Friday, January 30, 2015

My First Pizza

I just had my first pizza. Okay, not really my first pizza. But, it is my first in a while. I did attempt a gluten free pizza from Domino's several months back, but was extremely ill afterwards. My body just did not like all of the other ingredients, I guess.

I have been craving a thin crust, crispy, flavorful slice and after a very long week and I knew that tonight I needed a certain element of comfort. So I took matters into my own hands to create my very own delicious "masterpiece".

I was scared, I admit. I enjoy taking recipes I find online or dig out of the vault in my recipe box and making them my own by adding and eliminating ingredients. But to just wing it tonight without a proven method of deliciousness or reading reviews from others who have tried it and loved it was a little scary for me. I was hungry,  I barely ate today and I just wanted to enjoy a moment with good food. I couldn't mess this up.

This pizza is gluten free and vegan friendly. This pizza is crispy and delicious. This pizza had flavor and completely satisfied my need.

Rachel's Tomato, Squash, Zucchini, Pine Nut Pizza

Preheat oven to 375

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 golden grape tomatoes
Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until pine nuts are roughly chopped.

For Pizza:
Thin gluten free pizza crust
(I will take the time to make one from scratch soon; tonight wasn't the night)
1/4 of a whole squash thinly sliced - almost transparent
1/4 of a zucchini thinly sliced - almost transparent
1 small tomato of your choice
Pepper to taste
Daiya mozzarella style shreds (or a dairy free cheese of your choice)

Once you have blended your sauce, brush over the entire pizza crust.

Layer your remaining ingredients and top with the dairy free cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes and then turn to broil for a remaining 3-5 minutes. Be careful to continue to check back every minute or so to make sure you aren't burning your pizza. Allow to cool slightly,
slice, kick back and enjoy!

I really enjoyed this pizza. It completely satisfied me and I am looking forward to exploring more options with my toppings. Dealing with IBS and gluten sensitivity really limits what I can and can't have. However, I am learning that I can indulge in the healthiest way possible and I couldn't be more thrilled!! 

This journey is long, it is tiring at times and it has been boring some days. That being said, I am experimenting and expanding my research for all options to find out that I can live this way and be completely satisfied! 

Let me know if you try it and what you think. 



Monday, January 19, 2015

It May Shame You - But Don't Judge Her

I wrote this article a few years back on my old blog and felt compelled to share it again. Sanctity of Life Sunday was yesterday, 01/18/2015. I watched a powerful video this morning on the gift of grace for women and men who chose abortion at one time in their life and now suffer with shame and guilt. I encourage you to read this article and then watch this video after you have read the below. (Entry has been edited)

To think about after reading: If you are interested in helping women who are suffering please contact me below in the comments section or at I have information that includes how to help women, spread the word on getting help, and making care gifts to send to women who attend “Rachel’s Vineyard” retreats. Thank you! (Please note: I am not affiliated with Rachel's Vineyard- we just happen to share the same first name)

I have sat with many girlfriends who could hardly see through their tears. Their breath was short and gasping. I held them as they cried on my shoulder. I prayed.

It is a word, a topic, that scares many Christians. With it comes a label that is inescapable. It is a secret so large that most women who do it, never tell a soul. They will live with it for their entire life. This decision was made out of fear, uncertainty, bad advice, and lies from the enemy.


There are Christian women who have at one point or another stood on a very thin line. A line between right and wrong. They have been subjected to make a decision that would forever alter the course of their life.

A teenager who does not want to shame her family, chose it.
A woman who has been sexually assaulted, chose it.
A woman who believed it was a woman’s choice, chose it.
A woman who was not a Christian at the time, chose it.
A woman who felt she had no other options, chose it.

This choice then turned out to be a sin that was not easy to seek forgiveness for. It became a sin that she found would never leave her thoughts. She labeled herself a murderer, unforgivable, shameful, a bad mother.
According to and The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood's Family Planning Perspectives.

Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

Even though these statistics are high, we do not see churches or Christians in most communities offering help for women who made a decision; chose a path she now wholeheartedly and shamefully regrets.

She is forced to carry this burden alone. She is afraid that she will be rejected by her Church family if she seeks help. She is frightened that if anyone ever found out, her Christianity would be questioned.

I am writing this devotion today because I hear and see Christian women demeaning and judging other Christian women who had an abortion. It does not matter if this woman has changed her life, or now is Pro-Life, or hurts so deeply she wishes she could erase this mistake. It does not matter that she is shamed, the silence that answers her cry for help only makes the heartbreak deeper.

This is the one sin she will forever judge herself for. She has no need to receive the judgment from anyone else. Here is what she may go through because of her guilt and shame.

Guilt, Anxiety Panic Attacks, Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, Psychological “Numbing”, Abortion Re-Experiencing, Anniversary Attacks, Survival Guilt, Eating Disorders, Interruption of the bonding process with present and/or future children, Alcohol and drug abuse,Other self-punishing or self-degrading behaviors, Brief reactive psychosis.

Even as I type this, because I know certain women who are unable to bear children that have never had an abortion and I have heard their unforgiving views on women who made that mistake, it makes me fear being judged for bringing this to light.

But as Christians we are called to help those in need. A Christian who chose a path that was covered in sin is no less of a woman because of it. We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. Jesus' death on the Cross was a cover for the mistakes we ALL make. The sin we ALL have in our lives.

If you are a woman who suffers from the guilt and shame of having had an abortion, I want to pray for you. You may privately contact me via e-mail at

Here is a site that I would love for you to check out by clicking on Rachel's Vineyard.

Here is a book that you can order to read to receive help from your pain by clicking here.

To women who have had an abortion: There is healing from this pain. As a Christian, you know God’s promises for you. Your sin is no greater than any other sin. King David was a murderer, an adulterer and more. God called him a man after His own heart. (Acts 13:22)

If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, please know there is healing through Him. If you have questioned or “toyed” with the idea of believing but feel you are unworthy, you are not.
Romans 3:23 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

To women and men who create judgment on women who had an abortion: Open your hearts and your arms. Show her that she is lovable and worthy. Treat her as God would; with a forgiving heart.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

For Fibro & IBS Fighters

I've taken my health into my own hands. Years of doctors, tons of tests, many prescriptions and I am fed up! Over the past 10 years I have experimented with alternative treatments, including dietary, to treat my IBS and Fibromyalgia. Temporarily it seemed things would work.

First step, I eliminated red meat from my diet for my IBS as I noticed that was a huge culprit for me. I haven’t consumed red meat in over 9 years. It helped greatly and still continues to help. However, flare ups with both illnesses would still occur too often. I won’t take you through all of the experimenting over all these years. I will just jump straight to what I know has worked for me.

Before I do that I would like to say one thing to you…

It is hard.

I am not going to sugar coat this. One of the symptoms of both fibro and IBS is depression. When you are depressed the last thing you want to do is eat what is good for you. You want comfort food. Sugar, soda, chips, etc… So I know that making this first step is a huge one because depression really doesn't want you to change your diet. That being said, I want to encourage you. YOU CAN DO THIS! I promise. If I have, you can. 

I am you and you are me. We both don’t want to get out of the bed. We both hurt in places we never knew existed. We both run to the bathroom afraid we won’t make it. We both don’t want to go to social events. We both would rather curl up and sleep (when we can) or watch movies and eat comfort food.

However, if there is one thing I know about us fibro and IBS sufferers, it is this. We are fighters. We fight to be heard, fight for proper diagnosis and fight for a cure. Part of this fight, I believe, is fighting our food cravings and changing what we consume. I have compiled a list of 3 ways you can begin to take control of your fibro and IBS with diet.

Avoid additives
MSG, GMO’s, preservatives and sugar substitutes actually increase sensitivity to pain. I am not a scientist, but have read that these contain chemicals that activate our nerve cells. Well, as fibro sufferers, our nerves are already overactive. Why send them into overdrive by putting unnatural substances into our body?

Stop Drinking Carbonated Drinks
I have to admit that this was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I went from full sugar sodas to diet sodas to sparkling water. I wanted to keep carbonation in my life at any cost. Well, it cost me. Cost me more pain. Since I have eliminated carbonation not only has my IBS eased up, but my pain has also. Many carbonated drinks contain caffeine which is a stimulant. Again, as stated above, why would we want to stimulate ourselves any more than we already are?

Don’t “Drive-Thru”
Okay, you can shoot the messenger on this one. Talk about difficult. Fast food is part of our life. When your entire body aches why would you want to stand in front of the stove for hours? But trust me on this one. Now, I am not saying stop it forever. There will be times when you must have that #1 super-sized. But you can cut back significantly. If you haven’t, I encourage you to follow The Food Babe on Facebook or check out her website. I will let her tell you why you need to stop eating out. Basically, it all goes back to avoiding additives.

Listen, I know this isn't easy or even fun to read. I understand the need for comfort when so much of our life is painful. We work just to get up and go most days. But I promise you that if you ease yourself into this that you will notice a difference. You can read how I changed my entire lifestyle here. Please feel free to contact me for more information.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When You Must Have Chili

It has been cold, cloudy, foggy and rainy out. Yesterday was the perfect day for Chili. I can't have REAL Chili as the spices don't agree with me. But I seriously wanted it. So I looked online for Chili recipes that were unique and different. Hoping once again to find something I could make my own. I came across this recipe from the Skinnytaste website and my mouth literally watered!

Oh, if I could eat! Any-hoo...I went home and created my own spin on her recipe and I would like to share it with you. I did use a small amount of chili & taco seasoning to give this a little flavor. This soup/stew is gluten-free, IBS sensitve and low in fat.

Rachel's Wish It Were Cheesy Chili-Taco, Chili-Taco Soup/Stew


2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 lemon - juiced
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Chili Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Taco Seasoning
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 10 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
1 4 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup refried beans
2 cups reduced fat organic chicken broth
1 package Gluten Free - Corn Free pasta shells (Quinoa shells are fabulous!)
2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cilantro to garnish

In a large pot drizzle the olive oil in your pan. Once heated, add your salt and pepper, cumin, chili and taco seasons. Add your ground turkey and mix together with the olive oil and seasonings. Make sure you use lean meat so you don't have to drain your turkey and lose any of the flavor from the seasonings incorporating together with the meat. When your turkey is brown add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and refried beans and stir. Once it is all incorporated, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and pasta shells. Cook pasta shells 16-18 minutes or according to package directions.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with Rice Tortilla Chips. If you can stomach cheese, add as much as you desire. I have to be careful, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of sharp cheddar to mine.


Monday, January 12, 2015


Well I did it. I spent the majority of my weekend in the kitchen. I made a creamy and yummy homemade Chicken Salad, Gluten Free Chicken Picatta, & Vegenaise. The shocking part of my time spent in the kitchen Voguing with Madonna, Startin' Something with Michael Jackson and all while cooking... is that afterwards my husband tried all of my recipes and LOVED them. 

Now listen, this is a picky man we are talking about here. A man who does not like cheese nor apple pie!! So for him to like it, not fake like it...but like it as in ASKED me if I could fix him a plate because it was so GOOD liked it! Well, let's just say it made this woman extremely happy and a tear of joy may have been shed! 

I followed several different Vegenaise recipes online. However, I always like to make things my own. So I looked over a few and came up with the following recipe that I used as the base for my Chicken Salad: 


  1/2 cup sweetened almond milk (most people use unsweetened soy...see below for an additional note) 
  1/4 teaspoon Organic apple cider vinegar
  1/4 teaspoon Organic honey
  1/2 lemon juiced
  1/2 teaspoon Organic Dijon mustard
  1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil in a blender on high-speed until creamy. With your blender on a low speed, slowly stream in the olive oil to thicken the mixture. If any of the mixture gets on the sides, scrape it down and mix again. Season to taste. Feel free to add more salt, pepper, mustard, lemon, etc... Place in a Mason Jar and refrigerate. Before use, shake the jar.

I used this in place of mayonnaise for my chicken salad and it was divine!
*Note* It was slightly thin like a dressing so if you want a thicker consistency use Whole Fat Soy Milk instead of the Almond Milk. Once it sits in the fridge for a while, it will continue to thicken. Please give this a try and let me know how you like it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Introducing My Lifestyle

Many of you have been asking 

"What do you eat?" 
"How did you lose weight?"
"Are you sure you can't eat this, eat that?"

I have lost 30 pounds in a little over 3 months. This has become my reward for a change in my lifestyle that was a priority to make. I had been suffering since 2002 with terrible stomach issues. We won't even go there. But trust me or ask my family, friends and was imperative something change. Doctors couldn't help me, removing my gallbladder couldn't help me, medication couldn't help me. Only prayer and eliminating foods by trial and error mixed with years of research have I been able to calm the monster within. 

While I am not 100% well, and let's face it, I may never be. I am 75% better and to me, that is AMAZING and life changing. I actually caught myself several times thinking something was wrong with me because I haven't been used to my new tummy. I guess I thought I should be spending more time in the I always did. But anyway, said we weren't going there. SO....

Here are some of the foods I have in my home

1. No Dairy
2. 75-85% Gluten Free
3. Organic
4. Free Range Products
5. Non-GMO products
6. Little to absolutely no soy products
7. No soda
8. Sprouted Grains
9. Vegan (although, this isn't a complete requirement for me) I do eat animal products. Except red meat. I haven't had red meat going on 9 years.

When I shop, I look for all of the requirements from the list above. Sometimes I can find products that make me feel like I have hit the lottery. Products like the below that make me happier than I probably should be. Products that have everything I need/want in one.

So I will break my list down for you and tell you why I have chosen to live this way

1. No Dairy

Dairy messes with my stomach very badly. I just can't do very much at all. Also, I encourage you to research what is really in the milk you consume. Even most Organic Milk.

2. 75-85% Gluten Free

While I am not 100% gluten free, I have noticed I am gluten sensitive. When I eat mainly gluten free products, my tummy is happy. Someone suggested I may have an allergy to gluten and suggested I try to eliminate it from my life. So I did some research. When I found out what gluten is, honestly it was easy to make the switch. Actually, the name gluten is derived from a glue-like  sticky network of proteins.

3. Organic

 I will just let this picture do the talking for me. Tomatoes on the left, non-certified organic, were purchased over a month ago... tomato on the right was purchased less than a week ago.

Um....why haven't the tomatoes I purchased over a month ago turned yet?

4. Free Range Products

Blame the animal lover in me. While I still eat meat, I have this thing for the treatment of these animals prior to consumption. 
"A free-range chicken is a bird that is allowed constant access to the outdoors, with plenty of fresh vegetation, sunshine and room to exercise. Moreover, it has not been given any chemicals (antibiotics, for example) of any kind." 
To me, this more humane than animals that are caged, pumped full of chemicals, and living a miserable life.

5. Non-GMO products

What is GMO? I'll just quote a few sources and let you sit and think on this for yourself. I believe you will soon understand why this is just WRONG!

From Wikepedia: 
  1. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food.
  2. "GMOs are foods biologically manufactured in laboratories – injected with new DNA, viruses, herbicides, insecticides and/or other chemicals – to be resistant to synthetic chemicals and are completely different than hybridizing techniques allowed by nature." "In 50 countries there are significant restrictions or outright BANS on GMO's." (Vani Hari - Food Babe)

6. Little to absolutely no soy products

Soy containes Carrageenan: "Although derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella." No wonder my tummy was bothered all the time! Even when I eliminated dairy and began drinking Soy Milk. It seemed my stomach was worse when I consumed Soy Milk.

7. No soda

I am not even going to go into this because it honestly requires a blog entry of its own. But trust me!!!!! PLEASE STOP THE SODAS

8. Sprouted Grains

A sprouted grain is lower in starch than a regular grain and it also has higher levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. All around, it is just better for you.

9. Vegan 

While I am not a vegan, I eat more vegan products now than I used to. I do this simply because of the benefits/nutrients I gain from eating vegan. Vegan products have reduced saturated fats, antioxidants, protein, magnesium, potassium, fiber, Vitamin E and Vitamin C just to name a few.

So, there you have it. I could seriously go on and on, but you would lose interest. I just wanted to share what I have been doing and why. What have I gained?

Healthier body and mind
Healthier skin
Weight loss
Increased Energy
Less stomach issues
And my Fibromyalgia flare-ups only occur now a few times a month instead of a few times a week.

Hope you enjoyed this and have taken something away from it that will make you want to incorporate these changes into your lifestyle. Yes, it can be expensive and it has to be a priority on the budget. However, I believe in the long run you will save more money because you will spend less time sitting in the doctors office with high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and more!


Figured It Out

I figured it out! (see here)

I think this weekend will be a weekend spent in the kitchen.

The week of Christmas, my husband and I went to Asheville, NC for our honeymoon. We stayed in a cozy little cabin just outside of Weaverville, NC. While there, we ate at the wonderful Green Sage Cafe in Asheville for lunch. It was so good that we had to go there again later that week.

I had a wonderfully made gluten free turkey and ham wrap both times. The sauce on the wrap was to die for!! I inquired as to what the sauce was...Vegenaise. Being from the South and only a little over three months into this lifestyle change of no gluten, non-GMO, all organic, etc...etc..., I had never heard of Vegenaise. My Bad!!!

I love anything a little tangy and citrus-y and this Vegenaise was both!! Oh my!

Since we have been back home I have really missed the food options North Carolina had to offer. I miss being able to go into a restaurant or a grocery store and have endless options to choose from. Living in a small town with only a small handful of stores to buy groceries and maybe one or two places I can actually eat out at, I am back to the daily grind of hand preparing everything.

Since I am still new to this lifestyle, I have yet to discover all the options I really have as far as what I can eat. I kind of have picked my few staple items and stuck with them. I am getting bored. Today I was really craving that wrap and when I thought of it, the first thing my mouth did was water at the thought of that wonderful sauce.

So...this weekend will be spent in the kitchen exploring more food options for myself (sorry honey) and first on the list is making my own Vegenaise. I will make sure to come back and let you guys know how it goes.


Need It Now

I want to write! I want to draw! I want to paint! I want to do photography! I want to cook! I want to create!

So many things I want to do, I crave deep within. I just don't know which to choose, which to focus my energy on. I don't know how to get started. All I know is I want to live out this passion internally, externally.

Do I pick up a pen, paintbrush, spatula?

Help me! Give me a project, an idea, a task. Something.!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Man, I Feel Like A Woman

I’ve always heard with age comes wisdom. Well, I don’t know how wise I am, but I am a tad more astute than I was 5, 10, 15 years ago; I am loving 35!!! At 35 I have crossed through a few major milestones and still have important landmarks ahead of me to journey. At 35 I am happily married; although it did take one round of marriage to realize what I wanted. Marrying, for me, at 23 was probably not the best decision I made. Not that I regret it. I just never wanted to be divorced. Oh well, such is life.

At 35 I am stronger than I have ever been. I know that my strength will continue to grow.

I am more dependable that I have ever been. Trusting? Maybe less so now, but I am working on that.

I am more creative. I write what I feel, paint through emotions, cook until my kitchen is unrecognizable and sketch little ballerinas, flowers, and all other things girly.

At 35 I stand up more for my beliefs, my freedom in Christ and for those I love.

At 35 I feel less like a girl searching for her place in this big and yet...small world.

At 35 I respect life and what it means to be a woman. 

I hope you are loving your life and would love to hear what you embrace about your age. No matter your age!!


Saturday, January 3, 2015


Wake up in a warm bed, legs outstretched and arms above head. Hair messy from a night of deep relaxation and peace. Throw legs off the side of bed and gently allow toes to touch the cool wood floor.


Walk to the bathroom and brush teeth, maybe I should comb my hair. Maybe I will just throw it in a messy bun.


Maybe today I will tackle the chores. Maybe today I will visit a friend. Maybe today I will write those Thank You notes.


Walk to the couch. Grab my blanket and pillow. Lay down and grab the remote. Flip the channels. Curl up with breakfast and my husband.


Enjoy the moment. The mess can wait. The calls don't have to be answered and the texts can be ignored. Smell his hair. Hold his hand.


Simply be today. Don't worry about expectations, others or the ones you place on yourself.