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{bodacious blood oranges}

14 Dec

i think it is so incredible how nature provides us with the right types of food for each season.

for example – blood oranges are in season from december to march. which is the perfect time to consume them for that extra vitamin c punch during the winter months!

and aren’t they just so magical?!

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{last watermelon of the season}

21 Sep

who doesn’t love a melon-baller!?!!

 

 

 

{meatless monday : a flavourful riced cauliflower dish}

9 Jul

i made this delicious riced cauliflower one-pot make-ahead meal for lunch last week and it was so yummy, i just had to share the recipe! i love experimenting with random things in the fridge!

i’ve been really into using riced cauliflower as a replacement for grains and it does a wonderful job as an understudy. 😉

riced cauliflower has a great texture and maintains it well during the cooking process. i’ve purchased it both fresh and frozen and they both seem to hold up just fine.

i made this dish as i was trying to use up some leftover ingredients such as frozen asparagus from another recipe. i also had some frozen jalapeños that i grew last year and wanted to use.


so this is what i came up with {amounts are “ish”} :

  • 16 oz. fresh riced cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup diced asparagus {mine was frozen}
  • 1 medium size jalapeño, diced {ribs and seeds removed}
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

heat some butter or oil of choice on medium heat and toss in riced cauiflower. cook slowly until al dente. add in asparagus and jalapeño, cook until slightly tender then throw in black beans and corn and cook for another minute or so. sprinkle in hot sauce and spices and toss together. keeps well in the fridge for a few days. can be frozen for future consumption.

organic chicken or grass-fed ground beef makes a nice addition to this recipe. i made this one vegan because i like to eat vegan at least once a week… not for any particular reason other than keeping things in balance 😉


and i just-so-happen to love cumin! it’s one of my favourite spices… do you like cumin?

 

 

{i am a ritualist}

12 Jun

what can i say?! … i am a creature of habit.

i believe i have always been this way, but i don’t believe i have always lived this way…

over the last couple of years i have been particularly adamant about creating a healthy routine in my life… i have found myself purposefully setting intentions of a grounding “ritual” in my daily life from which i could draw strength.

at the very core of those routines and rituals is my desire for overall well-being.

i’m talking about wellness – inside and out – a sense of harmony… and i do believe that all starts within.

the more within myself i look, the more i realize that i absolutely THRIVE in routine. i believe part of that is because i recognize that all living things are in routine… and all living things exist by “obeying” certain laws of nature, many of which we as human beings are more removed from than i would prefer. nature is cyclical, and it is {for the most part} pretty predictable… therefore, nature also thrives in routine.

think about it…

all that to say, the more in touch with nature i’ve become, the more i’ve realized that i am as much a part of nature as nature itself. my body thrives in rhythm and routine, just as nature does.

one of the things i have been wanting to adopt as part of my healthy routine was including a daily vitamin supplement. although i generally eat a very well-balanced healthy diet, i’ve frequently struggled with finding a vitamin supplement that fit my desire for harmony and also fit my standards for well-being… which, i admit, are pretty high. 😉

and so it is with great enthusiasm that i say – I FOUND THAT!

which brings me to my purpose for creating this blogpost… my new best friend :

my ritual vitamins.

these wonderful vitamins came into my life serendipitously… as do most things that are “meant to be.” 🙂

as i said, i had already set the intent of finding a vitamin to add to my daily routine that would give me what i was looking for… an extension of my already healthy lifestyle choices, and SIMPLICITY.

what i love most about ritual is their simplicity. they have taken the guesswork out for us. instead of stuffing a tablet with unnecessary fillers and/or many of the nutrients that come from an already healthy diet, they’ve only included the 9 nutrients that most women lack or are deficient in… basically, it does what i have always believed a vitamin supplement should do… supplement, or as they say – “fill in the gaps”…


the 9 essential nutrients in ritual are :

  • vitamin K2
  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin B12
  • boron
  • iron
  • vitamin E
  • magnesium
  • folate
  • omega-3

so, instead of buying upwards of 4 or 5 bottles of different supplements, many of which include unnecessary fillers, you get all you need in 2 daily capsules. part of the allure for me is that it truly epitomizes the concept of “less is more.”

another reason i love ritual is the transparency – literally and figuratively speaking. the capsules are literally see-through… and the company is transparent by allowing the consumer to trace the source of each ingredient on their website.

ritual vitamins are made for women. they are non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and the company was founded by a woman. these vitamins are designed specifically for women. for one dollar a day, you can invest in your health by supporting an outstanding company that is truly revolutionizing the vitamin industry. plus, you get bioavailable nutrients that help you look and feel your best.

i have chosen to be an ambassador for this incredible brand because i believe in their mission and i am an advocate for voting with your dollars, as in putting your money where it matters. the $30 a month investment is one that provides a wealth of health.

please visit this link to start your ritual today : food and foto loves ritual

and stay tuned for my personal review on how this vitamin supplement has affected my overall well-being.


 

{what’s in my refrigerator}

28 Jan

on sundays i like to do my meal-prepping for the week. i have lots of containers and jars for storing my dry goods as well as my make-ahead meals.

here’s what i created to eat last week :

  • raw spinach salad
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sautéed veggies for an asian-inspired dish
  • blanched broccoli
  • citrus baked salmon
  • roasted garlic israeli cous-cous
  • my famous mashed potatoes
  • raw celery sticks
  • curried lentils with ham and veggies
  • sauerkraut (not homemade)
  • garlic dill pickles (homegrown and homemade)
  • roasted tomato soup
  • homemade beef bone broth 
  • potstickers (to go with asian dish)
  • turmeric tea w/ coconut milk

do you like to make your meals ahead of time? batch-cooking has been something i’ve adopted into my lifestyle over the last few years and it’s really helped me save money and keep my diet in check.

{saturdays in the garden : volume seven}

8 Jul

just a little update on the garden… my posts are not in “real time,” as it were… i’m several weeks behind in keeping up with what’s going on, currently.

for example, most of what you see in the following fotos, has been pulled from my plot. we are straight up in the heat of summer here in NC, and my tomatoes are just about all that remain. i pulled up all my broccoli, because i didn’t get it in the ground soon enough and it never formed a head. i harvested one beautiful cabbage that i’m currently making sauerkraut with. my cilantro is done… as is my dill and basil, but i planted more of both. i pulled my kale and planted arugula in its place. and my cucumbers are on their last limb, but i must’ve harvested around 200 of them this season. i have pickles for days! 😉

july will be focused on tomatoes. then in mid august, i will plant more cabbage and cucumbers and perhaps try again for more peas later in the month or toward september. i really enjoy making {and eating} sauerkraut, so i intend to plant a lot more cabbage for fall.

meanwhile, here are some pics of what late may/june were like in my plot :

so pretty and ALIVE!

still fascinated by pea tendrils… and i made lots of pesto with my basil!

oh kale, yeah!

harvest!

my beautiful cabbage! Continue reading

{foodie friday : the teeniest strawberry}

9 Jun

actually, the teeniest strawberries probably grow wild in our back yard…

but i don’t think these are edible… 😉

{a make-up blog : saturdays in the garden – volume six}

29 May

things are moving along quickly in the garden!! i actually harvested lots of kale this week and my dill is turning into a forrest! cilantro will only be here for a little while longer, and my peas are producing but will also begin to dwindle as the heat increases. i should be able to harvest some cucumbers next week. which means next month, i’ll be making some delicious pickles!! so so so excited about that!

on a community level, we have been donating over 15 pounds of collard greens each week and lots of radishes are going to donation, as well. our beans are starting to blossom, and the blueberries are coming in nicely. we also have tons of healthy tomato plants growing. june and july are the exciting months for gardening, as everything really starts to produce… i just love it.

and since i have fallen behind a little bit on updating on the garden, i am putting these fotos in gallery form, so i can squeeze them all into this post 🙂

{click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through gallery}


 

 


a {sort of} pano of my plot…

from left to right, counter-clockwise-ish :

jalapeños {hidden, back row} basil {back row}, peas {along left trellis}, lacinato kale, tomatoes {middle}, cilantro, celery, more tomatoes {middle}, cabbage, more kale {middle}, romanesco, more tomatoes, {middle}, cucumbers {along right trellis}, and dill.

i kind of planted in a zig-zag pattern…

i also squeezed in a few spinach plants throughout, but i’m not sure how they’ll fare.

thanks for following along!


how is your garden looking??! 🙂

 

 

{saturdays in the garden – volume two}

8 Apr

some updates on my community garden…


 

my uncle helped me make repurpose some materials and make these trellises for my peas and cucumbers. last year, thanks to a good friend, i learned a lot about vertical gardening… particularly, how it helps in maximizing space. since my plot is only 4 x 8, i was adamant about making sure to get the most food i could growing in there.

in particular, peas and cucumbers. they were the most fun to grow last year, and i had quite the bounty. not to mention the taste – so fresh and delicious!

i do love my garden!

another shot of my plot and trellises…

🙂 Continue reading

{dehydrated baby bananas}

2 Mar

bananas-web

whenever i notice any kind of produce is starting to lose its freshness, such as these adorable baby bananas, i know it’s time to bust out the dehydrator.

bananafaces

banana faces 🙂

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banana chips make for some great snacks!!

i also love to throw them in smoothies, as an alternative to frozen or fresh ones.


do you use a dehydrator? what are some of your favourite things to dehydrate? 

 

 

{pan-seared wild-caught salmon}

13 Feb

]salmonsalmon-2

i love salmon! and although it’s not in season just yet, i try to eat it at least twice a month, but ideally i would like to get back to consuming it once a week or more. it’s full of omega 3 fatty acids and healthy lean protein. this particular wild-caught salmon filet was hand-delivered to me by an alaskan fisherman! 🙂

my favourite way to prepare salmon is to pan-sear it. don’t be intimidated, it’s a very easy method.

i simply sprinkle my salmon filet{s} with a little S&P and squeeze a little lemon juice over it, as well.

then, start with a medium-high heat skillet coated with a little olive oil, and place salmon filet in skin-side up. cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and finish with skin-side down, another 4-5 minutes. cooking it this way usually allows for the filet to come up easily off the skin when serving. i like to serve mine over a bed of greens or a simple couscous recipe.

bon appetite! 

{farmers market turmeric root}

6 Jan

 

turmeric-2turmeric

have you ever seen turmeric root like this before?

i was fascinated when i spotted this at my local farmer’s market. when i go to visit, there is one stand in particular that i like to frequent. the lady who owns it is so sweet and always has a ton of good information on her products and she is always willing to answer my and all of my questions. it seems that the prices for produce at farmers’ markets are sometimes half the price of grocery stores or health food markets, which is just another reason why i love to support the farmers!!!

a few other reasons i choose to put my money into farmers markets are as follows : accessibility, freshness, availability, integrity, seasonality, friendliness, knowledge, willingness, and as i mentioned, affordability.

i had never seen turmeric root in this form, and i couldn’t wait to pick some up to take fotos of. sometimes i’ve seen parts of it broken off into larger and smaller pieces, but not in a huge chunk like this. i have been wanting to incorporate turmeric into my diet more frequently, particularly because i have been experiencing some pain in my elbow lately. and as you may know, turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. i am hoping that by consuming turmeric regularly, the pain in my elbow will substantially subside.

i thought it would be fun to share these fotos of turmeric, since it is so intriguing to look at! check out all the ‘knobs’ and ‘nodules’ and the funny/fascinating shapes it takes on and how it forms that way. i love all root vegetables, and when i find something in its natural state, i get even more excited about it. did you catch that cool post about ginger-root? i just love going to the farmer’s market and i one day hope to have a nice big garden in my backyard, as to grow lots of wonderful food. i basically want to be a farmer.

one of the things i’ve been doing with turmeric lately is making tea, which i am just loving! have you ever tried turmeric tea? i have been wanting to try it for so long now, but as with anything “new,” i tend to get intimidated until i actually just go for it! and i’m so glad i finally did! i made some tea with this beautiful chunk of turmeric, and i loved it so much that i wanted to share the recipe.

you can usually find fresh turmeric at health food stores. or if you have access to one, check at your local farmers market, as well. some of my research has discovered that you can also use the ground spice to make turmeric tea, however i prefer the fresh stuff. it’s definitely more time-consuming, but for me, it’s so worth it. plus, i just love the creative process. having said that, to be even more economical, you could make it with a mix of fresh and dried root.


super simple health-boosting turmeric tea :

turmerictea Continue reading

{farmers market ginger root}

12 Dec

gingerroot

 

i love finding produce in its most natural state – like this cool ginger root with the actual root still attached. the shape looks like some kind of animal or something, no?! i found it at the farmer’s market {of course} and i bought it mostly because it looked cool, but also because i just like to keep ginger around to nibble on. a lot of times i’ll make it into a tea with some lemon or just shave off a little bit and eat it after meals to accompany the digestion process.

ginger nutritional fun facts : 

ginger is great for stomach ailments such as nausea or diarrhea and can be great for helping keep motion sickness at bay. boiled as a tea, it has tremendous healing properties for common cold symptoms. ginger is also {surprisingly} high in b-vitamins. furthermore, ginger has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, making it a fantastic support for healthy joints. 

