Sunday, December 2, 2012

Carmel Toffee Cheesecake with Ginger Snap Crust

I made this for Thanksgiving and my family devoured it!

I mean even the health nuts were shoving this in as hard as they could.

It's actually kind of crazy how it pulled together. I knew I wanted a ginger snap crust and just used leftover ingredients from my Carmel Apple Dip I had made earlier in the week to top it off.

I used Mi Del Ginger Snaps (Found at Publix) and they worked perfect.
If you haven't had them before they are a softer snap than I am used to but really yummy.

Mix and pack firmly in the bottom of your pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. All to cool before pouring the cheese cake batter in.


For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups of crushed Gluten Free Ginger Snaps (I used Mi Del)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • Heath Toffee Chips 
  • Cool Whip

Carmel Topping

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of Half and Half
4 T of butter
1 T of Vanilla

Put brown sugar, half and half and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously for 5-7 minutes. Mine started to bubble and got a tad thicker. Pull from the burner and add vanilla. Put back on heat for another minute whisking continuously. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes then pour into a jar and refrigerate. Warm up in the microwave later and use as you wish! Yields 10 oz.
Be patient it will thicken up a lot after placed in the fridge. 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the ginger snaps, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

Pipe dollops of cool whip and add some extra pretty to the top of the cake by sprinkling toffee chips around the edges.

Cut with a warm knife wiping after each cut keep from tearing your cake slices apart.

Serve and Enjoy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Caramel Apple Dip

2 boxes of Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Heath Toffee Bits

Allow the cream cheese to soften on the counter. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy. Set aside.

Homemade Caramel
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of Half and Half
4 T of butter
1 T of Vanilla

Put brown sugar, half and half and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously for 5-7 minutes. Mine started to bubble and got a tad thicker. Pull from the burner and add vanilla. Put back on heat for another minute whisking continuously. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes then pour into a jar and refrigerate. Warm up in the microwave later and use as you wish! Yields 10 oz.
Be patient it will thicken up a lot after placed in the fridge.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on a plate and top with caramel then sprinkle with toffee bits. 
Cut organic apples into wedges and serve!

This was a hit at my house this fall. Hope you enjoy too! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

I love Cheesecake and I love Pumpkin.
Combine the two and in my book you've got yourself a little slice of heaven.
Not to mention most holiday recipes scream for pumpkin.
So from October on through December most of my days are spent baking and working
pumpkin and or ungodly amounts of cinnamon into my families diet.

I just love the smell the spices warm my home with.
Don't you?

So when I spotted this recipe I knew I had to try it.
But before I share let me tell you what I very much love about this recipe.

1 - It doesn't take forever to make.
2 - While its cooling you can do other things.
3 - It's rather inexpensive.
4 - You can feed a crowd.
5 - One slice won't kill you with calories.
6 - They are easy to eat - no plate or fork needed.
7 - Easily accessible ingredients.

So here goes.

1 15-oz can pumpkin (Libby's is labeled Gluten Free)
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature

for graham cracker crust:

1 Box of Kinnikinnick Graham Crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
*whipped cream to top

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl crush graham crackers with your hands. Add sugar and butter and mix well.
Press graham cracker crumbs onto a lined (parchment paper or silpat) jelly roll pan. Bake for 5
minutes until toasty. Remove and reduce oven temperature to 325.

Mix together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream and vanilla in a large bowl.

In the bowl of a KitchenAid, beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon,
nutmeg, salt and ginger. Beat until light and fluffy then slowly pour in pumpkin mixture. Continue
beating until mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
Pour batter onto baked crust and bake for 50 minutes until edges begin to pull away from the sides
of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares and topping with whipped cream.


1.5 hours

I ended up cutting mine a tad bigger than I had wanted but that's only because I was having a tough
time getting them all the same size. The next batch really will be little bites. I think this is my dessert
to bring to Thanksgiving this year!!!

And as always I give credit the the awesome recipes I find. I found this lovely on pinterest and just
changed a few ingredients so we could eat it gluten free. To see the original recipe check out

Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Unreal Candy

Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Matt Damon and John Legend
are all fans of this candy that looks like, tastes like all those other candies but without all the crap that is bad for us!
Think M&M's, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and priced exactly the same!

 I've tried them and we love them at our house and this will be what the Trick-or-Treaters get from us this year.

