It’s Jou Life has moved // New site address: itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life | a DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

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New It's Jou Life site // https://itsjoulife.com/

Go to our newly remodeled site // itsjoulife.com

 

Friends of Ours.

Hello, and welcome to It’s Jou Life! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, a (relatively) newly wed couple who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

We started this blog because our family and friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, what is Wayne woodworking on now, to send over our miso black cod recipe, what snacks stock our pantry, a tutorial on that cute zippered pouch, tips for marathon running, where do we worship, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s skincare regimen… you get the idea. This is our way to share life’s loves.

Wayne of all trades is an engineer by day and a woodworker/gardener/chef by night. Jennifer is an activist, artist, actress, and an alliterations addict. You would often find us dancing to our own beat, exploring the great outdoors, at home watching Netflix, and hand crafting everything we own. We find the beauty in our every day, with each other, and in the Lord our Savior.

We both live to create with purpose and hopes to inspire. Thank you for joining us as we try to do all things with love. Here is a glimpse into our quirky lives.

//

We’ve refreshed and re-launched our It’s Jou Life blog to streamline and create more content that is relevant in our lives.

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

Magnolia Bakery’s Delectable Banana Pudding // Recipe

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

The dessert that left a sweet handprint on my heart. After coming back from our New York trip, first on our list was to make that fluffy, yet ooey-gooey Banana Pudding dessert from Magnolia Bakery. Although this easy recipe doesn’t involve baking, this dessert does require some planning. One of the beginning steps involves at least 4 hours (or overnight) for the pudding to firm and 30 minutes as the last step to set the dish. Just make sure to read this recipe from beginning to end before inviting your guests over for dessert night.

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Makes 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 cups heavy cream

1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers

4 bananas, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Mix together the water, pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight until it sets up.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Working in thirds, fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well incorporated.

In a trifle bowl, layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding mixture; continue until you’ve used up all the pudding mixture. Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before serving.

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

The first layer of fluffy pudding goodness, sliced bananas and Nilla wafers

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipeMagnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipeMagnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

This recipe is exclusive from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey. Photograph copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Jou.

 

 

Lion’s Head Meatballs, Chinese Food // recipe

 Lion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeServes 4

A favorite dish of mine from childhood, it’s perfect comfort food for a cold winter night and surprisingly easy to make. It’s traditionally made with fatty ground pork, but I opted for ground turkey. The dish is sort of a stew but lighter: The meatballs, greens, and a little broth are all spooned over rice noodles. It’s commonly known as lion’s head meatballs, because the wavy greens or noodles ringing the meatballs look like…a lion’s mane? In Chinese, they’re called shih tzu tou, so maybe they’re really supposed to look like little shih tzu lapdog heads. Even if they are taxonomically ambiguous, they are inarguably tasty and incredibly easy to make.

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork (I opted for ground turkey)

1 C chopped scallions

2 T soy sauce

1 T sugar

1 T Shaoxing wine

1 T minced garlic

1 T minced fresh ginger

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t sesame oil

1 egg

2 T cornstarch

Neutral oil

1 lb napa cabbage or bok choy, leaves separated, chopped if desired

2 C chicken broth

White pepper

Cooked rice noodles or rice, for serving

Directions

  1. Put the pork in a large bowl and break it up with your hands. Add the scallions, soy sauce, sugar, wine, garlic, ginger, salt, and sesame oil and work the mixture to combine. Add the egg and cornstarch and vigorously mix, picking up and slapping the mixture back into the bowl a few times to create a tacky texture. Roll the meat into eight 2-inch balls. (Note: Keep in mind if you opted for ground turkey, instead of pork, it doesn’t hold its shape as well. Be gentle when forming the 2-inch balls and searing them in the pan. Don’t worry, it’ll taste just as delicious)
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven and add enough meatballs to fit comfortably in a single layer. Sear them until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with any remaining meatballs. Remove the pan from the heat and wipe out the pan.
  3. Line the pan with the cabbage or bok choy, arrange the meatballs in a snug single layer on top, and add broth to come within 1/4 inch of the tops of the meatballs. Cover the pot and set over medium heat. Gently simmer until the greens are tender and the meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over rice noodles or with steamed rice.

Lion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeLion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeLion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeThis recipe is exclusive from LUCKY PEACH PRESENTS 101 EASY ASIAN RECIPES. Copyright © 2015 by Peter Meehan. Photograph copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Jou

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via Its Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

recipe // walnut and date cocoa energy balls

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via Its Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

Lately I find myself getting hungry between meals at work, rushing to workout classes and running errands. These healthy walnut + date cocoa balls have been a staple in my every day. It not only provides protein and energy to get me through my long days, but also hits my sweet tooth cravings–guilt-free. Best of all, it’s so easy to make.

Walnut and Date Cocoa Energy Balls

Prep: 15 minutes

Yields: Approx. 19, depending on size

Ingredients

1 cup raw walnuts (or ½ cup raw walnuts and ½ cup raw almonds)

1 cup firmly packed pitted dates (slightly softened)

2 T goji berries (optional)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Optional: dash of ground cinnamon, raw honey

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until extremely fine. Tip: If the dates were in the fridge, let it soften in room-temperature for about 15 min. Not required though. I just find it blends and have a more favorable texture if slightly softened.
  2. Taste mixture. Tip: If the mixture isn’t sweet or on the dry/crumbly side, add a few drizzles of raw honey. Process again.
  3. Shape into 1” balls. Tip: I like to use a mini ice cream scooper and then roll between my palms.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Good for about a week.

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

Day 8 // Outsmart Your Appetite for Sugar | Birchbox Challenge

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

I have an insane sweet tooth. I crave chocolate (most) times of the day. Recently Compartes (those retro, gorgeous packaged, eccentric flavor chocolate bars) have been infiltrating into my thoughts. (Okay, sugar has already distracted me from the message of this post).

When chocolates and cupcakes beckon me, I tend to distract myself by eating a healthy alternative, take a 15 minute walk around the block or check my Instagram feed. Most of the time the urge will subside.

My favorite snack alternatives:

Apple & Natural Peanut Butter – I love the salty + sweet flavor combination. It reminds me of the healthier alternative to candied apples. The fiber of the apple and protein of the peanut butter make the perfect pairing of a nutritious and filling snack.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Crackers & Cheese – My favorite crackers of the moment are Raincoast Crisps Rosemary Raisin (cheaper dupe is Trader Joes Raisin Rosemary Crisps) and any spreadable cheese.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Trail Mix – I either buy it from Costco or make my own. Mixed nuts, especially walnuts are high in omega-3 and almonds help lower bad cholesterol. I like to add dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 7 // Easy DIY Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask

Day 7 is my own home recipe // Honey Egg-White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask. It’s a change from the scheduled Wine-Infused Face Mask, but I didn’t have red wine and wanted to work in a moisturizing and soothing face mask instead. Growing up my mom taught me how to take care and pamper my skin with DIY natural ingredients found in the kitchen pantry. My favorite is the Honey Egg White Yogurt Cucumber Face Mask.

This DIY mask recipe has major benefits that will aid parched skin and fight against the environmental harm that inevitably affects the skin.

  • Honey can aid in the relief of irritated skin because of its mild antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Egg whites contains many proteins, high in collagen, maintain the elasticity of skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. (Remember to mix the egg white well enough to obtain a foamy egg white look).
  • Yogurt can help moisturize and contains lactic acid that will smooth and gently exfoliate your skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles by tightening the pores.
  • Cucumbers aid and sooth sunburn, hydrate the eye area and cleanse the skin.

Ingredients

1 egg white

1 tsp honey

1 tsp fresh plain organic yogurt

8  thinly-sliced cucumbers *optional

Directions

  1. Beat the egg white with a fork until it turns a little frothy. Tip: Coolest way to separate the yolk from the egg whites.
  2. In a bowl thoroughly combine the egg white, honey and yogurt.
  3. Apply the mask on your cleansed face and leave it for 15 minutes until you feel it dry.
  4. Gently rinse it off with warm water.

Click here if you prefer to try the Birchbox Challenge Wine-Infused Face Mask instead.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 6 // Turn Your Sandwich into a Salad | Birchbox Challenge

Skipping the bread doesn’t have to mean bland leafy greens leaving you hungry. This recipe for a tuna egg salad features creamy ingredients that are protein-rich and low on guilt.

Tuna Egg Salad with Avocado

Ingredients

1 can tuna (in water)

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 medium Haas avocado, cubed

2 boiled eggs

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 T Goddess dressing (I prefer Trader Joes’ Goddess Dressing)

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, sliced cherry tomatoes, cubed avocados, cubed boiled eggs and salt.

2. Toss in the chopped romaine lettuce and dressing and mix gently.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Homemade Korean-style BBQ Fish Burrito | Birchbox Challenge

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041

Our minds have been hardwired to believe dinner is the most indulgent meal of the day. Instead of loading up at dinner, fill up on protein, good fats, and vegetables midday when your digestion peaks. It will keep your energy going throughout the afternoon.

Wayne and I made our interpretation of a Korean-style BBQ Fish Burrito. We wrapped tortilla with fresh, wholesome ingredients: marinated tilapia in a homemade Korean sauce (gochu jiang, a popular Korean red pepper paste + sesame oil + soy sauce), chopped fresh tomatoes, corn and chopped romaine greens tossed in sesame oil + soy sauce + seaweed. Recipe to come!

Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041   Day 4 // Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal // Birchbox Challenge on It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1041

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

joining the Birchbox Challenge | day 1 // eat dessert for breakfast (really!)

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways.

Let’s do this!

Day 1 // A favorite motto of mine is Dessert First! What a great way to ring in the new year with a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie for breakfast. It’s a wholesome update on a favorite summer treat that makes for a slightly decadent on-the-go breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.

I made a few alterations to the recipe based on preference and what I have available. I used coconut oil (instead of cashews), vanilla soy milk (instead of almond milk) and honey (instead of maple syrup). The smoothie will be very thick (spoon-able, even!). I added an extra half-cup of ice and thinned it out with more almond/soy milk. I added more honey and soy milk accordingly to texture and taste.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

Makes 2 large smoothies or 3 smaller ones

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup fresh strawberries 1 cup ice

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cashews (I used coconut oil)

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla soy milk)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use 3/4 tsp since 1 tsp is too strong)

Directions: Add ingredients to blender. Blend until fully combined.

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

What is Birchbox? Read a previous post written.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers curated beauty products tailored to my preferences. For just $10 a month, I receive 4-5 hand-picked, deluxe beauty samples from the best brands—popular luxe brands I covet, to the new and niche brands I have yet to discover. I’ve been a loyal subscriber for the past few years and this is hands down the best beauty box and offers the best incentive programs.

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad via itsjoulife - http://wp.me/p3cljj-ep

Summer may be coming to an end, but the heat remains. This is another favorite summertime dish that doesn’t involve stove top cooking. My mother used to make this for me all the time. It’s a refreshing dish that satisfies taste, nutrition and ease. Best of all, the cherry tomatoes are from our garden.

4-ingredient Avocado + Tofu + Tomato Salad (and Soy Paste)

Serves: 3 to 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado, cubed

10 ounces of soft tofu, cubed

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tablespoons of Soy Paste

1 tablespoon of sesame oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Gently layer the avocado, tofu, tomatoes in a glass bowl.
  2. Mix the soy paste and sesame oil until well combined. Drizzle over everything.

{ recipe } summer favorite eats | 4-ingredient avocado + tofu + tomato salad via itsjoulife - http://wp.me/p3cljj-ep