crunchimomma- Heather Spergel

Author, Mom, and Creative Nut!

Thanks, Pharma. You created the “anti-vaccine movement”.


Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo Secauscus, NJ September, 7-8!


I’m so over the moon excited to be presenting “Free to be… Gluten-Free, a Mom’s Choice Award Winning book to the audience at the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo in Secaucus this September 7-8!  

Here’s their mission!

The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo is dedicated to meeting the needs of the celiac community, those with gluten and food sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases, and autism. The public is helped through vendor expositions, educational sessions, and online resources. The manufacturers are serviced through vendor expositions, marketing programs, and consultative services.

I’ll be there with illustrator, Anita Martino, selling and signing and meeting new people with the same goal in mind- helping other people adjust and live healthy and happy lives gluten and allergen free!

Image  Image

Can’t make it?  Order here!   <—— CLICK!

See you all soon!




Book review! “To Sleep…Perchance to Die” by Donald Grippo

“To Sleep…Perchance to Die” by Donald Grippo, D.D.S  

Image Image

I’m not sure how anyone can resist this cover!  I told the author this when I grabbed an autographed copy of his new release, “To Sleep…Perchance to Die” this month.  I hoped this book wouldn’t disappoint me.  I didn’t want it to be just a great cover or just a great title.  

Turns out, it’s a GREAT book!

Donald Grippo practiced oral and maxillofacial surgery in Connecticut for more than 30 years.  He worked in the Tennessee State Prison as a dentist, and as a guard in the Hartford State Jail.  Donald also wrote, “A Guide to the Guy or Gal Who Takes Your Teeth Out”, a series of short stories about the treatment of oral surgical problems.  His undergraduate degree in Psychology, plus his doctorate, in addition to his experiences throughout life clearly created the fertile ground for a story like this to grow!  

Do you enjoy overviews of stories?  I’m mixed on the topic of book summaries.  As an avid reader, I often prefer to get the gist of a story in a few sentences and not read the entire summary on the back of a book before opening it.  I want to be surprised, shocked, riveted, and caught off guard.  I almost challenge a book to do that. 

This book shocked me, had me fully engaged, and wondering what awaited me around the next bend.

I didn’t read the full summary on this one, instead relying on the title, the cover, my instinct, and yes folks, those few lines on the back.  I was THRILLED those lines on the back didn’t give away the story- instead they taunted me to read it and understand.  AND, when I read the book and understood those lines, I felt like I hit the meat of the book.  YES!  I’m IN IT!  

I settled down to read “To Sleep…Perchance to Die” by the light of my small lamp.  Soon I realized that hours had passed as I flipped each page and moved onto the next.  Drawn in by the characters and the captivating story, I continued to read into the night.  The book bonked me on my head somewhere around 1 am- somehow I fell asleep late at night.  (not by boredom- I have 2 kids- enough said, right?)  Reluctantly, I put the book down, but crawled out of bed early to read in the bathtub before the kiddos woke!

Have you ever wondered what is whirling around in the head of authors that create stories that knock you off your socks, shoes, and make your gum fall out of your mouth in shock?  I wondered this several times while reading this book.  (…and I mean this in a good way).

If you enjoy overviews, here you go!  “Tangled lives, tainted love, and a Shakespearean twist lead to deception, betrayal, and murder. In this sexy, psychological thriller, Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai’s seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai’s happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret’s uncle and well-known criminal attorney Hubie Santos attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.”

Each of the characters involved in this tangled web of deception and lies, whether the victim or the villain, seemed so real, I could picture this book as a movie.  There is one non-fictional character in the story, cast as the main character’s uncle, Hubert (Hubie) Santos, is a real-life criminal attorney practicing in Hartford Connecticut.  What a character!  We should all be so lucky to have an attorney like that if our lives turned in that direction.  The scheme created in this book had my jaw dropping to the floor in a “I can’t believe that just happened” fashion.  Wowza!  

Don’t you hate when you read a great book, but get to the end, only to be left disappointed and let down?  It ruins the entire book, doesn’t it?  Sours you.  Not this one.  (Did you think I was going to say the ending was terrible? NOPE!)  Definitely a great read with an ending I loved.  

Now that I finished the book, I can go to bed without worrying about a book smacking me in the face when exhaustion hits!

Order your copy through your favorite local store!  Or, order online…. 



Happy Reading!




Book Review- “Lube Of Life” By Mindy Mitchell and Edward Land



I picked up a copy of “Lube Of Life” from Barnes & Noble the other day after watching a compelling introduction by both authors, Mindy Mitchell and Edward Land.  I thought that this book was out of my age range and would be silly for me to read- that was BEFORE I heard them talk and heard their readings from the book.  Mindy’s quirky personality shined as she talked with passion about her new book and Edwards fondness for Mindy lit up in his eyes as he read his book portions.  I felt drawn to the calm and playful energy of Edward and wondered how that played out with Mindy.

I bought the book. 

My friend also bought the book, and she is my age (in the 40 range- let’s leave it at that).  She loved it too.  Since the book sat on my nightstand, I picked it up.  What better recommendation is there than your close girlfriend telling you she loves a book?  The smooth cover sat invitingly in my hands as I dove in.  

I felt drawn in immediately by this tale.  A true story of a couple, each looking for love in their 60’s.   They find each other on a dating site and acknowledge they are too far away from each other in distance by a few hours and a few hundred miles, and tell each other that they may not even like one another in person.  

Each meeting is their “last” meeting and never ends up being their last.  I don’t want to post spoilers, but I kept on reading their real-life conversations and interactions- feeling as if I was peeking into their private lives.  I loved this format!  

I laughed at Mindy’s funny comments to Edward and felt her developing feelings toward this unique and understanding man.  I read between the lines of her comments and felt her love before she even acknowledged them.  I marveled at the fun interaction between the two- almost jealous of their journey.

They realized that the “lube of life is the emotional, physical, and spiritual juice that keeps us young, excited and open to possibilities.”  Throughout their journey, I am impressed by not only their ability to retell their story, but also by their honestly back and forth.  The integrity, humor, and excitement jumps from the pages. 

Find this terrific book on Amazon with this link:  Image


Barnes and Noble with this link Image

Indie Bound at Image

Here’s Mindy’s author page at Turn the Page Publishing  

She says, “I’m an enthusiastic learner and curious by nature; youthful in thought and outlook. My life path is enhanced with joyous, curious and devastating events. The choices I have made and the steps I have taken to navigate these detours leads me to believe that we are all on a journey to a common destination. Pack lightly! I love to share in laughter, travel, and storytelling. Who knew I would have so many tales to tell?”

And Edward’s author page

He says, “Word play has been a part of my life almost as long as I can remember. I enjoyed the comic strip, POGO by Walt Kelly when I was five. In high school, I wrote reports that amazed the teachers with brilliance or baffled them with BS. A friend complimented me by saying, “There’s always this about Ed. If you ask him a question, he will either tell you the truth or something very interesting. And you’ll never know which it is.” Our story is both very interesting AND the truth! I am intrigued to find myself, once again, using words to expand my life in ways unimagined and now sharing them with you.”

So folks, be open to possibilities in your own life, no matter where you sit.  You never know who will walk in the door and provide an interesting experience for your journey. 

Heather 🙂 




Free To Be…Gluten-Free! … with older children!


When I first wrote, “Free to Be… Gluten-Free!” My son was a couple years younger and my daughter wasn’t yet diagnosed with any gluten (or corn) issues.  I wrote the book with the younger age group in mind.  The children can identify with the boy in the book feeling ill on the potty, crying or having fits, and laugh at the gluten monster.

In truth, older kids are often diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.  These children need a book.  (Yes, of course I started writing one!).  They need support in the meantime.

The depth of sorrow my 6 1/2 yr old shows about not eating gluten is often heart-breaking.  He brings home challah made at school or cupcakes from class.  He looks at me with those sad eyes.  “Can I eat this?  PLEASE?!”  This is a typical conversation when the teacher sends something home (and I wish she wouldn’t).  Then when I tell him he cannot eat it, he often accepts this.  However recently, that is NOT the case.

“WHY?!  Just this once?”  I felt like I was reading from a recent book for gluten-free kids where the mom reminds the child what he felt like when he ate gluten.  My son not only has the response in his gut, causing the runs and bloat (plus the sleeplessness and emotional reactions)- last time he had a contaminated meal, he started to get an itchy mouth and tongue- allergic responses.  So I drove on in the car that day and reminded him how he felt eating gluten- when he stomach was all messed up.  I reminded him that Gabi and I also eat gluten-free and miss the foods we used to eat too.  That link shows the digestive system and the path of food in the body.  THIS is what older children need to see.  What happens to the food once it goes into the body?  How does your body respond if it does’t process this food well?  THESE are questions my new book will answer- for future publication.  … and YES, it isn’t FAIR that you have to eat differently.  However, it is what it is.  Life handed you lemons, so let’s make lemonade (oh and let’s do REAL lemonade without corn syrup and all the chemicals?).

rolling raw cookie balls

In the meantime I roll raw cookie balls and keep him (and his sister) interested in delicious foods.  We make our own sushi and bake our own bread.  We clean veggies and they stir and measure!

I involve them in cooking and kitchen tasks as much as possible (make note, cooking with kids takes 3x’s as long, so put on your patience hat).

My emphasis with older children is education, empathy, and action.  Here’s what you CAN eat, I’m sorry you Can’t eat all those foods you wanted to eat, and let’s go cook together!

Oh, and if you didn’t order your advance copy of  “Free To Be… Gluten-Free!”, click here–

Here are more things we’ve created in our kitchen!

Soft and doughy GF challah with NO corn products

Soft and doughy GF challah with NO corn products

raw cookie dough balls close up


Quick veggie and chicken stir-frysushi gabi

Allergy and Food Sensitivities RANT- YES, take me seriously! (Free To Be… Gluten-Free!)


Do you or your child(ren) have food allergies/sensitivities?  I want to hear from you!  Tell me your story!  Tell me all about it… because believe me, we can bond over it.  Whatever level of sensitivity or allergy you have in your house, we have our own.  How do people support or NOT support you and your family?

I never thought my children or myself even, would have issues like this.  Allergies or sensitivities cause us to think before we eat anywhere.   We bake before any party.  We call ahead to any place, and we feel a burden to everyone because we MUST be careful, and people need to help us if we eat at their house.  (Even in a house with a child with multiple allergies, where they KNEW we had food issues, served us what they hoped was a safe meal, and guess what?  Nope- as I discovered after).

But my BIGGEST GRIPE, are people that say, “Well what if he eats this just this one time?  Will it really hurt that bad??”  ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME?  Ok, people, we all can understand each other, but I do not live in your house, nor do you live in mine. So if you go ahead and feed that to my child, you do not have to pick up the pieces of my child for days after you decided to experiment with that ONE meal.

Here’s a SHORT-term look at what corn and gluten do to my children- this is a short list of reactions.

1.  My son is developing an allergy to gluten- so immediate reaction from contamination could be the itchy tongue, roof of mouth, and itchiness.

2.  If there is food coloring in something my son eats, expect a complete emotional meltdown within 30 min.  Let me give you an example, before we knew what was going on, we let Nate have a rocket pop (from hell) at the pool  A treat once in awhile despite us never serving this at home seemed ok.  He broke down crying and screaming and my husband carried him over his shoulder out of the pool (to the critical and scornful look of a crowd of parents and single people who have no freakin’ clue!).  In hindsight, he has a sensitivity to the corn, so that with the dye made for a disaster beyond disasters.

3.  My daughter develops hives.  Why would you want to risk if THIS meal combo, whether it be corn or wheat will create that annoyingly itchy and painful condition that takes days or a week to go away?!  No thanks.

4.  If you would like to experiment with ME, gluten creates a raging, depressed, sleepless mom and that reaction lasts 2 days.  Want to feed me and then try to have an intelligent conversation with me in a day?  Maybe don’t attempt it unless you would like to have your head served on a platter, because that’s how ANGRY gluten gets me!

We do NOT have epi pens, and I know there are many out there with them for themselves and their children- I am certainly NOT downplaying the dangerous and scary nature of ALLERGIES in children.  However, I know food sensitivities are under-discussed.

Let’s review the LONG-term consequences of IGNORING the symptoms of gluten/corn sensitivity in our family.  If you can get past the initial reaction, this is what you will find in our house!

1. tush rashes on both kids as the food moves through their guts.

2.  delayed reaction to 48 hours after or 24 hours after, oppositional behavior in my children that will make your head SPIN!  Think of all those possible undiagnosed kids out there being disciplined when it’s their FOOD causing the issues!  If I wasn’t educated on this, my kids would be in a perpetual completely anti-attachment parenting time-out 24/7 because the behavior change is unmanageable.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the flesh and blood, reincarnated in MY children!

3.  BRAIN FOG. Focus focus focus!  They don’t when they eat these foods.  Don’t offer ADD meds and don’t blame them.  It’s not their fault in Mom or Dad missed a suspect food.  Once the inflammation in their bodies subsides, they will be back on track again.

4.  Mood swings- closely related to item 2, however, this is chronic when eating these foods. Constant up and down with the whining.  OH but ALL kids whine, you say.  Well there IS a certain amount of testing in many kids, and that is fine and dandy.  This level of mood swings and such, will leave YOU wanting an antidepressant to cope.

5.  RASHES.  My son had these nasty eczema-like rashes on his stomach and leg.  We were clueless.  “Oh put some cream on that!  Many kids have that.” WHAT?  Is that really acceptable? NOPE.  There is a CAUSE for that!  Dairy, wheat, ect.  LOOK into it.  My son’s gut was so imbalanced by the time we saw the writing on the wall, we needed to put in some good supplements, remove those offensive foods, add coconut oil, and wait.  The lining in the gut becomes permeable or cells pull apart as the gut becomes a mess.  I’m not a doctor, you can look up the details, but clearly, a changed needed to happen and FAST.

6.  In myself, 38 years of my life, I suffered.  YES, I suffered.  Depression, anxiety, mood swings, rage, stomach pains, and brain fog.  How did I make it this far without knowing?!  Why didn’t someone see this?  People didn’t talk about this as much or have as much awareness as they have today.  NO, it isn’t a FAD.  NO it isn’t a CRAZE.  This is an important issue!  I learned because I went gf with my son to support him and Tada!  Mommy felt better! Not just better, but ALIVE!

After removing ALL gluten and corn from my son’s diet, he became energized (no he wasn’t iron deficient, he had food sensitivities!), happy and stable (no he DIDN’T need medication or a spanking for God’s sake), and his skin fully healed (he shouldn’t need cream to treat some condition caused by his gut- fix the gut, fix the skin).  My daughter began to emotionally CONNECT with people.  Eye contact, attachment to other people and not just me.  My daughter’s teacher said she is the happiest kid she has seen.  Yes, she IS happy- now that we fixed this issue!  … but he screaming in the mornings wasn’t just sadness at leaving Mommy, she was a moody little one!  … (back to oppositional- I don’t believe in calling a 2 or 3 yr old oppositional, but someone called my daughter that before we figured out these issues.  I use the word above to give you a picture).

Holistic Mom’s Network Founder, Nancy, recommended I try Dr. Loren Marks as an assessment tool- SMART MOVE!  Here’s his link.  He was so amazing, my husband learned his technique!  In hindsight, I wish I had him tested for celiac (and myself) at the time before removing gluten- but we can’t go back now.

So I wrote “Free to be… Gluten-Free” with my son in mind (my daughter wasn’t born yet).  He experienced all these symptoms, but after pushing away gluten, was FREE and filled with GLEE!  Foreword by Loren Marks, DC, DACBN.  Beautifully illustrated by Anita Martino.

We changed the cover (again) so it will look different when you get yours.  Order ahead- you are guaranteed the lowest price upon release in June 2013.  I resisted putting ANY recipes in this book, after all, I’m not a chef.  With encouragement, I picked some to include- then we deleted half of them to shorten the book.  I’ve read several gluten-free books for kids.  Here’s my critique- TOO LONG and wordy, not simple enough, the size of the book is hard to hold when cuddling in bed, emphasis on junk food just because it’s safe in order to make a child not feel left out.  WHAT?!  Yes, that gf child can eat a jelly bean, but is THAT really a common treat you want your child to eat?


This is the cover image (above) we now use on the front of the book- it looks slightly different, but I wanted to share the art.


Here is our silly gluten-free boy mixing with his mom’s spoon!  Making healthy and safe creations!  See the gluten monster on the fridge behind him?  Caged so he can be FREE and full of GLEE!

This book is a TOOL for parents/teachers/librarians/nutritionists/nurses/and many more, to use in discussions about food sensitivities and allergies in children and for their friends- to help them be supportive and understanding!

So you ask, “Is it ok to give him this just this once?” HECK NO!  Unless you want to torture my child, and I doubt you want that.  If you DO, take him home with YOU, and GOOD LUCK!  (I would never do that, but it was fun to say anyway!).


Also, on Amazon (and of course Barnes & Noble)!

Joe’s American Bar and Grill (Short Hills Mall, Short Hills- NJ)

Try Joe’s!

Since becoming gluten-free, finding family places to eat where they can accommodate our need for corn free also, has been CHALLENGING.  Joe’s American Bar and Grill has been consistently TERRIFIC… and therefore worth more than a mention!

Plan to be there early, put your name in.  It may be a bit loud, but it is a family atmosphere and friendly.  When you arrive and mention that you have food allergies/sensitivities, the manager politely comes to the table to personally discuss your issues, review your options, takes your order, and follows it down the line.

Think I’m kidding?!  NOT.  I’ve occasionally ordered through the knowledgable waiters/waitresses, but usually the manager comes over.  

We’ve ordered, hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta with sauce (marinara), french fries, half chicken, salads and veggies.  Instead of bread, we request celery and carrot sticks.  My only gripe here is that these do NOT come as fast as BREAD.  …. and they charge you for this.

My hamburgers have always been delicious here, and the gluten free bun might fall apart, but I cut it in half and enjoy having a bun for a change.  My children cannot eat it, as it has corn starch in it- I can however.  Juicy burger, cooked just right…. although the last two times I went, they had no more buns.  Apparently tons of people are ordering them and they can’t keep up.  My response? FIX THIS PLEASE. 🙂  So I ordered the half chicken and the skin was crispy and the chicken flavorful and moist.  It was amazing!

It’s not cheap, but worth a special trip out.  I HIGHLY recommend it.  I give it an A- due to the no buns that last time and no corn free buns.







Gluten-Free Brisket is so worth the time and effort.  Most of the effort is in the veggie prep- and if preparation of veggies is annoying, spend a little more for pre-cut ones.


Making a regular recipe gluten-free is a task easily done when it comes to meat dishes.  It’s a matter of reading labels and choosing broth without gluten or making your own.  Making sure everything you put in is safe (allergy wise) means the end product is, as logical would state, SAFE. 🙂


As a side dish for the brisket, you can easily make some veggies

Tossed fresh organic veggies (snap peas, green beans, and carrots) into a hot pan with grapeseed oil (or use olive oil).  Season with salt and onion powder (Himalayan Pink Sea Salt or Celtic salt).  Cook on medium heat, tossing and turning to keep them still crunchy (that’s the yummiest way to eat them).  Serve right away.

Nathan’s Brisket Yumminess-This recipe came partly from family and partly from experimentation.  The result?  Everyone leaves happy.  That’s a success we say!

    4 lbs brisket cut (look for organic/grass-fed if possible)

    1 cup red wine (dry)

    ½ cup balsamic vinegar

    ¼ cup olive oil

    1 tablespoon sugar or sugar replacement to be equivalent

    2 large red onions, 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks- all chopped

    4 gloves of chopped garlic

    6 plum tomatoes, cored and diced small or 1 can diced tomatoes (bpa free)

    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (fresh is best, bottle is second best)

    1 to 2 cups beef stock (make sure gluten free)

    1 bottle of gluten free organic ketchup

    Healthy squeeze of mustard

    Salt/pepper to taste

    ¼ cup kosher salt (use whatever salt you prefer)

    ¼ cup fresh ground pepper

    (optional- 4 cans potatoes peeled or 6-12 peeled organic potatoes)


  1. In a bowl, combine the wine, vinegar, and sugar.  Mix to dissolve the sugar and set it aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or deep pot, heat olive oil on medium-high.  Make sure the meat is dry.  Rub it generously with the salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the meat on all sides in the olive oil (maybe about 10 minutes), set the meat aside (make sure cats do not attack this like in our house!)
  4. With about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the pot (add more if needed), add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for about 8 minutes until slightly softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Avoid burning the garlic.
  5. Put the meat back into the pot.  Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, wine-vinegar mixture and beef stock.  Add liquid so it covers about ¼ of the meat (or more if you are cooking potatoes in this at the same time.  Poor in the ketchup and mustard to coat the top of the meat.
  6. (Optional and recommended)- Peeled potatoes, cook wonderfully in this dish.  However do NOT freeze the potatoes if cooking ahead.  They become mushy.  Make sure potatoes are organic.  Potatoes are sprayed with lots of pesticides.
  7. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender.  This will take several hours.  Depending on your cut of meat, this can take 4 hours.  Poke the center with a fork.  If it comes out easily?  DONE!
  8. We remove the meat; slice it with an electric knife against the grain, for nice clean slices.  If you cooked potatoes, use a spoon and carefully remove them. Use a hand blender if desired in the pot to smooth out the sauce.  I make my sauce very smooth so nobody picks out veggies!  Plus it thickens the sauce.  Put the meat back in.  Add the potatoes back in, if you opted to cook some.  Stir and serve it up!  FREEZES well! (Remember, do not freeze the potatoes!

This was originally going to be in my “Free To Be … Gluten-Free!” book for the June release, but we had too many pages and this recipe was cut.  If anyone tasted it first, nobody would have taken it out, I promise.  Delicious!


You CAN make a basic Chili! Now get cookin’!


How the heck do you make chili?  It’s FREEZING out, you yearn for something warm to heat you up from head to toe.  You haven’t make chili before and don’t quite know how to do it.  Well never fear, Joe Mom is here!  haha!

Now seriously, I’m NOT NOT NOT a chef.  However, I do cook full meals for my family almost every night.  Nobody has died yet and complaining is mostly from my 3 year old, and isn’t that normal?  Let it be said however, I jump at the night for takeout as a break!

Back to the chili!  I was freezing my butt off the other day and wanted something warm.  The choice I offered my husband was chili or chicken soup- both could be eaten day one and day two.  Leftovers make night two a joy, right?  He said, as usual, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO MAKE.  …… oooooook!

Off to the store I went.  I used to make a FANTASTIC Vegetarian chili from a recipe- but didn’t have it with me and with a child in tow, didn’t want to search on the phone.  I wanted meat and decided on organic, grass fed beef.   My belief about chili is- anything goes! (I say this as I duck because chefs would probably shun me haha!)  If I don’t say, “organic” in my list, trust me, I mean it….

Ingredients I chose on this cold cold cold day

2 pounds ground beef (You can omit meat and add tons of vegetables, or use a different meat)

4 organic juicy looking fat tomatoes

2 carrots chopped small (I know, not typical, but was hoping to lure my daughter to the table here)

2 stalks celery chopped small

1/2 red onion diced very small (I thought it’s sweetness might be nice over white and they looked better)

2 garlic cloves (if you have them- or powder) diced small

2 cans tomato sauce organic (I know this isn’t great- check for bpa free canned tomatoes since that is the acid product you don’t want in a can unless it is bpa free)

1 can black beans (I chose black beans because my son likes them at Quidoba!)

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt to taste

Grind of fresh black pepper

Rice (choose sushi, brown, white)

Olive oil (1 Tbsp)

What did I do with it all?  In other words, directions for dummies?  haha!

1.  Brown the ground beef in a large pot and drain, set it aside.

2.  Pour 1 Tbsp oil into the large pot on medium heat.

3.  Add 1/2 onion chopped small and sauté’ until softened (few minutes).

4.  Add chopped carrots and celery and cook for maybe 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Season with pinch of salt.

6.  Add Chopped garlic and stir (burned garlic is gross, so I add it last).  Cook for a few minutes.

7.  Add meat back, all seasonings (cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt).  Stir.  Duh, right?

8.  Here’s the fun part.  I pureed the can of (rinsed) beans with a touch of olive oil for moisture- except for a few tables spoons (those I put into the pot.  Toss the mixture into the pot and nobody will ever know.  (if your littles ones love beans, rinse the can and throw them right in!).

9.  Chop the tomatoes and puree (my son hates tomato chunks- so this way, he never sees them.  I love chunks of vegetables, but I flex here.  Toss this into the pot!  Because this is so watery, I didn’t add any water to the pot).

10.  Pour in your canned tomato sauce (previous recipes called for tomato juice, and you probably could just use lots of chopped tomatoes and even ketchup- but I was looking to get back to the kids here).  Stir!  (Did I need to say that?)

11. I cooked this on low for an hour and then realized dinner wasn’t for a few hours, so I threw it into the crock pot on low for the next few hours until dinner.  Now I probably could have done the entire dish in the crock pot, but being a regular mom, I’m telling you exactly what I did! 🙂  Oh, and TASTE it!  Need more salt? More spice?  Make it your own and add Paprika perhaps?

12.  Service over cooked rice in bowls like I did, add any toppings you enjoy, and dig in!  We each ate 3 bowls.

13. Safely store the rest for tomorrow!


We are not a super spicy family, and I know my son isn’t super fond of cumin, so add more or less spice according to your family’s tastes.



The ten worst ways your children are being poisoned right now- reprint from Natural News.

This was good enough to blog- interesting and even if you don’t agree on some issues, worth the read!

A reprint of a Dec 9th article from natural news:

Modern children are being poisoned like never before in the history of human civilization. No wonder the rate of autism in America has skyrocketed to 1 in 88 children over the last few decades, putting autism squarely in the “epidemic”; category.

But don’t expect any CDC action on this epidemic. The CDC knows full well why autism rates are exploding across America, but instead of admitting the truth, the CDC is running a cover story to protect the corporate interests of the real culprits: the medical corporations poisoning children for profit (see below).

It’s not just medical companies that are poisoning our children, by the way: They’re also being poisoned in other insidious ways that suppress free thinking, assault good health and crush children’s souls.

Here’s my list of the ten worst ways in which our children are being poisoned right now.

#1) Multiple vaccinations that inject mercury, aluminum, MSG and formaldehyde into children

It is an admitted fact that today’s vaccines given to children are intentionally formulated with mercury, aluminum, MSG and formaldehyde, all of which is insanely injected into the body of infants and children.

This is openly admitted by the CDC itself, which has emerged as a criminal front group for the vaccine industry. Rather than trying to determine why vaccines are causing so much autism, the CDC tries to hide the evidence, delay the hearings, and deploy smoke and mirrors to protect the criminally-operated vaccine industry where nearly every single vaccine manufacturer operating today has been found guilty of multiple felony crimes.

#2) Mercury fillings

Astonishingly, dentists in the USA continue to fill children’s mouths with the most toxic heavy metal known to man: Mercury.

They don’t call it mercury, of course, because that would raise too many questions. Instead, they call them “silver amalgam fillings.” But the No. 1 ingredient in these fillings is, of course, the heavy metal mercury.

#3) School lunches that use toxic processed food ingredients, including sodium nitrite

School lunches continue to serve our children a toxic cocktail of chemical food additives, partially-hydrogenated oils, chemical preservatives and even cancer-causing color fixers like sodium nitrite.

Sodium nitrite causes pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and brain tumors in children. It is intentionally added to hot dogs, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meats and nearly all processed meats. A nation that eats sodium nitrite on a regular basis will have sky-high rates of cancer as a result.

In addition to sodium nitrite, school lunches are also filled with GMOs which we now know cause huge cancer tumors in animals. The USDA, which is already in bed with Monsanto on the regulatory side, also buys masses of genetically engineered food to be used in school lunch programs.

#4) Television programming that poisons children’s brains with messages of materialism and inadequacy

Television was invented as a way to educate and uplift and population, but it has become dominated by commercial interests who brainwash children into worshipping materialism and being manipulated into feelings of inadequacy.

The point of this is to push sugary cereals, action figures, toys and junk foods into the minds of children so that they nag parents into buying it for them. Virtually all Saturday morning television, for example, has devolved into a “nag factor manipulation matrix” designed to brainwash children into begging their parents to purchase consumable items that generate profits for corporate advertisers.

Where is the education in television these days? It is now relegated to a few channels that focus on documentaries and non-fiction subjects, and even those channels are still funded by corporate interests.

#5) Public education that teaches revisionist history and toxic ideas about society

American children are being insidiously poisoned by public schools and all the atrociously damaging ideas those schools teach.

Many schools are now teaching what is essentially socialism or even communism. They attack and ridicule students who believe in the founding principles of America: patriotism, the Bill of Rights, individual liberty and the U.S. Constitution.

Students are also now being microchipped and taught that they are slaves of the state.

Just recently, in fact, several students were suspended from Kearney High School for painting the American flag on their chests for a lip-sync music video project sponsored by the school.

This is all a type of mental poisoning of our children, done under the banner of “education.”

#6) Toxic personal care products made with cancer-causing poisons: Shampoo, skin care, toothpaste, air fresheners, laundry soap and more

Children everywhere are being bathed in toxic poisons from all their personal care products, including soaps and shampoos, laundry detergents, fabric softeners and even toothpaste.

Most personal care products are loaded with cancer-causing synthetic chemicals. Laundry detergents bathe children’s clothing in cancer-causing chemicals which are then worn by the children and absorbed into their bodies. When children become teens, the toxic burden is increased even more through deodorants, makeup and cosmetics, perfumes and colognes. Nearly all conventional body care products contain cancer-causing chemicals, including the high-end, expensive brands.

#7) Toxic hydrofluosilicic acid dumped into the water supply after being mislabeled “fluoride”;

Children are being wildly poisoned by the dumping of hydrofluosilicic acid into the water supply. This is incorrectly called “fluoride”; but it’s actually a toxic byproduct of the chemical fertilizer industry or aluminum smelting industry.

As Natural News has proven, fluoride is sold as an insecticide chemical and a metals smelting chemical. It is one of the most toxic substances yet discovered, which is why it kills insects so effectively.

Fluoride is so toxic that dumping it into a river or stream in the United States would be considered an act of ecological terrorism. Yet, somehow, it is legal to dump it into the water supply of human beings who then urinated it back into the rivers and streams where it poisons the environment.

#8) Toxic indoor air environments at homes and schools: Formaldehyde, molds, glues and synthetic pollutants

Indoor air pollution is a significant source of toxic chemical exposure for children. Carpets, paints, wood floor and even furniture all give off toxic fumes that can promote cancer and aggravate allergies.

Many homes, schools and commercial buildings are contaminated with toxic molds that are also ingested by infants and children. Even hospitals circulate potentially deadly superbugs that can kill children.

#9) Video games

Make no mistake that children — especially boys — are being mentally poisoned by video games. These games teach boys that violence is normal through the relentless assault of ultra-realistic first-person shooters that put players in the position of violently murdering other human beings.

These games desensitize children to the real world, and they train children to grow up and join the military. Some of the most popular games are actually engineered and published by the military as recruiting systems for teens.

Take a look at the ultra realism (and violence) of “Far Cry 3” in this teaser video. This is what your kids are playing when you buy them an Xbox:

#10) Mind-altering psychiatric drugs

One of the greatest crimes against children today is found in the realm of psychiatry. That dark art of anti-medicine pretends to “diagnose”; children with “disorders&quot; which are then claimed to be treated by mind-altering psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin and Prozac.

The entire industry of modern psychiatry is a criminal drug ring conducted for the sole purpose of generating profits by treating children as pharmaceutical disposal objects. Most of the psychiatric disorders found in the DSM-V manual are completely fabricated works of fiction. The drug industry and modern psychiatry run their fraud as a tag-team of criminals who prey on children.

The most effective group fighting this today is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), found at

Learn more:

Calm the Frig Down… How a “Joe Mom” deals with fevers






Nathan is caring for his sick sister.  Luckily and knock on wood, he didn’t end up sick too!

I’m just a regular “Joe Mom” and my kids get sick too.

So it’s a Friday at 5 pm, and your little cuddly child feels hot.  Not normal hot, but hot hot.  What do you do?

“AHHHHHHHHHH! EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!”  you hear loudly and yelled to nobody in particular.  Then you realize it’s actually YOU freaking out in your own head.  No, you can’t call your doctor since he is gone for the day and most are closed on weekends.  Are you prepared?  What in your “Mommy arsenal” or “Family medicine/health cabinet”?

First, calm the frig down. haha!  I know that’s hard, so as I write this, I’m looking in the mirror.  I’ve freaked out many a times, before getting my head on straight, acknowledging that yes, my child IS sick, and it’s not just a drippy nose.

I never grab the Motrin or Baby tylenol or any fever reducers of any kind (a fever has to be really high and my child really uncomfy for me to even give a quarter dose).  If I even have any, it’s usually expired.  Why?  I know that the fever is important for the body to fight the bug- whatever it is.  A fever is a symptom of a disease, not a disease itself.  It’s an important part of how our bodies fight.  Lowering the fever artificially actually hampers the body from doing what it does best.

Well this year, there’s the added stress of panic about the Flu. So many people may be saying, “Oh no! Is it the flu?  She had her flu shot, or maybe (hopefully) she didn’t, so WHY WHY WHY us and WHY now?!”  Tons go through our heads when our little ones get sick.

With all those that get the flu shots, why is it such an epidemic then??  Why are so many people who got those shots sick?  Not for me to answer, but an interesting question and topic for another discussion.

Added to the stress is the changes in YOUR schedule (and sometimes NOT your partner’s schedule) due to the illness.  With my daughter’s last illness, I sat on the couch for a full day nursing her.  The illness before, I sat on the couch, reclined, flipped around… all over the couch for a whole week.  The change in my schedule, my life, my work… heck, my ABILITY to cook (I love love love to cook and bake)- difficult to swallow.  Once I surrendered, it grew easier.  Still stressful though.

In truth, when it’s a fever due to the Flu or a fever due to some random virus, my actions are the same.  YUP, the same.  So is it essential for me to know as a Mom if it’s the flu or random virus?  Not really.  I’m not going to behave differently.  Dr. Mom just kicks into gear, into action… the action of doing as little as possible.

AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE?? ARE YOU NUTS?!  Is that what you said in your head?  Well in truth, most anything I do creates comfort, but won’t change the process too much.

Goal one:

1.   Prevention

2.  Comfort/added immune support

3.  Comfort comfort comfort and comfort again.

Prevention:  I realize it might be too late now.  However, good probiotics, steady Vit D (I’m not a doc, so I can only share what I use and not give you advice- my husband does that job and can get you that fantastic Vit D!). Vitamin C (  Balanced guts (food sensitivities).  Low sugar intake.  Essential oils are also super helpful for prevention (Thieves for example!).  Regular pediatric chiropractic visits are paramount!




Comfort: What does your child need?  If nursing. Nurse nurse nurse.  Get comfy- remember those days of early nursing with your nursing table set up?  Set your child in a comfy place and run around like a chicken with your head cut off, and gather all you will need until help (family member/friend) arrives- if you have help.  *Note to self- always make sure the remote is close by and won’t fall away from your reach- I was stuck on the TV guide channel for hours when my son was a baby!


Blankets, your foods/water, books/nook/kindle- whatever you use to entertain yourself.  If we are looking at a fever, I use homeopathy, essential oils (peppermint oil diluted on the feet), and often lavender oil in water to dab on the forehead.  I’ve diffused oils in the room as well (thieves, lavender, peace and calming, … many others for immune support are out there and ones to cleanse the air- purification- but that’s not the main focus of this blog post).  I WAS doing a lukewarm bath with essential oil in epsom salt until I spoke to my Holistic Pediatrician and he made a good point.  If the bath provides comfort, make it warm and comfortable.  Put a blanket in the dryer for when you take her out.  I asked if the hot/warm tub will bring her fever higher.  He said, the tub is cooler than her body temperature.  It doesn’t have therapeutic value, but has comfort value. make it comfy.  I was freezing my kids for years- oops.  Maybe other doctors don’t agree, but I trust mine, so i’ll go with what he says.  A good adjustment from their Chiropractor Daddy, and that’s it.  So maybe that isn’t doing NOTHING.   It’s doing something different than some people may do.  How about that?

When my son was sick, he always allowed me to give him homeopathic remedies, like Natrabio Cold and Flue remedy- but NOT my daughter.  It’s a fight.  Not one to hold my child down and torture them for something that may or may not help, I just cuddle up, nurse, watch movies, and let her sleep in my arms all day if needed- after her adjustment if Daddy is around.

SIT ON THE COUCH FOR A WEEK? I CAN’T DO THAT!  Is that what you are saying?  I take my kids’ illnesses (even if rare) as an opportunity to chill, get caught up on any lost cuddles, and with my laptop handy, I do get some work done.  If comfort is my main goal as the body heals and recovers, and nursing or cuddling with Mommy creates that comfort, I will do everything I can to provide that.  If Dad or grandma or anyone else can step in and the child is willing- YES YES YES…. (Then you can run and pee!).  Kids grow up so fast and soon enough, don’t worry, they won’t want to curl up in your arms all day and nurse or lay with their head on your shoulder.

Fluids.  Tough one with my daughter.  With her last illness, she nursed only and no matter what I did, this 3 year old girl, refused EVERYTHING on day one of her high fever.  Finally on day two, she sipped water when I told her that she could nurse AFTER she sipped some.  Who knows if that made a difference.

Provide the best comfort you can within your belief system.  Try to keep your own anxiety and fear at bay.  Hang in there.  Most of all?



Whisper in the Wind – By Heather Spergel

I wrote this little poem because of the sad task someone I know has- to tell her child that she is dying.  How would you handle this?  How do you even begin that conversation?

Whisper in the Wind

Cuddling you on my lap I just know

There is no way to tell you that I must go.


This life with you has been way too short

Not enough time for hugging or watching you in sports.


Let’s sit and talk and figure out a way

To understand what is happening these rough days.


As much as I want to stay so badly

This illness is taking over so madly.


I’m trying so hard to hang on real tight

Finding any possible way to fight this fight.


If one day you look for me and see I’m not there

If the pain from my leaving is all you can bear.


Look to the stars- the second star to the right

Shining so brightly in the warm summer night.


Look in the mirror at your eyes so deep

It’s in those depths that you’ll see much of me.

I’ll be in your ear when the whistling wind blows

telling you secrets that nobody else knows.


When you close your eyes and dream, fear not my dear

I’ll be there to visit and standing real near.


I’ll bring you on a sweet sleepy journey

Bring you to visit with all of your family.


When day breaks and the sun shines bright

Just remember I fought with all my might.


To leave you is something I never want to choose

For a lifetime with you I’d opt not to lose.

Remember these things and let me hold you dear

and always feel my love is near.

Me 🙂  Heather Spergel

%d bloggers like this: