The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie
Start your day right with a delicious and nutrient-dense breakfast smoothie. They’re easy to prepare the night before if you usually rush out the door without something to eat. No more mid-morning carb cravings!
- ½ cup nut milk
- ½ cup yogurt
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 serving rice/hemp/organic protein powder (optional)
- ¼ avocado
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons nut butter
- 1 tablespoon flax/hemp seed
Complex Carbohydrates/Vitamins & Minerals
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit
(tip: add a lemon juice if the fruit needs an acidic balance)
- 1 handful dark leafy greens
- e.g. cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, vanilla bean, allspice, fennel seed, etc.
(the quantity will depend on the spice chosen)
- Few drops of liquid stevia
- A spoonful of raw honey
- 2 ice cubes
- Enough water/coconut water necessary until desired thickness is reached
Mix and match ingredients. And feel free to add more than one of the “CHOOSE ONE” suggestions. This base recipe is just a starting guide to help you figure out what you like best.
Brighten Mom’s day with a custom playlist telling her how much you love her. Whether you play it serving her breakfast in bed, while she relaxing in an aromatic bath you drew for her special day, or it arrives on her doorstep because she lives miles away, we think these songs capture the wonder that is Mom.
Mother’s Day Playlist
- You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
- Something in the Way She Moves – James Taylor
- My Girl – The Temptations
- Sweet Pea – Amos Lee
- Meaning (Stripped Version) – Gavin DeGraw
- She’s Got a Way – Billy Joel
- A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men
- You Bring Me Joy – Anita Baker
- Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
- Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
- Song Bird – Eva Cassidy
- Crazy Love – Van Morrison
- Angels – Robbie Williams
- Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo`ole
Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like Breakfast in Bed.
Here are some fun menu ideas to help you create a great morning for Mom. And remember: she shouldn’t have to lift a finger – especially not to clean up afterwards.
Mother’s Day Menu Ideas
Tea & Coffee
w/ honey, sugar, lemon, cream – however she likes it!
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
valencia oranges make the best!
slice 1 kiwi and several strawberries plus whatever else is in season
1. Breakfast Smoothie
mangoes are delicious right now! And check out our sample recipe for easy smoothie-making
2. Sweet & Savory Waffles
whether homemade or the organic frozen kind, there are endless yummy toppings:
- chocolate hazelnut spread
- raspberry jam
- coconut cream
- pesto and cherry tomatoes
- sautéed spinach, onions, and mushrooms
3. Rice Pudding
if you don’t have a favorite already, Chef Sita shares her favorite Orange-Scented Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding recipe below!
A few quick tips to make this Breakfast in Bed a huge success:
- Pull out the fancy stuff – cloth napkins, ceramic creamer cup, espresso spoons… you get the idea.
- Prevent spilling: Only fill the glasses 2/3 of the way.
- Don’t forget a little floral decoration! Lilies, hyacinths, peonies, and tulips are in season right now. Pink colors show appreciation and yellow tones mean joy.
- Bonus points if you make a special Mother’s Day Playlist of songs that celebrate her. You can scoop ours if you’d like.
*If you won’t be around on Mother’s Day morning, you can always treat your mom to a little R&R by preparing a relaxing bubble bath. Put on some music, light a few candles, and scent the water with calming essential oils, like orange blossom, jasmine, and calendula (aka – marigold). We’re partial to Ecco Bella’s Organic Revitalize Serum.
Orange-Scented Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
Yield: about eight ½ cup servings
2 cups water
½ vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
3 cups regular almond milk
½ cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring to boil the water, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and sea salt. Add the rice, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The rice should be soft, but not completely cooked through. Remove from heat.
3. To the rice add the almond milk, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. Stir well to combine. Cover the saucepan and place it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, checking and stirring after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick from the rice pudding. Stir in the orange zest. Season with additional ground cinnamon or maple syrup if desired.
5. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator. Serve cold.
We try to be as sustainable as possible in all of our pursuits. After all – that’s the message we’re spreading. And when more than half of the day is spent working (sometimes more in the case of entrepreneurs and, say, national radio hosts), we have to apply our values to the time spent away from home.
So – how can you “green” your work environment?
The solution that worked for us was joining a “shared” office space. And the benefits far surpassed the reduction in our carbon footprint.
But let’s start there:
Shared Office Spaces, or Coworking, offers an environment where people who work independently, whether freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, or satellite teams, can rent space that fits their size and budget while being a part of a community of like-minded professionals who believe in the power of networking. Plus – you’re sharing utilities such as electricity and water and facilities such as printers and coffee makers. This sustainable approach even gets you 20% closer to a B-Corp Certification, an important new standard for companies and organizations who run their businesses with social and environmental priorities, among many other things.
Our favorite thing about Coworking, though, is the people. They’re creative, helpful, hard-working, funny – in short, they’re like you, only they work in a different field. Which is great because they offer a world of solutions to challenges you or your clients may be facing. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you may be looking for great programmers to work with. Voila! The girl sitting next to you speaks fluent HTML and Java. Maybe you’ve just launched your new business, and you need some PR help. Perfect! The guy you just met in the office kitchen runs a Marketing & PR Firm.
Coworking offices are far more collaborative than coffee shops. They encourage you to get to know your neighbors, either at brown bag lunches, after-work happy hours, or free lectures and workshops where other business visionaries share their expert tips on the road to success. In the case of NextSpace, where An Organic Conversation has our office, you are also part of their extended network, a nearly 1000 member virtual community comprised of professionals from all of their locations. And the “Community Curators” at every space are your biggest fans. They pride themselves on being savvy matchmakers for business-relationships made in heaven. Seriously. It’s their favorite part of the job.
Coworking spaces can offer all kinds of other perks, too. Here’s a taste of what we get from NextSpace:
- Free Membership + Discounted Rates with Zipcar
- Discounted Membership at Crunch Gyms
- Promotional Rate on groceries from SPUD
- Up to 90% off HR services by TriNet
Did we mention unlimited fair-trade coffee and lightning-fast internet??
We’re thrilled to be a part of this innovative community, and we hope you’re encouraged to get out of work isolation and join the (r)evolution of work.
Visit any of the below NextSpace locations, and mention An Organic Conversation to enjoy a Free Day Pass to see what it’s all about! With any luck, we’ll see you there – living your philosophy, walking your talk, and finding yourself 84% happier and more productive than when you were working alone.*
San Francisco, CA
- Financial District
- Union Square
- Coworking & Childcare – COMING SOON!
Berkeley, CA – OPENING JUNE 3rd!
San Jose, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Los Angeles, CA
- Culver City
- Venice Beach
Peace, love, and organic eats,
The AOC Team
* based on member survey, March 2013
by J. Patrick Forden, CEO, Percepticon (Green, Socially Responsible, Sustainable Internet Agency)
We interact with the Internet almost constantly – personal and business, computer and mobile devices. We rely on our ever-present connection for information about anything – doing business, engaging with customers and our favorite brands, social networking, making purchases, and so much more. There is an almost inescapable convergence of the Internet into nearly every aspect of our daily lives. This incredibly useful technology, as with any technology, comes at a price most of us don’t know we are paying.
Do you know how much infrastructure, energy consumption, and waste can take place in the delivery of the Internet services we use every day? Take a look beyond your computers and mobile devices – the general environmental impact is stunning:
- Experts say data centers could surpass the airline industry’s greenhouse gas pollution by 2020
- Computer servers only use 6% of their capacity on average, which means they’re wasting 94% of the electricity they consume
- A data center can house hundreds of thousands of servers, and each one of those servers can have an energy footprint similar to that of a car that gets only 15miles per gallon
Marketing for Internet-related products and services is often presented with the idea that technology is clean and pure, efficient and sustainable, even “organic” in some context.
The idea of the “cloud” has further promoted a one-with-nature impression of environmental responsibility that separates Internet activity and constantly expanding data storage from physical reality.
The truth of the matter is, in order to support everything we do on the Internet, there are more than three million data centers around the world. These data centers run 24/7/365 and use more than 30 billion watts of electricity. That’s equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants. To put that in perspective, a single data center typically uses more electricity than a medium-size town. And as much as 90% of this energy is wasted with millions of servers sitting idle and consuming power while waiting to be needed.
What can be done?
