Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fresh Fruit & Spinach Matcha Smoothie Recipe

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial on The Eclectic Element. All thoughts and opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before committing to buy a product or service as your opinions may vary.



In my ongoing journey to discover the healthy benefits of Matcha green tea powder, I've been experimenting on how to incorporate it into different healthy living recipes. First was my Gluten-free Matcha Pistachio Cookie recipe which turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!

It was more along the lines of a dessert recipe so for my next experiment, I wanted something a little different...

Smoothies are a quick and popular way to get in the vitamins and minerals you need while being completely delicious. So on that note, enjoy this great beneficial smoothie recipe!




Fresh Fruit & Spinach Matcha Smoothie

Recipe adapted from jann_on of Flickr



Ingredients: 

-2 tbs blueberries
-1 pear (cut up)
-1/2 a banana (not pictured)
-1 kiwi (cut up)
-1/2-1 cup of spinach
-1-2 cups water
-1 cup ice
-1 tsp-1/2 tbsp Matcha powder


1. Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Optional: Smoothies are amazing in the fact that you can throw anything you want in them (within reason of course) and it usually comes out pretty good. So if you want to substitute something else for one of my ingredients or add a little somethin-somethin you think will totally make it, feel free-we'll call it culinary freedom of expression ;)





Like my Gluten-free Matcha Pistachio Cookies, the Matcha powder was definitely a prominent flavor in this smoothie drink. So much so that I probably could have cut the Matcha powder down to 1 tsp from the 1/2 tbsp I originally used if I really wanted to make the flavor more subtle.

Unfortunately my first go around was a little more powerful with the powder than I planned for, but my mom suggested adding half a banana into the batch to sweeten it up and cut the flavor a little bit.

And thanks to mom, the banana totally saved the recipe! If you know smoothies, you know bananas should always be on hand.

Both my dad and I drank this wonderful smoothie down to The. Last. Drop. Not only did we get some of our greens in, we probably got our recommended daily fruit servings for the day, too. There was a LOT of fruit in that thing!

1 4oz bag Matcha green tea powder. 2 recipes down. So many more to go.



What would YOU add to the smoothie?







Win It Wednesday(1/22)





Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


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Win a Beautiful Orchid with Re-usable Bamboo Cachepot from Teleflora!! 


Ends January 23, 2014


Enter Here












Win a Pair of Movie Tickets to see Gimme Shelter!!


Ends January 27, 2014


Enter Here








 Win a Le Creuset Dutch Oven!!


Ends January 31, 2014



















Monday, January 20, 2014

GoGo Girl Fit 30 Day Custom Fitness Challenge


Disclaimer: I won a 30 day custom fitness package from GoGo Girl Fitness and opted of my own free will to blog about my journey and do this review on The Eclectic Element blog. Opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before committing to buy a product or service because your opinions may vary.


Last year was the best year I've had. Ever. Period. End of story.

I was feeling the greatest, minus the ever constant health fluctuations, and I was getting out and doing new things, meeting new people, discovering passions I never realized I had; like exercise of any kind.

What kind of crazy person actually enjoys exercise you might ask?

Apparently I do!

Unfortunately even though these past Fall and Winter seasons have also been the greatest in the past 10 years I've been sick, they still don't have me feeling 100%. My health is fluctuating more than it had been in the Spring and Summer months and I just haven't found the time nor the energy when I'm feeling well enough to exercise.

Which leads me to the dreaded 'Before' pictures of this GoGo Girl Fit fitness journey. Brace yourself folks, I've gotten a little chubby these past few months...



Don't you like how I seem to grow taller in each picture?


A little about GoGo Girl Fit:

"GoGo Girl Fit wants to help women take their health and fitness seriously. By providing a fun and sexy workout at affordable prices, we are able to give women an easy way to get into great shape. GGF offers custom fitness and nutrition plans,  trendy dance fitness videos, choreography and dance team audition prep."


When I was exercising at least 2 to 3 times a week, I noticed a considerable difference in my body that put a smile on my face and a pep in my step. Now that I look at these before pictures, I also notice a considerable difference that works to do the complete opposite: leave a frown on my face!

Noticeably, my stomach and mid section have definitely gained some...excess is a good word for it.

I need to do something about this 'excess' we speak of and luckily in walks Erika of GoGo Girl Fitness in the form of a contest win. This particular contest prize gave me a full 30 day custom workout plan tailored to my needs from Erika herself!

So far Erika and I have worked back and forth to create a routine that isn't too rough on my body and I and that I can do on my good days while changing things up a little bit on my better days. She's very thorough and thoughtful when it comes to the 'custom' in her custom tailored plans.

This will definitely be an adventure and I can't wait to start it and bring you all along for the ride! You can expect one to two more posts along the way: a 15 day update on my progress and a final 30 day reveal and review of GoGo Girl Fitness. 

Care to join me on my 30 day fitness journey? Follow GoGo Girl Fit Workout of the Day Board on Pinterest where Erika pins a new workout of the day Monday through Friday!





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What are YOU doing to stay active during 
the winter months?







Mailbox Monday(1/20)








Mailbox Monday divulges into the inner workings of my mailbox throughout the week. From books to jewelry to free samples to random magazines and letters-You never know what will be in the mail this week...

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I've been waiting for awhile for these beauties and I finally splurged with my Christmas money and ordered them off of Amazon.

Wire work here I come!














Also with my Christmas money I decided to get the book Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

I'm so sick and tired of being petrified of my monthly cycle; the excruciating pain it brings, the not knowing when it's going to hit, all the PMS/PMDD before hand...

It's time to take charge and not fear anymore and this book is supposed to help with that!







I received a package I wasn't expecting and when I opened it, I found this!

My mom is a hardcore Snoopy and Peanuts fan so I went straight out and handed it to her.

She was giddy :)












Another Sears Shop Your Way reward.

I was able to choose another movie to add to my ever growing collection for a mere $1.05 after all was said and done.

Gotta love (nearly) freebies!















This beautiful little care package is courtesy of Van's Natural Food and their gluten free yumminess.

Keep checking back for the review of their newest snack line and a giveaway ;)











 
Last but not least, this wonderful prize package was from the Swerve Natural Sweetner Twitter party that went down a month or two back.

I was SUPER excited about this one-I can't wait to use that hand blender on some recipes I have in mind!












What did YOU receive in the mail this week? 










Friday, January 17, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Never a Dull Moment!


When I research something, I research until I'm blue in the face, have a headache, and am so frustrated that I want to pull my hair out! I frustrate myself so much with the back and forth on similar-but-slightly-different products I end up wanting to throw my hands up in the air and just go with the eenie-meenie-minie-mo method.

Hence how my past few weeks have been going since my less than 3 year old HP laptop decided to just completely die on me one day out of the blue.

If you rely on your computer as much as I do, you'll understand when I say my heart literally sunk to the bottom of my feet and I was near tears. My world was on my computer. My world was IN my computer.

Pure panic ensues.

I did everything I could to start it up again but with no luck. $60 sum dollars later after I had already spent $260 on a new hard drive for that thing, I took it to get a second opinion and the verdict was the same: fried motherboard.

So aside from the research I did to try to get the HP up and running, I was now going to do 3 to 4 days of solid research on finding a new computer (one which I seriously cannot afford by the way). After taking to social media, comparing brands, specs, and pricing, I narrowed it down to a handful of models, but after careful consideration, rave reviews from my social media outreach efforts, and going to Best Buy for some hands on experience, I finally decided on an Asus.


Can you guess who she's named after?


Thankfully shipping was extremely fast and I received her in 3 days! Now it's just a matter of Betty and I getting acquainted with one another. I'm still not quite sure whether I want to stay with Windows 8 or downgrade to Windows 7, but that decision will come in time.

Now that I actually have access to my lifeline again, I'm going to have to do some serious catching up!

Did you know things build up quite a bit when you're away for 2 weeks?

Unfortunately I have to spend more money I don't have buying Microsoft Office for my business and online happenings and I'm still very anxious because the external hard drive I received to transfer my old hard drive to the new computer isn't registering on Betty.

In other words none of my vital, important information is transferring such as pictures, inventory logs, documents, etc.

Never a dull moment I tell you!

I guess this post is a roundabout way of telling you that I'm still here; a little less hair, a little more frazzled, but I'm still here and hopefully I'll be able to slowly catch up with everything.


What brand of computer do YOU have? 
Do you like it? 








Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Win It Wednesday(1/8)





Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


*******************************************







Win a Black Fieldcrest Wood Watch from Jord.com!!


Ends January 16, 2014


Enter Here











Win an All Natural Beef Filet/Rib-eye Combo Prize Package from Nolan Ryan's Beef!!


Ends January 17, 2014














Win a Relaxing Spa Day Gift Basket!!


Ends January 20, 2014










Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Artists Around the Globe: GlobeIn 3 Month Subscription Giveaway



I'm a sucker for items from other countries and cultures. I think it's the wanderlust in me that craves something from far away. Just knowing an item came from a different country with different climates, cultures, languages, and foods excites me-like I have a tiny piece of that far away land to wear or put on my shelf for display.

Of course I'd rather travel and experience the people and cultures myself, but collecting is the next best thing until I can afford to travel across the globe!

Until then, companies like GlobeIn help satiate my craving with unique handcrafted goods from artists all over the world.


"We created GlobeIn to make a difference in the lives of local artisans by connecting them with the global economy. That desire drives us to be a different kind of online marketplace. One with a focus on creating opportunities for all artisans. One that is not limited by technology but expanded by it. One that is motivated not by what is easy for us, but by what will be most meaningful for them. One that values not only our artisans crafts, but also their passion, their history and their culture."


Check out this video on how exactly GlobeIn works and how it helps support local artists everywhere:




From home decor, traditional clothing, and unique accessories to lifestyle items and, of course, beautiful handcrafted jewelry, GlobeIn works with many different artists who produce unique treasures bound to be loved by everyone regardless of where they're located!

On top of the individual handcrafted artisan goods you can purchase through their website, GlobeIn has created their own subscription box! You choose the category-jewelry, decor, or home accessories-and 3 specially handcrafted items from around the world and the stories of the artists who made the pieces are carefully selected for your box.





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{The Giveaway}


3 Month Subscription to GlobeIn Artisan Gift Box



a Rafflecopter giveaway









Monday, January 6, 2014

Matcha Green Tea Powder Review & Pistachio Cookie Recipe


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial on The Eclectic Element. All thoughts and opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before committing to buy a product or service as your opinions may vary.



Detoxifying is one thing that my body just doesn't want to do! No matter how hard I try, I can never find that particular balance that works for me; I either detox so extremely slow that my body becomes toxic waiting to get rid of all the icky or I detox too fast and I become very ill.

Fine balance indeed!

Which is why when it comes to things that help detox my body, I have to take it pretty slow but at least push myself enough that I don't become too toxic. I've tried many things in small doses before but one thing I can say I haven't tried yet is Matcha green tea powder.

Thanks to Kiss Me Organics, that's another product I can add to the go-to list of healthy things that can help detoxify! Not only that, but Kiss Me Organic's green tea powder helps boost your energy and metabolism, improve your skin's health, and has the equivalent of 137 times the antioxidants of brewed green tea.

And what better way to get this health-promoting product into your body than in cookie form?!


Gluten-free Matcha Pistachio Cookies
(Makes 15-18 cookies) 


Recipe adapted from Sincerely Fiona



Ingredients: 

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1/2 cup icing sugar
-1 cup Pamela's Products Artisan Blend Gluten-free Flour
-1-1/2 Tbsp Matcha powder
-1/8 Tsp salt
-1 oz finely chopped natural pistachios


1. Combine flour, Matcha powder, and salt into a bowl and mix well until blended. Important note: if you don't want much of a green tea powder taste, I'd recommend using 1/2 tbsp.

2. Combine softened unsalted butter and powdered sugar into a bowl and blend until mixture is a creamy consistency. If you have a mixer to do the hard work for you by all means, mix away! If not I used a fork and it took me about 10 to 15 minutes to blend.

3. Once you've gotten the creamy consistency, start to slowly add in the flour/Matcha mixture, blending (or forking?) while you go until everything is nicely blended together. Important note: try not to over mix!

4. Once the mixture is all incorporated, add in the finely chopped pistachio nuts. Make sure they're indeed finely chopped otherwise when you go to cut the cookies in a later step, they'll crumble.






5. Once everything is mixed together, lay down a sheet of tin foil and a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the tin foil. Empty the bowl of the Matcha mixture onto the plastic wrap and start shaping the mixture into a log. You can either shape the cookies round or you can go extra fancy and shape the log into a square. Either way make sure it's tightly packed; you don't want it to crumble on you!






6. Once you're happy with your cookie log, securely wrap it up in the plastic wrap and then once again with the aluminum foil. Pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. If you have non-stick cookie sheets like I do, you won't have to worry about sticking cookies. If you don't, I suggest using baking paper or a non-stick spray to coat the sheet you're baking with.

8. Remove the cookie log from the freezer, unwrap it, and proceed to cut the log into 1" pieces. Place them equidistant on the baking sheet






9. Bake for 15-20 minutes. I found 15 minutes wasn't enough so I left it in for 5 to 7 more minutes, shut the oven off, and left he cookies in there while the oven was cooling down. Important note: depending on how your cookies turn out, they might be a wee bit delicate. Let them cool down FULLY before attempting to move them. This gives them time to set.





And voila! Remove from tray, eat, and enjoy!

As for the review of the Matcha green tea powder, I have to say it's not half bad. To be completely honest it's an acquired taste. I tried out two recipes with this powder so far and the house stays divided: my mom can't tolerate it and my dad and I think it's pretty good (in low dose amounts of course).

Just like the taste of the powder, the smell is quite a powerful one. Once you can get past that, working with it is really nice and easy. 

I really love that it's organic and healthy for you. Green tea is supposed to be an excellent detoxifier and energy booster. I also enjoy the fact that it can be used in a multitude of different ways from different types of desserts to a range of smoothie, tea, and latte recipes-two recipes down, so many more to go!


Are you interested in trying out some organic, healthy Matcha green tea powder






I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.




Saturday, January 4, 2014

Save Yourself Some Money: Rent College Textbooks


Disclaimer: I received compensation in exchange for Save Yourself Some Money: Rent College Textbooks on The Eclectic Element. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless stated otherwise. Please do your own research before committing to purchase a product or service as your opinions may vary.






The only reason that I haven't been actively seeking out higher education (aside from my health issues of course) is college is just too darn expensive these days! The government and schools have made it too hard to afford even a 2 year education because tuition rates are so high and unless there's a serious trust fund in the background, most kids are forced to take out loans to even have a chance of going to college.

We'll just say I'm very passionate on the subject of over-inflated tuition and schooling costs when it comes to higher education.

This is why when I can save money-even a little bit-in reference to school, you bet that sweet bippy of yours I'm going to do it! One way to save a little extra is by ditching high costing textbooks and renting.

CampusBookRentals.com is your leading source for all your textbook needs! You can find what you're looking for for 40-90% off regular bookstore prices, so lets say, the 4 classes you'll be taking in the Spring, which equals 4 (or more) textbooks you'll need, 40-90% off can save you a lot of dough that can be better spent elsewhere.

They also offer free shipping both ways, flexible renting periods, great customer support, and to add to the awesomeness, they allow you to highlight in your rented textbooks as if they were your own!




As if saving money wasn't awesome enough, CampusBookRentals.com has come out with a new program called RentBack-RentBack is new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they already own to other students, ultimately making them 2 to 4 times more money compared to what they'd make through buyback options!




With every textbook rented, CampusBookRentals.com also donates to Operation Smile, an international children's medical charity that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives. They're Making a Difference Program has helped Operation Smile and they've committed to donating a minimum of 80 additional surgeries between June 2013 and June 2014! 



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