Saturday, December 31, 2011


HAP-PY NUDE REAR! I mean... HAPPY NEW YEAR!  (ha...)   Holy.moly.  I have not disappeared off of the face of the planet, I swear.  It's been a crazy busy few months, and I'm hoping that this year brings a little more organization and efficiency in the time-management department.

So, what's been going on?  Let's see....

Brenton and I are staying gluten-free, and I have recently added being soy-free as well.  Gluten-free and soy-free in my diet, as well as in all of my products, too.  THANK GOODNESS for California Baby, Bare MineralsSkintactix, Badger Balm, Sun and Earth, Udi's and Enjoy Life.  I had to do a LOT of research, and throw out a lot of things, too.  At least I have found one of everything I need to "live" soy and gluten-free.  Going out to eat poses certain challenges, but the only thing that is NECESSARY for us is to be gluten-free.  The soy-free thing is extra, just to help manage my estrogen levels. Certainly slimmed down the clutter in the house!  In addition to all of that, I'm eating fish again, Brenton is still vegetarian, and we're trying to limit sugars and grains as much as possible.  Of course, we have to do it all in moderation.  When I was trying to be SO hardcore about being free of, oh, well, EVERYTHING, my life wasn't enjoyable.  I am prone to anxiety and eating disorders, and being SO limiting in my diet was just one stress after another.  Disney World wasn't fun in September (outside of the parks).  HOW COULD DISNEY, MY MOST FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD NOT BE FUN?!  Because I was TOO overly stressed about what I was eating.  It was at that point that I realized that something needed to change.  Moderation needed to come back into my life.  So, we're doing the best we can, most of the time.

Same old here.  My office is being re-done while I'm on vacation, so hopefully when I get back my life will be slimmed down a LOT.  Who needs 3 desks and a 7 foot filing cabinet in an office?  Not me, no sir.  Supes excited about this change.  Other than that, lost of orchestra playing, music teaching, and social media business building.

Sigh.  2011 was a crazy year.  Busy.  Stressful.  Too much.  Ready for things to calm down and get more organized.

So what's in store for 2012?  I have some "resolutions" that I have been putting gradually into practice over the last few months, and what better time to REALLY try to make an effort than the new year?  Here are my goals....

1- DRINK MORE WATER.  I do NOT drink enough water each day.  This needs to change.  3 big glasses of water per day and 2 small glasses.  That is my goal.

2- EXERCISE 5-6 DAYS PER WEEK.  I need lots of variety in my workouts because I tend to get bored and burnt out pretty easily.  Brenton got 10 Tony Horton One on One DVD's and I got a Prevention Magazine 20 min workout set for Christmas, so I'm definitely wanting to make time for these each day.

3- MEDITATE 5-10 MINS PER DAY.  Necessary for anxiety management.  Either Reiki, meditation, yoga, or guided relaxation.  I don't need a lot of time, but I do need it every day.

4- TRY NEW RECIPES.  Once or twice a week I want to try new recipes.  Pretty self explanatory.

5- SPEND 30 MIN EVERY DAY DOING SOMETHING I LOVE.  This can be anything- practicing my instrument, watching a favorite tv show, listening to a favorite podcast, planning my 2013 Disney trip, whatever!

6- CREATE A SMALL HOUSECLEANING ROUTINE.  Just 10-15 minutes per day KEEPING the house clean, not re-cleaning the house every day.

7- BUILD MY SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS.  1 client down, 1 client on the way, 5 more to go.  :)

8- SLIM DOWN EVERYTHING FROM MY WARDROBE TO MY PANTRY.  I don't need all of the items that I have.  Clutter needs replaced with space.  Only keep items that I love, and donate what others could use.

9- TRY SOMETHING NEW, WITHOUT BEING SCARED.  We're going to Canada in September, which is something new because I have never been out of the country before.  While in Canada I want to try renting a canoe to use on Lake Louise.  How cool does this look?


2011 was a tricky year, but 2012 will be better.  I am going to make a conscious effort to enjoy the little things every day, do more things for myself, and SLOW DOWN!

What are your plans for the new year?

Friday, November 4, 2011

AH-Mazin' Punkin' Smoothie

Hi folks- TGIF!

The Halloween decorations are down, Thanksgiving decorations are up.  Because we're so knee-deep into fall... and bordering on Christmas (holy cow), I was inspired to make some Punkin' Protein Smoothies!  These.Rocked.My.Socks.

Punkin' Protein Smoothie (serves 1)

1/4 C Milk
4 Ice Cubes
1/4 C Protein Powder
1/2 C Canned Pumpkin
1/2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
1/2 t Maple Syrup (or honey)


This was so good- I downed it in a gulp and a half.  TOTALLY making this again- it's like pie in a glass.  

Enjoy your evening, lovelies!  Better get my bread out of the bread machine before it browns too much!  Yipes!!  And don't forget to turn your clocks tomorrow night!  Lordylordy knows I need the extra hour!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash

Hola all!  Quickie post- crock pot spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti squash is one cool gourd.  If you're gluten-free, low-carb, on a calorie restricted diet, or just want to eat a light and healthy dinner, spaghetti squash can replace your pasta and you won't even miss it!  And what's even easier is that you can throw it in the crock pot in the morning, and forget about it until dinner!

So the crock pot I used was "analog", aka it won't turn off at an automatic time, so I decided to plug it into one of those light timers that you use when you're out of town to turn the crock pot on at the right time.  LOL.

So, set the crock pot to LOW, pierce the spaghetti squash all over with a knife, and stick it in the crock pot.  Pour 2 cups of water in the crock pot, and cook for 7-8 hours.

After 7-8 hours, carefully take the squash (it'll be HOT!!!) out of the crock pot. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds.

Scoop out the squash flesh (that's gross... very Halloween!) with a fork.  It'll 'shred' and look like spaghetti.  Top with your favorite pasta sauce, or use it as a topping to a veggie shepherd's pie!  YUM O!  Unfortunately, mine cooked a little bit too long, so it was less "spaghetti" and more "squashy".  But, it was still fabulous!  

Try it- it's so cool!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Going Home- the food of the trip!

Good Friday to you all!  If feeling overwhelmed was an Olympic sport, I would totally get the Gold this week.  TGIF (seriously!).  Tonight I'm trying a new-to-me pizza crust recipe (Chebe Pizza Crust).  SUPES excited about it.  A treat is NECESSARY tonight after the week of busy!!

We got home from Disney World, aka my home away from home, on Saturday.  Can I go back yet?  We're starting to plan our next trip there, which won't be until 2013 probably.  The countdown begins.

We had a very nice vacation- stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort for a couple of days and spent 5 days at Pop Century.  I much preferred Saratoga over Pop- it was so much quieter, the room was bigger/cleaner, the pool was AWESOME... so many good things to say.  Pop, however, is value priced (let's be honest- we only paid $65 per night to stay there... not too shabby for a Disney hotel!), but along with that you lose some of the amenities.  All in all, the hotel stay was fine- we weren't in the room much anyway.

Now on to the food!

This was the first time that we had ever dined at WDW being Vegetarian AND Gluten-Free.  With planning, it doesn't have to be difficult.  Knowing what we know now, we'll do things differently next time.  I'll elaborate on that a little more in a bit.

- Raglan Road -
Raglan Road is at Downtown Disney, and is a vibrant (loud) Irish Pub.  There was an Irish band playing and Irish Step Dancers tippy tapping away.

Unfortunately, the noise and commotion was more than I could handle.  I had to get up and leave the restaurant a couple of times, switch seats with Brenton... quite the ordeal.  Anxiety was SKY HIGH in this restaurant, but I would not hesitate to go back again.  This is why:

When we checked in, we told the hostess that we had food allergies.  This information was passed to the waitress, and she went back and got the chef.  I unfortunately don't know his name, but he was CERTAINLY Irish, and MORE THAN WILLING to help us find something that we could eat.  Too bad we had to scream at him to tell him what our allergies were because of how loud the band was.  He said "well, I'll make you up some gluten free pasta with a soy-free cheese sauce with some veggies, how does that sound?"  GREAT!!!  He brought out the pasta dishes and I must say, they were HOT, but sooooo good.  Brenton helped me finish mine because it was so rich (and he can always eat haha).  The food was great, but needless to say I was ready to get out of there.

On the way out, we stopped and picked up some specially made (just for us!) brownie cupcakes from Babycakes.

Gluten free, soy free, nut free.... AND TOTALLY DELICIOUS.  We will absolutely be back.  These were brownie cupcakes with vanilla icing and MY GOSH were they good.  In fact, they were so good that we went back a second time during our trip to get more.  YUM YUM YUM.

The next restaurant we ate at was at The Wave, at Disney's Contemporary Resort.

The chef at this restaurant came out to talk to us about our allergies... but he wasn't quite getting it.  He wanted to give us noodles.  "No, we can't have noodles unless they're gluten-free.."  "...oh, we don't have those... but you can have this salad- do you want to try the dressing on the side with the hazelnuts in it?  I know you said you can't have nuts, but do you want to try it anyway?"  (RAWR.  I was NOT pleased with this guy).

So we ordered a salad with a lemon on the side as our dressing.  So disappointing that the chef wasn't able to do more for us.  Good salad, but we won't be back.

- Kona -

Kona was probably one of my favorite meals of the trip, located at Disney's Polynesian Resort.  The chef was FANTASTIC.  He came out and said "you can have (x, y, and z), or I can make you (a, b, or c) and we have gluten free rolls and will bring you real butter..."  SO I ordered the Kona Salad (SO.GOOD) and Brenton had the chef make him a rice noodle dish with veggies and cheese.  BOTH items were so delicious, and the Ener-G rolls were warm...oooohhh so good.

We will TOTALLY be back.  Holy Yum.

Another place that we will also return is where we ate lunch the next day- The Grand Floridian Cafe.  Located in the Grand Floridian (where we actually returned to and spent a quite a bit of time!), this restaurant was upscale without feeling stuffy.  The chef was really good- he made us a special plate of gluten free pasta, veggies, and a cheese sauce.  It was MASSIVE.  Brenton and I could only eat half of it because it was so big!!!

Tons of veggies (and sun dried tomatoes.... heaven).  Very good meal, great service, BEAUTIFUL hotel (I'll post pictures in the next bloggie- running out of time on my lunch hour!).

The 2nd disappointment was at the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk.  Don't get me wrong- I LOVE the Boardwalk, and I mostly love ESPN.  But the chef had NO idea what he could make for us.  Luckily I know enough about what they have in their kitchens (from doing research beforehand).  I said "ok, can we have the vegetable sandwich on an Ener-G bun with the cucumber salad?"  That was something the chef understood (gawd), so he brought out this:

Cucumber salad- bland but fine.  Filling of the sandwich- great.  Ener-G roll... cold and hard as a rock.  Blah.   It was just "ok"... but I don't think we'll be back.

Ahhhhhhh my favorite meal of the trip.  La Hacienda de San Angel is a new restaurant that was put in at "Mexico" in Epcot.  The chef here was AWESOME.  He came out and told us what we could and could not have and let us make our own meal.  So we had veggie tacos on corn tortillas with Mexican rice.  SO FLAVORFUL, SO GOOD.  WE WILL BE BACK AGAIN!!  Best meal of the trip- everything was just so fresh.

Tons of veggies- black refried beans, corn tortillas (made in house), cilantro out the wazoo- simple, and AWESOME.

...and then it goes from BEST, to wooooorst.  For lunch the next day we at at Les Chefs de France, in "France" at Epcot.  We have had WONDERFUL meals here in the past.  The chef was less-than-happy to come out to talk to us about our needs.  He turned his nose up to our allergies and said "well, I'll just make you a plate of sauteed vegetables".  Ok then, that sounds great!  The waitress brought out some Ener-G rolls, hot and wonderful.  They tied us over until we got our meal.  Are you ready for this?

I'm sorry, what?  Yes, you are seeing it right- that's a blob of spinach, half of a boiled peeled potato, half of a boiled tomato, and some green beans.  No salt, no pepper, no oil, no nothing.  And we were charged almost $20 per person for this.  No.Way.  We will not be back.  I am on a message board that is Disney related, and I have read many reviews much like mine.  Maybe it's a cultural thing and we were being rude by not being able to order off the menu?  I'm not sure.  But no thank you, I'll take my $20 back to La Hacienda.  Oh, and I did complain to Disney.  The cast member I talked to about this yesterday was floored (and so were we to be honest).

And that brings us to the last Disney meal... Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.  What can I say- Jiko is AWESOME.  I actually ate half of my salad before I remembered to take a picture HAHA oooops.

It had awesome greens, peaches, fried plantains, honeyed goat cheese, and a blood orange dressing- holy moly.  I would LOVE to go back here- they have a vegan menu, a vegetarian menu, and a gluten-free menu.  Tons of stuff to try in future trips!!

Next time, we're going to stay in a DVC resort (like Saratoga) that has a kitchen or kitchenette.  This way, we'll have a little easier time eating food in the room and not have to eat out so much.  We'll also bring more SNACKS!  The Table Service (sit down) restaurants were fine, but finding snacks that fit our dietary needs around the parks was DIFFICULT!   They have S.A.D. snacks (like chips, pop, baked goods, you know the drill) but not as many fresh fruits, veggies, and other gluten-free items.  But I do have to say, those chefs that were good at the different restaurants were REALLY GOOD, and it was awesome that they were knowledgeable about different food allergies and really cared about making a good meal for us.  Those that were bad, were BAD, and we just won't go back to those restaurants again.

Ok I'm out of time, lunch hour is over.  I'll post some more items about the trip in some upcoming bloggies.  Have a great weekend!!  xoxo

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skintactix Challenge Results

Hi everyone.  I took the Skintactix Challenge.

I ordered the Sensitive Skin Kit (A3), and followed the instructions to the letter of the law.  The Septicide Cleanser worked GREAT (lots of plant extracts).  After using it, my skin felt very clean and all of my makeup was removed (AWESOME!).  The Gentile Follicle Exfoliator was very smooth and a little went a long way.  It appeared that the the third part of the kit, the Green Tea Poultice, caused my skin to erupt!   I'm pretty sure it was because it was cleaning out my pores, but throughout the entire month my skin never got any better.  Maybe I need to continue using it for a while, just as a spot treatment?  The products themselves smelled very fresh and were certainly better than putting HARSH chemicals on my face!  Will I order another full kit?  I'm not sure.  I will probably order the cleanser by itself and see where that gets me.  I am glad that Skintactix doesn't use all of the yucky chemicals like most of the other skin treatments use (Benzoyl Peroxide.......gross...... )

Overall I'm sure if I had used this longer than a month I bet it would have worked better for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Skintactix Challenge!

I'm taking the Skintactix Challenge!  I'm going to try Skintactix for 1 month, and I'll let you know how I do!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Soy-ya later!

Good lovely, sunny evening to you all!  I came across 2 new things today.

2- a new recipe (the video link below shows everything you need to know) (THAT IS A KEEPER!!!!  DOUBLE NOM NOM!)

First, the product.

I've been semi-candid about our most recent doctor visit.  To make a long story short, Brenton and I are now gluten-free, nut-free (unless we supplement with triple strength omega 3's.... made out of fish oil... so we will no longer be vegetarian.  ...back to pescatarian we go I guess, although we won't be eating fish flesh.  oye.), and soy-free.  We're also not going to be eating other random things like bananas, avocados, celery, figs, or kiwi due to their latex forming properties, and we'll be limiting our vegetable oils.


So, that said, being soy-free is pretty difficult at first.  Soy is in EVERYTHING.  Ick.  I spent a LONG time at TJ's and various other stores to figure out what foods were ok for us to get.  One thing that I was pretty bummed about was Asian food. SO MUCH Asian food uses soy-sauce.  We used to get nama shoyu or the gluten-free tamari.... but that's all soy.  Like this.

Bye bye.

But then, my world changed.  I found out about THIS


This sauce tastes like a red wine marinated steak.  I'm not even joking.  Sure, it's been 2 years since I've had a steak, but I have a pretty good memory.  I can make veggie sushi again!!!!!!!!!!  And lo-mein!!!!!!!  (cue the chorus of angelic voices)

In addition to finding soy-free items, I've been experimenting with various gluten-free recipes and products.  Here's the rice crust pizza we had for dinner (WHICH WAS AWESOME!)  Check out the youtube that I got the recipe from.

Very yummy- total keeper.  Not REALLY pizza... but doggone good!

Found an AWESOME bread, though I'm told Udi is pretty good too (I have yet to find it)!

Nice little breakfast accompaniment!

Rice flour pancakes... still need to tweak this a bit before posting the recipe....

Corn tortilla tacos... great success.

The doctor has also ordered us to buy as local as possible.  Not difficult for me since I LOOOOVE farmers markets.  Especially when I can dig into these....

Yes, they are JUST as good as they look.  I got a CSA share from Groupon a few months ago that I'm going to pick up on Thursday- super excited to get all of the yummy vegetables and fruits!!!  The little things.  :)

Off to 'walk away the pounds'.  LOVE Leslie!!  Always a fun time.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Video and an Article

Good day, everyone!  I wanted to share with you a video that I thought was uber cute, and explains WHY you should eat organic.  So basic.  So simple.  So adorable.

ANDDDD!!!!  I was published in the Magically Speaking Newsletter!!  Click the link to read it- so proud!  All about food restrictions and dining at Walt Disney World.  (which we all know is my favorite place IN the world :) )

If you read the article, you'll see that Brenton and I are changing our diet (again...).  We will be limiting gluten, nuts, and vegetable oils, and OMITTING soy.  Bye bye soy, it's been fun (ok, it's not really been fun...).  More details to come.  We're absolutely fine, no need to worry- we're just being proactive with our health.

XOXO  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

End of an Era?

Happy Saturday!  How's the weekend treating you?  So far so good on the homestead!

Brenton and I are preparing ourselves for Monday, what might be the end of an era.  We're going to a new doctor- an Integrative Medicine doctor.  He promotes healing/illness prevention through nutrition.  Why doesn't every doctor do this?  We will be talking to him about our ancestral history and getting a script for specific bloodwork tests that will determine where we're at health-wise.  He'll then give us our food and supplement list to follow, and then blood tests will determine if the food/supplements need changed or if we're on the right track.

So, we eat very healthy, you know that (LOL).  However... the end of an era may come for us.  You see, my grandparents were from Italy.  Brenton's great-grandparents were from Italy.  What does that mean?  Most western Europeans back in the day didn't eat a lot of gluten, and therefore, developed an intolerance to it.  This is passed down through genetics.  Ruh roah.  Goodbye to pizza and pasta as we know it... possibly.  We'll see soon!

To prepare ourselves for this transition, I have started experimenting with some GF recipes.  This is one of my new FAVORITES, thanks to Gina (xoxo!).  Quinoa Pita Tortilas.

Seriously, easiest.ever.  Ever.

 Here it is- the quinoa in the coffee grinder.
Mix the quinoa flour with equal parts water (about 1/4 C for 1 serving), and fry over medium heat in butter.   Season with salt to taste.  I added Italian seasoning and garlic.  Fan-Tastic.

 I decided to turn these little beauties into pizza crusts!  Genius!

So I'm still experimenting with this one.  I found out online that you could also make your own RICE FLOUR!  Who knew?!  Here I am, trying out GF cookies.

 Flour?  Sure, we'll try it!!

Who knew?!
No need to buy expensive bagged rice flour!  Just make your own.

Brenton said "YUM!", so they must have turned out ok!  I just used my vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I got from here, and subbed rice flour for whole wheat flour.  They turned out quite nicely!  A little gritty, so my sister says I need to get a Vita Mix.  Yeah, it may come to that, but they really weren't too bad with just a regular coffee grinder!

So, I'm kinda feeling semi-ok with this possible GF life.  I like experimenting with new recipes and trying new things.  It will certainly be a life change, but it can't be that much different than going vegetarian and cutting out junk food.  I'm ready for the journey, whatever it may be.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

World's Best Banana Bread. Period.

G'day everyone!  I'm SO excited to share my recipe for the WORLD'S BEST BANANA BREAD. PERIOD.

It's adapted from Bethenny Frankel's Boo Boo Banana Bread recipe.  (Boo Boo is her dog lol)

Here is the original recipe, and my adaptations are in (  )'s:
1 C Raw Sugar (I used 2 T Maple Syrup instead- it was plenty!)
1 T Butter (I used 1 T Coconut Oil)
1 C Mashed Bananas (about 2ish)
1 Egg (I used 1 T soaked Chia Seeds)
1 tsp Vanilla (I left this out because we were out!  I would have added it though)
1 C Oat Flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350
Mix everything together into a bowl
Pour into a greased loaf pan
Bake 30 min with aluminum foil covering the top (loosely)
Bake 15-20 min without aluminum foil, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Now for the pictures!!!

Why is it that I always cook with YouTube?  There's Bethenny!


Since I had no butter in the house.....

...or raw sugar....

... or eggs because I had hard boiled them all... (LOL)  ...and do you see?   It's a chia heart!!!

The only thing I use my broiler pan for... cooling baked goods (HA)

Yes... it was THAT awesome.  I also made these into blueberry muffins the other day by replacing the chocolate chips with frozen blueberries.  Everything else was the same, and they turned out MARVELOUSLY!  Try it... so easy.  And don't be afraid to substitute ingredients!!  I use whatever I have in the house at the time, and I have never had a dud!  Experimenting is fun in the kitchen- go for it!