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My Undeveloped Story

Two years?!

For no reason, except laziness, I have neglected this blog for 2-ish years. Shame on me. I’m coming back. Soon. I’ll be traveling to Europe soon and will document the journey here. There are probably a few other things I’ll post in the meantime as well, like a blog about my Influenster VoxBoxes. See you soon!

Baking w/Zucchini — Day 1

Over the past week I’ve had two friends give me giant zucchinis, which I love, so I was trying to figure out what to make. I knew that there would be some baking involved but I was also hoping to have a little more for other things. I had no need to worry. These two zucchinis went from this (bottle just for size reference):

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To this:

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I ended up with five sandwich bags full of shredded zucchini, two freezer bags of zucchini rounds which will be used for zucchini Parmesan rounds, and a bunch of zucchini sticks which will probably just get chopped and used in calabacitas.

**A note about shredding zucchini and using it for baking**

Make sure that you squeeze the water out. Use a clean dish cloth or cheese cloth and squeeze out as much of the water as you can. They retain a lot which makes whatever you bake nice and moist but if you don’t squeeze, there will be too much and your baked goods will not turn out well.

 

The baking came first. Yesterday we had a cool evening which made it perfect for baking. I have two other items that I want to bake but I’m waiting for another cool evening to do it. This is just part one. If you decide to try these let me know!

 

First up was Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (or 1 large egg)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in applesauce (or egg) and vanilla extract. Add zucchini and with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  • Shape dough into balls, 2 Tbsp each (or a little more if you like them a little bigger like I do), then transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 11 – 14 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Modified from recipe found here.

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Up next was some Carrot Zucchini Bread.

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I modified a recipe that my grandma had written out and tucked inside a recipe book that I inherited. As much as possible I try to bake without using oil or dairy. The original recipe used eggs, canola oil and unsweetened  applesauce so that means I used A LOT of applesauce in my bread. Below is the recipe as my grandma had it.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 3/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Canola Oil (Or 1/2 C applesauce)
  • 3 Large Eggs (Or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg)
  • 6Tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C Finely Shredded Peeled Carrots
  • 1 1/2 C Finely Shredded Zucchini

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter & Flour two loaf pans
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds and set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix sugars until blended, then add applesauce, oil, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined (about 30 sec to 1 min). Stir in zucchini and carrots.
  • Add flour mixture all at once and using a rubber spatula, fold until combined.
  • Add to pans. Bake for 35 min. Slide pans out, tent with aluminum foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to wire rack inverted.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting or serve warm with melted butter.

The journey continues…

Hello friends, I’ve missed you. The past month-ish has been really difficult for me and writing, which was once a comfort, just wasn’t something I wanted to do. I stopped working on my book, I stopped blogging, I stopped journaling… Anytime I tried my thoughts would turn to my dad and I just couldn’t continue, so I stopped trying. But, slowly, I’m getting back into the groove of things.

Now, onto the “no poo” journey. I’m still going at it. 66 days strong (I think). January was all about doing the baking soda wash with the ACV rinse. In February I started doing a honey wash and ACV rinse. At first my hair felt really dense when I would wash with honey but I think my hair got used to it faster than it got used to the baking soda. I did a honey wash on Saturday but haven’t used anything more than water on my hair since then. My hair doesn’t get too oily and what I do get I brush through my hair and I think the natural oils are making my hair curl better than ever. I haven’t used any hair products for holding my curls during this entire process. I used to use a variety of curl products from shampoos to mousse to curl creme, etc. Never before has my hair curled the way it does now. And I have a LOT of volume to my hair now.

I really need to learn how to do some cool hair styles because I notice that my hair holds style better, like when I curl my hair (curling iron). I also notice that my hair is very soft, but different from the softness of using shampoo/conditioner. That was soft like a silky coating. This is just the natural texture of my hair. Something I don’t know if I have ever noticed or even known before now. The only thing that was still bothering me until a couple weeks ago was the “neutral” scent of my hair. Because it didn’t smell like anything, to me, I just kept imagining that it had a scent to those around me and maybe I was just used to it. I also kind of miss the scent of freshly shampooed hair, you know, that Herbal Essence tropical island getaway kind of scent. I have kind of made my own remedy for that. I grabbed some essential oils when I was at Sprouts and I’ll drop a little into my honey wash (orange essential oil has been my favorite for this) or I’ll drop a little bit into my spray bottle to spritz my hair when I’m leaving it curly. Lavender and orange oils have been my favorite because they aren’t overpowering scents. They just give a light touch and help my hair smell clean when I haven’t washed for 6 days. I also still rock the cocoa powder dry shampoo. I love the days when I use cocoa powder and then sit in a sunny spot because I smell like hot chocolate…or a candy bar. Yum!

In other news, I have decided to participate in the “Live Below the Line” challenge this year. I heard about it last year via various celebrities on twitter. I was interested, but I never joined. Months passed and I didn’t think about it and then a few days ago I got an email from Live Below the Line and I read about it again and I thought, “I couldn’t do this. I like food too much.” And that is what made me decide to do it. I’ve never been well off and I have had my ramen noodle phase when I had no money, but I don’t think I ever lived on less than $1.50 a day for food. I will at the end of next month. Along with the challenge is a fundraiser. All donations for me will go to Unicef. Support me and help change the world.

If you want to know more or want to make a donation to my fundraiser, please visit the following site:  https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/educatedlady

No ‘Poo: Week Two Update

I have gone a full week with no washing. I washed Wednesday morning (the 8th) but haven’t done the baking soda wash since then. I think I’ll wash tomorrow. I’m feeling a bit like a grease ball. But, a week of no washing and then day 8 was when I felt greasy. Not bad.

Week two was, I think, a week of figuring a few things out.

1) Brushing: As a girl with curls brushing has never been much fun. So often was a mess of tangles and trying to run a brush through my hair was a joke. I don’t know how many brushes I’ve destroyed over the years where bristles popped out, the entire pad with all the bristles would pop out, etc. I tried de-tangling spray which worked but left a gross film on my hair. The one thing that did work was running a comb through my hair in the shower right after conditioning. If I straightened my hair I could brush it and end up having to tame a frizzy mess with various products. Well, guess what? I no longer have a problem. No tangling issues, wet, dry, curly, straight, whatever. It. Is. Glorious.
Also, you know how in older movies/tv shows women are always brushing their hair like, 100 times every night? Well, there seems to be something to that. Maybe not 100 times but I have found that a good brushing is very nice.
Feeling a little oily? Brush it through your hair. Seriously, your hair will thank you.

1, 2, 3, 4…

2)Coconut Oil: Over the past few months I’ve fallen in love with coconut oil. I throw it in the occasional morning smoothie, I started using it to make my own toothpaste (and do the occasional oil pull),  I use it as a moisturizer, but I didn’t use it anywhere near my hair. Then I started researching “no poo” and many of the bloggers I came across mentioned using it to tame fly away hairs, and several women with curly hair said that they use a little bit to scrunch into their hair. Using it for both of these things is great.
I have a couple dry spots on my head that have kind of had a rough time adjusting to not having conditioner applied every couple days but a dab of coconut oil makes it all better.

3)Cocoa Powder: Cocoa has become my new best friend. Mix it with a little arrowroot, cornstarch, (or baby powder if you want) and you’ve got a fantastic dry shampoo. Plus, you will smell like chocolate, which I love. Fun story – I was at a friend’s house on Sunday and I was sitting in the sun and it must have warmed my head just enough because suddenly people were able to smell it and his dog wanted to be near me and possibly eat me.

4)No ‘Poo: This name is awful. Maybe I’ll call it something else. ShampFree maybe? I don’t know. I’ll think about it. I am only two weeks in and I hate seeing the look on people’s faces when I say “no ‘poo.”

