Monday, February 22, 2016

Ode to Shower Head: A Love Story






My Dearest Delta 2-in-1 shower head,


You couldn't possibly understand how truly and utterly miserable I was until you came along. My old shower head just didn't understand what I needed ever since I got sick 12 years ago. Sure, the relationship started out like any loving newly-formed relationship; we had rose colored glasses on and could see no wrong with each other.

Things were good for quite awhile after that. I honestly didn't even fathom looking elsewhere because things seemed to be progressing naturally. We saw each other often enough and my needs for affection, relaxation, and a good hot shower were being met.

Until they suddenly weren't.

Our rendezvous started getting less and less and I started to feel misunderstood and quite frankly, neglected. Simple things like being clean went out the window for days to weeks, even a month or so here or there, at a time and I started to dread and stress out when even the mention of a shower was uttered. I was starting to become physically and emotionally ill in this toxic relationship and finally after too long, I knew it had to end.

That's when the Universe sent me your way and I just knew with a single glance you were the one for me. 





You truly are everything a girl wants and more! Not only were you easily installable with fool-proof step-by-step directions to follow, but you understand myself and my needs. I mean seriously, dual shower heads that can go simultaneously at the same time to ensure my comfort if I so choose? That's incredibly thoughtful of your design.

Plus you look so damn SHARP!




Of course showering still causes me varying ranges of pain and discomfort depending on the day, but I shower happily regardless knowing that you're there to help me through it.

To be completely honest with you the first time I stepped into a shower with you there I cried happy tears knowing you were there if I needed you and that's what makes this thing between you and I work.

I can't thank you enough for coming into my chronically ill life and making it just that much easier.


Yours in cleanliness forever,

Kayla





Disclaimer:
I was in no way compensated for the above post. This was written purely from my own experience and point of view with no monetary or product compensation given.
Please do your own research before you commit to buy a product or service as your opinion and experiences may vary.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Be Your Own Valentine + Glutino Gluten Free Double Chocolate, Caramel & Sea Salt Brownies Recipe



This, ladies and gentleman, is my absolutely downright handsome boyfriend of 2 1/2 years as of February 9th. Since it is February, I guess you can also jump to the conclusion that he is my beloved Valentine as well, even though the holiday has come and gone.

Sappy line alert: He's my Valentine every day of the year!
































The thing is, and don't get all judgy on me, we really don't celebrate Valentine's Day. We believe being romantic, spontaneous, and a loving, attentive boyfriend/girlfriend to each other should be every day of the year so we both agree this particular holiday is just not for us.

That doesn't mean, however, Valentine's Day isn't an important holiday to many other individuals! People are proposed to on that specific day. People choose to get married to their significant other on that specific day. All the gift giving and romantic planned holiday escapades aside, this holiday is chocked full of genuine love; love for your significant other, love for your family and friends, and probably most important of all, love for yourself.


And I'll keep reminding you till you believe it. :) Valentine's Day can press into all sorts of wounds or anxieties, &...
Posted by Shauna Niequist on Saturday, February 13, 2016


Society puts such an importance on having a significant other when the big holiday-of-love rolls around each year but what they don't promote is you being your OWN Valentine.

If you do happen to be flying solo, or even if you're not but want to give yourself a little love, too, go out and treat yourself to a nice dinner, a mani/pedi, or buy yourself that certain something (don't pretend you don't know the one) you've been wanting for awhile; do something for yourself because you deserve it. Ignore the subliminal messaging that you're not worthy if you're alone and be strong in the fact that, like it says above, just because you don't have a significant other doesn't mean you're not significant.

Following this line of thinking Glutino has provided me some of their quality (and downright delicious) gluten free sweet treats to promote this holiday of love. Even though I do have a significant other I wanted to do something for myself and also to show my family how much I love them, too!



Gluten Free Double Chocolate Caramel, Pretzel, & Sea Salt Brownies

(serves 16 to 24)


Ingredients: 

-Box of Glutino Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
-2 eggs or 4 egg whites
-1/3 cup butter of your choice (melted)
-Bag of Glutino Gluten Free Fudge Covered Pretzels and/or Bag of Glutino Gluten Free Yogurt Covered Pretzels
-Gluten Free baking caramel*
-Sea Salt of your choice
-Heart shaped metal cookie cutters or heart shaped baking sheet


*Gluten can be found in brown coloring such as in brown colored pops or cheaper caramel so be careful to read the ingredients and the label carefully! Best bet is to go with something natural, organic, and/or GMO-free.



Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep your 7 x 11 or 8 x 8 inch baking pan; if it's non-stick, grease or butter the surface to help the brownies to not stick. If you have a non-stick pan like I did you just have to have it ready and to the side.

2. In a large bowl pour in the Glutino Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. In a separate bowl beat your eggs until thoroughly mixed and add to the dry mix. Add your 1/3 cup melted butter to the mix and stir until combined.

3. Once combined, spoon your brownie mixture into your pan or heart shape baking pan/sheet. If the latter like I have, make sure to spoon enough batter into the hearts to fill approximately halfway. Note: I made that mistake and the brownies overflowed and didn't cook evenly.

4. Bake brownies for 25 to 27 minutes. Note: Just because the toothpick you check the brownies with comes out a little battery doesn't mean the brownies aren't done. They can and do still cook after pulled out of the oven.

5. Let cool. Once cooled to a manageable temperature, carefully remove from heart shaped baking sheet and put on a large plate. If you chose to cook brownies in a baking pan, take your heart shaped cookie cutters and cut out as many brownies as you can and place on a plate.

6. Gather your caramel, pretzels, and sea salt. Take 2 to 3 pretzels per brownie (if you have both kinds of pretzels take 2 to 3 of each flavor), place them in a bag, and use something large to crush them. Take your gluten free baking caramel (1 to 2 cubes*) and melt them in the microwave. Focusing on one brownie at a time, quickly drizzle your caramel mixture first, then take a handful of the crushed pretzels and sprinkle them on the melting caramel so they stick, and finally take a very light pinch of your sea salt and spread sparingly.

7. Serve and enjoy these loving tributes to your Valentine whether that be a different person or yourself!


*I purchased the wrong kind of caramel so instead of being soft, the caramel immediately hardened and it was difficult to eat. Make sure to get baking caramel or the soft cubed caramel that is easy to work with.






While the Glutino double chocolate brownie mix was absolutely delicious, I haven't made brownies in quite awhile so I miscalculated the baking time after filling my tray up too much and left them in too long. I was able to enjoy one of these beautiful Valentine's Day tributes before the rest of the brownies turned rock solid and I had to throw them away.

I'm very excited to give this another try when I get my hands on another box of mix though!

Glutino not only has a line of delicious sweet treats and baking mixes, they also offer a wide range of products that range from crackers, chips, and pretzels to toaster pastries and breakfast bars, all the way to pizzas and breads. So many delicious gluten free options to choose from!



Connect: 










Who was your Valentine this year? 
Remember, it's okay to say yourself!








Disclaimer: I am part of Glutino's blogging team and received compensation and/or product from Glutino.com for the below post. All opinions located in post are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before you commit to buy a product or service as your opinion and experiences may vary.




Friday, February 12, 2016

Honey Acres Truffles + Gluten Free Orange & Dark Chocolate Creamsicle Protein Shake Recipe

Disclaimer: I received compensation and/or product from Honey Acres for the below post. All opinions located in post are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before you commit to buy a product or service as your opinion and experiences may vary.



Last year's 2015 Gluten Free Expo was pretty amazing if I do say so myself. It was my second expo in the Shaumburg location, first being in 2014, but I think I enjoyed it more the second time around. Not because the first time wasn't equally as amazing, but I actually had a handle on what I was doing; I knew what to expect, how to prepare, generally what was going to be offered, and how to invest and maximize my time and energy.

Of course I learned a few new tips and tricks the second time around, too.

One company that was newly discovered and thoroughly enjoyed this time around was Honey Acres and their selection of all natural gluten free and dairy free dark chocolate truffles (among other honey-inspired things). 








Hailing out of Ashippun, Wisconsin, Honey Acres has a wide variety of all natural honey products from different kids of plain and flavored honey to honey mustards and spreads to their honey-sweetened dark chocolate truffles which come in 3 flavors: orange, mint, and honey filled.

Their assortment of dark chocolate truffles are all natural, gluten, dairy, and nut free, are kosher along with offering a few more added benefits. They also boast only 3 simple ingredients each. Serving size is 3 individual truffles which contains 18 grams of sugar and only 110 calories making these the perfect healthy snack to satiate any sweet tooth!

























These chocolates are so wonderfully unique, healthy, and delicious that a mere review wouldn't do them justice. Plus while I'm a big fan of chocolate (by big I mean it's a longstanding love affair between chocolate and I) and could easily eat them on their own, I wanted to throw some healthy creativeness down with each one.

Between my bestie Hannah of The Wholey Trinity and I, we have whipped up 4 creative, healthy, and gluten free recipes that incorporate each of these 3 flavors in a unique way. This is part one of our two part recipe and review series.



Gluten Free Orange & Dark Chocolate Creamsicle Protein Shake

(Serves 1)




Ingredients: 

- 1 to 1 1/2 cup ice
- 1/2 cup water 
- 1 to 3 Honey Acres Dark Chocolate & Orange Truffles
- 1/2 packet of Betty Lou's Orange Cream Low Glycemic protein powder*
- 1 orange
- 1/8 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 ripened banana
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt*
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions: 

1. Before you peel your orange take out a zester and zest about 1/8 tsp from the rind. Peel and separate your orange slices.

2. In your blender add your 1 to 1 1/2 cups of ice, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 packet of Betty Lou's protein powder, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract, 1 to 5 orange slices along with orange zest, 1 to 3 broken apart Honey Acres orange chocolate truffles, and finally 1/2 a ripe banana.

3. Blend until ice and everything is pulverized and shake is a smooth consistency.

4. Pour in to glass of choice and enjoy!


*Any gluten free protein powder can be used if you prefer your own brand however the orange flavoring wouldn't be as strong.

*You can substitute vanilla yogurt in lieu of plain yogurt if you want your shake sweeter however the sugar content will go up.






Like it states in the description this healthier protein shake is gluten free, it boasts a whopping 22 grams of protein and, depending on how you make it, has 20 to 24 grams of sugar. It has such a lovely orange creamsicle flavor with just a hint of the dark chocolate in the aftertaste and the smell. I would be more than happy to drink this in the morning for a quick breakfast or before or after a workout for a nice boost!

The best part of this shake (or any smoothie or shake for that matter) is it's completely customizable; you can add or take away ingredients at your own discretion. For instance, if you wanted to add a little more protein you could include a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese or even a raw egg if that's your thing.

Now do yourself a favor and check out Hannah's use of the Honey Acres Dark Chocolate and Honey truffles on her website. Hint: it's a delicious candied appetizer...

Connect: 











Which Honey Acres chocolate truffle flavor 
would you want to try first?