Color your Easter Eggs with NO Artificial Dyes and Chemicals!

Color your Easter Eggs with NO Artificial Dyes and Chemicals!

Every year, my sister and I color Easter eggs together the night before the holiday.  It’s a fun little tradition that we started when we were younger and it just stuck even though we don’t live together anymore.  I never really gave too much thought to the artificial dyes and ingredients that are inherent in this tradition, but this year I decided to take a more natural approach.  I used matcha to make green eggs, and turmeric to make yellow ones.

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The Steps

First, you have to hard boil your eggs.  I’m notoriously bad at this, so you should probably just google this step instead of heeding my advice.

Next, you will need a jar large enough for 2-3 eggs.  Fill it about halfway with water (you can always fill it more later) and add about 1 tbsp of matcha or turmeric to the water and shake it well.  Add 1-2 tbsp white vinegar, and shake again.

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(Peep my repurposed salsa jar #mild ^)

Add the eggs to the jars (I put 2 in each jar) and carefully spin the jars around to mix it up without cracking the eggs.  Add more water if necessary until the eggs are completely submerged.  Place the jars in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to let the natural color of the matcha and turmeric seep into the egg shells.

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When you are ready to take the eggs out of the water,  all you have to do is dry them off well and set them up in a super pretty centerpiece for your Easter table!  It works best if you carefully rinse them, pat dry, and then allow to air dry for 5-10 minutes before handling too much.  If you rub them while they are fresh out of the jars, you can rub the color off.

You could probably try using beetroot powder to get a pretty pink color, or blue spirulina for that beautiful turquoise.  The turmeric worked really nicely, but the matcha didn’t achieve that rich green color I was hoping for – I might not have used enough, since I had used the bigger jar for these.

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In conclusion…

Was this more complicated than opening up a box of Paas like a normal kid and coloring Easter eggs the traditional way?  Absolutely.  It’s messier, takes longer, and you don’t have as much creative flexibility because the eggs have to be just one solid color.  You could probably crack the shell before dropping it into the dyed water to get a crackle effect (without having to worry about the die getting onto the egg whites because it’s totally edible!)  But asides from that, there isn’t much you can do the vary the design.  That said, I think there’s something to be said about simplicity, and I think it’s also important to be mindful of the dyes and chemicals that we handle on a regular basis and put into our bodies.  This is a fun way to take a popular craft and healthify it with natural ingredients.  I would recommend this method of dying Easter eggs!

Will you try it?  Tag me in your Easter photos with your naturally dyed Easter eggs!  @LiftinLuxe #LiftinLuxe

Stay fit and free from chemicals and dyes, all!  Have a wonderful Easter (or Passover, if that’s more your thing)!  🙂

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The Bar Shack & Macaw! Foods Review

The Bar Shack & Macaw! Foods Review

TLDR (spoiler alert): The Bar Shack is a brand that makes custom protein bars where you can select each ingredient that goes into it.  The bars that I made were incredibly fresh, easy on the tummy, and really yummy.  Though pricey, I will order them again.  The Macaw! Foods bars I got to try were delicious, and there were two flavors that stood out to me that I would keep as a staple in my pantry (cookie dough and cinnamon roll).  I definitely recommend The Bar Shack and Macaw! Foods brands to anyone looking for a protein/snack bar (protein content for the bars is between 10-15g, so it’s not an incredibly high protein snack) that’s easy to digest, delicious, and contains clean and organic ingredients! 

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How many times have you picked a new protein bar off the shelf and generally like it, but have one tiny complaint about either the flavor profile or the type of protein used (whey vs vegan, anyone?)

This is me literally every single time I try a protein bar.  I’ll be honest – I can be really picky about prepared foods/snacks that I purchase, and this is why I make most of my meals and snacks for myself.  Making an on-the-go protein snack, however, is not really the easiest task, and nothing beats the convenience of a good protein bar.  That’s why I am constantly in the market for a protein bar that has clean ingredients, doesnt wreak havoc on my stomach, and has a decent macro spread.  Oh, and tastes great.  It seems as though it’s more difficult to find a standard go-to protein bar than it is to find a boyfriend – TBD, since I currently have neither.

I’m a step closer to finding the more important of the two – my perfect protein bar – because The Bar Shack has created a DIY portal where you can build your own!  From the nut butter base to the type of protein, all the way down to the flavor profile of the bar, you are in control of literally everything.  You also have access to the nutrition facts of the bar you’re creating, updated real-time every time you add/remove ingredients.

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Right off the bat, I will address the fact that the bars are pricey.  I was lucky enough to connect with the brand for a sample box, and figured that I would decide after trying the product whether it stands up to the price.  (It does).  I’m not saying I’ll have two of them a day, but I think a box (which comes out to $50 after taxes and shipping for 12 bars) could last me a month and be totally worth it.  I’ve spent that much on way less awesome and less functional things, is how I’ll justify it.

The Bar Shack brand grew out of a parent brand, Macaw! Foods.  Macaw! Foods was born when its founder, Owen, moved to Florida to pursue real estate, didn’t exactly succeed at that, and caught a break selling homemade protein bars at the local farmer’s market.  Owen’s story and dedication to creating quality protein bars is really amazing, and I urge you to check it out here.  I have a lot of respect for this brand which started from absolutely nothing, and grew to the point where wholesalers like Whole Foods wanted to stock its products in their stores.  Owen turned wholesalers down, however, in order to continue to evolve his brand and to promote the importance of living “free and wild,” a motto that speaks to me deeply.  Owen sent me a number of Macaw! foods bars to try as well, which I’ve included in this review.

Moving back to The Bar Shack, let’s talk about the protein bar building process.  The website is very user friendly, and my only complaint would be that there are so many options to choose from that it was a bit overwhelming.  I settled on a maple banana oatmeal flavored bar, with a soft and chewy base made of cashew butter and maple pecan butter, a plant-based protein, and various flavor and texture enhancers to achieve that perfect balance of flavors.

The Bar Shack Final Product

My Maple Banana Oatmeal bars came out REALLY good.  I think the trick is that you don’t get to choose the ratios of your selected ingredients – so if something doesn’t go really well together, there’s at least the ratios that the professionals can work with to create something tasty.  Here are the exact ingredients I chose (any my reorder code if you want exactly the same bar).

Bar Shack Ingredietns

Upon first taking a bar out of the box and packaging, I noticed just how fresh they were – which makes sense, because they were made custom for me literally that week.  They are super soft (and this might vary depending on the consistency you choose in your preferences) and chewy.  You can visibly see the ingredients that it would make sense for you to see (i.e. chia seeds).  Taste-wise, the maple shines through a lot more than the other flavors.  I didn’t get that earthy oat flavor that I was hoping for, but I am more than happy with the flavor profile of the bar as a whole.  The bars are also really easy on my stomach, and don’t bother me at all the next day, which is saying a lot for a protein bar.

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Overall, I wish the protein content of the bars were better (P-12;C-22;F-10), but I do think that they work really well as a snack.  They’re great for right before or after the gym because they have the carb content to give you good energy (though if you’re sensitive to fats maybe save it for after the gym), and are enough calories to keep you full for a while.  I think that these bars are worth the price, and I will likely make them a monthly or every two months thing – I am interested in trying out some new flavor combinations!

Who would try these bars?  Let me know what your ideal flavor combination would be – send me an email or comment my social media! @LiftinLuxe

Macaw! Foods

Special shout out here to the Macaw! Foods bars I also got to try.  I really liked these, though they were definitely different from The Bar Shack bars, and I plan on stocking up on these again.  I got to try every flavor except for the lemon poppy and mint chocolate chip varieties, and each one tasted delicious.  My personal favorites were the cookie dough and cinnamon roll, mostly because these flavors were the most unique.  The other flavors were really good, but in my opinion weren’t particularly unique from the two I mentioned, and didn’t hold perfectly true to their label.  Below I’ve included my comments on each bar with pictures, but in a nutshell these bars use really clean ingredients and they also have a great consistency.  They are a hard bar (very different from my Bar Shack bars which were so soft), but they have a really good chewy consistency and are full of deliciously creamy chocolate chips.  I am not sure why, but I loved the chocolate chips the most in these bars – they’re better than any other protein bar chocolate chip I’ve ever had.  They’re large chips, but also are smooth and creamy, a little bit melty, and not crunchy like most chocolate chips in a protein bar.  There were chips in every bar I tried, which I was totally fine with because I loved them, but sometimes I was confused as to why a chocolate chip would be paired with that flavor profile and sometimes overpowered the flavor in the bar (also not complaining about this, because the flavor was good).

Cinnamon Roll

This one might have been my favorite of all of the bars I tried.  It has a really strong cinnamon flavor, in the best way, and truly tastes like a cinnamon roll.  This was one of the ones that I wasn’t sure why chocolate chips were included, but they still added good flavor and an extra component of texture, so I’m not complaining at all about these.

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Cookie Dough

This OG flavor landed itself in my top two for this brand.  It paired so well with the chocolate chips, and though it wasn’t an overwhelmingly unique cookie dough flavor, it was satisfying and delicious.  Also, the consistency of these bars lent itself very well to the cookie dough flavor because they had a chew to them that I look for in a cookie.

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Coconut Husk

The flavor here was good.  Didn’t get a ton of coconut – these reminded me of the cookie dough flavor.

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Banana Bread

Subtle banana flavor, the addition of walnuts was nice.

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Chocolate Brownie

Literally can’t go wrong here.  This was another bar where the chocolate chips were the MVP.

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Peanut Butter Cookie

This had a strong peanut flavor, but didn’t have any hint of the creamy consistency that peanut butter has, so I was a little thrown off.  The bar has peanut pieces in it that you can very clearly see and taste, which added a layer of texture to this bar.

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To the troopers who made it to the end of this lengthy post – thank you for your support and interest!

Stay fit and fresh, all! 🙂

Rhythm Superfoods Review

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It’s the ongoing joke among my family and friends that you’re more likely to find veggies and veggie chips in my fridge and pantry than actual potato chips or mainstream snack foods.  When hanging out on my turf, my friends are likely bringing their own snacks.  (Partial joke – I know how to accommodate my friends when I invite them over).  I can’t argue with this perception of me, though, because it’s absolutely 100% true, so when I had the opportunity to try out a couple of  the Rhythm Superfoods products, I was more excited than the average gal.

Rhythm Superfoods creates snack items made out of superfoods like kale and beets with the goal of creating snacks that are both tasty and healthy.  The website lists out each superfood ingredient the brand uses in its snacks and what the health benefits are of each.  I tried the beet chips (both the sea salt and naked versions) and the kale chips (both the original and zesty nacho versions).  In all varieties, the chips were so flavorful, crunchy, and satisfying, that it was hard to believe they were vegetables and not actual junk food!  The chips are dehydrated instead of fried, and there are a ton of interesting and unique flavors aside from the “Naked” or “Original” versions.

None of the photos in this post of the product itself are edited, to hold the integrity of the product being reviewed.  The photos of my food, however, are edited.  Because it makes them look more delicious.

Beet Chips – Naked

These chips are very obviously made of beets, once you take a bite.  As you can see from the packaging, there’s nothing but straight beets in here, so if you like beets, these are a no brainer.  Allow me to say “beets” one more time.  Beets.  They’re slightly sweet and have that subtle tang that this beautiful root veggie has (beets don’t have a ton of synonyms – bear with me here).  There’s a really good crunch in this chip, and they’re delicate, thin, and crispy.  These are a snack-on-while-watching-netflix safe option, since there’s literally no fat in them.  Your computer keyboard will thank you.  For 1 oz of chips, the nutrition facts are: P-3, C-22, F-0, 100 calories.

Recommended use – Crumble up and sprinkle over a salad for some crunch instead of croutons!

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Beet Chips – Sea Salt

This variation of the beet chip was a little bit more reminiscent of our favorite junk food  – the potato chip.  They were sliced a bit thicker than the naked chips (not sure if this is standard or coincidental of my batch), and there was a healthy dose of salt to balance out the sweet and tangy flavor of the beet.  These were less crispy and more crunchy than their streaking counterpart, and I honestly liked them better.  The ingredient list is only slightly different – these containing some oil and salt, in addition to beets.  Nutrition facts per 1 oz are: P-3, C-20, F-4, calories 130.

Recommended use – Eat these straight out of the bag.

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The sea salt version of the beet chips were also a lot darker in color than the naked version.  I am not sure if this was coincidental because each batch might differ, but you can see in the photo that the sea salt chip (on the right and in the plate) is much darker than the naked one (on the left).

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Kale Chips – Original

Moving on from beets to kale, I was really pleasantly surprised by these kale chips.  I never was a giant fan of kale so I never actually bought myself kale chips, but honestly you could not tell these were made from kale at all.  KALE.  They were delicate and crispy, and the folds in the leaves held onto the seasonings so well that each chip was full of so much delicious flavor.  It’s tough to pin down exactly the flavor profile on these, but they were slightly acidic, slightly sweet, well balanced, and salty.  Very good!  I need to emphasize how good the crunch is on these chips.  So satisfying.  Nutrition facts per 1 oz: P-6, C-12, F-8, calories 150.

Recommended use – Eat them straight out of the bag.

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Kale Chips – Zesty Nacho

These weren’t kidding about being zesty.  They’re very similar to the original version, but they have a pretty strong nacho kick to them.  There’s no actual cheese listed in the ingredients, but they actually do taste cheesy.  It looks like the only real difference in ingredients between the original and the zesty nacho is the addition of chipotle powder in the zesty nacho version.  I like this flavor, and they were really good crumbled over salad or runny eggs, but to just nosh on straight I prefer the originals.  Zesty nacho nutrition facts per 1 oz: P-6, C-12, F-7, Calories 140.

Recommended use – Crumble over eggs, salads, meat, or anything really.

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Overall, I was really impressed with this brand’s ability to take generally hated-on foods like kale and beets and make them into really tasty and satisfying “junk” food.  They’re versatile because you can crumble them over a meal, or eat them like potato chips straight from the bag.  I recommend, and I would love to know if you agree with me!  You can order them online, or find a store that carries them using the store locator feature on their website.  When you try this brand out for yourself, let me know what you think!  @liftinluxe #liftinluxe

Stay fit and superFoodie, all!

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