Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Health Benefits of Grassfed Meats



“Why Grassfed is Best!”

Consumers have been led to believe that meat is meat is meat. In other words, no matter what an animal is fed, the nutritional value of its products remains the same. This is not true. An animal’s diet can have a profound influence on the nutrient content of its products.

The difference between grainfed and grassfed animal products is dramatic.

First of all, grassfed products tend to be much lower in total fat than grainfed products. For example, a sirloin steak from a grassfed steer has about one half to one third the amount of fat as a similar cut from a grainfed steer.

When meat is this lean, it actually lowers your LDL cholesterol levels.

Because grassfed meat is so lean, it is also lower in calories.

Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared with only 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates. The greater the fat content, the greater the number of calories.

A 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grainfed steer.

If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you’ll lose about six pounds a year. If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity would begin to diminish.

Extra Omega-3s

Although grassfed meat is low in “bad” fat (including saturated fat), it gives you from two to six times more of a type of “good” fat called “omega-3 fatty acids.”

Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most “heart friendly.” People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to have a serious heart attack.

Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to be afflicted with depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.

Another benefit of omega-3s is that they may reduce your risk of cancer.

In animal studies, these essential fatty acids have slowed the growth of a wide array of cancers and kept them from spreading.5 Although the human research is in its infancy, researchers have shown that omega-3s can slow or even reverse the extreme weight loss that accompanies advanced cancer.6 They can also hasten recovery from cancer surgery.

Furthermore, animal studies suggest that people with cancer who have high levels of omega-3s in their tissues may respond better to chemotherapy than people with low levels. Omega-3s are most abundant in seafood and certain nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and walnuts, but they are also found in grassfed animal products.

The reason that grassfed animals have more omega-3s than grainfed animals is that omega-3s are formed in the green leaves (specifically the chloroplasts) of plants. Sixty percent of the fat content of grass is a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic or LNA.

When cattle are taken off grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on grain, they lose their valuable store of LNA as well as two other types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.

Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 20 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.

Switching our livestock from their natural diet of grass to large amounts of grain is one of the reasons our modern diet is deficient in these essential fats. It has been estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume a sufficient supply of these nutrients. Twenty percent have levels so low that they cannot be detected.11 Switching to grassfed animal products is one way to restore this vital nutrient to your diet.

The CLA Bonus The meat and milk from grassfed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” or CLA. When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their milk and meat contain as much as five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.

CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer.


In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E.



Thank you for reading!

Lauren


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Homemade Self -Tanning Lotion with Only 2 Ingredients


SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!


Some of us don’t have the extra cash to spend $$$ on bronze in a bottle and weren't lucky enough to be born with a deep, bronzed skin tone.

If you want to save money and avoid commercial sunless tanning products, I suggest you learn how to make your own homemade sunless tanning lotion.

You can make them at a fraction of the cost of their store-bought counterparts and you know exactly what is going into them. There are many different options and variations to sunless tanning lotion recipes, but the cocoa powder recipe works the best. I've tried the coffee and tea self-tanning concoctions, but they really don't work that well.


The best part about making your own sunless tanning lotion is that:

  • You will avoid the weird orange color that sometimes comes from store-bought products.
  • You can customize the exact color you want by changing the recipe up just a little.
  • It is less expensive than its store-bought counterpart.
  • The recipes contain no harsh chemicals.
My Self-Tanning Lotion only requires two ingredients; unscented organic white lotion and 100% organic cocoa powder.

Ingredients:

Organic unscented white lotion
100% organic cocoa powder

Directions:
  1. Start out by combining 1/2 cup of unscented white lotion in a bowl with 1/3 cup of pure cocoa powder.
  2. Use a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
  3. Adjust the recipe to match your desired color. The lotion will appear darker in the bowl than it will on your skin. Keep adding a little bit of cocoa powder at a time until you reach your desired shade.
  4. Smooth the tanning lotion over your entire body evenly.
  5. Apply daily for a gradual deep tan.

Tips:
  • Store homemade lotion in a Tupperware container or in an empty jar that once held lotion.
  • Choose a moisturizing lotion for added benefits.
  • Exfoliate before application

The lotion will look very dark when you make it, but it does not show up that darkly on your skin. If you’re afraid to make it too dark, just use the standard 1/2 cup lotion and 1/3 cup cocoa and keep adding layers until it is as dark as you want it. You will be able to see the color as you apply it.

Have you tried an at home self tanner before and seen results?  Do you have any other at home remedies that have worked for you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Happy Tanning!

Laurel xoxo


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Healthiest Baked Blooming Onion & Dipping Sauce



This recipe for a baked blooming onion is healthier than the deep fried version of the classic blooming onion. The panko made this blooming onion crispy, flavorful, and made for a really fun appetizer.  Definitely a timeless treat, made all the better when it’s not loaded so many calories and unhealthy ingredients.



Ingredients:

BLOOMING ONION:
1 large organic Vidalia onion (or any yellow onion)
2/3 cup organic Panko crumbs or organic bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. cajun seasoning (optional)
2 organic ( free range) eggs

DIPPING SAUCE:
1/2 cup organic sourcream
2 Tbsp. organic ketchup
2 tsp. organic horseradish sauce
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. organic paprika
1/8 tsp. organic garlic powder
1/8 tsp. organic oregano flakes


Directions:

THE BLOOMING ONION:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a cutting board, use a knife to cut off the top (not the root) 1/4-inch of the onion until a few of the inside layers are exposed. Peel the outermost layer of the onion down to the root, but leave the root intact.

Lay the onion on the cutting board so that the flat side (that you just cut) is facing downward. Then use a knife to section the onion into 16ths, beginning with your knife 1/8-inch away from the root and cutting straight down. Once all cuts are complete, turn the onion over and set on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Then use your fingers to gently spread apart the petals. If any of your cuts did not go all the way through, you can use a paring knife to be sure that the entire onion is cut into 16ths.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the Panko, cajun seasoning and sea salt until combined.

In a separate (additional) bowl, whisk the eggs until combined.

Beginning with the lowest (bottom) layers of the onion, brush the top of each petal with the egg mixture until coated, then immediately sprinkle with the Panko mixture. Repeat until all petals are coated.

Carefully form a tent with aluminum foil over the baking sheet until the onion is completely enclosed. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove tent and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the onion is soft and the tips are lightly crisped.

Remove and serve with desired sauces.



TIP:  Soak your sliced onion in cold water overnight, it will open up naturally on its own.


Other dipping sauces:
Honey Mustard
Ranch


Enjoy!
Laurel xoxo



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fresh Homemade Mayonnaise




Mayonnaise is one of those things I’ve been meaning to experiment with for some time.

Conventional mayonnaise and even some organic mayo is usually made with canola oil, which is produced from the rapeseed plant, which is a part of the mustard family. It works well as an industrial oil, not a food, and has been used in candles, soaps, lipsticks, lubricants, inks, biofuels and even insecticides. Canola oil is also geneticically modified...it’s for these two reasons that I recommend you switch to healthier oil alternatives.

You can mix the ingredients with a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender.

The secret to successful emulsification is to pour the oil in slowly; it should take minutes, and start with only the thinnest stream.

Another trick that helps to get nice, spreadable mayonnaise is to blend it for several minutes, way longer than you might think necessary, until it's nice and thick. So, blending as you go, slowly pour up to 1/4 of the oil in with the eggs. Then stop adding oil and just blend until emulsification is obviously happening and the mixture is thick. Then add the rest of the oil. Never rush it, especially if you are just learning how.

Blend 3 eggs until creamy (use organic fresh eggs)
Ever so slowly, trickle in 2 c olive oil
Blend until soft peaks form, several minutes if needed
Add 2 cloves garlic
1 t sea salt
2 tb  organic apple cider vinegar

Blend well and place in jar. Use within 3-5 days, or proceed with fermentation: Cap tightly and leave at room temp, out of direct light, for about 7 hours. This will preserve it for about 3 weeks.


Please leave your comments below and tell me how you liked this recipe!

Enjoy!

Laurel XOXO

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Best Organic Cinnamon Rolls!



There are hundreds of recipes out there and they might be good, but these are better than any others I’ve tried. Everyone seems to love the soft, gooey wonder of cinnamon rolls especially when they are warm and fragrant from the oven.  It turns out that they are not too hard to make at home.  Once the dough is made, you just need to roll it out, spread the filling, roll it up and slice them.  Yes, it is more work than just buying them at your local Cinnabon store, but homemade cinnamon rolls are so good that they are worth a little work!

Obviously cinnamon rolls are not high nutrition part of your daily diet, but when eaten infrequently and made with quality ingredients like organic, pastured butter, raw sugar and organic flour, they are much healthier than store bought cinnamon rolls.

Ingredients:

Dough

¼ ounce yeast package

½ cup warm spring water

½ cup organic milk

¼ cup organic sugar

1/3 cup organic butter

1 tsp sea salt

1 organic egg

3 ½ all organic all-purpose flour


Filling

½ cup melted organic butter

½ cup organic sugar

¼ cup organic brown sugar

2 tbsp ceylon organic cinnamon

½ cup organic pecans


Honey Glaze

2 tbsp organic butter

1 cup organic raw honey

1 tsp organic vanilla

1/8 cup hot spring water

Directions:

*Preheat oven 350 degrees

1. In a small bowl mix the yeast with the warm water until dissolved. In a large bowl combine milk, sugar, melted butter, salt, and the egg. Once everything in mixed into a creamy sauce, add in flour slowly until everything is smooth, then add in the yeast water. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8 minutes and place in a well greased bowl and cover until for 1 ½ hours until the dough has risen.

2. Mix the filling by combining the sugars and cinnamon.

3. Once dough has risen remove from bowl and layout on a floured surface. Form into a rectangle that is ¼ or so thick. Spread the melted butter from the filling onto the face of the dough and sprinkle the sugar mixture and pecans on top of the butter. Then roll into a log and cut into slices that are roughly an inch think.

4. Cover the sides of the baking pan with butter then lightly sprinkle with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Pack in the cinnamon rolls close together and let sit for 45 minutes to rise. Then place in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. To make the glaze beat the butter, vanilla and honey, while slowly adding in the water. Adjust ingredients to taste.

When the rolls are finished pull them out of the oven and pour the honey glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!


Laurel xoxo

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Challah Braided Egg Bread Recipe


Challah is a sweet bread, served on the Jewish sabbath. But we certainly don’t have to wait for sundown on Friday to eat the bread. We can enjoy it anytime or topped with your favorite butter and jam. It’s terrific for toasting, too, and, of course, it makes the most delicious French toast. Challah is a very straightforward bread to make. The dough is enriched with eggs and oil, while a few tablespoons of sugar add some sweetness. It doesn't require any fussy techniques and can be made from start to finish in the space of an afternoon.

You won’t need a bread machine for this Challah recipe. The dough is extremely easy to work with and you can knead it entirely by hand.

This was my very first time making bread (except for quick breads like banana bread).  For a novice at baking bread, this Challah turned out perfect. The dough is really easy to work with. Plus, you’ll have a great time braiding the bread! *There is a video at the end of the recipe for braiding your bread if you need more help*

Ingredients for two 12- to 15-inch loaves

1 1/3 cups warm spring water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
3 tablespoons organic olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 large organic eggs, beaten
5 cups organic all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting the work-surface)
Egg wash: 1 well-beaten egg
Optional toppings: poppy seeds or sesame seeds

Directions:
1. In a one-quart measure or a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 1/3 cups of warm water. Let the yeast sit until it slightly foams, about 5 minutes. Then whisk in the sugar, olive oil, salt, and 3 beaten eggs.

2. Pour the flour into a large bowl, add the yeast mixture, and stir with a spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Then pour the dough onto your lightly-floured work surface, and knead it 50 times. Let rest for 2 minutes to relax the gluten, and then continue kneading for 25 more strokes. The dough is done when it no longer sticks to your work surface, and when its surface appears smooth. Wash out and dry the bowl, and then coat it with a thin layer of grease.

3. Form the dough into a ball, set it in the greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume - about 2 hours. Punch down and let rise again until nearly double  - about 1 hour.

4. Deflate the dough, then cut it in half. Return one half to the bowl. Cut the other half into 3 or 4 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each segment into a 12-15-inch strand. Place the strands parallel to each other, and then pinch their tips together to seal. Take the strand farthest to the right, flip it over the second strand, under the third strand, and over the fourth. Repeat this procedure until the entire loaf is braided, always starting with the strand farthest to the right. Pinch the lower ends together, and then gently transfer the braided bread to a greased baking sheet. Repeat the braiding for the remaining dough. Place the loaves 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

5. Brush the loaves with a beaten egg, and then set them in a warm place to rise until nearly double — 30-45 minutes. Then give the loaves a second coating of egg wash, and sprinkle the tops with the optional poppy or sesame seeds.


6. Bake on the middle rack of the preheated 375° oven until perfectly browned and beautiful, about 30 minutes. Check it at 20 minutes to make sure it isn't browning too fast. Let cool briefly on a wire rack before serving.







Enjoy! 

Laurel XOXO

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff




In the winter, all I want to do is make a one dish comfort food that is easy to prepare. This is a vegetarian take on classic beef stroganoff with a light creamy pasta packed with portabella mushrooms and full of flavor.

The savory and meaty flavor of the mushrooms is really brought out by the use of red wine, as well as the addition of Tamari and a little bit of Worcestershire, which add great depth.

Plain Greek yogurt adds a bit of creaminess, but you could certainly go with sour cream instead and the sauce will thicken up as it cools down.


Ingredients:

8 ounces uncooked organic fettuccine or egg noodles
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
1 medium organic onion, diced
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 lb organic portabella mushrooms (sliced)
3 tablespoons organic all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
2 teaspoons organic Tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon organic worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic paprika
1/4 teaspoon organic pepper
1/2 cup plain organic Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 tablespoons minced fresh organic parsley

Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until they're tender and have released most of their juices, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the red wine, stirring the entire time. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the wine has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, Tamari, Worcestershire, salt, paprika and pepper. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture almost to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly and let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce and toss to combine. If desired, let stand for about 5 minutes before serving (the sauce will thicken even more). Garnish with the fresh parsley and serve with salad.


Enjoy!
Laurel xoxo



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Moist Dark Chocolate Coconut Candy Bites



Moist Dark Chocolate Coconut Candy Bites
Serves: 18

Ingredients:
2 cups organic coconut
4 tablespoons raw honey
5 tablespoons  organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon  organic vanilla
4 ounces organic dark chocolate (melted)

Directions:
  1. Pulse the coconut in a blender or food processor until the texture becomes like thick flour. Transfer to a bowl and add the honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir until a thick paste forms.
  2. Using your hands, squeeze the mixture into small balls. Place the coconut balls in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until firm. 
  3. Melt the chocolate slowly and gently until smooth and spreadable. 
  4. Lay out a sheet of  parchment paper. Roll each coconut ball in the chocolate until completely covered. Scoop the ball out with a spoon and let the extra chocolate drizzle off. Place the chocolate covered ball on parchment paper and chill until the chocolate has hardened. Store in the refrigerator.


**It's very important to use coconut oil because other oils won't harden like coconut oil, and that hardening is what holds the shape together.




Enjoy!
Laurel xoxo



 



Friday, January 15, 2016

The Most Powerful Cancer Cure Recipe



The Russian Scientist, Dr. Mermerski has developed a cancer treating recipe that treats the entire body. This overall healing effect is the best natural cure for all types of cancer.

This recipe treats the whole organism: cleanses the blood vessels, the liver, kidneys, restores the immune system and the whole system of excretion from pathogen microflora. Improves the brain function and memory, keeps you safe from heart attack and heals the person who faced any of these conditions. It is very good in the fight against joint inflammation and every type of cancer. It regulates the body weight too.

Ingredients:
15 ripe organic lemons
12 organic garlic heads
1 kg/ 35 oz organic honey
400 grams/14 oz  organic wheat sprouts
400 grams/14 oz organic walnuts

Directions:
Grind wheat sprouts in a coffee grinder. Grind garlic and nuts together and add 5 lemons (do not peel them). Use food processor to grind garlic nuts and lemons. Use only the juice of the remaining 10 lemons, and add it to the mixture. Add honey and stir well.

Keep the mixture in sterilized jars and be sure the lids  are well closed. Store the jars in a fridge. You can use the prepared mixture after it rests for 3 days in the fridge.

Doses:
  • Take 1-2 tablespoons 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime
  • In cases of oncologic diseases – take 1-2 tablespoons in every 2 hours

This recipe guarantees health and long life, keeps you fresh, young and energetic because it contains all the required vitamins, minerals, bioactive substances, proteins, carbohydrates and vegetable fats. It improves the work of your organs and glands. You can add a little bit of ginger if you like.


Enjoy A Happy and Healthy Life!

Laurel  xoxo




Saturday, December 12, 2015

Turmeric Ginger Tea Recipe



Ginger and turmeric are two of the best herbs to relieve joint pain and inflammation.  The strong anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are excellent for dealing with muscle and arthritic pain. Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory substances called gingerols. These have been tested in various research of rheumatic diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Studies have shown that turmeric is more effective at easing pain than aspirin and other similar chemical medications. It is a great help in the relieving of chronic arthritis and joint pain, as well as relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis and osteoarthritis, which are two other inflammatory conditions.

One of the active ingredients in turmeric is called curcumin, and is used in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis. It is claimed that turmeric reduces arthritis joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness related to arthritis.

I have suffered from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia for many years and if you also suffer from chronic pain, you know how difficult it is to function in your daily life.  My doctors have prescribed pain medication, anti-inflammatories for my joint pain and they have sent me to be treated by chiropractors and accupuncturists with only minimal short-term relief.

I have found that natural remedies work much better for my chronic pain without any side effects.  This recipe for turmeric ginger tea REALLY WORKS!  It tastes delicious too.


Recipe for Turmeric Ginger Tea:

Ingredients:

1 cup of spring water
1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger roots (If you use ground turmeric and ginger, use 1/3 teaspoon each)
Add raw honey to taste, a slice of lemon and cinnamon.
Black pepper

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Add fresh grated turmeric and ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. If using ground turmeric and ginger, boil for about 5 minutes. Then strain the tea and add the honey and lemon to taste. Once the tea is ready, add black pepper to increase the turmeric absorption.



Enjoy!

Laurel xoxo





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Organize Your Fridge To Keep Food Fresh Longer





PUT PRODUCE WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT, NOT HIDDEN IN THE CRISPER.


We’ve all opened up our refrigerator’s crisper drawers and found some poor bit of forgotten produce wasting away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Not only is your hard-earned money gone to waste, but also a missed opportunity for a healthier meal.

Luckily, I have a solution: Take the vegetables and fruits out of the crisper-drawer and place them front and center, where you’re more likely to see them and not forget that they are there.

I know crisper drawers are designed to keep produce fresh longer, but that only applies if you actually use them. No crisper-drawer technology is going to keep your produce edible forever. If your greens (and reds, yellows and oranges) are out where you can see them, they have a fighting chance of getting eaten before they spoil.


Make these simple swaps in your fridge to keep all of your food fresh, avoid cross-contamination and eat your healthiest:

Fruit and vegetables
Place vegetables and fruit in the middle of the fridge, with larger items toward the back and smaller ones in front, so you can see everything. Store vegetables in clear, covered, plastic storage bins to prevent ethylene-producing fruits (such as apples, pears and cantaloupe) from spoiling too soon. Lettuce can stay in plastic clamshells or in a perforated bag.

Poultry, fish and meat
Keep poultry, fish and meat in the bottom drawer. It’s a particularly cold spot; plus, if anything spills, drips won’t contaminate other items in the fridge. (Just be sure to wrap everything tightly, and clean and sanitize the drawer frequently.)

Condiments
Group condiments together on the door, the warmest part of the fridge, since they’re less likely to spoil.

Eggs and milk
Keep eggs in their cartons and place them, along with milk, on a middle or bottom shelf, ideally toward the back, where it’s colder.

A final tip: Let it breathe
Don’t over-pack your fridge. It operates best if air is allowed to circulate.



Thank you for reading!

Laurel xoxo




Friday, November 13, 2015

Coffee Bean Remedy For Dark Circles Under The Eyes




Dark circles or puffiness under the eyes are a common and aggravating problem for most people. They not only make one look older, but also tired.  As far back as I can remember, I've had dark circles under my eyes and it also seems to run in my family. I've tried creams, serums, and a variety of cover up sticks and concealers and nothing really worked for me.

Some causes for dark circles and inflammation include nasal congestion, stress, anemia, oversleeping, eczema, crying, too much salt, and excessive drinking, smoking, or sun exposure. Because dark circles are such a common problem, many cosmetic companies provide dark circle “treatment.” Some of these products contain chemicals that can harm the skin under the eyes because the skin is so fragile. Plus, a cover up isn’t needed. A healthy option is needed.

The method I use is a mixture of coffee grounds, coconut oil, and black pepper to help with my dark circles. Coffee acts like an anti-inflammatory, black pepper stimulates circulation, and the coconut oil promotes the release of the coffee and pepper oils and makes it easier for the skin to absorb them.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup ground coffee beans
coconut oil (enough to make a paste)
1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions:  
Gently take the coffee mixture and pat under the eyes and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Repeat 2 times a week.

This method is not a permanent fix and should be repeated twice a week. However, it is a natural way of removing puffy and dark circles from under the eyes. Also, coffee and black pepper are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce aging and UV damage.

I finally saw a significant change after using it for a month!  Try it out and let me know how it works for you!


Laurel xoxo

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fluffy Mushroom Spinach Souffle Omelette


Fluffy Mushroom Souffle Omelette


Breakfast foods are so delicious and souffle omelette’s are my favorite. I rarely go out to breakfast so I'd rather make my healthy recipes in my own kitchen. I always use the best quality organic fresh ingredients.

Ingredients: 
  • 1 small package mushrooms, or about 1 cup chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 12 pastured eggs, separated
  • 2 cups of your favorite raw cheese (gouda, swiss, cheddar or havarti because they melt really well)
  • Season to taste
Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms and spinach a few minutes until tender.
  2. Pour mushrooms and spinach into a bowl and set aside
  3. Separate eggs and place into separate large bowls
  4. Whip egg whites using a hand mixer, until stiff peaks form
  5. Whisk egg yolks until liquefied
  6. Fold yolks into whites
  7. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp of butter in the skillet and pour half of the egg mixture into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula
  8. Sprinkle mushrooms and spinach and 2 cups of cheese on top, distributing evenly
  9. Scoop remaining egg mixture on top and smooth with a spatula
  10. On a medium burner allow the soufflé to cook for 3-5 minutes until bottom is brown.
  11. Flip the omelette over and cook for 2 more minutes. 

Slice and enjoy!

Laurel xoxo


Monday, October 5, 2015

3 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism


We as a society often eat quickly, on the go, even while driving. The faster you eat the more difficult for your digestive system to digest the food you just consumed. The reason is that the saliva in your mouth contains enzymes that help to break down the food. If you barely chew your food and gulf it down, your digestive system is already in trouble and the food hasn’t even touched your gut yet. When the food does reach your gut it is not chewed enough so the enzymes in your saliva that should help break it down are not there, not to mention that the food is in larger chunks because it was chewed less. Your digestive system has to work extra hard to process this food, extract nutrients and remove waste. When you continue to eat this way, your digestive system becomes weaker over time and you are more likely to add a few pounds of fat.

The practice of mindful eating teaches you to slow down and enjoy the food, the texture, the taste, and the flavor of food. By slowing down when you eat your body actually digests food better. There are three things that you can do before you eat food every single time to enhance digestion and benefit your health.

These practices are simple and engage your body and digestive system to better handle the food you consume. If you follow these practices consistently you should noticed improved digestion, improved bowel movements and less digestive discomfort from meals or snacks.


3 Things To Do Before You Eat

1. Drink Water:

It is not recommend to drink water during your meal. The water (or any liquid) can and will interfere with digestive enzymes and acids causing your digestive system to have more difficulty digesting. If you eat healthy foods you will be eating fruits and vegetables that already contain water content and they have just the right water content to digest perfectly, so keep drinking separately from eating. You do want your body and digestive system to be hydrated before eating. This is why it is recommended that you drink water 20 minutes or so before you eat. This hydrates your body and helps to purify your digestive system to prepare for more food to digest. Drink before, not during your meals.

2. Take 9 Deep Breaths Before Eating Anything:

Deep breathing is often overlooked for it’s many health benefits. By taking approximately 9 deep breaths before eating food your body can better digest food. These deep breaths allow your body’s nervous system to be more relaxed and calm. The energy that would otherwise keep your nerves tense can now go towards your digestive organs. Deep breathing also stimulates detoxification through the lungs (in the form of carbon dioxide) as well as stimulates better lymphatic flow. When you detoxify better your body can better handle the new food load. This should be a daily practice before eating food for the many health and wellness benefits it offers.

3. Appreciate Your Food & Set An Intention:

Many cultures pray before they eat to be grateful and ask for nourishment from the food before they eat it. Intention is powerful so having a prayer or take a moment of silence to appreciate the food, even if it’s just for 5 seconds is great for your mindset before eating. Set the intention that you will eat slow, thoroughly and chew your food. If you eat slow and chew your food your body will have an easier and more beneficial experience from the food. Your body will benefit and you will get more nutritional value from what you eat simply by slowing down and chewing your food fully.

Drink water 20 minutes before eating, take 9 deep breaths before eating and say a prayer or set an intention of gratitude for your food and intend to eat slowly and mindfully so that you can chew thoroughly and fully breakdown your food and give it the enzymes that make it easier on your gut.



To healthy mindful eating!

Laurel xoxo




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sweet Potato Hamburger Skillet Dinner



A wonderful recipe for a quick healthy meal, I always try to create an easy one dish meal without a lot of fuss.

I don't eat red meat often, but when I do, I buy grass-fed beef. Grain-fed meat looks similar, tastes similar, and smells the same, but the truth is that grass-fed meat and grain-fed meat are two completely different foods. Grass-fed meat isn’t a luxury item – it’s real meat! Factory meat has the wrong fatty acids, contains obesity-causing hormones, and usually has mycotoxins and biotoxins formed by mold in cattle food and meat processing. Grass-fed meat is in a league of its own, but what it does have is nutrition.

Ingredients:

1 medium organic sweet potato
8 ounces organic crimini mushrooms
1 pound organic grass fed hamburger
3 handfuls organic baby spinach
1/4 - 1/2 spring water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place hamburger into a skillet over medium heat to lightly brown. Once browned, remove hamburger onto a plate.
  2. Scrub sweet potatoes with a veggie brush. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch by 1 inch pieces. Slice mushrooms into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Place sweet potatoes in warm skillet after removing the hamburger. Don't worry about cleaning the pan in between, the oil and drippings from the hamburger will provide a wonderful richness to the sweet potatoes. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the sweet potatoes begin to soften. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the water evaporates and sweet potatoes begin to caramelize.
  4. Return the hamburger to the pan along with spinach and mushrooms. Stir together and cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted and mushrooms soften.


Enjoy!

Laurel xoxo




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pecan Crusted Baked Alaskan Halibut




Halibut is the finest of the white, flaky fish varieties; I like to think of it as the “rich man’s cod.” Its rich, succulent texture yields to the fork nicely, and it’s versatile and delicious in many different preparations.

As an alternative to crushed pecans you could use macadamia nuts or almonds with equally fabulous results.


Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces thick skinless halibut fillets (1¼-inch-thick, about 6 ounces each)
  • sea salt
  • organic black pepper
  • 1 large organic egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup finely chopped organic pecans
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle all sides of halibut with salt and pepper.
  3. Place beaten egg in a small dish. Dip one side of halibut in egg mixture to coat; drain excess. Press egg-coated side of halibut in chopped pecans, pressing slightly to coat fillet.
  4. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy oven-safe skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, place fillets, pecan-coated side down in pan and sear for about 2 minutes, turn fillets over, and transfer to oven. Bake at 350-degrees F for 10 minutes or until flakey.


Enjoy!

Laurel xoxo

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How To De-salt Bacon


I recently bought some uncured bacon from my local food co-op meat department because it was on sale.  I cooked a few pieces and ate it with my breakfast, but it was extremely salty for my taste.  I called the butcher department and asked them what I could do to make it less salty and they told me a very simple method that worked perfectly.

It involves giving the bacon a couple of hot water baths. It works with both bits and rashers.

Instructions:

  • First of all, add the bacon to a heat-proof bowl. Pour some freshly boiled water over the bacon till it is well-covered. Give it a stir and let it sit for 2 minutes. 
  • Drain the water off.
  • Repeat this again, this time leaving the bacon in the water for a minute. This should be sufficient to remove the ‘excess’ salt while preserving the taste. When that’s done, rinse and drain the bacon then pat it dry.  

Enjoy your less salty bacon!

Laurel xoxo


Monday, September 7, 2015

Moist Honey Cake Without Sugar



Extra moist and sweet, this honey cake is so flavorful and so easy to make. A great dessert for Rosh Hashanah or an irresistable snack cake!  Raw honey is much healthier than using sugar, which most of the honey cake recipes include and it isn't necessary for a sweet moist cake.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup local or raw honey
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2/3 cup organic Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup organic slivered almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 325F. Grease a 10" bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl add the butter and honey. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract followed by the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda and baking powder alternately with the greek yogurt.
  5. Add the almonds to the bottom of the pan at this time. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake the cake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool for about 30-35 minutes before inverting the pan and remove the cake.
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack.


Enjoy the holiday!  Happy Baking!

Laurel  xoxo



          Sunday, September 6, 2015

          Honey Nut Popcorn Snack



          Looking for a healthy snack food for your family?  This recipe is easy to make and your family will love it!  Perfect for watching football or family movie nights!

          Honey Nut Popcorn Snack


          Ingredients:
          3 quarts organic popped popcorn (1/2 cup kernels)
          1/2 c. melted organic butter
          1/2 c. raw honey
          1 c. organic almonds or organic peanuts

          Directions:
          Blend the butter and honey together, heat gently on the stove. Mix popcorn with nuts and pour honey-butter mixture over all. Mix well, spread on  a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.


          Enjoy!

          Laurel xoxo



          Monday, August 31, 2015

          Harmful Ingredients Still Allowed in Our Food Today



          Did you know that Unhealthy Processed Foods Outnumber Unadulterated Healthy Foods?  

          Today, more than three quarters of supermarket shelves are stocked with packaged and processed foods. These boxed, canned, and frozen foods are just a part of the problem with the food supply.

          Some of you already know about Monsanto and GMOs. Most people in the United States don't realize that they've been eating genetically engineered foods since the mid-1990s. More than 60 percent of all processed foods on U.S. supermarket shelves contain ingredients from engineered soybeans, corn, or canola. The GMO problem is something that I will discuss in another article because it's equally as important as the unhealthy chemicals in our food.

          In total, there are more than 3,000 food chemicals purposely added to our food supply, yet avoiding them is a lot easier and more economical than you might think. You probably already know this, but the rule of thumb is that the best foods to stay healthy are unprocessed organic foods.

          Here are some of the typical ingredients that are packaged, flavored and presented as food, which you should avoid.

          1. TBHQ, A.K.A: Butane

          Butane isn’t just for lighters anymore – it’s also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them “fresh” tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them “fresh.” Eating butane probably wasn’t what you had in mind the last time you ordered those nuggets. Try homemade chicken wings instead, for fuel-free food.

          Found in: Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food.

          2. BHA

          This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet.

          Found in: Cereals, breads, crackers, snack foods, gum, pet food, make-up, lotions and soap to name a few.


          3. Estrogen

          Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows estrogen in milk lactating all year round. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal.

          Found in: All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended.


          4. Parabens

          These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues.

          Found In: Beer, sauces, desserts, soft drinks, processed fish, jams, pickles, frozen dairy products, processed vegetables and flavouring syrups.


          5. Propylene Glycol, A.K.A: antifreeze 

          This food thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier is derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol. Bear in mind that even though propylene glycol is used as a food additive, it has many industrial uses including automotive antifreezes and airport runway de-icers.

          Antifreeze is used in cars, pills, cosmetics, deodorant, moisturizer and food! It keeps your car from freezing over, your moisturizer moist, and your ice cream creamy and smooth.

          Found in: Cake mix, salad dressings, ice cream, flavored coffee, soda, margarine and even in dog food.


          6. Caramel Colouring

          The food industry treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason to scrap soft drinks? They’re among The 20 Worst Drinks in America!

          Found in: Coke/Diet Coke, Pepsi/Diet Pep


          7. Aspartame

          If you think you are making a healthier option because you chose to have diet soda over a regular soda drink, its time to think again. Crafty advertising may have given the term "sugar free" an impression of healthy alternative, but the truth of the matter is that chemical sweeteners are far from healthy. Aspartame is also highly addictive. The phenylalanine and methanol components increase the dopamine levels in the brain and cause a certain high. This further creates an addiction that is only made worse by the release of methyl alcohol or methanol, which is considered a narcotic.

          Found in: Diet sodas, yogurts, chewing gum, cooking sauces, crisps, tabletop sweeteners, drink powders (cocoa, energy drinks), sugar-free products and cereals.


          I've only listed 7 of these harmful ingredients, so you need to be wary of these additives as well:  High-fructose corn syrup, Artificial dyes, Preservatives and Trans Fat.

          I make all my meals from scratch using organic ingredients. Please read all labels on foods you are buying to avoid these health risks, or better yet, buy organic whenever possible.  

          Thank you for reading!  Please leave your comments and suggestions below.


          Laurel xoxo






          Sunday, August 23, 2015

          Moist Whole Wheat Applesauce Banana Bread



          This is a moist banana bread recipe that I make fairly often with leftover, very ripe bananas. I add more mashed banana and applesauce instead of oil, which makes this recipe so moist!


          Ingredients:

           1/3 cup organic applesauce (unsweetened)
           1/2 cup raw or local honey
           1 teaspoon vanilla extract
           2 cage-free organic eggs
           1 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas
           1 3/4 cups organic whole wheat flour
           1/2 teaspoon sea salt
           1 teaspoon baking soda
           1/4 cup hot spring water
           1/2 teaspoon organic ceylon cinnamon
           1/2 cup chopped organic walnuts (optional)


          Directions:

          1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F 
          2. In a large bowl, beat applesauce and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and cinnamon. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. 
          3. Blend in walnuts (optional). Spread batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
          4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.

          Enjoy!
          Laurel  xoxo


          Monday, August 17, 2015

          Non-Dairy Asian Coleslaw




          I’m not a big fan of traditional coleslaw. Call me crazy, but I really don’t get the appeal of raw cabbage swimming in mayonnaise.  I tried many different ingredients for cole slaw dressing and finally came up with my own recipe that in my opinion is one of the best.

          In my recipe, I use lemon juice, a little honey and generous amount of olive oil. Not only is it healthier, it makes for a light, citrus flavor that tastes delicious.


          Ingredients:

          1/4 small organic red cabbage
          1/2 small organic green cabbage
          1/2  to 1 organic carrot, shredded
          Zest of 1/2 organic lemon
          1/4 cup organic lemon juice
          1/4 cup olive oil
          1 tablespoon raw honey (add more for sweeter slaw)
          1/2 teaspoon sea salt
          1/8 teaspoon black pepper
          Optional: (1/4 cup organic shredded broccoli)

          Directions:
          1. Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage.
          2. Trim the core and any tough stems from the cabbage and thinly slice.
          3. Add to a bowl with the shredded carrot, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and black pepper. Toss to combine.
          4. Serve this right away for more of a salad, or store it in the fridge overnight for a slaw that’s more pickled. 
          5. Makes:  6-8 servings


          Enjoy!

          Laurel xoxo



          Thursday, August 6, 2015

          The Best Juice For Stress Relief



          Bad skin? Always tired? Stressed out?  I found a juice recipe to help fix some of these health needs.  I have been stressed lately, and I found that this juice recipe works wonders. It's so simple to make and delicious.

          Spinach is high in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps elevate your mood and promotes better sleep. It's also high in magnesium, which helps to relax nerves and muscles.

          Ingredients:

          2 big handfuls organic spinach
          3 to 4 stalks organic broccoli
          3 to 4 stalks organic celery
          1 large or 2 small organic carrots

          Directions:

          Add all ingredients to your juicer or blender and blend for 30 seconds. That's all you do!  Drink up!



          Enjoy!

          Laurel xoxo

          Wednesday, August 5, 2015

          GMO Labeling - We Have a Right To Know What's in Our Food!



          Americans want and deserve the same right to know as citizens in 64 other nations that require GMO labeling. It’s time for members of Congress to listen to consumers across the country who want to know more – not less – about their food.

          It’s time for real toxics reform!

          Our nation’s toxic chemicals policy has been broken for 39 years. Now, there are two competing bills in the Senate to update it: one that protects you (introduced by Sens. Boxer and Markey), and one that protects the chemical industry (introduced by Sens. Udall and Vitter).

          We need to make sure that real chemical reform is passed. It’s time to call on President Obama and the Senate to oppose the bill written by the chemical industry.


          Please sign the petition now!

          http://action.ewg.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=2126&tag=2015TSCAFlyOver&_ga=1.248628679.1747306587.1438791844


          Thank you!
          Laurel Caplan

          Monday, August 3, 2015

          Easy Quinoa Pizza Crust Recipe


          Easy Quinoa Pizza Crust Recipe

          Would you like to be able to make a gluten-free pizza crust that is as good as original pizza crust? This recipe uses quinoa, which is protein and fiber packed. It's a great gluten-free option and is also more nutritious than conventional pizza.

          After soaking, quinoa combines with water in the food processor to create a pancake like batter that bakes into a golden, chewy crust. The quinoa needs to soak overnight.

          Ingredients:

          1 cup soaked organic quinoa (soak overnight in spring water)
          2 tablespoons olive oil
          1/2 teaspoon sea salt
          1 teaspoon organic Italian seasoning (optional)

          Directions:

          1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

          2. Blend all the ingredients until smooth using a food processor or blender.

          3. Spread pizza batter on a round pizza pan (or cookie sheet) covered with parchment paper greased with olive oil.

          4. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 18 minutes.

          5. Top with cheese and your favorite ingredients and put back in the oven until your cheese is melted.

          Topping Ideas:  mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives, veggies, pineapple or for you meat lovers, add cooked sausage, hamburger or pepperoni.


          Enjoy!

          Laurel xoxo



          Wednesday, July 22, 2015

          Iced Rooibos Organic Tea & Health Benefits





          The health benefits of red rooibos tea are abundant. This form of tea has traditionally been popular due to its great taste and unique color, while also boosting the health of the body. Rooibos tea or red tea is a medicinal, herbal beverage that is acquired from the Aspalathus linearis bush plant that is found in South Africa. According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. The fermented tea is red in color.

          The amazing health benefits of Red Rooibos Tea include a cure for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, and premature aging.

          The tea is absolutely free from caffeine content and is also low in tannins. You can enjoy the refreshing beverage all day long with no possible side effects. Drinking rooibos tea can further ease severe stomach cramps, as well as bring relief to asthma and other related conditions. It also boosts the immune system of the human body.

          I prepare a pitcher of Iced Rooibos Tea and drink it every day
          because it's become one of my favorite iced teas. The recipe is easy to make and tastes fruity and sweet which is why you don't need to add much sweetener. I make it the easy way in my coffee maker but you can also boil it on the stove if you desire.

          This is my easy recipe:

          Ingredients:

          4 organic rooibos tea bags
          10 cups spring water
          2 teaspoons raw honey
          1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed organic lemon
          Ice Cubes

          Directions:

          Pour the water into your coffee maker and put the tea bags in the basket to brew your tea.

          Add the honey and lemon into your pitcher. When the tea is finished brewing, pour into the pitcher and stir.  Add the ice cubes and refrigerate.



          Enjoy!!

          Laurel xoxo




          Saturday, July 11, 2015

          Organic Fruit Punch Recipe for Hot Summer Days



          This Organic Fruit Punch is the perfect summertime beverage with strawberries, pineapple and lemon & lime juice. Serve it on hot summer days for parties and barbecues or just for family get togethers. This punch is refreshing and healthy too!

          Ingredients

          1 3/4 cups frozen organic strawberries
          1/2 cup frozen organic pineapple
          2 lbs  organic lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
          2 Tbs  organic lime juice (fresh squeezed)
          6 Tbs organic raw agave or organic sucanat
          1 3/4 cups spring water
          3 organic mint leaves


          Directions:

          In a blender, add strawberries, pineapple, lime juice, lemon juice, and water.

          Blend on medium speed for 30-45 seconds, then increase speed to high for approximately 1-2 minutes or until all ingredients are well-blended. Strain to remove any seeds from the juice. Once strained, add the organic raw agave or organic sucanat until well blended.

          Pour juice in individual cups or a pitcher with ice. Garnish with the mint leaves.

          **Instantly turn this drink into a fresh fun cocktail to enjoy with friends and family at your next barbeque or party by adding 5 ounces of vodka.  



          Enjoy!
          Laurel  xoxo

          Tuesday, June 23, 2015

          Homemade Tanning Lotion For Sun & Salon Tanning



          How would you like a homemade tanning lotion for the sun or salon that doesn’t cost too much, yet is still as effective as any product you could buy?

          The homemade tanning lotion I’m about to show you is the exact same one I use whenever I’m in the sun or at a salon. I think it’s even MORE effective than any product you could buy in stores.

          You may already have some of these products at home, so make sure you hunt around a little before heading out to the store.

          It may seem like making this lotion is expensive at first because you have to buy the ingredients. However once you have everything, it will literally last you for like a YEAR!

          Only Three Ingredients:

          Coconut Oil

          Coconut oil is an amazing tanning accelerator. How it works is pretty simple. Try to think of it like a magnifying glass on your skin. This magnification draws in even more UV rays, which then help to produce the melanin necessary for a tan to appear.

          It also helps to retain moisture. This is so important as without added moisture, our skin will dry up and expire a lot faster. This then leads to flaking and with it goes the color you just added during your tan.

          Basically it helps keep your tan for longer.

          Lanolin

          The main purpose of lanolin is to act as an emollient. This is something that is able to lock in moisture and it’s vital if we want to achieve a long lasting tan.

          It’s also great for those with sensitive skin as it’s a hypoallergenic, meaning that it won’t cause any irritation whatsoever.

          Black Tea(3 bags)

          Like all of these ingredients, black tea plays two roles:

          It will act as a natural dye, adding some color to your skin.
          It contains a ton of antioxidants that will fight off any toxins that may arise during the sensitive time right after tanning.

          How To Make This Homemade Tanning Lotion

          This is a simple recipe to make!  Just follow the simple steps below and you’ll be ready to apply your lotion:

          Directions:

          1) Take 3/4 cup of water, boil it and pour into a mug with your 3 black tea bags. Place it off to the side to allow it to brew for a couple of minutes.

          2) Take a 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of lanolin and 1/4 cup of tea and pour them all into your blender. Start it up and as you’re blending, slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of tea.

          3) Mix until the lotion start to look nice and even.

          4) At last you’re ready to apply!

          This homemade tanning lotion is seriously going to accelerate the process. If you’re a little on the pale side, I recommend starting off with no more than 5 minutes in a tanning bed or 10 minutes of direct sunlight.

          The black tea combined with the coconut oil is messy when it comes to staining clothes. At the same time you don’t want to wash it off right away. Doing this will remove any nutrients before they have a chance to absorb properly into your skin. You want to give it at least 2 hours to soak in.

          If you’re heading to the salon, always take an old change of clothes and DON'T WEAR WHITE!



          Enjoy your tan!  Just don't overdue it!  
          Laurel x0x0

          Friday, June 12, 2015

          Easy Homemade Eggshell Toothpaste


          We all know that visiting our dentist at least once a year is important to our oral health, but have you ever thought of brushing your teeth with eggshells? Eggshells contain the perfect amount of the ideal substances for healing cavities (which regular toothpastes do not), and huge amounts of calcium and 27 other minerals.

          This whole revelation about eggshells is actually backed up by a dentistry school in the Philippines, where a study took place, comparing various commercial toothpaste brands along with their own compounded toothpaste from eggshells. They discovered that over time, the teeth cleaned with the eggshell toothpaste had less plaque build up and stronger enamel. This is due to the fact that eggshells have calcium and other trace minerals which are essential for healthy enamel, thus preventing cavities.


          Homemade Eggshell Toothpaste

          The advantage of this toothpaste is that it contains natural ingredients, it’s cheap and effective. It also allows you to avoid commercial toothpastes that may cause cancer or embed plastic in your gums. Compared to commercial toothpastes, baking soda and eggshells are much less abrasive, and therefore healthier for your teeth.

          Ingredients:
          ¼ cup organic free-range egg shells (ground up)
          2 Tbs. or more unrefined coconut oil
          1 Tbs. baking soda
          10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

          Directions:

          • Give the eggshells a rinse and boil them for a few minutes to get rid of the pathogens. Then air dry them. 
          • Grind up the shells in a coffee grinder or food processor until they turn into a fine powder. 
          • Combine the ingredients in a bowl, adding coconut oil until it reaches a smooth consistency (you can adjust the amount of the coconut oil).  
          • Add the Peppermint Essential Oil. 
          • Store in a jar. Use a spoon to put the mixture on your tooth brush.



          Please leave your questions and comments below ~


          Laurel 

          Sunday, June 7, 2015

          Pesticides In Produce Can't Be Just Washed off!



          Most people who purchase conventionally grown produce know the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them. You would think that rinsing crop foods would help remove some of the pesticides and chemicals applied to their exterior, making them safe to eat. But, unfortunately, no amount of washing or peeling can make these foods safe. 

          A different type of pesticide - systemic pesticides - are integrated into plant tissues, making the entire plant (including the part sold to consumers) poisonous to insects, fungi and other pests.

          Systemic pesticides are designed for total absorption, the worse news is that they are not rare. In fact, hundreds of systemic pesticides have been developed in the past 15 years, making them the best-selling class of pesticide in the world. 

          They have been used in increasingly greater frequency since 1998 with no signs of slowing down in the near future. 

          Simply peeling off the thick skin of a banana or avocado is no long enough to protect us from dangerous toxic chemicals -pesticides are now in our food, not just on it!


          These pesticides could be responsible for the collapse of bee colonies around the world. The U.S., however, continues to use systemic pesticides in food in great quantities. In fact, the manufacturer of thiamethoxam lobbied the EPA for fewer restrictions on its poisonous pesticide as recently as September 2014.

          We continue to consume a dangerous cocktail of these toxic chemicals without information about their long-term health consequences. Clearly, we cannot rely on our government to keep our food supply free of toxic chemicals. American farmlands are contaminated with dangerous pesticides that are polluting our bodies from the inside out. 

          After all, if a plant is poisonous to its predators, how could it possibly be safe for humans? 

          What can you do to be safe from Pesticides?  

          • It makes sense to support local (organic) farmers
          • Join a CSA* 
          • Grow your own chemical-free (delicious) produce.
          • Buy Organic Produce

          *CSA Stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community.


          Eat healthy pesticide-free produce ~


          Laurel :)






          Saturday, June 6, 2015

          The Benefits Of An Alkaline Diet



          Balance is key. And when it comes to our body’s pH levels, it’s the key to life!

          pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is, and our blood pH needs to maintain a slightly alkaline level to keep us healthy. We help our bodies to maintain this pH balance by eating more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming foods.

          *Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, and herbal teas.

          *Acid-forming foods include most grains, beans, meats, dairy products, fish, fast foods, and processed foods.


          When we eat acid-forming foods, our body works to bring our blood pH back into balance by releasing alkaline-rich minerals into our bloodstream (e.g. calcium, phosphorus and magnesium).

          If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these minerals from our bones, teeth and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.

          Eat a diet of 60-80% alkaline-forming foods and 20-40% acid-forming foods.

          For the acid-forming foods, skip the fast-food burgers and processed foods and choose healthier options like beans, grains and other fresh foods. Pesticides tend to be acid-forming, so also choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.


          Easy food chart
          Print these alkaline-acid food charts and keep them on the fridge for quick reference.



          Laurel xoxo

          Wednesday, May 27, 2015

          Homemade All Natural Dryer Sheets



          Why should we worry about conventional dryer sheets. These unrecyclable petroleum-derived “sheets” are saturated with hormone-disrupting synthetic fragrances.  The chemicals used in fabric softeners are very pungent and strong smelling - so strong that they require the use of  heavy fragrances ( 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells.  They are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time, which means that the chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb.  Even choosing “unscented” products is dangerous, as most companies use a masking fragrance to cover up the original fragrance, which unfortunately makes them doubly toxic.

          There are also many chemicals found in our sweet-smelling fabric softeners and dryer sheets that can cause serious health effects such as:

          • Central nervous system disorders
          • Headaches
          • Nausea
          • Vomiting
          • Dizziness
          • Blood pressure reduction
          • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
          • Pancreatic cancer
          • Asthma symptoms


          There is also no regulation on these chemicals, since the contents are treated as trade secrets by the manufacturers and companies are not required to list everything.

          The truth is, most of us won’t feel the effects of these chemicals today, however they can affect you gradually over time, and infants and children whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk.

          Not only is this laundry solution seriously smart, it is also awesomely eco-friendly. For only pennies, you'll have dryer sheets that can be used over and over and over again. What makes these dryer sheets better than their store-bought counterparts is they can be personalized with your favorite scent and are free of any toxic additives. Along with leaving your clothes feeling soft and fresh, they'll smell clean and ready for wear. And once you try them, you'll wonder why you never made them from scratch in the first place.


          Homemade All Natural Dryer Sheets

          Ingredients:
          1/2 cup of organic vinegar (the smell will not transfer to your clothes)
          8 drops tea tree or other essential oil
          Sealable container
          Cotton cloths

          Directions:

          1. Start by cutting your cotton cloths into smaller sections.  You can use inexpensive dish towels from the dollar store, but old tee shirts or linens would work wonderfully too.

          2. Mix together the vinegar and essential oil in a small bowl. Vinegar is a natural softener, and the essential oil gives your clothes a gentle, natural scent. Pour the mixture over the cloths until they are dampened but not soaked. Keep in a securely closed container.

          3. To use, simply remove a sheet from the container, squeezing any excess liquid back into the jar, and toss into the dryer. To reduce static cling in clothes, reduce the heat temperature of your dryer. When clothes are dry, simply place the sheet back in the jar for use later.


          I welcome your comments and suggestions - Thank You!


          Laurel xoxo



          Monday, May 25, 2015

          Memorial Day Cooking


          What is Memorial Day?

          Memorial Day arose out of appreciation for and remembrance of all who gave their lives defending our nation.  Although the holiday was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, many towns and communities decorated the graves of American soldiers and gathered to honor our nation's heroes well before Memorial Day was officially declared.  God Bless All of Our Soldiers That Gave Us Our Freedom!



          Here are a few recipes you can make today or all summer ~



          Homemade Honey BBQ Sauce

          Whatever you happen to be grilling - hamburger, steak, chicken or ribs, try this delicious homemade barbecue sauce and add your own special ingredients to it.  There are so many ways to make barbecue sauce, but I'm just providing you with one that doesn't contain loads of sugar and it's easy to make.

          Ingredients:

          15 oz organic tomato sauce
          1 cup spring water
          1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
          1/3 cup raw honey
          1 T lemon juice
          2 tsp garlic powder
          1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
          1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
          1 tsp paprika


          Directions:
          Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Season with your own ingredients to taste.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.



          Watermelon Lemonade with Fresh Mint

          Who does not love a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? This recipe is naturally sweetened by the watermelon so you do not need as much sugar to balance with the lemon juice as you will find in other lemonades. All you need is half a watermelon, 4 lemons, a pint of raspberries, fresh mint, spring water and a little cane sugar. If your watermelon is ripe enough, you may not need any sugar!

          Ingredients:
          6 cups watermelon cubes (seeds removed)
          ¼ cup fresh organic raspberries
          1 cup spring water
          1/3 cup raw honey (optional)
          ½ cup fresh lemon juice
          Fresh mint to garnish

          Watermelon slices to garnish

          Directions:
          Place watermelon, raspberries and water in container of food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through fine sieve into pitcher. Stir in sugar and lemon juice and continue stirring until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Yield: 4 servings




          Patriotic Pound Cake

          An easy finale to your barbecue meal is this rich and buttery pound cake.  Serve it with fresh organic blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream and you'll have the perfect Patriotic Pound Cake.  It's so good, you may want to double the recipe for a large family gathering.

          Ingredients:

          3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
          1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
          3 large eggs
          2 tsps pure vanilla extract
          1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
          1/4 tsp baking soda
          pinch sea salt
          1/2 cup organic sour cream

          Directions:


          Position a rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

          Place the butter and sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract.

          In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter on low speed in two additions, alternating with the sour cream.

          Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 75-85 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

          Cut into slices and add fresh cut strawberries and blueberries.  Top with a dollop of organic whipped cream.