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The Many Uses of Castile Soap


Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk to you guys about the wonders of Castile Soap.
Castile soap is my number one item for natural cleaning and personal hygiene.
Castile soap is a gentle sulfate-free foaming soap made mostly with vegetable oil that is named after a region in Spain where it was originally made. Because it is os gentle it can be used on every member of the household including babies and pets! 

The first scent of Castile soap I bought was peppermint,l but be warned, this one is not the best body wash. It can make the more sensitive parts burn. Since then I have also purchased eucalyptus Castile soap and lavender Castile soap. Lavender is the best for personal hygiene and the others are great for cleaning.

Do you use Castile soap in your household? What are your favorite uses?
~Stella~




Shampoo - Fill a bottle half way with Castile soap and the rest of the way with water. I personally use a spray bottle and spray it on my scalp and in my hair. The consistency is very watery.

Body wash - You can also use the shampoo mixture as a body wash.

Dish Soap - Use a mixture of half Castile soap and half water to replace your dish soap.

Laundry Detergent - Check out our post about natural laundry detergent

Countertop cleaner -  Mix half Castile soap and water in a spray bottle for a countertop cleaner.

Pet Shampoo - Squirt some of the Castile soap on to a warm washcloth and was your furry friends!

Hand soap - Pour some into a soap dispenser and use it as hand soap!

Face wash - Use a couple drops to clean your face

Wash fruits and veggies - Add 1/4 teaspoon of liquid Castile soap into a half sink of water and let your veggies soak for a few minutes. Make sure you scrub them once they soak!

Check out our other natural cleaning posts!
Top 4 Cleaning Recipes For The Walls and Carpets
Top 3 Cleaning Recipes For Laundry
Top 5 Cleaning Recipes For The Bathroom
Top 5 Cleaning Recipes For The Kitchen

Getting ready to explore the great outdoors? Check out THESE Hiking Poles from Montem!


How To Optimize Weight Loss Healthily

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It has become a fad to be lean and thin, almost to the point of lunacy. Nonetheless, there is much merit to keeping ones body fat to the absolute necessity only, not more, not less.


January has come around, many have vowed to lose weight, get more active and be more healthy. Why not make this week a yearlong approach, a lifestyle?


Once we incorporate key and essential ' hacks ' in our lifestyle which become daily healthy habits, this is achievable with little to no effort. Many of these I have mentioned in past articles, and shall not elaborate on in great detail for most. . .


  1. Most important, is to ensure that your house is free of ALL processed foods and/or animal products, along with chemical personal care, household items, these vary from deodorants, toothpaste, soaps shampoos, bleaching agents and excessive plastics- specifically for food storage.


  1. Ensuring your dietary intake is wholly fresh fruits and vegetables or at the least, 95% so, is a surefooted way to gain, and maintain health, as well as to keep those pesky excess pounds at bay. Bear in mind, that fat cells are repositories of toxins. The High Carb Low Fat Raw Vegan Protocol tends to work best for most:  Explaining High Carb Low Fat - http://nutriciously.com/high-carb-low-fat-vegan-diet/


  1. Hydration: Consuming a minimum of two(2) liters of pure water, and/or consuming lots of fruits of high water content is essential for the proper functioning of the body, eliminating organs and overall wellbeing.


  1. Incorporating a healthy Intermittent Fasting Regimen is a good tool to use. There are at least three approaches to this, finding the one which best suits you is important.  http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/05/17/intermittent-fasting-diet.aspx


  1. Mono mealing( Having only one fruit at each meal for a certain period of time: 7- 30 days per se) on fruit is essential to a. Gain nutrients, b. Allow for some gut ' rest '; superior to this, are dry or water fast cleansing regimens.


  1. It is imperative to include exercise and/or daily movement to one' s life as part of a healthy habit( choose a form of exercise you enjoy so that it does not become a chore). Stand instead of sitting, squat to eat when possible, get a standing desk to work at. Mindful planning is one of the keys to making things work in your favor.


  1. Herbs and spices are not only anti-inflammatory, they have been known as catalysts for a metabolic boost. Include cayenne pepper, turmeric, ginger, rosemary and mint in your regular intake.


Here are a few tips to follow daily:

Key pointers:

  • Have meals at least 4 hours apart throughout the day.


  • Have your last meal before sunset and at least 4 hours before bed.


  • Break your fast the following day at least 12 hours after your last meal the previous day, and between 10 am and 12 pm.


  • The first thing to consume upon awakening is water infused with lime or lemon juice.

It goes without saying that if these healthy options are incorporated into a healthy lifestyle then weight loss will occur and remain off. This is neither about calorie restriction nor deprivation, but moreover abundance to thrive!

Recipe!! Vegan Peppered Gravy



Hey guys! My husband's favorite food is Biscuits and Gravy. 
Since transitioning to a plant-based diet, we have been struggling to finds the perfect gravy for his favorite dish. 

After months of trial and errors, we ended up using prepackaged vegan gravy for awhile. The other night my husband REALLY wanted biscuits and gravy but we didn't have any prepackaged gravy. So I decided to try again.

I finally came up with the ideal vegan gravy for biscuits and gravy!
I am so excited about this, I thought I would share.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and let me know if you find a way to make it even better in the comments.

Happy Cooking!
~Stella~
Vegan Peppered Gravy Recipe
Makes two cups

- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove of roasted garlic
- 1 dash of chili powder
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 3 tablespoons of cooking fat (I used vegan butter)

1. Add the cooking fat and flour to a pan.
2. Mix together until they form a sandy like consistency.
3. Slowly add the vegetarble broth into butter and flour mixture while whisking. 
4. Add all of the seasonings to the gravy
5. Whisk in the almond milk
6. Bring to a boil
7. Serve


Clementine Jam!

Hello all! Today I wanted to share with you this yummy clementine jam recipe! Thie recipe only has three ingredients, that's it!
**Please remember that your jam will only be as good as your clementines, so choose wisely!**

The perfect clementine, will be a bit firm but not too firm. You want to easily squeeze it but you do not want it to have indentations in it after you squeeze it. The perfect one will be fragrant and have a thin skin. The best time to purchase clementines is in later winter months (January - February). This is when they are in season.

You can store them at room temperature for a week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If your clementines are very ripe, you may want to put them in the refrigerator if you do not plan on using them right away!

Happy cooking!

~Michele!~



Clementine Jame Recipe
Makes one jar of jam

You'll need

3 pounds of clementines (they're often sold in 3lb bags)
a cup of sugar
the juice of 2 lemons


Directions:

  • Peel the clementines and break them in half, and put into a food processor and process until smooth
  • Pour into a big pot and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil then take the heat down a bit and boil for about 30-40 minutes stirring frequently. 
  • The mixture WILL foam up, but eventually go back down.
  • The mixture will get glossy when its done. 

Ladle into jars and store in the fridge. Jam is good for up to 10 days. 

Natural Cleaning: Top 4 Cleaning Recipes For The Car



Hey guys! This is the last part of this series! I hope you were able to find some super awesome recipes to use around your home. Please feel free to bookmark these pages and reference them for later use.

If you would like to learn more about zero waste and natural living please check back every Monday. Our goal is to share a post about those topics every Monday until further notice! 

If you have not checked out the other installments in this series, please do if you are interested. So far we have gone over five natural cleaning recipes for the kitchen click here to check it out. To check out four natural cleaning recipes for walls and carpets click here to check it out.  We have a post for five natural cleaning recipes for the bathroom click here to check it out and we also have a post for laundry recipes click here to check it out.

~Stella~
Car Wash
- 1 gallon of water
- 1/4 cup castile soap
- 10 drops lemon extract

1. Fill bucket with ingredients
2. wash car normally


Tire Wash
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
- 2 cups vinegar
- 5 drops lemon essential oil

1. Mix together all ingredients
2.Use a damp cloth to rub on tire
3. Rinse

Headlight Scrub
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
- 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil

1. Combine all ingredients
2. Dip brush or cloth into mixture
3. Scrub each headlight
4. Rinse
Tar Solvent
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon lemon essential oil
- 4 drops tea tree oil

1. Rub on tar spot with a sponge
2. Let sit for 15 minutes
3. Wipe off


Recipe!! Mashed Cauliflower

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share with you a super quick and delicious recipe for cauliflower. This recipe is great if you ar eon a low carb diet, or if you are trying to count some calories. It is even perfect if you do not want something as heavy as mashed potatoes.

This mashed recipe as a similar taste and texture to mashed potatoes, in fact my family can not tell the difference between this and traditional mashed potatoes. Feel free to season this up just like you would for mashed potatoes. Cauliflower takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

If you wanted to add more flavor you could use vegetable broth to steam the cauliflower. This is a favorite in my house and I hope it would be a favorite in yours also!

Happy cooking!
~Stella~





Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
Makes 6 servings

- 1 head of cauliflower separated
- 1 head of roasted garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Steam cauliflower.
2. Add steamed cauliflower, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper into a bowl (or food processer).
3. Mash or process until smooth.
4. Serve!

Facial Routine with Healthful Choices

The Face:

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‘What lays manifest in the physical, is a mirror of the internal’ ~ Jan P. Lรณpez.


The skin on one’s face is the most sensitive part of the body, we wash often, moisturize and expose to the sun daily. In order to maintain healthy skin, it is imperative to hydrate the body effectively by consuming as much fruits and vegetables daily along with drinking sufficient amounts of pure water. Diet plays a major role in the appearance and health of one’s skin.


In conjunction with the above, it is also important to ensure t whatever goes on the skin is safe and nourishing. It is 100 %true that ’if you would not eat it, perhaps it should not be on the skin. '


The skin is  porous and the largest organ of the body and  thus easily transports whatever it  comes into contact with  to the bloodstream in a matter of just seconds.


So, let us look at some of the very natural ingredients/items which can benefit the skin and its natural health, as well as a brief overview of how to use them.


Masks: 


Masks are good for two main reasons:


1. To remove impurities/cleansing at a deeper level. and


2. To aid in skin elasticity by cell nourishment/rejuvenation.


Some basic yet effective ingredients are as listed:


Avocado( Use ripe fruit; Moisturizing agent) ~ Simply smear all over clean face and neck,  the ' flesh of half of a medium to large avocado, and leave for 10-15 mins, then rinse off with warm water. This is a moisturizing mask, the natural; essential oils help to rejuvenate the skin through the pores.


Papayas (Use ripe fruit; Cleanses and tones): As with the avocado, apply and rinse off after full pore penetration. This cleanses yet tones more than the avocado.


Spirulina+ water. This is a purifying mask and aids significantly with heavy metal removal. 1teaspoon of spirulina to 1tablespoon of Distilled water should be sufficient. The consistency should be relatively thick and dark green.


Noni Fruit (cleansing): Lather on the ripe fruit on the face and neck, leave on for 15 mim, rinse with warm water. This fruit has a very ' soapy' reaction on the skin and can easily be used as a daily cleanser.


Bentonite Clay and Activated Charcoal. (Detoxifying Mask - once per week)


1 part food grade Bentonite Clay to 1 part Activated Charcoal to 3 parts water should create a thick enough mixture to cover your face and neck until fully dry and hardened, remove with warm water and a wash cloth.


Cleansing


Lime or lemon:


There are many benefits to using these citrus fruits on the skin, they clarify as well as exfoliate dead cells from the skin. There are two ways to apply lime and/or lemons to the skin for cleansing-


1. Use one half of a chopped lemon or lime (ripe), leave on for 2-5 mins and rinse with luke warm water. Ensure to refrigerate the other half - not the juice thereof.


Method 2: squeeze 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice in 6oz of distilled water, saturate the clean face with the  combined liquids and have sit for 5-10  minutes( whichever is most comfortable). Rinse with lukewarm water.


Some persons find these too acidic and irritating, and may therefore wish to opt for a milder alternative.


Sea salt


Place 2 Tablespoons of sea salt (coarse) in 6oz of water. You do not want all the granules to dissolve. Pour sufficient amount unto a washcloth and rub on face and neck. Have sit for 10-15 mins. Then rinse with warm water. A batch of this can be made and refrigerated for a week or two.


Moisturizers:


  • Moringa Oil which has very antibacterial properties.


  • Coconut oil- Antibacterial and provides UVA+B properties.


  • Argan Oil – Aids in skin cell reparation.


Toners:


Raw *ACV. Dilute 1:1 Ratio and apply at nights.


A few ' safe ' OTC's which are useful as liquid cleansers or after deep cleansing toners include but are not limited to:


1. Witch hazel ~ Place in a spray bottle, spray on clean face, dab off and then moisturize.


2. 2% Hydrogen Peroxide ~ Dilute 1:1 ratio with distilled water and do as #1.

ACV- Apple Cider Vinegar.

~Jan~

Recipe!! Oatmeal Apple Cups



Hey guys! Today I wanted to share a super yummy breakfast food today. This morning I had time to make a really awesome breakfast. I went to the store last night they had the really pretty gala apples in the reduced produce bin. I bought two big bags of them.

I thought thew gala apples would make a perfect star for my breakfast dish. I absolutely love the flavor of gala apples, they are my second favorite! (Granny Smiths are my first favrotes!) As expected they made a perfect addition to the oatmeal. 

This was the perfect breakfast but would also make a perfect dessert! I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did!

Happy cooking!
~Stella~



Oatmeal Apple Cups Recipe
Makes 2 Servings

-2 Gala Apples
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
-1 cup chopped almonds
-1 teaspoon Vanilla
-1 teaspoon Cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon Allspice
-1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
-1/3 cup maple syrup (or any sweetener)
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Cut the apples in half and scoop out the insides. Be sure to leave 1/4th of an inch of flesh all the way around
3. Put the apples aside
4. Take the insides and cut them up into small pieces (discard the sections with seeds in them)
5. Add the coconut oil, apples, almonds, seasonings and sweetener to a skillet
6. Once the apples are soft add the oatmeal and water
7. Stir until oatmeal the water is absorbed.
8. Stuff the apples with the oatmeal filling
9. Bake in oven for 20 minutes
10. Let cool for 5-10 minutes
11. Serve!

Recipe!! Vegan Naan


Hey guys! Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for naan.

Naan is one of my favorite bread recipes, I mean who doesn't love bread? The reason naan is so wonderful is because it is so flexible! It can be used like a flat bread for pizza or sandwiches. It can be eaten with soup or even on it's own. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

The traditional naan recipe has eggs in it, so I wanted to figure out a way to make it with out the eggs. I did a bunch of research, tried a bunch of recipes and ended up coming up with this one.

The reason I came up with this recipe, and like it above all of the others is because all of the ingredients are things that I always have around.

I hope you guys try this recipe and end up loving naan as much as I do!

Until next time!
~Stella~




Naan
Makes 8 servings

- 2 cups all flour (plus a bit more to flour the surface you are working on)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 almond milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. This works best with a stand mixer but can also be done by hand.
2. Knead with your hands (on a floured surface) until the dough is soft and pliable. Add flour until it no longer sticks to your hands
3. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form them into balls
4. Use your hand or a rolling pin to flatten each ball and place it on a lined baking sheet.
5. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
6. Place one f the flattened pieces of dough on the pan and cook until bubbles start to form and the edges to the dough start to lift.
7. Place on plate to cool.
8. Repeat for the remaining seven pieces of dough
9. You can store these in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to five days!

Natural Cleaning: Top 4 Cleaning Recipes For The Walls and Carpets



Hey guys! This is the second to last installment in this series! I hope you have been able to find new natural cleaning recipes to use around your home. 

If you have not checked out the other installments in this series, please do if you are interested. So far we have gone over five natural cleaning recipes for the kitchen click here to check it out. We have a post for five natural cleaning recipes for the bathroom click here to check it out and we also have a post for laundry recipes click here to check it out.


~Stella~

Wall Cleaner
-1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 6 drops lemon essential oil

1. Combine all ingredients in plastic bottle
2. Spray on wall and wipe off


Carpet Deodorizer
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup baking soda
- 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil

1. Mix all of the ingredients into a mason jar or container
2. Sprinkle over carpet
3. Let sit for a few hours
4. Vacuum


Flea Carpet Cleaner
- 2 1/2 cups baking soda
- 10 drops orange essential oil
- 10 drops citronella essential oil
- 8 drops peppermint essential oil
- 6 drops lemon essential oil

1. Vacuum carpet first
2. Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on carpet
3. Let sit for on hour
4. Vacuum again


Carpet Steamer Shampoo
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 tablespoon castile soap
- 30 drops of Rosemary essential oil

1. Pour all ingredients in carpet cleaner
2. Clean according to your cleaners directions

How to Embark on a Toxic Free Personal Care Routine

I like to advise people on healthier options to partake of in their lives, one such area to jump start this process is that of personal care and products involved therein. I generally no longer purchase commercial care products mentioned here.


In this toxic world we live, there are many reasons to avoid as best as possible, all contaminants that which we are exposed to. The body stores toxins in fat cells, at their point of saturation, the environs are at threat to acidity, leading to a condition called acidosis, which is  precursor  to several diseases: Heart,  Strokes, Cancer, Diabetes to name  a few of the  life-threatening ones are the most prevalent and ones which can undoubtedly be avoided.  It is in OUR  best interest to keep our products used daily, frequently and even from time to time as ' clean ' as possible. Our water, food, and air are main contributors to anatomical contamination; the mobile phones and television sets are on this list as well.


As for products, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) site is useful in helping to guide us to chemical free effective household and personal care products. I however highly recommend looking to make our very own. This often proves to be far more cost effective and we can be certain we know the contents therein.


A few items which are easily made at home are these as a starter guide. I provide detailed tutorials( one on one) to persons interested in learning more on the ' how to 'specifics.






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Deodorants -  Many commercial deodorants are ' effective ' in controlling body odor, but often to the compromise of one's health, by halting perspiration as well as filtering contaminants such as aluminum. Perspiration without the infiltration of harmful ingredients into the bloodstream via skin contact can be avoided by the use of natural, chemical free ingredient deodorants or by simply making batches at home with the most Basic of ingredients : Eg. Raw Shea or Cocoa butter, lavender oil(or other scented skin friendly oil), baking soda, aloe vera. These ratios will vary based on diet, toxicity, as well as hygiene.


Moisturizers – Some of the best skin and facial products for moisturizing are quite easily found; To name only a few: Coconut oil(also offers UVA, UVB protection); Moringa oil(Aids with skin repair and antibacterial ), Argan oil(Aids skin cell rejuvenation. Raw Shea or cocoa butter, all make for good skin moisturizers. Cleansers(skin) -  sea salt, ACV( raw Apple Cider Vinegar) + baking soda.


Cleansing masks: Turmeric + coconut oil mask. Bentonite Clay/Activated Charcoal and Distilled water mask. These are two easy options.


Toothpaste: Bentonite Clay, Activated Charcoal powder, baking soda, Distilled water. It is essential to avoid toothpastes with fluoride. There are many on the market, which can prove to be rather expensive. One of my ' go to ' cost effective option includes combining the following ingredients in the appropriate ratios to suit: Bentonite Clay, organic local Turmeric, Activated Charcoal, Distilled water.

All ingredients listed herein are easily available and very inexpensive.

Recipe!! Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprout Veggie Roast


One of my all-time favorite things to eat is a really good vegetable roast. Not only is it super easy to make it is also a really good way to use veggies that are getting ready to go bad. This particular recipe is for sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts because I have recently ended up with a bunch of them.

I do not recommend peeling the potatoes because this is where most of the nutrients are in it. I am a firm believer in eating to fuel my body, not for pleasure. So it is important for em to keep in mind where the nutrients are in the food I am eating.

All though it calls to be roasted for 45 minutes, it does not require any work during those 45 minutes so you are free to do whatever else you need to do! 

This is one of these dishes that would be perfect if you meal prep. You can through this all together in a container and it can sit in the fridge for about a week.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

~Stella~


Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprout Veggie Roast
Makes 6 servings

-1 pound of Sweet Potato cut up
-1 pound of Brussel sprouts cut in half
-2 onions cut up
-3 cloves of garlic smashed
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl
3. Add the mixture into a baking dish
4. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until all of the vegetables are fork tender (you can stick a fork in it easily)
5. Take out of the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes
6. Serve!

What’s for Dinner: Meatless Monday’s?


As promised I wanted to share with you all the details of Meatless Monday’s with me and my girls.
When my daughters were daycare age they attended a preschool that taught them how to be healthy and make good choices. One of those healthy options was Meatless Monday’s. They only served the children meals that did not include meat on Mondays. I thought What?! Wow! Thanks for the help! Because we all know it’s hard to get babies and 2-year-olds to open wide for vegetables.
I immediately found myself participating in the whole deal too! I was so in love with this concept for a couple of reasons: One it was a healthy option that the entire family could benefit from and two I found it interesting and easy to complete Mondays meal.  (Not hard to figure out there is No Meat On Mondays!) As time has gone on this concept has grown into one of the girls and I favorite things we share.

Having no meat on Mondays has taught them that eating healthy is necessary. I won’t go into the need of have vegetables regularly helps the body a great deal speech, but just know you need greens to keep your system clean! And I know you may think “oh they only do it on Mondays.” Well no not true at all. Sometimes depending on what we have discovered a liking for, Meatless Monday is extended through Friday! Please know we are believers in enjoying a good meal and take full advantage of some good Leftovers!
This really gives us much girl time in the kitchen too! I have found that the girls (by the way they are 10 & 8) enjoy picking the meals and creating the shopping list and not just for Mondays. I just love watching them “google” meatless meals for us to try.  And the youngest wants to deep fry everything!
As they get older and I watch them make suggestions and come up with new ways to enjoy our meatless day, I’m glad that this is something we share together as a family. Yeah, I have proud monuments with this day too.
So the way we do it is plan for the month. On the last Sunday of each month we plan for the following month and then we do our grocery shopping accordingly.  Because we like to get the fresh veggies so we plan and prepare ahead.
One of the things I hope to do in my new home, is I have a chalkboard wall in my kitchen or on the pantry door. Just to add a little more fun in the mix of the grocery list and meal calendar.
                           Check out some cool Chalk Board Design at www.nestnumber4.com
However, I am grateful for the Meatless Monday’s and even as they grow up on me I hope that this will be something that they continue with their families. Not too soon, though, but I do hope they carry it on.
I want to share with you a few of our favorite Meatless Meals that we enjoy so I’ll leave you with that.  Until next time! Keep In Touch!
Love&Blessings
Shara
Meatless Monday Meals (full of veggies and all things grown):
-Salads                             
-Veggie lasagna
-Broccoli Soup
-Veggie Quesadilla
-Sweet Potato (just add a little cinnamon sugar)
-Veggie Platter (Any of your Four favorite Veggies prepare how you Love dressed up on a platter)