Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm on a Coconut Kick!

Lately, I'm obsessed with coconut scented body products!  The scent just screams "summertime!"  I thought I'd share what I'm using, and if I'd buy these products again.



A. Trader Joe's Coconut body butter: I love this so much, I bought another one for when I run out!  It's only $4.99 and it has so many ingredients that are healthy for your skin!  It has a light "coconutty-"vanilla scent.  It's not greasy at all.  In fact, I put it on my face under my makeup.

B. By Nature Coconut & Ocean Minerals body wash: This product has no parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, PEGS, SLS, or SLES!  I picked it up at TJ Maxx.  I like it, but I don't love it.  I think it smells better in the bottle than it does in the shower.  I will not repurchase this.

C. Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Mega Moisture shampoo and conditioner:  This product has "no damaging sulfates or drying formaldehydes."  Yes, body products can contain formalehyde, especially nail polishes, so read your labels!  (Another surprise to me, is that some vaccines contain formaldehyde! So irritating!)  This shampoo and conditioner smells amazing.  I will not be repurchasing them for a couple of reasons.  They are very expensive ($10/bottle).  I bought a package deal this time, but I just don't spend $10/bottle on shampoo and conditioner.  It takes a lot of shampoo to get a lather, so I feel like I'm going through the bottle too quickly.  I found this out the hard way...the conditioner is great if you use a *tiny* bit.  But, if you use a normal amount, you are going to be stuck with greasy hair the rest of the day.  I do like these products though! They make your hair smell good and feel soft!

D. Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes:  I bought these with a gift card to take on vacation with me.  They have a pretty strong coconut scent, which I love!  You can smell them before you even open the package.  I like them a lot.  They were really handy on vacation, when I was flying for hours and stuck in airports, and just wanted to wipe my face.  I wouldn't buy them for everyday use.  They didn't take my mascara off very well.  But, they would be nice for summer days when you're at the beach or an amusement park and your face gets all sweaty.  They're refreshing!  They are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without sulfates, petroleum, parabens, SLS, OR phthalates.

E. Alba Botanica Nourishing Coconut Creme lip balm:  Alba is one of my favorite brands!  This lip balm is so creamy and smells delicious!  It also has a sweet taste.  I would definitely buy this again!

F. Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar roll-on perfume: Pacifica is a brand that I just discovered and wish I could have all of their products!  I don't actually wear tons of perfume, but this smells so fresh and summery.  It's not very strong, but when I catch the soft scent of it, it just makes me feel so happy.  I would definitely buy this again next summer!

G. The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine:  I don't think the Body Shop claims to be a "natural" company.  I don't see any horrible ingredients in this product, but in the future, I think I'm actually going to try to make this myself as one of my VEG Handmade Body Products.  This is another one of those products where you use just a tiny amount, or you will have greasy hair!  I love this product.  It's how I deal with the humidity.  I would buy this again.

H. VEG Handmade Body Products Coconut Jasmine Shea Soap:  This is a soap that I made myself.  It has the best combination of fruit and floral!  I have really dry skin, and I have noticed such a difference since using this shea soap. It has a great lather, too!  I will list more information below, in case you're interesting in purchasing a bar.

 
Coconut Jasmine Shea Soap


Are you using any of these products, too? Or, are there other coconut products out there that I need to try?? Let me know in the comments below!

Jessica

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Little Miss Veg on Pinterest

For those of you who have expressed interest in a Little Miss Veg Pinterest page, you can find me by going to http://pinterest.com/littlemissjess.  I have two folders, one for food and one for my handmade soaps.  I would love for you to follow me!




Tea Tuesday: Ooh la la Oolong!

Oolong just might be one of my new favorite teas!  I stopped at a Safeway in San Francisco for a drink to take on our road trip.  I grabbed this Organics brand Oolong Tea with Peach Flavor.  I didn't really have any expectations other than it tasting like a sweet tea.  I was too excited about my trip.  But, I took a sip and the flavor was surprisingly good!

Which leads me to today's Tea Tuesday... I was looking through my Harney & Sons sample tea bags, and found a Pomegranate Oolong bag, so I decided to try it.  It's 90 degrees here today, so I let it cool and then refrigerated it, and just had some this evening.  And ooh la la...amazing!  I'm terrible at describing flavors, but the Oolong teas I've had are just so light and refreshing!  And of course, in this case, fruity.  The leaves are from China. They're rolled, and then they expand as they steep.  Even the color of the tea is a very light yellowish-green.  I would definitely buy this in loose leaf!

My famous Harney & Sons lavender teapot. ;) If you've been reading, you know what I'm talking about.

Speaking of loose leaf,  I've been wanting to share this with you.  Whenever I make a cup or pot of tea with my loose leaf teas using a tea ball, little pieces of leaves are always left in the pot.  I don't care to have leaves floating in my tea. I found these "make-your-own" tea bags at Whole Foods.  You put your loose tea leaves in them, and then there are no floaties in your pot!


I hope you enjoyed Tea Tuesday! What's in your tea cup today? Please leave a comment in the comments section below.

Jessica

Chocolatey Anti-Aging Energy Bites

I saw something like this on Pinterest and had to make them!  All you need is chocolate to melt, a bag of trail mix, and some wax paper.  I think the idea is to use dark chocolate because it's rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent cancer and slow the signs of aging.  Here's a link to all the great health benefits of dark chocolate! It is also usually vegan.

I recently read that if you're craving chocolate, your body is really craving magnesium.  So, you should eat raw nut and seeds, legumes, and fruit.

These literally took me less than 10 minutes to make!  If you need a quick, healthy snack to help satisfy your sweet tooth and give you energy at the same time, these are for you! They would be a cute party snack, too!




Since I didn't plan to make these, I used ingredients I already had in my kitchen.  A bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe's.  These do not contain milk fat, so they're vegan.  They're also gluten free.  I had different bags of nuts and dried cranberries.  So, here's a list of what I used: semi-sweet chocolate, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, granola, and orange flavored dried cranberries.

All you do is melt the chocolate in the microwave.  Start with 30 seconds, and then do an additional 10-15 seconds as needed.  You don't want to burn the chocolate.  On a sheet of wax paper, make melted chocolate circles with a spoon.  They don't have to be perfect.  Place your pieces of trail mix into the melted chocolate.  Let cool for an hour.  You might want to put them in the refrigerator.  I let mine cool on the counter overnight, and the chocolate was still slightly soft.  It's just because it's summer and the house isn't as cool.

I made 15 of these with about a half a bag of chocolate chips.  You could probably make more if you make a thinner layer of chocolate.

I hope you enjoy!  Someone in my house sure enjoyed them, because there were a few missing when I woke up this morning!

What other combinations of toppings do you think would be good for these?  Please leave a comment below!

Jessica


P.S. Those of you with Google, Twitter, or Yahoo, you can join my page by clicking on "join this site" in the right sidebar. Would you please take a minute to do that?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strawberry Summer Salad



Romaine lettuce
Cucumber
Tomato
Strawberries
Red Onion
Granny Smith apple
Dried cranberries
Herbed goat cheese
Almond slivers
Balsamic Vinaigrette
I like to think this was so good because a lot of the ingredients came from our local farmers' market. ;)

Do you have a favorite seasonal salad? Please share in the comments below! I would love to hear from you! Is anyone out there??? :)

If you're receiving this post through email and you'd like to comment, just click on the blue title of this post and you should be linked directly to the blog.  All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the post and click on "comments."

Jessica

San Diego Inspired Mexican Fiesta! And it's Vegan!

I was spoiled with an abundant amount of authentic Mexican food on my California road trip last week.  If you look at this map, you can see just how close San Diego is to Mexico.


My favorite Mexican restaurant that we tried in California is called Pokez.  I didn't even realize it was a vegetarian restaurant before we went inside.  They also had a lot of vegan options. 


On my plate: fresh tortillas, picco de gallo, Mexican rice, guacamole, refried beans, and a Mexican cabbage salad.

This was the last day of our trip, so I was sun burnt and exhausted. But, can you believe the amount of food I was served for $5.25???  It was really enough for 3 people.  The food was so good, I decided we are either moving to California or I better figure out how to make this food at home!

We also found a Mexican supermarket, where we bought apple empanadas for 65 cents each.  They were amazingly delicious!  While we were there, I saw a tortilla press that I really wanted.  It was really heavy, and my husband insisted that we were NOT taking that on the plane. Hmph! That is why you see him in the next picture, pressing tortillas on our counter top by hand with a pot! (hehe)


We had family over for dinner last night and decided to have a Mexican fiesta!  We made everything from scratch, so I thought I'd share some recipes!  (Sorry I didn't think to take anymore pictures of the food, since we had company.)


Fresh Tortillas
Here are step-by-step instructions for making fresh corn tortillas.  I bought the "Maseca" brand masa, and it worked perfectly! And wow, look at the health benefits of fresh tortillas!

