Holiday Chocolate Pecan Candy

Gluten, dairy and grain free!

This is my yummy go-to when I have a sweet tooth.

I make my own peanut butter. If you want to try, buy a bag of unsalted raw peanuts. Bake for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees on a cookie sheet to release the oil. Grind/mix in your Ninja for 5 to 15 minutes. If you forget to roast the nuts expect the time to double. Scrape sides every few minutes until peanut butter forms. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt because if you don’t, it tastes funny. Store unused portion in fridge. Don’t freak out if you go to eat leftover peanut butter and the oil has separated. Just heat a little and mix well. Peanut butter manufactures use chemicals to keep their peanut butter from separating. No chemicals for me!

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup cocao powder

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons liquid stevia

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (can use another teaspoon of vanilla if you prefer)

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup pecans (or not)

Directions: Melt peanut butter and coconut oil in medium size pot on stove. Turn off burner when completely melted. Add all ingredients but pecans. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Poor into a backing dish covered with parchment paper. Smooth out (may be runny), place pecans on top and refrigerate for at least an hour. Break apart and enjoy. You need to keep these stored in the refrigerator or can freeze.

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Apple Pie to Die For

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m making gluten, grain, and egg free apple pie. It’s supper simple and tastes great. Start with easy peasy pie crust made in your Ninja or food processor.

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1 tablespoon coconut flour

4 tablespoons palm oil or ghee, or butter (melted)

1 tablespoon flax seed for egg replacement (1 egg)

3 tablespoons water for egg replacement. If you use an egg, discard water.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in Ninja and mix until a ball of dough forms. Press into pie dish and bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Filling:

I use about 6 to 8 green and red apples because I like my pie a little tart and a little sweet.

6 to 8 green and/or red apples (pealed, cored and sliced)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (use to taste and cut back or add more as you prefer)
Natural Sugar (2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or liquid or natural stevia, or monk fruit to taste)

Directions: Prepare apples while crust is cooking. Place about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of a pan and place the apples inside. Add the cinnamon and sugar. After cooking you can taste test to add more sugar if needed. I don’t like a lot and sometimes none at all. Cook the apples until they are soft but not mushy. I cook for about 15 to 25 minutes on low heat covered. Be sure to stir often so they don’t stick. The water is to help with sticking. When your apples are cooked, poor them into your pie crust and you’re done. Refrigerate or serve hot.

Why Give Up French Fries?

One of the things about becoming healthy is all the foods you must give up. I’ve had a love hate relationship with French fries my entire life. My taste buds love them and my hips hate them. Potatoes are something we try to stay away from and there are several reasons but I think the biggest is that potatoes clean the soil by leaching everything around them including pesticides. They’ve long been used in crop rotation when the soil is too damaged for other crops. Sweet potato fries are a healthier substitute but my husband doesn’t care for them. Last night I cooked a vegan dinner for both of us that included cucumber pasta salad and plantain fries. Plantains look like bananas but have less sugar. they also contain fiber and are a good source of vitamins A and C, and potassium. The secret is to buy your plantains when they’re green/yellow and not brown/yellow. No worries though, if your plantains ripen before you use them, you can cut up and freeze to use as pancake batter later. Please fry them in olive or avocado oil and stay far far away from bad oils such as vegetable, cotton seed, sunflower, etc. My husband loves these plantain fries so I consider them kid approved and it’s a vegan dinner he doesn’t complain about 😉

The second part of our dinner was the Cucumber Pasta Salad. My grown daughters are cringing right now because they know we don’t eat pasta (no grains at all) and they’re wondering what in the blazes I’m talking about.

I make the pasta out of an English cucumber. Add the yummy topping, and we eat. It’s thoroughly delicious. Here’s our vegan dinner breakdown:

3 – plantains (serves 2)

2 cups – olive oil (we save the leftover and reuse a few times)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: cut plantain into 3 sections. Slice one side and peal off the skin. Cut into French fry size. Place in a deep pot of hot oil and cook until golden (stir occasionally). Place finished plantain fries on paper towels to absorb excess grease and serve. Yes you can even dip these babies in ketchup.

1 – English cucumber (serves 2)

2 to 3 – small tomatoes

8 – fresh basil leaves

1 – clove garlic

1 – avocado

2 slices – lemon

Directions: spiralize your cucumber and place in a colander to drain, place tomatoes (cut into sections), basil, and garlic into your food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, pour on drained spiralized noodles, top with cut up avocado, and squeeze the lemon onto both servings.

 

Growing Herbal Tea in My Garden and Kitchen

I love my garden and spend many hours outside pruning, watering, and fertilizing. I need to feel nature and my plants takes me there. I began growing herbs that can be used to make teas a few years ago. Lemon balm is one of my favorites. I’ll actually eat a leaf when walking past the plant. It’s taste like lemon Pledge I used years ago to dust my furniture if that makes sense. I also cut a few branches and place them in a bag with lavender leaves when I travel. I use them as natural perfume by rubbing the combo on my wrists. Lemon balm has many uses including repelling insects. I love the stuff.

This year I added another spearmint plant to my kitchen windowsill. I love the smell and on top of the scent it’s a pretty plant that thrives indoors. The combo of lemon balm and spearmint is one of my favorite teas. This year I’m hoping to have enough spearmint to make it through a cold winter (lemon balm grows like a weed and isn’t a problem).

I cut the spearmint stems along with lemon balm and hang in my kitchen with other herbs. When they’re dry, I put them into my special tea containers (bought at the dollar store for $1 each so very special) and store them in the cupboard.

Dried jasmine flowers can also be added in teas along with lemon thyme which I added to my garden this year but haven’t cultivated yet. I enjoy creating combinations of flavors and testing them on my picky palate.

There are so many health benefits and I know there are no pesticides and I use organic fertilizer to keep them growing strong.

Lemon Balm – Eases stress and anxiety, contains rosmarinic acid (a chemical compound with antioxidant properties). Also used for insomnia, cold sores, high cholesterol, genital herpes, indigestion, and heartburn.

Spearmint – Contains vitamins, antioxidants, and vital nutrients. The aroma is very similar to that of peppermint. Is rich in limonene, dihydrocarvone, and cineol.

Your windowsill might be empty now but you could be growing the next best combination of teas on the planet so don’t let the perfect growing space go to waste.

I took these pictures early in the morning so the light isn’t the best but I think you get the picture 🙂

Stay Healthy and Eat Cake

One of the things I love about healthy eating is guilt-free dessert. On an average day, I drink green juice when I wake up. Have two shots of ginger orange an hour later, and another shot of green juice before heading to the gym. Two hours later I come home and shower then sit down with a green juice smoothie and enjoy it on my back deck before my writing day begins. At around one in the afternoon I have a handful of nuts (usually cashews) and my last smoothie of the day comes at three. We eat dinner between five and six but the highlight of our evening is dessert.

Never skip dessert!

Our delicious tummy extravaganza is one of the following:

blueberry cheesecake

brownies w/frosting

chocolate chip cookies

lemon meringue pie

Homemade ice cream

and the newest edition… German chocolate cake

Eventually I’ll have the recipes listed for all of these delightful desserts but today it’s all about the cake. Snacking is one of the bad things we do in our daily life and if you think back to your childhood (if you’re over 50), you’ll remember a time when snacks had to be prepared. They didn’t come in small snack-size packages nor did they have harmful chemicals. You were also more likely to eat a piece of fruit for your snack because your mother slapped your fingers if they went near the cookie jar. Green juice fasting took away our need for snacking throughout the day so dessert is a favorite in our house.

Cake ingredients:

2 1/4 cups – almond flour (blanched is better in this recipe)

9 tablespoons – cocoa

9 tablespoons – flax seed plus 27 tablespoons water, mixed together and set aside (replaces 9 eggs)

1 1/2 cups – butter (unsalted)

3 teaspoons – vanilla extract (I make my own)

3 teaspoons – baking soda

1 pinch – salt

sweetener – 24 drops liquid Stevia or 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (found cheapest at Cosco or

1 cup – Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional but super yummy when added)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350

Grease bottoms and sides of two cake pans with olive oil. Place parchment paper in the bottom by cutting to pan size

Prepare flax seed/water egg replacement and set aside

Mix dry cake ingredients

Mix wet ingredients with flax seed and water

Pour together and mix well by hand, add chocolate chips if you’re using them

Bake for 40 minutes (I bake at high altitude and you might want to check sooner) bake longer if needed. Cake might fall and that’s okay. Check center with fork or toothpick and it will come out dry when ready. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.

Frosting Ingredients:

2 cans- coconut milk, full fat, refrigerated 24 hours before preparing (we always keep 2 to 4 cans in our fridge)

1/2 cup – pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons – vanilla extract

2 tablespoons – arrowroot starch or tapioca starch

2 tablespoons – shredded coconut

1/2 cup – finely chopped pecans

Instructions:

Turn cans of coconut upside down and open with can opener. Drain off clear liquid until the white coconut fat is left. Poor into medium size pan and turn on low to medium heat.

Mix in maple syrup, vanilla, starch and whisk together while heating. As frosting heats it will thicken. Add coconut and pecans once thickened and continue stirring for a few minutes, remove from heat.

Once cake is completely cooled add frosting and enjoy!

Luscious Grandma Lotion

The older I become the dryer my skin.

I make this lotion when I make soap but sometimes I run out early and go to coconut oil. At those times I miss this lotion like crazy. My granddaughter Shaylee also uses this when she visits because it’s gluten free and works so well on her dry skin.

You will need: a canning jar, medium pot, container to pour lotion into when finished cooking.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup – almond or olive oil

1/4 cup – coconut oil

1/4 cup – bees wax

2 tablespoons – shea butter (optional but I use)

Directions:

Combine ingredients in jar and place jar in pot of water. Bring water to a slow boil then turn down to simmer once boiling, stir every few minutes, when all ingredients are liquid, turn heat to low and allow lotion to heat an additional 5 minutes. Pour into container (will be hot so be careful), refrigerate for at least 48 hours before using so the lotion can set.

Tips: I double the above recipe and pour into separate containers. One remains in the refrigerator until needed. The lotion has anti spoiling properties from the bees wax and coconut oil but shouldn’t be used at room temperature for more than 6 months.

  1. ingredients
  2. bringing water to a boil
  3. what the oil looks like when ready
  4. my favorite container filled with grandma lotion (it will turn white after cooling)
  5. grandma celebrating a new batch of oil because she was out

I use this on my face and body. It also has natural sunblock due to the coconut oil and bees wax. We don’t use sunblock because of all the bad chemicals.

Homemade Soap with Lye Just Like Grandma Made

Soap: Such a wonderful thing but the soap you buy is not so wonderful

I was a Dove soap user for years. Here are the ingredients: Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate Or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium Edta, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

I don’t know what most of those ingredients are so I’ll just show you one: Tetrasodium Etidronate (better known as EDTA), is classified as a high human health priority and expected to be toxic or harmful. Please don’t get me started on Titanium Dioxide but you can read this article if you’re curious.

Yeah, I’ll say no to that. I don’t even want to take the time to read up on all the other ingredients so I’ll teach you make soap the way my grandmother did it minus the lard. This soap is sudsy and very gentle with nourishing oil for your skin. It’s the only bath soap we use.

Grandma’s Soap Recipe

Ingredients:

40 oz – Almond or Olive oil

10 oz – Coconut oil

16 oz – Water

6.9 oz by weight – Household lye (found cheapest at your local hardware store)

Optional – 1 oz Essential oil for smell (I use nothing because I like it natural)

Safety:

No children in the kitchen, use rubber gloves when handling lye and immediately wash with soap and water if you get any on your skin. It will also burn clothing so wear something old. Now get over your fear because it’s super simple if you follow these precautions.

You will need:

Immersion blender (I love my Breville blender but you can stir with a wooden spoon, it just takes longer), large cooking pot, 2 – wire cooling racks, 2 – silicone cupcake pans, large glass measuring cup (needs to hold at least 8 cups), kitchen scale & a piece of parchment paper

Directions:

Combine oils in large pot. Fill the measuring cup with 16 oz (2 cups) water. Place parchment paper on scale and weigh (between 6.8 & 6.10 oz). Carefully poor the lye into the water (this is were the lye will burn if you touch or splatter it. Be careful). Mix the bubbling lye well with a metal spoon then carefully poor into oil. Add essential oil if you choose to use. Use immersion blender until ingredients thicken and turn white (saponification or chemical reaction has taken place and the lye is now soap and will no longer burn).

Place cupcake holders on wire racks. I use a small measuring cup to transfer soap into the cupcake pans and fill them as high as they can take. If you have leftover poor into a plastic dish. Leave soap in the pans and on the rack over night so it can harden. The following morning, remove soap from pans and place on racks to cure. Curing will take 4 to 6 weeks depending on dryness in the air. You want your soap good and hard.

  1. Ingredients
  2. measuring lye
  3. lye bubbling in water
  4. blending the oil with lye
  5. filled cupcake pans

*My friend Connie at Connie’s Random Thoughts (fiction writing blog) receives credit for the soap recipe. She invited me to her home and showed me how to make it. Connie grates a cake of cured soap, adds water so it devolves and uses as shampoo. It’s too oily for my hair but it may work for you.

I’ll be posting my lotion recipe next because I make the lotion when making my soap about every 2 months.

Green Juice Smoothy

We live for these and use them as a meal replacement and also as a treat at night when we fast.

Start with my maintenance green juice recipe here to make the smoothie yummy and packed with nurtrients.

We freeze old bananas by the quart bag full  and also freeze fruit before it goes bad so we can put it in our smoothies. We’ve tried everything from mango to watermelon. My favorite is wild blueberry because it’s so good for my tummy.

Ingredients:

2 cups green juice

2 inches frozen banana (we cut them into 1 inch sections before freezing)

1 cup fruit (the green smoothie below has strawberry. The purple is blueberry)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a blender or Ninja and enjoy. I like mine frozen and thicker. My husband likes his a little runnier. Fix it the way you like it.

*Side note: My granddaughter Shaylee does not like these. She’d rather drink her green juice on its own but the other grandkids love it.

Grain-free Cereal

Coconut Cereal

This is our go-to in the morning and we sprinkle it over fresh fruit.

Ingredients:

1- 12 oz package shredded coconut

1- tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts (I buy my SALT-FREE organic nuts from nuts.com so I know they’re certified gluten free). *There should be NO added oil. If so, don’t buy.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Stir coconut, cinnamon and nuts together in a 9 by 9 baking dish. Cook ten minutes, stir and cook ten more minutes. Allow to cool and you’re ready. Don’t forget to add berries to that fruit bowl, they’re very healthy. The picture below was my breakfast this morning. I sprinkle about 2 tablespoons on mine but you’re allowed to go a little crazy on this one if you want.

Say NO to Doctors!

I know that seems harsh but it’s hard for people to tell a doctor NO.

Saying NO is made even harder when you’re ill. During a self-defense class I recently taught, one of the students said she became compliant each time she entered a doctors office and she almost died because of it. My daughter recently broke her foot. The first doctor she saw was a quack. It took a visit to another doctor to discover the bone was shattered and much worse than the original doctor diagnosed. When my husband was seriously ill, I went with him to his doctor visit because he was so sick and he knew he wouldn’t remember what to ask or what the doctor told him.

It was eye-opening.

The doctor (a specialist) barely listened to my husband. He literally wasn’t hearing us and he actually left the room when I told him the insulin was killing my husband (it was). We never went to him again. We began our journey to healthier eating and we’ve never looked back.

When I became sick (4 years after starting a Paleo diet), I finally went to the emergency room. The doctor said he would check my blood sugar level and I told him it was 90 and I’d just checked it because my husband is diabetic. His reply after taking a long look at my chubby body, “We’ll check it here, I think your problem is related to diabetes.”

I had no problem with him checking my blood sugar but at the same time, his complete disregarded for what I’d said made me angry. When my blood sugar came back at exactly 90, he was so surprised. I told him we eat a clean diet and I’m very in-tune with my body and was suffering a stomach issue which was why I was there (I’d told him this twice). He asked what medications I was taking. “None,” was my reply. He leaned back and all but rolled his eyes.

“So if I give you medication you won’t take it?” he asked condescendingly.

“If you can diagnose me with something requiring medication and there’s a good reason to take it, I will.” I was too sick to smile.

The doctor basically ignored me from then on. I sat in that little room for hours. He finally came back, said they couldn’t find anything, to follow up with another doctor and take “this.” He handed me an antacid prescription with no reasoning behind it and walked out.

When did this disconnect with doctors and patients take place?

I’ve been reading a lot about the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring medical schools and teaching doctors from day 1 how to write prescriptions for the drugs that make the pharmaceutical companies billions. It’s scary. The laws changed on doctors taking kickbacks from drug companies and it’s now illegal, but the weasels got around this by flying the doctor (sometimes his entire family) to all-inclusive vacation/conferences. When you write a large amount of prescriptions for a certain drug you can also get speaking fees along with these awesome trips to Hawaii and other paradise settings.

So how do you say NO to doctors?

Step One: start here: https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/

This is a database of all legal kickbacks given to doctors and is mandated by the government. Check your doctors and learn to say NO by not giving your money to someone who just wants to write prescriptions without diagnosing your ailment.

Step 2: take a list of questions and a pen to mark them off with. Don’t leave until you have answers. If a doctor walks out on you without treatment because you demand he do his job, refuse to pay. Contact your insurance company and let them know the doctor didn’t treat you. YOU should never pay for a service that wasn’t performed.

Step 3: Take someone with you and have them record the visit. You can use the voice recorder on your phone.

Step 4: Write reviews on Yelp and similar sites. Also file a complaint with the medical board.

Unfortunately when we’re sick, the above steps are overwhelming. I know I’ve been there. Now that I’m healthy I’m writing those complaints. At least if someone looks, they may stay away from that doctor due to my taking the time to report what happened.

As you get healthier by drinking green juice and cleaning up your diet, you will become more in-tune with your body. It’s actually a wonderful feeling. When my stomach acts up, I go back to green juice, vegetables and fruit until the tummy issues pass. It takes about a day. I love to eat healthy but I’m not perfect and mess up from time to time.

Live long and healthy <3