Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies #getting me through the holidays

Hey Guys,
So as you may know, this was my first holiday season without gluten...and it was supposed to be without processed sugar. Hmmmmm, don't want to hit all my goals in 2016, gotta save something for next year!

Anyways, seriously, I wouldn't have made it through the holidays without this recipe. It was just the right amount of sweet and festive to get me through the holiday parties. I adapted this recipe from Megan over at Detoxinista. As usual, I had to fiddle with it and make it my own. Feel free to do the same!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 12-15 small cookies


1 1/2 cups almond meal I used this kind and love it! (almond flour doesn't give as good a texture but will do in a pinch)
1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons melted ghee
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses

Extra arrowroot or tapioca starch, for rolling & cutting (If you want to go to all that trouble)


Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl combined the almond meal, starch, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and stir to combine. Add in the ghee, maple syrup and molasses and stir again until a sticky dough is formed.

Since, I was the only one eating these, I didn't waste time making them pretty. I found you could plop them by the spoonful on the cookie sheet, pat them flat and it worked just fine.

Another option I liked was flattening out all the dough into a small parchment lined cookie sheet, scoring it into squares, and baking. Then when it was done baking and cooling for a bit, I would break them into pieces more like crackers. I cooked them the same amount of time and on the same temperature when I did this.

But in case you want to be pretty and festive and make cut out cookies:
then place the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes to help it firm up. (Or you could place it in the fridge overnight, if you want to make this a day in advance.) Place the dough in the center of a large piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with a bit of arrowroot or tapioca starch to help prevent sticking. Using a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat sheet, about 1/4-inch thick. Dip your cookie cutters into a bit of the starch, then press them into the dough to create each cookie. Pull away the excess dough to reveal each shape, and re-roll the dough to create more shapes.

Which ever way you choose to do it, bake on 350 for 12-14 min.

I loved these so much it was hard to keep from eating the whole batch in 24 hrs. To be fair, it only makes 12 small cookies....ok...but I guess that's a bit excessive for 24 hrs.
Did I mention I used to be addicted to sugar? (LOL!)
 This is a far cry from what I used to eat at Christmas, so I'll count myself as doing AWESOME! ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Here's to You Diet Coke and Chocolate!

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

This quote absolutely describes my journey into clean eating....and its been a long reluctant one.

What was wrong with living on diet coke, microwave popcorn, and hot tamales? They were getting me through the day!( This photo is of my lunch one day, lunch of champions!)

 I used to laugh my head off at anyone who talked about limiting carbs. I often have joked that I could go on an all carb diet but not a low carb diet! And don't you even mess with my sugar! This girl has dessert after lunch and dinner and her breakfast has long been healthy eggo waffles and coconut coffee creamer!

The truth is I liked eating what I wanted, when I wanted it.
 I thought it was food freedom.
 I especially liked it when I could manipulate things so that I was at my goal weight and still getting my delicious junk foods.

In my ignorant bliss I laughed and ignored all the "fads" around whole foods and paleo diets. I had no clue that a diet built on little nutrition and high in processed sugar would one day hand me a nasty little bill.

When my family and I moved to Texas in 2013, I was feeling physically and emotionally a mess. It had been a hard spring preparing for a move I did not want to make.

 I had drowned my sorrows in tons of twizzlers, reese's peanut butter cups, cokes, and fast food meals. And don't even get me started on the coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.
It was a bad set up and I was starting to see the results.

  •   weight gain
  • brain was so foggy
  • tired and depressed
  •   left side pain
  •  alternating constipated and diarrhea
  • abdominal pain most of the month 
By the time we moved into our new home, I was having a new more intense type of brain fog that I could best describe as dizziness or bobble head. It was such a vague symptom with such a big impact on my daily life! I drank tons of caffeine to try to get enough clarity to do my day, which involved homeschooling our 3 kids.

 This situation caused me to slowly opened my mind a tiny bit to consider a different way of eating.

Last New Year's Day, fresh off a delightful hysterectomy, I entertained the idea of going sugar free, I knew it would be good for me. I even bought this amazing book: "I quit Sugar: Your complete 8 week detox program and cookbook" by Sarah Wilson. But when I read it, I laughed and thought, that chick is crrrraazy!  So I've suffered along another year.

In September, after reading , It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways I did my first Whole 30, because I believed God asked me to.
( more on that in another post)

In the first week of October, I was told that it appears I might have celiac (click here to find out more about celiac) disease. And according to a food allergy test, I had a leaky gut and a whole host of other food sensitivities at this moment. The foods I was "allowed" to eat were shrinking fast.

Still, I had to keep taking the long way ...

  •  multiple grillings of my doctors
  • various blood tests
  • research research research  
  • some cheating and
  • a very expensive nutritionist, 

 Now I'm fully convinced I need to do a no sugar, low fruit diet.
I am back to a slightly adapted Whole 30 style eating plan.

Sometimes I get really frustrated with myself.
Why didn't I just take the doctor's word for it and eat meat, veggies, and fruit with no sugar from October on?

 I'd probably feel a lot better right now.

Still, I guess its a process and one I have to be fully invested in and convinced of. If I have to make a few mistakes and learn by trial and error, so be it. I think God knows that about me. I'm so grateful for His grace and patience.

For someone as opposite to this lifestyle as I was, its bound to take baby steps.

So, if you are reading this and you have just found out that you need to take drastic lifestyle changes for your health, then know you aren't alone.
Just keep moving forward one step at a time.
 We will process through this together.
We can do this!
For my Aunt Suzie, I'm documenting my journey for you. If you have to follow me down this road, then I hope what I learn will help make your journey easier.

Here's to the dawning of a new season!
xoxo Michelle

Stay tuned:

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, I am embarking on the latest adventure in my journey...quitting coffee....look for my post, "I quit coffee and other hilarious things I never thought I'd say."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Peaceful Gardens

I shot this photo in Chandor Gardens this morning with Linda and Erica. It was a beautiful winter morning. This charming historic place was full of mystery and stories. I felt this pull to sit in quiet and expectation with the Lord and a sketch pad to see what might emerge. Not time for that today but one day soon,  I hope to go back! What a peaceful place.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Creative Outlets

I confess that I'm a total nerd! One of my favorite things to do as a teenager was to close myself in my room with  poster boards, a stack of magazines, scissors, and glue. Oh and don't for get the gold puff paint! Then I would cut, arrange, and glue for hours as I listened to Mariah Carey or Garth Brooks. I would express whatever was going on in my dramatic teen heart. So, hopefully I'm not quite as dramatic these days but every now and  again I love to make a good old fashion collage. When I found this blank covered journal,  I felt it was the perfect canvas for a December collage. So here it is in all its throwback glory.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mexican Zucchini and Beef Skillet Recipe

Hello there, 
In our new eating world I have found a few recipes I love and that my family likes! 
This Mexcian Zucchini and Beef Skillet  is one of them, I found it on Pintrest, thank you Lisa!

 Tonight I am adding a diced problano pepper and fresh tomatoes instead of the canned (I didn't have one in the pantry). We are also trying a new type of rice tonight, brown basmati rice that I bought at Aldi a few weeks ago. I may have a little, I try to take it easy on the rice, even though its not one of my allergens at the moment. However, for the rest of the family I like to round out the meal by putting it on top of rice or quinoa. 
If you're bored of your current meals, give this one a try. 

                                                                                       xoxo Michelle 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Well Hello, there...

Hi Friends and Fam,
Its been literally 6 years since I wrote a post on this blog. Recently I have been thinking about picking it back up. So here I am...blogging again. Why?

  • I need a creative outlet.
  •  I love documenting life like this. Where else can you save so many pieces of your life? I have loved browsing through my old posts of the kids when they were little. 
  •  I want to renew this type of connection with my family and friends. 
  • And I love sharing things I learn and things I love. So there will be a bit of that too. 
Yay! Hugs to my peeps...welcome to my new work in progress....
xoxo Michee