Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple, my compliments!

I chose to call this "my compliments" because I have nothing but compliments to give. I didn't think it was possible for Danielle Walker of Against All Grain to outdo herself again, however with her new book Meals Made Simple she did it! I was gifted a copy (it is available on pre order due to launch September 2nd) and upon receiving, drove straight to Whole Foods and literally flipped through the pages in the parking lot because I wanted to make something wonderful immediately. I chose the Garlic & Herb Roasted Chicken because I had most of the ingredients on hand. 

I made this!
What has me super excited about this new book is the 8 week meal plans and shopping list tear out sheets! This is GENIUS! With these meal plans, there are entrees for each night of the week that I'd actually enjoy cooking up. I can't wait to put that element to the test!

Danielle astounds me with her expertise. 
She worked fiercely on these recipes to make a healthy diet easily adaptable, for example the Mint Chocolate Milkshake looks like a simplified version of her stellar Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, which I am thrilled about! Making ice-cream is ambitious but I can whip up this shake over and over again!

Danielle is dedicated to fool proofing every recipe she offers as well as tweaking them successfully to accommodate almost every dietary restriction. Her Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies 2.0, for example are a makeover allowing those with egg and nut allergies the opportunity to enjoy these famously delicious cookies.  I just find the thoughtful lay out, tidbits, and cheat sheets a wonderful extension of her hospitality. 

This cookbook is dedicated to a very special young lady,
please read her story.
Committed to helping people navigate a healing dietary lifestyle, Danielle persevered through the darkest storm of her life and shared her secrets to simplifying life and the dinner table.
Danielle promises simple meals and has delivered. 
There are several recipes I am dying to try: White Pork Chile, Balsamic Steak Pizza and Freezer Waffles, to name a few.
 The photos are gorgeous and not just the food--
the Walkers are stunning, inside and out! Their stories grace the introduction.
Thanks Danielle for another awesome cookbook!

It's as if the meal is coming right off the page!
Cheers to a job well done! 
There are some of us who can't wait for Against All Grain to be a cooking show!
...or a restaurant!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Soup & Salad

It's just my lunch salad with a bunch of left-over 
Velvety Carrot Soup 
from last night's dinner and post.
I can't get enough of it!
Soup & Salad in one bowl!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Velvety Carrot Soup

I just had to share this recipe. After a week of vacation indulgences and scorching summer heat, I wanted something light, fresh and cleansing, without turning on any heat elements in the kitchen. I had pinned a Quick and Easy Carrot Soup recipe earlier this week and thought it fit the bill.
It is vegan, raw and HEAVENLY!!!!!!
I took liberties and renamed it because Quick and Easy Carrot Soup is not a sensuous enough title for this show-stopper and crazy-good soup. 

Most of my sweet friends know that I never follow recipes exactly. If you'd like the original, unadulterated recipe, which I recommend, clink this link.

I did this!

4 Carrots and 1 Cup of water.
Blend and then strain. Once strained pour juice back into Vitamix container.
1 clove of garlic
1 avacado
1 giant knob of fresh ginger (to your liking, original did not call for it)
2 cans of Coconut Milk
juice of one lemon
splash of Bragg's Amino Acid
1 1/2 TBSP salt free Curry Powder
1 TBSP Celtic Sea Salt
2 tsp pepper

All of these ingredients are just whirled together in the blender.
After I poured it into my bowl I added a dollop of the carrot pulp because it's so vibrant, Thai Basil leaves from my garden, Olive Oil drizzled liberally, and sprinkle storm of sea salt.

This Thai Basil flower deserved a close up.

This soup is summer perfection for health-minded food lovers. I believe you could have lots of fun playing with garnishes: sliced avacado, marinated mushrooms, cilantro, sriracha sauce, etc. The kids caught on that I was making something super healthy and decided to make pasta instead.(So much for my attempts to keep the stove off and my family well nourished.) Surprisingly, when they tasted the soup they ended up pouring it over their noodles as sauce. Yes!
It's that good!
I had to share.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Basket of Gratitude

I'm so excited for my first styling client! I get the joy of styling a "Garden Glam" birthday party for an incredibly talented, smart and beautiful young lady. We are planning a sit down dinner and movie night in the garden. I threw a basket of inspiration together. 
And I was so excited that I took a silly picture!
The day before I packed the bundle, I told a friend that my whole business plan is: Just take one step forward and trust God to show me the next one.
And this happened! I provided a piece for a wedding and the next day I got a text from a friend wanting styling services for a party.
 So this basket is my gratitude, excitement
and her atmosphere for a very special event!
Cheers to a very tight business plan!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Playing with Tabletops

I am delighted, actually a wee bit over-the-moon, to be invited again to guest post and food style for one of my favorite friends and world changers, Beth, over at Community Eats. She recently asked me to chat about how I style my table tops for special occasions using found items. 

Anytime I can play around with Beth in the kitchen or in the blogosphere I am excited. It might not be world changing/paradigm shifting information but if it inspires just one person to express their hospitable personality, set up an inviting space to gather around without spending money, and enjoy the moment created then I'm happy. 

I originally thought I'd share tricks with my dining room table where I typically host meals. However, currently it is living as a full scale craft table securely wrapped in butcher paper, floral duct table and cluttered with at least four different and severely messy art projects. Since I don't have a magic wand to change it back into a "real" table, I.....

--introduce you to my kitchen table! 

I've been eating meals with this old handsome guy since I was eight! When my father passed away it moved in with us and I enjoy it as much as anyone could ever enjoy a little kitchen table. It put a huge smile on my face to dress it up for the Community Eats family. Hop over to enjoy the short & sweet guest post. 

While you're there check out these recipes that I had a blast styling  AND TASTING: Tropical Champion Smoothie, Breakfast Pie, Lovely Summer Pasta and Cumin Marinated Flank Steak. The flank steak is incredible and now a regular on the Gilmore table.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

snip, snip, snip!

So our friends were coming over for dinner. It was the perfect night to grill and dine outside. I was quickly trying to wipe down the patio furniture and set the table before they arrived. My cute little succulents had these two tall stems towering over the snug cute flowers I had tucked in just right when I planted. 

They looked ridiculous! Two long skinny, spiny antennas. I ran to the scissors and right before I snipped them off, I noticed tiny, lovely little orange blossoms way up at the top. 

So I didn't snip.

I almost snipped because it didn't look right.

I almost snipped off the prettiest part.

I almost snipped off blossoming beautiful life.

I almost snipped off what the plant is created to do.

And I felt like the garden was talking to me again. 

In parenting, life, business, marriage have I quickly snipped off the blossoms because something didn't fit my original vision? Have I made hasty decisions? Have I been so concerned about what others might think that I cut off something that could have been amazing? Has God asked me to do things that seem or look ridiculous so I opted out? Have I not stepped back long enough to anticipate something blossoming? Snip, snip, snip all through life.

Sadly I probably have. Probably more than once. More likely, a lot. 

Thankfully, I didn't this time! These delicate, precioius, lovely, vibrant little flowers spoke up! They reminded me to pause, step back, and look carefully before I snip! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fumbling through The Plan

I wanted to give an update about my LoveHate relationship fumbling through the plan. I don't know the best way to journal it for you, but I'm going to try.

Day1: Hated it! Flax Granola was soggy because I did it wrong (don't double the recipe) and put almonds in it which I wasn't to do until day2. Hated no salt! Bird seed diet. And pouted and sulked about it. Lunch and dinner were ok.

Day2: Hated it! BUT lost 1.1lb! So that was a perk! Flax was better because I corrected my error. Still a little chewy not crunchy. Had to go to a restaurant for lunch and packed my own food. MY tip for packing your food is to ask the server for a plate and as quickly as possible, get your special food on their plate. Then it looks like they brought you something special. I don't like sauteed Kale as an entree but celebrated Brown Rice. No salt was bugging me!
Also Day2 was a very high stress day and my emotions seemed toxic. I finally got my journal out and wrote out all the junk, very fast, sparks were flying. It felt so good. Induced a good cry. And I was able to hear God. I'm not sure if it was a symptom of the detox, life, hormones or worse, it just happened to be Day2 of the detox and so I'm reporting. But I muscled through.
It is interesting that if I hadn't been on The Plan I'd likely have taken those toxic feelings right to the bread and butter, chocolate ice cream or cookies, a big plate of pasta, etc. Comfort food does provide a short term comfort and when you choose to deny them, the feelings are not tempered down. You have to deal!

Day3: Still annoyed with it, BUT! Lost 1lb! Starting to feel better about it for sure! Introduced low sodium chick peas to my diet that had consisted mostly of rabbit food and bird seed, I mean-vegetable based whole foods. They tasted amazing! Chicken with dinner. And for all of my belly-aching, I already started adjusting to no salt! Friends! This-is-a-miracle!

Day4: Warming up to The Plan. Lost 1.4lb. Whaaat?! Liking this now. No reactions yet. And 3day detox is over! I do believe the detox to be the hardest part. Now I'm just testing. Hello GOAT CHEESE! Hello DARK CHOCOLATE (1oz). Never has goat cheese tasted so good to me. I had an ounce, which is actually a lot, on a salad with olive oil and herbs as only dressing and was in Heaven! My palate is so clean and neutral now, it's crazy! I was so excited to have dessert!

I FORGOT COFFEE! I am going back over things and realizing that Day4 I was also encouraged to add coffee and I didn't! Yikes! I'll be adding a bullet proof coffee in a few days. I found while on the Clean Program that abstaining from coffee made a positive difference on my cycle. So I actually don't want to add it yet although it's my favorite thing!

Day5: Gained .2lb Since I'm up that would be a reaction. If I only react that mildly then goat cheese to me is worth it! I realize this is not the most informative journaling of The Plan. If you're wondering what I'm eating, it's very similar to what other healthy plans recommend: Lots of fresh greens, lots of vegetables, meat is a very small portion (like half a chicken breast), grains are small and paired specifically with veggies, cheese very small (1oz). I drink half my body weight in ounces of water. Snacks are small and clean, fruit or nuts or something very light. If anyone ate like this all the time, I'm sure they would lose weight too without following The Plan, however, the magic of The Plan is that you are able to test foods with a neutral body chemistry to determine which particular foods cause you inflammation. Inflammation will show a gain on the scale and then you have the knowledge to do whatever you wish with. Here is what I'm NOT doing: eating or drinking anything past 7:30, which for me is the HARDEST PART! I haven't tested coffee yet. I'm not salting my food. I use kelp and dulse instead.

Day6: Lost .2, added Rye Crackers. Normally they taste like particle board but now with almond butter they are one of my favorite things. I ate great all day. We went to dinner that night with friends and I ate mostly to plan from the menu, had 2 glasses of wine, and a vegan popcycle. AND! all of this after 7:30 and not enough water. Loved every minute of it!

Day7: The same. No gain! No loss! So I know that if I don't want to gain weight, I have 1 glass of wine, not 2. I eat earlier. I bet the vegan pop was fine. And I'm not disappointed that I stayed the same.

So fast forward now. I'm starting to love The Plan. It's making a lot of sense. I've learned after checking in with my plan seasoned friend Sheley, that I can test the things I like, skip the suggestions that don't interest me and learn on my own. I followed the meal plans to the letter the first 5 days. I find that was stressful and I know that I could have used my own common sense and still learned and lost.

I'm continuing to lose tenths of a pound each day. I'm learning to enjoy the large portions of greens. I think I can do this for a long time. I don't feel like a slave to the scale. I don't want to react and gain, but it's going to happen, and it's merely information.

I hate that I can't eat or drink after 7:30 but I love how I'm feeling, looking and eating! And I forgot to mention that I haven't worked out once on The Plan, since walking my lazy dog doesn't really count.