When Covid dictated a shift from working at an office to working from home, my daily routine changed in many ways. One small but significant shift involved what I regularly enjoyed eating for breakfast each morning while sitting at my desk. The office pantry always stocked fresh milk in the fridge for our coffee or cereal, so it was super convenient (and saved me a few bucks) to keep a box of my favorite cereal — Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins, available at Trader Joe’s — at work. At home, I rarely purchase dairy milk because it basically starts to go bad as soon as it’s packaged, and it’s easy to forget to use it up before the expiration date hits. Needless to say (but you can see I am about to) when I started working from home — one year ago — I stopped eating packaged breakfast cereal entirely. That changed recently, when I found out about Koita, a line of shelf-stable, plant-based milks from Italy! Today I’m going to review Koita Organic Coconut Milk, which has brought the joy of breakfast cereal back into my life.
As a self-professed low-maintenance babe, who is currently working from home, I can’t say I miss my former weekday-morning routine of applying make up to my face before heading out to the office. One thing I do miss though is rocking my favorite hot pink lipstick that’s been my style signature since, well, forever. I like to keep my lips soft, but I’ve found that brightly-colored lipstick stains the masks that we all need to wear when leaving the house. Since no one can see my mouth anyway, I’ve switched to using colorless lip balms to keep my lips healthy and my masks stain-free. It’s perfect timing then that I was recently offered the opportunity to review a line of natural lip balms called Mongo Kiss from Eco Lips, which is the original organic lip balm.
So. Many. Flavors.
Not only was Eco Lips the first organic lip balm on the market, they’re also a company with a conscience. All of their ingredients are sustainably and ethically obtained from trusted sources around the globe. Their products are Fair Trade Certified™, Non-GMO Project Verified, Leaping Bunny Certified, and gluten-free. Key ingredients in the Mongo Kiss lips balms are organic Mongongo oil from Africa (which also gives the product its memorable name), and organic Fair Trade Certified cocoa butter, to create ultra-hydrating balm that provides essential nutrients for your lips.
Mmm . . . Banana
Healthy, nourished lips are just a swipe away. Mongongo oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to remain on the skin longer than saturated fatty acids (like coconut oil) or monounsaturated oils (like jojoba oil), so you know your lips are protected all day. The selection of natural, fruity flavors is also very appealing. My favorite, Mongo Kiss banana, smells and tastes like the sweet, ripe fruit, with hints of caramel, cinnamon and dark rum. It’s a blissfully tropical treat for your lips!
With the upcoming fall and winter weather, which can be harsh on the skin, you may also want to add a lip scrub to your self-care routine. Why use a lip scrub, you may ask? Because once your lips become chapped, lip balm will not help to remedy the problem unless you first gently exfoliate them. The purpose of using a lip scrub is to remove dead skin cells that tend to dull the natural glow of the lips. Eco Lips sent me this Lipscrub stick that tastes and smells like brown sugar — because there’s brown sugar in it! The sugar gently buffs away flaky, dry skin while organic coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba moisturize and protect. All you have to do to keep your lips smooth and kissably soft is apply and rub gently, then wipe, or lick, it off. Yummy. Eco Lips Lip Scrubs are available in assorted flavors and come in jars as well as convenient, travel-ready sticks. Find out more about them at This Link.
Eco Lips products are sold in most Whole Foods and other select stores, and you can find out where to purchase them in your neighborhood by visiting This Link. You can also shop for Mongo Kiss and otherEco Lips products online Here. Remember that the Holiday Season is coming up fast and these balms make great stocking stuffers!
Do you like yogurt? I sure do. As food trends adapt to changing diets, I’ve sampled and reviewed a variety of delicious non-dairy yogurts. While these yogurts are ideal for fans who are lactose intolerant, and also those who follow a vegan diet, the bottom line is that it has to taste great. With nut-derived milks becoming increasingly popular, it makes sense that an almond milk-based yogurt would hit the market. If you’re curious about non-dairy yogurt alternatives, let me introduce you to AYO, a delicious and healthy yogurt made with organic almond milk.
AYO was created by the Billings family, who have been growing almonds on their farm, based in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, for four generations. The Billings‘ are forward-thinking farmers who are passionate about introducing better-for-you foods with clear traceability, vertical integration and sustainable practices. Their commitment to innovation, and a farm-to-spoon philosophy, created AYO yogurt. From their almond orchards where everything starts, to picking, then churning, blending with organic fruits or organic vanilla, and culturing the yogurt — the result is luscious, probiotic-rich yogurts that taste fantastic.
Since I’ve been working from home, yogurt has been one of my go-to snacks, so I was thrilled to receive samples of all four flavors (Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, and Vanilla) of AYO yogurt to enjoy. Each variety has only 150 or 160 calories per 5.3 ounce cup, so you can stay on your diet as well!
When I opened my first cup, what I noticed right away about this yogurt is its very smooth, almost drinkable consistency. No stirring is needed because the fruit is thoroughly blended with the yogurt, to guarantee that the first spoonful tastes as sweet and tangy as the last.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so I enjoyed this flavor every much. You can see little bits of peach on my spoon. Yummy.
The Vanilla AYO is just sweet enough, but also has the distinctive tangy flavor that tells you that you are eating real yogurt.
You can snack and work at the same time!
When you peel back the lid of the Blueberry AYO Almond Milk Yogurt, guess what you smell? Blueberries.
AYO would be perfect as an ingredient in variety of recipes for healthy shakes and desserts, but today I’m going share with you the most delicious Granola Yogurt Breakfast Popsicle recipe, which they call Gro-Yo Pops. The whole family will love these, as they are great for the summer months and make an easy, nutritious breakfast!
Gro-Yo Pops (Dairy-free, Plant-based, Farm to Freezer Popsicles)
Stir yogurt, berries, 2 teaspoons coconut oil and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Divide among six 3-ounce popsicle molds. Stir coconut flakes, and ground almonds and the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut oil together in a small bowl. Top each popsicle with 1 tablespoon of the coconut almond mixture. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.
Visit This Link to learn more, to find a store near you that sells AYO, and to get money saving coupons to use towards your purchase!
Naturally sweet dried fruit paired with crunchy nuts is a popular, healthy snack combination that really cannot be improved on; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t innovative ways to change-up the presentation! Fruit Bliss Fruit & Nut Bites combine sweet, fiber-rich fruit and toasted nut pieces into bite-size squares that taste far more indulgent than you’d expect from a snack with zero artificial ingredients.
Don’t These Look Like Tiny, Nut-Studded, Chewy Brownies? Wait Until You Taste Them
Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites start out with only the the best organic fruits, sourced from global regions such as the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, or the Agen area of France — locales known for their high quality produce.
In the simplest way possible, Fruit Bliss has reinvented dried fruit snacking. While most dried fruit can be tough and hard to chew, Fruit Bliss snacks have a soft bite thanks to a steaming and rehydration process that adds water back into the fruit. The only three ingredients you’ll find in these Fruit Bites are fruit, nuts and water — no added sugars are needed because the fruit is naturally sweet from the sun-drying process!
Because they are dried by the sun, Fruit Bliss snacks are naturally darker in color than your typical dried fruit snack. Fruit Bliss skips the preservatives and chemicals that restore dried fruit to a bright color, and leave you with what matters most – pure and simple organic fruit.
Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites come in three varieties, Apricot with Dates and Hazelnuts, Fig with Dates and Hazelnuts (think: elevated Fig Newton), and Tart Cherry with Dates, Hazelnuts, and Cacao Nibs. The tiny bits of toasted hazelnuts also add a fresh crunch to the soft, chewy texture of the fruit, for a pleasing mouth feel.
The Tart Cherry and Cacao Nibs combination is my favorite, as it tastes like little tart cherry-infused chocolate brownies! Amazing! Chocolate lovers take note! All Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites snacks are packaged in environmentally sustainable, resealable pouches, so you can toss them in your purse or backpack for delicious, healthy snacking on-the-go!
Get more information about the full line of Fruit Bliss dried fruit products, and order online, at Fruit Bliss Dot Com!
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, like I do, then you know that the symptoms can really lay you low — especially when they can linger for weeks at a time. There are plenty of effective over the counter remedies, like antihistamines, cough suppressants and expectorants to help you get through the worst of it, but there are few factors to consider. Maybe you are someone who isn’t good with remembering to take your next dosage, or maybe you are conflicted about what you can take that won’t bring on unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness. Most importantly, you want to know that the ingredients in whatever remedies you choose to take are safe and as natural as possible. It’s a lot to deal with when all you want to do is feel well again.
Coincidentally, a week into my most recent onset of allergy symptoms, I was contacted by a representative of Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches, which are an organic, all-natural treatment for the relief of coughs, colds and allergy symptoms. She asked if I’d be interested in trying out Dr. Loos Harmony Patches as I blew my nose for the millionth time that day “I am having an allergy attack right now!” I replied. “How soon can you get them to me?” She put a package in the mail to me and I had them two days later! I started using them immediately.
Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches are transdermal patches containing herbs and organic, natural ingredients that you apply to your skin and leave on for up to 12 hours at a time. I received samples of two different varieties of cough, cold and allergy relief patches: one that treats Age 8 to Adult, and one for Mature Adults 50+ Years. For my first treatment, I applied five of the Age 8 to Adult patches as directed on the reverse of the packaging – 3 on my chest and 2 on my back – about an hour before bed time on a Friday, and slept with them on me. The patches seen above are about the thickness of a sheet of paper, and once they are on your skin, you do not feel them at all.
Information and Detailed Instructions Are Printed on the Back of Each Package
Although I had been waking up several times during the night with coughing fits for, say, the previous five nights, on this night I didn’t cough even once during my sleep. Once I was awake on Saturday morning and hit the twelve hour mark, I removed the patches, showered, and applied a fresh round of patches to my clean, dry skin. I wore those patches from noon until midnight. I only coughed a few times throughout the day; and when I did, the cough was much more productive than it had been. I felt much improved from the previous 24 hour,s to say the least. Bonus: I didn’t have to remember to take any pills or other oral medications!
Saturday night, I slept without any of the Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches on me, but Sunday I decided to try the Mature Adult patches. These patches, seen in the photo directly above, are slightly thicker than the pink patches, and are therefore easier to apply, especially to your back area. Besides the visual difference in the color, shape and thickness of the patches, there is a difference in the adhesive, in that the Age 8 to Adult variety contains a small amount of acrylic, and the Mature Adult variety is recommend for anyone with sensitive skin. The propriety formula on both patches is identical, with the active ingredients being USDA organic ginger, chamomile, and fennel, with no alcohol sugar, bicarbonate or additives.
Because Harmony Patches are applied directly onto the areas of the body where symptoms originate, the ingredients are absorbed into your body immediately and can get to work right away to make you feel better. After using the patches for a few days my symptoms were great reduced and I was much more comfortable. I recommend them!
Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches are also available to treat Tummy / Digestive Distress in both Children and Adults. Get more information about the Dr. Loo’s family of Harmony Patch products at This Link, and visit Amazon Dot Com to Purchase!
In case you wanted to know, February 27th is National Strawberry Day! The thing is, Strawberries are in the off season, so here are a few alternative ways that you can celebrate Oklahoma’s State Fruit:
1. Pick up a pouch of delicious YumEarth Organic Gluten Free Strawberry Licorice to get the taste of real strawberries with every bite.
There is no denying that Pasta is a popular go-to ingredient for creating quick, versatile and delicious meals to please any palate. For Pasta Lovers who may have had to eliminate this tasty staple from their diets due to a gluten intolerance, there are now many gluten-free pasta options on the market that make it possible for everyone to indulge. Explore Cuisine has a line of organic pastas made from beans and other plants that are a great place to start when you want to prepare a tasty, healthy meal for yourself or your family. Take a look at a few of the super quick and easy dinners that I’ve recently prepared for myself with Explore Cuisine Pastas and absolutely no advanced planning!
I bet that you had no idea that Edamame, familiar to most as the little green soybeans that everyone likes to nosh on before the meal at Japanese restaurants, can be use to make some of the most delicious pasta you will ever taste. Explore Cuisine makes a few different varieties of Edamame pasta, including everyone’s favorite; spaghetti.
Edamame Spaghetti can be used in all of your favorite recipes as a substitute for wheat-based pasta. You might find that you like it even better, and it’s good to know that Explore Cuisine’s Edamame Spaghetti contains nearly half of your daily protein and fiber requirements in just one serving!
I made an easy and scrumptious Primavera by adding frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand, and tossing the pasta in butter, salt and pepper to taste.
Then I covered it with cheese, which is how I like my pasta!
Explore Cuisine also specializes in a line of Pulse Pastas; a term that may be unfamiliar to you. Pulses are part of the legume family, and the term ‘pulse’ refers to the dried seed. Dried peas, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, antioxidants, and low in fat! This where Explore Cuisine’s Organic Chickpea Fusilli comes in.
Chickpea Fusilli is a healthy and delicious mealtime choice that contains only four organic, whole food ingredients. This pasta also contains 11g of protein and nearly 20% of your daily dietary fiber requirement per serving. With its soft and supple texture, and mild taste, Chickpea fans will be in Heaven!
Since this pasta is a bit more sturdy than the spaghetti, I topped it with Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs and jarred sauce. Delicious and satisfying!
Red Lentil Penne is also a pulse pasta. With the smooth texture of flour pasta and the benefits of lentils, the Red Lentil Penne is a fantastic choice for any penne based pasta dish. Comprised of only two ingredients, Red Lentil Penne pasta is protein rich and a good source of fiber. Organic, gluten-free and free of GMOs, it’s pasta reinvented!
Here is the penne topped with a light tomato vodka sauce and a dollop of creamy cottage cheese (you could also use Ricotta, if you had that on hand). Out of this world delish!
Explore Cuisine’s Italian style pastas were created in the Apulia region of Italy, which is famed for being the home of pasta. Explore Cuisine worked side by side with pasta masters and professional chefs to deliver the authentic taste and texture of the best Italian pasta but made with the goodness of chickpeas and lentils.
Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods, and get recipes, at This Link!