Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cool Off with Iced Green Tea!

Iced GREEN TEA is a wonderful way to cool off, HYDRATE, energize, and get HEALTHY!

I love the slow caffeine infusion that comes from green tea!
It's naturally lower in caffeine than other teas, so you have to drink more (better hydration!) to get more caffeine :)


For some caffeine comparison see chart below :)

This generally what I do with some notes!

Iced Green Tea
  • Boil some water in a kettle.
  • Wait a few minutes (green tea steeps and tastes best with hot, not boiling, water).
  • I use the brand Costco carries (Kirkland Signature Ito En Matcha Blend) which gets super reviews from for authenticity, which I think is lucky for me, and other Costco shoppers!)
  • Add 4-6 tea bags to a mug of water to steep for 30 seconds! (another bit that's different for green tea).
  • Most other teas are best with a steep time of around 3 min.
  • Do not discard tea pouches.
  • Prepare a pitcher of ice water, lots of ice, about a quart of water, AND the powder remaining in each of the tea bag pouches.
  • Add hot tea to pitcher, and enjoy!

Click on image below for BENEFITS of GREEN TEA.

Caffeine is so helpful to our bodies in MANY WAYS! Here is a look at how much caffeine you get from different sources :)

Caffeine Content
Wrinkle Free? Green Tea Please!
3 Bountiful Benefits of Coffee and Caffeine [and tea]
Lucky 7 Sipping Suggestions (tea is among these healthy drinking ideas)
Five Coffee Tricks [to decrease caffeine intake BESIDES switching to green tea!]

BONUS TIP from the Dr Oz Show: if you're interested in humidity, key in on DEW POINT (at 70 degrees or higher, it will feel really humid) during weather reports. Humidity is NOT the number to look for, since it varies quite a bit depending on temperature and precipitation. Therefore, there isn't an ideal percentage to hope for if you prefer less sticky days.  In Cleveland, OH, we're very familiar with sticky days!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Berry Berry Brownies

Who doesn't love BERRIES and BROWNIES? Well, actually, my hubby.  But I think he is in the minority! As you can see, I love this combo: All Things Chocolate and Berry! These are so yummy that I am having trouble catching them on camera! That's ok because they taste MUCH better than they look!

Berry Brownies
(Brownie Bites + strawberries)

1/2 c pecans
1/3 c dates
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
dash of salt
4 fresh strawberries

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until it forms a "brownie batter" consistency. For each "brownie", just put a spoonful on a microwaveable dish and heat for 15 seconds. Hot berry brownie is ready to enjoy!

BONUS: your house will smell amazing!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE these Laraball and fruit/veg combos: Sweetened Celery, Best Banana Bites, or Choco-Candy Apple Parfait!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Simple Spicy Slow Cooker Indian Chili

Here is a simple, healthy, vegetarian, TASTY option for when you're short on time in the kitchen!

Have you heard me go on about the amazing-ness of dried beans in the slow cooker?!
I love it for so MANY REASONS!

This dish can warm you up on a COLD SPRING DAY!

Simple Spicy Slow Cooker Indian Chili

1.5 cups dried beans, rinsed (I used adzuki beans) ...anything but kidney beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 jar Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce
2 or 3 jar-fulls of water

Fill your slow cooker with all ingredients to cook on HIGH, overnight, or all day. If awake, stir occasionally, but no worries if you're asleep! When beans are soft, and the chili is at your desired thickness, fill up your bowl, and enjoy!

Might taste great with a dollop of plain Greek or regular non-dairy YOGURT swirled in, on top, or to the side!

Simple Spicy Slow Cooker Indian Chili delicious and wholesome with just the above listed ingredients! Plus, you can certainly add as many other veggies as you'd like!

Check out MASALA SIMMER SAUCE INGREDIENTS: tomato puree, tomatoes, light cream, onions, ginger, garlic, canola oil, lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, coriander, cumin, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, paprika, red pepper, cinnamon, cloves.

Not too bad for less than $3 and so much convenience!

BONUS TIP: ADZUKI beans have much MORE FIBER than most other beans that people eat today!

Benefits of Kefir [and yogurt!] could probably swirl some plain non-dairy kefir into this recipe!
BEANS!  Read here for a) benefits of dried beans, b) homemade refried beans, and c) dried-canned bean conversions
Trader Joe's Treasures (Indian simmering sauces are on the list!)
Other Healthy Packaged Indian Food

Plus, Dr Oz lists ADZUKI beans as one of 5 Cheapest Health Foods Under $1!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The New Nutella (Homemade)! YUM!

Nutella, oh Nutella, how you "seem" so very wholesome and healthy! Why does your first ingredient have to be sugar?!?! Well, here is a delicious solution!

Homemade Nutella!

This recipe came from -- THANK YOU Melissa!...with a little input from Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe!

Homemade Nutella!

3/4 c hazelnuts, toasted at 375 for 10 min
2 Tbsp date paste
2 Tbsp almond milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp vanilla

Combine everything in a food processor until smooth, and enjoy!  YUM!

Homemade Nutella

COMMENTS: How do you like your Nutella?  Toast, spoonfuls, on ice cream, in a tortilla?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

3 Tasty, Cheap, and Nutritious Reasons to Stop at Gordon Food Service!

Greaaaat Gordon FoodsThese are three products that make my trip to Gordon Food Service worthwhile! Each will save you lots of $$$$$$$$$!

Canned Roasted Red Peppers

I divide this huge quantity into smaller portions. I use for recipes such as: "Chicken" Artichoke CasseroleRED peppers have the most vitamin C of all the bell peppers!
(compared to green, yellow, and orange :)

Frozen Dark Tart Cherries

Another bright color -- those bright colors are very nutritious! They'll help you sleepFrozen fruits and veggies are packaged at their perfectly ripened peak -- maximal nutrition!

Corn Tortillas

They are super thin, so one tortilla is only 35 CALORIES! There are definitely brands available with many fewer ingredients, but these are still great to have on hand. Plus, they freeze perfectly! ...handy since you get 120 of them! Try these Awesome Avocado Quesadillas!

COMMENTS: What are your favorite bargains from Gordon Food Service, or any other food store?!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweetly Stuffed Celery!

This is a refreshing way to have a Laraball, get some extra veggies, and cool off on a hot spring day! Most flavors of Laraballs (or sweet balls, as some call them!) will work.
Except, and I never thought I would say this, but I can't see chocolate tasting great with celery!

PB&J Poppers, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough, and Cashew Cookie work especially well.

Here I used Cinnamon Cranberry Confections, yum!

1/3 c walnuts
1/4 c almonds
1/3 c raisins (with no added sugar!)
1/8 c dried cranberries (unsweetened - finding is a challenge!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Blend above ingredients all together in a food processor, fill your celery slices, chill for a bit (optional), and enjoy!


OTHER great ways to enjoy Laraballs!

Apple Brownie Sandwich

Berry Berry Brownies

Best Banana Bites

Monday, May 13, 2013

Six Awesome Almond Products from Costco!

A buyer for Costco LOVES almonds, and I know why!

Delicious snacks listed in order from healthiest at the top...
All are pretty healthy TREATS at the very least, and most even worthy of more frequent snacking!

All nuts are AWESOME (awesome for energy!), and some nutrition experts would even say that ALMONDS top that list!

A key to getting the most nutritional bang for your buck is to REPLACE other less healthy fats with NUTS! ...rather than just adding them into your diet without making other changes.

Almond Products at Costco (other Costco stuff!)

#1 Raw Almonds

#2 Dry Roasted Almonds

#3 Maranatha Almond Butter (no photo)

#4 Almond Accents

AWESOME eaten on their own like chips as a snack!  AND even on a small scoop of ice cream! could pretty easily chop up the roasted almonds (purple lid) and add a bit of pepper for a similar snack ...minus the extra ingredients found in this product.

#5 Dark Chocolate and Almond Bark

Impressive 3 grams of fiber per serving!

#6 Thin Addictives

3 delicious thinly sliced cookies per 100-calorie packet!

COMMENTS: Are you doing any spring cleaning?  I LOVE getting organized and getting things clean!  You can't beat the sense of accomplishment!  Have any tips to share?  Or other great Costco products to recommend?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fruit Fun!

Thank you Costco for this great idea!  Peeling tangerines is pretty easy.  
Still, when I tried a sample of tangerines cut up this way, it was really easy to eat.  
Sometimes if I am peeling for my kids I can't keep up with the demand!
With just two quick cuts, you're ready to go!  

No orange colored nails after this quick, yummy snack!

Here is a quick trick for removing strawberry stems.
Simply poke a hard straw straight through a strawberry from the narrow bottom all the way up and out pops the stem!  Works like a charm!

No more half strawberries going to waste because kids don't want to eat near the stem!

BONUS: you can actually eat the stems, and you'll get some extra leafy greens!

What improves that perfect combination of banana and peanut butter!
A stick!  Everything is better on a stick! 

Our sticks were drink stirrers.

You might also like Slushy Spritzers!

One more thing a friend shared that I HAD to include here!
How terrific are these darling fruit and veggie trays?!?!

This is beautiful Sesame Street food art is from a darling family blog!  Thank you Bethany!
Plus, check out many, many other beautiful trays on Pinterest!

COMMENTS: Is it a busy time of year for you?  I find the anticipation of summer exciting, but whew, I feel like things are moving fast!  Plus, do you ever eat food on a stick?  If so, what is your favorite?


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