The Internet has grown to be an amazing resource that gives us helpful tools for business and personal success as well as enjoyment. In an age where our growing dependency on the Internet shows no sign of slowing, a future that remains capable of meeting our needs will require more attention to energy efficiency and sustainability. Especially as people continue to evaluate their purchases and habits based on environmental impact, data centers and Internet providers will have to commit to adopting a new set of best practices, such as:
- Improving datacenter architecture and infrastructure design for 70%+ more energy efficiency
- Building where renewable energy sources are readily available
- Utilizing cloud-based server virtualization to reduce overall energy requirements by 75%
- Supporting new innovations to virtualize power on/ off functions so servers work only when they’re needed
How can you help?
Chances are you own a website. And if you don’t, your business does. Work with a provider that offers eco-friendly solutions for hosting and development. Your Chief Technology Officer (even if that’s you) will appreciate your attention to energy-saving methods – plus it’ll give your business a valuable eco-accolade to be proud of. You may even find that the service delivered is better, cheaper, and more customized to your needs that what you’ve been receiving from the one-size-fits-all competition.
Continue to be an advocate for change – even online. Start a dialogue with Internet companies encouraging them to be more responsible and energy efficient. We’ve all seen how a virtual conversation can become something viral; one post and a few comments can quickly grow into a movement with great influence. The Internet is a great platform to build awareness about the Internet. Let’s use its strengths to its – and our – advantage.
AOC’s Appreciation for the Author and his amazing company, Percepticon:
“I have worked with Percepticon for almost ten years now; they power my businesses and non-profits alike. The Percepticon team is as committed to quality and sustainability as I am, and that’s what I am looking for in all my relationships.”
- Helge Hellberg, Creator and Host, An Organic Conversation
You can feel it in the air – spring is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to take stock of those New Year’s resolutions you made about losing weight, getting more exercise, lowering your cholesterol or just getting more fruits and veggies into your diet. If you are like many of us, you may have hit a little bump in your efforts and this is the perfect time to get back on track.
The first thing to do is not beat yourself up about not making the progress you thought you’d make – heck, we’re all human! Next is to find a produce partner or resolution buddy. Many studies have shown that whatever goal you have, doing it with someone will increase your chances of success. So ask your friend in the office, family member at home, or next-door neighbor if they’ll join you in your daily quest to reach your goal, and you’ll both be better for it!
No matter what your health goal, eating more organic fruits and vegetables will help you along the way. Make a plan with your buddy and let the fun begin – here are some examples.
- Make Smoothies Together: Throw some organic spinach, banana, fresh ginger, mango and almond milk in the blender and each bring enough to the office to share for lunch. Then instead of sitting and chatting, walk and chat. You’ll find that you feel more productive and have more energy in the afternoon.
- Have organic navel oranges or carrots pre-sliced for easy afternoon snacking and leave them close at hand. Studies show that having ready-to-eat fruits and veggies where you tend to go for a snack leads to more produce consumption and less fat, carbs and processed food intake.
- At lunch or dinner, instead of pouring oily or fatty dressing on your salad, mix up fresh avocado with a little lemon or orange juice to get that texture or fat fix you want while making a better choice for your heart. One study found that people who ate avocado every day for one week experienced an average 17 percent drop in total blood cholesterol. What’s more, their levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol decreased and HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased.
On your days off, cook together and make healthy vegetable salads or soups to share, which will make it easy to use and stay on track in your busy week ahead. Make up some quinoa ahead of time and now you’ve got a perfect start to that hearty lunch salad with grilled asparagus (that you cooked last night, of course!).
Last week I made broccoli chickpea salad that got me through the week and had me looking forward to lunch. Give this nutritious and very tasty salad I adapted from a Martha Rose Shulman recipe in the New York Times (February 5, 2009) a try!
Warm Chick Pea and Broccoli Salad
• 1 15-oz can of organic chickpeas (rinsed)
• 1/2-pound organic broccoli crowns, broken into florets
• 3/4 small organic red onion, sliced
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh organic Italian parsley
• 2 ounces shaved Parmesan
For the dressing:
• 1-tablespoon fresh organic lemon juice ( I used Meyers)
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 3 organic garlic cloves, minced (the recipe called for one but I love garlic)
• Salt, preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
• 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place the red onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Dry on paper towels.
Make the dressing. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
Steam until the broccoli is tender but still bright.
Add the beans and broccoli to a medium sized bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the parsley, onions and the parmesan, toss again, and serve warm. The warm broccoli makes it comforting and the fresh parsley and onion give it a refreshing lively flavor.
Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.
