Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easy Sprouting

Let's do a simple DIY kitchen project today. It's super quick, cheap, requires very little materials and the final product is both tasty AND nutritious. It's sprouts!

There are several ways to sprout a small batch at home. I'm going to tell you the method first and then we'll talk about how to make it happen. The greatest thing about this project is that in 4-7 days you will have sprouts- for sandwiches, salads, stir fries and snacking!

The Method for Sprouting:

Basically you want to soak your sprouts for a few hours to start them out. Then once a day or so you need to rinse and then thoroughly drain them. That's it! They sit on the counter and breathe through a screen or cheesecloth during the days and when they are done (they look green and grown) transfer them to a fresh container and keep in the fridge. They will stay for a week or so, just like small lettuces. Simple! (Here is an alternate method I recently stumbled across that looks just as simple!)

How I Sprout:

I put 1-2 Tablespoons of sprouts in a pint sized mason jar fitted with a metal mesh sprouting screen (you can also use a plastic sprouting lid or cheesecloth), fill with water and let sit for 3-6 hours. The I drain it thoroughly by pouring the water out and letting the jar sit upside down on top of a mason jar ring (the idea here is to allow some space under the lid to allow excess water to drain away from the jar). I let it drain upside down anywhere from 15 min to several hours. Then once a day, usually in the morning, I fill up the jar with water, swish it around, and drain it off again in the same way. The jar stays on the counter where it can get a little natural light. After 4-7 days the sprouts are usually done. You can tell when they are green and look like fresh sprouts. Give them a try- they should taste grassy and crisp! If they ever seem slimy or smell sour, toss them out and start again. 

I've sprouted alfalfa (the easiest and one of the tastiest), broccoli seeds, lentils, mung beans, radish seeds, and mixes. Each has a different flavor, texture and look. The picture below has a few more days to go until the seeds are fully sprouted.

It's a satisfying and easy project and you should give it a try!

Friday, March 13, 2015

In the kitchen lately

I've been getting back into the habit of really cooking lately - seems I decided to take a break from the joys of being in the kitchen getting my hands dirty for the past year or so and I missed it! Plus our health has missed it too and it was high time to get back to a routine of home cooking.

I don't have photos for many of these recipes (since I stopped blogging I've been taking less food photos). But click on the links and you can see what I'm talking about. 

What I've been up to in the kitchen lately:  

Pioneer Woman's Waffles

Waffles! Yes. I caved in and bought a cheap waffle maker. And ... Worth it. So fun to make waffles and surprisingly tastier than pancakes for someone like me who likes the crunchy bits. We've tried a few recipes but this one takes the cake.

I was a little concerned that the egg separation business would be too titchy and I was being lazy avoiding recipes like this for awhile but really it's not bad at all. A hand mixer does the job in a minute and the batter is therefore so light and fluffy - it's actually so delicious I was licking the spatula. So give these waffles a try!

I'm obsessed with this recipe. Again, I've also avoided stuffed shells because it was too many steps in my brain (par boil the shells, make the sauce, stuff, bake, ugh!) but again (surprise!) I was wrong. It didn't take very long at all to make because you can make the sauce and cook the shells at the same time and the filling takes about 2 min. Stuffing's not bad either and the final product is delicious. This sauce is so good- it has a healthy amount of red pepper flakes (of course if you don't like a kick you could cut them down) and olive oil- that I will be using it again for all sorts of things (eggs in purgatory is on the menu this week). 

THIS chocolate chip cookie recipe from Slate

I have tried dozens of ccc recipes (see! too Lazy to write out chocolate chip cookies!) and I'm about ready to say this one is the best (unless you want to talk whole wheat chocolate chip cookies which are a different beast in which case THIS one is the best). Two things- all brown sugar and extra vanilla- are key, and if you aren't eating the dough straight, a long rest in the fridge is an excellent idea (though I recently made a giant skillet cookie with this dough and did not rest it at all. Still awesome). 

One last recommendation: do use dark chocolate and shave it thin. I used Trader Joe's pound plus block in dark (70%) and shaved thin (no chunks!) is perfect. But again- lazy! So do use what you have on hand. Here's the dough from the other day:

And that's that for now~ Happy cooking!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Product Love

It's been awhile, but I'm just going to jump right back into this whole blogging thing! We're going to ease in with a simple list (my virgo heart leaps). These are all products I own and love.

I hopped onto the delivery box bandwagon last year and tried out a few, but the one I really love the most is Petit Vour. For $15 a month you get a box filled with cruelty-free luxury goodies. Many of my favorite new products in the last year have been petit vour discoveries! So here we go:

Modern Minerals Eye Shadow

I have two shades: Lola and En Pointe, and they are both lovely on their own or with a darker accent. Also the price point is great for mineral shadow, at $12.50 a piece!

Pelle Beauty Balance Facial Oil

I have tried many facial oils over the past several years and this is one of the best I've tried. They offer several blends and while a bit pricier than your average drug store moisturizer, we're grown-ups now, and spending $29 on hand-crafted fantastic ingredients (all natural, no junk!) is worth it for your face.

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream

This is the one I am most excited about! I have been making my own deodorant for the past 3 years and love it. Love how it makes me smell and keeps the sweat at bay, love the short ingredient list and the way I can customize it. I have tried several natural brands and none have cut the mustard. But then. I got a sample of this stuff in my box. Oh man, it's great. Great!! The best you can buy in my opinion. If I never make my own deodorant again it will be okay because I have my Meow Meow Tweet!

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Body Lotion

I discovered this company over the summer and was floored by the amazing scents and luxurious feel of all the products I've tried. The story is quite moving too, with the origins dating back to the founder's grandmother selling Shea Butter in her African village. This is my everyday post shower lotion. It has an intoxicating smell that is not overpowering and doesn't smell "perfume-y" because it comes from flower essences and essential oils.

Nubian Heritage Mango Butter Hand Cream

A sister company to Shea Moisture, the Nubian Heritage brand has the same all natural ingredients and an array of different formulas and products. I recently picked this hand cream up and it is perfect. It is thick-- excellent for my dry teacher hands. It has a crisp citrus scent which doesn't overpower. Sometimes a hand cream can be oily or extremely smelly and make it impractical for on the go application. Not so with this stuff. My new favorite!

Mineralixirs Facial Cleansing Oil

I've been a Bare Minerals fan for many years-- they are my favorite makeup company and across the board their products are great. Some I like more than others, but overall they are a safe bet and I pretty much try it all! This is their best cleanser I have used. It removes make up like a charm. Because it's oil-based, it takes a bit longer to cleanse in the evenings, but I am loving the spa ritual. It ends up not even taking all that long because I don't have to go back and re-remove my eye makeup :) Basically, you warm a few pumps of cleanser in your palms and pat it on your dry face. Then add a bit of warm water to your hands and rub together emulsifying the cleanser while you massage your face. Rinse with warm water and you are good to go! Depending on your skin type you may not even need to moisturize afterwards.

and lastly.... glassybaby. Because if you know me, you know I believe you can never have too many and they make perfect gifts. I am swooning over this one, called birthday suit :)