DIY + Tips and Tricks

Foods to Feed You During Finals!

 

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By: Abby Snelling

Finals are officially here. The stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights are here. Since your brain will be working overtime for the next week and a half, it’s important to make sure you are doing everything you can to make your finals week a success! While we can’t always be super healthy, especially during crunch time and the midnight munchies when you are stranded in Bird, these little foods can help you perform better and get those A’s. Luckily, we have some super yummy and easy brain foods that will help take the edge off your overwhelmed, overworked brain and help you study better, focus better, and power through the next week and a half!


Cinnamon

Super high in antioxidants, this is one of the best brain foods for memory! Sprinkle it on your oatmeal, some apple slices, or on your afternoon latte! It’s a sweet spicy flavor that will have you memorizing those calc equations like a pro!

Coffee

Congrats coffee fanatics, you now have another reason to guzzle coffee by the gallon. It helps improve cognitive ability because of the antioxidants in the coffee beans. And by coffee, we mean actual coffee, not the super sugary Starbucks concoctions that are more like a milkshake than a midmorning pick me up!

Blueberries

Abundant in antioxidants, blueberries will boost your memory as well! Put them in a fruit salad, a smoothie, or simply sprinkle some on some yogurt for breakfast to get the full effect!

Green tea

This is one of my personal favorites because it does so much for you! Green tea not only boosts your metabolism, but it also contains lots of good antioxidants that help your brain function, while another ingredient L-theanine relaxes you.

Apples

An apple a day keeps the low grades away-atleast we like to think so! Fiber and antioxidant rich apples make us feel fuller for longer (less study interruptions) and also improve cognitive ability.

Nuts

Got nuts for nuts! Almonds, walnuts, and cashews… oh, my! – all of these raw nuts are great for maintaining cognitive function and also a very easy snack to take anywhere. Just be careful because nuts are high in fat, which can be good in small amounts, but can help you pack on the pounds when you go overboard!

Dark chocolate

As if you needed another reason to indulge in this delicious goodness! Like all the foods listed above, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants to aid in memory function. There is also a bit of caffeine in it which can help increase focus and energy without making you too “shaky” with too much caffeine.


Overall, foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids (fish, nuts), caffeine (tea, coffee, chocolate), antioxidants (dark skinned fruits), and healthy oils (EVOO, coconut oil), and dark, leafy greens stimulate cognitive processes. These foods are also good for overall health in general.

Of course, during this taxing, dark time of finals week, we must also remember to feed our souls. Treat yourself to your favorite food that lift your spirits to keep you emotionally fueled to the end of finals. Sometimes, when you are crammed in a cubicle in Bird, Calio’s or Varsity simply is calling out to you, and that’s totally okay. You are working hard, and you deserve to treat yourself. Just keep these healthy snack foods in mind in case you are looking to watch what you are eating!

Drink water, get sleep, and remember to relax. In the end, they are just tests. All-nighters do nothing for you, your body, or your grades. So prepare, plan ahead, and try to survive till winter break!

Happy studying!

 

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DIY + Tips and Tricks

‘Tis the Season: Keep Your Waistline Trim with Some Tasty “Holiday-Flavored” Recipes!

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Blogger Abby Snelling (pictured) testing out the Coffee Pumpkin Paleo Bread!  It’s a winner!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Now until January of 2017 (and probably past then), it is officially the holiday season, and we couldn’t be more excited! Tis the season of family get togethers and holiday parties with friends and coworkers, which also means t’s also the season of indulging in really good homemade recipes and baked goods. The thing about the holidays is that it is a time of gift giving, a time of celebrating, and certainly a time of temptations. It’s the best time of the year, and it’s easy to give into the cookies, candies, and high calorie foods that our parents love to shower us with when we are home for the Holidays.

Whether you are watching your weight or simply trying not to consume too many sweets (if there is such a thing!), it’s easy to indulge in the yummy flavors of the holiday seasons, like pumpkin spiced treats and sweet and savory snacks.Temptations are extremely hard to ignore, and giving in is not always a bad thing if the portion sizes are under control. It is the holidays after all, and you should be able to celebrate with some sweet snacks, but sometimes it’s hard to quit!

I have a list of recipe’s that are healthy and yummy alternatives to some of the fattening sugary temptations that plague our waistlines. This holiday season, opt for these yummy recipes to place on your table during big family dinners! Start off this holiday season with some of our favorite new recipes full of “holiday” flavors that will keep your waistline thin and your spirits high!


Autumn Salad

Ingredients:

– 3 Cups Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Ingredients and Instructions on Roasting Below)

  1. 3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Prep and baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a foil lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure all of the Brussels sprouts have their ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed, then being slicing them in half. Combine all of the halves into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss the Brussel sprouts with the olive oil. Place onto the baking sheet and bake for around 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes, flip them for even browning.

-Roasted Butternut Squash (Ingredients and Instructions Below)

  • 1 ½ lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (so       around 4 cups of uncooked cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Prep and baking: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease a foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash into cubes and then combined in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and toss to mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Fun fact, you can roast the Brussel sprouts and butternut squash together. How cool?!?!

– ½ cup pumpkin seeds

– 1 cup dried cranberries

– 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:

Let’s put it all together now!

  • In a large bowl, combine the squash, Brussel sprouts, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries and mix! If you want this recipe to be more on the sweet side, you can add more maple syrup when combining ingredients. This recipe serves 6.

Crispy Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and put a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients listed above and mix well! Next, put all of the green beans on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until crispy, so around 8 minutes.

Paleo Pumpkin Coffee Cake (Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Crumb topping:

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
  • First, start by making the crumb topping:
  • Combine all of the ingredients listed under the crumb topping heading and mix well. It should look kind of like wet sand.
  • Next focus on the cake part. Combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and pumpkin from the ingredients listed under the ingredient heading. Add the eggs next, stir, and then add in the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, pumpkin spics, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Now pour into the 9×9 pan and cover with crumb topping and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Cranberry Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cups light brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ½ cup gluten free flour blend or almond flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and drain the blueberries and cranberries and place them in a square baking dish. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Next, in a large bowl, combine the oats, gluten free flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar and mix. Now add the melted coconut oil and mix together with a pastry cutter so that it resembles a crumb topping. Spread the crumbly topping over the berries and bake for 35 minutes or until the crumb topping is lightly brown and the berries are bubbly.

 

By: Abby Snelling

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks: Easy Ways to Torch Some Extra Calories When You Can’t Hit the Gym!

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The end of a semester typically coincides with stress, and lots of it. Our days are slammed with preparing for finals, writing long papers, and often consuming too much coffee with too little sleep. It’s hard to find time to workout during the end of the semester, and it’s easy to put on some pounds as the holiday season comes upon us when we aren’t properly exercising our bodies. 

This temporary loss of a daily workout leaves you feeling mentally drained physically lethargic. Exercising, even for only 30 minutes, can boast your mood and give you a ton of energy, so when we fail to slip on some sneakers and get going, our body can take a toll. Never fear! We have come up with some of our favorite tips and tricks to help you not only feel invigorated and energized this test taking season, but will also help you burn off some of those extra calories you might be consuming!

Push off all negative thoughts and take a look at these tips to ensure you’re at the top of your game in every aspect of your life!

Drink Green Tea

You most likely already have a steady stream of caffeine from your daily coffee(s) but to mix things up, consider swapping it for green tea instead.  Three cups of black coffee or green tea can increase your metabolic burn by 4%! Steer clear of sugary energy drinks like Redbull or Monster, and even sugary Starbucks concoctions, which might give you a little bit of a buzz, but will have you crashing within a couple of hours!

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

It super important to stay hydrated, but *rather than lug around a big water bottle all day, opt for a smaller one.* This way, you’re more likely to get up and move around  morewhen you find yourself filling it up more often.

Keep It Cool

Crack your window open and let some of that crisp (note: freezing!) Syracuse air in your room to boost your caloric burn.  Studies show that when your body has to work harder to keep you warm, you burn up to 40% more calories. Sleeping in colder temperatures also actually helps you sleep longer and deeper, which is so important to keeping you brain up to speed!

Make It Spicy

Spice up your life and add some sriracha to your next meal. Not only will you feel fuller in a shorter amount of time, but it also helps give a slight jump start to your metabolism.  Capsaicin, ginger, and black pepper will also do the trick by raising your body temperature.  Any of these will complement any type of food you might happen to be craving, so dig in-that is, if you can handle the heat.

Get Some Gum

Whatever flavor gets you going, pop some gum in your mouth between classes. Research shows gum chewers burn anywhere from 5-8% more calories than those who don’t chew gum, so pop in a piece to hold you over until your next meal.

Take the Long Way Home

Your live in Watson and your first class is in Maxwell.  Rather than take the most direct route, take an extra 3-5 minutes by walking past Life Sciences and heading through the quad.  Simply adding a few extra tenths of a mile to get from place to place will eventually add up so you can at least meet that recommended 10,000 steps a day quota. Take in the mild weather while you can before the brutal winter hits us here at Cuse!

With these minor adjustments, you’ll be able to not only crush finals season but also crush some calories, too so that this holiday season, you still look fabulous while getting those A’s.

By: Helena Starrs

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Tea Time: Our Favorite Homemade Brews

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Syracuse is getting colder, and that means one thing to me: tea season is here! Whether you enjoy your cup on the way to class, before bed, or somewhere in between, tea is always a positive addition to the day. There’s something so cozy about waking up with a fresh cup, or winding down and relaxing with a sweet sip.  There’s also a science behind this, too – studies show tea improves mood, attention and alertness.

Instead of picking up a pre-made box of tea from the shelf of any grocery store, why not try homemade? Making your own tea is super easy, inexpensive, and completely customizable. And for those looking ahead this holiday season, a homemade tea mix even makes a great holiday gift You get exactly what you want in each unique brewed cup. Here’s what you need:

  • A tea infuser or empty tea bags
  • A teapot and teacup
  • Boiling water
  • And most importantly, your ingredients of choice!

What I love about making your own tea is that it’s truly an art – you can customize it and make endless combinations. Picking the right ingredients is important, but essentially foolproof. Here are some general guidelines per 8oz cup of tea:

  • If you want a sweeter cup, add more sweet flavors  (about 1 tbsp) and less spicy or earthy flavors (keep it to 1 tsp or each, one, or none at all). Also, consider adding a sweet “finishing touch” (I refer to below.)
  • If you want a spicier cup, add more spice (about 2-3 tsp) and a touch of earthy (about 1 tsp).
  • If you want a earthier cup, add more earthy (about 1 tbsp) and optional sweetness or spice (less than 1 tsp).

In general, the more ingredients you add, the stronger your flavor of tea will be. These are of course just guidelines in case you have no clue where to begin – you can use whatever combinations you want. Here is a master-list of ingredients to add to your home-brew that won’t disappoint:

Sweet and Fresh Flavors

  • Dried berries (it is recommended to chop these into small pieces so more flavor is absorbed by the boiling water)
  • Honey
  • Natural Sugars (found in the organic isles of grocery stores)

Spicy and Warm Flavors

  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger (can be chopped fresh and added to the infuser, but dried works as well)

 

Earthy and Cool Flavors

Each of these ingredients can be grown fresh, chopped, and added to your infuser of choice. You can also buy dried versions in bulk at your local grocery store. Either option will ensure you a satisfying cup of tea.

  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Anise
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Sage

Some delicious finishing touches to add after the tea has steeped:

  • Honey drizzle
  • Fresh juiced citrus or citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit)

Depending on what flavor tea you’re craving, you can mix and match ingredients from each of these groupings or follow the guidelines I provided. Once you’ve created your desired mix of ingredients, add them into your infuser and let brew in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. The longer you brew, the stronger the flavor your tea will be. It might take some time to figure out what flavors work best for you, but that’s the fun in customizing it and making your own. Good luck and happy brewing!

By: Allie Urso

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Mug Cakes: Happiness in a Cup!

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Are you craving cake but too lazy to actually make a full sized cake? Or maybe you don’t have a full kitchen at your disposal like me! Here are some easy mug cake recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth from the comfort of your microwave.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake  

This cake is actually made of only three ingredients! It’s super delicious, simple to make, and so much healthier than boxed cake mix. Crazy, right?

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-12-26-52-pmIngredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of natural unsweetened cocoa powder

I make this recipe a lot because I don’t eat dairy, and natural cocoa powder doesn’t contain diary. This chocolate mug cake satisfies my chocolate cravings and will satisfy yours too! Just mash the banana really well (emphasis on really well!) in your mug, mix in the egg and cocoa, and cook in the microwave for about 1:30-2:30 minutes (until it’s cooked). Voila, you have a chocolate mug cake! I put almond butter on mine and sometimes strawberries or raspberries. There are so many toppings to choose from to make yours unique and delicious!


Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • ½ Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup milk or almond milk
  • ¼ Tsp. vanilla extract

This recipe includes more ingredients but is still easy and produces the perfect portion size for one! Mix the dry ingredients together first, and then add in the wet ingredients; if the mixture is crumbly, keep adding milk/almond milk until the batter is thick. Microwave for 1-2 minutes and before you know it, you have yourself a cinnamon roll mug cake! You can add maple syrup, honey or another sweetener of your choice on top with some added cinnamon for some extra sweetness and flavor, and it’s certainly more healthy than a cinnamon bun from the store!


Peanut Butter Mug Cake

The next recipe is for all of my peanut butter lovers out there!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter (3 Tbsp. if you really love peanut butter)
  • I egg
  • 1 Tbsp. of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 very ripe banana

This is another easy recipe that consists of very few ingredients that you could probably find around your dorm room or kitchen. Again, mash the banana super well, combine the egg, peanut butter, and maple syrup or honey in your mug, and then put it in the microwave for around 2 minutes. Perhaps sprinkle some chocolate chips on top to sweeten it up a bit!

 


Honey Almond Oatmeal Mug Cake

This is a recipe I haven’t gotten to try but definitely want to over Thanksgiving break!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp. quick oats
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter

Again, more ingredients but still a really easy recipe that takes only five minutes or less to whip up! Mix all of the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients. Microwave for 2-3 minutes (make sure it is cooked all the way through!). Drizzle with some honey and get ready to snuggle up with your cake in a mug during a chilly Syracuse day! Enjoy!

***Caution: Mug’s retain heat REALLY well! For any mug cake recipe, wait a couple minutes before devouring your cake unless you want your mouth to get burned.***  

By: Abby Snelling

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Granola Bars:The Good,The Bad, and The Ugly

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The Disappointing Reality of Granola Bars

        It saddens me to say this but… granola bars are not that great for us. I know, I know. Those deliciously chewy, often chocolatey conceptions are doing more bad for our bodies than good. For so long I thought they were a healthy alternative to candy bars, and in some aspects they are, but in truth, a lot of them contain the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. I compared the nutrition facts on one of my Larabar’s to a KitKat bar and it was quite alarming. The Larabar had 23 grams of sugar while the KitKat had 21 grams of sugar. False advertising has made us think that it’s automatically healthier for us because granola brands advertise with words like “oats and natural granola” or “only 100 calories”, but the fact’s don’t lie. It’s saddening and upsetting that sugar plagues all of our food, but that is another rant…for another day.

        Here at What the Health, we want you to still be able to enjoy your favorite foods, even if they aren’t always the healthiest. And the best way to do that is to make your own DIY versions of your favorite snacks. This can cut your sugar and processed ingredients intake in half!  Here are some healthy alternatives to avoid all of the processed and sugary junk in nutrition bars.

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Make your own Granola Bars!

Chia, Quinoa and Banana Granola Bars

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • ½ cup uncooked pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons chis seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • ¼ cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the oats, uncooked quinoa, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir in mashed banana and vanilla and then fold in the almonds, pecans and dried fruit.

Next, use a small sauce pan on low heat to warm the almond butter and honey or maple syrup until melted. Combine with granola bar mixture and pour into the baking pan. Press down with your hands to make sure all of the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Let them cool completely before cutting them into 10 bars.

1 bar is 200 calories, but only contains around 10 grams of sugar, which means you’ll get more nutrients and energies with almost half the sugar of store brand granola bars! It’s not processed and has a bunch of ingredients you can feel good about! Yay!

 

Make your own trail mix!

If you don’t have a kitchen at your disposal (like me), then you can make your own trail mix! I buy different types of nuts, dried fruit, seeds and sometimes sweets (dark chocolate) in bulk and then create my own based on what I’m feeling that week or day.

Here is a list of different trail mix combo’s:

      Almond’s, dried cherries, dark chocolate

      Almond’s, peanuts, banana chips, chocolate and peanut butter chips

      Pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds

The important thing about trail mix, and with any food, is portion size. Personally, I do not take more than two handfuls of trail mix when I’m portioning it out into different bags for myself and even then I don’t finish all of the trail mix when I’m eating it with lunch or for a snack. Limit yourself to the amount of chocolate you add in it, but if you need a sweet snack, opt for dark chocolate over milk!

Get creative and enjoy your healthy alternative to granola bars! Just because the store bought brands are bad, doesn’t mean you have to go “cold-turkey” completely!

By: Abigail Snelling

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Crazy for Quinoa: DIY Quinoa Bowls

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 5.41.08 PM.pngMany days I aimlessly walk in circles around the dining hall, trying to find something that will taste good, make me feel good, and overall be good for my body and health. Over the summer, I would constantly feel the struggle of wanting something nutritious that satisfied my taste buds but was easy to make.

Then I stumbled upon quinoa bowls! Food bowls are becoming the biggest health trend recently. Yogurt and acai bowls have become quite popular, as are some more unusual conceptions, like quinoa!  Quinoa is an extremely versatile food, much like rice, except, it is a complete protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals! Quinoa is a feel good food and I’m very excited to introduce recipes that can spice up your quinoa experience and are also super duper easy. They are so simple that anyone can make them, even my college students out there whose only access to a kitchen is the dining hall!

Fruity Quinoa Bowl

  • Strawberry
  • Walnuts
  • Kale
  • Kalamata Olive
  • Cucumber
  • Feta Cheese
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

This first bowl is one my own creations. It’s a great combination of sweet and salty. I’m a big fan of putting nuts on salads and quinoa bowls, and have tried this specific recipe with almonds as a substitute for the walnuts and it was also delicious!

 

Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

  • Quinoa 
  • Chicken
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Yellow Corn
  • 2 Tablespoons Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Guacamole or just plain avocado

This concoction calls for the red bell peppers and onion to be sautéed, BUT if you’re lazy like me, the recipe works both with them and without them, and will taste good either way.

 

Greek Quinoa Bowl

  • Quinoa
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Fresh Cherry Tomato
  • Lemon Wedge
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Black or Kalamata Olive   
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 TBSP of Apple Cider Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

The Greek Quinoa Bowl is one of my favorites because it is super easy to make in the dining hall since all of the ingredients are already there! Yay! At home, this recipe will take all of 15 minutes just because you have to make the quinoa.


Those are just three of my favorite quinoa bowl recipes but the possibilities are endless. All of these recipes are subject to change based on your preferences and food restrictions! It is also really easy to make your own creations as well! Quinoa is extremely versatile, and is a great base food for whatever mood you’re in. Here are lists of ingredients that you can try different combinations of in your custom quinoa bowls.

Vegetables:

-Broccoli

-Kale

-Spinach

-Romaine Lettuce

-Pepper (any type)

-Olives

-Cucumbers

-Tomatoes

-Onions

-Carrots

-Avocados


Fruits:

-Strawberries

-Blackberries

-Blueberries

-Raspberries

-Pineapple


Toppings:

– Cashews

-Almonds

-Walnuts

-Feta Cheese

-Sesame Seeds

-Sunflower seeds


Dressings:

-Extra Virgin Olive oil mixed with

Apple cider vinegar

 Red wine vinegar

-Vinaigrette

-Hot sauce if you’re feeling frisky

By: Abby Snelling

DIY + Tips and Tricks

DIY Holiday Beauty Products

As the holiday season approaches, the classic Christmas scents start to emerge in all your favorite things.  With these homemade beauty products, you can get even more of the holiday scents you love. Whether you use them to pamper yourself or gift them to someone special, these recipes will have you more excited for Christmas break than ever (if that was even possible)! 

Whipped Sugar Cookie Body Butter
Nothing beats baking Christmas cookies, especially when the best part is eating the yummy leftover batter! Sugar cookies are a staple of the holiday season, and with this simple recipe, you can smell just as good as your kitchen smells when baking this tasty treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup Raw Shea Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Oil
  • 20 drops of Sugar Cookie Fragrance (found at stores like Walmart, Macy’s and Target)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt oils and shea butter together over low heat.
  2. Once melted, carefully pour liquid into a chilled bowl, mix fragrance, and let sit until mixture starts to harden. You want the oil to be firm, but not solid (about the consistency of softened butter).
  3. When the oil is ready, whip with a mixer for several minutes until the body butter is fluffy and at a consistency that you like.
  4. Place into containers. Mason Jars are recommended, as they are cute and relatively cheap!

 

Sugar Plum Scrub
The classic holiday story The Night Before Christmas reads, “The children were nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,” and after using this recipe, sugar plums will definitely be dancing in your head. This delicious scent has been known to cause relaxation and to help you unwind during the busy holiday season, so bottle some up, and give it as a gift to your (most likely) stressed out mom as she prepares for the onslaught of grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 Drops Sugar Plum Fragrance Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Vitamin E Oil
  • Purple Food Coloring (optional)
  • Rubbing Alcohol

Directions:

  1. Spray a container of your choice with rubbing alcohol and set aside until dry.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil.
  3. Combine essential oil, vitamin E oil, and sugar. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add a few drops of purple food coloring in and mix until you reach your desired color.
  5. Store in a covered container at room temperature.

 

Candy Cane Bath Salts
What would Christmas be without candy canes.  With this DIY recipe, you get all the fun of a candy cane without all the added sugar. The best thing about making bath salts is that it’s so simple and easy, so making this recipe is a sweet treat (literally)! With this relatively easy recipe, add a few ingredients together, pour a little sweet scent on top, and you’ve got a creative concoction to help de-stress and get excited for the holiday season!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda.
  2. Add in peppermint oil and stir or whisk to distribute evenly.
  3. Divide bath salts in half. Use a separate bowl to color bath salts with 4-6 drops of red food coloring.
  4. Layer bath salts in jars, about two heaping tablespoons per layer, and press the salts down before adding a new layer.

 

Gingerbread Cookie Body Scrub
Nothing beats decorating gingerbread houses during the month of December, except maybe smelling like one. With this cookie cutter classic, smell and feel as great as your gingerbread house looks. With the added scent of ginger, which has been known to banish blemishes, increase blood flow, and tone skin, you’ll glowing brighter than the lights on a Christmas tree!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into the container of your choice.

 

Quick Tip: Place your homemade holiday scented beauty products in mini mason jars and tie with a bow, and you’ve also got a great gift that can be given to friends or family, or even as a gift to yourself! Happy Holidays!

By Annie O’Sullivan

DIY + Tips and Tricks

Fall Inspired DIY Beauty Products

From one fall-enthusiast to another, here are some DIY “piece of cake” products that will have you smelling amazing and looking as good as fall feels! All the fun of your favorite fall treats with an added bonus: no calories!

Pumpkin Spice Lip Balm

There’s the saying that goes, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” but this luscious lip balm is something you won’t worry about using over and over again. As the weather gets chillier, skin can get dehydrated and dried out, which can cause painful cracking, or worse—bleeding. With this simple DIY, look and feel good with this super soft and moisturizing lip balm that smells as good as it feels.

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 2tbsp beeswax
  • 2tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1/4tsp pumpkin spice
  • Empty lip balm sticks (found at almost all art stores or online at Amazon/Etsy)

Directions:

  • Add ingredients all together and stir in a large pot over low heat until everything has melted together
  • Carefully fill empty lip balm sticks with the wax mixture
  • Place in fridge for about a day or two so the mixture can set

Baked Apple Pie Bath Salts

Whether it’s the savory crust or the sweet apples, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love a good hearty apple pie. With these homemade bath salts, get all the savory flavors and scents of this delicious desert without overindulging on calories! An added benefit? Epsom salts are great for relieving stress, combating fatigue, and flushing the toxins out of the body. Why not make this easy and simple beauty bargain?

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Simply mix the salts and fragrance together until the desired scent is achieved!  (If you’d like to make them look a little more like apple pie, add a few shakes of brown powdered food coloring and mix well)

Cinnamon Vanilla Sugar Scrub

A subtler scent of fall, this sugar scrub is a mix of the delicious aroma of Starbucks intertwined with the scent of fall fresh baked goods. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this enticing scent while getting all the added benefits of a homemade sugar scrub. Homemade scrubs are known to purify skin, prevent breakouts, soften skin, and reverse aging, though hopefully we don’t have to worry about that last one yet.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Be sure that the cinnamon gets mixed in well
  • Pour into containers

 

Whipped Pumpkin Butter Lotion

To culminate the pumpkin spiced ‘crazed’ mindset of fall, this DIY pumpkin butter body lotion will have you smelling like a pumpkin Yankee Candle, and what’s better than that? Though a lengthy list of ingredients, this lotion is relatively simple to make, and has a long lists of benefits, including providing moisture, vitamins, and anti-inflammatories to prevent illness and boost your immune system. Sift it all together, and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Heaping 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 2tbsp almond oil
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp beeswax
  • 1/8-1/4tsp paprika
  • 10 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 7 drops ginger essential oil
  • 5 drops nutmeg essential oil
  • 2 drops allspice essential oil
  • 2 drops clove essential oil

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together and stir until all are melted and combined well
  • Once melted, add paprika to give lotion color
  • Let sit for 10 min
  • Place mixing bowl in the fridge to set
  • When lotion is almost solid, but not completely solid, remove from the fridge, add essential oils and whip with a handheld mixer for about a minute
  • Transfer into a jar with a tight fitting lid, and use as you would any body lotion

By Annie O’Sullivan