Homemade Toner & Fabulous Face Cream

1 Comment

_DSC0447

I’m in body care product making mode.

This seems to be a great time of year to do it and typically when I run out of all my favorites.

Yesterday I made gluten free, dairy free, non-toxic, fantastic for you Facial Toner.

_DSC0396

Love it.

_DSC0408

_DSC0386

If you look carefully, you can see the “Mother” floating around in there. The “Mother” is made up of very beneficial living enzymes. You need to make sure you buy the good vinegar that looks cloudy and is organic. “Regular” vinegar manufacturers filter all of the good stuff out so they can have a prettier product.

_DSC0388

I also made my Fabulous Face Cream.

_DSC0412

I don’t know about you, but I’m 46 and my skin needs all the moisturizing and healthy products it can get.

_DSC0426

It’s been abused by my love for the sun, stress, and unfortunately Lyme Disease likes to take a toll in every area, even your skin.

_DSC0433

These are such relaxing projects, I can’t even tell you. It’s so much fun! Smells fantastic of course. Doesn’t break the bank like department store $$$$ creams, doesn’t load your body up with chemicals and toxins, and you can share the healthy love with your friends and family as gifts for the holidays. It’s win-win.

Have fun!

_DSC0439

Lavender & Lemon Facial Toner

(one recipe per bottle)

1 Part Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” intact

3 Parts Filtered Water

4 Drops YL Lavender Essential Oil

5 Drops YL Lemon Essential Oil

Clean your bottles inside and out. Pour 1 part vinegar to 3 parts filtered water. Add essential oils, secure top, shake well. Label.  Shake well before dabbing on a cotton pad and cleaning face. Can be used in the morning and before bed.

Fabulous Face Cream

*Makes about 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

1 Cup of Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 Tablespoons of Organic Jojoba Oil

2 Tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Filtered Water

4 Drops of YL Melaleuca Alternifolia Essential Oil (Tea Tree Oil)

4 Drops of YL Lavender Essential Oil

5 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

Measure the coconut oil into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 5 minutes scraping down sides two or three times. On medium, slowly drizzle the Jojoba and Olive Oil in. Mix on high 5 minutes scraping down sides two or three times. Drizzle in the water and do the same. Turn off mixer and add essential oils. Mix on medium to combine, then high for another 5 minutes scraping down sides three or four times.

Spoon into containers and label. Can be used in the morning (give your skin time to absorb it before applying makeup) and in the evening before bed.

Homemade Essential Oil Body Cream

10 Comments
Healthy, Chemical Free, Body Creams

Healthy, Chemical Free, Body Creams

In this age of technology we are becoming pretty savvy about what’s in our food and in the products we use every day. Typically, it takes a personal illness or an illness within the family or friend, before we come to the conclusion that something is seriously wrong with the way we’re being taught to care for our bodies.

Organic Oils & High Quality Essential Oils

Organic Oils & High Quality Essential Oils

It only takes about 30 minutes on the internet to find out all you ever needed or never wanted to know about the chemicals, additives, and things we consume every day that we’ve been told are “safe”.

Right now Americans are in a battle with the government about Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling. A GMO is a new organism, not found in nature, created by scientists when they genetically modify or engineer food plants. An overwhelming amount of health and environmental risks have been identified with genetically modified foods. The government doesn’t think we need to know if our food has been genetically modified or if the livestock we consume has been fed GMO food.

The Essential Oil Bibles

The Essential Oil Bibles. Right now they are still purchasable online. If you have an interest in natural treatments, I would urge you to purchase the manuals now before they are no longer available due to FDA control.

Over the years we’ve assumed that the FDA regulates things that aren’t healthy for us. But that depends on your standards and what your idea of “healthy” is. So many things happen behind the scenes that we aren’t even aware of. Point in case…essential oils. The FDA thinks it’s OK for us to consume GMO’s and have all kinds of crazy inedible chemicals in our foods. They don’t think it’s OK for companies who have paid for and done all the science and research, companies who practice safe harvesting and manufacturing, and companies that are focused on health, to tell you that peppermint essential oil settles an upset stomach. Seriously.

Quickly do a little research on the benefits of essential oils (before all the suggested uses are removed) and you’ll be astonished by the benefits. The latest Twilight Zone FDA announcment? Diamond Foods in the past had listed the health benefits of Walnuts on their website and are now being forced to remove them. Why? Because the FDA says that if you’re going to list the health benefits of a food item, then you’re dealing drugs and have to follow FDA approved guidelines. Do a little research, the list goes on and on.

_DSC0374

In 2009 I became extremely sick and had to quit my job. When I was able to finally get out of bed, I was on a one woman mission to figure out what was making me so ill.  Part of my job had been research so I was no stranger to digging for information. I didn’t know at that time that I had Lyme Disease of course, but it seemed that my whole body was in a revolt. From my immune system to my hormones, to sleep, to a list of symptoms that would make your head reel…everything was out of whack. What I was also seeing though, was that there were all kinds of people sick and struggling with similar issues. And according to their doctors their illnesses weren’t able to be categorized or, they were being treated for auto immune disorders and other things as a last guess resort, a shot in the dark. And of course, they weren’t getting better and in many cases they were getting much, much worse.

That concept is absolutely unacceptable to me. Finding the root of your body’s health issues and treating them with the appropriate medications and healthy living is imperative to feeling well and enjoying life. I’m not against modern medicine in any way. What I take issue with is the constant treatment of symptoms with medications that cause more symptoms, without trying to tackle and figure out the real underlying issues. Sometimes experimentation is necessary to figure out the right treatments for what ails you. But the first goal should be to have a physician who really wants to get to the bottom of what ails you.

Science Fun In The Kitchen

Science Fun In The Kitchen

More and more we’re recognizing that serious health issues cannot be overcome without paying attention to the entire body. When I became so ill I had been keeping a food diary for about a year and half and was already aware that I was allergic to both gluten and dairy. Then I started to learn more about the body, how it works, and how everything needs to work together in harmony for us to get the best out of our health. We have become a chemical laden, unnatural society. Many of the things we eat, drink, and put on our bodies are no longer natural and therefore, cannot be recognized by our body’s immune system. Basically, our immune system thinks we’re poisoning ourselves.

Which of course sadly, in many cases we are.

_DSC0342

Years of eating additives, not taking precautions with toxic chemicals, hormones and antibiotics in our livestock, lack of rest, stress, and slathering what we thought were luxurious “healthy” lotions and creams all over our skin has taken its toll. These things accumulate and research shows that it throws our body a major curve ball and chips away at our immune systems, damaging our body’s ability to handle life properly. Once your body has a toxic overload in one area, it’s like a domino effect. Healthy body harmony depends on what you put in your body AND what you put on your body. Your skin is your largest organ, and most of us have been abusing it for our entire lives.

_DSC0358

Did you know that there’s a significant amount of research that shows that chemical exposure actually interferes with the function of your DNA and can be passed down through generations? Frightening.

Have you ever researched any of the chemicals and their side effects in the processed foods you’re eating or the lotions and other things you’re putting on your skin every day? The most troubling part is that we go through life thinking that if manufacturers are allowed to sell it, then it must be “just fine” for us.

I like to mix my creams raw, but you can also melt them on low heat together, wait for them to solidify, and then whip.

I like to mix my creams raw, but you can also melt them on low heat together, wait for them to solidify, and then whip.

The good news is that you can control a lot of the harmful things you’re being exposed to.

By being more mindful about the quality and type of food you consume and by paying attention to the ingredients in your body care items, you have the ability to not only reverse damage on your own body, but change the damage that you would have otherwise passed down to future generations. You can help your body instead of hindering it and alter potential harm to your future generations.  Exciting!

And if you’re past the age of giving birth to a future generation, you can certainly still teach the next one how to live a healthier life.

_DSC0350

Now before you get overwhelmed and all of the voices in your head start yelling, “I’m TOO busy, I have a life, I have X number of children I have to focus on, I don’t have the financial means, I’m too tired, I’m already overwhelmed in my life…maybe next month, maybe next year I can focus on my own health…” You know the voices…

My goal is not to police every single thing or be so paranoid you can’t enjoy life. My goal is for you and I to go through the life we’ve been given at our healthiest level possible. To limit the toxic burden in our own little way.

