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.
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!
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.
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!
It's officially September, which means Back to School! When you throw school schedules in with work schedules, time is stretched to the max and students and families are shuffling to get out the door in the mornings - which tends to mean poor choices in meals, excercise and general care for your overall well being. With the Top 10 Quick Breakfast post being such a hit, I thought I would compose two more lists.
10 Easy Lunches For The College Student - Mr. Charming works a full time job and goes to school at night, so I like to make sure we have healthful choices at home that he can take with him to keep him full & focused throughout his day. We've made a personal choice to never grab fast food or conveinece item that has ingredients that are foreign to us, so it's important, when making this choice to have something on you so you don't go hungry. Click here to see the list.
The second list is for the Granola Mommies out there.
10 Easy Lunches for the Littles - With school comes the added worry of your childs nutrition. Especially for children with food allergies or sensitivies, its crucial that you pack your childs lunch so you know exactly what they are eating. Click here to see the list.
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!
This week has definitely had its fair share of ups & downs. It mentally exhausted me. I cried a lot. Tried not to worry too much. Spent time with family and let my soul laugh and rejuvenate I got to spend some much needed one on one time with my husband. And I wrote and worked, a lot. In a nutshell I went in for some tests, that looked as if they may be worse than they were, however, my Dr. is amazing and wanted to be thorough. So I am alright kiddos, however, I have been feeling sicker lately. A mix of hormonal stuff and I think grains were getting the best of me and I am on a mission to be grain free by Christmas. And a long term goal to control my candida.
And this goal has really been a challenge for me. Because I like rice with stuff in moderation. I gave up gluten, dairy and corn cold turkey. Didn't look back, even though I still dream about cheese sometimes, but for some reason letting go of rice and sugar (even in the healthy, organic honey kind of way I consume it) hasn't been as cut and dry.
But my candida hasn't cleared and I know that it poses a real health danger. Fungi can lead to all kinds of worse health problems like my little scare this week so I want to do everything in my power to put the healthier fuel in my body, the fuel that God created for me to consume, that my body can handle. This week when I had a crazy chocolate craving I sat down and ate this. A big bowl of spinach, smothered in apple cider vinegar. I can't let it win.
So, this week I am planning to attempt to create "rice" out of cauliflower to serve as a side dish. I will let you know how it goes, Mr. Charming isn't a cauliflower fan so I shall attempt to make it as "ricey" as possible with sea salt and a little coconut oil. A happy moment highlight, I spent the weekend at my sisters house and my picky-with-food two year old niece loved my lasagna and it made my heart happy! Wishing you all health, healing, love & happiness. Take it one day at a time. The great ones make it all worth it.
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!
So, my good friend Karly (and mother of our adorable Godson, Elijah, seriously how cute is this kid??) requested that I come up with a list of quick breakfast ideas for a working mom on the go who has a toddler.
I thought about the mornings that even I, without any kids, have to throw a quick breakfast together to get out the door for work on time and I thought I could help out those who face this same predicament every morning. Or at least, most mornings. Below are the top 10 healthy, grab-and-go breakfasts I mix up in my week. Enjoy! P.S. I love your suggestions! Keep them coming.
First off I want to welcome all the new Nosh & Nurture readers! :) Welcome! I hope you enjoy this little place I've made.
I adore mornings. (not too early of course.) But I do. To awaken with time to enjoy a good breakfast, connecting with God through prayer or a devotional (The Good Morning Lord app is my absolute favorite!) and thinking about and planning my day when there is so much hope, another clean slate, when I long to be productive. Some days I am, others not, but you musn't beat yourself up for the days you are not. I'm working hard to learn this. Not everyday is going to be a gold star day. A day when I've done the laundry, completed a day of work at the studio, finished an article, written a blog and cooked a gorgeous meal for Mr. Charming. While that is the hope that lies in every morning, sometimes, more often than not, that's not the picture that is painted at the end of my day.
And that's ok.
Do the best you can with the tools (and in my case, energy) you are given that day and let the rest go.
One way that I try to ensure a productive day, or at least morning, is having a protein filled breakfast. Whether it's through my anti-inflammatory protein shake, veggies, fruits, almonds, meats or eggs I try to always have a filling breakfast with no or minimal sugar. (mmmm!)
This morning I am enjoying my paleo breakfast bowl. My version of this is here. It's beyond delicious, filling and has no sugar. I paired it with a hot mug of unsweetened chocolate almond milk with a splash of coconut milk vanilla creamer (only 3g of sugar.) I try to make a habit out of getting energy from my beverages in the form of protein (almonds) instead of caffeine which my body cannot tolerate. The beauty of this recipe is you can include any type of veggie or herb you choose! Enjoy! And may everyone have a happy, healthy and productive Wednesday!
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.