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February 2015

Luck of the Irish Pizza

  Irish pizza 1 storybook woods

    This was such a huge family fav I had to share it. A fun way to switch up that cornbeef. Amounts are general, all depending on what you like. You can leave off the cabbage slaw but I really like that cold crunch with the rich pizza. I served with extra horseradish and sauerkraut on the side. All you need it some Dark Chocolate Stout 60 second mousse and you have a perfect Friday night meal!

Irish pizza 2 storybook woods

Luck of the Irish Pizza


1 pizza crust, can be gluten or grain free too  

1 TBL Dijon mustard

2 tsp horseradish

1 TBL oil, I like avocado oil


Thinly sliced cornbeef, a generous cup or so

Grated cheese, a mix of swiss and gruyere is lovely

Cabbage Slaw


Pre-heat oven 400◦F and roll out your pizza crust. Mix together mustard, horseradish and oil. Adjust amounts to your liking and brush the entire top of the crust with the mustard mixture. Sprinkle some sauerkraut over the pizza, Top with cornbeef and then cheese over the meat. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. While the pizza is baking, make slaw and serve with cooked pizza.


Cabbage Slaw

3 cups finely sliced cabbage

2 green onions, sliced


½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

1 TBL. oil, like olive or avocado

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix dressing together, taste and adjust to your liking. Add cabbage and green onion to dressings. Toss and serve with pizza. I like to pile it on top of mine.


Bloom, A Year Later


"Saying no leads to confidence and confidence opens up the world and that is a liberator!"

    Gosh it has been a year since I started dealing with my blood sugar/pre-diabetic stuff.  A year ago I was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, panicked, sick (even though I pretended I wasn't) and thought it might be the end of me writing about food. I was having HUGE sugar/carb withdrawals, wondering what I could eat and having a pity-party. But boy what a difference a year can make!

  • I now am walking 3+ miles 1-2 times a week (when I started I struggled with ½ mile).
  • I continue to let an incident a year ago (almost crashed the car w/ my daughters in it), be my wake up call. When I do not want to do something, I remind myself what will happen if I go backwards.
  • I am weight lifting 5# dumbbells for 10/15 minutes (when I started I struggles w/ 2 ½# dumbbells for a minute. I have really weak and flabby arms. It is the one part of my body I am focusing on).
  • David and I go hiking now!
  • I made myself run. I often have to push in with buff 20yrd guys to get the weights and lift in front of them (really hard to do :-O
  • I have dropped 2 sizes. (I bought size 14 jeans the other day. I was a 18/20 a year ago) PS. I do not know how much I weigh because I refuse to weigh myself. I guess I do not want to be defined by a number.
  • I have figured out how to eat without eating things like pasta, rice, bread, etc. (It is not hard. A little weird but not hard once you figure it all out).

    But the biggest thing I have now is confidence. I am confident that I can do whatever needs to be done. I can get healthy. I am getting healthy. I feel clearer, lighter and stronger. It is a nice feeling. I mostly spent this past year reading, listening and learning about our health, blood sugar, how to eat, etc. and I think what I learned the most is we are all different. Sorry, wish there was some magic one way pill for all of us but there is not. However I do think there is a few things that are true for all of us.

  1. “just eat less and move more?”. This idea is pretty outdated and NOT true. Yes, most of us should probably eat less (at least less junk) and should move but it is just not that simple. Really!!
  2. Sleep. Getting sleep is just as important as what you eat!
  3. Handing stress. It is not so much having stress, as it is how do you handle your stress?
  4. Veggies. We all need to eat more vegetables, I mean wayyyy more. 60% of my diet is vegetables.
  5. Water. Drink more of it. First thing every morning I have is a glass of water with a TBL of raw cider vinegar and lemon oil. I try to carry a bottle of water with me all day. I find it helps me drink more.
  6. Over-exercise, DON'T! Yes we need to move more but over exercising can shut down your metabolism, especially when you first start out. So take it slow. Take days off so your body can rest. Also work on building muscle. Strength training is very important to your health.
  7. Active lifestyle. This is not the same as a concentrated work out. Look for ways to have to move more, like parking farther away or taking the stairs or standing when working on your computer.


    The reason why you need to look first at your sleep and stress is it can mess with your hormones and metabolism. If they is not working right, then you will struggle to get healthy and loose weight. Your body needs to get "back in-line" so to speak to work efficiently. I really did not lose much weight the first 6 months but after that it just sort of started coming off. I think that is because my body was/is healing. Healing takes time. Repair takes time. So remember to look at your sleep/stress, drink more water, eat a lot more veggies and move but do not feel like you have to kill yourself everyday in high energy exercise. Build up slow, do something for a while and then take it up a small notch. I think these are rules we all can live by and can make a huge difference in our lives.

    I get a lot of notes asking what program I use?.  I do not use a program. My mom has type 2 diabetes and has been able to control it through diet, so I followed her example and then tweaked it for myself. Also I get lots of notes telling me "I love my carbs! I cannot have a meal without bread or potatoes or cereal". I love carbs too and there are some really healthy ones. You do not have to cut out carbs but I do. For me it is simple. I eat high carbs, it turns into sugar in my system, raises my blood sugar too high and my body cannot handle it. I cannot argue with this fact. But I will say this, it sounds like some of you are having some problem and do not feel healthy. I think most of us know in our gut what we need to do and change. I did, I just did not want to do it because lets face it, it is not fun.

    But this is what I have learned this past year. There is something stronger than "having fun and my cravings". That is confidence! It takes work to say no to things we love but are bad for us. Just like I have written about in the past that frugality is not a killjoy but a liberator, well the same rule applies to discipline. Saying no leads to confidence and confidence opens up the world and that is a liberator. When you believe you have it in you to do what you need to do, you suddenly own your life. Croissants do not own me now. They are an amazing part of my life (I had one for Valentines day, it was heaven) but I choose when and where to indulge. I guess what I am trying to say is at first you feel like so many things/foods are being taken away from you. You feel helpless and angry, well I did. It takes time to see that yes, you may be loosing something but you are gaining so much more. Something, that as time goes on is much more satisfying. I do not know what this up coming year holds. All I do know is I am sure I will learn even more about my myself, I can say no and will try to grow a bit everyday. I will continue to bloom where I am planted!


Upcycled Chair


    A girlfriend was cleaning out her basement and thought I might like this chair. It has great lines and I thought it would be interesting for photos. It is falling apart thought and cannot be sat on. I took it and then thought of ways it could still be used.


     Actually Chloe is on the one who came up with the idea of using it as a side table. We needed one and the chair just fit. To make it more stable for cups of tea or a glass of wine, we simply pulled out a pretty metal tray. It works beautifully and it was free. Maybe you have a pretty old chair you can upcycle into a side table?

Café Cookies, grain-free

Café cookie insta Storybook Woods

    I am a HUGE fan of slice n' bake cookies kept in the freezer. They are easy to put together, freeze well and whenever you need a treat or visitors are stopping by, you can just slice off a few and bake them off frozen as needed. It is hard to find grain-free baked treats that are both yummy and not time consuming. I found these amazing grain-free Rosemary Shortbread cookies that have become my go to cookie. I played with the recipe and came up with my contribution, chocolate/coffee version. You cannot go wrong with these! Especially when my picky eater even loved them, then I knew I had a hit!

Café cookies Storybook Woods

Café Cookies, grain free

Make about 2 dozen


1 ¾ cup almond flour

¼ cup coco powder

1-2 tsp. instant coffee, depending on the coffee and how strong you like it

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

3 TBL. sugar (I used coconut) *see note about amounts

1 tsp. salt


Put all ingredients except the butter in a food processor and with the pulse button mix together. Cut butter into small cubes and added to dry mixture. Pulse to start mixing the butter and flour together. Then mix until the dough rolls into a ball. If after a minute if the dough does not come together, sprinkle a bit of water. The dough should be like a soft play dough. On a piece of parchment or wax paper, shape dough into a long log. Wrap and set in fridge for an hour or the freeze.

Pre-heat oven 300◦F  Slice cold dough into ¼ inch slices. Set cookies on parchment paper. Bake 12-15 minutes. Let cookies cool on the cookies sheet. They will crumble if you try to move them warm. Then enjoy!!

Note about sugar. These cookies are slightly bitter and not sweet. I need to consume as little sugar as possible, so this the amount of sweetener I use. Depending in how bitter your instant coffee is you can change the amount to suite your liking. Also the sugar amount could be upped all the way to a 1/3 cup. You could also use regular sugar if you like. I use coconut because it is so low on the glycemic level. Play with the amounts of coffee/sugar and enjoy!!

Café cookie! Storybook Woods