Homemade Morning Facial Scrub

Yesterday being my fabulous birthday, I decided to create a homemade facial scrub to ‘re-live my youth’ in hope of an instant facial glow.  I simply combined a few ingredients  from my pantry and whipped up an incredible scrub that left my face beaming all day.  I suggest using a ripened banana and ripened avocado as the riper the better for this scrub.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pamper yourself this weekend with this homemade recipe that will surely ignite a rosy complexion.

Ingredients

  • 10 almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 ripened banana, mashed
  • 10 blueberries, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 3 Tbsp. ground chia seeds

Directions

  • Combine all  ingredients; mix well.
  • Apply scrub to face; rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Enjoy a fresh-faced beautiful glow!

In The News This Week…

Vinegar and Carb Digestion

Westborn Market Gluten-Free Shopping Guide

Olive Oil to Replace Trans-Fats in Bakery

Ignore Expiration Dates

Brown Rice Healthier Than White Rice

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Egg-alicious!

Exciting news…I just moved into my very own apartment and I am thrilled to have my  own full kitchen! It’s beautiful and incredibly spacious…perfect for my cooking soirées and recipe testing…just in time for the holiday season.

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I have eggs on my mind today…Sunny-side-up, poached or scrambled? Or shall we get creative and whip up an omelet or frittata? Eggs are an inexpensive protein-packed food that are rich in vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids and folate. Quick and easy to prepare, eggs can be transformed into your breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner menu! We’ve all heard the stories about eggs having a bad rap over the years, however, contrary to belief, an egg a day may not impact your cholesterol levels. One egg has simply 76 calories…not too shabby.

But if you’re not hopping on the egg-bandwagon anytime soon, have an egg allergy or are Vegan, not to worry because you can substitute ground flax seeds for eggs in baking recipes. Simply add one tablespoon of ground flax seed to 3 tablespoons of water for the equivalent to one egg; allow to stand for a few moments to plump before adding to batter.

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Walking into the so-called ‘egg aisle’ of your local food store can seem like a maze with the abundance of varieties stacked onto the overflowing chilled shelves.

Conventional Eggs. Typically from chickens stacked in small cages, which are not fed organic feed and may contain hormones and/or antibiotics.

Brown Eggs. These are usually conventional eggs with a brown colored shell, which has nothing to do with the quality, nutritional value or taste. The shade of the eggshell color simply depends on the breed of the hen.

Organic Eggs. Made from caged hens, however, this variety is antibiotic free and fed organic feed. I personally believe it’s worth purchasing organic eggs over conventional.

Omega-3 Enhanced Eggs. These eggs are fed a diet of fish oils and flax seed, which means you reap the benefits. Compared to regular eggs, this variety can have up to seven times more Omega 3 fatty acids than regular eggs.

Processed Eggs. These eggs are packaged into cartons and may contain preservatives, flavor or color additives. Theses include liquid eggs, liquid egg whites and dried egg whites. What type of eggs do you prefer?

I’ve put together two of my favorite egg creations that you can prepare in no time.

Healthy Blueberry Blintzes

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar or stevia sweetener
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup blueberries

Directions

  • In a large bowl, whisk egg, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sweetener for 4-5 minutes until mixture becomes airy and fluffy.
  • Spray a skillet with cooking spray; add whipped mixture and cook over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip to the other side to ensure even cooking.
  • When eggs are fully cooked, transfer to serving dishes and top with a dollop of Greek plain yogurt and a sprinkle of ground flax seeds and blueberries in the center.
  • Fold the eggs over the yogurt and fruit.
  • Enjoy.

Harvest Frittata

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Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • ½ ripe avocado, mashed
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 yellow squash, shredded
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • Pinch of curry powder
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites and water. Set aside.
  • Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium heat. Add onion; stir until becomes translucent. Add zucchini and squash shreds; cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with basil, curry powder, sea salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies in the skillet, covering them entirely.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook until the egg mixture has set around the edges of the pan; approximately 10 minutes. Be cautious not to overcook the egg mixture as it will become tough.
  • Slice the frittata into 8 wedges and serve.
  • Enjoy.

Product Review: Don Sabrosa Salsa

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A big thank you to Donny over at Don Sabrosa Salsa for sending free samples of his All-Natural, Gluten-Free and Low-Sodium salsas!

Donny offers three delicious flavors that are incredibly tasty, chunky and fresh.  Each flavor comes in Hot and Mild so you can pick your hotness based on your taste bud’s preference.

Blueberries, Peaches & Honey

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Black Bean & Corn

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Roasted Garlic

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My favorite flavor was the Black Bean & Corn;  I enjoyed the chunky bits of corn and beans in my tasty fajitas and fish tacos.  This salsa was also the perfect accompaniment atop my lunchtime garden salads with roasted veggies and salmon.

I was shocked by the unique flavoring of the Blueberry, Peaches and Honey Salsa as I was expecting it to be incredibly sweet, however, the taste was just right and it had the perfect hint of sweetness on my tongue.  This salsa would be perfect for a summertime BBQ atop grilled fish for a fruit-inspired, warm-weather platter.  I paired this fruity salsa with my Greek yogurt and gluten-free granola for a tasty parfait dessert.  Yum–it definitely hit the spot.

As for the Roasted Garlic flavor, I topped my Eggplant Parmesan with a few dollops…I’m a sucker for garlic and I’ve been known to eat a few cloves raw each day (it’s a natural antibiotic but it sure does kill my breathe, I must say).  Donny’s Roasted Garlic Salsa was the perfect touch of garlic and tomatoes; I’m excited to try this garlic salsa with my homemade sweet potato fries and bean burgers–it makes a tasty topping and adds a rich garlic taste to a hearty meal.

Thank you again, Donny for sending me free samples of your tasty salsas..it’s ashame these tasty salsas aren’t sold right here in Manhattan, however you can easily order directly from the Don Sabrosa website.

Frozen Zucchini Bites

Yes, you read correctly…FROZEN Zucchini Bites…and it’s the most satisfying, cool treat that’s as close to  ice pops as veggies can get!

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This recipe was actually created by accident when I stored 4 zucchini in my refrigerator drawer…needless to say the fridge temp was a bit too high and the zucchini were crystallized and semi-frozen when I took them out.  At first I was quite upset, but I decided to be optimistic and make the best out of these chilled green veggies.  I sliced each zucchini into disk-like shapes and drizzled each disk with agave nectar and topped it with a fresh, juicy blueberry!

Now there’s a satisfying, sweet treat that’s loaded with antioxidants and fiber!

Enjoy this chilled treat as a snack or dessert when you need to cool off from the hot summer sun.

BBQ Makeover

There’s nothing like a fabulous summertime BBQ…and what better way to kick off the summer than a healthy Memorial Day BBQ?  Here are a few of my favorite healthy recipes for you to try when you’re striking up the grill this weekend!

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Potato Salad with Greek Yogurt and Grapes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. baking potatoes, pealed and diced
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces trimmed sugar snap peas
  • 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. lime zest
  • 2 tbsp. honey

Directions

  • Mix together and enjoy!
  • Serve chilled.

 

Summertime Apple n’ Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooled
  • 3 apples, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 cup cole slaw

Directions

  • Mix together and enjoy!
  • Serve chilled.

 

Bison n’ Blueberry Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup scallions
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free cheese, shredded
  • 4 Whole Wheat or Gluten Free rolls
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 1 cup shredded collard greens
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Pre-heat grill to medium/high heat
  • Combine bison, blueberries, 1/4 cup cilantro, onion, scallions, garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Mix well. Form into 4 patties
  • Combine the remaining cilantro, Greek yogurt and lime juice in a small bowl
  • Place the burgers on the grill.  Cook for about 7 minutes each side.  Top with cheese and cook until it is melted.
  • Assemble burgers onto buns; top with cilantro Greek yogurt spread, collard greens, tomato and onion.
  • Enjoy!

Zucchini Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (or Whole Wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 12 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together egg, butter, brown sugar, honey or agave, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a separate smaller bowl.  Add this mixture to the large bowl and mix well.
  • Stir in chocolate chips, dried cranberries and zucchini. Mix well.  Use a spoon to make cookie drops onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until brown and fully cooked.

Here are a few of my other BBQ tips:

  • Use high-flavored condiments such as Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, garlic, chili powder, sun-dried tomatoes, lime/lemon zest, olives and ginger.
  • Treat yourself to a tasty ice pop made from fresh squeezed fruit juice
  • Get creative with your burgers (Bison, Turkey, Chicken, Veggie, Tofu)
  • Serve up raw veggies with hummus, guacamole and salsa for an appetizer
  • Be sure to choose whole wheat or gluten free burger buns

What are your favorite ways to celebrate Memorial Day?

Eating a Rainbow of Colors

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By now, we’ve all heard, “Eat your Veggies”, well there’s a whole rainbow out there of amazing produce known as Superfoods.  Incorporating these babies into your daily diet can fight cancer, improve your memory, and keep those nasty colds away.  So, what are these superfoods that everyone is talking about?

Superfoods are fruits and veggies that are full of antioxidants.  It’s easy to incorporate their rainbow variety into your diet; simply mix n’ match various colors for a plate that is not only pleasing to the eye, but your stomach, as well. 

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Yellow and Orange

  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Our yellow and orange fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that boost our immune systems and provide a nice, big dose of Vitamin C.  Moreover, eating fruits and veggies of these colors help ward off age-related eye disease.  I personally love cooking Butternut Squash and making my Butternut Squash Fries, which can be prepared in minutes and popped into the oven.  Another easy way to incorporate these colors into your diet is combining the above fruits into a smoothie.

    Green

    • Avocados
    • Asparagus
    • Cucumbers
    • Leafy Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Broccoli

    These greens help relieve the effects of serious eye ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  Moreover, they help clear the arteries that keep blood flowing to your brain.  My favorite way to incorporate greens into my meals is sauteing spinach and collard greens with garlic and pine nuts.

    Tan and White

    • Parsnips
    • Turnips
    • Cauliflower
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Bananas
    • Garlic

    These guys  may not have a lotta color to them, however, they pack a serious antioxidant punch with phytonutrients that help protect the heart and fight cancer.  My favorite way to eat the “whites and tans” is to roast parsnips in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chili powder.

    Blue and Purple

    • Blueberries
    • Raisins
    • Purple Grapes
    • Purple Potatoes
    • Eggplant

    These blue food friends supply us with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are beneficial for memory and motor function.  I personally love to cook Eggplant Parm–(the gluten free/dairy free way), of course.

    Red

    • Tomatoes
    • Cherries
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon
    • Radicchio

    Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene and flavonoids are important antioxidants to help fight diseases and various cancers.  Try a rice dish with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes.

    What’s your favorite way to incorporate a rainbow into your daily diet?