Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{Simple} Cranberry Sauce

This blog is no longer actively updated, please visit my new site at to keep up with new recipes and all the other whats-goings-ons

Cranberry sauce is a staple at our thanksgiving table, and I’m not going to lie…I really prefer the can. I know, I know, but it just works on so many levels, as wrong as it is and I think about it every time I turn the can over and just hear it fall out on to the plate.  This year I decided to play around a bit and come up with a new cranberry sauce that could be used at the table…in addition to the can of course.

This only uses a few fresh ingredients, and is really quick to prepare. You could adjust the sweetness to your liking, you could even add nuts if you like a little crunch.

1 bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup tangerine juice (about 6 tangerines*)
1 apple
4 tbsp. honey
¼ cup raw sugar (more or less depending on your tastes)
*1 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a pot, along with ¾ cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until you have the texture you would like. Stirring occasionally. If you would prefer a thicker consistency, add the xanthan gum. Mix well. Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools; can be eaten warm or chilled.

*You could use store bought juice or any type of orange. I just happened to have a lot of tangerines on hand.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This blog is no longer actively updated, please visit my new site at to keep up with new recipes and all the other whats-goings-ons

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so in keeping with the spirit I decided to test out a few different Thanksgiving types foods. Today I made a Stuffed Acorn Squash with a Maple Syrup Drizzle...doesn't that just make it sound just a bit more fancy...ha.

In our house our stuffing is usually made with sausage, and this mix was no different.  As I was making these, I think they would be great for a leftover meal. Using your leftover stuffing and turkey all mixed together then covered in gravy? I don't see why not!

You are also not limited to using an acorn squash, there are many different types of winter squash that would work great. I used one fairly large acorn squash that if used as a side could feed four or two pretty filling meals.  I ate the smaller half for dinner and was full, I cut the larger half in half and will eat those for lunches this week.

On to the recipe...

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup Drizzle

1 acorn squash
1 cup prepared gluten free corn bread, cubed (I used Bob's Red Mill, and prepared it with soy milk)
2/3 cup sausage
1/2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 of an apple, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add one cup of water to a 13x9" baking dish, cut the squash and remove the seeds, place cut side down in the pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, just until fork tender.

While the squash bakes, prepare the stuffing. Brown the sausage. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl with the sausage. Mix well.

Remove the squash and carefully empty the water and turn the squash over. Fill the squash with the stuffing mix. Bake for an another 10-15 minutes just until the stuffing browns.

Once removed, drizzle with extra maple syrup. Enjoy!

**For a vegetarian/vegan option, use mushrooms instead of the sausage. If you have a corn allergy, you could easily use a different type of bread or even a grain.

Keep an eye out for a really simple cranberry sauce recipe, coming on Wednesday!

I want to know...
What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Exchange in Health & Nutrition

Willa with her mother Grace 
I had the opportunity to meet and exchange time with Willa Lefever from Sonnewald Natural Foods to talk about my health and nutrition, what was only going to be an hour turned into three. Even though I have been to the store a few times, I didn't really meet Willa until I attended our local time bank meeting. I had a great afternoon listening to her thoughts on helping my body heal, as well as learning a little more about her. Then I proceeded to help her try to understand and learn the banking software. Willa isn't a certified nutritionist but has grown up around natural foods and natural wellness, she did pass on information for a former employee who is, if I feel the need for a more in depth meeting. 

Before our meeting I kept a food journal as well as filled out a questionnaire  these were given to her in advance so she new some of the habits and history before hand. It went beyond food and into my lifestyle, am I living my passion, stress factors, etc. The top three biggest factors, that Willa came up with, were not working within my passion, stress and my water intake. I know I don't drink enough water, I'm not sure why, I guess I just don't think about it, until my lips are dry and my head hurts, I love water. 

That being said, number one is I need to drink half my weight (in oz.) of water, which comes to around 80 oz. a day. Right now my goal is to drink closer to 64 oz. trying to drink 32 oz. before lunch and another 32 oz. after lunch. One trick she mentioned was adding about two tablespoons of chia seeds to one quart of water, the chia will act as little sponges and help some of the water be absorbed into your body opposed to just flushing through. Plus they will add extra fiber and nutrients. 

Number two, she wants to to do some sort of stress relieving activity. Anything. Start exercising, yoga, painting, anything that will help ME reduce my stress levels. I haven't been very active as of late, I also haven't had the opportunities to paint or draw, I will just need to find some time to squeeze in something. (Does this count? I think the time I'm blogging is usually stress free, for the most part.)

And three, the first thing she said when I met with her wasn't hi, hello or how are was oh honey we need to get you doing something you are passionate about. I just smiled. I know my job isn't my passion (as does anyone who knows me) but there are restrictions and obligations that can't be ignored. Depending on who you talk to those things may not matter. But, I recently took a position as the Training Coordinator for the Special Olympics York County and will also have an opportunity to help with a new program that will offer art classes to athletes. My hope is this will help with balancing my work and passion. 

With those being her top three that I need to work on, we then talked food. Until I'm healed, she suggested no dairy and possibly trying a grain free or Paleo diet. She also suggested no coffee or refined sugars. And absolutely no GMOs, or at least as little as possible. (Which I completely agree with.)

Some of her suggestions: 

  • Use local raw honey instead of the refined sugars
  • Use Dandy Blend or other teas instead of coffee (it's the acidity of the coffee that is harmful)
  • Once healed eat only raw grass feed cheeses, if my body tolerates them
  • Vegetables! Lots and lots of COOKED vegetables! (Juiced is okay)

She also suggested a few supplements, I already take medication regularly for my UC but she explained how that helps with the symptoms and keeping it at bay or in remission but it doesn't really heal the damage that has already been done to my colon. So, what she has suggested is to help heal the damage.

Supplement suggestions (from most recommended to least):

  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin D3 (which I already take since I am aware I am very deficient) 
  • Fish Oil
  • Aloe Vera (George's)
  • Minerals & Trace Minerals (I'm consistently craving salt)

She also told me about Intestinew by Renew Life, it is made specifically for UC. I may need to look into it, I would prefer natural over synthetic any day. 

I would recommend checking out Sonnewalds website, there is all kinds of helpful resources on there. Her famous Restoring Life Soup is also on the website, it is a healing soup that is easy on digestion and very nutritious, made using veggie purée and bone broth.

I hope to post a follow up in a few weeks, I have started taking probiotics in addition to my D3 and regular medication. I hope to get fish oil soon, and possibly try the Aloe Vera (I have alway heard good things about it). I have been pretty good with water so far, I carry my Nalgene bottle with me everywhere. I haven't changed my diet too much as of yet, I plan on changing something's up shortly. I just need to come up with a few lists and do some planning.

I would love to hear from you:

Have you ever taken any of these supplements to aid in your UC or maybe just to aid in digestion?  

Do you think Paleo is worth it?