Baked Pears With Orange Caramel Sauce

 

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Banana Oatmeal Muffins (gluten free)

A quick and simple breakfast muffin that's perfect for any busy morning. This Thursday, however, I'll be serving them as a light breakfast before Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner (gotta save room for pie!) They're simple to make the night before and ready to eat by morning. I have to tweak the recipe for Miah who has to be grain free, but otherwise these muffins get devoured quick. It's fun how you can make memories last with food.

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Honey Caramel Hard Candy

Honey caramel hard candies remind me of simpler days: horse drawn carriages, petticoats, and books that were only read on paper - never on a screen. You may decide to go a little Down Town Abby with your Halloween costume after making a batch. Whatever they remind you of they'll take care of your sweet tooth without any refined sugars, preservatives, fool coloring, or other complicated, unpronounceable ingredients.Speaking of sweets, the holidays are always adorned, sprinkled, and caked in sugar aren't they? It can certainly make it hard to stay true to any kind of healthy, clean diet. This old-school candy is made of good old honey, or for a vegan version you could use pure maple syrup."Well, it's still technically sugar isn't it?" you may be thinking.Yes, chemically honey and cane sugar are both glucose, but honey is also fructose. Fructose is the form of sugar found in fruit and honey in a natural unprocessed state. Besides, you won't find vitamins and minerals in table sugar like you will in the former. The same is true for pure maple syrup as well (not the corn syrup imitation stuff). I figure, if I'm going to have some "sugar" I'd rather have it be as natural as possible.

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Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs

With a single day of cool breezes summer was blown away and autumn took it's place. Alex has laughed at me since we were dating about my love and over-anticipation that comes with each change of season. But in all honesty, fall is my favorite....or spring...no, it's fall for sure. Oh, but the first snow of winter is magical...or sunny days of summer...okay I love them all!I made some yummy Italian Lentil Soup one night when the cool evening breeze was blowy through the open windows. It was one of our meat free/vegan meals and it was so yummy and filling. Luckily, I made plenty and we had extras. So a couple night later as a cold rain fell I made meatballs and added to the left over soup for a hearty meal. I love stretching meals and giving leftovers double duty. It's so economical and time saving, but even better than that, the flavors have all marinated and it seems to taste better on round two! Bonus!

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3 Natural Ways to Manage Inflammation

   Inflammation is the body's natural and helpful response to injury or illness. Basically, it means that the body is alerted to a problem and sends reinforcements via added blood (and white blood cells). However, when inflammation becomes chronic then it begins doing more damage than good. Doctors and researching have been working on new ways to combat disease by understanding this immune response.Mastery of the inflammatory response should aid the development of novel strategies to predict disease susceptibility, target and monitor therapies, and ultimately develop new approaches to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases...Libby, Peter. Inflammitory Mechanisms: The Molecular Basis of Inflammation and Disease; Oxford University PressWhile there are many pharmaceuticals on the market that may help with this inflammatory response there are always natural ways to reduce  it in a healthy way. Here are 3 simple ways to manage inflammation....1. Turmeric TonicWhen you think of turmeric you probably think of Tiki Masala or some other kind of Indian curry dish. Turmeric gives these ethnic foods their distinct yellowish color and earthy flavor. But did you also know that turmeric (specifically the main ingredient in turmeric called curcumin) is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory? However, the only way to really absorb this beneficial spice properly and do the most good is to eat it with black pepper. These two spices together allow the body to absorb and utilize the curcumin and give you the best results. Now I can totally justify my extreme love of curry! You don't have to just get the benefits of turmeric occasionally just from your curry though. You can take a shot every morning to start your day off right. A Turmeric Tonic usually consists of a few essential ingredients: turmeric root, citrus (usually lemon or orange), ginger root, water, and a little sweetener such as honey.  Here's a yummy looking recipe by Heather at Mommypotomus that's simple to make: Wellness Shot - Turmeric Tonic2. Frankincense oilIf there was ever a cure-all essential oil it would be frankincense. Frankincense has been known for it's medicinal qualities for thousands of years and considered holy in some cultures. It's anti-inflammatory as well as anti-depressant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and immune stimulant properties can help with any kind of inflammation, mood/depression, viruses, Alzheimer's, aneurysm, arthritis, asthma, brain injury, cancer, and supports the immune system. Yes, it even helps reverse aging and reduce wrinkles! Like I said, a cure-all.Not all essential oils are created equal so be sure to use a brand that is made from pure, organic ingredients and check the manufacturer for how to use the oils. I use Doterra oils - you can learn more about them here - and have used Frankincense topically (on the bottom of the feet or diluted with coconut oil directly on the needed area), aromatically (open the lid and take a deep breath for mental clarity and a mood enhancer), and internally (a few drops in a capsule).3. Refined Sugar Free DietYou don't have to be a microbiologist to know that bacteria need the right environment and food to survive. After all, they're living organisms. What do they eat? Sugar! Eating refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (which break down into sugar in the body) actually acts as an immune suppressant. This keeps your body's natural ability to fight back against bacterial overgrowth less than substantial. Overgrowth causes inflammation.Consuming large amounts of sugar (which is very easy to do on an average American diet) won't just make your seasonal cold worse or last longer, but the added weight and work for your body to filter through all that junk can increase the likelihood of developing other more serious conditions like diabetes, thyroid problems, and cancer.However, our bodies still need some sugar to live on. Choosing healthy, less refined sugars, and using them sparingly is a great way to reduce inflammation, lose weight, and detox your body. Some good alternatives to sugar is fruit- fresh, frozen, dried, pureed, etc., raw honey (local if you can find it), and pure maple syrup.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

 Hello beautiful!Yes, you...and this dish!If there's anything that makes me feel fed, both body and soul, it's healthy beautiful food. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year and it's bounty of produce? Fall is the ripe pinnacle of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are all ready to be eaten. Harvesting the summer's spoils and getting our first taste of the winter crop too.Instead of the traditional brown sugar and butter baked into my acorn squash, I used a less refined sugar option of real maple syrup to make a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction baked into the squash. Then I topped it with some sauteed kale, onion, uncured bacon Orange Spiced Pecans, and raw sunflower seeds. Drizzle a little more of the sweet reduction over everything and...so satisfying. Just omit the bacon to keep it vegan and plant-based.My kids poured extra balsamic reduction on theirs. It's always fun to let them try something new and watch them discover that they actually like it. Of course, my philosophy is anything drizzled with balsamic reduction is going to be fabulous. Period. It's nice that my kids agree. Well...other than my 2 year old. He was not as open to the idea of something new and strange on his plate. However, if it came off my plate it tasted good. Haha! Oh well, whatever works, right? (P.S. you may want to double the balsamic reduction recipe in case you want extra too.)

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Grain Free Apple Crisp

 

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470 Hits
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Homemade Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

 

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512 Hits
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Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Big black storm clouds rumbled in last night bringing a heavy down pour of rain. The 100+ degree temperature of this last month of summer seemed to leave the ground sizzling as the big rain drops splashed down - like cool water in a hot skillet. The effect released all the aromas of sage and earth. It was delicious! (Although the littler kids didn't appreciate the "growly" thunder.)

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Meatballs & Mushroom Marinara Sauce

The kids are starting school and schedules are set with sports, music lessons, and whatever else keeps us busy. No matter what's going on in our lives I always make sure we sit down to eat dinner together. It may have to be a little early or a little late to accommodate everyone's schedules, but dinner as a family is not negotiable for me. I mean, where else would you find out about everything that happened at school, share our latest "knock-knock" jokes, or just enjoy the quiet of one another's company?

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Make-Ahead School Treats For Kids With Food Allergies

Oh boy, we're getting ready for back to school and I think I'm more nervous than the kids. I had wanted to give homeschooling a try this year - for lots of reasons, but one of them being to make it easier for my 5 year old daughter to follow the very strict Specific Carbohydrate Diet (similar to Paleo) for her crohn's/celiac disease. For lots of other reasons, we decided to give it another year and see how things go.

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Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

May I just say for my fellow mothers-of-children-with-special-diets: irately glaring at the snack aisle of the grocery store does nothing but add wrinkles to your forehead.

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My First Marathon: Endure to the End

 

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Cherry Chocolate Energy Bites

These bite-sized balls of yum are packed full of natural protein and fiber, and will give you a kick of energy! They're grain free, gluten free, clean eating, and are easy to make, freeze or refrigerate, and have ready for whenever you need them.I have been experimenting with energy bites for a while now. The inspiration started with my 10 year old son announcing after doing a kid's CrossFit class with his dad that he needed to eat more protein. Haha! I guess the lean and lankiness he inherited from me isn't as much appreciated for a boy.I tried making them out of my Homemade Protein Powder and with different ingredients blended together (which turned out really yummy by the way), but I needed to make some energy bites that were completely grain free as well - in other words, no oats. This inspiration came after realizing that in order for my youngest daughter to enjoy one I had to make a oat-less batch just for her (we've found that with her possible Crohn's and/or Celiac that she feels much better without any grains at all). The inspiration for the flavor came from my husband's birthday cake he requests every year....cherry chocolate!I guess another inspiration is that I'm running my first marathon! A bite of energy to get me started will definitely come in handy on race day.Anyway, regardless of where or how these bad boys came about, now they can be enjoyed by everyone!

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Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Having things prepped and ready to just grab out of the fridge, freezer, or pantry is so essential when you eat a clean, preservative free diet. One of the best ways to naturally preserve food, especially all the fresh summer produce, is by pickling them. This simple recipe can be tossed together into a jar and set in the fridge to use whenever you need a kick of tart pink goodness!

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Chili Lime Tilapia with Garlic Lime Butter

The 4th of July is approaching fast and while everyone is gearing up for parades, county fairs, and late night firework shows you're probably also already wondering what you'll be grilling up before you head out for the festivities. Hotdogs and hamburgers are the standard and can be good in their own right, but I'm in the mood for some fish. Fish provides omega-3 fatty acids which has been proven to boost brain function, maintain healthy arteries, is low in calories and high in protein, but it also may help those with autoimmune diseases since it's easy to digest and full of all the rich vitamins, minerals, and natural goodness our bodies can't make on their own. You should be eating at least 3 servings of fish or shellfish per week. So, maybe it's time for everyone to get in the mood for fish more often. I used some wild caught Tilapia fillets for this savory yet light fish dish. However, any white ocean fish would work. Fresh trout or base would be just as delicious (or more so if you caught it the day of. It doesn't get fresher than that!)

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Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

I saw a picture once with the caption, "gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan"....it was a sad looking piece of lettuce with a tomato slice on top. I had to laugh! (1. because it was clever, and 2. because it was so wrong!)

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Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}

 Sloppy Joe's are such a simple go-to dinner. Most kids and adults make and enjoy these deliciously messy sandwiches with hamburger meat seasoned from a packet mix or a can of sauce. Too bad those packets and cans have gluten fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Homemade sauce and organic beef would be a huge step up! But I've found that, especially as Americans, the amount of meat (more especially red meat) consumed on a daily basis is way higher than necessary. There's a great article in the Washington Post by Roberto A. Ferdman about this very topic.It's not as hard as you might think to cut out meat and processed food, even it it's just a few nights a week. It's even possible if you follow a gluten free and/or Paleo diet. This is how we feed our family so I know it's possible, along with going meatless 3 or 4 times a week. It not only saves us money on groceries, helps reduce our carbon foot print, and maybe saves a few animals, but is also really healthy. Our bodies naturally need less meat in the hot summer months anyway and never need the toxic overload of processed foods.So when I wanted a classic Sloppy Joe dinner, I did a little tweaking to make it vegan (hello, quinoa!)...while still being super filling and yummy. I also added some beans for more filling protein. I piled the filling on my GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, & PALEO HAMBURGER BUNS - recipe coming soon! It was a hit! And what made it even easier was that I threw everything in my slow cooker - I love my Crock Pot, BTW.

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12 Week Marathon Training Schedule!

 I'm sorry. Did you say a 12 week full marathon training schedule? Yes, I did.Maybe I'm a little crazy or maybe it's something else, but a few weeks ago when I found out that I had missed the registration deadline for the St. George marathon in October - the race I had been dreaming of and planning for - I was devastated. I was furious! I was absolutely not going to accept my oversight as anything except an obstacle that needed to be navigated. I am going to run a marathon this year...no matter what!So I went searching for another race. It had to be within a reasonable traveling distance and not too late in the year. I found one. The Desseret News Classic in Salt Lake City. There was just one thing...the marathon is in 12 weeks!Ladies and gentlemen, at this point the farthest I have ever ran in my life at one time was 9-ish miles...once. But let me tell you, whatever it is that is driving me toward completing this goal has so much more to do with life than running. It's about the process. What I've found as I've had to commit in a way I hadn't before is a depth of understanding of myself, my purpose, and my potential. That's pretty deep for a post about running, but true none the less.I've done 3 things that I can tell you right now have increased my strength and capabilities at a rate much quicker than I could have done otherwise:

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

The colors in this dish are so amazing! The more vibrant the natural colors of your fruits and veggies, the more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they hold. Dark oranges from the sweet potatoes means your getting lots of bete-carotene (vitamin A), along with vitamin C. flavanoids, lycopene, and potassium. The deep purple-red of the beets provides vitamins like A, B & C,  and minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Roast them together with sliced sweet onion, oil, and seasoning and...hello beautiful!   Another great thing about this simple dish is that it's great for camping! What?! Yep. Instead of the usual tin foil potatoes for your family camping trip, try wrapping some of these babies up and roasting in the coals. The fun part of doing the tin foil dinner is that each person can season their potatoes and beets how they like - sweet or spicy, simple herbs or a little bit of everything.

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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