Look AMAZING in your clothes: Part 1 – Which Gorgeous Shape are You?

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Photo credit

As a stylist, I get asked a lot by people, “Can you help me look good in my clothes?”  or “How do you always look so cute?  You must have the perfect figure.”  (After which I proceed to choke on whatever I’m eating, because, well, I’ve had four kids for one, and for two, there’s no such thing!  But continue reading…) Or, “I tried caring about how I dress, and then I just couldn’t figure out how to look good, so I gave up.  It’s tee-shirt and jeans for me!” Or some semblance of these comments.  And behind all of those statements is the common theme of every woman’s heart: “I want to look my most beautiful, but I just don’t know how to, and I’m a little afraid to try and fail.  What if I’m not as beautiful as I hope to be?”  Ahhh… The heartbeat of EVERY woman.  We desire to be LOVELY.  Truly lovely, a true source of beauty for mankind.  God made us that way.  It’s at the core of our nature.  And in that struggle FOR beauty, many women are frustrated at their inability to portray the inward beauty they feel, onto their external dress.  And because of that, I have decided to do a series of blogposts meant to help the average woman figure out how to look and feel amazing in her clothes!  Yes, there is so much MORE than your clothing to being or feeling beautiful.  Beauty is more about your essence than your wardrobe ensemble, but at the same time, the way you dress is both an influence to your essence, and a reflection of your inward self at the same time.  But for the sake of limited time and space, we will forsake all the other aspects of true beauty to focus on one narrow, very practical topic: Dressing yourself well!  So go grab yourself a cup of tea, and join me in this fun little journey!

Getting dressed can be quite a challenge if one is hoping to not just cover all the things, but LOOK GOOD too!  There are a few things to consider in this process, but they are fun and simple, and equally important!

This is Part 1 of our Series: Look Amazing in Your Clothes!

Step 1: Determine your Shape! 

Every woman, including you, has a shape, and that shape determines 100% how clothes will fit, lay, and look on her!  I mean, your body shape is your canvas when we are talking about dress!  Now, realize every woman’s shape is uniquely different to her, but there are five BASIC shapes that most women’s bodies can be categorized into in order to help understand how to relate to her body in regards to clothing.  These shapes are:

Apple                 Hourglass            Rectangle                   Pear              Inverted Triangle

body shape illustration

Photo Credit

Look at this photo and see if you can determine which one might be the closest to your silhouette.  If you can take your body measurements, this makes it the easiest to see your basic outline. If you don’t have a tape nearby, here are some key principles about basic body proportions that can help identify your physique:

APPLE SHAPE: Most common shape among women

  • Typically carries weight around the middle.
  • Has lean arms and legs.
  • Tends to be busty
  • Does not have a distinctive waist.

HOURGLASS SHAPE: Most coveted shape among women

  • Bust and Hip measurement are close to the same
  • Very defined small waist (Typically around 9+” less)
  • Weight distributes pretty evenly throughout the body.

RECTANGLE SHAPE: Also called “boyish”, was epitomized in the Roaring 20’s

  • Bust, Waist and Hip measurements tend to be similar.
  • Not very curvy.
  • Weight distributes evenly throughout the body.

PEAR SHAPE: Every Disney princess, particularly the Fairies 🙂

  • Weight is carried in hips, butt, thigh region.
  • Bust measurement is narrower than hips.
  • Has a defined waist.
  • Tends to have lean arms and legs.

INVERTED TRIANGLE: Often referred to as an “athletic” build

  • Tends to be lean built, but if heavy, may tend toward busty.
  • Broad shoulders, Narrow hips.
  • No defined waist.
  • Not curvy.

 

Are you getting closer to deciding which is yours?   If you’re still unsure, that’s ok!  Try this fun little quiz that may help!  Determining your body shape can be a little daunting, but as you get more familiar with yourself you’ll figure it out!

FUN LITTLE BODY SHAPE QUIZ

If you have figured out your shape, give yourself a big hug!  Self-discovery is a beautiful thing!  Now, give yourself permission to love YOU, and celebrate that this is how God Himself chose to make you in all of his Wisdom!  The first step toward loving the way you look in clothes, is embracing the shape you have, and not wasting another SECOND wishing you had a different one!  If you are a Pear, then rock those hips!  If you are an Apple, then appreciate the great legs & bust you have!  If you’re an Hourglass, then appreciate all your curves!  Rectangle?  Rock all those cinched waistbands you’ll look amazing in!  Triangle?  Show off your fabulous shoulders!  You are PERFECT just the way you are, and LOVING the shape that you have discovered is the FIRST step to looking great in your clothes!  A confident woman who values herself is a beautiful woman.  Now, stand tall, appreciate YOU, and check in next week for Part Two in this series: Dressing for Your Shape!

