Archive of ‘Tips’ category

Almond Milk Ice Cubes

Hi Bunnies!
I know it’s been over a week since my last post, YIKES ( I haven’t done that for over a year) but I have had so much going on recently. I am back and ready to kill it this week!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction in which I want my blog to go. I get so many comments on social media asking for more Youtube videos, so I definitely want to start doing some recipe tutorials as well as fun hair tutorials for you guys, but honestly I’ve become so self conscious that it’s holding me back from doing videos. During recovery, I gained weight and I came so insecure about it that I never talked about it on my blog. I actually became quite guarded and quiet about my personal life on my blog and I feel like I haven’t had much of a voice. I used to speak so openly about the ups and downs of weight loss and what it’s like to struggle with losing weight, maintaining weight, and getting myself to the gym, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve done a post like that.

This past weekend my friend Kathy of Healthy Happy Life stayed over for the weekend and we were Expo West buddies. As we we’re driving to the Anaheim convention center together, I was telling her that I was struggling with my voice on my blog. I told her that I felt like it lost what it used to be because I was insecure about where I am in my weight loss journey now, and that I almost wanted to give up blogging. Let me start by saying that Kathy inspires me so much. She has her vegan recipe blog Healthy Happy Life, her yummy drool-worthy site Finding Vegan, and two books 365 Vegan Smoothies, and Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen. She is the definition of #GirlBoss. When I told Kathy I was about to throw in the towel because of my insecurity, she completely shut my idea of giving up down. She reminded me of what my blog is about. It’s not just about the “after” pictures. It’s about my story, my feelings, my accomplishments, my bad days, my recipes, my goals, and my connection with my readers who have been here since the start. I had gotten so in my head and wrapped up into the fact that the majority of my blog readers know me as my before and after photos – a weight loss success story. I’m proud and honored that my weight loss story has inspired and motivated so many people to change their lives, and in the back of my mind, I’ve had a fear that if I gained weight or fell of the wagon that my readers would judge me, but I can’t hide that I’m not that teeny tiny sickly thin person in the old after photos anymore. I am putting my silly insecurity aside and I want to be an example that recovery is possible, that happiness is possible, that life goes on, and that for the most part, these crazy thoughts of insecurity and unworthiness are all in your head. Right now, I am so inspired to do more posts about what I have been going through and thinking about because not only is it therapeutic for me (I completely forgot until just now) but if it helps just one person out there that can relate, it’s 100% worth it.

Cat-and-Matt-Self-Help-FestivalPhoto by: Ashley Osborn
Matt and I on Saturday night at the Self Help Festival

I don’t know how many of you read Andie Mitchell’s blog Can You Stay For Dinner? but this post is a must read, her TEDx Talk is a must watch, and her book “It Was Me All Along” is a YOU NEED TO BUY IT AND READ IT RIGHT NOW. I resonate with her so much. In fact, I’m pretty sure most people do. She’s amazing, and her honesty and bravery also helped me with this post!

I started a public Snapchat (@EatRabbitFood) that shows behind the scenes videos and pictures of me working on my blog, and doing boring silly things that are carefree and fun. I want to show my readers that not everything is as perfectly curated as Instagram and let my personality show. I mean at the end of the day, I am just little old Catherine who writes a blog!

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For the past month I’ve been breaking out in crazy hives all over my forearms, wrists, ankles, and knees and I cannot figure out what is causing them. Food allergies? Thyroid off again? Stress? It’s been super irritating and uncomfortable so I finally made an appointment to see a new allergist with my friend Celina tomorrow. We both have really severe food allergies (in fact that’s how we bonded when we first met), so tomorrow we have back-to-back allergist appointments together. So romantical! Kind of a bummer, but recently I’ve been wondering if I have developed an almond allergy. I use almond milk every morning in my coffee and in tons of my smoothies and recipes (like today’s!) and I would be pretty heart broken if I found out I was allergic, but I’m quite nervous that I could be. Wahhhh. An hour or so after this smoothie I broke out in hives, which was concerning. I also made an iced coffee with the remaining almond milk ice cubes the next day and ended up with hives later in the day. Ugh, since then I’ve tried to avoid almonds and almond milk but I’m still getting hives. So… onto the allergist I go.

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The idea behind almond milk ice cubes is to replace regular ice cubes so that the smoothie doesn’t get watered down. Almond milk ice cubes will add creaminess to any smoothie that normally uses regular ice cubes! Simply put almond milk in an ice tray, and freeze overnight! They can also be used to make iced coffee. Brew coffee an pour over a cup of almond milk ice cubes for a creamy cool caffeinated treat!

I like using Almond Breeze Original because it doesn’t have added sugars!

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Serves 1

5 almond milk ice cubes
1 handful of spinach
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 frozen banana

Pour almond milk in an ice tray and freeze overnight. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

Oregano Oil & Garlic to Fight A Cold/Flu

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Since it’s flu season and almost everyone I know is sick with a cold, I wanted to share my favorite natural remedies with you guys! I’ve been traveling a ton to different climates, sitting on airplanes with sick passengers, and hanging out with sick friends, and these two magical little items have recently helped me ward off a few colds that I felt coming on in the past several months. And when I say “ward off,” I mean wake up with a full on sore throat, take a few drops of oregano oil in the morning, swallow a few cloves of garlic at night, and by the next morning any sign of a cold is completely gone!

These remedies may sound a bit hippie-ish, but I’ll break them down for you below, and I think you will be believers like me!

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Meet oregano oil aka nature’s antibiotic. Oil of oregano is effective at killing bacteria, and can also help the immune system take action against viruses, fungi and parasites.

Warning, this is the strongest, most potent flavored stuff! Don’t let the word “oregano” fool you, because it is way more intense in oil form! I mean, it makes apple cider vinegar taste like apple pie in comparison, but the outcome is so worth it! The first time I put the drops under my tongue, my mouth was burning and I was frantically searching for water to chase it down – BUT, the next morning my sore throat was completely gone. I always have a bottle of this magical little herb in my house at all times, and any time I feel achy or sick I take a few drops and the next day, I feel fantastic and symptom free!

OREGANO OIL //
Where to buy it:
Amazon, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and most health food stores
How much is it: $15-$20 per 1 oz. bottle
How to take it: 4 drops underneath your tongue (or as directed on the bottle) 2-3 times daily.

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Garlic, not just for cooking! Garlic may be particularly useful in preparation for cold and flu season as it contains compounds capable of killing viruses and bacteria that can cause earaches, colds and influenza!

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It’s best to do this remedy at nighttime just before you go to bed. I mean, garlic has quite a strong scent, and you don’t really want to smell like garlic all day! Plus, if you go to bed right after taking the garlic, this remedy will go to work while you are asleep. Start with 3-5 fresh cloves of garlic (jarred, or powdered will not have the same benefits as fresh). Next, chop the garlic into pill sized pieces pieces (you can also dice/mince them but the flavor will be stronger). To maximize the health benefits, you should chop/dice/crush your garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before swallowing – this triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic. Finally, swallow the chopped garlic with a glass of water or orange juice (as you would with pills – If you chew the raw garlic, it will burn!). Go to bed, and wake up cold/flu symptom free! Repeat if necessary!

The first time I did this, I was literally gagging on the “pill sized” pieces of chopped garlic. So if you have a really bad gag reflex and are sensitive to strong flavors like me, dice it up, put it on a spoon, and swallow it with some OJ!

GARLIC //
How much to take:
3-5 cloves
How to take it:
Chop it, let it sit for 15 minutes, swallow with water or OJ.
When to take it: Right before going to sleep

Next time you feel any little symptom of a cold or flu, definitely give these remedies or at least one of them a try! I literally swear by them! Let me know if these natural remedies work for you!

Health & Happiness
xo-Catherine
Do you have any natural remedies you use when you are trying to ward off a cold or flu?

NYFW Skinny Bunny Cleanse

New York Fashion Week is here! I’m collaborating with Beckley Boutique to bring you a whole food cleanse that will have you hopping into those skinny jeans in no time. This cleanse is also great if you are looking to reset your taste buds, jumpstart your weight loss, or need to get ready for a big event.

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On the Skinny Bunny 5 Day Cleanse, you can lose up to 8 pounds and you will get to enjoy a filling breakfast scramble, layered lunch parfait, sweet and tangy dinner salad, and satisfying dessert smoothie each day! In comparison to popular all liquid juice cleanses, a cleanse that is high in fiber is much easier to stick with as fiber keeps you feeling full and satisfied and never deprived. Fiber slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream keeping your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. It also cleanses your colon, acting like a little scrub brush. This scrubbing effect helps clean out bacteria and other buildup in your intestines. Fiber also helps to keep bowel movements regular to avoid bloat.

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All you need are these 5 versatile nutrient packed foods and 5 days of commitment. Yes, this cleanse consists of only 5 foods! All of the ingredients on this cleanse are interchangeable and versatile enough to create 4 completely different meals!

MEET THE 5 FOODS:

  • Raspberries – Raspberries contain around 8 grams of fiber per cup that helps you feel full. They also contain a natural substance called ketones which prevent an increase in overall body fat and visceral fat. Raspberries are also filled with antioxidants.
  • Spinach - Filled with fiber and vitamin A. One cup of spinach has nearly 400 percent of your daily Vitamin A requirement.
  • Greek Yogurt (plain nonfat) – Rich in protein and filled with probiotics. Probiotics “friendly bacteria” can help your gut and flatten your tummy.
  • Egg Whites – The protein in eggs ranks highest among all foods in biological value. This means that the protein from eggs gets absorbed into the body better than other foods.
  • Almonds – Olec acid found in the healthy fats in almonds triggers your small intestines to produce oleoylethanolamide, a compound that curbs hunger pangs. One ounce of almonds provides 20 percent of the magnesium you need each day. Almonds are also rich in minerals, B vitamins, and Vitamin E, one of the body’s key antioxidants, plus fiber and protein.
  • Seasonings: Cinnamon (has anti-inflammatory properties), vanilla, stevia, turmeric, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.

IMPORTANT CLEANSE DETAILS:

  • Space meals 3-4 hours apart
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water
  • an additional 2 cups of green tea per day is optional
  • No soda, or added sugar

SKINNY BUNNY CLEANSE SHOPPING LIST:

  • Almonds: 15 Tbsp (2 6oz packages) plus 1 jar of almond butter
  • Egg Whites: 5 cups liquid egg whites total (3 16oz containers of liquid egg whites) or 30 egg whites
  • Greek Yogurt: 60 oz. total – 10 6oz single serve containers or 2 32oz tubs
  • Spinach: 15 cups total which you could divide between fresh and frozen (check the package to see how many cups there are)
  • Raspberries: 20 cups total, again you can split between fresh and frozen (check the package to see how many cups there are)
  • Optional Seasonings: Cinnamon, vanilla, stevia, turmeric, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
  • Vegan Swaps: 1/4 package of Tofu can be substituted for eggs & soy yogurt can be substituted for Greek yogurt for a vegan option.

The Serious Stuff: I do not recommend exercising during the cleanse, since it does not provide enough calories. Please consult with your physical before making any changes to your diet.

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BREAKFAST – SCRAMBLE & FUIT

¼ cup egg whites
1 cup spinach
1 cup raspberries
2 Tbsp sliced or slivered almonds
cinnamon

Directions: Using olive oil cooking spray, scramble egg whites with 1 cup of spinach. Add any salt free seasonings such as black pepper, turmeric, or garlic to taste. Place raspberries in a separate bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon and top with 2 Tbsp of almonds.

Recommendation: for breakfast I recommend using frozen chopped spinach.

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LUNCH – LAYERED YOGURT & FRUIT PARFAIT

6oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt (single serving container)
1 cup raspberries
2 Tbsp sliced or slivered almonds
cinnamon

Directions: Layer the bottom of a jar or bowl with half of the Greek yogurt, then add half of the almonds, half of the raspberries, sprinkle with cinnamon, and repeat layers once more to create a parfait.

Recommendation: I like to make my lunch parfait in the morning inside of a glass jar using frozen raspberries. This way I can leave it in the fridge and the raspberries are defrosted just in time for lunch. If you don’t like the taste of plain greek yogurt, add stevia and vanilla to taste.

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DINNER – SWEET & TANGY SPINACH SALAD

2 cups of fresh spinach
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup raspberries
2 Tbsp sliced or slivered almonds
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
Splash of lemon juice
Pepper

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the fresh spinach, raspberries, and almonds. Toss with your choice of vinegar and a splash of lemon juice. Then scramble egg whites and add on top of the salad. Add pepper to taste.

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DESSERT – SATISFYING SMOOTHIE

6oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp almond butter (unsalted and unsweetened)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Ice cubes
splash of water

Directions: Combine Greek yogurt, raspberries, almond butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and ice cubes in a blender. Add small amounts of water until preferred thickness is desired. Blend away and enjoy.

Recommendation: Use frozen raspberries to make your smoothie extra thick and cold.

Happy fashion week style bunnies!
Health & Happiness
xo Catherine

How To Clean Your Cycling Shoes

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If you have any type of white athletic shoes, you know how hard they are to keep clean. Before you go out and buy new ones, save yourself some money and try washing them in the dishwasher.  Yes, the dishwasher.

Back in the day (because I’m oh so old, right?) I used to throw my dirty shoes in the washing machine. You name it: Uggs, Vans, Converse, Nikes, I threw them in the washing machine. The only problem with cleaning shoes in the washing machine is that they start deteriorating pretty quickly after that. Putting your shoes in a washing machine filled with water and spinning them around at high speeds on the spin cycle isn’t exactly the best way to keep your shoes in good condition. It bangs them around and weakens the glue that hold them together.

I’m sharing my step-by-step tips for getting your shoes bright and sparkly, odor-free, and in overall tip-top shape!

Before you venture into washing your cycling shoes or other workout shoes, please know that they need about 24 hours or a day in the sun to completely dry. You will want to wash these on a day or two where you don’t need to wear them!

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You will notice that my prized Mavic Giova Women’s Cycling Shoes are a bit brown around the ankle area and tongue. They’re survived one year of spray tans and sweat, but they’re definitely looking a little grimy and not smelling that fab.

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The fronts and sides are completely scuffed up from my spastic walking skills and running into stationary objects, ha ha ha.

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Above is another angle showing the brown fabric tongue before washing.

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Before washing, you will want to take out any removable soles inside of your shoes.
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You will also need to remove your “clips” and any metal hardware from your cycling shoes (these will not be washed).

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Once you have removed your clips and hardware, it’s time for some pre-scrubbing.

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Check your shoes for any areas that need to be pre-scrubbed such as the soles or stained areas. I used a Clorox Gel Bleach Pen and an old toothbrush to get most of the deep stains and discoloration removed. Of course, if you have dark or colored shoes you won’t want to use bleach, but I would recommend using a little bit of dishwasher detergent on the toothbrush bristles to help remove stains and scrub.

Note: Do not use any type of foaming soap or detergent unless it is made for a dishwasher! Tide to Go is also a great option to remove stains from colored shoes.

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You can also use dishwasher detergent and a toothbrush to clean scuffs off of the leather areas of your shoes. My other secret weapon for removing scuff marks is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. They really are magical! I use Magic Erasers on everything from shoes, to walls, and laptops!

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Once you have spot treated any visible stains, it’s time to put those babies in the dishwasher and watch some serious magic happen. Place your shoes on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, upside down and the removable soles in the racks next to them. Set your dishwasher to delicate and turn off heated drying cycle. Heated drying can shrink your shoes, as well as damage and weaken the faux leather or vinyl areas of your fancy shmancy kicks.

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My favorite dishwasher detergent is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day in Geranium. I love Mrs. Meyer’s products because they use mainly naturally derived ingredients, minimal chemicals (only for efficiency of cleanliness), and smell absolutely delightful! Read more about Mrs. Meyer’s Product philosophy here! If you haven’t tried their Basil Hand Soap, you must. I get most of my Mrs. Meyer’s products at Target and Whole Foods.

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Once you remove your shoes from the dishwasher, lay them out in the sun to dry for the rest of the day, or until completely dry! You will be left with sparkly clean shoes that look brand spanking new and smell flowery fresh! I mean… check out how clean and white they are now!

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I hope that you found this useful for cleaning any types of workout shoes, or shoes in general! Of course, always read and inspect your shoes to make sure they are safe to put in water beforehand. Most will be just fine, but you won’t want to put your leather Top Siders in the dishwasher. Ha!

Health & Happiness
xo Catherine

How To Pick A Ripe Avocado

I get tons of questions asking how to pick the perfect avocado. I have become a master over the years and have to pass this simple little trick to all of my readers so you can learn how to pick a ripe avocado each and every time! Happy avo picking! How-to-pick-a-ripe-avocado-1

If you love avocados (seriously, who doesn’t?) it can be such a bummer to slice one open only to find brown and black inside. I’ve bought hundreds of them over the years, and I must confess, every once in a while I used to get a spotty one.

The avocados you’ll see in grocery stores usually range in color, from bright green to dark black. Most people choose their avocados based on their color — bright green being unripe, black with a green sheen being ripe, and dark black being overripe. However, this method is pretty unreliable. For the past couple of years I’ve tested the ripeness of avocados by gently squeezing them: very firm is under ripe, gently firm is almost ripe, slightly soft is ripe, and very soft is overripe. Again, this method works for me most of the time, but I still sometimes pick bad avocados based on touch alone.

Based on the suggestion of a friend, I started choosing my avocados based on one particular method, and I have yet to choose an overripe or under ripe one so far.

Essentially, you pull out the knob of your avocado and check the color of the avocado’s fruit. Using that method in combination with checking the firmness gets you a ripe avocado 100% of the time.

How-to-pick-a-ripe-avocado-2 An unripe avocado is usually bright green. The texture will be very firm, with no give at all when pressed. But it’s most important to check is the knob. Unripe avocados will have a knob that’s difficult to pull out. If you do manage to pull it out — though you should generally just move on to a different avocado — the flesh will be bright green.  How-to-pick-a-ripe-avocado-3 ripe avocado is dark green/black. Some ripe avocados will still have a bit of green on them, where others will be totally black. A ripe avocado has a bit of give. Most importantly, the knob comes out easily and the color of the avocado flesh is solid green How-to-pick-a-ripe-avocado-4Overripe avocados are completely black. They are often very soft and squish to the touch, but sometimes seem to have a nice give: they can be hard to differentiate from avocados that are actually ripe based on touch alone. An overripe avocado knob comes out easily, but the internal flesh will be mottled gray-green, brown, or black. How-to-pick-a-ripe-avocado-5 Use this tip to find perfect, ready-to-eat avocados every time!  Source: Integral Natural Yoga Foods

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