Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monthly Pinspiration

It's the most wonderful time of the year. I love the Christmas music, decorations, homemade goodies from neighbors, parties with friends, and all the fun holiday festivities with the family. 

I was so inspired this month that I am sharing three more pins: 

8 Tutorials to Get Beautiful Holiday Photos
Source: Kevin & Amanda
Their website has a ton of tips, tricks, and advice on photography, plus a lot of other fun stuff. Find the post about creating your own beautiful holiday photos, here.

Found on my Pinterest Board "Photography Ideas

How To Make Your Own Wreath
Source: Fellow Fellow
I love this pin. It shows step-by-step instructions on how to make a wreath using fresh plants. Find out how to make your very own wreath, here.

Found on my Pinterest Board "Winter Holidays"

Gingerbread Snowflakes
I love homemade gingerbread cookies! They are one of my favorite holiday treats. This lovely website gives you a recipe for gingerbread cookies as well as illustrations on how to decorate them like perfect snowflakes. Find the recipe, here.

Found on my Pinterest Board "Winter Holidays"

You can find me (and follow me) on Pinterest, here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Homemade Turkey Dinner Dog Treats

One of my favorite things to make at Christmas time are dog treats. All of my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors know this about me. I just feel like our furry friends need a treat for Christmas, too. 

Dogs go crazy for this recipe. It's super easy to make and only takes a few simple ingredients. The secret ingredient: Baby Food. There is nothing artificial added to baby food and it's already cooked, pureed, and ready to add to your recipe.

The dog bone cookie cutters can be found at Petsmart. Now you are ready to get started.

Homemade Turkey Dinner Dog Treats

1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal
1/2 cup Quick Oats
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2  3.5 oz. Containers of Sweet Potato and Turkey Baby Food (see above)
1 Egg
1/4 cup Water (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together - flour, corn meal, oats, and garlic powder. Then add wet ingredients - baby food and egg. Add water only if dough is really dry - add slowly until desired texture. Mix well until a ball of dough forms.

Roll dough out until it is about 1/3-inch to 1/2-inch thick. My dough was sticky so I put flour on the counter top and rolling pin. Cut shapes. Press dough back together, roll out, and cut again. Repeat until you are out of dough.

Put dog treats on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. 

Then hand out delicious treats to all the favorite dogs in your life. Tell them to refrigerate them if they aren't going to eat them right away - but if they are like my dogs, they will never make it to the refrigerator. Enjoy! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monthly Pinspiration

I am a huge fan of Pinterest. I absolutely love spending time going through all of the amazing pins and getting inspiration to try new recipes, make new crafts, and travel to new, fun places. I thought that since I have so many wonderful pins (well, I think they are wonderful), that I would share three of them a month, which I will call "Monthly Pinspiration." 

Here are three pins that inspired me this month: 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Source: Bakerella
I made these today and they were very simple to make and incredibly delicious. Find the recipe, here.

Found on my Pinterest Board "Party and Event Ideas"

Handmade Holiday | Woodland Wrapping
I love this. It's simple, pretty, and probably smells really good. 
Find out how to create this beautiful gift wrapping, here.  

Found on my Pinterest Board "Winter Holidays"

Enjoy The Little Things
Original Source: Unknown 
I just love this saying. I think that especially this time of year we need to just relax, slow down, and enjoy the little things, too. 

Found on my Pinterest Board "Words To Live By"

You can find me (and follow me) on Pinterest, here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Five: Favorite Drinks On-The-Go

When I'm heading out for a day on the town or even a trip to the grocery store I usually make sure that I have my reusable cup filled with ice and water. But when my water is gone or I feel like something else then I usually grab one of the following delicious, healthy, and quenching drinks: 

Evolution Fresh Juice

Evolution Fresh juices are delicious fruit and/or veggie blends that can be found at Starbucks. They are made up of only fresh cold-pressed fruits and vegetables with no other added ingredients. I love all of the different flavors.

