Birchbox Finds & Body Care Favorites

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I have been subscribed to Birchbox for about 2 years now. I have found some really incredible products with them.  I have been really been loving 2 of the products I recently received, as well as a few body care items.

  1. The first item I have really been loving is Chicken Poop Lip Junk! It is a super soft and hydrating. Plus the smell is INCREDIBLE! It has really clean ingredients too. Just avocado oil, jojoba oil, sweet orange essential oil, lavender essential oil, bees wax and vitamin E.
  2. Another favorite is Malin & Gietz Clarifying Clay Mask. This is a Birchbox find, and I have been really impressed by it. I have had a really busy schedule lately, and my skin has taken a hit from it. This mask has been a really special treat for my skin. The best part about it is how clean, clear, and bright my skin feels after.
  3. I have always loved my Clarisonic, but as I mentioned above my skin hasn’t been in the best shape. The Clarisonic has changed my skin! I could go on for hours about what a difference it has made, but recently I have been loving it a little extra.
  4. To go with my Clarisonic, I have been using the Acure Facial Cleansing Gel. This has been mild and gentle and works great with my combo/oily skin. I normally experience dryness and then my skin produces more oil, but this has left me feeling balanced and clean.
  5. I might be a little bit late to the game, but dry brushing has been on repeat for some time now. I just can’t get enough of it! I love the way it makes my skin feel smooth, and there are tons of benefits. Here is where I read about it!

I hope you give some of these items a try and that you will definitely check out Birch box. I have loved that subscription since it was gifted to me 2 years ago. What are some of your body & skin care favorites?

 

* All items and companies mentioned are not compensating me in anyways. I genuinely love all of these products and would recommend them to anyone.

Wonton Soup

One of my favorite soups to enjoy when we go out to eat is Wonton Soup! It is one of the most popular items at Chinese restaurants, and it was super easy to make at home.

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P.S. Did you make some broth last week? If so, Wonton Soup is a great way to use it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups broth (Make it yourself here)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 in piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tsp hot mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • green onion for garnish
  1. Start by adding broth and water to a large pot. Add 2 cloves of peeled and smashed garlic, and a one inch piece of ginger. Slice up 1 half of the onion, then give 1 carrot a rough chop and add to pot. Put on medium heat to simmer.
  2. While the soup broth simmers, add pork, 1 carrot, 2 cloves garlic, other half of ginger and onion, 1 tbs soy sauce, 2 tsp hot mustard into a food processor. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. (Don’t have a food processor, minced all ingredients and mix well by hand!)
  3. Once your meat mixture is well combined, grab your wonton wrappers.
  4. Take about 1/2 tbs of the mixture and add it to the center of your wrapper. On two edges, run your finger down it with water to help the wrappers stay closed. Then fold in half, point to point, to make a triangle. Press around meat to push out extra air. Take two points and bring them together. Be sure to seal all edges with water. (I made about 30 dumplings)
  5. Make all of the dumplings you want with the meat mixture. Once they are all made, put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, store in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring your soup broth up to a boil.
  6. Once the broth is at a boil drop in the dumplings and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the remaining soy sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot with green onions for garnish!

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Need a visual tutorial on how to fold your dumplings? I learned to fold my dumplings here.

 

Easy Weeknight Lasagna

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During the week, my husband and I are really busy. Both of our jobs keep us from getting at home until 7pm, and that means when we come home we want something that can cook up in 30 minutes or less. Now lasagna may seem like a daunting task after a long work day, but I have some tips to make it easy. You can totally enjoy delicious lasagna on weeknight!!!

PREP! PREP! PREP! It will help you keep weeknight meals quick and easy!

Tip #1:The night before, or even a few days in advance, get some sauce made up. Maybe you have a favorite prepared sauce. Get it ready to go!

Tip #2: If you happen to have more free time the night before, the morning, or even two days before, make it all then. You can totally layer up lasagna and put it in the fridge to keep until you bake it for dinner.

Tip #3: Freeze it! Lasagna freezes really well, and then when you want it again all you have to do is get it out to thaw and pop in the oven. This will originally take some extra work, but it will help you in the future when you’re in a pinch.

Easy Weeknight Lasagna

IMG_5431.jpgIngredients:

  • 5 cups Meat-Tomato Pasta Sauce  (This is about a 45 oz jar)
  • 8oz of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 6oz of Sliced Mozzarella Cheese (About 10 slices)
  • 8oz of Large Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 10oz of Brown Rice Lasagna Pasta
  1. Start by boiling your lasagna pasta. You’ll want to follow package instruction, but be sure to not cook the pasta all the way through. The pasta will continue to cook once it is in the oven!
  2. Once the pasta is done and drained. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Get ready to start layering. (:
  3. Be sure to give your first layer of pasta a nice bed of sauce! Next layer the pasta in an even layer across baking dish. Layer a little more sauce on top of the pasta.
  4. Now dollop cottage cheese throughout the layer. Add shredded cheese on top of that. Next layer pasta on top of shredded cheese and repeat. Pasta. Sauce. Cottage Cheese. Shredded Cheese. Repeat until you have used all of your pasta.

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6. Once you have layered everything up you should have your last layer      ending in shredded cheese. On top of the shredded cheese add the   remaining sauce and top with sliced cheese. (This is where you could cover and put it in the fridge or freezer to enjoy at a later time!)

7. By now your oven should be to temp and you can put your lasagna in for  30 minutes. When it is done it should be golden and bubbly!

Once it is out of the oven it can be VERY hot, so please let it sit and cool before enjoying! Plus it gives it a chance to firm up and stay together.

Hopefully this helps you enjoy a quick weeknight meal that is delicious! If you try the recipe or any of the tips mentioned tell me about it in the comments below!

 

Bone Broth: 101

Over the past year I have learned a lot about broth and why it is important. Bone broth has always been a staple in traditional food diets, and it is becoming a staple in my kitchen. This simple super food is really easy to make and is full of nutrients!

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Benefits: While there are many health benefits, which I will get to, there are a lot of practical reason to make more broth. For starters, making bone broth is really economical. I often roast a whole chicken (or any bone in meat) and use the meat for a meal, and then use the bones to make broth. I know I will always get two meals, meat and broth. That keeps the price right, while also making sure what I serve is nutritious.

Another benefit of bone broth is little waste. In my broth I add all my kitchen scraps. For example, when I chop up some onions, peel a carrot, or cut the ends of celery, I keep those and add them to my broth. Also, I use the whole animal. This means that the bones, organs, and meat are all being put to use in my kitchen. The easiest way to save and store your “scraps” is to get a freezer bag/freezer safe container, fill it overtime, and store in freezer. In my bag I add both bones and veg. We are only a two person household, so it might take us a week or two to fill it enough to make broth.

Wellness: As I have mentioned, bone broth is exceptionally nutrient dense. Many people have been relieved of their leaky gut through broth due to the gelatin. Some people experience better hair, skin, and nails from the collagen. Broth is loaded with minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. People have even linked broth to helping diseases like arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and gut diseases. As you can start to tell, broth can be a whole body treatment from the inside out.

Besides all of the wonderful health benefits, a really obvious benefit is that broth makes people feel good! There is a reason when you’re sick all you want is chicken soup. Broth is soothing, warms you up, and is a real comfort food. (Are you wanting some bone broth yet?!)

Adding broth to you diet is absolutely easy and is something you can enjoy. Since adding it to my diet, I can honestly say it is something I crave when I don’t have it. It starts my day, and often closes it as well. If you have been wondering about bone broth, here is your message to try it! You will not regret it!

Looking for more: I haven’t learned everything about broth from my own experience. Over the past year I have learned a lot about broth form many other people. Here is some links to website, articles, and videos that have taught me what I know about broth!

Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon MA and Kaayla T Daniel, PhD, CCN 

Can Broth Help Us Maintain a Healthy Weight? A Study on Glutamine and the Microbiome Suggests It 

Bone Broth and Health: A Look at the Science — Kaayla Daniel, Ph.D., CCN (AHS14)

Bone Broth for Health Building: Nourishing the Liver and Kidneys
By Cindy Micleu, MTCM, LAc.

Monday Mission: How to Make your own Homemade Chicken Stock/Broth

Wellness Mama

The Healthiest and Best Bone Broth (plus video!)

 

*Although I believe broth has brought me wellness; this post, myself, nor broth, is intended to diagnose or treat individuals . Always check things out with your physician to be sure it is right for you!

 

3 Lessons From 2015 for A Better 2016

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As 2015 closes and we start the new year, as always, I am doing some reflecting on what 2015 brought to me and what I taking from it. 2015 has some really awesome memories, but also had struggle and was unstable at times. With all that said, I am taking three big lessons to bank and they are going to make for a better 2016!

Lesson #1: Put yourself out there!

This is a lesson I have been learning all year. I didn’t really let go of this until recently. I have always worried about what would happen if I put myself out there. I wasted lots of time worrying about my creativity, ideas, opinions, passions, and experience. I worried that is wasn’t enough, and that because it wasn’t others wouldn’t notice. Or worse, they would notice, and not in a good way. This year I took  risks and did put myself out there, and I wish I would have done it sooner! Putting myself out there has opened doors, built confidence, and has given me opportunities I didn’t think I would ever get. If you too are struggling to put yourself out there in whatever it maybe, I encourage you to do it!

Lesson #2: Love comes in ALL shapes!

In June of 2015 I married my best friend. We have overcome a lot in our first 7 months of marriage. Life this year threw us a lot of lemons! During this time it was easy to forget about each others needs. We had a lot of other things going on, but I fortunately read a wonderful book by Gary Chapman: The 5 Love Languages. If you haven’t read this book let me just say its understanding of love will CHAGNE your relationships for good. I learned so much about how to love my husband in ways that fill him up. I also learned a lot about how I give and receive love. In 2016 I want to not only continue using this in my marriage, but I want to use this to build more relationships and grow the friendships I already have.

Lesson #3: Skinny doesn’t mean healthy!

I have spent most of my life thinking that skinny meant you where healthy, but this year I ran across information about what healthy really looks like. I started following a mostly clean diet.I also learned a lot about fermented foods, whole fats, and natural lifestyles. I have healed myself of illness with whole foods, and I see great length in my hair and nails. (Something you would have never saw before!) Being healthy has nothing to do with being skinny, healthy has all to do with what put into and do with your body. Gaining knowledge about wellness this year has set me up for an even healthier and happier lifetime.

I am taking many this from 2015, but these 3 lessons are some big ones! They are things that I know will make my 2016 even better. I would love to hear what YOU are taking from 2015 that will make 2016 better! Leave it in the comments below!

 

 

Starting Your Morning Right & A Recipe

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.

We have all heard this one, yet sometimes I found myself grabbing processed packaged berry tarts, dry sugary cereals, or even not eating anything at all! None of these breakfast solutions are satisfying and can lead into even worse feelings as the day goes on.

Recently I have been trying to start my morning right with whole natural foods that will keep me feeling fuller longer and will give me energy to last the whole day. When I have some extra time in the morning I love enjoying some hardboiled or fried eggs, Ezekiel Toast with fresh butter, and some fruit.

Although this is a dream breakfast, I usually don’t have time for all of this and need something quick that packs a punch. This is where I turn to smoothies! They are always cool and refreshing, which is a great wake up in the morning. I always have frozen fruit on hand, so it is also convenient and easy to make.

Here is one I make often because it only has 3 ingredients and tastes great!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Frozen berries ( I use a frozen berry mix!)
  • 1/2 cup Frozen chopped Kale
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk (I use a blend like this!)
  • Optional: Ice for a more icey like smoothie. I don’t usually add it since my berries and kale are both frozen.

1) Put all of your ingredients in a blender and whirl away to desired consistency!

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I love this because it is so simple! The berries are full of antioxidants and the kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. Your breakfast couldn’t get or taste much better!

*As usual my measurements are approximate. You can always add more or less of these ingredients to suit your taste!

 

**Psst! Today I linked some awesome milk! I love this brand and really love their products and that is my true honest opinion. This company doesn’t know me or compensate me, I just genuinely love this stuff and want you to know about it too!

Tech Favorites

I recently purchased a new iPhone, and while I was at it I repurchased some phone favorites. I am not a tech person, my husband is that half of our duo, but over the years he has introduced me to some really amazing products that make my technology easy to use and last for years to come!

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One of the awesome products comes from a company called ZAGG. From my very first iPhone, I purchased a ZAGG Screen protector. This past time I purchased the HD Glass Screen Protector. This screen protector is the best yet, because it scratch resistant tempered glass, contains a blue light filter, has oil repelling technology, and offers a lifetime guarantee! I no longer have to worry about dropping my phone or throwing it in my purse, and makeup is no match to my screens clarity. Also, blue light can be damaging to your eyes, so it is great that ZAGG offers the filtered screen protector.

Here are some close ups so you can see how ultra thin this screen protector is!

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Another favorite is the Pawtec Premium Lightning USB Cable. I love this because of the extra length! It makes charging my phone anywhere super easy and very accessible. Another favorite feature that really does make a difference is that this cable is Apple certified. This means that the company that made my phone approves this as being safe and compatible to use with my iPhone. Cell phones can cost a lot of money, so I feel good about using a product that is approved like this. One more detail that makes this a favorite is that the cable is wrapped! We have all had charging cables that tear from pulling and bending. The orange color makes this so fun, but it serves a real purpose that will help it last.

I really hope you try some of these products with your current tech devices, or if you too have made a recent purchase you will go out and get these! I genuinely love these products and I know you will too!

***Just because I feel like it needs to be said, none of the companies I mentioned or linked to are affiliated with me or are compensating me in anyway. I genuinely love these products and all opinions of these products are my own.***