Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Greek Salad

Salads are terribly boring, but Greek salads are fantastic. Here's a delicious recipe for a Greek salad (for one person):


1/2 cup Half lettuce half spinach 
1/3 cup diced cherry tomatoes 
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup diced red onion 

3 table spoons olive oil 
1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh oregano 


If you have a sensitive stomach, soak the red onions in water for about 20 minutes and that will take some of the edge off. Add the lettuce spinach mix to a bowl. Chop up tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, and red onion and add to bowl. Add cheese. 

Juice Lemon. In a different container mix oil, lemon juice, and oregano. Add dressing to salad to taste. Enjoy! 

Note: I have this for lunch at work quite often. I prepare the lettuce and veggies the night before and add the dressing and feta cheese right before I'm about to eat it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


What's delicious, good for you, and super easy to make at home? Hummus! I LOVE the stuff, but store bought hummus tastes terrible and it's too expensive to eat restaurant hummus every day.  The cheapest hummus I can find locally at a restaurant costs $7.99/pound and it's not even that good. Anyway, I decided to buy some chick peas, play with ratios and make hummus myself.

  •  15 oz can of chick peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup Tahini 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • Tablespoon of Paprika 
  • Salt to taste
Blend the chickpeas and half the oil (some people like to skin the chickpeas, but I don't think it makes enough of a difference to be worth the time). Squeeze the juice out of the lemon into the blended chickpeas.  Add the Tahini, the rest of the oil and the spices. Play around with the flavor 'til you get what you like.

Good people eat hummus with snap peas or carrots, but naughty eaters like me prefer it with bread. If you can get fresh pita bread, awesome! Otherwise, here is what you can do to a tortilla that goes great with hummus! 


Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to a frying pan, turn on medium heat. Put a tortilla in the frying pan. Keep flipping until the tortilla is crispy and a little brown.


Sunday, June 2, 2013


Delicious, good for your, and FOREIGN: Gazpacho. The Spanish soup of the summer.

6 tomatoes 
1 cucumber 
1 onion 
1 cup of sliced celery 
1 bell pepper
2 teaspoons fresh parsley
Teaspoon of fresh chives. 
2 teaspoons of garlic
1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
1/4 cup olive oil  
4 cups tomato juice 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Chop up all your vegetables and mix everything together in a pot. Juice the lemon and add to the pot. Add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate overnight. This soup is very easy, but it takes time to chop all of your vegetables.

Only use FRESH ingredients. This soup is raw, so frozen or canned won't cut it.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Deep fried CHEESE

What's better than cheese? DEEP FRIED CHEESE. 

1 cup all purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 lb cheese curds

Oil for frying

Beat the eggs (they deserve it!),  add flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Mix until clumps and bubbles are completely gone. If you have the patient, strain the flour first and you'll get almost no clumps (No, I don't have the patience for that...). 

Put your oil in a pan (with high sides... obviously.). Here's a trick to know when your oil is good to go. Drop one or two popcorn kernels in the oil. As soon as they POP, your oil is ready to start cookin'!

Coat your cheese curds in the batter. If you couldn't find curds, go ahead and buy your favorite cheese and cut it into cubes. I'm not a purist! If you are a purist, you can find a few different brands of cheddar cheese curds at Meijer. 

Once your oil and your cheese curds are ready, plop those bad boys in the oil. Obviously, be careful! This is going to bubble and jump when you drop your cheese. Wear long sleeves and an apron. Take no chances! 

Cook the curds for about a minute in oil. One they're ready, put them in a bowl or a plate lined with a paper towel. Eat them while they're still hot and ENJOY! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beautiful, Bubbly Water

I've always enjoyed sparkling water as a treat, but in the last year I adopted it as my main source of hydration. First of all, I love that in America we call it "sparkling." Europeans have far less glamorous names, translated as the dull, but harmless "fizzy water," the ambiguous "mineral water," and the class clown among names for the substance, "gassy water" (might as well call it bloated water while you're at it...). Now that that rant is over, let's discuss why sparkling water is amazing. 

The Benefits 

 I certainly haven't done a scientific study, but I believe there have been benefits to drinking sparkling water instead of still. I have a notoriously sensitive stomach. After working a full day, I almost always went home with some sort of indigestion or stomach pains. Now, this almost never occurs. I drink a liter of sparkling water at my desk everyday, and although I spend more time walking to the ladies room than I used to, I feel great. I've heard that sparkling water can help settle an upset stomach and I believe that this is true. 

We all know that drinking water is crucial to health and wellness, but how many of us actually drink enough? Bringing a bottle of still water with me everywhere certainly helped me increase how much I drank, but I still didn't drink enough.  Personally, I think sparkling water tastes better and is more fun to drink. I never have trouble finishing a bottle of coke, but I've littered my home with dozens of half full bottles of water. I certainly prefer drinking water with a meal, but when I'm sitting at my desk I want something a little more exciting. Sparkling water tastes great and I love the popping feeling of the little bubbles in my mouth. 

Something to keep in mind, flavored sparkling water is not what I'm raving about. Flavored water is better than soda or juices with added sugar, but it's not necessarily good for you. 

What About the Cost?

Tap water is free and sparkling water can be quite expensive. Here are the top brands that I've drank and their costs. 

 Voss Artisan Water $4.04 (0.24/oz) 

Perrier $2.91 (0.34/oz)

San Pellegrino $1.45 (0.17/oz) 

La Croix $1.87 (0.16/oz)

That can add up pretty quickly, especially when you're used to the free water that comes from the tap or the office water cooler. Even still bottles of water are significantly cheaper than sparkling (On average, less than $2.00) 

I stopped drinking Voss because it has a fairly high sodium content and I get more than enough of that in my diet. San Pellegrino has the same problem. Neither Perrier nor La Croix have any sodium content. 

Thanks to student loans, I'm--for lack of better phrase--poor as piss. I couldn't justify drinking a bottle of La Croix every day. But I found a solution. I eat grocery store brand everything almost (Not Coke or Cheez its!), why not store brand sparkling water? At Meijer, a two liter bottle of sparking water costs $0.88 (that's less than 5 cents an oz). Cheap! Guess what? It tastes great! Just as good as the other 4 brands I have listed above. And if you're poorer than I, you can ever cut sparkling water with tap water. Don't do more than 1/3 tap water to 2/3 sparkling water though! If you do, there won't be nearly enough bubbles... We love the bubbles. 

While we're on the subject of sparkling water, I'll bring up an energy drink that is mostly sparkling water. It's called HiBall. It contains no sugar or sweeteners. It tastes like sparkling water with a hint of lime or grapefruit (those are the only two flavors I've tried). This guy packs a whaloop and get's me through the day without needing additional caffeine or energy supplements. Delicious, good for you, and it WORKS.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Delicious (& healthy!) Protein Shake Recipe

1/3 cup protein powder

1/2 cup milk

1 cup frozen berries (My favorite combo is 2/3 red raspberries and 1/3 blueberry)

3 oz plain Greek Yogurt 

2 teaspoons clear fiber (optional)


Blend milk, protein powder, and fiber on medium for 30 seconds.

Add yogurt and fruit. Blend on medium for 30 seconds then on high for 30 seconds (or until fruit is thoroughly destroyed) 

Dump in a glass and enjoy! 

  • If it's too thick add more milk and if it's too runny add more yogurt. 
  • The yogurt makes it a bit tart which I like, but if you want it sweeter try 2 teaspoons of stevia or 3 teaspoons of sugar.  
  • I try to add fiber to my diet since I don't get enough for food and soluble fiber in a protein shake is an easy way to do that without changing the texture or flavor.  
  •  I've tried it with both fresh and frozen fruit. Fresh fruit costs a lot more, but doesn't taste much different in the final product so I recommend going with frozen to save money (and it won't go bad as quickly!). Make sure you find "unsweetened."
My kitty certainly thought it looked good

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Secrets to the Best Hair Around

No, that's not me....
I've been told that I have pretty great hair so I decided I'd share all of my tips to keeping my hair healthy and looking great. Some are pretty common and some maybe a bit more bizarre, but I promise this is all I do for a great hair day.

*Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the god among the insects of oil. I can't even begin to describe all the ways that it's wonderful. Anyway, once every two weeks I drench my hair completely in coconut oil and it seems to add shine and softness. Watch out! This is a pretty messy process! First, cover yourself in a towel (I recommend only wearing a bra or a T-shirt you don't mind getting a little dirty), then dampen your hair. Put some coconut in your hand and rub it around until it's melted. Then run your hands through your hair focusing on the ends. Repeat this process until your hair is a greasy mess! Then wrap your hair in a towel and chill for 20 minutes until you wash it off. It usually comes off with one shampooing.

Enjoy your lucious, healthy, and shiny locks! You can purchase coconut oil at most grocery stores, but they usually only stock heavily processed oils that don't have all the benefits as unprocessed. Amazon sells my favorite brand.

*Fight the urge to shampoo 

This sounds gross, but I only wash my hair once a week (usually twice in the hottest parts of the summer). Shampoo strips your hair of essential oils which makes dries it out and makes it brittle. I use Dove's shampoo and conditioner, but you can use any brand you like. The first few weeks are going to be rough, your hair will be a bit on the greasy side. After it's been a few weeks, your body will realize it doesn't need to produce so much oil and it won't be so greasy.

I'll all about diving into things, but if you're used to washing your hair everyday, it might be easier to take baby steps. Start washing every other day, then every add another day between washes until you have plenty of time between washings. Everyone produces a different amount of oil, I can go a week without becoming too frighteningly greasy, but someone else might need to wash twice a week and another person might be able to wash less often than once a week. Play around with it and find what works for you!

*Sleep with your hair up 

For whatever reason, I burn up when I fall asleep. I'm talking wake-up-in-a-smiling-pool levels of sweat and we all know sweat leads to greasy hair. To keep your hair from getting greasy every night, just wear it up. Try and use a scrunchie or something that won't damage your hair.

*Leave-in Conditioner

After you wash, add a leave-in conditioner to moisterize and protect your hair.  I love Paul Mitchell's Super Skinny Serum. Just put some, about the size of a quarter, in your hand and message into your hair starting at the roots. You'll have to adjust the amount added depending on the length and type of hair you have. I have long, dry hair so I tend to use quite a bit.  You can purchase this at salons, some grocery stores, or on Amazon.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is Gel Nail Polish Worth the Cost?

Gel nails are really popular right now. You can only get them done at a salon, it costs significanly more than regular nail polish, but apparently it lasts 2 weeks or more. When I get regular manicures or paint my nails myself, it lasts maybe 3 days before chipping.

I decided to try the gel out and see if it's worth the time and the money. Here is my experience:

I went to my normal day spa which uses OPI. Gel colors are limited, but I picked Russian Navy. It's a sparkly dark blue.




Same day as manicure: 

Natural light
Indoor light
Russian Navy

A week after manicure: 

With flash

 No chipping yet! The biggest problem was how fast my nails grow.


Two weeks after manicure: 


After exactly two weeks, the polish started chipping and had to be taken off. My nails grow quite fast so my biggest problem was that the space between the cuticle and the polish.

Worth the cost?

Gel manicure: $33 Lasted 15 days ($2.20/day)

Regular manicure: $15 lasts ~5 days ($3/day)

Nail polish at home: Less than $4.00 for a bottle ~3 days (teeny tiny costs)

I certainly won't get them done every time I want color, but for a special occasion gel is definitely a better alternative to a regular manicure.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Easy Ways to Manage your Period - I usually set aside Sunday nights for debilitating self-pity
Aunt Irma (or Aunt Flo) is awful. The words I want to use to describe her are quote inappropriate and colorful, so I'll let you use your imagination. After more than a decade of dealing with Aunt Irma every month, I've found a few ways to deal with her.

Here are some tips and tricks that I use every month to combat the hell week. Please remember that I'm NOT a doctor. I figured out some of these tips on my own and also by consulting with my MD, you should always talk with your doctor before using any new herbal supplements or painkillers. Common sense people!

*Track your periods 

This takes a few months to figure out, but track the day your periods starts and then average how many days between so you'll be able to predict when your next period will be.  There are a lot of smart phone apps that do all the work for you. I just use my Google Calender. If you have inconsistent periods, keep in mind that tracking can be a bit tricky.

*Preemptive strike 

My MD told me this trick.  It's a lot easier to combat pain if you hit it before it hits you.  Start taking medicine before your period starts. After you start tracking your period, figure out the day it is supposed to start.  The morning you expect your period, take an Aleve and then go about your day.


Drink it like it's going out of style! You're losing a lot of fluids that need replacing.


I have cramps from Hell. If don't take any medicine I literally cannot function. Some people choose to stay away from drugs when Aunt Irma comes to town. I'm not one of those lucky ladies. Premsyn Premenstrual Relief is the best drug formulated for periods that I've come across. Technically, it's a PMS drug, but it works better than anything else I've ever taken. You can find it at most grocery stores or at Amazon.

*Avoid caffeine

This is why I avoid Midol, because most kinds of Midol contain caffeine. I know personally that it is VERY DIFFICULT to avoid caffeine especially during the work week. But if you avoid caffeine starting a few days before your period, your cramps won't be nearly as bad as if you do drink caffeine.

*Primrose oil

I take 1,000 mg of Evening Primrose Oil every day. It helps alleviate cramps.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to do any good if you only take it during your period, but I have noticed that my cramps aren't as bad if I take it nearly every day. You can find it at most grocery stores or at


Now, I'm still a really awful person to be around thanks to mood swings and being an all-round emotional wreck. I've found it's best to schedule fun, relaxing things when I know my period is coming up. Get plenty of sleep; there's nothing worse than being sleep deprived and anti-social! - Feel better so I can guiltlessly make fun of you againI hope you all have lovely periods, or if you're looking this information up for someone else, I hope she has a lovely period!