A FOOD BLOG BY KIMMY RIPLEY – Eat The Rainbow & Save Room For Dessert
Sorry readers… no recipe here. I really should have taken measurements and gotten out my pen and paper. I still, however, would like to share the details on how I created this scrumptious and healthy-ish bowl of paleo and vegan double chocolate nice-cream! As you can see in the photo below there are three spoons in that little Fiesta bowl fighting for a bite of this frozen treat! I was a little short on ingredients so I worked with what I had and ended up with one lone bowl. Oh well, better than nothing right? If you love chocolate then you are in for a real treat. Continue reading to find out how you can make your own healthy ice-cream at home with a few simple (and affordable) ingredients!
If you are an addict to chocolate it is time to listen up here! There is this thing, a superfood, called cacao. Not cocoa, but cacao, and there is a difference in the way that the two are processed. Raw cacao is achieved by a cold-press method with the beans. Cacao is chocolate in its purest and most natural state. Cacao is filled with enzymes that are beneficial to your body and those enzymes are lost in cocoa.
This week I am going to present to you a curated list of some of my favorite cooking items and some items that earned a spot on my wishlist. There are some great items here that are all available on Amazon. I think most of my readers will agree that these are some great items to have if you are a home chef. These kitchen essentials might just make you the next top chef.
Circulon Symmetry Chocolate Hard Anodized Non-Stick 11 Piece Cookware Set – I actually do own this exact set of cookware from Circulon. My husband did an awesome thing for me and got these as a gift for me. I am completely in love with this cookware set. It truly does have non-stick surfaces and nothing every sticks to these pots and pans. They are also dishwasher safe, which is a huge plus because I dread handwashing. These also have a nice heavy-duty feel to them. They do not have a cheap feeling at all and feel as though they will last me quite a long time. Love this set and I highly recommend it!
Staub 5.5 Quart Round Cocotte, Graphite Grey – This is another piece of cooking equipment that I have the pleasure of owning and this piece here is my pride and joy in my collection of cooking items. Talk about heavy-duty… this piece is it! I use this dutch oven quite often in the kitchen and it is always a joy to use. It is the perfect size for whipping up dishes for my family of 3. It is oven safe to 500-degrees and another big bonus with this is that it is dishwasher safe. I enjoy using this for my pasta sauces that simmer on the stove for a couple hours. I use it for soups, and it is the most excellent pot for cooking a big batch of soup. I also use this for one pot meals. This Staub will last me a lifetime.
Happy 4 month anniversary to Give It A Whirl Girl! I started up this blog four months ago on June 6th. I was recovering from a hernia operation when a lightbulb went off in my mind! I had to fire it up and get the ball rolling on starting up a blog! My number one passion in life is cooking and baking. It was also my new year’s resolution to get a blog up and running. It took me half a year of planning to finally take my first step. I am so incredibly grateful for my husband, my daughter, and my mother for holding my hand along the way!
I was tremendously nervous to start this new venture. It takes a lot of strength to write and put yourself out there for the world to see! In the beginning, I would have a little anxiety attack before hitting that publish button. Fast forward to four months later and now I am incredibly eager to hit that publish button and share my foodie venture with the world! When I discover a new food or a new recipe that I fall in love with I want to spread the word.
I have learned a TON and taken in a lot of information in these past four months. Starting up a blog is a lot harder than one would think. There is a lot of knowledge that needs to be fed to your brain so you have a clue on what the heck you are doing! I still have a lot to learn. Learning about things like SEO makes me feel dumb. Blogging is so complex! I am determined and committed to learning and embracing all of this knowledge so that when my one-year anniversary arrives I can look back on all of this and see how far I have come.
Wondering how I naturally obtained this lovely shade of hot pink in my bowl of nice-cream (vegan ice-cream)?? Easy! I owe it all to the cactus pear, also known as the prickly pear. The flesh of a cactus pear, when combined with a banana, will give you this gorgeous magenta hue. This cactus pear nice cream recipe is a healthy dessert that will most definitely make your child excited for a yummy treat that is naturally sweet from nature with no added sugars. Other ingredients in this frozen treat are frozen pomegranate, two frozen bananas, some coconut milk and Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Raspberry Protein Bites. This is a much healthier alternative to traditional ice-cream and I always enjoy creating this and serving it at home. Super simple and easy to do too!
Nice-cream is the vegan and paleo version of ice-cream. It is dairy-free and lactose-free.
Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if items are purchased through these links with no extra cost to you.
A good food processor comes in handy for making vegan nice-creams at home. You will also want to prepare in advance for making this by freezing two sliced up bananas overnight. Also, chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight for best results. If you have a can of coconut cream on-hand that makes for even better results, a lot more creamy, but coconut cream is usually around $4 a can and coconut milk works just fine.
The Enjoy Life FoodsDark Raspberry Protein Bites were a wise choice here as a nice-cream topping. I chopped them up small and placed them on top. The dark raspberry flavor is actually my favorite flavor of all the Protein Bites and it paired nicely with the flavors of the cactus pear and pomegranate. It also gave this bowl of nice-cream a boost in protein, which is always welcome, especially if you are following a vegan diet.
Cactus Pear Nice Cream Recipe
Cactus Pear Nice Cream RECIPE With Pomegranate & Enjoy Life Foods Protein Bites
This simple and easy to do gluten-free and vegan nice cream recipe results in the prettiest of pink nice creams you have ever seen.
2 Bananas (Frozen)
1 Cactus Pear
1/2 cup Pomegranate (Frozen)
6 Enjoy Life Foods Dark Raspberry Protein Bites
1/2 cup Full-fat organic coconut milk (Chilled overnight in fridge)
Place the frozen bananas, cactus pear, pomegranate, and chilled coconut in the food processor.
Blend until smooth.
Remove cactus pear nice-cream from food processor bowl.
To the nice cream with small chunks of Enjoy Life Foods Protein Bites. I used the Dark Raspberry.
Divide into two bowls.
Serve, eat. and enjoy!
Final thoughts on the cactus pear nice cream recipe
I do believe that you will love this hot-pink cactus pear nice cream recipe if you do decide to give it a whirl. It is super unique in its flavor and unlike anything I have ever tried! I am extremely happy with the results of mixing these ingredients together. I was not sure what the outcome would be, but I got brave in the kitchen and I have no regrets!
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to ice-cream that is dairy-free and contains no added sugars, you should try making vegan and glutern-free nice creams at home. They are very versatile and you can get creative by whipping them up and experimenting with different ingredients. As a base, I usually use two frozen bananas and make sure I have a can of chilled coconut milk (it must be full-fat and not light coconut milk) on-hand to make this. This will result in approximately 2-3 servings. Most often it is just my daughter and I sharing but sometimes my hubby wants some too.
You can read more about the Enjoy Life Foods Protein Bites on a previous blog post:
Can you think of anything better than a big juicy steak for dinner? Nope! Not me! This is definitely a favorite for my whole family. I am going to fill you in on how I use my cast iron pan and some herbed ghee to make the most tender and juicy steak!
You only need a few simple things to obtain a tender and juicy steak in the kitchen. First things first, you will need a cast iron pan. I am a true believer in cast iron and I won’t even throw a steak on the grill anymore. I get the best results with my Lodge Cast Iron. You will also need an herbed ghee or you can make your own herbed ghee with a few ingredients: garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme. The herbed ghee is going to make your steak burst with flavor. It is so simple to do and the results are spectacular. It requires only minimal effort.
The first thing I do when I am prepping to cook a steak is to take them out of the fridge and let them rest for a bit. This is when I salt and pepper them on both sides. You also need to start heating your cast iron pan. You want to ensure that your pan is hot when you throw the steaks on so they can get a nice sear to them.
4th & Heartmakes wonderful garlic ghee that you can add your seasonings (rosemary and thyme) to. If you cannot find this brand with the garlic already in it, any kind of ghee will do. I do highly recommend 4th & Heart though. I know my Kroger store carries the regular one. These ghees are also available on Amazon and you can get them conveniently delivered in two days if you have Prime. If you do not yet have Prime you can try a free 30-day trial through this link.
4th & Heart ghee is top-notch when it comes to all of the ghees available. Ghee has wonderful health benefits and is a much better alternative to butter. With ghee, all of the milk fats are removed. It is considered a clarified butter and is lactose-free and dairy-free. Ghee is known to improve the digestive tract and repair it. Ghee is very aromatic and when you are cooking with it in the kitchen your house is going to smell amazing.
Fourth & Heart ghee is made from the milk of grass-fed, pasture raised New Zealand cows. Why did we have to go so far from home? We find the best quality to be in the place where the greenest grass grows and that’s in New Zealand. (source)
For the ghee, what I do is I melt down a few tablespoons. Your ghee keeps in the fridge and is solid like butter. You can melt your ghee down in a small pan and add some garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme to it. You don’t need to go crazy with the seasonings here, just give the ghee enough to have some flavor infused throughout it.
While the steaks are cooking in the cast iron pan you can spoon the herbed ghee onto the steaks. I just keep spooning in on over the top of the steak and it marinates it with absolutely awesome flavor. I like my steaks medium rare so I only cook my steaks for a few minutes on each side of them. I served these ribeye steaks up with some roasted red skin potatoes that also had garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme on them. It was a perfect pairing for the steak.
We truly enjoyed this steak and potatoes meal on Labor Day. There were lots of ooo’s and ahhh’s coming out of our mouth while taking our time and devouring it slowly. I hope you give this a whirl. If you do please let me know how you liked it. It is one of my favorite ways to cook a steak nowadays.
How do you like to cook your ribeye steak? Leave me a comment and let me know how you serve them up!
Yesterday was Labor Day and my husband had the day off and he came up with the most wonderful idea to have a picnic in the park AND to visit a new park that was close by to us. Fraser is relatively close and he discovered a park called Fort Fraser there. We ended up dodging some thunderstorms that seemed as though they were heading our way. We heard lots of thunder in the distance. We really lucked out! We stopped off at Firehouse Subs in Roseville, MI to get our food for the picnic and we brought along a cooler to keep it cold on the way there. Unfortunately, they do not offer any gluten-free options for bread so I had to go with a salad. The salad ended up being a great choice though and I am actually so glad I got that. It was so delicious that I did not even miss the bread! Here is a little bit of a review of my experience with Firehouse Subs.
I ordered the Italian With Grilled Chicken Salad and added on some cherry peppers and black olives (free of charge). There were a lot of extra toppings you could choose from that did not cost any additional money, which I thought was wonderful! You can see the photo on their website. I just kept on eating and eating this salad. It was huge and seemed neverending but in the greatest way. I most definitely feel that I got what I paid for with my $8. This salad was chockful of meat and veggies. No sad salad to see here folks!
This was one of those rare occasions when your salad actually turns out looking better than the advertised photo!
Give It A Whirl Girl and the Pearl Girl at Firehouse Subs in Roseville, MI
Joe at Firehouse Subs in Roseville, MI
I have been to Firehouse Subs a couple times before (back when I was eating regular bread) and I always ordered the Engineer. That was a hot sub that had mushrooms on it and that sub never disappointed. The food here is always fresh, the establishment was squeaky clean when we came in, and the staff was helpful and friendly.
I downloaded the mobile app Ibotta in 2018 I have already earned well over $440 in cashback shopping rebates. The Ibotta mobile app is very simple to use once you get the hang of it. You simply download the app, “clip” your coupons, purchase those items, take a photo of the receipt once you get home (or provide your shopper’s card and let Ibotta do all the work for you), then the scan the items purchased (the camera on your smartphone scans the items), and redeem for a cashback rebate. The approval process for earning cashback is simple and offers get approved quickly and the money goes straight into your account. Once you earn $20 you can cash-out for gift cards or Paypal. Earning that 20 bucks is simple too!
I love using the Ibotta mobile app. Not only is it a wonderful way to save money on products that you already purchase but the app also gives you an incentive to try out new products. I have come across and discovered many great new products through the app. When I give these new products a whirl through the Ibotta app, I often become a regular buyer and regular customer if I enjoy the products!
Download the Ibotta app
First things first! You need to download the app to start earning money. The app is available in both app stores: Apple and Google Play.
When you use my code mohoyyu you can get $10 instantly loaded into your account.
What can I earn?
You need to earn at least $20 to cash out. If you use the code I posted above you start out at $10 and it is very simple to earn that $20 to cash out. You can cash out to receive Paypal money (which is often sent instantly) or you can cash out and receive gift cards to various stores like Amazon, Whole Foods, Target, Ulta, Ebay, Itunes, etc. They have a very large gift-card shop where you can withdraw your money earned. I usually just go with the Paypal option so I am free to choose my earnings however I like.
Start earning money
Start earning your dollars by selecting the store that you would like to shop at and start adding those items to your account.
Ibotta mobile app example:
You can earn $1.20 cash back on each Blue Bunny Load’d Sundae Cup at Kroger. You hit the plus button to add that offer to your account. You then purchase that item at the store. Once you are home with the purchased item hit the “Redeem” button in the lower center part of the screen. Select your store, in this case, Kroger. Make sure that your receipt falls into the required dates, then capture an image with your phone’s camera of the receipt. Make sure you finalize the process by submitting the receipt.
When you take a photo of the receipt you can tap the screen to make sure the image is in focus. The photo has to contain text that is readable. If you have a long receipt you can take photos with multiple photos of the sections.
The easiest option for earning cashback at the grocery store! This is a newer Ibotta feature!
You can also load your Kroger shopper’s card to your account so you do not have to take photos of the receipt. Ibotta will automatically credit your Ibotta account with each valid purchase.
View all of the current Ibotta mobile app offers HERE
Hit the REDEEM button in the Ibotta App to take a photo of your receipt
Take a photo of your receipt to earn money with the Ibotta App. Make sure it is easy to read and in focus.
Here is an example (edit to add: this is an older example) of a great way to earn some decent money in your account. Check out the Halo Top ice-cream offer in the photo below. You can purchase up to five pints of Halo Top and earn $1.50 cash back on each pint! That comes out to $7.50 if you purchase the max limit of 5. You can also see in the Hot Offers section of this photo that Olly vitamins and supplements are a simple $2 cashback transaction.
The cashback offers section of each store is broken down into categories as you can see in the photo below (this is not a current screenshot, this is a previous example that I saved). If you select a category the relevant items available will show up that you can load onto your account.
Each store has several different offers to choose from. Some offers have a very decent payout.
What I love about Ibotta is that the cashback gives me incentive to try new things.
I have discovered several new items through discovery on the mobile app Ibotta. While browsing the offers you may see plenty of items that you do not typically purchase. Don’t feel discouraged! When I am getting cash back to try out new items and get a discount on those items, I enjoy buying them and trying them out. Often times I end up becoming a repeat customer of these new items that I found out about through Ibottta.
Here are some more examples (these are current as on May 2019)
Mobile Shopping with the mobile app Ibotta
Ibotta is not just for grocery shopping. There are many stores (Amazon, etc) where you can earn cashback by purchasing items online. With these offers, you usually receive a percentage back on the total purchase price. To earn money with mobile shopping you select the store that you are going to shop at and click through. The Ibotta mobile app tracks the purchase that you make through the link. You do not need to redeem a photo of a receipt for these offers.
Bonuses with the Ibotta mobile app
Ibotta also offers many different bonuses. Always be sure to check the app to see what bonuses are currently running. There are some simple ways to earn extra money through the bonuses.
Example: There is currently a $10.00 shopping bonus. When you make 30 eligibles shopping purchases you get a $10 bonus in your account. There is a photo of that offer below.
Bonuses do not stick around too long so it is best to check out the dates on which they are valid and be quick to earn that bonus.
Question & Answer Time!
So what do you think? Will you be signing up for the Ibotta mobile app? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on the app. If you currently use the Ibotta app leave me a comment and share with others how much money you have earned through cash back shopping.
My husband is off work Fridays and Saturdays. We did not have any plans for those two days so we just had a chill time at home. I needed something to pass the time so I resorted to cooking. What better way to spend the time! I started off Saturday with some multigrain pancakes for Joe and Chloe. I got started on dessert, a Paleo Cookie Dough Cheesecake, early because those cheesecakes take a few hours to set. And dinner was simple~ ribeye steaks marinated in Primal Kitchen Sesame Ginger and peppered bacon wrapped in asparagus. It was a delightful day of cooking from start to finish.
Seems kinda contradictory though to make a vegan cheesecake for dessert after a ribeye dinner! I mainly chose to make this type of cheesecake for the fact that it is paleo and uses only gluten-free ingredients. I do try to eat vegan meals on occasion though because I do enjoy them. My favorite vegan food to make is “nice cream”. It is a vegan ice-cream created with frozen bananas, coconut milk, and other fruits, etc. It is a simple, healthy dessert to create at home and a nice alternative to regular ice-cream.
In this post I will be discussing how I made the dessert and the dinner and I have broken it down into sections for you.
If you have not heard about boba tea yet, why not? It is all the rage these days and I am writing this in hopes of directing you to your new happy place~ Kawaii Bubble Tea in Clinton Township, MI. Upon walking in you are bombarded with an adorable cat on the wall that just screams CUTE! This place is the place you want to be if you want to be adventurous and indulge in a unique drink. Did you know that the word “kawaii” means CUTE in Japanese? This place is off the charts when it comes to the cuteness factor! You will be radiating with happiness once you take that first sip of your boba drink.
Kawaii Bubble Tea is the most perfect place to take your family. The drinks served here are kid-friendly and this little shop is a good alternative to going out for ice-cream. I am suggesting here that you mix things up and try something new! Your child will fall in love with the cute drinks that come in fun flavors. The drinks even come with a cute little face on top to seal the drink in. And because there is boba in there you have to use a thick, fat straw. Children will definitely have a memorable time here and get a kick out of it. My 8-year-old daughter, Chloe, always looks forward to going out for a bubble tea.
About Kawaii Bubble Tea
Kawaii Bubble Tea is owned by Christa Gowing and she has been the owner here for nearly two years. She started out working at Starbucks and then took a leap of faith and made her dream come true of opening up a bubble tea shop. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Christa about her business and I got nothing but good vibes from her. She was friendly and sweet and I enjoyed chatting with her about her bubble tea shop.
Christa also has her amazing 19-year-old son, Jadon Maloney, who inspired her to open up this unique place. Jadon is the co-owner of the shop. They work together at Kawaii Bubble Tea and he was pretty much the mastermind of the entire concept of this shop, including the name, logo, and color scheme. That is quite the accomplishment for someone who is the age of 19! I am fascinated by this! Christa also had a ton of support from her husband to open up Kawaii Bubble Tea. When you have a fantastic support system your dreams can become a reality.
Boba is a Taiwanese drink concept and has actually been around since the 1980s. It hasn’t achieved popularity in the states until fairly recently. The good word is spreading and more and more people are getting curious about these cute and unusual drinks!
The drinks are available in three sizes (small, medium, or large). The cool thing about this drink shop is how you can create any drink that you desire. There are thousands of possibilities with the different flavor combinations you can come up with.
You can either choose to drink your boba drink inside or take it on-the-go. There are plenty of tables for indoor seating.
Confused about boba? There are three different types of boba offered. I am also providing the different flavors that each are offered in.
Traditional – Sweet and creamy tapioca pearl
Popping – Little balls of juice that pop in your mouth (Strawberry, Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Green Apple, Yogurt, Pomegranate, and Lychee )
Jelly – These are firm and chewy (Assorted, Mango, Lychee, Passion Fruit, and Strawberry)
The boba all comes in a variety of flavors. There are several options here on deciding what to go with.
Drinking boba at Kawaii Bubble Tea
Drinking boba at Kawaii Bubble Tea
How do I get my boba drink?
That is entirely up to you! The drinks at Kawaii Bubble Tea are completely customizable. You can even adjust the sweetness of your custom drink.
The first step is to pick your flavor. There are several to choose from! So much that it is somewhat overwhelming for a first time visitor. That is why I am writing this post. I want to guide you on losing your boba virginity. View all the flavors HERE.
The second step is to choose tea. There are three teas to choose from. The black tea and green tea have caffeine. The passion tea is caffeine free. Passion tea would be best for the children that visit.
The third step is to choose if you want your tea blended or poured over ice. If you go with the blended option your drink will be like a slushie.
The final step is to choose your boba (as mentioned above there is traditional, popping, and jelly) and the boba also comes in a wide variety of flavors.
Watch the video below to get a sneak peek on how the drink is made. It is put inside a shaker to ensure that the ingredients are well incorporated.
I chatted for quite a while with the owner. I wanted to get the inside scoop on her favorite drink. After all, she is the professional here! Christa often goes with a milk tea with honeydew. So I was curious and I ended up going with that as well and I chose the passionfruit jellies as my boba. I was blown away by the delicious flavor of this drink. If you are a fan of honeydew this one will knock your socks off!
Can’t decide on what combination to go with? Kawaii Bubble Tea has a variety of drink concoctions available if you need to be guided in the right direction of a tasty drink. You can view the special drink menu HERE.
Gluten-free and dairy restrictions
If you need to avoid gluten and dairy you are in luck at Kawaii Bubble Tea.
The milk and the fruit teas are gluten-free as well as the boba included with them.
The fruit teas are dairy and lactose-free. If you need a milk substitute they have you covered with a couple of different options: almond milk and soy milk, which is an additional 60-cents.
And guess what? Most of the macarons are also gluten-free. Please inquire about the macarons if you are unsure. Flavors like cookie dough are not gluten-free. I’m telling you, you just have to enjoy a macaron or two or three with the boba. Read more about macarons up next!
Need a little bite to eat with your boba drink? Kawaii Bubble Tea also offers some scrumptious little French macarons in a wide variety of flavors! Check out this wide selection that they have available (see below). It is so hard to narrow it down when every single flavor is delectable and delish! Seriously guys and gals, it does not get any better than this combo here~
Boba and macarons together is seriously a match made in heaven.
These two things (boba and macarons) do go hand-in-hand and French macarons really do taste as good as they look.
The macarons are not made in the shop but they are created in Chicago by a French pastry chef that overnights them to Kawaii Bubble Tea. We had a chance to sample half a dozen and we were not let down one bit by these. They were, quite honestly, some of the freshest and most flavorful macarons I have ever tried!
Cookies N Cream
We had six macarons to sample. I apologize for there being only four in the photo. Someone must have been hungry! We had the Fruity Pebbles, Cookies & Cream, Birthday Cake, White Chocolate, Cookie Dough, and drumroll please…. TARO!
Since the whole concept of my blog is about trying new things I just had to give taro a whirl because I had no clue what it was. It tasted a lot like vanilla. Taro is an Asian root vegetable that is quite similar to a potato in its starchiness. I was quite surprised by its sweet vanilla-like flavor.
Kawaii Bubble Tea also has a small offering of different Asian snacks that will pair well with your boba drink. They have Pocky, Hi-Chew, Yan Yan, and more.
Asian snacks available at Kawaii Bubble Tea
Asian snacks available at Kawaii Bubble Tea
Asian snacks available at Kawaii Bubble Tea
Rewards programs are a huge incentive and often make me a repeat customer. I love that Kawaii Bubble Tea offers a reward for coming in. Here is how it works:
You provide your phone number (this is your account number)
Purchase 10 drinks in any size and your 11th drink is free. You earn one star per drink purchase and once you accumulate those ten stars you can redeem your reward.
You can also earn stars by purchasing macarons. When you purchase six macarons you earn one star.
Cannot decide on one flavor for your drink or just one boba? You can get 2 for the price of one. Mix and match!
Want to take home some boba and experiment with it? At Kawaii Bubble Tea you can purchase containers of popping pearls boba that are ready to go home. You can get creative with them and add them to adult beverages, add them to ice-cream, or whatever your heart desires.
If you are new to bubble tea the first time visiting a place like this can feel very overwhelming. No need to worry though! The staff at Kawaii Bubble Tea is super friendly and very helpful. They will be there for you if you need them. The staff is just superb!
Looking for the perfect gift for someone in your life? Kawaii Bubble Tea offers e-gift-cards. The starting price for these is $5.00 and that is enough to cover one drink. You can choose from 6 different styles and customize the amount that you would like to send. Physical gift-cards are available in-store. You can view the e-gift-cards HERE.
Question Time! What boba drink will you try at Kawaii Bubble Tea? Leave me a comment and let me know! Also, do you have a favorite flavor of macarons?
Kawaii Bubble Tea Location:
43301 Garfield Road, Clinton Township, Michigan 48038, United States
I had two super healthy meals yesterday and when that happens in the kitchen I feel quite accomplished! For lunch, we had a gluten-free chicken pot pie soup (the soup would have been paleo is you take away the peas) and for dinner, we had a grilled lemon turmeric chicken breast with fried sweet potatoes in ghee, and roasted broccoli. I used my trusty Primal Kitchen marinade for the chicken. I am trying to get back on the healthy train because I feel like I have somewhat fallen off of it with all of the naughty baking I have been doing. I am making an effort to get back on track and I feel good about my meal choices yesterday. Keep reading to find out how I created this delicious and healthy lunch and dinner for my daughter and I.
How I created our gluten-free chicken pot pie soup
This is not a recipe post but I am trying my best to relay the information to you on how I made these wonderful, nutritious dishes. They are both gluten-free and dairy-free. I am attempting to eliminate gluten completely from my diet so if you are following along expect to see a lot more gluten-free meals from me. Gluten is just not compatible with my brain and my gut. I have tested this out several times now and came to the conclusion that gluten triggers a negative mood response for me the next day and a worn down physical feeling. I get depressed and fatigued the day after consuming gluten. I am honestly fed up with feeling that way and I will do whatever it takes to change that.
I have been listening to an audiobook called Grain Brain and it is very enlightening and informative. Whether you believe it or not, gluten is affecting your mind and body. There are negative side effects of eating wheat. The book was written by David Perlmutter and he addresses the impact that gluten has on the brain. I don’t want to come off as preachy but I do highly suggest reading or listening to this book. It is a real eye-opener!
We will start with the soup! Everything about this meal was paleo except for the addition of peas. I just have to have my peas in my pot pie. No worries if that does not make it completely paleo. My happiness is what is important to me and peas really do bring me happiness. They actually are my favorite vegetable!
To start this off I used my Staub Dutch Oven to saute some garlic and shallots. The Staub sure is a blessing to have around. That thing is the absolute best for making soup, even if you are just making a small batch like I did.
Once the garlic and shallots were translucent I added in some low sodium chicken broth (32oz). I added a gigantic organic chicken breast to the broth and let it simmer until completely cooked.
While the chicken was simmering I added in a bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme. Then came the veggies. I added in some thinly sliced carrots (2) and also two nice ribs of celery.
When the chicken was completely cooked throughout I shred it with a fork and added it back into the soup along with one can of full-fat coconut milk. I also added in a a cup of frozen peas and brought this soup back up to a very light boil and then allowed it to thicken further by simmering.
In the past, I have used other non-dairy milk for my pot pie and found that full-fat coconut milk actually works best. In case you are wondering there was not a hint of coconut flavor in that soup. If you ever need a dairy-free option for your cooking, coconut milk can be your friend.
My daughter and I really enjoyed this soup yesterday. The temp in Michigan was a lot cooler yesterday and felt more like fall than summer. I will be making a lot more soups with the upcoming fall season so be ready! I love a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day. I can not eat soup in the summer (with the exception of getting it a restaurant). I just refuse to cook it when the temperatures outside are hot. In the spring and summer that is when I transitioned more to salads.
How I created our lemon turmeric chicken dinner with Primal Kitchen marinade
Then before you knew it, dinner time came rolling around. I already had a plan in place. I had two organic chicken breasts marinating in Primal KitchenLemon Turmeric Dressing/Marinade. I have not come across a Primal Kitchen product that I didn’t like… love them all! You can pick up a single bottle on Amazon but your best bet is to use my coupon GIVEITAWHIRL10on their website and save some money and get the best deal.
I marinated the chicken in the early morning and started cooking dinner around 4pm. That gave my chicken plenty of time to get infused with flavor. I oiled up my Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan with some avocado oil and placed my chicken breast on the grill pan once it was hot. Love hearing that initial sizzle of meat on the grill!
While the chicken was cooking I had diced sweet potatoes on the stove frying up in some ghee with some salt and pepper. I usually roast my veggies but since I was also roasting some broccoli I figured I could fry the potatoes. My daughter, Chloe’s favorite veggie at the moment is broccoli so I wanted to make sure I had that for her. I didn’t do anything special with that. I simply drizzled and tossed in olive oil and seasoned with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
This chicken ended up coming out sooooooo juicy from the marinade…. oh my gosh it was just fantastic. Lemon and turmeric flavor was infused throughout without being too overpowering.
I felt so wonderful about my meal choices throughout the day. My lunch was almost paleo and my dinner was actually a Whole 30 compliant meal. That’s when you know you are eating healthy! The major advantage of these meals, of course, was the taste. They were healthy meals but that does not need to mean boring, bland meals. The flavor of both meals was perfection. Nowadays there are so many recipes and foods out there that can be pleasurable eating while trying your best to eat healthy. If you want a great place to start Primal Kitchen is your best bet. They offer a variety of healthy foods that can help get you on the right track.
I was given a care package of Enjoy Life Protein bites and I am loving each flavor of these little chocolate morsels. As you may already know, I am a big fan of the Enjoy Life Foods Brand. They create and produce food that is free of common allergens that anyone can eat. You will not find gluten (wheat), dairy, peanuts, soy, egg, tree nuts, among other food allergens in any of their products. You can have peace of mind with this brand because they only use quality ingredients and their products are REAL FOOD. If you are following a gluten-free diet or vegan diet this brand has a ton of great products available to you. Today I am sharing my Enjoy Life Protein Bites review with you. I am a huge fan of these healthy snacks and I think that you will be too! Keep reading to find out more!
Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission from items purchased through these links with no extra cost to you.
Let’s kick this off by saying that this recipe made my house smell so incredible! Freshly baked bread is amazeballs! I wasn’t sure what to have for dinner and then I got that brinner (breakfast for dinner) craving. I also had a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix in my pantry. I will tell you this too, I am always looking for a reason to put my apron on and get busy in the kitchen. So my Tuesday afternoon was spent working on a loaf of cinnamon, raisin, and ground flaxseed bread that I created with Bob’s Red Mill bread mix. This bread was simple to make and actually fun. I made the bread with the intention of using it for French Toast. I always enjoy making my own bread for French Toast. It is a rewarding feeling making an entire meal from scratch. I think the use of Chef Shamy’s amazing butter really helped make this bread extra special.
Welcome to this week’s installment of Tried It Out Tuesday. This week I will be discussing a fun dessert that I created using Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix. I created a giant sugar cookie using a cast iron pan and it is naturally colored and tastes just like cotton candy! This was my first time trying out Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix and if you have been following along you might have noticed that I am a big big fan of her other mixes. I love the ease of use and I also love the ways you can get creative with them and customize your recipe. Just use your imagination and the sky is the limit!
Pamela’s Sugar Cookie Mix Review
& How I Created A Cast Iron Cotton Candy Sugar Cookie
Cast iron is the way to go!
For this tasty adventure, I used my 10.25″ Lodge Cast Iron Pan. I think of cast iron pans as an essential tool in the kitchen and if you ever want to make yourself a giant skillet cookie, cast iron is the way to go! I preheated my oven to 350-degrees and sprayed my skillet with coconut oil.
Oil up that cookie
The back of the bag for the sugar cookies suggested using butter but I swapped that for coconut oil, thinking that was a healthier way to go. To start up this recipe I placed the coconut oil and one egg in my KitchenAid stand mixer. I whipped it up for a bit and also added a generous splash or Lorann’s Cotton Candy Flavoring Oil. It suggests using this oil to flavor hard candy but I have had much success using it as a baking element. I then slowly added in the dry mix.
Making a beautiful cast iron sugar cookie
Once the mix was about ready to go I gave it a squirt of red natural food colorings from Simple Truth (Kroger). The red color comes from beetroot. After the color was mixed in I took my ball of cookie dough and spread it out evenly into the cast iron pan. I made sure it was spread evenly and that it went all of the way to the edges. Then guess what? It was SPRINKLE TIME! I busted out my nonpareils and my bottle of Mr. Sprinkles and gave the cookie a heavenly shower of sweet sprinkle goodness!
No such thing as too many candy sprinkles!
I often wonder how many people get turned off by my usage of candy sprinkles (insert a nervous LOL here). I happen to love them and I feel that a little extra sugar isn’t going to kill me. You only have one life to live (YOLO) so if you want the sprinkles, don’t hold back! Give whatever it is a good dousing of them. I enjoy eating clean as much as possible but I’m not going to restrict myself constantly and tell myself I can not have this and I can not have that. I am not a militant clean eater by no means. Just wanted to clarify that. I think of myself as a free eater that has a lean towards health and wellness. Balance, people!
Baking the cast iron sugar cookie
Back to the process! I was not sure how long to bake this so I kept checking on it. I started off at 10 minutes and that was not enough. I checked again a couple minutes later, nope! I am going to say it probably took about 15 minutes for this to be completely baked.
Decorating the cast iron sugar cookie
I allowed the cookie to cool and then got to making some royal icing for it. I beat one egg white with my whisk attachment and added a little more cotton candy flavor to it… a very tiny bit! Once the egg got frothy from whisking I slowly added one cup of organic powdered sugar to it. I loaded up my Wilton Dessert Decorator with the icing and the smallest tip. This is a neat baking tool to have on-hand if you do not have piping bags. Just load it up and squirt!
I am so very pleased with every single mix of Pamela’s I have tried so far. You can see my previous posts about Pamela’s mixes here:
Also, if you have been reading my previous posts or following me on social media I have been using the Lorann’s Cotton Candy Flavor Oil frequently. If you are a lover of cotton candy and enjoy baking I would like to say that you truly need that oil in your life. The flavor that it gives your baked goods is phenomenal!
I wish you could all eat a piece of this giant skillet sugar cookie that I created. It had a wonderful texture throughout it and the taste was spot on. When my husband approves of my gluten-free baking then I know it was a smashing success.
Have you ever created a giant cast iron skillet cookie? What did you create? Leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear all about it.
The fall weather is approaching and that means meals like pot roasts and soups will be in full swing in my kitchen. For cool weather meals, I also like to bust out my slow-cooker. The slow-cooker is a perfect tool to use for when you want a meal with minimal effort. It is great for busy workdays or school days. All you need to do is a little prep, set it, and forget it. Today I will share with you how I made my paleo pot roast slow-cooker and the recipe for it.
The meat and veggies are the stars of the show. Simple ingredients and effortless steps to obtain an incredible meal.
This was our first time trying out parsnips. I wanted to be adventurous with this roast and add something new to it so we went with that. My daughter, Chloe, actually loved them and my husband was on the fence about it (he is somewhat picky). I really enjoyed them and would continue to use them in my roast recipe. I would actually probably add another one or two next time I make pot roast with them.
We had an awesome day yesterday full of good eats and great times with family. I got super lucky and won a prize pack from Coleman Naturals on Facebook. I won a variety of organic hotdogs and sausages. As soon as I received my prize pack I knew I had to host a family get-together. I am always looking for an excuse or reason to have people over and cook for them. It brings me a lot of happiness and joy putting a party/family gathering together. Is there really anything better in life than having your good family come together to have a day full of great eats? So we had some hotdogs, sausages, potato salad, macaroni salad, and corn on the cob. It all added up to a scrumptious meal. My sister also brought some side dishes and my mother-in-law brought a fruit tray. We had quite a few healthy foods to eat.
This was my first time trying out anything by Coleman Naturals. I did a bit of research on their products and think that they are an incredible brand. Hotdogs and sausages are often filled with weird, garbage ingredients but not Coleman Naturals. They do not use antibiotics, hormones, steroids, they are non-GMO, use only all natural ingredients, are gluten-free, are free range, and only use organic ingredients. I don’t feel so bad about eating a hotdog or a sausage when I know that they are only made with quality ingredients.
These hotdogs and sausages were the stars of the show yesterday. I had most of my family over and we all enjoyed these. There were chicken hotdogs, pork & beef hotdogs, apple chicken sausage, and some andouille sausage. I also created some other dishes to go with the gathering. I made a healthy potato, a gluten-free macaroni salad, and I also made paleo dark chocolate fudge cupcakes. My dad and my stepmom also brought over some Michigan sweet corn. I brushed mine up and down with some ghee and was in corn heaven!
On Friday night I got home from our day trip out to Birch Run and I had to get my potato salad and macaroni salad done. For both salads, I used my jar of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo. This was my first time using this mayo and I had no doubt it would be great because I love everything that Primal Kitchen has to offer. This avocado oil mayo can be found on Amazon but the price at Primal Kitchen is a tad lower.
The Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo is Whole 30 compliant, paleo-friendly, keto-approved, sugar-free, gluten-free, and has ZERO grams of carbs! I was super pumped to try this healthy mayo. I love when I come across a food product that is REAL FOOD and allows me to eat clean. Primal Kitchen always comes to mind when I think about clean food. I am so happy to be able to represent and work with a brand that offers nothing but the best when it comes to eating healthy and well.
Tony’s I-75 restaurant is located in Birch Run, MI. This place is not for the faint of heart. It is not the place to go for a light meal. And it might just be a heart-attack waiting to happen. This establishment will literally put an entire POUND OF BACON on your sandwich. Do you want an omelet? They will put a DOZEN OF EGGS in there. Not kidding. This is a family restaurant that serves up meals of EPIC proportions. They are famous for their serving sizes and they are also famous for the bacon that they serve up here. It is a bacon-lover’s paradise and dream come true here. Did you know that they use up 11,000 lbs of bacon weekly? It is true, read on in my Tony’s I-75 restaurant review!
My Tony’s I-75 Restaurant Review
About Tony’s I-75
Tony’s I-75 restaurant has been around for nearly seven decades. This place is a Michigan classic. If they had a motto I believe it should be, “go big or go home”. It is a once a year tradition for our family to dine here in the summer. This is not the kind of place you should be going to every week. I wish they included nutrition facts on the menu because the amount of calories here would be off the charts.
If you are in a hurry to eat you will often be confronted with a line out the door. Even on a weekday afternoon, there is a line to get in here. The building is not large enough to accommodate the demand. It is a small, cramped restaurant and I wish they would expand to a larger building but they have been at that location for decades and I doubt they are going anywhere. It is worth the wait though and the line does move fairly quickly.
Tony’s I-75 restaurant not only serves giant portions of food but they also have a massive menu. They have anything ranging from sandwiches, soups, salad, burgers, subs, dinners, seafood, Italian, and Mexican. And save room for dessert! You can not leave Tony’s without dessert.
There is also a decent children’s menu. I highly recommend the kid’s spaghetti with the giant meatball. My daughter ordered chicken strips this year. The portion size for children is very reasonable and they don’t go overboard with kids, which I think is totally cool.
Because the menu is so big, I did not capture a photo of every page of it but I tried my best to give you a good idea of what they offer and the prices. Their prices are very reasonable considering the amount you receive. You can view the entire menu online at their website.
Tony’s I-75 menu
My BIG meal at Tony’s I-75 restaurant – Antipasto Salad and boy was it ever huge!
I often like to go for the seafood here. If you like clams they are jumbo clams. I am talking gargantuan! That is what I typically order but this year I went with the Antipasto Salad. This was my first time ordering a salad here so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When it was brought out my first thought was that it was a beautiful salad. It had all the fixings of an antipasto salad and the portion size was colossal. There was one problem though, my mozzarella cheese was not on my salad. I didn’t realize this at first. It took a few minutes to flag down our waitress but she apologized and was helpful in getting me my cheese. The salad came with a house-made Italian dressing and it was the perfect addition to my plate. The dressing was sensational, and there was excitement in every bite of this salad. I really appreciated the addition of green olives. I never had an antipasto with green olives.
My mom’s gigantic burrito at Tony’s I-75 restaurant
You should see the size of my mom’s burrito that she ordered~ MASSIVE! We were all stunned when this burrito came out because I have never in my life seen one this large. Somehow my mom managed to pack half of this in and took the other half home for leftovers. When you dine at Tony’s I-75 restaurant you do often leave with a doggy bag because most meals are impossible to finish for the average person.
My husband’s pizza sub at Tony’s I-75 restaurant
Joe ordered a pizza sub and the size of that did not disappoint! He tried to take it on and eat the entire the whole thing but he failed! Wondering what was on this monster sub? It came with, ham, pepperoni, mushrooms (Joe left these off), pizza cheese, pizza sauce.
And the moment you have been waiting for! Tony’s I-75 banana split!
Once a year when we come to Tony’s 1-75 we take advantage of their enormous banana split. There were 4 adults at our table plus one child (my daughter). We usually cannot finish this heavyweight dessert but this year we tackled the banana split and ate the whole entire thing! I felt like a pig afterward (oink oink) but I kept on using that spoon as a shovel to shove more and more ice-cream into my mouth. I deserved the little bellyache I had on the car ride home.
Final thoughts about Tony’s I-75 restaurant
Overall we were satisfied with our meals. We all left with full bellies and smiles on our face, that is for certain. We will continue with our yearly tradition for meeting up here once a year. For weeks leading up to it, we are always all talking about that banana split. That dessert is truly the highlight of the meal for me. This is a great restaurant for family dining and I think that everyone in the area should experience this place at least once in their lifetime. I am hopeful and optimistic that this Tony’s I-75 restaurant review will inspire you and your family to give it a whirl someday. It is most definitely worth the drive!
Have you ever been to Tony’s I-75? What do you enjoy ordering there? Leave me a comment and let me know what you like! If you have never been to Tony’s I-75 restaurant what appealed to you on their menu?
Last night I made a wonderful healthy dinner. We had chicken marinated in Primal KitchenHoney Mustard and some roasted broccoli. I really wanted a dessert though and then I remembered that I had a bag of Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie & Bar Mix stored away in the pantry. I am a big fan of Pamela’s line of gluten-free products and I have tried several and have been quite satisfied. It was a first for me, though, making her oatmeal cookies. I doctored up the cookie mix to take it from ordinary to extraordinary. No shame in using a mix to create your baked goodies! This mix was outstanding and the cookies are disappearing quick! Read my Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie review to find out more about this gluten-free baking mix.
I knew raisins belonged in my oatmeal cookies and I had some Simple Truth raisins in the pantry, a nice fresh bag!
Gotta have my Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips!!
To make my husband happy (because he is obsessed with chocolate chip cookies) I added in some Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips. I just can not say enough nice things about those chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. They are vegan and free from all common food allergens. They taste fantastic. I have a confession to make too. Sometimes I eat those chocolate chips straight out of the bag as a little snack. They are so freaking yummy.
Chia seeds & spicing things up!
I started up the KitchenAid Stand Mixer (my BFF in the kitchen right now!) and got all of my ingredients mixed up and then I continued to add a few more things. I added some Simple Truth black chia seeds (about a tablespoon) and then I gave it a heavy shake of my McCormick Organic Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Chia spice blend. I love that spice so much and it comes in handy for some of my baked breakfast creations.
What I recommend for bakeware
For my baking, I really love the Circulon Bakeware. I have the bakeware set in chocolate. I sprayed my sheet pan with some coconut oil and the surface is nonstick. I have never had a problem removing anything off of this bakeware. You can find the cookie sheet on Amazon. This is the bakeware I have ever owned. I have had it since early this year and I am thoroughly impressed with it.
I did not take long for these cookies to bake. I believe it took 12 minutes. That 12 minute waiting period was agonizing for me. I could not wait to take a cookie off the tray and have a nice, warm one. Warm cookies are the best… a true comfort food for most I would say!
Pour yourself a glass of milk for your oatmeal cookie
I poured myself a glass of Unsweetened Califia Farms Almond Milk and I mixed in a scoop of Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel. I dipped my cookie into the milk and a had a tremendous FOODGASM! I was really on the struggle bus trying not to consume every single cookie that was on the tray. They turned out just that good! I will admit it, I did end up eating three warm cookies. Not a healthy choice but I ended up going for a long walk with my dog to burn off some of the cookies.
Final thoughts on Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie Mix
I usually avoided using mixes for the past year. I figured I was better off DIY’ing the whole recipe for it myself. But if you are doing any kind of gluten-free baking the cost of ingredients really inflates and seems astronomical. So to me, it just seems more cost effective to spring for a mix. Most of what you need is there in the mix and you can doctor them up yourself any way that you would like. We all enjoyed Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie Mix and would definitely buy it again in the future!
How do you make your cookies special if you are using a mix? I’m really happy with the outcome of these. Leave me a comment and let me in on your cookie secrets! Hope you enjoyed this Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie review and I hope it inspires you to give it a whirl!
Did you enjoy this post? You might also enjoy these posts at Give It A Whirl Girl
TGIF and welcome to this week’s installment of Friday Faves! Tastemade is a wonderful cooking and lifestyle website that has some unique items in their online shop. They offer free shipping on orders that are $49+. I am really loving the DIY kits that they offer. Those sound like fun projects to do in the Give It A Whirl Girl Kitchen. Here is a list of some of my favorite items in the Tastemade shop. Be sure to check them out because they offer some nice stuff for your kitchen and home. Many of these items would also make great gifts!
Dana’s Bakery has three kits to choose from. There is Red Velvet, Fruity Cereal, and Chocolate. Each kit contains the following: 2 mix packets, 2 piping bag, 1 piping tip, and a recipe for filling. You will be making this French pastry like a pro with this kit.
Present your guests with foods to nibble on in style. I love this serving set. Is the food included as well? Just kidding (but maybe not). Looks so delicious. This serving set has five different compartments to organize your hors-d’oeuvre.
I recently tried out HelloFresh and I am sharing my HelloFresh review today! I have been an on and off again subscriber to HelloFresh for years. HelloFresh sends out meal kits weekly with all of the ingredients inside and a recipe card. As long as you follow the instructions on the recipe card you will end up with a mindblowing meal that is so great you will wonder how you even accomplished it. The recipes are unique and inspire you to get out of a rut in the kitchen and whip up something with gourmet flavor. The prices are reasonable for what you get.
The meals, for me, always come out fantastic, like something you would order at a nice restaurant. I have never been let down or disappointed by any of my HelloFresh shipments.
Discount For HelloFresh
HelloFresh has a promotion taking place where you can score $30 off your first delivery. They have menus available online so you can see what is upcoming in future meal kits. Some meal kit subscription boxes do not show you the menu until after you sign up. HelloFresh has nothing to hide. You can see for yourself what they have to offer.
They also have meals plans that are flexible for your family. Eating for two? No problem! A family of 4? No problem. There is a subscription box available to you.
Some meals are traditional fare but with a spin on it, like the meatloaf shown below. I never had meatloaf with any type of jelly on it but this was absolutely incredible and was one of my favorite HelloFresh boxes. That is exciting to me because I like to eat with an open mind. Never in my life would I have thought to put currant jam on meatloaf but it worked. That is the great thing about HelloFresh. This meatloaf tasted gourmet and I made it all by myself in the kitchen. It was simple too! All of the recipe cards are easy to follow.
HelloFresh Swedish Meatloaves w/ homemade garlic mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and currant jam
HelloFresh Swedish Meatloaves w/ homemade garlic mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and currant jam
HelloFresh Swedish Meatloaves w/ homemade garlic mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and currant jam
HelloFresh offers a premium meal each month that is optional and does cost a bit more but it is so worth it. One week I went for the premium meal and ended up trying out duck breasts for the first time in my life. I was not sure if I would like them or not but it turned out to be one of the best meals I ever made.
I am not a medical professional or certified nutritionist and all posts and recipes are not to be taken as medical advice. Statements here are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be taken as medical or dietary advice. My readers assume full responsibility for their actions and should consult with a medical professional if there are any dietary concerns or issues.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: