Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day!

In the spirit of drinking wine more intentionally (while still gravitating toward the beauty of a bottle  from time to time – #noshame), here’s the next in my Cheers to the Weekend series: La Bargemone, and it’s just in time for National Wine Day!

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

Admittedly, I bought this rosé for its bottle, specifically for a photo shoot featuring a beautiful monochromatic rose gold scheme (as part of my day job as a stylist). How stunning is that shape? But, turns out sometimes judging a book by its cover pays in the end because I want to drink this variety weekly. And I most definitely want to drink this bottle in honor of National Wine Day.  

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

What They Say: The Special Edition Bottle contains the prestige ‘Cuvée Marina’ Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. Pale cherry in color, the rosé wine of Bargemone offers aromas of flowers and red berries, which make it harmonious and balanced.

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

What I Say: Of the rosés I’ve been sampling so far, this bottle has stood out as the most distinct. It’s still mellow enough to pair with summer eats and sip repeatedly, but that berry flavor is more pronounced in this blend. It does, however, run a little more expensive than my previous bottles in this series, so in my book, at ~$25, it’s worth sipping more consciously, ie: serve this one earlier in your dinner party.  

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

Cheers to the Weekend: Happy National Wine Day! // www.WithTheGrains.com

Cheers,

 

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You

Flowers offer us such a gentle reminder to step back from our stresses and appreciate the moment more, lest we miss their full beauty. In case you need a little inspiration or dose of beauty, here are some spring blooms for you. 

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You // www.WithTheGrains.com

Spring blooms by Gold Dust Floral

I’ve been in a “bit” of a cloud, a storm cloud one might even say. I’ve been in the midst of a BIG, daunting, intimidating and very exciting, dream project. It’s an opportunity that feels a lot like the time I decided to overcome my fear of roller coasters. The line felt never ending, leaving me stuck watching coaster after coaster loop upside down and make me wonder if my car would be the one to fail. Once we finally embarked, regret and anxiety mingled with every click of the chains and gears – the precipice loomed!

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You // www.WithTheGrains.com

It currently feels like I’m just stuck on the uphill climb, never exchanging the fear for the exhilaration of the descent. But the thing is, my current feelings of fear and vulnerability are a mix of natural reactions and choice. I can continue to wade in the muck of fear/stress, or I can choose to disengage my ego and attempt to enjoy that uphill climb. It’s easier said than done, but as they say, acknowledgement is the first step. And when trying to lighten up and enjoy more, it definitely helps to have beautiful blooms in the room.

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You // www.WithTheGrains.com

These beautiful, papery thin petals came from my friend Janessa, aka Gold Dust Floral. We also have a big, exciting job on our horizon- styling a wedding in the countryside. She brought me this bouquet from a previous wedding job, and the golden light of the sunset hit the petals like a still life painting. It’s easy to see why the Flemish turned to blossoms and food so frequently for inspiration. 

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You // www.WithTheGrains.com

Had I not snapped a few photos, I may have let the moment pass unappreciated. Their color began to fade so elegantly, and they dropped their petals. 

Spring Blooms: A Dose of Beauty for You // www.WithTheGrains.com

So, as I try to enjoy the process more, to keep one foot in the season and to simply be more present in the moment, I offer you these striking spring blooms in case you’re feeling a little stuck on the uphill too. And if that’s not enough to ease your stress, maybe try some flowers on cake?

Cheers,

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh

It’s time for a spring refresh, and with only a few materials, you can put this DIY Essential Oil Diffuser together for a natural aromatherapy boost to your space. Plus, the fresh scent of bergamot will put you in the mood for tea time with cake!

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh // www.WithTheGrains.com

You might remember when my friend Lindsey and I crafted a DIY Essential Oil Diffuser out of necessity. We were traveling extensively and found ourselves in the throes of a weird Airbnb funk, but we got crafty! Now that I’m home, I’ve been playing with more apothecary recipes and slowly building my arsenal of ingredients. What we put on our bodies and in our homes is just as important as what we eat, so I see these recipes as a natural extension of the intention I put into my cooking and baking. 

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh // www.WithTheGrains.com

You’ve probably seen these types of diffusers for sale in beautiful home stores with hefty price tags, but as your collection of essential oils and carrier oils (which are great for skincare too!) expand, these types of DIY’s become all the easier and cheaper than store-bought counterparts. This Essential Oil Diffuser is as simple as pouring liquid into glass bottles. 

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh // www.WithTheGrains.com

The bamboo diffuser reeds pull the essential oil scent from a light carrier oil to release a light aroma over time. Unlike commercial room sprays, which simply try to cover up bad smells, essential oils have beneficial purifying and aromatherapy qualities.

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Essential Oil Diffusers: Almond Oil with Bergamot & Orange; Almond Oil with Peppermint & Eucalyptus

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser: How To

To make your own Essential Oil Diffuser, simply pick a glass container, add a base oil like almond oil, jojoba or safflower (or try a vodka combination), then mix in the essential oil combination of your liking. For an oil base, start with a ratio of 30% essential oil to 70% base oil, and add more essential oil as needed. Add bamboo reeds or shortened skewers, and let them rest for a few hours to absorb the oils, then flip them to scent side up. Simply repeat this process when the scent fades.

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for a Spring Refresh // www.WithTheGrains.com

One of my favorite combination is a Eucalyptus and Peppermint blend in the bathroom for a really cleansing vibe. For my bedroom, I used uplifting Bergamot and Orange, to give a bright and refreshing scent. As an added bonus, it reminds me of tea time with a mug of Earl Grey tea and a lemon cake, which you definitely deserve after a DIY session.

Cheers,

 

Cheers to the Weekend: Bota Box Rosé

I know I said this series was all about drinking wine more intentionally, exploring bottles, taking note and drinking less Bota, but then, this happened: Bota Box Dry Rosé, and you know what? This box is a damn delight, and there’s no shame in that!

Cheers to the Weekend: Bota Box Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

It’s finally here: Bota Box Rosé

What they say: Dry = not sweet. And that’s what you get with this Rosé – crisp, with aromas of raspberries and red rose and flavors of strawberry cake and grapefruit zest. Serve well chilled. Bota Box Dry Rosé is the perfect barbeque wine, the perfect beach wine, and the perfect picnic wine, but it’s also the perfect sitting-around-watching-the-sunset wine.

Cheers to the Weekend: Bota Box Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

What I say: As a disclaimer, this post is in no way sponsored by Bota Box, though I wish it were. I’ve amassed my fair share of converts to the cardboard box side, so I think it’s fair I should earn some sort of “street team” credit. There’s no shame in boxed wines these days. These are not the “slap-the-sack” bags of college, and there’s less risk of wasting wine, since the packaging protects wine from air exposure. #nobottleleftbehind

Cheers to the Weekend: Bota Box Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’m still going to stick to my goal of exploring wine with more intention, but I’m also foreseeing a summer filled with these boxes, and that’s a win win! I’m ready for a glass now because my weekend forecast is sunny with a 99% chance of car shopping… the unforeseen, unplanned and unexpected, gotta-put-my-car-to-sleep sort of car shopping, which I’m fairly certain is the worst kind of car shopping. 

so… Cheers to the Weekend! 

3 DIY Natural Haircare Recipes

Have you thought about weaning yourself off traditional haircare products? Try this DIY Natural Haircare trio as a healthy alternative. 

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

When I made a major shift in my diet toward clean eating, my skin took on a new glow, and I felt more energized, but one aspect that never changed, much to my chagrin, was my oily hair. Even though I switched to all organic, all natural products, I still needed to wash my hair almost daily. It turns out, my excessive washing, even with all natural products, was probably doing more harm than good. Have you heard of the “no ‘poo” (ie: no shampoo) movement in natural haircare?

