Monday, April 27, 2020

NEW Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Body Care Range

During this terrible pandemic self-care has become more important than ever. Tension is high, the economy is in trouble and people are scared to leave home.

If you’ve been stressed, bored or anxious lately, take a minute to breath, relax and unplug. Turn off the television, stay off social media and tune out negative news. It is time for positive vibes uplifting thoughts and self reflection.

I like to unwind by pampering myself with great products and Soap & Glory’s new skincare range is tropical, fruity and exotic. This is the best line the brand has ever created! The ingredients are amazing (as usual) but they left out their signature fragrance which is very perfumey.


I usually start my spa day with a high intensity cardio workout to improve my mood, expel toxins and promote better sleep. Yoga and meditation also ease tension.

When my muscles are loose and relaxed, I hop in a hot steamy shower and lather up with the Bubble in Paradise Refreshing Body Wash ($16.00). This fragrant formula is loaded with juicy mango, papaya and mandarin extract to cleanse your troubles away. Drizzle some on your bath puff and let the rich lather eliminate sweat, dirt and impurities until you feel revitalized.


Soap & Glory body scrubs are my secret to smooth silky legs (I always keep a jar in my shower). Summer Scrubbin’ ($18.00) buffs away rough, dry, flaky skin with pink jojoba exfoliator balls and natural coconut shell powder. From the neck down you can pretty much apply it anywhere (excluding private/sensitive areas) and rub away until your body is soft, supple and renewed.


I feel incredible after a hot shower and while my skin is slightly damp, I apply generous layers of body cream. The Way She Smoothes Softening Lotion ($16.00) is loaded with hydrating mango seed butter, coconut, sweet almond oil, papaya, passion fruit, algae extract and vitamin E to smooth and deeply nourish. It smells like a delicious bowl of tropical fruit and absorbs quickly with no residue.


It is still a bit chilly here in Toronto so I’ve also been using the No Woman No Dry Body Butter ($18.00). The rich, indulgent formula intensely moisturizes and alleviates dry itchy skin with a blend of coconut oil, passion fruit, aloe, vitamins, cocoa seed butter, mango and papaya. I love the juicy cantaloupe, hibiscus and cedar wood fragrance and the lush texture leaves skin velvety-soft all day long.


We’ve all been hand-washing more frequently and using lots of sanitzer so you probably need a tube of Hand Food ($10.00). This lightweight cream is infused with marshmallow extract, macadamia oil and shea butter to heal rough skin, ragged cuticles and brittle nails. It also works wonders on dry feet.


Soap & Glory is available at Shoppers Drug Mart

Friday, April 24, 2020

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Banana and Strawberries

After a grueling high-intensity cardio workout I usually crave a hearty breakfast loaded with protein, and fruit.

Oatmeal is a great way to start your day. It stabilizes blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and contains an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. When you don’t feel like cooking, overnight oats is a great grab-and-go meal.

While stuck in quarantine I created a delicious healthy recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth. This decadent oatmeal has all of my favorite flavor combinations: chocolate - strawberry, peanut butter - banana, and vanilla with a cinnamon swirl.


Ingredients:

*125 ml / 1/2 cup plain rolled oats (I used Quaker oats)

*1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 

*1 tablespoon brown sugar  (you can also use organic coconut sugar, honey or Stevia to taste)

*125 ml almond milk or milk of your choice

*1 drop/dash of good quality non-artificial vanilla extract (I used Usumacinta Natural Mexican Vanilla because it has a rich creamy flavor with no bitterness or harsh aftertaste. If you bake a lot I highly recommend it) Note: If you do not have high quality vanilla omit it from the recipe as it may overpower the chocolate.

*Dark chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet mini chips)

*1/2 banana 

* 3 medium strawberries (if you do not like banana or strawberries add whatever fruit you prefer - blueberries, mango, raspberries, apple etc)

* 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (you can also use other nut butters: almond, cashew, walnut, hazelnut etc)

*2 teaspoons all-natural cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)

*Granola

Note: I used a small jar but you can also use a clear drinking glass.


Prep:

*Slice or dice your fruit. I prefer small chunks because they are easy to scoop out and you get a few pieces in each bite. 

*Measure oats.

*Pour oats into a bowl and add almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract (optional), brown sugar and cocoa powder. Toss in a few chocolate chips and mix well. The oats will absorb the excess liquid and soften overnight.

*Melt peanut butter in the microwave for 1 minute or until it becomes liquidy and easy to drizzle.



Directions:

1. In a small jar add 2-3 spoons of oatmeal and layer the banana, strawberry, chocolate chips, and granola. Drizzle with peanut butter.

2. Scoop in more oatmeal until the jar is filled halfway.

3. Add another layer of fruit, chocolate chips, granola and peanut butter.

4. Fill jar with more oatmeal (almost to the top) and layer more fruit chocolate and peanut butter.

5. Garnish with granola.

6. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. If the lid does not fit on the jar, cover with parchment paper to prevent sticking and place a rubber band around it.  

Servings: 1
Course: Breakfast, lunch, snack or dessert
Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Raincry Hair Treatments and Brushes

Winter can be harsh on skin and hair. Frigid temperatures, indoor heating and hard water may cause dryness, flaking, build-up, dullness, breakage and scalp irritation that should to be treated regularly to prevent brittleness and shedding.

At least twice a month I pamper myself with nourishing hair products that help retain length, prevent heat damage, moisturize and soften my bouncy curls.


Start by deep cleansing your hair and scalp with the Raincry Polishing Wash ($44.00) infused with sea kelp, activated charcoal, hibiscus and green tea. The illuminating formula buffs and exfoliates to eliminate impurities, hard water, product build-up, dirt, excess oil, dust and pollutants. It balances pH, reduces hair loss, strengthens fraying ends and keeps my locks soft, supple and glossy without stripping the cuticle with drying sulphates.

When your hair needs to be clarified and renewed, this shampoo brings it back to life!


For soft, silky, shiny hair, apply the Radiance Rinse ($48.00) and comb through to distribute evenly. Like the wash, this color safe formula is paraben, sulphate, phthalate and cruelty free - formulated with fortifying keratin, amino acids, lavender extract and cherry vinegar to neutralize hard water.

Vitamin extracts and protein fortify weak strands to reduce split ends, prevent breakage and promote shiny flowing hair. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes in a steamy shower or mix with a treatment mask for 30 mins - 1 hour.

The lush cream makes my tendrils feel soft and healthy with a high-gloss mirror-like finish - perfect pre-styling treatment for salon quality blowouts. 


As someone with waist length hair I know how difficult it is to prevent tangles but the Raincry Brilliance Detangling Spray ($46.00) drenches each strand in a lightweight, non-greasy clear coat that helps you comb through pesky knots with ease. Slippery elm bark provides exceptional glide while nourishing extracts, flower oils and antioxidants boost hydration and shine. Curly girls will love this leave-in because it keeps spirals frizz free and well defined.


Raincry’s Large Natural Bristle Condition Brush ($153.00) is expertly crafted to provide many health benefits.

Use it to:
*Improve circulation to scalp and follicles.
*Brush and smooth your hair back into a sleek ponytail, bun or updo with no flywaways.
*Massage the scalp to promote growth and thickness.
*Distribute natural oils, serums and treatments to condition from root to tip.
*Keep hair straight, shiny and tangle free while flat ironing.
*Tame baby hairs, edges and frizz.
*Exfoliate the scalp.


I keep the travel-size Restore Paddle Brush ($114.00) in my purse at all times. The reinforced high quality boar bristles deeply penetrate the root area and feels amazing on the scalp. You'll love the hand painted Italian design and all the brushes come with a storage bag for safe keeping and travel.

Raincry products are available online at raincry.com and thebay.com

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

The way I see it we have two options: emerge from quarantine 15 pounds heavier after spending weeks on the couch eating junk, or workout and learn to prepare healthy homemade treats.

Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations and these delicious bites are easy to make.


Ingredients:

* Chocolate - I used President’s Choice Decadent Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate Chips but you can also use milk chocolate.

* Smooth peanut butter or your favorite nut butter.

* 3 Bananas - ripe but still firm.

* 2 Teaspoons coconut oil or 1 teaspoon of shortening so the chocolate is smooth and easy to work with. Without using one of these ingredients the chocolate becomes stiff and thick.


Directions:

1. Cut bananas into 0.7 cm slices.

2. Smooth a heaping amount of peanut butter on a banana slice and top with another slice to make a little sandwich. Place bites on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper.

Do this with all the banana slices.


3. Freeze for at least 3-5 hours. I left mine in overnight.

4. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl along with the coconut oil or shortening.

Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir each time. Keep a close eye on the chocolate so it doesn’t burn.

5. Take 3 or 4 bites out of the freezer and dip them in the melted chocolate one by one using two forks. Roll them to cover all sides and place on a plate lined with parchment paper.  

Do not take all the bites out at the same time or the banana will get mushy.

Do this until all your sandwiches are well coated. You might have to reheat the chocolate a few times if it starts to harden and use more coconut oil or shortening if necessary.

6. Place the bites in the freezer until they set and then transfer them to a container with a lid. Keep frozen until dessert time.


I usually take the bites out of the freezer 5 minutes before eating them so the banana is not too solid. This delicious low calorie treat will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Stay tuned for more great recipes and don’t forget to follow me on social:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Fruits & Passion Cucina Collection: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products For The Home

In the midst of the most devastating pandemic of our generation we are all practicing physical distancing and self-isolation to keep our loved ones safe.

Thanks to a few well prepared family members I have all the masks, gloves, sanitizer and disinfectant I need to help fend off the virus. If you can’t find these essentials at grocery stores or pharmacies, there are many other places that sell hand soap, dish detergent and all-purpose cleaner. Don’t let empty shelves deter you. Online shopping is still an option and Avon offers a wide selection of luxurious Fruits & Passion Cucina products that smell amazing and keep skin soft.


The Coriander and Olive Oil All-Purpose Cleaner ($10.00) is safe and effective for all non-porous surfaces. It is made from eco-conscious renewable ingredients like coconut oil and palm kernel.

Coriander is my favorite herb to cook with and I love the exotic Mediterranean aroma. The biodegradable, cruelty-free formula does not contain formaldehyde, phthalates, chlorine or parabens making it safe to use around children and pets.


Use it to keep your entire house clean and germ-free including the kitchen, bathroom, doorknobs, light switches and other commonly touched surfaces.

Being cooped up inside is not all bad. Many of us are eating healthier and preparing more home cooked meals. Unfortunately this also means washing more dishes so I’ve been using the Coriander and Olive Oil Concentrated Detergent ($9.00). This fragrant soap is biodegradable and free of harmful chemicals.

Although we have a dishwasher, baked-on food still needs to be scrubbed by hand. This powerful degreaser makes dinnerware sparkle without damaging skin and it smells amazing!


We’ve all been washing our hands more frequently so the Cucina Lime Zest and Cyprus soap and hand lotion ($24.00 ea) are in all my bathrooms. This collection was designed to infuse your space with freshness and create an aromatic escape to the Italian countryside.

The soap eliminates contaminants and unwanted food odors after cooking plus the gentle lather leaves hands soft and nourished.


Hand sanitizer has become a staple but often causes excessive dryness. The Cucina lightweight hydrating lotion prevents peeling, flaking, roughness and discomfort. Formulated to care for hands in the kitchen, the cream is enriched with olive oil and shea butter to nourish and renew with a non-greasy finish.

The purse/pocket-size hand creams ($12.00) have a rich consistency to heal, moisturize and protect dry hands, nails and cuticles. They contain cold pressed olive oil, lush butters and conditioning extracts that make skin feel soft and supple.


For more information please visit avon.ca.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

How to Make Whipped Coffee

Being stuck indoors is difficult but one way to prevent boredom is experimenting with delicious recipes.

Stopping at Starbucks or Tim Hortons for a daily caffeine fix is no longer an option so many of us are saving money and getting creative with our home brews.

One of the most popular drinks on social media is whipped coffee - made famous by TikTok. The rich, fluffy texture takes your morning routine to a whole new level and you only need 3 simple ingredients.

This decadent drink is sweet, creamy and satisfying - the perfect pick-me-up for a busy workday.


Whipped coffee is actually called Dalgona Coffee (Korea coffee) and a few other countries have similar versions.

Ingredients:

*2 Tablespoons of instant coffee – I used Nescafe Rich Hazelnut. If you prefer a milder flavor use one and a half tablespoons.


* 1 Tablespoon of flavored coffee cream/whitener (optional) – I used International Delight Hazelnut because it makes the coffee taste like a yummy Starbucks drink. I don’t usually add flavoring because it isn’t 100% natural but my husband purchased this accidentally and it tastes great with the recipe.


* Unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice (cashew, oat, coconut, soy etc).

*2 Tablespoons of brown sugar (you can also use white sugar or organic coconut sugar for less sweetness). The recipe will work with half the amount of sugar but it won't stay fluffy for long. 

*2 Tablespoons boiling water.

Directions:

1. In a clean mixing bowl add the coffee, sugar and hot water.

2. Using a hand mixer or whisk to whip the coffee until it becomes a thick, luscious cream. This may take anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes depending on what tool you use.


I used a manual whisk (the longest method) and it was a pretty good bicep workout. The quicker you mix the faster it transforms.

3. Pour milk in a glass and add 2-3 ice cubes.

4. Add flavored coffee cream to taste (optional).

5. Scoop the whipped coffee on top and stir it into the milk.


Hazelnut Iced Coffee
Another drink I’ve been enjoying is hazelnut iced coffee. It is similar to whipped coffee except whisking is not required and the flavor is not as strong. It reminds me of a Tim Horton’s frothy ice cappuccino with much less sugar.


Directions:

1. In a NutriBullet or blender add unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice. I used a little bit less than 2 cups. 

2. Add 1 - 1 ½ tablespoon of instant hazelnut coffee (depending on how strong you like it).

3. 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (1/2 a tbsp if you prefer it less sweet).

4. 1 Tablespoon hazelnut creamer/whitener. If the creamer is sweet you can omit the brown sugar. 

5. 3 Ice cubes

6. Blend until ice is crushed.

7. Drizzle with melted chocolate or top with chocolate shavings (optional). 

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Simple Spicy Fried Rice Recipe | Turn Your Leftovers Into a Delicious Dish

I hate wasting food, especially during a pandemic but when leftovers get boring they often end up in the compost bin.

Instead of throwing out leftover rice use it to create a tasty new dish. Today I am sharing a simple recipe for spicy vegetable fried rice that can be prepared in 15 - 20 minutes.  


Ingredients:

- Leftover rice of your choice.

Two days prior to making this recipe I cooked one and a half cups of brown basmati rice. Thanks to COVID-19 this was all I could find at the grocery store. You can also use white rice, brown rice, regular basmati, jasmine or parboiled rice. Wild rice will not work.

I always use a rice cooker and substitute some of the water with an entire can of organic coconut milk for a rich buttery flavor. I know basmati is not typically used to make fried rice but this recipe is about re-purposing your leftovers.

- 3-4 Cloves of garlic – finely minced

- 1/2 Teaspoon minced ginger

- 3 Stalks of green onion – chopped

- 1 Small/medium onion – finely diced so it melts into the rice

- 1/2 Red pepper – diced

- Sriracha – to taste

- 1 tbsp Sir Kensington Ketchup - you can also use regular ketchup but Sir Kensington is made with crushed vine ripened tomatoes and their vegan recipe is free of high fructose corn syrup, gluten and GMO. It also has a delicious savory flavor.

- Cilantro (optional)

- Parsley

- 3 Eggs - beaten

- Black pepper

- Mrs Dash Original Seasoning – to taste

- Garlic powder – to taste

- Himalayan pink salt (or regular table salt) – to taste

- 1 tbsp Japanese mayo or regular mayo - mayonnaise is frequently used in Japanese fried rice. It gives the dish a unique flavor.

I used a mini food processor to chop the onions cilantro, ginger and garlic because it is much faster. If you do not have this gadget in your kitchen you should get one! They retail for just $15.00-$20.00 at most kitchen supply stores.

Directions:

- Beat eggs in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

- In a hot pan with oil sauté the onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger and red pepper.

- Sprinkle in some garlic powder and Mrs Dash to taste.

- When the veggies start to brown/soften, move them to one side and pour in the eggs. Scramble and combine.

- Incorporate rice and stir. Add ketchup, drizzle with sriracha to taste and stir.

- Add mayo, green onion and salt. Mix well and taste to make sure you’ve added enough salt. You can also use a bit of Soy Sauce.

-Garnish with parsley and serve.

I’ve made this for dinner twice recently and my family loves it! The rice tastes great as a main dish and you can serve it with meat, side salad or roasted veggies.


Bon appetite!
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