weekending: a turmeric latte + positive vibes only

 

A photo by Geoffrey Arduini. unsplash.com/photos/ea9Zg7HkFXQThis week has been a whirlwind of activity … it typically is … but I’m finding my mind is really overwhelmed with all there is to think about. And my body feels depleted, too. News headlines have been baffling. My daily meditation has given way this week to two tiny little feet that seem to hit the ground running as soon as I open my eyes . My morning routine has been off. Our schedule, too. Things just feel “off.” Do you ever feel this way?

And so, I’m pressing the brakes on this weekend. A bit of a reset is in order. Steve and the kids headed up to ski with some friends, and I chose to stay home. Of course there are things to do … meal planning, a house to clean, laundry to fold … and I will be doing all of them today. But, here’s what I won’t be doing: racing the clock. Reading the news. Viewing (and/or cursing) my chores as work. Engaging with anything or anyone that does not add positivity to my day. Only taking in that which fulfills, nourishes and adds to the wellbeing of this household. Starting with this …

Listening to positivity. I love podcasts. Love them! Especially when I cook or fold laundry. And I’m fascinated with the ideas of mindfulness and compassion. It seems so timely right now to focus on compassion for others. Tara Brach, a psychologist and proponent of Buddhist meditation, has some great talks that I’ve enjoyed in the past. These two, Part One and Part Two, are on my listening list and I’m going to fire them up after I finish my tea. Which brings me to this yumminess…

Cooking for health. Ah, the turmeric latte. I think I’ve finally found a recipe that is perfection. This one is made with fresh turmeric, which is incredible for easing inflammation. My last blood test results showed that my inflammation is off the charts, so I’m being mindful of adding in foods and spices that are anti-inflammatory. The ginger is warming and so wonderful on cold winter mornings. I’ve tried making this with both ground ginger and turmeric, and also fresh. And I have to say, fresh is the way to go if you have the time. I love making a cup of this on the weekend when I have time to peel and slice the roots. Such a treat!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup coconut cream

1 TBS coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp peeled and finely chopped turmeric root

1 tsp peeled and finely chopped ginger root

pinch of sea salt

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Peel the ginger and turmeric roots, and then finely chop them up. Set them aside.

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In a small pan on the stovetop, add the water, coconut cream, vanilla, sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Stir frequently and heat until just before the mixture boils.

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Next, add the heated liquid and your chopped turmeric and ginger to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for a minute … or until everything is fully mixed. You still might have some small bits of ginger or turmeric root. Don’t worry, you can pour your latte through a fine mesh sieve into a mug to get rid of them.

And voila! I hope you enjoy your weekend, friends. And I hope you are able to carve out a pocket of time devoted to resetting your mind and body.

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Winter Playlist + Lemon-Kale Chicken Soup (Paleo, AIP)

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Lately, all I’ve wanted to make in the kitchen is soup — this lemon-kale chicken soup in particular. And all I’ve wanted as a background soundtrack to our days is this playlist. Both are mellow and perfect for hunkering down on cold days.

November was a pretty full month for us with a string of birthdays, visits from family, travels and lots of movement in general. The energy of our days matched up to the unusually warm weather as we ran around coatless (and a tad disoriented) when typically we’d be having snow days and cozying up indoors.

But now? I can feel a shift toward slowness.

We had an actual snow day last week. Coats and hats are back on their respective hooks for good, and flannel sheets are tucked into beds. The kids are happiest at home right now, building elaborate forts in the living room or turning the kitchen into a mess of construction paper and art projects. My tea kettle is back on the stove, ready to be fired up several times a day now, and I ordered a grown-up tea box to replace the disorganized, towering jumble of tea cartons in our pantry. It’s kind of like we’ve nested for winter … and now we just wait.

My energy typically takes a big dip beginning in December, and this month is no exception. Living with autoimmune diseases, I’ve become extremely sensitive to my ever-changing energy levels and ration myself out accordingly. It takes energy and commitment to heal our minds and bodies, and although all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking mostly autoimmune paleo foods is quite worth the effort …. all the same, it’s still a lot of effort. When I need to eat but don’t have the motivation to do big batch cooking sessions, this soup is my go to. This is also my go-to sick soup for our family and others … chances are, if I drop dinner off at your doorstep, this is what’s in the crock pot. AND, it’s really  yummy as a breakfast soup if you’re just easing into an AIP diet.

This soup is bone broth-based, which packs a ton of minerals and gut-healing properties, but more importantly for feeding a family of four … my people will actually eat it. As with almost all of my AIP soup recipes, as a last step before serving this to the rest of my family, I simply add gluten-free pasta or rice to everyone else’s bowls in order to provide a bit more substance and make it more enticing. It’s also a great way for me to get bone broth into my kiddos, who haven’t yet learned to like it.

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A couple of tips:

  1. Sometimes I will roast a whole chicken and use the meat for this soup. Other times, if I’m short on energy or time, I’ll simply buy a non-GMO, gluten-free, organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and use the shredded meat instead.
  2. Use a bag of frozen kale (or spinach works, too) instead of the fresh to save even more time.
  3. Homemade bone broth is ideal, but don’t underestimate the value of store-bought bone broth if you’re in a pinch. Most natural grocery stores — and some regular grocery stores — now carry cartons of bone broth (look in the canned soup aisle or freezer section).

Lemon-Kale Chicken Soup (AIP)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
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Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup + 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 6 cups of bone broth
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • salt to taste
  • 1 whole, roasted chicken
  • gluten-free pasta or rice, optional for non-AIP servings

Directions

  1. Dice onion and saute with 1 TBS olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until translucent.
  2. Add cooked onions, 1/2 cup olive oil and the can of coconut milk to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Transfer mixture to a pot on the stove (med-high heat).
  4. Into the same pot, add 6 cups of bone broth, the juice of 2 lemons and salt to taste.
  5. Wash, de-stem and shred kale into small pieces. I usually do this by hand. Add to the pot.
  6. Shred the chicken and add to the pot.
  7. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes before serving.

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I hope you have a happy, peaceful start to your December. If you’re moving into it slowly, know that you’re not alone and consider that perhaps this month is meant to be a time of reflection and remembrance of what’s most important. Even when our schedules are packed with festivities and to-do lists are nagging to be knocked out, we can still pause to take a breath and reset. Do something thoughtful for yourself. Make a pot of this soup. Make it for someone else. I promise it will be good!

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Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte + a Fall Playlist

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Guys. I know I run the risk of committing an almost sacrilege when I admit that I’m not hugely into the whole pumpkin spice latte thing.

Oh wait, it’s now called the #PSL.

They are yummy and seasonal, I totally get that part, but the part that I find a bit of a turnoff is that this coffee drink is now a hashtag. Guys, I’m old. I can’t be hopping onto hashtag bandwagons all the time, you know I mean?

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not anti-PSL. I’m not even anti-Starbucks (because hallelujah they now have COCONUT MILK for us high maintenance dairy-free/soy-free/nut-free folks!). But the craze has become so crazy that I find myself heading the other direction and opting for plain old joe on days that I can tolerate coffee.

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Buuuuuuuuut ….. since it’s fall and the leaves are all crispy now and I’m pulling out sweaters, I decided to be a little festive this morning. I made a homemade paleo PSL. And, you guys, it’s really yummy. And so much cheaper and easier than driving to Starbucks.

Also, plus, you can totally customize the sweetness. So there’s that.

It’s so easy that I’m not even including a printable link. Here’s what you do: in a high-speed blender, mix one can of full fat coconut milk + one can of pumpkin puree + 1 TBS vanilla + 1 tsp pumpkin spice (or cinnamon). Whip it up and pour into a ball jar to store in the fridge.

When it’s time for your latte, make a cup of coffee, add your desired amount of PSL mix + any additional honey if you need sweetness. Stir or whirl in the blender for an extra foamy treat. Drizzle with coconut cream if you’re feeling barista-ish. That’s it.

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I’m making coffee. Meanwhile this monkey is climbing the cabinets in search of some pretty bowls for mud-pie-making outside in the yard.

And because a warm drink only goes amazingly well with mellow autumn tunes, I’m including a link to my current favorite playlist. It’s been the soundtrack for my month, a collection of songs that I’ve gathered here and there and I love it. It’s a little folksy, a little mopey, a little bluegrassy at times, but perfect for overcast mornings and weekending.

Click here for my Free Falling Playlist on Spotify.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. Get outside, whether rain or shine, to enjoy the season’s brief bounty.

A Paleo Blueberry Crisp & Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox

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There’s definitely been a shift around here this week, and I kind of love it.

Even though the weather is still pretty warm here in Colorado, the Autumnal Equinox blew in and, as if on cue, pine needles are suddenly falling from the trees like rain and the Aspen trees in our little grove out front are growing fragile and gold.

The girls and I took a hike before school one morning this week. There’s a trailhead maybe a quarter of a mile from their school, so the kids and dog piled into the car and we set out to gather some “fall treasures” from the woods to use later for making Fall crowns (their idea).

I needed a way of my own to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox. So I headed to the kitchen.

For me, the cooler weather always means a return to baking, so there I went breaking out the pans and firing up the oven, and starting to think about soups and stews for dinner. And dessert, of course.

We don’t do a ton of dessert right now, mainly because I can’t tolerate a lot of sugar. I’ve been on the autoimmune paleo diet for about five months now and have slowly begun reintroducing foods, which means I’m still pretty careful.

But. BUT! It’s Fall now! And that definitely called for a special treat this week. A warm, gooey crisp was the perfect way to usher in the new season.

This one got a huge thumbs up from my husband, and I have a feeling I’ll be making it this winter. If you’re one of the lucky ones that live near an apple-picking orchard, you could even make a good apple crisp. Either way, you cannot go wrong.

Happy fall!

 

Blueberry Crisp (Paleo)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
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Adapted from The Curious Coconut

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces of frozen (or fresh) blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (softened)
  • TBS cinnamon

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. Spread blueberries evenly across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together shredded coconut, coconut flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add coconut oil and mix. (Use softened oil, not completely liquefied. This will make the mixture “clump” together nicely.) I find it easiest to just to knead the mixture with my hands instead of using a mixer or wooden spoon. Sprinkle evenly over blueberries in the baking dish.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top browns.
  6. Serve alone or with vanilla coconut milk ice cream on top. (Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island ice cream is my favorite.)