Thursday, July 30, 2015

Easy Thai Lettuce Wraps

This delicious recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law and her Thai Au Pair.  We made these when they came to visit last week, and they were such a huge hit I have recreated the recipe twice since then.  Everyone who has tried these amazing lettuce wraps (even the preschoolers) has loved them.  They are light and crisp, yet the high in protein making them filling enough to keep you satisfied through the afternoon.  That is, if you have enough self-control to not finish the entire pan.  :)

Here is my eyeballing recipe for these super easy one pan lettuce wraps:
1 Head of fresh organic romaine lettuce (green or red leaf would work, too)
Thai red curry paste
Coconut Oil (optional)
2 lbs Ground organic turkey meat
1 Package of mushrooms (I've used portobella, shitake and button.  All work well)
1 Bunch of green onions
A few cloves of garlic

Optional garnishes:
Thai Basil
Hot Sauce

Additional optional veggies that I have to be delicious when added:
Organic zucchini
Organic yellow squash

Below: lettuce for wraps and green onions and mint for toppings

 Heat a large skillet with a bit of coconut oil and about 1-1.5 tablespoons of red curry paste.  Add ground turkey meat and season with salt and pepper as desired.  Add diced mushrooms.  Cook until the meat is about halfway cooked and add the garlic.  Continue cooking for a few more minutes and some sliced green onions (as desired and reserving some for garnish).  Cook until meat is cooked through and veggies are soft.  Zest a bit of lime and squeeze some of the lime juice onto the meat (reserving some for garnish)

 Place a few rinsed and dried lettuce leaves onto a plate and place the meat on top of the lettuce like a taco.  Garnish with green onion, slivered mint leaves and a lime wedge. (Hot sauce adds a nice kick as well).


Monday, June 1, 2015

Caprese Pasta aka Cold Pasta - A quick and easy vegan meal

I have been making this refreshingly light pasta dish for years.  It is a staple in our house throughout the summer, made even better when the ingredients come fresh from our garden.  It is super easy to make, vegan, healthy, gluten free and great for a quick weeknight meal, picnic or cooling summer lunch.

1 Package of gluten free noodles - I like Jovial's brown rice noodles best
1-1.5 Cups of a variety of fresh small tomatoes - like golden pear, sungold, cherry, grape, etc.  Grocery stores now carry great variety packs perfect for this pasta dish...simply use the whole package. Cut in the tomatoes in half if small and quarter if larger
1/4 Cup of fresh basil chopped
2-4 Cloves of garlic (depending on size) finely minced
Olive Oil
Red or White wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
You can always add some Buffalo Mozzarella if you want.

Cook pasta according to box directions. While the pasta is cooking, gather, wash and cut your fresh basil and tomatoes

Place chopped garlic, basil and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste remembering that tomatoes generally need a bit more seasoning.  Drizzle with olive oil.  I drizzle over the entire mixture three times.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar.

Now using your best kitchen tools (clean hands), squish the mixture up exploding all of the tomato juices together with the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and basil.

Drain and rinse the cooked pasta with cold water.  Add the pasta to the bowl containing the tomato mixture and toss.  

Vuala!  A delicious, healthy meal in less than 20 minutes.  Enjoy! 
(husband and 3-year-old approved)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It's the end of the school year, and that means it is time to thank our wonderful teachers and school staff for all their amazing hard work.  My son goes to an environmentally forward Montessori school so I wanted to give the teachers something that reflected that sentiment but was also somewhat homemade, creative and hand made in part by my son.  Therefore, I decided to get some plain white coffee mugs and have my three year old son paint them.  I bought the mugs at Michaels.  They came as a kit with the paint, and you simply paint them then bake them to set the paint.  Super easy.  Next my son and I went to the store and picked out herbs, which we planted in the mugs with tags reading "Thanks for helping me grow!"  Of course, the teachers and staff will eventually need to relocate the herbs to a larger vessel with drainage holes and can then use the mugs for coffee, tea or even pens at their desk.  They were a big hit!  My son loved painting the mugs and letting me know which one goes to which teacher.  I found the tags by searching free printable online and simply tied them on with natural string.  I even saw one of the gifts sitting on the recipient's desk as I left the school today.  Remember to thank your teachers!  Everyone deserves to be appreciated for jobs well done!

Enjoy and Thrive!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Low Glycemic Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

For those of you who do not know, I have a serious weakness when it comes to mint chocolate chip ice cream.  It has always been my favorite sweet treat.  It began as a child when my father would get me a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake every year for my birthday.  It was the best treat, and one of my fondest memories growing up.  However, in the years since discovering my candida and dairy allergies, my indulgences in this decadent dessert are few and far between...until now! 

I am so excited to have found this delicious recipe created by my sister-in-law's got's my husband's brother's wife's mother (how's that for a mouthful), who is a genius at creating healthy and delicious recipes, so please check out her blog:  Anyways, I indulge in this healthier version of mint chocolate chip decadence several time a week, and it even allows me to have mint chocolate chip "ice cream" for breakfast.  Even better, it's a low glycemic index smoothie packed with super foods and protein!  I changed a few things, I use Young Living Essential Oils and only use two drops instead of three.  I also add kale.  I find it gives it a brighter green color more similar to mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I always have it on hand.  However, both of these adjustments are pure preference and convinence of what I have available in my home.  Added bonus: my three year old also loves it!

Check out the recipe in the link below:

Enjoy and Thrive!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What's in your beach bag?

As summer approaches and we start planning for our beach vacations, warmer weather, fun in the sun, days at the pool and all the things that make summer so wonderful.  It is also time to start thinking about your summer beach bag.  We fortunately live near the coast, and it is already beach weather here!  The other day when we were enjoying a morning at the beach, I decided to take a photo and write a blog about what I love and always have in my beach bag.  First of all, when I am with my family, I take our really large Life is Good anchor beach bag.  (When it's just me and hubby, I grab my smaller straw bag).  I love how my Life is Good bag fits everything we need (including three or more large beach towels).  I also make sure to have my filtered mineral water in a glass or stainless steal bottle so I am not ingesting BPA or any of the other toxins found in plastic.  Klean Kanteen makes great ones that can be purchased here: Non-toxic Water Bottles.  I also make sure to I have a hat and a bathing suit coverup.  Right now my favorite coverups are my J. Crew tunic (pictured above next to my hats do below) and my maxi skirt/dress from La Blanca (pictured below). I am also in love with my Life is Good straw hat (pictured in all).  I searched for a long time for hat that fits my large head, and finally found this one at our local Life is Good shop.

We also always bring our Bose Bluetooth Speaker.  It produces quality sound, is portable and easy to stow away when it is not being used.  Lastly, when I'm not using coconut oil as my sunscreen I pack and use Juice Beauty Organic Sunscreen.  It is does not have the toxic and irritating ingredients most sunscreens contain, and it provides more protection than coconut oil for those long days in the sun or strong Caribbean sun.

Non-toxic Water Bottles
Juice Beauty Organic Sunscreen

What's in your beach bag?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Warming Chicken Pho Recipe

I am addicted to Chicken Pho!  Ever since I began eating more warming foods to help my Qi movement and rid my body of the cold dampness that has been plaguing me, soups, especially pho, have become an integral part of my diet.  This pho recipe makes a particularly warming soup with ingredients such as garlic, ginger, onion and greens that have warming properties.  I make it at least once a week.  In fact, I made it for lunch today.  As an added bonus, my 3-year-old loves it, too!  It also makes a great weeknight meal by being simple, fast and easy clean-up.

I make a couple of different versions...a super homemade one with bone broth and a more quick and easy one with store bought broth...depending on time and ingredients on hand.  I also switch out my green veggies based on what I have and what is in season.  This recipe is based off of one I found on that I altered to fit my diet.  I love making this delicious soup with the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken.  I use the carcass to make bone broth and the remaining meat for the soup.

1 Box of Asian Brown Rice Noodles  (I like Annie Chun's Maifun Brown Rice Noodles)
6 Cups Chicken Stock (I prefer homemade bone broth but use low sodium organic free range chicken broth if I am out of bone broth.  I also add pink Himalayan salt to taste if I am using the boxed low sodium broth.)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce or Gluten Free Soy Sauce
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Teaspoons of Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
Juice of 1 Lime
5 Green Onions (white and green parts), chopped
1.5 Cups Cooked Chicken (more or less depending on taste)
1 Cup Bok Choy or Savoy Cabbage roughly chopped

For Garnish (optional):
Additional chopped green onions, sliced jalapeƱo, hot sauce, lime wedge, fresh basil and bean sprouts

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Note: These noodles cook really fast (2-4 minutes) so once they are done drain, rinse and set aside.  Bring the broth, fish sauce/soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lime juice and onions to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the chicken and greens then cook until heated through (about 10 minutes).  Divvy up the noodles into individual bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles, add garnish and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dandelion Root Tea - My Healthy Caffiene-Free Coffee Alternative

Have you tried Roasted Dandelion Root Tea?  It is my healthy alternative to coffee in the mornings.  I simply love it!  With its stimulating effect and slightly bitter flavor it feels and tastes so similar to a morning cup of joe.  I love coffee!  I used to enjoy a cup or two every morning.  However, I began 2015 caffeine-free and found Roasted Dandelion Root tea to be a great alternative.  Since I have ovarian cysts, PCOS and cystic breasts, my OB/GYN and Midwife recommended I remove caffeine from my diet.  However, as a mother of a preschooler, cutting out coffee was a daunting task.  Therefore, when I stopped drinking caffeine with my cleanse (click here to read about the cleanse I did), I decided to continue my caffeine-free ways and seek healthier alternatives.  Thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Elana's Pantry, who combines chicory root, dandelion root and cinnamon to create a dandelion coffee, I decided to try dandelion root tea after I couldn't find chicory root at my local grocery store.

Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea has some amazing health benefits.  It is naturally caffeine-free but has stimulating and detoxifying properties to it.  This "weed" aids in digestion, helps the kidneys cleanse the body and improves liver function.  It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  The tea can help regulate blood sugar, boost the immune system, reducing bloating, relieve constipation and assist in weight loss.  Furthermore, Organic Roasted Dandelion Tea has possible cancer-killing properties (studies are still being done).

**Dandelion Root can interact with certain medications and should not be used if you have specific allergies to certain plants, especially dandelions.  Always speak to your health care provider if you are pregnant or nursing.**

To purchase the Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea I enjoy click HERE or check you local grocery store.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"It's All Good" Cooking Adventure

Get ready to embark on an adventure with me....if you choose.  A year ago, for Christmas 2013, my husband bought me the greatest cookbook I have found to date.  Never before have I owned a cookbook from which I could make the recipes with little to no substitutions to fit my dietary needs (I have a severe candida allergy, a moderate gluten allergy and a dairy allergy).  Not only are the recipes overall simple and easy to follow, they are also least the ones I have tried.  While I have tasted many of them, I have not come close to trying them all and have found myself making my favorites over and over.  Then I realized that I want to try all of the recipes...even the ones by which I am intimidated.  This is where the "adventure" comes in to play.  Not unlike Julie in "Julie and Julia," I am going to make all of the recipes in Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, "It's All Good."  I will still blog and write about my usually health and wellness topics, which will probably come up in the "It's All Good" Cooking Adventure blogs as well, for the recipes in the book very much follow my style of healthful eating.  If you do not already have the cookbook, you can purchase it HERE for less than $20!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dr. Sponge ~ The best way to clean your skin!!

Have you heard of Dr. Sponge or Konjac sponge?  It is my new favorite way to clean my skin.  Not only does it leave my epidermis feeling clean, moist and nourished, this amazing face and body cleanser is soap-free, biodegradable, eco-friendly and all-natural!  What's more, this cleanser is so sensitive it is even great for babies; in fact, it was originally made for infants.

Dr. Sponge is made from the exotic Asian plant, Konjac, which is commonly used in food and dietary supplements.  This nurturing plant, with its plentiful supply of beneficial vitamins and minerals, is excellent for the skin.  The natural texture of the sponge gently cleans while lightly exfoliating your skin to keep it nourished, healthy and happy.  Dr. Sponge combines the plant with other healthy ingredients like aloe vera and lavender so you can purchase a sponge directed to your skin type.  "Dr. Sponge works great at cleaning pores, removing make-up, dirt, oil and blackheads, leaving your skin refreshed and revitalized," according to the Dr. Sponge informational packet.

Dr. Sponge offers seven different options in skincare treatments including: Original for all skin types, Aloe Vera for dry skin, Charcoal for oily or combination skin, Lavender for stressed skin, Lycopene for mature skin, Pearl Powder for dull skin and Green Tea for dry or normal skin.  All of these options are available in the facial sponge and body sponge.  I use the Aloe Vera variety and love how smooth, clean and moisturized my skin feels.  Furthermore, the sponges are pH balanced.  

What makes this product even better is the price!  At only $8 per facial cleansing sponge this beauty product will last two to three months when stored properly.  (Instructions included in each box).

To buy a Dr. Sponge click here.

Local (Hilton Head and Bluffton) people can also purchase them at Pure Natural Market on the island.  If you haven't checked out Pure Natural Market it is worth a visit.  It has an amazing assortment of healthy and eco-friendly products, and be sure to try one of their delicious, organic smoothies!

I hope you enjoy your Dr. Sponge as much as I do!!  Let me know how you like it!

For more information please visit

Monday, January 12, 2015

Flor-Essence Detox/Cleanse

I decided to begin this year in a trendy manner.....with a cleanse/detox.  It had been something I had been researching for a while, and I found the program I wanted (with the help of my holistic healer). However, the timing wasn't right to begin (Holidays, where I was in my cycle, etc.).  Thus the trendy beginning to 2015.  I feel great!  I absolutely loved this detox program.  It is gentle, easy and has me feeling more energized, clearer, more grounded and all around better.  It was easy for me to adapt to this plan, for I already have a pretty clean diet.  The main things I needed to cut out were caffeine and alcohol, which I was enjoying the sugary kind (wine and champagne) over the Holidays.  Below is a day-to-day synopsis of how I felt during the purification program as well as a link to buy the kit.

I chose the Flor-Essence 7-day Purification Program for its all herbal, all natural and gentle detoxing properties.  This is a great option for people who are interested in beginning better health and cleaner eating without jumping off too high and for those who already have a generally clean diet and are simply looking for a little detox boost, like myself.  The program is designed to cleanse the colon, kidneys and liver.  It is important to eat real, whole foods while on the detox in order to reap the full benefits.  After all, it doesn't help to cleanse if you are putting toxins right back in your body.  The program calls for no sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or fast food.  Also drink plenty of water!!  It begins with tea, which can be made as weak or strong as you like, to be enjoyed in the morning (before eating anything) and before bedtime.  15 minutes after ingesting the tea, take the Pro-Essence supplement (kidney detox) both morning and night.  Then it is directed to drink the Flora-Lax before each meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Note: the Flora-Lax contains oats that are not certified gluten free so if you have a severe sensitivity to gluten you may want to find another cleanse.  It is believed that oats are tainted with gluten as they are cut using regular flour in the factory (unless certified gluten free).  Before I get into the nitty-gritty of it all I want to note that nothing in the program box tastes bad.  Everything is quite neutral in flavor.  However, be prepared to add some time to your morning routine with all of the drinks in the morning.

Day 1: I felt very motivated with high energy and a positive mood.  It began my week of having to pee all of the time...think pregnant lady...that's how often I had to pee.  I was also always thirsty, which went hand-in-hand with the instruction to drink plenty of water.  I had a slight headache on-and-off all day and slight soreness in my lower back.  I felt like I had enhanced sense of taste and smell and ended the day with massive sugar cravings, which I did resist.

Day 2: (Warning there is dialogue concerning bowel movements).  By day two the Flora-Lax started to do its job cleaning the colon.  I had two large bowel movements each day from this day on to the end of the cleanse, all of which were of healthier consistency.  (And that's more poop talk...until my three-old gets out of school, I'm sure).  I slept really well the night before and woke up feeling rested, motivated and energized.  I did notice I had more body odor this day and for the rest of the cleanse.  My on-and-off headache continued.  My mood swings disappeared.  I was feeling great!

Day 3: This was the hardest day for me during the cleanse.  Even though I got to sleep in a little bit, I felt tired, cranky and simply "off" all day.

Day 4: I felt great!!  Positive, patient, calm and centered!  No more headache either.

Day 5: Another great day!!  I felt grounded, calm, focused and energized.  Love it!  I want to feel this way all of the time!

Day 6: I felt slightly off on day six.  I worked to keep grounding myself.  I felt a little congested through the night, and my son didn't sleep well that night, which means I didn't sleep well either.  I had my first acupuncture appointment (blogs on that subject coming soon), and felt generally tired and ready to nurture self all day.

Day 7:  The last day!!  I was back to feeling great!  Energized, focused and motivated!

Some small side notes: There are more Pro-Essence Supplements (pills) and tea than needed for the seven days and the Flor-Lax was short a serving.

Overall I feel it was worth the cost of the cleanse (under $40).  It is a great way to get yourself back on track or start getting yourself eating healthier and jump starting a healthier lifestyle in a gentle manner.  Below is a link to buy the 7-day cleanse.  Enjoy and let me know how you like it!  **As always consult with your physician before attempting drastic changes in your diet, lifestyle or if you have any medical conditions.**
**Do not cleanse while pregnant or nursing**

Buy Flor-Essence 7 Day Purification Program here