Food Porn: The Best Kind of Porn

Lately I’ve been playing around with my camera. In my Food Gone Wild section I didn’t really give it enough credit. And then I started looking at reviews of it online, and I found out that for the size and price it’s a pretty impressive camera. I’ve been playing around with all the different aperture settings and making the best of the morning light. Here are some recent pictures that have been minimally edited.  I pray the kitchen in my next apartment has amazing lighting as well! I call this series, A Typical Morning– hehe

 

Recently I’ve been photographing a lot of citrus, because it looks so delicious with the right lightening. Well, eggs are also yellow (and delicious), so I thought I’d try my hand at shooting them as well. Look at that yolk! Shout out to Shadow Farms eggs for making me super happy every morning.

 

Greek Yogurt & Blueberries

As you can see, I go pretty heavy on the protein in the morning. Typically I have two eggs and a little cup of Greek yogurt with berries. For the weeks I buy my Udis gluten free toast, I would do eggs, a slice of bread, and a piece of fruit. Last night for dinner I wasn’t feeling very hungry, so I had a berry cup and a glass of red wine (pump up the antioxidants!) I couldn’t get through all the berries, so these were the leftovers. As you know, I’m a huge proponent of plain yogurt, be it Greek or regular, with fresh or frozen berries. That way you aren’t consuming the 20g-29g of sugar you would be getting with the fruit flavored kinds. Your waistline (or wherever you pack on the pounds) will thank you!

 

Breakfast of Champs!

 

Full Fridge.

For the first time since we signed our lease, Chris and I starved. Okay, I use the term starve lightly, of course (I’m not that first world insensitive…), but for someone who eats many mini meals a day, the one day of scrounging around for food was torture. Not to mention, I spent a lot of money buying three meals out. I was so excited to have a full fridge again! The lower section has essential been turned into my greens-for-juicing shelf! Those three kiwis are a little overripe, so I plan on making some kiwi sorbet. The smaller Mason jar is my green tea and lemon toner, which has been working phenomenally! The six pack of beer is actually cider. If you are gluten free (or a hater of beer, which everyone should be—yuck), cider is your best friend. As a Vermonter I was all about the locally made Woodchuck, but recently I’ve branched out to Angry Orchard. We like to stock the fridge with lots of produce!

 

Take some pictures of your food! If you are interested, leave a comment here or in my Food Gone Wild section and I’ll feature your pics with a link back to your blog!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I Foresee a Brief Blogging Hiatus

Sorry, folks,

But exam season is upon us at Champlain College. Every year I try to tell myself I’m going to be a little more on top of it. Just like every summer I tell myself I’m going to have some fierce Gwen Stefani-esque abs.…Alas, it never happens.

I’m hunkered down in the library with a huge mason jar of water and lemon slices—so rustic and refreshing—toiling away at papers I should have started, like, not today. Why do my time management skills fly out the window come April?! Oh well, accepting my lack of appropriate planning and pushing forward.

If you don’t hear from me in the next week don’t be alarmed, for I am merely finishing out the school year, though I suspect I’ll be able to blog a little come Wednesday. Carry on my friends, through this insanely busy time.

Some brief tips

Lay off the Adderall!!! I mean it! This is especially true if you aren’t prescribed any. Take responsibility for your own actions (or, um, lack of?) and get your work done without the use prescription aid. Let’s say you manage to snag some from the mellow kid who sits behind you in math. What if he is on a higher dosage than you’re expecting? Then plan on being up all night and well into the next morning. Speaking from experience, there is a good chance your stomach will feel like crap, and you’ll look like a cracked out zombie during your presentation (the teeth grinding will be a major giveaway.) Not. Ever. Cute.

Remember to sleep. It’s tempting to pull all-nighters, but it’ll just make your next day harder. As much as it pains you, do what you can and get to bed at a (college) reasonable time. When I fall asleep before midnight, even if it’s only at 11:30, I sleep much better and actually wake up a lot earlier. If that’s pushing it, try to get before 1:30am at the latest!

Eat Mindfully!!! When you’re stressed and aren’t running on enough sleep, the unhealthy side seeks its opportunity to take over. It suddenly seems like a better idea to order lots of delivery food and snack on chips from the vending machine. Snickers and Red Bulls are a great energy jolt, right? Exam time is prime time to put on a few extra pounds, believe it or not! If you can find the time to go to the grocery store for a quick run, do so. Stock up on fruits, veggies, single serving Greek Yogurts, etc. Your insides and waist line will thank you after exam week is over.

Schedule a 5 minute break every hour. Get up and move around. Go to the bathroom. Step outside for a few minutes of cool air to rejuvenate your senses. Heck, even take some time to creep on Facebook—if  you know you have this small window of opportunity, you’ll be less likely to scroll through funny Memes and statuses before you realize you’ve wasted a half hour!

Good luck, my friends, on your academic endeavors! See you soon.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Yoga Mania! Flip It Upside Down!

Hello!

Last week I posted a yoga sequence for lovers of headstand. Alas, there where probably some people who couldn’t do a headstand.  Have no fear, here’s the tutorial on how to do one! Burst into the world of inversions with confidence and strength. It may not be so graceful at the beginning, but that will come with time and practice!

Namaste & Peel Away!

Jocellyn

Getting Creative With Snacks

Snacking is an essential part of healthy eating. It’s not ideal or necessarily healthy to live off of 3 meals a day. You’ll ping pong back and forth between hunger that brings on a less than savory attitude and fullness that makes you want to first unbutton your pants and then pass out for a few hours. Instead, you slowly have to get used to always feeling content—i.e. never too full or too hungry. I admit it’s a hard line to walk. As a culture so used to feeling stuffed, it can be hard to stop before you reach that point. That’s why having an arsenal of snacks at your disposal is important. Make room in your purse and backpack for fruits (fresh and dried), sliced veggies, and healthy yogurt. These foods are easily transportable, but sometimes you want something a little more “decadent” for when you’re at home and can lounge around while noshing. This past week, in the comfort of my kitchen, I tried out a little mix-and-match that delivered tasty results.

Exhibit A

So, I love smoked salmon. Like, adore smoked salmon. It’s a little slippery, a little chewy, and a little salty. Plus it has your omega-3s and protein. If you’ve ever been at a party that serves smoked salmon, the fishy goodness is probably encasing a wad of cream cheese. As delicious as cream cheese is, it’s not something I want to add to my diet on a regular basis. And as delicious as raw salmon is on its own, I wanted something extra to help fill me up. And then it hit me: find something sweet! I perused my refrigerator and freezer until my fingers settled upon the bowl which was holding some frozen red grapes. I love, love, love freezing my red grapes, because it makes them at least 3x sweeter—think healthy “candy.” I wrapped the grape up in the salmon and popped it into my mouth. A-friggin-mazing.

Benefits of Smoked Salmon

Benefits of Red Grapes

Exhibit B

I settled on this delight yesterday during my 15 minute break at work. In my bag I had a jar of peanut butter, an apple, and some pitted dates. An apple didn’t seem that appetizing, and it’s too depressing to eat peanut butter off a knife. So, I told myself, why not slather some peanut butter on my dates, which had been perfectly warmed and gushy-fied from sitting in the car all afternoon? Heaven. The sweetness of the dates made me think of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sans the jelly which is usually filled with added sugars and the bread which is carb city.

An important aside, I strongly encourage everyone to develop a taste for natural peanut butter. Until recently I was stuck on the generic kind, which isn’t that much worse from you, but has a lot of added fats and chemicals that are unnecessary. Chris had always been a fan of the natural PB and would sanctimoniously hold his habits over mine. Oh, the shame I felt for many months. One random day I finally worked up the courage to try his stuff. It definitely wasn’t as sweet as what I’d been eating, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. After I few tries I was hooked on Teddie’s and haven’t looked back since. 

Natural VS Regular Peanut Butter

The Joys of Dates and Other Dried Fruits

Don’t be afraid to play mad scientist with your snacks. Who cares if it’s weird as long as it tastes great to you and is nourishing your body? I love fruits and veggies, but, not going to lie, sometimes even I get bored of chopped peppers and fuzzy, wuzzy Kiwis.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Yoga Mania: Clothing

Here’s the clothing video! Since I didn’t have them when I was shooting, I forgot to mention the infamous pants

I didn’t like. They’re from the GAP, which stunk because I’m normally so in love with that store. Some of the reviewers seemed to have the same issue as me. The pants didn’t sit high enough and I was constantly pulling them up. I’m super sorry to the people in the yoga class I taught who had to stare at my red thong for an hour. And to my teacher Ashley who assisted me in many butt-crack revealing forward bends.

 

 

Some yoga-spiration. My old RA Brooke was doing a photo shoot and asked me to “model” for her. When I was born everyone thought I was going to be six feet. That clearly didn’t happen, but I always jump at the opportunity only afforded to long-legged ladies.

