Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cheezy Pasta - Vegan


Teenagers love mac n cheese, right?  Well, for that matter people of any age.  So you can imagine the dismay when my 14-year old son suddenly developed lactose intolerance... not just the normal kind where you take a pill and eat what you want, but a severe form that has left him dairy-free ever since.

Mostly he missed pizza.  And tacos with chipotle white sauce.  And mac n cheese.

We tried different vegan cheeses and sauces, but all were met with the same response,

"No thanks, Mom.  I'll just go without."

So off my baby went to college, dairy-free.  He hasn't adopted our vegan diet and actually makes fun of many of my "vegan" choices as he feels he needs "real" protein to keep his physique (I know... I've sent him the literature, but he still doesn't believe.).  

But then he came home and I made him this Cheezy Pasta.  Placing a steaming bowl in front of him he raised his eyebrows as he hesitantly asked what was in it.

"Cashews," I said casually.  "And a few other things like garlic, oh, and Nutritional Yeast..."

The eyebrows went higher and he responded,

"No thanks, I'm good".

Eventually I convinced him to try. 

"Just a bite," I said.

And he did.  One bite.  Then two.  Then he cleaned the bowl and asked for seconds.

Now I get texts when he leaves Santa Barbara on his way home for a long weekend asking if I can "Please have that Vegan Cheezy Pasta ready" when he walks in the door.

Luckily it goes together in a flash, and you can make extra sauce that keeps for days in the fridge.

However, if you're trying to sell it as a sub to mac n cheese lovers, I wouldn't call it mac n cheese... it's definitely not the blue box kind.  It's so much better, a whole different kinds of awesomeness that deserves a category all its own.  And so much healthier... have you read the back of that box?  But that's a whole different story.


Cheers my friends... enjoy!

Kim

Monday, April 23, 2018

Blueberry Almond Butter Maca Smoothie - Boost the Mood



Blueberry smoothies seem to be a staple in just about every smoothie shop you enter, and for good reason - most everyone loves a blueberry!

According to Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.Org, one should be including at least one serving of berries in their diet per day.  And with a fiber-rich profile, blueberries and their Vitamin C and Manganese content seem to be a good one to add.


Add in a handful of greens, banana, a spoonful of almond butter and a few teaspoons of one of the newest superfoods on the market - Maca - and we have another certified Super Smoothie.

Are you familiar with Maca?  A cruciferous vegetable native to the Andes of Peru, maca has been revered for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.  Maca, however didn't cross my radar until I did a little research on menopausal symptoms.


After a few sleepless nights along with a hot flash or two I took to the internet for natural perimenopausal symptom relief, and time and again maca came as a suggestion. Maca, it seems, helps to balance hormone levels and to control the amount of estrogen in the body.  According to a study in the International Journal of Biomedical Science, maca proved to balance hormone levels, relieved symptoms of menopause, and actually increased bone density in the study participants.

Good enough for me to try... And with its slighty earthy and mildly nutty flavor, maca seemed the perfect addition to one of my favorite smoothies including almond better. I've grown to love the combo so much this smoothie hits my blender 4-5 times a week, and the rest of the family asks for it as well.

And the symptoms?  I have to admit I didn't have many before, but I've not had any more hot flushes (or flashes), I'm sleeping well, and not a single night sweat to report.  I'll have to keep up with it as my age keeps aging and will definitely keep you posted.

I'll be researching more on maca and will let you know what I learn.

Cheers my friends!

Kim 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Acai Overnight Oats

Acai Overnight Oats

Overnight oats may be past trend, but they've become a staple in my house.  Easy for a quick breakfast on the run, tasty for a mid-afternoon snack, but most of all - perfect for the dorm room.

With simple ingredients mixed together the night (or a few nights) prior one can enjoy a healthy and easy breakfast that far supersedes any smooshy oatmeal from the college dining commons.

Acai Powder
We sent Liv off with reusable empty jars, a package of organic oats, a bag of acai powder (we use the Navitas brand) and a few mix-ins.  She laughed at first and said she wasn't going to go through the trouble of putting the overnight oats together, but after a few weeks of dining commons breakfasts she called to asked for the recipe.

Sweetened to your taste, these Acai Oats pack a nutrition and fiber punch and can be tossed in a bag when you're running out the door.

Cheers to a healthy and quick breakfast!
Kim

Monday, March 12, 2018

Life, Loss, Balance and New Beginnings

Yoga headstand in Kauai, Inhale the Future, Exhale the Past

Life, it has a way of showing us the path we're meant to follow.  It's not always the path we think we should be on, but nonetheless, it is our path.

The last two years have pushed my little Liv Life space to the side as family took priority.  In those years we've lost both of my in-laws, an aunt, an uncle and our dog.  We've learned that hospice can be a bright spot in a terrible situation, and that lessons do indeed come from darkness.

We've also become empty nester's... something I've dreaded since the moment my first child was born.  However, much to my surprise it's really not all that bad.  In fact, if I had to say so, we love our empty nest life! My husband and I have rediscovered just how much we enjoy our time together and I'm learning that there really is life beyond the PTA, Girl Scouts and putting in the endless hours as a Dance Mom (though I really do miss the Dance Mom part). 

Do I miss the kids?  Absolutely, but text, phone calls and frequent visits keep us in touch, and then the two of us have our days to ourselves.

Seattle, 2107 - 1st Empty Nest Trip!
My girlfriends and I have learned without regularly scheduled school and dance events that we won't see each other unless we make an effort, and now we're having fun exploring new ventures - like museums without field trips.  Or wine on Tuesday just because.

And now I have time to share with you.  I have travels to share, recipes to photograph to tempt your taste buds, and lessons I've learned that may also help you get through when times turn dark.

Coming up I have a wonderful Kauai Itinerary - have you been to the Garden Isle?  An unforgettable restaurant we found in Canmore, Alberta, along with a trip to the Canadian Ice Field Parkway and on into Jasper.

I have tips to survive a new empty nest, and tips on dealing with an elderly parent.  I've so much to talk about and so much to explore.  

Liv Life has been a mostly Whole Food Plant Based blog for a number of years now and that direction will continue (however my son is not vegan, and hence I have a few college boy recipes that may include eggs that my non-vegan followers may find useful).

Rocky Mountain Flat Bread Company - Canmore
Rocky Mountain Flat Bread Company
I've learned loads about ingredients and natural remedies, remedies that have actually worked for us, and I've researched the why.  I have sources to share and facts to dispense, and now that my world is back in balance I have the time and desire to do it.

I won't have a regular posting day, and as we still continue to care for aging parents and work around the kids' schedules (when they call I'll drop just about anything to be with them!) I may be days or even a week in between posts. But I'm eager to discover new things and ideas with you all, and I hope you're eager to learn along with me.

So my friends, here's hoping you are healthy and happy, and living in a world of balance.  I've missed chatting with you and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted.

Cheers my friends, 

Kim

Friday, October 27, 2017

Molasses Oatmeal Banana Bread - Vegan Recipe


Oh Banana Bread... how we love you!  Since the kids were babies, Banana Bread of all sorts has been not only a staple in our kitchen but also a vehicle to pump healthy ingredients into the kids without them really knowing it.

I've gone so far as to add spinach and avocado to recipes (with success I might add!), but we keep returning to an old favorite recipe (and spinach-free version...) - Oatmeal Banana Bread with Molasses.

Tender and flavorful, we easily removed the dairy when my son became intolerant, but would the old recipe stand up to becoming "veganized"?  Absolutely.

The banana and oatmeal bring a tender moistness while the walnuts add a touch of texture.  But I think it's the molasses that kicks this recipe over the top with a rich pop of flavor that leaves you simply wanting more.

Fabulous fresh from the oven, we've been known to demolish an entire loaf before the last slice cools.  However if you can save enough for breakfast the next morning, a toasted slice slathered with peanut butter and topped with sliced banana is pure heaven.

Whether serving to your plant-based friends or not, this recipe may rise to the top of your most used recipes once you give it a go.  

Cheers my friends, here's to banana love!

Kim


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Skinny & Company Coconut Facial Oil Review

Skinny & Company Facial Oil Makeup Remover

Setting off on vacation a few weeks ago I tucked a couple travel-sized 2 oz jars of Skinny Coconut Oil products into my suitcase.  Skinny & Company sent me a few travel-sized products to review, and I agreed to social media (if we liked them) in return.  Asking Liv if she and her friend would give the products a try and perhaps help compose a photo or two (they are instagram styling queens!) I received a "Maybe." in return.  Hence, I was on my own.

However, on my own turned out to be just fine when unpacking some 20 hours later and I realized I hadn't packed my usual makeup remover wipes.  Turning to the Skinny products I chose the Coconut Facial Oil which is said to remove makeup.  And remove makeup it did!

I think for the first time in ages my face was completely makeup free - including those stubborn mascara smudges under my eyes.  Seriously... wow.

Skinny & Company Facial Oil Makeup Remover
Taking a peek at the ingredients brought another wow.  Chemical free, all natural (not natural flavor - but actually real, natural, plant-based ingredients), and it worked.  I'm so sold.

Three products all packed in one little jar, the Facial Oil works as a makeup remover, cleanser and moisturizer.  I think Skinny's site says it best:

"This amazing jar contains some of the most calming essential oils in the world. This facial oil is best used to remove stubborn makeup with ease, then wipe off with a warm cloth. A little goes a long way with all coconut oil products and it has a long shelf life. It will not irritate eyes or skin because just like all Skinny & Co. products, it is not made with any chemicals or preservatives. A great bonus tip is to add this to the tops of the cheekbones or decollete as a light highlight once makeup is applied."

But the real test came some 10 days later when Liv asked if she could use some of my "coconut stuff" as she had used the last of her makeup wipes.  Unfortunately, this was the last I saw of my prized little jar.  However the girls too, are sold, and Olivia's friend returned home to order a jar to spread the Coconut Facial Oil love in college at UC Davis.

The girls say their faces are clearer since they've begun using the Facial Oil and that it works "way" better than other removal products.  In addition, while it is an actual oil, it doesn't make their faces oily - only soft and clean.  Note a little goes a long way!

Researching Skinny & Company, made me even more of a fan.  Products with real ingredients made by real people with real stories, Co-Founders Matt and Luke Geddie create raw alkaline coconut oil products that are changing the face of the food and cosmetics industries.  


Skinny & Company Facial Oil Makeup Remover and Oil Pulling Oil

Skinny and Company also sent me a jar of the Oil Pulling Coconut Oil and now our whole family uses it.  Hard to get onto the pulling bandwagon, it was Skinny's oil enhanced with real peppermint that changed their minds. (The pulling oil leaves your mouth minty fresh while improving overall oral health).  I've been pulling for almost a year and my last dental visit the hygienist mentioned my teeth were cleaner and healthier than ever.  She asked if I had been flossing more (Um.... no).  But I told her about the oil pulling and she said that's most likely what did the trick.  Again...  I'm sold.

So thanks for introducing yourself Skinny & Company.  I'm loving the raw alkaline coconut oil benefits for my whole family including the dog, and the UPS guy is getting used to making regular Skinny & Company deliveries to my house.  Here's to a long and healthy relationship!

Liv Life Note:  Skinny and Company sent me a few sample jars of coconut oil products.  I've since repurchased the facial oil, pulling oil and ordered a jar of the pure coconut oil for cooking (recipes coming).  I was not under obligation to post about the products, however when you find something you love so much you simply want to share!  

Skinny & Co Coconut Oil


Monday, October 2, 2017

Blueberry Lime Detox Cooler

Blueberry Lime Detox Cooler

Three weeks of vacation - pure, wonderful, indulgent vacation - has left me in somewhat of a food coma and ready for fresh, revitalizing foods.  Which brings me directly to today's Blueberry Lime Cooler recipe.  

Light and refreshing, I've prepared this minty drink for the last three days and have found it an ideal "get me going" drink on sluggish jet lagged mornings.

Filled with antioxidant-rich blueberries, protein and vitamin rich spinach, digestion enhancing mint and a bright squeeze of lime, this cooler is easing by post vacation blues and helping me transition to the slightly chillier end of summer mornings.

Blueberry Lime Detox Cooler

Blueberry Lime Detox Cooler
A get you back on track nutritious drink that sets your morning off in the perfect direction.  Light and refreshing, it's a great way to start the day!

1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
1 handful organic spinach
1 Tbs oatmeal
1 Tbs goji berries
2-5 leaves organic mint
juice of 1 lime (more if desired)

Place all items into your blender and blend until smooth.  The mint leaves usually bring quite a bit of flavor, so adjust to your taste by using more or less - we use between 3-5 leaves, I love a nice minty drink! 

Add more water if smoothie it too thick.

 
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