Month: October 2010

All Natural Gourmet Ketchup

Ketchup is not my favorite condiment so I don’t usually get too excited about eating it, but Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup actually makes me want to talk about this sweet red sauce. How would I describe it? Well their classic version pretty much tastes like normal ketchup, just a lot better.  And then there’s their spiced version, which has the perfect amount of unique flavor and hotness compliments of an infusion of chipotle peppers, cilantro, lime juice, agave nectar, honey, and coriander (sooo delicious on eggs and home fries!). This chart explains so perfectly the difference between Sir Kensington’s classic variety and your usual ketchup:

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Aside from the deliciousness, I love the shape of the glass jar and the old fashioned label. It really makes ketchup classier, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, it’s not widely available just yet, but you can purchase it from their shoppe, as well as select boutique grocers.

Let me know if you give it a try or already have!

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Happy Weekend everyone!!

Some Natural Prevention – Breast Cancer

Here are several relatively easy ways to maintain and improve breast health:

  1. Exercise!
  2. Maintain a healthy weight – obesity and breast cancer often go hand and hand
  3. Eat more fruits & veggies
  4. Limit alcohol consumption
  5. Avoid exposure to radiation
  6. Have babies and nurse them – pregnancy and breastfeeding lower the levels of estrogen in the bloodstream and therefore decrease your risk of breast cancer
  7. Minimize your use of antibiotics
  8. Drink more green tea
  9. Avoid or discontinue long-term Hormone Replacement Therapy
  10. **Avoid toxic cleaning and beauty products
  11. Go organic more often, especially when it comes to these fruits & veggies

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Rejuvenating Soup

When Nikki was visiting this weekend, I was telling her about my favorite soup to make and promised her I would post the recipe this week so here it is! I love this soup at anytime, but especially when I’m feeling run down. I just made it last night, but used spinach instead of kale… I have to say that it was still good, but I really missed the kale.  Whether you use kale or another green (I highly recommend kale), this soup will definitely leave you feeling comfortably full and rejuvenated!

All Natural Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves (or more) garlic chopped
  • half an onion chopped
  • 1 large bunch organic kale (definitely want to go organic since kale is a member of the “Dirty Dozen“)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (~15.5 oz cans aka the small ones OR 1 large can)
  • 1 32 fl oz box of all natural chicken stock + 2 cups of  either chicken stock/vegetable stock/good quality H20
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • sea salt & black pepper

How to:

  1. Heat oil in large pot
  2. Add onion & garlic
  3. Give the onion & garlic a good salt & peppering
  4. Stir 5 minutes to avoid burning
  5. Pour in chicken stock + extra stock/water
  6. Add veggies & beans
  7. Add a few dashes of apple cider vinegar and/or hot sauce
  8. Add oregano, cayenne/red pepper flakes, additional salt & pepper to taste
  9. Let simmer for 1 hour or longer
  10. Enjoy!

For Baked Potatoes, Bagels & Your Face!

Here are 2 more easy, natural masks to add to your beauty routine! Both masks are excellent for reducing redness as well as moisturizing and refining skin.

If you have sensitive skin, try this single ingredient mask twice a week:

  • Apply a tablespoon of full-fat sour cream to skin for 20 minutes.

Why it works? The lactic acid gently smooths skin and improves textures. This is a great alternative for people who react badly to store-bought masks.

Another similar option:

  • Apply a tablespoon of full-fat cream cheese to skin for 20 minutes.

My mom actually told me to do this one jokingly when I was complaining about dry skin.  I laughed at first, but gave it a try (remembering that my mom’s beauty suggestions for me always seem to work best). She was right, again! Definitely opt for the full fat version for best results and organic, if possible.

Nettle Tea & Anemia

For anyone suffering from iron deficiency anemia (a disorder in which the red blood cells are reduced and sufficient oxygen is unable to be delivered to the body’s tissue) a great natural way to boost your iron intake is to have 1-3 cups/day of nettle tea. Nettle is an excellent plant-based source of iron, chlorophyll, folic acid and vitamin K. So whether you’re low on iron or just want a healthy boost of nutrients, this is a great choice!

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Highly Anticipated Reunion

Nikki of STYLE&CHARM is not only one of my favorite bloggers, she’s also my best friend since we were 7. And guess what? She and her husband arrive today for a visit, which is 4 full days long!! I couldn’t be happier.

p.s If I’m not around as much, you now know why… ;) Looking forward to catching up on everyone’s posts on Monday!

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(This will be Dylan and I at the train station today. hahaha)

Beautiful Wedding Weekend

You might have noticed I’ve been somewhat MIA lately, but there’s good reason…Dylan and I got to walk down the aisle together again this weekend at my sister-in-law’s wedding in Lake Placid, NY! The occasion, people and scenery were already sure to make for a memorable weekend, but then you throw in an extremely unexpected snow storm on Friday and we’re really talking about a beautiful and unforgettable time! Luckily, the snow turned to rain on Saturday and stopped just minutes before the ceremony. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but wanted to share a few shots of the beautiful location.

