Happy Herbivore Blog

Teaching Tuesday: Wet vs. Dry Measurements (And How To Measure Properly)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101

After last week's topic on measuring conversions, today's Teaching Tuesday is dedicated to wet and dry measurements.

In just a few minutes you'll learn the difference between wet and dry ingredients, which measuring cup to use, and how to measure properly.

Dry Ingredients

When measuring dry ingredients, you want to use individual measuring cups (like the silver ones in the picture above) or measuring spoons to ensure an accurate reading. My "baker" friends weigh their flour, which is even more accurate than measuring. I'm too lazy to do this, but if you're a little more hardcore than me: 1 cup of flour should weigh 4.5 ounce or 128 grams.

Always use the spoon & level method for measuring flour.This same rule can also be applied to other dry ingredients, but there are a couple of exceptions (I'll get to that in a minute).

Do not scoop the flour out of the bag with your measuring cup. Spoon flour from the bag lightly into the measuring cup. Do not "pack" the flour. Also avoid "tapping" the measuring cup (this causes flour to settle and become more dense). Lightly shake off the excess or use a knife to gently level it off. (For more tips, watch my video on how to properly measure flour.)

I also apply this rule to instant oats, but with rolled oats I "cheat" and scoop with my measuring cup. 1 cup of rolled oats should weigh 3 ounces or 85 grams.

With sugar (i.e., raw sugar or brown sugar), you can scoop it with the measuring cup, unless you want to scale back on how much sugar you're using, then you can use the spoon method. In most recipes, the sugar should be "packed tight" and leveled off, unless directed otherwise. I tend to scoop it lightly and I never pack it down tightly.

Generally, bakers consider "sugar" (as in dry sweetener) a "wet" ingredient, but I don't. I always mix it with my other "dry" ingredients. If my sweetener is a liquid, however, such as maple syrup, then I hold off and add it with the other wet stuff.

Powdered sugar is the exception — you want to sift that, if you can, to prevent lumps.

Liquids

Liquids (such as non-dairy milk) should be at eye level in a liquid measuring cup (like the one above, on the left). When checking to see if the ingredient is at the right level, make sure the measuring cup is on a flat surface. Holding it up to your face may give you an inaccurate reading.

I'll admit, I've used my dry measuring cups to measure liquid and it's usually not a big deal. I filled my plastic 1 cup with water, poured it into my liquid measuring cup - the same! You won't get the same results with dry ingredients though.

Rice, Chopped Nuts, Chips, etc

Like dry ingredients, "bulky" ingredients should be spooned into a measuring cup. Use your fingers to level the contents, but don't pack it down.

Minimalist Monday: How To Build Your Ideal, Zen Life (My New Book)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

As I mentioned last month, I'm writing three books on minimalism this year.

My second book, Minimalist Monday: Decluttering Your Life! Letting Go of Emotional Baggage, Toxic Relationships, and Social Chaos to Build Your Ideal, Zen Life! has officially arrived! (You can order it in all electronic forms (PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc) here.)

My goal with this book is to show you there's SO much more to minimalism than just a decluttered home. Sure, it's where my minimalist journey started (you can read about it detail in my first book, Minimalist Monday: Declutter Your Way to a Zen Home), but a decluttered home is just not the same as a decluttered life!

In this book, I get personal about how I tackled the clutter in my life and rethought my priorities and relationships. The principals of minimalism became my guiding light for finding my ideal life, my ideal career, my ideal relationships — my ideal everything, and hopefully it will be for you too!

I've also included questions to ask yourself plus tips and strategies for finding and ending those toxic relationships, tackling your emotional baggage (we all have it), and fool proof plans for achieving your dreams.

It’s time to live for you — for your ideal day.

Less stress, more happiness!

Buy the book.

Here's the Table of Contents:

Introduction

My (Minimalist Life) Story

The Minimalist Life: Embracing Yourself

Living Intentionally Judgement and the Mirror Living Without Regrets

Removal Projects:

Toxic Waste: Identifying & Ending Toxic Relationships

Social Clutter: Minimizing Online Friends & Frenemies

Emotional Baggage: Moving On

Emotional Baggage: Letting Go & Finding Forgiveness

Limitations: Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Limitations: Finding Work Arounds

Limitations: Accepting Your New Reality

Goals and Dreams:

My (Minimalist Career) Story — from Lawyer to Broke Blogger to CEO

Making Priorities Priorities

Learning to Say No

(How to) Follow Your Dreams

(How to) Get What You Want

(How to) Change Careers

(How to) Live Your Passion

Practices:

Outward Appearances

“Thank You”

(Still unsure? Here's a free sample)

Book 3 will be released this summer :)

Testimonial

"I am so excited to receive the next installment! To me this is the nitty gritty of it---the business of getting rid of physical stuff is practice for doing the harder work and I am primed and ready. We hear "just say no" all the time, yet having a regular process and practice of making intentional decisions on a minute by minute basis according to our deepest values is so hard!! I find myself often reacting to things that pop up in my path before I figure out if it fits into what I had already decided to do, so end up on this zig zag path with lots of detours. I love your way of saying it--- what is your ideal day like? Why not make your life like your ideal day? That puts it pretty much square in front of you." -Mary B

This Week's Q&A: Side Effects of Going Vegan, Cooking Ahead Problems, Lotions, Allergies & Constipation

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

You've got questions...

Q: About a year ago, I became mostly vegan and I've noticed I've had less energy and even feel light headed at times. Did you have a similar experience going vegan? I'm too tired to work out!

A: Are you sure you're getting enough calories? That's probably the culprit, but it could also be a medical issue (such a low iron, which can happen to women regardless of their diet) so if it persists, you'll need to see your doctor for some blood work and tests. Though most often people aren't eating enough calories, or enough carbohydrates/starch.

Q: This is my first week trying your meal plan. I've loved all the recipes so far. Delicious! My husband (who is a little picky about vegan food) loves them too. I tried cooking all the meals ahead, but struggled with space. I had every surface in my kitchen covered and ran out of space to chop onions. Do you have any suggestions?

A: I usually take over my kitchen table as well -- where i store all the ingredients :) and try putting a large cutting board over your sink to make more space :)



Q: I don't use oil anymore in my food but what about when I smear it on my skin? (Lotions, shampoo, makeup, etc. all seem to contain oil) Is it unhealthy/dangerous like when you ingest it?

A: I was wondering this myself and asked one of the plant-based docs (though I can’t remember who specifically). Anyway, they said ON the body (or hair) is fine, just not IN the body. My skin can sometimes get dry in the winter because we have an older heat system that sucks out all moisture ;) and I’ll use a little coconut butter on my knees or elbows.

Q: I just got an allergy test back and it says I am mildly (a 1 on a scale of 0 to 5) allergic to TONS of vegetables and fruits. If I cut all of this out, I don't even know what I would eat anymore! It seems silly to even bother trying to cut anything out since they were all mild, but maybe with me eating so much of all of them, it's causing my severe chronic constipation. I wanted to see if you had any insight about food allergy tests. Does a 1 mean you shouldn't worry, or could a mild intolerance lead to issues if eaten all day every day?

A: I'm not a doctor so I can't really give you medical advice (i.e. 1 means you should avoid or not).

Constipation is usually due to animal products in the diet, lack of adequate fiber, or lack of water (dehydration). Hormones, such as during pregnancy, can also cause constipation, and so can other medical conditions (talk with your doctor). Constipation is not usually a symptom to food allergies (if anything, the reverse usually happens if its a food allergy).

Here's a post I wrote about constipation:

Elimination: Let's Just Talk About It

Finding out you need to stay away from certain foods always feels overwhelming at first, but once you digest it (no pun intended) you start finding how to work around it. I find it's helpful to remember what you CAN eat safely and focus on that.

Many of my clients have a huge list of allergies, so I'm always working with them to adapt the meal plans and within my own family, we have lots of big allergies to deal with.

I also found this article about allergy testing both helpful and interesting:

What You Need to Know About Diagnostic Allergy Testing

Lastly, if you have a long list of food allergies, consider getting tested for leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut can sometimes be the culprit and with treatment, most times patients can "reverse" those sensitivities. Feel better!