DIY Laundry Detergent

I’m back from the blogging dead, haha!

It’s only been 2.5 months since I last posted something. I’ve really been enjoying my summer and I have so many blog posts I would love to do.

I mean first let’s back it up 2.5 months and talk about the Bachelorette! I was so into the Bachelorette this year that I made a bracket and everything. I never thought I’d be joining #bachelornation. I can not wait to find out who the next Bachelor is going to be. While we wait for the next Bachelor I’ve gotten into Bachelor in Paradise. If you don’t watch this show you definitely should. Will Evan find love in Paradise?! We’ll have to wait & see I guess.

So…what did I do this summer? The husband and I spent an entire week in Lake Tahoe. It was a blast. We rented a condo near the lake and went mountain biking and kayaking and of course did plenty of relaxing. We took one weekend trip to Sun Valley but the mountains were on fire so that was a very smoky trip.

And, ok, I guess this is kind of a big deal…I almost forgot…we are building a house!! It’s all still very new and nothing has really happened yet. Basically we found an area where we wanted to build but had to wait 6 months or so until the builder could release the lots. About a month ago the lots were finally released and we were 3rd in line to pick our lot! So we plopped down some money to secure the lot and now we are basically just waiting.

The next step will be going to the design center to pick out all the colors and finishes. This sounds fun but is also slightly terrifying. I have some sort of color blindness and I have a really hard time matching colors and also identifying what a color is. For example, I will swear up and down that something is purple when it is in fact brown (or so people tell me-I still don’t believe them even when they tell me!). So that makes it hard but then there are also just so many decisions to make. And they all cost money! I think that’s the scariest part. I just know that the things I like are probably going to be the most expensive option and then I’ll have to choose between being heartbroken or being broke. And those aren’t fun options. But that should all be happening in the next couple weeks.

This will be a fun thing to blog about though🙂

Rocco is doing great still, he’s just my best little buddy! Lately he’s been going to Doggy Daycare a couple times a week and LOVING IT. I had been wanting to find a day care for him since some days I can’t exercise him in the morning and in the winter there are days that I just don’t want to exercise him. He has friends there now, including another Min Pin named Max and apparently the two just play all day. I like to image Max is one of Rocco’s brothers and they’ve been reunited…

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Anywho, so the title of today’s post is DIY Laundry Detergent and I actually AM going to tell you how to make your own laundry detergent!

But first, a testimonial! Last winter we went to Mexico and it was super humid and when we got home all our clothes had “that smell” that clothes get when they’ve been damp for a week. It’s not a good smell FYI. I first used traditional laundry detergent and “that smell” did not come out. Not after one wash and not after 2 washes. So, I made up a batch of this laundry detergent and what I want to tell you is: THE HOMEMADE CHEAP STUFF WORKS BETTER THAN COMMERCIAL DETERGENT. I was just a shocked, believe me. I have a pre-conceived notion that home made cleaners can not be as effective as store bought, chemical filled cleaners.

Wrong.

And the thing is, it’s really easy to make. It doesn’t make a big mess in the kitchen like most of my projects and it only takes a few minutes. And I really can’t stress the importance of switching to “all natural” as much as possible. The chemicals and dyes in cleaning products not only get into our bodies through our skin but they also get into the water supply which isn’t good for all the frogs and other creatures. And if that isn’t disturbing enough, just think about all those chemicals getting into your body and messing with your hormones and then storing themselves in your fat cells so they can wreak havoc in a time released fashion.

So let’s get to it!

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All the supplies you need to make liquid laundry detergent!

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent (safe for front load washers)

  • Large, clear plastic bottle (I use a clear soft soap bottle)
  • 1 cup castile soap (I use the tea tree flavored one for extra germ-killing power!)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 cups hot water

Mix 1 cup castile soap with 3 cups hot water together in the large container you are going to use for your detergent.
In a glass bowl or large glass measuring cup mix the baking soda, salt and 2 cups of hot water and stir. Pour this mixture into the other mixture, shake to combine and voila you are done! The detergent will separate and you’ll have to shake it up before each use which is why I think storing it in a clear container is key.

Use 1/4-1/2 cup per load. I still have my old plastic laundry cups and use a full cap in my front load machine.

 

I know making laundry soap sounds like a total pain but I promise it only takes a couple minutes. I make 2 bottles every time so I only have make more once every couple months.

Alright that’s all for now, now go get caught up on Bachelor in Paradise!

Laura

 

Choc Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + GF) + 5K

cookie 1

YEEEESSSSSS this happened and they are SO GOOD!!! These are probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The texture is perfect. Thick like a brownie, good texture, soft but dense, gooey and most important: chocolaty!!

As I was eating one of these bars for breakfast (yes, really) I thought to myself: Does anyone really like oatmeal raisin cookies? If you do please comment and let me know! I know there was a time in the early 90’s when I pretended to like oatmeal raisin because we were told it was the healthier option but now that we don’t live under such false pretenses I don’t know anyone that chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip.

Anyway, before I get to the recipe, I ran another trail 5K last weekend! Here I am at the finish with my “trainer”.

me

This time my hubby was in town so he and Rocco came to support me which was exciting🙂 Rocco didn’t run the race even though it was a dog friendly race. He’s fast but he gets distracted by people and dogs, plus I didn’t want him to get trampled!

Like the last race, this one was a lot of fun. It was a much bigger event so there were a lot of people. The course wasn’t as steep which meant I couldn’t go super fast on the downhill. Actually I swear there wasn’t any downhill on this course. It felt like it was uphill the entire way! I finished 9th in my age group out of 50 some ladies. I feel pretty good about that because I have never trained for speed. I’ve always trained for the Long Slow Distance and I didn’t grow up running and was certainly never on any Cross Country or Track team. I’m hoping to do at least one more this summer but we’ll see!

cookie 2
Yum Yum Yum

Alright, this recipe. I want to believe it’s healthy because there isn’t any flour in it AND there is an entire can of beans in there (I swear you can’t taste them). But there’s also 1.5 cups of chocolate chips so they kind of cancel each other out😉 You can totally eat this stuff raw too! If you don’t plan on baking it just leave out the baking soda and baking powder and then you can roll it into balls and freeze or refrigerate it. I haven’t tried using the dough to make regular cookies but I’m pretty confident you could if you wanted to.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand)

Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor. Process until smooth scraping the sides down as necessary. There should be no chunks for the garbanzo beans left and the dough should be very smooth and sticky.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

If baking, line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan and smooth it out. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

That’s it for now! 2 posts in 2 weeks is pretty good for me! I’ll be back soon with a DIY laundry detergent recipe I’m super excited about!

❤ Laura

 

Cooling Cucumber Soup + My 1st 5K (video)

Hi hi hi!

I’m back today with a recipe for a cooling summer soup. Raw vegetable soup is basically just a vegetable smoothie but calling it a soup sounds way better!

blender
Tonnnns of veggies!!

Blending vegetables is a great way to make them more digestible. This is good news for anyone who gets digestive upset from eating raw vegetables or salads. Plus it sneaks a ton of variety into the diet without having to try too hard! And as another bonus, since this is basically just raw vegetables going into a blender it only takes a couple minutes to make a big batch.

Swapping out your afternoon snack for this soup is a GREAT way to get rid of bloating, flatten the belly and get your smokin’ hot bod ready for summer! Seriously, give it a try. If you usually have a protein shake, protein bar, cookies, chips, pretzels, etc in the afternoon, try swapping those out for this soup next week and see what happens!

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My soup ready to go for the week!

And on a totally unrelated note, I ran my FIRST EVER 5K last weekend! It was also my first ever trail race! I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve never participated in a 5K. I started running on my 30th birthday unable to run a mile without stopping many, many times. As I progressed to being able to run 1 mile, then 3, then 6 without stopping my first first ever foot race was a Half Marathon and then a Full Marathon. So I guess I never felt like it was worth getting up early and paying money “just” to run 3 miles. Except then the 5K started to scare me for some reason. When you think about it, a marathon is hard for sure but the #1 goal (for me anyway) was to finish/not die. I didn’t really care what my time was. Just finishing is accomplishment enough. But people who run 5K’s generally try to go FAST. I am not fast (at least that is the story I tell myself over and over).

So, I signed up for a 5K trail race. My husband was out of town so I was all on my own. No hand holding here, I had to be a big girl. I got up at 4:30am, too sleepy to eat breakfast. I stopped drinking coffee a while back so I didn’t even have that comfort. I drove myself up the canyon and I couldn’t believe how nervous I was!

To make a really long story short I LOVED IT! It was a really great experience and the funniest thing is that I ended up getting 2nd place. I started off in the very back because I assumed I would be the slowest one and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. I also forgot to double knot my shoes so I had to stop to tie my shoes and I had to pass all but one person. I think the person who beat me finished about 45 seconds to a minute before me. Shoot. Next time I’ll double knot my shoes and try a smidge harder!

Oh and the “next time” is this weekend!

Here is a little video I took right after finishing. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I talked to my phone #imsoawkward

Alright, here is that recipe!

Cooling Cucumber Soup (servings: 4)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, feather part and all
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups of filtered water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy warm or cold.

Alright, that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with an update from my next race!

❤ Laura

 

 

Choc Chip Banana Nut Cookies

Well, that’s quite a name for a recipe! I think I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the last YEAR and I’m just now getting around to it. Or I did post it but didn’t link to it in my index. Even if that’s the case it’s been a year and so its new again!

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I know it’s been over a month since my last post so I’m racking my brain for interesting updates.

Well, it’s Spring in Utah so I feel like a little bear coming out of hibernation. The sun has touched my skin a couple times so that was exciting. But lately we’ve been getting tons of rain so it hasn’t really started heating up yet.

A week ago I got to go to a formal dinner with my hubby! Here is a picture of me from the beginning of the evening. I wish I had a full length picture that showed my awesome shoes! They were gold and glittery and platform and AWESOME. I was probably 5’4″ in them, haha!!

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I know, what an evil woman I am for cropping my husband out of the photo. But you know, he doesn’t appreciate his photo on the internet and who can blame the guy, really?!

And then this a photo of me from the end of the night after I’ve had a whopping TWO GLASSES of white wine. I haven’t had any alcohol for the past probably 3-4 months so those two glasses hit me HARD. I was hungover for 1.5 days afterward😦

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Not too drunk to put on my seat belt and take a selfie though so clearly I was feeling good. (and I was a passenger, not the driver just to be clear)

And those curls in my hair are thanks to my newest beauty doo-dad. I invested in a 1″ Curling Wand. I don’t even own a curling iron so this is my only curling device. It’s pretty darn great. Here is a better picture of what it looks like. Very beachy🙂

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Alright, this is turning into quite the self-absorbed hair post so how about a picture of Rocco now to round things out.

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He is just the smartest, sweetest, funniest dog and I love him so much. He is my little buddy❤❤

And now for that recipe! This is a really simple, healthy recipe that scratches the itch for chocolate chip cookies. Yes, they taste like banana and the texture is that of crushed almonds but they are delicious nonetheless and you can totally eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner or any time in between.

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Choc Chip Banana Nut Cookies
(Makes approx 30 cookies)

1 1/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
2 small or 1 large ripe banana (this is not an exact science)
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I still like “Enjoy Life” brand)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the almonds in a food processor and process until a near flour like consistency.
In a mixing bowl, mash the banana(s) into a paste. Add the coconut sugar, peanut butter and baking soda and ground almonds and stir until combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Form each cookie by dropping 2 tablespoons of the batter onto a cookie sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just brown.
If your batter is much runnier than regular cookie dough that is ok, mine was too and they still turned out great. If you are super concerned about it you can add more peanut butter and/or almond flour.

Nutrition per 1 cookie
Calories: 100
Carbohydrate: 9g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 3g
Sugar: 6g

Alright, that’s it for now. Hopefully I can come up with something cool to post soon.

Bye for now!

❤ Laura

 

 

 

Healthy Bod Products

Hey, hey!

So I think I’ve mentioned a time or two on this blog that I’m working toward using all natural home and body care products. Every time I run out of something “toxic” I use that as an opportunity to swap it out for something healthier for my body and for the planet. It’s been great fun! I have done quite a lot of experimenting so I wanted to put together a list of my favorite Healthy Body Products I’m loving these days.

I highly recommend going to http://www.ewg.org/skindeep to see how toxic your beauty products are. They also have an app which works moderately well.

Another thing that has really been weighing on my mind since I started going “all natural” is the fact that I bleach my hair and have for a very, very long time. Ok, technically bleach doesn’t touch the scalp, it just sits on the hair so that makes me feel a little bit better, but I know it can’t really be healthy. So I finally took the plunge and returned to my natural hair color last weekend! I stopped coloring it about 6 months ago and the color & texture difference from having natural hair vs fried hair was driving me CRAZY.

hair before and after

You can see the grow-out situation in the bottom pic. And then in the top picture I’m just looking all sorts of fly in the parking lot of the grocery store. Yeah! I can’t believe how much of a textural difference this made on my fried ends! My hair is so soft now.

The one natural product I have NOT been able to find is a good shampoo and conditioner! I have tried A LOT and it’s getting to be an expensive and frustrating experiment. All the natural products I try dry my hair out and make it even more angry. The only product I found that didn’t dry my hair out horribly also didn’t clean it so I ended up with mad build up on my scalp. So, it was back to my beloved Pureology.

Alright, let’s look at my list starting with the top left working clockwise.

fave body products

Enkido synergy facial lotion. This is an Australian company so this stuff isn’t easy to get but I absolutely love it and I’m a facial care snob. It’s not expensive, you just have to order it from Australia. They do ship orders of $99 for free though and with the AUS to USD conversion rate it’s a steal. All their products have an EWG rating of 1! I also use their eye cream and their moisturizing face wash and love both. My skin is extremely acne prone (like, extremely) and my skin has actually improved since using this.

Jane Iredale “Disappear”. All Jane Iredale products are fabulous and non-toxic. This disappear product is my favorite concealer for all my acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It’s legit.

Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste. OMG I use natural toothpaste and I love it! My goal is to start making my own toothpaste but until then I will be buying this. It’s awesome and it’s remineralizing.

Almond Oil or Jojoba. I use this as a body moisturizer. It’s a little more convenient than using coconut oil since it’s liquid all year long and absorbs better.

Andalou Naturals Creamy Lemon Face Wash. Everything Andalou is awesome. They make a really good body lotion too if you are looking for a traditional looking/feeling/smelling body lotion.

Earth Science Tea Tree & Lavender Deodorant. Have I never posted about switching off regular deodorant?! That’s a novel in itself, what a journey! This deodorant is great and it’s inexpensive. I got it at Harmon’s! (local grocery store)

Sappo Hill Soap, unscented. I was convinced when I stopped using my “moisturizing body wash” my skin would dry up and flake off my body. No such thing. It turns out those “moisturizing” soaps and lotions dry skin out so we have to keep using them! Since I switched to natural products my skin has been much softer and not nearly as dry! It’s all a conspiracy I tell you…

Jane Iredale Glow Time. This is another great Jane Iredale product. Just 4 tiny drops does the entire face. Great for covering up those scars!

Andalou Naturals BB Cream. This is my absolute favorite sunscreen!! This is the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break that I can actually stand the feel of. It’s tinted too so that’s a nice bonus. It’s a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide) so it’s non-toxic!

I should also mention that most of these products are SUPER inexpensive and cost much less than the toxic versions I was using before. Check out http://www.vitacost.com for most of these products or Amazon or even the local grocery store! I am loving vitacost these days. Free overnight shipping, plus their prices can’t be beat and they are always having sales and sending coupons.

And here is the Rocco pic of the day. He was starting to get sleepy after a run.

rooco j.jpg

Alright, that’s it for now! If you know of any good & natural shampoos you better be sending me a message!

Bye for now!

Laura

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Woo hoo, I have a new fun recipe for you just in time for the weekend!

I have been on a MAJOR peanut butter cookie kick because these are SO easy to make and I always have these ingredients on hand. I know I’ll be making another batch of these veeeeery soon. Like, today.

cookie 1

Before I get to the recipe I have Rocco stories!

Last weekend we went to St. George, UT for some fun in the sun and to get out of Salt Lake. Whenever we travel Rocco goes into straight up Watch Dog mode. He didn’t sleep the entire car ride down and once we arrived he was on red alert. All. night. long. He didn’t sleep a wink. He just sat upright all night long keeping watch and crying softly. Ah yes, good times with a dog in a hotel room! He also refuses to eat, drink or go to the bathroom when he is in watch dog mode. Extra good times. My poor husband probably took him outside 5 times that night trying to get him to go to the bathroom so he didn’t get any sleep either because he was in “watch the dog” mode.

The next day we were all tired but we had plans to go mountain biking so we took Rocco to Doggy Day Care for the first time ever!

Mountain biking was a blast and Rocco had a great time at Day Care. Needless to say, that night (and the next night) Rocco slept VERY well.

rocco 1

If you want to see pictures of Rocco’s second birthday party or of the two of us slow dancing to Cher, check out his Instagram account @ rocco_the_minpin

Alright, cookie time!

cookie 2

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like enjoy life brand)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (If you don’t have a silicone baking mat I highly recommend getting one!)

