Saturday, April 25, 2015

Not Your Average Margarita... A 10 Not-So-Classic Margarita Recipe RoundUp

Picture this... 108ºF in the shade, sunset overlooking the pool, and a Classic Margarita shaken tableside, then poured over ice.  Does it get much better than that?  Made with just a few quality ingredients, it's my favorite Margarita memory and took place at the Border Grill in Las Vegas.

I'm a Classic Margarita Girl through and through, and I've been known to send a drink back after I've been told "Oh... you're going to love it!".  I tend to grill my servers before ordering explaining that I'm extraordinarily picky about my 'ritas -  I don't like sweet and actually tasting the tequila is a must.  It continually amazes me how hard it is to find one that lives up to its hype.

However on occasion, I do like to shake things up and work in a flavored Margarita.  And here I have a fabulous roundup of 10 "Not-So-Classic" Margaritas from some of the most amazing bloggers on the web.  You just may want to whip one up for Cinco de Mayo, a pool party, or maybe just because it's Saturday.

Which one is your favorite?  (Click the Margarita Titles to go to the recipes and let these bloggers know what you think!). 

Pineapple and Coconut

Liv Life

Valerie's Kitchen
All Day I Dream About Food

Cravings of a Lunatic

The Housewife in Training Files

Chambord Margarita
Iowa Girl Eats

Mango Coconut Margarita
Snappy Gourmet

Paleo Margarita
A Girl Worth Saving

Margarita Lime Gelatin Shots
Liv Life

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NatureZway Bamboo Earth-Friendly Products

I don't often do product reviews here on Liv Life, however, this is a discovery I feel I must share.  Right up front, I'll tell you NatureZway sent me these products to try, but they have not paid me to write this post and there are no affiliate links included.  These bamboo cleaning products are simply too cool not to review, and as we celebrate Earth Day, what better time than now?

Made from sustainable, organic bamboo, NatureZway answers all sorts of cleaning and household questions in an eco-friendly manner,  but after using (and falling in love with) the products my first question was, "How much is this going to cost me?".  My next visit to Sprouts answered that question where I found the Bamboo Perforated Towels on sale for $1.99 (Note:  Regular Price is 3.29 at Sprouts).  Seriously... I'm totally sold.  Now let me tell you why.

Super strong and absorbant... Safe on all surfaces
I have to admit I let the products (Perforated Towels, Bamboo Sponge and Bamboo Drying Cloth) sit in the box for a while assuming a paper towel is a paper towel, right?  Wrong.  These Perforated Towels are like paper towels, only they aren't.  Yes, they can be thrown away like paper towels (but without the guilt because they didn't use trees and they are a natural product that degrades easily with no footprint), and they clean like paper towels (only they are way more absorbent), and they are soft.  Super soft, and most importantly can be rinsed out and used again and again - according to the NatureZway site up to 100 times.  Take that average, thin, scratchy paper towel!

After opening the package I found myself sort of hoarding the towels.  Liv wanted to use them for quick jobs, ie:  cleaning crumbs off of the counter, and then tossing the towel away, but I stopped her.  Actually, we've had the talk about using paper towels for such jobs too and how would she like to pay for them out of her spending budget?  Not so much, thank you, she said.

But I did let her put the towels to the test -  wet it, wipe the crumbs, then rinse it, wipe the table, then rinse it, then wipe the floor and rinse it, and I have to ssay she kind of had fun seeing how far the towel would go before disintegrating, and actually asked what else she could wipe with it.

Amazingly, I had this 16-year old wipe down the nearly the entire kitchen including the floor before she realized what was going on and promptly quit.  The towel, though, didn't, and made it through spot cleaning the entire floor after all the surfaces she had cleaned before I finally deemed it too dirty to rinse again and use anywhere else.

Suffice to say I love these towels.  I love the sponge, and I love the drying cloth.  The drying cloth is so soft, I've actually been using one to dust my dining room table and furniture (and I'm over-protective of those surfaces regarding scratching).

Facts about the products
  • Eco-Friendly made of renewable resources
  • Leaves minimal to zero footprint on the earth
  • No chemical or harmful residues left behind
  • Affordable (Seriously... $1.99 at Sprouts for the perforated towels!)

Bamboo Facts
  • Bamboo is from the grass family and is easily renewable
  • Fast growing... matures in just 3 years
  • Takes up less space and land than trees
  • Uses less water than trees
  • Uses zero pesticides to grow
  • Reduces Greenhouse gases and captures more CO2 from the atmosphere than trees or cotton

My thanks to NatureZway for reaching out to me and introducing me to their bamboo line.  I'm sold... a complete bamboo convert!  I haven't seen every product in stores yet (they have the perforated towels, sponges and drying cloths in addition to floor wipes, bath tissues, waste bags and I hear pet cleaning products are coming soon), but I'll be keeping my eye out.  I'm all about keeping things natural in my world, and these NatureZway Bamboo Products do just that.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Coconut Yeasted Belgian Waffles

Weekends are made for sleepovers and sleepy Saturdays.  And special breakfasts.  And sometimes second helpings.

So with a special request for "something coconut", I've got a batch of Coconut Belgian Waffle batter resting in my fridge, all ready to toss in the waffle maker for the girls in the morning.  Bringing a little bit of the tropics to your table, this recipe comes together in a snap and has crispy Belgian waffles ready for fruit and syrup in no time.

Liv likes coconut, but she only likes a hint of the flavor, and the coconut oil in this recipe does just that.  Want more coconut?  Sprinkle shredded coconut directly into the batter or simply top with fruit and sprinkle your extra shredded coconut there.

And while these waffles are a lovely treat for a leisurely weekend, the night before batter prep also makes them a good choice for a hot school breakfast when pressed for time in the morning.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Classic Pico de Gallo Salsa

Many times college days don't bring the best nutrition.  However, I have to admit I spent my college years practically living on salsa, and I hereby propose the concoction to be its own food group.

Filled with juicy tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and a squeeze of lime, we can't really get more "fresh", can we?  And while it might be a
Instagram shot with a shot!  :)
stretch, if we add organic corn tortilla chips, we've now added corn too.  Heck... toss in a side of guacamole and we have a full meal!  But I'll save that one for another post.

In all sincerity, salsa really can be a healthy food, but you do have to be careful.  Many store bought jars can be filled with not so desirable ingredients, like added oils or sugars.  Really, do we need sugar in salsa?

Hence, making your own keeps the ingredients list in your control, and while your at it you can tweak the flavors to your personal preference.  This easy Pico de Gallo Salsa version is a snap to put together, and when you bring this bursting with flavor food group condiment to your next Cinco de Mayo gathering you're sure to be the hit of the party.

Fresh, simple, and so much more flavorful than the jar, keep an eye out for beautiful (or even not beautiful), ripe tomatoes at your local markets, and you too can call salsa dinner.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Tea with Ginger and Mint... A Detox Tummy Tamer

We've all done it on occasion.  You know... eaten a few too many helpings at a picnic, perhaps indulged in that extra cocktail we didn't really need, or maybe even finished off the last slice of pizza simply so we didn't have to wrap it.  And unfortunately, sometimes the after effects of these indulgences can leave us a little bloated, queasy, or purely parched from too much salt.

While many of us turn to "detox" drinks to help, and yes, many of them do make us feel better, I have a feeling that pure hydration plays a key role.  But add in a slice of ginger,  green tea and a few sprigs of mint, and you actually do add ingredients that can help.

Green Tea with Ginger and Mint... A Detox Tummy Tamer
Green Tea:  Filled with antioxidants and polyphenols, green tea is said to improve immunity, help rid the body of free-radicals thereby helping to protect against disease, speed up your metabolic rate and re-hydrate.  A little caffeine can also help ease an aching head. 

Ginger:  Known to provide gastrointestinal relief, ginger is many a pregnant woman's best friend.  Safe to take during pregnancy (in proper doses... check with your doctor first), ginger has been proven to provide relief in many cases.  Ginger is also the first thing I pack when heading on a cruise, and has seen me through rough seas with minimal issues (and I'm fairly sensitive to motion sickness).

Mint:  A well known appetizer or palate cleanser, mint promotes digestion.  Soothing the stomach in cases of indigestion or inflammation, even the aroma of mint can activate the salivary glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes.

Mixed together we have a concoction to rehydrate and hopefully soothe.  Poured over ice is my preferred Detox Tummy Tamer, but my husband prefers his steaming in a mug.  Either way, a concoction of these digestive ingredients is a lovely drink on a hot day, or, the perfect Tummy Tamer for a queasy kid or friend suffering from a day of over indulgence.

Healthy, fresh ingredients, the best way to detox out the bad stuff or hydrate by the pool.  Enjoy!

Green Tea with Ginger and Mint... A Detox Tummy Tamer

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake

Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake

Nothing says spring quite like heading to the farmer's market and letting the sweet scent of ripe, juicy strawberries lead you to the best stall in town.  With strawberry season at its peek here in San Diego, this is a weekly event for me, and with this month's Blogger Clue Society's assignment being "spring", strawberries seemed the appropriate choice.

Today we head back to Michigan for another day at my favorite farm with Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm where I'm hoping spring has finally spread her wings.  Apparently April blew in with even more cold weather and snow, and Wendy's talk of frozen ponds and snowy fields is somewhat unimaginable here in my San Diego world.  A few new puppies seem to have brightened their cold world though, and I'm eagerly awaiting more photos of these cute little guys.  (Wendy, we adopted brothers too and simply can't imagine life without them!)

But even all that snow hasn't stopped dear Wendy from posting a spring and strawberry filled recipe that I found so special it made its way to my Easter table.  How does a slice of Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake sound to you??

I know, right?  It sounded irresistible to me too.  Rich and chocolaty, and sweetened with juicy, seasonal strawberries, we altered Wendy's recipe slightly to make it dairy-free for my family.  And as a personal note to Wendy, my Father-in-Law sends his heartfelt thanks for completing our meal in such a "grand" fashion.  He says he can't wait to see what you bring for him next year!

Now won't you join me as we travel the world for spring recipes from the rest of our Blogger Clue Society?  Let's see what spring means to them!

  • Chicken Tikka Salad by Ramona from Curry and Comfort
  • Creamy Asparagus Soup by Anna from Anna Dishes
  • Lemon Bars by Anna from Anna Dishes
  • Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva

  • Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Chia Seed Round Up

    Chia Seed Nutritional Values

    Gone are the days of the quirky Chia Pet and here to stay is a healthy ingredient that seems to be finding its way into all facets of our diet.  From drinks to breads to super protein bars, chia boosts a recipe's nutritional value with a mere tablespoon or two.

    Bursting with protein, calcium, fiber and potassium, chia swells with nutrition just like it swells to 10 times its own weight when added to liquid - it's gel-like qualities earn it a place in diets as an egg replacement and gelling ingredient for puddings, jams, etc.

    Chia, the Mayan word for "Strength", was once a staple in the Incan, Mayan and Aztec times, and ranked in importance only behind corn and beans.  Sometimes even used as payment for taxes or offerings to the gods, chia also fed the people and provided nutrition and energy.

    A potent little seed, 2-tablespoon of Chia contains 138 calories and 9 grams of fat along with a whopping 10 grams of fibre, 5 grams of protein and 18% of the daily value for calcium.  Also packed with omega-3's, chia provides more per ounce than flaxseed.  (sited from Food and Nutrition)

    So... has chia found its way into your diet?  We've asked some friends from around the world for their favorite recipes and the scoured the web for even more recipes to increase your chia repertoire.  Which one is your favorite?

    50 Chia Recipes

    Chia Drinks
    Chia Agua Fresca from girlichef
    Arugula Apple Detox Drink
    Chia Meyer Lemonade from Shockingly Delicious
    Green Tea and Chia Energy Drink from In Sonnet's Kitchen
    Banana, Chia and Spinach Smoothie from What's Gabby Cooking
    Beet, Berry, Apple Chia Smoothie from The Roasted Root
    Chia Fresca from Oh She Glows
    Raspberry Lemonade Chia Drink from Busy Mommy
    Pre-Workout Hydration Powerhouse from Walk, Jog, Run
    Cherry Chia Seed Juice from Vibrant Wellness Journal
    Apple Arugula Detox Drink from Liv Life
    Chia Fresca from The Local Vegan

    Sweet Chia Treats
    Chia Cupcakes from grilichef
    Chia Rice Krispie Treats from A Healthy Life for Me
    Blood Orange Upsidedown Cake from Recipe Renovator
    Chia Seed
    Ultimate Granola Cookies from An Edible Mosaic
    Gluten Free Pie Crust from The Tomato Tart
    Lemon Chia Protein Cookies from Amy's Healthy Baking
    Chia Peanut Butter Cookies from Yummy Mummy Kitchen
    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chia and Flax from Cooking Melangery
    Banana Chia Bread from Savvy Naturalista
    Mango Chia Pops from Jelly Toast
    Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with Chia from Joyful Healthy Eats

    Chia Pudding
    Coconut Almond Chia Pudding from Food Babbles
    Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding from Frugal Foodie Mama
    Dairy Free Chia Seed Pudding (with Coconut Milk) from Apron Strings
    Bananas Foster Chia Pudding from Eats Well with Others
    Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding from Blissful Basil
    Orange Coconut Chia Pudding from Well Plated
    Chocolate Chia Pudding
    Cranberry Pistachio Coconut Chia Pudding from Happy Food Healthy Life
    Tropical Coconut Chia Pudding from Gourmet Innovations
    Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding from Eats Well with Others
    Lemon Raspberry Chia Pudding from The Healthy  Maven
    Super Green Chia Pudding from Poppies and Papayas
    Chunky Monkey Chia Pudding from Do you Even Paleo
    Mint Chocolate Chip Chia Pudding from Fresh, Fit and Healthy
    Cake Batter Chia Pudding from Edible Perspective
    Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Parfait from Vegan Yack Attack
    Mango Chia Pudding from Ashley Neese
    Coconut Pomegranate Chocolate Chia Pudding from Natural Chow
    Sticky Bun Chia Pudding from I Heart Eating
    Chocolate Chia Pudding from Liv Life

    Protein and Healthy Chia Treats
    Protein Packed Energy Bites from Tasting Page
    DIY Protein Powder from Fork & Beans
    Super Seed Bars from The Muffin Myth
    Chocolate Chia Coconut Energy Bites from The Lemon Bowl
    Apricot Cashew Granola Bars from Mariah's Pleasing Plates
    No Bake Energy Bites from Cooking on the Front Burner
    No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
    Tropical Snack Bites with Almond and Chia from Two Healthy Kitchens

    Chia for Breakfast
    DIY Homemade Waffle and Pancake Mix from Liv Life
    Blackberry Chia Seed Jam from Fork & Beans
    Cranberry Chia Granola from 365 Days of Baking and More
    Cranberry Vanilla Chia Jam from Liv Life
    Raw Raspberry Vanilla Chia Jam from Shockingly Delicious
    Strawberry Blueberry Mango Chia Jam
    Coconut Cranberry Chia Granola from A Cedar Spoon
    Strawberry, Blueberry,  Mango Chia Jam from Liv Life
    Yogurt Breakfast Bowl from Diethood
    Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes with Roasted Strawberries from Two Peas and Their Pod
    Blueberry Rosemary Chia Seed Jam from Tasty Yummies
    Coconut Strawberry Overnight Oats from Liv Life
    Strawberry Banana Steel Cut Oats with Chia from The Lemon Bowl
    Blueberry Buckwheat Chia Muffins from An Edible Mosaic
    Blueberry Chia Jam from Liv Life
    Paleo Granola from The Tomato Tart
    Overnight Almond Oatmeal with Chia and Maple Syrup from Liv Life
    Power Pumpkin Pancakes with Chia form Liv Life
    Ancient Power Oatmeal with Chia, Walnuts and Flax from Liv Life

    See also our book review from Mama Chia herself for The Chia Cookbook: Inventive, Delicious Recipes Featuring Nature's Superfood

    Have more recipes to share?  Feel free to leave links in the comments below to help spread the chia love!

    Liv Life Note:  This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link to the Mama Chia Cookbook... if you purchase through this post Liv Life receives a small commission (at not cost to you).  We thank you for your support!