Everything you own in a box to the left: Creating your hippie tool kit for work!

Okay, I started this post back in October when my team first moved our work location.  Since then, I have moved 3 times to 3 new  locations.  Every time we moved, I would hear Beyoncé’s song: Irreplaceable, play in my head.  Anyway, back to my October post with the song playing in the background ;P.

I am a little dumbfounded.

My life fits in one box.

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Okay, one partially filled box.

Well, my work life fills part of a box.  This box is actually pretty cool– I think it’s cool because it is what held my birthday present from my parents & brother.  I will share that with you soon 😉 You see at work my team is homeless (kind of). At the end of last week, we packed up our work areas to move into a temporary home.  I was a little shocked to find that after almost 2 years at my employer, all of my personal belonging fit into the box my convection oven arrived in.

What’s even better, most of the objects in my box are relate to food! I mean if you want to live a healthy, hippie lifestyle you can’t count on others to provide the essentials for you.  BUT, I can help you build your own kit healthy, hippie kit of essentials.  I really should come up with a cool name for my kit.  Maybe you can help?   I have by no means perfected the essential items that should be part of every health nut toolbox health-box and mine are always changing.   I have slowly added items that make living a hippie life at work EASY!  Yes you read that right… you can live a HEALTHY, HIPPIE Lifestyle and work in the corporate world!

I know this because I live a hippie life at work.   The best part is, I absolutely LOVE my hippie life!

What’s in my box?  Well, let me tell you.

IMG_0277Probably my favorite thing is my mini crockpot.   Winter is the perfect time to enjoy soup and is there a better way to heat it up?  All I have to do is toss the soup in the crockpot, plug it in and it does it’s thing.  I do stop by and stir my soup to make sure it heats up evenly.  I know, I know, winter is quickly disappearing, but I still love my crockpot.

 

What’s next?

How about my stash of spices and seasonings 🙂

I have 2 cute jars, one recycled from a previous purchase, that hold coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. I love having a coconut oil sitting near me.  I will toss a sweet potato into my BIRTHDAY present (my cooker!) and once it’s all cooked, I grab the coconut oil and toss a dollop on, let it melt and enjoy my treat! IMG_0278 The apple cider vinegar I keep around to make my quick salad dressing!  I will give you a hint, keep mustard in the fridge and your stevia handy.

I also keep cumin, turmeric and cinnamon in box.  They are great add-ons for almost any meal.  One of my favorite IMG_0279treats is so simple.  I cut up an apple and sprinkle cinnamon on it and enjoy! Yummy… hmmm I am getting hungry, I wonder if I have any apples handy 😉

Alright, we are getting to the end of my box.  The last thing I want to share with you today, is my duck!  It’s a slingshot that quacks! I am learning that relaxing and not taking myself too seriously is a good thing.

What’s do you keep on your desk for a stress reliever and to encourage you to have fun and enjoy your job & life?

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Do you have a stash of healthy things at work?  What’s in yours?  I would <3 to hear!

 

 

I am Habit

Life is one big habit… It can change, evolve, morph– but when you step back and really look, we live by habits. They can be long term habits or short term. We all live by them.

Don’t get me started on how hard it is to change them… 21 days to establish a new one or break an old one! That takes dedication.

I have a habit of staying snuggled in bed, enjoying the cool fall air, and my warm blankets.

I develop new ones and retire old ones.  I have  had a habit called, the “just one” habit but it had to go. This habit was my,  just one cookie now, just one cookie later, just one more… You are smart, you get the picture and can see my waist line growing by the second. This is why the just one habit was retired.

Out with the old bad habit–in with the new healthy one. One habit I am in the process of making a staple in my life is Foundation Training. Have you heard of Foundation Training? Feel free to ask what it is. You (reader), “What’s Foundation Training?” I am so glad you asked! Foundation Training or FT is a workout that strengthens your lower back through a combination of yoga and squats. Sounds weird huh? I thought so too. In fact, the first couple of times I saw it, I thought to myself, “1. That does not look hard. 2. Does that really work? 3. I don’t really need to work on my lower back- or do I?”

