Welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I'm glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the five years of recipes and ramblings collected here.

The inspiration for this site was my son. To learn about our journey to restore his intestinal and neurological health read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Take a peek at my cookbook.  

 

 

 


 

 

 

Monday
May302011

[Don't] Shake Your Kombucha

Really, what IS it? Read on to find out ...

This past weekend our little family took a drive west toward Laramie—that'd be Wyoming—to have lunch at one of our favorite spots, Lovejoy's Bar & Grill. The usual routine; lunch at Lovejoy's and then a stroll across the street for a leisurely cup of coffee at Coal Creek Coffee Company.

Coal Creek Coffee Company | Laramie, WyomingThen we trek to the top of the Laramie Railway Bridge where we wait for oncoming trains to race under our feet. One, two, fifteen, twenty, forty-five cars—what a rush!

Laramie Railway Bridge | Laramie, WyomingLastly, before heading home via Happy Jack Road, it's a stop at one of our favorite natural food stores, Big Hollow Food Coop.

This store is a gem!

It's where I pick up vanilla beans for $1.49 a piece and where I first found beet powder.

It's where I buy local duck eggs and bison.

And where I bought this here Oregon Kombucha Company Starter Kit.

A kombucha kit? Yep! Total impulse buy.

I'd tried a few of the store bought varieties of bottled kombucha, why not brew some up myself!?

For those unfamiliar with kombucha, it is a tart and fizzy fermented beverage made from sweetened tea (black or green). For the last 2,000 years, families across Asia have enjoyed kombucha for its purported medicinal qualities.

Once home, and with great anticipation, I dove into my kombucha starter kit.  I pulled out the directions, check. Then some strawberry scented green tea, check. Then a bag of yellowish liquid with a chunk of slimy white matter floating in it.

"What is that!?," my husband remarked.

I hadn't the faintest.

Back to the directions.

Turns out the slimy pancake thing was a chunk of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). It's the tasty "mother" morsel (not!) that feeds on the sweetened tea and transforms it into kombucha. The blob almost frightened me into forgoing the experiment, but I decided to forge ahead.

With all my equipment sterilized, I got to work. I brewed the tea, dissolved a cup of organic cane sugar into it, let it cool, added the blob and the liquid it swam in to the tea, set it in a warm spot and now, well, now I wait 7-30 days.

Of what little research is out there, kombucha has shown to have antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties in lab tests. For me, the verdict is still out. Some sources have scared me into not even wanting to touch the stuff. Others have likened it to miracle water. We'll just have to see how this mad science experiment turns out. Look for an update in a week or two—if I survive the first sip.

More on Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha over at Seeds of Health
Kombucha: What It Is and Its Health Benefits and Health Drawbacks over at Body Ecology
The Kombucha Starter Kit Company Brewing Instructions over at Oregon Kombucha
What is Kombucha? over at Happy Healthy Life

DISCLAIMER: If you are going to try this at home, do so at your own risk—I am. As with anything new, read up on it. Kombucha may not be the right beverage for you. The Body Ecology article above makes the case that kombucha may not be the best fermented beverage for people following the Anti-Candida Diet and/or those with compromised immune systems. It's always best to seek the advice of a nutritionist or doctor.

Share with Us

Do you drink kombucha? What's your take on it?

Wednesday
May252011

Dairy-Free Frozen Custard

A bowl of this Dairy-Free Frozen Custard should hit the spot this Memorial Day weekend. The coconut sugar it's sweetened with imparts a hint of caramel flavor. What would you mix in?With a long weekend coming up I am excited to have some extra time to play with "mix-in's" for this basic, super creamy dairy-free frozen custard. I thought I would go ahead and post it to see if you had some tasty ideas. I'm thinking coffee, cookie dough ... hmmmmm. How about you? I'd also like to experiment with different sweeteners. The one thing I like about using coconut sugar is the color and caramel flavor it imparts. Plus it's low glycemic and can be cut back even further should you choose to use part stevia, part sugar.

Dairy-Free Frozen Custard

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian

Serves: 6
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 7-9 hours

Ingredients:

3 EGG YOLKS
2 cans full fat COCONUT MILK (I prefer Thai Kitchen®)
1/2 cup COCONUT SUGAR
1 tablespoon VANILLA EXTRACT
10 drops vanilla LIQUID STEVIA (or 1/4 cup additional coconut sugar)
Pinch of SEA SALT

Directions:

In medium bowl, whisk yolks and set aside. In medium saucepan, combine and gently heat milk and sugar until a few whisps of steam rise from surface (do not boil). Whisk 1/4 cup cream mixture into yolks. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture and gently heat over medium, stirring constantly, for an additional 3-5 minutes or until mixture thicken just a bit and coats spoon.

Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt. Cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill 6-8 hours. Add to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions (I make mine in a Cuisinart). Serve immediately or for a firmer frozen custard, transfer to a glass container with an air-tight lid and freeze. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up a bit.

Notes:

Cane sugar is something I rarely stock in my pantry. For those who do, brown sugar would make a suitable replacement for the coconut sugar—maybe use a little less or sweeten to taste. I highly recommend giving coconut sugar a try. It has a lovely flavor and is lower on the Glycemic Index than cane (approximately 35 vs. 60). The Spunky Coconut has a great post on coconut sugar, so check it out. Buy it off of Amazon or at your local natural food store or from a co-op like Azure Standard (I love them!).

Other Dairy-Free Frozen Treats to Try

Basic Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream over at Go Dairy Free
Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream over at Gluten Free Easily
Dairy Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
Macadamia Nut & Coffee Ice Cream over at The Spunky Coconut
Vegan Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream over at Elana's Pantry

Monday
May232011

Book Review: Everyday Paleo

I made this super-easy Karina's Sausage Hash from the new cookbook "Everday Paleo." Made it with four ingredients and it only took me 15 minutes!

Okay gang, I'm back. Still reeling from a rather stressful month, but am back—well kind of.

So last night I sat in the local emergency room for five hours, observed a few things and had a long, overdue chat with myself. It seems three years worth of stress finally caught up with me in the form of chest pain. It had been going on a week and I finally decided I'd better get checked out.

The talk I had with myself went like this "let things go, stop trying to control everything, worrying is not getting you anywhere (but the ER!), find joy and laughter in everyday things, have compassion toward others, love the soul and focus less on the human faults."

Then there were the observations. First, I marvelled at how the emergency staff was able to provide compassionate care yet not get emotionally wrapped up in every case that walked through the door. A big lesson for me. They helped as they could, did the best they could, were kind and comforting, but did not crack under the pressure. The second observation was the number of sick and wounded that came in. Miscarriages, car accidents, migraines, chest pain, illness, wounds, young and old. That's when I thought to myself that into every life the unexpected comes. Trials and heartbreak. No one is spared. I can go on about the stress in my life, but it doesn't make me special, we all have it. What I need to turn my attention to is how I react and respond to the annoyances and bumps in life.

So what does all of this have to do with a book review?

This morning I spent more time with Sarah Fragoso's new book, Everyday Paleo: Embracing a Natural Diet & Lifestyle to Increase Your Family's Health, Fitness, and Longevity and Sarah gave it to me straight (she's a personal trainer afterall)!

In the chapter "Sleep and Stress" she was speaking right to me when she says:

"[The] secret to successfully destressing is the same as my secret to
maintaining a healthy lifestyle—make the choice to do it! We can choose
to always wallow in the challenges that life throws at us or we can embrace
life's challenges, grateful for all of the good in life that we do have.

Bad stuff happens, every day, all of the time, but managing your
health first is the most important factor in surviving the bad
and coming through it thriving!" 

What I really admire about Sarah and her book is that she, like many of us, is an active mom who has had her share of painful experiences and personal challenges. But looking at her today, I see an overcomer. She glows and inspires.

I think of Everyday Paleo as a 3-in-1 therapy, recipe and fitness book. Sarah's goal is to help you lose weight, regain your health and achieve a level of fitness you never thought possible. She gives detailed instructions for acquiring a Paleo lifestyle. She shows that eating a Paleo diet is not only feasible for the busiest of families, but also easy, delicious and completely life changing. She offers numerous recipes for all meals of the day, and provides tips for getting around common road blocks, such as eating out and school lunches. Finally, to keep your entire family fit and sane, she lays out easy-to-follow workout routines that you can do at the gym or at home.

If you've been curious about the Paleo way of eating and want an easy to follow plan, this would be a good book to buy. Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, wrote the forward to Sarah's book. You might check out his book for an indepth look at the diet.

I'd say that our family follows a Paleo-inspired diet. I am not sure if we would ever go 100% Paleo, but the tenets of the diet make a whole lot of sense to me. And the simple, wholesome recipes in Everyday Paleo are all ones I plan to try.

Everyday Paleo can be purchased from Amazon. Oh and don't forget to check out the Everyday Paleo blog!

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The Concept Behind the Paleo Way of Eating
"We should eat as our ancestors once did, we should eat based on how we
are genetically wired to eat, and we should eat foods that are not processed,
modified, or tampered with in any way, shape, or form."

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Sunday
May152011

Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

A guest post from my mom and dad from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

The too short useful lifespan of the ''little bit goes a long way'' Cilantro in the garden has, at times, frustrated me.

There is such a short window of time to traditionally harvest the the pungent cilantro leaf! Gleefully snapping up my packet of Cilantro seeds from the garden section of our local store, my taste buds perk up from a vision of Guacamole, Thai Spring Rolls and Curry. 

I am in the habit of planting about 10 seeds a week to have successive harvests that are just right, at the usual stage of neat and tidy large potent leaves which are carefully cut from their stems, and sparingly added to my dishes. I still love using the large leaves in the traditional way for garnish and flavor.

Catching my attention in the back row, I admire Cilantro's next stage, which had always gone to compost. I now find myself watching the cilantro bolt after the first harvest. 

Previously, this stage was dreaded because the leaves are smaller, way milder and too hard to harvest. The voluminous 15'' gorgeous dark green, bushy, leafy, many branched, mild scented and sweet, bolting stage of Cilantro called out to me, so I gently cut the bolting plants one inch from the ground (they'll regrow), and whisked them into the kitchen. The main stem is discarded. Chop quite a big pile of everything else (at least several cups per serving). This makes a winning addition to any soup, stew, or stir-fry dish!

I now find myself wishing my cilantro hurries up and gets to that awkward, bolting stage, for the mildest, best tasting, small leafy greens and tender stems!

Thursday
May052011

The Twisted Sisters

Happy Mothers Day all you Mama Bears! You are the inspiration for this blog. The stories you share and every email I receive reassures me that we all have challenges, but that we are not alone in our journey!

I would like to send my very own mommy a special Mothers Day greeting. Mom, you are my best friend, you have never failed me, you are my safe place. Thank you for all you are to me. And, sorry I didn't send a card this year :), I know you understand.

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What would we do without friends? A couple of mine have stepped up to the plate to guest post in my "absence" and I am grateful! A week ago my father passed and I am with my boys and grandparents in Las Vegas sorting through matters. My best friend and husband has been a champ holding down the home front. Thanks hubby!!

Hearing of our news, one of our long-time friends, Dr. Wayne Tompkins offered to do a "guest appearance" until I am able to get back into the kitchen. Dr. Tompkins has a wellness practice in Hollister, Missouri where he treats patients for fertility, women’s health and a myriad of health concerns. Please welcome Dr. Tompkins! 

The Twisted Sisters: The Female Hormone Saga

Once upon a time there were two sisters who had to live together and get along. One of the sisters was very bossy and had a domineering nature. Her name was ‘Estrogen’. The other sister was quiet and submissive and named ‘Progesterone’. Estrogen tried to run the show and didn’t know her boundaries. Unfortunately, she had all the connections and received a lot of help and support from outside the house. She hooked up with her evil friends like Toxin, Stress, and Pollution. With supervision, Estrogen really shined, but left alone, she made poor choices in choosing her friends which upset the restful order in the home.

Dr. Wayne Tompkins of Tompkins Wellness CenterProgesterone, on the other hand, was pretty smart, but she needed lots of help. When Estrogen and her evil friends ruled the roost, she tended to shut down and not stand her ground. However; she knew what it took to create an environment that was inviting and safe for new little inhabitants in the house. With some support from her friends, Rest, Nutrition, and Purification, she harmonized marvelously and stood her ground with her often dominant sibling.

Now you’ve probably figured out this house is your body and the story is not a fairy tale from ages past. It is present day reality and describes a condition commonly known as ‘estrogen dominance’ ... when estrogen has the upper hand. Estrogen’s friends are what are known as, or false estrogens. They are toxins, food dyes, preservatives and noxious chemicals. They are very good imitators of actual estrogen and easily latch on to its receptor sites. The result is hormone imbalance and a dominance of estrogen in the body.

Keeping a balance between estrogen and progesterone are critical for fertility and female health in general. Read the following lists and decide which category you fit into.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Infertility
  • Painful, irregular menstrual cycles
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease
  • PMS
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Foggy thinking…just to name a few

Results of Hormone Balance

  • Fertility
  • Regular menstrual cycles
  • Sufficient energy levels
  • Normal sleep patterns
  • Smooth transition into menopause
  • Absence of unwanted conditions/diseases such as endometriosis, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), fibrocystic breast disease etc.
  • Clear-headed thinking

Hopefully your body is in a state of balance. All too often; however, we see a prevalence of estrogen dominance. Read on to see how balance can be restored in your body.

Dr. Wayne’s Protocol for Restoring Hormone Balance

1. Get a clear picture of your hormone health. Visit with a Natural Women’s Health Practitioner you trust to order a female hormone panel which is customized to your stage of life. (See special offer at the end of this article to get started)

2. Commence recommended female hormone balancing program which usually includes:

  • Specific herb and supplement protocols
  • Detoxification and lifestyle modification
  • Possible adjunctive therapies such as chiropractic and acupuncture
  • Labs to determine initial baseline and progress

Dr. Tompkins offers free 10 minute consults over the phone. To schedule time with him for a chat, call his office at 417-336-2620. In addition, Dr. Tompkins is extending the following Mothers Day special offer to readers of Lexie's Kitchen! For more information, visit www.tompkinswellnesscenter.com.

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Mother’s Day Special Offer

25% off: Initial Female Health Panel

Good through May 18, 2011 

Call: 417-336-2620

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