In a large bowl mix the sugar, egg and vanilla with a fork. Switch to a spatula and stir in the peanut butter. Once the mixture is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips.

Gently form balls of the dough using a spoon, a cookie dough scoop or your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Use the back of a fork to flatten the balls and to make the criss-cross lines.

Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan or they could break.

WHO WANTS COOKIES!?

Bye for now!

Laura

 

DIY Kitchen & Bath Cleaner (easy & cheap!)

Today I’m so excited to share a recipe for something other than food! It’s a really simple recipe for kitchen & bath cleaner* that I have been using for several months. I’ve been slowly but surely swapping out aaaallllll my commercial cleaning products & beauty products out for non-toxic versions. This cleaning solution is really, really, really easy to make and it will save a ton of money since the only thing you might have to buy is white vinegar which only costs a few $$. The other ingredient is orange peel but you can eat the orange so that doesn’t really cost anything!

I got the recipe from my friend Jacqueline who is a chemistry teacher and Yoga Teacher extraordinaire. She is awesome and has tons of recipes for household products so I’ll be sharing a DIY laundry detergent recipe soon.

*I do want to mention that you should NOT use this cleaner on granite or marble because it will eat through the sealant! I have quartz (silestone) counter tops and it works great. I checked the silestone website and it indicated you can pretty much use any product except for really harsh stuff like paint thinner or battery acid. Everything in between though is fine. I have found this cleaner actually makes my counters feel much cleaner than the commercial cleaning product I had been using before.oranges in a bottle

Kitchen & Bath Cleaner
Ingredients & Supplies Needed

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Peels from orange or lemon to fill the glass bottle
  • Glass bottle with plastic cap (don’t use a huge jar or else you will have more cleaner than you know what to do with)
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Funnel if you have one

Find a large glass jar or container. I used my weck juice jar as pictured above which worked OK but isn’t ideal since it has a narrow neck. In the future I will use a large glass jar I got from IKEA. Stuff glass jar full of orange rind. Pour vinegar into bottle, covering all the orange rind. Cover with plastic cap. Store in the pantry for 2 weeks minimum, shaking daily.

Once the vinegar is ready, mix at a 1:1 ratio with water by pouring the vinegar into an empty spray bottle (this is where a funnel comes in handy), filling it half way. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water. See, super easy!

This is my funnel.

funnel

I really love my funnel because it breaks apart into 3 separate funnels depending on what type of project I have going on. My husband got it for me. What a guy, right? It came from Harmon’s (grocery store in Utah) and I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

A while ago I mentioned that over the summer we got new kitchen counter tops and installed a tile backsplash and I never did share pictures! Well, in the photo above you can see said counter tops and backsplash! It’s very light and I love it. This is what my kitchen looked like before (so clean, haha!) and I don’t seem to have an after picture with a clean kitchen. Hmmmm.kitchen before

BUT what I also want to say is that when we got the counter installed we also got a new sink. We opted for the single basin sink and OMG it’s the greatest thing ever.

sink

Also featured in the above photo is our new reverse osmosis water filter. I’ll probably save details of that for another day but for any of my friends struggling with acne I think this reverse osmosis filter has had an incredibly positive impact on my skin. Mainly because city/ground water contains a lot of endocrine (hormone) disruptors and this filter removes all the nasty stuff like arsenic & lead. My skin had gotten pretty good before I got this filter but now it’s like GOOD good and very rarely breaks out.

And last, here is my guapito as I call him (my little handsome).

guapito

That’s all I have for this week. Bye for now!

Laura

 

Superfood Snack Bites

Great news, I have yet another snack ball recipe! It’s been a while, right?!

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I’m on a big FAT kick right now. Meaning-I’m trying to eat more fat!

I grew up during the low fat craze of the 80’s & 90’s. I remember when the food pyramid told me I needed to eat 6-11 bowls of cereal every day and I was in heaven because at the time I was only eating maybe 3-4 bowls of cereal per day. So I upped my cereal intake and my bagel intake and my red vines licorice intake because, you know, it was all fat free!

I remember when those Snackwell cookies came out and they were fat free and my family and I thought we were just in heaven because, oh hallelujah, they were fat free which meant we could eat the whole box! Of course after a few boxes we also noticed they tasted like cardboard but it seemed like a reasonable price to pay for being allowed to eat unlimited cookies.

And now the experts are all like, psyyyyyyyyyche!!!! (Do you remember that old saying also from the 80’s-90’s?) It turns out fat, the right fat that is, is actually super duper healthy and we need to be eating a lot more of it.

Turns out, fat doesn’t make you fat after all.

On a side note, eating 6-11 bowls of cereal every day will for sure make you fat.

This week I’ve been watching something called The Fat Summit (www.fatsummit.com). I’ve only been able to watch a few of the videos but my takeaways so far are as follows:

  • Fat doesn’t make you fat. It actually helps you burn fat.
  • Fat we eat is not the same thing as the fat on our bodies.
  • Saturated fat should not be feared. In fact, eat eggs and coconut oil, they will make you skinny!
  • If you don’t eat fat you will be irritable & uptight and could even commit murder (It happened in a study done with monkeys fed a fat free diet).
  • Eat fat with a good mindset. If you are thinking “this is going to make me fat” the whole time you are eating something, it probably will make you fat.
  • If you don’t eat enough fat your hormones can get out of whack.
  • Fat makes your food taste good.
  • Fat makes you stay satisfied for longer and decreases sugar cravings.

And on that note, here is a delicious recipe full of all the right fats!

Superfood Snack Bites

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted & soaked
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder + extra for rolling
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or blueberries, raisins or goji berries)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips or cacoa nibs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

First, soak the dates in water for several hours or overnight. Once that’s been done you are ready to proceed. Mix the chia seeds in 2-3 tablespoons of water and set them aside while they soak up all the water.

In a food processor, blend the almonds & cashews just enough to break them up a little. Then add the shredded coconut, cacao powder & salt and pulse to combine.

Next, add the dates, cherries, chia seeds and almond extract and pulse more to blend. Then add the coconut oil and blend until you reach your desired texture.

Last, stir in the chocolate chips.

Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes to let the coconut oil harden the mixture a little. Just don’t leave it in there for too long or it will get really hard! When you are ready, form the dough into bite size balls and roll each one in cacao powder. Place on a cutting board lined with parchment paper and refrigerate. Store in the refrigerator, eat with wild abandon.

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And now of course to the really good stuff. Rocco! We got Rocco a new bed. You know, because he doesn’t have enough comfy places to sleep.

It’s called the Pet Snoozer bed and I got it on Amazon. He loves it and knew exactly how to “do it”.

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But of course he still just wants to sleep on the sofa or anywhere there’s a soft blanket!

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That’s all I have for today. Bye for now!

Laura

 

How to Make Healthy Coffee Creamer

Hello, hello!

Alright so it’s been a couple weeks but I have a good excuse…I was in Puerto Vallarta!

yelapa
Yelapa, Mexico

And it was great! I didn’t take many pictures because mostly I: read on the beach, body boarded, slept, ate, ate, ate and hit up the spa. It was truly so relaxing and just what I hoped it would be. The waves were perfect from sun up to sun down and we body boarded to our hearts content. I have never been one to go to a spa on vacation but this time I did and I LOVED IT. I actually got 2 massages in 1 week. Don’t hate me! We didn’t even rent a car so it was total bliss. I ate tons of chips and guacamole and shrimp and even this molten pot of cheese!

cheese

I don’t normally like pico de gallo, as I hate tomatoes, but I was totally feeling it on this trip!

This post is going to be random as I jump subjects. But when I got home I made this fabulous banana bread from Bakerita.com! I have some sort of curse when it comes to banana bread, zucchini bread or any type of quick bread. It always turns out concave and burned yet raw at the same time. This recipe though turned out perfectly.  It’s sweetened only with bananas and uses coconut flour. Mmmm, I still have some in my freezer. It’s perfect for dipping in coffee!

banana bread

And so now speaking of coffee, I mentioned a while back that I was quitting stevia because I’m just a little skeptical about the stuff. If you google the subject you will learn some interesting things. But my gut feeling is: if it tastes too good to be true, it probably is, so I’ve been on a quest to cut out all stevia and replace it with sweetener that comes from real food. Not just pure sugar. That stuff still isn’t healthy.

Here is a summary of my coffee loving history.

  • 1996 (age 16): Started drinking lattes! I discovered coffee flavoring syrup and determined vanilla was the best. Of course back then sugar wasn’t bad for you, fat was! A few years down the road I switched to sugar free vanilla syrup. Gross.
  • 2002-ish: Switched to regular coffee and developed a passionate love for Vanilla Coffee Mate. Yikes.
  • 2008-ish: Upon becoming vegan I switched to the soy version of Coffee Mate. Vanilla Soy Creamer. A step in the right direction for sure since I think that stuff at least doesn’t have partially hydrogenated oil in it.
  • 2011: Switched to stevia & almond milk and other non-dairy milks.

