Month: March 2010

Bring Spring Indoors!

Flowers are a beautiful and uplifting addition to the home year-round, but right now is prime time for some colorful arrangements that bring the springtime indoors! Holly Becker at Real Simple suggests these 10 Tips for Flower Arranging or be even simpler and just put single flowers in small jars, bottles, etc. Just have fun with it!

Some inspiration I saw on Country Living

Photo Credit: Eric Roth

Photo Credit: Francis Janisch

Photo Credit: Francis Janisch

Bronzed FX Mineral Bronzing Powder

I am loving this bronzer by Cover FX. It goes on so evenly and the shade is really natural looking. I also love that it was developed with sensitive skin in mind (always a plus). It’s free of oil, fragrance, and parabens. Try it over foundation or by itself for a perfect, sun-kissed look!

Photo Credit: Cover FX

Nature’s Cough Syrup

It didn’t surprise me at all when I recently read that the most effective cough syrup could not be bought in your nearest drugstore. Rather, it’s the simple yet extremely effective tonic of lemon and honey that has always been a staple in my house during times of illness. Even as a married woman, the first thing my mom always asked if I’m under the weather is, “Did you do the lemon with the honey?” Usually I have, but if not, I’m always grateful for the reminder.

Anytime a sore throat or cough strikes this is definitely my highly recommended and research-proven, drink of choice!

Mix:

  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1-2 tbs of honey
  • splash of hot H20

*Make sure to sip, not gulp, this sweet and tart, restorative concoction!

Buddha Nose

How can you not love a spray that is able to lift your spirits and strengthen your body’s defenses? Whether you’re run down or a little down in the dumps, Buddha Nose‘s Booster Spray is uplifting in both respects. I just love that every time I spray it, I feel like I’m doing something really good for myself, which I am! This spray’s stimulating essential oils of Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon and Ravinstsara are highly anti-viral and anti-bacterial — exactly what you need when it comes to warding off illness. Pack it next time you’re traveling and keep some in the office (2 prime opportunities for unwanted germs and stress). This spicy, herbal concoction is definitely one of a kind and a favorite in my arsenal of health and beauty products.

Photo Credit: BUDDHA NOSE LTD.

Organic Essence

I recently tried Organic Essence for the first time. Their products are USDA certified organic and have some very unique biodegradable packaging. I now have 2 of their shea butter creams and as you can see from the picture, each one has this biodegradable “eco jar” as they call it.

The Pure Organic Shea Cream is the most pure and best quality shea butter product I have tried so far. I almost didn’t want to dig my finger into the jar – it was just SO pristine. The cold pressed oil is from the african karite nut and is considered to be a superior healer. It also promotes circulation, another reason why it’s so great for eczema. I still have one stubborn spot on my hand that gets eczema every so often – this spot is very temperamental and just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it will agree with sensitive skin. I’m happy to say that this one does, and it has proven to be excellent for my sensitive skin!

I also have the Organic Vanilla Orange Shea Cream – the perfect choice for stressed out consumers in need of some relaxation (or anyone who enjoys this scent). The vanilla is comforting while the orange is uplifting – a perfect combo! It really reminds me so much of creamsicles. I like to put it on my feet with some comfy socks before bed. If you’re not a creamsicle fan then there’s also Grapefruit, Lavender, and Lemongrass Mint (an excellent choice for people with varicose veins).

Photo Credit: Organic Essence

Simple Recipe with Artichoke Hearts & Pepperoncini

I love recipes that are 2 things – simple & delicious! But then again, who doesn’t?! Here’s a recipe that I make very frequently. Feel free to add or take away different vegetables, maybe add some chicken, or whatever fits your hunger and taste buds!

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of pasta (my favorite for this is capellini)
  • 10-12 marinated artichoke hearts
  • 4-6 pepperoncini (pictured below – this is one of my hands down favorite ingredients! Warning: they are a bit spicy)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • a green veggie (I would highly suggest a crown of broccoli chopped into small pieces, but you could also throw in a couple handfuls of baby spinach)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • optional: a dash of cayenne powder or hot pepper flakes if you like it spicy

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta
  2. Meanwhile, combine garlic, enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and veggies
  3. Add salt & pepper as desired
  4. Saute at a medium heat until broccoli is tender
  5. If pasta is not ready yet, turn down to a low heat and cover while you wait
  6. Add pasta and a tablespoon or so more olive oil
  7. Spice it up with cayenne/hot pepper flakes
  8. Enjoy!

Serves 2

pepperoncini = delicious!

This post is dedicated to my college roommate who continues to eat a can of chickpeas as the central part of her dinner like the “old” days.  However, I do give her credit for roasting them now ;) Here’s an easy recipe for you that I know you’ll like!

Artichokes – How to Cook Them!

Here are several suggestions for how to cook a whole artichoke (just go to Basic Preparation under Recipes & Such - there’s even a video!)

I usually opt for steaming, using a steamer set like the one pictured below, and I let it cook for at least 45 minutes or until the leaves pull off easily.

So basically, I..

1. Rinse the artichoke under hot water

2. Fill the bottom pot with about 2 inches of water

3. Place the artichoke in the top part

4. Cover and let cook at a medium-high heat for about 40 minutes (or honestly, I don’t time it at all and I just see when the leaves pull off easily)

5. Remove it and let cool for a couple minutes

6. Eat every delicious leaf down the heart, at which point I remove the fuzzy bits and cut off the stem right at the base of the artichoke

*Sometimes I dip the leaves into a little bit of organic butter. Otherwise, you could use another dip of choice or no dip at all!

If you do not own pots like the ones below, you can also simply boil the artichoke (submerge it in cool water with a dash of sea salt, cover, and let it boil until leaves pull off easily). Hope that’s helpful!

Photo Credit: kitchencontraptions.com

Artichokes for Detoxifying & More!

I was reading up on the liver today and some of the foods that are excellent for liver health/detoxification. I’m happy to say that one of my ultimate favorites are on the list - artichokes! These prickly green, flower-like veggies act as blood purifiers and contain both liver-protective and liver-restorative properties. Clinical studies have also proven that they lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And let’s not leave out that they are great source of fiber, Vitamin C, magnesium, folate, copper, and potassium.

Trying steaming some whole artichokes with dinner tonight or add some marinated artichoke hearts to a salad — your liver will surely thank you! ;)

Photo Credit: maddieaboutfood.wordpress.com

Wanted: BalanceBall Chair

I so want one of these BalanceBall® Chairs ! According to Gaiam, this chair was developed with chiropractic pioneer Dr. Randy Weinzoff, as an effective tool for improving spinal alignment and strengthening core muscles. The ball can also be removed and used for exercise off the chair. A truly versatile piece of furniture – I love it!

Photo Credit: Gaiam, Inc.

Recently Added to the Lineup

A product that’s in CVS and has the word “organics” easily sparked my interest this past weekend. I was in the market for a new conditioner and this Renpure Organics was talking pure, organic, green tea, chamomile, soy protein and that was all before I even got to the ingredients list. I also somewhat enjoyed the positive self-affirmation (“i love my hair!”) on the front of the bottle, but would I really “love my hair!” after my next shower?

Well in regards to the “organics” – it turns out that the conditioner has 3 organic ingredients (total ingredients = over 15). But wait, did I forget to mention this product of interest was $4.99, but would be $0.40 (cost of a stamp) after the mail-in rebate. Yes, I’ve done this before and they really give you back whatever you paid. I like this.

But my “free” conditioner went out the window, or more like into the garbage can, when I deposited the receipt there in my very immediate and habitual manner. I try to keep the clutter low! And would I really return said conditioner and/or super expensive razors? Not likely, but no receipt = no freebie. So, oh well, I’m happy to say it was $4.99 well spent for one of CVS’ more natural choices. My hair definitely felt super soft and smelled noticeably fresh and sweet after I dried it. And yes, I was kind of loving my hair (!).

Photo Credit: Renpure Organics

A Natural Beauty Must-Have

For a while, I didn’t have jojoba oil on hand and I really missed it! It’s definitely my favorite oil when it comes to natural beauty. Jojoba oil is just such a great, versatile natural beauty product to keep on hand. Chemically, jojoba oil is perfect for us humans because its molecular structure is identical to our skin and hair sebum. Jojoba oil has a wide range of uses, but some of my favorites include using it as a makeup remover and facial moisturizer, and also on split ends. These are just a few of its many uses (there are at least 15). My favorite 100% Pure Jojoba Oil costs around $12 and is made by Desert Essence. For a little under $3 more, Desert Essence also makes a 100% Pure Certified Organic Jojoba Oil. Either way you go, you’ll find so many uses for this natural beauty aide, and a little goes a long way so it should last you quite a while!

Photo Credit: DesertEssence.com, LLC