Friday, October 30, 2015

Don't Throw it Out! 5 Things You Can Do with Those Pumpkin Insides ;)

As you know already if you read my blog, I love everything and anything pumpkin.  I try to stock up on the organic BPA free cans of it in the fall so I can have it all year round.  Now that we have some extra land to garden with, I am hoping I can save some seeds for planting to hopefully have lots of pumpkins!

Another thing you probably know from reading my blog is I HATE wasting food.  Ironic, since I spent over half my life dealing with an eating disorder.  But moral of the story is I was raised in the "clean your plate" club, and I have roots there.  My husband belongs to the same club, so I expect our son will too! :o)

One of those "clean your plate" obsessions I have has to do with not letting food go to waste that we buy.  I am thankful that we are able to eat organic, and I do whatever I can to not let any of it get thrown out or wasted.  Ways I do this that I have been featured on the blog before, include making bone broth and soups.  In my Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup recipe, I share how can you save old veggies that seem on their way out to make a great soup!

Using up your whole pumpkin is another great example, and what I want to share on the blog today.  If you didn't buy one to carve or paint this year, then you are just missing out on some fall spirit!  Make sure to grab a pumpkin from your local patch or grocery store to decorate or carve... then don't throw it out!  Get ready for some great ideas on how to use the pumpkin insides after!

Here are my 5 favorite ways you can use those pumpkin insides:

1) Roasted pumpkin seeds.  Duh.  Too simple, but amazingly, I had never tried making this before this year.  Here's what you need:

1 cup or however many pumpkin seeds you want!

Soak the seeds in water for 2 hours.  This should help get any pumpkin residue off.  Then dry on a towel till completely dry (I did overnight).  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the seeds with about a tablespoon of coconut oil (or other oil of your choice) per cup.  Add a topping if you like (ex. salt and pepper, cinnamon and spine, cayenne, etc.).  Pop them in the oven, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Once they start to brown a little, they are ready to serve!

2) Pumpkin seed butter.  What's awesome about this recipe is that it's gluten free, vegan, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free and soy free.  That's a lot of frees! :o) You need:

rinse and dried 2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp oil (I used coconut!)
2-3 tbsp honey (optional)
1 tspn cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in food processor or blender, and be prepared to be there for a little while. You need to coarse chop and scrap down sides and repeatedly pulse for a 2-3 minutes to get it going.  Then you need to continue to blend for 8-10 minutes until you get your desired consistency.  Enjoy with some root vegetables, gluten free bread or as an ingredient for baking or salad dressing.

3) Pumpkin butter.  This recipe is so easy but so bad.  By bad, I'm referring to the sugar department!  If that is a category you have more flexibility in with your gut, this is a special treat you can make to go along with some gluten free bread and muffins.  Here's what you need:

3 1/2 cups of pumpkin insides (that gooey stuff!)
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup apple or peach cider/juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves

Warm the pumpkin insides until warmed through in a large saucepan on high for 10 minutes. Then add the sugar, juice and spices and stir well.  Bring mixture to a boil and cover.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Then remove from heat and let sit before removing the lid for about 10 minutes.  Serve immediately or can keep in a glass jar or other airtight container in fridge for 3 weeks.

4) Pumpkin seed pate.  You are probably thinking what the heck is that?!  Well, we have a few local vegan restaurants here that introduced me to the "seed pate" concept, and I fell in love.  Prior, I thought pate only referred to liver, and I just have had such a hard time liking liver.  But you can make seed pates that have a nice, crunchy and less sweet texture that goes great on sandwiches, tortilla wraps, or collard green/spinach wraps.  It's also easy to make.  It's similar to making the pumpkin seed butter but requires a lot less time.  Here is the recipe:

1/2 medium sized apple
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 tsp himalayan sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Soak your pumpkin seeds for 2 to 3 hours and then set out to dry overnight (or about 6 hours).  Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until you get the desired consistency.  Mine came out pretty crunchy rather than smooth!  Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a few days.

5) Pumpkin puree.  As simple as it sounds.  You can use the meat of the pumpkin to puree or mash and put in any recipe you like!  This is great to use for desserts, soups, breads, sauces, etc.  Or you can cut it up and roast it like squash.  You need:

As much as you want of pumpkin meat! Cut up in 1 inch squares.
Coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Coat the pumpkin with coconut oil (or oil of your choice) and roast for 50 minutes.  I like to add nutritional yeast or salt or cinnamon to top mine.  Can substitute for the butternut squash in my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe or use in my Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup Recipe. Enjoy!



Sunday, October 25, 2015

3 Essential Oils You Need Right Now

No joke, I am an oils addict.  If you don't know this about me, you probably haven't come over to my house or we don't hang out too often.  Because between diffusing oils, putting it on my skin, and lathering it all over my child, I'm a fanatic.

And with good reason.  I have seen essential oils bring both rewarding benefits to my health and my whole family's health.  The truth of the matter is that oils have been around forever and used for health and wellness.  They can provide health benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally.  While the FDA has made it clear that essential oil companies cannot label their products as "curing" anything, that can't negate individuals own testimonials.

Interestingly, essential oils aren't really oils at all because they lack fatty acids.  Rather, they're highly concentrated plant components.  Sometimes, it takes huge amounts of a plant to get a small amount of an oil, which is why some oils can be so expensive.  It is always important to look for the highest therapeutic grade when looking for oils, which is one of the reasons I chose and love Young Living oils.  I do and have bought other brands, but I always come back to Young Living, just because that is my preference and where I personally have seen myself and family experience health benefits.  However, I believe that you should choose whatever brand works best for you, as long as it is of highest quality and therapeutic grade!

It's important you know how to properly use oils.  Many cannot be directly applied to the skin (especially for babies!) and necessitate a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.  Only a few can be ingested as well.  I highly recommend that you purchase an essential oil reference guide to guide you with your applications and safety measures.

I find many people often ask me what my favorite oils "must haves" if you will.  Here on the blog I'm going to share my top 3 favorites, the ones I think everybody should have regardless if you are really into oils or not.  I thought 3 was a great place to start because it fits most peoples budget and keeps things simple.  What's great is many of these oils are pretty common, and thus, they are a little bit more affordable.  I'm going to give you some price ranges from what I have seen in stores (for 100% pure therapeutic grade oils) and include my member prices in YL as part of range.  Check it out!

1) Lavendar (price range: $10-$20).  Definitely one of the most popular oils and a must have for every medicine cabinet.  You can use for itchy bug bites, promoting healing of cuts and scrapes and burns.  It's also great for sleep too! (I personally have had best results with tranquil roller and clary sage before bed).  I use lavender as an ingredient for all our household soaps  (Dr. Bronners castille, lavender, and vitamin E!) and for many of our cleaning products.  So versatile.

This is one of the best oils to have on deck for babies and kids too.  I use lavender for my son's homemade baby wipes (coconut oil, water, lavender and vitamin E) and have diffused to help promote sleep.  Before I knew I needed to completely eliminate dairy from my diet, I mixed coconut oil, tea tree oil and lavender to help moisturize my son's skin and to address rashes with great results!

2) Lemon (price range: $10-$15).  Just as versatile, if not more so, than lavender.  You can use this oil for cleansing yourself and for cleaning around the home.  This is one of the few oils that can be ingested and has many benefits of doing so.  Mixing a couple drops with a cup of water can help calm the stomach and promote digestion.

This is another great oil for babies!  I used shortly after my son was born to help with congestion by mixing a couple drops with a couple tablespoons coconut oil and dabbing under his nose.  I applied periodically throughout the day, and his congestion cleared up by the next day.  Again, this is my own personal experience, but I love sharing what it did for us!

3) Thieves (price range: $25-$35).  Have you ever smelled thieves?  Personally, I think it smells like heaven.  It's like all the flavors of fall and Christmas in one smell.  Great to diffuse to help promote health and wellness in the home and seen as a "natural" flu shot.  We pretty much diffuse this in our home all winter long to help with immunity.  It's also great for cleaning, and available in many cleaning products.

There are many other oils and uses for oils besides what I talk about here, between relieving pain, hormone balance, helping with nausea, and cleaning and protecting skin, just to name a few.  If you are interesting in learning more, please join an oils group, find a distributor, or feel free
to message me if you have any questions about oils, recipes, or if you want to know more about Young Living.  You can check out my page by going to Lindsay's Young Living Sign-Up.  I love helping people come up with ways to use the oils to help benefit their health and their whole families health!



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe

Yup, it's as good as it sounds.

I made this concoction because of course I love everything pumpkin and was again looking for ideas for a sweet treat.  No surprise there!! I love my sugar so I find that having squashes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin often get me squared away in this arena with their natural sweetness.  Extra bonus?  They are good for you!!  Tons of fiber, Vitamin A, beta carotene, and antioxidants are very healing for the gut.

This past week hasn't been my favorite.  I've had a mini flare up with my autoimmune symptoms and realizing again the importance of my nutrition and the things I consume.  It's not easy having to avoid so many things, and I find you often have to do it blindly....because you trust that putting in the hard work over a period of time will yield results.  You also are reminded that this eating is part of a healing journey and one that takes persistence and determination.  I try to remember to see God's guidance, wisdom and grace as part of the process, because it is easy to get discouraged and upset with myself if I slip up.  What a reminder that we must rely on God when we cannot be strong and need strength in being disciplined!

 I love that this is recipe is paleo compliant and Whole 30 compliant (if you omit the chocolate chips and sugar).  I was able to figure out ways to make it AIP compliant too, which is where I am shifting my diet again.  This is an especially good diet for those with autoimmune disease and/or symptoms who are looking to heal their gut and decrease inflammation.  I believe that decreasing inflammation in my gut can allow all other avenues in my body to heal.  Not to mention, it will help me absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients more efficiently, which is especially important for the health of my son too, since I am breastfeeding.

Another great component of this recipe is the inclusion of vital proteins, which has a great amino acid profile similar to bone broth.  It is great to sneak into recipes and smoothies to help get additional nutrition and protein.

I hope you like this recipe.  Both my husband and I give it two thumbs up!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe (paleo, DF, soy-free, GF, Whole 30, AIP)

1/2 cup almond meal or coconut flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 scoops (2 servings) vital proteins/collagen
2 tbsp almond butter or coconut butter
1 tbsp almond milk or coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (optional)
1tbsp organic honey (optional)
1 tbsp enjoy life chocolate chips (optional)
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch himilayan sea salt

Put all ingredients in small mixing bowl and stir well.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes for more cookie dough consistency. Enjoy!



Friday, October 9, 2015

Amazing Grass Green Superfood

I'm a smoothie junkie.  Always have been, always will be.  Anybody who was friends with me in college knows that I singlehandedly could have kept the local Tropical Smoothie Cafe in business.

And no doubt, smoothies are good for you.  Well, usually.  If your adding a lot of sugar and sweets to your smoothies, you might not be getting many nutrients.  I know I had to revamp and do a double take with my smoothies since having Jace, as I found that he could not tolerate both dairy and avocado, as he would get very gassy.  When I tried to reintroduce dairy into my diet a couple weeks ago, I found that he was no longer gassy, but would get sporadic eczema-like rashes on his back, elbows, and shoulders.  So the dairy was back out ;o(

It has been a great opportunity all along, especially since going paleo almost 2 years ago, to really make my smoothies and food choices as nutrient-dense as possible.  That is why I loved the products sent to me by Amazing Grass.

Amazing Grass Green Superfood is a powerful blend of nutrient-dense organic greens and antioxidant rich super foods in convenient powder form.  I love how just one serving provides a powerful blend of whole food nutrition that can support my whole family's overall health, immunity and energy levels.  In addition, the alkalizing greens from Amazing Grass help balance pH levels and naturally aid digestion.

Like all the foods and ingredients I include in my smoothies, Amazing Grass products are organic, non-Gmo, vegan and gluten free.  I was given an opportunity to try most of their ten flavors, which includes: Original, Berry, Chocolate Infusion, Energy Lemon Lime, Energy Watermelon, ORAC Antioxidant Boost, Orange Dream, Pineapple Lemongrass, Tangerine Immunity Defense, and Alkalize & Detox.  I found that not only could I use these products as a great add-in for my smoothies, but they went along great with other food choices too!  I was able to use the Amazing Grass ingredients in making my gluten-free pancakes and oatmeal more nutritious too!

Another great perk about Amazing Grass is that they have an individual kids line that specifically addresses children getting all their daily servings of fruits and vegetables in a convenient drink powder.  Check out and their Facebook page at , where you can get a free sample of their product to try!

Here are some pics of the fun smoothies and meals I made using Amazing Grass: 

ORAC means oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and it is a great indicator of a product's antioxidant capacity.  Since one serving of broccoli has 900 ORAC, and one serving of carrots has 201, 40,000 ORAC in Amazing Grass is pretty darn good!

Jace loves helping mommy make breakfast!

Making gluten free pancakes with the original Amazing Grass supplement

Turned out great!

Using Orange Dreamsicle to add to my lactation breakfast smoothie

Adding berry flavor to my gluten-free rolled oats!

Ignore the color- both my husband and I loved the taste of these oats!

Making another lactation smoothie to snack on...this time with Chocolate infusion.  A hint of chocolate goes a long way!

This smoothie has Amazing Grass Chocolate Infusion, gluten-free rolled oats, almond milk, pumpkin, almond butter and one banana...Yumm!

I can't wait to use these products for more smoothies and recipes!  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to check out this product, and make sure to check out their page if you are interested in sampling organic products and/or looking for coupons for organic products.

I'm giving away these three samples to one person who comments on this blog post or FB page with which sample they would like to try!  Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends 10/12/15 at 9 PM!



Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog.  My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin is my favorite.

I seriously could eat it every day.  I know I have shared several pumpkin recipes on this blog, and there are many I have made but haven't shared.  But they sure have tasted good in my belly!!

Pumpkin is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.  Paired with oats and chocolate chips, you can get some added lactation effects for breastfeeding and lactation.  A tablespoon of brewers yeast or flaxseed are other ingredients you could add to this recipe if you wanted to boost the lactation effects.

I never knew I would love breastfeeding as much as I do.  My son has blessed me so much in this area.  Right away he latched and was an eating champ. I always thought I would be a more scheduled, "baby wise" feeder, but this didn't really work out for me.  I found being too structured and regimented left little room for flexibility for my son, who is constantly growing and changing.

My way is not better than anybody's else's.  It just has worked out the best for us and has allowed for me to have a great supply my entire postpartum period.  My goal is to make it to at least a year of breastfeeding with no formula introduced.  I want to do baby led weaning when my son starts taking foods, and you better believe I plan on pumpkin being one of those first foods!  I appreciate that if I can't achieve this goal, I need to have grace with myself too.  Gods plan and ways are better than mine!

I know you will love this muffin recipe.  With fall in the air, and temperatures a little cooler than summer, these are a nice warm treat that is very filling and sweet.  It's a great snack or breakfast for before school or on the go.  Or if you just really love pumpkin.  An chocolate.  And pumpkin and chocolate together :o) I provided some substitutions as well that could help you make this recipe what you need it to be.  Hope you enjoy- more pumpkin recipes to come!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins (GF, DF, soy-free, paleo)

1 smashed banana
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 organic eggs
1 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 1/4 cup tapioca flour or starch
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 packed coconut sugar or brown sugar (may also substitute 1/2 cup honey)
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash french vanilla syrup
dash of himilayan sea salt
1 cup enjoy life chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all wet ingredients first and then add dry ingredients and stir.  Add chocolate chips last.  Mix well and scoop into muffin tins in about one level ice cream scoop portions.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until top golden. Enjoy!  May also refrigerate and free.  Depending on how big your scoops are, you can make 12-18 muffins.