Roxberry Green Smoothie 

The green smoothies offered at Roxberry were created by the Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw. She is a nutrition coach, public speaker, and bestselling author. You can find her website, here. Green Smoothie Girl recommends drinking green smoothies to detoxify the body, lose weight, increase energy, prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and boost the immune system. My favorite green smoothie at Roxberry is the 32 oz. Green Smoothie Girl Original which has 200 calories and 15 servings of raw fruits and veggies (15!!) and 12 grams of fiber. It has spinach, kale, mixed berries, peaches, bananas, and agave. 

Smart Water 

My favorite bottled water is Smart Water. It tastes clean and fresh and I drink a lot of it. 

Mamma Chia

Mamma Chia, the original chia seed drink, provides a complete nutritional profile of omega-3, balanced dietary fiber, complete protein, antioxidants, and minerals. They are all-natural and fairly low in calories. I have tried most of the flavors and have loved all of them. Read more about why I love chia seeds, here. Find my homemade smoothie recipe made with chia seeds, here. (I now add chia seeds to every smoothie I make.)

Silk Pure Almond Dark Chocolate

Silk Pure Almond Milk in Dark Chocolate is one of my guilty pleasures. I drink almond milk on a daily basis, but the chocolate almond milk is a treat. It's rich and creamy and perfect for on the go since it doesn't need to be refrigerated. Although I do recommend drinking it chilled. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Trader Joe's Has Arrived

My very, very favorite grocery store in the whole wide world finally opened their first store in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was more excited for this grand opening than I was for Black Friday - which is a lot. My Mom and I arrived just in time for the ribbon cutting and then as the crowd (a couple hundred people) went wild we were let inside. It took a long time to reach the door where we received a lei and an awesome welcome from the TJ's staff. The aisles were so congested we couldn't move or see anything but it was so worth it.

Today my Mom, Ella, and I went back so we could buy more. It was still crazy busy and there were a lot of products out-of-stock, but I got a ton of fun TJ products to try. I was so excited that for the first time I could by freezer foods since I couldn't buy them and bring them back to Utah when we were out of town. (The freezer section is one of the biggest since our store doesn't carry alcohol.)

As we were checking out we asked if it was true that our TJ's grand opening broke records, the cashier replied "No, it didn't break it records - it shattered them!"

TJ's will definitely be a weekly trip for us. Our store is amazing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lemon, Rosemary, and Vanilla Home Simmer

If you are on Pinterest you have probably seen a pin for some kind of natural home deodorizer that you can simmer on the stove to make your home smell delicious. The recipe I have seen the most is this one; mix water, a couple of sprigs of rosemary, slices of lemon, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and simmer of the stove all day. This is a smell that is familiar in Williams-Sonoma stores. 

I have a mini slow cooker and thought it would be perfect for this. I turned it on high, left the lid off, and it let it simmer all day. It made my house smell really fresh and delicious.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Morning Yoga Sequence

Via Thoughts By Natalie

I love this morning yoga routine. All of the poses are easy to do and they give your body a really good stretch to start the day.

My 7-Day Detox Plan

When you hear the word detox do you think of a juice cleanse or a fruit and veggie fast? Detoxes can be number of different plans, but the main purpose of a detox is to eliminate poisons and toxins from the body. Detox plans can help prevent chronic illnesses, reduce damage to your immune system, help rid the body of excess weight, and more. 

One of the main reasons I am going on a detox plan is to get my healthy eating habits in check, kick my wicked sugar addiction, and rid excess toxins from my body. I have done so well adding healthier, whole foods to my diet but I am still struggling with my sugar addiction. My goal is to finish this week long detox with my bad habits in check.  

Inviting Waters from Martha Stewart

Here is my 7-day detox plan:

Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Add lemon, lime, or other fresh ingredients to jazz it up.

Eat Clean.
Eat foods that are whole, all-natural, organic, and clean. Focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, legumes, and healthy fats (like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, etc.). Avoid dairy and gluten for the next 7 days. Eliminate added sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and artificial ingredients.

Drink Green.
Drink 1-2 green smoothies per day. I blend 1-cup of spinach or kale, 3/4-cup fruit, 1/2 banana, and 1 tablespoon of chia or flax seeds.

Get Your Z's. 
Sleep 7-9 hours per night.

Spinning, weight lifting, walking, etc. Sweating eliminates toxins from the body.

Breathe Deeply.
Practice yoga or meditate daily.

Body Brush.
Brushing your skin five minutes a day sloughs off dead skin cells and improves circulation. Read more about why I love to body brush, here

If you are interested in a detox plan, you can find a great starting plan here: Whole Living Action Plan. Also, one of my favorite documentary films has a short video about detoxes, click on Hungry For Change Detox to watch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cook Yourself Sexy

Cook Yourself Sexy by Candice Kumai (one of my favorite chefs, formerly known as Stiletto Chef) is my new favorite cookbook. It is absolutely gorgeous and the recipes are mouth-watering. All of the recipes call for ingredients that are clean, wholesome, and nutritious. Inside you will also find a "7 days to sexy" plan, sample menus, a "foods with benefits" list, and more. I love this book and highly recommend it.

You can find Candice's fabulous blog, here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Prius For Everyone

Hum hum hum let's hum, a Prius for everyone. This commercial makes me happy (and makes Ella dance) every time it comes on the television. Call it great marketing, but every time it comes on it makes me want to buy a Toyota Prius and drive it around humming the catchy tune. A Prius would actually be a great little car for me. It gets great gas mileage, it's compact, and it's a little more earth-friendly.

I have always driven a car that fit me perfectly at the time. Fifteen years ago I drove a Geo Tracker. I was care-free, lived on fast food, and liked loud music. Ten years ago I drove a Honda Passport. I was a newlywed and I always had a gym bag and grocery bags in the back. Five years ago I drove a Audi A4. I worked in the corporate world and always had dry cleaning in the back and a latte in the cup holder. Back then I imagined I would be driving my dream BMW by now and still working in the corporate world (and hopefully be a Mom).

Today I am a Mom, I care about the environment, and I am a little less-extravagant (I would rather put money in my daughter's college savings than buy $250 jeans). I could now imagine driving around in my little Prius, humming a happy tune, with a toddler and yoga mat in the back. Now that's a good dream.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Have So Much To Tell You

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post. I hope at least one of you still follow this blog because I have so much to tell you.

Sadly summer is over, but fall is here and it's my very favorite time of the year. I love the weather, the pumpkin flavored everything, the changing leaves, comfort food, and cozy blankets. We have a lot of fun family fall activities planned, like; visiting the pumpkin patch, Thanksgiving Point's Barnyard Boo, Hogle Zoo's Boo at the Zoo, Gardner Village's Witches Night Out, and more. I also love the fall because it's when I celebrate my Birthday. I turned 35 this month and I made a lot of goals to become healthier and stronger by my next Birthday. I have decided that I am done with dieting, calorie counting, and other awful restrictions. I am going to continue to eat whole, all-natural, fresh, and organic foods (nothing artificial and no preservatives) and just eat smaller portions. NO MORE CRAP. I am going to cook more food from scratch like the marinara sauce I made the other night that took two hours but was worth every delicious bite. I am also planning on doing five 5K's before my next Birthday - I already have two races I definitely want to do.

Over the summer I also added two more items to my bucket list; travel to Italy and learn to paddle board. Last month I went to San Diego for 10 days and stayed in a beach house with some of my favorite people on the planet but I never worked up the courage to go rent a paddle board. Next time I am going paddle boarding.

This year we grew a garden and enjoyed all of the delicious squash, fresh tomatoes, eggplant, peas, and more - all organic, I might add. My herb garden was also amazing this year and I used herbs in a ton of recipes. My 2-year old loved helping me pick herbs and fresh veggies from the garden. We also went to every farmer's market in Salt Lake and even made it up to the Park City farmers market. We had a lot of delicious produce this summer.

I have more to share but will save them for future blog posts, which will be at least once a week, not every few months (insert smiley face here).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fifty Shades Of Grey

I just ordered Fifty Shades of Grey (the first book in the Fifty Shades Trilogy) by EL James from Amazon. I have had so many people tell me that I have to read these books. They warned me that this series would most likely be rated "R" (or worse) if made into a movie so for those of you that thought the Twilight series was a little risque, these books are definitely not for you. I will post my review soon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid

We all know that most processed foods are bad for us. We know that whole, fresh foods or minimally processed foods are better for us. So why do we eat the bad processed foods? Because they taste good, right? But they are NOT good for us. My goal is to eliminate most processed foods from my diet - especially any foods with ingredients like MSG, Trans Fats, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nitrates, and Artificial Sweeteners, to name a few. Check out the Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid from Hungry For Change (also download the printable shopping guide). You can see which common foods you will find the 10 ingredients in and what side effects they could possibly cause. 

"Low-fat, fat-free, low-carb, sugar-free, low-cal: Sounds like an 80's chemical fiesta. Get over dieting and simply start EATING CLEANER! Dieting?? So OUT!" 
- Stiletto Chef

Start eating cleaner today with this delicious recipe from Whole Foods: Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing. Yummy. 

Via Whole Foods

Quick Fact: I like Eden Organics black beans - they are one of the only companies that have BPA free can linings (read more, here). Did you know that most canned goods are lined with BPA as an ingredient (an ingredient we avoid like the plague when it comes to water bottles and plastic products for our babies)? Now you know. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream"

If you love ice cream but don't really love the fat and long list of ingredients on the carton, then you have to try this easy, healthy, four-ingredient "ice cream." It's delicious and creamy and my new favorite summer treat (click here to see my other favorite healthy summertime treat).

Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream"

1 Frozen Banana, Sliced (click here for tips on freezing bananas)
1 Tbsp. All-Natural Peanut Butter 
2 Tbsp. Vanilla Almond Milk
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

Put ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Serves 1

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happiness Is...

...taking my 23-month-old fishing for the first time.

My happiness comes from living in the moment, from living each day to the fullest, from keeping a positive attitude and not sweating the small stuff. If something bad happens, I believe it happened for a reason. To teach me, to help me grow, and to make me stronger. The outcome of my happiness comes from how I choose to deal with the situation. Life is way too short to dwell on the negative.

But some of life's greatest happiness comes from the little things, like; hearing my daughter say "I love you," eating fresh pineapple, going on a Sunday morning hike with my family, watching my garden grow, enjoying a handful of Hawaiian Kisses (my wonderful friend brought me from Hawaii), and hearing that a Trader Joe's is coming to Utah (I had to add this one because I am so excited), just to name a few.

Life is way too short - don't forget to stop and smell the roses, accept the things you cannot change, live without regrets, and live each second to the fullest.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Five: Natural Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

The five natural beauty products I am about to tell you about have literally changed my life. They are products that I recently added to my daily beauty routine and I really couldn't live without them.

Dry Body Brush
Dry Body Brush
Dry brushing daily is a great way to keep skin clear of debris and loosen dead skin cells. It can also reduce cellulite. Our body rids a lot of toxins through the skin everyday - so if we have dry skin the toxins can't always be released and our body just reabsorbs them. Dry brushing your skin is one of the best ways to get circulation going, helping to oxygenate cells and carry impurities away through the lymph system. It's important to find a natural-bristle brush at a health food store or online (I found mine at Whole Foods for under $10). To use a dry body brush: just make long, smooth strokes in the direction of your heart. After just one use, I noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin.

Buffy Body Butter
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
This product goes hand-in-hand with the dry brush. After I use my dry brush then I get in the shower. I first cleanse my skin and then I use Buffy. It is made with ground rice, almonds, and beans to act as exfoliants; the rough textures eliminate lumps and bumps and sloughs away dry skin cells to reveal brighter, fresher looking skin. The cocoa and shea butters leave the skin beautiful, smooth, and moisturized. You can find Buffy Body Butter at Lush Handmade Cosmetics

Neti Pot
As strange as it may sound, a neti pot is used to clean out your nose. It washes away environmental chemicals, pollen, mucus, dust, viruses, and bacteria - all the stuff your nose encounters every single day. I usually suffer from mild allergies in the spring and this has almost eliminated all of my symptoms. All you do is fill it with luke warm distilled water and a salt solution, tilt your head to one side and start rinsing (water goes in one nostril and out the other). It's actually quite refreshing. Neti pots can be found at drugstores and health food stores.

Tarte Cosmetics Mascara
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara
Tarte Cosmetics are a new discovery of mine that I am totally excited about. They are natural cosmetics that don't use parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances to name a few. This company cares about their customers health as well as the environment. Plus, Tarte's products are animal cruelty-free and vegan. I am already in love with their mascara and can't wait to try more of their products. They are available at Sephora

The Natural Dentist Mouthwash and Toothpaste 
The Natural Dentist Mouthwash and Toothpaste
I absolutely love The Natural Dentist's toothpaste and mouthwash and have noticed a difference with my gums and teeth. The mouthwash does not have alcohol or artificial flavors or colors in it. It reduces and prevents bleeding gums and protects against gingivitis. I use the whitening toothpaste which is an anti-cavity toothpaste as well. It contains no peroxide or other harsh chemicals (like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). I found them at Whole Foods

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Very Berry Chia Smoothie

I love smoothies and usually drink two different ones a day. In the morning I make a protein smoothie which has chocolate protein powder, a frozen banana, and almond milk (FYI - frozen bananas make a HUGE difference in smoothies). In the afternoon, around 3:00 when I start feeling sluggish, I have a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit like a Post-Workout Green Smoothie or a Very Berry Chia Smoothie. 

Here are a few facts on why you should include Chia Seeds in your diet;
  • They are very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • They provide fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. 
  • When eaten, the chia seeds form a gel that can make you feel fuller longer and helps clean out your digestive system.

 If you want to learn how Chia Seeds can help detoxify your body, click here and watch the short video created by Hungry For Change - you won't be disappointed.

Very Berry Chia Smoothie

1 cup Berries (mixture of 2 or more - strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries; fresh or frozen)
1 Banana (fresh or frozen)
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
Add Stevia or Agave to sweeten (optional)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!
(Tip: Either use frozen berries and a fresh banana or fresh berries and a frozen banana. If you use only fresh for both, add ice.)

Tips On How To Freeze Bananas:

Peel the bananas, lay them on a baking sheet, and freeze for up to 24 hours. Once frozen you can put them all together in a large gallon sized freezer bag (they won't stick together). Put them in the freezer and use within a month. Also, the more brown spots, the sweeter the banana will make your smoothie - so freeze those brownish bananas, don't toss them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For The Love Of Fries

I LOVE fries! They are filling, delicious, and flavorful. No, I am not talking about the greasy, nasty French fries that cause weight gain and heart disease. I am talking about delicious fresh vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and squash cut into strips, seasoned, and baked. 

A few years ago I came across an article in a magazine about making your own oven-baked fries. It said to cut potatoes into strips, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle on seasoning and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (turning half way). They were delicious and I was hooked. 

All the "fry" recipes below are healthy and way more satisfying than the fries you get all your local fast food drive-thru (click on the name of the fry to get the recipe): 

Via Pixelated Crumb

Via Convections of a Foodie Bride

Via Skinny Taste

Via Our Best Bites

Via Spoon Fork Bacon

Via The Talking Kitchen 

Via My Recipes

Via Shape

Via The Novice Chef

Via iVillage

Via Can You Stay For Dinner

Via Oprah

Also, check out this recipe for Crispy Seasoned Oven Fries from Self Magazine and this recipe for Garlicky Baked Fries with Parmesan and Parsley from Shape Magazine