Archive for May, 2015

Unrecipe of the Week: Cappuccino Ice Pops

May 28, 2015

As the weather gets warmer, and the days get longer, its time to rethink your afternoon coffee run. Instead of heading out for an over priced, sugary calorie bomb in a cup, why not make these easy “cappuccino” pops at home?  We love the old school look of these ice-pops, made from coffee, cream and sugar, with just a touch of cinnamon. The recipe can be customized to suit your taste. A little sweeter? More cream? Dairy free? No problem. We even made ours decaf!

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Cappuccino Ice Pops:

Brew 3 or 4 cups of strong coffee, and cool to room temperature. (If you make a little extra in the morning, it will be cool when you get home in the evening.)

Using the ice pop molds of your choice, or paper cups if you don’t have a mold, freeze about 1/2″ of cream until it is solid. You can substitute the milk of your choice; coconut, almond or soy would work just fine. We don’t recommend using skim milk , as it might be a bit watery and lack substance once its frozen.

Once the coffee is cool, add cream (or the milk of your choice) to taste, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar to taste, and a little cinnamon. Mix well and pour into the molds or paper cups. If your mold has sticks and a cover, insert them now. If not, let the coffee start to freeze up a little before inserting the sticks. We covered our mold with foil, and popped the sticks through so that they would stand upright while freezing. Leave them in the freezer until they are fully frozen, remove from the molds and enjoy!

Tips: Dip the mold in warm water to loosen the pop so it slides out easily.

Once frozen, the sweetness in the coffee subsides a bit. Use a little more sugar than you normally would, to get the correct sweetness in the ice pop.

You can make the coffee and refrigerate it until you are ready to freeze it. The colder the coffee when you start, the less ice crystals your pops will have.

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Move It or Lose It!

May 27, 2015

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The New York Times recently reported on two large-scale studies which link the role exercise plays on longevity.

One of those studies, conducted by Harvard University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The American Cancer Society among others, reviewed aggregated results of six surveys, in which respondents reported thier exercise habits. The over 660,000 adults were then categorized based on their activity levels. The categories were:those who didn’t exercise, those who exercised less than the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio (or just 21 minutes a day), those who exercise two to three times more than that, and those who exercise three to five times the recommeneded amount. They also reviewed 14 years worth of death records for the group.

Those who exercised less than the recommended amount still had a 20% lower mortality rate than those who did not exercise at all. Those who did one to two times more than the minumun recommendation (approximately 42 minutes per day) had a 31% lower rate of mortality, and the group who exercised two to three times the more that the minumum (about 64 mintutes per day) had a 39% lower rate of mortality.

The second study reviewed the mortality rates of those who exercised vigorously, versus those who worked more moderately. Of those who met the minimum guidelines, the people who categorized 30% of their workouts as vigorous lowered their mortaltiy rate by another 9%. When an even higher percentage of their workouts were listed as vigorous, the rate dropped to  13%.

The bottom line? Get up and move! Even a few minutes per day can make a difference. Finding an hour per day, and pushing hard for just 19 minutes of that can reduce your chance of death by a full 39%! Isn’t that worth the effort?

Let’s go!!

 

photo GIF: Come Alive |Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Mason Jar Iced Tea

May 26, 2015

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Lately, it seems nearly everything can be made in a mason jar.

Mason jars have made a comeback in recent years, as much for their rustic charm, as for their versatility. We use them for everything, from food storage to salads to go, but today, they proved themselves to be the ultimate iced tea vessel.

When brewing tea, place the bags into the jar, and let the tags hang over the outer edge. Screw on the ring to secure the tea bags, and pour the barely boiling water into the jar. Always put a metal spoon in first, so that it will absorb some of the heat and prevent the glass from cracking.

If you like sweet tea, stir in the sugar or honey while the tea is hot, so that it fully dissolves.

When the tea is cool, remove the ring and the tea bags, and add the metal top to the jar and reseal. Now you can pop it into the refrigerator to chill and enjoy!

No more teabags slipping into the brew, the jar fully covered to avoid picking up odors in the fridge, and no more toxic plastic! Its also portable, if sealed tightly, so you can take it to the office or on a picnic without it spilling.

Photo gif: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Closet Cleanse: Day 2

May 21, 2015

This closet thing is taking me awhile. I reached a point on Sunday, where I was digging the old stuff out of the discard bags because I didn’t have anything else to wear. On Monday, I decided it was time to shop a bit.

I had scoured the stores over the weekend, scoping out the merchandise choices and deciding which stores were worth a return visit. With the goal of looking polished and relavant, without being overly trendy, I made a mental list of what I was looking for. One thing for sure I knew I wanted to add to my closet was a jumpsuit or two. They are a must-have item this year, and with a depleted closet, they offer a ready-made look in one simple piece. I picked up a full length black one, that could be dressed up or down, and 2 shorter ones; one in a fun print that is more casual,but still pulled together, and another black and white version that is youthful, but sophisticated. ( read: not too short, not too bare and work appropriate.) I also picked up a couple of tops that would work with what I had, and replace a few of the holey ones in purge pile.

Packing up the winter clothes

Packing up the winter clothes

Next, I set out  to tackle the accessories. I weeded out all the broken and truly junkie jewelry that had found its way to me via grandmother’s junk drawers, and goodie bags, and organized the rest so I could find it.I hung the necklaces that tangle easily on a hangar, and put the rest into a bin.  I shelved the bags and hats, and rolled all of my light weight scarves so that they fit into one bin without becoming a wrinkled mess. I packed up the winter footwear, and cleaned the floor and shoe racks before replacing the summer edit. I took a quick trip to the shoe repair to rehab a great pair of shoes and a Hermes belt that I love, but was getting a little shabby.

Much better already!

It’s much improved already!

Now it was time to play dress up. I tried on what was left, and made outfits, including accessories and shoes, to be sure I had everything I needed to make these pieces work. B got a couple more hand-me-downs of things that still looked good; but not on me.  I recommend either taking a selfie, or laying the outfits out on the bed in their entirety, and taking a photo to document every successful look. I opted to do some quick sketches with notes, since I am camera shy.

Quick doodles of outfits I liked

Quick doodles of outfits I liked

This exercise not only ensures that you have things that work together, but also that you have the right accessories, down to the sweater or jacket to toss on when the air conditioning turns a nice place into a meat locker. My try-on session yielded me quite a few looks from a tightly edited amount of items, and helped me identify a need or two. Now when I go into the closet, I can see everything I own clearly, and have a stack of go-to outfits to get me started.

Today’s project: Eliminating the “stuff.” What is the “stuff” you ask? I haven’t a clue, but it is taking up a lot of real estate in there! I’m fully armed with 13 gallon trash bags, and I’m going in!

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Starch We Can’t Resist

May 20, 2015
Vermicelli nests

Vermicelli nests

I tend to avoid refined carbs as much as possible. It’s not easy. Especially when I love pasta, potatoes, bread and dessert. The hard cold reality is that those foods don’t love me back. Everytime I indulge a little, the dial on the scale goes up, and a little spare tire instantly appears around my midsection.

When I read an article in Prevention about resistant starches, I admit I got a bit excited.

Resistant starches have the chemical structure of starch, but act like fiber, in that they pass through our colon undigested. Our bodies can’t convert them to energy, so they become calorie free. Resistant starches are naturally found in many foods, including lentils, black beans, green peas, oats, and barley. Research has found that resistant starch enriched foods were responsible for an 8%-45% reduction in fat in an animal test group. Most of the fat loss came from visceral fat, or the dangerous fat that surrounds the internal organs. A human study revealed increased fat burning of 20%-25% when resistant starches were consumed.They have also been linked to lowering blood sugar, helping digestion, and reducing appetite.

Roseval potatoes

Roseval potatoes

The catch? How you prepare the foods, effects the levels of resistant starches. Cooking, and then cooling potatoes or rice, for example, has been shown to increase the levels of resistant starch, where allowing a green banana to ripen, decreases the benefits.

While there is not enough research yet to prove its effects, it could be the next big thing in weight management.

Head over to Authority Nutrition for more detailed information.

Related article: Like White on Rice

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Heat The Pan

May 19, 2015

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It is best to begin sautéing food in a pre-heated pan.

A hot pan allows the food to sear, or brown when the food hits the surface, rather than sit and soak up the oil while the pan comes to temperature.

Here a few tips to decide when its time to add the food to the oil:

Place the pan on the hot burner before adding the oil.  Pans with non-stick coatings should not be pre-heated without anything in them, as it can destroy the finish.

Drizzle a couple of drops of water onto the pan. Do they sizzle? If so, the pan is hot.

Is the oil flowing freely and coating the pan? Does the surface glisten a bit? These are signs that the pan is hot enough.

Add a tiny morsal of food or batter to the pan. When the food starts sizzling, you are good to go. You can also use a tiny amount of salt or flour for the same effect.

Some people use a wooden spoon or chopstick to test the oil. If it bubbles when you touch the wood to the pan, its ready.

Don’t allow the pan to over heat. Burnt oil doesn’t taste very good. If you see a little smoke start to appear, the pan is too hot. Remove it from the heat, and let it cool down a little bit. Take a paper towel and wipe the over heated oil from the pan and start again.

related post: Smoking Hot: https://indigo-jones.com/2013/08/09/smoking-hot/

photo GIF: Come Alive |Glasshouse Images

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Closet Detox, Day 1

May 18, 2015

 

Here we go… I am starting my closet cleanse.

Experts advise that everything must come out of the closet and get sorted into “keep, donate and discard” piles. From prior experience, I find that overwhelming. Once the entire bedroom gets covered in clothing, accessories and “stuff,” then I can no longer see the forest for the trees. I plan to stage it a little, to keep some semblance of organization in the process of reorganization.

Pre-cleanse, I take a trip to the Container Store to get a few plastic bins. In goes the winter clothes, without too much editing. See you in September woolens! Catch ya later cashmere! Bye bye boots! You get the picture.

Next, everything goes on proper hangers. Dry cleaning bags get unpacked and disposed of, the hangers piled up for recycling. (Most dry cleaners are thrilled to get their wire hangers back, so don’t just throw them away.)

Now that everything is hung up properly on matching hangers and organized by category, the fun begins.

The first wave is eliminating the obvious; all those torn tees and greyish dingy underpinings. Anything that I might be embarassed to be wearing if I run into people I haven’t seen in awhile on the street. Those will either get donated, or disposed of, depending on how bad they truly are.
I will keep one or two tops to wear if I need to paint something or clean the oven, but otherwise, out they go!

It is definately getting emptier in here. I am at the stage where getting rid of this stuff is going to leave me in a state of literally having nothing to wear. The goal is to get rid of all the clutter, and hone down to what is really necessary. In the past, I have turned frumpy trousers into shorts, and hemmed things to more flattering lengths. With a keen eye to performing sartorial surgery, its time to evaluate every item in the closet and decide which shall stay and which shall go. Those items that might be ok, but don’t go back to anything; is it worth the investment to find them a friend? Would a great accessory purchase or two take these simple items and turn them into a chic outfit? Would the perfect scarf give me just enough coverage to make that dress seem a little less “boobylicous” for daytime consumption? Its time to find out.

Two minutes in, and B has scored an adorable Miu Miu jacket that never really looked that good on me. It looks great on her. An hour later, half the closet is almost empty and half of the drawers are completely empty.  I am holding on to things I vowed to get rid of, because I fear I won’t have anything at all to wear. I am making progress, but I still have a way to go.

Its time to wrap for the day, and clear off the bed so we can sleep in it~
Tomorrow is another day…Stay tuned!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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S’mores Season

May 17, 2015

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Next week is Memorial Day, which marks the official start of summer, and that means barbeques, bonfires, beach parties and s’mores. Well, you haven’t really had a s’more until you’ve had ours…

Homemade melt in your mouth graham crackers. Fluffy artisanal marshmallows roasted to caramelized perfection. Chunks of rich chocolate. I mean, what’s not to love?

Wander over to our sister site, indigo jones eats for more information. With a gift box of these as a hostess gift, we guarentee you will be invited back.

photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Coming Out of the Closet

May 15, 2015

I have a confession:

My wardrobe is a disaster. My walk in closet contains every item of clothing I own, regardless of season. I have a collection of tee shirts with holes in exactly the same spot. Until I can figure out what is causing them, the pile keeps growing.  I have stuff that has become dated and unappealing. Many things that started out beige have miraculously turned grey after a trip through the washing machine. Amid the randomness of the clothing is luggage, linens, and boxes of “stuff.” While everything else in my life stays relatively organized, my closet houses the dirty little secret of my chaotic ways.
With a break in my work schedule aligning with a break in the weather, I plan to weed out my summer wardrobe, once and for all.

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Will I really do it? Will I whittle it down to the bare necessities? What is that “stuff” and what do I do with it? How did all that junk fit into this little room? Stay tuned as we embark on Operation Coming Out of the Closet!

Infographic: Vogue.com

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Lace ’em Up!

May 14, 2015

If you look at your athletic shoes, you will probably notice an extra set of holes at the top of the shoe. Most of us just ignore them. Think about that for a minute. Do we really think that people who design a product as techical and functional as sneakers would put them there for no good reason? They didn’t.

Illumiseen has created a video that shows you how to use those extra holes to create a “lace lock” which prevents your foot from moving around inside your shoe. It is not only pretty genius, it is life changing for those of us who run, or do plyo or lateral movements.

Check out their video and learn how to tie your athletic shoes properly:

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