Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Costco Australia, Organic foods and prices

I recently went on a trip to Australia, and in Melbourne I came across a Costco. I thought it would be real interesting to take a look and to compare the foods sold there versus here in the US.
I mostly took pictures of natural and organic products, since that is what I generally tend to buy.
Keep in mind the prices in the pictures are in Australian dollars, so if you want to compare them to the prices at your own US Costco, you need to translate them to US dollars. At the time I am making this post the exchange rate is 75 cents US per $1 Australian.

First of all here is just a general picture of the store, one thing I thought was neat is they had a Panda version of those giant bears they sell.
 I forgot to include the price label in this pic, but it was a little under $6 Australian dollars.
I noticed they had these back in the US in my local Costco, but they were dipped in chocolate.
I personally really like then, minimal ingredients, gluten free, I would prefer them without the chocolate though. Tried the find the plain ones here in the US, and they have them for $12 on Amazon.
 Mary's Gone Crackers, organic crackers, same exact ones they have here in the US
 These looked neat, freeze dried fruit, they don't sell these in the US, not that I have seen anyways. But I have bought freeze dried fruit from Trader Joe's before and have enjoyed them, so I bet these would be good.
 I have not seen these coconut chips in my local Costco, but I have definitely seen them in other stores around here.
 Organic Dried Apple rings, the closest to this in the US Costco are dried apple chips
 Organic Dried Bananas
 Pine Nuts, they sell the same exact ones here in US, but they are cheaper
 Organic Walnuts
 This looked neat, usually only see vanilla extract here in US, never seen paste before
 Organic Coconut oil, just a different brand then they sell here
 Organic pastas:
 Gluten Free Chia pudding, this looked neat, never seen it around here
 Maple Syrup, very similar to the one they sell here, just not organic
 Organic juices
 Organic frozen fruit, very similar to what they sell in the US. I bet the mango in Australia tastes better though, based on the fact that I had some fresh mango there and it was the best mango I've ever had.

 I've never purchased the hot food at our Costco, so not sure if this is similar to what they have here, just thought I'd share some pictures for those interested

Well that does it. As you see the Australian Costco had some similar products and some organic choices.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough Bites (Grain-free)

I have been all about making bite size treats and today I came up with these little gems, they are super quick and easy to whip up, and taste delicious.

-Add a handful of dates to blender(I am using Nutri Bullet)
-Cover them with coconut milk
-Add a small handful of walnuts
-Add a piece of a chocolate bar(about 2 inches by 1 inch, I like the organic one from Trader Joe's)

-Add a couple of tablespoons of almond flour(just to thicken it up a bit so it can hold shape)
-Also, add about a teaspoon of vanilla
-Plop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and freeze for about 10-15 min
-You can keep these in fridge for a softer cookie dough like consistency, or in the freezer so they'd be firmer and easier to hold, up to you.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy this recipe! It was a big hit at my house! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

2 Ingredient Vegan Paleo Yummy Soft Serve Ice Cream (Natural, Healthy, No Ice Cream Maker Needed)

I had some coconut milk left over and sitting in the fridge, and I was trying to figure out how to use it. Since coconut milk has coconut oil naturally present in it, when it is refrigerated it gets nice and thick, I looked at it in the can and it reminded me of melted ice cream. That is when I had the idea of blending it with some frozen fruit, for an ice cream like treat!
My favorite is the Trader Joe's Light Coconut Milk, because it has no additives, like gums and thickeners, just pure coconut milk. For the fruit I used Dark Sweet Cherries.

What you want to do is add some frozen fruit to a blender/food processor and then cover them with the milk. It helps if the milk was refrigerated as it will be thicker.
If you don't have a very good blender, you might need to add more of the milk to get it all to blend properly, making it more like a milkshake consistency.
I was using my Nutri Bullet, and the trick is to shake it a it when blending so it is able to blend a thicker consistency food like this.
We found this to be plenty sweet, but depending on the fruit you use, you may want to add a sweetner of choice.
In hindsight adding a little chocolate into my cherry ice cream would have been delicious! You can just add a piece of a chocolate bar and the blender will chop it up into tiny little chocolate specks that will be dispersed through your ice cream, yum!

Here is my result, I am holding the cup sideways to show that is it not liquidy and does not drip out. It is very similar to soft serve ice cream or maybe a very thick milkshake.

The kids gobbled this right up! :)

This is a great and simple treat to whip up on hot summer days, try using a frozen banana and pineapple for a pina colada ice cream. You can add in all sort of things, chocolate, cookies, even a little avocado to force your kids to secretly eat a little veggies :) The possibilities are endless!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadows Spring 2015 New Colors Swatches

I was so excited to see new colors released in the Makeup Geek Foiled eyeshadow line! I absolutely love those shadows, so butter, metallic, pigmented, but not glittery and without fallout.

Here are 4 shades I got from the new Spring colors, there are 10 in all.
Whimsical, Starry Eyed, Daydreamer, Charmed

disclaimer: I purchased these myself

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Easy Homemade Chocolate or Vanilla Milk (Quick, Healthy, Natural) Great for Kids!

Here's a great recipe if you have kids, a very quick and easy chocolate or vanilla milk without all the yuckies of conventional flavored milk.

Take 2 cups of milk of choice(if you use cow's milk, I recommend Kalona or Grassmilk, both are collected from grassfed cows and are organic, NOT ultra-pasteurized, and non-homogenized).
Add about 2 Tablespoons of cacao powder and 2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey or sweetener of choice(feel free to experiment to find your perfect proportions).
For Vanilla use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.

I added a dollop of peanut putter the other day for a chocolate peanut butter milk, and it was delicious!

If you drink this hot, it will be essentially hot chocolate.
For a grown-up version, add some coffee  to it.

 Mix it all in a blender(I am using Nutribullet)
 And enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Super easy 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bites (Treats/Snacks/Vegan/Natural/Healthy)

I may be slightly obsessed with the new silicone mold I got from Michael's that now allows me to make cute little square shaped treats :) So I have been busy coming up with quick and easy recipes that are healthy and kid friendly.

All you will need for this recipe is a nut butter, like peanut butter or another one of choice. You can even experiment with things like Tahini(paste made out of sesame seeds) or Sunflower seed butter(I made a bath that was a mix of peanut butter and sunflower butter and it was delicious).
Then you will need and equal amount of either sour cream(I like the Wallaby brand, they are organic and without any thickeners) or for a vegan option Coconut Milk(I like the Trader Joe's Brand, it is the only one I can find without thickeners).
Put both in your blender, let's say you choose to do 1 cup of each, and then add a few tablespoons of organic raw honey(or coconut sugar or maple syrup for vegan option).
Blend it up, I love using my Nutribullet for this.
Give it a taste, if you want more sweetness add more.

Then all you do is either pour it into a silicone mold, for reference here is what mine looks like, ignore the fact that there is chocolate in there(that was a different recipe:) )
And if you don't have a fancy mold, no problem, just plop it by the spoonful onto a parchment paper lined plate or cookie sheet.

Once they freeze they are the perfect consistency, not too hard or ice like, more like actual ice cream, soft and creamy. If you want to get all fancy with it, you can top them with melted chocolate.

And enjoy!

Recipe Summary
equal parts of:
1.) peanut butter or nut butter(s) of choice
2.) sour cream or coconut milk(for vegan option)
add a sweetner of choice to taste, such as raw honey or coconut sugar
Blend everything together.
Use a silicone mold, or plop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Top with melted chocolate(optional)
Enjoy :)

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites Dairy-Free Gluten-free Vegan Organic Healthy

I love cheesecake, and one of my favorite treats to get when I am out grocery shopping is the chocolate covered cheesecake bites from the Whole Foods bakery section. They look like little chocolate teardrops filled with cheesecake-y goodness. However, for the past several weeks they have not had them, so suffering from cheesecake withdraws I decided to make some myself.
I made 2 versions, one that uses dairy (cream cheese, sour cream) and this version that I am posting about today which is dairy free and vegan.
My focus was on having these be relatively easy to whip up and also solid, I didn't want them to melt into a puddle of goo the moment I took them out of the freezer. The result was approved by adults and children alike.
Here's how you do it:
First you will need about 1 cup (it looks like I have more than one cup due to the angle of the pic, but I don't) of cacao butter. If you don't have any feel free to use coconut butter or even coconut oil, just beware they will be a bit softer than intended especially if you use coconut oil, and may melt at room temperature.
Stick the cacao butter in a toaster over at low temp to melt, and while it is melting do the next steps.

Get a magic bullet, nutri bullet, or some sort of blender and add into it the following:
3/4 cup of coconut milk, I use the one pictured below from Trader Joe's because it doesn't have any thickeners or added ingredients.

1 cup of Cashew Butter (you can make your own, or just buy the premade kind, just be careful some have added salt which will make your cheesecake bites taste salty)
Juice of one lemon
 1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla (you can add more, but for some reason lately I've been having bad luck with vanilla making my desserts taste bitter. It has alcohol, which cooks out when you bake, but since this is not baked adding too much will give it the bitter alcohol flavor)
 At this point your cacao butter has melted to add that in, and blend everything together.  

Next, add a sweetener of choice. I prefer raw organic honey since it is the least processed. 
For a vegan option you can use maple syrup or coconut sugar.
This is something you will want to add to taste, start with a few tablespoons, like 3-4, then blend and taste. Add more if desired.
Sorry I forgot to take a pic, but now you have two options.
1.) For a smoother texture do nothing. 
2.) For a texture that is not quite as smooth and something I feel is closer to resembling a real homemade cheesecake texture add 1/4 cup coconut flour. This will also thicken your mixture, especially if you used coconut oil instead of cacao butter, this will help make it thicker and firmer.

Now put your blended mixture into the fridge for a bit, just so it is not super liquidy. You may not need to do this, but you just want it to be thick enough to hold its shape and not melt into a puddle.
Now you have a couple of options yet again.
1.) the quicker and easier option is to pour the cheesecake batter into muffin cups
2.) the "prettier" option is to put the batter into a big ziplock bag, cut off a corner and squeeze out little "bites" onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Stick the bites into the freezer for a little bit so they get nice and firm for this next step.
While they are in there melt some chocolate, I prefer this kind from Trader Joe's because it is organic(many non organic chocolates are GMO, and also it has minimal ingredients and not too much sugar)
Now it is time to put the final product together.
If you want to get all fancy you can stick a toothpick into the bites and dip them in chocolate, it will look like this
Or if you want to make things quicker and easier, you can pour the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, cut a tiny hole(if it is too big it will pour out too fast) in the corner and drizzle the cheesecakes bites with melted chocolate.

I got two cookie sheets full of bites out of this recipe, and since I used the drizzle method with the chocolate I ended up needing 2 of the chocolate bars to cover all the bites.

Here is a summary of the ingredients:
1 cup cacao butter (or coconut butter or coconut oil, although it will make the bites softer and you may need to keep them frozen)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup cashew butter
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
sweetener of choice (raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.) about 3-4 Tablespoons to taste
1/4 cup coconut flour(leave out if you want a smoother texture, but it will help thicken the batter especially if you used coconut oil, and personally I like the texture it gives)\
Melt the butter/oil, meanwhile combining all the other ingredients in a magic bullet or blender. Add the melted butter and blend.
Option 1: pour into muffin cups
Option 2: put in the fridge until it is no longer super liquidy and will hold its shape, add batter into a large ziplock bag, cut off corner and squeeze out bites into a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Put in freezer so they can firm up, meanwhile melting about 2 bars of chocolate.
Now, either:
1.) use toothpick to dip the bites into the melted chocolate
2.) pour the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, cut a tiny opening in the corner, and drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake bites or over the muffin cup if you went with that option. You can also try and just use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate.