Saturday, February 22, 2014

Traditional Medicinals Steep The Stress Away tea sampler review

 Hey guys! Have you ever tried tried Traditional Medicinals tea? I had always seen it at Target, and Meijer, and had always wanted to try it, but I wasn't sure which one to choose. They have so many teas for health and wellness, I just can't decide which ones to try. That's where samplers come in!
I LOVE tea. I drink a hot cup of tea probably 3 or 4 times a day, and I like finding organic, caffeine free, herbal teas these days because I feel really jittery if I have more than just my morning coffee caffeine in a day. I really like rooibos tea, and especially chai tea, but I am trying to expand into more healing, herbal teas such as detox teas, and even teas to help with digestion such as lemon and ginger, which I love.

I am picky about brands of tea that I drink because of the pesticides and "natural flavorings", and even soy lecithin that a lot of popular brands contain, and it is difficult to find brands that do not use these ingredients.
Luckily I got the chance to try a sampler of Traditional Medicinals and it came just in time.

 I received this kit sometime around Christmas, and some of you may know I was struggling with stress from being the only memeber of the household that was working, and also a repetitive motion injury in my elbow, so I REALLY wanted to try these to see if they would help!

This kit contains 3 relaxation teas:
* Organic Nighty Night-" helps to relax, and get a good night's sleep"
* Organic Chamomile with Lavender- " settles your nervous system and relaxes your digestive system, especially good when stressed or tense"
* Organic Easy Now- "helps you relax, easing tension or stress"

I was really excited to try these because Traditional Medicinals is created by master herbalists, are organic, don't use any "natural flavors" or soy, are NON GMO verified, they only use sustainable methods to produce their teas, and the tea bags are actually compostable. Their  packaging is made of 100% recycled material, and they use solar energy to run their facility. Now that is a GREEN company! I really love when comapanies go above and beyond to produce quality products, and I love supporting green businesses.

Now onto the tea!


The first one of these I tried was the Easy Now tea, because I was feeling really tense and was having a hard time relaxing because of my arm hurting from work. The description says it is "floral apple- like and minty", but I really didn't taste any appley-ness, mostly just mint. It tasted good, but I am a beginner in the REAL herbal tea world so it took some getting use to. It did seem to help me relax though. I had never tried catnip before so I was nervous to  drink it, but when I finally did it wasn't so scary :), I didn't even taste it.

The one I liked the best of the three is definitely the Nighty Night tea. It has the best flavor of the bunch, and it doesn't taste as herbally to me. It kind of reminds me of the Celestial Seasonings sleepytime tea, only without the pesticides. I sometimes have a hard time going to bed because all of the tv shows I like come on at 8pm and I have to be in bed by 9pm and I have to FORCE myself to go to bed...this tea, just like sleepytime tea, actually does help me fall asleep. The description says "the calming blend of lavender, passionflower, chamomile, and catnip will help ease tension and stress, and these herbs have a beneficial effect on the nervous system". I guess that is true because I always fall asleep soon after I drink this tea.

The last and final tea in this kit is Chamomile with Lavender. This is not my favorite tea... no offense Traditional Medicinals! I loved the other two in the set! It's just not for everybody. The taste was not the worst I've ever had but I just never liked chamomile tea in general. I did try it a few times, and the flavor kind of reminds me of biscuits and gravy...is that weird? My bf drank it too and said he tasted it as well. Maybe we are just weird. I did feel a little more relaxed after I drank it, but I don't think it's something I would drink regularly.




All in all I was really happy with this teas sampler and am glad I got to try it out and see what great quality teas Traditional Medicinals has to offer! I am interested in trying other flavors of  teas they have, especially the ones with ginger, those are always my favorite.

You can find out how to purchase this sampler for yourself by going here.

Have you ever tried any of these relaxation teas for yourself? What did you think of them?



xo,

Shauna

*this tea was sent as a pr sample. These are my own words, and I was not compensated for thise review other than the chance to try the sampler.*

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



Where to vuy Traditional Medicinals teas:
http://shop.traditionalmedicinals.com/
iherb
vitacost
amazon







Friday, February 21, 2014

Colorevolution Mineral Makeup 5 pc Sultry eyes, and 3 pc starter kit review


 Hey guys! Today I'm going to show you a brand that I have been using for a couple months now and felt a review was long over due. Colorevolution. I actually found out about this brand when I was shopping at Ross, (if you don't know it's a store like TJ Maxx). I am always on the look out for natural makeup or skin care that is AFFORDABLE, and I usually find great deals on body care and shampoo at places like TJ Maxx and Ross, but makeup is RARE.

I couldn't believe it when I found 2 natural, mineral makeup kits that actually WERE natural. And cheap! The only ingredients listed for every product was just mica, iron oxide, titanium dioxide. After I purchased these, I looked up Colorevolution and it is actually a high-end makeup brand, and very popular. I understand why!

 The two kits were a 3 pc starter kit containing a foundation, blush and bronzer for light/medium skin, and a 5 pc sultry eye kit that had 5 eyeshadows. Both of the kits were only $6.00 too. I grabbed one of each kit.

Another thing I loved about this awesome find, was the huge size of all of the products. The eyshadows are 1 gram, and the face products are 3 grams. That's a really good deal for only 6 bucks.

I have used these eyshadows so many times, and fall in love with them again every time I use them. Especially Majesty. I use this beautiful sparkly nude as an all over color, or as an inner corner highlight. It is just gorgeous! They apply very smoothly, especially if you use a cream shadow or primer underneath, and they last on me all day. Some people say that if they have oily lids mineral makeup creases or fades, but my skin is dry so it lasts a long time.


The shadows in this kit range from warm, to more neutral tones. I find the warmer shades work better on my skin tone but I still love them all. I use Coral Sand and Majesty the most but I also love Barely there as a crease color.

The 3 pc starter kit is made for light to medium skin, and I am more on the fairer side so I can't use the bronzer or foundation unless I BLEND IT OUT because it shows up really dark on my face. I have used the blush and foundation quite a few times and if applied lightly the blush is beautiful on fair skin. The foundation, I LOVE even though it is slighlty too dark. It makes my face looked airbrushed and flawless. It goes on perfectly with my ecotools kabuki. I am going to try to find the fair to light kit as well.


I am really glad I got a chance to try this brand for a really good price, because on their website they are a bit pricey, but totally worth it if love natural makeup like I do. They also have tons of different eyeshadow kits , face kits,and lip products you can try that come in all different colors. Emily Noel on youtube just did a review of their Ru-Paul Glamazon collection and it looked so amazing! All kinds of brigt colors that I would love to try!

I hope you liked this review and if you have ever tried Colorevolution, what did you think of them??


xo,

Shauna

Where to buy:
http://www.colorevolution.com/

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 3: Berry Beautiful Coconut Ambrosia


It's day 3 already! What are your thoughts on Sweets Week so far? I am pretty pleased with everything I have showed you, and proud of myself! I am really trying to come up with SIMPLE, and really natural recipes that require minimum ingredients but are still yummy.

After fiber filled brownies, and decadent chocolate mousse pie, I thought it would be nice to drop down the calorie load a little,( especially since I devoured 3/4 of the pie after work today...) and make a dessert that is lighter and less guilty. After thinking it over I thought fruit would make a nice dessert...but I decided to jazz it up a little. That brings me too ambrosia salad.

My mom always use to buy big tubs of ambrosia when I was in high school and I always use to sneak and eat it because it was SO GOOD! Sorry mom! Anyway, I wanted to make a healthier, less sugary version of this delicious dessert and add nutritional value on top of that! The way I decided to do that is with one of my favorite ingredients, that would be impossible to make jello without. Grass fed gelatin!

Great lakes gelatin is the best form of gelatin on the market in my opinion. This is the ONLY grass fed gelatin I have heard of, and the cows are healthy, and hormone/ anti-biotic free. Compare that to JELLO brand jello that gets their gelatin from sources that are less than ideal and full of artificial colors and flavors. No thanks JELLO, I'm good.

Gelatin is also a GREAT way to get protein into your diet because that's all it is. Pure protein! It helps keep your skin, and joints healthy and supple as well. And if you suffer from varicose veins like me, it is suppose to help strengthen the collagen that surrounds them and keep them from bulging.

I also decided to keep with the dairy free theme, because so many of us have sensitivities to dairy and I didn't want to leave anyone out. I usually make my own coconut milk, but for the sake of time, I used store bought. The brand I got was Thai Kitchen, which does contain guar gum- I'm not too fond of that but it will do in a pinch.

Let's get down to business!

Ingredients:

Jello:
*1 1/2 c frozen berries ( I have a mix of strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry)
OR- juice of your choice- preferably organic
*1/2 cup coconut water
*1 1/2 tbsp great lakes gelatin (+ a couple tbsp of room temp water to bloom it)
**sweetener optional**

Whipped cream:
*1 can full fat coconut milk
*1 tsp raw honey
*pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

 Thaw your berries. As soon as they are thawed, add them to your food processor with the coconut water and blend until liquidy and looks like juice. Or just use juice, it's up to you! After you've made your juice, you can choose to strain the seeds out or skip it. Take 1/2 cup of your juice and add it to a sauce pan on your stove and bring it to a boil, then turn off.
Now bloom your gelatin. Sprinkle your gelatin over the room temp water in a bowl, and whisk it until it becomes a paste. Now add the just boiled juice and whisk until gelatin dissolves. After you've dissolved the gelatin, pour the remaining juice into the bowl and whisk until completely mixed. Pour your gelatin mixture into a greased cake pan. I used coconut oil to grease mine. Refrigerate a couple hours until set.

Once your jello is set, it's time to make the whipped coconut cream! You will need either a stand mixer like mine (kitchen aid) or a hand mixer for this. Open your can of coconut milk, and scoop out the "fat" at the top, and leave the watery stuff in the bottom of the can, we won't be needing that. Add cream to mixing bowl. Add your honey. Now whip it! Just keep whipping on high until soft peaks form. This step is optional as well, but after you see the soft peaks- you can add a pinch of cream of tartar, that just helps to keep the cream firm.

Now just choose your dish, cut your jello into squares (or just plop it) and layer it with your whipped cream.
Enjoy! I love the flavors of berries and coconut together. So rich and creamy, and very low sugar. I know it's not really a treat that you would usually choose in the winter, but it's a nice lower calorie dessert option.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this ambrosia, I know I sure did! There's only one day left until Valentine's Day! What should I make tomorrow??? Let me know in the comments!



XO,

Shauna




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 2: Beautifying chocolate mousse pie w/ a secret ingredient (no bake, vegan, gluten & nut free)


Hey there! It's day 2 of Sweets Week! I am really excited to share todays recipe with you! If you read the title you may be asking yourself, "Why did she call this a "beautifying" chocolate mousse pie? Well let me explain. Did you see that there is a "secret ingredient"? Along with that secret, there are a list of other foods that are great for your skin/ hair in this pie, that will help you to look your best this Valentine's Day. The secret though is actually....sweet potato! There is a whole sweet potato that makes up the filling of this delicious mousse, and I gotta say it is AWESOME. And not just because I made it.

Why are sweet potatoes good for beauty? They are high in vitamin A, which helps to prevent wrinkles and keep your skin soft. They are also a great source of vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium, and beta carotene. All of those are beneficial for healthy skin and hair.

What other beauty foods are in this pie? Sunflower seeds, dates, coconut oil, cacao,  and maple syrup.
* Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, zinc, and vitamin e. All are great for skin and hair health.
* Dates are full of vitamin A, and K, and loads of other minerals, and help protect cells against free radicals.
* Coconut oil is a well known beauty foods because of it's good fats that keep skin hydrated and prevents sagging.
* Cacao is one of the most anioxidant rich foods you can eat! It is also full of magnesium and vitamin C and helps repair damaged cells, protect from free radicals, and helps increase blood flow to the skin. Raw cacao is best.
* Maple syrup is a beauty food because if it's high levels of manganese and zinc.

Now that I've explained the why, let's get to the how!

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/2 cups sunflower meal
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:
1 medium sweet potato, skinned
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 shakes of cinnamon
3 tbsp maple syrup


First, place your peeled and chopped sweet potato in a pan of water and boil until tender. Remove from heat and strain. Let them cool and  prepare the crust. Add your dates, and sunflower meal to your food processor. Blend until combined. Add your coconut oil and vanilla and blend. Add cacao and blend again. Grease your pie pan with more coconut oil, and press your sunflower mix evenly into the pan. Place in refrigerator.

While your crust is chilling, get started on your filling. Place cooled sweet potatoes in food processor and blend until smooth. Add the rest of your ingredients and blend again. (Adjust sweetness and chocolatey-ness to your liking, I liked the amount I used here but that's just me!) After the mixture is nice and smooth and creamy, pur it into your chilled crust and smooth out. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


                                                    Once set, just slice and serve!

I really hope you love this pie! Let me know what you think in the comments!

XO,

Shauna

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

SWEETS WEEK day 1: Oat and date brownies



Hello everyone! Today is day one of my series called Sweets Week! Are you as excited as me? I am going to be showing you a new, healthy sweet treat everyday until Valentine's Day! So, it's even more fun for me because I get to test, and eat the finished product, but hopefully you enjoy these recipes and make them for yourself as well. :)

I really wanted to make something chocolatey, and also cakey....and what do you get when you mix those things together? BROWNIES. I loooove brownies. What I don't love though, is how they are usually full of butter (I like butter, but in moderation!), sugar, and wheat. Since a lot of my readers are gluten free, or vegan, or have food sensitivities, I decided I wanted to avoid those ingredients.

The brownies I created for you are wheat, dairy, soy, gluten, and egg free! The base is made from oat flour, and dates! You can't get any more simple than that. I started browsing around for different ways to make brownies healthy, and I came across black bean brownies, sweet potato brownies (I WILL try those!), and various gluten free recipes including oat flour, so I decided that's what I would use.

I decided to use dates because that is a great way to sweeten a dessert without ADDED sugar, because dates are a whole food. Natures candy. MMMMMMMM, They are very sweet and are full of fiber, iron, potassium, vitamins A and K, copper...the list goes on!!! I knew I had to include these magical sweet gems.

So I got out my food processor, made my oats into flour, pureed my dates, and got to work!The texture of these brownies isn't exactly like regular brownies, more like oatmeal cookies...but they are still delicious! In fact, the dough is delicious! I had to quit eating it so I could actually make this post! Also, the filling is optional, I just thought it was a fun touch.
 Here is what I came up with, and I hope you love them as much as I do :)

* I made this easy on myself and pre-measured everything before I started*


Ingredients:

Brownie:
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:
1/2 cup coconut butter or more
2 tsp raw honey
splash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of almond milk

For Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350. Measure out your oat flour and place it in a bowl. Add dates to food processor and blend until it's a thick paste. Go ahead and measure out your almond milk and vanilla, and add those to the food processor as well. Blend until mixed. Batter will be lumpy. Add your cocoa, baking powder and salt to the oat flour and mix together. Add the date mixture to the dry mixture and use a spoon to combine them. Grease your pan with a little coconut oil(I used heart silicon baking pan in honor of Valentine's Day), and spoon your mixture into your pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the brownies are baking, make your filling. Add the coconut butter to a bowl, place that bowl on top of a pan of water,turn the heat to medium, and let it melt.Add your honey to the coconut butter and mix it until honey is dissolved, then add almond milk and vanilla. Mix together. Remove from heat.

Remove brownies from oven and let cool on a cooling rack. If you are using a silicone pan they should just pop out onto the cooling rack. Once cool, seperate brownies into groups of 2. This made 5  "sandwiches" and 1 extra...so to make it even I ate one :) Place some filling between each sandwich, and EAT!



Ta-DAAAA! I really like these brownies because they are not super sweet, they fulfill my chocolate cravings, and are also filling so I don't eat ALL of them at once.



I would love to know what you guys think of these! Also, if you have any suggestions for future desserts let me know in the comments, or on twitter using #SweetsWeek!

Xo,

Shauna

Monday, February 10, 2014

Let's get ready for Valentines Day....it's SWEETS WEEK!!!!!


Are you wondering what exactly SWEETS WEEK is? Well...it's something I came up with to get you guys excited about Valentine's Day. Since this Friday is Valentine's Day, and chocolate just happens to be the mascot, I thought, what better way to celebrate than with a whole week of sweets leading up to the big day?
Starting tomorrow, I will be posting a different HEALTHY dessert or sweet recipe every day until Valentine's day!

I don't know about you guys, but I love dessert. Like, really love it. If there is chocolate (soy free of course) in our house...it will not be there for long! My boyfriend actually complains that I always eat it before he gets any. Oops. I have a sweet tooth okay? So sue me.

That being said, I also like to eat healthy. I like to stay as unprocessed and clean as possible when it comes to my food, and that includes desserts. So for the next few days you can expect to find a healthy sweet treat posted right here for you to make for yourself, or share with someone you love!

I have a few ideas but I would LOVE to hear some suggestions from you! What kind of desserts do you want to see? Cookies? Brownies? Cupcakes? Let me know in the comments or use #SweetsWeek on twitter  and I will see what I can whip up!



Xo,

Shauna

Sunday, February 9, 2014

DIY baking powder...you'll never buy it again!



Hey guys! Do you still buy baking powder? DO you get frustrated trying to find gluten free, aluminum free, gmo free brands? Me too...until now! I have been doing some research ( a.k.a. google) on how to make your own for a while, and came up with the EASIEST recipe you can find.

Why make your own baking powder? It's simple! Most commercial brands contain cornstarch ( possibly gmo corn unless it states non-gmo on the label)  or aluminum ( sodium aluminum sulfate/ phosphate), which has been linked to alzheimer's disease. Gmo's have been linked to all sorts of health problems, and even worse, they have not been tested long term on humans so no one knows the long term effect.

Those two reasons are enough for me to start making my own, not to mention how EASY it is! You only need 2 ingredients. Yup. TWO!
* baking soda
* cream of tartar
Who knew that making your own would be so cheap? You probably have both of these items in your cabinet already!


Before we get started, let's talk about how these two ingredients work together to create baking powder.

Cream of tartar ( potassium hydrogen tartrate)- is an acidic byproduct of wine making. Neat huh? You know I love me some wine! It actually forms during the fermentation process, and is filtered out of the fermented juice through cheese cloth, and purified creating the white powder we know as cream of tartar.
When mixed with baking soda, it creates a chemical reaction that helps make baked goods rise.

Now that the science-y stuff is out of the way....here's how you actually make it!

You will need:
*a jar ( i used a little jelly jar)
*a tablespoon
*baking soda
*cream of tartar



Instructions:
Take 4 tablespoons of cream off tartar and add to a bowl.
Take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add that  to the bowl.
Sift them together 2 or 3 times

Add to your jar.
Put your lid on your jar.
Sit back in awe that you just made baking powder in under a minute.

There you go! Natural, aluminum, grain, & gmo free baking powder you can use in all your baked goods and never have to buy it again! Um...unless you run out of baking soda or cream of tartar that is.

I hope you enjoyed this guys! If you want more little diy's like this let me know in the comments!


XO,

Shauna