5 Tips to Kill it in the Kitchen

First of all, I owe you all a big fat apology for my absenteeism. We’ve been having a little bit of technical difficulty around the Heyday household, and other things have taken priority to getting the computer fixed… which is kind of awesome, actually. I love me some blogging, but it has been kind of nice to get up in the a.m. and work on some other nagging projects before finding an alternate way to check emails and social media. I’ve pretty much developed a new routine of drinking a giant glass of lemon water while I water the landscape and my tomato plant and ponder life’s wonders in the shade of the morning before the day turns sweltering. It’s been a nice change of pace. But alas, I come to you today from the iPad, (which is mildly annoying, but works, so, whatever) while the MacBook is in the hospital. Not sure how many of these posts I’ll be able to tolerate before requiring an actual keyboard, so bear with me in case you don’t hear anything for another week.

Today’s post is brought to you by: your culinary fears! You know you want to be a wiz in the kitch, but something’s holding you back. You’re overwhelmed, you’re afraid to try something new, you burn toast… Whatever it is, it’s time to let it go and embrace your inner chef! Here are 5 ways to step up your game and start killing it in the kitchen.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone! Try new things! Pick up a vegetable you’ve never tried before (Sunchokes? Kohlrabi, anyone?). Use a new pantry staple like grass-fed gelatin or fish sauce or ghee or coconut butter. Get out an appliance you never use (Maybe your food processor or crock pot or double boiler?).Things get boring really fast when you’re serving up the same ol’ chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes and salad night after night. It doesn’t have to be complicated… just try a new side dish, an unusual marinade or a new sauce that will add some spice to your regular favorites. What about some braised red cabbage with sherry vinegar or some sunshine sauce (a great substitute for peanut sauce). Get out some cookbooks and get creative! But with that said… image
  2. Don’t be a slave to your cookbooks! Sure, follow a recipe exactly the first time… Make notes on what you loved or didn’t love so much, and make it your own the next few times you make it. Maybe it needed more spice or maybe it was too spicy? Maybe it would’ve tasted a bit better with a touch of acid from a lemon or a splash of vinegar? Whatever your changes, write them down, but then commit your favorite recipes to memory so that you can whip them up sans cookbook.
  3. Clean as you go, it’s the sign of a pro! This is seriously one of my favorite tips. I hate messes and clutter, and when my countertops start filling up with tools of the trade during a batch-cooking session, I start to have an anxiety attack – scratch that – I used to have an anxiety attack. Now I avoid that mess all together and just clean up as I go. It saves me the headache of having to clean up a huge mess after the meal and keeps me sane during the process because my workspace is clutter-free. It’s not hard to do, just be mindful to make it a habit!
  4. Make it pretty! By now we all know that we eat with our eyes first – so why limit that visual stimulation to only the meals you eat at restaurants? Start making your plates Instagram-worthy and a few things will happen: the ones eating off those plates will take note (and eat up), and you’ll find yourself getting greater pleasure from the fruits of your labor in the kitchen. We all have a little artist in us, this might just be your new creative outlet.

    Sooo, I mainly shoot my breakfast plates... deal.

    Sooo, I mainly shoot my breakfast plates… deal.

  5. Learn to laugh at yourself. Pretty sure this one is a must. Once you’ve turned on the blender after forgetting to make sure the blade was fully screwed on (done) or accidentally let a cracked egg slip down the crevasse between the oven and the kitchen counter (done that, too), you’ll quickly realize that having a sense of humor is a necessity in all areas of life, including the area where you cook. It also helps to have a pet who doesn’t mind cleaning up your kitchen floor from time to time.

    Malone, otherwise known as, my trusty sous chef.

    Malone, otherwise known as, my trusty sous chef.

Happy cooking!

xx

e

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Vive le Vendredi: 5 Faves

Let’s take a little break from nutrition school, shall we? It’s Friday which means, time for something a little lighter.

Here are five things I’ve been loving lately:

  1. Bija Body. Specifically, Bija Body teas and their Daily Body Serum. A friend of mine introduced me to this stuff (she’s actually one of the babes practicing yoga on a paddle board on the top of the Body Care page!)… her friend owns the company and every morning of our yoga teacher training, she was always drinking the Daily Beauty Tea, in her cute little loose leafe tea tumbler (they sell those too, and you bettabelieve I have one). The Daily Beauty Tea is spicy, herby and delicious, but what I’m into these days is the Baby Mama Tea, of which I happened to have a sample from my first order of tea a while back. It’s a little milder, comforting, and still the same herby goodness.
  2. The Target Cartwheel App. Okay, so my sister introduced this gem to me and I have to admit, I was not into it at first. Mainly because I was trying to use it in the middle of the store (neglecting to use their free wifi hotspot, duh) and after 15 minutes of attempting to upload and crashing and using up all my battery while standing in the duvet cover aisle, I decided saving a few pennies wasn’t worth it. But seriously. Let the mastah show ya how to get it done. (Movie reference anyone?) Upload your coupons at home on your computer and then just open your app at the store for the barcode. It is seriously awesome. However, it mayyyyy be resulting in more frequent trips to Target. Those sneaky Target masterminds. 
  3. My old lululemon No Limits tank. This was THEE FIRST tank I bought when I first started working at lululemon back in the day, and then suddenly Power Ys and Cool Racerbacks became my favorite and I never wore it again. Also, I had bought a size too big (before I knew what size I was), so the bra was a little loose and it just looked sloppy. Well let me tell you something. The girls are filling up that once-too-big bra quite nicely these days, and the extra room in the belly combined with a super soft and stretchy band around the hips is just what the preg-fashion doctor ordered. I am in love with it all over again and I MIGHT even wear it to the gym. JK, I will.
  4. The book, Put Your Heart In Your Mouth, by Natasha Campbell-McBride. Okay, crap I said I was taking a break from nutrition, but I lied. If you or anyone you know suffers from heart disease or has been told they are at risk for heart disease, and especially if you and that person still think a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet is healthy and will prevent heart disease… get your head out of your arse and read this book immediately. Sorry, not sorry. It’s SO informative and SO good and will get you all fired up. Or maybe just me.
  5. My new blue wall in Sherwin Williams, Drizzle. As in, fo shizzle, mah drizzle. This was such a quick, one-wall job that I was able to tackle it myself this week while Tim was traveling. I even did it while listening to a two-hour audio lecture on probiotics! Crap, I said break from nutrition, break from nutrition, Erin. Get it together. Whatever, I’m a nerd and I like it. ;)
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Complete with messy couch pillows and a blanket that WAS folded… thank you, Vinny.

What fun things have been on your favorites list recently?

xx

e

Weekend FOODIE Recap… and What’s in Store This Week!

Gooood afternoon, fair people of the interweb! Can you even believe it’s already Monday again?! The weekend flew by, as usual.

This happened to be one of three weekends we’ve been able to enjoy alone as a couple since moving into our new house mid-March (hard to believe!). Between visitors and travel, we really needed a weekend of quality time to ourselves, and this weekend delivered.

Since Tim was out of town almost all of last week, we enjoyed a much needed date night (Whaaaat?! Remember those!?!!) at a new-to-us and sort-of-new-to-Sullivan’s-Island restaurant called The Obstinate Daughter. It. Was. Awesome. First of all, they had me at atmosphere – from the nautical rope light fixtures to raw wood, rustic-industrial accents with plush seating and perfectly out-of-place Steve Miller Band and other classic rock playing at a volume high enough to make patrons have to speak up to hear each other… it was pretty perfect.  Custom creative cocktails (in which I did not partake, but I did sip Tim’s) and a simple but SUPER TASTY menu loaded with local ingredients and foodie hot-items like ramps, sorghum, and farm fresh eggs (runny), made this local gem rocket to the top of my new favorite restaurants list. We had the Local Lettuce, Clammer Dave’s Baked Clams, and the Old Danger pizza (which rivals a favorite back home – the Sunnyside at Bar Cento in Cleveland – NOTHING will ever replace you, Sunnyside, but Old Danger was preeeetty good). Love, love, LOVED it. YUM.

photo courtesy of Yelp.com

photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link.

Side note: get a reservation – we lucked out somehow and snagged a table… they were supposedly booked up til 10pm when we arrived around 7:30. I secretly think the sweet sorority sister hostesses felt sorry for making the pregnant chick stand… umm, totally fine with using the bump to get seated faster.

Saturday we spent painting the nursery, transforming it from its old, dingy, yellow-orangey tan, to bright and breezy Sherwin Williams “Sprout”. I’m not totally done with the transformation, obviously (hellooo, I need a crib in that crib, a not-hideous light fixture [not pictured], and some stuff on the walls!), but here’s a sneak peek. In case you’re curious, find my inspiration for color scheme here.

Orangey-tan walls... gag.  Also, don't you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a "real" before pic.

Orangey-tan walls… gag. Also, don’t you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a “real” before pic.

 

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I love me a good side note: I’m transforming that chair into a rocker courtesy of a tutorial I found on Pinterest… and also, sorry for the sort of dark pic… that window was messing with me.

I had brined some pork chops for the grill that night (still haven’t perfected my pork chop technique, but they were pretty tasty), and served them up alongside an heirloom carrot and parsnip puree, and some lemony creamed chard (easily my new favorite side… I will share the recipe soon!). Tim was so impressed with my plating that he asked if I was going to take a picture, to which I replied, “I probably should” and then promptly dove in fork-first. Bad blogger.

Sunday, we tested out a new church which turned out to be a pleasant surprise aside from our initial reaction to the crowd requiring traffic direction, and followed up the service with brunch at our favorite dive-y spot on the beach, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. They are super slow when it comes to putting out the food, but the fried green tomato eggs benedict (sans English muffin for me) is seriously worth the wait. I don’t know how, but their poached eggs are PER. FECT. Every. Time. I need to take lessons from the chef. And their fried green tomatoes are probably the best I’ve had since we’ve been in Charleston… and believe me, I’ve been trying them nearly everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com - click for link

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link

This week is going to be a good one. I’ve got some great posts in store for you, some inspired by re-visiting books on my bookshelf, some inspired by questions and suggestions of friends, and ALL of them inspired by my favorite thing ever: FOOD! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store:

  • Revisiting the Primal Blueprint – why I’m regrouping and and why you should consider giving it a shot, too.
  • What to Eat – how to look at your meals from a nutritional standpoint to make sure you’re getting what you need, along with some quick and easily customizable meal options.
  • The 21-Day Sugar Detox – we’ve been there before and you know I love it… let me share a few ways it might benefit you and how to set yourself up for success.

So pull up a laptop or a tablet, get comfy, and stay tuned for the good stuff!

xx

e

 

Vive le Vendredi: Putting Self-Care on the Schedule

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Happy Friday, friends. What are you doing this weekend to take care of yourself?
Not the question you expected?
We all have good intentions for taking care of ourselves, but life happens.  Life is hectic, and oftentimes we are flying by the seat of our pants down the road of chaos which, as we all know, is one paved with good intentions. That’s where a little planning ahead comes in handy. We’ve all heard of the tip to “put it on the calendar” when it comes to planning your gym routine in order to make it there three times a week, or even for things like flossing or scrubbing the toilets (what, I’m the only one?). For things like these, it’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself a little reminder, so why should it be any different for self-care? I’m not just talking about shaving your legs and trimming your nose hairs, people… I’m talking giving yourself  a weekly 30 minutes of uninterrupted me-time indulgence, whether it’s a self-manicure at home, a mud mask, maybe a massage or a facial or a pedicure or a wax if your budget allows, or even simply 30 minutes behind a closed door to get lost in a couple chapters of a good book with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate. To some it may seem selfish, or too self-indulgent, but self-care is like meditation.  It helps you relax, clears your head, and keeps you sane – and we all need it… regularly.  But make no mistake, scheduling 30 minutes of self-care once a week shouldn’t take the place of daily meditation or yoga practice or gym time; this is supposed to be a little indulgent.
So what’s it look like?
On Friday nights, after a week full of studying and travel and work around the house, Tim and I like to veg out in front of the TV and laugh our faces off at a handful of episodes of Modern Family (we live a crazy life these days, right?I), so I decided that my self-care would roll into these nights.  It’s already time I’m spending doing something mindless and something that feels good for me at the end of the week, so why not take it up a notch and make it even better?  For the next month, I’ve plotted out self-manicures, -pedicures (while I can still reach my feet), and facial masks to which I can treat myself during a Modern Family marathon or movie night or whatever other crazy married-and-pregnant madness we may be into on Friday night.
How to make this an easier habit to form?
Be prepared! Seriously. Otherwise, it won’t happen. A while ago, I took a tip from Jess Lively’s post on clutter-free living and made myself a pretty little manicure box that I keep stashed neatly under my bathroom sink, ready to go at a moment’s notice for occasions such as my Friday night manis. My toiletry box (an idea I stole borrowed from Jenny at HeartOrganizing) is a home for facial creams and masks and other little beauties that I can also access easily for a Friday night treatment.

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Pretty sure I scored that cute little box for less than $5 at TJ Maxx, FYI.

IMG_0994

Yes, Tim gets his own. For the record, there are like three things in there… and I’m pretty sure one is an empty jar of shaving cream. Whatever, IT LOOKS NICE.

I can almost hear the eye-rolls of the moms out there who think I’m in for a rude awakening in 5 months when the peanut arrives. Sure, things will look different when I’m a new mom, I’m well aware. Laugh at me now, but I’m hoping Tim will be able to pull it together to give me 30 minutes to myself once a week for a soak in the tub… and a glass of wine!
One rule I have for self-care me-time?  Keep it computer/cell phone-free.  That’s right, even if 30 minutes of mindless scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook or Houzz or tumblr would make your day, resist the urge.  Most of us look at a computer often enough during the day, so spending another half-hour tiring out your eyes and hunching over your desk will not be nearly as nourishing to your soul as a nice soak in a warm bath or a foot rub will be.  Give yourself a break… and enjoy it!
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… even if it just means hiding under a blanket for half an hour… I don’t judge! ;)

 
 
xx
e

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Just kidding, no emergencies here… just my attempt at announcing the beginning of the new month in ever-dramatic fashion, obviously.

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OKAY! Here’s the deal. I was taking a gander at our calendar for the upcoming summer months and things are about to get pretty squirrely up in the Frazee household. Between our own weekend travel plans, friends and family visiting us here, and all the home projects we want to accomplish this summer, I figured I needed to sit down and set some goals so I can A) have a realistic vision for what is possible and B) plan our free weekends accordingly.

Here’s the list of what I’d like to accomplish this month:

  1. Paint the guest bedroom, upstairs hallway, baby room, and dining room. And hire someone to paint the stairwell because I sure as hell am not getting up on a ladder that tall, on stairs, to cut in the ceiling. The living room/foyer/downstairs hall can wait because it’s going to be a bigger project and I’d rather take on the small ones we can tackle in a day (and feel like I’m accomplishing more) until after I’m done with my finals at the end of the month.
  2. Replace the crusty carpet upstairs. I will be so happy when this is done!!!!! No amount of exclamation points can express my enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. Have the ratty, half-dead, and poorly placed palm trees in our yard removed.
  4. Dig up/plant/mulch the beds in front of the house and plant flower pots for by the front door.
  5. Re-paint the front door.
  6. Get the pile of moving boxes out of our garage and organize that beast! It’s becoming a “catch-all” spot to throw anything we don’t know what to do with just yet and I hate it in there right now!
  7. Finish my studies and prep for my final exam on June 6. Man, will I be glad when that is out of the way!

What kinds of things are you hoping to accomplish this month?

xx

e

Vive le Vendredi! [Pinterest Edition]

Hallelujah! It’s Friday, and the weekend has already officially begun in our house, as Tim has a friend in from Ohio visiting for the weekend.  It’s a boys’ men’s golf weekend and these men mean business.

So while they’re off doing what they do (and until I learn how to play golf and go pro and play on the men’s tour and win the Masters and whoop both their behinds), I decided to have a little fun myself and test out a Pinterest project or two while I have the house to myself.  Who’s down for some green juice gummies and DIY art projects?

I figured it would be fun to share a few of the pins that caught my attention this past week…

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(see bottom of this post for photo credits)

To make:

Fruit and vegetable juice gummies.  One of the weirdest things I have been craving lately has been, of all things, fruit snacks.  You know, like the gummy, loaded with high fructose corn syrup, artificially flavored and colored, fruit snacks you used to eat as a kid?  Yep, those ones.  I compromised with a box of Annie’s Organics bunny-shaped fruit snacks (which don’t have any of that junk in them) but was UNpleasantly surprised to open the box I bought (for $5) to find a mere 5 teeny-weeny packages floating around inside with just a few fruit snacks in each package.  Serving size, schmerving size! I was ripped off! So I figured I’d make myself a bulk order of these babies… how good do beet + carrot + apple gummies sound? I like that combo in fresh juice form, hopefully it’ll be just as yummy as a gummy!  I’ll let you know. (FYI, there’s a bunch of different pins for these… like these adorable gummy bears and these little pumpkins – both made with silicone molds that make the finished product easy to pop right out.)

Whipped coco-cocoa body butter.  I’ve always been a fan of Vaseline brand cocoa butter, but as of late I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m putting on my skin, knowing our skin is our largest organ and whatever we put on it gets absorbed directly into our system.  With my current bottle nearly empty and stretch-marks looming on my horizon, I figured I would give this simple homemade recipe a try.

To paint:

This color, on the walls of my living room, dining room, and stairwell/upstairs hallway.  It’s called Rice Grain, and we’ve already purchased approximately 973 gallons of it to get the job done (I might be exaggerating). Now the question is, should we just hire someone to get it done, because really, we all know how much fun Tim and I had painting his office.  A LOT (…side eye).

This geometric pattern stencil.  It looks awesome on the original artist’s bathroom wall but I think that might be a bit much for my purposes.  I was thinking of using it on a canvas with some rusty orange paint for Tim’s office, which, as mentioned above, we spent this past week painting a really pretty grey (transforming it from it’s original neon banana yellow… yuck! Photos coming soon!).

To do:

This squat workout. Squats are one of the easiest exercises to do anywhere with no equipment required, and they’re also one of the best exercises for you (and for pregnant women, lucky for me!). This workout includes five variations on the basic squat to work different parts of your legs and tush, and works up to 200 squats if you do the workouts for an entire month… seems simple enough.

Obsess over this blog post every single day until my hair grows out of the pixie I’ve had for… six years! Okay, so this is something I already do on the reg, in addition to curating my own collection of pins for those awkward in-between stages. I’ve tried to do this grow-out thing at least a million times over the last six years but for some reason, I feel like this time, it’s really going to happen: I’m going to make it past mid-cheek. Right now I’m somewhere in-between her 3- and 6-month stages, and I’ve been trimming the back regularly to keep it the mullet in check. Maybe I can have something like this by October? (Um, but not blonde.)

That should keep me busy enough for now! What’s caught your eye this week on the interwebs? (Beside my glorious prose, of course?)

(winky face)

xx

e

 

P.S. All right now, let’s give photo credit where credit is due:

http://www.diynatural.com

http://www.humblebeeandme.com

http://www.abeautifulmess.com

http://www.maybematilda.com

http://www.short-haircut.com

 

2014: Living Intentionally

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Hi friends, we’re a week into resolutions… how’s it going?  I’m only one day behind on my gym schedule, so I consider that a win. ;)

If you read my last post on setting goals for the year, you’re familiar with the concept of a 30-day-challenge-a-month-challenge, as inspired by Danne from Twelve Months of Lent.  As a former employee of lululemon athletica, the concept and structure of setting goals is now second nature to me, but what I realized on December 31, 2013 when looking back over the year is that I need a little boost when it comes to accomplishing those goals, particularly now that I’m no longer surrounded almost 24/7 by a support group of people whose culture deep down to their bones consists of setting goals and crushing them… basically killing it at life left and right. 

Let’s back up for a minute.  I did some amazing things in 2013.  In January, I completed 30 consecutive days of yoga in various studios back at the beginning of the year; my head was clear and I seriously felt more aware than I ever had (not to mention my shoulders were lookin’ preeeetty hot).  In June, I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training… an experience I will never forget and one which gave me my first true sense of community and acceptance and belonging as an adult… wow, I mean, if I had to have a Groundhog Day experience and could choose 3 months to live on repeat for eternity, it would be those!  I rode my bike 17 miles through the Everglades in the middle of the night under a full moon, something I was terrified to do but felt safe and adventurous surrounded by some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and STILL talk about what a cool experience it was – a reminder that getting outside of my comfort zone once in a while is, well… where it’s at.  (P.S. Yes, we saw alligators up close and personal.)  In September, I bit the bullet and finally decided to get certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner after looking at the program for over a year, one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Over the course of the year, I made trips to California and Connecticut, and took long road trips to Ohio and North Carolina… all of which served to show me the beauty of other parts of the country and to scratch my ever-present itch to explore.

I’m proud of all of these things and know that I can do even better.  That is why, this year, I’m choosing to live with more intention than I ever have before.  There are things I want to accomplish, places I want to see and things I want to do, and BIG goals toward which I want to start working… starting this month.

I sat down this past weekend with my trusty goal sheet and revised my 10-year vision and my 1- and 5- and 10-year goals (a process I revisit once every few months or more often as necessary).  Then, I opened up excel and got to work creating a calendar for the months of 2014, breaking down my longer-term goals into mini-goals, personal, health and career-related, which I will accomplish each month to make progress toward the BHAGs (ahem, that’s short for Big Hairy Ass Goals – and no, I did not come up with that on my own, people).

So what are a few of these goals and mini-goals I plan on accomplishing in 2014? I thought you’d never ask.

  • I work my way up to meditating 30 minutes every day.
  • I fill in the holes on my website and work up to blogging 5x/week.
  • I complete a 21-day Sugar Detox.
  • I take a month of minimalism – I get rid of 5 things every day and wear the same 6 pieces of clothing for 30 days
  • I become a morning person by sticking to a new evening/morning routine every day for a month.
  • I grow a scoby and make my own homemade kombucha on the reg.

scoby

  • I learn how to climb and take two trips to the mountains with Tim to actually do it.
  • I learn to make my own homemade skincare and household cleaning products.
  • I practice yoga in various studios in our new city (when we move) every day for 30 consecutive days.
  • I take a trip with Tim to Acapulco and teach yoga there at an all-inclusive resort.

las brisas

  • I ride my bike every day for a month.
  • I learn how to operate my camera and use it every day for a monthly challenge.
  • I build a raised bed in my backyard and cultivate an organic vegetable and herb garden.

how to grow a garden

  • I combine and put my creative writing degree and background in wellness to good use and submit articles to Mind Body Green.
  • I re-learn to play the piano.

Seem like a lot?  This is just the beginning.  That’s only 15 things, and if I begin by tackling one a month (hence my spreadsheet mapping it all out), that means I only have to double up on three months.  Besides, setting goals doesn’t mean you have to accomplish every single one.  I like to imagine how great I am going to feel at the end of the year looking back at this list (which I will probably revise, add to and subtract from, more than once over the course of 12 months) and seeing that I accomplished a LOT of the things I said I was going to accomplish.  As for getting started, there’s no time like the present!

I hope this inspires you to get organized with your resolutions goals so that you can set yourself up for success and live 2014 with intention!  Tell me, what will you accomplish this year?