Pumpkin Juice & diy Pumpkin Facial

What to do when you are housebound at Halloween?  Well, if you’re stranded but not truly impacted by a hurricane, here is a skin-sensational way to fill a few hours.

I’ve got a few pumpkins sitting around… not a fan of pumpkin pie etc., but I know pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene, vitamins C, E and zinc – all very important components of any skin care regimen.

I started my pumpkin skin care regimen by juicing a pumpkin. I was a little scared of how it would taste, but I added some fresh cinnamon – yummm….and it was an easy way to add beta-carotene, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, and E, potassium and magnesium to my diet!  All of those nutrients are important to the health of your skin. 

Then, I took the pumpkin pulp leftover from juicing and made a diy pumpkin facial mask packed powerful antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids – a great way to exfoliate and moisturize.

Yes, this facial is a bit time-consuming.  However…I am amazed every time I use this pumpkin facial mask recipe.

The exfoliating fruit acid enzymes in fresh pumpkin exfoliate dead skin cells and leave your skin glowing.

I add raw, organic manuka honey to my recipe – raw honey is antibacterial and a natural humectant (promotes the retention of moisture).

If you skin is very oily, you can add a tiny bit of lemon juice to the recipe.  Lemon juice is a natural astringent.

DIY Pumpkin Facial

1/4 cup fresh pumpkin

1 tbsp manuka honey (or any raw, organic honey)

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp fresh aloe

Directions

Blend all ingredients together.  I used my Vita-mix to get a nice baby food consistency.  Apply pumpkin mask to face and neck. Avoid delicate areas of eyes and mouth.

Leave on for 15 -20 minutes.

Rinse and pat dry.

Leftover mask can be stored for a week in fridge. If you are pressed for time or pumpkins are out of season, you can use organic canned pumpkin in the recipe. Let me know if you give this diy pumpkin facial mask a try :)

egg-white scramble w/broccoli & tomato

My breakfast usually consists of green juice and coffee followed by a protein smoothie, but when the egg craving hits this recipe is one of my favorites….

egg-white scramble with broccoli and tomatoes

Eggwhite scramble with broccoli and tomatoes:

1 egg plus 2 egg whites for added protein

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

1/2  tomato, diced

fresh cilanto – chopped

(1 tbsp swiss cheese) – I’m not a fan of eating a lot of dairy, so whether or not I add this depends on the day.

I begin by sauteing the tomatoes and broccoli with al id on the pan, since the broccoli is a little chewy if it isn’t steamed.  I also use evoo in my pan for added flavor.  Can’t wait to enjoy!

Weeks 3 & 4: 100 Days of Fitness

I’ve completed 30% of my commitment to the 100 Days of Fitness challenge!

I am still enjoying it. There are some time-management challenges, for sure, but I always feel better after I fit in a walk or some gym time.

I won’t bore you with each and every workout I’ve completed in these past two weeks – I will save that for my fb group! But, through a combination of long walks (we are having a beautiful fall here in Maryland) and gym time with an extensive selection of music on my ipod, I’ve been able to stay on track.

When discussing this challenge with friends, quite a few say they have tried to start this challenge…they get to day 1, day 2, day 3…and then back to a new day 1.  I like the fact that they are trying to make this commitment, and maybe it’s just not right time for them to begin this challenge.

Aren’t we all just on day 1 of something?  Day 1 of being more organized, more tolerant, a better cook, more outspoken, less outspoken, a better parent, a better daughter, a better friend?  I definitely have goals where I always somehow seem to be on day 1.

Two big reasons for my ongoing success in this 100 day Fitness challenge:

1. I made it public.

2. I have support – from family, from longtime friends who continue to challenge me, and from others who are working to complete this same challenge.

What are some of the challenges you are working on?

Juicing recipe for radiant skin

I juice for many health benefits, but taking care of my skin is a bit of an obsession! When I have an upcoming event or night out, I blend a juice high in antioxidants to promote the health of my skin.

This skin superjuice recipe contains apples and blueberries plus carrots and cucumbers – all packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to protect my skin from free radical damage.

1 green apple

1 cup blueberries

1/2 large organic carrot

1 large cucumber

 

Apple – contains vitamin C and the antioxidant quercetin, which is known to help with inflammation in the body.  Both vitamin C and quercetin also assist with the production of collagen to keep skin looking healthy and radiant.

Blueberries – touted as a “super-food”, this delicious fruit is packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A and C.

Carrots – an obvious choice for any skin care recipe, carrots are rich in vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene (essential for tissue growth) and other antioxidants including vitamin C. Carrot juice also contains calcium and many of the B vitamins.

Cucumbers – packed with nutrition, including potassium plus vitamins A, K and C.

The juice recipe does contain many natural sugars, so I use it as an afternoon refresher –  not as a replacement for my morning green juice.  When juicing carrots, I use just a small amount of carrot juice to get a big dose of beta-carotene.

Let me know if you try this delicious, skin-conscious recipe.

Vitamix or Juicer – which is better?

I thought I had to make a choice, a decision.  I thought it might be time to free up some kitchen counter space and pick one of these amazing machines over the other.

How could I choose between my trusty Breville juicer that wakes me (and the entire house, apparently) each morning and my new, shiny and highly-touted Vita-mix?

I was not looking to be disloyal to the Breville, but the idea of less kitchen clutter was appealing.  But…after several years with my juicer and several weeks with the Vita-mix, I already know that I won’t be choosing between these two amazing machines.

I need both.

Why?  Well, I recently watched an awesome Vita-mix demo at the Whole Foods in Annapolis.  I was thinking this might be it – the one dream machine!  The skilled demonstrator made soups, smoothies, fresh nut butters and even ice cream in minutes.  I stood there for a long time, just to be sure I didn’t miss a juicing demo.

But, I wasn’t swayed to get rid of my juicer. Don’t get me wrong – I am only in the learning stages of my Vita-mix and I am hooked.  I’m making amazing smoothies and soups in a few minutes. The Vita-mix blades make it so much easier to use than previous blenders (no food getting stuck and re-stuck in the blades), and it blends smoothies to a perfect consistency. I can even sneak some fresh greens into my family’s smoothies without them knowing.  (tip: dark berries can conceal a small amount of greens, even spinach :) .

But, when making one of my super-green juices, I prefer my juicer.  The recipe book they provide does offer some green juice recipes, and if I was mainly juicing cucumbers and other watery fruits, I could get a nice, fresh juice out of my Vita-mix.

But I like so many deep, rich, leafy greens plus apples and cranberries in my morning juice, so I am sticking with my Breville. Yes, it takes time to make the juice, take the juicer apart, wash out all of the parts and put it back together each morning.  But, it quickly becomes just another part of the morning routine, like brushing and flossing, or grinding the fresh coffee beans.  And the benefits are huge – I am getting a ton of vitamins and anti-oxidants from swiss chard, watercress, kale, collards, dandelion greens and many other vegetables every day.

I like my juices free of pulp, so a clear, refreshing green juice is how I start the day.  I then add any leftover morning green juice to my Vita-mix – throw in an endless variety of fruits, vegetables, protein powder and ice to prepare my lunchtime or post-workout smoothie.

Final analysis:  Yes, my kitchen counter is going to remain cluttered.  Both machines are definitely an investment, but I don’t spend as much money eating out or buying prepared foods.

Now I have two amazing pieces of equipment to pack my day with fresh fruits, vegetables, vitamins and antioxidants! Visit both sites here:

http://www.brevilleusa.com/beverages/juicers.html 

https://www.vitamix.com/

Purple Potatoes

Look what I picked up at Restoration Foods, a new community supported market located on Rt 2 In Edgewater, MD.

purple potatoes, white sweet potatoes, yellow onions

These dark, rich colored potatoes are slighty nutty in flavor. They are also full of nutrients, including antioxidants you usually only find in berries and other blue or red produce.  Among the flavanoids (plant pigments that act as antioxidants) in purple potatoes is anthocyanin, known to be an immune system booster.  Colorful potatoes are a great addition to your diet as we enter the cold and flu season.

This dish couldn’t be easier – just slice all of the vegetables and added extra virgin olive oil for a delicious, colorful and locally-grown side dish.

Diffusing Rosemary

I have really been relying on the rosemary this week.  Today, I am diffusing Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT camphor) with Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) and the smell is amazing! There’s no doubt that fragrance is one of my favorites – whether I am cooking with the fresh herb or diffusing the essential oil.

Rosemary Essential Oil

I have been doing a lot of writing and computer work lately, and rosemary is my first choice when I want to be alert and focused. When researching this amazing oil, I found rosemary is used by many who wish to be working towards their destiny or purpose.  I like that, and I would put rosemary essential oil in my top five favorite oils!

Fresh and Healthy London

It’s amazing to me how I can walk outside of my flat (apartment) and grab fresh fruit and vegetables on the street at five or more different places before I even reach the tube station.  Londoners are always picking up a basket of fruit off the street and using their reusable shopping bags.  The prices are really good too, a large box of strawberries for one pound.

Another thing I’ve noticed is what Londoners buy at the grocery stores compared to Americans.  In America you’ll see people with tons of snack bags, frozen foods and the like, while in London people are buying lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats and not so many packaged things.

The thing about not having a car and living in the city is that you walk a ton.  Sure there’s the tube, but you still have to walk a distance to the tube station!  I guess the combination of the easy access to fresh produce, healthier grocery picks, and lots of walking explains why everyone here looks so in shape.

Exception: Their idea of breakfast.  I guess having french fries at breakfast isn’t that different than having home fries?

 Emily

The girl has landed!

Well, Emily has made her way to London!  Here we are as she gets ready to go:

Notice I went with the reading glasses, in case there was too much “welling up” for me to conceal.  I actually did ok…much better than the freshman dorm drop off.

Emily is blogging about her experiences in London here:

http://travelandtrenches.blogspot.com/

I enjoyed her most recent post about the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables just outside her dorm.  The wide selection of fresh and whole food choices in London makes it easier for her to manage the restrictions of a Celiac diet.

 

Cranberry Green Juice

I really enjoy the fall and all of the different fruits and vegetables available at the market, including the cranberry.  Today, I added some fresh cranberries to my morning green juice – delicious!

I like to vary the ingredients of my juices so I don’t get tired of drinking the same recipe over and over.  More importantly, I know adding different fruits and vegetables to my recipes will give my body the variety of nutrients it needs.

Why cranberries?  This rich, red fruit is high in vitamin C and vitamin K, and is a good source of antioxidants. Additionally, fresh cranberry juice has long been thought to help protect against urinary tract infections, and can help the body fight against inflammation.  As doctors have learned, inflammation in the body can be a risk factor for many different diseases.

Some experts say cranberry juice can even reduce dental plaque by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque to grow.

Here is my cranberry green juice recipe from this morning:

1 cucumber

½ cup fresh cranberries

1 slice of fresh lime

2 leaves, swiss chard

½ cup fresh parsley

A refreshing way to start a beautiful fall day.  Let me know if you give this recipe a try!