Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Revised Chewy Granola Bar Recipe (Dairy Free, Gluten Free)

A couple years ago I shared my Chewy Granola Bar Recipe. It's a delicious recipe! I just made it again this morning, only with a few revisions that I thought I'd share. Since I shared the original recipe, my family and I have transitioned to a mostly dairy free and gluten free diet. It was mainly for me, but by nature of me being the main food prepper in the family, it's transferred to Chuck and the kids as well. And nobody is complaining, really! Well, except when it comes to pizza. And Chinese food. And ice cream. *Sigh* Anyway...

I updated this recipe to be dairy and gluten free, and took out the nuts and added coconut instead. I hope you enjoy these tasty, easy to prepare treats!

from my instagram: @hippiemamatess


  • 5 cups of gluten free rolled oats 
  • 1 cup of plain coconut shreds 
  • 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice (I used orange flavored cranberries) 
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup of dairy/gluten free chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup of organic honey
  • 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil
  •  2/3 cups of organic peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt


  1. Combine the rolled oats, coconut shreds, dried fruit, chia seeds and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine honey, coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla and sea salt in a small sauce pan. 
  3. Heat on low until the mixture is starting to melt together and create a sauce. Remove from heat and keep stirring until everything is smooth and delicious looking. 
  4. Pour over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. 
  5. Dump granola bar mixture onto a 17.25x11.5x1in cookie sheet and flatten by using your hand. Make sure to do this really well so that after it's done setting, the bars will stay together without crumbling. 
  6. Pop the tray into the fridge for a couple hours for maximum hardening. 
  7. Cut the bars into the desired shape right in the pan, then pop them out. 
  8. You can wrap them individually, or to create less waste, store them criss-crossed in a large reusable container. 
  9. Store in the fridge. 
*NOTE* In order to make these entirely refined sugar free, omit the chocolate chips. You could also choose to do half honey, and half organic maple syrup. In order to make them coconut free, replace coconut with slivered almonds or a mixture of chia seeds and freshly ground flax.

I hope you enjoy these yummy granola bars! They are really fun to  make, and especially easy for toddlers to help create (lots of stirring!) They travel well, and that's a huge plus! Healthy, delicious, and easy! What more can a mom ask for?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Product Review: Adult Amber Necklace from Four Wind Studios

Both of my children wear Baltic amber necklaces, mainly to help with teething pain. I've been wanting one for myself for a long while now, and guess what? I finally have one to tell you about!! This is exciting for me for a couple reasons. The first one is because I really believe amber works, and the second one is because I am so excited to tell you about a new Etsy shop I discovered! 

First, I am going to tell you a little bit about my experience with Four Wind Studios. I messaged Kimberly, the owner, asking her if she would allow me to review an adult amber necklace, and her response time was out of this world. And I don't know about you, but when dealing with sellers on Etsy, I haven't had that happen before. So I was pleasantly surprised and really happy when she said yes. Kimberly worked with me to make sure I got the exact type of necklace I wanted (raw, light colored) and then ensured that it got to me quickly. 

The packaging that it arrived in was out of this world BEAUTIFUL. As you can see from the picture above, it is so lovely and completely ready to gift. It made me feel like I was opening a specially prepared present that was made just for me (which I was!) 

Kimberly also included a special gift with the amber necklace which deeply touched me. Stone jewelry is one of my favorite things, and she sent a bracelet made from brecciated jasper. You can catch a glimpse of it in the picture below. <3 I am in love with the bracelet! It has a dangling charm metal stamped with the word "faith" that hangs off of it. What a perfect reminder. 

The craftsmanship of Kimberly's creations is stellar. It is obvious when you pick up the jewelry and finger it, that she put a lot of time and effort and care into each piece. That's exactly the kind of jewelry I love to adorn myself with!!

Now, when you're looking to buy an amber necklace for a child, you will notice that children's amber necklaces are usually (they should be!) knotted between each bit of amber (this is for safety reasons.) Adult amber necklaces are typically not knotted between each piece of amber which is exciting because it gives it a more fuller robust look. When you are buying amber jewelry for anyone, the best kind to get is light colored, raw amber. And if you can't find light colored, then just go for the raw since that is the most important aspect. Here is a bit more information on that: 

Generally speaking, the lighter the color, the more succinic acid.    RAW Baltic amber is unprocessed, untreated amber that has come directly from the Baltic Sea.  It is the true form of amber and is also known to contain the most succinic acid.  In fact, some people strongly believe "RAW vs. Polished" is more important than color choice.  RAW Baltic amber is unprocessed, untreated amber that has come directly from the Baltic Sea, untouched. It is the true form of amber, uses less heat when processed, and contains extra layers of succinic acid, which is what relieves pain and helps with all other issues amber can help with.  Since RAW amber does have extra succinic acid than it's polished version, the RAW is considered to be MAXIMUM strength amber.

Luckily, Kimberly has a whole myriad of amber to choose from so you have the best chance of getting exactly what you're looking for. The amber that Four Wind Studios uses is ethically sourced and certified genuine from Lithuania. You know you're getting the best of the best when you shop here.

Now, here is a hugely important aspect when you start looking in buying amber jewelry. Cost. When I came across Four Wind Studios, I couldn't believe how amazing the prices were! Kimberly sells her adult amber necklaces for only $22. That's an incredible price, and then when you add the beautiful packing on top of that, you are getting a steal and a half. 

Also included in the package was a small bit of information on Baltic amber (you can see this above) and a packet of flower seeds which I must admit, I'm pretty excited to plant this coming spring. All of the stationary and business cards are adorned with the Four Wind Studios logo and trademark picture. It's all so professionally done! 

A few notes on wearing amber: you should take your amber jewelry off before getting in the shower or going swimming. To cleanse and recharge your amber, lay it in bring sunshine for a couple hours. Kimberly also says that you can gently rinse your amber in warm water to clean it off. You can wear your amber while sleeping since amber jewelry is typically made to lay close to your body, although each parent will have to make their own decision when it comes to letting their kids sleep with it on. (Something to note and look for when buying amber for children is that it is made with a break-a-way clasp, knotted between each bit of amber, and that the string will break fairly easily if tugged on. I've personally tested this with my son's amber necklace and it broke without much force at all - as it should!) 

Amber is a resin, not a stone as you might think. The healing properties come from amber when the resin is laid against your skin and the heat from your body releases the succinic acid into your bloodstream. It ends up working like Ibuprofen, only much better because it's not a medication, it's God's medicine. 

Amber is great for teething children, or adults with joint pain due to inflammation. (Let's be honest, most of our adult pain comes from inflammation of some sort!) You can wear it around your neck, wrists, ankles, or drape it over any other inflamed part of your body (knees? hip? lower back?) and rest awhile to let the amber do it's work. 

Not everyone can see results with amber. I personally have seen incredible results with my children using it - especially Junia since she's been wearing hers from early on. I have never noticed Junia teething. I'm so excited to  continue wearing my beautiful amber necklace to see if it helps with my neck and upper back pain. As of now, I've only had it for a couple days so that's not long enough to tell yet. 

In closing, I can't recommend Kimberly at Four Wind Studios' work enough. It is absolutely gorgeous, carefully handmade, and charged with the most beautiful kind of energy there is - love. If you've been thinking of trying amber for yourself or your children, you should be sure to check out Four Wind Studios. You won't be disappointed, and you're sure to find just what you're looking for in Kimberly's wide selection. 

If you buy something from Four Wind Studios, be sure to stop back here and tell me what you got and how you like it! We can relish our pieces together. <3 If you have any questions about using amber in general, feel free to leave those in the comments below as well. 

I'd like to specially thank Kimberly for her kindness in allowing me to review some of her work, for her love in creating them, and for her generosity in sending them to me.

Happy amber wearing, crunchy hippies!