Tuesday, August 23, 2016

weekly find: the best foam roller

The major question when planning a spa day is always: massage or facial? For me, the answer is easy. Although I know facials are generally more beneficial in terms of getting tangible results, which is important to consider when you’re shelling out over $100 for a 50 minute service, it’s just too difficult to say no to the relaxational bliss you experience while getting a massage.

However, as a 20-something-year-old living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, my budget for any sort of spa service is slim to none. Manicures and pedicures have even gone out the window since moving here. Instead, I “invested” in some $2 files and buffers, cuticle cream, upped my Essie game and now replicate the experience at home, which actually yields similar results.

I took what I learned from that and applied it to massages.  Although nothing can replace the divine relaxation and indulgence you feel when getting a massage, you can work out some major muscle tension all on your own with a foam roller.

I’ve tried a bunch, and this one from Amazon is my absolute favorite. The bumps are specifically designed to work as a massage therapist’s fingers would, finding knots and applying the right amount of pressure to roll out tightness. The compact size is also ideal for storage and still provides enough surface area to target all the major areas; and not to mention it’s super affordable.

Since buying it, one of my favorite things to do at the end of a long day is search for a YouTube video that shows how to target a certain area that’s especially been bothering me, and roll it out while watching some trashy reality TV. Not quite the same as going to a swanky spa with lavender rose water and aromatherapy, but does the trick nonetheless.

Shop the Item Here: Master of Muscle Foam Roller available on Amazon
Price: $23

Thursday, August 18, 2016

the best garlic bread

Get ready for your kitchen to smell incredible.

One of my favorite things to make for dinner is this broccoli soup from Deliciously Ella. It’s super bright, fresh, and full of veggie goodness, the only problem is it isn’t always enough to fill up me and my boyfriend, Jack.

Sometimes I would make roasted veggies or a side salad to go with it, but neither really seemed fitting. I knew I wanted to pair it with something super easy though, so I wasn’t stuck in the kitchen forever making two major meal components, and suddenly garlic bread hit me.

Perusing Google for a good recipe, I was amazed by the huge variation in ingredients and techniques used for something that seemed so simple. Many of them looked overly complicated or a bit unappealing. Especially the ones that used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. Why? Just, why?

I set out to make the ultimate garlic bread recipe of my own that was truly delicious and easy to make. I started with the Harvest Multigrain Batard from the fresh bread section of Trader Joe’s. This is my all-time favorite bread. It has a delicious, nutty flavor and I love that you can see the seeds and grains when you cut into it. 

I then combine some melted Earth Balance, which is vegan butter you can find at any grocery store, fresh garlic, parsley and nutritional yeast for some cheeziness. If you're not into Earth Balance, I'm sure this would also work well with olive oil. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll experiment and let you know!

The whole thing, including bake time, takes about 15 minutes and the result is oh-my-gosh good. Enjoy it right away or toss it in the freezer to heat up for future nights your craving something to go along with your soup, salad, pasta, or anything really!

- 5 tablespoons Earth Balance (vegan butter)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 lb loaf of bread (I used Harvest Multigrain Batard from TJ's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt Earth Balance in the microwave for about 20 seconds in a small bowl. Add garlic, parsley, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and spread garlic butter evenly on the two halves. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes then toast under the broiler for about 2 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Serve immediately or freeze once cooled.

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