Saturday, June 29, 2013

Healthy Homemade Twix Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free)

If I could choose three foods that I could eat an unlimited supply of and not get fat and/or sick I'd pick Nacho Doritos, Pineapple Pizza with extra cheese, and Twix candy bars. This recipe makes a healthier, cleaner Twix bar that you can actually make yourself - oh, and it has absolutely no sugar. This is a vegan, soy free, gluten free, refined-sugar free version of my all time favorite candy bar. All ingredients can be bought at your local supermarket or health food store. Who knew that you can enjoy yummy, sweet tooth fulfilling treats and still eat clean. Don't buy in to the hype that eating clean means that you'll have to munch on nothing but grass, leaves, and bland tasting foods. =)
Ingredients:(Makes 14-16 bars)
2 Cups almond flour
3/4 Cup sweet sorghum flour( I use Bob's Red Mill Brand)
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 Cup Soy-Free Earth Balance buttery spread (softened)
5 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 T vanilla extract
2 T softened Earth Balance
1 ½ Cup large medjool dates (approx 15-18)
1 T nut butter (peanut or almond)
3 T brown rice syrup
1 T agave nectar
¼ t salt

2 Cup coconut oil
½ Cup coacoa powder
Up to ½ Cup agave nectar
Dash of salt
1 T vanilla extract 

Coconut oil for lining baking pan


Preheat oven to 350˚

Mix all dry cookie ingredients together. Continue by mixing all wet ingredients into the bowl.

Grease large baking pan with a very little amount of coconut oil. Place your cookie batter on to the tray and flatten out into a square/rectangle shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Place in oven for approx. 10 mins (until it's starting to turn golden brown). Remove and place in fridge or freezer (freezer is best)

Blend all of your caramel ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Once blended, place in freezer.

Melt your coconut oil for the chocolate, and then mix all of the chocolate ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

Remove cookie from fridge/freezer, and cut into the size of chocolate bar you'd like (mine were about 1/2 inch wide by 2 1/2 inches long).

Remove the caramel mixture from the freezer and form the caramel into tube shapes with your hands to place over top of the cookie.. The cleaner (less bumpy/messy) you make the caramel, the nicer your chocolate bar will look. The chocolate will take form around the caramel. Once all of your cookies have caramel on top, place back in the freezer to cool. Leave them in the freezer for at least 10-15 mins.

Remove the cookies from the freezer, and cover them in chocolate. To make things easier for you, have your chocolate bars sit on parchment paper. If you don’t have any, make sure they’re sitting on something that they won’t stick to. Once the chocolate bars have been covered, place them back in the freezer for at least 30mins.

After the chocolate has hardened, they can be kept either in the freezer or fridge. Since the chocolate is coconut oil based, as long as it’s cold it will stay in tact.

Bon Appetit

Friday, June 28, 2013

For The Love Of Soursop - Delicious All Natural Cancer Killer??

Growing up in the Caribbean they'd be an abundance of this deliciously creamy fruit. I'd eat it straight up or enjoy it as a creamy drink made by my dad. As with most of the vegetables and fruits I enjoyed as a child, I didn't know just how amazingly potent these all natural foods could be. Almost every day we hear about someone suffering from the lethal disease called, cancer. In the past 5 years alone I've lost three family members to cancer. Although many medicines and treatments have been introduced so far, cancer still claims the lives of approximately 20,000 people everyday across the globe.

Chemotherapy is one of the most widely used treatments for curing cancer. It effectively destroys the cancer cells and inhibits their growth. Unfortunately, Chemotherapy comes with several side effects such as hair loss, anemia, nausea, and vomiting. Chemo helps destroy the cancer cells but meanwhile it also damages the healthy cells of the body. Some preliminary findings have helped researchers to conclude that the fruit is a natural cure for cancer (especially colon cancer) and it is, “10,000 times stronger than chemo”. One of the studies conducted by Cancer Centre, published in the “Journal of Medicinal Chemistry”, in 1997, says that compounds found in soursop proved to treat breast cancer 250 times more effectively than chemo. 250 times! 

Soursop is commonly found in the tropical areas of Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uganda, Somalia, and of course the Caribbean. The fruit belongs to the family of Pawpaw.

Soursop is called by other names as well such as graviola (Brazilian Portuguese), guanĂ¡bana (Spanish), anona (European Portuguese), corossol (French), Brazilian pawpaw and in some cultures it is also known as Thorny Mango.

Even before it was reported to fight cancer, soursop has been consumed in countries that cultivate it. It's a delicious tropical fruit eaten fresh or made into shakes, smoothies and other food and beverages. Though the irregular green shape with dull spikes looks rather strange to those unaccustomed to its appearance, opening the fruit yields a creamy white pulp with black seeds that is truly tropical in flavor and aroma. 

The soursop is packed with valuable nutrients in it such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

It's beneficial for curing fungal and bacterial infections, stress, depression, nervous disorders, blood pressure and sleeping disorders. According to a study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplement in 2008, graviola extracts are effective in the treatment of parasitic and microbial agents.

Graviola tree extracts have been tested in almost 20 laboratories by America’s largest drug manufacturers, since 1970s and has proven to be beneficial in the following ways:

It effectively targets and destroys malignant cells in almost 12 types of cancer such as breast, lung, pancreas, prostate and colon.

The commonly used drug that helps combat cancer, as a part of chemotherapy is Adriamycin. The soursop tree contains compounds that have 10,000 times more strength to combat cancer than Adriamycin.

Unlike chemotherapy the graviola extracts only targets the cancer cells and destroys them. It does not do any damage to the healthy cells.

The Science Behind The Claims

In 1976, the anti-cancer activity of graviola leaves was first noted by the National Cancer Institute, stating that “The NCI did some research on the guanabana cancer cure [sic] and came up with some interesting results. The study…showed that the leaves and stems of the plant were incredibly efficient at destroying certain cancerous cells in the body.” This study was not publicly released, however, subsequent research on graviola conducted at Purdue University has proven promising results.

Much of Purdue’s research focused on the anti-tumour properties of annonaceous acetogenins. The researchers have found that tumour cells that are resistant to chemotherapy treatment, or, multi-drug resistant cells, were effectively destroyed by acetogenins. Multi drug resistant cells develop resistance to all chemotherapy treatments, leaving the patient at a dead end. These  cells require incredible amounts of cellular energy in order to rid themselves of these chemotherapeutic drugs. This made the cancer cells prime targets for acetogenins that were found to effectively inhibit their function in a way that eventually leads to cell death.

It is important to note as well, that researchers who have explored the mechanisms used by the soursop are only specific to cancerous cells, and not healthy cells. Why? Because cancer cells have a consistently higher level of cellular activity, and thus produce a much higher level of ATP, and is better recognized and targeted by the acetogenin molecules. This is of benefit to the user since chemotherapy targets BOTH normal (such as stomach and hair cells) and cancerous cells, causing the often devastating side effects of nausea, weight loss, hair loss, and overall low quality of life for cancer patients. The soursop only targets cancerous cells, thus our other cells are left untouched. 

1996 study found that a compound isolated and extracted from the seeds of the sour sop had 10,000 times the potency of the chemotherapy drug adriamycin on colon adenocarcinoma cells. However, these results are for only one kind of chemotherapy drug. And, unless a cancer patient were to eat the fruit's seeds rather than the fruit itself, they would not receive the cancer killing compound. Moreover, these tests were performed in the laboratory. Humans were not tested.

The Cancer Research of UK states that while the graviola extracts have demonstrated anticancer properties in laboratory tests these extracts have not been properly studied in humans thus the claims that the fruit has been found to be a miraculous natural remedy for many kinds of cancer is simply not true. There is, as yet, no credible evidence to support the idea that eating sour sop will cure or effectively treat cancer in humans. 

Despite the absence of supportive data clearly showing that the soursop can cure cancer in humans, graviola, like many herbal products, is heavily promoted to cancer patients on the Internet, often with false claims of cure. Patients should be cautioned against herbal supplement use when on treatment.

Possible Side Effects 

The fruit is beneficial but still there are some side-effects associated with the consumption of this fruit. There are high levels if annonacin found in this fruit that may cause Parkinson’s disease if consumed in large quantities. This finding has been published in the journal, “Movement Disorders”, in the year 2002. In some cases it may even prove harmful for the body’s cells by stopping it from producing ATP (ATP is also known as Adenosine triphosphate and it is responsible for transferring chemical energy within the cells).

According to the Cancer Research UK,"...we do know that it may cause nerve changes, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. So it may have harmful side effects for some people." 

Regardless of what any study or article states it's always recommended and encouraged to  talk to your doctor before taking any kind of complementary or alternative therapy.
What diseases is this fruit effective against?

The Soursop leaf and bark have been shown to regulate blood sugar and cure diabetes. This has led to discoveries of the fruit’s effectiveness of disorders of the endocrine system: liver, kidney, thyroid, pancreas, ovary, prostate, intestines, gall bladder and appendix. It has also been shown to fight lung & breast cancer as well as brain tumours. It has been proven effective as an anti-spasmodic and eliminates dust mites that cause asthma and bronchial diseases. The leaf tea itself can cure liver issues, and improves pancreas functioning, while effectively de-worming children, and curing malaria. Lastly, it has been shown to raise immune defence in chemotherapy patients as well as HIV (AIDS) patients. 

As a cancer buster, it is said that the leaves and bark of wild soursop trees, preferably grown organically, contains the most healing properties. These are dried and made into a tea and then boiled to extract the medicinal compounds.

Why have we not been aware of this natural medical treatment for cancer?

Now you must be wondering that why the properties of this amazing cancer fighting fruit has been hidden until now? Though extensive researches have been undertaken regarding this fruit, it has still not been publicized. Some proponents say that there is a huge conspiracy regarding the findings about soursop. The reason this natural remedy is being kept away from the public eye is because soursop has the potential to be substituted for chemo. If it happens, it will lower down the profits of the pharmaceutical companies producing synthetic cancer drugs.
Many believe that pharmaceutical companies are presently reproducing several annonaceous acetogenins in the laboratory. Since you cannot patent natural chemicals, these companies are trying to re-create the chemical structure in order to make synthetic acetogenin that can be patented and marketed to its full potential. There is no money to be made for pharmaceutical companies when it comes to Mother Nature and her promising medicinal plants.
Until this plant’s active ingredient can be patented in such a way that money can be made from it, I doubt that these companies will support or fund clinical studies that will help support and prove to a further extent, this plant’s miraculous effects against disease and illness. Nature is the cure, we are aware that this plant is powerful, so why not use it as a prevention and a cure, when it is available in full abundance? 

Hopefully more funds will be poured into research and eventually yield an established protocol on the treatment of cancer through the use of the soursop so that aside from the conventional medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, there can be a less invasive and effective alternative. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy this delicious delight.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY Deodorant & Antiperspirant (Aluminum Free)

Many people are worried over the aluminum based active ingredient  in antiperspirants. This aluminum-based compound in question temporarily plugs the sweat ducts and prevents you from perspiring. Recent studies have theorized that aluminum-based antiperspirants may increase the risk for breast cancer. Yikes. According to these studies, most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast -- the area closest to the armpit, which is where antiperspirants are applied. The studies suggest that chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum, are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving. These studies claim that those chemicals may then interact with DNA and lead to cancerous changes in cells, or interfere with the action of the female hormone estrogen, which is known to influence the growth of breast cancer cells.

Considering that one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime, the idea that antiperspirants might somehow contribute to the disease is a pretty serious claim. Yet experts say the claims don't hold up to scrutiny. "There is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant or deodorant use increases cancer risk," Ted S. Gansler, MD, MBA, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, said in an e-mail interview.

Gansler says many of the studies that have been conducted were flawed, and even though a few detected chemicals from antiperspirants in breast tissue, they didn't prove that those chemicals had any effect on breast cancer risk. In fact, one well-designed study comparing hundreds of breast cancer survivors with healthy women, as well as a review of all available studies on the subject, found no evidence that antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer. Worrying about antiperspirants shouldn't distract women from addressing the real breast cancer risks, Gansler says, especially the ones they can control, like eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and limiting alcohol.

Back in the 1960's, a few studies found high levels of aluminum in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The research suddenly called into question the safety of everyday household items such as aluminum cans, antacids, and antiperspirants. But the findings of these early studies weren't replicated in later research, and experts have essentially ruled out aluminum as a possible cause of Alzheimer's.

"There was a lot of research that looked at the link between Alzheimer's and aluminum, and there hasn't been any definitive evidence to suggest there is a link," says Heather M. Snyder, PhD, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association. According to the experts interviewed for this story, the aluminum in antiperspirants doesn't even typically make its way into the body.Now If you're like me then you'd agree that ingredients like aluminum have absolutely no place in your body and we all know that many studies are made and used to feed the general public sweet lies and assurances about products and ingredients that do our bodies more harm than good. If you're worried about the aluminum in your deodorant and would like to make your own, here is a recipe that I've personally made and used. I can vouch for the effectiveness of this homemade deodorant. Here's what you'll need:  


1/2 cup Coconut oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons beeswax pellets
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Cornstarch
10 drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Frankincense Essential Oils

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, don’t fret. This will work just fine without the oils. The oils are an added bonus but I'd really recommend that you try to add at the Lavender Oil. It adds a really great smell plus you can use lavender oil for many other uses. I love to use it on my hair.


Add the coconut oil, and beeswax pellets to a small saucepan. Slowly melt over VERY low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add baking soda, and corn starch. Mix with a spoon until smooth and creamy in consistency, then add the essential oils and pour into your containers. Let stand to cool and solidify.

I was very pleased at how well this turned out. It has a great consistency and smells divine. But most importantly, after wearing it for a full day, it was every bit as effective as any commercial brand I have purchased.

If you prefer a spray instead of the usual stick then here's a recipe for you.



1/2 cup Witch Hazel
1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel (or juice)
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
10 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil (one of the most effective deodorant essential oils that has a crisp, refreshing scent!)


Add witch hazel, aloe vera, baking soda and your favorite essential oils to a small spray bottle and shake well before each use. Spray on underarms. If you don’t like the “wet” feel of it…you can stand in front of a fan for a few seconds to help it dry…or you can gently pat it with a dry towel. I didn't do either. I just sprayed it on and went about my day.

(Important Note: Clary Sage Oil should be avoided during pregnancy.)

I also tested this deodorant out on my own armpits and loved it. When I first sprayed it on it felt cool, refreshing and almost tingly. I thought the ‘wetness’ feeling of it might bother me…but after a minute I forgot I even had it on. And after wearing it all day long, no notice of any odor or wetness. Success!

Whether you prefer to rub-in, rub-on, or spray…now you can make your own homemade deodorant that’s safe and effective. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Amazing Speech's On Turning Failure Into Triumph

If you watch enough commencement speeches or gather the collective wisdom of people who “have made it” in life you'll certainly see a trend. The key to life isn't being smarter than the rest, although that doesn't hurt. The key is resilience - your ability to deal with inevitable failures, learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off emotionally, physically or financially, and then move forward. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it is essential.

Oprah Winfrey’s Harvard Commencement Speech:
Failure is Just Part of Moving Through Life

"There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. … Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost, but then here’s the key: Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go." - Oprah Winfrey

J.K. Rowling Tells Harvard Grads Why Success Begins with Failure
"...why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized  and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned." - J.K. Rowling

     Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Benefits Of Dry Brushing

Have you heard about the fantastic benefits of dry brushing your skin? No? Well your skin is missing out on some really good stuff. Dry brushing isn't some weird medieval method of torture, it simply involves gently brushing your skin with a natural bristle brush. It has loads of  advantages so do your epidermis a favor and continue reading to learn about some of the great benefits of dry brushing.


One of more obvious benefits of dry brushing is that it can exfoliate your skin. By gently brushing your body, you can literally brush off dull, dead skin cells and reveal new, smooth skin. You can use a brush with a long handle and exfoliate hard to reach places like your back that normally get neglected.


Lymph is considered part of our immune system and is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. Our bodies contain far more lymph than blood, so you can see how important this might be.

Dry brushing literally moves the lymph containing large proteins and particulate matter that cannot be transported in any other way back into circulatory system, preventing lymphedema and is why most health programs include some type of exercise and body work.
So, why don’t we die if we don’t do this dry brushing thing? Well, lymph vessels themselves have their own pumping mechanism sensing when the vessels have more fluid in them or in the interstitial fluids. Lymph only goes one way because of the many one-way valves on the insides of each lymph vessel. The body is a fascinating thing. It literally pumps the lymph along its path back to the heart. Removal of proteins from the interstitial spaces is an essential function. Without this happening, we would die within 24 hours. We can help speed this process up when we dry brush or massage toward the heart, contract our muscles and move our bodies (like when we walk or exercise.)


Dry brushing removes dead skin layers, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal. Dry skin is a sign of detoxification. Therefore it’s good to keep the process going by removing the dead skin daily. If this does not occur nasty dry skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff can occur.


Dry brushing your skin is also said to help strengthen the immune system by helping the body clear out toxins. There is some debate about whether dry brushing is actually an effective way to do this or not since our bodies do a good job of detoxing already. But many people believe that dry brushing can help decrease the length of illnesses by moving the toxins through our bodies quicker.


Dry brushing stimulates the hormone and oil glands, thus helping all of the body systems perform at peak efficiency. The skin is your body’s largest organ. When improperly maintained, the elimination duties of the skin are forced upon the kidneys. Chemical analysis of sweat shows that it has almost the same constituents as urine. If the skin becomes inactive, its pores choke with millions of dead cells, uric acid and other impurities which will remain in the body putting extra stress on the liver and kidneys. Bathe daily and do a dry brushing before the bath to help stimulate blood flow to the surface so that toxins can more easily escape.


Dry brushing stimulates circulation. Our skin breathes and yet, in most people, this vital route of detoxification is operating far below its capacity, because it is clogged with dead skin cells and the un-removed waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes. Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated. By activating the circulation you can also prevent varicose veins.


Dry brushing strengthens the immune system and may reduce duration of infection and accelerate the clearing of toxins. It helps support the immune system during cancer and other chronic illness treatment. By stimulating the lymph vessels to drain toxic mucoid matter into organs of detoxification we can purify the entire system. After several days of dry brushing, sometimes you may notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. This is a normal sign that the intestinal tract is renewing itself. 


Dry Brushing tightens the skin by increasing the flow of blood which, in turn moves toxins and lessens the appearance of cellulite. Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every 24 hours – skin brushing removes the old top layer, allowing the clean new layer to come to the surface, resulting in softer, smoother skin.

Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health. When you brush, the pores of your skin open, allowing your skin to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Clogged pores are not just a cosmetic concern. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.


Dry Brushing tones the muscles. Dry skin brushing helps muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes the individual muscle fibers to activate and move. It also helps mobilize fat and helps to even distribution of fat deposits. This is a great technique for invalids who can’t exercise.


Dry brushing improves the function of the nervous system. Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.

The brushes used for dry brushing can range from $2- $15, so it's very inexpensive.
The process of dry brushing my entire body takes me about 10 minutes, so it's not too time consuming. Please be careful when purchasing your brush. Do not get a brush with extremely hard bristles and please do not scrub your skin raw. We're trying to improve your skin, not harm it in anyway. 

The benefits of dry brushing are pretty impressive. I've never had an overwhelming amount of cellulite but on the spots where there was a bit, it has transformed my trouble spots to  smooth, sexy cellulite-free zone. I've personally experienced a vast improvement in the feel and look of my skin when I dry brush. Have you ever tried dry brushing before? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Low Carb Stuffed Chicken with Pepper Jack Cheese & Spinach

This recipe has the perfect threesome of low - carb yumminess. Chicken, Spinach, and my absolute favorite cheese of them all, Mr. Pepper Jack. One word comes to mind YUM. Here's what you'll need:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 c spinach, frozen or fresh
2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp seasoning mix ( I use a combination of my favorite seasonings)
1 tbsp breadcrumbs (use flax meal or ground pork rinds for super low carb)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Flatten the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the pepper jack cheese, spinach, salt and pepper.

Combine seasoning and breadcrumbs together in a small bowl.

Spoon about 1/4 c of the spinach mixture onto each chicken breast. Roll each chicken breast tightly and fasten the seams with several toothpicks. I typically use about 8 toothpicks in each roll to ensure none of the filling seeps out. Be sure to count how many total toothpicks were used.

Brush each chicken breast with the olive oil. Sprinkle some seasoning evenly over all. Make sure you get underneath, too. Sprinkle any remaining spinach and cheese on top of chicken (optional).

Place the chicken seam-side up onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the toothpicks before serving. Count to make sure you have removed every last toothpick. We wouldn't want to have a painful incident due to an errant toothpick. Serve whole or slice into medallions.

Dinner is served.



Seasoning Mix:

3/4 tbsp paprika
3/4 tsp onion salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp oregano

Monday, June 17, 2013

No Need To Rush - Reasons Why Settling Down Can Wait

If you are not married or making plans to be married by the age of 30, it's not uncommon for someone to wonder why you're still single or utter the words "maybe your standards are too high." I'm of the belief that no one should ever settle, especially when it comes to marriage. When has settling for anything made someone insanely happy? I believe people should be fair in evaluating what it is what they want, while setting realistic and satisfying standards that will last a lifetime.

If you don't like something about someone now, you probably won't like it in 10 years

Often what irritates us initially is magnified with time. People are not like sweaters that you can grow into, nor is it ever fair to expect someone to change. What you see is what you get, so you had better love who you are with flaws and all or throw that fish back in the sea and keep fishing.

Spend time getting to know yourself

Sometimes the real problem is that people don't even know themselves and what it is they want. Time being single is quality time you should spend understanding yourself. Yes I said it. I dare you explore yourself. Being authentic now may allow you to avoid a mid-life crisis later. Believe me it took a good hard reality slap to wake me up about certain things about myself. Which in turn allowed me to be real with myself about myself. Sometimes, people are so scared to spend time with themselves that they end up going from one relationship to the next. If you are that person, your relationship addiction may leave you susceptible to settling  and settling may lead  you to resentment and we all know that it all goes downhill from there.

You're so worth it

Sadly some of us look for other people to validate our self-worth. However, when we fail to attract what it is we desire, we may begin to settle for someone we are not really into. The truth is that we must each see ourselves as the incredible person we are and the kind of relationship we deserve in order to have that gem enter our lives. Think about it: if you are settling, what are you really saying about yourself? That you can't do better? You must recognize and believe in your worth as a person in order to attract anyone else who will feel the same way about you. If you believe you are a gem, you'll attract a gem. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Settling is a sign of fear 

Sometimes settling screams that you are afraid of being alone. One isn't the loneliest number. One plus someone you're not really into is certainly is. There is someone out there for everyone, the time you waste with Mr. or Miss. Wrong may be the time that you miss from being with Mr. or Miss. Right. The thing you should fear is settling. 

Lust isn't love

People may know what it is they are looking for in a person, with non-superficial factors being quintessential. Then they meet someone who looks like Brad Pitt or Beyonce with similar bank accounts and all of a sudden being humorous, intelligent, respectful, and compassionate goes out the window. That is nothing but vanity and lust. Lust for the person's body and/or bank account. Lust fades and most importantly it isn't love. If you don't have anything in common, conversations are a strain and the only thing you share is a physical attraction, enroll yourself in a 12-step program ASAP and step away.

A divorce increases your likelihood of a subsequent marriage ending in divorce

While divorce is no longer taboo and you may see it as your get out of jail free card if things don't work out, it also leaves you more susceptible to another, and another, and another divorce. Yes, those who divorce are more likely to have subsequent marriages end in a divorce as well. It's a fact, so wouldn't you rather get it right the first time and save yourself some extra stress and heartache?

Settling means you'll resent him/her

You may not want to admit it, but if you settle for someone, chances are they are never going to live up to your ideals. If you keep expecting him/her to be something that he/she isn't, you'll only be bitter and disappointed, and he/she will feel like a failure.

Your relationship is going to be routine

When you settle, your relationship is based on routine, not romance. Both partners have to want to impress and woo the other (making impromptu dinner plans, planning a romantic getaway, etc). If you feel like you've settled, what's the incentive to impress the other person? You're always going to feel like that person owes you something, so the likelihood of you being spontaneous and renewing the woo factor is almost nil.

Your sex life won't be as satisfying

Sure, every couple experiences ups-and-downs in the bedroom. But if you settle, it's likely that your sex life won't be up to snuff, right from the get-go. Sex should never feel like an obligation.

Don't get married just because "everyone is doing it"

Don't settle just because you don't want to be the that "swinging single" gal when all of your friends are getting serious. Sure, it can be frustrating to see all of your friends walk down the aisle while you're the girl knocking back drinks at the singles' table. But shacking up   or settling down with someone to just keep up appearances is never a good idea. Truth is, many married people are far lonelier than many single people are. Getting married does not equal instant happiness.

Good things come to those who wait 

If you have an accurate assessment of yourself, believe you are worth it and trust that Mr. or Miss. Right is out there for you, they will come. The best thing about waiting is it makes you appreciate 'The One' even more when they come along. However, one caution -- waiting doesn't mean you do nothing. You have to put yourself out there -- go out, meet people, try new things, try online dating or join a cooking class -- just get out there and date. 'The One' isn't likely to just show up on your doorstep while you wait at home watching TV.

To Thine Own Self Be True

The arrival of the post-industrial economy combined with the large pool of women with higher education, career, and overall financial stability of their own, has meant that marriage is an option rather than a necessity. And as such, we are free to pursue intimacy on our own terms without the need to fulfill some archaic duty and pre- conceived ritual of womanhood. In short it is not enough nowadays for a man to have a good job, a nice car and be financially stable. Because most of us enjoy financial independence, we are now free to look beyond the surface of the dating pool to explore whether or not a potential mate can fulfill our emotional and physical desires in addition to our security needs.

While there is plenty of advice for women about how to snag a man – most of it revolves around editing yourself in some way to make yourself more palatable to men – little discussion has been put forth about the reasons why women hold out for the right one or don’t rush into relationships all together or the independent ones who aren't in a desperate rush to wed our very own prince charming is shunned as a crazy, super picky old maids.

Perhaps, like me, they are not ready. Perhaps they have some goal achieving and exploring of their own to do to figure out what and who is right for them and what and who isn't. Options such as college, having careers, home ownership, traveling, having children, engaging platonic friendships with the opposite sex have all shown that marriage is not the only way for a woman to have a fulfilled life. And more importantly, because of our new found independence, we can play equal partners in shaping and defining how unions adds to our fulfillment, much in the same way that men have been doing for ages. It's only fair.

I don’t say this to discourage anyone who seek traditional marriage but to give voice to those women who have decided or are unsure of what role traditional marriage plays in their lives. As a whole, I do believe that women should be honest with themselves and admit that while we may desire to be coupled up one day, we’re not going to do it just for the sake of doing it.

Like anything else in life, we do have choices and options. It’s just a matter of finding out what relationship option and/or choice works best for you. And on the flip side, there are too many married women, who are unhappy in their unions because they didn't take advantage of the opportunities in which we in this undefined and ever-evolving generation have had. If you honestly feel like society's relationship norm isn't for you then don't do it. Don't settle for anything, any relationship, or anyone that doesn't arouse passion in you. Do not settle simply to fit in.

Below is a video that pretty much sums up my present frame of mind when it comes to settling and settling down.

Love is a beautiful thing and finding someone who is willing and actually puts in the work to make your union work is indeed a beautiful blessing. Relationships and marriage isn't about sunshine and daisies all the time, but if that love isn't there right away, it's pretty tough to will yourself into it and why would you want to. I'm not telling anyone to buy into the hallmark, Disney movie, fairy tale garbage that we've been spoon fed as little girls. We're not all princesses that will find "true love" and live "happily ever after".  

Most relationships that start with so called butterflies are often based on a very shaky foundation. It's just hormones. It's very similar to that new car feeling. Sure it's exciting but it FADES. That's why - in our instant gratification, me-first world - the divorce rate is so high. We expect that exhilaration to last forever. When it goes, we go. Relationships are hard work. Part of that work involves learning to see past a person's outward appearance, to get to know them beyond the stage where they are simply trying to impress you. Sure a spectacular start is nice. A great story to tell the grand kids. However, I believe that we need to be more focused on the long-term and not the honeymoon period.

If you want an amazing body you've got to put in the work. If you want to be a student with a 4.0 GPA then you need to study hard. Relationships and marriage is a compromise, your not going to be happy 24/7 it takes work just like anything else in life.  In the end, love is really what everyone is looking for and what everyone needs. Love from our family and friends. Love from ourselves to ourselves, and love from a partner that's willing to stick around when times are hard. So, don't settle. Chose the terms of your life and live accordingly; Do not yield to anyone's expectations but your own.  You are worth it. Good Luck.

You're Non-Relationship Expert,


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day = Jack Daniels Baked BBQ Chicken

So I'm still in New York and decided to make a dad approved finger licking dish. This recipe isn't for the faint of heart. Just kidding. It's succulent and amazingly moist. My parents always season or marinade chicken then freeze it until it's used for cooking. This is the method that I use and I absolutely love it because the meat is already full of flavor before you cook it.  Here's the recipe; hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

1 - 4lb/5 lb Chicken
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Jack Daniels barbecue sauce or your favorite brand

Place all ingredients i
n a large freezer bag or a large bowl with chicken except for the Jack Daniels sauce.
Remove chicken from bag and place on a baking pan, cover with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce  and place on a rack.
Bake at 350 till brown and crispy.

Bon Appetit

Wanna make your very own Jack Daniels sauce use this recipe below:

1 cup ketchup

1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey (the good stuff)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and
simmer about 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Happy Father's Day =) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Food Items You Should Stop Buying and Make Instead


A simple combination of oats, nuts, and dried fruit, granola commands quite a markup at grocery stores. Select your own raw ingredients and make it at home in bulk instead. And while you're at it, mix in some honey, stick it in the oven, and cut into strips for your own at-home granola bars. Yum


At more than $5 for a 10-ounce tub, hummus can be a costly purchase when you consider that garbanzo beans cost about $1 for a 15-ounce can.


1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.
For a spicier hummus, add a sliced red chile or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.


If you're looking to spice up your snacking habits, salsa is a low-calorie alternative to many snack aisle enticements, but packaged fresh salsa can run upward of $0.40 per ounce. If you're lucky enough to be shopping during tomato season, stock up on those luscious red delights to blend a batch of your own (you can always freeze the extra tomatoes to use when the temperatures drop). Even better: look to your garden for tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and limes for the ultimate discount!



At $0.40 per ounce for a bag of Lay's original potato chips vs. $0.05 per ounce for russet potatoes, you'll save a bundle as well. Here's all you need.

3 russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil or cooking spray
1 tsp. sea salt
Optional seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, vinegar, chili powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick. Soak the potato slices in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry. It's important they be completely dry or they won't get crunchy. I actually put them in a salad spinner and then pat them dry with a dishtowel.

Lay the potato slices on 2 large baking sheets. Make sure they are in a single layer. Drizzle with oil or spray with the cooking oil spray on both sides. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. The chips should be golden brown and still soft in the center.

Sprinkle the chips with salt and any other seasonings you're using and serve

Vanilla Extract

Store-bought pure vanilla extract easily exceeds $3 an ounce. But steep a few vanilla beans in vodka at home, and you can cut that cost in half.


6 Vanilla Beans
6 (4 oz jars)
24 oz. vodka


Use a knife to split the bean in half, leave about ½ inch at each end intact.

Put your vanilla beans in your glass bottle or jar and cover with vodka.

Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so. As you use the vanilla, simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used.

Croutons and Breadcrumbs

Don't throw away that slightly stale loaf of bread. Rather than buying boxed croutons at the store, you can dice up that leftover loaf into cubes and butter and toast your way to delicious, crispy croutons. Similarly, pulverize a few slices in a food processor for homemade breadcrumbs, and save yourself a trip to the store.If you haven’t considered making your own croutons yet, I suggest starting. Not only is it super easy but it’s also a lot more cost efficient than purchasing them from the grocery store (plus you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what’s in your salad topping). For this, you’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

You'll need:

Bread (Any type will do)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasoning (I love to use garlic and herb seasoning)


Store-bought pesto can cost nearly $1 an ounce, so save on your sauce by making it at home. Plus, whipping up a batch allows you to incorporate other money-saving tips. Substitute spinach for basil, and use almonds in place of pricey pine nuts.


1/2 cup pine nuts
3-4 cloves garlic (I think the more, the merrier)
3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (or about 1/2 tsp. of each)

In a food processor or blender, blend together basil, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing, and then add in salt and pepper. Scrape down the sides and pulse once more to make sure it's well-blended.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Okay so I know all things pumpkin are synonymous with Fall and Thanksgiving in the U.S. but there's no rule against enjoying delicious pumpkin goodness year round. I'm currently in New York visiting my parents and just happened to stumble upon left over cans of pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving last year. Turning the can around I noticed that it hasn't expired yet; jackpot. Here's a quick delicious pumpkin smoothie that you can enjoy year round. You can add a scoop of your favorite protein powder and enjoy it as a meal replacement or make as is. 


1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch of ground ginger (optional)

Another simple variation of this recipe is as follows:

1/2 banana
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
A dash of pumpkin pie spice
4-5 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy

Happy Sabbath =)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Get Out Of Debt Fast

Growing up in the Caribbean we wouldn't use credit cards or even debit cards. Back home the custom would be to buy things with cash. If you didn't have enough money to make your purchase then you'd work a bit more and save up until you had enough. The only big debt accumulated would be for big purchases like a mortgage for a home or a car loan. When I moved to the U.S. I experienced a complete culture shock especially when it comes to the use or over use of credit cards, debit cards, and the credit system in general. The american credit system makes absolutely no sense to me at all but I'll save my rant on that for another blog post. I'm not an expert but I feel like I'm certainly able to give advice on this topic because I've used these tips and they've worked very well for me. I'm currently in my late twenties finishing off my PhD. Both my Bachelors and Masters degree's are in Accounting. I'm virtually debt free and I've got no student loans, great credit, and I only have one credit card that I keep just in case of an emergency. I've got a nice fat savings account and an extra emergency savings. If I were a cartoon character I'd probably be Mr. Krabs. =) I'm not quite a penny pincher as he is but I love to save. Even from a very young age I'd always put away most of my allowance in my Nesquik piggy bank. Anyway lets get to it; here are a few tips to getting and staying out of debt. 


This is one of the most important tips for getting out of debt. You can’t pay your bills if you don’t know where to start or what you have. Write everything down. Get online and go the national student loan website if you have student loans, where you can find every single loan, what companies they are with, and how much you owe. Once again, write it down. Write down all your debt or put it in a spreadsheet on your computer. This is important to give you a reality check and help you see what you have in front of you. Don’t plan yet, just write it down. Also write down the income that you earn. Every dollar made should be accounted for then write down every penny spent. I don't care if it's a 75 cent candy bar bought at the vending machine. WRITE IT DOWN! This may seem tedious and stupid but it gives you a great idea of where your money goes and it can help you figure out ways to cut back or control your spending.


Credit cards are dangerous. Why are credit cards dangerous? For a few reasons: first, they make it easier to spend money that you don’t have. Research has shown that we feel more pain when we spend actual dollars than when we swipe a credit card to pay for a purchase. In other words, the credit card actually removes the discomfort of seeing hard-earned money leave your wallet. That’s why it can be so easy to get caught up in credit card debt. Another potential problem with credit cards is minimum payments — which can keep you in debt for a very long time. Many people simply make those minimum payments while their balance barely shrinks (or perhaps continues to grow) because of further spending and interest charges. In fact, the third reason credit cards are dangerous is the interest. Some cards have high interest rates — up to 25 or 30 percent. Even if you have a lower interest rate, like 10%, that still means you’re losing money every month when you carry a balance. The interest can accumulate very quickly, which can also keep you in debt for a long time if you’re not careful. The best thing to do is cut your cards up and throw them away. Using only debit cards or checks as payment methods will ensure you never buy more than you can afford. If you must keep a credit card, I would suggest leaving it home in a safe place and using it only for emergencies.
 Living within your means is never easy, but it’s one step closer to living debt-free.


Carry only cash with you. Here’s a rule that helps you get out of debt, and have savings left over. When you receive your paycheck, withdraw only the amount of money you need to buy groceries and gas. The rest of the money from your paycheck should go towards bills and debt.This tip keeps you from overspending, and gets you out of debt quickly. Leave your debit card at home. Although debit cards are not a poor method of spending money, if you have cash, you can easily limit what you spend. When cash is gone, it’s gone. And it’s always harder seeing your hard-earned cash go as opposed to the swipe of a card. You will be more conscious of what you are spending when you employ this trick. The less you spend, the more you have to put towards paying off your debts.


If you've never heard of Dave Ramsey then you won’t know about the snowball effect. In Dave Ramsey’s materials, he teaches that in order to get rid of debt, you must “snowball” it. Start with your smallest debt. While paying the minimum payment on all other debts, pay large sums toward your smallest debt until it’s paid off. Then continue on to your next debt until all your debt is gone. This method is quite effective and works well. Ramsey’s “snowball” method eliminates the total number of different debts faster, but in fact it is also likely to result in paying more in interest over the duration of the debt reduction plan. So the smarter approach, then, is to first pay off the debt with the highest interest rate, right?  Actually, wrong. In light of the results of a new academic study, science has weighed in on the issue, and it turns out Ramsey is right. People who pay off the smallest debt first are more likely to be successful at eliminating all of their outstanding balances. Huh?

This isn't really logical. It make more sense, mathematically, to target your debts in descending APR order. But people aren't logical. The two researchers, David Gal and Blake McShane, studied the records of thousands of people who participated in credit-card debt settlement programs and took a look at the results of their efforts to become debt-free. The study compared people who used the “snowball approach” recommended by Ramsey and others with those who took the “rational approach” of first paying off the cards with the highest interest rates. Consumers who utilized the less rational “snowball” method were more likely to actually eliminate credit-card debt.

To Ramsey and others, it doesn't matter if a debt-payment strategy is entirely rational or not. What matters is if it works. “What I have learned is that personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior,” Ramsey explains on his website. “You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped enough to get out of debt completely.”

Motivation ebbs and flows throughout the process of striving for any accomplishment. Snagging a small victory by completing any distinct portion of your overall goal (in this case, paying off individual debts) acts as a sort of motivational boost. It gives us proof that our efforts are paying off, and instills confidence that we can accomplish what we've set out to do.



Many people don’t like this tip for getting out of debt fast, but it’s a champion when you use it. In order to pay off large chunks of debt, you must have money, right? Well, get more money by downgrading. Which is more important to you, having gas in your car or getting your nails done? Putting food on your table or buying a new outfit? If you're drowning in debt, you may have to make decisions to cut off your cable or internet until you get caught up on your bills. Can't live without the internet? Cancel cable and pay $8 a month for Netflix instead of $100 plus a month for cable and internet. Instead of going to the club or bars every weekend cut it down to going out once a month. It can be done, you just have to do it. Say it with me. I can do this. 


Want to know the simplest way to get out of debt fast? Here it is: stop spending. Many times, our “wants” get confused with our needs. You may have to learn the hard way, but please, take my advice and spare yourself. When you have to wait until payday to buy toilet paper, you may start regretting the boots you bought last week. 
Do you like to get your nails done often? Do you eat out for lunch daily? Are you in the habit of picking up drinks and candy every time you stop for gas? If you can cut out little luxuries like these, it’s money saved that can go towards your debt. Reward yourself once or twice a month, but cut back on splurging on a daily basis.


I've noticed that people who are trying to get out of debt fast make the same mistake over and over. They focus on just making the minimum payments each month so they have enough money to buy other things. Then, they are left paying an even higher interest rate because they didn't pay off their debt by the deadline. make sure that you know your deadlines and interest rates. You will end up paying for items you have put on the credit card twice if you don’t watch your interest. Quit paying the minimum. For six months or so quit buying the impulse purchases or fancy crap that you don't need and put the money towards paying off debt. After paying off a vast majority of your debt feel free to reward yourself by buying something you really want but try to pay for it in cash. 


If you have student loan debt or credit card debt, consider consolidation as one option. Though the interest rate can be lower, the payout over time can be longer. If you make little money per week, however, or need some time before you think you can begin paying on loans, consolidation may be a good choice for you. Many student loans, like private loans, can’t be consolidated, and not all credit cards can. However, one alternate form of consolidating credit cards is to transfer the balance of one to the card with the lowest interest rate, which will save you money over time.


It’s important to remember this tip if you want to pay off your debt quickly. Any time you have extra money, it should go towards paying off your bills. So tax returns, paycheck bonuses, gifts, or other extra money you come into should go into paying off debt. That way you get to your end goal of being debt-free sooner than expected.


Of course, this tip applies anytime, but especially when paying off debt. Look for ways to save money in your everyday life. If you can cut out unnecessary bills or expenses that aren't vital, that’s more money towards paying off your debt. Try cutting your grocery and gas budget in half if possible. Consider doing meal preps for the week. Make a list of what you'd like to eat for the week, buy it (take advantage of items on sale and/or use coupons if available), then cook it. Yep, you read correctly. Cook the meals and store them in containers in your refrigerator not only will this allow you to eat healthier but it will save you time and money. No more excess cash spent on eating out and impulse snacks.   


My final tip for getting out of debt fast is to look for extra income on the side. Any extra money you can bring in will help get you closer to your goal. Babysitting, dog walking, selling crafts or baked goods, a second job, or a job that you can work from home will be good places to start if you already have a full time or part time job.

These tips will absolutely set you on the fast track to getting out of debt fast. Remember, if you’re truly serious and committed and ready to get out of debt fast, you may have to make a few sacrifices along the way. If you are in very large amounts of debt, you may need to follow these guidelines for a few years to see your debt completely gone. Stick with it and you will see progress. Once you have learned how to get out of debt fast, keep yourself out of debt by saving up for the things you want and paying for them up front rather than using a credit card or getting a loan. What are your tips and ways to pay off debt quickly?

Live Long and Prosper =)