Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup tapioca Flour

4 Very Ripe Bananas (dark brown skins)

4 Organic Eggs

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

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Dried Cherries (chopped)

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

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

Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

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

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

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

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 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

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

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

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

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

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

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

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

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

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Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.

Thanksgiving Afterglow

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Coconut Chai Shortbread Cookies

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

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

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

One of those comfortable, conversational pieces old people enjoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sprinkle with a little more coconut...

Then bake them until they are beautiful and golden.

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

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Nope.

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

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

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

She is the Queen of the palace after all.

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

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

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

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Coconut Chai Shortbread Cookies

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees (makes 12)

5 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Flour

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

6 Tablespoons of Non Dairy Butter

A Small Pinch of Fine Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon of Chai Mix

2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Organic Medjool Dates, pitted and diced

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

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

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

Coconut Chai Sipping Chocolate

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Winter has officially arrived in my neck of the woods. It’s 24 degrees with an expected high of only 28 today. The wind is howling. We had a gorgeous, hot summer and a fabulously mild fall, so lets hope that this winter is a true winter and brings lots and lots of snow.

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For the last couple of months I’ve been allowing myself what I consider a very indulgent treat at Starbuck’s. A soy Chai Tea Latte. Indulgent because it has caffeine which my body doesn’t like and non-organic soy which is terrible for pretty much anyone…along with a HEAP of refined sugar and God only knows what else.

*It was brought to my attention by my sweet friend, Megan, after I posted this, that Starbuck’s actually does use non-GMO, organic soy. Ten points for Starbucks!

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But it’s those spices that just make me swoon.  They are so comforting and calming. I don’t know what it is about them, they just speak to me.

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After my last one started to make me feel wired and made my stomach very unhappy, I realized my love affair with Starbuck’s Chai was going to have to end. It was an inevitable breakup, but fun while it lasted.

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Luckily, Chai spices are easy to come by and it’s very easy to whip up your own mix to add to whatever you like. This morning I woke with a headache. The result of Romeo, our 75 pound Vizsla, running right into my head while I was laying on the floor in front of the fire last night. He can often be like a goofy, uncoordinated toddler. My neck cracked and this morning I was greeted with an 80 year old neck rather than my already touchy and grouchy 46 year old neck.  Not a pleasant way to greet the day. It was also freezing, and the first thing to come to my mind was not BenGay, ibuprofen and water…but “oh I wish I had a hot chai tea latte and a robe warmer”…and a personal masseuse.

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Then I remembered what I felt like the last time my lover and I got together and figured that probably wouldn’t be all that fun to add hyper nerves and gut wrenching tummy pain to the headache and neck ache I was already dealing with. Sorry Starbuck’s, but really, it’s not you, it’s me.

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Then came the birth of my Coconut Chai Sipping Chocolate. Right there in bed where some of my best recipe ideas are born. Amazing the clarity you have when you kick those toxic lovers out of your life.

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And I don’t mind telling you that it is amazing. Have you ever had a sipping chocolate? It’s rich, velvety, and fabulous. The chai spices give it that soothing aroma and taste and take something rather ordinary like chocolate and coconut and make it into a very special sipping event.

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For those of you who do not feel like you’re going to jump out of your skin after drinking coffee, I would bet a shot of espresso in this would make you even happier.

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This recipe serves 2. Remember it is very rich. But if you don’t feel like sharing, you can pour the other half into a pretty little jar and take it to work with you for an afternoon pick me up. It can be re-heated and served hot, or chilled and then served over ice.

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Enjoy!

Chai Spice Mix

1 Small Jar

3 teaspoons of Turmeric

4 teaspoons of Cardamom

4 teaspoons of Cloves

4 teaspoons of Allspice

8 teaspoons of Cinnamon

6 teaspoons of Ginger

Measure all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until combined. Spoon into a storage jar.

Coconut Chai Sipping Chocolate

1 Can of Full Fat Organic Coconut Milk

3 Ounces of 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Organic Raw Unfiltered Honey

1 teaspoon of Chai Spice Mix, plus more for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and ingredients are combined. Split between two mugs (or save some for later!) and sprinkle with extra Chai Spice Mix.

A Walk In The Park & Chocolate Pots De Creme

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How was your weekend? Hopefully it was filled with fun and relaxation. We originally had plans for company but had to cancel because I’ve been feeling under the weather. I couldn’t muster the energy to entertain a house full of people. Typically unlike me because I love that kind of thing, but Lyme Disease changes the rules now and then. I’ve had to learn how to reconsider plans and be honest when I don’t think my energy level is up to certain activities. Doing that without feeling weird and guilty is harder than you would think!

Nishinomiya Japanese Garden ~ Manito Park

Nishinomiya Japanese Garden ~ Manito Park

When I’m having an illness flare up, energy is hard to come by and being bombarded with flu-like symptoms and joint pain make it difficult to visit or do anything but mill around the house and rest. But thankfully, by Sunday I was feeling a little better and wanting  to get out of the house for some fresh air regardless of some lingering symptoms.

The Japanese Gardens symbolize a friendship between our home town and Nishinomiya Japan.

The Japanese Gardens symbolize a friendship between our home town and Nishinomiya Japan.

Lyme flare ups can last anywhere from a couple of days to weeks, to months, and for some people, even years. It’s unsettling, because it’s not like the flu or a cold which you’re pretty much assured will be completely resolved in a week. So when I have a flare up I have to try really hard not to listen to that panicked voice that tries to tell me I could feel like that forever.

There's a huge Koi pond in the middle of the Japanese Gardens.

There’s a huge Koi pond in the middle of the Japanese Gardens.

Luckily, I also have that other voice that has the need to fight it and only give it enough acknowledgement for a very hot shower, some essential oils for nausea, and a potent anti-inflammatory. Maybe some vertigo stretches and possibly a neck massage from my husband. Then I give it the middle finger, and I plan something to do. Even if it’s just that I muster enough energy for a small walk with the dogs to get some fresh air and remind myself there’s a world going on outside of my head.

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People with chronic illnesses often have some level of feeling sick and gross every day. I am in that boat, but I’ve gotten used to it and unless I’m having a major flare up, I can usually get past it and typically no one is the wiser. Once I got up and moving on Sunday and drank one of my favorite healthy smoothies, I had talked myself and my husband into a relaxing and beautiful walk at Manito Park with the dogs.

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I realized when we moved to NH that I took pictures of all kinds of local, interesting, places, but had very rarely done that in our home town! Nothing like moving away for a couple of years to help you to appreciate the beauty in your own backyard.

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I’ve found that a chronic illness also helps you to appreciate all kinds of things that are so easily taken for granted. Even the tiniest of things, like a walk in the park and this beautiful scenery.

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So anyhoo, we’re still having absolutely fantastic weather for September. 89 degrees! I can’t remember a time when we had consistent summer weather throughout September. It’s been a wonderful, long, season. And thoroughly enjoyed I might add, without the horrific bug population we had in New Hampshire.

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At the park we strolled, and looked at flowers, and smelled the roses in the rose garden.

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Without even bending down to smell the roses the entire garden was filled with all types of heady scents.

My iPhone does not do it justice.

My iPhone does not do it justice.

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We strolled, and smelled, and soaked in the late summer sun…and  tried to keep the dogs from chasing squirrels. Romeo at one point didn’t even care that he was on leash. Good thing he has a strong neck and Tony has a strong shoulder. After that episode the extendo leash became a short leash.

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A small outdoor cafe to grab a snack or a bite to eat for lunch.

A small outdoor cafe to grab a snack or a bite to eat for lunch.

The other half of the park which includes an enormous duck pond, picnic areas, and play areas for children was being worked on. The pond was being drained and reinforced. We’ll have to show you pictures of that area next spring.

Here’s a picture of the pond I found online.

Photo courtesy of Sondahl.com

Photo courtesy of Sondahl.com

Even the storage cottages are beautiful.

Even the storage cottages are beautiful.

There’s a large greenhouse which does not allow pets so I couldn’t take you in there on this visit. It’s really something to see and experience. They have all types of flowers and plants and there are even plants that have been there since I was a child. They decorate for the holidays and do seasonal flowers as well. And the smell…just heavenly. I’ll have to make sure to post pictures during the holidays.

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Here’s a peek into the greenhouse I found online.

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A very large perennial and butterfly garden.

A very large perennial and butterfly garden behind the greenhouse.

After the beautiful stroll through the park we went to a local grocery store/deli/cafe in that same are of town for a few groceries and some soothing hot soup and antipasto salad for lunch. We ate in the car because we certainly could not leave the dogs in the car in the heat and we were so hungry I forgot to take pictures of the food! Once home the husband went straight to the television to watch the Seahawk’s and Broncos play and I tried to figure out something easy we could have later for dinner and dessert. Dinner was flat bread pizza made with Chebe Focaccia Mix. So good and easy. I order it by the case on Amazon. They sell GF DF (and they are Paleo), mixes.  If you go to the recipe area on their website you can find all kinds of delicious ideas and ways to tweak their recipes to fit your needs.

Make the mix according to the directions (minus the cheese), add a Tablespoon each of dried oregano, basil, and a couple teaspoons of dried garlic. Roll out flat onto a pizza pan. Pre-bake the crust for 12 minutes, add your favorite toppings, and bake for 20 minutes.

Make the mix according to the directions (minus the cheese), add a Tablespoon each of dried oregano, basil, and a couple teaspoons of dried garlic. Roll out flat onto a pizza pan. Pre-bake the crust for 12 minutes, add your favorite sauce toppings, and bake for 20 minutes. Our toppings were tomato paste with herbs, vegan pesto, Diaya cheddar “cheese”, spinach, crumbled sheep feta, GF DF spicy sausage, red onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, goat mozzarella, and GF DF pepperoni.

Dessert was the most simple chocolate pots de creme ever. I mean seriously, maybe 7 minutes prep and then two hours to set in the fridge.

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I adapted the Food Network’s recipe for Chocolate Pots De Creme to fit my allergen needs. I love how versatile coconut milk can be. This pudding turned out incredibly creamy and rich.

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I was amazed by the whipped coconut cream. This is the first time I’ve used this brand, and it whipped up exactly like regular heavy cow’s cream. In the past when I’ve tried to make coconut whipped cream it’s been a struggle to get it to hold together.

This is a picture of the whipped cream on the 2nd day. It settled only a tiny bit and was still fluffy and creamy. So impressed with it!

This is a picture of the whipped cream on the 2nd day. It settled only a tiny bit and was still fluffy and creamy. So impressed with it!

There’s a lot of little things in life out there waiting to be appreciated that we often take for granted. Even when you’re feeling under the weather it’s possible to focus on the positive and enjoy whatever little adventures the days bring.  I’d say that even though our weekend hadn’t ended up as planned, it still turned out to be enjoyable and delicious.

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Chocolate Pots De Creme

1 -10 ounce Bag of Dairy Free Mini Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life)

3 Cups of Full Fat Coconut Milk (Native Forest Unsweetened Coconut Milk-Classic)

6 Large Organic Egg Yolks

5 Tablespoons of Coconut Crystals (or granulated sugar or powdered sugar but it won’t be low glycemic)

1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee or espresso granules (I use decaf)

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 3 cups of coconut milk, egg yolks, coconut sugar, coffee granules, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes.

Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Let it sit for about 3-4 minutes. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

For the Coconut Milk Whipped Cream: 

Two cans of Full Fat Coconut Milk (I used the Native Forest) Refrigerated for at least 2 hours

2-3 teaspoons of Coconut Crystals 

1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

Open the cans of coconut milk carefully and scoop out ONLY the solid coconut at the top of each can into a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mine went about 1/3 of the way into the can. (Save the coconut water for smoothies!) Turn the mixer on medium high and whip until it starts getting thick. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip until the sugar is melted, maybe one minute or less. I put leftovers in the fridge and it remained set up and hadn’t separated at all the next day when we had a second helping. This is perfect for making ahead when having guests. 

Ginger Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It’s that time of year when spicy comfort foods start making their way into the kitchen. Although, we’re still having warmer weather than usual, we’ve started having chilly mornings and evenings.

So chilly in fact, that rather than give up our evenings on the back patio, we purchased a fire pit. Now we can enjoy the chilly evenings and extend patio sitting hopefully well into the end of October…maybe even into November if we’re lucky and willing to bundle up.

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I was feeling under the weather Tuesday and Wednesday and didn’t do much but run an errand or two in the morning Wednesday. That tuckered me out so I spent the remainder of the day horizontal on the couch, drinking tons of water and watching movies with the husband. I’m only good for that for about one day unless I’m feeling really terrible. Then I start to feel antsy and the to-do list starts creeping in outweighing the need for rest.

The dough is very sticky and spreads quite a bit while baking.

The dough is very sticky and spreads quite a bit while baking.

Thankfully, once I got up and moving this morning, I realized I was feeling much better. Still clunky, but not nearly enough to endure another horizontal day.

They'll puff in the oven, flatten toward the end of baking time, and then crackle on top.

They’ll puff in the oven, flatten toward the end of baking time, and then crackle on top.

I managed to roast an organic turkey, put the sliced meat in the freezer for sandwiches and turkey pieces in the freezer for soups. Then I wrestled with the carcass and put it in the crockpot for bone broth which will simmer for 24 hours. It’s so good for you, it’s worth the wrestling and once you get it taken apart and into the crockpot, it’s easy peasy from there.

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Once that was done and the dogs and I had filled our tummies on little turkey pieces (and that salty skin of course…SO good), I was craving a cookie…which of course, we didn’t have. The only sweet thing I have in the house is a bag full of dairy free chocolate chips and maybe a bag of prunes. Not liking the sound of prunes as my sweet snack I mustered the energy to bake a quick batch of these fabulous Ginger Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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A productive and tasty day and not too bad for coming off of a couple of sick days.

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Enjoy!

Lightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

Lightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

Ginger Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies 

This recipe was adapted from gourmandeinthekitchen and is gluten-free, dairy free, and paleo.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees, makes 15 cookies

1 Cup of Organic Cashew Butter (or any nut butter)

3 Tablespoons of Unsulphered Molasses

2 Organic Eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons of Freshly Grated Ginger (peeled)

3/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Allspice

1/2 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

2 Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Mini Chocolate Chips 

Mix the cashew butter, molasses, eggs, and ginger in a stand mixer until fully combined and smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, soda, cinnamon, allspice, sea salt, and pepper. With mixer on low, mix the dry with the wet ingredients just until combined, scrape down sides. Add the chocolate chips and beat on medium high for 10-15 seconds until combined. 

Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto parchment covered baking sheets. 7-8 per sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes until edges are just barely beginning to turn golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.