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.  








Hawaii: Fresh Coconut Milk

This morning my dad showed my boys how to husk and open a coconut. With the finesse and ease I remember from my childhood, he wielded his hatchet, cut away the husk, cracked open the shell and captured the precious coconut water. As we all (dogs included) sat in the yard snacking on chunks of coconut flesh, inspiration hit. I ran to the kitchen to try my hand at making coconut milk. The finished product was divine! Fresh, creamy and rich.

To make fresh coconut milk at home you'll need two things; a high-powered blender (like a Blendtec or VitaMix) and a coconut.

For those living far from the tropics, I have seen coconuts at Whole Foods and other specialty food stores. When selecting one, shake it. If you hear coconut water, you know it's good. If you don't there likely is a crack in the shell and the coconut may be rancid.

When cracking open the shell of the coconut, try your best to capture the coconut water. Coconut water is the purest liquid second only to water itself. It is loaded with electrolytes, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Use this liquid in place of some of the water for blending.


This is Montana. She's sending you some love from Hawaii this Valentines Day.

Fresh Coconut Milk

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free (coconuts are regarded as a fruit) | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw

Makes: About 4 cups
Prep Time: 10-30 minutes




1. If not already husked, carefully husk coconut using a hatchet. Check for husked coconuts at Whole Foods and other specialty food stores—it'll save you some work.

2. On a very hard surface (like concrete), tap around the perimeter of the coconut shell until it breaks in half. If possible, catch the coconut water. The water should smell clean and fresh. If there is no water or if the water is smelly, you'll know it's rancid—don't use it.

3. With a paring knife, carefully cut/pry out the white flesh.

4. Transfer flesh to a high-powered blender (such as a Blendtec) and add an equal measure of filtered water (e.g. 3 cups coconut pieces + 3 cups water).

5. Blend on high for one minute or until fairly smooth.

6. Strain coconut milk using a nut milk bag or reusable mesh produce bag (such as 3B).

7. Enjoy plain or add a splash of vanilla, sweetener of choice and a pinch of salt. This milk is creamy and divine and made the tastiest latte when I added a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee!


Pick out a brown coconut. The one pictured is a younger coconut and not the coconut I used for making this batch of coconut milk. This coconut yielded softer flesh and would produce a milder tasting coconut milk.

Remove the flesh from the coconut and add to a high-powered blender along with an equal measure of water. Blend and strain milk using a nut bag or other fine-mesh bag.

Another Way to Make Coconut Milk

Elana over at Elana's Pantry recently posted a coconut milk recipe using shredded coconut.


Food Matters for Autism & Giveaway

This post is the second in a series of guest posts from my friend Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist. You can read her first guest post, Nourshing Hope for Autism, here. For more information about Julie and her services visit www.NourishingHope.com.

Guest Post 2: Food Matters for Autism
For every disease or disorder—diabetes to heart disease, celiac to IBS—food matters.


Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine taught us to “let food be thy medicine” and informed us “all disease begins the gut.” To help heal autism, we must remember these principles and relearn the use of healthy food and nutrition for our children.

Parents report positive changes to health and behavior when applying special “autism diets” which involve removing offending foods and boosting the nutritious foods children eat. They are realizing that they can affect their child’s health through these calculated omissions and additions to diet. Since parents determine what their children eat, implementing a diet is an empowering step parents can take to help their child(ren) feel better, reduce their autism symptoms and help them pursue their full potential. 

Here is some current knowledge about food, diet and autism:
  1. Children with autism have problems with certain foods that affect their behavioral, cognitive, and physical symptoms.1,3,5
  2. Food has a direct effect on the gut, intestinal inflammation and digestive capacity—which in turn affects physiology and brain function.2, 4
  3. Nutrient deficiencies are common with autism.6,7,8 
  4. Gut problems and insufficient digestive enzyme function are common.9
  5. Digestion, detoxification and immune function are often affected.
  6. Dietary intervention influences these disordered systems seen in autism:
  • The gut is considered the “second brain” and the “gut-brain" connection has been studied in autism.10 
  • Healing the gut positively influences the brain.
  • Addressing digestive issues increases nutrition absorption. As nutrient status improves, systems function better—including the brain.
  • Removing foods containing toxins (such as artificial additives) that adversely affect brain chemistry relieves a burden on the liver and detoxification system and affects improvement in brain function and behavior.11
  • By avoiding inflammatory foods (gluten, casein and others) we support immune and digestive systems.

When you see how much food matters, it’s easy to understand why most people who try dietary intervention benefit! The Autism Research Institute (ARI) surveyed thousands of parents and found that 69% of those applying the Gluten-free Casein-free Diet (GFCF) saw improvement. For the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), 71% noted improvement. In recent autism diet research funded by Autism Speaks, 82% of parents reported “definite improvement” in their child's skills. Parents report improvements in eye contact, language, attention, diarrhea, constipation, sleep, hyperactivity and more. 

While “dietary intervention” (change) can seem overwhelming, with learning and focus, even busy moms and dads can, and do, make it work. As a child feels better, parents often have more quality time with their children and cooking becomes more enjoyable. And nutritious meals needn’t cost a fortune. While quality, whole foods involve more expensive ingredients; you’re buying fewer expensive processed foods. A healing diet empowers you to support your child’s health and improved well-being. 

This is why I titled my book, Nourishing Hope. We need to nourish children’s bodies with healthy food, and nourish our minds and souls with hope. Food nourishes the body, and the positive changes we see nourishes hope. Healthy food preparation even transfers healing energy through the loving intention of the chef. With virtually no downside, everyone should give this a try. 

Join me in nourishing hope.


By Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist with www.NourishingHope.com

  1. Jyonouchi H, Geng L, Ruby A, Zimmerman-Bier B. Dysregulated innate immune responses in young children with autism spectrum disorders: their relationship to gastrointestinal symptoms and dietary intervention. Neuropsychobiology. 2005;51(2):77-85.
  2. Knivsberg AM, Reichelt KL, Hoien T, Nodland M. A randomised, controlled study of dietary intervention in autistic syndromes. Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Sep;5(4):251-61.
  3. Lucarelli S, Frediani T, Zingoni AM, Ferruzzi F, Giardini O, Quintieri F, Barbato M, D'Eufemia P, Cardi E. Food allergy and infantile autism. Panminerva Med. 1995 Sep;37(3):137-41.
  4. Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498.
  5. Reichelt KL, Knivsberg AM. Can the pathophysiology of autism be explained by the nature of the discovered urine peptides? Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Feb;6(1):19-28.
  6. Tapan Audhya, presentation at the Defeat Autism Now! conference, San Diego, October 2002. Audhya reported his measurements of vitamin and mineral levels in the blood of over 150 children with autism compared to 50-100 controls of the same age. He found that the children with autism on average had much lower levels of most vitamins (vitamins A, C, D, and E; all B vitamins except choline)  and some minerals (zinc; magnesium; selenium). 
  7. MA Landgreme and AR Landgrebe, Celiac autism: calcium studies and their relationship to celiac disease in autistic patients, The Autistic Syndromes, Amsterdam:  North Holland; New York; Elsevier, pp. 197-205
  8. Alberti A, Pirrone P, Elia M, Waring RH, Romano C  Sulphation deficit in "low-functioning" autistic children: a pilot study.  Biol Psychiatry 1999 Aug 1;46(3):420-4.
  9. Horvath K, Papadimitriou JC, Rabsztyn A, Drachenberg C, Tildon JT. Gastrointestinal Abnormalities in Children with Autistic Disorder. J Pediatr. 1999 Nov;135(5):559-63.
  10. MacFabe, et al., Neurobiological effects of intraventricular propionic acid in rats: Possible role of short chain fatty acids on the pathogenesis and characteristics of autism spectrum disorders. Behavioural Brain Research. 176 (2007) 149–169
  11. McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, Crumpler D, Dalen L, Grimshaw K, Kitchin E, Lok K, Porteous L, Prince E, Sonuga-Barke E, O Warner J, Stevenson J. “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” Lancel. Published Online, September 6, 2007. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3.

Autism Diet and Nutrition Tools Giveaway!

There is still time to enter to win a set of my Julie's autism diet and nutrition tools! This set includes:


 Nourishing Hope for Autism handbook
 Cooking To Heal cookbook
• Cooking To Heal DVD

To Enter: 

Leave one (1) comment at the end of this post. Share your story if you feel comfortable doing so.

Double your chances by "friending" Julie Matthews Nourishing Hope on Facebook [click the +1 Add as Friend button] and telling me you did so in the comment you leave on this blog. If you already are her friend, just say that you are in your comment and that will qualify you for another entry.

Deadline: To qualify, entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Monday, February 28th.


Meet Mr. Chia

I am about to head into the kitchen to make Saturday Pancakes (on a Tuesday) but before I do I have a friend I'd like you to meet. He's tiny, versatile and has earned front and center status in my kitchen. Say hello to Mr. Chia!

Chia is a very small member of the mint (sage) family and is native to Mexico and Guatemala. My husband got me hooked on chia seed after reading Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. In his book, McDougall tells of a tribe of endurance runners—the Tarahumara of Northern Mexico—sustaining themselves with chia while running 100-mile ultra marathons. 100 miles! Impressive to say the least.

Black and white chia seed | These little guys can soak up 12 times their weight in water!There is evidence that chia was first used as a food as early as 3500 B.C. So why this nutrient-dense super food is just going mainstream in the American diet boggled me until I watched this video. It's a shame that it's just been "rediscovered"—because we've really been missing out and here's why. In just two tablespoons (your daily requirement) you get:

  • Over 4g of PROTEIN
  • 4g of soluble FIBER—that's approximately 28% of your daily requirement
  • 205 mg of CALCIUM—that's equal to one ounce of cheese or two cups cooked broccoli
  • A perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of OMEGA-3 and OMEGA-6 for a total of over 3g

To take full advantage of chia's amazing nutritional benefits eat the seeds raw (ground or whole). Blend with your favorite smoothie, sprinkle over yogurt or add some to granola. Or try pinole? Or how about this "meal replacement" shake.

The Aztec nation also used chia to heal. Chia is said to be beneficial in reducing inflammation, weight loss, thyroid conditions, hypoglycemia, diabetes, IBS, celiac disease and even acid reflux!

There are no known allergies to chia seed.

Chia as an Egg and Gluten Replacer

Though best raw, I have found chia to be superior to flax and packaged egg replacers as an egg substitute in baking.

One "chia egg" = 1 tablespoon ground chia whisked with 3 tablespoons water.

Mix chia meal with water and you've got a great egg replacer for use in baking.

What you get is a thick, gelatinous gel.

The binding ability of chia and chia gel is so great that you can often reduce or omit binding gums such as xanthan and guar—often called for in gluten-free recipes. Give it a try. Simply replace xanthan or guar gum with an equal measure of ground chia.

For baking you might prefer white chia (equal in nutritional value as black). When ground to a meal, black chia will speckle baked goods with bits of black.

Chia seeds have little to no flavor and will not affect the taste of foods and beverages.

One tablespoon of chia seed yields 1-1/2 tablespoons ground chia meal. Chia meal is easily made using a coffee/spice grinder, a magic bullet, or a high-powered blender.

A Lesson in Gathering Chia

This video is a tad long, but shows chia being gathered with a fly swatter and a bucket!

More About Mr. Chia

Tarahumara Pinole and Chia post over at Not Meat Athlete

Chia the Ancient Food of the Future over at Living Foods

The Chia "Cheat Sheet" and Ten Raw Chia Recipes over at Natural News

Back to the Pancakes ...

Oh yes, and here are those pancakes. Bound with chia and smothered in guava-lilikoi (passion fruit) syrup. Only a week of vacation left. Our time in paradise has gone too fast!

I order my chia seed from Amazon. Unlike many other seeds, chia does not go rancid and can safely be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about two years (some sources say up to five!).

Do you have a favorite chia recipe?

How do you incorporate chia into your diet?


Nourishing Hope for Autism & Giveaway

I cannot put into words how thrilled I am to be featuring my first guest post and honored to introduce Julie Matthews, an award-winning author and Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in autism.

I am personally grateful for Julie's devotion to healing children through diet and nutrition. Not long ago I felt mired in clay. We had a sick little boy with undiagnosed neurological and inflammatory conditions. I didn't know how or where to find answers. Never in my life had I felt so helpless. Finally, after shedding buckets of tears, a raging mama bear broke forth. I went on a hunt for help and found a group of professionals like Julie who encouraged me to focus on diet (read our story here). All I can say is that going gluten and casein free (GFCF) has made all the difference. I am a believer in nutritional healing and Julie's message of hope.

This post is the first in a series of guest posts from Julie. In this first in the series, you and Julie will get acquainted and she will provide an overview of her autism diet and nutrition tools. In my opinion, they are must-haves for any caregiver of a child on the autistic spectrum. In posts to come, Julie will dive into the specifics of the different autism diets, food intolerances and more. Prepare to be enlightened!

So without further ado, please welcome Julie Matthews.

Julie Matthews
Guest Post I: Nourishing Hope for Autism

Hello everyone. I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in autism for ten years. I’m delighted to be here to share my knowledge and experience with special diets for autism. These diets, such as gluten-free and casein-free, involve the removal of foods that are known (or suspected) to be problematic, and the addition of nutritious, readily digestible foods that help heal.

Lexie’s Kitchen and Nourishing Hope are aligned in purpose—we want to help you be able to sustainably follow a dietary strategy that nourishes and heals. I discovered Lexie’s Kitchen recently when one of my clients with a child with autism told me Lexie was a wonderful resource for allergen-free diet recipes! I enjoy sharing useful tools with other parents and am happy to support the health and healing of children with autism (and beyond).  

At the end of this post you will have the opportunity to enter a giveaway for my autism diet and nutrition tools. This set includes:

Nourishing Hope for Autism handbook
Cooking To Heal cookbook
Cooking To Heal DVD

Nourishing Hope for Autism explains the science of diet for autism: its underlying biochemistry and how food and nutrition affect health, healing, cognition, and behavior. I present a comprehensive holistic plan to determine and effectively implement a dietary strategy. Beyond autism, there are many neurological and inflammatory conditions that have similar underlying contributors and biochemistry that benefit from the approach I present in Nourishing Hope, namely ADHD, allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, mood imbalances, and autoimmune conditions.

