Monday, September 19, 2016

Raw Vegan All-Purpose Cobbler: My Favorite Fast and Easy Raw Vegan Dessert

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There's a special pain that comes with self-imposed food deprivation. Sweets-deprivation is a huge hole in the hearts of many, because raw vegan desserts recipes, classes and commissions is one of my most frequent requests on and offline! It makes me think of a sad, true body image story. The author and her brother always enjoyed a slice of chocolate cake after their once-a-week family restaurant meal. Once the writer was nearly pubescent she was about to order her normal delicious slice but her mom stopped her, she was "too old" and had to worry about her "girlish figure" now. She never stopped craving that slice ever since. I hear that same deprived urgency in the voices of those who request raw vegan almond joys, macaroons, fruit and chocolate pies and other treats. "Give me the sweet satisfaction adulthood has denied me, it's instinct, I need it!"

Don't let body image get you down. Have some cobbler! You can even gobble without shame.

But you can have your cake and eat it too with raw vegan desserts. There are many recipes for healthy sweet treats and heal your body from the inside-out, you might even lose weight eating them. They are delicious, good for the body and the soul, because soul, it screams for sweets! Enough preamble about sweets though I just...sniff...get emotional about beautiful, delicious food and the complex humanity surrounding them. I'll share more of these recipes soon, but I'm starting with the easiest recipe I use the most, the all-purpose cobbler recipe.

Ingredients:

1/3 cups Raw Nuts (I like pecans but you can use any, walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc. preferably raw and soaked overnight)

1/8 to 1/4 cup Dates to taste

1 Cup Fresh, Ripe Peaches or Mango, diced (can work in strawberries and apples too but peaches and mango have the best texture for the base, the fruit must be very ripe and sweet, the mango unstringy )

Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions:

In blender or food processor, pulse the nuts, dates, and salt. In my vitamix it only takes a few seconds. I pour this over the fruit and you're done! If you don't have a blender or food processor you can finely chop the nuts and dates.


This cobbler definitely hits that sweet spot and it's fast and easy to make. It's the perfect breakfast, dessert or snack. The nuts give it a good crunch, the dates natural sweetness that's high in fiber so it won't spike blood sugar levels, and the soft mango or peach gives a soft mouthfeel. Make it for friends, take it to holiday parties! You basically can't mess up the proportions either, no matter what the measures, it will be delicious! I never measure anymore, I always make this with two peaches, two handfuls of pecans and 4 dates and that's enough for a cobbler for AJ and I to share!

When you get creative with seasonal, whole, unprocessed ingredients you can make healing versions of basically anything you crave. I enjoy the challenge of creating favorite recipes with health-giving food. I hope you give this cobbler a try when you need a healthy sweet, the voice inside screaming for dessert will be satisfied. I promise.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Cleansing, Healing, Creativity Regenerating Powers of Nature (With No Technology)

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I often say The Hostel in the Forest is my favorite place in the world. On our recent trip, with my camera hidden nearly the whole trip, I finally deciphered exactly why it's such a magical, blissful space.


It starts on the walk to the Hostel. You follow the soft, dusty path through the forest to arrive at the cluster of dome and treehouses and while you do it, something amazing happens. All your problems are where you left them, back in the "real world" outside of the trees. The pace of the world suddenly slows. You're not frantic, you're not thinking of your next blog or social media update. Electronic use is forbidden in public spaces at the hostel so you explore, read, write on paper (le gasp) and just take in all the beautiful natural scenery around you. And this does amazing things for your creativity, the rest, the lack of distractions, sets it afire with ideas.

(Our cabin situated in a tree on our recent trip to the Hostel in the Forrest. Surrounded on all sides by nature, so peaceful you never want to leave. I only let myself take a few photos and then left my SLR camera in the cabin. It was hard but essential. )

It's hard for me because one I get sucked into work I never want to stop (I love what I do!) but I need to make more time for creativity-boosting no technology natures walks every week! After my recent adventures in nature I feel ready to just move to the woods and only occasionally come back to civilization! That delicious slow pace is paradise.

You don't have to be a magical hostel to do this. But a walk through a nature trail or some extended time in nature (leave your phone, and maybe even your SLR camera behind, especially if that's your "work") could be just what you need if you're overworked.

Note: I have more photos of the whole gorgeous hostel here and here.
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Friday, September 9, 2016

DIY Idea For Branding Pins, Jewelry or Small Merchandise (Vintage or Handmade)

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Impulse buys are your bread and butter as a small or crafty business owners. These impulsive splurges are normally small, lower-priced items that can really rack up your sales. I brand my best-selling small impulse-buy items to make them stand-out and also to give them a consistent look that ties back to my business name and ethos. Here's what I do:


1. The first step is to choose your cello bag size if you choose to wrap yours. You can display yours on cardstock paper without a bag, too. I order clear adhesive cello bags in bulk on eBay, one order's lasted for months now.


2. Design the background your pin, necklace, magnet, etc. will rest on and make a grid of it to fill the page you'll print on in photoshop. Pictured above are the fronts and backs of the ones I use for my gemstone jewelry at local markets. (My new ones will have my Body & Soul brand name and website on them as good packaging should!)

3. You probably want to add a little dot or two to the design where you'll poke your necklace/pin/etc for balance and consistency.


3. Print and cut these out. I use scissors but need to upgrade to a paper cutter; faster and more precise!


4. Add your merchandise to your backing.

 These sell like crazy in a nice display at local markets I do. I have them online, too, at $5 each or 3 for $12.

5. And slide into your bag!

I've had so many customers say they want to buy my stuff or "buy one of everything" just because of the packaging. I sell high quality natural wares, but they it's the labels that sell it. Brand and marketing is king for your sales!

Getting to where I am with branding the HELL out of my merchandise has taken years of experimentation, research and plenty of learned secrets and techniques from other business owners. I love to pay it forward and help others, so I hope this was useful if you hadn't thought of it yet! I have so many of these little tips I'm thinking of making an e-book just on the subject of the many ways to brand your merchandise! But of course, I'll be sharing more little branding-type DIYS in the meantime. Doing all the little things to curate, brand, label, and design a business is my favorite part of owning one! I love doing the photography, labels, etc. for other businesses too, I'm definitely the "details" person of any operation! I'm even working on a couple more little lines like this like a crazy person!

How do you brand you merch? Do you send out freebies with your wares? Do let me know in the comments!
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