Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews

Cranberry Cashew Kale Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a delicious salad any time of year, but it is particularly good, in my opinion, in Autumn! The crunch of the cashews, and the chewiness of the dried cranberries, along with the savory scallions and tangy mustard maple dressing is the perfect balance of sweet and zesty!

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews

1 Bunch of Lacinato Kale (also known as dinosaur kale)

1/3 Cup of Dried Cranberries (fruit juice sweetened if available)

1/3 Cup of Raw Cashews

2 Scallions (thinly sliced)

1 Tablespoon of White Balsamic Vinegar

Mustard Maple Dressing:

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of White Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

Wash and strip the stems from the kale. Tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces and add them to a medium salad bowl. Pour over 1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar and massage the kale leaves with your hands. The vinegar and massaging will help break down the fibers in the kale and make them tender, about three minutes will do.

Add in the cranberries, cashews and sliced scallions.

Whisk together the Dressing ingredients, and pour over the kale salad. Toss and serve!

Delicious Kale Salad with Cranberries, Cashews and a Maple Mustard Dressing. Gluten and Dairy Free

Apple Maple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Apple Maple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze Paleo

I’m sitting in my kitchen this morning listening to the rain pour down outside. It is really pleasing and cheerful after such a long hot and humid spell. It feels so refreshing after the oppressive heat. The air is cooler and more invigorating. I am envisioning everything getting washed fresh to bring in the new season.

Apple Maple Cake Grain Free Moist and Delicious

Because it is September, and the apples are in season, my mind always wanders to baked apples, warm cinnamon, cloves and spices.

What better way to welcome in the cooler weather than a coffee cake filled with delicious softly baked apples.

Whole Apple Maple Coffee Cake - Whole top View

Ming always gets frisky in the cooler weather, so we will be doing more outside walks. In the heat she just plops down and refuses to budge. Fawn pugs do have a double coat, which must be terribly hot. I can only imagine if I were wearing not one, but two coats in the hot weather, what I would do. Here she is in her beautiful new collar and leash from Pack Leashes. We always get her a brand new spiffy collar after Summer, and I found this company recently that donates 4 pounds of dog food to a no kill shelter with every purchase, plus their leashes are guaranteed for life! Gotta love that! You can get 20% off your purchase from me when shopping with them by using the code MINGANDLILY at checkout.

ming

I’ve recently been busy in my sewing room making quilts. In this case they are two panda quilts, one is finished, and I am almost done with the second. I’ve been sewing since I was in middle school. I made one of my prom dresses in high school, then when my husband and I bought our first home, I made window treatments, pillows, table runners and other home decor. When we had our little girls, I sewed them dresses and Halloween costumes and stuffed animals. Then a nice women in our town introduced me to quilting, and I found a whole new avenue that I really loved. Two years ago I opened an Etsy Shop, Porcupine Craft Studio.  You can visit if here: Right now I have many different bags available, and my daughter Jessica makes greeting cards using quilling art. The quilts will go in the shop in the next couple weeks. I find time to sew in the evenings, and I  find it relaxing and an enjoyable creative outlet.

Here’s my latest quilt.

Apple Maple c

Back to the Apple Maple Coffee Cake! It is perfect for a rainy day or a sunny autumn day. This recipe is grain free, dairy free and nut free. I topped it with a creamy coconut butter maple frosting which is spread over the baked apple top. The cake is baked with the apples in the bottom, which makes them perfectly soft.

Apple Maple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Preheat the oven to 350º degrees F.

Ingredients for the Cake:

3 Cups of Peeled, Cored and Sliced Apples

1/2 Cup of Maple Sugar

1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Flour

6 Pastured Eggs

1/4 Cup of Organic Shortening 

1/4 Cup of Coconut Butter

1 Tablespoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

1 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon of Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon of Allspice

1/8 Teaspoon of Cloves

1/4 Teaspoon of fine Sea Salt

Ingredients for the Maple Glaze:

1/2 Cup of Coconut Butter 

2 Tablespoons of Real Maple Syrup

Directions:

Grease an 8″ spring form or cake pan with organic shortening. Draw a round circle on parchment paper using the bottom of the cake pan as a template. Cut out the circle and place it in the bottom of the greased pan.

Place the peeled, sliced apples in the bottom of the pan in concentric circles starting on the outside and working your way in.

apples

In a food processor, add six eggs and the maple sugar. Process until creamy. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, coconut butter (soften the coconut butter just slightly for ten seconds in the microwave) and palm shortening, process until creamy. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Process for thirty seconds, then scrape down the sides of the processor, and process another minute. Scoop the cake batter over the apples and spread evenly over the apples to the sides of the pan.

*If using a spring form pan, I recommend placing it on a cookie sheet to bake in case of leakage.

Bake in your preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean when poked in the middle of the cake with just a few crumbs on it.

Remove the coffee cake from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for ten minutes. Remove the sides of the spring form pan and cool completely. If using a cake pan, run a knife around the edges of the cake pan, and invert onto a wire rack to cool. When the cake is cooled, you are ready to make the glaze.

This is super simple and delicious. Soften a half cup of coconut butter in the microwave. Do this in ten second increments just until it is soft. Whisk in two tablespoons of pure maple syrup with a fork. Then, spread the glaze evenly over the coffee cake. Now it is all done and ready to serve.

You can absolutely pour this glaze over the cake when it is still warm and serve it that way too! There is nothing better than a warm coffee cake!

Apple Maple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze. This cake is moist and perfect for Autumn. Grain, Dairy and Nut Free!

How Do I Increase My Enthusiasm and Creativity?

Enthusiasm and Creativity

If your creativity is at an all time low and you find all you are doing is going from one task, chore, item on your to do list to another……you know, going through the motions, because your day is all mapped out for you? Or, if you spend every spare moment of your day scrolling through social media, maybe you need a little boredom in your life!

The happiest times in people’s lives are when they have plans, dreams and are inspired! You don’t have time to think about these things when your day is jam packed and you fill every spare moment you have by grabbing your phone. I’m talking about when you are waiting in line, waiting to be called for an appointment, eating, walking, you know any spare moment? It isn’t refreshing, and it can be exhausting and draining to fill your brain with what other people are posting. That’s because our minds need time to do nothing! This actually frees up space to plan, dream and create. You should have at least one dream right now or goal you want to achieve. At all times, you should have one dream for your future.

creativity and inspiration

If you want to increase your creativity, you need head space for that. I know when I land on a new creative idea it gives me a huge surge of enthusiasm, energy and joy, and I can’t wait to get started! My most creative times are when I have had some free time, without an agenda, to get rid of mental clutter. Be deliberate about having time inside your own head.

When you are so busy all day every day, and you don’t have time to sit with your thoughts, your mind is like a fragmented computer. Distractions are the antithesis of creativity. If you can think back to a time when you were on fire with ideas, plans and enthusiasm, you can be sure you had time to just be. Working out, walking, or going for a jog without distractions is also a good way to boost creativity according to a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

If you take the time to surround yourself with a little quiet time, whether you are moving your body or sitting still, you will increase your enthusiasm and creativity, and this will increase your level of happiness. We were meant to create.

How do you increase your enthusiasm and creativity?

Fresh Peach Salsa

This Salsa is light and refreshing, and no cook! I have been taking advantage of the bounty of fresh peaches to make this delightful salsa. It has the zip of red onion, the tartness of pineapple and lime, the juiciness of peaches (so, so good when in season), and the bite of some black pepper!

Fresh Peach Salsa So Fresh and Easy

This comes together in under ten minutes. What’s better than a fresh fruit salsa with no additives or preservatives. The color is gorgeous too!

Fresh Peach Salsa - Nightshade Free

If you are in the cilantro haters camp, substitute fresh parsley. I happen to love it, and it adds a nice salsa flavor, but parsley is good too.

Mixing Fresh Peach Salsa

Fresh Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Fresh Pineapple, Diced

1 Fresh, Ripe Peach, Diced

1/4 Cup of Red Onion, Minced

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lime Juice

2 Teaspoons of Runny Honey

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)

Directions:

Add the prepared pineapple, peach, onion and cilantro to a bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, honey, salt and pepper if using. Pour it over the salsa mixture and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh Peach Salsa Nightshade Free

Superfood Cinnamon Goji Berry Muffins

Superfood Cinnamon Goji Muffins Gluten Free

How’s your August so far? The Summer is flying by, and I have been trying to soak up every minute of it by getting outside as much as possible. I have been taking these Superfood muffins with me! The Goji berries and cinnamon gives them a delicious earthy, whole grain flavor.

Superfood Cinnamon Goji Berry Muffins

My daughter, who is going to be a Senior this year, has her first job over the Summer at a very busy ice cream shop, and we are getting ready for Senior Portraits this month. It’s true, they grow up too fast. It’s been an adjustment for her younger sister, who is the baby of the family, but we have been enjoying Mother/Daughter one on one time.

What’s been your favorite thing so far about this Summer? I hope you are living with an attitude of abundance. There is always something that is good, and having a good attitude can completely change your outlook. Being happy and bright is a habit that can be cultivated until it just comes naturally, just as negative thoughts and attitudes are. Our bodies and health respond to our attitude, moods and beliefs. So, take time every day to do something you love, and also embrace your have to do’s. It really doesn’t serve us at all to moan and groan about having to clean, go to work, grocery shop, etc. Doing it with a good, can do attitude makes life so much better! Cultivate happiness.

So, here is this amazing muffin recipe that promotes health and tastes delicious!

Superfood Cinnamon Goji Berry Muffins

Soak your dried goji berries in water overnight in the refrigerator, or for two hours at room temperature making sure the berries are completely covered with water.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups of Diced Zucchini

3 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Soaked Goji Berries (Like these), soaked and drained

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup of Coconut Milk

1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon of Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F. In a food processor, add your diced zucchini and process to make crumbs. Add the eggs, and puree. Now, add the coconut sugar, avocado oil, cinnamon, coconut milk and vanilla. Process until creamy. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt, and process for one minute. Finally, add all but two tablespoons of the goji berries and pulse just until combined.

Scoop the muffin batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin papers and sprinkle the remaining goji berries on top of the muffins. Bake in your preheated oven 25 to 35 minutes, or until the muffins spring back to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and cool five minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

goji superfood muffins

Grain Free Superfood Muffins! Paleo, Dairy Free deliciousness!

 

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Ice Cream.jpg

I have this slight obsession with toasted coconut ice cream with chocolate bits. There is this extraordinary ice cream shop where we vacation every Summer, and they have the Best ice cream……..Toasted Coconut is my favorite. It’s been around for years, but since becoming dairy intolerant, I haven’t chosen to partake. It is their #2 best seller. Of course, the ice cream has dairy (It is gluten free) which totally does not agree with me, and I don’t want to spend my vacay time with a belly ache and bloating because I couldn’t resist.

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

So, I was thinking “Dang Girl, aren’t you a food blogger and recipe developer?” Me to self, “Well, Ya”…… So, I made my own, getting as close as possible. This is a recipe to replicate my favorite Vacay Ice Cream without the refined sugar and dairy. It’s delicious, it’s got some crunch, and a whole lot of yum factor!

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Dairy Free Ice Cream Gluten Free

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

1 Cup of Dang Coconut Chips (this kind, already toasted for you)

1/3 Cup of Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life)

1 Can of Full Fat Coconut Milk, chilled

1/4 Cup of Pure Honey (local tastes best)

1/4 Cup of Coconut Butter, Softened

1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon of White Rum (I used Bacardi it’s Gluten Free)

1 Tablespoon of Grass Fed Collagen

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Directions:

In a mini food processor, process your coconut chips until they are fine in texture. Lay them out in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time until smooth and creamy. Stir them with a fork in between 30 second increments until they are completely melted and creamy. Drizzle the melted chips over the coconut. Toss the coconut and chocolate with forks on the sheet to coat about 75 percent of the coconut. Let sit for a couple hours at room temperature until it has solidifying and can be broken into bits with your hands.

chocolate coconut

Once your coconut chocolate bits are ready, you can make your ice cream.

In a blender, blend the coconut milk, honey, coconut butter, vanilla, collagen, salt and white rum. The rum makes the ice cream softer. Add it to an electric ice cream maker and churn. At the end of churning time, add the coconut chocolate bits. This will be the last few minutes. Let the machine incorporate the chocolate coconut bits.

Serve!

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream that is Dairy Free Crunchy Chocolatey Deliciousness!

Back to School Survivial

teacher survivial

It’s coming! If you don’t want to think about back to school, you can just skip this……but if you want to get prepared! Ha, this is for teachers, parents and students!!! I don’t know about you, but my kids work hard all school year. My daughter Jessica has been working her behind off this Summer at her job, but loving every minute and making new connections. Imagine how pleased I was on her evening off when she came over to tell me…..”I hope you don’t mind Mom, but I raided your Perfectly Posh Face Masks and used a couple for a mini facial. I really needed it!” She is learning early how to take good care of her face for beautiful skin for a lifetime! Happy Mama here!!!
All the products in this photo are especially nice for Back to School.

You can shop for your own bundle and find these natural products here:

https://sandrashields.po.sh

I sincerely appreciate your support in bringing you safer beauty and skincare products!

Sandra

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