I explore traditional healing foods, therapeutic nutrients, probiotics in fermented foods for gut health, and specialized healing diets to balance biochemistry and support digestion. I share practiced methods for “sneaking” in nutrient-dense foods the ways kids like it. I emphasize the myriad of ways that food is medicine or poison depending on; the quality, the way food is grown or raised, the manner in which food is prepared, processed, and cooked, and the compounds in food that can heal or aggravate systems. 

 Cooking To Heal is my "live" autism nutrition and cooking class. It is 4-hours of me explaining and demonstrating (cooking!) the aspects of effective healing diet implementation. It includes my autism diet cookbook, where every recipe is tagged for diet compliance and specific allergen-free information, and a 4-hour DVD of the live class. It’s the most “hands on” learning I provide anywhere.

Thank you Lexie for welcoming me to your kitchen—I hope that you and your readers enjoy my series of guest posts. As always, your comments and experiences are welcome.

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in autism spectrum disorder for ten years. Her award winning book, Nourishing Hope for Autism, is based in scientific research and an understanding of the biochemistry of ASDs and the role of food, nutrition, and diet to aid digestive health, systemic healing, and relieve symptoms of autism. Julie presents at the leading biomedical autism conferences in the US and abroad, writes for autism publications, hosts a weekly radio program, and has private nutrition practice in San Francisco, California. Visit: NourishingHope.com

Autism Diet and Nutrition Tools Giveaway

Enter to win a set of Julie's autism diet and nutrition tools! This set includes:

 Nourishing Hope for Autism handbook
 Cooking To Heal cookbook
• Cooking To Heal DVD

To Enter

Leave one (1) comment at the end of this post. (FEB 5, 2011 I am reading some GREAT comments. So helpful. Please, if you feel comfortable and you have one, share your story or part of it)
Double your chances by "friending" Julie Matthews Nourishing Hope on Facebook [click the +1 Add as Friend button] and telling me you did so in the comment you leave on this blog. If you already are her friend, just say that you are in your comment and that will qualify you for another entry : )

Deadline: To qualify, entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Monday, February 28th.

Julie can also be found on YouTube!

All recipes from Lexie's Kitchen are gluten and casein free (and more). For more recipes that fit the GFCF guidelines (and more), visit my friend Kelly at The Spunky Coconut.


Big Island Farmers' Markets


Anthurium, Bird of Paradise and orchids galore.

I've been taking a much-needed break from recipe writing—for a few weeks I will do my best to relax and enjoy vacation. In lieu of a recipe today, here are more pictures from the Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Farmers Market.

Tomorrow I look forward to visiting another Big Island Farmers Market—the midweek market on the lawn of Anna Ranch in Waimea. It runs from 1-5 pm so I'm thinking I've got time to hit the beach beforehand for some high surf watching at Hapuna Beach (rumor has it waves were topping out with 12-foot faces today)!

There are eight Saturday Markets on the Big Island and five on Sunday. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of all the Farmers' Markets in Hawaii. If you're headed here for vacation. Be sure to check them out!

Had a nice visit with Jim of Hawaii Island Goat Dairy. They supply some great tasting cheese to a number of the island's hotels and restaurants.

I mentioned Kai in my post on 'Olena (turmeric). He gave me a whiff of the powdered Chinese White Ginger (left) and then had me smell the Japanese Yellow Ginger (right). The later, my friends, is what you want to be cooking with. Wow! Blew my mind in a wasabi kind of way.

This display of soap left me howling. These were the few bars in the display that had "clean" labels and were PC. "Filthy Cowboy, "Filthy Farmdog" etc. Just insert "Filthy" before these words and you'll get the gist. Flight Attendant, Nurse, another word for "donkey." With me? Anyway these soaps are made by Filthy Farmgirl—some Hawaii/Vermont folks committed to using 100% pure and vegan-friendly ingredients. The scents are heavenly.

Marsha was selling her "Best Cookies." 

Poi. Lovely poi. Ancient Hawaiians revered poi and modern Hawaiians continue to have great respect for the sticky grayish-purple substance that is made by pounding steamed taro root and mixing it with water. Do you prefer to one or two-fingered poi?

I spy Mr. Kohlrabi (bottom left). Took him home and made "kohlrabi crackers"—peeled, sliced and dipped in hummus.

Ms. Sandy, mom's go-to vendor for plants. This day mom picked up a Silver Wave Camellia.

And finally, yacon root. I'm intrigued. Have never cooked with it. Do any of you use yacon syrup?