So I don’t know about you but there is something about autumn that makes me crave some good ‘ol fashioned popcorn – while relaxing in comfy clothes and watching a movie.
But I cannot get over how toxic some of these microwaveable popcorn bags are with the overloaded fake butter or the copious amounts of salt. Plus think about how long those things sit on the shelf before you buy them! And the worst part is if you do make those – half of the bag is left unpopped!
So of course I have tinkered away to find the best recipe for popcorn at home using only 2 ingredients and my trusty instant pot! It is ready in about the same time as the microwave and I can customize the final product however I want – plain, real butter, salt & pepper, caramel…
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (yellow, purple…any will do)
2 tbs coconut oil
Select “Sauté” on your Instant Pot
Wait till the display reads “Hot”
Add coconut oil and melt completely
Add kernels and mix in the oil so they are all coated
Cover your IP with a lid (standard pot or regular lid)
Make sure your lid is set to vent and NOT seal – you are not building up pressure for this recipe!
Wait about 3 minutes or until the popping has almost stopped
Uncover and enjoy!
And nope – you do not taste the coconut oil. And yep – I have tried other oils but coconut has been the best. Why? Because you need a high temperature oil that will not burn -that’s why olive oil or butter wouldn’t work. Avocado and ghee have had some success but nothing like coconut oil.
I also posted a quick video on the Video page if you want to check that out!
So are you going to give this a try? Let me know below or on my IG if you do and how it turns out!
While under quarantine, I was craving a little something extra. Knowing that I shouldn’t go out for anything frivolous, I decided to search through the cabinets for what I could make to nip that little craving while not disrupting the work day.
Low and behold, I had all the ingredients to make a simple, and QUICK, boba tea. With little fuss, I made four servings in just about 10 minutes from start to finish!
Add 1 cup of boba + 1.5 cups of water +1/4 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)
Cook on Manual (high pressure) for 2 minutes
Natural release for 5 minutes and then manually release
Remove boba and let it cool
Make tea concentrate
I used 4 bags of Earl Grey and 1 strainer of loose White Coconut tea and 2 cups of water
Cook for 4 minutes manual (high pressure) and then quick release
Spoon boba into a glass, add ice, add 1/4 of tea and fill up with milk
You are also able to watch my video for a walkthrough on how I made this delicious afternoon delight! Just click on my “Video” tab above!
So inquiring minds want to know… With the world experiencing this pandemic together and social distancing becoming the new norm, what are you doing to keep your life “normal”? Have you tried any new recipes?
As you may already know, I have been pushing myself to exercise daily this month and am also moving, so I wanted to find a good and healthy way to keep my inflammation down, boost my recovery period, and, as a total bonus, ward off cancer-causing free radicals while reducing any early onsets of arthritis! So what am I talking about?Turmeric!
Golden milk, or golden lattes (if you are going to a fancy cafe), is a blend of turmeric with other boosting ingredients that, combined, are really beneficial for your health! Some of the other benefits of this turmeric-based drink (usually consumed hot) are that it improves memory, improves blood pressure while reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol, and soothes an upset tummy!
So while I was at Target last week and I came across a pre-packaged “golden latte” concentrate that you can add milk and drink at home – for a quarter of the price you’d pay at a cafe. But I still couldn’t bring myself to purchase the concentrate because I literally had all the ingredients at home! So this morning I experimented with my own variation of a “golden latte” smoothie and I am pleasantly surprised!!
The ingredients are simple. Mostly because I had already packed a good portion of my kitchen items, but also because a golden latte is supposed to be a simple concoction that is good for you! So what’s in that shake?
1 small banana
3 cups of coconut milk (or 1:1 of almond milk and coconut water)
4 tablespoons of good quality turmeric powder
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ginger paste (or 1.5 tablespoons powder)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
My go-to Combat Protein scoop
1 tablespoon of Maca powder
1 scoop of Collagen powder Blend and enjoy!
So you can make this a hot beverage for a nighttime drink (or in lieu of coffee for all you rebels out there) by combining all of the ingredients above (minus the protein, maca, and collagen), blending and then heating them up in a saucepan. You can also add cayenne pepper for a kick that also helps boost metabolism and some honey to make this a sweet treat that is also antimicrobial!
So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried golden milk or a golden latte yet? Do you normally consume turmeric? What do you take to help you recover faster from a workout??
While everyone says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I say that lunch should be the biggest!
Some of you know that I am on a healthy journey and trying to lose some weight that stress, moving, and the holidays have all packed on. One of the changes I wanted to make was to take a page from the Mediterranean diet and make lunch my biggest meal. This helps me to eat and burn. In other words, I am not going to bed after eating a large meal and letting my body turn those calories into sugar which adds to those hips! By eating a larger meal at lunch, I am active for hours following which means those calories are absorbed as energy instead!
So one of the best things about living in California is the abundance of produce no matter what time of the year! After a trip to the grocery store this past weekend, I came home with a receipt that was way too long but managed to scoop out some great items! One of which was these amazing red bell peppers. So what to do with these sweet treats?
Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Grounded Turkey and Basmati Rice
4 large green bell peppers
1½ teaspoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
6 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 pound lean ground turkey
1½ cups cooked basmati rice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce, (1 cup), divided
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (add more to taste)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Make sure that your Basmati rice is cooked al dente. Remember that it will cook a little more in the peppers!
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Hollow out the peppers by cutting out stem ends of bell peppers; I saved the tops to put on top for decoration. Scoop out seeds.
Make sure the bottom of your large nonstick skillet is coated with olive oil. Heat the oil in over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, and garlic and cook, until the onions are soft (about 3-5 minutes). Add turkey mixing with the onions, shallots, and garlic, just until it looks brownish, about 2-4 minutes.
Add precooked Basmati rice and mix with turkey. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce and continue to mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff the peppers with the mixture, leaving behind any fat and place them in an oven-safe dish like a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes to finish cooking the meat and rice mixture. Then cover and finish baking for 10-15 minutes until peppers are tender.
So inquring minds want to know… Are you going to try this recipe? Have you made something similar? Do you have any go-to meals that you make for dinner/lunch? Tag me on your IG if you try this recipe or your own variation of it – @ms_bella_daniela!
So back on August 20th, I wrote about a way that I am trying to cut back on excessive spending when it comes to my groceries, reducing waste with unused food, and reallocating time that was previously spent running from store to store. Well, 2 weeks in and going on to week 3, I wanted to share an update! Also, I want to add that this is not sponsored.
When I posted about HomeChef in my New Take on Groceries post, I wasn’t sure what to expect – honestly. I grew up with a mom that worked fulltime but also cooked every week. She taught me to love cooking and that the kitchen is all about organized chaos. She taught me that a little of this and a pinch of that were real measurements for ingredients. She taught me that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And with all of those lessons, I learned about cultural foods, how to basically cook for an army (I am having a really hard time cooking for just 2), and how cooking can bring people together. So when I decided to take a leap into these pre-planned meals, I thought I was shaming my up-bringing. I was not going out and buying my groceries, one cucumber at a time. I was not examining my produce or selecting that portioned ground beef (you know, the one that was priced $6.98 and not $7.02). I was not coming up with my own concoctions. I was not experimenting or playing with food. I honestly felt slightly ashamed.
But I knew I had to do something to help my husband and I cut down on cost, cut down on overindulgence, and reallocate time that has become so precious and so limited (working fulltime, going to school fulltime, and managing some personal side projects really take a toll). So I told myself that this is an experiment so the scientist in me could rationalize the change and took the plunge.
As I mentioned, my first order was curtesy of a promotion code and subsequent orders would cost a bit more but still be less than what we normally would spend on just the groceries themselves. I did a breakdown in my earlier post (you can find it here). So to date, these are the expenses we have incurred for any and all groceries:
Now, I have to admit that some of the local grocery shopping was for our pups who eat home-cooked food which we mix with their kibble, but for the sake of the cost analysis, we will include it. Additionally, there were some expenses that were for work functions, but I cannot find that recent and it was partially reimbursed so we will exclude that. I also excluded non-food items like hand soap, detergents or aluminum foil (Costco for the win though). Also, I had cooked a storm before we started this so we had a LOT of food in the freezer so, for those 2 days when we didn’t have a HomeChef meal, we still had food without having to go out to eat or scramble for last-minute ingredients.
So if we look at what I had predicted for expenses for a month, we will go over $500 in groceries BUT we have had less waste, less time spent shopping (hence my weekend of homework), less gas running from store to store, and less stress during the week. In fact, I opened my fridge this morning and realized it was basically empty – and by empty, I mean full of milk, eggs, and those other staples but not full of food in every Pyrex we own.
Yes, we still have to make some additional improvements but overall, this is still a savings for us. On a given month, we could easily surpass $600 in groceries alone.
Now, let’s talk about the food itself.
I am still feeling guilty about not having my mother’s recipes sprawled about the counter or making up my own concoctions, but I have to say that some of these meals are going to become part of our regular meal rotation when this little experiment is over!
The food is really quite good and I am still able to play with the recipe a little bit – mostly because we cut out a lot of salt (some of these have 50% of your daily intake!). My husband and I also still cook together, most days. And on those days we aren’t cooking together, the recipes are simple enough that one can cook and the other can do homework or personal tasks and he doesn’t yell at me that “a little of that” doesn’t mean anything! Most importantly, we eat together, at the dinner table, and have 1 serving – and we aren’t hungry!
I am currently editing my first unboxing video of the HomeChef delivery, which comes every Tuesday for us and is well packed! So stay tuned as I hope to have that up this weekend.
And just to leave you with an idea on the meals we have had…
So inquiring minds want to know… How important is home cooking in your household? Do you eat out often? If so, how often? How do you manage your budget with groceries?
In keeping up with the theme of getting and staying healthy, I have been trying out new dishes in the kitchen. Some of the recipes are old favorites and some are new! For me, the kitchen and cooking are stress relievers so I always like to try something new.
So I was craving some pasta (and yes I use organic pasta with gluten regularly) but I did not want anything heavy as my sauce or tomato-y. I needed to be creative with limited ingredients and time -I was not about to start cooking a full gourmet dinner at 7-something at night.
I made a quick homemade avocado sauce that was light but very flavorful! It can be served cold like a pasta salad but I did serve it warm last night!
1 Large Haas Avocado 1/4-1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt 2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 3 Cloves Garlic (minced) 1.5 Tbsp Onion Powder Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Mash and mix everything together (you can put it in the food processor for a creamier sauce). Top and serve!
Both my husband and I cleaned up the bowl! It was great especially on a warm/hot night for something light. It was high in good cholesterol, easy to digest, flavorful, and with low/no salt.
Inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried a new recipe for an old favorite? Are you an avocado lover or is it not your cup of tea??
Instead of downing a third (*or more*) cup of coffee this morning, I opted to make a smoothie with a little variation and a hint of caffeine! This one takes a little prep work, but the final result was a big hit! I can only imagine how much better this would be with fall temperatures outside instead of 90s…
Now bare in mind that the recipe below equated to about 4-12oz servings so you will want to customize this for your own serving size.
Ingredients: 6 bags of chai tea (I used Tazo tea bags) 4 Tbsp of chia seeds 1 whole cinnamon stick (I broke it in half) 8 cups of water 1 banana 2 scoops SuperGreens 2 scoops Combat Protein Powder 2 Tbsp Maca Powder 1 scoop collagen powder 2 Tbsp flax powder 8 oz almond milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Original) Ice
The night before – I used my handy-dandy Instant Pot to cook my chai tea base by filling my 6qt with 8 cups of cold water, 1 cinnamon stick, and 6 bags of chai tea. I “cooked” it for 6 minutes and let it naturally release. Once the pin dropped, I scooped out the tea bags and cinnamon sticks and added 4 tbsp of chia seeds, covered the pot and stuck it in the fridge. The morning of – Mix the rest of the ingredients, along with the now cold chai tea and ENJOY!
In honor of the hot temperatures and Independence Day, I decided to do a patriotic smoothie blend this morning that is quite refreshing and delicious! This is definitely a good way to kick off the festivities, especially since I will be on “smoothie vacation” the rest of the week!
Today’s concoction looks purple but is chalk full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is naturally sweet with a hint of a tang from the berries. I made it this morning in my NutriBullet and for my 32oz bottle and it took me less than 5 minutes from start to finish!
Ingredients: 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup strawberries 1/3 cup blackberries 1/8 cup coconut chips (unsweetened from Trader Joe’s) 1/4 cup beets (I buy the frozen pack from Trader Joe’s) 12 oz of coconut water 8 oz of almond milk 1 scoop protein 1 scoop collagen powder 1 scoop of Power Greens 1 tbsp Maca powder
I really can tell that these smoothies have been helpful in my day to day life and in my health journey. Between, and yes this is oversharing but we are all family here, being more regular to the increase in energy to the curbed food cravings, I really look forward to my morning smoothie.
Do you have any plans for the 4th of July? Any go-to recipes for the holiday that I should try? Are you going to give this recipe a try?? Comment below!
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but alas, the time has come!
With a lot going on in my life, finances, traveling, reorganization, and, if we are being honest, the need for more time for myself, I must bid adieu to the “Smoothie Club”. But fear not! The Smoothie recipes, especially the new recipes I try (like an upcoming Chia Latte or Maple or Pumpkin in the coming months) will be posted on here. Like today’s simple yet satisfying smoothie:
Vanilla Coffee Latte: – 1 Cup black coffee – 1 Cup Almond Milk – 1 Scoop Protein Powder (I use Combat Protein Powder) – 1 Tbsp Maca Powder – 1 Tbsp Grounded Flax – 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract – 1 Tsp Grounded Cinnamon – 1 Scoop Collagen Powder – 1/2 Banana – Ice
For several months now, I have had a number of my friends ask me to make them the shakes that I drink as they have noticed a significant difference in my physique, my energy levels, and my skin. I had no problem with helping them on their journeys as well, so was born the “Smoothie Club”. However, there is always a cost associated with these smoothies…and time. Now I may sound a little conceited but my time is valuable and I need time to focus on many juggling priorities including my well being. So while I continue to write content about a healthy lifestyle, I need to practice what I preach.
In fact, I will be starting my workout regimen on here which has been super basic but yielded high results. I will also be adding some food recipes including some video footage – just bear with me as I am still no YouTube sensation! Additionally, I will be showcasing some other exciting content including my recent financial health series and some tried & true tests which will include my personal review of items from makeup to skin care to hair care and so much more.
So I hope you continue to join me on my journey for a healthy lifestyle and all the components thereof including financial, mental, physical, and spiritual! And if there are any topics or products you would like for me to look into, please let me know in the comments below!
As a part of “No Spend Week”, I had to start getting a little creative with my dinner options. By time Sunday came around, I was out of quick fixes and a lot of random food items. What does one do with two cups of mixed dry beans or a single can of crushed tomatoes?
Well…let me re-introduce to my friend the Instant Pot. I had no protein defrosted and a lot of dry ingredients that needed to soak and soften like rice. So I kind of adapted a “dump” recipe and made my own little concoction!
Ingredients: 3 chicken breast (frozen is okay) 2 cups of rice (I use brown basmati) 2 cups of dry mixed beans (like what you would use for chili) 1 12oz can of crushed tomatoes (no salt added) 5 cups of chicken broth (no or low sodium) 1 16oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans) 1 tbsp of cumin 1 tbsp of smoked paprika 1 tbsp of black pepper 1 tbsp of red pepper flakes 1 tbsp of turmeric Shredded cheese & lite sour cream optional
Soak 2 cups of dry mixed beans in water. Drain before cooking.
Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the instant pot and place the chicken breast (skip this part if using fresh chicken). Cook on manual and sealed for 8 minutes. If chicken isn’t fully cooked, that’s okay – you will cook it again. Quick release.
Add 3 cups of chicken broth to instant pot. Add drained beans and rice. Add cumin, smoked paprika, pepper, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Cook on manual (or rice button if you have it) for 10 minutes. Quick release. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot well!
Add chicken to instant pot with rice and beans. Cube chicken if preferred or shred. Add frozen mixed greens. Add 1 cup of chicken broth. Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes. Seal and cook on manual for 5 minutes. Quick release.
If you get the “BURN” notice, that means that the rice stuck to the bottom of the pot. You need to scrap the bottom and create a hole in the middle to allow pressure to build.
Plate and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.