Apple Sardine Salad

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Oh! Oh!  I’ve got another good one for you guys!  How many of you like tuna salad?  Well, would you like it even better without the high mercury content?  Unfortunately, tuna contains high levels of mercury these days…too bad, because it does have some great health benefits.  However, I’ve got a solution…SARDINES!!!  Sardines have all the protein of tuna, all the omega-3’s, all the awesome health benefits, but with much less mercury!

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You may be thinking “ew!”, but when you get boneless and skinless sardines in water and mash em up, they actually bare a great resemblance to tuna!  I tested out this theory by subbing in sardines for tuna on this tuna salad mix that I made – it’s just as tasty, and much better for you!  I made a few other substitutions, such as using greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, making this salad super great for you!  I also added apples, which isn’t always a normal ingredient in tuna salad, but wow!  It lends itself perfectly to this dish!  Plus, it adds the health benefits of apples to it!

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Alright, a quick note before getting to the recipe.  You can omit the arugula, and use this as a great sandwich filling, or as an excellent dip for crackers or the like.  Okay, are you ready for the recipe?  Here you go!

APPLE SARDINE SALAD

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 1 apple, cored and chopped (I used honey crisp, but you can use any kind)
  • 1 can sardines, boneless and skinless in water
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional, but they go really well with this salad)
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • dash of sea salt
  • 3-4 cups chopped arugula

Directions

1.) Split the arugula between two plates, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

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2.) Add all the other ingredients to a bowl, then stir to combine.

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3.) Top the arugula with the salad, then mix to combine.

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Super yummy, and packed with nutrition!  Enjoy! 🙂

DIY Pore Refining Baking Soda Scrub

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Ya know, being in my 40’s is kinda rad…except the part where my pores appear to be growing at an exponential rate as though they are trying to eat my face.  Okay, I’m exaggerating…a lot, so don’t be scared of your 40’s!  However, it is inevitable that we all eventually begin to show signs of aging, and pores are a part of that.

It is unfortunate that most store bought facial products, even ones that claim to be natural or organic,  contain a lot of really harmful and toxic chemicals that are not good for us!  And it’s not like there’s just a couple of them (though there are some that are worse than others), there’s tons of them.  It is nearly impossible to find store-bought skin care products that don’t contain some sort of unwanted chemical causing an unwanted side effect.  Speaking of side effects, the side effects from these chemicals can range from a little bit of skin irritation to something as severe as cancer or even death!

I don’t know about you, but I think that if I’m weighing my options of healthy looking skin and staying alive, I think I’m gonna choose staying alive!  The good news is that most any skin ailment has a natural remedy that you can make yourself with a few natural and non-toxic ingredients, pores included!

I was looking around pinterest for D.I.Y. pore refining ideas, and one ingredient I kept coming across was baking soda, so I searched “baking soda for the skin” and was pleasantly surprised with how many uses this safe ingredient has for the skin, hair, and health in general!  The following pin links to a site describing THIRTY-THREE of those benefits!

bakingsodaforskin

After reading up on baking soda for the skin, I found that this is a great ingredient for cleansing and, in turn, refining the pores.  A lot of the masks that I found used just baking soda and water, orange juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or some other liquid that didn’t provide any moisture to the skin.  I knew that that wouldn’t do, so I decided to just mix some baking soda with some coconut oil, and Wah-la!  I had a great pore refining scrub that also provides a whole bunch of great moisture and anti-aging benefits because of the coconut oil.  That’s right, just two simple and safe ingredients, and the results are just as good, if not better, than store bought products!  Woo-hoo!

PORE REFINING BAKING SODA FACIAL SCRUB

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. baking soda Experiment with this to know the amount that is good for you.  If you have sensitive skin, start with just 1/4 tsp. and see how you do.

Directions:

1.) Mix together the coconut oil and baking soda in a small bowl.

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2.) Apply to face, and gently exfoliate by using your fingers to scrub (gently) in a circular motion, paying close attention to any areas in which your pores are more noticeable.  Continue for 5-10 minutes and then leave on for an additional 5 minutes.

3.) Gently remove using a soft cloth and cool water.  Gently Pat dry.

That’s all there is to it! Enjoy! 🙂

10 Bible Verses to Bring in the New Year

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Happy New Year!!!  The new year always represents a fresh start with new goals and new year’s resolutions. It also involves letting the disappointments of the past year go and moving forward in trust of Him and with no fear. I don’t know about you, but I want to squeeze every last drop out of my time here on earth that God’s blessed me with while spreading every word and act of kindness and encouragement that I possibly can this year!

Of course, we can’t go it alone, and the good news is that we don’t have to! He is always with us, protecting us, loving us, and making a way for us. He’s so enamored with us, and I hope that in the new year that if you haven’t already, you will come to grasp just how fond of you He truly is.

In the spirit of the new year, I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite bible verses that I like to meditate on on New Year’s Day, and guess what? I’m gonna share them with you!!!

1.) 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2corinthians5-17

2.) Isaiah 43:19 ~ See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

isaiah 43-18-19

3.) Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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4.) Proverbs 23:18 ~ There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

proverbs 23-18

5.) Lamentations 3: 22 – 23 ~ Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

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6.) Ezekiel 11:19 ~ I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

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7.) Micah 7:7 ~ But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

micah 7-7

8.) Isaiah 40:31 ~ But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

isaiah 40-31

9.) Psalm 90:12 ~ So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

psalm 90-12

10.) Proverbs 16:9 ~ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

proverbs 16-9

No matter where your at in your journey in the new year, you can rest assured that God has you in the palm of His hand and knows exactly what you need to become the best possible you and experience all the blessings He has in store for you! You are loved, friends, with a deep and unfathomable love. Take rest in Him in the new year and watch as His plans for your good unfold! Happy New Year!!!

happy new year

Healthy Almond Honey Cookies

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Guys…Christmas season = Cookie season, which is awesome and not awesome at the same time, because cookies are delicious, but let’s face it…they aren’t usually good for you!  Well, this time of the year, I always try to find a healthy cookie recipe that really does taste like a cookie, and if I might say so myself, I’ve definitely succeeded this year!

These almond honey cookies are SO yummy!  You know how a perfect cookie  is a little bit crisp just on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside…um, yes…these cookies!  They are the PERFECT texture, and guys, they really taste like a cookie…not just like a healthy substitute for a cookie!  BUT…they are, in fact, healthy!  The main ingredients are almond butter, raw honey, and almond flour, all of which have some really great health benefits!  Oh oh!!!  And, guys, they’re GLUTEN FREE!!!

Both almond butter and almond flour have all the health benefits of almonds, some of which include

  • Good for heart health
  • Helps thwart cancer formation
  • Good for blood sugar management
  • Can aid in weight management
  • Good for energy levels

almond flour

Although raw honey is a sugar, it has so many great benefits that if you’re going to have sugar, it’s probably one of your best options, since many of its benefits counteract the drawbacks of sugar!  The following pin explains 50, that’s right FIFTY, healthy benefits of raw honey!

honey

Phew!  That’s a lot!  So, as you can see, these cookies that actually taste like cookies really are good for you, so they are great to have on hand during the holiday season!  I like to have a batch made whenever I’m going to be baking cookies for get togethers or to hand out to friends and neighbors.  They keep me from indulging on cookies with less desirable ingredients while still giving me my cookie fix!  No need to feel deprived during cookie season!

ALMOND HONEY COOKIES

Ingredients (makes 1 dozen cookies)

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. alcohol free vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix them together.  If the batter seems too runny add a bit more almond flour until you could handle it with your hands – though it will be sticky.

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2.) Drop the batter on the prepared baking sheet by spoonful.  Use a fork to gently impress a criss cross pattern on the top of each cookie.  If the batter is sticking to the fork, try dipping the fork in a bit of almond flour and then creating the criss cross pattern.  These will get bigger as they bake, so leave some space in between them.

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3.) Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing.

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4.) Remove from the sheet and chow down!

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SO SO SO GOOD!!!  Yay to being able to enjoy cookie season without sacrificing good health to do it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Lighted Wood Christmas Craft

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Aren’t these the most darling lil crafts ever?  These are what I am giving out as Christmas gifts this year…hmmm…hopefully my friends and family don’t read this before they get them! 😉

I love these things, because they look really nice and rustic, but they’re actually not all that hard to put together!  Of course, if you LOVE the way they look as much as I do, and you don’t feel like having to do it yourself, you can also easily purchase these on my Etsy store too!

They make for a perfect Christmas decoration, and the lights in them give such a warm and cozy ambience to any room they may be displayed in!  The wood is unfinished, and I put a light coat of gray paint on them to make them look nice and rustic.  They are just perfect for a nice looking Christmas decoration!

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You can hang this craft on the wall, or you can display it on a shelf or table.  Regardless of how you display it, believe me, you will LOVE the way it looks!

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Let’s get to the instructions on how to make this!

LIGHTED WOOD CHRISTMAS CRAFTS

Materials Needed:

  • Unfinished block of wood (like a side of a crate) – I got mine at Amazon here.  It’s perfect, because it has the hardware for hanging it on the wall already installed.
  • pencil
  • Stencil of the design you would like to paint on
  • tape
  • measuring tape
  • drill (size of the drill bit is up to you – bigger = more light)
  • dark grey paint
  • white paint
  • paint sponge
  • paint brush
  • toothpicks
  • Craft glue (I use Crafter’s Pick – it’s the best)
  • LED wire lights (you can get these here)
  • cuttable cork board
  • scissors
  • Large thumbtacks (4)

Directions:

1.) Use your tape measure to place your stencil in the middle of the wood accurately. Tape in place, and do a light sketch of the stencil onto the wood with your pencil.

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2.) Remove the stencil and draw in dots around your stenciled design where you want to have your light holes.  Use a drill to drill holes over those dots.

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3.) Mix your gray paint with a bit of water, and use your sponge paintbrush to paint your board gray.  Let dry completely.

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4.) Once the paint is dry, place your stencil back on the board in the same position you had it on there before.  Tape into place, and use your paintbrush and your white paint to paint the stencil onto the wood. Carefully remove the stencil. Don’t worry if it’s a little sloppy – we will clean it up in the next step.

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5.) Use a toothpick and both paints to clean up the stencil design on the wood.

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6.) Flip the piece of wood over.  On the back, glue your battery pack of your LED lights along the bottom of the wood.  Arrange your LED lights in a pattern so that the lights line up with the holes you drilled.  Tape into place, then glue into place by placing drops of glue along the wires (not on the lights).  Allow the glue to dry completely, and then you can remove the tape.

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7.) After the glue is completely dry, use your tape measure to measure a piece of cork board that you can lay over the back to cover up the wires and lights.  Cut out the piece of cork board using your scissors, and then lay it over the wires, but keeping the battery pack outside of the cork board.

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8.) Use four thumbtacks to secure the cork board into place, taking care not to poke a thumbtack into the wires.

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You’re all set!  The on/off switch for the lights is on the battery pack.  Display your finished product proudly! 🙂

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Enjoy! 🙂

Healthy Creamy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

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Alright, guys!  I have a new slow cooker favorite!!!  Wow!  This stuff is so incredibly good, and with it being a slow cooker recipe, it is SO easy to make!  On top of all that, it’s REALLY healthy!

I got the idea for this soup from the following pin.

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This looked so tasty, and I had some sweet potatoes on hand, so I decided to see what I could come up with!  The recipe that the pin links to isn’t a slow cooker recipe, I changed pretty much all of the ingredients and spices to use ones I had on hand, and I didn’t put the end result into a food processor, but it still was my inspiration to come up with this soup, and for that I’m super thankful!  Like I said, this is my new favorite!!!  Let’s get to the recipe!

HEALTHY CREAMY SLOW COOKER SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 4-5 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese

Directions

1.) Prepare all your veggies.  Put the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, red onion, green onion, broth, garlic granules, thyme, paprika, and sea salt in the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours.

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2.) After the veggies are all cooked and tender, turn off the slow cooker and add the almond milk and goat cheese to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine completely.

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3.) Use a ladle to transfer to bowls to serve.

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You will seriously love me for introducing you to this soup if you try it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Pumpkin Smoothie

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I know that Fall and Winter don’t usually scream “Smoothie time!”, but this smoothie will have you thinking differently.  After all, doesn’t fall mean pumpkin everything? 🙂  This is a pumpkin smoothie that is beyond delicious, incredibly good for you, and very filling.  In case you aren’t already familiar with some of the excellent health benefits of pumpkin, here’s a pin explaining some of them.

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Pretty awesome, huh?  So, I think the pumpkin says it all!  Let’s get to the recipe!

PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Pumpkin pie spice, to taste
  • Stevia, to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth.

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Transfer to a cup to serve.

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Perfect Fall/Winter smoothie!  Enjoy! 🙂