One Year in the Wanderful Life of…

2019 ends tonight at midnight.

When 2019 began, I had plans to live fulltime in a tiny camper, hike as often as I could, and write my third novel. Well, the first few months, I lived my plan accordingly. I even struggled with the first sentence of my novel as I wont to do with every story I write. 🙂

But, the Universe threw me a loop and cast me onto a different path. My PhD advisor, now Director for the Environmental Studies Program, asked me to teach a class in the fall, then two classes in the spring 2020, then assume substantial administrative duties to assist her in building and improving the program. In my new role, I served as the Undergraduate Director for the Environmental Studies Program, advised students on their major and career paths, mentored student research, ordered classes, and organized three big events. I ended up with a job I never applied for. Strange, the way things work out.

This fall I lived only part-time in the tiny camper. I didn’t have much time to hike since I had to prepare for 3 spring courses (2 at UC, 1 at Wright State), and the only thing I wrote were tons of emails. In the spring, I won’t even be able to visit the camper for the weekend. I no longer am living the “Wanderful Life.” At least for now. I hope to return in the summer. 🙂

The biggest lesson I learned in 2019 is acceptance.

I accept whatever happens in my future and trust it’s for the best. When I first had to send the cats to my son’s (end of 2017) because of Shane’s severe allergies, I mourned their absence for a year. I regretted the decision. But now, given how I can partially dislocate my pelvis while sleeping or sitting, it’s for the best I don’t have the cats. All the stooping and scooping, and lifting and lugging! I’m honestly not fit enough to care for the cats. It seems as if the Universe foresaw the rapid decline of my joint stability and spared me greater injuries–because we all know I’d hurt myself, especially since Kiki weighs 20 pounds and Fluff weighs 18 pounds. That doubly exceeds my weight lifting limit. In an alternate life, someone has asked me how I subluxated my rib, shoulder, neck, and pelvis, and I replied, “I cuddled the cat.”

Strange, how things work out.

I accept the fact I have limitations. I probably spent a year feeling sorry for myself. Until I hit 50, I was an active person, still dancing at the clubs, still kayaking, still cycling, still doing yoga twice a week. At 51, I can do none of those things, at least not without injury. Heck, I can’t even sit, stand, or sleep without injury. I lost my ability to do, and, with it, I lost my enjoyment, my stress releases, my passions, my Zen–basically my ability to cope with a painful life. Pain is nothing new to me. I’ve lived with daily chronic pain since I was 16. But I had ways to block the pain by channeling my energies into my activities. Until I lost those ways. Then all I knew was pain, physical and emotional, a combination so strong you wonder how anything will ever be better or brighter again.

I accept I physically will never get better. I can only maintain or worsen. Thank you for any well wishes, but it’s not part of my genetic lottery. 🙂 What I do have control over is my attitude, and I gained a winning one in 2019! 🙂 It’s because I have acceptance. It is what it is, and will be what it will be. I can either make the best of a bad situation or wallow in self-pity for the rest of my days. I choose to be happy, or maybe that is the genetic lottery I won: The Happy Gene. 🙂 I had my moment in self-pity, but I’m over it. Now I laugh at myself. It is a silly body doing silly things. I amuse me. 🙂

I accept the simple pleasures in life. I love my family and friends, and even if I can’t do some activities, I can still spend time with those I love. I can still play board games, attend a movie, tour a museum, share meals and news, take a walk, and simply enjoy their company. And Shane…according to him, anything we do together is quality time. Some of our favorite dates are strolling through an antique store. Heck, the other day we spent an hour looking at products and seeing what the Healthy Living app we have says about them. 🙂 I really don’t need much to be happy. Life is an adventure even if you stay home because your body is incapable of doing. Excitement is a life of laughter and love. 🙂 ❤

I accept my life, my body, my mind, my spirit for what it has been, is, and will be. I’m thankful I’ve had this chance, this miracle, to breathe and be. Even I do sometimes need an inhaler to breathe. 😛

2019 has been a wanderful year full of wandering and wondering!!! Wondering now how 2020 will unfold. 😉

I have my plans: teach Resource Conservation, World Population and World Hunger, and World Regional Geography (through the lens of climate change) in the spring, teach Endangered Earth in the summer, and teach Advanced Topics Atmosphere & Climate and People & the Environment in the fall.

Best of all I’ll get Maui’d to Shane on Halloween!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

We’ll wed either in Haleakala National Park or the lavender farm in Kula, Maui. 🙂 I want to hike Pele’s Paint Pot. 🙂 But we haven’t quite planned it out yet. 🙂

2020 is perfect vision, and I know he’s the one I want to spend the rest of my years and life with, no matter how it pans out or if it follows plans. 🙂 ❤

As for everything else, I’m leaving it to luck, chance, and strange circumstance. 🙂

Happy New Year, All!! May 2020 bring light, laughter, and love your way!

To be continued Oct. 31st, 2020!

Camper Cooking: Container Grown Squash au Gratin

In my previous blog, I mentioned having leftover homegrown zucchini and yellow squash. We’re going to eat squash dishes all week with our harvest! I ❤ growing and eating my own food. Anyone with a space for a container can grow some vegetables, such as squash, or tomatoes, or peppers, or herbs. My chamomile plant went nutball, and we had to transplant it to a larger pot. I ❤ harvesting the flowers for chamomile tea!!! Gardening is fun. Hope you’ll try it!! Plus, with organic potting soil, you can rest assured you’re not eating agrochemicals. 🙂

Shane prefers his squash cooked, so I made a squash au gratin that was so good we had no leftovers!!!

It’s a super simple, light comfort food. And delicious like you wouldn’t believe! All you need are one and a half of the summer squashes. I used the remaining halves of my zucchini and yellow squash, and sliced up another yellow squash. I chopped 1/3 of a sweet yellow onion.

To make, layer the casserole dish by alternating the zucchini and yellow squash. Top with diced onion. Add a dash of herbs. Dot it with butter (from grass fed, pasture raised cows..better for the cow, for the environment, and for you) or vegan spread (look to see if it uses palm oil and if so check if it’s sustainable on RSPO or Green Palm. Unsustainable palm oil leads to deforestation and endangerment of tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants). Sprinkle on mozzarella and cheddar cheese (grassfed and pasture raised!!!). Repeat the layering until you run out of casserole space. 🙂

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until you feel the cheese is done to your liking, and the squash is a bit tender.

It serves 2. Maybe. Depends on if you’re sharing with someone like me who can’t eat a lot because having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) means my stretchy stomach triggers the full sensor nerve too early, and I have early satiety. Shane had to finish my plate. I’d had bigger eyes. 😛

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 squashes
  • 1/3 onion
  • Herbs
  • Half a stick of butter
  • 1-2 C shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

Camper Cooking: Container Grown Zucchini and Squash Quesadillas

Growing your own food is a very rewarding task with delicious results! 🙂 This spring I planted some yellow summer squash and zucchini in a very large container. With all the rain, the plants went crazy and bloomed up a storm.

The first sign of fruit made me feel like a proud mama!

And I eagerly watched it grow…like a water balloon. Lol

Then I harvested my first summer squash and zucchini, and made the squash and tomato quesadillas. I wanted to try uncooked version of the fruit to see if I could tell the difference between store bought and homegrown.

Raw squashes retain more of their nutrients, especially vitamin C, and provide more energy because cooking reduces protein content as well. As long as the summer squashes aren’t bitter, they’re safe and healthy to consume raw or al dente. So enjoy this high antioxidant, low carb, nutrient rich, good for your heart, brain, and digestive health meal. 🙂

You’ll need 5 ingredients: squash, tomatoes (I used Lakeside heirloom but Roma variety is good too), Italian herbs, shredded mozzarella cheese (from grass-fed, pasture raised cows), and tortillas (I use a high fiber, low carb one).

An aside…Why grass-fed? Besides that’s what cows really like to eat and it packs in the omega 3’s, this protects the environment and biodiversity. 70% of the Amazonian deforestation is caused by growing soybeans to feed factory-farmed beef and dairy cattle. So if your cheese doesn’t come from grass-fed pasture raised cows, then you’re contributing to tropical rainforest and biodiversity loss on a big scale. Most people are unaware of this fact, which is why I bring it up. So I urge you to spend more on what you eat rather than save money on products that have very high environmental costs. Jaguars, ocelots, giant otters, macaws, monkeys, etc thank you!!! ❤

To make simply heat your tortilla on a pan, flip, add the cheese, squash, herbs, and tomatoes. Cook on low until cheese melts and before you crispify the tortilla. 🙂

Shane had never eaten rawish squash nor this quesadilla. New foods are sometimes not as agreeable, so he wasrt as excited as I was to eat these. Lol I ❤ these. To me, it’s like eating a cracker thin pizza. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1-2 small yellow squash and zucchini
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Tsp herbs
  • Shredded mozzarella–enough to cover half a tortilla (depends on size of tortilla)
  • 2 tortillas

This seves 2 people. We used two squashes, but I had half of each leftover. Those turned into dinner the next night! So check out my other blog!!!

The Wanderful Life as a Professor

I’ve neglected my blog site. But I have good reason! The head of the environmental studies department at the University of Cincinnati asked if I could teach a class in the fall, then asked if I could teach two other classes in the spring and offered an annual position that comes with a lot more departmental responsibilities than simply teaching. I accepted! 🙂

I will develop 2 of the 3 classes. In the fall, I’ll teach an advanced topics course on food. I had discretion on the topic, so I chose food security and the future of farming. I’m very passionate about food and agriculture, especially those approaches that protect both food security, farmers, and especially the environment. Without healthy soils and adequate water, we will lose our ability to grow food. Rich biodiversity is important for our wellbeing, including our economy, as much as it is for natural landscapes. We need a variety in our diets too. So the traditional monoculture agriculture needs a revolution. 🙂 I’m still creating the lectures (2 more) and need to find scientific articles and videos for a few of the lectures.

It’s time consuming, and I’m actually teaching my Endangered Earth course now (online). I have 40+ students and 4 written assignments to grade each week. So you understand why I have been absent.

But I have hiked some. Not as much as I’d like. Too much rain and too many mosquitoes. My herbal armor insect spray works, but the swarms find the few spots you missed. And you can’t spray your eyeballs so…buzz buzz in your eyes!!! I swear they’re bigger this year too. Anyone else notice they’re turning into something Godzilla will fight???

We’re also growing some vegetables in containers. My squash and zucchini are doing awesome with all the rain! We did lose peas and spinach though. See diversity is important when growing food.

My chamomile has gone nutball too. 🙂 I’ve harvested flowers for tea!!!

Sunflowers have bloomed beneath the bird feeder and already attract the finches.

Even the fatties (aka mourning doves) think they can perch.

We had new arrivals to the feeder. A red-winged blackbird ((not pictured) and a red-bellied woodpecker.

As you can see, I spend a lot of time looking out the window while I work. Lol

I don’t know if the video will load, but I recorded a mama downy woodpecker feeding her offspring at the feeder!! ❤

After I finish working on my food course, I need to develop the natural resources and sustainability class. The other class is already established, and I just have to follow the textbook. Fir Wright State University, I need to develop a world geography course. It’ll be my first human geography course. I’m an environmental/physical geographer. Sounds like a lot right? But I love creating courses!! 🙂 I love teaching. So it’s still the Wanderful Life. 🙂

I’ll miss living in the camper in the winter, despite issues with the cold. See my older posts! 🙂 I’ll especially miss not being with Shane every day. He’s the wonderful in my Wanderful Life. ❤

We’ve visited the Pittsburgh Zoo, the science center, the Living Treasures (petting zoo), a couple putt putt places, and picked up a fun new hobby activity. Disc golf. They have lots of disc golf courses here!!

I’ll write again soon. Just know I’m still loving living in the camper and enjoying nature!! But I have to grade endangered species blogs now.

Camper Cooking: Blueberry Bliss (aka blueberry crisp with a yummy twist)

I ❤ blueberries, Nature’s skittles. 🙂

Luckily I can have berries on my low carb diet. But we had a lot of blueberries leftover after I made Shane a Waldorf salad with a twist (blueberries and blueberry yogurt), and I can’t eat enough before they’ll go bad. So I made a gluten-free crisp with a twist. 🙂

I’d guess I had somewhere between a cup and 2 cups of blueberries left from the 18 ounce carton. I apologize for not measuring! But use enough blueberries to fill an inch at least in a quart Corningware or half a ramekin. You could easily make a dessert to last for days, feed a group, or individually one day at a time. This recipe doesn’t need any science behind it. It’s an art. 😉

Basically this Blueberry Bliss is willy nilly, and oh so numnum!!!! I probably can’t reproduce what I’ve done, but it would turn out roughly the same yummy. I’ll guide you through my willy nilly steps. Pretend you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s factory. Just don’t turn into a blueberry! 😉

A dash of nutmeg sprinkled on the blueberries with a splash of lemon juice. You can add a little sugar, sweetener, or syrup, but ripe blueberries are sweet naturally so try to omit. I did add about a teaspoon of corn starch (organic, non-GMO) so the filling would thicken as it baked. Stir it magically or with a spoon/spatula. 😉

I used the rest of our oats. I think about a cup, maybe more. I didn’t even take them out of the canister. *snicker snort*

To this, I dumped in some cinnamon and finely chopped walnuts. Let’s say I chopped a cup’s worth. 🙂 Yep, I mixed it all up with my butcher knife. Told ya’. Willy nilly.

Then I melted what was left of my stick of butter. Hmmm, 6 tbs I believe. About-ish.

I added the crisp topping and blended into the melted butter. Then I had a BRIGHT IDEA!!! Why not add protein powder???

And there you have a nutritious protein-boost twist that lends a sweet vanilla flavor. 🙂 This I did measure because it comes with a scoop. I put in 2 scoops. 😀

All filled and topped, the blueberry bliss is ready for a 375* preheated oven!

I baked it for 40 minutes, and let it cool. Not too long though. I wanted my blueberry bliss warm!!!

Ingredients (about-ish measurements)

Filling

  • 1-2 pints of blueberries
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp cornstarch

Topping

  • 1 c oats
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 scoops pea protein vanilla powder (contains monk fruit as a sweetener)

If you don’t want sugar free, add a tbs of sugar to the filling and 1 tbs brown sugar to topping.

Add whipped cream or ice cream to your crisp. Go willy nilly!! I have to eat mine naked. But….oh so sweet and yummilicious!!!!

Camper Cooking: Glaze N Blaze Veggie Kabobs (Vegan)

Warm weather at the campground means grilling, and it’s lighting up my food world! 🙂 I’m experimenting, of course, since I haven’t had a grill. But, I can say thus far grilled corn is the only way I ever want to eat it! I place the naked cob on the grill and baste in butter while it grills. Super sweet! So onward to other vegetarian grilled dinners!

I’ve been wanting to try veggie kabobs for the longest time. Finally had my chance, and wow, the results set our hearts aflame! As were the kabobs. Gloriously so. Lol

What set these veggie kabobs ablaze?

The glaze, of course. I basted the kabobs with balsamic vinaigrette.

Much to my surprise, being a newbie griller, flames burst upward as if I’d awakened a dragon. 🙂

Oops, ooooohhhh!

Turning the kabobs is both art and sport. 😛

If you can’t tell, I used zucchini, yellow squash, sweet onion, and baby bellas. I also used sustainable bamboo skewers. Just be careful not to torch the skewer in half while grilling. 🙂

Check out these sites for the health benefits of eating these veggie kabobs.

9 Reasons to Eat Zucchini

Benefits of Yellow Squash

Benefits of Baby Bella Mushrooms

Portobello Mushroom Benefits

Onions; Health Benefits

Basically these kabobs are swords, fighting inflammation and disease, guarding your health. And as low calorie, low carb food, you can slay a dragon’s worth for dinner!

We did ruin the vegan meal by adding grilled bread cheese. Feel free to keep it vegan friendly, and add marinated tofu to the kabobs for extra protein. Since I have EDS, I need more protein to repair and maintain muscles. Even with 2 vegan protein drinks daily, I don’t get the required protein. So I try to boost protein while keeping carbs low in every meal and snack. Though because breast cancer runs in my family, I limit soy. So…I don’t eat as much tofu as others can.

Ideally we all should eat for our body’s needs while balancing our ecological impact. A vegan, vegetarian, or Mediterranean diet has the lowest. Enjoy your food and world!!

Camper Cooking: Zoodles with Lemon Cream Sauce (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian/vegan option)

Oh how I ❤ zoodles. I want oodles and oodles of zoodles because they’re so goodles for me. 😛

When the supermarket puts zoodles on sale, you buy two! They’re not cheap otherwise. I couldn’t bring my spiralizer, so I’m stuck buying premade zucchini and squash noodles.

My preferred way to cook zoodles is to saute them with onion and spices in oil. I like them to carmelize a little for extra flavor. For this dish, cook your zoodles as you please: sauteed, boiled, microwaved, baked, or raw & uncooked. Simply cook until desired tenderness. I included Italian spices and garlic to my zoodles.

Since this would be a cream sauce, I sauteed my finely chopped onion in butter (from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows). Again I added Italian spices. Then the cream (from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows).

The vegan option is to make cashew cream. Soak and cover a cup of cashews in water for 4-12 hours in cold water, or 15 minutes in boiling water. Drain the water. In a blender, puree the soft cashews in 2/3 cup water, lemon juice, and sea salt. Cashews are high in carbs though, so this won’t be as low carb.

Most recipes call for a couple tablespoons of flour before adding the cream to make a white sauce roux, but I omitted to keep it low carb and gluten free. Add your zoodles to the pot too.

Now I know some of you are wondering how it thickens as a sauce to stick to the ladles of zoodles. Trust me, it will thicken naturally as you stir over heat. You must stir continuously or you risk burning the cream to the sauce pan. If you find the cream sauce isn’t thickening as quickly or to your liking, you can incorporate some parmesan cheese or textured vegetarian protein (TVP). Once thickened, dump in lemon juice. A lot. Make the zoodles turn into lemonoodles! (I should quit this, but it’s too fun for me. My apologies to you.) 🙂

It’s yummy lemonicious!! I could eat this every day I think. But I’m still waiting for another sale. They should stop their canoodling and put my zoodles on sale!!! 😛

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pkgs zoodles
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 onion chopped finely, halved
  • Italian spices 2-4 tsp
  • 1 c cream
  • 1/4-1/2 c lemon juice or juice from 2-3 lemons

Serve with a salad!

Wonderful Wanderful Life!!!

Spring has sprung! 🙂 Living fulltime in a tiny camper in the middle of nowhere is some of the best living I’ve ever done. ❤ All day I hear my favorite songs.

