If you’ve ever had fresh made pesto, you know that it’s just about one of the best things ever. The only problem with that is…I’m allergic to garlic, and there’s garlic in EVERYTHING, including pesto. So, in my quest to cook and eat healthier, I looked around for an easy, tasty pesto without garlic and discovered that it’s actually super simple! The spinach part…well, that wasn’t really on purpose. I’m not sure if it’s a Florida thing, but fresh basil is hard to come by outside of an actual basil plant. I just happened to have a large amount of fresh spinach and said “why not?” Thankfully, it turned out deeeee-lish. Here’s how I make it:
2 cups spinach
1-2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (almonds work, as well)
1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
⅓ cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
Makes: about ½ cup pesto. Prep/cook time: 5 minutes.
Add the spinach, olive oil, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, parmesan, salt, and pepper to food processor.
Pulse until mixture is creamy and evenly mixed, scraping sides of bowl periodically. Add ingredients as needed, to taste.
If you know me, then you know I love coffee. I love everything to do with coffee. The smell, the taste, the action of drinking it. It’s pure heaven….Mmm…coffee…
Pardon me, I was having a moment. So yeah, I love coffee! Over the holidays, I was surfing Pinterest (as many do) for some pinspiration and discovered several recipes for DIY coffee sugar scrub. “Hey! I can make that!” I said to myself. Because I talk to myself. It’s cool, I’m not crazy…Anywho, I thought I would share how I did it!
Here’s what you need:
3 parts used coffee grounds (upcycling, baby!)
2 parts sugar (you can use white, brown, whatever floats your boat)
1 parts oil (I prefer coconut, but you can use whichever)
Any add-ins/flavors. I’ve done vanilla and pumpkin spice in the past. For this batch, I used dark chocolate cocoa powder. Smelled amaze-balls, y’all.
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Mix 3 parts (cups, tablespoons, random spoonful) coffee grounds, 2 parts sugar, and 1 part oil in a medium bowl. Add any mix-ins, like vanilla or chocolate for scent.
Step 2: Stir.
Step 3: Test it out on your hands to make sure the proportions are right for you.
Step 4: Transfer to container of your choice! I’m a mason jar kind of girl, personally.
Step 5: Enjoy your newly exfoliated and nourished skin!
Who doesn’t love fresh guac? The other day I realized I had two good sized avocados that were about to be over ripe. So, I checked around my kitchen and realized I had all the fixins’ of one of the best snacks of all time: guacamole! 🥑
Onion (I had like a little red onion, so that’s what I went with, but typically yellow is the way to go)
Chilis (jalapeños work best. I happened to keep hatch green chilis on hand 🤷🏼♀️)
1-2 tsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Serving size: 40 g
1. Dice the onion and tomato into small pieces.
2. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit (either by using a knife or just squeezing it out if the avocado is ripe enough), and scrape into a bowl.
3. Add the tomatoes, onion, about 2 tsp hatch chilis, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and mix.
4. Depending on your preferences, you can add more spices to the mix. I like a good amount of flavor, so I added 1 tsp of cayenne and 1 tsp cumin.
Let’s just get one thing clear: going to the gym sucks. Working out sucks. Right now it’s 41 degrees outside (in Florida – WHAT?!), so getting up this morning to go to the gym was just…hard. Kona woke me up at 3 AM to go poop. No vomiting, no diarrhea, no worms (all of which has happened since we adopted her in October. Fun times). Just…normal poop. At 3 AM. Really? You couldn’t wait THREE HOURS? Good thing you’re real cute, girl.
Anyways. I did NOT have motivation to go to the gym this morning. And yet…I went. And I feel very proud of myself that I did. Like I said, working out sucks. You know what doesn’t? ENDORPHINS. Elle Woods had it so right.
Here are my expert (because I’ve been doing this so long! All of two weeks!) tips to getting fit and healthy:
Find what motivates YOU. For me, it’s walking. I get in the zone when I walk with Kona or on the treadmill. I’ve tried classes and exercise routines at home and videos. None of them worked for me. But I love to walk. I put on a book on tape or Netflix and zone out for 30 minutes or so. Presto – I’ve worked out! I sometimes add the elliptical or weights, but the treadmill is my go-to.
Portion size and calorie counting. Get yourself an food tracker app or a fitness tracker with a calorie counter built into the app, like Fitbit. Pay attention to serving sizes on the labels and STICK TO THEM. Over the holidays, The Hubs and I both gained several lbs because we were eating out with family and friends so much. After we got home, we started eating normal portions again and I lost a whole belt loop. From just eating smaller portions. Magic!
Start small. Go for a walk somewhere pretty. Do a few weights. Spend 10 minutes on the treadmill. You don’t have to go full speed out of the gate. You’re changing your lifestyle, not running a marathon. Unless you actually do want to run a marathon, which…good for you. I’ll be watching from the sidelines (do marathons have sidelines?).
Find a buddy! It’s so much easier having The Hubs on this “health journey” (I really don’t know a less cringey way too phrase that, guys…). We can commiserate and whine and celebrate our achievements together.
Track achievements other than weight loss. It can be very discouraging to go to the gym and do the work, and then not see the results on the scale. But guess what? Muscle weighs more than fat! And there are other milestones than a lower scale number! The Hubs and I have a calendar where we put a sticker (#teacher) on each day we work out. Our goal is to work out 4 times a week, and our calendar is looking pretty fancy, y’all. And remember, just because the scale says you’ve only lost 2 lbs in two weeks doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Two weeks in and I’m only 2 lbs down…but also 3 belt holes down. Progress!
Don’t do diets. Diets suck. Depriving yourself of your favorite things just makes you feel crappy if you cheat. Eat what you want, just in smaller portions. Add more vegetables! There are so many ways to make the yucky veggies from your childhood taste amaze-balls. Roast them! Sauté them! Add more whole grains! Eat better fats! Do your research and find ways to eat your fave dishes in a healthier way. It’ll be easier to stick to it if you do.
Anyways, that’s my two cents. Do what you want, but remember Elle Woods. It might save your husband’s life…
Step one: Season chicken with vaguely Indian-sounding flavors. I used curry powder, cumin, and The Hubs’ fancy-looking garam masala powder. Throw in a pan with some olive oil and cook on medium.
Step two: flip chicken halfway through to brown evenly on both sides.
Step three: Chicken will be done when it reaches 165 degrees or higher. Don’t have a instant read thermometer? I didn’t either, but thankfully The Hubs asked for one for our wedding! Thanks, babe.
Step four: Pull the chicken off and slice into pieces. Pour the leftover butter chicken sauce into the pan to heat up, with the plan to add the chicken when the sauce is hot. Watch the sauce OVER heat and burn a little, then add the chicken. Oops.
Step five: Get the other leftover Indian food (we had more rice and navratan korma still), heat that up in the trusty microwave, and mix it in. Cross your fingers that it tastes good.
Step six: Pour yourself a big glass of wine and enjoy your bastardized Indian leftovers with whatever floppy-eared pup you have available while watching your favorite HGTV home renovation show.
What leftovers or dishes have you had to rescue? Let me know!
Want to cook some chicken, but it’s frozen solid? Or did you just forget to pull it out of the freezer, even though The Hubs (aka my husband) asked you several times…Yeah, that happens a lot. But, thankfully, it’s pretty easy to quickly get it de-frozen (that’s totally a word!).
Step one: get your chicken and a bowl. (Shout out to Costco’s giant bags of frozen chicken – you the real MVP here.)
Step two: put the chicken in a plastic bag.
Step three: add COLD water to the chicken bowl. Don’t add hot water, you’ll get sort of cooked, gross chicken.
Step three: wait about 30-60 minutes, check and/or flipping halfway through. If you need to, dump out the water and put fresh water in. The point is to get the ice up to thawing temperature.
Step four: cook the chicken! I pulled my chicken out to add it to some leftover butter chicken (yum!) for dinner.