A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook








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? 


Hawaii: Olena Hummus & Healing

'Olena (turmeric) may be added to everyday foods—smoothies, salad dressings and even hummus served up with kohlrabi "crackers."On the central Hamakua Coast there are four Farmers' Markets within 30 miles. Yesterday we hit the Hawaiian Homesteads Farmers' Market in Waimea.

The exciting find of the day was Kai Kaholokai’s vendor booth. Kai is a Native Hawaiian Herbal Practitioner—a man with a gentle spirit, brilliant mind and well-versed in ayurveda. Along with his wife Linda Mae, he runs the Kai Malino Wellness Center in Kapaau and produces herbal healing products using Hawaiian medicinal plants.

Kai and his tinctures and powders.One of these sacred plants is ‘Olena. The root of ‘Olena is about the size of an adult thumb and was likely one of the two dozen or so plants brought to Hawaii by canoe by early voyaging Polynesians. It is best known throughout the world as turmeric—a member of the ginger family and when dried and ground into powder is what gives curry spice mixtures their brilliant yellow color.

Tumeric ('Olena) is a relative of ginger.For centures, turmeric has been cultivated as a dye, as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin and is one of nature’s most powerful healers. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, research continues to reveal turmeric’s promise to cure. It is helpful in treating earaches, sinusitis, bronchitis, colds and asthma, and enhances the immune system by purifying the blood. Here are twenty reasons why you might consider adding turmeric to your diet. Please remember that I am not a doctor and that you should always consult your MD or ND before adding supplements to your diet.

The Kai Malino Wellness Center takes orders online. Kai's website is worth taking a peek at. You just might find the remedy you’ve been looking for! Not that I am looking forward to getting sick, but when I do, I will have his turmeric/awa-kava/chinese ginger/Alaea clay powder mixture on hand to blend with lemon and honey for a speedy recovery.

For everyday immune support I will continue to sneak turmeric into our diet by way of smoothies, salad dressings, dips and atop veggies. Lately I've been hiding it in a basil hummus that I smear on quesadillas to replace the cheese (for our non-dairy boy) and on sandwiches to replace the mayo. Until I get around to writing the recipe down, here is what goes in it: garbanzo beans, sesame seed, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh basil, turmeric and salt.

I'd enjoy hearing from you! Do you cook with or take tumeric regularly? What has been your experience?

Finally, I will end this post with a lovely Hawaiian mele (song) about the flower of the ‘Olena plant. Singing in her effortlessly pure voice is Diana Aki.

Pua `Olena Lyrics


Hawaii: Mulberry Compote & The Shack

The morning started with plates of crepes topped with Cinnamon Mulberry Compote. We picked the mulberries yesterday from the two trees down in “the alley.” Mulberry trees are productive, adaptable, fast growing and trouble free. I’d liken the fruit to blackberries—black/red, sweet, tart and great for pies and smoothies.

For the compote, I simmered about a cup of berries, a tidge of water, a bit of honey, some liquid stevia and a good shake of cinnamon then whizzed the mixture in the blender and served it atop quinoa crepes (made half a batch). Mmmm ... the perfect breakfast to fuel the kids for a day of play outside. 

A sweet and tart mulberry.My mom picking mulberries. The easy way ... lay a sheet on the ground and give the tree a good shake!This winter my parents built an 8x12 foot “cowboy shack” at the bottom of their acreage. Today we ventured down there to check it out and I immediately fell in love with this little hideout.

It’s the kind of place to be alone in. A place to read, meditate, to listen to your thoughts.

My parents built the “shack” to double as a coffee drying shed during the damp and misty spells. There is a whopping 500-foot difference in elevation from the top to the bottom of their property that makes for a significant difference in climate. The cowboy shack, below the fog line, now provides a secondary drying spot for the 1500 pounds of Hamakua (Arabica) coffee cherry my mom and dad handpick and dry each year. If you live in Denver, you can find their coffee at Kaladi Brothers Coffee.

A eucalyptus forest frames the Pacific Ocean.

Don't you love these tie-backs! Copper wire and a dry wall screw—voila!

One day we will get back to our "little cowboy shack in Paauilo, Hawaii"



Hawaii: Kiddie Beach and Provision Up

The kiddie beach | Spencer Beach State Park on the Big Island.When I was in high school I wouldn't have been caught in my pink bikini at this beach. Mind you, it's not a nudie beach, but known as the kiddie beach—Spencer Beach State Park.

Fast forward 20 years and I am cool with it. After all, I am the mother of two kiddies—both of whom do not know how to swim. If you're planning a trip to the Big Island and want a small, tame beach where the kids can frolick in the shallow waters sans big waves, hit Spencer.

We spent the morning at Spencer enjoying the ample shade and good sand for building castles. And bonus, today there was local guy walking the beach handing out tangerines—I love the aloha spirit!

After sun and fun we headed back up the hill to Waimea (Kamuela) to provision up. There are three grocery stores in this ranching town; KTA, Foodland and Healthways Natural Foods.

Healthways Natural Foods & Deli in the ranching town of Waimea.If you're visiting the island and need food for your modified diet, you'll definitely want to check out Healthways—but expect to pay 30% or more than you do on the mainland for those natural foods! From bulk chia and Tinkyada rice pasta to Udi's and Rudi's, you'll find it all at Healthways!

Buy in bulk at Healthways.

Ezekial, Rudi's, Udi's and even Hemp Bread!

I am a fan of Bob's Red Mill flours and mixes. Here it is in Hawaii!