Monthly Archives: March 2013

DATE TRUFFLES

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Dates have been satisfying my sweet tooth a lot lately.  I usually buy date rolls in the bulk section of Mother’s market.  I tend to buy 8 or so and keep them in my car so I can snack on one when I have my “taxi driver” hat on in the afternoons chauffeuring my kiddos to and from their activities.

While the bulk date rolls are not too expensive, it is always cheaper to make these types of goodies at home when possible.  I always have a big container of Medjool dates (from Costco) in my pantry, so this morning I pitted 14 of them and set to work making my own coconut covered date rolls/truffles.

INGREDIENTS

Medjool dates, pitted (I used 14 large dates)
Reduced fat finely shredded unsweetened coconut 
Water – if soaking is needed
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Date Truffle Process

Depending upon how moist your dates are, you may need to soak them in water.  My dates were pretty moist and I soaked them for 30 minutes which resulted in a date mixture that was too wet for my liking (As you can see in the image at the top right).  If my dates are moist the next time I make these, I will not soak them at all since I prefer firm date rolls.

Place the soaked (or not soaked) dates in the food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides 3-4 times.  Do not add extra water…I promise it will eventually begin blending.

If you do not have a food processor you can achieve similar results by using your knife and finely chopping the dates until they form a paste.

Place some shredded coconut in a shallow bowl and scoop some of the date mixture onto the shredded coconut (I used my 1 Tbs. scooper).  Roll / cover the date mixture with the coconut.  Continue until all of the date mixture has been used.

Place in the freezer to set. These taste amazing straight out of the freezer.

Using 14 large Medjool dates I was able to make 24 truffles.

These would be a great addition to your Easter brunch.

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Filed under Appetizers, Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

NATURAL CLEANSING – Homemade Facial Cleanser & Scrub

Oil facial cleaner brown sugar scrub

Have any of you heard of the Oil Cleansing Method?  I was first introduced to it by one of my beauty contributors on Chic Vegan.  I thought about giving it a try at the time, but had a fair amount of the product I used remaining, so I filed the idea away to consider later.

I have been using Arcona products for 4-5 years now and have had really good results with them, but lately my skin (especially on my nose) seems to be dry and flaky, plus the products I use are a bit expensive and I am looking to cut costs.  I have been thinking about shaking-up my beauty routine lately and am always on a quest to use more “natural” beauty solutions.

Today as I woke-up I lay there looking through popular pins on Pinterest and saw a pin for making your own natural cleansing scrub.  I clicked on the link and saw that the post mentioned the Oil Cleansing Method.  

Inspired by THIS post by Krystle Owens I went to the store after church and picked-up some castor oil, sunflower oil, Vitamin E, and brown sugar.

I made a bottle of oil-based cleanser following the recipe in THIS post.  The recipe I used for the Natural Cleansing Scrub is VERY close to Krystle’s recipe with a few tweaks here and there….I  used Sunflower oil vs. Olive oil (as recommended by the Oil Cleansing Method website) and added Vitamin E to the recipe.

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OIL-BASED CLEANSER

Sunflower oil
Castor oil

Fill a glass bottle (oil is always best kept in glass since plastic can leech into oil) with 25% castor oil and 75% sunflower oil making sure to leave at least 1″ at the top of the bottle unfilled (this is so there is room for you to shake the oils together).

Follow the directions in THIS post with regards to how to cleanse.

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NATURAL CLEANSING SCRUB - Enough for about 7 daily uses.  Keeps well for up to 3 weeks.

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs sunflower oil
2 tsp castor oil
1 tsp vitamin E 
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp witch hazel
1/2 Tbs honey
a few drops essential oils – if desired for fragrance
 
Directions: 
In a small glass container with a lid (I used ones from my “hoarding glass jars” cabinet), mix the brown sugar with each ingredient separate until blended well. The finished product will look sort of like a gooey or sticky applesauce.
 
With a damp face and fingertips, scoop out a bit, massage it in circular motions over your whole face and decolletage for about a minute. Leave it on for a couple more minutes if in the shower. If not, then you can wrap your face with a hot washcloth allowing the steam to open your pores.
 
After steaming a few minutes massage the scrub in again, rinse and pat dry.
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To learn about the benefits of each ingredient, head on over to Krystle’s blog HERE.

Have any of you ever tried the Oil Cleansing Method or made any of your own facial cleansers?  I’d love to hear about your experience.

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PLAYING KEEP-AWAY WITH THE SAMSUNG TABLET

Samsung Collage

So, I have had the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet for nearly a week now and my family LOVES it.  It seems as though everyone has been playing keep away with the tablet, so I haven’t gotten as much time with it as I would like.  As I imagined, it did take some getting used to since my fingers are so familiar with the iPad.

I wasn’t sure what my kids would think of the Windows 8 platform, but they seem to have really taken to it.  When I asked my 12 year old if he preferred the iPad or the Windows 8 tablet he replied…and I quote, “Dude…the tablet is sooooo much better!”  When I asked him why he said, “Uh Mom…(pause)…it is a computer and tablet in one…how can you not see that is light-years better???”

When I started playing around with it I was initially disappointed that there does not seem to be as many apps as the iPad has.  When I mentioned my disappointment to my son he asked me which apps I wished it had at which point he promptly downloaded my Nook reader to the desktop screen on the tablet and the problem was solved (those smart kids!).   UPDATE – Apparently I am an idiot…I was looking for the apps incorrectly…there IS a NOOK reader on the tablet (I am learning everyday!).

While I don’t see Vegin Out or Happy Cow on the tablet, there are quite a few vegan apps available.  I like having Happy Cow and Vegin Out handy when looking for restaurants in new areas.  Fortunately my phone takes care of that for me as would an internet search.

I thought I would share our 5 favorite things we have discovered about the tablet:

1.  The tablet is a computer and tablet in one

2.  My husband is able to stream the UCLA games to the tablet when they are not televised (something he could NOT do with the iPad and he is over the moon excited about that)

3.  Netflix is MUCH more user friendly on the tablet vs. the iPad.  i.e When I am watching a show and an episode is coming to an end, the next episode starts automatically.

4.  My husband was able to make it so I have access to the files from my actual laptop on the tablet meaning that I can actually write blog posts from the tablet and upload the pictures for the post from my laptop.  I tried to do this on the iPad and it was a real pain in the behind because I had to use Log Me In (not very user friendly).  Yay for the tablet!!!

5.  I love that the homescreen on the tablet scrolls through weather, top news, etc. and I can see all of that in one glance.

I have a feeling I have barely scratched the surface with the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet.  I can’t wait to read Beer & Beans blog post about the 5 Essential (Free) Windows 8 Tablet Apps.

Apparently Intel has also released a new Fujitsu device for business users that sounds pretty cool too.  You can check out the video HERE.

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.

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MYSTERY GIVEAWAY X2

Remember the mystery giveaway I ran last year?  Well…this year I will be choosing TWO winners!!!

As you all know, I have WAY too many samples from the Natural Products Expo West to consume myself and I want to make sure nothing goes to waste, so I am sharing the loot.

I completely filled TWO Large USPS Flat Rate Boxes with samples…one for each lucky winner.  Note that not all of the products are gluten-free or vegan (thought many many are) so, please make sure you check the ingredients.

To enter you must complete the following:

1.  Become an e-mail subscriber (if you aren’t already) by entering your e-mail address in the box on the upper right hand corner of this page under the header image.

2.  ”Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook (click HERE).

3.  Leave me a comment below telling me that you have become (or already are) an e-mail subscriber, and that you have “liked” Veggie Grettie on Facebook.

I will choose a winner randomly and the winner will be announced APRIL 2nd, 2013

*** THE CONTEST IS OPEN TO THOSE WITH A US ADDRESS…if you live outside of the US, you may have the box shipped to a friend in the States ***

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SNACKS I KEEP IN MY CAR

Peter Rabbit Organics Collage

Have any of you caught-on to the fruit / veggie snacks in a pouch?

Last year at the Natural Products Expo West I tried Peter Rabbit Organics 100% pure fruit and veggie snacks and I was instantly converted.  Prior to trying their product I tried other brands I saw in stores and was not impressed with the funky aftertaste that accompanied them which prompted me to look at the ingredients and see that they had citric acid in them as a preservative…and that made them taste a bit funky.

Peter Rabbit’s products seriously don’t have any aftertaste.  They simply taste like what they are since they are 100% pure fruits and veggies with no preservatives.  For over a year now I have kept a variety of Peter Rabbit squeeze pouches in the car as quick and easy snacks for the kids and I because (1) They are healthy and pure  (2) They are shelf stable  (3) They are low-calorie.

I tend to lean toward their veggie blends…my absolute favorite is the Sweet Potato, Corn, and Apple and my kids go nuts for their fruit blends.

Sili Squeeze Collage

The only thing I dislike about these products is the packaging…I hate all the waste.  For that reason I was really excited to see a new product at the Natural Products Expo West this year that tackles this exact problem; a REUSABLE squeeze pouch!!!!!!!!!!   Yay to the people at Sili Squeeze for bringing this product to the market.  While I wished they were a little less expensive (They range from $13.99-15.99), I love this product.

Stay tuned for more fun finds from Expo West…

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INTEL TABLET CREW

I was recently selected to be a part of the Intel Tablet Crew.

Basically I completely lucked out because I was sent a brand new Samsung ATIV Smart PC!!!  I can’t wait to see how it differs from the iPad (which I am very familiar with).

I plan on sharing my observations with all of you as well as letting you know what my other half and my children think of the tablet.  We have several demographics covered within our 4 person family!

I work on a PC, my son has an Apple, and we own several iPhones in our family, so it will be interesting to see how we adjust to the Windows 8 platform.

I am also interested to see how the apps differ and what sorts of vegan apps there are..

Do you have any specific questions for me?  Any suggestions?

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.

 

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Carob’d Raspberries

Carob Raspberries

The theme of my food life lately has been “simplify.”  Complicated cooking hasn’t made its way into my kitchen for a little while because my body has been craving the basics.

And…the kids have been busy and we have been going in a million different directions, so this is the system I have found that makes it easy for me to be where I need to be with the kids and still eat nutritiously.

1-2 times per week I have been steaming a mass of veggies to keep in the fridge and that has generally been lunch for me along with some hummus.

I have also been making a big pot of soup and keeping that in the fridge for dinner.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want a treat from time to time.

I had an appointment with Dr. Galitzer today (I go every 6 weeks for a tune-up) and while I was receiving an Ondamed treatment I was looking through Pinterest on my phone.  I came across a Pin for stuffed raspberries that I have seen before and it sounded so good to me in the moment.

On the way home from my appointment I stopped at Mother’s and bought some carob chips to go along with the gorgeous organic raspberries already in my fridge and within moments of walking through my door I was popping some of these goodies in my mouth.

These little treats definitely fall within my recent theme of simple…simply pop a carob (or chocolate) chip in the opening of the raspberry and then pop it in your mouth.

Perfection.

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VEGA ONE BARS

Vega One Bar Arrival Collage

Vega-One-Bar-Family-ImageA few days ago I saw a box on my doorstep and was thrilled when I realized they were the new Vega One Bars.

I am not much of a bar lady, but was excited when I saw the ingredient list…finally some vegan protein bars that are not loaded with soy crisps.  In fact, Vegan One Bars don’t have any soy crisps in them at all (which is important to me since I avoid soy due to my hypothyroidism).  The protein base is made from Vega’s Complete Protein Blend (sprouted whole grain brown rice protein, pea protein).

I also appreciate the fact that Vega One Bars are gluten free and don’t have any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

  • Gluten-free
  • 15g protein
  • 1.5g of Omega-3
  • 6g fiber
  • 1 billion dairy-free probiotics
  • 1 serving of greens

Now how about taste?  I was sent all three flavors; Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Almond, and Double Chocolate.  My favorites were the Chocolate Almond and Double Chocolate.  As for the Cherry Chocolate bars, I wished they had a stronger “cherry” taste.  When I shared that with the people at Vega, they were very receptive and mentioned that they are always working to perfect their products and flavors.

kidcollage

These bars taste like an indulgent snack.  My daughter had one as an after-school snack and yelled out, “These are AWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!”  She doesn’t sugar-coat her opinions…trust me!

When I am in a pinch and out of time, the Vega One Bars will substitute well for breakfast or as an after-workout snack, though I will definitely not be eating them with abandon since at $47.79 for a box of 12, they have hefty value to them.  I take some comfort in the fact that they are loaded with important vitamins and probiotics which helps offset the cost in my mind a bit.

Vega One Bar Collage

At 250 calories they weigh in less calorically than most bars on the market.  While I wish the bars were lower in fat, I like that the fats come from natural fat sources such as Vega saviseed oil chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and nut butters.

Have any of you tried the bars yet?  What did you think?

I am headed to the Natural Products Expo West this weekend, so be prepared to hear about some new products and perhaps win a box of samples for yourself (it was fun doing that giveaway last year!!!!)

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The wonderful people at Vega sent the bars to me gratis, however the opinions are all mine.

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