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.  

 

 

 


 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct222013

Lexie's Favorites: Best Sensory Fidget Toys

1 Sensory Stixx  // 2 Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls // 3 Chewy Tubes // 4 Sensory Brush // 5 Edushape Sensory Balls // 6 Hair Tangle Junior // 7 Banana Stress Toy

Fidget Toys for Sensory Processing Disorders

Aside from issues with certain foods, our Little Man has "definite dysfunction" in a handful of sensory areas.

I am thankful for organizations like the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation that are working to bring awareness to a condition that affects kids and adults alike, and help me better understand my child.

This year it has become apparent that Little Man benefits from carrying a fidget toy in his pocket. It helps to minimize his touching the gelled spikes on Jermiah's head and from hugging the cute little blonde sitting next to him at Circle Time!

With a fidget toy in hand, he receives some of the sensory input he craves.

This week I thought I would share some of his (and my) favorite fidget toys. In addition to offering input, some of these toys work to strengthen little hands, too. 

PRICKLY
Sensory Stixx fidgets offer hand-sized sensory stimulation and draws little attention to itself in order to avoid anxiety from other onlookers. Easily fits in pocket, purse, or book bag and is dishwasher safe.

RESISTANCE
Designed to strengthen fingers and grip, the three different color-coded Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls offer varying resistances and make great fidget toys. My son especially likes the soft purple one. Not for chewers.

CHEWY 
Early on everything went into Little Man's mouth as he sought sensory input. For a time he enjoyed Chewy Tubes. I especially like them for babies and toddlers for their handle grip. These make great teethers, too! 

SOOTHING
We first used this tool for body brushing. Our son now uses it as a pocket fidget as it mimics the texture of hair. This brush is a must-try tool for children or adults with sensory processing challenges. 

BUMPY
These Edushape Sensory Balls are great to hold onto during Circle Time as the size requires two little hands to hold them. Recommended for kiddos who know not to throw them, but quiety hold them. 

HAIRY
The Hair Tangle Jr is twisty, turny, squiggly, and squirmy. It has a unique "hairy" feel that is addictively fun to play with and manipulate. Not for chewers.

SQUISHY
The Banana Stress Toy is a replica of a real banana. It mushes, stretches and could pass for a real banana! My favorite toy by far. Not for chewers.

I wonder if someone you know uses a fidget toy? At school? At work? I'd love to know what works for them.

Sunday
Oct132013

10 High Protein Power Bars & Balls

 

I have needed some fresh inspiration in the power bar department.

Naturally I turned to Pinterest (you can follow me here) and a few of my buddies.

I can barely wait to start making my way through this tasty list.

And because I am all about trying to keep things simple, I decided to make the criteria for this recipe round-up "10 ingredients or less" as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.

I hope you are inspired to break out that food processor and join me in some power ball (and bar) fun!

Photos © (clockwise starting at left) Beard and Bonnet, The SpunkyCoconut, Cara's Cravings

High Protein Power Bars & Balls Round-Up

Pumpkin Pecan Bites
 from Kumquat Blog

Quaker-Style Chewy Granola Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie
(10 ingredients not including mix-ins. Use gluten-free oats and crispy rice cereal)

Mint Chocolate Protein Bars from Cara's Cravings

Almond Joy Raw Bars by Beard and Bonnet

Apricot Coconut Energy Bars from Shutterbean
(Use gluten-free oats)

Chocolate Banana Power Bars from Beyond the Peel

Cherry Vanilla Power Bars from Elana's Pantry

Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars from Chocolate Covered Katie
(Use gluten-free oats and crispy rice cereal)

Readers' Favorite Bars & Balls

If you have a dynamite power bar or power ball recipe we should know about, please leave a link to it in a comment and I will add it to the Readers' Favorite List below (must be gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and contain 10 or fewer ingredients).

Quinoa Brownie Truffles from Ragdoll Kitchen

Blueberry Muffin Bites from The Veggie Nook

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites from The Veggie Nook

Dark Chocolate Doughnut Holes from Barre3

Barre Barss from Barre3

Tuesday
Oct082013

How to [safely] Open a Coconut

 

Who'd thunk Julia Childs, a master of French cooking, would be the one to teach this island girl how to properly—and safely—extract meat from a coconut? 

I love fresh coconut milk and for years have husked the puppies, cracked them open, and then painstakingly pried the flesh from the shell with rather sharp, and dangerous, instruments. So much work, and I won't even mention the number of times I've nearly severed three fingers in the process.

Leafing through one of Julia's cookbooks in my Tutu's kitchen I stumbled across instructions for doing it a better way—here's how it's done:

Pick out a fresh and healthy mature husked coconut. Give that coconut a good shake in the store. You should hear coconut water slosh around inside. If you don't, it's a bad one. Also, check the three eyes of the coconut. They should not be punctured and there should be no signs of mold. If there is, it's a bad one.

Preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Pierce the three eyes using a phillips head screwdriver (safer than an ice pick and who has ice picks these days anyway?) and a hammer.

Drain the coconut water through the eye holes into a cup and enjoy or refrigerate for later use.

Bake the coconut whole for 20 minutes or until a few small cracks appear on the surface of the shell. Let cool.

Wrap the coconut in a kitchen towel and give it a few whacks on a hard surface (like a sidewalk) or give it a few taps with a hammer.

Scoop/pry coconut flesh out with a spoon.

Voila, fresh coconut meat for snacking on or blending into thick, rich coconut milk (recipe here)—and with all fingers still intact. Thank you Julia!

Do you have a favorite way open and get the meat out of a coconut? I would love to hear your tips!

Monday
Sep302013

Spooky Little Treats

I love this time of year!

I love all things Fall. The leaves, the pies, the crisp mornings. 

And though I'm not a Halloween heavyweight (good luck getting me into a haunted house), I like Halloween.

Maybe it's because I have boys and it gives me a kick to watch them try to gross me out. Plastic snakes hidden in my pajama pant legs ... plastics spiders in my hairbrush. Mostly I laugh—sometimes I freak out.

Anyway with Halloween on the mind, I wanted to bring your attention to a little cookbook that I think you might enjoy.

Cara over at Fork & Beans just launched an ebook full of spooky treats—and like the recipes found here at Lexie's Kitchen they are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free.

Here is the table of contents to give you an idea of the creepy treats included in the book. In addition, Cara will give you a bonus compilation of 10 of her very popular homemade candy bars. 

The e-book is for sale over at Fork & Beans.

Pick up your copy today for just $7.

On a little sidenote, Cara just quit her day job to become a full-time blogger. If you're not already a follower of Fork & Beans, you might want to become one! I can only imagine the abundance of dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free eats and treats we will see coming out of Cara's kitchen. Congratulations Cara!

Monday
Sep232013

New Book! Make Ahead Paleo

Do you ever find yourself in one of those "I can't keep up" spells? You just can't find the time to get to it all—the bill paying, the house cleaning, the errand running, the meal planning? 

Yes?

Good.

Because that's where I'm at right now and it's a lonely and desperate place. It's nice to know that someone is in the boat with me!

The part I loathe the most is the "It's-4-O'Clock-What's-For-Dinner!?" wave of dread.  

Last week I decided enough was enough. It was time to get my act together ... and along came Tammy.

It's almost as if she knew my plight—this really nice lady by the name of Tammy Credicott. Her latest cookbook Make Ahead Paleo: Healthy Gluten-, Grain- & Dairy-Free Recipes Ready When & Where You Are arrived on my doorstep that very day.

This book is chockful of easy, practical recipes that—Paleo or not—you're bound to enjoy. And the "make ahead" part is especially what I love. The entire book is focused on prepping food and meals ahead of time with each chapter reflecting this theme:

Make & Freeze: Pancakes, muffins, and meals that can be made, frozen, and reheated in a pinch.

Low & Slow: Fabulous recipes that go into the slow cooker in the morning and are ready for supper.

On the Go: Portable fare that doesn't disintegrate in your cooler! Solutions for snacks to grab and go for school, work and travel.

Room Service: My favorite chapter! Eating healthy and allergen-free on the road is a huge challenge. On your next road trip, Tammy suggests BYOES (bringing your own electric skillet) and a cooler packed with makings for her one pan, no mess in-room meals. Dinner is served—a whole new take on Room Service.

Travel Treats: Portable cookies, bars, and breads that offer a bit of sweet.

Week in a Day: Prep five dinners in one day for a stress-free work week! Brilliant.

 

I love that there is a photo for every recipe and ton of tips for simplifying meal-making.

Make Ahead Paleo is 100% gluten-, grain- and dairy-free and just a handful of recipes call for egg.

As is the focus with most paleo books, whole foods are front and center. Lots of meat, veggies, coconut flour, and almond flour. Personally, I am not keen on paleo baked goods, but the Kitchen Sink Cookies were pretty tasty.

On the savory side, the Roasted Tomato Bacon Soup (pictured above) was a hit during that rainy spell we had and my husband and I loved the Cashew Lime Chicken.

If you are looking for inspiration in the whole foods, grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free department I recommend this book.

Thanks, Tammi, for coming to the rescue!

Win a Copy of Make Ahead Paleo (This giveaway is closed)

Congratulations Chastity, you are the winner of a copy of Make Ahead Paleo!

Tammy has generously offered to send one Lexie's Kitchen reader a copy of Make Ahead Paleo. All you need to do is leave a comment below by Sunday, September 29th at 5:00 PST. Easy peasy! U.S. residents only.

Buy the Book

If you don't win, pick up your copy over at Amazon.com

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