That Green Juice

I absolutely have loved starting my past few weeks with a green juice. Normally, I grab a tall glass from my half gallon jug of Arden’s Garden Yoga 1, but last week my boyfriend, Dave, excitedly let me know he had made a big purchase – a juicer.

We watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead once or twice, and it really did open our eyes to what we sometimes fill our bodies with. Even though it tastes SO good, it can be damaging, and everything in moderation, right? With a recent additional view of the documentary, Dave was ready to dive in just a bit more. And so, this new kitchen appliance came to live on our countertop.

Last night was the first attempt at juicing. We headed to Kroger and bought all the green stuff after picking out a recipe. Kale, celery, spinach, cucumbers… you name it, we probably had it in our carts. Surprisingly, even with everything got, it was about $15 for a weeks worth of breakfast juices. However, we’re looking forward to heading to an actual farmers market next time!

So, we set up the machine, got our veggies out and got to work. It took a little trial and error at first, but after some whole leaves flying into the pulp catcher and a spray of semi-ground greens all over, our juice started flowing. For two servings, we used the following ingredients:

  • 3 apples (red and green variety)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 4 kale leaves
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 hothouse cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • about a thumb size of ginger

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I waited until the next day to try and boy was it potent! I think we added a bit too much ginger. This will definitely be a learning process, but I’m excited to share some of my favorites, and to continue to feel the health benefits of this green goodness!!

If you would like, I also have a special instagram feed for my health adventures, @4healthychanges where you can follow along with recipes I try, reviews, and tips!

Christine

Charleston in a Weekend

Chucktown, what a delicious city! I was so happy to visit again for a long weekend, and the best part is that two of my best friends now live there, so double the reason to head east! There was so much to do and taste in such a short amount of time, and I am fairly impressed by what we accomplished in the one full day I was there.

It’s about a 5 hour drive from Atlanta, and I was so ready to get there just in time for dinner! We met up at Prohibition, a modern American restaurant with waiters in Southern Proper ties and bartenders slinging creative cocktails in suspenders. They had beautiful caged lights to bring the rustic theme, as well as dark wood and tall steel barstools. I absolutely loved the throwback this restaurant’s vibe put off in such a modern and fresh way. The food and drinks lived up to the look as well. I enjoyed their strawberry mojito, the Carolina Roll and of course we split the blueberry basket, which has a deceiving name as it is actually french toast, with a Special K batter to give it crunch, and a blueberry ice cream scoop in the middle.

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After dinner, we got to stroll the streets to Theatre 99, the local, and surprisingly cheap, improv comedy theatre. They had a Improv Smackdown competition that night, and I could not stop laughing at the talent up there! Brandy Sullivan, one of the owners of Theatre 99, performed and I cannot wait to go back just to see her again. The quickness and hilarity these people come up with on the spot is something way beyond my talent level. I think this place is going to be a must-go each and every time I visit. While there, I also tried a local beer from Holy City called Washout Wheat, a perfect spring Hefeweizen. I really want to actually head to this brewery next time.

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Afterwards we walked to Kaminsky’s, a dessert and drink bar perfect for a late night sweet tooth! They had about a 20-30 minute wait to seat the three of us, so we put our names down and headed to the Charleston City Market. We discovered they host a night market on Fridays and Saturdays. You beat the craziness of the day market, and every artist there must handmake their products, creating a very eclectic and artistic scene to stroll through at night.

After a bit of window shopping, we arrive back at Kaminsky’s just in time to grab our seats. When you walk in, you first pick out a cake or pie you want from their display. I picked out the Coconut Creme Pie, which was a great decision! I believe it is their number two seller, with their Toll House pie being their first. I also got a Kahlua Espresso to go with the pie. It was a little bit of an overload with the two combined, but I took on the challenge! Winning.

The one thing I love about Charleston that is hard to say for Atlanta is that most things in the downtown area are all walking distance. It may be a 20 minute walk, but still doable. Bring your walking shoes when you visit!

The next morning, we made our first stop the sweetest at Glazed. I of course had to try two – the Maple Bacon and the Key Lime Pie. Both oh so good!! We needed a real meal though, so we start walking and shopping just a little bit until we arrived at Toast for another great meal. The place is small and not very trendy, but the people were welcoming and their jalapeno-infused vodka they used for my bloody mary was on point! We beat the breakfast rush too by enjoying our meal later in the day, which was a huge plus and created very little wait time. I ordered the Eggs Meeting Street, recommended by our waiter, which has a fried green tomato, crab cake, and a poached egg. The real star of the meal was the biscuit though!

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We then started our walking and shopping for the day. I never realized how much shopping there was in Charleston!! We were in and out of stores for probably 4 hours, checking out everything and on the search for the perfect romper. Of course, we still landed in Anthropologie where I am pretty sure I will be picking up their Capri Blue Volcano scent candles, a cocoon dress, some dishtowels, and this little black romper in the future.

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So much shopping and friend time was had – it felt good to spend time with both of my favorite ladies, and it wasn’t even over! A completely unplanned event happened this weekend too – my cousin from Connecticut and her boyfriend just happened to be visiting Charleston that same weekend! We all met up at Poogan’s Porch for dinner later that night. Poogan’s is actually a haunted house, where two sisters both passed at different times. One of them is seen looking out the window near where we dined often. The police have actually been called before saying that someone was inside, only for them to find nothing. Very creepy!!

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Another great food and drink stop here, but you must try their cocktails! Apparently their bartender won a ton of awards, and judging from the Ice Pick (think an Arnold Palmer) and Mystic (a mix of vodka, St. Germain, cucumber, and grapefruit juice) I believe them! I then ordered the Pan Seared Sea Scallops, which was pimento cheese ravioli, creamed corn, perfectly cooked scallops and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette. We also had a diner who has a gluten allergy, and they offer many gluten-free options here which made things easy!

The final place of the night was Stars Restaurant. We really just went there quickly for a drink to enjoy the view. They have a beautiful rooftop bar with lounge areas and you can see a large area of the city from above. We didn’t eat there, but apparently it is a pretty good dining spot too.

I hate Sundays – they always signal that the weekend is over and time to head back to work. I made one final food stop before leaving at Bay Street Biergarten and of course got chicken and waffles with another local beer, Westbrook White Thai, to wash it down. I felt satisfied leaving on that culinary high note.

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Needless to say, I had an amazing time in Charleston, and was able to pack so much in! I cannot wait to visit and explore more next time. I also need to continue to make sure to sign up for ClassPass after those indulgent weekends, haha.

Have you been to Charleston? Have you tried any of these places, or recommend others for next time? Also, I totally messed up with my photography here and brought a 50mm camera lens versus one that is a little more diverse. I need to continue to improve with this photography thing! At least my phone captured some great food shots for y’all!

Christine

The Week Eats: #4

This past weekend, I had a fantastic vacation in Charleston with friends (more to come on that!) and ate everything in site!! Although I loved every scrumptious bite, coming back home it was time to get back on track with healthy eating. Here is what I am cooking up this week:

Breakfast:

English muffin with smashed avocado and an over-hard egg… I know, I’m not the biggest fan of runny yolks and that is weird, ha. Half of the muffing contains the egg/avocado, and the other half is topped with local honey!

I’ve also been taking a 1.5-2 oz shot of both lemon and cranberry pressed juice. It will make you pucker like a sourpatch!

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Lunch:

It is finally spring and time for salads! This one includes a baby spring blend, sliced almonds, grapes, blue cheese, chicken, and a raspberry vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s. IMG_6408

Dinner:

EASY. That is what dinner is going to be this week. I sauteed asparagus in olive oil, garlic powder, and S&P, then topped this turkey meatloaf with spicy mustard. The turkey meatloaf was cooked and frozen beforehand for a quick cook, and is similar to this recipe.

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Snacks:

Snacks this week included lots of apples, Omega Trail Mix handfuls from Trader Joe’s, Black Raspberry Greek Yogurt, and Olive Oil organic popcorn from Trader Joe’s.

Any ideas on what you are cooking up next week?

Christine

The Week Eats: #3

The past few weeks have been so busy that convenience while running around is all that I need!

All of these items are make ahead or quick to assemble.

Breakfast:

Blueberry Smoothie Bowl. Kind of like an acai bowl, but a bit different. Toppings usually included a few almonds and extra frozen blueberries.

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  • Splash of unsweetened almond milk
  • Dash of stevia
  • 2 Tbsp Organic raw honey
  • 3/4 C Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado

Place all ingredients in your blender and blend on the lowest setting possible until smooth.

Lunch:

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad c/o Fit Men Cook

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Dinner:

Salmon with Asparagus

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To cook, spice salmon with spices of choice (I used S&P, dill, and Ms. Dash’s Garlic & Herb) and top with fresh sliced lemons. I suggest removing any lemon seeds prior to placing them on your fish.

Wrap salmon in parchment paper and cook at 425 for 20 minutes. It will come out perfect!

For the asparagus, season with S&P and drizzle with about a tsp of olive oil. Place in oven with salmon when 15 minutes is left on the clock for the salmon, so both of your items will be ready at the same time!

Let the salmon sit for a few before digging in.

Snacks:

  • Carrots, Hummus and Prunes
  • Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix (Just a Handful)

Any delicious items you’ve been eating this week? Please share!

Christine

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ 2015

I think it is safe to say festival season is back! This was our third year attending Beer, Bourbon and BBQ in Atlanta, and it seems every time is gets JUST a little bit warmer, enough to finally realize it’s time to start coming out of hibernation.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t find any great flavorings for bourbon this year, but I will mention one from past years that has always stuck – Cabin Fever. It is a great maple whiskey, and one that this vodka girl can enjoy. I’ve never been a particular fan of the dark stuff.

There were also tons of beer samples, which is where I leaned to, making this a great event for lovers of all types of different drinks. The chocolate beer was fantastic – Southern Tier’s Chocolate Stout, Choklat, in particular. You will not be disappointed!

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Another recommendation and stand out from this year is Midnight Moon’s new Raspberry Moonshine. It was delicious. I got the last sample of it, unfortunately for those behind me (or fortunately, however you want to spin shots of moonshine). This obviously then landed us in the food line, where I grabbed the chicken sandwich and mac and cheese. I was honestly disappointed on the food end – anything involving pork was sold out early on in the festival. Processed with VSCOcam

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood…. Processed with VSCOcam

Christine

The Week Eats: #2

This week brings with it another DietBet weigh in, my third one I believe. At this point, I’ve lost over 10 pounds, and I can tell I have definitely put on some muscle! My pants have fit a little tighter on my legs, but luckily the waist is loose. Let’s hope I am at enough loss though to win this round!

If you’re unsure on what DietBet is, it is a competition where you bet money against yourself, saying that you will lose, and hoping that others in the pot don’t hit their goals, ha. If this sounds like a way you may be interested in dropping a few pounds, visit dietbetter.com – they have one and six month games!

This week I’m buckling down to make sure the bloat and weight are at the smallest measurements possible.

Breakfast:

Chocolate Covered Blueberry Shake (2 servings)

  • Blueberries, frozen – 210g
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (about 2 cups)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Raw cacao – 2 TBSP
  • Almond or Peanut Butter – 4 TBSP (make sure it is all natural and only 1-2 ingredients)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut water OR fruit-flavored unsweetened green tea. I used Trader Joe’s Blueberry-Pomegranate green tea
  • Dash of stevia
  • 2 scoops protein powder, preferably chocolate-flavored. I used Cellucor’s Corfetti and it tasted great as well!
  • 2 TBSP flax seed

Blend all ingredients well until smooth – serve cold

Lunch:

Keenwhaaa Salad from the Zero Belly Diet Book

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I first want to start of by saying, don’t buy this book. It has like 10 recipes total and basically just tells you what you have heard a 1000 times – eat clean, eat whole, stay away from all the processed junk and white breads.

I don’t want to give away the actual recipe as I am sure they wouldn’t be too happy with me, but here is the gist:

  • 2 parts cooked quinoa
  • Lots of asparagus (I used a full frozen bag), cooked in the oven with olive oil drizzled over and salt/pepper
  • 1 part lentils
  • pesto – about 1/2 a cup
  • sundried tomatoes – I purchased the non-oil kind and just used the full 3 oz bag

Top with the Zero-belly vinaigrette, which is basically just dijon mustard, ACV and olive oil. Here is a similar recipe by Clinton Kelly, host of one of my favorite shows, The Chew: Dijon Vinaigrette

Mix all ingredients together with the vinaigrette (as much or as little as you like) and enjoy cold!

Dinner:

Depends on how much time I have, but I’m trying to have Salmon with Asparagus. I am using parchment paper to cook the salmon – hopefully it goes well! I am really trying to get in more fish for my hair and skin, especially. Last night I opted for hummus and celery with a bunch of sweet potatoes. It was a weird night, ha.

Snacks:

  • Omega Trail Mix from Trader Joe’s
  • Prunes
  • Celery and Hummus
  • Piece of fruit

The meals above are a little higher in calories than I am used to, so snacking has declined a lot, but these are all great and regular options for me! I also really strive to get a gallon of water a day, and I stay away from soft drinks, including diet.

Wish me luck – I’ll be weighing in Thursday by midnight.

Christine

The Week Eats: #1

I am a notorious food prepper. I love to pin all of these great, one to two servings meals to pinterest, but in the end I cook the big healthy casserole or chili pot.

I would love to have the time to cook during the week, but I just don’t. I think many of you are like me as well – strapped for time, wanting to save money, but also eat healthy. Here is what was on my list for this week:

Breakfast:

3 egg whites scrambled with sausage and a cup of spinach

Smoothie with 70g pineapple, 70g mixed berries, and half of a banana

Lunch:

Detox Quinoa Salad

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Dinner:

Budget Friendly Sweet Potato Lasagna

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For the dinner recipe, I did add a lot more cheese, and doubled the egg white/cottage cheese mix. I split this up into 6 servings, and froze the majority of them to make it last longer and easier to grab an individual serving.

Any recipes you all think I should try out? I’ll continue to post to give you all some ideas!

Christine

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

I went to UGA, I love my Dawgs. Pretty familiar phrases from those of us who bleed red and black.

After the possibility of not attending a football game in Sanford stadium again this year, last minute tickets sales changed my luck around and landed me next to the end-zone to watch my boys play between the hedges. This was the first game I had actually been into since I graduated. What a feeling it was to be back!!

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My two girlfriends and I made a day trip to Athens to watch the state rivalry play out. We were playing Georgia Tech, a yearly Thanksgiving weekend tradition.

After a quick drive out of Atlanta and a pitstop for a skinny peppermint soy mocha (yum!) at Starbuck’s, we headed downtown for a quick bite at Pauley’s. This ages me a bit, but I hadn’t been into the restaurant since it doubled in size. It amazes me how small that place used to be. We ordered a few great morning beverages, including the manmosa. I cannot wait to make this at home, and I’m including the recipe for you at the bottom!

We gobbled up our sandwiches and headed to the stadium for the 12pm kickoff. The game was great. Georgia Tech’s D wouldn’t let Georgia break them. Chubb and Michel, our 2 running backs due to the sad injury Gurley sustained, ran as much as they could. It was back and forth all game, and then finally the last 5 minutes of the 4th left everyone on edge.

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If you watched the game, there was a fumble by Georgia Tech, a return touchdown from Georgia, a field goal just shy of missing by Tech, and an interception in overtime that led to the Dawg’s loss. There was so much going on, a great game, and I wish I could say a happier outcome!

It was nice getting off the couch for the day after a very lazy Thanksgiving break, getting back to my second home, and spending some time with great friends. I’m very excited for next year, and to see this team change and hopefully grow a bit.

And now, the Manmosa!

  • 1 shot vodka (3am vodka has caffeine if you need a kick)
  • 1/2 cup champagne (no preference, the OJ masks most of the flavor)
  • Fill the remainder of the glass with OJ, go with quality here!
  • Top with a cherry and orange wedge

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Any questions about some of the phrases from UGA? What special traditions do your favorite colleges have, and who is your biggest rival?

Christine

A Vegan Attempt

For the past 3 or 4 weeks, Dave and I have been living a 65% vegan lifestyle, with the other 35% being vegetarian. If you know Dave and I, we are always doing some weird diet – anything from Slow Carb (Tim Ferris) to Low Carb to Macros to Fasting and even a juice diet. Seriously, we’ve covered the bases. Our first diet to try together was a 3-day juice cleanse around the 2012 holidays. I don’t see that happening again…

But now we are on to something completely new for us – a plant-based diet.

We’ve talked about going vegetarian or vegan before, but never took the plunge. After Dave watched the “Forks over Knives” documentary one night, he was gung ho on trying it out after seeing the lessened ageing process, tremendous health benefits, and significant weight loss of those who switched from a normal western diet to one based around what comes from the ground.

Being that Dave and I live together, it is really easy for us to fall into the same patterns, especially when it comes to eating. We are both total bingers! Give us a box of pop tarts, cereal, half a gallon of milk and some Little Debbie’s and we’ll polish them off by the early afternoon. Take the crap out of fridge and make healthy, wholesome meals and we will usually stick to it (albeit the occasional office temptations can take us off track). So, going into a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle together just made sense.

We started on a Monday, and have been totally vegan throughout the week, with occasional dairy products on the weekend. It’s amazing how often places cater to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, and I think part of that is being lucky enough to live in Atlanta, a big city where dietary needs are vast.

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I have to admit, I haven’t really missed meat. Being a woman, tofu is ok for me to eat, and I have ate tofu even before I made this turn – I enjoy it. Cheese is hard to give up. I know there are vegan varieties, but I have yet to try them.

The weird thing though, is that I have not lost any weight. Typical. I think this is definitely proof that calories in versus calories out is how you lose. I’m eating healthy, whole foods – just too much of it possibly. My typical day includes a piece of fruit with avocado-spread toast, a quinoa chopped veggie mix with another piece of fruit, lots of black coffee and then for dinner we usually have a veggie burger on ezekiel bread and maybe some veggies with hummus. I’m also very happy that most beer is vegan too, haha. However, there is a side effect – my breath is a little stanky. I don’t know why, but I think there is something that needs to change.

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This weekend, I did have a bit more cheese than a normal weekend and also included some seafood. I felt fine, except for a few breakouts, but I’m almost positive that is from dairy. So my assessment and adjustment is to mainly eat vegan during breakfast and dinner, and include a non-dairy, fish based meal for dinner. I feel weird eating fish for lunch as it can be pretty smelly and I don’t think my co-workers would appreciate that.

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Has anyone else tried a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle? I’d love some tips, especially with supplements!

Christine

26

I’ve never had a bad birthday, thankfully, and I’m glad to say this one did not break the streak. I had an amazing time with lots of activities with friends, time with family, my best friend visiting from out of town, and a boyfriend who literally did everything possible to make sure I had an amazing day. I couldn’t be more grateful. My introvert self is learning more and more that having and spending time with people who care is everything.

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Christine