I had one great dinner with homemade black bean burgers and baked organic butternut squash and 3 lunches from this recipe and never tired of it.
You make the plan and find a buddy and your local farmer or favorite produce clerk will help you choose the freshest organic fruits and vegetables! Now there’s a recipe for success.
Every Chai tastes different based on the ingredients and quantities in them. I developed this Herbal Chai to fit my taste for spice. When I can find dried rose petals, they make an enchanting and classic addition.
1 heaping tablespoon mixed peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
7 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer 45 minutes. Strain, and serve with honey and milk, if desired. Chill remainder to enjoy later.
In uncertain economic times it seems like everyone is looking for a bargain when they are shopping. Besides looking for produce specials or sales, think about how you can get the most nutritional value from the produce you buy.
Try these tips:
- The next time you’re preparing a spinach salad, toss in a mandarin orange. The citrus fruit won’t just enhance the flavor; its vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron found in leafy green vegetables.
- We all know that broccoli is a good source of fiber, which can help fill you up when you are trying to eat healthy. Is a good source of beta carotene and contains vitamins A, C and K. To get the most from your broccoli, eat it with tomatoes. That’s right. According to food science and human nutrition professor John Erdman at the University of Illinois. Tomatoes and broccoli have more powerful cancer-fighting qualities when eaten at the same time than when consumed alone.
- If you want to get the most from your salad, skip the fat-free dressing and add a good-for-you fat like avocado, walnuts, roasted walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil. Why? The good fat/oil makes several nutrients — the lutein in the green peppers, the capsaicin in the red peppers, the lycopene in the tomatoes, even the limonene in the lemon — more body ready for you. Basically each of them is more optimally absorbed with a little bit of fat.
- Like almonds? Try them with a glass of red wine. The phytochemicals in red wine somehow enhance the additive effects in vitamin E.
You get the idea. If one of these wonderful produce items is good, two and perhaps three eaten together can be even better. Now there’s a value you can’t pass up.
It seems like everyone is talking about juicing these days. From celebrity success-stories to juicing home delivery services to juicing retreats, our thirst for fresh plants is being fully satisfied, any how and any way we want it.
There are exhaustive texts on the benefits of juicing, my favorites of which I outlined in a previous blog here. But I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you some my personal favorite reasons for juicing.
I’ve gone through periods in my life where I’ve had nothing but fresh vegetable juice from 8am to 2pm and phases when I just juiced on the weekends. Know that, regardless of your goals, there’s a juicing routine that can fit with your needs and your schedule. Healthy habits do not require an all or nothing approach. And because of that, thankfully, juicing is much more than a fad. It can be a way of life.
What I Love About Juicing:
A quick brief on the obvious because all other reasons essentially stem from this one important fact: drinking fresh juice floods your system with vital micronutrients necessary to sustain health. From vitamins to minerals, to hydration and oxygen, separating the plant fiber for the plant water means you’re getting a straight shot of all of the good stuff, easy to absorb and assimilate.
These plant nutrients are the essence of life force. Faster than coffee will they awaken and energize your body, and there are no after effects of drowsiness, heartburn, or digestive difficulties. I find that when I start my morning with fresh juice, my focus and productivity goes through the roof and I maintain patience and optimism through the challenges of the day.
Feel Good Food
Fresh plant juice is so clean and pure, making it a habit means your guilt around whether or not you’re getting enough vegetables is alleviated. No more thinking “I’ve had nothing of substance all day,” or “All I’ve eaten today is junk.” This is Feel Good Food, so get ready to think “I’ve already eaten so well today. Woohoo!” and “I love what I eat, and my body loves me back for eating it.”
Gateway to More Feel Good Food
Because you feel so great about eating so healthy, you’re motivated to keep eating healthy. Imagine topping an Apple-Carrot-Ginger breakfast with a slice of greasy pizza and soda for lunch. Not likely. A Beet Salad with Baby Arugula and Spiced Pecans, though? Or a Mezze Plate with hummus, olives, roasted zucchini and eggplant? Yes, please. Good begets more good. And this is how new habits are created and kept. The foods I started craving after beginning my juicing routine were far and away better for me.
Some Juicing Tips:
Juice in the Morning
As mentioned above, juice is a great alternative to caffeine, and it’s light on your system, so it’s a good way to break the night’s fast and fill your empty system with what it needs most – and first.
