A Sentimental Post

Hey guys!

Oh my goodness, it has been forEVER since I’ve posted. I miss you guys so much. My life has been INSANE though and I have had no time to blog. My meals have been so boring and repetitive, so I have no food pictures for you at all. I’m sorry. :/ I will tell you that I have had a hummus, avocado and black bean sandwich for lunch every day this week, though. Pretty exciting, I know. I can also update you on my life, if you’d like?

Well, last time we talked I told you about my ballroom showcase. That is over and done, and it went very well. Smile Everyone did an awesome job and it was a nice send out from my ballroom team in Texas.





Here’s a video of my West Coast Swing routine. West Coast Swing is my absolute favorite dance, so I had a good time with this one. Smile

We had a great time. When that ended, my life was overwhelmed with packing. Let me just tell you guys, this move was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was SO hard to pack up my life of 17 years. I’ve always lived in that home, in that city, and to leave it was extremely challenging. Many tears were shed on moving day and the farewell party the night before, but we had a lot of great friends that came to soften the blow. Two families that our family has been with close with for MANY years (I met one of them when I was two!) came over to comfort us and be with us the day we left. They stayed with us up until the moment we pulled out of the driveway for the last time, and it was so nice.

Another thing that happened recently, I am very sad to say, was the passing of my amazing grandpa. He passed away on July 4th, 2011. He was my dad’s dad, and I was very, very close with him. It was very unexpected.. he was only 68 and he died of a random heart attack. It was one of the most shocking, unexpected things I have ever had to deal with and it was extremely hard. I learned so many wonderful lessons from my grandpa, but the one lesson I will never forget was his constant example of charity. My grandpa was the most giving, helpful person I have ever met. He always looked for opportunities to serve others and help them, even when it wasn’t easy for him to do so. I hope to one day be like him and help others as much as he did. I love and miss him so much.

Another important lesson that my grandpa taught me was the value of hard work. Although he was extremely charitable, he believed that it was important to work hard for your rewards. He gave my oldest brother, Brady, a car, but only after Brady had worked for many years and received his Eagle Scout requirement. Even then, the car was what you would call “a fixer-upper.” I’ve been to some church camps that my grandpa offered to help with financially, but not until I spent all day up at his apartment, deep-cleaning the inside and working on the garden and bushes outside. He showed me that rewards come from effort and dedication.

One thing I was always grateful for was the amount of time my grandpa spent with me. My other grandparents live out of state, but Grandpa Edwards was a mere 30 minutes away. He took full advantage of that, and I have many memories of random lunch trips, zoo exhibitions, and Christmas mornings with him. He was so funny and loved to tease. Some of my cousins called him the “silly grandpa” because of his silly personality. Grandpa could always make me happy. He was a special man and I feel honored to be called his granddaughter.

Unfortunately, the fourth of July will never be the same for me again, but I can’t help but think how appropriate it is. It is so like my grandpa to want to go out with a bang—the bigger, the better. Although the signing of the Declaration of Independence is extremely important, from now on, the fireworks on the fourth of July will be a representation and reminder of my amazing, funny, charitable, generous, kind and happy Grandpa Edwards.

grandpa edwardsThomas Wayne Edwards
(May 27, 1943 – July 4, 2011)

Even though there have been lots of challenges lately, there have also been a lot of positive things. So far, our move to Utah has been excellent. I’m really enjoying it here. The weather is wonderful and the summer is so nice. Everyone here has a garden, which is the coolest thing ever. We visited some friends yesterday and they allowed us to pick three huge zucchini, broccoli, romaine, kale, raspberries and apricots all from their organic garden. Needless to say, I was a happy girl!

The ballroom situation has been good, too. Ballroom is such a big deal and I feel completely in my element here. It’s great to hang around kids who do what I do, and I’ve already made a lot of friends. Everybody is soo nice and welcoming, and they are quick to offer help when it’s needed. Things are just getting started with my team and I’m really excited. I’m learning a ton, and I’ll be sure to post updates as things go on. Smile

One thing that’s been interesting is the fact that I’m still living out of a suitcase. We don’t have a home right now, and we’re living with some friends until we can find a place. Just so you know, it is quite tricky to be a food blogger when you’re running at 100 mph and you don’t have your own kitchen to just experiment in. Just saying, haha. I really appreciate your guys’ patience with me in my absence, but also know that the absence has not come to an end. There probably won’t be any new recipes or anything for quite a while. I will do my best though!

Anyway, sorry this wasn’t the most happy or uplifting post in the world. You can’t win them all, right? I hope to hear from you guys and I also hope to be back soon! Have a great rest of the summer. Smile

Thanks for reading!


As of Late

Hey guys!

Thanks for the lovely comments on my last post. It was so cool to read your responses about health-conscious restaurants in your area. So many of you said that you would love to try The Cove! It’s a great place; I wish I could share it with all of you. Smile I’ve only been the one time, so I’m hoping to go again before I move this summer.

Speaking of the move, it has been eating up all of my time! Between listing things on eBay, getting ready for our garage sale and packing in general, I have had very little time. Our garage sale was actually a couple weeks ago, so that lightened the load—but only by a little bit.

Even more recently my life has been sucked up by dance. My ballroom studio has been working for the past few months on putting together our showcase. It consists of several different numbers and has required a lot of work! Each student is dancing a few routines with a partner, and we have some group formations as well. I’m dancing a Waltz routine, a Cha Cha routine and a West Coast Swing routine. Then, as a group, we have a Tango-Cha Cha formation and a West Coast Swing formation. It’s a lot of fun, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t physically and mentally exhausted! I’ve had rehearsals every day of the week from 8 am-11 am, then I get a little break in the afternoon to relax (AKA do Drivers’s Ed and make lunch) before I’m back at the studio again for more lessons. My body is really tired, and the stress/focus is taking a toll on my mind as well. (Don’t worry, I’m not going crazy or anything. I’m just worn out. Smile with tongue out) We had our dress rehearsal last night, and it went very well! Our big performance is tonight, (Friday) and I’m really excited. Here are some pictures from our dress rehearsal last night:


A part of my Waltz routine. It’s to the song “So She Dances” by Josh Groban. I love it! Smile


The ending pose for our West Coast Swing group formation.


The formation team!

Like I said, tonight is the actual performance! Wish me luck! Smile

With the craziness of my life lately, I’ve had to keep my meals very simple and very random. So, here’s some documentation of my meals (and snacks) as of late.


One morning I was craving french toast… so I made it. Whole wheat bread (with a completely “clean” ingredients list, yippee! Gotta love Sprout’s.) dipped in a mixture of almond milk, cinnamon, mashed banana, vanilla and nutritional yeast. I adapted it (AKA didn’t measure) from Angela’s recipe for vegan french toast.


Yumm. Topped with peanut butter, blueberries, strawberries and chia seeds.


Another thing I’ve been kind of LOVING lately is waffle sandwiches. Kayla posted once that you can use your waffle iron as a sandwich/panini grill, so I immediately had to try it out. LOVE. If you have a waffle iron you have got to try this. This particular sandwich was hummus, tomato, avocado and black bean I think. It’s my favorite combination. Smile


This one was a whole wheat, all-natural pita with pear and Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet mozzarella “cheese.” Yup, not daiya! I tried a different kind this time and I really liked it. I prefer daiya, since it has a bit more flavor, but FYH is not bad. I like that FYH is in block form, which means I can slice OR shred it. Grilled sandwiches are much easier with slices.


I grilled this with Smart Balance Light (which is vegan), and for some reason, this was absolutely amazing. It was one of the best sandwiches I’d ever made… even though it was so simple! I loved it. 



A few weeks ago, before my life got insanely hectic, I made some blueberry banana nut bread. I have no idea which recipe I used.. I can’t remember, darnit. It was awesome though!


I’ve also been loving Katie’s recipes as of late.


I made her Fudge Daddy brownies, and holy moly! I loved them. ^This picture isn’t very good, but look at how fudgy it is! I had to use unbleached white flour, since I was out of ww pastry flour. Sad smile I also used about 1.5 T coconut oil and used half baking stevia, half organic sugar.


I also made some of her voluminous peanut butter ice cream to eat alongside it. So delicious!

Then the other day, I made her amazing ranch dressing. Seriously, it was so good! I intended to halve the recipe, so I used half the amount of tofu. I must’ve forgotten that though, because I ended up using the whole amount of seasonings. I only did 3/4 of a veggie bullion cube, and only 1T vinegar.  I also didn’t have any veganaise, so I didn’t use it. Still, this dressing was off the hook! I will make it again ASAP. It was gone in less than 24 hours, woops. Smile



Since I’ve had to be up so early these days, quick breakfasts have become my best friends. Yogurt bowls is one of them. This was Wildwood Unsweetened Soy Yogurt mixed some stevia, chia seeds, a nectarine, puffed wheat, and cashews. It was awesome.

One morning when I had a little more time, I made some pancakes.


I don’t remember which recipe I used (go figure) but it was awesome. I topped these with sliced banana, chia seeds, some raw buckwheat, shredded coconut and a few drizzles of peanut butter. So good!


And very pretty, if I do say so myself. Smile


Well, I’m gonna head out! I’m quite exhausted, so I will catch up with you all soon.

Thanks for reading!


Vegan Night

Anyone with a special diet knows that it’s not always easy to find places to eat out. Everything either contains gluten, dairy, meat or something else you can’t eat. It can be a frustrating experience for sure, but every now and then I happen upon a restaurant that has already taken those things into consideration. Such was the case with The Cove.


The Cove is a restaurant here in San Antonio that features SOL foodSustainable, Organic and Local. Their website says “All of our meats (beef, bison, lamb and chicken)  are grass fed and from Texas.  No Antibiotics, No Hormones. All of our greens are organic – no pesticide residue. All of our oils are non-hydrogenated. We serve Boylan Sodas- no high fructose corn syrup.” While they’re known for their burgers and seafood, they also have several vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options. Guy Fieri even featured The Cove on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ and gave it rave reviews. Make sure to bring your dirty car and laundry, because The Cove doubles as a car wash and laundromat, too!


While their regular menu is great, every first Thursday night, The Cove sponsors what they call Vegan Night. The vegan night special consists of an entrée, a side dish or two, and a dessert—all for $10. The website says “our passionate chefs bring something delicious and vegan to the table.  Even if you are not vegan it is a chance to try new creative dishes with fresh organic ingredients from local farmers.” I’d been wanting to go try their vegan night for a few months, and tonight I got to!


The menu for tonight’s meal was Texas Caviar, Gazpacho and homemade pickles. My brother, Dakota, also gave me his avocado since he didn’t want it. (I know, he’s crazy. Smile with tongue out)


The caviar and pickles were great, but my absolute favorite part was the gazpacho! Gazpacho is basically a chilled cucumber and tomato soup, and I’d never had it before today. I quickly realized what a mistake that was! It was absolutely delicious. I have to try making it at home.



For dessert they served a homemade vegan ‘paleta’ which is basically a Latin American ice pop made from fresh fruit. This was the first time I’d ever had one, and the flavor was blackberry chipotle! It was pretty interesting and different.

All in all my experience at The Cove as awesome! It’s a really cool atmosphere there, and I love that they focus on using local, organic ingredients. I hope to go back soon, because they have an awesome homemade vegan burger that I want to try, as well as their vegan BLT. They also have two vegan cookies offered – carrot spice and banana oatmeal chocolate chunk!

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a restaurant that caters to special diets, such as serving vegan/vegetarian or GF food? It requires some research where I live, but there are several restaurants that do. What are the options like where you live?

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I decided to have some fun with the fonts and colors in Windows Live Writer. Hope it wasn’t too annoying. Smile with tongue out

Texas and BBQ

…are a match made in heaven!

Thanks for all your comments on my last post. It sounds like we’re all in agreement that the campsite was awesome!

Well, I’m enjoying my summer break! Unfortunately, I still don’t have a lot of extra time, because now we are starting to pack up our home! I think I told you guys that I’m moving to Utah this summer. If I haven’t told you… I am now. Smile with tongue out It’s pretty crazy, since this the only place I’ve lived and I’ve never moved before. The whole process is new, and it’s quite time-consuming; however, I have had some time to play around in the kitchen! It’s one of my favorite things to do, so I try to make sure that it happens a couple times a week.

One thing I played around with this week was Alex’s BBQ sauce!

(source: Alex’s blog!)

Texas is known for two types of cuisine: Mexican and BBQ! I was pretty excited when she posted this recipe, since it fit so perfectly with my Texas summer. If you haven’t made it yet, you need to. I had everything on hand and I loved it. I have to be honest that I added a little bit of stevia, because I wanted that tangy-sweetness, but it is so good! I put it on everything, some of which you can see below.



I topped my sweet potato fries with it, and I also tossed my chickpeas in the sauce. Some roasted broccoli made an appearance a few minutes later, and I also put the sauce on it for fun. Have you ever tried BBQ sauce and mashed avocado together? I tried it with my fries, and wow—it is good. Smile


That wasn’t the only thing I used the sauce for, though. Yesterday I had some kale in the fridge that I needed to use up, and there was about 1/4 cup left of the barbecue sauce. I quickly realized that the two were destined for each other, and on a hot, Texas summer day, this recipe hit the spot.

Texas BBQ Kale Salad



*This is probably optional, since I would guess that most of you don’t have this particular seasoning. It adds a really great smokey flavoring though, so if you have something similar, use it! Smile

Wash, dry and rip the leaves off the kale. Put them in a large bowl and add all ingredients to the kale. Mix well till everything is evenly distributed and every leaf is coated. The kale should be wilted by now. Let the salad marinate for about 10 minutes and enjoy! Makes 2 very large servings or 3 normal-sized ones.

You can also roast the kale on a lightly greased baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. I tried roasted and raw, and I much preferred the salad raw. The flavors are much more pronounced, plus you get more nutrients from raw kale anyway. 🙂


I loved this so much! Whenever I prepare vegetables—whether I roast them, steam them, or put them in a salad—I always make enough for my mom and me. She was napping when I made this though, and it was really hard to save her portion! I wanted to eat it so badly, but I didn’t think that would be very nice. Smile with tongue out

Question of the Day: Have you ever moved before? If so, how many times? Was the move hard for you or were you excited?

Question of the Day 2: What are you looking forward to the most about summer? What classic summer foods are you excited for?

Thanks for reading!


Hey Hey, CFA!

Hey, friends!

Well, I’ve just had the most amazing weekend ever, and I am so excited to tell you about it. Every year, my homeschool group puts on a Teen Conference at YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow in Hunt, Texas. You might remember my post about it last year. Well, it’s that time again! This was our third year there. We headed up to CFA on Thursday afternoon and were there till Saturday afternoon. It. Was. Amazing.

ymca cfa

And guess who else was there? Miss Kathleen from Kat’s Health Corner
! We’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together over these past few weeks, which has made me so happy. Smile


This is the camp stage, where our speaker and the camp skits took place. The counselors put on the funniest skits. They crack me up every year. Rick tick, rickety rick, oompa oompa oi! I absolutely LOVE the CFA staff. MaryAshley, Richard, Ryne, Becky, Polly, Hannah, Tiffany, Lillian, Allison, Bill, and Curt are all so awesome!

We got to do a horse trail ride, which I was so excited about. I love horses, but never got into riding. I’m riding Snickers in this picture. Smile



This is not Snickers, but this horse was being very sweet when I took the picture.

A quick shout-out to MaryAshley! I meant to get a picture with her, but we had to move onto archery. MaryAshley is the Equestrian Director and is so very wonderful. She also reads my blog, which meant to the world to me to hear. She has two great blogs, as well! Her husband told me that he likes my blog, too, and so did our program director, Becky. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated knowing that. Thank you, MaryAshley, Richard and Becky!


Here’s a picture of Kathleen and our friend Ana at archery. Lillian, who is SUCH a fun counselor, helped us out there. Smile


I also got to teach some ballroom with one of my partners, Reed. We focused on Rumba and it was really neat. I loved seeing all the kids dance.

They had a super cool high ropes course that I got to do Saturday morning. I felt really accomplished, to say the least.


This is Kathleen and me gearing up for high ropes.


Me on the Cat Walk!

I did all three: the Cat Walk, the Hourglass and the Leap of Faith. The Leap of Faith is where you climb to the top of a telephone pole, stand on a little tiny platform, and jump to grab a trapeze. It’s crazy!!



This is the Hourglass. I somehow don’t have pictures of Kathleen, but she did all three as well! It was so awesome, especially because it was on her birthday! I was really proud of her. Smile

By the way, she is 16 now! Make sure to wish a her a happy birthday. Smile

The staff and activities are amazing, but I know you’re wondering about one thing: the food! This is a health and nutrition blog, after all. Well, I am happy to report that the CFA food is absolutely incredible. It is by far the most accommodating camp I have ever attended and all the meals are homemade. I have never been to a camp where I haven’t had to bring a cooler loaded with “Kelsey food,” but I didn’t have to at CFA. All I did was email Allison, the main director and head chef, and tell her about my dietary restrictions. She had a vegetarian and vegan option at every single meal! There was lentil lasagna, quinoa stirfry, and an absolutely incredible salad bar at lunch and dinner. Don’t even get me started on the fruit bar at breakfast. We’re talking strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, grapes, watermelon, and more. Kathleen, my other friends and I were basically in heaven. I was so impressed and grateful that Allison took the time to accommodate myself and the other vegans/vegetarians there. (I wasn’t the only one surprisingly, so that was really nice.) Thank you, Allison!


Another extremely cool thing was that Allison used a lot of recipes from my blog! Above is one of my very favorite sandwiches, the BAT Sandwich. Black beans, avocado and tomato? Nothing better. She also made a loaf of my favorite whole wheat bread and served it on that! Oh, and the morning before, everyone else was having cinnamon rolls. She used the same bread recipe to make some homemade whole wheat cinnamon rolls for us vegans! Allison totally winged it, but it turned out awesome.


This was an apple cinnamon bread pudding/french toast bake thing that she based off one of my french toast recipes. She also used the homemade bread. It was just really cool.

I don’t know, maybe it seems silly that I’m so excited about it, but honestly, it was just so nice. All of you fellow “food bloggers” understand the preparation and time that goes into taking trips. You know you won’t be able to eat what everyone else is eating,  so you have to plan your own meals. That means a trip to the store, preparing the food, packing and bringing adequate cooling to keep it cold, etc. It’s a lot of work and is pretty inconvenient, and I can’t tell you how nice it was to not worry about that at CFA. I didn’t have to think about it once, because I knew it was taken care of.

Thank you once again, Allison and all the CFA staff. My weekend at Camp Flaming Arrow this past weekend was unsurpassed. That camp truly delivers on every level. I want to go back right now. Smile with tongue out If you are ever in Texas and are looking for a summer camp, YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow is the place to go. Smile Also, check out their blog. It’s called Hey Hey, CFA, which is the saying they use to get campers’ attention. They yell “Hey, Hey!” and everyone else goes “CFA!” Then you are completely silent. Smile You can check out their Facebook page, too. Open-mouthed smile

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a place that accommodates your dietary needs/preferences? What about summer camp—did any of you ever attend?

Thanks for reading!


Smoothie 101

So lately I have been playing around with my smoothies/shakes, and I’ve had quite a bit of fun! I’ve been experimenting with how to get the thickest, most voluminous shakes, because I don’t know about you, but watery shakes just don’t fly with me. The thin and drippy consistency is for juice, not for a smoothie/shake.

Since I’ve been pretty excited about the smoothies I’ve been making, I thought I would do a quick Smoothie 101 post and give you guys some of my tips. Keep in mind, each of these methods will add some thickness to your smoothie, but if you combine several of them, it will be even better. Smile

Oats –



The first tip is one I started playing with after seeing Kath do it. Adding 1/4-1/2 cup of rolled oats to your smoothie/shake gives it so much thickness, not to mention a wonderful “doughy” (as Kath describes it) texture. I don’t know how to explain it, but it almost makes it more like cake batter. It is really cool, but the health benefits are awesome, too! Adding oats will up the fiber of your shake, not to mention help lower cholesterol. Smile It will also likely keep you fuller longer, since shakes are usually made up of fruits, which are simple sugars. Oats are complex carbohydrates and take longer to digest, thus keeping you fuller longer!

Chia Seeds



The first place I saw chia seeds added to a smoothie was on Ashley’s blog, in her Orange Coconut Creamsicle smoothie. Blending in just a tablespoon of chia seeds to your smoothie makes it much creamier. Also, once again, the fat from chia seeds will keep you fuller longer, and the health benefits of chia seeds are amazing. Chia seeds are one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein; they help regulate blood pressure; they increase your energy; and they are loaded with vitamins and minerals! Chia seeds are truly a super food.

Frozen Fruit

frozen fruit


This one and the next one are kind of no-brainers, but I thought I would mention them anyway. I always prefer to use frozen fruit over fresh fruit, because it gives the smoothie bulk and coldness!

Frozen Banana

frozen banana


Behold, the beloved frozen banana. We all know of the banana’s amazing ice cream-making abilities when frozen. When added to a smoothie (with some of the liquid omitted), a frozen banana can change a boring, limp smoothie into a thick, creamy, sweet smoothie. Almost every smoothie/shake I make has at least part of a frozen banana. Note: It must be frozen!

Frozen Almond Milk Cubes

almond milk


This is one I have REALLY started to love! Regular old ice is just fine, but sometimes it dilutes the shake too much and makes it too icy. I’m not a fan of icy shakes, and using almond milk cubes solves that problem. I almost always use almond milk cubes now. The almond milk cubes give it a more ice cream-like consistency, without hardly any added calories/fat. You can also freeze coconut milk or any other kind of milk. All you have to do is pour almond milk in an ice cube tray and freeze it overnight. In the morning, throw them into your smoothie and blend. Smile This also works with juice or any other liquid you would normally put in!

Coconut Cream

coconut cream


When you put just a tablespoon or two of coconut cream in your smoothie, you’ll be surprised at how much richer it is! It is quite high in fat, but the fat is a good kind. It maybe saturated, but it is made up of mostly short- and medium-chain fats. These kinds of fat are quickly utilized by the body for energy instead of stored as fat. As long as you keep moderation in mind, coconut cream makes a great addition to any smoothie/shake.

Frozen Avocado



This one might seem a little weird, and it is, but it’s great! Once again, the fat from the avocado thickens it up and makes it creamy. I would suggest being careful with this one though, because too much frozen avocado lends an earthy flavor to the shake. It’s a little funky when you go overboard, so be very sparing with this one. 🙂

Less Milk –


That’s supposed to be a subtraction sign by the milk (or other liquid). A lot of recipes call for one whole cup of liquid, but I almost NEVER use a whole cup. It’s usually 1/2 cup, and 2/3 cup is the absolute max. If I add more than that, it’s just too watery for me. Try reducing the liquid in your next smoothie and see what a difference it makes. 🙂 Note: sometimes reducing the liquid will reduce the overall volume of your smoothie, thus decreasing satiety (for me at least). Make sure that if you reduce the liquid, you add other things to it that will fluff it up and make it bigger.

Yogurt/Soy Yogurt –

greek yogurt


Plain (or flavored!) greek/soy yogurt makes a great addition to any smoothie/shake. It adds a slight tang, as well as thickness and creaminess. It also ups the protein by quite a bit, which will increase the length of time that it will keep you full. That’s always a good thing. 🙂

Other Frozen Ingredients



Another good tip is to freeze any other ingredients you may be using! If you’re making a pumpkin shake, then freeze the pumpkin the night before. If it’s a carrot cake smoothie, freeze the carrots. It requires a bit of thinking ahead, but it’s worth it! It’s a great way to add volume and coldness without using ice, which waters it down. You can also freeze the aforementioned yogurt/soy yogurt.

Silken Tofu –

silken tofu

Mori-Nu Silken Tofu is the only kind of tofu I will put in a smoothie! It’s also the only kind I will use in a dessert. The aseptic container, which is found on the shelf, tastes so much better in things like these. In my opinion, the refrigerated kind in water is for cooking savory things, and the boxed, silken tofu is for desserts. I usually add about 1/3 of a block to my smoothie, and I also reduce the liquid by 1/4 – 1/2 cup. Just play with it and see what you like. Adding tofu to a smoothie is great, because it gives it more protein! It also makes it thicker, spoonable and more mousse-like.

Xanthan/Guar Gums –

xanthan gum (source)

guar gum

There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not xanthan/guar gums are “good” or not. You only use about 1/4/ – 1/2 tsp at a time, but neither of them are entirely natural, so you can decide for yourself. If you choose to use them, the gums will add incredible volume and creaminess to your shake. Guar makes things creamy, (which is why you can sometimes find it as an ingredient in coconut milk/ice cream) and xanthan makes things thick. Deb @ SmoothieGirlEatsToo wrote a great post about the gums.

Well I guess that about sums it up! Like I said, all of these tips come from my own experience, but feel free to give it a shot and tell me your opinion! Use any one (or multiple) of the thickeners listed above, and see if it helps!

For some awesome smoothie recipes, visit these ladies…

  • Angela @ Oh She Glows (scroll down to get to Smoothies)
  • Kath’s Dough Boy Smoothies
  • Ashley’s Smoothies (scroll down to get to Smoothies)
  • And you have GOT to check out Kathy’s page of absolutely incredible smoothies/shakes! She has got it down. Smile

I’ll hopefully have some smoothie recipes for you in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, feel free to check out some of my favorite shakes, too.

Question of the Day: What are your favorite smoothie-making tips? What can you not live without in your smoothies? What about your favorite recipe?

Thanks for reading!



P.S. The winner of the Miessence Giveaway is comment number #32,  Liz @ IHeartVegetables! Congratulations, Liz! Send your email address to cleanteenkelsey@gmail.com and I will forward it onto Jessica. Thanks to everyone who entered! Smile

Last Chance!

You have about one hour to enter my Miessence Giveaway! It ends at midnight, so get typing/clicking!

Miessence Deodorant Review + Giveaway!

Today’s post talks about something we all must deal with, whether we like it or not: stinky pits. It’s a blunt way of saying it, but really, it’s true! I was sent some deodorant to review by Jessica Andrews, and I want to tell you all about it. Smile

Jessica is a part of a work-from-home business called Miessence. The company sells all kinds of natural, organic healthcare products; they have everything from toothpaste, to makeup, to deodorant! Like I mentioned before, everything is organic, non-synthetic, and all the ingredients are familiar. In fact, their website boasts that they are “the World’s first extensive range of internationally certified organic skin, hair, body, cosmetic, oral and nutritional products.” That’s pretty cool if you ask me.


If you want to know more about organic, click these links to the Miessence site: What is Organic?
Why Organic?

So why should you use Miessence over another product? Let’s take a little ingredient comparison look, shall we?

Average Deodorant Ingredients Miessence Deodorant Ingredients
  • Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gyl
  • cyclomethicone
  • stearyl alcohol
  • C12-15 alkyl benzoate
  • PPG-14 butyl ether
  • hydrogenated castor oil
  • PEG-8 distearate
  • hydrogenated soybean oil
  • talc
  • fragrance
  • hydrolyzed corn starch
  • behenyl alcohol

*Certified organic

  • Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • Non-GMO Xanthan Gum
  • Citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) fruit extract
  • Citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil*
  • Citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil*
  • Canaga odorata (ylang ylang) essential oil*
  • Pogostemon cablin (patchouli) essential oil*
  • Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil

Frankly, the ingredients in the left column (which I typed directly from the label of my old deodorant stick) scare me. I don’t recognize the majority of them, and the ones that I DO recognize are certainly not things I want going into my largest organ: my skin. They are toxic chemicals. It really makes me appreciate how good-for-you the Miessence ingredients are.


In fact, if you want to know more about the different ingredients and the role they play (because every ingredient used in Miessence is active and beneficial) visit the deodorant’s page. The ingredients are listed, with pictures, and you can click on them for information. Did you notice that there are NO aluminum components and NO chemical antiperspirants? Of course, there are no nasty toxic ingredients either. I love that I can feel confident about the ingredients when I put it on; there’s no hesitation and no concern.

tahitian breeze deodorant

Speaking of concern and feeling confident, you’re probably wondering how well it works. My honest opinion is that it works pretty dang well. Reapplication is necessary after a few hours, but that’s the case with most deodorants anyway. It held pretty well through several hours of dance lessons, and it also wasn’t too bad after a sweaty workout. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still very impressive. I would choose it over traditional deodorant ANY day.

One thing that’s interesting to me is the scent. To be honest, I was a little put off by the scent when I first took a whiff. With a name like “Tahitian Breeze” I expected kind of a tropical, sweet, pleasant smell. It’s not that it smells bad—it really doesn’t—but it is kind of strong. “A warm and balmy blend of intense floral and citrus aromas,” like the website says, is pretty accurate. (Emphasis on the word ‘intense’ was added by me.) However, despite the initial intensity, it does wear down. The protection is there, but the scent fades so as to not interfere with your daily scent/perfume. I thought that was very nice, since I do wear perfume/body spray. I don’t like it when my scents clash.

Are you interested in trying this liquid, roll-on deodorant for yourself? Luckily for you, Jessica has offered a $25 gift certificate to her Miessence site. You can try the deodorant or something else that interests you!

What do you have to do to win this lovely gift certificate? There are seven ways to enter—you are welcome to choose any and all of them. Smile

  1. Subscribe to Jessica’s Miessence newsletter that she just started up and leave comment letting me know you did.
  2. Link to this post in a blog post of yours. Leave a comment saying you did.
  3. Visit Jessica’s Miessence Facebook page and like it. Leave a comment saying so.
  4. Add my blog to your blog reader or subscribe to it by email. Tell me in a comment. Smile
  5. Follow Jessica on Twitter. Leave a comment to let me know. Smile
  6. Add Jessica’s blog, http://earthloveandcraziness.blogspot.com/, to your blog reader, or subscribe to it by email. Let me know in a comment that you have.
  7. Visit Jessica’s shop and pick out what you would choose if you won. Tell me what you’d pick in a comment.

Sorry that you have to leave a comment for all of them, but since I will use a random number generator to pick the winner out of the comments section, it’s important that each entry is accounted for. I want everyone to get the opportunity they deserve. The only way to do that is to leave comments for each entry.

Also, once you make an initial purchase at Jessica’s Pure Miessence shop of any amount, you will receive 10% off discount for every transaction that follows! You don’t get it on the first one, but you’ll get it on all the others. 🙂 Make sure to take advantage of this great offer!

The giveaway will be open until midnight the night of next Tuesday, May 3rd.That gives you one week to enter as many times as you can!

Thanks for reading!


He Is Risen <3

Easter is almost over, but I just wanted to quickly say how much I love this holiday. I’m grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I’m grateful for the sacrifice He made so long ago. It is for that reason only that I have the opportunity to live with Him again. Happy Easter, everyone. He is Risen.

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled and died.

Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I marvel that He would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That He should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I think of His hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at His feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

Two New Easter-Themed Recipes!

Hey guys! Today I have two new recipes for you, and they’re both just in time for the Easter weekend. I, for one, am really enjoying all the time in the kitchen that Easter allows. It’s just a natural thing to bake carrot cake and coconut-flavored things around this time. Smile Of course, I am completely and 100% aware of the true meaning of Easter, but I will get to that in my Easter post. 🙂

Onto the recipes!

The first one is Toasted Coconut Almond Butter!
I was experimenting with toasted coconut the other day, and I happened to have a handful of toasted coconut and an almond in my hand at the same time. I ate them together, fell in love, and that is how this recipe came to be. 🙂

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 (liquid) TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 drops Vanilla Stevia Drops*** (In hindsight, I should’ve only done about 5-6. Just a little too sweet for my tastes.)

***The only reason I added this was because I wanted vanilla flavor, but I didn’t want to use vanilla extract. I have this weird thing about putting vanilla extract in things where it won’t cook out. It tastes nasty to me.. the alcohol is not pleasant. In baking it’s fine, but with nut butters, smoothies and raw foods, I usually pass. If you aren’t weird like I am, feel free to add 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract, or omit it entirely.

First things first, roast the almonds and toast the coconut at 350 degrees. I lined two pans with an ungreased sheet of tin foil (or you can use parchment paper) and put almonds on one, coconut on the other. The almonds will take about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring once halfway through, (I think I did 13 mins, to be exact) but the coconut will toast quickly. Be sure to keep an eye on it. I’d give it a check after 5 minutes, then stir it and decide whether or not it needs longer. It should look like this:

toasted coconut


Let them cool briefly, then dump both the almonds and toasted coconut into your nut butter-maker of choice. Process until a fine powder forms, then continue until it begins to butterize. You will probably need to stop and push down the sides a few times. Continue to process until it starts to get smooth. Once it starts to look like almond butter, you will probably notice that it is really thick. Add the coconut oil now, as well as the salt, cinnamon and optional stevia drops/vanilla extract. Process until smooth, and ta da! You are done. Smile Scrape the delicious almond butter into a container and store it in the fridge or on the counter.


As you can see, I chose to store mine in the fridge… and this picture was taken after several spoonfuls had been removed from the container. 🙂

Make this, and let me know what you think! It’s the perfect Easter-themed nut butter, but it can be made any time of year. 🙂 I really love it.

My next recipe is one that I was really excited about as it formed in my head. I was craving something carrot cake-flavored, and Katie had just posted her Carrot Cake Milkshake recipe. However, I’d also been eying Kath’s Dough Boy Smoothie for quite some time now, so a fusion of the two was in order.

Carrot Cake Batter Shake
This is a quick, easy breakfast that can (and should) be prepped ahead of time. Since most everything is done the night before, all you have to do in the morning is throw in your frozen banana, a splash of water, coconut cream and ice cubes. Done, and delicious. 🙂

  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 90g steamed baby carrots* (scant 1/2 cup?)
  • 3T rolled oats
  • heaping 1/2 TBSP chia seeds
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • shake of ginger
  • shake of allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla & coconut extracts (optional)
  • 2T coconut cream**
  • 3/4 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk
  • 4 half-moon shaped frozen almond milk cubes*** (can sub ice cubes)

*I know steaming the carrots is a pain, but it really helps bring out the sweetness. You could probably get away with just doing them raw, but I’m not really sure since I’ve only tried it steamed. Just steam your carrots while you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients and you should be fine. 🙂

**Coconut cream is the solid stuff that rises to the top of a **cold** can of coconut milk. Put your can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you want your shake, while you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients.

***These are super simple to make. Just pour almond milk into an ice cube tray and you’re done!

The night before:

Like I just said, stick your can of coconut cream in the fridge and get your carrots steaming. While the carrots are steaming, combine the nondairy milk, rolled oats, chia seeds and all spices in a blender. You can either add the extracts now, or in the morning. (I opted for the morning, cause I was afraid that the alcohol taste would permeate through the entire smoothie if left overnight. Maybe I’m wrong though; you choose what you want to do! Open-mouthed smile) Add the steamed carrots, and quickly pulse a few times till all the ingredients are combined. You are NOT emulsifying or blending anything; all ingredients should remain completely whole. This step is simply to make sure everything is covered and mixed. Stick your blender in the fridge and let it sit over night. Pour almond milk into an ice cube container and stick into the freezer, if you so desire. 🙂

In the morning:

Remove your blender from the fridge, as well as the can of coconut milk. Open the can, scrape off 2T of cream and add it to the blender. Then, add the frozen banana, water or non-dairy milk, and almond milk cubes or ice cubes. Blend, baby, blend! Everything should be completely emulsified and blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy. Smile


I know it sounds very complicated, but really, this shake is so simple. The only things that take a little extra time are the carrots and coconut cream.

I topped my smoothie with a sprinkle of granola and my Toasted Coconut Almond Butter. Smile 

This shake was awesome, but there were a few things that I would do differently next time.

  • This came out very thick and creamy, thanks to the chia seeds, banana, oats and coconut cream. It holds true to its ‘cake batter’ title. While this was my original intention, it left me feeling like it was a tad too rich. Next time I will probably add a few ice cubes to thin it out and make it not so rich.
  • I often struggle with how to bring out the coconut flavor in smoothies and baked goods. Although the coconut cream adds a great texture and thickness to the shake, the flavor is not so evident. The coconut extract added a funny alcohol taste in my opinion, so that didn’t work either. The only other option was to add coconut oil/butter, but I decided against that because it typically gets lost in shakes. So yes, I have a dilemma! Do you guys have any thoughts/suggestions?
  • Also, last but not least, this lacked a little tang. It usually comes in the form of cream cheese frosting on a traditional carrot cake, so next time I will probably add a couple spoonfuls of unsweetened, plain soy-yogurt.

So there you have it! Two new recipes for your trying and tasting enjoyment. I’m curious to see what you guys think, especially about the Carrot Cake Batter smoothie. I know I kind of ripped it apart in my additional notes, but it really was very good!! I enjoyed it the way it was; I was just able to come up with a few improvements that would have made it even better.

Have a wonderful weekend! Mine will be awesome; I can’t wait. 🙂 I’ll see you guys on Saturday for an awesome review + giveaway! What could it be?

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Happy Birthday to one of my very best friends, Audrey Michelle! She is turning 18 tomorrow, on April 22nd. I’m extremely excited for her. I love you, Audrey. Smile


Audrey and Kelsey