God truly blessed us when He created the bond of best friends. Special people who come into your life that you love like family, that in return love you as such. I have been blessed with many special people in my life, from countries all over the world who I've been able to call friend, who have taught me things about myself, who I've been able to touch, but there are also certain people who just stick. Who just get you, who make life lighter, better, funnier, easier, lovelier. I have two of those people in my life outside my immediate family. My Miss Jessica and my Paul.
Jessica and I met 15 years ago. Woh. That's crazy to type out. Where does time GO?! We bonded over a Britney Spears concert (don't judge, I was a teeny bopper and aspiring popstar. So, you know.) And we have been best friends ever since. Ups, downs. Relationships, oceans between us, and now with her living in Oregon and me in AZ, I miss her like crazy every day. But then...
Lucky me, she came to visit Mr. Charming and I last week and we found a restaurant I could actually eat at! True Foods, in Scottsdale Arizona has PURE, WHOLE... well, TRUE food. The waiter even steamed FRESH ALMOND MILK for me, instead of coffee. :D Jessica questioned where else I could ask for that and not be seen as crazy? Why No where! Which is why this is officially my new fave place to take company, and Mr. Charming on date night! I also ordered sweet potato hash with onions, organic eggs and red pepper turkey sausage. Mmmm.
My other bestie celebrates his BIRTHDAY tomorrow and I so wish I could be there to toast him on his special day! Wishing this year brings him more success, love and happiness than he could ever wish for. I met Paul in L.A. when I was 21. He auditioned to be my back-up dancer (and booked, because he's, um, super fabulous and uber talented) but it's his charisma and amazingly kind heart that make you fall in love with him. I am so blessed to have him in my life and can't wait until I can visit him in New York City where he is making his dreams come true dancing his heart out. Miss you Paul! Living out my dreams singing and red carpets are just not the same without you.
More & more, as I grow, I realize its the LOVE in people, of your relationships that can really make your life happy or bland. I am blessed to have people that make life electrically exciting and wonderous. Make sure you don't get so caught up in life that you miss moments with those that matter most.
It looks like gluten-free/dairy free/refined sugar free can now add a 4th. I will now be going fully grain free as well. It was a goal I had set, but today my doctor let me know I have to do so to help some of the health stuff going on lately with my gut. So, I guess that's that. haha. I adore eating healthy, I really do. I love inspiring those around me to make good choices, but sometimes its hard to let go of something that I once thought was alright as long as it was organic brown rice, or rice protein used in different foods that gave me a larger array of things to eat. But, alas. we believe I still have some candida issues going on so what do you do?
I can decide what to do with this. And I decide that I will get more creative in the kitchen. That I will embrace the foods that heal, and I will provide my body with nourishment and nurturing love. I will once again clean out the pantry, pray to God for guidance, and hold on to Mr. Charming's hand as he guides me towards my veggies when I'm having a grain or sugar craving that makes me go looking for a hidden stash of dark chocolate or a rice bowl.
I'm only human.
So, I will be slowly pulling the grain recipes from the recipe pages, and incorporating more raw and veggie based recipes that are still super yummy. Because this foodie is still striving to find variety and flavor in all the dishes she shares with you! I thank you all for going on this health journey with me. I'm much healthier than I was two years ago, but still have a ways to go. It's been scary, and inspiring, fun and challenging. Hard and healthier all at the same time.
There is a reason for this season and I'm going to embrace it as I sit by my decorated Christmas tree, with my mug of dairy-free cocoa and cinnamon roasted nuts and toast to this blessed life I get to call my own.
Have a happy Thanksgiving you all. For the next two days I will be sharing some yummy ideas for your Gluten, Dairy and Grain-Free table. I hope you enjoy!
The other night I went to my friends for a BBQ. It was a much needed "kick-back" break in a week filled with writing, work, more writing, more work, housework, stress waiting to hear about a big fashion writing position at a blog (still waiting) and last week my body just wasn't feeling all that great. (waiting to get adrenal test results back). She had redecorated her patio and we planned to have a fire and use fresh herbs from her new garden in our meal. It was so pleasant and YUMMY! :) She is growing herbs (we used basil and thyme in our chicken! mmm!) and squash. It got me thinking about wanting to start my own garden but I've never planted anything. The truth is, it intimidates me, but I'd like us to be more self sufficient. So as my mind continued think on the idea of sustainability I naturally began to think on preparedness in general.
Last night in Bible study I got into a long discussion with my sister-in-law about the topic. I look up to her in a lot of ways, one of them is how organized she is and with us both being avid Pinners I knew she had shared interest in the topic. She showed me what she has been stocking and gave me tips on how to save money in doing so. My plan is to start our emergency kit soon as well. I will post as I go and share tips, and the great ones I learned from her as well. She also gave me good ideas about how to store certain items at work and in your car as well!
I think it's a smart thing to do in this day and age, to make sure your family has a few days of care in case of an emergency. In California it was just natural to have an escape route, water etc. because of the threat of earthquakes, I guess I just hadn't thought it about it in a while and feel like its something we all should think about.
The holidays are getting so close and I have a lot of great holiday posts coming! My sister, Miss Ashley, is hosting Thanksgiving again, as is Mr. Charmings cousin, and they've both been amazing in making a gluten-dairy free menu. I'm really blessed to have family that, even if they don't exactly understand why I eat the way I do, still show compassion and accommodating care. I also have days 10-18 of the Gratitude photo challenge coming. It's been an enlightening photo project that I have totally fallen in love with. I think I may pick up another photo when this one is finished. It injects moments of positivity and creativity into everyday and who doesn't need a little more of that?
Mr. Charming spends many weeknights going to school right now. I am so inspired by this man and all he is accomplishing and has yet to accomplish. He works so hard for our family all day and at night he goes to school as he works towards his ultimate goal of getting into dental school. While I work away at my dream as a writer/singer/nutritionist, I watch, awe-inspired by a man who dreams of helping others. He is smart, gentle, driven and capable and I fall in love with him constantly, over and over again.
So, on this particular night, feeling positive and energized, I wanted to do something extra special for dinner. Only, at 4pm and on a writing deadline, I had zero ideas. After finishing my piece on exuberantly priced handbags for a new fashion blog (& pinning way to many expensive shoes in the process) I decided to head to the market, hoping for inspiration.
The local gourmet market is down the street from our house and I always love to go there and peruse the aisles of beautiful floral arrangements, charming decor and decadent treats. As I grabbed some butterflied pork chops from the very kind butcher and headed to produce, I was inspired by some gorgeous carrots to make a delicious side dish to accompany my pork chops. Arn't they pretty?
So, after I had made my way through the store, taking time to peruse the candied nuts (which are full of processed sugar, but it inspired me to make crockpot cinnamon nuts of my own for Christmas!) and Christmas decor (never too early, I say), I decided to not go home, and take myself on a mini-date. The weather right now is AMAZING and I visited some charming little boutiques. I even treated myself to a sweet little piece of jewelry.
Who can resist little bows? Or rose gold?
Now... onto our delicious dinner. The pork chops were simple. I baked them for an hour on 350 with Earth Balance Dairy-free, soy-free butter, garlic and sea salt. The carrots were the stars of the dinner. I made Vanilla-Honey Carrots, they were SUPER easy and SO delicious. We both wished I would have made more.
The recipe to these sweet & savory little vegetable gems can be found here.
It makes my heart beam when I can do something simple for someone I love and see that it brings them happiness. These are lifes sweetest moments.
I just woke up from one of those naps where you wake up in a panic thinking you are late for work, jolting out of your slumber only to discover its in fact 6:30 pm and the only thing you're late for is thawing the meat you were supposed to cook at seven. Yep. It's been that kind of week already. Hello, Monday. Mr. Charming and I will be finding some vegan take-out. On a happier note, I treated me & Mr. Charming to a little something.
I had been wrestling with if I should buy this unnecessary toy that the world is so obsessed with, and I finally caved to the materialistic consumerism trend and got us one. I thought I would just dabble with it. Then I found the game Flow, and various board games, and a program where its like drawing on a chalkboard. And Netflix. Of course Netflix. And Pinterest is HUGE. and I wasted like, 6 hours of my life the next day when I got home from work. While I'm on this topic though, my bible study spoke about an interesting issue this week and it was the Tech Trap. How we get so caught up in technology that we don't take time to TALK to one another. Like, truly sit down and have deep, one on one conversations at dinner, at parties, even on dates with our spouses. It seems someone always has a game machine, a smartphone, or, as it sits on my lap.... an iPad.
This past weekend as you read, Mr Charming and I took a weekend away to celebrate our anniversary. To ride horses. To cook elaborate meals. To read by the fire. To just be. I know for me, it's crucial to unplug and connect and to have these date weekends and date nights. Especially when my jobs are so technology driven. Sometimes the LAST thing I want to do is look at a screen of any kind. Make boundaries. Set limits. With your children, your spouse, or even just for YOU time. Make sure you disconnect, if even for a little while. Go for a walk, connect with nature, call a friend, or write a letter. On paper. It's therapeutic. Its real and pure. I promise you'll feel better. Then you can get back to level 65 on Candy Crush Saga. Which I refuse to download, because I think there is something addictive in that candy that I want no part of.
This week I wanted to include a little printable that I think every girl should keep in her purse. There are so many dangerous chemicals in our beauty products and its hard to remember everything we read about scary toxins wrapped up in long words we can't pronounce, let alone remember to identify on a label when we find the best shade of lipstick. So I've included a little 2x3 card that you can print on card stock and keep in your wallet. It lists the top most harsh and toxic chemicals found in beauty products today. That way, when you're at the makeup counter you can know what to avoid and make better choices for your skin and for your body. It's been proven that the chemicals can penetrate deeply, and carry the same effects as if you ingested them. I don't know about you, but I don't want anything in my body I can not pronounce.
One of the ways that I intentionally work on our marriage is by "dating" my husband. By taking time to set aside "date nights" when we could easily slump down on the couch with dinner and a tv show, we show each other that we are still a major priority to each other. That fun and excitement is still part of who we are. It was when we first got together and its what keeps thing fun and interesting now, 7 years later, and 2 years into our marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, I adore nights when we cuddle up and just talk or watch endless marathon hours of Once Upon A Time or Big Bang Theory... but this was our two year anniversary, so it called for something extra special. I planned a surprise Get Away for Mr. Charming, and when he arrived home, waiting for him was a suitcase, GPS coordinates and a note.
While he happily packing and heading to the resort, I prepared a healthy lunch for us. I whipped up some deviled eggs, a salad, cut up apples and grapes, and almonds... all served with dairy free dark chocolate. It was the perfect little combination for an in-room picnic. The room was gorgeous and it was too hot outside when he arrived for a picnic outside! He also stopped on the way and surprised me with roses. *swoon* I think I'll keep him.
It was a weekend of romance, delicious food, (get the yummy pasta recipe pictured below here) and adventure! I wanted us to try something new together and so I set us up to go horseback riding at a local ranch and it was SO much fun! We also took the opportunity to hike a beautiful trail, swim and hit the gym.
All in all, a beautifully perfect way to celebrate my best friend, my husband.
Which means I am counting down to fall. Eighteen days to go. I'm seriously counting. I wasn't kidding. I live in Arizona, which means each day that creeps closer to fall means I am closer to hiking again. Running outside. Picnicking in the park. Playing mini golf with Mr. Charming. Basically, not feeling like I'm going to die if I roll down the windows in my car only to be hit in the face with an oven-like heat.
So... a few awesome things in September. The new featured recipe is now on the site! Zucchini pancakes which are scrumptious and are free of gluten, dairy, egg, grains, nuts and are completely vegan!
Cold & flu season seems to have hit our house early this year. Oh joy. So Mr. Charming and I are stuck on the couch with an abundance of movies and veggies and supplements. Ok. and I snuck 2 gluten free chocolate chip cookies. But it was only 5 grams of sugar and I ate REALLY clean. Like, all week.
To help better prepare your immune systems for the magic that is school and workplace germs, the following supplements and vitamins seem to work quite well.
*Remember to always discuss any regimen with your doctor before starting new medications, vitamins or supplements
Stay healthy & be well!
Mr. and Mrs. Sniffles.
My day started off like this. And all credit must go to Trader Joes for their new gluten & dairy free pancakes. I make 95% of my food fresh, cooking it myself, but sometimes on busy work mornings such as today a frozen pancake with minimal ingredients was a-ok to me. I sprinkled them with fresh, organic blueberries and I got organic, all natural chicken and maple sausage to go along with. Mmmm!
I must say I felt very balanced & accomplished today. I give all the praise to my heavenly father for that one because lately I've felt a little overwhelmed trying to keep up with two jobs, the house and relationships. Today I managed to:
I usually don't toot my own horn, but since I've wanted to spend a lot of this month in bed (partly due to my current ear infection and earlier this month due to hormonal and food issues) I have to give praise and thanks for super productive days. Especially since I'm currently trying to be more intentional on being a Proverbs 31 wifey and woman to those around me. Energy definitely comes in handy for that! So.. on to those new recipes! I posted a ton of new recipes this weekend with even more to come. The latest additions are all gluten & dairy-free with additional notations made on each recipe. If you have any dietary restriction recipe requests, let me know! Without further adieu.. bon appetite!
So, the beautiful Nosh & Nurture guest poster, Miss Kaity, touched on her experience when I first met her. It's a concept I wasn't familiar with and truth be told am still not very familiar with. However, I feel it fits closely with the family of massage, and eastern practices of just using things from the Earth, natural, beautiful things God placed here for us to care for our bodies so I've asked her to do a few blogs introducing us all to it, to better understand the philosophy behind it and incorporate some of the lessons into our own health journeys. Read Kaity's latest blog here.
I also wrote a review on the anti-inflammatory protein powder I get from my doctor to help internal inflammation (pictured above). It's called InflammaCORE and you can read the review on it here. That's lunch!
With mine & Mr. Charming's hectic schedules sometimes we realize it's been weeks since we've been able to connect with family. Those are the times I get to recharge. To get love, to give love. As much as I advocate eating well, supplementing and physical fitness... quality time with loved ones ranks very high on the health-o-meter as well in my book.
Check out the deliciousness that was part of the festivities.
Getting together for games not have to equal beer, wings and pizza like American TV portrays it to be. My brother-in-law fired up the grill and we made grilled organic chicken and steaks and I tossed together some spinach, avocado, sea salt and apple cider vinegar for a heart healthy tangy salad. I added a little cinnamon applesauce on the side to mix up flavors and we enjoyed a meal together that was not only good for us but that gave us energy to endure a late night session of board game play.
For dessert I had a leftover piece of my gluten-free apple pie that I will debut on here next, with a mug of hot vanilla almond milk! It was SCRUMPTIOUS. I would LOVE to hear what your favorite board games are? I'm always up to try new ones. My birthday is next week and there is a game called "Wordie Wars" that I want so bad since I LOVE word games. (go figure) That's all I asked for, haha. Well that and gift cards to buy pretty clothes. Because what true girlie girl doesn't LOVE new clothes?
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.