Come on in, the water’s fine.

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You’ve seen Brita and Pur filters. But have you seen Soma? Well, chances are you probably have, but for those of you who just can’t decide whether you want to spend $50 on a pitcher, let me share my experience to help you get goin’.

The thing that caught my eye about Soma was the sleek, minimal design of the pitcher. For a while now, they produce 2 sizes—48 or 80oz. I got the bigger brother of the two, which I admit isn’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing, but cheaper.

 

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Either way, let’s just dive right in. (Pun so intended.)

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Not a huge fan of:
-the price tag (except I got it on sale at Target, so….)
-tiny, tiiiiny speckles of coconut carbon in my water
-no “time to change” notifier
-how it only filters out chlorine, improving taste & color (what about other bacteria!)
-plastic pitcher (though it is BPA free! What isn’t these days..?)

Totally diggin’:
+the cone-shaped filter (totally on par with the design)
+coconut carbon & plant-based filter
+ease of filling the pitcher (no lifting required)
+taste of the water
+how easily you can swap the filters out

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All that to say, I’m a sucker for well-designed products so already I like it better than a Brita. And let’s be real, Brita filters aren’t even that great anyway… (Yes, I’m saying this after I’ve owned one.)

Everything will have its’ ups and downs. So do what you will, get it or don’t.
I trust that you can make your own decision. Just know that, 70% of your brain is made of water. So drink up to keep up.

Blessings,
Grace

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Gather Around

Gather around. This story is worth-telling.

Gather is small a food-to-front-door business that focuses on the ever-growing food scene in the greater Seattle area. With quality & community in mind, Addison & Matt dreamed of starting a business that delivers quality to your front doorstep. In the form of food. Good food. And look at them now, they made their dreams come true. (Check out their Kickstarter for a little video of who they are and what they do!)

Enough about the business, though, because we all know that the food should speak for itself. And boy, does it.

They use seasonal ingredients that are always fresh and sourced from a local farmer. This means the menu, though, small, is big with flavor and always fresh. And always changing. Their chef, James, is a genius. Playing with food like a musician plays with a guitar. There’s no stopping him.

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I’m here to showcase only one of their vegan & glutenfree menu items (don’t worry—your carnivorous peers have their options, too!)

I tried the Quinoa salad.

I know what you’re thinking. Quinoa salad is so last year.

First of all, NO. It isn’t.
Quinoa is forever. Quinoa is life.

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And to call this a salad is a little undermining of the luscious creamy vegetable puree. Paired with the perfectly tender roasted carrots and celery root. Topped with the nutty popped amaranth and pickled celery root. Imagine a quinoa-meets-risotto, but with playful textures. It’s one heck of a salad if you ask me.

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The acidic flavors from the pickled celery root are cut with the nutty amaranth and sweet roasted veggies. And if you’re a quinoa fan, then you know what I mean when I say that the quinoa pearls pop in your mouth like fireworks. It’s a party in my mouth. Everything comes together.

And I’m not going to lie, I ate the whole dish because one bite was all I needed to know that I wanted more. It was an uncontrollable spiral that just went downhill… Needless to say, I’m stuffed. This could easily serve 2 smaller (perhaps normal) servings. Add in a side salad, some v gf toast and you’re good to go. It doesn’t look like much when you see the pictures, but it’s all hearty and wholesome.

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Overall, textures were spot on. Flavors were bold and vibrant. A bit acidic for my preference, but still lovely. I’d love to see spicy dishes that are v & gf!

Bonus: They use compostable packaging, so just.. YES. I do judge a company by their willingness to use compostable items. I also judge a book by its cover. So there’s that.

Go check Gather out if you live in their delivery area. You won’t regret it. And if you don’t live around here, whenever you’re in town and staying at an Airbnb. Get it. You’re gettin’ the bang for your buck.

And one last thing. They offer an option where you can pay for a donation of food. We all love giving and helping others, but sometimes canned goods don’t just quite feel right. When you donate a meal through Gather, you know people are getting healthy, seasonal, delicious food that just hits the spot! Let’s help support their cause with their Kickstarter!

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Peace & Blessings,

Grace

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Early Grey Tea Ice Cream


 

With permission from Van Leeuwen, I present to you their
Earl Grey ice cream recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 c canned coconut milk
1 c cashew milk
3/4 c sugar (I used coconut palm)
6 Tbsp loose Earl Grey tea
6 Tbsp cocoa butter
1/4 c extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

Oh, and grab an immersion blender. (Or a Vitamix.)
Plus an ice cream maker.

 



1; stir together coconut & cashew milk, sugar, tea, 2 Tbsp water
2; cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours
3; strain and press down on the tea leaves
4; melt cocoa butter & coconut oil, add salt, remove from heat
5; use immersion (or Vitamix) blender to emulsify the liquids
6; refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours (not overnight!)
7; follow ice cream maker instructions
8; freeze & serve!


A few notes:
+ I used coconut palm sugar, worked perfectly fine!
+ Use high quality, full-fat coconut milk
+If using Vitamix, the oil & milk mixture will take a a few moments to form together. Just trust that it will work and keep blending on high!


Stirring-Action

Though I’m still a mint chip or cookies&creme kind of gal,
I really loved trying a “new” flavor! And there’s something satisfying
about making your own ice cream.

This ice cream is coconutty, earthy, sweet.
I always see earl grey ice cream at fancy ice cream shops,
but never vegan-friendly!
So if you’re dying to give it a try, make this guy.

If you want to check out more of their flavors, head on over to their site.
Or check out their recipe book!

peace & blessings,
grace

Cavity-free for Me

Davids Natural Toothpaste

minty | refreshing | clean

“I love cavities,” said no one ever.
But really, I’ve had my fair share of those when I was younger.
I can assure you, if you’re one of the immensely lucky (or clean?) ones
who have never experienced it, you don’t want it.

Like pretty much everyone, I don’t like cavities.
Unlike some people, I care about what toothpaste I use.
I’m talkin’ natural, sustainable, real.
I’m tired of having my teeth damaged from my food,
I don’t need any toothpaste damaging my teeth, too!

Cue Davids premium natural toothpaste.
Davids has got you covered.

They’re all about:

natural ingredients
recyclable materials
sustainable packaging
no animal testing
fluoride free
sodium lauryl sulfate free
wind power (for the carton)

(They do provide a detailed description of their ingredients and purposes
as well as a brief summary of their story and vision.)

And did I mention sleek design?
Minimalist design makes my heart pitter patter.
And I love that the mint color reflects the minty-ness of the toothpaste.

And the metal toothpaste squeezer? Adorable.
Makes me feel like a little girl winding up a music box.
I suppose you could say it feels like a super cool wind-up toy car, too.
Whatever floats your boat.

Yes, that is my head, post-brushing.
Teeth brushing, that is. Not hair-brushing, if you couldn’t tell.


Davids toothpaste is pretty minty.
And it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, which I love.
It’s like, “C’mon, I just had a cookie and want to get rid of the sweetness.
Not bathe my teeth in it…”

The super fresh thing about Davids is you can buy it once,
or subscribe for a weekly up to a yearly supply!
You wouldn’t have to worry about going to the store when you’re low on toothpaste!

I absolutely love this toothpaste and I’m sure you will, too!

So, happy brushing, y’all!

Do take a look at Davids toothpaste—you won’t regret it!

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A Cup o’ Joe(‘s Tea)

It’s tea time. So grab your mugs and put your pinkies up.
Maybe grab a biscuit or two.

But before we get started, let me ask you:
how do we know God likes tea?

He brews.

Haaaaa. Bible puns never get old.

Puns aside, I’m constantly on the search for high quality products to test out.
And you can call me biased, but I tend to have a higher interest
in companies that spend time and effort into their design.
So let me tell you about Joseph Wesley Tea.

A couple weeks ago, I came across JWTea as I was looking for a tea to try out.
I checked out their webpage and found out they were exactly what I was looking for.

Vegan? Check.
Gluten free? Check.
Sugar free? Check.
Simple? Check.
100% Real? Check.
Jaw-dropping design? Huge check.

I guess you could say that JWTea’s first impression was off the charts.
This small business manages to bring high quality tea leaves that bring serenity to every cup of tea.

Joe was kind enough to send me over their 07 Lapsang Souchong tea,
which came with a handwritten letter on stationary I would buy in a heartbeat.
(They really put so much into every detail, from tea leaves to webpage to packaging.)

First opening the package lent to an aromatic bomb
and my nose couldn’t have been happier.
I brewed it in my Pyrex percolator.
And I couldn’t be happier.

Right off the bat, it smelled nutty+caramel-ey.
It felt smooth+luscious.
It tasted clean+sweet.

This just means that JWTea is providing top notch tea leaves.

Unlike most teas you simply find at a neighborhood grocery store,
JWTea comes with an information card that shares your tea’s leaf story.
(Get it? Life story? Leaf story? Puns everywhere!)
Included on your tea’s biography is:

region
harvest
mood/use
liquor
caffeine
leaves
taste & body

I like knowing about my tea. And Joe’s making it easy to find out!

I really couldn’t rave more about Joseph Wesley Tea.
And reading Joe’s story on the webpage gave me hope
that I can pursue my passions in life!

Check out Joseph Wesley Tea!
You really won’t regret it.
I sure didn’t.

peace & blessings,
grace

   

product provided by JWTea, 100% my own opinions

Drupe It Like It’s Hot

Refreshing | Quick | simple

It’s hot out. And drupes are so in-season.
So why not drupe it like it’s hot, and make yourself a quick tossed fruit salad?

2 medium mangoes
2 nectarines
2 peaches
1 lime, juice & zest
handful mint (~20 leaves)

serves 1-2 people

wash+chop fruit
julienne mint
zest+juice lime

toss
store in jar
eat

Now is that the easiest thing ever or what?
I like to skin my peaches as I don’t enjoy eating the peach fuzz, but that’s up to you.

I used playful variations of the typical fruits you can find:

Hayden Mangoes
Mango Nectarines
Peach Pie Flat Peach

(If you have caviar lime, add it to the lime juice and zest!
That would be bomb, but I didn’t have any on hand.)

These types of fruits are subtly different than the typical
kent mango, yellow nectarine, donut peach.
And I’m in love. I love that they taste different, but still have that familiar taste!
Feel free to use whichever variation your grocer carries.

So you should go make this…
Because there are many uses for it. And it’s so tasty.

And remember to feed your compost bins with the lovely peels—they get hungry, too.

peace & blessings,

grace

Everyday I’m Trufflin’

Hnina Gourmet Truffles

antioxidant | sprouted | nourishing

 

Hnina, pronounced nee-nuh, means “pure goodness” in Arabic.
It also happens to be the founder, Vanessa’s, middle name!

I first came across Hnina when I was visiting LA and stopped by a juice bar.
It caught my eyes, but because I was in a rush, I had to get going without looking into it.
Thanks to the internet, I was able to see what they were about.

You can tell they really care about the quality of their products and their consumers!
Their website is full of extra information like wine, coffee, tea pairings
(that Vanessa developed herself!)
as well as historical and nutritional background of cacao.
It’s a fun place to just peruse and read through.

You can see they come in 4 difference sizes: Pebble, Rock, Boulder, Brick.

With sprouted nuts and seeds, raw 90% cacao, unrefined sweeteners,
these wholesome, nutritious, guilt-free truffles are exactly what everybody needs.

Pronto.

These French concept truffles aren’t like those
sampler boxes you find at a grocery store.
These are filled with nourishing nut and seed combinations
that deliver great health benefits—
making it safe for pregnant women too!
With only 1-2g of sugar per serving
(which comes only from raw honey and/or pure maple syrup),
you’re in the clear for a nutritious indulgence.

They’ve got 7 flavors:

Almonds + Hazelnuts
strong hazelnut flavor, slightly bitter, butter

Macadamias + Pistachios
simple, clean, crunchy, subtle flavor

Brazil Nuts + Almonds + Coconut
sweet, coconutty, chewy, nectar

Walnuts + Cashews
coffee, robust, “roasted”, smoky

Seeds
“crispy”, earthy, strong pepita flavor

Pecans + Pine Nuts
rich, nutty, popcorn, butter

Pistachios + Hazelnuts
“roasted”, hazelnut, metallic, rollercoaster of flavors

Keep in mind: I’m NOT a professional chocolate taster,
so these are amateur descriptions of what I experienced,
which might actually be better because not everyone is a pro chocolate taster!
So you all might understand me.

They come in 3 different preparations:

Standard (roasted nuts, honey, maple syrup)
Raw (raw nuts, honey, maple syrup)
Vegan (raw nuts, maple syrup)

You can pick which style you want!
All the truffles I tried were the “Standard” version.

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When I first tried Hnina, I was a bit shocked that they weren’t that sweet.
So for those of you who are used to Whitman’s samplers and Reese’s PB cups, don’t expect to get that here.

Hnina is all about the nutritional benefits and don’t use processed sugars, additives, or anything artificial! These are dark chocolate, nut/seed truffles—subtly sweet.

But packed with flavor. Jam packed.

Let me be real with you for a second.
I had about 6 truffles in one sitting—
gotta try ‘em all (for the sake of taste-testing, right?).
But the fascinating thing was that I had
No sugar rush
No heavy feeling
No guilt

Honestly, I felt so energized.
Even after all those truffles, I went to workout
and had one of the BEST workouts ever!
It’s not often you can say that after eating half a box of truffles…

So which are my favorites?
Brazil Nuts + Almonds + Coconut (which happens to be the sweetest of the bunch)
Walnuts + Cashews

In my honest opinion, I think Hnina is the perfect balance of
nutritional health, gourmet flavor, energy booster.
And yes, they use compostable packaging—
kraft paper, corn-based clear bags.

Good for you and good for the earth!
Win-win.

Now go be good to yourself and the world and check out Hnina!

peace & blessings,

grace

*truffles provided by Hnina, 100% my own thoughts

Poppin’ Mylks

 

Pop & Bottle Almond Milk

pure | raw| real

Since I’ve been in the SF Bay area, I’ve come to appreciate quite a few things.
Pop & Bottle is one of them.

Just a few days ago, I met up with Blair from P&B.
Though it was only for a few minutes, I could tell she was the sweetest of gems!
She was kind enough to let me test out 3 of their flavors.

They’ve got 4 flavors—chai, cacao, vanilla, cold brew.
(I still have yet to try the cold brew flavor! Next on my shopping list…)

Each type of milk they have is UN. BELIEVABLE.
If I had to pick one non-dairy milk to live off of for the rest of my life…
These would be them. It’s. That. Good.

The vanilla is so fragrant and delicate.
The chai is lightly spice-y.
The chocolate is ever so silky.

Why is it that this stuff is heaven in a bottle?

It’s pure, raw, real.
With sprouted almonds & dates that are cold-pressed,
and without preservatives, thickeners, emulsifiers, or additives,
these milks have maximum nutrition and flavor.

Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals galore!
You just can’t go wrong with any of their ingredients.
(Unless you’re allergic to almonds, in which case I am terribly sorry for you…)

And can we just take a moment of silence for the beautiful, chic design?
I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT.

And what makes them so great is that they’re the perfect companion for occasion.
Need a quick breakfast?
salba chia + chai milk + banana = easiest breakfast

Wanna sit down and enjoy a Sunday brunch?
hazelnut butter toast + honey + figs + sea salt + vanilla milk = effortless brunch

Need a little afternoon pick-me-up?
cacao milk + coffee ice cubes = refreshing mocha drink

Or just enjoy them as is at a picnic with your dogs…

Or in your purse on your way to work…

All you gotta do is…

shake well & twist.

So if you’re ever in the San Francisco Bay area, stop by a shop.
And do yourself a huge favor, and get one (or a dozen) of these bad boys.
You won’t regret it.

peace & blessings,
Grace

*drinks provided by Pop & Bottle, opinions 100% my own

Not-so-plain-Jane Herbed Juice

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sweet | crisp | refreshing

You don’t want to miss this one. It’s a recipe that takes average, ordinary ingredients.
And makes an above average, extraordinary shining star of a juice.

I originally got the inspiration from a juice I had
from a vegan food truck in Ballard, WA.
They were the first “restaurant” I’ve tried,
that offered juice with an herb other than mint!
I was literally jumping up and down (also dancing)
when I took a sip of this said juice.

So it was only natural that I try to make something similar
here at the convenience of my home.
And now at the convenience of your own home.

Not so Plain Jane

You’ll need:

2 large navel oranges
2 medium fuji apples, cored
1 medium d’anjou pear, cored
1-2 inches ginger root
a few sprigs of rosemary

Do this:

Wash your produce and cut them all up to fit your juicer.
(At this stage, you can peel the skin & pith of your oranges and toss it into the juicer.
I personally loooooove pulp so I always hand juice any citrus and add it in later.)
Use your juicer to juice everything except the rosemary.
Muddle the rosemary and throw it into your juice to infuse.
Serve over ice with a few thin slices of orange and small sprigs of rosemary.
serves 2-3 people (makes about 3.5 cups)

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Imagine sitting by an open window on a beach—
clean, white linen dancing with the soft breeze.
The sunbeams warm your glowing skin and
you hear the ocean waves and birds singing together in harmony.
You breathe in cool, refreshing air.
You breathe out all your worries.
This. This is what I imagined in my first sip.

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This is what I want to start my morning off with when I’m with my husband.
This is what I imagine is for light Sunday brunches with close friends.
This.
Is.
For.
You.

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Cheers to many more elegant daydreams.
May all your worries fade away as you enjoy a glass of this
Not-so-plain-Jane Herbed Juice.

Peace & Blessings,
Grace

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Kickin’ Mango Salsa

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I don’t normally like mango salsa, but this one made me do the salsa.
Let’s get to it.

You’ll need:
1/2 kent mango
1/2 small red onion
1/4 red bell pepper
1/2 charred & seeded jalapeno
1/2 lime, juiced
big handful cilantro
S+P
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ACV (optional)

Do this:
chop everything to the size of your liking & mix
serve with guac, romaine, baked sprouted tortilla chips
serves 2~3 people

Notes:
1; adjust cilantro & spiciness to your liking
2; I like a lot of onion, but you can use less
3; ACV is optional, but I find that it brings out the mango flavor a ton
4; if your mango isn’t as ripe or as sweet, just add agave or honey to taste

Kickin' Mango Salsa

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World’s freaking easiest salsa.
Granted salsa is always easy.

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Peace & Blessings,

Grace