Indulgence (And the Return of Pain)

The Return of Pain and Anxiety (And what I intend to do about it!)

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Sugar Addiction. People hear that and they assume that it’s one of those flippant terms people throw around, like… “shop-a-holic”. But, it’s real. And it is difficult to overcome. For me, addiction to refined foods is an ongoing battle. I’m thanful that I live miles from the nearest grocery store. I’m thankful tha I work from home, so I’m not tempted by the fast food and treats that are offered on every city corner.

My home is an oasis of health – usually. Recently, I have thrown my food inhibitions aside. I have indulged every craving. I am paying for it too! The obvious result is weight gain. Not so obvious, is the return of PAIN. I hurt. All the time. All over. My joints. My back. My head. I had forgotten that I could hurt this much. ALL of my nasty symptoms are back. Migraines, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety. OMGsh. ANXIETY. The manifestation of inflammation has been my constant, horrid companion.

I’m over it. I’m ready to make fresh start with the new year! Are you with me? You can be pain free—or at least have a significant reduction in pain and other symptoms. Below, I have included links to some of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. They are truly life-changers! Pick up one the following, and kick start the new year with me! What do you have to lose? (Except a few pounds!) I’ll do it with you. We’ll start in January.  We will support each other. It will be less sucky than doing it alone! Give 30 days out if your life to see if you feel better. You can do anything for a few weeks, right?

Recommended Books:



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Creamy Southwest Dressing

(Vegan, Gluten free, Grain free, Dairy Free, Keto, Paleo, Whole30)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon or juice & 1/4 cup Cholula Hot Sauce (or your favorite taco sauce)
    • OR 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice (omitting the hot sauce)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 – 16 ounce jar Arriba Mild Fire Roasted Mexican Green Salsa (or your favorite salsa)
  • 1/4 I use Forager Cashewgurt, an organic cashew yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili (or any chili powder)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix. I use my immersion blender because it makes the dressing smoother for pouring, but you might like chunky dressing use a fork or spoon to mix.

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Sweet and Savory Pineapple Stir-Fry Sauce

(Vegan, Gluten Free)

Though it’s shown over chicken, the sauce itself it’s vegan, so it’s perfect for vegetarian or vegan stir fry. The pineapple juice is such an amazing, tropical twist!

We like our stir-fry served over cauliflower fried rice. Low carb and yummy!

If you try this, please tell me what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar (organic, unbleached)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons starch – corn or arrowroot. I don’t recommend tapioca unless you like your sauce to have the texture of snot!

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with an emersion blender or whisk.
  2. Pour into sauce pan, or over your stir-fried veggies in a skillet, and simmer. After 6-8 minutes on medium- low heat, the sauce should thicken to a lovely, golden glaze.
  3. Serve over…. anything.

See? It thickens up so pretty!

Ready-Fast Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

(Gluten free, Grain free, Dairy Free, Keto, Paleo)

gumbo

This quick, gluten free gumbo is based on Emeril’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. The chicken in my recipe is pre-cooked, so it’s done in about 30 minutes.

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 stick ( ½ cup ) butter, or ½ cup ghee or avocado oil
  • ½ cup rice flour (for Paleo or Keto, 1/3 cup arrow root or ¼ cup coconut flour)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 package andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut into slices
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 – 6 cups chicken broth (depending on how “soupy” you like it)
  • 2 – 4 boneless, cooked chicken breasts (I used 4, but mine were really small) cut into bite-size chunks, or ½ rotisserie chicken, boned
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped (or snipped with scissors)
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. Combine the oil and flour in a large pot over medium heat, stirring slowly and constantly for about 10 minutes, until the roux is the color of caramel.
  2. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 3 – 5 minutes, or until they have softened.
  3. Add the chicken, sausage, salt, cayenne, bay leaf, and broth. Stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 10  minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, and green onions. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls with cauliflower rice.

Rub for Chicken (Based on Emeril’s “Rustic Rub”)

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

I also use a tablespoon of the rub in my cauliflower rice! 🙂 Yum!

Cauliflower “Rice”

Pulsing the cauliflower rice is important. The first time I tried to make riced cauliflower, I just turned on my food processor, and let it chop. My cauliflower came out more like corn masa! LOL… Live and learn.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons butter, ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon of the rub
  • 1/4 cup water or broth

Directions

  • Separate or cut cauliflower into 1-inch florets, then place florets into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles rice. (It’s better to divide the cauliflower up, and do this in 2 or 3 batches.)
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, and stir frequently, until it starts to brown.
  • Add the water or broth and 1 tablespoon of rub mixture.
  • Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower has softened – about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

I like to spoon the cauliflower into each person’s bowl and add the gumbo on top. My hubby likes to just throw it into the gumbo. The choice is yours. Enjoy!

Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Or… The Simple, Tangy Dressing That Will Rock Your World!

Many of our diet changes were a result of my daughter’s food sensitivities. This recipe was developed more out of preference. We use this dressing on spinach salad and on our coleslaw. It’s fresh, tangy, sweet and DE-LISH!

  • Makes 9 oz. (A little more than a cup)
  • Ready in 10 minutes
  • No cooking required

(Pictured below: The Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette on coleslaw, served with chipotle chicken—I’ll share that recipe with you another day.)

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This a “clean” recipe, and it complies with Paleo and Weston A Price dietary guidelines.

  • 2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz. Mayonnaise (We use a vegan mayo)
  • 4 oz. Avocado Oil (It has a much milder taste than olive oil)
  • 1 oz. Raw Honey
  • A Pinch of Sea Salt (optional)

Blend with a fork, shake in a jar (with a lid! LOL) or if you have one, use an immersion blender. Toss with your salad and enjoy!

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PUPPIES!

Colorado Mountain Dog Puppies!

Our sweet Mia gave us 7 puppies! Bred for the Colorado Mountain Dog Program, these pups make excellent livestock guardians! Both dam and sire have very sweet, easy-going temperaments with their humans, but they are all business when a predator is nearby! Then, our gentle flock-watchers become a determined blur! They do whatever it takes to keep our livestock safe!

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Colorado Mountain Dogs are a new breed being developed in Colorado since 2006. Unlike many other Livestock Guardian Dogs, they are people oriented, mellow, and friendly. They are derived from generations of working dogs. Colorado Mountain Dogs are especially suited for guarding animals and acreage against predatory animals. They work by establishing a territory and defending the borders against lions, coyotes, foxes, coons, and other wild animals whose territories intersect with ranches. They drive these animals away with very few actual physical confrontations. In areas where there are only small predators such as foxes, coons, etc, one dog is sufficient. In areas where coyote packs or mountain lions are present, it is recommend that property owners have at least two Colorado Mountain Dogs. Colorado Mountain Dogs are intelligent, relaxed, and easy to have indoors, despite their size. They are friendly to our human visitors. They like to live with their families, and that is their motivation for guarding. Their orientation toward people is what makes them different than some other breeds of Livestock Guardian Dogs. You can read more about Colorado Mountain Dogs on the Colorado Mountain Dog site.

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UPDATE: Our puppies were adopted just in time for Christmas! Each of the precious pups are thriving in their forever homes. 🙂

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Creamy Pesto Chicken

Or…
(Creamy Pesto Sauce That You Can Put on Anything You Want!)

I have finally refined this recipe enough that I feel like I can share it. WARNING: I tend to over-complicate things, so if you just want the recipe for the creamy pesto sauce, skip the rest of my ingredients / instructions. I use sheep’s yogurt and cheese for my cow-dairy sensitive peeps, but you can use the regular stuff. The COSTCO in my area carries a lovely Manchego sheep’s cheese, and I get sheep’s yogurt from my local store. When we are not eating grains, I serve over a bed of fresh veggies rather than pasta. I use a spiral vegetable slicer for making “zoodles” (zucchini noodles).  This recipe is super easy to make vegetarian. I had leftover veggies and noodles, and the sauce was lovely when reheated.

Creamy Pesto Chicken @LightningHillFarm #cleaneating
Ingredients

Main Ingredients
6 boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
1 bunch of Broccoli
1 pkg. organic, whole grain pasta (Or zoodles made from 2 or 3 zucchinis (or one mammoth zucchini from your garden!) or 1 large spaghetti squash)
2 tbsp. butter

Marinade/ Rub for Chicken
4 Tbsp. avocado oil (a high heat oil)
The juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Creamy Pesto Sauce
6 oz fresh basil
1 cup mild cheese
1 cup pistachios, shelled
1 cup olive or avocado oil (avocado oil has a mild, buttery flavor that I prefer)
4 large cloves of garlic (I use 4 tbsp. minced fresh garlic from the jar)
1 – 6 oz. container of greek yogurt or sour cream

Method

Pesto: Prepare all ingredients. You could do the pesto first, but I like to prepare mine while the chicken is cooking. When you’re ready, purée pesto ingredients in a food processor until you like the consistency. Set aside.

Marinade / Rub: Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or plastic container. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. (You can marinate them in the refrigerator all day, if you want.)

Chicken: Since chicken breasts come in different sizes, you may want to slice thick breasts in half horizontally, especially those more than 1/2-inch thick, or even thicker. We like the chicken grilled, but sometimes weather doesn’t allow for this. If cooking indoors, pre-heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. (My cast iron is perfect for this!) Add your high-heat oil to the pan. As soon as the oil begins to smoke, lay the chicken breast pieces in the pan. Let the chicken cook undisturbed for 6 or 7 minutes, until you have a good sear. Once seared well on one side, turn the pieces over and turn heat down to medium-low. (The other side will brown while the pan cools down a little.) Then, finish cooking breasts for another 6 – 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your breasts) until done and juices run clear.

Pasta and Veggies: You can start the pasta, chicken and broccoli all at the same time or cook the chicken first, and let it “rest” wrapped in foil while you cook everything else. That’s what I do, if my hubby isn’t around to be “the chicken guy” because multi-tasking is a challenge for me! While the chicken is “resting” start your water for you pasta to boil. Chop your broccoli up into bite-size pieces, and place in the steamer or pot with about ½ inch of water. You will want to turn that on when the water for the pasta starts to boil. Drop your pasta in, and cook according to package directions. When my pasta is done, I drain it, toss with butter and set aside while you check your broccoli. Broccoli is best (in my opinion) when it’s brightly colored, and beginning to soften.

Serve: Slice the chicken against the grain into strips. Serve over pasta with a good portion of broccoli and ladle the pesto sauce over all of it.

We Bought the Farm!

Our little house on the Colorado prairie. @lightninghllfrm

We are not strangers to adventure.

  • We have homeschooled our four children since 1996.
  • We have been business owners.
  • We have been through bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Our newest adventure has taken us from the suburbs of California to rural Colorado, where we now live on a small farm.

Being able to own a home again was unlikely, but Jesus made a way.  In May of 2012, we packed up our rental home and stayed all summer with loving family and friends so that we could save up the down payment for a house.  In August, we began looking at properties.  The day we first drove out to our future farm, it was nothing more than a little house surrounded by four acres of prairie grass.  As we toured the house we looked out at the small hill behind the property and at that very moment, lightning struck! It was if God himself was saying “This is the place! We knew then that if the Lord made a way for us to buy it, we would call it “Lightning Hill Farm”.

We moved out onto the Colorado prairie on September 14th 2012.  We are slowly adding outbuildings and corrals—even a garden to grow our own veggies.  We had four chickens before we moved out to the prairie, and we have collected more since.  Last fall, we bought two Nubian does—Daisy and Lily.   Lily died of a mysterious illness on January 1st of this year.  We replaced her with a lovely, two year old Saanen doe, named Mint Julep—we call her “Jules”.  She is “in milk”, so our days are filled with milking, egg-gathering, homeschooling and hopefully soon cheese-making and canning.  We love knowing where our food comes from.

Welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit to Lightning Hill Farm.