A rather ambitious early morning back-bend. But it felt ohhh so good. Hey, those are the pants! They look quite deceiving, right? Ps: when will they invent deodorant that blends into black skin?

When all else fails do everything but straight up! It’s much easier to balance your body when you have weight on both sides. It also adds some pizzazz.

I’ve moved on from crow to crane, which was only natural because crow encourages you to keep your butt low, and I’ve always been a fan of showing it off 😉 I admit, in the beginning it was sooo painful to press my knees into my arms, but that pain passed. If there is any posture I’ve been working with forever, it has been this one. I’m always finding ways to get stronger. Ohh, you can see the tell-tale gap in my pants; troubled waters be ahead!

 

Peel Away<3

Jocellyn

 

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

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

Vitamins

To supplement or not to supplement? That is the question. Many stores have sections entirely dedicated to multi-vitamins and single vitamin supplements. They come in pretty bottles, some with scenes of nature depicted on the side, and millions of Americans buy them in hopes of riding themselves of any potential health problems. However, there are few reasons to be wary of taking vitamins.

For starters, I’m by no means putting down the use of vitamins. I happen to take some (when I remember to) but what tends to happen is people look to pills to get the vitamins they need when they should be looking towards a healthier, balanced diet. Why pop a vitamin C pill when you can eat some lovely citrus? One cannot rely solely on these pills to get the vitamins they need. Another vitamin pit-fall people should watch out for is the multi-vitamin. These honkers consist of ten or more vitamins packed into one pill fit for a horse or human without a sufficient gag-reflex. That’s a lot of different chemicals to be consuming all at once.

On top of that, vitamins are pretty damn finicky. Some need to be consumed with water. Some need the aid of a juice packed with vitamin C to be absorbed. Some need a swig of milk. Some vitamins, like B12, need to be taken in conjunction with another vitamin—in B-12’s case it needs a B6—to work. Some vitamins need to be taken on an empty stomach and some need food. Don’t even get me started on the back and forth debate on whether or not calcium supplements are beneficial for women or actually a hindrance. See how confusing it can get and how you might be spending top dollar to take a vitamin your body might be unable to process. Again, look to food first and then vitamins.

My advice? Ditch the multi and figure out what supplements you really need.  A good B-12 vitamin is essential for vegans or anyone who doesn’t consume a lot of animal products. Iron is great for women who avoid red meat and have heavy periods. Again, make sure you research, research, research what you plan on swallowing. Consumer lab is a great place to see what products have been cited for incorrect labeling.

Food and health topics, much like politics, can be very heated and exaggerated on both sides. But I’d rather err on the side of safety and become more aware of what is going in or on my body than blindly swallowing some pill that has trace elements of lead—oops. Check out this video on my two favvvvvorite supplements.

2 common scenarios to watch out for (Warning: They’re all poop alerts. Sorry people, but what you snot, sweat, pee, and poo can be a good indicator of what’s going on in your body)

Scenario 1: You go to the bathroom and notice your #2’s are looking a little darker than usual. Are you dying? Well, if you have started taking iron supplements, then those are probably the culprit—phew. Your body can only absorb so much iron, so the dark color is your body expelling the excess. Some doctors will say this is good because it shows you’re absorbing a good amount of iron and that if you aren’t experience this effect then you should try a different dosage.

Scenario 2:  Your gal friends have recently encouraged you to start taking prenatal pills because it has made their hair, skin, and nails look absolutely vibrant. The one problem is you are starting to feel like Whitney Houston (RIP) moments before she asked Bobby Brown to help her, erm, expedite some situations (for those of you who don’t remember/know: google. ) The culprit is iron levels that are too high. Try some biotin instead and return to strain free bathroom moments.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

First video!!!

Hello!

Can I just start out by saying having a full weekend off has been amazing? I feel like I’ve been so productive and able to creep into my day. Hopefully my boss will pull some strings so this becomes the norm. I’ve been far too spoiled with free Sunday’s the past two weekends, and I don’t know if I could possibly go back to the life as it was.

I have some exciting news to bring. As of today, this blog will now feature video content! Exciting, I know. Now, I’m not going to become the next Martin Scorsese, but I’ve been playing around on the Windows Movie Maker, and I feel comfortable enough to bring you this first video where I talk about 2 exciting food purchases I made this week.  Actually, there is a prior video… Maybe I’ll whip it out after I’ve become a video editing whiz as a whole “haha, look how incompetent I was” post. +2 points if you can find my awesome splice job. Fact one: I’ve definitely learned that if I mess up (or have to stop the video because my bread timer goes off) that I need to pause beforehand and pause before I begin so I can more easily edit out mistakes or my hand reaching to turn off and on the camera; aren’t I a quick learner!