I hope the video of the Baltimore oriole singing plays for you. They say listening to birdsong is the antidote to stress, and I agree. Nature’s AntidoteIf you listen closely, you’ll hear structure in the choral cacophony. Such as two orioles communicating with each other. Last night it was either a female or juvenile male in “our” tree, and in the background you hear another. We’ve seen the mature male in “our” tree as well. Possible pairing? Or possible competitor? But, so many different birds, so many different songs. ❤ All day I see painted masterpieces.For all my hiking years, I longed to glimpse the blooming of the woods. I finally enjoyed the opening of the vernal gallery. I cannot describe the awe, and my camera could not truly capture the beauty of pastel and primary colored landscapes in shade and sun. Having the ability to observe the subtle differences in hue and texture as the days of spring march toward summer, I feel such gratitude and grace. I’ve been to the Louvre, but its art pales in comparison to Mother Nature’s. Her art breathes life into itself and into me.We’ve had a lot of visitors to our feeder. Golden finches. House finches. Tufted titmouse (last image of it dive bombing for seeds!). Nuthatches. Chickadees. Downy woodpecker. Cardinals. Sparrows. Morning doves. Brown-heased cowbirds.Robins and grackles hunt for worms and nesting material in “our yard”. The grackles like apple core cut up for them. 😉 The oriole sings in our tree. I saw an Eastern bluebird sitting on our fire pit this morning. 🙂 I watch the feeder often. Even my camper neighbors watch our feeder. 🙂 It’s such a trill! 😛 Yes, a bad pun. As I write this outside, I’m watching the birds peck at the ground for fallen seed. 4 morning doves and 4 male cowbirds. My “pet” oriole below.All day I feel peace, joy, and harmony. Even if I spend my days indoors because of rain or work (preparing for my summer class and developing a class for the fall), I’m loving this wonderful Wanderful Life. You know how you feel losing yourself in a book? Yeah, I’m lost in my own adventures, and it feels like a fantasy. I don’t doubt I will see real faeries soon. (My friend warned me to stay social or I’d get weird. Oops) The North Country trail passes along the campground, and 1.1 miles from the trailhead up the road (literally a steep up) Indian Rock sits face up. 🙂I predict I’ll spend most of my time along the NCT. I don’t need to drive and I can increase my distance. I’m not worried about the time. I belong to the Sloth Hiking Club. “We’ll get there when we get there.” 🙂 I have a lot of hiking days ahead of me. Not today though. Storms. Until then, I’m going to watch the birds and research journal articles for the best ones to assign my students. Enjoy your day and your world!!! ❤

Camper Cooking: Sweet & Spicy Citrus Salad

Ever since I went low-carb, I crave salads. I’ve always been a fan of salads with fruit though. I’m also a fan of sweet and spicy. Today I paired the two for an amazing lunch salad to enjoy outside on this beautiful spring day!

The planters hold future salads: Spinach and romaine lettuce. 🙂 Also have sugar snap peas, marigolds, chamomile, red peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Still need to plant squash.

The air trilled with the song of a Baltimore oriole. An overly friendly spider joined me for a romantic lunch. ❤

The salad was as vibrant as the day. Plump blueberries. Succulent pineapple chunks. Fresh local greens.

I sauted Quorn chik’in tenders with the pineapple and sprinkled generously with red pepper.

I ❤ Quorn chik’in tenders and meatless crumbles. They’re staples for us. High in protein, low in carbs, no gluten, soy, or maltodextrin or dextrose that other vegetarian proteins contain. Maltodextrin is like crack in foods, raising your insulin, making you addicted, harming your health. I avoid it like the plague. It’s amazing how many prepared foods and snacks contain it. Actually it’s not, considering how most food is prepared in a lab to “improve” taste, shelf life, irresistability, and craving.

Don’t mind me. My brain’s on my class on food security and the future of farming I’ll teach in the fall. 😛 Part of food security involves access to nutritious, healthful food, and many popular and accessible items in the supermarket really aren’t good for health, only for supplying calories and reducing hunger.

And that’s why I eat as healthily as possible. Hence, a salad loaded with fruit and protein. 🙂

And taste. Yum! The extra boost of flavor comes from drizzling a little of this Cuban-style citrus vinaigrette. Sweet & spicy!

You could add grilled tofu, wild-caught salmon, or pasture raised chicken if you eat other proteins. Blacken them with red pepper/cajun spice or marinade in a Caribbean jerk sauce.

You could experiment with the fruit too. Mandarin oranges, red grapes, mango.

But I enjoyed the unique pairing of pineapple and blueberries.

I say try it. Even with the Quorn chik’in tenders, vegetarian or not. Vegans will have to use tofu or another meat alternative. This Quorn product has egg whites in it; other Quorn products are vegan though.

Grab whatever greens you like. Add as many blueberries and pineapple chunks as you want. I have to limit my fruit intake unfortunately. But this salad satisfied my craving for fresh, fruity, and zing!!!

Camper Cooking: Flourless Mini Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Muffin Cups (low carb, high protein)

That’s a mouthful. To say and to eat if you pop one or two mini cups into your mouth. Except me. I have to take small bites because I can’t open my mouth very far. I have TMJ dysfunction with a closed lock, courtesy of EDS. My oral surgeon and my former PT don’t even know where the disc is. It’s dislocated mysteriously.

Eating is challenging when your food falls off forks and spoons due to narrow passage. But, my other issues create even more eating limitations and difficulties. One, I’m a vegetarian. Two, I have to eat a very low carb diet because I have an insulin problem. My pancreas overproduces insulin (assuming it’s related to EDS like everything else!). All of my life I’ve suffered hypoglycemia, otherwise known as low sugar. However, over time, my cells stopped uptaking insulin. This led to high insulin in my blood, and lots of water weight gain (16 pounds to be exact). Water retention and high insulin can cause organ failure. My doctor told me to “eat like a diabetic”. Except I already did.

So I did a bit of research. I found literature on high insulin diets, and one diabetic expert who had diabetes stated the ADA recommendation for 120 g of carbs daily was too high. He suggested 50-60 g/day. And like any good scientist, I did an experiment for 6 weeks, eating only 50-60 g/day. Oh, it was very hard as a vegetarian. But I adjusted AND my next blood test revealed optimal insulin levels. Best of all, I lost all the water weight. 🙂

While on this low carb diet, I learned I had a gluten sensitivity. It would trigger the worst headaches. I thought I would cheat with French toast. Nope. Thus, I also can’t eat foods with gluten.

But I’m a hobbit and always hungry. It’s super easy to blow my carb limit if I don’t count or “budget”. Then I end up peeing like a bladder-bloated racehorse. Copious and frequent. Annoying to say the least.

What’s a hungry hobbit to do? A hobbit with a sweet tooth, mind you. Experiment with almond butter, clearly. 🙂

Almond butter has 3 g of carbs per 2 tbs. As well as 7 g of protein and 8 g of fat. Fat and protein help vegetarian hobbits feel full.I decided to see what would happen if I mixed almond butter, cream cheese (the secret to baking with almond flour), eggs, Swerve, and mini chocolate chips and baked in a mini muffin pan.

The result:

They turned out like muffins. Flourless muffins. 🙂

They’re dense and not very sweet. But the little bits of chocolate chips touch my sweet tooth. 🙂 These will not appeal to people who eat sugar or soft white flour. Lol Though I have made gluten-free pumpkin scones that pleased those lucky can eat anything in a bakery types.

The recipe is quite simple. Soften half a brick of cream cheese and a cup of almond butter in the microwave for a minute or two, then blend. Remember to store your natural nut butters upside down so you don’t have to stir the oils. You’re welcome. 🙂

Add 1/4 cup of Swerve. The erythritol doesn’t affect my insulin at all, so I use it in baking. However, if you can have sugar and don’t count carbs, by all means, sweeten it your way! Blend.

Next beat in 2 eggs. Stir in 1/4 cup of chocolate mini chips (or more if you don’t have to watch your sugar). They do make chocolate chips with Swerve or sugar substitute, but they’re too expensive for me. Therefore, I can’t use a lot.

Line the mini muffin pan and fill the cups. Bake at 375* for 10-15 minutes, or until puffy and firm. Or soft. I’m not sure yet how done I want them yet. 🙂

Ingredients

4 oz. Cream cheese (from grass fed, pasture raised cows)

1 c almond butter

1/4 c Swerve (or your favorite sugar substitute or sugar)

2 eggs (from pasture raised hens)

1/4 c mini chocolate chips

If you’re low carb like me, enjoy 2 a day as a snack. Should be about 10 (15 at most) carbs total. Maybe enjoy with a cup of unsweetened almond milk. 🙂