Tickle Me Tuesday
I haven't done a Tickle Me Tuesday in a while, so I thought it was time. I've been feeling very blessed & grateful lately. This time of year has something to do with it. The holidays are upon us, there are so many fun activities happening and work is booming. Eating healthier, going to therapy and making more times for social interaction and relaxation also has a lot to do with it. I would love for you all to chime in each week when I post these as I'd love to hear your happy moments from your week. It's been proven that recording your happy moments whether to your social network, to an app like "Happier" or in a personal journal on your nightstand can help you to feel happier and more balanced. Reflecting on the silver linings in your day can help to erase some of the gloom. If you're in a period of your life where it's a hard list to make, and we ALL go through these periods, let me know how I can pray for you :)
1. Fall cleaning. I know I'm probably one of those weird people who actually ENJOYS having time to clean. I put in extra hours at work yesterday so I could work this morning and then spend the afternoon cleaning my house. It's therapeutic and allows the puppies time to play and spend time with me when I'm not working.
2. Halloween. I am a Christmas FANatic, while Mr. Charming is all about Halloween. He adores Christmas too, but his family has a long-standing tradition of making Halloween epic, so we are hosting a charity haunted house and we hope to raise a ton of money for our chosen charity Angels, Knights & Stars.
3. Hope. Hope for my fertility appointments to go well. Hope that certain family issues can be resolved. Just hope. Even though I'm not where I would like these situations to be, I hold fast to the hope that God provides me and thats how my fertility and family issues can still make the list.
4. My dogs. Charlie & Princeton are my fur babies. They brighten my day when I have a ton of work to do. My lunch break consists of cooking up healthy food and playing with them. I think it makes both of our days exciting.
5. Christmas music. I played my first Christmas song day before yesterday. I don't care that it's October. It's Fall, and to me that means it is fair game. ;)
A lovely Fall day & Whole 30...
Yesterday marked Day 1 of Mr. Charming and I's Whole 30. For you not familiar with the Whole 30, it's a 30 day nutritional program where you simply eat only whole foods. Vegetables, organic meats, eggs, and some fruits are the staples, while seeds and some nuts are ok. No legumes, no dairy, no grains and no sugar.
We decided to do this together for a few reasons. 1. I want to eventually move to being fully grain free and I thought this would be a good cleanse and reset for my system to not rely so heavily on them as part of my meals, especially breakfast. 2. To do something together, and get back to enjoying the same meals like we did before. and 3. To help our fertility.
For breakfast on day one, I prepared us baked sweet potatoes, topped with organic spinach, sea salt and an over-medium egg drizzled with olive oil. It was amazing and filling, and being able to have sweet potato every once in a while helps curb the sugar cravings that will inevitably come, because, it's me. And my sugar dragon is a beast.
After breakfast we hopped in the car and went to the local pumpkin patch. I had never done a corn maze, and there were two, a small one and a large one, so we did the small one, took some photos and headed out to peruse the book store. (I could spend all day in a Barnes & Noble if you let me.) It's still neat to be able to see work I've done on the bookstore shelves. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, (that and win a Grammy). And sometimes I have to pinch myself. I'm so blessed to do what I love and am glad I took the leap of faith to do it.
Sometimes when we think we've got it all figured out, or know the path we're "supposed to be on", something happens, the road shifts, or gets blocked off, and we must detour, and though it can be scary, sometimes it can lead to such great blessings and other dreams coming true.
After the bookstore we took Charlie, (our new baby schnauzer) to a local shopping centers Howl-O-Ween event. The event was for dogs who wanted to trick-or-treat the shops and get treats! Yes I have become that dog-mom. For now he is my baby. So he gets trick-or-treating. And treats.
Late afternoon we returned home to meal two of our Whole 30 in which I made a "Burger Salad". Grass fed beef with peppers and garlic, cherry tomatoes and avocado topped romaine lettuce. It was delicious.
Tonight's dinner is pictured in the Eat Real Food photo I had made for Instagram, and it was delicious! Pork chops drizzled with a natural BBQ sauce, with a side of carrots and organic potato and leek soup.
I'd love to hear who else is doing or has done a Whole 30 and what your favorite meal was? :)
Here's to Happy & Healthy eating all season long!
A New Journey Begins
That right there is so exciting to me. I had been counting down to today, and Mr. Charming and I's weekend all week, but then I got assigned more pieces, a freelance project and more meetings in regard to our charity project and now it looks like I'll be working straight through to Monday.
So that, right there, is organic tomatoes and basil that I am cooking into organic chicken breasts tonight, and a buy one, get one rental deal at Redbox. So that when I conclude today's work late tonight, I can tuck into bed with my darling and have a healthy feast with back to back movie awesomeness.
And for you wondering, I chose The Fault In Our Stars and Saving Mr. Banks. I've seen neither, so I'm excited.
It's the little things.
Speaking of little things I'm excited about, I'm officially announcing that Mr. Charming and I will be embarking on our first Whole 30 challenge together starting this weekend. (So that it ends before Thanksgiving.) :D I also got nice lunch boxes with compartments for our main salad or protein and a fruit or nut compartment and a veggie space.
I'm excited that he is excited to take this on with me. To keep each other motivated, to promote more healthy living within our home and give our bodies a refreshing reset. And the main reason we are doing it...
Our future family.
Today marked my first day of fertility tests. It's pretty surreal still. It's not how you picture it. But I guess that's part of life, and considering my blessings from our wonderful Lord, I have no complaints and I have to forge on, trusting and holding tight to faith and love and hope and peace.
I just feel kind of tired with the process already and it's only just beginning, so I'm praying for strength and energy to sustain me through whatever God is going to bring us to, and through.
Even in my busy day, I managed to get a load of dishes done before I put dinner in and I had a little helper. I'd like to introduce Charlie. Our new little Schnauzer. He has stolen my heart and keeps me busy when I'm not working. He's been a good blessing and distraction when it comes to the baby front. I'll be excited to give him a real baby brother or sister one day though.
A Nut-Free Fall Breakfast
This is a sponsored post. I received free product from Soy Nut Butter Co. in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, as well as the photography, are my own.
Have I mentioned for the 14th billionth time how much I LOVE FALL. No? Ok. Cool. Well then this would be the 14th billionth time. Fall makes all my food-loving tendencies just bubble over. The crockpot gets a permanent residence on my counter, and cinnamon goes in EVERYTHING. Which is good, because cinnamon is super good for you. So it's a win/win.
It's easy to make savory fall dinners and desserts. What I wanted, was to find a delicious FALL themed breakfast that was more substantial than the latte's everyone's carting around in their mittened hands and healthier than a muffin or donut.
I met the wonderful people at Soy Nut Butter Co. recently and a light went off. So many of my readers and friends have been requesting more nut-free recipes, and Soy Nut Butter Co. has an extensive product line that allows my recipe-creating loving ways to go wild. I recently got a bag of their new gluten-free breakfast granola made with their soy-nut butter (that's right, a non-nut butter that tastes like peanut butter) and apples, and I knew what I had to do.
I wanted to created a warm-the-soul fall breakfast cereal that my non-nut eaters could enjoy. So many of my other featured cereals use almonds, and this one is completely nut free. AND as a bonus, as I don't include much soy in my diet, when I do I make sure it's non-GMO and Soy Nut Butter Co. soy is GMO free.
It was SUPER easy to create, and the additions of pumpkin, organic maple syrup and cinnamon gave the cereal such an added robust warmth. The pumpkin seeds added additional crunch to the already wonderfully crunchy granola, but added another fall aspect.
Since the Soy Nut Butter Co. granola is already prepared, I simply had to prepare my sweet maple pumpkin coating to mix it into. A little maple syrup, organic pumpkin puree and coconut oil, mixed in nicely with the granola and cinnamon. Once baked, the aroma was heavenly and once cooled, it was enjoyed both as a cereal with dairy-free milk or a top coconut yogurt, or as a handy snack to take to the pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin Maple Granola
(using Soy Nut Butter Co. Gluten Free Apple Granola)
2 C. Soy Nut Butter Co. Gluten-Free Apple Granola
3/4 C. Pepitas
2 Tsp. Organic Cinnamon
1 TBSP. Coconut Oil
1/8 C. Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/8 C. Organic Maple Syrup
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour the Soy Nut Butter Co. Gluten-Free Apple Granola into a medium sized mixing bowl, adding in the pepitas and cinnamon, stir. In a small bowl, mix the coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree with a small whisk until fully mixed.
Pour the wet ingredients into your granola and seed mix, and coat completely. Spread onto parchment paper and bake for 10-20 minutes until aromatic. Be careful not to burn your granola, as it's already prepared oats.
Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Enjoy! I would love to hear the delicious healthy fall recipes you are all trying!
Countdown to Halloween
Halloween is huge in our family. And by huge I mean an all-out-movie-style-production. Growing up, Halloween to me was dressing up in a cute fairy, animal or movie character costume and walking around my neighborhood with my parents for candy. Pretty simple, right? When I grew up and outgrew the door-to-door, begging-for-candy ritual, I joined in on the high school Halloween parties decked out in Mean Girl-esque sexy costumes, and truth be told, still enjoyed the candy.
Then I met Mr. Charming. His family, on the other hand, are the ones who sit on their porches, scaring the small children of the neighborhood. Decked out in scary costumes, with elaborate porch entryways designed to terrify with the latest decor from the Halloween stores. Those houses that you felt just weren't worth visiting for a mini-snickers or dum-dum lollipop.
Fast forward to a couple of years into our relationship, and Mr. Charming and his brother in law decided to take it to the next level. And when I say next level, I mean amped WAY up. As building went underway to create our first annual Phantom Manor Haunt, the marketer in me decided to take the reigns on spreading the word and found us what would be our first of many charities.
Building commenced, and in our first year we raised money for the Foundation For Blind Children, in the years that followed we raised money for our local church and Habitat For Humanity where Mr. Charming went on to help build a house. The boys LOVE doing it, not only because we get to give back, but they get to scare tons of people and build awesome props. Mr. Charming previously went to school for architecture and his brother in law's are super handy and great with building and tools, and the family members and actors that participate get so into it, so it makes it a lot of fun.
And I help paint. That's my strong suit. Painting & hosting by yours truly. haha.
For those in Arizona interested in checking it out, giving back and visiting us, all of the the information can be found at the official Phantom Manor Charity Haunt website or the flyer above.
For more information on this years chosen charity, Angels, Knights and Stars can be found here. They are an amazing charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for over a dozen serious tragedies that inflict our youth today.
Here's to another year of giving back through thrills, chills, treats and sweets!
And remember, Halloween doesn't have to be about sugar-laden treats. There are many alternatives to Halloween Candy that kids will still love.
Click here for my list!
This is a sponsored post. I received free product from Foster Farms in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, as well as the photography, are my own.
Fair season is upon us. And that means family fun, rides, games and extremely fattening food. I'm here today to show you how to make your delicious fair favorites at home, while saving you from excess calories, toxic sugar, chemicals and other unknown substances.
With Mr. Charming, and his family, being such avid fair-goers, and so many of my friends looking for help with recipes for their littles, this one was a challenge. I wanted to take the most traditional fair foods, as well as some of my personal favorites, and put an organic spin on them. It was easy to spotlight Foster Farm's new gluten-free corn dogs as the star of the meal. They have proven that this particular fair-favorite, kid-friendly food can be gluten-free, dairy-free and healthier than it's deep fried counterpart.
Corn dogs are Mr. charming's absolute favorite food when we visit the fair. He likes them crunchy, golden brown and piping hot. Every now and then I like to splurge on a traditional childhood favorite as well. However, there weren't many good gluten-free options when it came to making them at home so I had given up.
With Foster Farm's new delicious gluten-free corn dog, we can enjoy them right at home. Being able to bake them to golden brown perfection makes me feel so much better about Mr. Charming, and the littles in our family, eating something that isn't deep-fried or possibly cross contaminated.
After cooking some up, we noticed there is no sacrifice in taste when it comes to their gluten-free line. The outer crust is crispy but soft in the center and has a delicious honey & corn sweetness. It's a great alternative to enjoy at home or to pack up and take with you on your favorite fall outings so that you can enjoy the traditional treat along with friends and family.
They are best when cooked in the oven, as we tried them in the microwave as well, and it lost the crispness, which is to be expected when microwaving, but just wanted to mention it. The inner hot dogs are chicken hot dogs, which I always opt for before beef. And you know how we hate added nasties here at Nosh & Nurture, Foster Farm's chicken has zero added hormones or steroids. YAY. One thing I would request that they omit is the sodium nitrite. This ingredient makes me unable to add this to our dinner list, however, like I said, when replacing chemical-laden, glutenous versions found elsewhere, these corn dogs are amazing.
Also, for those with a true gluten allergy, or celiacs, Foster Farm's states all products with the GIG certification have less than 10 parts per million of gluten per serving.
Now that we've got a main course, let's move on to some traditional fair side dishes. (The remaining recipes and food features are not sponsored by Foster Farm's and we're created solely by me) I was never one to favor the deep-fried anything, however I used to be a real sucker for a good french fry. Traditional fair fries are usually way too greasy and you never know what they're cooked in or with or if they're safe. However, you can make delicious organic french fries and top with your favorites right at home. I chose organic french fries and topped them with organic hot chili beans.
Popcorn is another fall festival treat, but again, traditional popcorn vendors load them with butter and saturated fat. Although I don't eat popcorn, my family does, and I opt to pop light white organic popcorn for movie nights or to take with us.
Another great thing about fall is the drinks! Year round all I drink is water, sometimes the occasional glass of blueberry juice or a rice milk latte if we are traveling, but come fall, a nice healthy treat is welcomed. I opt for organic sparkling apple juice without added sugar, or an organic, lemonade sweetened with a low-glycemic natural sweetener or honey.
And last but not least.
Sometimes, I think I'd be fine having a slice of pie for dinner.
I know that doesn't sound very healthy, but I found a pie to enjoy that is baked with almond meal, fresh organic apples and sweetened with ONLY apple juice. Zero refined sugar, gluten-free and delicious. To spruce it up, I have a coconut milk based caramel you can drizzle on desserts. Remember that you can have treats, just make it a smart choice and you won't feel deprived and most importantly you won't leave yourself feeling weighed down or sick from too much sugar.
As always, I strive to help girls, guys and families find the balance between eating whole, healthy meals while still finding a way to enjoy traditional comfort foods in a healthier way.
What is YOUR favorite seasonal fair food? I'd love to have more to experiment with, or hear YOUR ideas on how you make your favorites at home.
Stay tuned, we will be doing a Foster Farm's Gluten-Free Giveaway next week so that some of you lucky readers can score your own delicious goodies!
A Three Day Post-Vacation Detox
I am in the midst of my conference season. Almost every weekend this month I am in a different city attending food allergy and food intolerance conferences or blog marketing conferences, and I can tell you... girl gets tired.
Due to my awesome hormonal imbalances, having to eat too many grains while traveling and being on my feet for 12+ hours all weekend, I am feeling run down and exhausted. It's important, that whether you are traveling often, overworked, or just stressed in general (and who doesn't have some of that going on, like, always?) to detox and reset for healing.
Instead of telling you to drink green juice for days, (and that totally can be beneficial) this post is more about a full reset. A gentle, mind and body, head to toe, routine to implement for just three days to see how you feel*. Many of these steps I incorporate regularly to help me feel happier, healthier and more balanced overall.
It also helps if you detox digitally as well. If you're unable to completely leave your phone and computer, at least check them minimally, and shut all devices off at least one hour before going to sleep.
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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