Sarah and Wes, we love you both so much and hope you are having the most amazing honeymoon (they’re at the same spot as us, which was just over a year ago!)

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Yo-Yo Diets

Need a really good reason not to yo-yo diet? When body weight goes up and down, it loosens the elasticity of skin and makes it sag! Not to mention that some studies suggest that extreme ups and downs in your weight may increase the risk for certain health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease. So for the sake of internal and external well-being, make sure you stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise (nothing extreme) if you’re trying to lose weight, as well as to maintain a healthy weight!

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True Beauty Sleep

Want a pretty easy tip for decreasing wrinkles? Try sleeping on your back. I know, if you’re like me, sleeping on your stomach is sooooo comfortable. Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless preference technically speeds up the aging process – yikes! But how do you stop yourself ? (Reminder: you are asleep when you’re doing this) There actually is a remedy if you’re concerned and want some assistance. It’s appropriately called the Vanity Pillow. I have to warn you that it’s not cheap ($145), but it’s a whole lot less expensive than botox!


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Egg on Your Face

Since there probably isn’t a woman on the planet who doesn’t cherish small pores, I thought I would mention a quick, natural way to tighten pores…

How to:

  • Separate the whites from the yoke of 1 organic egg
  • Tie your hair back if needed
  • Apply the whites to freshly cleansed skin
  • Leave on for 10 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water

So simple, right?! This single ingredient mask should tighten pores and hence make them appear smaller than before!

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Detoxifying Body Wash

How about a body wash that not only cleanses your skin, but also claims to detoxify your entire body?! I’m talking about Collective Wellbeing’s Charcoal Body Wash. This sulfate-free concoction is definitely unlike anything I’ve tried before…It is very dark grey color (hello charcoal!) and has a very gooey, thick consistency.  I like the idea that a capful of this stuff contains tens of thousands of micro-sponges that work to remove impurities.  And the scent? It’s light and clean – specifically a mix of  juniper berries, lemongrass and sage. I would definitely recommend giving it a try! 

KEY INGREDIENTS:

  • Active Charcoal: millions of super sponges that trap and soak up virtually all impurities that pass through them.
  • Zinc: fights acne-causing bacteria, helps skin heal, and lessens inflammation.
  • Juniper Berry (certified organic): has a tonic and cleansing effect on oily skin.
  • Sage (certified organic): astringent action on the skin and helps rebalance oiliness.

Reminders for Your Next Massage

Some great advice from Healing Lifestlyes & Spas for the next time you get a massage:

  1. Be punctual. You don’t want to stress yourself out right before or feel rushed through your massage.  (Personally, I love to get there early to drink tea and read some good mags… get in chilled out mode)
  2. Communicate with your therapist before the massage begins. Tell them the amount of pressure you prefer, specific areas of tension along with any other desires/concerns.
  3. Don’t talk during the massage, unless it’s about the massage itself.
  4. Be present. Try to breathe deeply into the area that is being worked on.
  5. Turn off your cell phone. The last thing you want is ringing/vibrating in the middle of a rare hour of complete relaxation.
  6. Don’t rush off the table. Take your time when the massage is done and try to keep that relaxed state continuing throughout the rest of your day (makes it worth even more than whatever you paid)
  7. Drink plenty of H2O for the next 24 hours. Hydration helps the lymphatic system flush out wastes and mitigates soreness from the deep tissue work you just experienced.

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Hopefully many of you are taking advantage of Spa Week (starts today) and can put these tips to good use very soon!

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Perfect Weekend Snack

What is it? Marinated anchovies on baguette slices lightly grilled in olive oil and brushed with fresh tomato and garlic, drizzled with a little more olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Yummmm! Personally I love anchovies, but I realize it’s not the most common love. If you haven’t already, please give them a try – you might be pleasantly surprised! Plus, they’re loaded with heart-healthy omega-3s.

We usually pair this with white wine and sit outside on the patio while we eat..really feels like vacation that way! It’s the perfect weekend (or anytime) snack or light meal.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend filled with delicious and healthy meals! :)

Quick Headache Relief

This is a simple acupressure technique that is excellent to prevent a looming headache or to lessen the pain of an existing one. This is definitely one of my favorite natural remedies!

How to:

  1. Use your thumb and first two fingers (pointer & middle) of your right hand to press and massage the soft area between your thumb and pointer finger on the left hand.  Your right thumb should be on the top or back (nail side) of your hand and the other 2 fingers beneath on the palm side (You pretty much end up making the shape of a claw).
  2. Next, simply apply light to medium pressure and alternate between massaging and pressing that fleshy area of the left hand. Do this for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Switch and alternate hands.
  4. Continue this for a few minutes and continue doing it periodically throughout the day.

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Massaging this area topically hits the acupuncture point known as He Gu or Large Intestine 4*. This point is commonly used in acupuncture for the relief of frontal headaches that might be a result from sinus pressure or congestion or jaw issues (like TMJ).

*Not recommended for pregnant women (it can induce labor!!)

I LOVE acupressure!! More posts coming soon…

Quickest PB Cookies

4 ingredients + 15 minutes — it really can’t get much simpler than that! Thanks to Valerie of RED VINES FOR BREAKFAST for sharing this ridiculously easy and delicious recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.

All Natural Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter – I would recommend an all natural variety of course
  • 1 cup white sugar  – I used 2/3 cup Florida Crystals Organic Granulated +1/3 cup Trader Joe’s brown sugar (because that’s what I had around)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Also, I had a dark chocolate bar around so I decided to add a little piece to each since we all know pb + dark chocolate = perfect combo!

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
  2. Combine all ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 8 minutes
  4. Enjoy!

Saturday a friend asked us over for an impromptu, low key night of “watching football” (read: male significant others watch football while ladies chat it up and drink delicious Malbec). Sooo I literally decided at 7:40pm to make these cookies and we were out the door by 8:10 pm (that included letting the oven preheat and changing my outfit). So awesome. I was thrilled to bring over homemade treats that were THAT easy and ended up being such a hit. Now my friend is as excited about this recipe as I am. Thanks again, Valerie! :)

All Natural Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

I absolutely adore all things pumpkin and ever since September 1st, I regularly have been craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Best known source = Starbucks. I still haven’t gone. My two issues are not wanting it to be overly sweet and not wanting it flavored by a syrup with artificial color and flavoring (have to stay true to being All Natural Annie!) So I went on a search for a recipe and ingredients that are the real deal and result in a perfectly tasteful treat without any fake additions! I found a few recipes and did some tweaking and now I’m so excited to share what I came up with… Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings (depending on mug size)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree OR 1 teaspoon of an all natural Pumpkin Spice Syrup, like Monin’s
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar or 1 tablespoon honey (you can halve this amount to make it less sweet or even leave it out if you use the syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 shots espresso (equals about 1/4 cup of espresso OR 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine. We did strong coffee)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar/honey/natural syrup and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. (If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk)
  3. Pour into a large mug or two mugs until about half way filled. Add the espresso (or coffee) on top.
  4. Optional: Top with some all natural whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and/or cinnamon.
  5. Enjoy!

Our experience making them was pretty comical…

Dylan (my husband) was helping me make the fresh whipped cream (organic valley heavy cream + a few drizzles of honey) while I was preparing the milk and pumpkin mixture. I wasn’t even noticing how long he was whipping until he says rather proudly, “wow, it’s turning kind of yellow.” Me: “Oh no, stop! You’re making butter!”  Sure enough, it was a few more whips away from being butter…lol. But it was still good, just not as fluffy.

After we finished the lattes, we were tasting some of the left over strong coffee… I almost spit it out as I said, “This tastes like battery acid!” We both laughed and agreed the lattes turned out good, but there was definitely some room for improvement (like less whipping of the cream and using espresso instead of strong coffee next time). Let me know if you give it a try!

Juicing for Your Health

My dad first introduced me to juicing when I was very little (5ish) and I’ll never forget the smell or the taste of one of his mixtures –  it definitely included beets and garlic.. and I drank it right down. Oh yes, a glimpse into my vegetable-loving, all natural roots right there! :)

Experience and research really make me believe that one of the best things you can do for your health = JUICING!  Freshly made vegetable and fruit juices are packed with nutrients and enzymes that can easily and quickly be absorbed by your body. Anytime I’m feeling run down, one of the first things I’ll do is make a concoction of fresh fruits, vegetables and/or herbs. It  always makes me feel better! Juicing can also really help people dealing with serious and chronic health issues. There is pretty much a mixture out there for every health concern.

When it comes to juicing, it’s definitely best to use organic produce as much as possible. If you really can’t afford to go organic on items like apples and carrots then remove the skins prior to juicing.   Of course, vegetables juices are lower in sugar and lower in calories so it’s great to go heavier on the veggies and lighter on the fruit.  

Here are a few mixes to try, but the combinations are truly endless so great creative!

*All of the following recipes serve 1.

For Healthy Nails (this blend is especially high in silicon & potassium)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium parnsip
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 small bunch watercress
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (optional)

How to:

  1. Juice all ingredients
  2. Top with fresh mint
  3. Enjoy!

Healing Skin Tonic (high in vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium & zinc)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 large slice pineapple
  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 oz raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 oz frozen cranberries
  • lime wedge

How to:

  1. Juice all ingredients
  2. Garnish with lime wedge
  3. Enjoy!

Skin Healer #2 (my absolute favorite)

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 2 stalks celery
  • handful fresh parsley
  • fresh ginger (anywhere from centimeter to an inch, depending on how spicy you like it. Personally, I make it VERY spicy)

How to:

  1. Juice all ingredients
  2. Enjoy!

Green Energy Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 -2  crowns (depending on size) of broccoli
  • 5 large leaves of kale
  • 2 celery stalks
  • handful fresh parsley
  • lemon and/or ginger (optional – for a kick)
  • apple and/or carrot (optional – for a little sweetness if you can’t fathom doing only greens)

How to:

  1. Juice all ingredients
  2. Enjoy!

The pics below are from making a carrot, celery and parsley juice… quite tasty!