Simple Creamy Broccoli & Kale Soup

3 Comments

2015-03-31 15.32.50

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.

2015-03-31 14.41.59

2015-03-31 15.10.13

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.

2015-03-31 15.11.02

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.

2015-03-31 15.03.27

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

2015-03-31 15.13.51

2015-03-31 15.19.56

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.

2015-03-31 15.21.08

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

2015-03-31 15.28.56

Grain Free Garlic & Herb Twists

9 Comments
These are the rolls on day two. I was so excited to eat them I forgot to take the opening shot the night before. Ha!

These are the rolls on day two. I was so excited to eat them I forgot to take the opening shot the night before. Just as delicious day two warmed, with a bit of dairy free butter.

Bread is finally back on our table and it has been a divine experience.

IMG_4913

I was worried there for a while when I took grains out of my diet, but not anymore. These Garlic & Herb Twists are delicious and I’d be willing to bet that 9/10 people wouldn’t have a clue that they are grain free and dairy free.

 They’re soft, have a very nice crumb, a good bounce like a “real” roll,  and are very flavorful with the perfect combination of herbs, sea salt, and olive oil. Most of us find such comfort in a good piece of bread.

IMG_4919

These could be made a variety of different ways with a variety of herbs and add ins. Get creative!

Grain Free Garlic & Herb Twists

*Grain Free *Gluten Free *Dairy Free *High Protein

1/3 Cup Arrowroot

3/4 Cup Sweet Potato Flour

1/2 Cup Coconut Flour

2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum

2 teaspoons Double Acting Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast

2 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar

1/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter

**

3 Eggs Separated

1 1/2 Tablespoons Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup Cool Water

1 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

**

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

1/2 Tablespoon Dried Basil

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Measure the dairy free butter into the flour mixture and work through with your fingers quickly until it has a large, mealy appearance. Set aside.

_DSC1147

_DSC1154

Separate the eggs. Whites into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, yolks into a small cup or ramekin. Beat the egg whites on high until they are very foamy and at least doubled in size, but not quite to soft peak stage. Add in the yolks and beat until completely combined, just a few seconds.

_DSC1148

_DSC1149

Next, in a medium ramekin or in a glass measuring cup, add the 1/2 cup of cool water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and whisk in thoroughly with a fork. Microwave for 20 seconds. Set aside.

_DSC1150

_DSC1151

Measure the vinegar into the egg mixture and turn the mixer on low. Very slowly drizzle the warmed gelatin mixture into the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat on medium for about 1 minute. The dough will be soft.

_DSC1156

Next, line a medium baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Flour a board or counter with arrowroot. Scoop dough onto the arrowroot and lightly flour the top. Very lightly knead the dough quickly to form a loaf, it will not get completely smooth, don’t over work it. Cut the loaf into 8 equal pieces.

_DSC1158

_DSC1161

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Working with one piece at a time and a little more arrowroot, lightly and quickly roll the dough into a strip about 6 inches or so and then roll into a spiral. Place on the parchment covered baking sheet and repeat for the remaining 7 pieces.

_DSC1164

Next, in a small bowl mix together the olive oil, garlic, herbs, and salt and set aside.

_DSC1172

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil and drape over the unseasoned twists. Drape with a tea towel and place on top of the stove (that is preheating) to rest and rise for 60 minutes.

_DSC1169

Remove the plastic and towel, brush the tops of the twists evenly and generously, using all of the topping. and bake for 15-20 minutes until browned. Don’t overcook!

After the rise.

After the rise.

After seasoning and prior to baking.

After seasoning and prior to baking.

I served mine with zucchini noodles and meatball sauce.

IMG_4914

The zucchini noodles are incredibly easy and delicious! You can go here for more information on the spiralizer.

IMG_4908

For the meatball sauce I made a super simple baked meatball and used 2 jars of gluten-free, organic, spaghetti sauce. 1 pound of ground beef,  egg, a couple of tablespoons of chopped onion, herbs of your choice (I used oregano and basil), garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix it all together, form small meatballs and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with  a little more salt, garlic powder, and oregano.

_DSC1127

_DSC1130

 Bake them in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 25 minutes and then plop them into a pot with your sauce. Simmer for 2 hours. I also like to season the sauce a little at the end with herbs and a bit of garlic.

_DSC1139

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs

7 Comments

_DSC1010

I love sweet and spicy together. This would be fantastic on Asian-ish BBQ’d chicken wings too. Just pop them under the broiler to set the sauce, or use it as a dipping sauce. This sauce and chicken combined with the ginger, garlic, and orange zest on the green beans was an amazing combination of pleasing flavors. 

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6 Chicken Legs

1/2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Aminos (gluten free soy sauce alternative)

Sriracha (I used at least a 2 teaspoons, it’s hot, I’ll leave the amount up to you)

About 1/4 Cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce

About 1/8 Cup of Sweet Chili Sauce

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Green Onion, thinly sliced

Place the chicken legs in a baking dish and drizzle with the sesame oil. Sprinkle the minced garlic and green onion over the legs. Drizzle the coconut aminos and sriracha over the top. Drizzle the BBQ sauce and sweet chili sauce over the top. With a basting brush make sure legs are evenly coated on tops and sides.

_DSC0972

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Spoon pan juices over the top.

_DSC1003

Simple Cabbage Salad & Roasted Chicken Lunch

2 Comments

_DSC0853

Once you really focus on cleaning up your diet, it’s very interesting to listen to your body’s cravings. When you remove all the “noise”, like snacking mindlessly and eating to satisfy sugar cravings or your mood, you can hear your body telling you what it really needs. May sound like hocus pocus, but I swear it’s true. Lately for me, it’s cruciferous vegetables, coconut milk kefir, bone broth, and the activated nuts and seeds I made last week.

 I took all grains, legumes, potatoes, eggs, refined sugar, goat and sheep cheese, nuts, and seeds out of my diet a few weeks ago and have recently been adding things in one at a time over several days to see how my body reacts.

_DSC0848

I’m not following any one diet necessarily, other than strictly abstaining from dairy and gluten of course, because I already know I’m allergic to those. I’ve been focusing on getting a minimum of 6 cups of organic colorful vegetables per day, increasing my protein, and increasing the healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. Basically, just trying to eat an extremely nutrient dense diet whenever I can.

_DSC0846

A bit restrictive yes, but when I really feel like eating something on that list (within reason), I do. The downside, or the upside I guess depending on how you look at it, is that now when I do that, I know exactly what foods my body doesn’t like. Before the “extreme clean” of my diet, I was eating those foods a few times a week. When you eat foods that your body is sensitive to on a regular basis and cannot process correctly, there’s no down time for you to understand the signals you’re being sent. Now those signals are blatant. Think of it like this: a clear bowl of fresh water (your clean diet) that you’ve just squeezed a drop of red dye (a re-introduced food) into. If the bowl was full of murky water, the dye would still have an impact, but how would you be able to determine what size of an impact when your body is already struggling to get the “water” clean?

_DSC0842

White potatoes make me swell within an hour, goat cheese gave me a horrible migraine, refined sugar makes my heart pound uncomfortably, makes my ears ring worse and dramatically increases joint pain. I can no longer tolerate nuts and seeds that haven’t been activated. Eggs seem to be OK I think (thank goodness!!). The jury is still out on gluten free grains and seed flours. Buckwheat and quinoa seem to be the friendliest. Digestive enzymes help. Even Paleo breads if I eat them too often cause an increase in joint pain and make me feel sluggish. My body prefers arrowroot over tapioca. I miss rice, but am waiting one more week to give it a try. I would have never been able to root through these symptoms had I not eliminated them for a while and then re-introduced them.

It may seem like a hassle, or a lot of work to do an “extreme clean” of your diet. And I’m not going to lie, you have to be pretty diligent. Truthfully, if I wasn’t having health issues with the Lyme Disease, I would have less motivation to really look at my diet. For me, my diet has a massive impact on how I feel on a daily basis. Trying to avoid the things my body struggles with, allows for easier handling of the LD symptoms and a more enjoyable life for me and everyone around me.

_DSC0855

I can promise you that working hard toward a healthy body and lifestyle whether you have a chronic illness or not is well worth the hassle. The hassle fades quickly and being diligent about your diet becomes a lifestyle choice. You won’t regret it. Understanding the link between how you feel and what you eat is huge. It can determine how you feel physically and emotionally and by understanding that and being mindful of it, you can greatly improve the quality of your life.

Simple Cabbage Salad & Roasted Chicken Lunch

*3-4 Servings

Cabbage Salad:

3 1/2 Cups of Cabbage, sliced thinly (your choice, you could even do greens)

1/4 Cup of Red Onion, sliced very thinly

Juice of 2 Fresh Limes

6 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar (or Pure Maple Syrup)

A Pinch of Ground Ginger (Or 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated)

In a medium bowl whisk the lime juice, EVOO, coconut sugar and ginger until combined and coconut sugar is dissolved, set aside. Slice the cabbage and red onion into a medium bowl and toss with dressing. Refrigerate while chicken is roasting. Toss again before serving.

For the Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350

2 Chicken Breasts

Seasoning of Choice (I used EVOO, sea salt, garlic powder and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle)

Roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with the cabbage salad.

Chestnut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies & Other Stuff

9 Comments

Yesterday I had a very productive day. I love those days! The days where you wake up at least somewhat refreshed, have a to-do list that’s pretty ambitious, and actually cross off everything on the list by the time you fall into bed.  I used to have many more productive days than I do now, I was full of energy. Now, not so much, but I can still look on the bright side. There are lessons to be learned from life’s hiccups. Good, joyful, lessons! Not just the painful ones.

Having a chronic illness really makes you view your life differently. Very little is taken for granted. So many tasks and things that never even crossed my mind for most of my life, now can sometimes take a lot of effort and can be very exhausting. The little things that I never paid attention to, are very vivid and have a much greater significance. My time, peace, and happiness is more precious now, as is everyone’s, but we typically don’t pay too much attention to that until some or most of it is being used up by something unpleasant.  That’s all in the lesson, I suppose. Learning to deal with each day that is given to you in the way that it needs to be dealt with, and being OK with that.

Well, after “dealing with each day that was given to me” in the form of a migraine all weekend, I was quite happy to wake up Tuesday morning feeling like I could cope with life without copious amounts of essential oils, ibuprofen, epsom salt baths, and ice bags. Yay!

So off I went with the dogs for a hike. There’s a 552 acre conservation area 2 minutes from our front door. It was foggy and gray so you can’t see much, but I promise I’ll take better pictures on a clear day. You can see beautiful farm land for miles and miles! This is the entrance. My goal is always to head all the way up into the hills and hike up to a water tower that’s up to the left. I’d say it’s about 3 miles round trip depending on which trail you take. Not too difficult, but a nice hike and good exercise.

10881660_10152980625069259_9124072248753765495_n

This is about half way up, looking down toward the entrance. Takes about an hour and 20 round trip. But I am a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of hiker and had to stop twice to catch my breath on a major incline.

IMG_4451

A few weeks ago after reading through Brittany Angell’s new cook book, Every Last Crumb (we’ll talk about that more in a minute), I purchased some Chestnut Flour. It’s been sitting in my pantry ever since, of course. Last week my husband requested his favorite chocolate chip cookies, but I put him off until this week because I wanted to try to figure out a grain and sugar alternative. So after my hike with the dogs I simply Googled, “Chestnut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

_DSC0832

What I found was a recipe SO GOOD I’m pretty sure my world shifted on its axis a little. Perfect taste, perfect texture, perfect moisture. It’s as if chestnut flour was created for chocolate chip cookies. They are that good. I don’t know where James Trenda has been all my gluten-free and Paleo-ish life, but I’m so thankful Google found him for me!

IMG_4460

I used coconut sugar in place of maple sugar, and arrowroot in place of the tapioca because I’m abstaining from tapioca for a while and didn’t have maple sugar on hand. I also weighed all of my ingredients exactly like he advised. The dough will be thick, thicker than you think it should be, but simply press them out a little and all will be well. They are delicious warm or room temperature and are equally good today as they were yesterday.

You can find the recipe for James Trenda’s “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies” HERE.

_DSC0833

I am still doing my grain free trial and trying to eat an extremely nutrient dense diet. That means, LOTS of organic vegetables, a good amount of organic grass-fed meats, and a wide variety of colorful organic fruits.

_DSC0820

 I fried up some organic free range chicken liver yesterday, as it’s important to also have organ meats now and then in a nutrient dense diet. I dredged it in a mixture of coconut flour, arrowroot powder, sea salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and then fried them in avocado oil.

Luckily for me, I love liver. For those of you that think it tastes like an old shoe…the key is not to cook it to death.

_DSC0828

After munching on those fabulous cookies and snacking on fried liver, I focused my attention on baking Brittany Angell’s  Baguettes.

_DSC0837

I keep this cook book on my counter because every day I think, today is the day I’m going to spend all day baking Brittany’s goodies. Which of course is wishful thinking, but one recipe every now and then is cool too. If you don’t have her new cook book, you need it. It is the grain free baking bible and I promise, her recipes will blow your mind.

51afsh-xHaL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

You can find it online and at select book stores for around $25 and it’s only $9.99 for your Kindle. It is worth every single penny and then some.

Eating “Paleo” has its controversies and people will argue back and forth about what a real Paleo diet looks like. My opinion is that your diet should “look like” what makes you feel healthy and heals your body. Who cares what it’s called or whether you eat legumes or quinoa, brown rice, or potatoes, or no grains at all and live on kale?  The important thing is that you figure out what’s wreaking havoc on your gut and get that out of your diet. Then, add in nutrient dense foods that will heal your gut biome and change the way you feel for the better. If you need to abstain from grains for a while or even forever, along with other inflammatory foods, it’s a Godsend to be able to have a piece of bread or baked item every now and then that won’t make you feel like hell.

That’s where Brittany Angell’s, “Every Last Crumb” comes to the rescue.

_DSC0840

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.

Smoky Honey Habanero Chicken & Apple Cabbage Salad

2 Comments

The evenings are getting shorter and I’m running out of photography light. I’m going to have to start getting creative. In the past I’ve researched lighting equipment and the “how-to’s” for making my own light boxes. But because I do this blog purely for fun and relaxation, I hate to get too serious about such things.

As we head into winter, you may have to endure some drab photography until I find my lighting sweet spot in this house.

_DSC9800

I bought three types of Spiceologist rubs from our local farmer’s market this summer. Smoky Honey Habanero, Raspberry Chipotle, and Greek Freak.

_DSC9808

I’ve used all but the Raspberry Chipotle, and although I think they are lacking in flavor just on their own, they’re quite good with a few simple additions.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season well with sea salt and Bragg's Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous seasoning of sea salt.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season both sides well with sea salt and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous sprinkle of sea salt.

The sweet and tangy salad balanced out the hot and spicy flavors of the chicken very well.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced red onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper. Whisk until combined.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion. Add it all to a large mixing bowl along with 2 Tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 2 Tablespoons of raisins, and toss well to coat with dressing. Spoon into a serving bowl and chill in refrigerator while chicken grills.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes with lid closed.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp. If you get too much flame up, grill with lid open and increase cooking time.

A very simple dinner with amazing flavors. We loved the balance of the hot and spicy chicken with the sweet and tangy salad.