Monday, June 11, 2012

Easy Tikka Masala

I love Indian food. Well, I love all food. But I've always been a bit intimidated about trying to replicate some of my favorite Indian dishes at home. Enter Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce. This served as the main ingredient for a super fast and easy weeknight meal. Throw the sauce in a pan, add diced raw chicken, potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, zucchini, and whatever else you like in your Tikka Masala, and let it simmer to perfection! I threw in a lot of fresh garlic, paprika, and cayenne since I like spicy, but the sauce was pretty good without any help too. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Juice Cleanse

Have you tried a juice cleanse? I just completed my second 3 day juice cleanse of 2012 and it went really well! It wasn't about trying to lose weight or anything, but moreso to give my digestive system a break and detach from my (constant) thoughts of food/eating/cooking/grocery shopping. My first time I tried the Kaeng Raeng cleanse, and this last time I tried the Pressed Juicery cleanse. While I appreciated that the Kaeng Raeng cleanse was cost effective, vegan, and they outline that you can enjoy unlimited raw fruits and veggies while detoxing, I had a better experience with the Pressed Juicery cleanse. The Pressed 3 day detox is more expensive than Kaeng Raeng's, but I happen to LOVE their juices, and since they are made with a hydraulic press, the vitamins and minerals from the produce are transferred right from the pulp to the bottle.

Pre-cleanse I was feeling regularly bloated, a little low on energy, and I was dealing with breakouts here and there. While cleansing, I naturally experienced some cravings, but I reminded myself that this one only 3 days of my life and I would survive. Day 1 was hard (more mentally than physically), but during days 2 and 3 I wasn't experiencing hunger pains, my yoga classes felt amazing as my senses were heightened and I became more aware of the movement in my body, I was getting amazing sleep, and feeling like a had a lot of increased creative energy. To be quite honest- I wanted to keep going for 5 days, but at about $50/day I decided it was best to stop at 3. Post cleanse I felt light, my stomach was flat, I wasn't in any rush to eat my favorite comfort foods, and  my skin was glowing. I will definitely be doing another cleanse before the end of the year. Have you tried a cleanse? Would you? Share your thoughts! :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Avocado Hair Mask

It's safe to say that here in California we are spoiled with the abundance of delicious avocados we have available Spring through Fall. I have a bag full of this wonderful little fruit ripening on my counter as we speak, so I decided to get creative with an easy moisturizing hair mask. My hair gets especially dry during the summer months when you add the sun, chlorine, and salt water to my poor color treated and regularly heat treated hair. The 3 simple ingredients are essentially just a mix of good fats. Mash them all together and apply to your hair to soak in for 30-60 minutes. After rinsing the result is soft, shiny, and moisturized hair. Give it a shot with these common kitchen staples:
  • 1/2-1 avocado ( I used a whole one since my hair is pretty long)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I'm going to try coconut oil next time)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Overnight Oats

As much as I love my eggs for breakfast, I decided to switch it up this week and try these overnight oats. I thought this recipe sounded great for summer since you eat the resulting 'breakfast porridge' chilled, and right up my alley with super healthy ingredients like old fashioned oats, greek yogurt, chia seeds, soy milk, and fruit. I loved that I could just throw everything together at night and then have a really tasty, balanced breakfast ready for me in the morning. I've already tried the blueberry maple and apple cinnamon variations, and next I'll probably get creative with dried cranberries and walnuts. I think this is a great option for breakfast on the go or even for a Sunday brunch. The image below is the recipe doubled in 1 larger jar since I didn't have smaller jars. I imagine this would work fine in tupperware or pyrex containers as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Checklist

With one of my favorite seasons kicking off this weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to compile a summer to-do list. Here are some of the activities I can't wait to dive into in the coming months.
  • Road trip through Big Sur with my sister
  • Try out all the awesome Yoga studios in my backyard in Santa Monica (Bhakti Yoga Shala, Bryan Kest's Power Yoga, The Yoga Collective, Hot 8, and Yogis Anonymous to name a few)
  • See a spooky movie at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Ok so I got a head start and actually accomplished this one this past weekend. It was awesome! Silence of the Lambs at a creepy cemetery with a picnic and wine?!? I'll be going back again before summers end)
  • Frequent the farmers market and cook with seasonal produce
  • Go beach camping (and try surfing or stand-up paddle boarding)
  • Hike. A lot
  • Wine tasting in Malibu
  • Visit my friends in San Diego for a weekend
  • Host a Sunday Brunch complete with Mimosas
  • Check out the Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Go to concerts in the park at one of  these awesome venues
  • Visit MOCA, the Getty, LACMA, and the Griffith Observatory
  • Expand my herb garden to include some veggies and fruit

images via

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf

I've made quinoa a couple times in the past and was never really crazy about it, but I wanted to give it another shot since it gets so much attention for its health benefits. Quinoa is a gluten free grain (technically a seed but we cook it and eat it as we would a grain) and it is a complete protein. It doesn't have much flavor so it can be easily sweetened up for breakfast porridges or desserts, or turned into a savory side dish or salad. I decided to make a batch by cooking the quinoa in a can of vegetable soup instead of water. Instant pilaf and awesome flavor! Naturally I added a ton of spinach, English peas (since they are in season and so tasty right now), chopped green onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. I had it first for breakfast with a fried egg on top, and later as a side dish with some crumbled feta and ground turkey. I'm officially converted and I plan to keep this healthy alternative to rice in my pantry moving forward. (Thinking I'll probably give this variation a go next week) See below for my recipe, but don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with veggies and herbs that you like!

Quinoa Pilaf
  • 1 14.5 oz can of vegetable soup
  • A little less than 1 cup of dry, rinsed quinoa
    • (the ratio to cook should be 2 parts liquid/1 part grain)
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper or any other herbs you like to taste

Bring soup and quinoa to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes covered. Add in peas, spinach, and green onion or any other veggies you want in the last 3-5 minutes to steam and add flavor. Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I've been thoroughly enjoying making playlists for my yoga classes. Some days it's actually hard to tell which I'm more excited about; sharing a carefully crafted sequence with my students, or revealing a purposefully designed playlist full of songs that speak to me, and will hopefully be well received by my fellow yogis. Either way, here's a glimpse of part of one of my playlists on Spotify. If you are a fitness instructor, or even just an enthusiastic playlister, I'd love to know some of your favorite songs that speak to you on a fitness level!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What's in My Bag

I don't think it's uncommon to be intrigued by what other women carry in their bags everyday, so I thought why not share mine? I'm always on the go so its safe to say that the items I keep with me can get me through work at the office, taking/teaching yoga, running errands, meeting with friends, etc. Here's a look...

  1. Snacks: I almost always have a little something with me. Its not pretty when I get really hungry and don't have time to stop for a meal. I'm fairly active so its important to keep my energy levels up with healthy snacks when I need them. Oh and Cinnamon gum. I feel like people either love it or hate it. I love it.
  2. Sunglasses and my regular glasses. Self explanatory.
  3. My beloved iphone that I use to catch up on news, blog surf, make playlists for yoga, instagram, note my grocery list, and of course keep in touch with my friends and fam :)
  4. Card case with my ID, a couple credit cards, and a little cash. Bulky wallets just dont work for me.
  5. LuLu Lemon Gift card case that I use to store my vitamins. I keep the bottles in my desk at work and usually take my daily dose with lunch, but this little trinket comes with me on the weekends.
  6. Misc: Eye drops (when my contacts get dry), hand sanitizer, and GABA Calm: an all natural supplement that really eases anxiety on stressful days.
  7. Makeup Favs: Nars concealer, Nars Multiple (cheeks, lips, and eyes) in G-spot, BareMinerals pressed Touch-Up Veil, Mac lipstick in Angel, Brenda Christian brow pencil, Covergirl LashBlastVolume Mascara, Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Blossom, my favorite Michael Kors perfume rollerball, The Body Shop Wild Rose hand cream, and some bad hair day savers.  
Naturally there's always the occasional candy wrapper or receipt that makes it's way into my purse.. but I left those out for the sake of a decent photo. What are your daily essentials?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mini Crustless Quiches

Eggs. I love them. And I usually only take the time to cook them on Saturdays and Sundays. Last week I tried something new. I made mini crustless quiches on Monday that were easy to grab and go for breakfast during the week. I was skeptical about re-heating eggs, but they were actually quite delicious and possibly even tastier after the flavors had a chance to soak in (and tapatio was added.) I went with a Greek theme to utilize my basil plant, and was really happy with the outcome. You can try this recipe with anything you normally like in your eggs. Bacon + cheddar, kale + parmesan, sausage + peppers, etc. I think these mini quiches would also be a great h'orderve for a party, or eaten for dinner with a salad. Enjoy!

Mini Greek Crustless Quiches
  1. 4 whole eggs and 6 whites
  2. 1 tomato chopped (sundried might be better for less liquid)
  3. 1/2 an onion chopped and sauteed with 3 big handfuls of spinach
  4. 8 chopped leaves of fresh basil
  5. 1/2 cup of feta
  6. crushed red pepper to taste
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Mix the eggs really well in bowl, and stir in all the rest of the ingredients. Scoop evenly into greased muffin tins, top with a few black olives, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350. This recipe yeilded 10 for me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life Lately.. According to my iPhone

Life's been awesomely busy ... here are some pictures to show for it.

 "Chakra" jello shots from our yoga teacher training potluck
 Im a certified yoga instructor now!!!
 Thats me .. happy.. at Coachella
 I've been reading outside on my lunchbreaks..
and making friends with critters like this guy and a praying mantis or two
 My Easter Sunday was spent right here. It was perfect
 I've been eating pretty clean and feeling amazing as a result.
I enjoy putting energy into preparing good fuel for my body.
This was home made tuna salad in butter leaf letuce wraps
Greek yogurt, flaxseeds, granola, and a little honey.
 I'm addicted to these little treasures from Trader Joes.
 I bought a mint plant (and rosemary and thyme).
And now I have extra refreshing ice cubes for cocktails.
Mojito anyone?
Radiohead at Coachella. I love them. I love Thom Yorke. They were so good live
Ground turkey, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, brown rice, and a lot more Italian seasoning than the recipe calls for.  
I'll make this one again for sure

Monday, April 9, 2012

Green Chile Chicken and Sauteed Peppers

For a super lean and easy dinner tonight, I made green chile chicken and sauteed peppers with spinach (truth is I add spinach to almost everything I cook.) I had the chicken cooking in the crock pot while I was at work, and while it may have tasted like I slaved in the kitchen all day, the recipe is beyond simple. You ready for this folks?..

1) 1 Jar of green chile salsa
2) 2-4 Chicken breasts (I like organic, free-range)
- Cook on low for 6-7 hours, shred the chicken one hour before serving to mix in the flavor, and enjoy.

For the veggies I just sauteed a few garlic cloves in coconut oil, added 1 red, yellow, and green bell pepper chopped and a few handfuls of spinach and some cilantro and voila! Nutritious dinner that required about 10 minutes of prep. The best part is the leftovers.... which are highly likely to end up in soup, tacos, nachos, a salad, an omelet, etc.. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Curried Tofu with Tomatoes and Spinach

In my efforts to eat less meat, last night I cooked tofu for the first time. I'm sold. It was way cheaper than cooking with poultry, fish or beef, super versatile because tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you decide to cook with, and no animals were harmed to feed me :) This was also my first time cooking with curry and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavorful result. Do you have any favorite tofu recipes? If so, please share!

Organic Ingredients from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods

Finished Product!

1 Tbs. Coconut Oil
1 tsp. Curry Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1 package of extra firm tofu crumbled or diced into small pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
Approximately 1 onion and 3 garlic cloves
Approximately 3 large handfuls of spinach
3 Roma Tomatoes

Saute the onions, garlic, and coconut oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the spinach and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until the tofu is hot and cooked. Add the spinach and cook for a few more minutes, just until wilted, stirring often. Eat alone or serve over rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yoga Teacher Training

Hello Blogland!! I've missed you! I've thrown myself into all things yoga the last couple months as I'm going through my teacher training program and I'm so enjoying it. I've been feeling more introspective lately as I've been experimenting with changes in my lifestyle, so my appologies for my silence. As of late I've tried a juice cleanse (I plan to share more about this), dabbled in vegetarianism, enjoyed nightly reading, occasional meditation, and of course lots of studying on my lunch breaks. It's been so fulfilling to feel really inspired and passionate about what I'm doing and I feel like I'm on the path to making yoga more of a lifestyle and potential career and not just a hobby or a way to stay fit. I've found a lot of peace in the yogi concept of non-attachment; to our expectations, material wants, habits, false identities, and essentially anything that doesn't serve us. I can't wait to share more, but for now I need to study, so I'll leave you with some images I've saved from the one and only Pinterest

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cajun Sauteed Shrimp

Last night I made this awesome recipe and served it over basmati rice. It has already earned a spot in my arsenal of favorites due to the easy prep, loads of flavor, and low fat content (you've probably noticed by now that these factors apply to most of the recipes I share on my blog.) Next time I might consider adding a little more garlic powder, and possibly a little white wine or tomato sauce while sauteing to add some more liquid to the dish. I used coconut oil to saute since I didn't have vegetable oil.

I was especially excited to make this shrimp because it called for almost half of the spices in my awesome new spice rack!  My sweet sister and her boyfriend made me a magnetic one for Christmas since they know I don't have a whole lot of counter space in my apartment. It's so cool! My sister picked out "Tiffany blue" magnetic containers from Cost Plus, and had them filled with organic spices at a local shop where she lives. Her boyfriend hammered the edges of a piece of sheet metal that now hangs happily in my kitchen. I think it's genius.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New York, New York!

Tonight I'm taking a red-eye to this magical city. Its been a little over 3 years since my last visit to NYC, and browsing pictures on pinterest just got me extra excited. I can't wait for the sights, the food, the people, the energy, and even the cold weather. Hope you all have an awesome weekend! Follow me on instagram @hi_im_jess for the weekend pictures!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coachella 2012

Sooooo... the Coachella 2012 Lineup was announced on Monday and I don't think I can resist. With some of my favorite bands like Radiohead, Florence, Fitz and the Tantrums, Bon Iver, The Black Keys, Mazzy Star, Santigold, Miike Snow, Kaskade, Feist, and more, I think I'm going to have to justify the splurge.

Thank You 2011/Hello 2012!!

The holidays came and went in a festive blaze, as they always do, and here we are at the beginning of 2012. I like to think that I'm always working on growing and figuring out ways to be the best version of myself, but I always love the energy and momentum that presents itself on January 1st with new years resolutions. I have several intentions for the new year that I'm excited to share and hold myself accountable for, but first it seems appropriate to acknowledge what a great year 2011 was. For starters- I feel like I'm the healthiest and fittest I've been possibly ever and I owe that largely to my newly discovered regular yoga practice and (mostly) healthy eating habits. Secondly, my life is filled with people I love and adore and they reciprocate that and have supported me in many ways. Third, my job has been going really well and after over 2 years with the company I feel very content and appreciated in my position and there is talk of a promotion in the near future. Last year I was also finally able to move to an area that I love with a roommate who's been awesome! To top it all off, I was able to do so much traveling last year which is always so fulfilling and exciting for me. I've been so grateful for the wonderful gentleman in my life who appreciates me and misses me when he's away for work and always makes time for me to come and visit. So basically, I'm super excited about 2012 because I know it will be as good or better than 2011 and I can't wait to see what's in store! Here's a little 2011 recap of some of my favorite snapshots from January through December.

January: Beach hiking in San Luis

February: Random shot of my sweet kitty

March: Sipping cocktails at a friend's gorgeous wedding
April: Scenic snapshot from the drive up to Paso Robles for work
(a trip that was made many times in 2011)

May: Red Rocks in Denver, CO (bucket list check)

June: Fun with mustaches at another awesome wedding

July: A very patriotic Independence day weekend spent in Texas
August: Moving fun and apartment decorating

September: A fabulous Labor Day Weekend in South Beach

October: Some of the girls and I in Newport Beach

November: My first authentic cheesesteak in Philly

December: My Sister, Mom, and I on Christmas