Juicy Wednesday: Watermelon & Bubbles

Ok so this post is two-fold… on the one hand we have a simple delicious juice and on the other we have a naughty juice… a.k.a. a cocktail. I think this is appropriate considering it’s hump day, so we could all use a little health AND a little naughtiness to help us get to the weekend 🙂

One of my favorite things about summer is that watermelon is in season. I could subsist on watermelon. It’s versatile, delicious, and the health benefits go on and on. Here are a few:

  • Alkaline-forming
  • Low in sugar and calories
  • Natural diuretic (yay for kidney health!)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • High in antioxidants
  • Natural electrolyte (hello, post-workout food)
  • Can reduce body fat

Yum. While you can put watermelon through a juicer, it’s not really necessary. The fruit is so high in water that it’s worth keeping the pulp and just popping some chunks into the blender.

Watermelon Cooler

serves 2

1 cucumber

handful of mint

2 cups of chopped watermelon

Blend the watermelon. Juice the cucumber and mint. Mix the two. Voila!

 

Watermelon Bellinis

chopped watermelon

champagne/sparkling wine (just make sure it’s dry, the watermelon adds sweetness and you don’t want a sickly sweet cocktail)

mint to garnish (optional)

1. Blend the watermelon until smooth.

2. Fill a champagne flute 2/3 of the way with champagne, then carefully top with the watermelon juice.

3. Enjoy!

watermelonbellinis

We enjoyed a few of these over the weekend and I have to admit, they go down WAY too easy. Delicious, refreshing, simple, and screaming summer.

Cheers to hump day!

 

xo,

Natalia

Advertisements

2014 and a Broccoli-Millet Pesto Bowl

I am a naughty naughty blogger and for that I apologize… The two months between my last post and this one were very busy but that is no excuse, especially since the holidays are exciting times and therefore exciting blog subjects.

First, I hope you all had a very happy and healthy holiday celebrating whatever it is you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Life…) with the ones you love. I celebrate Christmas (and Life) and was fortunate enough to book a last minute trip home and spend it with my family in the snow.

Second, I hope you rang in the new year with some bubbly and good company, and may your 2014 be filled with lots love and happiness. So grateful I got to ring in another year with this guy:

newyears

 

Third, a new year is as good a time as ever to re-group, re-focus, and re-energize your body and mind. I have many goals for this year, but one of my main goals is to get my a** back in the kitchen and make feel good food. One of my holiday reads was The pH Miracle and while I firmly believe moderation is everything in wellness, this was an interesting take on health. Basically, Dr. Young and his wife (the authors) encourage eating a more alkaline diet and claim that improving the alkaline/acid balance in your body is the key to optimum health. Below is a Broccoli-Millet Pesto bowl that we had for dinner the other night, it incorporates this approach and it was pretty tasty if I do say so myself… and that’s coming from a girl who isn’t mad about broccoli 😉

millet and broccoli

 

(food styling is clearly not one of my 2014 goals… maybe it should be)

Broccoli-Millet Pesto Bowl

serves 3-ish depending on portions

1 cup of millet

1 veggie stock cube (optional)

1 pack of broccoli (approximately 2 large heads)

3-4 TBSP of olive oil

1 large handful of fresh basil, finely chopped

2 small cloves of garlic, minced

1 TBSP of nutritional yeast (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds (optional, almonds and/or sunflower seeds are also a nice option)

1/4 cup of hemp seeds (optional)

1 large avocado, sliced lengthwise

lemon (optional)

1. Cook the millet according to directions. That usually entails, 1 cup of millet to 3 cups of boiling/simmering water for about 20 minutes. I like to add a stock cube for a bid of flavor.

2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size florets and lightly steam. Set aside.

3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Add the onion and seeds and mix, then add the broccoli and gently toss everything together. You may want to add a little more olive oil or salt and pepper at this point to adjust the taste to your liking.

4. In a bowl, dish out some millet, add some of the broccoli mix, and top with some sliced avocado. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice if desired, and enjoy!

Don’t be afraid of the big bad broccoli, it’s actually pretty tasty, full of healthy stuff, and packing some sneaky protein. Let me know if you give it a shot!

xo,

Natalia

 

Juicy Wednesdays: Family-Friendly

Is it really only Wednesday?! Yes, yes it is. But while it’s only Wednesday, it is more importantly also my Dad’s birthday and therefore I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit today. My Dad is a father, a husband, a New Yorker, an academic, a friend, a guru and my rock. He was also one of my first inspirations when it came to living a life that was more conscious and green. My dad HATES toxins, and weekends spent reluctantly pulling weeds from his proudly organic garden, were a regular thing growing up. As youngsters, my sister and I often suggested he use Round-Up (weed killer) so we could be free of this dreaded chore, but his insistence that it was toxic and we must always first look for natural solutions is something I now regard as a lesson.

