Month: November 2013

Cinnamon Maple Breakfast Quinoa

I’m coming to you from my couch, on this chilly Saturday eve. Exciting, I know. It was either this or get in bed…being that it’s 8pm, I chose to NOT be a 90 year old woman & be productive. Plus, I figured that some of you may need a new breakfast recipe for your Sunday morning. So, here you go. You’re welcome. 

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This recipe is so easy, its ridiculous. 

Prep time: 3 min. Cook Time: 7 min.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for garnish
2 teaspoons butter
milk or cream, to taste
maple syrup, to taste
banana slices

(Optional: add Chia &/or Flax Seeds for added nutrients and flavor)

Instructions:

Place quinoa in water and rinse well.

Drain quinoa, then stir in 1 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon butter (I personally only use Earth Balance). Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave 3 more minutes. Remove from microwave, cover with foil and sit 2 minutes. Fluff quinoa and stir in remaining butter. Divide between 2 bowls and top with almond milk, maple syrup, banana slices and cinnamon to taste. *You can use Agave (plain or vanilla flavored) instead of Maple Syrup to cut down on the sugar.

 

5 surprising uses for coconut oil

So, it seems that lately I’ve gone a little coo coo for coconut oil. It’s kind of taking over my life & I get the feeling that my husband thinks I’m nuts. But seriously, I need to reign it in a little and stop being so obsessive over this wonderfully, perfect product. Whoops, there I go again.

Here’s the bottom line: Naturally gluten & dairy free, fights diseases, stabilizes blood sugar, packed with medium-chain triglycerides (fatty acids that deeply nourish the skin) & contains an SPF of 10 (meaning it blocks out 90% of the sun’s UV-B rays)….need I say more? If I could marry a food, we’d be hitched by now.

Ladies (and Gents), the best thing about this product? IT’S CHEAP! For a jar of cold-pressed, organic, virgin coconut oil (16 oz jar) you’ll spend about $5.99! I’m practically jumping out of my seat. I know, I’m a huge nerd.

What you may not already know, is that there are hundreds of uses for this stuff. I’ve compiled a list of 5 surprising uses, in hopes that you’ll buy yourself a jar & join me in my love for this little gem.

Makeup Remover

Coconut oil removes EVERY trace of makeup, including mascara (even waterproof)! Since trying it, I ditched my name brand makeup remover & only use coconut oil now. The drug-store makeup remover you’re currently using is most likely full of preservatives–some of them very toxic &/or carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Why not make this simple switch? It’s not messy either because, when stored in a cool place, it remains in its solid state. Also, it is super hydrating for the under eye area!

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Deodorant

This one really surprised me! How could this really work? Well, I’m here to tell you the facts: It does work & I’m currently in the process of making the change from drug-store deodorant to coconut oil. Deodorants have SO many ingredients in them, while coconut oil contains just one. The long list of ingredients in deodorant are placed in the product to keep us from sweating/excreting toxins. If these toxins do not leave our body, just imagine how harmful this must be. Things like propylene glycol (which is a component in ANTIFREEZE) and aluminum (this has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer) are in traditional deodorants, guys. Using coconut oil is a great alternative to even the “natural deodorants”…which, to be fair, are actually pretty clean but still contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce and claim to have “natural fragrance”. Where do they derive the natural fragrance from?? After reading this, I am hoping you’ll give this idea a chance!

Moisturizer & Lip Balm

About a year ago I ditched my brand name ridiculously overpriced face moisturizer & swapped it for coconut oil. My skin absolutely loves it! It contains so many healing properties, penetrates the layers of the skin on a deep level & naturally helps clear away dead skin cells! This all applies to your lips as well. It heals cracks and chapped lips in no time at all! By doing this, you will save money & love the results it gives your skin! It also contains an SPF of 10 & can be layered with your daily sunscreen.

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Bug Repellant

Yeah, weirdest use for coconut oil ever, I know. But, it works! By making your own, you’re avoiding those pesky chemicals (like DEET) that comprise main-stream bug spray.  Luckily, we don’t have to spend hours perfecting the perfect, natural bug repellant recipe…someone has already done it for us! Here is the link for the spray:

CLICK HERE

Helps with Nausea

Is there anything this oil can’t do?! Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the inside of your wrists to help calm your upset tummy. Great for infants & toddlers since it’s all natural & chemical free!

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Friends, if you end up trying out any of these ideas, let me know what you think….I would love your feedback!

Tis the season for sweaters

It is OFFICIALLY the Holiday season, guys! I am so excited and have been secretly playing Christmas music in my car. This stays here. The truth is, I am obsessed with this time of year and that is partly because I get to start wearing cozy sweaters, cute leggings and fun boots. Let’s be honest…nothing beats a great sweater. Tomorrow, I will attempt to make the switch. I will pull out my summer clothes and store them away until next year…under the bed…far, far away. It’s time to pull out our comfy clothes, gals! Let’s get this show on the road! 

Cheers to a cozy season, full of scarves and sweaters!

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My European Vacation: Lessons in packing

I’m back! After spending two weeks in Europe, traveling with the hubby, I couldn’t wait to blog about some of our adventures and of course….what I packed! First, you should know that I HATE packing for trips. I won’t lie, It overwhelms me. Probably because I stress myself out thinking, “What If I forget something?!” The best piece of advice, given to me before I left for Paris, was, “Em, If you forget something, buy it there. The French are civilized people…not cavemen.” This somehow helped me immensely.

Packing the ‘ole suitcase was still a week long slow process for me, being that I’d never been to France or Italy…I had no clue what to bring! Thanks to my good friend google and the advice from people who had already been there, I was able to put together some great outfits and make sure I packed all the essentials. I thought I’d packed my bags like a champ, until reality set in: I’d seriously overpacked.

 If I could do it over again, I would bring a SMALL, rolling suitcase, that could double as a backpack. Stubbornly, I brought the largest bag I owned, with all the bells and whistles that a suitcase can have, and quickly learned my lesson. 

It is important to remember that in Europe, elevators are a thing of the future. I carried my small elephant of a bag up MANY flights of stairs and onto several trains and even had to RUN with it at times. Not a pretty sight. But, nevertheless, I wanted to share with you the items that I loved wearing in Europe, and the things I COULD NOT have lived without. So, here they are…in no particular order:

1. A couple of fun scarves. I loved my leopard and floral print ones;

2.Comfy shoes, that can endure cobblestone. I chose these Steve Madden Booties;

3.My military Jacket from Nordstrom (I wore this a LOT);  

4. Fun Jewelry from H&M.

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I hope this has helped all of you travelers out there! Take my advice and pack the basics, bring items that you know you’ll wear and don’t stress–whatever you need you can always buy when you get to your destination!

Cheers to packing LIGHT!