Saturday, July 31, 2010

Waffle Time

I love waffles. I love crisp, thick, chewy waffles. My $70 rotating Waring Pro waffle maker died a few months ago despite all efforts to save it. I loved it so. I wanted to replace it but after doing some internet reading, turns out the newer Waring Pro's aren't holding up so well. I decided to just buy a cheaper one to see if it would pacify me. It went back to the store after the first use.

Two months later, I still didn't have a waffle maker. I asked for one for my birthday. My husband, a devout researcher of products, found out that the Presto flip waffle maker was holding up to peer evaluation across the board. He prodded the kids to get it for me for my birthday. I hadn't seen this design before. You pour the batter onto one side, close then flip over .

I used it and sorry Waring Pro, it takes the cake; or shall I say, the waffle. It usually goes for about $70 as well but I checked Amazon and they have some amazing deals on all waffle makers right now. Check out the link to the right. You can get it for under $40. Super hot deal. Too bad the kids didn't know about that!

We had a lovely waffle breakfast this Saturday morning; whole grain Spelt and Sorghum topped with the sinful buttermilk syrup. Yum. I missed it so.

Here is my favorite blender waffle recipe in case you don't have it.

Blender Waffles

1 C. Whole grain kernels (not flour), Kamut, wheat, sorghum, spelt, etc.
1 C. Milk, buttermilk or Kefir
Blend on high until smooth.


1/2 C oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt.

Blend again until all mixed.

**Spelt makes an exceptionally fluffy waffle. Kefir makes it a little sourdoughish, a personal favorite of mine. You can mix the first two ingredients, using kefir or buttermilk and let it soak overnight or use your sprouted grains for better nutrition.
(Sorry, forgot to add this to my original post, thanks for reminding me Kara!)

For the yummy Buttermilk Syrup recipe, check out my post here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My daughter shot this hot , fresh faced picture of me as I went for a morning run. Don't be fooled by the smile. Totally fake. I guess she shot it because the fact that I was actually running was picture worthy. Whatever the case, you get to see me without makeup.

I took the last month off. I didn't pack my running shoes to the beach. I didn't even look at them for most of the month. I didn't feel guilty at all. I thought I was showing my body who was in charge and that I could take a little break.

Problem: This hot girl just turned 38 this week. On her very birthday morning, she came to the stark realization that she could no longer take a month off. It may have been something to do with the fact that her upper arms were jiggling at a faster rhythm than her toothbrush was moving or the fact that she has chosen to wear the "loose" shorts for the past few days. Whatever the case, taking a month off is no longer an option.

On her very birthday morning, she put on the lonely running shoes and hit the hotter than h--- AZ pavement. Hated every minute of it. A little internal whining going on.

However, she was back at it again today and started the internal whining again. Then, she decided to take a moment to think about her attitude.

She was at her 20 year high school reunion planning meeting the night before. Two girls (twin sisters) had just finished their third marathon and were training for the Ironman (whatever!!). Then, she thought some more. Another hero, Uncle Jim. He just battled stage 4 cancer this last year. He is a grandpa. He is running a marathon. Seriously. Whatever was I doing whining at this very moment? I realized.....I really have no idea what it means to do hard things.

I will never run a marathon. I have no desire, ever. But.....I want to have drive and determination and a body that allows me to feel good in my own skin (preferably without underarm jiggles.) I want to be able to persevere in my aging years and kick some serious butt like Uncle Jim no matter what trial comes my way. I want to be able to push myself beyond what I think I can do.

Why? Because taking a month off did not feel good. I thought I was giving myself a much deserved break but in turn, I felt tired, fluffy and unmotivated. What good is that? I was only hurting myself.

Once again, my running post has nothing to do with running. It has everything to do with becoming the best person I can be and doing hard things is all part of the scenario.

The new school year is here. It is time to recommit and get on a program. Grab a sheet of paper. Write down your action plan. Whatever genre it may be and like they say.....JUST DO IT!! No excuses.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The cookbooks will be here tomorrow. Please let me know when you would like to pick them up or how to get them to you. For those of you who need them mailed, they will be mailed as soon as payment is received. I will be happy to send a pay pal bill if needed. Someone has asked for pay pal but I forgot who---remind me please. Thanks.

