Topical Vitamin C use in #Beauty Products Research and Information

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I have been researching and doing my homework on the effects of Vitamin C at the dermis level because even though I have tried products that contain trace amounts, I have never tried a beauty item that it’s main focus was delivering Vitamin C.

How does Vitamin C benefit our Skin:
Upon reading and even finding “home-remedies” for DIY serums to putty like creams, I decided to leave my Vitamin C manufacturing to the professionals.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a collagen builder. Collagen is a protein that helps in the growth of blood vessels, to cells (and yes, the skin kind too). Your body needs collagen to be able to rebuild and to even creating scar tissue, as this is a form of “rebuilding”. Collagen is what also gives our skin firmness and that supple look we all want due to it’s smooth looking effects. We all want to look vibrant and younger, so this where the antioxidants also play a part, something that Vitamin C contains. Antioxidants aid with everything from inflammation to neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals is what causes damage to our DNA and it’s results is aging, so may see early signs like fine lines, wrinkles, just plain old cell damage that comes from products, to the environment (oxidative damage) and sun exposure/burns. The vitamin is used for dry skin, healing wounds, helping with reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to elasticity.

The research is still limited to the total effects and benefits from Vitamin C via topical application, however I did read that the pH of our skin does effect how much we can absorb, thus benefit from the vitamin. Topical application of ascorbic acid will cross the epidermis into the underlying dermal layers, but you want the higher percentage (concentrate) to be able achieve maximum benefits.

What to look for in Vitamin C beauty products:
Like with most vitamins and my experience with Vitamin A (retinol), oxidation is a factor in deterioration of a skin product that contains Vitamin C. Just exposure to sun, air, light will start the degrading process, so look for products that come in dark colored bottles to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Many of the better products will add other antioxidant rich ingredients to boost and also slow the rate of deterioration and conserve the ascorbic acid properties.

What can you expect by using Vitamin C:
I read studies both in humans and animals. Mostly noted was a high potency of Vitamin C levels being used and in combination with other binding ingredients but the main impact came from the 5 to 10% concentrations used in those studies. This may be why a high potency level will give best results. People reported elasticity changes to reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to a supple and smoother appearance. The impact is greater in people who may not consume diets rich in Vitamin C but even those that did have such a rich diet, noticed positive changes just not as apparent as those that did not. Topical Vitamin C may also have skin lightening effects in a mild form, which are caused by reductions in melanin production and melanin oxidation.

I hope the above helps when making decisions to include Vitamin C as part of your beauty routine!

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Oloves Olives: Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad #Recipe

 

 

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  • Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad

You have a great salad that is packed with protein and fiber that is perfect for a “Meatless Monday”. You can also make this in the evening and it holds well for up to 3 days in the fridge. No dressing needed and you can eat it over a bed of lettuce, fill two tomato halves, or stuff an avocado. I opted for a little bed of lettuce to go with my avocado and it made two beautiful and very filling cups.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 /2 cup of Tri-Color Qunioa (cooked, drained and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup of White Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 cup of Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/4 cup of raw Carrots (diced)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Celery (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Zucchini (diced)
  • 1/8 of a cup of raw Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Lemon & Rosemary
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Basil and Garlic
  • Optional- Feta crumbled Cheese (add this before serving as a topper)

 

Begin by cooking your Tri-color Qunioa, draining and allowing it to cool.  I always cook mine with a touch of smoked salt and this is why I did not any more to the salad.  The flavor comes all from Oloves olives!

Then chop up all your veggies and add to a large bowl that is big enough to mix and toss.

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Drain and rinse both cans of beans and take 1/2 cup out from each type of bean.

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Add to veggies and toss.  Then open an avocado in half, so you are left with two equal sized halves.  I always brush mine with a little lemon or lime juice to preventing browning and add a little flavor.

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Then simply open 1 bag each of the Oloves pouches in Lemon & Rosemary and the Basil and Garlic varieties.  Add to salad and toss to combine.  Taste and if you want to add a little salt or freshly cracked pepper…….go right ahead but I found the flavors were perfectly balanced by just using what Oloves provided.

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Then simply lay out some lettuce (even Kale) so the avocados don’t feel lonely, top with the salad and you can add some Feta cheese if you desire.  You can store the remainder in a glass container for up to 3 days.  I never store with the cheese because for no reason it sounds “icky” to me, so I top just before serving.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Get your Oloves and you can make the above recipe and more at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Oloves.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door

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Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!

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One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….

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  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.

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  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).

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  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.

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  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.

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  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.

 

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  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.

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  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.

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The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.

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  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.

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  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Garlic Gold: Tri-Color Quinoa Grain Vegetable Medley Salad that can be Baked too #MeatlessMonday #recipe

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This recipe is a 2-in-1, where you can make a salad or go for a a little protein kick by adding an egg and baking. Bakes in less than 15 minutes!  A Great Spring dish and perfect for our latest California’s weather where it is hot in the day but cold at night.

Let’s begin….

1/4 cup of Tri-Color Quinoa (measure dry and pre-cook with water, with a little salt and pepper)
1/2 cup of Kale (roughly chopped)
1/3 of a cup of Broccoli
1/8 of a cup of Green Bell Pepper
1/2 a Zucchini
1 Slice of Red Onion
1 Slice of White Onion
1 tablespoon of Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil (reserved for cooking phase)

Garlic Gold Nuggets to taste and you can also add a Goat Cheese crumble

Optional (if Baking)-
1 egg
Fat of your choice (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, ect.) to oil the dish
Honey Goat Cheese crumbled on top
Garlic Gold Nuggets and an Arugula toss (raw arugula with a drizzle of the Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette)

I start by cooking the Quinoa and it takes about 10 minutes. If any water is left, drain and just set aside in a bowl.

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I then start chopping all the vegetables and this is roughly done because I am aiming for bite size.

Heat up a skillet and add the 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil or any fat of your choice (or even none). Start sauteing the onions and bell pepper until you get a nice golden color but keep in mind you want crunch left.

I add the saute onions and bell peppers to the bowl with the Quinoa. Using the same pan, I saute the zucchini for a little over 1 minute because again I aiming for a par-cooked texture and I want the vegetable to get color but preserve some firmness.

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The zucchini gets added to the bowl. I then add the broccoli and kale and again saute for under a minute.

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The cooking intensifies the flavors and takes the bore out of eating your vegetables 🙂 Once everything is in the bowl, I add the Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette.

The Garlic Gold adds flavor and this is why we used little to no seasonings beforehand. Toss and then you can enjoy as-is, add the goat cheese and/or move on to baking.

If Baking-
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

I used an oven-safe au gratin dish that fits the above contents nicely and allows the egg to have room. It’s approximately 2-cups in size. I used a Coconut Oil and a Butter blend to oil my dish and prevent the egg from sticking.

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I then add the vegetables and Quinoa mix, make sure everything is evenly spread and leveled.

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I cracked 1 egg an it’s up to you if you wish to add a little milk when whisking. Once the egg is whisked, I then simply pour it over the vegetables and add the crumbled goat cheese.

I bake the dish for 15 minutes, with the first half covered (tented with foil so it does not come in contact with the cheese) and the other half uncovered. The vegetables remain with a nice crunch and full of flavor.

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I opted to top my bake with an Arugula toss (arugula and a little dash of the Garlic Gold vinaigrette) and a dash of the Garlic Gold Nuggets. This adds flavor and you get a nice warm and cold contrast.

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This dish can be made ahead and just add the egg and bake when you are ready. You can have the salad on top of romaine lettuce with a toasted pita on the side, but it’s filling, low in calories and fat but most importantly……Garlic Gold delicious! Enjoy!’

 

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You can also make this easy dish by getting your own Garlic Gold Products at:

On-line– http://garlicgold.com/

Visit Garlic Gold on Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/GarlicGold

Twitter– https://twitter.com/garlicgold

See the pretty Garlic Gold products and the other dishes you can create on Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/garlicgold/

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I received the above product free of charge from Garlic Gold.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Swaggable: The 17 Day Diet Book by Dr. Mike Moreno Review

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Right about the month of March, whatever diet program I have been trying or testing has pretty much reached a point of…..well, boredom. I know it’s a life-style change and thankfully I am usually only fighting off 10 to 15 pounds I want gone, but I call them my celebration pounds, because they return when there is a holiday or birthday. Why March? Well, it’s my birthday month, as well as  my husband’s, so this means cake. Call it cake pounds and as much as I want to blame the confectionery with happy sprinkles that hypnotized me, if I was not looking at it I would have never fallen under it’s spell.

I received the 17 Day Diet book in late January and have read through it and the one thing I loved, is how Dr. Mike Moreno changes things up. Days, weeks, or even months do not play-out the same way for me so that also plays havoc on my diet. I sometimes under eat and other times over indulge, so this book has a more realistic approach to what I call R-E-A-L life. There are times I can do well for 2 weeks and then comes week #3 where I eat something someone brought over to I maybe did the unthinkable and had a real cheesy burger……with bacon and caramelized onions….some fries too. I obviously can’t just get back on the same horse the next week because I sort of strayed but Dr. Moreno also brought exercise into the picture, whereas most of us want a “way to eat”, or a pill to take to be the answer and only solution. It’s like the relationship you truly wish will work but sooner or later you have to dump whatever and move on! I’ve moved on (thankfully not on Husband 🙂 ) but definitely the  dreaming of the magic that never arrives. You got to move more and eat less but also eat smart!

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Dr. Moreno uses a program designed around 4 stages/cycles, each consisting of 17 days. No tricks and just simple methods:

  • Accelerate– The cycle where you lose weight rapidly and cleanse your body out. You start cutting out the things you already know you should not eat and what really just ends up starving your body, rather giving it “real energy”. There is an optional fasting day in this stage.
  • Activate– In this cycle you start the metabolic burn, by having days your intake (caloric wise) will be high and others low.
  • Achieve– Here you learn about the smart way to eat and this where I mention previously about controlling the amount you eat, but also introducing new exercises.
  • Arrive– The combo stage where you enter the lifestyle of eating right and moving. Best explained, it’s a combination of the previous cycles to help continue a healthy way of eating that will not only benefit you long term but you will be happier with how you feel and look.

Like many diet books, this also comes with recipes but you get over 50 of them! I liked that not all recipes were ultra expensive or hard on the pocket book. Yes, you have lean meats but most of them I found to be low in cost, especially if you shop smart. Dr, Moreno even discusses supplements, exercising when you travel and even holiday stress. Topics from alcohol consumption are addressed, and even a section on PMS! Like I said, pretty much everything is covered including specific medical conditions.

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I liked that the book was not only easy to read, as the author did not act like they found new miracles. Dr. Moreno found an easier way to apply what we all pretty much know already when it comes to diets and eating habits. The book was used as a manual at times, because it was easy to find information I could quickly reference on the topic I needed help on. Like, for example, when I was purchasing my supplements, I added Selenium and found I felt a positive difference. Most chapters have key points under the review section so you can take in the information as a whole or just go by what you want to read about……again, very adaptable.

Connect with Dr. Moreno and the 17 Day Diet Book at:

Via Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/17daydiet

Send a tweet via Twitter– https://twitter.com/17DayDiet

Pinterest is filled with recipes and advice too- http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=17%20day%20diet

#Ididitwith17

 

I received the above product free of charge from Swaggable and Simon & Schuster.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Bolthouse Farms: ALMOST Too Much Good Stuff

BHF Orange Simplified Logo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Almost. But as it stands, this one is just right. I love it. Hubby loves it. You’ll love it too! For those following along at home, this is the last in the Bolthouse Farms Juice reviews. We previously covered their 100% Carrot Juice, 100% Pomegranate Juice, Daily Greens, and now, without further adieu, I happily present Bolthouse Farm’s MultiV Goodness!

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The last treat in my batch of Bolthouse yum is a newer product for them, the Multi-V Goodness Smoothie. Packed with the juice of pomegranate, cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches, blackberries, cranberries and bananas, but not packed with calories (only 140 per serving) there is nothing not to love about this drink.

DSCN4162Did I mention the 8 grams of fiber? That’s nearly a third of the recommended daily intake already. You’re set! High in vitamins A, B, C, and D, and none of the yuck that comes in most highly processed smoothies, this one is good for breakfast, lunch or even dessert! I liked how the flavors all blended in harmony, making for a great experience. Hubby loved it too, and he’s not big on peaches or bananas. There’s no seeds or pulps like a home Smoothie would have. I love it. Hubby loves it. If we hadn’t been so quick to enjoy it, I’m sure the pooch would have loved it too. This one also comes in 2 sizes, 15.2 oz and 32, which makes it big enough to share, if you’re so inclined.

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Visit Bolthouse and their Countless Juice SelectionsJuices from Blends to the Plain; to Cafe drinks and even Protein ones:

  • Say hello to the MultiV Goodness online!
  • Veggies and Fruits on Twitter
  • Visit Fun Bolthouse Crew on Facebook
  • Catch the pics on Instagram
  • Save $1.50 off any bottle here!

I received the above product free of charge from Bolthouse Farms. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Bolthouse Farms Review: 100% Carrot Juice made into a Hearty Soup #MeatlessMonday #GlutenFree

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I first tried Bolthouse many years ago and then became reintroduced to the brand when I visited my local Costco. The “samplings” got me and of course I then had to usher my husband over and he became a fan too. Recently the wonderful company sent me 4 bottles to try and I am in love with the one I had the least expectations on. I love carrots but it’s usually the vegetable that acts as a filler in every vegetable medley I purchase, that I started to take it for granted. I tasted the juice and learned that not all carrots are created equal. My carrots from the baby to the large are missing the Bolthouse touch! The sweetness is unbelievable but not derived from sugar or some unholy syrup…..just the carrot. I know the bottle in the front stated clearly 100% Carrot Juice but I still flipped the thing around looking for further contents and then saw the ingredient list: Carrot!

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I stopped drinking bottled vegetable juices because most taste like they took the oldest and not so prime vegetables to create the juice, and like a bad grape makes a bad wine, bad veggies make horrific juices! I should not have to pinch my nose to drink something that is suppose to be healthy and good for me, to then have it repeat on me after…..sort of like, “surprise, you pinched your nose, but here I come, back so you can taste my awfulness!”. Bolthouse juices have none of that. They are good from the blends to just the plain ones like this 100% Carrot juice.

Being that today was #MeatlessMonday, I looked at my left-overs and got creative. I have diced plum tomatoes, wild rice, and some Thyme left over from the crackers I baked. It’s the last real cold day we will have in California this week, so I want to make the most of it!

Let’s Begin….

Soup Base (great portion for Lunch Time):
1/4 a cup of Bolthouse’s 100%Carrot Juice
1/4 a cup of canned Diced Tomatoes. I used Plum Tomatoes that have been canned with Basil (unsalted)
Fresh Thyme
Smoked Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional- Dash of Oregano before serving

I put the above all together in a pot and just bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Once it’s done, I paired it with the Herby Cheese Crackers I baked.  You can find my Herby Cheese crackers recipe here: http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Dh

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Now, for dinner, I wanted something a little more hearty. I used the above soup base but went up to 1/2 a cup of the 100% Carrot Juice from Bolthouse and 1/2 a cup of the Tomatoes. I added 1/2 a pat of unsalted butter, smoked salt and pepper medley to taste, and a dash of oregano. Let that come to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

I had some left-over wild rice I made over the weekend and added 1/4 cup to the soup base, along with 4 ounces of diced fresh zucchini. I brought that back up to a simmer and cooked it until the zucchini was the texture I desired. To serve, I added some parmesan cheese and a few of the crackers I baked earlier. Done! You can get creative by using wheat pasta, fresh kale to any vegetables that need attention from fresh to even frozen ones. A Meatless Monday meal that takes 10 to 12 minutes to make and is not only filling but delicious! Enjoy!

Visit Bolthouse and their Countless Juice Selections, Juices from Blends to the Plain; to Cafe drinks and even Protein ones:

Next time, I will be reviewing the juices from 100% Pomegrante juice to Multi-V Goodness Smoothie.

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I received the above product free of charge from Bolthouse Farms. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Bob’s Red Mill: Gluten Free Zucchini Fries made with Rice Flour and Pecorino Romano & Parmesan Cheese

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With the Big Game taking place this weekend, I wanted to try making a recipe that was not just healthier, but tasting delicious was a must. I started from scratch and this is my first time working with Rice Flour. My oven also decided to die on Wednesday (he needs a new igniter) and of course the part is on back-order and it won’t be fixed until the middle of next week, so this girl needs to find a way to still celebrate this weekend!

I started by cutting raw zucchini into sticks to resemble fries. Since I was experimenting, I used half of a zucchini because this was a large sized one to begin with. I poured buttermilk and allowed the vegetable to soak for about 30 minutes. I then mixed the ingredients for the batter.

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Soak 1/2 to 1 Zucchini in buttermilk for about 20 to 30 minutes. I used about 1/2 a cup of buttermilk.

Coating/Batter:
1/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Rice Flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon of Pecorino Romano & Parmesan cheese blend (you may use any grated hard cheese)
Smoked Salt (to taste)
Pepper Medley (to taste)
Dash of Parsley Flakes
Dash of Cayenne Pepper

You simply take the above ingredients and mix until incorporated.

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I then took the french fry style zucchini sticks and simply coated them until they were nicely covered.

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While I coated the rest of the zucchini, I started to warm the oil (I used Peanut oil but you can use any oil that suits you best). Once the oil reached a 375 degree temperature, I began to fry. You will notice that the amount of oil needed is not much and these begin to brown almost instantly.

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Like, within 30 seconds you will notice color change so be ready to flip. The rice flour cooks up to a nice golden brown and because the cooking time is quick, this not only a easy recipe to make but the vegetable does not get soggy or mushy in texture. You get crisp and light fries you can enjoy. You may serve with ranch or even a light marinara, or just as is with a dash of flake salt and black pepper.

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Try the above with onion petals and you can mix it up 🙂 For a fun way to serve, I used a sheet of parchment paper and made a cone. Cut the top with one of those decorative scissors that leave a pretty edge (or just swag up and down when cutting). I then stapled the end because tape does not stick to parchment paper. Cheap and an easy was to give them that classic “Pomme Frites”!

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Enjoy your weekend!

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Connect with all the wonderful product’s from Bob’s Red Mill:

  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/BobsRedMillNaturalFoods
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/BobsRedMill
  • Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/bobsredmill/
  • Google+– https://plus.google.com/+bobsredmill/posts
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/bobsredmill
  • and yes, the man has a Blog– http://blog.bobsredmill.com/

I received the above product free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Swaggable: The Honest Kitchen FORCE Dehydrated Dog Food

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Our mutt is the type of dog that finds the cheapest toys the most fun to play with but when it comes to food, she is offended by the oddest of things. Actually gives me that face questioning if I am serious about her eating something she is particularly not fond of (at that second) and then comes the waiting game. I try to wait until she eats it and she waits until something else (better) is served. I have seen this dog eat a Flaming Hot Cheeto (extra hot edition), so she does not convince me she has some kind of “refined” palette after she ate that! I also find her liking raw carrots one day and not the next, so this is her plan to drive me crazy. I don’t appreciate how she acted like they were radiated and left me a exploded carrot by her dish as a sign of protest!

In comes Force, a dehydrated whole foods product by The Honest Kitchen. First thing that catches me eye, it states “Human Grade” on the package. Okay, I’m not even sure everything I eat is such a grade so this definitely is the dog one upping me! The flavor sounds more like a dish you order, Free-Range Chicken with Vegetables and Fruit (grain-free). Makes my all-beef hot dog I had for dinner not so special now, even though I opted for spicy brown mustard 🙂 You have other details like a Guaranteed Analysis disclosure, which let’s you know the crude protein, fat, fiber to even caloric count. The food is made in an FDA inspected facility! So, this is all good but does the Cheeto Bandit approve?

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Simple Preparation:
I added Organic Low-Sodium beef broth I had left over from making stuffing to the dehydrated food. Think instant oatmeal for dogs when preparing this dish for your pet. The food actually smells like chicken and contains potatoes, celery, sweet potato, apples, organic alfalfa to even organic flax seed and herbs like basil and rosemary. You mix the package with 1/3 of a cup of warm water (foo-foo broth in my case), wait about 5 minutes and serve. The food absorbs the liquid and you do not even need to stir, so no need to walk in with the “dog’s spoon” that must be put in the dishwasher ASAP.

Mutt Approved:
I did the above and served it. The pooch inspected and sniffed and then wagged. If she wags while eating and looks back but continues eating, that means it’s a “Yay”. If she sniffs, looks back and then comes over and looks at your hands to see if you got anything else to offer the Dog Goddess, it’s a “Nay”. The goddess approved and I did not get my paws checked for other offerings. She ate it all and cleaned her bowl better than my dishwasher cleans that last glass in the corner!

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I thought the idea of making my own wet food for my dog would be……well, icky but this is not only a Honest Kitchen product but a clean one. It’s simple and easier than making a cup of soup in the microwave, and that means no microwave is needed and no mixing required. She loved it and the ingredients are remarkable. Force loves their furry consumers more than some companies like us humans! You can also opt to serve the product alone or as a topper for their kibble, so you can skip on adding any liquid. I also like that 10 pounds of Force food makes 40 pounds of fresh food! Force products are also GMO free, Gluten free and produced in the USA by a family owned and operated business.

Connect with Force at:

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I received the above product from Swaggable and Force, free of charge. I am not obligated in providing positive/favorable feedback, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or it’s products, which may differ from yours.

