Bloom-Making The Hard Choices



A Storybook Woods

     I get asked a lot what tricks I use to keep my weight off. A big one is stopping and really thinking about what I want to eat. How to have treats without going whole hog. I tend to have my treats on the weekend, so I so that cuts of a lot of the week. I will also try to plan it out. If I know I am going to have a really carby meal on Saturday let's say, I try to make sure I eat really good the day before and after to make-up for it. But I also look at what is being served, what I would really like and try to make it as healthy as I can, while still enjoying what I want. I will give you two examples.

    Example 1, last weekend we had hot dogs topped with bacon, guacamole and monterey jack cheese (which is a fab combo by the way). I served nacho chips in the side because my family loves them. I looked at that meal and thought what was the problems with it? First there is the hot dog buns, second the chips and third no veggies (I don't consider avocado's veggies  ;-). The buns were cheap ones and I did not want them, but the chips were calling to me. So this is what I did. I used a romaine lettuce leaf for a bun (do it all the time, I am fine with it) and took a FEW (& I mean like 4 chips each hot dog) and crushed them on the top. Added some raw veggies on the side and the dish ended up not being too bad. Also I did not feel cheated.

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     Example 2, hubby's birthday last month. He loves biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. I have discovered how to make the gravy without flour and it is delish. Now I could have made mine with a gain-free biscuits but I did not have any on-hand. I decided I did not want a plain biscuit to be my treat, because I wanted the rosemary bread I was baking later to me my treat. So I just had gravy over eggs and thoroughly enjoyed my homemade bread later.

    So see? Stop, think about what you love? What can you give up? Try to pick just one indulgence and not go hog crazy with it. This has served me well and I hope it makes sense to you!! 

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Bloom. 3 Years Later


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    Celebrating my three year anniversary of not being pre-diabetic anymore and major lifestyle change. 3 years, wow!! I know some of you are having the same issues as me, so I thought I would share. In the past three years I have lost at least 54 pounds. The even better news is I am keeping it off! My number one goal has always been to maintain what I have lost. And to be able to maintain that weight loss, well ... that feels like the biggest success to me.

    My second goal was to drop under 200 and stay there. I can say I have been able to maintain that goal for 7 months now. I am not sure what my next goal is, but honestly I am just happy with what I have obtained so far. I still eat a very low-carb version of Paleo. I still struggle with eating enough veggies. My goal is to make 70% of my daily diet low-carb veggies. I do it, but still have lazy days. I exercise once a week for 1 ½ hours (hard) and "try" to work out another day for 40 minutes, but I do not beat myself up if it does not happen.

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Really I have only made 2 changes this past year.

1. I use to walk 3 miles. Now I work on strength training and build muscle, plus walking. When you lose so much weight you end up with lotsss of sagging skin. It's kind of scary :-O Plus I am not sure I had any muscles in my body to begin with ;-) I could barely workout with 2 ½ # weights for 3 minutes, 2 years ago. So building muscles and working on my core strength has been my focus and boy can I see a difference. I have slimmed my arms and stomach, been focusing on my gluts lately and am in a size 12 jeans (I was an 20 before). I still have a longggg ways to go. But it is amazing to be able to focus on a part of your body and know with hard work you can make changes.


2. I drink vinegar water and kombucha every day. I drink water all day and always add a TBL of raw apple cider vinegar to my water. I started off with less but got use to the taste and now can add more. Also now I drink glass of kombucha everyday too. Both really help regulate my blood sugar, help with my digestion and gut health. Gut health is everything. If you have not read Brain Maker I highly recommend it. Everyone should read it. Last Christmas I gained weight, this Christmas I did not gain any weight. I think the kombucha is helping my body to heal and therefore I am staying in my zone better, even though I did not work out and ate treats.


    So adding weight training and drinking kombucha is really the only changes I have made this year. If you are interested in reading about what I have been doing, read my Bloom series. Really I am just doing what I have been doing the past three years and it works for me. I have had people argue with me that eat fat is unhealthy and low-carb is a fad. All I can say after three years, my body would disagree with you. I listen to my body, it very clearly tells me what it needs and what is does not. So I would encourage you to do the same. Listen to your body, do what works for you and be positive. This is a lifestyle change, that means you will be spending the rest of your life taking care of yourself. That is a journey and journeys never end!


PS. The top photo I took at Bittersweet Apothecary in Liberty Missouri. A charming shop full off goodies!!



Copper Christmas Joy Bottle

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     Happy New Year! I hope it was a great ending. I know it was for me. Last year was a hard one, personally. I was stretched and challenged a LOT! In the end, it is all is good. A lot of change but change is good, right? ;-)  This is the first time I am really feeling that empty nest stuff. I did not think it would get to me so much, but I am finding my ways, slowly. A new chapter of my life.

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    I did want to share one last project from my Copper Christmas. As you know every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make a small gift for each of my guests. Since I drink large amounts of Clear Mind Brew Dr Kombucha I decided to save the bottles. So all year I have been collecting bottles and corks from the sherry I cook with. Just add some copper paint and a simple word. Joy! We all need joy. I am happy with how these turned out and hopefully everyone can use an extra bottle for storage. 

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  The other thing I did was use copper pennies. After I choose copper for my theme, I looked around at what I had that was copper. Pennies! And I have lots of them. I simply cleaned them in a vinegar/salt mixture. I could have done a ton of stuff with them, but I simply lined a tray. I usually use rock salt (such a cheap and pretty item), but the pennies worked great!

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     A few more glimpes of my home. I am interested in seeing what 2017 will hold. I am not sure what will be coming, but I feel good about it all. I hope this is a year filled with joy for you xox

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Merry Christmas 2016

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours

I love this photos because I hardly see my girls anymore (they work so much). I love that we can still be silly and giggle. I will be back after the New Year and share a bit more of my Copper theme. I hope this is a blessed week for you xox

Copper Christmas Wreath

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    Well the one coppery thing I did do was a wreath. This was fun and pretty easy to do. Hubby welded the elbows on each corner. I cleaned up the copper with a mixture of 1 cup plain white vinegar and 1 TBL salt. Worked well.

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    My bow  is ribbon I have had for a good 30 years. The beautiful buckle in the center is from one of my favorites stores in Poulsbo, Red Plantation. It is perfect addition. This wreath is simple and open, but I like that. Air in decorating in needed, if that makes sense? 

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Copper Christmas Menu

Copper Christmas Menu Storybook Woods


    Good day, here is our Christmas menu. Christmas Eve potato bar was such a big hit last year, I am doing it again! I am sorry I do not have links to recipes to link. Either they are mine (and I need to write one) or I am not cooking it. Like the ice cream will be brought by my sister from Molly Moon in Seattle. I am hoping my Bacon, Chocolate Pecan pie is a hit. I will let you know. What are you making that your excited by?

Copper Christmas Champagne Bar

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  Two years ago we did a whiskey bar and last year we did a cocoa bar, so this year we thought a champagne bar would be perfect with our theme.

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    Plus these copper champagne glass, I got last year, were the whole reason I did a Copper Christmas!

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    We made champagne cocktails. You take a sugar cube and add a few drops of bitters onto your cube. Place sugar in your glass and fill with champagne. I used Scrappy's Bitters in both chocolate and lavender flavor. They were a big hit at my Christmas party.

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    I also had some raw sugar, that looked so pretty with the copper. Copper tinsel and copper wire lights filled in the small details. This bar turned so elegant. 

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Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar and dairy free

Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge sugar and dairy free, Storybook Woods

 I gave a shout out on FB/Instagram I was cutting up a batch of sugar-free Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge and several people requested a recipe so here you go ;-) 


Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar free, gain/paleo friendly

3 cups chopped dark chocolate, I use 70% chocolate

¾ cup coconut cream/milk or raw milk or regular whole milk

pinch of sea salt

4 TBL grass-fed butter or coconut oil

¼ cup Frangelico

½ cup  toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped. I like big pieces in my fudge


Put chocolate, milk, salt and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over low temp until all is melted. You do NOT want to boil, just melt. When chocolate is melted, pull pan off heat. Stir in Frangelico and hazelnuts. Pour fudge in a loaf pan. I like to use a silicone pan for this, because later I can easily pull the pan away from the fudge. Refrigerate your pan overnight. Then unmold the fudge and cut into small squares. Store fudge in fridge between parchment paper in a airtight container until ready to serve. This is a soft fudge, but firm enough to hold and enjoy.

Copper Christmas-Mirrors

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    Next I am sharing from my Copper Christmas, my wall of mirrors. I had teased on FB/Instagram I was running around my house collecting all my mirrors. 

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    I was really flummoxed how to fill this wall space. I change it out each season. Spring/floras, fall/homey works of art. I needed something I have a lot of and mirrors I do. I was luck this house came with 3 antique mirrors and the large center one belonged to my Grandmother Claire (who I was named after but never met). 

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    The mirrors have a reflexive feel and go with my theme. It also reflexes the lights from the tree and when the tree is gone, reflections of the water. 

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I added a few glitter do-da's and wha-la! Wall of mirrors! 

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Copper Christmas

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    Okay, my theme this year is a Copper Christmas!! BUT, I confess that I do not own a lot of copper things and cannot afford to just go buy a bunch a stuff (plus that is no fun). So I had to DIY and stretch my thinking a bit. I own a lot of silver, gold, mercury glass and hoped this would make the copper shine. So in a way you could call this more of a metallic Christmas, but in the end I think it came out very pretty. I am quite happy.

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   Today I am sharing my china cabinet. We took the back off and use this cabinet as a divider between the living and dinning space. This is a large, longggg room with 3 distinct spaces. The divide really helps with creating cozy space, like one would want in the winter, without closing off the room.

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    I needed to put something in the cabinet and can be admired from all sides. My white village and lots of pale, glittered trees worked well.

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    I purchased 2 white buildings and copper glittered the roof of one and painted the trim with copper metallic paint on the other. I also made little copper wire wreaths for each house.

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    I also made some more glue gun icicles but added copper glitter to them. They are so easy to make. I have to say at night, this cabinet just glows. I am thrilled with the results!

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Christmas Pantry 2016

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    Here is some glimpses of my kitchen and pantry. I used gray, red and white in my kitchen. As it picked up the colors of the tote holding greens on my kitchen door. 

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    I always do these kinds of garlands. Just layers of ribbons I have on-hand, in the colors I am using. So simple. Our vintage Santa collection from Davids family. 

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    For my pantry I decided to go with a French feel. I used my glittered Eiffel towers, pops of color and black/white to ground it all!

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Kitchen Christmas 2016

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    Happy December friends! I have been busy working on my Christmas theme this year, but I am not quite ready to share yet. So I welcome you into my house and kitchen. 

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    My little shoe room is a simple collection of shells, drift woods and other goodies I find when I hang out on the beach (or dropped in my yard by a bird. These brown bottles I have been saving for a Christmas project (share soon). Instead of a wreath I took this tote (that looks like wool but is recycled plastic bottles) and filled it with greens and holly from my property. Add some large pompoms from a past Christmas theme, and wha-la, simple!

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   I will be back with my pantry!! 

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Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours xox

This is a post from FB I thought I would share with all of you! 

I was asked by my good friend (who I can never say no to) what my Thanksgiving menu is, so here we go.
Barbecued turkey, in a white wine, orange & lemon slices, fresh bay leaves brine
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
Sausage, dried sour cherry, chestnut bread stuffing
Cream cheese mash potatoes Store bought gravy (yes I buy my gravy ;-O )
Green beans with Dijon-made by my mom
Green salad with fresh persimmon, pomegranate, toasted pecan salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette
Dairy free pumpkin pie Pumpkin Cheesecake-made by Chloe
Grain-free Chocolate chip cookies-made by my mom
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Also I was requested the recipe for the Spiced Port Cranberry sauce. I will be honest and say I just wing it So feel free to not follow the amount for spices too much. I cook, taste, adjust and simmer 5 minutes longer, It always seems to turn out and is a yearly favorite!
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
makes a generous 2 cups
3 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup port (I used sweet ruby port, but you can use dry too. You will just want to add more sugar. Also you can use red wine too, it is good)
⅓ cup sugar/sweetener (I used coconut sugar) If you like your sauce sweet, you will want more sugar. I like mine just barely sweet.
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece of candied ginger (or a slice of fresh ginger)
1 vanilla bean
Wrap the spices below in a piece of cheese cloth tied with some string. I makes it easier later to pull out the spices
1 whole anise
6 peppercorns
some whole cloves and allspice
Put all ingredients in pan and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. I mash the cranberries down a bit, but you do not have too. Taste if it is not sweet enough add more sugar, also if the sauce seems too dry add some more port and simmer 5 more minutes. Pull off heat, cover and let cool. Pull out spices. Put sauce in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Things I Love

  Fal16 Storybook Woods

Things I love. What I really love about this time of year? Is just that, this time of year, Autumn. Between now and Christmas is what I love the most. The nip in the air, the deep gold light, smoky smells from the wood stove, the pots of hot tea and snuggling. It does not get much better than that!

Paper tablecloth

Paper Table Cloth, love the look and simplicity of this for the holidays!


David Lebovitz French take of the Cheese Ball!!


DIY Lip Plumper, so easy and just a swipe in the center of my bottom lip works well!




Sharpie Mug, I am thinking of making this mug for Christmas gifts! Image 2 from


Cauliflower Popcorn, I am addicted to this stuff. It feel satisfy and fill that salty, snack need. The trick is to keep the pieces really small, do not over crowed the baking pan and roast the heck out of them! Be generous with your spices!


Bye Bye Red, let me start by saying I am not paid to say how much I LOVE this product. I am not paid to say that about anything I talk about on my blog. So having said that, I have to tell you how much I love Bye, Bye Red. Hitting 50 my skin is really starting to change and my old makeup routine was not working for me. I had heard so much about IT Cosmetics, especially for those who are over the age of 40. I decided to get a free make-over (I know Ulta and Sephora will let you try make-up for free) and was just shock how much I love their foundation, but what I mostly loved was this product. I do not have much rosacea, just some red on my nose, cheeks, some broken capillaries. Basically what you would expect with someone my age. I do not want to look like I am wearing make up. I want to look like I have healthy, dewy skin. And boy did this product do that. A small dot, blended with a small brush and my skin instantly evened out. Plus it last all day, it lasts through my 1 1/2 hour work-out (I get really red cheeks when I work out), and you use such a tiny amount. I am loving it, and it is rare for me to say make-up with worth the high price but in this case I think it is. If your interested, go in and try some. See for yourself.













No Potato-Potato Salad

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    I am always trying low-carb version of dishes and I will be honest, my family doesn't always like them. Which is fine, as long as they are tasty to me, I am happy. But this replacement I made for potato salad was a big hit for my family. I have been making it all summer long. Really it is the same version of potato salad I always make, with capers and lots of lemon zest. I just replaced the potatoes with raw, riced cauliflower but the dish did not have the same creaminess like regular potato salad. I could have used cooked cauliflower, but we like it raw better. So instead I upped the hard boiled eggs. Between tiny pieces of cauliflower and lots of hard boiled eggs, this dish still has that creaminess that one loves in potato salad!

PS. this is very typical of a low-carb dinner for me. My family all had Moroccan Burgers. I had my burgers without buns with fresh avocado and a small piece for French cheese. And of course no potato-potato salad ;-) works for me.


No Potato-Potato Salad

makes one large bowl


4 cups of raw cauliflower, riced (finely chopped)

3 green onions, white and green part, thinly sliced (chives work well too)

1/4 cup (or more) capers

6 hard boiled eggs, cubed

zest of two lemons, organic and cleaned


Mix all ingredients and dressing together. Toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.



3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

Dijon mustard

1 TBL juice from capers

salt and pepper to taste'


Whisk all in a bowl, taste and adjust to your liking.




Lavender Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, grain-free, low-carb

     Lavender Strawberry Icecream cake Storybook Woods 1

    My sister and I always have a tea for my mother on Mother's day. I wanted to make her something extra special and this ice cream cake was a big hit. Because my mother's is diabetic, and does not do dairy (except for butter), I made the cake grain free. The base of the cake is my lavender infused brownies, where you infuse the butter with herbs and then use that butter to make a chocolatey brownies (no cocoa powder here, all bittersweet chocolate :-) . Topped with strawberry ice cream and then lavender ganache. This cake was a BIG hit!! A little time consuming, but so worth the work!

Lavender Strawberry Icecream cake Storybook Woods

Lavender Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, grain-free, low-carb

Base, 1 Lavender Infused Butter Brownie Cake baked in a spring-form pan * see notes

1 pint (or so) strawberry ice cream, I made vegan ice cream but feel free to use what ice cream you love.

Dark Chocolate Lavender ganache


Assemble cake; let brownie base cool for 30 minutes after baking. Cover brownie with ice cream (if ice cream is frozen hard let it sit on your counter, or pop in microwave a minute, to soften a bit). Set cake in freezer and make ganache. Pour ganache over the ice cream. Cover pan with heavy foil and set cake in freezer. Freeze until ice cream is solid. Serve and enjoy!


Vegan Strawberries Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup cold coconut cream

1 cup cold coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar, I used coconut sugar

1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries

pinch of sea salt


Blend all ingredients with a blender stick or in a blender until smooth. Run in ice cream maker for 30 minutes and store in freezer until ready to assemble cake. I make the ice cream when I pull out the cake, so the ice cream is ready when the brownie is cool and the ice cream is still soft enough to spread over the brownie.


Lavender Ganache

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup cream
1 TBL lavender buds ** see note

Heat the cream, chocolate and lavender over low heat until chocolate is melted. Do NOT let the mixture boil. Set chocolate aside for 15 minutes, then strain out lavender buds through a sieve. Discard lavender.



* Bake your brownie in a spring form pan. It makes it easier to serve the cake. Normally I under cook my brownies but for this recipe make sure the brownies are fully cooked

** You can also use food grade lavender oil, I use Young Living, instead of lavender buds. 3-5 drops depending on your taste.

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Wishes Are Like ... Strawberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar



    "Wren sets another bushel of tomatoes under the table and sets to making a salad. On the outdoor worktable Wren has arranged small crocks filled with herbs; chives, basil and hyssop. Next to the crocks is a large shallow pan filled with lettuce leaves floating in cold water. From the pantry she procures some fresh ripe cream brie Luc has sent and carefully crushes a handful of herbs with a clove of garlic in a mortar. Taking the heady paste, she whisks it with some olive oil and strawberry infused balsamic vinegar. Last summer Wren had macerated large vats of balsamic with strawberries from the garden. After a day, she strained them out and set the vinegar in a dark corner of the pantry. This is her favorite vinegar. The strawberries bring out the fruity intensity of the balsamic.

    Carefully drying the Red Speckled lettuce, Wren arranges it on an opalescent platter. Adding fresh figs and slices of brie to the dressed leaves completes the salad. She admires it for a moment the intense purple against the cool white platter.

    Devlin comes striding out of the dining room with a tray of iced tea. He hands her a glass, kissing her cheek. “Another work of art!”" from Wishes Are Like ... the sequel to Wren Bay

After picking 20 pounds of strawberries, I have been making vinegar for the winter!!


Strawberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar

makes one bottle, plus one small jar

1 bottle of balsamic vinegar

frozen strawberries, see notes about amounts*

In a jar or bottle bigger than your bottle of vinegar, pour our vinegar inn it. Add enough strawberries, still frozen, to come halfway up the vinegar. Cover jar and set aside, out of the sun. Let the vinegar sit no more than 2 days. When it smells like strawberries, strain out the berries. Pour you vinegar back in the bottle. You will have extra, which can go in a smaller bottle. A gift for friend, maybe? Store in vinegar a cool, dark cupboard. It will keep for one year. The berries are good in salads. They will keep in refrigerator 2-3 days.


You can make a small batch or a large batch. Just eyeball it, and use about half the amount of vinegar for the strawberries. For example, one cup of vinegar, you would use ½ cup for frozen strawberries but it does not need to be exact.

It is important to use frozen fruit, because they give out more juice.




Thai Peanut Butter Salad

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    Twice a month I have lunch with a girlfriend. She is an amazing cook, so we always eat well. This is a salad I made for one of those get together and was requested to write a recipe for it. I like this salad because it s liking having 2 salads in one. It is actually quite hardy and would make a great meat-free, dairy-free, carb friendly dinner. It looks pretty too, which is nice when you have guests!

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 Please read the whole recipe before cooking!

Peanut-butter Coconut Salad Dressing

½ cup peanut butter

⅛ cup coconut milk

2-3 TBL honey or coconut sugar

1 TBL soy sauce

1 TBL fish sauce

1 minced garlic clove


* (Add these later)

juice of half lime

1 generous tsp. grated, fresh turmeric (or tsp. dried ground turmeric)

salt and pepper as need

**Water, if needed


In a small sauce pan add the first 6 ingredients. Heat ingredients together on low setting on your stove until melted and whisked together. You do NOT want to cook this, you are just warm it up enough to melt ingredients together. Take pan off heat and let cool 10 minutes, then add lime juice and turmeric. Whisk, together, taste and adjust flavors to your liking.

**If the dressing is too thick you can whisk water in. Start with a TBL at a time, the dressing with separate at first but keep whisking and the dressing with come together.


Asian Vinaigrette

½ cup mild flavored oil, I like avocado oil

3 drops toasted sesame oil

2 TBL (or more to suite your taste) rice wine vinegar

1 TBL fish sauce

1 finely minced garlic clove

fresh ground pepper

soy sauce or salt as needed


Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Tastes and adjust to your liking.


First Salad

2 cups or so of greens (I used spinach)

 a small bit of chopped fresh cilantro


1. Toss greens in Asian vinaigrette. Line your platter with dressed greens. 


Second Salad

3 cups or so chopped raw veggies. I used the following veggies, but use what you like: radishes, snow peas, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage, green onion, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Peanut-butter dressing


roasted salted peanuts

fresh lime


2. Chop veggies in bite-size pieces.

3. Mix veggies in a bowl with peanut-butter dressing.

4. Top greens in vinaigrette with dressed chopped veggies.

5. Garnish salad with avocado, roasted salted peanuts, lime wedges and more fresh cilantro if you like!

note, if you have leftover dressing, it will keep in fridge for one week.






Things I Love


 Thank you for all the congratulations on my 10 year bloggiversary. I wish I could send each of you a gift. Winner of Wishes Are Like ... Dawn at The Feathered Nest and the winner of the nest ring is Barbra Weaver xox

I was requested to do a Things I Love Post, so here you go. What are you loving lately?


Roses, oh my gosh ... what more can I say!!!


I think we all need to make a pair of cup-cake flats


I love this movie Little Boy A tear jerker and heart warming. It is directed by Alejandro Monteverde who I respect.


Ricotta has been my favorite cooking ingredient lately. This is on my to make this month list, Baked Ricotta Spinach Kalamata Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Timbales


Knit a Blue Bird of Happiness


Who says your too old for swag. Boy he inspires me, I love him!

(image source unknown)







Storybook Woods, A Decade

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    Wow, it is Storybook Woods 10 year bloggiversary. 10 years! I do not know what to say. It seems like yesterday when I started this blog. I had NO idea what blessings, opportunities and friends blogging would bring into my life. Of course 10 years ago blogging was just in its infancy and a whole another world. Nobody was famous. Nobody had books, TV shows, etc. Just a simple wanting to share and connect with others.

    It has been interesting to watch the medium grow over the years. Like all things, it must grow and change. Some good, some not but I am proud to be apart of the blogging community. My first post in April 2006,

"Hello friends, welcome,

I am very excited about my new little home. I am hoping to share lots of exciting ideas that I make and find. I truly hope you will find Storybook Woods a place of inspiration. A place to help you play. So get  a cup of tea and something to eat and enjoy, Clarice

"What we play is life." Louis Armstrong

   I still feel this way. I truly hope I inspire you, but I have to say, I get much more inspiration from all of you than I ever give. Thank you for that! I did not realize when I started blogging, how much it would add to my life. I never picture being featured in magazines, let alone editing one. I did not imaging myself writing cookbooks, and definitely did not know I had it in me to write novels.

10 year Collage storybook woods

    Blogging has stretched me and pushed my boundaries in a way I never pictured. It is also a beautiful reflection of my life for the past 10 years. The girls are now 20, 25. I no longer homeschool and it was such a huge part of my life. I will be honest, I am still searching for what this new season of my life will be. Taking care of my home is still a joy for me, but I am not sure what I want to do next. Which may very well just be, keep doing what I already do. It is interesting to be a full time homemaker when you do not have children anymore. I am still finding my voice and not sure what I now want to say on Storybook Woods.

    The biggest thing I am grateful for these past 10 years of blogging is the friends I have made. True, wonderful friends who have been there for me in times of need. You readers bring such joy into my life. Because of that I would like to do a give-away. One reader will win signed copy of Wishes Are Like..., and another winner will win this ring. I bought this nest ring 5 years ago when I started Wishes. I did not know how the book would end (those you who have read the book, will know what I am talking about. You will also know the significance of the 3 eggs). I bought 2 rings, one for me and one for a winner of a give-away. I did not know at the time that give-away would also be my 10 year bloggiversary. Funny how life works. I like to keep give-away's simple (like they were 10 years ago :-).  Just leave me a comment. If you have a preference of ring or book, let me know. Just say hi, tell me how long to have been reading SW, and maybe what your favorite recipe or idea is. That would make my day and I will pick the winners in 2 weeks.

    I am not sure what the next 10 years will bring? Both in my life and on the blog, but I look forward to seeing it. Thank you so much for all your support and friendship over the years. I continue to hope Storybook Woods brings something to your life to make it better, to inspire you and encourage you to dream, to make wishes. Remember to look for the everyday joys if life xox

10 year give away storybook woods 1














Smoked Salt Vanilla Ice Cream

Smoked Salt Vanilla Ice Cream 0 Storybook Woods

    I make ice cream all the time! It is so easy, cheap and carb friendly. I have a basic 2 cup cream-1 cup whole milk ratio and then play with the flavors all the time. My latest hit is Smoked Salt Vanilla Ice Cream. Really, it is an easy twist of vanilla ice cream. Smoked salt, apple wood smoked salt to be exact, is my favorite spice to use lately I love it in everything, but what I really love in is desserts. I find the smokiness really adds something to the sweetness. It is such a tiny change, but it makes a huge difference in the flavor. A tip, I find smoked salts lose their smokiness quickly. So if you are lucky enough to have a store with a bulk section (like I do) buy it in small quantities. Freshness is important!

Smoked Salt Vanilla Ice Cream Storybook Woods

Smoked Salt Vanilla Ice Cream

makes 3 cups ice cream


2 cups cold heavy cream

1 cup cold whole milk

¾ sugar (I am pre-diabetic, so I use ½ cup coconut sugar and 3 drops of stevia)

1-2 (or more) tsp. smoked salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Whisk all ingredients together and taste. If you think it needs a more salty flavor add a bit more. Run in ice cream maker for 30 minutes. Until firm. Transfer ice cream to a container and store in freezer until you are ready to serve. We like ours soft, so we eat it right away. Garnish ice cream with a sprinkling of salt, caramel sauce is good too. I like to serve this with a small glass of sherry.







Bloom, 2 Years Later

  Appletree Storybook Woods

    Well it has been 2 years since I found out I was pre-diabetic and made a drastic lifestyle change. I am pleased to say I am still staying strong. I am completely comfortable eating a very low carb/paleo diet now. My cravings do not get the best of me (most days ;-). I have treat days and seem to make it all work. I was re-reading my 1 year post where I talked about gaining confidence and I have to say I feel even more confident now. Over Christmas I gained 5 pounds (not a big deal) but I was able to drop that weight off in 3 weeks. I have NEVER been able to do this before, unless I did something extreme to my body. It just shows me I am doing what my body needs.

    What thrills me more than anything, and is my biggest goal, I am maintaining what I have lost. If I do NOTHING else, I want to at least maintain. I have yo-yo'ed all my life from 96-240 something pounds. If I can keep this 40/50 pound weight loss off, then I have succeeded. So after 2 years, I would say I am succeeding.


    This brings me to what I wanted to share in this post. I have talked a lot about what I eat, how I move, what food owns me. But what I really want to talk about today, and what I feel like nobody talks about, is being positive. When it comes to lifestyle changes, diet, exerciser, goals, I see so many negative statements. Food is called bad, a goal is not meant unless it is done perfectly and no matter how much weight someone losses they are not happy unless they have hit their target weight. I wonder if this negative talk, unrealistic goals and self-loathing is undermining our health in the long run. I mean sure we can do something extreme, trick our body for a while and get some weight off. But in the long run are we really making true changes that will last?

    I was determined this time around to set small goals, go slow with my weight loss (I did not even weigh myself the first year), and be positive about food. I never say I cheat, I say I have a treat or gave into cravings (which does happen. I acknowledge it and move on). I never look at a day as a failure. Even if I ate something I shouldn't or didn't exerciser or gained weight, I know what went wrong that day, I do not need to point it out to myself. Instead I point out what I did right. I had a great breakfast or I drank lots of water or I did my deep breathing. I keep my focus positive, I keep my talk about myself positive!

    For every wrong thing we do, there is something we did right too. I am glad I set small goals for myself and hold them very lightly. I think this leads to feeling more positive about myself, which I think leads to a healthier body and weight loss. Becoming healthy is lifelong trek. It really never stops, and it is not like we hit some certain line in the sand and then we are done. Everyday is about choices, learning and getting a bit healthier than yesterday. I do not think it is some final destination we arrive at, but more of a journey we are on. So I wanted to encourage everyone to love yourself, be positive about food and look at what you did right today. Be proud of yourself because nobody is more invested in you, than you xox















Winter Little Things, day 31


    Well this is the last Hygee post. I had fun with this and it did inspire me to enjoy my days more, even though they are cold and grey. I was reminded to stop, enjoy, be grateful and embrace the life God has given me. On that note I am going to leave you with this last little thing, breathe.

    It is such a small, simple thing we do without even thinking about it, but it is something that we also do not use enough. I mean we all breath, but slow, deep, thoughtful breathing can change your health, your mindset, your life. I have been learning about this 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here is a good video by Dr. Andrew Weil. Take the time to stop, appreciate, deep breathe and be thankful xox

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Winter Little Things, day 30 Citrus Thyme Turmeric Tea

Citrus thyme tumeric tea1 storybook woods

    In trying to detox from the holidays I have been drinking lotsss of vinegar water, but also this turmeric tea. Although there is no actual tea, it is more of a hot beverage I keep in mason jar in my fridge. Ready to warm up as I want. I find this quite refreshing. I have to say since Christmas my metabolism has kicked back up. I lost the weight I gained over Christmas plus two more pounds. I really think raw apple cider vinegar is something we should all drink. Plus fresh citrus, turmeric and ginger are also so healing to the body.

Citrus thyme tumeric tea 2 storybook woods


Citrus Thyme Turmeric Tea

makes 1 pint mason jar


1 slice of lemon, I have been using meyer lemons lately

1 slice of orange (if fruit is small use 2 slices)

2 slices of fresh ginger

5 slices of fresh turmeric

some fresh thyme, or fresh herb to your liking


1/2-1 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar


Add all ingredients, except the vinegar, to a wide mouth pint mason jar. Fill jar with boiling water and cover jar with lid. Let the tea sit on your counter for a good 20-30 minutes depending how strong you like it. Strain out ingredients and store tea in your fridge. Heat a cup, sweeten if you like and stir in vinegar. Amount of vinegar depends on the size of cup and your tastes. The tea will keep in your fridge 1 week.








Winter Little Things, day 25

Honey oil

Is your hair drying out from all the cold weather like me? Give your hair a warm honey coconut oil treatment. I use this twice a month and it makes my long hair soft and shiny.

2 TBL raw coconut oil

2 TBL honey

Put on a junky shirt. Warm the two together and mix (It might separate a bit but do not worry it will still work). Apply to hair with your fingers, especially the ends. Put your hair up with a band or large hair clip. The longer you can keep it on the better. I leave it on all day, but leave on at least 2 hours. Then wash your hair.

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Winter Little Things, day 22, Grain-Free Porridge

  Grain Free Porridge Storybook Woods 1

   There is nothing like a hot bowl of porridge in a cold winters day, but with my grain-free diet I could not eat oatmeal (too carby for my body). My friend shared me her version of grain-free and that got my mind going. It took me a while to get a recipe down, but I love it and it is easy. Please check out my notes about the recipe. If you eat oatmeal check out how I make it for my family. Or try out my Lavender Pear Oatmeal !


Grain Free Porridge Storybook Woods

Grain-Free Porridge
makes 1 serving

⅛ cup flax meal (or finely ground flax seeds)
⅛ cup almond flour
1 TBL chia seeds
1 TBL sesame seeds
1 TBL hemp seeds
2 tsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
small pinch of sea salt

stir all together in a small bowl.

Pour ¼ cup + 1 TBL boiling hot water over porridge. Let porridge sit 5 minutes uncovered. I then reheat the porridge in the microwave for 1 minute on high.
I enjoy my porridge topped with raw cream, unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted pecans, walnuts and a little fruit (like dried sour cherries).


This porridge is quite thick and I think it out with the cream. But if you like your porridge thinner, just add a bit more boiling water when you soak the porridge.

I wanted a smooth porridge with chunky bits of nuts. But if you want it all smooth, add your nuts to the porridge before you add the hot water.

You can play around with the nut flour and seeds BUT use at least flax or chia, this is what helps bind the porridge together.

You can make this dairy free. Also feel free to add spices like cinnamon if you like.