Out of curiosity, I tried the FT video found on YouTube, check it out below!  I do the workout that is just shy of 12 minutes.  The first time I tried this training,  I learned a couple of quick hard lessons.

FT11. It may not look hard, but it IS most definitely challenging.
2. It really does work. My lower back had never really experienced that type of concentrated workout. I was expecting to be sore after a workout like that. BUT, I was super surprised to realize I was standing up straighter, and my lower back was not nearly as sore at the end of a workday.
3. Uhm YES dummy- your lower back needs work. In the words of Toby Keith, “I am not as good as I once was.”

Me really enjoying FT Time! –>

Honestly, it did not take me long to realize that I needed to add this healthy habit to my daily schedule. I can tell you that when I do FT in the morning before work, I feel 10 times better throughout the day. I have also noticed that my tennis game has improved. Double bonus. I have even gone to the park on my lunch and done FT. I hope no one was watching me

Matcha in a Mason Jar

Mmmmmmmm…. this is soooo good you HAVE to try it!

Recently, my body decided it did not like coffee, but I was still missing my morning drink. Tea just has not been cutting it.  Then I saw this recipe on facebook from Young & Raw  and my mornings seem complete again. I have adjusted this recipe a little from the original that Young & Raw posted.  I really liked it and wanted to share with you.  I did make a small change to the recipe.  For the original recipe: click here.

Ingredients:
photo 12 tsp. Matcha-  I chose organic

8 oz. Milk – I use Organic Almond Milk, unsweetened. (it’s only 30 calories for 8 ounces!) You can use any milk.

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

1 tbs. Maple Syrup (you can use more or less… my sweet tooth shows)

Stevia-  Use this after you try your drink if you need to sweeten it more

Okay, here is how you can whip up your own Matcha in a Mason Jar.

I toss all the ingredients in the blender and mix.

Once mixed, pour over ice and ENJOY!  If you need to sweeten it more, add stevia to taste.

You will have a awesome Iced Matcha in a Mason Jar!

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Mac’s EZ Lemonade

Summer is quickly slipping away…  I wish it would stay a little longer.  I am going to miss it, are you?

Days are getting shorter and soon we will be bundling up in big sweaters and jeans. Temperatures are dropping and soon the leaves will be changing, this makes me pretty excited.

Don’t get me wrong, my favorite season EVER is Fall.  Normally,  I am looking forward to fall’s arrival, but this year Louiesummer seemed way too short.  I wish it would hang around a little longer.   Maybe it was because we had a record breaking winter for both temperature and snow accumulation.  Heck, we even had to plow the horse pasture!  That was a first for me, the drifts were so big that the babies could not climb over.  I was a little worried they would get stuck and we would have to launch a rescue mission. Check out a video of the horses playing in the snow on one of the coldest days last winter: Here.  It is pretty cute, but I am biased.

IMG_0199Anyway enough about last year’s monster winter, back to me not letting summer go–by sharing a favorite summer drink, “Mac’s, EZ Lemonade” with you.   This recipe is so quick and easy, you will wonder how you have been living without it! I know that I have asked myself that exact question more than once when making this lemonade recipe.

Before I share the recipe, I think I need to let you in on a secret and the secret ingredient…  as a rule, I make things from scrap, with whole ingredients and fresh, but…I am also all about quick and convenient!  So when a great family friend, Mac, showed me a bottle of squeezed organic lemons, I fell in <3.  I mean, it’s not hard to use the hand squeezer to make your own lemon juice.  It just seems to take me a few minutes that I never seem to have. I almost feel like I am cheating on life by getting my organic lemon juice from a bottle, but when life gets busy, you have to play smart.  Thanks to Mac, I can have one of my favorite drinks in no time at all now all year. Because he introduced me to the secret time saving ingredient: Italian Volcano’s Lemon Juice.

