Friday, July 13, 2018

La Iguana Chocolate Tour

Today we went to an organic family run Cacao farm. La Iguana Chocolate Farm. It was about 1.5-2 hours from Manuel Antonio. 

Here is a view on the way along the road.

They grow their own Cacao along with other fruits and spices and process the whole thing to the bar. It was really interesting! One of the things I loved most about this tour was that you could really see how much our guide, Jorge cared about what he was doing and doing it right. Organically and with the whole fruit, not taking out the cacao butter and adding in hydrogenated oil to sell the chocolate and cacao butter separately.

These are a few pictures around the farm. This is a tree house you can stay in for $40. It's just a room with a bed. Open air so you sleep in a mosquito net. There is a shared bathroom down stairs.

This is the chocolate making room. Coolest room in the place. The weather was actually quite pleasant.

This is a little area outside the bathroom. Those seats are made with moiter and reused glass bottles.

This one is going to eventually be an out door kitchen counter for the women to cook outside in the summer hot months.

We were quite early waiting for the tour, so we got to relax a bit with the dogs and chickens.

This is where the beans ferment over to the right and on the left is the drying room. It was so hot in the drying room and you have to go just to experience the smells. The fermenting was, well, stinky and the drying room smelled wonderful!

This is the inside of the fruit where the beans are found. The pulp around the bean is so yummy, not at all what you would expect. You must go and try it.

Making chocolate the traditional way.

The not so traditional way.

This was a really cool home made vacuum to use in part of the process.

C feeling totally normal...

Then out of nowhere, C started getting sick. Not sure what it was, but out of nowhere, his head started hurting really bad and he looked like he was going to faint. This is not the first time. Anyway, the family was very nice and helpful. Juan's mom made him some juice and a tea with honey. His sister got us a thermometer because he felt like his temp had dropped a ton. I was popping back and forth between L and Dr. C and little C.

L really enjoyed the chocolate making process.

I missed the end of the chocolate making, we quickly ate the yummy meal the family made for us, it was vegetarian and she even made gluten free muffins for C. They were so yummy and moist. I would have never guessed they were gluten free.

After our very yummy lunch with special gluten free muffins for our family, which were delicious by the way! We rushed out to get C to the hotel where he could sleep.

An hour of driving on a rutted dirt and gravel road sometimes only wide enough for a single car. He made it and when we got to the hotel, the bell boy was talking to me, then caught a glimpse of C's face and completely stopped talking. I told him he wasn't feeling well and he rushed us inside.

After the second round of throw up, C is all normal again! He is ready to eat again. Maybe these are new migraines he is experiencing, I'm not sure. The only change we have made is introduce peanuts back into his diet. I guess we will take those out again and see what happens.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Snorkel Cruise in Manuel Antonio

 It was a perfect morning to be on the water and this is our only activity in Manuel Antonio,.

This is a much bigger boat then we have done a little snorkel cruise on then before, but this boat had a water slide and you could jump off the top deck.

There were some good size swells so the kids had a few balancing challenges.

And some relaxation.

That's it for today, back to the room to rest after so much activity for days on end.


Matapalo - What to do...

The waves are too big to swim in.

It's too hot for soccer.

No WiFi!

 I give up!

Too many bugs!

C won't pull me on the swing.

What, no pool!

I give up!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Chia Seed Pudding

This is absolutely the best breakfast or lunch. I get asked all the time what is a good breakfast for my child who can't eat, wheat, eggs, sugar, etc. Well, here is one of my favorites!

Chia seeds are so good for you, they help to stabilize blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of fiber, anti-oxidants, protein, calcium and iron (the kind your body knows how to absorb). Unsweetened almond milk is another great ingredient without sugar and has some protein. The local raw honey helps with allergies and has many other benefits as well. Last, the cinnamon helps to control blood sugar also, is an anti-inflammatory and has many anti-oxidants. Throw in some fresh in season berries and you have a breakfast packed with nutrients and antioxidants. You can even sprinkle a few crumbs of fresh local bee pollen on it to add to the allergy benefits.

This takes less then 5 mins to throw together in a mason jar. Give it a few shakes every couple of mins to move the seeds around and then put it in the fridge for the morning.

2 c vanilla unsweetened almond milk (I use Trader Joe's because I like the flavor, not too nutty and it does not have carrageenan)
1/2 c chia seeds
1/4 c raw local honey
1/4 t cinnamon

1. Pour all ingredients into a mason jar and shake well. Let sit for a couple mins and shake again. Repeat a couple times before putting it in the fridge.

2. Serve with fresh berries, bananas or other in season fruit of your choice.

If you are as old as me, now you no longer have to think of chia seeds as, "chi-chi-cha-chia" Those little chia pets growing in your kitchen window. Now you can enjoy them in a different and healthy way.
To learn more about taking back your health, visit


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sun Basket Meal Delivery

I have wanted to freshen up my kitchen and try new things so I decided to try a couple meal delivery companies. Now, I am reviewing them for you to try your self. If you want to see all the companies that I have reviewed, please click on "meal delivery service" under labels.

Many of you know feeding my family is difficult with one child being celiac, allergic to corn, and can have a few other things like soy and peanuts, then there is me who can not have dairy and corn. We struggled a lot in the beginning, but have got it down pretty good now. However, I had to find the right meal deliver service that we could all eat.

First is Sun Basket:

What I liked:

*Everything is organic. They even use the mayonnaise that our family can eat that tastes yummy!
*It is not quite as expensive as some of the other organic companies. But still a little high at $11 per serving.
*You can choose your meals for your box in which ever category you choose.
*They have a paleo option! That makes things wonderfully easy.
*Portions were great with some left overs.
*This last one is a huge plus!! The meat was all cut for me. I hate cutting meat. I found this to be unique to Sun Basket. Along with everything else being individually wrapped.

*It was also easy to bring a couple meals camping when we had a trip planned and I forgot I had a box coming.
*You do get the whole recipe book and not just the recipes for your meals. So if you want to try something else, you have the recipe.

What I did not like:

*Meals were still on the pricy side (except for the introductory box.)
*Flavors were not as powerful as the other companies.
*Meals could use more greens. (Only because I like every meal to have a green veggie.

Final decision: I will try it again occasionally when my work gets too crazy and I just need some time to catch up because I made wonderful meals without having to shop, plan or prep. It was a huge time saver and my family ate well.

Here is one of the latest meals we loved from Sun Basket, it is a broccoli fritta with arugula salad. Even one of my littles went back for seconds!

If you want to try Sun Basket for yourself, if you sign up through this link, you will receive $40 off your first order!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dijon Veggies

These veggies are yummy just sautéd, but add the dijon sauce and they are wonderful! Once again, I couldn't get enough.

It has been fun getting back into cooking something new each week and trying to make sure it's something different to keep up with having as many different veggies as I can. I hope this motivates you to do the same.

This is a quick and easy one. 


Artichoke hearts
Green Beans
1-2 T olive oil

1/4 c sugar free dijon
1/4 c olive oil
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 T balsamic vinegar

Sauté the veggies in a pan with olive oil till done. While the veggies are cooking, make the sauce. Mix the last ingredients together and pour over the veggies and use sea salt and pepper to taste.

I also poured the sauce over my fresh whole chicken cooked in my Instapot.

Kristen and PremierIFM

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mixed Greens

These greens are so flavorful that I ate them up like candy. Too bad the kids complain about everything and think that the texture of greens is so bad they are going to dye when they eat them.

I'll give you the recipe first: 

3 baby bok choy
1 bag of mixed greens from Trader Joe's (kale, spinach and swis chard) - if you don't have a Traders in your area, just pick up some of these greens and you will have to do more chopping.
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 T olive oil
1-2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c water

1. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat till it starts to simmer a little, don't let it burn.

2. Add the greens and cook till almost wilted about 1-2 mins.
3. Add the water and vinegar and cook till the liquid is completely reduced and serve. They are so taste, you don't need salt and pepper. Serve with a yummy, healthy, and organic protein.

Then watch your kids be all dramatic when they are eating like this:

And this:

I know, I am a horrible mom that I feed my kids this awful stuff. But that's what happens when your dad practices Functional Medicine! I hope yours enjoy it more then mine.

Kristen and Premier IFM

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Oven Roasted Veggies

Here is a super simple, super easy recipe for you. One of our favorites, oven roasted veggies.

This one is a favorite for the kids because they can get a lot of what they like and for the adults because it has all the healthy food we need. Even in this household we don't get enough of a variety. 

Here is the recipe:

1 head of cauliflower
1 bunch of broccoli
1 bag of mushrooms sliced or whole
1 zuccini or yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
2 carrots
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 T olive oil
1 T macadamia nut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop veggies, garlic and onions and toss with oils. Bake at 450 for 20 mins or until roasted. 

I hope you enjoy these as much as us! And remember, Food IS Medicine.


Fireplace Make over

5 years and I finally updated my fireplace! This is one that I thought long and hard about. I hated the rock from 1964, the weird piece of drywall that came out from it and how it was all off center. Here is the best picture I can find from before we did anything to the house. This is from the walk through when we bought the house.

Here is a couple of pictures to show how we tried to spruce it up because I didn't feel like demoing the rock with all the other projects we had.

I knew I wanted a reclaimed wood wall. My first thought was to take out the drywall then frame out the rock and put the wood on top. Then, I thought about how I love mixing metal and wood. I add metal where ever I can in the house. So, I thought why not cover the rock with wood on the bottom and just frame out on the side. But, my husband was really excited about the idea of the easiest project in the house yet, so he suggested just cover the rock with the metal.

I got some good pallets from a friend and got right to work staining them with my home made stain of steal wool soaked in vinegar. But first apply black tea to make the stain work.

While Dr. C was away at a guys weekend, I covered the dry wall part of the wall.

Rusting the metal was not an easy task! I found some glue to glue it up with. Got some old pallets and made a home made stain for the wood. Picked out some tile for the hearth and got to work on a super simple make over. Here is the end result that I am very happy with.

I am so happy with the way it turned out. There is a little less rust then I was hoping for, but I still love it! Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, it was super cheap! Probably the cheapest thing makeover of the whole house.