Refried Beans
1 pound dry pinto beans
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium jalapeño, diced small, seeds removed.
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups water (I used a vegan "chicken" bouillon instead.)
2 teaspoons salt

Rinse beans with cool water. Place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Pour water over the top. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours. (The longer they cook, the easier they will be to mash.) After the beans are cooked, mash them with a potato masher.  I left mine slightly lumpy.  You could also use an immersion blender if you want them smooth. Add the salt, and mix well (you can add more to taste if you need to). Serve warm.

Your house will smell like a Mexican restaurant!


Picco de Gallo
I don't really have a recipe.  I just chopped up one large tomato, half a white onion, and half a jalapeno and mixed them together in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Mexican Rice
Here's a link to the recipe.  We skipped the part about sauteing the rice and it was still perfect!

Mexican Cabbage Salad
I couldn't believe my taste buds when I tried this at Pokez!  This recipes is not quite the same as Pokez, but still delicious! You can serve it as a side dish, but I put it right on my tacos!
  • 10 oz. shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • A sprinkle of dried cilantro.
  • 1 large jalapeno
  • Half a small red onion, very thinly sliced and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and lime juice.  Sprinkle with salt, and serve!

And the best part is, all of this is vegan!

Do you have any favorite authentic Mexican restaurants?  Or some authentic recipes you can share? Let me know in the comments below.  I really want to hear from you!

If you're receiving this post through email and you'd like to comment, just click on the blue title of this post and you should be linked directly to the blog.  All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the post and click on "comments."

Time for some leftovers!
Jessica

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Are Big Businesses Taking Over Your City?

Happy summer to you! I started off the summer with a trip to our farmers' market.  I just got home from vacation in California.  While I was there, I started realizing that big businesses are taking over America!  Of course I already knew that.  But, to fly all the way from one coast to the other and see the same old stores and restaurants everywhere was really eye opening.  Some places I didn't even realize were national chains. We like to eat at local restaurants when we travel.  One morning we searched and search for somewhere to eat breakfast, and ended up at one of the Denny's that were within a couple miles of each other! It's ridiculous that we ate at Denny's.

Then I came home and went into a Target.  This is something that's bothered me before...the walkie talkies! I really do not like to hear the front end managers hassle the poor cashiers about offering credit cards to the customers.  "It's time to rock and roll, team Target!"  Maybe the Virginia humidity is getting to me, but that makes me sick. Really. And I let Target know!

So, I started thinking about how I really need to be more diligent about eating at locally-owned restaurants and supporting small businesses.  Although, do locally-owned supermarkets even exist?  That's what led me to our farmers' market this morning.  I'm going to try to purchase as many of my groceries as I can from them.  I don't care if it costs a little bit more.  Besides, where else can you shop and also play with a sweet little goat?

I bought the usual things...lettuce, cucumber, cantaloupe, strawberries, and my favorite, tomatoes!  It's that time of year! Tomato sandwiches!!! Don't let your summer go by without having a tomato sandwich!

Basil from my container garden.
My husband also wanted some local honey. It's supposed to really help with seasonal allergies.



Have you noticed big businesses taking over your city? Does the background noise of employee to employee conversations over walkie talkies at Target bug you? Or, do you have some favorite local shops and restaurant? Please share in the comments below! 

If you're receiving this post through email and you'd like to comment, just click on the blue title of this post and you should be linked directly to the blog.  All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the post and click on "comments."

I can't wait to hear from you!
Jessica



Friday, June 21, 2013

How Do You Detox?

Traditional Medicinals was nice enough to send me this "EveryDay Detox" herbal tea to try. I was really excited to receive a detox tea. After a week of vacation and eating out, I could use a detox. I don't think it's actually a tea (it doesn't contain tea leaves), and I'm sorry to say, It doesn't taste very good!  It has a very strong licorice flavor.  I couldn't drink more than a few sips.


I do appreciate them sending this to me!  If you like licorice, this might be for you!  But, make sure you read the label and warnings before drinking it.

I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!  Do you have a detox drink that actually tastes good?  Or, do you have a detox diet or routine that you like?  Let me know!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tea Tuesday! Harney & Sons Caribe Tea

Happy Tea Tuesday!  I'm especially excited because Harney & Sons sent me a really nice cube of tea bags to sample and review!  If you missed it, here's a link. If someone had given me this cube for my birthday or Christmas, I would have thought it was the best gift ever.  I can't believe they sent it to me for free!

Today I decided to try the "Caribe" tea.  The guava, strawberry, and coconut sounded like it would be a perfect summertime tea! I thought for sure that this was going to be one I would want to buy a whole tin of.  I love fruity teas!  But, actually, this isn't one of my favorites.  It tastes like green tea with a slight hint of strawberry.  It didn't taste bad at all, but it wasn't as fruity as I would have liked.



