Organic Breakfast Salad

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Good Morning!

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We are up to our ear lobes in boxes around the house and looking forward to the moving company’s arrival next week. We’re leaving a month before our house sale closes and praying that everything goes smoothly. 

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I’ve been trying to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet at least 5 days a week. Breakfast is a tough one. I’m lowering my intake of eggs, grains, and heavy animal protein as much as possible.  Easter threw me for a loop with turkey, stuffing with bacon, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and berry crisp with coconut ice cream (all of my favorites!). Then of course, we had to have leftovers last night for dinner because it was just so delicious on Easter. Lots of salt, sugar, and other foods that inflame.

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So this morning I’m back to healthier eating. Since the whole Lyme Disease thing started in October I’ve been having increasing issues with major joint pain and arthritis. The doctor prescribed the anti inflammatories Diclofenac and Celebrex for me to try. Although I hate taking any type of medication and prefer to go with natural remedies, the pain from this arthritis and the swelling of joints doesn’t always make that possible. I prefer the Diclofenac. The Celebrex made me feel weird and didn’t work at all for the pain. I try to only take the Diclofenac for 3-4 days and then go off for a week or as long as I can stand it because it can be very hard on your stomach. But the key is to not allow the arthritis pain to get too bad because then it takes more medication to get it under control.

Along with trying to stay away from foods that cause inflammation and lessening my intake of animal protein, I’m also doing other natural remedies that are known to be helpful for arthritis. In the mornings I drink Organic Lemon Verbena Tea with medicinal honey to boost my immune system and fight bad bacteria. I made a fresh batch of turkey bone broth yesterday, and I also take high quality supplements daily. A multi vitamin/mineral, 8,000 IU’s of Vitamin D3, a probiotic, and a supplement for adrenal support.

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 I try my hardest to drink 90 ounces of filtered water every day, and every night I take two Tablespoons of Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate before bed. Tart cherries also have the added benefit of natural melatonin which aids in sleep. And it tastes delicious, which is a nice change from most supplements.

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That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. More packing to be done today. Hope you all have a wonderful day and if you have any arthritis remedies that work well for you, please share!

Organic Breakfast Salad

Organic Spinach

Organic Apple

Organic Strawberries

Organic Blueberries

Small Portion of Organic Turkey Breast

Organic Walnuts

Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Cupid’s Breakfast Salad

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~ Happy Valentine’s Day! ~ 

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This Valentine’s Day we’re thinking outside the chocolate box. Cupid is no dummy when it comes to starting the day off right. He has plenty of opportunities to eat sweets and goodies, but knows he’ll need to stay healthy and full of energy for the task at hand.

After all, being the symbol of love and master of attraction and affection is no easy task.

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Cupid’s Breakfast Salad is balanced beautifully with all kinds of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats.

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There’s even a little bacon on top to add a bit of salty, smokey, goodness.

Cupid knows that bacon spells L-O-V-E.

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His dressing is made with tart cherry juice, the deep and romantic color of the heart. Tart cherries reduce inflammation, lower the risk of stroke, fight that tummy jiggle, and are loaded with melatonin to give a peaceful start to the day.

Cupid wants only what’s best for you when it comes to matters of the heart and health.

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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ―Virginia Woolf

Cupid’s Breakfast Salad

2 Cups of Packed Organic Spinach, stems removed

1 Organic Red Chard Leaf, stem removed and sliced

1/2 of an Organic Avocado, cubed

1/2 of a Small Organic Apple, cubed

1 Organic Clementine, peeled with a knife, sectioned

4-5 Organic Strawberries, cubed, plus some for garnish

1 Slice of Organic Bacon Cooked Crisp, crumbled

4 Organic Pecans, sliced lengthwise

1 Medjool Date, seed removed and diced

Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.

Cupid’s Tart Cherry Dressing

4 teaspoons of Organic Lemon Juice

3 teaspoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1/2 Cup of Organic Tart Cherry Juice

2 1/2 Tablespoons of So Delicious Greek Style Raspberry Coconut Milk Yogurt

Grated Rind of 1/2 of a Lemon

Pinch of Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Rind of 1 Lemon

Place all ingredients in a jar and screw lid on tightly. Shake until emulsified.

Alysia Marie’s Famous Kale Salad

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While we were in Washington State we were able to travel 3 hours from our home town to Walla Walla, WA to visit with Tony’s sister and her family for a night.

It was such a wonderful visit! We weren’t able to see them before we left for New Hampshire last year, so I believe it had been almost a year and a half since we’d visited with them. Far, far, too long.

These are our gorgeous nieces, Maggie and Olivia (Brandon is in the chair).

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Such sweet things and so hilarious! Smart and beautiful, well-rounded, polite, pleasant, girls. I would steal them in a heart beat and bring them back to New Hampshire to live with us if I could! We had so much fun after the delicious dinner Alysia prepared just sitting together in the living room in our PJ’s, chatting, catching up, and listening to the girls tell funny stories. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!

While we were visiting, Maggie showed me how to make a knitted arm scarf. So crazy! Knitting, by just using your arms. You can go here for a tutorial I found on YouTube. You can make a scarf in 30 minutes or less! Here’s a picture of the one they made for me.

I’m thinking I may have to mail them some yarn and a little cash to make me more scarves!

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The next day while the guys and all the kids went shooting at the range and wandering around town, the ladies, Alysia, Sandy my mother in law, and I, set off to do a little shopping and hit a Starbuck’s. Starbucks are few and far between on the east coast so I wanted to stop as often as possible on our trip through the West. We weren’t feeling like doing a lot of shopping so we headed home to Alysia’s where she served us home-made bean soup and her kale salad.

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I’m going to call it her “famous” kale salad because she said she takes it to almost every gathering and although she worries that people will grow tired of it, it’s always eaten and raved about.

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And I would have to agree, it is delicious. I’ve thought about it every day since we left her house and have just now had the opportunity to make it. Even my husband loves it and he doesn’t like any savory or vegetable dish with nuts and dried fruit.

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Notice that Alysia is also wearing an arm knitted infinity scarf!

I believe I’ve gotten the recipe correct…I wrote it down while we were there and promptly lost it when I cleaned out my purse and thought it was an old shopping list. Then, I called her just the other day and wrote it on a piece of scrap paper on my desk…and sure enough, it has disappeared. So, rather than call her again and reveal that I’m a complete idiot, this recipe is from memory, I hope I do it justice.

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I will give you the amounts I used for about 6-8 servings, you can adjust it as needed. This salad keeps very well overnight in the fridge for snacking the next day. In fact, I probably ate about 4 servings for breakfast!

Alysia Marie’s Famous Kale Salad

1 Large Head of Organic Red Kale (or any kale you like), stems removed leaves sliced thinly

1 Medium Organic Apple, diced (I poured a little apple cider vinegar in a bowl and tossed the apples in it so they wouldn’t brown)

1/2 of a Medium Organic Red Onion, diced

3 Tablespoons of Organic Dried Cranberries

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Raw Organic Sunflower Seeds

5 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (hopefully one from New England!)

7 Tablespoons of  Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

4 Tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Place the sliced kale, chopped onion, diced apple, cranberries, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Pour over salad and toss until thoroughly coated.

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The Race Is On

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DSC_5006Remember when I told you I was going to have a huge organic vegetable garden this summer?

I even started some of the longer growing seeds indoors for the first time. I had visions of canning and freezing and having all kinds of wonderful veggies and herbs to use throughout the winter.

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All was going well, they were beautiful, we bought the supplies to make three large raised gardens, I replanted the seedlings once they were strong enough into their secondary pots…

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And then they all died.

It was quite disappointing.

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The thought of going through that all over again and then possibly losing them all in a massive downpour (which are common in NH) was just too much. We’ve only lived in this house for 7 months and we have been busy. Seriously busy. There’s a lot that goes on when you move 3,000 miles across the country to a new area and new home. Plus we’re having visitors for summer and fall…so I decided to set the garden aside until next year, when I could really give it some special attention.

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Unfortunately, now I’m kicking myself for not starting the organic garden. Not only is purchasing all of our organic vegetables a large expense every week,  for some reason the organic produce in the grocery stores here doesn’t last nearly as long as it did on the west coast. A lot of it comes from California so I’m guessing by the time it gets here, it’s already at least 5 to 6 days old.  Organic produce that’s already a week old! Certain things are also hard to find, like a simple red bell pepper. Very frustrating.

I’ve learned the hard way that we need to eat them up as quickly as possible. Throwing away organic vegetables is a pricey, awful, feeling.

So the race is on.

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When I get home from the store I make a huge salad, put it in an airtight container, and I eat salad every day for lunch and sometimes dinner until it’s gone.

Have you tried Schar’s gluten-free table crackers?

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I put the other vegetables in a zipper bag with a paper towel and that seems to hold them for a just a couple more days so we can have fresh vegetables with other meals.

Here’s the Trader Joe’s goat Gouda I’ve been telling you about.

Unbelievably fabulous.

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I’ve learned my lesson and won’t be procrastinating on our organic garden next spring!

Organic Chopped Veggie Salad

Purple Cabbage

Romaine Hearts

Baby Spinach Leaves

Celery

Carrots

Sweet Petite Peppers

Roma Tomatoes

Dice all veggies (shred the carrots) and place in an airtight container.

Dressing

1 part Organic Olive Oil

2 Parts Organic Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Organic Oregano

Organic Raw Honey

Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

Place all ingredients in a canning jar, tighten the lid, and shake to emulsify.

Pretending It’s Spring

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There’s not much more we can do, really.

Well, besides maybe whine and complain. But I think we’ve already tried that and it didn’t work.

So all that’s left is…pretending.

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We woke up this morning to eight inches of new snow. Yep.

And we’re supposed to get six to ten more inches before the day is over. It’s snowing heavily right now at 2:30 in the afternoon, so I’m going to assume the weather forecast was correct. Luckily snow is beautiful. Can you imagine if we had to endure months and months of something ugly falling out of the sky every year? See, it’s not hard to find something in this weather to be thankful for. I’ll hang on to that and keep pretending that this will all melt next week and it will warm up to at least the high 50’s so I can start working in the yard.

Today I made Tony and I a colorful lunch to help us get through the pretending of spring.

This whips up very quickly (maybe 10 minutes at the most) and serves two. We had about a cup leftover. Perfect for a bed for an egg “sunny” side up in the morning.

Warm Spring Salad

Organic Olive Oil

1 Chicken Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Sausage (I used Alfresco), sliced lengthwise then chopped

1 Small Organic Onion

About 1/2 Cup Organic Red & Orange Bell Pepper, sliced

About 1 Cup Organic Broccoli Florets, sliced

Large Handful Organic Baby Kale, chopped

Large Handful Organic Baby Spinach, chopped

1 Can Organic Black Beans, rinsed & drained

Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the sausage, onion, pepper, and broccoli until sausage is lightly browned and vegetables are al dente. Add the black beans, kale, spinach, and toss until kale and spinach wilt. Season with salt and pepper and a few splashes of your favorite vinaigrette.

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Staying Fueled

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This is my latest easy, go-to snack, that I’m somewhat obsessed with. It’s simple because most of it is already made for me. All I add is a drizzle of olive oil and rice wine vinegar with herbs. It’s packed full of protein and vegetables, it’s filling, and it makes for a delicious snack or lunch salad.

It amazes me that Trader Joe’s is such a tiny, little store, yet almost every time I go, I find something new! Before I found the ingredients for this salad, it was the to-die-for buffalo mozzarella. I love Trader Joe’s. And I didn’t think I would because it’s so small. Now I’ve discovered that I’m a bit spoiled because it’s only 20 minutes from my house. When we move to New Hampshire, I will have to drive 45 minutes to find the nearest Trader Joe’s. But believe me, that certainly won’t stop me!

All this lovely salad takes to make is Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veg Mix and their Balela  salad, a drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of rice wine vinegar with herbs. That’s it. The chopped veggie mix is pretty much self-explanatory and the Balela salad has chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs. Mixed together, they create a little bowl of heaven.

Out With The Old, In With The New!

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Vegetable Pakora Lunch

Quite yummy but maybe being a bit overshadowed by those gorgeous organic strawberries…

I am quickly learning that until our house sells, I pretty much cannot commit to a whole heck of a lot. I kind of just have to wake up and greet the day and whatever happens, happens. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to make plans. You would think I would learn. Ha!

Last night I had visions of a glorious day in the kitchen baking and frosting sugar cookies and trying to see if I could come up with a savory pumpkin boule. I convinced myself, and then posted it on Facebook (pretty much jinxing myself) that I was going to get up, take the dogs on a beautiful walk and then spend the entire day in the kitchen doing basically whatever I pleased.

I managed the walk, which was nice. But never got around to the baking. This morning my husband “parted ways” with our realtor. There were a lot of valid reasons but the icing on the cake was that we had an open house two days in a row last weekend and they listed our house in the local newspaper at the wrong price. Yep. And of course the deadline was Friday so it couldn’t be changed or cancelled. So we spent the only two days my husband was home carting animals back and forth and waiting for the open houses to be over. And guess how many people showed up? Zilch. Zero. Nada. No big surprise since the price was wrong and we weren’t even catering to people in our price range. It was quite frustrating and actually made me want to just sit in a heap and cry…or strangle someone. I did neither. We sucked it up and dealt with our weekend like big people. But it wasn’t easy.

So! Out with the old and in with the new! We hired a new Realtor who started working for us immediately. The house will be back on the market on Friday.

I meet with our new Realtor tomorrow so he can take pictures of the house and I can fill out all of the necessary paperwork. Instead of sugar cookies and beautiful pumpkin bread dancing through my head, I had to don work gloves and clean the house and mow the lawn. Oh well, such is life. My expanding hips probably didn’t need sugar cookies and bread anyway…

I did manage to make myself some lunch. I don’t typically buy pre-packaged foods… but have you been down the frozen isles in Trader Joe’s?  H-O-L-Y   C-O-W…how I envy those of you who can eat whatever you please. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t eat 98% of what they sell or I would be gorging myself on perogi, lasagna, cheese tamales, baby frozen quiche, death by chocolate cake, cheese cake, and all kinds of frozen little delights I’ve never even heard of. I did happen to run across one thing I could try. Vegetable Pakoras. They are basically vegetable fritters but with an Indian kick. They are quite yummy and made for a very nice and quick lunch!

They are vegan and as far as I could tell from the ingredient list, gluten-free. However, they are processed in a plant with other gluten items. So if you are that sensitive…I would steer clear. So far I feel fine, but I will be sure to let you know in the morning if I wake up stiff and headachey.

I was also able to finally find real buffalo mozzarella at Trader Joe’s! I was so thrilled I was sad that I was shopping by myself and there was no one there to jump up and down with me. I think I actually gasped out loud when I saw it tucked in among the goat cheese containers. However, I did refrain from jumping up and down. I surprised my husband with a pepperoni pizza lunch the first day he was back in town.

The buffalo milk didn’t bother my stomach at all, tasted wonderful, and melted like regular mozzarella cheese. It was heavenly.

Well, as I sit here eating a rather dull dinner and dreaming of pizza (a plate of black re-fried beans with Daiya cheese and Tabasco) …I still have bathrooms to clean and it’s already 7:45. I wanted to check in with you all and make sure you knew I hadn’t forgotten about you.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! ~ April

Finally Time For a Home Cooked Meal

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Life has been absolutely crazy around here. Tony is traveling and changing time zones twice a week, and the house viewing traffic is picking up dramatically. That last part is a good thing, but it puts us in the position of having to be able to leave our house quickly. That makes it very hard to cook a real meal.

This is a very unhappy Chloe, stuck in a crate at my mom’s house while we wait for people to finish a walk through at our house. She’s not quite as happy as Romeo and Abigail to be at Grandma’s house.

I’ve been trying to make this dish since Thursday and finally on Sunday night, even though we were completely exhausted after having five viewings of our house over the past three days, I forced myself to make a decent dinner. Please forgive the pictures…I wasn’t going to even blog about it but Tony asked if I was taking pictures and was sweet enough to run upstairs and get my camera. The recipe will also be one of those “about this much” recipes, unfortunately. I didn’t write anything down, but you all are so smart and amazing in the kitchen, I know you won’t have any trouble making your own version.

Waiting at Grandma’s house for “kitty, kitty” the new kitten to come out and play with her. Penelope, my mother’s other cat is just around the corner growling and hissing at Chloe in the crate.

Lately we’ve been living on Jimmy John’s un-which sandwiches, black bean salad, gluten-free organic hot dogs and chili, cereal more cereal, peanut butter toast, and Red Robin’s California chicken sandwiches. Did you know they now carry gluten-free buns and will make your fries in a separate fryer from gluten items? We are addicted. Next time I eat one I’ll take a picture for you. And the tartar sauce (which is gluten-free & dairy free)…so delicious and addictive I should probably just be slathering it on my thighs because I’m sure that’s right where it goes after it leaves my mouth.

Tony stayed home an extra day today to take advantage of a motorcycle track day. The kind of track day that makes me cringe and I have to remind him that I really don’t want to know how fast he went and how many people had to be hauled off in an ambulance. He left early this morning, so this is what a lazy Sunday looks like for some of us…not me of course, I have a whole list of things to do!

Yes, we allow them to lounge on the furniture…

I’m used to cooking whole meals at least four days a week and baking something delicious at least twice a week. But lately, our new way of  living on “whatever is easy and doesn’t make the house smell weird” is getting to me. It’s leaving me feeling unsatisfied and rather unhealthy.

So last Wednesday while I was lying in bed wide awake at 2:30 in the morning because we’ve had a weird rash of car break-ins in our neighborhood, the recipe for Italian Sausage & Pesto Roll Ups was born. Maybe a little bit of fear does help with creativity? Or maybe it was the fact that I was sleeping with my gun and that enabled me to calm my mind enough to think about food. Either way, I also had to figure out when exactly I could find the time to actually make the recipe that was making my stomach growl and getting me excited for real food.

I tried Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to make this meal and it seemed like the dinner God’s were against me. And even though we had two more showings on Saturday, I managed to squeeze in a small nap and muster the energy to cook a nice meal on Saturday night, throwing caution to the wind and not caring if our house smelled like garlic and pesto on Sunday morning. I even managed to make an easy Kalamata olive & garlic loaf.

Italian Sausage & Pesto Roll-Ups

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

About a pound of gluten-free, dairy-free Italian Sausage

Hot Pepper Flakes, I like my sausage spicy

Homemade Vegan Pesto

1 Large Block of Sheep’s Milk Cheese, I buy mine in the white and blue container at Trader Joe’s

About 2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano

About 2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil

Freshly Ground Pepper

About 1/2 Cup Diaya Mozzarella Style Shreds

About 2 Tablespoons Dairy Free Parmesan Style Cheese

1 Jar Ready-Made Pasta Sauce, I used Newman’s Marinara, or homemade of course

1 Package Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles, cooked aldente (follow pkg instructions), rinsed, and separated immediately

Cook pasta, rinse, separate, and set aside. Fry the Italian sausage and pepper flakes (to your taste) until done, drain fat, set aside.

Drain the sheep’s cheese and place the entire block in a mixer. Add the fresh herbs, other two cheeses, and the fresh herbs. Mix on medium until it comes together and begins to look somewhat sticky. I was also going to add 1/2 cup chopped spinach to this mixture but forgot!

Oil a 9×9 inch square baking dish with olive oil. Spoon a small amount of sauce over the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Lay out a lasagna noodle on your work surface. Spread either with a knife or the back of a spoon about 1 to 1/2 Tablespoons of the pesto along the entire noodle. Add about 2 Tablespoons (or so) of the cheese mixture to the end of the noodle nearest you, add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the sausage, and roll up, tucking in any filling that falls out of the sides as you go. Place the roll upright in the prepared pan. Continue until you have used all of your fillings.

Once the pan is full, pour the remaining sauce over the top, spreading with a spoon. Sprinkle with a little more of the mozzarella style cheese and the parmesan style cheese. Oil a piece of aluminum foil and cover.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes covered, remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes.

Kalamata Olive & Garlic Loaf

With this recipe, I made two small plain loaves and 1 medium olive and garlic loaf. I simply separated the dough and took out the plain loaves first, then added the ingredients for the olive and garlic loaf.

1 Box Gluten Free Pantry French Bread Mix (make using directions on back of box)

Kalamata Olives, about 15 sliced in half lengthwise

Garlic Cloves, about 8 sliced in half lengthwise

About 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano

1 Egg for Brushing

I wasn’t in the mood to run to the basement to fetch my french bread pan, so I simply lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. It works just fine, but the loaves spread out a bit.

Depending on how you want to separate the dough, do that part first, leaving the amount of dough that you want to use for the olive and garlic loaf in the mixer. Then, add the olives, garlic, and oregano and mix until combined.

Dollop and spread it on the baking sheet or in the french bread pan, brush with whisked egg, and cover with oiled plastic. Allow to rise for about 40 minutes in a warm place

Bake for about 30 minutes (I use convection). You may need to cover lightly with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.

Fried Chicken Livers & Smashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy

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A meal like this is just where all of those bacon drippings you’ve been hoarding come in handy. You do that too, right?

This is how I keep my bacon drippings in the fridge. It lasts a very, very, long time and then you always have it handy for those special occasions when you’re making something extra delicious.

You MUST have a splatter lid when frying the chicken livers. Number one, because it makes clean up of your stove much easier, and number two and most importantly, because you do not want exploding chicken liver all over your kitchen ceiling. You need a splatter guard, which is a mesh screen, because if you cover the liver with a lid, it won’t crisp.

When you flip the livers, hold the screen in front of you and your face. Hot bacon grease and exploding chicken liver is painful.

Fried Chicken Livers

1 Container of Chicken Livers, organic if possible, rinsed

Organic Almond Milk

1 Organic Egg

Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

Organic Garlic Powder

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Bacon Grease/Drippings (from all natural bacon)

First, let’s remind ourselves that this is a special meal. An indulgence meal…I only make it about once a year. So we won’t be counting calories or worrying about our hips and thighs. We will simply enjoy the comfort and memories of childhood that these types of meals bring with them.

Melt a generous amount of bacon grease in a large skillet. I used about two heaping serving spoons full.

In a medium dish or dinner plate, add about 1 cup or so of the flour and generously season with the garlic powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Remember, it’s just a dredge so the majority of the coating stays on the plate. You want what ends up stuck to the liver to be flavorful!

Pour about 1/2 cup almond milk into a cereal sized bowl and whisk in the egg.

Once the bacon grease is heated on medium to medium high, dip each chicken liver into the milk and egg mixture and then into the flour mixture. Coat well, shake off, and lay carefully into the bacon grease.

Cover with the splatter shield. Allow to brown thoroughly before flipping. I would say about 6-7 minutes on each side or more, depending on the heat in your pan.

Smashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy

Both the smashed potatoes (basically the lazy cousin of the mashed potato) and the pan gravy are a no brainer. I’ll just give you the ingredients that I used. You can go here for pan gravy instructions if you’ve never made it. It’s SO easy!

Organic Yukon Gold Potatoes, skin on

Almond Milk

Dairy Free Butter

Kosher Salt

For the pan gravy:

Leave drippings in the pan

Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

Dairy Free Butter

Organic Chicken Broth

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

A Slice of Life – My Corner of The World

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Yesterday was heavenly. I decided to set aside my “to-do” list and just really focus on enjoying the day. I spent the majority of it outside. As you may have read (a thousand times) in earlier blogs, we have been waiting a very long time for summer weather. Well, it’s finally here and I want to soak up every possible minute of it. Plus, sometime soon, our life is going to get very busy, hectic, and even more stressful than it is right now. I want to enjoy our little “sanctuary” in the backyard before we move.

I sat out in the yard, sunned myself, and read for a while. This is one of the books I’m currently reading:

Have you ever read her books? They are based out of South Carolina in the “low country”. I love books about the south. They are amazingly comfortable and soothing, and make me daydream about living in a rich, flamboyant, atmosphere filled with southern tradition. I haven’t read a book of hers that I didn’t like.

While I was reading, I also sipped on this, because it was quite hot yesterday…in the low 90’s. I just simply added a scoop of the Lemon Sorbet I made a couple of days ago to a glass full of spring water and ice. Wonderfully refreshing!

After I read for a while I spent more than two hours on the phone with my husband’s sister, Alysia, catching up on life in my neck of the woods and hers. We don’t talk all that often, so when we do, it’s usually a phone marathon.

After I hung up, I thought, “I should probably do a load of laundry and run upstairs and make the bed…” But I stopped myself. Nope! Today is a NON “to-do” list day. You will go outside and enjoy the weather!  And I did.

I ran across this bible study on the internet and it arrived two days ago. I really love to learn about why we are the creatures we are and how our bodies work. It’s good to learn about yourself and feed your mind and soul. But I don’t have to tell you that, do I? I think that people who blog already have that figured out. We love to learn from others who blog, see what they are experiencing in their lives, and share a bit of our own world.

I already know quite a bit about PMS and Perimenopause after working for a Naturopath for several years. Plus, I somehow was flung into the whole perimenopause thing when I was nearing my 39th birthday. Fun, fun. I love to arm myself with knowledge. I don’t like to treat symptoms without knowing the why’s and how’s and how I might manage things naturally. I bought this study because it was the first time that I had seen someone approach such a touchy subject for so many women (92% of women suffer from severe PMS and Perimenopause symptoms) that not only dealt with the medical aspects but also with the spiritual. We are feeling, emotional, living, beings after all. It only makes sense.

As I lounged in the yard I looked over at Abigail and for the millionth time, I reminded myself how thankful I am for loving pets in our life! They ask for so little and want to give so much. Abigail is always right by my side, just patiently waiting to see what I will do next, ready to assist me in her sweet little way and follow me from task to task.

Romeo was inside, lounging in air-conditioned comfort. He had quite enough of the bees chasing him around.

So basically, that was the majority of my day. Yep, I sat in the yard and soaked up the summer pretty much all day long. 

A little visit with our son in the evening also blessed my day. He warmed my heart yesterday when he told me he wanted to “surprise” his Dad with a little something. My husband has already taken the job back east so he has been having to travel extensively. Life is stressful when you have to change time zones twice a week and are only home for about a day and a half. We have a motorcycle trailer that needs to be sold before we move, but it needs a little work. Of course my husband’s hectic schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of time to be spent on things like that. And that type of thing is way out of my realm of expertise. Brandon wants to spruce it up for him and put it up for sale as a surprise because he knows how busy his Dad is. I thought his suggestion was loving and thoughtful and frankly, it made an almost perfect day, absolutely perfect.

He’ll be over today to work on it. So I will pause for now…and add a bit more later today. I plan on making this day an extension of yesterday. A little cleaning and “to-do” list things here and there maybe, but otherwise, I’m just going to embrace the day and take it a minute at a time and see what it has to offer.

This was my breakfast this morning. A simple breakfast to go along with my easy-going day. It’s half of an Udi’s bagel with organic almond butter and my Aunt Judy’s (she’s really my husband’s aunt, but I have adopted her as my own) unbelievably delicious, homemade, strawberry jam.

I also made an organic vegetable salad to munch on for the next couple of days. The weather is hot and as much as I know I need to start whittling down that organic meat in the freezer…I just haven’t been feeling like making a big to do about dinner for me, myself, and I. A salad is just right.

Getting the trailer ready…he’s so resourceful! How do you just “know” how to wire things and what to buy and how to do it?

He has always been a fixer and loves to create things in the garage. When he was little he built a sprinkler system in his sandbox. Seriously. All the tubing and everything. All he had to do was screw a hose to it and it was a sprinkler system for his sand box army base.

He was born with computer knowledge and has been doing computer repair work on the side for years…and he just turned 20. When he was in the 5th grade, my paper shredder died. He took the entire thing apart, rewired it, put it back together and it worked like new. Since he was in middle school, he has been our computer and technology guru. He wires things for us – new lighting, cable, he was the one who set up our entire television system with all of it’s boxes and speakers and whatever it’s called, while I stood there handing him tools that he pointed to, that I didn’t even know the names of.

Two weeks ago, he completely rewired and re-plumbed my mother’s sprinkler system. He’s amazing…if I do say so myself. And believe me, he didn’t get these skills from his father and I!

Like a lot of young people, he’s a carb addict. So to thank him for his hard work on his Dad’s trailer, I baked him a delicious pan of corn bread that he could slather with honey and butter. You can find the recipe here. 

This is the cornbread I was telling you about this morning, Smidge. To. Die. For.

Sometimes we just absolutely need to set certain things aside temporarily so we can truly appreciate life. We all have our responsibilities but let’s be truthful, a lot of things that take up our time can really be saved for another day.

The little things in life are sometimes what have the most impact. Like taking the time to enjoy the weather and read in your back yard. Learning something new. Being thankful that you have a loyal pet by your side to love on. Sitting in the garage for the afternoon and watching your “grown” son work on a surprise for his Dad. Just taking life minute by minute instead of rushing, rushing, rushing… and instead, being thankful for every little thing and savoring each slice of life.