Friday, July 6, 2018

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

It hardly ever happens for me this way, but the first time I tried to transform my chocolate chip cookie recipe into a gluten-free version, it was bangin'. I'm up here posting it now while I still remember what the heck I did. As a bonus, I was reminded that it was my neighbor's birthday today. Lucky me! I had tasty treats ready to bake! He was happy with his plate of cookies.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 and 3/4 cup plus 2 TB Jovial Foods Gluten-Free Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 TB granulated sugar
2 flax/chia eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips

*Prepare your flax eggs first as they have to sit for 5 or 10 minutes to set.

Flax/chia egg
-1 TB flax and chia blend mixed with 3 TB very hot or boiling water equals 1 egg.

You will need 2 flax/chia eggs, so combine 2 TB flax/chia blend with 6 TB very hot or boiling water and allow to set for 5 or 10 minutes. If you can't find a blend, just using ground flax seed will do fine. The same ratio and time applies if using just ground flax seed.


*In a medium bowl, sift together the pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

*In a large bowl, cream until fluffy the butter and sugars. Add in the flax/chia eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

*Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and mix until just combined.

*Add in the mini chocolate chips and mix until combined. You might have to use your hands.

*Refrigerate about 30 minutes to an hour before baking. The batter can be refrigerated for a couple days as well. I baked some without refrigerating the batter and they were fine. they just spread out a little more, so if you do that you might want to leave a little extra room in between the raw cookies on the baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

*Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

*Dip 1 TB of cookie batter, shape into cookie form and place on baking sheet, leaving at least an inch in between cookies.

*Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes

Makes about 30 cookies

I am VERY happy with this recipe. I thought about replacing the butter with ghee, since I tolerate ghee better, but the butter was sitting there so beautifully on my counter from where I was going to make honey cupcakes with buttercream icing for a party but then decided I didn't feel like it, that I just had to use it. I have no regrets.

Now on to anxiety and the suggested reading for my kindred spirits dealing with it. There are two other books besides the one I talked about in my last post that really helped me out. "10% Human" by Alanna Collen and "A Mind of Your Own" by Kelly Brogan, MD.

"10% Human" is unique in that biologist Collen based this book on peer review journals. It's all science. She talks about the experiments that have been done on mice and their microbiomes, the value of good bacteria, the dangers of having an imbalance of good verses bad bacteria in your gut, and the health implications of such. Gut health is a hot topic these days. This book is phenomenal if you want to get in to the nuts and bolts of it. I own several copies of this book so I can lend it out and still have one to reference. I thought I was a pretty healthy eater, but I totally changed my eating habits after reading this book and have felt much better because of it.

"A Mind of Your Own" is a refreshing account of the possibility of restoring mental health through diet and exercise. Dr. Brogan started out as a standard western medical doctor then psychiatrist, prescribing various drugs and psychotropics for our increasingly common ills. Then she realized that something wasn't right about loading us up with drugs when her own health started failing. She now runs a psychiatric practice that treats women with anxiety and depression through dietary and lifestyle changes. She no longer prescribes psychotropics and has a very high success rate in guiding her patients back to a state of mental health.

I like it that Brogan gives a list of supplements that can be taken but says to take it with a grain of salt since we don't really know enough about the efficacy of taking vitamins and such. She says you can try it, but don't rely on it. Let's see what you're eating and how you're spending your day. She got me back to practicing Kundalini Yoga, which has been so wonderful for me. I highly recommend it. She also got me paying attention even more to what I eat and weeding out inflammatory foods. Think of "10% Human" as the why it's broken and "A Mind of Your Own" as the how to fix it. 

There is one thing that neither book talks about that was key for me. Homeopathy. Once I started applying homeopathy to my situation, things really started to come together. I had less and less waves of anxiety. I cannot recommend Joette Calabrese's blog enough. The protocols that she teaches are phenomenal. Joette is an advocate for healing the gut. Why avoid all these foods your whole life? Just heal the gut! "How do I heal my gut," you ask. Homeopathy. It takes time, but it works.

This whole conversation reminds me of a song. Anyone remember the S.O.S. band?
Take Your Time. Do It Right.

Every little thing that I've come across in my journey back to health has been an important addition to my little ever-expanding tool box. I hope you find some new and useful tools here too.

And if you have time, check out this cool Tiny Desk Concert I came across today. It inspires me even more to follow my joy.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Vegan Carob Cupcakes

Dear God,

I really miss pizza.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for carob.

In light and love always,

Rhonda Leigh

It took a complete mental breakdown to get me where I am today, and where I am today is what my goal was for years, even before there ever was an anxiety issue. While there are some things I miss because of all the changes I've made to bring myself back down to earth (hey, pizza...maybe someday we can be friends again), I'm mostly grateful. I have a whole new perspective on life and a much improved appreciation of this thing we call living.

I still find much joy in baking even though it has to be gluten-free and vegan if I'm gonna consume it, and I find even more joy in being able to recognize it when I get a trigger to binge eat. Thank you, EMDR! It's so nice to know that I can get upset and not helplessly consume five or six of these things in one sitting. Is anyone else out there reading this an emotional eater? It doesn't have to be that way forever, which is why I'm comfortable laying this yummy recipe on you.

Vegan Carob Cupcakes

1 1/2 C gluten free flour (I use Jovial foods gluten free pastry flour #4)
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/3 C carob powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C veg oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 flax egg
1 C water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

*for flax egg
  -combine 1TB ground flax and 3 TBs hot water, allow to sit for 10min

*sift flour, sugar, carob, baking soda, salt in large bowl.
*add oil, vanilla, flax egg, and water to flour mix and combine well.
*fill a greased muffin pan 3/4 full and bake 20-22 min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The original recipe can be found here. I found that adding the flax egg was very helpful with moisture content after I switched to my gluten free version. If you use regular flour you can omit the flax egg.

I'm probably going to be talking about anxiety a lot in my new posts. I've met so many people that have suffered, are suffering, with it. I feel like it happened to me for a reason. I'm not afraid to talk about it, and I enjoy sharing what I've found works for me in combating it. I have found meaning in my suffering. As Viktor Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice."

If what I've gone through ends up helping at least one person come through the other side of anxiety safe and sound, then my suffering was worth it. I don't know if I'm completely over being knocked on my ass, but I have certainly picked myself up enough times these past two years to know that I'm not giving up. I've gone from not being able to even drive down the street (any street) without having a panic attack, to driving three hours on the interstate this past Wednesday to our family vacation destination with no problem at all. I've gone from having anxiety all day long with severe panic attacks every few hours to only having anxiety before my cycle, to having a couple months in a row with no anxiety at all and even longer between panic attacks. Hallelujah!

One of the most helpful things for me was reading this book: Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. She talks about the anatomy of a panic attack. She describes so fully what it is doing to your body that it took the terror away for me. She helped me understand that if I stopped being afraid of being afraid, the anxiety would eventually stop. And it did. It got me out of the loop. I highly recommend this book for anyone in crisis. There are a few others that helped me too for different reasons, but this one broke the cycle for me so I could start to function again.

There were hormonal issues due to taking birth control that got the anxiety fire blazing for me, so I had other work to do to as well, but Weekes book was a life saver and got me through the worst of it.

I am a fighter through and through. I don't give up. I might shake, I might cry, I might fall down, I might even lay there for a few days, but I eventually get my ass up and try again. As for music, I may not be a black woman, but I'm feeling these jams by Jamila Woods. I can relate to them for reasons other than color. Maybe you can too.

Jamila Woods: NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Friday, April 27, 2018

Carob Banana Smoothie

Wow! It's hard to believe it's been so long since I've posted. 2016 was the year from Hell and it's taken me what feels like a long time to recover. But I guess in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that long at all. Nothing like a little spell of overwhelming and debilitating anxiety to help you reevaluate your life.

One of the things I've realized during this journey back to the light is that I need to be careful about what I eat. I've avoided eggs for years, but gluten, dairy, and soy are now on the "No" list. I also try to avoid sugar, but it creeps in there from time to time. I am hoping that I will one day be free of all these food sensitivities. I've been following Joette Calabrese's homeopathy blog and employ the Banerji Protocol she suggests for allergies. It can take a long time to clear, but I'm going for it. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I've come up with a few choice treats that keep me satisfied. The carob banana smoothie is on the top of my list right now. It's simple, quick, and delicious...if you like carob. I happen to love carob. Some people say it tastes like chocolate. If you listen to them and expect chocolate, you're going to be disappointed. Carob tastes like...carob.

Carob Banana Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened flax milk or milk substitute of choice
1 frozen banana
2 TB carob powder

*Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Add more liquid if too thick. Sometimes I add a dash of ceylon cinnamon. Pour in a pint size mason jar and enjoy!

And while you're drinking it, maybe you'll wanna treat yourself to some good tunes. Moon Hooch is Josh's favorite band, so I got him tickets to their show in Seattle last month. The Accidentals opened up for them. I'd never heard them before. Wow...just wow! So talented and I love their story. Earthbound is the song Tuesday and I jam out to the most. Amen for good music!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs

Have any of you ever seen "The Peanut Butter Solution"? I think it's been on my mind because of all the friends I've had going through cancer treatment recently. Not that it's about cancer, but it is about a boy losing his hair.

