It's Fall, Y'all...And Time For Some Yummy Pumpkin Recipes!!!

It's fall, although our weather down here in the south is still in the 80's...and I have really requested that it get into the 70's...but whatever the temperature is, the calendar says it's fall and that means that I am ready for ALL THINGS PUMPKIN!!!

With Halloween right around the corner and then Thanksgiving and Christmas, I began to think about all the yummy holiday treats I would possibly be missing being on this Paleo diet.  And then I turned that frown upside down after heading over to Pinterest and putting the words "Paleo Pumpkin Recipes" into the the search bar!

I wanted to share just a few of the recipes that I have tried...and approved!  The first thing that I had already pretty much given up last year was my favorite cool weather hot drink...Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  I gave it up because I was aware that it contained WAY too much sugar for me to be consuming.  So, feeling pretty down about that, I searched to see if there was an alternative to that sugar-filled favorite of mine and was delighted to find there was!

PUMPKIN PIE COFFEE CREAMER

Ingredients
  1. 1 can coconut milk
  2. 6 tbsp pureed pumpkin
  3. 3 tbsp maple syrup
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon*
  5. 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  6. 1/2 tsp all spice*
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and whisk constantly until a boil is reached. As soon as a boil is reached, turn heat to low and let simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  2. Once ingredients seem smooth and well combined, turn off heat.
  3. When cool enough to handle, transfer pumpkin pie creamer to an appropriate storage container, such as a mason jar.
  4. Add to hot or iced coffees and enjoy.
Notes
  1. * Instead of adding the cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice, you can substitute 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice.
  2. ** Store in the fridge.
***NOTE:  Make sure you "puree" your canned pumpkin or it will be too thick to froth in a
                    machine if you have one.***
                 I store my Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer in a jar and keep it refrigerated.

The next "Pumpkin Yummy" recipe I discovered was simply from that little Pinterest search.  I came across these PUMPKIN BREAKFAST COOKIES:

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies (Recipe Revisit)

1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
1 or 2 eggs (see above)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1.5-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
2-3 cups mix-ins of choice (nuts, seeds, coconut, raisins, ground flax, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop by tbs. onto a greased or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Press down slightly with palm. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

           I chose to put walnuts, raisins and some dark chocolate chips in my cookies...YUM!

And the most recent pumpkin recipe,  I came across this past weekend.  And when I saw it, I KNEW it had to be my "Saturday Morning Breakfast"!  I read the blog PaleOMG and she offered up this recipe which was TO DIE FOR!  The hubby and I both enjoyed PUMPKIN WAFFLES  for breakfast:

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) pumpkin puree
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 grams) almond butter
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 grams) melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing the waffle iron
  • 1⁄2 cup (75 grams) coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine-grain sea salt
  • maple syrup, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. Combine the bananas, pumpkin puree, eggs, almond butter, and coconut oil in a food processor or blender and mix well until the bananas are well blended with the other ingredients. Once smooth, add the coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt and blend until well mixed.
  3. Lightly brush the waffle iron with the melted coconut oil. Using the waffle manufacturer’s guidelines for suggested cup [milliliter] quantity, ladle the batter into the preheated and greased waffle maker and spread it evenly across the surface, leaving a 1⁄2-inch (12-mm) border (the batter will spread with you close the lid). Cook, following the manufacturer’s directions, and when done set aside on a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining waffles.
Notes
Yields 5 waffles
 
***NOTE:  This is the BEST Paleo Pumpkin Waffle recipe I have found!  No kidding.  I chopped up
                    a few walnuts and added them to the batter just before I poured it into the waffle iron.  I
                    also used a small amount of olive oil spray to keep the waffles from sticking.  Again, 
                    make sure you use a puree' so the batter will be thin enough.***
These waffles will make you jump up and say OH MY what GOODNESS!  There was enough batter left over that I poured it into a Ziploc Bag and stuck it in the refrigerator for later use.
 
I am SO happy that Pinterest exists.  And the THE PALEO MOM .  And PaleOMG.  Because it makes Paleo cooking SO fun and easy!
                                                                 HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL!
                                                                                and
                                                                           remember...
                                                                     EAT GOOD FOOD!!!

 
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Could Paleo Be The Cure For HOT FLASHES?

I have been following this paleo diet plan now for about 6 weeks.  As I have said before, it was not very difficult for me to follow since I had already eliminated most of the foods from my diet.  I tweaked it a little more, getting rid of all dairy and grains:  no whole wheat (no wheat at all), no beans (except green beans and green peas) and no peanuts.  I started working out at Genesis with my trainer, Karol,  and then waited (rather impatiently, I must admit) to see something positive happen. 

I'm not going to lie...the work-out part has been hard; harder than anything I have ever done.  However, I am not a quitter and although I have hurt where I didn't know muscles even existed, I have stuck with the work-out.  My theory was that perhaps these lifestyle changes would help my hypothyroidism symptoms.

Almost immediately I noticed one thing:  my hot flashes were gone.  I didn't mention it at first because I thought that the minute I did, they would return (I know...crazy but call me superstitious).  Then one day I told Karol about the absence of my hot flashes.  She got this big smile on her face as she said, "I'm glad you said that!"  She is really good about allowing me to "discover" things myself.  She then told me about the horrible hot flashes she had before beginning the paleo lifestyle, even the fact that since she had a hysterectomy she was on hormones.  Then she told me that after starting to eat paleo she also quit having hot flashes and no longer had to take hormones.  OK...she had my attention now!  I felt validated in thinking that this diet had gotten rid of one of the most annoying aspects of menopause.  If nothing else changed in my life I would be happy simply because my hot flashes were gone.

The next thing I was told was to get LOTS of sleep because that would help with the transformation I was attempting to make.  Well, that was easier said than done.  I woke up several times each night and my sleep was just restless in general.  It took a while (probably a month) but FINALLY I can say I am getting a good nights sleep and feeling so much more refreshed in the mornings.

So, getting rid of hot flashes AND sleeping well, those were wonderful effects of the paleo lifestyle but what about the weight issue?  Remember I told you that I have an obsession with weighing myself?  Also remember that Karol did my measurements and told me NOT to weigh?  Well, for the first week I continued to weigh myself and saw the loss of a few pounds.  Then I decided to follow Karol's instructions and just STOP GETTING ON THAT SCALE!  How do I know if I've made progress or not?  Well, my clothes are getting looser.  Oh, I will remeasure myself soon but the best thing is..I'm just not obsessed or worried about it much any more. 

So, the question is:  Do I think there is anything to all this paleo hoopla?  I sure do!  I am now into my second month and going strong.  Since I have already seen positive results,  I expect to continue to see them.  I have finally gotten through the terrible muscle soreness (Oh, I still have some but not nearly as severe) and am in a good work-out routine for me, I am eating clean and most importantly I am feeling pretty darn good (which must mean my thyroid is functioning well again; I will have my TSH tested again soon).  There is no time like the present to get started, yourself.  If you are serious about getting your health back and ridding your body of all those toxins that keep you feeling sluggish research the Paleo lifestyle today.  HEY...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

                                                                    EAT GOOD FOOD!!!
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Home From Ohio

Well, I had 8 wonderful days in Ohio, enjoying Caitlin and Holli and the cool weather there.  And we had a surprise too.  Robby, who was in Kansas on a hunting trip, shot his deer on day one and instead of going home to be alone for the week, joined us in Ohio!
This trip was just what I needed.  The weather was cool, I slept in a bit, spent lazy mornings sipping coffee with Holli by my side and just generally relaxed.  That's not to say we didn't go anywhere or do anything but we certainly didn't have anything scheduled to do all week...and I think that's important for people to take advantage of every now and then.

So...what DID we do??  Here's a little recap of my trip in photos...
 We visited this store called, "Ollie's".  It has EVERYTHING from food to home goods to toys...and, as you can see, BOOKS!  OH...and it's all at discounted prices!
                 And yes...there were quite a few books bought for Christmas presents here.
 And when Holli got a bit bored, we slipped over to the food section and got her a bag of cheese puffs to make the shopping more enjoyable.
  
   And the next day, after picking Poppi up from the airport, we headed over to the Cleveland Zoo.
                                                           Where we rode the carousel...
                                       Enjoyed being outside in the crisp autumn temperatures...
   And took a walk through the rain forest, the only area of the zoo open during the winter months.
 And then one day we headed over to Home Depot to get supplies to help Caitlin on her "Pinterest Playroom Project".
   As you can see, Caitlin is showing her dad what all she has in mind for this "little" project of hers.
 Since their basement is huge and finished out with a bathroom AND winter is coming soon (which means no more playing outside because of the snow), Caitlin decided to make one corner a playroom for Holli.  She made and cut out those big, gold polka dots you see on one wall.  She and her dad are putting up a bookshelf that Kevin built and she painted.  This is going to be the reading area.  Also to come will be a canopy with pillows to lounge on.
                     Here is the sign that will go in the area where Holli's kitchen will be placed.
       These tissue flowers will hang above the cooking area, along with a precious little chandelier.
 That little pink table will be the "Tea Party Table" for the kitchen area.  Just before I left, we found 2 small stools that Caitlin is painting pale gray to go with it.  The flower decorated "H" will hang somewhere in the play area as well.
 I purchased this little vintage styled kitchen as part of Holli's Christmas present since I found it with free shipping online.  They would not be able to take it home after Christmas without paying to have it shipped to Ohio so I told them to go ahead and put it up and let her begin enjoying it.
 Poppi made this little table and bench.  They were both being painted a pale gray when I left, with the exception of the table top, which was being painted with black chalkboard paint so that Holli can "create" on this little table!
 Poppi painted that back corner for the kitchen to sit in.  He also put down some wood style vinyl flooring before he left.  I will definitely be posting the "finished" photos of this cute little "Pinterest Inspired Playroom!"
        One day we went to the big mall, where I taught Holli the fine art of shopping at Saks!
 And then Saturday morning we all headed out to a couple of fresh markets.  The first one was in the country, closer to where Caitlin lives.
 The other one was in Crocker Park, one of my favorite little shopping areas in Avon Lake.  They have this market every Saturday morning and I have been wanting to visit it for quite some time.
 Sunday, we went to church with Caitlin and, as usual, the service was wonderful.  The entire parking lot is covered with these gorgeous trees and I just had to snap a photo as we were leaving.
                                           We had so much fun with this sweet baby girl...
                                              And sure hated to say good-bye yesterday.

And now that I am home, it is "back to reality".  I'm heading out to the gym for my work-out (hope it doesn't kill me after 8 days!) this morning and then on to the hair salon (gotta wash that gray right outta my hair) and finally to the neighboring town to pick up my 3 dogs from the vet (where they have been boarding and probably think I have deserted them).  So glad I got to kick back for a while because I'm about to hit the ground running!
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Cool In Ohio...

I got up at the crack of dawn (actually before...3 am!) yesterday and flew to Cleveland to spend a week with Caitlin and Holli while Robby is on a hunting trip in Kansas.  So, although, I will most likely feel a little jet lagged today, I am happy to be here enjoying my girls and this wonderfully cool (60-ish) weather.  Yes, this is what you can call fall; a season we, in the south, barely get a glimpse of.

So, I may or may not get around to blogging much this week because I did something I rarely do this trip...I left my laptop computer at home, choosing to go light traveling with my I-Pad.  But I promise there will be plenty of great photos to share when I return home since I did travel with my big camera!

Now, with a good breakfast in our tummies and a little snuggle (and coffee time) with Holli, we are going to head out for a relaxing day doing some things we love:  some T.J. Max shopping, a trip to the knitting shop and perhaps a lite lunch of soup and salad in this crisp fall weather.

I can "officially" say to you:  HAPPY FALL Y'ALL!!!
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Books I Am Reading or Have Read: "The Prayer Box"

Last week I told you about the new series of books I was reading by author, Lisa Wingate.  I discussed the first book, The Sea Glass Sisters, which was written as a prelude to The Prayer Box.  A few of the characters are the same but a new woman, running from her past comes upon the scene and her life is forever changed after discovering the prayer boxes.

Have you ever judged a person by the way they looked or what you thought to be true about them?  I have always thought that we surely do not know what individuals have been through in their lifetime and why judge them for what may or may not be true?  This book unfolds beautifully to teach the reader just that lesson; someone may not be as things appear.

A 91-year old member of the community, Iola Anne,  mostly a recluse, has passed away in her home when the new renter of her guest house, finds not only the body but also a collection of letters that weave a beautiful tale of this woman's life.  Drawn to reading the letters, Tandi soon realizes that this woman has been judged by others in the community for years and they never realized who she really was, how she got to live in the big house or how her continued support of others anonymously  showed her love for a community and people unconditionally no matter what they thought about her.

Tandi is running from her past with her two children and attempting to put her life back together and is hired by the nearby church to clean Iola Anne's old home so she can make a little money to feed her children,  but every day Tandi shows up for work, she is drawn once again to those letters.  Slowly and steadily Tandi realizes that it is possible to put her life back on track by reading about the struggles and disappointments that Iola Anne faced throughout her lifetime.

All I could think about while reading this book was what a wonderful story of loving and treating others as you would have them treat you.  But also a sad story because this elderly member of the community lived alone with her cat inside a huge house.  No one understood her, no one came to visit her and the proof of that was the fact that her body was found after a few days of not seeing lights on in her house and her cat roaming around outside.  I thought, how sad.  We, often times do not take the time to stop and even say hello to someone in the busyness of our lives and what a joy we might be missing from not doing so.  Tandi was Iola Annes's renter, she lived on the same property with her and never even spoke to her.  After reading her prayer box letters, she was brought to tears not only for how Iola Anne lived all those years but for herself for not being able to talk to this wonderful woman and learn the lessons she had to offer in person.

I would definitely recommend reading this book.  I, of course, would say to read "The Sea Glass Sisters" first, not because there is a tremendous amount of information about the main characters in this book but because it is a great "set-up" book for this novel.  I believe you will enjoy reading about this woman and the lessons she has to teach through decades of letters written and stored away in her closet.  I assure you some will apply to you as well.

                                                                HAPPY READING!!!
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The Genesis Experience Work-Out AND a GIVEAWAY For 3 FREE SESSIONS!!!

Well, I am still hanging in there with this new Paleo lifestyle I have embarked upon and actually, the food is not an issue for me.  Did I really say that?!  OK, with the exception of occasionally still feeling a little guilty about eating that much food, I have adjusted well and feel good physically.  Now, it's time to talk about the other part of The Genesis Experience; the work-out.

I'm going to be totally honest with you about this work-out...It's hard.  Whenever I decided to do this, I asked what type of activity we would be doing.  They said they had taken the best parts of several programs to make it what they think is the best program out there.  Well, I think (and this is just me) there is an awfully lot of Cross Fit in this work-out.  There is some working with weights and then some activities where there are bursts of a few minutes of extreme cardio to get your heart rate up quickly and then the end of the work-out is,  in my opinion, the most difficult part, pushing you beyond what you ever thought your body was capable of doing.  All of that being said, I will say that I have developed a "Love/Hate Relationship" with this work-out.

The thing I "Love" about this work-out is the fact that, although it has many elements of the Cross Fit program, I do not feel that I am in competition with anyone and the groups I have worked out with are small enough for me to feel comfortable working out with.  I like this because I think there is nothing worse than walking into a workout facility where everyone is all buff and fit and you immediately feel so intimidated that you never want to go back.  I feel like every one of us are working toward our own personal goals.  I also "Love" this work-out because it provides pretty quick results.  Put simply, one cannot work this hard and not see some sort of results every week.  Sure, you walk out of there feeling spent but isn't that what you want?  Isn't the purpose of working out to feel and see results?  That's what keeps me going back.  That and the individual attention and encouragement by the trainers.

The thing I "Hate" about this work-out is the fact that I have discovered muscles in my body that I never knew existed.  Really.  Last week, after completing a particularly difficult work-out, I made it to my car and drove to the drug store.  I sat there for a couple of minutes because I knew I had to get out to purchase some Epsom salt to soak my sore muscles in but I wasn't sure I could get my legs to move.  OK, so I finally got up and was surprised to discover that my legs could indeed still hold the weight of my body.  But all kidding aside, this really is the toughest work-out I have ever been involved with.  The difference in it as compared to others that I have tried is the fact that I can feel my heart rate raising, I sweat, and I find myself digging deep within myself to complete an activity that I would once have just given up on.  This work-out challenges me and although it is really difficult, I can already tell the difference it is making in my body. 

The combination of "eating good food" and working out in this manner seems to work.  Being conscience about your eating and exercising sometimes just doesn't get it done.  Some workouts and diet philosophies don't work for everyone; they didn't for me, I needed more.  I, personally need someone there to guide me in both nutrition and diet and keep me accountable, checking on me to see if I'm coming to the work-out and how I'm feeling.  If you want to experience this too, I have the opportunity to GIVE AWAY to 3 PEOPLE, 3 work-out sessions to try at The Genesis Experience Alexandria.

Here's what you need to do if you are interesting in getting those 3 FREE WORK-OUT SESSIONS:
Simply be one of the FIRST 3 PEOPLE to leave a comment saying:"I want the FREE Genesis work-out sessions" and leave your e-mail address for me to send you the information.  Go ahead, what are you waiting for?!  There's no time like the present to get in good, healthy,  physical condition! 
                                                               EAT GOOD FOOD!
                                                                            and
                                                                  GET MOVING!


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My Special Needs Cousin...

I am no stranger to special needs individuals.  My first "real" job as a married woman was at a state facility that housed special needs people.  It was an entire community that I came to understand and love.  I worked there for two years.  However, before that time, I already had a special needs person in my own family.  He was not born that way but as a fifteen year old it was thrust upon him and our entire family.  Here is the story of Patrick.

Patrick, or Pat as I referred to him, was only a year older than me.  The son of my mother's sister, Pat and I spent lots of time together as children.  And yes, we fought as though we were siblings.  I, the baby of my family and he the baby of his, our lives were intertwined with demands of getting our own way.  But it was fun for me to have this cousin of my own age, for I lived the life of an only child since my sister was fifteen years my elder.  Pat lived in Texas and I in Louisiana but we visited back and forth quite a lot.  And as we grew older, our fighting became less and our camaraderie more.  It was us against the adults, as it should be with any young adolescent.  When Pat was fifteen and I fourteen, the last visit I had with him before the accident, we got along better than we ever had.  So much better that even the adults commented on it.  And then it was all over.  In one evening, my dear Patrick was no longer the same.

It was a vehicle accident that took the childhood buddy I knew and loved so well from me. Pat was walking home from an FFA meeting one evening with a friend when a vehicle struck him, throwing his body across the road so far and hard that it knocked his boots off his feet.  When my mother and I got the phone call, we immediately left for Texas, being told that Pat would most likely not live more than a few hours.  But live, he did.  For two months, Pat slept almost peacefully in a coma.  We prayed and prayed that he would awake.  And, I, in my youth, prayed that Pat would wake up and be the same cousin I knew and loved. 

When he eventually awoke, it was clear that Pat was no longer the same.  At the time I did not know what a closed brain injury was or its effects.  I watched as the medical professionals worked to manage Pat's medications and his family struggled to adapt to this "new" person that none of us were acquainted with.  I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the way, Pat even decided that his name should no longer be Pat but Wayne, his given middle name.

There was quite a long period of adjustment before Wayne settled down and into his new life.  And an adjustment, it was.  During those first days, months and years, my aunt had to watch Wayne every waking moment, like one would "keep an eye" on a toddler.  It was clear that she was becoming very weary from this and that's when the search for a state run group home began.  That search took many, many years because, although it took a lot of energy to keep this now young man at home, Wayne was quite a high level closed brain injury patient.  He was definitely teachable and it was clear that he needed more intellectual stimulation than could be provided at home.

Whenever, a group home was eventually found, Wayne's mother reluctantly sent him, for who wants to send their child away anywhere?  Even if that child has now become a grown man?  It was not an easy decision.  However, it was the right one.  The group home that Wayne went to live in was only within a couple hours of his mother's home and boy did Wayne ever thrive there!  He got a little job that he went to each day and even participated in Special Olympics in bowling, one of our "old" favorite things to do together. 

Over the years, whenever someone comes in town and wants to visit with Wayne, the group home arranges it and drops him off for the day.  Every now and then, I get the opportunity to be there when he comes for one of those day visits.  A couple of weeks ago was one of those times and I so enjoyed getting to see and talk to Wayne.  He is such a happy guy, laughing and joking most of the time.  His sister, Gayle was in from Texas and she took him to the store to purchase some playing cards.  This day, she was out to teach him a new card game...
                             Here, Gayle was explaining the rules of the card game to Wayne.
I watched them play this new game and Wayne grasped the rules pretty well and really enjoyed playing it!
Here is a photo I found of Pat and me as children, playing in the dirt.  The date on the picture says 1968.  I would have been six and Pat seven.  On this hot summer day, we would have never dreamed of the twists and turns life would take.  And yes, I just referred to him as "Pat" in this picture.  Because that is who he was here.  Pat was my childhood cousin who played with me on those long summer days in the south. 
Before I left the other day, I asked "Wayne" if he would take a quick photo with me and he was more than happy to, saying he would like a copy of it himself to keep in his room with his other photos.

Looking back, I must admit that I think Pat's self-imposed name change was appropriate, although at the time I resisted it.  I didn't want him to not be Pat any more;  I wanted him to be the same person I had always known.  But he was not.  However, over the years I have gotten to know this "new" person, Wayne, and I must admit it is now like having another cousin that I love just as much as the other.  Yes, he is different but he has some really great qualities that I adore and I can truly say he is always a joy to be around, making me smile and laugh out loud when I otherwise may not feel like it.  This is my cousin Wayne and I am so glad to have him in my life.

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Books I Am Reading Or Have Read: The Sea Glass Sisters

I love to read series of books for many reasons.  One is the continuation of a relationship with the characters that sometimes at the end of a single book, I am just not ready to let go of.  My cousin quite often sends me the names of books and/or authors to read and I must admit that we have very similar tastes in reading material because I almost always love her suggestions.  That is why when she told me to check out a new author she was reading, I went to Amazon and googled her name to find that she had quite a lot of series.

Lisa Wingate, put quite simply, weaves tales that are uplifting.  I tend to read many different genres and Wingate's first series I read was a breath of fresh air.  There are friend and family relationships and faith involved in her novels, accompanied by really good story lines that are woven throughout the pages.

The first book of the series I read was entitled, "The Sea Glass Sisters".  This story centers around a couple of sisters who have opposing views of the world.  One carefree and out to fulfill her dreams, the other a bit more rigid with not only her life but those around her as well.  As the not so carefree sister sets out on a road trip to hopefully convince the other to leave her home along the hurricane ridden shoreline she calls home, she enlists her own daughter to tag along.  The daughter has issues going on in her own life but agrees to go on this "short" trip with the mother hoping to appease her.

What none of them expect is to be stuck on the island as a hurricane sweeps across the region.  However, in the storm, lessons can be learned.  And indeed they are in this inspiring book.  It is important to read this book first because it introduces the reader to not only the characters that will be in the following two books but also the town and flavor of the region.

I was pleasantly surprised by this new author and she has become one to add to my "favorites" list.  You can find all of her books on Amazon; I downloaded this entire series onto my Kindle.  Click HERE to get your copy of "The Seas Glass Sisters" and start reading it today!

*****The other two books in the series are:  "The Prayer Box" and "The Tidewater Sisters", which I
           will also be reviewing.*****
                                                                      HAPPY READING!!!
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Eating Paleo?...Have a Sweet Tooth?...Not a Problem!

I haven't ever been a sugar addict but from time to time I do enjoy a little sweet treat.  And as I talk to people about the Paleo lifestyle (I don't like to refer to it as a "diet"), the one thing I like to emphasize is the fact that one never feels deprived eating Paleo.  And that includes having a sweet fix now and then!

I have become quite engrossed lately looking for all sorts of Paleo recipes, mainly on Pinterest.  And let me just tell you...there are LOTS out there!  All you have to do is put what you are looking for in the search engine and then begin a wonderful collection to try yourself.  The recipes I share with you are always "tried, tested and approved" before I put them on this site.  Most,  I am really impressed with and like enough to prepare more than once.  One of my other favorite places to find Paleo recipes is The Paleo Mom.  This link is to her Facebook Page where you can find many great recipes to try.  As a matter of fact, she is just coming out with a new cookbook that I predict I will be rushing out to order a copy of.

Now, on to the subject of satisfying those sweet cravings while eating Paleo.  It is my belief that if you want something sweet, go ahead and eat it but stay clean and eat in moderation.  Make your sweet treats ahead of time to keep from grabbing something not so good when that craving hits you.  I have included a couple of great sweet recipes that I have "tried, tested and approved" that I think might just hit the spot for you.

Both of these recipes were found on Pinterest (I told you this was a great resource for finding Paleo recipes).  The first one is a Brownie recipe that not only I tried but it also got the seal of approval from the Hubby, a son and a daughter-in-law.

ALMOND FLOUR BROWNIES:
Ingredients:
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil (*I used coconut oil*)
1 T. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and mix ingredients together.  Bake for approximately 25 mins. OR until the middle does not giggle (ovens may vary).

                                                          ORIGINAL RECIPE LINK

 These brownies were delicious and the perfect snack for those days when I just had a craving for something sweet.  I must admit though that I still got that stab of guilt in my stomach that it was OK for me to grab something so good to eat.  I know, I know...old habits die hard.

The second recipe also came from Pinterest and I actually got Parker Ann to help me prepare it.  She had such fun rolling these Energy Bites in unsweetened coconut.  This snack was also "tried, tested and approved" not only by me but also the Hubby, my sister (who is a sweets expert) and my cousin.  I made a batch of these and one in the afternoons was the perfect sweet fix for me to enjoy for an entire week.

KEY LIME COCONUT ENERGY BITES
Ingredients:
1/2/ cup almonds
1/2/ cup cashews
1/2/ cup Medjool dates, pitted
Zest and juice from 3 key limes
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

I put the almonds and cashews into my Ninja and pulsed them until fine.  Then I added the dates and lime zest and juice.  I rolled them into balls and poured the unsweetened coconut out on the counter for Parker Ann to roll the balls in.  We then placed them in a dish and refrigerated them.
                                                             ORIGINAL RECIPE LINK

I predict that this recipe will be a favorite of mine for a very long time.  I made it originally on Parker Ann's birthday party day because I knew they would be serving birthday cake and I didn't want to be tempted to sneak a bite.  Like I said, I enjoyed one in the afternoon with a cup of coffee for the perfect healthy snack.

Now, one thing to remember about sweets and the Paleo lifestyle in general; moderation still applies.  Just because you are now eating in a healthier manner does not mean that you can eat the house down.  Just watch what you eat and how much you eat of it and before you know it, you will see your body changing in ways you never thought possible!
                                                
                                                           EAT GOOD FOOD!







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Football Season Has Returned and All Is Well With the World!

Football season has returned and the men in my family could not be happier.  The excitement is akin to pure electricity.  The talk is of teams and players and which season tickets they can have.  I knew football season was right around the corner when the other day I heard mention of Fantasy Football.  I have no idea what that is all about but the guys sure do take it seriously.  There were conversations about building a league and a team and having a draft.  Wait a minute...you did say "fantasy", didn't you??  OK, well whatever it is they are doing, the excitement of football is here and all seems well with the world once again.

This past weekend all four of my guys loaded up and headed to Houston for the season opener of college football where LSU was to play Wisonsin.  Saturday was Game Day and all LSU fans know that on Game Day you not only dress yourself up in your team colors but also your offspring...


And in true form, LSU had their fans sitting on the edge of their seats, biting their fingernails until the very end.  Yes, we came out with a WIN!  What a wonderful way to start the new season off.  And now that things are in full swing, I say:

                                        Let the air turn cooler
                                        Let the gumbo simmer on the stove
                                        Let the leaves fall
                                        Let the roasting of marshmallows begin
                                        Let the marching bands play their tunes
                                        Let the cheerleaders chant

                              BECAUSE FOOTBALL SEASON HAS RETURNED!!!
                                                             GEAUX TIGERS!
                                                             GEAUX SAINTS!
                                                             GEAUX FOOTBALL!
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