Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Italian Sausage Stew - Gluten-Free

Yummo!!!!!  This "stew" was absolutely delightful!  So flavorful, light and just plain delicious!
You know it's good when the kids eat the whole bowl, right?!
And did I mention they added "Wow, Mom!  This is good!"????

So, let me just say this....apparently I was seriously blind to the turkey sausage at my local grocery store for months.  No, seriously.  It's been there all along, but for some reason, I expected it to be in a package like the ground turkey or ground chicken.  I have NO idea why.  LOL  It was in a the majority of the sausage they sell....EXCEPT, it was by the ground turkey....NOT the rest of the sausage, so that must have been what threw me for a loop!  LOL  Anyway, crisis averted.  I now know where it is and shall buy it with great pleasure! ;)

My "secret ingredient" in this "stew" is the Basil Essential Oil!  WOW!  It gives this soup and EXCELLENT pop of flavor!  2 drops!  That's it!  It was one of my freebies last month so I'm making good use of it!  I'm in LOVE with my Essential Oils!!!!

So, this "stew" is super easy to throw together, so there should be nothing holding you back from it! It's chock full of good-for-you things and it really doesn't take very long to put in your crock.  So, get going, find that lean Italian sausage (LOL) and give your family a dinner they'll thank you for and you can feel good about!

Servings: 6-8

28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup onion, chopped
3 sweet peppers, diced (I used one red, one yellow and one orange)
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6-7 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 lb. lean ground turkey sausage
2 drops Basil Young Living Essential Oil (or 1 tsp. dried basil)

Pour the diced tomatoes into your crock.

Add in the onions and sweet peppers.

Next, add in the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Add in the Basil Oil.

Pour in the water
 and crumble in the sausage (uncooked.)

Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours of on HIGH for 3-3.5 hours.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

BLAZE Pizza Review and GIVEAWAY!

I don't get too excited about eating out these days.  Since I've been gluten-free, I actually kind of dread it.  I have to hound the wait staff, the cooks....double, triple check.  It's kind of a nightmare, frankly.  I was recently invited to check out Blaze Pizza in Royal Oak with some of my fellow Michigan Bloggers and I REALLY didn't want to pass up the opportunity, BUT, I hadn't chanced pizza out since being gluten-free.  The only pizza I've eaten, I've made myself or bought from the gluten-free frozen section.  So, I went into this blogger event, thinking I'd probably leave either hungry or "glutened."

Guess what?!  I DIDN'T leave hungry and I DIDN'T get "glutened!"  Hallelujah!

So, let me tell you about my experience from the eyes of a "gluten-free'er'"

 First, you get in line.  It's a bit like Chipotle.  Menu board up on top and lots of fresh ingredients down below.

Rest assured, ask immediately if you have a gluten allergy or just a preference.
They pressed my dough in a separate place and had a separate vat of sauce on the far right from which they ONLY use for gluten free pizzas.  They also put your pizza on it's own special black mat.  They change gloves and are very careful.

They then stick your pizza into their giant oven until it is done.

When they took it out, I did have to ask them to turn the paper over on my tray because other pizzas had passed over the top and crumbs had fallen.  Do be aware of this and don't be afraid to ask.  I wasn't and they were not at all offended.

Your pizza is then cut with a separate pizza cutter.

Look at this beauty! This right here is the Red Vine pizza with applewood bacon added to it.  It was AMAZING!

I also tried the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.
It was wonderful as well.

Because the staff at Blaze Royal Oak is amazing, they brought out a Veg Out Gluten Free pizza for me to try as well.
It was SOOOOOOOO good!!!  I can't tell you which I liked I guess I better go back and try them again just to be on the safe side! ;)  LOL

You see, all the other bloggers were able to try Blaze's only dessert option, the S'more Pie.  Great, except that didn't do me any good.  Sooooooo, I "suggested" (strongly) that they should have a S'more Pizza on their menu.....and that they should test it out right then and there and make me a gluten-free version without the graham cracker cookie!!!!
So, they did!  LOL!!!  Ask and you SHALL receive!  Right!?!!!
I'll tell you, they were TOTALLY not prepared for this....they had no butter or anything to put on the crust, so it was dry.  BUT, pizza dough with chocolate and marshmallows on it?!!!!  COME ON!  AMAZING!

Here is me and Amber of enjoying our dessert pizzas!

The prices at Blaze are awesome!  There is no pizza over $6.95 and limitless toppings!  Who can go wrong with that for a fresh pizza?!  And can see how big they are!

I have to say, I was OVERWHELMINGLY impressed with Blaze Pizza in Royal Oak.

They gave me some swag that always makes us happy!
(The rarely seen Mr. Comerford!)

Blaze Pizza Royal Oak is located at 
112 S. Main St.
Hours: 11 am-11 pm. SUN-WED
11 am.-3am. THU-SAT

So, you want to taste some BLAZE pizza for yourself?!

I have FREE PIZZA passes to give away!
I will take 4 winners and each will receive 2 FREE PIZZA passes!
All you have to do is comment below on WHY you would like to win these and leave an email address so I can contact you if you win!
*ENTRIES DUE MONDAY, APRIL 20 at 11:59 p.m. EST!*

*Disclosure: I am posting this review and giveaway of my own free will.  Blaze was kind enough to invite several bloggers for a free dinner, but did not expect anything in return, just the hopes we would love it and want to tell others about it.  They did give me free pizza passes to give away as I saw fit.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

FitAddict SUCCESS!!!!!

Many of you have read my previous posts about FitAddict Training and MANY of you have joined me in my journey....either on your own or by joining FitAddict yourself.

At the end of July, 2013, I decided to take my health back.  I decided to get fit.  Let me clarify here....being "fit" is different for EVERYONE!  We all have our own insecurities.  We all have problem areas.  We all have certain goals in mind.  I have never considered myself fat.  I hate that word actually.  I just knew I didn't like what I saw in the mirror when my reflection stared back at me.  I was not confident.  I was NOT happy.

Being unhappy with myself led to major insecurities.  Last summer, I had conceded that I would never wear a bikini again.  Being a mommy of 2, sometimes we sacrifice and I had come to the realization that my body would never be back to where I used to be.

I want you to see this...
This was me at the end of August.  I did not look bad.  However, we all perceive ourselves differently, correct?  My perception was I was ok.  I knew my body could look better, but not for anyone else.  Only for me.

Here I was about a month later...
A slight they are side by side
You can see the confidence in my face had changed though.

November was my game changer month.  You can see my muscles starting to take shape.  This was VERY encouraging!
Here is a side by side from the beginning until this point

January was when I REALLY started gaining confidence!  My hips were shrinking and my muscles continued to grow.  My face had slimmed down quite a bit too!

By February....I was a lean mean fighting machine!
(This is a selfie after a good morning workout!)

And here I am.....currently.  I am making HUGE strides.

When I first posted these current pictures on facebook, I got a lot of encouragement.  I also got a few negative comments about how people "like the first picture better!"  Well, first, let's talk about how it's not very kind to post negative comments.  Ever heard of the saying "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all?!"  I wish that everyone knew about that.  It's actually sad that some people feel better after making other people feel worse.  
I can tell you, I feel AMAZING!  I feel STRONG!  I feel POWERFUL!  I feel CONFIDENT!  I feel BEAUTIFUL!  I will NOT let others get me down!

I promise you, I eat!  Actually, Andrea of FitAddict Training closely monitors my diet and adjusts is appropriately depending on the measurements I send her.  I recently added 2 servings of sweet potatoes in a day because I felt like I was becoming too lean.  It's all about finding a balance.

This past Thursday, I was hired as a FitAddcit FitLeader!  I taught my first class Thursday night and I enjoyed EVERY second of it!
Here I am after teaching my first class, which was "Booty Blaster!"

It was soooooooo much fun!!!!

Today, it's over 70 degrees out, which is AWESOME!  BUT, I tried on my summer pants.....
These didn't even come close to fitting!  The pair on the far left, I SQUEEZED into last summer but they're stretchy so they were my go-to capris!  The shorts in the middle?  I bought those in Venice on my honeymoon.  Those fall off even when they're buttoned.  The pair on the far right?  Those are stretchy too, so I was able to fit in those last summer, barely.  Those are at least 2 inches too big.

These are the things I'm left with.  The pants on the left I bought in early college.  They were tight, but I liked them.  The shorts in the middle don't fall down, so I kept them.  They're still big though.  The skirt on the right fits wonderfully, but is still a bit big.

In conclusion.....I get to go shopping!  Yay!  LOL

In celebration of me becoming a FitLeader, Andrea is offering a special!
FitAddict Total Body Blaster Program: FitAddict Training is a Virtual Fitness/Nutrition & Motivation Program which incorporates healthy eating, workout videos that combine cardio & weight training (perfect for a busy on the go schedule), group support, healthy easy recipes and confidence building challenges that strengthen us inside and out! **Lose 7-10lbs within first 2 weeks!!! Program includes: New Monthly Upper, Lower, Total Body Targeted, & Yoga workout videos Monthly Calendar (Keeps you organized and on track!) Easy to follow FAT BLASTING Meal Plans & Recipes Private Facebook Group for accountability & support LiveStream Access to Our BOOTY&ABZ Class (Live classes with Andrea, Hope or Susan. All you do is click on a link we provide to workout with us & classes are recorded if you can't make them) Also a live Q & A after each class! Special: One month Cost: $49 ** SPECIAL: 2 MONTHS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!! THIS PRICE ENDS ON 4/18/2014 AT MDNIGHT EST. Click below to take advantage of this offer!! All of your Program info will be sent as soon as we receive payment confirmation. Please let us know if you have any other questions!! We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Italian Spiced Chicken - Gluten-Free

I needed a quick, simple, cheap dinner.....and one that required VERY LITTLE thought process behind it.  I  remembered how I was at my cousin't house a couple months ago and she had made chicken legs that were delicious!  When I asked her what she cooked them with, she said "Mrs. Dash!"  That's it!  I couldn't believe it!  Something so simple tasted so good!

So, when I needed simple, I too, turned to Mrs. Dash seasoning.  It made my chicken legs delicious!  Of course, in "Hope fashion," I doctored even my Mrs. Dash up a bit and added a few more spices to make this Italian Spiced Chicken.

Honestly, anyone has time for this recipe.  So, go grab some super cheap chicken legs, your spices and get CROCKIN'!

Servings: 4-8

3-4 lbs. bone-in chicken legs (or any other bone-in chicken)
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning
1 Tbsp. basil
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup water

Directions: (Use a 5 quart or larger slow cooker for this)
Mix together the Mrs. Dash, basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder.

Line the bottom of your crock with chicken and sprinkle with the seasoning.
Place the remaining chicken on top and sprinkle with the rest of the seasoning.

Mix together the tomato paste and water.
(Mine was a little thick, so I added more water later.  Yours will be a little thinner because I made the adjustment to the recipe above for you)
Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries, Grosse Pointe Farms

Do you see this beautiful cake?

This amazing cake was made by Jenn Tilton of Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries in Grosse Pointe Farms.  This was my daughter's 6th birthday cake.  I told Jenn my daughter would like a FROZEN cake, but gave her complete creative control over it.  It turned out above and beyond what I ever expected.  And for those of you looking at this and thinking she did a lovely job with the's not fondant.....that's pure buttercream.  INCREDIBLY delicious buttercream I might add!  Seriously!  I could eat a whole tub of that buttercream!  LOL  Ella's birthday party was at Jungle Java and lots of the moms there came over to see the cake and to ask where it was from.

I'm here to tell you my guests said not only did it look fantastic, but it tasted awesome as well! (I wasn't able to try the cake as it was not gluten free)  However, I did try some of the frosting down on the cake board that hadn't touched any cake and it was incredible!

Jenn Tilton is the executive chef at Morning Glory.  She graduated from Baker College with an Associates degree in Baking/Pasty Arts and an Associates in Business Management.  She has been in the industry since 2006.  She ran the Gran Traverse Pic Co., worked at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester as the Assistant Pastry Chef for 6 years and has been with Morning Glory since they opened back in 2011 where she started as an assistant to the pastry chef.  We're so proud of her for climbing that ladder!  We can tell she truly loves what she does by how awesome her cakes are!

Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries  won Best of on the Knot for 2014 for wedding cakes too!  AWESOME!

Jenn also runs another business on the side called Indulge by Jenn.  You can find her facebook page here.

Morning Glory is located in downtown Grosse Pointe Farms on Kercheval.  
They are open 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. and are a full service bakery that offer not only cakes and sweets, but breakfast items, sandwhiches, coffee, wine and liquor!

You can find them online at
or on

*Disclosure: Jenn graciously agreed to make this beautiful cake for free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may differ from others'. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cranberry Nut Stuffed Pork Loin - Gluten-Free

I wanted to cook pork loin, but I didn't want to do something boring....I wanted to do something a little "different."  So, I started digging through my cupboards and cabinets.  I came across dried cranberries and some pecans and walnuts.  Knowing I can make almond butter out of almonds, I figured.....why not makes some cranberry, pecan, walnut butter?!  So, I did!

I threw the cranberries, pecans and walnuts into a food processor and magic happened.  It turned into a wonderful, thick filling for my pork loin.  PERFECT!  

I got to work cutting my pork loin into pieces so I they would fit into the bottom of my crock, butterlied them, stuffed them and put them in my slow cooker with a little applesauce on top with a prayer.  LOL  Honestly, sometimes I'm REALLY unsure as to what I'm throwing in my slow cooker is going to be edible.  Thankfully, this was!  It was delicious actually!  My husband was a little unsure of what I was up to, but once he tasted it, he was on board! ;)  

Here's the only negative.....the "looks" of this.  When it cooks, everything turns very brown.  The stuffing looks not very appetizing.  BUT, if you can get past that, this is delicious.  It also needs to be served with the juices over the top, otherwise it is very dry.  I took the picture below of my plate and then ate it as is.  It was painfully dry.  Tasted good, but dry.  When I had it the next day, my husband was like "pour the juices over the top! It's SOO good that way!"  So, I did.  And he was right.  I love that man.  He's so smart.  (Brownie points?!!!)

Servings: 6-8

3-4 lb. boneless pork loin
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries - or any other dried fruit you like)
1 Tbsp. honey
3/4-1 cup natural applesauce
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: (Use a 5-6 Quart or larger slow cooker for this recipe)
In a food processor, place the walnuts, pecans, craisins and honey.
Process this until it forms into a thick paste that looks something like this....

If your pork loins will fit into your slow cooker without cutting it into pieces, great.  Mine would not, so I cut mine into 4 equal sections, then butterflied them open.

Spread the cranberry, walnut, pecan paste onto one half of each piece of your pork loin.

Close them up and put them into the bottom of your crock.

Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
 Pour the applesauce over the top and add the water to the bottom of the crock.

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