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Book Review: Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

WreckageWreckage by Emily Bleeker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I started to read this book, I thought, "Oh boy, not a cheesy reality show based book." However, as the story unfolded, I was pleasantly surprised. This book was well written and the characters were nicely developed. The author was talented in weaving the story from past to present and from present to the past. I'm not sure if I got an updated version. I know that Kindle Authors will sometimes do that - publish and continue to edit, as the reviews come in. Other reviewers disliked it and found it cheesy, making me think that I may have gotten a more updated version because I'm usually really picky about books, and I didn't find this one to be bad. Yes, you will not feel smarter for having read this book, you will roll your eyes once or twice, and it doesn't have an in-depth, complicated plot, but in my opinion it was nicely developed and easy to read. My biggest critique is the end, yes, it came together, if you like to tie all loose ends. Also, I can imagine that if you like happy endings, that you are left feeling "good." BUT because I'm a bit of a book snob, to me it felt a bit rushed and unrealistic. I don't want to spoil it, so I won't give details. All I will say is that, it would take very evolved people to act the way that these characters acted toward the end. Besides, that, this book was entertaining and I'm glad that I gave it a shot. I am usually stingy with my stars. I did give it a 4 out of 5 and this is why, I know how difficult it is to write a first time (good) book, because this was her first book and I didn't hate it, I felt generous. I think that her writing is good enough to warrant her writing more books. So there.

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Coffee with Non-Dairy Frothy Goodness

I Now Love Dairy Free Coffee!  WHAT?! 

Crazy, right?  However, it's not.  Let me give you some background and you'll understand how I got here.  And know that you can get there too! (Haha, I sound like an informercial).

I'm an ever evolving health freak.  I've come a long way. It has been a slow, but steady process.  I will not go into how healthy foods cured me of an "incurable illness" or how a complete overhaul of how my family eats has transformed our health.  I will save that for a future post.

My first few attempts at giving up dairy were not very successful because I failed to plan properly and I didn't have many recipes on hand to replace my favorite foods or drinks.  However, I was forced to give it up completely when I realized that my youngest baby was allergic to it.  This was very hard, but a blessing in disguise.  I am now healthier because of it.  I must admit, that now that my baby is a toddler who no longer relies solely on my milk for complete nourishment, I have cheated. I can tell you this, after being without it for so long, things don't taste the same to me and I no longer enjoy them like I use to. To my complete astonishment, I no longer enjoy dairy with my coffee!  WHAT??!!! Anyone who knows me, would be floored by this.  I am half Puerto Rican.  I love my cafe con leche, well, at least I use to.  You must be skeptical because in your effort to give up dairy, you have found that your coffee tastes like poop.  Well, there is hope!  There are non-dairy milks out there that taste absolutely delicious with coffee.  Let my trials and errors help you along your journey.  Of course, everyone has different tastes and so we may disagree on some things, but know this, don't give up.  Try everything that is out there because you will be surprise to find a few that you like.

Store Bought Creamers 

I can only comment on almond and coconut creamers because I stay clear of soy, unless it is from a very clean, organic, and a reliable source, which is rare in the USA.  Okay, here is what I have found with creamers: 1) They are expensive 2) They taste good, but are super sweet! 3) The ones that have no added sweetness don't taste as good (and this is coming from a person who doesn't drink sweet coffee anymore.)  So because the unsweetened ones are just, eh, I didn't want to shell out the mulah for it.  The pay off wasn't enough, so I moved on.

Non-Dairy Refrigerated Milks 

These are the milks in the cold section, not the ones in the little cartons in the aisles, I'll get to those.  So, I tried all of these too.  I tried almond, (regular, vanilla, and unsweetened) and none of them tasted good in my coffee at the time.  It was too strong of a flavor.  I tried cashew (regular, vanilla, unsweetened) and got the same result.  Coconut milk was okay in the vanilla version, but again, the flavor overpowered the coffee and left a weird bitterness toward the end. Rice milk was mild in flavor and was enjoyable to a certain extent, but was way too watery for me.  I went through all the non-dairy milks in the refrigerated section and didn't like any of them with my coffee.

Non-Dairy Milks in the Aisles

You know the ones that come in the little boxes/cartons... Yeah, those.  Well, I had success here.  I tried hemp and nooooooo!  I didn't like it with my coffee.  The rice milk in the carton was the same as the one in the refrigerated section - okay, but watery.  I then tried hazelnut milk and yum!  It was very tasty, but was also kinda strong, so I left it as a possibility.  I then tried oat milk and the heavens parted and angels sung!  It was so good!  I loved it and still do.  It's mild and has no after taste.  At $1.99 a carton it beat the almost $5 creamers.  One day I decided to mix the hazelnut and oat milk and it happened!!! It was like that scene out of When Harry Met Sally!  Yes, yes, yesssss!!!!!  I had found my drink.  This is how I now have my coffee every morning.  

Frothy Non-Dairy Milks

As much as I enjoy my oat/hazelnut milk combo with my coffee, I found something negative about it - it will not froth!  Every now and then this girl needs some frothy goodness. With cow's milk I would heat it to the boiling point and use my little nifty ikea whisk to froth it up.  I tried this with my milk combo and it was a huge FAIL.  I even tried running it through the blender and it fell flat.  Well, everything changed when my husband took me on a date and ordered me a Flat White with coconut milk from Starbucks. Betcha didn't know that they have coconut milk.  Well, yup, they sure do. My very evolved nineteen-year-old son told me that he asked what type of dairy alternatives they have and coconut milk was one of them.  Anywhooo, back to date night... THAT. FLAT. WHITE. WAS. AH.MAAA.ZING!!! So, the wheels in my brain began to turn and I revisited the refrigerator milk section.  I grabbed some unsweetened almond milk and some unsweetened coconut milk and got to experimenting.  This was my finding: they don't taste bitter or odd when frothed!!!!  They both work equally well and they both taste good.  All I do is warm it up in a small pot while I brew my coffee.  Once it begins to boil, I use my special whisk (pictured below) and I whisk it until it's nice and frothy.  I then pour over my coffee.  HOWEVER, I get the best results by brewing my coffee and dumping that with the milk in my Vitamin and running it on high for about 30 seconds.  OMGEE, the best frothy coffee EVAH!!!

I am now back to enjoying delicious coffee without missing dairy.  Just the other day, a friend bought me a Starbucks Flat White and surprised me at home.  I sipped it and it grossed me out.  I couldn't believe it.  The cow milk literally made me feel like puking.  I was very polite and took a few sips.  I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but then I discreetly got rid of it.  I felt guilty, and called her up later on that evening and fessed up.  She totally understood and didn't feel bad.  She said from now on she will surprise me with coconut milk lattes instead :)


I purchased this whisk at Ikea. 

Taco Pot Pie

Has it really been that long since my last post?  Wow, time certainly flies.  I apologize for my absence, but my calling as a wife and a mother to five kids has certainly kept me really occupied.  Some days I need to decide between a shower and sleep, so the last thing on my agenda was blogging.  I am pretty sure that many of you can understand that struggle. 

In all honesty, my motivation to create this post came out of necessity.  A new friend on Instagram asked for this recipe and being new to Instagram, I had no idea how to go about giving it to her.  Thus, I decided to post here and give her the link.  However, now that I am here, I am motivated to continue posting :)  
 Pie Crust Recipe

This crust will be enough for two 10 inch crusts (top and bottom)


  • 2 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of butter (make sure it is very cold and diced) You may have to pop back in fridge or freezer for a few minutes after you dice it, just to make sure it is still chilled.
  • 1/2 ice water (it has to be super cold. This is what makes it flaky) 

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. DO NOT OVERWORK or you will have a dense crust and not flaky. Once it comes together STOP! 
  4. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours or overnight. 
  5. Roll dough out to fit pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Put filling and then top with the other pie crust. 
  6. Flute it and then put slits into crust. 
  7. The Taco Pot Pie Recipe that I use calls for the crust to bake for 30 minutes. However, after about 15 minutes, remove the Pot Pie from the oven and cover the edge of the crust with foil to protect it from burning. Then pop back in oven for remainder 15 or until golden brown.

Taco Seasoning: 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper powder (more if you like it spicier)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1teaspoon paprika 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a small bowl mix all ingredients and use immediately or store in an air tight container. 
The Taco Seasoning I got off of many years ago.  I don't remember the name of the recipe, but I've messed around with it so much, that I'm not sure how close it still resembles the original recipe. 

This is the recipe we followed:, but we used our own taco seasoning, salsa, and home crusts. We also didn't use frozen veggies, we had fresh ones on hand. I don't have a recipe for my salsa. I just put a little this and a little that.  However, I'm sure you can find one online or just use store bought. We mess around with the veggies that we put inside. Also, we omitted the cheese because we are dairy free, but I bet it's yummier with it. The recipe is just a guide. You really can't mess it up.  
We had sides to go with it: Guacamole, lettuce and tomatoes. 


Vaccinations are DRUGS and they are POISONS

"A little baby is born and immediately given a set of vaccinations. These vaccinations; are drugs. They are poisons. They are diseased chemicals. You are injecting the little baby with viruses, drugs, chemicals, and disease. The baby's immune system begins to act in a totally unnatural way and becomes very susceptible to bacteria. Virtually every child, then, gets infections, primarily an ear infection. These infections were caused by the vaccines themselves. The doctor then prescribes more drugs in the form of antibiotics."
Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau

Learn more:

My Softies...

The one to the left, the eyes are how the pattern was intended, the one to the right is my own creativity.
This one is also my creativity (the eyes). 

The giraffe, is a replica of the dolls and daydreams pattern, but I didn't actually use the pattern.  I looked at the pictures and tried to figure it out .  However, as soon as I get money I will purchase the pattern b/c I think the one that she has is cuter than mine!

So what do you guys think?  Are these Etsy worthy?  I hope so...

Sewing my Little Fingers to the Bone...

So, lately I've gotten into making softies.  I purchased a pattern on Etsy and got rolling.  I made my first one - a prototype - it was okay.  Cute, but with plenty of mistakes.  He was my learning curve.  Now I am onto softie number three and I must say that I am getting the hang of this.  I am even getting really creative.  I've changed the pattern around a bit and am coming up with my own spin on Rudolph.

Here is a pic of my first one (after the prototype):

I am almost done stuffing numbers two and three.  When I am done I will post pics.  Those are the ones that I have really had fun with.  

The pattern that I used can be found here:

I love it.  I am giving these away as gifts, but I am hoping to get good enough to open up my own Etsy store.  What do you think?  Would you buy one? 

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

This is better than using Hershey's because you get a great tasting chocolate syrup without all the yucky chemicals and preservatives.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I use organic evaporated sugar cane)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 dash salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract
  • *If you are using this for ice cream, you may want a thicker chocolate, if this is the case, add about a teaspoon of cornstarch.  You can add more, depending on how thick you want it, but only add it after stirring and allowing it to thicken and only about 1/4 teaspoon at a time, so it doesn't get too thick.  Keep in mind, that it will thicken as it cools down and sits for a few minutes. 
  1. Combine the water, sugar, cocoa, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and begins to simmer.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir the vanilla into the sauce.
  5. You can serve immediately or put into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready for use. 
Because this has no dairy or anything that spoils, it keeps for a long time.  My little girl made a batch that was in the fridge for three weeks and still tasted good.  We have never had it longer than that because we use it a lot, but who knows?  I am sure it can last longer! 

Homemade Whipped Cream

So simple!

Put your metal bowl (from electric mixer if you have one, if not any bowl will do) into the freezer and also put your whisk into the freezer for about 5 minutes.  This cold surface is the key to quickly whipping your cream.

  • Half pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 of cup of organic sugar cane or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract

  • Take your tools out of the freezer :) 
  • Pour heavy whipping cream into bowl
  • Start to mix and gradually pour sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix on high until peaks form.
  • Continue to mix until you have high peaks and STOP.
  • If you over mix you will have butter instead of whipped cream :) 

*Note: You do not need an electric mixer.  You can hand whip this.  Just like whisking eggs - with a very loose wrist and a nice rhythm. 


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