Is this interesting? No, of course not. But the point is, I’ve tried just about everything (except drinking my coffee black, haha!!!) and I am committed to getting the perfectly sweetened cup of coffee in the morning.

Of course I could just start using honey or brown rice syrup instead of stevia but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as making my own creamer out of dates now would it?!

This creamer tastes very good, is very easy to make and it gives me the satisfaction of coming from real food. And I just want to say, I have not blown up like a balloon having made this switch. I know that was a concern when I quit stevia. Like, won’t switching to actual food that contains calories make me gain weight? No. The answer is no. But the stevia people don’t want us to know that. Oh, but what I do want to say is: since I made this switch my “sugar threshold” has gone waaaaay down. It doesn’t take much of this DIY Creamer to sweeten my coffee. One thing about Stevia is, it’s about 300 times sweeter than sugar. So consuming stevia will indeed make you crave more sugar.

creamer 2

DIY Coffee Creamer

  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I’m liking hemp milk or almond milk as long as it doesn’t contain carageenan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • small pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight).

Remove from refrigerator and microwave for about 2 minutes to soften the dates, this will make it easier to blend.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Store in a glass container. I love the “Weck Juice Bottles” and use them for tons of things! You can get them at Crate & Barrel or Williams Sonoma.

creamer

And last but not least here is Rocco playing in what I call “Minpin Cove”. Heaps of blankets, toys, my socks and tennis balls all over my living room.

minpin cove

Alright, I’ll be back soon with more exciting things like how to make your own kitchen & bath cleaner and laundry soap! Woooo!

Laura

Mini Avo Choco Mousse Pies

Happy Wednesday! I’m super proud of myself for keeping up with my goal of one blog post a week! And I’m also super excited to be sharing this recipe today! This recipe has become a staple in our house. It looks and tastes super decadent but really, it’s all health food! It’s full of healthy fats and antioxidants and it’s just something you can feel really good about eating (Unless you are allergic to banana, avocado and coconut like my brother. In which case, do not eat this!!!) This dessert is also raw, vegan, gluten free and who knows what other specialty diet this is compliant with. And furthermore, WHO CARES?!

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I have tried several different blending/mixing devices and I have determined the food processor is the way to go here. Not the blender. Not the magic bullet and definitely not the immersion blender. Food processor all the way!

Mini Avo Choco Mousse Pies (makes 6)

For the Crust

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 5 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

For the Mousse

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe banana (not a frozen one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk or coconut cream (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened baking cocoa)
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Instructions

Soak the dates in warm water for about minutes then squeeze the excess water from the dates and place dates, cashews and coconut oil in the food processor. Process until a light crumb forms. Do not over-process or you could end up with cashew butter.

Divide the crust mixture evenly among 6 muffin pan liners. Be sure to scrape every last little bit out of the food processor, this stuff is too good to waste! Next, melt a small amount of coconut oil in a small bowl and grab a shot glass (or other small, flat bottomed glass). Cleverly dip the flat end of the shot glass into the coconut oil and use the flat bottom to press the crust down so that is it even.

Set aside and now it’s time to make the filling. No need to rinse or clean the food processor between making the crust & filling.

Place all the mousse ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides down occasionally. Spoon the mousse over the crust layer until it’s evenly divided between the 6 muffin liners. You don’t need to try to smooth it down, you can simply give the muffin tray a shake now and then to get the mixture to settle down and lay flat.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating but longer is better! I actually like this recipe a lot more the next day or even 2 days later. If you taste it right after making it you will notice a slight “green” flavor and it’s not that good. I promise it gets better with time as the banana sweetens and the flavors blend together. You’ll have to trust me on this one.

We got a huge snow storm in Salt Lake this week so that’s been exciting! We lost power at our house for 8 hours on Monday morning and got about 16″ of snow over the course of 2 days. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a storm like that here!

And last, a Rocco pic! I picked up this faux fur rug at IKEA for Rocco just because I thought he would look cute laying on it. And he does look cute! He doesn’t quite understand that it’s for laying on and not for wrestling/shaking/killing.

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Isn’t he the most handsome dog you’ve ever seen?! I love him.

Have a great rest of the week and be safe out there!

Laura