Snacks

Classy Snack Time: Pine Nut Butter on Crisp Bread

Pine Nut Butter on Crackers

Move over, peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I’ve got something classy for snack time. We’ve all heard of all the alternative types of nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter.  But what about pine nuts? I experimented this past week, and ended up with something rather elegant.

Pine nuts aren’t cheap so this isn’t something you’ll be making everyday, and it’s way too fancy to spread on white bread with grape jelly. Rather, I suggest spreading it on a healthy crackers like Wasa or Kavli crisp bread, topped with some salt, pepper, and oregano. Serve with a few slices of parmesan cheese on the side, and it’s fit to offer to guests, but also makes an indulgent, savory treat for yourself. Enjoy!

Pine Nut Butter on Crisp Bread

1 cup pine nuts
Olive oil
Crisp bread crackers like Kavli or Wasa
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Dried oregano

Heat up a skillet over medium heat. Lightly toast the pine nuts until they start to brown. Keep your eye on them and keep shaking the pan. You do not want to burn them!

Let the toasted pine nuts cool to room temperature. Pour them into your food processor with a small drizzle of good olive oil and pinch of salt. Process until smooth. You may need to occasionally stop and scrape down the sides of your food processor until you get the right consistency.

Spread the pine nut butter on crisp bread crackers. Top with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of dried oregano. Dig in, like the classy person you are. Store the remaining pine nut butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Pine Nut Butter

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Random

Why You Need Habit-Building iPhone App Lift, And Why I Need to Delete It

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I want to recommend an iPhone app to you. But by recommending this app, I’m publicly admitting to already failing at my New Year Un-Resolution.

The elegantly designed app is called Lift, and it’s successful because of it’s simplicity. You think of a habit you want to build, and either join it if it’s already available in the Lift community, or create your own. Then you publicly check in every time you do the habit. Instead of cheesy badges, you are rewarded with information on your streaks. You are also reminded to stick to your habit goals by setting up push notifications, which unlike other apps, Lift does not abuse.

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Whether you’re looking for encouragement to eat your five servings of veggies a day, or floss your teeth every night, Lift can help. Best of all, it’s free! You can download it at the iTunes Store.

The past two weeks, I’ve built daily habits of making my bed, eating at the table, and moisturizing every day. These may sound like fantastic things, but don’t be fooled. Since my New Year Un-Resolution was to be comfortable with myself the way I am and not to pressure myself to improve, Lift is making me fail at that…miserably. I’m addicted to improvement.

Maybe what I need is a detox from anything related to personal development. Starting with this app. But you, on the other hand, need to download it ASAP. Highly recommended.

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Random

I Guess I Am Addicted to Caffeine After All

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Despite not really following the Food Lover’s Cleanse strictly, I thought I would give up coffee, alcohol, sugar, bread/pasta, and dairy for a few days, just to see what happens. I’ve always said that when it comes to coffee, I can take it or leave it. I absolutely love coffee and believe it has more health benefits than negative effects, but I only enjoy one cup a day–usually a double espresso I make at home. It never makes me jittery, I have zero issues with falling asleep, and if I go a day without it I’m just fine.

Now that it’s my 6th day off coffee, let me tell you I am feeling it. I feel like I’ve had a mild headache for two days straight. Yeah, it could be something else–I was feeling a little under the weather earlier this week. But most likely it’s caffeine withdrawal, yikes! Didn’t think it would happen to me but it’s happenin’. I can’t wait to make me a delicious pre-workout double espresso tomorrow morning :)

Do you drink coffee everyday? Have you ever experienced caffeine withdrawal?

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Health and Nutrition

Bon Appetit Magazine’s 2013 Food Lover’s Cleanse

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Have you seen Bon Appetit magazine’s Food Lover’s Cleanse? It’s a meal plan for the first two weeks of the new year, designed with a nutritionist’s help, to recalibrate your eating habits after the holiday season. This is the third year Bon Appetit has featured a new year’s cleanse, and I have been loving them! It’s such a fantastic idea because it addresses two big problems with so-called detoxifying “cleanses”: a) they’re usually a bunch of BS with no real science behind them, and b) people who actually like food can’t stand the thought of wasting a meal on something that tastes bland.

I didn’t follow the Food Lover’s Cleanse schedule. I’m cooking for one and don’t have enough space in my shared apartment to store that much food. Plus, different recipes every single day? I don’t got time for that.

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I’ve just been making a few days worth of each recipe at a time, slowly making my way through. So far I’m digging it, and appreciate that the prep work is less involved compared to 2012’s cleanse (though it was equally delicious). My food totally did not come out as beautiful as the photography, but it’s cool.

