Best. Year. Ever.

Maybe?  I'm trying to be positive here, but am currently battling a nasty bout of bronchitis and am shaming myself for taking so long to update the site.  It got a bit crazy over the holidays, what with finding myself a brand spanking new day job and creating and adding a bunch of new holiday wares to my shop:

But anyways, enough excuses, because 2014 is going to filled with the moderately attainable promise of relatively frequent blog posts!  I have quite a few beauty reviews in the line-up, and possibly some fun canadian travel posts, as well as some plans for a bunch of fun new products.  Meanwhile, I've decided to do a short post on some natural ways to stay/get healthy now that the fickle winds of winter have decided to grace most of the US:

1. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)

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This stuff is absolutely the best, and I am 100% confident I would not be sick right now if I had not run out of this and stubbornly refused to get more.  I have told everyone I know about this, and basically everyone has politely ignored me except for one person who loves this stuff now.  I know it sounds a little hippie-ish, and if you taste it on its own it tastes like what one might imagine bile of the devil to taste like (which sounds like an incredible potion ingredient - mental note for next Halloween), but this stuff works better than any drugstore medicine I have ever tried at both preventing and shortening the length of illnesses.  True story: 3 years ago, LOML got sick like 3 times in one winter.  Each time, I drank this stuff like crazy and never got so much as a sniffle, despite the close quarters.  He refused to partake in the GSE because he thought it was crazy hippie juju like my green powders and chia seeds.  He finally took it on his third round and now is more obsessed with it than I am.  To use: mix about 20 drops in with orange or grapefruit juice (the only ones I have found that hide the taste) and drink it at least twice a day if you are near sick people or are already sick, or drop a few straight in your throat if you feel like testing out your gag reflex.  Seriously, when I say mix, I mean well and frequently, there is nothing worse than getting the last sip and it is all GSE and there is no more OJ left and suddenly it occurs to you that life without a tongue might not be so bad.  

2. Garlic

I used to crush up a clove and try to sneak it in with an apple slice, chuckling quietly at how easily I fooled myself until suddenly I wasn't fooled anymore and it tasted like an outrageously bad apple.  It is much easier to crush up a clove or two and sneak it into a bowl of soup as you heat it up.  It'll add a little spice to clear your sinuses and the garlic is a well-known home-remedy for fighting off illness.  Easy peasy.

3. Sneaky Power Greens

I am kinda notorious for eschewing any and all vegetables not pre-included in my Amy's Soup the second I get a sore throat.  Maybe it's just an excuse, but I just always want comfort food (no joke, lunch was a chocolate croissant yesterday), which is actually the opposite of what I should be eating.  However, today I found I could trick myself into eating vegetables by sneaking them into my cans of soup!  What's that you say?  You always make homemade soup chock full of fresh veggies when you have a cold?  Well congratulations, you are officially better than me, but for those who don't have the time/patience, it's super easy to add a little extra nutritional oomph to what I assume must be extremely lacking in a few months - 1 year old can of soup, I don't care how organic it is.  Today I tore up three giant kale leaves, massaged them a bit, and added them to my black bean soup right before I took it off the stove.  I could barely taste the addition, but I gave myself a big pat on the back for finally eating fresh greens, then rewarded myself with a caramel.  Balance, right?  But anyways, adding dandelion greens, spinach, or any other lovely green into your meals will boost up your vitamin and mineral intake to keep you healthy.

4. Epsom Bath

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Epsom salt baths are known to help detoxify and ease muscle aches while giving you a boost of magnesium, which many of us are lacking in.  Sweat your balls off by adding in some fresh ginger to add in some spice and decongest.  A great tutorial is here - make sure to plan it for a night when you can get plenty of time to yourself:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7261/kick-your-cold-fast-with-a-detox-bath.html

That's it!  Of course you could always throw in a hot toddy, but you already knew that I'm sure. Hope you all had a healthy and happy start to 2014, and am absolutely looking forward to bothering you all more often!

Hyper-Healthified Quinoa & Hemp Seed Tabouli

Hyper-Healthified Quinoa & Hemp Seed Tabouli

Tabouli.  One of the few salads I actually LOVE.  And not just because it is usually accompanied by delicious falafel and hummus.  I keep it in the fridge all week and snack on it whenever I want to snack on chips and it usually kicks the craving (and leaves my breath minty fresh). It is typically made with bulgur, a quick-cooking wheat product, however, I added some superfoods instead to make mine a bit healthier, which also makes it gluten-free for those of you that are sensitive.  Quinoa is a great source of protein, iron, fiber, and magnesium, and hemp seeds (or hemp hearts) has easily-digestible protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids, as well as the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3s, in addition to Vitamin E and other trace minerals.  Hemp seeds also contain an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat called GLA, which can improve metabolism and promote fat loss. I use shelled, raw hemp seeds: Navitas Naturals and Manitoba Harvest are good brands to try.  Even if you are not a fan of the nutty taste, I couldn't even taste it in the tabouli.

On to the recipe- Hemp Seed and Quinoa Tabouli:

 

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Easy Breezy Superfood Salad: Chopped Kale, Brussel Sprout & Strawberry

Easy Breezy Superfood Salad: Chopped Kale, Brussel Sprout  & Strawberry

The perfect blend of superfoods: Kale!  Cruciferous veggies!  Pomegranate!  Yes, technically Kale is a cruciferous veggie so I counted it twice, and the pomegranate comes in the form of a molasses, but bear with me.  The best part of the salad is that the greens are hardy and less prone to wilt than spinach or a spring mix, so you can save what you can't eat and have a healthy snack for later.

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DIY Enzymatic Face Mask for Banishing Dark Marks

DIY Enzymatic Face Mask for Banishing Dark Marks

  Dark marks, amirite?  They weren't good news in Harry Potter, and they're even worse news when they ravage your delicate visage.  Or indelicate visage, I don't know your story.  There are plenty of store-bought treatments out there, but after researching hydroquinone, a common ingredient in many spot removers, and finding out that it has caused cancer in mice and can cause worse marks to appear (it was even banned in Europe, Australia, and some parts of Africa and Asia), I decided i'd rather not chance it, and would live with my scars and blemishes. But what if I told you that two ingredients that you probably have in your fridge AT THIS VERY MOMENT can help you erase them?  It's ok, I wouldn't believe me either.  But it works, and all it takes it lemons and milk.  The trick is to let it curdle, which will make it chock full of Alpha Hydroxy acids (lactic acid, to be specific)  to revitalize your skin.

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Forest Mushroom Nettle Quiche Recipe, Minus the Pain

Forest Mushroom Nettle Quiche Recipe, Minus the Pain
Nettles are huge right now at all the Portland Farmers Markets, and to be honest, at first I couldn't be bothered with them until LOML told me these were one and the same as stinging nettles.  Yes, I truly did not put 2 and 2 together, but once presented as a strong contender for failing/hurting myself, I immediately purchased some and decided a quiche was in order.  It turns out that nettles taste an awful lot like spinach, with an added unique flavor that I just can't pinpoint.  Almost a sweetness?  Give it a go though, according to this article, they are crazy nutritious, help your body purge toxins and provide iron, which you will definitely want in your diet if you ever want abnormal, disgustingly large forearms, if I have learned anything from Popeye. 

I envisioned the meal would be consumed with the electric tension of how Fugu, the Poisonous Pufferfish (yes I learned about this from the Simpsons) is eaten in Japan, the air redolent with adrenaline and danger.  Why, the dinner must have a theme! "Little Quiche Of Horrors?" "Swamp Thing?"  "James Bond?"

James Bond was probably the least applicable, but James Bond it would be.  After some sleuthing, it turns out that alleviating the sting is quite an easy fix.  

 

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Waste Not Want Not - Replanting Green Onions

Waste Not Want Not - Replanting Green Onions

I love me some mexican food.  That is my food.  I will gladly eat it every day for the rest of my life, and am always trying out new recipes.  However, without fair, the one ingredient I will ALWAYS forget is green onions.  I blame myself, for I usually just scratch down g. onions, read that as regular onions, and get more of those even though I already have too many, and then every bite I taste feels empty and alone without the tangy zing of the long forgotten green onions.  I'm sure this is already fascinating, but stay with me here.  I have been seeing pins all over pinterest to easily regrow green onions, like the one below:

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Chocovine-infused Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocovine-infused Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries are one of the best manmade creations, equal only to the wonder that is the electric Snuggie. In terms of making a dessert, it is also absolutely perfect for the lazy person who wants to get a lot of praise for very little work.  I added booze to mine, because everything is better with booze, and I had some Chocovine to use up.  I'm sure you could substitute Port or champagne or Riesling and it would still taste brilliant.

Step 1: Wash your strawberries and dry them.  Put them in a bowl and cover them with Chocovine.  I didn't have enough to cover them, so every half hour or so I would stir them and mix it up.  Stick em in the fridge and let them marinate for at least an hour, more if possible.

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A mason jar of green crap

A mason jar of green crap

 This is not my personal green juice, but I am entirely too lazy to take a picture, find the thingy that lets me upload it, upload it to iphoto, export it from iphoto, deal with the pressure of naming it god I'm getting stressed just thinking about all this so I stole this picture from another blog.  Honestly though, it looks just the same, except typically with me, there will be more green juice on the walls/counter and less in the mason jar.

Reason number one why I need a legitimate smartphone - so I can take pictures and EMAIL them immediately.  I am still cursed with a crappy phone that is ignorant to the will of my impatient nature.  Anyways, I thought it was about time I posted something about green living instead of pictures of my awesome cat/urine.  I decided to take it literally so you are getting something that is both green in color AND in lifestyle, try to contain your excitement.

So every morningish (sometimes I'm lazy and just eat a half a hamburger bun) I whip up either a green smoothie or juice.  It takes some time but I'm always happier when I do and it's not really that hard to prepare.  If you read other green or raw food blogs, green juice enthusiasts like to boast that it feels like it gives them "superpowers" or that "their cells are brimming with energy" (not an exaggeration.)  While I love these people for their naivete when it comes to superpowers, and envy them their ability to find happiness in a smoothie, this is a falsehood. (seriously, you have to EARN superpowers, by being bitten by a spider or coming from another planet or wearing a cape in public without shame. If it were as easy as drinking a beverage with vegetables in it pretty sure I would have the ability to levitate the chocolate chips from the pantry into the living room, or some superpower that's even better than that one because I'm not very creative right now.)  But anyways, I feel like these bloggers are giving people a sense of expectation about the juice that isn't very realistic and might also lead to fatalities if people take these exclamations too seriously.

So I'm gonna lay out all the reasons why I think you should all be making green smoothies and I'm going to judge you if you don't:

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