Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spingtime: A time for new things

Anyone who has lived in Florida more than a month knows we have one season here.  Well, more like little teasers for seasons.  Winter might last two days. Summer lasts forever.  And Spring and Fall provide nice morning and evening breezes.

One thing I treasure about Spring time- both environmentally and symbolically- is that it is a season for planting.  I am no green thumb.  I forget to water my plants often, and I only know what herbs look like because I label them.  But I genuinely enjoy gardening and planting.

My husband and I have made it a point in the last few years since we moved into our home as kind of a commitment to what we are about.  Believing in being organic.  Believing in being self-sustainable. Getting your food from your own backyard.

I don't live on 5 acres- not yet :o) But when I do, I am genuinely looking forward to a big garden and my own chickens and even a pig and a cow would be nice.  I'd love to have enough vegetables to easily make with meals routinely.  Isn't it great God has given us such wonderful things to get our food from?

For now, I enjoy my little garden, and planting different things each year.  Beyond getting a harvest, what is most gratifying is watching something grow, watching something bloom.  Just as in the Bible there is a time for sowing and reaping, so is it in our lives.  A time we must plant, not knowing what the harvest brings but being faithful and dedicated to the planting.  I find this has been the story in my life.  Unsure of the outcome but being present and dedicated in the process.

I planted today knowing that when I harvest it will be when my precious son joins me.  He too will get to see how in life we plant and reap.  He will see how dedication and love helps areas in our life grow, whether it is a plant, or our job, or our relationships.

So I guess I need to be better about watering and taking care of my plants this year! ;o) I'm determined, and I know my maternity leave will help.  So far I have planted (all organic) tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, basil, and cilantro- and I look forward to planting more.

I will keep you posted, and I look forward to using items in some new recipes!



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Salmon Dip Recipe- Healthy & Paleo!

We recently had gotten salmon dip from  Costco 2 weeks ago that tasted INCREDIBLE.  I haven't been as into fish while pregnant, so to like something with some fish in it was a nice surprise.  And I really wasn't disappointed with the Costco brand- the dip is made with sustainably caught wild salmon, has no artificial flavors or preservatives, is high in omega 3s and is trans fat free.  Props to Costco for carrying a great product!

I decided to recreate this dip at home, as it is something both my husband and I love.  Really, people think it takes so much longer to make healthy recipes, but it doesn't.  In less than 20 minutes I made the same dish and can know what exactly I'm putting into my body.  

Like I said, the ingredients in Costco's brand are not bad in my opinion.  Here they are listed:

Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk And Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers (Xanthan, Carob Bean and/or Guar Gums)), Smoked Wild Salmon (Salmon, Salt, Brown Sugar, Natural Wood Smoke), Kefir Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Whole Milk, Cream, Condensed Skim Milk, Pectin and Salt, Cultures), Red Onion, Celery, Capers (Capers, Vinegar, Salt, Water), Whole Eggs, Contains less than 2%: Sugar, Sea Salt, Lemon Juice, Citric Acid, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Dill, Cultured Sugar. CONTAINS: EGG, FISH, MILK

I think the only bummer is not knowing the source of the cheese and kefir, as this is not labeled an organic product.  And for the eater with a sensitive stomach, milk, egg, stabilizers, whether alone or together, might be a bad combo for the belly!

To make my dip paleo, I utilized coconut milk and one of my favorite new products Just Mayo.  I was introduced to Just Mayo at a Whole Foods demo in Naples just a month ago and was pleased to find that they sell this not only at Whole Foods, but also at our local SuperTarget.  As someone who has multiple times in the past couple months attempted to make my own mayo, I was glad to find a store-brand substitute that is affordable and healthy for the gut! Non-gmo and organic, this mayo is also gluten free, soy free, and egg free. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that you can't taste a difference ;o) Win Win!  To find out more about Just Mayo visit

Aroy-D has been my go-to for coconut milk lately, as even though it is not labeled organic, it is a very reputable brand and comes in a carton rather than plastic or a can.  It's 100% preservative free and free of carageenan, gums, and stabilizers, which can be problematic for many people.  The link to buy this product is:

So let's get to the recipe!! Keep in mind, you can add more mayo to this if you like yours even creamier.  And I season everything to taste!  I'm obsessed with dill and garlic, so thats included in my dip.

Salmon Dip Recipe

1 pound cooked salmon
1 cup paleo mayo (I used Just Mayo!)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Cream from one can of coconut milk (I used Aroy-D!)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp himilayan sea salt
 1 tbsp dill
1 tbsp garlic powder

Blend together in food processor/blender and BOOM. Done. And delicious. Make sure to refrigerate!

Goes great with the quinoa burgers! Check out the recipe at



Friday, March 13, 2015

The Legacy You Leave

This has been a heavy week for me.  Not really in a bad way.  Just spending time reflecting, enjoying simple moments.  No crazy new recipes here- at least this week :)

A year ago my father passed away and that had such a significant impact on my life.  I can see clearly now that between the crazy amount I was working, being head under water in grad school homework, and extracurricular activities, I was easily throwing my body further into adrenal fatigue.  When he passed, that was in so many ways another blow to my health, though I couldn't see it at the time.  It's crazy and amazing at the same time to think about what the body endures for so long, the way it will always try to keep up...until finally the straw breaks the camels back.

My father, in my eyes, was such a special person to me.  I didn't always know this or feel this, but I was certainly very fortunate later on in life to get this.  We had not always gotten along, we definitely didn't see eye-to-eye.  There are some things I choose not to know about him, and I have peace just not knowing.  Nevertheless, he left me a legacy. And I know he loved me very much.

And that's where I am today.  In my thoughts and mind.  In the past month I have just been able to see more and more clearly my God-given purpose...what is set before me. The responsibility I have towards my family, my husband, my child.

My legacy.

See, no one will remember me generations from now for being a nurse. Or a nurse practitioner. Or a blogger.  Granted, I guess my name will be written down in certain competitions and races and awards that have been won, but eventually that will all be swept away.  Really, my legacy is the only thing that lives on, that will carry on for generations to come.

And so I get it now. That there are many things I would like to achieve in my career.  Many personal goals and accreditations I would like to have.  And that is all good and well.  But even more importantly is what I give to my child.  My time, my love, my passion, my heart.

He will remember me for the times we read together.  When we go on mommy-son dates.  The times we run together.  The spelling tests I help him prepare for.  The prayers we say together at night.  When he tells me he met "the one."

And so I guess this is part of the journey of motherhood or as I have seen it.  This stripping of your personal wants and desires.  Melting of selfishness and self-indulgence.  Because now this island has become so much more.  Just as marriage prepares you in this, becoming a mother I feel like refines it.  Now there is a little being, God created within me, that will leave his own legacy too.

And so that is my responsibility and my charter.  To lead and teach my child in the ways of the Lord.  "Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4

And so I thank my Dad for the legacy he left me, for what he taught me.  And I am encouraged in my new journey to leave my legacy for my child.

May you be inspired to find your purpose and leave your legacy today and always.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Gluten Free Kale Quinoa Burgers

I have a love/hate relationship with quinoa.  I'm not a big fan of the texture or taste, but I'm a huge fan of its nutritional components.  It's healthy and my husband likes it.  Can't beat that!

Most people have heard about quinoa.  It's been an up-and-comer over the last several years, and it's loaded with fiber and minerals but does not contain any gluten.  Some of the minerals in quinoa include manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, iron, potassium, zinc and B Vitamins.  Quinoa also contains lots of flavonoids, which contain antioxidant properties, as well as contains all the "essential" amino acids.  This makes it a complete protein, just like meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, milk and eggs. 

Another great fact about quinoa is that it is gluten free.  There had been some debate about whether quinoa was tolerated by those with celiac disease.  According to new research from The American Journal of Gastroenterology, quinoa does not exacerbate the condition.  This data was collected from 19 celiac patients who consumed 50 grams of quinoa every day for six weeks, using whichever cooking method was preferred by the patient.

One way I do like quinoa is packed in burger form.  Combined with good seasonings and flavors, you can create great snack patties or use them for a meal.  They go great with salad or on the side of a main dish.  Today, I made kale quinoa burgers for my husband, Ray, to take to work accompanied with a yummy, kefir-based salmon spread that he could put on the quinoa patties.  Here is my kale quinoa burger recipe- packed with awesome nutrients from other superfoods too!

Kale Quinoa Burgers
(makes 12 patties or more- depends on how big you want them to be!)

1 cup quinoa
5-6 large kale leaves
4 large eggs, beaten
small white onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tsp Himilayan sea salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon (squeeze for juice)
1 cup almond meal
6 tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional, and I did not include in this batch)

Combine all the ingredients listed above in a bowl and mix well.

I added the nutritional yeast last to help thicken the mixture.

Boom! Just throw on the stovetop, and it takes just a few minutes for the patties to cook!