Welcome! We are so excited to have you join us on this fantastic journey of ours.

In late 2010, my friend Shea (the fabulous author of Dixie Chik Cooks) was inspired to create a challenge of her own, something that would generate intrigue and arouse bloggers to new heights.

Known as Ingredient Challenge Monday, Shea’s idea was to focus on one new ingredient every-other week, from which we would create a recipe. With little more discussion than what ingredients were in season or what we would like to use for the week; this challenge inspired Shea and I, along with several other bloggers, to try new things. While we managed to reach beyond our comfort zone and introduce healthy, nutritious meals to our audience, we found the dynamic of the challenge changing, becoming more focused and well defined over time.

Since its inception, Ingredient Challenge Monday has turned into much more than a simple means to expand ones horizon; Ingredient Challenge Monday has truly become a resource for nutrition. With every ingredient challenge we do our best to not only try something new, but to also discover why this ingredient is so wonderful, why we should add said ingredient to our plate. We take great pride in sharing these reasons with our friends, families and followers.

By keeping our challenge focused on in-season fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, we are able to achieve maximum nutrition for all those inspired to challenge themselves along with us. By using this new format, we are able to provide a means for other bloggers to join our bi-weekly challenges without having to formally be a part of the Ingredient Challenge Monday (ICM) group.

Shea and I have much in common. Beyond being proud, hard working wives and mothers, we both have an extreme passion for food. We both live in the south, and hold a great amount of zeal for cuisine both inside, and outside our cultural barrier. We love to try new things and do our best to keep constant variety on our table.

In spite the many things that make us similar, it is our differences that truly keep things interesting.

Shea does her best to focus on foods her pickiest eater will enjoy. Understanding that variety is not just the spice of life, it truly is the key to health and the only way to achieve optimal nutritional wellbeing; Shea does everything she can to introduce her daughter to new foods that will motivate her beyond her self-imposed nutritional barriers. Shea has no limits on what kinds of foods she can or will try (well, no limits we have come across just yet at least).

I, on the other hand, have celiac disease which is an auto-immune syndrome in where exposure to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) causes an inappropriate immune system reaction. I also have a sister illness known as Dermatitis Herpitiformis (DH) which, again, is triggered by exposure to gluten. In other words, gluten is poison to my body.

In addition to my personal sensitivity to gluten, I have two children who are not only gluten intolerant, but also sensitive to casein, a protein found in the milk of all animals. Thus, my dedication to gluten-free and dairy-free living.

So while Shea and I have similar desires, when faced with the same challenge our end results are generally very different. I love working with Shea and am very excited to see what the future brings.

In addition to sharing our recipes with you, we want you to share yours with us as well! Every challenge recipe post on this page will include a place for you to link your own challenge ingredient-related recipes with us!

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