DIY: Strawberry Body Scrub

I’m here with a different kind of recipe today! I love to experiment with different foods to create scrubs or masks to help rejuvenate my body. This scrub is perfect for the summertime because strawberries are abundant, and it’s always a good idea to exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead skin cells. You can also use this on your lips because the taste is amazing! Plus, it helps to moisturize chapped lips 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium strawberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on how thick you want the scrub to be

Directions

  • Using a fork, whisk, or potato masher, mash the strawberries.
  • Add the olive oil and sugar.
  • Stir until all of the ingredients are combined

lips

To use, apply the scrub to any body part and massage into your skin until the sugar has dissolved. Rinse the area with water to get rid of any excess scrub.

The strawberries in the scrub are the secret weapon. They contain vitamin C, salicylic acid,  and antioxidants. The salicylic acid helps to remove dead skin cells and tighten pores. It also helps tame acne. The vitamin C helps new skin grow and repair faster. Lastly, the antioxidants keep your skin looking fresh and youthful. The olive oil adds moisture to your skin, and the sugar acts as a gentle exfoliant that won’t irritate your skin.

Store the scrub in the refrigerator, so that it keeps fresh longer.

 

Egg Lettuce Wraps

I woke up craving eggs this morning, which is weird for me because I’ve been eating Greek yogurt everyday for who knows how long. So instead of just plopping some scrambled eggs on a plate, I decided to use fresh red leaf lettuce from our garden as a wrap for the eggs. To add a little more flavor, I topped the eggs with my mom’s corn and bean salsa! This salsa is so colorful and full of textures and flavors from all of the different vegetables. Plus, you can bring this salsa to any party; it’s always a crowd pleaser 🙂

Egg Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs ( I used local brown eggs)
  • 3 tablespoons corn and bean salsa (recipe below)
  • 6 red leaf lettuce leaves (I made 3 wraps and had 2 layers of lettuce for each wrap. Any type of fresh lettuce will work here.)

Directions

  • Wash the lettuce with water and dry thoroughly.

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  •  In a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, add the eggs. Use a spatula to stir the eggs and cook on medium heat until the eggs light, fluffy and no longer liquidy.
  • To build the wrap, take to lettuce leaves and layer them on top of each other to form a bed for the eggs. Top with 1/3 of the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the salsa. Roll up the wrap like a burrito and secure with a tooth pick. Repeat 2 more times.

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Corn and Bean Salsa

Ingredients

  •  1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (I highly suggest halving the tomatoes and removing the “guts” or the watery inside of the tomatoes before chopping them. I don’t like my salsa too liquidy)
  • 2- 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2- 10 ounce cans white corn, drained
  • 7 ounces Italian Dressing

Directions

  • Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Chill the salsa for 30 minutes to that the flavors can develop.

*This recipe was made for a party to it made probably at least 8 cups of salsa. Feel free to scale down the recipe; however, its so versatile that you can use it with anything.

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This breakfast was light yet packed with nutrients and protein. The lettuce added a nice crunch to the meal, which contrasted nicely with the fluffy eggs. My favorite part, though, is the salsa. This too has a lot of crunch from the green pepper and corn. Plus, the Italian dressing adds so much flavor. Any left over salsa can be eaten with chips, added to salads, or used as a topping for chicken, steak, pork, or seafood.

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Sweet Strawberry Muffins!

We are in the midst of strawberry season here in Wisconsin, and I could not be happier! My parents went strawberry picking yesterday, so now we have so many strawberries to devour. We froze some for smoothies, made homemade strawberry ice cream, and as of today, baked some strawberry muffins. These are a great, quick, healthy breakfast or snack because they are packed with fiber, protein, and sweet strawberry flavor.

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Sweet Strawberry Muffins

Prep: 15 minutes; Bake: 12-18 minutes; Cool: 30 minutes

Makes: 6-8 muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup finely ground almond or almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves ( or homemade strawberry sauce, see below for recipe)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a muffin pan with muffin liners
  2. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, flax, all purpose flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. In a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients from the small bowl to the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir until just combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into each of the muffin liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for about 12- 18 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  6. Allow the muffins to cool in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes. Then, remove the muffins and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Store the muffins at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Homemade Strawberry Sauce (Perfect to pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, ice cream, etc.)

  • 3 heaping cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • the zest of one lemon
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Rinse the strawberries with water and use a knife to cut the tops of the strawberries off.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a pan and heat until the mixture comes to a low boil. Maintain this low boil and continue to stir until the strawberries break down to release their juices. Allow the juice to reduce down into a thick sauce/ syrup consistency, about 20 minutes. 

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I love these muffins! They are a healthy alternative to the ones that you buy at the store. They are made with whole foods that nourish your body. Plus, the flavors are very balanced. The floral notes of the honey compliment the fruitiness of the strawberries, and the tanginess from the lemon from the strawberry sauce balances the muffins’ sweetness.

I’d love to know what your favorite strawberry recipe is, so leave a comment below!!

Copycat Maple Almond Butter

Not too long ago, I went to Whole Foods for the first time. Yes, I’ve only been there once (it’s kind of shocking). I felt like I had stepped into a different world when I got there! In case you don’t know, Whole Foods is huge, and I only had a few minutes to look around. What did I search for?

Nut Butter.

Everyone knows I’m addicted to Peanut Butter. I can’t even remember the last time I went a day without peanut butter. I figured, though, that since I was at Whole Foods, I should try something different. I found Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, and it was probably $12 for a container!

Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious; I just don’t want to spend that much money on almond butter.

My mission today was to recreate Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, and boy it took me a long time to make. (Let’s just say that a good quality food processor would have come in handy. A mini food processor is not the best choice to this project.)

