Silkie Chickie Update

This post is long overdue, but it’s time.

R.I.P. Olive <3

She was taken by a hawk on May 30th, 2018. She was so sweet and taken too early from this world. She is always loved and kept in our hearts.

We brought home Sweetpea, so Chickpea could have a friend. Chickens are very social animals and they need companions! They immediately bonded and grew very close.

They used to play-fight all the time growing up. Sweetpea established dominance very quickly – she was super sassy and loved running very fast. Catching her was nearly impossible! Chickpea was a bit more mellow and laid back. She was always ready for bed first.

They got increasingly fluffy every single day. Soon it became hard for them to see because of their poofy heads! They kept on bumping into things so we eventually trimmed their eye feathers. After a long couple months, they grew long silkie manes and super fluffy feet. They were fully grown after 5 months.

One day I heard a loud screech coming from outside. I thought my chickens were being attacked by a dog (because that has happened before). I ran outside to find nothing wrong. It turns out it was a little cock-a-doodle-doo. I didn’t realize it at the time, so I got really worried. It happened again the next morning so I ran save my chickens, however they both acted completely normal. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized Sweetpea was a boy!

Chickpea started cock-a-doodle-doing a little later because he is the less dominant male. So yeah, this whole time I thought they were girls, but now I have two roosters! They wake me up at 6 AM everyday… and 7 AM and 8 AM…

Their favorite snacks through the seasons have been: cherries, grapes, avocados, strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, plums, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, squash, worms, beetles, dandelions, clover and eggs!

Every night at sunset, they huddle by the door to be let inside. They sleep in a bin with bedding inside our house to be protected from predators.

I love being their mom, but now they are all grown up and too cool to be seen with me. They still love to cuddle, however they are aggressive toward certain family members.

Now that it is winter in Minnesota,

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies

Sweet, salty, chewy, moist, crispy

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup of spelt flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1. tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup organic butter
  • 1 organic egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup of (mini) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Yields 25-30 cookies

Instructions:

  1. Gather all ingredients. You will need one large mixing bowl.
  2. Cream together the butter and coconut sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in 1 egg and add vanilla. Add spelt flour, salt and baking soda.
  4. Combine and add chocolate chips.
  5. Roll into balls and top with more chocolate chips and sea salt. I am using fleur de sel from Guérande, France.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Sweet, salty, chewy, moist, crispy edges 🙂

Cherry Chia Jam

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Over the Summer I went to the St. Paul farmers market and saw some beautiful tart cherries. I talked to the farmer about his product and what he suggested to do with them – he said they were great for cherry pies, crisps and an egg based custard called clafoutis. There were so many options, but my mind immediately went to jam. While I was studying abroad in France, my host mom made her own cherry and fig jam and it inspired me to learn how – with a healthy twist, of course! Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tart cherries
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

How to:

  1. In a sauce pan on medium heat, add pitted cherries and coconut sugar
    • simmer for about 5 minutes, or until they start to break down.
  2. Once the cherries soften and release juice, add in the chia seeds and stir.
  3. Lower the heat and stir for another 10-15 minutes until the mixture becomes thick.
  4. Once the jam has been cooled COMPLETELY, store in any container for up to 3 weeks.
    • I stored mine in a small mason jar and used it up quickly, but feel free to sterilize and can the product so it will last longer!

 

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Aren’t they so beautiful? <3

Fun Fact: My family actually has a tart cherry tree in our backyard, but all the birds ate our cherries before I could pick them! I will definitely be making this recipe again with cherries from my own backyard – before the birds steal them. 🙂

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A classic PB & J – with a twist! Check out my instagram for more recipes!

The Best Guacamole Recipe!!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocado
  • 1 roasted garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • roughly chopped cilantro
  • sea salt & black pepper

Mash avocado in a medium sized bowl, add garlic, tomatoes, onion, lime, cilantro and salt to taste. Serve with delicious organic corn tortilla chips! <3

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How to Make a Salad that Doesn’t Suck

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We get it. You think salads are boring, unsatisfying and the epitome of diet food. But munching on greens doesn’t have to suck! If you don’t like salad, you probably don’t know how to make a good one. Delicious salads (or any food) should be colorful, vibrant and fresh with lots of interesting components. I promise you won’t feel the need to eat pizza after you make one of these amazing salads. They will keep you full and help you get in more veggies in your diet!

How to Make a badass Salad:

1) Use an Array of Greens!

