Garlic Kalamata Grilled Chicken Sandwich & Easy Cucumber Salad


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My grain free, dairy free, Garlic & Kalamata Olive Bread was a big hit.

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Also, surprisingly versatile.

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We had it with the chicken dish I posted last week.  We had it with salad, I had some for breakfast one day with some cold chicken, and then I used the last of it to make us these grilled chicken sandwiches.

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They were SO good! All of the flavors together really made for a fabulous sandwich. Tony had sharp cheddar and Brazilian Breakfast sheep’s milk cheese on his. I had Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds on mine along with the Brazilian Breakfast. We dipped them in spicy mustard and I have to say, it was the best sandwich I’ve had in a long time.

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The bread was sliced generously, so I ended up grilling on both sides twice to get the cheese to melt. Once with the lid on for both sides, and then again with the lid off on both sides to crisp the bread.

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The combination of cheeses with the slices of garlic and olives in the bread, along with the chicken was so flavorful.

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I also made a simple cucumber salad to go alongside our sandwiches. A crisp and clean salad works very well alongside a heavy sandwich.

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A little chopped spinach, sliced cucumbers, sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion, white balsamic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, and a couple grinds of pepper. Easy!

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It’s a real treat to have a grilled sandwich loaded with melting cheese when you’re gluten free or grain free, and dairy free.

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I’ve found that I can indulge in sheep or goat’s milk cheese a couple of times a month with no issues at all. The Daiya cheese is a nice treat as well. It melts like “real” cheese, although takes a bit longer, and has a pleasant flavor. However, it’s rather unpleasant in its raw form. Combined with the sheep’s cheese, it was excellent!

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If you’d like to make the Garlic & Kalamata Olive Bread, you can go here for my recipe.

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Apple Chicken Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Raisins


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Somehow, Monday is here again and our weekend flew right by us!  My husband was gone the latter part of the week, had to travel through Saturday, and didn’t return home until after dinner. We made the most of Sunday though. It was a gorgeous day so we headed over to Idaho to the beautiful town of Coeur d’alene. We watched the sad ending of the Seahawk’s football game and had a cocktail in the Whispers Lounge at the resort, then walked along main street and looked in some of the shops. Not many are open on Sunday which I guess may be a blessing on the pocketbook. Once we worked up an appetite and decided against the posted menus on many of the restaurants on main street, we headed back to the resort for lunch.

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 Sadly, their gluten free menu was predictable, so we both settled with the salad bar. We do love a good salad bar with a large variety and they say their salad bar is 18 feet long. I would say more like maybe 10 if they’re lucky, but what do I know. It had a decent amount of choices and a variety of gluten free dressings, but only two were non dairy. Someone had slopped blue cheese dressing into the huckleberry vinaigrette. You would think if they were mindful enough to label dressings gluten free, they would have placed all of them together rather than among the other dressings. Blue cheese dressing is not gluten free. But again, what do I know?

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I do dream of the day I can go into a restaurant that has both gluten free and dairy free choices on their menu. Exciting and innovative choices, not just meat, fish, vegetables and gluten free cake with dairy.  I was disappointed they didn’t offer a gluten free bread basket or gluten free crackers to accompany the salads. There are many gluten free options for crackers and breads now, so I couldn’t come up with a good excuse for our missing bread basket.

With more and more people being diagnosed with food related health issues, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before we’ll be seeing more variety on allergen free menus. Something as simple as this gluten and dairy free Apple & Chicken Salad would have even been a nice change of pace from the same old predictable gluten free menu fare.

About 1 out of every 100 people are diagnosed with celiac and that doesn’t count the unbelievable number of those who are gluten sensitive. Not long ago I read a USA Today article that said that 60% of adults cannot digest dairy. More than half of adults cannot digest dairy. If a chef were to even Google “gluten free and dairy free”, he’d have hundreds of simple recipes right at his fingertips along with thousands and thousands of innovative blogs who post allergen free recipes all the time. I don’t expect a large allergen free menu or to be pampered and spoiled as this resort claims to do for their guests, but I do expect that they put a little elbow grease and innovative thinking into their dishes.

Until then, there’s always home where we know we can order anything we want.

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Apple Chicken Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Raisins

Makes 2 Servings

3/4 Cup Chicken breast, cubed

1/2 of a Macoun Apple, diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Diced Red Onion

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Diced Celery

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Raisins

1 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil Mayonnaise (or dairy free plain yogurt)

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Freshly Ground Pepper

Chopped Romaine Lettuce

Place all ingredients except the lettuce in a bowl and stir to combine. Serve on a bed of romaine.

Sunday Morning Quiche



We were finally able to enjoy a great couple of days last weekend.

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Tony and I had been sick for almost two weeks and then something went wonky with his hip joint. That led to a lot of pain, a lot of couch time, and several painful trips to the chiropractor.

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It was a nice change of pace on Friday to realize we both at least felt decent enough to get out and have some fun.

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We went to the county fair. I always look forward to it even though every year they’re pretty much the same. This year I was happy to see there were a couple of changes.

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They had a large, free petting zoo which was fun to walk through. Along with a good excuse to eat an embarrassing amount of kettle caramel corn…the animals are my favorite part of the fair. I mean, who doesn’t just melt over a baby goat? Or the eye lashes on the Lamas? Or the cows that have shiny coats the color of corn silk?

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There’s also a booth with Asian massage therapists who do the most incredible chair massages! I mean seriously. They have perfected the chair massage. We partake in one every year and it is heavenly.

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The only picture I took at the fair was of this adorable baby zebra. We had just walked out of one of the animal barns and he was being led back to his stall. The owner wouldn’t let us get near him, but we were close enough to get a good picture. He was just stunning!

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Saturday we packed up the truck and headed about an hour from here so we could meet up with my husband’s hang gliding group.


It was a gorgeous day so we took snacks and brought the dogs along.

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I was able to get a lot of really good photos of the pilots and it was fun to watch all the different levels of experience.

My husband is the yellow and light blue glider.



Some of the pilots have been flying for more than 30 years! They started in the 70’s when it was pretty loosey goosey and quite dangerous.



Now pilots have to study and be trained and tested, and there are different levels of training that can be achieved. When a hang gliding pilot reaches the highest level of training, it’s the equivalent of a private pilot’s license.


The majority of people aren’t aware of what it takes to become a certified hang glider. It’s serious business. I’ve heard many people just assume that someone goes out and buys a glider, straps it on, and off the mountain they go! Only crazy people do that. And in fact, now it’s almost impossible to even purchase a glider without an OK from a certified instructor to the manufacturer.

This guy hangglides and paraglides.


This is him again. He flew at 7200 feet for well over an hour.


Even pilots who’ve been flying for 30 + years can occasionally misjudge and end up in trouble. It’s happened twice this summer with Tony’s group but thankfully, both the pilots came out of it relatively without injury.


Last flight of the day.


Regardless of risk, for those that have the flying bug, I’m sure there’s just nothing like soaring like a bird with your own set of wings. They all have radios on their gliders and it’s fun to hear them explain what they’re experiencing when they’re soaring at 7200 feet.


After a few hours at the fair on Friday, and several hours on top of a mountain on Saturday, by Sunday morning we were feeling pretty worn out. Especially after having that much activity after not feeling so hot the last few weeks. Even the dogs were beat.

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So we lounged and had a slow morning. I made us vegetable quiche for breakfast and as we sat at the table and discussed our weekend. We both agreed that it was worthy of two thumbs up!


Vegetable Quiche

1 Pie Crust Portion

1/2 Red Onion, diced

1/2 Large Bell Pepper, diced

About 1/2 Cup Broccoli Florets

2 Cups Packed, Fresh Baby Spinach

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

Fresh Thyme

Bacon Fat

8 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Hemp Milk

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

A Few Grinds of Pepper

A Couple Sprinkles of Garlic Powder

Couple Pinches of Dried Oregano

1/4 Cup of Sheep’s Milk Parmesan

1/2 Cup of Sheep’s Milk Mozzarella

Freshly Chopped Tomatoes & Parsley For Garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the crust and line pie plate. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

 In a large skillet, saute the bacon fat, onion, pepper, broccoli, garlic, and thyme until onions and broccoli are aldente. Add the spinach and saute until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Grate cheeses.

Whisk the eggs, milk, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano in a bowl. Place the pre-baked crust on the middle rack of your oven and pour the egg mixture carefully into the crust. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Simple Roasted Vegetable Lunch



According to Dr. Terry Wahls who healed her Progressive MS with a nutrient dense diet that she specifically designed for her mitochondria and her brain, we should be eating 6-9 cups of leafy greens and colorful vegetables per day. Per DAY. The largest part of our diet should be vegetables. Many people don’t eat 6-9 servings of vegetables in a week.


In fact, here’s a visual of what most American’s yearly diets look like. And don’t let the vegetable category fool you. The most highly consumed vegetables among most Americans are corn and potatoes, which are actually considered a starch, not a vegetable.


Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with MS in 2000, by 2003 she was at stage 2 on heavy duty drugs including chemotherapy to fight the MS. The medications and therapy didn’t help and she continued to get worse. Slowly, each night after seeing patients all day, she began to research and read everything she could get her hands on that involved MS. She started researching vitamins and nutrients that were important to the brain and overall health and began integrating them into her diet. Then, in 2007 she discovered functional medicine and redesigned her diet. She used the knowledge she had from medical school, what she had learned in medical literature, through functional medicine, and through her research of nutrients to design a specific diet where she could get the majority of the nutrients necessary for healing through food. This diet is now called the Wahls Protocol. She was in a reclining wheelchair and headed for a life in bed when she started that diet in 2007. Within one year, she was able to walk through the hospital where she was a physician without a cane, and even complete an 18 mile bicycle tour.


Why do we need such a nutrient dense diet? Why can’t we just pop a few vitamins and continue on with unhealthy eating or eating like “normal”? Well, let’s talk about our mitochondria.  According to Harvard Medical School, “In some way, just about every cellular process is linked to mitochondria. Malfunctioning mitochondria have been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even resistance to radiation therapy. There’s also a set of rare, inborn metabolic diseases that stem from genetic changes that alter the function of mitochondrial proteins.”

Your mitochondria need a certain type and a certain amount of nutrients to function properly. If your mitochondria isn’t healthy and being fed what it needs to perform its job, then you aren’t healthy either. The mitochondria in your cells manage the energy supply for your cells. Dr. Wahls chooses to get the majority of her nutrients directly from the food she eats. She feels that although we know some things about the benefits of fruits and vegetables to our bodies, we don’t know about all of the benefits we’re getting from eating whole foods. Her theory was why take a supplement with one nutrient or a synthetic form, rather than eat the actual food and get all of the nutrients naturally?

The roasted ginger slices are delicious!

The roasted ginger slices are delicious!

If you haven’t read Dr. Wahls book, I would highly recommend it. Not only is her story quite amazing, it’s inspiring and you’ll learn valuable information about how to feed your body well and heal it naturally.


 I have a few different ways I try to integrate as many vegetables as possible into my diet. My favorite routes are via smoothies, salads, and large batches of roasting. All are extremely simple and an excellent way to get multiple servings of vegetables in one meal. I also saute a lot of vegetables for our meals. If we’re eating something that can have a vegetable added, I add it. We eat vegetables with every lunch and every dinner and the majority of our breakfasts. If you’re new to eating large quantities of vegetables, I would start with 1-2 cups a day via salad. Then the next week add a cup and so on until you are able to consume 6-9 cups a day with no intestinal issues. Your body will adapt very quickly. Make big salads and trays of roasted vegetables to keep in the fridge for easy snacking. Keep fresh sliced carrots, celery, broccoli and other vegetables you like in small batches in baggies so they’re easy to grab on the go. 6-9 cups of vegetables may sound like a lot, but over time it will become habit and your body will crave them. In fact, you’ll find yourself on many days easily eating that amount without even a thought about it.

Veggie Power!


Simple Roasted Vegetable Lunch

Organic Red Cabbage

Organic Carrots, unpeeled

Organic Cauliflower

Organic Beets

Organic Garlic Cloves, smashed and peeled

Organic Ginger, peeled and sliced

Organic Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

The quantity will depend on how many people you’re serving. But know that if this is my entire lunch meal, I can eat at least 1/3 of a baking sheet of roasted veggies! So if you have people with a big appetite for veggies, it’s always better to make more than you think you’ll need. They refrigerate and re-heat nicely and are also good cold.

Slice vegetables so that they are all relatively the same size. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Load with the veggies, ginger, and garlic cloves. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt and toss.

Roast for about 30-40 minutes until aldente and fork tender, stirring once . Don’t cook them too much!

Grilled Lunch & Garden Therapy


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When I hear someone say they “hate” to garden, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I have to seriously question whether we are going to be able to be friends.

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What’s next…they’re going to tell me they don’t like to read either? Or they hate the sun? Or kittens and puppies are ugly? Chocolate is bad for you? Massages are horrible?

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But seriously, in my world, gardening is a privilege, a blessing, and an inexpensive form of mental health therapy that keeps my head from exploding and reminds me there is so much beauty to experience even right in my own back yard.

High tech gardening tool.

High tech gardening tool.

My mom is retired now and is really embracing gardening since she has some free time on her hands. We’ve been out and about searching for flowers for our yards, containers, and window boxes, picking up little items here and there.

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 We both get equally excited over an interesting plant or flower we’ve never seen.

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My Grandma, my mother’s mom, was an amazing gardener. Some of my fondest memories are of her garden or me stopping by and finding her digging in her garden with a big floppy sun hat. I can still smell and feel her garden when I think about it. So many gorgeous flowers and neat little surprises tucked here and there.

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Surprises that people who “hate” gardening would never notice or appreciate, sadly. My heart aches for them. Picking fresh vegetables out of her garden and eating them right on the spot and snacking on raspberries off of her bushes was a true treat.

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I was never ever told “no” if I wanted to pick something or discouraged from digging or poking around. And to this day, I have never been able to find a plum or apricot that tasted like the ones on her trees. Just being in her garden was a pure blessing in itself.

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The house we’re in now doesn’t have a lot of ideal gardening space. Tony wanted low maintenance “flower” beds that are full of rock, so I’ve had to improvise with raised bed containers for my vegetables and herbs. The downside is that I can’t plant as much as I’d like, but the upside is that with it all contained, there will be less weeding, if any.

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For the last couple of days I’ve been planting things here and there.

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We are having a very rare for us, early spring. I planted my vegetable seedlings 2 weeks ago and now each day new sprouts are coming up. I’m going to try something different this year. Every time I pull something to eat, I’m going to plop another seed in. If we continue to have a long growing season, then that should give us veggies clear into late Fall. We’ll see how it works.

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Spending a day in the garden is my all around, heal everything salve. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the smell of fresh earth… Deer are milling around in the hills. Robins are hunting for worms in the grass. Abigail is sunning herself. That peaceful feeling…there’s nothing like it. And as if those things aren’t reward enough, you get to watch things grow and change. It’s extremely satisfying.

Add a grilled, relaxing lunch out on the patio to a gardening day, and you really can’t get much closer to a perfect day.

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Grilled Chicken Legs

5-6 Chicken legs. Place them in a plastic bag with about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, about 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, a good amount of Sriracha, about 1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar, about 1 teaspoon of sea salt, about 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano (or fresh)…and marinate for 2 hours before grilling on medium.

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Grilled Yellow Squash

 1 Squash cut in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, season with garlic powder and sea salt. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. I used rosemary and thyme. Grill to aldente.

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Simple Creamy Broccoli & Kale Soup


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Broccoli & Kale Soup

*Makes about 9 cups

8 Cups of Organic Broccoli, Stems Included, stems chopped

3 Cups of Organic Kale, Stems Included

4 Cloves of Organic Garlic, peeled and minced

2 Tbs of Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 Tbs of Fresh Rosemary Leaves, chopped

1 Tbs of Bragg’s Organic Seasoning

1 Medium Organic Onion, diced

2-3 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1 Box (32oz) of Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

Put the broccoli and kale in a steamer on the stove. I fill my pot right up to the edge of the steamer. You don’t want too much water, as you will use this in your soup after the steaming is completed. Steam the vegetables until they are fork tender, but not mushy. I choose to steam them rather than boil them in the broth because steaming allows them to keep a strong, green color.

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Push the vegetables aside and carefully remove the steamer letting the vegetables fall into the cooking water. There should be about an inch of water. Cover with a lid and set aside.

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In a large skillet, saute the onions in the avocado oil on med-low until they are almost translucent. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and saute for another 6-8 minutes on med-low.

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Add the broth and the Bragg’s seasoning into the onion pan and bring to a boil. Add to the broccoli and kale.

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Turn the burner on med-low and using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until they are smooth. You can also pour all of the ingredients into a Vitamix if you do not have an immersion blender. I like to use the immersion blender because I like my soup to have some texture and not be completely smooth.

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Make sure the soup is heated well and serve with a sprig of organic parsley and some diced organic red onion.

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Veggie & Chicken Goat Cheese Melt


Last weekend at the farmer’s market just down the road from us, we stumbled upon a local goat’s milk cheesemaker.


He had lots of samples which is always fantastic and I came away with two different types of goat cheese.

A spreadable garlic dill cheese and a goat mozzarella. We used the goat mozzarella on pizza a few days ago and it was delicious. Melted perfectly without being too moist. I think I even prefer it over buffalo mozzarella.


I decided to use the garlic dill goat cheese and another cheese I found at our local grocery store for the melts. The garlic dill is incredibly flavorful. The dill really stands out and I love the balance of garlic and salt. The Beemster goat cheese tastes similar to a  light swiss cheese.  Alone, or together, they are fabulous.


I sliced up an onion, pepper, a couple of mushrooms, chopped a clove of garlic, and sautéed them in olive oil.  When they were almost finished I added three chopped sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) and tossed them around until they melted nicely.



Then I cut a piece of french bread in half and toasted it under the broiler.


This is such an easy lunch.

I then spread the garlic dill cheese on the toasted bread, added a layer of sautéed veggies, then a few slices of left over chicken breast.


Then, another layer of veggies, a drizzle of olive oil on each…


and a generous amount of grated Beemster cheese.



Popped it under a 500 degree broiler until the cheese started to bubble…



Easy as that.


Fabulous and full of flavor. I served mine with a side of spicy mustard.