EXTRA: If you want a little fun extra reading, this book is a great one that talks about the nature of a woman to want to be seen as truly, truly Lovely.  It’s called “Captivating“.  I have friends who’ve read it who have said it set them free to embrace the struggle in their own soul for TRUE beauty.  It’s an amazing book!

hCG Diet results! This has been amazing!

Wow.  After four kids, a momma just might have some baby-weight to lose!  Thankfully, mine was only about 30 lbs, but it was sure stubborn and not coming off!  In fact, the scale slowly climbed, and despite my best efforts, it was not budging.  I had prayed earlier this year, earnestly asking the Lord to help me and connect me to the resources to have success in this area of getting healthy again, and I stumbled across a little bottle of hCG diet drops at a Ross near me.  At first I thought it was excessive and ridiculous, but after doing a lot of research online, there was SO MUCH positive feedback, lasting results, and knowing it was designed by a doctor helped too, so I decided to try it.  And I am so thankful.  My pre-self wasn’t out of control, but I know me best, and I have always been lean and healthy and wanted to stay that way.  Now that you know the backstory,  want to know my results?  Here are the details:

The total diet lasted 40 days (about 6 weeks), and the transition out phases lasted a total of 6 weeks. So, here it is:

I went from 156.8 lbs, to 138.2 lbs.  That’s a total loss of nearly 19 lbs!!

And I lost… ready for this?  A whopping NINETEEN INCHES all over!!  I lost 3.5 inches in my hips, butt, and almost 3 inches in my waist!  I went from wearing a Large top to a Small top.  And I fit a bunch of my clothes that had gotten too small. 🙂  Here are the photos…

This was my first Before/After series

This was my first Before/After series

 

 

Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Its amazing to me the results I saw in such a short time!

Before and After.  The "after" shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After. The “after” shot is just before finishing the diet.

Before and After.

Before and After.

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. :)

Some of my new outfits in my new clothes. 🙂

I always wanted to wear a dress like this.  Now I can!

I always wanted to wear a dress like this. Now I can!

Super thankful.

Super thankful.

This jacket couldn't button before!

This jacket couldn’t button before!

 
 

These are the drops I used, found at Ross and Burlington, though they dont regularly carry them

 
Now, for anyone who hasn’t struggled to lose baby weight, it might be a little ridiculous for me to be so excited over 20 lbs, but this was a huge deal for me!  Technically, I still have ten to go, but I am celebrating this milestone!  I have literally prayed for 3.5 years for a breakthrough in getting the baby weight and the momentum of weight gain reversed.  The beautiful thing even beyond the actual weight loss?  That God cared enough to put the right tools in my hands.  Tools that were helpful, and nurtured healthy changes and education on what kind of foods are best for my body.  God totally cares about these things!  Why?  Because he LOVES.  And because he loves you, he cares about what you care about.  Ok, tangent over…

I learned so much on this diet!  Because of how it’s built I learned a lot of what kinds of foods to reach for that will fill me while benefit my weight and health goals.  Now, before you starting judging and think I ‘m crazy to have weight concerns over twenty or thirty pounds, please understand, I liked myself even at my heaviest, and I like myself now.  I’ve never hated myself. I have always believed in making the most of what you have to work with.  But I also believe in being the best (healthiest) version of ourselves as long as we can control it.  For me this wasn’t about becoming a supermodel or anything a magazine might promote.  Rather, it was about reaching a weight goal that I felt would be healthy for me.  Actually, after having my first baby and not really knowing how to relate to my I’m-a-woman-I’ve-birthed-babies body, I had asked the Lord what weight would be healthiest for my frame, muscle/bone makeup, lifestyle, etc.  I mean, he made me, he knows what’s best for me, wouldn’t he know the healthiest weight for me too?  And I kept coming to the same number (as un-round of a number as it was), and when I looked it up on the weight-range index, it was in a perfect spot in my healthy weight range for my height, and appropriate for my lean structural build.  So, that’s how I came to my goal weight.  For some that may seem a little over-spiritualized, but I’ve always felt, God knows best and so why not just ask him.  He loves being involved in those details of our lives. 🙂

