Healthy Homemade Popcorn

It's a 10pm. 
You're lonely. 
You're hungry. 
What do you do? 
Call the nearest Domino's for their new cheesy bread?...they've never let you down.
 No... put down that phone. 

5 out of 7 nights I find myself in this situation.... a bad case of the munchies. How do I satisfy my endless cravings? One word: popcorn. Like Kel loves orange soda, I love popcorn. You get a lot of bang for your buck in the calories department (2 tablespoons = 70 yummy calories) which makes late night noshing more guilt-free.

I've always used bagged popcorn. It's simple and convenient to take anywhere for a quick snack.... but my heart has been slightly bruised upon reading an article from Shape magazine about the new found dangers of microwave bagged popcorn. Here is the heart breaking news: 

"Popcorn is a whole grain that is as delicious as it is fun to eat, but the microwave varieties—even those labelled as "healthy"—are a causing a stir among scientists. Here's why: Microwaving can cause chemicals in the lining of the bag, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), to vaporize and leach into your popcorn According to a recent study from UCLA, PFOA;s are part of a "class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans." What's worse, PFOA’s at a certain level cause cancer in laboratory animals, so there is concern that these chemicals could similarly build up in humans and cause cancer".

Yikes. Rats. Cancer. Not to mention that I don't wanna mess with my infertility (I plan to pop out many babies). Taken this with a grain of salt but, nevertheless, it's good information to be familiar with.

I was bummed for about 5 minutes until I discovered a quick fix. Why not microwave popcorn the old fashioned way. You can measure out the portions depending on how ravenous you are AND you reduce waste by not having to throw away a burnt bag.

I got this popcorn popper for Christmas from SANTA! He always gives the best presents. You can buy these washable and microwavable safe poppers for 10 bucks or less. Target has some nice ones!

I've definitely gotten my moneys worth and saved a ton from not buying boxes of bagged kernels. Plus when it's all popped, it's completely naked so you can season it any darn way you want!

Happy Popping!


Personal Dietitian? There's an App for that!

I recently traded in my sad, little Blackberry for a mighty iPhone 4s. I tried to fight it, but eventually gave into the technological trend... and I admit that I'm happy I made the switch. I've exhausted every Suri question and even asked her refer to me as Sexy ("I don't know what you mean by that, Sexy"). It's almost unnerving to know the intellectual capacity of this phone. I don't even take advantage of all its features but I've become a huge fan of the apps. I wouldn't say I'm addicted per say... I'd say I'm extremely fascinated. 

I love apps that focus on health (shocker). I've download many applications only to delete a lot of them because they don't turn out as nifty as they initally appeared. I also am a strong believer in "free". I figure why pay for it and end up not liking it. Well, just this morning I've downloaded a winner and want to share. I'm stepping on my sodium podium (refer to my last post) and calling all iPhone-ers! Come hither!

My new obsession: the ShopWell application.

It allows you to make a personal profile on what ingredients and health specifics you do and don't look for while shopping based on your diet. Example: I am lactose intolerate. For me, regular milk and cheese are evil. So in my personal profile, I've noted that I don't want products that include lactose. 

So..  say I want to buy coffee creamer... ShopWell will rate all creamers based on a scale of 100 (with 100 being the best match). Based on my diet criteria, it recommends that So Delicious and Silk creamers are fabuloous matches. Wow, a personal health shopper in the palm of my hand.

Let's go through another example so I can thoroughly express this app's greatness.

Say you want soup, who doesn't?

According to your profile, Amy's looks like a fine match; however, say you're curious why Campbell's got a rating of 51.

Oh look, silly you forgot that you don't like soups with high sodium and refined grains. 

Let's look a little further.

ShopWell goes further into why this product isn't the best for you based on your health criteria. PLUS, you can scan a product's bar code to quickly know if the brand is a match made in health heaven or not.

This app is wonderful!

What are some other apps that you love?



Kale is King: All Hail Kale

I love salt, so much that I would make a sodium podium and preach from it daily. I love peanuts, popcorn, jerky and potato chips....Mmmmm chips. A new bag of chips is like opening a can of worms.... actually I never understood that expression but it applies to the point I'm trying to get across. It takes an intangible and god-like power to resist polishing off an entire bag. So, since this is obviously impossible... I have a chip alternative: Kale.

Kale is king. It represents a love child made by broccoli and seaweed and also is one of the most nutritious vegetables! It's high in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. There's 18 kcals in a 1/2 cup and 0 fat. But the most fascinating thing that I discovered about kale is that it takes on a salty- chip consistency when baked... I present to you kale chips. Call me crazy (it won't be the first time), but these chips are a great and healthier alternative to the fatty and oily potato chips, plus they're super simple to make.

         What you'll need:
  • A bushel of kale
  • Oven
  • Pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • S/P for seasoning
First, pre-heat the oven to 350. Perfect. Now, line the pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray to avoid sticking. Shuck the washed leaves of the stalks and scatter on the pan (there's no need for the stalks for this recipe). Spinkle with some salt if desired but I find naked kale to be kind of salty so salt with caution. Next, bake for 10-15 minutes andddd wait.

Here's a joke while you wait:

What did the lettuce say to the celery? 
A: Quit stalking me!


Kale's done! Voila!


Bon Voyage

Tomorrow is the day that I thought would never come... the day I head back to school to begin my last semester of undergrad. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a naive freshman wearing my ID card on a lanyard around my neck.... well, I've traded my lanyard for big girl pants and its bittersweet.

For the Last Supper, I've decided a meal at home would be more than perfect. Within the last week, I've eaten out at least 6 times and spent money that I don't have; however, I figure I should indulge in delicious food before I'm reintroduced to my school's cafeteria. My prime locations over the past weeks have been the following: Wegman's (sushi!), Target (shopping!), Panera Bread (bread bowls!), Barnes & Noble (books!) and Starbucks (the new Blonde coffee, yum!). My friends and I were at Wegmans' cafe for over 3 hours yesterday and we are so proud.

Another indication that winter break has come to a close? The Christmas tree has finally come down (against my objection if I might add). I am a Christmas tree hugger (ho-ho-ho, man); it represents winter break, family and happiness. I would have it up all year round (it's a beautiful, fake, QVC-ordered tree so all year tree admiration would be completely possible...ahem HINT HINT, parents) if didn't block the television and, well,... I had a say about it.

But the thing that stabilizes my holiday cheer? Only a few more months until Christmas decorations fill the stores, yet, again! Happy new semester!



Dontcha Wish your Sauna was Hot like Mine

Tis' the season of chilled to the bone temperatures and pasty white people that blend in with the snow we don't have (hooray for grass!). I can usually deal with the pastiness but I crave warmth. This would be the time of year that I would retreat to the tanning bed to soak in harmful rays while being enveloped in a cocoon of heat. In order to apologize to my skin and forgo a future of skin like cow leather, I've swapped the bed for the underrated sauna room. 

My gym has had a sauna forever and for some reason I've never gone out of my way to experience its hotness. Maybe I was afraid of walking in on topless women or melting like the wicked witch.... the reasons are unknown but I've overcome my fears and met my new best friend.

Saunas are beneficial for your health when used appropriately (Don't stay in longer than 15-20 minutes or you'll melt...). Here are some fun health facts that saunas offer:

Increases circulation  
Your heart rate can rise from 60-70/min. to 110-120/min. in the sauna and body temperature rises as blood vessels expands and circulation increases! 
Breathe, my friend.

Burns Calories
Sweating itself takes a lot of energy therefore converting calories into sweat! 
A positive for looking like sweaty, yet healthy and pretty, pig!

 Skin cleansing 
When deep sweating occurs, the skin is cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced, keeping your skin in tip top condition. Sweat rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts, its cleans out pores and flushes out toxins therefore making your skin booty-ful. 
Sweat is your friend.

Body relaxation  
Saunas can relax sore muscles (I go after I work out) and the increased blood flow expedites the body’s natural healing process: soothes an achy bod and speeds up of the healing of cuts and bruises. 
I sometimes call the sauna the "magic box".

Mind relaxation
Saunas relax your body and mind and can help create a better night's sleep.

Sweat on my friend. I love these magic boxes. Actually, I may go right now. K, bye!

The picture above was taken for the sake of my blog. The days of MySpace pictures are overrrrr.


Amazon's Wasteful Shipping Error

Let's play a game. Yay, I love games. I ordered something from Amazon and I want you to guess what I ordered based on the box it was delivered in below. You're probably thinking, Ander... I have no idea what you ordered nor could I guess based on a stupid box. Well, yes you are correct; however, you could probably assume that I ordered a large object. Textbooks? Toaster? Keurig? Nope, not even close. 

See, even the box looks sad... scroll down to see what I really ordered...


Don't cheat now




Okay, go ahead


Ironically, I ordered a screen protector for my Amazon Kindle. This product weighs about an ounce, (which could have been packed in an envelope) and was sent in a box big enough for a small child to play "Spaceship" in (we all did it). Don't get me wrong, I love Amazon. They're one of my favorite companies and rivers; however, this experience makes me sad. Yes,  I received my product on time and in good condition but the way I received it screams "wasteful". 

So, all I have to say is I love you, Amazon but I don't like you right now. I'm sure they didn't mean it and I am one to forgive but this was a big no-no. Did I mention my Kindle case came in an envelop? Oh the silliness.


Has anyone else had an experience like this?


Rockin n' Rollin on New Years

It's New Year's day and a perfect day to be outside. It's the middle of winter with a high of 45 and no snow to be seen.... I still can't believe I'm using hiking boots over snowshoes, but I'm not complaining one bit!  My boyfriend and I decided to go hiking, it would be insulting to Mother Nature not to enjoy her hot flashes.

We traveled to Ithaca, NY! Home of beautiful gorges, falls and super duper hiking trails. There were a lot of people outside which was great to see. Our hike was embellished with the grandeur of nature. The falls were ah-may-zing; it's crazy to think how the flow of water is so powerful and never ending.... it keeps goinggggg and goinggggg like the energizer bunny...

Look at how bootyful the water's and rock's colors are (below)

I felt like I was on the Maid of the Mist... a poncho would have been handy

                                                                                  Get outside and enjoy the outdoors!                                          What's your favorite winter activity?


New Year's Healthy Chocolate Souffles


After countless "I can't believe I won't leave the house until next year" or "I'm not going to eat until next year" jokes, I can't believe it's finally 2011 2012; it will probably take another year for me to correctly write the date. 2012 is the year I graduate with my bachelor's degree, a year I never thought would come for another 100 years. I'm growing up and it's hard to believe. New Years is also a time when the gym is more packed than Black Friday; though this will only go on for a week or so, it makes finding an good treadmill (good is defined by having a working television and elapsed time tracker.... my gym is flashback from the 70's) more difficult. However, it is nice to see people bettering themselves and their health.

I want to make my resolutions for the new year not resolutions but lifelong habits. I am still composing a draft in my head, but this is what I have come up with so far:

  1. Eat more slowly by cutting my food up into smaller pieces (I sometimes eat like I haven't seen food in 10 years rather than 10 minutes)
  2. Stay more connected to friends and family especially when I am away at school.
  3. Live and let live by letting others conduct their lives (as long as they're not hurting themselves or others) without letting their actions affect mine
  4. Never go to bed mad
  5. Read a book a month
  6. Worry less about things that are out of my control.
  7. Limit myself to one soda a day (this one is tough, but I'm willing to try)
  8. Listen more closely to what people are saying (I forget names within the first 5 seconds when meeting someone new)
  9. Find time to go to church at least twice a month
  10. Appreciating everyone and everything I love by counting my blessings
That's what I have so far and I'm excited to incorporate these into years to come!

For New Year's Eve, my boyfriend and I decided to stay this year and have a relaxing holiday at home. Christmas tuckered us out and we wanted a night to break out the champagne (great combo: champagne + cranberry juice = lovely) without the worry of driving... plus all the restaurants were booked and we wanted to cook my family dinner.

I also have been watching a lot of the show, "Chopped",  lately. It's my favorite show and I have an unhealthy obsession with The Food Network. I was watching it late last week and during an episode, if you have seen the show, the final two contestants made souffles in the final dessert round. Then it clicked. I have never had a souffle, and I was feeling French, so I decided to make chocolate souffles for New Year's Eve dinner. 

I found a great recipe on Shape Magazine's Web site, plus you can have a couple without the guilt!

        What you'll need:
1 cup        powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup      unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T           flour
1⁄2 c         2% milk (I used almond milk and they came out fine)
1⁄2 c         cold water
4              egg whites
1⁄8 t          cream of Tartar (what is this stuff anyways?)
4 t            sugar
3              egg yolks
1⁄2 t          almond extract
1              cupcake tin

Then I topped it off with cherries and whipped cream but any fruit topping would be superb. 

       What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Sift powdered sugar, cocoa, and flour into a double boiler. Add milk and water and whisk until creamy over medium heat. Continue to gently whisk mixture, without stopping, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Remove pan from heat and set aside. In a mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks begin to form. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat until still peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Blend egg yolks and almond extract into chocolate mixture. Fold in half the egg white mixture, then fold in the remaining half. Spoon batter into a cupcake tin that is spritzed with cooking spray, leaving a ½-inch space at the top. (You can refrigerate uncooked soufflé at this point for up to 24 hours before baking.)
  4. Place cupcake tin on a baking sheet and bake for 17 minutes or until soufflés are puffy but still jiggle a little in the center. 
  5. Meanwhile, make a sauce by blend cherries in a food processor. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Spoon sauce over each soufflé and serve warm! 

I found this recipe to be easy and the souffles came out really moist and delicious! Pictures below :)


David enjoyed his! He and I also wanted to cook my mom and dad a full surf and turf dinner! Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we cooked a darn stinking, great meal. Organic grass fed steaks and lobster tails. I love animals, but I don't think I could ever be a vegetarian.


I got to ring in the New Year with everyone I love dearly. I am excited for the new year!

What are some of your New Year's resolutions habits?

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