Thursday, August 28, 2014

Paleo Faux-tato Salad

I cannot take credit for this recipe whatsoever, but holy sh*t it is fantastic!  If you are a paleo peep like myself you must try this out for your next shindig or BBQ.  Super easy, you can throw this together in just minutes.  If you miss traditional white potato salad, then please give this a try.

Thanks to the fabulous CupcakesOMG for coming up with this gem!

That is all folks- just a friendly PSA to make this shizz as Labor Day weekend approaches.  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Natural Deodorant Review: Crystal Essence Deodorant Roll-On, and a New Drugstore Fave

I have been on the hunt for a "natural" deodorant for YEARS.  Firstly, I wanted something non-staining (you know those unsightly yellow stains under your arms?  That's not from sweat, that's from the aluminum chlorhydrate) and secondly, the thought of rubbing metals and parabens all over my skin day in and day out where they are surely being absorbed into my lymphatic system gives me the ickies.
So, I have been on the hunt for quite some time for a natural deodorant that would also, I don't know, work?  Call me crazy, but just because it's natural doesn't mean it shouldn't do its job.  And I am not one of those folks to embrace their natural "scent" and eschew deodorant altogether.  I'll leave that to Matthew Mcconaughey.  Throughout my trials, I found quite a few duds, which I won't discuss at this time, but finally, I have hit the nail on the head.  YAY!!!

This stuff is the  For reals!!!  It has a lovely, inoffensive smell, and is totally natural, and YES actually does the job.  Keep in mind it is a DEODORANT not an antiperspirant.  This means it's job is not to keep you from sweating, but to keep you sufficiently deodorized.  I find that this works for me because I don't normally have a huge wetness issue and so far, it has kept me pretty dry and odor-free.  However, you can't expect to not have to reapply it ever.  If you are of the sweatier persuasion, you may need to reapply this throughout the day, which I still find preferable to parabens and carcinogens in your pits alldayerryday.  And it has a pleasant smell and is a nice little compact shape, super easy to throw in your bag and reapply as needed.

Here is detailed product info, in case you're interested.

Mineral Deodorant Body roll-On. Natural deodorant protection. Crystal Essence Lavender & White Tea, made of natural mineral salts and infused with the relaxing aromas of lavender and white tea, leaves an invisible protective barrier against odor-causing bacteria. Lavender, known as anti-inflammatory and white tea, as a natural relaxant, combine to form an essence that pleases rather than overpowers the senses.  Crystal essence is long-lasting, non-sticky, non-staining and leaves no white residue.
  • no aluminum chlorhydrate
  • hypoallergenic
  • paraben free
  • safe for the environment
  • endorsed by Cancer Treatment Centers
Made in USA.

So,  if you find yourself in the market for a natural, non-shitty deodorant, totally give this one a go.  

Next up, a new love of mine.  Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya.  I own quite a few of these, and love them all, but this color in particular is stellar.  Gorgeous color, moderate staying power, super moisturizing and hydrating, gives a lovely sheen without being frosted or shimmery, and a great drugstore price.  I honestly prefer this to many of my high-end lippies.  If you like a non-shimmery peachy wash of color that has a great sheen without being matte, this is a wonderful product to try.  I would not call this color a coral, there is hardly any pink to it, if any, so it's definitely for the warmer complected folks.  However, there are a ton of more cool toned colors to choose from if that happens to be your jam.  Here is a pic of it on me:

And that's it for me today y'all!  Keep on keeping on GFGs.  XoXo

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paleo Broccoli Cucumber Salad

No photo.  Boo!  Bad GFG.  I made this quick salad for a friend's bbq- not really expecting too much of it.  Quite honestly, I used what I had in the house, which was just a handful of ingredients, but it turned out awesome!  This is a super easy and yummy salad for a cook out or bbq, or just a side for any old dinner.  I saw all kinds of recipes with cucumber and broccoli but most called for nuts, dried fruit, or cheese, and I wanted to make something I could eat, just in case there wasn't anything else I could have at the bbq.  I think that is such an important tip for staying grain/dairy/sugar/nut free when going to social events.  Bring something that you can eat so if there is absolutely nothing else, you know you have one thing to eat!

Broccoli Cucumber Salad
1 (organic) hot house cucumber
1 bag of broccoli, or a medium sized head of broccoli, NOT FROZEN
half a yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup mayo, homemade or your fave brand
1.5 T Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and pepper

Cut your broccoli into bite sized pieces and then toss in your chopped cucumber and chopped onion.  Add mayo, ACV, salt and pepper and refrigerate for a few hours.  I would recommend at least three or four.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Beauty Products to Try!

Hi loves! So I said I was back and then poof! I was gone again.  This summer has been biz-to-the-z and I have just returned from being gone for two straight weeks.  One week we spent in Door County, WI, my happy place and basically favorite place on earth, and then last week I was in Boston for a conference.  These are some new, or newly repurchased products that I am currently loving and so should you!

My undereye situation is no joke peeps.  I have deep purple undereyes and it ain't pretty.  This is not new and they don't actually worsen with lack of sleep- they do get red and puffy however if I haven't slept.  Gorgeous huh?  They are hereditary and the medical term for them is "allergic shiners."  So between that and generally so very thin skin under my eyes, it's the perfect storm for some seriously purple eyes.  And not in a good way.  So I am constantly on the hunt for new products to help me out.

Unfortunately, there is no topical product, at least that I am aware of, that can help with the discoloration.  I have heard that an anti-histamine is actually the best way to tackle the discoloration but I am not about to start taking a bunch of steroids for such a silly reason.  Topical products can help to plump the area though.  I have somewhat sunken, thin undereyes, and this cerave eye repair creme is both plumping, smoothing, and very moisturizing, and a drugstore product to boot!  It has replaced all my other eye creams, even my fancy shmancy ones.

The second new eye product i'm digging is this First Aid Beauty Triple Remedy.  It has a wonderfully cooling metal applicator and leaves a pink shimmery tint on the skin, great for layering over your eye cream and under your concealer.  Not pictured is a similar product but a drugstore buy, the garnier under eye roller ball.  I enjoy both and would recommend them both.

The Originis charcoal face mask is a wonderful new addition to my skincare routine.  I use it mainly just on my nose, skin surrounding the nose, and chin, to help clear out pores and oil.  I really like it and I have not found another charcoal mask that works as well.  While not exfoliating or moisturizing, its great for clearing out your pores so that your other products can really get in there and do their thing.

That tiny little empty pot with the green label is a fabulous new gel product from Ole Henriksen, called Invigorating Night Gel.  Holy moly do I love this stuff.  It is an oil free gel you slather all over your face (at night only as it causes sunburn if applied during the day) and you honest to goodness wake up to more vibrant, prettier, healthier looking skin.  It has anti-aging ingredients and I definitely can say it is slightly exfoliating and plumping.  Loves it!

The next product I have used for years for just recently had to repurchase.  Can't go wrong with some good ol' oil free tinted moisturizer.  A little SPF and a lot of moisturizing without leaving your skin oily or greasy, this stuff is gold.  If you put it on and don't powder, you'll have dewy, moist looking skin for hours.

If a tinted moisturizer isn't doing it for you though, and you want something with more skin benefits, this Dermadoctor DD cream is worth trying out.  I was in the market for a new BB, one with anti-aging, moisturizing, and sun-protective properties.  This product is that and more.  It is a skin perfector, blemish clearing, pore diffusing beast!  And I believe it is a physical sunscreen and not a chemical sunscreen if that matters to you.  It is shade adjusting which I really appreciate because with my face being a tad darker these days, I don't want to have a product just sit in my drawer for 9 months until next summer.  It is not much coverage, but could certainly be layered under foundation if that's what your into.  I wear it alone and apply it with my fingers for the best look.

Lastly is a fun new lipgloss.  It's Sephora, and it's called Hot Coral and is a sheer hot pink/coral tint with beautiful coral sparkles.  Great for summer and looks pretty worn alone and even better layered over a coral lip.

Great summer products I'm totally digging right now.  Tell me what your loves are!! XoXo GFG

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Currently Loving


Sometimes you find some new products that are not just good but truly amaaaaaazing.  This post is about a few of those items.  I'd like to start featuring some products that get the amaaaaaazing thumbs up from time to time.  These products are not necessarily high or low end, they are truly what I'm Currently Loving.  Let's get started:

Soap and Glory Great Kisser Lip Moisture Balm
Holy cow this stuff is fabulous.  A great peachy flavor, smooth and thick formula but not greasy (which I hate hate hate, nothing worse than oily lips) or waxy, stays on for hours (like, I wake up and still have it on) and a wonderful peachy flavor.  It is pretty much colorless but on me almost dulls my natural lip color which I actually really like because my lips are really pigmented.  It is so velvety and luxurious and I honestly do prefer it to my Dior creme de rose.

Nars Surabaya
This little nars eye duo isn't the easiest to find.  It's not at sephora and you can't always find it at the makeup counter.  But holy cow it is probably one of the best formulations you can find in the eye duo. The shadows are so creamy and pigmented and a total dream to apply and blend.  If you are looking for a super warm and intense brown eye, this is it.  You get a beautiful reddy town, with subtle glitter, and a warm chestnut.  It is GORGEOUS people.  Definitely more of a fall/winter look but it is just beyond.  I have swatched tons of the duos and none of them apply like this.

MAC Peachykeen
Ugh how did I not have this blush until now?  The perfect amount of pink, orange, and coral, this blush has a beautiful sheen and very faint shimmer to it that gives your cheeks a gorgeous glow.  It is very pigmented so a teensy bit goes a long way and has an almost bronzey look to it in the pan.  It is freaking amazing.  It is not golden at all but super glowy.  I can't stop wearing it!

MAC Perfect Topping, LE
Sorry no link on this one, it is LE but the sales gal assured me it comes back fairly regularly.  This is a beautiful subtle highlight that I sort of dot on my forehead in between my eyebrows, and on my cheeks beside my nose.  It gives you a beautiful glow (can you tell I'm all about getting a glow?) and is the last stop on my makeup train everyday.  It would also be lovely to apply on the cheekbones if you like a super subtle cheekbone highlight.

L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Lights 
Have you tried these yet?  They are basically pressed pigments, they even have these cute little plastic pressy things to keep all the pigment in place when the lid is on.  I had been on the hunt for the perfect rose gold that wasn't too pink or too copper and this is it.  It is gorgeous all over the lid and is surprisingly versatile with a range of different looks.  And it's drugstore!  yay!

Sephora #56 Pro Flawless Airbrush
For such a small brush-head, this brush packs a lot of punch.  Densely packed, it is fabulous for cream or liquid foundations and blends to a dream.  If you fancy synthetic bristles and a flawless finish, this is your brush.

Sigma F80
The end all, be all of foundation brushes.  The brush to which all others are measured.  This flat synthetic kabuki will buff your skin to perfection.  The thick and sturdy handle is the perfect weight and length.  What else can you say about this brush that hasn't been said a million times.  If you only have one foundation brush, let it be this one!

Soap and Glory Butter Yourself
This is a gorgeous smelling body butter that is super moisturizing, just the tiniest bit greasy, but it does dry down fairly quickly, and supposedly packed with antioxidants (?) but honestly, who cares when it smells this damn good.  Check out the description: Get velvety with the formula's resurfacing properties, skin-perfecting fruits, and shea butter. This creamy hydrator features the exotic citrus Fruitigo™ fragrance, so skin lingers with delicious notes of frozen yuzu, orange oil, and jungle pomelo all-day long. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Busy Paleo Mom Go-To Meals

Today, chatting with a co-worker, I briefly lamented the end (or, to be more optimistic, the gap) in my days of challenging recipes, with long ingredient lists and tons of prep.  It was fun, it was a creative outlet for me, and it was always such a huge sense of accomplishment and pride when something I created out of thin air turned out great.  I think someday I'll get back there, but for now, I have to be a little more efficient with my time.  I can't spend an hour (or more) preparing something for just myself and my husband.  Not when there are three other little mouths that all need to eat in a small window of time.

Over the weekend, we were lucky enough to have some cousins in from Chicago that graciously spent an entire day with us at the house, helping with the kiddos, having dinner, making us feel unhurried and content to be at home.  It was lovely.  My cousin asked about dinner times, and did we ever wait until the kids were in bed to sit down and have a meal, just Mike and I.  That sounds lovely, in theory, but in practice is just not feasible.  By the time everyone is down for the night it might be 830, and to then have to sit down and eat, and then clean up, well it might be 10 o'clock before you're done in the kitchen.  And that's assuming dinner is ready and waiting once the kids are in bed.  Just doesn't work out for me- not when my alarm goes off at ten to 5 in the morning, 7 days a week.  So that means you have to get smart about meals, and have a good list of quick, easy, and satisfying meals at the ready.  These are just my humble suggestions:

  • As I've said, a big garbage salad, with leftover veggies and two proteins.  If this is your meal I believe that an avocado and TWO proteins is a necessity.  My favorite salad dressing at the moment is just Bragg's ACV and some EVOO and himalayan sea salt and pepper.  Throw in any leftover veggies you have, and some jarred veggies like artichokes, peppers, and capers, and you have a great salad in under a minute.
  • Chicken sausages and roasted veggies.  The sausages are pre-cooked so don't need to cook for ages in the oven.  Put your sausages on a sheet, and cauli or broccoli on another with some salt, garlic powder, and olive oil, and roast everything at 425 for 25 minutes and you are good to go.
  • Smoked oysters and avocado.  Slice your avocado, throw in your smoked oysters (or trout) and you have a filling meal in just seconds.  
  • Organic, uncured hot dogs have saved the day on more than one occasion
  • Tuna in olive oil is a great protein to have on hand- open the can and toss with greens, a squeeze of lemon, some capers, and maybe some defrosted green beans and you again, have an easy salad in no time.
  • Organic chicken thighs and mashed cauli.  Drizzle raw chicken thighs with some balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary, and bake at 425 for 20 minutes or so.  While the chicken is cooking throw some steam-in-a-bag cauli in the microwave and cook until tender.  Use your stick blender and toss in some kerrygold and you have mashed cauli in less time than it takes to cook the chicken.  
  • Organic, grassfed burgers from the freezer section are so great to have on hand.  Add a slice of tomato and a pickle and you're done!  
  • Cooked shrimp in the freezer only needs to be submerged in a bowl of cold water to thaw.  Shrimp is super versatile- you can throw it on a salad, some zucchini noodles, gluten free pasta if that's your thing, or just enjoy on their own with a side of veggies.  
  • I always always always have a large stash of frozen veggies on hand.  A package of fire roasted peppers in the frozen and some ground meat and seasonings and you have a meal in no time- with hardly any dirty dishes to boot!  Cook your ground meat, throw in your still frozen peppers, and you are done in 15 minutes.
  • Eggs. Bacon.  Duh.  If you are feeling adventurous add some spinach or asparagus (from the freezer of course) and you've got a fancy breakfast-for-dinner.  
While this certainly isn't an exhaustive list, it is good starting place.  The single most important part is having a well-stocked freezer.  I've said time and time again, yes, fresh is always better.  But in a pinch, if you have some good proteins waiting for you in the freezer, and you can think ahead and have them defrosted, you will have a good meal at your fingertips any night of the week.  I am not super into meal planning or menu planning- we've all seen the instagram pics of people's precious menus for the week written in chalk on their darling little chalkboard walls, that's just not me.  But if you can take two seconds on Sundays and throw some proteins into a defrost bowl in the fridge, you'll be so glad you did.  

I sure hope this is helpful!  Just remember to stock your kitchen with some basics, avocados, canned tuna and oysters, some basic proteins, and plenty of frozen veggies and you have an almost endless variety of quick meals.  No, they aren't the most creative, but they are tasty and healthy.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Make Your Own Paleo Baby Food

The title of this post makes me sound crunchier than I am.  I never intended to be a "make your own baby food" type of gal.  It seemed like such a precious thing to do that uber-controlling parents did. But, my assumptions have been debunked.

I am now a baby-food-making convert.  The reason is simple.  It's easier.

I have two little mouths to feed.  I want to give them organic, natural foods.  Purchasing the quantity of organic baby food that I would need to feed two babies for a whole week would cost a fortune, and I'd have to go to multiple stores to find it.  What I do is way cheaper and way easier and creates far less waste.  It all started innocently enough.  I hemmed and hawed over what their first food should be for weeks, finally settling on avocados.  Mushy, full of healthy fats and nutrients, hermetically sealed in their own packaging, it seemed perfect.  I didn't have to steam or puree anything- just mush with the back of a spoon et voila!

So, we started with avocados.  Laziness meant that we stuck with avocados for three weeks before trying anything else.  In this time the babies went from sort of tolerating it, to tolerating it moderately, to enjoying it!  By this time both they, and I, were ready to try something else.  At that point I had decided a couple new foods to try.  First was egg yolks.  I simply boil a few eggs for three or four minutes and after the yolk has cooled a bit they slurp it up.  Not much chewing is involved so it is a relatively painless process and a great way to guarantee a lot of nutrition in short order.  The babies have really enjoyed yolks and I like to take the extra time to make it for them on my days off.

Next up was sweet potatoes.  I buy a big bag of organic sweet potatoes and steam about half of them. 35 minutes in the steamer and they are ready to be peeled.  My handy stick blender makes mush of them in no time.  Add a little formula or water to thin out the consistency and you are good to go.  I store mine in little snack containers that hold probably four ounces or so.  I don't make enough to need to freeze it- generally we have been running out every four days or so.  When that happens I go back to my trusty avocados if I don't have time to make something else until the weekend.

After they had mastered the consistency of the sweet potato I decided to let them try bananas.  This was their first fruit and naturally they quite like the sweeter taste!  Again, no steaming or pureeing necessary- just some mushing with a spoon and you're good to go.

But I wanted another veggie and something that I could be sure would be palatable.  I am sure there are plenty of moms out there pureeing kale and spinach for their babies but it is more important to me to make them food I know they are going to like and enjoy- and instill in them a healthy desire and appetite for real food, rather than force something down their throats.  So I decided on organic carrots. Do you know how much two pounds of organic carrots costs?  $1.89.  Do you know how much one pouch of organic carrots costs at Target?  $1.63.  You do the math.  All two pounds of it steamed in about 20 minutes, and only took a few minutes more to puree, and now I have six containers of carrots in the fridge, meals for the week!

The last food we have introduced thus far is organic applesauce.  I just got a big jar of it and have been adding it to different foods here and there.  I like how watery it is and its amazing ability to make practically anything palatable.  Applesauce was really the sole sweetener I used for Sara until she was two years old!  I added it to oatmeal, plain yogurt, even cottage cheese, rather than use sugar or another sweetener.  It's versatile, healthy, and cheap!  Can't complain about that!

We will probably work on carrots for a couple weeks and then add in something else.  The reality is that I will not be steaming and pureeing multiple vegetables at a time and doling them out into separate containers, or creating little custom combinations.  And frankly, I would rather move on to soft table foods sooner rather than later.  Poached chicken, soft scrambled eggs, some soft cauliflower, etc.  When there is one person feeding three people you tend to prefer not spoon feeding two of them, right?

Do you make your own baby food? Any suggestions for me?  I have to say, I approached this with complete and total nonchalance.  Not because I'm that cool, but because I devoted basically zero thought to it.  I was terrified what my grocery bill would be buying jarred baby food and frankly, did not have a high opinion of it from my experiences feeding sari.  Expensive, crappy tasting, and makes tons of garbage.  Um, no thanks?  So I started with avocado and assumed I'd figure out the rest later.  What started out as me just wanting to give them organic baby food turned into me becoming a weirdo crunchy baby food maker.  And you know what?  I think I'll stick with it.