Home In Disarray

January 30, 2015

Bulletproof (butter) Coffee

butter coffee
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I am willing to try almost anything once.  When I was pretty into eating Paleo(or similar), I kept coming across references to Bulletproof Coffee.  If you have somehow missed the hipster express and have not yet heard of this substance, here, let me explain it to you.  It’s basically butter and any number of other good-for-you fats dunked into your coffee.  It sounds totally sick, right?  Well it tastes incredibly close to coffee with cream.  And essentially, it is.  The concept is that it gives you energy, focus, and helps curb your appetite.  And it does.  You know, because coffee. And fat.  You could probably get a very similar product from just adding some grassfed cream and a couple hunks of coconut oil to your coffee in the morning, but for whatever reason, this feels like more of a ritual and leaves me feeling less hungry.  It very well could be psychological.

The recipe?
28 grams (2 tablespoons) of good fat (grassfed butter and coconut oil)
coffee

Grassfed butter is the preferred base of this.  People recommend unsalted.  It’s expensive at the grocery store, and our Costco only sells the salted stuff.  Craig and I use it because we don’t have any issues with sodium consumption, and frankly, we kind of like it.  Craig goes with the whole 28 grams in butter, because he hates coconut.  Joke’s on him.  I actually quite like coconut, so I either go 14/14 or 23/5 butter/coconut oil.  The reason to include the coconut oil is that the medium chain triglycerides are easy to digest and generally considered (at least for now) quite good for you.

Coffee.  Craig and I use the heck out of our Aeropress.  Like every morning.  I actually haven’t touched my espresso machine in over a year.  It’s on a shelf in our spare bedroom collecting dust.  Anyway, good coffee.  Organic coffee is better for the environment (duh) and has far less chemical residue that conventionally produced coffee.  And I find that when you start getting into decent quality coffee, there often is very little (if any) cost differential between conventional and organic, so might as well find something organic you love.  We usually  get the Whole Foods store brand, Allegro.  They have a medium roast that’s organic, called Early Bird Breakfast Blend.  A pound will set you back about $12.

weighing out the fat for bulletproof coffee

Here’s how we go.  I have amassed quite the collection of those flimsy plastic starbucks reusable mugs.  You know, the ones that cost $1 and look like a normal paper cup?  I am constantly losing or letting to-go mugs get totally disgusting, so I figured I’d just get these quasi-disposable cups and use them for coffee at home.  The only thing is that since I’ve gotten these, I haven’t destroyed any, and I’ve mostly stopped losing them.  And they last freaking forever. Oh geez.  There goes another rant.

doodles on reusable starbucks cups
Recognize  the llama?
doodles on reusable starbucks cups
Recognize the NWA reference?  Craig’s favorite cup.

I have a scale out on the counter all the time.  I use them constantly for cooking, portioning, etc, so it is a super easy way to ensure I’m getting the right amount of fat in my coffee.  While the water is heating and the coffee is grinding, I just toss the cup on a scale, and start adding butter/coconut oil til I hit 28 grams.  Then I brew my coffee right over the top of the butter.  It melts the fat, and then I just buzz the half-full cup with my hand blender.  It gets frothy and emulsified, I let it sit a few more minutes for the foam to die down a little, and then finish filling the cup with additional water.  Easy peasy.

brewing coffee with the aeropress
bamix hand blender
I got this 1970s Bamix on Ebay for $30 shipped.  It’s built like a tank.  Made in Switzerland, and should last you forever
blending the coffee and butter/coconut oil
blended coffee
Difference between blended butter coffee and unblended.  Gross oil slick on top of unblended.

Now, let’s talk about how this goes, realistically.  Nutritionally, it’s great.  It fills me up, and only sets me back a hair over 200 calories.  There are few breakfasts that do so.  It takes an equal amount of time to make as a normal cup of coffee (which I’d be making anyhow), doesn’t take any more time to consume than I normally would spend (sipping while I put on makeup and drive to work), and doesn’t generate any additional dishes.  The hand blender just gets rinsed off when I’m done and goes back in it’s little stand thing.

And the downsides?  If I let it get cold, it gets icky.  The oils solidify and then it gets chunky.  Microwaving fixes the chunky part, but then you get the oil slick on the top again.  Fix?  Drink it faster.  Done.  The inside of the cup gets oily, and I like to reuse my cups.  Instead of just rinsing the cup before refilling it with some hot water with tea, I actually have to wash it with dish soap. I can live with that.

Additional upside?  It moisturizes my lips.

So I implore you, please try this.  At least once.  If you have one of those little bullet type blenders, make the coffee in that!  I admit that it might be kind of a bummer if you just have a vitamix or other normal blender, but give it a shot, and if you love it, spend $30 on a hand blender, which you will use all the freaking time once you have it.

January 8, 2015

Let’s talk about dry shampoos

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In case you weren’t aware, I am currently a redhead.  Additionally, red hair color washes out of one’s hair extremely quickly.  When I haven’t had my hair colored in a while, it begins to slowly begins to fade out to brown.  Based on my research, this is related to the size of the red coloring particles.  They are larger than those of colors like browns and blacks, and as a result, they don’t penetrate as deeply in to the hair, making it so they come out relatively easily.  The time that red particles come out of color-treated hair is when the hair is washed.  Also, they’ll color your pillowcase if you sweat in your sleep (get dark pillowcases or start covering them with old t-shirts) and the color will also dye your clothes if you are out in the rain and your hair gets wet (don’t wear white coats!).  As such, the most effective way to prevent the fading of red haircolor (besides futzing around with color depositing products) is to reduce the occurrence of times it gets wet and is washed!

Sounds icky, right?  It’s not. BUT… if your hair type is like mine- that is, straight, flat, and fine- you probably end up with super greasy looking hair by the time 24 hours has passed.  Which is totally what mine does.  In fact, even by the end of the day, my bangs are starting to get a little greasy and stick together where they touch my forehead.  It’s not exactly the freshest look.

What a sexy beast I am.
So at the point that my hair doesn’t look shiny and fluffy and new anymore, I have 2 options.
1) Wash my hair (and with it, some of the color)
2) Spray it with some dry shampoo (and not wash any of the color out)
In case you were wondering, I go with option 2 most of the time.  In addition to not washing out the color, the other benefits of using dry shampoo are that I am not stripping the oils out of my hair or heat processing it with the blow dryer every day(both of which cause damage to the hair, resulting in frizz, split ends, etc),  I also save time in the shower, reducing my total water and energy consumption, and save time by not blow drying it.  Hair that’s on day 2 or 3 of not being washed also has this pretty incredible texture to it.  My hair when it’s clean is naturally very slippery.  It doesn’t hold styles well and tends to look lame styled any way but “down.”  Hair with a little scalp oil, (and some dry shampoo) is far less slippery and has the ability to “grip” other hairs and holds up better in an updo.  So… Less damage, less time wasted, more eco-friendly, and the ability to hold styles better.  I am a fan.
Are you sold yet?  Maybe, but not sure how this mastery of chemistry works?  Most dry shampoos are essentially talc or a similarly fine powder.  It sticks to oily hair and absorbs the grease.  It comes in 2 forms – aerosol, and in a little pot.  The little pot has to be sprinkled or dusted onto your hair.  Frankly, I just can’t bring myself to fuss with it that much.  The aerosol you just spray onto the parts of your hair that are looking funky (I generally only do my hairline and part), let it sit for a couple moments, and then rub and brush it through.  Your hair isn’t going to look totally fresh and new, but it’s going to look pretty good, and it won’t be greasy.  It does go from being glossy and shiny (just at the roots) to a slightly more matte look.  But there are a wide variety of dry shampoos out there, and wildly varying price points.  I have primarily stuck with cheaper options out of fear that I’ll find something that is incredible that costs $40 or something.  I try to only buy products that I wouldn’t mind paying for habitually.
Here’s what I’ve tried so far, with current Amazon prices
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Deep & Dark Brown $9.15
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Cherry $8.79

Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo $12.99
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo $24.97
Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo $4.49
L’Oreal Everstyle Energizing Dry Shampoo $5.67
an assortment of dry shampoos
And my rundown on each of them:
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Deep & Dark Brown $9.15
This was the first one I tried.  It seemed to work fine, but I found that after using it most days for a week, my bathroom was covered with a fine layer of black/brown dust.  It was summer, so I switched to going outside on my deck to spray my hair, using the sliding glass door as a mirror.  It worked fine, but seemed like a hassle.  I had initially hoped that it would help blend my roots into the colored portions of my hair, but it didn’t.
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Cherry $8.79
Smells like cherries. Well, fake cherries. Goes on must like the brown Batiste shampoo, but isn’t tinted.  It didn’t make my hair look grey or anything, it worked fine.  After trying a few others, I found that the particles of talc (or whatever it is they used) are a little bigger than some of the other options.  It works fine, and has the benefit of being available practically everywhere.

Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo $12.99
A friend got this in a sale bin for $7.50.  It sucks as a dry shampoo.  It just doesn’t absorb enough oil. It does however do an incredible job at holding hair in a way that hairspray does not.  It doesn’t get crunchy, it just somehow holds hair together and in the shape you want to to be magically.  I have actually been meaning to get more, as it was seriously the best thing ever for holding my sideswept bangs where I want them.
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo $24.97
This is essentially the same product as the the Batiste stuff with a slightly less in-your-face scent.  Oh, and it costs three times as much.  It’s highly rated, but I’m not sure why.  It works fine, but is definitely not a front runner, and at twice the price of any of the other contenders, I wouldn’t even say that it’s better than any of them.  Personally, I’d pass on this unless you can get it for under $15.
Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo $4.49
This works well.  The particle size is smaller than the Batiste and the Amika, yet it works at least as well. I have used a few other Garnier Fructis products before, and they all have a similar smell to them.  It’s not exactly offputting, but I find something about it mildly unpleasant.  The fragrance is strong enough that 5 minutes later, I was getting random wiffs of it and trying to figure out where the smell was coming from.  Overall, I would probably buy it again if I couldn’t find the L’Oreal product, but it’s not a preferred item, due ONLY to the smell.
L’Oreal Everstyle Energizing Dry Shampoo $5.67
This stuff is great.  Also heavily scented, which is a little obnoxious, but the smell isn’t unpleasant to me, so it’s just slight negative.  Fine particles, doesn’t need to be rubbed in that much.  Has a similar quality of giving my floopy hairs structure like the Big Sexy Hair stuff, but not to the same extent.  And it’s also super cheap.  Works like a champ.
Using dry shampoo, I am able to extend the time between washes to 3-4 days.  That gives me 2 washes per week, and about 8 weeks between colorings, so I only have to wash and dry my hair about 16 times between color appointments.  That keeps my red bright and beautiful and allows me to be extraordinarily lazy

Posted in: Beauty, Misc
January 5, 2015

The “Work” Salad

Duck confit salad
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I assume that we must all do something similar to this, but in the off chance that I am incorrect, here’s my rundown on the “work” salad.  The salad that consists of leftovers, stuff you dug out of the pantry, and random bits and pieces of tasty that have somehow gotten my attention.  Throw a can of tuna or leftover chicken breast over the top, and you have a full meal deal.  Here’s my salad for the day.  It was  huge, filling, and delicious.  As I assembled it, I just started entering the items that I added and their approximate measures to myfitnesspal.  It is an interesting way for me to determine where I could be “saving” calories, and what items I may want to add more of next time.  In this case, I had some duck confit (yes, from our ducks) in the fridge that needed to be used, and Craig won’t eat salads, so this came to the office for work salads.

work salad with duck confit

Yes. that’s a huge cottage cheese container from costco.  It makes a great salad bowl that I am not concerned with forgetting in my car for 3 days or leaving at work.

calorie breakdown of salad

I erred on the high side of everything for the salad.  Going over the calorie breakdown, I’d probably use half as many cranberries and half as many pepitas, and toss a couple of boiled egg whites only on top to boost the protein factor.