Foodie Friday: Juice for All

I’m a juice-aholic. By now, this is a well-known fact among my friends, and I receive requests for juice cleanse recommendations on the regular – I’d say about once per month.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, Spring has sprung, and Summer is JUST around the corner! I noticed today that there are a ton of juice cleanse sales on all of our favorite daily deal sites, so I thought I’d do all you healthy-minded New Yorkers a favor and put the top ones all in one place:

Cleanses I’ve Tried

1. Cleanse:Jus By Julie

jus by julie cleanse

The deets:

  •          $99 ($200 value) for a 3-day juice cleanse + meal plan
  •          $175 ($350 value) for a 3-day juice cleanse for you and a friend + meal plans

Where to buy: Get it on LivingSocial

Thoughts: This is my favorite juice cleanse. I had a customer service snafu once, but they reached out and compensated with a free 1-day cleanse. The juices are so tasty, and they have puree in them, so you’re still getting some fiber and protein, and you don’t feel as hungry (or in some cases hungry at all) while cleansing.

2. Cleanse: Liquiteria

Liquiteria

The deets:

  •          “Juice, Eat, Repeat” $79 ($99 value): Four cold-pressed juices per day for three days (12 juices total)
  •          Level One Cleanse: “Explore & Nourish” $118 ($147 value): Six cold-pressed juices per day for three days (18 juices total)
  •          Level Two Cleanse: “Restore & Energize” $118 ($147 value): Six cold-pressed juices per day for three days (18 juices total) – same deal as level one, but different juices
  •          Level Three Cleanse: “Deep Dive & Heal” $160 ($200 value): Seven cold-pressed juices per day for three days (21 juices total); One coconut water per day (three total)
  •          All cleanses come with One-on-one coaching session with an expert cleanse coach. They basically walk you through the cleanse and answer any questions when you pick up your juices

Where to buy: Get it on Gilt City

Thoughts: The “Juice, Eat, Repeat” is awesome for juicing rookies! Juice all day and have a nice raw dinner – it leaves you feeling so refreshed! I really like Liquiteria, but you have to pick this cleanse up in person, so it takes a little extra prepping. They have three locations: Liquiteria Chelsea, Liquiteria East Village, or Union Square

Other Available Cleanses

1. Cleanse: The Squeeze

The Squeeze New York City Deal of the Day   Groupon New York City

The deets:

  •          $119 for a three-day juice cleanse ($177 value)
  •          $235 for a six-day juice cleanse ($354 value)

Where to buy: Get it on GroupOn

Thoughts: I haven’t tried The Squeeze yet, but maybe I will!  This is another ‘pick-up only’ cleanse. There are three locations: Battery Park City, Hell’s Kitchen, and Union Square

2. Cleanse: beQu Juice

bequ juices

The deets:

Where to buy: Get it on GroupOn

Thoughts: I haven’t tried beQu yet either, but here are some additional details from GroupOn: Recipients receive a supply of six bottles for each day of their cleanse, which includes three lemonade and three sweet greens juices that can be alternated throughout the day. Shipping is not included in this deal; beQu Juice will confirm delivery dates by email. Based on this, I would look up cost of shipping before buying!

One Pot Mac & Cheese with Low-Fat Maia Yogurt

This weather! NYC may have seen more snow this winter than in the past four put together, and the forecast is not necessarily showing us any signs of  long-term relief.

With a busy schedule, and maybe a slight case of the winter blues, I’ve been turning to my favorite comfort foods more often than I’d like to admit. Slice of pizza? Sure. Mac-n-cheese? Bring it on. Like, once a week. Okay, maybe twice.

I’m a huge comfort food junkie, but I’m also big on ingredient substitutes to try to make things just a little healthier. So, when Maia Yogurt, shared an alternative recipe to my standard, boxed mac-n-cheese, I was all in. I’ve been wanting to try homemade mac for a long time, but it always seemed like a daunting task, and I worried that the effort would not yield the same results as the easy, creamy, delicious box version. This one-pot-wonder was ready to eat in three easy steps! It was quick, simple, and satisfied my craving perfectly.

