Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#fiveorless Challenge - Week 3 - Recipes

It's week 3 of the #fiveorless challenge and it's crazy to think I've made it this far. Don't get me wrong, with a dinner party two weeks ago and a wedding this past weekend, it hasn't been all quinoa and blueberries, but I have been eating unprocessed food about 95% of the time. I am getting less stomach aches and seem to have more energy which is AWESOME!

So, the theme for week 3 is learning to cook with unprocessed ingredients. This is actually perfect timing because when I asked last week if anyone was interested in some of the recipes I'd been making as part of the #fiveorless Challenge, several of you said you were. 

To be honest, making your own food is the easiest way to become aware of what you are putting into your body. For a couple of years now, I have been prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner for myself instead of eating out. It's extra work, but when trying to eat healthier, it's incredibly helpful. 

And so, without further ado, here are some of the recipes I've been making the past few weeks using unprocessed ingredients. Many of my other recipes qualify for this challenge either as-is or with minor tweaks so check them out here.

  • Replace the shredded coconut with chia seeds

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  • Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

  • Watermelon slices, about 1 inch thick
  • Arugula
  • Feta cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Place sliced watermelon on plate
  • Mix together arugula, balsamic vinegar, olive oil in small bowl
  • Place arugula mix on watermelon, top with feta, salt and pepper

Deconstructed Pesto Salad

Vegetable Fajitas

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 orange bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 packages sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground chipotle peppers
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Corn tortillas
  • Slice up bell peppers and onion about 1/2 inch thick
  • Mix bell peppers, onions, mushrooms with cumin seeds, chipotle peppers and coconut oil in a bowl
  • Place items on griddle and grill for about 10 minutes, mixing/tossing often
  • After vegetables are cooked, place on warm tortillas and enjoy!

What about you all? Any recipes you've tried as part of the challenge and loved? Share them in the comments!

Xo J

Monday, September 15, 2014

Black Tie Wedding

This past weekend my husband and I attended a black tie wedding at the lovely Boon Hotel + Spa in Guerneville, CA (northern wine country). The couple had decided on black tie for the dress code with the added flair of "James Bond in the Woods." With such a fun theme, I knew I had to go big.

While the idea of actually purchasing a fabulous black tie dress was tempting, the reality is that I only attend black tie events like once every two years, so it just didn't make sense. Luckily for me, Rent the Runway has a bazillion black tie dress options. After an extensive search, I decided on this edgy yet elegant Cut25 number. I paired it with a messy undo and gold accessories to really punch things up. It was so fun to dress up!

Cut 25 Dress from Rent the Runway (sign up here if you aren't signed up already),
Kenneth Jay Lane Earrings (similar here, less expensive versions here, here and here), Hermes H Cuff, Jimmy Choo Heels (less expensive options here, here and here)

I had to include one pic of this cool dude looking in his tux.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Army Girl

Rocking my new Hinge army jacket. Obvs my hair was not suitable for a photo today.

It would appear that after several seasons in style, the army jacket/coat/vest is here to stay. I am super jazzed that I have the perfect vest from Old Navy and coat from Target, but the one piece that's always alluded me is the army jacket. However, there are tons of options out there this season and I recently found one that I thought would be perfect and at $88, you can't beat the price. Here are some other options if you're in the market too.

Hinge, ASOS, Press

 Looking for an army vest or coat? I've got you covered too :)

Ambition, Velvet

ASOS, Joie, Gap

Have any favorites? I might need to start saving my pennies for the Joie coat <3

Xo J

Monday, September 8, 2014

#fiveorless Challenge - Week 2

I'm not going to lie, the first few days of the #fiveorless challenge were REALLY hard. I found myself having to give up some of my favorite things, like gum, because they had too many ingredients or ingredients that I couldn't pronounce. It was rough, but once I got the swing of things around day 4, I was feeling good. Actually surprisingly good. I felt like I had more energy, less stomach issues, and just all around better.

I was good all weekend until a hangover and dinner party struck on Sunday. I totally get what Kat was saying now about almost having a hangover from eating processed food! I slept terribly last night and had a stomach ache today. The good news is that I am back on the plan and have all of my meals planned out for the rest of the week. I'm looking forward to getting back to how I felt on day 4!

So while week 1 was all about finding out what was really in your food, week 2 is about using that power for good. It's time to purge your pantry! Now that you know what foods you can't eat, I suggest going shopping to replace those foods with unprocessed/healthier options. Here are some switches that I personally made:
  • Replaced shaved or shredded cheeses with organic block cheeses.*
  • Replaced my favorite Quaker mini rice cakes for these organic ones.
  • Replaced overly processed peanut butter with organic, two ingredient peanut butter.
  • Replaced overly processed whole wheat tortillas with corn tortillas.

I also found some new recipes to try that abide by the challenge. Would you all be interested in some of the ones I tried? LMK in the comments section and I can post them!

Xo J and K

PS Don't forget to tag your pics with the hashtag #fiveorless so we can see your progress! @tartanandsequins @fitgirlskitchen

*Now some schools of thought say that cheese is a no-go for challenges like these. I am in the school of thought though that if the cheese is organic and doesn't contain any ingredients that I can't pronounce, then it's okay. I mean it's cheese, let's not get too carried away ;P

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Button-Down Blouses for Fall

This fall, I think I may need to tuck my beloved v-necks away in favor of the more polished button-down. I love the elegance and polish that a good button-down blouse brings. Add in a pair of fabulous flats, boots or heels, and you are GOLDEN. I've already started stocking up on some good ones, like this Equipment one, for fall and have my eye on some of these beauts:

J.Crew, Banana Republic, Mango

Madewell, ASOS, Equipment

I think I need the lavender J.Crew, one of the Bananas and the plaid Equipment in my closet stat!

Xo J

Monday, September 1, 2014

#fiveorless Challenge

As you all know, I take my health pretty seriously. About two years ago, I started focusing a lot more on what I ate and my workout routine. I eat a vegetarian, high fruit/vegetable diet with a good balance of healthy fats, and I'm working on my proteins. I work out 5-6 times a week with a combo of pilates, running and spinning.

However, as I mentioned in this post, I've noticed my energy depleting. In addition, and I don't think I've discussed this on the blog before, but I have some not-so-fabulous stomach issues. I've seen doctors and had tests but no one has been able to figure it out. I've done elimination diets too but I haven't been able to isolate just one thing as the cause of the problem. What works best (still not 100%) is my current diet, but of course, I can't always resist sweets or special Lay's.

I recently saw the documentary Fed Up and I got to thinking - what if processed foods are the problem? It's not like I eat a ton of processed food anyways but more than I think probably sneak their way into my diet. I chatted with my good friend and total inspiration Kat from The Fit Girl's Kitchen and she said she noticed a huge difference after ingesting processed food versus eating clean. After chatting, we decided we would try to make it one whole month without eating processed food!!! I know it's crazy, but I'm always looking for ways to feel better, so I thought I'd give it a try!

Processed Food
So how do you define 'processed food?' There are varying interpretations, but Kat and I are focusing on this one: Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that had more then 5 ingredients listed on the label. Each ingredient should be a 'real' food, meaning no chemicals, preservatives or something that you couldn't buy individually.

Now, of course, there are some grey areas - like if an ingredient is something like "kale powder." Theoretically, with the right tools and instructions, one could powder kale, so we let a thing like that slide. Mainly because, if something has an ingredient like "kale powder," there probably aren't preservatives in it anyway.

And so, as we embark on this quest, we invite you all to do the sale, because well, isn't everything more fun with your friends? Here are the details for our challenge:

The #fiveorless Challenge

Our Goal
  • To promote the eating non processed foods, local foods or foods with five ingredients or less

How it Works

Each week of the challenge will have a new theme:
  • Week 1 - Mind your labels
  • Week 2 - Pantry purge
  • Week 3 - Cook
  • Week 4 - Find your balance

How to Participate
  • Check the @fitgirlskitchen and @tartanandsequins Instagram and Facebook accounts every Monday for more on that week’s theme and how to participate in the challenge.
  • Share pictures of how you are incorporating the theme into your week by using the tag #fiveorless. At the end of each week, we will select one winner (At the end of it all, you will all be winners because you should be feeling pretttttty amazing ;)) and share how they best completed that week’s theme.

So to get started, let’s tackle Week 1.

Week 1 - Mind Your Labels. 
Start paying attention to foods you buy frequently or eat repeatedly during the week. What are you REALLY putting into your body?

  • Do: Start to slowly eliminate or find substitutes for foods you eat frequently (e.g. switch to natural or freshly ground peanut butter instead of your normal Jif, try a sprouted bread instead of your normal go-to)
  • Share: Show us your most shocking foods that you thought were healthy (also any scary food label) or a smart substitute* you are making for something you eat frequently. 

*General rule of thumb is you should be able to pronounce everything on the label and purchase each ingredient outright if you wanted to. (Do you know where to buy monosodium glutamate or red40? Neither do we.)

Best of luck and happy eating!

Xo J and K

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pumped Up Kicks

Zara Moto Jacket (similar here and here), Monrow Grey Tank, Jbrand White Jeans (similar here and here),
Prada Sunglasses, Banana Republic Clutch, Gorjana Super Star Necklace

Can I just say that I love that sneakers are in style? I thought it may be a fleeting trend, but NOPE, it's here to stay, at least for another season. As such, I am loving rocking my silver and pink glitter sneakers that I got in Italy

I'll admit, I bought them on a whim with no real outfit plans in mind. It wasn't easy to find something that matched silver and pink high tops <SURPRISE> so it's taken me some time to figure out what to rock them with. After a few runs of trial and error, I came up with this look. 

Not anything wild, just white skinny jeans, an oversized grey tank, and a moto jacket. Seems to be just the right combo of edgy and casual. I'm loving the sneaker trend and look forward to rocking even more looks this fall!

So what do you all think; are you for or against the sneaker trend?

Xo J