Updates: Under construction!

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I wanted to pop in and let everyone know that if the site isn’t working properly today, it’s because I’m working on a new fresh look for the blog right now! Just an FYI. This should be complete by the end of the day today. I’m looking forward to how it will turn out!

Thanks for your patience!

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On the Wild Inner Self and Breakfast Quesadillas

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I used to be a wild child of sorts. I say of sorts because somewhere in my excitable nature, that lively and unfiltered strain of myself still lurks. You know, the part that spontaneously dances like mad with the grace of an uncoordinated five year old. Well, I suppose you don’t know but rather my sister does. Or the part that picks the most obnoxious parts of obnoxious songs and sings them loudly and repeatedly without thinking twice (Sorry Lindsey). Or the part that occasionally likes to split a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night and frolic around in the park and play on the playground. Yes, that slightly wild and silly part that I suppress sometimes (a lot more than I should) not only exists, but reels like crazy deep down. And I’m okay with that, now more than ever.

The past few months of this winter really had me feeling older than my years, down to aching joints and grumbling mornings to boot. I found myself suppressing my inner happy go lucky self in order to be taken more seriously and try to be more productive. Over the last few years actually, that has been the trend. After college graduation, I thought it was time to “grow up”. But I think the opposite of what I wanted to happen, happened. And I didn’t expect it. I became less interested with myself, more tired, and frankly more boring. I was working hard, and had some successes, but wasn’t really happy. I felt like a stifled, shushed, whiny, and tired-of-it-all woman. At my own hand no less.

This year, and even more so with the recent coming of spring, I find a familiar feeling bubbling up inside of me; something that makes me take a step back and wonder, “Hang on, where the hell have I been??” The other morning, I woke up with “Another One Bites The Dust” stuck in my head (don’t ask), and suddenly found myself belting out some Queen and shakin’ it like nobody’s business–like it was automatic. And it is, because it’s who I am. I’m dancing like crazy. I’m not being overly cautious. I’m not catering to what “they” might think. I’m finding more and more happiness with letting that wild vibrant spirit of mine come to light with the realization that I was perfectly imperfect before I tried to “grow up” too much. Perhaps I tried to suppress that part of me to make up for the time I thought I’d lost. My battle with undiagnosed gluten issues, food allergies, and ADHD made being successful difficult. Really difficult. I managed, but I had to work around these things for a long time and had to work A LOT harder than I do after diagnosis to make it all jive. Maybe I tried to kill that wild, silly, lovely part of myself because it reminded me of more hazy, uncertain, and unhealthier days. But the fact is, I’m not unhealthy anymore. I’m bursting with life and heart and crazy big opportunities that demand my inner vibrancy! It’s been a long time coming, but now I’m just finding I’ve reached that refreshing balance of being young at heart while still being a capable professional gearing up to take on the world. This is my crazy state of grace.

By the way, this really has nothing to do with gluten-free Breakfast Quesadillas, other than the fact that they’re also quite bold and pack a punch of spicy flavor. Oh well. I feel like my own authentic self now more than ever before. There’s something to be said for that.

And no one said it better than Pink Floyd… so shine on you crazy diamond.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!”

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Gluten-free Breakfast Stuffed Quesadillas

This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Lactose (contains Casein), Peanuts, Legumes, and Refined Sugar.

Yield: One large Quesadilla

  • 2 brown rice tortillas, or gluten-free tortillas of choice (I use Food For Life brand).
  • 1 cup grated almond jalepeno jack cheeze (contains casein, but no lactose. I use Lisonatti Foods brand)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne (optional) to taste
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • Salsa of choice for serving (I use Mrs. Renfro’s Medium Salsa)
  1. In a small fry pan, saute diced onion and green bell pepper with spices.
  2. Add 3 eggs and cook until it becomes scrambled. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a larger fry pan over low/medium heat, add the first tortilla to the pan and cover with shredded almond cheeze. Add the scrambled eggs on top and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
  4. Add the second tortilla on top and press down until the cheeze starts to melt. After about 3 to 4 minutes, carefully flip over the quesadilla and allow to cook the rest of the way on that side. The edges may get a little crispy, but just keep them pressed down with a pancake flipper or spatula.
  5. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with chopped green onion and salsa. Serve hot.

Contest Winner, Happy Spring!

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Congratulations to Anne H, the contest winner of the Red Apple Lipstick Mint 2 Be gloss giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and be sure to stay tuned for some other giveaways in the future. I also want to wish everyone a happy spring and share a picture of the beautiful spring flowers my fiance brought home the other day. Have a lovely start to the week!

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Red Apple Lipstick Lip Gloss Review and Giveaway!

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Wearing “Hot Mess” Mint 2 Be gloss from Red Apple Lipstick

It seems like spring has finally sprung here (knock on wood!) and what better way to kick it off than with a colorful new line of lip gloss from Red Apple Lipstick? Red Apple let me in on a sneak peak of the new Mint 2 Be Gluten-free lip glosses and after trying them out over the holiday weekend, I was instantly hooked. I love the silky feel of the gloss and it’s foolproof to apply, even for those it’s-a-red-light-time-to-finish-my-makeup-while-driving-t0-work types…not that I ever do that or anything.. The bright hues are amazing and the formula is not the least bit sticky–it really nourishes the lips.

RAL Mint 2 Be

I sampled the “Berried Treasure” and “Hot Mess” glosses, which have a fresh minty tingle, loads of vitamin C and E, and a flattering sparkly sheen. As always from Red Apple Lipstick, these glosses are safe and non-toxic, gluten-free, allergen-free, vegan, paraben free, and of course awesome. To learn more about why toxic free cosmetics are important, check out Mr. Jay Harper’s ebook, “Toxicity in Makeup – Silent Killings for a Profit”. Jay is the CEO and rocking visionary behind Red Apple Lipstick. I think we should all give Jay and his team a big thanks and round of applause for not only making us all feel a little more gluten-free gorgeous, but for also caring about our health in the process. Now for the Giveaway!!

Wearing "Berried Treasure" Mint 2 Be gloss from Red Apple Lipstick

Wearing “Berried Treasure” Mint 2 Be gloss from Red Apple Lipstick

I’m so excited to be hosting my first Give-away ever on the blog! Red Apple Lipstick will be sending one of the new Mint 2 Be lip glosses to a lucky winner on my blog! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below letting me know which new Mint 2 Be gloss shown here is your favorite, by Friday at 2:00pm Eastern Time. One winner will be chosen at random from the comments below. Please only leave one comment per entry. All repeat comments will be counted only as one entry. Thank you and Good luck to all to enter!

Giveaway contest ends Friday, April 5th at 2pm Eastern Time!

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Earth Hour 2013

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“The World is using the equivalent of one and a half planets to support life on Earth.”

Earth Hour 2013 is coming up tomorrow, Saturday March 23 at 8:30pm (Eastern time) and I couldn’t be more excited! It snuck up on me this week and I nearly forgot all about it until yesterday evening, even after I recently wrote an article for Delight Gluten-Free Magazine about celebrating it with a gluten-free twist in the March/April issue….safe to say it’s been a busy week! We’re planning to switch off all our lights and appliances, have a candlelight yoga session, and indulge in vegan blueberry pie–the recipe will be posted on Sunday!

This morning as I was writing this post, I was quietly listening to the news in the background. They were discussing a nominated CNN Hero, Doc Hendley, for his work in bringing clean water to those living in impoverished areas where safe water is scarce. It’s sadly not news to me that many people in other countries must walk for 4 or 5 hours just to reach their water for the day, and it’s dirty water at that. Today is World Water Day and I feel incredibly lucky to live in a place where clean water is available to me whenever I turn on the sink. Clean water should not be a privilege. It’s so vital that we take care to preserve the resources on this planet through our everyday actions and by celebrating our planet every day. Check out the awesome video by EarthHour.org for 2013:

In the spirit of celebrating and sustaining our mother Earth, I’d like to share five easy but effective things that I try to do on a regular basis to help sustain our planet:

  1. Turn off the water faucet while brushing teeth to save water.
  2. Use sustainable candles and candlelight instead of lamps a few nights per week.
  3. Bring reusable grocery bags on shopping trips. If I forget, I am sure to recycle the bags by using them for small trash bags in the house or in other ways.
  4. Use (or upgrade to) energy saving electronics and appliances whenever possible. My latest energy efficient purchase was an energy star ultrabook laptop.
  5. Buy local produce often. I love supporting the local farmers and economy in this way. A bonus is planting a garden annually ourselves.

Delight Gluten-Free Magazine March/April issue 2013

For more ideas to celebrate Earth Hour and Earth Day often, check out my article in the March issue of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine for tips and fun vegan/raw food recipes. I also have a plethora of easy and earth friendly recipes I’ve posted throughout the life of this blog that can be browsed in the Recipe page or by typing in keywords such as “vegan” or “earth day” in the search box in the upper left corner of my site.

Happy Earth Hour and World Water Day!

How will you celebrate the planet today?

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Quote of the Day

Everyone I’ve met that has Celiac disease or severe food allergies of any kind, I feel an automatic unspoken sort of connection to. It’s a mutual feeling of understanding, of having “been there”. While I’ve never met Zooey Deschanel, I think she’s the epitome of making the most of her situation with multiple difficult food allergies. I learned Zooey is allergic to gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs from her appearance on Top Chef where she was a guest judge who challenged the contestants to create an allergy friendly vegan lunch for her and her family. It was fantastic to see her embracing herself and her health, while bringing allergy awareness to the mainstream food shows.

I fell in love with this so true quote from Zooey Deschanel, which can apply to everyone regardless of their walk in life:

Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.

 

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Vegan Homemade Shamrock Shake (Dairy-free)

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One thing I appreciate about my food allergies is how they enable me to eat a lot more healthful than I might otherwise. That’s not to say I never indulge in treats now and again, but I’m of the mentality now that treats can be made quite healthy and beneficial. I regularly like to hide veggies in my homemade desserts and stay away from refined sugars. Most of the time, my trusty taste tester can’t tell the difference.

With all the hype around the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake returning this March for St. Patrick’s Day, I definitely wanted in on the creamy minty goodness. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I knew that wasn’t going to happen; not conventionally anyway. I was inspired by Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere to embark on creating my own homemade dairy-free and vegan version of this coveted shake. With no added sugars, fresh mint leaves, almond milk and SO Delicious vanilla bean no sugar added dairy-free ice cream, this shake came out better than I anticipated and was pretty close to how I remember the original tasting. The best part? I even added a handful of baby SPINACH to increase the green hue of the shake! It can’t be detected at all in the taste! This would be a great trick to get an extra serving of veggies in for the kids. I topped it with my own Coconut Whipped Cream recipe featured in Delight Gluten-Free Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue which can be found here on Delight’s Recipe page (I substituted 15 drops of liquid stevia instead of xylitol in this recipe).

So I might be a lot more French than Irish, but from a partially Irish girl to all of you, have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

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Vegan Homemade Shamrock Shake (Dairy-free)

This recipe is free of: Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Eggs, and Peanuts. Can be modified to be free of tree nuts.

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until creamy and smooth consistency is reached.
  3. Top with my Coconut Whipped Cream (dairy-free) recipe. Enjoy chilled, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

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