Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post: A Lush Life

Friends, meet the lovely Lauranne. Lauranne helped design most of this blog, and she has been talking about LUSH for weeks, so I'm thrilled for her to share her knowledge with all of you! Enjoy, Tiff 

I’ve got to share with you that I’ve become a LUSH. Not in the way you might assume, either.

A few months ago, I’d been itching to find a more natural haircare routine. After many conversations with friends about the excessive sulfates and unfriendly ingredients found in most all of our brand-name shampoos and conditioners, I knew I wanted to be living more naturally and giving my hair some more love.

A friend and co-worker introduced me to LUSH, a fresh and handmade cosmetic company creating skin and haircare products from organic fruit and vegetables, essential oils and safe synthetics – with a personality. I was intrigued and excited by the vision and the story behind the LUSH brand. Everything created is made by hand in small batches with little preservatives by fun, happy, like-minded people. LUSH sources all of their ingredients ethically, with no animal cruelty, traveling worldwide to meet the faces behind their ingredients to ensure fair working conditions and sustainability – entrepreneurs in Ghana, Morocco, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Vancouver, and the Colorado Rockies.

Regardless of where you are, experiment with what works best for your hair and find the brands that align with the values most important to you! Sometimes we can get in a tizzy with the plethora of choices at our fingertips but LUSH reminds us that it can and should be fun. Remembering that our skin is our largest organ and gradually transitioning to a more natural haircare routine has allowed my skin and hair to drink in better, fresher ingredients each week and given me confidence in the sourcing of what I’m purchasing. Knowing that the individuals behind my purchase are being taken care of and respected is important to me and that not only brings excitement back to a hair and skincare routine but aligns with my values.

If you’re looking to try products from LUSH, I'm currently loving: Godiva Solid Shampoo, BIG Shampoo, American Cream Conditioner, Honey I Washed the Kids soap, Ocean Salt scrub, Celestial Moisterizer, and the Aqua Mirabilis exfoliating bar.

P.S. Fun fact: if you're planning on purchasing a few items, check out their UK store. With the currency conversion, it can be cheaper (including shipping!) and will take a just a week or two!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Post: Margie's Homemade Veggie Burgers

Hi friends,

Meet Margie. She's been a dear friend, mentor and inspiration to me for almost seven years now. She's an avid cook, a yoga instructor and one of the most socially conscious & responsible people I know. So when she told me she found the best recipe for veggie burgers, I asked her on the spot to guest blog for me. I can't wait to try these out, and I hope you enjoy them too!
xoxo, Tiff

Homemade Veggie Burgers

I chose to “meat reduce” about a year ago for environmental and ethical reasons, but also for my own health.  Most factory farm meats that we purchase have so many hormones and chemicals in them to make the animals yield more meat for the companies to sell.  These animals are fed unnatural diets, mainly consisting of corn.  And corn fattens everything up, including us.  Naturally cared for and fed animals are too expensive for me right now, so I’m reducing my meat intake altogether. It was a challenge for me, though, to do so without feeling like there was something missing from my plate.  I grew up with meat being the star of the meal.  

In an effort to trick myself, and also to supplement my diet with the protein I was losing as a pseudo-vegetarian, I came up with a recipe for my own veggie burgers.  This was inspired by some organic dried beans and lentils I got in my first CSA box, and some onions and veggies that were going bad in my fridge.  This recipe can be made vegan very easily, and most of the veggies can be substituted for whatever you need to use up in your refrigerator.  It is not an exact science, so I encourage you to experiment to find the balance that you like.  However, I will say that the key flavor ingredients here are chickenless chicken broth, sracha (or a full head of garlic if you don’t like heat), and onions.  Don’t skimp on them.

  • 1 cup beans, soaked over night or 1 can organic beans (I prefer black beans, but they all really can work)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoon of concentrated chickenless chicken broth (vegetable broth will work)
  • 2 tablespoons of Sracha, or to taste
(I wouldn’t substitute it for another hot sauce only because I like the spice combination and garlic that it adds, but you might want to)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 1 cup corn

Optional Additions:
  • Any other veggies you might want to use up (I sometimes throw in a handful of shredded carrots, frozen peas, or boiled potatoes that I’ve cut up into small pieces)
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Mayonnaise/vegannaise or eggs for binding

If you are using dried beans and lentils, allot for a longer cooking time, and begin preparing the legumes overnight by soaking them in filtered water.  The beans take the longest, so start to cook them first in two cups of water, covered.  Check and stir the beans ever 15-20 minutes to make sure the water has not cooked off, and the beans on the bottom of the pot have started to burn.  This should take about 90 minutes to have the beans fully cooked.  When they are, add the lentils and two cups more of water and chickenless chicken broth.  

If you are using canned beans, simple put the entire can of beans, undrained, in a large pot with two cups of water and chickenless chicken broth.  Add the lentils immediately.  Heat on medium until the lentils have absorbed most of the water.

Take it off the heat, and set aside, covered.  

Start cooking your onion in a pan with some olive oil, and cook until the edges of the onion pieces are brown (about 20-30min).  Add the diced bell pepper, and other veggies, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until all the veggies are soft.  Add to the lentil mixture, stir, and cook uncovered until the water has cooked off, and the beans and lentils start to break apart, like mashed potatoes.  The consistency should match that of a meatball mixture.  Add sracha, salt, pepper, and any other spices you feel like (sometimes I put in some curry).  Mix everything together, and taste.  Add more spice or seasonings to taste.  

Form two patties from this mixture and put the rest in containers to freeze for later (this is a great make-ahead recipe, and the mixture can be used for meatless meatballs, “neat”loaf, or as a substitute for any other meat dish).  Put a skillet coated with olive oil back on a burner set to high, and wait for the oil to get start to bubble, and brown your veggie patties on each side.  If you want to get fancy, you can coat the patties in breadcrumbs, which help give them a brown crunch on the outside.  

Put your patties on buns or pita, with your choice of toppings, and you’ve made a great, healthy, satisfying, socially responsible veggie burger.