Coconut Milk Kefir Smoothie

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I have fallen in love with making my own coconut milk kefir and yogurt.

I’m addicted.

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I don’t know why, but it’s extremely satisfying and fun! You can bake with it, put it in smoothies, eat and drink it plain, and it’s extremely good for you.

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Just watching it transform from one thing into another is like performing your own science experiments at home.

I guess it satisfies the nerd in me.

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There are numerous ways to make the kefir or yogurt.

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You can warm it with your oven light, put it on a heating pad in a cooler, let it sit on a heat register…but I found this yogurt maker on Amazon. It makes making the kefir and yogurt so easy! And it was only $24.99, so very affordable.

This morning we used some of the coconut milk kefir in our smoothie. Delicious!

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I’ll post my Vanilla Coconut Yogurt recipe in a few days. It’s just as easy to make as the coconut milk kefir with only a few small adjustments.

Tony arrived home last night!

Tails are no longer tucked under, ears are perky, and wife is happy. We are off to walk the dogs.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

One of the bushes we planted a couple of months ago. Love the Fall colors!

One of the bushes we planted a month ago. Love the Fall colors!

Coconut Milk Kefir

42 ounces of Organic, BPA Free, Canned Full Fat Coconut Milk

1 1/2 High Quality Probiotic Capsules

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Medicnal Honey

*Yogurt Maker

Place all ingredients in an extra large measuring cup with pouring spout. Whisk thoroughly until honey is completely dissolved. Pour evenly into warming cups. Cover and let warm for 8 hours. Poor from small cups into large container and refrigerate overnight before using.

Kefir Smoothie

Serves 2-4 (The 2 of us drink the whole thing as a meal)

2 Cups of Coconut Milk Kefir

1 Large Handful of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Organic Banana

2 Organic Carrots

2 Stalks of Organic Celery

1 Small Organic Apple

1 Cup of Frozen Organic Blueberries

Juice of 1 Organic Lemon

2 Tablespoons of Organic Raw Chia Seeds

2 Tablespoons of Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds

1 Tablespoon of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Ground Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon of Organic Ground Turmeric

1/2 Tablespoon of Organic Ground Ginger

Coconut Water, for thinning (About 1 Cup)

Ice (About 1 1/2 Cups)

Place all ingredients except coconut water and ice in blender and blend until smooth. Add coconut water to thin, add ice for a chill and blend thoroughly.

A Little Story of Love & Some Kick Ass Flatbread Crackers and Dip

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Both of the dogs are depressed. Tails are tucked under, ears are floppy, and there has been a lot of napping and sighing going on.

Tony took a flight out of town last night and is now in full work and travel mode.

The dogs have done nothing but mope around and look at me like, “Where is he and when is he coming back?”

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I think I may be a little depressed about the whole thing too. It’s a bittersweet kind of thing, I suppose.

I believe he left his job in New Hampshire sometime in March and then only physically worked for the company here for about a month before being laid off.

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That means that we have been able to spend about 9 months of true, quality time together. It’s only been one day and I miss our time together already.

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That’s the most consecutive time we’ve spent together without him having to travel out of town in the entire 23 years we’ve been married.

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I’m thankful we didn’t allow the stress of it to gobble us up. We didn’t end up resenting one another’s presence and getting on each other’s nerves…too much. You hear that a lot about couples who lose their jobs or retire.

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We’ve even had people say it to us when we’ve told them about our life over the last year, “Oh good, and you’re still together”, they say.  Tony’s answer to that is, “Well, I’m an exceptional husband.”

Which always gets a good snicker of course.

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This time we’ve had has made me look forward even more to retirement. It was something I actually thought about in the past. “Will we like spending all that time together when he retires?” “Will he drive me nuts?” “What will we do?”

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I can tell you I wasn’t bored one time during the last 9 months. We found all kinds of enjoyable stuff to do together and there were only a few tense moments. Those moments were really only due to the fact that he makes noise and watches TV more than I do. Prior to him being off work for so long, I was used to a very quiet house. Evidently I have plenty of noise going on in my head without adding anything to it.

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Overall I think we are better off after this time spent together. In fact, our relationship is stronger than ever. That’s saying something after being together for a total of 26 years…that a marriage can get even better.

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Even when there’s mass quantities of stress and frustrations that are seemingly out of our control. In my mind, in a world full of divorce and all kinds of issues, the fact that a relationship can continue to grow and strengthen after 26 years just seems like a massive blessing.

We’ve definitely put the “T” in Teamwork over the past couple of years. We’ve had a lot of career stress, major extended family issues, and I’ve had and continue to have a battle with Lyme Disease. Even one of those circumstances happening would make the strongest of folks wobble at least a little.

We’ve faced them all at once.

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What I cherish and wish I would remember at the beginning of every stressful season of life, because there will be more…is that when you’re coming out the other side of it and you can look back…not only did you live through it which is celebration enough, but in so many ways you’re better for it.

That’s like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As if the rainbow after the storm wasn’t beautiful enough!

So although it’s easy to whine about how I wish I didn’t have a traveling husband and many other things, there’s been so much positive to come out of these 2 years of complete and absolute craziness that I never expected, it’s hard to complain too much because I just really feel so incredibly thankful.

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Thankful for a working, loving, husband and friend. Thankful that I have Romeo and Abigail to mope around with me. Thankful that we’re back in town and 1.5  miles from my mom and our son instead of 2,700 miles away.  Thankful that we took some incredible leaps of faith. Thankful that we made some unbelievably tough decisions. Thankful that even when some issues aren’t resolved there’s still plenty of good pouring over into each day. Thankful for the joy I get from food blogging and hearing from all of you.  Thankful as I sit here in my cozy little library and office that’s just for me. Thankful that as I look out the window I’m being presented right this minute with yet another amazing and beautiful sunset that is filling the sky with bright reds and pinks. And mostly really, I’m just thankful that I have the ability to recognize a blessing and that I have so many, I can’t count them all.

“Blessed is he who is not offended that no man receives what he deserves…blessed is he who gets that joke, who sees that miracle.” ~ Buechner

Herbed Flatbread Crisps

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 Box of Chebe Foccacia Mix

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Chives, snipped

2 teaspoons of Fresh Rosemary, snipped

1 1/2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds

3/4 teaspoons of Sea Salt

6 Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup of Unsweetened Hemp Milk

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a baking sheet. Mix all ingredients together with a fork in a medium bowl until combined. Knead with hand until smooth. Roll out thinly on the parchment to fit as much of the cut parchment as possible. Slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet. Bake (I use convection) for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before tearing or cutting into pieces.

Sundried Tomato & Spinach Bean Spread

1 15 oz. can of Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

1 Cup of Baby Spinach, packed

2 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled

2 Tablespoons of Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle 

5 Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

8 Grinds of Pepper

Juice of 1 Fresh Lemon

3/4 Cup of Avocado Oil

Place all ingredients except avocado oil  in food processor. Pulse about 20 times until ingredients are chopped. Turn on High and slowly drizzle the avocado into the mixture. Continue mixing on High for 2 minutes. 

Smoky Honey Habanero Chicken & Apple Cabbage Salad

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The evenings are getting shorter and I’m running out of photography light. I’m going to have to start getting creative. In the past I’ve researched lighting equipment and the “how-to’s” for making my own light boxes. But because I do this blog purely for fun and relaxation, I hate to get too serious about such things.

As we head into winter, you may have to endure some drab photography until I find my lighting sweet spot in this house.

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I bought three types of Spiceologist rubs from our local farmer’s market this summer. Smoky Honey Habanero, Raspberry Chipotle, and Greek Freak.

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I’ve used all but the Raspberry Chipotle, and although I think they are lacking in flavor just on their own, they’re quite good with a few simple additions.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season well with sea salt and Bragg's Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous seasoning of sea salt.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season both sides well with sea salt and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous sprinkle of sea salt.

The sweet and tangy salad balanced out the hot and spicy flavors of the chicken very well.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced red onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper. Whisk until combined.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion. Add it all to a large mixing bowl along with 2 Tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 2 Tablespoons of raisins, and toss well to coat with dressing. Spoon into a serving bowl and chill in refrigerator while chicken grills.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes with lid closed.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp. If you get too much flame up, grill with lid open and increase cooking time.

A very simple dinner with amazing flavors. We loved the balance of the hot and spicy chicken with the sweet and tangy salad.

Stuffed & Grilled Pork Tenderloin

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We had a bit of a catastrophe last night…

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We went grocery shopping, then out to dinner.

What’s so horrible about that you might ask?

Well, when we got home our son was here. He and I had purchased a special gift for Tony as a “back to work surprise”.

Still not seeing what is such a catastrophe, right?

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Brandon greeted us at the door and we all went in the house.

I was distracted, and Tony was distracted…and Brandon had no idea we had groceries in the back of the car, so even though he has a young, vibrant brain, he didn’t know to remind us.

We all visited and looked at Tony’s gift and enjoyed our time together.

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Brandon left, I headed to the bathtub with a book, and Tony went to bed to watch a bit of sports.

Not even an inkling that something was amiss.

Nothing.

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At 6:00 AM this morning, it suddenly occurred to me.

Oh no. No, no, no! We didn’t! 

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Yes we did.

I was mortified.

What was even more mortifying was that evidently my short-term memory is shot because I couldn’t even remember what perishables we had purchased as I bolted into the garage. I was thinking, “just vegetables, right??”

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But trust me, it all came screaming back to me as I un-bagged the groceries.

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Organic eggs and several types of organic meat. Along with a not so cheap dairy free cheese.

All thrown into the garbage.

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Normally, I would have probably just put it all in the freezer and not worried about it, minus the eggs of course. But we are having unseasonably hot weather and even our garage stays steamy.

I just couldn’t do it. It was all very warm. 

The last thing we need is food poisoning.

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So off to the store I went… again… to purchase the same perishable items. Scolding myself for being so ridiculously and easily distracted the entire time I was shopping.

I even tattled on myself to the cashier. Who was like 12 of course, and really didn’t see the absolute horror in throwing away very expensive, organic items. 

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Such a waste in so many ways.

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Sigh.

Lesson learned. 

Stuffed & Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 Pork Tenderloin, organic if you can find it (which more often than not, splits in two loins upon opening)

About 1 Cup of Chopped Organic Spinach

About 1/4 Cup Chopped Organic Red Onion

About 4-5 Organic Crimini Mushrooms, Chopped

2 Large Organic Cloves of Garlic, Diced

About 1/2 Cup of Goat or Sheep’s Milk Cheese Grated or Crumbled, use your favorite

Organic Olive Oil

Himalayan Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle

Skewers (lots)

Butterfly the tenderloin pieces. Mine ended up being kind of a disaster, they were not cooperative. Chop and dice the vegetables and garlic. Layer on top of the tenderloin. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper generously. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. If you’re able to roll your tenderloin, roll it closed and secure with the skewers. I wasn’t able to so I just closed mine up like a taco, worked fine. Drizzle with more olive oil, season again generously with salt and pepper and the Bragg seasoning.

Heat grill to 375 degrees and grill until done.  About 10 minutes on each side. I like mine pink (or medium rare), you can grill it longer of course, but not too long!

Remove from grill. Let it rest about 10 minutes and slice. Serve with roasted, seasoned, potatoes.