Grilled Lunch & Garden Therapy

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

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

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

High tech gardening tool.

High tech gardening tool.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Grilled Chicken Legs

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

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Grilled Yellow Squash

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

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A Big Tight Hug & An Amazing Avocado Dressing

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On Monday we found out that my schizophrenic aunt, Nan, had been evicted from her apartment a week prior and had been taken to a shelter by the apartment management. The management had my mother’s phone number in her file and never bothered to tell anyone what they had done. Her things were packed and stored and will be kept for 45 days. Then, at 45 days the manager told me they usually “dispose of it”. Her apartment was filled with her mother’s, my grandmother’s, family heirlooms and antiques and everything Nan owns in this world. We were also told we would either need Nan’s notarized signature or a court order to remove any of her things from their storage.

After trying to track her down, Tuesday we found out that she was not at the shelter that the apartment manager supposedly said they took her to, nor at any other shelter in town, and we were advised to file a missing person’s report.

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The authorities told us that if “they happened to see her” they would pick her up, but they wouldn’t seek her out. Tuesday morning came and took us all on a fast track in the direction of the worst possible scenarios… that try as you might, you absolutely cannot get out of your head. I grabbed mom and we ran errands in hopes of trying to control the worry welling inside of us. Samantha, her oldest daughter, had to deal with these feelings while in training for a new job in Seattle and handling phone calls from the sheriff and mom and I. And the youngest daughter, Amanda, I’m assuming was trying to figure out the impossible task of concentrating in class in her first semester in college.

Yesterday, after a fitful night of sleep I decided to post a bit of the story and prayer requests here on the blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I had already been praying of course, but when people band together, miraculous things can happen. “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them”. ~ Matthew 18:20 This is where my BIG TIGHT HUG to all of you comes in. I was so blessed and amazed by all of the support, kind words, and prayers. You will never know what it means to our family that you took time from your own lives, busy schedules, and your own issues, to pray for our family and to pray for Nan’s safety. Your comments here and on Facebook kept the panic from getting completely out of control. Within 2 hours of posting those prayer requests, a story that could have ended in any number of terrible and life changing ways for our family, has a happy ending.

There were some conflicting stories with the complex management yesterday, but luckily my mother took matters into her own hands and visited the police station. An extremely kind detective sat with her for over an hour and did some serious detective work to try to figure out what had happened. Long story short, she had changed hands between a few police officers, shelters, and a hospital. She was dropped at a shelter by police, but then was not cooperating. New officers took her to the psyche unit at the hospital where she was evaluated. Then the hospital moved her to another psychiatric facility which I’m guessing is run by the state.

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She is safe and she is in a psychiatric facility where they are evaluating her. The facility was given her daughter’s number so that if Nan chose to, she could call us. With the current mental health laws, family members are at a complete loss when it comes to helping another family member with mental illness unless that person requests help. They wouldn’t even tell us the exact facility where she was being held.

The great news? Nan called Samantha yesterday afternoon. They are stabilizing her meds, she was thinking clearly, and she asked for help. Samantha also mentioned that Nan told her she loved her numerous times. Something Samantha hasn’t heard in a very, very, long time. Nan agreed to sign the paperwork so we could get her things that are being held by the apartment complex. Sam will be coming this weekend and Nan is looking forward to the visit. The facility will not let her leave until she has housing. All huge blessings and prayers answered.

There’s always a reason for everything. I have a difficult time remembering that when something so seemingly impossible to handle comes along. There is a huge dark cloud, but it definitely has a silver lining. The dark cloud of course, is that this isn’t the first time and most likely won’t be the last time we will have challenges with my aunt because this type of mental illness is relentless and evil.  The silver lining, is that had she not run out of money, had she not stopped paying her rent, had they not evicted her, and had the police not been involved, she wouldn’t be getting the help that she is getting right now.

The state does not intervene in any way unless someone is broke  and has proven to be dangerous to themselves or others. Now that she is homeless, broke and mentally ill (some of all of our worst nightmares rolled into one)…where you would think that prevention instead of waiting until things are in their worst possible state would be the way to go… this backward process of helping the mentally ill, will now after about 15 years of hell, be helpful to her. She will be assigned a case worker and will hopefully begin to get the counseling, medication monitoring, and housing that she so desperately needs. And this time thankfully, all of the pieces came together quickly and the outcome is so much better than what we were bracing ourselves for.

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Every. Thing. Happens. For. A. Reason. Even when it seems awful, even when it is awful. Even when it doesn’t happen the exact way you want it to or the timeline or the details don’t make sense. Things must work out a certain way to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. That is a simple enough statement to understand, yet an enormously complex reality when you’re in the thick of something terrible.

Thank you again for your generosity of heart and prayers. From those of you we know well, and those of you we have never met. You will never know the depth and impact that kind of love has on us.

Blessings and Big Tight Hugs, from my family to you.

~ April

Cilantro Lime Avocado Dressing

This recipe is adapted from my mom’s recipe.

2 Ripe Avocados

1 1/2 Cups of Cilantro

Juice of 1 Lime

3 Cloves of Garlic

1/2 Cup of EVOO

2-3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, depending on how tart you like your dressing

1 1/2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Cup (maybe a bit more to thin it out) of Filtered Water

Place all the ingredients in a Nutribullet, blender, or food processor and blend until smooth. You may have to shake and scrape the sides once or twice to get it all incorporated. Serve on anything you like, it’s absolutely delicious!

A Special Prayer Request & A Shameful Mental Health Care System

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My schizophrenic aunt has been missing for two weeks. She was evicted from her apartment two weeks ago, and none of us were informed until two days ago. Evidently, she told the apartment complex she could no longer pay her rent and they supposedly dropped her off at a shelter. Yet, none of the shelters in our town have any record of her.

You may or may not know someone with schizophrenia or mental illness, but they can be very difficult to deal with. For a while she was in contact with the family and then began to go through rages and not wanting to speak to us. Her daughters haven’t heard from her in months and couldn’t get a hold of her. I talked to her one month ago to check up on her and our conversation was less than 2 minutes and she hung up on me because she didn’t believe what I was telling her. Prior to that, the only time I would hear from her personally, was when she would leave long incoherent messages on my voicemail. Her cousin, who has checked in with her monthly for years, called my mom sobbing two weeks after that because my aunt would not believe that she was who she said she was and became very violent. She can be horrible to deal with, unpredictable, and scary. She has been taken over by an illness that has stolen everything we knew and loved and cherished about her. She is a completely different person that the woman we grew up with. After years and years of trying to reason with her, get her to help herself, and monitor her behavior, we all had to come to a place of acceptance. People with schizophrenia don’t think clearly, obviously, so to get them to cooperate by taking their medication, keeping in touch, and taking care of themselves is mostly, impossible. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a check in. So you at least know they are where they are supposed to be and are still alive. Imagine that being what your biggest hope is for a family member? I know that we are not the only ones having to deal with tragedies like this and the mental health care system in the U.S. is absolutely shameful.

The worst part is that the government has given the mentally ill person all the rights, and the families and loved ones have none. She refused to give my mom power of attorney for medical care. So even when she is checked into a psyche unit, emergency room, or shelter, the only way we’ll know is if she wants us to know. Her phone isn’t always working and all of our numbers are stored in it. So, no phone, no numbers to get a hold of us. We have zero rights and zero resources to be able to get her the help she needs. The fact that the government would put a person who is not capable of making logical decisions on their own, charge of their own health care is mind boggling and absolutely devastating to the family members who are trying to help them. It is like watching a slow and excruciating horror film where you know the ending is not going to be a relief. Her 25 year old daughter who just started her dream job two days ago, told me yesterday that she feels that she is now at the point where she will get the call where she will have to identify her mom’s body. Her youngest daughter has just started college. Having an ill mother has changed their lives in innumerable ways and waiting for the other shoe to drop for years and years while having NO rights to help their mom has been devastating to say the least.

My aunt was hospitalized for I think the 4th time about a year ago because she was arrested for hitting her brother (whom she was living with) in the head with a water glass, my mom was told that the state would do absolutely nothing for her until she ran out of money. At the time she ends up broke, if she had the wherewithal to seek help, she would then need to apply for state support and then would begin to get the resources she needs. Just absolutely unbelievable. We are assuming that because she cannot pay her rent that she is now out of money.  The sheriff’s department and the crisis center are now involved, but they won’t actively seek her. If they see her, they will pick her up and if we see her and she won’t willingly come with us, we can supposedly call them to take her against her will. Only at that point, now that she is homeless, broke, out of her mind, and missing, will we be able to begin to hopefully work within the system to get her what she needs. One can’t help but see the cruel irony in this.

Prayers for her safety first and foremost would be so deeply appreciated. Prayers that we find her quickly, and prayers for strength and peace for our family are needed.

And because I know that I have the kindest, most caring, followers in the blogging world, I know that I can count on those of you who pray.

 Love & Blessings to You ~  April

Update:

We have some serious prayer warriors! One hour after posting prayer requests on FB, Twitter, and the blog, my aunt has been FOUND! Mom went to the spokane valley police dept. and a detective there worked on it for an hour with her. They tracked her down. She was taken to a shelter, then was non compliant so the city police took her to the hospital. She was there for an evaluation and then was moved to one of their psychiatric facilities called for further evaluation. They cannot tell us which facility, but someone will call when she is going to be released. Now that she is in the “system” and homeless, the state will intervene and she will hopefully get some support and they will let us get involved. Thank you so much for your prayers, you will never know how much it means to us. Blessings to all of you!

Pulsing & How To Plan A Road Trip When You Have Food Allergies

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Last week my mom and I spent some girl time in Montana. It was really nice to have a little getaway with just the two of us. As most of you know, with allergies and a chronic illness, there’s a bit of planning that needs to be done if a trip is to be enjoyable. Food allergies can throw a wrench in eating out when you’re on vacation, even if the restaurants you choose have “allergen free options”. I can eat out once or twice, but any more than that and the food allergy symptoms begin to mount.

Prior to boiling, poke a tiny hole in the fat end of the egg with a push pin and the shells will just peel right off.

Ignore my botched manicure and prior to boiling, poke a tiny hole in the fat end of the egg with a push pin and the shells will just peel right off.

Hard boiled eggs are a great option for traveling. Healthy, full of protein, and easy to eat on the run or sliced over a salad.

Hard boiled eggs are a great option for traveling. Healthy, full of protein, and easy to eat on the run or sliced over a salad.

Typically, when we travel I try to bring as many healthy snacking and meal options as possible. This means a lot of food prep before we leave. Spending a couple of days in the kitchen requires “feel good” days and a lot of energy. I’ve been in a Lyme flare since late November. Flares are unpleasant, and unpredictable. Some days I can feel decent enough to run errands and do other things and other days I’m either on the couch, in bed, or just feeling all around sick. The past 6 weeks symptoms have been on the incline.

I brought along the Nutribullet and individually bagged veggies and fruits for easy breakfast smoothies. Mom brought oatmeal and coffee and I added home made bread, honey, and tea to the breakfast mix.

I brought along the Nutribullet and individually bagged single serving veggies and fruits for easy breakfast smoothies. Mom brought oatmeal and coffee and I added home made bread, honey, and tea to the breakfast mix.

So last week I felt it was time to head to the doctor and discuss my options before things got out of hand. I was really looking forward to our trip and did not want to have to cancel.

I love to roast a whole chicken and then slice the meat for snacking, sandwiches, or to add to salads.

I love to roast a whole chicken and then slice the meat for snacking, sandwiches, or to add to salads. I put the white and dark meat in separate baggies and it travels very well.

The bad news is that there are no tests available that give a concrete answer as to whether antibiotics are successful at killing off the Lyme bacteria. This doesn’t mean they don’t work, it just means there’s no testing yet that proves that they do…or don’t. There’s really only the list of symptoms that get better or don’t. So rather than get obsessive about a “cure”, the goal right now is to get things under control and back into remission.

I booked us a hotel room with a full kitchen. I prepped marinated chicken and steak prior to leaving as to not have to fuss with bringing along a lot of ingredients.

I booked us a hotel room with a full kitchen. I prepped marinated chicken and steak prior to leaving as to not have to fuss with bringing along a lot of ingredients. I also brought along two sweet potatoes and we baked them in the hotel oven.

I do a lot of reading and research. Spending too much time researching and inside my own head, leads to higher stress levels and more and more questions. It’s imperative to have at least one person who can help you make some decisions. Thankfully, my doctor who originates from the east coast, is educated about Lyme and knows all the in’s and out’s of how it affects your body. She has a very calming presence which is a huge blessing when you are stuck in that swirl of “what should I do”.

I sauteed my favorite veggie combo, cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and spicy peppers. We just reheated it in the hotel room and it was fantastic.

I sauteed my favorite veggie combo, cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and spicy peppers. We just reheated it in the hotel room and it was fantastic.

At this point, the thought of going on 2-3 antibiotics at once for 1-3 years, along with dozens and dozens of supplements seems like a giant leap into a very scary realm where guessing is the norm. That regimen along with a whole host of other drugs is very common treatment for chronic Lyme. I’m not there and hope to never be, so I try to set those worries aside and leave those decisions on the back burner for when they may be necessary.

Three bean salad is one of my favorites, travels well, and is so simple to make! It was quite a treat as I've been abstaining from legumes.

Three bean salad is one of my favorites, travels well, and is so simple to make! It was quite a treat as I’ve been abstaining from legumes.

What we’re focusing on now is, “pulsing”. You wait until flare symptoms are very heightened and then you pulse antibiotics for a few weeks rather than staying on them long term. This method is done in hopes of killing those buggers while they are in a cycle roaming around outside of their biofilm protectant. Then you wait a few weeks and pulse again.

A mixed green salad is always a must. I made a nice avocado dressing, but I liked my mom's recipe better. I will share that with you this week!

A mixed green salad is always a must. I made a nice avocado dressing, but I liked my mom’s recipe better. I will share that with you this week!

It can help with symptoms too, so it can be win-win if it’s successful. That’s the plan for the next few weeks, then we’ll reassess and go from there. I’ll keep you updated as I go because as you already know, I feel that sharing information is imperative! I wouldn’t have even thought to ask my doctor to test me for Lyme Disease had someone else not shared their story with me and urged me to get checked.

Mixed activated nuts and seeds with vegan chocolate chunks for that something "sweet".

Mixed activated nuts and seeds with vegan chocolate chunks for that something “sweet”. Another treat I’ve been abstaining from.

The good news is that I’m a week into the antibiotic and the flare symptoms are lessening a bit. Mom and I had a great trip. We survived the sadness of two foodies not being able to eat out three meals a day every day. We saw some neat stuff and I took lots of pictures for you. So over the next few days, I’ll take you to see some of the sights.

And my all time favorite, watermelon slices. So good with a sprinkle of sea salt.

And my all time favorite, watermelon slices. So good with a sprinkle of sea salt.

See you soon!

Love this.

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Tick #7~Give A Girl A Cookie!

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Yesterday afternoon, I found tick #7 while I was trying to relax and read a book in the tub. It was crawling up the tile right by the faucet. Right by my foot. Tick #1 was on my son’s knee, under his jeans a couple of weeks ago after he had come in from playing outside with the dogs. Tick #2 was crawling up the wall in the living room. Tick #3 was crawling up the sheers next to the front door, tick #4 was found crawling up the backyard slider screen door. Tick #5 was spotted crawling around on the blinds behind the kitchen sink, and tick #6 was found by our son, crawling up the wall in the same vicinity as tick #2.

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Not all in one day, of course. It’s been about 1-2 every week. The Good Lord knows me all too well and obviously that if I were to find 7 ticks in one day in my house….well, let’s just say, He never gives us more than we can handle.

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Instead of running out the front door screaming, I calmly crawled out of the tub possibly uttering a few (many) toothless trucker swear words, and Googled if it was possible to have an infestation of ticks inside your house. Oh, and I discussed it with my friends because that’s where all the real life information and support is anyway. Except one friend I have in New Hampshire who informed me they have professionals spray because one year, the entire side of their house was crawling with ticks.

O.M.G. That……..maybe I didn’t need to hear that.

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The internet or “innerweb” as my husband likes to call it, had a lot of really alarming things to say which did start to really FREAK ME OUT. I won’t share them with you, because both of us don’t need to be freaked out. I’m pretty convinced that they are coming in on the animals and we’re just missing them. Or, coming in by themselves because we are backed up to that huge infested 500 acres of tick field behind us. I’m trying very hard to remain calm and not think about larvae, and infestations, Lyme re-infection, and other words that make my hair stand on end and make me want to have a nervous breakdown.

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I had to eat an entire personal sized watermelon and balanced it out with a chicken leg because I was so stressed and there wasn’t one thing in this house that was sweet that fits into my damn diet. Whoever named it a personal sized watermelon, wasn’t joking.

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So.

Like any freaked out woman on a mission with watermelon juice running down her chin and a chicken bone in her mouth, I put my planning cap on and took the bull by the horns. I promptly grabbed our less than friendly cat by the scruff of her neck, and gave her a brushing like I’m sure she’s never seen the likes of. She only bit me twice.

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Then, I went upstairs and made sure there were no ticks in my bed. Then the dog beds. Every piece of dust and fuzz on our dark floors and every little nick on the wall screamed, “TICK!!!!!” and made me want to run for my life. But, somehow, I held it together. I scrubbed both dogs from head to toe and made sure nothing creepy was living on them. They crawled right into the tub for me with no hassles. They’re my sweet babies of course, unlike the cat who reminds me of a nasty teenager.  After watching me brush the cat with wide eyes and puzzled looks, I’m guessing they knew better

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After they were dried, I wiped down everything in the house. I loaded my Dyson with Eucalyptus Globulus oil because it’s supposed to kill ticks and they hate the smell of it, and then vacuumed every single square inch of my house that I could reach. I made a pact with myself that I would order white sheets with no pattern for our bed tomorrow and I would make the time to vacuum every single day, for the rest of the summer.  Then I went to bed with pulled muscles, armed with ibuprofen, Calm tea, Stress Away essential oil, and one eye open.

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Today is a new day, thankfully. So far, no ticks.

I’ve dubbed today, Cookie Day.

Because no one should ever have to self medicate with watermelon and a chicken leg. Oh yeah, and feel free to stop by unannounced any time this summer because my house is going to be freaking spotless. 

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Coconut Raisin Haystacks

*Makes 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1 8oz Bag of Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut 

1/3 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Cassava Flour

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

3 Organic Egg Whites plus 1 Whole Egg

1 Tablespoon of Filtered Water

1/2 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Ground Cinnamon

1/3 Cup of Organic Raisins

2/3 Cups of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1 teaspoon of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil

Add the shredded coconut to a medium bowl. Add the coconut sugar, cassava flour, salt, egg whites, whole egg, water, cinnamon, almond extract and raisins. Stir thoroughly until the mixture is completely combined and thoroughly moist. 

Using a spoon, form mounds of dough and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. 

Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

While cookies are baking, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil to drizzling consistency. 

Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle with chocolate and enjoy!

 

Simple Creamy Broccoli & Kale Soup

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Broccoli & Kale Soup

*Makes about 9 cups

8 Cups of Organic Broccoli, Stems Included, stems chopped

3 Cups of Organic Kale, Stems Included

4 Cloves of Organic Garlic, peeled and minced

2 Tbs of Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 Tbs of Fresh Rosemary Leaves, chopped

1 Tbs of Bragg’s Organic Seasoning

1 Medium Organic Onion, diced

2-3 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

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

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One Grain & Dairy Free Bread Recipe ~ Three Ways

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I’ve tried very hard, but I am just not one of those people who can live on meat and vegetables alone. Sometimes we just need something to sink our teeth into that says, “comfort”. For me, that food item is bread.

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I can go days and days without it, but when I want it, my brain just won’t rest until I get it. I’ve tried on a few occasions to just sneak in a couple of pieces of Udi’s bread, but I am always greeted with swollen fingers and ankles the next day. Inflammation makes all Lyme symptoms much worse, so eating things that increase inflammation are hardly worth it.

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I have to abstain from grains, gluten, and dairy (and most potatoes, legumes, and very limited refined sugar…). That’s the reality, and there’s no way around it if I want to keep the inflammation at bay. Once you embrace the reality of your food limitations and recognize how they affect your body, life will be more enjoyable for you.

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A few weeks ago I set out to find a grain free bread recipe I could love. I had many fails but was pleased when I was finally able to share the Peasant Bread and Garlic Herb Twist recipes with you.

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Amazingly enough, the three bread recipes I’m sharing today – French Toast Bread, Hard Rolls, and Cinnamon Raisin Buns all come from the same basic bread recipe used for the Garlic Herb Twists. So really, it’s 1 recipe made into 4 types of bread!

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This makes it simple. Once you have all the ingredients on hand, you can bake to your heart’s content. I made the bread, the rolls, and the buns all in one evening. If you’re used to making your own bread, you’ll think it’s easy. If you’re not used to making your own bread, it will be a little bit of a challenge at first. There’s still the rising and baking time to be considered as well. You’ll get to know the dough the more you use it and before you know it, you’ll be impressing your family with all kinds of creations throughout the week.

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If you come up with some of your own unique ideas, shoot me an email at luvvinlyfe@gmail.com with pictures of your favorite bread made from my recipe and I will post it right here on the blog to share with others. There’s no reason for anyone with food allergies to go breadless.

Happy Baking!

Basic Grain Free, Dairy Free Bread Dough Recipe

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

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3 Eggs Separated

1 1/2 Tablespoons Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup Cool Water

1 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

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(There are step by step photos on the Herb & Garlic Twist post)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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For all recipes, turn oven to 400 degrees while the dough is beating in the mixer.

French Toast Bread

I use this bread for french toast because I have yet to be able to make it rise as high as a “real” loaf of bread. It works perfectly though for french toast! It is absolutely delicious. Allow it to soak in your egg mixture for several minutes before frying and spreading generously with dairy free butter and your favorite pure maple syrup. 

Spray a bread loaf pan and line with parchment. I like to do this for easy removal. Scoop the bread dough out of the mixer with a spatula into the bread pan and spread out carefully without flattening the bread too much. It will expand when it rises and then expand into the corners even more while baking.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil, lay over the top loosely, cover with a tea towel, and set on top of the stove to rise for one hour. After 60 minutes, remove the towel and plastic and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.

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Hard Rolls

While the bread dough is beating in the mixer preheat the oven to 4oo degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Flour the counter with either arrowroot flour or the sweet potato flour. Scoop the dough onto the counter and flour the top. Pat it lightly with the flour. Cut the dough in half, then each half in half and so on, until you have 8 equally sized pieces. Do not work the dough too much. Take each piece into your hand and kind of plop it back and forth cupping it to form a ball. Place on the parchment and continue with the rest. Spray a piece of plastic wrap, drape it over the rolls, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise on top of the stove for 1 hour. After the 60 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and towel and bake in the preheated oven for 14-19 minutes, until golden on top and sides. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Cinnamon Raisin Buns

*You will need raisins, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and dairy free butter. You will also need powdered sugar (I used corn free organic, if you have a Vitamix, you could also whiz up coconut sugar to powdered sugar), dairy free butter, and pure almond extract for the frosting.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of coconut sugar, 1/3 cup of dairy free butter, and a pinch of sea salt until smooth. Set aside.

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While the bread dough is beating in the mixer, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking pan (or a pie pan would work fine too) and line with parchment. Set aside. Flour the counter with either arrowroot or the sweet potato flour. Scoop the dough out of the mixer onto the floured counter and flour the top, patting the flour slightly around. Cut the dough in half, then in half again and so on, until you have 8 equal sized pieces. Working quickly, flatten each piece into a circle. Dollop the sugar and butter mixture equally on each piece and spread around with the back of a spoon leaving the edges empty.

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Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Sprinkle with raisins (or leave them out, or add nuts, or whatever you like).

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Pick up a round of dough and put it in the palm of your hand. Grab the edges and squeeze them up and together like a dumpling. Press all the edges together and flip it over into your hand. Cup it to shape it a bit, and put it in the baking dish. Continue with the remaining dough rounds. Don’t worry about excess room in your pan. They will rise and then rise and then come together while baking.

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Once all of the buns are in the baking dish. Put a dollop of dairy free butter on each one. Sprinkle generously with coconut sugar and cinnamon, and then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

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Drape a piece of loosely covered plastic wrap and a tea towel over the top and allow to rise on top of the preheating oven for 60 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and tea towel and bake for 30 minutes draping with foil after the first 10 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting.

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Frosting: 2 Tbs of dairy free butter melted, 2 cups of powdered sugar (or powdered coconut sugar), about 2 teaspoons of pure almond extract. Whisk until combined, you may need a tiny bit of water to get it to drizzle/spreading consistency. Spoon over the rolls, wait a few minutes for it to set, and serve.

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