So. This morning, as I laid in bed waking slowly to start my day I scrolled through my Instagram feed, as I normally do to see what everyone was up to in the respective foodie & fashion worlds. As I scrolled I stumbled upon photos of a new product.
A new product known as, Choffy. Immediately my stomach jumped. "Why that sounds like chocolate coffee" I thought to myself. I gave up coffee over 3 years ago when I changed my eating habits for the better. But I miss the warmth, the social aspect of grabbing coffee with your girlfriends, or just sipping something savory on a cold night. From time to time, I'll warm up some unsweetened almond milk and splash in a little honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon. But to smell something percolating in the kitchen, friends gathered around, using my adorable mug collection that Mr. Charming finds hilarious considering I only drink water, well, that, that sounded divine.
Enter, Choffy. 100% roasted Cacao beans from various parts of world, ready to be brewed into a mug of hot, delicious, non-coffee greatness. And, it was recently just Whole 30 approved.
Now, the reasoning behind this posts title is this, I have not yet purchased Choffy. I have not yet tasted Choffy. I have no point of reference as to if I think you should purchase Choffy. I was just so excited at the prospect of this awesome product that I thought to myself, "why hasn't this been done sooner?" And I wanted to share it all with you. Maybe we can try a mug together? It sounds like a perfect compliment to a savory breakfast skillet.
While, we are on the subject of chocolate, I am so excited to share that one of my recipes was featured on Half Full Magazine's website this morning! The Editor In Chief, Sandy Lo, is a friend of mine and fellow writer. Click the photo to check out my "Chocolate Frosted Donut" feature on HalfFullMagazine.com and leave a comment if you've tried these scrumptious little guys.
I must get back to work now. If anyone has tried Choffy, please let me know if this is something I need to order like RIGHTNOW. Even though it's over 116 degrees in Arizona right now, a steaming mug of something other than water sounds divine.
Mr. Charming and and I have been daydreaming, pre-planning and talking a lot about where we want to take next years vacation. Since we don't have any littles of our own yet, we try to take a big vacation every year. I love that about us. I love that God both a wandering spirit in both of us. I adore seeing new places in the world. God-made and man-made beauty inspire me. I have been fortunate in my life as a musician and a writer that it's allowed me to travel. Having toured all over the Caribbean, US and South America, I'm blessed to have found my person with whom I can travel to exciting places with.
It just makes it that much more exciting and wonderous.
Speaking of exciting, Mr. Charming and I took this weekend to try out a lot of new recipes. I've been following a lot of blogs on the #Whole30 challenge, and the Whole 30 way of eating, and I love that so many of the recipes fit with foods I eat! The photo above is of some AMAZING pulled pork sliders we made last night, and the photo underneath of it is just a stock photo of Paris that I like to daydream on. Those buildings! The leafy trees! The romantically perfect Eiffel Tower.
Back when I started dating Mr. Charming, I was in between tours. I had just come off of a 6 month South America/Caribbean tour with my band, and I was home for two weeks. The two magical weeks where we met again (I will share our story soon), and I knew this was the man I could very well spend the rest of my life with. But alas, I was scheduled to depart for another 6 months on a 35 country European tour. A tour where I was supposed to spend my 24th birthday, in Paris, at the Eiffel Tower, wrapping the day performing in concert.
And while that sounds like an amazing, perfect way to ring in another birthday, and I'm sure it could have been lovely, God had other plans. Much better plans. There were many reasons I left my contract early, that I don't need to share at this time, but I did, I came home 5 months early, having only been gone a month, surprised Mr. Charming with my return and we've been together ever since.
I spent my 24th bday waking up to breakfast in bed at home, the kitchen filled with fresh pancakes, Disney Princess balloons and front row tickets to see Boyz II Men. And I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, it was better than any moment I could have spent alone in Paris.
Because that is what life is about. Not just about moments. But the love in your life, and the special people God places on your path to spend these moments with. If I do get to see the most romantic city on Earth, I would hope I'd be blessed to see it with the man who stole my heart.
Another thing Mr. Charming has helped me with is finding new things in myself. Daily time with God has also helped me to break out of the shell of who I "thought" I was, or things I feel I was "conditioned" to like or fear growing up. In trying new things we've gotten into archery.
Now typically my first thoughts were...
1.) I'm girly, and that is a man's hobby
2.) I didn't care for The Hunger Games or Brave
3.) I'm going to hurt myself
All negative thoughts. And I've been working on my thoughts and thought patterns, so I tried an exercise and came up with this new list.
1.) I did archery in Junior High and it was one of my favorite parts of P.E.
2.) Girls can do whatever guys can do. Girls rule.
3.) I still might hurt myself, so I'll ask for professional help in finding a bow. haha. (I ended up with a children's bow cuz I have tiny arms, and like, no upper body strength)
And you know what?
It was SO MUCH FUN. So much fun in fact, that yes, I am buying one. A small one, as we don't know HOW much we will shoot, since we don't believe in hunting. But it is something else that Mr. Charming and I can do together when we can't think of a good date night and it'll get us out doing something active and save us from a night in front of the computer or tv. And I know I say it all the time, but it's coming at ya again...
Speaking of winning, these pulled pork sliders on sweet potato buns are amazing. Seriously. I ate three. That was in addition to taste testing as I went, so I can honestly say last night I was "stuffed", which isn't a feeling I'm used to so much with the high vegetable diet. But these babys were amazing. I can't take full credit for the recipe, as like I mentioned above, I saw the idea on the Whole 30 blog I follow. I did however use Nature's Hollow BBQ sauce, which I review here, and spruced it up using my homemade bone broth and disease-fighting garlic. A lot of the spices in traditional Paleo BBQ sauce recipes are too harsh on my system so I used Nature's Hollow. They were delicious and the perfect stormy summer night dinner. Click here or on the photo for the recipe.
Just got back from the doctors today, as I've been feeling like I'm fighting another infection. I prayed hard, gave it to God and they didn't find an infection (praise God!) but I do have to go back on my very strict diet starting immediately. And though I have mixed emotions on this, as people around me have been really questioning my lifestyle and it hurts my feelings a bit, I have decided that it's me and God in this. Not them. And if it means sacrificing the little amount of grains I do eat (rice, gluten-free grains, etc) and dark chocolate, and turn my ears from criticism to get my health back on track, then I'm going to meditate on the mindset that that is a small price to pay to feel well and be able to work hard at what I love to do and spend time with those who love & support me.
I've decided to splash delicious vegetable and fruit photography throughout the post to inspire me into creating new and old recipes. I must put my new spiralizer to good use and make more "pasta" from fresh, organic ground grown vegetables. Say goodbye to the grain, walk away from sugar in any form and try to get to the next level of my journey.
I was talking to the front office staff at the doctors today about how funny it is that I could initially walk away from everything I'd been eating to jump start my journey to feeling well. But then it works, and you start to feel better, then you start to feel like "you" again, and then you think, "I've healed enough to put this food back in, or this food back in" and sometimes we can. And that works in some circumstances. But my body is obviously telling me rice is still a big no for me, and for some reason, I'm having a hard time giving that up. I know its a control issue, but I'm not in control. God is the only one in control and I need to be obedient and realize that things are being taken away for the greater good.
The greater good.
So tonight starts my new mission of cracking open my cookbooks, scouring my own blog as well as others, and filling this weeks menu full of garden-green goodness to heal whatever my body is going through. And I will do it with a smile, an open mind, and constant prayer. Because, as I continue to learn, we always have a choice on how to look at a situation.
I pray health and positivity for all of your journeys friends! If any of you are currently doing the strict anti-candida protocol, I feel you and I'm right there with you. Comment to share your story or swap recipes.
In my career as a fashion writer, I am currently smack-dab in the center of covering Miami Fashion Week. But yesterday I took a brief pause in my crazy schedule and Mr. Charming and I spent last night and this morning with my parents, who live too far away and who I adore spending time with.
Last night we had a movie marathon, watching "The Switch" and "Devils Knot". Both very good movies. Of course, very different. My dad is writing a book right now, and it's just incredible. He read us a small part of it and I actually applauded. It takes a lot for me to applaud a book reading as emphatically as I did. He is insanely smart, such a gifted writer and I'm so glad I have him as a father and a mentor. I'm incredibly blessed.
I made him my lasagna, and he LOVED it. I must confess, I was nervous. My dad is legitimately Italian, like a New York Italian, who grew up in New York City and whose parents came from Sicily. So he KNOWS true, authentic lasagna. So for me to serve him gluten and dairy free lasagna, and for him to rave, made my heart and soul happy. I also made him my gluten-free oat pancakes from scratch this morning (shown above, with Applegate Chicken Maple Sausage, fresh organic blueberries and honey) which he ate too. I think my favorite part of this journey with food is being able to share healthy, wholesome food with friends and family and just watching them truly enjoy it.
Seriously. Warm. Fuzzies. Abound.
I'm SO excited to announce I will be attending (and blogging about my experience) at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in September. Mr. Charming and I finalized our travel and hotel details yesterday, and between the conference and our wedding anniversary we will be spending almost two full weeks in Las Vegas this fall. I am beyond excited to meet and network with other fellow bloggers in my field, learn and soak up all I can from fabulous seminars, partake in parties that SERVE GLUTEN-FREE food, and see some of my favorite authors and company reps again that I've met and spent time with at other expos and shows.
And speaking of exciting announcements... my sister, father and I have decided to create a collaborative gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook.
We are breaking ground and compiling ideas, and though we have a lot of the foundation, it's a very exciting, creative time and I am bursting with happiness and anticipation to share it when the time is right. But in the meantime I want to soak up every moment I have creating recipes, collaborating with family, photographing our beautiful creations and of course tasting all of our yummy fare!
I hope you all had a very blessed weekend! Have a positive week, do something everyday that makes your soul smile.
It's a beautiful, albeit humid, day here in sunny Arizona and I just wanted to take a moment to thank all my beautiful readers who visit Nosh & Nurture. I have been so blessed that this blog continues to grow daily, and without you all listening to my random, and hopefully sometimes informative or witty posts, I wouldn't be able to have this passionate outlet that makes my heart smile.
So thank you.
The magazine is heading into its Fall issue today, so I spent the morning coordinating story assignments with my supervisor, getting my staff organized and set with their stories and organizing my writing timeline for the month while simultaneously negotiating a book editing jobs I've taken on. God is so good. I wanted something filling & hearty for lunch, and though its over 100 degrees outside, my office was a chilly 77 degrees so I was craving chili.
I cooked up some organic, vegan chili beans with chile sauce and topped it with avocado. I served it with organic green beans topped with olive oil and sea salt and gluten-free toasted onion matza crackers. It was delish and got me through hours of work today. Fall food is yummy & soothing, even in the smack-dab middle of summer.
I put up the second post in my Proverbs 31 series last week. The first one was on Faith, this one was on Marriage, and it's under Nurture | Spiritual Health. Head over to the page to have a look, or click on the links.
Miami Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow and I will be covering it for Runway all week. I am going to be posting about good South Beach gluten- and dairy-free eats along the way, so keep your eyes open for that.
Have a blessed week! Remember to Nosh healthy and Nurture yourself and those relationships around you. ;)
I've always been a dog person. Some people are dog people, some people are cat people. I myself, am a dog person. Granted, I'm mildly allergic to cats, but they just seem to have attitude, and I can't get down with the litter box.
Though, while living in Hollywood I did adopt a cat who was the coolest cat you ever could meet, I named her Miss Kitty, and she wore pearls.
She was fabulous.
Anyways, I promise there is a point to this post. And it's this. I never thought I could love a single animal as deeply as I love my adopted fur-baby, Princeton. When I met Mr. Charming he already had Princeton and they, I guess in a sense, adopted me. We have become those people that bake little dog cakes (he is also gluten, dairy and grain free due to health issues), and make sure he has his own Christmas stocking, and take him on trips. Cue the judgmental stares, or chuckles. It's ok, I'd probably judge me a little too if showering him with love and presents like he was my child didn't feel so natural. haha.
Recently we found out he has arthritis and some other issues that are showing in his senior years, and he got pretty sick a few weeks back and had to be at the vet under sedation. For. Nine. Hours.
My heart sank. He is 11 years old and I had to come to the realization that my little buddy may not be around for years & years to come. And it stole my breath away. Pets are amazing for improving quality of life and I just wanted to give a shout-out to my little guy. For making hard days a little easier, days I was exhausted for no reason because of food, he'd lay for hours by my side and we'd watch movies. He was my running buddy when we could both run without totally feeling awful, and when I'm stressed he gives me those little puppy dog eyes and I just simply melt.
I saw a quote the other day that made me laugh... "be the person your dog thinks you are." This little guy looks at Mr. Charming and I with such adoration that I just have to squeeze his little face and shower him with kisses sometimes.
We're blessed to have this little guy as our fur-baby as long as we can. :) Dogs, and some fabulous cats, just make life better. Enjoy my little gallery montage of our Princeton.
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...
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