Fab Natural Cooking Staples

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After learning about the hidden sources of MSG in one of my favorite cooking ingredients was I was determined to find an alternative that was both natural and easy to use. I scoured the Internet looking for “All Natural” or “Organic” vegetable bouillon with no hidden MSG, but to no avail. Every time I thought I’d found one, I was disappointed by an ingredient like “yeast extract” or “malt extract” which are MSG indicators. After a thorough search I decided to try to make it myself.

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Lemon Dill Tuna Salad with Capers, Dates and Red Onion

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Because tuna is no longer a regular part of my diet, I haven’t had tuna salad in a while but lately I’ve been craving it. I try not to eat it often, because tuna is a fish that is high in mercury, but enjoying a little every once in a while (about once, maybe twice a month) seems to work for me.

Here is a recipe I conceptualized yesterday, while searching for quick healthy ingredients for lunch and dinner. I was craving something different than the typical creamy mayo based tuna salad with relish and onions. I wanted to create enjoyable dish that combined flavors I enjoy, for a twist on a lunchtime classic.

What I came up with is a lovely, light textured, versatile salad that will delight your taste buds, while filling your belly.

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Hydrate Naturally With Antioxidant Infused Waters

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I love water on it’s own, but I’m always looking for ways to make drinking my daily fluids a little more exciting. Sometimes I add lemon, lime or a few slices of cucumbers or berries to make my water more refreshing and increase it’s benefits. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different fruits, flowers and herbs and I’ve come up with four easy recipes that I love, that I think you will enjoy as well.

Cool Cucumber Mint

4 slices cucumber
1 or 2 thin slices of lemon
2 tablespoons or more dried peppermint
1 quart water

Promotes hydration, healthy digestion, detox, weight control, immunity and fresh breath. Peppermint is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic and is said to be good for headaches, upset stomach and menstrual pain.

Hydrating Hibiscus

4 slices cucumber
1 or 2 thin slices of lemon
2 tablespoons or more dried hibiscus flowers
1 quart water

Prevents dehydration, high levels of vitamin c help to boost immunity, promotes digestion, detoxification, weight management and cardiovascular health.

Blueberry Bliss

4 slices cucumber
1 or 2 thin slices of lemon
2 tablespoons or more fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon dried blueberry leaves (optional)
1 quart water

Provides an antioxidant boost, supports immune system, cardiovascular health, assists in in detoxification and helps to prevent dehydration.

Raspberry Refresher

4 slices cucumber 1 or 2 thin slices of lemon
2 tablespoons or more fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon dried raspberry leaves (optional)
1 quart water

Weight management, detoxifying and anti inflammatory; also raspberries contain antioxidants which help to support immunity, cardiovascular health.

Instructions

Fill your tea bag with the herbs or fruit and add cucumber slices and lemon to the your quart mason jar, and fill with water. Seal and refrigerate 12-24 hours until desired infusion is achieved, and drink. If you’re planning to make a couple day’s worth, or if you don’t plan on drinking the water immediately, remove the cucumber & lemon along with the tea bag after the initial 12-24 period. Because there are no preservatives (besides lemon) I prefer to drink the water within a few days.

l like to use either a reusable tea bag or t-sac bags in size 2. Although t-sac bags are disposable, they are made from chlorine free unbleached paper and are biodegradable, making then an environmentally friendly choice.

Environmental tip:
I hate waste so I usually eat the cucumber slices and throw the lemon and tea bag in the compost.

Give these recipes a try or choose your own ingredients to make a refreshing water blend. Let me know which is your favorite!

Best Face Forward: What is a Skin Condition?

Unlike your skin type which is due to genetics, most skin conditions are treatable issues that are typically a result of your physiology, lifestyle and environment–skin types cannot be changed, but skin conditions can be improved through proper care. Factors such as stress, pollution, hormones, alcohol intake, smoking, over-exfoliation, health and diet can cause or exasperate skin conditions and while some of these conditions are only temporary, others like rosacea, acne, eczema, and psoriasis tend to be more chronic conditions.

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DIY Herbal Lemon Spice Mouthwash

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Making your own mouthwash is a great way to improve your oral health
(and breath), avoid unnecessary (and sometimes scary) ingredients, all while saving money. The ingredients below were carefully chosen for their proven germ fighting benefits.

  • Apple cider vinegar is antiseptic and is often recommended by naturopathic professionals as a solution to bad breath.
  • Lemon essential oil is anti-viral, astringent, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and bactericidal.
  • Peppermint essential oil is a well known antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, as well as an excellent breath freshener.
  • Clove essential oil  is freshening, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and an analgesic.

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Raw Vanilla-Cinnamon Cashew Milk

 

I’m far from being vegan, but my desire to drink cows milk is next to non-existent these days. I still enjoy cheese and butter, but I prefer my milk to come from a nut. I used to buy almond milk from the store to eat in cereal, or mix with my smoothies, but with all the additives the use to obtain shelf life, and not to mention the cost; I thought it would be best to learn to make my own nut milks. Since cashews are my favorite, why not drink them? (lol)

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Raw Strawberry Oat Bars

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Nothing like juicy ripe strawberries and this raw vegan strawberry bar displays the bright red berry beautifully. This eye-pleasing recipe from Whole Living would make a yummy, gluten-free brunch appetizer. I mixed in a little raw cocoa powder into the date mixture for a decadent strawberries and chocolate treat.

Yield
Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Pulse dates, nuts, oats, and salt in a food processor until combined.

  2. Press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

  3. Mash half the strawberries and spread on top of date mixture. Top with remaining strawberries. Slice into rectangles.

Is your mouth watering like mine is? Try this recipe out and let me know what you think!

Recipe and photo source: www.wholeliving.com

Coconut Oil’s Amazing Beauty Uses

 

Coconut oil is one of my favorite cooking oils and I usually buy a huge tub of Extra Virgin Organic from Vitacost, because of the great price. Because I usually purchase such a large amount, I’ll divide it evenly into mason jars; keeping a few jars for cooking and the remainder to use on my hair and body. I’m almost convinced that coconut oil is a cure all and it is endlessly useful–I literally slather it from the top of my head, to the bottom of my feet. So I’m sure you can imagine the sheer delight I felt when I stumbled upon the article, ’10 Amazing Beauty Tricks With Coconut Oil‘ from Prevention, which highlights 10 ways to beautify yourself naturally, with coconut oil. I just had to share!

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Green Smoothies: Daily Boost In a Glass

I love green smoothies! They are a delicious way to get lots of necessary nutrients and fiber in one meal. It is also a great way to boost your energy every day. For me, a good smoothie is not sickeningly sweet, but just sweet enough, with a smooth and creamy texture that goes down easily. This green machine, featuring kale, mango, coconut and chia seeds has the perfect touch of sweet. It is easy to make and is packed with nutrition.

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3 Simple Ways to Ensure Healthy Nails

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Cracking, splitting, breaking. These three words are what most women complain about when describing their nails. I have three simple tips that will have your nails in tip-top shape, just in time for this spring’s bright manis.

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