Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pampered chef has improved recipes!

Pampered Chef has really changed it's recipes!

I've always liked the cookware.  It's easy to use, lasts forever (I have had my original stone pizza round and deep baker for 20 years now!)  and it's a great reason to get friends together.

But now, their recipes are a lot healthier!  I purchased the appetizer book which is filled with great whole food recipes.  They still use a little mayo, cheese and sour cream, but many of the recipes are dairy and gluten free or are easily modified.  Long gone are the whole sticks of butter and the constant use of crescent roll dough.

Today we did an organic roasted red pepper dip with organic blue corn chips.  The dip was made from scratch!...using of course the PC cooking utensils.   I did buy the chips.   We also sliced up and made dried apples with cinnamon.  Lastly we had a great lime, avocado salsa appetizers.

Also in the new recipe books, you will find a vegan cookbook!   So yay for Pampered Chef!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

JJ's Smoothie

Here is a recipe for my mom's favorite smoothie.
She's in her 80s and loves to start her day with this recipe.

1 banana
1 apple, cored (if you buy organic, then you don't have to peel it!)
1 cup nut milk (almond)
1 small handful of baby spinach
1/4 tsp of spirulina
1 tsp fish oil
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 scoop (24g) powdered whey protein (unsweetened, non-GMO, rBGH free)
(I've started using a 1/2 cup of oatmeal.  Costs less, fresher and makes and thicker smoothie!)

Put all ingredients in the blender for about 45 seconds to blend it really well.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No Poo! A great way to go for dry hair.

I'm really enjoying this "No Poo" haircare.   My routine is to once a week do a deep condition with my coconut oil/shea butter and water mix.  Then twice a week I use the apple cider vinegar and water with bits of lavender flower and cinnamon stick.  At first the vinegar was overpowering, but it has mellowed out after a few days of the herbs soaking in it.    

How do I do the rinse? I tilt my head and hold the bottle close to my scalp and slowly pour the rinse.  It feels refreshing!  I do this on the left side, right side, then pour it on the ends. I only use about a 1/4 cup for my entire head.  Then I massage my scalp and run my fingers through my hair.  I guess I could use a comb as well.  Then I rinse my hair really well.  I do this all in the shower.  It doesn't take much time at all.  

How do I do the conditioning?  At the beginning of my shower, I heat up the bottle under the water to melt the coconut oil.  Then I squeeze some onto my head and a little in my hand.  I then rub my hair.  It makes my hair feel really thick so I can't run my fingers through it.  For a deep condition you can put a shower cap on.  At the end of my shower I rinse with warm/hot water.   If it still feels thick I do a quick vinegar rinse and it gets the excess oil out of my hair.  Then I comb my hair after the shower!

I really feel good about not using any chemicals and I'm not having dry hair issues anymore. Woo hoo!   One thing about living in the high country in Colorado, it's really arid!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Poo Update - Day 4

It's Day 4 of going No Poo.

On Sunday I did a mix of shea butter, coconut oil and mixed it with some warm water in an old conditioner bottle.  I drizzled it in my hair and my hair soaked it all up!  (Note: the coconut oil and shea butter is a solid in cool temperatures.  Just hold the bottle under the warm/hot water and it will quickly melt.)

I took an old vinegar bottle and picked a couple lavender blossoms from out front cracked a cinnamon stick in half and put it all in the bottle.  I then added 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and filled the rest with water.   Before I got out of the shower I applied the rinse.  Other than a strong smell of vinegar,  I didn't noticed a difference.

Monday through today I just used water in my hair.  I wear it up everyday and I did notice yesterday that I have more little flyaway hairs which smoothed down with some apricot oil.

My scalp is not itchy and my hair still has a faint smell of coconut.  So far so good!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From Shampoo to No Poo!

Fall is here.  The mornings are colder and the afternoons are still hot, which make my hair dry and frizzy.  I've tried everything from the high-end products to natural products and one thing I haven't tried is no products.  That is right!

So before I got started I did a little research on the internet about hair care.  I found several You-tube videos and websites about going No-Poo.  Which is no shampoo.
There are some people that go from just using conditioner to those that only use water and once a week an apple cider vinegar rinse.  Others have recipes for hair masks to deep condition their hair.
Here is one of the sites that has recipes.

Since my hair is dry, I'm going to try the vinegar rinse once or twice a week.  My hair doesn't get really greasy if I let it go a few days so I may not need the baking soda cleanse.

