ACAI YOU LOOKIN’ MY WAY

Anyone, short of a recluse, knows that acai bowls are all the rage these days.  But, what makes these delicious bowls so great, is that while they are incredibly trendy, they are also incredibly good for you.  So when my good friend Laura (@akalekitchen) invited me over the other night to make acai bowls and catch up I was stoked (seriously, I think I used 6 exclamation points to say yes).  I know that if anyone is going to know how to make a good acai bowl its Laura, and I have been dying to start making these delicious mixtures at home.  While quinoa salad may be my staple, life isn’t complete if you don’t have (healthy) savory AND sweet options.  So, I was beyond thrilled when Laura offered to teach me her ways, and I am excited to share the secret here, with you.  While making these tasty (and surprisingly easy) concoctions for yourself may not compare to girls night with champs and gossip, they don’t fall too far short.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Navitas Goji Berries
  • Navitas Cacao Nibs
  • Navitas Hemp Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Frozen Berries (I like to use a berry medley, but that’s a personal preference)
  • Sambazon Frozen Acai (they come in frozen one serving packets)
  • Almond Milk
  • Almond Butter (I use Justin’s)
  • Fresh Fruit (I like to use raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 Banana

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In blender combine:
    1. 1 Sambazon Frozen Acai packet, frozen berries (about 2/3 cup), almond milk (about 1 cup), ½ banana, 2 large spoonfuls almond butter (I actually split this 50/50 between almond butter and peanut butter, whatever works for you)
      1. The more almond milk you use the runnier the mixture, the more almond/peanut butter you use the thicker. I eyeball all measurements.
  2. Blend until completely mixed and smooth
  3. Pour into large cereal bowl
  4. Add on top: fresh berries, goji berries, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
    1. Amounts are not exact, whatever looks good to you
  5. Stir, and enjoy!

Quinoa Salad is Life

quinoa salad

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing

  • 1 lime (zested, juiced)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)

Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa (Ancient Harvest, Organic White Grains)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 can whole kernel sweet corn (drained, rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In medium saucepan combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil.  Once it starts to boil, reduce to low heat and cover for 15 minutes
  2. Make the dressing: In small bowl zest and juice one lime. Add sugar, olive oil, and melted butter.
  3. Dice 3 tomatoes
  4. After the quinoa is done pour it into a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over and mix so that quinoa is completely coated. Add diced tomatoes and mix.  Add rinsed black beans and corn.  Again, mix. Voila!
  5. Enjoy and Keep refrigerated.

 

So far this summer, I have largely filled my Instagram stories with various pictures of my quinoa salad.  Literally, story of my life.  This particular quinoa salad has come to be the staple dish in my diet.  For me, “look good, feel good” requires several elements: food that makes me feel good, exercise that makes me feel like I’m going to die, but ultimately makes me look good, and clothes.  Making this quinoa salad recipe marks a shift in my eating habits.  Since becoming an adult, my body seems to have taken on the role of my mother in regulating what I eat.  So, while I love to snack on a pack of Oreos, I know my body is going to make me feel awful for it.  Sadly, gone are the days when I can survive on sugar.   As a result, I have stopped fighting this fact, and have started looking for healthy options that I don’t hate.  This is by far my favorite one.  I hope you enjoy it, too!

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Who am I and Why should you care?

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The first question I pose here is superficially easy.  My name is Mercy, I am 27 years old (terrifying), and I live in Washington, DC.  I grew up in a lovely family in northern Illinois, I proudly attended the University of Southern California (Fight On), and graduated in 2012.  I then continued on to law school at Notre Dame, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I thought three more years would buy me (literally) plenty of time.  Also, pretty much everyone in my family is a lawyer, so if I wanted to be taken seriously at family meetings or Christmas dinner, a respected advanced degree was necessary.  Following law school and the bar exam (which I passed, thank heavens) I confessed that I had absolutely no interest in actually being a lawyer, but, bright side, knew where I wanted to live.  I had spent my last semester of law school interning for the NCAA in Washington, DC (yes, I am a sports fanatic), and had totally fallen in love with the city.  So, I packed my bags and moved.  There I decided I was going to start a journey to “find myself.”  A concept which I had spent the first 25 years of my laugh mocking, before realizing I had no idea who I was or what I hoped to accomplish with my life.  This lasted a few weeks before I was offered an internship in a Congressional office, which turned into a job, where I stayed for 18 months.  By this time I had just turned 27, I was chewing my cuticles bloody and calling my mom on a regular basis to explain that while I understood I had a job thousands of people would die for, I was miserable.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the job’s fault.  I made friendships I can’t imagine my life without, and I truly believe everything happens for a reason.  But a career “on the Hill” was, alas, not for me.  So, in April, I inexplicably quit.  Since then I have spent three months dodging all questions related to “so, what do you do,” while spending time with my family and friends, and getting myself into the best shape of my life (okay, honestly, probably best shape since high school).  However, the question of what do I want to be when I grow up still eludes me.  How is it I can look around at all my friends, swimming like fish, careers taking off, conquering the world, and I’m still taxiing for takeoff, destination unknown.  But, since when did “what do you do” come to define who we are? So, who am I?  Well, I’m quite happily me.  What do I do?  That’s yet to be answered.

Why should you care?  Well, that’s entirely up to you, and if you don’t want to, I certainly won’t be offended, feel free to continue along, no comments necessary, thank you, bye.  However, I will take a second to try to give you a few reasons to stay… Over the years, I have had a lot of internships and summer jobs, several of which have focused almost exclusively on learning about the “millennial.”  Who knew our generation was such a fascinating (and, to some, terrifying) beast?!  Well, it is.  Entire industries have conducted studies to figure out how to relate to, market to, interact with, and understand “the millennial.”  Companies are panicking as we enter the workforce and struggling to understand how we operate.  Part of me finds this strangely hilarious, part of me finds it completely fascinating.  But, as a millennial, I guess I find our behavior normal, even if I can also see how it breaks from tradition.  Some say we are superficial, and I am not totally sure that assessment is wrong.  Between Instagram and Snapchat, and the rest of social media (most of which I actually don’t know how to use), we are consumed with displaying ourselves publicly in the best light possible.  But, the reality is, we are all humans, like the generations before us and those yet to come, and we all put our pants on the same way.  (Is that actually a saying?  I heard someone say it once and it resonated, but I am not sure if it’s a real thing.)  So I want to use this space to share my reality.  Yes, I have embarrassing moments… such as, the other day, when my flip-flops broke in the middle of crossing the street (in a very trendy area) while I was jaywalking, drinking an iced chai, and talking on the phone to my mom. I totally panicked, considered changing my name and moving to Siberia.  Did anyone see me?! Obviously.  Do I know anyone who saw me? Please, I hope not.  Is there a car coming? If there was, it didn’t hit me.  Yes, the panic went in that order, sorry, I’m basic and that’s how my mind works.  And while just sharing my embarrassing moments would be humorous (for you), what I really want to do is provide a snapshot of [real] life.  What are my interests? Sports, fashion, food, work out classes, travel, animals, and the people that make it happen.  What are the trends in those areas.  How am I, a fairly average millennial, following or not following those trends.  A diary of sorts, if you will.  If that sounds even remotely interesting, feel free to follow along!