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Friday, February 28, 2014

10 Tips To Save Money Shopping Resale Shops

Look at what I found today at my local Home of the Sparrow resale shop! I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across these two Kitchen Aid 5 ply, copper base, stainless steel fry pans and Le Crueset enameled  cast iron pan.  And the best part, I paid $12 for ALL of them!

The two fry pans had some discoloration which quickly disappeared with a few sprays of white vinegar and a good rinse with warm water. The cast iron pan had a teeny tiny spot of light rust and was in need of a good seasoning.  I simply poured a couple of tablespoons regular olive oil into it, sprinkled in a bit of kosher salt, and scrubbed with a small brush until the rust disappeared.  It took me all of two minutes!  Then, I popped it into the oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Voila! Good as new!

While I was there, I also picked up a few nice name brand pieces of clothing, some cute jewelry, and some linens to use in my craft projects.

Something most people don't know about me is 90% of my clothing and accessories come from resale shops.  I have learned how to maneuver through secondhand stores like a ninja.  I stealthily move throughout the store, scooping up bargains as I go.

I have saved a ton of money shopping at resale shops.  I've bought everything from furniture to silverware.  And, you can too.  I'm going to give you ten of my best tips for shopping resale.

1.  Some of the best times to shop resale are right before and after a change in season.  Right before a season change, most shops will have sales to get rid of merchandise.  After the season change, more new donations arrive once people purge their homes of items they no longer need or want.

2. Visit your favorite shops often.  Strike up conversations with the volunteers.  They will get to know you, your likes, and your shopping schedule.  Many times, they will put goodies aside for you, they feel you might like.  I have a couple of wonderful ladies who call me when they get items that "look like me".

3. Only buy clothing and shoes in your size.  Unless you're an avid seamstress, you're never going to have time to alter them.  And, trust me, even if they're gorgeous and cheap, you are not going to wear shoes that are the wrong size.

4.  Have a budget set before you enter. And, stick to it!  If you walk in without a budget in mind, you may get caught up in bargain fever.  Next thing you know, you're scooping up things you don't need.

5. Have a purpose for being there.  For example, today I went looking for cookware and shirts. Of course, the linens I purchased were not on my list.  But, because they were only $1 each, they fit within my budget.

6. Don't waste time in departments with items you don't need.  If you don't need furniture, for example, don't even look there.  It's better to miss out on a deal, than stare at a piece of furniture you have no time to refinish and no room for in your home.

7. Inspect every item you're interested in buying for defects. In clothing, look for holes, stains, ripped seams, and falling hems.  If a blouse has armpit stains, do not buy it.  They are impossible to remove.  And, you cannot dye over them.  In other items, look for stains, chips, obvious repairs, holes, and missing pieces.  Don't purchase anything you're not willing to live with or repair.  I knew when I purchased those pans today, I could easily fix them.

8. Buy well-known brands.  Now, sometimes, I will purchase brands I've never heard of if it's non-consequential items such as linens or jewelry.  These items are inspected to a higher degree by me.  I make sure the materials or not cheap and the construction is not shoddy.

9. Determine how much an item is worth to you.  If a shirt is priced at $8, but is 50% off!, determine if it's worth $4, to you.  This very thing happened to me today.  I saw a brand name blouse, on sale for $4.  Since it was a winter blouse, in a winter color, I determined that $4 was too much to pay for a blouse I would only get a month's worth of wear out of.  Be willing to step away from a deal if it's more than what it's worth to you.

10.  If your shop offers a frequent shopper card, get it.  And, be sure to get it stamped every time you shop.  Most shops offer these cards.  Once you get to a certain amount spent, you get rewarded with a discount. Some shops offer as much as a $10 gift certificate.  That's a pretty nice savings from a resale shop.

Hopefully, these tips help you to save some money.  As you can see, you can get some really nice goodies!

If you've never shopped resale before, give it a try.  I used to spend tons of money on clothes that were out of style by the next year.  If you're worried about germs or cooties, just be certain to wash everything you bring home before you wear or use it.  Typically, I have a rule about dry clean only items.  I don't buy them unless they are impeccable.  Then, I have them cleaned through a green cleaner. I figure in the cost of cleaning into the price I pay for the item.  That determines if the total price of the item is worth it to me.

Enjoy shopping frugally!  If you find some cool treasures, please share in comments. I love hearing about great bargains!

Goodnight and God bless.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gluten Free Italian Sausage and Pepper Pasta Recipe

Now that I have my other blog running, I can focus this blog on topics not related to paleo and autoimmune healing. Coming, over the next few weeks, will be posts covering indoor gardening, natural pet care tips, spring cleaning ideas, and DIY recipes for all sorts of things. I have lots of fun topics to cover for you.

I decided to begin my series of posts with a pretty simple recipe.  Most of you don't know that every night I prepare three different meals for my family.  I cook my meal, AIP paleo. I cook my hubby's meal, almost anything goes. And, I prepare Boho's meal, baked, organic chicken thighs with quinoa, veggies, and Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.  Now, I do prepare Boho's food in advance. Usually, I make a week's worth on Sundays.  So, I simply heat hers up every night.  Good thing I love cooking!

This recipe represents a typical meal I would prepare for my hubby.  I don't always make him gluten free foods.  But, if I feel he's had too many gluten filled carbs, out come the gluten free ingredients.  He's Italian-American; so, I do tend to cook meals with that in mind.  He loves Italian food and good, old American classics.  But, because he has a family history of heart disease and diabetes, I try to make his meals as healthy as possible.  Sometimes it's appreciated, sometimes not.

So, here is my recipe for gluten free Italian sausage and pepper pasta:


4 Handfuls Uncooked, Gluten-Free Penne
2 Italian Sausage links
1 Red Sweet Pepper, sliced in strips
1 Yellow Sweet Pepper, sliced in strips
1/2 Green Sweet Pepper, sliced in strips
1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced in strips
1 Clove Garlic, sliced fine
2 Tbsp Organic Basil, dried
2 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra for drizzling 
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sausage links, onion and peppers on Cookie Sheet. Drizzle onions and peppers with Olive Oil ( I use regular, not extra virgin, olive oil when cooking above 350 degrees).  Place pan in oven until sausages are cooked through, about 45 minutes.  While sausage is cooking, cook pasta, according to package.  Four handfuls dry should net you four cups cooked.  Once pasta is done, drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.  Place pasta back into pot and set aside.  When sausage is cooked, remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute. Add onions, peppers and garlic to Pasta Pot.  Slice sausages into bite sized pieces and add to Pasta Pot.  Add basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil to pot.  Heat on medium/low setting, adding small amounts of reserved pasta water until thick sauce forms. Remove from heat. Stir well to coat pasta with sauce. Serve. Enjoy!

Serves 4 ( or 2 hungry people)
Cook Time: 1 Hour

Goodnight and God Bless!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My New Paleo Blog is Up and Running!


Great news, y'all!  The new paleo blog is alive......or, just live!  The name of the new blog is Paleo Cajun Lady. You can find it at the URL: 

I only have two post running right now. And, the blog needs a bit of tweaking.  But, it's up!

I'm sure there are a few of you taken back by the name of the blog. "Waaa, I didn't know you were Cajun?  Aren't you from Illinois?" First, yes, I am Cajun.  Second, I am NOT from Illinois. I just live here now.

I'm what I like to call a displaced Cajun lady.  I was born and raised in Louisiana. I currently live in Illinois, with my hubby and Boho.  We hope to retire in Louisiana. 

Anyhoo, you can read all about it on the new blog, .

Or, you can get a couple of recipes for AIP paleo snacks, .

Over the next couple of days, I'll be adding more recipes and info to the new site. Plus, I have some great posts for this blog.  I sincerely hope you enjoy both blogs.

If there are any topics you would like me to cover in either blog, let me know. I would be happy to oblige.

Go check out the new blog! Let me know what you think!


Goodnight and God bless!

My PaPa's Shrimp Boat, Cajun Lady
 The original Cajun Lady, my Ma, dancing at     
                                                                                     Mardi Gras.

 My bro and me on PaPa's boat.

 My PaPa, Captain Guidry.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How To Stay AIP Paleo When Dining Out

Okay, I'll start with the bad news. The new website is NOT up and running like I'd hoped. I ran into some technical problems late Friday night (actually, it was more like early Saturday morning!).  Unfortunately, the stress landed me a new infection to deal with.  My hubby, being supportive, declared Saturday, "No work Saturday". I, being tired and frustrated, thought that was a great idea.

So, Saturday, we went to the theater to see American Hustle, which was pretty darn good. Those who know me are aware of my love of anything 70's. The wardrobe and Soundtrackwere amazing.  The worst part, was not being able to enjoy the buttered popcorn!  In fact, all I had while watching the movie was a bottle of water. I know bottled water is not optimal; but, I was not going to sit there with nothing to eat or drink.  Note to self: next time bring a banana or kale chips.

After the movie, I was HUNGRY.  We were enjoying our time away from home; so, we set out to find a restaurant with highest chance of approved foods for me.  I chose Houlihan's.  Once we were seated, I perused the menu. I settled on an organic greens salad with grilled chicken.  The only ingredients I would have to leave out were almonds, goat milk cheese, and the dressing.  When the waitress took my order, I stated simply that I have food allergies. I requested the items I needed removed. I also requested that no seasonings be used and asked for small bowls of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I requested all of my changes with a smile on my face and in a kind manner.  She was very receptive and brought my food exactly as specified.

I believe it's always important to be polite to your waiter or waitress. It also helps if you state that you have food allergies immediately.  It lets them know you're not just being picky or difficult.  You don't have to go into detail because nobody's got time for that.  If something is done not to your specifications, calmly request that it be changed.  Remember, you want them on your side.

Sunday was a bit more of a challenge.  After church, my hubs and I went to a local diner for lunch.  I really wasn't much in the mood for a salad or chicken.  I was going to try something new, the bacon, avocado burger. I began my order the same as the day before. Then, I asked if she could find out if the burger meat was just ground beef.  She came back with the answer of yes.  I, then, ordered the burger with no bun or cheese. Instead of fries, I ordered a side salad with no tomato or dressing.  Since I wasn't sure of the quality of their balsamic vinegar and olive oil, I chose to ask for lemon wedges instead. I would mash the avocado and mix it with lemon juice to create a dressing.  When my food came,I set to work creating a yummy bacon, avocado burger salad.  It was delicious!

It's true, you have to be a bit creative. But, you can dine out and remain safe. Always remember to ask about hidden ingredients or spices.  

Just to be on the safe side, I took two Activated Charcoal capsules at the end of my meal. Everyone with food intolerances or allergies should carry some in their purse or car.  In case you are accidentally exposed to an intolerance, it can help to bind to the toxin and remove it safely.  Anytime, I eat something a little iffy, I pop a couple of capsules.  You shouldn't do this every day.  But, once in a while won't hurt you.

It also helps if you have time to prepare. When I know I'm going to a particular restaurant, I'll check out the menu online.  In advance, I'll decide what I'm going to order and what omissions or substitutions I have to make.  I always keep some items in my purse, like my Stevia .  Sometimes, I'll put foods in a small containerand pack them in my purse.  I do this with Coconut Milk, Balsamic Vinegar, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I'm very discreet about adding the item to my food or drink.  Most people I eat with, don't even notice. If you're going to do this, put the small container in a plastic bag, in case it spills. I haven't had that happen yet. But, it could happen.

I hope these tips help.  It can be difficult to enjoy yourself when you're trying not to get poisoned.  With a little prep work, your dining experience can be much easier to handle.

Hopefully, I will have the new website up tomorrow.  I loved my weekend away from work.  However, I love working too.  I'll be back at it tomorrow.

Until then, goodnight and God bless!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Is AIP Paleo So Hard To Follow?

So, I'm a little annoyed right now. I just spent an hour on Pinterest, trying to find an AIP paleo recipe for blackberry cobbler.  Needless to say, I found nothing.

But, that's not what really annoyed me. What put me in a snit, was the many recipes I clicked on that said they were dairy or allergen free, then proceeded to have ingredients listed including almond flour, butter, eggs, or/and buttermilk (yea, like that's not made with milk). That's not allergy free in my book!

While I can appreciate people trying to make a buck, jumping on the paleo bandwagon, without properly researching it, is just mean.  It's hard enough on those of us who must eat this way because of health reasons. To search through recipes that claim to be allergen free, only to discover they indeed contains allergens, is terribly disappointing.

To those of you who create paleo recipes, please consider the fact that there are many food allergies that people suffer from. If your recipe contains almond flour, consider that someone may have a nut allergy.  If it contains eggs or dairy (this includes cheese, butter, cream, BUTTERMILK, etc.), someone may have an allergy to those ingredients.  This would render your recipe simply primal or paleo (no dairy, as far as I'm concerned) not allergen free. And, these are just a portion of the allergies people experience.  Heck, some people are allergic to coconuts!

All I'm saying, is that perhaps, you want to use some different terminology, to not mislead your audience.

Well, that's enough about that.  For those of you who are in the same boat I am, take heart. Most of us will be able to add foods back eventually.  It really hasn't been that tough on me. I haven't been thinking much about the foods I can't have.  I've been much too busy trying to create new recipes of foods I can have (blackberry cobbler is one of them). 

It just hit home last night, when one of my students in RE class asked what food I was giving up for Lent.  I thought about it for a bit. Hmm, I've already given up so many foods. I don't think I can afford to give up any others.  Finally, I answered my student, saying, "Well, since I only eat meat, veggies, and fruit, I'm not going to be giving up food for Lent.  I'll find something else to give up."  My answer brought gasps and expressions of horror from the little ones. I ended up answering question for 20 minutes on the yummy foods I couldn't eat, and how I could possibly survive without candy and cake. Kids are so funny!

These are the kinds of things that make eating this way so hard.  It's not the diet itself that's so tough.  It's the misinformation out there in internetland, and the misunderstanding from society that makes our journey difficult.  I can't tell you how many people have said, to my face, that this whole, grain free thing is all a hoax.  Others have rolled their eyes at me when I've explained my diet. RUDE!

Don't let anyone, or anything deter you from your goal of getting healthy!  Let them roll their eyes!  We'll see who's left standing in the end!  All I know is, I haven't had to visit my doctors, or the hospital, in four months. Now, that's progress!

And, now for the good news! I should have the new blog up and running by Sunday!  It's going to be specifically dedicated to paleo and autoimmune health.  I'm putting the finishing touches on it right now.  With this new blog, I'll be able to focus on providing you with Autoimmune approved recipes, health updates, and DIY beauty and housecleaning products. I'll post you as soon as it's released.

Once the new blog is online, this blog will include topics ranging from alternative health remedies, DIY, repurposing, natural pet care, gardening, and whole food recipes. Basically, anything that has to do with living a holistic and sustainable lifestyle will be covered.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy both blogs!  If there are any particular topics you would like me to cover, let me know. Should you have any questions you need answered, let me know. I welcome everyone's imput. 
Email me: or Comment below.

Until next post, goodnight and God bless!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Take Me Back To Summer Salad- AIP Paleo Recipe

I am sooooo tired of this wretched winter weather!  Last night, I decided to make a nice summery salad for dinner.  The beautiful, bright colors brought sunshine to my plate.  The fresh mixture of flavors brought warmth to my soul.  It was the perfect combination of foods to make winter's cold bitterness disappear for a brief moment.

If you're sick of winter, try this revitalizing salad. It's also AIP approved.

Take Me Back To Summer Salad

For the Chicken:
1 Organic Chicken Breast, skinless and boneless
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour melted Coconut Oil over breast. Sprinkle herbs onto chicken breast ( feel free to use whichever herbs you like).  Once oven is at temperature, place chicken breast on shallow Baking Sheet and put in oven. Cook until internal temp reaches 165 degrees ( about 35 to 40 minutes).  Let chicken rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into strips and lay on top of salad.

For the salad:
Bunch of dandelion greens
1 Roasted Beet, quartered
4 large organic Strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 Fennel Bulb, sliced

Place all ingredient in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss. Plate.

For dressing:
Salt to taste

Whisk ingredients together in small bowl. Add to salad and toss.  You can reserve some to pour over chicken breast if you like.

This is such an easy recipe, with great healthy benefits. Not only can it help rid you of the winter doldrums, but, it can help to nourish your body with vitamins and minerals.  I've chosen the ingredients based on their health benefits, especially when our bodies need it most.