Mind, Body
+ Spirits

Beverages to Make Your Mornings Better

For most of us, our morning coffee is the fuel we need to jump-start our day. But sometimes we get a little tired of the same old cup of joe that we’ve been making for the past, I don’t know, adult lifetime.

We’ve kicked that boring beverage aside and compiled three recipes for morning beverages that will up your morning drink game and provide you with that much-needed superboost to power through your day.

While many think of cold brew as a bottled beverage for on-the-go caffeine needs, Chameleon Cold-Brew’s Coffee Concentrates can be tasty bases for a variety of lattes. We love making the Iced Camou Latte – and let’s be honest, Instagramming it – for its crazy camou stripes of vanilla cold-brew, matcha and your favorite milk or milk-alternative.

If you’re all on board the bone broth train, Epic Provisions’ Bone Broth in flavors like Beef Jalapeno Sea Salt, Homestyle Savory Chicken and Turkey Cranberry Sage is just as delicious mixed with frothy coconut milk for a hefty dose of nutrients and healthy fats.

Caffeine not your thing? Carolyn Harrington of Maty’s Healthy Products has shared with us her personal recipe for the magical elixir, Golden Milk. With ingredients like anti-inflammatory turmeric, antioxidant-rich cinnamon and metabolism-inducing peppercorns, this healing drink can be drunk daily as an antidepressant, weight-loss booster and even a de-bloating agent.

What are some of your favorite morning drinks to get your day started off on the right foot?

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make With Pancake Mix

Chances are, you have a bag of pancake mix sitting in your pantry for those lazy Sunday mornings when you want to treat yourself or your kiddos to a warm stack of flapjacks smothered in butter and maple syrup. Why wait until the weekend to get your pancake fix? Spanning from Classic, Protein, to Six Grain Cinnamon, Birch Benders offers a variety of flavorful mixes that will make you crave breakfast morning, noon and night. This uber versatile mix can be used in a myriad of different recipes throughout the week.

We’ve compiled 10 sweet and savory recipes to be used for any time of the day using their line of just-add-water mixes, proving Birch Benders are a must-have staple in any pantry.

     

     

  1. Paleo Banana Bread
    • This simple banana bread batter uses only three ingredients thanks to Birch Benders’ Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix, making it healthier than almost every loaf on the market and so easy.

     

  2. Tropical Fruit Donuts with Lime Glaze
    • Get on island time with these better-for-you donuts, made with Greek yogurt and the Classic Pancake & Waffle Mix. Tropical drink sold separately.


  3. Pigs in a Blanket
    • It’s gameday and you’re in charge of finger foods. Making a quick biscuit dough using Birch Benders Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix, these updated football snacks will be the hit of any party.


  4. Fried Pickles
    • A staple in Southern kitchens, these pickles are taken one step further with a batter made from Protein Mix, ensuring that you’re getting your necessary protein while gorging on these salty snacks.


  5. Jalapeño Poppers
    • Combining their love of pancakes with their love of spice, cream cheese and bacon, the team at Birch Benders created this epic recipe for Jalapeño Poppers that will leave you wanting to roll every veggie in pancake mix.


  6. Fried Shrimp & Tartar Sauce
    • These shrimp coated in Birch Benders’ Classic Recipe and buttermilk are simple, delicious and noticeably better-for-you than your run-of-the-mill fried seafood.


  7. Paleo Buffalo Chicken Pizza
    • If our Paleo friends are craving pizza and can’t seem to get behind the cauliflower crust trend, then Birch Benders’ Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix is the perfect solution. Dress it up or down however you want, but we love to cover it in shredded chicken and drizzled with buffalo sauce and ranch.


  8. Vanilla Coconut Chicken Tenders
    • Grown ups like chicken tenders too, but Birch Benders throws coconut chips into the mix, adding some sophistication to your childhood favorite.


  9. Classic Sugar Cookies
    • For those moments when you get a cookie craving, and don’t want to spend your afternoon measuring out countless dry ingredients, Birch Benders’ Classic Mix takes the hassle out of baking,allowing you more time to decorate with friends.


  10. Cinnamon Peach Apple Cobbler
    • Pouring Six Grain Cinnamon Pancake & Waffle Mix over a variety of seasonal fruits creates a fluffy, spiced topping that will impress any guest.

 
Photo credit: @birchbenders

Are You Ready For Some Football (Foods)

We’d be lying to you if we said that Super Bowl snacks weren’t our favorite part of this beloved unofficial holiday. We don’t know what it is about this American tradition that has us reaching for the greasiest foods imaginable, but we decided to get creative this year and create a menu that is a tad healthier without skimping on deliciousness.

Rule #1: Be cognizant of any food allergies your guests may have. We suggest always having a tasty option for those gluten-intolerant folks out there to ensure that no one will leave the party hungry. Using Siete Family Foods’ new line of Grain Free Tortilla Chips as your base, you can make a mega mountain of nachos topped with an assortment of toppings from spicy pepper jack cheese to shredded chicken to black beans and more.

Rule #2: Get creative with your menu! No one likes the same old boring bag of Lays. Potato chips are a much loved staple at Super Bowl parties, but instead of snacking on those crunchy calorie bombs, we’ve decided to roast some potato wedges in one of EPIC Provisions’ Cooking Oils. Varieties like Grass Fed Beef Tallow, Cage-Free Duck Fat and Pastured Pork Lard will have you wondering why you didn’t roast everything in duck fat.

Rule #3: It isn’t a football party without chips and dip. Many Super Bowl viewers are preoccupied with the game, commercials, and company, so make sure you have some simpler dishes for the grazers who bounce between the Living Room and snack spread. With only 120 calories per serving, Pasta Chips are our favorite edible scoop on the market. Their sturdiness and fun array of flavors, like Garlic Olive Oil, Rosemary and Mediterranean Sea Salt, help them stand up to even the chunkiest spinach artichoke dip.

Rule #4: Save the best for last. No meal is complete without dessert–at least in our book–which is why we love to whip up a batch of Annie’s Homegrown Organic Double Chocolate Brownies. They taste good, are good for you, and no one will know they’re not homemade! With a little tube of white icing, you can even turn them into little footballs for your friends and fans. Craving cookies? Try whipping up a batch of the Organic Sugar Cookies in fun football or helmet shapes.

Photo credit: @annieshomegrown

What are your favorite healthy alternatives to Super Bowl snacks?

Yes, you can totally eat Mac ‘N Cheese for dinner tonight

Annie's Mac n Cheese recipe

 

Whoever decided a warm, creamy bowl of mac ‘n cheese should be reserved strictly for the kid’s menu is seriously so wrong. Aside from the immeasurable deliciousness in every bite, that cheesy pasta you’re craving is also packed with calcium, protein, and Vitamin B. You can even make a relatively healthy meal out of a box of the stuff, if you choose the right brand and mix in nutritionally-packed ingredients.

 

The fundamentals of a mac ‘n cheese dinner should always involve a protein, vegetables, and a high quality box of macaroni and cheese. We love Annie’s pastas, which are available in gluten free, whole grain, and vegan varieties. Every box is free of artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and preservatives, and the real cheese comes from cows that are not treated with the commonly used growth hormone, rBST. We won’t name names, but we’d never touch that neon yellow mac ‘n cheese if you paid us.  

 

For those nights when you don’t have an ounce of motivation to cook and need comfort food ASAP, try out this simple, foodie-approved mac ‘n cheese recipe. We served our bowls with a side salad to convince ourselves we’d officially balanced out the major carb overload.

 

Annie's Mac n Cheese recipe

 

Smoked Mozzarella Veggie Mac

 

Ingredients

1 box Annie’s Shells & Real Aged Cheddar

¼ cup unsweetened original almond milk

2 tbsp ghee

⅓ cup smoked mozzarella, diced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 heirloom tomato, diced

Pine nuts to garnish (optional)

Red chili flakes to garnish (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Prepare mac ‘n cheese as directed by package, using ghee and unsweetened original almond milk in place of butter and milk.
  2. Blanch or steam zucchini for five minutes.
  3. Slowly stir in smoked mozzarella in pieces until melted into pasta.
  4. Mix in zucchini and tomato; cover and simmer for five minutes.
  5. Serve, topping with pine nuts and red chili flakes to your liking.
  6. ENJOY!

 

Annie's Mac n Cheese recipe

We’ve Got Breakfast in the Bag

annie's homegrown yogurt tubes

We don’t know about you, but we find ourselves continuously uninspired by typical breakfast choices. When we’re rushing out the door before a full day of work, we tend to scramble to pour a bowl of bland cereal or shove a cardboard-like granola bar into our bag that inevitably doesn’t get eaten for weeks. Taking into account the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we have been trying to make it less of a chore and instead think of it as the first step in ensuring we are getting a healthy start to the day.

When there is time to spare, we love a big breakfast bowl filled with lots of nourishing goodies. Our latest favorite is a combination of Annie’s Homegrown Whole Milk Yogurt, a chopped up Peanut Butter Perfect Bar for some added antioxidants, fresh seasonal fruit and a drizzle of honey. Delicious, and totally Insta-worthy.

annie's homegrown yogurt tubes

Most people don’t think of pancakes as an easy weekday meal. We didn’t either, until we found Birch Benders’ just-add-water, all natural mixes. So easy, they can be whipped up before we even have our morning coffee. We are currently loving their fall flavors Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Spice, but year-round we default to the Protein and Paleo varieties.

birch benders pancakes

For those of us who can barely fathom making a big breakfast before 10:00 a.m., Purely Elizabeth’s Ancient Grains Granolas are a staple in our office during the early hours. It’s as easy as pouring in a bowl, adding your favorite yogurt/milk/dairy alternative, and topping it off with some nut butter and fresh berries – or enjoying it plain.

purely elizabeth granola bowl

And of course, some days it’s just a struggle to eat anything before work, let alone a nutritious breakfast, which is where Suja’s Organic Juices become a total lifesaver. We’re currently coveting the limited edition Midnight Tonic, Suja’s newest cold-pressed juice with activated charcoal – a natural detoxifier that helps combat nausea.

suja midnight tonic

We are always looking for the best grab and go snacks that don’t sacrifice flavor or nutrition. What are your quick and healthy breakfast go-to’s?

Give Your Lunch Some Love: The Art of Deskside Dining

deskside dining

Here at Covet, we are snackanistas, gourmet goddesses, and foodtrepreneurs. So, naturally one of our favorite times of the day is lunch time. The clinking of forks, sharing of recipes, and laughter amongst colleagues is music to our ears! Gathering in the kitchen to retreat from our desks is much needed after those first few demanding hours of the day filled with catching up on emails, calls to New York, and tackling any pressing matters that may have popped up in those few hours while we were sleeping the night before.

Are we alone in our love affair with this magical midday meal? The majority of the American workforce has put lunch breaks on the back burner. NPR reports that only one in five office workers are taking the time to step away from their desks to take a lunch. Are we intentionally starving ourselves of necessary nutrients needed to focus and recharge? Are we suddenly a culture of breakfast buffs who have finally realized it actually is the most important meal of the day? Are we trying to get brownie points with the boss by logging the most hours in the office?

Thankfully, no. The fact of the matter is a majority of people are simply eating their lunches at their desks. Whether it is because it’s affordable, convenient, or because we are so insanely busy, the art of deskside dining has become a thing, and we are embracing it.

And this isn’t just because our office is stacked with delicious and nutritious products from our amazing food and beverage clients. We love deskside dining because it gives us a chance to get to know our coworkers more personally and create amazing dishes in the comfort of our second home.

Obviously, your goal should not be to stay inside all day. Multiple studies show that getting out of the office — even for a few minutes a day — boosts creativity, lowers stress, and reduces the likelihood of physical ailments associated with sitting in front of a computer all day. Give those eyeballs a break and stretch those legs!

If, for whatever reason, you are one of the 80% of people opting to dine deskside, do yourself a favor and stow away some luxe food items to give your lunch a gourmet touch. Just because you are dining in, doesn’t mean your meal has to be boring! Below are some creative ideas from some of our own office gourmands on what you can keep in your drawers to punch things up at lunch.

“I am a big fan of spice, so I always have some hot sauce on hand. I also keep organic soups and oats at my desk for when I am in a pinch. And when they’re in season, I usually bring a big bag of avocados from the tree in my yard to top off any dish. I always need caffeine on hand for crunch time, so Chameleon Cold Brew Concentrate is what I usually have hidden in the back of the fridge.”

  • Leah Brown, Senior Publicist

 

“I find that sometimes I pack a lunch that sounds great in the morning, but come lunchtime I am over it. I always keep a container of Bitchin Sauce in the fridge – it makes everything taste amazing. I also can’t stand the ingredient panel on most bottled dressings, so I always have a small mason jar with some EVOO, vinegar, dijon mustard and chili flakes mixed up and ready to go for when I am in the mood for salad. I also keep GoRaw Watermelon Seeds at my desk to sprinkle on salads or eat by the handful when I am craving something salty.”

  • Casey Blatt, Operations Coordinator

 

“I am big on dining in, so I always keep easy snacks around to keep my energy up. Health Warrior Chia Seeds are great with my morning yogurt, oatmeal, or even in water. Trader Joe’s raw, unsalted almond butter is another go-to, just on a spoon when I need something really quick. Spiceologist’s Spice Cave Fire Blend is great to sprinkle on just about anything, and I always have some salsa hiding in the fridge to dip carrots in, or use as a topper on salad or a bowl. Oh, and hot sauce on everything!

  • Holly Sweat, Publicity Assistant

 

For even more ideas on what you can keep in the office to make your meals more enjoyable, take a look at Bon Appetit’s rendition of the Art of Deskside Dining.

What’s In Our Beach Bag??

covet_beach_bag

We may not have hot sauce in our bag, but there is certainly no shortage of swag.

With the summer heat still going strong, we are soaking up every bit of bikini season! Lucky for us, our favorite time of the year is almost 6-months-long in ‘sunny’ San Diego, so we have lots of experience nailing down the key essentials for our long days spent laying on the sand and swimming in the sea.

First and foremost, every item must serve a purpose. There is nothing worse than having a bunch of unnecessary junk in your bag and subjecting yourself to hauling a huge pack to and from the beach. You are here to relax, so lighten your load, kick back and enjoy that sunshine.

Secondly, they should be good for you! You want to keep that bikini bod intact, right? You didn’t work this hard for nothing. Leave the chips, beer, and tanning oil (yuck!) at home and opt for healthier choices that will keep you hydrated and energized while you savor your day off.

Third, they should be able to withstand the elements. Certain products – like chocolate, makeup, and some beverages are simply not made for the sun. Having available shade like an umbrella will greatly increase your options, but keep in mind it’s still hot in the shade, and you don’t want anything to spoil or explode.

Now, you may be bumming because some of your fave beach items didn’t make the cut, but fear not! There are still plenty of fab items that are Covet approved to pack for your next outing to the shore.

Whimsical tapestry

Sure, towels are great, but sometimes they can be a bulky addition to an already full bag. Tapestries are thin enough to pack easily, and come in a variety of cool prints and colors to bring a level of beauty to your beach set-up that is unparalleled by any standard towel.

Hydrating beverage

We are big fans of Suja’s Probiotic Waters because they are super refreshing, hydrating and have 2 billion colony-forming units of vegan probiotics, won’t spoil in the sun. We are loving the tropical vibe of the Orange Ginger Pineapple flavor!

Light snack

Snacks are tough to pack, but if you are like us and worship the sun, packing fuel for your bronzing session is key to prolonging your stay. Health Warrior’s Chia Bars are good for you, easy to toss in any sized bag, and will hold you over until you can hit the taco shop.

Face sunscreen

Sunscreen is a no brainer, but this particular type deserves its own shout out because so many of the sun care products we use on our body can cause breakouts on our face. There are a handful of super high quality options out there, but our favorite is the Surface Face Stick. Like Zinc, it is super protective and lasts all day, but is in a convenient mini-stick form that ensures it won’t melt in your bag and is always easy to apply to the hot spots on your forehead, nose, and lips.

Good Reads

There is nothing more calming than reading your go-to magazine or a good book when you are listening to the waves crashing. Right now, we are all about work/life balance, so we are reading a TED book, “Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes,” by Margaret Heffernan. In between chapters, you can find us cruising the latest editions of SHAPE, InStyle, or People.

Other beach accessories we are a fan of:

  • Umbrellas & Hats
  • Mobile Phone Charger
  • Mini-speakers like the Boom Swimmer
  • Surfbort

Daily Dose of Chia

The origins of chia seeds go well beyond that of your chia pet from 1991 (yes, this is the same chia you see in everything from water to pudding these days). In fact, you would be surprised to discover that before they became a means of growing hair on a terra cotta Homer Simpson’s head, chia seeds fueled the Tarahumara Indians for their legendary long-distance runs, as well as provided pre-battle nourishment for the Aztec Warriors. And now, centuries later, chia has created a tidal wave of hype surrounding it’s many benefits – all of which have legit scientific support.

 

So how much good stuff can a tiny grain of sand-sized seed pack in?

Here is what one serving size (28g) of chia seeds can do for YOU:

 

     11 grams of dietary fiber, about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults

     18 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, 27 percent of your daily value for phosphorus, and 30 percent of your recommended intake of manganese; all of which bolsters bone and oral health, and helps to prevent osteoporosis

     Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram (these fats are important for brain health and give you glowing skin)

     They are a great source of protein for vegetarians and don’t contain any cholesterol

     Chia seeds have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and also fight insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat

     Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion

     This seed also contains tryptophan – the same component responsible for your post Thanksgiving snooze – which helps regulate appetite, sleep and improves mood

     A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (the harmful type cholesterol) as well as total cholesterol. Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity (Medical News Today)

 

So how can you get your daily dose of chia? They can be consumed raw or cooked, on their own or in some other yummy snack. You can simply sprinkle them into your water, smoothie or yogurt (heads up: they have a jelly-like texture after soaking), or you can add them to your overnight oats or make a delicious chia pudding for dessert.

 

If you simply don’t have time for chia treat creation, or don’t want to commit to a whole bag, plenty of nutritious snack lines are integrating them into their most popular products. From tortilla chips and sliced bread to kombucha and bottled drinks, you can get chia in just about every snack from your local health food store.

 

Our favorite chia snack is Health Warrior’s line of chia bars. The gluten, dairy, and soy-free bars come in five tasty flavors – apple cinnamon, mango, chocolate peanut butter, banana nut, coconut, coffee, acai berry and dark chocolate cherry.

 

How do you ch-ch-ch-chia??