Healthy Cuban-Style Thanksgiving Menu on a Budget

Healthy Cuban-Style Thanksgiving Menu on a Budget #glutenfree

Thanksgiving is almost here and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a healthy Thanksgiving meal for my family. My children and I are Cuban American, and I grew up eating traditional Cuban foods, so I plan on making Thanksgiving a bit more Cuban-ish.

Cuban food is already fairly healthy, it’s just a bit heavy on the starches. I decided to incorporate a lot of pineapple in order to make the meals healthier, while also keeping with the Caribbean flair,

I must admit, my desserts that I’ve listed are not very Cuban. Flans require far too many eggs for me to be comfortable using, and my husband doesn’t like guava. The whole family likes pumpkin and sweet potatoes, though, so I decided to just add desserts with those as the focus.

All of this cost me roughly $30. I managed to keep the prices low because I watched sales and ad matched when I could. I also managed to get my 12lb. turkey for only about $.90lb. I’d say that $30 isn’t bad for a Thanksgiving feast for 4 people. Not to mention, there’s bound to be a few days worth of leftovers, plus bone broth made from the leftover turkey bones.

Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Main Dish

Pavo Relleno con Moros – Cuban Turkey with Black Bean Stuffing (My husband is allergic to beans, so I plan on doing a wild rice stuffing instead. I’ll also probably will not be using bacon, since I don’t have any and I’m too lazy to go buy some.)

Green Beans

Side Dishes

Fried Sweet Plantains (I fry mine in coconut oil.)

Holiday Pineapple Stuffing (I’ll be using gluten-free bread.)

Green Beans (Just lightly steamed with salt and pepper.)

Papas Rellenas – Cuban Potato Balls (I plan on stuffing these with wild rice stuffing. I’ll also be cooking them in coconut oil.)

Avocado and Pineapple Salad

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake Recipe

Desserts 

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake

Sweet Potato Empanadas (Coconut oil in place of olive oil. I’m going to try to make these with gluten-free all purpose flour.)

What do you plan on eating for Thanksgiving? 

Green bean photo courtesy of Pixabay

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake Recipe

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake Recipe

So I had this can of pumpkin that was about to expire…

Okay, so sometimes I forget to rotate around my canned goods. I may be frugal, but I am a little unorganized at times .

I realized I needed to use this can up quickly before it had crossed the point of no return.

I wasn’t in the mood for making pie crusts. I love pumpkin pie, but pie crusts irritate me. I know, I know… they’re pretty easy to make, but I already make all or our bread and rolls and such from scratch, so I kind of want a break from the rolling pin every now and then.

I decided to make a coffee cake with the canned pumpkin. However, this recipe turned out anything but coffee cake. It’s so moist and soft and yummy. Coffee cake is pretty spectacular, but it can get pretty hard and stale pretty quick.

This beauty definitely turned out to be more of a cake. Although, we ate this for breakfast, so now I can tell people that I feed my kids cake for breakfast.

I do not, however, have any issues with feeding my kids cake if it’s as yummy and as good for you as this little treat is.

This cake is gluten free, sugar free (honey sub), egg free, and dairy free.

On to the recipe! (By the way, sorry for the lack of pictures. I really wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was, so I decided not to take any.)

Ingredients – Main Mixture:

1/2 can of pumpkin puree (I used the other half to make pumpkin bread)

2 cups almond flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of Himalayan salt

1/2 cup of raw local honey

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 heaping spoonfuls of coconut oil, softened

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/3 cup of water

Ingredients – Topping: 

4 tablespoons almond flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For your main mixture, combine the honey, water, oil, and pumpkin together. Mix well.

Add the rest of the ingredients for the main mixture.

Spread the main mixture out onto a greased baking dish.

Combine all of the ingredients for the topping and drizzle on top of the main mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

These work great for breakfast, dessert, or even a snack! Enjoy!

Do you have any favorite gluten-free holiday dishes? 

Like This Recipe? 

Looking for more gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas? Check out my recipe for gluten-free sweet potato casserole

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Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

I managed to snag an amazing deal on sweet potatoes the other day. Aldi’s was running a sale on them that made them $.33lb. I managed to purchase 5lbs of sweet potatoes for only $1.65!

Of course, once I got home with all of those sweet potatoes, I had to figure out what I was going to do with all of them…

My family and I try to minimize the amount of gluten in our diets. We’ve been doing it slowly; as much as our budget will allow. This has prompted me to experiment with my own recipes, or recipes I find on Pinterest, and turn them into gluten-free versions.

Some of my creations have been successes, and a few have been disasters (like a potato and wild rice casserole I attempted to make that looked worse than any diaper my children have ever created).

Since I had all of those sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge, begging for me to eat them, I decided to attempt a gluten-free sweet potato casserole that would be fitting for the holidays.

I myself managed to eat about half the pan before I even mentioned to Viking Man that I had made this treat. Once he caught wind of my creation, not even a crumb was left.

No, seriously, this stuff’s goooooood.

Normally I don’t like to brag about things I make, but this stuff will literally knock your socks off, or make you wana slap ‘yo mama, or any number of things that causes you to use improper grammar.

By the way, this recipe is gluten free, egg free, and dairy free!

So without further ado, here’s my delicious sweet potato casserole.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole Crust

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Pecans, chopped

1/3 cup Brown Rice Flour

1/3 cup Coconut Oil

Dash Himalayan Salt

mashed sweet potatoes

Potato Mixture:

3 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled/boiled/mashed

1/3 cup Unrefined White Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Flax Eggs (learn how to make flax eggs here)

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Dash Himalayan Salt

1/2 cup Coconut Oil

2 tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

The potato mixture spread.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep the flax eggs and set aside in the fridge (as instructed here).

Combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the potato mixture. Don’t forget the flax eggs!

Grease a baking dish and spread the potato mixture across it.

Ready to be baked!

Sprinkle the crust mixture on top of the potato mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is a golden brown.

Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

This works great as a side dish to your Thanksgiving meal, or even as breakfast with a side of sausage.

Fresh out of the oven!

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite gluten-free holiday dishes? 

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Herbal Infusions vs. Supplements – Which is More Cost-Effective?

Herbal Infusions vs. Supplements: Which is More Cost-Effective?

In my previous article, I wrote about how I rely on herbal infusions for whole-body wellness instead of supplements. Some people mentioned that they’re not able to wildcraft all of the herbs that I mentioned in the article and didn’t think herbal infusions would be cost-effective in comparison to just using supplements. I decided to use this post to break down the costs and do a comparison of herbs vs. supplements.

Hope this helps some of you!

How Much Do Supplements Cost?

Let’s take a look at some of the popular supplements out there…

Nature’s Plus Source of Life Prenatal Vitamin – This is actually one that I promote if you are wanting a vitamin and not herbal infusions. It is plant based, free from artificial colors, preservatives, yeast, wheat, soy, and milk. A 90 count bottle will last you for 45 days. The cheapest place I have found this supplement is at Vitacost for $18.11.

Not a bad price at all, but that is only at Vitacost that I have seen that price. At my local health food store, this product costs over $20.

The downside to these prenatals is that they are specifically formulated for women during their childbearing years. It isn’t designed for children, men, or menopausal women. However, herbal infusions can be used by the entire family – you can also alternate which herbs you use to accommodate your family’s needs.

Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil – This brand of cod liver oil is the one that I see promoted the most by health bloggers. From what I can tell, it appears to be a very high-quality brand of fermented cod liver oil, but it is costly.

Most people take fermented cod liver oil for the Omega 3’s and 6’s. While fermented cod liver oil is an excellent source for those, it certainly isn’t the only source. I get my Omega 3’s and 6’s from fatty-acid rich superfoods and herbs like purslane. Another reason people take fermented cod liver oil is for the high vitamin D content found in it. While this is certainly a bonus, especially for those who live in locations with fewer sunny days, it isn’t entirely necessary. Vitamin D can be obtained from fresh livers, sunlight, nettles, alfalfa, fatty fish, certain wild mushrooms, and dairy. All of these foods can simply be added to your grocery budget and the need for supplementation be eliminated.

For roughly a 30 day capsule supply of this brand of cod liver oil, you would spend around $29.95 on up.
I understand the benefits of fermented cod liver oil and am not trying to downplay those benefits, but I do feel that if people want to embark on a healthy life while on a tight budget, high-quality fermented cod liver oil might not be within their budget.

Probiotics – The majority of people who are health-conscious take probiotics. I choose to get my probiotics from foods, such as raw dairy and fermented foods (the costs of these foods are included in my monthly food budget, which is only $200 for my family of 4).

A popular brand of probiotics is Bio-Kult. You can purchase on Amazon (but I don’t recommend purchasing supplements from Amazon) a 2 month supply of these for $41.94. From what I have read, the Bio-Kult capsules can be opened and given to children, but I haven’t tried this myself.

The brand that I have used in the past and have liked was Nutrition Now PB8. You can purchase a 2 month supply of this brand for $8.79 on Vitacost (again, the cheapest place I have found them at)

How Much Do Herbal Infusions Cost?

(These prices are from Mountain Rose Herbs)

Nettle Leaf– 8oz for $6.25 ($11lb)

Red Raspberry Leaf – 8oz for $5.25 ($9lb)

Rose Hips – 4oz for $3 ($9.50lb)

Oatstraw – 4oz for $3 ($9.50lb)

Comfrey – 4oz for $3.50 ($10.50lb)

Mullein – 4oz for $3.50 ($10.50lb)

Yellow Dock – 4oz for $3.50 ($11lb)

Red Clover Leaf – 4oz for $3.50 ($11lb)

If you were to use these monthly the way I do, you would need: 1 oz rose hips, 1 oz mullein, 1 oz comfrey, 1 oz red clover, 4 oz oatstraw, 4 oz yellow dock, 8 oz red raspberry leaf, and 8oz nettle.

If you were to purchase enough herbs from Mountain Rose to do my method of infusions, you would spend $31.50. Plus, you would have leftovers. The upside with Mountain Rose Herbs is that if you purchase in bulk (by the pound), you actually save money in the long run. If you choose to purchase enough for a two month supply, or enough for two people, you would spend $47.25.

So Why Infusions?

Clearly there isn’t a massive price variance between infusions and supplements, but the costs of infusions can easily be lowered through wild foraging and growing your own. So why am I so adamant about using infusions over supplements? Infusions provide you with the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals attributed to the particular plant infused. Infusions present vitamins and minerals in their absolute most natural form, which is easily absorbed by the body. Supplements are often filled with synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals, which are difficult for out bodies to absorb. Supplements also contain fillers (such as binding agents, flavoring agents, etc.) that detach from the benefits of the supplement. Also, if you eat a well rounded diet that is rich in wild foods and superfoods, as well as live a healthy lifestyle and get plenty of sun, you will likely get all of the vitamins and minerals you need in their whole and pure form.

While I certainly don’t see supplements as evil, I don’t feel that they serve a huge benefit to those who are already working with plant allies and wild foods to heal and nourish their bodies. Supplements are excellent for those who are having a difficult time obtaining certain foods and herbs, but they really shouldn’t be relied upon for long term usage.

Herbal infusions are one of the best ways to obtain a wide array of vitamins and minerals in their most natural state. Infusions also provide all of the vitamins together, so that they can work in unison and be easily absorbed by the body. Our bodies have a difficult time absorbing synthetic vitamins. It is also incredibly difficult for our bodies to absorb vitamins in a singular fashion (such as vitamin D capsules, vitamin A capsules, etc.). We are designed to consume vitamins and minerals in their most naturals forms and along with other vitamins in order to aid our bodies in easily absorbing them. Without other vitamins acting alongside the vitamin we are trying to get more of, our bodies simply will not absorb the vitamin properly. This is the basic notion behind a whole foods diet.

While supplements can be quite handy in times of need, they are certainly not always necessary. I have relied on supplements when times have been tough, but they have never been a part of my regular wellness routine. As always, consult with your primary health care professional before making a choice as to whether infusions are right for you. Also, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. It is your body, after all. Take charge and be healthy!

What’s your opinion on infusions vs. supplements? 

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How You Can Support This Blog

I don’t blog to make money. While I make a little bit of money from sponsors and such, making money off of this blog has never been a driving factor behind this blog’s creation. My intentions with this blog is to provide my readers with a safe place to come to in relation to all things home and hearth and goddess. If I ever do advertise a product on my blog, it will only be a product that I have tested and that I love.

If you’re interested in helping me and my family out, check out the links below to discover some of the ways you can help:

Amazon Wish List

Some of my readers have been able to support my family and I through the A Team’s Amazon wish list that I keep active, and I thank them so very much for that.

The things on this list are only things that the kids need or want. Most of the items are things that they’ll use throughout homeschooling, such as books and supplies. Any little bit of help in getting the things they need for school helps me make awesome homeschooling posts later. 😉

 

Primordial Willow Doula

I own and operate an organic herbal apothecary on Etsy. We specialize in organic, handcrafted herbal goodies for medicinal and magical uses.

Some of the products we carry in our store include herbal massage oils, herbal stuffed dream & sleep pillows, herbal tea blends, herbal body scrubs, tinctures, salves, and much more.

P.S., if you’re in the Northwest Arkansas area, I’m also a doula under the same business name.

You can find Primordial Willow Doula here.

HubPages 

I have been a writer on HubPages for several years now. This site is one of the many that helped me get my toes wet in the world of online freelance writing.

At HubPages, I write articles and receive a commission every month based off of how many views I received, comments, likes, shares, items purchased from the ads on my articles, and more.

HubPages is a very easy way to help support my family and I. All you have to do is check out some of my articles. You can find the link to my HubPages site here.

P.S. My pen name is Daniella Lopez on Hubpages.


PayPal 

One way that you can help us out is through donation. My PayPal account is danienewcomb (at) gmail (dot) com. Please be sure to mark it as a gift and let me know that you are a blog follower! ❤



constant content 

Like HubPages, this is another site that I have been writing at for some time now. Unlike HubPages, this is not a site that I receive revenue based on clicks and likes. This is a site that you can purchase whole articles that I have written. If you run a blog, website, or magazine, this is a useful way to find articles without having to write them yourself.

My article prices are typically $50 for you to have full rights to the article. Prices vary for smaller uses.

You can find my page on constant content here.


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for taking the time to read this and for any contributions you might be able give. Thank you for all your support, readership, comments, and everything else that you do to help make this blog function. Thank you!




If there’s any way my family and I can possibly help you with some of the skills that we have, please feel free to message me at danienewcomb at gmail dot com

My Children’s Bookshelf

Big A is 2 1/2 years old and Little a is 16 months old. These are some of there absolute favorite books:

 

  • Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book, by Muriel Feelings & Tom Feelings
  • Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby, by Patricia Maclachlan & Elizabeth Zunon
  • Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott
  • Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest, by Gerald McDermott
  • Arrow in the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale, by Gerald McDermott
  • Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey 
  • Curious George, by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
  • Curious George Gets a Medal, by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
  • The Dandelion’s Tale, by Kevin Sheehan and Rob Dunlavey
  • Horton Hears a Who!, by Dr. Seuss
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!, by Dr. Seuss
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, by Dr. Seuss
  • There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! Book of Ridiculous Rhymes, by Dr. Seuss
  • The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss’s Wacky Book of Opposites, by Dr. Seuss
  • The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss
  • The Tooth Book, by Dr. Seuss
  • Go, Dog. Go!, by Dr. Seuss
  • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, by Dr. Seuss
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, by Dr. Seuss
  • Daisy-Head Mayzie, by Dr. Seuss
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
  • Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

10 Reason For Why I Adore My Husband

10 Reasons for Why I Adore My Husband

Things have been really rocky for me that last few months. Since losing Baby Arthur, I just haven’t been myself. Lately I’ve been absorbed with work, I’ve been doing the bare minimum to maintain myself and the house, but worst of all, I’ve been avoiding my husband.

In some ways, I’ve felt like a failure for the miscarriage, and I’ve felt like that’s what Viking Man would view me as. Deep down, I know better than to think that way, but as emotions and hormones swell, those are the thoughts that have been coming to mind.

Recently, Viking Man and I got into a huge argument. We never get into arguments, so this was a really big deal. During the argument, I mentioned that I was acting the way I had been because of the baby. His response was, “You lost a baby, I lost a baby and a wife.”. Wow…Talk about hit me like a brick wall. His words seemed so harsh, but they were the wake-up call I needed.

I had been so selfish; thinking of only how I had been feeling after the miscarriage. I had completely skimmed over the fact that he also lost a baby. And he was right, he was slowly losing his wife, too. Since that conversation, I’ve been working on getting out of my rut. I need to heal, I need to move on with my life, and I need to understand what my husband has been feeling.

Things have been much better this week. I’m feeling motivated, confident in myself again, and Viking Man and I are hugging, talking, and loving again. There have been lots and lots of tears shed, but as each tear falls, the wounds slowly begin to heal.

While thinking about all of the healing that’s been going on this week, I began thinking about the many ways that I love and adore my husband. He really is my rock, my solid place, my foundation. He’s been the only one that has been consistently here for me through everything. I love him so. I decided to write down all of the ways that I love and adore him. These are the 10 reasons I came up with for why I adore my husband:

His Paternal Love: I always knew he would be a good father; I just had that vibe about him. That vibe is probably part of the reason why I chose to marry him. From the moment Big A was born, I immediately saw my husband transform. He grew up. He wasn’t the wild and crazy hooligan I first fell in-love with; he became more. We both grew up when we had Big A, and we grew up together. Ever since, he has been a loving and caring father.

He’s the kind of dad that makes sure to not put bananas in Big A’s oatmeal (because he doesn’t like bananas in his oatmeal), but he puts extra in Little a’s, because he knows she likes them like that. He’s the kind of dad that sneaks candy to the kids when I’m not looking. He’s also the kind of dad that I find singing Little a to sleep sometimes when he thinks I’m not nearby to hear him.

His Support of My Career: Viking Man has always been extremely supportive of my passions and my career, even when I haven’t been so kind to myself. There have been numerous times that I have doubted my writing capabilities and wanted to give up, but he has always urged me on. He is always there to silence anyone who tries to say that a freelance writer isn’t a real career. In fact, he tends to go into full detail about how I manage to pay the bills with my “not real career”.

His Spirituality: My husband is a very spiritual man. He has been a practicing shaman for years. When I first met him, I was instantly drawn to his spiritual side. I loved the fact that he meditated regularly and worked closely with the spirits. I was Pagan-curious at the time, so being near him really helped me to open up and explore the craft.

His Hair: I LOVE my husband’s hair. It’s soft, wavy, and always has that “let’s roll around in the hay” look to it. Whenever I feel low, I can usually just cradle his head, inhale the sweet scent of peppermint from his shampoo, and I instantly feel better.

His Awkwardness: My husband is really awkward in his body. I know, that sounds terrible of me! but it’s true, and I love it about him. He always moves as if he’s planning the journey as he goes and really has no idea what his next move will be. He also gets easily distracted. While all of these things frustrate me to no end most days, I also find them very enduring, and very adorable.

His Sense of Self: Viking Man is who he is and he doesn’t really care what others think about him, except for me and maybe his mom – he seems to care what we think – which is pretty adorable.

His Bug Skills: I’m scared to death of pretty much any kind of bug. I can squeal, and my husband knows my “bug squeal”, and he’ll immediately leap to my rescue to come save me from some man-eating ladybug I have discovered in the laundry room.

His Family: My husband really has an awesome family, and now, they’re my family, too. I absolutely adore his grandmother and mother. Honestly, I was actually kind of jealous of him the first time I met them. I wanted to know how a kid could grow up with such an awesome family and turn out to be such a butt head. But then I realized that, despite him being a butt head, he really does have all of the wonderful qualities that his mother and grandmother both posses.

His Eagerness: I’m the type of person who gets bored rather easily. For example, at random, I will sometimes completely rearrange the entire house, even to the point that the bedrooms have been reassigned. My husband is pretty much always eager to jump onto my latest random thing. He’ll help me if he can, or sometimes he’ll tell me that it’s a crazy idea while he’s simultaneously helping me do it. I know my randomness drives him crazy most of the time, but I think he secretly enjoys it.

His Love: Viking Man is the type of person that, no matter what you do, if he loves you, he’ll always love you. He has unconditional love down to an art. I love that about him. I’m the type of person who can hold a grudge, bad. He doesn’t, or at least, not in the same way I do. He promised to love me forever, and no matter how many ups and downs we’ve been through, I’ve never felt like he’s questioned that original promise.

I’m not sure if Viking Man will read any of this, because I honestly have no idea if he reads this little ‘ole blog of mine. But if he does read this, I hope that he gets a little chuckle from all of this. I also hope that he sees just how precious he is to me.

So tell me, what are some things that you adore about your partner?