So rest those tired, over worked eyes and listen to my sweet, sultry voice exclaim to the high heavens the benefit of trying new things!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

Cast Your Vote

Jamie @ The Unseasoned Wok

As you know I fall rather easily in love with kitchen appliances. I like appliances that can do many things. My Cuisinart blending stick= whisk and food processor. I like appliances that can only do one thing, but do that one thing very well; how did I live before acquiring my zester? When it comes to my pans I like it simple. I’m not interested in these pans with Teflon coats, shine that will wear off the second you try to sizzle some bacon, or pretty flower doodles on the side. When it comes to pans I think in terms of simplicity and functionality. I think back to more simple times when people carted their belongings around in covered band wagons. I’m channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder and her incredibly attractive father.

I’m talking cast iron pans.

I’m not sure why I don’t see them hanging in more people’s kitchens. Perhaps it’s because they’re a tad heavy or because they are not ornate. What ever the reason, I’m hoping to convince you to go Team Iron after this posting.

Cast iron cookware has been around for hundreds of years. They are the original non-stick pan, and they retain a lot of heat making them excellent for frying. Plus, they’re super versatile and can be put in the oven.

Preparation

The first thing you need to do with your cast iron before you use it is season the pan. Seasoning the pan gives it that great non-stick quality (yes for cutting down on arduous scrubbing time). People use many methods to season a pan. Some people use high quality fat drippings they’ve saved over time. Other people like to use oils. When I had to season my pans I used good ol’ Crisco. Seasoning a pan is a great rainy day activity, as the pan needs to sit in the oven for a few hours. Do some homework, watch movies, or clean the apartment. This video shows the technique I used. It seemed the most basic, and I haven’t had any trouble with my pans yet. I honestly loved the seasoning process. I instantly felt much closer to the food I would be eating. Most people recommend to re-season your pan yearly.

 

Segregation is only cool when doing laundry and cooking with cast iron

Now that you’ve accomplished the hardest part of owning cast iron pan, you just have to make sure you maintain them by cooking smart. A great thing about cast iron is that the pans hold in the flavor of the foods you cook in them. Chris and I use one of my mom’s old pans exclusively for eggs and only eggs. Occasionally omelet innards—tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and cheese—will find their way in, but we are really strict about what goes in to maintain the flavor. Come over to our house if you want some good eggs.  We also have three more pans. One is for cooking vegetables and the occasional pancake since it’s wider than the egg pan. The other is for our beef and chicken (if we are making stir fry we’ll add veggies.) I’ve tied a string around the handle of the meat one so we can tell the difference. The third one is my baby: the grill pan. It’s excellent for burgers of the beef and Portobello variety and great for fish. It doesn’t get the most use, but it has never let me down.

 

Treat it gently

One super important thing you need to remember when using cast iron is you have to clean it properly. Do not use soap or metal scrapers to clean the pan. Instead invest in a good sponge and a bristle brush that will never see the white of suds. Save the soapy sponges for the rest of your dishes. If you use soap it will eat away at the seasoning and will make you food taste blah. If you have something sticky in the pan, try to scrape it off while it’s still warm with a wooden spoon. It’ll make later cleaning much easier. In some occasions, you can get away with not washing it. We rarely wash our egg pan. Usually we just wipe it out, which is a luxury for fried egg aficionados. Users beware: don’t let it sit anywhere too long with water in it if you’ve got an unusually sticky mess. You’ll leave a rust stain in the bottom of your sink or on your counter, which means two things to scrub!

Health benefits

Cooking with iron can also reap surprising benefits. This summer when I was going through my soon to be discovered gluten issues, I went to get my blood checked for anemia. The doctors said my iron levels were fine, which I was mildly surprised by since I wasn’t super great at eating beans or taking supplements. It turns out that cooking with iron leaves traces of it in your food. Normally trace residue isn’t desirable, but in this case it helps out. This is great for vegans, vegetarians, and women in general, as we need to consume a sizeable amount of daily iron because of menstruation. The only people who should be concerned are people with an excess iron condition called hemochromatosis.

I strongly encourage you to add a cast iron pan or two (or three, or four) to your kitchen repertoire. Your food will taste better, cleaning will be easier, your health might increase, and you’ll feel more rustic. Yee-haawww!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn