4/27/15

Healthy Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa

Who wouldn't love to eat dessert for breakfast?


This breakfast recipe reminds me of a thick chocolate pudding. When eaten warm, it's a satisfyingly-sweet treat, minus the guilt. With a combination of quinoa, a gluten-free super grain, and almond milk, it's loaded with protein and fibre ensuring you'll stay full for longer. 

I like to top mine with blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants. This recipe is great because it can easily be changed to suit your taste buds. Try it with raspberries, pineapple or even a garnish of mint. If you're not a fan of chocolate, substitute the cocoa powder for some cinnamon. You could also add some peanut butter for an extra punch of protein.  


This recipe makes enough for two and holds up well overnight. I make a batch in the evening, divide it into a couple different containers and place them in the fridge. When breakfast time rolls around the next day, I pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds before digging in. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/4 Cup Blueberries

Directions:

  1. Mash half of the banana and slice the other half to use as garnish. 
  2. Bring the almond milk, water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat and let the ingredients simmer, stirring occasionally until all of the liquid has been absorbed. 
  3. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the mashed banana, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. A couple teaspoons of honey or maple syrup can also be added as natural sweeteners. This is based on how big your sweet tooth may be. 
  4. Transfer to a bowl and top with the remainder of banana and a handful of blueberries. 
  5. Eat and enjoy!

Have you ever tried making a sweet quinoa recipe before? Share it with me!

xxx

4/23/15

Sephora VIB Sale Haul

If you're a frequent Sephora shopper, then you know the store rarely has sales. However, twice a year (Spring and Fall) the Beauty Insider Event opens for VIB and VIB Rouge members to receive 15% off their total purchase. 


I took advantage of the sale and placed an order on the Sephora website last week. It felt like Christmas when the package arrived at my house. I am super happy with the items I purchased and can't wait to give everything a try. 


I absolutely love the original beautyblender, however, I'm lazy and it can be a pain to clean. Therefore, it's generally pretty dirty when I grab for it each morning. I considered buying a back-up, but these baby versions caught my eye and seemed too cute to pass up. Once wet, they will double in size and fit perfectly under my eyes to blend concealer. 

How adorable is this blush?! I have high hopes that this peach powder will mimic it's incredible packaging and look just as beautiful on the skin. I look forward to pairing it with a coral lip during the summer.  


Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Pink Souffle
I've been really enjoying neutral pinks for everyday wear, but find myself constantly having to re-apply my lipstick. I'm eager to put this lip stain to the test and my fingers are cross that it is truly long-lasting.



This limited edition set contains a full-sized High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream, a full-sized GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream and deluxe sample-sizes of the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-Boosting Moisturizer with Mangosteen. I've never tried anything from Origins before, but these best-sellers have great reviews and promise to hydrate and restore radiance.   


In addition, a few samples came with my order including the Yves Saint Laurent TOUCHE ÉCLAT Radiant Touch, HOURGLASS Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free and TOM FORD Velvet Orchid. I also cashed in some points for a sample of the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.

Unfortunately the sale has ended for this month. But don't worry, it will be back again towards the end of the year. Start saving! 

xxx

4/13/15

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil

Wow, this cleanser is good!


I've been really interested in oil cleansers lately, because foaming ones can cause dryness - something I've been battling during the cold months we've just escape. The Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil from the Body Shop acts quickly to remove all of my makeup, even eyeliner and waterproof mascara, without tugging at the eye area.


It's made with Community Fair Trade camomile, a soothing ingredient suitable for all skin types - especially those with sensitivity.

Although uniquely different, this cleanser is quite similar to the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser. Both should be used with dry hands, on a dry face at first. Once melted into the skin, warm water can be added to dilute the consistency before rinsing away. They both eliminate dirt and impurities, while leaving the skin slightly hydrated.


I actually prefer the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil better, and it's a fraction of the price! It does a better job removing my makeup and doesn't leave behind any sort of sticky residue.

I will say, however, that it is strongly scented and may not be everyone's cup of tea. Give it a whiff before trying it yourself.

xxx

4/9/15

#HealthyBirdy: Favourite Snacks

While you may already know I am a big lover of makeup and beauty products, I also really enjoy living a fairly healthy and active lifestyle. Today I'm taking this blog in a different direction, with the first post of a new series I'm calling #HealthyBirdy. 


I'm a big snacker! I try to eat every two to three hours to ensure my stomach doesn't begin to growl. Going long periods of time without something in our bellies, can actually cause us to overeat.

I love munching on something high in protein around three or four o'clock in the afternoon. This keeps me full until dinner and gives me enough energy to get through the rest of my day. Here are some of my favourites:

Hummus
For some reason, I don't really like carrots on their own. But combined with a dip of some sorts and they quickly become a Birdy favourite! I especially love this particular hummus from President's Choice. It's Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper with Cumin and it packs a serious punch of flavour!

Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt can be a great source of protein, but can also have a high glycemic index. I try to look for flavours with less than 10g of sugar. I also enjoy adding a sprinkle of chia seeds for their omega-3 benefits.



Sometimes life gets busy and we need something quick and easy. 

LARABAR
The Chocolate Chip LARABAR contains four simple ingredients: dates, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cashews and salt. It's literally a healthy chocolate bar!

KIND
The KIND Dark Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants is my favourite and it contains 50% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, C and E.

Once three o'clock rolls around during the week, I'm usually desperate for a pick-me-up. Chocolate bars, gummy candies, chips and cookies are super tempting, but I've found some really great and healthy alternatives.

Dried Mangos
I love dried fruit, especially mangos! To me, they're similar to fuzzy peaches or fruit roll ups. They're naturally sweet and wonderfully chewy.

Dates
Dates are full of fibre, helping to fill you up and get your digestive system moving. While not always the most appetizing in appearance, they are delicious! I found these coconut covered ones at Bulk Barn. They're super soft and sweet as can be.


Snapea Crips Harvest Snaps
These come in a few different flavours: Lightly Salted, Black Pepper, Caesar and my favourite, Wasabi Ranch. They're made with 70% peas and baked to perfection. The pea flavour is subtle and the saltiness provides a chip-like experience.


What did you think of the first #HealthyBirdy post? I have a ton of ideas in mind for this series including some of my favourite recipes, gym necessities, workout routines and more! I'm very excited to share more thoughts and opinions with you!

xxx

4/3/15

Empty Products: Hits and Misses Round 2

I've been collecting quite a few empty bottles and packages over the last few months and I think it's about time I did some mini reviews before the maid yells at me. Just kidding...I don't have a maid. But I do get serious anxiety whenever something gets too cluttered. So if I don't write this post now, everything will be headed for the curb.


Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (HIT)
This product weirded me out at first. I couldn't get over the idea of putting avocado on my face, but I actually really liked it! The key is to rub a tiny amount between two fingers, it will heat up and turn into an oil. It applies so smoothly and really hydrates the under-eye area.


L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil with Almond Oil (MISS)
I've been curious to try this product for a while because of it's great reviews. I opted for the tiny, sample-sized bottle to test it out before biting the bullet and buying a full-size one. It's good, but it's not great. I enjoyed the sweet almond scent, but I didn't think it did much to hydrate my skin.

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner (HIT)
This product has been my hero these past few months! I have written a blog post with more details on the Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner (here) but I cannot say enough good things about it. It smells delicious and hydrates the skin. I just wish it weren't so darn expensive.


Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Hand Food (HIT)
I've always been a fan of the original hand food, which contains marshmallows! How yummy does that sound? I actually prefer the citrus scent of this one more than the original, but I didn't think this one was formulated quite as nicely. Maybe because it's lacking those marshmallows...

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (HIT)
There's so much hype for this product, so I caved and decided to give it a try. I didn't want to fall in love with it because of the hefty price tag, but I suppose I have expensive taste. The hype is for good reason! I love what this moisturizer did for my skin. It's super thick but absorbs quickly and really soothes dry patches.

Clean & Clear Soothing Eye Makeup Remover (MISS)
Although the bottle states this eye makeup remover is oil free, it's hard to believe. There is definitely an oily residue left behind after each use.


Philosophy Purity Made Simple (HIT)
This may be my favourite cleanser...ever! It's a one-step facial cleanser that removes all of my makeup (even around the eye area), eliminates dirt and lightly hydrates. It's one of those products that really makes my skin feel squeaky clean.


Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Shampoo and Conditioner (MISS)
I really liked this duo at first. They were super inexpensive, smelt amazing and made my hair feel really soft. But after a while, I noticed a build-up starting forming and my hair felt a little more weighed down and greasy than normal.


Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me (HIT)
There is something so satisfying about finishing a lip balm! I tend to lose them before I have a chance of reaching the bottom. I love the Baby Lips line, but this colour is what sold me. The red tone is super build-able, and really helps brighten my face. I haven't been able to track this particular shade down in stores, but when I do, I will definitely be stocking up!

Benefit They're Real Mascara (MISS)
This is another product with tons of hype, but I was slightly disappointed. I didn't see any fantastic results and I don't think it's worth the price. There are drugstore versions I feel are much better.



I hope you enjoyed this second round of mini-reviews! Until next time...


xxx

4/1/15

USANA Sense Rice Bran Polisher Review

My cousin, Skye Handford recently introduced me to a whole new world of beauty products. She's a sales representative for USANA Health Sciences and kindly sent me one of their exfoliators to try. 


I've been testing it out for the past couple of weeks and I'm hooked! All of these products - branded with the name Sense - are created with a unique self-preserving formula. This means there are no added chemicals such as parabens and formaldehyde, which can potentially be very harmful to our skin. 

The facial scrub I received is called Rice Bran Polisher and it smells just like you may imagine. To me it's got a bit of an earthy scent mixed with a fresh bowl of steel cut oats. It's different, but quite enjoyable! It contains very fine particles of rice, which work in tandem with papaya extract to dissolve and gently remove dead skin cells. It's not abrasive at all and great for those of you joining me in the 'sensitive skin club'


USANA has earned itself worldwide credibility, attracting attention from Hollywood celebrities including Courtney Cox, Jenny Garth and tennis stars, Serena Williams and Genie Bouchard. The product line doesn't end with skin care items - they also specialize in nutritional supplements, diet programs, meal replacements, protein snacks, energy drinks and many other products used to improve health and overall quality of life.

Check out Skye's page at skyehandford.usana.com and see if there's something for you. Be sure to contact her if you wish to place an order. I know she will take good care of you! :)

I'm super impressed with the Rice Bran Polisher and I have a feeling I'll be testing out more products in the near future...

xxx