Friday, September 24, 2010

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

I would like to start out this post by saying that today I FINALLY went to the grocery store. I loaded my cart up with all sorts of veggies-- broccoli, string beans, corn, carrots, romaine hearts, celery, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. Not very adventurous in my choices but it didn't matter to me, I just needed some green in my life again. When I got home I ate a huuuuge salad for dinner. I am satisfied once again :)

I almost want to profess my love for veggies in a tattoo. Our names enclosed in a sketched heart, like you see scratched in on trees. SKP + Veggies 4 Ever.

On to Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, which I use for body wash. I bought the almond scent and it is just heavenly. I seriously want to take a shower right now just so I can smell the soap. Here's what else I like about it:

- the ingredients list is nice and natural. No sodium laurel/laureth sulfate (SLS) here!

- I have read a few blogs where people use Dr. Bronner's to make laundry and even dishwasher detergent with it. That tells me people trust it both as gentle enough to not irritate skin when wearing the clothes, and as safe enough to clean the plate they eat off of. Another plus!

- For the past two or three weeks I've had a strange rash (or persistent bug bites) behind my knees. For at least two weeks I had bright red bumps. They were so gross looking I didn't want to wear shorts. After using the soap, I found that the following day the rash/bite was no longer red and completely flat. It is not completely gone but I feel like the soap has helped calm whatever irritation it is.

I even used it to wash my hair! I don't really recommend this... Haha. I only did so once because my current shampoo really irritates my scalp-- it gives me the itchies and every now and then flakes. Ew.

What I don't like about the soap holds true for all bars I've experienced; although lathery and lubricant at first, the soap leaves a weird film of almost sticky, water repellent material. The oil in the soap, perhaps?

I was previously using Pure & Natural's Almond Oil and Cherry Blossom scented body wash. I don't like it for two reasons; it has SLS and the scent wasn't so great. If you haven't already, I urge you to watch Annie Leonard's The Story of Cosmetics, where she talks about SLS a little. It's in the same format as The Story of Stuff. If you haven't seen that then definitely watch it also. You can find it at the same site. Leonard goes through US and global problems that we rarely think about day to day, but that we impact (and are affected by) through almost every choice we make.

I would definitely recommend Bronner's for people with sensitive skin or anyone who just wants to live life with less chemicals infused into their skin.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whole Foods Gift Card

Sing the title to "Ice Cream Paint Job."

Clean on the inside green on the outside
Clean on the inside green on the outside
Clean on the inside green on the outside
Clean on the inside green on the outside
Whole foods gift card.

Hehe. :)

My dad gave me a Whole Foods gift card while I was attending UTSA last spring. I never got a chance to use it because the closest Whole Foods was about 30 minutes away, and I *extremely* dislike driving in San Antonio ( I ALWAYS get lost somehow).

Recently I stumbled upon the gift card hidden in my wallet. I felt kind of like Sméagol when he discovered the ring.

I was so excited to go, I even dressed the part.

I bought a shirt with this design from Threadless back in the day, and what do you know they still sell them. Just an FYI, my Threadless shirts did shrink a bit more than I anticipated. Luckily this one shrunk perfectly. I look hot in it. Just sayin'.

Here is my haul. Can you believe this little bit of food cost me $34.26!? Well, I did buy some "superfoods," that are supposed to be dense in their nutritional values. I've had about half of these items before-- the other half I'm trying for my First Time. I'm denoting them with an asterisk here.

*Kaia Foods Chili Lime Kale Chips $4.99 - I've been wanting to try kale chips but was too scared to make them on my own. These tasted funky but I'm willing to try another brand before I swear off kale chips forever.
Two organic gala apples $1.39 - I'll probably have one of these with breakfast tomorrow.
Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness $3.99 - Probably the best value in the whole store. This is basically your green smoothie, premade. It's great because I don't have a blender. It also has spirulina and algae in it, stuff I wouldn't have put in my smoothies anyway.
Kashi GoLean Crunch! $2.99 - I used to eat nothing but cereal during my early HS days, and this was one of my favs. Watch out though, some of the granola nuggets are Really Crunchy.
*MaraNatha Crunchy Almond Butter $5.99 - Yummmm. Is the Whole Foods brand almond butter REALLY $13.99?
*Navitas Goji Berries $5.99 - These tangy little dried berries are yummy on top of my cereal or yogurt bowls. I will be buying these antioxidant powerhouses again.
*Navitas Raw Cocoa Nibs $5.99 - These taste great - at first. They have a very bitter aftertaste, something that probably has to do with the chocolate liqueur in the ingredients list. Next time I will try another brand.
Almond Dream Enriched Original $2.69 - No one can deny the smooth creaminess of almond milk.

You will definitely be seeing some future posts about how I incorporate some of these into my diet!

Have you had any of these items before? What's your favorite brand?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Juicy Salmon

Yup, that's what I've been eating a lot of recently! I've acquired the Boy's George Foreman grill, which is perfect for almost everything, and so so easy.

Here are my recent eats. I haven't bought new batteries for the camera yet, so these cell phone pics will have to continue to suffice. Sorry Y'all!

Mmm, this salmon is SO good. It is very juicy and moist when cooked on the George Foreman. I just toss these defrosted slabs on, shut the lid, and wait four minutes for a decadent main course. Usually I season these beforehand, but I forgot and was able to taste the salmon in all its glory. Very good. But I couldn't resist sprinkling a little lemon pepper on top to amp up my flavorgasm. I also had a mixed greens salad, some broccoli fettuccine alfredo, and lightly salted green beans.

Looks very appetizing, eh? I made this egg scramble with bella mushrooms, broccoli, and onions. I resisted the urge to put on cheddar cheese, and guess what? It tasted like there was cheese! I think the mushrooms tricked me. Those little devils. I'll be eating a lot more of them in the future.

This is another bahn mi sandwich, this time from Tam Deli and Cafe. I had veggie spring rolls, a tofu stir-fry bahn mi, and some French cream puffs. The sandwich itself was ok, but the spring rolls were very fresh and plump. I also tried vietnamese coffee, which is just black coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk, for the first time and I'm hooked. I've never had this flavor before. I like my coffee strong and the condensed milk added just the right amount of sweetness. I will visit again because 1) the spring rolls 2) the coffee 3) the cream puffs 4) Yelp is all over diz bitch.

Can you tell I used the GF grill? I seasoned these tenders with salt, pepper, and a dash of sugar (on a random whim). It kind of caramelized and added this extra oomph I've never had before. It was good but maybe a little too sweet (even for 1 teaspoonish). Served with green beans, leftover pasta, salad, and celery sticks.

This chocolate is GOOD! The sweet and spicy taste and the granular texture of the ginger is just amazing mixed with dark chocolate. My only complaint is not enough ginger! In the back is dark chocolate with cherries and almonds, also very noteworthy.

Yes, I did buy a giant bag of frozen chicken tenders and yes, this is what I'll be eating for a while. This time I baked them in the toaster oven with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a little (little too much that is) sage. Clockwise from top right: broccoli, cucumber, carrot, and celery, romaine lettuce with pecans and walnuts, chicken, and some really wicked sports shapes macaroni. I omitted the butter and added maybe two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, along with some extra milk.

I'm sorry! This breakfast looks even worse than the last one. For this scramble I used leftover chicken, shredded, and some cheddar. The sage tasted really good with the eggs. I also had a blob of Greek yogurt with a dollop of strawberry preserves. I think I'm getting the hang of Greek yogurt! Yippee!

This is what I eat when I'm out (and I mean OUT) of veggies. I don't have anything! Except for a small bunch of leftover parsley, which makes its debut in this naked spaghetti. I made it with a little olive oil, pepper, and chopped parsley. It was very good, but felt subpar because I didn't have any Parmesan. (Side note: I love HEB! I bought parmesan which turned out moldy, and without a receipt they gave me a full refund. That's customer service. Hearts.) Served with GF grill'd salmon.

What do you do when you have no food? No, not go to the grocery store. You go out to eat! This is a chicken guacamole BLT from Hyde Park Bar and Grill. I had it with a ceasar salad, sans dressing and with cheese on the side. I honestly would have preferred it without the chicken. And with avocado, not guacamole. I was really tempted to order the horseshoe, which is ground sirloin on Texas toast, with a pile of fries and cheese on top. I haven't had beef in a very long time. But I resisted! Go me. Maybe not next time, heh.

When I go out, I go all out. Fro yo from JuicyTart. I had chocolate, almond, hazelnut, and raspberry flavor yogurt topped with blueberries, raspberries, and a few chunks of chocolate. Like the sandwich from the Hyde Park grill, I didn't finish this. I was just too full.

And I had to study for my first exam at UT. Chemistry I. I'll let you guys know how I did.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Picture Heavy Update!

Lately I've been experimenting with various foods I've never cooked before. Fortunately, most turned out pretty good. Here are the ones I photographed.

Salmon, pan-seared with potatoes, carrots, and lemon pepper. Served with a simple salad, broccoli, and a piece of lemon for some drizzling-action.

Chicken and cheese enchiladas, pre-baking. I used a mix of several recipes from google, but they all looked pretty similar to Jenna's from Eat, Live, Run.

Nooch! I finally restocked on nutritional yeast. This salad had sweetened pecans and walnuts, strawberries, nooch, my homemade honey mustard vinaigrette, and some random cheese I accidentally got instead of parmesan.

Italian dinner! My first time using ground turkey instead of ground beef. Tastes pretty similar when it's smothered in spaghetti sauce. Served with romaine lettuce and light Italian dressing.
Side note: Has anybody seen Baciami Ancora (Kiss Me Again)? I caught the Italian flick free on campus recently and I thought it was molto cute.

I made this one tonight. So far it's my favorite- I've been hankering for mushrooms ever since
I had some mushroom infused dish for lunch with the boy at Olive Garden recently. Turkey meatballs made with parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. I *really* wanted string beans, but I only have one pot... Recipe from Broke and Healthy.

Here is when I revert to using my cell phone because my camera battery died. I read once upon a time that easily visible fruits and veggies (as opposed those sitting in the crisper drawer) help people choose those over junk food. Well, duh! I'm trying to implement this idea into my fridge more. Here's my assortment of snacks for this week. Carrots, cucumber, and celery for dipping in hummus.

Things not pictured:

- Ravioli. Because it was an utter failure. It's not that easy, Jenna!
- Baked chicken. Oh my GOD. How did I never think to bake chicken before? I used this recipe as a guideline for cooking, although Sarah's baked chicken is literally making me drool. The chicken turned out so moist and flavorful. I used it in a salad and also a wrap.

Reviews and such.

Bite Mi has great Bahn mi sandwiches! Bahn mi is a Vietnamese style sandwich. It's really funny because everything one could find in pho is basically put between two slices of bread. Carrots, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and meat. Here is my tofu sandwich. IT WAS GOOD. The spring roll, however, was a flimsy rip-off.

Ever heard of My Fit Foods? It is part of a new type of business popping up all over Austin, focusing on convenient, ready-to-eat healthy meals. My friend brought over this chicken dish and it was superb.

I finally got around to trying hemp milk and greek yogurt... and I am disappointed! Hemp milk is way too... nutty, and the yogurt was very sour. I'm still "training" myself to enjoy more varieties of healthy food (I'm a recent convert to mushrooms), so I may try these again in the future.

I wanted to share this little piece of art I made for my friend's new apartment. He said he was going to miss the pale green color his old room is, so I offered my creative skills. In the center you see the same green color (Pillow Mint by Valspar) surrounded by a newspaper collage. I think it looks pretty cool. :)

So that's it! I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend!