Simple Homemade Yogurt & Granola

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It’s interesting how we don’t crave things until we figure out we can’t have them. There’s nothing like being told that your body doesn’t deal well with dairy, gluten, and grains, to make you crave all things dairy, gluten, and grains. All the things you realize now, you took for granted when you were able to eat them supposedly without issue.

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It’s like the reverse psychology we use on our kids when they’re little to get them to do something they don’t want to do…except in reverse…reverse… if that makes any sense.

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I’ve said in previous posts how I thought going dairy free and gluten free was a walk in the park compared to going grain free, potato free, legume free, and nightshade free, like many Paleo people do. I’ve never managed a complete Paleo diet, but I have been very Paleo-ish for almost two years.

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It wasn’t until recently that I began adding non gluten grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, and white potatoes back into my diet in very small amounts on a semi-regular basis. I was curious to see how my body would react after abstaining for so long. I also have been working on my gut health which is the key to healing and getting rid of food sensitivities.

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So far, I’m only doing small amounts, and as long as I don’t overdo it, it seems to be working out OK. If I have a reaction to something I eat, I can usually tell within a couple of hours with the onset of a headache or stiffness in my joints. Sometimes, it doesn’t hit until the next morning when I wake up with stiff fingers, puffy eyes, and feeling like I have a hangover. This is why I tell people who are having health issues to keep a food journal. We have busy lives, it’s difficult to remember what we eat every day, what we’re dealing with stress wise, and how it’s affecting us. With a daily food journal, you can find patterns in your diet that are causing issues. Keep in mind, food issues don’t just cause physical problems. They contribute to PMS, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, mood swings, anger, ADD and ADHD…the list goes on.

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I’ve held off on oatmeal for a long time. Every time my husband has it for breakfast, I think it smells and looks amazing. Which is strange, because I wasn’t much of an oatmeal eater at all before I gave up grains. I do believe that our bodies crave what they need though. It’s important to pay attention to that, as long as what you’re craving isn’t junk.

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So I took the leap yesterday and decided to make gluten free granola that we can eat on coconut milk yogurt or just as a snack now and then. It’s nice to be able to switch up your breakfast routine with something exciting. I either eat dinner leftovers, smoothies, eggs, and on Sundays we usually have buckwheat pancakes (buckwheat is a seed). Sometimes though, I wake up and think I’d rather not eat anything than face the same old thing every day! Being able to eat yogurt with a bit of granola on the top of it yesterday was a real treat. I may even have it again this morning.

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I do a lot of reading and research, and the bottom line is that your gut is the center of your health. Commit that to memory. It’s imperative to know what foods you’re sensitive to and to take care of your gut. You can even change your DNA history and the DNA history of your future family generations with your diet! Research suggests that autoimmune diseases are all linked to the gut microbiome. In fact, many prominent scientists and doctors believe that all illness is related to our gut health. If our gut isn’t healthy, neither is the rest of our body, and as a result of that, we aren’t able to fight off infections, viruses, and cancers.

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Your main focus with food allergies, sensitivities, and illness, should be your gut. Once that begins to heal, your entire body will begin to heal. Eventually, you’ll be able to start testing the foods that bothered you previously. But remember, healing the gut from years of abuse and damage takes time, and it’s possible that there will be some foods you’ll never be able to tolerate. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. But eventually, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy diet and it will change your life.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

The recipe below is the “quick” method for making yogurt. If you would like to make yogurt the traditional way with kefir grains, you can go HERE for more information.

**I use this yogurt maker. It’s only $20 on Amazon Prime and works great.

4 1/2 Cups of 100% Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (You can use 2 organic dates instead, or organic raw honey)

Powder from 1 Probiotic Capsule (I use one with different strains than what is in my daily probiotic capsule)

2 1/2 teaspoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

In a blender, add the coconut milk, maple syrup, and probiotic powder. Blend on medium low until fully combined. Turn the blender to low and while it’s running, slowly sprinkle in the gelatin. Turn blender on medium and blend for 30 seconds. Pour into the yogurt cups, turn the yogurt maker on, tighten the lids, put the cover on, and allow to sit for 8-10 hours. I also cover mine with a towel to keep the heat in, as we keep our house cool. Halfway into warming time, you’ll notice the milk has separated. Pick up each yogurt container and swirl to combine and allow to warm for the remaining time.

When done warming, swirl the cups again to combine the liquids and refrigerate overnight before eating. It will thicken as it cools.

 Blueberry Almond Granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 Cups of Gluten Free Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

1/8 Cup of Avocado Oil

Pinch of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger

1/4 Cup of Activated Raw Almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 Cup of Organic Dried Blueberries

Cover a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl until oil is evenly distributed. Spread out onto the parchment paper and bake 20-25 minutes stirring halfway through. I like my granola darker and crunchy, so I went the full 25 minutes. Make sure you watch it though, at a certain point, it darkens very quickly and burns easily. It will crisp more as it cools too. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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Instant Pot Braised Beef

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I’m still singing the praises of the Instant Pot.

Seriously. You need one.

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Life will be easier and better with one.

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I love this braised beef dish but without the Instant Pot, it has to simmer on the stove for at least three hours.

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Which means I have to stick around for those three hours to adjust the flame and check on things. If you’d like the slow version you can go here.

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In the Instant Pot, this braised beef dish takes just about an hour from beginning of prep to the end.

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It tastes just as delicious as if it simmered for three hours, if not even better. The actual pressure cooking time is only 43 minutes.

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Sometimes I serve it over mashed potatoes and sometimes over roasted potatoes like this night.

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Or, you can serve it over rice, quinoa, pasta, whatever you like.

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The morning after, I had it warmed up for breakfast with a side of grain free bread and dairy free butter.

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Instant Pot Braised Beef

2 Pounds of Beef Stew Meat

1 Large Onion, sliced

About 10 Large Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

5 Garlic Cloves, peeled & minced

1/2 Cup of Sun Dried Tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)

6 oz Can of Tomato Paste

4 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Cup of a Good Red Wine

1 Bay Leaf

1 Tablespoon of Dried Rosemary

1 Tablespoon of Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Dried Thyme

Several Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Avocado Oil for Browning

2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Flour

Place the Instant Pot on your stove top under your overhead fan and plug in. Press “saute”. Drizzle the pot with avocado oil and wait for it to heat up. Add the meat and saute until browned. I had to remove some liquid so it would brown thoroughly (reserve the liquid!).

(While the meat is browning, prepare your potatoes for roasting or boiling. When I roast mine I cut them into wedges and toss in avocado oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and oregano. Then I lay them out on a parchment covered baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set potatoes aside.)

When the meat is browned removed to a bowl and set aside. Drizzle a little more avocado oil into the pot and add the onions and mushrooms. Saute until the onions are almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute.

Unplug and transfer from the stovetop to the counter. Plug in.

Add the meat, any reserved meat juices, the tomato paste, the herbs, salt and pepper, beef broth, and wine. Stir well to combine ingredients. Secure the lid, push the “Meat/Stew” setting, and adjust the time up to 43 minutes. Put the potatoes in the preheated oven to roast. Everything will be done right about the same time.

When the timer on the Instant Pot goes off, release the pressure. Remove the lid, hit the cancel button. Push the “saute” button. Mix 2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Flour with about 2 Tablespoons of water or so, mix well and drizzle while stirring into the braised beef. It will thicken quickly. Turn the pot off and serve.

Grain Free Mini Focaccia

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This is one of my favorite ways to make a really quick focaccia. It’s incredibly easy and they are very tasty.

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They are the perfectly sized for individual servings and go great with salads and pasta.

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I even love to pop the leftovers in the toaster and eat them warmed when I’m hungry for a “bread-like” snack. They’ll make your house smell fabulous while they’re baking (and in the toaster!)

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They also work very well for party snacks. You can make them even smaller and serve them with a few nice wedges of hard cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions, or roasted garlic, balsamic, olive oil…pesto…there are a lot of options! They’re also great for road trip food, and even for camping.

I also use this base for my grain free pizza crust that I’ll be posting later this week.

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Enjoy!

Grain Free Mini Focaccia

*14 Servings

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

For the Topping:

1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Rosemary, Thyme, & Oregano

A Generous Amount of Sea Salt

Mix it all together with a fork and set aside.

For the Dough:

2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix

4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Water

About 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Oregano

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Thyme

Sometimes I use Bragg’s Seasoning Instead

Measure all the ingredients into a medium bowl and stir with a fork until dry ingredients are wet. Then, kneed with hand until dough forms a ball and is relatively smooth. Pinch or cut dough into 14 pieces and pat out onto parchment lined baking sheets (2).

With a pastry brush, generously brush each focaccia with the oil and herb mixture. You will have some leftover which will be used to brush over the top again after baking.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. (I use convection)

Chocolate Chai Tea Latte & a bit of This & That

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How has the first month of the New Year been going for you? January has been a bit of a crazy month for our family. One thing after another it seems.

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We lost my mom’s brother unexpectedly. He had a staff infection in his heart and it caused a stroke. We were thankful that mom and all of his kids were able to get down to Nevada and spend time with him before he passed. I stayed home to watch mom’s house and tend to her kitties. Mike’s kids came from all over. One child came from Colorado, another from New York, and another was able to make it in time from England.  Mike was very happy they were all there with him. The day before he passed away they sat in his room sharing stories and talking about what he meant to each one of them. Mom said it was a wonderful day and a blessing to be able to have that time together with him. One of the children had to leave her husband who was also with his dying father at the time, to come to be at her own father’s side. So much grief to handle.

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Mom and Mike’s oldest daughter Nancy from England, were in charge of finding Mike’s loving companion Angel, a Newfoundland, a new home. She’s very old and there were several homing ideas being discussed. Mike loved her dearly, so not just any home would do. After a few days a wonderful blessing just dropped into their laps. One of Nancy’s friends who had continued his relationship with Mike all these years, heard of Mike’s passing and it turns out…he and his wife take in and care for aging animals. He knows Angel, and was thrilled to adopt and love Angel. He said, “My wife and I take in elderly and ill dogs, love them until they die and break our hearts, and then we do it all over again.” Amazing people.

 

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After Angel had been in her new home for two days mom and Nancy were invited to dinner. They were both absolutely shocked at how happy Angel was. Relaxed and carefree. I think pets know so much more than we think they do. While she was with my mom at Mike’s house, she was very depressed. But mom and Nancy were pleased to report that in her new home, where she doesn’t have to worry anymore, she was like a new pup!

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Then… mom’s wallet was stolen when they were out to dinner one of the nights. It is Reno after all. Probably one of the biggest pick pocket cities in the US next to Vegas and New Orleans. Luckily, she had her passport and after hours and hours of phone calls and stress, she was able to iron everything out and eventually get a flight home.

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Last night’s simple dinner. Salmon, quinoa, & steamed beets.

On our end, Tony got some kind of strange eye infection that was very painful. He wears extended wear contacts…which I think is a terrible idea for your eyes! I tried to tell him it was an infection at the very beginning and to go to the doctor…but do you think he would take my word for it? Of course not. Three days later after sleepless nights and a lot of pain, he finally went to the eye doctor and you know what she told him? You guessed it.

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This morning’s breakfast. Quinoa and salmon stuffed squash.

 

For me, January has been a cruddy health roller coaster. I’ve  had numerous horrible migraines and have been feeling under the weather. My focus for the beginning of the New Year was going to be on “rest and relaxation”after an extremely busy December. But you know how that goes. I hate to give into the “sick” and rest during the day.

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And because when it rains it pours, Romeo tore some ligaments in his right knee. He yelped on a hike we were on in the snow a few weeks ago but we couldn’t determine the issue. So we rested him for a few days and he seemed fine.

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About a week ago we were walking them and he was running around like a maniac in the snow of course, and he yelped again. Well, this time, he was definitely favoring one leg. We rested it for another few days with no improvement, and decided it was time to see the vet. They put him on “bed rest” for two weeks. A practically impossible feat.

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They are active dogs and we walk, hike, run, or mountain bike with them every day. Two weeks is a lifetime for all of us! While we were at the vet I also had the doc look at some growths on Abigail that we recently found. Turns out she’ll need those removed as well. In two weeks if Romeo’s knee is not greatly improved, then he’ll need surgery (and I’m assuming more “bed rest”) and Abigail will go in at the same time to have the growths removed.

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Not quite the January I would have planned for all of us of course, but as we all know, we aren’t the planners of this life. So instead of getting bogged down, we try to focus on the good of it all. With Mike, although he’ll be missed greatly, it was a blessing that mom and his children had each other for support and were able to be there to say goodbye. As my husband said in his prayer for Mike, “He was one of the good ones.” It’s also a blessing to be able to know that Mike’s best friend is being taken care of by trusted, loving, people.

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Our new favorite pizza place. Gluten free and dairy free options.

 

Mom’s wallet thing all worked out. And in the end, she said it was probably a blessing because had she still had her wallet and all of her cash she took down there with her, she would have stayed much longer to take care of Mike’s belongings, which would have been really hard on her as she and Mike were close, and all the kids had to go back home to work. So for now, it can all wait, and they can work on it together this summer.

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My faithful epsom bath companion.

With Tony’s eye, we can be thankful that it wasn’t serious, and be very thankful that we have insurance to pay for things like that. Another blessing.

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Breakfast yesterday. Homemade coconut milk yogurt with all kinds of goodies.

For me, the bright side is always, always….that things could be much worse health wise. I try really hard to take it one day at a time and focus on the good parts.

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As for the fur babies, every day we have with them is a tremendous blessing. And thankfully, Tony  has a good job and we have the means to help them when they need it.

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Though sometimes it feels like the stress outweighs the joy, if you pay close attention, there’s always good to focus on and things to be grateful for!

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Chocolate Chai Tea Latte

*Makes 2 servings

1 1/2 Cups of Filtered Water

2 Decaf Black Tea Bags

1/2 Cup of 100% Coconut Milk

1 ounce of Dark Chocolate

 2 teaspoons Chai Tea Spice Mix (see below)

1 teaspoon of Raw Honey

Chai Spice Mix: 

1 Small Jar

3 teaspoons of Turmeric

4 teaspoons of Cardamom

5 teaspoons of Cloves

4 teaspoons of Allspice

10 teaspoons of Cinnamon

7 teaspoons of Ginger

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

Bring the filtered water to a boil in a small pan. Turn off heat and add tea bags, steep for 10 minutes. Remove bags, heat on medium and add the chocolate, coconut milk, and chai spices. Bring to a low boil, remove from heat and add honey.

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Trust Me, You NEED an Instant Pot!

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InstantPot-IP-DUO

You may be thinking, “What IS an Instant Pot, April?” You may also be wondering if I’m getting paid to promote their product. Nope, not a cent. I just love it that much and want to make sure you hear about it. I had never even heard of it until Predominantly Paleo posted it on her Facebook page several months ago!

An Instant Pot is a programmable pressure cooker. And It. Is. Awesome.

Absolutely simple to program. You can use the preset programs or use it manually.

Absolutely simple to program. You can use the preset programs or use it manually.

It cooks meals that normally take all day in a very short period of time. It infuses flavor, it tenderizes, you can saute in it, you can cook rice in it, you can steam things, you can make soup, stew, ribs, sauces, you can also use it as a slow cooker, and you can even use it to make yogurt! It’s only as limited as your imagination. And if you’re not the imaginative type, there’s Instant Pot Cookbooks and bloggers who will do the imagining part for you.

One of the best things about the Instant Pot is that it’s not terrifying and unpredictable like the old-fashioned pressure cookers.

A removable stainless steel inner pot that is a cinch to clean.

A removable stainless steel inner pot that is a cinch to clean.

The 6 quart retails for about $235.00 but the good news is that it goes on sale on Amazon during special events. I purchased mine for about $99 last summer during Prime Days. They were also just recently on sale again on Amazon for Black Friday and I believe my sister-in-law was able to get one for around $83.00. A steal! And knowing what I know now after using it for a few dishes, I would have gladly paid the $235.00.

One tiny flick of the finger and it's simple to release the steam valve.

One tiny flick of the finger and it’s simple to release the steam valve.

It cooks a whole chicken in 25 minutes folks. Twenty five minutes. I did one a couple of weeks ago and it made such moist and tender sandwich meat. I also used the meat in a pasta dish, and a salad meal.  I made French Dips last night, in fact I made them last week too. I didn’t have to worry about getting the roast browned in a separate pan and then transferring it to a crockpot by at least noon so it would have time to cook and tenderize by dinner and not taste like shoe leather either.

You saute the meat right in the Instant Pot!

We ran errands most of the afternoon. We got home at 4:45, I browned the 2.5 lb roast right inside the Instant Pot. When was the last time you were able to do that in a crock pot?

Never.

When browning I place the Instant Pot on top of my stove under the fan. When it's browned on all sides, I move the pot back to the counter and add the remaining ingredients.

When browning I place the Instant Pot on top of my stove under the fan. When it’s browned on all sides, I move the pot back to the counter and add the remaining ingredients.

Then I added 32 ounces of beef broth, half an onion, some herbs and sea salt, and set the timer for 45 minutes.

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I buttered and seasoned a few gluten free buns to be broiled at the last minute.

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Then I went up stairs and took a 35 minute bath. Seriously. That easy.

Right when I was coming downstairs, the timer went off, but I don’t have to worry because it kicks into warm mode immediately and continues tenderizing. So I popped the buns under the broiler, and with one flick let the steam safely out of the Instant Pot. If you don’t want your house to smell like dinner (I don’t know why you wouldn’t…but anyhoo), you can simply carry the pot outside to your back porch and release the steam there.

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Once it stopped steaming, I removed the lid to see this tender and flavorful beauty.

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We sliced it up, built our sandwiches, dished out the au jus, and that was that. SO. Incredibly. Easy. And tender and juicy! All things it would not have been had I cooked it in a crock pot for 45 minutes.

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I’ve also made bone broth twice. The first time I did 3 roasted chicken carcasses. 2 hours flat. A far cry from 48 hours in a crock pot and it didn’t permeate our house with the smell of cooked flesh. The Instant Pot makes the most gelatinous bone broth I’ve ever been able to achieve. I’ve been making it semi regularly for almost 4 years, so that’s saying something.

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For those of you who are new to bone broth, the gelling happens when it’s been cooled. When you heat it and drink it or use it in recipes, it tastes like broth and has the consistency of broth. The reason we get excited about the gelling aspect, is because the more it gels, the more we can see that the cooking process was successful at leaching out all of the collagen and good stuff. Bone broth is excellent for gut health, joint pain, and inflammation.

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I made bone broth out of our turkey carcass day before yesterday. This time I cooked it for 2 hours, let it cool for about 20 minutes with the lid off, then set it for another hour just to make sure all the healthy goodness was utilized.

It’s incredibly easy. I pack in all of the bones and carcass, skin, and any leftover meat that isn’t going to be eaten. Then, fill it up to the Max Line with filtered water. Add 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and sometimes I add herbs and sometimes I don’t. Then I Manually set the cook time for 120 minutes, lock on the lid (it has a chime that lets you know it’s locked) and that’s it.

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The chicken bone broth yielded 8 – 12 ounce mason jars of bone broth and the turkey yielded about 10 – 12 ounce jars. So just as many if not more than a regular crock pot, but so much more flavorful and gelatinous.

Below are some links you can click for more Instant Pot information and recipes.

InstantPot.com

Benefits Of The Instant Pot

Instant Pot Cooking Times

Predominantly Paleo Instant Pot Recipes

NomNom Paleo Instant Pot Recipes

InstantPot.com Recipes

AIP Instant Pot Recipe Round Up

Instant Pot Recipes On Pinterest

Instant Pot Cookbook

That should be enough to get us all started on some really tasty Instant Pot adventures. Good luck and  have fun!

InstantPot-IP-DUO

 

 

Let’s Do Some Catching Up!

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Well here we are already onto the last day of November. I had intended on doing at least a couple posts of fabulous Thanksgiving foods for you, but somehow November slipped right by at lightening speed.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Probably the best part for me selfishly, was that I didn’t have to host it.

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My job was to bring the pies and I provided the stuffing and turkey which was roasted at my mom’s house.

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The turkey was a disappointment this year, unfortunately. We have purchased it from the same organic farm for many years without issue so we were shocked that this one did not live up to the expectation. The breasts were very thin, there was little meat on the legs and thighs, and despite it looking like a meaty bird in this picture, it was not. There was also a large layer of fat (ugh) all across the bottom of the bird. Very weird. And quite disappointing considering the cost of an organic 14 pound turkey. I’ve sent them a note with my concerns, so we’ll see how they respond.

The best part of the turkey was the skin. I whizzed up sea salt, fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage in the Nutribullet for a delicious and aromatic rub.

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I made a pumpkin pie and a streusel topped apple pie. They got rave reviews and I made the best coconut milk whipped cream I think I’ve ever made.

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I believe the secret was using the seeds of several vodka soaked vanilla beans and no vanilla extract. It was delicious!

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Prior to Thanksgiving we had a terrible windstorm with almost hurricane level 80 mph winds! It left well over 100,000 people without power for several days, including us.

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We were very lucky though as we didn’t have a tree fall on our house or crush our cars like many people. We also had generators to charge phones, have a little light, and run the refrigerator so we didn’t lose food. Our gas fireplace heated the house very well.

When I was a child I loved eating by candlelight so doing it during a power outage was not a problem.

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We have a gas stove so that made cooking relatively easy with a lamp from the living room for extra light.

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We lost our power for 3 days but many went without for more than 8 days! Crews from all over the country came to our city to help, neighbors came together, and overall even though there was a lot of damage to many neighborhoods, it all went very well.  As soon as the power came back on I hit the kitchen.

Of course!

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I felt like I was in cooking withdrawal for some reason. Those are thin slices of ginger mixed in with the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Roasted ginger is absolutely delicious!

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Abigail thought it was a special treat for her.

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I made a huge salad, roasted veggies, made a big pot of chicken soup, and home made bread.

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Thanksgiving prep was so easy that two days prior to Thanksgiving when I would normally be up to my earlobes in kitchen and cleaning duties if I had been hosting, I was able to decorate the inside of the house for Christmas.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving, I actually had energy and we were able to enjoy our family tradition of cutting our own tree.

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The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year and I have lots and lots of decorations. I like to savor the holiday so decorating “early” isn’t a problem for me. You can even hear Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving if you come for a visit.

No Scrooges allowed.

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The ladies at the tree farm make gorgeous swags and wreaths. This one will be perfect for our front door.

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We have two trees again this year. You may remember that we had a little “issue” with the live tree last year... This year, I set my sites on a smaller, more manageable tree. Hopefully it will behave itself and the Russians won’t have to come help me clean up shattered ornaments again.

It even fit nicely in the back of the truck.

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Yesterday was spent decorating both trees. It always seems like such a grand idea to have two trees until it comes time to decorate them, and then of course, take them down. But the in between part is what makes it so special.

This is Tree #1 which is in the sitting room off the kitchen.

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I particularly love early, dark mornings, when I walk downstairs and the house is lit with trees. So gorgeous and peaceful!

This is Tree #2 in the family room.

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I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying the holiday season!

Thank you so much for the kind words, blog support, and prayers for my health that you all so freely give here on the blog, on Facebook, via personal message, and on Instagram. I appreciate all of you so much. I’m praying December will be a good health month and peaceful for all of us, and that I will be able to bring you lots of fabulous recipe ideas for your holidays.

I will share my Thanksgiving recipes with you tomorrow!

Blessings to you ~ April

2015-11-27 04.17.02

Sunday Morning Quiche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My husband is the yellow and light blue glider.

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

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

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

This guy hangglides and paraglides.

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

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

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Last flight of the day.

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

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

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

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Vegetable Quiche

1 Pie Crust Portion

1/2 Red Onion, diced

1/2 Large Bell Pepper, diced

About 1/2 Cup Broccoli Florets

2 Cups Packed, Fresh Baby Spinach

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

Fresh Thyme

Bacon Fat

8 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Hemp Milk

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

A Few Grinds of Pepper

A Couple Sprinkles of Garlic Powder

Couple Pinches of Dried Oregano

1/4 Cup of Sheep’s Milk Parmesan

1/2 Cup of Sheep’s Milk Mozzarella

Freshly Chopped Tomatoes & Parsley For Garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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

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

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

Bake for 20 minutes.