Olive Oil Taste Testing

If you’re looking for a new way to season your vegetables, spice up your fish, marinate your meats, or just create a great dip, then olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings might be for you.

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Olive oil is a staple in most Mediterranean diets and has become popular in Western cooking in the recent decades. Many may not know this, but there are over 20 different types of olive oils, infused with various herbs and spices. When paired with infused balsamic vinegars, the flavor combination possibilities are endless.

Generally when it comes to taste testings wine might come to mind, maybe even cheese or coffee, but never oil. The best way to taste test the quality of olive oil is to place a small amount in a glass, and take a sniff. It should smell fresh. If it smells slightly musty or like cardboard the oil is not pure or has gone bad. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie to all of this, the expert doing the tasting will guide you. And if guzzling a little oil by itself sounds unappetizing, you can always pair the oil with a balsamic vinegar or dip in some bread.

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Useful Holiday Giftset Idea

A girl can only have so many Bath & Body Works gift sets. Instead get her (or yourself) something that’s hydrating for the dry/cold winter months and is made from all-natural ingredients. No more dry patches and flakiness. You may be hesitant at first to cleanse and hydrate your skin with an oil, but Josie Maran products are nourishing and not greasy. All products apply well as a night treatment or even in the day under makeup–it won’t budge! For a full Josie Maran Argan oil product review comparison click here.

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Winter Dreams Argan Skincare Collection found at Sephora $39, $68 value

 Who this is great for: Dry, combination skin, sensitive skin Continue reading

Keep Calm and Make Soap

So this weekend I took a trip down to the farmer’s market to see what goodies I could find for my daily juices. I think I got there a little too late and near closing time because most of the good fruit was gone. As I was heading back out to my car I passed by a fragrant smelling booth of soaps that caught my nose, so of course I had to stop by. There I met Tom Donohue and his lovely wife Lisa who co-own CleanPeace Handcrafted Soap. I had always heard of handcrafted soaps, but had never bothered trying it. I figured my Dove body wash worked just fine. But as I spoke to Tom he informed me that a lot of commercial soaps out on the market strip the glycerin, an important element used to make soap, and use other more harsh products in its place. If you’ve read my DIY post on what I use to moisturize my dry skin, you’ll know that glycerin is the holy grail to keeping my skin moist and keeping my eczema at bay.

I could hear the passion in Tom’s voice when he spoke about how he and his wife make the soap in their own home with natural ingredients like 100% food grade oils, all vegetable, pure essential oils and skin safe fragrance oils that can be used for the face and body. After speaking with both Tom and Lisa,  I knew I had to try it out for myself.

What’s cute about CleanPeace is that their tag line is Make Suds, Not War and their brand follows the cool vibes of the 70’s. Some of the names of theirs soap bars are Woodstock, Hippie Chick, Groovy Patchouli, Garage Band, and Purple Haze. I decided to go with Almond Lovin’. I’ve written three blog posts about Almonds (How to Make Almond MilkHow to Make Almond FlourHow to Make Almond-Oat Pancakes), now this makes four, I think it’s safe to say I’m in love with this nut.

Almond Lovin’ is made with Almond, Honey, Oatmeal, and Goat’s Milk, and I am LOVIN’ Almond Lovin’. The goat’s milk has the lactic acid properties which is great for smoothing out skin tone while the oatmeal helps exfoliate. This soap is by no means harsh like other exfoliating soaps I’ve used. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. It was really cooling on my face, almost like I was toning it with milk. It provided a great lather, and left my face feeling clean, not squeegee dry, but still soft. I give it a big two groovy fingers up!

I found my soap-mate;)

If you want to check out more about handmade soaps or CleanPeace for yourself head over to http://www.cleanpeaceonline.com

Snack Find: Cranberry Almond Snack Bars

Time for a new snack find update! I’ve been harboring this snack find to myself for a little while now, but for good reason…they’re just too good and I secretly want them all to myself. But since that doesn’t sound like a fair enough reason to keep it a secret, I’ve decided to share the wealth of knowledge.

They’re Gluten-Free Cranberry Almond Oat Snack Bars by Van’s Natural Foods.  Now say that 5 times fast. And go!

Made from Whole Oats, Brown Rice, Cranberries, Almonds, Almond Butter, Flax seeds, and Fig paste, this soft chewy snack contains 4 grams of fiber in every bar.

Not only is this bar great, but so is the rest of their line of snacks, cereals, and breakfast goods. *Some contain soy.

Where to find them:

I purchase mine from the baking goods, gluten-free section of Wal-Mart, but Van’s can be found at a variety of locations by using their store locator.

Van’s products are Gluten-Free, Kosher, All Natural, Dairy Free, Corn Free, Low in sodium, and Free of artificial colors or flavors

Food Find: Weber’s All Natural Barbecue Sauce

Stuffed roasted red pepper with Weber’s BBQ

With 4th of July right around the corner, for many Americans that means celebrating the holiday with the traditional backyard barbecue feast and it just isn’t a barbecue without some BBQ sauce. I was able to find Weber’s All Natural BBQ Sauce for only $2 at my Publix grocery store.

Does not contain any high fructose corn syrup and is gluten-free.

If you are looking for other gluten-free BBQ sauces here’s a site that might help with your search:

http://www.bbqsaucereviews.com/gluten-free-barbecue-sauces/

Enjoy!

Snack Find: Apple Chips

Who ever said the only way you could enjoy an apple was in its full form or only by juicing?

Try baked APPLE CHIPS!

• No added sugar or preservatives
• Fat free
• Gluten free
• All Natural
• 2g of Fiber

What’s so great about this snack, other than the fact that it tastes good, is that there’s 1 WHOLE apple in every bag. And the only ingredient is APPLE, unless you buy the Cinnamon flavored chips, which in that case the only ingredients are still Apple and Cinnamon. That’s it!

Add them to your:
Salads
Yogurt
Or Morning Oatmeal

Enjoy and Follow Your Bliss!