So, I am sitting on cloud 9 this morning. For many reasons really, God is so good. But in particular, this morning there are two things that are making me blissfully happy.
1. Mr. Charming has decided to start a blog.
2. We enjoyed some of the most delicious muffins of my life this morning.
We are currently sitting here at our breakfast table, side by side, laptops in tow, working on our respective blog projects and I just find him so adorable. I won't give away to much yet, but he wanted to give some male perspective to some of the subjects I've been touching on and he is just so darn handy that I know he can help, both guys & girls, with so many things.
As for my number two blissed-out piece of news, Breads From Anna gave me a boxed Banana Bread mix to try and review at the GFAF Expo in Phoenix. I picked up some organic banana's last week and were waiting for them to be extremely ripe and sweet to give this mix a go.
I was going to pop it in the oven yesterday to have it ready for the AM, but my best friend Jessica popped in from Oregon to surprise us so of course I wanted to spend the day with her!
We went shopping and I was able to get some cute birthday presents for some of my girls and we spent a leisurely few hours perusing shops and sitting in the rooftop garden patio of Restoration Hardware (IE: my favorite furniture store ever.) just talking and catching up on life. She's been my best friend since we were fifteen and I miss her so much being so many miles away. After we chatted we stopped in at the Raw Organic cafe I had found a couple of weeks back to try their food. I got a raw food bowl which was DELICIOUS. You can choose any ingredients you want in the bowl, and all ingredients are organic and from local farms. I chose organic brown rice, sweet red peppers, carrots, spinach, avocado and olive oil. Jessica, on the other hand, ordered a smoothie that was more of a milk consistency and wasn't deemed so delicious, however we think it was more employee error than how the cafe usually makes a smoothie so we are willing to give it another go before I give my final review. Speaking of reviews... these muffins.. oh. my. goodness. Read on for the review...
Drum roll please...
OK I'm all about hype this morning. I apologize. But these muffins. I want to make them into bread. I want to put zucchini in them. I want to serve coffee with them. I want to basket them and give them to friends. I want to shove turkey and mustard in them and have a sweet/savory combo. I just want to eat. all. the. muffins.
I have made many gluten-free mixes, never have I had one that tasted so, dare I use the word, normal?
It's a mix of chick pea and millet for the gluten-free flour base, the only sweetener used is honey and there is even an egg-less option for those of you who are vegan or who can't tolerate eggs.
Super easy to make, didn't even have to break out my mixer. I just pureed the bananas in the food processor and used a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together. I opted to make muffins instead of bread only because I awoke hungry, as I usually do, and the banana bread would have taken an hour to bake, while the muffins only take 25 minutes. And I wanted breakfast, now. So, muffins was the only logical choice. I didn't grease the pan, due to using coconut oil in the mix already and I used paper muffin cups.
Amazing. There wasn't as much of a banana flavor as one would expect with a banana bread. It was more subtle. Which is why I loved it so much. It makes it versatile to use with jam, or like I said earlier, I would make this into a bread and pair with turkey and mustard for something savory. You know, on those days when I want to wait an hour for it to bake. ;)
Great! For those not used to gluten-free they make think it's a little gummy, but I loved it. It was one of the lightest, fluffiest, gluten-free muffins/breads I've had and I will be making a big Breads From Anna purchase.
Overall, Nosh & Nurture calls this a 5 star product. To get your hands on some tasty treats visit http://breadsfromanna.com/
I simply adore hosting dinner parties. Since I was a teenager I've loved it. When I got my very first apartment in California at nineteen my very favorite thing was hosting dinners around a big table in my apartment in Valencia. Cooking up food to share with friends & staying up talking & laughing until the middle of the night was the best way to spend an evening.
And here I am, years later, married to my Mr. Charming who shares in my love of entertaining. I got lucky with this one.
I've mentioned our Godson on the blog before, he is seriously one of the cutest kids you'll ever meet. His mom, Karly, and I have been friends for years. We met through music and clicked from the beginning. She is in PR and was my publicist for my first album and is currently working for my label as a publicist as we gear up for album number two. It's crazy how time flies. The sad part is that she no longer lives on the West Coast, so it's a plane ride away to visit with her, our Godson and her awesome new husband. As I was pondering what to make for our dinner, I sorted through the amazing products I got from the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Phoenix and I stumbled across my box of Garlic Toasted Onion Fettucine by Viviana. Our Godson has to eat gluten-free too, as does my sister who joined us with my niece, and Karly likes to to be healthy, so I thought it'd be fun to cook up something gluten-free that the guys could enjoy that felt like normal home-cooked meal comfort food.
For the littles I bought gluten-free Annie's macaroni and cheese, but our Godson opted for the fettucine instead! Which made me happy. My niece on the other hand adores all things macaroni, so when we can get her to eat the gluten-free, organic versions, all the better.
As for what we ate, the Viviana pasta is gluten-free and vegan and is made from brown and white rice, xanthan gum (which I'm not totally crazy about), garlic, toasted onion and extra virgin olive oil. Because I was cooking for such a large party, I did not have enough of the fettucine on hand from the expo so I mixed in some gluten-free spaghetti to add volume. I have to give props to Viviana because it was one of the BEST, if not THE best, gluten-free pasta I have ever had.
We served it with an organic italian basil spaghetti sauce and my home made meatballs. For dessert I baked gluten-free chocolate chip cookies which I count as a hit since my Godson, who is four, came up to me covered in gooey chocolate and said "Mandi, these cookies are really good!"
Seriously. Want a harsh food critic to help you know if you're doing something right? Give the food to a toddler.
As the guests asked for seconds I knew we chose the right option. You can never go wrong with a hot Italian dinner. When served with a crisp green salad the balance was perfection. I will be purchasing more of this pasta, probably only ever so often because like I mentioned before I try not to consume to much of any "gum" products, but it is definitely something to keep in the pantry when I want a good, flavorful, savory pasta.
As for hosting, I caught the bug again and I am on the lookout for new recipes and ideas for my next party. So, if you get an invitation I promise we will serve up something yummy and healthy!
I love getting things in the mail. Especially packages of fun things I've ordered. And I am even more ecstatic when said package includes a photo book., such as the one I received today.
I am obsessed with Shutterfly. Seriously, Shutterfly I love you. My friend Sarah showed me her photo books she had been making throughout her marriage and the birth of her first baby and I ran home to start creating my first one. Mine started as a collection of photos from Mr. Charming and I's memories through 2012. From there I created a wedding album, an album for my mom, and album for my sister, one for us from our trip to Hawaii, and most recently, our memories from 2013. That's the book that arrived today. I love photos. I love having happy memories in our home and online and I literally could probably sit down and find a different theme to make every month from all the photos compiled between our phones, computers and photo albums. Too bad I don't have endless money or time to do so. That'd be pretty neat.
This weekend I finally decided to try a cauliflower rice. I have purchased a few heads of cauliflower over the past couple of months to give this a whirl, but alas, I got busy, they sat in the fridge, went bad, ended up in the trash and I sat down to a bowl of rice and veggies. The grain-guilt ever sinking in. But as I am trying to get better and phase grains back out of my diet like I have done in the past, I wanted to cook some up for Mr. Charming and I as a side dish to our turkey sausage and salads at dinner last night. Mr. Charming is not a fan of cauliflower in it's natual form, so I was hesitant to offer it to him and was ready to make him a grainy side dish, but he was a good sport and tried it. Not only did he try it, he ate it all!
This time around I used coconut oil as my fat, and though Mr. Charming ate every last bite, I had a problem getting past the subtle sweetness that was almost too much with the sweetness of our Italian sausage. Next time I will use my dairy-free Earth Balance butter as the fat. I have put some fat and seasoning variations below in the directions so that you can find the one that's right for you. I also used only about half of that head of cauliflower pictured below to feed two of us. I saved the rest for later this week to try it with my butter.
What you will need:
1 Head Of Cauliflower
1 - 2 TBSP of the fat of your choosing (coconut oil, butter substitute, raw butter, olive oil)
Sea Salt to taste
Additional Herbs (Turmeric for an Indian flavor, Basil for a hint of Thai, Black Pepper for added spice)
Heat oil/butter over medium/medium high heat in a frying pan until hot. Cut cauliflower into florets, and then cut florets in half. Place in food processor and chop until fine. (You will see it resembles rice) Scoop from processor into hot pan and fry it up with chosen seasonings for approximately 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. Do not let it cook too long or it may become to soft. I kept mine a little crunchy, so it was heartier.
Serve hot and enjoy!
This weekend is Prepper Fest and I am so excited to be attending tomorrow as a blogger. Located at the Arizona State Fair fairgrounds, Prepper Fest is hosting an abundance of vendors and speakers on preparedness, surviving and gluten-free options!
You can get tickets here, the Expo started yesterday but is running today from 9am-5pm and tomorrow from 10am-4pm. Some of the exciting events you can expect to see are below. They are also doing great giveaways which you can see more information on by searching "Prepper Fest" here on Nosh & Nurture.
Four Classrooms of Seminars - Boasting an “A-List” cadre of self-reliance and healthy living speakers. For a partial list of our speakers, please browse the “SEMINARS” tab on the official website. PrepperFest AZ Expo will have approximately 75 classes all expo long. The vast majority of our educational seminars are free of charge, included in the modest cost of your $10 (with coupon) admission ticket.
Petting Zoo - Our event has a litany of fun things for the family including a PETTING ZOO and many hands on activities for kids to explore self-reliance from a children’s perspective. Kids 12 and under are free.
The Healthy Living Pavilion - where you can receive all sorts of resources on GMO Free & Gluten Free living as well as speak with advocates on Colloidal Silver, Herbal Remedies, Essential Oils and a host of other Naturopathic Remedies.
The Ham Radio Pavilion - Where you can explore how EXTREMELY EASY it is to get a HAM license and have a communications tool that will work in a grid down scenario.
A Permaculture Pavilion - where you can receive all sorts of valuable information on permaculture, which is long term self-reliance.
and so much more! Hope to see you there!
No I didn't have to. But seeing him and doing those little things brings me joy and I am hosting a dinner party for friends tonight and I would feel better about my kitchen if all four chairs were done as opposed to an odd three.
What have you done for you today? Have you intentionally thanked God every blessing in this day, big and small? Take five minutes today to do so and let your body mind and soul refresh and reset.
So, I made sure I wore green today & no one pinched me. That's about as far as my thought process went with St. Patrick's Day went today. I just got back from an amazing work trip to California for Runway Magazine, and I have been writing sun up to sun down today.
Had I planned a little more in advanced, I would have had friends over to partake in a cooking fest. I had prepped recipes for shepherds pie, gluten free Irish soda bread and cabbage. I am proud of myself however, I put down the proverbial pen and paper long enough to cook up some shepherds pie for me and Mr. Charming. It was DELICIOUS and I am currently enjoying my third bowl. Don't judge me, it's that good. That, and I haven't moved from my seat in about seven hours. I need sustenance to fuel creativity.
Click here or on the image above for the recipe. It uses dairy & soy free butter, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes and organic meats and veggies so its safe for most dietary restrictions.
Since my brain is pretty much fried tonight, I don't have much to say, except you should pick up the newest edition of Runway, on newsstands internationally on March 25th.
I must add I don't usually shamelessly plug things on here (I think I've only ever mentioned my music once), but its literally consumed me the past four days so it's what I am currently living, and that's what this blog is all about.
That, and support is always nice & fun. Yours truly wrote a lot of this new issue, and the cover interview was conducted by me as well with the lovely Taryn Manning. It's my first official cover interview in a major magazine, so we're kind of excited.
Enjoy the pie & happy St. Pattie's Day from Nosh & Nurture!
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I won my first poetry contest in fifth grade. I got to present it at a big assembly in front of other schools and I won a ribbon. I cherished that little blue ribbon and I haven't stopped writing since. A talent for poetic structure turned into a career a songwriting, which then opened doors to writing short stories on blogs which led me to my love of creative writing and eventually I found myself enrolled in college for journalism shortly after Mr. Charming and I became engaged.
From working on a newspaper (which showed me I DIDNT want to work in news media) to publishing my first book, it all led me to where I am now, staff writer and creative fashion correspondent for Runway Magazine. I adore writing about fashion and working in social media. I actually get giddy-level-excited to go into my office, in all it's pink embellished glory, a space all my own, and work. It's how I know I'm doing what I need to be doing.
Cliche coming at you in five... four...
Don't let anyone tell you you can't achieve your dreams, kiddos. Because you can. You don't know where a path can take you. The journey in writing started for me twenty years ago and I had no idea that being an avid fan of English class would take me on a journey such as this. So I watch in awe as The Lord allows my one precious and beautiful life to unfold before me, all the while working hard and using the tools and passions He has blessed me with.
Which brings me to my post of the evening. Tonight Mr. Charming and I are packing to leave for Hollywood in the morning. And as I do so, he cooked me up some organic chicken and veggies. Mmmmm.
Runway is launching the Spring issue tomorrow night and I am so excited and honored to share in it with my Runway fam. I also adore that Mr. Charming and I will be staying at a beautiful hotel, it's one of my favorite parts of traveling. Prayers for safe travels appreciated! I will be posting a special on my travel page soon... this hotel doesn't have a kitchen so ill be getting resourceful on the road! And I always love to share my foodie travel tips!
This is also totally off topic, but this photo just melted my heart... and though football is probably my least favorite thing on the planet, I would talk football with this little one if she becomes a fan. Maybe she could teach me something. I do know that as her aunt, I hope to inspire her to go for every dream in her little heart and I will cheer her on every step of the way. Ballerina or botanist. Football player or Disney princess.
Welcome! My name is Mandi & I hope you stay in this happy little space a while. I'm a Christian, a wife to my Mr. Charming, mama to baby Greyson, healthy food-lover, traveler, professional journalist and Personal Nutritionist who hopes to inspire others with my story...
Join the email list to stay informed on new posts, recipes and exclusive giveaways.