 

{what real strawberries look like}

6 Dec

something i need to write about is how i spent my summer vacation… even though it’s long passed now.


one of the things that took up the majority of my free time this summer was participating in a community garden. it was basically one of the best things i’ve ever done for myself. growing your own food is truly one of the most rewarding things one can do! i would constantly remark, “all i did was put a seed in the ground – and this happened!” because i was constantly blown away at how cool nature is! my cucumber plants literally took over and my neighbours were calling it “the cucumber farm” 😉

the reason i bring this up is because i inherited a small strawberry plant in my summer garden plot. many of my neighbours had strawberry plants and i was fortunate to have one reseed itself in my plot. i didn’t get a lot of strawberries from it, but the few i did harvest looked like these strawberries. they were more cone-shaped than heart-shaped. and i’m telling you – the flavour in these things is just out of this world! SO sweet and SO juicy and SO delicious! better than any store-bought strawberry i’ve ever had!

do you ever compare conventional produce to farmer’s market produce?! the differences kind of blow my mind! the last time i was at the grocery store looking at apples, they were bigger than a softball! that’s just not normal. or fruit so waxy i could use it as a candle?! yikes.

for me, i like things to be as close to their natural state as possible. food, soil, water, me, and everything in between.

and that got me thinking about these strawberries i picked up at the farmer’s market last week. i was looking at them and decided to snap a couple fotos because i was thinking to myself, “i bet there are lots of people out there who don’t even know what REAL strawberries look like.” 

farmersstrawberriesfarmersstrawberries-2

these strawberries were SO full of flavour, too! something else that lacks in conventional produce. maybe it’s got something to do with mass producing them and lack of nutrient-rich soil.

anyway, i love that i can still find strawberries this time of year – as north carolina has a year-round farmer’s market and excellent long growing season. i hope to find some more when i go back this week!

{baby pineapple!}

30 Nov

check out this cute tiny little pineapple i dropped a whopping five bucks on! haha

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i have to say, i think i’ve decided that pineapple might be my favourite fruit.

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this one was so adorably cute, i just had to have it!

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i obviously ate the whole thing in one sitting 🙂


pineapple nutrition fun facts :

pineapples are totally loaded with vitamin c – tons of it! they are also high in manganese and fiber. furthermore, they help support a healthy digestive track. pineapples are, somewhat surprisingly, a good source of b-vitamins, as well. and don’t throw out that core! – it’s full of fiber and can be tossed into your blender to make an awesome smoothie!

{pink limes!}

15 Nov

i’m always super excited when i find a new fruit or vegetable to try. i found these pink limes at a natural food market over this past summer. so naturally, i couldn’t resist tasting and taking fotos of them!

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on the outside, they are slightly different-looking than other limes…

they have some cool stripes going on a slight pink hue to them…

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and on the inside… a DEFINITE pink hue!  so pretty! the flesh almost resembles a grapefruit!

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of course, i added them to some sparkling water… which is so refreshing and delicious!

*nom nom, sip sip*

have you ever tried pink limes?!


food fun facts :

limes are full of vitamin c and can help support healthy cells and tissue. furthermore, these particular “pink” limes are sweeter than your average lime and look great in a spread or as a garnish… also, they would work fantastically as a zest!

 

{bell pepper guts}

8 Mar

bellpepperguts-4

what is it about the inside of vegetables that i find so INTRIGUING?!!? 😀

{mini romanesco}

24 Feb

babyromanesco-1

those of you have been following me for a while {thank you, and welcome to the newcomers!} know that i am obsessed with romanesco. and clearly, i’m also obsessed with “baby” foods… as in, super tiny versions of amazing fruits and veggies.

well, you can imagine my excitement when i saw BABY ROMANESCO at my local grocery store!!?!? i will say, it is not at all organic and it is not at all in season… however, it is still magical!!!

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…right?!?!

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also, how adorable is my cute cutting board?! 😀

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i hope i can find a way to grow these myself some day soon… i would love to find a way to become or marry a farmer… seems like the most appropriate lifestyle for me.

😉 ❤

{meatless monday : whole grain couscous with fresno and mini bell peppers}

8 Feb

redpeppercouscous-1

i haven’t written a meatless monday recipe in a while. i came up with this one by accident.

i love love LOVE fresno peppers. they are so full of flavour and yet mild enough in heat to not overpower most dishes. i also love couscous; it’s simple and easy to make and reheats well, so i will often batch-cook it.

i shared this dish some with a friend this weekend over brunch and she commented on how much she liked it, so i thought i would share the recipe. as i said, i sort of came up with this on accident… but i’m glad i did, as i’ll be sure to make it again in the future!

simple ingredients :

  • 1 cup couscous, 1 cup water
  • 3 fresno peppers, chopped
  • 5-6 mini bell peppers, chopped
  • olive oil
  • S&P

fresnocouscous-3fresnocouscous-2

this is a very easy recipe to make. simply saute peppers in olive oil until tender then pour in water. bring to a boil and add in couscous. remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes. fluff couscous with a fork and sprinkle in salt and pepper.

fresnocouscous-1

i also added in some cumin because i’ve been experimenting with spices… and i really liked it in this dish!

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