One Pot Mac & Cheese

Maia one pot mac n cheese

One pot mac-n-cheese

  1. Cook 2 cups elbow pasta in a large pot.
  2. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot along with 2 cups shredded cheese, 1/2 cup plain Maia Yogurt, salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder.
  3. Stir all the ingredients together on low heat until the cheese is completely melted.

Let’s zoom in on that ooey gooey yumminess.

MAIA mac n cheese_christinadoes

I’m officially done with boxed mac.

Do you have any favorite recipe substitutes? Would you try subbing in Greek yogurt in your creamy recipes? 

*Special thanks to Maia Yogurt for yogurt samples and recipe suggestion 🙂 

Crock Pot Chronicles: Turkey Three-Bean Chili

It pains me to write about chili on day three of a juice cleanse, but baby, it’s cold outside, and if I weren’t cleansing I would be whipping up another batch to warm up this dreary day.

Last week I made the most phenomenal chili to ever pass my lips. It was hearty and thick, and so perfectly spicy.  And I know I’m not just tooting my own horn, because Jamie couldn’t get enough of it either! The best part? It was SO easy.

turkey three bean chili recipe

Turkey Three-Bean Chili

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb fat free ground turkey breast
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 (10 oz) cans hot or mild Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (if you can find a 28 oz can, more power to ya!)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (flour can be used as an alternative)

Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Brown the turkey with red onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked, and drain any fat remaining.To make life easier, I did step one the night before, and kept the cooked meat in the refrigerator overnight, so all I had to do in the morning was put everything in the crock pot. So easy!
  2. Add the meat, tomatoes con chilies, tomato sauce, green pepper and seasoning mix to the crock combining well.
  3. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. If you’re like me, and a work day could potentially last 10-12 hours, leave the pot on the low setting.
  4. In the last hour or two of cooking, add the beans, and turn the crock pot up to high, if it isn’t already. The world won’t end if you have he beans in the whole time, but they might come out a bit mushy, so I choose to add them later.When you’re almost ready to serve, incorporate the nutritional yeast or flour, little by little, until your chili is at desired consistency.

Top with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream, lime, etc. Whatever your little heart desires, and enjoy!

Monday Motivation: Transitioning Back to Reality

It’s Monday! This is likely one of the most difficult Mondays of the year, as we get over the long Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Our bellies full and our wallets empty, it’s time to get back to work, and back to the daily grind.

drink coffee

Image via Pinterest

I personally have thrown routine out the window lately, and after a long-weekend vacation in Montreal followed by the long holiday weekend, I am ready to reintroduce things like the gym, smoothies, and a normal sleep schedule back into my life.

Here are some links from around the web that are helping motivate me – from jumping back on the treadmill to getting the ball rolling on my holiday shopping:

healthy oatmeal smoothie

Image via marthastewart.com

  • I had this healthy smoothie for breakfast this morning. Did you know that yogurt plus oatmeal equals a complete protein? Mine was a little too thick, but still oh so good.
  • Looking for creative ways to finish up those turkey day leftovers? The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has you covered with some inspiring leftover turkey recipes 
  • Self magazine always has my back when I’m feeling less than motivated at the gym. I think they read my mind when they pinned these 10 boredom-busting treadmill workouts on Pinterest yesterday
skinny cranberry bliss bars

Image via skinnytaste.com

  • And JUST in time for the holidays, Gina Homolka of skinnytaste.com has a recipe for Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars that I must try. These were my favorite holiday treat back when I worked at Starbucks, many eons ago

In conclusion, this Cyber Monday I am keeping the coffee flowing, and I have my gym bag packed and ready for tonight. I am motivated! How about you?

Monday Motivation: Bikini-Ready in Two Weeks?

Late Friday boyfriend and I decided we’re going to run away to Florida for Memorial Day weekend. I was so excited that I went straight from work to find a sexy little something to wear on the beach. I found a bikini I like, but still feel like I’m about a month away from how I want to look in it – I tend to embrace the “winter layer,” and let’s face it, the weather’s been acting more wintery than we’d like for Spring this season…

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can

via Pinterest

So, I’ve been searching for extra ways to get my booty into gear, and make the most of the next two weeks. Here’s what I’ve got:

And of course I’ll be hitting the gym a bit extra – hopefully starting the Summer schedule and sticking to it!

