Campbells ain’t got nuttin’ on me.

Like those Hollywood girls that can sing, dance, act, and “design” clothes, I’m slowly turning a fecta to the nth degree when it comes to this blog. Soon, very soon, I’ll be pulling out the big guns for a yoga-palooza, which I cannot wait to unveil. (I suppose I shouldn’t have guns and yoga in the same sentence, so, instead, I’m pulling out the big singing bowls.) I’ve also got plans to bring more natural skin care & fashion to the site. But taking baby steps, today I start down the wheat free route. Being gluten free is kind of a big deal when it comes to my diet, and I want those with gluten issues ranging from mild sensitivities to full blown allergies and Celiac to be able to come here for reviews and recipes that don’t make them feel like outsiders.  (Note: I’ve yet to find a gluten free pizza crust that is both indulgent and sinful. Find me one and I’ll reward you handsomely. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.)

I’ve been gluten free for about two months, and though I admit I have my days where I walk by the bread sample at the grocery store and bitch about not being able to have a slice with butter, the initial pangs and feeling-like-an-outsider-irritations are starting to subside. However, I still have to be on my toes for wheat that is lurking in the most unsuspecting of recipes. Case in point: soups.  I’m a Mainer—I mean, Mainah—and lobster bisque is off the menu. So is fish chowder. Why? Because these types of soups are thickened using flour. Even the seemingly harmless tomato soup features a roux of flour and butter, and, unfortunately, the smallest bit sets me off. Thankfully most soups have allergens immediately listed at the top of the label, so I can get to the disappointment in 5 seconds instead of 30 seconds of hopeful and baited breath. Not to be divorced from the creamy, red goodness of tomato soup, I dug through Google until I found a most satisfying alternative.

Thank goodness for gluten free mamas! This recipe is from the blog Gluten Free Mom. Thank youuuuuu!

Wonderful Tomato Soup –> Click on title for the recipe & full blog post from Gluten Free Mom

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 5 large tomatoes chopped – if you do not have fresh tomatoes you can use 2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 T tomato paste (freeze the leftover paste for later use)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 1/2  T dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 T salt (or to taste – we always add a little more)
  • 2 t pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or a casein free alternative such as almond milk)

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium low heat.  Saute the onions and carrots until tender,  about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and stir well.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are very tender.”

In batches put the soup through a food processor, or use an immersion stick. Of course I used this as yet another opportunity to use my blend stick. After you’ve gotten it to the desired consistency, add the cream or almond milk. Gluten Free Mom says the almond milk makes the soup taste sweeter, so you decide (I used cream.) I really loved the carrots, as they added a heartiness that is sometimes missing from tomato soup. Call me naughty, naughty, but I love salt and added an extra pinch as the recipe suggested. However, if there was anything to change it would be using a little less salt than the recipe asked for. Since this was the first time making it I decided to go with canned tomatoes, but next time I will definitely be using fresh ones.

This is one of my favorite soups and we were easily able to have eight good-sized bowls. Eeking out servings need not apply. Chris gave it many thumbs up. I made this on Monday and when I had the final bowl on Friday it still tasted awesome; Longevity is the hallmark of a great meal.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

PS: Check out my friend Jillian’s new food blog Zest & Honey. It’s awesome. She’s awesome. In the words of Nike: Just Do It

I had a hangover wahhh-ohhhhhh!

 

This past Saturday I celebrated the 21st anniversary of my mother pushing me out of her womb.  The build up, however, was not without some stress and finger wringing. A few days before my birthday I was contemplating what I wanted to do. Would I have a wild night reminiscent of my freshman year, or would I be reserved, mature, and have a glass of red wine at a swanky bar? I married the two and decided to be a reserved shit-show. Voila.  For someone who doesn’t drink often, I approached the day with gusto. I spent the first half of the afternoon drinking a six pack of Angry Orchard cider (1140 calories and 174 grams of sugar, oii vey!) and around eight I hit the rum bottle hard and made it a little more than half way through. All in all I consumed nearly 2,000 calories in alcohol and an unknown amount of sugar. Needless to say, I didn’t feel solid again until 6pm the next evening. I don’t plan on drinking that much again for a very, very long time. However, I fully encourage people who are turning 21 to show their wild side. It’s the one day where it’s 100% socially acceptable to be a little drunk, so take advantage. I think I would have been bummed having a ‘classy’ night.

Now on to the less sexy side of drinking: the hangover, or as my mother loves to say ‘Paying the Piper.’ Around 1pm I was able to stay up long enough for a delivery order of Chicken Charlie’s ribs and fries. I initially had these rather sanctimonious plans of curing my hangover through natural ways.

Obviously, those were thrown out the window, making way for grease, Advil, and Netflix. Dutiful Chris propped me up, and I decided he deserved many bites for dealing with my drunken antics when I had arrived home. Satisfied, and still a little woozy, I went back to bed.

For the next few days I went on an unusual binge of junk food. I got an iced coffee (no lie, though, it is the best when hung-over), and took several trips to McDonalds for their fries, which I’m convinced they fry in liquid crack. I hit rock bottom the night I got the femme-fatale of drinks:  Shamrock Shake.  Worst stomach cramps ever.  I realized I needed to get back on the green smoothies, baggies of vegetables, and glasses of water. What had brought me down this path?

My theory: the initial hangover.  I’m someone who’s always dehydrated after a night of drinking, and, stupidly enough, I hate drinking water when my tummy is doing the wAvE. However, when you’re really hung-over you need more than water. You need to replace your electrolyte imbalance which has been altered due to all  the time you’ve spent peeing.  Coincidentally, most easy to reach for junk foods are packed with sodium, so it’s almost like we’re naturally drawn to them as we mutter to ourselves ‘never again.’

My theory continues.  You all know how addictive junky, sugary, and salty foods are. Unfortunately, it can only take a few days of this style of eating for our bodies to start craving these foods. Yikes! This makes it additionally harder to eat healthy as a college student if you’re the type who drinks Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and, just for kicks, once during the week. Not only are you probably living in a constant hangover, which doesn’t seem like a very fun or healthy existence, but to handle that hangover you’re probably filling yourself with junk food because it feels good.

Now is the time for tough decisions. If you truly want to live a healthier life you are going to have to cut down on the drinking. Heavy drinking wears on your liver, your organs, and can even make you look a few years older than you are. It’s nice to go out for a drink with a meal. It’s relaxing to have some friends over for movies a few glasses of wine. Here and there won’t have a huge affect, but habitual binge drinking (yeah, admit it, its binge drinking—I did it all freshman year!) isn’t doing your organs, your waist, and possibly your friendships any favors. You really can go out and have fun without being obscenely plastered.  And finally, if you are going to drink please suck it up and pay the few extra dollars for higher quality. That $5 plastic handle of (insert Russian name) is a financial plus, but you’ll definitely feel it more the next day.  (source).

 

Check out these links to learn the science behind hangovers and ways to lessen the pain.

http://www.stateuniversity.com/blog/permalink/Surviving-a-Hangover.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_1953_care-hangover.html

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Like. A lot. Id say at the very least 7 hours a week. That’s pretty impressive for a college student! It’s where I bring together breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also log in some time scraping dishes, which is the less glamorous side of eating, though it does allow me time to  catch up on some Netflix watching. Last weekend I decided to make some raw vegan strawberry ice cream. It was delicious, which I knew it would be, but I was super surprised with how Martha Stewart I went with the presentation. Damn, it could have been featured in some home making magazine. See for yourself!

It all started with some cute little strawberries who had their eye on some bananas that were giving them the frozen-for-24-hrs-in-the-freezer shoulder.

 

But they had a plan, which involved me whipping out the food processor attachment of my Cuisinart blend stick. How awesome and transformer like is that?!  Blennnderrrrrr activate!

 

After a thorough puree job, the strawberries were starting to feel saucy ❤

...starting to feel saucy, much like Rosie Huntington Whitley in Transformers.

 

“Oh, didn’t think I’d see you here.”

 

 

Senorita Stir chaperoned the mix and mingle.

 

Uh-oh! Cinnamon wanted to get in on the action. Hey, this is a PG-13 page!

 

 

 

After some quality time in the bowl, the three ingredients settle down in some awesome wine glasses.

 

Chris approved!

 

 

This ménage-a-trois was not incident free.  A splooge of epic proportions!

 

All smart cooks wear their “whatever” clothes in the kitchen!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

Recipe:

4 bananas. Slice and freeze for at least 8 hours. Up to 24 is fine, though. (Slice before freezing to make your life easier)

2 handfuls of strawberries.

A dash of cinnamon.

Blend together.

Easiest thing ever. And it’s just strawberries and bananas, so you can totally eat this for breakfast.

 

I didn’t win best dressed in High School for nuttin’

You know my thoughts about wearing sweatpants to class. Unless you’ve been up all night with the worst sickness imaginable, and are dutifully dragging yourself to an 8am, it just shouldn’t happen. Dressing nicely makes you feel good. It’s like an instant dose of confidence to get you through the day. And trust me, you don’t have to have a big budget in order to look cute. 90% of my closet is second hand clothing from the Goodwill or Plato’s Closet. Here’s one of my favorite outfits, which employs awesome layering and accessories.

I build my outfits from the pants up. These are my favorite pair of jeans, which I got from Plato’s Closet. They’re City Girl jeans and you can find them for $30 at Macys. I’m a big fan of the skinny jean cut because they slide easily into my boots, and I can cuff them instead of getting them hemmed.

My boots are actually the most expensive part of the outfit. They’re Bandolinos and are the perfect boots if you live in a wet part of the country. The leather is soft, but sturdy, which means you don’t have to condition and shine them every time you step outside. Knee high boots look flattering on all legs. I notice boots that are above the knee or hit mid-shin have a tendency to knock a few inches off of someone, and at 5’3 I take all the inches I can get.

 

I’m also a wicked big fan of cardigans. This one is my absolute favorite. It’s 100% cashmere and I snagged it at Goodwill with my 30% employee discount; Cha-Ching! Magazines talk a lot about pieces that can go from day to night, but you should also look for items that can transcend seasons. This sweater is not too hot for the summer or too cool for the winter. Under it I’m wearing a men’s Landsend shirt. Men’s shirts are great because the arms are a little longer and wider, which makes casually rolling the sleeves a lot more comfortable. If you have a smaller frame, but big breasts, it can be really hard to find a button up that flatters your figure and accommodates the girls. The buttons either gape or you’re swimming in the fabric. Finally, the longer length of the shirt is great for people who wish to wear leggings, but want a little more bum coverage.

Oh, why hello. Just feeling fly.

 

If I had worn this outfit with my leggings, I probably wouldn’t use the belt. That’s because you need to keep a ratio of loose to tight articles of clothing. But since I wore jeans, the belt really cinched everything together. I’m personally a fan of the smaller belts. To me big belts say ‘I’m really trying to create a waist.’ I feel your pain, girl’s with non-existent waists, as I go straight down, but the skinnier belt is subtler. Plus, you’re more likely to find one with quality leather compared to those nylon ones with shiny, pleather buckles.

Finally, we come to the accessories. Since this outfit is pretty compact (aka: not to billowy) I didn’t want to wear a big scarf to distract from the form and my faux waist. Instead, I decided to go with a delicate necklace. This necklace is actually made up of mala beads, which I handmade during Yoga Teacher Training. Believe it or not, it was a 4 hour, incredibly arduous task. I needed full concentration, as arts and crafts were never really my forte.

Holla for my mala!

 

Dressing well is really the delicious cherry on top. I eat well, which is has a huge bearing on my body’s shape, and I exercise to keep everything where I want it to be. Of course I don’t want to cover my body in drab clothes! I want to give it the respect and showcase it deserves, and you should too! Dressing fly makes you feel like this:

I'm ready for my close up!

 

And what in the world is better than that?!

 

New York & Co Cardigan: Normally $8.00 ($5.50 with GW discount)

Bandolino Boots: $110 on Sale from $160!!!

City Girl Skinny Jeans: $11

Men’s Landsend Shirt: Normally $4.99 ($3.50 with GW Discount)

Leather Belt: $1.99 @ GW (I didn’t have my employee card. No discount for me that day. Good thing I wasn’t breaking the bank!)

Mala Beads: Blood, sweat, tears. Priceless.

Watch: $10 Rite Aid. I always break watches & sunglasses, so I buy them cheap.

 

So, for the love of all things snazzy, peel yourself out of those sweats and into something fabulous! ❤

Jocellyn

Sweet Treats

Today we’re going to talk about some of my new favorite snacks. I’ve been adventurous lately and trying new things at the grocery store, which is keeping me from the dreaded food rut.  I needed something new to add to my arsenal of snacks to get me through today, and these Mediterranean staples have been helping me get by. Please welcome raisin, fig, prune, and date from the dried fruit family.

Dried fruits have been around since the BC era, and people love eating them because they are easy to transport, don’t drip/rot/bruise/, and have amazing health benefits. Despite their sweetness, studies have shown dried fruits don’t have a negative effect on people’s blood sugar levels, because the amount of fiber in each delicious bite slows down the amount the sugar being released. (Source) Plus, fiber keeps you fuller longer, which means less mindless snacking throughout the afternoon. We’ve all heard the seductive call of the vending machine, right?And for someone like me (who has embarrassing oral hygiene) the sticky properties of dried fruits aren’t actually going to give you cavities. In fact, dried fruits can actually increase the health of your mouth. Recent studies show that “Bioactive compounds found in raisins and dried plums appear to have antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.” Looks like an extra handful for me! (Source)

 

My favorites are raisins. They aren’t as sexy as pomegranates or blueberries, but raisins are actually antioxidant rich and have a long shelf life. They are extremely economical and are a great addition to cereals, homemade GORP, oatmeal, and granola. They are known to lower bad cholesterol and your chance of getting heart disease. I’m personally a fan of the Golden Raisin because they are a bit juicier.

I’ve also been test driving (test chewing?) some dates. I’ve used them before in cooking—they are one of the few ingredients needed to make a mean raw chocolate mousse—but hadn’t eaten them much on their own. Just three gives me the sugar fix I need with healthy doses of B-Vitamins and iron. Apparently, they are great for inebriated folks, so smuggle some into your purse or backpack before your night out.

But before you go shopping crazy, there are some caveats to the dried food world. Fruits like cranberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and even mangoes can be found in a delicious, dried variety. However, companies generally add sweeteners as well. Even more tasty is papaya and pineapples, but those are almost always candied. These are totally okay every now and then, but aren’t healthy in the long run. Instead just buy these fruits in their natural form, which are just as amazing.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn