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Friday, January 31, 2014

Peanut Butter Pie

Oh my… peanut butter pie. Full of healthy fats and free of many allergies – it is perfect! It tastes so similar to a peanut butter cheesecake with a flaky chocolate crust. What I like best about this recipe is that it is so customizable to fit your dietary needs. Don’t have almond flour? Substitute graham crackers. Don’t have coconut milk? Use heavy cream. Don’t have stevia? Use sugar or honey. Don’t have a dairy allergy? Use regular cream cheese or milk. Have a peanut allergy?  Use sunflower seed butter. This makes about 8 servings (or if you are like us, it makes four servings : ))

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Strawberry Waffles

You can thank my son for these waffles. He wanted strawberries inside his waffles and I decided to puree them so the waffles didn’t have chunks of fruit. The strawberries give the waffles a wonderful flavor with just an extra hint of sweetness. Serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

 Strawberry Waffles

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Loaded Carrot Soup

We have been plagued with sickness at our house. We’ve had the head colds, coughs, strep throat, sinus infection and now the stomach bug. I know why I can’t seem to kick anything; blood tests have proven my immune system sucks. My kids are very healthy though and they just keep passing it along! This soup may not be one you want to eat if you are in the beginning stages of a stomach bug but maybe if you’ve got other cold symptoms it will provide some comfort. It is loaded with nutritious veggies and at least made us feel a little better. It’s light enough when you don’t feel like eating but loaded with foods to help you feel full and healthy. I need a quick fix so I made this in the pressure cooker but you could easily make it in a crock pot or over the stove. 

Loaded Carrot Soup

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Veggie Spring Rolls with Sesame Dipping Sauce

Be forewarned – rice roll paper is very tricky! This was my first time using it but don’t worry, I won’t post my first rolls to show my poor rolling skills. Actually, maybe I will; it might be a good how “not” to do it guide. Anyway, once you get down the rice paper, the rest is easy! These are quick to make and are very filling. We served them alone with the dipping sauce and didn’t need anything else to complete the meal. I really liked how these turned out so I will probably be posting several different recipes using this rice paper!

Veggie Spring Rolls

Monday, January 27, 2014

Good Monday morning all!
Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. Ours was spent deep cleaning and organizing our house. It's amazing how much junk a family can accumulate in a short amount of time. I love reading tips for organizing on the menu planning host site Check out some of the tips and tricks plus check out all the other menu plans for this week here!
Have a great week!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tomato Foccacia Bread

Here’s another short cut recipe for you. I would prefer to make everything we eat from scratch. However, sometimes our busy schedules don’t allow this and we just need a little help. I don’t like using mixes all of the time but I will use them if I can find one that I really like. I found this boxed bread mix at Whole Foods. I just did some of my own modifications to get my desired results. Gluten free breads are still a challenge for me. You have to get the combination so flours just right – and when I was craving this bread, I did not have time for trial and error. I really think the key to this bread is the tomatoes and onions on top. It just gives it a good extra flavor plus it looks pretty! Makes one 9” round loaf.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Paleo Hawaiian Chicken

I’m sure you’ve heard of this “paleo” diet storm going on. I kind of accidently stumbled into it. I started reading up on different things after my various medical tests/exams. The more I read, the more curious I got. I’ve found a couple books that I would definitely recommend. One is Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.  It is a very informative book about starting to eat Paleo. Diane provides good/bad food lists, menu plans and recipes for different medical uses (digestive issues, cancer recovery, overall health, etc). The other is Digestive Health with REAL Food by Algaee Jacob. This book is more of an approach that goes in depth explaining how the digestive system works and what can be the causes of typical digestive problems. He also includes some recipes as well. I first started reading Digestive Health because I was curious about what could be going on with me. I didn’t diagnose myself (that’s what I’m paying my doctors for) but I did find useful information to help me understand better. Anyway, read up on the Paleo diet and see what you think. We have turned into almost an all-natural family (me especially).  We avoid preservatives, additives, food colorings, etc. Basically, anything isn’t a natural food item, we try to avoid it. That includes our meat or seafood, which is proving to be the biggest challenge.  Regardless, I think it is helping all of us feel a little better by literally removing “junk” from our foods. This recipe is one I created with my first all-natural, grass fed chicken.  In addition, we enjoyed it with some cauliflower rice to remove the grains for me. It’s great! You could even cook the chicken mixture in a crockpot to make it easier.

Paleo Hawaiian Chicken

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

For Christmas I got a few new cookbooks. One of them was Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. I really love it. She has a great story, somewhat similar to mine. I love her positive attitude and I can’t wait to try some more of her recipes. She cooks grain free (among other things) so I think her book will be my go to for new ideas while on my current diet. One of them that I was skeptical to try was her recipe for Cauliflower Rice. I hate cauliflower in general. However, I tried it as a pizza crust (found here) and loved it. Just like the pizza crust, I love it as rice. It is so similar to rice that it is a perfect substitute for so many recipes. I’m excited to try some new flavor combinations. I love the combination of cilantro and lime and I have frequently made it with regular rice so I was excited to try it this new way. Find more recipes from her over at her blog here or buy her book here!

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Dumpling Squash

Before this recipe, I had never tried dumpling squash. In looks it resembles an acorn squash. However, in taste, it is more like a sweet potato/butternut squash mix. It has a very sweet flavor. That being said, I wanted to do more of an Italian or savory stuffing rather than sweet. It turned out great. The tangy, savory flavors of the stuffing helped take away from some of the sweet of the squash but still complemented each other nicely!

Quinoa Stuffed Dumpling Squash

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Strawberry Banana Stuffed French Toast

I recently got one of those little mini sandwich makers. It’s basically like a George Foreman only for sandwiches. It makes really good grilled cheese but I thought we’d try some French toast in it. It works perfectly. Like so perfect that I probably won’t make French toast any other way for a while. It gets the toast perfectly crisp throughout and the possibilities for stuffing the toast are almost endless. I really liked the plain strawberry-banana stuffed version. The strawberries gave it a little tartness but the bananas helped sweetened the whole thing up. Top these little sandwiches with some maple syrup or powdered sugar. This recipe is very adaptable to make it not gluten-free (just swap the bread out for regular). 

Strawberry Banana Stuffed French Toast

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super Hot Breakfast Cereal

When I first had to eliminate eggs from my diet, I had no idea what I was going to eat for breakfast. I love breakfast foods but a lot of breakfast foods were causing me trouble. I could not have gluten, dairy, eggs or oats. I was at a loss… until I looked outside of the egg cartons and oatmeal packages. This breakfast cereal is very tasty and packed with foods that will help keep you full during the morning. You could use oatmeal to replace some of the other ingredients I used, just adjust your liquid amounts and cooking time. I used a couple different grains: quinoa and millet. I also used buckwheat; it is not derived of wheat and is not actually a grain; it is a fruit! I threw in some of my favorite extra superfoods like goji berries, coconut and pumpkin. Feel free to swap out your favorite fruits/nuts/etc in place of these. This makes about 6 servings and it keeps in the fridge well; just reheat and add extra milk.

Super Hot Breakfast Cereal

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan Week of 01/19/14-01/25/14

Good morning all!

Here is this week's menu plan! I was getting ready to post my menu along with other blogger's menus on and I saw a post about setting up beverage stations. It was super cute and a fun idea to try! Check out the other tips on the website about getting organized. Be sure to also check out the other menu's to get some ideas for your own menu plan this week. You can find them and mine here!

Hope you all have a great week!

