Kale Lemonade

Today I'm sharing a juice recipe for another one of my favorite juices. Unlike smoothies, this drink requires that you have a juicer. But for all my smoothie lovers, fear not, I'm adapting a version of this juice so that it's smoothie friendly, so stay tuned.

One of the questions I'm most often asked about juicing is what type of juicer we use.  Mr. A and I own a Breville Juicer, which if I'm being honest, isn't necessarily the best juicer, but it's also not the worst. If we had to do it all over again, we would probably invest in a masticating juicer. While they're typically more expensive, masticating juicers do a better job at processing thick leafy greens and wheatgrass. The juice that masticating juicers produce typically last much longer than juice made in a centrifugal juice, like the one we own.

The second question I'm asked most often is how often I juice. And the truth is, I won't profess to be an all-the-time juicer. In fact, I typically only juice on a regular basis when I'm training for a race or when I feel that my energy is completely depleted. I have long since given up dreams of dropping 20 lbs in a month simply by juicing. Mostly because it's not realistic, sustainable or long-term. The truth about juicing for weight-loss is that once you begin to eat "normal" foods again, you start packing on the lbs again.

But more on that later.

Kale Lemonade is one of my favorite juices for a few reasons. The main ingredient, Kale, drastically reduces your odds of diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Additionally, eating kale is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones. In short, it is a major super food, and you should eat it--often.

7-8 kale leaves
2 lemonS
1-2 apples (depends on how sweet you want your juice)
1 inch of fresh ginger (peeled)

Thoroughly wash all your ingredients. Peel ginger and lemons and remove core from the apples. Process each in your juicer. Add ice if needed. Serve with a smile.

Again, this is a super easy drink (my favorite kind). The hardest part of juicing is always the cleanup, but it's very much worth it.

Love this recipe? Retweet or repin for later!

Until next time,

What President Obama and She Knows Taught Me About The Gender Wage Gap

Last Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of attending the #ObamaTownHall meeting in Charlotte, N.C. with President Obama and SheKnows Media. The meeting, moderated by the incredible Lisa Stone, centered around a topic that I am intensely passionate about--and for good reason. The gender wage gap is an issue that is often difficult to confront or discuss, but on Wednesday, President Obama and SheKnows taught me that it's a conversation we can't afford not to have.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from #ObamaTownHall
  • We need to make noise. There's a saying "Do as I say, not as I do." I say, we need to do both. If we want to encourage people to help bring about a change, we need to be doing the same. Write a blog post. Organize a discussion in your community. Vote. Get out and be proactive.
  • Don't give up. Ever. Things in the workplace may not necessarily be fair, but that doesn't mean we give up. If you know you have been discriminated against, fight for yourself and don't back down. 
  • It affects us all. It's easy to get lost in your own situation, but sitting in a room filled with strong, articulate, intelligent women, who each have remarkable stories of their own makes you realize that your story is not that unique. These incidents are not occurring in a vacuum. Listening to the sitting President tell you that he fears for his daughters futures was a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go. 
  • It starts at home. Children have a tendency to believe what we tell them. We need to encourage our daughters from the onset. Don't tell them to reach for the clouds, tell them to be bold and brave and dance among the stars. 
In the end, it's not just about facts and statistics. We're more than just a faceless, nameless number on a survey.  Check out the video below to meet some of the inspiring ladies (including myself!) who are taking a stand against the gender wage gap.

Want to learn more about the fight to close the gap? Here are some personal stories and resources to help get you started: 
Why It's Important to Make Noise About The Gender Wage Gap// Blog Her
No Working Woman Should Be Afraid to Stand up for her Pay// SheKnows
Pay Equity and Discrimination//Institute for For Women's Policy Research
Women and Leadership//Pew Research
7 Women Shortchanged: Stories of the Gender Wage Gap// American Association of University Women

Have you ever experienced gender wage discrimination at work? Sound off in the comment section below!

The Danger of the "Too Helpful" Neighbor

As a child of the 90's, I grew up swinging from trees, chasing ice-cream trucks down the street, and doing things that makes the mom in me now cringe. The television in our house was rarely turned on, and not even the Nintendo could keep my sister and I occupied for more than an hour. In those days, there was universal understanding that children were suppose to be outdoors playing in the mud, building forts and doing kid things. It was expected. 

There was also a level of expectation within our community that if a parent saw a child playing at the park unsupervised, they would keep an eye out for them. It was no big deal, it was more of an unspoken rule. In 2015, however, the rules of protocol no longer apply. Now parents no longer keep and eye out for each other's children. That sense of community has been replaced with stories like Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who temporarily lost custody of their two children after they were found at a park--unsupervised.

If you're unaware of the story, let me break it down for you: last November, the Meitiv's were contacted by their local child welfare services after they received a tip from a “helpful neighbor” that their children were playing at the park unsupervised. The Meitiv's, who are proponents of free-range parenting, are raising their children to explore their independence, this includes sometimes allowing them to play at the park alone. Their children are 10 and six years old.

As a self-proclaimed Mommy-copter, free-range parenting is not exactly my cup of tea. I hover unabashedly over Little J. In my mind, she is a miniature genius, just waiting for me to turn my back so she can jam a fork into an electrical socket, or attempt to test the theory of gravity on the jungle gym. So, I watch her like a hawk. I'm well aware that my behavior will most likely end with Little J requiring years of expensive therapy sessions. Some of my friends and family have told me as much. But that's okay. Because I've discovered an interesting fact about parenting-- we each parent in different ways, and just because someone decides to raise their child differently than I choose to raise mine, does not make them a bad parent-- it makes them human. Three years of parenting has taught me that this is not a shared sentiment.

And that's why I can't help wondering if perhaps the "helpful" neighbor who reported the Meitiv's to the authorities, did so with the best of intentions. Were they truly concerned for the well-being of the children? Or were they gleefully recording the incident on their cell phone and sending it to their friends as evidence of their superior parenting skills. When did we transition from a society that celebrated individuality and choice to one that feels that any beliefs contrary to our own are not worthy of being considered? When did we become so judgmental in our parenting styles?

Last year, a friend of mine posted a story on Facebook about a friend who had gone out to eat and was confronted with a child who was behaving badly.  According to this friend, she and her mother were eating out in a restaurant when said child began crying and acting out. Then he began loudly playing with his toys, being disruptive, and basically being a kid, all while the mom allegedly ignored her child and engaged in conversation with her dinning companion. At which point, this friend claims she took it upon herself to approach the table and loudly inform the mother that she must be ashamed of how her child was behaving. This friend claims that the mother gathered up her belongings and left the restaurant--ducking her head in shame as she fled.

Clearly I have doubts that the events of this story unfolded in this way, but had it, I have to wonder, did the person intervene because they were truly upset that someone interrupted their meal, or did they intervene because they needed to publicly shame a mother for what they perceived to be incompetent parenting?

It it my deepest belief that parenting is like walking a tightrope while carrying a 50 lb rucksack. On one side you have people who are singing your praises because you're raising  your child the "right way.  And on the other side you have people who believe you are clearly the worlds worst parent, because you are "doing it wrong." Both sides are staunchly divided and never shall the twain meet. Meanwhile, you're dangling alone, hundreds of feet in the air, being crushed with your own doubts and insecurities.

At the end of the day, I can't say that what the Meitiv's did was wrong. The law persists that it is, and maybe it's not what I would have done, but as parents, we have to choose what we believe is best for our children. And as a society, we have to be willing let each other. Maybe instead of immediately jumping to call the authorities we can try to understand and watch out for each other. Maybe then we can put the community back into parenting.

Beef and Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day.  This was my first year celebrating the occasion. Mostly my desire to participate in the cheese-filled day was born out of the lack of food in the pantry. As a result, I was forced to get a bit creative with dinner tonight-- enter my Beef and Mushroom Grilled Cheese.

This is not your typical grilled cheese. This sandwich is packed with beef, onions, two cheeses, tomatoes and topped with your favorite spicy mustard. It's just hearty enough to fill you up without overwhelming you.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of butter
1 tsp of minced garlic
2 slices of beef lunch meat (sliced thick)
3 slices of white american cheese
1 small handful of mozzarella cheese
about 1/4 of a red onion
5-10 mushroom slices
Bread of your choosing
Optional: spicy mustard

Pour 1 tsp of olive oil in pan and heat on medium. Add mushroom slices and allow to cook until softened. Add garlic and onions. Allow onions to cook until softened. Remove mushrooms and onions from heat and set aside. In another pan add 1/2 tsp of butter and turn heat on medium.

Layer your bread with two slices of american cheese at the bottom. Sprinkle layer of mozzarella cheese over the american cheese. Add beef, mushrooms, onions and tomato slices. Top with final slice of american cheese. Optional: add a squirt or two of your favorite spicy mustard for an extra kick.

Place sandwich in pan and allow to cook until golden crisp on one side. Carefully flip sandwich and allow to cook until golden crisp on the other side. Plate your sandwich and serve with a smile.

Want to give this recipe a shot? Be sure to pin it for later! Stay tuned for more tasty recipes from my kitchen.

Until then,