Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Healthier" Russian Tea Cakes

It's the holidays, and I'm 9 months pregnant.

Let's just say I haven't been up to my usual Christmastime antics this year, which has been somewhat frustrating. We've been so frantic trying to get things ready for the baby, and the bigger I get, the less productive I seem to become. Thankfully, my husband is done with school for the semester, and I finished things up at the office last week, so we've been able to work our way through the laundry list of things to do before January 12th rolls around.

However, the one thing has irritated me on an almost daily basis since the day after Thanksgiving. I really, really want some Christmas cookies! As in, I've been dreaming about them. Which, I suppose, for a pregnant woman, isn't too hard to believe ;)

One of my all-time favorite cookies is a Russian Tea Cake, or Mexican Wedding Cake, or Snowball cookie. It has been years since I've made these cookies, and I've been thinking about them for weeks now. Just haven't found the time or energy to actually make them. Until now. And boy, were they worth the wait!


I say these cookies are "healthier" simply because I made them gluten, dairy and grain free. There is definitely a lot of sugar in them, so they're not really healthy. But, for a more allergen-friendly recipe, they rock!

The first batch I made, I over-browned the bottoms a bit, which detracted from the taste a little. I also thought they needed more sugar and vanilla, especially since I didn't use anything that tasted like butter. So I added more sugar and vanilla to the second batch. I'm sure if I had more time to play around, I could come up with something that made up for that flavor...but I was satisfied with these. The almond flour actually worked really well in the recipe, which was just from my good ol' Betty Crocker cookbook. Give them a try!


"Healthier" Russian Tea Cakes
Gluten free, dairy free, grain free

1 c butter/dairy-free substitute (I used Spectrum shortening)
1/2-3/4 c powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c blanched almond flour
3/4 c finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)
1/4 tsp salt
Additional powdered sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add almond flour, nuts and salt. Stir until well combined. Dough should hold together well (if it doesn't, I've read that adding a tsp or two of milk - or milk sub - to the dough will help it bind better).

Shape dough into 1/2-1 inch balls. Place an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 12-14 minutes. Cookies should be set, but not brown. They will still be really soft, and the bottoms brown fast, so keep an eye on them.

Once removed from the oven, transfer (carefully) to a wire rack to cool. After cooling for about 5 minutes, roll the cookies in the extra powdered sugar. Put back onto the rack, and cool another 5-10 minutes. Roll again in the powdered sugar. Let cool completely.

Oh! They taste even better the next day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fave Pregnancy Drink

I've always enjoyed a hot cup of herbal tea when I've been sick, or to help de-stress. However, drinking tea while pregnant has been a challenge for me.

Before we tried to get pregnant, I was chugging red raspberry leaf tea, as I'd read that it is a uterine tonic, as well as a fertility booster. I don't know if I can chock up my quick success to the tea, but it sure didn't hurt our chances! I determined to continue drinking the tea throughout my pregnancy.

Red raspberry leaf tea consumption is widely recommended by midwives and natural health promoters to help during pregnancy, especially the last trimester, when the body is getting ready to evict that cute little baby.

During my first trimester, I went through a lemonade kick. One day it occurred to me that I could mix my RRL tea and lemonade, to create an awesome iced tea. It worked! I just brewed a few cups of tea, then subbed that in for some of the water when making the lemonade. It was delicious.

Currently, my favorite way to enjoy RRL is an iced tea brewed with Tazo Passion herbal tea, which has a wonderful, slightly tart and fruity flavor. I'll brew the two together, then mix in some honey, allow to cool, then add in some fresh-squeezed lemon or orange, and enjoy over ice.


If you want more information on the benefits of red raspberry leaf tea, check out this great blog post.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey Day Game Plan 2012

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Seems everyone right now is sharing their awesome recipes on the blogs, which offers an overwhelming array of delicious foods to choose from.

This year, things are going to be simplified in our house. We'll probably visit the in-laws for the usual feast, which means I will need to be stocked with some safe dining options. I'm cool with that, I love Thanksgiving food (and especially leftovers)!

However, due to the increasing size of my belly, and the strain on my poor muscles, I am not allowed to spend as much time on my feet. This has severely cramped my ability to cook lately (and do dishes, darn...).

So, this is my plan for the big day:

The Amazing Feast of 2011 
The bird: I have a 10 lb free-range turkey on its way, which I ordered from my favorite Sprouts Farmer's Market. I plan on keeping it simple, and following this winning recipe from allrecipes.com.

The sides: My favorite green bean casserole for the past few years - Thanks to Irvin at Eat the Love for allowing me to enjoy this classic dish without all the gluten and dairy! (pictured above)

Still debating between these two recipes - Roasted Orange Sweet Potatoes from Gluten Free Girl & The Chef - or Cinnamon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (I know it's a recipe from a yogurt website, but I plan on subbing cashew cream in for the yogurt). 

Of course, I'll be whipping up a batch of Cranberry Citrus Sauce from Kim at Cook it Allergy Free! I can't get enough of this stuff. I've been dreaming about it for months now, as the weather's hinted at getting colder ;) (pictured above)
If I have any leftover sauce, I may try adding some of it to this gorgeous cake recipe from Iris at the Daily Dietribe. 

Dessert: Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without something amazing to satisfy the sweet tooth! I'm sticking to my tried and true (and much loved) Chocolate Pecan Tart. I think I'm going grain free on the crust this year (I love the Food Lovers' almond flour crust!), and will somehow be adapting the filling (possibly using Hallie's pecan tart as a guide?). 

I promise to follow up this year with the results of all this hard work!

What do you all have planned this year?


*The photo above is from last year's dinner, however, I never posted a follow up on how everything turned out! It was great! The turkey was deliciously flavored, and I definitely enjoyed all my leftovers :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Proud Sister

I know I have not been following the most Paleo diet of late (although I really have improved things as I've progressed through my second trimester and into the third). However, I am still a firm believer. Over the past couple years, my younger brother has dabbled with different diets to see what helps him feel best. We've talked a lot about the different things we've tried, and what bothers us and how. It's kind of a common topic among certain of my family members :)

I'm pretty sure he's Celiac, as well as intolerant to a few other foods. He and I have talked Paleo for awhile, and I know he's been giving it a try this last summer/fall.

He made this post on facebook a couple days ago, and I just beamed. I'm so happy he's found something that works for him, and that he's feeling so much better! Extra proud because he's a barista at Starbucks! I would not have the discipline to work there and not partake of all that goodness ;)

So happy for him! P.S. I think he meant to write "Have to write a testimonial."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

I've seen the one-minute cake or microwave cake recipes floating around over the years. Before going GF, I even kept a box of chocolate cake mix on hand, with the exact measurements for a "single-serving" cake posted on my fridge. You know, just for that time of the month, and other emergencies which only chocolate could fix. But I never really gave the gluten free version a chance...

I got really excited earlier this year when I saw this Paleo Mug Cake recipe over at The Wannabe Chef's site. It was grain free, and had the option to be sugar free to! So I tried it out. I loved it! And then...I kept making it. Over and over and over again!



I've adapted this recipe a bit to suit my preferences. Honestly, I never measure the ingredients I'm adding, just eyeball it. I have added chia seeds to give it a little more texture, and for some extra fiber and Omega 3's. My favorite mix-ins are chocolate chips and/or nuts (walnuts or pecans work great). I also enjoy topping it off with a little something extra once it's made. Try an extra tablespoon of peanut/almond butter (let it melt on the hot cake). Or a dab of cashew cream. Or your favorite fruit preserves. However, it really is amazing just by itself.

Topped with extra chocolate chips and walnuts.

Give this little treat a try next time you have a craving for something rich and chocolatey! I promise, you will quickly become addicted as well.


Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake
Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, grain free/Paleo, can be nut free

Serves 1

1 small, ripe banana
2 Tbsp nut/seed butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5-10 drops stevia, or 1-2 tsp agave (optional)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I like a mix of regular and dark cocoa)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
Mix-ins: 1-2 Tbsp chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit (optional)
Topping: 1 Tbsp nut butter, jam, whipped cream/cashew cream (optional)

In a small bowl, mash banana with a fork until it is smooth. Add nut butter, and mash again. Then add the egg, vanilla, and sweetener. Mix again until everything is well blended. Add cocoa and chia seeds, and mix very slowly (cocoa can be messy if you try and mix it too fast). Then stir in any mix-ins.

Pour batter into a microwave safe dish or mug. Do not over-fill the container, because this cake will rise in the microwave.

Microwave on high for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, or until center of cake looks set.

Enjoy!

Cake can be eaten hot or cold. Or for breakfast. Or however you want it ;)

Topped w/ homemade Oregon blackberry-raspberry jam from my dad and step-mom! Amazing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip "Milkshake" (Green Smoothie)

Yup, this is the latest and greatest of my green smoothie experiments. I've been on something of a cashew milk kick lately, and for some reason all that creamy goodness has me craving milkshakes! This baby boy LOVES his milkshakes!

The other day, I was craving a chocolate milkshake, and then once I created it, I realized that what I really wanted was chocolate chip ice cream! So I took the smoothie a bit further...

I've played with this one a bit over the past few days, and have really come to enjoy it. Of course, I added the avocado and spinach to justify it as a "healthy" treat ;)

As with most of my smoothies, the measurements are more of approximations. Taste test as you go, and you'll come up with results that work for you.

A great tip I wish someone would have told me awhile back is to experiment slowly w/ avocados in sweets. I absolutely love avocados, and obviously I love dessert, but I jumped in too fast with trying them out together, and had a few bad experiences before I figured out that I liked to add avocado slowly. Here's my rule of thumb: Start w/ half of the amount of avocado called for in a recipe (unless it's the centerpiece ingredient), then taste and add a little more if you like it, and then a little more...and compensate if it becomes too strong (add more chocolate, sweetener, etc). I really don't want to actually be able to *taste* the avocado in my smoothie, but it does add to the texture. Plus, it's a fantastic, healthy fat!

Anyway, back to the recipe!




Chocolate Chip "Milkshake" Green Smoothie
Gluten free, dairy free, coconut free, can be nut free
Makes about 2 c (1 large serving)

1 banana, cut into chunks and frozen
1-2 tbsp almond butter, or other nut/seed butter
1/2 c cashew milk, or milk of choice
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 - 1 c raw spinach
1/4 - 1/2 avocado
Additional sweetener, to taste (I have enjoyed a couple drops vanilla stevia, and a dollop of molasses the most)
A couple ice cubes
1 tbsp dairy free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Blend all ingredients except ice and chocolate chips in a high-powered blender, until smooth. Taste, add additional sweetener, liquid, cocoa, as desired.

Add ice and chocolate chips. Blend again, until ice is incorporated. Serve and enjoy!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Newest Dairy Free Obsession - Cashew Milk

I've mentioned in previous posts that going dairy free was just as hard for me, if not more difficult, than going gluten free. I miss all the smooth, creamy sauces, melty cheeses, and rich ice creams of my past. Unlike the plethora of easily replaceable gluten free foods that taste just as good as the "original," there seem to be few products that legitimately work as dairy free substitutes.

One dairy replacement product that I truly loved was coconut milk. Coconut milk is a very versatile substitute for many dairy-based products, such as cream and milk. It can be used in savory recipes as well as sweet. The best dairy free ice cream I have ever had was made with coconut milk. I also loved this lemon cream coffee cake, and made it several times. However, sadly, I developed an intolerance to coconut...so that had to go too :(

I've experimented heavily with using nuts as dairy replacements - from my favorite almond milk, to cream cheese substitutes. I have found that nuts work exceptionally well in many forms to create a pretty good milk or soft cheese sub.

Lately, I've been on a nut milk kick. Blame it on being pregnant, where I am consuming way more refined carbs than I'd normally eat. The only thing that seems to appeal to me first thing in the morning is cereal. Thank goodness for GF Rice Krispies and the GF Chex line! When I am ill-prepared, I'll grab a box of store-bought almond milk out of the pantry, and choke that down w/ my cereal. However, nothing beats the consistency and flavor of freshly-made nut milk.

Enter cashew milk.


This has become my go-to recipe for surviving the mornings. It's incredibly rich, it's creamy, and it can be sweetened if you want to have a glass with your favorite gluten free cookies! It works fabulously in smoothies, milkshakes, and ice cream.

Even better, unlike the process of making almond milk, there is no straining involved with cashews! Just run your high-powered blender long enough, and it will get the job done quick and easy! Note: If you don't have a high-powered blender, I would recommend soaking your cashews for at least an hour before processing them, to make them softer.

You can alternate between the sweetener of your choice. I have tried Elana's recipe w/ agave nectar, Gena's vanilla-tinted variation w/ soaked dates, and I've even experimented with adding stevia or a bit of molasses for the calcium benefit. All have turned out great, but I think the agave nectar might be my favorite.

The "recipe" for cashew milk is really quite simple. Give it a try sometime, and you'll see why I love this creamy dairy free drink!


Cashew Milk
Gluten free, dairy free, coconut free, grain free/Paleo

1 c cashews, soaked at least 1 hour
4-5 c filtered water
Sweetener of choice (agave nectar or a few dates soaked for 20 min), to taste
A pinch of salt, if desired
A splash of vanilla extract, if desired

Rinse cashews well after soaking. Combine with other ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend for 2 minutes on high. Taste, and add additional sweetener if desired.

Serve chilled, and stir well before use. Stores well for 3-5 days.

Notes:

*Most of the recipes I've seen recommend soaking your cashews for 1-8 hours, but I've skipped this step numerous times, and still had success.

*You can also thin the milk out a bit more with an extra 1/2-1 c water, if you'd like to get more bang for your buck.

*One great tip for that last-minute cashew milk craving: Throw a couple ice cubes in with your serving of milk and blend. This will chill the milk enough to pour over cereal.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Chex on sale!!


Here's a sweet deal!! I just hit up our local Macey's grocery store and stocked up on their honey nut, cinnamon and corn chex. I paid $1.69 a box! This sale applies to every 4 boxes bought. Make sure you watch them apply the discount for each group of 4. I had to have them credit my card b/c they missed one :)

Thanks to Eating Gluten Free for sharing this!

For all those in the western US: If you live near an Associated Foods store (if a store near you sells Western Family brands, they are likely an Associated Foods store), head in to stock up on Chex cereals this week. The Associated stores near me (Macey's and Ridley's) are selling Corn, Rice, and Cinnamon Chex for $1.69 and $1.50 a box (respectively). Broulim's (in Idaho) is also selling Chex this week for $1.50 a box, so I think it's a system wide Associated Foods thing. It's a pretty good price for a great GF cereal, so I thought I'd let you know!



Think I got enough???

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

When I was a kid, my aunt came to visit, and she made us stuffed zucchini. The actual recipe is hazy in my mind now, but I remember this amazing squashy, meaty, cheesy goodness, with sweet bits of corn bursting through. We used to beg my mom to make it whenever we found a too-large zucchini in the garden. Which happened often at our place, thankfully :)

This is my latest makeover, inspired by nostalgia and this recipe by Sarah at Everyday Paleo. I kind of improvised, based on what I had around, and what I thought sounded good. So, here is a healthier version of stuffed zucchini.
Not the most appetizing picture, I know, but I was hungry!
Go to Sarah's link above for a more appealing representation. 

Stuffed Zucchini
Gluten free, dairy free, *mostly* grain free

Serves 4

2 large zucchini, halved
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 large tomato, diced
1/2-1 c corn (omit for grain-free/Paleo option)
1/2 c fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
1/2 c spaghetti sauce (I added this to use up what I had, probably would be fine w/out)

Optional: Cheese/substitute to add on top (I sprinkled a little nooch-eez on half of my squash, and it was amazing!)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop the insides out of the zucchini, leaving enough flesh to be a sturdy bowl. Dice, then set aside flesh. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place the zucchinis, "bowl"-side up on the pan. Drizzle the insides of the bowls with olive oil, then bake for 15 minutes.

While the zucchini is baking, brown ground beef in a skillet with onion and garlic powder. When the meat is mostly cooked, add the diced zucchini flesh and tomato. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add remaining ingredients. Cook for 5-10 minutes more.

Once meat is cooked, and the shells are baked, fill the shells with the meat mixture. Stuff them with as much as they will hold. Sprinkle with cheese/substitute, if using. Then return the baking sheet to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!


And yes, it does kind of look like a lot to eat on your plate, but when you figure it's a meal-in-a-boat (meat and veggies all in one), it's not that much food. It is quite filling, and for some, may be enough. However, I was debating seconds just after having licked my fork clean. I settled for a brownie instead ;)


Friday, August 17, 2012

Favorite Summer Salad

Due to my current condition, gardening has not exactly been at the top of my priority list these days. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband!! A few months back, I dragged him to the Home Depot, and we picked out a handful of veggie and herb plants. He has labored over the garden this summer with diligence that I envy. And it has paid off. I swear I've never seen our garden look so good! So that's what happens when you actually water every day...lol.

Well, everything's growing nicely. The only problem is, I haven't been cooking as much. My herbs especially are exploding, and I am struggling to keep up with the weekly haul.

This salad has been a staple, since it is so fresh, easy, and doesn't require any heat! I must admit, this is one of very few ways that I actually enjoy cucumbers.

I adapted from this recipe over at The Food Lover's Kitchen, which is also in their fantastic cookbook. If you click on the photos on the recipe page, the salad is actually the second one that shows up, and it's gorgeous!

Because I'm a little OCD with my food, I measure out exactly equal parts tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, so I can have a bit of each in every bite, but you can do whatever you would like :)

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Serves 1

1/2 cup each kalamata olive halves, cucumber chunks, and grape tomato halves
A handful of fresh basil, chopped thinly
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A couple shakes of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A dash of garlic and onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Serve, and enjoy!

This salad keeps for a few hours, but isn't quite as good the next day, so I make just enough to eat.



Anyone else experiencing an abundance of herbs? How about those zucchini? Get ready for that saga...coming soon ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Changes...

My dear friends,

I know, yet again I have been absent for quite awhile. I have a very good excuse, with two sub-excuses to back it up. Ready for it?



Family picture 2003



Our little family is growing...




Yep, come January, we will be having a baby!

Now, as to my sub-excuses. This is a food blog. A gluten free, largely grain free, relatively healthy recipe containing food blog. Right. Well, for the past four months, I have not been feeling my best. Or even my average... I have not been eating grain free or even relatively healthy most of the time. Do I have good reason? Absolutely! And no, I haven't completely gone off the deep end. I am still trying to eat as healthy as possible under the circumstances. But, overall, my diet the past few months has been very high in carbs and grains...not something I'm necessarily proud of, and not something I would condone for *myself,* given any other circumstances. However, given the choice between the only food that doesn't make me want to lose my lunch, and not eating...I will always choose eating. Even if that food happens to consist of rice krispies, french bread from my favorite local gluten free bakery, or half a bag of salsa verde doritos (that one I regretted quickly).

I have been dealing with severe morning sickness, as well as very intense aversions to almost all meat (making a Paleo diet extremely difficult to maintain). However, I have tried to eat as healthfully as possible despite these setbacks.

Maybe one of these days, I will be able to post about all of the great, healthy foods I am enjoying. Right now though, I'm just trying to survive.

So no, this is not one of those awesome blogs talking about how great I felt while pregnant and Paleo. Believe me, I would LOVE to be there right now. But I'm not. So, things may be a little quiet around here for awhile longer. Give me a year though, and I have great plans for documenting our transition into a fully gluten free household (yes, hubby has more bread and tortillas than ever in the house right now...he's pretty much fending for himself these days). I am also very excited to create nutritious, real-food based baby food for my little guy/girl to enjoy, and share my creations here.

In the meantime, send positive vibes my way, and sit tight. I do have a couple delicious garden-fresh recipes to share soon!

Much love,
Stephanie

If you care to, you can drop by my personal blog for more baby-related updates.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hint of Chocolate Green Smoothie - GF/DF/SF

So, here's a quick fun little recipe for your enjoyment this evening.

I LOVE green smoothies. This just so happens to be my new favorite smoothie. It also has one of my new favorite foods in it.


Raw cocoa/cacao butter! I love this stuff! I especially love scraping the extra oil up after I melt it for my smoothie, and rubbing it all over my hands. P.S. I bought my cocoa butter on amazon. It was about $15 for a pound.

The smoothie is pretty simple to make. It's also quite versatile, so play with it. I decided to use cocoa butter since I'm trying to consume more fats, and can't have coconut. I had just bought the cocoa butter because I really want to try making my own lotion or body butter. Yes, this makes me a little bit hippie (we don't use the H-word in our house...all sorts of jokes generally follow - mostly my husband's doing).

Anyway, back to the recipe. Give it a try, adjusted to your tastes.

Hint of Chocolate Green Smoothie 
Gluten, dairy and sugar free

Makes 1 serving

1/2 - 1 banana
1/2 - 3/4 c almond milk or milk of your choice
a handful or two raw spinach
2 tbsp cocoa butter, melted
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 - 2 tbsp almond butter or handful of nuts
1/3 c crushed ice
a splash of vanilla
a couple drops of stevia (optional)
1 - 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder (optional, but makes the chocolate flavor more potent)

Add all ingredients except the ice to your blender. Blend on high until smooth, about a minute or two. Taste, and adjust accordingly. Add ice, and blend again.

Serve and enjoy!


Note: I have made this several times while on a sugar free diet. The only sugar I'm allowed is one serving of green banana a day. So, while I think this is good and very sweet just the way it is, you may feel the need for additional sweetener. Add away!

Long time, no see...

Hello interweb friends! Yes, I am still alive and kicking. I know I had a few of you wondering. Well, let's just say 2012 has not yet been dull. But, let's rewind, and I shall explain.
Me, hiding ;)
When last you heard from me, I was gearing up for some awesome holiday fun! It turned into a whirlwind of family, parties and food! It was great, but busy. Or so I thought...

Then the new year rolled around, and life really got interesting. As most of you know, I work at a doctor's office, as the manager. I also have a manager under me, who heads up our northern offices, while I maintain the central offices. However, she decided to take a little "vacation" called maternity leave (j/k, I know that's no vacation!!), and she abandoned me to manage all four offices full time from mid-January until mid-April. FUN! Between commuting and actually working 5-6 days a week, I was hitting 55-60 hours on a regular basis. Um, yuck. Thankfully, that is over and done with, and life is starting to go back to normal. At least, as far as work goes. I really hope I never have to work an hour of overtime again in my life. Even if it means I never make that much money again!

Also around the time I first disappeared, Luke and I started going back to church (looooong story), which has been an adjustment to say the least. It has been very emotionally draining and time consuming. But, I suppose there have also been some good things about it. But mostly I've felt the time crunch as a few precious hours of my weekend slip out of reach each Sunday.

Some very good news though - we finally made it through the pre-grad school process! Luke was accepted into three great MBA programs, and in the end we picked the one that made the most sense logistically and financially. Come August, Luke will be returning to his true blue cougar roots at BYU. The next great adventure awaits! Now we just gotta get through graduation from his undergrad program this week ;)

Luke @ BYU in 2002
So yes, life has been extremely busy! We both feel like we've been running a marathon the past few months. Thankfully they end is in sight. We've got a nice Caribbean getaway coming up, as well as a summer jam-packed with gardening, hiking and LOTS of pool time.

As well as being busy, my life has also been somewhat frustrating. Why, you ask? Well, I have been sick. A lot. And this has led to the crux of my blog absence. I'm bitter. I feel like I'm doing everything "right" and it's not working. I've been eating Paleo/grain-free for almost a year now. I'm even doing a sugar detox (more on that later). This is what I eat on a normal day:

Eggs
Chicken
Turkey
Bacon (occasionally)
Beef
Seafood
Leafy greens
Squash
Sweet potato
Avocado
Tomato
Other veggies
Nuts/seeds
Berries
Apples
Dark chocolate (occasionally)
Herbal tea
Water


Other than my two little indulgences (chocolate and bacon), I eat pretty damn healthy! So why am I still getting sick? On a very regular basis even? I take probiotics and vitamins. I sleep 6-8 hours a night, in complete darkness. I've even started exercising again in the last month and a half.

I'm at a loss.

So, yes, I have been a little resentful of the food going into my mouth. As a result, I've become a little less passionate about coming up with or posting about my great new, fun recipes and finds. I do have a few theories of trigger foods I can test, and I've got an appointment lined up with a specialist, to see if there actually is an MD out there who can help me. We'll see.

But I miss you guys. I miss sharing my successes, and even my failures, on the blog. I miss being excited about food. I still have my moments where I'll stumble across something that I am anxious to photograph, to post, to share with the world, because I loved it, and I have a feeling someone else out there might as well.

I've decided to stop being a downer, and get back on board, because I am still passionate about food. Plus, life is starting to get a little easier again.

Delicious food that I love!
 So, I guess I just wanted to say thanks for sticking around as my life has been so emotional and stressful (and thanks to the NEW followers for coming by!). I've got some great recipes on the way. And I am so very glad to have you all here.

- Stephanie