One of the main reasons why I created this blog is to show people that, yes, you can eat delicious food and do not have to follow any weird depriving diets to eat healthy. I love the Food Lover’s Cleanse because the meals are tasty, seasonal, well-balanced, and nutritious. In fact, I could eat like this year-round. Minus the rules of no dessert/caffeine/bread/dairy, even if I could cut back on some of them. We should all strive to eat more whole intact grains, fish, healthy fats, and vegetables…while still enjoying the heck out of our meals.

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Random

The New Year Un-Resolution

Last year, I was hardcore with my 2012 goals. I set five big ones, and accomplished four of them. (Damn you, DMV. I’ll never get my drivers license!) But prior to 2012, I had been on a self-improvement kick for a while. If it wasn’t for resolution making and goal setting, I’m sure I wouldn’t have made the huge strides I did in just a few short years.

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I’m doing something different this year. I’ve been thinking a lot about staying in the present. Disengaging. Forgetting perfection. Minimizing self-imposed stress. As much as my determination to become a better person in all areas of life has helped me accomplish a lot, I wanted to see if I could challenge myself in a very different way this year. I foresee a lot of change, joy, and struggles in the year to come. Rather than have a list of resolutions, I have one un-resolution: to feel good about the way I am, no matter what. I want to see if I can make it through the year being happy with what I have rather than feel the need to improve myself, or fix where I’m lacking. It’s the ultimate challenge.

mince pies

So, in the spirit of my 2013 Un-Resolution, here are some less-than-perfect photos for you. I intended to make some slamming homemade mince pies, and write a cool post about how I had happy teenage memories eating mince pies with one of my BFFs, Frances. But the mince pies came out unimpressive. The pastry didn’t look pretty. And I realized just about no one likes mince pies except Frances and I. On top of that, I have a new camera and haven’t quite figured out how to take the best shots with it yet. I thought about abandoning the entire post idea. But I realized, it’s OK! I’m happy to eat food that no one likes but me. And I’m happy to share my strangely dark and moody food photos with the world. Everything is how it should be.

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Random

Looking Back at 2012

My blog hasn’t been around for an entire year, so I can skip the obligatory Best Posts of 2012 (yay). However, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my 2012 with you in photos.

Last year, one of my resolutions was to take a photo a day. I definitely didn’t manage to do it everyday, and I almost forgot about the resolution during the last few months. But in the end I still win because I finished the year with maybe 10 times the amount of photos I’d usually have. It’s been a great creative outlet and helped my photography skills. More importantly, it’s a wonderful gift to be left with so many photos of happy memories, may they be big events like weddings, or tiny details like how much I loved my first pair of fun pink earphones. Enjoy!

January
This was an exciting month for me! New roomie, new bedroom, new volunteer gig at the farmers market, and all kinds of awesome resolutions, like the photo project. Oh and this gross dead fish head that sat outside my building for an entire month. How did it get there?! Why didn’t anyone clean it up?

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February
The month of love! With both Valentines, my relationship anniversary, (and a flower delivery mishap) I got tons of flowers. And I baked tons of cookies for the people I <3.

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March
I escaped what felt like a never-ending winter and went to Miamiiiii. When I came back I got started on my first attempt at growing food. This was the first life I created.

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April
This was a month of learning how to love home and transform it into a beautiful place I want to spend time at. You don’t know how helpful Pinterest was in this endeavor.

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May
I ate delicious food and partied at The Great Googa Mooga. I also went to LA for a few days. No biggie.

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June
I turned 26! In the Dominican Republic!

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July
I was loving summer food in July. LOVE. I grew it, cooked it, ate it.

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August
I got to play with a fancy camera. My food photography suddenly got a whole lot better. Oh yeah, I also got a fat lip from jumping on a pull-up bar. Sad.

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September
I ran my first 10K race, woohoo! And refused to let summer end. I ate ice pops and kicked pumpkins.

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October
I watched my childhood best friend get married in France. What a lovely, lovely couple. I also enjoyed indulging in Amsterdam. I need more speculaas in my life.

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November
We welcomed a lovely little lady to the fam. Say hello to my new niece :) I no longer wanted to kick pumpkins. I wanted to eat them everyday. And I wrote what was one of my post popular recipes for the blog!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

December 
I went to Vegas with my BFF bride-to-be. My little sister came to visit at the end of the month. We partied with my boyfriend at a masquerade ball on New Years Eve. Or at least I tried to force her to party. This picture is classic haha.

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What a year!!! It’s so easy to lose the present and focus on what you don’t have rather than what you do have. Looking through these photos remind me to be grateful for living such a full life with such wonderful people, and having the privilege of seeing so much of the world. 2012, I might not have seen it at the time, but you were a great one. I look forward to enjoying 2013  in real time :)

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