Epsom Bath Treats ~ 3 Ways

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Here’s another extremely simple way to treat yourself or others. Epsom salts with your favorite essential oils. Put them in cute jars or bags, make some tags and tie them with ribbon.

I have always loved taking baths. Hot water has some kind of soul quenching relaxing benefits for me that I can’t quite explain. Give me a good book and a bathtub every night and I’m happy. In fact, after making 4 types of cookies doughs and a big batch of pie dough last night, I crawled into an epsom bath with a book at midnight! It just washes all the stress away.

I didn’t really embrace additions to my tub water until I started dealing with chronic illness. I found that epsom baths were a big help with pain and sleeplessness. Later, when I tested positive for Lyme and started doing research, I realized the true benefits and why it’s so helpful for me.

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Epsom salt relaxes the nervous system, can cure skin problems, soothes joint pain, eases muscle strain, heals cuts, treats colds and congestion, and draws toxins from the body. Plus, it just feels really good to soak in a nice tub and relax. That alone is good for the soul.

I think this would be a great kid project too because it involves measuring, counting drops, and doesn’t involve a hot stove. I would highly recommend gloves for the little ones though because essential oils are very, very potent. If your children make these for gifts, I think a recipe card cut out from your child’s hand print would be a special and cute touch. Someday I’ll have grandchildren and we’ll do all kinds of fantastic projects together!

For now, it’s just me and the pups. They can’t make bath products but they are definitely always eager to “help” me in the kitchen and to cuddle when I take a break.

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Sore Muscle Soak

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

10 Drops of Peppermint

5 Drops of Stress Away

1-2 drops of Natural Green Food Coloring

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

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Peaceful & Happy ~ 2 Ways

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

Recipe #1 :

10 Drops of Lavender

15 Drops of Joy

Recipe #2

10 Drops of Lavender

10 Drops of Ylang Ylang

5 Drops of Stress Away

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

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Cold & Flu Soak

3 Cups of Epsom Salts

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

8 Drops of Thyme

20 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

This recipe has an additional cup of epsom salts because of the strength of the thyme essential oil. Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

Linen Spray ~ Two Ways

2 Comments

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Looks like my luck is turning around. Remember when I said I had lost the ingredients list for one of my Christmas projects and I couldn’t remember what I had used?

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Well, as I was going through photos, I noticed that the ingredients list was in one of them! Ha. I love it when things like that happen.

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These linen sprays aren’t just for spraying bedding. You can use them as room spray, car spray, whatever you like.

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They are safe and healthy and both smell fabulous. If you have a few essential oils on hand, they are also incredibly easy to make and the options are endless.

Fresh

30 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

30 Drops of Lemon

25 Drops of Lavender

30 Drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia

30 Drops of Peppermint

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.

Rest

20 Drops of Peppermint

15 Drops of Frankincense

15 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Lavender

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.

Not So Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

6 Comments

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Actually, they are very simple.

Just don’t do what I did and you’ll be fine.

It seems that my knee injury has made its way up to my brain because the whole last week has been a comedy of errors.

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First there were paint issues on another Christmas project…which I still have to repair. Then label issues. A list of forgotten ingredients for another project and trips to the store. Not one but two slips down the stairs…call me grace.  My knee is fine thank goodness.

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As if that wasn’t enough, I lost the ingredients list to one of the items I made and for the life of me, I cannot remember what I put in it. Wouldn’t you know it that the day I figured out the list had been tossed, the garbage truck was already driving out of the neighborhood.

The first time I tried to make the spoons, the chocolate set up too quickly because I set it outside in 20 degree weather and I couldn’t get the spoons into it…

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Then, trying to remedy the frozen bricks of chocolate,  I reheated it to start over and I burned it

…but wait, there’s more.

I was then out of chocolate and had to go back to the store, just to burn another batch of chocolate because I sat down and was distracted trying to figure out what I put in that gift that has the missing ingredients list.

I kept an eagle eye on that third batch of chocolate believe me…but…I slit the plastic wrap and slid the spoons in, when in reality to avoid a plastic wrap nightmare removal after full set up, I probably should have removed the plastic wrap prior to putting the spoons in the chocolate.

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Lastly, as I was wrapping the cute mugs I flipped them over to read on the bottom “Not Microwave Safe”. Now I’ll have to warn the recipients, thereby shattering the illusion that I know what the hell I’m doing.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if I should just stop. Just throw caution to the wind, open a bottle of wine, and crawl into the bathtub.

Instead, I gave myself a pep talk. “You can do this. A first grader can make this project for gawd’s sake. Get a hold of yourself woman!”

I’m not one to let a challenge defeat me.

Instead, I self medicated with a lot of chocolate and marshmallows.

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Luckily for you, if you have your head on straight, this is an extremely simple and fun  project and works really great as cute little gifts.

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Now all my projects are finished (hallelujah and amen) and I’ll be sharing each one with you over the next several days.

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Note to self for next year:

Go to Fiji instead.

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Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

*The amounts are based on enough for 4 Mugs*

12 oz or so of Your Favorite Chocolate

Cube Candy Trays or Ice Cube Trays (ice-cube trays will require more chocolate)

4 Mugs

16 Wooden Spoons (I found mind at a craft store)

Mini Marshmallows

12 Clear (or decorated, your choice) Long Cellophane bags, you will cut them to size

Different Types Of Ribbon For Decorating

2 Types of Card Stock, Photo Sticky Mounting Squares, and a Hole Punch For Hot Chocolate Directions (below)

Craft Scissors or a Paper Cutter

For the spoons:

*Don’t take your eyes off the chocolate!

Melt the chocolate until smooth and spoon carefully into the trays. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the trays and place them in a cool place for 5 minutes. Set a timer! Check them after 5 minutes, if they are still really soft to the touch, then allow them to set for another 5 minutes. You want the spoon to be able to slide into the chocolate but also have the chocolate set up enough that the spoon will stand on its own. Remove the plastic wrap, slide a spoon into the middle of each one and return to a cold place to set completely.

Fill four bags with a handful of marshmallows. Tie off with ribbon and cut the bag to size leaving a bit of fluff at the top so it looks nice. Cut four more bags using one of the spoons as a measurement. You want the handles to stick out, but still have plenty of plastic to tie a ribbon around. Place 4 Chocolate spoons in a bag, tie with a ribbon, and repeat the process for the spoons and the marshmallows for all four mugs.

The chocolate spoons won’t fit in the mug unless you buy very over sized mugs. Place the mugs in the cellophane bags, place the marshmallows in the mugs, and tie the bags around the mugs closed with a ribbon. My mugs were over sized but not huge and the chocolate was too large to fit inside the mug even without the marshmallows so I will simply package them next to the mug in a nice gift bag or box.

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For the tags I just printed out instructions on shimmery white card stock, cut them into squares, and placed them on a red sheet of card stock. Punch a hole and thread a ribbon and tie it to the cup.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pancakes

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I’ve noticed when pumpkin season rolls around, people are either beyond thrilled about it, or hate it. You already know where I stand. I can’t imagine hating such an amazing smelling, soothing, set of spices…but to each his own.

These are just a spin on my regular grain free pancake recipe.

Super easy. Fabulous.

I also topped them with a pumpkin spice dairy free butter. I may have layered each pancake with a big dollop too…

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If you have picky eaters in your family, they’ll never know you’re feeding them grain free, dairy free, pancakes. I’ve had them plain, with blueberries or huckleberries, topped with peanut butter, topped with peanut butter and chocolate shavings (a must try), topped with marionberry syrup, sliced strawberries, and now with a few tweaks have been able to enjoy them with the spiciness of the holidays.

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You can use buckwheat flour rather than making your own flour out of buckwheat groats however, it will result in a much darker and heavier pancake. If you have a really good blender similar to a VitaMix, it only takes a few minutes to grind up a gallon bag of flour. (I do mine in small batches so I can grind it as finely as possible.)

We had them twice last week. After looking at these photos, I’m thinking I may need to make another batch!

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pancakes

*Makes about 12 medium to large pancakes

1 Cup of Buckwheat Groat Flour (I grind my own groats in the Vitamix)

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Arrowroot

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 Eggs, separated

2 Cups of Almond Milk (any milk will do, if you use full fat coconut milk you may have to add more)

1/4 cup of Plain Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Whip the egg whites to stiff peak and set aside. Add the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Gently fold in egg whites.

I served the pancakes with dairy free butter whipped with pumpkin pie spice and pure maple syrup. You could also infuse the syrup with the spices by warming them together on the stove.

Grain Free Cinnamon Date Rolls

4 Comments

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Living a grain free life is not an easy row to hoe. Existing on just meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit is fabulously anti inflammatory and healthy, but every now and then we need a little treat.

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Something that says comfort and makes the house smell amazing. So I’ve made it my mission for the fall and winter to try to come up with more grain free recipes that we can have on Sunday mornings, with company, on holidays, or just when we need a special little something.

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The reason I started this food blog is so that people could see that meals and snacks can still be enjoyable while being allergen free, organic, refined sugar free, whole, and healthy. You can find a large variety of recipes here that are gluten free, dairy free, and grain free. Some call for refined sugar but can easily be replaced with unrefined coconut sugar.

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And while I don’t recommend eating any type of sugar on a regular basis, or even grain or gluten free baked items on a regular basis, it’s nice to have a treat now and then that feels extra special.

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Once you have a handle on what types of foods you’re sensitive to, there really are so many different ways to work around those issues without feeling like you’ve had to give up everything you love. It takes a little research and effort, but that’s what you have me for.

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Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Date Rolls

*8 Large Servings

For the Filling:

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Cinnamon

Pinch of Sea Salt

For The Crumble Topping:

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour

4 Tablespoons of Sweet Potato Flour

2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Cinnamon

3/4 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter

1/2 Cup of Pecans, chopped

For the Rolls:

12 Medjool Dates, seeded and chopped

2/3 Cup of Arrowroot

1 1/2 Cups of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

4 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

4 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

3 teaspoons of Cinnamon

2/3 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Yeast

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Warm Water

6 Eggs, separated

3 Tablespoons of Apple Cinder Vinegar

3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup of Cool Water

Extra arrowroot for hands

*Turn the oven to 375 degrees.

For the filling: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and fully incorporated with the butter. Set aside.

For the topping: Whisk all the dry ingredients and chopped nuts together. Cut in the butter. Set aside.

For the rolls:

Spray an 8 1/2 x 11 pan and line bottom with parchment. Set aside.

Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and cut in butter. Set aside.

In measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, and coconut sugar, whisk and set aside.

In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peak. Add the egg yolks and quickly whisk to combine. Turn off mixer and add yeast mixture.

In a microwavable measuring cup, add the 1/2 cup water and gelatin and whisk. Heat for 20 seconds and remove. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture into the egg mixture. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix to combine.

Switch out the whisk for a paddle piece. Add the flour and butter mixture in three parts, mixing on medium. Add the dates.

The dough will be wet. Scoop dough out onto a piece of parchment floured with arrowroot. Flour your hands. Do NOT knead the dough. Separate the dough into 8 similar sized portions.

Taking one portion at a time, pat out into an oblong shape. Don’t overwork it or try to make it smooth. Take a small spoonful of the filling and spread along the length. Pinch both long sides together so that it looks like a fat, short, snake. Take both ends and bring them together forming a circle and pinch together. Place in the pan and repeat until finished. If you have leftover filling, place a dollop on the top of each roll.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the rolls, cover lightly with sprayed plastic wrap and a light kitchen towel. Set on top of the stove (while the oven is heating) and let rise for 35 minutes.

Remove the towel and plastic and bake for about 30-35 minutes. I use convection which cooks faster. If you’re using conventional, start checking the rolls at 30 minutes and go from there. You want then “just done”, if they are over baked they will be dry.

They can be served room temperature or warm with a dollop of dairy free butter on top.

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Reaching Out, Authenticity, and Some Pretty Amazing Chocolate Crepes

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I’m thinking I need to have chocolate crepes for breakfast more often. When is chocolate not a good idea? Uhhhh..never.

I woke up  feeling like I can only guess what a curmudgeonly 90 year old feels like. Stiff and tired and brain foggy and grumpy. When I have those days, it helps foster more compassion for the angry old people I see in the grocery store. If only I could serve them all chocolate crepes and give them a hug and tell them, “I understand!”.

I contemplated staying in bed with a book  or a Netflix binge. But, if I’m not feeling absolutely terrible, I force myself to get out of bed and get moving. My friend Tamela and I talked about the levels of sickness when you have a chronic illness the other day.  Guess what, she’s not chronically ill, and she understood what I was talking about. I love that about her. Those “sick” levels either allow you to do things with your day or don’t, and it can be different every day. Some days, the hardest battle you’ll fight, is with yourself. But we’ll talk about that another time.

 I dragged myself out of bed and saw my husband off to work. He had to come back twice for things he’d forgotten. Seems we were both feeling a bit foggy. I logged into a group I belong to where I watched two videos by friends I admire very much. It’s an out of the box kind of support group, and the people in it, have been instrumental in my life in so many ways that I cannot even begin to list them. Let’s just say, they helped save me from myself.

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One video was recorded from London and one was live from L.A. The first video was about the importance of having a friend you can trust to unload all the things that are weighing on you. Someone who will just listen with love and understanding and no judgement. What you tell them doesn’t need to make sense to them or even to you, and you don’t need them to solve it, you just need to get it out there. Sometimes, we don’t really know why we’re in a funk and we just need to list all the things that are heavy. Your feelings may change a day from then or even an hour from that point, but right then and there, it’s important to have someone in your life who will be that listener.

The second live discussion was about the stress of feeling overwhelmed. How we often jump in with both feet a little too fast and a little too hard and end up frozen or not being able to move forward because the enormity of how we’ve chosen to tackle it, is just too much. Its OK to admit that you know. It was about stepping back and finding new ways to manage all the things on our plate. By looking at each task on its own and breaking it down into small steps and increments, we are able to alleviate that overwhelming tendency to have that “all or nothing” attitude. We all know when we are overwhelmed. We feel anxious, exhausted, grumpy, and want to run in the other direction and things rarely get accomplished like we’d hoped. We’re mean to ourselves about it. We feel guilty. You know the drill.

The reason I love my “support” group is because they’re real. Not one person is fake. We are all there for the same reasons. We are raw and honest and completely transparent and everyone respects it. We are all there to grow, to learn, to give support and get support, to become our best selves and we do that by learning from each other and by being honest. By being a  friend. By giving hope to those who have wandered off their path and feel lost. The focus is about peeling off the layers of “pretend” that this world insists we carry. With layers and layers  of pretend, you can’t get to know yourself or anyone else in a truly authentic way. You can’t reach out for support or give proper support. You can’t heal anything or be genuinely, deeply, happy when you are protecting yourself with layers of pretend.

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The coolest part about those videos this morning? They were personal stories from the people who were doing them. It wasn’t a tutorial on how they have the perfect life and have it all together and how, “you can too!”. They are both successful life coaches, successful, human beings. And guess what? They struggle too and they’re not afraid to show it. They aren’t afraid to reach out when they need it. That’s what makes them successful. And I don’t mean monetarily. I mean success at a healthy, happy, life.

My morning improved dramatically when I reached out. When I allowed people to hear how I felt. When I allow people to see the real me, the struggling me, me in all my forms, happy, sad, together, not together, it opens amazing doors into deep connection with others and true friendships. It leaves room for people to be authentic. To say, “Hey…ME TOO!!” And when people can say, “Hey me too!” there is less judgement, more room for sharing and support, and room for what I believe relationships are really supposed to look like. Authentic. Not always easy or comfortable, but always worth it.

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Authentic is my mantra. Even when I wake up and feel like a crippled curmudgeon and want to hide from the world. I don’t like people to see me sick or struggling, or even unhappy. But, that is life. There is no reason to hide it or pretend that it is anything different. I reached out this morning, I sought support and a kind word from true friends. It felt so good, I gave support too! Sometimes when you feel like you have so little to give, all it takes is a couple friends to remind you that it doesn’t take much to fill up the tank, even to spilling over.

Love is a healer. Kindness is a healer. Being your authentic you and setting aside the fear of what other’s will think, say, or do, is a healer. Guess what? I was able to peel off that 90 year old layer. I’m not as stiff, I’m not as brain foggy, I’m not grumpy at all anymore.

Reach out. Love you. xo

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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Crepes with Peach Compote & Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream

*Makes about 8 crepes. Serves 2 people.

It’s best to make the peaches first so they have time to cool. You can eat them warm too, but the whipped cream you’ll want to put on top of them will melt.

Peach Compote

About 1 1/2 Cups of Frozen or Fresh Peaches

1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar

Bring ingredients to a simmer in a medium saute pan. Turn the burner to barely just a simmer and allow the juices to mingle and thicken. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from burner and cool.

Chocolate Crepes

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

2 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

Dash of Sea Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice

1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Water

1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

3 Eggs

Whisk all ingredients together in a deep bowl until completely incorporated (makes it easier for scooping) and set aside. Heat a crepe pan or non stick small frying pan on medium. Oil with a little dairy free butter. You won’t need to oil for every crepe.

Using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, scoop out crepe mix and pour it into the pan swirling gently to fill the bottom of the pan. When you are able to pick the pan up and loosen the crepe, it’s ready to be flipped (it’s a fast process, don’t overcook them!). Flip with a large spatula so it doesn’t tear and cook on the other side for just a few seconds. I slide mine out onto a plate covered with parchment. They won’t stick to each other. Repeat.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder

2-3 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar (or whatever sweetener you like to use)

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

In a stand mixer, whisk the coconut milk (I have to cover mine with a towel) until thickened. Turn off the mixer and add the cacao powder and the powdered sugar. Cover again, and whisk until incorporated, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the vanilla and whisk until thickened. This can be made ahead of time too and lasts quite nicely in the fridge for 24 hours. The coconut water will separate a bit, but all you have to do is pour it off. Don’t stir the whipped cream!

A Big Pet Peeve

4 Comments

This will just be a quickie because I like to keep this blog about all of the cool things in life like food and family and experiences.

However, I feel compelled to speak about this because I see it more and more on social media, within Lyme groups, and how people who are battling Lyme Disease refer to themselves.

I don’t know where this meme came from so I can’t credit it, I found it on Pinterest. This person (along with countless others) has labeled themselves a, LYMIE. And do you notice how cutsie and pretty the meme is?

Ridiculous.

If I was going to make a meme about me having Lyme Disease, I can guarantee you it would not look like this.

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If I hear another person dealing with Lyme Disease refer to themselves as a “Lymie”, I’m going to blow a gasket.

You are NOT a lymie. You are a human being in a great battle with a chronic bacterial infection, but you are NOT the illness you battle. Don’t label yourself. Don’t own negative crap like that. Don’t get comfortable with it, don’t hug it and cuddle with it and make it part of your identity. Look at it logically, like how you would read directions on how to build a shelf. And with that amount of emotion. Educate yourself, find treatments that work for you, take care of yourself, but don’t get so wrapped up in the weight of it all that it becomes your identity and you begin to label yourself with pet names like “Lymie” or “Spoonie”.

Focus on all of the parts of you outside of Lyme Disease. Yes, I understand that having this infection changes our lives. I understand that many of us can’t do all of the things we used to be able to do, that we feel like crap a lot and that it’s a major challenge and sometimes can be very scary and is frustrating ALL the time. I get that.

But you are still YOU. Set aside what others think about this illness. Make sure people in your life are treating you like YOU. Focus on the parts of you that need loving tenderness and fun and excitement and fulfillment. At whatever level you can do. Take small, even tiny, steps toward doing things the non-sick you would do. Every little moment and every little step toward focusing on the blessings in your life no matter how large or infinitesimal, makes a huge impact on your health.

You are not your illness, you are battling an illness, there is a big difference.

xo ~ Gluten Free Zen

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