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Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)

My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculou...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Savory Truffled Plantains over Roasted Garlic Lentils

For years, I have made a simple dinner out of spaghetti squash, Beluga lentils, roasted garlic, and white truffle oil.  It's my favorite healthy comfort food.  I love the snap of the black Beluga lentils and the buttery pasta-like strands of the squash all tied together with the flavorful garlic and truffle oil. 
 Recently, I was asked by the website, Stuffed-Pepper ( a website devoted to gluten free cooking), to become a contributor and take part in their monthly ingredient challenge.  The current ingredient happens to be green plantains.  While I have eaten plantains in restaurants before, I had never actually made them at home.  My husband wanted me to go the sweet route, but I rarely crave sweet food.  It occurred to me that I could swap out the plantains for the squash as my starch in my original recipe.  I also swapped green lentils for the Beluga lentils only because they are more readily available.  However, if you would like to try the Beluga lentils you can order them here.  I highly recommend trying them sometime as they are delicious and have a wonderfully
unique texture. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sweet Potato Nachos

I'm a huge fan of nachos, and sometimes I'm guilty of eating them for dinner.  I never feel awesome after eating them though, more like weighed down and bloated from all of the salt. 
Recently I needed a quick idea for dinner and didn't want to go to the store.  I had a bag of frozen sweet potato fries in the freezer, as well as some random toppings.  The result was my new favorite dinner.  My boys all loved it, and next time around I made the regular version for them, as well as a vegan version for me all on the same pan.  Love that!  This is a yummy idea for Meatless Mondays, or just serve it as a side to some grilled meat if you have die-hard meat eaters in your house.  This makes a great lunch also, just serve with a green salad on the side. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3-4 cups sweet potato fries (like Alexia)
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • cilantro
VEGAN JALAPENO CREAM SAUCE:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2-1 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed
  • juice from 1/2 lime
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  If making the vegan cream sauce, soak the cashews in a bowl of water.  Set aside. 

2.  Place the sweet potato fries on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook for 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through. 

3.  While the fries are baking, chop the veggies.

4.  If making the vegan version, make the cream sauce.  In a high powered blender, combine the drained cashews, along with all of the other sauce ingredients.  Process until smooth. 

5.  After 25 minutes, pull the sweet potato fries out of the oven.  Top with grape tomatoes, black beans, green onions, red bell pepper, and cheeses (if using).  Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes more, or until the fries are crisp and the vegetables are softened.  Drizzle with the vegan cream sauce, and top with cilantro, chopped avocado, and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. 





Thursday, April 2, 2015

Summer Beauty Must-Haves!

 

Summer is right around the corner, what a great excuse to update your beauty products!  Here are some of my recent favorites:

 
1.  Pedi Perfect Electronic Pedicure Foot File by Amope
I am such a slacker when it comes to getting pedicures.  If I'm going to take the time away from my boys for pampering, I'd rather get a massage.  Plus the whole nail file straight across my toes thing is kind of like nails on a chalkboard to me.  But pumice stones at home don't really work that well, and take way too much time.  So I was excited to find this product - because I still need silky smooth feet for sandal season.  This is so easy to use and gives you pedicure soft feet in under 5 minutes - no trip to the salon required.  Just turn it on and lightly hold it over the rough parts of your feet - the heel and sides of toes.  All of the dead skin is instantly removed, and gone are the days where you can count the time with a pumice stone as an arm workout!


2.  Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow-
This volumizing fiber brow gel lets you darken, shape, and add volume to your brows, all in one swipe.  Unlike other brow gels, this adds fiber lashes for a full effect.  It has made such a difference on my face that I feel naked without it now.  Plus it lasts all day. 

 
 
I love, love, love this stuff.  I don't even remember where I first heard about Tammy's products, but I finally got around to checking them out.  Thank goodness.  I first went looking for her famous epi-peel, which is said to immediately give you a youthful glow.  (It does!)  I found this travel kit that contained the epi-peel, but also 5 additional products, so I thought I would give them all a try. 
First of all, the creams are all natural, made from botanicals, and smell like heaven.  Or a spa in heaven.  Secondly, the kit is described as " two-week supply of holistic skincare products for the ultimate jetsetter."  I have found it to last much longer than 2 weeks.  The creams and serums are so rich, (perfect for dry airplane and hotel air!)  so a little goes a long way.   And finally, this makes it so easy to take your skin care products with you when you travel, I will never be without it on trips.  I highly recommend each product in the kit, but if you want to start with one to try out, go with the epi-peel!
This kit contains:
 
  • Cleansing Milk. Key Ingredients: Organic Lavender, Fo-Ti
  • Bulgarian Rose Water. Key Ingredients: Bulgarian Rose essence.
  • Quintessential Serum. Key Ingredients: Rosemary, Rose Hip Seed Oil, Avocado, Frankincense, Bulgarian Rose Oil.
  • Intensive Repair Balm. Key Ingredients: Chamomile, Helichysum.
  • Epi-Peel. Key Ingredients: Rosemary and Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil Key Ingredients: Rose Hip Seed Oil, Bulgarian Lavender.


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    4.  Kardashian Beauty Pure Glitz Hairspray-
    Kardashians.  I know.  But they had me at glitz.  And black seed oil.  And shine enhancing sparkles.  Don't be afraid to try this because of the word sparkles, it's more like a healthy sheen.  Not only is this a really great hairspray - tons of hold and no stickiness - but it lets your hair shine without weighing it down like shine sprays can.  It's my new favorite, and one of the things I have realized is that even though I need hairspray for the hold, it seems to dull my hair, especially aerosol.  And spritzing on a shine spray seems to relax the hold and makes the curls fall out.  This is the perfect solution.  Great hold with a touch of shine. 

     
    There's nothing more annoying to me than eyeliner that melts into dark little circles under my eyes.  Well, probably some things, but it's pretty annoying.  And since I've been into a winged eyeliner look lately, these fit the bill.  They dry instantly, and then stay put all day, even while swimming.  They both have a tip like a felt tip marker, making them crazy easy to draw a straight line.  Plus they are super pigmented for a bold, black color.  I like to line my eyes first, really close to the lash line to fill in my eyelashes, then apply eye shadow, and finally draw a thick line that extends like a cat-eye to finish it off.  I love both of these equally, and can't pick a favorite. 
     
     
    6.  Nude Lips-
    I love a good pastel, shimmery nude lip for spring.  What I don't like is to look like I have no lipstick on at all.  Washed out colorless shades do nothing for me.  These are my 3 favorite nude enhancing lip glosses.  They're all great on their own, but even better over a little natural colored lip liner.  My favorite is Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Cocoa.  Here are the 3 glosses:
     
    Lancome La Leque Fever in Iridescent - I love this one for it's bronzed shimmer color, you can wear this on your lips and not need much else - perfect for summer. 
    Nars Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight - this one is a milky pink color that is super pigmented, which is really hard to find in such a light color
    LipSense by SeneGence Gloss in Silver Glitter - I hate to pick favorites, but this one might be it.  I was skeptical at first since the color name contains the word glitter, but the only thing you see on your lips is a perfect wet shine.  I love to switch it up and see how this gloss transforms all of my lipsticks.
     
    From top: Iridescent, Turkish Delight, Silver Glitter
     
     7.  Katie B. Photo Perfect Selfie Foundation-
    I have never really understood "sheer, lightweight foundations."  I mean, what's the point?  If I'm going to have a layer of make-up on my face, I want the "make me look like I have new skin formulation."  Which is what this foundation does.  I discovered the make-up line on Instagram, and realized that I could not only order a sample of it from their website, but if you send a picture to Katie B., she emails you back and tells you which shade to buy!  The sample arrived and was the perfect color match, and I loved the flawless skin result.  Also, it's buildable for even more coverage.  It's the best foundation I have ever used.