Gratitude – Day 23

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“The day that I dread or my lucky chance,

I may celebrate it, or I may perish at once.

All the dreams and hopes and desire to fly,

But the fear is rising yet no tears to cry.

Your life and death in a slow motion dance,

And the breath is frozen in a prayer stance.

No rules were given to solve cruel tie,

The duel is pending, and it’s Me and I…”

Just one thing to celebrate and be grateful for today : “yes-no”, “life-death”, “hope-loss”, “be-or perish” …

In a big annual “yay or nay” question, after a nerve-wrecking day and yet another year of waiting, it’s a grand “Yay”! As per today’s tests, I’m seemingly cancer free. That means, after the final oncologist’s review and come February, I’ll celebrate my 8th “clean” year!

Gratitude – Day 22

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3 things I’m grateful for today:

 

-  My grandma is 92 today. This is our old picture where I’m apparently not too happy. I bet I was just cold despite being bundled up. That gene that Russian people supposedly have to tolerate the cold – I’m missing it. I make the exact same face when I’m cold now. I like balance, in weather too. Grandma was one tough cookie though (still is actually), she comes from an old Russian area near the river Volga and has survived a great famine there in the 1920-30s when she was just a child. She is also a WWII vet, was a military nurse during the war working on a mobile (train) hospital, which is where she met my grandfather who was a military surgeon (he is long gone unfortunately). Together they went through most of Europe on that mobile hospital, then grandma had to return home because my mom was born in September of 1945, just before grandma’s birthday. My grandfather continued on to Berlin and served there after the war was officially over, he often treated both the Russian military personnel and regular German families (he was a doctor “without borders”). He was later transferred to Austria and served there for another couple of years. When he finally returned home and saw my mom for the first time, she was already 3 years old.  Times were still tough in the post-war Soviet Union, my mom herself had to survive a “hungry childhood”, grandma continued working as a nurse (till she retired) supporting my mom alone as my grandfather was living and working in a different city then. I was raised and nurtured by two strong September-born Virgo women (for whom I’m an only child and an only grandchild) who were all about hard work and getting the job done without complaining, but among that “toughness”, I’ve had so much love that I’d have never been the person I’m today without them two. Now, why were they “gifted” with my “ebb and flow, march to my own drum, square peg in a world of round holes” Scorpio self – is beyond me! Happy Birthday, Grandma,  love you!

-  It’s the Fall Equinox today, that perfect balance between day and night, warmth and coolness, loss and hope, old and new… Make a wish today for whatever in your life needs balance and readjustment, you’ll get an insight on how to proceed or what to adjust…

-  I’m teary and all emotional before tomorrow’s big “yay or nay” hospital visit… But whatever it is, I know my spirit will not be broken…

Gratitude – Day 21

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3 things I’m grateful for today:

 

-  Breakfast: Apple and a Plum Bake with Pecans-Coconut Crumble and Chocolate Drizzle. Both healthy and delicious.

 

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-  Lunch: Avocado Tuna Salad on Paleo Pumpkin, Flax and Seeds Bread.

 

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The bread doesn’t have an overwhelming pumpkin taste but rather just a hint so it’s a great option for either breakfast or lunch.

 

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-  Dinner: Chicken Drumsticks with Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze and Ginger Slaw. A nice combo of sweetness and spice.

 

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Do you feel sad yet that you don’t live with me? :)

It’s OK, if you do knock on my door, I’ll let you in and feed you.

If you’re actually useful to be around, I’ll keep you longer :)

“Lemonade” Party

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In my life I’ve gotten plenty of lemons, have squeezed a fair share of lemonade (served in silver lining glasses), but I now prefer a “stiff one”, it is so much better when dealing with life blunders and disappointment.

I have both lemons and vodka, I’m self-sufficient like that, bitches!

Now let’s have a party!

The one where dessert is served of course. What’s a party without one anyway?! Today’s recipe is definitely indulgent but nothing I can say “it’s not good for you”. If you ask me, what’s good and what’s not, don’t expect me to say no sugar and no fat is good. I say, if it’s natural, and everything is used in moderation, go for it, enjoy! If you’re curious about my food philosophy, head over to my Healthy Living page.

It’s actually not that complicated:

eat food and not chemicals,

if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it,

healthy fats over no fats,

natural sugar sources over sugar substitutes,

dinner size plates are considered serving platters in Europe so I use them when guests come and stick to salad plates on a regular day, that’s your serving, trust me, you don’t need more,

when you truly crave something, have it, don’t substitute with some low fat or low sugar version, you won’t kill the craving but will end up consuming way more calories than anticipated,

and just enjoy the food, no guilt trips, no regrets, eating should be an enjoyable experience, use common sense, and nourish both body and soul!

By the way, I’m only about 12 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight in my 20s. I call them my “life lemons and wisdom” pounds. I just redistributed them to make the curves where a woman in her 40s is supposed to have body curves as not to look like a 20 year-old boy. Or maybe those are chocolate and avocado pounds?! Maybe, but who is watching it really?!

So cake with butter, white chocolate and liquor? Oh, absolutely! With a “stiff one” on a side. Vodka that is :)

 

 

What’s Cooking This Week

Today’s recipe is surely decadent in sound and taste, but unless you intend on eating the whole cake (and you may actually want to, it’s that good), I think you will be fine with a slice or two. It’s flourless and is therefore naturally gluten free. White chocolate inside is actually there as a binding and creamy ingredient, you won’t taste it once the cake is baked. It’s also not very “lemony” so if you want an extra tart punch, do like I did and garnish with some cut lemon slices. The cake does call for a few extra steps to make it, but it’s totally worth it, and it’s otherwise fuss free and straightforward. It will fill your kitchen with a divine lemon smell so have your vodka ready because people will be knocking on your door to join the party.

Torta Caprese Bianca 

(Italian Lemon Cake)

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3 1/3 cups of almond flour

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of white chocolate chips

3 medium lemons, zest of

4 eggs, separated

2 Tbsps of milk or cream

3 Tbsps of Limoncello

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1 tsp of lemon extract

powdered sugar and lemon to garnish

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First you need to separate and have all different ingredients ready in separate bowls. Zest the lemons, separate eggs, measure the flour and sugar, then pour milk or cream over chocolate chips and melt them together then set aside to cool off.

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Beat together butter and about 3/4 cup of sugar till fluffy. Then add lemon zest and egg yolks and beat again. Add limoncello and melted white chocolate, beat again. Mix in almond flour and beat some more.

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In a separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks appear (make sure the beaters are completely clean and dry), then add the rest of the sugar and beat until it’s stiff. Then gradually fold in egg whites into prepared batter.

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Lightly butter or oil a deep cake pan, spring form pan works the best here, and pour the batter in. The cake will puff up a lot while baking therefore make sure you have enough room in the pan. It will deflate a bit though while cooling off.

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Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Wait until the cake is fully cooled off before removing it from the pan. Garnish it with lemon and powdered sugar. It could be kept either on a counter or in the fridge, the latter option will give you a bit firmer cake, both versions are still very tasty.

Now where is my vodka?! :)

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Enjoy!

Gratitude – Day 20

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3 things I’m grateful for today:

 

-  Matzoballs and Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger and Peas (matzo is gluten free of course), that’s what’s for lunch today. Non-traditional? You bet. High Holidays are coming up next week, but I’m from a mixed family so trying to satisfy all sides. Plus if you still expect anything orthodox coming out of my kitchen, or my mouth, you’ve joined the wrong blog.

-  Still trying to kill the migraine, but I’m up and cooking, so I guess I’m not exactly dying yet…

-  I don’t have anything major planned this weekend, which is actually just like I want it, so I’ll try to have some “broccoli” time: lay on a couch like a veggie and do nothing.

Gratitude – Day 19

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3 things I’m grateful for today:

-  Day 25435686 of one relentless migraine, not a happy camper, but still have some strength to write.

-  I just sent the kid and his friend to get sushi. Sending two “pick up” boys to get the food rather than ordering in gives me 30 minutes of quiet time without a load of teen testosterone around.

-  It’s Friday, it just helps with everything… Hopefully with migraine too.