Wafu style Chicken Egg Rolls

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I have been enjoying myself and trying all of Wafu’s wonderful dressings that are so delicious, that they can be used as marinades. Tonight was one of our “trips to Asia”, so that means I needed something that went beyond a potsticker for dinner. I had one defrosted chicken breast that was screaming I don’t do my fall back and make Orange Chicken. My answer was simple and quick egg rolls since the chicken breast seemed to be dictating the night 🙂

I don’t own a mandoline because so many seem to have poor reviews, that I can never decide which one to actually buy. I make do with the knives I own, plus that also means I don’t need to make room for another kitchen tool.

Filling:

  • 1 Carrot thinly shredded
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Cabbage
  • 3 Green Onions thinly sliced
  • 1 large Chicken Breast
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 Garlic Cloves (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon of Peanut Oil and 1 tablespoon of Seasame Seed Oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of the Original Wafu’s Japanese Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated Ginger (less or more, as to your taste)

Wraps:

  • Egg roll wraps (you will yield 10 to 12 egg rolls depending on how you stuff)
  • 1 egg whisked

Frying Oil:

Peanut Oil for frying, about 1 to 1/2 cups

Dip:

  • Wafu’s Wasabi Edamme Japanese dressing
  • Sriracha sauce to taste (between 2 to 3 drops or be brave and do more)

I start by peeling the carrot and discard the peels. I then take my peeler and make thin slices of the carrot. I take my knife and then julienne the carrots into fine slices.

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I then finely slice the cabbage.

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Next, comes the green onion and I use all the white parts, saving the green stalks that can be used for garnish.  I start by slicing the onions in half, and then in halves again to create thin strips.

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Your trio should look like this:

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Next comes the chicken breast.  I start by dicing the breast into chunks and then add Chinese Five Spice

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This is about the size of my chunks but please cut them to any size you are comfortable with.  I then just add salt and pepper to taste and massage the seasonings into the meat.

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The vegetables do not require to be pre-cooked but the meat does.  These egg rolls take only but a few minutes to cook, so the meat needs to be fully cooked before frying.  I start by adding a mix of peanut oil and sesame seed oil, plus the fresh garlic I diced up.

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While that cooks, I take a bowl and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of Wafu’s Original Japaneses Vinaigrette.

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I fry the chicken on both sides until the breast pieces get a nice color and are fully cooked, making sure to not burn the garlic.  I then add everything once it cools for 5 minutes to the Wafu dressing.  This includes the garlic, any left over juices and oils.  I toss making sure everything is incorporated.

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I then take my fresh Ginger out of the freezer because it’s the only way I can make it last.  Using a knife, I finely grate enough to make 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of shavings.  I then add it to the chicken and toss.

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Next comes the fun part, assembly time.  I went to three stores that I knew stocked egg roll wraps, however everyone was out of stock. I finally found some at Von’s market and this is the brand I used.  Use whatever brand you desire as I do not have a favorite.  Just make sure the ingredients the wraps are made of are to your liking.

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This how I assembled and I did not take certain amount of vegetables and meat.  I went with what seemed like an even amount and sometimes even a little more meat than veggies because then I could almost hear my husband asking if there was a chicken shortage he did not know of 😛

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Then add the egg wash all around.  I used a silicone brush to make it easier to swipe all around.

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Next, comes the folding and it’s just like making mini burritos.

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I then add a little more wash to the folded edges to insure things remain closed and also stuck together.

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Then just finish rolling.

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Repeat the process until you are out of chicken.  I was able to make 10 of this little guys.

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I covered my uncooked egg rolls with slightly moist paper towels while my oil heated up.

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Once my oil was hot, I began to fry three egg rolls at a time.  They cook up quickly….like less than a minute on each side.

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Flip once you see the edges slightly brown.

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When done, I just take them out and pat them on paper towels.

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Continue to fry until you are done and this goes by quickly, which is a good thing!  I then make my dip.  I take 1 to 1/2 tablespoons of Wafu’s Wasabi Edamme Japanese dressing and add 2 to 3 drops of Sriracha sauce.  Mix and you are finished!  This is my first time making egg rolls, if I can do it….so can you!  Enjoy!

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I received the above dressings and vinagrettes free of charge from Wafu.  I am not obligated to provide positive/favorable feedback, just my honest opinion.  I highly recommend this company because they have one of the best dressings on the market.  From flavors that make a simple salad that much more enjoyable, to the practicality of being able to use their products as marinades.  I love the ingredients and the pride the company takes in keeping things simple but delicious.  My review is based on my experience with the brand, which may differ from yours.

Check them out at: http://www.wafu.ca/  on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/wafubrand Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/wafubrand or even on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/wafubrand/

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