Dios Ti Agngina

Thank you in Ilocano

A gathering place of great ideas, inspiring stories, faith, family, fashion, food (with a slant on CLEAN, healthy Filipino cooking), and much more!  Welcome to Dios Ti Agngina!


Here's sort of a funny story.  When we were still living in Central PA, my husband was standing in line at the local Wegman's to checkout.  The woman just ahead of him  noticed that he had also picked up a bunch of dandelion leaves.  She said, "I feed my pet rabbit dandelion.  What do you do with yours?" He smiled and replied, "My wife cooks it."  She was quite surprised with that answer!

Spring is the season for dandelions.  I think everyone is familiar with the invasive dandelion that grows in people's yards.  Normally people can't stand them so they pull out the weed killer.  But dandelion leaves and roots are medicinal and are among the healthiest herbs to eat. So when you start seeing dandelions popping up in early spring it's Mother Nature's way of saying that it's time to add it to our diet.  

Dandelion is a wonderful food to eat for everyone because it supports all of your organ systems.  Anyone who has heart conditions, liver issues, as well as digestive, kidney, or lung problems will benefit from adding dandelion to their diet.  I highly recommend it to all of my health coaching clients.  

In the old days, dandelion was known as a cure all for so many diseases because of its bitter flavor.  Even today in Greece, dandelion is cooked with olive oil and a bit of lemon.  Consider adding dandelion to your diet.  Now is the time to eat this healthy and nourishing herb!

This sardines and dandelion recipe is a synch to put together and it always tastes delicious.  The sweetness from the onions with the bitterness from the dandelion, though polar opposites, is like a match made in heaven.  When you add the meaty sardines with the olive oil and garlic, this meal really comes together and becomes a complete meal.  If you don't like to eat it with rice, have it with some nice organic bread.

Another important point to make is that this is serious brain food!  For those who feel like you have brain fog or are getting more forgetful, oily and fatty fish is your answer.  So this dish is for you.  

Please note that I only use Wild Planet sardines in extra virgin olive oil.  Wild Planet has the very best sardines.  It's meaty and it's sustainably caught.  Quality makes all the difference.  

Take it from a four year old little boy.  My son loves this!  Make this for your youngsters, children in school, loved ones, and yourself.  If you've never had sardines or dandelion before, now is the time.  Like I've said this food is so good for the brain as well as all organ systems in the body.

Just like the bunny rabbit that eats dandelion, soon enough you'll have the same type of energy.  Enjoy!


Sardines and Dandelion



Half a bunch of dandelion leaves chopped into small pieces (I get mine from Wegman's)

2 garlic cloves minced

1 onion roughly chopped

2 cans Wild Planet sardines in extra virgin olive oil (Wild Planet brand is the best sardines; if you're still getting Ligo sardines you are missing out!)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt



Heat the oil in a cast iron pan.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Stir in the onions, a pinch of sea salt, and sauté until translucent.  Add in the oil from the cans of sardines.  I like to gently place the sardines in one corner of the pan to avoid mashing them up.  Next, add the dandelion and sauté until the leaves are wilted.  Serve with hot white organic rice or organic bread.  Enjoy!


Dandelion is a wonderful food to eat for everyone because it supports all of your organ systems.

The Gut

In 2014 my gut was a mess yet I had no idea.  When I finally decided to get tested for everything related to chronic fatigue, I started to learn more about what ailed me.  After getting my package of test results back I was overwhelmed to find a whole slew of issues including two potentially pathogenic bacteria, low bacterial diversity, low beneficial bacteria, very low glutathione (which meant that I could not detox), numerous vitamin deficiencies, as well as food sensitivities to 28 different foods.  My son tested sensitivity to 23 different foods.   

In retrospect, I was grateful and relieved to know that my health problems could be addressed one by one and that I was not dealing with a life threatening illness.  The process of healing took time but within three months I started to feel better.  

Although some medical advice I received included a significant amount of supplements, I did not want to be dependent on them.  For me, the answer was food.  I wholeheartedly believe that I have been able to heal my gut and my son's through whole food, nutrient packed, balanced meals.  

Foods That Support The Gut

When we start to think of food as medicine and use it wisely and properly, we will start to feel a positive difference and the body will begin to heal itself.  I cut out all of the packaged junk and started eating home cooked meals made with organic and fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.  I also chose fresh wild caught seafood.  The main foods that I initially eliminated were gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and eggs.  In my case, these foods may have been causing inflammation and havoc in my gut.  

Everyone is different and so it's important to listen to your body's needs.  I chose to avoid certain foods to give my body rest and help in the digestive process.  

Gut health is essential to staying healthy because most disease starts in the gut.  This is why it's important to incorporate foods that support the gut.  Traditional foods like bone stocks, soups, and miso are really the best choices to heal the digestive system.  They are fantastic because they coat and soothe the gut.  Also, probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are top picks to consider when restoring gut health.  

Happy Guts

Earlier I mentioned that I had 28 food sensitivities.  I'm ecstatic to say that I can eat all of those foods now that used to be on my avoid list of foods.  My son who had 23 food sensitivities is also able to eat the foods that he could not before.  This includes gluten, dairy, eggs, and from time to time a little refined sugar.  It's not a problem because we don't crave refined sugar but we don't have to avoid it like the plague any longer!

For anyone who is struggling with gut and digestive issues, my son and I are proof that the gut can be healed with the right foods.  For more information on how you can have a happy gut, I may be reached at info@elainejavier.com or here.  My 6 month program is available to those who are interested in supporting gut health and other health concerns as well as samples of my tea from my Health For The Holidays Tea Collection.  

This is the last segment of my Health For The Holidays series.  I hope that you found it beneficial and that you got some good nuggets to incorporate into your lifestyle.  To your health and happiness!

For me, the answer was food. I wholeheartedly believe that I have been able to heal my gut and my son’s through whole food, nutrient packed, balanced meals.

The Kidneys

This past summer Constantine was in the kitchen with me just finishing up his breakfast shake.  Suddenly, he was bent over, gently bracing his mid section and grimaced, "Mama, my stomach hurts."  As I rushed over to comfort him, I was quite alarmed and wondered what could be causing this digestive issue.    Nothing he did or ate was out of the ordinary so I was really at a loss.

The next day I had an opportunity to ask my mentor about my son's condition.  She told me, "Give your little boy a hug!  Children shouldn't be having cold, icy shakes."  

I was really confused.  For the past two years having healthy shakes for breakfast was part of our morning routine.  If you have been following my blog, you know that we do morning shakes.  Even the health gurus have plastered it all over their books, magazines, and websites promising the long-term benefits of having a daily shake in the morning.  But here was my mentor telling me something completely different.

She explained that timing is everything.  As soon as you wake up whether first thing in the morning or from a nap the body is in a cold state and it takes time for the body to warm up and get to its normal temperature.  When we sleep our body temperature drops so putting cold on top of an already cold state actually hurts the kidneys.  The food we put into our body matters and having a cold, icy drink first thing in the morning negates living a healthy lifestyle and has consequential health problems especially for the kidneys.

I cannot stress the importance of kidney health.  Kidney health is associated with bone health so if your kidneys are deficient most likely you will see a deterioration in bone health and immunity.  If you have kidney disease, kidney stones, gallbladder stones or issues, as well as knee problems, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, you should consider supporting your kidneys with the right foods.  

Foods That Support The Kidneys

For kidney support there are certain foods that help nourish the kidneys.  Warming foods like oatmeal, soups, and stews are fabulous for supporting the kidneys.  If you really need the support, I highly recommend oatmeal in the morning as well as miso soup and bean soups.  Beans like cannellini, black, and kidney are great for kidney health.  Just make sure to rinse them very well if you get canned beans. I prefer Eden brand because they've been around for a long time and their packaging is BPA-free.  

You should avoid foods that are salty and foods that cool you down or are cold, including cold drinks and ice cream.  I'm not saying to never eat ice cream (by all means ice cream is great in the summertime) but if you have a kidney problem, I would avoid ice cream until your kidneys have healed.  