_DSC0333

To begin to educate ourselves and make baby steps to change things one piece at a time, is not a radical thought process. Whatever tiny things we can do to increase our awareness and begin to treat our bodies better is worth it.

One really easy way that has a huge impact on your health…stop overburdening your body with chemicals by changing what you put on your skin. Simple as that.

Just baby steps, that’s all.

_DSC0338

Making home made lotion is simple! It’s fun. It smells fantastic. It makes wonderful gifts. It feels fabulous on your skin. It’s easy, and it’s healthy because its chemical and toxin free.

_DSC0349

It doesn’t have to be expensive because you control what goes into it. You can be as simple about it, or as extravagant about it as you wish.

In fact, if right now you’re on an extremely fixed budget, you could go as simple as purchasing a big tub of organic coconut oil at your bulk store, whip that up and just use that as your new luxurious lotion. Or you could purchase a bottle of  organic Jojoba oil, or even use organic light olive oil. I used to keep a bottle in the shower and use it before drying off.

There will be tiny pieces of coconut oil in the lotion, but they melt within 2 seconds of rubbing in your hands.

Because I used the raw form of the oils here will be tiny pieces of coconut oil in the lotion, but they melt within 2 seconds of rubbing in your hands.

Last year was the first time I decided I was going to start making my own chemical free body products. It was so much fun and they felt so good, I never looked back.

_DSC0344

Begin to think about taking control of your health just one little step at a time. Those steps add up to a healthier and happier daily existence for you and your family.

_DSC0347

Set aside a bit of time for yourself, turn on some relaxing music, and start experimenting.

*This is a fantastic family project that can easily be done with children. Just be mindful to NEVER leave children unattended with essential oils.

Have fun and keep in touch. I would love to hear what exciting experiments have worked for you!

_DSC0367

Joyful Day Body Cream

*Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 Cups

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 teaspoons Organic Jojoba Oil

1 Tablespoon Purified Water

8 Drops of YL Joy Essential Oil

9 Drops of YL Stress Away Essential Oil

Whip coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the Jojoba oil and the water into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

_DSC0369

Lift Me Up Body Cream

*Makes 2 1/2 – 3 Cups

2 Cups Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1 Tablespoon Organic Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Purified Water

25 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

25 Drops of YL Peppermint Essential Oil

16 Drops of YL Tangerine Oil

Whip coconut in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the olive oil and the water into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

_DSC0371

Rest Well Bedtime Body Cream

*Makes 2 1/2 – 3 Cups

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1 Tablespoon Organic Jojoba Oil

25 Drops of YL Valor Essential Oil

13 Drops of YL Lavender Essential Oil

 Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the jojoba into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

_DSC0366

Miracle Relief Sore Joint & Muscle Body Cream

*Makes 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 Tablespoons Organic Olive Oil

72 Drops of YL PanAway Essential Oil

50 Drops of YL Frankinsence Essential Oil

75 Drops of YL Eucalyptus Globulus Oil

Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

_DSC0373

Acne Zapper Night Time Blemish Treatment

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1/4 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

15 Drops of YL Frankinsence Essential Oil

30 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

25 Drops of YL Malaleuca Alternifiolia (Tea Tree Oil)

Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

**I am not a physician or health care practitioner. These opinions are my own and the cream recipes are in no way meant to treat any ailment or illness. 

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

3 Comments

I’ve been trying to stick to a grain free diet for the past few months to help with the inflammation that goes along with Lyme Disease. Abstaining from grains has definitely helped, but I’m not going to lie, it is not easy.

_DSC0222

I’ve found I can sometimes cheat a little every now and then, but not much. So on those days where I’m really craving something “bread like” and sweet, muffins typically fit the bill and they can easily be made grain free.

_DSC0218

They’re quick, satisfying, and can be frozen and heated up for a fast craving curbing snack.

_DSC0224

Muffins are versatile, of course. You can add pretty much anything you like to them. I happened to have dried cherries and chocolate on hand so that’s what I chose, but you can switch them up any way you’d like.

_DSC0237

Here are some ideas: Any type of nut, any type of dried fruit, chopped apple, white chocolate, candied ginger, diced pear, sliced strawberries, blueberries, replace half the banana with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, you could do a streusel topping, a cinnamon and sugar topping, you could add a dollop of your favorite jam in the middle before baking…the options are endless.

Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup tapioca Flour

4 Very Ripe Bananas (dark brown skins)

4 Organic Eggs

1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil (solid, but room temp)

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Dried Cherries (chopped)

1/2 Cup 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate (roughly chopped)

Measure all ingredients into a mixture except the cherries and chocolate. Mix on medium high for 1 minute, scraping down sides once. Fold in the cherries and chocolate and fill muffin papers. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The 11 Foot Tree That Could…Or…The Russians Saved The Day

6 Comments

I think I told you a couple of blog posts ago that this year I finally decided to indulge my dream of having more than one Christmas tree. We now have a house that is set up in a way that I can do that. And do it, I did.

The week prior to Thanksgiving I decorated the house and we bought our first artificial tree (tree #1) for the family room. I had my doubts and opinions about an artificial tree, but it’s gorgeous and boy was it nice not having to string the lights. The thing I like most about this tree is that it’s well behaved.

IMG_3614[1]

Last weekend we drove to our favorite place to cut tree #2. It’s beautiful and smells amazing, and is 11 feet tall.

IMG_3659[1]

It’s quite a sight. Especially when you get out of the shower and come downstairs to find it lying on the floor.

IMG_3641[1]

First, I just stood there at the top of the stairs. Then I believe the phrase, “shit, shit, shit” came out of my mouth at least once. And then when I finally decided this was not just a bad dream, the dogs and I had a conversation about what we were going to do. Because when things like this happen, you’re always home alone. With an 11 foot tree on its side, in your bare feet.

IMG_3642[1]

Ornaments were shattered everywhere. Beautiful  ornaments I purchased in New Hampshire that I won’t be able to replace. Water was all over the carpet and flooring.

Thankfully, the wrapped Christmas presents are in the family room under the well behaved tree #1.

IMG_3646[1]

Allow me to back up a minute. When we originally put the tree in the stand, it was malfunctioning. It wouldn’t lock and the tree kept tipping. I mentioned that I thought we needed to run and buy a new stand because the last thing I wanted was an 11 foot, decorated tree, with expensive ornaments on the floor.

IMG_3645[1]

Tony didn’t like that idea because it meant taking it out of one and putting it in another, which he thought would be too difficult. This was his solution. “Gorilla Tape”. Because men think that almost everything can be remedied with a little duct tape. Well, when I saw the tree on the floor I immediately thought, DAMN that duct tape! But it was still fully intact, so it seems that the innards of the stand just gave up the ghost. You can see where the plastic is broken.

IMG_3653[1]

So after texting our son and texting Tony and trying to get someone to come over here to help me get it off the floor…I had to resort to construction workers. Having them around the neighborhood all the time is quite handy.

IMG_3648[1]

I threw on some clothes, put a coat on and walked to the end of our street to one of the new construction houses where I could see a worker’s car. I walked in and yelled, “Hellllloooo?” I heard, “Hello?” I found them, an older gentleman and his young son, and my hair wasn’t done, I had no make up on, and I’m sure I sounded completely crazy. “Hi, I was just in the shower and our 11 foot Christmas tree fell over and there’s glass and broken ornaments and water all over the place and my husband isn’t home and I have to get it off the floor before the water ruins the flooring and I obviously cannot lift an 11 foot tree all by myself can you help me lift it up no big deal really we just need to get it into the corner until my husband gets home would you guys help me lift it into the corner just really quickly it won’t take long at all?” All in one run on sentence and one breath.

Well as you may or may not know, we have a pretty large population of Russians & Ukrainians in our area and they aren’t exactly the chatty type. Or known to be overly excitable or even all that outwardly friendly compared to what Americans consider “outwardly friendly”. They’re very serious folks. Kind of like people say how New Yorker’s are, just less…exuberant.  Dad looked at son like he would rather be doing anything other than helping the crazy lady and did not move a single muscle along with looking a bit disgusted. I wasn’t entirely sure he understood me so I had my laser focus on the son. He said something to his Dad, asked me where I lived and put his coat on. Dad stayed put.

I told him I had two big dogs but they they were very friendly and LOVED people. We walked in the house, and it took all of 2 minutes to get the tree off the ground. I guess Dad had decided to come down to help after all and right at that point we were getting it off the floor he walked in. He looked at the mess on the floor and the tree up against the wall.

IMG_3649[1]

I looked at him, shook my head, and said, “I-Yi-Yi”. He looked at me very sincerely with a sad look and said, “Yes. I-Yi-Yi”. I thanked them both profusely for their help and as they were leaving Abigail growled at them and acted like she was going to bite them. That’s the first time she has ever growled or been aggressive toward a human being. Way to be thankful, Abigail.

IMG_3654[2]

Evidently Tony was actually in town, he just wasn’t answering his phone because he was having a hair cut. Once he finally took a look at the pictures I had texted him he called and we decided a new tree stand was in order. And not even once did, “I told you so” come out of my  mouth.

IMG_3655[1]

IMG_3656

So I swept up the glass and the glitter and the needles and moved the furniture because they were on top of, and under everything. Vacuumed the rug as best I could, rolled it up, and hauled it to the garage. It was soaked and dirty and luckily just an inexpensive piece to have in the living room so Romeo wouldn’t ice skate across the floor anymore. We’ll have to go today to get something else because he’s already noticed it’s gone and won’t step a foot in there.

IMG_3652[1]

We devised a plan on how we were going to lift the tree out of the broken stand and into the new one without breaking more ornaments or dropping it. The thought of un-decorating that tree and re-decorating it was far too much for me to wrap my head around. After a few minutes, we had it figured out. I held it so it wouldn’t tip over, not an easy feat considering it’s 6′ taller than I am. Tony got below and somehow lifted it out of the old stand and into the new one. A couple of adjustments and maybe 5 minutes and it was done. And oddly enough…. right now as I type this I’m looking out my office window… the construction boy is outside taking a picture on his phone of our house…obviously an entertaining story to be told to friends and family about the crazy American woman and her insane need to have two trees, and her very un-thankful, vicious, dog that she said was friendly.

After we got it standing again I didn’t even want to look at it for the rest of the night. I waited until this morning to put the remaining unbroken ornaments that had somehow hit the floor and not shattered back on. I removed more broken ornaments that were still stuck to the tree and straightened the lights. I took a good look at it and noticed it was a bit wonky from the fall.

I shrugged my shoulders, and said, “so be it”.

Незалежно буде , то буде .

“Whatever will be, will be.” (In Ukrainian)

IMG_3658[1]

Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

5 Comments

_DSC0315

We’re finally getting a light dusting of snow in our neck of the woods.

_DSC0260

I was just lying in bed this morning praying for it.

_DSC0268

Not world peace, the end of hunger, an end to violence, or that my husband would stop snoring so I could get some sleep, or even that Romeo would quit passing gas on the floor next to me…but…snow.

_DSC0277

 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

_DSC0303

The thing I love most about the omnipotent One, is that our little prayers matter too.

_DSC0291

When I came downstairs at 5:30 this morning to let Romeo out, there was not only a dusting on the ground, it was still falling from the sky!

_DSC0316

I immediately said my thank you’s, turned on the Christmas Instrumentals on Spotify, and started to put some of the recovered ornaments back onto our 11 foot tree in the living room.

We had a tree “issue” yesterday. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be doing this and that and tackling the never ending to-do list… but never forgetting to stop by each window as I go, thankful for the snowy winter blessing.

_DSC0321

Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into mixer and beat on medium until combined. About 1 minute. Spoon a generous amount of batter into muffin papers. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the cakes. Mine were in tall muffin papers, I would say about 1 1/2 times the size of a normal muffin.) Bake for 85 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up dry without a bread pudding texture on the inside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before frosting and serving. Best served slightly warm or at least at room temperature.

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

About 1/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

1/2-1 Tablespoon of Non Dairy Milk, I used Hemp

Combine the butter and sugar with a fork until it forms a rough paste.

_DSC0249

Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and non dairy milk and whisk until smooth.

_DSC0255

Refrigerate and about every 15-20 minutes or so, give it a quick whisk. It will become fluffier as it chills.

_DSC0274

Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.

Thanksgiving Afterglow

2 Comments

Ahhh…nothing quite like the holiday afterglow.

The past week has been an absolute whirlwind. All of the photos in this post are courtesy of my phone…so bear with me, I think it’s been dropped 100 too many times.

The dogs are basking in the afterglow as well.

IMG_3529

I threw caution to to the wind this year and decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Perk #10,452 of being an adult. I also got a head start on wrapping gifts. I am on the ball!

This is our Woodland themed tree in the family room. This year we’ll have two trees…but more about that in a bit.

IMG_3573

IMG_3382

IMG_3376

IMG_3579

Romeo had surgery last week to remove a tumor from his cheek. We were so thankful to find out that it was benign.

IMG_3418

I would have to say that Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday meal.

IMG_3505

Lots of dairy free better, sea salt, and Bragg's Organic Sprinkle

An organic turkey from Organic Prairie, pricey but worth every penny. Lots of dairy free butter, sea salt, and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle

There are few things better than stuffing, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. Are you pro giblet or anti giblet?

Neck and "parts" simmering in bone broth while the turkey roasts.

Neck and “parts” simmering in bone broth while the turkey roasts.

I admit though, the Thanksgiving meal is my least favorite to prepare. I honestly have no idea how my grandma cooked for so many people for most of my life. Definitely a labor of love. I cooked for 4 people. Only four. By the end of dinner the kitchen looked like I cooked for an army.

Toasted stuffing cubes made with gluten free Udi's bread, olive oil, poultry seasoning, garlic, and sea salt.

Toasted stuffing cubes made with gluten free Udi’s bread, olive oil, poultry seasoning, garlic, and sea salt.

Organic bacon. Because bacon is the star of the stuffing.

Organic bacon. Because bacon is the star of the stuffing.

Brown the bacon first. Remove, and then fry the onion and celery in the bacon fat. Add back in the bacon. To. Die. For. Add to the toasted bread, a generous dollop of dairy free butter, organic broth...and you have an amazing gluten free and dairy free stuffing.

Brown the bacon first. Remove, and then fry the onion and celery in the bacon fat. Add back in the bacon. Add to the toasted bread, a generous dollop of dairy free butter, organic broth…and you have an amazing gluten free and dairy free stuffing.

Fresh organic cranberries, orange juice, orange rind, coconut sugar, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Fresh organic cranberries, orange juice, orange rind, coconut sugar, and a pinch of ground cloves.

It took two days of preparation and cooking, about 45 minutes of eating, and two hours of clean up. Clean up is the point where I think every person who hosts Thanksgiving wishes they had hired kitchen help. Imagine if you had someone there for those two days of prep who did nothing but clean and do dishes. Heavenly!

Organic sweet potatoes or yams...depending on where you're from. Peel, slice, pour a generous amount of melted dairy free butter over them, add pure maple syrup, sea salt, and a generous sprinkle of coconut sugar. Let rest over night. Then back with the turkey until they are soft and candied.

Organic sweet potatoes or yams…depending on where you’re from. Peel, slice, pour a generous amount of melted dairy free butter over them, add pure maple syrup, sea salt, and a generous sprinkle of coconut sugar. Let rest over night. Then bake with the turkey until they are soft and candied.

This is Brittany Angel's Club Angel paleo Coconut Flour Pie crust dough. You'll need to join the club ($14.99) to get the recipe. But believe me, she has amazing recipes and it's worth every penny! She also has all kinds of free recipes on her website that are worth a look see.

This is Brittany Angel’s Club Angel paleo Coconut Flour Pie crust dough. You’ll need to join the club ($14.99) to get the recipe. But believe me, she has amazing recipes and it’s worth every penny! She also has all kinds of free recipes on her website that are worth a look see.

Rolled out like "real" pie dough crust and was very easy to handle.

Rolled out like “real” pie dough crust and was very easy to handle.

I experimented with my pumpkin pie this year. It's a basic pumpkin recipe but I used half hemp milk and half heavy coconut milk and sweetened it with coconut sugar. It turned out very well, but next time I will add an extra egg and possibly just do all coconut milk.

I experimented with my pumpkin pie this year. It’s a basic pumpkin pie recipe but I used half hemp milk and half heavy coconut milk and sweetened it with coconut sugar. It turned out very well, but next time I will add an extra egg and possibly just do all coconut milk. I would also add coconut sugar to the crust.

Topped with whipped full fat coconut milk, organic powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract.

Topped with whipped full fat coconut milk, organic powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract.

Sliced organic granny smith apples and wild huckleberries.

Sliced organic granny smith apples and wild huckleberries.

Apples, huckleberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Apples, huckleberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Gluten free organic oats, coconut sugar, sea salt, dairy free butter, and diced walnuts.

Gluten free organic oats, coconut sugar, sea salt, dairy free butter, and diced walnuts.

All in all, Thanksgiving turned out very well.

And of course, the absolute best part was being back in our home town and being able to celebrate and visit with family. And for that, we will be forever thankful.

IMG_3528

On Friday we managed to drag ourselves out of bed, hit Starbuck’s and take the dogs for a walk.

IMG_3525

Still so thankful for the wide open spaces here at home.

IMG_3526

New Hampshire has a dense forested beauty all its own, but boy did we miss the mountains and pine trees of Washington.

IMG_3524

Nothing quite like your fur babies peering over the edge of a cliff to wake you from your turkey fog.

IMG_3523

 Yesterday we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to head to Camden Ranch and cut tree number two.

IMG_3533

Perk #10,453 of being an adult…you can have as many Christmas trees as you want. Cutting our tree at Camden Ranch was our tradition for many years until we moved to New Hampshire for the past two years. It’s hard to believe that last year we were 3,000 miles from here cutting our Christmas tree in Maine!

Tree #1 is 7.5 feet tall and this tree that Tony is cutting for tree #2 is 11 feet tall!

Tree #1 is 7.5 feet tall and this tree that Tony is cutting for tree #2 is 11 feet tall!

Their property is huge and there are thousands upon thousands of trees to choose from. Different types and sizes.

Their property is huge and there are thousands of trees to choose from. Different types and sizes.

You cut your own tree with saws provided, bring it down to the road...sometimes not an easy feat! Then they tag it, give you a receipt and haul it down to the barn to shake it, bale it, and load it into your vehicle for you.

You cut your own tree with saws provided, bring it down to the road…sometimes not an easy feat when you’re carrying an 11 foot tree! Then they tag it, give you a receipt and haul it down to the barn to shake it, bale it, and load it into your vehicle for you.

They also give you a ride to and from the cutting area if you don't want to walk. There are bonfires at each end to keep you warm.

They also give you a ride to and from the cutting area if you don’t want to walk. There are bonfires at each end to keep you warm.

Tony having a cup of their complimentary hot cider.

Tony having a cup of their complimentary hot cider.

They have a very nice holiday gift shop with all kinds of decorative and edible fun things.

They have a very nice holiday gift shop with all kinds of decorative and edible fun things.

This gal is working on a fresh wreath for our front door. This is in the entrance of the gift shop and smells absolutely amazing.

This gal is working on a fresh wreath for our front door. This is in the entrance of the gift shop and smells absolutely amazing. They were very sweet and helpful with advice on which wreath would look the best with the color of our front door.

Right here in their gorgeous "barn" where they also host all kinds of events like weddings and parties, is where they shake the loose needles out of the trees with a machine and then bale the trees.

Right here in their gorgeous “barn” where they also host all kinds of events like weddings and parties, is where they shake the loose needles out of the trees with a machine and then bale the trees.

IMG_3541

IMG_3540

I would say this tree will definitely be a focal point...ha They always end up being so much bigger when you get them in the house.

I would say this tree will definitely be a focal point…ha They always end up being so much bigger when you get them in the house.

 I may regret having two trees when it comes time to put everything away, but for now, they’re gorgeous and add so much Christmas spirit to the house.

This is what 1,950 lights looks like.

This is what 1,950 lights looks like.

After getting the tree arranged and the lights on last night we decided we’d made it to the end of our energy and would finish decorating it today.

I made a quick meal to tide us over until morning and we spent the rest of the evening relaxing in front of the fire watching movies.

Chebe Foccacia Mix (Paleo), vegan pesto, organic tomato paste, goat mozzarella, and goat parmesan.

Chebe Foccacia Mix, vegan pesto, organic tomato paste, Diaya cheddar, goat mozzarella, and goat parmesan.

IMG_3568

And finally, some rest and relaxation. Romeo has made it clear he doesn’t want me getting up and going anywhere.

Lastly, one of the many things I’m thankful for is you! I am thankful you enjoy the blog and are always so kind and supportive!

Hope you have a restful, wonderful, week ahead that is full of blessings and endless reasons to give thanks.

Coconut Chai Shortbread Cookies

3 Comments

According to our son, we’re old now because Tony evidently drives slower than he used to and I like to keep track of the weather.

_DSC0055

 I actually thought we were getting old because Tony is losing his hair, I can no longer hide my crow’s feet, and now we both have to wear reading glasses to be able to see anything up close.

_DSC0043

Tony bought this weather station for me last Christmas in New Hampshire. It was too cold to go outside and set it up so it was put in a closet for a later date. Once we moved back to Washington I came across it and was very excited when Tony set it up. It now sits on the back of the kitchen sink where we can comment on the weather every day.

One of those comfortable, conversational pieces old people enjoy.

_DSC0077

The “spinny thing” that keeps track of the wind is attached to the fence post outside. I have no idea why, but I love it.

_DSC0084

What does this have to do with shortbread cookies, you might be wondering? Well…

I’ve been looking for excuses not to go outside and walk the dogs all morning. First it was laundry, then it was cookies…and oh look, now it’s almost lunch time!

I took one look at the weather thing early this morning, and thought…17 degrees and 12 mile an hour winds. Maybe we should wait until the weather “calms down” a bit. Truly old people talk. And I said it out loud to the dogs which probably proves that I’m a geriatric now.

Now it’s warmed up to a balmy 27 degrees. Cold weather can cause heart attacks and broken hips for us old folks, ya know.

_DSC0075

I’m thinking now I’ll need lunch before we go and maybe a couple more cookies for extra energy…

Whiz up your unsweetened coconut flakes to make them "shredded" if they aren't already.

Combine the butter, coconut, coconut flour, and salt with lightly with a fork.

Dice the dates. I like to do mine cold, they're easier to handle and less sticky.

Add the Chai Spice Mix and the chopped dates and stir until thoroughly combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and roll dough lightly into 12 small balls.

Give them a little pat with your fingers and then flatten them the rest of the way with a glass dipped in coconut flakes.

Sprinkle with a little more coconut...

Then bake them until they are beautiful and golden.

_DSC0038

Abigail sniffing to decide whether I had made something she needed to taste.

_DSC0053

Nope.

She sat at the edge of the couch while I photographed the food with that tiny little, very persistent growl that says, “I would like you to tuck me in now”. “NOW please. RIGHT now. I NEED to be tucked in NOW please.”

She’s become very fond of my Pottery Barn cable knit throws.

_DSC0064

I also have a thick chocolate brown one our bed that she likes to be wrapped up in every night. An expensive dog with expensive taste.

She is the Queen of the palace after all.

10606444_10152783779339259_7006394736826560045_n

Romeo is more happy-go-lucky and usually just content with being near wherever you are.

_DSC0063

When I cover him up he gives me a slow, deep, sigh of thanks, but would never go as far as to insist on being covered with cable knit. He’ll stick to a more manly fleece, thank you very much.

10606622_10152783779294259_8814308444996965124_n

A couple of cookies and a cup of my Coconut Chai Sipping Chocolate and I’ll have plenty of energy to keep me warm.

_DSC0048

Coconut Chai Shortbread Cookies

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees (makes 12)

5 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Flour

6 Tablespoons of Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (whiz in food processor if they aren’t shredded) plus more for dipping

6 Tablespoons of Non Dairy Butter

A Small Pinch of Fine Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon of Chai Mix

2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Organic Medjool Dates, pitted and diced

In a medium bowl combine the flour, coconut flakes, butter, and salt with a fork. Add the chai spices, dates, and syrup. Mix with fork until thoroughly combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll dough lightly into 12 small balls. Flatten dough with a glass dipped in shredded coconut. (Rub a little dough on the bottom of the glass to begin). Once flattened, sprinkle with a little more coconut.

Bake in a preheated oven for 9 minutes (I use convection, keep your eye on them) or until edges are golden. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.