October Ipsy Review

October 28th, 2014

OctoberIpsy

I feel like I’m doing a marathon of Ipsy reviews lately to catch up on what has been a very fun experiment. My daughter and I started our Ipsy subscription in August.  She’s a super girly girl, and I thought for $10 a month it was an easy way to have a little bit of fun with new make up every month.  We really look forward to our Ipsy Glam bag. If you’re curious about what we got in previous months you can check here and here.

If you’ve never heard of Ipsy they are a monthly subscription. For $10 a month, they send you a beauty bag designed to your needs. You fill out a questionnaire and they send you items that best suit you each month.  I requested items for my daughter and I that matched our complexion, and requested more natural items when they are available.

First off, I have to say of all the bags…this teal bag is my absolute favorite.  We went out of town last weekend, and I packed all my little travel bits in it. I love the teal blue. The contents of the bag I was again pretty pleased with.  I’m alway glad to get a new finger nail polish, and pretty much got things I would use.  Even the lipstick…which I almost never wear lipstick I would consider using.  So here’s the run down.

butter

The Ayres Patagonia Body Butter was a great inclusion for us.  It’s a trial size, so compared to the item I linked it’s probably about $9 worth of cream. I love having little trial sizes, because when I went out of town I brought it with me. The smell is nice, not too over powering. It’s probably one of the more natural items of the month…here’s it’s description from Amazon:

Enriched with plant emollients, herbal extracts and vitamins, this ultra rich creamy body butter provides relief from dry, rough skin. Vitamin E natural antioxidant provides protection to your skin while shea nut butter gives long-lasting hydration. Just drift away on a cool breeze of delicate jasmine and aromatic rosemary blended with lavender, bergamot, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, patchouli and fir. Inspired by Patagonia’s snow-capped mountains and blue lagoons, this fresh scent inspires a soothing sense of calm.

I’m not sure if I’ll be buying this again, but I’m definitely enjoying it for now.

indielee

Next is the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, which boasts being an all natural product. It has a light fragrance that reminds me of the grape flavored tooth paste I used as a kid. It says on the label to use a tiny dot…and it’s true, a little goes a long way.  I’m actually really enjoying this cleanser, even with it’s weird grapey fragrance. It’s not cheap stuff, so I’d guess the little bottle they send me is about $8 worth of their product.

nicolepolish

The nail polish I received by Nicole Opi was a pretty gold color, named On a Gilt Trip.  It was not the type of polish I try to get, I tend to get Zoya and now thanks to last month’s bag, Pacifca’s nail polish. I actually haven’t used this nail polish yet.  Gold glitter doesn’t seem to be my thing, so I may end up giving it to a friend.  It’s value is about $5.

noyahlipstick

The lipstick…oh this lipstick.  I’m not usually a fan of lipstick.  Maybe I’m weird, but I think it tastes weird. I didn’t have this problem with Noyah’s lipstick sample. The sample is about half the size of the one for sale, hard to think it’s an $18 lipstick, but I liked it. No weird taste, and I actually really liked the color they chose for me to use.  This also claims to be a natural product. I think the overall value of this is about $9.

eyeliner

 

Last but not least is Skone’s waterproof liquid eyeliner. I don’t use liquid eyeliner ever often, but this is here just in time for Halloween for us.  As you can see, I haven’t opened it yet, so I can’t attest for how great it is, but if you ask me next week I can tell you. It’s valued at $15.

This being my third bag, I have to say overall I’m pleased with the diversity of stuff I’ve received. They are trying to stick me with as natural products as they can, but I’m thinking they could do a bit better in this category. The overall value of the items received in this bag was less than last month but still totaled around $40, so definitely worth your $10 monthly investment. We will be keeping our subscription for now, and are looking forward to our November bag!

Important Note: I am not being paid for this post, nor was I approached by Ipsy to do this review.  I purchased this bag, and reviewed it all on my own. I think this service would be great for fashion minded ladies who’d like to try new items but don’t necessarily have the time to go out and find them on their own. If you sign up for Ipsy with one of the links I provided in the post, or by clicking here I receive a credit that enables me to get more freebies. You can earn credits too once you sign up. :)

Beanless Paleo Chili

October 24th, 2014

ChiliBanner

 

So as you probably know, I have a two month old baby and right now our world pretty much revolves around him. I have learned just how productive I can be when he naps!  Getting a healthy meal out to our family can be a difficult task if I don’t plan ahead. I have to chose meals that will forgive me for stepping away, and chili is one of them.  This recipe can easily be adapted for a slow cooker too, but our family has found it’s yummier cooked traditionally.  This recipe is bare bones chili recipe…one I hope you’ll add your own flare to.  My kids prefer a mild chili, so this recipe is definitely a kid pleaser.

Here’s what you need:

* 2lbs of ground beef

* 1 onion

* green or red pepper (I usually prefer green peppers)

* 1 quart of stewed tomatoes or a 16 oz. can of stewed tomatoes

chilipot

Seasoning:

* 1 tbs. chili powder

* 1/2 tsp garlic powder

* 1/4 tsp onion powder

* 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

* 1/4 tsp dried oregano

* 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

* 1 1/2 tsp cumin

* 1 tsp Ancho Chili Powder

* salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Brown the meat in a sauce pan, while it’s browning slice up your onion and pepper.

2. Once the meat has browned, toss in your sliced veggies, and your can/jar of tomatoes.  Juices and all.

3. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer covered for 2-4 hours, check occasionally to stir.

4.  If you’re using a crock pot, add a cup of stock or water to the mix and set on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5. The last 30 minutes or so, remove the lid from the crock pot to let any extra juices boil down.

5. Serve with a healthy serving of guacamole and garnish with some cilantro.  Enjoy!

 

 

Fiddlebumps – A Review and Giveaway

October 17th, 2014

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You all know I just had a baby, and this Nearly Natural Momma wants to use the most natural products that I can…just so long as they work. I’m not talking about bathing my kid in sunshine and roses because Ermagerd Kemikals! However, I am cautious about what I want to put on my children’s skin, specially my littlest love. I’m always skeptical when it comes to alternative products because lots of times they just don’t work, or they have adverse reactions to fragile skin.  I will never forget the look my newborn baby gave me when I applied California Baby diaper cream on his poor little hiney.  It burned… the tears of betrayal flowed down his sweet face, and into the trash bin it went. After that experience it was hard for me to trust the alternative cream on his sensitive tush.   We had been using conventional grocery store cream on his hiney until Holly from Fiddlebump’s sent me her Tiny Hiney cream along with her Healing Salve to try out.

The Tiny Hiney Cream is a gentle alternative to conventional store bought cream.  Holly makes them herself in small batches from completely natural ingredients. They contain no petroleum, no paragons, no preservatives or anything synthetic. The healing salve is a gentle natural way to help your kids scrapes and scratches heal with out resorting to antibiotic ointments or other conventional creams that may sting the already painful spot.  It contains essential oils known to be antiseptics, such as Tea Tree, Lavender, and Shea Butter which helps improve skin elasticity, and aids in reducing scars. Together the oil blends provides anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

 
fiddlebumps banner ad

 

Both products have a gentle smooth feel and a faint fragrance.  It’s easy to tell right away it’s the oils, not a fake fragrance you’re smelling. The Tiny Hiney goes on smooth, and protects his little bum from any moisture that may be in his diaper. It does all this with out the nasty chemicals, and most of all it does it with out tears unlike the other diaper cream I tried. She has so many different products she sells for baby’s, first aid, cleaning products, bath and body products….if you’ve been looking for natural products this is a company you should definitely check out. Click here to check out her products.

For an added bit of fun, Holly has agreed to host a fun giveaway to introduce one of my readers to her products.  Check out the rafflecopter below to enter!

 

healinggiveaway

 

Ways to Enter the Giveaway:

1.  Click here and check out Fiddlebump’s products. Leave a comment below telling me which product you’d like to try.

2. Follow Fiddlebumps and me, Nearly Natural Momma on Facebook.  Links are provided in the Rafflecopter below.

3. Subscribe to our newsletters!  Links are provided in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules: A winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.com. We will announce the lucky winner on Sunday, October 26, 2014. Once contacted, the lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name, address, and phone number. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone except where prohibited by law!

Ipsy Review — September

October 15th, 2014

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Last week I posted my first Ipsy Review which wasn’t rated too highly.  I definitely received my money’s worth of stuff, but it wasn’t things that I thought I’d use. This month was way different.  I was actually really delighted with this bag.

If you’ve never heard of Ipsy they are a monthly subscription. For $10 a month, they send you a beauty bag designed to your needs. You fill out a questionnaire and they send you items that best suit you each month.  I requested items for my daughter and I that matched our complexion, and requested more natural items when they are available.

septemberbag

 

1.  First thing I used from the box was the Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish.  The color was gorgeous, and probably not one I would have picked out on my own.  I absolutely loved it though, and I loved that they chose the greener option for me. This polish was valued at $9.

2.  Next up is Be a Bombshell Smooth Criminal Powder. I told you last time I was a make up noob.  I need a make up brush! I haven’t used this yet. Hopefully Ipsy will send me a brush soon, or I’ll have to get out and get one. I’m looking forward to using this powder though, it’s valued at $12.

3.  The Cailyn Art Touch Lip Gloss I tried right away as well.  I liked the color choice for me, and I’ll be hanging onto it for special occasions. I don’t wear lip color often, so I’ll hang onto it for my husband’s company Christmas Party or some other fancy event. The lip gloss was valued at $19.

4. I told you I really scored with this one. Next I got a Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand cream. Click that link I gave you. Just click it.  It’s valued at $34 whopping bucks, and that’s the one they sent me.  I’d never spend $34 on a hand cream, specially one that tiny, but I’d gladly spend $10 to get it. This hand cream has a nice gentle fragrance, and fake cheap smelling fragrances make me nauseous. This one is pleasant, and I love the way it make my skin feel.  I’ll be sad when this one runs out…because unless I win the lottery, I’m not buying any more.

5. Last but not least is (ok, maybe it is the least?) is Avon’s Big and Daring Volume Mascara. Amazon there has it for $4.99, but it looks like Avon sells it for $9.00.  Either way, I’m glad I have it because I do where mascara just about every day. I was really running low on my old one, so I got this just in time. It’s not a green mascara, which would have been my optimal choice, but it’s ok, I’ll take it.

All and all, and maybe I’m wrong, but this bag was worth around $70?! Really? Once you get your bag, you can go back to Ipsy’s website and review your items and check out any discounts you can get on similar products. The deals are pretty good, and I was super happy with this bag, unlike last time. I’m expecting my October bag any day now, and I’ll put up a review for it too, and my final decision as to whether or not I’ll be continuing Ipsy. If the bag is more like September’s bag, then most definitely.

Important Note: I am not being paid for this post, nor was I approached by Ipsy to do this review.  I purchased this bag, and reviewed it all on my own. I think this service would be great for fashion minded ladies who’d like to try new items but don’t necessarily have the time to go out and find them on their own. If you sign up for Ipsy with one of the links I provided in the post, or by clicking here I receive a credit that enables me to get more freebies. You can earn credits too once you sign up. :)

Fall Tomato Soup

October 13th, 2014

Falltomatosoup

 

This past week we had one of our coolest nights this fall, the temperature in PA dropped to 35 degrees overnight.  We got plenty of warning, so I had to go in the garden and collect any and all tomatoes that were still on the vine. I had so many in various stages of ripeness, and boy were they ugly and split from last weekend’s heavy rains. Instead of canning them again, I decided to make some tomato soup. For the soup, I used all but the completely green ones.

uglytomato

 

I took the ones that were not so ripe, and roasted them in the oven at about 425 for about an hour. This step is completely optional, but it adds flavor.  Drizzle them in olive oil, and sprinkle some garlic powder and let those puppies roast.  While they’re roasting, chop up 3 carrots, 3 celery shoots, 1 tbsp of fresh basil and 1 onion.  Start sautéing them in a stock pot.

choppedvegs

 

Once the onions start to turn translucent, pour in 3 cups of a stock of your choice.  I used chicken stock.   Then I threw in all my tomatoes, both the roasted ones and the raw ones. Since it’s fall and I had it laying around I used 1 cup of pureed squash (pumpkin would work beautifully here, too!). I let everything simmer covered for about 2 hours.  That’s the beauty of soup, I got distracted with my two month old son, and homeschooling my other two kids that it was ok to leave my soup going unsupervised for a couple hours on low on my stove top.

Once I was able to get my youngest down for a nap a few hours later, I was able to do the next step. If you’re lucky enough to have an immersion blender, use it to blend your soup to the a constancy you like.  I had to use an old fashioned blender.  It works just as well, but I did let my soup cool a bit before tossing it in.

blend

 

After I blended it, I stuck it back in the stock pot and set it to warm on my stove top.  It bubbled there the rest of the day until everyone was ready for dinner.  That last step is completely optional.  The soup was done once I blended it, and could have easily been served at that point, or hours later.  That again, is the absolute beauty of soup.  Flexible, easy meal, specially when you’re juggling running a household while trying to give your family a fantastic healthy meal. Here’s a recap of the ingredients you’ll need to make this soup.

* 8-10 tomatoes -or- 16 oz can of whole tomatoes

* 3 carrots

* 3 celery stalks

*  1 tbsp fresh basil

*  cups of chicken stock (or vegetable if going veg)

*  4 garlic cloves

*  1 cup mashed squash (or pumpkin)

 

soup

 

 

The Grain Free Snacker — A Book Review

October 10th, 2014

grainfreecollage

 

The other day I was given the opportunity to review The Grain Free Snacker by Carol Lovett, and for almost completely selfish reasons I jumped on it.  Being on a grain free diet can be rough, specially when you’re first starting out and you just want to eat ALL THE THINGS. Then there are the kids. For kids snacks are a way of life.  This book very beautifully, and uniquely helps you get over the snacking bump with healthy recipes that won’t bust your gut.

 

Like the title says, all the recipes in this book are grain free.  For sweeteners, Carol uses coconut palm sugar, honey and maple syrup. Her recipes turn to 3 paleo friendly flours: almond flour, coconut flower, and arrowroot flour. I learned about new things I’ve never heard of like, what is aioli and how to make it.  She pushes us to try new things like sardine pate. Sounds gross?  She’ll win you over, I haven’t tried it yet but I’m willing to!

This book is so full of delicious looking food. I must have stopped to grab something to eat two or three times while reading it and then again while writing this review. There are some kid friendly choices, such as chicken fingers, pizza pockets, and chocolate chip cookies. Then there are gummy bears, gummy worms, and ice cream.  How does lemon meringue ice cream sound?  Hungry yet? What about entertaining foods, like melon and prosciutto, maple balsamic meatballs, crackers, and dips? Oh, and I think I can just stop this review at coffee cake muffins with raspberry filling.  Now I’m hungry….again.

The-Grain-Free-Snacker-Poster-1-3-made-smaller

I’m so glad to have this book in my paleo friendly cook book arsenal.  Specially now that I’m working hard to lose this last bit of baby weight. It’s hard when my family is eating the good stuff, while I munch on salad… again.  With this book, I now have the tools to make delicious snacks to share with everyone and I don’t have to feel like I’m missing out on the “good stuff.”

This book is a regularly $24.95, but starting today and until October 13th it is 75% off!  Now is the time, grab it quick before you have to pay full price again.  If you’re interested, click here to visit Ditch The Wheat.

Our Birth Story

October 8th, 2014

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Well folks, our birth story now feels like it is a long time coming, if by long time I mean almost two months.  I’ve been writing it on and off since my boy was born.  I’m going to warn you now, this post will be long…and it’s not like most I’m used to writing. So here goes…seven weeks ago I was 41 weeks pregnant.  Look at that face. Just look at it. I was so so tired of being pregnant.

 

41 weeks...does my face tell you how tired I was of being pregnant?

 

That photo was taken two days before my induction, I felt like a whale. My body just doesn’t go into labor on it’s own.  Three pregnancies and I just can’t get that ball rolling on it’s own. Walking, sex, spicy food, pineapple…none of it mattered. I pre labored for over a month with contractions, and braxton hicks.  It only exhausted me, and never got things moving. My doctor suggested that I get induced a week after I was due, and the day couldn’t have come soon enough.  Little man made it just to 42 weeks, just like his big sister.

This induction was different from both of the two I had before, and truly third time is a charm.  This time they used a foley catheter. I have to admit, the catheter thing was a bit frightening.  I liked that it helped my body prepare for labor more naturally instead of using synthetic hormone cervical creams. I tried googling for birth stories with the catheter, and couldn’t find much which inspired me to write this.

My appointment was Thursday evening to have my catheter inserted so it could do it’s job overnight. They took us in about 8:30pm, and by 10:00pm they had finally started putting in the catheter. This process wasn’t painful, just maybe slightly uncomfortable.  Almost like an extensive pelvic exam. The nurses told me the catheter will fall out once I reached 4 cm, and I was starting at almost 1cm. I was able to get up and pee while it was in, which I must have done at least 4-5 or a hundred times. I started cramping shortly after it was inserted, and this cramping gradually became more intense.  An hour after it was put in, I was pretty sure my water broke but I realized later when my water really broke that it hadn’t at that point.  It was likely water from the catheter leaking out. About 1:00 a.m. just as I felt like I was reaching my pain limit, it fell out on my hundredth a trip to the bathroom. What a relief that was for it to be out. My nurse then decided to put me on a low dose of pitocin just to keep things going.

Labor takes a long time, yet it seems to fly by at the same time.  Two seconds hours later I was asking for an epidural. The pain hadn’t gotten unmanageable yet, but I knew what was coming.  I had not had great experiences with epidurals in the past, so I was really hoping this one would take (my second delivery was with NO pain meds…ouch!).  A pair of anesthesiologists came in, one was a recent grad and was being trained by the other.  The trainee was the one doing my epidural that evening, so nerve wracking.  Last thing I wanted to hear was the other one say, “No, you’re doing it wrong, you really didn’t want to do it that way.” Really guys?! She did a good job though, and it was about as painless as it could be. It really was the perfect strength too.  Not too strong that I couldn’t feel anything, but strong enough it took the edge off.

After that, I slept for a few hours.  The nurse at one point came in to shift me, my little boy didn’t like it when I laid on my left side. Unfortunately when I shifted to my right side, the epidural stopped working on the left side.  It was so weird to be completely comfortable on one side, and feeling every contraction fully on the left.They came and increased my epidural dose, which gave me relief for a couple hours…just in time to get to work.

My water broke with a very noticeable pop around 6:00 in the morning. I was grateful it happened on it’s own because my OB was going to break it for me around 7 if it hadn’t. The contractions were still very intense on my left side, but all was progressing smoothly. It all seems like a blur from that moment to when I was finally 10 cm and we were ready to go.  I was ready to go about 9:30 that morning, and by 10:00am we had our boy in my arms. He was 20 inches, and weighed 8 pounds, 5 oz.  My smallest baby of my three.

meandbabe

 

His first breath was followed by him completely protesting life and his new surroundings.  He cried so hard, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear those healthy lungs go. He latched on right away, and the next two hours were glorious and peaceful.  We laid in the delivery room just in awe of this little man we brought into this world.

hubs

 

 

littleman

 

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Maybe because this was my third delivery, or maybe because I’m lucky we had absolutely no complications with this birth. I had no tearing, no extra bleeding.  I was walking in just a few hours from having him.  We even went home the very next day.  Bliss..

Ipsy Review – August

October 6th, 2014

AugustReview

In August just before I had my baby, I was facebooking late one night and stumbled across an advertisement for Ipsy.  I’m not big on make up, but my daughter and I enjoy having make over nights. I knew once little man arrived I would have less time to spend with her having our fun make over nights, so I thought this might be a fun monthly treat to make up for the lack of time I’d have for a while.

Ipsy is a monthly beauty box, or..bag I should say. For $10 you get samples according to your preference.  You fill out a beauty questionnaire, and they send you items that best suits your needs.  I requested items to match our complexion, and more natural items when they were available.

Augustbag

 

When I got the August bag, I was delighted in it’s pink packaging.  My daughter and I felt like it was unwrapping a present. We had no idea what would be in the bag, and I think that’s the funnest part.  We opened it up, and had some fun.  The eye shadow, and the eye pencil were our absolute favorite.  They label this bag as being worth $40, here’s my findings.

1. Coastal Scents Shadow Pallete Sample was the first item we pulled out.  My daughter was delighted, but I was a little disappointed.  The colors were too bright for me, and after a quick search I found these are not high end shadows.  These 4 are typically given as free samples, with perhaps a value of $2. This was the closest comparison I could find.

2. Mongongo Nutrient Dense Lip Balm was a win for me.  Valued between $5 and $6 dollars depending on the retailer, it wasn’t necessarily a score, but when the cold weather comes I become addicted to lip balm.  This organic lip balm was a happy score.

3. Klorane Dry Shampoo was a confusing addition.  I sprayed my daughter was she walked by tried it on my daughter’s hair and it left her hair looking weirdly white until I brushed it out.  After I brushed through it, I didn’t really see a difference. I’m not sure how or when I’d use it, and I’d definitely be open to suggestions.  We’re going camping in a few weeks…maybe it will come with us. It retails between $17-$25 for the size spray we got.

4. Manna Kasar Sheer Glo will eventually be a fun edition if I could actually get some foundation.  I think..just maybe you’re supposed to mix this with your foundation.  Told you I was a make up newb. My daughter and I used this as blush when we had our make up night, and the price online is jaw dropping.  The small sample I got is half the size I linked up there. A $14 value.

5. Urban Decay Eye Pencil was also one of our favorites. The pencil retails for $20, and they sent us a lovely purple one…they called it plushie. Sadly now I wish I had mascara to match it.

 

Once you get the items they ship to you, you can go back to ipsy’s website and rate them to earn credits.  There are also special deals if you want to purchase more of what you have.  Overall their August bag wasn’t overly impressive to me. There wasn’t much I’d use every day other than the lip balm. I feel the overall value of the bag is more than $40, but since there wasn’t much I was really excited about I’m rating it a 4 out of 10. Since this was my first experience with Ipsy and the price is so low, I didn’t cancel my subscription and decided to give them a shot in September.  Check back for what I got!

Important Note: I am not being paid for this post, nor was I approached by Ipsy to do this review.  I purchased this bag, and reviewed it all on my own. I think this service would be great for fashion minded ladies who’d like to try new items but don’t necessarily have the time to go out and find them on their own. If you sign up for Ipsy with one of the links I provided in the post, or by clicking here I receive a credit that enables me to get more freebies. You can earn credits too once you sign up. :)

Sugar Free Baked Apples

September 27th, 2014

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If there were a simple recipe that you could use to get your kids in the kitchen, this would be it.  My kids were craving something sweet, but the apples on the table were too tart for their liking.  So we grabbed a few apples from the fruit bowl and got creative.

 

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We took 4 apples, and cut them up in slices.  Laid them in a baking dish while our oven preheated to 350 degrees.

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I gave my daughter a butter knife, and 1/4 stick of butter and had her cut the butter into slices. My son took over with the cinnamon, and sprinkled it liberally after I drizzled some honey over the apples. We stuck it uncovered in our preheated oven and baked it for about 30 minutes.

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We let it cool for a few minutes, and then we ate them together.  Perfect healthy fall snack. Enjoy!

Easy Paleo Raspberry Jalapeño Vinaigrette

July 28th, 2014

Last year I came up with this recipe after moving.  I was craving a cleaner diet after the stress of moving, and having a closed kitchen.  This year I’m revisiting it, black berries, wine berries, and red raspberries are all in season right now.  It’s so fun to just mix this up into your boring old salad to give it some new life.

I’ve always found that when I make my own dressing they taste so much better.  I had been craving a Jalapeño Raspberry Vinaigrette and I couldn’t find a primal/paleo recipe anywhere so I made one up myself.  It was such a hit at my house I had to share it with you.  If you like a sweet/spicey combo this one is for you. You should know, this recipe does not store long in the fridge.  Make small batches!

raspjalapeno
Ingredients:

 

raspberries
Directions:
  1.  In a blender mix raspberries, your bit of jalapeño, and your garlic clove.  Pulse until they are well blended.
  2. Add in oil, honey, vinegar and salt.  Blend again until you’ve reached your desired constancy.
  3. Chill in the fridge for an hour or two to let the flavors blend, best if used within 24/48 hours.
  4. If you need it to last in the refrigerator for more than two days, add a tsp of organic lime juice.