Valentine Chocolate Strawberry Brownies

gooey-chocolate-strawberry browniesValentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays!  Throughout the years I have spent more Valentine’s Days alone than with my special someone.  I have loved the holiday every year whether in a relationship or alone.   Valentine’s Day is about celebrating those you love. Whether it be a quick call to your best friend, your sister, or your mom, it’s great day to take some time to appreciate those we love.  Maybe it’s an informal Valentine lunch with your office mates? And of course there is my favorite…treating myself to yummy chocolate treat!


I started the search early this year for the chocolate treat I will make for my Valentine.  I was lucky to have some strawberries on hand and thought they would pair wonderfully with chocolate.  I found a wonderful recipe for Gooey Strawberry Chocolate Chip Brownies on SnixyKitchen which I modified into the recipe below.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

1/3 cup carob powder (you can definitely substitute chocolate here!)

½ cup Sorghum flour (Try and gluten free flour you have in the cupboard)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup dark chocolate chips

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

 

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 350F

2.      Combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth

3.      In a medium bowl, whisk together carob powder, flour, salt, and baking powder

4.      Slowly add dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture, and mix until smooth

5.      Gently fold in chocolate chips and sliced strawberries

6.      Pour batter into a 8X8  baking pan oiled with coconut oil.

7.      Bake for about 40 minutes , or insert a toothpick to test and when it comes out dry with just a few crumbs it’s ready.

8.      Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving

9.      Enjoy!

These turned out delicious!   I will definitely be making them again for Valentine’s Day.  Please drop me a note to let me know if you have made any substitutions and how they turned out! I  would love to hear about it!

May this Valentine’s Day be filled with love, understanding, and contentment as you journey through life with those you hold dear.

Best wishes for Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunse Valentine

Be Happy Here and Now!

choose happiness The other day my work mate came back from the printer stapled a few papers and handed me a copy.  “Here” she said “I printed a copy for each of us” It was an article on increasing happiness from Oprah.com. While we are not in our dream careers, we do make the most of our work situation and know how to find happiness in every day situations. We both actively practice gratitude and appreciate the good things in our lives.

What could I learn from this article that I didn’t already know? Of course the article mentions a strong work purpose and loving the work you do.  Career changes are simply not possible for many of us. However, that does not mean you can’t love the work you do!  If your day job is not your ideal career choice, there is no reason why you can’t find enthusiasm and love for your responsibilities.  Maybe it’s for the joy of interacting with good co-workers?  Maybe it for the joy of experiencing a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, knowing you completed a piece of work.  Maybe you helped someone who had a question?  No matter how misaligned your work may be from your life’s passions, there is still a sense of accomplishment and joy that can be achieved in the work you do.

Attitude! Attitude! Attitude! 

All true happiness starts with your attitude!  Can you be happier even though the circumstances around you have not changed?  The answer is probably yes!  Every morning set an intention to be happy.  Just think about how you feel when you are around people who are not happy, they are not fun to be around are they?  Think about those folks you know who are genuinely happy?  What is separating you from them?  Attitude!  Start being happy today and you will be that genuinely happy person you admire.

Be Happy Here and Now!

Live_in_the_NowAccording to Dr. Holden’s happiness article on Oprah.com not living in the now but rather always yearning for some future happiness is the chief cause of unhappiness.  Of course we all need to plan for the future and look forward to special events. However happiness should not be contingent upon circumstances such as a new job, new house or a vacation.  You will never be happy under those conditions!  Once you find a new job you may find it’s not as ideal as you had hoped.  Once you move to a new home, maybe all of sudden you will need a new car.  Then what? You won’t be happy till you have the new car?  Live in the now!  Live each moment and be present in your daily life…always with a smile and a happy attitude as much as possible.  Of course things will happen to make us upset.  Missed your morning train and now you’re late for work? Spilled your lunch on that brand new shirt?  Express your frustration for a minute or two, work through the circumstances and then put it behind you.  In the whole scheme of life, these things are unimportant.Bliss Experiencing challenging health issues? Be grateful and happy for the other aspects of your life that are filled with abundance and going well such as the support of friends and family.

I find happiness by wearing a super soft, eco –friendly shirt from Sunsé Apparel.  A gentle reminder to live in the now and choose happiness is always helpful to get me back on track when I experience a minor set back in my daily intention to be as happy as possible.

Wishing you much happiness and joy in 2014!

What is Your Formula For Happiness?

choose happiness greenResearchers have identified  three significant sources that contribute to happiness:  genes, events and values.  According to The NY Times, researchers found about 48 percent of our happiness at any given moment can be attributed to our genes.

So, with almost half of our happiness determined by genetics, what about the other half?

Many would guess it’s one-time events such as getting a dream job, buying a new home, going on a dream vacation. While studies suggest isolated events do control a big fraction of our happiness, (up to 40 percent at any given time,) impact of such events is short lived.    We often assume major changes like moving to Hawaii or getting a big raise will make us permanently better off, they won’t.  These large goals are often the result of planning and hard work.  Achieving the goal may be worthwhile but the happiness created is short lived.  After just a few months we identify yet another goal that will make us happy.   If one lesson is to be learned, don’t base your well being on big one-off events…we know that won’t create permanent happiness.

If half of our happiness is genetically determined and up to an additional 40% comes from events in our recent past that won’t last very long, what about the remaining 12%?   Good news!  We are in control of the 12% and it can have a significant impact.  Pursuing satisfaction in the four basic values of faith, family community and work are the surest path to achieving happiness within the 12% we can control.  The fact that focusing our time and efforts on faith, family and friendships increases happiness is nothing new.  However, happiness resulting from our work?  often debatable.   Recent studies show American workers do not feel engaged and fulfilled in their work.  When satisfaction questions were asked in a different way such as “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your job?”  Up to 80% of respondents are satisfied with their jobs.   When asked  in this way, respondents can apply their own standards on why they are in their jobs and how it makes them happy even though they may not be fully engaged and fulfilled.  After all, some times we are just happy to  have a job!  This applies across all income and education levels.

Here at Sunsé Apparel  we believe happy thoughts significantly contribute to feelings of happiness.   That’s why we like to surround ourselves with the thoughts and ideas we want to experience more of. Wearing our Choose Happiness shirt reminds us that often choosing to be happy can lift our mood…no matter what our genes are wired for.

Choose Happiness and lead a happy life!

What Are You Wearing For the Holidays?

Holiday clothes

At this time of year everywhere you look there is advertising, shop windows and articles about festive dress for the holidays.  They all focus on beautiful party dresses and accessories that bling.  While almost every  person enjoys dressing up every now and then,  I often wonder how many people  dress like this during the holidays? and for what occasion?  The truth is many of us are cooking and entertaining during the holidays.  I don’t know about you but I don’t feel comfortable wearing a fancy cocktail dress when I’m assembling hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen.   I feel it may not make the guests who choose to dress more casual comfortable when the host is all dressed up,  so I always prefer to dress down. I like my guests to feel welcome in my home.  Alternately when I’m an invited guest for a holiday meal I prefer to dress casual so I can feel comfortable to play with my nephew and roll around on the floor with him, sharing his enthusiasm for a new holiday toy.

While popular fashion sites such as Daily Candy and popular retailers like Ann Taylor make me feel the holiday season is all about dressing up and being almost uncomfortable in my clothes, to me the holidays are so much more about being with the people I love, whether I’m cooking a meal we can all share together or I’m being a gracious guest and helping out with the dishes afterwards.  While we all love a good festive dress up party once in a while, the truth is it’s more of the exception than the rule for most of us, even though retailers and advertisers would like you to think otherwise.

Okay, in the spirit of the holidays I would ask your humor and forgiveness for the next bit of shameless marketing, however please understand the practical side of this. With designs such as Love, Peace and Hope Sunsé Apparel shirts are appropriate for the holidays!  They make perfect gifts and they are so comfortable to wear as you cook, entertain or roll around on the floor with the children you love.  During the December Super Sale all shirts are $12 – $21!   They make great holiday gifts to get and receive!

What will you be wearing during this season of holiday celebrations?

Whatever you wear, best wishes for a happy, healthy season filled with love and laughter.  After all, that’s what the holidays are all about.

Cheers!

holidaybliss

Special thank you to our friends for providing the photos of the beautiful models wearing our shirts:

Candice at Tea Time Thoughts

Stephanie at Mod Pop LA

Christine and Debbie at Rio Designs

Traditional Holiday Beverage? Warm Lemon Water!

lemonwater

What is your favorite holiday beverage?  apple cider?  eggnog? bubbly or red wine? Even if your preference is plain water you should consider incorporating warm lemon water into your holiday beverage selections.

As the holiday season of overindulging in decadent comforting foods approaches, incorporating a cup of warm water and a few drops of squeezed lemon is a great way to clean out the digestive tract.

The difference between the warm lemon water beverage and more traditional holiday beverages is that warm lemon water should be consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach about 15 – 30 minutes before consuming any food or other liquid.

One cup of warm lemon water with a few drops of lemon squeezed into it is has the following benefits:

  1.  Aid digestion – Lemon juice stimulates the liver’s production of bile which is necessary for healthy digestion.  The minerals and vitamins present in lemons also help loosen toxins in the digestive tract which helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.
  2. Balances PH Levels – When consumed, lemons are very alkalizing for the body.  Lemons contain citric and ascorbic acid which are easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood.. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to reduce overall acidity in the body and as a result reduce inflammation
  3. Clear skin –Lemon water functions as a liver stimulant to help purge toxins from the blood contributing to clearer skin and less blemishes.  Additionally, Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in lemons help combat free radical damage which is responsible for many symptoms of aging.
  4. Immunity booster – Lemons are high in vitamin C and potassium.  Vitamin C is great for fighting colds while potassium nourishes brain and nerve cells.

Ideally warm lemon water or lemon tea as I like to call it should be consumed first thing in the morning.  On days when your diet has been extremely rich, it’s also a nice digestive to drink right before bed.

To prepare the lemon water heat some water to point where it’s just warm and squeeze a few drop of lemon juice.  Many sites call for squeezing a half lemon.  If you enjoy that, please go ahead.  I have found a half lemon to be way too much, just a  few drops really work better.  It’s all about customizing for what works best for you!

Of course our Sunsé Apparel shirts with their celebratory messages are perfect for the celebrating the holidays and simply relaxing at home while you enjoy that warm lemon tea!

Happy Holidays!

livelaughlove

Would You Pay More for Made in the USA products?

NPR’s All Things Considered  reported  on Monday that 70% of French people would pay more for products Made in France.  NPR reports French citizens have been distracted by cheap products for too long.  French citizens interviewed for the report said they would pay higher prices to have a better quality product.

What about Made in the USA products?  Here at Sunsé Apparel, we are proud to offer clothing that is Made in the USA.  Our motivation for producing in the USA is to support the American economy in every way we can.  We know products Made in the USA are a bit more expensive, however they are also of superior quality.

The NPR article got us thinking, Are Americans  like the French?  Would you pay more for products Made in the USA, knowing that you are receiving a better quality product?

One of our most popular  American Made products is the Love Shirt.  We like to show Love towards our fellow mankind, Love towards those near and dear to us and Love towards our country and the citizens of our country.  The Love shirt in it’s beautiful fall spice color is our favorite message to welcome  the arrival of the holiday season as we prepare to show love towards family, friends, those in need and ourselves.

Love Inspirational Tee

Would you pay more for clothing Made in the USA?  Does it matter to you where your clothing comes from?

Wishing you Love, Health and Happiness as we embark on the holiday season!

What Is Your Yoga Approach?

yoga stretch

Do approach yoga with a no pain no gain attitude?  Or is your approach a steady consistent practice will result  in increased strength and flexibility over time?

The New York Times published an article earlier this week about frequent hip injuries in women associated with yoga.  This article got us thinking, how are we approaching yoga?

While injuries are inevitable with any movement, practicing yoga should not result in increased hip injuries.   The origins of yoga date back to 1000 BC and according to some, even earlier than that. Earlier civilizations probably did not have the no pain, no gain competitive mentality common today.

While there are correct and incorrect ways of doing each yoga posture, no two bodies are alike.  Yoga is about connecting the breath and mind with the body to increase flexibility and strength.  When holding a pose, how does it feel? Where are you tight? Take a deep breath, can you move deeper into the pose now? Do you have better balance on the right or the left?  How does it feel compared to yesterday? Last week? Last month?

Here at Sunsé Apparel we start each day with a simple yoga practice at home. It is a rare day we have the luxury of  time to attend a yoga studio. Practicing at home works best!  A daily weekday practice for about a month  increased our arm and leg strength on and off the mat.  Of course Sunsé Apparel shirts are perfect for inspiring us during yoga.  One of our favorite yoga shirts is the Practice Kindness Shirt.  The Practice Kindness Shirt was designed to remind us to be kind to others. However it’s also important to be kind to ourselves! Practice Kindness towards yourself when practicing yoga.  Tune in, listen to your body and honor it’s limits.  Your body will be kind in return and help you feel stronger and better in the long run.

Namaste

Sunse Apparel long sleeve kindness            sunse apparel practice kindness