Archive for January, 2011

January 27th, 2011

Crack Corn

This past Christmas, we had a big Christmas party for B’s family. I was trying not to over do it by making everything from scratch, and giving myself a guilt-free pass by buying some short cuts.

While we were at Target, of all places, I found the most delicious organic kettle corn. I didn’t know I liked kettle corn all that much, but this was hitting the spot! I kept going back for more and then I thought, I can probably make this. I guess I always assumed to get good kettle corn, you had to go to a fair and get it from a big guy in bib over-alls, and get it in a brown paper bag.

It turns out I’m wrong! It makes me feel bad that I bought packaged kettle corn. It also makes me feel bad that it’s as easy as it is. I call the recipe “Crack Corn” because you can’t stop eating it! The first time I made it, I had a couple of handfuls and said that was enough, and put the rest in a tin for later. I popped the tin open for just a little more. The tin was empty before I knew it! Oh bother. I was happy to know I wasn’t the only one though, everyone else can’t seem to stop either.

I think the secret is in the salt. Making it very fine and dust-like, helps it melt into the warm caremelized popcorn. I think the coconut oil is also a fresher choice of oil, whereas butter would make it too heavy. I hated microwave kettlecorn, back in the day. It was just too strong and I think that was because of the fake butter taste.

I also discovered how to make perfect popcorn. I had been using a pot with a lid all this time, and all this time I get wet soggy bits on the popped kernels. I thought I was good at making popcorn, until making it this way. I read around on a bunch of sites how to make it perfect and the best way is – a heavy bottomed pot with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan (the oil is just a conductor of heat to the corn so you don’t have to go nuts) and a piece of aluminum foil covering the pot tightly with holes poked through it for the steam to escape and give it a shake every now and then so it doesn’t burn. Voila! Perfect crisp popcorn.

Make it and tell me it’s not addictive!

Crack Corn aka Kettle Corn

1 heavy bottomed pot
1 piece of aluminum foil to cover to pot
1 tooth pick
1 rimmed cookie sheet
2 T. organic virgin coconut oil
1/2 C. organic popping corn
1/4 C+ 2 T organic cane sugar
1 t sea salt

In a food processor, blend your salt until fine and powdery and set aside.
In the bottom of the pot on med/high heat melt the oil
Add a kernel of corn to the pot and wait until it pops to let you know when the oil is ready.
Add the corn kernels and stir them around to coat, then add the sugar and stir everything a couple of times
Quickly cover with the aluminum foil tightly and them poke holes in it with the tooth pick.
Let the kernels start popping and give it a shake every now and then so it doesn’t burn.
Once the popping slows ( this all takes about 1.5 minutes) turn off the heat and wait til there is no more popping.
Empty the pot onto a rimmed cookie sheet and quickly and evenly sprinkle the salt over the pop corn and stir to coat it all while its hot.
Enjoy!
*You can add or decrease the sugar to your taste as well as the salt.

January 20th, 2011

Organic Facial Scrub

Going through the beauty aisle can be a daunting thing, especially if you’re looking for something organic and natural. Some people feel like when they go to a health food store, anything they pick up is “safe”. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While yes, there are some great all natural products, others have a long list of ingredients, that you don’t know what they are. Just because something says “natural” on the label, doesn’t mean you get to skip doing your homework and investigate the ingredients.

If one of the ingredients is methlyparaben, or any type of paraben, put it down. This is a common ingredient in beauty products that has harmful effects on your health. Parabens mimic estrogen in the body and can disrupt hormon balance. It’s used a a cheap preservative. A common natural preservative is vitamin E.

This is why I prefer to make my own facial scrubs. It couldn’t be easier and you know exactly what’s in it. You can put as much organic ingredients as you want with out compromise. I really do feel like buying facial scrubs is a waste of money when it’s so easy to make yourself. This is far superior than any scrubs I’ve ever bought. This will keep your skin fresh, renewed and moisturized. I do this once a week.

Organic Sugar Scrub

2 T of organic sugar (not the chunky raw sugar)
1 t organic extra virgin olive oil

Mix the sugar and oil together in a small bowl until the sugar is moist, not soupy.

Take a handful and massage your skin gently. This is best done in the shower.

January 19th, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

January 10th, 2011

Birth and Death

We started the year off by ringing in the New Year and celebrating two births, my Husband’s and my Mother-In-Law’s. We were almost pooped with celebrating. In the early days of January, I always think about the year ahead and what’s going to be in my parent’s annual Christmas letter. When we were kids, it was all about our accomplishments, who we were dating, what we were up to, our family vacation’s etc. Now that my Brother and I are married and out of the house, the letter is a little shorter and filled with a vacation experiences, monumental birthday’s and a few sad announcements about someone’s passing.

The letter in 2011 will not be lacking any sadness. My dad woke me up with news that my “Uncle” had passed away this morning. I knew my Dad (and Mom) had already been through the ringer for hours, since they were able to bring themselves to bear the bad news, all by 9 AM. They were there, lending their support and shoulders to cry on for my “Aunt”. I made sure my Dad was “okay” before I hung up and absorbed the news.

I had been prepared in advance that this was a possibility, since my “Uncle” had been fighting cancer for awhile. It still seems so unreal. I’m honestly disturbed and shocked at how fast news travels. I was already receiving texts of sympathy a half hour after I found out. This bugs me in a way. Sometimes I feel like people are bragging that they already know.

I keep putting quotations around Uncle because I’m not related to him by blood. He’s the “best friend” Uncle. My Dad and Mom’s best friends. My Uncle was the one who did all our family films, cracked jokes, and pulled pranks. He wasn’t afraid to “let one” in public and blame it on my “Aunt”! He was the first person I learned the “pull my finger” joke from. I learned a lot of culture and manners from them. I ate fancy dinners at their house, and got spoiled with VHS tapes of all the Disney Princess movies he taped for me. He always had a soft spot for me, and he was the man in my life, aside from my dad and husband, who ALWAYS told me how beautiful I was. He had a beautiful daughter that modeled, so I always felt flattered.

My Uncle will be missed for sure but Heaven will be a lot funnier now that he’s there.

January 7th, 2011

The Hubs Turns 28!

Yesterday, my beloved turned 28. I was hoping to make the day spectacular and special, but he genuinely just wanted to chill out and not do much of anything. I always feel bad, because B always makes a big deal out of my birthday, but his birthday is usually snowy and it seems like it’s always falls on a weekday.

We did have a nice day though. We went to breakfast with friends and went to the outdoor mall to spend some of the Christmas money we got. It started to snow while we were there. I love the insulated sound the snow creates, everything seems so still and peaceful. We walked in the streets under stranded white lights, with fluffy white snow under foot. It was magical and we realized how blessed our lives are.

For his gift, I got him a fancy-schmancy espresso maker. I think he’s in love. Now we can stop spending money at “4bucks”. It’s a sexy little machine and is very small. I’ll post some recipes I’m working on for latte’s, later.

We dared to make the trip down town for a healthy birthday dinner. It seemed like everyone in Ohio forgot how to drive in the snow. B didn’t want to celebrate with food. He’s been very conscious of how he’s been eating and didn’t want to spoil it on his birthday. We both got delicious entree salads and didn’t feel guilt afterwards.

Instead of cake he wanted cookies. Thoughtful cookies. Cookies that wouldn’t make him feel terrible. I knew just what to make. Flour-less peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. A friend of mine made them at a few parties and she tried very hard to convince me that they were flour-less. They looked too good to be flour-less. They were so fast and so easy, I can’t believe I hadn’t made them before now. They were quite oily but they turned out great.

These will definitely be my go to, quick cookies!

Flour-less Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

1/2 C. organic peanut butter
1/4 C. + 2 T. organic sugar
1 egg
1/4 t. baking soda
a pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips, until well combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and scoop out your dough balls. I like smaller cookies, so I use about a small spoon full. Keep them about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread too bad though).

Bake for 12-14 minutes, depending if you like them soft or crisp. 14 minutes, with smaller scoops will be on the crisp side.

January 1st, 2011

Happy New Year

I feel like this is the first year I’ve actually paid attention to meaning of “Happy-New-Year”. Even though it’s just another group of days, organized into 30 or 31 days that equal months, and twelve of those months equal a year, it does some how give you the feeling that you can make a change.

I’ve never felt like I needed to make resolutions. This is impart to most people not being able to keep them, or making unrealistic resolutions. When I was a little girl, my resolution was always to stop biting my nails. I always failed a couple of weeks in. I still bite my nails occasionally but at least I have the long nails I always dreamed of. It turns out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s actually kind of gross because things can get trapped under your nails!

I feel very hopeful about this year, not that I want to make a lot of changes, just that there will be change, and I’m willing to accept it with excitement. I hope to be healthier than ever this year, make smart decisions and live a happy and fulfilling life. and learn a lot of new things, and share them.

I know a lot/most people make some type of health resolution at the beginning of the year. Gym memberships start flying off the shelves at this time. If I can give any advise in regards to exercise, it would be to do something that’s not a hassle to do. Driving to a gym, for me, just got to be more of a hassle than was it was worth.

The method I found that has really been working out for me is rebounding. I feel amazing, it’s convenient, it’s effective and easy. I have toned up so well, in hard to work places and it makes me feel so energized. I used to spend an hour, at least at the gym, running, using the elliptical and also doing weight training, with little to no results. I don’t mean to sound like an infomercial, but rebounding really is the best form of exercise I have found with more results than I could even imagine! It’s a total health booster.

To find out more information on them, check out the masters of rebounding, Bellicon. It really is like bouncing on a cloud!

Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope that this will be your happiest, healthiest year yet.