What do you do to keep on track during beach season? 

Foodie Friday: Is Instagram Making Me Fat?

After receiving criticism for my social “foodspiration” photos at every family gathering I’ve attended since joining Instagram 18 months ago, I could not hold back an enormous eye-roll today while reading a Gothamist article on a study reporting that Instagramming photos of your food could lead to an unhealthy food obsession.

Gothamist reported, “The study, which was presented at the Canadian Obesity Summit in Vancouver this week and titled “Food Fetish: Society’s Complicated Relationship with Food,” suggests that some people who take photos of most of their meals do so because food plays a big role in their lives—this, in turn, could lead them to develop unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

I’ll be the first to admit that food plays an important role in my life. Food fuels my energy for every day’s activities – of course it’s important! And living in a city like New York, it’s hard not to get excited at the newest trend in burgers or donuts, or the next big restaurant opening. Some may frown at indulging in these things; God forbid we celebrate with a cupcake or considering a glass of wine a reward after a long week.

Though, I’d like to think that my social posts are more motivating towards healthy habits. I drink homemade juices almost weekly, and dabble in predominately veggie recipes quite often. But, knowing that my Instagram isn’t exactly my food journal, this Gothamist article got me thinking – is my Instagram as healthy as I’d like to think I am?

I did some data mining and it appears I have 288 photos posted to date, 78 of which are food related. So I’m not completely antisocial, and I don’t have a relationship going with my daily lunch menu. That’s good, right?

Of my food photos, I would classify 28 as being super healthy, with juices, smoothies and salads being the healthiest posts.

P1010914

Twenty posts are neither healthy nor unhealthy, just amazingly delicious foods or interesting photos. I classified most home-cooked meals and things like sushi here –I thought these foods were healthy in moderation.

Thirty-one photos could classify as fat-kid-special, but more than half of these were photos of alcoholic beverages – 18 photos depicted Bloody Marys, quality beers and vino. photoHighlights from the remaining 13 “unhealthy” eats include rare indulgences like Shake Shack, Serendipity ice cream, and In-N-Out Burger. Holy cholesterol.

So how would I grade my Instagram? Balanced. And I think balanced is healthy. What do you think, is your Instagram making you fat? Is MY Instagram making you fat?

Awkward & Awesome Thursday: Concust and Almost Homeless

AWKWARD

  • I have a concussion. I hit my head with a door on Sunday morning, simply because I am clumsy and was tired, and I woke up Monday with a bruise and lots of fun symptoms like dizziness, nausea, headaches, etc., which annoyed me enough by Wednesday to finally go to the doctor. The diagnosis? “You have a mild concussion. Rest your brain.” No TV, no computer… pretty impossible. So the headaches are here to stay for a while.
  • To add insult to injury (quite literally, pun intended), silly me had an eye exam directly after being diagnosed with a concussion. This was my second eye exam ever in my short lifetime, and I’m pretty sure they never gave me the eye drops that make your vision blurry for two hours the first time around. So, I left the doctor, went to work, and strained my eyes for a while, giving myself the hugest headache known to man. Someone call the karma police, seriously, this is not in any way fair. 
  • Our lease is up at the end of March, and Jamie and I have no idea if we’re staying or going. That’s okay in New York though, it’s oddly hard to plan a move more than two weeks in advance because of how quickly apartments turn over, but the planner in me is FREAKING OUT.

 AWESOME

  • Everything “awesome” has to do with fitness today. Awesome #1: hot yoga (also awkward). I’m a super beginner at yoga and probably shouldn’t be doing it in normal temperatures, but I’ve started going to hot yoga once per week. I can’t do half the poses, and I have to leave the room once per class – I am admittedly not yet a yogi – but I absolutely love it. I think I could sit in child’s pose the whole 90 minutes and still sweat it out more than a normal workout.
  • Awesome #2: Pilates reformer. I’ve been taking classes for about three weeks and I’m pretty much addicted. If you’re not familiar, Pilates reformer is different from regular Pilates mat workouts. The reformer machine uses springs for resistance and really helps you achieve stretches and positions you cannot do on your own. My goal is to strengthen my core in order to improve other things such as my posture and running.

That’s all I’ve got this week. I feel pretty boring, so to compensate, here are some awesome pictures of the lovely Giovanna and me from last weekend, courtesy of Photobot 3000:

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Awkward & Awesome Thursday: A Period of Transition

Well hello there! It has certainly been and awkward and awesome past few weeks. I am in a bit of a transition, so haven’t had too much time in front of the computer outside of office hours.

Last week I had dinner with a friend, and we wound up discussing how our twenties feel like an awkwardly constant transition. I found myself embracing this notion, saying that this is how things are supposed to be. By the end of dinner, I think we both walked away with a feeling of confidence in the unknown. As long as each “next step” makes a little more sense than the last, I think it is safe to say we’re moving forward.

Tomorrow marks the close of a short chapter in my journey. On Monday, I will return to the company I left only six months ago. I could not be happier; I feel like I am going home.

On a lighter note, here are the awkward and awesome occurrences of the last few weeks.

AWKWARD

  • As you might know, I currently take the bus to work. Even though I could take the select bus I take the local for two reasons:1) it’s closer to my apartment by a whole two blocks 2) it’s less crowded and I can sit and read my nook. Yes friends, I am a very lazy girl at eight in the morning. Anyway, that isn’t even what is awkward. Starting about two weeks ago, they turned off the flashing blue lights on the select bus. One local bus runs to about every three or four select buses. Usually I know when I see the bus five blocks away if it is one that I can get on or not, but now I am left with false, high hopes when I see a bus in the distance. It isn’t until the bus is right in front of me that I realize that I have to stand in the cold for longer, because of my illogical laziness.
  • Every girl I know is on Weight Watchers. I’m sure it’s awesome and it works and all that great stuff−because so many people wouldn’t be on it if it didn’t−but good God I feel like a fatty. Tuesday night I went out to dinner with three ladies who are all on WW, and they decided to split a panini and a wrap between the three of them. They were concerned about splitting something cut in half between three people, so they proceeded to order both sandwiches “cut in three, or not cut at all.” That poor waiter was so confused I thought his head was going to spin and fly across the room. I kept it simple with a smoothie, but forgot to ask my girls how many points I was consuming. If you are also on Weight Watchers (oh, I bet you are!), you should read a lovely little blog called City Skinny Life. I read it even though I’m not on the plan, because she goes to lots of my favorite NYC spots.
  • My birthday is on Superbowl Sunday (this Sunday).  I can’t remember if I shared this already, but as you know, I’m lazy, so I’m not going to check back-posts. You can let me air my frustrations again, or you can move on to the “AWESOME” section. I was a cheerleader for 11 years, but no, I do not watch football regularly. I don’t even know who is playing on Sunday, and I do not appreciate that my friends will likely “take it easy” Saturday night to prep for the big game, and that my brother will likely not even acknowledge my birthday day-of. The last time this happened (my 21st birthday), I tried to embrace it and get my friends together at our college’s sports bar for the game. Epic fail. Happy 21st birthday, Christina, you have three friends who like you more than they like football. This time around I will not try to compete with the game. Thank goodness for boyfriends who don’t care about football either – they make it all okay.

AWESOME

  • Influenster is at it again – they sent me three huge bottles of  Palmolive® Fresh Infusions™.  They smell so good! I gave my favorite one (Lime Basil) to a friend at work, and tried the other two (Lemon Thyme, and Ginger White Tea) at home. First impression? These soaps are super bubbly. I loved that I didn’t have to keep going back for more when tackling my dirty dishes. I washed my hands with the soap too, and it wasn’t harsh or drying (and my hands smelled hella good). I’d definitely spend $2.99 to get some more.
    Palmolive (1)
  • This BuzzFeed post on the 17 things that all New Yorkers fear. So true! Especially numbers four and six.
  • The Meatball Shop. I’ve mentioned, I know. I love this place so damn much. I’m doing a Skillshare class called Show Us Your Balls: Meatball Making with The Meatball Shop. So far I’ve watched some training videos from Meatball Shop co-founder and executive chef Daniel Holzman, and I will perfect the art of the meatball! Awkward fun fact? When I got veggie balls during my two-week vegetarian stint recently, I chose the pesto sauce, which is apparently served cold. Someone with me motioned for the closest staff member and asked him to microwave the balls, to which he responded, “we don’t have a microwave,” and continued to justify why I should enjoy my cold balls. I’m 90 percent sure that man was Daniel Holzman. I love him a little.