 

So, starting today,  I’m actually on my second  and last round of the hCG diet, this time with two friends, to try to get the last 6-8 lbs off to reach my goal weight.  Then I’ll be able to start toning muscle a little bit, and have the happy satisfaction of knowing I’m taking the best care of this body that I can, while I can.  I want to live long, healthy and vibrant all my days.  Keeping my weight under control, eating healthy, exercising, detoxing a couple times a year, resting when needed, hydrating, all those are disciplines to be a good steward of this temple, this body.  I read a lot to keep my mind sharp, laugh a lot to keep me happy, and lots of other little disciplines that are healthy for longevity.  I hope this blog was encouraging to you, and if so, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear! As for now, I’ll see you with my next before/after post.  Stay tuned! 🙂   I wish you peace for the journey!

HCG diet journey… finally losing that post-baby weight! (Part 1)

Have you ever struggled with your weightloss like me?  For some its a struggle of 75+ pounds, for others, the last 20 that just won’t come off is equally frustrating.  For new (or seasoned) mommas, the babyweight is always a daunting chore.  Well, you are in good company!  Welcome to my post-baby-weight weightloss journey on the hCG diet!!!  This entry and a few entries following with be carefully following my weightloss journey with the HCG diet.  First, I am not aiming to lose astronomical amounts of weight.  Only about 20-25 lbs.  After having my fourth son almost four years ago, I was lazy during breastfeeding and did not work to get the baby weight off, and have struggled ever since to get back down to my pre-baby size.  I have tried a number of different approaches, all healthy options, but I don’t think I was motivated enough to do something strict.  Finally, it dawned on me, I have been whining and complaining about this struggle for nearly four years now, and have given a half-effort to about six different methods, and have seen no sustained progress.  Enough is enough!!  There is no excuse for whining.  If I have a goal, I will find a way to reach it.  So, as I was shopping last week I came across some HCG drops on sale and thought, “Hmm, these are cheap, I’ll just buy them, research and see if it’s worth trying.”  I got home, opened them up and read the diet plan and was like, “hah!  yeah right!” and put them away.  But as I did research and came across friends who had had great success on this diet, I saw that doctors were giving it the thumbs up (in fact it was designed by a doctor), and the food prescribed in the diet is very healthy, I thought, “Well, maybe I could just buckle down and work hard and see some results.”  So, that’s what I did.  I bought the necessary food, prayed for grace ;), and jumped in a week ago.  And I have been so excited by my results!  So excited in fact, I thought I’d share on here with ya’ll in case any of you have found yourself in a similar frustrating situation.  First, let me give you an overview of the diet.  (If you’re looking for a good book to really understand it, this cookbook is excellent.  It explains the diet AND gives you recipes.  Two for one!)

 

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!  Keep reading to see a summary of the diet.  

 

Phase 1: Loading phase.  Two days.  

  • Take HCG drops three times per day before meals; don’t drink or eat within 15 minutes of taking the drops so as not to dilute them in your system.
  • This phase is two days of eating as much FATTY foods as possible.  These fat stores help your body more gracefully adapt to the next phase which is the Very Low Calorie Diet phase (VLCD).  I didn’t take this phase very seriously and wish I would have.  My first three days, especially the third were tough.  Plus, who doesn’t like an excuse to eat every fatty food you ever wanted?  No food is off limits.

Phase 2: Very Low Calorie Diet with weightloss. Day 3-40

  • Again, you will be taking the HCG drops three times daily, not within 15 minutes of water or food.
  • This phase of the diet focuses on putting your body into Ketosis state, which is where your body is living off your own fat stores.  You can lose 1-2 lbs of fat per DAY.
  • The calorie goal these days is to stay within 500 calories.
  • On these days you typically skip breakfast but spend the morning drinking herbal teas, black coffee or water.  At least 32 Oz of liquids is your goal.  It is good to go the way of decaffeinated drinks so you don’t get jittery.  Lunch and Dinner is created from the selected foods in the lists below.
  • No exercising for these days.  Activity should be kept to a gentle stroll.  You need all the calories you are taking in!

