Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Infinity Scarf Giveaway!!!

Have you ever heard of Sensibly Rooted?  If not, you are missing out!

Founded this year by Kris and Monica, Sensibly Rooted is a shop on Etsy where you can purchase crocheted items, upcycled dresses, handmade goods, and paintings.  Based out of Ohio and Virginia, these girls are moms, wives, and friends who love to craft!  The girls work very hard on projects, and it is reflected in the quality of their products.

I have been blessed this Thanksgiving to offer readers a chance to get started early on their holiday shopping- without even leaving the comfort of their home! Sensibly Rooted is giving readers a chance to win a handmade Infinity scarf in the color of your choice!  

We are so thankful for our readers and supporters this holiday season, and I can honestly not think of a better day to do a giveaway than Thanksgiving. We are blessed by all the encouragement and wish blessings, health, prosperity and peace this holiday season to all our followers!

Have fun posting entries below and good luck! Contest closes at Friday midnight tonight in case you don't get a chance to look at your computer today (which is totally ok!!!) :o)

And don't forget to check out Sensibly Rooted at and

Happy Thanksgiving <3
Please click the specific "Invent Your Own Option" to see what is required.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Goat Cheese Quiche w/ Sweet Potato Crust- it's whats for breakfast!

Recently, I was fortunate to have dear friends over for a brunch.  Nothing makes my heart happier than to be surrounded by friends that are like family as I prepare for this week of Thanksgiving.  Between the hustle and bustle of everyday life, food brings people together.  Meals are memories and moments that we share together.

I am a big fan of brunch food and anything that involves quiche.  So being gluten-free and nutrition conscious, I wanted to make a creation that served dual purposes and was tasty too!

It's important I give this disclaimer. Raw dairy. I know I have talked about it on the blog before.  I know it makes some people cringe, and others worry for its possible effects.  I am lactose intolerant, so I have had to be conscious of my dairy intake for several years now.  If I don't?  Depending on what it is and how much I have, stomach indigestion and horrible constipation.

Believe it or not, since I went gluten free many months ago and eliminated some other problem food items and ingredients from my diet, I find that I tolerate dairy a whole lot better now.  Even more so, I tolerate raw dairy.

What's the difference? Raw milk products aren't pasteurized, and there isn't any reason they need to be if they are coming from free-range and grass-fed cows.  Pasteurized dairy, on the other hand, come from cows fed high-protein, soy feeds unless it's classified as organic.  This feed promotes proliferation of bacteria in animals and explains why it needs to be pasteurized.  In addition, pasteurization transforms the physical structure of milk proteins and alters the shape of the amino acids, making it highly allergenic.  It destroys the friendly bacteria in milk and reduces the vitamin and micronutrient content.  Also, it makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk, which can lead to health issues and poor dentition in children.

Buying organic is key, but raw milk dairy is especially key if you have lactose intolerance.  It's filled with healthy beneficial bacteria, valuable enzymes, cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid, and high omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios.  That said, I had started having raw milk products prior to pregnancy, so I did feel more comfortable with that going into pregnancy.  Gauge your comfort level, and that can help you choose.  Currently, raw dairy needs to be labeled "for pet consumption only" because in Florida it is illegal to be sold for human consumption under the Commercial Feeds Distribution License.  Fortunately, there are great farms out there with excellent farming practices that have products at local farmer's markets that can be trusted.

Now that my schpeal is over, I'll get to the good stuff :o) I did use raw milk sour cream in my recipe, but I have also tested an organic, lactose-free, grass-fed cow brand whose yogurt I have also enjoyed, and I found their product to be equally desirable in taste. Have fun experimenting and enjoy this tasty quiche... it would make a perfect Thanksgiving morning breakfast!!

Blessings <3

Goat Cheese Quiche w/ Sweet Potato Crust

2 ground sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons butter, divided (I used Kerrygold brand)
2 teaspoons Himilayan sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
12 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups raw or organic sour cream
4 ounces goat cheese
5 green onions, sliced thin
crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Himilayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a pie/quiche casserole dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter.  Cut parchment paper in a circle for the diameter of the bottom of the pan and another strip to fit the sides of the pan. Line the pan with parchment, pressing into the butter to adhere. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the side and bottom parchment layers.  Set aside.

Make sure the grated sweet potatoes are completely dry. Add them to a large bowl.  In another small bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 2 teaspoons Himilayan sea salt, teaspoon of black pepper and pinch of red pepper flakes.  Pour over sweet potatoes and toss lightly to coat.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven to cool.

Turn oven down to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, add 11 eggs, sour cream, crumbles or softened goat cheese, green onions, 1/2 teaspoon Himilayan sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk well to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the prepared crust without overfilling beyond the crust.  Bake 30 minutes.  Turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.  Allow 20 minutes to cool before serving.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Better than Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup!

Soup.  Four letters that make me salivate.  Especially when it comes to creamy fall flavors.

Soup sometimes gets a bad rap for being super salty and filled with preservatives.  And for the most part, thats correct.  Canned soup is usually loaded with a day's worth of sodium, preservatives and not to mention it's usually in BPA-lined cans, which is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins.

But soup doesn't have to be unhealthy.  There are plenty of great ingredients and alternatives to keep your soup healthy and nutritionally rich.

Recently, I decided I wanted to create a healthier version of Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup.  But one bowl alone has 100% your daily total saturate fat, more than 60% your daily sodium recommendation, and not to mention trans fat.  I experimented with some different ingredients, including coconut milk and gluten free artisan flour, to create this creamy and delicious treat.  If not better-tasting (but I think it is!), you can at least be comforted that it is much lower in fat, sodium, and calories then Panera's version AND you can enjoy it for a couple days at a cheaper price :o)

Better than Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup!
1/3 cup butter (I used kerrygold)
1 1/2 cups yellow onion chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk (get BPA-free cans!)
5 tablespoons gluten free artisan flour
1 head of broccoli florets chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 container or 4 cups organic vegetable broth
12 ounces cheddar cheese shredded

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Add 1 can of coconut milk, garlic, and flour and stir to thicken.

Meanwhile, pour vegetable broth in your slow cooker and add thyme and chopped broccoli florets.  Add 3/4 your total amount of cheddar (I used two kinds: one from a local farmer's market and CABOT).  When onion mixture is thickened, add this to slow cooker.  Cover slow cooker with lid and put on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Turn heat to warm and add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and the remainder of your shredded cheddar.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Soy Saga: The Truth About the Bean

I know this will offend some people.  The truth is I have wanted to write about this topic for awhile, but I knew I better get my facts together to write about it. Hence the two weeks off the blog. Oh, and being full time in my last year of nurse practitioner school and working. All my choice, but still...let's talk about soy :o)

I have only recently, since the beginning of July, stopped eating soy.  So prior to that, it really wasn't on my radar.  I had heard bits and pieces about soy milk not being all that great, so I had nonchalantly switched to almond milk.

In addition, I had gone vegetarian last year.  Not really for any particular reason, except for the influence of the documentary Forks Over Knives (Food Inc. is better!) and because I wanted to expand my palate to different options.  Goodness, I love animals, but I personally believe that humans are a superior race and we can eat whatever we want.  Opinion clearly.

However, when I got really sick the beginning of the summer, it became apparent to me that items in my diet needed to change.  Not because they aren't ok for some people, but they aren't ok for me.  I had noticed over the last couple of months more irregularity with my period, less endurance, more tiredness, more irritability.

The fact of the matter is, I know from my history of having a eating disorder years ago, consistent bloating, food sensitivities, and stomach cramps, there has been some leaky gut and irritable bowel-like symptoms along the way.

Believe it or not, soy is one of the most common culprits of food sensitivities.  It's found often in tofu, protein bars, salad dressings, and many processed foods.  Let's look at a list of other names for soy, soy-containing ingredients, and ingredients likely to contain soy that you are probably not aware of:

Other names for soy: 
Bean curd                                         Soy Sauce
Bean sprouts                                    Soybean
Edamame                                        Soya/Soja
Kinako                                              Tamari
Miso                                                  Tofu
Natto                                                 Tempeh
Okara                                                Yuba

Soy-Containing Ingredients:
Hydrolyzed soy protein                   Soy grits
Mono- and di-glycerides               Soy lethicin
MSG                                                  Soy nuts
Soy                                                    Soy protein
Soy albumin                                     Soybean oil
Soy flour                                           Teriyaki sauce
Soy grits                                           Textured vegetable protein (TVP)

Ingredients Likely to Contain Soy:
Bouillion Cubes                                Hydrolyzed plant protein
Bulking agent                                   Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Flavorings                                         Mixed Tocopherols
Gum arabic                                      Natural Flavoring (may be soy-based)
Guar gum                                         Vegetable Shortening
Lecithin                                             Vegetable Broth
Stabilizer                                           Vegetable Starch
Thickener                                          Vitamin E (often contains soybean oil)
Vegetable Oil

Some of you may be thinking that none of your food contains these ingredients or you have never heard of them.  I encourage you to check your food labels and see how common they really are, and how they are probably in the large majority of foods that you own.  So why should you care?

Branded as "healthy," the large majority of soy in the United States is genetically-engineered (GMO).  The long term effects are unknown, but some of the effects we do know of are staggering.  Here are some:

1) Soy has one of the highest concentrations of goitrogens, a compound that interferes with thyroid function, especially if you have hypothyroidism.  According to a randomized, double-blind, crossover study performed by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, there is a 3-fold increased risk of worsening hypothyroidism with dietary supplementation of soy.

2) Soy is often contaminated with high levels of aluminum, which can be toxic over time

3) Soy contains anti-nutrients that can inhibit the absorption of nutrients for your body

4) Soy protein is incomplete and inferior to animal protein

5) Pay attention females: the phytoestrogens in soy can disrupt your hormones and potentially contribute to infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer.  In 2009, a Brazilian study looked at the impact of soy on the female reproductive system of rats and found that soy consumed for 15 months produced significant changes in the uterus and reproductive cycles, compared with rats given no soy or organic soy.

6) Soy tends to be processed heavily to make up ingredients labeled on "healthy" food

You may not be allergic to soy, but you certainly can be sensitive to it.  IBS and similar digestive issues are frequent manifestations of a sensitivity.  The best way to find out if soy afflicts you are to start an elimination diet.  When you start to reintroduce small amounts of soy back into your diet, you can see what effect it has on you.  The paleo diet is a great resource for a soy free diet, and you can find more information on elimination diets at

Now before you get the impression that I think soy is evil and of the devil, let me explain some of the good effects that have been found from good, non-GMO sources of soy for people that do not have soy sensitivies:

1) According to a research study performed by the Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology and Metabolism, soy protein was found to possibly have a positive influence on bone and calcium homeostasis in postmenopausal women, particularly those not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

2) According to the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, no hormonal effects were found in infants and children fed soy protein formulas

The best for choice for you? Well, that's up to you, but certainly non-GMO, organic soy is seemingly the best choice for many individuals.  For those with gut issues, consider following an elimination diet or one that promotes the absence of soy to see how you feel and contribute to your gut health!