Saturday, 30 May 2020

The perfect weekend breakfast - Easy and healthy banana pancakes


healthy banana pancakes topped with peanutbutter, hazelnuts and shredded coconut

This recipe might come as a surprise for the people that know me. I absolutely hate the taste of bananas and can't stand the smell of them either. I have since i was 5 years old when my kindergarten teacher forced me to finish my banana even though i was full and couldn't eat any more. The whole event ended with me throwing up - so I was traumatized for life. Ok, maybe a bit of exaggeration there, but seriously, imagine how hard it was for a girl growing upp in the 90's with a huge sweet tooth going to kids birthday parties and finding out that fabulous looking cake was stuffed with bananas and cream?!
Anyways, my boyfriend loves bananas and one day i decided to try making banana pancakes and I found that in baking the banana flavor becomes sweeter and a but more subtle.    
So here you go; these super easy banana pancakes are the perfect breakfast for weekend mornings. Topped with peanut butter, shredded coconut and chopped hazelnuts and a drizzle of honey. I added a scoop of chocolate protein powder to make them a bit more filling. Yum, yum, yum... Recipe below!

Banana Pancakes Recipe:
Makes about 6 pancakes

1 banana
2 eggs - I always use organic eggs from free range chickens
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder - optional
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder - optional
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon coconut milk/oat milk or other plant based milk
1 scoop of vegan protein powder - optional, I used chocolate flavored vegan soy protein
coconut oil for frying in. 

Mash the banana and whisk together with the eggs. Add the milk. 
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and then gently pour the dry mix into the banana and egg mixture. Mix together to a smooth batter. 
In a frying pan, heat up 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Place a scoop of pancake batter and fry on medium low heat, 3-4 minutes per side. The pancakes burn quite easily so you need to be careful.

Serve with honey, peanut butter, shredded coconut or fresh berries and fruit. 

Buon Appetito! 

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Chocolate covered salted date and peanut truffles

I love dates, both as a snack and to use in baking. However, I don't own a food processor so that can be a little bit problematic seeing as most recipes involves making a paste out of the dates, so imagine my joy when i found out that you can buy finished date paste!
So with my newly discovered date paste I made these delicious chocolate covered date and peanut butter trufflels. They are seasoned with sea salt and taste just like snickers bars! They are super easy, only 5 ingredients, but do take some time to make. Recipe below :)


Ingredients:
16 medjool dates, pitted. (or the date paste that i found at my local middle eastern store, see photo below)
1/2 -1 teaspoon sea salt (for the dough and topping)
Peanut butter, as much as you like, I used crunchy but creamy also works
65 g dark chocolate, melted (any kind works, normal, vegan or sugar free, it all depends on how healthy you want them to be)
1,5 tablespoon coconut oil


Directions:
1. Place the pitted dates in the food processor and blend until it becomes a dough/paste. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tsp warm water and mix again. Be careful not to add too much water or it will be hard to form them into balls later on! Add the sea salt and mix again. 
if you are using store-bought date paste, then simply cut the paste/dough into small squares, place into a bowl and add 1 tbs warm water (or more if needed) and use your hands to make a dough. Add the sea salt and mix again.
2. Scoop out with a spoon or form small balls with your hands and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in freezer for approximately 20-30 minutes.
3. Remove the balls from the freezer and with the help of a teaspoon, cover the top of the balls with peanut butter. If the peanut butter is too hard/stiff, you can heat it up the microwave and then drizzle it over the balls with a spoon. Place the balls back in the freezer for another 15-20 minutes or until the peanut butter has formed a "semi-firm shell".
4. Melt the chocolate and 1,5 tbs coconut oil in a heat resistant bowl over a pot with boiling water or in the microwave. 
5. Remove the balls from the freezer and dip them into the chocolate so that they are completely covered. Place back onto the baking sheet and top with some sea salt. Place them back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Voilà, ready to serve! The truffles can be stored in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. Mine where gone in 2 days...

Next time i make these, I'm thinking of switching the chocolate to a sugar free chocolate and maybe add some chocolate soy protein to the date paste to make them less sweet and a yummy and healthy protein ball.


Friday, 30 August 2019

6 reasons why I always carry rose water in my handbag

From left to right: Rose water from Laboratoire Du Haut-Ségala, Mini size rose water from Kama Ayurveda,
Vetiver water from Kama Ayurveda.


I have previously done a post on rose water infused beauty products however, since rose water is such a simple yet amazing product, I thought i should share my top 6 reasons to why I always carry rose water in my handbag.

1. Refreshing and re-hydrating face mist.
Perfect for when you need a little pick-me-up mid-day at work or during a long-haul flight. Just sprits some rose water on your face and you'll instantly feel re-freshed. Apart from the mini bottle in my handbag, I also keep one on my desk at work. 

2. An addition to your facial cleansing routine
Rosewater has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it a perfect face toner. Spray your face with rose water after cleansing and before moisturizing, both morning and evening. 

Tip: If you are prone to have oily skin, like me, use rosewater in the morning and Vetiver water in the evening. 
3. Take a rose-bath
Poor a few drops of rose water in your bath. Not only does it smell beautiful, but why not let your body receive some of those anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits as well!

4. Make-up setting spray
After putting on foundation, spray rose water twice to help set the base of your make-up for a long hold.

5. Re-hydrate your hair.
Spray the roots of your hair with rose water to hydrate your scalp and to calm static and frizzy hair.

6. Boost your facial cream.
Mix your facial cream with a few drops of rose water to give your skin extra moist and nourishment. Rose water improves skin complexion and fills up fine wrinkles thanks to its astringent properties.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Eco friendly and organic perfumes


How many harmful chemicals do you spray on yourself each day? 
Here are three better options than your Chanel no 5. 

From left to right, three completely different scents to fit everyones taste, or should i say nose...👃 

🍋 Björk and Berries - Never Spring - has a fresh smell of citruses. 🍋 

🥥Honoré des Prés - Vamp à NY - a darker scent of vanilla and coconut🥥 

🍐By Rosie Jane - Leila Lou - has a beautiful scent of pear and fresh cut grass. My all time favourite and biggest obsession 🍐

Sunday, 2 July 2017

New nail polish obsession - Idun Minerals

idun minerals nail polish
A few of my favorite colors from Idun Minerals
From left to right:
Top Coat Diamant, Kunzit, Bergskristall, Almandin

I'm not going to lie, finding a good organic nailpolish is nearly impossible if you want something that lasts and doesn't chip after 5 minutes. I recently started using IDUN Minerals nail polishes and I was very pleased to find out that they are long lasting, made with a 5-free formula that is free from dangerous ingredients and also contain nourishing almond oil. 



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

12 Tips for travelling with your dog

By now, I think I'm allowed to call myself an expert in the subject of travelling with a dog. After all my dog, Leo, has more stamps in his passport than a lot people I know. From the island of Capri to several of the Greek islands, from Lebanon to Los Angeles, this pup has put his paws on almost every continent of the world. 

Leo has become my preferred travel companion and everywhere we go we are met with curiosity and questions on how we do it. Here are a few tips and important information on how to bring your four-legged friend on a flight.

1. Know your dog
Do you think your dog will be able to handle the potential stress that comes with flying? Not all dogs are fit to travel and might be better off staying at home with a dog sitter while you are out exploring the world. If Leo wasn't such a happy globe-trotter I would never bring him with me.

2. Make sure your dog is the right size for bringing in-cabin and that you have the right pet carrier




For safety reasons airlines have strict regulations for bringing a pet in-cabin which include a weight restriction and maximum pet carrier dimensions. These rules may differ between airlines but the weight limit is usually between 8-10 kg (weight of pet carrier with the pet inside) and the dimensions of the carrier should not exceed 55 x 40 x 23 cm. I use the Sherpa original deluxe carrier in size small. Sherpa carriers are collapsible and guaranteed on board by most major airlines, although I have to say United should not be on their list. United might throw you off their flight even though they state that Sherpa bags are guaranteed on board... Speaking from personal experience... But then again, you could be thrown off a United flight for no reason what so ever.
You can find more useful information on dog carriers on yourdogadvisor.com . They have listed 15 of their favorite dog carriers, they also have a lot of other useful information for dog owners on the site.  

3. Make sure your dog is comfortable with the pet carrier



I always keep Leos pet carrier out and open, even when we're at home. It has become his "safe place" and he goes there when he wants to relax and be alone. If your dog is not familiar with the carrier he/she might get anxious and stressed while being closed inside it during the flight.
Keep in mind that in some airports dogs are not allowed outside of the carriers at all.

4. Study the airlines


dogs are allowed in lufthansa business class on transatlantic flights
Pets are allowed on Lufthansa business class on transatlantic flights
Does the airline you are planning to fly with accept pets in the cabin? Some low budget airlines, like Ryanair, do not accept pets in cabin due to the fact that there is not enough room for a pet carrier under the seat. Before buying your seat or upgrading, be aware that some airlines do not accept pets in business or first class, especially on transatlantic flights. 
How much will it cost you? It's not free to bring your dog on a flight (unless it's a certified service animal). You'll have to pay on both the outbound and inbound flight and on some airlines, like SAS (Scandinavian airlines) the pet carrier will count as your "carry-on" piece. The price varies depending who you fly with and your destination. For example, when we fly from Florence / Italy to Lebanon we prefer flying Lufthansa or Air France, even though Alitalia would be the faster option. The reason being Alitalia charging 200 euro for a pet in cabin (each way) and Lufthansa / Air France only 70 euro. 

5. Certificates, vaccines and pet passports




This is probably the most important paragraph in this blog post. Never plan or book a flight before getting information about vaccines and documents your dog might require to enter a new country and also for returning into your own country. If your dog does not have the right documents or vaccines you might be denied to board the flight, or worse, your dog might be placed in quarantine at arrival. A health certificate with proof of rabies vaccine, shots and that states that the dog is in good health to travel is usually required by airlines. When it comes to this matter, it's always better to be safe than sorry. 

6. Reserve a space on the plane
If it's not possible to do while booking your ticket, call the airline right after to reserve a place for your dog. There are restrictions to how many animals can be brought in-cabin and there might already be an animal booked on the flight. If you call within 24 hours of booking you'll be able to change your ticket free of charge. I highly recommend asking for a confirmation email that states the reservation of the pet in cabin. You probably won't be able to chose your own seat or check-in online but unless it's a full flight the airline will leave the seat next to you free.

7. What to pack



Pack some of your dogs favourite toys and line the inside of the bag with pee pads if you think your dog might have a little accident. Since the aircraft might be cold, bring along a small blanket or scarf, but don't over fill the carrier, you'll want your dog to have as much space as possible to feel comfortable. Even though I try not to feed Leo during the flights (on long haul flights I'll give him small treats) I still bring some of his food with me since there's always the possibility of flight delays, lost luggage etc. Make sure to bring some water as well or ask the flight attendant for some, since the air inside the plane can be very dry.  

8. Before departure
I always try to book evening flights and red eyes, that way I have a full day to take Leo for long walks and give him plenty of exercise before departure. Don't forget to pack your dogs passport/health certificate! 

9. At the airport


The pet relief area at LAX
Try to arrive at the airport in time, at least 2 hours before take-off for international flights, you'll need the extra time to check-in and pay the "pet in cabin - fee". Before heading through security, take your dog for a last walk outside the airport, unless you know that the airport has a "pet relief area". Leo, who is a veteran when it comes to travelling, knows the deal and will do his business within a minute.
Going through security can seem stressful but it really isn't that bad. You'll have to scan the carrier through the x-ray machine and hold your dog while going through the metal detector. Some TSA agents might ask you to take your dogs harness or collar off and some let you go through leaving it on. 
I've read some articles claiming that the dog has to be inside the carrier at all times inside the airport, but I won't put Leo in his carrier until it's time for boarding and I have never been told to either. 

10. On the plane
On most airlines you are only required to stow the pet carrier under the seat in front of you for take-off and landing, after that you can place it on the floor by the seat next to you (if it's unoccupied) or in between you and your fellow passenger. You are not allowed to let the dog out of the carrier or place the carrier on the seat. 
Remember that dogs can sense your own energy so if you feel nervous or stressed chances are it might rub off on your dog. 
Leo is usually a great passenger and sleeps the whole flight but he get more affected by the air pressure and turbulence in smaller planes. Therefore, I always pack a bottle of Australian Bush flower essence in case he gets stressed. It's a combination of flower essences that help lessen the stress and anxiety level in dogs and cats and makes them feel more comfortable
I've never used sedatives and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.





11. Layovers


Enjoying a meal at Munich airport during one of our layovers
Try to plan your trip with as few layovers as possible. However, if you're not lucky enough to find a direct flight to your destination don't worry. You can always fold out a pee pad in a restroom and let your dog use it. If possible, let your dog walk to the next gate. 

12. Arrival at destination
If you are flying internationally then you'll probably have to declare that you are bringing in a pet at customs. Usually they will just ask for your pets documents. The dog should remain inside the carrier until passing customs unless they ask to scan the microchip.

Hope this post has been informative for anyone thinking of bringing their pooch along for a nice vacay! 

OH! I almost forgot! My last super important advice! 


NEVER EVER FLY UNITED AIRLINES!!!

Monday, 17 April 2017

3 Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup and Beauty Products

3 ingredients to avoid in makeup and beauty products
Ilia Multi-stick in color "At Last"
NC Cosmetics mineral blush
Spring cleaning? Why not clean out some of those dirty ingredients in your makeup bag? Here are three ingredients to avoid in cosmetics and beauty products.

SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
A foaming agent used in many non-organic hand soaps, shampoos, cleansers and body washes. People who already suffer from dry skin or eczema should avoid using products containing SLS since it is a skin, eye and lung irritant.

Parabens
Parabens are used as a preservative in cosmetics, but while making sure your makeup doesn't go bad, it fills your body with estrogen-mimicking properties that can disrupt the hormone system and increase the risk of breast cancer. Check the ingredient list of your cosmetic products! Thankfully a lot of brands have stopped using parabens and label their products "Paraben Free" to make it more noticable. However, this doesn't always mean the product is free of other harmful ingredients.

Phtalates
Phtalates is used to dissolve other ingredients to create a smoother consistency and to help the product penetrate the surface of the skin and soften the skin in order to make fragrances last longer. In other words, it's purely used to make cosmetic products feel smoother and smell better. Phtalates has been linked to birth defects, disruption of hormone receptors and an increase in the likelihood of cell mutation.