Sunday, February 23, 2014

Keeping those Veggies & Herbs Fresh!

Ever since the New Year, Kyle and I have been into using our "NutriBullet".  It's fabulous - and apparently sits right between juicing & smoothie-making.  The drinks are usually more of a smoothie consistency, but the nutrients are still preserved.  That being said, our grocery bills have sky rocketed because of all of the fresh produce we are buying.  We normally we buy fruits & veggies each week, but now we are buying a ton of spinach and kale, berries, bananas, celery, carrots PLUS anything we need for cooking during the week.
We are still working on trying to reduce the grocery bills, and part of that is preserving the fruits and veggies we buy from week to week to make them last longer and stay fresh.  I never knew how to keep veggies & fruits fresh, honestly. I just either kept it in a cute little bowl, or put it in the fridge & got rid of it when it was time.  Yes I learned the basics from my mom about what stays out of the fridge, when it's ripe, when it's not, but the things I wanted to know are things that not everyone knows.  Like, how do I keep Kale fresh and crisp the entire week, or how do I prevent spinach from wilting.  How do I keep my parsley from getting moldy or stinky after 2 days.

Here's the rule: Fruits & Berries DO NOT wash them until you want to eat them (most people know this, I did not until last year... oops!).  Or buy frozen!  Kyle and I have gotten some great deals on bulk frozen fruits. Yes, I know some of the nutrients get sucked out when they freeze, but hey, fruit is fruit!

Kale & Celery: Remove from the plastic bags and wash in cold water. Let it sit out and air dry for approx a half hour, then shake off excess water. Wrap in dry paper towels & store in the fridge.  Works like a dream!  I separate the celery stalks, and I also trim the stems on the Kale just so it doesn't take up so much room in the fridge.

Spinach, Parsley & Herbs: Do not wash yet.   I use mason jars and fill them halfway up with cold water (doesn't matter what size, usually depends on how much I have).  Trim the stems of the veggie/herb and place them in a bundle into the mason jars & store on the counter.  Then when you need to use them, pluck off what you need & rinse of with cold water.  Not only does this keep the herbs & spinach fresh all week, but it also decorates your countertop!
Cilantro or thyme anyone?
Yes, these ways are a bit more time consuming than just throwing it in the fridge, however I have developed a little routine on Sundays after our grocery run. Kyle is usually out running with his group, and I will take my time, sip my coffee, and take care of the veggies & herbs. There's something therapeutic and refreshing about knowing you're A. saving money and B. using fresh ingredients, and doing what you can to keep those ingredients fresh and yummmy!

Another venture I have been exploring? Taking care of house plants. We came from an apt that was a dark cave most of the day, to a house that has light streaming in everywhere. It's fantastic! But now, my plants are not dying (which this girl knows how to throw out a dying plant), instead they are THRIVING, and this girl? Is definitely in the learning process of taking care of my pretty little house plants.
Since they're blooming, it means winters over, right??
Happy Gloomy Sunday!
Love always - Jack

Feeling Refreshed!

Well, I thought I was back at the end of the summer, guess not! I really am not going to make a big post about how I am re-committing, because I don't want to let myself down. I am, however, going to make an honest effort to post on the blog for myself. Yep, I'm going to be a bit selfish. Ever since getting engaged I have been so caught up in our house, re-doing our closet, my new job, and planning a wedding, that I haven't been focusing on myself and feeling good about myself.  So now is the time I am jumping back on the WW bandwagon, and trying to gain back that motivation I had exactly one year ago. First comes food, then comes the working out.

I found my beautiful dream dress (that ironically looks totally different than anything I imagined myself in) and I want to be a bombshell on my wedding day.  The positive thing is that I already feel beautiful in the dress, what a fabulous experience it was, even though I was terrified at first. But my mom is such a wonderful support, and the boutique, Irini's Originals in Wilmington DE is a wonderful, warm, loving, family shop that makes you feel comfortable and at ease.

All of that being said, I am going to try to start blogging again, for myself. Maybe I'll even throw in a few music ideas I've come up with throughout the year!

I wanted to share a few blogs and recipes that I have been enjoying lately to allow myself to get back into the healthy habits (and kyle has been loving them too):
"Skinnytaste" Blog is fabulous - and she includes all WW points (this is an absolute MUST)

"EmilyBites" Blog is also fantastic -
--Last night we made her "Best lasagna ever",
which was fabulous,
and we are making her "Zucchini Casserole" tonight to accompany a steak,
and later this week "Stuffed Zucchini" - She also includes WW points!
OH YEAH we also may try her "Cheeseburger Soup" That you can find under her "Recipes" tab

Let's do this!

Mom and I ready to go dress shopping!