Grain Free Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

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I know, I know. It’s a little early for all things pumpkin. For most people it’s like cilantro, they either hate all the Fall flavored stuff or love it. I’m obviously in the last category. Even though our days are still in the 80’s and 90’s, our mornings are much cooler now and typically in the low 50’s. Perfect for coffee cake and a nice cup of tea or coffee. I’m so tired…of eggs, or smoothies, or dinner leftovers for breakfast. In fact, a few times over the last couple weeks I’ve settled with just a miserable little apple until lunch because I was feeling so uninspired about my breakfast plan. I’ve changed my mind set though, and now I’m focusing on switching it up a bit and adding a little more excitement.

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I’m taking the coolest three week class called, “Love Your Body” through a therapist I know. She’s a Body Image Recovery Coach, and the Founder of MindSexBody Decide To Be Healthy. She studied Executive And Professional Coaching at the University of Texas at Dallas, and is currently studying Human Sexuality at Widener University…and she is full of all kinds of information pertaining to the history of body shape, objectification, and the space where fact and fiction collide where society has completely lost their minds about what healthy looks like. I have learned so much!

One of the tools we’re working with this week is intuitive eating and exercise. Intuitive eating is truly thinking about what your body needs for energy, nutrients, and satisfaction, rather than suffering through meals that are not fulfilling your personal needs. When we’re just going through the motions (or emotions) with our meals, we end up eating fast, bored to death, not being mindful, and end up unsatisfied. That leads to unhealthy food choices and over stuffing because we keep looking for that “something” we’re craving but we aren’t truly paying proper attention to it. It’s healthier to stop and really think about what your body needs at that time. Does it need healthy fats, crunchy, sweet, savory, protein, fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates?  When choosing to be more mindful about what we really need and what we’re eating to fulfill those needs, we naturally transform to the size and shape our body is comfortable and happy with. The same goes for intuitive exercise.

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Examining what type of exercise is the best fit for you personally that is fun, rewarding, and makes you look forward to doing it, makes all the difference. Life is too short to be doing squats if you hate them with a passion. Look for exercises that fit where you are in life. Can you slip in a few walks here and there? Maybe a hike once a week? Or maybe you’re a runner, or a CrossFit enthusiast or a swimmer. For me at this stage in my life and with my individual health concerns, I have found that Pilates and an old Jane Fonda Fat Burners workout works well for me a couple times a week. I also do some serious stretching every morning, sometimes yoga, and we also get some exercise by walking with the dogs. When Fall hits and the weather cools down, I’ll begin hiking again as well. Not because I feel like I HAVE to but because I love it and my body and mind feel better with it, than without.  Whatever it is, find what you love, and you’ll be much more apt to look forward to adding healthy, stress reducing, exercise into your weekly routine.

So maybe for the rest of this week you’d like to join me in focusing on intuitive eating and exercise? If you do, shoot me a note and let me know your thoughts. Lets start focusing on simply being the healthiest body (individually!!) we can be, rather than what the media and the rest of society has deemed to be the standard. Each of us has our own unique genetic make up that makes us who we are. We can treat it properly by focusing on making it the healthiest possible body, by ignoring outside negative voices (and our own negative commentary about ourselves) and by being more mindful of the package we’ve been given to take care of.

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Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 12 Servings.

1/4 Cup of Arrowroot

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

3/4 Cup of Coconut Flour, sifted

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

3 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, cold

3 Eggs

1 Cup of Canned Pumpkin

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

For the Crumb Topping:

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour, unsifted

2 Tablespoons of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Arrowroot

4 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

6 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, cold

1/4 Cup of Chopped Pecans

Measure the 3/4 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup sweet potato flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl. Cut in the 3 Tablespoons of cold butter. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and maple syrup and whisk to combine.

Spray an 9×9 inch baking dish with non stick spray and spread the batter. Set aside.

For the crumb topping: Measure the 1/4 Cup coconut flour, 2 Tablespoons of sweet potato flour, 1 Tablespoon of arowroot, coconut sugar, cinnamon, sea salt, and pecans into a medium bowl. Cut in the 6 Tablespoons of cold butter and sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake for 27 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. I like mine warm with a little pat of dairy free butter!

 

Gluten Free Banana Bread

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2016-07-14 08.21.20The majority of the time, I’m grain free. But every now and then, I venture out and eat gluten free grains. You can make grain free banana bread too, and I’m sure somewhere out there someone has a recipe that you’ll love…but I have yet to find or create a grain free recipe that I love.

I made this banana bread with Mama’s Coconut Blend Flour and it was absolutely delicious. The flour is a blend of coconut, tapioca, potato starch, and rice flours. It had perfect texture, it was beautifully moist, held together well, and I was able to bake it in a normal bread pan rather than my tiny bread pan made for grain free breads.

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When you bake with gluten free grains, things come out fluffy and cushy and light. Most grain free baked items are a heavier and more temperamental. I’m not used to being able to make bread in a normal sized bread pan and have it rise over the top. That was a treat in itself!

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Of course, actually eating the banana bread warm with lots of dairy free butter was the real treat.

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Gluten Free Banana Bread

2 Cups of Mama’s Coconut Blencond Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground cinnamon

4 eggs

3 Very Ripe Large Bananas

3/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/3 Cup of Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 in loaf pan generously with coconut oil and set aside.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl whisk all of the wet ingredients and the sugar together until fully incorporated. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and fold gently, just until combined and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Bake for 40 minutes. (I use convection)

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Life Is Too Short Not To Eat Onion Rings

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It turns out that I’m not the only one that needs an onion ring every now and then. For those of us who can’t eat gluten and dairy, craving breaded fried foods can pose a problem. As you already know, that’s my goal here on this blog. Proving to people that an allergen free life doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive. While it may be a problem finding these types of foods when you’re eating out, it’s not a problem if you’re willing to make them at home.

Sometimes, it’s just necessary to eat comfort food and enjoy an onion ring…or 10. It’s as simple as that. Just like every now and then, I need a piece of cake for breakfast…but that’s a story for another time.

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I hadn’t planned on posting this so I don’t have any prep or process photos and the photos I do have are lacking excitement…or so I thought. I posted a couple pictures of last night’s dinner on my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page and on Instagram and received a few messages asking for the recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe. There’s a few steps involved, but once you get that down, making them at home is worth every. single. bite.

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Gluten Free Dairy Free Onion Rings

*You’ll need a dutch oven or deep fryer and a deep fry/candy thermometer, 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or tin foil if you don’t want an oily mess, and 2 cooling racks that will fit on top of the baking sheets. You will also need a large slotted spoon or tongs.

50.7 ounces of Avocado Oil (About 1 1/2 bottles of Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil, I buy mine at Costco)

5 Medium to Large Sweet Onions (Peeled and sliced save middles for something else)

3 plus 1 Cups of All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour Blend)

3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot

3 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1  Tablespoon of Sea Salt plus more for sprinkling

1 1/2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper

3 teaspoons of Bragg’s Seasoning

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 Cups of Gluten Free Beer (I used Green’s Amber Ale the dark ale would work well too)

1 Cup of Perrier (or any sparkling mineral water)

1 Large Egg

Pour the oil into the dutch oven, insert the thermometer, turn the burner on medium or slightly higher,  and heat to between 325-350 degrees. This will take some time.

(It’s easiest if you set up an ingredients “station” right next to the stove top.)

While the oil is heating measure the flour, arrowroot, garlic, sea salt, cayenne, Bragg’s, and sugar into a large bowl or baking dish. Whisk to combine. Reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture in a bowl and set aside. Dredge all of the onion slices in the larger amount of flour mixture and set aside on a paper towel or plate.

In a medium bowl combine the beer, sparkling water, and egg. Pour into the larger mixture of flour and whisk to combine.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the prepared baking sheets in the oven.

Once the oil reaches temperature:

Remove the thermometer. Take an onion and dip in the liquid flour mix, then dredge quickly in the smaller dry reserved flour mix, dip quickly one more time into the liquid mix and then put into the oil. Repeat with 6-7 slices at a time but don’t overcrowd. I let the oil heat up a bit more between each wave of onions. The onion rings won’t brown as much as traditional onion rings. Allow to cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the onion slices are. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs onto the racks and season with more sea salt. Try a piece (or two) from the first batch and see if they’re crispy to your liking, then you can adjust the cooking time from there. Keep warm in the oven. Serve as soon as all the onions are done.

Dipping Sauce:

Olive oil mayo, ketchup, and sriracha. I use about 1/2 C of mayo, 1/4 C of ketchup, and a generous squeeze of sriracha. Amount will depend on how seasoned you like yours and how many people you’re feeding.

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Cinnamon Spice Crepes with Coconut Sugared Peaches

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About 10 years ago I figured out I could no longer tolerate cow’s milk dairy. I was feeling so awful. My stomach felt like someone was holding it in their hand, I was getting migraines all the time, my sinuses were constantly stuffy…I just didn’t feel right.

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Once I stopped the dairy I had major improvement. Then over a few month’s time, I could tell that gluten was also an issue. It caused what I call “cement neck”, joint issues, and often after I ate it, I was so tired and lethargic, I felt like I’d been drugged. I started to have hormonal issues and adrenal issues. I tested positive for Candida overgrowth in my gut. I kept a food diary for a year and a half, and sure enough, every single time I had gluten foods, they made me sick.

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I began to strictly change my diet, focus on my gut and my adrenals, address the hormone issues, and wouldn’t you know it…when you begin to help all of your body’s major “parts” to work together, your health improves.

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A few years later when I got very ill while we were living in New Hampshire, I tested positive and was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. I’d been having Lyme flares off and on for at least 7 years but didn’t know what they were and neither did anyone else at the time. I’m a research warrior when something is going on with my body or in my life. I like to educate myself on the why’s and how’s and how other people are dealing with things. So, I researched for months and months about Lyme, food sensitivities, gut issues, systemic inflammation, auto immune disease, and every combination of symptom and chronic illness you could think of. I joined private groups so I could also learn more from other people with similar issues.

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One of the many helpful things I learned was that there are other grains that have similar DNA to wheat, so your body treats them as wheat, even though they are technically “gluten free”. Lyme Disease causes a lot of inflammation and joint issues, so the pain and other symptoms I was having made a lot of sense…but still, I just felt that there was more I could be doing to help my body deal with it naturally. I did not want a future full of pharmaceuticals.

I learned a lot about inflammatory foods and how systemic inflammation is linked to the foods we eat, the health of our gut, life stress, and stress on the body from illness. I learned about how food allergies and sensitivities, along with gut issues, lower your immune system. When you are consistently putting things into your body that tax your immune system, every part of your body suffers inside and out. Add a bacterial infection like Lyme Disease or any chronic illness or auto immune disease to a gut and body damaged by food sensitivities and stress, and it makes for a perfect storm of horrible illness.

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I pretty strictly eliminated all grains from my diet for about a year, along with many inflammatory foods like potatoes and legumes. I’ve had major improvement in all of the Lyme symptoms. Fatigue, pain, joint swelling, flu symptoms, sleep issues, vertigo, ringing in my ears, hormonal issues, nervous system complications like anxiety, numbness and tingling in my extremities and face, and shingles outbreaks. Diet has been paramount in allowing me to live an active life while battling a chronic illness. In fact, I have shared with people many times that I feel that without the changes in my diet and the battle against inflammation, I would surely be bed bound, if not dead.

Now I am able to eat rice, quinoa, and buckwheat on occasion, but I try not to push it. I can also eat potatoes and legumes now and then. However, if I get into a mode where I am indulging often and ignoring what my body is telling me, problems arise and it can take weeks to remedy. About a year ago I also added high quality curcumin supplement to my diet along with my other supplements. Absolute miracle worker, I would highly recommend curcumin supplements for everyone, but that’s a post for another time.

Long story short, in order to keep on top of your health, you must pay attention to your diet and gut health. Your gut is the epicenter of your immune system and the immune system and nervous system absolutely cannot work the way it was created to work, if you’re losing a battle with systemic inflammation.

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I have made it my mission to help people to understand that they are their best health advocates. I love to help you and show you that living with food allergies, sensitivities, and even chronic illness, doesn’t have to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. You can embrace all the good parts, and if you’re conscious about how you treat yourself, there are many good parts to be embraced.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to educate yourself. Being knowledgeable and being in tune with your own body and how it works and what it doesn’t like, will give you great freedom and improve your health dramatically. Educating yourself provides you with tools to take care of your body without sacrificing many of the things you love to eat and do.

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Now, go make yourself some crepes and seize the day!

Cinnamon Spice Crepes with Coconut Sugared Peaches

The recipe below looks wordy and complicated, but this is not a complicated recipe I promise, it is absolutely simple! I make them often with all kinds of different toppings and they come together very quickly. They’re also an easy, but impressive, breakfast or even dessert for when you have guests.

*Makes about 7 crepes and serves two people. Can easily be doubled.

For the peaches:

1 1/2 Cups of Frozen or Fresh Peeled Peaches

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar (Maybe more if your peaches aren’t sweet enough)

About 1 Tablespoon of Water and 1 teaspoon of Arrowroot

Place the peaches in a small saucepan and if they are frozen, heat them on medium low until thawed and juicy. Add the coconut sugar and heat on medium until the sugar is completely melted and incorporated with the peach juice. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of the arrowroot mixture at a time, waiting a minute or so in between to get to the desired sauce thickness.You will need very little, don’t allow it to get too thick! Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and chill in the fridge or quickly in the freezer. (Your whipped cream will melt on top if the fruit isn’t chilled or at least cool.)

For the crepes:

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

Dash of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1 Small Pinch of Nutmeg

1 Small Pinch of Cloves

3 Eggs

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup of Full Fat 100% Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Water

Dairy Free Butter For Pan

Extra Cinnamon For Sprinkling

Measure all the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Heat a small to medium ceramic skillet or non-stick pan to medium. Place 1/2 teaspoon of butter and spread around until melted. (You will only need to do this once.) When the butter starts to bubble, scoop just shy of 1/4 cup of batter into pan, lift the pan and swirl to the edges. Cook for about 1 minute until the crepe moves freely and flip. Cook for 5 seconds longer and transfer to a plate with parchment. I use a paper plate on top to cover them and keep them warm. They won’t stick together.

For the whipped coconut cream:

1 Cup of chilled 100% Fat Coconut Milk (There are two ways you can do this. With canned coconut milk that has been chilled over night, where you just use the solids, which then you would need probably 2 cans. Or, you can use one box of Arroy-D 100% Coconut Milk that has also been chilled over night. I used the Arroy-D this time.)

About 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar or Very Finely Powdered Coconut Sugar

About 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Pour the coconut milk into a stand mixer and whisk for a few minutes until milk is thickened. Add the powdered sugar and whisk for another couple of minutes scraping down the sides, then the vanilla extract. Continue whipping for another minute or so until thickened.

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Grain Free Pizza

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We are pizza fanatics.

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I’m just going to be up front with you and say that my pizza…is my favorite. 

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We try gluten free pizza often when we go out. In Seattle, in Idaho, in our hometown…but honestly, nothing compares so far to what we make at  home. 

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For some reason, restaurants can’t think out of the Udi’s pizza crust box. Every single time we spend $20 or more each on a gluten free pizza meal at a restaurant, I cannot wrap my mind around how a chef or restaurant owner would be OK grabbing an Udi’s pizza crust out of the freezer and serving it to their customers. Blows. My. Mind.

It’s dull. It’s flavorless. It is as exciting as cardboard on your plate. And don’t even get me started on the tasteless pepperoni, and overcooked sausage. Or the fact that none of these restaurants (even high end) understand that there is a readily available (even locally made!) vast assortment of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses other than the same old stand by, feta.

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Every time we eat pizza out, my husband and I spend a large part of our mealtime talking about how we would run a restaurant. From the quality and type of food we would serve, how we would treat our staff, and most importantly, how we would treat our customers. We are serious about customer service and all it entails.

One can dream.

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Last weekend we had high hopes for a little local restaurant we found. Outdoor seating (my favorite), smells of fabulous wood fired pizza…turns out, the server and the person making the pizza, weren’t educated about the ingredients in their gluten free crust, or in the pepperoni or their sausage…or even their sauce! We opted out of the meal. I choked down a really bad glass of Riesling and we moved on.

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This time however, instead of just opting out, I explained to the server why we decided to eat elsewhere. I told her that it’s my opinion that the servers and the people preparing the food should be well versed with what’s actually in their food. As a person with food allergies, I take a chance every time I eat out. I know that’s my responsibility, but a restaurant with knowledgeable servers and staff, makes me a repeat customer. She ended up being very kind about it, apologetic, and said she would speak to the owner about the entire restaurant becoming better educated. I was happy with her response. We tipped her and left and who knows, maybe in a few months we’ll give them another chance.  

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Pizza doesn’t have to be complicated for it to taste amazing. I’m all about easy food! Easy or not though, it has to taste fabulous, be a treat for the eyes, and have high quality ingredients. You can use crust mixes or come up with your own crust recipe, but either way, make it unique with all of things you love. 

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I like to use Chebe Foccacia Bread mix as my base. I add a little of this and a little of that, and before you know it, it makes the perfect pizza crust. It’s soft like “regular” pizza crust with crispy crust edges, has great flavor, and gets rave reviews every single time I make it. 

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Chebe mixes are gluten free, soy free, corn free, rice free, potato free, yeast free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, lactose/casein free, iodine free, sugar free, non GMO, and kosher certified.

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Grain Free Pizza

*Makes two 13″ pizzas

2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix

6 Tablespoons of Non Filtered Organic Olive Oil

4 Large Organic Eggs

1 Cup of Filtered Water

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Basil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Garlic Powder

1 Can of Organic Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup of Vegan Pesto 

1/2 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese, grated

3 Other Types of Cow Free Cheeses About 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of Each (We used two types of goat mozzarella – low moisture and Brazilian Breakfast and a Dutch Style goat cheese that is similar to sharp white cheddar), grated

About 3 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Organic Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced thinly

About 1/3 of a Medium Organic Red Onion, sliced thinly

About 8-10 Large Organic Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb. of Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pepperoni (We have Applegate sliced at the deli)

4 Gluten Free, Dairy Free Hot Italian Sausages (also purchased at our deli)

Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

Arrowroot or other GF flour for dusting hands, dough, and rolling pin.

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. Line two pizza pans with parchment. I lay it on top and cut it in a circle. Nothing fancy.  Set aside.
  2. Empty the hot Italian sausage from their casings and lightly brown in a medium pan with a little avocado oil. Drain on paper towels if necessary.
  3. Empty both Chebe mixes into a medium bowl. Measure in the oil, add the eggs, water, herbs, sea salt, and garlic powder. Stir with a fork until all the ingredients come together. 
  4. With floured hands, knead the dough until ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is mostly smooth. Cut the dough in half and set each half on the parchment paper. (Remove the paper from the pans to make rolling easier.) Pat out each mound into a small circle, flour rolling pin and top of dough and roll to the edges of the paper. You can leave the edges as is, roll them up a bit for a thicker end crust, or crimp them. Whatever you like.
  5. Slide the parchment and pizza crusts back onto the pizza pans and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Spread the tomato paste – half a can each, (I use the back of a spoon) around each crust all the way to the edges. Do the same with the vegan pesto.
  7.  Sprinkle each crust with the Daiya cheese. Then sprinkle the oregano on both crusts.
  8.  Next, top both crusts with the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  9. Choose one of your 3 remaining cheeses and sprinkle over the mushrooms.
  10. Add the sausage to both crusts. Then the remaining two cheeses. Then the pepperoni.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

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How was your weekend?

Ours was fabulous! Spring has sprung in the best of ways. Warmer than normal temperatures and lots and lots of sun.

You know I love the sun.

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I’m sitting here in my office in front of a big window as I get this blog post situated. The sun is just coming up. Outside up to the left, there’s a mama Robin building a nest between an eve and the crook of a downspout. It’s amazing how hard and how quickly they work.

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She was here last spring and summer too. Unfortunately, another mama kept destroying her nest. Good mama kept rebuilding it and fighting her off.

Perseverance or instinct?

per·se·ver·anceˌpərsəˈvirəns/ noun
 Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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Mean mama even tossed out all of her eggs. So there were no baby Robins to be heard last year. It tugs on my heart strings.

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This year she’s back with new energy and hopefully a new plan to fend off bad mama.

And believe it or not, I recognize her.

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I choose to believe that she’s back and building another home because of perseverance, not so much the result of instinct.

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She and I have that in common. We like to stay positive and keep trying, despite difficult conditions or “bad mamas” (anything or anyone)  who try to interfere with life. I  love seeing that perseverance in animals and people.

There’s a huge payoff in persevering.

Hopefully for her, the payoff will be peace in her new nest and new babies we can watch grow in a few weeks. Maybe she’ll continue to make our home her home and we’ll be able to keep track of how many babies she’ll have over the years.

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For me, the payoff for striving to stay positive and persevere despite “difficult conditions”, is always that I become stronger. Perseverance also makes us wiser, more joyful, able to count all kinds of blessings regardless of any situation, and then we can share that attitude in the form of positive support and love for others.

Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole
1 Apple (I used Gala), Cubed (1 1/2 Cups)
8 teaspoons of Dairy Free Butter
6 Eggs
2 3/4 Cups of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8×11 baking dish with coconut oil. Add the bread cubes, apple, and dot with the 8 teaspoons of dairy free butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
Pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Using a wooden spoon, press down lightly on the bread and apples to make sure all of the cubes have been coated. Let sit for 15 minutes, pressing down with the spoon now and then.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is browned. It should still have a bit of jiggle but not be runny in the middle. Keep in mind it will also set up a bit more upon standing so don’t overcook!
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Spicy Pork Loin Soup & Cheesy Jalapeno Flat Bread

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Spring has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and it’s proving to be a really wet and gray one.

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Excuse the grainy pictures…last night’s pictures were brought to you with little natural light for photography by my iPhone.

I’ll admit we need the rain because we didn’t have a lot of snow over winter but those gray skies and buckets of rain leave me longing for sunlight and make me feel like hibernating.

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Spring usually brings lighter meals for us with a lot of grilling and salads but with this wet and chilly weather, a hot bowl of soup and delicious cheesy bread was just what we needed.

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Along with spring come the ticks. Make sure you’re protecting yourself and checking your pets thoroughly after walks and hikes before bringing them in the house.

We’ve already had one tick inside the house and two ticks crawling on Tony after hiking with the dogs. As soon as the rain lets up I’m going to be spraying the yard with the all natural spray we used last year in hopes of stopping the mass infestation that we dealt with the last season. We sprayed late as the ticks took us by surprise. I’ve never seen so many in one area and we had several in our house, it was very unsettling.

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If you’re bitten by a tick, be sure to go immediately to the doctor for antibiotic treatment. Most doctors are ill informed and will tell you that unless the tick has been attached to you for a certain period of time or unless you have the red ring rash, you don’t need to be treated. That is untrue and unproven.

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Most doctors will also ask that you or the tick be tested before treatment which is also a mistake. The CDC has already admitted that current testing is bunk and more often than not gives false negatives. It’s just simply better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried about taking antibiotics, I don’t blame you. But keep this in mind, treating at the time of a bite will result in less medication and less antibiotic “damage” to your body and far, FAR, outweighs the consequences of living a lifetime dealing with chronic Lyme Disease.

Treatment in the early stages isn’t foolproof, but many people have found if they they are treated right away, they don’t have any future issues.

Keep in mind also that ticks don’t just carry Lyme Disease bacteria which in itself causes horrible issues. They can transmit many other devastating diseases and bacteria (called co infections) that when left untreated can cause a lifetime of very unpleasant symptoms and even death.

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That’s my public health warning for this season, please be safe and Happy Spring!

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Spicy Pork Loin Soup

1 Pound of  Pork Tenderloin (or chicken), cubed in bite size pieces

1 Medium Onion, chopped

3 Large Cloves of Garlic, chopped

1/2 of a Large Red Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Cumin

2 teaspoons of Dried Oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons of Chipotle Chili Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 15oz  can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

64 Ounces of Chicken Broth

1 Cup of Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped 

In a dutch oven lightly brown the pork, onion, bell pepper, oregano, chipotle, and garlic. Add the garbanzo beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Cheesy Jalapeno Flat Bread

*Makes 12

2 Boxes of Chebe All Purpose Bread Mix (it is grain and dairy free)

2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder, plus more for sprinkling

3 teaspoons of Dried Oregano, plus more for sprinkling 

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt, plus more for sprinkling

6 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

4 Eggs

1 Cup of Filtered Water

Arrowroot or other gluten free flower for flouring hands

2 Fresh Jalapeno, sliced into rounds

Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese

Sheep’s Milk Mozzarella

Sheep’s Milk Feta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Grate the Daiya cheese, mozzarella, and crumble the feta. The amount of cheese will depend on how many pieces of the flat bread you want cheesy. I did 6 out of the 12 and probably used about 3/4 cup of the daiya, 1 cup of mozzarella, and maybe 1/4 cup of feta.

Measure all ingredients except the jalapeno and cheeses into a large bowl and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined. Scoop 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheets and then flour hands and pat each dough mound into a circle. Sprinkle each  with sea salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Bake for 35 minutes and remove from oven and turn on broiler.

Top with cheeses in this order: Daiya, mozzarella, and feta. Place slices of jalapeno on top. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and mozzarella is beginning to bubble.