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Summertime Sadness: Coconut Bliss New Flavors

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Fast.

It’s the word that comes to mind when I think of how this summer has gone by. Starbucks is already releasing their Fall Pumpkin Spiced Latte–contain yourself. I’ve been gone for the month of July and a good part of August from Little Bliss Book I remorsefully admit. I needed to unplug from this part of the virtual world, and with having hit my 1-year of blogging, and nearly 100 posts later I needed the sense that I was shifting gears before I could get my feet wet again in Year 2 of LBB. Speaking of wet, it rained here in Florida nearly every other day — not quite the best lighting scenario for ample food photography. My kitchen saw less of me this summer as I was off skirting the town for new eateries (posts and pictures to come). And I found my summer love — with ice cream. Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream to be exact—specifically Salted Caramel & Chocolate. Mmph. So good. I. can’t. even.

I have a small…ok maybe a big obsession with Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Somehow the lovely people at Coconut Bliss could tell I had this obsession as well from the ice cream filled Oat Flour Crepes Recipe I posted and they asked me if I would like to try out a few of their flavors. I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review, and also I didn’t want to be rude, so naturally I said yes. That’s one thing in life a girl never denies when offered: good ice cream, good chocolate, good wine, and Ryan Gosling memes.

Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice creams are made with Coconut Milk, natural ingredients, and agave syrup. It’s a good alternative for anyone lactose-intolerant, vegan, Celiac, Soy intolerant, Gluten intolerant, or Diabetic.

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Mint Galactica: I was hesitant to find out what coconut and mint tasted like together, but actually it’s pretty good. You don’t taste the coconut, and the mint is mild so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating toothpaste. t like it, but don’t LOVE it. But then again I’m not a Mint Ice Cream person, but my old roommate from college would love this.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate: MY FAVORITE! I was never big on salty and sweet together, but this is addicting. There’s chocolate shavings mixed right in, and need I say more about caramel.

Vanilla: Coconut and Vanilla are a classic. If I’m out of Salted Caramel & Chocolate — which I usually am — I reach for this flavor next.

Dark Chocolate: Coconut and Dark Chocolate is probably right up there in best classic flavor combination with Vanilla. They’re both a tie for me. I usually top with raspberries and coconut flakes.

To check out their full line up of flavors check out Coconut Bliss. Most of their ice creams can be found in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Earth Origins, among other specialty grocery stores.

For the remainder of the summer I’ll be off to Washington D.C. and New York, stay tuned for posts!

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Oat Flour Crepes Recipe

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Tips for making the perfect Crepe every time

  1. Have the right consistency. The batter’s consistency should resemble heavy cream. If it’s thick like pancake batter you can thin it out with milk. The batter should also be smooth. If there are lumps you can strain the batter.
  2. Use the right pan. Go for a pan that heats evenly. I like using a non-stick anodized pan.
  3. Use plenty of butter. I don’t mean coat the whole pan like the crepe is swimming in it, but do a generous swipe around the edges of the pan with a butter stick (or non-dairy substitute) as well as the flat surface. After the first two crepes or so rebutter the pan when it starts looking dry, but not as heavily.
  4. Ensure a nice even cooking surface of the pan. Make sure the surface of your pan is free of crumbs or previous batter. If anything is left from the previous crepe that was cooked, remove the debris before pouring the batter for the next batch.
  5. Circle quickly. If you want a perfectly round crepe you will have to spread the batter quickly, by rotating your wrist in a swirling motion to ensure the batter reaches the edge of the pan. Because your pan is so hot the crepe will begin cooking almost immediately after it touches the pan, so be quick or you will have uneven edges.
  6. Cook on low-medium heat. Everyone’s stove heat range is different so you may need to toggle with the heat to figure which setting works best for you. With 10 being the highest setting on my stove, I like to start off at 4 on the first crepe (the first two crepes will be duds anyways) and then lower down to a 3 or 2.
  7. Shimmy before you flip. Once the edges start to turn up and the rest of the crepe looks mostly dry and not wet, take the pan and give the handle a quick jiggle to loosen the bottom of the crepe from the pan just to make sure nothing is sticking before you decide to flip it over. If the crepe can slide around easily in the pan it’s ready to flip.

Recipe

Yields 2/3 cups of batter ~ 6 crepes

  • 1/1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Milk (or dairy substitute)
  • 3 Tablespoons of melted butter (or dairy substitute)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon stevia
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate crepes

  • ½ teaspoon stevia instead of ¼ (aids with the bitterness of the cocoa)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  1. Blend the Milk, Butter, and Eggs in a blender
  2. Add the Oat Flour (you can make your own by blending it down to a flour consistency either in a blender or Magic Bullet), Salt, Stevia, and the vanilla to the blender and mix until smooth.
  3. The following step should be done twice. Once smooth, take the batter and strain it over a measuring cup or bowl to get out any lumps. Pour back into the blender to smooth it down again and strain once more.IMG_1140
  4. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to and hour to allow the batter to rest.
  5. Cook on the skillet over low-medium heat, ensuring the pan is buttered evenly and generously to prevent sticking. When the edges of the crepe turn up and the rest of the crepe is dry you can flip and cook for another minute.IMG_1153 IMG_1159
    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

    Cocoa Crepe

  6. To store for future use you can refrigerate in a container with wax paper separating each crepe.
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Filled with Vegan Coconut Bliss Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream

 

spring allergy remedies

Spring Allergy Remedies

spring allergy remedies

Every spring I swear my allergies will be the death of me and by the end of it I’m wishing there was something that could just put me out of my misery.

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I’ve probably tried almost every over-the-counter and prescribed treatment there is over the years, and most only worked temporarily, but that’s probably because I’m a medical anomaly. My allergist once told me I was her second-most allergic patient she had in her clinic. The kid who had me beat was allergic to the sun I believe. Over-the-counter medications only help for so long before you realize you have to get to the root of the problem and that can only be done by building up your immune system. So rather than go through the agony of another spring stuck in a bubble, I found ways to support my immune system and reduce my symptoms.

*The all-natural method ,took 2 weeks for me to see results.. For immediate relief, you can chose to take OTC in the meantime while trying the natural methods to give your immune system a chance to strengthen.

My Natural Regimen:

  • Steam my face with Eucalyptus essential oils (2-3 times a week, or as needed)
  • Use a Neti Pot (as needed until congestion subsides, not more than once a day)
  • Take Florajen 3 Probiotics (once daily on an empty stomach, either in the morning or at bed time)
  • Take Zinc supplements (once daily with a hardy meal, normally during lunch or dinner; you will feel nauseous otherwise)
  • Drink Organic Green Tea w/ Tulsi (1 cup daily, no sugar as it makes inflammation worse, just stevia or honey, helps alleviate an itchy throat)

Prescribed

  • Dymista nasal spray (take sporadically only if absolutely needed for heavy congestion or a sinus infection)

Steaming 

Take a deep mixing bowl and fill halfway with boiling hot water

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Add 3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

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Tent your head over the bowl with a towel for 7-10 minutes breathing deeply.

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Neti Pot

  • Fill Neti Pot with warm water half way and add a teaspoon of salt to make the saline solution
  • Bend head forward and tilt to the side over a sink and pour through one nostril and let gravity do its work
  • Refill the pot and repeat on the other nostril
  • YES IT FEELS WEIRD, BUT IT’S WORTH IT!

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Probiotics 

What it does: Maintains intestinal health naturally and restores floral balance that are often disrupted by antibiotics and other medications

How to take it: Take 1 capsule daily preferably on an empty stomach. Refrigeration recommended.

Where to find it: Refrigerated behind the counter at pharmacies or some health food stores.

I’ve tried a few probiotics in the past, and Florajen 3 is one that my doctor recommended. Many probiotic supplements out on the are ineffective because they may not be regulated properly. Florajen 3  is typically one that health care professionals support.

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Zinc

  • Supports immune system, promotes, healthy skin, nails, hair, taste, vision.
  • Zinc Citrate helps promote the most optimal absorption. I’ve been seeing good results with these.
  • Most vitamin companies make their capsules from Soy, preservatives & sugar (WTF?!) If these are not an issue for you, you can feel free to buy any brand. I’m highly allergic to Soy so I buy my vitamins from Solgar at my health foods store.

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Dymista nasal spray

http://www.dymista.com/

I normally take prescribed medications only as a last resort. After years of being on antibiotics, multiple therapies, and steroid treatments, my immune system weakened and I’m pretty sure it’s what wiped out my immune system in the first place and why my food allergies got worse GRR. But anywhoozles. My sinuses were very congested to the point where even the Neti Pot wasn’t working. It turned out that I had a mild sinus infection for which my doctor wanted to prescribe me antibiotics and allergy steroids and I told her NO, let’s try something that doesn’t involve that based on my previous experience. So we compromised, and she prescribed me  Dymista, which is a new nasal spray out on the market. It does have steroids in it to reduce inflammation, but because it is localized only to the sinuses and not an oral tablet I was ok with it. I only needed to take it 3 times and am now back on my natural remedies.

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Other Allergy Tips

  • Shower at night to wash off residual pollen from getting into your bed sheets
  • Stay hydrated by drinking more water to restore moisture lost through the mucous membranes

Know any friends or family who could find relief from their allergies this season? Share this post by using the buttons below.

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Argan Oil Product Review

If you haven’t heard about the recent skincare rave about Argan Oil in the last 5 years let me enlighten you. Argan oil, dubbed liquid gold, is an all-natural plant-based oil extracted from the nut kernels of the argan tree in Morocco. It can be used as a moisturizer for the skin and a serum for the hair, and YES you can use argan oil even if you have OILY skin. I have oily-combination and sensitive eczema skin  and I’m nuts about this stuff. No pun intended, ok well maybe a little.

Buyer BEWARE

That being said, because argan oil is imported from Morocco, argan oil in it’s purest form will be a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. HOWEVER, and I can’t stress this enough, be careful when buying products that state they have argan oil in them when in fact it’s mixed with mostly fillers and additives with only a little bit of argan oil. This kind of ticks me off because companies are marketing a product that has very little of what they claim to be on the label and jacking up the price. So unless it only has 1 ingredient, 100% Organic Argan Oil or Argania Spinosa, I’d say save your money. Continue reading

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How to start a Detox : The Basics

So you want to start a detox.

Remember all those years ago when Cover of you were a teenager and all the grown ups said they envied you because you could eat whatever you wanted and not have it affect you? Well fast forward a couple years, the sand glass is running out and you’re probably starting to realize you can’t eat the way you used to anymore either. You’ve lost that spring in your step, you’re constantly tired, or sluggish, your allergies seem to be getting worse every season, bloating after a meal is a common nuisance, you’re not satisfied with your body as much as you’d like, and your skin is showing signs of gulp AGING! What is HAPPENING?! Years of bad eating habits is what is happening. For me, college happened. Late nights spent guzzling down energy drinks and cups of coffee, 4th meals at Taco Bell, eating out more than cooking in, tailgating every weekend during football season, and way too much ramen.

Continue reading

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Blogiversary and My Favorite Mistake

It’s officially been 1 year since I started this blog and close to 100 posts later, I thought it would be fun to answer what I’ve learned over the past year.

 Is there a mistake you’ve made that turned out to be a blessing – or otherwise changed your life for the better?

 I could probably name a few, but for time’s sake and to keep this post relevant I would say my favorite mistake would probably be of me posting my first selfie, seatbelt in the car and all. I’ll save myself the embarrassment of not re-posting myself making a duck face sipping on a straw from a smoothie cup. I was on my first detox cleanse last year and on a whim I decided to publicly announce to the world that I was going to start eating clean and as proof, I took a quick self portrait with my first green juice. The second I hit ‘Share’ I felt like I had made a mistake and I wanted to take it all back. The anxiety mortified me. Selfies then aren’t what they are now, but really anytime you post one you are opening yourself up to judgment and criticism. Before I could take it down a few ‘likes’ and comments had already started to trickle in so at that point I figured I might as well just keep it up. I didn’t check my phone for the rest of the day, but when I did, all the feedback was positive. People were asking me what I was eating, why I was doing it, and if the symptoms of my autoimmune disease were improving. I was touched that people were even curious to begin with. It inspired me to post recipes and foodie pics and eventually when answering questions on how to start a detox became redundant, I decided to start Little Bliss Book, a playbook on food, positive thinking, and finding bliss in the little things. So my little accident became my favorite mistake, and my favorite mistake lead to this blog.

A look at my first post:

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Some other takeaways I learned from blogging this past year were:

1. Learning to really cook.

I learned where my ingredients were truly coming from, I learned to read ‘labels’, and since I couldn’t rely on jarred bottles and sauces to cook anymore I learned to cook from scratch the old-fashion way, through trial and error, but mostly through error. Unfortunately.

2. Patience.

I think I believed I was going to become a great cook overnight. HA! I’d spend some weekends frustrated in the kitchen when I had no clue what I was doing. I wanted to quit sometimes and go back to the days of pre-processed foods and then I remembered I had a blog and I had to be accountable.

3. Accountability

You don’t want to be known as the person who half-asses on everything. Do what you’re going to say you’re going to do and stick with it. If you feel like you’ve failed, just try again. Repetition makes habit, and sometimes that habit can take months to stick.

4. Put yourself out there.

Don’t take everything so seriously. Be a little spontaneous. Yes post that selfie, or that picture of your meal that you just made, hashtag to your heart’s desire. Who cares. Some things you post may be socially unacceptable to some, while others can find the humor or inspiration in it. People appreciate individuality and authenticity more than you think. Be bold.

There’s no knowing where this blog will take me in the next year. Outside of food, I plan on taking my camera to as many places as I will go, document as much as I see, create as much as I can create, share as much as time will allow, and write for just writing’s sake. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, commented, liked, shared, and supported me this past year, you’ve all inspired me in some way or another. I’ve learned hiccups are bound to happen, and sometimes you won’t know the answer to anything. Take a breather and make discoveries during the challenges.Happy mistake making!

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes

If you’d like to see more of Year 2 of Little Bliss Book you can subscribe via Email in the side bar or follow on Facebook

The Daily Post: Favorite Mistake

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Bliss: Surprising My Parents

Happy June all! I had been taking a break from my regular blogging posts last month to refocus my attention to some exciting new projects and one of them was throwing together a surprise 30th Anniversary party for my parents. My brother and I were too young at the time of their 25th Anniversary to put something together so we figured 30 years was a great milestone to show our parents how much we really appreciate them.

Let me first say the amount of stress I endured from trying to keep this all a secret from my mom who is the biggest detective in the world was no easy feat. The 30th Anniversary theme was pearls so we decked the party in white, ivory, and pearls and made it a ‘White Attire Party’. Oh yea, that was another challenge, getting my parents to wear all white to their own party. We told them it was a white dinner party at a family-friend’s house and that the party started at 8pm when really it was 7pm. The lies I had to tell them, the strings I had to pull, and having my brother come in from out of town to surprise our parents were all worth it in the end to see the joy on their faces.

So this is all for you Mom and Dad, thanks for showing us what selfless love really is, not the easy fairy tales, but true working love. Happy 30 and beyond!

Candid moment when they walked through the door

Candid moment when they walked through the door

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Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

Setting off Sky Lanterns for Well Wishes

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NYC, 1984

NYC, 1984

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blogger spotlight

May Blogger Spotlight

Hello again I’m back! I had to take two weeks off from Little Bliss Book to refocus my attention due to a packed filming and work schedule and projects I’ve been working on, but not a day would go by that I would not think about writing or connecting with you all. Over the past few months I was able to connect with a great blogger named Jay of raiseyourself.net. He has a great message and is this month’s featured blogger.

But first, what is Monthly Blogger Spotlights?

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It’s a way to introduce great blogs of all different genres here on Little Bliss Book. The featured blogger will be featured in the sidebar for the month and also get a shout out on the Little Bliss Book Facebook page. You can submit your blog yourself or nominate someone.Here’s how it works…

The rules are simple:

1) Are we friends? If you’re following Little Bliss Book via WordPress, Email and one other blogging platformFacebook/Bloglovin/Google +/Pinterest you can submit even if you’re self-hosted or a blogger on Blogspot.

2) Contact me! Click on ‘Contact’ at the top of this page on the menu bar and briefly explain what your blog is about like this:

I’m a Bliss follower, yoga and DIY enthusiast, Amateur Chef focused on Gluten-soy-free clean eating, and eczema-free living

Mention who your general audience is, something interesting about you, and if you could follow your bliss what would it be and why.

3) Send me a quote! Who doesn’t love a good quote. I like bottling words of wisdom and inspiration and making it sharable to everyone so send in a quote to feature as well.

Here’s what Jay had to say…

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1) The main audience for my blog are those who are looking for more out of life and are sick and tired of the normal routine of going to work and coming back home, just as I did. I am hoping that my blog will provide people with the necessary motivation and inspiration to make some positive changes in their lives. I feel the World will be a much better place if everyone started to feel much better about themselves by being more positive through self development and awareness.
2) Something interesting about me, mmmm! I am a pescatarian and I like to wear cardigans! I just bought a new cardigan over the weekend! I truly believe that anyone can make it in life as long as they have a burning desire in knowing what they want and going after it. All we need to know is our purpose in life.
3) My bliss would be to live life to its absolute fullest, by being able to do whatever I want whenever I want and not having to worry about job/work commitments. I feel that way I will have more control over my life, rather than be dictated to on what my life should be and how I should be living it.
4) A quote that I love and that always makes my hairs stand on end, is a quote by the late Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

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Finding Center, Finding Bliss

20140511-150913.jpgSeeking happiness, chasing bliss are all attributes that we aspire to. Mine just happen to all derive from the teachings of my mother. She taught me to meditate and planted the seed of my ‘bliss seeking’ philosophy on life. I hope to do the same and carry on her words of wisdom and my love of yoga with my children one day. Thank you Mom for teaching me how to find my center, and for keeping me grounded. Happier homes make happier people, and happier people make a happier world.

 

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Fail & Success

Gluten-free baking from scratch is a beast of it’s own, one that I’ve been avoiding for the longest time. Many attempt, but few succeed. I finally took up the challenge this weekend to make a gluten-free carrot cake, and just for fun I thought it’d be a good idea to try making it vegan as well. It was a terrible idea and I failed miserably. Two days, wasted batter, and a disappointing spirit later I cut my losses. So all my efforts weren’t all for nothing (and because I still wanted carrot cake) I reached for a box of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Cake Mix.

Why I Love It

  • No hassle
  • No preservatives or artificial flavors
  • Tastes like regular cake, you can’t tell the difference
  • Made with Rice Flour

The only down side is it’s made with sugar instead of stevia, which is an ingredient I generally use to sweeten my food with. When I get the courage to try my hand at gluten-free baking again I’ll be sure to sub in the stevia. Stay tuned :)

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

Coconut flakes, almonds, and raisins

 

 

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A real lady matches her nails to her cupcake