Monday, December 30, 2013

Planes Dusty Crophopper #KMartFab15 WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Congratulations to Amanda Cleveland!
You won this super cute Dusty Crophopper!
Amanda, please respond to the email I sent with your shipping address to claim your prize within 48 hours, or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to all those who took the time to enter!
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Top 13 Recipes of 2013 from my blog!

As this year ends, I look back and think "what a year to be proud of!"  I did publish my very own, very FIRST cookbook! (I said first, because there WILL be more!)  I'm proud I've managed to juggle being a mom, wife, blogger, author, public speaker, food demonstrator and full-time teacher. 
I'm also proud to be in the best shape of my life!
I'm proud to say my blog reaches over 32,000 individuals EVERY week!

Not only am I proud, but I'm extremely grateful as well.  I have reviewed almost 50 different products/serviced over this past year!  Reviews take a lot of time and effort....just as much or more as a recipe.
I'm grateful that despite publishing a cookbook in 6 months time, I managed to come up with the inspiration to publish 27 more original recipes here on my blog.  

I'm grateful to all of you, who have stuck by my side, encouraging me and never complaining about my lack of posts.  I'm grateful to have loyal "fans" and supporters who spread the word about my blog for me, show up at book signings, purchase my cookbook, email me words of praise and encouragement, comment on my blog posts to let me know how recipes turn out, etc.  I could not do this without all of YOU!


From the bottom of my heart!  I'm eternally grateful for ALL of you!

Now, on to the TOP 13 Recipes of 2013 (And they're all GLUTEN-FREE!)

13. Pumpkin Chili                                      

12. White Bean and Chicken Chili           

11. Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken           

10. Healthy Chocolate Chocolate Chip    
      Cookie Dough

9. Vodka Sauce                                              

5. Hawaiian Shredded Pork                       

4. Super Healthy Cabbage Soup                

3. Fall Harvest Soup                                               

2. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs                    

1. Slow Cooker Chex Mix                          

There you have it folks, the TOP 13 Recipes of 2013!  It's been a good year!  I can't WAIT to see what next year brings!
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chicken Curry Soup - Gluten-Free

I've had a curry sauce in my pantry for several months now.  I've been wanting to do something with it, but just didn't know what to do.  I've been craving Thai food lately and it's been very cold outside, so I decided to go for a Chicken Curry Soup.  It was JUST what I needed to satisfy that craving AND to warm-up!

This was VERY easy to make, folks.  Although Coconut Milk tends to be a bit higher in calories, you're not eating this every day.  It's still significantly less calories than what you'd be getting from a can or at a restaurant.  Just remember that!

My whole family ate this soup without complaint!  Actually, they all loved it!  My husband said I could have used even more curry sauce and it would have been fine.  Even though I LOVE spice, I wanted my kids to eat this without telling me it was spicy.  I felt it had a nice, light flavor and I TRULY enjoyed each bite!

Servings: 6-8

2-3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (full fat or light is fine)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups turkey or chicken stock - no salt added
2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
8 Tbsp. Kashmiri Curry Indian Simmer Sauce Mild (found this in my ethnic isle)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. lime juice

Brown rice, cooked

Directions: (Use a 3-5 quart slow cooker for this recipe)
Place the chicken in your slow cooker with the coconut milk, 
 (I had an adorable helper!)

Add in the turkey (or chicken) stock (mine was frozen,) peanut butter, curry sauce, brown sugar, coconut oil, brown sugar, ginger and lime juice.

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 2.5-3 hours.  This will need to be stirred a bit as things start to melt.  Just before serving, take the chicken out and roughly shred it.
Place the shredded chicken back in the soup and stir.
In each bowl, place about 1/2 cup of the cooked brown rice, then pour some of the soup over the top.
Serve and Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Homemade Barbecue Shredded Beef over Sweet Potatoes

Since I've been on this health kick, it's been a while since I've had anything barbecue at all!  I missed it!  Barbecue sauce is high in sugar and if I want to cut down on belly fat, I have to keep my sugar intake to a minimum.  I didn't feel guilty eating this barbecue sauce because I know EXACTLY what's in it and I could control it.  I'm here to tell you it doesn't lack flavor AT ALL!  It is equally, if not more delicious than using a store-bought barbecue sauce.  And honestly, it wasn't that hard.  It maybe took me a whole 5 extra minutes.  Maybe.  Without stopping to take pictures, it would have taken me less time.

If I can do this, YOU CAN TOO!  You know I'm going to walk you through it!  Take a risk and WOW your family with a homemade barbecue pulled beef!  We had guests over and they loved it too!  

I served this beef over baked sweet potatoes because honestly, I don't care very much for gluten-free bread.  Sweet potatoes are a very healthy alternative and are naturally sweet, making this even more delicious.  Pair this with a nice salad with 1/4 of an avocado sliced on top and a nice balsamic vinegar dressing and you have yourself one amazingly healthy and delicious meal!  

If you're not gluten-free, my husband suggests this over sub buns with some provolone cheese melted on top!

Servings: 10-14

6 lb. beef roast (I had this giant guy in my freezer from my cookbook photo shoot-you can use smaller if you need!)
15 oz. can tomato sauce
12. oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 onion, minced

Directions:( Use a 6-7 Quart slow cooker for this recipe)
In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion.

Place the beef roast in your crock.

Pour your homemade barbecue sauce over the top.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
Shred the beef with two forks and work it back through the sauce.
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Red Wine Steak with Mushroom and Onions - Gluten-Free

This meal came out of desperation.  I need SOMETHING.....ANYTHING in my slow cooker.  I honestly didn't care what.  I found these two Eye of Round Boneless steaks in my freezer and I had mushrooms leftover form Thanksgiving that needed to be used.  Bingo.  Done.  Oh....don't forget about the rest of the wine we didn't drink on Thanksgiving.....yeah, that went in to.  (I know what some of you are thinking.  How did you leave wine in that bottle?!  Well, I'm being a VERY good girl lately and I'd rather spend my calories on dessert!  :) )

This is one of my most simple recipes.  I don't often cook steak in the slow cooker because it often comes out dry.  This steak came out perfect!  Almost like a roast would.  The wine and onions made the mushroom sweet and delectable.  Everyone at the dinner table at this without complaint!  Now, that's what I like to complaints!  Yay!  We served ours with a little bit of quinoa, drizzled with the juice the steak cooked in.  YUM!

Servings: 2-4

2 eye of round steaks, boneless
8 oz. mushrooms, halved
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1/2 cup red wine (I used Merlot)
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil

Directions: Use a 2-3 quart slow cooker for this recipe)
In your crock, place your steaks, mushrooms, onions and broth. (My broth was frozen because I had it portioned in my freezer!)

Next, season everything with the salt, pepper and basil.
(I apparently forgot to take a picture of this after I seasoned it!)

Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, or on HIGH for 3-3.5 hours.
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crown Maple Apple Cranberry Pork Loin - Gluten-Free #TaptoTable Challenge

Recently, I posted a Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup and Pomegranate Seeds recipe on Twitter and Crown Maple Syrup retweeted my recipe!  I felt honored!  I've been staying away from refined sugar lately and only cooking with Sugar in the Raw, Honey and Maple Syrup as my sweeteners.  I contacted Crown Maple and they happily sent me some samples to try.

Currently, Crown Maple Syrup is having a #TaptoTable Challenge, so I happily accepted!
As per usual, I took my cue from whatever caught my eye in the grocery store.  Yesterday, it was cranberries (they're so beautiful) and pork loin.  They were a beautiful marriage with the Crown Maple Dark Amber and Medium Amber.  The final product was sweet, with a hint of tartness from the cranberries.  
I'm excited to share the recipe with you!

Servings: 4-6

2-3 lb. boneless pork loins
12 oz. cranberries
3 apples (I used Gala,) sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1.7 oz. Crown Maple Dark Amber Syrup
1.7 oz. Crown Maple Medium Amber Syrup

Directions: (Use a 3 quart slow cooker for this recipe)
I used my 360 Cookware Slow Cooker for this recipe, so I seared my pork loin first.  If you don't have one, don't worry about it!  Just place your pork loins into your slow cooker and season them with the salt and pepper.
Add in the apples
and the cranberries.
 Add in the Crown Maple Dark Amber and Medium Amber Maple Syrup.

Cook on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 3.5 hours.
Serve and Enjoy!

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Turkey Stock - Gluten-Free

Every wonder what to do with the turkey carcass besides throwing it away?  I have the perfect solution for you!  Use the turkey carcass, along with all the leftover veggies from your veggie tray to make an extremely healthy turkey stock you can freeze and use later in your recipes.

It's super duper simple folks!  ANYONE can do this!  In fact, I've been scared for years to try this and I have no idea why.  I feel silly for not having done this before.  From now on, I will keep my turkey, chicken and beef bones to make stock with.  I've been using stock out of my freezer to cook with now and I know EXACTLY how much salt is in it.....none!  LOL  It gives me the opportunity to season things appropriately!  With my history of kidney stones, watching my salt intake is very important.

So, don't throw away the leftover veggies or carcasses!  Use them to make a delicious stock you can use for recipes to come!

Servings: 8-14 cups (depending on size of crock you use)

1 turkey carcass, plus a little bit of turkey fat
2 cups carrots (chopped into chunks)
1 onion quartered
2 cups celery
5 cloves garlic

Directions: (Use a 3 quart or larger Slow Cooker for this recipe)
Place the turkey carcass in your crock.

Add in the carrots, celery, onion and garlic (I added my garlic at the last minute by accident, so it won't be pictured until later)

Fill your crock with water.

Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours, or on LOW for 6-8 hours.
It will look like this.

CAREFULLY pour your broth through a strainer.

From here, I poured cup portions into freezer baggies.  I have been using them in my slow cooker recipes from the frozen state. (I just run the baggies under warm water to release the contents from the bag)

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doTerra Essential Oils #Review and #Giveaway!

I've always been intrigued by my friends who use Essential Oils, but I've never had the opportunity to try them until now.  I was recently contacted by Corinne of doTerra Essential Oils and she offered me the opportunity to try them.  I eagerly took her up on the offer seeing as how we are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season.  Also, our insurance is changing the 1st of the year and we will no longer have the awesome medical coverage we've had the privilege of the past 9 years.  

Before I begin, here is a video on how doTerra Esspentail Oils work and would benefit your family.

Corinne sent me several different oils.  I'm going to tell you how I've used each of them so far, but I will also tell you, it doesn't stop here for me.  I will be using them ALL the time from now on.  I definitely see the benefits of them and first hand how well they work.  I'm a believer!

I first tried the Peppermint Oil.  I often get headaches....most of which are stress induced, but some come from changes in the weather as well.  I rubbed it on my temples and above my eyebrows where my headache was.  It worked wonders!  I didn't have to run to the Advil like I usually do.
The trick with essential oils is to use them often, so frequency is important.  6-8 doses is what Corinne recommends in a day.

My son Gavin (2.5) came down with a horrible cough and cold.  He sounded terrible.  I contacted Corinne right away and she guided me through which oils to use.  With children under 6, you want equal part essential oil to equal parts olive oil or fractioned coconut oil.  I applied the following to the bottoms of his feet (where our pours are the largest) 6-8 times a day for 4 days; On Guard (to help fight off whatever bug he had and to help boost his immune system), Peppermint (to help clear his sinuses) and Melaleuca (to help ease his cough).  At night, I put a little lavendar on the back of his neck to help him sleep better as well.  The first night, he slept 100% better than the night before.  By the second day, he was like a new kid!  The cough subsided and was very minimal if at all.  1 week later, my daughter got the same thing (we ran out of the On Guard!) so I used the Melaleuca and Peppermint on the bottoms of her feet and it cleared right up for her as well.  I'm amazed.  No over the counter anything.  

Corinne also sent me some Deep Blue, which I've been using to help ease any sore muscles I've been having from working out.  Works like a charm....kind of like Bengay!

Whenever I have acid reflux (which I'm prone to) I take some of the DigestZen and rub it onto my throat.  It works almost instantly!

The Lemon has been great for de-stressing and relaxing these past few weeks.  All of the doTerra Essential Oils can be taken internally, and this one is great in water.

Many people suffer from seasonal allergies....and my husband has TERRIBLE allergies! Corinne suggested this for his allergies and even sent capsules for us:
We will be trying this.  He is not currently in one of his allergy seasons and hasn't needed medicine.  In about 2.5 months, he'll be suffering again and we will give it a try.  I have no doubt it will work!

I can tell you I will most definitely continue using these products because not only do they work, they work for SO many more things than I've listed here!

You can contact Corinne at or (907) 306-2003

To order doTerra Essential oils go to

Want a Chance to win some for FREE?
Enter through the Giveaway Tool Below and you could win this set!
Good Luck!

*I was given the above mentioned oils to try in exchange for this review. I was not given any other form of compensation. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may differ from others'.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup and Pomegranate Seeds - Gluten-Free

Deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious!!!!!  That's what this was!  Absolutely delicious!

You know, when my husband walked into the kitchen, he said "where are the marshmallows?!"  When I told him there were no marshmallows and that we were going to be eating something a bit healthier this year.  He said "Oh! :(" (and yes, he had a frowny face too! LOL)

At dinner, after trying this casserole, I asked him "So, did you REALLY miss the marshmallows?!"  He said proudly, "Nope!  Not all all!  This was really good!  Nice job, honey!"

I concur!  This was incredibly delicious!  I'm so happy I decided to go with a healthier version of the sweet potato casserole.  The maple syrup makes this perfectly sweet and the pomegranate seeds give it a slight pop of sweet and tangy crunch.  The orange zest gives it the little something extra to take it over the top.

I sincerely hope you try this at your next family gathering!  You won't be sorry!

Servings: 6-8

5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. apple pie spice
1 cup pomegranate seeds, divided into 1/2 cups
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange

Directions: (Use a 3-5 Quart slow cooker for this recipe)
Place your sliced potatoes into your slow cooker.

Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with nutmeg, cinnamon and apple spice.
(I had a little help from my little ones and we got a little extra cinnamon than we bargained for!  LOL)
Add the pomegranate seeds
and the orange zest and orange juice.
Stir it up!
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
When it's time to serve, sprinkle the remaining half cup of pomegranate seeds.  It adds a nice pop of freshness and color!

Serve and Enjoy!
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