Foodie Friday: My New Year’s Grocery List

So it’s that time of year again – time to start fresh with a clean slate, and new goals and ambitions for the next 12 months. I didn’t think that I had a New Year’s resolution for 2013, but today I started to remember a few healthy foods I wanted to try, and it quickly turned into a “New Year’s Grocery List,” of sorts.

I’ve decided that my resolution is the same one I land on every year: to incorporate more healthy eating and living habits into my daily life. I don’t like the idea of crash diets or putting my workout schedule into overdrive for one month – those things just don’t work for me (and I don’t think they work long-term for anyone,actually). I’m beginning my healthy habits with a shopping list of a few items I’d like to try, and possibly keep stocked, in my kitchen this year.

Photo Jan 04, 2 28 48 PM

 

Here are a few items that make the cut:

Hemp seeds – Just two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 400 milligrams of gamma-linoleic acid, an anti-inflammatory, two grams of Omega-3 fats and nine essential amino acids. You can put hemp seeds on just about everything, but I’m especially excited to mix them into some post-workout smoothies to help maximize muscle recovery.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes – Nutritional yeast flakes are a complete protein, containing 18 amino acids and 15 minerals, and they are rich in vitamin B. Nutritional yeast can be used as a condiment, and the flavor is described as nutty and cheesy. I’ve also seen them used as a cheese substitute in plenty of vegan recipes around the blogosphere. While I’m not even close to being vegan, I’d like to try my hand at vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, just for kicks.

Jicama – Jicama, also referred to as a “Mexican yam” or “Mexican turnip,” is a scary looking root vegetable. But again, this guy pops up in recipes for all of my favorite blogs, so I’d like to face my fears and give it a whirl. Jicama is low in calories, but high in fiber and anti-oxidants.

In addition to the above items which I have not tried, I’d also like to incorporate more of the healthy foods I love into my daily diet. I need to get back on my kale kick, and I’d like to try to replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes when possible. I want to get back to juicing at least a few times per week, especially juicing beets.

Do you have any food goals for 2013? I know that sounds like an odd question, hopefully some of you can relate!

The Improvised Flat Bread

Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a girls’ night in – something I view as the ultimate cure for any excess of emotion (anger, stress, frustration, sadness, etc.).

Tuesday, after four hours of sleep and a grueling 10-hour day in the office, I was on my last thread. While I normally would have gone home and slept it off, I felt I needed to do something to replace the guilt I felt for being too tired to hit the gym.

Cue a quick trip to Whole Foods, Alycia and a bottle of wine. By 10 p.m. I was cured. Conversation, vino and our improvised flat bread wound up being just what the doctor ordered.

Whole Wheat Flatbread with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I walked into Whole Foods with visions of a gorgeous fig, arugula and goat cheese flat bread in my head. Apparently, and to my dismay, figs are out of season. I grabbed the first suitable substitute I could find – a package of sun-dried tomatoes, and made my way to our foodie date. Here is the final result:

P1000757

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (we used whole wheat dough from Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan flakes
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and prep the pizza dough according to directions on the packaging. We rolled our dough out into a nice rectangle large enough for roughly eight square slices.

Toss the arugula in the apple cider vinegar, and place aside for later.

Bake the dough for 5 minutes, then remove. Lightly coat the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the garlic evenly.

Layer the cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula on top. I know some like to hold the arugula until the flat bread is done baking, but we decided to try throwing it all in the oven.

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Next, return the flat bread to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Remove from the oven, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

This post is cross-posted from the blog Feel Good Foodies, a collaborative exploration between myself and my friend Alycia Ercums, documenting our love of fine food and our desire to balance a healthy lifestyle.