I have 6 extra books.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Playtime for the munchkins


I have a few slots open for my PLAYTIME class for your 2 1/2 for 3- year-olds beginning in August.

What is it, you say?

It is a class on Thursday's each week for the little ones focusing on social readiness for their upcoming entrance into the school world. This class is modeled after the "Floortime" method of teaching using purposeful play to teach basic lessons in behavioral, intellectual and social areas.

We will be crafting, singing, cooking and learning all in a fun and intimate environment.

Best part is you get a 2 hour break each week to get some grocery shopping done!

The class starts on Thursday, August 19th from 9:30 to 11:30. The cost is $35 per month. Classes are held in my home in Gilbert.

Can't wait.

(They don't even have to be potty trained.)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Salt of the Earth

Salt often gets a bad rap in the health conscience world today. However, salt is vital to our beings. Salt plays a crucial role in the digestion of our food. It begins the moment the salt first hits our taste buds. The mere taste of it will activate the primary digestive enzyme in the mouth and then as it is ingested, it continues it's good work. Sodium chloride (salt) creates hydrochloric acid which is critical to the breakdown of food. Those who eat a "no salt" diet can suffer greatly. Salt is needed. Pure and simple.

The problem we have today is the type of salt we are ingesting. Regular table salt that is most commonly used is refined. What refining means in the salt world is that it is treated with a caustic soda or lime to remove all the traces of magnesium salts which are beneficial to the body. They remove the magnesium because it brings in profits to sell the magnesium. They will also add in alumino-silicate of sodium or other desiccants and bleaches to make the salt whiter and flow easier. When the salt is finally packaged, it is so stripped of the natural trace elements that it now becomes unusable by the body. In fact, it becomes harmful.

Our processed foods today are loaded with this junk table salt. It is one of the reason's we Americans are killing ourselves. It is cheap and it tastes good. That's what we are famous for.

There are alternatives. Healthy alternatives to getting the salty taste we crave (moderately, of course). There are sea salts that are sold everywhere from Walmart to Williams Sonoma. They are much less processed than the table salt but if you want to go a step beyond and make the salt actually healthy for you, Celtic salt is where I put my salt bucks.

Celtic salt is salt taken from the earth in it's natural state, from the sea. It is hand harvested and laid out to dry in the sun. It is completely unrefined and retains the trace elements as given by the Creator himself. It is slightly gray in appearance and has a richer flavor. I love to cook with it. I keep it in a glass sugar shaker by my stove. It does cost more but how much salt do you need everyday? A few bucks more is definitely worth your health.

If you haven't done your shopping on Amazon yet, check it out. I have given you a link at the end of this post for a great deal on 5#'s of the Celtic Salt I like. It will last a very long time. You can also buy smaller sizes. I will try to put up weekly deals from Amazon that I find so you can save some money on the good healthy products I love. You will save bundles over shopping at a health food store. Most of the time you won't even have to pay shipping if you spend over $25 on items. Super deal. So keep your eyes on my sidebar for the best deals of the day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The more I learn about food, the more I am absolutely sure that food has been placed here on this earth for a much greater purpose than to merely keep us alive. Food can heal. The more we learn and understand about the incredible supply of food that we have been given, the greater ability we will have to heal our ailing bodies naturally and to prevent further disease. I am sure of it. Absolutely.

I love to pick apart one food at a time and today's little adventure in food is going to be centered on fennel. Most of you may have never in your life ever purchased a fennel let alone knew what it looked like. Read on and you may want to pick one up next time you go to the market.

Italian's know what's up with fennel. It is very common for fennel to be served at the end of a meal. Why? Well fennel aids in digestion. If you have paid attention to me at all in my years of blog lectures, you will know that digestion is very important to me. If you can't digest it, it will not help you; in fact, it can harm you. You need to be able to get the food processed as intended and fennel can help you do just that.

The alkalinity of fennel aids in digestion and helps to metabolize the fat in food. There is a male and a female fennel. The male is taller, more slender in appearance while the female has a wider base. Go figure. The male is better for digestion as it is less fibrous. But, we may not be able to be so picky at our stores. Any fennel will be helpful.

