gingerbread and zoolights
This month is FLYING by. I know it's only the 8th, but I ADORE the Christmas season and all it has to offer, and all the memories waiting to be made. Yet this year with our school & work schedules, a partial house remodel to build a home theatre, and all the commitments we've piled on top, we haven't taken much time for our traditional activities. Don't get me wrong, I see the blessing in all of what we have & do, I just want to drive around sipping hot cocoa with my honey looking at lights, and spend nights by a fire with a Christmas movie enjoying our tree.
So, in an effort to start doing some Christmas-y events, I planned a wintery date night and Mr. Charming and I went to the Phoenix Zoo's Zoolights. I hadn't been since I was a kid, and I remember as a pre-teen thinking it was so sparkly and romantic like the movies and that, one day, when I was in love, I would come here on a date and it would be magical.
Haha, yes, I've always been a hopeless romantic. And we went. And it was. They did a Wizard of Oz light show on the water with the music from the movie and my night was made. A few photos from the night.
Over the weekend we had my friends son, my sister Ashley and my niece over for kiddo time! We got some more Christmas activities in, went to a few Christmas parties, and drove around a little looking at lights, but the highlight of the weekend was doing Gingerbread houses with the kids. Especially seeing my two year old niece get SO excited and make these memories for the first time.
It was boys against girls, and Ryker and Mr. Charming kicked our butts. But I was ok with that, because we had a 2 year old on the team, our roof caved in, and she ate more than she decorated with, but I think thats what made it all the more special. And can you say curls & sugar? This girls hair, LOVE it. Its just like her mama's.
So, in the crazy hustle and bustle of the holiday season in a life that seemingly gets busier each year, we must remember to make time to make these moments.
It's what the season, and life, is truly all about.
thanksgiving & donuts!
What is it that they say? "The best laid plans..." I have been counting down to Thanksgiving for WEEKS. WEEKS. Maybe even months. Now that I have more of a handle on my diet, and cooking, I was so excited to go from my sisters to my husbands family armed with gluten-, dairy-, grain- and sugar free dishes that I could share and inspire with. I wanted to lead up to Thanksgiving with some great recipes to share with all of you. And then BAM! I caught the bug going around and spent Wednesday sick at work, Thanksgiving in the guest bed at my sisters between breakfast and Turkey dinner, and Black Friday in bed. Today I am still recovering, but I DID still manage to make a few delicious dishes for the holiday that I wanted to share. Luckily my appetite didn't wane, and I was armed with enough herbs and vitamins that I didn't lose taste of this delicious treats!
I was SO excited to make donuts. It's been a standing tradition since I met my husband, that on Thanksgiving or Black Friday morning we would get donuts. But since the store, and bakery, bought varieties are full of sugar, gluten, dairy and chemicals I wanted to attempt to make some that I could enjoy and share with the fam while everyone gathered to cook the turkey. I was nervous that they'd turn out bland, because I didn't use sugar, or too mealy, because of the almond flour. I was afraid that they frosting would be runny because I made my own version using coconut oil.
But none of that happened. They. Were. Absolutely. PHENOMENAL. Even my two-year old niece devoured one, her happy little face covered in chocolate. She's always my official taste tester. I figure if the littles like it, I must be doing something right. If you keep reading, you will find the recipe below. I do use NUTS & EGGS in this recipe. You may be able to use an egg replacer, but I can't guarantee how it would come out, and swapping out for a different flour will drastically change the taste and texture.
After breakfast I had to nap for a while, this darn cold got me good but I could still smell the amazing aromas in my sisters house. This year I wasn't able to eat as much of her menu as my dad did the turkey his traditional way and more family members attended, bringing their own dishes. So Mr. Charming and I brought a lot of our food from home. (He ate my menu with me and boycotted the "gluten food" in support. I adore that man.) Below is my scrumptious meal. For the first time since I changed my eating habits, it truly tasted like "Thanksgiving". I found organic jellied cranberry. I'm not a fan of whole, and though I don't like to eat a lot of canned food because of heavy metals, something about jellied cranberry just says comfy, Thanksgiving dinner to me. So Mr. Charming found me an organic canned one, with no corn syrup or funky preservative. My menu is below, to help you with choices for your other holiday meals this season. Make sure, that even though you are including traditional carb-y comfort foods, to also get plenty of vegetables and protein.
My menu included:
- White sweet potato with EB butter
- Organic cranberry sauce
- Turkey breast baked with EB butter, onion and organic herbs
- My Vanilla-Honey Carrots
- Lemon infused olive oil grilled green beans
After we enjoyed dinner at my sisters we loaded up our things in the car and Mr. Charming drove us to his cousins while I napped in the car. We met over there for more family time and dessert. I was particularly thankful for her big comfy couch where I got to rest my little head. I brought my apple pie. It's gluten and dairy free. There is rice starch in the crust, so it's not completely grain free, but I had already gotten the crust before my Dr's ordered changed so I just had a slice. I call it my "Thanksgiving splurge". Everyone does it, even us healthy-foodies. Again, we're only human. I added my lattice top crust and baked it with lots of cinnamon. And topped it off with a scoop of sugar-free coconut milk vanilla icecream. Mm. Mm. Mm. Then it was off to bed again.
Despite the cold bug, I had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I truly have so many blessings I am so, so thankful for. I will continue posting my Gratitude Photo Challenge that ended today. I am kind of sad it's over, it was a fun photo project that really brought focus to things we are thankful for. Thank you to those of you who joined in on instagram with #letsbegrateful. Hope you all had a wonderful, healthful Thanksgiving as well!
So. October flew by. That was crazy fast. I know I was busy, I just can't pinpoint what I was busy doing. I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad one. It was quite a roller coaster of a month. It's been a little bit of a struggle for me this month. Been fighting through some hormonal/mood/digestion issues. So, maybe that's why part of this month has been a fog. It's been a battle of Hope Vs. Frustration. Although I know I've got an amazing God who always lets Hope prevail. So blessed He's on my side. And that He has blessed me with a husband who will lift me up out of my pit when I have no reason to be sad, but simply am. Frustrating I tell you. But I'll get through it... more importantly, we will get through it.
However, as I am choosing to focus on the positive moments I wanted to share some October highlights..., Mr. Charming and I visited the fair. It was a very special day for me, breakthrough wise, because in 2011 I had so much going on that I could barely make it through the evening and the visit was a true low point on the health and wellness scale. It was empowering for us to share in that experience together.
Halloween seemed to creep right up too! We had so much fun. Mr. Charming and I went to my sister and her fiancees' and took our two year old niece Trick Or Treating, and then hit a party with his side of the family. I was a pirate, and he was Michael Myers. This is his longstanding costume, he LOVES scaring kiddos, as we usually host a charity haunted house each year. Unfortunately a storm destroyed it two years ago and we are saving funds and resources to rebuild. Here are some photos of our evening and the cutest witch you'll ever see... well, in my opinion anyways...
Hoping you all had a safe & happy Halloween! I can say it was my second Halloween completely candy-free, except for a part of an Enjoy Life chocolate bar. Here is to making healthy decisions all season long! Coming soon I will be sharing amazingly delicious, and healthy, holiday recipes to share at your holiday parties and on your Thanksgiving table!
a new granola mommies post!
Looking for healthy alternatives for the littles this Halloween? Click here to get a list of ten healthy options for this Halloween that are healthier, happier choices than sugary candy.
pumpkin, family & stew.
It's truly fall. I love being in the deep of fall and fall traditions. This past weekend I got together with my sister and along with Mr. Charming we took her and my adorable niece to the local pumpkin patch. We were also able to scout out some amazing locations for her engagement shoot at this adorable Pioneer Village not too far from our home.
After we spent an hour finding the cutest mini pumpkins for Miss Peyton to color for her dad, petting horses and walking the grounds we worked up an appetite for something yummy, filling and warm. I had been craving a good stew and figured what better time to make a full crockpot of stew than when you have family coming over to share it with? Because I don't handle potatoes so well I had to change it up a bit and I used sweet potatoes. And since the beef broth, though they can be found gluten-free, still use yeast.. I opted to use chicken broth. I thought it may alter the taste too much with the chuck roast, but it came out amazing and I didn't even notice the change in broth selection. You could even use vegetable broth as well. This would be really easy to make vegan as well. It would cook MUCH quicker, just put a mix of your favorite veggies, potato of choice and broth and herbs in your slow cooker.
We spent the rest of the evening pouring over bridal magazines and websites. So excited for this journey to watch my little sister marry the man of her dreams! Enjoy the stew and the season with your loved ones!
labor day pumpkin muffins
So, I am obessesed with fall and winter. Yes, I ADORE the beach and cute summery clothes, but it pretty much ends there. Even living on the beach, summer has always been my least favorite month. Except for my birthday. (June 20th, woot woot!) I adore birthdays. And celebrations. Parties of any kind really. Anyways. I wanted to make something that tasted like fall but that was healthy. I'm really excited to make healthy dishes for the holidays this year and wanted to start testing some out. Mr. Charming and I woke up the other morning and while he was cooking us up some organic eggs I made us coconut flour pumpkin muffins. Next time I will use almond flour, because for some reason I still can't get down with the strong sweetness in the coconut flour, but these were fun and would make a good addition to a Labor Day BBQ. (and even cuter when made with stars & stripes cupcake wrappers.) You can find the recipe here.
Anything warm and fluffy. Or warm and savory. Or made with pumpkins. Or squash. Or turkey. Makes me want to curl up with an old movie and countdown the days until Christmastime. <3 What's your favorite time of year and why? Send me your favorite Fall recipe and if its allergen friendly I will add it as a guest post! If it's not, I can show you how to adapt it to be!
national sister day
So apparently today was National Sister Day. One of those random, made-up "holidays" like National Donut Day or National Wear Pink Socks Day that is totally ridiculous. However, any day I get to spend with my sister, Ashley, is an amazing one so we thought "what the hey" let's celebrate this bogus little "holiday" and so we did. I was ecstatic to hear of a little coffee shop in Scottsdale from the owner of my work, Elements.(Thanks, Shauna!) Jolta Java and Echo Coffee in Scottsdale both have rice milk and almond milk lattes! YAY for not having to roadtrip it 90 miles to Prescott for good organic, vegan coffee! And while I barely do sugar, and can't handle caffeine (decaf all the way for me) sometimes I like to sit in a quaint coffee shop, catching up with my sister and splurge on something yummy that won't totally take me down. Enter, the vegan latte.
Afterwards, we hit our favorite shopping quarter and did this.
Because being healthy in mind body and spirit, always includes a little retail therapy, right? ;)
as american as apple pie
It's almost the 4th of July, the day we celebrate this amazing country where we get to live our dreams and be free everyday with fireworks, bbq's, and of course apple pie. Apple pie is a staple of our great country. It's a delicious, ooey-gooey warm comfort food that evokes memories of childhood, grandmas house, mom baking in the kitchen while you played outside. Ok, maybe I'm waxing a little too romantic, taking us back to the 50's, but you get my drift. It's something that has it's own right to be celebrated. And paired with vanilla icecream. Now, as a GAPS girl. Gluten-free girl, dairy-free girl, grain-free girl and almost sugar-free girl I had to say goodbye to a lot of the american "comfort" foods or "staples" of the american diet, which believe me i am happy about. But sometimes I miss some warm and yummy that brings me back to my childhood. Don't we all?
That's why, like so many of my recipes, I wanted to find a way to recreate my own version of the apple pie. They sell "Gluten free" ready made apple pies. However they are still loaded with cane sugar, milk, or other nasty preservatives I don't want to consume. I did use a gluten-free pie crust for this, because it was a new product made with VERY few, pure ingredients that I was happy about. The recipe isn't paleo, due to the use of potato starch, and I did use a pinch of organic maple sugar to up the sweetness factor to take to a party. But when made with organic apples and cinnamon, it will cook into a gooey mountain of natural sweetness that you needn't add any sugar too.
The recipe can be found here. Enjoy a Happy & Safe 4th of July Noshers!
Contact Mandi @ Nosh and Nurture
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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.