Archive for June, 2015

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Storing Berries

June 30, 2015

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Berries are plentiful and in season right now. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are delicious and nutritious. They are also very perishable. One little speck of mold seems to sprout out of nowhere, and spreads through the entire box quickly. Most experts advise keeping them unwashed until you are ready to eat them. Not only does that not seem to help, but I find that unwashed fruit becomes uneaten fruit around here.

The folks at Food 52 have a solution, and we think it is a good one.

They advise soaking berries in a mix of three parts water and one part white vinegar, to kill the mold spores and bacteria that causes the fruit to spoil. After a short soak, rinse the fruit well to get rid of the vinegar taste.
Keeping the berries dry is critical to extending their shelf life. They suggest laying paper towels in the basket of a salad spinner to cushion the delicate berries, and give them a good spin to dry them off. Once fully dry, line a container with paper towels to absorb any additional moisture, and partially cover it, so that air can get in. Place the container in the refrigerator, and enjoy your berries for days to come!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Healthy Jumpstart

June 29, 2015

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I am vehemently opposed to fad diets. Over the years, we have been told that lots of fat is good for us, (hello original Atkins) until someone else decided that it was fat that made us fat. Low carb, gluten free, juice fasts and the ultimate extremes of Master Cleanse have all had their moment in the sun. Packaged and portioned meals, ala Jenny Craig, or group diets, like Weight Watchers have become large national chains that could rival McDonalds. At the end of the day, we just need to learn how to eat healthfully, and embrace it as a way of life, not a temporary diet. Easier said than done.

I am usually a healthy eater, but lately, I seem to keep going off track. I become so restricted in my eating that I end up binging afterwards. I keep gaining and losing the same few pounds, which come off slowly and come back quickly. When I am restrictive, my stomach settles down, starts to flatten out and I sleep better. Once I start eating more “normally,” I experience bloat, wake up in the night with a burning belly and have trouble staying asleep. This week, after one stressful day of poor eating and not enough sleep,powering through my workout was more difficult than usual. I am ready to embark upon a change for the better.
Whether it is referred to as an eating detox, Paleo, FODMAP, or Whole 30 plan, many nutritionists recommend a period of eliminating foods that could potentially cause inflammation, leading to gastrointestinal issues, sleep disturbances, skin problems or sluggishness.

This week I am going to give it a try. I am going to eliminate dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes,        (including beans and soy products,) wheat, and grains, while concentrating on pure, whole foods, such as seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. Lean cuts of meat are also allowed, but I choose not to eat them.

The premise is resetting our minds to eliminate cravings for foods that aren’t good for us, while allowing all of the things that may be making us unwell to exit our bodies. At the end of the elimination period, which is recommended from anywhere from 2 weeks to 30 days,(or a lifetime if you go Paleo.) depending on the plan, one should add back the things they eliminated and missed, slowly and in moderation, to evaluate how they feel. Many find that dairy, or wheat does not bother them at all, where others react immediately to reintroduced foods. The ultimate goal is to find a way of eating that works best for you on a long term, sustainable basis.

I am going to start out with a seven day goal, and hope that at the end of the week I will want to keep going. Many people have attested that the first week is the hardest, and they don’t start to reap the benefits until they are well into week two, and then its downhill from there.  I don’t think I eat enough sugar, or drink enough alcohol or coffee to experience any withdrawl symptoms that some have recounted, but it won’t be easy to live with others who are not doing this with me. I am ready, and I am going for it. In writing this, I just shared my plan with a whole lot of people, so the pressure is on me not to fail.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Who wants to join me for on a journey for more energy, better skin, better sleep, and a healthier all around relationship with food? Let do this!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Welcoming A New Era

June 26, 2015

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage is legal and recognized by all 50 states. Love wins!! Let there be cake!

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For information regarding this cake, and other sweet treats, please visit indigo jones eats.

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Tight Pants Syndrome

June 25, 2015

Everything is a health risk these days: too much sitting, too much vigourous exercise, food and chemical issues too great to even consider listing ( although we have written about many of them.) Where does it end?
This week, the internet is flooded with warnings about skinny jeans. Seriously?
The incident refers to an Australian woman who was hospitalized after spending the day squatting in her skinnies while helping friends move. As the day wore on, her jeans began to feel tighter, as her ankles and feet began to swell. Apparently, the constriction of her jeans compressed major nerves in her knees and calves, ultimately cutting off blood flow to her lower legs and feet. After a brief hospitalization, we are happy to report that she is fully recovered from her ordeal.

While this was a real and serious incident, it is not something that is widespread. Skinny jeans have enjoyed their heyday for many years now. Most jeans, especially the skinny ones, have spandex in them to give them a little stretchability and help them retain their shape. No one, regardless of their figure, should be wearing pants so tight that they cut off their circulation. That said, squatting for hours on end is not a comfortable position to be in, and can cause issues regardless of your wardrobe choices. We have been reporting on the flare jean taking over the fashion scene. Perhaps this is your impetus to try them out!

Although this is a true story, it reminded us of a very funny episode from the now defunct Disney TV show, “Sonny With a Chance.”

Watch a clip here:

 

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I Can’t Even

June 24, 2015

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I hate to travel. Especially by air. Don’t get me wrong, I love to explore new places. Getting there…not so much.
Frequent readers know about my travel woes. It isn’t a pretty tale.

Today, I got up at 4:45 a.m. to catch a flight to Toronto for a meeting. Now, 16 hours later,here I sit in the airport in Toronto, trying to get home. First,our 8:25 p.m. flight was ontime. Then, suddenly delayed until 10:15. A few minutes later someone decided we should board at 8:30 in case they can get us out earlier. Earlier storms left La Guardia even more backed up then usual. So soon, we shall shut off our laptops and sit on a cramped, stuffy plane and wait.

I have nothing witty to say. I have no wisdom to share. I am tired, cranky, stressed and want to go home. The golden age of travel is clearly tarnished. Global climate change isn’t making it any better. Perhaps if I click my heels together and repeat the words “There’s no place like home” three times, something good might come of it. What the hell, nothing else is working.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Ice Cream Storage

June 23, 2015

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Storing ice cream can be a challenge. We find it is often too hard to scoop, and needs to sit on the counter to thaw a bit before it can be enjoyed. When time is of the essence, (“gotta have it NOW!”) it can be microwaved for very short spurts until it softens a little.

Once it goes back into the freezer, ice crystals start to form as it refreezes, reducing the quality and taste.

There are a few rememdies, that can keep your ice cream fresh and ready to eat at a moments notice.

Many suggest storing the ice cream container in a zip lock plastic bag, sealed tightly with the excess air let out, as a solution to keeping it as soft as it was when you purchased it. Many also suggest that it doesn’t work.

When we make our own ice cream, we lay a piece of wax paper right on the surface before coverering it with something more air tight. This keeps the ice crystals from forming. If you can get a smooth enough area to lay down the wax paper on your store bought ice cream after scooping, it will help. Just be sure to replace the lid as well.

Dipping the scoop in hot water drying it off will help it glide more easily through the frozen mass.

If your ice cream freezes rock hard, put it in the refrigerator at the beginning of your meal. When dessert time rolls around, it should be scoopable.

Last but not least, buy smaller quantities, and polish it off in one sitting!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Salad Dressing

June 22, 2015

Today, I officially got tired of my regular repertoire of vinaigrettes. I have been making them for so long, that I was craving something with a little more texture to pour over my greens. We love avocado, so it was only fitting that I used it to create a creamy, flavorful dressing without any eggs or mayonaise. You can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to make this silky smooth avocado dressing in a matter of minutes.

Avocado Dressing:

Scoop the flesh out of a ripe avocado and discard the skin and pit. Add the juice of one lemon, and a small clove of garlic, and puree. Drizzle in olive oil until the dressing smoothes out and becomes thin enough to pour over a salad. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and enjoy on top of the salad of your choice.

To customize this basic dressing, add fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro and puree them until they are mixed into the dressing.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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A Dose of Healthy Motivation

June 18, 2015

Fitness and nutrition is a big topic around here at Indigo Jones, and we believe that working out, staying strong and eating well are the keys to good health.

I was inspired by the folks at ETB Fit   to share a little bit about my workout regime, how I stay motivated and fueled.

Here a few of my personal tips to get you going:

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Prioritize your workout as you would anything else in your life. You wouldn’t just simply not show up for work, school or a doctor’s appointment just because you weren’t feeling it. Schedule time to exercise and respect the commitment you made to your body and yourself by adhering to it. Unless you are sick, injured or truly unable to make it, get your butt to the gym!

Find something you like to do, and you are more likely to do it. While I don’t love every aspect of my workout while I am doing it, once it is over I feel accomplished and eager to do it again. I like to work hard and sweat. I would opt for a tough, noisy spinning class over yoga any day. I hate overly choreographed, dance type classes, but love the adrenelin rush of bootcamp and circuit training. I also like putting on my headphones and hitting the weight room or running a few miles in solitude to center myself. Find something that you enjoy, and do it!

 

4270900130_compShake it up. While my repertoire of workouts is consistent, I don’t do the same thing two days in a row, and try to make each workout a little different from the last. I take indoor cycling classes 3-4 times per week, lift weights 2-3 times per week, run and take high intensity interval weight training class once a week. I work with two different cycling instructors who push me past my limits each time, and change up their classes frequently. I vary the exercises, the order,the weight and amount of reps when strength training. While running is not my favorite pastime, mixing it in makes a difference in my endurance level and burns more fat. I schedule one full rest day each week, and allow two if my schedule is crazy.

Listen to your body. Sometimes, I feel like I need more cardio, and other times I feel exhausted. Once you start to know your body really well, it will guide you to what you need. Pushing past a little workout soreness often makes me feel better. Pushing through true pain always ends in disaster. If I am feeling really run down, I will schedule a more gentle workout. On a day when my legs are maxed out, I will concentrate on upper body and abs to give them a rest. A stroll on the elliptical is a really low impact way to move without over exerting myself. The foam roller is a good friend, and using it helps massage away all the kinks and tightness. Keeping my appointment with myself is key, but being kind to myself is of equal importance.

 

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Get up and go! I find hitting the gym first thing in the morning is best for me. I get my workout in before the diversions and excuses of the day get a chance to take over. If you can’t bear working out in the morning, pack you gym bag in advance and make sure you go later.

You are the best form of transportation. I am lucky to live in a big city where I can walk everywhere. Just getting where I need to go each day can easily rack up the recommended 10,000 steps or close to 5 miles. Before you hail the cab, jump on the subway or bus, or get into the car to go a short distance, consider walking or biking it instead.

Nutrition is key. Whoever said that good abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room was absolutely right. All that exercise can easily be over powered by a bad diet. I joke that I am scrupulous about my nutrition except when I’m not. To me, that means eating an extremely healthy diet most of the time, and allowing a few splurges along the way. Life is too short not to have a little fun!

Coconut Cookies

I often ask myself which I would rather have, a cookie ( slice of pizza, bowl of pasta, etc.) or a 6-pack. Sometimes the cookie (or several of them) wins. When I get too far off track, I start to have digestive issues, and a spare tire. That is when I do a total reset and just rely on lean protien for a few days to get me back to healthy eating. A squirt of sriracha here and there helps lesson the boredom of it.

In the morning, before I go to the gym, I start with something light, but high in protien. That is either plain Greek yogurt, or a smoothie made with a few handfuls of fruit, water and some protein powder. While the tenents of good nutrition are what they are, I have learned to listen to my body about this as well. I do best with a diet high in protein, and very low in carbs and sugar. Although I don’t eat red meat, I do eat a lot of fish, seafood, eggs and a little chicken. I love pasta and bread but frankly, it doesn’t love me. It puffs up my belly and causes almost instant weight gain. I am not a nutritionist, or a doctor, but I do know that avoiding refined carbs makes me look and feel a whole lot better than when I eat them. Figure out what your body likes and doesn’t and feed it appropriately. Just remember, pizzatarian is not a “thing,” and french fries with ketchup are not really good vegetable choices.

When I am eating restrictively, I take a multivitamin each day to make sure I am getting the nutrients my body needs.

 

 

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I avoid eating things that come in packages. Low fat, low carb or low sugar packaged foods almost always use something unhealthy to replace the good stuff. I would rather splurge on the real deal, than eat chemical laden, high calorie versions. I prefer to make my own soups and sauces, and try to steer clear of processed foods. I prepare most meals at home, and take my lunch to the office. That way, I have food when I want it, that is pure and healthy.

I snack on nuts, yogurt or hummus and vegetables. With a high activity level, I need to refuel to keep my blood sugar and energy levels high. I have found it is better to have a snack in the afternoon, than to go home starving and shovel the first thing I can find into my mouth.

I drink water during my workouts to stay hydrated, but I know I don’t drink nearly enough. I sip on green tea throughout the day, starting with matcha, and tapering off to decaffeinated versions by mid afternoon. I never drink soda, or waste calories on fruit juices. I love a glass of wine, and try to limit it to the weekends, or nights out.

I record my activity and food intake in an online journal. That helps me keep track of how much I am eating, and holds me accountable for the good and the not so good choices. It is also is a way for me to make sure I am taking in enough calories when I am eating more restrictively.

Being healthy, fit and looking and feeling great are top priorities for me. You don’t need to spend all day in the gym or only eat lettuce to achieve them. If you find your passion for wellness and embrace it, the rest will follow!

Fitness photos: Glasshouse Images

Cookie photo: Spencer Jones /Glasshouse Images

Protein powder photo: courtesty of ETB Fit

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Summer Fashion Update

June 17, 2015

Now that the weather has officially changed, we are searching our closets for the perfect items to look modern, fashionable and cool as a cucumber in the humidity.

This season, there are a few “must haves” that we are lusting for. Early adopters may have them already, but for the rest of us, these items are becoming this season’s go-tos.

Jumpsuits: These have been floating around for a couple of seasons now, but this year, they are primed to take over for the maxi dress.Look for one with ease and fluidity that can be dressed up or down. Add a jacket for polish, and you can take this trend all the way to the office. Instead of shorts on the weekend, opt for a printed one piece romper.

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Add a heel and great accessories for a sexy yet chic look.

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Fluid and asymmetrical in white

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Fun, casual romper in an indigo print

Culottes: This one is a bit controvertial, since people either love them or hate them. For us, it is about finding the right proportion for your body that suits your personal style.

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Add a blazer and heels to a modern take on culottes

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Keep it classic with this tailored culottes and a flat loafers

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Get sexy with a cropped top and strappy heels

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Relax the look with an oversized shirt

Flare leg jeans: We posted about these recently, but the skinny jean is taking a back seat to this new shape, reminiscent of the 1970’s. Wear them full length with a chunky heel, or crop them a bit and wear a flat sandal.

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Denim flares and a soft silk blouse

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Classic flares with a striped tee

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Crisp white flares with a soft denim shirt

 

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Fringed flats that lace up the leg

A little fringe: The 70’s were the biggest influence on the runways, and fringe showed up everywhere. While fringed suede skirts and jackets were prevelent, as was the long fringed shoulder bag, we are looking to be a little more subtle. We love the idea of a fringed shoe to take our look to the next level.

 

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Sexy red suede

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Beachy boho sandals with tonal tassels

What are your summer must haves this season?

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Nut Butters

June 16, 2015

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Once nut butters, such as peanut butter or almond butter are opened, they should be stored in the refrigerator. This often makes them hard to stir, or scoop out of the jar.

To avoid the “oil on the top, hard as a rock on the bottom” situation, store unopened nut butters upside down in the cupboard before opening. The nut butter will slip away from the jar, making it much easier to stir.

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