Modern Girl’s Toolbox

I know this subject is a far cry from my usual posts about fashion, beauty, and food, but I think its super important! I really don’t think we give ourselves enough credit (myself included) for the things we can do which is why I am challenging each and every one of you to feel empowered to grab that toolbox next time you have a little home improvement issue to tackle.

A perfect example is last week when our roof sprung a leak while Doug was out of town. Guess who poked a hole in the ceiling to drain the water? That’s right! Me! Obviously I am calling a professional ceiling-fixer-upper once spring gets here, but I’ve realized that I’ve lost some of the independence I used to have when it came to troubleshooting these kinds of things. But not anymore, and you don’t have to either!

And just because I think everyone should have their own set of pink tools, I’ve gone ahead and found a few options for every Modern Girl out there.  xx

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

One of my absolute favorite foods is pizza, but unfortunately its not typically a healthy meal option. However, I learned a cool “cooking hack” to make pizza a bit healthier using cauliflower for the crust.  Sounds crazy, but it was actually really good!  To make one pizza crust you’ll need:

1 cauliflower head
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
s + p to taste

Chop up the cauliflower and put the florets through a food processor or blender to until it resembles a fine crumbly mixture. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10-15 minutes until its very soft. Remove from microwave and let it sit for 15 minutes to cool. Place your cauliflower mix on to a piece of cheese cloth to squeeze out any excess moisture.  Make sure to let the cauliflower cool first or else you will risk burning yourself!

Cauliflower_Pizza 1

Transfer the cauliflower back into the bowl and add the egg, garlic, parsley, and cheese stirring it until it is all combined. I used a Microplane Herb Mill to shred up my parsley, but if you don’t have fresh parsley you could easily use dried. I also buy my garlic pre-minced at the grocery store — so much easier and saves my hands from smelling like garlic for days!

Cauliflower_Pizza 2

Layer a silicone Silpat mat over a baking sheet and spread the cauliflower mixture out, shaping it into a pizza shape. Since my mat is a square, I was going for more of a “Sicilian” style pizza. Put it in the oven on 450* for 15 minutes or so, until it begins to brown. When you take it out you can add your pizza sauce, cheese, and any other toppings.  Then pop it back into the oven with the broiler on until the cheese is melted.

Cauliflower_Pizza 3 (1)

Be careful not to use a sharp knife or pizza cutter on your Silpat mat! You can transfer it to a cutting board to cut, or I just used a blunt butter knife to gently make slices and then pulled them apart — the cauliflower is pretty soft.  You wont believe how good this pizza is even without any dough.  If you try this out, let me know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!!

No Sugar Added

cooking_classy_sugar_cookies

I recently read an article about sugar and how it’s as addictive as cocaine and heroin. I always knew that sugar wasn’t great for you, but I never thought of it as a “drug”  or something we could all be seriously addicted to — so I decided it was time to take some action to remove added sugars from my life!

I did some grocery store research to figure out where all my added sugars were coming from and I was floored when I realized that added sugars are hiding in nearly everything! I know that sugar is in sodas, juices, etc., but here is just a small sampling of the items I didn’t expect to find so much added sugar in:

Ketchup
Bread
Tomato Sauce
Granola
Yogurt
Salad Dressing
Mayonnaise
Instant Oatmeal
Dried Fruit
“Whole Grain” Cereals… and the list goes on!

After reading so many labels full of added sugars, I have decided to embark on a “No Added Sugar” quest for the next two months to see what happens. I will be label-reading like a mad woman, and will be practicing my cooking skills to make homemade no-sugar versions of some of the sugar-filled items we typically buy at the grocery store.  Not all of my homemade creations will be winners, but I will try to share some of the best recipes here on a weekly basis!

Three cheers for No Added Sugars!

Image via Cooking Classy

Modern Girl Gift Guide: From the Heart

Etsy_Rabbits_

I’m trying my hand at something different this year — no gift guides! I’ve seen so many on my own Feedly page, that I just don’t think there is anything else out there I could offer, except for my own plan for Christmas gifts this year. I’m a little late in the game due to my vacation in Costa Rica, but I’m hard at work this week finishing up making all (err… most) of my gifts. Thats right. This year I am giving mostly handmade-by-me Christmas gifts.

Its not for lack of money, and surely purchasing my gifts would be the easier route with regards to time, but I thought that it might be really nice to give someone a handmade gift thats truly from the heart. They may not turn out perfect, but they will be from me and made by me, and hopefully that is better than anything else!

But for those of you who may be lacking in the creativity department, I have rounded up a few ideas for you:

Custom calendar — I made one of these for my Dad two years ago and he loved it! It was quite silly as every month was a photo of me jumping somewhere in the world (Napa Valley, Paris, French countryside, Cape Cod, etc.).  I think I used Vistaprint.com, but there are so many sites you could use.

Painting — Even if you don’t think you can paint, you can! Guided painting places like The Paint Bar in Boston are popular in so many cities and they walk you step by step through the painting. You even get to enjoy a glass of wine or beer while you do it!

Scarf/Hat/Blanket — If you can knit or crochet (like me!) you can try your hand at making one of these items. A scarf is definitely the easiest, but hats aren’t too much more difficult. YouTube videos are really helpful!

Canning — For those foodies out there, try your hand at canning your own homemade jams and butters, or savory items like picked vegetables and salsa. I’ve had this on my list for awhile — maybe next year I’ll try it!

Whatever you decide to do, the recipient is sure to love it. To me, the best part of receiving a handmade gift is knowing that someone one took their (precious!) time and used it to make something just for you.

*Picture above is from an Etsy shop called eineIdee because 1) I can’t actually show you my gifts here yet, and 2) they are just the most adorable crochet bunnies!