Monday, August 11, 2014

Kale Chips!!!

Alright, so I know some people have attempted to make kale chips time and again and probably failed miserably. I know this because I am one of those people. I have tried all different temperatures in the oven, different times, different toppings and never really got it down. They were either burned, soggy, or too salty. 

I recently acquired one of the most beautiful dehydrators I have ever seen and I have been putting it to good use! It's the Excalibur Food Dehydrator with multiple temperatures and a timer that goes up to 26 hours. 
Ain't she a beauty? Anywho, this has been the saving grace to the kale chip fiasco. One of the great things about making the chips in a dehydrator is that you are able to retain many more nutrients than when you bake them in the oven, because, technically, they are raw. 

So today I set to work in making a new flavor, as I have also recently become obsessed with making people's mouths water over kale. I also made a flavor that got me rave reviews, tomato basil. Or caprese as my boss calls it. 
The tomato basil is exactly what you think it is. A handful of yummy baby heirloom tomatoes, a handful of fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!! I place it all in my Ninja blender cup and bleeennnd. 
Next I tear up a bunch of kale (red and green) and put it in a huge bowl. Then I douse it in the sauce and massage it with my clean hands until everything is covered. 

One of the most important things to do is make sure you place the pieces evenly on the screens. If they are layered sometimes they won't dry nicely. 

The other flavor I have not quite mastered that I attempted for the first time today, was a soy ginger. In my Ninja cup blender I combined low sodium soy sauce,  sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, minced ginger, honey, and wasabe powder. Blend it on up! I poured it all over a fresh new bowl of kale and sprinkled roasted sesame seeds on it then massaged it with my hands. 

The outcome was very interesting, it honestly tasted just like Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce. Which is also a really good marinade for turkey jerkey.... More on that another time. 

Ps... I'm very aware that soy sauce is not gluten free as the second ingredient is wheat. But it does not bother my gut, so I have no need to eliminate it. If you have a gluten sensitivity that is worse than mine, then I suggest using tamari sauce in lieu of the soy. 

Here are the tomato basil chips finished:

And here are the Soyaki:

I piled them all up so it looks better/like more. 

The dehydrator, btw, was set to 160 degrees and I dried them for about 5 hours. Maybe a little longer. I have done them over night and had the same results as well. 

Storage is a little tricky. I keep them in a closed Tupperware and plan on investing in silica gel packs to absorb the moisture. Without, they last about 3 days. 

Hope this was informative!! If anyone has any suggestions for new flavors send them my way and I will get crackin'!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Pseudo Paleo"

Starting last October 2013 I began having the worst case of acid reflux I had ever encountered. I have been suffering on and off for about twelve years prior.  It happened to be while Derek and I were on our honeymoon, and for me, kind of ruined it a bit. Starting the day that we were leaving, I ran to the drug store inside the train station and got some Zantac. Unfortunately, it never worked. Even after taking multiple pills. I spent four days in the beautiful south of France eating delicious food, drinking amazing wine, taking in the gorgeous scenery, and enjoying time spent with my brand new husband, while simultaneously suffering. It got to the point one night that I actually had to go vomit because my esophagus was so swollen that my gelato would not go down. Peristalsis had halted. 

The next day we went to a few different, French speaking only, pharmacies and I mimed my symptoms. I FINALLY found a lovely man that knew what I was saying. He gave me a prescription pill right over the counter. I was saved. 

We spent the last few days having an even more wonderful time than we had the first few. When we got back I attributed my symptoms to stress and possibly change in diet. So I tried to calm down and cut out the crappy food. Prior to the wedding and for a couple years leading up to it, I had been a very healthy eater, as you have read in my previous posts. However, three weeks before the wedding, my seamstress told me I couldn't lose anymore weight or my dress wouldn't fit. So I switched from salad for lunch to sandwiches. And then it was a vicious tail spin. 

Fast forward to March 2014. I couldn't take the pain of the acid anymore. On top of that I had developed constipation and very sharp pains in my abdomin. Long story short I needed up getting a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy and was diagnosed with GERD and IBS. Yay!! So I have two prescriptions. One for the pain in the top, and one fore the pain in the bottom. I was also told to take probiotics every single day. 

After a few months of taking my meds, I really got tired of it. And I wanted to be med free before I get pregnant. It's a pretty big deal to Derek, and I believe it's the safest for the baby. So I thought back on how I used to eat a couple years ago and I just snapped. I snapped out of my funk, I snapped out of my terrible food rut (which is really just normal eating for most average people) and I went back to my mostly paleo ways. 

By mostly I mean that I am not eating processed food, aside from a carton of egg whites, and rice paper wraps for summer rolls. No dairy, no bread, no pasta, extremely limited grains, etc. 

I started eating like this almost two weeks ago. I have taken my heart burn medication once. ONCE! And it was only because I had wine and a half a bread roll the night before. Needless to say, I am hooked. Just the fact that I am not in debilitating pain all day every day, makes me want to stay on this track. My new old way of life. 

Full disclosure, if you decide to start this eating habit, be warned that the first week or so you may feel a little sleepy or kind of run down. I believe it is your body ridding itself of the toxins from all the other yucky food you had been eating in the past. But fear not! You will perk back up soon enough, and I highly suggest you begin working out at that point. It all melds nicely together once you get in a good habit. 

Without further adieu, here is the recipe I have been obsessing over thanks to a good client of mine: 

Paleo pancakes

One egg (or a half cup of egg whites)
One banana
Tsp cinnamon,
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Or pumpkin pie spice if you have it. 

Mash the banana up. I like to smoosh it inside the peel first and then with a fork in a bowl. I add the spices to the banana. Then add the egg and stir it all up. Heat up a pan and spray coconut oil "Pam" on it. Pour the "batter" in the pan and wait. I wait until it's barely liquidy on top then flip it over for a couple seconds. That's it!!

It's so delicious and nutritious. You will be fully safisfied and so happy that there are basically only two ingredients in it. 

So if you are thinking about becoming Paleo, or something similar, do a little research and just try it. It can be very beneficial for many different types of ailments. I'm obsessed (for now) and will try and keep that going really forever. There are plenty of substitutes out there so don't get discouraged.

As always, please ask any questions you may have. I would be happy to answer. 

My first attempt at the pancake, not pretty, but delicious. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Another Corrector

Yay corrective color!! A massive challenge for all hair dressers. The scariest thing is that you have no idea what is under all that color. Most of the time the client is not telling the truth. 

Last week I had a really cute girl name Maria come in for a consultation. Maria was 30 minutes late which is a really bad first impression, and makes me nervous in general and can really throw I the schedule for the rest of the day. Luckily she was booked incorrectly, so I had plenty of time to meet with her. Maria came in with ombré hair. It was coppery on the ends and a burgundy color on the mid shaft and she had a natural brown root. 
The best thing that could have happened is that she came a week before I had to tackle this beast. I had 7 whole days to think about how I would go about giving her the "honey blonde" color that she was looking for alá Jennifer Anniston. I warned her it would not be even close to perfect the first time, but I assured her that I would do my best and that she will be happier than she was at the outset. 

Maria was on time today. Joy!! I sat her down and decided once and for all that I would definitely need to strip her hair. Which means I basically needed to bleach it. Getting red hair color out is one of the hardest things to do. So stripping I did. I used a board and 35 volume bleach starting in the back and working my way forward. I knew I didn't have to get her super blonde, just light enough for a level 8/sandy blonde base color. 

This is what she looked like once all the lightener was applied. 
This would be the product of bleaching red hair color out. Notice the pout. She was not too pleased. 

I then followed up with giving her a fairly heavy highlight, including end lights and I mixed in Redken color Fushion 8AB and 7AV for her base color at the root only. After I applied her base color I immediately put Shades EQ 8N, 9N, and 9GB on her ends, combed everything through and let her sit for another 20 minutes or so. 

It was pretty messy, but all good things are, right?

After getting her shampooed we gave her a quick 10 minute glaze with 9T, 9N, and clear. FOUR HOURS LATER (which for those of you that know me is an eternity) we had what must have been the closest thing to a perfect color correction in the history of Katie Brandon doing hair. 

Needless to say, I was extremely happy and so was Maria. She was a trooper and so was her brother that waited up front the entire time!  Thank you to our assistant/stylist in training, Portia, helping me out in the end! 

Now for a break!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Married Life

Nearly a year since my last blog entry. It's definitely been a pretty chaotic year. About a month after last entry, Derek and I got engaged! Since I am a crazy, I already had a wedding date in my head and was determined to have it. 

With six months to plan our wedding I began a quick spiral into becoming what some may call a bridezilla, but what I call a determined 30 year old woman who knows exactly what she wants and will have it. I did not have a wedding planner. I already had a theme for the wedding in mind so all I needed to do was execute it. We decided to have the wedding on my father's property since it is so beautiful, against the water, and large enough to accommodate my massive family. 

After a lot of arguments, bargaining, some tears, and finally some compromise we had the most beautiful and fun wedding anyone has ever been to. 

I am so proud to call Derek my husband. He has been such a trooper through the past year. Even though we argue ( a lot) we always come back to each other and he has been my biggest supporter since day one. 

We are constantly asked exactly two questions. The typical one: When are you having kids? And the other typical one, I suppose: How's married life?  Here are your answers. When we decide to have kids we will let you know. Until then, mind you own business hugs and kisses and sweet smiles. To answer the second question, married life is regular. It feels great, but the same. And we are totally fine with that. If anything, there is the lovely sense of calm. As calm as I can be at least. 

What I think is funny is that before we got married, everyone kept telling Derek that I would be letting myself go. I would be farting, no makeup, sweat pants all the time. All he could do was laugh at them and say, ummm she already does all that. Yeah, I was in a relationship for 5 years where I farted once and was ridiculed so I never did it again. I promised myself that would never happen again. So yeah, the tooting began pretty early. I eat a lot of fiber. What can I say?
Sorry Derek. 

Anyways, I am on my way to completing my second nutrition certification and enjoying life as an old married lady. Life is great. 

I'm gonna try to be more regular about this thing again. Talk soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post Season Regret

Hello, hello. It's been far too long since I have posted! Whoopsies.

I have my reasons though I swear. Derek and I bought a house! We closed two weeks ago and it's amazing. Such a good feeling for it to be over and to know that it's ours. We were (by we I mean I) going a little crazy for the last two months planning for the house and saving. I couldn't be bothered with focusing on anything other than the house. Done and done.

So now I am trying to get back on track and get back into my nutrition studies and back into the habit of eating right. I know in my last post I was bragging and giving you all crap about not eating too many sweets and not falling into the traps of loved ones and their delicious food. Well, I gained 5 lbs. I know it may not seem like much, but it was gained in a matter of weeks and after working as hard as I did to lose weight in the first place it's a little disappointing to see the change on the scale.

If the same thing happened to you please do not be discouraged. Chances are it can be shed by simply getting back into your good eating habits. I went back to my same routine. Healthy breakfast of either old fashioned oatmeal with almond milk and fruit, or egg whites with veggies. My lunches are all basically salads. But I use either spinach or darker leafy greens. And top them with more veggies and some goat cheese. Dinner is more or less of the same. I will allow myself to have a little more fat but mostly lean meats or beans with veggies.

My favorite new meal that I have been making is home made fajitas. Derek's loves them too so that is encouraging. Here is the recipe...

Two orange peppers (I HATE green peppers)
One red onion
One bunch of asparagus
1 lb lean pork or chicken
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
1/4 jalapeño pepper (gloves)
Whole wheat medium sized tortillas
Fat free sour cream
Fat free shredded cheddar (or low fat if you can't handle it)

The first thing I do is cut the meat into strips and place them in a big ziplock bag. Then I pour about 2 tbsp of olive oil and about 1 tbsp white wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Close the bag up and get the air out. Then mush it all around to make sure it's all coated. Set aside.

I make an extremely simple salsa to go along with this dish. All it is is tomato, 1/4 of a jalapeño, and a little red onion. I crudely cut them and put them in my mini food processor and chop it. Set it in the fridge to cool.

While the meat is marinating start cutting up the veggies. Slice the orange peppers (or any pepper of your choosing) length wise. I slice the asparagus into 2 inch pieces and then cut each piece lengthwise again. Slice the onion. You will probably only want to use half the red onion. Feel free to add more if you want.

Heat up a large pan and put a bit of olive oil or Pam in. Add the veggies. Sprinkle with salt an pepper and sauté. In a separate pan start cooking the meat. Once the meat is 90% cooked add it to the nearly cooked veggies. Let all of the food finish cooking together and absorb each others flavors.

That's pretty much it. Keep everything in the pan and put it on the table. To serve I put a little sour cream on the tortilla then the meat and veggies. Then the salsa. Then the cheese. Wrap that shit up and gorge. It's so tasty.

As always, if you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Hibernation

Well, well, well...

I did not realize that it has been since BEFORE Thanksgiving since my last post.  My bad... my bad.

Holiday time makes it very difficult to stay on a healthy path.  If you are armed with knowledge and FEAR, then you should be fine.  I am terrified of gaining weight again.  So on Thanksgiving, even though my talented step mother made at least 8 different types of amazing looking stuffing, I mostly filled my plate with green beans.  Literally 3/4 of my plate.  I tried the tiniest of spoonfuls of each stuffing, a small palm size of turkey, and a drop of gravy.  I also allowed myself to have dessert.  Luckily, I made cookies with half the sugar and whole wheat flour, and I didn't like any of the other desserts offered.  Safe.

During the winter our bodies naturally crave carbs and comfort type foods. Its natures way of making you bulk up to last throughout the cold, dry, winter. Knowing this is half the battle.

So going in to Christmas, be aware, like brutally aware, of what you are putting in your mouth.  Feel guilty.  That's a good sign.  But please let yourself indulge slightly. Be reasonable.  As long as you are aware of the amount of sugar and fat you are ingesting and you are compensating by eating less meat and more veggies, everything should balance out. Keep this in the back of your mind at all times... FIBER! I'm convinced that as long as I eat enough "roughage", I feel pretty good about having the 1 MILLION cookies I'm about to eat.

Every holiday season our lovely clients bring in WAY too many cookies, and cookie assortments, and candy, and chocolates, and one time I was given a variety of jams. The best thing to do in these situations is to give as much away as possible.  I mean, its rude to not at least try it... right? Just one.  OK 5.  Per day.

I'm the asshole who keeps trying to make people eat healthier.  I try to sneak the health in wherever I can.  For Derek's Grandfather's 80th birthday brunch I made muffins.  But not just any muffins, oh no... I made whole wheat blueberry muffins with half the sugar of the original recipe. As my boyfriend said "You can feel the health. It just feels really healthy going down". Oh love. Its kinda funny.  But I'm fully aware that they are not nearly as delicious as the original recipe.  But nobody is rude enough to take one bite and secretly throw it away. They finish it.  And thanks to me, they are one step closer to lower cholesterol!!! Ha!

You are not an idiot.  None of you are if you are listening to me... (totally full of myself). Make the right decisions.  If you are full, but grandmas candied sweet potatoes are still calling your name for seconds, politely decline and tell those bastards you will see them next year.  If your sisters amazing chocolate chip cookies just go down so easy and maybe one more dipped in Aunt Ruth's amazing eggnog seems like the right choice, its probably wrong.  Unless of course it has a large amount of alcohol. Just kidding.  Sort of. (Ruth... I'm ready). Always be sure to load your Christmas dinner plate up with mostly vegetables.  3/4 of your plate should be veggies, followed by whole grain, then meat. If there is no whole grain, skip what ever starch they are offering, unless its sweet potato or some kind of winter squash, those are always a winner in my book. UNLESS they are Meema's candied sweet potatoes. Less is more.

So remember, be armed and ready to battle the family members that want you to be fat.  My favorite thing to say to myself, and feel free to use it is this... "Just don't". Just don't give in.  Make the right decisions and you will come out on top.  And how good will it feel to say you gained ZERO pounds during the holidays.  SO good.

Good luck my friends! And as always, if you have any questions please ask!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From AHHHHH!!!!! To Ohhhhh... Corrective Color AKA The Hairdresser's Worst Enemy

Whether its your client, your coworker's client, some other salon's client, or they did it themselves, corrective color is NEVER easy.  It's probably the single most thing in my hairdresser world that makes me want to throw up, scream and make my lower gut feel yucky all at the same time.  Impressive, I know...

Last week I had a client come in who was scheduled for a single process color.  It was not scheduled incorrectly, but in reality it was.  The poor girl came in looking like she had no color on her hair at all.  After sitting her in my chair, she informed me that she had henna in her hair about four months ago and she wanted to go lighter all over, Henna: Pain in the butt to get rid of.  Its a metallic dye that can be actually pretty damaging when trying to remove it.  I won't even attempt to use all the scientific lingo my boss did last week in explaining to my client, JoJo why henna is actually not better to use than regular hair color. Long story not so short I had to strip JoJo's hair.  Which means I had to bleach it to remove all the henna and possibly any other color that may have crept in there unbeknownst to either of us.


This was her hair today after I stripped it.  I used foil and paneled it all the way around with 30 and 40 volume mixed.  I left the root area out because there was no color on it and I did not want it to get too light. Its hard to tell in this picture but the first half inch of the "orange" is actually quite blond. My mistake was that, even though I was trying to avoid lightening the natural hair, I brought the lightener up too high. This is a picture she was sending to her friend as both of us (I more secretly) were freaking out.

No matter how many times I have done correctives, I still get really nervous.  You can never predict how someones hair is going to react to what you are about to do.  Even though I did do a test strip on her hair last week, its still hard to tell how saturated her hair was with the henna, which can build up and make it more difficult to penetrate. So, at this point it was time for me to apply her base color.  She wanted to be a warm medium brown, about a level 6. So, knowing that her hair is dark and it will most likely pull warm no matter what I put on there, I mixed Redken gels 6NA and 6N with 20 Volume. I liberally applied this color to her root area and was not too particular about it getting on the pre-lightened hair. The color did make that really light part pretty ashy. As I noticed that happening, my hands started shaking and I wanted to vom.

I also knew that I needed to pull color through her ends and it would need to be warm to counteract any muddiness that may occur. I mixed Shades EQ 7GB, 7G, and 6GB. Luckily, I was able to mash that warm color into the super ashy part up top and let it sink in. I let it all sit for 20 more minutes while I ate my lunch. Mind you, the whole time I was applying the color, JoJo was asking how it was looking and I reacted totally calm and collected. Later, she told me that she could tell I was nervous. Once the color was finished processing I told her we may have to glaze it again to ensure the validity of the color. I was secretly jumping up and down because I could tell I made the right choices with my colors and It looked really good. I did end up doing another glaze with Shades 6NB and a little 6GB.


That's right! It looks amazing!! Thanks to JoJo's patience, and my killer instincts, the color turned out fantastic.  Yeah, there are a couple spots that are a bit iffy, but she knows that it will take a couple times to be perfect.

So, when doing a corrective color, always follow your instincts.  If you think you made a mistake, go back and fix it. Remember that everything is fixable and DO NOT FREAK OUT!!