Another great attribute of fennel is it's ability to stimulate estrogen production. It is great for those with PMS problems or those going through menopause or low estrogen count. It can help ease cramps and menopausal disorders.

Fennel oil is great for skin. It is helpful for tightening skin and in treating oily skin. It is great as a moisturizer especially with coconut oil. It has been used for centuries in Europe for skin health.

Fennel can also help to detoxify the liver, uninflame joints and help with rheumatism. It is a natural anti inflammatory, analgesic and laxative.

If you haven't tasted fennel before, it has a licorice sort of taste. It is used in flavorings for toothpastes and mints and as a scent in soaps and perfumes. It is used in Jamaican recipes and spices and is one of my very favorite ingredients in my most favorite Spice Hunter blends, "Jamaican Jerk" spice. I will share more on that later.

You can get this as an essential oil so you can massage some right on the stomach for digestion issues or cramps or take some internally under the tongue. It is great to keep on hand when you travel.

Fennel oil is an inexpensive oil at $15. I have a couple on hand for any takers. There is also a special blend of digestive oils called Di-gest that has fennel along with a few other great digestive oils. It is especially helpful for those little colicky babies. It is $26 per bottle. My kids know what to do if they have an upset stomach and they swear by rubbing these oils on their stomachs. They smell like a stick of liquorice but they get instant relief.

I love not having to use medicine. We haven't touched a tums in years. Once again, use what grows and you will need nothing else. Promise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Freezing!!

Berries, plums, peaches, grapes. I'm Freezing them all. The summer bounty is just too great to pass up. I stock the freezer full of them this time of year for smoothies, pancake toppings and popping the frozen grapes like candy. There are certain techniques to freezing fruit. I will be most happy to share with you all, just in case you don't already know the skinny.

Strawberries: (or any berry) Wash them whole. Lay them on a kitchen towel and let them dry. Then, spread them on a cookie sheet, greens and all and cover completely with foil or plastic wrap. Put them in the freezer until solid. When they are completely hard, put them in a freezer bag. They won't stick together this way or get mooshy from the water. The green part of the berry has nutrients and tastes just fine in smoothies. I got a killer deal on some organic berries from my SIL, $1 per pound (yep) so I took a gaggle of them. Now I wish I took more. They were amazing.

Plums: Easy as pie. Just wash them, dry them slightly then cut them in slices away from the pit. Put them on a cookie sheet and freeze just like the strawberries. Put them in the freezer bag when hard and use in smoothies. They are wonderful. I have a tree full of them and never knew how to use them all up before. I have a crazy hybrid melon in my garden right now, a cross between a cucumber and honeydew (affectionately called a dewcumber) and it juices up perfectly with these plums. Somehow freezing them makes them taste even sweeter.

Peaches: peel and slice them, either with a peeler or blanch them first. put the slices in water with some lemon juice for a few minutes. Drain then put them packed together tightly in a freezer bag being careful to keep the air out. They will stick together so use smaller bags.

Grapes: Wash, dry then put in a bag to freeze. If you haven't tried this before, you will be amazed. They taste like candy. The kids will love the. Watch for great deals this time of year on organic varieties. I found many for under $2 per pound. Non organic varieties can be found for under $1 this time of year so stock up.

If you are looking for local organic here in AZ, try the ranch market on Power and Warner or try the Backyard Farmer who delivers fresh picked fruits and veggies to your door weekly. He also has deals on buckets for grains as well. Email him at He will email you the weekly order form. There are plenty of local farmers markets so check online for locations. Try swapping with neighbors with produce you grow also. I HATE to see great organic produce falling off the trees being wasted. Pass it on

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Little Steps, Giant Leaps

If you didn't know this little boy, my little Tate, you wouldn't understand what an amazing picture this really is. You couldn't possibly know the smile I had on my face when I took this snapshot or the emotions that went through my mind as I pondered the steps it has taken to get us to this place. You see a happy, smiling boy at the beach. The way all 5 year old boys should be. What a difference a year makes.

Last year, we descended down the stairway to the beach when Tate was struck with complete terror. The waves were rolling in and when my other children giggled in delight, he had nothing but fear as he saw the impending waves coming his way. He clung to the rails and would not let go for dear life. He was scared out of his mind. He couldn't enjoy the beach like my other children. He didn't even want to go in the sand. It took most of the week to get him to even go down the stairs without screaming and only on the last day did he even let us get him near the water.

One year later, we descended down the same stairway. We weren't sure what we would get. It was cold. It was windy. He saw the waves. He smiled. He ran to the water. He splashed, played and grabbed a Sponge Bob boogie board. He loved it. He could enjoy the beach like my other children. We did not let Autism take that joy away from him. Every child should be able to feel the ocean and experience the feeling of happiness, not torture. Oh the little steps that got us there.

This trip was filled with many more experiences for this little guy that were giant leaps above the other years. You don't always see the progress you are making with these little guys until you look back where you were. Last year, it would be unthinkable to go on a ride at an amusement park. This year, he rode the carousel at Magic Mountain over and over. He went on the train rides and airplanes. He smiled and wanted to go again. He went to the potty himself. He fed himself. He ate whatever we placed before him. He was happy. He enjoyed playing with his cousins.

We still have many hills to climb. There will always be hills to climb. I get frustrated. I get sad. I pray nightly what I need to do for this little boy. I forget where we have come from. I forget about the days where he wasn't really there and couldn't participate in life. I forget how my heart would ache for this child until I see moments like this captured on film. Back then, this would have been my dream. This would have been my goal. A smile on the beach. I still have lots of dreams for this little guy but today I am going to enjoy this one dream come true. Who knows what next year will be. I can only pray he will be able to tell me in his own words how it feels to have the waves crash on his toes. I want to hear those words more than I can say but we have made giant leaps.

All things are possible. Believe that my fellow mama's out there who have these similar souls who need our care. Fight for it. Enjoy the little steps. Push for the giant leaps. Believe in miracles.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pssst. I'm here.

I am back. I am just in denial. I left 70 degree weather yesterday with the roaring of the ocean waves and came home to 116 degrees. A hot slap of reality. I just finished 21 loads of laundry....really... and just finished the emails. A new post is coming so check back soon. Hope I got to all your emails. I will be ordering products tomorrow for those who have been waiting. Check out my store and shop a bit....I lost my wedding ring at the beach and need to buy a new one quick to stop all the guys from hitting on me. It is getting really annoying. (dream on) I am also printing my cookbook next week so you have until Tuesday to tell me if you want one. If you already told me, give me one more final count please! Thanks! Cookbooks are $18 or $23 if you want them mailed.

You should see my tan.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fried Cauliflower

Cauliflower really doesn't taste like much in my opinion unless you dress it up a bit. I don't like it raw at all so I forgo the nutrition a bit by pan frying this little appetizer. After you plate this crispy veggie, you will be glad you fried it also. You can do this with broccoli as well. It puts a whole new spin on the brassica family.

Parmesan-Fried Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
2 T. flour
2 eggs
4 T. freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
large handful of fresh parsley or other herbs, use dried if you have to.
6 T. olive oil

Break the cauliflower into florets, then steam for 6 minutes until tender, not mushy.Let cool to room temperature.

Coat the cauliflower florets in flour, one at a time.

Beat the eggs, then add the Parmesan,salt and pepper to taste. Finely chop the herbs and add it as well.

Dip the florets in the egg mixture. Heat the oil in the pan and fry when hot on all sides until golden. Drain and serve hot.

***Recipe in Gusto Italiano- for more great recipes like this, buy the cookbook at the Amazon store on my blog! One of my new favorites.

Now with that, I am leaving. It is time to go create memories with my little ones before they fly away. It is a much needed break. Have a wonderful week. I will talk to you all soon. Feel free to shop in my store and check out the great products I have. I will take orders when I return.

XXOO --hope you are creating some great memories for yourselves this summer!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Taking a little "Herb Stop"

This weekend our family took a little vacation to the family cabin in Pine. I have to admit, I was excited to go for more reasons than quality family time and cooler weather -- I wanted to stop by my recent find last fall.

There are only a few little shops in Pine and one day while strolling down the "main street" of Pine, I decided to pop into the "Herb Stop". I expected a store full of hippies and hookas but instead, I entered a shop with my name written all over it. There were a couple of moms discussing what herbs to take for increasing her milk supply and a couple more looking at the natural face creams. Then, to my wondering eyes did appear, a wall full of spices and herbs for culinary delights! Oooooh, Aaaaaaah. I was in Enlightened Homemaker heaven. How did I pass up this little gem so many times before?

It got even better. Many of the herbs and spices were organic and on top of that, the prices were amazing. There are no fillers or preservatives. There were more bottles than my eyes could take in. My favorite part is the blends that they have created. I love to buy herbs and spices in a mix that can easily be sprinkled on any genre my heart desires. I am a girl of flavor. I need spice in my life. I need variety. What better way to fulfill my culinary desires than with a little sprinkle of Chipotle Salsa seasoning or Cajun spice?

We pulled up to our cabin, unloaded the vehicles and as quick as I could get the kids settled, I headed out the door to get my fix. They have added even more.

I bought a heavenly Apple Pie dessert seasoning that I just can't wait to put on my baked apples and muffins. I bought an amazing Indian spice blend to go in some lentils and curries. An herb and garlic sprinkle for some roasted veggies and a new Cajun blend, to name a few. I left the shop with complete sensory overload but with recipe concoctions flowing through my little head.

The good news is, my little Enlightened Homemaker friends, you can buy these goodies online! Hooray! Just link to them here and shop away.

If you want to try something out that I made with their Herbs de Provence tonight, take a gander below. They are almost more than a girl can bear. They didn't help my beach bound body in any way but are the best darn breadsticks on this planet. No kidding.

Herbed Breadsticks

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
1 cup soft white wheat or white flour. ( I used ground kamut and sorghum)
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 T. butter
Herbs of choice
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients, except butter, in a large bowl or mixer. Mix for 6 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Leave still a bit tacky, adding extra flour if needed. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter and make 1/2 inch strips by about 6 inches.

Pour melted butter into a jelly roll pan. Grabbing both ends of the dough strip, twist a couple times and place in the pan. This makes about 26 breadsticks. Using a baster, spread a little butter on the breadsticks from the pan just to moisten. Sprinkle with crushed herbs of choice and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. No powdered cheese!

I have made these with half whole grain and half white flour. I wouldn't do more than that. These are a treat so go all out! I used my sprouted Kamut flour and it was perfect!

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Eat while warm with a great big salad and some pasta. We had some baked spaghetti to dip our breadsticks into. I ate far too many. Oh, so worth it!

Friday, July 2, 2010


My children have a things for cups. They want the unique one in the cupboard and often fight over who gets the strangest drinking contraption. It can be a mason jar, a stem vase, etc. It doesn't really matter. If you can drink from it, they will use it. I think it all boils down to being an individual. In a cupboard full of matching glasses, they want to be the one who stands out -- the one who gets the most attention. It's a classic childhood battle, especially in a family of 5 kids.

So, as I had a few extra neighbor kids over yesterday who also enjoyed picking out the weird cup in the cupboard, I decided that we should all go on a field trip. We went to the local second hand shop and picked out a "weird" cup. I had no idea that this would turn into an hour long activity with scrupulous combing over of each individual cup in the store. I had misunderstood the desire for each child to have something that stood out.

They must of each had 20 different cups in their hand during the course of the hour. They wanted the cup to say something about themselves. I enjoyed watching their debating process. They went from the elegant to the unique and back to the elegant again. One ended up with a glass boot with "Texas" stamped on the front. A couple had ice cream fountain glasses. There was the ever popular "shot" glass (which of course they have no idea what that is for) and the tall stemmed wine glass. They were brought home, washed and used within the hour.

It was a great time had for a combined total of $7.77. Too bad we weren't in Vegas with that number! The shot glasses would have come in handy there as well.

We walked out the door of the second hand shop, each with a glass in their hand (me too) and a slight grin on their face. They were eager to go home and show off their prize. How easy it really is to please a child. So what if my glass cupboard looks like a shelf from the second hand store? We are a family of individuals, not a cupboard full of matching goblets.