How To Accommodate Different Food Tastes And Needs – 7 Tips

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We are a miss-matched family when it comes to our eating habits. My daughter has an illness that gets aggravated by some food additives, and she is a Vegan. My son is a vegetarian, my husband a dedicated meat-eater, but who needs to watch his blood pressure, and I, well I am healing my thyroid naturally – that means no soy or soy products, and a long list of other foods, including some veggies, I should and will not eat. (I wrote more extensively on my allowed and disallowed food list here) Oh, and my dogs are allergic to commercial dog food, so I cook for them as well. Tired yet? I am.

Making meals that all of us can enjoy is a challenge. My over-the-road truck driving husband, is thankfully cooking mostly for himself, when he is driving, making food prep at least meat-free. That leaves us three people and the three animals. Thankfully the cat can (and will) eat whatever I put in front of him.

So what do we do to make it all work?

1. We meal plan. Once a week, my daughter and I create a meal plan for our entire week. We have some go-to recipes, but are always searching for something new, and are not afraid to look at foreign language websites to get inspired. Which also makes for a great homeschool lesson.

2. We look for or I create our own recipes that are easily adjusted (from vegan to vegetarian, or the other way around). I have shared some of these recipes on this blog, and will share some more on occasion.

3. We communicate. There is no shame in speaking up and saying that one of us did not like a meal or an idea. Suggestions on how to make a meal easier or better are always welcome and openly encouraged. We are a team here.

4. We have meals, where we share our space but not the same meal. Use today, as an example. All three of us had Mexican food. My son ate a bean taco, my daughter a tofu,carrot and cabbage quesadilla, and I ate a Mexican style zucchini wrap. It was relatively easy to adjust for our individual tastes, and most importantly we still had a complete meal as a family. (My husband is currently driving over-the-road, otherwise, he would have joined us with a traditional taco)

5. We are not afraid to try new things. None of us are afraid to try new recipes, flavors, and techniques. The kids are used to our trial and error system, and will speak up when something did not work for them.

6. We do not expect perfection. I am not a Five-Star chef, and I did not grow up cooking vegan or even vegetarian meals. Because of that alone,I do not expect that every meal will come out as planned. Letting go of creating that perfect meal, made my life a lot easier, and cooking a lot more stress-free.

7. We use meal prep containers. I have a collection of meal-prep containers in different sizes, some with sections, others without. Not only do they make it easy for me to make meals ahead, freeze, and then reheat in the microwave, but they also make wonderful containers to prepare healthy snacks for each of us. Mine often contains a boiled, egg, veggies, and maybe some cheese, while my daughters will be filled with some nuts, veggies and an individual container of hummus.

I will introduce you to one of my recently acquired containers in more detail in an upcoming review soon, meanwhile, you can check them out on Amazon – Spoiler alert: They have a tight seal, and are wonderfully stackable, I love them! 

Question: How do you plan your meals? Do you meal prep? I would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below!

 

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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil For Dogs

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When administrating natural products to our pets, there are – for a good reason – some serious questions that come up
Today, I am answering the top 4 questions asked related to the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs.

Most common questions people ask me, when the topic of adding coconut oil to a dog’s diet comes up are:

1. Is coconut oil safe for dogs?
2. Why should I give my dogs coconut oil?
3. What is the best type of coconut oil for dogs?
4. How to administer coconut oil to the dog

Is coconut oil safe for dogs?
Generally speaking, it is safe for most dogs. Like people, animals can present allergies, so as with all new medication, remedies and food changes, watch your dog very closely.The most common side effects of giving coconut oil is  some greasy stool and upset stomach, which occurs most often because it was introduced too quickly to the dogs diet. If your dog shows severe signs of upset, is vomiting or has excessive diarrhea contact your vet, and disclose that you are introducing coconut oil.

 

Why should I give my dogs coconut oil?
Coconut oil has a wide variety of health benefits for your pets as well as for you. The health benefits for your dogs
are the following:

– antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties
– aids in recovery and prevention of allergic reactions
– balances thyroid and weight issues
– reduces doggy odor
– improves digestion
– aids in healing from wounds and scrapes
– aids in the reduction and healing of dry spots
– helps reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis and joint dysfunction
– reduces bad breath
– prevents diabetes

What is the best type of coconut oil for dogs?
Make sure you read the label of your coconut oil closely. You should always use organic coconut oil that is
non-gmo (I would highly recommend that you choose the same if you are planning to use it for cooking human food)
Coconut oils vary in their flavors – some of them greatly. For your pet, you want to look for a coconut oil that has little
or no coconut flavor, like this Island Fresh Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, which is my dogs favorite. It is also cold-pressed, which assures that it is of highest quality
How to administer coconut oil to the dog:
While some dogs are eager to try new things, others – like one of my own – need a little bit of convincing. But there
are some ways to make giving coconut oil a little easier to your dog, by making your own dog treats or by purchasing
dog treats made with coconut oil. Some dogs love the taste so much so, that they will enjoy licking it off a spoon!

 

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER – DO NOT START WITH THE RECOMMENDED DOSE!
Gently introduce coconut oil to your dog’s diet, by including it into your homemade dog food or treats. Start with a fourth
of the dose, then slowly increase the dose over the next 4 weeks. This will prevent stomach upset, and the dreaded greasy
diarrhea, that comes from introducing coconut oil too quickly. The recommended dose of coconut oil for your dog depends on its weight:

Coconut Oil Dosage: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight

 

 

 

Do you have any additional questions regarding coconut oil for dogs? Leave me a comment below!

 

A Deodorant For People With Aluminum Zirconium Sensitivity – Cruelty-Free And Vegan

A Deodorant For People With Aluminum Zirconium Sensitivity

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As many people who are allergic to certain product ingredients are aware of, it is often a hassle finding a product
you can safely use, one that does not leave bumps, redness, and itchy irritation behind. For a long time, that was my
major problem with commercial deodorants.

There are some wonderful folks on Etsy and various local shops that create perfect handcrafted beauty products for people like me, and while I am forever grateful to them, I am often left looking for another alternative after a shop closes,
or we move, which has happened rather frequently throughout the years.
So finding a deodorant that does not include Aluminum Zirconium or any other ingredient that I might have a reaction to,
and being able to order it from Amazon makes my life so much easier.

Natural Sea Spray Deodorant by Skin2Spirit  does not only fit my sensitivity needs, but is also cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben free, and 100 % natural.

Instead, it contains the following wonderful ingredients:

All Natural DeodorantPurified Water, Organic Aloe, Magnesium Chloride, Witch Hazel (alcohol-free), Essential Oils and / or Natural Flavors / Scents,Glycerine, Potassium Sorbate, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate, Citric Acid (Vitamin C), Water
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE OIL: Pure and natural from the Dead Sea, antiviral, antimicrobial, helps reduce odor from bacteria

ORGANIC ALOE: Moisturizer, emollient, and excellent for scars, burns, rashes, and dry skin.

WITCH HAZEL (Alcohol-Free): Soothing, natural astringent to help alleviate stinging for sensitive skin. Antibacterial & anti-inflammatory

ESSENTIAL OILS: Including Tea Tree, a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal solution from the Melaleuca tree

SILVER CITRATE / POTASSIUM SORBATE: When combined make a powerful broad spectrum
antimicrobial that helps stop odor in its tracks

I have been using this deodorant for more than a week now, and I am very happy with the result. I  must say, that people
who use natural deodorants for the first time – which is not the case for me – should expect a detox period, meaning that
it will take about two weeks before this deodorant or any natural deodorant will bring full the full effect you may
desire. This is normal and should not discourage you from making the switch – your skin and health will
thank you for making that decision.

I highly recommend this product for anyone with allergies and sensitivities to standard and mass-produced
deodorants, even more so if you are vegan, and want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Disclaimer: This product was given to me at a deep discount in return for an honest and unbiased review. See the
disclosure page for more details.

5 Facts About Mortar And Pestles You Might Not Know

5 Facts About Mortar And Pestles You Might Not Know

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Mortar and Pestle are not a beautiful but also a functional pair of tools to have in your kitchen, especially if you do
a lot of cooking with herbs and spices. But as you already know, I always want to know more about the tools I use, so I
decided to dig up some facts about this interesting contraption you might not have known before:

5 Things You May Not Know About Mortar And Pestles

1. Did you know in some places there were used for meat preparation? Large stone mortars with wood pestles were used in West Asia to grind meat for a type of meatloaf called kebbeh as well as a type of hummus called masabcha.

2.Here is a non-food use of the mortar and pestle: It is traditional in various Hindu ceremonies such as weddings and
upanayanam to use the mortar and pestle to crush turmeric.

3. Mortar and Pestles are a big part of Thai history: The Thai mortar and pestle dates back to the Sukhothai period which was the 1st Kingdom that was founded in 1238 A.D. and was used to grind foods and medicines.

4. the results of your grinding depend on the material of the mortar and pestle. I will get more into the details of that
in a moment.

5. The oldest mentioning of the mortar and pestle stems from Ancient Egypt, in a medical manuscript called the
Papyrus Ebers, which dates about 1550 BCE.

What are the best Mortar And Pestle material for which use?

Ceramic:
stains easily used to create powdered substances

Stone/Granite:
very heavy, durable and sturdy, look for a not so porous mortar for best use. Good for general cooking uses

Wood:
best for griding seeds and salts. Do not use with moisture. Never leave in water so it won’t warp. Delicate.

Porcelain:
Easy to clean, usually dishwasher safe, need salt in order to make grinding easier. General household use

Marble:
the heaviest of them all. Easy to clean, very sturdy, easiest to use. does not absorb odor.

 

I was recently given the chance to review the Maxam Marble Mortar and Pestle, and here are my thoughts:

My first impression was, that is was as heavy and beautiful as I expected from a marble piece. Of all Mortar and Pestles, I prefer marble as the material, as it is the most functional, as well as aesthetically pleasing, allowing me to leave  in full display, rather than hiding it in the cupboard somewhere. The Maxam Mortar and Pestle is not exception to that rule. With a large bowl,  it is  wonderful to use for the larger patches of spice mixes I tend to make, cutting my work time.  It is almost completely white, with the slight colors I also expect and love from marble. The pestle rests well in my hand and is well balanced, which makes working with this item easier and more convenient. Overall I am very happy with this item, which is available on Amazon at a very reasonable price.

Disclaimer: I was given the Maxam Mortar and Pestle for free in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Stay tuned for some more interesting facts about every day items, you might not have thought about before.

This post is a part of the following blog hops:

Weekend Blog Party

Wednesday Blog Hop

Inspire Me Wednesday

Too cute Tuesdays

Amaze Me Mondays

Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara (Creamy Coconut Leek Sauce)

Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara

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I like eating creamy dishes – which is why I almost always have coconut milk in the house. It is no wonder then, that I had to find a replacement for one of my favorite pasta dishes – carbonara. Not exactly the most healthy meal in its original form,
but yummy enough to break all of the rules.
But now I don’t have to feel guilty about my creamy indulgence anymore because I came up with a carbonara that replaces the real thing. I hope you like it as much as I do, just one warning – it is addicting.

You will need:

1 package whole-grain pasta (you can use gluten-free, or regular whole-wheat, whichever you prefer)
1 leek
2 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 can (about 250 ml) coconut milk (for this do not use the low-fat variety – trust me on this, it is time to splurge)
salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste

Preparation:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Rinse and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut the white part of the leeks in thin rings. Add the coconut oil into a deep pan, cook until the leek becomes
somewhat translucent, similar to cooking onions. Add the coconut milk to the leek and simmer for 5 minutes, or until
the leak becomes soft. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Top your pasta with the creamy coconut sauce – and you are done!

Another simple, yet yummy meal, that is easy to make, and satisfying enough for a meat eater. If you are participating in the Meatless Mondays’ this is the perfect easy, and decadent meal for you, that keeps you full, energized, and will not make you miss the meat, dairy or any other animal product!
Variety: I have made a variety of this dish by adding broccoli instead of leek to the sauce. It is just as yummy!

To make the creation of this dish even easier, and keep your food from sticking, use this great CuliChef Silicone & Stainless Steel Spatula that I have recently discovered. I love this heavy duty kitchen instrument, as it can hold some weight, does not stick and can handle heat up to 445 Degrees Fahrenheit (220 Celcius). I have become a fan of anything silicone when it comes to kitchen gadgets, and this spatula is no exception. It has a long handle, which prevents any splattering on your hands, which is great, especially when you are trying to teach children how to cook. As an extra bonus, I found it very easy to clean, no matter what sticky mess I made.  Try it out, it is available on Amazon now.

(Disclaimer: I have received the CuliChef Silicone & Stainless Steel Spatula for free in return for an honest and unbiased review. )

 

Have a wonderful day!

Claudia

T Is For Tea Books And Tea Leaf Reading Symbols

A To Z BloggingChallenge-A Is For...Tea Leaf ReadingSymbols (22)

Hi there, thanks for stopping by.

Now that we talked about tea and tea leaf reading for almost an entire month, I want to share with you some books on the subject you might find interesting. I have separated them by books specifically about Tasseomancy, and those about tea in a more general form. Enjoy

Tea Leaf Reading Books (Tasseomancy)

Tea Leaf Reading: A Divination Guide for the Bottom of Your Cup by Dennis Fairchild – a short and sweet guide, packed with information

Tea Leaf Reading For Beginners: Your Fortune in a Tea Cup by Caroline Dow – a great book for beginners on the subject.

Tea-Cup Reading and Fortune-Telling by Tea Leaves, by a Highland Seer – the classic of all Tea Leaf Reading Books

Books About Tea:

20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature’s Healing Herbs by Victoria Zak – this book is all about healing and wellness

The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook: A Guide to the World’s Best Teas by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss – a guide to traditional, and not so traditional teas from around the world, very thorough

Today’s tea leaf reading letter is T! What a great way to end the week (remember there will be no A to Z Challenge post on Sunday).

Letter T:

Table:  this symbol speaks of a consolation you are giving or have been given. Take a close look at the signs around it, to get more details about that consultation

Tea Cup with Saucer: A pleasant conversation is about to occur, trust your intuition as you are about to hear a very positive “fortune”, that works out in your favor.

Tennis Net: Enjoyable connection via activities

Telephone: Pay attention to your forgetfulness, it can get you into trouble

Toads: Symbols of deceit. Someone is trying to hide information from you. This is a sign of an intent of harm against you (not physical but in the area of reputation)

Tongue: You have said some hurtful words in the past, and you should heed to make them right, and ask for forgiveness.

Torch: a positive and hopeful symbol that speaks of bringing light upon a subject that has bothered you before. Unexpected fortune and fame can also be on its way. Things are about to change

Tunnel:  you are about to make a decision that is not wise

Have a wonderful weekend! See you Monday!

Claudia

6 Raw Vegan Food Blogs You Should Check Out Right Now!

6 Raw Vegan Food Blogs You Should Check Out Right Now!

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Happy Belated Earth Day!

Keeping  ourselves healthy, and taking care of the planet can be achieved  by being very selective about what we eat. I have written before about the reasons why raw vegan dishes are a great option for everyone, even if you are not going fully raw, or even fully vegan. During my search for recipes, I have come across quite a few wonderful blogs, 6 of which I want to share with you today. Enjoy!

Julie’s Raw Ambition – A beautiful blog, filled with recipes and some tips, like her recent post on gardening. Well written, and very informative.

Raw Loulou –  There are a lot of recipes to explore – and I mean a lot, from breakfast to snacks, you name it, you can find it here.

The Rawtarian – looking for more than just recipes, but a community who is willing to teach you how to explore this way of eating? Then the Rawtarian is right for you. There are beautifully photographed recipes of course, but there is so much more, so I would suggest that you make some time to dive into this great and large site.

Awesome To Be Rawesome –  confused by some of the ingredients that are asked for in vegan and or raw cooking? Check out Awesome To Be Rawesome for tips on how to use these ingredients to their fullest, and also join a community of people who are interested in the same. A great place to find advice and also wonderful recipes.

Raw On 10 – food and wellness – this beautiful site showcases how food can heal you, and that on a budget. What is not to love!

Sweetly Raw –  the site for raw vegan desserts. If you have a sweet-tooth, like I do, you really should check out this beautiful site. Imagine eating decadent sweets, that are actually good for you? Oh, yeah!

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the tools and gadgets you might need to make raw foods? Actually, you only need two to make most of the recipes you see on the above blogs. I highly recommend getting a high-speed blender (such as the Vitamix), and a good table top spiralizer.

Briefton 5 Blade Spiralizer Available on Amazon now!

While handheld spiralizers are fine for small jobs, I suggest getting a table top spiralizer. My favorite one is the Briefton 5 Blade spiralizer, which makes everything from curly fries (when not eating raw), to zucchini pasta (for those raw days). My favorite feature is how easy is is to clean – the entire thing is dishwasher safe, which is wonderful. It is quite big, once assembles ( the machine needs some assembling before your first use, but it is easy to put together – if I can do it, you can), but not big enough to be a nuisance. I would not want to be without it. But, as a parent I should warn you – this is not a kids toy – the blades are very sharp. Kids should be used to handling machines with sharp parts before using this spiralizer, and should be supervised.

(Disclosure: I have received the Briefton 5 Blade spiralizer for free in return for an honest and unbiased review).