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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Non Dairy Date Salted Caramels

These tasty treats contain no butter or refined sugar

 It seems like the things that I crave most are the items that I should not eat. A dairy-free diet can be so tough to follow as dairy is in almost everything. Since I have been dairy-free for only six months, I still miss a lot of my favorite foods. The one that I miss the most is chocolate and it was a sad Christmas and I got no gifts of chocolate. I have yet to find a candy shop in town that sells vegan chocolate or dairy-free candies. Since eliminating dairy from my diet, I am more aware of my symptoms when I eat dairy. Yes, there are many days that I am in denial about my dairy allergy and I will eat something with milk in it and later that day I regret it. I tell my kids that it is OK for me to have a sugar cookie with frosting and it will be worth the nagging cough. So like the other day when I had a free coupon for a sweet at Panera, I gave into dairy. Later that night the asthma cough started and the next morning, I had a bunch of mucus in my throat. Sometimes, I don't eat dairy on purpose and order food from places thinking that it will be fine. I thought that the eggs would be cooked in oil or that the non-dairy coffee creamer would be OK but when nausea set in later I knew that I was wrong.

Non-dairy creamers contain Casein, an ingredient derived from milk

 Calling it "non-dairy" isn't always true. You would think that a product called "non-dairy" would be safe for those who avoid dairy in their diet, right? But vegans and those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy be warned: While many non-dairy creamers contain no lactose - the sugar found in milk that many have a hard time digesting - those same products may still contain casein. Casein is a milk protein that can trigger reactions in those with milk allergies. It gets added to non-dairy creamer to impart a milky flavor and texture. Labels must list casein as a milk product in the ingredient information box. So, while the label may say "non-dairy" or "lactose-free," it does not mean it contains no dairy-derived ingredients.

Dates dipped in sea salt taste so delicious!

Making my own dairy-free treats is best

 So I have learned that I need to make my own dairy-free treats if I want to avoid feeling nauseated or have troubles breathing. I also bring my own coffee mug to my church that is prefilled with almond milk and stevia so I can fill it with coffee. I even pack or buy almond milk when traveling as most hotels only have those dreadful "non-dairy creamers" that have casein in them. I have learned to read ingredients and so have my boys as they remember how sick their mom was last year. They remember me not being able to read a bedtime story to them without having a coughing attack that left me gasping for air. So I am glad that I discovered a way to make dairy-free caramels.

These dairy-free caramels are soft and taste like real caramels

It is hard to believe that a dairy-free treat that is made from dates and peanut butter can taste like real caramel but they do. These delicious vegan candies are also so soft straight from the freezer. These treats are guilt-free so I can enjoy more than one!

Non-Dairy Date Salted Caramels
Makes 36 candies

1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter]
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Flaky sea salt

Soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the water. Then line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  Place the soaked dates and all the rest of the ingredients, except the flaky sea salt, into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Spread the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and freeze for 60 minutes. Once frozen, slice the caramels into 1-inch squares and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Store the caramels in an airtight container in the freezer up to a week.

Easy Roasted Beets In The Oven

Check out an easy way to cook beets

 My husband and I love beets. This is a vegetable that I buy regularly when I am at the store. Beets are such a nutritious food and I love the color. The red beets bake into a delicious purple color. Did you know that beets can be used as a natural dye? When Easter rolls around this year boil some beets in a pot of water and make sure to save the purple water to dye the Easter eggs. While my husband loves the taste of beets, he is not a fan of the purple color as it can also change your "number two" to purple. So if you want your kids to eat beets just tell them that the beets will give them purple poop.

Beets are a natural food dye

 If you are not a fan of the staining that happens from the red beets, you can buy golden beets. Golden beets taste very similar to the red beets and cook the same way. There are many ways that you can cook beets. You can roast them in the oven, boil them, cook them in the slow cooker, or even roast them in the pressure cooker. My favorite way to cook beets is in the pressure cooker but I will also oven roast them if I am roasting other veggies like my Rainbow Brussels Sprouts.

To peel or not to peel

There is no need to peel the beets when you roast them in the oven. The secret is to wrap the whole beets in foil and the steam then makes it so easy to remove the peels after they bake. All you have to do is scrub the beets and cut off the ends. Then wrap the beets tightly with foil, making sure to pinch the foil at the top of the beet so the beet juices do not escape. I like to also place the beets on a baking sheet just in case the beets fall over so I do not have a mess to clean up on the bottom of my oven.

 If you want the beets to have a crispy outside, then you can cut the beets into pieces after they cook. Then toss the beet pieces in a small amount of oil and bake them for a bit longer. I like to make my beets this way when I am making my roasted beet salad but when I make my beet hummus then I don't bake them again for the crispy texture. You really need to check out my beet hummus recipe as it tastes just like the beet hummus from Lantana.

Beets are so Healthy

Beets are loaded with awesome nutrition and are great for many vegetarian recipes. I love eating my beets with just a bit of salt and I love that they are plant-based. Even if you do not eat meatless meals, you can still enjoy beets. I am glad that beets are allowed on my dairy-free diet. Ever since I discovered my dairy allergy, I have been making more meals at home as it is hard to find places that serve vegan meals that are also soy-free. So many restaurants are serving gluten-free options but there are not many dairy-free options.

Easy Roasted Beets 

2-4 large raw fresh red or gold beets

Directions  Oven 450
 Wash and scrub the beets with a vegetable brush. Cut off both ends on the beets. Wrap the beets in foil, making sure to seal the foil well to prevent leaks from the beet juice. I like to make the foil point upward. Place the beets on a cooking sheet and roast in the oven for an hour or until a fork is able to pierce the beet. Let the beets cool. Then unwrap the foil. Run the beets under cold water to peel off the skin. By running the beets under water, your hands are less likely to turn purple. You can also wear gloves to avoid staining your hands purple. If your hands do turn purple, it washes off with soap.

For beets with a crispy texture, you can cut the whole beets into pieces and toss the beets in a bit of oil. Then roast them in the oven for an additional 10-20 minutes.

 Do you have a pressure cooker?

Check out a quicker way to cook fresh beets in a pressure cooker. The pressure cooker cooks the beets so much faster and easier.


Simple Roasted Beets In The Pressure Cooker

You will never buy can beets again once you discover how easy they are to cook

 Most people don't like the taste of beets as they may have been turned off to them when they tried them from a can. Can beets can be bland and mushy. My husband used to not like beets until he tried one that I roasted in the oven. After my husband tried my oven roasted beets, he was hooked and now he always reminds me to buy fresh beets when I go to the store. I too love roasted beets and use them in many vegan recipes like beet hummus and beet salad. I just don't care for how long they take to cook in the oven. So when I bought a pressure cooker, I was amazed at how easy beets are to cook in the pressure cooker. The best part is that you do not have to peel the beets before cooking.

 Cooking beets in the pressure cooker are great for those hot summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven for over an hour but want a healthy plant-based meal. Another plus of cooking beets in the pressure cooker is you can press a button and walk away. The pressure cooker will beep when the cooking is complete. I love my pressure cooker for many other recipes like cooking beans for my homemade spicy carrot hummus. I also make baked beans in my pressure cooker. This cooking device cuts most of my cooking time in half.

  I have even heard of people making yogurt in the pressure cooker but I prefer to make yogurt with an electric blanket. I need to also discover how to cook tamales in the pressure cooker. Tamales are a family favorite here and I love how easy tamales are to make in the slow cooker. I usually make tamales for Sunday dinner as I place them in the slow cooker before church and when we come home the tamales are done. My family then has a delicious vegetarian meal for lunch.

Don't toss the beet greens

 You can purchase your beets in red or gold. I like the red ones best for flavor and the look so pretty in my purple beet hummus. You can also buy beets with the greens attached or ones with them cut off. The beets with the greens attached usually are sold by the bunch and the beets without the greens are sold by the pound. I usually buy the beets without the greens as they are easier to put in the bag. When I buy the beets with the greens attached for the purpose of cooking the greens, the cashiers tend to smoosh my delicious greens. If you buy the beets with the greens, you simply cut them off the green portion and saute them with some oil until tender. Beet greens are so delicious. You can also chop the greens up and add them to vegetable soup.

 If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make the beets in a slow cooker, just make sure to add water as I have cracked the crock to a slow cooker when I followed a recipe for baked potatoes that used no water. When I cook the beets in a slow cooker, I like to wrap the whole beets in foil to help them steam better and I cook them on high for 4-6 hours or until the beets are tender.

Simple Roasted Beets In The Pressure Cooker

2-4 large raw fresh red beets
1 cup of water

 Wash and scrub the beets with a vegetable brush. Cut off both ends on the beets. Pour the water into the pressure cooker and place the wire cooking rack inside the pot. You can also use a metal steamer basket. If you misplaced the wire rack that came with your pressure cooker and you don't have a steam basket, you can place the beets directly in the pot with the water. Placing the beets above the water on a rack will make them less mushy. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high for 40 minutes. Then use the quick-release to let the steam out. Let the beets cool down. When the beets are cooled down, run them under cold water to peel off the skin. By running the beets under water, your hands are less likely to turn purple. You can also wear gloves to avoid staining your hands purple. If your hands do turn purple, it washes off with soap.

Don't have a pressure cooker? Then check out how easy it is to roast beets in the oven.

Check out my recipe for beet hummus

Friday, January 18, 2019

Spa Day For Tired Sore Overworked Muscles

Treat your tired sore feet to a relaxing DIY spa

     I received samples from Living Freeze, Gurunanda, and Crystal to facilitate this post. 

  If you are a runner, then you know all too well about tired sore overworked muscles, especially the feet. Putting in all those miles on the road or trails leads to not only sore muscles but it can take a toll on one's feet. Those daily miles leave my feet tired and kind of ugly. Since I have been running for over twenty years, I have gotten used to dry cracked skin on my feet. There are plenty of days that my feet just plain hurt and need some TLC. These are the days that I treat myself to a spa day for my tired feet. I like to at least once a week at the end of the day have a relaxing spa day at home for my tired muscles and feet.

This spa day is great for people who are on their feet all day!

When I treat myself to a spa, I like to go all out and make it a relaxing night. It is a great way to end my day and I basically lock myself in the bathroom or wait until the kids are in bed. Before I fill the bathtub up with warm water, I like to move my aromatherapy diffuser into the bathroom and add my favorite relaxing essential oil. I usually keep this 2 in 1 Humidifier in the bedroom so it is easy to move. The diffuser not only adds a great scent to my spa night but it also adds moisture to the air which is great for the dry winter here in the desert.

  My favorite 2 in 1 Humidifier/diffuser holds plenty of water so it runs up to 12 hours and keeps the air moist with a high mist. Running the heat in the winter tends to dry out the air in my house so this diffuser adds a great scent while helping me breath better. The fact that I can use the essential oil of my choice is even better. I love falling asleep to the smell of calming lavender.

CBD is awesome for tired sore muscles

 Once the bath is filled with warm water, I drop in a Lavender CBD Bath Bomb and then I get in for a nice long soak. This fragrant bath bomb not only adds more awesome scent to uplift my mood but it also contains 60 mg of CBD which helps with athletic event recovery. The bombs have a daily dose of CBD that can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. CBD is great for relaxing and may help manage things like pain and stress. The fizz from the bath bomb feels so good on my tired feet and muscles. The  CBD bath bomb leaves my feet feeling soft and moisturized. While I am relaxing in my warm bath, I like to file away at the dead skin on my feet with my foot file.

CBD Bath Bombs do not contain THC and will not leave you feeling “high”.

 The warm fizzy bath does a great job of relaxing my sore muscles. If I really overdid it with running or at the gym, I then apply additional CBD directly on the sore muscles with a roll-on natural menthol product. It is amazing how the Living Freeze takes away the pain with an intense cooling effect. When I apply the CBD Living Freeze directly to the affected area, it targets the problem areas right away as it also has other natural anti-inflammatories such as Arnica and Tea Tree Oil in it. I have also discovered that the Living Freeze helps me fall asleep when I rub it on my back. My back tends to get itchy after a shower so the cooling effect helps me forget about my itchy back.

CBD Living Freeze is great for sore muscles, arthritis, chronic pain, and stiffness. 

  My spa experience leaves me relaxed and my sore muscles feel so much better. My feet even look better. I then slather on my favorite lotion on my feet and body. Then I lay out my running clothes and shoes for tomorrows workout. My body feels so good and those 4 miles will be alright in the morning. I also place my natural deodorant by my running shoes as this spray keeps my feet smelling great as well as my armpits. I also spray some of the Crystal natural deodorant spray in my shoes before I run as it keeps them smelling fresh. The Vanilla Jasmine scent is my favorite and it also keeps my armpits smelling nice when I sweat at the gym. If you want to avoid aluminum then you should try this deodorant. Before you tell me that natural deodorants don't work, you need to give natural deodorant a second chance with an armpit detox.

Click for a $1 Off Coupon on 24 HR Crystal Natural Deodorant

Spa time is awesome for oil pulling

 I try to make oil pulling a part of my dental care at least once a week. I really like the benefits of oil pulling but let's get real, it can be time-consuming to swish around the oil in my mouth for a long time. So my DIY spa time is a perfect time to swish the oil in my mouth as I don't have to worry about my husband asking me questions. Kind of like the dentist asking questions while he has his fingers in your mouth. I love that Masigi puts the flavorful oil in individual packs so they are great for traveling. The small packages contain 100% organic virgin coconut oil and organic essential oils, nothing else like chemicals. So I get the healing powers of coconut oil and fresh breath too.

Do you need a spa day?
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