Consult With Me For Kidney Health

I believe that kidney disease and related problems can be reversed.  Knowing how to take care of the kidneys is essential to living a healthy, happy life.  If you are interested in how you can better support your kidneys with delicious recipes and medicinal herbs, I may be reached at info@elainejavier.com or here.  For those who join my 6 month program, I am giving a sample of my kidney tea as well as the other teas from my Health For The Holidays Tea Collection.  It's time to start supporting the kidneys and learn how to nourish them on a deep level.

She told me, ‘Give your little boy a hug! Children shouldn’t be having cold, icy shakes.’

The Heart

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world.  It has affected my own family -- heart disease was the cause of death for my maternal grandparents who died at relatively young ages, as well as my paternal grandfather.  

My maternal grandparents had eleven children but only three are still  living.  My mom and her two younger sisters have surpassed their parents' age at their deaths.  Most of my maternal aunts and uncles died from heart complications including heart attack and stroke, and passed away in their 40s and 50s.  

And earlier this month actor Alan Thicke passed away from a heart related issue.  This sad news reminded me of how important heart health is and how important it is to care for your heart as well as the other major organs in the body.

My Health For The Holidays series is all about taking steps now to nurture and strengthen these organs in order to enjoy a fruitful, healthy life.  I am starting with the heart because heart disease is such a common health problem.

What Are The Leading Triggers For Heart Disease?

  1. Inflammation
  2. Infection (viruses, parasites, bacterial) which leads to inflammation
  3. Poor immunity which leads to infection which leads to inflammation
  4. Overeating (excessively heavy meals)
  5. Stress


Foods That Support The Heart

As with many other health issues, there are certain foods that can help people with heart disease and there are foods that should be avoided.  People with high blood pressure should consume less red meat, eggs and spicy food.  They should eat more fish, chicken, turkey, fruits, and vegetables.  Fried foods are harmful because they congest the heart.  Coffee should be avoided.  Water should be the beverage of choice when supporting the heart.  Herbal teas are also an excellent choice.     

Health For The Holidays Tea Collection

As part of my Health For The Holidays series, a sample blend of delicious herbal teas will be offered to anyone who signs up for my 6 month program (sample teas are available to US residents only at this time).  My Health For The Holidays Tea Collection includes Heart Tea I, Heart Tea II,  Kidney Tea, Gut Tea, and Wellness Tea.  Each tea is specifically mixed with just the right amount of medicinal herbs that target good heart, kidney, and gut health, as well as good bodily function.  All teas in my collection are made with organic, high quality herbs that have been used for thousands of years in eastern medicine.  This is food that is truly medicine that will help heal the heart.    

Who Can Drink Heart Tea I and Heart Tea II?

Heart Tea I can be taken by anyone who wants to support heart health even those who do not have heart problems.  Anyone who has suffered from a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, hypertensive heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, valvular heart disease, carditis, aortic aneurysms, peripheral artery disease, venous thrombosis, and any other heart problem will benefit greatly from Heart Tea I.

Heart Tea II is specially mixed for those of you who have high blood pressure.  

Men, women, and children can have Heart Tea I and Heart Tea II.  I would recommend smaller amounts for children since they are still growing and don't need as much as adults.  The teas are also safe to drink during pregnancy.  For adults who really need the heart support, I would replace a cup of coffee with this delicious heart tea daily.  

Consult With Me For A Healthy Heart

Want more ways to support the heart?  I am available for a free hour long consult to discuss your health history.  And of course, you can also decide to sign up for my 6 month program. 

My 6 Month Program (which can be extended) includes:

  • 1-hour scheduled coaching sessions twice a month
  • Unlimited email and phone support throughout the program
  • A pantry makeover
  • Delicious recipes and natural food recommendations
  • Guidance in making lifestyle adjustments 
  • Health For The Holidays Tea Collection gift set (for a limited time only)

You can work with me in person, virtually (Skype or FaceTime), or by telephone through one-on-one or group sessions.  To schedule an appointment, I may be reached at info@elainejavier.com or here.  

The Good News

There are studies that show that most disease can be reversed given the proper foods and timing.  My tea collection and other suggestions are not an immediate cure all for heart disease but with patience and consistent effort, you will see positive results, and in time your body will heal with the right nourishment and support.

If you would like the opportunity to try my Health For The Holidays Tea Collection, please like and comment below.  One participant will win a gift set to try out the teas at the end of my Health For The Holidays series.  

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy heart!  I'm giving you a huge virtual hug but give yourself a hug and your loved ones as well.  Your heart will thank you!

All teas in my collection are made with organic, high quality herbs that have been used for thousands of years. This is food that is truly medicine that will help heal the heart.

Health For The Holidays

Earlier this year we had a party at home to celebrate my 40th birthday.   As we were nearing the end of a night well spent with good friends and food, everyone was beginning to wonder why Martin had not come back down.  It was getting pretty late so we all thought that Martin was putting our little boy to bed.  But that was not the case.

Constantine was crying loudly.  And he had not stopped for several minutes.  Everyone had said their goodbyes already except for my next door neighbor who was so kind to stay and help clean up.  Finally, we started to hear footsteps.  Martin and Constantine were slowly walking down the stairs.  

I asked, "Martin, how are you?"  He replied, "Not so well."  We were astonished and realized the reason for Constantine's ongoing cries.  His daddy needed help! 

Martin was seated slumped on the last step of the stairwell, sweating profusely and looking completely wiped out.  He said that his chest felt a tightness he had never felt before.  We all were feeling the shock of the moment and wondered out loud, "Could this be a heart attack?"  

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.  In 2013, it accounted for 32.1% of deaths in the country -- that's one out of every three deaths is due to heart disease.  

However, there is good news!  There are a number of studies that show heart disease can be prevented and even reversible.  

If you are interested in learning more, stay tuned for my upcoming series called Health For The Holidays.  I will be putting up a series of blog posts about how we can support the heart, the kidneys, the gut, and your overall health, holistically.  This series is for everyone -- men, women, and children -- anyone who is interested in preventing disease.   

So was it a heart attack?  After spending some hours in the ER, visiting his general practitioner, and getting all of the test results back, Martin found out that it was not a heart attack.  Thank God for that!  But this series of events certainly gave us pause to worry.  It's so easy to get caught up with the rush in life.  We think that we can be the superhero character in the movies but we forget that we are just human and fragile.  

The body gives us signs.  Pain is actually a very good thing.  Our society is so scared to feel pain.  Let's just pop a pill here and there so we don't feel a thing, right?  We should be grateful whenever we feel pain.  It's the body's way of telling us that something is wrong and it needs help.  Many times we shrug off a little pain on the foot or an ache in the back but those are sure telling signs that something internally is going on.

As a health coach, I believe it's important to pinpoint the reason for the pain and to get to the root cause of the problem.  My Health For The Holidays series will go over important factors to consider when dealing with the heart, the kidneys, the gut, and the body as a whole.  And I'll offer ways to support each of these organs.  Talk to you soon! 

Coming soon!  Introducing a new series...

Health For The Holidays

This upcoming blog post series is for anyone interested in preventing disease and who wants to learn how to better support major body organs.  It's for everyone --  men, women, and children.  

At the end of the series, one participant will win a Health For The Holidays gift set.

We will be learning how to support:

  • The Heart
  • The Kidneys
  • The Gut
We all were feeling the shock of the moment and wondered out loud, ‘Could this be a heart attack?’

Kare Kare


Growing up, my brother and I were very blessed.  We wanted for nothing and got everything we really needed.  But one thing we always seemed to feel we lacked was our parents' attention.  I am not sure why, but it always seemed to be a competition with my brother in gaining their attention or approval.  Over the years it was enough to give our parents a headache.

