Monthly Archives: February 2013

Giveaway! Nikki's Coconut Butter

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who participated!  The contest is now closed and winner has been chosen. 
Friends, I am neck deep in book makin’ and just when the world seems like it’s nothing but fermentation jars and photo shoots and writing and rewriting, something fell into my lap (figuratively) and made my crazy days a bit brighter.
Someone told me about Nikki’s Coconut Butter.  Hoo yeah.
First of all, I am a fan of coconut butter.  Not to be confused with coconut oil which is just the oil extracted from coconut meat (although I’m a fan of that too), coconut butter is the meat from a coconut blended into a delicious, dream-like paste that has about a million culinary uses.  My favorite being eating it straight from the jar.


Nikki’s Coconut Butter seems to do it one better, however.  You see, their coconut butter is available in five scrumptious flavors.  So not only is coconut butter itself a dream, Nikki’s amped it up by adding all-natural foodstuffs to make it an even better version of itself.  We’re talking chocolate hazelnut brownie, vanilla cake batter, midnight mocha (chocolate lover’s dream!), macadamia nut cookie, and honey pecan pie.  See what I mean?  Poetry in a jar.


None of them contain any refined sugar, and like their website says, coconut butter is a treat that is good for your body. It will make you feel sooooo much better than eating something rife with sugar and refined seed oils. Blah.
Nikki’s sent me a jar (madacamia nut cookie!!!) to try out and it is divine!  So, because I love you all so much and I want you to share in the wealth, I’m offering one you a FREE 12 ounce jar of the flavor of your choice.  It will be a random drawing and you have until Friday, March 1 at noon EST to enter.  All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me which flavor of Nikki’s Coconut Butter you’d choose if you’re the lucky winner.  And like that, you’re entered to win.
Here are a few things you can do to earn additional chances to win:
1. Go on over to Facebook and like First Comes Health.
2. Follow me on Twitter!
3. Follow me on Instagram.
If you’re already a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram follower, get a friend to follow me and drop me an email ( and let me know.  That way you’ll both earn extra entries!
So, hop to it!  I guarantee you’ll want to win this.  I’m off to attack my jar of coconut butter with a spoon. You could be doing the same!

Pre-order Fermented on!

I have been dreaming of this day and it has finally arrived!  My book, Fermented. A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods, is now available for pre-order on!

Fermented Cover SMALL

Yep! The book I’ve been briefly talking about here and there, the giant massive enormous project that I’ve thrown myself into lo these past six months, the reason my wee blog has been nearly dead for the longest while, is almost finished and I’ve reached the next milestone – seeing it up for sale!
So, please stay tuned for teaser photos, some recipes, and tons of talk about fermentation!  Find me here, on Facebook, Twitter, and now on Instagram!
There is MUCH more to come!

2013 Goals Project - January Review

2013 Goals ProjectWell, I do believe that January was a good month overall.  Plus, the Goals Project picked up a new member already!  Let’s see how everyone did in month number one!
Diane D.
Business Goals:
Book 16 weddings during 2013 – Custom menus have been created and sent to four wedding prospects.  Meetings are pending.
Develop 30 new LadyFingers recipes and successfully implement them into 2013 events– Developed three new recipes for a January event and they were a hit.  I have offered them to two new customers.
Update and publicize all LadyFingers menus by June 1.  Update both online and print menus throughout 2013 as new recipes are developed (see above) – Am jotting notes for the first menu update.
Update the LadyFingers website each month with Portfolio and/or Recipe entries – No updates in January.
Consistently maintain the LadyFingers Facebook page to remain current and relevant.  Increase viewership – Am posting but haven’t developed a method to ensure consistency.
 Personal Goals:
Re-commit to fitness using a method that will work on a consistent, life-style basis and keep a journal of progress and/or set-backs – Re-thinking this goal due to upcoming surgery
Increase vegetable garden production through improved efficiency – Re-thinking this goal due to upcoming surgery
Increase charitable efforts both personally and professionally – Am reviewing ways to donate my services to benefit the community, and I am considering potential volunteer efforts in areas of literacy, neighborhood revitalization, and historic preservation.
Shed all superfluous items – Cleaning closets and sorting items (online sale, Spring garage sale, donation), also cleaning Facebook page and unsubscribing from those whose posts are a constant annoyance (14 so far).
Austin K.

Family goals:
Remember to help out with the more disagreeable chores (cat litter/bathroom cleaning) -This one has not gone so well.  It’s not that I mind this things, I just never think about doing them.  On the bright side this email prompted me to clean the cat litter just now.  Hopefully a first step!
Go on a date at least once a month -This goal isn’t meant to address any problem, but more to make sure my fiance and I continue to have fun and appreciate each other as the stress of work and the wedding ramp up.  We saw Les Mis for our date this month.
Fitness goals:
Complete 200 push ups a day – I had been going strong with this until two days ago when I started feeling some pain in my shoulders.  I was reluctant to switch as I wanted to see if I could make it the whole year doing 200 push ups, and strength wise I felt great.  Taking a little break is probably the smarter choice.  The past two days I’ve switched to 200 body weight squats to give my shoulders a break.  I am going back to push ups today.
Complete 4 or more races of the 1/2 marathon, Olympic triathlon, long obstacle race, open water swim variety – I’m looking into races right now.  First on my list is the Bidwell Classic Half Marathon on Mar. 6th.  The next event I’m looking at is a Half Marathon in Marin, followed by a 1.5 mile open water swim the same day on Mar. 30th.  This will give me an idea of how far I can try and push myself for some triathlon events later this summer.
Continue to workout in the A.M. before work at least 4 days a week – This is going great.  I mix weight lifting, swimming, and spinning before I go to work each day and I feel great throughout the day.  Although I need to work on getting to bed earlier.
Nutrition goals:
Sign up for CSA box (and utilize it) – I haven’t done this yet.  We have heard from others that the boxes aren’t as good until Spring/Summer.  Nonetheless I have been eating lots of fruits and veggies and getting a good amount from our farmers market.
Find at least 5 new healthy recipes that I enjoy and can cook easily – I’ve cooked several new recipes which I have very much enjoyed.  In fact I just finished eating a new pancake recipe that I found in Men’s Health.  (Eggs, banana, oatmeal, applesauce, vanilla, and blueberries).  Super easy, delicious, and a healthier way to get my weekend pancake fix.
New addition!
Continue using ‘myfitnesspal’ app to document diet and exercise – I started using the “Myfitnesspal” app to keep a log of everything I eat and of all my exercise.  The app determines the number of net calories you are supposed to eat each day to reach your fitness goals.  It has a huge database of brand name food products and helps you calculate nutritional information for foods they don’t have already.   Not only does the app give you caloric information, it also breaks your day down into carbs/protein/fat, as well as tells you if your meeting your goals for vitamins and minerals.  Using this app just for the past week has really shed light on a lot of my eating habits, good and bad.  My goal is to continue to use this app throughout the year and use it to inform my food and exercise choices.
Work goals:
Obtain high scores on yearly reviews – No news to report here, reviews won’t happen for a couple months.
Get superior ratings for my bands at festival – My band is working really hard on some difficult music.  Getting superior ratings may be quite a challenge, but I’m pushing them as much as I can.
Brian R.
Get stronger – I’ve been working out regularly, and I think the focus I’ve had since the start of the year has been very positive in terms of overcoming discomfort, building flexibility, and improving on the way I do certain things.  I see this as an auspicious beginning for the year.
Finish things I write – The writing has been hit or miss, although I have prepped four poems to submit to a journal, so I take that as good progress.
Excel at my job – This is hard for me to measure, but it’s the one item here I feel the most progress on.  Every day I think critically about what I’m
doing and why I’m doing it, and this has made sure that I feel a sense of accomplishment each week.
Finish 36 books – three books finished in January.  This has been a fun one, although it’s here in the spirit of supporting my writing goal above.  I don’t know if it’s had any impact, but I’ll push forward with it for its sake.
Matt C.
Basketball season is in full swing right now, and I’ve fought off the flu a little, but I’m still getting to my group exercise classes regularly. Our Body Pump class had a new release two weeks ago (new songs, different exercises), which has provided a little bit of variety. I continue to enjoy it more than I ever thought I would!!!
Bill R.
Weigh 230 or less by June 1 – I have lost 3 pounds since Christmas – down to 238 with my goal being 230 by June 1st.
Have perfect finger nails by June 1 – Bought a new nail file/emery board and my nails are coming along nicely.
Run a 5k by October 2013 – Doing a lot of walking and bike riding in prep for getting serious about 5k training.
Exercise at least 3 times per week – I have been using the workout facility here in AZ regularly — have been meeting my 3 times per week goal regularly.
Floss at least 5 times per week – Minor failure on the flossing goal — have been hitting 3 times a week, short of my 5 times goal.
Lori B.
Health & Fitness:
Complete the Pittsburgh 1/2 marathon, feel strong for the entire race and finish with a better time than my first attempt in 2011. (goal of 2:20:00?) – Joined the Fleet Feet Sports 1/2 Marathon Training Program.  Have been following Fleet Feet’s training plan and participating in Sunday long runs with the group, completing 6 miles last Sunday in the snow and cold temps!  Have formulated a plan with my friend Shannon (also in the program) to run 2-3 times a week (including at night in the dark!) to get the proper mileage in. 
Drop 20-30 lbs – Lost 5 lbs this month.  Yeah me!  Back on track with being super strict w/both diet and exercise.
In pursuit of something new….not sure what I’m looking for, but plan to actively network and investigate new options this year to see what career avenues might be available – Joined Pittsburgh North Networking group via Linked In.  Also, joined Pittsburgh Professional Connection and, by lucky chance, got to spend some quality time talking shop with the owner of a local running store when we sat next to each other on a flight to Tampa.  He shared some business growth/expansion plans and I was able to send a follow-up email this week letting him know that I would be interested in opportunities if and when his plans become a reality.
Professional Development, take some courses and find some avenues to increase my skills and/or keep up with changing technology and systems – Have ordered three new marketing-focused books to keep up to speed on inbound marketing strategies and social media.  Have earmarked — but not yet signed up for — some CCAC adult education courses. 
Make more time for regular connections with friends.  There are so many friends that I do not see or talk to regularly and I need to make time for that! – January was a really bad time to kick this off because a work event pretty much consumed my life for the entire month.  BUT, I did reconnect online and via email with three work-related acquaintances and a dear friend, and have made plans for get-togethers in Feb and March!
Expand my boundaries and add some”new”….new people, new experiences, new skills, new adventures! –
My “new” in January was becoming part of my new running group and meeting a bunch of really cool “South Hills” runners.  February’s “new” will be a little more exciting!
Jill C. (that’s me, yo!)
Turn in my fermentation book to my publisher on March 13 without too many book-related freakouts. – This has been going along very well.  In January I made some enormous strides and feel like I am putting the finishing touches on the text.  The next part to tackle is organizing all of the photography.  I have regular sessions with my expert photographer scheduled throughout this month.
Complete the Pittsburgh half marathon on May 5 and beat my 2012 time – I feel like I am doing very well with this.  I have been running three days a week with a friend, plus I joined a casual training group of Pittsburgh area CrossFitters who are also training for the half.  We meet once per week and run together.  So far, so good!
Confidently turn 40 on November 19 – 286 days left in my 30s, and I’m feeling good.
Complete a home makeover – In January I did a total closet overhaul!  Not only did I get rid of a ton of clothes and shoes that I no longer wear, or are too big, Dude and I actually removed some of the built-in shelves out of the closet to make it more easily organized.  I bought some organizational bins and shelving to put in there that work more with what I have.  Along with the closet, our kitchen pantry and storage area has seen a total overhaul.  More purging of things that were going unused, and we are planning to wallpaper and paint this particular area of our kitchen.  I currently have 7 wallpaper samples hanging there to decide what we like best.  Many things were sold on Craigslist, and we made $75 last month doing it.  I’m very pleased.
Become a more confident runner – As mentioned above, I’m running more often and for longer distances.  Something I must work on in February, however, is doing more CrossFit.  Strengthening my body with CrossFit does a LOT for my running confidence.  It may not seem like it at the time, but those burpees and squats are good for me!
Have more in-person interactions with those I love most – I was just so-so on this one.  I have plans in February already to see some people and I’m looking forward to it.
So, there you have it.  January is finished and we’re looking ahead!  There is still plenty of room for YOU to join us!  All you need to do is come up with your own list.  Here are some helpful hints and tricks to get you started.  Send me an email containing your list and you’re good to go.