Monday, July 21, 2014

Makin Chocolate Popsicles

Popsicles or as Lille has been calling them Lollies are become a fast favorite of the girls.  They are definitely an outdoor treat, but fun.  The girls are even getting involved with the making of the popsicles, probably more for the tasting and licking of the spoons. As Franki says "I taste please".  

This is a chocolate and vanilla mix popsicle.  You could even do a multi layer if you had multiple puddings made up.

Fresh from the freezer.  Just run under warm water and the mold releases.  

This is a vanilla custard with fresh strawberries.  (great use for left over eclair filling)

Vanilla Custard Recipe

2 cups coconut/almond milk blend (any kind, but not nonfat) 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
4 egg yolks, at room temperature 
1/4 cup amount cornstarch 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

In a medium-size heavy-bottom saucepan, place the milk, sugar and salt, and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. While the milk is coming to a simmer, in a medium, heat-safe bowl, mix together the cornstarch and egg yolks until smooth. The mixture will be thick and relatively stiff. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, remove from the heat and drizzle the hot milk very slowly into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This is to prevent the egg yolks from scrambling, but the mixture will inevitably clump a bit. Once the milk has all been added to the egg yolk mixture, transfer the whole mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the custard has begun to bubble and thicken (about 1 minute). Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the vanilla extract. Continue to whisk the custard until it is no longer hot to the touch. Place custard in popsicle containers, and freeze until firm.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lash Project and a Giveaway

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I have never found a mascara that could compare and I have tried many brands.  I grew up with our neighborhood Mary Kay lady teaching how to apply makeup so I didn't look like Tammy Faye Bakker.  I moved on to high end department store brands, then to a more natural approach before finding Red Apple Lipstick last year.  WOW!  If you have seen any of my video reviews you know I am in love with RAL.  So what is all this screaming from the mountains about?  Products that are gluten free, paraben free, vegan, soy free, cruelty free, allergen free, corn free and dairy free!  The make up last all day and I still have to wash it off every night, now that is awesome makeup with staying power.

RAL's brand new product is The Lash Project a 2 in 1 mascara and conditioner.  I am in love again!  I was using another allergen free mascara and did doesn't even come close. 

RAL has assessed every "pain point" that a woman could possibly have when wearing mascara. Each of these pain points are powerful things that you will not have to deal with anymore. 
The pain points TLP has solved:

  • Clumping
  • Spidering
  • Smudging
  • Flaking
  • Eye irritations: itchy, scratchy watery eyes
  • Puffy and red eyelids
  • Short, stubby lashes
  • Lashes that grow in weird directions
  • Lashes that fall out
  • Mascara that’s hard to remove and therefore you scrub your eyes too hard
The Lash Project is:
Gluten Free, Paraben Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, Vegan (synthetic beeswax, not the stuff from real bees), Cruelty Free, Dairy Free, Plasticizer Free, GMO free, Glycol Free, Nut Free, & SLS free

The issue is that mainstream mascaras are laden with nasty ingredients that are well known to actually clog your eyelash follicles and over time create damage like itchy, puffy eyes, styes, lashes that fall out, or grow stubbily (yep RAL is making this a word!).

But we can reverse the damage. By using a mascara that actually has conditioning ingredients in it, we can take back our lashes. The follicle will be conditioned on a daily basis while you wear TLP, it won’t be clogged, and your lashes over time will be able to return to their healthy state – the way they were when you were a teenager, before you wore mascara.

RAL have written a wealth of information on the topic. It’s long, but I implore you to read it to really gain an understanding of why TLP is so different than typical mascaras and therefore why it costs $42 and not $17. The Lash Project launches July 31st

It’s important for you to understand we are not talking about just mascara. You will feel the difference from the first moment you try TLP. I do not feel the weight on my eyes of mascara and when I brush my lashes with my hand they are soft. My lashes feel naked, but look amazing! Your daily makeup routine will be transformed when you put down the tube of $17 mascara that has the same nasty ingredients that the drugstore $7 mascara has in it – and switches to something actually good for your lashes. 

Did you know that 98% of all cosmetic companies are owned by 3 main corporations. So if you switch “brands” 6 times they don’t care – you’ve probably switched to one of theirs containing the same ingredients – but because it’s a higher end brand name, they can charge you more for it. It’s the perception of choice yet, not being given one at all.

How about the number of mascaras you might have tried over the course of a year, how much cumulatively did you spend trying to find the right one? TLP will last approximately 6 months with normal usage. It will not dry out in the tube when you know there’s more left in there. 

But best of all...if someone still doesn’t like it after all of that – they have six months to get their money back or exchange it for something else. This is unheard of in the personal care industry. RAL believes so much in TLP that I would rather take the risk out of your hands and just have you try it. Just give RAL a chance to help you.

Now for your chance to win it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Incase you just can't wait to see if you won RAL is offer my readers a special discount of 22% using the code GFMOMVIP on any order size of $50+ during launch week.
My favorite lipgloss is Hot Mess, so I’m offering my readers a 22% discount on a new mascara and a lipstick or lipgloss of your choice – Hot Mess is a great choice!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jimmy Bars Review and Giveaway

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Recently we got to try Jimmy Bar snack bars and I have to say YUM.  My favorite is the How 'Bout Dem Apples bar.  It taste like a apple spice cake and if you know me at all you know I love dessert as much as my Grandma Tippey always did.  Grandma was the lady when you asked if she wanted pie or cake would always respond both please (just a little bit of each) but would eat a whole piece of each and enjoy it.  

Jimmy Bar is a family owned business from the Chicago area that produces a clean and tasty snack.  I loved throwing these in my bag to take with me.  I ate them for breakfast with coffee, as a snack at work and in the afternoon with a glass of tea.  The bars are made with only ingredients that you can read and no additives or preservatives.  They use no sugar as the bars are naturally sweetened with dates and I love that they contain no food coloring too. 

Jimmy Bar can boast they are:
  • Non Artificial
  • Dairy-Free
  • Family Owned
  • Gluten Free
  • Yummy
  • No Added Sugar

And now….. you can get your own goodies!  

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Popsicles

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Do you remember those fudgesicles as a kid?  How they tasted like chocolate pudding but were perfectly frozen to beat the heat of summer?  In grade school I lived in Tucson and let me tell you it was hot during the summers.  My parents has an old station wagon with vinyl seats and no air conditioning. The treats of summer were fudgesicles and orange pushups.  Once in a while we would get a red white and blue rocket popsicle.  

There are a few dairy free and gluten free frozen treats you can get.  One of my girls favorites is made by Philly Swirls.  Although when it comes to a fudgesicle I have not found one that reminds me of my childhood.  So last week we made up a batch of dairy free chocolate pudding and put it in our molds.  The girls loved them!  I actually did get one to eat too.

The ideas are endless from dairy free pudding, to smoothies that you can freeze for a summer treat.  Comment below with your favorite homemade popsicle idea.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gluten Free Beer Options and Where to Find them!

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When I first went gluten free I thought I would never have a beer and pizza night again. When my hubby and I were dating we had a tradition of walking across the street for deep dish Chicago style pizza and beer after work on Fridays.  I do miss this even today. Well as you know the gluten free pizza is alive and kicking in our house and we actually have a ritual day every week of "Make your own pizza" on Friday nights.

In the last year I have learned about many gluten free beer options and have a few new beer favorites.  I was first introduced to Bards last year at the GFAF Expo in Chicago and love how it reminded me of the way beer use to taste.  Before being gluten free I preferred to drink German Pilseners, now I mainly drink white wines.  Bards is made with sorghum instead of barley.  Over the past year I have tasted Omission (Will's favorite GF beer), New Planet (I really like their Belgian) and New Grist.  There are also several ciders available gluten free as they do not use wheat or barley in production.  I really am not a fan of hard cider but there are many options.

Fox News even recently had an article on 6 gluten free beers you need to try. You can find it here

Now where to find these Jewels in the Chicago area:

Fresh Thyme in Prospect Heights carries all of them as you can see from the photo above.

D'vine Wine in Palatine carries New Planet and Red Bridge.

Ultra Foods and Strack & Van Til carries New Planet.

Binny's carries several of the Cider options.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wildtree Freezer Meal Fun!

I recently hosted a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop and had a blast!  I had over a few favorite friends and we got our cooking on.  If you have never been to a freezer meal workshop, go do it!  You pick out your meal plan first, I choose the grilling bundle from Wildtree (gluten free ingredients and great for summer). Step 2 - go shopping for your protein.  When I got home from the grocery store I chopped and placed all the items in numbered freezer bags.  My guest did this at the workshop.  They showed up with fresh meat and veggies, then did all the prep at the workshop. In the future I will be doing my prep at the workshop as well.  Then you just make up your meals with the Wildtree spices, sauces and seasoning.  Place in a freezer bag with a direction label.  Truly a simple process and great fun.  

We have been eating a few of our meals this week.  My family loved the Herb Grilled Shrimp Skewers, I made risotto to go with it (recipe below) and the Grilled Asian Ginger Chicken Skewers.  I really love know that we have fresh ingredient meals in the freezer for the days I don't feel like cooking or simply don't want to go to the grocery store (I know I am not the only one who has these days, right?)

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"Get Your Grill On" Freezer Meal Workshop Menu
  • Asian Ginger Beef Tips
  • Herb Grilled Chicken & Fire Roasted Veggies
  • Agave BBQ Country Ribs
  • Cheddar & Garlic Turkey Sliders
  • Savory Grilled Tilapia
  • Rodeo Blue Cheese Burgers with Grilled Onion Strings
  • Herb Grilled Shrimp Skewers
  • Hickory Grilled Rodeo Chicken
  • Rancher Grilled Steaks with Blue Cheese "crowns"
  • Grilled Asian Ginger Chicken Skewers
A Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop makes the best girls night for busy moms.  Some wine, snacks and frozen meals all add up to time savings and less stress.  Schedule your's today with Michelle.

Garlic Herb Risotto
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbs Wildtree European Dipping Oil-Garlic
1 cup pinot giro 
1 tbs Wildtree Herb Grilling Marinade

Heat a large sauté pan, to medium heat add 2 tablespoons Wildtree European Dipping Oil-Garlic. Stir until all rice is coated with oil and fragrant. Increase heat to high, add wine and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously to agitate the rice. Then reduce heat to medium and cook till the wine is almost all gone. Add chicken broth and Wildtree Herb Grilling Marinade. Cook while stirring constantly until all broth has been incorporated about 20 minutes. Add grilled shrimp and enjoy. 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Red Apple Lipstick does Summer

These are my new summer favorites from Red Apple Lipstick
- Eye Liner in Black
- Eye Shadow in Mermaid Lagoon
- Eye Shadow in Golden Girl
- Lip Gloss in Cabernet Kiss
and my new Z Palette

Ok the tips and tricks for a mom are: a go to lip gloss and prime time eye primer.  The video below shows you a full makeup application in under 5 minutes from start to finish.  Yes! Mom's can look fabulous too!  I know there are days when you just want a pony tail and hoodie, but most days I still have to go out in the world. Red Apple Lipstick products have become my favorite, not only are they gluten free but they are also paraben free along with several other allergen causing ingredients.  My skin looks great, my makeup last all day (literally I have to wash it off at night - how many mom's can say that?) and my skin feels great.  No more creasing or fading makeup during the day.  This stuff holds up to the summer heat and humidity in Chicago and goes the distance.  Red Apple Lipstick has my vote!  Tell Jay and Andrea that GF Mom sent you!

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