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Lifestyle

The Concept of Value Added

If you have known me for an extended period of time, and especially if you have ever helped me move, you know that I have long struggled with having a lot of stuff. I owned a condo and lived there for years before I married H, which meant that I had a whole life already set up. I had all the pots, dishes, towels, furniture, etc. When he moved in (along with all of our beautiful wedding gifts) my cute, spacious place became our crowded little place very quickly. Add that to the fact that I have never been a very organized person outside of my work, and I’m sure you can see how this quickly became an issue.

In the 4 years we have been married, we have moved 6 times. Each time I let go of so many things, and feel like I am making real progress- but it is never enough. Every time the next move comes around I discover the same problem. We have too much stuff- and I have had to recognize that aside from the things we had received as wedding gifts, most of it has been brought in by me.

We recently moved into a much smaller apartment, which is forcing me to be more aggressive about elimination. I have been toying with the KonMari Method (will be fully committing to that when I return from this long month of traveling) but I have been adding my own twist. With each thing that I examine, before I decide to keep it or release it, I ask myself, “Does this add value to my life? Does it fulfill a truly necessary function in my daily existence?”

This approach has been working wonderfully for me so far, and I am expanding it to examine my life outside of my material possessions. When I consider how to spend my time, in whom to invest my energy, and what I consume for entertainment/knowledge, I consider these questions.

I have added a page to the top of this site called Favorites, where I will be listing the things that I find truly add value to my life. Feel free to scope it out if you are curious about incorporating this practice into your own life! I would also love to hear about the things that add value to your life! Share in the comments below!

Seeking Value,
KD

Lifestyle

Coffee Protein Shake

I have a drinking problem in the morning, but it’s not what it sounds like! I have too many liquids in my morning routine. I start with hot lemon water, then I like to have my Yogi Skin Detox Tea, alkalising green juice, a breakfast smoothie, and of course my coffee. Unless I want to spend the first half of my day peeing or carrying around a bunch of different cups, I have to find ways to consolidate!

One of my favorite ways to cut down on my number of cups is to combine my coffee into my morning smoothie. The healthy fats in this recipe also help prevent a caffeine spike & crash by giving you a sustained energy boost.

4 ounces Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
4 ounces Califa Coconut Almond Milk (available at most grocery stores- I prefer this brand because they use minimal additives)
1/2 frozen banana*
1 handful of ice cubes
1 serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder (I use this one but also really like this vegan option)
1/4 tsp Organic Cinnamon
1 scoop Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides (great for nails, hair, joints and bone health!)
1 tablespoon ONNIT emulsified MCT oil (vanilla, cinnamon or coconut flavor)

*Keto/low carb, use extra ice cubes instead of the frozen banana)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some banana slices and cacao nibs, or just drink it up on the spot!

Have a wonderful day!
KD

Lifestyle

Community Finds: Pablo’s on 6th

Denver has an amazing coffee scene. From pretty much anywhere in the city you can walk a block and find an independent coffee shop ready to fill you up with fresh ground, fair trade, locally roasted goodness. Who needs Starbucks in a city like this?

As the tech and digital nomad crowd has grown in Denver, many coffee shops have become hubs for remote workers. While I love these places as much as the next girl (who can say no to free wifi?), it’s not always easy to sit with a friend and have a meaningful conversation when you’re elbow to elbow with fast-typing coders and stressed out virtual assistants.

Enter Pablo’s, a wifi-free zone in the heart of the city. There are two locations, but my personal favorite is the one on 6th. The windows are filled with plants that block out the noise from the road and make the cozy interior feel like a rainforest retreat. At the register you will see stickers with the phrase, “Free Hi-Fives, No Wi-Fi”.

If you are a non-dairy person, ask for your drink to be made with the house-made nut milk. It’s a combo of almonds and macadamia nuts, sweetened with figs instead of sugar. Holy guacamole, it’s delicious.

Do you have a favorite coffee shop in your city? Let us know about it in the comments!

Happy Sipping!
KD

Lifestyle

Timshel Reads: White Hot Truth

I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the Launch Team for Danielle LaPorte’s newest book, White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another. I’ve been a devotee of Danielle’s work ever since I discovered The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul, so I was thrilled to be chosen for this group.

White Hot Truth is the perfect book for anyone who has felt exhausted, joyful,confused, manipulated, inspired and defeated on their spiritual path. Danielle gets raw and real about her own experiences and what she has learned, freeing the reader to examine their own journey without judgement.

The biggest thing I took away from this book, and from the discussions surrounding it, is that I am not alone in my occasional despair over my own spirituality. I’m not the only one who sometimes wonders if it’s all a waste of time. I’m not the only one who feels like a total hypocrite five times before breakfast. I’m not the only one who has feared the weight of family disappointment when choosing my own path. I’m not the only one…

I’m learning, slowly, to trust myself more sincerely. Danielle is the master of encouragement in this area, and I know that I will read this book many times over as I continue to grow.

Is there a specific book that has been heavily impactful on you? Have you been in contact with Danielle’s work in the past? I would love to hear your experiences!

Love and light,
KD

Lifestyle

Golden Milk

Golden Milk has been gaining popularity recently for its myriad health benefits and delicious, comforting taste. It can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on the weather and can be made with different milk and sweetener options depending on your personal preferences.

Golden Milk

2 cups Basic Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon organic maple syrup -or- honey -or- 2 pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder -or- small piece of fresh ginger -or- 1 to 2 drops ginger essential oil
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender
Blend until smooth
Pour mixture into a small pan and heat to your preference, but do not boil!

Once your mixture is heated you may choose to drink it immediately or strain it through a cheesecloth into your mug. Either way this drink is both nutritious and delicious, straining it just removes the sediment so the last few sips won’t have any solids.

If all of the above seems like too much effort, you can also order this ready to use mix and add it to the milk of your choice. The same mix is also available to Thrive Market members for less (use this link for 15% off your first purchase).

I like to drink golden milk at the end of my eating window each day, right before I start my fast. This way I am loading my body with helpful nutrients, inflammation fighters and metabolism boosting compounds to assist my body while it cleans and heals itself.

Is golden milk a part of your life? Do you have a dynamite recipe we should try? Share your experience in the comments!

Happy Milking,
KD

Lifestyle

Yogi Tea

I was given this recipe during my yoga teacher training by a master teacher who has studied under Yogi Bhajan. It’s a healthy, delicious tea and if you include the black tea it can be a more beneficial alternative to coffee.

According to yogic science, the spices used possess the following properties:
Black Pepper- blood purifier
Cardamom- digestive aid
Cloves- beneficial to the nervous system
Cinnamon- strengthens bones
Ginger root- healing for colds and flu, increases energy, helps with nausea
Star Anise- antibacterial and antioxidant

I generally buy my spices in bulk at the grocery store, but you can also order most of them at a great discount if you join Thrive Market (use this link for 15% off your first purchase) or on Amazon, as linked below.

Yogi Tea by the cup:
10 oz boiling water
3 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods, cracked
4 whole black peppercorns
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon loose black tea (optional)
2 slices fresh ginger root
Small piece of star anise (break one arm off of the “star”)
1/2 cup milk (whole grassfed milk, almond milk or coconut milk)
Organic maple syrup to sweeten as desired

Combine all spices in a mug and add boiling water. Let steep for 3-5 minutes, then strain (optional) and add milk & syrup as desired.

Yogi Tea by the pot:
12 cups water
2 tablespoons whole cloves
3 tablespoons whole green cardamom pods, cracked
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons loose black tea (optional)
6 slices fresh ginger root
2 whole star anise
Milk and organic maple syrup to add to individual cups

Add water and spices to a large stock pot and bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. I make my tea this way and keep it on my stove all throughout the cold season. I boil it every day and just add water or more spices as needed.

If you want this tea on the go, these tea bags are a more portable option!

Enjoy!
KD

Lifestyle

Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls

I recently attended a DoTerra demonstration where the consultant had made these amazing little chocolate coconut balls. They were so yummy, I had to get the recipe from her and try them for myself! I adjusted the recipe to suit my own preferences and maximize nutritional benefit.

1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour (I make my own! Instructions here.)
1/4 cup solid coconut oil
4 tablespoons raw maple syrup
1/2 cup cacao powder (I like the Thrive Market brand for quality and price- use this link for 15% off)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 drops DoTerra or YoungLiving peppermint essential oil (I recommend only these two brands because I know they are safe to ingest- many brands available at health foods stores are for topical and aromatic use only)
Generous pinch of Himalayan salt

Reserve 1/2 of the shredded coconut for rolling the balls. Combine the other 1/2 and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. I find a fork to be helpful for breaking up the solid coconut oil. I would not recommend using a hand mixer, as it creates a consistency that is too gooey.

Once combined, form the dough into small balls and roll in the remaining shredded coconut. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes to harden. These tasty treats can be stored in your refrigerator for a week, or in your freezer for months! They’re rich and sweet- perfect for a sweet tooth attack without any harmful sugar or additives!

Enjoy!
KD

Lifestyle

Rose and Lavender Bath Soak

At the end of a long day there are very few things that are more relaxing than a hot bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, which can be beneficial when absorbed through the skin. Its two most significant benefits are stress relief and soothing sore muscles.

I like to make my own Epsom salt soak using essential oils and dried flowers, especially when I have roses that I can dry and use. This salt soak can make a great gift, and the 4 oz jars linked below are perfect for that purpose! One jar = one bath.

 

Rose and Lavender Bath Soak
1/2 cup Epsom salt
20 drops Lavender essential oil
3 tablespoons roughly chopped dry rose petals
4oz glass jar

Mix the Epsom salt and Lavender oil in the jar and layer the rose petals on top. That’s all! Easy peasy. If you feel like getting creative, you can experiment with this by trying a bigger jar and layering in different salts, such as Himalayan salt or Dead Sea salt. You can also add a layer of dried lavender buds.

You can order dried rose petals as linked above, or you can dry your own! If you grow roses in your garden or receive some as a gift, it is easy to give your dying blooms new life by drying them and using them again. However, I would not recommend buying fresh roses specifically for this purpose, as it is more cost effective to buy the dried petals in bulk.

If you do have some fresh roses, keep an eye out for the point when they start to look a bit wilted and are no longer perky. At this point, trim the stem about 1/2 inch below the flower. Take a needle with thread and pierce each stem, stringing the roses on the thread. I like to double the thread to make sure it doesn’t break. Then, find a warm, dry place to hang your thread horizontally so the roses hang upside down. A dark place is ideal, but anywhere out of direct sunlight will do just fine. Leave the roses for 2 weeks, then check to make sure they are completely dry. Once your roses are dry you can remove the petals for use!

Happy soaking,
KD

Lifestyle

Almond Meal/Flour

Almond meal and almond flour are two fantastic ingredients for anyone looking to cut back on refined carbs and add some healthy fat and protein into their diet. I make flour every week using the remnants from my almond milk recipe and love getting creative with it!

Almond meal vs. almond flour- what’s the difference?

Almond meal generally has a coarser grind than almond flour, and is made with almonds that still have their skin. Almond flour has a finer grind and is made using blanched almonds that have no skin. Personally I don’t mind the presence of skins but I prefer a finder grind, so I actually make almond flour using regular almonds. This would probably not work in recipes for muffins or breads, which require a lighter flour, but is fantastic for Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls and Turmeric Ginger Macaroons (recipe coming). If you are wanting to make something more bread-like, go ahead and spring for the blanched almonds.

Almond Meal/Flour

Start by following my recipe for Basic Almond Milk.

After straining your almond milk, take the leftover almond pulp and spread it on a baking sheet.

Set your oven to the lowest temperature setting (mine is 170).

Leave the pulp to dry in the oven for 6-8 hours until completely dry, stirring it every hour to prevent any areas from getting too toasted.

Once the pulp is dry, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. If you want coarse almond meal, you might be done right here! For a finer grind, pulse the cooled meal in a food processor or blender until it reaches your desires consistency.

*Be mindful that the amount of time it takes to dry out the pulp will vary depending on your oven’s low temperature, the amount of humidity where you live, etc. I live at a high altitude with very little humidity, and at 170 it takes about 6 hours to dry my pulp.  If your oven’s lowest temperature is higher than mine, just stir and monitor more frequently to prevent burning.

Store your meal/flour in an airtight container or glass jar in the refrigerator. If it is really dry all the way through, it can be stored for several weeks. However, mine never lasts that long because I almost always use it within a few days making healthy treats for my sweet tooth and my gluten-free coworkers! Seriously, the Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls are a totally guilt-free favorite.

Happy Making!
KD

Lifestyle

Chemical-Free Dog Wash & Spray

 

Meet Tio, our 3 year old Plott Hound rescue baby. He came to us in 2014 through Austin Dog Rescue, an incredible organization that pulls sweet dogs from euthanasia lists at overcrowded shelters and places them with a foster until they find their forever home.

Please forgive the mess in this picture, we had just moved into our new apartment when I took it! 

Tio is a beloved part of our family, and we try to take care of him as such. For me, that means not using shampoos with harmful chemicals when I wash him, or toxin-filled sprays when he gets a bit stinky. I want to keep him happy and healthy so he can keep eating peanut butter like a little weirdo!

I make my own shampoo & spray using essential oils, and I have found them to be just as effective as store bought products, without all the mystery ingredients.

Dog Shampoo:
12 oz water
1 tablespoon castille soap
3 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops rosemary oil
** I have seen recipes on the internet that also call for eucalyptus oil, but I avoid this as eucalyptus is toxic to dogs if ingested

Mix all ingredients and pour into a glass bottle. Shake well before use.

Dog Deodorant Spray:
10 oz distilled water
12 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix ingredients and pour into a glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray onto your dog’s fur when needed, avoiding the face. This spray can also be used for general odor fighting use around your home. I will sometimes spray it into a smelly trashcan that’s not ready to be emptied, or use it in the bathroom to combat unpleasant smells.

I always recommend using glass to store essential oils to avoid the leaching of toxins from plastic bottles into your mixtures. Also- I only recommend Young Living and DoTerra brand essential oils, since they are the only ones I will use for myself. Both companies offer Therapeutic Grade oils, which means that the quality is carefully controlled.

Woof Woof!
KD