Weekend Quickie

I hurried home from school on Friday so I could get in a quick run before Matt got home. It was a HOT one!IMG_0264

After all, we actually had plans for Friday night.  I showered up and we went to grab a bite to eat at Ruthie’s Mexican.  We headed to No Label Brewery to meet up with a few friends.  The wind was so frickin’ strong….it sucked.  But, it sure was nice catching up.

Saturday morning, after a few beers, I had a hard time rolling out of bed. I got up and made this deliciousness.

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I enjoyed a 5-ingredient pancake (banana, 2 eggs, vanilla, flax seed, and cinnamon) smeared with almond butter and real maple syrup.  I sipped on some coffee and watched the Today Show….man, I have a rough life!

We later got it together and ran to Lowe’s.  It is not possible to make it out of that store without spending like $100.  After Lowe’s we went to Whole Foods to buy some groceries.  We each had a half of sandwich and cup of soap for lunch.  Since I couldn’t find everything I like at Whole Foods, we then ran to HEB to finish up our shopping.  I now know why my dad goes to both Hy-Vee AND Fairway. Such a pain sometimes, but there are just some things that cost an arm and a leg at Whole Foods….

Saturday night we stayed in and enjoyed this appetizer before dinner. Caprese salad….

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I ran outside to our garden in the torrential downpour to get some basil from our garden.  I was soaked! We literally got 1 inch of rain every hour (And it poured for 5 hours) and the lightning/thunder was crazy.  You just put grape tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella on a toothpick and voila! Then pour some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on them with a pinch of salt and pepper.

I was fast asleep like a little angel by 9:30.  Yea, I know I’m pretty lame. 

Woke up early and relaxed for a bit and ate a small breakfast.  I didn’t want to eat a lot because I was meeting a bunch of girls out for lunch today for Jessica’s birthday.  After breakfast, Matt and I went for a run (5 miles, with 10 pushups every mile).  It was killer. Then we hit up some sit ups in the garage. I knew I was going to have to do a lot since I was going out for lunch and a drink 😉

Question: Do you go to two different stores to buy your groceries or am I crazy? 

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Busy Weekend

Friday NightIMG_0245We went to Red Lion Friday night after work for a happy hour with Matt’s coworkers.  We had such a good time! Got a chance to have a few beers, eat a baked brie salad, and catch up with buds.  We got home around 9:00.  I love a night that starts early and ends early so you don’t screw your whole weekend over getting home at 3 a.m.

Saturday

IMG_0246IMG_0248We were up by 8:00, and got started prepping the house for painting weekend #2.  We laid the brown paper and blankets all over and tapped the trim.  This paper makes clean up soooooo much easier.

IMG_0247These were the two colors we were considering.  We wanted something that was not white but still neutral.  We definitely went with the one on the left! The other one was just too brown.

We stopped around noon to run and pick up milk and we stopped at Chiptole’s for a quick lunch.  We also hit up HEB for a pizza crust/mushrooms for dinner.  We painted for a solid 8 hours and was rocking the 80’s music station on the TV.  Who knew the 80’s had that good of music?!?! You should of seen our dance moves…. yep, even when standing on a ladder 😉 We had a lot of fun!

IMG_0250Here is the base of our pizzas.  Matt’s-the pizza, Jen’s the mushrooms.

IMG_0251This is basil from our garden!  To make a margarita pizza, chop garlic and basil and slice tomatoes.

IMG_0252Spread some olive oil on your crust/mushrooms, sprinkle the chopped garlic and lay out your basil and tomatoes.

IMG_0253Cover with mozzarella cheese!

IMG_0255Put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 400.  Even my mushrooms were delicious.  I was mmmmmmmm-ing the whole time.

Sunday

Another early morning….up around 7:30 and tapped the hallway so we could finish painting.  Ate a massive bowl of oatmeal and relaxed prepped for another day of painting.  We did have some errands to run……

First, we went the new Sprout’s Farmer’s Market.  It is a new grocery store in Katy.  Don’t waste your time.  HEB actually has a great selection of healthy foods.  One thing I did purchase was this apple cider vinegar drink.  I totally recommend it.  Yum! Next, we went to Home Depot to purchase to painting stuff and cages for our tomato plants. Last, we went the HEB for groceries.

IMG_0257We painted all afternoon and some how found the will power to prep some foods for the week and still make din din.  Dinner was quick, easy, and delicious.IMG_0258Grilled chicken, sautéed beet greans,  roasted butternut squash, and some killer homemade kombucha.  Off to bed! Let’s hope for a quick week so we can paint trim next weekend.  Sigh……….

Question: What did you do this weekend?

Beets are Tasty!

We got some beets from the Upright’s last week and don’t really have any good recipes….. So I peeled them and threw them in the oven and off we went for a walk in the chilly frigid Texas weather with sweats on (52 degrees).  That is the only thing I know what to do with them! They were done before our dinner was ready so we sprinkled some salt on them and popped them in our mouths for a little appy.  Matt was like “Oh MY God,” look at your tongue.  Then I was like, let me see yours…..Kind of like a I’ll show you mine if you show me yours game 🙂

IMG_0242Check this out! We thought we would show you ours 🙂

A little while later it was time for din din…This is what was on the agenda.  Pork chops, asparagus, and tasty butternut squash wedges

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Well It’s 7:50 and it’s almost bed time.  No seriously, we go to bed this early.  We have a lot of painting to do this weekend and a fun happy hour planned with Matt’s coworkers tomorrow.  We are going to the Red Lion in Houston.  It is like a English pub or something…..It has been on dinners, drive-ins, and dives….We shall see for ourselves if it is legit or not. 

Question: HELP!  How do you prepare beets?!

Week’s Groceries

We almost always get groceries on Sunday.  This grocery trip was a little one because we had some meat in the freezer we wanted to use.  Our friend gave us a 3.5lb venison ham that we wanted to use in a vegetable soup and I also had some cilantro chicken sausages from Whole Foods that I wanted to put in the week’s eats.

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On Sunday I usually do most of the food prep (Matt thinks he helps, but only does certain things he “likes” to do).  I make everything for our lunches for the week and also start our dinner for Sunday night.  This Sunday we made two meals, cilantro chicken sausages and venison vegetable barley.  The plan was to eat the chicken sausages for dinner but to make the soup ahead of time because Monday night I had a student council meeting and we needed to run….I know I am a busy chica 😉  You can eat sooooo much more healthier and you stay away from eating out every night if you just PLAN!!!!  YES, IT TAKES WORK! Who ever said taking care of your health didn’t take work?! Eating right…….exercising…..make the time!

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Here is what we purchased.

Produce:

-bananas     -potatoes     -mushrooms     -broccoli     -cucumbers     -carrots     -apples     -spinach     -asparagus     -tomatoes     -strawberries

Meat:

-Chicken Breasts     -Lunch meat (turkey breast)

Dairy:

-1/2 & 1/2     -string cheese

Frozen:

-Bag of vegetables     -sprouted whole wheat bread

Carbs/Extras:

-Tortilla Chips     -Ghirardelli dark chocolate

Drinks:

-Coffee     -Green Tea     -Pineapple juice

 

I love to make a  game out of grocery shopping…. I hope it’s not just  me 🙂  There are some weeks I like to see how healthy I can make my grocery cart.  I know weird, huh?!  But I guess it would be better than the opposite.  This is our meal plan.

Sunday: Cilantro Chicken Sausage Tacos w/ grilled asparagus

Monday: Venison Vegetable Barley Soup

Tuesday: Venison Vegetable Barley Soup (Brew Kombucha)

Wednesday: Venison Vegetable Barley Soup

Thursday: Grilled Pork Chops w/ baked potato and spinach salad.

Friday: Red Lion (Scheduled Happy Hour w/ Matt’s work)

As you notice, I do not make 5 different meals…..  Nobody has time for that! We eat leftovers.  That is how we avoid eating out so much and choosing healthier foods.  But when you make a HUGE pot of soup, you need to plan on eating every last drop of it. Did I mention I hate wasting food…..thanks Dad!

Question: Do you meal plan?

Do you enjoy leftovers?

Professional Painter part 2

Check out the professional painters part 1 here.

Friday night we finally got our act together after 3 years of living in our home and went and bought paint to tackle the ceilings.  We went to Sherwin Williams so we don’t have to deal with the crap at Home Depot.  When you go to Home Depot to get paint, the 15 yr old behind the counter doesn’t know jack about painting and you usually have to wait in line for like 7 hours……ok, maybe 2!

IMG_0231Friday night, I watched Matt tape the ceilings.  He was such a professional… I thought I would let him do all three areas (dining room, living room, and the hallway).  I made sure the tape was straight 😉

IMG_0232Saturday morning we removed some of furniture in the living room and decluttered the best we could.  We didn’t want anything to be in our way and we certainly didn’t want to get paint on our stuff.IMG_0233We bought a roll of this brown paper and laid it on the floor.  We started painting in the dinning room first.  It was soooooo worth it! We definitely dripped a few times! Opps!IMG_0234We broke out all the painting supplies.  P.S. Painting materials aren’t cheap! It is for sure cheaper than paying someone to paint.IMG_0235I painted all the trim while Matt did the “rolling.” It wasn’t easy but well worth the sweat-equity!  It makes you feel so accomplished after completing home improvement projects.  We finished the dining room and living room and it was time for a lunch break. It was nearly 1:00 and our stomachs were rumbling.  I quit a little early to prep our delicious lunch.IMG_0237I would say a pretty healthy and scrumptious lunch if I would have to say so myself.  We each had a salad and an apple with yogurt.IMG_0236When we removed the tape in the dining room, this is what our line looked like. Errrrr!!! Our wall is so popcorny (like HUGE bumps all over) the tape didn’t adhere very well to the wall.  Oh well….That is why you do touch ups 🙂IMG_0238Painting can be fun with your hubby! IMG_0043Then after we cleaned up and showered, we grilled a steak and ate sautéed kale and a baked potato.  Don’t forget we had this refreshing tequila sunrise.  Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, tequila, and a splash of grand marnier. Yum!

Question: Is sweat-equity worth it to you or do prefer to spend the money?

How to Make Kombucha

 Check out yesterday’s post on the benefits of fermented foods here.

Once you realize the benefits of kombucha, you will get tired of buying it! You will also find that your homemade version tastes better than the kombucha you can buy from a store.  Here is how you bottle it and make it……

IMG_0176When I start my bottling process, I get all my supplies from underneath the cabinet. My kombucha needs to be stored in a warm, dark place so this is where I can keep an eye on it.

My kombucha-making hobby has taken over my kitchen! I need a bigger kitchen!

IMG_0177You NEED to use organic juice when bottling your kombucha! Do cutting corners and buying the cheap stuff.  We have experienced with sooo many flavors. Our favorites: Pineapple, blueberry pomegranate, tart cherry, and apple/ginger.

IMG_0178I have purchased so many bottles of kombucha that I just saved the bottles and used them to bottle MY kombucha in.  Hey, recycling is a good thing, right?! But the Synergy brand you can buy in stores is pretty legit.  Just save the bottle for me 🙂

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When I pull my ol’ pickle jars from under the counter filled with deliciouness…I must first test the kombucha.  If it doesn’t ferment long enough, it is too sweet.  If it ferments too long, you just might cough from the strong vinergar-like taste while sipping.  If it is too sour, just add a lil more juice when bottling.  If it is too sweet, put it back under the counter to sit for a few more days.

IMG_0183Create an assembly line of bottles and fill them up just a lil with your organic juice.

IMG_0185Remove about 1 cup of kombucha from the top of the large jar and pour it into a bowl with the SCOBY and set aside.  My SCOBY is killer healthy.

IMG_0186Start pouring!

IMG_0188The bottling is finished….You know how much this would cost me to buy?!?!

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IMG_0190Put your freshly bottled bottles back in their dark/warm spot for the second ferment.  Mine is in our cupboard where we store pots/pans.  I usually leave them sit for 2 days because we run out of kombucha to drink and want more.  You can do your second ferment for as long as you want.

IMG_0191My SCOBYs just chilled out while I was bottling…. Now, to making the new batch.

IMG_0192Take your empty jar (you can use whatever type of jar you can find but it needs to be a gallon), bring 4 cups of SPRING water to a boil and pour into the jar.

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IMG_0194Pour your 4 cups of boiling water into the jar along with 3-5 organic green or black tea bags.  I use 5 bags.  Let the tea brew for 10 minutes.

IMG_0195After 10 minutes, remove the tea bags and find your suga’.  Add 1 cup of sugar to tea mixture and stir until the sugar dissolves.

IMG_0196Next, add 8 cups of room temperature spring water to your warm tea mixture.

IMG_0197Lastly, add the SCOBY back into the liquid (it should we luke-warm) along with the 1 cup of your original kombucha and cap your jar with a coffee filter or a cheese cloth.  Put your jar back into it’s safe place to ferment for 7-14 days.  Taste after day 7 to make yourself aware of the different stages your kombucha will go through.

Question: Why would you not give kombucha a try?

What’s the gist on kombucha?

If you are viewing this on a smart phone, scroll to the bottom of the post and open the full site to read the text.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea.  It can be made with black or green tea or a combination of both.  In order to make kombucha you need a SCOBY.  A SCOBY is an acronym for a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.  Why would you want to drink bacteria??!?! This is GOOD bacteria.  Good bacteria helps fight off the bad bacteria in your gut and in turn this keeps your immune system healthier.

Why drink Kombucha?

Did you know that 80% of your immune system comes from your digestive system? So if you are eating/drinking crap, you may have an explanation why you feel like crap all the time….just sayin’.

Funny Sports Ecard: Have you tried the 10 day 'Stop eating crap all the time' cleanse?

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If your bacteria is off balance (to much bad) your health will suffer.  If you have a problem with headaches, allergies, heartburn /indigestion, eczema, joint pain, or an autoimmune disease you really should consider adding in fermented foods into your daily diet.

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If kombucha doesn’t meet your fancy, you might consider checking out my previous post on kefir.  You may also consider sauerkraut (it should be refrigerated when bought in the grocery store if it is fermented), or other fermented vegetables.

Other things that can affect the bacteria in your gut are: stress, exercise, antibiotics, anti-bacterial soaps (so put away all that hand sanitizer!).  If you should remove anything to improve your health start with soda! Yes, diet soda is just as bad as regular soda! Also,  try to reduce your sugar intake which causes the growth of bad bacteria and yeast in the gut.  I sound like a professional, huh?  I should mention I have read countless articles on the importance of good/bad bacteria and fermented foods.  Put down your fashion magazine or your 50 Shades of Gray and educate yourself!

Where can I find Kombucha?

I purchased my first kombucha from Hy-Vee in Waterloo, IA.  I had never heard of it, but it was something my sister introduced me to (thanks sissy). Who knew you could buy this at Hy-Vee? I started to notice kombucha in other grocery stores….HEB, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Randalls.  One bottle cost $3.49!  Who can afford to drink this stuff?!??! Not this chica! After I fell in love with this drink, and realized I can’t afford this taste, I decided I would look into buying my very own SCOBY.  I bought a SCOBY online from kombuchakamp.com and have never turned back.  I know brew 15 bottles every 10 daysish and both me and Matt enjoy an ice-cold kombucha with dinner EVERY night.  It is simply refreshing and delicious.

So who is ready to try mine?

No really, my kombucha beat my sister’s in a blind taste test during our family’s Christmas this past year.

If you are a Texan, I see you often, and you leave a comment…. I will deliver you the best bottle of Jen’s homemade kombucha BUT you will need to return the bottle 😉  Stay tuned for the instructions on how to make and bottle kombucha TOMORROW!

Questions: Would you pay $3.50 for a bottle of kombucha at the store?

Do you want to try kombucha?