5/15/18

Petit Collage | Why I Buy Ethically

Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
*This post is created in partnership with Petit Collage

We strive to live a simple life. A life filled with clean, good food and quality sustainable products. The idea of a healthy lifestyle goes far beyond what we eat and drink. Our health is impacted by the world around us; the air we breath, the clothes we wear, the products we use on our bodies and the toys we touch and play with.

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
Rachel Carson

Part of our journey to live a simple, sustainable life has been to cut out and reduce our plastic consumption. While plastic is a functional and cheap material for toy manufacturing, it can be harmful to the environment and to ourselves, reasons why we try our best to avoid plastics. By choosing environmentally-friendly materials, we are focusing on high quality, eco-friendly products. Did you know that several of the chemicals used to give plastic their flexibility (plasticizers) have been shown to be endocrine disruptors and are linked to the development of tumors, birth defects and developmental disorders? No thanks!

Petit Collage founder, collage artist Lorena Siminovich, created an earth-friendly company that focuses on materials crafted from recycled cardboard to FSC-certified wood and soy-based inks. Petit Collage avoids plastic and their products are designed with the health of children, and the planet, in mind.

We had the opportunity to try a few of their new products, including the 5-piece Eco-Friendly Bamboo Mealtime Set, which is made from natural, renewable, and sustainable bamboo. It is shatterproof and plastic-free (yay!) and the perfect size for little hands. Bamboo is great choice for an eco-friendly material because this particular type of grass grows as tall as a tree in just three years. It has been used for many centuries in China for building furniture, homes and boats. Bamboo toys are perfect for kids because they are durable yet light, flexible and safe.

I also recommend the Animal Band magnetic play set, perfect for those long car rides (which we know too well) and dinners out. The characeters can be mixed and matched and are printed with non-toxic paints. Make sure to head on over to the Petit Collage website and check out all the products they offer!

With the release of their new product line, Petit Collage is also launching a very special campaign: #whyibuyethically. My family chooses to buy ethically because we want to avoid toxins and chemicals that are used in cheap materials, we want to support sustainable, eco-friendly products, we want to focus on renewable materials and we want to invest in pieces that are crafted with value and quality. Why are you passionate about surrounding your family with ethically made, well-designed products? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Petit Collage | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

5/11/18

MATCHA PISTACHIO BARS

MATCHA PISTACHIO BARS
MATCHA PISTACHIO BARS
The weekend is finally here, the air is now warmer and the sun is shining! It's time to celebrate - with matcha pistachio bars! While matcha seems to be on the trend these days, it's important to understand the health benefits that this green tea provides. Forget the green tea bags you purchase at any standard grocery store, matcha is a high-grade, finely ground, concentrated green tea that has been traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies for hundreds of years.

Benefits of Matcha:
+ Extremely high in antioxidants, which will help you to fight off infections and diseases.
+ Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among all the antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial and they are recognized for their cancer fighting properties.
+ It contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which helps balance out the caffeine, and gives a feeling of calmness without the drowsiness. Goodbye caffeine jitters.
+ Combats inflammation, oxidation, and aging.
+ The chlorophyll present in matcha is an excellent detoxifier which helps in cleansing the blood.
+ It is rich in vitamin A, C, E, K, and vitamin B-complex.

MATCHA PISTACHIO BARS
SCD*, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 TBS coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pistachios
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tsp matcha powder
1/8 cup honey

Optional for Coating the Bars:
6 ounces 100% dark chocolate
3 TBS honey
2 Tbs coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Blend all ingredients together (I used my Vitamix for this) with the exception of the ingredients for the cocoa coating.
2. Press into a square container lined with parchment. Freeze for one hour.
3. Cut into one inch squares. Enjoy like this OR if you can tolerate cocoa, melt the cocoa in a double broiler. Add the honey and coconut oil and whisk together. Dip the squares until covered. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and crushed pistachios.

*To make these Matcha Pistachio Bars SCD compliant, omit the cocoa coating. You can easily substitute raw cocoa butter (you can purchase here) melted with honey and Himalayan salt.

This post contains affiliate links.

5/9/18

Liberated Specialty Foods Paleo SCD Waffles + A Honey Apple Syrup

Paleo Waffles
Paleo Waffles
Paleo Waffles
Paleo Waffles
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa

Summer is on the horizon, and while it is so close and within grasp, it sadly feels so far away. We've come to that time of year where, mentally, I have checked out and I'm sure several of you moms out there can relate. I am tired of packing lunches, I'm tired of trying to keep up with the laundry, which I am failing miserably at, I'm tired of cooking and cleaning and I'm tired of driving all over the state (and other states) just to take my kids to sporting events. In fact, I'm just flat out tired.

Naturally, I have some goals for the summer that I would like to accomplish. I would like to take on some home projects; tackle the entry way and remove the wall paper, possibly prepare for some larger home projects, re-organize the pantry and rearrange some flower beds. But secretly? My main goals are to sit pool-side with a stack of books, to enjoy a casual run on my own time, to go outside and play basketball with the boys and not feel rushed, to sit down with my daughter and actually finish a craft together.

We have only today. Let us begin.

As the school year ends, I have decided to ease up on my workload so I can focus my time on my children and home. I love to set aside time to bake and cook in large batches for the week, but honestly, with our soccer schedule I have had no extra time. Thanks to Liberated Specialty Foods, I can still continue our tradition of sitting down to breakfast together without the hassle of cooking and cleaning and sacrificing hours of my time. For those of you who are not familiar with Liberated Specialty Foods, they are a company based out of Alabama who provide processed food that can be consumed by those on special diets like Paleo, SCD and GAPS. Founder Stacey Schlaman and her team of bakers provide you with quality products that do not contain starches, gluten, grains, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or binding agents. They sweeten their goods only with honey, fruit and/or vanilla extract. Not only do they avoid refined sugars, but they don’t use any complex sugars or low calorie sugar substitutes such as stevia, saccharine, aspartame, erythritol, or xylitol. And what you see on the label is what is in the product - no hidden ingredients or manufacturing agents.

I decided to combine Liberated Specialty Foods Waffles with some yummy toppings for the perfect breakfast/brunch that will leave you full and energized for the day. You can easily add any toppings you desire to meet your palette, but we used homemade yogurt blended with dragonfruit powder, pistachios and a mixture of fresh fruit all topped with my go-to syrup that we use year round for waffles and pancakes. From a moms point of view, these pre-made waffles made my life a little bit easier, but from a kids point of view, Jonas would say they are a two thumbs up in the taste department with little to no prep time - always a bonus!

Honey Apple Cider Syrup
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup honey (more if you desire)
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Combine all ingredients and blend well with a whisk.
2. Pour over waffles. Store remaining syrup in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Liberated Specialty Foods | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Look for Liberated Specialty Foods in your local health food store!
*This post is in partnership with Liberated Specialty Foods

5/2/18

Maple Holistics Argan Shampoo

Benefits of Argan Shampoo
Benefits of Argan Shampoo



"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
Jim Rohn

Incorporating a healthy routine is key to managing not only a healthy body on the inside, but also healthy hair, skin and nails. While it's important to watch what we put inside our bodies, it's just as important to watch what we put on the outside of our bodies, which is why our family has decided to ditch the toxins, harmful ingredients and chemicals.

Argan oil, native to Morocco, has several health benefits and serves as an all-natural moisturizer for skin and hair. It is extremely rich in nutrients including fatty acids and vitamin E. It is also packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid and can help ease inflammation. Because of all these benefits, argan oil can help boost cell production and promote healthy skin and hair.

I have been hooked on oils and use them daily in my skin and hair routines. When it comes to hair, natural oils will add moisture and shine and will nourish the scalp. They can even aid in faster and healthier hair growth – all without the use of chemicals and overpriced products! I had the chance to try Maple Holistics Argan Special Formula Shampoo and I am thrilled with the results; my hair is soft and silky, full of body and smells amazing. As a mother, I am trying to manage my health and beauty in a natural way, but it's important that I also teach these techniques to my daughter. I want her to understand how important it is to take care of our bodies, from the inside to the outside, and choosing the right products to use is extremely important. Maple Holistics provide a natural, holistic range of premium products which can enhance hygiene, health and daily living. And, they are made in the USA, are cruelty free, sulfate free and contain natural ingredients.

AND, while I was searching the Maple Holistics website, I came across this article on their blog; "What Is a Dermaroller & What Are its Benefits?" To be honest, I had heard of derma rolling before, but I wasn't very familiar with it. Microneedling is when you use a dermaroller or microneedler over areas of the skin. The small hand-held device looks similar to a miniature lint roller but covered in metal spikes. The purpose of this at-home procedure is to stimulate collagen production and to increase the absorption of skin-care products. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I purchased a derma roller and gave it a go. I am surprisingly happy with my results; my skin feels and looks refreshed and even has a glow about it and my facial products seem to be working better.

To read more about Maple Holistics and check out all the products they have to offer head on over to their site!
Maple Holistics | Website | Facebook | Instagram

AND you can receive your own free samples with their free samples program. Click HERE for more info and to get your samples! This program gives you the opportunity to try out Maple Holistics products at no cost, all while learning about an all-natural, cruelty-free company based in the U.S.

This post is in partnership with Maple Holistics.

4/30/18

Quick Apple Bake with Almond Milk | SCD + Paleo

SCD Paleo Apple Bake
Paleo SCD Apple Bake
DSCD Paleo Apple Bake
SCD Paleo Apple Bake
I am happy to say we survived our first experience with an away camp and the SCD diet! Last week my son attended his sixth grade retreat that was two nights and three days long. This was a great intro into the camp lifestyle and the time frame was perfect, the short amount of days were manageable and this was the perfect practice run in the event he goes away to a longer camp this summer. I'm not going to get into the details of packing for an away camp while on a restrictive diet, but below are a couple key points that helped!

Create a Menu.
The teachers gave me the menu two weeks in advance and I was able to create our own menu based off their meals. Rather than trying to mimic their meals I kept it very simple with bake ahead casseroles. The week before camp I baked three different casseroles and we ate them for dinner, I froze some and I used the leftovers for camp lunches and dinners. I made sure to make a vegetable for each day. For the first breakfast we brought a pack of Liberated Specialty Foods waffles and our homemade apple syrup. For the second breakfast I made this apple bake and brought along almond milk. For snacks we brought homemade yogurt, berries, Freedom Bars, fruit strips and meat sticks. My only regrets are not bringing more fresh fruit. I naively assumed they would have fresh fruit at the camp but the only fruit they served was from a can. Next time, I will also pack dessert options that travel easily; bliss balls, cookies and bars. Since they did have a salad bar, I made sure to pack our own dressings.

Organize Your Meals.
While I try my best to avoid plastic, I went out and purchased plastic containers that I then labeled with my son's name, the meal and the date of consumption. I did this for all meals and snacks so there was no question about what he was eating. Consider adding a few extra snacks and even an extra meal. It's always best to be prepared with more than enough food versus not enough food!

Since I know that cereal and oatmeal are often considered a "camp" food, I wanted to send my son with his own version of a healthy, clean cereal and I came up with this simple apple bake that I served with almond milk. I also wanted to make something that we could actually enjoy for a couple days. It seems every time I bake it serves our family of five with no leftovers yet a lot of time was put into making the dish. For this apple bake I decided to make enough for a couple meals. It tastes great reheated and you can easily swap out the milk for yogurt. I don't know about your family, but apples are a staple in our household. It's a good thing they are rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may even help reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Quick Apple Bake
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Vegetarian
yield: 8-10 servings

INGREDIENTS:
10-12 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs honey
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss the apples together with the lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon and place in a 9 x 12 baking dish greased with coconut oil.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, slivered almonds and spices. Stir in the melted coconut oil and honey. The mixture should be crumbly.
4. Sprinkle over the apples and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
5. Allow to cool. Plate into individual dishes and top with almond milk.