A Salad and a Shake

Just wanted to share one of my favorite salads and smoothies with many health benefits.

The salad:
-1/2 cup Quinoa
-3 cups lettuce of your choice or mix of different lettuces (I used Savory, Lola Rosa and Kale)
-3 Cucumbers
-1/4 cup Cilantro
-1/2 cup Heirloom Tomatoes
-1 Avocado
-1 Lemon for Dressing
-Olive Oil to taste
-Salt and Pepper to taste

Smoothie:
-2 Medium sized Bananas
-2 Tablespoons Vanilla Hemp Protein
-1 cup Frozen mixed organic Berries
-1 1/2 cup water or Coconut water
-1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
-2 Tablespoons Dry Oats
-2 Teaspoons Spirulina

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, this salad and smoothie together are for you! The salad provides a lot of folic acid which is essential during pregnancy. Avocado, any leafy greens contain lots of Folic Acid. The smoothie has Spirulina which helps with fertility and strawberries which also have Folic Acid.

Give Savory a try.

Savory has many health benefits such as anti-oxidants, helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamins A, and C and helps control blood pressure.

And they taste great 🙂

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Spice it Up: 2 of my Favorite Indian Dishes!

Who doesn’t love Indian food? With their array of spices and flavors, Indian food is not only super tasty, but those spices do more than just tingle your tongue and excite your taste buds. The spices used in Indian food have many benefits. Here are the benefits of just a few:

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, a natural liver detoxifier, a natural pain killer, speeds up wound healing (hmm maybe that’s why my burn from the other day is almost healed), and has been known to aid with Psoriasis (something I myself have) and other skin conditions.

Cayenne Pepper promotes heart health, supports weight loss, has anti-bacterial properties, stimulates your circulatory system which aids in detox, helps prevent migraines, and aids in digestion.

Curry helps burn fat, boosts immune system, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, increases energy and also aids in blood circulation.

Coriander is a good source of Vitamin C, is high in Iron, has anti-bacterial properties, aids in digestion, contains Calcium, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Manganese and Potassium.

Cumin also contains Iron, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium, helps with weight loss, and also aids in digestion.

My two favorite Indian dishes are Chana Masala and Cabbage Subzi. Both are Vegan dishes and are normally served on Basmati Rice but I substituted that for WIld Rice because it contains protein and is not processed. There are a lot of recipes for these dishes out there, I made them my way.. which is always the fastest and easiest way. I had to take a trip to the local Indian Spice store (which is great because I love supporting local small businesses) and bought myself the ready to go spices. They have already combined most of the spices you need for Chana Masala and other Indian Dishes.

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Chana Masala

– About 2 1/2 Cups Cooked Garbanzo Beans (or 2 cans)
– 2 Medium Tomatoes
– 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Shallots, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon Tumeric Powder
– 1/2 Teaspoon, Red Chili Flakes
– Juice from half a Lemon or Lime
– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1 Teaspoon Chana Masala Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Add tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, salt and lemon/lime juice to a blender and blend until liquid or paste. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then add Garbanzo Beans and tomato sauce/paste. Cook for about 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally. Top with cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

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Cabbage Subzi:

– 2 cups Red Cabbage
– 2 cups White Cabbage
– 1/3 Cup Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
– 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Minced
– 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
– 1 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
– 1 Teaspoon Kitchen King Spice Blend (pictured above)

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Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add Garlic and reduce heat to medium, let the garlic cook for a bit and then add your cabbage. Cook those together for a minute or two while stirring and add all of your spices and the salt. Let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and you are all done. Top on your wild rice and enjoy!

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Note: Wild rice requires 4 parts water to 1 part rice, boil the water first, add the rice and let cook for about 45 minutes.

 

Vegan Taco Boats

Here’s a filling and yummy meal with variety that you can tweak to your own needs and likes. 

This week with my Abundant Harvest Organics delivery we received a type of Japanese lettuce called Komatsuna. This is the first time I had heard of this vegetable and tried it. It turns out that Komatsuna contains calcium, Vitamins and Minerals. I decided it should be eaten raw, as a taco boat. 

Here is what you need:

1 Bunch Komatsuna (or another similar leafy lettuce of your choice)
2 Cans Black beans (or about 3 cups if you are cooking them yourself)
2 Avocados
3 Raw Chopped Jalepenos
2 Chopped Shallots
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 Bunch Chopped Cilantro
2 Limes
1 cup Chopped Red Cabbage
1 Cup Chopped Green Cabbage
1 Cup Spinach Leaves
1 Cup Chopped Kale
1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Cup Farro
Salt & Pepper to taste
Crackers or your choice

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So these taco boats include a homemade bean dip and guacamole:

For the bean dip:

Add black beans, cumin, chilli powder, salt, pepper, 1 garlic, half of the chopped Cilantro, 1 Jalepeno, 1 Shallot and juice of one lime to a food processor and blend until smooth. 

For Guacamole:

First cut avocados and place into a medium bowl. Mash the two avocados with a fork just a little bit. Then add the 1 chopped shallot, 2 minced garlic, other half of chopped cilantro, 2 chopped jalapenos to the avocados and mix a little bit with a fork. Finally, add the juice of one lime (or lemon, it honestly tastes the same) salt and pepper to taste and mix one final time to get a tasty and chunky guacamole. 

Farro:

Farro is an ancient grain that has fiber, Protein, Vitamin E, B3,  Zinc, Magnesium and tastes great! In order to get the most benefit from Farro, you should soak it before cooking for optimal absorption of things like Zinc. To cook, you simply add the 1/2 cup Farro to a pan with 1 Cup water and cook on Medium for about 10 minutes.

For the taco boats, just take a Koratsuna leaf and fill it up with the bean dip, guac, kale, spinach, cabbages, farro and enjoy! The cucumbers in the picture were just a side item and the crackers can be used to make sandwiches with all the ingredients as well. 

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The Coffee Struggle

I have had and am still having a coffee struggle. I know a lot of people go through these ups and downs with coffee as well. One minute you hear that it has antioxidants and you should have a cup or two a day, and the next you hear that coffee should be avoided. In my opinion, it should be avoided. When I drink coffee I enjoy it at the moment, but usually find myself feeling jittery and uncomfortable, and sometimes even a bit short of breath. I do have quite a sensitive body and this experience might not be the same for everyone. I know some people can have 5 cups a day and feel totally normal.

But have you actually tried quitting? Once you do, you will notice just how dependant your body has become to coffee, or rather – caffeine. I gave up soda years ago and that was actually pretty easy. Giving up coffee on the other hand, is still a struggle. When I first decided to quit, I experienced withdrawal symptoms like heavy headaches, moodiness and fatigue! It was very hard and not pleasant at all, especially when you have to be at work and on point! That was around 2 years ago. Today, I have made progress because I used to drink one or two cups a day and now it’s not a daily thing anymore, but I still haven’t reached my goal of cutting it out all together.

The first thing to do if you want to quit coffee is find out the facts. Knowing why you are quitting and how it will benefit you is what’s going to keep you going. According to Dr. Mercola, coffee is one of the most heavily researched commodities, and a lot of the research is conflicting. He does however state that it has been associated with stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and can raise blood pressure. Coffee is not as bad as soda or fruit juice, but eliminating is recommended. You have to weigh your options , the pros and cons, and decide if it will better your daily life if you do give up coffee.

The second thing to do, is figure out what you are going to drink in the place of coffee. As something that is consumed usually every single day by those who drink it, quitting will be easier with a coffee substitute to fill in that gap. Some people might start drinking decaf everyday, which is exactly what I was doing. I later found out, decaf is probably worse than regular coffee!

The problem with Decaf:

Since coffee beans already have caffeine, companies use chemicals in order to remove the caffeine from the bean. So, if you are drinking decaf that means it went through even more processing than regular coffee. I know not all companies handle their products the same, but as for the big companies I do know that they are the ones that use chemical extraction, it is approved by the FDA to be safe and all that jazz but then again there are so many horrible things out there approved by the government. The bigger companies such as Nestle use the method involving Methylene Chloride which is also an ingredient found in paint remover and fire extinguishers. Yikes! The other problem with decaf is that it’s not caffeine free, there is usually 1-3 % caffeine in decaf.

So, here is what you can try:

Dandy Blend – This is a coffee substitute I have been using for a few years. It’s the closest tasting thing I have found to actual coffee and it can be used to make all the same drinks. The ingredients in Dandy Blend are extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. So it’s all natural, and actually good for you! It’s also safe for pregnant or nursing women J You can order a big bag from Amazon.

Here is a Link:  http://tinyurl.com/qhyh3tv

There are other coffee substitutes to try as well such as Roostaroma and Genmaicha.

Whichever one you choose, it will definitely help you get past that coffee struggle and you’ll save money.

This picture shows Dandy Blend in 3 different ways:

Iced Latte, Warm cup of coffee, and Armenian style coffee

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Homemade Tea Tree Deodorant

Why make deodorant at home? Well, because it’s easy, works better than store bought, and you know exactly what’s in it… no surprises! Some people may be surprised to hear that store bought deodorant contains some things that should be no where near your body, especially not being rubbed on sensitive parts of your skin, like the armpits. 

As humans, we are trusting and don’t think twice about most of the things we put on our body, including deodorant, which most people use multiple times a day. In the morning, after a shower etc. Sadly, deodorant and antiperspirants include Aluminum (in antiperspirants the aluminum blocks your pores from sweating) which is obviously not ok. According to Dr. Mercola “Aluminum is widely recognized as a neurotoxin, which has been found in increased concentrations in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease”. For women, he also mentions that toxins like aluminum can be an even bigger problem, women shave their underarms, apply deodorant or antiperspirant and more of the aluminum is absorbed due to the damaged skin from shaving. Antiperspirants are worse than deodorant but deodorants still have things like parabens which have been linked to breast cancer. 

Here is the full article on his website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/16/aluminum-lurks-in-crystal-deodorants.aspx

This deodorant made at home feels great on your skin and you don’t need to use much for it to do it’s job. 

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What you need:

– 6 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder 
– 3 Tbsp Shea Butter
– 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil 
– 1 Tbsp Baking Soda/Powder
– 2 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
– 10 drops essential oil (I used Tea Tree)

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Method:

Melt the coconut oil, then with a mixer mix shea butter in with coconut oil. Mix the dry ingredients in another medium sized bowl. Then, with the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the shea/coconut oil mix then another 1/3 and another until they are combined. Then scoop into a ball, put in a glass jar and store away from sunlight. Once settled, the deodorant will set and be ready to use!

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Another reason, I don’t buy deodorant or toothpaste from the store is because I do not want to support big companies like Proctor and Gamble, that do Vivisection which is defined as surgery on a living organism, usually an animal. I know that these labs and animal tests created are usually done for the purposes of money. Companies like this get governments grants to open these labs and conduct these tests, which in this day and age where we can send a huge robot machine to Mars, is ludicrous. Unfortunately, Proctor and Gamble has pretty much a monopoly on items like deodorant and toothpaste. At the store, you see many different brands to choose from, but the reality is they are all an extension of Proctor and Gamble, who is the parent company of these brands. If you look at the back of the product the label should show the parent company, if it is Proctor and Gamble chances are some rabbits and monkeys and even cats and dogs are being tortured for that product. 

After making this deodorant for the first time, my husband came out of the shower and said this was the first time he’s had virtually no chemicals on his body, because our face wash, toothpaste and deo are all homemade and natural. What a great feeling. 🙂

Try this homemade deodorant. You will love it! 

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

One of the things in life that makes me the happiest is traveling. I believe most people also have a strong desire to travel and see as much of our planet as possible in their lifetime. I am definitely a planner. When I am taking a trip or vacation I usually do a lot of research and make sure everything works out perfect while I am on my trip, this way I won’t  have anything to worry about once I’m there other than relaxing and having fun! I want to make sure I get the most out of the time I have wherever I am going, I think the most important part is staying at a good hotel, even though we spend most of our time exploring, the concierge of a good hotel is always a big help!

Sometimes I travel for leisure, sometimes to visit family and being that I am a huge Cirque Du Soleil fan I also travel to see them perform. I have seen Cirque shows in Italy, Hawaii, San Fransisco, Denver, and Las Vegas and have planned some vacations around the shows. It is the greatest experience seeing the beautiful world and different food and culture and lifestyles.

Traveling is one of the reasons I work hard and also stay healthy, so I can continue to go to amazing places, explore, be adventurous and try new things.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/daily-prompt-the-happy-wanderer/

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Try This: Organics Delivered Right to your Door!

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Abundant Harvest:

Over a month ago, I signed up to a service offered in my area where I receive all organic produce every week, called Abundant Harvest Organics. The way it works, is I pay $25 for the week to get a small basket (they offer a large as well) of fresh, organic, and in season vegetables and fruits that come from local farms. They offer different add-ons on their website, we add-on eggs each week which are pasture raised and very delicious. With the add-on for eggs, and a $5 delivery charge since they deliver straight to my door our total is $36.

I believe this is my 6th delivery with them at this point, and so far I absolutely love it! This weekly delivery has made my life so much easier. In the short time I have been using their service, I have noticed many benefits. I buy only organic, so going to the store used to be either really expensive, or simply no options – which ends up making everything harder. With Abundant Harvest, I just pick up my delivery right at my front door, wash everything on the spot and store in my fridge until it’s time to eat. I don’t have to carry heavy grocery bags anymore, be lost in the grocery store, or create all this waste with the plastic packaging and bags that you just get rid of once you get home. It feels great knowing that I am creating less waste than I did about a month ago.

Once I get my delivery each Tuesday, I look at what I have and can pretty much plan the rest of my weeks dinners. Of course, I do still have to make a stop at the store here and there for things that didn’t come in my box that week that I might want to use for a recipe, but it makes shopping a quick in and out and much cheaper, and a less frequent trip. I would say I spend about $50 on things other than my box items for the week. So an average of around $80/week for groceries. I don’t know what other people spend, but I used to spend hundreds of dollars each week on all organic items at expensive grocery stores. This option is working much better for me. Their website is also easy to use and you can check what’s going to be in your box ahead of time so you know what to be prepared for, and you can add different things each week or remove them via the website as well.

If you have a service like this in your area (google it!), I strongly suggest you try it out. The best part is you will be supporting people in your community and LOCAL farmers!!!

This Week’s Box:

-Kale
-Mache
-Chard
-Lemons
-Apples
-Oranges
-Shallots
-Asparagus
-Komatsuna
-Oregano
-Carrots

I can’t wait to get cooking with these lovely ingredients! 😀

SHARE THE HEALTH!

St. Patty’s Day with Green Sparkly & Homemade Dark Chocolate!

Everyone has heard of green beer for St. Patrick’s day, how about some green sparkly? 

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Just juice some spinach and add a dash to your glass for a bright green and bubbly delight! 

Homemade dark chocolate is easy, tasty, and the perfect match for some champagne or sparkling wine.

1/4 cup of Coconut Oil (melted)
2/3 Cup Cacao Powder
4 Tbsp Agave Nectar
Cashews or any nuts of your choice

Mix them all together, Spread on parchment paper and let sit in fridge. Once hardened, cut up little pieces of heaven and enjoy!

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! 

Don’t Throw Away your Almond Pulp!

Hopefully, you have already made some almond milk at home or are planning to make it soon. Here is the link to my homemade almond milk post in case you missed it https://redwhiteandsparkling.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/almond-milk-how-to-make-it-yourself-and-why/

I mentioned in that post, to keep the leftover almond pulp because there are many things you can do with it! Isn’t it great that you can have some of the tastiest and freshest almond milk made at your own home and then use the leftovers for much more? It’s all about doing it yourself, getting the most nutrition out of your food, keeping the waste level as low as possible, and saving money.

The first thing you need to do is let your almond pulp dry. I just spread it out in a wide pan and let it dry, it usually dries overnight.

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1. Almond Meal Pancakes

I tried this one yesterday for breakfast and I loved it.

1 1/2 Cup Almond Pulp/Meal
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Water (filtered)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 Tsp Chia Seeds
1 Tsp Flax Seeds

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Mix everything together and drop batter into lightly greased pan on medium heat. This should make about 10 small sized pancakes. Top with whatever you like, syrup, agave nectar, strawberries, blueberries, and so on.

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2. Almond Meal Crackers

If you have a good food processor or blender, these crackers will be perfect for you.

What you need:

1 cup Almond pulp
2 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil (melted)
3/4 Tsp Salt
1-2 tbsp chopped herbs (optional)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Add almond pulp to a food processor or blender until fine. Melt the coconut oil, then mix everything together in a bowl. Roll almond dough in a ball, then place in between parchment paper and roll out with a roller into a thin sheet. Cut into squares then take a fork and poke each square. Let cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.

3. Almond & Oat Face Scrub

I have been trying to find a simple face scrub that will last a long time and this one is it. All you need is:

1/2 Cup Almond Pulp
1/2 Oats
Water

Blend/grind almond pulp until fine, then do the same with the oats. Mix items together and store in a glass jar. The face scrub will be kept in dry form so it should like for months. When you are ready to use, just take some in your hand and add a little bit of water, then start scrubbing.

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These are only 3 things you can do with the almond pulp. There are many more as well. So make sure to keep the almond pulp!