Friday, August 31, 2012

It's OK to not have children!

I've never had my own children.  And probably won't now that I am 39.  I married a man who had 3 children and when we started dating they were 4, 3 and almost 2.  At the time who could even think about having more kids.  I thought I can surely be a great mother figure in their lives, they had a mother I wasn't trying to replace her but she could share, right?  NOT!  Little did I know that after I married my husband the relationship would change drastically with the ex.

We dated/lived together for 4 years before our marriage and the time with his children was mostly wonderful.  I admit it was a lot for a 23 year old to take on, of course back then I had a lot of dreams and thought anything was possible.  There were struggles but the children were perfect as children should be.  Young and wonderfully inocent. 

But after our marriage the tone changed. It became clearly evident that I would have little to nothing to do with being a mother figure to these children.  But I fought back and I fought hard.  I would be invovled in their lives even if I had to call all the time to find out about ball games and teachers nights.  I could not be called Mom, Mommy, or Mama, it was forbidden.  If it happened it was by accident, but I loved it just the same. We later found out the kids told on each other when they went home and they got in trouble if one them called me mom so we did not pursue it.  My husband was a wonderful supporter.  As hard as it was for him he saw my struggles as well, he was my night in shining armor.  We became "part time" parents.  How Awful!  I can't imagine anyone ever wishing they could be a "part time" parent.  That's what happens after divorce.  One of you has to be the "part time" parent.  It will be the hardest thing you ever do.

We saw the children almost every weekend, until they became teenagers and could drive themselves but then their lives became larger.  They started to stretch their wings and try out independence.  There were more places to go and things to do that were much more fun than visiting dear old dad and the step mom.  And all those fun things happened on the weekend.  But we expected that change.  We didn't like it but we knew it would come.

After a few years of marriage and I saw how the dynamics had changed and that I would definitely not be allowed to be the mother figure I had dreamed of I started dreaming of having my own child.  This was complicated by the fact that my husband had agreed to a Vasectomy right before he was served with divorce papers.  My yearning for a child couldn't have come at a worse time.  We were BROKE.  It was all we could do to pay child support and keep our on lights on.  There was no savings, my husband owned a business and it was hard to keep it open as well.  As we researched the cost of reversing a vasectomy the cost was astounding - anywhere from $7,000 - $15,000 and there is no guarantee it would work.  In fact the longer you had had a vasectomy the lesser your chances of a successful reversal.  At this time it had been 10 years.  The stats were not good on reversals after 10 years.

The fear took over.  I let fear dictate not trying to get pregnant.  I let fear of "wasting" almost $15,000 make the decission for me.  I also feared that my child would go thru all the illnesses I had gone thru and was that fair to a child?  Sure the child could be 100% healthy and take after their dad or they could be like me - in and out of Dr's offices all your life.  My husband, ever the optomist, he was game for anything.  He wanted a houseful of children.  I just wanted one, one that I didn't have to share.  One that would love me, always.  Fear would eventually win out.  I never let my husband get the reversal and we never tried.

As the years have proceeded my baby clock would tick tremendously loud but then it would dimish into nothing.  Years later when money got a little better we researched adoption from Mexico.  Why not the U.S., I wanted a baby, getting a baby in the U.S. is almost impossible and I feared the possibility of a mother coming back years later and taking the child from me.  I had already gone thru a similar process with one of the step kids and it nearly killed me. That story is for another time, maybe.  Again I let fear take over and I did not proceed.

In the last few years I have not had the yearnings to have a child of my own.  #1 I realized that the main reason I wanted a child was to have someone who loved me unconditionaly, that is not true of a child all the time.  You see, they turn into teenagers, and then they become someone you don't even recognize anymore. But then they become beautiful adults and you get them back.  But I needed #2.    #2.  I needed to love myself, if I didn't love myself I surely didn't have any love to give away.  #3  my husband's and my parenting styles were not the same, this could've destroyed our relationship.  #4 I learned recently that my chances of ever carrying my own child (at least in the last 12- 15 years) were about zilch.

That last realization really cinched it up for me.  Learning that I was probably infertile made me feel better.  I know, weird right?  But the pressure was off.  I didn't have to decide to have a baby, I couldn't have a baby.  For me it was like God saying "Relax, this isn't what you are here for, there are other things for you to do".  Not having my own children would be OK.  I would survive.  People could look at me like I was a weirdo but I knew that I was in fact OK.  Oh I was mad for a few days maybe a few weeks but who could tell at the time, I had started early menopause and I was a raging mess.

So for those of you who have your own children, let me say this.  Cherish those sticky hugs and every time they call you Mom, Mommy or Mama.  Kiss them goodnight, every night.  Play with them as much as possible.  And love them, love them a lot.  For there are those of us out here who will never be called Mom, Mama, or Mommy.  We will never breastfeed (oh how i wanted to do that).  We will never know that real feeling of being an emptynester.  And when the kids have worn you down and you can't take it anymore, remember that there are those of us out here who wish we had had more time with our kids.

You are blessed - don't take it for granted.

But for me, someday I hope to a grandma (and not a "step" grandma).  Plus right now I have wonderful nieces and nephews.  I am opening my heart to the bigger picture and asking God to show me what he needs me to do.  I know now that I am exactly were I am supposed to be.  Childless and happy with that.

For those of you struggling with infertility I beg you to ask yourself this question and answer it honestly, "Why do you really want to be a parent?"  and "How will you and your spouse raise this child?".  Figure this out before the baby, because figuring it out after the baby comes can be a mess.

And please don't feel sorry for me, because I don't.  I have learned some very valuable lessons along the way.  I have traveled the path God intended me to travel.  I have struggled but I have survived.  I have finally gotten to the place where the good memories out weigh the bad.  And that my friends, is a blessing itself. 

Blessings to all of you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pork Chops and Onion Gravy with Buttered Zucchini Noodles

This is one of my absolute favorite "go to" comfort food recipes.  It is gluten free, grain free and could be dairy free if you used a fat other than butter.  This dish is rich and very satisfying and can be made in larger batches for a big crowd.  I've made this dish so many times that I don't even measure anymore.  I had to make a fresh batch to get the measurements to be able to post them. 

Salt and pepper your chops on both sides and brown them in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil.  This will take 3-4 minutes per side depending on how hot your skillet is and the thickness of your chops.  You aren't trying to cook them all the way thru, they will be placed back in the pan to continue cooking.

After browning the pork chops remove them from the skillet and set aside until you are done with the onion "gravy".  Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the pork chop pan and scrape up the brown bits, do not get rid of these little goodies, the are the ultimate in flavoring. 

Then immediately add your sliced onions.  It will take about 10 minutes to caramelize your onions, don't let them burn.  This is my favorite part because it smells so yummy.

Once the onions are carmelized add the mustard first and coat the onions in the mustard.  Then add the wine, broth, dill weed and sugar.  You can add each of these ingredients one at a time and let them cook into the onions a bit instead of dumping them all in at once.  I always add the sugar last because sometimes you don't need it and sometimes you need a little more.  The sugar helps round out the flavors of this dish.

Now place the pork chops and their juices back into the skillet and let the mixture simmer away.  This will take about 10 minutes depending on how thick you like your "gravy".  I like mine thick so sometimes I take my pork out so it doesn't overcook.  You could add a thickener like arrow root or corn starch but I usually do  not, I simply let the water cook off to thicken my sauce.  Plus a lot of the onions just dissentegrate into the sauce which helps for those picky eaters who don't like chunky vegetables in their food.  (I have one of those at my home).  This recipe uses a decent amount of butter, I didn't say it was calorie free.  (Sorry)

Now for the noodles.  If I weren't gluten free I'd be all over some wide egg noodles for this recipe.  But since I am GF I will be using the ever popular zucchini noodles.

First a put 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  For this recipe I let the butter "brown" which results in a nice rich slightly salty taste to the butter, it's a little hard to describe the flavor but it is wonderful.  If you haven't "browned" butter you have to try it.   It is delicious.  In fact I will enter a post on how to brown butter so we can all enjoy the buttery goodness.

Once the butter was browned I added my yellow zucchini noodles to the pan and just simply warmed them and tossed them in the butter.  5 minutes tops.  You can cook them longer depending on how you like your zucchini noodles.

Behold, the finished product with a lovely glass of Chardonay to wash it down with.  I know, I know.  I shouldn't be drinking on my lovely restrictive diets and I haven't for 3 weeks which I learned made me really enjoy the one glass I had with this meal.  I didn't even crave a 2nd or a 3rd glass like in the past.  So there's an accomplishment.

Here's the recipe:
Pork Chops and Onion Gravy with Buttered Zucchini noodles
2 T butter
2 T coconut oil (or more butter)
4 pork chops
2 T butter
1 large onion or 2 medium - sliced thinly
1/4 c dry white wine ( can be omitted and won't alter the recipe at all)
1 c beef broth (any broth can be used, beef will give the richest flavor)
2 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 t Dill
1 t sugar

 Put salt and pepper on your chops and brown them in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil.  This will take 3-4 minutes per side depending on how hot your skillet is and the thickness of your chops. After browning the pork chops remove them from the skillet and set aside until you are done with the onion "gravy".  Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the pork chop pan and scrape up the brown bits, do not get rid of these little goodies, the are the ultimate flavoring.  Then immediately add your sliced onions.  It will take about 10 minutes to carmelize your onions.  Once the onions are carmelized add the mustard first and coat the onions in the mustard.  Then add the wine, broth, and dill weed.  Now place the pork chops and their juices back into the skillet and let the mixture simmer away.  This will take about 10 minutes depending on how thick you like your "gravy". 

Buttered Zucchini Noodles

3 T butter
2-3 c Zucchini noodles 1 large or 3 small zucchini's

Add the butter to a seperate skillet and then add the zucchini noodles.  Toss the noodles in the warmed butter for approximately 5 minutes.  They can be cooked longer if you like your noodles softer and less crunchy.


This recipe has been posted on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free on her Slighty Indulgent Tuesdays, check out  the other amazing recipes here.
And this recipe has been posted on Gluten Free Wednesdays hosted by Linda at the Gluten Free Homemaker.  Check out her site.
This has also been posted on Allergy Free Wednesdays hosted by Whole New Mom .  Be sure to visit this site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Canning Applesauce - Water Bath Method

If you haven't preserved any food using the water bath method you are missing out.  Canning using the water bath method is very safe and effective.  Plus I don't have to take up valuable freezer space. 

My mom makes homemade applesauce for the whole family from her very prolific apple tree and us girls take it home and can it.  Aren't we the luckiest gals ever?!?!  She does the really hard work and we get the amazing results.  So last night I canned my mothers homemade applesauce.  And of course we ate some too while it was still warm, oh the goodness.

I have seen some comments were people say canning is too risky and they are too afraid to try it.  Anyone can do this.  It is not hard but it just takes a little time.  I don't even use a pressure cooker.  Here's how we do it.

Jars - buy jars that are designed for canning - They can be purchased on line, at places like Wal-Mart, even your Farm and Home type stores.  Sometimes you can use a recycled mayo jar but only if your canning lids fit perfectly.

Lids - again buy lids that are designed for canning and my mother suggets that you not try to reuse your lids, you take the risk of them not sealing and they are cheap.  These can also be purchased anywhere you can buy jars.  You can even buy them in the grocery store.

Rings - Rings are meant to be used over and over again.  You only need them to hold the lids down during the boiling process, so you won't need as many rings as you will lids.

Jar lifter - this is a pretty important tool because you have to be able to remove the jars from the boiling water safely.  These can be purcahsed in any of the above mentioned stores.

Very Large Pot with a lid - mine holds about about 50-60 quarts of liquid so it is pretty darn big. (My mom gives the best presents, actually she was probably just encouraging me to can my own stuff. LOL) Here are a couple of pictures from on the types you can use.  Mine looks like the stainless steel one.

1.  Start the water boiling in your large pot.  You will need enough water so that the jars have at least an inch of water covering them.

2.  Make sure your jars are very clean, remember you are storing food in them.  I run mine thru the dishwasher on a hot cycle and use them while they are still warm.  Another way to help the lids seal.

3. Rinse your lids and rings in some boiling water right before using.  I do this in the kitchen sink and just pour the water over them and let them sit in the hot water until the water is cool enough to drain.

4.  Fill your clean jars with applesauce (or whatever you decide to preserve) and leave at least an inch of room between the food and the lid.

5.  Place the lid and the ring on the jar.  Be sure the edge of the jar is very clean, wipe it with a clean towel to be sure to ensure a proper seal. When putting the ring on the jar you only put it on as tight as you can without making that grimacing face.  You will want to be able to get the rings off without having to bother the men in your family, plus it isn't needed for a good seal. So don't go all Arnold Schwartzenegger about screwing the rings onto the jars.

6. When the water is boiling, and not before, place the filled jars carefully into the water.  Place as many jars as you can into the pot and only in a single layer.  Do not stack jars on top of each other. 
**You should get a metal rack that fits in the bottom of your pan when you buy it but if you don't you can place a regular dish towel in the bottom of your pot (not a flour sack towel, its too thin).  This keeps the jars from coming into direct contact with the heat.**  (this is what my mother told me and that is all I know about this for now :) )

7. Set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes (for applesauce)  For additional processing times for other foods please refer to this website.  Let the filled jars sit in the continuously boiling water for 25 minutes (the time to process apples).  Some foods take less time, some take more.

8.  When the time is up carefully remove the jars from the boiling water and place on a thick towel on your counter.  The jars will be very hot.  Do not handle them with your bare hands.  And keep them out of reach of children. 

9.  Refill the pot with more filled jars and repeat the 25 minutes.

10. As the filled jars begin to cool you will start hearing a "pop" sound.  This is the moment of success.  When the jars "pop" that means they are sealed.  It is truly a triumphant sound.  Don't worry if they don't all make a "popping" sound, they can seal without making a sound. 

The ultimate test of the seal.
When the jars are cool enough to touch push down on the center of each lid.  The lid should not let you indent it with your finger.  If the lid gives way and makes a slight popping sound the jar did not seal.  At this point you have two options, simply refrigerate the unsealed jar and eat soon, or replace the lid and try the water bath method again.  Some lids are faulty and just won't seal.

Before preparing to store your newly canned food go ahead and take the rings off of the jars.  If the jars are sealed properly you no longer need the rings and you can then use them on your next canning project.

This is our finished product.  I really hope you try this method someday.  It doesn't heat up your home as bad as using a pressure cooker does. 

This post can also be seen on the following posts:
Jill's Home Remedies - Natural Living Link Up

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blackberry and Almond Shortbread ~ Paleo friendly

I was very ambitous this weekend and got all my flours out and went about creating a Paleo friendly shortbread.  This shortbread ended up being chewier than I anticipated but we declared it a success.  I think I will try to tweak it later on to make a crisper bottom crust, but personally I like things chewy.  This was a lot of fun, it was almost like waiting for Christmas as I watched it bake and then wait for it to cool enough to be taste tested (this is my hubby's favorite part).  My hubby enjoys being the "official taste tester".

Don't forget to check out the Gluten Free Homakers "Gluten Free Wednesdays" here.  This plus many more gf recipes are posted here every week.  

This and many more recipies are also posted at Simply Indulgent Tuesday's.

Don't forget to check out the Gluten Free Homakers "Gluten Free Wednesdays" here.  This plus many more gf recipes are posted here every week.
Using Palm Sugar made the dough a nice dark color.

Line a 9x13 pan with foil and then be sure to grease it using your favorit oil, I used Coconut Oil.

Press the shortbread dough into the pan with your fingers or a greased spatula.  The dough should be pretty dry. Plus I don't mind getting my fingers dirty, then I can lick them off.  Hehehehe

Here is the lovely finished product - Yum, Yum, Yum.
The Recipe:
1 c softened Butter
3/4 Palm Sugar
2 eggs
1 t Almond extract (if desired)
2 t Baking Powder
1 1/2 c Almond flour
1/2 c Coconut flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup Roasted Slivered Almonds (brown in the oven or on the stove top slightly)
12-16 ounces of Blackberry Jam or your Jam of choice.
1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes

In a bowl cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and baking powder until smooth and fluffy. In a seperate bowl combine the almond, coconut flour, and silvered almonds and mix to combine.  Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and mix together.  The dough will be very stiff.

Press most of the dough into the foil lined, oiled pan.  Save a half cup of dough for the topping. The dough will be about a 1/4" thick.

Spread the jam evenly across the top of the dough.  Crumble the 1/2 cup of dough over the top of the jam.  There won't be enough to completely cover the jam so don't be alarmed.  Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of coconut on top of everything.

Bake the shortbread in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45 min.  Check the shortbread several times to be sure the top doesn't get too brown, if it does place some foil loosely on the top to stop the browning process.

Completely cool the shortbread (if possible :) ) before slicing to serve.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What a weekend...

                                    Here's a little teaser for my posts to come this week.

I had an amazing weekend of cooking, baking and crafting.  Some of my absolute favorite things to do.  There is something about chopping vegetables that lowers my blood pressure.  Maybe it's a power trip thing, having that control over the knife.  Who knows but I love it.

                     I made one of my favorite Pork Chop recipes for dinner for me and the hubby.

                    I made a baseball wreath for my sister in laws birthday who is a huge baseball fan.

                            And here is the cake my niece made, she is an awesome baker.

                        I created a new shortbread recipe with almond and coconut flour.

I made homemade cashew butter, delicous and I made a gluten free, grain free bread recipe from Against All Grain.  It is delicious but it didn't rise as well as I thought it should so I will have to try it again.  It's probably because I used homemade cashew butter.
I also attempted a pumpkin flavored donut but it failed miserably.  But I am not giving up.  I will try it again.

                                        Come back this week to check out all the deatils.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fluoride - Do we really need it in our water?

Have you seen all the articles about how bad fluoride can be for your body? 

This information creeps me out because I remember as a child our hometown being noted for high amounts of naturally occuring fluoride in our water supply and they added more choline to our water to control the fluoride levels. Icky!   Could this be the reason I've been so punny all my life and constantly having stomach troubles????

According to what I've read the FDA has never proved that Fluoride was safe for human consumption. In fact France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Finland, India and Great Britain do not follow this protocol of adding Fluoride to their water supply and they do not see any increase in tooth decay.

Fluoride is one of the main ingredients in making nerve gas.  Fluoride is also a common ingredient in roach and rat poisons.  (Yuck, yuck, yuck)

Many of the beverages sold today in the U.S. contain tap water.  Think about the food you eat in restaurants and your home, did you add tap water to them?  Did you know cooking your food in a Teflon pan can add fluoride to your food.  I'm not trying to scare you but make you aware of what is going on in the world around you.

Apparently the only thing that removes Fluoride from your local water source is reverse osmosis.

I'm thinking it's about time to order the bottled spring water.

Below are some articles that have some more interesing facts on Fluroide in our water supply.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I fell off of the Gluten Free Wagon and the Wagon Won!

I have always loved pizza.  This is not a new obsession, in fact it has grown over the years.  As a teenager I used to eat pizza 3-4 days a week, sometimes more.  I have had  some good gluten free pizza crusts but nothing like what is available at our locally owned pizza restaraunt.  This love obsession of a pizza's saucy, cheesey goodness is how I fell off of my Gluten Free wagon.

Here's what happened:  Work had been extra stressfull, in fact I had been working 12 hour days on top of my almost 2 hour round trip commute.  By the time I got home preparing a healthy meal was at the bottom of my long and ever growing "to-do" list.  On this ill fated night my oh so loving hubby called to check on me and suggested that I bring home pizza, and if I had had any money at the time I would've brought home a gf pizza for me and a regular one for him, but I was flat broke, which was another frustrating point of the week. 

He, the natural caregiver that he is, immediately said he would take care of it.  I was so thankful to have that item taken off of my "to-do" list that I let him take care of supper without another thought to the task.  So I packed up my dog tired self and loaded myself in the car and headed home. 

When I got home I was starving and I was looking forward to not having to make the decision of what we would have to eat.  And as he gets out of his truck I see the box.  Pizza, from my favorite local Pizzeria!

OMG!!! It will be delicious, but I shouldn't eat it, it will be delicious, it will make me sick, it will be delicious, it will make me sick. 

I was having the argument with myself trying to behave and since I don't suffer from Celiacs I have been know to cheat.   (Now don't get upset at my husband, he has watched me cheat with gluten before and not suffer many or any side affects)  I also take digestive enzymes so when I eat something I shouldn't or if I over indulge  I take an extra one and it helps keep me from reacting very badly to what I have eaten.

By the time we get into the house I had managed to justify that it will be ok for me to partake of this delicous goodness that is really forbidden to me but I need to be reasonable and only have one slice.  As I place the slice of REAL pizza on  my plate my husband stares at me and asks if I have taken my enzymes.  "Yes dear, I have."  So I eat.  And I eat, and I eat and  before I know it I have eaten half of the pizza.  It was wonderful, the crust was sweet and salty.  The sauce was the perfect balance of spices and tomatoes.  The cheese, oh the cheese, it was perfect.  How could anything that tastes this good make me sick. 

By end the night (about 1.5 hour later) I was starting to itch, then scratch, then starts the grumbling of my tummy!  OH NO!  This is happening much quicker than ever before.  Usually the effects of being "Glutened" happen slower.  Not this time.  The pizza took it's revenge on me very quickly.  I spent most of my night and all the next day running to the bathroom.  The stomach cramps, gas, bloating and bathroom trips were horrible. 

What did I really expect?  Who was I kidding? I did it to myself.  I played Russian Roulette and I lost.  I lost big time!

Has this happened to you?  Have you let your emotions or your exhaustion get the best of you when it comes to your diet?  Maybe it was related to a different diet but I believe we have all done it, at least once. I have done it more than once.  Sometimes I have done it because I had no other option and I was starving.  Sometimes I do it to myself because I am tired of feeling "deprived".

I wanted to share this with you because so many people post at how perfect their diet has been and how they have perservered thru all trying circumstances.  I, however, am human.  I am not WonderWoman (even though I love her).  I will make mistakes and sometimes make myself sick in the process.

Here is the silver lining to this dark grey cloud: Your next meal is your next chance to do it right.  Never give up because you slipped up this time.  It doesn't mean you failed.  It means you are human and that in itself is a wonderful thing.

Don't ever give up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Doughnuts - Time to enjoy doughnuts again!

I have been craving doughnuts like crazy.  I know I can't have them and I know how I will pay for them if I do "indulge".  I had truly all but given up on ever having a doughnut again.  But never fear.  Someone else had already beat me to it and developed a super easy recipe for Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free doughnuts.

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut developed this recipe but as I was making it I wanted more chocolate and a little more sweetness so I added to her original recipe which you can find on her site.
This is my version of her original recipe:

Paleo Chocolate Doughnuts

1 egg
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tblspns coconut palm sugar
2 1/2 tblspns cocoa powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup of coconut milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Use coconut oil to heavily grease your doughnut pan (mine is a 6 well pan that is teflon by Wilton), but it still needs to be greased.

Place all the ingredients in your blender and combine but add the milk slowly, you may not need it
all.  You want the mixture to be very thick and just thin enough you can pour it out of your blender.

Fill each donut well 2/3 full with the mixture.  Place in the pre-heated oven and check at 12
minutes.  Mine took 15 minutes and they were perfect but baking times differ for each oven.  While baking, the doughnuts raise and look beautiful but they will fall after they are taken out of the oven and that is ok.  So don't get alarmed.  Let your doughnuts cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and 
then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.  Add your favorite icing or eat them plain.
Yields 6 doughnuts

The result is a cake like doughnut that you may remember from your childhood.  I am so glad this recipe only makes 6 doughnuts.
 #1.  We shouldn't eat this type of food on a daily basis.
 #2.  I could eat all 6 by myself easily.

My hubby loved these doughnuts and I think I will buy another pan so next time I make these for a
special occasion I can make more than 6 at a time.  But for now I am out of almond butter and cocoa
powder so I must get on Amazon and get some supplies ordered.


Original recipe adapted from the Spunk

Monday, August 20, 2012

Burnt Biscuits

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner
every now and then.. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast for our supper after a long, hard day at work. Granted, my mom didn't always work outside the home, so when she did it was double duty, taking care of us kids and helping someone else out of jam.

On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my Dad and I. I remember waiting to see if he noticed! Yet all my Dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my Dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits." Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

You know, life is full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people.  What I've learned over the years is that we need to learn to accept each other's faults - and choose to celebrate each others differences.  It is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your
life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only one who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the basis of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own."
God Bless You.....Now, and Always.... So Please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burnt one will do just fine.!.!.!.!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Avocado Smoothie

I love the weekends. Especially when we don't have any plans and I can play in my kitchen.  I have been looking at all the ways avocados can be used in recipes. So I finally took the leap and added one to a smoothie. Ok, I'll be completely honest, i only added half one in the first batch because I was afraid it would be yucky. This is the only time I enjoy being wrong. This smoothie was so creamy and delicious I made another, larger batch. My husband has declared this as his favorite smoothie so far.

1 - 1 1/2 c coconut milk1 whole ripe avocado - flesh only
3/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1c spinach leaves
1 stalk of kale (leaves only)
1T chia seeds
The juice of one lime

Add the ingredients to your blender of choice and blend until smoothie.  Add more or less milk depending on your desired consistency. Ice can also be added if your ingredients aren't cold.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Grain Free Deep Dish Pizza Crust

As I surf the Internet and all the wonderful blogs I have really enjoyed Brittany Angell's "Real Sustenance" site.  Her journey through the Gluten Free world and now entering the world of all that is Grain Free is a delight to read and always makes my mouth water with her beautiful photos of her delightful recipes.

Last week I was looking at Brittany's site and noticed her recipe for Grain Free Think Crust Pizza.  I currently have a really yummy Gluten Free pizza crust recipe that we all really enjoy at our house but it is not Grain Free and now that I am  on the Paleo diet I needed to start searching again.  I was really thrilled to find Brittany's post on this pizza crust. 

Here are some of my pictures from our night of pizza delight.  Her recipe was absolutely delicous and nice and thick as desired. 

If you want the recipe please go to Brittany's site and get her recipe in full by clicking here.

We topped our pizza with sauce, turkey sausage, peppers fresh from the garden and pepperoni.  These slices are from the hubby's side because they have the delicious melted cheese.  My half had a lot less cheese and didn't make as pretty a picture.  :) 

                                   We will definitely be making this crust again, very soon.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Snack Attack ~ Dried Apples

I love this time of year and all of the fresh apples that are harvested from my mother's apple tree.  Mom's apple tree is quite prolific and some of the branches have even had to be propped up so the they do not break.

My mom is an extraordinary food preserver.  She can's, freezes, and dries everything she can. I am trying to learn her craft since it is so essential for me to eat as organic as possible and what's more organic than growing your own fruit and produce knowing exactly what has, or more importantly hasn't been added to the fruits.

 Because I travel so much mom dries a lot of apples for me to take in my suitcase.  I can get peanut butter at a lot of hotels (try eating gluten free at a continental breakfast - not easy) so with peanut butter, my dried apples and some chia seeds I can make a pretty satisfying snack.  Try this out sometime.  I think it would be a great way to get the kids starting to eat chia seeds as well. 


Paleo Diet - week 2

So week 1 went about as expected.  I started off like gangbusters and slowly but gradually went downhill.  I didn't completely fall off the wagon but I had a few moments of weakness.  Also, I am still learning about what's permitted and what isn't.  I am not using that as an excuse at all.  I know corn is absolutely not permitted but I had sweet corn fresh from my garden twice.  And let me just say it was delicious.  The corn is gone now so hopefully that temptation has been put away.

I also messed up and had some rice in the form of sushi.  It was absolutely wonderful sushi, especially for such a small town.  However, I don't know if it was the fish or the rice but my body didn't react well at all.  I was itchy, irritable, and had terrible abdominal discomfort and really bad diahearha.  I had managed to not have any rice for at least a week and a half prior to this little induldgence.  No one else felt bad after eating the sushi and we all ate the same food because we laid it out family style.  My gut tells me it was the rice.  How amazing is that.  Our bodies truly are a wonderous miracle.

Because I have Hashimoto's disease I have days of severe brain fog.  These days are terrible.  It makes working in the IT Dept very bad because you need to think and think quickly.  There is thought that eliminating all gluten containing grains that the brain fog will go away.  If it does go away then the sacrifice is all worth it. 

My goal is to go at least 30 days grain free and see how well I am doing, mentally and physically.  I know I can do it so I am not really frustrated with my below par performance last week.  I forgive myself.

So I am back it for week 2, trying to behave, giving my body the test to see how it reacts.  I am back to searching Pinterest and reading lots of wonderful Blogs (my favorite is the Urban Poser). 

Hopefully I will also slow down enough to listen to my body and see how it reacts.

I'll check back in with week 3.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

1Thesalonians 1:16-18

I took this picture while having dinner with friends in Colorado and I can't imagine a better verse to go with it. Think about the words in this verse. 

Givings thanks during times of turmoil is very hard for me but I keep trying. Most of the time I give thanks for these upsets in my life at the end of the day. Sometimes I remember to give thanks during the turmoil. I am getting better. It takes a while to change your behavior but I can do it. Just keep trying and never give up because even the turmoil in your life is a blessing. Trust me it really is. 

Never stop searching for Faith!

Watermelon - Cucumber Smoothie

This smoothie tastes like Summertime in a glass.  

I really enjoy a watermelon/cucumber martini so that's how I came up with the idea of this smoothie.  I was nervous about adding the coconut milk but that's where my hesitation ended as I already knew I enjoyed the watermelon and cucumber flavors mixed together.  This smoothie has an almost tropical taste to it.  The sweetness of the watermelon and the freshness of the cucumber pair so amazingly well together and the smoothie is not overly sweet as the cucumber balances out the sweetness of the melon.

 Tweak the ingredients as needed.  Add more watermelon if you prefer that flavor over the cucumber or vice versa.  I also love the pink color of this drink.

Add the ingredients below into your blender of choice, be sure to add the coconut milk first) and blend until it is the desired consistency adding more or less milk to reach the desired consistency.

The hubby enjoyed this smoothie as well but he prefers the Beginner Berry Smoothie (he's all about Blueberries right now).

1 c       Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
1 c       frozen Watermelon chunks
3/4 c    Cucumber (peeled and cut into chunks) (sometimes the skin has a bitter taste)
1 T       Chia Seeds
3 T       shredded natural unsweetened coconut

Happy Huntress
Add caption

Drink up!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inspiration Aug 8, 2012 Crushing Violets

Are you able to crush violets and enjoy the fragrance?

Grilled Chicken Bruschetta

Do you have lot's of fresh tomatos and basil from your garden?  Well here's another way to use them up and fill up your family.

Take some boneless, skinless chicken breats and butterfly them so they will lay open.  (Like a butterfly porkchop)    Watch this video to show you how to butterfly a porkchop if you aren't sure how to do it.

Take the butterflied meat and season both sides with salt and pepper and then add to a hot grill pan that has some olive oi or your oil of choicel in it.  You will need about 3 tabelspoons for a grill pan but you could use less oil if you used a regular skillet.

Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken is and how hot your pan is).  I was only trying to achieve nice grill marks not cook it completely thru.

Take the meat off the grill and add slices of tomatoes and pieces of basil to one side of the chicken.

Fold over the side piece of the breat and secure it down with toothpicks.  If your chicken is completly cooked you can serve the dish now.

I added my chicken back to the grill pan and put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes.

The result is a delicious, fresh, summertime treat.  There is just nothing like the taste of fresh summer tomatoes.  We really enjoyed this light, refreshing summer meal.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterflied)
3 medium ripe tomatoes
Fresh Basil - about 3 stalks or 2 -3 leaves per breast
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
2- 3 T Oil for the grill pan

Take the butterflied meat and season both sides with salt and pepper and then add to a hot grill pan that has some olive oi or your oil of choicel in it.  You will need about 3 tabelspoons for a grill pan but you could use less oil if you used a regular skillet.  Cook each side of chicken for about 3-4 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken is and how hot your pan is).  I was only trying to achieve nice grill marks not cook it completely thru.  Take the meat off the grill and add slices of tomatoes and pieces of basil to one side of the chicken.  Fold over the side piece of the breast and secure it down with toothpicks.  If your chicken is completly cooked you can serve the dish now.  I added my chicken back to the grill pan and put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes.

The result is a delicious, fresh, summertime treat plus there is just nothing like the taste of fresh summer tomatoes.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Here's a hug Thank You to Jenni at the Urban Poser for posting the directions on how to oven dry fresh tomatoes. 

I didn't have enough cherry tomatoes to do this with but had lots of small Early Girl varieties that were smaller than usual this year due to the extreme high temperatures and the dry weather.  This process worked amazingly well and you will be amazed at the concentrated fresh tomato flavor and the fact that they aren't store bought sun dried tomatoes.

Please be sure to go to Jenni's site to see the directions for preparing these little wonders of goodness.

My tomatoes had to be quartered because they were a little larger.

 Mine took about 12 hours to dry in the over on a temp of 180 degrees.  I even left them in the warm oven overnight to finish the process and here is how they turned out.  You can see the size that they were to begin with.  It's pretty amazing.

This is such an easy thing to do and knowing that it is completely organic because it came from my own garden gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. 

Be sure to head of to Jenni's site at the for the complete directions.

Thank you