Monday, February 24, 2014


Since juicing, there have been a couple days where I find myself with some extra produce laying around that got forgotten. Instead of tossing them I decided to slice 'em up and fuse them in some h2o. 

Today we have cucumber + lime + mint water. Flavors my water for tasting drinking and makes me not waste produce. 

It should be noted this water is only good for about 8 hours. So make some in the AM and you'll be done by the day's end. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Spud Soup

Literally the only thing I like about cold weather is the fact that I can eat soup every single cold, winter night. So right before this week got us into the 60° weather I made sure to bust out what could be my last soup until next fall - Homemade |loaded| Baked Potato Soup. I've looked high and low for the just right recipe - it had to be both creamy and chunky, but still be like soup. So I ended up combining multiple ideas and after three rounds this winter I think I have finally perfected this recipe. 

| Ingredients |

5 large Russet Potatoes
2 cups Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Sour Cream
1 stick of butter 
1/2 cup (probably extra) Milk
5 strips of Bacon (I used veggie bacon)
1/2-1 cup Tortilla Soup Broth
Dash of Salt + Pepper
2 Cloves of minced Garlic
2 tsp Onion Powder

First, cook your bacon how you like and let cool before you crumble it then melt your stick of butter on low heat in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Then peel and chop your potatoes. Toss your chopped taters in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and reserve and set aside about 2 potatoes worth (maybe 2 cups...) - these will be your chunks in the soup so add more or less depending on how you like it. Mash the remaining potatoes and add that to the melted butter and stir well. 

In your stock pot you should have your melted butter and your mashed potatoes. Add about 1/4 cup of the broth - I use this specific tortilla soup broth because it adds SO much flavor, because we both HATE chives so there's no way I was adding that. The amount of broth and milk that you add is really up to how thick or runny you like your soup. So as I added various things like cheese and sour cream I would add more liquid to make it less thick.

Once you add your broth you can add the milk and whisk together. Then add 1 cup of cheese and about 4 strips of bacon worth (reserve the rest for toppings). Stir together well.

This is about the consistency you should be looking at now (obviously depending on your liquid to potato ratio). Add your seasonings of choice (I used salt + pepper + garlic + onion powder). Then add in some sour cream. Once all that is nice and flavorful add your potato chunks. From here I cranked up the heat for about 5 minutes just so I could make my soup nice and hot for serving. I didn't want my chunks to cook much longer because I didn't want them mushy. 

 Then just serve in bowls and add your leftover cheese + bacon + sour cream.

Yummmmmmnesssss. This is the best soup because you can't really go wrong. If you like it extra chunky reserve more potato chunks. If you like it more runny add more broth. I love that it uses mashed potatoes to make your 'base' instead of whipping cream or flour. Just more potatoes please! I love that it mixes in sour cream + cheese AND THEN you can add more as toppings - so all that flavor is all mixed in nicely. I really think the broth 'makes' this soup - it just adds so much flavor and a little kick.

Happy cooking!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Actually Made Something off Pinterest

It seems like all the time birthdays or other gift giving holidays sneak up on us and we are left the night before trying to think of something nice to gift our loved ones. This year was no different when we got smacked in the face with b's mom's birthday that we would be celebrating with our weekend trip up to Kansas City. So the night before we were set to leave I pursued the inter web in search of an easy/clever/inexpensive/cute idea to DIY. I came across this amazing website on pinterest and after browsing through most of them I settled on three of the ideas to create a sort of gift basket/package thing. 

I've been guilty (like tons of you) of loving ideas on pinterest but never really doing them because they seem too difficult or too expensive to make. But the Mint Eye Mask, the Chocolate Mint Soap and Chocolate Mint Body Scrub that I picked out to gift took me no time at all...really. I picked up all my supplies Friday around noon and had them finished by 5:30 that afternoon and just in time for B to get home around 6:30 so we could head out to Kansas City. And this was split up with packing and running around the house like a crazy person so really....they're easy.

First up is the Mint Eye Mask. I picked up a 1/4 yard of grey wool felt along with 4 colors of embroidery floss from Joanne's and some white rice from the grocery store. I knew I'd like to make extra masks (I also knocked out my sister-in-law's b-day gifts that falls later this month). The link lets you print off the template that makes for easy cutting and also comes with cute instructions tags for the eye mask wearer. 

Sorry for the no action shots, but I was short on time and it truly is that easy. Just pick a pattern that you want on the front of the mask and stitch that on, then lay two pieces together and stitch it up along the edges. Make sure the edges are tight stitches so no rice slips out. In my 1/2 cup of rice I added about 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and shook it around before I funneled it into the mask (once I had all but about 2 inches stitched up). Then I just finished that gap and voila!

