Tag Archives: natural

Date Nut Granola Bars & Crumble (Raw/Grain Free)

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

Everytime I make a batch of granola I feel at home.

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

There’s something about the homemade version you can’t find in a package.

Love? Maybe.

Soul? Maybe.

Blood, sweat and tears? Hopefully not.

Whatever it is, it’s just so darn good.

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

This particular batch of granola isn’t my normal approach, either. No, this one’s a bit different. Sticky. Soft and crumbly. Sweetened only with dates. Oh, it’s raw and grain free, too.

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

Normally, I make a crunchy, dry roasted granola with chopped nuts, whole seeds, oats and honey (like this one and this one). Closer to the standard granola we’re all used to.

Obviously, there are pros and cons to each. The dry roasted version will store at room temperature in an airtight container for quite some time, while this one’s best stored in the fridge or freezer. The crunchy version is, well, crunchy, and this one’s got more of a crumbly, soft texture.  The roasted version also requires some baking and stirring time, while this version only needs to rest in the fridge or freezer for a little bit to set.

Now I know I said this recipe makes bars and a crumble type version of granola, but I must warn you, the bars are best stored in the freezer and eaten promptly after you take them out of the freezer. That’s because as they warm, they’ll crumble pretty easily. That being said, these might not be your best bet as a granola bar on the go, but you could most definitely crumble it up into a to-go container and pack a spoon.

It really doesn’t matter how you eat it, it’s delicious, so just eat it however you want to. Deal?

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

DATE NUT GRANOLA BARS & CRUMBLE

Ingredients
3 cups nuts (I used 1 cup each of pecans, almonds, walnuts)
1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1 1/2 cups seeds (I used 1/2 cup each sesame, ground flax, chia) 

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preparation

Pulse nuts and coconut in a food processor (fits nicely in my 11-cup food processor) just until mixed a bit, then add the dates and let it run until the mixture is crumbly and just starts to come together, about 30 seconds. Next, add the seeds and vanilla extract, and pulse until combined, about 15-30 seconds.

If you want the whole batch more of a crumble, you’re pretty much done at this point. Simply transfer into an airtight container and store in the fridge. For bars, firmly press into a lined baking sheet or dish and freeze until ready to serve. Serve the bars promptly after taking them out of the freezer.

I’d love to know what you think! Leave a comment below letting me you how you like to eat granola.

Date Nut Granola | Tiffany Lane Handmade

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DIY: Wreath

DIY Wreath | Tiffany Lane Handmade

This project is so quick, simple and cheap! Just the way I like ’em.

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own wreath, there’s no reason to wait. Head over to your nearest craft or hobby store. Right. Now. I’ll wait.

All you need is a wreath starter, mine is grape vine, and some florals and/or other garb of your choosing, hairspray or other spray adhesive, then top if off with some ribbon, twine, rope to hang it. Easy as pie.

But for those of you who need structure, here’s the breakdown in an easy to read format.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Materials
wreath starter (grape vine, foam, etc.)
florals/decorations (dried flowers, feathers, moss, etc.)
scissors
spray adhesive

ribbon/rope/twine

Process

Weave/attach your florals/decorations into your wreath starter until it’s perfect. You may need to weave and/or trim the ends back through the wreath on the backside so they don’t stick out too far. Spray with adhesive, especially if you used dried flowers, so everything stays in place. Tie your ribbon/rope/twine from the backside, being sure it’s long enough to allow the wreath to hang as low as you prefer.

Wah-lah!

DIY Wreath | Tiffany Lane Handmade

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5 Simple & Natural Ways to Improve Your Health This Year

5 Simple & Natural Ways to Improve Your Health | Tiffany Lane

The start of a new year gets a lot of people thinking about how they can get or stay healthy. I’ll talk about five ways we can all improve our health this year, naturally!

You’ll see that these all play into each other as well.  If you’re staying hydrated, eating well, exercising, and lowering your stress, you will probably sleep better. Exercising may lower your stress levels. Sleeping well may give you that extra boost of energy to exercise more.

Our bodies are amazing and the more tools we give it to succeed the better we’ll be and feel.

1. STAY HYDRATED

This is so important, and sadly, many people, myself included, don’t consume enough water every day. This could be the root of many ailments because our bodies depend on water for daily functions.  Do you have a headache, are you tired, are you always sick? Maybe you just need more water. Did you know that many vitamins and minerals are water soluble? That means if you’re not getting enough water, your body is also not able to fully and properly absorb nutrients.  Dr. Kurt enlightened me on the subject in his post, The Urinal Reveal.  Be sure to check it out and poke around his blog for tons of information and many rants about healthy living.

So how much water should you be drinking every day? The popular belief is that everyone needs 8 cups of water, but that’s not necessarily true. The best way to figure out how much water your body needs (not including additional water for exercise) is to divide your body weight by 2.  The result in ounces should be your daily intake. For example, someone weighing in at 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces (a little over 9 cups) of water daily.

A great way to stay hydrated and be able to track your daily water intake is to use a travel water bottle.  Take note of how many ounces the bottle holds, fill the bottle up in the morning and throughout the day, and make it your goal to drink “x” number of bottles a day.

2. EAT A BALANCED DIET

There are so many fad diets out there it’s hard to keep track and know what to eat, how much and when. If you’ve been around here a while, you already know my stance on healthy eating, but I’ll reiterate for the rest of you. I cannot stress enough that eating healthy is not a diet in the common sense of the word; it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. First, you need to get your mind set on living a healthy life and the rest will fall into place. It’s more work to eat healthy. You actually have to take care to make food from scratch and read ingredient labels and research what  healthy foods are to begin with. But trust me, it’s worth it, and before you know it, it doesn’t even seem like extra work anymore, it’s just normal.

A great place to start is with a balanced diet rich in whole foods, cutting out processed foods altogether, and cutting down on sugar (it’s bad for your intestines and causes blood sugar spikes!). Some ways to help you with sugar cravings are to replace processed sweets (like cakes, cookies, candy) with fresh fruits, and use raw honey or molasses in place of granulated, powdered and brown sugars.  Eating whole, nutritious foods allows are immune systems to focus on healing rather than constantly fighting.

Here are some examples (not a comprehensive list) of whole foods you could incorporate into your balanced diet:

Healthy Fats: olive oil, avocados, nuts (raw, roasted, milks, butters), grass-fed whole dairy products (milk, cheeses, yogurt)

Protein: grass-fed beef, pastured eggs and organic pastured chicken

Complex Carbs: whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole wheat), beans (garbanzo, black, white, pinto)

Vegetables (fiber/nutrients): greens (kale, spinach, broccoli), root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, celery root), squashes (zucchini, butternut, acorn, pumpkin), cabbages (red, white, brussels sprouts), mushrooms, celery, tomatoes

Fruits (fiber/nutrients): apples, bananas, dates, grapes, kiwi, mangoes, berries (strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, boysenberries), citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits)

Probiotics: fermented foods (yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, sourdough bread (whole grain please!), soft cheeses (gouda), sauerkraut, miso soup), supplements (Wellness Mama has some good insight)

I understand not everyone is physically able to eat all types of food because of health conditions or allergies, and others choose to avoid grains and some/all animal products. This is just a starting point to give you an idea of what a healthy diet could look like for you.

A few blogs I like: 100 Days of Real Food, Food Babe, Detoxinista, Against All Grain, Shalom Mama, Modern Alternative Mama

3. EXERCISE DAILY

Even a small amount of light exercise every day can get you on the right track. Staying active keeps your immune system in tip top shape, can help lower stress, and can even get you from craving junk food to craving filling, wholesome food (it does for me!).

Some ways to get off your butt and get moving: walk or run around the block or a park (take your pooch to kill two birds with one stone!), play outside with your kids, ride a bike, roller blade, walk to dinner instead of driving, walk during a work break, clean the house (again, two birds!), do yoga or pilates, go to the gym, workout at home (weights, floor exercises, jump rope), while shopping in a large outdoor center, walk from store to store instead of driving.

4. DE-STRESS

Our busy, always-on-the-go society sometimes frowns upon relaxing, but I urge you to make some time each day to simply “be.” Turn off the tv, stop making lists, put down the cell phone, stop planning for tomorrow and just appreciate the moment. Forget about the stressors of life.

Stress has a direct impact on our health and not only kills our immune systems, but drains all our energy.

Everyone is different, so something that may help lower your stress levels may not work for someone else. A few things I can think of to help you de-stress: meditation, taking a light walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, praying, taking a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, taking a nap, getting a massage, playing with your kids and pets, stretching, playing a game with the family.

5. SLEEP WELL

Getting a good night’s sleep can go a long way in keeping you healthy. When you wake up well rested, you’re in a better mood and feel better, so you’re more likely to do the rest of these on a regular basis. I know that’s how it works for me.

If you have trouble sleeping and/or getting to sleep, try some of these ideas: don’t eat late at night (stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime – your body is busy at work digesting and processing food instead of getting to sleep), stay hydrated throughout the day (so you don’t wake up parched in the middle of the night), exercise (during the day, not right before bed – this raises your heart rate and internal body temp making it hard to fall and stay asleep), turn off the tube (don’t watch tv or browse the internet right before bed – it tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime), use lavender oil on your temples, forehead and/or chest (lavender is calming).

READER FEEDBACK: What are your favorite ways to stay healthy naturally?

P.S. This post can be found at Holistic Home Link Party!

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Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub

Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub | Tiffany Lane

There’s something about facials, massages, masks and scrubs that just seem to do the trick. They can take away a day’s stress in just a few minutes.

This body scrub doesn’t disappoint in that department and can be used all over the body, face included! The all natural and accessible ingredients make it a home run for the DIY gifter. I recently gifted it to my friend along with this candle.

Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub | Tiffany Lane

And to take it up a notch in the packaging department, but not break the bank, I reused an empty condiment jar, made and printed a label, then wrapped some packing paper around the lid and topped it off with a bow of twine. Simple and sweet.

Basic Ingredient Ratios
1 cup sugar (any kind will work)
1/2 cup oil (sweet almond oil*, coconut, olive)
1 tsp vitamin e oil

essential oil(s)

Vanilla Lavender
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet almond oil*
1 tsp coconut oil (since I didn’t have vitamin e on hand)
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lavender essential oil

vanilla lavender body scrub | tiffany lane

READER FEEDBACK: What’s your favorite skin care scent?

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Favorite Lip Balm

comfrey calendula salve - tiffany laneCheck out Rocky Top Soap Shop on Etsy!

Read more about August Break and see my other posts here!

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Gardening: Insects You Want In Your Garden

honeybee-skyscraperphoto-co jpg

As summer approaches, Hubby and I are thinking and planning more on how to incorporate a small garden into our lifestyle.  I know I want to grow tomatoes and herbs, he wants some spicy peppers, and we also want to make a container garden for a bunch of vegetables to grow together (any ideas?).  But growing an organic garden isn’t easy.

Luckily I recently came across a post on Mother Earth News all about Beneficial Insects, you know, the ones you want in your garden!  Head over to Mother Earth News now to read up and expand your gardening knowledge.  And feel free to share any other organic gardening tips.  We need all the help we can get!  And while you’re at it, I’d love to know what’s growing in your yard.

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Homemade Oat & Herb Facial Scrub

I’ve been busy cleaning out the last of my over the counter beauty products the past couple of weeks.   On my long to-do list of homemade products was facial scrub.  I can happily say I’ve checked that one off my list, and yet again, it’s one of those why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-do-this things.  Seriously, it’s so easy and inexpensive. What are you waiting for?

oat herb face scrub 1 - tiffany lane

I love that there are so few ingredients and you probably already have these at home, I did.  The original recipe calls for almonds, but I used flaxseed (since I accidentally grabbed the wrong mason jar, oops!) and it worked perfectly.  For the herbs, since the recipe calls for chamomile, yarrow and elder flowers which I did not have on hand, I used the herbs from tea bags, specifically Trader Joe’s Pear & Ginger White Tea.  This not only gives you the external health benefits, but it makes the scrub smell amazing!

OAT & HERB FACIAL SCRUB

Adapted from Crunchy Thrifty Healthy Cool

Ingredients
Oats
Flaxseed or almonds
Herbs

Oil (sweet almond oil*, jojoba oil or olive oil)

To prepare, simply use a ratio of 3 parts oats to 1 part flaxseed or almonds and 1 part herbs.  Finely grind the almonds and oats separately, add to a mixing bowl and toss with herbs.  Slowly add the oil to your desired consistency.  I like mine a bit wet, but not soaked.  It will be crumbly.

To use, wet your face and hands, scoop out about one tablespoon of the mixture and massage into face, circling upwards.  For best results, allow scrub to rest on your skin for at least a minute prior to rinsing.  This allows all the good stuff to actually get into your skin.  Rinse with warm water.

My ratios: 1/4 cup oats, 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (approximately), 3 tea bags, 4 tablespoons almond oil.

oat herb face scrub 2 - tiffany lane

The mixture before adding oil:

oat herb face scrub 3 - tiffany lane

IMG_6217oat herb face scrub 4 - tiffany lane

The finished product:

IMG_6225oat herb face scrub 5 - tiffany lane

I’d love to hear your experience with this scrub or any others you’ve made before.  Leave your comments below!

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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