I didn’t take many pictures this week because, well, it was pretty much the same as last week as far as how I think it looks in pictures. Below is a collage of pictures from four of the days in the past week. Curly, straight, pulled back, half up…I’m doing my best. I’ve never been one to try any fun hairstyles. I wouldn’t really know where to start. Anyway, I’ll end with the picture and give another update next week!

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Clockwise from top left: Day 8, Day 11, Day 14, Day 13

No ‘Poo: Week One Update

January 1, 2014 was my first “no ‘poo” wash. So far I think things are going well. I haven’t experienced much of the difficult transition that I’ve read from others. No horror stories here. I’ll be continuing on.

Below I have documented each day this week with the following information: What I did with my hair that day, and pictures. I have realized after trying to take pictures in various rooms in my apartment, and also outside, I just cannot find the right light for hair pictures. I’ve done the best I can.

DAY 1: 
Baking Soda Wash & Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse – Air dry curls, no product used

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DAY 2:
Spritzed hair with water to rejuvenate curls. ( No picture from today. It looks like it did yesterday.)

– Someone at work asked if I got a perm because my hair seemed curlier than it usually does.

DAY 3:
Straightened hair, curled ends 

– I finally used the shower cap I took from a fancy hotel last fall!
-Straightening hair seemed to go faster than usual. Even though I have naturally curly hair it has never held curl well. Even with massive amounts of hair spray and other products curls tend to go flat within just a few hours. Even though it is early in the hair experiment I wondered if it was making a difference. I was pleasantly surprised. I also received a tip from someone on Twitter that if I needed a dry shampoo I should use cocoa or a cocoa/arrowroot or a cocoa/baby powder mix. Brunettes and darker red heads shouldn’t use plain arrowroot and/or baby powder because it can give hair a grey hue. Blondes, light red heads, and grey haired people are fine using arrowroot or baby powder. This is a great tip.

– I received lots of compliments today on how shiny my hair is and how great it looks.

Morning - Straightened & Curled
Morning – Straightened & Curled
Lunch break in the sunshine - Approx 6 hours of curls
Lunch break in the sunshine – Approx 6 hours of curls
Pulled back & post gym time - There's still some curl approx 12 hours after curl time.
Pulled back & post gym time – There’s still some curl approx 12 hours after curl time.

DAY 4:
Cocoa dry shampoo used –  pulled back into a ponytail. No pictures today.

-The longest I’ve gone without washing my hair previously was three days, and that was because I was sick and couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed for three days. I expected my hair to be greasy and gross by this time but it honestly wasn’t bad. I gave the cocoa dry shampoo trick a shot and it worked great (my hair also smelled like chocolate which was kind of heavenly).

DAY 5:
Water rinse & french braid. No pictures today.

– My hair started to feel a little greasy. Or at least, it looked like it was a little greasy so after a nice brushing to move the oils around I pulled my hair back into a braid. Before going to bed I applied the cocoa dry shampoo.

DAY 6:
Dry shampoo applied the night before (my pillow smells like chocolate…yum!) – Straightened and a touch up of dry shampoo applied.

– Starting to feel more greasy, straightening was quick and hair was straighter than it has been, maybe ever. I wasn’t really feeling the straight hair so it ended up getting pulled back into a pony tail by the end of the day.

Straight hair - Cocoa dry shampoo
Straight hair – Cocoa dry shampoo

DAY 7:
Water rinse – air dry curls, no product

– Still feeling a bit greasy but not ready for another Baking Soda wash yet. After a water rinse I pulled my hair half up and let it air dry. In the morning the curls looked heavy, lifeless, and much like they looked before I went no ‘poo. Once my hair dried though, the curls were nice. When I let my hair down last night it was a lovely, curly mane.

Water rinse & air dry curls - Hair is still wet in the first three pictures. Bottom Right picture is my curls at night.
Water rinse & air dry curls – Hair is still wet in the first three pictures. Bottom Right picture is my curls at night.

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to start using a t-shirt to dry my hair instead of a hair towel. You know that XXL shirt you have that you always say you’ll wear for pajamas but you never  actually wear  so it just sits in the back of the closet or in the bottom of a drawer? Use that. When you fold the arms over your hair and then twist it turban style. I think this is part of the reason why my curls have started looking great.

Pajama shirt turned hair towel

So that was the first week. I think it might be too early to tell how it is working but my hair feels healthier already. That’s all I’ve got for now. See you next week for more updates!

My “No ‘Poo” journey begins…

Over the summer I came across a pinon Pinterest about the “No ‘Poo Method.” The picture was of a woman’s lovely hair and I assumed that “poo” meant shampoo so I clicked the link. A couple months later one of my best friends mentioned that she had gone “no ‘poo” and was loving the results. I was intrigued but I had a lot of questions and so the research began. I read about it here, and here, and here, and here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, oh, and from the lovely Gala Darling here. For months I read through blogs and message boards trying to learn as much as I could before giving it a try.

The main thing that I have learned is that it isn’t for everyone. A lot of people tried it and for one reason or another, it just wasn’t for them. Some liked it but liked the way their hair feels with shampoo/conditioner better. Some never figured out the right balance of ingredients and didn’t like their results. Many love “no poo” and will never do anything else. It is really something that you have to try for yourself because everyone’s hair is different so what works or doesn’t work for someone might have a different result for you.

Today is my first day of “no poo” and I’m already getting questions so below you will find some of the questions that I asked when I was researching and the answers that I came up with. Feel free to ask me about my experience. I’m going to give this at least a month before I decide if I’ll continue or go back to shampoo and I’ll update each week with my results.

 

Will the baking soda damage my hair/scalp:
 – It shouldn’t if you dilute properly. The ph of Baking Soda is about 9, your scalp is about 5. If you dilute properly there shouldn’t be an issue.  Also, you don’t “wash” your hair daily or even every other day with this method so in theory, you should have no problem. Your hair/scalp may go through an adjustment period as the ph evens out. This is normal.

– Rinse and when you think you’ve rinsed it all out, rinse again. You’re applying baking soda to your hair and massaging your scalp in a way you don’t need to do with shampoo. Rinse properly. You won’t be washing for a few days and if you leave any residue you are likely to get an itchy scalp.

I have curly hair, will this be better or worse for my curls:
– There are mixed results. Some find that their hair curls better. Some find that “no poo” makes their hair brittle and frizzy. This takes us back to how this method is different for everyone. Experiment and see what works for you.

Can I still use product in my hair:
– Most people stop using product as well when they go “no poo” but replace those products with more natural ones. A little coconut oil for extra conditioning and frizz taming. A little aloe vera instead place of gel or curl cream. Some people still use a little hairspray. Some use dry shampoo for the days between “washes.” It is really up to you.

I color my hair, can I still go “no poo”:
– according to what I’ve read people say that their color lasts the same amount of time as with their current shampoo and often the color lasts longer. Many people still use shampoo/conditioner at the time of coloring but return to “no poo” right after and it was general consensus from what I read that their hair bounced back faster each time.

Will I smell like easter eggs:
No. Well, you shouldn’t. In the shower you will notice the vinegar scent. If you rinse well you shouldn’t have an issue with a lingering scent. If you notice it, you might not have rinsed well. The scent should evaporate.

The journey begins
The journey begins

So… Monday was the last time I washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner. This is what my hair looked like after letting it air dry normally and using a little Fructis Curl Calm Down to tame the frizz. Over the past few months my hair has felt heavy, weighed down, and the curls have been, well, lacking. That’s part of why I wanted to give this method a try.

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And here is my hair today after my first wash with Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar. No product has been used and I let my hair air dry… frizz and all. My hair feels lighter and softer than it has in months. (And yes, I know I do this hairstyle a lot. It is easy!)

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Today I also started using an old t-shirt to dry my hair instead of a towel. It is supposed to reduce frizz and seeing as how I’m trying to go more natural with my hair frizz can often be an issue, especially without product. We’ll see how that works out.

And that is it for now. Please leave a comment with any questions and I’ll be back with an update next week!

A List: My Top 25…

SONGS! Well, my top 25 songs on iTunes. My most played songs, if you will. I was updating my iPod and noticed that there was a playlist of my 25 most played songs. It is probably something that has been there forever but I never noticed before. So… I thought I would write them all out here and give people a little glimpse into my brain.

And now…my most played starting with #25. ( I’ve provided a link to hear each song if you’re curious.  )

 

25. Attack by 30 Seconds to Mars

24. Un Amor by Gipsy Kings

23. Elegy by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Cassidy

22. The Space Between by Dave Matthews Band

21. Beethoven’s 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys

20. Mykonos by Fleet Foxes

19. Feel Good Drag by Anberlin

18. Moment by Aiden

17. My Sweet Hunk O’ Trash by Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong

16. Sunlight by Codec

15. Insert Clever Chorus Here by Archer’s New Rival

14. Dance With The Devil by Breaking Benjamin

13. You Never Know by Immortal Technique

12. Dust to Dust by The Civil Wars

11. Dancing With The Enemy by Still Remains

10. Blame Me! Blame Me! by Anberlin

9. Stormy Weather by Etta James

8. Holler Til You Pass Out by 3OH!3

7. Brace Yourself by Dropping Daylight

6. Midnight City by M83

5. Modern Age by Anberlin

4. The Undeveloped Story by Anberlin

3. Ready Fuels by Anberlin

2. To The Wolves by Anberlin (Can you tell that Anberlin is my favorite band?)

 

And the most played song in my iTunes library is….

 

1. Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars (This is my “power” song when I run. I doubt it would be #1 otherwise.)

 

And there we have it.

Thoughts on my song selection? Did any songs in my list surprise you? What songs make it into your top 25? Leave a comment!

 

 

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili

I am one of those people that likes pumpkin everything. This means that I have a lot of pumpkin in my pantry and I am always trying to figure out new things to make. Thanks to Pinterest you can find recipe after recipe and I stumbled upon a recipe for a crockpot pumpkin chili. Since I like my chili to have a bit more spice I changed things from the original recipe I found and came up with this. It was super easy to make and I somehow managed to find every ingredient I needed on sale so I spent maybe $5 on this meal. I feel that the pumpkin complements the spice really well, without an overpowering pumpkin flavor. Maybe that is because I used a bit more spice. I’m not sure. I like it though and I’ll have leftovers for days.  Sorry about the lack of pictures but I don’t think that it is necessary to post pictures of cans of beans and tomatoes so… on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken/turkey/soy crumbles/whatever you want – browned and drained
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed,
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans RO*TEL (or just Diced tomatoes if you don’t want the extra spice)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree’ (DO NOT use pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 Tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 cup elbow pasta (optional)

Directions:
Dump all ingredients into your crock pot, except the pasta and mix well.  Gently sprinkle pasta on top.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Stir again before serving.

Top with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc. Just do whatever you want!

pumpkinchili

Crock-Pot Cooking: Chicken Tortilla Soup

It is January 1 which means a new year has started and I didn’t have to work today. I wanted to enjoy a day of relaxation so I decided that I would use my handy Crock-Pot and make something for dinner today…and the next few days. I went through my cupboard and found some ingredients and made a hodgepodge version of chicken tortilla soup. It actually turned out really well and when I added up all the ingredients in a recipe calculator the serving turned out to be about 400 calories (before I added some tortilla chip crumbles and a dallop of sour cream).

Ingredients:

1 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn (drained and rinsed)
1 Can Ro-tel
1 Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Chicken Breasts
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Dash of chili powder (or more to taste. I do about five dashes.)

  • Place chicken at the bottom of the crock-pot
  • Pour ingredients on top of chicken
  • Cook on high for four hours (six if chicken is frozen) — chicken should fall apart when picked up with fork
  • Top with tortilla strips, sour cream, avocado, or whatever you like!

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This was easy, tasty, and not too bad for you. I’ll definitely make this again.

 

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