April Favorites

 

1/ Tea Tree Oil
I’ve been using this stuff in multiples ways, including in my diffuser and on blemishes.

2/ PureAir 50
This little plug-in ionic air purifier is amazing. It cleans 350 sq. ft. of air by removing odors and reducing bacteria and viruses with activated oxygen. I have mine next to the cats’ litter box – the danger zone! – and noticed a total elimination of smell within about 15 minutes. It emits a kind of white noise sound when turned on, but I quickly got used to it.

3/ Lamb’s Ear
After years of admiration, I added one of these perennials to my porch collection. I’m hoping to keep it in a pot rather than have to plant it in the ground, but only time will tell how the plant tolerates it.

4/ Froozer Blue Aloha
These super natural treats are basically a frozen smoothie in a tube. They’re super tasty with only 35 calories and 9 carbs, which is a necessity for snacks with this type 2 diabetic.

5/ Common Goods Lavender Linen Water
I’ve been using this on my bedsheets for a few years now, I’m a real sucker for anything lavender scented as you may have noticed. This linen water is scented with 100% pure essential oil, is plant based, and biodegradable.

6/ Function of Beauty
Everyone’s been chattering about this line of shampoos and conditioners can that be personalized to your hair’s specific needs, and I’m here to report that the hype is 100% true! I love it and may never use another brand ever again. (Grab $5 off your order here.)

7/ Round Taper Planters
This spring I had to replace the large bamboo planters I’ve used for the past several years due to normal wear and tear. I wanted something simple and affordable that would complement my new black shutters and came across these fade and weather resistant ones at Target. They’re available in four colors and seven sizes! (I also have four of the 6-inch ones indoors)

8/ Vineyard Hill Naturals Cardamom & Fig Candle
You might think this scent sounds a bit heavy for spring, but it’s quite the opposite. And the soy-based candle’s jar is one I’ll definitely be reusing with that Greek key pattern.

9/ Spruce Cleaning Wipes
I’m kind of the worst at keeping my electronics clean, and these little wipes are a fun reminder (those faces!) to wipe everything down – they’re also great for your eyeglasses. Made in the USA, free of harsh chemicals like alcohol and ammonia, and vegan.

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Smoothie Bowls 12 Ways

While you’ll never convince me that a smoothie bowl is anything other than an excuse to eat your drink with a spoon, I’ll happily admit that they offer up some high quality visual appeal when done right. What’s more, if they get you to eat more fruits and vegetables than usual who am I to judge the method of transport. These beautiful concoctions have caught my eye and now I’m wondering – do you subscribe to the smoothie bowl trend? Have a favorite recipe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on each image to go to the recipe.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

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5 Favorite Food Blogs of the Moment

Heartbeet Kitchen is a celebration of sweet and savory recipes along with some other tidbits from author Amanda’s life in Minnesota. The recipes are based around seasonal vegetables and whole grains, as well as eggs and dairy from happy animals. Many are vegetarian, and all are gluten-free with a specialty in baking with alternative flours.

Recent Favorites: Creamy Polenta Porridge with Berries and Honey, No-Bake Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Pots with Pretzel CrunchRoasted Cabbage Steaks with Garlicky Beet Sauce

 

The Vanilla Bean Blog, aka Sarah Kieffer, is a site I’ve been following for several years now. Started as a way to document her family’s food history, it’s also a space full of baking recipes, kitchen moments with friends and family, occasional musings and reflections, and some poetry and prose – in another word, connection.

Recent Favorites: Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze, Chocolate Chip Mini Cakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream, Blackberry Jam Buns with Creme Fraiche Frosting

 

Salt and Lavender is full of delicious from scratch recipes that are also simple to make. Fresh, real ingredients play a big role, with not nearly as much salt as the name might indicate. Author Natasha provides a healthy mix of good for you foods mixed with a few indulgences.

Recent Favorites: Tropical Chicken Nachos, 15 Minute Garlic Lime Cashew Zoodles, Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Red Curry

 

The Almond Eater is the place where self-taught cook Erin shares the wholesome recipes created in her kitchen. Each one is double-tested before she shares it on the site. (Quiet admission: we also both live in Pittsburgh and have the same two major food dislikes – mustard and pickles!)

Recent Favorites: Coffee Orange Granola, Cinnamon Tahini Pancakes, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Salad Sandwich

 

What to Cook Today is a newer find, there are just so many talented Minnesotans out there! Marvellina shares recipes she grew up with in Indonesia that have a heavy Chinese influence as well as local flavor – think lots of boldness often sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and umami all combined into one dish! Marv also experiments with plenty of foods from other continents though, if southeast Asian flavor isn’t your cup of tea.

Recent Favorites: Mexican Cinnamon Horchata, Panko Chicken and Waffles, Pumpkin Custard Baked Buns

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Hippin’ + Hoppin’

DIY Bath Salt Easter Egg Bombs // DIY Easter Mood Eggs // DIY Happy Easter Banner

My default decor for Easter is fresh flowers and dyed eggs, aside from a big meal with family I don’t have a lot of tradition surrounding the holiday. Maybe that will change one day if I have a child, but in the meantime I love the few things I know I can count on being present. But if you’re hosting, looking for creative ideas to decorate eggs, or curious about treats for baskets check out the nineteen ideas we’ve rounded up!

 

DIY Modern Brushstroke Easter Eggs // DIY Paper Carrot Treat Box // DIY Swedish Easter Wall Hanging // Easter Bark

 

Mini DIY Easter Bouquets // DIY Pastel Egg Easter Soap // Rosé Creme Filled Marbled Eggs // DIY Dyed Robin Eggs

 

DIY Egg Vase Centerpiece // DIY Hologram Galaxy Easter Eggs // DIY Monochrome Eggs // DIY Sprinkle Easter Eggs

 

DIY Illustrated Eggshell Centerpiece // Easter Printables // Natural Tea Dyed Easter Eggs // Printable Easter Bunny Treat Cones

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March Favorites

 

1/ Alba Botanica Acnedote
That’s right, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect skin regiment. I finally have the right level of moisture (just as the seasons change again, of course), but am randomly experiencing breakouts. I’m using the Deep Pore Wash, Deep Clean Astringent, and Clean ‘n Treat Towelettes, and thought it’s only been a few days I feel like I’m seeing and feeling the difference.

2/ Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream
I’ve had this moisturizer in the rotation since last December and really love it. It’s good for all skin types and evens out tone while brightening your complexion, for these reasons it’s usually my morning moisturizing cream.

3/ Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of my all-time favorite scents, so I definitely use this in my diffuser. But lavender oil is also an antibacterial and I’ve been using it to spot treat breakouts, especially ones that I haven’t been able to keep my hands off of. (Ugh.)

4/ Miss Jones Baking Co.
These guys use only the highest quality ingredients and it really comes through in their boxed baking mixes. Plant-based, responsibly sourced, and free of all kinds of other junk, it’s also organic! The brownies are seriously the best boxed mix I’ve ever made.

5/ Printic App Photos Box
Download the app then choose fifty of your favorite Instagram photos and Printic will print and deliver them in a sweet little box. I love the vintage Polaroid-like style! Use code B9962C for $7 off your order.

6/ RXBAR
Everything inside these insanely good protein bars is *literally* right on the (well-designed) packaging. It’s real food and the main ingredients are egg whites, nuts, and dates no matter the flavor. I’ve been having either a blueberry one for breakfast or a chocolate sea salt for an evening snack almost daily.

7/ Sustainable Youth
About a month ago three of their products made it into my bedtime skincare rotation – Super Boost Night Serum, Ultra Creamy Cleansing Lotion, and Anytime Lift Eye Treatment. My favorite is the serum, formulated to rejuvenate while you get your shuteye.

8/ Trigg Vases
I love how versatile these vessels are. Use them as vases, planters, utensil holders, desk accessories and more. They come as a set of two and the ceramic body can even be oriented two different ways in the wire frame.

9/ Vitamin C Serum
Another new addition to my morning routine is a few drop of this serum all over my face. Since I started using it I’ve noticed a brighter complexion as well as decrease in dark spots from old acne.

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Panna Cotta 12 Ways

I’ve never tasted or made panda cotta, but I very much want to once the weather gets a bit warmer. My eyes have been open for some delicious options for that first foray and I’m sharing my twelve favorites with you below. Have you made it before? Any notable recipes or tips for a beginner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on each image to go to the recipe.
All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.

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Smooth Chocolate Pie with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream

 

Happy Pi Day! I’m celebrating this amazing holiday with Smooth Chocolate Pie with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream, mini versions actually because everyone knows smaller equals more fun to eat. The Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream also makes this pie the perfect dessert to make for St. Patrick’s Day this coming Friday, or you can eliminate the alcohol if you’re serving children. So whether you whip it up today or later in the week, I promise you’ll love it!

 

 

For the pie
• 12 mini graham cracker pie shells (store-bought or homemade)
• 1 1/2 C sugar
• 1/4 C cornstarch
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3 C whole milk
• 4 egg yolks
• 6 1/2 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Combine the dry ingredients – sugar, cornstarch, and salt – in a medium saucepan. Add milk and egg yolks, then whisk together. Stir continuously over medium heat until bubbles form and liquid thickens to the consistency of pudding (7-8 minutes). Remove from heat, then add chocolate, vanilla, and butter. Stir until combined. Spoon into pie shells or small bowls if preferred, chill for 3 hours.

For the whipped cream
• 1 C heavy whipping cream
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 2 Tbsp Irish whiskey (i.e. Jameson)

Refrigerate a metal mixing bowl for 10-15 minutes. Pour sugar and Irish whiskey into the bowl, using a hand or stand mixer combine. Add heavy whipping cream to mixture and mix on medium-high unit stiff peaks form.

Serves 12. Enjoy!

 

 

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February Favorites

This is a new series that I’ll be sharing on the last day of each month, a collection of favorite things that I’ve been using in my everyday life that I hope you’ll love like I do. These can be beauty products, recipes, accessories, whatever. Just a chronicle of great things!

 

1/ Oregon Chai Sugar Free Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
I’m diabetic and have been missing chai lattes since my diagnosis almost three years ago. While grocery shopping last month I found this sugar-free concentrate that I’ve been using to make dirty chai lattes (coffee + chai) and get my fix.

2/ Makers of Wax Goods Wood Wick Bourbon Candle
Sometime last year I picked a smaller size of this candle at Marshall’s because I really loved the packaging, but I feel even harder for the scent itself. Since then I’ve been addicted and have this candle in three rooms of my house!

3/ Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer
My skin has been flipping out this winter – flakey and breaking out. I’ve had to amp up my skincare game in a big way and this moisturizer is my latest discovery. It’s so lightweight, is absorbed immediately, and makes my skin feel plump and nourished.

4/ Scentered Therapy Balms
Part of my bedtime routine, somewhere between feeding the cats and reading Twitter one last time, includes the Sleep Well balm. I just rub some on my wrists and breathe deeply in and out five times. During the day I rely on the Stress Less to help keep me focused.

5/ First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream
I alternate between three different moisturizers depending on how my skin is behaving. This one is great to put on before going to sleep when I’ve had an especially stressful day and maybe haven’t eaten the best.

6/ Sephora Collection Lotus Face Mask
For Christmas my friend sent me a package full of different sheet masks and this one has made me a devotee. (You can actually get two uses out of sheet masks if you put them back in their package and make sure it’s tightly closed.)

7/ Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Body Oil
Again with the dry skin. This body oil is super pure and smells heavenly, so much so that I skip the perfume on days I wear it.

8/ Fashionable Mini Tirhas Saddlebag
This bag was a Christmas gift from my stepdad that I’ve been carrying every day since. I’m a longtime fan of Fashionable and the quality of this piece is outstanding.

9/ NOW Rosemary Essential Oil
I’ve been adding this rosemary essential oil to my diffuser every afternoon before turning it on for an afternoon pick-me-up. It makes the entire first floor smell so fresh and clean.

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Just Spices

 

The packaging for Just Spices is lovely on many levels. Each can is made of paperboard, an aluminum lining, and an extra membrane for freshness. Sunlight can affect the flavors of spices, but this packaging is 100% protected for optimal preservation of the USDA organic goods enclosed. And lastly, my favorite part – the portraits. Each one tells the story of local cooks who helped develop what’s inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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