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Reasons that I LOVE this juice:

1. It’s ORGANIC!

2. 1 Jar contains 80 lemons worth of juice… do you know how long it would take to hand squeeze that many lemons?  I don’t even want to imagine how long it would take or how sore my arm would get.

3. It’s a great buy.  You can find a two-pack of these at Costco for $7.00!  Do you know how many glasses of lemonade you can make with a two-pack?  MANY!  More than I could count… okay maybe I would get distracted before counting them!

4. I don’t have to clean the hand squeezer.

5. It’s stored in glass… I will tell you about my love of glass soon.

6. It’s waiting for you in the fridge.

 I think you get the picture… I really <3 this product and you should fall for it too!

Now for the recipe: Mac’s EZ Lemonade!

There are only 3! Count them 3 Ingredients!  Simple right?

1. Italian Volcano – Lemon Juice
2. Water
3.  Stevia

Alright… here is how I make Mac’s EZ Lemonade!

Grab a jar, a glass, a water bottle… something that will hold liquid and fill it 2/3 full with water.
Here is my favorite jar… it’s such a fun blue.

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Bonus:  it’s 34 ounces , which means I am not running for refills every two minutes!
Double Bonus: It has a lid with a straw (not pictured) but makes spills less likely.
Yes, I am pretty much a big kid and need a lid with a fun straw!

Fill your cup with water.

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Pour some of your Italian Volcano juice into the water. This is where you will have to experiment to see how much you like.  If you want your drink really lemony, add more.  If you don’t want it as strong, then add less. To start,  I normally add just enough juice that my water turns cloudy, taste and then adjust my lemonade from there.

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Next grab your stevia and sweeten your drink. I have a sweet tooth so I tend to use 1-2 droppers full in a 34 ounce jar.  If you are not used to Stevia, start small and add 5-10 drops until your drink is sweet enough.

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Secret tip: you can always add more lemon and stevia, but you can’t always take it back.

Now that your drink is made, add ice, and enjoy!

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If you want to spice up your lemonade, you can always add some strawberries or raspberries.

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Italian Volcano’s Lemon Juice has revolutionized how I make lemonade!

What’s your favorite easy recipe or “cheat” healthy ingredient?

The day I gave up COFFEE!!!!

IMG_0041I have yet to pull my hair out or gone insane. Well anymore insane than normal. However, I am pretty sure hell might have actually froze over this week because I gave up coffee pretty much cold turkey.  I am the type of person that would live with a coffee mug in hand with plenty of coffee, a little almond milk and stevia.  I am pretty sure that my coffee mug was my adult security blanket. I have to admit that it’s been a little freeing not carrying it with me everywhere.

I am not even sure how my body decided it wanted to give up coffee, but it did!  All I know is that while doing the “Green Smoothie Girl’s” detox program last month, I was not refilling my coffee cup like normal. Some days I was not even finishing the original coffee I started with in the morning. During a visit, my boyfriend went old school mom on me and checked my temperature on my forehead when I dumped coffee out of my mug. Yes, it was the original coffee from the morning.  I promised him that I was okay. I filled up my mug the next morning and still could not finish it. This happened for about a week.

Then three days ago, I took one sip of my coffee on my way to work  and found my mug full under the backseat of my car when I got home later that night. Thank God the lid stayed closed. Although a car that smells like coffee would not be the worst thing in the world.

Friday, I did not even take my mug in with me. It sat empty and lonely in the car.

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I can tell you it’s really weird to wake up and not crave coffee.

I will be honest… I am not sure how long I will be 100% coffee free… I really enjoy the taste but I know that my coffee consumption was not healthy.