 Most are Gluten Free all are 100% chocked full of REAL ingredients.

Watch the video and see for yourself.
And this candy can be found in regular stores!!
I got mine at Walgreens!!! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inspiration Friday - October 12, 2012

I have a little story to tell you that at the end may leave you with a little tear in your eye. No, it's not a sad story. It's a story about loving one another. A feel good story. One that I will leave you filled with hope.

The past few months have been a total rat race around here. I am shuttling kids to Lacrosse and Cheer every night of the week. There are some nights I drop off come home cook dinner go back and pick them up, eat and collapse into bed.  Sometimes it feels like, what's that movie? You know the one with Bill Murray. Yeah Ground Hog Day! Sometimes my life feels like that movie. haha Ever feel that way?
Among this daily rerun, I find myself hitting the store at night after picking the kids just to kill two birds with one stone and switch things up a bit.

Well last night just happened to be one of those nights where we were out of milk and some other basics so after picking my oldest daughter up we stopped at Wal-mart to grab some milk and a few other items we needed.

We stared off into no where while waiting in the long roped off coral just under the 20 items or less sign.  Finally, we were ushered to register one where Doreen, the cashier, greeted us so nicely and began to scan our groceries.  After exchanging lovelies and all my groceries were bagged she hit enter on the register and up popped my total, $25.02.  I swiped my card and nothing. I swiped it  several more times to pay and every time the reader would beep and return that the card could not be processed. I explained to Doreen that my card sometimes won't scan and that normally cashiers need to swipe it directly on the register. So she tried this as well and with no luck! :(

At this point the line was really backing up and I could feel what felt like a million eyes looking at me. I could feel my face getting red with embarrassment and the feeling of humiliation was horrible as I had to tell her I had no other way to pay.  Not to mention my daughter had already tore into her gum which she had to release back to the cashier. Not a good feeling. So I asked the clerk if I could take my groceries to the front service desk to try and pay there that sometimes my card will work there and she responded with "I'll just suspend your order and when you get a means of payment just come back and you wont have to wait or stand in line." So after all the swiping of the card forward and back, slow and fast, wrapping it in a plastic bag and swiping it and on to manual entry twice directly on the register I simply told her I will call my husband and be back. Then I did what felt like the walk of shame from the register towards the exit where I then called on my best friend, my husband.

Gosh folks I can't begin to tell you that as my daughter and I walked away from the register how helpless and dejected I felt.  After talking to my husband he assured me all was well with my account and that I should just give it another try.  So back we went to the register where this all started. This time I was now behind the gentleman who had been loading his groceries onto the counter behind us just moments prior.  Yes, he was there for everything we tried. Yes, he heard the whole dialogue. Yes, I was thinking this man is probably happy we moved on so he can finally get out of here.

So now we stand watching, as what appears to be, the cashier clearing all of our stuff out of the register so she can now ring up this poor gentleman, whom I might add, has been held up by us and waiting a good 10 minutes just to pay and leave the store. The cashier gives me a look and I let her know I would like to try my card again if she didn't mind after he finished and paid for his items. And what she said next really took me aback. She gently smiled and softly said "He's is going to pay for your groceries." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I immediately protested to him and begged  that he please not, that I could pay for my groceries.  But all I got was a calm look of determination as he swiped his card and then turned to me and said these very powerful words.

"It's done. Have a Blessed day and all I ask is that you do the same as I've done for you. When you see someone in need help them out." 

Through my shock, as I stood in front of this gentleman, I mustered up a most sincere Thank You that literally poured from the bottom of my heart. Did I cry? Why yes I did!! And my teen was so moved that she was speechless and teared up as well.

This random act of kindness really tugged at my heart and opened my eyes to the fact that

There are still wonderful, kind and loving people in this world.
And the act of one person can set off a cascade of events that can change the lives of many.

This whole story reminds me of this awesome movie. Remember Pay it Forward? 
What a great story.
I really have to dig this movie out and watch it again. This time with my kids.

Any how we see movies and read about selfless acts of kindness a lot. I get chills every single time and I'm always left with a feeling hope. But to have this actually happen to you is beyond amazing. It's surreal and it's a memory I will never ever forget.

I hope you've been inspired by this post and leave you with one question. Have you ever had a random act of kindness bestowed on you? Or have you been the awesome person to help another out unexpectedly? Now's your chance to share and inspire. Tell me!

Happy Inspiration Friday!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meet Food's Erin Brockovich

Robyn O'Brien is one hell of an amazing woman and she has such a powerful message to share.


Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 Tower of Terror 10 Miler

I had a great time and learned a ton on this run!
Best of all
 Here is my sister in law, Jackie, along side me on the Disney charter bus awaiting transport to the start! We were super giggly and excited to get going!

And I don't think I have ever seen so many potties! I couldn't get back far enough to get them all in the picture either.
They had a bunch of screens setup where you could snap a quick pic so here we are just before the race in front of our favorite screen.
See that big glowing blob behind me?? That's a full moon!!
How cool that we got to run under a full moon. 
Keep in mind this race started at 10 PM!
Love it.

I saw a shirt while waiting in the gate that I loved so much I have to share it with you.
Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start. 

Are those not words to live by??

At this point my hair was pulled back and I had my game face on! I was so pumped to go!
We had several starts ahead of us including two wheel chair starts, the Elite start (only 20 people were in elite group) and then A corral. With each start having 5 minutes between them. Trust me with that many people excited standing and waiting the HEAT becomes quite stifling. 
So we were so happy when our fireworks went off and corral B was unleashed!

At the end of the race everyone got a goodie box. 
They were calling it a protein pack.
I took it and grabbed a banana and thought nothing of the box until the next day
and I was so pleasantly surprised!!
Most everything in this little black box was Gluten Free!!
The box contained Crunch Master Crackers, Hickory Farms White Cheddar Cheese Spread, Gummy's Smart Candy, A Cliff Bar and a Brown and Haley Almond Roca Toffee candy (both processed in a shared environment with wheat), and a bag of mixed nuts. 

So pretty much everything I could eat and gave the bar and candy to my kiddos!
I was so super impressed with the GF foodies and so glad I took one.

And here I am back on the bus with my oh so cool medal!
This sure beats the heck out of a t-shirt!
My time on this run
I really was a hot mess at this point. Humidity was horrific! I have never ran in such heat. EVER.
And I live here.
Shocking I know. You would think I would be used to it. But when you are running in areas where no wind can stir, the humidity is extremely high and you have the heat of the day rising up and leaving the pavement, it slows you down, depletes your body and just down right makes for a challenging run.

 I cried a little too when I came over the finish and bowed to have my medal draped around my neck.
Certainly not an experience I will ever forget.
{Getting chills just typing this}
So here is my next day Vanna photo with my medal! So happy and proud of ME!

I have since signed up for the
Disney Princess Half Marathon for Feb 2013!

Oh why the hell not!
It's only three more miles...


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Halloween Stair Mice Cut Outs

I designed some cute mice cut outs for Halloween!

If you would like to grab a set just click the below donate button.
ONLY $1! 

All you do is print, cut and stick.
Stairs, Walls and Cabinets will be instantly transformed!
Don't forget to include your email address so we can email you the files!

 Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Florida Citrus Harvest Calendar

I am always lost as to when my favorite citrus will be plucked from the trees. So I decided to create myself (and you of course) a handy calendar.

Sharing is Caring!

Homemade Gluten Free Caramel Sauce

When I lived in Texas a long long while back I worked with a girl who hailed from California. 
One of the things she told me that stuck with me was an awesome tid-bit she learned while working for a local bakery in her hometown.
that little tid-bit just so happened to be how this bakery make its caramel.
I was stunned when she told me that all they did was put cans of sweetened condensed milk into a pressure cooker and let it go for a while. When the cans had gone as long as they needed and had cooled what lay inside was a most amazing caramel that the bakery could then use in its lovely recipes. 

Now fast forward a few years...
No longer in Texas and now unable to eat Gluten.
It's Monday night and we have just finished dinner and we all are craving ice cream.
And after watching my seven year old woof down the last remnants of vanilla ice cream clinging to the sides of the carton the night prior I knew we needed to make a trip to the store.
So I hopped into my truck and off I went.
This was a quick in and out job. No lolly gagging. Just get the goods and get out!
Easy right?

So after grabbing the cold sweet stuff from the freezer section I am on my way to the registers when I have to pass a shelf that's 7 feet tall and holds every ice cream topping know to man.
I won't lie it bent my neck.
I scanned it from top to bottom in three passes as not to miss a thing.
I was quick.
Ok OK! I stood there for like a good 15 minutes reading labels and checking out the yummies. :)
15 minutes is pretty fast isn't it?

So I spotted the Magic Shell.
 You know the stuff you squirt on your ice cream and it creates a hard chocolatey force-field over your dessert. mmmm
Well I noticed that the caramel had malt in it so I decided against looking further to find a 
Gluten Free Friendly version
because I was taking WAY to much time and besides
I needed to get back home to my baby birds.

Yes I call my family my baby birds, including my hubby.
You might be wondering why I call them this?
Well, because the first thing that comes out of their little mouths when they get home and spot me is...
What's for Dinner tonight? 
Cheep Cheep Cheep
I need a snack! I'm hungry!
{It never stops}
and by-the-way I am not complaining. 

So when I got home we all had our ice cream.
Each birdie had its favorite.
Some with chocolate, some with peanut butter, some with both.
Some even had sliced bananas and peanut butter.
But I still had this hankering for caramel.

Then today I am looking around on twitter and come across an interesting tweet.

And well what do you know it's how to take a can of sweetened condensed milk and magically turn it into an ooey gooey can of caramel love!

hmm...i ponder a bit thinking. I know I've heard of this before. Where did I hear about this????
And instantly I am transported back to Texas 15 years prior and I can still hear Cindy telling me about how her hometown bakery made their caramel!

 I have to admit I didn't try the recipe 15 years ago but I can assure you I will be trying it this time around.

I did make a quick visit to Eagle Brands website and they highly caution cooking caramel in the can.
They simply state this is an old way of making caramel and caution against it.

Here is what they say to do to make the perfect caramel at home.

For an easy caramel topping or dip, simply heat Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk using the following directions.
For safety reasons, do not heat in the can (an old cooking method). 
Instead, use one of the following methods.

Pour 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk into a 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in larger shallow pan. Fill larger pan with hot water. Bake at 425° for 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel-colored.

Pour 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk into top of double boiler; place over boiling water. Over low heat, simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel-colored. Beat until smooth.

Pour 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk into 2-quart glass measuring cup. Cook on 50% power (medium) 4 minutes, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cook on 30% power (medium-low) 20 to 26 minutes or until very thick and caramel-colored, stirring briskly every 4 minutes during the first 16 minutes and every 2 minutes for the last 4 to 10 minutes. Make sure to use potholders when removing the glass measuring cup from the microwave, as it will be hot.


And what emerges is an incredibly awesome caramel
that's Gluten Free of course!

Ice cream watch out because you are so about to be draped in a heavenly smooth brown delight!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lake Meadow Naturals

I recently had the opportunity to visit Lake Meadow Naturals Farm in Ocoee, Florida and I have to tell you it was an amazing experience.  For those of you who know me, you know I was raised in a very rural part of the country. Laurel Fork, Virginia to be exact. It's beautiful there. Very lush and green with lots of dairy farms and cabbage crops that are worked by some of the hardest working people I've ever known.  It's a slower pace of life along the Blue Ridge but one I yearn to return to. I felt that same comfortable easiness from back home when I pulled into this beautiful farm nestled in a quaint rural part of Ocoee.

Lake Meadow Farm isn't huge by any means but it's plenty big enough to leave an impact on our area. I fell in love with the way this farm is ran. It's well organized with friendly hands that aren't to busy to stop, say hi, chat a bit and proud to show you around.  Dale, the owner of Lake Meadow Naturals, was kind enough to give us a tour of his farm and teach us a little about what he does and why he does it.
You can tell Dale really loves his work and cares a lot about animals, our environment as well as our next generation of farmers/consumers.

"I want children to know where their food comes from and not think that it just comes from a store." -Dale

It's comments like these that make it easy to see that Dale cares.
Today this valuable life lesson can be learned via the Pick-Your-Own area where your children can come and select eggs straight from the hens nests. I love this idea and I will be taking my kiddos over there very soon to do just that!

If you visit the farm you'll see several types of chickens, the ever popular Rhode Island Red, the beautiful Plymouth Rock and the Rhode Island White, with the Rhode Island Red being the most popular egg laying fowl on property. But this isn't a popularity contest. Everyone and everything here is equally important and each has a job to do.

What the Chickens do!
This farm has 3000 chickens that spend their mornings laying eggs. Then around lunch time the doors to the chicken coops open and they are released into the farms court yard to bask in the sun, stretch their legs and socialize with one another in the fresh air. As night time falls they then make their way back to the safety of their coops where they roost and bed down for the night. 

What the Farmers do!
Dale and his crew collect eggs several times throughout the day. After the eggs are collected they go into  a bath for about 15 minutes and then inspected and graded.

 I never knew how inspection and grading worked but it's a very simple process.
 Each egg passes in front of a light that reveals any cracks in the shell. See that egg above? It will be placed aside due to fractures revealed by the light. However, if the egg is free of cracks it is then weighed and dispensed in a trough with eggs of the same size and weight for packaging. The eggs are then placed into cartons and refrigerated.
Oh, and do you remember when all eggs came in those grey or off white paper cartons? Not those shiny pastel colored Styrofoam containers you see in your local grocery store or super markets today.
I'm talking the real paper egg cartons of yesterday.
 Well these lovely eggs are packaged in those same paper cartons. 
And these cartons have a wonderful twist.
 They are made from 100% recycled Orlando Sentinel Newspapers! 
And when you have used all your eggs you can return your carton to the farm where it will be broken down and recycled once more. I totally loved this! 
After the eggs are placed in their cartons
then it's off to the cooler for chilling where these eggs will briefly sit until delivered.

Where will these eggs end up?
Well for starters you won't find them at Publix.
But if you're a local and you want to get your hands on these just visit your local farmers market!
Don't have a farmers market near you? No worries.
These beauties can be found in health food stores such as Chamberlain's as well as other popular health food stores. Call your local health food store and inquire.
Don't live in Orlando and reside in Kissimmee/St. Cloud? Then hit up The Green Place.
It's no lie. 
These eggs are popular and 
hitting the the mixing bowls of some of Orlando's Top Chef's and are served to patrons of the most prized hotels in the City Beautiful.

If you get a chance you really should go for a hormone and antibiotic free egg that you know comes from a healthy happy hen. :)

Like I said earlier, I learned a lot during our visit and some of the facts were just amazing!

For example..
Did you know???
Lake Meadow Naturals chicken feed is ground in New Smyrna and doesn't contain any fillers, antibiotics or hormones. 
It's 100% CORN!
Imagine that!
They have a Pick-Your-Own area for children to hand select eggs straight from the hens nest for purchase. Keep in mind this is First Come -First Served and is a wonderful way to teach your children where their food comes from.

 The also have a country store on property where you can get wonderful heritage meats, cheeses and
 seasonal heirloom fruits and vegetables along with lovely canned jellies, jerky, and even some delicious GLUTEN FREE SPAGHETTI SAUCES!
{Ill be reviewing this lovely find in a separate post!}

Lake Meadow Naturals also raise Turkey. 
Now you can purchase your holiday turkey with none of the bad extras you get with a regular store bought turkey. 
Say bye-bye to the genetically modified turkey in your local store and hello to a beautiful bird free of antibiotics and hormones from Lake Meadow Naturals.

You'll also find lots of different cuts of Heritage Meats in their freezers as well!
Have no idea what Heritage meat is? Well neither did I!
I had however heard of Heirloom Seeds and Dale explained to me that Heritage means the stock has not been bred to heighten or selectively change a breed and they have been the same for fifty years or more.
Basically Heritage is a NON-GMO livestock, where Heirloom is NON-GMO plants.
Pretty cool, eh?

Another beautiful fact is...
Pesticides are NOT used on property.
They use the age old technique that was used back in the 1950's, the Guinea Hen!
These hens are amazing and eat bugs and larvae keeping the farm clean of insects without the use of harmful pesticides. 
Yes folks this is how farms kept insect populations in check before Monsanto!

Lake Meadow Naturals is home to over a half a million honey bees!
Sitting close to Orange groves, these bees make wonderful local Orange Blossom Honey. And when the Orange trees aren't blooming they make a wonderful Wild Flower Honey.
{I'm almost out of honey so I'm super excited about this find!!}

Lake Meadow Naturals recycle 75% of everything they use!
So as you can see Dale's operation is very environmentally friendly and is a finely tuned machine that works harmoniously with mother earth. 

They also produce and sell Duck eggs!
Amazingly duck eggs have a higher nutritional value than regular chicken eggs!
So if your iron is low...try duck eggs.
Duck Egg 15% Iron - Chicken Egg 5% Iron
And did you know that most folks who have an allergy to eggs can consume Duck eggs?

I know this is a ton of information and I haven't shared everything I learned with you. 
If you get a chance to visit this farm please do. It's a great experience I promise.
I'll close with this.
Me on a farm with dogs = Pure Happiness.

All photo credits go to JCPJR Photography.
Please don't use with out permission.

If you would like to learn more about Dale and his lovely farm you can visit them online at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taco Tuesday!

I deem this Tuesday

And with that I give you the Taco Pizza.

It's super easy to pull together and here's all you need.

Pizza Dough

1/3 cup Tomato Sauce
2 -1/2  Tablespoons of Pace Mild Salsa
1-1/2 t of Taco Seasoning
{You can always add more if you need more spice}

Pizza Toppings
Half a pound of Ground Beef
Homemade Taco Seasoning or Taco Seasoning Packet
Mexican Blend Cheese
Fresh Tomato

Put it all together.

Brown the ground beef and add 1/3 of the taco seasoning along with three tablespoons of water. 
Let simmer.

Spoon sauce over pre-baked pizza crust.
Cover with seasoned ground beef and sprinkle with fresh cut tomatoes.
Cover with as much Mexican Blend Cheese as you desire.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until the pizza is golden.
Place directly on rack for a crispier crust!

I always remove my crust from the pan after the initial baking and after topping the pizza place it in the oven directly on the rack for the full 15-20 minutes.

 Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Gluten Free Granola

I love granola. 
And I really love it in my yogurt and it always makes me a little sad when I see it somewhere and know I can't just pick one up.

So I decided to make my own by modifying a recipe I found and wow did it turn out great!
This may turn out to be a great Christmas gift to give family, friends and neighbors. 
Trust me when it gets close to the Christmas Holidays I will be making some of this
and when I do I'll be hoping someone stops by because it fills your home with such a lovely warm cinnamon smell.

You know the nuts they roast and coat with a cinnamon sugar and sell at the mall, farmers markets and such? Well that smell is exactly what your home will smell like. mmmm

And even though this granola has a sweet smell while its cooking it's not at all overly sweet.
I would describe it as delicately kissed by sweet maple and cinnamon.

It's super simple and so easy to put together and gosh it's also pretty darn good for you too!
Here is what you'll need.

3 Cups of Gluten Free Oatmeal (Bob's Red Mill)
1 Cup Dried Fruit (We chose Cranberries)
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Almonds
1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 t Vanilla Extract

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Warm the maple syrup and coconut oil on the stove until warm and both combine with one another.
Pour warm syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and add vanilla.
Stir until well mixed and coated.

Place into a 9 x 13 jelly roll pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove, stir and place back into oven for an additional 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and then package!

 Once you have your granola made you can pair it with all kinds of yummy things.
Like my layered to-go yogurt above.
I spooned a heaping teaspoon of honey in the bottom. Seriously, that is really all I put in the jar even though it looks like a lot more. Then scooped about 1/2 cup of Organic French Vanilla Yogurt on top of that then topped it with two and a half teaspoons of granola.
You can tighten the lid on it and toss it into your bag and have breakfast when you get to work.
Or make ahead of time and keep in the fridge for quick grab-n-go breakfasts and snacks.
{minus the granola you don't want it to get soggy :0}

These cans hold 8 ounces and make the perfect on the go containers!

I have to give credit to Green Plate Rule where I found this lovely granola recipe. :) 
So head on over to her site and take a look around she has tons of healthy recipe ideas.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Do you know what's really on your table/plate/tongue?

I know Fridays are supposed to be Inspiration Friday's with an image and possibly a short blurb but this Friday I have to share something I feel is critically important to get out.
And that is...
Do you really understand what you are eating?

Let me explain.

 Going Gluten Free has opened my eyes to more than just gluten in the foods we eat. It has opened my eyes and broadened my vision and honestly what I've seen has scared the hell out of me.

Ever since my diagnosis I have been on a mission to learn as much as I can about the foods my family ingests and it's just so shocking what I've learned and continue to learn daily.  When I think back on my grocery shopping days before I was diagnosed I picture myself pushing a cart through the isles blind folded and raking food off the shelves into my cart.
Oblivious. Just buying. No label Reading.

I'm being very honest here when I tell you this. 


I'm scared of what I've unknowingly done to myself and my family. For years I have mindlessly placed dangerous food on my table all because I trusted and believed if it was in the grocery store it had to be regulated and safe. Oh how I have been so wrong.

Sadly our food supply is being manipulated and controlled by scientists and the big companies who employee them.
It's more about money than safety.

I refuse to allow my family or myself for that matter to continue being a human science project.

My hope is that I can reverse the ill affects these chemicals have imposed on our bodies with fresh organic Non-GMO foods.
If it's too late for me hopefully making these changes now in my children's diet will help them long after I am gone. I want them to know what I know and understand that food is here to nourish us not make us sick. It's so important for me to teach them that we have to be vigilant and read and learn as much as we can so we can remain healthy. 


Special thank you to my awesome friend Shane over at Environmental Booty for sharing this short must see video on her blog this week.  I now pay it forward and share it with you.

Genetic Roullette

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Perfect Hair Band

Ties, Bands, Bows, Clips
Pony Tails, Buns, Braids

No matter how you prefer to pull your hair back you have most likely gone through a process of elimination to find the best fit for your hair type, the shape of your head and what feels and looks best on you.

And just like you, I have gone through the same process but I'm always on the look out for something pretty, functional and cool that I can pull my hair back with.
My requirements are quite simple I think, but sadly many products have fell short.

In my book a great hairband must meet the following requirements in order for it to earn a spot
in my bathroom drawer. 

Keep my hair out of my face.
No Headaches Please.
Quick and Easy
Not to Tight
Stay Put

Not so much to ask for, right?
I certainly don't think so.

I've been on the lookout for a while now searching for a hairband I can wear on my runs that will keep all those tiny little baby hairs around my face, out of my face. You know the tiny hairs that never seem to grow up and always seem to be wild and unmanageable.
{If you don't know what I'm talking about, May I say... You're so lucky!}
So I started noticing girls wearing bands around their heads years back and decided to give them a try. I purchased the ever so popular Scrunchie brand and while in the store I was thinking this is it! This is going to work, it has the no slip tacky strip on the back and it's nice and slim too.
I tried it and the thing flew off my head after a few steps out the door. 
Not to mention how darn tight it was. To be honest, if it had stayed on my head for my whole run I would've had a migraine for sure. So needless to say those went into the trash!
Wasted Money!

I need something that's not tight at all around my head otherwise I get a raging headache. 
I can't do a lot of head bands because they dig into my head behind my ears and are so tight they bring on the pain. So I'm always looking for something nice and loose fitting.

It also needs to be quick and easy. Just as easy as putting my hair into a pony tail. 
And I mean NO MIRROR REQUIRED kind of easy.
Seriously, come on you never know where you are going to have to put your hair up, am I right?

Staying Power is major with me, as I'm sure it is with you girls as well. 
{And I must include the boys in this too because I see more and more guys wearing hairbands now too!}
You don't want to be out and about and have to keep fiddling with your hair.
We are looking for set it and forget hair management here. :)

it needs to be pretty
Yes, Pretty is Key.
I mean I can do black till the cows come home but if I want a splash of color I'd really like the option.

So with this long laundry list of requirements let me tell you about a new product I tried out this morning that I've fallen for. 
And Ladies let me tell you, I think I'm smitten!

ok ok let me get on with it.

I tested out a lovely product called

I have to admit because these bands are so soft and you can't feel them on your head I was really skeptical on whether they would work or not.

The question that kept going through my mind was...
How can something so soft and so flexible actually stay put and hold while I'm bouncing all over the place on my runs?

Well after this mornings run I can report that this little hot pink beauty didn't move. 
She kept my hair out of my face
I never got a headache, thank you!
She was so easy to put on.
Wasn't tight at all.
She stayed put!
Yes, was oh so pretty. 
I just loved the pop of color in my hair. :)

This product really met all my requirements and for that I have to give

5 Stars

They work great.
Are you wondering where you can get some of these?
Well it just so happens that I am doing my very first blog giveaway and it's

I'll be giving away some lovely Twistbands to one lucky winner
and all you need to do is ...
follow the Rafflecopter Widget below and you'll be entered in the drawing. 

Is it a style, a function or a color that you look for?
What have your experiences been and why do you need Twistbands?
Come on...tell me girls!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the mean time...
learn more about the Twistband company and check out all their beautiful colors and other fun products they offer by clicking here!

Winner will be announced Friday, August 31!!
Best of luck to you all!