Life Update: Spring Fever

I’ve had a looooott of people ask me how I’m liking California so far. And to be honest, I’m really liking it! But I’ve had some bouts of grouchiness with all the rain we’ve been having here…I mean, I know it’s a good thing. But also, I’m a sun baby. I love my sunshine, and just getting outdoors, and when I can’t do that I start to get a little antsy. Anyway, overall I’d have to say that California has been treating me well so far! I’m dreaming of Spring, and am already more than ready to break out my shorts and start shopping for swimsuits for the Summer…yeah, I get a little excited about warm weather.

Here are some snapshots from life lately:

I just bought this cute little lens for your iPhone, it slips right over the camera slot. I’ve been playing with it a bit, here are a couple of the wide angle shots:

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Been feeling a bit under the weather the last couple weeks, so I’ve been upping my Vitamin C intake, which looks like this for me (I’m not big on taking medicine):

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Lately I’ve had the creative itch…I’ve been doing a lot of painting and sewing! I made some adorable pillowcases with the cutest prints. Popsicles!?! I mean!!?

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And this work-in-progress little painting:

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So that’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to! Hope you have a wonderful week. Holy cow, we’re welcoming March this week! :0

xo

 

Dairy-Free Favorites

*This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own*

I’ve been living the lactose-free (mostly…I will admit I eat pizza on occasion) for almost 4 years now, and it has helped my health so much. I’ve always had a very sensitive stomach, and even as a child I had difficulty eating ice cream. But I never connected the dots that lactose was the problem! For me, cutting out dairy products has helped me be less nauseous most of the time, and spend more time enjoying my life instead of feeling sick.

But after 4 years without dairy, I have tried so, SO many products and found which ones I prefer. I wanted to share my lactose-free favorite products with you all in case you’re newly lactose-intolerant or are looking to branch out!

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Milk

So I’ll be honest, I don’t drink dairy-free milk straight from a glass. But I need something to put in my coffee and pour over my cereal, as well as make smoothies and cook with. Anyway, there are TONS of lactose and soy-free milk options out there, it can be a little intimidating the first few times. I prefer almond milk, cashew milk, and almond-coconut blends. I never buy soy milk, just my personal preference!

#1 Top Pick: Calafia Farms brand Toasted Coconut flavor. Honestly, I’ve tried several brands of almond milks and this brand is absolutely the best quality I’ve tried. It’s very smooth and not gritty at all, they have good tasting (not too sweet) flavors, and it comes in a gorgeous bottle. It’s a little steeper price than some of the options, but I prefer this brand to any other I’ve tried so it’s well worth it!

#2 Runner Up: Almond Breeze brand Unsweetened Vanilla or Almond-Coconut Blend. A good overall brand! Lots of flavors (plus they also have all the blends (almond-cashew, almond coconut), and has a good taste. I typically buy the unsweetened flavors, because I find the almond milk already has a slightly sweet taste.

“Cheese”

I don’t use fake cheese all that often, but sometimes I crave nachos or a grilled cheese sandwich, you know? It’s not something I typically eat very often, but I’ve tried several different brands and had to throw out many many bags…here are the brands I’ve found to be the best tasting.

#1 Top Shreddable: Daiya brand Mozzarella Shreds. While costly, this cheese melts really well and has a similar salty/savory flavor as real cheese. It’s perfect for nachos, lasagna or baked pasta dishes, pizza, and other casseroles.

#1 Top Sliced: GoVeggie! brand in American Slices. This is my go-to sliced cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s similar consistency to like Kraft singles, which sounds kind of gross unless you’re 10 years old, but it melts really great! I’ll use it if I want a cheeseburger or grilled cheese. And you really can’t beat the price, it’s very reasonable for a dairy-free product.

Ice Cream

I LOVE ice cream. To be honest, this has totally been the hardest part of being lactose intolerant for me, because I used to crave ice cream daily. There are many dairy products that I can actually still eat in small amounts, but ice cream is not one of them. It is just not worth how sick I get after eating it. Anyway. The frustrating thing about dairy-free ice creams is that they are A) very expensive, and B) typically come in pint-sized containers. It’s very annoying. Plus, it’s difficult to find ice creams that mimic the wonderful consistency of real ice cream. Here are my top picks.

#1 Top Ice Cream: Lactaid brand (any flavor!). This brand comes in a quart size, and is actually real ice cream (they just remove the lactose!), so it solves both of my quandaries. Plus, it comes in several flavors (salted caramel, cookies and cream!?) which is a total bonus. All in all, an amazing product.

#2 Top Ice Cream: Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy in Cherry Chocolate Trip. If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, get there immediately and pick up some of their Soy Creamy ice cream! It’s got a great consistency and flavor, and I love that the Cherry flavor has those tasty cherry bits in it. It’s very reasonably priced, too, and you get a quart!

Yogurt

I’ve tried several brands of lactose-free yogurt, and there is only one brand I’ve found that tastes the best to me.

#1 Top Yogurt: So Delicious Yogurt in Plain or Strawberry Banana. Yes, this yogurt is not cheap. But it tastes wonderful and has a great consistency. It isn’t tangy or watery, and the flavors are fresh tasting. So if you’ve gotta have some yogurt in your life, this is the way to go for sure.

So there you go! A quick list of some of my favorites. Found any other brands of lactose-free foods you love? Let me know! I’m always looking for new good ones. Again, this post is not sponsored in any way, I just like to share the products I love and use in my daily life.

xo.

In The Kitchen: CrockPot Love

Happy February, all! Is it just me or was January just a giant blur? Yeah.

Anyway, I wanted to share a fun slow cooker recipe I made last week after buying my very first crock pot! I’ve been eating really poorly lately (read: schlepping home after work exhausted and making a sandwich or popping in a microwave meal), and I want to change that. I feel much better about myself (and feel much happier!) when I’m eating a balanced diet filled with greens and protein, so I’m trying to get better about it. I decided to buy a crockpot so I could make a week’s worth of meals in advance and pop them in the microwave when I get home from work. It worked so well last week, I’m excited to try lots of slow-cooker recipes in the weeks to come!

Okay, sorry for rambling a little there. Let’s get to the food! I adapted this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas. The recipe suggests straining off some of the liquid at the end to make your fajitas, but I skipped that step and just ate mine like a hearty stew. So good!

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It tasted really good, and I was overall really glad to have easy microwavable and healthy meals during the week. In the future, I’d probably cube up some avocado and throw some cilantro on top! And maybe add a little more spices?

Do you have any go-to crock pot or slow-cooker recipes? Feel free to share with me!

xo