoy! 
Here are a few tips:

-Make sure eggs are clean, dry and room temperature before sticking the tape.

-Using sharp scissors, cut sections and pieces of tape for creating different designs and patterns.  I even cut some strips in half, length wise, for thinner runs of tape.

-Since the tape is straight and the egg is curved, you will get some creases in pieces that wrap around the egg.  Simply smooth any creases and folds down using your fingernail.  (The thinner strips will wrap easier than wider pieces.)

If you've hardboiled your eggs, simply peel off the tape, shell the egg for eating.

Happy decorating!


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Travels in Color: Bermuda

When you step off of the last step onto the tarmac, arriving in Bermuda, the air just feels different.  There's fragrance to it that only islands have...and the bright colors that saturate the island have already begun, in the blues and pinks of the big welcome sign over the airport door.
This was not my first trip to Bermuda, we'd gone several times growing up.  But it was my first time as an adult, with my husband, and even though my memories of travels there had been pretty sweet, they hadn't prepared me for what I would see anew.
It was pouring rain when we arrived and the taxi to the hotel wound us through tight streets flanked with coral rock and lush greenery.  Grandma pushed her face against the smooth sea air  through the open cab window despite the mist of rain, as we flew past breathtaking view after breathtaking view along the coast.  My strongest memory from prior trips was of the famous Horseshoe Bay, and the driver didn't miss a beat, pulling the cab to the side so we could admire the bay from above.  Voted one of the top 3 most beautiful beaches in the world, the minute you lay eyes on it, or walk along sand between towering rocks, you understand why. Fortunately, the sun came out the next day and back to horseshoe bay we went - suits en tow. 

Perhaps the most intoxicating thing about the island is the vibrant color, everywhere you turn.  Houses in every candy-colored hue dot the hillsides, smiling cheerily in big groups, surrounded by little farms and jungle-like foliage. The classic "Bermuda pink"  bungalows and homes around every bend.  Bright yellow mansions tucked up at the ends of private drives that are dotted with palms and aloe, barely visible from the street.

Flowers, ocean, buses and boats...nothing is afraid to be colorful....

We spent four blissful days in our pink stepped castle by the sea...I had the best (red!) curried chicken and was introduced to a Fish Chowder that I'm really excited to learn how to make. Looking forward to sharing some travel inspired recipes here with you all...

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DIY Edible Bouquet

It's almost Valentine's Day! If you're looking for an alternative to sugary treats and chocolates this year (maybe for little valentines who aren't being introduced to sugar yet), I've got a fun do-it-yourself version of the "edible bouquet".

You Will Need:

-Wide-mouthed, sturdy vase (big enough to fit a grapefruit)
-Package of wooden skewers
-Small heart-shaped cookie cutter
-1 large grapefruit or orange

Cut heart shapes from the melon and skewer, along with the rest of the berries. Place your grapefruit in the vase and begin sticking the fruit skewers into the top of the grapefruit- at random.  I started with tall ones and then trimmed some of them down to fill in around the bottom and in any empty areas or bare spots. Serve and enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Salmon Poke with Jasmine Rice

First of all, what is Poke!?  Hawaiian Poke (pronounced "poh-kay", like "okay") traditionally means any meat that has been cubed -particularly fish- usually served with sesame oil, soy sauce, sea salt, etc. Ahi tuna is a classic but we're seeing so many variations on Poke and Poke Salads these days that as long as the main ingredient is fresh and has been cubed, anything goes!  Here's my take on Poke Salad over rice. Made with the freshest ingredients, it's a mild and bright mid-winter "pick-me-up" meal.

Salmon Poke with Jasmin Rice

4 cup (cooked) Jasmine or other white rice
.75 lbs Sushi grade salmon
1 cup Steamed edamame
4 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs Black sesame seeds
1 lime (for squeezing)

Makes 4 servings. 

Prepare salmon, if purchased as filet, remove skin and cut into 1/2 or 1 inch cubes.  Set aside.  Prepare rice and allow to cool.  Place rice in serving bowls and top with Salmon, edamame,  and soy sauce. Lastly, squeeze fresh lime over each serving and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

The best thing about this easy, fresh meal is that there is no cooking involved, aside from the rice and it take minutes to prepare. 
Avocado, cooked chicken or shrimp could easily be substituted for the fish as a vegetarian version, or for those that aren't keen on raw fish. 

Not familiar with black sesame seeds? They lend a wonderfully mild and nutty flavor to the dish, and give a tiny bit of a "crunch" factor.

**Helpful Tips: 

-Always purchase sushi-grade raw fish from a trusted source and always consume right away when the fish is at its freshest.

-For ready-to-go edamame, visit your local Japanese takeout or sushi bar and grab an already steamed container.  The edamame are easily removed from the pods at home.

-Use any extra lime to squeeze over fingers after preparing food to remove lingering seafood odors on the chefs hands!


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Simple Warm & Crusty Popovers with Cherry Preserves

Snow is falling heavily here...Our first true snow storm of the season, arriving at the end of January. When it's cold outside and cozy indoors, and there's nowhere to go for hours, you bake.  Popovers are the best cozy winter treat and crusty on the outside with a warm and almost custardy inside.  There are several ways to make these puffy delicious treats, but I made my first batch using a super simple, non-intimidating recipe that gets the job done with a few staple ingredients and a basic muffin pan.


 There really is a joy in thinking a task or recipe is something only pros can pull off, only to discover a simple version that is a success upon completion.  The ingredient list is my favorite part, because milk, eggs, flour and butter are things that we always have on hand.  So when the mood strikes, we can have fresh popovers within the hour...
Straight from the oven, ripped open and lathered with jam or preserves, these popovers are perfection.  They are best fresh-made but can be re-warmed the next day as well. Breakfast, brunch, or as a snack-they're sure to please!

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