Monday, February 8, 2016

Veggie Packed Green Smoothies That Taste so Good I Have One Every Morning

A little over a year ago I ventured into the land of Green Smoothies and failed miserably, learned from those lessons, and continued to up my smoothie game. Goal: cram as many vegetables and nutrients into a breakfast that still tastes like something I can drink and actually fills me up. These are some pretty lofty expectations but I've reached something (after lots of fails) that is working out so well that I actually look forward to my morning smoothies!

A few disclaimers about this recipe:
  1. I make my smoothies at 6 a.m. For the last 6 months I have been meaning to measure out exactly how much of each ingredient I use so I can give measurements more technical than "handfuls", but alas, tasks like this are not possible for me pre-coffee.
  2. I finally caved and got a re-furbished Vitamix and while it hurt at the moment, it's the only thing I use every single day for probably more than 1 meal each day (it's a food processor and juicer also), and it has a 5 year warranty so I am justifying it. My friends and family also love their Ninjas and Blendtecs which can be a little less costly. I like my new blender better for these smoothies because it really gets the chunks out. And can blend the sh*t out of hard veggies (I once threw a beet in there. A beet.) and fruits.

Serving: 1
Prep Time: 10ish mins

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Cashew/Almond/Soy Milk 
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 Handful Broccoli (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Cup Mixed Frozen Fruit (I buy this giant bag at Wal-Mart and it lasts a little over 2 weeks)
  • 1/2 cup various leftover veggies (recently I've been adding in carrots and/or beet stems, I even threw in a few brussel sprouts the other day)
  • 1 handful of greens (I use Kale + leftover beet greens. Spinach works too)
  • 1/2 lemon of lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed aka Flax Meal
Put everything in the blender in the order listed and blend on high until everything is smooth (if using Vitamix put it on blender setting).

Ok also full disclosure: immediately after taking this picture, I screwed the lid on my smoothie- the lid of the container that is made to hold liquids, set it in my bag, my bag fell on the floor, and the smoothie exploded everywhere. Everywhere including my winter coat, Harrison's suit jacket that was sitting out ready to be worn, all over the carpet, every.freaking.where. SCREWY ON LID CONTAINER, YOU HAD ONE JOB. ONE. JOB. I cried (I was so hungry/hangry), and was 30 minutes late to work-not just because of cleaning up the mess, but because I sat and researched screw-on-lid tupperware and ordered 4 on Amazon. 

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Favs: Monthly Subscriptions That Save Me Money and Make Life Easier

As an extremely frugal and analytical person, I intensely investigate pretty much everything before I commit to spending money on it to find any potential hidden costs and to determine whether or not it will actually save me money. Here are the subscriptions that have saved me money (and some that haven't) and my favorite things to use them for:

The Great Subscriptions:

Amazon Prime

Cost: $99/year

How It Works: Free two day shipping on Prime Items (almost everything is Prime) - BUT if you opt out of the two day shipping for an order you get credit towards e-books. Also includes Prime Video, Prime Music (haven't figured that out yet), free e-books (I haven't taken enough time to investigate this part), unlimited Cloud Storage (hi all the photos in the world), and early access to (fashion stuff!) and Lightning Deals (aka Black Friday Style sales).

Things I use it for/How I justify paying for it: 
The prices on products are generally pretty low and I can always find random little things that I don't know where to find with FREE SHIPPING. I think the free shipping pays for itself with the $99. I also feel like the free shipping around Christmas time reduces my holiday stress level ten-fold which is worth $99/year. I buy:
  • Dog Food and meds (30 lbs delivered to my door is much nicer than carrying 30 lbs from the Wal-Mart zoo)
  • Transparent (!!)
  • All Christmas gifts
  • Pretty much everything except produce - I'm at a point in life where if I can't get it on Amazon I don't think I need it that bad.
  • Cloud Storage- I have the Amazon Cloud app on my phone which automatically uploads my pictures and videos. I can organize them into files and share them even with people who don't have Prime. Clutch.
  • Access to all HBO shows and movies (hi snow day!)