Menu Plan Week of 01/19/14-01/25/14

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crock-pot Merlot Spiced Apples

This recipe is very simple, yet elegant. Slow cooking the apples with the spices and sauce makes the take on a great flavor and texture without a lot of work. Merlot is a wonderful addition to the cinnamon apple flavors. These apples could be used in a pie or pastry, served with ice cream, thrown into some oatmeal, or just eaten plain! An added bonus is that they make your house smell fantastic! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon Pecan Butter

Today represents 6 months of posting for me!!! I'm so excited! In just a few short months I've received over 8,500 views! Thanks to all of you who read this blog!

I’ve always wanted to try pecan butter. I love almond butter and cashew butter. However, sometimes it is SO expensive to buy it. You can easily spend $15 on a regular sized jar of it. No thanks! I can buy a big package of plain pecans (or I can crack the gallons of pecans that fell out of my mom’s tree!) for less than that. Plus by making it myself, I know exactly what is going in it – no preservatives, artificial flavors, gluten, etc. It was really very simple to make and tastes great! I added some flaxseed oil for to get some more good fats for myself but you could replace with another type of oil if desired or leave it out! Makes 1 16oz jar. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

In addition to being grain free, these are gluten free, dairy free, egg free and soy free! I have also found a new love making these – chestnut flour! I had never used it before, but it’s great! I like almond flour BUT I haven’t found one that is fine enough for my liking. Most of them are really grainy. The chestnut flour I found on Amazon (here) is super fine and much easier to work with! It is the same substitute ratio of almond flour to your recipes (about 1/3 cup nut flour: 1 cup wheat flour). I used an almond/chestnut mixture for this recipe but you could easily use one or the other. If you aren’t concerned with being allergy free, I’ve added typical substitutes to the recipe. Okay, now to the actual cookies. They are AWESOME! The best chocolate chip cookies I have made so far. They have a slightly crisp outside but still a soft, gooey center plus loaded with chocolate chips! I served these with some fresh strawberries for a perfect dessert! 

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicken Fried Chicken with Country Gravy

I feel bad for my husband some days. He really is a blessing. He has given up some of his favorite foods to support me in my food challenges. He’s kindly finished his plate of quinoa or asparagus. He’s choked down veggie burgers and cauliflower pizza. At first I knew it was hard for him, but overtime he has accepted our new diet just as I have. I try to make as much for him as I can that resembles his comfort food. I’m not sure why I never thought of this before but I wanted to make him some chicken fried steak – healthy style. It’s just a comforting home-style dish in our area and it was very simple to recreate. Instead of steak, I had some organic ground chicken and it worked perfectly. Serve this with some green beans and mashed potatoes and you’ve got a meal!

Chicken Fried Chicken with Country Gravy

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Vegetable Soup

Sometimes you just need a quick and easy, comforting, warm, delicious meal on a cold winter night. This soup is just that! It’s hearty and filling, but still healthy and light. It has a slight Italian flavor and goes great some warm Focaccia or garlic bread. It is quick enough to have on the table in about 20-30 minutes. 

Winter Vegetable Soup

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Fruit Pizza

Oh fruit pizza... how can you go wrong? I lightened this version up a bit and made gluten-free of course. One of these days I will post my homemade cookie recipe. For now, here’s my cheater version using a premade cookie mix. Bob’s Red Mill has quite a few good gluten free mixes if you’d like to try some. I like this particular recipe because it’s different than the typical fruit pizzas I make. It uses more chocolate – which is always a plus!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Seafood Chili

Okay, I know what you are thinking… seafood chili?? What?! Yes – don’t hate it until you try it. When I was throwing this together, I was seriously thinking “What on earth are you doing?! This is going to be awful!” but I still kept throwing things in the stockpot. Here’s what happened.. It was a cold, snowy Monday. My husband wanted chili – but I don’t eat beef. My turkey and chicken were frozen and it was “meatless Monday”. I had some tilapia and shrimp.. and some other stuff. I threw it together and surprisingly it worked! The paprika and chili powder give it a smoky flavor but the corn and edamame give it a little sweetness. Honestly, it is best served with some tortilla chips crumbled on top. It’s like a weird, tasty cross between a fish taco and chili. You just have to try it!

Seafood Chili

Menu Plan Monday Week of 1/12/14-1/18/14

Good Morning!

Check out this week's news and menu plan at the new website in the link below....

Menu Plan Week of 01/12/14-01/18/14

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Homemade Cranberry Pear Applesauce

I met with my nutritionist a couple days ago and our diet will be changing slightly. We’ve pretty much got on the right start when we gave up gluten. However, I will now be eliminating all grains, dairy, eggs and gluten. I will be adding healthy fats and oils, supplements and cooking everything I eat. Basically, we are starting the baby food diet until my body has time to heal. Luckily, my 15 month old daughter and I will be able to eat the same foods! Ha! This is my first recipe with this approach. In all honesty, we use applesauce a lot anyway. I use it as a replacement for many of my baked goods, sauces, pancakes, etc. I do like a little variety though so I decided to throw some pears and cranberries in the cooker for extra flavor. This makes about a quart of applesauce. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Banana Nut N'oatmeal

I love oatmeal, especially during the winter. However, I’ve learned I’m highly sensitive to oats in addition to the gluten. So I decided to create this “n’oatmeal” as in “no oat oatmeal”, or something. Anyway, I threw in some of my favorite grains and flavors. This tastes similar to a banana nut bread or banana nut crunch cereal in a soft, warm version.  The cinnamon really accentuates the flavors in the dish. Make a big batch one day and eat on it the rest of the week. It keeps well in the fridge for a couple days; just add a little more milk to your bowl when you warm it up! Check it out at the link below!

Banana Nut N'oatmeal

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rocky Road Cupcakes

My son is a big time chocolate chip cookie lover. Whenever I ask him what he wants me to make, his answer is always chocolate chip cookies (or mac & cheese). This time I said “What about something else?” He says “I want chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.” I agreed but I like adding a little extra to the cupcakes so they aren’t so plain looking. The kids love marshmallows so I decided to throw a few minis on top and add some pecans to the base and the frosting. Check it out at the link below!

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Veggie Burgers

For Christmas, my husband and I got each other the same gifts – meat grinders. We had talked about it but I never thought we’d get each other the same thing. Either way, it worked out! We ground up some chicken, deer, beef, etc just to try it out! I got a little crazy and decided to make some veggie burger patties too. A couple of hiccups but we figured it out! They turned out great, freeze well and are perfect for a light healthy meal. I served ours on lettuce leaves for less carbs – but they’d work on a bun! Makes about 6 burgers

Check them out at the link below!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

You can easily find a “copy-cat” recipe for those wonderful little biscuits served at Red Lobster – Cheddar Bay Biscuits I believe – all over the internet. I very rarely ate there and actually had these similar biscuits at home long before I ever ate them at the restaurant. You can also find the recipe on the back of Bisquick boxes. These little recipes are not gluten free. I hate to tell my secrets and try to make light of an awesome biscuit recipe but these are not difficult to make. All I did was substitute a few little things to make them gluten free and add my own touch. SO simple but still tasty! I suggest making a big batch though – you will want more than one! Go check out my new website for the full recipe!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Turkey Stroganoff

Good Morning Readers - today I will give you the link to the new website. Bear in mind that I'm still getting everything figured out so there may be a few tweaks but overall the posts should be there! For a while, I will continue to post the links here so it's easy to get to the new site. I will still share the posts on Google+, Facebook and Pinterest so hopefully you don't miss anything!

My new website is

My first original post found there is a great meal to make for your family but lower in fat than the traditional version! Enjoy!

Turkey Stroganoff

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chicken & Dumpling Soup

Is it cold where you are?? It’s pretty frigid here and we needed something comforting and warm! I had never made dumplings before going gluten free so I can’t tell you how close these are to traditional dumplings. However, I can tell you that they taste great and are much easier than I thought! This is a healthy, hearty soup that is full of flavor. This recipe serves 6-8.

2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
3 cups water
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
4 small potatoes, cut into small chunks
2 cups carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 cup GF flour
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp parsley flakes

  • In a large stockpot, combine chicken, water, broth, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. 
  • Bring mixture to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, pepper and parsley flakes for dumplings. Add in milk and egg and stir or mix until well blended. 
  • Form dumplings into small dough balls and place in stockpot with boiling soup mixture. 
  • Once all dumplings are in pot, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with additional parsley if desired. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Savings Plan

As I mentioned a couple days ago, one of my goals is to save more money. I thought I’d share a couple ways we are going to do this. First, we already have savings accounts set up with automatic deposits every other week. Those are for the kids’ college fund. We will keep those going. Last year, we kind of started this silly thing of saving every $5 bill we have. It doesn’t seem like much but over a matter of a few months, we managed to save almost $400 and we usually don’t have a lot of cash on hand. So we will still do that as well. To help give us incentive to save those $5 bills, we started an allowance for all of us. Don’t laugh – hear me out! My son gets an allowance for his chores each day. Depending on his behavior/attitude, he gets $0.20 per chore and has the opportunity for at least 6 chores a day. If he does them, he gets money. If he doesn’t, no monies for him! My husband and I are a little different. Obviously, we do the brunt of the housework, cooking, etc so it’s not really an allowance. I noticed that we spend less overall if we use cash instead of cards. So each Monday, I go get some cash and split it up between us (about $40 a week or so). If we have something we want or can’t live without, we use our allowance. Whatever is left goes in the “stash” for another day. I like this idea but I’m thinking of modifying it a bit. By far our biggest expense is food right now. We are making a lot of new adjustments and trying to figure out what will work with our diets. I will tell you that eating healthy is more expensive and eating organic or whole foods are even worse. That is why we have weekly meal plans. In order to have fresh produce on hand (real foods), we typically buy groceries once a week. I don’t have a problem with this, but I always end up going grocery shopping hungry and buying junk. So my goal is to only go big time pantry, freezer shopping once a month and if we need to go produce shopping weekly, that’s fine. If this works, our allowance amounts, etc. may change. You need a little entertainment or splurge every once in a while but we are going to try and minimize that. In addition to those ideas, we are also going to do a weekly savings that will be used to restock our savings from last year’s bills and maybe a nice little family treat (weekend getaway or something). Here’s the breakdown of all our savings plans:
  1. Bi-monthly savings deposits for each savings account  = $75 x 26 weeks = $1,950.00 a year
  2. Miscellaneous $5 bill savings (estimated) $5 per week x 52 weeks = $260.00 a year
  3. Increasing weekly savings (See chart below = total of $2,756.00 a year


WOW! If you did that for 10 years (without increase), you’ve just saved almost $50,000!

Crockpot Beef Stew

Brr…. I’m over this cold weather. Cooking is my favorite hobby but something about the cold just makes me want to lay on the couch with a blanket! Today was one of those days. I wasn’t feeling like making a huge dinner so instead I decided to throw this stew in the crockpot. That way, when I got home tonight, it was cooked, warm and ready to eat! I did throw in some cornbread to go along with it though. This recipe is super simple and yet very tasty. Taking a few frozen veggies makes it even quicker but still healthy. This serves about 6 but can easily be increased to serve more.

4-5 oz round beef steak, diced (whatever cut you like, but don’t get crazy, the cheap cuts are fine!)
1 12oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (or you can cut your own fresh veggies)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes (juice included – fresh will also work)
2 cups beef broth
1 cup russet or red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves (or 1 tsp bay leaf flakes)

  • Okay, here’s the best part: throw all of the ingredients into a crockpot. 
  • Give the mix a good stir.
  •  Set your crockpot on Low – cook for about 8 hours.
  •  Go to work/school/wherever and come home to a homestyle, comforting beef stew!

Menu Plan Monday - NEW WEBSITE!

First things first - I am now the proud owner of my own domain! For Christmas, that is what my husband got me! I'm so excited about it and I hope you'll follow me over to my new and improved site! Instead of posting the actual recipe or topic - I will provide a link to the actual post on my new site once I get everything up and running. I'm transferring all of my previous posts to the new site so you can still find everything there. So be on the lookout for that!

Second - here is this week's menu plan! It's full of warm recipes since it is bitter cold and snow covered where I'm at! Check out some other menu plans here, hosted by!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snow Ice Cream - Dairy free!

I’m not sure if it’s snowing where you are but I think like half of the US has snow or is getting ready to. We have about 6 inches where we are. We got to go out and play for a little bit (before the wind got bitter cold!) and we had a blast. Of course, my son wanted to come in and make snow ice cream. Just because we can’t have dairy anymore, doesn’t mean we can’t have snow ice cream! This is so fun for kids to make and of course help gather snow. Enjoy this little extra post for today and stay warm!!

3 cups of fresh, CLEAN snow (I would probably have an adult gather the clean snow; kids tend to have dirty hands!)
¾ cup almond milk
½ cup coconut milk (canned preferably)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup stevia or sugar

  • In a large bowl, combine ingredients and blend until well combined. It’s that easy!!! 

Crockpot Roasted Chicken

I honestly can’t believe I have never done this before. I really should use my crockpot more than I do but it kind of scares me a little. Anyway, I had heard that roasting a chicken is so easy in the crockpot so I tried it. I’m not sure that I will cook it any other way again. It’s so easy and tastes great! I made my own rub below but you could use whatever spices you wanted. One of the great things about doing this is after you are done roasting the chicken, you can make chicken bone broth that is very versatile and healthy. Bone broth is supposedly very good for its healing properties for your gut – therefore I’m making all that I can! Having extra broth around is nice anyway to give your dishes extra flavor.

1 whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried oregano

  • In a small bowl, combine spices and mix together until well blended.
  •  In a crockpot, put in chicken and stuff cavity with onion. Rub spice mixture all over chicken. I also put a little rub under the skin of the chicken breast. 
  • Cook on low for about 6 hours (depending on your pot’s settings). 
  • Remove chicken from crockpot and serve. I usually shred mine and then whatever leftovers we have we use during the week.


To make the broth: remove the bones from chicken and return to the juice in crockpot. Add about 5 cups of water to chicken juices (enough to fill the crockpot) and cook on low for about 8 hours. You can also add in celery or carrots to the broth mixture before cooking for extra flavor. My crockpot made about 3 quarts of broth. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Superfood Chocolate Bars

I have a weakness and it is chocolate… I just can’t seem to give it up. I have learned to enjoy it in moderation. It’s hard finding allergy free chocolate though. I have ran across a few brands that I like – Enjoy Life is one. They are free of the major allergens and are easy to find where I live. I’ve also found a couple brands online. Artisana is good too. These bars I used a little combination of chocolate, oils, fruits, nuts, etc to promote a healthy little treat. They are packed full of nutrients, antioxidants, etc. It may be difficult to find some of the ingredients at your local grocery store (especially in small town KS!) but I challenge you to venture out a little. Visit a health food store, check online, etc to find some of these ingredients. If you can’t, simply substitute something else! You can make these with regular chocolate too, just watch the sugar content! This makes about 24 small bars

1 12oz package of dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life 60% cacao dark)
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped, dried goji berries (cranberries or currants would work)
½ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
¼ cup chia seeds (dry)
¼ cup red wine (just an extra boost! Omit if desired)
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup organic dry sweetener (I used coconut sugar crystals – optional)

  • In a large saucepan, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together over low heat. Add in wine and vanilla and stir until smooth. Be careful not to over cook chocolate as it can burn quickly. 
  • Toss in about half of the berries, nuts and chia seeds into melted chocolate. Stir until well combined. 
  • Pour chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread into a thin layer. 
  • Sprinkle remaining berries, nuts and chia seeds over top of chocolate. 
  • Sprinkle on sea salt and sugar. 
  • Chill chocolate for about an hour. Break or cut into small pieces. Store covered in refrigerator for best results. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Artichoke Olive Feta Pizza

I love making pizza. There are so many different varieties to try and everyone can get what they want. My son wanted plain pepperoni pizza which I can’t eat. I wanted olives on mine, which my husband won’t touch! So everyone got what they wanted. I just split the dough into three pieces and baked everyone their own “personalized” pizza. Of course, mine was the best : ) so it gets posted. I wanted something a little salty but still savory and very Mediterranean. This pizza is just that! Makes one serving – about a 5” pizza but the dough mixture will make about one regular 14” pizza crust.

1 pkg of pizza dough (I used Namaste allergy free brand and split it three ways)
1 Tbsp pizza sauce (preferably homemade!)
1 Tbsp diced onions
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup Swiss chard, finely chopped
1 Tbsp diced mushrooms
1 Tbsp artichoke, chopped
1 Tbsp Greek olives, chopped (I used a green, black, kalamata mix)
1 Tbsp feta cheese
  •  Pre-bake pizza dough according to package instructions. 
  • Meanwhile, sauté onions, mushrooms and chard in olive oil. Add in artichokes, olives and vinegar. 
  • Cook for about 8 minutes or until vegetables are soft. 
  • Spread sauce over top of pizza crust, sprinkle over vegetable mixture and top with Feta cheese. 
  • Bake at 450° for about 10-15 minutes or until pizza starts to brown. Use more or less toppings as you’d like. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Salmon Cabbage Salad with Simple Rosemary Dressing

Sometimes you just need a light lunch and this does the trick. The best thing about salads is you can eat a TON of lettuce with very little setback. About 2 cups of lettuce (depending on the kind) is about 50 calories. The bad part about salads is the dressing. I like my salad dressed up. I know people who don’t need dressing on their salad but I like a little bit. Salad dressings are one of those things that can be loaded with unnatural, unhealthy ingredients. This salad dressing I made is simple, natural and light. The salad gets a lot of its flavor from the salmon. If you season your salmon properly, you won’t need a lot of extra flavors from the dressing. If you are not a fan of salmon, you could swap in shrimp or chicken but the salmon provides a lot of essential oils and nutrients. On a busy week, I will make salmon or chicken one night and make some extra. I’ll slice it up for my salads or lettuce wraps throughout the week; it makes for quick meal prep! This makes about 4 servings

2 salmon fillets (about 3 oz each)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp lemon juice
4 cups salad greens, chopped (I like romaine, kale mix)
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups red cabbage, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp vinegar (I like coconut or white wine)
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
½ tsp black pepper

Season salmon fillets with turmeric, pepper, salt and lemon juice. Sauté your salmon fillets in a skillet for about 8 minutes per side or you can grill your salmon. Salmon is cooked through when it starts to flake with a fork. In a large serving bowl, combine salad greens, cabbage and carrots. Flake salmon fillets with a fork and sprinkle into salad mixture. Top with dressing and gently toss together. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 2014 Workout Plan

As promised – below is the workout plan I’ve put together. Since today is New Year’s Day – it’s a rest day. I didn’t go to any crazy parties last night (unless you call snuggling with my babes watching cartoons crazy!) but it is a holiday and I wanted to relax. We’ll start strong tomorrow! If you’ll notice, it’s nothing crazy, just some simple, quick exercising 5 times a week. My goal is at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week with 2 days of rest. Wednesdays are my busy days so that’s why I added resting there and Sundays are my days to relax. If you have other days you want to swap, fine. My main focus this month is core and legs. That’s why two days out of the week I am simply focusing on ab and leg workouts. In addition, these days have a little extra time designated for whatever else you want. I may bike some or yoga or more crunches. I also added days for yoga as it is supposedly a stress reducing technique. I’ve tried it before and loved it. It was my go-to workout after having my kids. I had two c-sections and my stomach was destroyed. The light, easy moves that yoga provided helped strengthen my muscles slowly during those first few weeks after baby. I highly recommend it for that reason. There are so many different yoga classes available online, through podcast, etc. I actually found one that I really like and have been viewing it since my son was born 5 years ago. It is called Yogamazing and I really like the instructor, Chaz. I’ve been viewing his podcast (available on iTunes). He also has videos and unlimited streaming available (find out more at He offers a variety of sessions (long and short) ranging in experience level. I am by no means an experienced yoga person but I do his more advanced sessions, just as my flexibility and strength allow. I’m not big on in person fitness classes – mainly because I look like a goof. I run goofy, job goofy, ride my bike goofy, all the above! I’m much more comfortable in my own home so I watch the Yoga videos from my living room on my own mat. The only people who get to see that is my family and possibly my neighbors (sorry to them!). I also have a stationary bike for the days I’ve designated as bike days. When it warms up, these will turn into outside bike rides. This plan is just a guideline of what my goals are. Some days I may end up doing more than that day requires or less if I’m having a bad day. It’s flexible, the purpose is just to get that daily exercising in to help feel good about yourself and be healthy! 

New Year New You Breakfast

Happy New Year! Today, some of you may not wake up in time for breakfast and might not feel like eating if you had a little too much fun! For those of you like me, who barely stayed up to “ring in the new year” and then awoke to very busy kids early, you might need a quick pick me up! If you saw my post yesterday about our New Year’s goals, you will see that one of mine is embracing my health issues and having a more positive outlook on them.  A couple weeks ago, I found out I was showing intolerances to almost every food. My major problems being gluten, dairy and eggs – which I was forced to give up immediately. The dairy and eggs have proven to be quite a struggle to give up. I was eating two eggs a day for breakfast. When I first started going through my diet change last summer I found a cute little blog, Peas and Thank You, and a cookbook by the same name. The author is very fun in her writing. They follow a vegan diet that includes gluten so I do have to make some modifications to her recipes but they are still great! In her cookbook I found a recipe for tofu eggs. I immediately thought, “no way am I eating tofu”. My sister is vegan. She eats tofu; I’ve tried it and hated it. However, I decided to give it another shot. I modified the recipe I found to add in my favorite veggies and I’m very surprised (and happy) to say that it works! This is a baked dish that tastes similar to a quiche or frittata. Tofu, when baked like eggs, has a very similar taste and texture to eggs. I challenge you to try the tofu as it does have many health benefits. However, I understand if you just can’t quite make that leap into the tofu world (it was hard for me!). If you can’t, I’ve added an egg substitution for you. Either way, this dish is healthy, tasty, filling and keeps well. Sometimes life brings us challenges that we aren’t prepared for but today is a new day, the start of a new year and I’m embracing a new “me” and I hope this little dish helps! This serves 4-6.

1 package of tofu (any firmness will work) or 8 eggs
¼ cup peppers, chopped
½ cup kale, chopped
¼ cup mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup potato, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup shredded cheese (I used Daiya dairy free cheddar)
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp sea salt

  • In a large skillet, sauté kale, peppers, mushrooms and potato in olive oil until crisp tender (about 10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare tofu. 
    • If you are using a firm or extra firm tofu, you will need to puree it until smooth. To do this, just use a blender and a little bit of water until it is smooth. 
    • If you are using a soft tofu, you won’t need to puree it, but you will need to drain the excess water out.
    •  If you use the soft tofu, you can leave it a little chunkier and it gives the dish a scrambled egg like texture. If you use the firm pureed tofu, its smoother. Either way it tastes great! 
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine tofu, cheese, spices and vegetables; stir until well combined. 
  • Pour mixture into a greased 9” glass pie plate or other baking dish. Bake at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes or until mixture starts to brown and is firm in the center. 
    • You can also fill muffin cups with the mixture and make individual servings, just adjust your cooking time. 
    • Serve this with some fresh fruit for a complete meal!