Monday, January 31, 2011

Alternative Spring Break New Mexico 2010 {& 2011?}

Last spring break Kyle and I participated in an Alternative Spring Break with the ECM. We went to Abiquiu, New Mexico and stayed on Ghost Ranch. It was absolutely beautiful and filled with history {Georgia O' Keefe did her paintings there!} In our free time we hiked trails into canyons and small caves and we climbed mesas. It was so unbelievably beautiful. When we weren't hiking or climbing things we were cleaning up the ranch {raking leaves, shoveling snow, painting cabins for the summer, cleaning the dining hall}, visiting a mosque {pulling boulders out of the ground to help build a retaining wall and eating lunch in the mosque while learning more about Islam}, Clearing Asequias {traditional agricultural ditches in the village}, and exploring the local culture, art and food {really really yummy food!} 
This year we are pretty sure we want to go back. It was an amazing travel experience and it was such a bargain! $300 for everything but meals along the way and souvenirs! 

Here are some pictures!

Beautiful Ghost Ranch

Chimney Rock

At the flat part of the mesa right across from Chimney Rock!


Around the Ranch
A Beautiful Mesa! 

Hiking to Box Canyon

Frozen water in Box Canyon

 It was huge! :)

Blizzard on the way back! So beautiful!

Covered in Snow!


Boulder removal to build a retaining wall at the mosque

The Morada.

A Beautiful and Lucky Shot.

The most delicious lunch! 

Prickly Pear Frozen Lemonade. Delicious. 

Ready to go back! {Here's To Hoping!}


Sunday, January 30, 2011

First Eco-Product Switch of 2011! {Preserve Razor!}

In a recent post I suggested and reviewed some of my favorite Earth friendly beauty and hygiene products. I mentioned Preserve Toothbrushes and how amazing they are. {made of recycled yogurt cups, mail them back to recycle them, easy to find, inexpensive in comparison} As I looked at Preserve's website for pricing information on their toothbrushes I found out that they also make razors! Woohoo! {they also make BPA free plastic plates etc}. I needed a new razor anyway so I headed out the the Merc {our local health food store} and picked up my very own preserve razor! I used my LAST disposable razor for the last time today! So I thought I would document it! :)

 Ordinary Wimpy Disposable Razor.

 Done! In the trash you go!

 Cute new preserve razor that is good for the environment! {Color: Pear Green}

 Probs WAY too excited about my new razor.. but that's me. :)

The preserve razor heads come with 3 blades and each razor itself comes with 2 razor heads in the package! Great for men or women. They also come in about 10 colors which is fun. Ranging from Magenta to Gray. So excited to use it! 

Now you understand the extent of my eco-nerdiness :)


Saturday, January 29, 2011

8 Things You Should Eat Every Day!

I have gotten really into healthy eating recently and I have been trying to read about it in a way that is actually "Healthy" as opposed to "Diet-y". I don't believe in diets as society has made them. So I am extremely critical as I read magazines, books etc and take in their advice. 

One source that I found and expected to be "Diet-y" was Women's Health Eat This, Not That Special. Turns out it wasn't and it actually has some great information in it. 

The information I have found most useful so far was the list of 8 things you should eat every day and why. So I just thought I would share it with you all as I explore different aspects of healthier eating. Who knows maybe it will be helpful for you too!

8 Things You Should Eat Every Day!

1) Spinach 

Pros: muscle builder, good source of omega 3s and folate

How Much:1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup cooked each day 

How I fit it in: I stick it on sandwiches, in pitas and make it into salads. You can stick it on pizzas, in pastas, lasagna, eggs almost anything really! Super sneaky way: Blend a cup of fresh spinach into your morning or afternoon smoothie. Sounds gross but the fruits you use are strong enough that you won't even notice the taste and you will still get the awesome benefits.

Tips: Go organic and baby on this one. Smaller and pesticide free leaves taste much much better, sweeter, you'll want to eat it alone. Larger, pesticide laden leaves can be bitter.


Pros: Calcium Rich, Probiotics boost immune system and protect from cancer.  