Cost: $7.99/month

How it Works: Free movies and shows streaming to your computer/cell phone/ipad/Apple TV/Smart TV/Video on Demand.

Things I Use it For/How I justify paying for it:
Before I was roommates with Harrison (my current husband who requires ESPN and HBO), I canceled cable and it was fine because Netflix. All the shows and movies- specifically:
  • Master of None
  • Arrested Development reruns for life
  • Documentaries
  • Narcos 
  • Making a Murder 

Cost: $45/month

How it Works: For ~$13 bottle, Club W delivers 3 bottles of wine to your doorstep. You can choose your own or take their suggestions. You take a little quiz in the beginning and they make recs based on that. 

Things I Use it For/How I justify paying for it
Look I'm simple and my knowledge of wine includes only three things: 1) red wine stains my teeth which makes me appear drunker than I am, 2) I only know how to buy 2 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's and 3) Vineyards are fun and pretty! Therefore, when I'm supposed to bring wine to a dinner or something I am clueless. How much should I spend? What do I bring? Is 2 Buck Chuck acceptable? So I leave it to Club W. I have also discovered wines I really enjoy (I usually drink at least one from the box, except snowzilla when the whole box was consumed) and have ordered those from Club W. Thank you, Leslie for turning me onto this!

Subscriptions that didn't save me money or work out for me for whatever reason (don't hate me!:

Meal box subscriptions (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh): $60 for 3 meals for 2 people? I try to feed 2 people all meals all week for under $100. Not in my price range.

Birchbox (eeek I know don't hate me!): I ended up using 1 or 2 products per box, which made me feel like a sample hoarder with nowhere to store my samples - they started pouring into personal spaces. It was too much. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Clean Eating One Pot Honey Sriracha Pasta

Happy Monday! I'm super spoiled because I had a 3 day work week last week (thanks #Snowzilla) and have a 3 day work week AGAIN because I'm peacing out of this winter wonderland for a wedding in Scottsdale, AZ (send any recs my way please)! Cannot WAIT!

This recipe was a classic Pinterest mix-up gone REAL good. I was attempting this recipe, but somehow I left Wal-Mart with an unexcpected bag of hair dye, nail polish and scented candles and left out 30% of my grocery list. Wal-Mart. Always.

Anyway this was originally going to be Pad Thai but I don't know what to call this - Pad Thai-ish? Asiany Pasta?

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

  • 8 oz Rice Noodles (I find them in the Asian aisle and/or gluten-free aisle) ($1.50)
  • 1 lb cage free chicken tenders, cubed ($3)
  • 1/2 Red Onion, diced ($.50)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots, peeled and diced ($.50)
  • 1/2 Cup Celery, chopped ($1)
  • 1/2 Cup Mushrooms, sliced ($1)
  • 1/2 Cup Cashews, chopped (1)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce* - DIY recipe
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey*
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha*
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt*
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil/Coconut Oil/Bacon Grease/cooking fat of your choice

*I added more to my personal dish because I like my food saucier, Harrison likes his food less saucey. Go as crazy as you want with the sauce!

For garnish:

  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Sliced Vidalia Onion 

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. While the pasta cooks coat a large frying pan with olive oil/cooking fat of choice. Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper (don't be shy!) and cook in the coated frying pan over medium heat until cooked through (5-10 mins).

Remove the cooked chicken and add more oil to the pan if necessary. Put the onion and garlic in the pan and saute about 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring a lot to make sure nothing sticks to the pan. Next add the carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper (I use about 1 teaspoon of each) and cook another 5 minutes.

Throw in the mushrooms and cashews (and maybe a little more salt and pepper) and continue to cook and mix for another 5 minutes.  

Now add in the chicken and cooked pasta and mix together well (heat is still on). Add the honey, sriracha and soy sauce and mix in well. Cook it all together for another few minutes.

Scoop it into bowls, garnish with cilantro and vidalia onions and enjoy!

My fav kitchen tools for this meal: