At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{Product Review} Melt Organic Buttery Spreads (Organic, Non-GMO, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Kosher)

You all, have I found an amazing product for you called Melt!  It is a butter substitute (well, 2 of them) made with a blend of  virgin coconut oil and other non-GMO, organic oils that taste delicious!  You would never know it is not the real deal instead of a buttery spread.  Call it a healthy butter, an organic healthy butter, that is also soy-free, gluten-free, kosher and has an all-purpose version (which is lactose and casein free) and a sweet version (which is dairy-free) to choose from!  Trust me, all, you need to check them out!  You will not be sorry!

Here's some more info:

First up, their original Melt...

Here is what the product looks like:
It is light in color, but has a smooth, creamy, rich texture, just as advertised.

It spread beautifully straight from the fridge, too!  Not too hard, not too soft, just how butter should be in my opinion.

Now, for me, the ultimate melt test for a butter or buttery spread is toast.  If it melts nicely on toast, I'm half-sold, even before I taste it.  How did this product stand up to the toast test?

Melted like a dream!

And the taste?  Just like butter, I promise you!  It was so good I even said, "Wow!"  Seriously!  Even my kiddos enjoyed it!  You know you are doing well when a 3-year-old, 9-year-old and 11-year-old all like something.  And to know that is is GMO and organic and full of good-for-you fat, well, makes you love it all the more!  Totally and A+ in taste, melt factor and consistency.


Next up, Honey Melt...

This is what it looks like:

This one is a little darker, probably due to the honey and cinnamon in it.  Let me just tell you, it smells divine!

It has the same smooth, creamy texture as the original Melt, too.   I got a little eager with my scooping with the knife, hence the reason it is not quite as pretty as the other picture. :)

And how did it do with the toast test?

Again, amazing melting going on there!

And taste?  If you like a sweet, cinnamon-sugar type butter, this is the one for you!  It would be great on pancakes, muffins, toast, etc.  It is definitely delicious!  Did I mention that Honey Melt is also dairy-free?  Yep!  Dairy-free, non-GMO, organic, kosher, gluten-free and soy-free.  Oh, yes, we have a dessert butter winner here, y'all!  Definitely another A+ all around.


I have no doubt that both products can be cooked and baked with as advertised.  I did not get a chance to do so, but if/when I do, you will hear about it on here. :)  Based on consistency, though, I have no doubt they will work wonderfully as a substitute for butter or margarine in any dish.

I know you all are wondering about cost, where to buy it, etc. so here's where you can go to get more info:

Melt's Website

Melt on Facebook

Melt on Twitter

Melt on Pinterest

Melt Online Store

You will be happy to know that Melt costs around $4 per pound (sold online 2 pounds+ at a time) and is becoming more readily available.  I just found out that it will be coming to a local grocery store near me, and got very excited!  It is definitely something I will buy in future!

I also heard they have a new Chocolate version available. *drools*  That will make it to my shopping list, too, very soon I'm sure! :)

Oh, and if you do buy it online, you can expect to have your Melt in about a week.  It is sent pack in Styrofoam with ice packs and paper and should be refrigerated immediately upon opening.   The packaging is great; very secure and professional looking with every precaution made to keep the product cool until it reaches you.


A big thank you to Melt for letting me and my family taste and review your products!
*Any and all opinions are mine without censor and reflect my personal feelings on the product and not that of the person/company who sent them to me. Though I received these samples for free, that fact did not affect my opinion on said product in anyway.* 

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mom's Rivel Soup (Soy, Milk, Fish and Nut-Free)

This is one of those family recipes that my mom gave to me.  It is very rustic, very hardy, contains simple ingredients and is one of those "taste and check" types.  It does have a few steps that might sound scary because you have to go by taste or consistency, but it is pretty hard to mess up and gets easier to do the more you do it.  It also feeds a lot, is soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), milk, fish and nut-free, and tastes good, too.  I hope you like it as much as my family does!

Rivel Soup

For the Broth:
1 to 1 1/2 Cups soy-free bacon fat
(Yes, you read that correctly - that's bacon fat, not bacon.)

10 Cups water

3/4 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the Rivels (rivels are a cross between a noodle and a dumpling):
5 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 Cups soy-free flour

Also needed:
about 6 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
(Russet, yellow, Michigan, red or white potatoes will work.)

  1. In a large stock pot, melt the bacon fat over high heat until just melted, then add water (slowly as not to splash the grease - it can burn you!!), celery seed, onion salt, celery salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.  (Note: Feel free to taste the broth at this point and add more or less of any of the ingredients as needed.  Start with the lesser amount of bacon fat and add more if you feel the broth needs more bacon flavor.  Add more water if the broth is too strongly flavored, but remember that you want it a little stronger than you want the finished soup as you will be adding rivels and potatoes.  Add more celery seed, onion salt, celery salt, and/or pepper as desired.)
  2. After the broth boils, move onto making your rivels.  In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and salt for the rivels until fluffy and then add 1 Cup of flour and mix with a spoon, adding more flour until the the mixture is at a noodle/bread dough consistency (i.e. sticks together and pulls away from the sides, thick, a bit like slime, yet lumpy).
    What rivel dough looks like when it is ready to go.

  3. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of the rivel mixture and cut and carefully (as the grease can burn you if you are not) drop it into the boiling broth and repeat until all the dough is used up, stirring 1/2 way through dropping them in, and then add the potatoes (you can add more or less based on preference) and cook uncovered, stirring off and on, for about 15 minutes or until the rivels and potatoes are cooked through.  (Note: If the rivels are not quite done yet (they are done when they are no longer doughy) but the potatoes are, go ahead and turn the stove off and let the rivels just sit and finish cooking in the broth for a few more minutes.)

This is about the size you want your rivels to be.
That is a very small spoon (think old-fashioned, silver baby spoon), and the rivel doesn't even fill up the whole bowl of it!

Dropping in the rivels
You have to cut/scrape them in because
they don't drop off the spoon because that dough is sticky!!!
Don't worry about dropping the rivels on top of each other when you are dropping them in.  They will separate as they cook.  As you can see, they also get quite large.

At this point your soup is done!  You can enjoy it as is, or add some already cooked and crumbled bacon (assuming you made some ahead of time to get the bacon fat instead of saving up over time) to the top of the individual servings and enjoy it that way.  Either way, it is quite good!

This soup is not for everyone, so you won't hurt my feelings at all if you don't like it.  As I said, it is very rustic and hardy, and if you don't like dumplings, you probably won't like rivels.  I do hope you will try it, though! :)

It kind of has its own charm once it's done, don't you think? :)

What's your favorite soup?

What's your favorite family recipe?

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

I Am A Bad Blogger...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
I feel just awful that I have not been able to blog in a while.  Truly.  I feel like my name is mud, I'm a terrible blogger, I should be ashamed, etc.  I wish I could juggle homeschooling, allergist/doctors appointments, church and family stuff, blogging, writing for the local paper, house keeping, and everything else life has to throw at me with a bit more sparkle and shine and pizzazz, but the truth is, I am not built to handle doing 900 things at once and doing them all well.  I have to prioritize and rearrange schedules and put things aside that I'd love to do but don't have time for.

My priorities will always be: God, family and then everything else.  Unfortunately that means you all get the back burner, at least in appearances.  My blogs, my blogger buddies, my online friends and family are always on my mind.  I am constantly thinking of ways to bless you, I am constantly praying for you, and (even when I am silent or unable to comment) I am visiting you all.  I research when I have a spare moment, plan my next posts, and pray that you all will understand my gap in postings.

I have recipes to post, but no time to get them up just yet.  I have ideas to share, but no time to get those thoughts organized just yet.  I have a product review in the works.  I have life events to share.  I have so much that I will get to...Just not today.  Why?  Because my time right now is being spent being the best mommy and wife that I can be.

Homeschooling is time consuming...if you want to do it right.  My 3 year old needs my attention, too.  My kids have been going to the allergist, my mom has needed my help with retreats, my extended family has come to visit, my oldest turned 11...I am busy being what I've always wanted to be: a full-time, stay-at-home mom of busy kiddos with lots of family/church time.  I love helping my family, I love participating at church, I love all of these things, but they do take time.

There are not enough hours in a day, that is for sure, and sometimes there are not enough hours in a week or even a month!  I wanted you all to know, though, that I am still here for you, and I'm doing my best to get posts in as I can.  I am even hoping to get another one in on Saturday this week (I know!  Shock!), so please, please don't give up on me!

Here is something you can do for me.  If you feel I'm not here enough, rather than drop me or send me a nasty email (no one has done that, but I'm sure some of you may have been tempted), pray that I'll get my schedule nailed down so that I can be here more.  I am working on it, I swear, but my schedule doesn't always play along! LOL :)  I am confident, though, that I will find a rhythm soon enough and you'll be begging me to take a vaca. ;)

Anyway, my dear readers, I am sorry that I have been a bad blogger, but I'm busy being a good mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend...and that's most important to me.  You, too, however, are my friend and if you need me I will make time for you.  That is a promise.  Just shoot me an email, and I will get back to you ASAP.  Know, too, that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily, whether I take the time to let you know that or not.

May you have a wonderful rest of your week!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)