Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thrive Energy Cookbook

We could all use more energy in our lives and as much as I wish a big bag of chocolate did that....alas, it will not work.  Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier has been one books I have yet to stop opening.  The recipes are amazing and because they are plant-based whole food, they are good for you.

Packed with 150 plant-based, nutrient-dense, whole food recipes developed within the Thrive nutritional philosophy, Thrive Energy Cookbook brings concepts that started the functional, plant-based nutrition revolution to life. Recipes are all vegan and allergen-free (or with gluten-free options) to eliminate wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, refined sugar, and dairy from your diet. 
Easy-to-make and performance-enhancing, these chef-created recipes merge purpose driven functionality (every ingredient has a nutritional purpose) with mouth-watering appeal. From the alkaline-forming, plant protein–packed Vanilla-Almond-Mocha Motivator Smoothie to Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup, Thai Green Curry Rice Bowl, and desserts such as Raspberry Chocolate Pomegranate Tart, Thrive Energy Cookbook will have you quickly preparing nutrient-packed and delicious dishes.

Thrive Energy Cookbook is a book where I began by marking pages of recipes I wanted to try and had to stop because each page was marked!  I have been enjoying the Chia Blueberry Pudding for breakfast each morning.  The Nutty Seed Cupcakes are perfect for an afternoon snack or even enjoy half as a treat.  They are rich and amazing!  The Chocolate Chia Ice Cream with Blueberry topping is so delicious it is hard to eat in moderation.

The foods in Thrive Energy Cookbook fuel you and make you feel better all around.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kari Gran Cosmetics

I have written about Kari Gran before.  I love her line of skincare, so I was thrilled when I saw that she had released a new makeup line.  The mineral makeup line is for those of us who want only the purest ingredients for our face.

The foundation can be mixed the with Facial serum for those who like liquid foundations.  I have tried it both ways and because I am used to liquid foundations I tend to like it better that way.
Our lightweight mineral makeup provides long lasting, light reflecting coverage while allowing the skin to breathe. Free of talc, synthetic fragrance, dyes, bismuth oxychloride, parabens, nano particles and animal testing, our makeup is safe and all natural. The broad color palette gives a range of color options that are both flattering and complementary to most skin tones. Our mineral make-up contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide which provides a natural sun protection without irritating chemicals. Because mineral powders are inorganic and contain no moisture, bacteria does not grow and therefore no preservatives are needed. 

The concealer is a great accompaniment and covers even my Uncle Fester dark circles.   As suggested by Kari Gran, I also use it as an eyeshadow primer.  The eyeshadow   (pictured above) is the most exuisite shadfe of brown that makes every eye color really pop.  It is perfect for everyone.  It does not crease at all and stays put until I take it off at night.  I use it dry, but it can be used wet to line as well.

My favorites from this line are the blush  and Radiant Lip Whip.  As a fan of the original  tinted lip whip, the Radiant Lip Whip. is like perfect combo of moisture with your favorite lip stick.  Sometimes I just pop the Radiant Lip Whip on when I want a pop of color and luminosity to my face.  The peppermint oil makes kissable lips even more inviting.  This is a makeup bag staple.

The Mineral Blush is my currently most-coveted cosmetic item.
Our Peony mineral blush is a sheer, universally flattering shade suitable for all skin tones.  Free of talc, fragrance, dyes, bismuth oxychloride, parabens, nano particles and animal testing our makeup is safe and all natural.

Think of the flush skin gets after that first kiss...then you have the exact color the  Mineral Blush imparts to skin.  It has a subtle glow to it, while illuminating your whole face with the most natural color.  I am in love!

I am so glad Kari Gran has brought us this incredible makeup line.  Simply, naturally....gorgeous!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies

Food allergies are no fun!  I have written often about my love of Enjoy Life foods.  Their delicious treats are all free from:

  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Peanut
  • Tree Nut
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Casein
  • Sesame
  • Sulfites
  • Potato

The new Crunchy Cookies are no exception.
A delicious crunch.
Your search for tasty, worry-free cookies with an addicting crunch is over! With your safety in mind, we’ve developed a recipe for handcrafted, free-from treats that have full flavor and a hearty, satisfying crunch. So go ahead and wear your crumbs like badges of honor while you indulge — you’ve earned it. 

I like knowing that I can send my daughter to school with these and not hurt a child who may have terrible allergies.  We love the taste and we relish that crunch!  My favorite is the Chocolate Chip, but my daughter is addicted to the sugar cookies.  The flavors are pure and everyone can enjoy them.  Crunch away!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chicken and Egg

I love to give my kitchen a little shake-up now and then.  We tend to eat lots of different types of food and I love experimenting, but one ingredient leaves me stumped: Chicken!  I like chicken, but i find myself doing the same things with it over and over.  I started to get bored of this and frankly I had abandoned chicken for a few months now.  Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole brought this little clucker back to life for me.  Chicken and Egg is full of recipes and lovely stories about a suburban homesteader and her beloved chickens.

Chicken coops have never been so chic! From organic gardens in parking lots to rooftop beekeeping, the appeal of urban homesteading is widespread. Chicken and Egg tells the story of veteran food writer Janice Cole, who, like so many other urbanites, took up the revolutionary hobby of raising chickens at home. From picking out the perfect coop to producing the miracle of the first egg, Cole shares her now-expert insights into the trials, triumphs, and bonds that result when human and hen live in close quarters. With 125 recipes for delicious chicken and egg dishes, poultry lovers, backyard farmers, and those contemplating taking the leap will adore this captivating illustrated memoir!

You can immediately tell that Janice Cole has real affection for her chickens.  She even names them!  She knows the importance of raising her food and using all pieces.  The pictures are stunning and the recipes have been a big hit.

The Bangkok Chicken Sate was such a home run that my daughter asked to take some to school the next day.   I could not blame her.  The flavors were abundant and I could not get enough.

The Spicy Chicken and Artichoke Pizza is definitely a fan favorite.  I have made it three time already, and even brought it to a potluck where everyone raved.  It is the perfect blend of savory and spicy and anything that used artichokes is an instant winner for me.

I don't know that I can convince my husband to get chickens anytime soon, but bribing him with delicious recipes from Chicken and Egg  may get me one step closer.  Cluck, cluck!

Monday, September 29, 2014

My trip to the Italian Countryside!

Don't let that title fool you...there was no trip.  I know I wish I had gone there too!  I had the next best thing. A summer home with my child; enjoying every minute of sun.  Alora Ambiance  very kindly brought me on an olfactory journey with their newest fragrance, Toscana!

Alora Ambiance is the result of sisters Annie and Therese Gibbons' 15-year adventure living in Lake Como, Italy. After discovering the age-old Italian wicking method, they decided to design their own "diffuser", as it would come to be known, develop a trio of signature scents and introduce America to the concept they loved so much. Since launching Alora Ambiance in 2000, Annie And Therese have created a cottage industry of competitors yet still remain the category's beloved innovator and Barneys New York #1 selling fragrance diffuser.

I wrote about my love for the Alora Ambiance line a while back.   The scents are pure magic for my senses.
While I was not able to travel to Italy, Toscana brought it all back for me.  I was able to revel in memories of sipping wine in the villa we rented right on the Tuscan countryside (a trip I never wish to forget).  Toscana is an amazing blend of Galbanum, fresh moss, garden tomato leaf, vetiver, green fig.  I actually have it sitting on the shelves of my entryway (which also has all of our books, so is my favorite place).  It welcomes visitors into my home like a warm hug.  Even my picky husband loves it! It is such a fresh and earthy scent.  This is one fragrance I will be repurchasing over and over.  I have the reed diffuser which will keep my home smelling its best for 3 months!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sappho Cosmetics

Once you go to organic skincare and cosmetics, you suddenly become obsessed with finding brands that will work for you without compromising your standards for beauty.  Sappho Organic Cosmetics is huge winner in my book.  Named for Sappho was one of the great Greek lyricists and one of the few known female poets of her time (circa 630 BC). 

Eco-conscious Organic Makeup by Sappho Organic CosmeticsEach product has been formulated for purity, ease of application, quality and beauty. Our liquid foundations are preserved entirely with essential oils, chock full of antioxidants, coloured with minerals, made in North America and packaged for utility and recyclability. Most of our products are vegan, all are free of parabens, phthalates, gluten, mineral oil, talc and dimethicone.Awarded “Champion” status by the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, Environmental Working Groupwww.skindeep.comCelebrated by Hollywood clientele and makeup artists alike, Sappho Organic Cosmetics are sexy and lush, and they look and feel great on your skin. We have diligently developed products we believe are eco-friendly, safe and truly wonderful…Sappho wrote about love, and it is with much love that this project has been founded.

I was lucky enough to try a few items from this wonderful line and I am one word....obsessed!  The blushes are some of the best I have tried.  I got to sample Emma, Tutz and Andrea.  Andrea is perfect for imparting a summer glow.  Emma is a peachy-pink that is truly gorgeous on all skin tones and Tutz is pink with blue undertones (think ballerina).  They are all  Paraben, dimethicone, phthalate and gluten free.  They are all also vegan! 

My other Sappho Organic Cosmetics winners are the lip glosses.  Each color is truly wearable and are vegan and organic.  They smell like a citrus summer drink.  I have tried both Rita and Haze (gorgeous for the fall plum look).  They are chock-full of moisturizing ingredients you will love (without the chemicals you don't).  They last through my morning green tea and frankly I can no longer live without them.

So my next foray into Sappho Organic Cosmetics will have to be the liquid foundation, which let's face it, if it is even half as good as the blush and lip gloss, will be liquid gold! Beauty and eco-conscious sustainability?  I am in!

Plant Food

Plant Food by Matthew Kenney, Meredith Baird and Scott Winegard is not your average Raw Food recipes book.

Fresh, seasonal, vibrant cuisineThe Matthew Kenney team, always on the forefront of culinary innovation, offers up their latest techniques and approaches to raw food dining. This cookbook guides you to prepare raw foods in a contemporary, artistic manner utilizing the best ingredients. The recipes are grouped by method: found, let, sprouted, spun, dried, smoked, sealed, cured, pressed, fermented, aged, sweetened, blended, and juiced, and make soups, salads, cheeses, main courses, desserts, and drinks.

I have reviewed raw food books before, but in Plant Food  I saw recipes I had never seen and flavor combinations I had never thought of.  Even if you are not a member of the raw food revolution, you are sure to find recipes that will change the boring old vegetables into something wonderful.  

I made the Zucchini Hummus in mere minutes and it was a treat to eat with the Fennel Crisps and fresh cut vegetables.  Some of the recipes will require special tools like a dehydrator, but there are plenty that do not.  This book inspires you to create beautiful and nutritious meals.  Huge bonus...Bento lunches for my daughter just got a whole lot more colorful!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Osmia Luz

If you read this blog, then you know I am constantly spreading the Osmia Organics love.  Since going natural, this brand has become one of my all-time favorites and my multiple orders for their body oils speak for themselves.  I am Product Mommy and I am addicted to Osmia Organics.  Osmia Organics recently launched their newest face soap and serum by the adorable name of Luz.

Luz Enzyme Facial Soap is a golden treat in the box!
Organic pumpkin and tomato are incorporated into our well-loved facial soap recipe for a gentle yet effective enzymatic exfoliation.  The mild exfoliating action is complimented by the soothing, softening action of organic honey and camellia seed oil.  Essential oils of carrot seed, carrot root, rosewood, and geranium are all known for their restorative skin effects, and provide a soft, green, herbal scent to the bar.  Calms the senses, brightens the complexion.

I could rhapsodize about the scent (herbal goodness), but let me first explore the amazing benefits of this soap.  It soothes my skin while giving my face a boost of glowing goddess.  I have been using this every day and it is something I really have begun to look forward to.  It cleanses away the day while really doing some sort of magic for my skin.  I recently had some dry cheeks from the summer and this eliminated those patches entirely!

 The new Luz Brightening Face Serum continues where the soap leaves off.
Organic argan and camellia oils are the base for this divine brightening serum.  Silky broccoli seed and prickly pear oils provide a velvety texture - the oil sinks in almost immediately.  Botanical actives such as gotu kola, algae, and wheatgrass help soothe irritation and enhance tone.  This sublime serum is also enhanced with papaya, pumpkin, and mushroom extracts, which help the skin maintain a luminous appearance.  

Osmia recommends using this treat a few times a week until skin adjusts.  This is really a surprise for the skin.  It works best for normal, dry and mature complexions, so I use this once a week before bed to give my skin a glow.  The next morning I can hop out of bed and no foundation is needed.  It does what it says...makes skin appear luminous.

Can  Osmia Organics  every go wrong?  Not in my book. I am happily stuck to their site watching for new products to love and enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Homesteader's Kitchen

The Homesteader's Kitchen by Robin Burnside is the kind of cookbook you find yourself reaching for again and again.

Robin Burnside's delicious, wholesome recipes for nurturing and nutritious meals make use of whole foods from the garden or farmers market. Since what we eat has a considerable affect on our well-being, she gives tips on choosing the finest quality ingredients along with cooking hints and suggestions to help create meals for optimal health and dining satisfaction. From refreshing beverages, filling breakfasts, crisp salads, and hot soups to homemade breads, grilled meats and fish, vegetarian meals, and luscious desserts, this cookbook has it all-the best whole foods, locally and sustainably grown, served with love.

It embraces using ingredients that are the freshest and most local...something I love.  These recipes use ingredients you have on hand at home.  The flavor combinations are a hit with young and old alike.  We recently enjoyed the Bali Toast.  We enjoyed it so much I made an extra batch to freeze so mornings were a little easier.  The combination of yogurt with banana gave this French toast variant a real boost.

I recently ended up with an abundance of fennel (weird I know), and was desperate to use it.  I love fennel and it does amazing things for the stomach.  I made the Spinach, Fennel, Tangerine salad and experienced all of the goodness without the midday food slump.

I look forward to trying more recipes.  The Cranberry-Tangerine relish is going to make a big appearance this fall.  Flavors delight!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rare El'ements

Not all haircare is created equal.  Sometimes hair needs a little TLC and no chemicals!  After reading yet another review that praised Rare Elements, I knew I had to check it out for myself.  Rare Elements is a luxury hair brand which currently consists of five out-of-this world products.

No silicones, No sulfates, No parabens, No synthetic fragrances, JUST PURE LUXURY!
Rare Elements began as a simple and distinct hair collection and has quickly become one of the most respected names in hair care. The Rare El’ements Collection is endorsed by top celebrity stylists and includes five luxury spa products. Each product contains the most exotic and quintessential ingredients in the world, making up the "Rare" in Rare El’ements. “We've taken an everyday routine and turned it into a luxurious pampering experience by developing a simple, yet effective, collection that is ideal for restoring and maintaining the hair's integrity.”

The Pure Shampoo Hydrating Hair Bathe is hands-down the best smelling shampoo I have ever used.   The Pure Shampoo is the first sulfate-free product that has converted the sustaining power of nature into a salon quality hair bathe.
This anti-aging shampoo properly washes the hair with rare Kalahari watermelon seed oil that naturally dissolves sebum and product build-up, which can ultimately lead to thinning hair and irritating scalp conditions.
The ultra lush blend of nutrient-rich Blackseed oil, along with the hydrating and moisture boosting benefits of Murumuru Butter and the “African Miracle oil” Marula, are just part of what makes washing your hair the ultimate pampering experience. It is ideal for color-treated or moisture-deprived hair.
The herbal-scent is something I have become addicted to.  I cannot believe how well this shampoo works.  It has the lather I admit to wanting, without all of the chemicals I really hate.  It gently cleanses my hair without weighing it down.  

The Essential Lite Conditioner is a breath of fresh air (literally).  
The Essential Lite Conditioner is a diverse, multipurpose, lightweight, daily treatment that works on all hair types. This hydrating conditioner is perfect for those looking for a nutrient-rich, shine-enhancing conditioner that adds a little more volume to their tresses.  Not only does this product restore, re-hydrate and add shine, it also helps shape and form the hair to make blow-drying and styling a lot easier. The all-natural active ingredients feature Murumuru butter, Marula African “Miracle oil”, the healing elements of Camelina and the deep nourishment of Baobab. Ideal for normal and fine hair.

I have naturally curly hair and this is the first conditioner to not weigh it down.  It does the job of moisturizing to perfection without leaving me with overly-slick, lifeless locks.  This conditioner would be my desert island must-have.

The search is over!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Butter Elixir

Butter Elixir  is one of the cleanest lines I have ever had the pleasure to use.  It was created by three yogis in New York City who were searching for a clean way to moisturize their skin after yoga.  The result was a carefully crafted line of three products which really nourish the skin.

The Butter Elixir is made with natural oils that are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.  It can be used on both skin and hair to nourish and moisturize.  I prefer to use it on my skin after a long relaxing bath.  This miracle oil is made with Argan and Sweet Almond oil and scented with lavender and chamomile oils.  It does for skin for a thick lip balm does for lips (you can also use it as a lip balm).  It wraps you in a cocoon of moisture and the scent is to die for.

Butter Elixir Face is a blend of Rose Hip Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Argan Oil and Rose Essential Oil.  It protects skin while reversing sun damage and preventing wrinkles.  This little powerhouse balances combination skin (which I can attest to), while being strong enough to moisturize dry skin.  With repeated use I have had less under skin eruptions and much happier skin.  I usually always have red cheeks after showering and this really helps with any inflammation.

Butter Elixir Lip has not left my bag since the day I got it.  Flavored with Cardamom and Vanilla, this is a Chai treat for the lips.  Argan Oil, Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter blend to moisturize you lips like none other.  This even passes my "sleeping through the night and waking up with lip balm" test.

I love how natural and healing the line is.  Nothing is offensively overly-scented, but yet they all smell so wonderful and comforting.  Namaste

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


By now you know about the benefits of raw cacao.  If not, you have really been living under the rock.  Just kidding, but really.  Cacao beans contain natural chemicals called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound that promotes general health and might lower your risk of several diseases. One type of flavonoid, called anthocyanidin, is especially high in cacao beans, along with other compounds called epicatechins. These compounds are powerful antioxidants and, according to a study in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" published in 2003, are especially concentrated in cocoa, a product of cacao beans. In that study, researchers compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity among the four products and the greatest potential for health benefits.  I was pretty chuffed when I saw a company was making drinking chocolate that would bring all of these benefits and taste good (because hey, that's important too).  CaCoCo is a drinking chocolate that will change your view on healthy and tasty.

CaCoCo is an all organic, superfood drinking chocolate, as good nutritionally for the body as it is good tasting.  We use whole, raw cacao beans, low-glycemic, mineral-rich sweeteners like coconut nectar crystals and carob, and fresh warming spices like true cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground vanilla bean.  CaCoCo is dairy-free, gluten free, and contains no major allergens like soy, corn, and cane sugar. Healthy, whole, nourishing foods are fundamental to the philosophy of CaCoCo, and there are a number of other key features to keep in mind for why CaCoCo stands out from other chocolate beverages or superfood drinks!

I add    CaCoCo  to smoothies and even for hot chocolate drinks.  Because I cannot have dairy, this is a huge bonus for me!  My whole family loves it and when a cousin recently found out she is gluten-intolerant, I loaded her up with samples and she was amazed at how good the drinks were.   CaCoCo comes in three flavors including, Original, Global Warrior and Essential Midnight. I favor Global Warrior and my daughter and husband favor the other two.  

Sip your troubles away in a healthy way that tastes as good as it sounds.

Use code "productmommy" to save 10% on your order!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Word is Verb!

I have always been picky about what I use on my hair.  I am also a stay at home momma, so super-expensive hair care is not always an option.  I like things to be as natural as possible, so what it is a momma to do?  Verb!  Verb is an amazing haircare line that has all the good without any of the bad stuff!

Verb is a family of smart, professional-grade hair care products priced within reach of every salon customer. Our salon-quality hair products are color-safe, free of harmful sulfates, parabens and gluten and are made in the U.S.A. without animal testing. Nothing bad, lots of good.

I got to try a few products and I am in love!  The Leave-In Mist is a must for scream-free kid-combing and mom's fried hair!  Verb Leave-In Mist is the essential step between washing and styling and is a must have for kids with truly unruly hair. This Formula was created it: moisturize, detangle, nourish, smooth, tame frizz, repair ends, add shine, prevent breakage, enhance elasticity, protect from heat, prep for styling. It smells amazing!  I am kind of obsessed with this product.  I love how easily it detangles my daughter's mane (she has ridiculously thick hair) and it actually leaves my curls frizz-free.  


Paraben gluten and sulfate free while also vegan-friendly. Hydrolyzed Quinoa (Chenopodium) Protein offers natural hair conditioning to smooth and soften the hair and improve combability. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Keratin Protein absorbs easily into the hair shaft and is responsible for keeping hair strong and pliable. Argania Spinosa Kernal (Argan) Oil has highly restorative qualities that keep hair smooth and shiny. Camellia Oleifera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract helps prevent free radical damage. Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Extract strengthens the hair follicle and helps retain moisture. Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil rejuvenates and strengthens for shiny, smooth and healthier hair.

The Volume Spray  gives your hair curves for days!  It has the same fabulous and non-cloying scent of the Leave-In.  I may be getting older, but with this product, my hair is only getting fuller!


Paraben and gluten-free with no harmful sulfates, Volume Spray is also vegan-friendly. Hydrolyzed Quinoa (Chenopodium) Protein offers natural hair conditioning to smooth and soften the hair and improve combability. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Keratin Protein absorbs easily into the hair shaft and is responsible for keeping hair strong and pliable . Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract is a natural sunscreen that guards against dryness and color fading or brassiness. Patented Copolymer builds hair volume and provides natural hold.

For the days when washing my hair is not an option, I have the Dry Shampoo to keep my hair looking fresh
without all of the extra work.  Moms are busy!   I also have fine hair, but a lot of it, so washing my hair daily is never a good option for me.
BenefitsParaben, Sulfate and Gluten-Free as well as vegan-friendly light weight oil gently cleanses the hair while adding light volume. Tapioca Starch, a renewable resource raw material, absorbs oils and impurities from hair. OurVege-Tech Super Fruit Antioxidant Complex is a synergistic herbal complex contains powerful anti-oxidants to quench free-radicals generated by environmental stress, it contains anti-inflammatory properties and is a renewable resource raw material. Glycerin is a renewable resource raw material that naturally binds moisture to the skin improving skin softness and feel.

I am so thrilled to have discovered this amazing line.  Verb is the word for affordable, fabulous hair care.  

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