10/31/17

SCD Pecan Turtles

SCD Pecan Turtles Candy
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
L.M. Montgomery

While October is certainly one of my favorite months, I am torn about how I feel when it comes to Halloween. This once favorite holiday of mine has become a challenge for our family since we decided to turn away from sugar, starches and processed foods. Even though my oldest can't have anything passed out on Halloween, I let the kids go trick-or-treating, but the past two years Jonas has decided to pass on it and I respect his decision. I've offered to buy the candy from him and then donate it, but he would rather stick around the house and I understand. I am amazed at his strength but I never want to forget how challenging this can be for him. He doesn't have a choice; there is no cheating or sneaking a piece of candy just once. It's all or nothing. I'm just thankful he is on board and willing to adapt to this lifestyle because we know it works!

Since our Halloween is more about the tricks than the treats, I decided to surprise the kids with some after-school goodies. I packed canvas bags with little trinkets, iTunes gift cards, fruit strips, packed nuts and some homemade treats. These SCD Pecan Turtles are super easy to make and can be stored in the freezer for up to a couple weeks. Jonas likes them in the frig because the cacao remains hard but the caramel is gooey. The caramel would be a great topping for homemade vanilla ice-cream (I posted THIS recipe awhile back but the ice-cream is SCD friendly.)

SCD Pecan Turtles
yield: 16 clusters
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free + Vegan Optional

INGREDIENTS:
Cacao Topping:
8 ounces raw cacao butter, cut into small pieces or shaved
3 Tbs honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan halves

Caramel Topping:
1/2 C dates, pitted
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1 Tbs almond or cashew butter
1 Tbs ghee, melted (use coconut milk if making vegan, just scoop the thicker cream off the top and use that)
1 tsp vanilla

1 C pecans

DIRECTIONS:
1. Line a baking tray with parchment and make small cluster of pecans, using 3 pecans for each serving.
2. Next make the caramel. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and combine until thick. Set aside.
3. Melt the cacao butter over a double broiler. Once the cacao has begun to melt add the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix and immediately remove from heat so you don't burn the cacao.
4. Using a spoon, add a quarter size amount of caramel on top of each pecan cluster.
5. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of cacao topping over each cluster. Place in the freezer. Repeat this step once more after the cacao has set.
6. Store in an airtight container in the frig for up to 4 days or store in the freezer for 2 weeks.

10/12/17

Dirty Rice With Cauliflower | SCD + Paleo

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Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish made from white rice, chicken liver, green bell pepper, celery, onion and a blend of aromatic spices. I decided to turn this classic southern Louisiana dish into a quick, healthy meal that consists mostly of staples found in the home. This recipe is so simple and can be altered to add in different veggies, chicken, sausage and even chicken liver if you prefer. Omit the bone broth to make a simple vegan dish packed with nutrients. The options are endless but full of flavor!

While we recently added organic rice into our diet, in moderation of course, this dish calls for riced cauliflower, which will always be a staple in our house. This super food totes a long list of healthy benefits and is rich in phytochemicals. Eating cauliflower provides your body with remarkable amounts of nutrients; vitamin C, vitamin k, beta-carotene and the list goes on. These nutrients help support healthy digestion, fight inflammation and promote detoxification.

Health Benefits of Cauliflower:
- Reduces Cancer Risk.
- Fights Inflammation.
- Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (especially important Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
- Improves Digestion and Detoxification.
- Aids in Weight Loss.
- Helps Balance Hormones.
- Preserves Eye Health.

The next time you're in the grocery store make sure to stock up on cauliflower! This cruciferous vegetable can be eaten raw, made into rice, roasted, steamed and used as a substitute for mashed potatoes.

Dirty Rice with Cauliflower
yield: 6 servings
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Optional

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup diced yellow pepper
1/4 cup chopped shitake mushroom
1/4 cup chopped kale
1 cup bone broth
2 or 3 Tbs. coconut oil
2 Tbs parsley
1 Tbs Creole Spice
OR
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor with S blade attached and pulse until florets are finely ground and resemble cous cous.
2. In a large saute pan, add 1 Tbs. coconut oil and cook the cauliflower rice over medium-high heat until very lightly browned. Set aside in a large bowl for later.
3. Using the same pan, saute the onion, carrots and celery until translucent and fragrant. Add more coconut oil as needed.
4. Add the broccoli, pepper, mushroom and creole seasonings (if making your own creole seasoning, prep this ahead of time) and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring so the spices don't burn.
5. Pour in about 1/2 cup bone broth. I start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed.
6. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add cauliflower rice and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat, garnish with parsley and serve.

Tips & Suggestions:
- Prepare your creole seasoning ahead of time.
- Swap the bone broth for vegetable broth to make this dish vegan.
- Add chicken or sausage for an extra boost of protein.

*Feedback is greatly appreciated! Sometimes I get caught up cooking and I forget to write down the recipe, I try my best to remember every step but sometimes I just forget! For this dish I had half of the recipe written down and then...nothing. I'll make adjustments as needed.

10/6/17

The Benefits of Tea Tree + Maple Holistics

Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
Tea Tree Maple Holistics
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
Jim Rohn

The idea of a healthy lifestyle goes far beyond what we eat and drink. Our health is impacted by the world around us; the air we breath, the dirt we touch, the clothes we wear and the products we use on our bodies. Our skin is the largest organ of our entire body, so it's imperative we treat it with care and use quality products that are free from harsh chemicals, dyes and preservatives. Did you know that nearly 20% of personal-care products contain at least one chemical linked to cancer? Yet beauty products are loosely regulated by the FDA. Think about it, you use lotions, creams, soaps and oils daily. When you put these products on you skin they are absorbed into your system and make their way to the bloodstream and inside your body. When you think about it this way you realize just how delicate our skin is and, since it is the largest organ, we should treat it with care.

For years our family has been using tea tree oil for its powerful antiseptic properties and its ability to treat wounds. But did you know that tea tree totes several other beneficial properties? Maple Holistics Natural Tea Tree Oil Shampoo can moisturize hair and scalp, can promote healthy hair growth and can soothe irritated scalp and skin. Their tea tree oil shampoo can even help prevent and fight lice, which makes it ideal for kids. And, it is cruelty-free, parabens-free, GMO-free, and gluten free; making it an ideal product to use. My daughter and I both had the chance to sample this shampoo and our hair was left feeling soft and shiny. I've been on the search for a natural shampoo for her long blonde locks and finally found one that cleanses well yet leaves her hair silky. This is the ideal shampoo for me since I'm always looking for something to promote hair growth and keep my long bob strong and thick.

Benefits of Tea Tree
- It contains natural anti-inflammatory properties.
- Soothes dry skin and scalp.
- Promotes hair growth.
- Helps to unclog hair follicles and nourish your roots.
- Tea tree oil works great on any hair type.

To read more about Maple Holistics and check out all the products they have to offer head on over to their site!
Maple Holistics | Website | Facebook | Instagram

AND you can receive your own free samples with their free samples program. Click HERE for more info and to get your samples! This program gives you the opportunity to try out Maple Holistics products at no cost, all while learning about an all-natural, cruelty-free company based in the U.S.

This post is in partnership with Maple Holistics.

10/4/17

Cuyahoga Valley National Park + Hiking Tips For Kids

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
Frank Lloyd Wright

Secluded trails tucked away between rocky gorges, massive boulders perfectly placed in the middle of the vast woods, tree-covered hills, the overgrowth of brush and fresh water quickly flowing over rock and pebbles. Who would have thought this rustic landscape is situated right in the heart of Ohio. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located between Cleveland and Akron and just a short drive away from Canton, serves the Metropolitan area well. In just a short distance, you can escape from the bustling urban life of downtown and find a natural retreat hidden away just off the highway. These grounds welcome hikers, families, runners, bikers, bird-watchers, photographers and nature lovers.

When To Go
Hiking in Ohio is a year round adventure! Now is the perfect time of year to hike in Ohio. In a couple more weeks the leaves will be in their prime and you will be surrounded by bold hues of gold, orange, red, yellow and rust. Cuyahoga Valley is just as fascinating in the winter. The waterfalls and rivers transform into a winter wonderland and become a captivating sight created by ice. Don't forget that cross-country skiing (an activity we picked up a couple years ago), snowshoeing, sledding, and hiking in the winter months are extremely enjoyable. And of course spring offers a fresh perspective on nature as we begin to see new growth. Spring is the time for foraging and seeking out the treasures provided by the season; morel mushrooms, ramps, fiddlehead ferns.

Tips For Hiking With Children
- Dress in layers and don't forget it's Ohio- check the weather because it's always unpredictable!
- Bring plenty of water and a snack. We always pack Larabars and meat sticks.
- Bring sunscreen and insect repellent. We use essential oils or this natural bug spray.
- Wear long pants or high hiking socks with shorts to keep ticks away from your skin.
- It seems obvious, but make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- Consider a shorter trail that is kid friendly.
- Bring a notebook and pen to encourage your child to take notes and draw pictures.
- When you get home research what you saw.