Natural solutions are great when there is an existing problem, but nature is also an excellent source for preventing problems and maintaining health and vitality. My parents love fruits and vegetables, but superfoods and green juices/smoothies are not in their regular regime, and I find some of these superfoods are nature’s best source of preventative medicine. While I was home I decided to make them a mix and instructed them to add 1-2 TBS of the mix (each) to their breakfast daily (it mixes well in smoothies, oats, yogurt, or over fruit). I believe this mix is best enjoyed in a green smoothie, but truthfully its nuttiness and texture is a delicious addition to most sweet breakfast foods. Below is a recipe for a kale smoothie that I made several times for my parents while I was home, and below that is the recipe for the mix. It’s full of natural goodness that will start your day off beautifully and keep you feeling strong and healthy.

kalesmoothie

(Vitamix…how I miss you)

Berry-Banana Kale Smoothie

serves 2

4-5 leaves of kale, washed

1 cup of berries

1 large banana

1.5 cups of almond milk

4 ice cubes

3 heaped TBS of the Family-Friendly breakfast mix

honey or agave to taste

1) Start with ice, kale and almond milk and blend until smooth.

2) Add berries, banana, mix and optional sweetener and blend.

3) Enjoy!

Family-Friendly Breakfast Mix

equal parts of the following:

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Goji berries

Hemp seeds

1) In a blender, blend the chia and flax seeds until they become meal, be careful not to over-blend, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

2) Pour the meal into a container, add the goji berries and hemp seeds and give it a good stir with a spoon.

3) Add 1-2 TBS to your breakfast and store in the fridge.

*note: This mix must be enjoyed in its raw form in order to reap all the benefits, therefore if you are adding it to something cooked like oatmeal, dish out your oatmeal first and then sprinkle the mix on top right before you dig in.*

Some benefits:

Chia-Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, excellent for joint health and weigh loss/management. Flax– have a protective affect against some cancers, can lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and great source of Omega-3 and fiber. Goji Berries– incredibly high in antioxidants which fight against free radicals in the body and can slow down ageing, high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, and they have been found to help control the amounts of cortisol released by the body when under stress. Hemp seeds– high in protein (containing 10 essential amino acids), anti-inflammatory, Omega-3 AND Omega-6 fatty acids, high in zinc, iron, and other minerals.

Cheers to you Dad!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: Carrot Cake in a Glass

Happy Wednesday! Is it just me or is this week flying? Maybe I’m just excited for my Friday departure, but I’m glad that it’s already Wednesday 🙂

We’re off in two days and the mania of packing and tying up loose ends before we go, has begun. Amidst the chaos there is order, and while I joke that I might mysteriously miss my flight back to South Africa… I really think I will miss the old girl. It might have something to do with biltong

I like trying to keep it clean when I’m on vacation, but I definitely don’t deprive myself of the delicacies only available when one is on holiday. For example, I’m very excited to try BabycakesNYC (is there a cuter name for a bakery? no.) and get my Starbucks fix of Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Until then, my mind is already in treat-mode and this Carrot Cake inspired juice is a good way quell an inner treat beast.

carrot juice

Carrot Cake in a Glass

serves 2

5 large carrots

2-3 apples

1 cup coconut water

1 inch of ginger

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

Wash the carrots, apple and ginger. Juice. Whisk in the coconut water, cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!

Some Benefits:

Hydrating (coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes); excellent for skin and eye health; high in Vitamin A, B2, B6, C, beta carotene; good for digestive health; weight loss (cinnamon is natural appetite suppressant); good for blood circulation; good for the brain (nutmeg can improve concentration and relieve anxiety).

 

See you Friday babycakes!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: Natalia Rose’s “Chocolate Milk”

Hello!

Today I am sharing a recipe by Natalia Rose that I love and wish I could take credit for because it’s GENIUS. Natalia Rose is a Manhattan-based clinical nutritionist who has worked with a variety of men and women. She was formerly the nutrition director for the Frederic Fekkai Spa (umm… talk about a dream job) and the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. She has several interesting books and I acquired her “Detox 4 Women” book about a year ago. Rose likes to promote raw foods and food combining principles, and I’d recommend the book to both women and men.

In addition to Food Combining, Rose is a juice junkie and this recipe for her “Chocolate Milk” is easy, delicious, cheap and great for you. It is a 100% vegetable juice, but when the flavors combine the taste has an uncanny resemblance to rich chocolate milk.

chocolate milk

I’m not on glue… I know the above looks like a swamp, but just try it.

Natalia Rose’s Vegetable Chocolate Milk

serves 2

1 head of Romaine (Cos) lettuce

1 pound (approximately 500grams) of fresh carrots

Clean everything and juice. That’s it. 2 ingredients found year-round.

*A twist: when I want the combination to be a little more filling and decadent, I blend the juice with one banana and ¼ of an avocado.

Enjoy your Wednesday and let me know if you give this “Chocolate Milk” a shot!

xo,

(the other) Natalia

Friday Delights: Beauty Tricks

Happy Friday! The weekend is here! Woohoo! Did you know yesterday was International Raw Foods Day? It makes me so happy that that is even a thing! I’m not a Raw Foodist, but I support some of the ideas behind the raw foods movement and I think encouraging people to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into their diet is delightful indeed.

coconut oil

(source)

For this Friday’s Delights, I’m sharing two of my favourite natural beauty ingredients that are really easy to incorporate into any routine. I’m not hectic about being au naturel in the beauty department, I like my deodorant and shampoo, thanks. But the truth is, there are a lot of dangerous ingredients in the general beauty products out there and what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Remember: your skin is your largest organ! So here are two delightful little guys that I always keep in my bathroom and on my vanity:

1)      Coconut Oil- Coconut oil in the kitchen: amazing… Coconut oil as part of your beauty routine: DELIGHTFUL. My favorite ways to use coconut oil outside of the kitchen are: in my hair to tame fly-aways and frizz, as lip balm/gloss, as make-up remover, and as a general skin moisturizer. Here is an infographic showing the various uses for this incredible oil in your beauty routine.

2)      Baking Soda/Sodium Bicarbonate: Incorporating Baking Soda/Sodium Bicarbonate into your beauty routine is also delightful. Once a week mix 1 tablespoon into your shampoo when you wash your hair and feel the difference. Also, if you want a mini microdermabrasion session, mix equal parts of baking soda and face wash and exfoliate. Smooooooth.

 

Enjoy your weekend you beauties 😉

 

xo,

Natalia

 

 

 

 

Juicy Wednesdays: 5 reasons to start juicing

We’re starting something new this week: Juicy Wednesday! I love juicing, I think it is one of the best additions to any diet, but I realize it can be a bit intimidating and gross. So, to encourage you to explore juicing, I have provided my top 5 reasons to start juicing… and to debunk the naysayers who think those green elixirs look yuck, I will be providing weekly juice recipes and tips every Wednesday.

So, without further ado… here are 5 reasons to come on board and start juicing:

  1. Maximum absorption of vitamins and minerals – When you juice, you remove fiber (pulp) from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind only their liquid. This reduces the volume of the fruits and veggies, thus allowing for more food to be incorporated into your juice. In other words, your juice could contain and entire cucumber, 5 pieces of kale, 1 yellow pepper, 2 apples, 1 lemon, an inch of ginger… would you ever sit down and eat all of that at once? Not likely. But when you juice, you can drink the liquid and nutrients of each vegetable and fruit in one sitting. In addition, since there is no fiber to breakdown, your body is absorbing the vitamins and minerals quickly and efficiently…. You’re essentially getting an entire day’s worth of fruits and vegetables in one glass (move over V8!).
  2. pH balance – balancing the pH levels in our body is a constant endeavour. Modern day diets often leave our bodies in a more acidic state which results in poor health, low energy levels and an environment for disease to thrive in. Regulating your pH levels and striving to keep your body alkaline, ensures that you are creating an atmosphere for good health, where disease can’t grow and your body can function optimally. Green vegetables especially, are high alkaline so when you juice with them, your body is given a large dose of enzymes that help balance things out.
  3. Detox and digestion – Juicing detoxes the body by improving the function of elimination organs like the liver, kidneys, and intestines; and detoxing the blood stream. Furthermore, it aids digestion which is also essential to the elimination of toxins from the body.
  4. Boosts energy levels – Juice gives your body real wholesome energy to run on. Through boosting your immune system and ensuring you have the nutrients you need, juices won’t allow your body to get run down.
  5. Can reverse some health problems  – Regular juicing can alleviate allergies, lower cholesterol, settle insomnia, reduce high blood pressure, reverse signs of ageing (which means you can invest that botox money into something more exciting), aid in weight loss, improve blood circulation, and more. Most importantly though, juicing gives your body the tools it needs to heal, eliminate the bad and absorb the good.

oscar

 

[This is Oscar, the (other) love of my life]

 

If you can juice every day: great. If you can’t: no stress. Like any good decision, every bit counts and the extra boost of nutrients a juice provides, will only make you healthier 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia