HEALTH WITH JESSICA

PALEO Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer Recipe

I have a very strong attachment to my coffee creamer. I look forward to my hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning with just the right amount of creamer.  It is an integral part of my morning ritual! 

I love playing with different ideas and recipes for creamers. My hubby and I started doing bulletproof coffee several months back and that’s one that he does on a fairly regular basis. Truth be told…it doesn’t take long for me to start missing my creamer! 

Inspired by my coffee creamer addiction and a rainy day…here’s my latest recipe try…I’m a HUGE salted caramel fan and I thought this turned out pretty awesome!


INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk


DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring coconut sugar and water to simmer in medium sauce pan. Stir continuously to avoid burning. Once mixture thickens a bit to a syrupy consistency, REMOVE FROM HEAT.
  2. Add vanilla, sea salt and about 1/3 of the coconut milk. Stir well and let mixture cool for several minutes. 
  3. Combine Caramel mixture with remaining coconut milk in a large jar. Mix well. Make sure all the coconut milk is melted into the mixture…since it is a full-fat coconut milk you might have to heat it up just enough that it will mix in well and not result in a lumpy creamer!
  4. Store in fridge in sealed jar up to 1 week. Shake or stir before using as the coconut milk will separate. 
  5. Enjoy!! 

Brewin’ Kombucha

So I remember when kombucha was just starting to become a trend in the mainstream health and wellness world. I was SO not interested. It looked disgusting and its description sounded disgusting. Nope. Not for me.

However, I am like that kid at the dinner table that, if you introduce to a veggie that they despise enough times, they’ll eventually try it. Kombucha is suddenly all over the place (heck, lots of tap rooms offer this stuff in their own growlers!) and as it has made its mark, I somehow got sucked into the idea that I wanted to give it a fair try. Low and behold…I love it! 

Not only am I seriously a fan of the taste (really enjoying all the different types and flavors available EVERYWHERE) but I am super impressed with its benefits! That just makes it taste even better to me somehow. 

Here are just a few of the touted benes:

Improved Digestion

Weight Loss

Increased Energy

Cleansing and Detoxification

Immune Support

Reduced Joint Pain

Cancer Prevention

All I can say is that I love that I am ingesting a probiotic and that it offers a more natural energy source (I am not a stranger to energy drinks so this is awesome). I just feel GOOD drinking it. 

This stuff is not cheap, however. I’d say $3 a bottle is a good average for 12-16oz. Nope…not cheap. But amazing. So, what’s a girl to do?? Make my own of course! 

I won’t lie, I tried this once before and it didn’t work. I didn’t get enough of the right info and I didn’t talk to anyone in depth about how they personally made it. I got this fly verbal tutorial from the lady I bought my original scoby from and I tried to marry that info with stuff I found online and it just. didn’t. work. I felt way confused and it ended up growing mold. Oops. That happens.

Since then I got some great advice from a friend who has been making it since long before it was ever popular. She also sent me a link to some directions that she trusted. I appreciate that because I need stuff written down and in front of me!! 

So…Kombucha: take 2

I did some Christmas shopping on Groupon and stumbled across a Groupon for a Kombucha kit! Hello! Had to get it. Merry Christmas to me. It was only $15 and I got a scoby, 3 dark bottles for my finished product, 2 different types of tea and some evaporated cane sugar. Not bad! My hubby had bought me a really cute jar for my original batch. So, I was set!


What to do:

Find some scoby. What the heck is scoby?? It’s essentially the starter. Just like sourdough bread. It has all the awesome cultures you need. It looks gross, but that little guy is what holds all the good stuff you need for it to be so stinking great for you. 

Here’s the place I got mine from through Groupon: Kombucha Brooklyn brewing supplies

They have great products and great costumer service. However, they are in NY, and there are lots of local places to get your supplies from. In fact, if you don’t know someone who makes their own who can give you your own scoby, people sell it on Craigslist and Amazon. 

Once I got my stuff, I heeded the advice of my friend and followed the directions she sent me the link to: Oregon Kombucha

One major thing I had overlooked was temperature. I didn’t make sure that mine was staying at the optimum temp. I also let it brew too long. 

What you need to start:

A large jar or glass/ceramic container: gallon size 

Black or green tea

Sugar 

Scoby

A plan to keep your Kombucha at the right temp

When you follow the directions you will learn that Kombucha brews best between 75-90 degrees. Yup. Missed that part the first time around. 

Our solution, since we don’t have a nice safe spot in our place that is a consistent temp, was to put it in a cooler. We have a large glass measuring cup full of hot water that we change out 2-3 times a day to keep it toasty in there. Found that idea online and it seems to be working! 


So there you have it. I am not going to go into detail with the directions, as I gave the link to the ones I used and they are great!

Would love to hear about your adventures with Kombucha making!! We’re on Day 3 of this batch so I will be sure to update! We will start checking on Day 7 to see how it’s doing…just a taste test. You let it go longer if you want a stronger, more tart taste. That is what we want!

Stay tuned!

xoxo, Jess 

My Running Ready List

I’ve been a runner since my adolescence. I ran track & cross country in middle & high school…but once I graduated it became an even greater part of my life. And that runner’s high people talk about? Yup….hooked. 

Having been an active kid, but still one that struggled hard with my weight…I had done a lot of different types of exercising. **Hello STEP AEROBICS!!** That was my first love! Anyone having visions of leotards and leg warmers now?! Once I started running small races I felt I had graduated from “someone who runs on occasion” to “a RUNNER”. And here’s fair warning…we don’t call it jogging. Not cool. Ask any runner. I guarantee a cringe. 

So this is a little compilation of my TOP 10 Running Ready “Things”. The stuff I consider before lacing up and hitting the road (not a dreadmill….ugh. I only do that if I HAVE to). 


1. BE FUELED

So this is different for everyone, but I personally don’t like running on an empty stomach.  However, I also can’t have had any kind of a substantial meal close to when I run. It does NOT feel good. 

I eat something small…1/2 a Larabar or a  graham cracker with peanut butter for example…1/2 hour to an hour before I head out. Race days are different (& that will be a different post!) but this is always what makes ME feel my best for a run.

2. BE HYDRATED

You might be saying “duh”…but this can be overlooked easily and you will notice it in your running!! You’re more energized when you’re hydrated & you’re legs feel lighter. It will help keep you from cramping up. A word of caution though: don’t drink a gallon of water right before you head out!! Instead, be a consistent water drinker. Drink throughout the day. I’ve invested in a little water bottle that is formed to fit the hand and has a strap hat attaches to the hand. Love that I don’t feel like I’m holding onto it so much. 

3. BRING YOUR PHONE

I know this might annoy some of you. I always bring mine because I use it for my music. However, I would bring it anyway for safety!! Don’t be the person who thinks they will never have anything happen to them. You could get injured and need help or…so many things we’d rather not think about. Just be smart, people. 

4. HAVE AWESOME TUNES

My awesome tunes will likely sound different than your awesome tunes. AND I do know some people who don’t even care to listen to music while running. I’m not that girl. An awesome playlist or some Pandora stations ready to go is key for me! My legs move much faster with good tunes!!

Although having awesome tunes is…awesome…make sure you can still hear your surroundings! I run with only one headphone in and/or with my music pretty low. Annoying, I know. But I feel far safer being able to hear what’s going on around me. 

5. HAVE GREAT KICKS

I am a bargain hunter. But, I will spend a little extra money on my running shoes if I have to. Your feet will thank you, your knees will thank you, your hips will thank you, your back will thank you…your body will thank you. Be sure to go to a running store near you (I go to Roadrunner in Tualatin, but there’s also 5 Star Sports in Corvallis…those are the best I know of near me). These places will examine your stride, posture, arch, etc and be able to recommend the right shoe for your needs, including the type of running you do and what kind of terrain you favor. In addition they will recommend an insole…get the insole!!! Your body needs the right type of support for YOUR feet. The way we treat our bodies NOW will be felt in years to come

6. TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU’RE RUNNING

This goes along with the idea of bringing your phone. Please friends…be smart. Things happen…they just do. Be proactive about your safety!

7. DRESS APPROPRIATELY 

I’m not talking about making sure your parts are covered….but that too! What I’m referring to is weather! For me it’s most difficult in the Winter when I’m cold. It’s so easy to bundle up way too much and then be overheated and miserable. 

What I try to do is dress in layers so I can remove one if needed, but also not dress in too many layers! I mean who wants to run while holding a bunch of clothing? Trust me…it’s a drag.

I typically make sure I still feel chilled “enough” when I’m ready to go. That might sound weird…but if I am still wanting to add a layer that’s a good thing…I promise you after a few minutes of running you’ll be thankful you didn’t overdress! Same goes for your head. On ocassion I will wear a ski hat, but I always know I’ll end up carrying it, unless it’s really that cold out. They do make warm head band type things that are perfect for covering your ears but not your entire head. So much of our heat escapes from our heads, it’s really important to not overdress that part!

Don’t forget to make sure you are visible!! Dress BRIGHT! And if you are running when it’s even a little dark out, consider reflective tape or something of the like. BE VISIBLE!! Drivers are more distracted than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they see you!


Getting ready for a mid-January, Oregon run!

  • Warm clothes ✅ 
  • Bright colors ✅ 
  • Awesome tunes ✅ 

8. BE A GOOD ROAD “SHARER”

Safety first, right?! A few rules of thumb for keeping myself & others safe during my runs:

  • If on the shoulder of the road, run against traffic so you can see cars coming. Unless you have hardly any shoulder and are about to round a sharp corner or going up a super steep hill…if I know the driver coming at me won’t be able to see me and I have barely any shoulder, I cross to the other side until there’s better visibility on the side I should be on.
  • When on a sidewalk or path I always warn others when I’m coming up on them and about to pass them by saying loudly (no need to shout and scare someone) “right behind you!”. I used to say “on your right” or “on your left”…and it was pretty hilarious how people couldn’t figure out which was right or left when they were kind of startled! 
  • Always hug your side of the path when on a trail/path/sidewalk so people can easily pass on your left. 

9. USE A RUNNING APP

The only one I can really speak about is RUNKEEPER because that’s what I have always used. I am a creature of habit…when I find something that works for me I stick with it. Runkeeper tracks your mileage, your pace, your splits, your route, calories burned…it tells you where you’re at with your time (mine is set to tell me every five minutes how long I’ve been running, how many miles I’m at and what my pace is). You can also use training programs it offers for race preparation. Lots of extras…but these are the most important features for me!

10. RUN A RACE

You don’t have to be competitive to run races. They ARE, however, wonderful tools if you like to challenge yourself!! You will be SO proud of your accomplishment too! They really are tons of fun. It’s awesome being out there with all these other people who are committed to healthier habits and who are challenging themselves as well. You’ll be inspired by everyone from the elite runner who finishes at the front of the pack, to the little kid who whizzes past you, and the mom or dad pushing a running stroller with a kid or two in it, to the people who are way past your own age and challenging themselves! It’s pretty awesome!!

I would love to hear some of the things you would put on your own list!! (These things apply to walkers as well!)

Happy running!!

XOXO, Jess

Crock Pot Meat Loaf – 21 Day Fix approved ✅

It is definitely the time of year for crockpot food! Mmmmm. Living tiny also is a really good motivator for easy food. However, we’re not willing to compromise our healthy choices or taste! …definitely not taste! 

I have been craving some meatloaf for probably a couple of weeks now. It is a little funny to hear myself say that. I was vegetarian several years ago for probably 5 years. I was doing it for “health reasons” or so I thought. I am a big fan of giving my body plenty of protein from animal sources nowadays. Of course clean options are what I go for. I switched over to grassfed beef a couple of years ago and am shocked at how different it tastes!! It is amazing! Plus I feel far better about what I am putting in my body without all the antibiotics and pesticides…

I’m at the end of day 3 of my January 30 day challenge, and part of that means I follow the balanced, portion controlled, clean eating plan provided by the 21 Day Fix. So, here’s a yummy 21 Day Fix approved (& hubby approved) meatloaf recipe! 


Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs grass fed, ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup no sugar added tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch each of salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Grease the inside of the crockpot with olive oil or butter.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well…using your hands is the best method! 

Shape into a loaf…I have a circle crock pot and it worked fine…but I do think an oval shaped cooker would help it cook a little better/faster. 

Place loaf into slow cooker, cover & cook on low 5-6 hours: until meat thermometer reads 160F.

If you’d like, at last 15 minutes or so of cooking, add a mixture of a small amount of ketchup/Worcestershire sauce over the top of the loaf.


Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 

21 Day Fix Containers per serving:

1 red, 1/4 yellow, 1/4 blue, 1/8 purple.

Delish and great along side a big salad or asparagus! 

The Good, the Bad and the Tiny

Here we are just 3 days before Christmas.  We’ve been in our new place for almost a month if you count the week we were moving out/moving in…the fun part!  Ugh.

As I’m sure you all know, moving takes time: unpacking, settling in, trying to figure out where you want things, realizing all the things you need for your new place, rearranging things once you’re there and starting to figure out how things will flow well…etc.  With our “different” living arrangements, all of that is amplified for sure. We are storing a lot of our belongings in the warehouse we’ve parked the 5th wheel in that we’re currently living in.  Its a juggle figuring out what you really need accessible and what you need out of the way in a snug space like we’re in. Thankfully my kiddo has a room that is next to the 5th wheel.  He’s nice and cozy in there but does at times sleep in the 5th wheel with us.  There’s a hide-a-bed in the “livingroom” so it’s perfect. That is one thing I’ve enjoyed living out here in closer quarters.  I feel like it makes us be closer and we interact more.

We’ve made a habit of sitting down and watching a movie together in the evenings before Ashton goes to bed.  The other night both Josh and I had some work to do and we decided we’d work while watching the movie but Ashton stomped that fire right out!  And…I was glad.  He wanted us to all watch the movie together.  It definitely made me happy and made me step out of myself for a minute to realize, the work will still be there.  It’s more important to have those moments together as a family.  That is one of the number one reasons we’re doing this, after all.

For now we are at work figuring out how to make our living arrangements comfortable and efficient as we prepare to start in on our little house.  Pictured below is my little work station.  Thankfully my laptop fits nicely tucked away next to the table, rather than on it, when I am not using it.  The printer is a pain, however and I keep it put away until I need it. It annoys me to have to lug it in and out but…there are worse things in life, right?  

 

Here is our teeny, tiny, cute, but fake Christmas tree.  We really couldn’t realistically put a real tree in the 5th wheel without it driving us nuts.  So this little guy adds some Christmas joy to our living space and we put a regular tree upstairs where we’re creating a temporary hang out area for the boys.  

 

Here’s our real tree!!  This is where we’ll open presents Christmas morning <3  It sits just inside a window so we can see it when we step outside of our “house”…feels so “Christmas Vacation” explaining some of this!  Ha!!

 

And here are two of our big critters… that has been challenging for sure.  These two and our 3 cats spend plenty of time in here with us!  The cats actually enjoy romping around outside during the day and typically come snuggle with us in the evening.  That really hasn’t been an issue at all and they’ve adjusted great.  The fur was annoying before and it’s annoying now.  But, it just goes with the territory! The hardest part is not tripping over one of them, but we are managing just fine. It’s cute, when we workout in the warehouse they all like coming and being part of the action. The cats come out of hiding and the dogs insist on being out there with us as well.  All-in-all the pet situation has been pretty good and I think they all really love the extra space out here.

 

Here’s our little bedroom.  Its definitely small, but definitely cozy as well. *as demonstrated by one of our critters 🙂 I would say making the bed is the biggest complaint I have because everything is so snug in there.  But we are warm and comfortable!

 

What you don’t see pictured is our tiny bathroom.  So this is probably TMI…but there’s only so much we can do in the bathroom in our 5th wheel right now…if ya know what I mean (think yellow is mellow).  So, we have this guy planted right outside.  Needless to say…if someone heads outside, there’s no guessing as to what they are doing.  :/  Being the only girl in the house though, I’m always thankful for anther available toilet!  

I can’t tell you how much de ja vu I’ve been experiencing out here.  A port a potty is a bit of a different experience than an outhouse, but it sure is taking me back to my outhouse days!  In that regard, I feel like this whole thing has not been a big deal for me at all.  Been there done that and I don’t mind a bit.  What I’m really missing however…is a nice hot bath!!

That brings me to THIS!  This is what will be our bathtub!  Our next project will be setting up a temporary bathroom situation (and yes, the honey bucket will then go) that will include this tub and a composting toilet. We love the rustic industrial look and I’m so excited to put this to use!! You can bet as soon as it’s ready I’ll be in it!  I have tried taking a bath in our little shower/bath in the 5th wheel and it is just not a good experience to say the least.  A bath is a luxury I have come to include in my regular routine as part of taking care of my body from working out.  I LOVE it, but I also NEED it!  A nice warm Epsom salt bath (with wine) does wonders for sore and/or knotted up muscles!

So, there you have it!  A closer glimpse into our life out here.  I’m excited to share more pictures as we start in on our main house!

Until then… you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year with your loved ones!!

XOXO,
JESS

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