Back to Earth Tacos | Got To Be NC Beef

This post has been sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. I received both monetary and product compensation in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Nestled along the banks of the Uwharrie River near Asheboro, North Carolina is the picturesque home of Tom and Janice Henslee. They share their home with Janice’s mother, as well as a number of bees, free-range chickens, three adorable Brussels Griffon pups, and a field of grass-fed cows. There is plenty of wildlife, too, on the 110 acres that is Back to Earth Farm.

I had the pleasure of spending a morning with the Henslees. They welcomed me into their home to chat about the history of the farm, explain how their farm operates, and share their plans for the future. As I hung onto their every word, I was excited to hear that we share similar beliefs in holistic health and nutrition.

Tom and Janice Henslee
(
photo courtesy of Back to Earth Farm)

In 2013, Tom and Janice moved to North Carolina from Texas to establish Back to Earth Farm. They wanted a place where they could regain and maintain their health: body, mind, spirit, and environment. They “walk to talk,” so to speak, by reconnecting with nature to promote a well-balanced life. Tom and Janice are passionate about renewing the health of the land through regenerative farming practices, connecting communities with a healthy food source, and offering a place for people to learn, rest, rejuvenate, and have fun.

Tom and Janice explained the details of their sustainable farm model. They focus on healthy soil, which produces healthy plants, that will be eaten by healthy animals. That combination makes for healthier people. I was fascinated to learn that Janice had acquired a microscope specifically for viewing soil samples. She explained that she would look for live microbes, which promotes a healthy environment.

These microbes are often nonexistent in farms that use artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. However, the Henslees do not have a need for artificial fertilizers because they choose to utilize managed grazing. Simply put, their cows are contained to an area to feed for a certain period of time. The cows are moved before all of the grass is eaten, allowing the grass in that area to regrow before the cows return to that specific part of the pasture. Using this method allows the cattle to spread their own manure as natural fertilizer.

Did you know that grass-fed beef has 80% less total fat than grain-fed, along with more antioxidants and vitamins? Tom and Janice’s cattle are also GMO free and raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.

After our morning of great conversation, I received a guided tour of the property. There is a serene beauty the encompasses the still-growing farm.

Map of Back to Earth Farm

(image courtesy of Back to Earth Farm)

As we neared the river, the hidden gem of the farm appeared. It’s a hand-crafted cabin made from cedar and pine. The 2 bedroom, 1 bath retreat is available for rent, and includes a full kitchen, heating and air, fireplace, TV, wraparound lower porch, 2 upper-level porches, and a carport. It sleeps 6 comfortably but is not child-proofed.

BTE Cabin

I immediately fell in love with the charm of the cabin. From the gorgeous dining room table handmade by Janice herself to the hammock on the wraparound porch overlooking the river, guests are sure to fall in love with this peaceful getaway. Janice went on to share her dreams for Back to Earth Farm. In addition to their sustainable farm producing nutrient-dense food, she envisions one day offering wellness retreats and educational workshops. For now, she is focusing on growing her most recent inception – a wedding venue! [I plan to write a future blog specifically about Janice’s wonderful ideas.]

BTE Cabin Kitchen

When we arrived back to the house, it was time for me to become Farmer Tom’s chief farm hand. He and I headed out to the pasture to move fencing. The cows heard his whistle and hurried through the field to meet him at the fence line. Like well-trained pets, they knew what was about to happen; it was time for fresh grass to eat. As he reeled in the line, I removed the temporary fence posts from the ground. The cows were very interactive, and seemed just as interested to see me as I was to see them. Tom took the fence posts from me and started to reset them in their new location. I followed behind, securing the line to the posts. And just like that, I became a tiny part of their efforts to leave the land healthier than when they arrived. Restorative farming at it’s best.

BTE cattle
BTE newborn calf
(
The newest member of Back to Earth Farm, a 5-day old calf.)

Before I said goodbye, Tom filled a bag with a selection of meat, from ground beef to filet mignon. I admit that I was a little sad to leave my new friends and the amazing farm that they have created, but I was equally as excited to head home and prepare something tasty with local, grass-fed NC beef.

I love simple, whole food recipes and from-scratch meals. I decided to make tacos with organic, non-GMO ingredients to pay homage to the Henslees and the holistic philosophy that we share.

Ingredients:
1lb grass-fed beef
1/2 small onion (organic)
1/2 bell pepper (organic)
1 zucchini (organic)
3/4 cups water
1T chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1T olive oil

Additional Organic Ingredients:
1 tomato (diced)
black olives (small jar, sliced)
shredded lettuce
guacamole
non-dairy shredded cheddar cheese
gluten free taco shells and/or gluten free soft tortillas

Instructions:
Prepare by dicing the organic vegetables. I love adding fresh veggies to any main dish. They provide extra nutrition as well as offering more flavor and texture to a meal.

vegetables

Add olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan; heat on high. Then add diced vegetables. Sauté until tender.

saute

Remove the sautéed vegetables from the saucepan and set aside. In the same saucepan, add the grass-fed ground beef. Brown thoroughly.

beef

When the beef has finished cooking, drain grease (if there is any; my Back to Earth beef had very little!) and return beef to saucepan, along with sautéed vegetables and taco spices.

combine

Side note: I use spices instead of a prepackaged taco mix. However, there are several great choices available if you do not have individual spices on hand. Check out: Wick Fowler’s Taco Seasoning or McCormick Organic Gluten Free Taco Seasoning. Both are available at local grocery stores.

Add water, mixing ingredients well, and heat to boiling.

taco mix

Reduce heat; simmering uncovered 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

To assemble taco, select preferred taco shell. I used both a Garden of Eatin’ brand yellow taco shell and an Udi’s brand plain tortilla, which mimics a soft taco shell.

Add beef mixture, then layer with lettuce, tomato, olives, guacamole, vegan cheese, [I prefer Daiya brand cheese.] or any other topping of choice.

Back to Earth Tacos

There you have it! A simple, whole food taco that is delicious, healthy, and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

I have had so much fun learning about local grass-fed beef. There are a lot of choices for consumers when it come to NC Beef, available throughout the state in farm stores, at farmers’ markets, and online. Back to Earth Farm offers online shopping, as well as scheduled deliveries. If you’re interested in learning more about Back to Earth, or scheduling your own farm tour there, please visit their website: Back to Earth Farm

As I mentioned earlier, this post was sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is an honor to be featured alongside eight amazing bloggers who also toured NC farms and shared their recipes. Please check out their posts below.

Got To Be NC Beef Farm Tours

And What To Make with Your NC Beef

Overhaulin’

Many people take advantage of the new year, and really stop to consider areas in their lives where changes can be made. January always seems full of opportunities to wipe slates clean. Just like the snow that falls during this time of year, covering all imperfections with a blanket of white, the thought of empty canvases and new beginnings offer a refreshing peace.

This blog has been through a number of re-inventions. What started as a technology and design blog in 2010, and transitioned to a faith-based blog before landing at its current state, Jenn On A Mission has been a labor of love and an outlet for my ‘jack of all trades’ personality. [There is just so much to see, do, learn, and explore in this life, y’all!] However, I have come to realize that the blog now is a bit like my home office — there is more “stuff’ in the space than the space is meant to hold. It creates Organized Chaos, which is not really organized or user-friendly. I may be able to walk into my office and, after shifting around several stacks of papers, locate the one thing I was looking for but my readers shouldn’t have to sift through numerous topics and blog posts just to find a local restaurant recommendation.

That said, my goal this weekend is to overhaul the website again.

overhaulin'
(photo borrowed from Red Rock Collision Repair website)

I have been doing research and have really put in a lot of time planning the new setup. The look will still be the same, for now… but I will be narrowing my menu topics and focusing on three specifically: Design, Health, and my home state of North Carolina. I still plan to blog on similar topics, from DIY projects to day trips, but my goal is to provide content that is easier to follow and find. If I’m going to work towards living a Minimalistic life, my blog should be uncomplicated too. It only makes sense. I’m excited about these changes and hope that you will be too. You should see the new menu options beginning January 15. New blog posts will be published every Thursday. The sponsored post that I’m writing for January 19 will actually be both health and NC focused, so stay tuned!

I am still unsure if I will continue the Motivation Monday posts. I would really like to put more emphasis on my design content, and plan to open my online store on the blog very soon. That is, as long as I don’t crash the site again. [My nerves still haven’t fully recovered from that fiasco yet.] Please bear with me as I work to finalize decisions and transitions.

As always, thank you for stopping by. {Please remember to subscribe!} Feel free to leave a comment below; I love hearing from y’all. What kind of overhaulin’ do you have planned for 2017?

Goodbye 2016

I have spent some time this morning decluttering the house. While I packed away Christmas decor, tossed out old files, and loaded the car with boxes of the latest donations, I started to reflect on this past year. It went by in a flash, but I am truly humbled by the last 365 days.

Highlights of the past year remind me of more good times than bad, which is something I haven’t always been able to say every December 31. What I have always been able to say, regardless of the ups or downs, is that God is good. He is faithful, and He continues to bless me with undeserving goodness and mercy.

This year, we welcomed two new family members — Michael David (born May 23) and John Carter (born September 12). Both of these handsome boys are my great nephews, born to my two oldest nieces, Jessie (Carter’s mom) and Katie (Michael’s mom). Being an aunt is an honor that I do not take for granted. I’m certainly not the best aunt, but I love all of my nieces and nephews (and now great-nephews) with all of my heart.


Michael (above)


Carter (above)

I ran a few races over the past 12 months. Six to be exact. With each 3.1 miles completed, my back felt better and I became both stronger and faster. After the struggle that I had last year with my back injury, I was happy to end the year at the same pace that was once my fastest.


I spent a few days in Myrtle Beach at one of my favorite conferences – Women of Joy. It is nice to get away for two nights and soak in some Vitamin Sea. I am most as peace where the ocean meets the sand. Between the sun, sand, and salty air… and the wonderful worship that fills the conference center over those 72 hours… I always come back rejuvenated and restored.



Author and speaker, Lisa Harper at Women of Joy 2016

I finally made it to Chicago this year. Five of my friends and I took an extended weekend girls’ trip up to the Windy City. We laughed a lot, we bickered a little, and we made lifelong memories over the course of five days. We ate great food. We saw historical landmarks. And we even caught a game at Wrigley Field. Little did we know we were watching the World Series Champs in action.

Shortly after returning from Chi-town, I received my biggest blessing of all — turning 40. Some people dread getting older but to me, it’s a privilege. When I say that I am grateful for my days, I seriously mean that I am grateful for every.single.day. As y’all know, I’m on a mission to make the most of this life that I have been given, and embracing every second is the best way to ensure that!

I took Mom to see Dolly Parton in concert this year. Dolly is someone that she has listened to as long as I can remember. I grew up to Mom playing Dolly albums on the record player… Here You Come Again, Jolene, and Two Doors Down are just a few of the Dolly songs that are part of my Life Soundtrack. It was really awesome to get to see Dolly perform them live with Mom sitting beside me. So much fun!

As I look ahead to the new year, one word comes to mind and sums up my goals for 2017:

Focus

Focus on the good.
Focus on what matters.
Focus on my health.
Focus on my family.
Focus on new distances.
Focus on making dreams a reality.
Focus on fun.
Focus on staying on budget.
Focus on staying on track.
Focus on my mission!

I admit that I can easily be distracted. As a matter of fact, I should still be in the office decluttering but I stopped to write this post. 🙂 I don’t want to lose site of my ultimate goal… my mission to make the most of life. I want to live minimally, eat clean, travel places that I’ve never been. I want to push past the comfort zone of 5Ks and train for a 10K. I want to spend more time on this blog, sharing life with y’all. I want to give freely, bless others, and be creative. I want to finish projects that I’ve started. (Boy, does THAT require heavy focus!! haha) I want to dream bigger than I ever have before, and not lose sight of all that I am capable of… and all that God wants me to experience.

What are your plans for the new year? Will you make resolutions for 2017? Do you have certain goals that you would like to accomplish? Comment below and share YOUR dreams with me. Let’s join together and encourage one another as we focus on a mission to make 2017 the best year yet! Happy New Year, friends!

Life Update: December 26, 2016

Where do I even start?

I guess it would be polite to begin with hello, and Merry Christmas! It blows my mind that my family and I celebrated the holiday yesterday and I still do not feel like it’s Christmastime. I have truly struggled to get in the holiday hustle and bustle this year. And I have already taken down and packed up the decorations. But I did have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that those of you who celebrate it did too.

Now… to explain my recent absence. Y’all. Some days I shouldn’t be allowed to get out of bed. haha

Two weeks ago, I was trying to be proactive. I had wanted to transition my Etsy inventory over to this website for a while, and December 10 seemed like a good day to do it. So, that morning, I got an early start on creating a page, importing media, and researching the best way to display my online store. [I should probably mention here that, although I have been a blogger for 6 years, I’m still not all-that-savvy with all-things-Wordpress.] I found a great tutorial with sample HTML codes and carefully followed instructions to assure everything was perfect. When I was finished with the first of many planned pages, I clicked the publish button and waited anxiously for the page to refresh… to see if everything looked good. I didn’t want to code all pages if there was something that needed to be tweaked.

At that moment, my heart sank. Where was my page? I clicked the refresh button beside the URL. Nothing!! My page was solid white. Trying not to panic (although I was already having a full-on anxiety attack) I convinced myself that it would be no big deal… I would rekey my Dashboard URL and delete those codes, or even that particular page, and all would revert back to normal. Um, nope. That didn’t work either. Why did that not work?!! I got sick to my stomach; my head hurt; I think I was on the verge of a breakdown. With the click of one button, I had lost every post that I had ever written since 2010.

Of course I Googled for WordPress tips and tricks to help me revert the damage that I had done, but everything that I found either didn’t work or was too complicated. I had to walk away. It tore me up, and shut me down, for a few hours.

Then it dawned on me… I used a third-party hosting company! Maybe they would be able to tell me what to do to get my page back? After 15 minutes on the phone with my hosting company, it was evident that whatever I had done was irreversible via WordPress. I wanted to cry. What had I done?

The technician placed me on hold for one last attempt for him to save the day and when he returned, he had found a work-around. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a free work-around but it would restore some of my posts. He explained that the hosting company occasionally backs up accounts, and mine had last been updated on December 1.

The process took a while to complete. I had to fill out a service ticket, they had to process my payment, and then they had to compete the restore. I had lost four posts – 12/5, 12/8, 12/12, and 12/15. (And of course I don’t have them saved anywhere else.) I didn’t have any posts scheduled for 12/19 and 12/22 by the time my page was back up and running, it was the week before Christmas and the holiday chaos had begun. I was upset that I had lost posts but given the fact that my website had been restored otherwise, I couldn’t dwell or complain. I’m so unbelievable grateful for my hosting company!

Today, I’m back on track. I spent some time this weekend scheduling topics for the upcoming year, and I have some exciting things in store for 2017. I hope that you’ll subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss any of my future posts ….including my online store! 😉 I will figure out a way to post my inventory without crashing my site again. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Comment below or message me on Facebook!

Red Lentil Spaghetti {with Sauteed Vegetables in Tomato Basil Sauce}

Feed A Cold, Fuel Your Body

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I started to feel under the weather. I started taking cold medication, hoping to ward off any germs but apparently I was too late. On Monday, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection – my first in nearly four years – and given a prescription for antibiotic.

I did nothing on Monday but sleep, hence the reason for the missing blog post. Apparently my body was exhausted, and the only way to slow me down was to knock me off my feet with this “crud”, as I call it. It’s Thursday, and I’m still not feeling well. (Although I am feeling better!)

I had planned to blog about another topic today, but this sickness has really be interesting to me from a food perspective. I thought I would delay the other post and share with you my cravings, and my take on them.

When 21 months pass between sinus infections, you would think that I wouldn’t remember the details. Oh, but I do! I am quite certain I picked up something on the plane to Haiti and, while I spent the week in the third-world country,  it developed into the worst double ear infection and sinus infection of my life. I knew I was sick, but I had no idea how sick until the day I flew home. The truth is, I probably shouldn’t have flown home. I was THAT sick. It took a month of strong antibiotics and lots of rest to recover. I will spare you any other details. In the next year, I developed other health problems and eventually learned of my food allergies. After learning that I had to give up dairy forever, I was told by my physician that I would likely see a decrease in sinus infections… and I did. I was actually surprised at this one. But she did say “decrease” and not “an end.”

When I learned of my food allergies, I obviously adopted a new way of eating… but it wasn’t entirely due to the elimination of gluten, casein, and whey. I started to eat more whole foods. I try sticking to the simple, natural ingredients when I can. I figure the less stuff, the less chance of worrying with food allergies. I avoid genetically modified foods and shop organic and local when I can. I now eat farm fresh eggs “right out of the chicken”, honey that is harvested and bottled by a coworker, and produce grown by farmers that I’ve built relationships with and know now on a first-name basis. I didn’t view it as a fad diet, like some who eat this way on occasion to drop a few pounds. It was my new way of life. I did see immediate changes: weight loss, more energy, and better skin, to name a few. But two years later, I am still seeing changes.

I remember when I returned from Haiti, sick and pouty, all I wanted was comfort food. My brother had picked me up from the airport, and I begged him to stop and buy me french fries & a sweet tea on our drive home. When I got home, I recall waking up from naps on the couch and eating things like grilled cheese with mayonnaise, mac & cheese, or Doritos. I was out of work for nearly a week following my return because all I wanted to do was sleep. Granted, I was more sick than I am now, but I suffered from fatigue in addition to the infections.

Jump ahead to this week. It dawned on me last night that I have only reached for comfort food once during this sickness, and it was at the very beginning on Sunday morning. And it was eggs, gf/df toast and milk gravy. One meal. One proportioned meal of decent ingredients. Comfort food doesn’t have to equate to junk food! The rest of the time, I haven’t really been able to taste anything. (My nose is so stuffy that it has affected my smell and taste.) However, I have noticed that I still crave certain things: fruits and vegetables! The only things I wanted to eat after that comfort food meal were oranges and bananas, so I listened to my body and ate those. The following day, I continued to crave the same thing but also ate small portions of rice. I couldn’t taste anything, but my tummy wanted it. By Tuesday, I had an insane craving for a giant salad. I filled it with veggies, tossed in some hard boiled eggs for protein, and topped it off with banana peppers and jalapenos, hoping their kick would offer up some flavor. Despite not being able to taste it either, I enjoyed the crunch of the fresh veggies that I wasn’t getting with the fruit. I only missed one day of work, and have had more overall energy than I expected with this sickness. I can’t help but to think that the fuel that I’ve been feeding my body this time around has played a key role in recovery. Because of that, I am planning to blog more about whole food and the benefit of food as fuel for our bodies in upcoming posts.

This morning, I woke up with one thing in mind… spaghetti with sautéed veggies! I know I must be feeling better to actually want to prepare a meal. 🙂 Luckily, this is an extremely easy meal to prepare.


I love sautéed fresh vegetables as a base for almost every meal.


Red lentil pasta has two ingredients: lentil flour and brown rice flour. It is low in carbs, sodium, and sugar, and high in protein.


Doesn’t this look delicious? I save leftovers to make homemade pizza! (I use a store-brand sauce from my local grocery store.)

Ingredients:
2 oz of red lentil spaghetti
1 medium-sized zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
coconut oil
tomato and basil spaghetti sauce

Instructions:
Boil 1 qt of water in a medium saucepan
Add pasta and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally

While waiting on water to boil, prepare vegetables
Heat frying pan and add 1 T of coconut oil
Sauté vegetables in coconut oil
Reduce to low and add in spaghetti sauce
Simmer until warmed thoroughly

When pasta is cooked to desired consistency, empty saucepan into strainer. Allow water to drain from pasta thoroughly, then place pasta back into saucepan. (Optional step: add butter or vegan substitute to pasta to help spaghetti to not stick together.)

*Some people prefer to combine the pasta with the sauce and mix. I plate mine separately so that I can use leftover sauce!

Serve as is or with a simple side salad. Quick, easy, allergy-friendly, and nutritious!

#Thankful

I am so grateful – every.single.day – for this life. Too many things to list… the good and the bad… I am thankful for it all.

An extra-special thank you to all of you who follow along on this mission of mine!

 

Wishing you and yours a veryHappy-Thanksgiving-2016

Meet Mission Art & Design

After a long hiatus, I’m finally designing again! I have opened an Etsy store, and invite you all to check it out. I will be offering instant downloads as well as customizable designs. My primary focus right now is graphics, but I will also be offering hand lettering services. I do plan to also offer photography and other artwork at some point in 2017.

I want to also create a store on this page, but that will take some time to build. Until I launch my store on this site, please head over to Etsy to shop.

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 5.53.30 PM

A little about Mission Art & Design:
I have always had a passion for art. I remember telling my grandmother when I was about three years old that I wanted to grow up to be an artist. It was all that I knew, and all that I ever wanted. I lived and breathed art – from drawing and painting to set design in theater arts, I was always expressing myself creatively. I knew that I wanted to attend a college ranked highly in their art program, and was ecstatic to be accepted into the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Design. By the time I graduated, I had exhibited my work in an international museum… in a gallery directly below one filled with Picasso, De Kooning, and Matisse. With endless opportunities for employment, I decided to pursue a career in graphic design and photography. I spent 10 years developing my skills in printing, marketing, and publishing. After a decade in corporate design, I became a bit burned out. I needed to remove myself completely. I selected a new career in Healthcare, and spent the next decade de-sensitizing myself from the cookie-cutter branding of my previous career. Today, I have found my passion for art again; the passion that I had when I created and exhibited art without the direction of CEOs and Account Managers. And I have decided to sell some of that artwork through my online shop. I named it Mission Art & Design because I’m on a mission to express myself creatively again. I’m not sure where this will take me but the beauty is in the journey, not in the destination! I hope you enjoy the adventure.

Honey Veracha Chicken & Rice

This post has been sponsored by True Made Foods in conjunction with NC Blogger Network. I received compensation in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

I’m not one to use Sriracha in recipes because my tolerance for super hot sauces is a bit lower than most folks. I love spicy foods but when things are too hot, I feel like they lose flavor over the heat of the spice.

That is why, when I was ask to give True Made Foods’ Veracha sauce a try, I was a bit reluctant at first. However, I quickly learned that Veracha stands for Vegetables + Sriracha. That’s right… the secret to True Made Foods sauces is that they contain vegetables! For a conscious eater like myself, I love the idea of products combining flavor and nutrition. The Veracha sauce contains carrots, butternut squash, and spinach. I know what you’re thinking, “But can they really hide vegetables in their sauces?” I had to find out!

True Made Foods was kind enough to send me a bottle of their Veracha sauce to sample, along with their Ketchup and BBQ Sauce. Since I was unsure as to how spicy their Veracha sauce was, I opted to make a slow cooker version of Honey Sriracha Chicken. [I’ll include that recipe below.] The combination of honey with the hot sauce cuts out some of the heat.

To my surprise, the Veracha sauce is not at spicy as Sriracha. Don’t get me wrong, it still has a kick to it, but the heat of the spices are not over-powering. It is packed full of flavor — delicious, mouth-watering flavor! There’s a hint of sweet to it just before it delivers a wonderfully spicy heat. It is incredible! And did I mention that it’s made with vegetables? This sauce is truly the best of both worlds. I will never make Honey Sriracha Chicken again. From this point forward, I only make Honey Veracha Chicken!

Since True Made Foods created such an amazing hot sauce, I knew that I couldn’t wait to try their Ketchup too. It also contains carrots, butternut squash, and spinach. Their ketchup has 50% less added sugar than most other brands! Y’all… this is amazing ketchup! It is tangy and sweet, and the perfect thickness. It makes other brands taste watered-down and bland. You have got to try it for yourself!

IMG_1165

You can find their products in a number of places. You can place an order online via their website, or you can find them in select Super Target and select Whole Foods. Their Veracha and Ketchup can also now be found in all Lowes Foods!

True Made Foods is making American food healthy, turning empty calorie foods into nutrient dense foods. Their hot sauce is pure Paleo, and their Ketchup and BBQ Sauce are also gluten free and vegan. All are non-GMO!

Fun Fact: The carrots and butternut squash used in these products come from family-owned farms in Eastern North Carolina.

Please follow True Made Foods on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you’re looking for an easy recipe for these products that highlights their incredible taste, consider Honey Veracha Chicken & Rice!

INGREDIENTS
3 chicken breasts
1.5 cups water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons TMF Veracha sauce
1 tablespoons TMF Ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Place chicken breasts into the slow cooker.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine together the remaining ingredients.
Pour mixture over the chicken breasts.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

IMG_1168
When chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove from slow cooker and shred with a fork.
Remove 1.5 cups of the Honey Veracha chicken broth from the slow cooker and set aside.
Return shredded chicken to the remainder of the broth and adjust the slow cooker to warm.

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
1 cup white Jasmine rice
1.5 cups Honey Veracha chicken broth
2 zucchini
small onion
coconut oil

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS
In a saucepan, bring Honey Veracha chicken broth to a boil.
Stir in rice, cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
In a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté diced zucchini and onion in coconut oil.
When tender, add cooked rice to saucepan containing sautéed vegetables.

IMG_1169
Serve shredded chicken with rice, and enjoy!

*Because I absolutely love the flavor and can’t get enough of it, I drizzled a small amount of Veracha sauce directly on top of my chicken for an added kick of spices. 🙂

 

Fall Fashion with Style Encore

If you’ve been following my blog since summer, you’re likely to remember that I fell in love with the Personal Shopping Experience offered by Style Encore. Style Encore is a local consignment store specializing in name brand clothing and accessories. They sell everything from Michael Kors blouses to Tory Burch shoes and Kate Spade purses, among many other brands. All are in barely used, great condition — I have purchased several items with the original tags still attached — and all are sold for a fraction of their retail cost!

I love fashion, but I actually hate to shop. I don’t like fighting crowds in busy department stores. I don’t like combing through racks searching for a style that I really am not sure even exists. If I do find something unique, I never know if it actually looks good on me. I do like the idea of boutiques but the prices are a big turn off. It’s hard to be a fashionista with all of these negatives in my way.

That’s why the Personal Shopping Experience is perfect for me. Style Encore reminds me of a boutique, only better with really great prices. Everything in the store is “one of a kind” since the items are purchased piece-by-piece from many individuals throughout the year. The store isn’t overwhelming in size. And I don’t have to fight the crowds or search the racks! The ladies at my local Style Encore in Winston Salem do that… and cater to me like I’m a celebrity. With a keen eye for current trends, they style numerous outfits in advance and I just show up and try them on! The best part is that I’m assigned a stylist who will give me her honest opinion. No more second-guessing the fit alone.

A Personal Shopping Experience will be perfect for you, too! This is a FREE service offered by Style Encore. Whether you’re looking for a specific outfit for a special occasion or whether you’re like me and just love seasonal updates to your closet, you should consider being styled at Style Encore. Going on a cruise and need cute dresses? Starting a new job and need business attire? Just started a new relationship and need some great date-night pieces? No matter the reason, the Personal Shopping Experience is your must-use styling service!

If you live in or around the NC Triad, you have two location options: Winston Salem and Greensboro. If you live elsewhere, click here to find a store near you.

Here’s how the Personal Shopping Experience works:
1. Stop by Style Encore to pick up a Style Guide (or give them a call, they will email it to you!)
2. Complete the style guide and return it.
3. Schedule your Personal Shopping Experience.
4. Show up and have fun trying on everything!
5. Don’t bother trying to narrow down your options. Their prices are too good to be picky!

Below are photos from my Fall Personal Shopping Experience. I am including three of my favorite outfits, and a summary of my purchases.

  

When you buy or sell clothing to Style Encore, you receive a punch-card. For every $10, you receive a punch. After 20 punches, you receive 20% off your next purchase. I used my punch card on this purchase and saved $46.


Old Navy blazer $10
Mossimo blouse $6
LuLaRoe skirt $12
New Direction shoes $12
Total outfit $40


The Limited blouse $12
Ann Taylor Loft slacks $13
Vince Camuto shoes $18
Total outfit $43


Jennifer Lopez blouse $13
Joe Fresh jeans $9
Naturalizer booties $18
Black necklace $8
Total outfit $48

All of the prices above do not reflect my discount. My final purchases were 18 pieces for $231. After my 20% discount, I paid a grand total of $185. That’s roughly $10 per item! And I received 18 punches on a new card. Over the course of the next couple of months, I should be able to sell back at least $20 worth of clothes so that when it is time for my Spring Personal Shopping Experience, I’ll have another 20% to put toward a new wardrobe! Win-win.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Style Encore for your Personal Shopping Experience today!!

I was not compensated for this post, and it contains no affiliate links. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Go Cubs, Go!

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for winning the 2016 World Series. Breaking their 108-year long wait to capture the Commissioner’s Trophy is a really big deal.

My friends and I like to think we had a little something to do with it since we caught a game back in May. Maybe we’re lucky charms? 🙂

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If we are lucky charms… I hope these ladies will join me for a game out in LA in 2017. I sure would love to see my Dodgers go all of the way next year!!