We made it though.  We managed to survive an often less-than-harmonious childhood.  Our relationship today is so much better!  When I look back at that challenging time, I recall one thing that managed to mend hard feelings, my mom's kare kare (pronounced ka-reh ka-reh), a special Filipino dish made with oxtail and peanut butter sauce.  Everyone loved it!

I really don't know why it had that effect on all of us but it certainly was my brother's favorite food growing up and it still might be.  So when I think of kare kare, I think a lot about my brother, family, and mended feelings. 

It has become tradition in my parents' house that they prepare kare kare to celebrate my brother's birthday.  I think it is a very loving act, one I might continue not only to celebrate his birthday but also to teach my son  the importance of handing down family traditions.  

As I mentioned before, kare kare is made with peanut butter.  Luckily no one in the family had peanut or any other nut allergies.  But now that these allergies and food sensitivity issues have become so common, we were thrilled to discover that we could substitute other ingredients to make a sauce similar to the peanut butter sauce in kare kare.  Folks with peanut and nut allergies and sensitivities can finally enjoy kare kare!  

Peanuts are actually a legume.  People just associate them with nuts because of the name.  Peanuts are considered one of the top food allergens.  So why are more and more people becoming allergic or sensitive to certain foods?  There are a number of answers to that question.  But one of the reasons is our food supply which is inundated with tens of thousands of chemicals and toxins year after year.  Our society is becoming more and more sick.  And this is a major problem.  This is why I recommend organic and non-GMO foods and products and less processed foods.  Yes, organic foods and goods are more pricey but in the long haul it's so much better for people's health and wellness.

There are a number of nut butters available in the organic section of grocery stores.  You will find cashew butter, almond butter, walnut butter, pecan butter, macadamia butter, hazelnut butter, and pistachio butter.  We really like cashew butter and almond butter for kare kare.  Cashew butter tastes very close to peanut butter.  For those of you who cannot have nuts, sunflower butter is fantastic in kare kare as well as curry dishes.  

Even if you can have peanut butter, I would skip conventional brands like Skippy, Jif, and Peter Pan because these have low quality, unhealthy ingredients such as refined sugar, palm oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.  We are talking about altered, chemically modified, overly processed, and hard to digest junk that the food industry considers food.  Plus the real stuff tastes so much better.  Go for brands like Woodstock, Artisana, and Once Again.

One other thing to consider is the eggplant in the recipe.  I highly recommend omitting the eggplant if you have arthritis because eggplant is a nightshade and will aggravate the inflammation.  Nightshades are plants that grow during the night.  So arthritis sufferers would also want to avoid tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.

Regardless of whether it's for special occasions like birthdays or not, we love kare kare!  Here is my mom's clean kare kare recipe.  And don't forget to enjoy it with hot white organic rice.  Eat it whenever you can with the very best ingredients possible, live life to the fullest, and be merry.

Mom's Special Kare Kare


8 - 10 bones grass-fed organic oxtail (go to your local farmer or check out Whole Foods, about 2 packages)

4 cups filtered water

Pinch Himalayan pink sea salt or Celtic sea salt

8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

2 tbsp shrimp paste

2 tbsp of annatto seeds soaked in 1 cup water for at least 30 minutes or until the color from the seeds come out

1 bundle string beans (10 long beans chopped into 3 inches long)

2 medium Asian eggplants, sliced (if you suffer from arthritis, omit)

6 bok choy

1 can banana blossom

4 tbsp cashew butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter



Simmer oxtail for 2 to 3 hours until tender in a covered pot with water and a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt.  Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté with the garlic for a minute or two and then sauté the onions.  Add the oxtail and save the liquid from the pot used to simmer the bones.  Add in the shrimp paste.  Strain the liquid from the soaked annatto seeds and add the liquid into the pan.  Sauté the meat for 5 minutes.  Keep mixing so the shrimp paste is incorporated well.  Add the liquid from the simmered bones.  Then, add the beans, the eggplant, bok choy, and banana blossom. When all the vegetables are cooked about 10  minutes, add the cashew butter.  Mix it well into the sauce to thicken.  Enjoy!

So when I think of kare kare, I think a lot about my brother, family, and mended feelings.

Sami's Bakery

If I could clone Sami's Bakery in Tampa, Florida, and put it in every city in America, I would!  Sami's bread is the best clean bread that I've found.  I was privileged to first try it when my brother-in-law graciously hand carried a number of fresh loaves for a family reunion last year.  We got the millet bread, millet and flax bread, and cinnamon raisin millet bread.  

This bread is great especially for those who cannot tolerate or have food sensitivities to gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and eggs.  The ingredients are simple and straight forward.  But not all their bread and baked goods are gluten free, so I suggest you call the bakery first if gluten free products are what you are looking for.  

I like to place a large order online with Sami's in order to get my money's worth.  I normally order two loaves of millet, two millet and flax, and two cinnamon.  When I get the order, I'll put two loaves in the refrigerator and keep the rest in the freezer.  For my last order I decided to get two bags of the millet and flax plain chips as well.  I'm so happy that I got to try them because they were delicious and have become one of my favorite chips!  These chips are wonderfully tasty and crunchy!  

My parents kindly drove up from Virginia to visit us recently. While they were here, I noticed the loaves of bread in the fridge, and nostalgic thoughts of my dad's signature club sandwich came to mind.  I could not help but smile.  When I was a kid, his club sandwich was the afternoon snack that I always looked forward to.  I never grew tired of it.  So for old time's sake I asked my dad if he would make some club sandwiches with the Sami's millet and flax bread.  They turned out just how I remembered them but this time so much more tasty and healthy.  

Thanks dad and mom for always being so generous with your time and of course the delicious, unforgettable food that you share with us.  Here is my dad's clean club sandwich recipe.  Bon appétit!


Dad's Clean Club Sandwich



6 slices of Sami's millet and/or flax bread, toasted

Mayo by Primal Kitchen made with avocado oil (my favorite mayo and so healthy too) to taste

Organic chicken breast, cooked and shredded, as much as you like

Romaine lettuce

Slices of tomato

Nitrate free, organic bacon, baked crispy in the oven



Prepare the chicken breast.  It can be baked in the oven with salt and pepper or pan fried on a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil.  Cook it on both sides and cover from time to time to make sure the chicken gets fully cooked.  Toast 6 slices of Sami's millet bread.  Spread a little mayo on the first slice, always spreading the mayo inside of the slice.  Place your shredded chicken on top.  Next place another toasted bread with a little mayo.  Arrange 1 and half slices of bacon, tomato, and lettuce on top.  Gently press the third slice of toasted bread down with a little mayo.  And place 2 toothpicks into the sandwich and slice it diagonally.  Repeat all steps to make the second club sandwich.  Enjoy!

Favorite Brands

So for old time’s sake I asked my dad if he would make some club sandwiches with the Sami’s millet and flax bread. They turned out just how I remembered them but this time so much more tasty and healthy.

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Taco Fridays

I look forward to spending Fridays with Martin.  I think every so often couples should do something special together.  It's a great opportunity to talk about each other's passions and goals and just be there for each other.  It's that one-on-one time that's necessary in building and maintaining strong relationships and to learn the importance of listening to your beloved.  So we do Taco Fridays.

We just started this as our weekly lunch date and it's been wonderful.  If you are ever in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I highly recommend a farm to table restaurant called The Millworks.  It's a relatively new restaurant that also houses a number of artists' studios.  So you could peruse the place while you wait for your lunch or dinner and talk to local artists, see them in action, or view their work.  If you are in a hurry, I recommend letting your server know because the kitchen staff tends to take their time.  

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the smoked beef taco and the beet cured smoked salmon and arugula salad.  Both were out of this world but I thought that the taco was unforgettable and somehow left me thinking of a Filipino asado beef dish.  It was gourmet all the way and now I feel like getting it every Friday for our lunch date.  The following Friday I ordered two tacos and a fresh house salad.  Every time I eat those tacos I am on cloud nine.

You may be asking about dessert.  Well, I just head over across the street to Broad Street Market and visit my favorite local food hub called Radish & Rye.  Radish & Rye is one of the reasons why I don't go to the grocery store as much anymore.  They carry the best local, fresh, and organic produce.  The only way you can beat that is by signing up with a local CSA, which is truly the best deal anywhere.  Fresh is best!  When you support local, you are actually helping your local economy, local farmers, as well as your gut.  There are millions of beneficial microbes found in the soil of local farms (as long as the farmers are organic farming and applying little to no chemicals in the soil).  It's best to talk and get to know the local farmers.  

So I like to get my eggs from Radish & Rye (they carry pasture raised eggs which is what everyone should be looking for) as well as fruits and vegetables and other wonderful items.  Going back to dessert -- next to the cash register is an assortment of sweet goodies.  I like to pick up a gluten free granola bar by Amaranth Gluten Free Bakery.  It's absolutely delicious and always leaves me satisfied!  

On Fridays I like to multi-task.  I get to spend a lovely lunch date with Martin eating gourmet tacos, go shopping across the street, and have a sweet, gluten free treat.  I just love our Taco Fridays!

I think every so often couples should do something special together... So we do Taco Fridays.

Clean Potato Chips

I'm not a huge advocate of packaged foods, but once in a while (and I mean more like once in a blue moon) I like to indulge in crunchy potato chips.  When I was recovering from debilitating fatigue I could not eat potato chips because I would feel very sick afterward.  It took me some time to find a brand that I could tolerate.  You can imagine the joy in my heart when I finally found chips that I could eat -- Boulder Canyon potato chips made with avocado oil and sea salt.  These are pretty clean potato chips.  If you look at the ingredient list it's made of potatoes, avocado oil, and sea salt.  Another plus is that these chips are gluten free.  My only wish is that they were organic.   

I've tried a number of brands but many times the ingredient lists mention way too many additives and chemicals and sometimes the chips had a funny after taste.  When eating clean consistently the taste buds finally start working properly and the body can tell the difference between fake food and real food.  Like I've mentioned before the body rejects the bad and accepts the good.  It's amazing how genius the body really is.  

Anyway, Boulder Canyon potato chips with avocado oil gets my approval for special occasions, perhaps for an important sports game or a nice reward for eating clean for a week or two.  I have tried the other flavors like olive oil and coconut oil but the avocado oil flavor remains my favorite.  I like to have my potato chips with a nut cheese brand called Treeline in scallion flavor.  The combination is so wonderful.  Treeline can be found at Whole Foods.  Boulder Canyon potato chips is sold at Harris Teeter, Kroger, and select Giant and Safeway stores.  If those stores are not convenient, Boulder Canyon potato chips may be purchased at Amazon.com.  Try it sometime and make the switch to eating relatively clean potato chips.

Buy Boulder Canyon Potato Chips

These are pretty clean potato chips.

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Initially, I had imagined my family and I staying at this incredibly luxurious home called The Notorious B.N.B. in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn, New York through Airbnb.  I had planned on partaking in their highly rated breakfasts, too.  I mean, come on!  Who wouldn't want to try the butternut squash pancake with maple mascarpone topped with sage squash puree and served with house-made spiced lamb sausage or the orange blossom honey Persian yogurt with a dusting of dark chocolate and candied ginger?  Right?!  Sadly, last minute the hosts notified me of a family illness and so there went over a month's time of planning.  

However, thank God for the very hip and swank Aloft hotel located in Brooklyn near the Barclays Center.  We ended up staying for two nights.  Aloft was very accommodating and was pretty central to where we needed to be.  

In all, Brooklyn did not disappoint and our mission was accomplished.  We had planned on spending time with family and friends in our two and a half days' visit and discover Brooklyn for a bit.  Here's a look at what we did. 

Day 1

By the time we checked into Aloft hotel it was mid-afternoon and we were pretty hungry.  Thankfully, the food quality in Brooklyn is very good and there were some organic and clean restaurants and eateries still serving lunch.  We decided to take a cab to Moo Burger to have a bite to eat.  The folks there were very friendly and accommodating to my clean diet.  I ordered a turkey burger on gluten free bread as well as the mixed green salad which was really yummy.  I would definitely go back.  

Since Brooklyn Bridge Park was not too far away, we decided to walk and explore some.  I have to give it to Brooklyn -- they sure know how to create some impressive spaces for children.  If we lived in Brooklyn, we would take our son to Brooklyn Bridge Park often.  He loved the sand box areas and the slides.  This park is huge.  We only perused two small areas but they have areas for older kids, too.  

We decided to postpone dinner until 7:30 p.m.  Everyone was tired from the travel and the walking.  Reservations were made at Prospect.  Prospect is a small, casual place in Brooklyn not too far from Aloft hotel.  Service was mediocre and unfortunately we had to cut our stay short since our little boy was just too exhausted to say the least.  We asked the server to bag the whole dorade fish for two and had a late dinner in our hotel room.  I enjoyed the dorade very much with the jasmine rice and the spices.  I have noticed since eating completely clean for about a year and a half I am able to tolerate spicy foods.  Never before would you ever catch me enjoying spicy hot foods so this is a new experience that I'm quite happy with at the moment.  I give the food four stars out of five.  

Day 2

I really looked forward to day two of our trip because we scheduled a meeting with my beautiful cousin Ria for lunch and made dinner plans with my husband's oldest friend since their crib days.  Our first stop for the day was the Brooklyn Children's Museum.  This is a wonderful children's museum especially for young children.  Our son could have spent days maybe even weeks there.  We even got to see a ball python up close.  

On my father's side I am one of four female cousins.  Not that many of us girl cousins and since we are so geographically scattered it's so meaningful and precious when we get together.  I was so grateful to spend some time with my cousin Ria as the last time was nearly seven years ago.  We had a lovely lunch at Eugene & Co.  I really savored the Spring Greens salad, Roasted Broccolini, and the Chicken (without the bread).  This place was the highlight of my eating escapades while in Brooklyn.  I loved everything -- the ambience, the service, the food.  It's just honest to goodness organic food and the perfect place to catch up with loved ones.  The server even let me charge my cellular phone in his work station since my phone was about to go dormant.  Eugene & Co. is a must when in Brooklyn.

Pok Pok was highly recommended to us so that's where we decided to have dinner with my husband's oldest pal and his lovely wife who were visiting from Hawaii for their son's college graduation.   It had been thirteen years since they last met up so this was very special for them.  I liked the food very much but my expectations were set too high.  I wish we had decided early enough to get the Kai Yaang Tua (the roasted chicken) but it sold out fairly quickly.  I had the Khao Man Som Tam (the green papaya salad) and the Khao Soi Kai (the chicken curry noodle soup) which were both really good.  

Day 3

For our last Brooklyn eating excursion we had brunch at French Louie with a dear college friend that I hadn't seen in fourteen years.  Again we lucked out as the weather was perfect for walking.  This place was great for brunch because it was not crowded or loud and the food was very good.  I had the Snug Harbor Greens minus the bread crumbs, the chicken sausage, and green tea.  The food was quite satisfying and nourishing.

So mission accomplished!  My family and I got to spend some good quality time with loved ones in brilliant, awe-inspiring Brooklyn.  I was also very impressed with overall food quality at restaurants.  These days I purposefully seek out organic, farm to table restaurants most definitely when traveling.  Deep down I confess to being overly cautious and particular with food in the hopes of preventing the kind of illness I have had in the past two years for myself and for my family's sake.  As the saying goes, "Better be safe than sorry."  There are so many farm to table places in Brooklyn which I think is very encouraging.  Indeed, it is very possible to eat clean while on trips with planning and researching ahead of time.  I'm excited for our next visit back to the city!

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In all, Brooklyn did not disappoint and our mission was accomplished.

The Kitchen

Magic happens in the kitchen every day.  It's where I have my creative space -- my space to dream up good things to eat for my family.

In my youth I was fascinated by world class cuisine and the very best restaurants in the top, most exciting cities, and to some degree I still am.  I remember my dad talking about eating the most delicious Australian lobster he had ever eaten in Japan when he was in the Navy in the 1960s.  I dreamt of delightfully partaking from course to course and even experienced some delicious meals at well known restaurants.

Many things have changed for me and my family.  We are at a stage in which we listen to our bodies.  For us food is information and it is powerful medicine.  We have totally embraced a clean diet for life.  (I don't buy ketchup or salad dressings.  I prefer to prep and mix them myself.)

Though I am satisfied with most meals that I make I sometimes fumble and am disappointed.  But that's the journey that takes place in the kitchen when you're a newbie like me.  I'm grateful for every moment good and not so good because I get to learn and get better at my place in the kitchen.

It has been a long road for me.  I remember the days when I would buy boxed meals and pretty much eat anything at my favorite places.  Back then my stove top was almost always so spotless.  In my first two months of being a newlywed, I never stepped foot in the kitchen to cook.  My poor worried husband cooked all the meals for two months.  I couldn't even cook an egg then.  Those days are long gone.

Eating clean has so many benefits.  It fuels our bodies with wonderful needed nutrients to keep us healthy and enjoy the food that we partake.  Best of all I get to spend time with my family in the kitchen and always we give thanks for all His blessings.

If you are interested in making the switch to clean eating for weight or health reasons, I recommend taking small steps or else I think it becomes too overwhelming.  If you currently eat out a lot, I suggest choosing one day of the week or weekend to prepare a home cooked meal.  Then, gradually add more cooking days to your weekly plan.  When you have extra freeze the leftovers.  Eventually you'll have home cooked meals every day of the week.  It takes time but patience is key and at the end it's all worth it!

My Top Three Tips In Eating Clean

  1. Always choose organic apples and green beans.  Years ago when I was interested in healthy living I was dining at my favorite restaurant in Northern Virginia called The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm.  I asked the owner Beverly Morton Billand which kinds of produce she would recommend eating organic.  She said it's important to always purchase organic apples and green beans because of all produce these two have the most sensitive skins that absorb everything.
  2. Get the recipe book Clean Eats by Dr. Alejandro Junger.  Learn more about the book here.  I've tried many different diets but I've found clean eating the best for me and my family.  Many recipes in the book are very simple to prepare as well as delicious and nutritious.  Since eating clean I've been able to lose at least fifteen pounds and get my energy back.  The book offers recipes for almost every diet out there so there's something for everyone.
  3. Try a free month's membership with Thrive Market.  Thrive Market is a great place to shop online because the website lists all the ingredients for each product.  Though we buy mostly organic, non-GMO pantry staples from Thrive Market, I still review the labels because even though the packaging says "organic" or "non-GMO" it may still contain undesirable ingredients.  See some of the ingredients I avoid in my Be A Label Reader article.  We enjoy membership with Thrive Market for the savings and convenience.  I highly recommend.

Eating clean does not need to be complicated; instead it can be simple and delicious.  Eating clean is like giving yourself a massage.  In fact, you give your body an internal massage.  By eating clean, slowly chewing food, and consuming lots of alkaline water with lemon (this is my favorite water brand), it is possible to transition to a clean diet to maintain good health for you and your loved ones.  It is about carefully making healthy choices one step at a time.  

For us food is information and it is powerful medicine. We have totally embraced a clean diet for life.

My Village

Welcome to my village! I've become a big believer in living a clean lifestyle that includes loving the environment you live in. Not only is eating clean food important but living in a peaceful, happy, and clean home and environment is essential to being your best self.

I love where we are.  My family and I live in a great walking neighborhood where people are pretty friendly and helpful. On nice days my son and I walk to his school as it is within the vicinity.  I also love that there are beautiful, unique looking parks in our neighborhood and a cute shopping area with a nice eatery.  Soon to come our way are a pool and club house which were at first not in the plans but because folks here raised their voices we are getting more amenities to enhance our beloved community.

So far this is my favorite place to live. We've gone through four moves in the past six and half years and to be frank moving so constantly is an added stress. It was a lot to maneuver especially with a newborn.  I believe it's one of the reasons for my debilitating fatigue. When stress attacks and the body cannot handle the load the body stops functioning in normal capacity. It starts to shut down and that's what happened to me along with reoccurring episodes of shingles, vitamin deficiencies, and gut issues.

I am learning to avoid stressful situations.  It's quite damaging to the spirit and it takes a toll on the immune system.  For me I do my best to live in the present and to have faith.  

My village feels like living in the woods -- so quiet and serene.  This place reminds me of the book Walden.  If you have never read it, it's a must read.  This place is really planned like a village as the homes are designed to be close to one another and the lots are not so large.  We are encouraged to walk as the mailboxes are located in a shared area. There's a real community developing here in which I think it's a great place to make wonderful memories.  Feed yourself the best clean food possible and make sure you love where you live.  You owe it to yourself and your family. 

Not only is eating clean food important but living in a peaceful, happy, and clean home and environment is essential to being your best self.

Be A Label Reader

One time when I went to the grocery store I was curious to know what people buy so I looked at other shoppers' carts.  I was really amazed at the amount of packaged foods folks buy.  

I'm a label reader and since I don't trust most ingredients in packaged foods most of my shopping cart ends up being fresh produce.  I would say 80 percent of my cart is organic fresh produce and organic, grass-fed meats and frozen organic produce. 

I've pretty much given up on buying a lot of packaged foods because so often there is an ingredient that is questionable or has been known to have carcinogenic properties.  Below is a list of what I look for when reading labels.

Top Ingredients To Avoid

  1. Sugar is a big one!  It's called so many different things like evaporated cane syrup, brown sugar, corn fructose, organic sugar, turbinado sugar, molasses, muscovado, corn syrup solids, agave nectar, raw sugar, brown rice syrup, confectioner's sugar, fruit juice, Splenda (fake sugar), aspartame (fake sugar).  See more names for sugar here.  Sugar is in practically everything in the grocery store from breads to cereals.  As a nation we are addicted to sugar.  What I've learned about sugar is that it messes up your healthy cells.  It also accelerates the aging process.  Sugar is very addictive; your body gets hooked on it in very much the same manner as it does to smoking, alcohol, or drugs.  It's not something to fool around with.  If the label does not read coconut sugar, stevia, or coconut nectar, I won't put it in my cart (and get really upset at my husband when he does).   Even if the label reads "sugarless"  it doesn't necessarily mean that the package does not contain sugar.  
  2. MSG or monosodium glutamate is harmful.  I've seen this also disguised in labels.  If you see "yeast extract" on a label it's the same as MSG.  My son and I highly react to MSG and get hives.  
  3. Xanthan gum and other gums should also be avoided.  Xanthan gum is very common and can be found it many grocery items like frozen pizza, almond milk, and ice cream.  It can cause irritation in the digestive system, throat and nose.  My son reacts horribly to xanthan gum, causing him to scratch.  I would also avoid other gums like guar guar gum.  
  4. Canola oil and other processed oils are not good fats.  I stopped cooking with canola oil, vegetable oil, PAM cooking oil, Crisco, butter, margarine, and shortening a long time ago.  It's better to cook with healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil (organic, extra virgin, and cold pressed are best).  Fats from clean animals (animals raised on an organic diet), like duck fat,  are also good..  From time to time I will also use goat butter and ghee.  
  5. Table salt is processed and unhealthy.  The two salts that I look for are Himalayan pink sea salt and Celtic sea salt.  Himalayan and Celtic salts are the healthiest salts available.  Anything else I avoid.
  6. Cornstarch is questionable.  What I've read about cornstarch is that it can be filled with GMOs (genetically modified organisms).  I haven't used cornstarch in a long time now.  Instead I purchase arrowroot and kudzu.  They are healthy and so good for you.
  7. Modified anything is not a good idea.  I see the word "modified" a lot in labels.  Why does food need to be modified in the first place?  To me modified means it's been chemically tampered with.  And that's the last thing that I want to do with my body and my family's.  
  8. Carrageenan is another questionable ingredient to avoid.  Carrageenan is an additive that can be found in many non-dairy and dairy items as well as other packaged foods.  Carrageenan may cause issues like inflammation and digestive disorders.   
  9. BPA is in a lot of canned and packaged food items.  There are studies that show that BPA may negatively effect the brain and behavior as well as be linked to cancer, heart problems, and other health issues.  I like to look for BPA-free packaging or glass jar packaging.

If you're dealing with health issues or just want to start eating clean, I recommend spending some time writing down a grocery list before going to the store.  This can help you from getting sidetracked with all the marketing in grocery stores.  Stick to the list.  Before going to the checkout counter just glance at your cart.  If it's not filled with at least 80 percent fresh produce review everything before you buy.  If 80 percent sounds too high, then buy as many fresh organic items as possible and avoid packaged foods.  Health is wealth, folks!  


I would say 80 percent of my cart is organic fresh produce and organic, grass-fed meats and frozen organic produce.

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Farm To Table

You won't catch us stopping by any fast food restaurant when traveling. We even try to avoid Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle. We quit eating fast food a while ago when I realized just how unhealthy it really is.   

One of the last times we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A I felt incredibly ill.   Despite parking a significant distance away from the entrance, the smell of the fast food really affected me.  We could not resume our travel for at least half an hour.

The problem with fast food and actually food at a lot of restaurants is that the ingredients are cooked with hundreds of chemicals and artificial additives.  You don't ever see them but these harmful things are ingested every day by most of America.  

Once I started eating clean it was very difficult to eat in an unhealthy manner again.  My body gave me signals and I had to pay attention to those signals.  My body was essentially rejecting the bad food.  That's what fast food is -- bad food.   It's the opposite of fresh, nutrient dense whole foods.  There is virtually no nutritional value in any fast food place because everything is saturated with heavily processed oils, refined sugars, and artificial preservatives and additives.

So whenever we eat out we try to find "farm to table"  restaurants and eateries. They are very easy to find. I search online for "farm to table restaurants" or "organic restaurants." Farm to table restaurants are known for using fresh local produce and many times they use produce from their own backyard. 

My family and I taste the difference at farm to table places.  They are also better equipped to accommodate your food preferences,  whether you eat gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan, vegetarian, fishetarian or pescatarian, macrobiotic, chickentarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, raw food, and so forth.

Plus, I can unequivocally say that I've never been disappointed or dissatisfied at a farm to table restaurant.  I think it's because most of the owners of farm to table restaurants are truly passionate about serving the freshest, local ingredients possible.  They take the time to choose the food they serve and put lots of thought into seasonal menus and ingredients.  It's a no-brainer.  I'll have farm to table food over any fast food any day.

There may be some folks who may be intimidated with the farm to table concept but from my experience, it's no different than eating at other restaurants.  You can find very affordable places, or you can splurge and go to higher-end places. 

Favorite Farm To Table Restaurants

1.  The House of William and Merry Restaurant in Hocckessin, Delaware has to be my favorite restaurant.  The food is unforgettable and the presentation is just beautiful.  I loved every course!  It also peaked my interest as the name reminds me of my alma mater, however, the owners William and Merry have no connection with the College.

2.  The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia is still my favorite restaurant in Northern Virginia.  It's where I recently celebrated my 40th.  Everything tasted fresh and so delicious.  I recommend it for very special occasions.  

3.  The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia serves delectable, incredible food.  I enjoyed dinner there some years ago and to this day I am searching for a way to go back.  It not only is a peaceful, lovely place to spend a getaway vacation, you may even be lucky to spot a celebrity.  The week before I arrived Tom Cruise was vacationing there.  And while I was there I walked passed Michael J. Fox, his wife Tracy Pollan and their children a few times.   

4.  Home 231 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is a favorite casual farm to table restaurant that I frequent.  Though finding street parking can be an obstacle I have always enjoyed my meals.  The food is so good and they are able to accommodate special dietary needs.  For some reason I find their water very satisfying.  Home 231 is a small restaurant so I recommend calling ahead of time especially on the weekends.  

5.  Fat Canary in Williamsburg, Virginia is a very popular farm to table restaurant.  It's been a few years since I dined there and yet I still remember the experience so fondly.  The service was excellent and the food was impeccable.  I'd love to make it back there again.

6.  The Mill in Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania is another fantastic farm to table restaurant in Central PA.  My family and I recently celebrated my husband's birthday and enjoyed a great brunch.  Even our picky son ate most of his meal.  This place is quite comfy and casual.  It's a renovated mill from the early 1900's.  We will definitely be back.

7.  Commune in Virginia Beach, Virginia is the place to be for a farm fresh dining experience in the Hampton Roads area.  I was there on Easter Sunday early for breakfast to beat the crowds.  They make their own breads however they are not gluten free.  Overall, the food was quite satisfying.   

So that is my list of favorite farm to table restaurants so far on the east coast.  One of these days I'll make it to the other side of the country and I'll do a review on farm to table restaurants on the west coast.  

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It’s a no-brainer. I’ll have farm to table food over any fast food any day.

Mrs. Patmore Would Be Proud

Just a couple of weeks ago I found inspiration around the kitchen and whipped up something really good.  As I was serving it and my husband took his first bite, he looked at me and said, "Mrs. Patmore would be proud!"  

If you're a Downton Abbey fan you would understand where Martin is coming from.  He loved watching the wonderfully scripted TV show and was sad to see it go.  Mrs. Patmore certainly served some delicious looking meals for the Crawleys and their guests.  We miss her and the whole Downton Abbey cast of characters.

What makes this entree special is the sauce.  It's a lovely pistachio cream sauce that can be served with any white fish or vegetables.  I used the liquid portion of a can of coconut milk (I like Native Forest because it's BPA-free.)  I also added nutritional yeast which is a deactivated yeast seasoning full of lots of vitamin B and other minerals.    It's great for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who avoids dairy but want that cheesy flavor.

This dish is a complete meal full of wonderful goodness.  It has protein, flavorful mushrooms, healthy dark leafy green vegetables, and good grain.  We eat a lot of mushrooms and dark leafy greens as they can help prevent and even fight cancer and other illnesses.  You can also substitute the millet grain for another healthy grain like quinoa and amaranth.  Find them in the organic section of your local grocery store or at any health store.  We hope you delight in this meal as we did!  May we all be inspired to cook like Mrs. Patmore and feed our loved ones with deliciously enticing, healthy food.

Pan-Fried Haddock With Mushrooms and Pistachio Cream Sauce


Ingredients for the Pan-Fried Haddock

1 large garlic clove minced, about 1 tbsp

1 cup or more mushrooms any variety (shiitake, cremini, etc.)

2 organic green onions, sliced thinly

2 tbsp organic parsley chopped, divided

1 lb wild caught haddock fillets or any white fish

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I prefer cold pressed and organic)

2 tbsp avocado oil (I prefer cold pressed and organic like Bella Vado)

2 tbsp goat butter (I like St. Helen's but if not available you could just sub more avocado oil)

1 or 2 bunches of dark leafy greens, chopped (collard greens, swiss chard, etc.)

Himalayan pink sea salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup chicken bone broth (preferably organic like Pacific Foods) or homemade



Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil onto a cast iron pan to sauté half of the minced garlic for a minute or till fragrant.  Save the other half for later.  Add the mushroom and sauté for a few minutes to soften.  Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.  Sauté the green onions till softened.  Set aside in a separate bowl.  Sauté the dark leafy greens till softened.  Set aside in a separate bowl.  Use the same cast iron to cook the haddock.  Set the oven on broil at 550 degrees and adjust the rack to the top.  Wash the haddock well, dry with a paper towel, then salt and pepper the fillets.  Add the avocado oil and goat butter in the pan and set between low and medium heat depending on your stove top.  Pan fry the fillets with the skin down for about 5 minutes or till crisp.  Sprinkle the sparsely on top of the fillets,  Place in the oven for about 2 minutes to broil the fish.  Turn off the oven and continue cooking on the stove top.  Add the chicken bone broth which should cover the pan and sizzle.  Add the mushrooms back into the pan, over the broth.  Cook for just a couple more minutes.


Ingredients for the Millet With Green Onions

1 cup millet

2 cups filtered water or more depending on how the grain cooks on your stove top

Pinch Himalayan pink sea salt



Use a pot with a lid and add all ingredients in.  Bring to a boil and then simmer and cover the pot for about 30 minutes.  Watch if it's your first time.  When done fluff up the millet with a fork and mix in half of the sautéed green onions.


Ingredients for the Pistachio Cream Sauce

1/3 cup raw pistachios (not roasted)

1 tbsp parsley chopped

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast (I like Bragg's)

1/8 cup filtered water

1/8 cup rice milk

1/8 cup coconut milk (I used the liquid portion of Native Forest)

Pinch Himalayan pink sea salt

Pinch freshly ground pepper



First pan roast the pistachios on a cast iron pan for a couple of minutes.  Next add all ingredients into a high speed blender and puree or use dip setting.  

Nicely plate everything and enjoy!

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May we all be inspired to cook like Mrs. Patmore and feed our loved ones with deliciously enticing, healthy food.

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Strawberry Cake

When I was a child I loved strawberries.  My mom would take my brother and me to a farm to go strawberry picking.  I would pick every one I saw, both red and green ones, and eat them right there in the field.  When I was older, I also loved strawberry ice cream.  It was the one flavor that never disappointed me.   

Today marks Dios Ti Agngina's first anniversary so happy birthday to my blog!  And of course my family and I  will celebrate with a strawberry cake that's gluten free and refined sugar free.

I've been experimenting with different gluten free flours.  One of my favorites is millet flour which can be found in most grocery stores and health food stores.  I really like millet because it is high in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  It also has silica which is great for keeping bones flexible as we age.  Millet has properties that help support the kidneys as well as the stomach.  It's also wonderful for digestion and morning sickness.  

Besides being absolutely delicious, I really like this strawberry cake recipe because it can be changed depending on your taste.  Try substituting peaches when peaches are  in season.  If you don't want your cake too sweet I suggest using coconut sugar instead of maple syrup.  Also, if you prefer to go dairy free use coconut oil or a light extra virgin olive oil instead of ghee.  For more whipped coconut cream, use two cans of coconut milk (separate the cream from the liquid) and double the other ingredients.  I would add a layer of cream in between the cakes too!    

Happy birthday Dios Ti Agngina!  May you have many, many more!

Strawberry Cake


For the cake:

2 cups almond flour (or all purpose gluten free flour for a nut free cake)

1/2 cup millet flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

3 organic or pasture raised eggs

1/3 cup maple syrup (or coconut sugar for a less sweet cake)

1/4 cup melted ghee, coconut oil, a light extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, half liquid and half cream (I like Native Forest, classic)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt

A little over a cup chopped organic strawberries

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the whipped coconut cream:

Remaining coconut cream from the canned coconut milk (save the coconut water for shakes)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla extract



In a small bowl let the strawberries and maple syrup soak.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl - almond flour, millet flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar (if you are using this instead of the maple syrup).  Melt the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan.  Add the ghee to the dry ingredients.  Next melt the coconut milk and add that to the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.  Add the egg mixture to the large bowl and mix well.  If you choose to use maple syrup instead of the coconut sugar, add this now to the mixture.  In a small pan cook on low heat the strawberries and maple syrup and stir for a couple of minutes.  Let the strawberries cool for a bit, strain, and then mix 3/4 of the strawberries into the batter.  Save the remaining strawberries for later.

Grease two six inch cake pans with coconut oil very well.  Put half of the batter into one cake pan and the other half into the other one.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or till done.

Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes.  Gently remove one and place on a cake platter.  Spread the remaining strawberries on top of the first cake.  Next remove the other cake and gently place it on top of the other.

You will need a mixing machine to make the whipped coconut cream.  Add the remaining coconut cream from the canned coconut milk.  (Save the coconut water for shakes or other recipes.)  Also add the vanilla extract and maple syrup.  Mix until small peaks form. Use a spatula to assist in the process.  Use the spatula to smooth the whipped cream all over the cake.  You could also smooth some whipped cream in between the cakes.  Decorate with fresh fruit or organic edible flowers.  Enjoy!  

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Today marks Dios Ti Agngina’s first anniversary so happy birthday to my blog! And of course we will celebrate with strawberry cake that’s gluten free and refined sugar free.

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A William and Mary Reunion

The day certainly reminded me of the first time I visited the College of William and Mary.  It was gray and dreary but the beauty of this place shone through for me as it always did at my alma mater.  

For some reason I always love coming back to The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia.  My husband Martin is always puzzled as he's not so impressed, but for me it's quiet and serene and I am very fond of my meals there.  So this is where I decided to celebrate my 40th birthday (my second party!) and it also turned out to be a mini William and Mary reunion.

As I was planning for this celebration I was taken back to memories of my college days, early adulthood, and up to present day.  I realized that the good friendships that were formed early in life become even more meaningful as we get older.  

At first I had no intention of celebrating my 40th because I thought that turning 40 didn't matter.  I had thought of spending it quietly with my family at home but I later came to realize that spending time with good friends does matter and so I had a change of heart.  I began planning the event and became increasingly excited to see my good friends and William and Mary family.

Though our time together that afternoon was short and seemingly as fleeting as our time was at the College, it meant the world to me to spend a beautiful afternoon with my William and Mary family.  I was truly grateful and blessed.

I realized that the good friendships that were formed early in life become even more meaningful as we get older.

Birthday Surprise

The cake was from LA and the food was from two local restaurants.  Our neighbors and friends were conversing, eating, and having a good time.  Everything was going fabulously for the first of my planned 40th birthday celebrations until later that night when we had to call 911 and rush to the emergency room.

Thank God it turned out to be a false alarm but that's a story to be told at another time.  Health is wealth, folks, and when you're dealing with a possible life and death situation, you're at the mercy of the healthcare system in whatever country you happen to be in.

Waiting in the ER to start off my 40th year was mind boggling and frightening but it certainly got me to think about the conversations that night.  Many of our guests talked about their own health challenges or of their loved ones.  Everyone is connected to someone who is dealing with disease.

My way of combating disease is through prevention.  I am committed to learning as much as possible about food, health, and lifestyle and sharing the very best information that helps support living a long and happy life.

I have two tips to share today.  The first is a powerful and yummy superfoods shake recipe and the second is about exercise.    

An alkaline diet helps combat disease.  My superfoods shake is fully packed with alkaline ingredients and is currently my favorite energy boosting breakfast shake.  The base is coconut water and chaga tea.  I order my chaga online as I haven't seen it in grocery stores yet.  Chaga is the king of medicinal mushrooms which can be found on birch trees in cold weather climates.  It is probably the most alkaline of all foods and is known to fight cancer and other diseases.  You can learn more about chaga here.  All the other superfoods are readily available at your local grocery as well as online.  You can find the superfoods shake recipe down below with a list of my favorite brands.

Unfortunately, I am not so fond of regular exercise.  I'm one who has a hard time committing but I would like to stress the importance of breaking out into a sweat every day if possible.  Sweating helps remove toxins out of the body.  

I think it's important to find something that you enjoy doing.  Whether it's pilates, swimming, brisk walking, a sport, just do it or find a partner that can help encourage and support you. 

One of the easiest exercises to do is to jump up and down for at least five minutes.  There's no need to change clothes or get special equipment.  I've been doing this for a couple of weeks now and it has been very helpful.  I get an instant burst of energy and get my heart rate going.  Better yet get a trampoline and do it anytime at home.  Hop on and there you go!  It's so much fun.

Here's to everyone's health and here's to another 40 years ahead and beyond!  Praise the Lord!

Superfoods Shake



1/4 cup coconut water

1/4 cup chaga tea

1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries

1/4 cup frozen organic blackberries or use another 1/4 cup of frozen organic blueberries

1/4 cup organic pear

Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt

Few dashes of cinnamon 

1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder

1/2 tsp raw maca powder

1/2 tsp raw cacao powder

Couple drops of chlorophyll or 1/2 tsp raw chlorella powder

Couple ice cubes

Raw organic honey to taste (optional, If you are dealing with disease I would omit this and all types of sugar)



Blend all ingredients in a blender and drink right away.  Enjoy! 

Favorite Brands

My way of combating disease is through prevention.

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Chicken Divan

Welcome to my happy place!  If there was ever a dish that I wanted all the time as a child, chicken divan was it.  Chicken divan -- doesn't it sound so impressive?  If I could, I would have eaten it every single day.  Chicken divan was a dish that my dad prepared as a cook in the US Navy.  I was probably about ten years old the first time I ever tasted it.  I would ask my dad to make it on the weekends and he always acquiesced without pause or complaints.  

I remember one Thanksgiving my brother invited his close friends over.  My dad had prepared chicken divan so meticulously as always.  His friends called it "the bomb."  It was that good!  Even throughout my college days and young adulthood my dad would make it specially for me.  It's how we, father and daughter, bonded.

In time my taste buds grew tired of my favorite homemade dish.  I guess my appreciation for it faded and I just didn't ask for it anymore.  It's still very clear the day my dad asked if I wanted him to make it for me.  As I nonchalantly said "no" I watched my dad's face fall sad.  He looked down at the floor so disappointed and almost hurt.  I had no idea that my dad would be so crushed.

It wasn't until I became pregnant with my son Constantine that my appetite for chicken divan was reawakened.  My dad happily made my favorite dish again.  And just like before, I was brought back to my happy place.

Over the years my dad perfected the recipe to everyone's satisfaction.  What makes his recipe super delicious are the sherry and lemon juice ingredients.  Recently, I studied my dad's recipe and decided to make my very own clean version of chicken divan.  If my dad's version was "the bomb," my clean version is "the bomb lite."  I love this version and thankfully everyone in my household does too!  It's perfect with some hot organic white basmati or jasmine rice.

Happy birthday, dear dad, and thank you for inspiring my all time favorite!  We love you!

Clean Chicken Divan



2 organic chicken breasts cooked and cut to bite size cubes (I like to buy Wegman's organic roasted chicken and cut out the breasts into bite size pieces)

12 oz bag of organic broccoli and cauliflower (Wegman's sells a 12 oz bag of frozen organic broccoli and cauliflower; if you use fresh broccoli and cauliflower, make sure to cook it first)

1 box of Pacific organic  cream of mushroom condensed soup (can be found in the Organic section of your local grocery)

1/2 cup of organic mayonnaise ( love using Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo)

1 tbsp sherry wine

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommend; can be found in the organic section of your local grocery)

Good fat to coat your baking pan (duck fat, vegan butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, etc.)



Turn your oven to 350 degrees.  Next, coat your baking pan with a good fat.  I used duck fat.  Arrange the broccoli and cauliflower pieces beautifully onto the baking pan.  I like to add the broccoli florets around the edges first and then place the cauliflower florets in the middle.  The next layer is the chicken.  Scatter the chicken evenly.  Mix the rest of the ingredients except the nutritional yeast well in a large bowl.  Spread the mixture evenly on top of the chicken.  Place the baking pan in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove the pan and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top.  Broil on high for a few minutes until nicely browned on top.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Resources for Clean Eating

Sign up for one of my programs!

My ON FIRE 6 Month Health Coaching Program

My 3 Month Health Coaching Program

My 1 Month Health Coaching Program

Shop and Chop Days

If my dad’s version was “the bomb,” my clean version is “the bomb lite.”

Duck Fat

Last week I took the liberty of browsing my local grocery store looking for some interesting items to add to my kitchen pantry.  As I was checking the organic meat section I came across duck fat.  The thought of duck brought back so many happy memories that I decided right away that I wanted to try it!

My favorite fats that I use for cooking are extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and avocado oil (all cold pressed and organic).  But clean animal fats (fats from organic meats that have not been processed or have antibiotics) are also really healthy and good options.  

The duck fat that I bought reminded me of my favorite Asian restaurant in Northern Virginia -- Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, Virginia.  I miss the food especially their specialty the duck!  The owners raise their ducks themselves and they cook the skin so crispy and tasty.  It is so delicious!

Though I was very excited to try the duck fat, I really had  no idea how I was going to use it.  Naturally I called my cooking coach, my dear mom, and in an instant she ran off a recipe for me to try.  

I'm calling this recipe the Golden Egg Surprise.  I think it's an ingenious and unique meal to put together for the New Year.  In addition, I'm adding a duck fat sauce to go with the recipe. You could use pretty much any spice you wish for the Golden Egg Surprise.  I used turmeric to sprinkle on the hard boiled egg inside the ground meat egg.  You see, you end up making an egg within an egg.  

It's a surprise because when you cut open the ground meat you will find the hard boiled egg inside.  And it's quite a lovely presentation.  I used organic baby spinach, living cress, and crunchy coconut chips to decorate my plate.  Use whatever you have on hand.  You could pan fry some noodles to get them crunchy and create a nest for your egg.  Really the sky's the limit with this dish!

Golden Egg Surprise



1 lb of organic ground meat (turkey, chicken, lamb, or beef)

1 garlic clove minced

1 organic green onion thinly sliced

1 or 2 tbsp organic parsley chopped finely

Himalayan pink sea salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Turmeric (optional)

Couple of dashes of thyme (or any spices of your choice)

Pinch of organic lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice

1 tbsp of gluten free flour of your choice (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour) plus more to coat the ground meat egg

2 eggs (pasture raised or organic)

2 or 3 tbsp of duck fat or any type of healthy fat



First make your hard boiled egg.  As you are cooking your egg, add the ground meat, garlic, green onion, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, lemon zest and juice, and flour in a large bowl.  Combine your meat mixture well.  Once your egg is done and cooled off, gently peel off the shell.  Next, sprinkle turmeric all over the egg.  Flatten the meat mixture and place the egg on the middle of mixture.  Gently fold the meat mixture with your hands to cover the hard boiled egg.  Shape the meat mixture into an egg.  Quickly whisk your second egg in a large bowl.  Take a large plate and sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour onto it.  Turn on your oven to 350 degrees.  Add the duck fat onto your cast iron pan and turn on the heat between low and medium.  Gently coat your meat egg with the flour by rolling it around.  Then roll the meat egg around the whisked egg.  I used a spatula and a large spoon to carry my meat egg onto the cast iron.  Now brown your meat egg a few minutes on each side.  I even browned the two ends.  Using the spatula and large spoon will help.  Once your meat egg is browned all around place your pan into the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until cooked.  

Duck Fat Sauce



One egg yolk, 2 if you want your sauce richer

1/2 cup bone broth of your choice, warmed

Pinch of white pepper 

2 tbsp duck fat

1 tbsp arrowroot flour

Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt or to taste

Fresh parsley chopped (optional)

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)



Use a double boiler to cook the sauce to prevent the egg from curdling.  Add the egg yolk, pepper, duck fat, arrowroot and cook on low heat.  Slowly add the bone broth.  Keep whisking until your sauce is cooked about 10 to 15 minutes.  If the sauce is too thick, add 1 of 2 tablespoons of hot water.  Add the salt, parsley and lemon juice at the end.  Enjoy!

Resources for Clean Eating

Sign up for one of my programs!

My ON FIRE 6 Month Health Coaching Program

My 3 Month Health Coaching Program

My 1 Month Health Coaching Program

Shop and Chop Days

I’m calling this recipe the Golden Egg Surprise. I think it’s an ingenious and unique meal to put together for the New Year.