So…this is really happening!

One Simple Change | Healthy Green Kitchen

Three copies of my book arrived on my doorstep two weeks ago. Holding one in my hands for the first time was more than a little exciting, and proof positive that dreams do come true.

winnie and book

Years ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to write a book. My idea was to write about how small lifestyle changes can lead to big improvements in health and well being. I had a background in naturopathic medicine, but I had no writing experience (and I certainly did not have a “platform”).

I am very much rooted in reality, so I knew full well this was probably just a crazy dream. I knew the likelihood of ever being published was probably nonexistent. But I am determined, so I set about seeing if there was any way I could make my crazy dream come true.

In 2008, I started a website about health and wellness. Managing it for a year nearly sucked the life out of me and the website itself…IT sucked. I decided to give blogging a try and I shifted my focus to food and recipes. I did not give up on my dream to write a book but I decided it was a cookbook I wanted to write instead.

By the beginning of 2012, I was starting to think it was time to give up on the book writing dream. It’s just not going to happen, I told myself. Some things simply are not meant to be. Right around the same time, I decided to start a series here on the blog called One Simple Change. I figured it was a way for me to put those lifestyle change ideas I’d come up with years earlier to use.

I loved writing One Simple Change. The response from my readers was really positive, and about two months after my first post, I found myself in talks with an editor to write a book based on the series. The rest, as they say, is history. Now my dream has come true, and my book will be out in a couple of months.

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Fall is in full swing where I live. My area is well known for spectacular displays of foliage and the trees are definitely not disappointing right now. This recipe, adapted from a similar one created by George Bryant of Civilized Caveman Cooking, is just perfect for this time of year.

Spiced Squash Muffins | Healthy Green Kitchen

George is the author of a sweet little ebook called A Paleo Pumpkin Thanksgiving and has a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins in the book: I used his muffins as the inspiration for mine. You can get A Paleo Pumpkin Thanksgiving as part of the Harvest Your Health ebook bundle sale that’s going on right now. George’s is one of over 70 ebooks (many of which are cookbooks) in the sale (there are also magazine subscriptions and meal plans)…it’s a ridiculously good deal and you can check it out here.

These muffins may be made with any type of squash purée (or you may use pumpkin–fresh or canned–as called for in the original recipe). I used delicata squash because that’s what I had on hand. I trimmed off the ends, and then sliced my delicata squash in half, removed the seeds, and placed in on a cookie sheet. I drizzled the pieces with a little olive oil, then baked them at 400 degrees F. for about 50 minutes, until they were tender. When they were cooled. I scooped out the flesh and mashed enough squash to make 3/4 cup.

delicata squash puree

These spiced squash muffins are made with coconut flour and the recipe is appropriate for anyone who eats gluten-free, grain-free, or Paleo. This recipe is also for anyone like me whose diet doesn’t necessarily fit any of these classifications…we just like our recipes to be nutrient-dense. These muffins contain quite a few eggs, which I really appreciated because my chickens have been such fantastic layers lately. It’s late in the growing season so I’ve been letting them forage in my garden during the day; their yolks have been super yellow as a result!

eggs

I own this beautiful muffin pan that I received at a blogging event a few years ago. I always use it for recipes like this, but of course a standard muffin pan will work just fine. You will get 10-12 muffins out of this recipe.

Spiced Squash Muffins | Healthy Green Kitchen

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I don’t talk about it much here (because nowadays I eat everything), but I had quite a few food sensitivities at one point in my life. This was a while ago: back in my early 20s. Boy do I wish I’d had a book like Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free back then!

naturally sweet and gluten free

Ricki Heller was one of the very first bloggers I met (albeit virtually) when I started blogging. She’s an absolute sweetheart and I’ve always admired her incredible creativity when it comes to recipes. Ricki’s diet may be limited, but her recipe offerings are anything but…she’s an absolute whiz at coming up with innovative baked goods that don’t contain any animal products, gluten, or refined sugars.

Ricki sent me a copy of her book Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: Allergy Friendly Vegan Desserts to review. It’s beautifully photographed and everything looks very delicious.

Most of the recipes in the book do require quite a few ingredients, some of which I do not keep on hand. Since I do not have dietary restrictions, I adapted one of the recipes so I could make it with ingredients I already had.

Chocolate Sesame Cookies | Healthy Green Kitchen

These Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies are adapted from Ricki’s Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies. They are so yummy: I have been snacking on them all week. The coconut sugar gives them lovely flavor and a bit of crunch I just adore, but be warned: they are a little crumbly due to the almond flour (and the flax seed being the only “binder”).

Ricki’s recipe is below…my changes are in parentheses.

Be sure to follow Ricki on facebook and twitter for more news about her book!
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With the lazy days of summer over and my kids’ school year very much back in full swing, I am reacquainting myself with things such as getting breakfast ready at 7 am and packing lunches in a flash. I am also trying to use my slow cooker more because it truly makes dinner preparation a snap.

My son plays football every day after school so by the time he gets home, waiting a while for me to make something just isn’t an option…he’s too hungry! I’m a hero if there’s something ready to eat in the crockpot when we walk in the door. I like being a hero.

Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs | Healthy Green Kitchen

We love short ribs and they are really perfect for the crockpot. You want the meat to be fall-off-the-bone tender and that’s a certainly when you use a slow cooker to make them. This recipe could not be simpler and makes quite a bit: I had enough of these slow cooker Asian short ribs left over to send with my son for lunch two days after we had this for dinner.

I served the meat alongside rice (I used a red rice, but any kind that floats your boat is great: white, brown, black, etc.) and we put some of both in lettuce wraps. A sprinkling of cilantro and some homemade hot sauce is a delicious touch. (I’ve been harvesting tons of chili peppers from my garden and I’ve made a number of sauces with them: this one from Jenny is a new favorite.)

Boston lettuce works well if you, too, want to make lettuce wraps with this recipe. If not, you can serve with rice and lots of veggies on the side. Kimchi makes a terrific accompaniment.

Thanks to Smith Bites for the inspiration!

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I lift weights and/or do CrossFit most weekday mornings. I like to get some nourishing carbohydrates into my belly before I head to the gym: I just love this recipe for Chai Pumpkin Oatmeal.

Chai Pumpkin Oatmeal | Healthy Green Kitchen

This oatmeal is a wonderful autumn breakfast no matter what your morning routine is like; it comes from my friend Shelley Alexander‘s book Deliciously Holistic.

Shelley is a holistic chef. She specializes in preparing healthy foods that nourish, strengthen, and energize, and her cookbook contains more than 150 recipes that are as yummy as they are good for you. I have an extra copy of the book to give away…more details on that at the end of this post.

Chai Pumpkin Oatmeal | Healthy Green Kitchen

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