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Follicles release a natural oil called “sebum,” which keeps hair healthy and conditioned, but shampoos and conditioners, especially the harsher chemical ones, strip away sebum. The “No ‘Poo” theory isn’t a complete ban on hair washing, but rather, it’s a call to wash hair with gentler alternatives. In addition to sipping green drinks for an internal detox, I’ve been meaning to dive into a haircare “detox.” This is how I’m weaning myself off traditional products in favor of a more natural, DIY natural haircare routine:

DIY Exfoliant
DIY Conditioning Spray
DIY Dry Shampoo

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

I started with a DIY Exfoliant to wipe the slate clean so to speak. Dirt, oil and product build-up can clog your hair follicles much like they can clog the pores on your skin. This sea salt scrub helps to detox the scalp, reduce dandruff and bring life back to oily hair. Plus, much like a trip to the ocean, after using this salt scrub, my hair has incredible waves and texture.

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natura Haircare Recipe: Sea Salt Hair Scrub

Recipe adapted from Hello Glow.

The sea salt helps to scrub away impurities while the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar help restore the pH of your hair. I recommend the Elevate Haircare essential oil blend from Aura Cacia, since it’s already an economical and energizing blend of scents geared toward haircare. Remember to be very gentle as you exfoliate so as not to break follicles. Use this treatment once a week if your scalp is especially flaky but no more than twice a week.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Himalayan pink salt, finely ground
zest and juice from one lemon
1 Tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon raw honey
15 drops essential oil of your choosing

Directions

Combine everything in a small bowl and stir. Transfer to an airtight container.

To use, wet your hair and gently scrub a tablespoon-sized amount into your scalp using your fingertips (it won’t be foamy like shampoo). Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipe: Conditioning Hair Spritz

Recipe adapted from Hello Glow.

Apple cider vinegar balances hair’s pH levels, is antibacterial and naturally conditions, and this combination helps to reduce the potent smell for a more manageable and natural DIY haircare routine. 

Ingredients

3 cups filtered water
2 Tablespoons dried lavender
1-2 Tablespoons dried chamomile or rosemary (if you don’t want to lighten your hair)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add herbs and let them steep for at least 30 minutes. The longer the herbs sit, the stronger your rinse will be. Strain the herbs and pour into a bottle with a lid. Add the apple cider vinegar and shake to combine, then funnel into a squirt bottle (I like to keep the squirt bottle in the shower so it stays warm). To use, squirt onto your hair, and massage into hair. Let it sit for three  minutes, and finish with a quick rinse, or you can skip rinsing and leave it in.

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

“Find a natural dry shampoo” was on my to-do list for a while, so finally, I dove into an internet rabbit hole only to find pretty dismal results. Even the most expensive “natural” dry shampoos left me wanting more. Since many of the products come in a convenient aerosol form, they often contain very questionable ingredients, which makes using them contradictory.

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

In trying to avoid the harmful side effects of shampoos and hair products, I have to use harmful products? It didn’t make sense, so I finally resolved myself to a DIY natural haircare solution, and I was really pleased with the results. My hair had more volume and texture, and the effect lasted the whole day.

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare: Dry Shampoo

Bentonite clay in this recipe is the same clay that makes a reviving face mask, so it’s a useful ingredient to have in your arsenal. Again, I recommend the Elevate Haircare essential oil blend for these shampoos, but you could also use lavender, rosemary or your favorite scent. Just avoid citrus oils if you’ll be exposed to intense sun. Use this dry shampoo as needed when your hair is greasy.

For Dark Hair:

2 Tablespoons arrowroot flour/starch
1 Tablespoon bentonite clay
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
7-10 drops essential oil

For Light Hair:

2 Tablespoons arrowroot flour starch
1 Tablespoon bentonite clay
7 drops essential oil

Directions

In a small bowl, use a wooden spoon (avoid metal with bentonite clay) to whisk or stir the ingredients together until combined. Store the powder at room temperature for up to 6 months, or according to the expiration dates on the product packages.

Working in sections, use a makeup brush to apply a light amount of the dry shampoo to your roots (the ends of hair should be fine as is). Let the powder begin to absorb the oils for a few minutes, then briefly massage the powder into your roots. Brush out the excess and you’re all set!

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

DIY Natural Haircare Recipes // www.WithTheGrains.com

That’s it! Let me know how you maintain your natural haircare routine. 

Cheers,

Cheers to the Weekend: Fabre en Provence Rosé

In the spirit of drinking wine more intentionally (while still gravitating toward the beauty of a bottle  from time to time – #noshame), here’s the next in my Cheers to the Weekend series: Fabre en Provence.

Cheers to the Weekend: Fabre en Provence Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fabre en Provence Rosé- a beautiful bottle from a French winery established in 1920!

Obviously that bottle is a peacock amongst pigeons, and I couldn’t help but give this curvy glass a try. 

What they say: “Enjoy aromas of rose water, citrus and wild berries.”

What I like: It’s mellow, vaguely citrusy, a little peachy, not too sweet and so smooth. It may be a little too mellow, hinging on forgettable, but go ahead and save that glass for a photo op (#InsiderStylistTips). I do appreciate, in my very obsessive, rule-driven way, the very official, French, family operations behind this wine. They started with Papa Fabre all the way back in 1920. The vineyard doesn’t use pesticides or irrigation, which seems like an obvious choice, but it’s worth cheering all the same! 

Cheers to the Weekend: Fabre en Provence Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

Recommended Listening: Want to feel better about not knowing a ton about wine? I arrived late to the party, but I’ve been obsessively making up time and burning my way through Radio Cherry Bombe. Episode 123 would make for good listening while sipping, since it features the founders of Yes Way Rosé and Marisa A. Ross (“wine time” was one of my favorite YouTube moments of all time). Cheers to that!

Cheers to the Weekend: Fabre en Provence Rosé // www.WithTheGrains.com

Weekend Plans? I’d like to drink this while nestling into my windowsill and watching my neighborhood’s quirky, punk, pro-union May Day Parade fill the street below me. It’s one of the best times of year to live on my street and appreciate the personality of this place I call home. 

What about you? Any plans to sip something blush?

Cheers,

Get Outside: A Healthyish Picnic for One

A healthyish picnic for one is a chance to momentarily escape the office and responsibilities, sip something fancy, soak up the season, unplug, and of course, to indulge in a perfectly portioned dessert. 

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Yesterday, I strolled my neighborhood in a tank top for the first time, exposing the first inklings of a “tan.” The sky was crayola blue, and the air was so floral. I stopped at every lilac bush I encountered and inhaled deeply. After all these years, it’s still my favorite scent, and romantically, it’s a very fleeting one. 

Julep has felt this thaw as well. She lingers by the door, pleading to go out, and as soon as she hits the yard, she rolls onto the ground to happily soak up the sun. She just lies there like a girl tanning herself at the beach, and all I want to do is join her. I want to lie in the grass, to warm myself in the sun and forget all my responsibilities… which are many right now. 

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Since I don’t have the luxury of blowing off all my deadlines, I can at least take precautions and tiny measures to soak up this season. I slept with the windows open, read a book on the porch, drank an iced coffee and let Julep linger at the park for longer. And as much as I love picnic adventures with friends, the kind that extend long into the day, there’s something refreshing and calming about slipping away for a picnic for one. It’s nourishing for our bodies and mind, so on that note, here are some of my tips for taking yourself on a healthyish picnic for one. 

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Keep Your Picnic Gear Simple

I love an iconic picnic basket, but I save that cumbersome basket for the more extravagant picnics with friends. Instead, try a simple canvas tote for your healthyish picnic for one. It’s easy to carry, and if you’re taking a work break, you can slip out of the office without drawing attention to yourself.

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Remember to Stay Hydrated.

Drink water. Drink water. Drink water.

It’s one of the healthiest habits we can adopt, but it can also be a really wasteful habit. Skip the plastic bottles, and invest in a something you’ll carry with you daily as a constant reminder to stay hydrated. I finally committed and am loving my water bottle from Me to We. This transition has helped my hydration immensely, and as an added bonus, every water bottle purchased gives clean water to a child in a WE Village. Me to We provides access to safe sources of clean water to help children stay healthy and avoid waterborne illnesses. Each water bottle comes with a tracking number, so you can track the impact of your purchase and feel better about your healthy habits. 

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Unplug.

A picnic for one is a treat-yourself moment, so ignore texts, emails and Instagram feeds. Buy that fashion magazine you’ve been eying, and page through it lazily. Bring your journal, and take time to write your goals, your funny stories or those gratitude lists you intended to write each night before bed. This journal is another favorite from Me to We.

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

Keep it Light.

Light, chilled foods are the way to go. Think grilled salmon and Asian noodles. Cooking a larger meal over the weekend makes for easier lunch and picnic planning, or really treat yourself, and let Whole Foods do all the work for you (there’s no shame). Treat yourself to a refreshing sparkling beverage like Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Cucumber Mint Pressé. It will feel like you’re sipping a cocktail at lunch without the sleepiness that can follow. Or, spike it. I’m not the boss of you. 

Get Outside: A Picnic for One // www.WithTheGrains.com

It should go without saying, but … Don’t Forget Dessert!

Healthyish cakes are perfectly portioned for one, so they’re perfectly portioned for a picnic for one. Bake your cake ahead of time, but pack frosting and topping options to be sure your frosting will be sticking to your cake and not your container.

That’s it. Those are my tips, now get out there and enjoy the day! Let me know your best kept picnic-for-one secrets in the comments. 

Cheers,


P.S: This post is sponsored by Healthyish Foods, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep this girl picnicking. 

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off

My award-winning chili is an in-depth recipe, to say the least, but go big or go home, right? The slow-cook style of this yields chunks of beef that will fall off your fork, so get the cornbread, cheddar and cilantro ready. 

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Whose would be declared the award-winning chili?

It was time for the Pattison Family’s Third Annual Chili Cook Off, a festivity that started as a way to commemorate Mama Pattison’s birthday and her noteworthy chili (but then she veered from her classic recipe and ended up losing what should have been a shoo-in). For the first two years, I took an impartial backseat. I doled out the chilis, made sure the competitive clan didn’t cheat, tallied the stats and announced the winners and the loser (it always seems to be the Rustbelt Farmer… poor guy). BUT this year, I decided enough was enough, and I entered the ring!

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Cups ready to be filled with competition chili samples for the judges. 

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fun Fact #1: I’m SUPER competitive.

This little tidbit might not be apparent in my writing, but spend five minutes with me, and I’m sure you’ll get the drift. Play Taboo or Clue with me, and you’ll definitely get the drift! I’m also super into food, so food + competition is a recipe for “stay the f*$k out of my way!” I took my self-declared competition entry all too seriously. I began researching the roots of chili, regional varieties, what technically makes chili chili while revisiting more classic French techniques behind peasant foods like my favorite boeuf bourguignon. Then I spent way too much money on ingredients and created a long recipe which I expect none of you will actually make, but I will nonetheless immortalize it here.

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fun Fact #2: We take this competition pretty seriously.

The chili is served anonymously by someone who isn’t competing, so there’s no bias. We tally points so there’s an overall winner and categoric winners: flavor, texture, etc. The debates get as heated as the chili because there’s a coveted spoon to be earned. I did argue for adding a “Most Improved” award because I will hand it to the Rustbelt Farmer. After two years of throwing almost every ingredient from our pantry into a pot, burning all those ingredients until the scent of scorching tomatoes and spices reminded him of the pot on the stovetop, and then landing himself in last place (rightfully so), he really upped his game this year. Though, I will say, he did have a stellar role model in yours truly. 

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fun Fact #3: I’m not that into chili. 

More often than not, chili feels like eating gruel- just spoonful after spoonful of a hot spice blend masking any and all subtleties. It starts to feel like work to eat it, like I simply have to shovel spoonfuls of spice into my mouth for sustenance. So as I dove into my recipe, my main goal was nuance. I wanted layers of spices and flavors, so eating wouldn’t feel like a chore that results in stomach rumblings and regret.

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Likes avocados. Doesn’t understand all the chili fuss.

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

and lastly…

The Not-So-Fun Fact: I didn’t win!

AND THAT’S OUTRAGEOUS! The beef was so tender, it fell off the fork. The lentils and split peas were crisp and added a crunch. The dark chocolate added a subtle bitter contrast to the spices. Split peas really threw this crowd, so I did walk away with “Most Unique” chili, which is cool and all, but it’s not first place. 

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Reigning Chili Cook Off Champion and recipient of the trophy spoon

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Her face says it all, “we demand a recount!”

THEY WEREN’T READY FOR THIS!!!

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

I know in my heart it really was award-winning chili

However, since you readers probably have a more discerning palate when it comes to chili, I will share with you my painstaking, should-have-been, award-winning chili, and I will even give a little kudos to my fellow, which I only do when deserved. This year, I fully admit, he got jipped! (But in past years, he definitely deserved to lose!)

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

The tenderness of the beef is what should have sealed the deal for this award-winning chili.

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off // www.WithTheGrains.com

Next year, I’m throwing two jars of salsa and a chicken in a crockpot and calling it done. So here you have it… quite possibly the only chili recipe you’ll ever find on this blog. Where do you stand? Are you pro chili? Do you have any award-winning chili secrets?

Cheers,


Quelcy’s Award-Winning Chili

About this Recipe: This recipe is in-depth to say the least, but it actually made me like chili a little more. I relied heavily on this guide from the New York Times, as well as techniques used in my Boeuf Bourguignon. The recipe calls for both fresh toasted whole cumin and coriander, as well as the ground varieties you probably have in your pantry. Fresh toasting and grinding of the whole spices yields such a rich aroma while cooking. I prepared the split peas and lentils separately to maintain an extra crunch and add more texture. I highly recommend a trip to the co-op bulk bins to gather spices for this recipe, and freezing some mason jars because this recipe makes one big batch of chili. 

[Read more…]

Côtes de Provence: Cheers to the Weekend

While traveling this winter, I browsed a lot of drink menus, and after a lot of “I guesses” and “sure’s,” I came to a realization: I’ve been living off Bota Box wine for too long, and I forget which wine I really like.

Côtes de Provence: Cheers to the Weekend // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hecht & Bannier’s 2016 Côtes de Provence

Bota Box (and other boxed wines) have their places, but there’s something to be said for truly appreciating a glass of wine. I made a resolution to come home and drink more intentionally, so from time to time, I may share a pretty shot of wine. I may share a few little notes about what I liked about the wine. And I will probably buy these bottles because of the artwork and packaging because:

  1. I am a designer
  2. I am not [yet] a wine snob.  
Côtes de Provence: Cheers to the Weekend

I admit I was drawn to this glass bottle stopper on Hecht & Bannier’s 2016 Côtes de Provence

So to get some sipping started, here’s a crazy glass cork situation from Hecht & Bannier’s 2016 Côtes de Provence AOC.

What they say [so dreamily]: “We focused our selections on the cooler parts of the upper Provence vineyards where the oak and olive tree forests protect the vines planted in the clay-limestone soils and, in some ways, seem to nourish them. The higher altitudes also allow a full maturity without excessive sugars (and therefore alcoholic degree in the finished wines). It has a “minerality redolent of fennel, anise and purple flowers. We love just sipping this wine out on our garden in Aix-en-Provence. Grab a glass with some friends and taste with a fougasse, some anchovies and even some Salonenque olives.”

What I say: Even though the ground is still covered in snow, these sips make me think of grilled peach desserts or bright red, juicy grapefruits on sunny mornings. It’s smooth, not too sweet, and I too would like to sip a glass of this in a garden in Aix-en-Provence. 

What are you drinking these days? Happy weekend! 

Santé!

 

Green Detox Smoothies & Their Benefits

Whether you’re still in the grips of St. Patrick’s Day hangovers, or you just want to start your morning in a healthy way, these green detox smoothies will steer you right. 

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

If there’s a holiday that truly brings out my kill-joy judginess, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, or more specifically, St. Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh (because it may be completely civilized in other parts of the world?). On the rare occasion when I have left home on this green-spirited holiday, my expression took on an active bitch face. “It’s noon. How are you people this drunk already? ARE YOU EVEN IRISH?”

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

So it was, I was gearing up to judge all St. Patrick’s Day partakers, including the Rustbelt Farmer and his brother. But you know what they say, pride cometh before the fall, and fall I did! I was a mere two drinks into my [dehydrated] Friday night, ie: St. Patrick’s Day Eve, when I totally and completely biffed it. I’m not even sure what happened. Did I just step on my own sweatpants?

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Either way, I fell like a toddler, two bruised knees and all. My empty jam jar went flying three feet in front of me, smacking dramatically into the closet door, then spinning in place. I lay there, stunned, embarrassed, and relieved I was not in public. Then, I broke into a fit of hysterical laughter. 

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

The Rustbelt Farmer looked at me with momentary concern before his laughter hit a high-pitched, lack-of-air squeal. Needless to say, I’m not currently in a place to judge those who may still be suffering from a very intense holiday celebration. I too may need the power of these Green Detox Smoothies. In the least, I may still need an ice pack. 

Behold the power of the Green Detox Smoothies

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

The Health Benefits of Green Detox Smoothies:

Apples: You know what they say… “an apple a day keeps the hangover at bay.” They don’t say that, but extra fiber and antioxidants can’t hurt your cause.

Spinach: These leafy greens work overtime to protect those eyes of yours. Spinach also helps to detoxify the body and support liver function (unlike your weekend) by preventing bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Remember when dancing the Irish jig on a beer-drenched bar seemed like a good idea? Spinach also helps to reduce inflammation. 😉 

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Lemons: Skip the brightly colored sports drinks, and squeeze a lemon instead. Lemon juice makes these Green Detox Smoothies a natural electrolyte replenisher and big vitamin C booster.

Hemp Hearts: Add a subtle nutty flavor and a creamy texture, and they’re a natural appetite suppressant. (I also like to sprinkle them on my whole grain fried chicken.)

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Raw Protein & Greens: If you really want to push the detox factor and replenish nutrients, you can add some extra protein and greens in the form of a powder. Just be careful to avoid any hidden sweeteners or mysterious ingredients. I used Garden of Life’s Raw Protein & Greens powder

Coconut Water: Another natural electrolyte, which helps to reduce fatigue, stress and help maintain muscle relaxation.

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Then, put all those healthy, replenishing ingredients together, blend, sip, and recover! [Or, repeat as necessary.]

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Detox Green Smoothies

Yield: 16 oz

Ingredients

1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup coconut water
1/2  lemon, juiced
half a cucumber, sliced
1 small apple, cored and chopped
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds, plus more for garnish
1 Tablespoon super greens protein powder (optional)
4 ice cubes

Directions

Combine the spinach, coconut water and lemon juice in a blender and mix until liquid. Add the remaining ingredients, except the ice cubes, and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend to desired consistency. Garnish with hemp seeds and serve.

Green Detox Smoothies // www.WithTheGrains.com

Cheers,

 

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