The mask above is the one I made for my MIL and this one below is the one for my SIL. Yes they both got the same gifts for their birthdays, but they are planning a wedding together this year and I think they both might need some relaxation at some point.

Next up is the Chocolate Mint Soap. I went to Akin's (our local natural grocery/drugstore) and picked up the chunk of Beeswax for my soap base and my essential oil. I also used some mint leaves chopped up and 2 tbs of cocoa powder.

First you melt about 1/3 of the beeswax over a double boiler. Once that's a liquid turn off the heat and add in your chopped mint, cocoa and mint drops (about 10-15). Stir it all together and pour into your chosen soap mold (I just used a small ramekin).

Let this sit for about an hour to harden then pop it in the freezer for about 20 minutes so you can easily pop it out. I chopped mine up into large chunks and split it up so I could get two gifts worth. This soap lasts for about 3 months so I didn't want to give them too much at one time.

Finally I made the Chocolate Mint Body Scrub. Also at Atkin's I purchased a small bottle of Almond oil - this helps with the lubrication and hydration of the scrub. In a large bowl mix together 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tbs of cocoa powder. Stir together and get out most of the clumps then add 1/3 cup of Almond oil and 10 drops of Peppermint oil and stir together. Then just add to your sealable container of choice. 

Here is the Mint Chocolate Chip Relaxation Gift Bundle. I put the scrub in a wide mouth mason jar so it would be easy to seal up and scoop out. I wrapped the soap chunks in a cut up brown paper bag and added cute gift tags.

Price Breakdown:

Felt: 3.50
Embroidery Floss: 1.50
Heavy Duty Needles: .50
Rice: 1.50

Peppermint Essential Oil: 11.00
Cocoa: free (had on hand)
Mint: 3.00
Beeswax: 10.00

Brown Sugar: free (had on hand)
White Sugar: free (had on hand)
Mason Jar: free (had on hand

= $31.00

Divide by 4 (I can get 4 total masks out of the 1/4 yard felt, 4 total soaps out of the one block of beeswax, and I have enough mint to do 4 total gift sets, but I will for sure have left over essential oil and obviously sugars) = $7.75 each. I say that is quite the deal for a spa gift set. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Juicy McJuicerson Progress

Since I'm on day 16 of juicing maybe we're ready for a progress note? Short version: I love it and I'm so glad I'm doing it. You can stop there if you really want to, but I'll go into the machine and produce and recipes and flying lemons. 

Again, I'm using the 30-day Challenge recipes found from and they are awesome. They start you small with things like carrots, oranges and celery and move you in to scary things like cabbage for the second week and beet root for the third week. I have tried everything just as the recipe states, but maybe adding in an extra apple for sweetness. 

I found this awesome list on pinterest to help me narrow down what to buy organic and what I could save on by not purchasing it organic. I realized there is only one thing on the clean 15 that has been used in my recipes so far so for the first week I bought all organic from Target. Well about halfway through that first week I ran out of celery so I went to Sprouts (it's kind of like whole foods) and bought organic celery from there. I never, ever thought I would be the person that could tell the difference in store's produce but holy cow. Sprouts markets themselves as like a permanent farmer's market and try to use local and only in season items. That celery tasted like it had just been plucked out the earth. It was crazy. So for the rest of the challenge I am just buying from Sprouts. About 90% of the things I buy are organic except if they have such a good sale on the non-organic items. I usually spend around $20-$25 for all the recipe items + extra for B. 

This was a recipe from this week which introduced beet root. I have never even touch a beet root before and boy they are weird. You cut them open and they are really hard, but really wet inside - and bright fuchsia. Like I think I could dye fabric with it. This particular drink had a lot of variety in it and I couldn't pin point one particular honestly just tastes like the produce department smells. 

This was the week they introduced spinach and cabbage. Not my favorite, but it was a pretty purple color. I could really taste the cabbage and this week I used red apples instead of green - never again. My red apples got soft like 3 days in and it effected the taste. Also, when a recipe calls for lemon you can leave the rhine on and you should because it has the most nutrients there. Actually I think I didn't peel anything, I washed off most of the produce (there was dirt everywhere) but I left the skin on everything but oranges.

And this is my fridge currently. Around week three I got my hubby to drink a glass of their "Eye Opener" recipe daily which is just carrots, apples and oranges so I picked up extra of those things for him.

I think that's the Eye Opener on the left and the Can't Beet It on the right. So, so good.

If you've been on instagram or Facebook you've seen me posting the recipes daily. Hopefully you can follow along or if anything just get ideas on what to juice yourself.

In regards to my juicer, I LOVE it. All of the reviews on it were great and I really think it could hold up to daily juicing for a while. It is so easy to clean - I probably just have to add an extra 10 minutes to my morning routine to prepare the produce, juice and clean up. Oh, but today I didn't put my hand over the chute fast enough when I popped a lemon down there and it came flying back out. Haha, first produce mishap so not that bad. Well....except for all the cabbage guts that I just saw on my cabinet.

As per how I feel....the first week I didn't notice anything. I would have my glass first thing in the morning usually with nothing else and then the rest of the day would go as regular. I think in the next week when we started adding in more unique things and especially this week I can tell. I've had to juice later in the day once during the work week and I can definitely notice my energy level is effected if I don't juice first thing in the AM. Also, I am so so so thirsty. Like, I cannot get enough water. I am assuming this is because the produce is helping detox my body naturally and to help get those toxins out my body needs more water. This has been awesome because I have always struggled with getting enough water...I am just not a thirsty person.

I am hoping after the challenge to incorporate recipes that are specific to my health needs (stress reliever, complexion, migraine reducer, more energy, etc) because I am still having small headaches throughout the week. Hopefully that will start to change.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's For Dinner?

One of my BFFs got married just last month and her rehearsal dinner was held at this place called Pizza Bella. It's located near downtown Kansas City, Missouri and is a very intimate, upscale brick oven pizza joint. Also, it's delicious. BUT while we were there they served us the most delicious brussel sprouts I have ever tasted. They had been roasted somehow with a slight burnt end, but overall slightly crunchy.

So when I saw b-sprouts go on sale I thought I'd pick up a bag and test it out myself. Fun story: once I confused brussel sprouts for alfalfa sprouts - this was obviously before my veggie connoisseur days.

I was a little intimidated by these little guys - what do you eat? where do I cut? what do I peel? But with a quick internet search I found that they are actually really easy to prepare.

First, peel off any loose or icky looking leaves. Then, chop off the core end about 1/4 inch up depending on the size of the sprout.

Place the b-sprouts in a baking pan or on a baking sheet that has a little bit of EVOO in it. Then drizzle some more EVOO on top and sprinkle with any seasonings you desire. I topped mine with cracked pepper, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.

I popped mine in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes at a time, shaking the pan and turning it in between. But.....this is where I failed. The one thing (ok, not true) the internet disagrees on is how long to bake b-sprouts. 16 minutes with a turn in between? 40 minutes with a shake in between? I guess it all depends on how crispy you want your leaf edges...I tried to incorporate both cooking times. I tested a sprout at about 20 minutes in and it was good. The edges weren't as crispy as I would've wished so I popped it back in for more time. Then more time. And they came out looking a hot, crispy, burnt, weird tasting mess. 

This is how they should look (picture me all Vana White like, showcasing you glorious brussel sprouts). I picked around my charred mess and some of the very insides of some sprouts were edible, but not good by any means. 

So I did what any normal person would do and had my BFF email the owner of Pizza Bella asking for their b-sprout cooking method. But for real, I did. She was at the rehearsal dinner and she was amazing. We talked about her work at Pizza Bella and how she just opened up another location and how she runs things like a boss (well she is the I don't need their seasoning recipe so hopefully she won't think I'm trying to steal her masterpiece and just tell me how to cook brussel sprouts already! We'll see. 

Update: I've since gotten the Pizza Bella recipe and have even tweaked my own here and there. I honestly think it's all about your oven heat. So all ovens heat differently so times will vary. I have learned to keep checking every 2 minutes after the initial 20 minutes. I also do like mine a little burnt so I just kind of keep an eye on the edges. But try these! They're delish. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Love This App

I recently purchased and download a new app on my iPhone and I love love love it. It's called Waterlouge App and it's only $2.99. I have a bagillion photo editing apps on my phone and this may be my new favorite. It lets you turn any images you have on your camera roll in to beautiful watercolor high-res images.

You can change the watercolor effect with a few simple filters as well as making the paint tone lighter or darker. I saved all of these at medium, but there is a large option. I pulled the medium up in Photoshop and it was huge so I bet the large would make a nice print quality option. 

These were all just simple iPhone pics I had hanging out on my camera roll. I love that the creators even got the texture of watercolor paper to come through.

How cool would a bunch of succulents ran through this app and printed out in large 12x12 be? The answer is really cool, by the way.

This particular shot and the one below I took a little step further and opened them up in Photoshop to remove the background (the roses were shot against our beadboard wall and the air plant image picked up too much wall texture for my liking). 

I have always enjoyed the simple, fluid look of watercolor art, but I am no where near talented enough to create it. Of course these will never beat the real thing, but heck for some inexpensive artwork to hang or even gift, it's worth it.