No Bake Sunflower Freezer Cookies

Greetings from the beach! If you follow me on Instagram, you know we are enjoying a family vacation at the beach this week.  I had to take a little break from the sun and sand to bring you this recipe I made before we left that quickly became my newest obsession.

These no-bake cookies only have 4 clean ingredients and don’t taste like you are eating a healthy cookie.  They also happen to be very allergy-friendly.  They are nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, egg-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free.

You can make these very quickly if you have a food processor, but even if you don’t you can chop the sunflower seeds yourself or try using your blender.  I call these freezer cookies because they are perfect straight from the freezer.  This makes them a great summer cookie:  no turning on the oven and they are wonderfully cold when you pull one out of the freezer to eat.  You can also store them in the fridge if you prefer, but they are much softer that way.  In the photos, they had been out of the freezer for a while and were getting softer, so that will give you an idea of how they will be if stored in the fridge.  Either way, they taste amazing, so you can’t go wrong!

If you love sunflower seed butter and are looking for a healthy, quick, and easy cookie recipe, you found what you are looking for!

 

 

It’s time for me to head to the beach–I hope you are all having a great week!

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Posted in Dessert recipes, Snack Recipes, Toddler Eats, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments  

Natural Products I’m Loving Now: Summer Edition

One of my missions in motherhood is to reduce the environmental toxins my family and I are exposed to that are everywhere and can be detrimental to our health. I also want to help others with that same task, which can be daunting. I started this feature, Natural Products I’m Loving Now, as a way to share the natural products I’ve come to trust and love.  I want to help you take some of the guesswork out of finding products that are healthy for you, our environment, and actually work.  The Summer Edition is here!

Aubrey Organics Natural Sun SPF 30 Unscented Spray for children

Sunscreen is an essential part of summer, but it can be such a chore.  Last summer I used a sunscreen bar from Moody Sisters on Etsy, but they don’t carry it in their shop anymore.  I liked the bar form as it was easy to apply to my squirmy kids, but was still natural, chemical-free.  I love the convenience of a spray form, but most spray sunscreens are not natural and the FDA has warned that they should not be used on children.  This Aubrey Organics sunscreen is a nice compromise.  It’s a spray bottle, but does still need to be rubbed in.  Even with the need to rub in, the spray feature makes the application process easier.  It does go on very white, as most mineral-based sunscreens I’ve tried do, but it rubs in better than most natural sunscreens.  I think it’s because it’s not quite as thick.  It’s also totally unscented, which is awesome. We’ve been using this all summer at the pool and it works great. Not one sunburn to speak of. I highly recommend this sunscreen if you are looking for a natural, mineral-based sunscreen for you or your kids.

Primal Pit Paste Natural Deodorant Lavender

Aaaah, I’ve finally found a natural deodorant I can recommend!  I should show you a picture of the deodorant graveyard in my bathroom. I have tried countless natural deodorants, and none of them have worked for me.  Some of them will work if I keep reapplying, but this one works even if I don’t reapply.  It just works.  This Primal Pit Paste was actually recommended to me by one of my readers and I only wish I would have tried it sooner.  It is not an antiperspirant, but restricting sweat via aluminum is not healthy.  Research shows that aluminum produces toxic, oxidative stress on the brain and is linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  This natural deodorant has only ingredients you can feel good about putting on your pits:  organic coconut oil, organic shea butter, organic arrowroot powder, aluminum-free baking powder, and essential oils.  I love the lavender. It comes in a paste form that you need to rub into your armpits. If this bothers you, it also comes in a bar form, but I have no problem rubbing it in.  It’s just like rubbing in lotion, but it’s thicker and not sticky at all. I could not be happier about this deodorant and am so glad I found a natural deodorant that works!

Coconut Oil as an Eye Make-Up Remover

I’ve long known about the benefits of coconut oil and that it can be used as a moisturizer, but I really didn’t love using it on my skin as I don’t like the greasy feel.  After having so many problems finding an effective, yet natural eye make-up remover, I decided to give coconut oil a try.  Wow! It works so well! And I don’t mind going to bed with coconut oil residue around my eyes as it is supposed to be great for wrinkles.  Win! I put some coconut oil in a small mason jar and use cotton pads to remove my eye make-up before bed.  It works better than any eye make-up remover I’ve tried, natural or not.

Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix

In general, I like to make my pancakes from scratch or use my own, homemade pancake mix.  Sometimes, though, the convenience of a purchased pancake mix is hard to beat.  When I saw Kodiak Cakes on Shark Tank in April and that their mixes only had natural, recognizable ingredients, I was intrigued.  Their mixes use whole grain flours and no sketchy ingredients like most pancake mixes out there. I picked up a box at Target and gave it a try.  It produces wonderful pancakes!  You only have to add water to the mix, so these mixes are perfect for camping or traveling.  We have used the mix for our summer travels and it’s been great.

This is not a sponsored post; these are products I have tried and loved on my own.  Some links, however, are affiliates links.  Thank you for supporting my blog endeavors in trying to get the message of healthy, natural living out there!

Looking for more natural products I’m loving?  Check out past editions of this feature here, here, here, and here.

 

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Posted in Natural Living, Reviews | 7 Comments  

Summer Squash Noodle Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

The alternate title for this recipe:  Summer in a Bowl.  What you have here is the best summer has to offer in one delicious bowl, ready to be eaten in less than 15 minutes.  You are welcome.

You will feel 10,000 times healthier after finishing this bowl of summer goodness. I promise you.  Eat this for lunch and you can walk around for the rest of the day all smug like because you consumed all the vegetables in one sitting.  And it tasted good.  Not just “Oh I’m eating my vegetables and these aren’t too bad” good.  Like, really good.  Authentically good.  You want to polish off five servings good.

Don’t take my word for it.  Make this salad and you won’t be sorry.  It won’t take you long.  Do you have a julienne slicer yet?  If not, buy this one immediately.  It took me four minutes to prep the “noodles” for this salad.  At $9.95, it was one of my best kitchen purchases in a long time.  You’ll love it and you’ll love this salad, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Salad Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , | 20 Comments  

Vegan Blueberry Oat Bars

If you are looking for a bar recipe that uses fresh fruit and can pass as dessert, a snack, or breakfast, this is your recipe.

These healthy bars are both vegan and gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats.  The best part is that they are a snap to whip up.  Easy, healthy recipes that make everyone in my family happy are my favorite kind.

The ingredients are simple and let the blueberries shine.  These bars are lightly sweet, but definitely not the kind of sweet that leaves you feeling icky afterwards.  Does anyone else feel that way after eating something too sweet?

I use agave nectar as a sweetener here.  I like it because it has a more neutral flavor than some other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or honey.  You can use either of those here, but the flavor profile will change slightly.

There’s a lot of controversy about whether agave nectar is a healthy sweetener.  I’ve done my research and feel that, like other sweeteners, it’s acceptable in moderation.  I don’t think any sweetener is good for you, especially if you use too much.  I do think there is a lot of misinformation out there about agave nectar; you really have to be a scrupulous, discerning reader before you come to your own conclusion about this sweetener.  You can’t believe every sensationalized article you come across before verifying the details.

Sorry about that little tangent, but I know at least one person will question my use of agave nectar, so I figured I’d answer the questions before they come in.  Enough of that, though, how about we get to the recipe?!

 

 

Have a great week, friends!

 

 

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Posted in Breakfast Recipes, Dessert recipes, Snack Recipes, Toddler Eats, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments  

Fitness Friday: Keep On Keepin’ On

Summa summa summa time!  How’s your summer time fitness coming? I haven’t done a Fitness Friday post in a while, so this is going to be a catch-up post. Summer time is a hard time for me to stay in a routine in general, but this summer’s been especially difficult.  We’ve had a lot of short trips, coupled with visits from grandparents and random activities that have made it tough to stay on a regular schedule.  That makes fitness more challenging for me.  I thrive on schedules and routines.  Even though it’s been tough, I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up my fitness pretty well over these summer months.

It only takes four days to get out of shape.

Have you heard that before?  Somewhere along the line a coach hammered that into my brain.  Strangely, I can’t remember which coach it was, but those words have never left me.  So, is it true?  I’m not sure.

What I do know is that when we went to Michigan over the Fourth of July we were gone for five days and working out just didn’t happen.  When I got home, I couldn’t wait to get back into it.  (When I do get into a good fitness groove, I crave it like crazy and just feel off when I don’t workout for a period of time.) It took me a few days, though, to feel like I was back where I was when I left.  So while I don’t think I was completely out of shape, those days off certainly did set me back some.  I guess there was some truth to that coach’s words.  What do you think?

Remember my Summer Fitness Bucket List?  I’m checking things off!

My way of checking things off is to turn the line into a ray of sunshine (get it?  It’s  a #summerfitnessbucketlist in the shape of a sun!) and color it in.  Here’s what I’ve checked off so far:

-Run a hill workout.

-Run 6 miles

-Do <1 speed workout on a track.

-Complete a 30 day Plank Challenge (started it…I’ll color it in when I complete it)

I posted the hill workout I did on my Facebook page, but if you didn’t see it, here it is:

I still have a lot of things to check off before summer ends, but I will do it!

I haven’t run in a road race yet, but I did run in a track meet.  Yep, I sure did.  When I went to the local high school track to do a speed workout, there was an older man doing a speed workout at the same time.  We got to talking and he told me about summer track meets that were held at another local high school that were open to everyone.  This man was in his 60′s and had competed in the senior olympics as a sprinter.  He was 5th in the world in the 100 meter dash! How inspiring is that?  Well, he inspired me to show up at one of the track meets.

I showed up feeling so weird about being there.  It brought me back to high school and college–the smells, the atmosphere, everything.  The only difference was that there were all ages here: the youngest competitor was probably 5 years old and the oldest was in the 60-70 year old range.  With much trepidation, I signed up for the 100 meter dash and the 400 meter dash.  I was in no way prepared to run either of these races, but I thought I could treat it as a speed workout.

I wish I could report that I did amazingly well and am just as fast as I was when I was in college.  Ummm….no.  In high school I ran the 100 in 12.33 and while I didn’t run the 100 in college, I did it as part of the 4X100 relay and clocked a 12.00 in those years.  I’m almost embarrassed to tell you my 100 meter time as a 36-year-old.  I was the oldest woman competing in the 100, the next oldest woman was 25.  The other woman in my heat was in her low 20′s (I didn’t talk to her like I did the other woman, so that’s a guess)  Aaaand both of those women beat me.  I had a great start (the picture above shows the track marks on my knee after the race…) but couldn’t sustain my top speed very long.  I finished in 14.24! Aaaaahhhh almost 2 seconds slower than my high school time and more than 2 seconds slower than college.

After the 100 a thunder storm started and the rest of the meet was cancelled so I didn’t get to do the 400.  Saved by the storm! If nothing else, participating in the meet motivated me to get some speed back.  It’s hard when I’m running longer distances, but I would love to work on my speed more.

I realize this post is more ramble-y than usual, but I just wanted to give you all an update on how this summer’s fitness is going.  We have a week-long vacation coming up and I’m motivated to do some workouts at the beach! How’s your summer fitness coming along?

 

 

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