Using Nutritional Yeast in Allergen-Free Cooking

You may remember that last summer I did a complete overhaul on my diet, due to some health complications I’d been dealing with.  Along with an overhaul, I had a lot of blood work and testing done, and discovered that in addition to my intolerance to gluten, I also have a sensitivity to dairy.  Because of that, dairy has now been cut out of my diet permanently.  One of the new foods I’ve tried and learned more about during this process is nutritional yeast.


Now, a lot of nutritional yeasts are fortified – which sounds good, but usually means there are synthesized ingredients, which of course equals processed, or not natural.  Part of my overhaul was cutting out as much processed food as possible, and I’ve seen the positive difference it has made in my health.



Sari Foods has 100% natural and non-fortified nutritional yeast flakes.  It tastes pretty good and is dairy free, gluten free, extremely low and fat and sodium and is loaded with vitamins and nutrients.  I received some and have been having a lot of fun experimenting with different recipes and ideas for how to use it.  People say that it provides a cheesy flavor, and I haven’t yet decided if I agree.  I suppose it can give a hint of cheese flavor, but I don’t think it’ll ever replace the true flavor of cheese.  Still, I like the extra something something that it gives to foods.  My two favorite ways to eat it are in scrambled eggs and on top of air popped popcorn.  IMG_7367

One things I appreciated specifically about this particular brand was that after purchasing the Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast on, the company sent me an email with recipes that I could try out!  I thought that was a really nice gesture, and I’ve already tried two of the recipes so far.  That in and of itself has created a loyalty for me.  I love when a company will do a little extra, a little more, just to help complete the experience!


The bag I purchased is 8 oz, and I believe it’ll last me a good, long time, especially since I like it best in small amounts as a mini flavor enhancer.  Seriously, I’ve used this in soups, on eggs, on potatoes, and more.  I really can’t say anything bad about it.  To learn more about nutritional yeast and Sari Foods, you can visit them on Facebook and/or on Twitter.


*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine alone, and no monetary compensation was provided.


Menu Monday – Weekly Goals and Menu Plan 01/26 1 comment


Howdy, howdy!  Can you believe it’s the last week of January already?  I’m still writing 2014 on everything!  :)


We are continuing the “eating out of the pantry” thing this week.  It’s been challenging, but kind of fun, to come up with meal ideas from what we already have at home.  I’m trying two new recipes this week, and will have to let you know how they turn out.  Anyway, here’s the plan:


MondayBaked Apple and Pork Meatballs, green salad, brown rice


Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner – cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit, sausage


Wednesday:  Sandwich night – I’ll give the family members the option to choose which kind of sandwich they’d like to each have:  Tuna, BLT, Grilled Cheese or PB&J.  Fresh carrot sticks on the side.


ThursdayKalua Pork Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa


Friday:  Dill-baked Chicken Thighs (will post the recipe later), roasted potatoes and carrots


Saturday:  Leftover night


Sunday: TBD – again, ha ha



As for the weekly goals, last week’s went well.  We were able to get everything on the to-do list completed, including the animal reports, the music building report, gymnastics, scouts, etc.  This week will look much the same, but with some new changes.  My husband and I received a call to head the Cub Scouts, the Wolves in particular.  It’ll be fun to do it together, and a learning experience for me.  I know nothing about the Scout program!  Here are my goals for the week:


  1. Get the Cub Scouts materials, go to the Pack meeting, and figure out what I’m doing.
  2. Munchkin is going ice skating for the first time – I’ll need to sign the release form and take her to that.
  3. Rock climbing with the kids.
  4. Post at least 3 new blog posts.
  5. Gather and organize tax materials.
  6. Set up budget for the first half of February.


I hope you all have a great week!



*Linked at OrgJunkie!

Influenster Froxy Vox Box – Samples and Goodies Review 1 comment   Recently updated !

I got a surprise in the mail about a month ago…a box full of samples and goodies!  I don’t know why Influenster was so generous, but I was definitely happy about it and willing to enjoy. :)



Let me tell you what we got, and how it all worked out:


10896835_10204637238904178_4723866509288499684_nThe Rimmel London Eyeliner

This black eyeliner is really soft, and goes on so easily. We were definitely impressed with it.



Fruit Vines Bites

I didn’t even get a picture of the Fruit Vines that came in the package. That’s how fast they were eaten. I couldn’t have any, because they have gluten, but Munchkin and my husband tried them and really liked them. Munchkin tells me they taste like a licorice stick with a huge pop of flavor.

The NYC New York Color Expert Lipstick

This Sugar Plum lipstick is nice as well. The color is very soft, and unimposing. If you’re going for bold, this isn’t your color, but for me, who tends to prefer subtle, it’s perfect.  You can see it on Munchkin in this picture. —–>


McCormick Gourmet Thyme

My personal favorite item was the McCormickThyme.  I’ve been using on my chicken, potatoes, rice, and other main dishes.  Just tonight we had baked chicken thighs, massaged with sea salt and olive oil, and sprinkled with thyme.


The Celestial Seasonings Tea

This Candy Cane-flavored tea was pretty good too.  I don’t normally drink a lot of tea, unless it’s herbal, but I still enjoyed it.  The flavor is really good, and filled with holiday cheer!  It’s nice on a cold day.


celestialteaEco Tools Sleek + Shine Volumizing Hairbrush

This is a really nice brush.  We don’t really need extra volume in our house, lol, but we can attest to the fact that it does work!  It’s a pretty brush, with soft and hard bristles.  I really like how good it is at de-tangling.


Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover

We also received some eye makeup remover.  Honestly, we didn’t like it at all.  It didn’t remove our makeup well at all, and we ended up scrubbing, which obviously didn’t feel too good.  That’s the only product from the box that we wouldn’t recommend.


Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Serum

This was a teeny tiny package, and I enjoyed the feel of it on my skin, but I honestly don’t think I could give much of an opinion based on the one-time experience.  That’s all I can really say about that product!  It seemed high quality, but again, I received enough for one use, and that’s it.


*I received all products for free from Influenster, in exchange for my honest opinions.

23 Blast DVD Review and Giveaway! 4 comments   Recently updated !

23 BlastBased on true story:


As a typical teenager, Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) is a local hero both on and off the high-school football field in his small Kentucky town, but in 1997, Travis contracts an infection that destroys his optic nerve and renders him blind overnight. With the loving help and concern of his parents, physical therapist, coach and best friend, Travis demonstrates what true bravery is: He continues to compete on the gridiron and helps his team advance to the state finals.






Holy cow, I love this movie.  I was a little concerned about letting my 12-year old watch it with me the first time (because of the PG-13 rating), but I needn’t have worried.  There was mild drinking of alcohol, which gave it the rating, but which was a poignant lesson shared in the film.  I felt fully engaged as I watched, and I actually cried at two different points.  During the movie, I tried putting myself in this young man’s shoes, and simply couldn’t come to imagine it.  I found myself thinking about my challenges, and realizing that, like Travis, I can move on and keep living.  I’m grateful for his inspirational example, and will share this movie with my son and other family members as one that is definitely worth watching!  After watching, I found myself wanting to know more, and so I spent time watching the bonus features.  Wow, what an incredible story, and what a great young man!  I’m so glad I had the chance to see 23 Blast; it’s a film I’ll watch again when I need motivation. I’m giving it 5 stars.


Here’s the trailer:


As thrilled as I was to watch this film, I’m even more excited to give one of my lucky readers their very own DVD copy!  Enter below, using any/all of the options listed. You won’t regret seeing this film. and good luck.  You can also enter the 23 Blast Bowl, where a grand prize winner will receive 5 copies of the DVD, an autographed football from Tony Dungy, and a pizza party for 8-10 guests.  GO HERE to enter the bowl.

23 Blast DVD Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



How to Make a Potpourri Heart for Valentine’s Day   Recently updated !

Potpourri adds such a sweet smelling, decorative touch to a home. It’s even better when you can use potpourri to make a decorative heart to express your love for someone on Valentine’s Day or any other time of the year. Fun idea, right?? :)


Here’s how to make a quick and easy potpourri heart:


Supplies needed

A mixing bowl dedicated to crafts

Cooking spray

An old spoon for stirring

Potpourri of your choice

White craft glue


Metal cookie cutter in the shape of a heart



Step 1 – Assembly your supplies

You probably already have the mixing bowl, old spoon, newspaper and cooking spray. You should be able to buy the potpourri, white craft glue, and metal cookie cutter at your local craft store.


Step 2 – Prepare your potpourri

Fill a measuring cup full of potpourri and pour it into your mixing bowl. Slowly start adding craft glue to the potpourri while stirring to thoroughly mix the two components. It may take up to 1/3 of a cup of glue to thoroughly coat the potpourri. You’ll want the potpourri and glue to be well mixed with no clumps of glue visible. Although the glue will appear white at first, it’ll dry clear.


Step 3 – Prepare your cookie cutter

Spray the inside of your heart shaped cookie cutter with cooking spray. Allow the cooking spray to dry before proceeding.


Step 4 – Fill the cookie cutter

Lay your cookie cutter on a sheet of newspaper. Use your hands to carefully fill the inside of the cookie cutter with your potpourri/glue mixture. Be sure the cookie cutter is completely packed with potpourri. Allow the potpourri/glue mixture to dry in the cookie cutter for ten to fifteen minutes. Be careful not to leave the potpourri in the cookie cutter longer as it could be difficult to remove.


Step 5 – Carefully remove the cookie cutter


Sparkling Citron Verbena Potpourri

Claire Richards - Burke Sparkling Citron Verbena Potpourri


Sparkling Cinnamon Scented Potpourri

Yankee Candle Co. - Sparkling Cinnamon Scented Potpourri


Pumpkin Spice Potpourri

Jodhpuri Inc. - Potpourri - Large Bag (18 oz) (Pumpkin Spice)


Collapsible Mixing Bowl

Workshop - Collapsible Mixing Bowl by Squish Plastic Mixing Bowls


Heart Shaped Metal Cookie Cutter

Wilton - Bulk Buy: Wilton Metal Cookie Cutter 3' Red/Heart (12-Pack)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

Menu Monday – Weekly Menu Plan and Goals 01/19   Recently updated !


First of all, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to all of my friends in the U.S.  I hope you are able to take some time today to do something for another, in honoring the legacy he left behind. :)





I’ve decided that another step we are going to be taking in our quest to get rid of our debt, we’ll be eating out of the pantry, and using our food storage more heavily.  Our meals will be based on food we have in our pantry and in our chest freezer.



3933f44992d957ece30721c425e40f30Monday:  Nacho Bar – Homemade tortilla chips, various toppings (refried beans, leftover meat, cheese, salsa, etc)

Tuesday: Turkey and vegetable soup (meat and veggies from the freezer), fresh baked bread (for the gluten eaters)

Wednesday:  Breakfast for dinner – Homemade hashbrowns (made with sweet and white potatoes), Gluten-Free pancakes, Fruit salad, etc

Thursday:  Leftover night

FridaySweet and sour chicken, Vegetable fried rice

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza

Sunday:  To be determined (as usual)



The goals for this week are kinda simple, and more of a to-do list.  We’ve got cub scouts and swimming lessons for Buddy Boy, Young Women’s and gymnastics for Munchkin, Activity Days for the girls in my church, an animal report due for Buddy Boy, and a gluten-free cooking demonstration for me.

What are your plans for the week?


*Linked up at OrgJunkie.

Down With Debt – Mid Month Check In   Recently updated !

Better on a Budget - Down With Debt

Halfway into the new month…how’s everyone doing?  It’s time for me to post an update, and man, I’m kinda getting sick of these kinds of updates, ha ha:



A week ago, we had a financial scare.  It’s still annoying, but not so scary anymore.

My son has autism, and receives SSI each month.  I’d received a letter that we’d been overpaid, so I assumed the SSI check would go down, as it usually does when this happens.  Then on Monday I got another letter telling me that I hadn’t responded and that I’d better respond with the payment in FULL in one week.  The first letter didn’t tell me how much we’d been overpaid; the second letter told me we owed the government over $2,700, due in a week!  That’s more than we get in a year from them.  So, I called them.  And I called them again.  And again, and again.  I finally got in contact with my local office, and they explained what was happening.  There’s good and bad news:


  • The good news is that I do NOT have to pay the entire amount in one week.  Thank goodness.


  • The bad news is that we DO owe the money.  Apparently we were already getting the pay deducted because of a previous overpayment, but not deducted enough.  Therefore, the amount of overpayment kept growing every month, little by little – for the last 3 years!!  (It sure would have been nice to know this a little sooner.)  They will continue to deduct too little from our account (why?  No clue) and the overpayment will continue to grow, and so the only way for us to prevent this from happening is to pay them – which we’ll do a little at a time each month.

I don’t really understand the logic.  Apparently there’s some formula they use, and we make too little for them to cut the checks out completely.  They use one formula to determine the monthly amount we’ll receive, and another formula to determine how much to cut out of the previous amount.  The two formulas don’t seem to match up. :/  Weird.  Either way, I can now say that we have added $2,700 to our debt.  (Technically I guess we already had that debt, but we weren’t aware of it until now.)  Sigh.


Everything else is on track.  With the lower gas prices, we’ve been able to budget less for our cars, which has been nice.  I also just received payment for an online study I did last month, and it’ll be a huge blessing.  I’m planning to use it for part of our grocery budget next month.


How are you doing so far?

Petunia Skincare’s Professional Make Up Brush Set Review


Petunia Skincare’s Professional 12 make up brush set is so cute.  It comes in a super handy bag that folds over for easy storage.  I got this product for Munchkin, my 12-year old daughter to review. Munchkin feels like they are extra soft, and likes them better than any of the make up brushes we already own. In fact, she won’t share. :)  I suppose that’s actually a good thing, though.  One thing Munchkin noticed is that the brushes are better able to hold and then transfer the colors onto her face.  We compared using the brushes I already have, and she’s right…these brushes transfer that color WAY better, which I love, so we won’t have to go through our make up so quickly with these better brushes.

IMG_7361 IMG_7362 IMG_7363




The brushes included in the complete Set of 12 are:
Powder brush
Blush brush
Foundation brush
Eyeshadow brush
Smudge brush
Fan brush
Concealer brush
Eyebrow blush
Eyeliner blush
Sponge applicator
Lip brush
Spoolie brush


These are really easy to clean – just rinse in warm water and clean with a gentle shampoo.  Rinse thoroughly and then let air dry, and they’re good to go!  It sure is fun having a pre-teen.  Lots of spa nights and fun with makeup! :)

Retailing at $89, they are currently on sale at for 47% off, if you are interested!


Like this gorgeous girl needs makeup anyway!

Like this gorgeous girl needs makeup anyway!

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  ALL opinions are mine.



10 Valentine’s Day gifts under $50

Need some inspiration for Valentine's day? Here are some ideas for gifts under $50!  Enjoy:

Luxury Spa Experience Gift Basket

A Spa Experience Gift Basket

Hydro? Luxury Spa Experience Gift Basket – $29.95, See Site shipping – Available at

Disney - Frozen Crystal Silver-Plated Snowflake Pendant Necklace 18

Disney Snowflake Pendant Necklace

Overstock - 14k White Gold 4/5ct TDW Diamond Engagement Ring (H I, VS1 VS2)

Overstock – 14k White Gold 4/5ct TDW Diamond Engagement Ring (H I, VS1 VS2)

Harry & David - The Favorite Royal Riviera Pears - Gift Baskets & Fruit Baskets - Harry and David

Harry & David – The Favorite Royal Riviera Pears – Gift Baskets & Fruit Baskets – Harry and David

Teleflora - Hugs and Kisses

Teleflora – Hugs and Kisses

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Teleflora – Hugs and Kisses – $34.16, 14.95 shipping – Available at

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.