That Time I Made Popsicles (Finally!)

I have frequent impulse buys.

Most of the time I end up using/wearing what I buy, but in some cases it just ends up taking up precious space in my life/cupboard. Back in the day when it was cool to wear colored flip-flops I bought 9 different colors of Old Navy $2 flip flops… I’m not sure why I ever thought I would need THAT many, but if they haven’t been thrown away already, most of them are piled up in my closet.

I must have this irrational fear that if I like something I have to get it in multiple colors in case the first one gets ruined or they run out of stock. However, in the case of the Old Navy flip flops, they are still selling them after at least 7 years! Maybe I could resell all the colors I never wore? I’m talking to you seafoam green and magenta!

Or the time I bought a snow cone machine and used it maybe twice to impress my fellow pre-teen friends with my ability to push a button and add sugary syrup to a cup of ice!

And then there’s the one shop that could make me impulse buy an entire furniture set, IKEA. Cheap + eye-catching = new addition to Rachel’s unused stuff. I love looking at the cheap furniture and weird kitchen tools they sell. One day I was walking through the maze (IKEA) and I found some popsicle molds. I thought to myself, “I would make so many popsicles with these.” #impulsebuy

Two years later and I still hadn’t come anywhere near making said popsicles.

Then one day I was sitting with two very overripe avocados as well as two very overripe bananas. I looked at my popsicle molds and said, “Today is the day!” I was finally committing to making popsicles.

To my surprise it only took about 5 minutes to make in my food processor, and they are roommate approved after she drunkenly ate one around 3 am, and then proceeded to ask for the recipe via text…

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Banana & Avocado Popsicles

2 very ripe bananas
2 very ripe avocados
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey (can use any type of sweetener)
pinch of salt

// Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until very smooth.
Pour mix into popsicle molds and freeze at least 2 hours before eating.

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Twin Tuesday

We may go to the same college (University of Minnesota – GO GOPHERS!) but whenever people ask, “Do you live together?” You won’t hear two people say “no,” so in sync and fast, ever again.

We lived together for 18 year (and some odd months), and honestly they weren’t all that great. It wasn’t until we lived apart that we truly realized how great being a twin is.

Now that we don’t see each other every waking minute, we can actually enjoy the time we do get to spend together.

What are our favorite twin activities you ask? Well let me tell you…

Eating Out
Going out to eat is usually fun with anyone, but we can be a bit snobby about where and what we eat, so going out to eat with my other half makes it super simple to pick a good place. We are also super adventurous eaters, so no need to worry about each other being picky. Our favorites Minneapolis/St. Paul eats lately are–

Victor’s Cafe for a Cuban breakfast (displayed below).
El Burrito Mercado, the tamales are KILLER!!
Brasa for some slow cooked meat, fried plantains & yuca!

Breakfast at Victor's (sorry Tiffany)

Grocery Shopping
It can be a lame and daunting task for most people, and most people like to go at it alone, but not these girls. Growing up, we never had to do anything alone, so sometimes even small day to day tasks, like getting groceries, feel weird without someone by my side. We never lose each other in the grocery store because we eat the same things therefore go to the same areas. We can also spend hours perusing the aisles at Trader Joes’s or Whole Foods. We rarely buy anything at Whole Foods but it’s still fun to look at all the cool foods they sell these days. Shoutout to the paleo products in the stores now!!

The grocery stores in France knows what's up! Liege waffles are INCREDIBLE!

The grocery stores in France knows what’s up! Liege waffles are INCREDIBLE!

Laying on the beach/dock
I don’t know any two people who enjoy just laying on a hard surface for hours on end without getting bored. I can’t do it alone. It’s just when she’s there. We spent our summer’s during high school just literally laying in the sun on the dock ALL DAY! Now that we live in the city, at least we get a nice sandy surface at the public beaches.

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Working out
I can’t say I enjoy profusely sweating with anyone. I just like to get in and out, especially on cardio days, but it’s always more enjoyable when you have someone to talk to that you feel comfortable talking to while out of breath and sweating buckets, aka my twinny. Having a workout partner is one of the best ways to get yourself to the gym. She doesn’t let me bail, and I would say the same about me not letting her but God forbid she ever misses a workout! We always meet each other 3 times a week to “lift.” Basically it’s us taking over our University Rec Center and showing the boys how to really put on some muscle 😉 It’s a great time for us to catch up and silently judge all the guys we can bench more than… Also, more girls should really be in the weight rooms instead of on the stereotypical elliptical!

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Crockpot Pesto Chicken

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Spent my Sunday third-wheelin’ (again) in the cute riverside town of Stillwater, MN. It was a scorcher and this picture perfectly captures everything about my weekend. My sister was examining her bf’s back sweat in horror…

Since it was so hot out I didn’t want to slave over the stove or turn on the oven, so that left one thing… THE CROCKPOT! Who doesn’t love a recipe that (can) takes 5 minutes to prepare, provided you don’t get sidetracked?

I use my crockpot religiously when making chicken. I hate working with raw meat, so I love that I just cut open the package of chicken, and dump it into the crockpot. If I’m feeling ambitious in the slightest I will add something besides chicken stock or water to it, but my go to recipe when I want a ton of shredded chicken for the week is just chicken + liquid.

I had the urge to get really fancy 😉 the other night and decided to add real flavor to my crockpot. Actually, it’s more like I had a bunch of roasted jalapeño pesto to use up, so I threw it in with the chicken. The addition of the pesto really added a lot of flavor to otherwise kind of boring shredded chicken. You can throw a jar of almost anything into a crockpot with some chicken breasts. If I have a jar of salsa on hand, I’ll throw that in there. Any pesto also works great. It’s the worlds easiest way to cook up some protein.

Thank you Crockpot for keeping me fed when my apartment has no AC!!!

Crockpot Pesto Chicken

4 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless chicken thighs are even better/juicier)
1 cup or jar of roasted jalapeño pesto
1/2 cup water or chicken stock

// Throw all ingredients in the crockpot.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until it shreds easily with a fork.
Remove chicken from crockpot and let cool before shredding.
Store in airtight containers with some of the liquid from the crockpot so it stays juicy.

My Kryptonite (chocolate) Recipe

Ask anyone in my life who knows me fairly well; I LUV chocolate. Not the super sweet, milk chocolate junk. DARK DARK chocolate. I had 100% cacao once and while everyone else was cringing over it’s super bitter taste, I was drooling over it and scheming a way to take the rest of the bar! Frankly, I didn’t really have to fight anyone for it.

I’ve come across a lot a recipes for making chocolate but I never happen to have all the weird ingredients to make it true ‘chocolate’ so I’ve simplified it so I always have the ingredients on hand. Once I make a huge batch of it, it rarely lasts more than a couple days, sadly.

I told you I’m in love with the dark stuff…

I’ve even kind of converted my Oreo loving roommates to my super bitter chocolate. The best part about this recipe is that it can easily be made sweeter with just 1 (or 2) ingredients.

I do recommend making small batches of this stuff, so you don’t end up an addict like me. I also mention that you can add toppings to it to make it more fancy, but I’m a purest so I usually opt out of add-ons.

Almost took a bite before the pic...

Almost took a bite before the pic…

Chocolate Chunks

3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Trader Joe’s brand, but any will work)
1/2 cup coconut oil or palm shortening, melted
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
optional toppings: slivered almonds/any nut, coconut flakes, crushed cacao nibs

// Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Line a small pan with tin foil or parchment and spread the chocolate mix evenly onto the pan.
Place in freezer for at least an hour, or until frozen solid.
Cut or break into chunks and store in airtight container in freezer.

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Cucumber & Tomato Salad

I’m always searching for new recipes to liven up my boring paper bag (not literally) lunch at work. I always bring a heaping pile of spinach, half an avocado, some protein and some kind of cooked vegetable. My favorite roasted veggie of the moment is cauliflower. I roast it in olive oil or coconut oil and salt and pepper. I could eat my weight in that stuff. It tastes like popcorn to me…

I was staring at the produce section at the grocery store the other day, trying to figure out a new veggie side. I was baffled. I didn’t want to just roast up any kind of veggie like I would normally do. I wanted something that technically was supposed to be served cold. Though I prefer my roasted veggies at room temp, normal people don’t.

That led me to basically the only 2 veggies (fruit?) that aren’t improved when cooked, cucumber and tomato. Never cook a cucumber, by the way. The simplest recipe in the world came to mind, and now I have a new vegetable side to quickly add to my packed lunch for the week!

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Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper

2 cucumbers, chopped
8 small Roma tomatoes, chopped

// Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, and shake until completely combined.
Add dressing to a bowl with the chopped vegetables.

That’s it. Easiest lunch or dinner side EVER!

Twin Tuesday: Style Edition

Andddddd another Tuesday rolls around and I’m forced to dedicate it to my other half… Just kidding, I’m glad to do it!

I’m going to make it short this week and highlight some of my style savvy twins outfits of the past week. She never seems to disappoint! Plus I’m giving you the links to her outfit pieces so you too can look just as smashing at your internship 😉 (I’m wearing a denim shirt and jeans at mine right now…)

She always manages to incorporate lots of color and pattern in all her outfits which helps brighten up her boring office job!

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Button up (Gap) // Pants (similar Old Navy) // Scarf (similar Kohl’s) // Flats (similar Charlotte Russe)

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Shirt (Forever 21) // Skirt (similar Forever 21) // Loafers (Zara) // Watch (Francesca’s)

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Dress (similar here & here) // Loafers (Zara)

Isn’t she just adorable holding doors? 🙂

Roasted Jalapeño Pesto (dairy-free)

I decided to escape the city this weekend in search of a large (less crowded) body of water to stay cool in, and obviously that led me to my parents house.

I don’t really consider it “home” anymore after living in Minneapolis for the past 3 years, but the small-town just 2 hours northwest of the city is still a place I treasure. I go back to my hometown on occasion, but very rarely in the winter. Summer is another story though. If it weren’t for the insanely boring drive to get there I would probably spend every weekend floating in Lake Geneva.

One of my favorite things to do EVER is just cruise the chain of lakes in the boat with my family. My mom always packs drinks and food (Mother of the Year) and my dad will drive us around for hours while we all gawk at the houses along the lakes (Real Estate Agent of the Year?) I mean we’ve seen the same houses for at least the last 5 years, but it still never gets old.

One of my other favorite things to do while I’m at the home is take full advantage of my mom’s full kitchen. She has every appliance and ingredient under the sun, so it makes it insanely easy to experiment with different recipes. I brought home most of the ingredients for this recipes, but was happy to use her appliances (and a few ingredients) to quickly and effortlessly whip up a new pesto recipe.

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Roasted Jalapeño Pesto

3 jalapeños
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup walnuts (can use pine nuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 large lime
salt & pepper

// Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat jalapeños in 1 tbsp olive oil and roast in oven until lightly charred on the outside (15 min). Remove from oven and let cool.
Once the jalapeños have cooled, peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds.
Put jalapeños, cilantro, walnuts, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper in food processor and pulse until a fine texture.
Keep processor running while you drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week. It helps to place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pesto so it doesn’t turn brown.

I’ll be back with my plans for the pesto later 🙂