Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year 2 of Detox

Well it’s that time of year again. Last year I decided to do a month long detox starting January 1st. I felt great afterwards and after how I’ve been eating recently I’ve decided to make it a tradition to do it every year. I feel it just puts me on the right track to start out the year.

I know when some of you hear the word “detox” you think water and pepper for 5 days straight (or something crazy like that). This is nothing like that. I actually follow a plan that I think is very healthy. Every year Whole Living puts out a new plan. It has changed a little since last year. I think it’s a little easier to follow this year. They provide all the recipes and instructions you need to follow the plan. Check out week 1 of the plan here. Week 1 I will be eating fruits, vegetables, and plant-based fats, including nuts, seeds, and oils. Week 2 I will be adding back in seafood, beans and lentils, and organic soy. And week 3 I will be adding back in gluten-free grains and eggs. I will be changing up some of the recipes a little just because I’m not a fan of Beet and garlic soup! ewww

As you can see there is no caffeine, sugar, process foods, dairy, meat (excluding seafood), and flour for 3 weeks. Last year caffeine was the hardest for me. I had a headache for a week! I’m ready and determined to start the year off right! Anyone want to join. My friend Lacey will be doing it again and I’m so glad! It’s great to have someone going through the process with you. I’ve tried to convince Kyle to get on board but he hasn’t decided yet. My goal is to try and blog every day like I did last you so you can see the progress.

I have my grocery list out and I’m ready to go!

IMAG0581

I’ve already had pizza, hamburger, and chicken pesto this week so I can have one last taste. LOL

I also promised I would share with you some pictures from my Christmas. So, hear ya go!

IMAG0564

Having gourmet hot cocoa at this new yogurt place off Cantrell. Really really good!!

IMAG0565

IMAG0566

The goodie tray I made to take to Hot Springs for Christmas Eve. I got the idea to make the peppermint tray from pinterest. (where else??) You can make one too! On the tray is chocolate covered oreos with crushed peppermints. You see why I need to detox!

IMAG0568

My Mom and I

IMAG0569

Our family is spoiled, look at all those presents.

IMAG0570

Christmas Eve goodies

IMAG0571

All the girl cousins and Grandmother

IMAG0572

IMAG0573

A new coffee pot with a grinder from Santa

IMAG0579

Kyle’s gift to me, he made my blog into a book!

IMAG0580

Well, see you all in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I wanted to share with you what I did for Christmas gifts this year. I made homemade vanilla! I had so much fun making it. Did you know it only takes 2 ingredients to make vanilla? Yes, it’s THAT easy. Vanilla and Vodka are the only 2 ingredients. Let me show you what I did…

I ordered a bunch of vanilla beans from Beanilla. I highly recommend ordering your beans online. I tried buying some at Whole foods and they were $6 a bean! I got them for $1.50 a bean by ordering them online and you get to choose what type a vanilla you want, I used Madagascar vanilla beans. 

I cut the beans in half so they would fit in the bottle. You will then slice the bean starting from the top and go down to the bottom until you can see the “meat” of the bean. This exposes the beans to make the vanilla.

IMAG0535

I bought these bottles from The Container Store. And found the stickers here.

IMAG0528.jpgh

I used cheap vodka because everywhere I read it said it didn’t matter about the quality. Use a funnel to fill all the bottles with vodka leaving just enough room at the top so that it will not overflow when you put your beans inside.

Place your beans inside your bottles.

IMAG0524.jpgk

IMAG0537

IMAG0526.jpgl

These jars need to mature for 6 weeks so I put a sticker on the bottom to let everyone know when they can use them.

After a week of maturing

IMAG0553

It’s best to keep them in a dark place while they are maturing. I think it was a big hit!

Check back later to see some pictures from my Christmas weekend. It was a good one as always!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis The Season

I wanted to share with you a little bit about how I’m celebrating the season. As I’ve told you before, I love this time of year! It just seems that everyone comes together around this time by giving to others with a cheerful heart. That’s what it’s all about! I even heard on the radio that some people have been going in to stores and paying for random layaway items that others have put on layaway. How special is that?

Our church is doing something really special for Little Rock that they started last year. We have something called the AR Dream Center that helps out Arkansas families in need. This weekend they will be doing something called the Christmas Mall. Members of the church and people from all around have given donations or even shopped online to buy Christmas presents. This Saturday they will be touching the lives of thousands of families around here with the much needed holiday experience they can enjoy. Check out the details here and come help us out Saturday if you want to be a part of a wonderful experience.

Last weekend Kyle and I meet some of my friends to go look at the Capitol Christmas lights and to have a much needed dinner with everyone. We don’t get to see each other very much so it’s always a special time when we get together. Here are a few pictures from our night…

IMAG0532

IMAG0119

IMAG0534

IMAG0105

IMAG0116

IMAG0120

I’ve made something really cool this year for Christmas gifts that I can’t wait to share with you. I’ll give you a hit, I used these:

IMAG0523

I’ll share with you soon.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kyle’s 32nd Birthday!

I hope you are are enjoying this holiday season! December is a busy month for me. Holiday parties, Kyle’s birthday, and Christmas! I love every bit of it!

Today is Kyle’s 32nd birthday. Happy birthday, Kyle! He wanted to celebrate tonight with a steak dinner. We will be celebrating with friends on Saturday night. Kyle cooked the steak since I’m inexperienced with red meat. Kyle is going to share with you the process of making it. It was probably the best steak I’ve ever had. Moist,  juicy, and flavorful! I don’t eat a whole lot of steak but this was soo good. Since I live in a little ole apartment I don’t have a grill. I thought that was the only way to cook steak, I was wrong. I will let Kyle tell you here in a little bit.

Other items on the menu:

Fiesta Ranch potatoes, Salad, and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

I’m good at making salads so I got to chopping. Smile

IMAG0542

IMAG0541

For the potatoes I chopped them into quarters and coated with olive oil.

IMAG0538

I then coated the potatoes with a fiesta ranch packet.

IMAG0539

I baked them in the oven for about 20 min. I tossed them a couple times before they were done. They were yummo!!

IMAG0549

And now I’m going to let Kyle share with you….

 

Ok, let’s talk steak.  I have grilled steaks numerous times but what with Mona living in an apartment and all, grilling was not an option.  Well, I found a pretty simple recipe for cooking steaks at allrecipes.com  The recipe called for filet mignon but I went with a New York Strip instead.  So, the cooking process goes like this:

Place a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.  While the oven is heating, coat the meat in 1 tsp of olive oil and then cover both sides of the meat with a coarsely ground salt and pepper. 

IMAG0123.jpgj

When the oven has reached 500 degrees remove the cast iron skillet and throw the meat directly into the skillet and sear each side for 2 minutes. 

IMAG0124.jpgg

Next throw the skillet back in the oven and cook the meat for about 5 minutes.

IMAG0544

Once the meat is cooked place it on a warm plate and loosely cover with foil, it’ll cook a little more on its own. 

IMAG0545

If you like you can whip up an easy sauce while the meat is resting.  Just take a 1/2 cup of red wine, I used a Cab Sauv, and pour it into the skillet that you cooked the meat in and heat over medium, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits to mix in with the wine.  Boil the wine until you have reduced it to about 1/3 cup, remove from heat and mix in 2 tbs of butter. 

IMAG0548

IMAG0547

Cut the meat into thin slices, spoon a little sauce over the top, serve and enjoy.  That’s it!  Your kitchen will get a little smoky but your taste buds will thank you.

 

Me (Mona) again! It did get really smoky in the apartment but nothing that opening some windows wouldn’t fix. Overall, dinner was wonderful!

IMAG0550

IMAG0552

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicken And Spinach Pie

Tonight I decided to make something new. I was a little iffy about the combination but I gotta tell ya, it turned out the be a winner.
I wanted to make something nice and healthy because Kyle and I went to Memphis this weekend and I was not very good on my food choices! We ate at this fried chicken place called, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. It was so good! I don’t have much to compare it to because I can’t remember the last time I had fried chicken. I never had it growing up unless mom picked up some KFC one night for dinner. The only thing they had on the menu was fried chicken so there was no going healthy at this place. That’s okay, I will make it up with my Shred it by Jillian Michaels workout video this week!
IMAG0516
I started by chopping up half of an onion and red bell pepper
IMAG0507
Then sauté in olive oil until tender
IMAG0508.jpgl
Mix all ingredients together and pour into your pie pan.
IMAG0509.jpgj
Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
IMAG0510.jpgh
This recipe is so easy to make! The hardest part is waiting for it to cook in the oven!
IMAG0511.jpgn
IMAG0512
I paired it with Kale Chips.
IMAG0517
Chicken and Spinach Pie
4 Eggs
1 cup chopped or shredded chicken
1 16oz Cottage Cheese
1 Cup Mozzarella
1/3 Cup Freshly grated parmesan (plus a little more for topping)
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
8 oz of thawed chopped spinach
1/2 Onion
1/2 Red bell pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Saute onion and red pepper in olive oil until tender. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9 in greased pie pan. Bake for 45 min. Let cool for 5 to 10 min before serving.

Enjoy!