Cranberry Spice Oat Bars
I'm very excited about this post. Despite longing for hot weather again already, I do love some holiday cooking and I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving (is it too soon to be talking about this?!)
At the moment I've been making these dairy free and gluten free Thanksgiving inspired cranberry spice oat bars. The best way to describe this is a mix between a flapjack and oatmeal cookie with a hint of cranberry sauce. Yum!
Cranberry sauce is possibly one of my favorite holiday foods. In these oat bars I use fresh cranberries, orange zest, and a spice mix of cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves- similar to cranberry sauce.
As I've mentioned before, I love making a batch of oat bars on a Sunday night to have as snacks for the week. I love my Sunday night baking, or any evening baking for that matter, because it's such a relaxing way to unwind and end a day with wonderful smells wafting through the house.
Gluten free, dairy free cranberry spice oat bars recipe:
Makes 12 oat bars
Like these? Try these raisin and pumpkin seed oat bars, or these almond butter flapjacks too!
I am definitely a smoothie queen when it comes to breakfast. It's my favorite way to start the day. But sometimes I've got to mix it up a little. These days, I've been making hazelnut granola and it's so good. Roasted hazelnuts are just pure decadence. Serve it with hazelnut milk for extra deliciousness.
I like to use my granola in a few different ways:
1. On its own with almond milk, or in this case hazelnut milk. Granola is not just limited to breakfast in my rule book, I sometimes like a cheeky late night bowl of cereal.
2. In smoothie bowls: I used this granola as a smoothie bowl topping with some Arctic Power Berries cranberry powder, with a chocolate hazelnut smoothie base.
3. In parfaits: Layer fruit, coconut yogurt, and granola for a delicious breakfast. Or swap out the coconut yogurt for frozen banana "nice cream".
Dairy Free and Gluten Free Hazelnut Granola Recipe
Makes 5, ½ cup servings
If you liked this, try this coconut and fig granola. What are your favorite granola combinations?
***Disclaimer: I am a Berry Ambassador for Arctic Power Berries and was sent products. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***
Don't forget! Worldwide shipping, and a 10% discount at Arctic Power Berries with the code: BERRYAMAZING
LoveLula September 2016 Beauty Box
I'm a little late as now we are in October, but September brought my first LoveLula Beauty Box. This was super exciting and kind of a Christmas-came-early feeling when a box of surprise beauty products came through the post.
Let me tell you a little bit about why LoveLula is my trusty online shop for all things natural beauty.
When I first made the switch to all natural beauty products, where you shop naturally has to change too as lots of places don't stock natural products.
So, I stumbled across LoveLula and I have been a loyal customer ever since. I like their commitment to cleaner ingredients (no SLS, SLES, or Parabens), I can actually view the ingredients in all the products, AND- wait for it… free shipping (even on international orders) and a great loyalty points scheme. I mean really great, be sure to check it out!
Ok- so now that's out of the way, lets dive into this months first beauty box.
This month brought Madara AHA Brightening Peel Mask, with a sample of the Micellar Water too, Balm Balm Rose Floral Water, FOM London Hydra Plump Serum, and OOH! Oils of Heaven Baobab Oil, as well as a sample of Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Organic Facial Moisturizer.
So obviously if you read this blog, Kimberly Sayer Moisturizer is really my must-have beauty product. Love love love and have used this religiously for about 2 years.
The FOM London Hydra Plump Serum is probably my top fave of this box. I'm having such a serum and oils moment these days and in many ways prefer it to creams, balms, and moisturizers. This one from FOM is a mind boggling product because it looks like water and feels like water (one of the main ingredients is rose water), but it goes on with an amazing cooling feeling on your face. I mean this is nice now, but definitely want this for next time I go on a beach getaway. I've been using this before bed and do notice a difference my skin is a little softer and brighter for using it when I wake up the next morning.
This product helps but sleep is also a magic beauty product in itself that can never be bottled in my opinion!
Next up I love the Balm Balm Rose Floral Water. I've never used rose water before and I totally get the hype. It's just very calming and awakening. I feel like when you are struggling to wake up in the morning, a little spritz of this will help you look and feel a tad more alive. Again, this is another product that doubles as a must have summertime product because of its cooling and calming effect.
Madara Micellar Water- I really liked this sample and would buy it again. I love that despite not needing to rinse it off, my skin felt clean, but not stripped of its nutrients, and soft, without being greasy either. It really did work at removing my makeup too.
OOH! Oils of Heaven Baobab Oil- so last week I wrote about how I'm in love with Moringa oil. This still holds true- I think for my skin, Moringa oil works better. Moringa oil seems to make my face glow a bit more, is better at reducing and preventing spots, and doesn't make my face too "oily". Baobab oil is personally is bit too hydrating for my face, making it a little on the oily side. It does say it's good for psoriasis and eczema, so if you do suffer from either of these conditions may be worth a shot. I'm going to revisit this product in wintertime when my face needs a little more TLC and see if my thoughts on it change.
Last but not least is the Madara AHA Brightening Peel Mask. Let me start by saying I'm all for a home spa situation. However, I have quite sensitive skin. For me, this mask is a little too intense because it does have a bit of a stinging/tingling sensation (not to put you off, but for me it's just not so relaxing which is what I always aim for). I’ve felt the same about other peel masks that I have tried as well. I personally prefer clay masks a bit more.
Right, that's it from me. If you are keen to try a beauty box for yourself, they are only £12.45 a month for UK customers (the value of this box was over £45), although they do ship beauty boxes internationally too.
Has anyone else used these products before or have any natural beauty favorites? Do share!
***Disclaimer: I am part of the LoveLula Accredited Blogger Programme, and the LoveLula Affiliate Scheme. I was sent this beauty box to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***
Pumpkin Spice Turmeric Latte
I'm getting into the fall spirit these days with this pumpkin spice turmeric latte.
I can't really say I'm enjoying the dropping temperatures, I'm a summer girl at heart, but I do love fall foods.
What tops my list? Pumpkin. It really only works for me between mid September until the beginning of December.
What do I like to eat with pumpkin? Um, anything.
I mean really, you can't go wrong with pumpkin in the fall. Pumpkin cake, pumpkin pie at thanksgiving (that and cranberry sauce are seriously my favorite bits of thanksgiving dinner!), pumpkin smoothies, even a pumpkin pesto with pasta is really nice.
But my latest pumpkin concoction these days is this pumpkin spice turmeric latte.
I love a little dairy free turmeric latte as a nice winter warmer that's full of antioxidants. I have it before bed- it's something warming to wind down with.
Well, pumpkin adds just the perfect autumnal touch to my turmeric latte! I love it.
Pumpkin spice turmeric latte:
What are your favorite fall foods?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
I’m loving this chocolate peanut butter protein smoothie at the moment that really packs a punch.
Let me tell you the backstory to this smoothie. It is rare that I come across a protein powder I like. My usual complaints with plant-based powders is that if they are flavored, they are sickly sweet. I have a sweet tooth for sure, but I don't like it overly sweet.
It's funny because my taste-buds for sweet things have definitely shifted in the last few years. Since now I can't eat milk chocolate because of dairy, I switched to usually 70% dark chocolate which is perfect for me. 85% dark chocolate I bake with, but never really eat raw- just not sweet enough. So I like that dark chocolatey sweet bitterness, rather than milk chocolate sickly sweet.
So, back to the protein powder debacle. My rules about what plant-based proteins I'll try are as follows: no GMO, soy free, organic, no/low sugar, ingredients I can read in English- nothing too sciencey/chemically.
I've tried some plant-based brands that have also been unflavored and disgustingly chalky. Not a fun time.
But in theory, I love the idea of using a plant based protein powder sometimes in smoothies to help bulk up a smoothie, or even as good fuel for a workout.
On my holiday I came across SunWarrior Blend Plant Based Chocolate Protein Powder and so far this is one of the best proteins I've tried, with 18g of protein per scoop! Blend it into this delicious chocolate peanut butter protein smoothie and you’re gold.
This protein is sweetened with stevia, and is a touch on the sweet side for me so I add some superfood bitterness with the help of cacao nibs and maca powder- which is super energizing too.
If you’re not too into flavored proteins, the other brand I recommend is That Protein which is also really nice- I especially like the pumpkin and chia seed blend, but the brown rice and cacao protein is also good too.
Dairy free chocolate peanut butter protein smoothie recipe:
Like the sound of this smoothie but prefer it without protein? Try this easy chocolate peanut butter smoothie!
How to Maintain Your Summer Glow
I got back from my hot summer getaway last week. I had such an amazing trip, and am definitely already wishing for another holiday- but now I've got to work on maintaining my summer glow.
To begin with, while I do love the sun and being outside, I take care of my skin when I'm out as best I can with lots of sun-screen, a hat, and sunglasses.
So here are some of my tips and tricks to smooth summery skin even after the summer is over!
I always always always get pretty dry skin on my legs if I don't moisturize, or even if my moisturizer isn't strong enough.
So- first if your skin is in a good need of pampering, I love a bath with some bath salts, and a little lavender essential oils to relax. For super dry skin, I make this easy sugar scrub- see here- but it's basically just brown sugar mixed with a liquid shower gel. I like using Dr. Bronner's lavender soap.
In my current quest to preserve my summer glow, I've been using Aviela 100% shea butter on body. I was using coconut oil before, but it just wasn't cutting it and I needed something more moisturizing.
So- like me, you may have used shea butter before as an ingredient in another lotion. This is my first time using 100% shea butter, and I can tell you it's very buttery. I mean really it's like rubbing a stick of crumbly butter on yourself. Don't be put off- it really works! It's not a great daytime moisturizer as its kind of heavy, but overnight my skin just drinks it up! If your skin needs a little extra TLC, this is pretty good.
Right- face time. I'm very specific about this. I have been loyal to my favorite Kimberly Sayer facial moisturizer with SPF 30 for about 2 years. I don't really experiment with other face moisturizers as I have found something I like, that doesn't feel greasy or heavy, and I love the added sun protection. I apply this every morning without fail.
At night after cleansing, I've been loving a little Moringa oil lately. I like using this because it's rich in antioxidants and makes my face feel bright, glowy, and soft when I wake up in the morning.
I do also like my sleep though, and on nights when I haven't got enough beauty sleep no amount of Moringa oil (or probably any product for that matter) can really conceal that.
Lastly, I take care of my lips. I hate dry lips. In the day I've been trying Hurraw. I am so obsessed with the Hurraw sun balm with SPF 15 (Sun protection is SUPER important to me). I like to use SPF lip balm on a daily basis even in winter- check out more here.
But added bonus of this lip balm is the scent- tangerine chamomile. You may not be able to imagine what this smells like. I can't really do it justice by trying to describe it either. The best I can do is say it kind of smells like a tangerine vanilla sorbet. I mean it smells so good you wish you could eat it as a dessert.
If you like a little more color on your lips though, swap out the SPF for Hurraw's tinted cinnamon lip balm.
Lastly- sorry I seem like a crazy lip lady- before bed I like to use Dr. Lipp. This is another product I have used loyally for a couple of years. It really works. It's perfect for overnight lip nourishment before bed. But I also love that this product has so many uses. If my face feels super dry, I use some face oil and rub in a little Dr. Lipp before bed and in the morning it's much better. Same goes for dry cracked hands in winter.
Ok, that's it from me! Hope everyone had great summers.
***Disclaimer: I am part of the LoveLula Accredited Blogger Programme, and the LoveLula Affiliate Scheme. I selected these products to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***
Shop the post! I love shopping from LoveLula because they have an amazing range of natural beauty products and FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on qualifying orders!
How to Make a Dairy Free Frothy Coffee
A few years ago, I was obsessed with cappuccinos. I just loved the ritual, how enjoying a coffee slowed down my day. I'd never get them to go, either having them at home or in a coffee shop. I was so weird about it that I would sometimes wake up 15 minutes earlier just so I could sit and enjoy my cappuccino.
Unfortunately, this drink phase seemed to be the catalyst for finding out I was lactose intolerant after feeling so uncomfortably bloated after having my cappuccino, or other dairy products without knowing what the cause actually was. I did an exclusion diet and I can tell you for sure, I'm super lactose intolerant and I really cannot eat dairy anymore.
This was very disappointing as I loved my cappuccinos and soy milk has never cut it for me. I don't like the taste, and it's not that great for you either. I also tried the regular milk that claims it is lactose free, which probably works for some people but I am too sensitive to lactose for it. It took me about 2 years to get on the almond milk bandwagon. I don't know why I was so late to the party- almond milk is the best! I did try an almond milk cappuccino once around this time and found it didn't froth or do anything, so it me it seemed pretty pointless.
Thing is, I just hadn't found the right almond milk for the job. For a while, I actually completely cut out coffee from my diet because I hate black coffee, and I switched to being a black or green tea drinker.
Currently I now am quite conscious of how much caffeine I have, and try to keep it to a minimum and not everyday as it is better for sleep and my nervous system to skip it.
My newest discovery of the century is that Plenish almond milk is the secret to a frothy coffee. It’s 7% almond content is higher than some of the other brands, which may be why I find it froths better than others.
Top tip- I find this almond milk fantastic in cappuccinos, but I'm less enthused about it in smoothies. The flavor complements coffee really well, but I find it can make my smoothies taste a bit more bitter. My other favorite is iced coffee, which I also think tastes better with Plenish.
But, back to the basics. There's no point making a perfectly frothy coffee with bad beans. I am no coffee expert whatsoever, but I love Footprint Coffee. They make a range of organic, responsibly sourced, hand roasted coffee beans. And bonus, they are carbon neutral! Double bonus- it’s free to print on the label who the coffee is roasted for, so this makes a super cute customised gift too.
To round off my coffee, I don’t take sugar, but I love a good sprinkling of cinnamon on top. How about you, how do you like your coffee? Do you use almond milk, or any other nut milks?
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
So you all know I've got an obsession with mint chocolate- ice cream, smoothies, chocolate, cookies you name it.
I love these dairy free and gluten free buckwheat chocolate chip cookies, so I thought a mint chocolate chip twist would be fun! If you aren't so keen on mint, leave it out and make these as double chocolate chip cookies.
If you have any willpower, which is really really hard with cookies, these make a great treat to make a big batch of and freeze.
Dairy free, gluten free mint chocolate chip cookies recipe:
Makes 12 cookies
Who doesn't like blueberry muffins? I mean really, to me they are the king of all muffin flavors. Perfectly simple.
I like these blueberry muffins as a mid morning or afternoon snack, instead of my favourite almond butter flapjacks which is my go to at the moment. Of course, these muffins make a nice breakfast too and aren't too sweet. But I'm hooked on smoothies for breakfast these days so that’s always how I start my morning.
Dairy Free and Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Recipe:
Makes 8 medium size muffins
What are your favorite muffin flavors?