Thursday, January 3, 2013

Orange Vanilla Creme Fruit Infused Water - A Recipe

So lately I have been trying to increase my water intake. I seriously have an issue with drinking natural, pure water. I don't know why or how that began, but I do know that not drinking enough water can lead to many health issues (more on that later).

In an attempt to make my water more pleasurable and tasty, I decided to infuse my water with natural fruits. I have on occasion made lemon water to have in the fridge ready (and my husband and son love it) but I have not been able to drink that either! Earlier this week I made a blueberry, raspberry infused water, but that just wasn't getting it either! UGH! What was I to do? I need to drink water, but I want it to taste good!

In yet another attempt today, I made a Orange Creme Fruit Infused Water! I must say that this is delicious and tastes so good! This... I can drink! It doesn't have any "cream" in it but it sure does taste like it! YUM!

Now, I present to you the most delicious tasting water you can imagine (if your taste buds are like mine - I like it sweet!)

2 Large Oranges
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a large pitcher, glass preferably

1. Slice 2 large oranges into thin slices.
2. Place in empty glass pitcher
3. Add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract - I used a regular household teaspoon because I was in a hurry. I think its more of a personal taste preference. You can start with a smaller amount and add more to taste (once you add the water).
4. Fill with water.
5. Allow the flavored to infuse overnight or for an hour or so. I couldn't wait and has mine right away - it was good!
6. Enjoy!

Remember you can always add more vanilla to taste! Start small and add as you prefer!

~ Melissa ~

I'm sharing this at Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Fight Back Fridays, Fresh Bites Friday

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Real Food White Sugar Substitutes - Healthy Recipes

This morning I was searching for some yummy healthy brownie recipes to make for my family. I found a lot of them online, but wanted to try my hand at something new! As I am just beginning this Real Food journey I thought it would be fun to take a well used family recipe and tweak it to a "healthier" version. I have never tried this on my own and we'll see how these brownies turn out - will they pass the husband/son taste test? I will keep you posted!

Okay, back to the reason for this post! I found while searching the internet, using basic "food" knowledge, and using what I had in my pantry that there are a lot of Real Foods to use as substitutions for white sugar! Some of these can be used for more than just baking!

Here is a list that I have compiled of Healthy Real Food Substitutions for White SUGAR! These conversions/substitutions are based on 1 cup of white sugar.

1. Honey - replace with one cup of Honey
2. Maple Syrup (grade B is best) - substitute with 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3. Agave Nectar - substitute 1 1/4 cup Agave Nectar
4. Molasses - use 1/2 to 3/4 cup Molasses
5. Stevia Drops - 1 teaspoon of Stevia drops is equivalent to 1 cup of white sugar.
6. Brown Rice Syrup - replace with 1 1/3 cups of Brown Rice Syrup
7. Date Sugar - use 2/3 cup date sugar

This is just a starter list for me, but I must add that it will continue to grow as I continue to grow and learn as well!

Oh, how did the brownies turn out? I replaced 1 cup of white sugar with 1/2 cup of Maple Syrup. They are cooling now, but the kitchen is filled with a wonderful aroma!

{ Melissa }

I'm sharing this at: Real Food Wednesdays

Monday, December 31, 2012

{ Chia Seed Pudding } - A Recipe

My healthy eating journey is starting this morning with some Chia Seed Pudding topped with fresh bananas! I am determined to transition to a "Real Food" lifestyle. I am bypassing the processed foods and am kicking off 2013 with a new healthy lifestyle!

I must admit I was a little skeptical of these Chia Seeds and their incresing popularity, but after researching and studying them at "Google University" I have realized they are very beneficial to one's body! They help stabilize your blood sugars, help wth concentration, improve moods, energize now (and later), fills you up, lowers cholesterol, builds muscle mass, and more! They are Gluten Free, low on the glycemic index, high in protein and Omege 3, and great for healthy hair, skin, and nails! And so much more!

It amazes me how these little seeds that once were used to plant "grass" in ceramic figures can be so healthy and good for you!


2 cups plain Almond Milk (I used the Almond & Coconut Milk blend)
3/4 cups chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. This will take about 2 minutes.
3. Continue stirring once every 10 mins for about an hour (this will help the chia seeds "gel" and grap the flavors of the cinnamon and vanilla).
4. Place in the fridge overnight and allow to thicken even more.
5. Serve plain or topped with your favorite fruit.
6. Enjoy!

On a side note, I like my sweets and this recipe was not sweet enough for me! Next time I will add some honey (or natural sweeteners - agave nectar, maple syrup) and see how that goes! Also, mine was a little on the "thicker side" and I will decrease the amount of chia seeds to about 1/2 cup next time.


>~ Melissa ~

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania

{ Grain FREE Banana Blueberry Yum }

This week I am kicking off the beginning of a healthy lifestyle (more to come on that later). So, to jump start the kicking of my "always running to processed foods" habit I found an amazing recipe and altered it a little bit! First up is my "Grain Free Banana Blueberry Yum!" - much healthier than grabbing a processed sugar loaded "fruit & cereal" bar!


Oh, and I must warn you that your kitchen will fill with the smell of a delicious healthy aroma!


3 cups blanched Almond Flour (I used almond meal)
1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 T olive oil or melted coconut oil (I used coconut oil)
3 eggs
4-5 ripe Bananas (mashed) - I left mine in semi chunks
2 cups frozen blueberries (I added more - I LOVE blueberries)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 14 glass pan.
2. Combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil and eggs.
4. Beat the wet and dry ingredients together.
5. Add bananas and mix together thoroughly.
6. Place batter in your prepared pan and sprinkle blueberries on top. I personally added my blueberries in the mix and did not sprinkle - I love blueberries and had a LOT of them!
7. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Cool for approximately 30 minutes (if you can wait that long). Serve.
9. If you possibly have any leftovers, store in an airtight container.

These are so delicious and healthy! Your body will thank you!

~ Melissa ~

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Full Plate Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions

You can read about my journey with Reactive Hypoglycemia here!

Hypo... what?!?! {Reactive Hypoglycemia}

Recently I was diagnosed (by myself) with hypoglycemia. Now, don't judge me, but I fit all the telltale signs of this disease and since I started treating myself I have seen amazing improvements in myself.

Anyways, let me backtrack a little and tell you how I stumbled upon this...

About 15 years ago a traumatic event happened in my life. Ever since then I have had a fear that I've carried with me. Over the last 3-4 years that fear (and countless others) have become intensely overwhelming and life altering. However, it never occurred to me why it all changed in intensity within the last few years.

Recently I realized why the change happened, it is now clear, and I'm beginning to understand.

About 3-4 years ago yet another major event happened in my life. I will not go into all the details, but I will merely say that my entire world turned upside down. During that time I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, and I cried all the time. It was major and awful! I did, however, lose a lot of weight.

Once the storm and turbulent waves of that time subsided I liked the fact that I lost all the weight (although it was in no way healthy or even recommended - we need to eat people!). My diet changed, but not in a good way.

It was as though food held no value to me and I merely ate to sustain myself. All I was consuming was coffee and diet pop! I would go all day and not eat until 8 hours after waking - when my body absolutely was about to collapse. I had numerous bouts of the the shakes, dizziness, nervousness, tiredness, and various other symptoms of my blood sugar levels dropping. And my fears snowballed and grew until they overcame every area of my life.

You name it and I was fearful and afraid of it! Some fears were rational and some were incredibly irrational. However, at that time I never related my fears, anxiety, depression, and major mood swings to my lack of eating!

Now, lets fast forward to 2012. I remember one day briefly (and leaving out certain details) explaining to my friend that I was tired all the time and had irrational thoughts, anxieties, fears, etc. She suggested that I may be deficient in certain vitamins. I remember driving home and thinking to myself "that makes perfect sense... I don't eat!" I was always afraid of gaining the weight back and not looking "good."

It was the first time that I realized I may have a eating disorder! Thats when I began to evaluate the way I ate (or didn't eat actually). I began to pray and ask God for guidance on how to remedy this and what was going on.

That's when I stumbled on a group of individuals online who have the EXACT same thing as I do! I was amazed! The symptoms and signs of reactive hypoglycemia are diverse yet similar among those who have it. I am not alone! There are a lot of people who have this.

My mood swings, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, headaches, palpitations, sugar cravings, inability to concentrate and many more are all related to my Reactive Hypoglycemia. What about my list of irrational fears? YES! They are a result of this too! I've noticed that when I go long periods of time without eating that I begin to start dwelling on those fears. Its amazing how a little food is like a "calming" pill to me and changes everything!

Now I am on a journey to regain my health and wellness! I am learning as I go, but I am ready to fight this fight! I am going to win!

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Fight Back Fridays, Fresh Bites Friday

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FREE Etsy Banner

This week I am giving away a FREE Etsy Banner!

How does it work? If you are not familiar with working with Etsy banners, there are some simple steps...

1. Save the image (banner) to your computer. To do this you will need to Right click and select "save".
2. Open this image in your favorite graphic program to add your name and/or other shop information. (Remember to NOT change the size settings or your banner will not fit.)
3. Save your work once again.
4. Follow the instructions in your Etsy account to upload your new banner.

I hope you enjoy today's Free Etsy Banner!

I'm sharing this as: Teach Me Tuesdays

Monday, December 17, 2012

Raw Chocolate Pudding

Everyone loves pudding right? Chocolate pudding is a big hit around my house as well! So imagine my pure delight when I found this wonderful recipe for a HEALTHY Chocolate Pudding! Yes!!

So I gathered my ingredients and got started!

I personally used my Vitamix to create this tasty treat! It is super simple! I just threw all the ingredients in and mixed it together until it was pudding consistency!

Raw Chocolate Pudding

3 avocados (seed removed)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sea Salt (optional)
Fresh Raspberries (optional)

Puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth.

As an added treat, sprinkle pudding with salt and fresh raspberries before serving.


** my pudding turned out a little on the thicker side, next time I would add my avocados slowly to get the best consistency**

I'm sharing this as: Teach Me Tuesdays, Perpetual Parades, Full Plate Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions