Kale Chips 2 Ways

3 Comments

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Have you ever had a kale chip? They are the most intriguing thing.

So feather light, but they pack a crispy, satisfying crunch.

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You can probably put almost anything you want on them. A variety of oils, herbs, salts, and seasonings. Whatever you like. I made two batches today out of one head of kale. Making kale chips is incredibly simple. Just make sure you remove the stems all the way up the leaf, that your kale is completely dry, and remember that a little oil goes a long way. I drizzle maybe 1/2 a Tablespoon, then season, then massage the oil around and toss the leaves, and then season again.

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The first batch is Sweet, Salty, & Spicy. A little drizzle of olive oil, a couple pinches of coconut sugar, sea salt, and a couple pinches of ground chipotle. SO good.

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The second batch is equally as simple. A little drizzle of olive oil, a few sprinkles of sea salt, and garlic powder.  I would say one head of kale makes about 2 cups. It shrinks significantly once it’s been baked.

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So simple, so delicious, and a healthy alternative to potato chips. Enjoy!

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Spicy Mango Jalapeno Sausage & Red Lentil Pasta

3 Comments

 

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Technically, legumes are on the “don’t eat very often” list for me because they are considered an inflammatory food for those of us whose inflammatory mechanism is broken.

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For me, having pasta made with lentils is not as damaging as having pasta made with brown rice. So every now and then I treat myself and because I don’t have it often, it really feels like an indulgence.

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My husband prefers them with sauce, but I can eat them any which way. I love them. I’d say they have a slightly different texture than “regular” pasta, but nothing that is off putting. I think they’re fabulous!

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I cook mine longer than the directions suggest. More like 12-14 minutes. But be careful, because they go from aldente to way too done very quickly during those last few minutes.

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When you taste them at the end of the boiling time, they will seem a tad over done, but once they are rinsed and tossed with whatever you add to them, they firm right back up. A lot of the brown rice pastas react that way as well. I don’t know why, but it’s a good cooking hint to know!

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The Spicy Mango with Jalapeno are our favorite Aidells sausages, but again, I can’t eat them very often. Pre-packaged foods are loaded with sodium, another inflammatory. Although salt in itself isn’t bad for inflammation…but that is another post for another time.

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These are a little sweet and more spicy, they go so well with sauteed veggies of any kind! I think they are best grilled.

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Both the pasta and the sausages can be used in many different ways, the options are endless really.

Get creative!

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Spinach & Basil Pesto

3 Comments

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love pesto. It’s so versatile and easy to add to meat, vegetable, pasta, and zoodle dishes. My pesto is vegan and nut free and quite delicious, if I do say so myself. I don’t miss the cheese or the nuts. If you can tolerate goat or sheep’s milk cheese though, goat parm goes very well with this recipe.

When I make it, I make big batches of it to keep in the freezer.

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Having it ready to go in serving size baggies makes it easy to whip up a quick dinner that would normally be laborious if you waited until dinner time to make the pesto.

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I fill small zipper bags with 1/4 Cup servings, roll them up, place them in a bigger bag and pop them in the freezer.

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When I’m ready to use one, I place a baggie in a bowl of warm water while I’m preparing the other dinner ingredients. When it’s defrosted, I snip the bottom corner of the bag and squeeze out the pesto into whatever dish I’m making. Fast, no mess, and a simple way to add a lot of flavor to a wide variety of meals.

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Vegan Spinach & Basil Pesto

*Makes about 3 Cups

10 Cups of Organic Baby Spinach (don’t worry about the stems)

1/4 Cup of Fresh Organic Oregano, packed

3 Four Ounce Packages of Organic Basil (or basil from your garden)

8 Cloves of Organic Garlic, peeled

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Olive Oil

Juice of 1/2 of a Small Organic Lemon

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

You may have to do the pesto in two batches depending on the size of your food processor. I slowly break down all of the greens first, scraping down the sides, before I add any of the other ingredients. This way, I don’t have to worry about making two separate batches. Once all the greens are purified, add the garlic and turn the processor on high. Slowly begin to drizzle the olive oil into the greens and mix until smooth. Add the juice and salt and continue to mix until you reach the pesto texture you like.

A little goes a long way. I find it much more economical to freeze it in small batches rather than large because often, a portion of the larger batches ends up going to waste.

Cole’s Fine Foods ~ Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe

4 Comments

2015-05-04 11.18.17

Mom and I are thoroughly enjoying her retirement. We both like to lollygag around when we’re out running errands to see what’s new or see what we’ve missed when life used to be in a hurry.  Monday I had a follow-up with my doctor and we remembered there’s a new gluten-free bakery near there we wanted to check out that we missed after my last appointment. I almost drove right by it but mom said, “Hey! There’s that bakery, let’s stop and take a look!”

Being a fellow professional look-see lollygagger, I was all for it.

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Cole’s Fine Foods is tucked into a pretty busy area with doctor’s buildings and strip malls. Easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. And I can tell you after sampling several of her items, you’ll regret it if you don’t make the time to find it. Cole’s has a lovely set up. Very open and inviting with their baking mixes, granola, and breads on display. In fact, the bread that was on display, was still warm from the oven!

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At the counter you’ll find all of their pastries and goodies. The bakery is a completely gluten-free facility, as the owner has Celiac. I was incredibly pleased to hear that many of her items are also dairy free and on occasion, she bakes Paleo items. Cole’s also does baked goods for Huckleberry’s.

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An assortment of cupcakes and truffles. The pink frosted cupcakes were also dairy free that day as were the lemon bars and a few other items.

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This sweet gal came out to show us the Mother’s Day cakes they’re working on. They take great pride in their work and ability to provide great, gluten-free food. And rightly so! Cole’s is family owned and it shows. I love that they have a Mission & Values menu on their website.

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Cole’s has a wide variety of delicious items to choose from and the owner and staff are friendly, generous with information, and generous with samples. They sell (all gluten-free) cakes, pastries, cookies, breads and rolls, baking mixes, granola, home made cheese balls and crackers, lasagna, casseroles, soups and salads, mac and cheese…ALL made from scratch and whenever possible use Non-GMO and organic ingredients.

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Mom and I sampled the herb baguette, the sandwich bread, the granola, and angel food cake. It was all excellent!

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Honestly, we could have purchased one of everything and been content. Sadly, I knew I had to practice some form of self-control so mom and I settled on a loaf of fresh bread, the herb baguette, two cupcakes, and a bag of the granola. I would say that their prices are reasonable considering. We all know baking gluten-free, dairy free, non GMO, and organic is not an inexpensive adventure whether you’re baking at home or purchasing it from someone else.

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I couldn’t wait to get home to taste test again, take photos, and get my husband’s opinion. You may ask, “Why are you so excited over a gluten-free bakery?” I get excited about things like this because all gluten-free bakeries are not created equal. It is RARE that you find a bakery dedicated to being completely gluten-free, very rare. And it’s even more rare to find one with so many dairy free options. A gluten-free bakery is all well and good, but if you have multiple food allergies like most people with gluten allergens do or you’re Celiac and can’t eat in a contaminated facility, what good will it do you? It would be tough to cover all the food allergies of course, but Cole’s has gone above and beyond the norm to please their customers. And although they didn’t have any Paleo items that day, the fact that they offer them gets another two thumbs up.

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Her granola is dangerous. I mean seriously, I’m not supposed to be eating grains but I made an exception for that day by sampling all of the goodies I brought home for Tony. I’m going to have to send the granola out of town with him because it’s that good. Every time I open the pantry I have visions of a bowl (or several) with very cold almond milk. Mmmmm…. it’s torture. All of the seeds and nuts are sprouted (activated) and light and crispy. Her granola mix is 50% oat mixture to 50% nuts and seeds. I think it would be fantastic as gifts in baskets, stockings, or something fun and delicious to mail to friends and relatives.

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The breads had such a fantastic texture and flavor. Moist, not too heavy, great bounce back, yeasty flavor, and no strange slippery consistency when you swallow like so many gluten-free breads. Hands down, they were the best gluten-free breads I have ever tasted. Heads and tails over the ever popular Udi’s brand bread that we all dread but are basically forced to buy if we want a sandwich. Until now.

The bread was still warm when I got it home to sample it.

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Look at that…no cavernous holes that leave you with just crust for a sandwich like you often find in Udi’s bread.

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Impressive bounce back. No cracking. And even after it cooled completely and we made tunafish sandwiches, it still had the same texture and bounce back.

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The cupcakes we chose were like frosted pound cakes. Heavenly! I controlled myself and only ate half and left the other half for Tony.

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Tony sampled everything and also happily gave it all two thumbs up.

Please be sure to visit Cole’s. Not only because you’ll be missing out on a delicious and impressive experience if you don’t, but because it is family owned and they clearly take a great amount of pride in their work. Cole’s gets a resounding 10 from Gluten Free Zen and I look forward to sampling more items in the future.

Cole’s Fine Foods

Open 10:00 to 7:00 Monday thru Friday, Saturday 10:00 to 5:00

521 E. Holland, Suite 20, Spokane, WA 99218

You can order by phone at 509-413-1739 and you can find them online at:

www.colesfinefoods.com

www.facebook.com/colesfinefoods

or 

colesfinefoods @outlook.com

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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One Grain & Dairy Free Bread Recipe ~ Three Ways

7 Comments

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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

**

3 Eggs Separated

1 1/2 Tablespoons Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup Cool Water

1 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

**

(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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Thanksgiving Afterglow

2 Comments

Ahhh…nothing quite like the holiday afterglow.

The past week has been an absolute whirlwind. All of the photos in this post are courtesy of my phone…so bear with me, I think it’s been dropped 100 too many times.

The dogs are basking in the afterglow as well.

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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.