Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sweet Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Walnuts

Lessons I am learning right now...

It is okay to sleep in when you are tired.

It is okay to snuggle a cat who really does not want to be snuggled.

It is okay to take a day off.

It is okay to sneak a cookie when no one is looking. (or even if they are...)

It is okay to say no.

It is okay to need help, ask for help, and accept help.

It is okay to burn pancakes.

And it is okay to sit on your couch on a Sunday morning, eating Brussels sprouts for breakfast, and covering them in maple syrup because you burned your pancakes. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bhakti Chai Giveaway!

I love a good chai. Seriously, I am kindof a chai fanatic. This is precisely why I was thrilled when I was contacted by Bhakti Chai and asked if I would be willing to do a product review.  Heck yes.

For me, a good chai is all about the spice. If you live in Seattle, you're usually asked the question: Oregon Chai (sweet) or Morning Glory (spicy)?  I'm a Morning Glory gal.  Well, until recently when I was completely won over by Bhakti Chai.

When I read more about their company, I was really impressed to learn that Bhakti Chai is micro-brewed in Boulder, Colorado using Fair Trade and organic ingredients. Besides focusing on sustainable practices (like zero waste manufacturing!), they are committed to social action and support a variety of nonprofits that benefit women and girls.  If you know me, this is a huge passion and focus of mine as well.

All of their chai includes fresh-pressed ginger, fresh-ground cardamom, and is brewed with black tea from the Assam region of India. It is also gluten-free, vegan, and does not contain preservatives. Bhakti Chai has four varieties: Original, Decaf, Coffee Blend, and Semi Sweet (low sugar). Since my local Whole Foods didn't have the Semi Sweet in stock, I opted for the Decaf (green bottle pictured above).

What I love about this chai is that it has a good spicy kick and it's not too sweet. But, the best part?  I could taste fresh ginger in every sip. Coming from someone who makes fresh juices with ginger daily, this is quite the compliment.  Although I'm not usually a fan of soy milk, their organic non-GMO soy base was irresistibly creamy and I loved it combined with the spiciness from the fresh ginger and cardamom.

Over all I can honestly say that this chai knocked my socks off.  And, it knocked my socks off so badly that I want to share it with you. Bhakti Chai was kind enough to offer 5 readers a chance to try this chai for yourself and I can't wait to hear what you think!

Since the chai is fresh they can't ship the actual bottles, but Bhakti Chai will be sending 5 lucky readers coupons to try it for free at a store near you! Since Bhakti Chai is a small company and is only available in the US at this time, this giveaway is limited to US residents only. (Sorry to all my international readers!)

To enter: Leave a comment below telling me whether you prefer sweet or spicy chai and a valid email address (so I can contact you). For an additional chance to win, like my page on Facebook and then leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Deadline: This giveaway ends on Wednesday, November 21st at 5 pm PST. Winners will chosen at random and notified via email.

Contest is now closed; thank you to all who entered!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Creamy Cinnamon Oatmeal Porridge

There are days when a smoothie just isn't going to cut it for breakfast.  On these days I wake up craving something warm, filling, and cinnamon-y.  These days call for homemade spelt waffles, fresh from the griddle.  

But, if you're anything like me, you don't end up with warm, delicious spelt waffles.  Nope, if you are me, you end up oddly crispy, yet somehow undercooked waffle-imposters because you decided that you didn't need to follow a recipe for waffle batter.  (Apparently, Sonnet, apparently... you do.)  

No harm done though, because smarty pants you, you had some steel cut oats soaking.  Looks like you get to indulge in that hearty, delicious breakfast after all.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Here are some things to know before your first Zumba class:

If your gym is on street level, do not stand by the window.  I repeat, do not stand by the window.  If you take this piece of advice you will be spared the looks of curious passerbys who are interested in Zumba, but are also thinking to themselves how they are grateful that they are not that really uncoordinated girl who looks out of place (i.e. me).

Definitely style your hair before you go.  This is not a typical gym-ponytail situation because when you can't follow the moves and you're messing up the people beside you, you can at least take pride in the fact that your hair looks totally awesome.

Do not eat a large meal right before you go.  Okay, I didn't exactly learn this lesson first-hand, but judging by the painful looks my co-worker was giving me during the class, I'm just going to advise you against this one.

And on this note, it's probably best not to drag people to your first class with you.  Sure, the support is great, but this means that you'll have witnesses.  In a situation like this, witnesses are not good.

Finally, know that during your first Zumba class you will totally feel lost, uncoordinated, and possibly panicky at times, but you will also have the most fun that you've had all week.  If you have a chance, definitely go.

And definitely make these roasted sweet potatoes afterwards.  After all, you deserve a reward for surviving Zumba, having awesome hair, and not having eaten too much beforehand.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Favorite Fall Soups

Ah, soup weather.  There is nothing like the first really cold, grey, rainy week in Seattle to get you in the mood for soup weather.  During this time of year, I swear that Whole Foods must make a killing on their hot soup bar.  But you, my friend, are lucky.  You do not need to venture anywhere outside of your kitchen in search of the perfect hot soup because I am sharing my favorite fall recipes with you.  So get ready, grab some onions and garlic, and let's make soup! 

Apples and squash.  Is there a more perfect combination for a fall soup?  I think not. This Acorn Squash Apple Soup (pictured above) is a quick and easy soup to please everyone.  Feed it to your significant other, your friends, your kids, your third cousin, and your grandma. I swear you'll never hear a single complaint.