Have you gone to the grocery store lately and been shocked to see empty shelves and empty dreams these last few weeks?

Well, I am right there with you.

 My California dreams and travel birthday celebrations will commence and life can resume back to normal, whatever that word, 'normal,' really means, we shall find out.

Imagine having your '40th' milestone birthday in the midst of an epidemic turned pandemic. A trip to Nashville with your close friends, CANCELLED, your future trip to Tahiti on hold. 

On my way home a week or so ago I stopped at the store to pick up my  favorite dairy free chocolate, Hu gems, yet those were sold out. That is when I decided and thought, what local brand can I support that I had not tried yet? In that moment is when I saw what I was going to buy to complete my pandemic birthday hunt.  Dreampops made it home to my freezer and I was now a happy birthday girl, granted as happy as a birthday celebration can be during a pandemic.

How my decision came about was I had seen a post by the founder's CEO weeks back when we found out our largest natural foods trade show was cancelled due to everything going on.

So, all I thought was now is the time more than ever to support local businesses trying to get their launch into the world of consumer packaged goods.

Forget the chocolate gems and move over dairy free fans as I certainly scored big when I decided to give these dream pops a chance. The flavor I chose was ceremonial matcha green tea, vanilla.

I grabbed a bag to ensure I liked them and immediately opened them up when I arrived home. I was hooked and am now a huge fan, of not only the brand, but the product.  

I went back to Wholefoods the following week when panic was setting in and was shocked to see all the matcha flavor was sold out.

Imagine your birthday plans crushed and now your hopes of grabbing a bag of dream pops to celebrate your birthday?  Then you think, what next?

Apocalypse for chocolate, fine wine and all things icecream were just the beginning of this pandemic. So to no avail I would not have a refill on my new favorite pops. I guess this is where it would leave me California dreaming until the next dream pop trip. The positive side to some of this pandemic is people need to eat and I get that.

So, I am so glad they have discovered my California dream pops too. 

 

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The amazing things about this is that consumer packaged goods brands (CPG) companies are seeing spikes in sales they have never before seen.  Desperate times call for desperate dream pop measures. This California dream that came to a quick halt, just got reignited when I exchanged a few instagram messages with the company's CEO to see that they believe in their consumers as well as anyone who is supporting their brand now and in the future. Stay tuned, as I will have some dream pops coming soon.

If you like me want to try this great brand, definitely look for them in your nearby grocer, or drop a letter off and request they carry them in your local store. 

Try ordering them online or at a local retailer near you. 

Calling all snack lovers who love to indulge but not indulge too much. I have discovered a new snack, with low fat, low protein and just the right amount of carbohydrates, unless you eat the entire bag.  This is where my problem lies. I have always been into finding healthier snacks, especially for my travels or on the go. I like to even have emergency snacks in my car, as you just never know when your day will be thrown for a tail spin and vere off course. Grabbing a bag of lily pops, won't leave you starving, and may just get you through to your next meeting, or safely help you arrive at your next destination, especially in L.A. traffic.

As a nutritional therapist I know the importance of nourisng your body daily, but also am not blind to the fact we all have desires and wants and cravings. I know myself I have been battling some gut health issues for over a year now and there are times when I just want a crunchy snack.  It has proven very difficult to find snacks, that don't have a bunch of added junk and ingredients, as well as nasty and unhealthy, fats and oils.  Here I finally found a snack without all the bad junk.  Here, I introduce my new favorite snack and obsession, Taali lily pops.

I personally am not supposed to be having any foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and I have a very limited food list of foods that are high in histamines and ingredients I cannot be eating.

So, if you are like me, then you will be thrilled to know Taali lily pops are a new snack on the market, that does not contain, gluten, dairy of nuts and to top it off, it is grain free. Not to mention all this, but they are algo non-gmo verified and certified, no artificial flavors, don't have any maltodextrin (usually from gmo corn), free of corn, vegan, roasted not fried and even include a bit of protein (6 grams per bag). Again with all this, be very careful as it is so easy to devour the entire bag in one sitting, they are THAT good!

This particular snack is newer to the snack space as I have only actually seen two companies who are sourcing and producing lily seeds.  Lily seeds are native to india (as of publishing date of this article September 2019).  Working in the nutrition space full time I get to see and have an introduction to many of the snacks and foods that come onto the food scene. These snacking seeds were in stores, but oddly I never noticed them or bought them until a friend of mine mentioned she got some at a food event.

I happened to come across the pink salt flavor in one of the retailers I frequent and grabbed a bag. I was instantly hooked. Taali pops were showcased at Expo West in 2018, but I failed to see them at the expo.

Taali pops recently had another debut at Natural products expo East 2019 and the founder mentioned they will be re-releasing two of the current flavors, tikka masala and the turmeric flavor which will both be vegan. They currently have whey in the recipe, so for those like me who cannot have dairy, this is exciting news. 

Taali pops are sourced in India from water lily seeds.  According to the Taali website, they describe their product, "Water lily pops are made from seeds of an aquatic crop, known as Euryale Ferox (part of the water lily family).  This plant is found largely in Northern India and is an extremely important crop for the farmers of that region. Lily seedshave been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for many centuries and also find an important place in the practice of Ayurveda."  They go on to explain how the seeds are sourced and maintained. 

"The seeds from the Water Lily Plant are harvested, graded, dried and then popped to get this all natural plant based snack" The company, "carefully slow roasts the popped seeds," which gives the seeds their crunchy and tasty texture.  So, if you haven't gotten your hands on a bag of lily pops, make sure to head on over to their site to grab a bag, or maybe follow my lead and grab six, as you will never want to run out, they are THAT delicious. 

A great place to grab some packs of Lily pops is thrive market online. To save 25% click here and you can order as many bags as you would like.

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I have the perfect and tasty recipe for an easy summer or winter recipe to satisfy your cravings for a scrumptious meal or starter for when you have guests over your home. 

Summer time or winter time is a great time to whip up recipes for you or your family.

As I have been on a strict regimented diet from a gut healing protocol with healing foods I thought why not butternut squash soup, which can be served hot or cold, as both taste divine and delicious.

Butternut squash is a great course of fiber and lower in sugar than traditional vegetables.

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Recipe is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped onion or less as this is just to add flavor ot the soup 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves or shallots, pressed or minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and layer a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2.  Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with sea salt.
  3. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin and also discard the seeds.
  4. Chop up the onion and saute it until desired cooking or until browned.. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. If you have a high performance blender like I do, such as a Blendtec or Vitamix, transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, and nutmeg.
  6. Pour in either vegetable broth, water or chicken broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later). Securely fasten the lid and select the soup preset, being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot.
  7. On a blendtec blender device there is a soup button which ensures the soup is whipped and hot once finished. Pay closed attention not to overwhip the soup to ensure you get the right consistency.
  8. If your soup is still too thick add a bit more liquid unitl you have the desired consistency.
  9. Take soup out of blendtec blender, store in a storage container.
  10. You may enjoy this soup hot or cold as both taste fantastic.
  11. Last but not least sprinkle with some cinnamon on top and enjoy!