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RA Natural Way

Sharing what I have learned about treating chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and indeterminable autoimmune disorders in the most natural way possible while maintaining a positive attitude. Hope. Faith. Love. Yoga. Travel.

Caldo verde (gf) (df)

Today was the last day of my Christmas vacation and it was hard to get moving this morning. While the Arctic Outbreak hasn’t reached Florida yet, I decided it was best to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather! For the first time in years, I rode my bike to the nearest Publix shopping center. It was 6 miles round trip and I found that it was a lot more challenging to balance the bike when the basket was loaded up with food!

I did find a new Publix Aprons recipe to try! Caldo Verde is a popular Portuguese soup, traditionally made with collard greens and meatless. Pubix has their version and now I’ll show you mine!

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Time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 links of Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
  • 1 (32 oz) container reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used a vegetarian version)
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb kale
  • I added: 1/2 cup of diced yellow onions and 1 cup of sliced portobello mushrooms

Cut sausages into 1/2-inch pieces and cook 4-5 minutes on medium in a stock pot. Add broth and chopped potatoes (and onions if you choose). Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 18-20 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften.

Stir in kale (and optional mushrooms); salt and pepper to your liking, and cook 10-12 more minutes or until kale and potatoes are tender.

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This made so much food! I decided to freeze some and save it for a cold winter night!

Stay warm America!

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Pumpkin Ninja

One of the coolest presents that I received this Christmas was the Ninja Mega Kitchen System:

My mother knows how much I love to cook and that my cooking gadgets are antiques! Today I opened up the Ninja, read a few instructions and put it to work!

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I wanted to make this gluten-free pumpkin bread to share with my friends at book club. I’ve never made this particular brand before, found at the discount grocery store. Hopefully I can find it again because it did turn out moist and delicious!

This particular Ninja set can be used for so many different things! First, I tested it’s chopping abilities with a 1/2 cup of pecans. Next, I changed the metal blade to the plastic bread mixing one. I dumped all of the ingredients into the mixer and held my breath while I pushed the “Dough” button.

Everything mixed together perfectly! But now I had to get it out of the mixer and into the bread pan. This proved to be much harder because the dough was thick.

Here I’ve removed the blade and tried to get all of the dough scraped off:

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While the bread was baking, I made myself a smoothie to test the single serve option. I didn’t have much to work with but it turned out yummy! This is so easy with very little clean up. I feel so lucky have have these fun gadgets to play with now!

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Ultra Healthy Dinner

After eating pancakes for dinner last night, I decided to be a bit healthier today!

Typically, I cook enough food to leave plenty of leftovers for the week. As a teacher, I need to pack a lunch every day. When I finish cooking, I divide the leftovers into lunch size portions and put them in the fridge. Each morning, I can easily pop a tupperware into my lunch box!

Tilapia, kale and a brown rice, quinoa mix. Full of vitamins and Omega 3s!

tilapiaeditSOC006_XlI put the tilapia in a bowl with lemon juice, salt, onion pepper and garlic seasoning. Let it sit, while I sautéed the kale with olive oil until it wilted. This Seeds of Change mix is wonderful because it’s so easy to prepare and Organic. I dumped the whole package in a pot with a little olive oil and warmed it up on low. Finally, I sautéed the tilapia on medium until fully cooked.

This is a quick, healthy meal and with leftovers, it is also inexpensive!

Before eating this meal, I went for a long walk and did my yoga stretches! This is exactly what I need to be doing every day!

For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent,” -Tony Robbins.

Pancakes for New Years Day

This year I took responsibility for my pain and made some big changes! I also made big promises to myself, including setting lofty goals. Starting this blog was a huge part of my plan to educate others on RA and the necessary changes I’ve had to make for my health. It has been a slow and difficult process, with lots of trial and error, but progress has been made!

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2014 is full of possibilities with so much to look forward to! I’m happy that 2013 has come to close. It was a wild year, full of uncertainties and huge obstacles to overcome. Looking forward to the future, now more than ever…

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I’m planning a long road trip this summer and I look forward to writing all about it! The Trip will begin at the Grand Canyon and hopefully continue west for at least month! I have lots of training to do if I’m going to hike down to the bottom and camp the canyon with my boyfriend! Setting goals and achieving them is something I take very seriously. Over the years, I have achieved some challenging goals, but these will probably prove to be the hardest yet!

More about that later…

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It was a very rainy, yucky January 1st at my house! Therefore, I prepared a treat for dinner to cheer myself up! I used the same mix from the delicious banana bread I made a few weeks ago. The recipe called for 1 cup of mix, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp of oil. I used an organic egg and vegetable oil. After mixing up all of the ingredients, I decided to add a little more of the Mix to thicken it up. It should make four pancakes about the size of the ones below, but I only made 3 to ensure that I would have enough room to flip them. It’s been a while since I made pancakes! I cooked them slowly on low-medium heat and topped them off with a little butter/olive oil spread, organic maple syrup and sliced bananas.

The pancakes turned out to be delicious but rather filling! From this meal, I consumed about 3.5 grams of saturated fat, which is something I constantly have to monitor. Sugars are also on the bad list and must be monitored. These were a real treat and I’m glad I made them for this special day! Tomorrow begins the hard work… cutting down on my sugar intake and making this body stronger!

Happy New Year everyone!!

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Italian Cooking (gf) (df)

This is a modified Italian recipe for Chicken Francaise that my mother and I cooked for dinner recently. The original recipe is from Ippolito’s, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Atlanta, GA that we used to frequent. Italian food was always my favorite, but with RA it’s hard to find a recipe that fits within my dietary restrictions.

*This recipe serves two.We tripled everything to feed five people and provide excess broth, which was so delicious!

You will need:

  • 2 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts (pounded flat)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh garlic
  • 1/2 ounce chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs (beaten) *or egg whites with lactose-free milk
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • spoon full of capers
  • gluten-free noodles *linguini or spaghetti

Combine the wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and set aside. Preheat a 12-inch pan on the stovetop. Add oil to the pan to heat. Season the pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken first in eggs and then flour.

Once oil is hot, place the chicken breasts in pan and cook on both sides until lightly brown *Do not cook all the way through. Discard half the oil from the pan *if needed. Add a pinch of flour to the remaining oil and chicken. Add entire wine mixture and let simmer until it has reduced by half. Add sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach and garlic. Cook until the spinach has wilted.

Serve over your favorite pasta. Ippolito’s suggests linguine, but my gluten-free spaghetti was delicious.

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Buon appetito!

My Best Holiday Cookie (gf)

My mother makes the best Christmas cookies… But, I’m trying not to eat gluten so I didn’t pig out on those this year! Instead, I tried a new chocolate chip cookie mix. And they turned out Fabulous!!

I bought these at Native Sun, but I’m sure they can be found elsewhere…

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Surprisingly easy instructions considering how good they turned out! *I did end up adding chopped pecans, which is a must for any chocolate chip cookies I make.

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Happy Holidays everyone!!

Enchiladas (df) (gf)

My boyfriend surprised me recently by buying ingredients for dairy-free, relatively healthy enchiladas. I love Mexican food and I can usually modify most of it for a healthier version. I wasn’t sure how this dish would turn out… but it came together nicely!

Our Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean, organic ground turkey
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce, spicy or mild (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese
  • 1 package corn tortillas

First, pre-heat the oven to 375F. I chose the smaller Pyrex dish because we had smaller tortillas to work with (we would have preferred larger ones). We poured enchilada sauce along the bottom of the pan to help keep the enchiladas from sticking. In a 10-inch skillet, cook the ground turkey and mix in previously sautéed onions. Cook thoroughly; drain.

Spoon the meat into the tortillas and tightly roll. Fit together in Pyrex dish. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top. Bake 10-15 minutes, add cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

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I added a healthy salad: mixed greens, carrot, mushrooms, tomatoes, oil and vinegar.

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IMG_3404editThese turned out pretty Yummy!

Peanut Snowballs (v, df, gf)

Borrowed from Georgia Kate's Kitchen!

These look so good! I want to make these for my family! I’ll have to play with the recipe a little because these are definitely an indulgence!

Pamela’s Banana Nut Bread

I am a lover of banana nut bread and my mother makes the best! But while I’m not currently eating gluten, I need to find a substitute. Pamela’s comes close!

IMG_3531editHere is what you’ll need to get started:

  • 2 bananas (1 cup, smashed)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, or honey
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-3/4 cups pancake mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat together butter, sugar or honey, eggs and banana. Add remaining ingredients and mix together with a spachela. Pour into a large greased loaf pan. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. *The package said to cook for an hour but mine did not take that long. Every oven is different.

I thought this banana nut bread turned out wonderful! I plan on sharing a loaf with my family. Don’t forget to serve warm! Just in time for the holidays!

Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!
Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!

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