7 Tips for Healthy Skin

Between old (lol) age, pregnancy, and postpartum - my skin care routine is something I’ve been working to PERFECT in the last couple of years. Truly, I have no time for makeup anymore, and quite enjoy the freeing feeling of it. That said, I need to do a good job with making sure my skin is healthy from the inside, out. With the help of my friends at iHerb I can get some of my fav products to achieve just that! These skin care and self care tips and tricks are sponsored by iHerb, but all opinions are my own.

 

A few of the staples in my house are Swisse brand: Hair, Skin & Nails, Liver Detox and Chlorophyll. Each come with their own benefits and I love them all for different skin-related reasons. When you think about a solid skincare routine, think about starting from the inside, working your way out! Swisse is one of the staple brands in my home because they have incredible standards when it comes to the quality of their products. (They have been searching for the highest-quality ingredients for over 50 years, and their dedication is something I can get behind!)

 

Lately, I’ve been loving shopping with iHerb. They offer over 30,000 natural products and ship quickly to over 150 countries! They have some of the best customer service in 10 different languages - available 24 hours a day, every single day, so I am pretty stoked to work with them on these skin care tips.

 

SO, back to skincare. I live for a routine. A routine helps build habits I can keep up with. A routine helps me remember the solid things I want to accomplish each day or each week when it comes to my skin. 

 

Here are my favorite routines for healthy skin, to keep it cleansed, detoxed, functioning and supported. Remember that your SKIN is your largest organ, and should be treated as such! A lot of my tips might be surprising - they revolve around inside-out care, rather than lots of creams and toners.


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LEMON WATER - for cleansing.

...in the morning! The best thing you can do for your body is wake it up with solid hydration and lemon for a kickstart to your digestion, first thing. Think of this as a MAJOR cleanse for your body and your skin. The more your skin is dealing with inflammation and processing the things you are eating - the more likely it is to break out. 

I normally take a big 24-36 ounce bottle of water, somewhat lukewarm, and squeeze an ENTIRE lemon into it. I find lukewarm water to be much gentler with my body, and I find it does a great job of cleansing (as opposed to hot, hot water or cold, cold water). It’s also better to add lemon to lukewarm water so you don’t kill off all of the beneficial enzymes coming with it. For the perfect temp - you can brew a cup of hot water and then get a glass of cold water from your water filter, and combine. 

 

WATER, IN GENERAL - for overall function.

Hydration, baby! We all know it’s important, but do you know why?! Water helps the maintenance and balance of body fluids. Did you know that your body is composed of 60% water? If you drink water throughout the day, you will help maintain these fluids and kidney function, as well as flush toxins, and control skin hydration (therefore making your fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable).

 

And if you want a complete number of ounces to drink each day, you take your weight, divide by 2 and you get the MINIMUM ounces of water you should be drinking each day! If you have coffee or alcohol, you should add an extra glass of water for each of them.

 

 

SWISSE: ULTIBOOST LIVER DETOX - for detoxing.

 

Another crucial part of my morning routine - treating my liver right! The liver is key to detoxification, detoxification is key to healthy skin,  and because of that, I like to treat it properly! A lot of people I know, myself included, break out when eating something inflammatory (cheese, sugar, etc). Keep your digestion and liver happy, and keep your skin from getting aggravated! The Liver Detox capsule from Swisse is packed with Calcium, Iron, Artichoke extract, Milk Thistle and Turmeric - which combined - help keep a full-functioning and HAPPY liver (specifically supportive of digestion, circulation & hormone balance).

 

Side note: keeping certain foods IN your diet are also key to a healthy liver! I especially love garlic, beets, and fermented foods.

 

 

GREENS! - for detoxing and oxygen flow.

 

I always tell my clients to include a handful of greens in every meal. Spinach in your smoothie. Kale in your rice bowl. Or, even just add a greens powder in your water before you have pizza. Greens are the number one thing missing from the American diet, and they are also, in my opinion, the number one thing that can help your body do all the things - including keep your skin clear and vibrant. Greens will crowd out other foods that are not good for you, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, clean the blood, improve circulation, give you energy, and deliver live enzymes. Do you know what all of these things do, in turn? Make your skin shine!

 

I am obsessed with chlorophyll as a way to get in more greens. Enter Swisse: Chlorophyll. It is an antioxidant, superfood, and actually called the “building block of life”. It’s found in most plants and gives them their green pigment (it also absorbs the sun’s light and turns it into carbs for the plant’s nourishment and energy.) It’s specific helpful function, for us, is rooted in the red blood cells - which carry oxygen to our tissues. Chlorophyll increases the production of red blood cells. A high red blood cell count =  potentially better oxygen flow to cells. This, in turn, can help our skin look more radiant.

 

It has a natural minty flavor to it - so I like to add the Swisse brand to ice water with fresh squeezed lemon. 100mg of chlorophyll equals 4 cups of spinach!

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SWISSE: ULTIBOOST HAIR SKIN & NAILS+ - for internal support.

This supplement by Swisse has Vitamin C, Biotin, Iron, Zinc, Silica & Milk Thistle. Vitamin C can be supportive with energy, digestion, immune system health, but also getting you some glowing skin. 

With the addition of Biotin (helpful for healthy hair and nail growth!) and Iron (extremely important nutrient for healthy blood flow and circulation) - the little capsule I take every morning gets me the kickstart I need for my self-care. 

 

FACE MASK & SCRUBS - for surface-level support.

By a small miracle, in an ideal world - I am able to do a face mask once a week and a face scrub 2-3 times a week. I keep a scrub in the shower so that it’s easy to do while I am there. The face scrub helps especially in key areas where you tend to have a lot of congestion in your pores (for me - the T zone). It helps to break that up and makes my skin feel super-soft after. I was told by a facialist to do the scrub on my entire face 2x a week, and on my T zone every other day.

Another tip for efficiency? Put your face mask on first, get your things together for your shower, and rinse it off in the shower after 10 minutes. Then use your scrub. ALSO - hot tip!!! - make sure the mask doesn’t dry completely - contrary to what you might think, when it’s totally dry, it has gone too far and is already leaching moisture from your skin! (Oh, the horror!)

I promise if you do this - you are going to feel like a queen.

 

MICRONEEDLING - for surface-level support.

Basically this little contraption has a ton of tiny needles which are said to stimulate collagen production and increase the absorption of skincare products. You roll it over your skin in sections about 30x (watch a video, pls). Does it hurt? I don't think so. Does my skin feel soft? Yup. (Also, make sure you wash the tool before and after with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol)

I do this 1x a week at best, and 2x a month at worst. I always notice that I need to put on 2 rounds of face serum to moisturize after this happens - because everything absorbs that much more!

Here’s what I am using: Cosmedica Skincare, Microneedling Derma Roller System

DRY BRUSHING - for surface-level support.

The action of dry brushing is great for exfoliating dry skin and unclogging pores in the process. It also helps detoxify by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow and drainage. Lastly, it stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel invigorated afterward which is a total bonus!

Keep a dry brush by your shower so it’s easy to reach for. Brush up the body in circular patterns, starting at your feet and working up to your chest - avoiding any sensitive areas. Then, shower off and moisturize after.

Here’s what I am using: EcoTools, Dry Brush

 

 

WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCTS *ON* MY SKIN ON THE REGULAR, I KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Cleanse (gentle cleanser, morning and night)

Tone (morning and night)

Moisturize (morning and night, with an oil serum)

(Just like your mom taught you back in the day!)

 

Look for brands that don’t test on animals, have minimal ingredient lists, and actually have ingredients you know. There is an amazing website (ewg.org) where you can look up skincare products to see the ingredients and how safe they are for you. You can find many EWG “green” (aka, the best of the bunch) on iHerb’s website.

Here are a few winners: Mad Hippie Skin Care Products, Cream Cleanser, Mad Hippie Skin Care Products, Vitamin C Serum

 

 

Want to get these skin tools for less? Sign up with iHerb! New Customers will get a discount off their first iHerb order with no minimum purchase by clicking here. And remember, their customer service team is fan-TAS-tic, you won’t have to shop these in stores, and you will for sure SAVE money by ordering online with iHerb.

 

 

*This blog post is sponsored by iHerb, but all opinions are my own.

How to Simplify Your Workout in 5 Steps

I want to start this post about MOVEMENT by talking about MEDICINE.

What do you think about when you visualize that word?

Doctors?

Pills?

Surgery?

Tests?

Clinical “diet plans” ?

Don’t get me wrong. Modern medicine is amazing. But it doesn’t always have to be the first line of defense.

Food is medicine. We’ve talked about this before. In fact, it’s the most powerful form of medicine because it is something you give yourself EVERY day.

There’s another kind of medicine I want to talk about today.

Exercise!

Unfortunately, many of us (yeah, me included!) are lazy and want to have things done FOR us. Medicine is easy, right, because you just have to pop a pill.

Exercise depends on YOU. Not a pill. Not a doc.

You must make the time, the effort and the consistency.

You can’t rely on the doctor or pharmacy to help you with this one – and that’s likely why it becomes the form of medicine you are less likely to prescribe to.

 

OK, now think about your childhood.

Did you play? I’m assuming you did – and you probably weren’t unhappy about it!

Were you worried about food as much as you are now? I doubt you even cared if you ate dinner. In fact, you probably fought dinner in order to keep playing!

I want you to keep that in mind and TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF YOUR WORKOUT.

Make it fun.

Make it something you enjoy during (and after – a “man I feel like a million bucks. Why would I want to eat french fries?” kind of day).

Cool, Jess….buuuuuuuuuuut…..how do we collect enough motivation to even get started?

I know, right?

Electronics (bless ‘em) help us do any and everything. They are also a total curse.

We have elevators and escalators to move us around and are often not able to take the stairs.

We drive everywhere.

We’re addicted to our phones.

We work ridiculous schedules that don’t allow for the time to produce enjoyable movement.

We balance family and job and school and social life.

Obligations. Exhaustion. Little energy for anything but…Real Housewives.

And takeout.

And a few cookies because I had a killer day and I deserve it, dammit.

Yeah… it’s not easy to get started.

But the time you spend in making this major life adjustment WILL BE REWARDED.

 

Daily movement, in some form, will make you feel better each and every day. Your body CRAVES movement. It was built to move.

That means, we need to find a physical routine (big or small) and we have to do it more than once a week if we want to see results (mental and physical).

Otherwise, it’s like watering a plant with a few drops and expecting it to stay healthy that way.

(It won’t happen)

EXERCISE IS

·      Effective

·      Free (can be!)

·      Abundantly available

·      Tailored to you – you can do whatever you want

When you compare that to modern medicine – drugs, surgery, more drugs – I’m sure you will find a long list of risks to sign off on before your treatment begins. Is the “reward” worth the risks? I can’t help but laugh at some of the drug commercials on now, with the full 30 seconds spent on telling you how much they are going to mess up your body or lead to death. ?!?!?!?!

 

ANYWAY, here are my tips to get started (and stay there):

1. First, you need to recognize that movement is essential to health. No amount of kale can replace daily movement (big or small).

Be more aware of signals your body is giving you. What excuses are you making? They are likely signs that your body is craving movement, not fighting it. Try to reverse this thinking. This looks like “I am feeling achy and sluggish. That means my body NEEDS movement and flexibility. It does not mean I need to rest more on the couch eating ice cream.”

2. Attitude is so key. You need to be positive, as cliché as that is.

“Can’t” = won’t. “Try” = nope, lounging with Netflix will win. You need to tell yourself that you are doing this for the good of your body and you are taking CARE of yourself. This positive attitude will go so much further than the negative thoughts and associations with the gym. Treat the gym the same way you treat happy hour or advancing your career.

3. Commit to movement. Figure out what it is that you enjoy so that you don’t totally hate working out. You don’t HAVE to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical. You don’t HAVE to run. You don’t HAVE to do yoga.

Try a bunch of shit and see what sticks.

What you actually wake up saying you are down to do. What you feel good doing and when you feel amazing all day after. Do that. And commit to it. That means you need to schedule your workout in the same way you schedule the rest of your life and it has to become a non-negotiable.

If you had an interview – would you skip it? I hope not. Your gym date needs to be of the same priority. Literally put your workout days into your calendar so that nothing can be scheduled over top of them.

4. Movement can be whatever you need it to be. You don’t even have to go to a formal gym or class each time. Movement can also be some stretching in your room when you wake up. It can be a 30-minute walk at lunch-time. Or it can be a run with the dogs after dinner. You can literally find everything (some free) on the internet – I’ve done Blogilates 6 minute workouts for free, Yoga Glo streaming yoga for $18/month and the 7 minute workout app for free on my phone. Or I’ve taken the kids for a walk during the day. There is always time to do something. Find the something that works for you. (for the record, I am mostly walking right now!!)

5. CHOOSE to do more. Every day we are faced with something more active and something where we can be lazy. Examples: take the stairs; take the elevator. Walk to work; Uber to work (within reason, obvi). Walk during lunch; scroll through Facebook during lunch. Grocery shop; have groceries delivered. Whenever you are faced with something where you have the opportunity to be active – do it!

Remember – keep balance and find the joy.

You don’t want to be 100% working out everyday to the max, especially if you’ve been rather sedentary for a while. It’s important to move and it’s important to rest as well.

Find that joy you had when you were little. Enjoy the movement you are doing. Don’t worry about the million other things you have to get done. I promise you will feel so much better about ALL of those things after you are done (and you’ll probably be better at completing them, too!)

Postpartum poop tips

OMG - listen, I am embarrassed even writing this but YOU HAVE TO KNOW. I am HERE for you and my fellow mamas and people need to talk about this! Literally this is one of the TOP 5 things someone asks me about when talking about postpartum so naturally it MUST BE WRITTEN ABOUT.

I’m dedicating this post to my new friend Eliza who inspired this post. Hey girl!

You want to be prepared for pregnancy, motherhood… but no one wants to talk about the details in between when it comes to giving birth and ALL the stuff your body has to go through before, during and after the fact. I’m here to touch on just ONE of those things - but a pretty major moment.

If for some reason, you were blessed with amazing bowels and you’ve never had an issue with this - my sincerest congratulations.

So here it is - let’s talk about what it’s like to poop for the first time after you give birth. And then show this to your partner who is NOT giving birth and make them feel really bad :)

Pregnancy

First things first, PRE-baby, you go through a lot of back and forth with your systems: nausea, constipation, hemorrhoids, peeing 4937548 times a day, leaking when you don’t pee in time.

Side note for another post some day - I actually found out that my pelvic floor is really messed up from having kids, and I need to see a physical therapist about this! But having pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to urine leakage as well as bowel issues. You might want to ask your doctor or midwife about this if you are experiencing any issues!

Will you poop when you give birth?

Absolutely possible. You are pushing a baby out - and you are supposed to “push” from your rectum, so naturally other things can come out. ;-) Don’t worry, the nurses are God-sent angels and clean it up quickly.

Now…post-partum!

Well, depending on your hospital - you may be forced to poop before you can leave. It used to be a thing. It wasn’t a thing with Graham.

Now, the things our body has that keep us from pooping our pants at random times, are the same ones that make us have to push in order to get it done. So, you can imagine that the thought of any sort of pushing after pushing out a baby - MiiiiiiiGHT make you start sweating at the thought of breaking your stitches. It also makes you constipated.

Will it hurt?

Yes.

(For most.)

I honestly think half of the pain is made up in our heads, though, because we THINK it is going to hurt and that we are going to bust our stitches. Do this at a time where you can be alone for a while, take your time, and sit with your feelings (physical and emotional lol).

Now, let me tell you about something else just as fair warning. I find the INTESTINAL pain to be worse than the actual deed. I always had (a few days to weeks after) - intense pain in my intestines as the kinks were worked out. It felt like contractions all over again, but in a different place. Because of this - I continue to take the stool softeners and drink tons of water. I’ve asked my midwives about this and they agree it’s just part of the “constipation”.

Ok, so things you can do to help yourself out -

>> Take the stool softeners while you are still in the hospital - don’t wait. Don’t like meds? Me either. But I find these to be really helpful and temporary! I took mine until the intestinal pain was completely gone, about 1-1.5 weeks later.

>> Use the Tucks pads, cooling creams/sprays, do it all. Wine helps too.

>> Drink tons of water. Like, double and triple what you are used to. You just ran a marathon, you may be breastfeeding, and now you also have to deal with lubricating your intestines. AND - drink warm lemon water every morning. Warm - not hot or cold.

>> Apply counter pressure. If you are worried about your stitches, THIS tip is pure gold. You can freeze a pad and use that to hold them in place. It’s half science, but half a mind game.

>> Limit the foods that cause you GI issues - dairy could be one of them. Up your intake of fiber-rich foods like fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains.

>> Keep in mind that painkillers are constipating (!!!!!) so gobble up your Motrin, mama, but be warned and be proactive about some of the other tips above.

I hope this is helpful, but if you have any specific questions - let me know below!

Granola Bite Snacks!

I love a good crunch. Like mother, like daughter - my girls love that crunch as much as I do. Carmen proclaiming that she needs “her favorite chips!” (which are dijon mustard kettle chips)

Anyway, I have found a little adaptation of granola bars to make for all of us for a snack.

These are great for busy moms (in the summer!) because they don’t require any baking!! HEYYYYYYY.

NO BAKE GRANOLA BITES

  • 2 cups of nuts (ex: almonds & cashews)

  • 2 cups of a mix of chia seed & flax seed

  • 1/2 cup of dried fruit of choice - I prefer cherries and cranberries, or blueberries (no sugar added, if possible!)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup nut butter (peanut, cashew or almond)

  • 1/4 cup honey, date syrup or maple syrup (local brand, Soom Foods, makes date syrup!)

  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Mix all of these together in a big bowl, chill the mix for about 20-30 minutes in the fridge, and then roll the mix into little balls! Keep the balls in the fridge or freezer to enjoy whenever! You can also roll these in some melted chocolate, and place on a flat surface in the freezer to set.

Great for lunch snacks, stroller snacks…or am I the only one who needs to keep the kids busy when we walk places? LOL

My new favorite stroller - the Mockingbird

Y’all, I know I have 3 kids. Do I really need another stroller?!

Yes. The answer is yes.

Here’s why.

We have a single stroller that we used with Carmen - that worked with her carseat. We also kind of used it with PJ. It’s 4 years old and a BIG issue I have is that a lot of our stuff was in the basement and got pretty gross over the last year. (I wish I covered everything with a tarp) The other issue is that this stroller is hella bulky. It’s a PITA to get around the city, in and out of our tiny row home. We also have an umbrella stroller - which is super light and easy to move around, but that doesn’t fit a newborn baby. We ALSO have a 3rd stroller, a double stroller- hand-me-down that is, maybe 9 years old, LOL - and I’m sure you can just use your imagination to picture how gross and dirty it is after being with approximately 6 children over 9 years.

SO. I was definitely thinking I needed a new stroller for the baby. But my original idea was to buy a brand-new $900 double stroller from you-know-what brand. I could use it for Graham, but also for PJ and/or Carmen.

Truly, I was trying to justify spending the money. If I was going to have to spend this amount of money, well, it should be a double, right?!

THEN, my sister-in-law told me she met the creator of a new direct-to-consumer stroller brand called Mockingbird and that I should check it out. I did, and I got it.

I should note that it’s not a double stroller, but that’s okay for us right now!

Here’s why I got the Mockingbird.

COST

First thing: cost. Cost is huge to me when I’m buying things, in general.. Everything is SO expensive these days. It’s crazy… but my Mockingbird stroller was only $350. That is literally half, if not MORE THAN HALF the cost of the strollers I was looking at. And for that $350, you get a free 30-day trial, free shipping and a LIFETIME WARRANTY. I did also get a bassinet for an extra $100 because I wanted to have the option to use that in the newborn days.

Do you want to know why they can do this? They cut out the middle man. By skipping the retail markup and going direct-to-consumer (DTC), they let us save money without sacrificing quality!

IT’S…CUTE

Call me whatever you want, but I like my things to look nice. When I was nesting for the new baby, I threw away a ton of crap. And my friend Gaby trained me to only keep the things that are super functional, super used, and super nice to look at. So anything I buy now - I keep this in mind. I don’t shop just to shop. I go for quality over quantity. I don’t buy a ton of fast-fashion. So, I wanted my stroller to…bring me joy, as Marie Kondo would say.

But seriously, you all know me, I walk to coffee shops for meetings, I walk to the park with my girls, I LOVE to walk around the city! The Mockingbird stroller is sleek and gorgeous.

IT’S EASY TO USE, ESPECIALLY IN THE CITY.

With 3 kids, most of the time, I only have one hand to do things. (Even without kids, I think I only use one hand haha) This stroller is incredibly easy to use with one hand. It can be folded with one hand—with or without the seat attached—and it automatically locks and stands upright when folded.

The frame and seat suspension work together for smoother strolling and a more stable ride, and the handlebar rotates to accommodate parents of different heights. I often find myself having to push the stroller with one hand because I’m holding a coffee, water, or the baby in a wrap because he got fussy.

The Mockingbird folds up to go neatly in my car if I need to take it to another part of town.

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The basket under the stroller seat fits up to 25 lbs. of stuff. I have our backpack diaper bag in there, along with snacks for me, my massive 36 oz. YETI water bottle, and am able to add groceries or other things that I buy while out, with plenty of room.

IT’S SAFE.

Mockingbird strollers exceed the required safety standards across nearly every dimension and have been independently certified by the JPMA. Triple thumbs up.

Want to get your own? Click here to learn more about them. I’m happy to answer any questions you have, and the team at Mockingbird is incredibly responsive as well.

I did receive a gifted stroller in return for an honest review of it. This story is entirely accurate and I reached out to the brand on my own :)

Easy Workouts for Moms on-the-go!

I am not a huge lover of exercise, if I’m being totally honest. Pre-kids, I DID it but mostly because it fit into my routine, I’m big on routines, and I felt great after. 

I’ve had gym memberships, Private Pilates lessons (my fav), and the last thing I did BK (before kids) was a 7am barre class 5 days a week.

Fast forward to now and young kids just make my mornings a bit too unpredictable to get a workout in right away. Once they are older, my goal is to get back to a 6am workout. But in the meantime - I try to fit something in, usually later in the day, when typically my energy will start to slump too.

I also have to make a disclaimer that when I’m pregnant - I “work out” just about 1-2x a week and otherwise I shoot for 3x. Nothing crazy!

Let me share what works best for me. And please tell me what you have found to work for your schedule, too!

Keep in mind - this is all about finding about 20 mins, whenever and wherever, to move my body in whatever way you see fit.

WALKING

I like to walk everywhere. Everywhere. This is obviously made easier because I live in the city and like to work and meet in my local coffee shops… but walking is a game changer for me and how I get in most of my activity. Granted, I don’t do this when it’s raining or cold - so this is just for fall, spring and summer. But 30 minute walks into the city center not only help me with activity but also to clear my head from what’s going on that day. Oh, and vitamin D!

AT HOME YOGA

Even if you don’t have a mat, if you have a rug or carpet…. it works. Honestly, sometimes a mat is an barrier for me (“ugh I don’t feel like getting out my mat and changing my clothes...”) - so most of the time I do some stretches and sun salutations IN my pajamas on the carpet of my bedroom before I change my clothes for the day.  20 minutes, max. And if you want something more structured - there are a million youtube “classes” or online classes you can look up for free - or you can pay for a subscription to a streaming service like YogaGlo. After, I will often lay on the floor to a 5 min meditation too.

PELOTON

This at-home spin bike with classes is more pricey up front - but in my experience - WORTH IT. Plus, over time it is actually cheaper than most gym or studio memberships. I have had mine for almost two years and love it, still. I get bored rather quickly but I’m still going strong with my love for this one. Peloton gives you different levels of classes, different times, on demand vs live, and instructors of varying styles to help you find something perfect. I can take a low intensity spin class in my office in my pajamas. I can take a 10 minute hill ride between calls. I can take a 20 minute class with *NSYNC playing after the kids go to bed.

Amazing for me. 

I don’t have to *think* with this one because I don’t have any excuses. If I pass by it and I have the time - I do it.

(Ok SOCKS. Only barrier to entry here. I don’t always have socks on.)

If you’ve been thinking about getting one for your home, I highly recommend. Makes working in a quick workout (when you get 30 minutes to yourself) much easier.


So tell me- what are your tips for fitting in movement? Especially with kids?!

MY take on Pizza Night!

If you know me, you know I can not survive without a pizza night each week. Depending on my level of lazy- we will either order out from a few (usually thinner crust, artisanal) places in the city or I will make my own  (even if I’m buying a crust or dough from the grocery store and assembling, still LOVE IT).

Pizza is one of those things I just have to have here and there and when I make it myself - I’m able to make a delicious alternative where I’m controlling the ingredients. 

I’d love to hear your feedback! Tell me what you’ve tried and loved. I’m always looking to use new ingredients! 

In the meantime - here’s my go-to for an amazing plant-based pizza! 

PIZZA CRUST

When I want something easy, I love using a store-bought cauliflower crust (Trader Joe’s and Caulipower are both great options!) -or- I love the bagged fresh dough at Whole Foods (they make it there and it’s usually in the same section as the prepared foods).

If I’m making my own dough at home, I’ve tried using spelt flour and it has turned out so well! Here’s the recipe I use:

  • 1 cup warm water (not hot*)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

  • 2 and 1/2 cups spelt flour

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal

DIRECTIONS:

First, add the warm water to a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, until yeast begins to bubble and foam to the surface. Then, add half of the flour, the olive oil and salt, mix, then add the remaining flour. Once the dough starts to come together, use your hands to combine until smooth ...and, well, pizza dough-like. Allow to rise in a clean bowl for at least 30 minutes before baking. When it’s ready- bake for a 10-20 minutes on 350 before adding sauce and toppings - just so everything cooks through!

SAUCE & TOPPINGS

My favorite sauce is just plain tomato pizza sauce, I add allllll the spices myself. I add tons of red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic and onion to my sauce and pizza in order to have MAX flavor. Afterwards, I add veggies (literally any veggies I have on hand), basil, and kite hill dollops on top! YUM.

Drizzle your pizza with a little olive oil before you bake, just for maximum moisture and flavor!


When the flour is made & the pizza is rolled out and topped…

Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-15 mins! (Unless you like your pizza a little less or more crispy!) I personally go for the crispier dough, so more towards 15 mins for me!

Think spring! Strawberry Avocado Salad

When I think about warm weather, I think about eating outside with my girls. (or by myself tbh, no shame). With that thought comes picnics and bbq parties, and I always like to have a recipe or two in my back pocket to bring with me. THEN, you know you have something somewhat healthy to stock up on at parties - am I right?!

Below is a bright, yummy spring salad that is SO easy to make at home and share with your family or friends and better yet - there is NO COOKING REQUIRED!

Let me know what you think!

STRAWBERRY AVOCADO SALAD

Gluten-free, *can also be made Vegan

Serves: 3-4

Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

6 cups fresh greens of choice (baby spinach + arugula are a nice mix!)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 avocados, diced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces goat cheese (or dollops of Kite Hill cream cheese if vegan)
1/8 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup hemp seeds

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp mustard + a pinch of dry mustard if you have it
sea salt and pepper to taste

**add water to thin, if needed

Chop up all of your salad ingredients and add to a big serving bowl. Then blend/mix your dressing ingredients separately, until desired consistency and taste. Mix the dressing with the salad when you’re ready to serve (like, save the dressing on the side until just before serving, to keep everything fresh!) and enjoy!

Healthy Queso Dip

I imagine not many people dislike queso dip. But, I am not here to judge! I just think it makes everything - every one, every food, every social situation - so way better.

Below, I’ve health-ified it a little bit. There are TONS of recipes out there to try with all kinds of ingredients (including white potatoes!) - but this one I kept pretty easy.

Let me know what you think!


Queso Dip

Vegan, Gluten-free

Serves: Makes 2.5 cups

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed

½ cup water

1 tsp sea salt

Juice of half a lemon

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic or 2-3 shakes of garlic powder

⅛ tsp turmeric

1 fresh plum tomato, diced

½ jalapeño, minced with seeds removed

Cut veggies (carrot, cucumber, celery) or tortilla chips (look for the least processed chips with minimal ingredients - GF, vegan, non-GMO corn) for dipping

Instructions:

In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the first seven ingredients.

Blend until a smooth and creamy sauce is created.

Dice tomato and mince jalapeño, removing seeds -  if you don’t want it too spicy.

Transfer the cheese mixture to a large bowl and add the tomato and jalapeño. Stir well to combine.

Adjust flavors as needed (add more jalapeño, salt, etc.)

To warm the dip – add to a small pot over low heat.

Serve with cut veggies or tortilla chips, or make your own nachos!