Thursday, April 24, 2014

The China Study All-Star Collection Review & Giveaway


Ok… right from the get go here I’m gonna say that this new China Study All Star Collection cookbook is currently my FAVORITE cookbook sitting in my kitchen at this very moment.

I know that’s cutting right to the chase and leaving no room for suspicions of if I liked this cookbook or not, but truly… it’s THAT good that I just wanted to let you know right from the start.




With that being said, I’ll give you a little more details of WHY it’s my favorite and than you can enter to win your own copy down there at the bottom of this post. Smile

Awhile back I had the opportunity to review The China Study Cookbook by Leanne Campbell. That was a great experience for me because I had just truly started gearing our eating to a more plant based diet, so all the great information and recipes I found in The China Study Cookbook were very helpful.

Now, Leanne Campbell, PhD, has gathered together some of the most influential and popular plant-based chefs to share their best dishes that follow the nutrition principles laid out in The China Study.

Included in on this project are some of my favorite chefs from blogs, cookbooks, and TV Shows. Chefs like Laura Theodore from The Jazzy Vegetarian, Lindsay Nixon from The Happy Herbivore, Dreena Burton from the, and many more. It’s a goldmine of great plant-based recipes in one book!

Packed with 100’s of great recipes that cover just about every aspect of eating – from Breakfast to Dinner, Sides to Snacks, The China Study All-Star Collection is a MUST MUST have in your kitchen!

I’ve made quite a few meals already from this cookbook, but today I wanted to share with you my favorite so far.

It’s been a little warm down here in Florida already, so when the warm weather hits, I love to look for light, fresh meals to make. The Fanciful & Fresh Farmers Market Ceviche by Christina Ross hit the 100% mark on light and fresh. This dish was so good there were no leftovers!

Served with some grilled polenta with chimichuri sauce, this dish was AMAZING!


This bright and light ceviche features gorgeous summer vegetables that you are guaranteed to find all year round at your local grocery story and, depending on where you live, may even be lucky enough to grab all of these summer veggies from your local farmers’ market.
1 large heirloom tomato
1 large cucumber
1 small zucchini
1 avocado
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño
1 Fresno pepper or red jalapeño (ripens red when left on vine)
3 limes, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mango honey
1 ear corn, cut off the cob (about 1/2 cup), or
1/2 cup canned corn
4 stems spring onion
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1. Dice the tomato, cucumber, zucchini, and avocado equally in size.
2. Cut corn from cob (no need to cook) or use 1/2 cup canned.
3. Set all the veggies into a shallow glass dish—a glass pie dish works great.
4. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Deseed and mince the pepper.
5. In a small mixing bowl, add the minced garlic and pepper along with the lime juice,
lemon juice, sea salt, chili pepper flakes, and honey, then whisk until well mixed. Pour
mixture over the veggies in your glass dish.
6. Chop the spring onions and cilantro leaves, then add them to the veggie dish. Give
everything a good stir until well incorporated and serve.
7. For a fanciful presentation, garnish with lime curls. Serve on top of romaine or butter
lettuce leaves, wrapped in tortillas, or just grab a spoon and dig in.


Here’s your chance to win a copy of The China Study All Star Collection!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A BIG Thank you to BenBella books for allowing me to review this cookbook and hosting the giveaway!

China Study All-Star Spring Clean Your Diet blog tour


** I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% all mine **

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I’m in Love With Amazon Prime ~ AGAIN!

I think I’ve written about this before.

Yet, here I am again.. another addiction new show that I’ve found on Amazon Prime and totally hooked on.

Let’s see.. a couple months ago I finally caved into all the period drama hupla and started watching Downton Abbey

Oh, it was a horrible.. I watched the WHOLE FIRST SEASON in one seating!! OH MY!!!

And now I’m all caught up and HAVE TO WAIT for the next season. UGH.

So while I’m waiting, a dear friend recommended I check out Friday Night Lights.

Oh my!!

I don’t know WHY I do this to myself. UGH! I’m getting so wrapped up in the characters.. their lives, their stories!! I’m not sure why I didn’t watch this show when it first aired on TV, but WOW, it’s really good.

I’m only on Season 1 out of 5, and I’m DEFINETLY going to pace myself.. but I’m already thinking.. what am I gonna do when this series is over.

I hope you know I’m kidding with all of this, but I REALLY do believe that Amazon Prime can be quite dangerous.. LOL..

I mean really… having access to seasons upon seasons of TV shows can quite addicting.

How about you? Have you found shows via Amazon Prime or Netflix that you love to watch?

I’d love to hear about it…. maybe I’ll add it to my watch list Winking smile

Monday, April 14, 2014

Memory Lane Monday ~ Our Trip Out West

I was just sitting here cleaning up all the pictures on my computer and stumbled upon my “Our Trip Out West” folder.

Oh my!!! How I wish I was on that trip today…

Last year, the Hubster and I were able to take a trip that started in San Diego and ended just outside Denver.

We had both been to California before, but we had never driven across the west and seen any of the famous sites out there, so seeing that he had a business expo in San Diego, we decided that it would be the perfect time to do this road trip.

I’ll try and give you a quick run down of each stop..

Our Trip Out West Collage

San Diego – BEAUTIFUL!! We did the trolley tours, which can be a little cheesy, but since we were short on time, it ended up being the BEST way to see all the popular sites. It was fun to be able to get off at certain stops and jump back on when you were ready. We had some FABULOUS food here in San Diego and the weather was perfect.

From San Diego we rented a car and drove out to Nevada.. we basically just drove through Las Vegas to see what it looked like. Neither one of us really wanted to stop and stay there. It’s pretty cool to see, but we just got this weird vibe… too much crazy stuff goes on there.. Winking smile

Hoover Dam – We stayed at the Boulder Dam Hotel, which was adorable. It was late February so it wasn’t really tourist season there, but we still enjoyed walking around and seeing the cute little town where .. a long time ago.. men & their families lived while building the dam.

OK… I never really knew that I had a SEVERE case of height anxiety till we tried walking across the Pat Tillman Bridge.. OH MY!! That was high up!!

The dam is amazing to see and the drive from San Diego to this area was BEAUTIFUL!!

Off to the Grand Canyon… AGAIN.. the drive.. WOW!! The scenery is just BEAUTIFUL!! God’s creative creation right there in front of us.

At the Grand Canyon I was just speechless… Pictures do it NO justice!!

From the Grand Canyon to Moab, Utah…

This place TOTALLY took be by surprise. Between stopping at Red Cliffs Lodge to see their little museum and deciding we were coming back to stay there in the future, to the AMAZING beauty at The Arches National Park…Moab is already on our calendar for next year. We plan on going back and staying for awhile to take it all in.

From Utah to Colorado..

Want to test a marriage for it’s sturdiness.. take a road trip.

Bless my hubster’s heart.. I had such anxiety about driving through all these HUGE mountain ranges. He sure did put up with a lot, but we made it through and it was breathtaking.

Colorado is again… beautiful!! I have some wonderful friends who had recently moved out there so they took us around to see some of the gorgeous sites out there. Rocky Mountains indeed!!

From Colorado bake to Sunny Florida..

Thanks for going on this trip down memory lane with me… I can’t wait to go back.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Veggie Muffins from Garden Lites

I just LOVE it when packages show up on my doorstep and they are not only for ME, but they have something REALLY yummy inside!!

Just the other day, I got one of these yummy packages from Garden Lites!! Inside was an adorable tote bag and 5 boxes of different Veggie Muffins!


It took me no time at all to get started on the review. I’m mean come on… why put off what you can do today.. especially when it comes to eating.

The first one I tried out was the Zucchini Chocolate. OH MY!! This little gem was so tasty. Not to sweet and no ‘veggie’ flavor, just a delicious chocolate muffin.. with little chocolate chip gems hidden inside.

Now of course, I couldn’t just stop at one. I truly value my blog readers to just eat one and have my review rest on that. NO WAY.

IMG_2136So my next choice of muffins was the Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin (YES.. I ALWAYS go for the chocolate first). Again… OH MY!! Another yummy veggie muffin. This time with a little banana flavor that I love. Just enough though, not too much.

Since that first day, I’ve been able to test each of the flavors. And to be honest, I can’t say there is a favorite. They are all delicious.

My oldest daughter has even found them and she’s hooked too.

All of these muffins are made with 1/3 fresh vegetables and are very nutritious. Just recently launched in stores like Target, Publix, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and more, Garden Lites Veggie Muffins are a wonderful, healthy snack for veggie and non veggie lovers alike.

There are 5 different flavors to choose from:

  • Veggie Blueberry Muffin
  • Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip
  • Zucchini Chocolate
  • Carrot Berry
  • Golden Corn

All varieties of Garden Lites Veggie Muffins are gluten-free, vegetarian, low in calories, high in fiber, and Kosher Parve. Individually wrapped, these 2 ounce muffins can be popped into the microwave for 20-35 seconds or be enjoyed a room temperature. Either way.. they are YUMMY!

Look for them at your local stores.

THANK YOU Garden Lites for sending these goodies to try out!! I’ll be picking up some more at my local store soon!



* I received a package of samples in exchange for my review. All opinions and thoughts are 100% all mine**

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heaven is for Real Movie Edition by Todd Burpo

As I sit here, I’m trying to figure out how to start this review, I feel stuck.

I’m not sure how to start. How to express how much I REALLY enjoyed this book and how I’ve already marked April 16th on my calendar to go see the movie.

I’ve seen the original book Heaven is for Real quite a few times on the local book shelves, but never really paid much attention to it. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer for the movie that I decided I really wanted to read the book first.

It took me all of maybe 2 days to read this book. Reading about the Burpo family, all that they went through, what Colton experienced, and the days after, had me reading for hours.

At times I felt like I was sitting down next to Mr. Burpo and listening to him tell me the story in person. Heaven is for Real is written in such a way that you feel like you could be the Burpo’s neighbor. You feel close to them, and if you’re a Christian, you can probably relate to some of their questions, worries, and struggles with everything that happened.

I was encouraged by Todd’s love not only for the Lord, but also for his family. His honesty about how this whole ordeal shook his faith,even as a pastor. It’s not fake. It’s not mushy. It’s a real story, and a real family.

Todd lets you in on his struggles - Being made at God and asking others to pray over his family. At the darkest time of their lives, Todd realizes he needs to let go and ask for help.

Than there’s the beautiful innocence of Colton. Just a little boy telling his family, in small doses, that he went to Heaven and sat in Jesus’ lap, that he got to meet his sister (his mother had a miscarriage), and his Pop (grandfather), and saw so many wonderful things about heaven.

The way Colton speaks about what happens to him is just simply beautiful. So very simple, so packed with comfort, peace, and love. When asked why Jesus died on the cross, Colton simply replies “Well, Jesus told me he died on the cross so we could go see His Dad.” WOW!

The Burpo family lets the reader in on this amazing happening and shares some of the most personal and intimate moments with us the reader. Again, so much honesty in how they felt, but also the need to gently share Colton’s story with others, so that others may know “Heaven is For Real”.

My copy of Heaven is for Real is all dog eared with things I thought I would share to you, but there’s just so many wonderful things in this book.. I can’t share them all. You’ll just have to get the book yourself.

I also enjoyed that this book was the Special Movie Edition. Not only do you read the original story, but there are updates from the Burpo family, interviews with the producers, actors, and writers of the movie.

I HIGHLY recommend getting a copy of this book. It’s a beautiful read. Something you can share with someone too that may have lost someone and is wondering if there really is a Heaven..


From the publishers:

“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said.“Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”

When four-year-old Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the following months—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

This true story, retold by his father but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

Heaven is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe like a child.

Bonus material in this special movie edition includes:

  • Photos from the movie set
  • Updates from father, Todd, and son, Colton, on recent events including the making-of-the-movie experience
  • “From the Set” Q&A’s with the movie’s filmmakers and actors

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