summer

Summer Series: Farmers Market Guide

IMG_3231*Warning: Beautiful pictures to follow. May cause an urge to be out in the Summer sun all day with a green juice.*

I did my first official run to the farmers market about a week ago.  For myself, that means a beautiful day required.  I need to take my time and enjoy what I love to do best.  SHOP FOR FOOD.  I scope the premise and options.  Then I start picking what I like, grab a little snack, and I am on my way.  Simple.

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If you are finally entering a warmer climate for the Spring Season, the markets I believe are finally here and with a lot to choose from.  Now is the perfect time to get the most out of them.  It’s not just about organic and locality, it’s really about getting in tune with yourself and community.  I say yourself, because what the Earth provides you with is what would be most beneficial for you.  You support your health and your community as well.  Knowing where and who is putting the food on your table is rewarding for both sides.

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Where I’m at it’s a late Spring haul.  This is the time for much more seasonal variety.  What we are still loving:

  • Greens – Kale, lettuces, spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Asparagus

Then we have some new additions:

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Zucchini
  • Spring onions galore! IMG_3185

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With this produce, you are easily good to buy for the week.  And you definitely do not want to skip the herbs.  So many to choose from!  They have both in bulk and then in the pots, which is very accessible and practical for those that want to buy their own to plant.

My personal favorites to always have on hand:

  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

 

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And for my meat-eaters and cheese-lovas, we got you covered.  Most of the meat you see in farmers markets are hormone-free, free-range and pastured raised.  Since not operated by big corporations, you can be assured that animals were raised and killed in humane ways.  You are ALWAYS welcomed to ask questions to the farmers who raise the animals or obtain the meat.  They are usually very pleasant and informative about those things.

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Don’t forget to try out local vendors!  Seriously amazing foods.  Usually made with seasonal ingredients, they are a great way to try something new and get ideas for yourself.

I have a few ideas of my own and have already started!  Can’t wait to share with you all very soon!

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*Pictures from Summit Farmers Market, New Jersey.  Look up your local market here!

 

Summer Series: Tips to Staying “Healthy” On Vacation

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“Healthy” – What makes you feel great.  During the act.  After the fact.  Simple.

I am back and trying to get things moving, you guys!  My trip was just what I needed for a little relaxation, inspiration, and motivation, to give all I had to give out to you all.

This is the first post of my Summer Series!  From today until the first day of Summer, I have a few posts lined up, on how to enjoy and prepare for the hot months to come!  This one was inspired from my recent trip.  I dealt with extra heat and humidity, so I thought I would start with something we all get to enjoy this time of year.  Vacation!!

A vacation is a way to incorporate both new and exciting, with tried and trues of what really makes us feel centered.  You want that, trust me.  I used to stray very far from eating habits and routines during vacation, so much so I would need a detox to feel back on track, lose that extra weight.  I don’t believe a vacation has to be like that.  You want to feel great during and even better after.  You went on this vacation to feel renewed, inspired, adventurous.  Your health is the gateway to being able to enjoy that much MORE.

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Keep to most of your everyday routines.  I used to be told that on vacation, you have to let go, that it’s unrealistic to take what you use and do somewhere else.  Not true!  Whether you find yourself in a house or hotel, most likely you have a bathroom, mini fridge, and a kitchen of some sorts within the area.

Unless you are going hiking, then disregard.  Since I was staying for about a week, I bought a few things that I could not bring with me.

  • lemon
  • applecider vinegar

*If you don’t have a fridge or kitchen to take advantage of,  I recommend water every morning and night.  Hydration is the key.

That’s it!  Everythingh else of non perishables, I used mini-jars ($5 at target) and bought travel sized beauty products.  Even my tea and salt, I was able to bring in a small bag.

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  • Jars filled with coconut oil.  One as my body and face moisturizer.  Another for oil pulling.
  • Jar of deodorant.  I make mine in bulk, so needed only a bit.
  • Store bought cleanser/toner.  This is good to limit extra oils, since you would be at risk of spilling during travel.
  • Mini dry brush for everyday skin and body detox.
  • Triphala.  My morning digestion supplement

If you happen to have a fridge, take advantage, please! I like to keep to light snacks.  Lots of fruit.  With no kitchen, going out to eat is inevitable.  But even you eat right in between, and keep to just one splurge meal, the only thing you are going to crave after is a home cooked meal.

  • Fruits.  Bananas, apples, oranges.  If you have a fridge, pineapples and berries are a great addition!
  • Rice chips and hummus
  • Granola and yogurt
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Chia Seed Pudding (check my recipe page!)

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Did you know that travel and different surroundings can effect you regardless if you are eating right or not? Everything from your digestion to skin can be impacted.  We are sensitive creatures.  The good news is that even one simple product or food can help that.

Aloe vera became my go to.  My digestion wasn’t perfect leaving so a couple of days in I had to take action.  Alittle bit cut up to sooth bloat and constipation.  It worked like magic.  Since I was also in the sun, I used it as a soothing ointment for my face and neck.  The most sensitive parts of my body.

So here are some of my favorites.  Whatever is your morning beverage and your favorite cleanser, stick with it!  Vacations should be packed with what you want.  Whether relaxing or adventure.  Feeling great is part of the package that I hope you signed up for!

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Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

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I know.  I am giving you this ultra summer recipe while most are thinking about pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and pretty leaves.  Can we use this as a late summer recipe?  Who doesn’t want to use as much of the glorious summer produce the season has to offer?

Truth be told, this is a 1-2-3 post.  I took pretty pictures and it seems almost a sin not to share.  Reasoning with honesty.

Like I said, this is a pretty simple recipe.  Basically a variation and different feel to the previous quinoa posts.  This one happens to be a favorite.  I try to make something like this weekly as a lunch or side for during the week.  It’s perfect as Sunday make-ahead dish for the week or a quick refreshing side for a night.  Maybe to pair well with a nice roasted chicken?  Baked Salmon?!?!  So Fall!!!

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Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa (cooked and cooled)
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • handful of parsley
  • white wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil/grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Cut into chunks the tomatoes and cucumbers.  Roughly chop your parsley.  Mix your vegetables, parsley, and quinoa in a large bowl.  Drizzle white whine vinegar, then oil onto salad.  Add your salt and mix again.  If you need a little more flavor I recommend to put more vinegar.

Crumble the feta onto the salad before serving to keep the flavor of the cheese fresh and not soggy!

Enjoy!

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Now make this now before summer is ovaaaa! Preferably with a glass of wine on hand.

Chia Seed Pudding

Because it’s never too late/early to think about breakfast!

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I am practically Queen when it comes to easy semi-homemade recipes.  Trust me, I made sangria last night.  White super fruit sangria from a bottle and a chopped up plum.  Queen. So since I’m pretty good at it, I’m going to share it.  Share my strengths.  Why make shit complicated?  I kind of wanted to talk and ramble in a way, but I’m really just more excited about the food.  Life updates shall come soon enough.

Today I’m going to share with you a recipe from back in the days.  I’ve been making this make-ahead breakfast/dessert for years.  Since my organic vegan days.  Total health food.  Yes to progress!  We have our almond milk base, but feel free to use soy, rice, or organic milk.  Chia seeds which are amazing.  A power house of omega 3 fatty acid, the good fat found in salmon, eggs, flax seeds, and some nut butters.  The fiber helps for digestion and keeping us full, the healthy way.  And of course, we have the antioxidants and vitamins that come with every kind of plant-based superfood.  Cinnamon is a healthy spice I love to add in all things with a sweet tone to it.

It is once again, simple, adaptable, and great for busy weekdays.  As a healthy breakfast you may keep it simple with just 3 ingredients.  Spruce it up with fruit, sweetener (raw honey!), nut butter, or granola.  Seriously, options are always up to your creative minds.

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Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or mason jar.  Cover and store in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight.  For something a little more sweet add banana and honey.  Other fruit, granola, and nut butters work perfectly as well.  Enjoy, my dears!

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I should let you know that I officially have an extra 15 minutes some mornings.  You may use that to snooze or put on that blush and winged eyeliner.  Regardless, you’ll feel like a total badass.

 

Black Bean Quinoa Salad Pt. 2

The joy of making a salad.  You can read a recipe and make five or more different versions after the original.  At least, that’s how I look at it in my eyes, and I want to do what I want.  So, the other day I wanted an easy and quick lunch to make a head.  This is what came about.

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As you know, I am trying to get back on track, food included.  I’m on a mission to spend less money on frivolous meals and take time to make my own.  Truth be told, I really don’t care for meal prep.  I make my salads or sandwich the morning of and make dinner from scratch, if I ACTUALLY feel like it.  I know, but I blame it mostly on my schedule. My schedule varies on a weekly basis, and honestly, as well what I feel like making.  Some weeks I live off rice and beans, other weeks I can eat out every other day.

A couple of salads like this a week can really do the trick though!

Fresh ingredients are important for a recipe like this too.  I’m talking either local or organic ingredients.  If you are in a warmer climate, local might be best.  You want to make sure your tomatoes are sweet and herbs are vibrant.  I used parsley, just for a little something different, but cilantro would be great as well!

I was going to add a little avocado for this recipe, but I would definitely recommend to add right before serving.  You want to make sure it stays a pretty green with a buttery finish.  It really takes this salad to the next level.  You guys should know, I am a firm believer of a bad ass salad.

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Black Bean Quinoa Salad Pt. 2

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt

To prepare.

Cook quinoa accordingly.  Set aside and let cool. Rinse black beans out of the can and add to quinoa.  Dice both tomatoes into thick chunks.  All together you can add the tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.  Fold all ingredients together and enjoy!

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.  Keep refrigerated for a week.

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And I did the math… To make a batch of this salad can come out to about $7 tops, including the avocado.  With fresh more sustainable ingredients lasting for a week.  I think that tops a single serving for the same price.

Let me tell you about that healthy living with a budget, baby 😉

PS.  Because this really was a meal prep, excuse the poor lighting and multiple settings.  Sunday night and lunch Monday morning were still delicious!

For more or similar recipes, check out my salad from last year!

 

 

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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Well, this is a spontaneous kind of post.  I live a spontaneous crazy life.  It’s almost 9pm.  Just got home from work and decided to down a cup a coffee.  Watch out.  I’m ready.

I made this salad in hopes to 1) use up some veggies 2) save money 3) to be healthy 4) to not be hungry.  These are all great efforts, right?  But, what makes it even better?  The fact that it was delicious!!!  I was not expecting that!  I know, so sad.  Sometimes, fast healthy food, doesn’t always work out to my advantage.  I’m human.

After a productive morning, I decided to keep it up by making myself lunch to bring to work.  With already cooked quinoa, farmer market vegetables screaming to be used, and canned beans, the only effort needed was to get out the cutting board.  Seriously, that could be the hardest part sometimes (most of the time.)

A lot of this is estimated, because like I said, I wasn’t expecting to post this!  So it’s a good sign that it is an easy and accessible recipe!  Definitely experiment with different veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, or even different vinaigrettes. Use your imagination!  And let me know about the deliciousness you create 😉

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Black Bean Quinoa Salad

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cobs corn, scraped from husk
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Combine all in a bowl and mix!!!!

P.S. Limited pictures due to spontaneity!

Hot Healthy Summer

IMG_4192Well, it has officially been one month of summer gone.  I am in somewhat of a shock, and hoping that the next two months don’t go by as fast.  And with two more months left, I am going to make it count.

Of course, with Ayurveda, we are all about living with the seasons.  Summer being one of the three that we recognize, it is the month to keep energized and stay cool.  It makes sense.  We don’t want to over heat in the summer and the days are so long, that we don’t want to tire ourselves out so early.  I always find my it’s difficult for my body to stay up later during the first couple of weeks of summer. My body was ready for bed by 8pm.  That’s the grandma status coming out 😉

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Wake up call: First thing you want to do is adjust your sleeping patterns.  Maybe wake up an hour earlier, as the sun rises earlier.  I believe 6am or before does the trick.  Even on late nights, don’t set yourself up to sleep in.  You would be surprised to know how your body may want to get up earlier, then you would expect.  Just listen to it and try not to excuse yourself with that snooze button.  You want to get the maximum amount of energy for the day ahead.

Coconut oil:  Coconut is a cooling fruit.  If it comes from the tropics, it is most likely because it’s made for a more hot/humid climate.  Although I can name about 5 different uses for coconut oil, the one I would like to talk about is a coconut oil massage.  Before a shower, massage the coconut oil over your body.  This will not only get your skin and organs stimulated, but also moisturize and cool your body down before the day starts.  Amazing!  Once you get into the hot shower your pores will open to allow deep moisture.  I recommend a short cold shower after your daily wash.  This will minimize your pores once again and lock in the moisture.  If you still use soap in the shower, I recommend a quick sweep of the coconut oil when you get out.

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Food!!

Enjoy summer’s abundance of fruit.  Your body in the summer will naturally crave sweeter foods.  Keep it healthy and trimming with the fresh berries, peaches, and melons, to the more tropical fruits from other parts of the country.  Papaya’s, mangoes, and pineapples are some of my favorite go-tos.  With the sugar and carbs from the fruits, you will have lasting energy throughout your day.

Raw food is great!  Your body is ready to better digest hearty raw salads, cereals, and yummy side dishes.  Grilled summer veggies such as peppers, zucchini, and corn are also amazing.  Big Plus! Ice cream is A-ok in the middle of that summer hot day.  Cooling milk and yogurts are great for those who overheat easily.

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Avoid high fat proteins and that fried goodness.  I know those summer burgers and french fries look tempting, but make that a once in a blue moon kind of thing.  I find it so much easier to be vegetarian in the summer.  When eating out or want a nice piece of protein, go for the seafood.  Trust me, you want to keep it light during this season!

You may also want to limit your amount of high fermented products, such as kombucha and kimchi.  They tend to be heating to the body.  For your probiotics stick with a cooling yogurt.

Cool Hydration: Coconut water!  Full of electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium.  It is perfect for a post work out drink.  Mix with fruit and frozen banana’s for a cooling summer smoothie.  Fresh juices are perfect for this season!  I find it so much easier to drink a green juice in the morning or a random carrot-orange juice when it’s not freezing temps outside.

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Exercise:  Don’t go crazy.   I know it is summer, and everyone wants that hot summer body, but let’s think realistically.  You already expense a lot of energy through the longer days and warmer climates.  Plus, there is already a decrease in the heaviness and fat content in your meals.  You’re workouts as well should be a less intense.  I practice hot yoga, and during the summer the room is actually a lot less hot then in the winter.  At times there is no heating at all.  If you run, run in the morning or closer to sunset.

Hope this helps!  Of course there are many other tips and tricks, but I find these are the some that work best for most, including myself!

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PS.  If you’re one who enjoys a drink, stay close to refreshing simple cocktails and white wine!  Those do the trick to keep it cool and light during the summer months.