Ditch the lettuce! Your salad will be infinitely better with other delicious and nutritious greens. Experiment and find a mix that you like.  Try kale, spinach, and arugula or even add some herbs!

2) Add Textures and Color

Make your salad interesting by adding something crunchy. Good quality croutons, nuts and seeds are what I like best. You can even add other crunchy veggies like celery, cabbage or shredded carrots. The options are endless!

3) Add protein & Healthy Fats

This will keep you full and make the salad satisfying. If you eat meat, try add some chicken, steak or seafood. I almost always add cheese because, well, everything is better with cheese!

More options:

  • Avocado
  • Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans
  • Hummus
  • Chickpeas
  • Hard-boiled egg

 4) Add Fruit or Additional Veggies!

Use whatever you have in the house! Don’t overcomplicate it by adding too many ingredients. Maybe some strawberries or dried cranberries? Olives? Radishes? Use what you like and make it work for you! One of my favorite summer combinations is: Spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, walnuts and lemon vinaigrette! Don’t be afraid of adding fruit!

5) Make your own Dressing!

It’s always going to be easy to buy a bottle of salad dressing from the grocery store, but making your own is so simple and more beneficial. You can control all the amounts and ingredients. Lots of processed salad dressings can contain unnecessary ingredients and emulsifiers. Try sticking to an oil & vinegar based dressing rather than a creamy one.  A good salad always needs some type of acid – lemons, limes, balsamic or apple cider vinegar is the way to go.

 

Here are some of my favorite go-to dressings!

Methods: Use a whisk and a small bowl to combine ingredients or find a small mason jar and shake until the oil and vinegar everything is emulsified.

The most simple Lemon Vinaigrette: ½ lemon squeezed, 2 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt & black pepper

Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. raw honey, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, sea salt & black pepper

Maple Tahini Dressing: 2 tbsp. tahini paste, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon or vinegar, sea salt & black pepper

Herb Vinaigrette: ½ lemon squeezed, 2 tbsp. chopped herbs (basil, parsley or thyme), 1 tbsp. raw honey, 2 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt & black pepper

Easy Seafood Paella

I was inspired from my trip to Spain to make this amazing regional dish! Full of bold flavors, spices and the most amazing rice you will ever taste!  Paella is definitely my new favorite food and I was so excited to come home and attempt to make it myself. The concept is very simple – just rice, veggies and any meat or seafood. It turned out so amazing and I am happy to share the recipe with you!

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups approx. chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 cup red and green bell peppers
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • ¼ cup artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. black pepper or cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Your choice of seafood: I used shrimp & mussels
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley

Method:

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  1. Prep rice, seafood and broth ahead of time – cut peppers and veggies into bite sized pieces
  2. In a cast iron pan or deep skillet, cook peppers in olive oil for 4-5 minutes until slightly softened.
  3. Add rice and “toast” for 2 minutes
  4. Add peas, garlic and any other vegetable, stir for 1 minute. Artichokes and green beans are also common.
  5. Add broth to the mixture and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes until rice is cooked. Cover and stir occasionally. Add more broth or water as needed.
  6. During this time you can cook the seafood separately or add it on top of the rice 5-10 minutes before it is done. The heat from the pan will cook the seafood. Be sure to cover with lid.
  7. Top with parsley and serve

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Cook peppers for in olive oil, add rice and “toast” for 2 minutes

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Add peas and any other vegetables you’d like! Cook for 1 minute

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Add chicken or veggie broth and simmer for 30-40 minutes

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Final product w/ fresh parsley! Enjoy

Pro Tips:

  • Saffron is usually used to give the rice a golden color. Since it is the most expensive spice in the world, I used turmeric as a substitute. Real Paella uses saffron! If you can find it, use it!
  • Traditionally, Arborio rice is used for paella, but I used a combination of short grain brown rice and Arborio. Use what you have! Any rice will work.
  • Make your own chicken or veggie broth! If you have leftover chicken or old veggies you need to use up, there’s no excuse not to make one! I made my own veggie broth using leftover carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, basil, oregano, bell peppers, and zucchini. I simply sautéed the veggies in some olive oil and poured in 2 ½ cups of water once the veggies had cooked for 6-7 minutes. I let is simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Adjust amounts of broth and rice accordingly. If you like your rice more tender, add more broth.
  • Add any seafood, meat, or keep it vegetarian! In Spain I had both chicken paella and seafood paella. Use what you have and make it work for you!
  • If you like your veggies to keep more texture in the dish, saute them less time in the beginning of the recipe. I like my peas and peppers to keep their color (and nutritional value!)

Fresh from the Market: France 2017

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I’ve had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in France this past month through the University of Minnesota. I’m so excited to come back and share some amazing recipes and talk about my experience with you all! I’ve been exploring Paris, Nantes and Angers while learning about the agriculture and food systems. One of the highlights of this trip was visiting the beautiful farmers markets with my host mom every Saturday. I have never been happier being surrounded by an abundance of fruits and veggies, all grown locally and organically.

The first thing I noticed was the connection to food in this country. I’ve been visiting so many organic farms with my classmates and it’s truly incredible to see the value that people put into their food. I’ve noticed that most French people are aware of where their food comes from and really strive to buy produce that was grown in France.

My message to you: shop local and know where your food comes from!

Some of the best apricots and cherries I’ve eaten on this trip came from my host family’s backyard. Also the best Camembert cheese I’ve tasted came from a small farm, where I got to meet the cows and watch the farmer produce the very product that he loves.

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Some amazing goat cheese I bought <3

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Best Pre & Post Workout Snacks

Best Pre and Post Workout Snacks: How to slay your workout!

A question that I get asked frequently is what you should eat before and after you workout! Knowing when and what to eat can make a big difference in your fitness performance. It is important to listen to your body and fuel it properly with the right foods. If you are properly nourished, you will feel good from the inside out and have a killer workout!

The key: Protein and Carbohydrates

It is important to eat both protein and carbohydrates pre and post workout. Glucose is the main source of fuel for out cells. When we eat carbohydrates, our body converts the energy into glucose and stores it in the form of glycogen. When we exercise, our bodies use glycogen and ATP to get our muscles moving!

Since our bodies only store a small supply, it is important to replenish with good food. Studies suggest that eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercising can improve fitness performance and allows you to workout for a longer duration or at a higher intensity.

After a good sweat session, your body restocks glycogen and repair muscle proteins. Eating protein after a workout helps increase muscle synthesis, enhance recovery and restore glycogen in the body. Fueling yourself with the right nutrients is very important to ensure optimal fitness performance

Best Timing: Eat 45-60 Minutes Beforehand!

Eating too much or too little can make you feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise. It can also give you stomach cramps in the middle of a workout. I recommend that you eat a small snack 45 minutes before and after working out. Try not to go longer than 2 hours without eating if you are planning on working out that day.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants – Michael Pollen

Here are some snacks that I recommend. They are easy, portable, budget friendly, and will help you get through a fantastic workout.

  • Apple & peanut butter
  • Banana & almond butter
  • Plain greek yogurt w/ granola
  • Smoothie (check out recipe on my blog)
  • Nuts or trail mix (dried nuts & fruit)
  • Hummus & carrots
  • Oatmeal w/ fruit
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potato
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Protein bar (make sure you read the ingredients! Look for good quality bar with no refined sugar snickers bar)
  • WATER!!! I know this is not necessarily a carb or protein, but water is often overlooked. Staying hydrated is key to ensuring a good workout. If you sweat, replenish with lots and lots of water.

Snack Examples: 

Greek yogurt, granola & fruit

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Avocado, Egg, Sweet potatoes, Raspberries

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Brown rice cake, avocado, egg, orange

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Ginger kombucha (fermented tea) & bar

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Overnight oats w/ fruit & granola

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Egg, veggies & hummus

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Peanut Butter Energy bites: Full Recipe Here

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Almond Butter Cacao Bites

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup mini chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until you get coarse crumbs
  2. (Set 2 tbsp. aside to roll the balls in later)
  3. Add dates, peanut butter, cacao powder, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt and hemp seeds in a food processor
  4. Pulse on and off until you get a smooth, thick malleable texture.  The ‘dough’ should come together in a ball.
  5. Put mixture into a small mixing bowl and stir in mini chocolate chips.
  6. Form into balls and roll in saved ground almonds or more hemp seeds.
  7. Set on a tray and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes.  Best when cold.

Smoothie of the Day #8

Smoothie Ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Handful of Strawberries
  • Maca Powder
  • Chia seeds

I used 1 tsp. of maca powder & 1 tbsp. chia seeds
I put everything in a blender & added a frozen banana to make the smoothie creamy!

Amazing! This is truly my favorite color! 🙂

Health benefits of Maca Powder:

  • Increases energy
  • reduces oxidative stress
  • improves memory
  • helps balance hormones
  • Supports thyroid health
  • improves cognative function
  • High in iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium <3