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All good things must come to an end…

All good things must come to an end…

This last year it seems as if Murphy’s Law is in full effect. Just last week it topped the cake. My little birdie of 12 years finally took his last breath. He was the best bird I’ve ever had and was very much loved and spoiled.
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He was originally a birthday present of a 16 year old girl just over 14 years ago and once she got bored of him her little brother took him and wasn’t the nicest to him. Then a friend took him next and he was too busy and Peaches was very neglected. Then I enter the scene and took him on with all his flaws biting and screaming (from the flux of environment he had previously). It took me about 6 months to a year to cure him of his biting and much longer to cure the screaming.
About 6-7 years ago I stumbled upon BirdTricks.com and found a wonderful training program for birds there.
That changed his whole attitude once he was trained and had something to communicate to me his needs without screaming. You know he loves you when he will go and sit at the corner of his cage patiently waiting to be taken out as soon as you walk in the door. It melted my heart every time!
Within the last few weeks I noticed he was sleeping a lot more, not as interested in his food, but more into crawling to the back of my neck to cuddle. His chirp was sounding more pathetic the last week like he couldn’t sing out. It really got me worried. Then last Thursday I gave him a hug and a kiss before I left for work and he felt very week… He didn’t last long after that.
I never thought this day would come so soon. I really had the mentality he would live forever, or at least for another 10-15 years. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a good friend. And it’s only right to give that friend a proper burial. I’m so glad for my best friend in helping me with that part.

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It is the hardest thing to do to leave a pet and walk away. But somehow I feel as if he served a purpose in my life and now it’s time to move on. Seeing an empty cage is not easy, and nothing could ever replace his love and personality. But all good things must come to an end.
We buried him at Hoyt Arboretum near the Redwood Deck behind one of the redwoods. It’s a very quiet and peaceful place and one of my favorite areas of that park. If you sit and listen you will hear all the wild birds singing to him all day long. It’s bitter sweet.

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I like that it’s a place I can visit over and over even though it’s not easy.

RIP little Peaches…

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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in A day in the life of Jeni

 

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Long time no see! The last few months since I started my new job I have been trying to play catchup in life and have not been very inspired to cook. This usually happens when I start a new employment until I start to get into a routine. But as of late I’ve been eating out a lot and finally am getting sick of it. So now I’m creating. :)
Last night I threw together an experiment and hoped for the best. Thankfully it was a winner! :D Thankfully it’s really easy to make as well. The flavors in this salad are perfect for summer as it’s very fresh and light. This dish was inspired by a conversation about the Mediterranean Diet someone at work has been on lately. I think I might look more into it!

I call for “cans of”, but if you want to put in the extra time to cook your garbanzo beans I made mine in a “beyond rice, cooker” crockpot so it could soak for 3-4 hours and then cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I cooked mine in water, pink hymilian salt, and dropped a vegetable bouillon cube in for added protein and flavor.
Give it a try and plan a picnic on a beautiful day. I paired this with red lentils and green beans. Rinse and cook red lentils in chicken broth for 10 minutes, adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme. Once cooked, add in cooked and drained green beans, and a little olive oil and that’s it. It packs a lot of protein in these two dishes and no meat had to be thawed (which is the main reason I barely eat meat…lack of planning lol!)
So now on to the recipe! :-)

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I got the ones in water to cut the cost)
• 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
• 1 green onion, diced
• Lemon zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Olive Oil to coat (3-5 Tbs)
• 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight. It will taste good when freshly made, but even better if you marinate it.
Serves 4-6

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring and cooking fresh homemade meals. It really is an investment to your health to cook instead of eating out. I just feel better when I know what goes into my food instead of hoping I don’t get sick from an ingredient someone forgot to tell me, or cross contamination.
Also a recent change to my diet, I have been off corn for almost six months now if not longer, and cheating doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. It really made a difference in my digestion. When I ate corn it was organic as much as possible, and even that bothered me. Now I am starting to cut out nightshades too. I do notice when I eat potatoes on how much it effects my alertness and pain levels. Potatoes are my #1 comfort food too. But I do want to feel even better than I have been and hopefully one day the weather changes will not effect me as much as it does.
Look forward to more creations coming up and fresh meal ideas.
Thank you also for hanging in there while my life was put on hold.

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Gluten Free Hair Care Products

Gluten Free Hair Care Products

Some people look at me funny when I go to the extreme of getting gluten free hair products, but let me explain…
When I lived in Alaska and in my gluten eating days I used to use Pureology products (which are vegan and not GF, salons get that mixed up a lot) and Redkin. I had no problems with them, my hair loved them! Then when I moved to Portland my whole immune system changed and I could not eat gluten whatsoever, but I also started to notice that my scalp was itching all the time and I would get little bumps on the nape of my neck. So I was on the hunt for a gluten free shampoo and conditioner. This has been a long process of trial and error! Some products that may not list any gluten whatsoever on the ingredients would still irritate my scalp and when I would call the company to ask (because I’m not a chemist) they said the ingredients in their fragrances come from another company and they do not have that ingredient list. So you never know what is in your hair care products to say the least.
Some companies were pretty rude as to say, “as long as you’re not eating it it shouldn’t have an effect for people with celiac”. Some people just don’t understand. Whatever you put on your body is absorbed into your system, and will have an effect!
(Disclaimer: I have no idea if I am celiac, I didn’t get the test before going off gluten, but I have a sensitivity that fits all the criteria for celiac).
Finding gluten free hair products is not the easiest, but more and more companies are starting to recognize there is a need and I am grateful. So to break it down for you of things I have tried and my thoughts on them keep reading.

To fill you in on my hair type, I have very stubborn hair. It’s stick straight, but slightly wavy just below the top layer, but not wavy enough for a wash and go style. My hair is very fine, but I have a LOT of very fine hair, so it takes forever to dry. My hair is also color treated (mainly to add texture when I’m fed up with it) and it does not hold curl well, although it’s getting better at obeying me. It’s a very silky texture so if I try to add volume, it just falls right out. So if you have curly hair or oily hair these products may work differently for you, but the brands I mention do have many products to choose from.

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Let’s start with the obvious, I’m sure most people who have been gluten sensitive for a while know that Garnier Fructis brand is safe. I have used the color safe shampoo and conditioner for a while and it is a great overall product that does not leave buildup. At some point I was starting to lose a lot of hair, so I tried Fall Fight which has biotin and caffeine in it to stimulate hair growth. This product is nice, but go easy on the conditioner or it will weigh your hair down (not for color treated hair).
Big Sexy Hair (BSH) or Healthy Sexy Hair products have a few gluten free products, which it will list on the front if it is. So don’t bother trying to interpret chemicals if it doesn’t say gluten free. Some of the healthy line is wheat based, so avoid! I really like the Volumizing conditioner over the Garnier conditioner. The BSH conditioner is also for color treated hair.

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On to the products I use for clarifying (because sometimes you need a reboot for your hair). Kevin Murphy is a recent discovery for a hair detox. Before I was using Pureology Zerosulfate shampoo and dealing with the itchy scalp, but my stylist finally found something that helps with that. Kevin Murphy products are on the more expensive side, so it’s a splurge product for me. I only use it maybe once a week or a week and a half, so this bottle will last me a while. And since my parents were in town my mom has discovered that it helped calm down an eczema spot on her arm…and then I had to inform her that wasn’t body wash! Haha
When you do a detox you need to follow up with a good conditioner. I have found Macadamia hair mask to be THEE BEST! It leaves your hair so soft and full of life! This is also not a cheap product, but well worth the splurge. I believe all their products are gluten free (don’t quote me on that though). This is not an every day conditioner either, so use sparingly, a little does go a long way. Every time I use that hair mask I get compliments on my hair.

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Hugo & Debra Naturals is a more recent find for me. I have been trying it out for almost two months now to see if I really liked it. Most natural shampoos and conditioners tend to weigh my hair down, so it’s been hard to find one that works for me. I started to look for S&C that is sodium laurel sulfate free because my scalp has been getting irritated this winter when I use Garnier products. (They are the same bottles I used for months, so it’s not a change in formula). I think my skin has been going through a dry freak out mode so I wanted to see if avoiding SLS’s would help.
My first thought on the shampoo was, no lather. The normal amount I used didn’t feel like I was getting it throughout my hair. So I do use twice as much shampoo to make sure my hair is getting clean. The conditioner I use half as much, so about a quarter size for my collar bone length hair. This conditioner makes my hair feel nice like the Macadamia hair mask, but just a few notches down on the overall outcome, if that makes any sense. This conditioner is safe for every day use.
Since I have started using Hugo & Debra Naturals products I have noticed that I have been losing a lot less hair! I used to have quite the string art on the shower wall a few months back (sorry for the TMI), but now I have only a few strands…like as in 2-4 total at the end of my shower that I lose. That to me is worth continuing on with this product! I found Hugo & Debra Naturals at Whole Foods. I usually can find the same brands at New Seasons and Fred Meyers, which are local Pacific Northwest stores, but this S&C I can only find at Whole Foods.
The description reads 100% natural, never any: Parabens, silicones, sulfates, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, PEG’s, petroleum products, artificial colors or fragrances. Soy free, vegan, gluten free, cruelty free. The company is based out of Belgium but made in the USA. You can look them up online at www.HugoDebraNaturals.com
(I do not get paid for my opinion, I bought these with my own money, this company has no idea who I am).

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Now on to styling products! I am still trying to find ones that I am super thrilled with, but in the meantime these ones I am happy with.
Alterna hairspray is now my go-to product. (Same company as Bamboo hair products). Yes it’s pricy, but it will last a long time and it’s a great hold. It’s flexible but not fallout. I used to use TRI Aerogel (which is not GF, but it has ironically never bothered my scalp) and that is considered “hurricane hairspray”. So anything that is similar to that without the crunchy effect is great in my book! The Alterna hairspray keeps your curls soft if I’m trying to keep my style all day. But I mainly use it on my bangs and they stay put.
I have tried the Garnier hairsprays, but I’m not a big fan. They just didn’t seem to hold, but people with very fine thin hair love it.
For mousse (which I have to use daily for my stubborn hair) I have settled on Garnier Sky-Hi volume. This gives a pretty good hold but not concrete hold. I liked XXL Volume better but I can never find it in stores anymore.
I have tried the Alterna mousse but it started to give me buildup so I returned it.
For a heat protectant, I use argan oil. I originally fell in love with Unite Argan Oil but it’s pretty pricy. I have since found Organix Argan oil of Morocco deep penetrating oil as a close second. I find mine at Ulta, they have the little bottles at the register for about $3 and that lasts me a long time.
Although, that is the only product from Organix that I can use. I tried one of the S&C the my mom raves about and the whole 6 hour drive home I was itching my head. So that was my first clue, although I didn’t see any glutinous products in the ingredients. I follow what my scalp tells me.
Unite has a line of gluten free products and I use a mix of the wet/dry gel with equal parts Argan oil to run thru freshly curled hair to make the curls look more natural. It will not make your hair crispy, but very soft and touchable!
That concludes this very long review of products I’ve tried. An honorable mention goes out to Desert Essence for a gluten free and I believe vegan hair care line. I tried a few, but I couldn’t find the right one for my hair type so I gave up. But they did not irritate my scalp.
I hope this helps you in finding the right gluten free hair care product. With trying to pay attention to what I put in my mouth, it’s just an added annoyance when my head itches from gluten too!
What gluten free hair care products have you tried that you like? I am interested in hearing about more brands!
If you have read this whole post, thank you! :-)

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in A day in the life of Jeni

 

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Veggie Chicken Rice Soup

I have heard the H1N1 virus (aka swine flu) has been going around lately and so now is the time to build up the immune system!
I personally am against vaccinating myself because I have an over reactive immune system that it would challenge my system even more. (That is exactly what my doctor told me). If you get vaccinated, I hope it helps you. For me it’s not worth the risk. So I do things more naturally to prevent from getting sick. And so far it’s been working for years!
First off, to help when I feel the tickle in my throat, or the glands swelling I go immediately to these natural remedies. I also follow up by adding some dōTERRA OnGuard oil to my water and it really does the trick!
My friend says to me “whatever placebo effect works for you”. but his family is ALWAYS sick! I think the placebo is working. ;-)

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Another thing to do to help your immune system is drink LOTS of water! If you consume a lot of sugar (aka bottled juice) it actually will not help much unless it’s freshly juiced, then you are getting the live enzymes to help you recover. Bottled juice is dead enzymes.
And the another thing you can do to prevent getting sick, STOP EATING FAST FOOD! You want whole foods, good produce, not antibiotic filled tumor cows and GMO veggies. Home cooked or raw veggies are what you want to build up immunity in the winter.
There is time to achieve this on a busy schedule. I usually make enough for a small army and either freeze part for next week or eat it all in one week. To add variety (because I do get bored with food) I cut up different veggies to eat with some hummus or other healthy snacks. I could eat soup every day all day though. :-]
So speaking of soup, there’s a recipe! Read, create, enjoy!

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Veggie Chicken Rice Soup

To start out:
I took a rotisserie chicken carcass and put it in to the crockpot, added 4 cups of chicken broth, then filled to the 10 cup line and dropped in a vegetable bullion cube. Put on high setting for 2 hours.

If you have the meat from the carcass then skip the chicken prep. If not, read the steps below.

Ingredients for chicken prep:
• 1 lb chicken breasts (I started mine from frozen)
• 1 tbs oil (grapeseed, or avocado oil works good).
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1/8 tsp garlic powder
• 1/8 tsp onion powder
-In a large soup pot heat oil and add chicken (frozen or fresh). Sprinkle seasonings on chicken as it’s cooking, and cook until browned on both sides. (No pink in the center).
Once cooked set aside to chop later.

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Soup prep:
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 6 celery stocks, chopped
• 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
• 1 Tbs oil

Once removed chicken from large pot, add the above ingredients and sauté for 5-10 min on medium heat until onions are almost translucent.

When your chicken stock is ready, sift out the bones and leftover meat and pour the broth into your large pot.

Then add:
• 1 lb chopped cooked chicken
• 1 tsp dried parsley
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp celery seed
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 cup Jasmine rice

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Yum yum!
I added the cabbage for an extra punch of Vitamin C. The carrots and celery are loaded with folate and calcium. A good combo to ward off the flu bug by building your immune system.
This recipe was super easy for me and I’m having a tired slow kinda day after my chiropractor torture chamber treatment. Tomorrow is always a better day. :-) But if I can do it feeling like I do, than it’s pretty easy. ;-)
Try it, it packs a lot of flavor! Yum yum!

 
 

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Porcupine Meatballs (no road kill was used in this recipe…)

I had tasted this recipe on Sunday at a friends house and usually I bring my own food but I had been eating mine the last few days so I was open to something different. When I ask my friends “what’s all in it” usually a few key ingredients get missed and I end up hurting.
I think I asked my friend 2-3 times before eating it to be sure the story was straight. So I gave one a try. They were sooo good! So I asked again so I can copy down the recipe and when she said tomato soup instead of sauce my eyes got real big! Uh oh! But she just miss spoke and it was really sauce. (I’m sure not all ingredients used were completely GF cuz I did notice some stomach cramping, but I lived).
After asking the last (probably 6th time by now) what all was in it, she finally found the recipe card and I snapped a few pics. Yea!
So here’s the recipe. It’s pretty easy. Probably 45 minutes from start to finish. Or an hour if you include cleanup.
I’m all for quick and easy! Even though my back feels like I was standing in the kitchen for 2 hours…makes it hard for me to enjoy cooking with my defects!
For some reason I enjoy baking more than cooking, maybe less chopping? But I barely bake anymore because I’ve been avoiding sugar.
Which do you prefer? Cooking or baking? Is it possible to like to both? Let me know in the comments which you prefer more? That way I can also add more of those recipes to my page. ;-)
Enjoy!

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Porcupine Meatballs
• 1/2 Cup Jasmine Rice
• 1/2 Cup water
• 1/3 Cup diced onions
• 1/4 tsp celery seed
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1/8 tsp GF garlic powder (or a few cloves fresh pressed garlic).
Side note: I’m thinking this recipe needs an herb, but can’t decide which to use. Parsley? Rosemary? Basil? Any of them would deepen the flavor for sure. About 1/2 tsp.
Also refrigerating over night would really enhance the flavor of these little porcupine balls.

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• 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
—————-
For Sauce:
• 1 (15 oz) can GF tomato sauce
• 1 cup water
• 2 TBS brown sugar
• 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins brand is Gluten Free).

The Steps:
1) Preheat oven to 400°F

2) Mix the first 7 ingredients together and let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the rice soak up some water or the rice will be crunchy when it’s finished.

3) Then add to the above mixture:
1 pound lean ground beef (preferably grass fed).
Mix together with hands until all incorporated. Roll into 1-1/2″ balls.

4) Heat 2 TBS coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat and drop 1-1/2″ round meatballs in heated oil until brown on all sides.

5) In separate bowl mix all the ingredients for the sauce together until incorporated.

6) Using a 9″x9″ or 9″x13″ pan (depending how big your meatballs turned out). Transfer all cooked meatballs into this dish and pour tomato sauce mixture over top.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turning and basting with the tomato sauce after 15 minutes.

7) Remove from oven and check the center to be sure they are cooked all the way through. Then serve over rice, GF pasta, or whatever your heart desires.

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Food Journaling

The last two weeks I have been writing down everything I eat and everything I drink no matter if it is healthy or not, I am going to the naturopath today to present it and see what he has to say about it. For the most part I eat really healthy, but it’s been a stressful few weeks so chocolate has definitely been a staple almost every day, I know that sounds bad but it’s good for the heart! ;-)
I have been following his recommendation for having one cup of coffee before noon which has been easy because I just do it in the morning as I’m getting ready. I also have been taking a really strong probiotic in the morning and taking magnesium, fish oil, and vitamin D3 morning and night. At night I have also been taking cortisol prescribed supplement to help me sleep better along with 3 mg. melatonin.
I have been feeling better incrementally but the Central Sensitization has still been bothering me to the point I have bought a few pairs of new pants and are about to return them again. I am running out of clothes that do not make my legs hurt. There is a medicine that can help this that my doc had mentioned and I think I’ll just try it because I need to be able to live life in clothes!!
Also an update on life, I did just lose my job yesterday. I think I’m still in shock. But pretty much since I got sick my performance went way down because it was, for one: really hard to focus on work dealing with that much pain, and two: the pain was making it hard to sit. It is a fast paced job that needed a high production turnover and although I loved the work and learning all about fiber optics, that fast paced is not something I can do every day for months on end. I am one who is very detail oriented and can make a plan set look really professional. (I’m not bragging, that’s usually what others have said they like about my work). It was driving me crazy on how sloppy some I the plans others were working on to get it out the door looked. But the client wanted fast, so they get sloppy. That’s not something I want my name attached to. Enough about that…
Since I have no 9-5 job now (besides looking for a job) you might see more blog posts on what I’ve been eating. So that’s a plus. I’m really going to try to not lose my focus on the more important things this time around.
So now that I’ve chattered on, here’s my food journal for the last few weeks. I am posting it because some may be needing ideas, or you are curious, or you wonder how a single person eats. Whichever category you fall in, I hope it gives you inspiration. I will work harder on eating better now that I have more time to prepare food.

Food journal:
Saturday 11-2
Egg scramble (black beans, veggies, almond cheese), homemade Guac with organic non-gmo corn chips, water, coffee, green tea, sweet potatoes.

Sunday 11-3
Egg scramble (black beans, veggies, almond cheese), tortilla bean soup with organic non-gmo corn chips, water, coffee, CF peppermint tea, sweet potatoes.

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Monday 11-4
Sweet potatoes, smoothie (purple kale, celery, avocado, ginger, pear, banana, carrot, apple juice, lime, spiralina, chia seeds, kelp granules, cinnamon, hemp powder), coffee, white tea, water, tortilla bean soup with organic non-gmo corn chips, 1 square dark chocolate, banana, curry hummus w/ mushrooms & sugar snap peas.

Tuesday 11-5
Coffee, banana, smoothie (purple kale, celery, avocado, ginger, pear, banana, carrot, apple juice, lime, spiralina, chia seeds, kelp granules, cinnamon, hemp powder), oolong tea, water, tortilla bean soup with organic non-gmo corn chips, dried mango, black olives, 3 fried eggs.

Wednesday 11-6
Banana, coffee, water, oolong tea, smoothie (banana, avocado, ginger, lemon, whole beet, huckleberries, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, kelp granules, cinnamon, unfiltered apple juice), tortilla bean soup with organic non-gmo corn chips, Kombucha, chicken broth, salad rolls w/peanut sauce, salted caramel macaron.

Thursday 11-7
Banana, coffee, water, oolong tea, smoothie (banana, avocado, ginger, lemon, whole beet, huckleberries, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, kelp granules, cinnamon, unfiltered apple juice), poached chicken w/ginger sauce, jasmine rice, spinach, tortilla chips, sweet potato

Friday 11-8
Coffee, water, tea, GF oatmeal w/ walnuts, crasins, stevia, spices. Chips & salsa, sweet potatoes. Couple squares of dark chocolate.

Saturday 11-9
Coffee, water, sweet potatoes, egg scramble (eggs, black beans, onions, almond cheese, cilantro), BBQ ribs, sweet potato.

Sunday 11-10
Coffee, water, egg scramble (eggs, black beans, onions, almond cheese, cilantro), handful chips and salsa, quinoa noodle dish (w/ turkey sausage, cabbage, onions, garlic, kale, green peppers,…), chips and salsa, small almond huckleberry muffin (made by me).

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Monday 11-11
Coffee, water, mint green tea, 5 small almond meal muffins, Granny Smith apple, poached chicken with jasmine rice and steamed spinach (this was left overs, both time made my stomach cramp), black olives, dark peppermint chocolate, jasmine green tea. Chips & salsa.

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Tuesday 11-12
Coffee, water, tea, 5 small almond meal muffins, sautéed apples & cinnamon, leftover quinoa noodle dish, green Kombucha, few squares dark chocolate.

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Wednesday 11-13
Coffee, water, tea, GF oatmeal w/walnuts and crasins, 1 small almond meal muffin, pear, small sirloin steak & BBQ sauce, leftover quinoa noodle dish, few squares dark chocolate. Turkey & roast beef sandwich (nitrate free) on Udi Chia & millet seed bread w/ onions, miracle whip, spinach, almond cheese & guac

Thursday 11-14
Coffee, tea, water, banana, GF oatmeal w/ walnuts & Crasins, Turkey & roast beef sandwich (nitrate free) on Udi Chia & millet seed bread w/ onions, miracle whip, spinach, almond cheese & guac. Quinoa noodle dish, chips & salsa, milk chocolate squares.

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Friday 11-15
Coffee, quinoa noodle dish, Turkey & roast beef sandwich (nitrate free) on Udi Chia & millet seed bread w/ onions, miracle whip, spinach, almond cheese & guac.

It kinda ends abruptly today because it’s only noon right now. So I hope this gives you some ideas. Most of my recipes I’ve listed except the muffins are in my blog, I will link some of the recipes or you can use the search feature to find them. For the sweet potatoes I just did butter (which I recommend ghee instead) and salt and pepper until they are soft.

I hope you are having a wonderful Friday and please comment below any of your favorite gluten free dishes you like to eat or if you have tried out any of my recipes. I love new ideas and would love the feedback. Please hit “like” if you enjoyed reading this.
***Update*** Doc said what I eat is really good, a lot of the same things…. But good. :-) but I have to cut out corn to see I it makes a difference. I will miss my chips and salsa. :-(…

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Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tis the season for a warm soup! One of the reasons I love autumn is because it’s a great excuse to make SOUP! I am totally a soup person. I hated breakfast foods when I was a teen, so I would eat Campbell’s select chicken noodle for breakfast. And ya, I was hungry like 1 hour later. Haha.
This soup is gluten free and very hearty. I served this Sunday and most my friends made soup or chili too. We all had that look on our face like we barely ate but were sooo full! I ate mine with my Organic non-GMO white corn chips and they had their Juanita’s. They asked why I brought my own….umm…everything about Juanita’s chips are tainted! To each his own. :-p
This soup got the crowd approval, so it’s edible. I hope you try it, it can be made in the crockpot too. If you use canned beans then you don’t have to cook as long, 20-30 minutes to simmer is fine. I wish I had more chicken to work with but there were only 2 rotisserie chickens left; small or smaller. :-( I had run all over town Saturday to get my stuff I between errands and avoiding car wrecks on the freeway. No greater joy then hitting every red light it town! :-p
I hope you try it out. Enjoy!

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Tortilla Soup

• 1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed
• 6 cups Chicken stock
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, chopped
• 3 carrot, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed
• 2 tsp. cumin
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 T. tomato paste
• salt to taste (about 3/4 – 1 tsp)
• 1/2-1 tsp pepper
• 1 rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
• Cilantro, chopped for topping
• Cheese for topping (I use almond cheese)
• Tortilla chips

How To:
Cover and soak beans overnight, or bring to boil and then turn off stove and soak for 1 hour. Drain. (Or cheat if in a time crunch and use 2-3 15oz cans rinsed and drained)
Add chicken stock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Bring to boil and simmer gently about 1 hour.
Stir in tomato paste, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
Simmer another 30-45 minutes, till beans are cooked through. Add chicken.
Remove bay leaves.
Serve topped with cilantro and cheese and tortilla chips.

*Note* I usually add more veggies than called for because I like a nice chunky soup to dip my chips in. :-)

 
 

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