If this sounds like something you'd like to try, here's more information about this tea.

What's in your teacup today?

Jessica

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tea Tuesday! Harney & Sons Paris Tea

It's Tea Tuesday, and I've been out on my porch sipping Harney & Sons "Paris" tea!  I bought this tea from their Soho shop in NYC, and it is the best tea I've ever had in. my. life!  It's a "blend of black teas with vanilla, fruit, and citrus flavors carefully added."  I think this will always be my favorite tea!  It smells amazing, and drinking it makes me think back to the wonderful time I had in Paris.

I went to NYC over this past Christmas, and visiting the Harney & Sons shop was the absolute highlight of my trip!  My husband and I drank tea in their tea room and watched the snow fall.  I like their tea room because it's not girly and frilly.  It's modern, but still pretty.  I love the lavender walls and the lavender teapots.  Oh, the teapots! That's another story.  Harney & Sons sells teapots like the ones they serve tea in, just not in lavender.  But, I had to have a lavender one! So, my husband asked the manager if they could please sell me a lavender one.  She said "yes," and found one in the back.  I got charged a lot more for that lavender teapot, but it is SO worth it!  I love, love, love it!

Harney & Sons is just amazing!  When I decided to do Tea Tuesdays, they said they would be happy to send me some teas to try and review!  I was so excited when I got that email! Teavana {ahem!}on the other hand said no... So, I am happily waiting on my package from Harney & Sons!


The Harney & Sons window display at Christmas.
Loving the Harney & Sons Soho shop! Christmas 2012


Monday, June 3, 2013

Little Miss Vegetarian and Social Media!

Hi Everyone!

As you know, facebook has changed, and only about 100 of you out of 500 can actually see my posts unless I pay facebook to "boost" my posts. That makes me sad. :(

But, I thought I'd give you a list of other ways to follow me to be sure we stay in touch!

1. Twitter! Here you will be able to see ALL my posts! Please look for me! @littlemissveg I would love for you to send me a tweet!

2. Keek! These are short 36 second videos. Here is an example of one of my videos...a quick Szechuan vegetable cooking demonstration.  Please follow AND subscribe to be sure you get updates. @littlemissveg

3. Instagram! Here you'll be able to see pictures of my handmade soaps, and order if you'd like. My username is @vegsoap.

4. Facebook! You actually can get all of my facebook updates.  There's a little trick to it... You have to hold your cursor over the "liked" button at the top right of my fb page.  Then click on "get notifications."

5. Email! Did you know that if you go directly to my blog, there's a box where you can type in your email address? That way all blog posts will go directly to your inbox!


Thank you all for being so nice and supportive!  It's hard work keeping up with social media :)

*hugs*
Jessica

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Product Review: Cherrybrook Kitchen Pancake and Waffle Mix

Cherrybrook Kitchen does it again!  I give their Pancake and Waffle Mix 5 stars!  I happen to be the worst pancake maker, but this mix is fool-proof because I don't know when I've made a prettier stack of pancakes! 

I used this mix to make blueberry pancakes.  I followed the box instructions, but stuck 6 blueberries in each pancake after I poured it into the pan.  The consistency right from the start was perfect...a light and fluffy batter!

This mix is gluten free, wheat free, peanut free, dairy free, nut free, and egg free.  Perfect for families with allergies!  It's also VEGAN! No animal products. But what I like most about this mix is that it doesn't contain any weird ingredients that I can't even pronounce.  Everything in it is something that I use in my own homemade vegan baking!





You will love the sweet vanilla scent in your house as these pancakes are cooking!  If you missed it, I also did a review of the Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Click *here* for a link!

Thanks for reading!  And if you don't mind, I could use your help!

Facebook has recently changed and not all of you see my facebook posts anymore. This has caused a significant drop in how many of you actually get to read the blog posts now. Last year, my posts would get 200-300+ hits, and now they're getting less than 50 (out of 500+ readers!). Facebook wants me to pay to "boost" my posts so all of you can see them.

Here's how you can help:
If you don't mind, please go to my Little Miss Vegetarian fb page, hold your cursor over the "liked" button, and then click on "get notifications." This way you will be notified when I update my posts.

You can also follow me on Twitter!!!!
@littlemissveg

And please share my page with your friends!
Thank you all for your support over the past few years!
The more you click "like" and comment on posts, the more others will see them too. :)

♥ Jessica


P.S. Did you know that you can have Little Miss Vegetarian posts delivered directly to your inbox?  Look on the right sidebar of this page.  There's a box that says "follow by email!"