My husband had never heard of it, so I gave him the rundown of what I remember. "It's about a boy who gets so scared his hair falls out. Then he makes this peanut butter solution and paints it on this head, which makes his hair grow back overnight. Only problem is, it grows so fast you can actually see it growing and it won't stop. Then he gets kidnapped by some guy that uses the hair to make magical paint brushes that paint pictures you can walk into and explore." I paused to bask in his look of disbelief and added, "And I might have made some of that up, but that's how I remember it."

I laughed til I cried when I pulled it up on amazon and saw all the reviews for the movie. It's almost like there's a little support group for this flick. And yes, I remembered it correctly. And no, I'm not the only person who wasn't sure if they were making it up or not. One person actually thought it was a nightmare he had as a kid. He use to tell people about it until he came across someone who let him know that it was a movie. Other people were even accused of lying because there was no possible way a movie that bizarre could exist. Well does exist, and I watched it again the other night for the first time since I was about 7 years old. I still enjoyed it. Not sure I can say the same for the hubby, but at least he sat through it with me, poking fun at it all the while. that I got that out of my system...
Did you know that January is National Soup Month!? It's the perfect time of year to try out all those soup recipes you've clipped out of magazines, printed off the internet, and tucked into your "Try Something New" recipe box!

I got this recipe out of The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz when I was doing some of the cooking for one of my friends that was going through chemo. She loved the soup and so do I! If I ever get to open my restaurant, this soup will certainly be on the menu. The link below will hopefully take you to her recipe page.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs

I followed the recipe as instructed. The only change I made was to leave out the egg in the meatball mixture. They still held together fine. I also went with the spinach variation since I had some that needed to be used.

This really is a wonderful soup!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pecan Pie sans eggs Grimes finally released her Art Angels album and guess what! She put the demo version of Realiti on the CD! (It's not on the album though. Sorry vinyl fans). I finally have it at my finger tips so I can jam out in my car while I drive to town to get ingredients to try out new recipes and whatnot! WooHoo!

I prefer the demo to the album edit, but they're both really good. Before I ever heard the album version, I came across this one playing on KEXP. I knew Grimes had polished up Realiti, so I thought maybe this was it. Well, it's not. It's Natalie Prass. I think it's killer though. To add to her street cred, Natalie grew up in Va Beach, which is the last place I lived in VA.

Now on to why I'm really here...
My mother gave us a book for Xmas called "Dream It. List It. Do It!" with Lia Steakley. It's based off a social networking website ( that no longer exists. People would go and list between 21 and 43 goals they would like to accomplish from simple to difficult to bizarre. The theory is that limiting your life to 43 goals forces you to make choices, but making more than 20 goals gives you enough variety to keep you moving. It sounded interesting, so I figured why not; I'm making a list!

I'll only name a few of my 43 even though I'm sure you can guess what at least one of them is. Yep! You're's write! I made it a goal to write at least one uninterrupted hour daily. I also decided to make a goal of writing a "This I Believe" essay so I could tackle two goals at once. Hey...I'm all about multitasking.

A few other goals are:
Build a house with hidden rooms and secret passageways
Do something fun with my daughter every day
Have a cooking competition with friends
Perform music for one uninterrupted hour daily

And the most difficult...yes, even more difficult than building a house with secret passageways:
Live each day as if it were my last, but learn each day as if I'll live forever

Which brings me to this recipe. Pecan pie is my absolute favorite pie on this planet. If it's gonna be my last day, I want something delicious to eat. If I'm gonna live forever, it needs not be complete garbage. I found out I'm allergic to eggs, so for me, eggs are garbage. I feel great since I quit eating them! I'm so thankful I came across an egg-free recipe so I could have a slice of my favorite pie this holiday season!

I got this from  I was pretty close to the recipe listed on the site. I used ghee though and made my own pie crust.

Pecan Pie sans eggs:

1/2 C unbleached cane sugar
1 C dark corn syrup
4 T ghee
2 T ground flax meal
1 T all-purpose flour
6 to 7 T hot water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
2 C broken pecans (broken into small pieces)
Whole pecan halves for the top of the pie
1  9" uncooked pie shell

* Combine sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes.

* Melt ghee into mixture.

* Set aside to cool

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees

* While oven is preheating, in a small bowl combine flax, flour, and water. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes to get gummy. This is your egg substitute.

*Once sugar/corn syrup mix is cool, whisk in flax mix egg substitute, sea salt, and vanilla.

* Fill pie shell with broken pecans.

* Pour syrup mixture over pecans until it's just below the rim.

* Arrange pecan halves on top starting around the outside and working inward in a circle.

* Place on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on the next to lowest possible rack setting. You can put foil over the cookie sheet before placing the pie on it for extra protection and easier cleanup if you'd like.

* Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until pecans are nicely toasted but not burnt.

I was very happy with this pie. It was even better that I could have just one piece and walk away satisfied. It's no secret that I've eaten half a pecan pie in one sitting on more than one occasion, which is why I only make it once a year. That didn't happen this year, and it wasn't because it didn't taste good. I think the flax gives it more body so you feel full.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Oatmeal Lemon Cream Pies

It's summer! What a perfect time to post a lemon cookie recipe! that the heat wave is finally gone and I can use my oven again. Perfect timing too because my lemon-loving neighbor is coming home from vacation tomorrow and it's his birthday.

I like to celebrate life and birth. I appreciate the people in my life. I think that's why I remember so many birthdays. I'm glad ya'll are here with me! Life certainly has it's challenges, but it really helps to have a good circle of people around you. It also helps to let them know you're happy they're in this with you. Gratitude...

Which reminds me...I let this kid in front of me in line at the grocery store today because he had less stuff, and I ended up paying the difference for his bill because he was short like $1.43. He didn't say thank you. If he did, I didn't hear it. Not that I did it for a "thank you," but still. Manners, people! Always say thank you when someone gives you a skip and pays for the rest of your stuff! Accepting what people offer you continues to encourage kindness, but so does showing appreciation.

Anyway...I pulled from three different recipes and added some of my own jazz to come up with this creamy, lemony, oatmeal sandwich cookie-ish thing. It's pretty good. It has a nice subtle lemon flavor. I like that. Maybe you will too. Hopefully my neighbor does since it's his birthday and all. He will certainly let me know if he doesn't. But he'll say "thanks" either way. I'm sure of it.

Oatmeal Lemon Cream Pies


1 and 1/4 cups unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 drops organic lemon essential oil
zest of 2 large lemons
1 TB honey
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats

Cream Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese (room temp)
2 drops organic lemon essential oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar

First off...yes, it is okay to ingest some types of pure essential oils, and lemon happens to be one of them. You have to be very careful with the quantity though because essential oils are very strong. One drop is equal to 2 tsp of the corresponding dried herb. Feel free to substitute with lemon extract. One tsp for each drop should do it. You might need to add more depending on your taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Add egg, vanilla, lemon oil, lemon zest, and honey. Mix well, scraping down sides as necessary. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the quick oats and combine.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Measure out 1 Tb of dough, shape into a disc, and place on cookie sheet. Place dough discs about 1 inch apart because they spread when cooking.

Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are light golden. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling: With a hand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add lemon oil and beat a minute more. Scrape down sides and add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.

Spread filling on flat side of cookie and place another cookie on the other side of the filling (flat side down) to make a sandwich.

Keep these refrigerated. Take them out 15 minutes or so before you want to eat them. Enjoy!


I love this song! I can't find it anywhere to purchase, so I have to keep listening to it on youtube, which is unfortunate.
Grimes: REALiTi

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm thinking about my dad today, so I have to post something by Everything, a band my dad did sound for when they were on the college circuit. They have so many good songs, but this was the only one I could find a link for, so it will have to do. "Hooch" by Everything

My dad loved chocolate, so as recipe posts go, I guess it's time to write down some chocolate chip cookie deliciousness. I've had many a bad chocolate chip cookie in my day. I can't even begin to tell you how many recipes I've tried, looking for the perfect one. Low and behold, I purchased a baking sheet from Nordic Ware and on the back of the cover paper attached to it was the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. The only changes I made was the type of flour and the sea salt (I omit it).

This is one of those situations that further proves my point; you never know where you will find the perfect recipe.

The batter needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour before baking, so keep that in mind when figuring your prep time. This makes about 80 cookies at 1 T of batter per cookie, so feel free to half the recipe. Or double it. They're that good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C light brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer to use the mini ones)

* In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

* In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, to sugar mix and combine.

* Add dry ingredients to the sugar mix and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips and incorporate by hand.

* Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Can be refrigerated up to 48 hours before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper and measure batter w/ T, shape into cookie form, and place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for about 15 min or until golden brown. I bake a little longer for my husband because he likes crunchy cookies.