Everything is Better with Lemon
The balance of flavor that comes with tartness of lemons and limes cannot be underestimated. Every juice combination you make will satisfy you more with the addition of lemon juice. Try it, and then try to prove me wrong.
Liquid Stevia for Sweet Without The Sugar
Some juice combinations could use a little sweet to make them even more delicious, especially combos that are all or predominately vegetable. Don’t shy away from the veggie-based juices! Just add a few drops of calorie-free liquid stevia. Made from the stevia leaf plant, it’s sweeter than sugar but doesn’t mess with your blood sugar. I find the liquid version to mix better and taste better than powdered stevia.
My Favorite Recipes:
Sita’s Green Lemonade
1 bunch kale
1 large cucumber
1 green apple or 1 orange, peeled
½ bunch cilantro
2 large lemons
My Fast Fav
(from Natalia Rose’s “Raw Food Life Force Energy” – for mornings when you’ve overslept or run out of produce)
4 cubes of organic frozen wheatgrass
2 bags of your favorite herbal tea (I love chamomile – Natalia loves mint or orange)
Juice of 1 lemon (start with half a lemon and add more juice as desired)
Liquid stevia, to taste
To discover all of your favorite combinations and even cater a combo that helps you reach your health objective, check out more recipes here: http://bit.ly/Vikjte
Don’t yet have a juicer?
Check out these incredible offers from SPUD, good through the end of January, and get a top-of-the-line Hurom Juicer and free organic juicing ingredients!
1) Buy the juicer up-front for $359 and get 4 free boxes of organic produce, specially designed for your juicing pleasure and delivered right to your home: http://bit.ly/Wl1xMS
2) Join the Juicing Club! Get the juicer delivered right away and pay $16/week on the juicer until it’s paid off. Plus you’ll get $140 in organic grocery gift certificates (we highly recommend using them for yummy juicing boxes to maximize your creativity and new kitchen toy): http://bit.ly/UQTbOn
We’ve all had it happen to us we get excited when we are in the produce department and we buy lots of produce to make great meals for the rest of the week.
We bring our bounty home and unpack everything; then the breakdown begins. Your berries go moldy or get shriveled, your tomatoes get soft on the bottom, your lettuce gets wilted, or your broccoli becomes rubbery.
Why is this?
If buying your produce from a store that has good movement on their produce and that buys from the best sources, then it ‘s probably because you aren’t storing your fruits and vegetables properly.
You probably are not alone; many people have the same problem. The fact is, many of us were never shown or told how to get the best value and life from the produce we buy.
Some produce should be stored in the fridge and others should be stored on the counter. Just knowing this can make a huge difference.
Don’t fret; there is help out there. Here are some tips to use that will get you started.
Lets start with the counter:
Produce such as apricots, avocados, bananas, kiwis, mangos, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums and tomatoes all are best outside the fridge. This is because these items are sensitive to chill-injury, dehydration, internal browning and flavor loss if stored in the refrigerator.
There is an exception on some of these items such as avocadoes or kiwis. They can be stored in the fridge for a short time but ONLY AFTER they are ripe.
A couple of other tips for tomatoes:
- Store them in a dry place between 55 and 65 degrees, out of direct sunlight.
- If possible, store them with the stems attached. To keep ripe tomatoes from going bad, and have them stay fresh a lot longer, store them stem-end down rather than stem-end up.
Others that are better out of the fridge but not on the counter are:
garlic; onions; potatoes; shallots; sweet potatoes; and winter squash. These like to be kept at a cool room temperature (not COLD) and away from the light.
Now for in the fridge, there are some rules about this as well:
Some items are sensitive to chill-injury and should be kept in the front of your fridge, as it tends to be a bit warmer there (around 37 degrees). These items include: berries; citrus; corn; melons; and peas.
Other fruits such as apples, cherries and grapes can be stored just about anywhere in the fridge, as they are less susceptible to chill-injury. One thing to note is not to store them near leafy vegetables, as the ethylene gas they let off can wilt or ripen these too quickly.
Lots of produce items need a bit of humidity to stay at their peak and that is where your crisper drawer comes in handy.
Things like artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chiles, cucumbers, eggplant, fresh herbs, green beans, leafy greens, leeks and lettuce all do much better here.
There is always more to learn and not everything in proper storage is black and white, but if you use these tips you should be well on your way to fresher, longer lasting produce.