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A Sugar Manifesto

A Sugar Manifesto

When did I become the exception in regards to diet? Why is it so strange to eat only when hungry? Why is it so difficult for others to accept good habits? I wish I knew the answers.  Today being a holiday, I always find it especially challenging to dodge all of these questions. A family picnic, parades, dinner parties, weddings, this time of year is rife with situational landmines for people such as myself.

 

Morning smoothie packets to put in the freezer. This way I rotate greens and always have one ready no matter how busy I get.

 

I am baffled as to why eating healthfully has become such a point of discussion. I walk into a grocery store and see people buying things that do not even classify as food in my book, chock full of chemicals and fake ingredients. They look at me as if I am the one with the sickness because I continue feeding my body healthfully no matter what day it is. I never “cheat”. There is no such thing as cheating if I want to keep on walking, hiking and dancing. I chose living a full life over a store bought cheesecake…hands down.

 

My idea of a “treat” is a grain free, dairy free, nut free and refined sugar free cookie. They are incredibly sweet to me and I never feel deprived. Some in my family still raise an eyebrow or two when they learn what I exclude from my diet. My father is convinced that if I remove grains from my diet, I have nowhere else to get carbohydrates and therefore must be deficient. I simply don’t have time to argue the merits of my diet any longer. I also can’t spend another minute of my life energy explaining why I only eat when I am hungry, which is usually twice a day. Why do I care if society has completely bought into the made up structure of three meals a day? People shovel food into their mouths simply because a clock tells them too. That is madness to me. We eat to live, not live to eat.

 

 

 

My July 4th mid day feed. Pesto Chicken Pizza from the Healing Kitchen. (AIP and Paleo). http://grazedandenthused.com/pesto-chicken-pizza-from-the-healing-kitchen-paleoaip/

 

I know this way of life works and my doctors see that I am stable. Most importantly, I feel better when I eat this way. So the next time you attend a family function, or a holiday party, be careful what you say and how you judge others. Do not force ice cream on someone and give him or her a verbal lashing for not participating in your sugar fest and do not become the sugar dealer of your family. It is a drug and you would probably not force it upon a diabetic. Realize that I, like others, have made a very deliberate and conscious decision to do what is best for my health.

 

One of the many variations of my “treat” cookies. (Paleo, Grain free, Refined Sugar Free) http://mysticcookie.com/lighter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

After much self-work, I never crave “fake” food, I am never without and I feel satiated. Please do not pass along your misgivings about how you eat to me; I categorically refuse to take on that burden. Cho0se to hold your tongue instead of offering a litany of misguided nutritional information. It may make you feel better for your choices, but it does nothing to me beyond making me once again aware of the level of ignorance in regards to nutrition. It also makes me sad that people do not exercise enough self-love to eat well. It is a gift that you give yourself and well worth the effort.

 

 

Emotional Eating, Illness and the Holidays

Emotional Eating, Illness and the Holidays

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One of my favorite things about the holiday season is using leftovers to make delicious meals that last for the entire month. If you follow this blog, you know that I adhere to The Wahls Protocol. This way of eating has improved my health ten fold and has held my MS at bay. At present I still have relapsing remitting MS and have not progressed, at my age a small wonder. Yes, I have used disease-modifying drugs and am currently on my fourth, a strong b-cell depletion therapy, but I am confident that my lifestyle choices have been as important if not more than these medications.

I believe strongly in n=1 experimentation on my body and have found my sweet spot with diet, adequate sleep and exercise. It has taken a few years to get it right, but I can say with confidence that I have it down. Thankfully, I have a wonderfully open and patient neurologist that does not brush aside complimentary therapies. Even though she runs the Neurological Residency program at Cedar Sinai, she often acts more like a functional medicine doctor, looking at me as an entire system and not just what she sees on my brain and spine MRI. For this I am forever thankful.

The holidays can come with strong emotional memories that we often correlate with food. Maybe your family made the same dish every Thanksgiving and it simply does not feel like the holidays without it. Part of the reason for this blog was a need for me to find a healthful alternative to chocolate chip cookies, which are most obviously a trigger for me. Over the course of the years, I have finally come up with some recipes that fit in my new lifestyle, yet satisfies a need for comfort food. This is not without its challenges. Just this week, I used the Trader Joe’s chocolate chips instead of my usual diary free brand to make a holiday dessert. Friday was awful, my whole right side ached and I have pins and needles in my leg for the next 24-48 hours. I knew instantly that there was something in those chips that I could not tolerate, probably dairy even though they profess to be dairy free. After a day of rest, Epsom salt baths and healthy eating I felt much better. It is really that simple, food matters to me, I am not being selfish or picky. If I eat the wrong foods, my body lets me know in the worst way.

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Along with food, I always make time for exercise.  Movement is not a luxury for me, but a necessity.  During the holidays, with the added stress that this time of year can bring, exercise becomes even more important. This could mean a nice hike, a trip to the gym or some lengthy stretching.  It really does not matter what I do, as long as I move my body every single day. If I do not, the spasticity comes back and my legs just ache. It feels like a vice squeezing my calves, definitely not pleasant. On most days, I have some level of discomfort, but after working out I always feel much better.

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The kids and I after a family workout at the gym!

The final part of the equation is rest.  Adequate rest and relaxation is essential for mitochondrial health and for making healthful eating decision. If I have a rough night and do not sleep, my brain just does not fire quite right.  I “hit the wall” and I am no good to anyone. I value my rest so much that I make it a priority above many other things. If I sleep well, I am much more engaged with life and feel emotionally strong. During the holidays, do not feel bad about prioritizing your sleep. Turn off the Netflix, put the book down and sleep.  Use lavender in your bathwater and put some on your neck, wrist and pillow.  You will have a restful night and wake up ready to go, more able to make good choices with your diet.

Today, as preparation for the busy last weeks of the semester and the stress that this heavy schedule will surely bring, I made some healing turkey soup with the broth that I saved from our turkey. My broth turned out wonderfully as seen by the spoon standing up straight from the container!

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I freeze the leftover broth in small cupcake size portions and use it for stir-fry, butternut squash soup or when cooking vegetables. With healthy choices at the ready, I have no excuse and can make just about anything quickly after a long day at work.

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If you are feeling the need to revisit your health this coming year, consider treating yourself to the best gift one can give, the gift of health.  Don’t be afraid to begin because you think it will be too difficult. No one starts this journey and achieves perfection right away.  I had many moments in which I ate something that I knew I should not have and I suffered for it. It took a few years and many modifications to come to where I am, a place of balance and health. Believe me, It is well worth the effort.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is that time of year once again, and I am giddy with the baking bug. I love the flavors of dark chocolate and pumpkin together, truly an amazing pairing. If you have followed this blog at all you are well aware of my obsession with chocolate chip cookies. I make them in so many different varieties that I could write a book on just that.  For this recipe, I have tweaked my original chocolate chip cookie by adding pumpkin, for a cookie that fits into any holiday plans from now until January.

ingredientsAs always, these cookies are grain, nut, dairy and refined sugar free. Do not let that fool you, I have made these for my co-workers and have received much positive feedback about how good they really do taste. The only caveat I will give is that I am terrible at measuring when I bake. In fact the only time I do measure is if I am trying to share a recipe with all of you. I am more a little of this, a little of that kind of baker and thankfully I have a good eye for amounts. I say this, so that you do not hold back from being creative yourself with this recipe.  Try different nut or seed butters, experiment with various sweeteners or add coconut flakes and nuts. You will be pleasantly surprised by how flexible this recipe is and will soon find your “sweet spot” in this recipe, pun intended.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seed Butter (no sugar added)
  2. 1/2 Cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
  3. 2 Organic Eggs
  4. 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
  5. 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  6. 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Flour
  7. 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  8. 1 1/2 Cup Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
  2. Mix together all of the wet ingredients.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients (in any order). Mix thoroughly.
  4. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed.The batter should not be sticky, it should be easy to stir.
  6. Stir in the dark chocolate chips.
  7. Put on a silicone baking sheet by the tablespoon. Press down slightly as they will not spread during baking.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.Cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/
Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking grain free can be delicious but can also result in fairly heavy baked goods.  Using nut butters or nut flours in large quantities can inflame the gut and add a lot of unnecessary calories.  If you are following a ketogenic or low carb diet, calories may not be the main concern.  I usually do not worry very much about calories given the quality of my diet.  The only area that I have to be careful is with baked goods and if I am making a batch of cookies I can eat three or four without even blinking. I have done the calorie conversion for some of my recipes and in some cases, each cookie can be 100-120 calories!  If I eat four than I just had a meal.  This is not good for me given my nutritional needs and I always feel guilty after getting full on “dessert”.

When I am feeling like I have overindulged a bit too often, I look for creative ways to bake cookies that are a lighter on the stomach and the waistline.  My solution for this particular iteration of one of my favorite recipes was to add applesauce for liquid and sweetness and to use tapioca flour for a crispier and lighter result.  I usually use arrowroot flour and have no problems digesting it, but I happened to be out when I looked through the cupboard wanting to bake.  Some find tapioca irritating, but in smaller quantities I can use it with no trouble.  This is higher individualized and I recommend that you do some n=1 experimenting to see what if any of these flours are tolerable. The PaleoMom wrote a great blog about the use of grain free flours and I recommend this as a starting point for your research.

I also used Ceylon Cinnamon in this recipe. If you have not tried this cinnamon you are really missing out!  It has a sweet taste and is considered the original cinnamon.  If you have issues with your kidneys or liver, this cinnamon has a better side effect profile and should be used in place of Cassia Cinnamon. Livestrong  has a brief article about these two varieties of cinnamon as well.

Alright then, on to the recipe!

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Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nut, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.
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Cook Time
12 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Natural Unsweetened Applesauce
  2. 1/2 Cup Organic Tahini Butter
  3. 2 Eggs
  4. 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
  5. 1/4 Cup Water (as needed)
  6. 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  7. 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  8. 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  9. 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  10. One bag Dark Chocolate Chips (yup...I use the whole bag)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir until batter is smooth. Let sit a few minutes for the coconut flour to fully adsorb the liquid.
  4. Add water as needed if batter becomes too thick.
  5. Throw in chocolate chips and try not to eat them:)
  6. Place tablespoon size on a silicone baking sheet.
  7. Press down as they will not flatten like regular cookies.
  8. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until slightly brown on the bottom.
  9. Remove from oven and cool before removing from the sheet.
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/
Zucchini Paleo Waffles

Zucchini Paleo Waffles

Before my cookie addiction began, I had an absolute love of waffles. This was at the beginning of my Paleo baking journey and I had started to experiment with all sorts of ingredients to achieve a somewhat familiar baked good.  I have made almond flour waffles, cashew nut base waffles, buckwheat waffles, you name it I made it.  I finally settled on a zucchini base coconut flour recipe that was versatile enough to eat for any meal of the day. You heard that right! I used zucchini as the base. These are some awesome waffles. Easy on the stomach and a perfect carrier for whatever topping your heart desires. I have even used them as “bread” for a sandwich. Why not? They are made from a vegetable.

The only reason I stopped making an obsessive amount of waffles was because my waffle maker broke. I was so sad. I bought another waffle maker but it just didn’t work like my old one, I was frustrated. I decided it was a sign to move on to something else and stretch my culinary wings. This continued for two years until my recent birthday. My daughter and her boyfriend have heard many times about my constant melancholy over missed waffles and were kind enough to buy me a new waffle maker. I had to see if this new waffle maker would produce the waffles that I remembered so I got right to it in the kitchen. Let the waffle making games begin! To my utter delight, I had made delicious waffles once again. Oh how I had missed them.  I may or may not have packed some for lunch today and I may or may not have had them for dinner as well. So good.

The recipe below is about as flexible as a recipe can be. The zucchini base provides much of the liquid that is required when working with coconut flour. Thickness and texture can be adjusted to your liking. I have put both thick and thin batter in the waffle maker and both have turned out delicious.  The thicker batter will need to be a bit crispy on the outside so that it is cooked entirely through. It is completely up to you. The additional ingredients are optional.  I like cranberries, blueberries and dairy free chocolate chips to name a few.  If you do not add any other ingredients the waffle will have a very generic taste similar to a pancake. Perfect for butter, maple syrup, ghee or any other toppings.

The best part about these waffles is that you can eat them guilt free. With very little fat and no sweetener, they will fit into any meal plan. They are also gluten, nut and dairy free, a hard sell in the waffle making business. Surprise your honey or send some along in your child’s lunch. Others will wonder how you made such a delicious and healthy meal.  Happy waffle makings everyone!

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Zucchini Paleo Waffles
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 Zucchini peeled and blended in a food processor until smooth
  2. 4 Organic Eggs
  3. 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  4. 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Flour
  5. 1/4 Cup Flaxseed Meal
  6. 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  7. 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Blend the zucchini in the food processor until smooth
  2. Add the eggs and combine on low
  3. Add in all other ingredients and combine on low until well mixed. (This is where you can fiddle with the texture by adding another egg or some water if you desire a thin batter or a small amount of coconut flour if you want it thicker batter)
  4. Stir in any additional optional ingredients
  5. Heat up the waffle iron and spray with coconut oil or olive oil
  6. When it is ready the light will turn green. Use a 1/4 -1/2 cup batter and pour on the griddle.
  7. Close the top and let cook until the red light turns green once again.
  8. Remove from the griddle with a fork and allow to cool.
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/

 

Coconut Flour “Banana Bread”

Coconut Flour “Banana Bread”

There is only one thing I can eat when I am not feeling well. The treatments that I have take my appetite away and I feel sick to my stomach until the medication completely leaves my system. When this is happening, I can not even stomach my green drinks which are such an important part of my wellness regime. Nutritional deficits have been shown in many  peer reviewed journals,  to be partially culpable for auto immune disease. Nutrition therapy is a growing field of study and emphasis. Those that have done research into an illness, understand that food is an absolutely critical part of the healing journey. Whether you take traditional medications or have chosen to forgo them, nutritional therapy should be at the forefront of your treatments.  When  I am suffering side effects from various medications or am in relapse, nutrients are critical for my body. I am always amazed how quickly my muscles  tone is lost and how much weight I lose when my body is under this kind of stress. It is humbling and one of the many reasons I workout daily and eat well.

This “Bread” has saved me more than once. Those that follow this blog know that I do not eat grains of any type.  So how can I enjoy this “bread” weekly?  Well, the body of the bread is made with coconut flour and flax seed meal. Coconut flour is simply the ground down flesh of dried coconut meat, that is it! Flax seed is chock full of Omega-3’s, which are vital for brain health. This”bread” is brimming with nutrients and easy on the tummy. As for the fruit, I rotate which ones I use. Sometimes it is blueberries, sometimes cranberries and sometimes rhubarb.  Use what you have on hand and what strikes your fancy. They are all vitamin c bombs and full of antioxidants.

Enjoy this bread for breakfast, lunch dinner or a snack.  It packs well and is hearty enough to be filling in a pinch. Consider topping it with coconut butter or a nut butter for a meal.

Flaxbread ingredients

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Coconut Flour "Banana Bread"
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Ripe Bananas
  2. 1/4 Cup Sugar Free Apple Sauce
  3. 4 Eggs
  4. 1/2 Cup Flaxseed Meal
  5. 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  6. 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  7. Water (as needed)
  8. 1/2 Cup Fruit of Choice
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl mash the bananas
  2. Add the apples sauce and eggs and mix
  3. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Let sit for a few minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb the liquid
  5. Add water as needed to make the "bread" a thick dough like consistency
  6. Add in fruit and stir gently.
  7. Place in a small cake pan
  8. Cook at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top of the bread is brown.
  9. Cool completely before cutting
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/
Broiler Cookies

Broiler Cookies

You may be wondering by the title what in the world I mean by broiler cookies. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. As fate would have it, my oven is no longer heating up. Both the top burners and the broiler still work, but I am at the whim of the repairman  until I can use my oven again as it is intended to be used. In the meantime, I had to get creative in order to bake my weekly batch of cookies. After some internet research, I came across a few posts from others who have waded in the waters of broil baking with somewhat workable results. The general consensus is to put the cookie sheet on the lowest rack for about 4-5 minutes, switch the broiler off and let then “bake” another 5-8 minutes until they reach cookie consistency. I was fascinated and decided to experiment in my own kitchen for fun.

I had a few ingredients that I do not normally use in baking and therefore would not be sad if I had to sacrifice a batch due to faulty research. I kept it simple as well. No fancy recipe or multiple ingredients in these cookies. I used the Cacao Butter along with  almond meal from Trader Joes and some coconut flour. I don’t really use Almond Flour on a regular basis because it is just too heavy for my stomach. In the past I used it quite often during my Specific Carbohydrate Diet days. This recipe could probably be adapted in many ways. Instead of honey you could use maple syrup or coconut sugar. Again, honey is not my go to sweetener because it is so high in fructose and fructose and my stomach are not friends.

Have some fun with this, I did! While they did not turn out to be the most perfect looking cookies, they tasted pretty good. At least I know that in a pinch I can bake cookies in other ways. My next experiment….frying cookies on the stove top. That could be fun, right?

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Broiler Cacao Butter Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups Almond Flour
  2. 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  3. 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  4. 3/4 Cup Cacao Butter (melted)
  5. 1/2 Cup Honey
Instructions
  1. Melt the cacao butter in a large bowl. Add the honey and stir.
  2. Add in the almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda.
  3. Mix well until dough forms.
  4. Drop by spoonful on to a silicone baking sheet.
  5. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and broil for about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Turn of the broiler and leave the cookies in the hot oven for about 5-8 minutes until cooked inside.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from sheet.
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)

I pride myself in trying new versions of old recipes, in fact if I am completely honest, I do not often write down a recipe as I bake.  I am more of a little of this and a little of that type of person.  Because of this, every batch is a little different. One thing that is constant is that I have found a family of ingredients that fit into The Wahls Protocol diet Level one and sometimes two.   I do not eat level three, the ketogenic level, because in the past when I have tried this level I have gotten worse and felt just horrible.  It is not for me. Kudos to those that can manage that, but I am doing pretty well eating at the level I am at. I have been following this diet for over two years and it does wonders for my fatigue and overall well being.  You do not need to be challenged with an illness to benefit from eating this way, I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Back to the cookies, I used sunflower seed butter for the base.  Make sure you use a brand that does not have added sweetened, salt or bad oils.It should just be sunflower seeds. I have also made this butter at home with a high speed blender or food processor. It is very easy to do. I may do a post on that in the future. When using sunflower seed butter, if you do not want your cookie to be green in the middle you will have to add some lemon juice. The seeds react with the baking soda and turn the batter slight green when cooked. It doesn’t bother me and I have used them as a fun office cookie for St Patrick day! Just a teaspoon of lemon juice should take care of this if it is not to your liking.

I also use dairy free chocolate chips for all of my cookie recipes.  My favorite brand is Enjoy Life. They have sugar in them so if you are following an anti candida diet you may have to omit them or make your own chocolate chips with stevia. I prefer coconut sugar for cookies rather than maple sugar as it allows for a creamed dough. This recipe is so flexible you could try any sweetener you prefer and will probably have successful results.

The one ingredient that is important to watch is the coconut flour.  Start adding sparingly, no more then 1/4 cup, stir and let the batter sit for a few minutes while the flour soaks up the liquid.  Add additional flour or water as needed until you get the dough to a consistency that you desire. The arrowroot flour can be omitted, and I sometimes choose to do this.  I have found it lends to a more crisp and “cookie like” experience. Coconut flour on its own will result in a more dense cookie, arrowroot adds that bit of lightness that many people expect from regular baking.

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Butter
  2. 2 Eggs
  3. 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons water
  5. 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Flour
  6. 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  7. 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  8. 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Add sunflower seed butter, eggs, coconut sugar and water in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix until creamed together.
  3. Add baking soda, arrowroot flour, coconut flour.
  4. Mix well. Let batter sit for a few minutes and then adjust the water or coconut flour to reach the desired consistency. (Don't be afraid to experiment)
  5. Add chocolate chips and stir.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
  7. Take out when golden brown and cool before removing from baking sheet.
Mystic Cookie http://mysticcookie.com/

 

 

Lemon Bars along with Generosity of Spirit

Lemon Bars along with Generosity of Spirit

Hafiz sun and earth

I have been blessed beyond measure by a large and extended wellness team that have all contributed to my healing in ways that I could never had expected.  The phrase, “It takes a village” has never been so true and I rely heavily on my team depending on what symptoms I have and what level of stress is in my life. After a recent move closer to my place of work, I was concerned that I would not be able to see my regular massage therapist who is an absolute angel from above.  Unfortunately, the drive from my new location is prohibitive for someone that avoids sitting in traffic at all costs. I still plan on visiting her, but was looking for someone closer that I could count on when busy with work and in need of a quick tune up.

Trying out new healthcare workers can be a frustrating process.  There’s nothing worse than a really bad massage to make muscles feel terrible.  I count on my therapist to listen to me and understand the difference between neurological pain and regular muscle aches. If the massage therapist is not a true healer they will not have the skill set required for someone like me. The only way to know this is to try them out. A therapists that has the healing gift of touch will intuitively know where the fascia is bound and in need of attention.

One of my most challenging MS symptoms is spasticity. It feels like something is squeezing a muscle tightly and no amount of stretching can relieve this. The first few therapists that I tried had no idea what I was talking about and even tried to teach me a few exercises that could correct my gait. I politely listened and made a mental note never to return. If I could cure my disease with a few exercises it would be a much easier road. I even had one tell me that if I would just relax my muscles, I would be much better off. Really? I guess I didn’t know that.

In desperation, I found a woman who worked out of her home just a few blocks from my new place. It seemed serendipitous that someone would be so close and have the qualifications on paper that I was looking for. I was a bit worried about the appointment being at her home and wondered how profession the environment would be. Given that I was relapsing at the time, I needed help fast, so I trusted my intuition and made my first appointment.

I am happy to report my new therapist is a true healer. She has a separate space just for her clients and it is more professional than some spas I have been to over the years. Because she does not have the overhead of a spa, she is able to offer affordable packages.  I take full advantage of this by visiting her at least every three weeks.  It has been nothing less than miraculous for my legs. The spasticity has become manageable and for that I am grateful. Her business is called A Room to Relax and if you live anywhere near Santa Clarita, Ca, I highly recommend that you schedule a visit!

Not only does she do incredible healing work, she is also very generous with her time and attention. Recently, she offered me some lemons from her backyard tree as a token of her appreciation.  I was ecstatic! I love lemons and put them in my morning smoothie every day. To honor the gift that she shared, I made some lemon bars this weekend with the lemons from her tree and am sharing it with you to pass along to someone you love. You see, it is never about what one expects from another, but rather what one gives without the expectation of something in return. Giving freely creates a theme in life in which loving kindness always finds its way back. It is cyclical and universal. Hence the idea that what one puts out in the universe, one receives back tenfold. Today, I am thankful for those that give freely of themselves above and beyond what is asked of them. I am blessed.

 

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Lemon Bars
Grain free, refined sugar free delicious lemon bars.
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. Crust
  2. 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  3. 1 Cup Almond Flour
  4. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  5. 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  6. 2 Eggs
  7. 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  8. 1/4 Cup Liquid (as needed, may use almond milk or water)
  9. Filling
  10. 8 Eggs
  11. 1 1/2 Cups Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
  12. 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
  13. 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
Crust
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 F
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray or coconut oil
  3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl
  4. Add the liquid until the crust is like a dough
  5. Press into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake approximately 25 minutes. The crust should be slightly brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool.
Filling
  1. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a larger bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs until completely combined.
  3. Pour the filling onto the cooled crust.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. The filling should be firm when it is done.
  5. Cool completely before cutting. Best when chilled before served.
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Easy Lemon Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Easy Lemon Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is dancing, singing and cooking in my kitchen. After a long week at work it is a reclaiming of space, a sort of nesting.   I just love being home.  I am not one to get excited about traveling far or going out at night. My idea of a good time is to go on a hike, run a few errands and than settle down in my home. I enjoy watching good movies, baking, or just being. It is a comfort to me to feel the energy of my space and have it be peaceful.  I have moments at work in which I will think of my home and miss it.  I guess I really am a homebody. I make the most of my time on the weekends by doing a lot of batch cooking.  I am usually pretty tired when I get home from work and do not have much energy for extra chores. The batch cooking has saved me more often than not. 

My go to is some combination of roasted vegetables and meat or fish.  I put together small meals and freeze them for later in the week. I like to mix up my vegetables in an attempt to get a better variety.  The Wahls Protocol, which I follow, recommends nine cups of vegetables and fruit per day to support the mitochondria and brain health. This can be difficult without some thought and preparation. If I am really on top of it, I have a green smoothie in the morning to get a jump on my daily nine cups and then have a healthy lunch and dinner.  I tend to eat more at lunch than dinner so that I am not full going to bed.

All of this batch cooking requires motivation. That is where the music and dancing comes in. I love to dance in my kitchen while cooking, it is so much fun. Who doesn’t like to just let loose and feel free. Once a dancer, always a dancer!

Lemon Chicken

Easy Lemon Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Organic free-range whole chicken
  2. 3 lemons
  3. Parsley
  4. Sea Salt
  5. Various vegetables (sweet potato, zucchini, brussels sprouts, bok-choy, mushrooms, parsley)
  6. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse the chicken and place in baking dish.
  2. Stuff the chicken with lemon slices and parsley. Use extra parsley on top along with a scant amount of salt
  3. Place cut up vegetables around chicken with a small amount of olive oil, turmeric and oregano if you wish
  4. Place remaining vegetables on a separate sheet to bake as well.
  5. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until the chicken reaches 170 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours. You will have to take the extra pan of vegetables out before that.
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