Tastes of Spring

Hi loves. So, it’s almost March! Almost. And for a heat loving girl who always has her bikini in her glovebox just in case, that makes me very happy. We’ve had a couple of really beautiful sunny days in Salt Lake over the last week (60 degrees) Now, I realize that they were kind of teasers… but I’m already feeling pretty antsy for Spring to get here.

One of my favorite things is planning out what to plant in our garden. It’s so much fun sitting down with my mom on the porch and drawing out where each plant will go. She’s much better at it than me, but I’m learning more each year. She focuses on things that are over my head and I focus on placing pretty crystals and wind chimes etc. all around to make it a happy garden. I was obviously raised by a pack of lesbians and hippies.. So there’s that.

There’s something therapeutic about putting my cut off shorts and a tank top on, getting on my knees, and getting my hands dirty after a long day at work. No stress, no bullshit, just me, the plants, some bugs, and some good tunes.

There are moments where gardening can really kick my ass and make me sweat. Like when my mom grants me the lovely duty of hauling huge bags of turkey shit from the car into the garden…. And then there are times where I am caring for one specific baby tomato plant that needs some trimming, and if I don’t do it right it wont live so I have to really take my time and be gentle with it. I’m not a gentle person by nature… so it kind of becomes a calming, peaceful thing for me to do. I always have a shit eating grin on my face when I can go and pick a gorgeous, perfect, homegrown tomato off of that exact plant a few weeks later.

And there is nothing better then being able to share our harvest with loved ones and neighbors. Whether it’s a basket of assorted fresh produce or an amazing dinner made strictly from the garden that we enjoy together on a Summer night. It’s rewarding, and there is comfort and joy in knowing exactly where our food came from.

If you don’t have a garden I suggest you do the hustle and start making a game plan to change that. It’s hard work, but the outcome is more than worth it. Alls I’m sayin’ is I’ve never met a soul that has said “This fresh, organic, heirloom tomato really sucks. I wish I wouldn’t have planted this garden.”

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Giada’s Egg, Kale, and Tomato Breakfast wraps with Hummus

My mother is a wonderful cook, so for Christmas I bought her a new cookbook. I decided to give her Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets by Giada De Laurentiis. The book felt good in my hands and the recipes made my mouth water (don’t shop for cookbooks while you’re hungry) so it wasn’t hard to walk on up to the register and purchase it.

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So today brunch consisted of mimosas and Egg, Kale, and Tomato Breakfast wraps with Hummus. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll just say this: D-e-l-i-s-h

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Makes: 4  servings Prep 25 mins Total Time 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 5 large kale leaves, tough stems removed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup store-bought hummus
  • 4 large eggs, poached or scrambled

Directions

1. Coarsely chop the kale. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, shallot, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Saute until the tomatoes and shallot soften, about 4 min. Add the kale, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until it wilts but is still bright green, about 2 min. Stir in the basil. Remove mixture from heat; reserve.

2. Toast tortillas under broiler until they begin to blacken in spots, about 15 sec per side. Spread each tortilla with 1 tbsp hummus. Divide the kale mixture and prepared eggs among the tortillas; fold into wraps and serve.

*I recommend adding hot sauce if you’re a fan of spice — my mum also added pine nuts to the veggies.

Note

  • Recipes reprinted from Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets. Copyright © 2013 by GDL Foods Inc.
  • GIADA DE LAURENTIIS is the Emmy award-winning star of Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, and Giada in Paradise; a judge on Food Network Star; a contributing correspondent for NBC’s Today show; and the author of six New York Times bestselling books. She attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant before starting her own catering company, GDL Foods. Born in Rome, she grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her husband, Todd, and their daughter, Jade.

photo 3 (4)All three of us food loving ladies were big fans of this meal. It’s healthy, full of flavor, and filling. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

All my love,

Bailey Mikell

Recipe: Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

When I met Ryanne, a close friend of mine, one of the first things we bonded over was food, especially one of the key things in both our diets: chocolate. Seriously. We’ve been through a lot since then. But one of our favorite things to do is cook, especially if the 49ers are playing or the Bachelor/Bachelorette is on.

Ryanne and I work together but she recently had her babygirl and is working from home. But we still chat via Skype everyday so it’s almost as good as sitting across from her at the office. As usual we picked a recipe during the week and got together over the weekend to catch up and cook. We decided to make Chocolate Pomegranate Ginger Bark to give as gifts to friends for the holidays. Because chocolate makes us happy, and we obviously want to share that happiness.

We found the recipe on Pinterest, but you can head over to the blog B&D (Baking & Design) for the recipe. It’s delicious and I had to practice a lot of self-control while gift wrapping it because I wanted it all for myself.

Enjoy!

Pomegranate Bark

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Reality Check & Staying Humble

I watched the bill on the register add up “$5…$10…$13…$18.59..” I politely stopped the woman at the cashier who I’ve known for years. I was at Reams, our neighborhood grocery store I went to with my mom growing up.

Can you please remove the most expensive items in order to drop the price to $17.00?” A year ago this would have made my heart stop & my eyes possibly well up with tears from embarrassment. There were at least 4 people in line behind me. Instead, I gave them a warm smile & apologized for the delay.

I’m two days from pay day & this is normal. I’ve planned for groceries & gas until then. I watch my budget carefully each month & I only purchase the things that I need. Let’s just say there aren’t any random shopping splurges or moments that lack gratitude in my life. At first this was an adjustment for me. But now I remember that living on my own is a luxury, and that this is my reality.

When I was younger I imagined that I would feel some sort of shame and embarrassment in this situation. Thankfully my life has dramatically changed and I have been exposed to the real world and the strict rules my independence casts. And I’m more than okay with it, because my struggles are blessings in others eyes.

As I grabbed my bags of groceries and walked out of the store I did not feel anything negative. In fact I felt proud that I had remembered my limit, made a plan, and stuck to it. The man directly behind me smiled and gave a little chuckle with a nod. It gave me comfort knowing that he understood. It was an overall humbling experience, and it certainly won’t be the last.

I live a very fortunate life. I have a job I love, a roof over my head, warm clothes, a meal on the table, clean water… a family that helps me when they can. I could go on. I swear my prayers turn into rambles because of this exact reason.. I am so thankful.

So many people live paycheck to paycheck (or on food stamps) with children, illnesses, and unstable living situations. And they accept that with grace. I look up to those who make it work, find creative ways to make do, and walk out of the store with their head held high knowing that it doesn’t reflect on them. It’s just life.

When I wake up in the morning and my eyeballs are swollen shut from sleeping so hard I just lay there and think “Wow, this is mine.” And that is what motivates me to work hard everyday and accept these reality checks when they happen (and they happen often) These are the things that keep me grounded.

I found a fantastic new food blog called Budget Bytes. I was so excited when I found it because each recipe is not only delicious but there is a price on all the items it calls for. Tonight I made Garlic Parmesan Kale angel hair pasta. It was guilt-free love, and is now a new favorite recipe of mine. Quick, easy, healthy, and inexpensive ($4, as a matter of fact)

Whether you’re on a tight budget or not I recommend visiting Budget Bytes. And don’t forget to welcome moments like this with love and strength, because we all need a reminder to stay humble :)

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Finding My Fitspiration

Good morning sunshines! I start a strict meal plan & workout routine this Thursday. Kelsey & I are doing it together which is a bonus because I always excel with a partner, especially when it’s my gym-loving best friend.

I decided to hit the gym early today before work. It’s 5:30 a.m & I don’t know how people do this! Luckily there is a lot on my mind so it was fairly easy to wake up. I am still deciding if I should go all natural or purchase a pre-workout. Right now I’m sticking to 2 cups of black coffee & a plain rice cake with some all natural peanut butter (dying for bananas right now) Do you use pre-workout?

It’s leg day & I tend to feel a little self conscious in the weight area when I’m solo. I’m looking forward to gaining confidence in that area. What are your favorite ways to stay motivated to stick to your routine & healthy food choices? Do you use a pre-workout or do you stick to good ole’ black coffee? I’d love your feedback. They say that it takes around 3 weeks to form a habit… Here’s to day one :)

Pre-workout day 1

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit.”

 

No Pants Beyond This Point

Hi loves, I hope you’ve been having a great weekend. There was a fair amount of Jameson, beer, late nights, and fat kid food involved in mine so today I’m taking it down a notch. I love Sundays because nobody gets judged if you don’t have pants on & it’s a great day to catch up on “me time”. My team doesn’t play today & I did all of my boring adult to do’s yesterday so I plan on spending the rest of my weekend snuggled up to the documentary “Bully”. I’m going to sit here in my underwear & socks that don’t match & eat snacks because tomorrow it is back to reality & I’m trying my best to be in denial about it.

Okay so lets discuss snacks. Pomegranates. Poms are my absolute obsession & they are in season so I’m all over it. The downside: they can be a pain in the ass sometimes. If you don’t already know the trick to peeling them then I guess today is just your lucky day. I learned this trick from my girl Martha Stewart.

Pomegranate Trick

  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the top and bottom of the pomegranate. Don’t slice your finger off.
  2. Make 4 incisions creating 4 equal sections. Only cut through the skin, stopping when you hit the pit/membrane (white part).
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the pomegranate in the water & begin to break the pomegranate into 4 sections along the incisions you made. Sounds harder than it is.
  4. Now, using your fingers, pull the seeds away from the skin and membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the skin/pit will float to the top. To prevent staining your surface, it is best to do this while the pomegranate is submerged under water.
  5. Before straining, skim the top of the water and remove any excess skin and pulp.
  6. Devour like the pom-lover that you are. Don’t share with anybody.

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My beverage, the detox elixir, is only 17 calories & it’s packed with a ton of antioxidants. The main ingredient, another one of my obsessions, is apple cider vinegar. It’s known to aid in weight loss so that’s neat but I just genuinely enjoy the drink because it’s a nice little pick me up. I try to drink one to two everyday.

Combine 2 tbsp of fresh OJ, 1 Tbsp ACV, 1/8 Tsp powdered ginger & a pinch each of turmeric & cayenne pepper. Serve cold. 

Happy snacking & enjoy your day of rest before you get back to the weekly grind.

Fall Favorites: Toddys + Pumpkin Cookies

When the air is crisp & the leaves begin to change all I want to do is cuddle up in my little abode with a comforting meal. I made perogies with Italian sausage for dinner the other night (I’ll add cabbage on the side next time) & had a sweet tooth that needed some attention afterwards.

Here is the recipe for the perfect hot toddy with a side of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. This was my first time making cookies & I was so pleased with how easy & delicious they were. We had a Breaking Bad marathon & ate way too many cookies, it was the perfect night.

What are some of your Fall favorites in your home?

Hot Toddy + Pumpkin Cookies

Hot Toddy

  • 2 ounces whiskey (the Canadian in me prefers Pendleton )
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (depends on personal preference)
  • 4 oz of boiling water
  • Juice from half a lemon 
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg 
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 slice fresh lemon + for garnish (optional)

1. Pour the whiskey, water, and honey into your favorite mug.

2. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves & lemon juice. Garnish with your slice of lemon & add a pinch of nutmeg when it’s ready to serve.

The Easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies… Ever

  • 1 can of pumpkin (15 oz)
  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips (I use 1 1/2 bags.. we love chocolate at my house)

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Put spoonfuls of the dough on a cookie sheet

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes