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2016…it’s going to be big

Published on December 30, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Wow. It’s been more than 6 months since I have last blogged. To be honest, I needed a break; 2016 will be my 12th year of blogging and that is a long time.   So much happened since I last sat down and wrote. One of the year’s highlights was my second niece was born! We did a lot of traveling. I mean a lot. So. Much. Travel. But it was amazing and I loved every minute with family and friends.   We also had new adventures in Chicago. Brian went to his first ever Bears game. I took up pottery on the wheel. Now we have more hand thrown pottery than we will never need. And did a lot of baking, cooking, and drinking some green smoothies. So, that brings us to today. Literally. Beautifully snowy today.   So what is going to happen from here on out? I

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Spring forward

Published on May 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

It’s been quite some time since I last posted. I haven’t been making a ton of recipes lately, but mostly eating things that don’t require a lot of complicated ingredients as I’m always trying to eliminate processed foods from my diet. Most of the things that  I make that require a recipe are baked goods that I make/take to other people. So, let me catch you up on what I’ve been doing! For Brian’s birthday in April, I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes with a mini pb cup baked inside. We took them to a bar where we met friends for delicious beers. My birthday weekend was spent planting my garden. We had to haul in some extra dirt and the Crafty Beaver was nice enough to let us borrow a card to push it over to my plot. I transported some of my plants to the garden by bike basket:

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DIY coconut butter

Published on February 26, 2015, by in Recipes.

I love coconut butter. I had attempted to make it once before and it didn’t work because I attempted to use reduced-fat coconut flakes. When I use full fat, unsweetened coconut flakes, I come out with a delightfully creamy and rich coconut butter. How does one use coconut butter? I love coconut, so I think you can use it on anything or simply eat it by the spoonful. I love to put it on my oatmeal and sweet potatoes. When it’s warm it becomes all melty and delicious. Cold, it’s more like a rock that you have to chisel at. So how do you make this magical stuff? Simple! Ingredients: 12 ox full fat, unsweetened coconut flakes Directions: Put coconut flakes in blender. Blend in a high-powered blender on high for 1 minute. Use tamper to push down if necessary. Give it a little stir to see if you like the

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Friday Failure

Published on February 13, 2015, by in Recipes.

So, not everything goes well or as planned in the Spatoola kitchen, even when I follow directions exactly. This has been posted all over Facebook and Pinterest, so I decided to give it a try. I made the paste. I scrubbed and nothing happened. I tried it with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I tried it with vinegar and baking soda. I let it sit. Nothing. Nada. All of my pans are still dirty. But that’s ok, because my mom reminded me that my grandma always said that they make better cookies when they have a little wear.          

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Copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken-paleo friendly

Published on February 6, 2015, by in Recipes.

Get the great taste of Chick-Fil-A without the (IMO)bad politics or bad ingredients. Yes, it’s true. This chicken is moist, flavorful and delicious. According to thedomesticman.com, this is the list of ingredients in Chik-Fil-A chicken(I did not verify). “100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).” I heavily adapted this recipe last weekend and plan on making some more this weekend. Ingredients: 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts(well-trimmed) 1/4 cup dill pickle juice 1 egg, beaten 2 tablespoons milk(I used cashew milk) 1/4 cup

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DIY cashew milk update

Published on February 6, 2015, by in Recipes.

Since the first batch of coconut milk was so thick, creamy and delicious, I wanted to recreate it as a thinner version. While the thick and creamy version is more like a whole milk or half and half, perfect for drizzling and coffee creamer, it would be very heavy for cereal. This time, I soaked 1/2 cup cashews over night, rinsed and blended with 3 cups cold water. This came out more like a 1% milk. Perfect for daily use. I may still make another smaller batch of the thicker consistency for my coffee. Has anyone else made cashew milk? What is your favorite ratio?

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Published on February 5, 2015, by in Recipes.

Is there a better way to spend time stuck inside than to spend it in the kitchen baking? Probably not. So, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. Early into the snowfall: I had planned on making a double batch of Valentine’s monster cookies, but I only had enough peanut butter to make one batch. So, I hit the internet to find a new option. I chose and adapted Trisha Yearwood’s white chocolate cranberry cookies. Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 T vanilla 1 large egg 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 t baking soda 1 cup dried cranberries 3/4 cup white chocolate chips Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use silicone baking mat. Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium about 2 minutes. On slow, add the egg and

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Chocolate Chip Espresso Banana muffins

Published on February 3, 2015, by in Recipes.

Wow. Wrap up everything delicious into one muffin and this is what you get! I don’t identify with any particular eating method, but from what I understand, these are paleo-friendly. Heavily adapted from paleomg.com. Ingredients: 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 eggs 1/2 cup almond butter 1/4 cup coconut flour 1 teaspoon espresso grounds 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon pinch of salt 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chunks Instructions: Preheat oven to 350F. Put muffin liners in pan. In a large bowl, mix together bananas, vanilla, eggs and almond butter. Then add coconut flour, espresso, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. My batter was very liquidity at this point, probably because I pulsed my bananas in the blender a little too much instead of mashing them. Pour batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for

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DIY cashew milk

Published on February 2, 2015, by in Recipes.

I finished my strict healthy eating plan on Saturday night. I felt great doing it and decided I would reintroduce things one at a time as long as they felt comfortable and I didn’t have any adverse effects. Two of the biggest changes I noticed is that I wasn’t bloated or congested while eating like this. I have long suspected my congestion is related to certain foods and seasonal allergies. I have made DIY almond milk in the past, so I decided to make some cashew milk to continue on the no dairy path. Wow. It’s really amazing. Rich. Creamy. And it doesn’t need strained like almond milk. No pulp! Soak one up of almonds in water for a minimum of 4 hours. I soaked mine overnight. I was amazed by the little balls of oil that floated on top of the water after soaking. Then, drain and rinse cashews

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Clean and healthy

Published on January 27, 2015, by in Update.

So, what happened to blogging once per week? Well, almost immediately after that post I started on a new eating plan. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid a few years ago and have been on medication since. I know it isn’t the biggest deal, but I would rather not be on medication for the rest of my life. I have been doing a lot of reading over the past year on hypothyroidism and a lot of the literature recommends changes in diet to help control thyroid levels. I have dabbled in changes, but have not fully committed to anything. After reading The Fast Metabolism diet, which reiterated much of what I had already read, I committed to 28 days of a specific eating plan that eliminated meat with nitrates and nitrites, “dirty” fish, only certain fruits and vegetables, processed foods, corn, sugar and sugar substitutes, wheat, and dairy. It felt very

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