How much: 1 cup per day

How I fit it in: Yogurt with granola and fruit for breakfast or a snack its sweet and nutritious, or I run to 3 spoons with Kyle and pick up some non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt and top it with berries, coconut and nuts! Its delicious! I can't even think about getting anything else!

Tip: Greek yogurt is a much better source of proteins as far as yogurt goes. Its thicker so if you don't like that for traditional fruit and grain type snacks and meals blend it into dips or sauces! Its rich and creamy and protein packed!

 3) Tomatoes

Pros: lycopene {multi-cancer fighting and reduction of risk for coronary artery disease}. Yeah. Its that awesome.

How Much: 22mg {8 red cherry tomatoes or 1 glass of tomato juice}

How I Fit it in: I LOVE SALSA. Seriously. Tomatoes in general are awesome. I put them in sandwiches, pitas, salads ANY kind of mexican food. Which I also LOVE. This one is easy for me. Other ways might be soups & tomato sauces think Italian food. Ketchup even does something {though it shouldn't be your primary source}

4) Carrots

Pros: carotenoids {reduce risk of many cancers and inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis}

How Much: 1/2 cup per day {not very much!}

How I Fit It In: Carrots meet Hummus match made in heaven. Other than that carrots are easy and because they are sweet they can also be easily blended up into smoothies just like spinach. But you can also blend it into pasta sauces or top any dish with it. 

Tip: Just do it. Its such a small amount. 

5) Whole Grains

Pros: Fiber {lowers risk of heart disease, keeps you full longer}, Protein for energy.

How Much: As much as you can get. Seriously. Its an easy switch.

How I Fit it in: Whole wheat pita pockets are one of the greatest things ever. They aren't too grainy and they make a super delicious substitute for a sandwich or salad. Whole grain oats, rice etc count too! So many options.

Tip: Often times people don't like whole grain oats, pasta or rice because it seems grainy in comparison to regular versions. Cook it just a bit longer and odds are you won't notice. 

6) Walnuts

Pros: TONS of: Omega 3s, protein, polyphenols {anti-inflammatory}

How Much: 1 ounce

How I Fit it in: Well I love nuts so its not hard. I top my cereal, yogurt and frozen yogurt with them. Put them in trail mix or brownies.

You can also put them in salads or pastas. Or grind them up to put into cookies or other baked goods, use as breading on meat, or add to a pesto.

Tips: Don't be afraid. Once you try them a few times you will love them. Its such a small amount that if you don't like them its easy to grind up or stick in something else. Or: almonds and pistachios are almost as good.
7) Blueberries

Pros: Fiber rich, antioxidant packed {prevent cancer, diabetes and memory problems related to aging}

How Much: 1 cup fresh, 1/2 cup dried or frozen.

How I fit it in: I top my morning granola with fresh blueberries and bananas and 1% milk. You can also put them on top of yogurt or frozen yogurt. You can keep frozen ones on hand for any time and throw them in smoothies etc. Add them to pancakes, salads, put them on your ice cream. Dried are great for trail mix. 

Tip:Dried blueberries. {I bought organic}are SUPER expensive. My small bag was $8.50. But these berries are seriously SMALL! Which is great because they will last longer that way. Plus they have a strong flavor and are really yummy! Much better than raisins. 

8) Black Beans

Pros: heart healthy, anthocyanins {shown to improve brain function}

How Much: 1/2 cup serving or MORE!

How I Fit it in: I LOVE Mexican food. So its pretty easy for me. Check out my 
Vegetarian Enchilada Recipe. You can also add them to chili or other soups. Blend them up with other ingredients with for a yummy chip dip!

Tip: Black beans {and other beans} make eating meatless every once in a while {or as often as you like} protein packed! No need to worry! Plus they are filling and flavorful! I say go on a serious mexican food exploration mission! You won't regret it!

I will post recipes for each individual thing and some with combined recipes soon!

Enjoy and Eat Well!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Top 5 Destinations I Want to Travel To!

There are so many places I want to visit in the world, every continent and many many countries and cities but here is the list of my top 5 Travel Destinations Right Now!

1) Alaska 

Alaska is beautiful and contrary to popular belief its not freezing all of the time. Mountains, Ocean, Whale Watching, Aurora Borealis. I want to Kayak in the bays, hike the trails, see the glaciers. Nothing better. Its gorgeous and gives you plenty of outdoors to play in.

2) Australia

Australia looks gorgeous too. I have always wanted to see the great barrier reef and the beautiful outdoor environment you find there. I also think it would be wonderful to see the red earth, kangaroos, Sydney and just hear the accent!

3) British Columbia

Oh Wow! BC is just as gorgeous as Alaska. I want to see the mountains and ocean and spend time outdoors there as well. But I also want to explore Vancouver. It looks like the coolest city. Plus I would like to experience Canada minus the tourism. :)

4) Egypt

Its simple! I want to see the pyramids and cruise down the nile, and maybe ride a camel.. or at least see one. So much history it would be so unbelievable to really see it! 

5) Two-way tie!


I think it would be beautiful to see the rocky sea cliffs! I would want to city and island hop and probably paint. The white and blue buildings are so beautiful. Mediterranean food is not only delicious but incredibly healthful as well! Fish, Wine, Olives, Tomatoes, Cheese YUM! Aside from this being a hot climate I don't see many downsides. :)


Recently I have thought it would be a blast and BEAUTIFUL to go to Hawaii. I want to try deep sea Kayaking and I really want to learn to surf even though the idea is slightly horrifying. I also want to try the food and relax. There is a reason Hawaiians live the longest of all Americans! 

Where are the top 5 destinations you most want to visit?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miller Famous Vegetarian Enchiladas!

Here is the recipe for my "Miller Famous" vegetarian enchiladas! My vegetarian, semi vegetarian and healthy kitchens all loved this recipe! I have even had a few girls from Homestyle kitchens over and they love it too! Consider making it for a meatless meal day Miller girls! :)

Alex's Vegetarian Enchiladas
{Borrowed and adapted from College Vegetarian Cooking

Serves 4-6 

1 onion
2 T butter
3 C frozen corn kernals
1 tsp ground cumin
1 C sour cream
1 {4 oz} can chopped green chiles
2 C mixed grated Cheddar and Jack cheeses
2 cups salsa {never enough! I usually buy two jars}
2 cans black beans {rinsed and drained}
12 large tortillas {any type, I like whole wheat best}
{In these photos I added thyme to the recipe because I had some, so feel free to play with it}

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Peel the onion and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the butter in a large skilled over medium high heat and add the onion, corn and black beans. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-12 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the cumin, sour cream, green chiles, and one cup of the cheese.

 3) Spread about 1/3 of the salsa in the bottom of an ungreased 9 by 13 inch pan. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the onion-corn-bean filling into the center of a tortilla, then roll up the tortilla around the filling and place the enchilada in the pan seam side down. 

 4) Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Pour the remaining salsa over the enchiladas and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese (or more!)Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately!

 5) enjoy!

I forgot to get an end result picture.. but they are delicious I promise! :) 

What is your favorite vegetarian Recipe?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Love Pie on National Pie Day January 23rd 2011!!

Yesterday was National Pie Day! Hooray! 

So I thought I would write a really short post about our love pie we made. :) hehe I just call it that because Kyle and I made the pie together. ;) We made the Heart's Desire cherry pie and decided to put hearts a whale and a shark on the top crust. 

Little Whale + Big Shark = <3

It was a fun evening! I hope all of you had a wonderful National Pie Day too! :)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

National Pie Day January 23rd 2011!!

I love pie. Its delicious. Its pretty. Its fun to make. I love it. All different flavors and fillings, different crusts and designs. I love pie!

Apple Dried Cranberry Pie. {Recipe link Below!}

At some recent point in my life I decided that I wanted to learn how to make pies from scratch. Not sure why but I think it was something having to do with preserving the past and learning how to do things that people forget to care about. Pie making is work! Fun work for me, but most people will opt for the store bought crusts and fillings, or a frozen or pre-made pie. I'll tell you what, its not the same! Its also extremely rewarding to make an entire pie yourself!

Here I will share pictures and recipes of my 2 favorite pies to make!

But first! The basic double crust recipe!
Double Crust Pie Pastry

(makes crust for one double crust pie, or crusts for 2 single crust pies (with crumble toppings or something))

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 T of cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
5-7 T of ice water 

1) Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, cut in butter, using pastry blender, two knives or forks. (I like to use forks best). Cut in until crumbs are no larger than peas. Cut in shortening as you did the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2) Add ice water 1 T at a time, mixing with a fork until the dough holds together but is not sticky. 
3)Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Shape each part into a round disk about an inch thick. Refrigerate in plastic bags or plastic wrap for at least 2 hours before using. 
4) When ready to use roll disk out thinner until it covers the bottom and sides of the pie pan. 

Heart's Desire Cherry Pie
{borrowed from Ladies Love to Dish}
{Kyle's Favorite :)}

I forgot the cornstarch in this one (OOPS!) It was delicious but too watery. :)

8-10 servings 

Double Crust Pie Pastry


4 cups of frozen pitted tart cherries (thawed and drained)
1/2 cup dried cherries 
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1-2 T of cornstarch (IMPORTANT!)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 T butter cut into pieces
milk (for brushing on top layer of crust)

1) Roll half the double crust pie pastry on floured surface into a circle 1 inch larger than inverted 9 inch pie pan. Ease pastry into pan and flute edge. Roll remaining pastry into scant 1/4 thickness; cut into hearts (or any shape) using cookie cutters. Refrigerate pastry and hearts while preparing filling.
2) Mix cherries and dried cherries in large bowl; sprinkle with combined sugar, flour, cornstarch, nutmeg and salt; toss. Spoon fruit into pastry; dot with butter.
3) Brush edge of pie pastry with milk. Arrange hearts on top of pie; brush lightly with milk. Lightly sprinkle with sugar. 
4) Bake at 375 degrees for until crust is browned and juices are bubbling, about 1 1/4 hours. Cover the top and sides with aluminum foil if they are getting too brown. Cool on wire rack. 

Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream. 

For Kyle's Birthday Last Year I made him this shark pie. :) {and I didn't forget the cornstarch!}
This pie is absolutely delicious and I don't usually favor cherry pies. I tend to make this for Valentine's Day, Kyle's Birthday or our anniversary, who knows I may even make it tomorrow! 


Apple Dried Cranberry Pie
{My Favorite Fall Pie}

Find this recipe here.

*Crumble Crust*
If you opted to do a crumble crust topping, cut the pie pastry recipe in half. To make the crumble topping I like to mix equal parts of oats and brown sugar, add some cane sugar and then cut in some butter. Then I sprinkle it on top and bake as the recipe above says :) {this was a big hit this thanksgiving}

Clearly it was a hit because this is all that was left! :)

I love to make this pie during Thanksgiving and for any other fall occasion. But it is good at any time of year :) It is delicious and not over-baringly sweet. The leftovers make good breakfast as well!


I hope this inspires you to celebrate National Pie Day tomorrow in a much more rewarding way that stopping by Perkins! :)

What are your favorite pie recipes?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

kitchen goodies

This Christmas I got some very fun kitchen accessories as gifts! And I can't wait to use them when I get back to Miller. :) 

Here are some fun pictures as inspiration to have fun in the kitchen. Not a lot of depth in this post I know, but its fun :) 

Whale Measuring Cups!

How Cute are These!??!

The Insides :) 
measuring spoons

So brightly colored and adorable!

They match my measuring spoons even though they were from different people and companies.
can drainer

Crazy. Who knew it existed?

New Fancy Cookbook!



Adorable! Look at the colors!!

How cute is this?? :)

Another Cute Apron!

Thank you to all who added to my kitchen inventory :) I can't wait to use all of these fun gifts! :) 

What are your favorite kitchen tools and gadgets? Most useful? Cutest?