Hot Water with Lemon – Adios Coffee!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been slowly transitioning into a lifestyle that is not-so-dependent on things to help me get through the day. I used to suffer from insomnia which would not only make me feel extremely sluggish the next day, but it would also trigger migraines. My go-to remedy at that time? A whole pot full of strong coffee.

You may have heard that caffeine helps ease the pain and tension often associated with migraines. If you’re one of those people, then you’re very lucky – my body responds the exact opposite way. So while I was pounding coffee to make deadlines, I was also knocking back bottles upon bottles of pain reliever. I couldn’t help but think that if I nixed this coffee-tylenol cocktail from my daily regimen, I may start feeling like a normal human-being again.

I recently read an article that suggested drinking warm water with lemon in the morning could energize you just as much – if not more, than the average cup of joe. I was extremely skeptical at first, but I figured what did I have to lose? If I was at a total loss, I could just run to the break room to feed my crazy caffeine addiction.

Also, drinking hot water with lemon helps you reap in TONS of benefits:

  1. Boosts your immune system: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds.  They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.
  2. Balances pH: Drink lemon water everyday and you’ll reduce your body’s overall acidity. It helps flush your kidneys and liver and alkalizes your blood.
  3. Helps with weight loss:  The pectin fiber in lemons helps fight hunger cravings
  4. Aids digestion:  Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials and promotes bile production which is key in digestion. Efficient digestion reduces heartburn and constipation.
  5. Is a diuretic: Lemons increase the rate of urination in the body and purifies it. It helps keeps a healthy urinary tract by immediately pushing toxins out of the body.
  6. Clears skin:  As mentioned above, toxins are purged from the body immediately which helps prevent acne and wrinkles. It will also give you a healthy glow.
  7. Keeps you Zen: Lemons are packed full of vitamin C. Research has suggested that vitamin C deficiency causes our minds and bodies to stress out. If you’re feeling less than chipper, have a cup – it will make you feel better.

I’m proud to say that I have been sans coffee- or any type of caffeine for that matter, for over a month. I’ve noticed that I sleep much more soundly, rarely get headaches and I don’t feel deprived of any energy whatsoever. As someone who catches every illness that wanders through the halls at work, I’m hoping it will keep my immune system healthy during the colder months. I’ll report back on this later in the year. Cheers!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

This is my take on Joy the Baker’s Mustard Roasted Potatoes. I almost followed the recipe exactly, except my grocer didn’t have any whole-grain dijon AND I’m an idiot and forgot to pick up parsley at the store. Palm to forehead. Anywho, this is a great side-dish for ANY entree and it gives you your carb fix for the day. And since I’m dating a meat-and-potatoes kind of a guy, I knew that this side-dish would be a hit. I think it’s also worth pointing out that this would be a great potato dish for family get-togethers, holidays, etc. Recipe below.

As always, enjoy.

Ingredients:

3 pounds new potatoes
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted (any butter here will do, vegan or not)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
Thyme to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set baking sheets aside.
  2. Clean and dice new potatoes. Try to slice them so they’re just about all the same size. Place in a large bowl. Toss in sliced onions.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Pour mustard mixture over diced potatoes and onions. Toss until potatoes are coated. Divide the coated potatoes between the two baking sheets. Leave any extra mustard mixture in the bowl. It will just burn in the oven.
  4. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven, toss with parsley, and serve warm. They’re yummy.

Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

This recipe is a great starter or side-dish. The flavors are light and crisp, and the fact that you can prepare this dish in about 5 minutes makes it even more lovable. You see that post below this one for the Baked Fontina and Smoked Mozzarella? Yeah, I served this bad boy alongside that sizzling and savory dish. Can you say perfection? 🙂

Recipe:

2 cucumbers
1 cup diced tomato or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onion or thinly sliced sweet onion (or more)
1 avocado (ripe)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional, for tossing with avocado)
about 1 T good-quality balsamic vinegar
about 1 T good-quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chop up your cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and avocado and toss them in a salad bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of your veggie mixer to prevent the avocado from browning – and who doesn’t like a little lemon flavor? I know I do! Next, drizzle your mixture with the vinegar and olive, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!