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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Almond Power Snacks Recipe

Cara received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

I just love a good no-bake snack recipe. I mean, come on, don't we all? I am already thinking ahead to school starting next month, and I think these snacks would also make a fabulous addition to a healthy lunch. I know my son will love them!

Filled with energy, fiber and protein, Almond Moringa Power snacks require little prep time and are a super nutritious way to snack!

These snacks' signature ingredient, ORGANIC INDIA's Moringa Leaf Powder, is a vegan, gluten-free and organic formula packed with 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatory compounds, seven times the vitamin C in an orange and four times the vitamin B12 in one steak serving. Wow, right?

You really can't go wrong with these power snacks, and I hope you enjoy them!

Almond Moringa Power Snacks

What you will need:

1 tbsp Organic India Moringa Powder
16 dates, pitted
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup of cacao nibs
1 cup of raw almonds
1/2 cup chia seeds

-Combine ingredients in Blender or Food Processor until smooth
-Shape mixture into bite-sized pieces
-Place on plate and refrigerate until the pieces harden

So simple and easy!

You can watch a short video about how to make these healthy treats below:

If you are looking for other ways to incorporate the power of Moringa in your diet, Organic India also offers a unique product - Tulsi Moringa Tea. It is a powerful blend of 3 different Tulsi herbs, lemongrass and India's superfood moringa. This USDA certified organic tea and Non-GMO Project verified tea is a caffeine free blend with more vitamin A than carrots, more potassium than bananas, more calcium and protein than milk, more fiber than oats and more iron than spinach—all in one cup of tea! Now, that is a power drink!

Enjoy the snacks and have fun getting your Moringa on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Best 3 Tips to Keeping Teeth Healthy

 This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Proper dental hygiene is important. Besides cavities and gingivitis, poor dental hygiene can result in more serious problems. Since infections can happen below the gum-line and enter the bloodstream, any infection in the mouth can end up in the rest of the body. The condition of teeth and the gums signify whether something is wrong in the body. It’s essential to a person’s health, their breath and their self-image to keep their mouth clean. 

Here are three awesome tips for keeping teeth healthy:

1. It was once advised to brush after each meal—three times a day. However, since some food and drink can be acidic and teeth enamel can be weak, it is now being recommended that people wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after ingesting food and drink in order to avoid enamel loss. Swishing water around the mouth to dislodge food is effective until teeth can be brushed. Also, chewing gum and increasing the amount of water that can be drunk helps to reduce potential cavities. 

2. It’s just as important to get between the gums—if not more important than brushing teeth. It’s important to floss the teeth a few times per day. While many people learned to move floss back and forth between teeth, the proper way to floss is to move floss in an up and down motion to scrape off plaque. Waterpiks are highly useful in dislodging food from in between the teeth and getting beneath the gum-line. This can help to prevent deep dental cleanings down the road. 

3. Mouthwashes are a good way to cut down on the amount of bacteria that is in the mouth. Bacteria is the cause of dental problems. Even swishing the mouth with warm water and salt can help to kill bacteria. Oil pulling is attested by many to be effective at pulling out toxins from the mouth and helping to kill bacteria. Oil pulling is said to reduce allergies and provide fresher breath. I personally think that oil pulling is one of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy.

Visiting a Virginia Beach dentist is also important. Dentists are equipped with tools to discover potential problems in the mouth. If a dentist is not regularly seen, a problem can go undetected until it’s too late.

Keep those smiles beautiful with these easy tips!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top 5 Healthy, Gluten-Free Summer Recipes

As much as I love Summer, sometimes it is hard to find recipes you actually want to cook during the crazy Summertime heat. Being pregnant right now and the food aversions I still have is making it that much more tricky, so I have brought together my top five favorite recipes that will keep you cool, refresh you, and keep you and your family healthy and happy this summer!

1. Five Easy Paleo/Gluten Free Lunch Ideas: I am starting my list out by giving you five different options for lunches. Sometimes lunch can become so redundant. We get in a pattern of salmon every day or salads every day, and it is hard to get out of it. Refresh your palate with one of these five lunch options! You'll also find that these work awesome for the school year, which will be here before you know it!
2.  Zucchini "Bread"sticks: I don't know about you, but I usually have oodles of zucchini from my garden. They are full of vitamins and nutrients, and my hands-down favorite recipe for them are my Zucchini "Bread"sticks, were don't have any bread in them. They are gluten-free, Paleo, and delicious!! Oh, and I did I mention they only have 3 ingredients and 3 steps? Perfect for the lazy days of summer!
3. Cucumber Boats: These are another favorite of ours for several reasons. First off, they are unbelievably easy. Second of all, we have loads of fresh cucumbers all summer from our garden. Third, you can vary the recipe so easily to make it fit your mood or whatever ingredients you have on hand. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

4. Chicken Avocado Salad: Here's another 3 ingredient (plus spices) crowd pleaser that is so delicious you won't believe that it is still super healthy, Paleo, and gluten free! Serve it with lettuce wraps, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, zucchini slices...the choices are endless and so delicious!
5. One Ingredient "Ice Cream": Let's end this round up of yummy recipes with a sweet, but still healthy, treat! Since I try to stay away from dairy, this is the perfect way to get a cool, summer treat that tastes just like ice cream. My kids also love it! Have a few bananas getting nice and ripe on your cupboard? Throw them in your freezer and you are on your way to a sweet treat! 
 Feel like you're in the dog days of summer with your cooking? Try one or all of these recipes, and you will remember that cooking can be easy, healthy, and delicious! What are your favorite Summer recipes?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kit's Organic Fruit and Seed Snack Bars Review and Giveaway

Cara was provided product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

While I rarely recommend a snack bar, mostly because of the preservatives, high sugar, or other icky ingredients, I have found a new one today that I am really excited to add to my snacking choices and recommend to all of you!

Made by Clif Bar, the new Kit's Organic Fruit and Seed bars are not only delicious, but they pass all my high standards for a real, nutritious snack bar!

Kit’s Organic Fruit + Seed, is a new, healthy snack bar made with 100 percent organic fruit and seeds.
They are USDA-certified organic, low glycemic, gluten free, dairy free and soy free. I love that they are made with only 4-5 whole food ingredients each! Now that is a really nutritious snack.

I have been enjoying these bars after workouts, when I know I need the energy to work with my other personal training clients. They come in four delicious flavors: Apricot Sesame Seeds, Cherry Pumpkin Seeds, Lemon Vanilla Chia Seeds, Coconut Sesame Seeds. I think my favorite is the Lemon Vanilla Chia Seeds or Apricot Sesame Seeds. 

They really make a great snack with only 200 calories or less, and a good helping of fiber and protein. Now, you can try them out for yourself! 

We are giving away a sample pack of Kit's Organic Fruit + Seed bars to (2) lucky winners!

 If you can't wait that long to try them out, make sure to visit their website to order or visit your local Whole Foods or natural foods retailer.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun!

Living healthy natural lives is not always the easiest thing, which is why I started my blog - to inspire and help others live their best life healthfully and naturally. Friday Fun is my way of sharing a bit of my life with you, my readers and friends, and I hope you will be willing to share your thoughts and ideas with me too.

So, here we go!

In my life this week...
A lot to be thankful for! We went in to our midwife for our second appointment at 16 weeks. Since we weren't able to hear the baby's heartbeat at 12 weeks, I was anxious to hear it this time. After several minutes of searching, my midwife caught the heartbeat for about 2 seconds. But, that sweet sound immediately brought tears to my eyes!!

Also, after asking my midwife's opinion and reading up a bunch on the topic (this article is a good one), we decided that for the first time, we are NOT going to have any kind of ultrasound with this baby. With all three of our other children, we did have an ultrasound with each, mostly because I loved knowing the gender and feeling that extra bond with my baby. But, with this baby, we decided the possible risks are not worth it to us. I guess it comes back to the saying, "When you know better, you do better."

I am inspired by...
how God can change my attitude, give me enough strength, and calm my troubled heart. It is truly amazing how when I feel so beaten down at one moment, God can pick me up and bring me back to a place of peace and hope.

My favorite thing this week was...
besides hearing my baby's heartbeat, I think it was playing at the playground with my kids. I can't get enough of the rock climbing wall. :-)

What's working/not working for me...
Working -I am loving all the fresh produce of summer! I went strawberry picking last weekend, and the smell of fresh berries is intoxicating! I am also looking forward to blueberry picking maybe next week or the week after. Plus, my garden is growing well, and I am excited to pick some peas soon.

Not working - It is one of my family goals to make sure we eat supper together as a whole family. Between my husband's crazy schedule and my working in the evening, this has not been happening as often as I'd like. I really want to work on making a better effort to eat dinner as a family most, if not all, days of the week.

Questions/thoughts I have...
I cannot wait to hold a little baby in my arms again! Even though my youngest is only 21 month old, it seems like it has been forever since I have snuggled a newborn. I can't wait!

I'm reading...
The Freedom Writers Diary (so inspirational!), God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos by Keri Wyatt Kent, and I am still reading through one chapter of the Bible a day, starting in Matthew.

I'm cooking...
My pregnancy must-have are my Protein balls. I eat them throughout the day to help keep the nausea at bay. Besides that, I have been in love with chips and salsa. As for what I am actually cooking, well, Carrot Ginger Soup and Brown Rice, Crockpot Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and we finally figured out how to really make a stellar burger - don't handle the meat much, put a thumb print in the middle, cook in a pan, and add a little salt and a nice bit of pepper, only flip once. So yummy!

I'm grateful for...
nail cutters - I don't know how else I would keep my kids' fingers clean and their nails trimmed, sunshine, rain for my garden (still haven't had to water all summer), helpful neighbors, loving family, peppermint essential oil, clean drinking water, the way my older daughter mothers my younger one, my son's emotions after finishing Charlotte's Web, and my husband's hard work.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

This quote really struck me this week, and I am constantly trying to remember it...

"Sometimes I feel guiltier for what I'm not than thankful for what I am." Lysa Terkeurst

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Value of Nursing

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Nursing can be a rewarding and emotionally fulfilling career for those who enjoy helping others within the medical field. Not only is nursing beneficial for patients, but it also offers tangible benefits for those who have acquired the right degrees in this field. Recent nursing school graduates typically start off with higher salaries than their peers who have chosen to work in other industries. In addition, nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, making up the majority of growth in the health care industry. These numbers are expected to increase greatly through 2018, going up by about 500,000 additional jobs. This is due to an aging population requiring additional nurses in this work field.

The Benefits of Obtaining a Nursing Degree

In order to become a nurse in the health care field, those interested in this career choice will need to earn a degree to obtain a job. Not only are personal care nurses needed, but a Master of Science in Nursing can land graduates job positions in various nursing fields including pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing, medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, professional schools and the federal executive branch of nursing. The flexibility of job options available to nursing school graduates with master's degrees is endless; most opt to work in doctor's offices, hospitals and outpatient facilities.

Another great benefit available when students choose to receive the education needed for obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing degree is the ability to work a flexible schedule after entering the job field. Different shift schedules and times of the day may be available within hospitals and other medical facilities. Because health care is needed everywhere, those who opt to take advantage of education within the nursing field are able to travel the world and find locations in need of nurses.

Nursing Degree Comprehensive Coursework

Those who have already received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing and are looking to further their career may choose to pursue a more advanced nursing education. For example, the OU MSN degree program can help students to reach their full potential while taking advantage of convenient online classes. These types of degree programs are designed for active Registered Nurses, providing students with a comprehensive core curriculum that teaches more advanced nursing theories and practices. After completing clinical requirements, students will obtain their master's degree, putting them on the right path to succeed further in the health care field.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe and Giveaway

Cara received product to try out this recipe. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

Did you know July is National Ice Cream Month? While my favorite ice cream is coconut ice cream, I know many of you love the original dairy version.  
I am going to share a delicious recipe with you that you can use to make dairy or dairy-free Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches!! Sound delicious? Yes!!

This brand-new recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, included below, also celebrates another summer favorite - fresh strawberries. If you haven't been to your nearest strawberry farm yet, now is the time to hurry over there. I just picked fresh strawberries last weekend, and they are worlds better than any store bought varieties - so fresh and packed with nutrients! Add them to ice cream, and you will have a treat everyone will love!

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream (Yield 1½ Quarts) 
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and washed 
¾ cup sugar 
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract 
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1½ cups heavy whipping cream (or full fat coconut milk)
1 cup whole milk (also replace with full fat coconut milk)
In a 4 quart glass measuring cup, add berries, sugar, vanilla and lemon extracts, and salt. Smash with a potato masher; stir in cream and milk; set aside. 

Assemble ice cream maker. Turn ice cream maker on and pour ice cream mixture into *frozen container. Let mix until ice cream thickens, about 20 minutes. 

Transfer ice cream into an air tight container; freeze for several hours, or for a firmer ice cream, freeze overnight. Scoop ice cream, place between 2 cookies and gently press. 

Or, for a prefect ice cream round; line a 9x13-inch pan with foil then evenly spread ice cream with a rubber spatula; cover and freeze overnight. Then use a cookie cutter to cut desired diameter of ice cream rounds and place between 2 cookies. 
*Follow manufactures directions for freezing container, 24 hours or longer is ideal.
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies 
(Makes about 3 Dozen) 
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
⅓ cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed) 
½ teaspoon ground cardamom 
½ teaspoon salt 
¾ cup (1¼ sticks) butter, softened 
2 cups powdered sugar 
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
1½ tablespoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract 
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract 
1 egg 
¼ cup unsulphured original molasses 
¼ sugar to dip glass bottom
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 light-colored heavy baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. 
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, cardamom, and salt, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate extracts; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in egg. Add molasses; beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in three batches, beating after each addition until combined. 

Roll 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, lightly press each cookie flat. Bake one sheet pan at a time on center rack until done, about 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
*Recipe courtesy of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.

Check out these tips for making and personalizing your own homemade ice cream sandwiches:
  • Dress it up: Roll the sides of finished ice cream sandwiches in toasted coconut or nuts to add color and texture.
  • Chill out: Keeping your homemade ice cream cold is the secret to a sandwich that won’t fall apart or get soggy. Take the time to re-freeze ice cream between steps - your patience will be rewarded with perfect sandwiches every time.
  • Keep them fresh: Wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap immediately after building each sandwich. Keep them in the freezer until just before serving.

We are giving away (1) 2 oz Fairtrade Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to (1) lucky winner!
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