Even though it took me all afternoon to make, I succeeded in recreating this yummy nut butter. Here’s how you can create it too.

almond slivered

Copycat Maple Almond Butter

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched, slivered almonds ( Honestly, use whatever almonds you have.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Spread almonds evenly over a greased pan and bake until lightly golden brown. I baked mine for 5 minutes, flipped the almonds over, and baked for another 3 minutes.

2. Now for the blending part. Add the almonds, salt, maple syrup, and oil to a food processor.

nuts in processor

Depending on the food processor, you may have to do this in batches. 

3. Start processing. At first, the almonds will create a powder, flour-like consistency. Keep processing and scrape down the sides of the food processor when needed. After 3-5 minutes, the mixture will start to clump and look like wet sand. Keep processing.

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Continue to process and scrape the sides until the correct consistency has formed. This may take another 10 to 20 minutes. (Be careful not to let the food processor overheat. If you do this in batches, you may have to let your food processor cool down in between batches. At least that is what happened to me.)

butter

 

4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It should easily last a few weeks when refrigerated. 

The result?

Super thick, creamy almond butter. Roasting the almonds almost gives a nuttier, more intense almond flavor, which I loved. Plus, the little touch of maple syrup added the perfect amount of sweetness to this nut butter. I can’t wait to eat it with apples, bananas, in oatmeal…well actually I’ll eat it with everything. Let’s be real here. 

ta da

 

Recipe Review: Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce

My family tends to play it on the safe side when it comes to new spices and flavors. I mean with two picky eaters (my dad and brother), there’s not a lot of room to try new things. However, my mom suggested making this Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce from the Midwest Living Taste of Summer 2014 magazine. This recipe was a great idea because it took a familiar protein, chicken, (we eat way to much chicken in my household) and spiced it up with an Indian flair.

Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce

Serves 6

Prep 20 minutes, Stand 15 minutes, Grill 50 minutes with a charcoal grill (or 5 minutes with my handy dandy George Foreman grill)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons bottle minced garlic or 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see below for how to make your own)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces
  • 6 pita rounds
  • cucumber mint sauce (see below)
  • lime wedges (optional)

 Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, garam masala, ginger, and salt. Brush mixture onto both sides of chicken pieces. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place chicken skin sides down, on the grill rack over the drip pan.Cover; grill for 25 minutes. Turn chicken skin side up. Cover and grill for another 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 170 ° F. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. adjust heat for indirect cooking. Place chicken, skin sides down, on grill rack over burner that is turned off. Cover and grill as above) For the last 2 minutes of grilling, place pita rounds on grill rack alongside chicken to heat, turning once.
  3. Serve chicken with pita bread, Cucumber-Mint Sauce, and line wedges.
Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce. Served on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin because we did not have Pita Bread.

Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce. Served on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin because we did not have Pita Bread.

Homemade Garam Masala

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Store in an airtight jar.

garam masala

Cucumber-Mint Sauce 

  1. Halve 1 medium English cucumber lengthwise. Scrape out seeds with a spoon; discard seeds. Thinly slice cucumber; set aside.

cucumber

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together 3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt and 2 teaspoons snipped fresh mint. Stir in cucumber. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

cucumber sauce

This recipe was a unique combination of textures and flavors. First, the chicken has a warn, slightly spicy flavor from the garam masala, garlic, and ginger. Then to balance the spice from the chicken, the cucumber mint sauce is cool, a little crunchy from the cucumber, and refreshing from the fresh mint. The perfect bit is when you put a little of the chicken on the pita, and dollop it with the cucumber-mint sauce.

Peanut Butter-Banana Chia Seed Pudding

I know a ton of people have been on the chia seed health food kick for a while now, but surprisingly, I’ve just recently discovered them. Chia seeds have numerous healthy benefits: aids in digestion, prevents blood sugar spikes, has a lot of fiber, contains important omega 3 fatty acids, and supports bone strength just to name a few.

Today I decided to make a breakfast chia seed pudding inspired by Giada De Laurentiis and by a recipe that my friend gave me. Of course, I had to include my two favorite foods, peanut butter and banana.

Serves 1

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. stevia
  • 1/2 cup milk, I used original almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 to 1 sliced banana

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Directions

  1. Add all of the ingredients minus the banana to a blender. Blend until the ingredients are incorporated with each other.
  2. Pour the mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, top with banana and enjoy!

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It’s really neat to see how the chia seeds absorb their surrounding liquid to create a creamy, luxurious pudding. The pudding has the texture of tapioca pudding, so if you would like a smoother texture, make sure to blend the mixture for a longer period of time. This recipe is perfect for breakfast or dessert, and it’s packed with fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals. You could always swap out the peanut butter and banana and add your favorite toppings as well.

 

 

Refreshing Summer Citrus Spritzer

I know that we all are supposed to drink 8 cups of water a day, but that’s harder than it looks. Water is boring and tastes bad sometimes. Since I’ve been running outside more, it’s really important that I’m staying hydrated, so tonight, I made this refreshing drink. Here’s what you need.

Serves 1

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz seltzer water, I used a can of grapefruit La Croix
  • The juice of one lemon
  • the juice of 1/2 and orange, you can slice the other half and add that to the water as well
  • a few mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn
  • stevia to taste

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Directions

  1. To a glass filled with ice (or frozen fruit), add the seltzer water, juices, ad mint.
  2. Stir and add stevia to taste.
  3. Relax and Enjoy

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This drink is super fresh and perfect on a hot summer day! All of the fresh fruit juice with the bubbly water makes you think that you are drinking soda or fruit punch, but this is completely natural and guilt free.