Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Power Of Positive Thinking

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.

- Khalil Gibran


Live, Long, and Posper =) 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Refreshing Cucumber Salad Recipe

Cucumbers and onions are two of my favorite items to add to my salads. Since my parents had them on hand I decided to make a refreshing simple summer salad including these two amazing ingredients. This recipe is super yummy and perfect for a lunch or dinner side dish . Let's get started.

Ingredients


2 cucumbers, diced
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 green onions, diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar( I use Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil( Not neccesary but adds amazing flavor)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions


Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

If you prefer a creamer salad dressing feel free to add 1- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.

Bon Appeitit

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Low Carb Crustless Quiche


I don't know about you guys but when I did Atkins induction I got so sick and tired of eggs and the usual egg recipes. This is an egg recipe that I love. It's quick, easy, and yummy. You don't have to make it crustless, but if you do, you can indulge a little more.

Ingredients 

Sautéed veggies
1 cup of milk
½ lb of grated cheese
4 to 5 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper, dried or fresh herbs to taste
2 garlic cloves pressed or chopped


Directions

I use a combination of finely chopped zucchini, onion, mushrooms, green pepper, salt, pepper, herbs and garlic sautéed in olive oil. But any combination of veggies will work.

Arrange the veggies in the bottom of a quiche pan. There should be enough to cover the entire bottom.

Mix other ingredients together and pour over the veggies, spreading the mix evenly with a fork.

Place on a cookie sheet because it makes it easier to handle.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the center is firm and the top is golden brown


Bon Appetit =)
.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I love food and I like to cook. I'm not a habitual kitchen dweller but when I'm in the mood I enjoy cooking up a storm and trying out healthier versions of things that I love. While browsing the internet I found this great recipe from Marathon Mom’s Peanut Butter Granola Bars. I made a few minor changes and I absolutely love them. Granola bars are great because they can serve as a portable snack. Honestly I have never really purchased too many granola bars because, aside from all the extra junk in them, I found them a bit pricey for what they were. These bars are inexpensive, easy to make and I'm pretty sure that you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. They don’t have all the artificial junk, preservatives, and other ingredients I can’t pronounce or required a Google search to know what they are. It's filling, and soooo good. 


Ingredients


1 1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup peanut butter(if possible I'd advise that you use all natural peanut butter or PB2)

1/3 cup Raw honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 Tbs ground flax

1/2 cup peanuts

1 scoop BSN Lean Dessert Protein Powder (Whipped Vanilla Cream flavor)

A handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

Melt the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat while stirring frequently.

Mix in the oats, flax, protein powder and peanuts.

Spread into a greased pan, cupcake tins, or other mold. 

After filling your chosen pans/molds, gently push in chocolate chips if desired.

Place in refrigerator or freezer until firm.

Remove from molds or cut into bars if using a baking pan.

If you're not a fan of square bars feel free to make them into round balls.
Store in fridge. 

Grab, go and enjoy.
Bon Appetit

App Lovin - My Favorites Apps

If you're like me then you're probably addicted to your smart phone. We all use our phones for keeping in touch and staying up to date with social media but do you really harness its power by using  some amazing apps that can simplify and improve your life. Here’s are my pick of some amazing apps for everything from grocery shopping, organizing all of your events and notes, showcasing your photos,weight loss and there are even apps for making money. Yep, you read correctly there are apps that can add money to your pockets. I'm an IPhone user so the apps I use and mention are all found on iTunes but most of these apps should be available in the app store for Android users. 



MANILLA 
The iOS and Android application Manilla enables you to use one single password to access all of the important accounts. Whether it’s a bank account login, your Netflix subscription or your email information, you can use Manilla to centralize all of the important information that you need, without having to remember multiple passwords. Not only is the app free, but it offers unlimited space so you won’t ever have to pay to access your files.

GROCERY IQ


The days of pen and paper grocery lists are over. Grocery IQ is basically an app where you can store your grocery list, but it’s more than just that: you can add up the total cost of your grocery items, scan the barcodes of items in the store to add them to your list and even find your closest grocery store. The database has millions of products which are ready for you to add to your grocery list.

EVERNOTE

While other apps allow you to make notes for your day and organize your schedule, the reason that Evernote is worth a mention on this list is because it’s the easiest way to make detailed notes for your day. The interface is slick and easy to use, and you can add photos to your notes so that you know exactly what the note is for on your homepage at a glance without having to read the note itself. Evernote is one of the most highly rated apps for organizing your life.

PERIOD TRACKER

If you have irregular periods like me or you're just very forgetful, then this is the app for you. This app tells you when your period is coming and how long there’s left to go. It even tells you what moods you might experience on any particular day. It’s also really useful for indicating when you are most fertile if you are looking to conceive. The lite version is free and has more than enough functionality, but you can get even more by paying $1.49 for the deluxe version.


MYFITNESS PAL

One of the best apps to make life easier is the MyFitness Pal app, which is a calorie counter and diet tracker. The designers describe it as the best calorie counter for the iPhone, and they aren't wrong; by accurately tracking what you've eaten over the course of the day, you can see if you are on track to a healthy diet or whether you need to make slight adjustments to lose those extra few pounds or tone up your arms. The app is compatible with their website, so any updates that you make through the app will be synced to your website login. I LOVE this app. Ive been using MyFitnessPal for years, way before I ever downloaded the app I would log my meals and exercises to MyFitnessPal online. If you're serious about tracking your meal etc then this an amazing app to try and it's free.

VEGANXPRESS

If you’re a veggie girl on the go, then this is one of the apps for vegans you’ve just got to try, stat! This app finally makes fast food accessible to vegans. Simply choose a local fast food or quick-dine restaurant, and you’ll see a list of their menu items that are vegan-friendly. There’s even a very long list of vegan foods at the grocery store, from candies to beer and everything in between; some might even surprise you. It’s well worth the $1.99 download fee.



ANIMAL-FREE

If you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on your cereal or shampoo, and wondered what in the world some of those crazy, unpronounceable items were, and whether or not they’re vegan-friendly, well, my dear, there’s an app for that. Scroll through the alphabetical list until you find the ingredient you’re curious about, and you’ll see whether it’s plant or animal derived. Best of all, this app is freeeee.=)


HAPPY COW VEG TRAVEL GUIDE

If you’re a fan of the Happy Cow website, then you’ll love their iPhone app. It contains the same helpful information on which of the eateries and markets in your neighborhood have vegan-friendly items on their menus or stock on their shelves. It comes in handy when you’re traveling, too.



PHOTO COLLAGE

Photo Collage does exactly what it says; it helps you create unique collages out of everyday photos using special tools like cropping, unique backdrops, frames, borders, stickers and enhancing the lighting. The app includes 16 different types of collage layouts, along with 4 ratios for photo layouts, such as 1:1, 4:3, 3:4 and 3:2. You can zoom, rotate or mirror any image and make it bigger or smaller in real time. Photo Collage also allows you to share all your new collages on your social media outlets so all your friends can see your handiwork.




Believe it or not, there are apps that help you make money. I have tried out all of these to make sure they work and, trust me, they are all WONDERFUL. The economy is still rough and finding a well paying job can be beyond tough for many, so if you are unemployed or under employed, every dollar matters. Even if you're employed and well compensated but enjoy making your money work for you then feel free to try it too.

IBOTTA



This is one of the apps that help you make money by giving you cash back on items you were going to purchase anyway. This week there are 38 items ranging from Jergen’s Lotion to Tums and Honey Combs cereal. All you need to do is take pictures of your receipt when you get home from your shopping trip. You will get cash back ranging from 50¢ to $1.75 off each of the special items they have listed for the week. There are also bonus tasks that allow you to earn more without hitting the store by taking surveys or polls and watching ads by select brands. All of the money you earn is deposited directly into your PayPal account.



ENDORSE

Endorse is an app that is very similar to the Ibotta app in that you earn a percentage of cash back by scanning in your receipts after you shop. This app lets you scan receipts from ANYWHERE, including local stores and military commissaries. If you haven’t purchased the products that are being featured that week, you can still earn points that you can donate to charities simply by uploading your receipt, so scan them in no matter what. This app also pays via PayPal. A lot of the time Ibotta and Endorse have a few of the same items listed. This week I bought Oreos which were on both apps. I saved 75¢ on Ibotta and 10% on Endorse. Endorse also does something that I LOVE. While most of the items are brand specific, several of them are not. For instance, this week if you buy ANY brand of paper towels or any brand of chips, you get 30% or 10% back, respectively.




PACT

This is a truly fantastic idea and if it can motivate me, it can motivate you. The app is free to download and you input how many days per week you want to work out (at the gym or at home). Then you input how much money you will pay if you fail to meet your commitment. If you achieve your goal, you get a percentage of the money paid by those who didn’t quite meet theirs. It’s perfect. You earn extra money AND it keeps you in shape.

JINGIT

Jingit is the best and worst app to help you make money. For some people it will be phenomenal, but it’s totally dependent on the area you live in. I live in the city so there are many participating stores around but if you live in a small town that may not be the case. It’s worth trying out because it’s free. You can earn points for checking in at participating stores, locating specific items, buying items or watching ads and taking a really quick survey. The absolute best part about this app is they issue you a debit card, so there is absolutely no waiting for your money. As soon as it’s added to your total you can spend it!

GIGWALK

For this app you enter your zip code and it shows you pins on a map where the gigs are located. Gigs range pretty widely. As a few examples, for “Photograph a Local Business for Bing.com,” basically you go to the businesses listed and take the required photographs, which mainly consist of one or two outside pictures and 3-5 interior pictures. In my area those tasks pay $7 each. “Walmart Merchandising” consists of going to your local Walmart, asking the manager to help you locate the required merchandising materials and setting up a display. It can take from 10 minutes to half an hour and it pays $25. It’s totally up to you which tasks you take and you are paid through PayPal.


FIELDAGENT

This is an app that basically allows you to be a Secret Shopper. You are given tasks such as go into Family Dollar, locate the pet section and take notice of the merchandise and signage. After you are done they ask you a few questions, which allows them to be sure you actually did the task and informs them of any mistakes being made within certain stores. These tasks generally pay $6.50-8.50 and they only take 3-5 minutes. If you live in an area large enough you could make a good amount with this app. You will be paid via PayPal.



ICONZOOMER


IconZoomer is an app that assigns you tasks you can accomplish without leaving your home (most of the time). Tasks such as taking a picture of the shoes you’re wearing and letting everyone know what you think of them, or snapping a photo of what you’re eating and telling them what it’s made out of and how it tastes. You snap the pictures and upload them to the app and post them on your Facebook or Twitter feed. This one is sort of hit and miss. In my area there are hardly any, but depending on where you are you could get several per day. Each task pays 35¢.



SNAPSEED

I love this app and use it almost 60% of the time when I'm posting any pics to Instagram. It provides the basic features like crop, brighten, sharpen etc but it also has some amazing filters and effects that will leave your photos looking absolutely amazing.

Live long and prosper.










Thursday, July 11, 2013

Low Carb Boneless Buffalo Chicken

So I'm in New York and I'm craving buffalo wings but I didn't want to go out and buy some chicken that would be loaded with extra crap so I decided to look for a low carb alternative that's tasty and easy to make. The original recipe used crushed pork rinds but I don't eat pork rinds so I decided to try it out with textured vegetable protein or TVP from Bob's Red Mill which is basically made from reduced-fat soy beans. This recipe only requires minimal ingredients and takes about 30 - 45 minutes to make.


INGREDIENTS



  • 1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 1/2 Cups TVP -Textured Vegetable Protein / Crushed Low Carb Bread Crumbs/ Crushed Pork Rinds 
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese – Grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 Cup Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Butter 
  • Olive Oil


DIRECTIONS
  • Trim excess fat off chicken breast and cut into large chunks.
  • In a food processor combine pork rinds, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder and pulse until ingredients are well combined and moderately fine. Pour mixture onto a plate, in a thin layer.
  • Heat an inch of olive oil over medium-high heat. I use a non-stick wok that I bought from IKEA for stove-top deep frying. The high sides reduce splatter and make clean up a cinch. 
  • Press the chicken chunks firmly into the breading mixture, coating both sides (Doing it this way will help the breading bind to the chicken much better than just shaking them in the breading mixture.)
  • Once the olive oil is hot and begins to bubble, drop the breaded chicken into the oil. Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces a few times until they are golden brown and crisp on both sides - About 3 minutes each side.
  • After removing chicken from oil, allow to cool on a paper towel to soak up excess grease. This will also give the breading a chance to crisp up so that it stays on.

  • Melt the butter and mix with buffalo wing sauce. Lightly toss the chicken in the sauce.

Makes 4 Servings

Per Serving:
Calories – 350
Protein – 40 g
Carbs – 0.5 net g

Fat – 15 g



Got this recipe from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How To Get Rid Of Your Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are very common among women. Whenever we gain weight quickly due to growth spurts, pregnancy, or just by eating badly and not working out. This sudden weight gain causes the development of fine lines on our bodies which are known as stretch marks. Stretch marks also happen to men who gain weight quickly or those who bulk up in order to gain massive muscles. Sometimes hormonal changes also leads to stretch marks. Eliminating stretch marks is not an instant process and if any market products are claiming for instant result then they are most certainly lying. If you seriously want to eliminate your stretch marks then you need to be patient and consistent. It is possible to diminish them if not completely eliminate them trust me I know this from personal experience. Generally stretch marks are seen along the side of your stomach ,chest ,bottom of belly, and on your thighs. So you will notice that stretch marks appears on places where lot of fat has been accumulated. Here is a comprehensive list of remedies through which you can get rid of stretch marks.

Oils



Olive Oil is considered as quite an famous remedy for stretch marks.Rub olive oil until you start seeing the marks diminishing. It's a long process but it works. Get into the habit of applying olive oil on stretch marks immediately after you take a bath.This will slowly become a habit and you will see the result without much of an effort. When I was trying to get rid of my stretch marks I would gently exfoliating the area using raw sugar and olive oil or almond oil. Then I would rub a mixture of Vitamin E oil as my base but I'd also add Almond Oil or a variety of other essential oils. This has worked wonders for me.  

Like I said there are a lot of other oils which are considered to be helpful in stretch marks such as almond oil, coconut oil, castor oil, avocado oil, and vitamin E oil. If you don't have vitamin E oil then you can buy vitamin E capsules, break the capsule then apply on the effected area. Vitamin E capsule can be used on your hair and face as well.
Apply generous amount of castor oil on the affected area and rap it with a plastic bag and place a hot water bottle on it. Do it for half an hour and wash it off. This method has helped many women in treating stretch marks. 

Another stretch mark reducing recipe is to mix ½ cup extra virgin oil and 1/4th cup Aloe Vera gel and add the liquid of 6 Vitamin E capsules and 3-4 Vitamin A capsules.(These capsules are easily available in any  local pharmacy . Blend all the ingredients and store the mixture in a bottle and put it in the refrigerator. Apply daily on the stretch marks area .Don't forget to shake the bottle well before you apply the lotion. 

Remember the two most important ways to get rid of stretch marks or prevent them is to exfoliate and moisturize. Regardless of what products you use to exfoliate or which ever oils you choose to use once you are gently exfoliating and consistently  moisturizing the area you'd be fine.  

A Mother's Special Blend

This is a product used by many of my pregnant girlfriends and they all swear by it. This special blend of essential oils is an all natural godsend for anyone interested in eliminating or preventing stretchmarks. It claims to help prevent stretch marks and to tone the skin during weight loss and fitness programs.This contains Almond Oil, Pecan Oil, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Vitamin E. This can be found on Amazon and VitaminShoppe and its about $13 for an 8oz bottle. 

 Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is also known to diminish stretch marks. All you have to do is to mix the Aloe Vera gel  with Cod liver oil or Vitamin E oil and apply on the stretched mark area. This is considered to be a quite a speedy process in healing stretch marks.
Eggs

Eggs are a rich source of protein and as such it can assist you in getting rid of stretch marks.  Separate the egg whites of 2 eggs from their yolks then whip up the egg whites with a fork. Apply a thick layer of egg whites over your stretch marks. A clean makeup brush or even a pastry brush will help to spread the egg whites evenly on your skin. Allow the egg whites to dry completely, and then rinse with cold water. Pat the area dry with a soft cloth, and rub in a thin layer of olive oil or Vitamin E oil. Repeat the process at least 3 times a day in order to see results. Stretch marks should begin to become less noticeable in the following weeks, and the process can be discontinued once you are satisfied with the result.

Avocado Oil


According to my dermatologist, lack of moisture aggravates the appearance of stretch marks. Put avocado oil and olive oil mixture (ratio 1:1) on areas where stretch marks are likely to appear. Apply the mixture as often as possible. This mixture should be applied at least once a week for at least 3 months to see some results.    

Genes Vitamin E Creme Swiss Collagen Complex Moisturizing Creme

This little gem is packed with biologically compatible amounts of Vitamin E, A, and D plus Panthenol and Allantoin. Vitamins A, D, and E are found in healthy skin. All three play a very important role in the healthy maintenance of the skin. There is considerable scientific data to indicate that when used in the proper combination with other elements, Vitamin E has been responsible for the reduction of skin lesions and the appearance of softer, clearer, less dry skin. It appears to revive and protect the skin's freshness and vitality. It's only $8 for a 16 oz at Sams club or $14 on Amazon.




Cocoa Butter 


Cocoa butter is a very famous remedy for stretch marks. Mix 1/2 cup cocoa butter ,1 tbsp vitamin E oil, 2 tsp grated bees wax .Heat the mixture till the wax get melted .Store and refrigerate the mixture. You can add wheat germ oil and apricot kernel oil into the mixture for a fast acting treatment. Apply this cream every day on the affected area. Instead of trying the watered down cocoa butter lotions found at most stores try to find the pure unprocessed cocoa butter and use that instead. To make a very potent cream make the recipe above, be patient and be prepared to be amazed. Pure cocoa butter can be found at your local health food stores, African stores, and online for prices ranging from $9 - $15.  



Shea Butter

Shea butter has become one of the most popular beauty products. It has high source of vitamin E and Vitamin A which makes skin healthy. Rubbing it on your skin twice a day helps in stretch marks.I only buy all natural, unprocessed Shea butter and this can be found at most health food stores or African stores. The price ranges anywhere from $15 - $25. You don't need much so it lasts for a very long time.   

All the above remedies are inexpensive and can be made at home or found easily at your local stores or bought online. Above all remember that you have to be patient when trying these remedies. Some remedies may work well for some people and not work at all for some. I'd suggest that you try one for at least 2-3 months and if there are no noticeable difference or improvement then try another until you find the one that works best for you. Good Luck 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Calling All Nutella Lovers = Home Made Nutella Recipe

I'll admit it, lately I've been craving Nutella. Although this treat tastes absolutely amazing it's packed with calories, sugar, and carbs. Yikes.
While scouring the internet for any homemade Nutella recipes I found this one from http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com. Now let's get to the good stuff. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp agave( you can use xylitol, maple syrup, or confectioners sugar) 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used Skim milk) 
  • Optional: 2 tsp Hazelnut oil 

Directions

  • Roast hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes at 400 F. 
  • Rub them together in a paper towel to get the skins off. (It’s ok if a few stubborn skins won’t come off.) 
  • In a food processor or a good quality blender like a Vitamix or Ninja, blend the nuts until they've turned to butter
  • Add all other ingredients and blend until the consistency is smooth like Nutella.
Feel free to use a bit more hazelnut oil to make it a creamier consistency. I used a food processor and I blended off-and-on for about 3 -5 minutes. I noticed that the DIY nutella got a bit hot while being blended so don't be alarmed if that happens to you as well. I guess the blending of the nuts is a bit challenging for the food processor. The better the quality of your equipment the easier and quicker the process will be.
For a sugar-free version, you can replace the agave/maple syrup/sugar with an equal amount of xylitol. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it works out for you. 
Note:
  • Makes about 2 cups
  • This will last for up to a month if stored in room tempreture

Safe Ways To Stretch Too Small Shoes

If you've ever fallen in love with a pair of shoes even though they're just a bit too small, you've probably looked for ways to stretch shoes without damaging them. I started looking because recently I bought a few pairs of shoes online and one of them fits a bit too snug for my liking. I really love these shoes and the store is all out of any bigger sizes. What's a girl to do?  This pair would have been perfect if it was half-size up but that's not even a possibility so I decided to look into ways to stretch it out a bit so I can enjoy them comfortably. I love shoes but i'm not the type of girl that believes in smiling while I feel like my feet are on fire and is dying a slow painful death. I know plenty of my friends who do this but I just can't. Fashion to me should be an expression of you and your passion not painful. Turns out that  there are lots of safe ways to stretch shoes without changing their shape or structure! Woohoo, now lets get to it.

 THE NATURAL AT-HOME METHOD

One of the easiest ways to stretch shoes when they don't quite fit is to wear them around the house. Even if they're not comfortable, wearing them while you're on the computer, running the vacuum, or just lounging on the couch will help stretch them. If possible, you can also put on extra thick socks – or several pairs.


FROZEN FOOTWEAR

I love this method; it's genius! You take a few Ziploc bags and fill them halfway full with water, check to make sure they don't leak, and then shove them in your shoes. Depending on where they're too small – narrow toes, narrow width, not quite long enough – you can situate the bags so they target those areas. You'll want to keep them in place somehow; rubber bands work best. Then you shove your shoes in the freezer and give the water time to turn into ice. As it does so, it expands – and so the bags expand in your shoes. When it's frozen, you'll either pull out the bags or give them time to thaw. After that, you have to wear the shoes a while. They'll be cold, so make sure that you wear socks.

SPRAY STRETCHING SOLUTION

Most shoe shops, especially cobbler shops, sell stretching solution. You just spray it according to the directions; some go inside, some go outside. You'll still have to wear your shoes around the house, but the solution helps them stretch easily. Now, some sprays can mess with the color of your shoes, so definitely read the directions. If you want to make your own, some footwear fashionistas recommend mixing up a spray bottle containing one part rubbing alcohol with one part water, or rubbing down your shoes with alcohol, and then wearing them. You can even soak your socks in alcohol and wear them with your shoes.

HAIRDRYER MAGIC

Going back to number one, pull on some thick socks, or several pairs, shove your feet in those pesky shoes, and then get to work with your hairdryer. Use a hot setting but don't put the dryer flush against your shoes; you don't want to scorch them. As they heat up, make sure you wiggle your toes and flex your feet to help the process. As they cool, try them without socks. If they still pinch, just repeat the process.



YOU SAY POTATO, I SAY STRETCH-SPUD

Peel yourself a potato or two, again depending on the size of the shoe and the areas that need stretching. If the toes pinch, shove that spud just as far into the toe as it will go. If you need to widen the whole shoe, just use more than one potato. Let your potatoes stay in your shoes throughout the night. You can also do this with wet newspapers or a whole lot of oats.

INVEST IN A SHOE STRETCHER

Shoe stretchers are great, and if you find you frequently buy too-small shoes, getting one makes a good investment. You just have to choose one that's the same size as your foot, paying attention to both width and length. Most of them are adjustable, which definitely helps. The only problem is that this method takes several days, but it's also one of the safest ways to stretch shoes.


From one shoe lover to the next I hope these tips help.