Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brides-To-Be And Their Bodies


Yes, I know this is my food blog, but I feel the need to share my thoughts on my recent struggle with preparing for a wedding and body image.

First of all, I'm engaged! He popped the question in July and I am oh so excited to marry the man of my dreams next June!

My engagement bliss was short lived however. After floating around on cloud nine for a few days, I decided it might be good to look at a checklist and get planning for the wedding. Being a super planner that I am, this was of course the logical next step. I quickly hopped onto The Knot's wedding website and proceeded to check out their super helpful and extensive checklist. 

Though overwhelmed at first, I knew this was something I could handle and proceeded to weed through the check list to see what really was a priority. 

1) Celebrate your engagement... CHECK!
2) Decide on a city and season... (What girl doesn't have their favorite city and season already picked      out?)
3) Make a beauty plan... ermmmmm....?

Having never been good at/interested in "beauty" things, I thought I'd better educate myself on what a beauty plan should look like. After clicking on the hyper-link, I was quickly whisked away to a page filled with models splashing water delicately over their clear faces and size 2 women in their undies being measured by unimpressed seamstresses. 



Ooooooofff. Did I hit the ground hard. I looked down at my body and realized that my acne, poochy tummy, and lack-luster hair weren't going to fly on wedding day. My mind was instantly flooded with  stressful questions and thoughts. Isn't this the day that I'm supposed to look my best? Isn't this the day that I'm going to be photographed over and over and over again? Heck, I better look good on wedding night!

Yeah, I've struggled with body image concerns in the past, but this was at a whole new level. After reading that post and seeing how far from being ready for wedding day I was, I immediately threw myself into a regimented, and intense work out plan. Counting and cutting calories left and right, my body was exhausted, but my mind wouldn't let go of that ideal, that goal!

3 months into this craziness, I've had a reality check. I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm stressed. 

Yeah, I know that that's going to happen at some points in this planning process, but do I really need to be purposefully doing this to myself? I'm forgetting completely the reason why I'm getting married in the first place! And you know what, quite honestly, I don't think I'm going to care how skinny or toned I look on my wedding day. I'm going to be so overwhelmed by emotions of joy and love and excitement, that my pre-wedding work-outs and stress are all going to seem silly and insignificant. Is beating myself up now really going to make me enjoy my wedding day more? 

It sickened me to think of how many other women are dealing with this pressure too. Can't we just encourage one another to be happy and confident in our own skin instead? "If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business." Every day I come across subtle messages from the media telling us that "if we just lost some weight" or "if we just achieved the body of our dreams, all the stress of our wedding would melt away and everything would be blissfully perfect". Well let me tell you, that is a BIG, FAT LIE.

Size and weight, do NOT equal happiness.

I'm going to be marrying the love of my life, and doesn't that matter more than the number on my wedding dress tag? Instead of trying to love the idea of what my body can be, I'm going to start by loving my body with what it is today.

I hope this encourages you to love your special, unique body. Let's push back on the messages that our culture is sending us and instead share some love and self-contentedness. Make the decision to stop picking apart your flaws, and start giving yourself some grace instead.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Homemade Hummus (Oil-free)


Texture, flavor, health-points; you can't really ever go wrong with hummus. I absolutely love how adaptable it is too! In the past I've made, sriracha hummus, cilantro-lime hummus, and roasted red pepper hummus, just to name a few. Not only is it's flavor adaptable, but also it's usage. I love smothering hummus on pita bread, sandwiches, veggies, and slurping straight off the spoon. Making your own hummus may sound daunting, but it's actually pretty easy (if you have a blender or food processor). Not to mention it's a whole lot cheaper than buying it pre-made at the store. Have fun adapting this recipe to your favorite flavor combos!
Homemade Hummus (Oil-free) 
1 15 oz./425 g can chickpeas (no salt) or 1 3/4 cup of fresh cooked chickpeas
1-2 small cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp water (this is replacing the oil)
3-4 tbsp lemon juice (depending on how lemony you like it)
1 1/2 tbsp tahini 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic clove(s) to the food processor (or blender) and pulse until chopped up. 
  3. Add the chickpeas, water, lemon juice (start with less and add more if desired) and pulse the chickpeas until they are fairly broken up. Depending on how strong your food processor is when they are broken up you can let it run for a few seconds or just keep pulsing until it’s a little smooth. Stop the food processor. Taste test and add more lemon if desired.
  4. Add the tahini, salt and remaining spices. Let it run until everything is creamed up. Taste test and adjust any additional salt, lemon or water (for consistency). Your hummus should be creamy with no chunks left.
  5. Serve with veggies, pita or baked chips if desired.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cereal Cake


Today is my soon-to-be brother-in-law's 20th birthday! Andre has been such a great friend to me since the moment we met. He is one of the most welcoming and joyous people in this world. I couldn't feel more happy or blessed to soon be family :) One thing I soon learned about Andre is that he is OBSESSED with cereal. I have never seen someone with such a passion for cereal. It's actually quite impressive. And I mean honestly, who couldn't like cereal? It's like getting a drink and food at the same time! Anyway, I knew I had to make him a cereal cake for his birthday, and thus evolved this recipe. This is for you all you cereal lovers out there!


Cereal Cake

8 cups rice crispies (divided)
4 cups fruity pebbles (divided)
6 Tbsp butter
8 cups mini marshmallows (divided)

Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans with foil and a light spray of cooking oil. In a large pot, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Stir in 4 cups of marshmallows and keep stirring until melted. Turn off the heat and gently stir in 4 cups of rice crispies and fruity pebbles. Stir until evenly distributed. Press mixture into one of the cake pans. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. Set cake pans aside to harden while you prepare the frosting.

Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 Tbsp milk

In a large bowl beat butter until creamy. Slowly beat in vanilla and powdered sugar. Add milk one Tbsp at a time to reach desired consistency.

To build the cake, place one of the cake pans upside down on a plate and remove the foil. Spread half the frosting on top of the large rice crispie treat and place the remaining cake pan on top. Top with remaining frosting and sprinkles or fruity pebbles as decoration.