7 Easy Salad Recipes

Salads are easy, filling and can be extremely delicious. I have been working on putting together some salad recipes for you. Today I will share 7 of them, my goal is to come up with 30 different recipes, one for each day of the month. And then? Maybe I’ll come up with 30 more, maybe I’ll just leave it as is, but there will definitely be more recipes next week!

I take a big salad to work with me every day, because I want to eat better, and feel better. All of these recipes have no dressing, and rarely salt and pepper. 

This is not some crazy diet that I invented, I eat these plus workout almost every day, just to be fit. This winter has been so long, that I think it had an impact on all of us in some way. 

Do you want to take this challenge with me? Live a healthier life, eat more greens? I hope you enjoy these recipes!

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Do you bring your own lunch to work? What do you normally eat/cook for yourself? Have a great Monday and come back next week for more salad recipes!

Let’s connect:

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Radiant Orchid & Zen

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When I was in middle school, my mother started going to the gym. Religiously. Three nights a week. I got to be home by myself, just me and homework. It never really bothered me, but I picked something up from that. Since she’s become a fitness fanatic, she started buying workout VHS tapes (yes, I grew up before DVDs), and I started watching them. And ever since then I’ve been working out at home. Yes, at our last place there was a gym (read: treadmill, bike and unknown equipment in a tiny 1920’s apartment building basement) that I occasionally used and even liked, but it still wasn’t my thing.

Since Sam and I are one of those couples who chose not to subscribe to cable, we invested into a smart TV. Top that with a subscription to Hulu Plus and Netflix. As a result you get – “Who needs cable?” kind of attitude from us 🙂 In a good way!

What I am trying to say is – there are hundreds of workout videos available through these devices/subscriptions. YouTube is my other favorite source. But I have recently been able to give Gaiam TV a shot. And of course I fell in love. Not only do they have all insane Jillian Michaels workouts, they also have a wide variety of Yoga and Pilates, as well as other fitness routines that you can do. The filter system is extremely useful. You can pick the type of the workout, as well as the trainer, and duration (which sold me right there and then!)

On top of all that Gaiam TV offers Spiritual Growth, Nature and Culture, Seeking Truth videos and episodes, that can help guide you both physically and spiritually! I just wish it wasn’t $9.95/mo (compare to Hulu Plus and Netflix $8 each).

Do you work out? What types of workouts do you prefer? How do you stay fit?

Zhenya

Disclosure: I have been provided a free month of subscription to Gaiam TV, as well as free products, in exchange for this post, but that didn’t influence my opinion, shared in this post!

I got the Power! Brain Power!

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                                                                     Original image by hawkexpress on flickr

Every time I had to take an important test at school, my grandma always gave me chocolate. And not just a piece, a full size candy bar! Chocolate makes us happy, helps our brain function better, but it has CALORIES (the scary word for women over 25! and a reminder that we need to work out!) So what about other  products out there? 

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I have recently been offered to try Excelerol a supplement, that supports memory, concentration and alertness. I am not going to go on and on about the ingredients, and maintaining a healthy diet, working out regularly, basically the same information you can find on a “Magic Diet Pill” box.

But let’s say you have a test or an important meeting in the morning, pop one of those about 30 minutes before, and you are golden. Heck, this thing help me wake up in the morning! Pssssst, it does contain caffeine! 

I do notice that it increases my productivity and I do like the taste, it’s almost like gum – has a refreshing effect! And it did bring back some odd memories of my high school years i Russia. I am not sure if I want to remember that day when our physics classroom was too cold, so we had a class in the hallway and our teacher used the door for a board! But woe to you if you didn’t pay attention or was caught talking during the hallway physics circle time – she sent you in the freezer aka the classroom! 

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Do you take memory/concentration supplements? What’s your opinion on it?

Zhenya

Disclosure: This product was sent to me free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

 

Proskin Challenge: Final Results

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Here they are, my final measurements for the Proskin 28 day blogger challenge! Let’s see what happened:

Hips 33″ (+1″)
Top of thigh 21″ (+1″)
Widest part of thigh 21.5″ (+0.5″)
Above knee 14.5″ (+0.5″)
Below knee 12.5″ (-0.5)
Widest part of calf 13″ (-0.5)

Once again as you can see I gained in most places and lost some in places I don’t really care about 🙂 I would’ve rather continued losing in my thighs. But I was really lazy this week when it came to working out, so this is my payback. And personal belief that exercise and a healthy diet are what you need!

Now let’s see if I lost anything overall:

Hips -3 – I’ll take that! Or I measured wrong 😉
Top of thigh -1 I’ll take that too!
Widest part of thigh -0.5 – Anyone know any good exercises for thighs I should be doing?
Above knee -1 – Like that!
Below knee + 0.5 – OOPS 🙂
Widest part of calf – Stayed the same

As you can see Proskin slimming leggings do work and work quiet well, and if you are lazy like me and would rather blog than work out, they are perfect for you! Just don’t forget that every once in a while you do need to work out and please eat healthy!

Will I continue wearing my Proskin leggings? Of course! Come fall I’ll be rocking them during the day, not just at night 😉

You guys can probably see I was so skeptical about this challenge, and please don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to Proskin Ltd for the opportunity to try this and share my opinion with you! And just like I mentioned above slimming leggings are a good addition to your already existing healthy routine, but they won’t be able to do all the work, you need to sign up and do at least half of it! Also, don’t put them in the dryer. I made the mistake of doing so back when I first washed them. They’ve worked fine since, but just as a precaution.

I also wanted to share some of the most common questions and ANSWERS about Proskin Slimming Leggings from Debra Zimmer:

How do you get those hours in?

I wear mine to bed, cause its the easiest way for me to get the time in. And my husband doesn’t mind cause they make me feel all sleek and sexy.

How do you wash them?

They can be washed in the machine or by hand. Don’t use fabric softener. Line dry. Don’t use the dryer.

How often do I need to wash them?

You can wear them for days before you need to wash them. They contain silver, a natural antimicrobial.

How long do they last?

Guaranteed for a minimum of 100 washings.

Do I take them with me when I travel?

Yes! The compression helps reduce swelling on the plane and in long car trips. They wash easily.

How do I wear them?

You can easily wear them so many ways: as pajamas, to the gym, as everyday clothes, you name it. I now have a pair I sleep in along with the top, a pair of nude shorts for under jeans and stuff, a pair of green for showing them off in public, and I just added a pair of black cycle length shorts for summer activities.

Aren’t they hot in summer? No. They regulate your body temperature to 98.3 and disseminate your perspiration.

There you go guys. Feel free to ask me any questions as well! I hope you enjoyed this little experiment I put my body through!

Proskin Blogger Challenge update Week 3

Beach

Here it is you guys! Week 3 updates!

The numbers in parenthesis indicate difference from the previous week!)

Hips 32″ (-1″)
Top of thigh 20.5″ (-0.5″)
Widest part of thigh 21″ (-0.5″)
Above knee 14″ (-1″)
Below knee 13″ (-0)
Widest part of calf 13.5″ (+0.5)

As you can see there is some progress out there 🙂 And I am definitely noticing a difference in my thighs. Yay! Working towards defining that gap between my thighs (yes, I’m one of those girls!)

Another thing that I’ve started is Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program.

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I did both cardio and a workout in my proskins last week and I’m not going to do it anymore. Sorry for the next piece of TMI but I sweat a lot, so I’ll keep wearing my leggings to bed, because that still gives the result.
I have been cheating for the past few days though and only doing the 30 minute workout skipping the cardio.

Plus everyone at work seems to be on the Paleo diet, so I’ve been cutting down my bread intake as well.
So here you have it! I spilt all my beans! Now you spill yours 😉
Have a great weekend,
X
Zhenya

My Kombucha is Square

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As some of you, Instagrammers, have noticed, I started brewing my own kombucha! Wait what? We all thought I hated that stuff!

Back in the day, when I still lived in Russia, I had some American friends over, who had never seen kombucha before! So when they saw it their eyes grew bigger, and bigger, and I think it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t know the English for Kombucha (it was over 10 years ago! give me a break 😉 ) and in Russia we call it Tea Mushroom (чайный гриб). I also have memories of it being nick named the Happiness Mushroom! I guess it’s supposed to bring happiness and good luck to your household! Hey, okay with me 😉

A few years ago when I still nannied for a family in New York City, we were doing kombucha as well, but I hated it. I guess the childhood memories made a deep deep impact! I do remember killing one scoby, but the second one lived 🙂 And I even remember sharing it with someone on freecycle!

What is scoby? SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Other good examples are Ginger beer plant, kefir, mother of vinegar, sourdough – you can read more about it on Wikipedia!

I don’t know what made me try Kombucha a few weeks ago when I was out and about with a friend, I don’t know what made me like it, what made me ask for it on freecycle, what made me drive to Apple Valley after work to get a scoby, but I did all that, and now I have a square kombucha living in my kitchen, if you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that it’s something that should be in a science classroom!

Now everyone brews their kombucha differently, but here is what I do, and I learned that from Jade – the person who shared her scoby with me:

Bring three quarts of filtered water to a boil, and then add a cup of organic sugar and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Then take the pot off the burner and steep four bags of organic tea (2 black & 2 green) for 10 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a gallon size jar and let it cool to 98 degrees (body temp).  Once it reaches that temp add the starter (the liquid that the scoby is in), give a little stir, then add the scoby. Cover it with a white flour sacking cloth, and let it sit for 7-14 days. Metal should never touch the kombucha, so no metal utensils or anything!

I mix green and black tea when I brew my kombucha, it’s no specific brand, just something I pick up at the grocery store, or Marshall’s/TJMaxx – they have great tea variety (sometimes!), I also use regular white sugar, and then it all lives in a square glass jar I bought at Target for $5.99, that’s why it’s actually square! 

Of course we’ve all heard stories about some woman in Iowa, who supposingly died from it, but yet again some people say it helps cure cancer. I know one thing – everyone’s result is going to be different, so give it a shot, and see for yourselves!

Now let’s talk about what I like to put in my kombucha! Let me make it clear though, all the additives go in the glass, not the scoby jar!

Lemon juice has so far been my top choice!

I did try adding spinach/cucumber juice to it, and it tasted okay, but I wasn’t a fan! 

I do like to add cranberry to it though! That is super yummy!

Let me know if you like kombucha, tried it, hate it, whatever your opinion is – please DO tell! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

Xo,

Z

PS. If you are in the Twin Cities area and would like a scoby, let me know!

 

Beauty on a Dime {Guest Post}

photo (3)Today’s Beauty post is by Michelle from Skana Spa in Upstate New York. She is here to share tips and tricks of her trade! Enjoy!

No matter how busy of a schedule you may have you should always find time for yourself. Every woman loves to get away to the spa for a day of beauty and relaxation but that isn’t always an option. However there are alternatives, with a couple ingredients you probably have in your house you can make yourself a rejuvenating body scrub.

Now And Then the best remedies are those that are the least expected. In the case of skin, one of the most efficient means for cleaning pores is more dirt. Minerals picked up from quarries. Volcanic ash, and sea beds around the globe, cosmetic clay holds a multitude of minerals that nourish the skin and are naturally absorbent qualities help draw out debris, excess oils, remove dead skin cells and even contagions from pores. Applied once a week, a clay mask results in a soft, supple, genuinely clean skin texture.

Mixing cosmetic clay powder with cold, filtered tap water is the easiest method to make a mask, but there can be additional perks by taking advantage of other liquids. Cool green tea produces an additional antioxidant boost that may help slow down the development of fine lines. To soothe irritated or dry skin, try combining the clay with cold milk or heavy cream.

To start off, add one tablespoonful of tap water, green tea, or milk to a small container. Continue to add tablespoons of fine cosmetic clay powder to the liquid mixing to prevent clumps. The resulting paste should be smooth; if it is too thick or runny, add a couple of drops of tap water or a little extra clay to reach the desired texture.

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Cleanse skin thoroughly with facial cleanser and warm water and gently pat skin dry.

Place a warm wet cloth over the face for a minute or two to open up pores before smoothing on the mud mask. This will allow the mud to absorb more oil and impurities in the skin.

Using fingers, smooth the mud mask over the face beginning with sides of the face and brow applying the paste in a thick layer to clean, dry skin. Make sure to keep away from the eyes and lips.

A one-inch paintbrush can be used for an even application. While the mask is drying, sit back and relax. Staying still will make sure the clay does not crack or fall off.

After 10 to 12 minutes, wipe mask off with a very hot washcloth. Periodically run the washcloth under hot tap water, and squeeze out any excess water then press it to the face to soften the clay. Then, lightly wash off the mask in a circular movement. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Pat skin dry with a soft towel and then follow up with a mild toner and moisturizer to soften skin and nourish it throughout the day.

Some types of clay are a mild skin purifier that does not soak up oil, which makes them safe for dry or delicate skin textures. Others types deep clean and remove oils and toxins from the skin, which can help oily skin and minimize the impacts of pollution. For optimal results, opt for one that best suits each skin type.

Refrigerate any remaining mask for up to one month in an airtight container and reapply once a week.

I hope you find this post useful! And don’t forget that I am participating in the Refashion Runway contest! Please vote here, to keep me in the competition and see more of my refashions!

Xo,

Z

PS. Check out the latest Sale on ROMWE

American National Day Sale at Romwe! 06/11/2013 – 06/15/2013 http://www.romwe.com/manage_activity/Happy-National-Day/

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Just Say Ommm, Be Happy and Go Shopping

 

 

 

 

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A couple weeks ago I attended one of the Minnesota bloggers meet-up events, which was a yoga class lead by Katie of  Strawberry Halls Forever. It was an amazing experience, not only because I got to meet other bloggers in the area, but also because it was my very first yoga class!

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I have been doing yoga for over 4 years now, but never in a group! I am a loner (read cheapskate 😉 ) when it comes to working out. I love my work out DVDs and videos I find on YouTube (check out Fitness Blender – it’s one of the best resources out there!)

Now I got into yoga by accident, and let me explain how it happened! Back in my good old nannying days when I lived on the Upper West Side everyone and everything breathed and talked yoga! You see I was always more of a runner, and I loved my strength training as well! Remember Cindy Crawford’s videos from the 1990’s? Those were my go-to workouts for many years! My mom got me into them back when I was in 8th grade! And I still do them 2-3 times a week, though I’ve switched over to Jillian Michaels since then! But let’s return to the UWS though… I was really into FIT.TV and since the family I worked for had Warner Cable, I took advantage of it every day! I got into Gilad’s workouts, and Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter was on right after! So I gave it a shot and FELL IN LOVE! And have been doing it ever since! I tried other workouts by other instructors, but Kate Potter won me over!

And even though I’ve been doing yoga all by myself for a long time, I feel like it’s one of those experiences you need to live through as a group, so one of my goals this summer is to find a yoga class to join, so if you know of a good one in Minneapolis and western suburbs area, please let me know!

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Another thing that I’ve come to realize is that I don’t really have any good yoga clothes, and to me being fashionable at yoga is much more important than when I go for a run. So as I was looking for cute yoga clothes, I came across C9 brand at Target!

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They have very affordable and stylish work out clothes, designed specifically for yogis 🙂 And if you watch their website close enough, you can get coupons and discounts on C9 brand pretty often!

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Show style and strength in this yoga top by C9 by Champion, exclusive to Target!

3312Bust a (yoga) move in these stylish, snazzy pants from C9 by Champion, a Target-exclusive line of fitness.

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Love yoga? Or just love comfy, stylish yoga pants that keep you covered no matter what? Whatever your yoga pants-wearing style, C9 by Champion at Target has you covered!

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What gives you peace and strength? Whatever motivates you, C9 by Champion apparel has you covered!
I am definitely going to Target to get myself some cute and colorful yoga tops and comfy stretchy pants (don’t worry, those will be worn to yoga classes alone 😉 ) Where do you shop for yoga clothes and what type/style of yoga would you recommend?
Xo,
Z
Disclosure
At Target Influencer Network, we support ethical blogging and strict adherence to the FTC guidelines pertaining to free samples and gifts. Participants in our programs are expected to do the same. For more information, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2013/03/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf

Ho-ho-ho Green Giant

Thanks to Product Hoochie, I have recently joined BzzAgent, and unlike other “freebies” websites, this one seems more legit than others. Maybe because I’ve been getting and will be getting a lot of products to try and review, maybe because it’s easier and hassle free?!

Today’s post is dedicated to the Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips, that I got in the mail last week!

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What was in my box?

  • A FREE full-size bag of Green Giant Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips with Zesty Cheddar
  • A FREE full-size bag of Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt
  • 4 Sample pouches that were immediately utilized by my husband as an addition to his lunch (that I pack every day!)
  • Pass-along coupons

Here is what Green Giant says: 

  • Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips with Zesty Cheddarare crispy tortilla chips made with real vegetables like carrot, broccoli, and tomato, plus 17g of whole grain
  • Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt are made with real sweet potatoes and 14g of whole grain, with 40% less fat than regular potato chips*
  • *Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g per 28g serving).

Here is what I think:

Sweet potato chips taste just like any other sweet potato chips, and are nothing extra ordinary. They are a good snack, and that’s just about it! I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes to begin with, but I can tolerate it in this shape and form!

Zesty cheddar taste very similar to Doritos, but don’t leave you with orange fingers like the latter, so I guess that’s good! But they aren’t that healthy, as you might think they are in the beginning! I tried them with hummus, and that tasted good, but again, nothing that made my taste buds explode!

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Am I going to buy this product? Maybe, depends on whether or not it’s on sale, and whether or not I can use my coupons on it. Otherwise, it’s really nothing new and different!

Let me know what you think of these, whether you got them for free, or bought at the store!

Cheers,

Z

PS. This product was sent to me for free through BzzAgent

My Adventures in Juicing

Yes, dear readers, I fell a victim to one of the most popular trends that can take place in your kitchen – juicing! Having watched some documentary on Netflix, I think it was called Hungry for Change, I started researching and googling different juicers everywhere I went! I kid you not, I tweeted about juicers, stalked people on Instagram, asking them which one they use, etc etc

And finally I got one! A GE 800 watt Juice Extractor:

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This juicer usually runs for about $50, and is considered a good started juicer. I bought it for $25, at the Salvation Army Target Overstock in the Warehouse District in Minneapolis (let me know if you need directions 😉 )

There were two juicers there at the time, this one, and another, I forget the brand, but it cost $60! Knowing me, and my husband, who didn’t want to spend the extra money, I got the cheaper one, besides it came with the box, which made me trust it more! I also took it all out, including the instructions, read everything 3 times over, including 20+ reviews on the internet (which went from great juicer to this product sucks) and headed for the check out!

Let me be honest with you, so far it’s great! I am not going to say that it’s the best $25 I’ve ever spent, no I don’t think so, but I got myself a pretty good deal, a great juicer, and a healthier diet thanks to it!

Of course when you buy a product like this your first urge is to juice everything in the house, even the foods that don’t go in there! Hold your urge! Talk to friends or read blogs about juicing, then start your process!

Here is what I learned after 1 week of everyday juicing:

– Never ever juice a grapefruit!

– Tomato juice is actually pink, not red!

– One cucumber contains about 12 oz of juice!

– Carrot juice is neon orange and I love it!

– One 8 oz glass of fresh juice will last you up to 5 hours with no food!

– There are way more people who juice on Instagram than I thought!

– Juicing is considered a part of raw foods movement

– Some people recommend to detox using fresh juice 3 days out of the month, every month!

– I have been doing dishes more regularly with the juicer!

– It’s better to juice into a tall glass than a short glass (just because it’s easier to prevent spilling)

– You can use left over pulp for muffins or combine it with cat/dog food!

There is so much to learn about this, and even though I sound sarcastic at times, I am absolutely happy with my new toy! Sam on the other hand isn’t, he says it’s gross! And asks me not to let him smell it 🙂

Now about the juices! I have been trying to document each and every one of them on Instagram last week, to make it easier for me when I was going to blog about it! I think it worked:

Carrot and apple juice (about 2 apples and 4 carrots for 8 oz)

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Orange, carrot and kiwi juice (I can’t remember how much I used of each fruit now, but I know for sure there was only 1 kiwi!)

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Cucumber, celery, tomato (loved this combo, and cucumber juice alone!)

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Pineapple, celery juice

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Have you ever tried juicing? If so, how did you like it?

Have a great day everyone,

Xo,

Z