Tag Archives: Family

Bella Finds: The Raw Food Beginner’s Deck

rawfoodbeginnersdeckThe Raw Food Deck: A Simple Guide to Raw Food, its Benefits and its Techniques, by French Raw Food chef, Emilie McBride, brings you to the increasingly popular world of Raw food cuisine. This easy guide will teach you about Raw Food basics, benefits and the reasons it is considered one of, if not the healthiest diet choices. It will also lead you through this new, exciting adventure what Raw Food cuisine and eating is, with a handful of tips, do’s and dont’s, and resources! The fundamentals are all here, in this simple deck, from the equipment you need to the different techniques and essential pantry items. Thirty-one easy starter, fundamental recipes accompany this guide and will give you enough inspiration to become your own Raw Food chef!

 

The Raw Food Beginner’s Deck would make a great Christmas gift for the chef OR aspiring chef in your family. For more information, visit www.deckopedia.com. Pick up our November issue for more great Holiday Gift ideas.

 

Make Thanksgiving Easier

bellaweb1With the parades, football games and plenty of food, Thanksgiving is usually enjoyed by all. But what if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner and welcoming friends and family into your home? Thanksgiving can all of a sudden become very stressful and overwhelming.
Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says focus on the five Ps:  Prior planning prevents poor performance. 
Here are her 10 tips for being a hospitable host during the holidays: 

  • Do your homework: Find out ahead of time if any of your guests have food allergies or other dietary restrictions and plan your menu accordingly or prepare a buffet with a variety of items.  Keep it simple and serve what you know.  Don’t try to serve an unfamiliar, complicated, or labor-intensive dish your first time out. 
  • Keep a list: Write down all of the items you need to make your meal complete.  It’s especially frustrating when you think you have all of your ingredients and then discover in the midst of cooking that you don’t have enough salt, sugar, or butter.   
  • Have a variety of beverages on hand: The mark of a good host is to have a few bottles of red and white wine along with plenty of nonalcoholic beverages for the teetotalers in the group. 
  • Stock up on snacks:  This includes nuts, chips, salsa or dip, one or two different cheeses, crackers, and one or two kinds of frozen appetizers.  Choose hors d’oeuvres that are easy to eat and require only one bite.  This will ensure that no one gets crumbs on his or her nice outfit or on your floor. 
  • Do as much as possible the day before: Don’t wait until the last minute. Set your table the night before.  Clean and polish your serving pieces and fill your salt and pepper shakers a few days before Thanksgiving dinner to avoid last-minute flurries.  
  • Iron your linens. When you are serving cocktails, provide linen cocktail napkins or, at the very least, decorative paper cocktail napkins.  For dinner, use linen napkins because they’re more elegant than paper ones.  
  • Set the mood: Candles are an easy, inexpensive, quick way to make any home more inviting.  Buy as many candles as you can and place them throughout your house.  Remember to reserve a few unscented ones for the dinner table.  Light your candles approximately 15 or 20 minutes prior to your guests’ arrival, and then light the candles on your dinner table just before everyone sits down to dine.  
  • Choose your tunes: Music is a vital element in the staging of a good holiday get together, as it sets the tone for the evening.  Create a dinner party playlist on your iPod or iPhone or preset your CD player so there’s music in the air when your guests arrive and keep it playing throughout the evening.  
  • Preset your coffee and tea service: About an hour before your party, set up your coffeemaker and put cream, milk, sugar, and sweetener in decorative containers.  Put condiments in attractive bowls or containers rather than placing bottles directly on the table.  Put your coffee cups, saucers, teaspoons, and assorted teas on a tray on a side table.  
  • Make time for yourself. Allow plenty of time to shower, get dressed, and look your best for your party.  You’ll want to greet your guests at the door with a relaxed smile on your face.  The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel, and the better time you’ll have at your own party.

Jam Packed with Flavor

New ImageWith the holidays approaching, picking out the right gifts for your friends can be tricky. All natural jams by Department of Sweet Diversions can be a quick and easy sweet treat to give out or even keep for yourself!
All ingredients for the jams are handmade, organic and completely free of preservatives. No processed foods are added and fruits and herbs are bought from the local farmer’s market only a few miles away from their commercial kitchen.
Each jam comes in a 6 ounce jar. Currently, they are available in nine flavors– but they change seasonally. Their most popular options are The Suite Surprise, which is their custom apple butter and The Grand Scheme, their strawberry jam.
“In a world where so much of our food is full of preservatives and mass produced, I’m glad to be able to bring a level of delicious simplicity to our jams that I remember as a kid,” says co-owner, Virginie Strub.
The jars can be ordered individually or gift sets are available. You can also request your jar to be wrapped as well to make it easier for gift giving! To purchase one of Department of Sweet Diversions’ jams head over to their website and get your favorite flavor for the holidays!

Written by Kristi Hall

 

Reduce Tailgating Waste

tailgating

Tailgating at your favorite sports events is almost as big a draw as the game itself, with lots of food, lots of fun – and, unfortunately, lots of waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, large college stadiums can generate 100 tons of waste per game. But you can help reduce game day waste by taking a few simple steps, such as choosing the right packaging, recycling everything you can, and using tailgating essentials made with recycled plastics.

Here are some tips for minimizing waste at your next tailgate:

* Airtight: Choose airtight plastic packaging, such as zipper bags, factory-sealed pouches, cling wrap, and reusable storage containers to help keep food fresh and free of contaminants that could cause spoilage. This can help reduce the likelihood that food will need to be thrown out.

* Minimalist: Recent innovations are leading to new, minimalist packaging designs that help protect food with less material, helping reduce packaging waste. Look for thin, lightweight pouches and bags for game day foods, such as nuts, cheeses, and deli meats, just to name a few.

* Lightweight: Look for beverages sold in lightweight plastic bottles and containers – they’re shatter-resistant which contributes to safety, they typically use less material than alternatives (resulting in less packaging waste), and they’re accepted for recycling in most communities.

* Recycling: Place clearly labeled bags or bins at your tailgate to remind everyone to recycle used plastic packaging and other recyclables. More and more everyday plastic bottles and containers can be recycled in curbside programs, including beverage bottles, ketchup and mustard bottles, containers for sour cream and dip, deli containers, caps and lids, and more. Even plastic bags and wraps – grocery bags, zipper bags, bread and bun bags, wraps for cases of water and soft drinks – can be returned to participating grocery and retail stores for recycling. Check your community’s website or visit www.iwanttoberecycled.org or www.Earth911.com to find out how to recycle as much as possible in your community.

* Recycled: Finally, seek out products made with recycled plastics. Thanks to increased plastics recycling, it’s never been easier to find tailgating essentials made with recycled plastics, such as coolers, serving utensils, plates, cups and bowls.

Make Pure Ingredients Part of Daily Life

pureingredientsTrends and fad diets come and go. But a progressive approach to nutrition – one grounded in positive eating – remains constant. It’s the desire to get more out of food with real, pure ingredients. Most people find the commitment to natural, healthy living isn’t as challenging as they imagined.

From the garden to the market, and the kitchen to the table, countless opportunities allow you to incorporate plant-based, nutrient-rich foods into your diet:

* Make the most of the grocery store. Eating real, pure foods, including whole grains, is at the core of a healthy lifestyle. Take a closer look at packaging to find items made with wholesome ingredients. You’ll be excited to see that many grocery stores carry a variety of nutritious options.

“People don’t always look as closely as they should,” says dietitian Toby Amidor. “Dig in and read the labels to get the full picture and educate yourself on the foods in your grocery basket.”

* Get into gardening. There’s no need to till your yard and plant rows of crops – gardening can start small, in a pot or container. Herbs, lettuce, spinach and tomatoes are all great porch and patio plants. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, try a raised-bed garden with a variety of plants, from cabbage to cucumbers and beyond.

“Growing your own garden can do more than provide tasty produce. It can also be a therapeutic way to increase your overall intake of vegetables,” says Amidor. “When I was growing up, my dad had an amazing garden. He taught me how to plant, weed and pick produce like radishes, carrots, sunflower seeds, cucumbers and tomatoes. Gardening is a great way to bond with family members and educate the next generation about the importance of farm-to-table.”

* Keep it up in the kitchen. It’s important to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients to fuel your day. Are your foods providing essential vitamins, minerals and protein?

“Meeting the Daily Value of around 50 grams of protein for the average adult can be challenging – especially for vegans and vegetarians. Protein is an essential component of a nutritious diet,” says Amidor. “To incorporate more plant-based proteins into your meals, exercise your imagination and pair together different types of proteins, like whole grains, legumes and nuts to create wholesome meals.”

The more you learn about real, pure ingredients, the more delicious ways you’ll find to enjoy them.

The Do’s and Dont’s of DIY Beauty

The natural beauty movement is gaining momentum with more women seeking all-natural ways to look and feel fabulous. A big part of this trend is creating beauty products at home. The benefits are many: products can be completely customized, women know exactly what ingredients are used, and oftentimes, they save themselves money, too.

If you want to join the DIY beauty movement, consider these top do’s and don’ts from the experts at Aura Cacia:

Do develop your own body spray

Not only are perfumes costly, they are filled with chemicals. By using essential oils, you can create natural body spray in minutes. For an amazing DIY Patchouli and Rose Body Spray, simply mix these ingredients in a small spray bottle or atomizer:

4 ounces purified water
19 drops bergamot BF essential oil
19 drops patchouli essential oil
19 drops lemon essential oil
3 drops rose otto or rose absolute essential oil

Don’t forget to use pantry staples

Some of the most commonly used ingredients in DIY beauty recipes can be found right in your kitchen cabinet. Learn more about pantry staples like sea salt, oats, honey, eggs, course sugar and coconut oil, and how your beauty recipes can benefit from them.

Do learn more about essential oils

 

Essential oils are the highly concentrated aromatic essences of plants. They are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs. Using essential oils in DIY beauty products is a wonderful option, but they must be treated with safety and respect. Read up on essential oil basics and safety at www.auracacia.com.

Don’t use disposable containers

 

DIY beauty embraces the idea of natural wellness not only for the family, but also for the Earth. Always opt for reusable containers when possible, as they reduce waste and maintain the integrity of homemade products longer. BPA-free plastic containers and glass alternatives are both great options you can use again and again.

familydiybeautyDo make health and beauty essentials for the whole family

DIY health and beauty isn’t just for women, the entire family can benefit from natural products you can make in your own home. From luxurious body soaks for mom and back rub blends for dad, to baby balms and infant message oils, there are many easy-to-follow recipes at www.auracacia.com.  

 

Stinging with Energy

bellaonline4We all run out of energy and need a pick me up at some point of the day. Your choice of energy fuel can make a difference in how long you stay energetic. 

Some turn to energy drinks to satisfy the caffeine rush but the variety of caffeinated drinks can have risks after consumption. Side effects range from shaking, dizziness, headache and a crash that can make you feel more exhausted than before you consumed the drink. 

A more natural and safe product to grab is one of Honey Stinger’s energetic snacks. 

Why honey? Honey is a natural sugar and rich in carbohydrates, making it a great fuel for your muscles. The honey-based products are beneficial before, during and after exercising.

Honey Stinger’s products range from energy gels, organic waffles, organic energy chews, energy bars, protein bars, organic honey and even treats for the little ones.

All the products have an assortment of flavors depending on the item. A few of the flavors offered are: strawberry kiwi, lemon, pink lemonade cherry cola, dark chocolate coconut almond, and many many more!

All the products offered from Honey Stinger have a shelf life between 12-18 months from the date of manufacture. Since the ingredients are all natural, they are a safe alternative for kids and perfect for an after school snack.

You can purchase Honey Stinger directly on their website or check out their store locator to find the closest store selling Honey Stinger products!

Written by Kristi Hall

Fall Gardening: Tips and Recipes

bellaonline4586Not all of your veggies that have been in your garden all summer long like the crisp air that’s on its way. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers won’t last once the cooler weather approaches. 

However, vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and turnips are able to tolerate the hardest winters. They survive even in the low 20s and high teens. Other veggies like beets, carrots, lettuce and celery are good for spring and fall gardens since they can tolerate between 29 to 32 degrees.

Watch for frost closer to January and February. Covering even the toughest plants in your garden is always a smart decision when the weather gets extremely cold. Late October-early November is a great time to begin preparing the vegetable garden for colder weather. 

Mulching serves many purposes in the winter garden. Acting as insulation to the plants, it will also help discourage the winter growth of weeds and pesky grasses. Some of the most common materials used for winter mulching are peat moss, bark, sawdust, and shredded newspapers.

There are many recipes you can incorporate in your dinners to make sure you take full advantage of fall and winter vegetables. Below are a few recipes to make sure you don’t let any of your gardening go to waste!

Kale, Broccoli, and Feta Sauté
(http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/kale-broccoli-feta-saute)

3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups of broccoli florets
kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 10 cups)
2 ounces of Feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)
¼ cup of kalamata olives, pitted and slivered

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the kale and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes more. Fold in the Feta and olives.

Green Smoothie Recipe
(http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/green_smoothie/)

1 medium ripe banana
1 cup of fresh, canned, or frozen pineapple
3 large handfuls of fresh spinach (washed)
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
6 oz. water
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Tip: If you want to add coconut oil, be sure it’s slightly melted when you add it so it emulsifies and blends well into the smoothie. Otherwise, it might be lumpy, especially if you are using frozen pineapple or if you add ice cubes.
If you use canned pineapple, you can add the juice, too, for a sweeter tasting smoothie.

 

Written by Kristi Hall