Foods For The HCG Diet Phase 2

This is a list of foods you can eat while doing Phase 2 of the HCG Diet.
Use this list as a quick reference when shopping and preparing meals.

VEGETABLES
– Any kind of lettuce, spinach, beet greens, chard, cabbage
– Any kind of onions
– Any kind of tomatoes
– Fennel
– Cucumber
– Radishes
– Celery
– Asparagus


PROTEINS
Your meats/poultry cannot be cooked on the bone. All meats should be trimmed of all fat (and skin)
– White Fish
– Lobster
– Crab
– Shrimp
– Extra Lean Beef (steak, 96% premium lean ground beef, pot roast)
– Chicken


FRUIT


– Apples
– Blue Berries, Blackberries or Strawberries
– Lemons


DRINK & OTHERS
– Herbal Tea
– Bottled Water
– Melba Toast
– Sugarless Gum
– Steevia (natural sweetener, any flavor)
– Braggs Liquid Amino (this is a soy sauce type of product)
– Mustard
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Any natural herb or spice, salt and pepper, garlic

Vegetables Portion Calories
Asparagus 4 ounces 20
Beet Greens 1 cup 25
Broccoli 4 ounces 30
Brussel Sprouts 1 cup 50
Raw Cabbage 1 cup 25
Raw Cauliflower 1 cup 30
Celery 1 stalk 5
Collard Greens 1 cup 25
Cucumber 8″ 15
Dandelion 4 ounces 50
Endive/Escarole 1 cup 10
Green Beans 4 ounces 40
Raw Kale 1 cup 40
Leeks 1/2 cup 16
Lettuce 1 cup 15
Romaine Lettuce 4 ounces 25
Green Onions 6 small 25
Raw White Onions 4 ounces 40
Green Sweet Peppers 1 medium 20
Red Sweet Peppers 1medium 25
Radishes 4 small 8
Spinach 1 cup 10
Squash/Zucchini 1 cup 40
Tomato 1 medium 20
Turnips 1 cup 55
Turnip Greens 1 cup 45
Watercress 4 ounces 25

Fruit Portion Calories
Apple 1 medium 80
Grapefruit 1/2 40
Strawberries 1 cup 55
Black Berries 1 cup 62
Blue Berries 1 cup 83
Lemon 1 medium 17

Phase 3: Stabilization phase.  3 Weeks.  CRUCIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS!!

  • The first three days of this phase you keep eating the VLCD but withOUT HCG drops so that you can give your body time to get the hormone out of your body before introducing new foods.
  • On the fourth day you can begin introducing new foods SLOWLY back into your diet.  The reason for this is because your body has trained itself to such limited calories and types of foods that to go back to regular eating straight away would shock your system and put the weight right back on.
  • In this phase you bring your caloric intake up to 800-1000 calories, gradually working your way up to 1500 calories.
  • Go to this page for a detailed food list.  http://www.hcgdietdrops.com/hcg-phase-3-other-food-list.html
  • This phase is characterized by three daily habits:
    • you must weigh yourself every day
    • you must remain within 2 pounds of your last injection weight (over *OR* under) and,
    • you cannot eat sugars and starches (which is carbohydrates minus the fiber)
  • Exercise: You can re-introduce exercise in this phase.  Your goal should be 30min-1 hour 3-4 times per week.
  • For more details on this phase, go here.
  • For success tips and menu samples, go here.

Phase 4: Maintenance phase. The rest of your life!

  • This phase you can bring your calorie intake up to 1800-2000.
  • In phase 4 when your weight has become consistent and stable you will start to re-introduce sugars and starches back into your diet. Starting off slow is always good. Don’t go binging!
  • To maintain your weight, you will have learned a lot of healthy alternatives, so use them in this phase!
  • For the first three weeks you are watching very carefully and very slowly working sugars, like chocolate or bread, into your diet.  But do only one per day to see how your body responds.  As your body gets used to this foreign object and learns how to metabolize it, you can settle into a nice little routine.
  • Use your natural sugar subsitutes and develop a habit of having a splurge meal only once or twice a week.  Be careful still though, as you can rack up on calories if you’re not mindful of how much is going in.
  • Focus eating still on fruits vegetables and proteins, and let grains and sugars be the smaller portions of your meals.  Keep sugar in moderation.

Links to help: 

Phases 3 & 4:

So that’s the overview of the diet.  The first few days are the most challenging, but as your body adapts, it will become much easier.  Let your thinking about food change WITH the food, so that after you’re done, you don’t return to old habits.

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!

 

 

Review of my essential oils experiment for weightloss and hormone balance

**I wanted to update this blog post since I’ve received feedback from a few licensed aroma therapists with concern that my research wasn’t thorough and I realized I had not told the whole story about how I ended up using essential oils, or ingesting them orally.  Now, before I jump in, if you are at all unsure about ingesting oils orally, then please don’t! There’s lots of other ways to use them, like inhalation and topical application.  I chose to take them orally because my family doctor actually recommended Young Living’s Thieves oils to us when we went in for an appointment and suggested we take a drop of it it orally in a cup of orange juice.  With certain oils, it is perfectly safe.  There are some that are less forgiving and should be taken with caution, like Wintergreen and Jasmine.  The ones I’ve listed in my recipes, to my research, should be safe for consumption, and certainly are safe to be inhaled through a diffuser or topically applied when diluted with a carrier oil.  The other direct source that convinced me that ingestion was a safe approach to using oils was my Naturapath Doctor.  He has prescribed oils to me for topical and oral use.  The third source validating my concerns about oral ingestion was the company I purchase oils from, who quoted to me that it should be safe to consume 1-8 drops a day, diluted.  Again, you need to know some oils pose more risk than others, so knowledge about individual oils is crucial.  I got online and did some searching, as well as have read a few different published books and I own and reference the Young Living Essential Oils handbook which offers guidance for each oil and which ones are safe for ingestion.  I hope this offers some consolation to those who have expressed concern, and I appreciate the accountability to keep people safe and all of us well-informed.  Again, each of you are responsible for your own health and if you’re unsure about my methods, please pursue the knowledge needed to make safe decisions for yourself.  This worked for me, and I simply wanted to share it in case it would work for any of you. 🙂 **

 

Onto today’s topic… EO’s for weigh-tloss and hormonal balance!  I found the top oils for each of those categories and made my own blends that I began to take orally every day in capsules. I wanted to share what the results were because many people were curious, and I have been very encouraged by the results! I love essential oils because they’re natural, easy on the body, and so healing and restorative. Now, I do not use Young Living or Doterra oils, because they are so expensive. But I found another brand that I enjoy that I buy on eBay for a fraction of the price, and have experienced great results with. To each his own! The brand I use on eBay, (and she has her own website), is Fabulous Frannie. I have asked her about the quality of the oils, and this was her reply:

Our essential oils are 100% pure grade. They are not cut, diluted or, adulterated in any way making them highly concentrated botanical substances. Pure essential oils are quite literally 1000 times more potent than their leafy counterparts.

All our oils are purchased from trusted distributors with whom we have long-term, close relationships. These distributors work directly with the farms and perform their own analysis on each batch of oil purchased. Working with distributors allows us the opportunity to purchase oils in lower volume to ensure we offer the best batches of essential oils on the market!

I was quite satisfied with her explaination and have continued to be satisfied with her product. 🙂 http://www.fabulousfrannie.com

Ok onto the good stuff.

Below are photos of the blends I made. Now please forgive I don’t have an exact recipe and I am not licensed in this and cannot tell you if this would work for you or not. If you choose to try what worked for me, it is at your own risk. Typically essential oils are safe to consume 1-8 drops a day, but every body is different and I am not making any guarantees for how your body will respond to these blends or ingredients. If you know a licensed aroma therapist, get there thoughts first! Ok, that’s my disclaimer.

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Hormone Balancing

(20-40 drops each in amber glass dropper bottle*)
-Clary Sage
-Sage
-Fennel (if you have it, I did not)
-Geranium
-Clove
-Basil
Top it off with a high quality grapeseed oil to dilute it some. Mine ended up being about half the bottle EO and half grapeseed.

Directions:
Gently shake the bottle to mix oils as they have different densities and will separate, and then drop about 8 to 10 drops into a capsule, Cap it, and take it with some water. I like to follow my capsules with a little bit of food because the oils may cause you to burp and then you will be tasting geraniums in your mouth…and that is just weird. :-).

For the first two weeks I took these daily to help my hormone balance in general. When I was ovulating or PMSing, I would take them once or twice daily, as needed.

Other popular oils for hormone balancing: roman chamomile and jasmine. The top four I listed are in order of most common for hormones. If you only have a few to choose from or a limited budget, opt for the top three or four.

Note:
For heavy bleeders, helychrysium is supposed to help with that. I use it for healing scars and wounds the kids get. It works faster than lavender.

Weightloss blend

20-40 drops each
-Grapefruit
-Lemon
-Cinnamon
-Peppermint
-Ginger (I did not have or use, not sure if I would bc ginger can boost appetite, but is anti inflammatory and good for digestion)
This is the article I read that gave me these ingredients and what they each do.

Directions:
-gently shake dropper bottle to mix oils
-fill capsule half to 3/4 full
-cap it and take w liquid.
-follow w food.
Note: the cooling and warming of peppermint can create a mild heartburn sensation but it’s just the peppermint, not actually heartburn. Following w food helps this.

I take this 1-2xs daily as needed, especially when cravings are higher (like before period).

Ok, here are my reviews:

Hormone Balancer

1. Balanced my PMS mood swings. Tamed the dragon dramatically. After my first period on the oils, I noticed four days in I had not gone into “raging monster” mode! I felt normal the whole time.

2. Shortened my period! I’m currently on my second period since starting these oils and my six day period has been transformed to a TWO day period. This is the morning of my third day and I’m already down to spotting. Amazing!

3. Lessened cramping and bloating. I still had some of this the first day of my period but it was decreased overall by about 75% and it only lasted the first day.

These were my biggest differences!

Weightloss Blend Review

1. Lost weight!! After about a week I lost 3-5 lbs, BUT I had already been exercising a couple times a week, cutting calories and had cut sugar two days prior. However, I had been cutting calories for months without change, and am not sure if it was the oils that brought the loss or my hard work was finally paying off. Could be both.

2. The BIGGEST difference I notice is my cravings were eliminated and appetite curbed. ESP during my period, I was able to stay on track w no-sugar. I take this blend two times daily when cravings are higher. I can’t say enough about how this has made it easier to stay on course w my eating. It’s tremendous. It eliminated my cravings so I made thoughtful decisions about my food instead of emergency decisions about my food. In fact some days I had to force myself to take in enough calories bc it had curbed my appetite so sufficiently.

3. IMMUNE BOOSTED!! Essential oils are excellent for your immune system, and a few things have floated through the family or circulated among friends and my body hasn’t even so much as felt like it was fighting a bug. I feel so healthy and GOOD inside. That alone is huge!!

So, that’s my review for anyone who was interested! I’m just a regular momma trying to do things healthier. I love natural means to health, and just wanted to share that with you! Let me know if you try these!! Thanks for stopping by!!

Oh!! For anyone curious where I got my dropper bottles or capsules, eBay and amazon! Here are some links:

Capsules: 1000 Empty Vegetarian (Vegan) Capsules Size 00 (Kosher/ Halal) Vegi Caps By PurecapsUSA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I7DVEJS/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_ypJ6tb0JTF6D7

Dropper bottles: 1/2 Oz Amber Glass Bottle with Glass Eye Dropper (15ml) – Pack of 10 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085W96U0/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_IrJ6tb044ERNN

Fabulous Frannie oils on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/270923455927 tell her “jenilee5” sent you

 

**Much of the guidance I received for making these blends came from the Young Living Pocket Reference guide (Although you’ll need pretty big pockets to carry this one!)

Healthy easy chocolate covered nuts!!

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So I was craving some chocolate covered nuts but am trying to eat clean, which means the ones at the store that come prepackaged are probably spiked with some artificial stuff here and there, or at least more than I’d like, so I decided to make my own.  I had this container of mixed nuts from Target, Peppermint essential oil (which I add to everything because its just AWESOME, though its not necessary), and a bag of Hershey’s dark chocolate chips.  Here’s what I did.  Quite simple.

1.  I only used about a third of the bag of chocolate chips, threw them in my smallest sauce pan, turned it to a  medium low heat and kept stirring until they were melted.  Once melted, turn off the burner and add a Tablespoon of canola oil.  This is where I also added about 4 drops of my peppermint oil.  Its perfect.

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2.  Then I simply tossed in the nuts and stirred them up till they were all well coated.  I don’t know how much I added, I just kept adding until the chocolate was sufficiently used up without much excess.  Sorry for the poor photo.

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3.  Then you just plop them out onto a pan which you lined with foil or parchment paper, spreading them out into a single layer to avoid chunking.  (unless you like chunks, then keep it chunky!)

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4.  I slid the pan into the top of my freezer for them to harden.  Then I pulled it out an hour or two later, pulled the chocolate nut pieces up and put them into a quart sized bag.  I sealed it, then banged it around on the counter a little to break it up and Voila!!  Homemade, healthy, flat belly diet approved, chocolate covered nuts!!

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Enjoy!!

Homemade Chocolate covered nuts

ingredients:

-raw nuts (1-2 cups)

-Dark chocolate chocolate chips (1/3 to 1/2 cup)

-Peppermint essential oil (optional)

-1 Tbsp Canola oil

Directions:

Melt the chocolate chips over medium low heat in a sauce pan, stirring continually.  Only takes a couple minutes.  Once completely melted, turn off heat, add 1 Tbsp Canola oil and 4 drops Peppermint essential oil if you’re adding that, and stir until blended.   This keeps the chocolate smooth and manageable.  Toss in the nuts, stirring to coat until all chocolate is used and all nuts are coated.  Add more nuts if needed.  Line a pan with parchment paper or foil, scoop out the nut mixture onto the pan, smoothing it out into a single layer.  For chocolate chunks, let it be all chunky, but for more individual nut pieces, make them as spread out as possible.  Set pan in your freezer for an hour or two, pull it out, remove the nut and chocolate pieces, put into a container or quart sized ziploc, break it up if desired, and store in fridge or freezer for a nice little treat!!  Enjoy!!

Lemon coconut yummy!!

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For those of you who just love incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet, or for those of you who just want another healthy way to get good stuff into your daily eating, here is an easy and convenient way to do just that!!  These are very simply made, with only four ingredients and no cooking, you’ll be head over heels.  If you make these and try any other flavors, please do share!!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Coconut oil

Zest from 1 lemon

Juice from 2 lemons (use the zested lemon!)

2 Tbsp honey or other sweetener.  (go natural here,  NO ARTIFICIAL stuff!!  I used “Ideal” natural sweetner, but Truvia, or Stevia work too!  Err on the side of less honey because too much will prevent proper freezing.)

Put half your oil into a small blender or food processor, put the other half into your microwave for 10 seconds, just long enough to melt it.  (Or you can warm it in a pan if you don’t want to microwave it, which possibly kills some of the health benefits of it).

Once your oil is melted, combine it, and the zested lemon and lemon juice, and sweetener/honey, blend until smooth, pour into silicon molds (I used silicon ice cube trays) and refrigerate until solid.  (about 1-2 hours.)  Pop them out of the  molds, and store in a baggie or container in the fridge.  Enjoy a few a day, but be mindful these bad boys have a LOT of calories!! One to two tablespooons a day is touted as carrying lots of health benefits.   Let me know if you try these and enjoy them, or what changes you may make!

If you want to play with other flavors, I covered a few in this post.  Strawberry and lime are two of my other faves!!  Leave comments on some of your favorite flavors!  Others have tried some incredible combos… ya’ll are geniuses! 😉

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**Original recipe inspiration from here.  I tweaked hers because it seemed to me to be a little too much lemon juice and too much honey, making them hard to freeze completely.**

Banana bliss!

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Are you like me and have wanted to preserve those bananas that are going bad but hated the slimyness you were left with when they thaw in their peels? I always thought my mom must have really loved banana bread to endure the slimey, juicy grossness from thawing bananas. Then, one day a light bulb came on and I realized, if I peel them and put them in a large ziploc, smash them flat, I can freeze them all flattened out in much less space than the traditional way! So, that is the idea! When you have some overripe bananas, just peel them, stick them in a baggie and press them flat for ease of storage and then lay them flat in the freezer. Label them when you do this so you know how much you’re working with.

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Use the frozen bananas for ice cream (recipe below), smoothies, or banana bread! Let me know what else YOU would use them for! Banana chocolate peanut butter icecream 2 frozen bananas 2 tBsp cocoa powder 1 Tbsp peanut butter If you like it sweeter, use some natural sweetener! Blend away in a food processor till smooth. If you like it softer just add a tiny bit of milk until desired consistency.