Here are a couple of reasons that I am okay with not drinking coffee.
* Coffee is acidic and I want to keep my body alkalized to help prevent cancer growing. So I will probably be coffee free for a while.
* Coffee stains your teeth… and a white smile is more attractive than a yellow smile.
* Coffee breath smells. Let’s be real… after drinking coffee we have all looked for gum or mouthwash!

Last night, before my sister’s college volleyball match I missed an iced coffee for a minute, but then realized, I was going to live without it.

So here is to living coffee free… or freer.

What’s one thing you want to give up?  I would love to hear what it is and what your game plan is to make it happen 🙂

Ps. I found the cup of coffee picture one day on Facebook and it sums up well how I have lived my life the last couple of years. I have had this pic saved on my computer for months.  Now I need to find that picture with the empty cup.

 

Why must you judged… me?

Why must you judged me? I don’t judge you…  I am a little confused why you feel the need to make faces at me, the comments behind my back,  or even to my face?  I choose to live my lifestyle, just like you choose to live yours.  Don’t you know that your snide comments and dirty looks can hurt even a tough professional?  Because, deep down,  I am just like every other human… I am vulnerable too!

Insert disclaimer here: Do me a favor and hang with me for this post… I just need to get this off my chest.

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I carry my water in glass jars.  Okay, I carry lots of water in my glass jars.  I tend to take about 100 ounces with me to work everyday. Believe me, people have noticed my glass jars that go everywhere with me.  They may be kind of hard to hide–because, let’s be real, a  34 ounce jar is enormous and not easily hidden in a meeting room.   Sometimes they are even filled with a green smoothie, then they are really hard to miss. I have been told that my green smoothies are great for keeping  my team from munching at work.   I guess not everyone thinks it’s normal to drink a green or sometimes deep purple drink.  I am so glad to help my team stay away from sugar filled snacks while I enjoy a super nutrition-packed smoothie.
The looks and comments that were made when I brought in a real knife to cut my apples… I remember them every time you ask to borrow it to cut your apples. Amazing how handy that real knife really is, huh?  (I hope I am not coming off too sassy.)   appleI find it very ironic how you tend to pick apart my life and my efforts to live healthy; while I don’t say a word to you about your choices.  Do you need to make the comments about my food  because I don’t go running to the vending machines for a snack? Instead, daily I bring my fruit, veggies, and my beloved peanut butter hummus. (If you are looking for the recipe… Click: HERE!)  Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I desperately want to break down and buy one of everything in the machine, but I don’t!  It’s my choice. It’s my life… my beliefs, and I want to live a healthy life. Don’t you realize that my healthy lifestyle has helped me fight Lyme’s Disease quickly this summer?  I have only missed a few days of work, like 4 full days and a couple of halves since being diagnosed. Most would have ended up on short term disability…  Instead, I am almost all the way back! Considering it affected my liver and heart functionality, I am feeling pretty blessed!  Seeing the fast results from the Lyme’s recovery only makes me want to continue my healthy lifestyle and improve it even more.

Why do you make faces when I use my toaster oven instead of the microwave?  Thanks to my brother, J, who gave me the oven for my birthday this summer.IMG_7344

(I must be a super nerd if I get excited over a toaster oven!)  Now I can get a warm meal at work without using my little crockpot, or heating it on my running engine.  engineJust kidding about the engine.  I do warm my food in a toaster oven because when you use a microwave it changes your food on a molecular level.  I don’t look at you cross-eyed when you use the microwave so do you really need to make the comments about how I warm my food?

 

Recently, I changed how I carry everything into work. Because of the weight of the jars and the amount of food I take with me,  I bought a small hiking backpack. One with a waistband, to take the weight off my shoulders…so that my back can get some relief.  I will show it to you later this week.    I am super excited about it, and It’s a super cool blue color!  It also makes my eyes pop!  In all seriousness, my back is really grateful for the new bag.

Okay, every so often I will say something about a co-worker’s cologne or perfume…  I am not perfect, if I were I would be sitting at Jesus’ right hand… but I am not.  So, I guess for now, you will have to put up with me.   I probably should be better and not make a comment. Note to self, no more perfume comments, even when I turn green and want to throw up.  This might be hard, because I have lived fragrance free for over 2 years now and perfumes can make me turn really cool shares of greeeeeen. We can talk about that later. I do use essential oils, and they smell so amazing. They are a great alternative to the chemical filled fragrances common in society.

I am different from your average person…  I know it.  I accept it. In a weird way, I enjoy it!  I hope that by walking what I talk people will start to realize that living a healthy lifestyle is not hard. It’s completely obtainable. You can eat organically without breaking the bank.  It’s why I started this blog to share with you, as a young professional, how easy it is to live a healthy lifestyle.  I used to think that junior high girls were the worst when it came to judgment against each other, but I am beginning to think that professionals are worse.  Maybe I am over-reacting. Maybe I am completely wrong.  All I know is that the comments that others make to me based on my lifestyle is getting old and won’t change my mind. Instead, they strengthen my resolve to continue to live an organic lifestyle.

 Don’t judge me for doing… because I don’t judge you.

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Chilling on the couch…

Today I hurt.

It’s not normal for me to share openly that I am not 100% okay. I am just stuck on the couch sick and feeling like a 5 year old that is cranky and crabby.

I shared with about a month ago that I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease earlier this summer and despite being religious with my supplements; a fanatic about the food I am eating; and making sure my body rests–today is a down day. Yesterday was a great day. Mentally I felt great, and physically was a pretty good day too. But this morning, it was like a switch flipped. My whole body aches, my head is pounding and staying awake is a challenge.

Idk about you, but when I hit a wall like today and I am extremely mentally fatigued, and the frustration of not getting better results faster makes me want to drown my sorrows with a chocolate, gooey brownie. Oh, or I could totally go for spinach pie from my favorite local Mediterranean restaurant, Zingo’s. Chinese food sounds pretty good right about now. BUT! (Yes it’s an all caps kind of BUT). If I break down and eat anything not on the meal plan I will not only undo all the good work that I have been building on but I will probably feel even worse.

So instead of breaking down and falling off my healthy bandwagon I will stay strong and if I eat, it will be foods
I am supposed to eat. I will continue with the liver detox program because I DO see results and I am winning overall. I guess I am pretty fortunate that leaving the couch today does not seem to be happening. This will definitely keep me away from Chinese food, chocolate brownie and Zingos… None of which are in my house at this time 🙂

When do you feel closest to giving up? What do you do to keep yourself away from temptations when you don’t feel good?  Currently, I am curled up on a couch counting my blessings and listening to the bugs chirp in the woods by the house.  I live in the county and its pretty cool to just sit and listen.

Day 19: Awesome Sauce… I mean Awesome Hummus

Peanut Butter + Chocolate Chips + Chick Peas = AWESOME SAUCE.. Okay you might be thinking, peanut butter and hummus? Do they really go together? Answer: YES!

Let me back up a second and give yoe the background. We have an awesome family friend that challenged me to bring healthy sweet stuff to our 4th of July bash. I take sweet challenges seriously, VERY SERIOUSLY. I played around on my favorite food blogs and scoured my computer; until I had a couple of good ideas, I was sure would not disappoint the group. It was on this journey that I found my new favorite recipe.

I believe that this recipe originally comes from Chocolate Covered Katie… if you have not checked out her site, you should. Some of my favorite recipes are from her. I highly recommend the Mushroom Stroganoff. Recipe: HereIMG_7581

Anyway I found this recipe on Veggierettie’s site and like Veggierettie, I am obsessed with it! In fact, as I type this I am sitting in the back of the dually truck as we are heading to brothers lacrosse game, I will be munching on some just as soon.  Well  as I remove the Teague, who is well over 50 lbs. off my lap and the computer.

You should note a few things before I give you the recipe.

  1. I am not a food blogger.
  2. I am not a food photographer, I simply shot these pics off of my iphone.

Alright here is the recipe…

Ingredients:

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Here is how I make this incredible hummus.

I pit the date and toss them in water so they are just covered. Veggierettie suggests soaking them for at least a half hour. I soaked them overnight the first time I made this hummus. Pick a time frame that works for you.

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Open your garbanzo beans can, drain the water and rinse them. Remove the excess water.

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Toss in the food processor. Add your peanut butter, vanilla and dates. At this point, I do not add much of the soaking water.

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Begin to process the ingredients. I stop several times to mix in the stuff on the sides of the processor.

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I add the soaking water to make the consistency how I want it. Once you have the consistency correct, hand mix the chocolate chips in. Veggierettie suggest 2-3 tablespoons, I eyeball it. You can never have too much chocolate in my opinion.

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Now comes the hardest part… Putting it in the fridge for a little while to let it sit. I found that it is 1000’s better the next day, but I don’t always have the patience to wait until the next day to start digging in to the sweet treat.

Recommended things to eat with this hummus:

IMG_7551Apples
Banana
Chips—if I eat chips I try to get the Chia Seeds, Sprouted chips . They are fantastic with this hummus.

 

Oh did I mention… this treat is HEALHTY?  According to the friend that challenged me to bring some sweet treats to the 4th of July bash, this recipe rocked it!

Okay, so know you have my new favorite HEALTHY, SWEET, recipe… what’s yours?

Day 17: Life smells better when you make your own detergent…

I guess better late than never! Sorry guys I did not get this to you yesterday… I am making up for it today with Day 17 and 18’s post.

Who said a food processor is just for processing food? Not me! I have used mine for a few different things. One of which is making my favorite natural homemade product: LAUNDRY DETERGENT. I mean, I am a pretty big nerd and hippie to get excited about homemade laundry detergent! I am okay with it.

Reasons I love homemade detergent:

  1. It’s healthy… Free of the bad chemicals in commercially processed detergent.
  2. CHEAP!
  3. It’s a great way to get your food processor clean.
  4. You can make it smell pretty with essential oils. If you leave the majority unscented in a big box then you can change the scent at any point in time.

 

Making detergent is so easy, especially with a food processor. A couple of years ago, many of my friends were posting online about making their own laundry detergent. All you have to do is a quick google search to find just how popular making your own detergent is. (Note, below are a couple of links to other sites that highlight how easy it is to make your own detergent.) It was about the same time that I was trying to cut out fragrances that were not essential oil based, so I thought why not try making my own detergent. You only need a couple of ingredients and a food processor to make it easier on yourself. You can do it by hand, but the processor makes breaking up the bar of soap much easier.

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Ingredients:

* 1 cup of Borax
* 1 cup of Washing Soda
* 1 bar of castile soap – you can buy a scented version but if you want to scent your soap by essential oils buy the plain bar

 

Here is how I make detergent in a food processor.  I would love it if you tried it too!

  1. Cut bar of Castile soap into 1 inch and place in the food processor.

Note: if you do not have a food processor, you will need to grate the bar of soap by hand.

  1. Pulse the food processor to start. Eventually, I turn the food processor on until the soap is close to a powdered consistency.
  2. Add the borax and castile soap. Mix until all ingredients are blended together.
  3. Add several drops of essential oil and pulse. I like lavender, or cedar wood, or a lemon scent. Be creative at this point, add oils that you love smelling!
  4. Place your homemade detergent in a container and wash your food processor! It should it should be super clean, smell amazing, and ready for your next “food” processing adventure.

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I hope you have fun taking on this new adventure and try making your own, HEALTHY, smell good, cheap laundry detergent soon!

Google search for homemade detergents: http://wellnessmama.com/462/homemade-laundry-detergent/ http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-soap/ http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2013/05/homemade-laundry-detergents.html