Friday, January 30, 2015

Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Homemade Super Bowl Party!

"Are you ready for some footbaaaaaaaaaaaaawl?"

I'm not a dedicated fan to this high impact aggressive sport, but I do have fond memories of sitting on my dad's lap as a kid while he cheered on the 49'ers. The sound of football on tv in the background on Sunday afternoons brings me right back to my childhood. Once I was married, I sort of adopted my husband's team and followed them during the playoffs. Hey, I enjoy a good beer and wings were sort of my "thing."

Super Bowl parties can be loads of fun. Getting together with a room full of people excited to root for their team can be pretty exciting. Unfortunately, this can also mean enduring some not so healthy food options. I'm all for letting loose every once in a while, but some of the stuff that gets offered at these parties can be pretty scary. Does accepting an invitation to your super bowl party mean I have to subject myself to loads of preservatives, additives and GMO's?


So I decided to search for some pretty awesome Super Bowl party staples that could be tweaked in order to not completely abandon all my beliefs. For me, it isn't so much about the indulgence of it all. More so, when you've spent all year eating whole foods in an all natural well balanced diet, the guacamole stadium stacked with frozen/ boxed or canned food made of artificial flavors just doesn't seem appealing at all. If you've ever felt this way, then keep reading!

So here are a few tips that helped me to keep my family happy AND healthy this football season.

Tip#1 Recipe's Were Meant To Be Broken:
    Daphne Oz: Relish Recipe
  • Don't feel pressured to stick to the recipe. If there is an old favorite you absolutely love, you don't have to completely abandon ship. You can replace a few simple ingredients to turn a "heavy" dip into a simple and light surprise. I substitute sour cream or cream cheese with plain greek yogurt, it keeps the texture the same without the dense flavor. Daphne Oz's Fish Taco Coleslaw is the best I've ever had, I was able to substitute with plain greek yogurt and it was still amazing!
Tip #2 Up the Ante On Your Ingredients:
  • You can switch all of your ingredients to healthier options i.e., organic, free range and grass fed dairy if any at all. During the holidays or for special events I will pay the extra for raw milk, it's a stretch for the wallet, but the fresher the ingredients the better the taste.

Tip #3 Keep It Conscious:
  • I prefer fair trade whenever possible. You'd be surprised how different you can feel about a dish if you know its ingredients were naturally grown, cruelty-free or the employeespaid fair wages for their work. If I can't find organic or raw ingredients, then I shoot for locally grown fruits or veggies. I'm infamous for scouring the local farms on the weekend to gather my bounty. 

French Onion Greek Yogurt Dip w/
Kale, Pita & Carrot Chips
Tip #4 It's Never Too Late to Teach An Old Dog New Tricks:

  • If your dedicated to your dip recipe, then try changing the sides for variety. Chips don't necessarily have the market cornered, feel free to change it up with some veggies or fresh toasted pita bread. 

Tip #5 Change Is Good (Or So I've Heard):

  • Try changing how you prepare your dish. Skip the frying and try baking or roasting for a different, lighter approach. This alone will be appreciated by all party goers who are watching their waistline. The Crockpot is a wonderful friend in the kitchen, these Honey Bourbon Glazed Wings were made in my Crockpot and they were so tender and delicious! You can find the recipe here.

Tip #6 Get Creative, Be Inspired:

  • I love the fried green beans appetizer at P.F. Changs, the boys just go wild over it. I'm addicted to their Spicy Mayo, so I decided to re-create it at home. One of the best parts of making everything from scratch is you get to put together all the pieces in your mind as you go along, using your senses. It makes it all the more rewarding when you finally nail it! Turns out, I like my Spicy Mayo a lot more!

Tip #7 Round Up The Troops:

Quinoa Pizza Bites - just add your
favorite Marinara to dip!
Tip #8 Challenge Yourself:
  • I always like to use special occasions / parties to help push my own limits. I use it as an opportunity to take an ingredient I'm not particularly fond of, and incorporate it into my theme. Therefore, I'm challenging my mind and my taste buds. Turns out I wasn't much of a fan of Quinoa, as healthy as it is I just wasn't interested in the texture. In this case the quinoa bites replaced the traditional pizza pie at most football parties. These Vegan Quinoa Pizza Bites helped to change my mind and inspire me to incorporate more quinoa in my repertoire.  Which leads me to my next tip..
Tip #9 Diversify Your Portfolio:
  • Appetizers are like shoes, you can never have too many. I'm pretty sure that's a famous quote, right? It's always best to have some diversity for all the meat lovers, vegans, vegetarians or pescaterians in your life.
Tip #10 Have a Backup Plan:
  • When in doubt, the Internet is your friend. If a new recipe is a total flop and you don't have time to get super creative, Pinterest can be a lifesaver. If you don't keep a well stocked pantry with a variety of different grains, spices or condiments, then you don't have time to sort through a million pins only to find out you are missing items. In which case, SuperCook is for you. It's an awesome website where you can type in the ingredients you have in your pantry, and it will provide you with a list of all the possible recipes you can make. Brilliant!
Bonus Tip:

Entertainment is key at any soiree, and that isn't exclusive to the adults. Sometimes the sitter cancels and being a parent I find it best to make other parents feel as though a gathering is "kid friendly". There isn't much we do without our little ones, so we understand completely. Making them feel apart of the occasion by providing crafts or activities is a great way to spend time with your friends and family. At the end of the day isn't that what it's all about anyway?

And so it begins..

What is your favorite go-to Super Bowl Party Recipe? 

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Essential Oils: Slap a Cold, Kick a Fever!

It's that time of year, everywhere you look.. You can't seem to get away from it, no matter how hard you try. It's cold & flu season, and if you refuse to get a flu shot like me then you are washing your hands nonstop and avoiding anyone who dares to clear an itch in their throat within a five mile radius. These days I'm avoiding human contact with anyone who shows any signs of sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head or fever.

Moms don't get days off, especially Mom Bloggers!

I often get asked what I use on my kids when they do come across the occasional cold. So I'm sharing it all with you! Now, I usually diffuse Onguard essential oil in my boys room at night whenever they are in contact with a lot of children (which is weekly), I also apply to the bottoms of their feet. Usually if one of my little guys shows any sign of a sniffle I will apply diluted Onguard and rub on the Thymus for some added immune support (many times this is enough to cut whatever it was off at the pass). This, along with tons of hand washing are pretty good at keeping everyone generally healthy for the most part.

Occasionally (much less frequently since I started using essential oils as a means of preventative maintenance), they will come across something that they have to work through and in this case I use an arsenal of essential oils until I see symptoms subside. I keep the following in my medicine cabinet at all times.

  • Onguard Essential Oil Blend
  • Breathe Essential Oil Blend
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • Breathe Throat Drops
  • Onguard SoftGels
In case of fever I would also add Lavender or Peppermint oil to the mix. 

The Onguard blend as I mentioned before is great as added immune support, I diffuse this as well as rub it on their feet and/or chest (Thymus). This is in addition to anything else I am using to treat symptoms.

If there is a lot of chest congestion and sinus pressure I apply a diluted Breathe blend on the chest as well as the feet. This usually helps to make breathing a bit easier, clears your sinuses right up (even if only for a little while). When I notice they start to struggle with breathing again I reapply, these blends won't completely erase the cold but it will help make us more comfortable throughout and it seems shorten the length of the cold.
I also apply diluted Lemon Essential Oil along the spine to help cut some of the congestion. For myself and my husband I will just add some Lemon Oil to a glass of water and it really helps ease coughing and break through some of the congestion. Children are not supposed to ingest any essential oil before the age of six so for now I just apply on their spine and I notice the runny nose takes a break for a few hours.

In order to bypass those night time interruptions due to sinus pressure/ congestion/ or constant coughing I diffuse  Eucalyptus Oil. I usually double the dosage when they are really stuffed up, this helps us all get a lot more rest (sleep is essential for a speedy recovery). This, along with a healthy diet, plenty of fluids, my "magic soup" and lots of mommy cuddles will usually do the trick. Before you know it they are up and running ready to drive me crazy keep me going.

If there is a problem with fevers then some Lavender Oil on the temples and forehead should do the trick. For a high fever that wont quit or keeps spiking I add some Peppermint Oil to the temples and/or feet, this usually brings it back down pretty quickly. To be clear, if the fever is scary high or persists, this warrants a trip to the pediatrician. I'm all for taking the natural route as much as possible, but I am not wreckless with my children. I also highly respect the opinion of my pediatrician, which is why I have chosen him. I mean, I was able to reach this man on Christmas Eve at 9pm when I was a new mom dealing with an infant who had severe acid reflux. Let's just say I'm a believer!

Now, during all of this "mommy-care" I have to be responsible and be sure to take care of mommy as well, otherwise I'm no good to anyone. So to help me stay healthy while caring for everyone else I make sure and stay on top of my vitamins, food and water intake, sleep schedule (ha, ha), AND I make sure and take my Onguard SoftGels. Moms need all the added immune support they can get when dealing with a germ filled household.
If I start to get that "scratchy throat" that usually warns me a cold is on its way, then I will start using the Breathe Throat Drops. These are very soothing and help feel as though they open up your airways and take away that tight / dry feeling in the throat. This along with the SoftGels and a little Onguard oil to the throat usually help fight off anything that was trying to form. If not, then I just follow the same protocol listed above with a lighter adult dilution.

That pretty much wraps up my cold care remedies. I love having natural options for my family. If you'd like to learn more about the essential oils mentioned above just click here. If you are in the Delray Beach area come join us for free Essential Oil Education classes offered monthly at The Salt Suite. The next class is scheduled for January 29th at 6pm. You can RSVP for the class at

If you would like to learn about other all natural options that are available over the counter, you can check out my previous post on Kids Relief Homeopathic Medicine.

Essentially Yours,


Monday, January 26, 2015

Lizzy's Garden: Homemade Organic Baby Food for Moms on the Go!

When my oldest son was 4 months old, he started showing MAJOR interest in food. You know, the usual telltale signs. Gazing longingly at your food, grabbing your utensils in hopes of getting a morsel, and the classic rooting motion when he did get a hold of the spoon (totally normal right?). So I clearly recall the first day he tried solid food at 5 months old ( a full month before we had planned). He was a pro! He chewed as though he had been doing it his entire life and didn't waste a drop.

Unfortunately, his early introduction into solids caught me off guard and I wasn't prepared to start making his homemade baby food like I had planned. Time flew past and I soon had another little hungry mouth to feed. Fortunately, as a stay at home mom I was able to make baby food from scratch the second time around. However, I don't know that I could have been able to if I was working. I'm sure there are plenty of busy moms who would love to be able to provide safe, healthy natural food for their little ones.

Enter Lizzy's Garden

This baby food company is fantastic! Their products are USDA Certified Organic with all locally grown fruits and vegetables AND (as if it couldn't get any better) are completely in compliance with all Fair Trade laws. Best of all they are located right here in South Florida. Swoon!

Local mom, Jennifer Miles, got the idea for the company following the birth of her youngest daughter, Elizabeth. Her fun and imaginative passion for delicious and safe baby food using only the freshest ingredients became the wonderful Lizzy's Garden. Jennifer's goal is to provide ALL mom's with the ability to provide preservative and additive free food with no harmful fillers, pesticides or artificial flavors.

With tasty selections such as "Applelicious" and "Pear Crazy" delivered fresh straight to your door, moms are free to spend the rest of their day nurturing their babies growth.

Lizzy's Garden offers all different textured baby food for all ages and stages available at the Lizzy's Garden website.

Once ordered, your fresh case is delivered promptly (within 1-2 days) to your front door with instructions on how to freeze or defrost your favorite baby food. With the click of a button you can have fresh homemade / locally grown / organic/ fair trade baby food stored in BPA free recyclable glass jars. I mean C'mon people!

My crunchy heart exploded...

I myself had to give this food a try. You know, for you fine folks. Let's just say it did NOT disappoint.

My boys LOVED each of the jars in our case. Lizzy's Garden is for sure Toddler AND Mommy approved!

The only thing I regret about Lizzy's Garden, is that I didn't have them around when my guys were babies! You can follow Lizzy's Garden on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Whatever Can Be Found, Can Also Be Lost

This year I noticed a growing trend on social media, everyone was encouraging each other to choose a word that would best describe where they were this year. While everyone was going around coming up with their "word", I was scrambling around trying to de-clutter as much as possible. My husband and I have been together for thirteen years and are coming up on our tenth wedding anniversary this year. Together we've accumulated a ton of stuff over the years having moved a total of six times, and getting rid of our storage facility last year. So naturally I thought my word was "Purge".

Long story short, I'm not a hoarder (don't ask my husband though), but I AM sentimental and have a knack for creating finding space for everything. Turning 34 this year I felt a certain shift, I suppose I have been building up to this for quite some time. I have lived by the motto "less is more" in almost all aspects of my life these past couple of years, so working through the clutter and purging has been my mantra since the holidays were over.

And then it happened. I lost my phone.Gasp!

Now, for most responsible iPhone users this is just a tad inconvenient, an unfortunate expense even.

But for me, this was death. The biggest purge of all.

I suppose we'll start with the fact that I hadn't backed up since March of last year (you heard me right). I am infamous at taking a ton of pictures of just about anything. If you follow me on Instagram then you know I love to post pics of my boys (of course), my vinyl collection, nature, food were growing in our garden plot, you name it. Anything that inspires the photographer hidden deep inside. So my storage is ALWAYS full, that annoying little message pops up and I hit "Ignore" (doh!). I've said it many times, I'm an Analog girl in a Digital world... Photos, Contacts, you name it. Gone!

When I realized my phone was gone I immediately felt my heart sink with sadness at all the memories I knew had been lost. Our recent family camping trip, most of the holidays, DIY projects, future blog ideas, EVERYTHING. I found that I was kicking myself about not being able to juggle two cranky toddlers at IKEA in the checkout line. I was beating myself up about not backing everything up constantly. I shed tears over all the beautiful memories I planned on framing.

We pride ourselves on being "unplugged" as much as possible in a tech driven society. We keep any sort of screen time to a minimum in our home, heck we don't even own an iPad. But even I was thrown for a loop. After the initial heartbreak of knowing that I will never get those photos back settled and I was able to think clearly. I realized just how much even I relied on this device. So there you have it, my lesson .

Attachment, rather lack thereof.

At the end of the day, I didn't need those pictures to know that I had been to those places or experienced those moments. Sure, it would've been nice to frame some of those beautiful memories. But it doesn't change the fact that they happened, and I was ACTUALLY there. So therefore I shouldn't feel so devastated because I haven't "lost" anything. In fact I gained plenty.

During the time without my phone I was free to focus on tasks a bit more. Relish in the moment a little more with my children, and have more focused one on one time with those I love. I always focus on keeping unstructured play time for my kids, I hadn't thought much of carving that time out for myself. See, I may not be glued to my phone all day, but having my phone means I'm accessible to the world at all times. Without it, I was free. Free to experience life as it was happening without interruption. Free to just be.

I had no idea what was in store for me when I chose my word, lesson learned.

Well played universe, well played...

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gratitude in the New Year..

Please excuse my absence as we have spent the last few weeks relishing in the splendor of the holidays and spending much needed "unstructured" family time. Fresh from vacation I am now ready to embrace all that 2015 has to offer. However, it would be extremely remiss of me if I did not acknowledge all the magnificence that came with 2014.

The New Year is a time of renewal and always brings with it the gratitude for all that's passed. Good, bad, or indifferent. I have learned from every experience this year. So I wanted to send a heartfelt open thank you to all of my readers, followers, fellow bloggers, agencies or vendors I have had the privilege of working with this year.

You have all contributed to the evolution of this blog and its message. You've each provided inspiration to me at some point and for that I'm grateful. It's truly been a gift to connect with so many wonderful people and navigate this uncharted territory.

I look forward to continuing to work with all of you this year, and hopefully be an inspiration to you as well. I'm excited to meet and make some new and lasting relationships. I can't wait to see what this year holds for all of us! 

Essentially Yours,