I'll also try the coconut oil deep conditioner once a week.  I did it this morning when I got up.
I put about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a cleaned out shampoo bottle and mixed it with a little hot water to melt the oil.  Then I squirted it in my hair in the shower.  My hair seemed to immediately soak it up and it felt thick and heavy.  At the end of my shower I rinsed it really well, but it still felt stuck in my hair.  After towel drying it I combed it out without a tangle and blow dried it.  I was so glad to see it fluff out a little as it dried.  It feels soft and it's like I added a leave-in conditioner.  It is also "piece-y" like I used some pomade on the ends.

I found out if I really want to get fancy I can make or buy herbal infused vinegars.  It looks like they soaks the herbs in the vinegar water mix and then strain it so you won't get twigs in your hair. Hair Rinses 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Absolutely Awesomely Free Crabcakes

Here is my recipe for Gluten Free Crab cakes. 
It makes 4 large crab cakes.   (We ate the other two! LOL!)

Prep Time: 1 hr 10 min
Cook Time: 5 min

Ingredients: (Note: fresh is better than dried if you have it)
(To make it dairy free substitute eggs for 1tsp of chia or flax meal in 3 tbsps of warm water. Stir then let sit for 2 min until it get sticky.  Use 1/2 a banana or 1/2 an avocado to substitute for the yogurt.)

1 tblsp of dried chives
1 egg and 1 egg white  (chia or flax meal)
1 tblsp of greek yogurt (banana or avocado)
1 tsp garlic powder 
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning or 1tsp paprika/1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup organic oatmeal
15 oz of lump crab meat
1 tblsp coconut oil


Combine the chives, eggs, garlic, mustard and seasoning with a whisk.  Break up the crab meat into the egg mixture and coat it well.  Add the oatmeal 1/4 cup at a time until you can form patties. 
Place the patties on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When you are ready to cook, heat  a pan and drop in 1 tblsp of coconut oil. Drop a small crumb of crab cake into the oil.  If it sizzle around the edges the oil is ready. 
Use a spatula and place the crab cake in the pan.  Cook on one side about 3 min or until golden brown.  Then flip and cook for 2 more minutes.

Place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Is Cacao Evil?

Are cacao nibs evil? I think they can be.

I've learned so much about "super foods" lately.  These are gems of raw food that are packed tightly with amazing nutrition.  One of the super foods I've learned about lately is cacao.

Cacao is the precursor to chocolate.  You can get them in chopped up bits.
Cocoa mix is make by blending the nibs to a find powder and adding sugar and either milk powder or a non-dairy fake milk powder.   

What I have found is by eating the raw nibs you get the great dark chocolate taste without the sugar, and you get the benefits of antioxidants and magnesium found in raw cacao.  You also get a chocolate buzz!

But be careful!  I started adding this to my morning smoothie AND my energy bars.  I love the zing from eating the cacao but after a week my gums started getting irritated.....yes.....I was ingesting too much cacao! 

After about a week of not eating cacao my gums went back to normal.  Whew!

So with anything, eat in moderation.  Don't do like I did and OD on cacao.  But if you do, at least you know that it is recoverable.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Super summer recipes!

Here are 2 recipes for you to try using great summer vegetables and seafood! 
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, feel free to substitute with your favorite ingredients.

Remember to cut back on the amount of toxins you ingest, go for organic ingredients.
Also wash your ingredients in water with a tablespoon of vinegar or fresh lemon juice to remove any residues!  Okay, enough prep talk... here are the recipes.

Mango Lime Salmon!

Mango Salmon


1 lb of wild caught salmon filets
1 lime
1 mango
1 tsp Italian spice mix
1Tsp olive oil
Leftover mixed veggies: Chopped garlic, onion, green onion, leeks and red cabbage simmered in 1 tsp of olive oil and 1/2 cup water for 30 min.

Cook Time

10-15 min to cook the salmon. 


- Turn on the broiler to heat the oven, line a shallow pan with tin foil and coat with olive oil
- Cut the filet into 4 pieces and place in the pan
- Chop up the mango into small pieces and sprinkle on the salmon
- Cut the lime in half and squeeze it over the salmon, sprinkle the Italian spice mix and put it in the broiler.  Check in 5 min to make sure it's not too close to the heating element.  Salmon is done when it just starts to turn white and flakes easily with a fork.
- Serve over veggies.  (I got mine at the Art and Farm Market).  Cut up the rest of the lime into slices and use as garnish.

Nutrition Info

Salmon: From Wiki:  Classified as an oily fish,[81] salmon is considered to be healthful due to the fish's high protein, high omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D[82] content.
Lime: From Wiki: Limes are a good source of vitamin C.
Mango : From Wiki: In mango fruit pulp, the antioxidant vitamins A and C, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate, other B vitamins and essential nutrients, such as potassium, copper and amino acids, are present. The mango triterpene, lupeol,[37] is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers.[38][39][40]


Shrimp Salad meal... not for the wimpy

Shrimp salad


- 5 large shrimp (I bought mine precooked.)
- Mixed organic greens
- Leftover quinoa cooked with green onions
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic hummus
- 1/2 mango
- 1/2 avacado
- 1/2 lime
- Dulse seaweed

Cook Time

- None if you get the shrimp pre-cooked and your quinoa is already done.   Quinoa takes about 20 min.  Bring 2 cups of water in a pot to boil, stir in 1 cup of quinoa and some chopped green onions and cover.  Turn the heat to simmer for 15 min.


- Chop the mango and mix with the avocado and lime
- Layer the ingredients into a nice bowl.  Start with the greens, then add a 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1/4 cup of hummus, 1/3 mango and rip up some Dulce seaweed to sprinkle on top.  The seaweed is salty so you will not have to add salt to the dish. 

Nutrition Info

Shrimp: Wiki: As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, iodine and protein but low in food energy. A shrimp-based meal is also a significant source of cholesterol, from 122 mg to 251 mg per 100 g of shrimp, depending on the method of preparation.[6] Shrimp consumption, however, is considered healthy for the circulatory system because the lack of significant levels of saturated fat in shrimp means that the high cholesterol content in shrimp actually improves the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol and lowers triglycerides.[7]
Leafy greens: wiki: Leaf vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as vitamin C, carotenoids, lutein, folate, magnesium as well as vitamin K.
Quinoa: wiki: Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (18%). Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein.[14][15]
Hummus: Wiki: Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6.[16] The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas.  
Mango : From Wiki: In mango fruit pulp, the antioxidant vitamins A and C, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate, other B vitamins and essential nutrients, such as potassium, copper and amino acids, are present. The mango triterpene, lupeol,[37] is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers.[38][39][40]
Avocado: wiki: About 75% of an avocado's calories come from fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat. On a 100 g basis, avocados have 35% more potassium (485 mg) than bananas (358 mg). They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K.[30] Avocados have a high fiber content of 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber.[31]

Dulse seaweed: There are 2 g of protein in a 1/3 cup serving of dulse, which satisfies 4 percent of the daily value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Although this may not be a substantial amount of protein, it is surprising to find this much protein in such a low-calorie food, which suggests that dulse is a nutrient-dense food.Rich in B vitamins, it supplies 10 percent of the daily value for riboflavin and niacin, 42 percent for B-6 and 23 percent for B-12. While it has no vitamin C and provides only 2 percent of the daily value for calcium, zinc and vitamin A, one 1/3-cup serving provides 19 percent of the daily value for iron and 9 percent for chromium. Vegetarian foods that supply this much iron are very rare. Vegetarians, vegans and those with anemia should consider eating dulse regularly.  Read more:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Is there shampoo without chemicals????!!!

I've been pulling my hair out (pun intended) trying to find just a plain old shampoo without a lot of chemicals in it.  You may have read my earlier blogs that had 2 favorite picks:  Nature's Gate and Hair One.

Those products are great, but today I'm taking it to another level.  I've learned a lot about natural oils and I'm amazed by the versatility of olive and apricot oil (now my favorite makeup remove and body oil, respectively).

So, I spent a little extra time at my local health food store found these 2 products:
Kiss My Face Castile Oil and Alaffia Hair Care.

Kiss My Face - Castile Soap

Take a look at these ingredients!
Aqua, Saponified Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Saponified Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Saponified Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Essential Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemon Grass) Essential Oil, Cellulose Gum  (You can get it in several scents.)

According to the web, castile soap started in the Castile region of Spain.  There they used a mixture of oils to make their soap.  This stuff is supposed to be good at cleaning anything.  From washing your food, your body and your laundry!  I look forward to trying this stuff out on my head, but I did try it on my bedroom furniture.  (It was time to dust and I wanted to see if this stuff worked on my wood furniture.)  Wow! It did work!  I put a few drops in the bathroom sink and filled it with water.  I then wet the rag and commenced dusting.   It did a fantastic job cleaning and the bedroom and bathroom have a great clean lemon smell.  The wood is still shining because of the oils in the soap.  (Forget Murphy's oil soap!)  I was so impressed that I used the same stuff to wipe down the bathroom counter and floor.    What impressed me most of all it that the rag I used was not stained with dirt.  The castile soap even removed the dirt and dust from the cleaning rag!!!! Ahh!

This stuff is really concentrated so I think I'll need to dilute it before using it as a shampoo.


Alaffia - Shea

Alaffia hair care relies on nut butters and oils.  Here is a list of ingredients.

Full Ingredients: Herbal infusion of Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), Liquid African Black Soap (Distilled water, Saponified Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) Butter and Virgin Palm Kernel (Elaeis guineensis) Oil), Decyl Polyglucose (from corn), Vegetable Glycerin, Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil, Panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), Essential Oil of Lavender, Fragrance

My hair is very coarse so I'm hopeful about this product.  But it's only for hair so you don't have the versatility like the other product provides.

Either way I'm excited to try both of these products.  The fewer the chemicals you put on the body, the less work your liver has to do to remove toxins from your system!


Here is an update!  I've been using the Alaffia Shea and my hair is incredibly soft.  My normally course dry hair feels really nice.  I've been using the one made for curly hair because I like the smell of sandalwood. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recipe: Getting dirty with Black Bean Burgers

Here is my accidental recipe for Black Bean Burgers!

2 cups of cooked black beans
1/2 cup chopped purple cabbage
1/2 cup chopped favorite greens (I used chard and radish greens)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup of oatmeal
3 tblsp chipotle seasoning (I used Mrs Dash)
optional: 10 paper towels
Serve with lettuce, tomato and chopped radishes.

1. Finely chop all of the veggies and in a large bowl mix in the chipotle seasoning.
2. Blend the black beans until smooth in a blender.
3. In the large bowl, mix the beans with the veggies and add the oatmeal until you can form the mixture into patties.
4. Lightly grease a pan with olive oil and heat the pan up to a medium heat.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the burger starts to brown.

Use organics when possible to decrease your toxins. :)

Wow! These were fun to make but I really made a mess out of the kitchen trying this recipe for the first time!

So first I cook the beans. This isn't too hard to do.  I've started cooking beans in rice cookers so I can put them in and leave them until they are done.   We had a couple of bean incidents where beans were left on the stove. It took a month to get the burnt bean smell out of the kitchen!  Did you know you have to soak a pot in backing soda and vinegar to get the burnt smell out?
Anyway, so I solved that issue by cooking my beans in the rice cooker.  After about 45 minutes I came back to check on the beans...and the entire area surrounding the beans was covered in gray polka-dots!  The counter, floor, juicer, knives, everything within a foot of the rice cooker was sprayed with black bean liquid. I grabbed 4 paper towels and started wiping things down.  Ugh!  So I opened up the cooker to see if the beans were done and they were not.  At this point is was 6pm and everyone was getting hungry.  Mom warmed up some soup and I sprinkled some baking soda and chipotle spice in with the beans and covered them back up for 20 more minutes, and poured myself a glass of Merlot.

In 10 min I came back and put all of the veggies into the food processor, and transferred the veggies to a large mixing bowl.

In 20 min I came back and took the cooked beans and poured them into the food processor.  Whoa! Black liquid started to pool around the base and down the slides of the processor.  Note: drain the beans first and don't overfill the processor.  Well, the damage was done so I grabbed 4 more paper towels to catch the liquid and put the processor on high.  The beans whipped up fast and I then transferred that into the the large mixing bowl.  I had to use a spatula to get it all out and my hands were turning gray from the bean debris.  But it was soupy! I had too much liquid in the beans!
I grabbed the oatmeal  container, also speckled with gray, and started adding oatmeal until I could form the mess into paddies.  Of course I had to taste it at this point and it was bland!  Gray bean bland!  I grabbed the gray speckled bottle of chipotle seasoning and dumped the rest in.

I took the bowl over to the stove and realized I hadn't gotten my pan ready.  I grabbed 2 more paper towels to get the bean off of my hands and wipe down the stove top.  Then I heated my pan and started making patties.  Now the mixture looked great.  You have the blackness of the bean contrasted with the bright purple of the cabbage and green of the onions and greens.  It was a gorgeous site!  But, when you make the's like putting your hands into fresh soil.  By the time I was done, it looked like I had came from the yard, my hands covered in dirt and specs of dirt all over my t-shirt and jeans.  I suppose this would have been a good time to wear an apron.

The rest of the cooking and eating was easy and I got 2 thumbs up from my husband.  He of course smothered his patties in hot sauce but said the texture was perfect.
That was my adventure making the black bean burger for the first time!  Have fun making yours!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pondering ProBiotics

My acupuncturist a few months back noted that I could probably use a probiotic in my diet.  My tongue was usually coated, but I had gone through such dramatic changes in my diet that I had no idea how to approach a probiotic.

After coming back from our cruise and learning about detox, I started looking into probiotics.  The basics are that these live cultures can work in your digestive system to help break down the foods and to help your liver process the toxins.  I read the best kind of probiotics are the ones in the capsules that give you the option of breaking it open and using the powder.   Websites also suggested getting one that is kept in your grocers refrigerated section, and one that contained more than 10 billion live cultures.

So I went to Sunflower Market and found about 40 different kinds of probiotics! Ahhh!
Probiotic overload.  Unfortunately for my husband he was shopping with me and had to wait as I quickly read through the labels to find the one that is gluten free and no fillers.  I settled upon this brand.  RAW  It was about mid-range in price and seemed to have a good mix of what I may need.

Well...I'm on week 2 of taking these and I'm not noticing a major difference.  I'm putting one capsule in my smoothie in the mornings,  I take one when I get home from work and one at night before going to bed.  The one at night I break open into a cup of water.  I do find that it cleanses my palate, however, my tongue is still has that coated appearance.   I'll keep taking them for a month and see if my digestion improves.

I've been pretty hard on my liver over the years.  From processed foods, cocktails and shots, ibuprofen and acetaminophen; I've made my liver work overtime!  My organs almost quit on me once!  So, now it's time to be good to the gallbladder, loving to my liver and kind to my kidneys.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cruise Food!

I went on a Carnival cruise with the family!  We had a great time but I had some food anxiety starting out.  I did gain 6 pounds but 2 days post cruise it's almost all gone. 
This is what I ate and what I did on my 7 day cruise!

Cruise Food
Started the cruise with a little food anxiety. The buffets were huge!  There was always fruit (yes!), but the greens were lacking and usually cooked (sigh). 

Sunday- Carnival offers vegetarian meals in the dining room!
Started the journey with a  piƱa colada!  For dinner I had white wine and the Indian Vegetarian dish which was pretty tasty.  They spread the food out over 3 plates so I felt special at the table. LOL! For dessert I had some of the chocolate cake and the tropical fruit plate. 

Monday - Found the Mongolian BBQ buffet!
For breakfast I had the fruit, juice and some tea.  Downside on the juice. I saw the container and it was 60% juice from concentrate.  Don't know what the other 40% was so I stopped drinking the juice after that. 
For lunch I did the Mongolian BBQ with veggies only.  YUM!!!!
I snacked on some nuts, kaput and goji that I brought from home.  I should have brought more!
I tried one of their onboard  smoothies.  It tasted like they mixed in some sprite so I passed on that (till the last day).
Dinner was a Greek salad, lobster, strawberry and cream soup and an alligator fritter.   (The cream soup and fritter were a mis-step, I payed for that by being plugged for 2 days.  Ugh)
This was a major lounging day by the pool.  I did take a dip a few times. :)  Also got a great hot stone massage.

Tuesday - Found the omelet bar, the espresso bar and the magnesium.
For breakfast I took it easy with fruit, omelet and a coffee.
Snacks were a green tea soy latte, fruit and the rest of the nuts. 
Dinner was baked fished and skipped on dessert.  Still feeling really full.

Wednesday - Saturday
Continued eating fruits but lost my taste for the salads.  I  had to incorporate more of the cooked foods.  Also went on some excursions with walking and snorkeling.   I was feeling much better by Saturday and the cruise drinks were getting tastier. 

Sunday - The party's over.
On Sunday we were back on dry land looking tan and happy.
I felt tired and sluggish and napped 2hours.  Sought out the organics!  I ate ta salmon sushi roll and a bowl of seaweed salad.  I then drank 20oz of Green Goodness juice.   I made some fresh organic salsa and for dinner ate tilapia, organic broccoli and organic potato with seaweed.

Monday - Feeling awful...could I be detoxing?
Ate organic oatmeal and flax with an organic kiwi and a banana.  Organic celery with organic peanut butter. 
Lunch ate left over yakisoba and an organic salad with seaweed and flax oil
By noon I felt a cold coming on and had ginger tea with a lot of honey and ate pistachios and drank 20oz of the Green Goodness juice. 
Right after dinner I started to get a huge headache over my left eye then all around my head.  I had to lie down and thankfully fell asleep.  My shoulders are tight and achy.

Tuesday - The journey home. 
I ate lightly on Tuesday since I spent most of the time at the airport.  I did stay hydrated and took some Tylenol throughout the day. 

Tired, but starting to feel better.
I'm back at home and eating my own food again!  I had an organic spinach, mango, banana smoothie and rested.  I'm starting to feel better now!  Whew!  It's tough making good food choices on a cruise.  Next cruise I'll need to take some major supplements with me and not be tempted with dairy and desserts.  But, I had a blast! 

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