Life and Living Naturally

Fall has arrived in DC, my sister and her boyfriend visited from Florida and had the perfect weather for playing tourist.

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We made a trip downtown for a food truck lunch and stopped by the National Zoo.

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Hopped over to Georgetown for some serious shopping. Katie is a master at finding deals, we both bought markdowns at 60-70% off. Fall wardrobe complete!

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Of course I also shared my stockpile of Perfectly Posh products, Katie has been trying some of their skin line so I introduced her to some of the other body products (bee’s knees body scrub, witchy body wash).

I try not to be too pushy with sharing Posh, I know I tend to shutdown when someone is overwhelming in their sales approach.  I want to share some of the reasons I started moving my personal products towards more natural and high quality ingredients.

  1.  Too many chemicalstoxins

Women on average apply an average of 168 products per day. (article) Every day you hear of another mysterious chemical or common ingredient that is linked to illness and even death. I’ve been trying to simplify the products I’m using both on myself and around the house.  I don’t just go with the cheapest option on the shelf.  Same with my pets, the horror stories of animals that have died due to contaminated and dangerous products from China have made me much more aware.

2.  Know the source

It’s common knowledge that there are many factories and companies abroad that do not care for the health of their workers or their consumers.

I’ve found clothing companies (Everlane) that are committed to treating their employees well. Educating myself on the local farm to table movement and how large volume food production impacts our health. (Thanks PBS!) I haven’t fully embraced organic foods when I shop at the grocery store, but I’m working on it and making better choices for my body in the long term.

3.  Environmental Impactliquid-soap                                                                                 (image source)

We are learning that even the smallest ingredient can impact the ecological environment in big ways.  From plastic micro beads clogging up fresh water lakes (800 Trillion Plastic Micro Beads go down the drain every day) to bleaching of natural coral reefs via sunscreen. It’s impossible not to see the impact our daily routine has on the world around us.

My answer: Perfectly Posh

Posh prides themselves on using high quality ingredients, locally sourced, and made in the U.S.A.

Everything is $25 and under, keeping high quality pampering available to everyone.

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I don’t expect Posh to work for everyone, it’s one of many companies that are now focusing on more simple ingredient lists and environmentally friendly business practices.  But if you haven’t considered them, check out my site.  I wouldn’t have signed up to represent their products if I wasn’t genuinely excited about what they offer.

Sarah

Apple Cinnamon Macaron Recipe

It’s been a couple months since I baked some french macarons, so it was time to experiment with some fall flavors.

This is my spin on apple cinnamon macarons with brown sugar cinnamon frosting. The macarons turned out as one of my most flavorful recipes and my taste testers finished them off within a day.

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Some notes on my baking process, I use both Trader Joe’s almond flour and freeze dried apples.

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The apple slices give a great authentic apple flavor to the cookies.

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I also use a baking mat specifically designed for macarons, you can find many options on Amazon.

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Apple Cinnamon Macarons (adapted form Sur La Table macaron recipe)

Yield: 35 sandwich cookies

7 ounces powdered sugar, divided

4 ounces almond flour or meal

1/3 cup of crushed dried apples

4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of cream of tartar

3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees (for my specific oven I prefer 315-320). Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Pulse 1/3 of the confectioners’ sugar, crushed apples and all the almond flour in a food processor to form a fine powder. Using a fine sieve, sift the mixture 2 times, then sift the remaining powdered sugar 2 times. Combine almond flour mixture with remaining powdered sugar. Set aside.

To make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl, add extract and cinnamon, and increase speed to high, whisking until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form.

To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture one-third at a time over the egg white mixture and fold using a large spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency, as the batter should be nicely firm and drip slowly from the spatula.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip (#12) and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds on parchment-line baking sheets. Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. (The more humid the air, the longer they should sit) Check for a slight crust to form. The macarons should not stick to finger when lightly touched.

Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10-15 minutes. If the macarons are still soft inside, lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover with aluminum foil and bake for a few more minutes.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling with buttercream (recipe below). Store in air tight container in fridge or freezer.

Cinnamon Sugar Buttercream

  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cimmanon
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Directions: To prepare buttercream, beat softened butter and powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Add cinnamon and brown sugar to the frosting, beating until combined. Place buttercream into a medium pastry bag with a large round tip attached and pipe a dollop of frosting on the center of a macaron and top with a second macaron. Serve room temperature. Store any remaining macarons in the refrigerator.

Enjoy these flavorfull treats!!

Sarah

New Addition – Little Maya

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It was inevitable, my first foster failure is little Maya.  She won me over within a week.

Maya came with her brothers Austin and Walt to recuperate from some kennel cough.

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All three were little heart breakers. Playful and affectionate with a skill for kitten trouble making. I could have easily kept her brothers as well.

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They shared my affinity for serious coma-like naps.

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But something about Maya’s sweet nature won me over completely.

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This past weekend Walt and Austin were adopted together by a great family, they found their forever homes together!

So the tally now is up to three cats and one dog.