The Blissful Blueberry

a journey into mindful living and wellness

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Battle of the breads: Which Paleo bread will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

I’ve been on a hunt.  A hunt for the most gluten-y tasting sandwich bread that is actually Paleo. Darn near impossible, I know.

Up until now I’ve been happy with the store-bought gluten-free version of bread. But, now that I’m trying to avoid preservatives and almost all grain, it just wasn’t cutting it. 

The problem: recipes on Pinterest don’t always work and Paleo ingredients aren’t cheap.

So, I decided to be judicious and try four different recipes that weren’t  too expensive to make. All four actually worked out to be less than the store-bought loaves I usually grab, so a step in the right direction!

I had to pull myself away from this guy to start the day and start the baking…

Shelties have the best smiles

I know, tough, right? :)

First up: a recipe from Purely Twins.  The only ingredients are plantains and eggs, so I thought I would start with the easiest one. 

The photos on the website looked spongy, but normal. 

Eh. I’m not sure what went wrong, but mine came out gritty. Perhaps it’s the fact that it calls for 7-8 oz of plantains, and mine were just cut up really small but not smushed? It didn’t specify how to cut or measure them exactly. 😉

There’s also a video on the page, but I hate watching video tutorials. Who has the time? 

Still edible though! Just really thin. Perhaps they’re meant to be put on a cookie sheet and not in a bread pan? 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Well, looky here. Look what tastes great with some maple cream. :) You really could put maple cream on anything and it would work miracles. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

The butter we will save for another one. :)

Next up: a recipe from Paleo Grubs

This one is a more traditional recipe. Flaxseed meal, almond butter and coconut flour. I’m a bit hesitant of coconut flour-based recipes though because they can be overpowering and sweet. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It’s thicker than the last one and without a weird texture. Moving in the right direction! :)

It is a little on the sweet side though and it didn’t rise very high and it had  a  crackly surface. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Looks like a turkey, doesn’t it? Weird. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

How about some Irish butter to offset that sweetness? Worked like a charm! It’s tangy-ness is the perfect balance. (Nosh nosh)

Still, not worth the hassle to make it all of the time. I can’t ALWAYS douse it with butter. 

Third on the docket: a recipe from Guilty Kitchen.  It’s pretty much the same as the last one. But different. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Not as cracked top. A little firmer and a little less sweet.

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It rose a little higher, too!

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Here’s how the first three stack up in a row. You can tell that the third one definitely has an edge on looks and size. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

This one calls for some homemade strawberry chia jam! Yum! Divine! This one has top points. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

One for me, one for the hubs.

And last on the list: a recipe from The Seasoned Homemaker.  Again, very similar ingredients, but this one required a little more leg work with whipped egg whites and a pan of water.   (Oh, how very long it took to fill a pan with water and stick in the oven.) :)

It also used milk kefir, which I’d never bought before–because of the whole trying-to-cut-back-on-dairy thing. But, it’s fermented so I bought some. So tart!

A little darker than the others. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It was a little sweet, so I thought I should add some goat cheese and level it off. Divine! 

I think this one would work for non-sandwiches just fine!

But, the third one wins for overall flavor, texture and usability! 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

I might attempt, on another weekend, a rice flour-based bread to get even more into the sandwich-like realm, but then I’d be putting a grain in my mouth. :) Naughty! Perhaps necessary, though, for sandwich sanity. 

These four (now in the freezer!) will keep me busy for a while though. I’ll be using one of them this week for sure with some tuna salad for my lunches! Yay!

Now, I’m hungry. Maybe I’ll make an extra one for me as a treat for getting my lunches ready. :)

Anyone have some healthful sandwich bread recipes that don’t call for corn or wheat? Please feel free to share! 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will "rise to the top"?

 

 

Social Media Interaction for the Newsroom

I’m now officially over two months into the new gig: Interactive Media Manager at a local news station. As a quick learner and avid researcher, I can officially offer up what I’ve learned. :) 

In the weeks leading up to my first day on the job, I read, read and read topics on social media and web-based journalism.  Best book? The Complete Social Media Community Manager’s Guide: Essential Tools and Tactics for Business Success.

The things that have helped me the most, though, were insider tips – things that were specific to newsrooms – and those were difficult to find. 

The problem with generic digital marketing tips and social media for newsrooms tips is that your market is always going to be different. We have a heavy 25-34 age range, but one of our sister stations is 55-64.  They will need to focus their attention on Facebook and the website, but we have to have greater breadth. 

In an older age bracket, though, like our sister station, you really need to think about how to target teens. That really should weigh on everyone’s minds. So, when you hear about a new app that kids are using, play with it, research it and have one of your younger reporters try it out. :)

Below is a quick guide to all of the platforms we currently use for stories and trade tricks I’ve picked up along the way. 

websitewer

To get even more in depth, I created an optimal workflow for the newsroom. Traditionally, it has always been broadcast first, so breaking out of that will be difficult. We’re not there yet, but trying to get as many people on board with this plan below will work wonders for productivity, reducing job overlap and overall viewer/user satisfaction. 

websitewer

Lastly, have fun. The social media universe is a weird place. Moderating comments is hilarious – yet heartbreaking. 

My key? Have a tab for all of those platforms open in your browser. Put them in the order that you use them. Mine are:

  • The website main page
  • bitly
  • Tweetdeck (re-tweet from staff list as stories come in)
  • our CMS
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Storify
  • YouTube
  • My mobile phone has Instagram and SnapChat ready

What do I use for analytics? 

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Sprout Social ($20)
  • Trending lists (Google -What’s Hot, Twitter #s, Buzzfeed, Yahoo trends)
  • Free Cyfe 
  • Free Sum All

What do you all use for analytics? What trips and tricks have you picked up on in the field? 

Happy tweeting!

Oh, and the key to a great morning? Coffee with whipped coconut cream. Because taking care of yourself at a desk job is oh-so-very important. :) 

Coconut cream

From frozen to oven: Easy delicious turkey!

 
From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Considering this bird wasn’t brined first, it was probably one of the moistest I have ever made–and for sure the easiest. 

Hannaford had turkey on sale for only 77 cents a pound or something ridiculous like that so I had to buy it. But, it was Sunday and I can’t cook anything Monday through Friday because of my work schedule. I need to do EVERYTHING on Sundays. 

Dilemma? How to thaw the bird. 

I Googled how to rapidly thaw a turkey. Of course, it would take all day even in the sink and plop on cook time and this thing wouldn’t be ready until midnight.

So, I know I’ve cooked chicken straight from frozen–why not a giant turkey, too? 

Thanks, Google! Many articles suddenly appeared on how to do this life-saving task.

There’s even some weird science about how the breast takes longer to thaw because it has greater mass, which levels out the varied cooking times because it will then take the same amount of time to cook as the the legs. So, the breast is not overcooked and dry like it usually is (because usually you have to wait for the legs to finish cooking.)They’re all cooked and tender and moist and done at the same time!

Science!

Besides avoiding the raw juice pathogens, you also get science. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Step One: Find a pan. 

Step Two: Preheat oven to 325. 

Step Three: Plop frozen bird in pan breast side down. (Don’t worry if you have a thermometer on the breast–it will get flipped later.)
From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

After three and a half hours in the oven, pull out the giblets. I was actually amazed how not hot, yet also not messy, this was. 

I’m so used to disgusting thawed turkey juice and grime going everywhere that this is the cleanest my hands and my counters have ever been while making a turkey dinner. Phew! 

Now, flip that bird!

This is when you can add any seasonings to both sides–pre-flip and post-flip. I didn’t add anything at all to it. Purity for a first test of a recipe…

Next time I’ll probably do some rubbing at this point or throw some citrus and herbs inside, but it tasted delicious on its own!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

There’s that thermometer! I usually cook whole chicken and turkey breast side down so all of the fat juices go into it, but, when a thermometer is involved, I change the rules. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Now, the wait. Total time? 4 1/2 hours for a 12-pound bird. Not bad, not bad. I thought it would take forever, but it was quite quick. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Did I mention how moist it was? Crisp skin? Ugh. I need it again. 

Our least favorite part is carving because we haven’t mastered that yet. Some day! Maybe I will learn it and do a tutorial! Pshhh. Wishful thinking. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Oh, and I almost forgot to plan for sides dishes because I was so turkey focused. So, while the hub was carving, I scrubbed two sweet potatoes, stabbed them with forks and popped them in the microwave for ten minutes. 

Squish them, add some ghee and cinnamon and you’re good to eat!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

I might have stacked the plates a little too high with meat, but we were starving. :) Don’t try to eat this much at home, kiddies. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

That’s it! Enjoy! Now, no more worries about where to  keep the thawing turkey in the fridge or gross germs getting everywhere on your counter. The lazy man’s turkey!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

From frozen to oven: Easy delicious turkey
How to cook a frozen turkey
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Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Ingredients
  1. Turkey
  2. Desired seasonings (rosemary, thyme, sage, lemons, salt and pepper are good bets)
  3. 2 sweet potatoes
  4. Ghee and cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place turkey breast side down in low-sided roasting pan (if you have one).
  3. Cook for 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove giblets. Season. Flip bird breast side up. Season.
  5. Place back in the oven for an addition 1, 1 1/2, or 2 hours depending on the size of your turkey. (Mine was 10-12 lbs-ish)
  6. While carving, place scrubbed and stabbed sweet potatoes in the microwave for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Season with butter or ghee and cinnamon.
Adapted from About Food
Adapted from About Food
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy breakfast)



Spicy and healthy eggs a diavolo

Oh.my.word. this is good. The original recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, which is by far my favorite Paleo cookbook. Really imaginative and out-of-my-comfort-zone recipes. Worth it! 

So, I already had breakfast when I decided to make this because I was binge photo taking for my blog. But, I ate it all–and wanted more. :) 

If you are in a breakfast rut, MAKE THIS NOW! You could modify it to make it even easier, but it was over and done with in under 20  minutes and most of the time wasn’t active, so you can sip your coffee and pet your menagerie like I did while it’s in the oven. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Even the dog was jealous of this meal. He’s intense. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

For your mise en place, gather some chopped onions. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Then just add some ghee to a skillet. Start those onions sizzling! 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)When the onions are soft, add in a protein. I used a local gluten-free sausage (Dino’s). Right about now, the smell will kill you with hunger pangs. The kitchen was heavenly.

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Add in some pasta sauce. We had some Newman’s Own in the larder that needed using, so I did that, but if you want a sugar-free, Paleo-fied one, you can always just mix some tomato paste, tomato sauce and spices in a little bowl and pour that in. 

If you’re like me and like things hot, this is where you add in the red pepper flakes. Lots and lots! Any other spices you want to add in can go in here. I know a lot of people enjoy nutmeg in saucy items–or nutmeg in everything. I’m a big fan of smoked paprika, but this dish doesn’t need any of that. Its simplicity is beauty.

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Once it’s good and cooked down, put it in an oven-safe bowl and create a little bowl in the meat mixture. If you add a lot of sauce, this could be difficult, but delicious. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a pocket, but it looks cute. Just plop an egg on top if you need to. 

Pop it into the oven for a bit. 10-15 minutes. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

It comes out looking like this. Oooh yeah. A little runny center. Ahhhh, as I type this, I’m ready to make it again. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

You can eat it like a purist and not scramble it all up, but that delicious yolk demands some spreading.

Then chow down and try not to make everyone else in the house jealous. Or you can make them some, too, I guess. Sharing is caring.

But if you wake up 3 hours before a husband–and don’t have children–breakfast doesn’t need to be shared. :) Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy breakfast)
Serves 4
A quick and healthy breakfast that you can make for yourself or for the whole family. This recipe feeds 4, but you can modify it to only feed yourself! :)
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs. ghee (or any fat)
  2. 1 onion (diced)
  3. 1 pound sausage (or any protein)
  4. 2 cups pasta or marinara sauce
  5. 1 tbs. red pepper flakes
  6. 4 large free-range eggs
  7. pepper and salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the sausage, breaking it up. Cook until no pink is left.
  5. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
  6. Add the sauce. Cook until simmers.
  7. Divide the mixture into oven-safe bowls or ramekins.
  8. Make a well in the center of each. Crack an egg into them. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on top.
  9. Place in the oven and bake until the yoke is cooked to your liking. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

 

These were a huge hit at work! And with me. I devoured this. Like little magic balls of bitter chocolate. 

The original recipe came from The Smoothie Lover, but I took out the egg. Why? Because I ran out.  So, if you have the egg, I suggest you follow their recipe and add in that one egg. :) More protein! But, then it makes it 6 ingredients. The first time I made this recipe I used the egg, so I was really nervous to make them without. But still delicious!

Monsieur Cupidon celebrates his birthdayThis little guy recommends eating this with a tall glass of Cabernet. I agree.  He knows what he’s talking about – as his name is Monsieur Cupidon and he’s a wine and chocolate expert. 

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

Here it is. The full ingredients. Not much to it, is there? Two avocados, coconut sugar, dark cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips and baking soda. And the egg if you want it. I didn’t taste a difference, really, so pop that egg in!

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

Blend the avocado and coconut sugar. I used the food processor bowl of the Ninja. After you do this, blend in the egg if using. 

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

Mix in the dark cocoa powder and the chips. Use a mini cookie scoop to portion them out. 

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

Eat, drink and take a nap! Lucky cats just sleep all day. :) 

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies

5-ingredient dark chocolate avocado cookies
Serves 18
A healthful and rich cookie dream!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. the flesh of 2 small ripe avocados (3/4 cup)
  2. 1/2 cup coconut sugar (low glycemic index!)
  3. 1 egg (optional)
  4. 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (local co-op has high quality and low price)
  5. 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used 90%, but anything above 75% will work.)
  6. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Using any kid of mixer you have, process the avocado and the sugar. (Optional egg would be added here.)
  3. Mix in the cocoa and baking soda.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, place a small amount on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes (I did 10.) or until cookies aren't so darn gooey.
  7. Cool before eating.
Notes
  1. You can use banana instead of avocado, but the avocado adds healthy fat!
Adapted from The Smoothie Lover
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Nutrition-packed Breakfast Smoothie

Nutrition-packed Breakfast Smoothie

I’ve been drinking these daily. I know, I know: it’s cold outside and a hot breakfast–especially eggs–would be a delight. But, I hate taking vitamins, so this is my solution. 

The new job is going well and I might be starting to get into a groove, although I’m always early going in and late leaving. But, the job is never finished! 

I might even feel like exercising in the morning one of these days…Weird thing is: I have been waking up at 5:30 a.m. but I don’t need to leave until 8 at the earliest to get to work on time. 

If I could take pictures of what I do with that time that wouldn’t come out all blurry I would. :) It goes like this. 

  • I make a cup of coffee with coconut oil.
  • I check my email.
  • I make a cup of nettles tea with a lemon and a dash of cinnamon. 
  • I play with the dog and feed him breakfast. 
  • I watch the news and check Facebook.
  • The dog hops on my lap.
  • We look at Pinterest until 6:30 a.m.
  • I make the smoothie.
  • We go back to cuddling and looking at the interwebs until 7 a.m.
  • Then I get ready. 

The Hobo and Christy cuddle times is the highlight of my day. But clearly I could fit exercise in there. But I haven’t. :( Maybe only 3 times in the past month. Which means I have been shoving it in at the end of the day after I get home between 6:30 and 7 p.m. I fall asleep between 9 and 10 p.m. 

The week flies by! 

I make this smoothie, in part, because I can’t seem to find time to eat during the day or at night. I need all the help I can get with vitamins and goodies. 

As you can see below, there are a bunch of ingredients thrown in, but you can modify them to your liking (and to your cupboard!) as needed.Nutrition-packed Breakfast Smoothie

The Green Superfood tub has been a lifesaver for helping me avoid taking vitamins in pill form. I did heavy research on which one was the best. The flavor is imperceptibly healthy. :) 

The Aloe Vera Juice  pictured in my photo is not the best brand for quality, but I needed it fast and didn’t want to wait for an Amazon shipment. I linked to an ideal choice. 

The Sunsweet Naturals Suprafiber I hunted for as well. My tummy doesn’t do well with aggressive fibers, so I found one that was psyllium and grain free. It’s fruit-based! 

Everything else is “standard” smoothie fair. Flax milk, ground flax seed, almond butter (that’s only almonds, nothing else), frozen berries, and spinach. 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

The liquids go in. I don’t measure. I just pour in a approximately 1/4 cup each of the Aloe Vera Juice and the Flax Seed Milk. 

Oh, I recently switched from Hemp milk to Flax Seed milk because it had fewer ingredients and seemed more natural. I bought the one that said it had added protein. The protein is from peas! :) This product is great for getting those omegas in!

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

Sprinkle in some delicious fiber powder. Then add in the Green Superfood! 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

Sprinkle in the ground flax seed. (I grind my own to save money.)

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

Pop in some beautiful frozen raspberries. Actually, I usually use blueberries but I was all out, so I dipped into the hubby’s raspberries.

Adding-in-the-almond-butter

Spinach! Then the quintessential almond butter. Adds creaminess and deliciousness. 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

Blend in whatever you have! This is a really old mini blender that could use some handscrubbing TLC. 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothieAnd voila! Perfection. Well, I lied. I made this yesterday and was out of bananas. So I thought I could make it without a banana for once and it would be extra, extra healthy and good. 

It was extra, extra healthy, but not good. So, this sat in my fridge until today–when I bought groceries. :) 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

This big guy is important. Oh so very important to the overall texture and enjoyability of a smoothie. Don’t forget it or try to do without! You’ll regret it!

You can always cut out the raspberries or do half of a banana if you want to cut back on the fruit sugars. 

Nutrition-packed breakfast smoothie

Now, drink up for your health! 

The dog is staring at me as I type. He looks really needy, so I’ll finish this up! :)

I’ll be experimenting with more flavors in smoothies as the months go on: 

  • pineapple + banana + coconut milk

So check back for more!

Do you have any favorite combinations? 

Nutrition-packed Breakfast Smoothie
Serves 1
All of the vitamins and minerals you need to start your day off right!
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Prep Time
2 min
Prep Time
2 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup Aloe Vera juice
  2. 1/4 cup Flax seed milk (or hemp, almond, or coconut milk)
  3. 1 tbs. Vitamin powder (I use Green Superfood)
  4. 1 tbs. Fiber powder (I use Sunsweet Suprafiber)
  5. 1 tbs. Ground flax seed
  6. 1/4 cup berries (raspberries, blueberries or blackberries)
  7. 1/4 cup baby spinach (or kale!)
  8. 2 tbs. almond butter (just almonds--no other ingredients)
  9. 1 banana (or 1/2)
Instructions
  1. You can blend all of these in waves since they might not all fit in un-blended form. I usually stick with liquids first, so nothing sticky gets stuck where the blades can't reach. That's it!
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Clean Eating Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bakes

Cleaning eating chocolate peanut butter no-bakes

So much craziness in my world this past week. New job, husband out of town, quit sugar, blah, blah. Ugh. I’m sleepy.  Now that I’ve sugar detoxed, I think it’s time to start adding some healthy sugar back in! :) Phew!

My mom has a recipe that she gave me for Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bakes that I’ve been using forever. It’s tried and true–never steered me wrong. My husband loves it. mom's recipe

But, it calls for 2 cups of sugar. And peanut butter. I know, I know. I titled this with peanut butter. But I want people to know you CAN make it with peanut butter–and it’s just like the old fashioned one–but better with almond butter. 

This might be my new favorite go-to dessert. It doesn’t look the prettiest, but they are a healthier dessert than most and have plenty of protein and fiber! 

Cocoa nibs -dark chocolate

Some dark chocolate cocoa nibs.

local maple syrup

 Only the best local maple syrup!

coarse sea salt

Some good trusty salt. 

hemp milk

 Hemp milk. So good and good for you! Look at those omegas!

hemp milk

 Coconut milk would work well, too. Just make sure you buy unsweetened. 

add it in a pot

 Add them all in a pot with some vanilla extract. Bring it to a boil. 

soft boil.

done

It gets really dark and delicious looking! Once it hits a boil, take it off the stove and add in the rest. 

almond butter

Freshly ground almond butter! Yum!

oatmeal

Fresh cut oats! (non-instant)

stir it up

It’s all goopy! Once mixed, wait until it cools to start playing with it. Hot hands!

pan with wax paper

Get your pan ready. Then using a cookie scoop, drop them on down. That’s it! Super fast, delicious, and mostly healthy. :) 

Clean eating chocolate almond butter no-bakes

Clean eating chocolate peanut butter no-bakes

Clean Eating Chocolate Almond Butter No-bakes
Yields 30
A re-make of the traditional no-bake
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup pure maple syrup
  2. 1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened hemp milk)
  3. 1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa nibs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  6. 3 cups organic, gluten-free non-instant oats
  7. 1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut butter) :)
Instructions
  1. Add the first 5 ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Immediately after reaching boiling, pull off the burner.
  3. Add in nut butter. Mix well.
  4. Add in oats. Mix well.
  5. Wait until it cools.
  6. Drop onto a waxed cookie sheet to cool.
  7. Ready to eat as soon as they harden up!
Adapted from my momma
Adapted from my momma
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

 

 

All-natural homemade face & body soap (microwaved!)

Handmade all-natural soap bars for the face and body

Well, I always start a hobby–then I never finish it. I purchased goat’s milk, shea butter and aloe vera glycerin soap bases  more than 5 months ago and they had been sitting in a box somewhere wasting away. Meanwhile, I would pin, pin, pin recipes on Pinterest for homemade soap.

Pinning is really great for browsing and shoveling away to-do lists. But not really great for getting anything done. It is really relaxing though! :)

One day,  over a month ago, I did a trial run. It turned out gross. I added too much rose petal and let it sit in the base too long before adding it to the mold. Color leached out and the bars came out an icky murky brown. Not good for looking pretty! :(

It took me a while to decide to try again. The real reason I took the plunge: I hated having the soap bases lying around. I am an organizing fool!

Here is how it went this time around.

Supplies used:

  • Some additives (honey, lemon and orange peel, rose petals, essential oils, etc.)
  • Soap base
  • Big bowl for mixing
  • Molds (I used cut plastic milk cartons, but cardboard ones work well too.  So will anything that has a shape basically that you wouldn’t mind your soap looking like.)
  • Additional item if you want/need: alcohol in a spray bottle to spray after you put the soap into the mold. It pops the bubbles.

Chopping soap base with a saw

I chopped the soap base with a saw. :) Man tools? Pshaw!

Place chopped soap into microwaveable bowl

Always use a microwaveable bowl when using the microwave, kids. 😉 Also, I don’t mind using food bowls because it’s just soap. I use that on bowls all the time to clean them. So, duh.  Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir between intervals. It needs to be completely melted.

Add in the fun stuff! Rose petals and hips (mine are from the co-op), local honey and any essential oils you like! I used Peace & Calming for its zen qualities, and lavender and frankincense for their skin-cleaning properties. Essential Oils Kit to get you started!

Rose petals and hips for the soap

Add in local honey

Essential oils used in soaps

Then you just pour it into the base. Make sure to stir it extra well so nothing settles at the bottom!

Pour the soap mixture into the mold

I did mine in rounds: used one base type with an oil and some citrus, one with a different oil, blah, blah. I was able to layer them in the same mold because of the time delay between batches (5 minutes or so with chopping, microwaving and mixing).

You can add the soap in layers in the mold

For the amount of soap base purchased, it really doesn’t give you all that much, does it? :( If I do this again, I’m buying in bulk! (And going with the shea. It looks the best!)

Carefully cut the soap out of the mold

Cut the mold off carefully if you didn’t grease it first with cooking spray.

Cut them according to your own desire for size

More sawing! :) I cut them into halves after making the initial length cuts. 

Saw the bars with a hacksaw

^ Top right two are aloe vera base, lemon peels, rose, and lavender bars.

Rose, orange, and Shea bars

^Shea base, orange peel, rose petals, lavender, and Peace & Calming bars.

Goat's milk and honey soap

^Goat’s milk, honey, rose, lemon, and frankincense bars.

Handmade all-natural soap bars for the face and body

Now, it’s time for packaging if you’re looking to give them away or to sell. New supplies list!

Supplies used:

  • Any form of wrapping (parchment, packing paper, etc.)
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Writing instrument

Materials used for packaging the soap

Now, those fancy pens I have pictured didn’t work on the parchment paper. Bummer. :( So I pulled out my handy chalkboard pencil! Finally! I knew I bought it for a reason.

Wrap the soap in paper and twine

You don’t want to put down the entire ingredient list, so just write down the major points based on what it looks like :)

Write on the paper anything related to what you put in it

Shea and citrus

The motherload of homemade all-natural soap

So, there it is! A successful attempt at soap making–but not the crazy Fight Club way. The simple microwave way.

Anyone else try making soap before? Success? Waste of money for ROI? Cool recipes? Keep me in the loop. :)

If you’d rather buy local than make it yourself, check out The  Mustard Seed’s awesome natural soaps. I did a spotlight on them a few months ago.

 Making homemade soap in the microwave

Green Cleaning: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Vinegar

Green Cleaning Supplies

Yay! My sister is here from Virginia. Wootity woot! I love the holidays mostly for the family time–and a little bit for the presents. (I might be lying about the “little”.) She and her husband flew in a few days ago and it has been non-stop driving around to the parents’ house and back to my house. So, this post I meant to do forever ago has been in my queue for a while.

If you’re anything like me, when you know someone will be staying in your house, you go a little crazy with cleaning. Now, my house is generally very picked up and clean. But, with a dog and two kitties, the floors become hairy and dirty quickly. :( Blech. I try to keep up with it. Try. It is nearly impossible.

When someone comes, it is such a welcome event because I’m forced to do a ceiling to floor cleaning adventure. This one included heating grates, walls and windows. It took two days to do it all. It also took a dust mask. My allergies had been acting up because of the kitties–and I didn’t want them to get worse. Dust mask! Oh.my.word.  it gets hot under it.

Because I’m a hippie freak, I like all of my cleaning products to be natural, homemade and easy. So here we go!

Wood Floor Cleaner: 

1/2 cup vinegar

1 gallon water

A few drops of essential oils. My preference for oils is Purification (or any clean-the-air type), lavender, Peace and Calming (for ambiance), and Thieves (for removing icky stuff).

Put it all in a bucket and start mopping. 

Green Mopping

All-purpose cleaner:

2 tbs. vinegar

1 tsp. borax

Pure-Castile soap

A little hot water

A few drops of essential oils–preferably Thieves.

Shake it up in a spray bottle and go!

 

Furniture polish:

1/4 cup vinegar

A few drops of essential oils–any will work.

A few drops of grapeseed oil

(Can also do oil, vinegar and vodka if you’re feeling frisky.) :)

 

Green Furniture Polish

Window and Wall Cleaner:

1/2 tsp. pure-Castile soap

3 tbs. vinegar

2 cups water

Stir into a bucket and use rags for cleaning. (We have a “rag bag” above the dryer.)

 

Bonus cleaner!

Soft Scrub:

Baking soda

Pure-Castile soap

 

So, those are my go-to cleaners. And here’s my go-to look for cleaning. A creepy dark selfie with terrified eyes.

Dust mask for allergies

And here’s what the animals do while I clean:

Cute animals

What are your favorite all-natural cleaners? I’d love to expand mine in case any items aren’t in the cupboard. (I always have vodka though.) 😛

Our local place, the Mustard Seed, has TONS of green cleaning products that don’t require time to make. :) I trust them when I’m feeling lazy. I spotlight them in a previous post. Check them out, for sure!

 

Green Cleaning

 

Slow-cooker Cocoa & Carrot Chili

 

Slowcooker Cocoa and Carrot Chili

The snow is falling fiercely today. The day before Thanksgiving–apparently Mother Nature wants to make sure everything looks festive for us! 😛 Looking out my window I can see no more grass. Luckily, I had this one garden project to finish this morning, which I did, just before the snow started falling. (I’m attempting a garden compost project I pinned on Pinterest forever ago.)

Snow bird

In spirit of this cold snap here in lovely Herkimer, I decided to make some chili. I had discovered a recipe in Practical Paleo that I wanted to make, but it needed some serious modifications to account for my budget, items in my fridge, and my low-FODMAP needs. But, it was a solid foundation. Not even the title will be recognizable though!

Thankfully, I am a traitor vegetarian because low-FODMAP calls for no beans. I lived on beans as a vegetarian; now, frozen chicken. Slightly more expensive. But less damaging gut-wise for sure. This recipe omits the beans and adds in plenty of veggies and lean meat to keep the health benefits high.

Ground-beef-for-the-chili

In the original recipe, it called for bison. I’m not sure even where to buy bison, but I wanted to keep it red meat, so I went with lean ground beef. I decided to keep it clumpy so it could turn out like little meat chunks when it was done. Mmm…meat chunks.

Carrots-for-health!

My carrots were starting to go a little south in the fridge, so I knew I needed to use them up quickly. The original recipe called for butternut squash and onions (high-FODMAP), so in went carrots, trusty ol’ spinach, and red pepper (hiding under the spinach).

Spice-blend-prep

Boy, do I love making spice mixes. I’ll sniff and sniff and sniff until I feel a little dizzy. So pretty. So fun. This was a mix of smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin (original called for chipotle powder [didn’t have it]), cinnamon, cocoa powder, sea salt and pepper. The original also called for garlic (high-FODMAP), so I omitted it. But, as most people love garlic, if you have it, add it (3 smashed cloves).

All of this lovely spice was added to a big can of crushed tomatoes. The original called for diced, but I was all out. That seems like it might hold up better in a slowcooker, but I really enjoyed the texture of mine, so go with what’s in your cupboard. In 6 hours, I’m sure it all looks like crushed tomatoes.

Pre-cooked-cocoa-chili

Plop it all into the slowcooker. And set it and forget it–or whatever that infomercial says! 😛 While it cooked, I tossed the frisbee with the dog, watched the kitties try to jump off of things, and watched the news. And probably a lot of other things because I let it go for 6 hours–although if doing ground beef (instead of cubed meat) and crushed tomatoes, you could probably do less time. I just got antsy to get it going.

Cocoa-Chili

Voila! Delicious and smoky (with a bit of heat) chili. My husband said it’s his favorite chili I’ve made so far. High compliments! Flourish with a cinnamon stick for prettiness and tortilla chips for crunch.

And to melt your heart with your mouth: here’s a kitty mouth! And kitty cuddle!

kitty-mouth

Kitties at rest-ish.

Slow Cooker Cocoa and Carrot Chili
Serves 4
A bean-free healthy, smoky, spicy chili that can't be beat!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs smoked paprika
  2. 2 tbs chili powder
  3. 1 tbs cumin powder
  4. 1 tbs cinnamon
  5. 1 tbs cocoa powder
  6. 1 1/2 tbs sea salt
  7. 2 tsp black pepper
  8. 28 oz. crushed tomatoes (or cubed or fresh [4 cups])
  9. 1 1lb. lean ground beef (or bison)
  10. 1 small package baby carrots (or 4 large, cut into smaller pieces)
  11. 2 cups spinach (instead of carrots and spinach, try sweet potatoes, zucchini--or anything yummy)
  12. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  13. Crushed tortilla chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix all of the spices.
  2. After mixed, add in the tomatoes.
  3. Place the beef and vegetables in the slowcooker, and cover with the tomato mixture.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  5. Serve with crushed tortilla chips.
Adapted from Practical Paleo
Adapted from Practical Paleo
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/
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