The #9BananaChallenge

Back in 2005,  I was at my yoga training here in Austin Texas (I lived in Memphis at the time), I was having a meal where they had very fresh pineapple. I ate a lot of it. I ended up with a very serious inflammatory reaction. And this was the first time I really connected that I was reacting to sugar. 

I’ve been having this reaction since I was an early teen. Over the years I minimized my sugar and my fruit, although I did find berries were OK – a different type of sugar. That is, berries were ok until that subluxed rib & torn erector in 2012, and subsequent system reactions that sent me on the spiral. Gradually, even berries had to go. No more fruit in my diet. It was a very sad day when the berries finally left. I loved berries.

I challenged myself to use the bananas in creative ways

So when I started my immunoglobulin replacement therapy back in the fall of 2019, I experimented with fruit. Not a lot, again taking my time to get back to eating more than air & water. But enough to realize I liked it. I missed it. But since I had all these other amazing vegetables I was adding back in, fruits got put off. 

Until Farmhouse Delivery gave me nine bananas in my produce box. Not being a huge banana fan even when I was a youngster, I challenged myself to get them all used within 9 days (Gone in 7, thank you!). And I prefer my bananas green. Let’s say that these bananas did not stay green. They went brown fast. Not a big smoothie person either. Banana bread is “eh”. 

So I did my thing. Let’s #playwithmyfood to keep it interesting!

  • Banana 1: Banana-Chocolate Chip-homemade-Fig-jam-on-top pancakes
  • Banana 2: ate it straight out of the skin (still green, that was good!)
  • Banana 3: Banana-Canary melon-Date-canned-coconut-milk smoothie
  • Banana 4: ate it straight out of the skin (it’s not green anymore)
  • Banana 5: Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins
  • Banana 6  Banana-Date pancakes
  • Banana 7, 8 & 9: new & improved Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins

As I’m researching, playing, testing, I’m noticing that everyone wants to add sugar. You’ve got all this fruit awesomeness, why do you need sugar? I leave it out. I added a little into the muffins as Banana #5 was a little… off. It needed just a touch to smooth it out. And my little 1 tsp of agave worked.

I’ve got the muffin recipe for you! Measurements and everything! Depending on how many bananas you have, it’s easy to break the recipe in thirds: 1 banana = 6 muffins, 2 = 12, 3 = 18. New math and all (hahahaha).

Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins

18 muffins. Preheat: 350F.

Into your food processor goes: 

  • 3 bananas
  • 1.5 c shredded carrot
  • 1 c sliced dates
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 c oil of choice

Blend thoroughly, til the dates no longer make the processor bounce around on the counter. You think I jest. Try not cutting them & see what happens.

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup Cassava flour
  • 1 cup Arrowroot flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (know your ingredients)
  • 1.5 c shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp agave (more or less to taste)

Add the food processor contents to dry ingredients, blending well. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Like previously mentioned in the Pizza post, let them sit til cool. Texture will be so much better. Enjoy. 

Banana #5… the precursor to 789

And now, on the my next fruit from Farmhouse Delivery…a Piel de Sapo melon. I’m gonna have to google it. No clue. Watch my journey with this melon on Facebook & Instagram, unless I come up with an interesting recipe, in which case, you’ll read about it here!

My next play thing

Cassava flour bread

Joy of Cooking. It was my favorite cookbook as I was growing up. And the one I brought with me when I left for college. While mine is certainly outdated by now (copyright 1975), I have learned – and continue to learn – lots of good things from it, and still serves as a basis as I explore new foods.  This book of knowledge has influenced all of my baking greatly as I create my #sharonfriendlyfoods. I know it’s easy to go look things up online today as you have done to get here, but it’s also nice to have a foundation in something. The jacket on this cookbook is well-worn. I love it the way it has stained. I have notes in the margins. I cross things out. I add my own ingredients.  I have a sticky back for my commonly used pages. Joy of Cooking laid the foundation for where I am right now. 

One of the features I’ve been using of late is “Know your ingredients.” 

Bread dough with Cassava flour – that doesn’t look quite right…

While my version of Joy of Cooking does not have a mention of cassava flour in the flour section (it is mentioned elsewhere), it does have some interesting information on other flours such as 

  • With whole wheat allergy substitutes sift together 6 x 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the [gluten free flour]. 
  • Use 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of flour mixture. 
  • If using cornstarch or rice flour, be sure to avoid the waxy types [of flour].

Interesting, huh? So good info even though it may not be completely up to date, and it gives me a basis for and the foundation for wanting to know more about my ingredients.

The first time I felt successful – making the smaller rolls

As I explore cassava flour, I’m finding out lots of interesting things in my efforts. It sometimes feels like expensive learning, especially during these lean COVID times. Keep in mind a 5 lb bag is about $18 from Amazon. Arrowroot flour – the other one I use – is $15 for 4 lb.

As I embark on this journey I’m sure I’ll be sharing more things with you, but today’s post is going to be about cassava flour bread – grain-free, gluten-free, corn-free. I admit I have been missing bread terribly. Every now and then I just want to cry but I’ve been craving of late is a cucumber sandwich. I have a friend that never heard of a cucumber sandwich and she’s my age. That boggles my mind. I digress. So as I’m exploring the use of cassava flour, I admit there have been several duds – and by this I mean only compost bin worthy. It’s like you’ve used too much gluten substitute. But I didn’t have any in there. The one where I did equal parts cassava flour and starch flour has been the best, but then it collapsed as it cooled. So I’m wondering again from Know your ingredients, if, like muffins,can you overmix or something, does it also collapse? Or is it just me? 

Tomato & provolone on Cassava flatbread

In order for your bread not to collapse after baking, you need to create a framework for it. In regular bread, the protein from gluten does that. So cassava flour has protein per 2g per 100g of flour (2%).  The common bread flour should have a protein level of 11%. “Strong” flour, 14% protein content. We don’t have that here. Cassava needs structure. So I’ve been playing with Xanthan gum.

Observations on Cassava flour:

  • It’s very dense. Which is OK for pancakes, not for bread.
  • It absorbs liquid like nobody’s business. Use more liquid, or less flour if you’ve no xanthan gum in there.
  • It CAN give you that nice “regular bread” texture and taste. I’ve been successful in getting that, albeit in a “flat bread”
  • It plays well with cornstarch or arrowroot powder. 
  • The extra baking powder makes a HUGE difference.

I’ve tried the “paleo cassava bread” – eh, not my cuppa tea. 4 eggs. Very dense.  I want light and fluffy. So I continue my journey. 

Paleo-Cassava bread – quite dense. I want fluffy.

I know you want a recipe for today – and I’ll give you one, but its not for bread. Yet. It’s for some amazing pancakes – with straight cassava flour, and a bit extra baking powder. Realize, I just toss everything into my magic bullet – no measuring. So I’m going to encourage you to do the same – play with your food! Or start with your favorite recipe, and go from there.

Banana – Chocolate Chip – Figgy Pancakes

Into your Magic Bullet (or blender type thing):

  • 1 egg
  • Milk of choice 
  • 1 banana, peel removed
  • Cassava flour – a few spoons
  • Baking powder
  • More baking powder (2x what you’d normally use)
  • Oil

Blend, adding more milk or flour as needed to get a consistency for the type of pancake you enjoy.

Heat your griddle, oil if needed, and then pour the pancake batter on. Add chocolate chips to each pancake – you decide how many. I use chocolate more as a seasoning, but you may want more. When your bubble appear & disappear, flip. Oooo and Ahhhh over how great they smell & look. Cook a few more minutes till done, then top with sliced figs, homemade fig jam, and anything else you choose. 

No, there’s no sugar – you’ve got the banana. You don’t need it. My fig jam in the pic is homemade (also no sugar).

I know, you want the bread recipe. It’s coming. I’m playing. Still.

Everything Under the Moon, 7/22/2020

I have managed to already get Mondays completely off from seeing clients and being online, and I’m loving it. Those of you that shifted to let this happen – thank you! And on to the good stuff…

Yoga Saves Lives

Do YOU want to save lives? Do YOU like flat faced & fluffy tailed cats? Yes? Yes! Join us for a Viniyoga class benefitting South Texas Persian Rescue.

This is for the rescue where I adopted my current 5 cats. Beth & Lori are like family, and Persians, I can tell you from having been owned by 8 of them, are high maintenance. The more money they raise, they more fluffys they can help. So, Yoga Saves Lives. You save lives.

Want to see what viniyoga is, and see my fluffys? I’ve uploaded classes I’ve taught where parts of my herd showed up.

Join us Friday, 7/31, at 12n via Zoom. Registration is $20 and 100% of the profits goes to South Texas Persian Rescue.

Have YOU signed up yet? Help the fluffys! Do some Viniyoga! Share this with your friends!

Massage: The Driveway Series

If you’ve been wondering what it’s like to get a massage on the driveway… here ya go, from an client:

Last night I received my first driveway deep tissue massage and it was great! I haven’t seen Sharon since March and I was really in need of some work! She makes the driveway very comfortable by having lots of plants to help block the view from the street along with your own car parked in the driveway. She also had the fan going to keep me cool! I appreciate Sharon thinking outside of the box for her clients! Thank you!

Note: I’ve also got several mosquito repelling plants near where I set up. While this client was on the table, I didn’t get a single bite. And skeeters looooooooove me.

Ready to book yours? Options are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings; Wednesday & Thursday at 630a (1 slot). Need something outside those times? Ask 🙂

A little of everything else

I have had 2 Amber Moon Eatery, “Amber Eats” posts so far. I’m including the link I’ll be posting tomorrow – the page is already up!

I’m also about to upload these to Patreon, Facebook and Instagram. I’ve started an Athlete Education blog, and that will be uploaded to the athlete option for Patreon. Still working on getting more stuff uploaded, free content (YouTube & Patreon), so give me a little bit. My neck is still misbehaving gently and I’m still being mindful of how much computer work I do, when I’m rotating my neck in class, and when how it feels when I’m playing. 

I posted what I thought was a very interesting article on air circulation & massage on my Facebook page – a review, complete with reference links. It was interesting that they said turn ceiling fans off during massage, and open the space up for fresh air after. Yes HVAC is great if you have the right filters, but you still need tobring in fresh (outside) air after in-person sessions. 

And AMTA (American Massage Therapist Association) strongly suggests we avoid working right now, if we can. I think the Driveway series is a nice compromise.

I’m very sad I had to cancel all of my September trip – the race had been canceled previously but we had held onto hope that my immunologist would say it was okay to travel. She did not. My next big event that I have coming up is the Mesa Marathon (Arizona) in February. But with what the immunologist said, it looks like my option to travel there is not good either.

Online classes

Current schedule, as of 7/20/2020. Please register in advance.


  • 11a, Pilates
  • 1215p, Viniyoga in service of Meditation (Viniyoga>>Meditation)


  • 1030a, Viniyoga
  • 1145a, DIY Reformer


  • 11a, Pilates


  • 1030a, Viniyoga

My diet was down to air and water… then PIZZA!

I started on immunoglobulin replacement therapy in late 2019, and was testing and adding things in slowly. When I was finally able to start playing with my food again, one of the first things I decided to make was Pizza. I missed Pizza. I craved Pizza. Pizza happened in December, and there’s been no going back!

The Sharon Original: date, jalapeno, goat cheese, red onion

Pizza. One of those feel-good, nice and cheesy, warm things that just that soothes the soul. The first pizza that I made, I was actually a craving – date, jalapeno, goat cheese, & red onion. Some friends looked at me weird, some said “oooooo”. It was so good. I think I had that twice a week for the first month and then I decided to move on to something else. And buy ‘something else’, I mean a different Pizza. Since then it’s kind of been “what do I have in my fridge?” And I’ve come up with some interesting combinations.

As I’ve been exploring with Pizza, I’ve also been exploring pizza crust. I’ve happened on this one, a nice thin crust that is, of course, gluten/grain-free. I do bake my Pizza on Pampered Chef stoneware, being a former Pampered Chef consultant (twice even). I have given away several PChef things over the years when I thought I wasn’t going to be eating such things (ie: tomatoes) again. I kind of regret that now. But I’m okay. I’ll manage until such a time as I get them again.

Broccoli, red onion, feta. mushroom

Back to Pizza. I cook my pizza on a pizza stone, and I have learned to use parchment paper cuz it just pulls out and it’s ready to eat faster. I have also typically use a homemade basil pesto sauce, though in recent weeks I have been using a tomato based one. With all the fresh grown basil that I have in my garden, I really prefer that. I know you’re probably wanting recipes for all of these, but honestly, this is one of those things where I completely eyeball it. I’ll do my best.

The basil pesto.

Into the Magic Bullet goes olive oil (enough to make sure it blends), basil, shallots, garlic, a pinch of salt. Lots of basil. Overwhelm that Magic Bullet with basil. Blend until desired consistency and then freeze in either in ice cube trays or silicone muffin cups.

The pizza crust. 

  • 1/2 cup flour of choice.
  • baking powder: if using gluten-free flour 1/2 teaspoon, otherwise 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 1/4 cup water.
Crust after pre-backing (post- pre-baking????)

Mix and press into your pan.  Add water or flour, if needed, til it holds together well.

Baked at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes, or until partially done. On stoneware, might be more like 15-20 minutes. Its still gonna cook with the toppings on, but it’ll be a better texture if it’s pre-baked.

The toppings.

As you prep your toppings, I have found it 1/2 cup is about right amount for this personal pizza, and think more than that and it gets a little bit overwhelming to handle.

Date, red onion, broccoli, feta

The cheese.

Experiment. Be curious. Play with your cheese

The baking.

Put you’re prepared Pizza back in the oven for about another 15 minutes, or until your cheese melts, still at 450 degrees.

Pablano, red & jalapeno peppers, black olives… and it looks like some apple?

The eating. Oh the variety!

I tend to slide the parchment paper on to a small cutting board (you can see in pic above), cut it, and eat straight from there.

Your Pizza topping are only limited by the choices in your frig/pantry/cupboard. As you’ve read before – go play with your food!

Triple pepper, kalamata olive, yellow onion

The one with okra was my least fav (not pictured).

I’ve even tried an apple pizza. It was ok. Need to experiment with fruit more…. Hmmm… I do have a fig jam that might be a good “pesto”…

Apple, jalapeno, date

And, somewhere in the mix, I explored a polenta crust. But that’s another post.

Polenta pizza with broccoli, kalamata olive, red onion

Athlete Education: You feel your heart…beat…

Classical formula heart rate max formula (HRmax) = 220 – your age.

Where did the 220 come from? It is the theoretical maximum that an infant’s heart can beat in one minute, and presumably for every year we lose a beat. This has been used since the beginning of time (not really but you get the gist) but it has been found to be, while an easy calculation, inaccurate especially for those of us over 40. You will find that a lot of the online heart rate calculators still use “220 – your age” instead of a more precise equation.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM, 2010) recommends, when possible, to use the newer equation. As you see, this is a little bit more complicated and requires either a calculator, or a spreadsheet.

HRmax = 206.9 – 0.67 x your age

I like to get as precise as I can since we have an inaccurate tool to begin with, so when I program heart rates for my athletes I use the newer formula. I have it set it up in a spreadsheet, I know my athlete’s age, and away we go! My spreadsheet provides both run and bike numbers.

As I mentioned above, the theory is that you can lose one heartbeat per year, however if you’ve been athletic all your life, or if you genetically have a higher heart rate, or other genetic and lifestyle considerations, this may not apply to you. Henceforth in the new formula our age is not as weighted. Medications, stress, how well you slept, if you just ate, what you ate, when you’re training & caffeine can also influence HR considerably.

The next variable of heart rate is resting heart rate (RHR). This is the lowest that your heart rate can go at any time, otherwise you’d be dead. You get to the lowest point when you are the most relaxed in your deep sleep, some point during the middle of the night. The most accurate way to take this is to wear a heart rate monitor to bed, and then find out what your lowest number was as you slept. The other way to find it: wake up without the alarm and without moving around too much, find your pulse in your wrist or in your neck, and count for a full minute.

What’s the advantage of knowing your RHR? It shows change over time as it relates to fitness, ie, the more fit you are, the lower your RHR. If you get up one morning and find your heart rate is elevated 5 to 10 beats, look at lifestyle factors and influences going on, but it may be that you need to do a recovery session that day, or even take it off. Having the RHR elevated for a few days in a row can be indicative that you are getting over trained, and again something to check in with and see what’s really going on. Use resting heart rate in conjunction with other variables to give you a picture of what’s happening. If you have a good feel of your RHR, it can also be plugged into your HR Zone calculations, but then we’d have a whole new spreadsheet.

So now into your training Zones, and what you should be doing in each of them.

Zone 1: 65 to 74% heart rate max
This zone is used for Recovery, as well as longer aerobic training. Part of your warm-up and stuff in between your quality sets would be in this range. Recovery runs might even be in this range.

Zone 2: 75 to 85% of heart rate max
This stone is your higher end aerobic training, the very top is what we refer to as your sweet spot. The Sweet Spot is a heart rate or Pace even that you can maintain for an extended. Of time without too much effort, it just feels easy. This is the Zone where you develop the physiology to go longer & faster. Yes, it takes a good long while to really build it, to understand it, but once you do – you’re GOLDEN.

Zone 3: 86 to 89% of heart rate max
The dreaded “No Man’s Land” where, typically, people who are not used to working with heart rate end up – it’s too hard for your long runs and too easy for your quality runs. It takes discipline to stay out of this Zone. Obviously you’re going to pass through it on your way to Zone 4, but minimize hanging out unless it is specifically programmed into your training plan.

Zone 4: 90 to 95% of heart rate max
You could sustain this HR for about an hour, and then you’ll have to drop your intensity. This is your “quality” work section, keeping in mind that if the set is under 3 min, HR may not be the best indicator.

Zone 5: 95% & above
This is your max zone – however, you typically aren’t in this zone long enough to get a true HR read – it takes 3 min for your HR to respond & stabilize to effort, and most of the work in this zone… you’re not lasting that long. If you are, we need to re-adjust.

Use these for running, if you are cycling you’re going to be 5% lower – so take whatever number you got for the heart rate from above, and multiply by 0.95 (that spreadsheet is looking pretty good about now, eh?).

Now that you know your training zones, take a look at where you upload your data. What are the training zone numbers that system is using, and what are the formulas? I personally feel you need to know your numbers – memorize them – and go by that vs. what Garmin tells you. Update your Training Peaks or other apps if you are able.

So, the caveat with HR training… It’s a guess. Some people have a naturally lower or higher RHR, so it can influence your zones. Take them with a grain of salt. If you’re training in the middle, you’re probably going to be in the right area. As you gain experience using HR, and it feels too easy, bump your numbers up a few beats. If you’re using a program like Training Peaks, it may actually say you’ve set a new threshold (it does all your tracking over time), and then you have to go make sure it’s really a new threshold. Explore your data. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe HR was high because of temps, in which case, pace would be a better indicator.

Not training with HR yet? That’s ok. It’s the next level for when you are ready to improve. People starting out use time – how long they were out exercising/training, how often. Next is being aware of & controlling the intensity (HR). And yes, there’s more beyond this… when you’re ready: Pace… Power…

Homemade goodness: Chilled tomato soup & grilled cheese

Up until August 2012, I had what I assumed were the standard food allergies; gluten, soy, dairy, sugar. In August 1999, I was at my interview to be Fitness Coordinator at Ole Miss (1999-2002), had a portabella mushroom burger for dinner, and was up all night – that food was off the list. I was doing okay managing, and then 2012 happened. The Year of 5 Injuries: jammed fourth finger, my VMO acted up and I tore the Sartorius in the process, I subluxed a rib and tore an erector and…. I don’t remember the other two at this point. Anyway with the subluxed rib, which I got from a very strong allergic reaction cough, that kind of cough where you want to puke, I ended up with an undertone flush anytime I would eat things processed. This started my downward spiral with food. Over the next several years I had to take away nightshade’s (tomatoes, eggplant, all white flesh potatoes, etc), nuts, beans, peas, meat, grains, all mushrooms, leftovers, all fruits, and anything processed.

I went to a neuro-immune specialist in 2015, and was diagnosed with a high histamine response. I got put on his program, but despite spending a lot of money on supplements and prescriptions, it got no better. My food list kept shortening. I  saw a new internist early in 2019, and she ran numerous tests of all types, casting a wide net to figure out what was going on. I was finally diagnosed with immunoglobulinemia, and then sent to an immunologist who changed that diagnosis to hypogammaglobulinemia.

And the immunologist tested for food allergies. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. 

I finally got started on immunoglobulin replacement therapy in October of 2019. I got FOOD back. I can choose to be a vegetarian now. To complicate things I have also been going through peri-menopause for several years now, and with getting food back and continuing to have some reactions, I’ve read and study about both immunoglobulin replacement therapy and menopause. My reactions to grains, peas, beans, nuts, seeds is due to menopause. So I have had to keep those out, but I’ve been able to add in everything else – compared to my former list, this is nothing (it’s all relative, right?). I still have to be careful with dairy and sugar, but those are okay since they are inflammatory anyway. 

Which brings us around to chilled tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Chilled tomato soup, fresh basil, and havarti

Tomatoes, being a nightshades, is no bueno if you are high histamine. Dairy & yeast were also on that “food to avoid” list. And it has been a challenge to find a gluten free grain free bread that I can tolerate, and even preferably make. So what you see in the picture below is homemade tomato soup, you can have it either chilled or warmed. And that grilled cheese sandwich – yep that’s homemade grain free bread. I’m still working on specifics so that will be coming in the near future. But for now let’s talk about tomato soup.

Growing up, tomato soup was always one of those things that made me feel warm and cozy. Like a really good mac and cheese. And I have missed having both (note: cauliflower mac & cheese coming soon!). So I had 2 tomatoes from Farmhouse Delivery that I needed to use, and my friend Kim had mentioned her tomato plants have gone crazy and she made all this tomato-based stuff, including tomato soup. A-ha! That’s what I want to do! Once again researching a little bit, and seeing what do I have in my fridge, I came up with my own version. It’s super simple and you can add in any herbs or seasonings that you like. You can make it thin or you can make it chunky. and you can freeze the leftovers  – not that mine lasted that long.

 Chilled tomato soup

“these are not the onions I’m looking fo” –
one is just too small!
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Onion, one medium or too small
  • liquid such as water, milk, broth of choice, to cover veggies
  • Roux: 2 T ea butter & flour
  • herbs, seasonings & other veggies as you see fit (go PLAY!)

Chop up onion and tomatoes, sautee briefly in stockpot until they get fragrant, then add your liquid of choice. Allow to cook down about 10 min, then put in blender, food processor, or use your immersion blender, and zap to your desired consistency. 

Make the Roux: In saucepan or empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Note: GF flour won’t really brown, so go for a thick consistency.

GF Roux

Combine tomatoes mix & roux, blending well. Add herbs, salt and pepper as you desire, and enjoy. 


It’s time to play with your food!

Welcome to the inaugural post of Amber Eats. As I continue on my food Journey, which I will go into on another post, let’s just say I’ve learned a lot about. I’ve learned to play with my food. Who else wants to play with their food? I think everybody does. Some of my post here will be insightful, some of them will be observation/this is what I did, some will include “real” recipes. So as I enjoy this as part of the journey,I invite you along. 

Getting creative in the kitchen!

Here in Austin, Texas it suddenly got hot, summer has arrived with a Vengeance, and the rest of this week is supposed to be over a hundred. Which brought me to: I have a cantaloupe in my fridge I need to use, and I want something cool. So I came up with cantaloupe ice cream. After researching online what other people are doing I decided to use the K.I.S.S. principle – the only things I put in my ice cream was cantaloupe and canned coconut cream. 

Being the old fashioned girl that I am (at least in some things), I have ice cube trays around. I find that ice cube trays* are beneficial in so many ways these days – cooking for just one, I freeze things in serving sizes that are appropriate for me. Once frozen, you have the nicest little cube of food stuff. In this instance: cantaloupe ice cream, In  other instances I’ve used it for basil pesto, pizza sauce, freezing one serving of olives. You get the picture? I have also learned that sometimes I want more than ice cube size, in which case I use a silicone muffin cup and fill it to varying levels. Also very easy to pop out, and I am finding as I work with this more that it stores better in my freezer. 

Let’s go back to the cantaloupe ice cream though.

Put in blender, zap to desired level of chunk. Add extras & mix well. Add more or less coconut milk/ cream to desired thickness. Ditto with cantaloupe. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze. Pop out of ice cube trays. Eat. Or freeze in airtight container. 

Cantaloupe Ice Cream Cubes

Added benefit of ice cube trays – you don’t have go in & stir it. It works perfectly.

So when you hear cantaloupe ice cream and coconut milk, what else do you think of? Those tropical fruits, chunks of those fruits in your ice cream. So depending on what you wanted to do, the possibilities here are endless. What about pina colada ice cream? Just use pineapple, a little coconut, extra chunks of pineapple if you’d like. Maybe a hint of lime? Maybe mixing strawberries with my cantaloupe? I eat pretty holistically, to the extent that I can, and one thing I noticed when I was researching is that everybody was adding sugar to their ice cream. You have this fabulous fruit, why do you need sugar? If I choose to use a sweetener, I tend to go toward agave because of its low glycemic index, but that’s me. What works for you? 

Dessert, anyone?

Of course you can add other things – spices, herbs. 

Are you ready? Go forth and PLAY

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Everything Under the Moon, 7/1/2020

Welcome to JULY!!!

Continuing to read & pay attention, as much as I don’t want to, and it looks like they are now saying we will be peaking in mid-to-late July. So I’m moving the potential re-open date back again – to Oct 1, and then re-eval as it gets closer. From what I’m reading, it’s gonna be way longer than that.

I’m honestly getting a little nervous about how long this will last. And how well I’ll make it through. I’m diversifying & promoting more of the side stuff that I do – Amazon, Juice Plus, Tower Garden. You’ll find more info below.

What do you need? What’s missing?

I’m working to make sure I’ve got everyone covered… but is there something you’re needing that I’ve not offered – yet? Or maybe you need a time that isn’t on my calendar? ASK! I’ve created these current work blocks so that I can get other projects done, take care of myself, etc., but willing to update as needed.

Massage: The Driveway Series begins!

Yep, its on the calendar! Mon & Wed, and times vary a little bit for flexibility. There is a list of questions you need to answer before I accept your appointment request – basically asking if you’ve been taking care, using a mask when out, staying isolated, and social distancing. Know you’ll need to wear a mask AND bring your own sheet, pillow case, towel, and any pillow/bolster etc you might need. Also, you need to promise to wash everything in between sessions. After your appointment is accepted, you’ll receive another questionaire the day of your session. Once you return that, then I’ll send you a PayPal invoice to be paid prior to your session.

Amazon Associate is up & running

Want to help out and not have to think about it? Click on this link, and save it as your Amazon page!

Juice Plus

Interested in improving your food intake? Juice Plus doesn’t replace real food, it just fills in the gaps. We got fruits, veggies, & a vineyard blend, all in capsule or gummy form. Payment plans available. You can since up directly online, or contact me with questions.

Tower Garden

Been wanting that garden but lacking ground space? How about a vertical hydroponic system? Mine lives out on my driveway, and has a lovely waterfall sound. Its so peaceful. Growing there, and in dirt, I’m gathering quite a bounty this year! Considering I’m vegetarian, that’s really good.

YouTube membership

Still working out the kinks in the system, but if you have a Gmail account, I can easily do your monthly membership. I’ve got the Viniyoga & Pilates classes uploading daily. I’m working on uploading the May & June Wellness Journey’s I’ve facilitated. There’s even a home strength program in there, as well as lots of other good stuff. $40 stand alone, $20 if you’re doing classes. More info coming very soon!

Everything Under the Moon, 6/17/2020

And now Mayor Adler is extending the Stay-in-place order thru August 15, so I’ll keep the studio virtual until then, and re-evaluate. The good news – I have been playing with how to get a little bit of body work sessions in for you!

I’m on several facebook groups for massage therapy and COVID-19, and recently this was posted in one of the groups – a reply about risk level for this profession:  “…massage therapy is actually best placed in the extremely high risk category… It is important that the patient also be masked.”

So if massage therapy is an extremely high risk activity for contracting COVID-19 due to proximity, and length of time spent with clients; and I’m high risk; combining those… and you’ll see why I’m being overly cautious. Anything longer than 15 min in an enclosed space, with standard air circulation, significantly increases exposure. This is for indoors. So I got to thinking, what about outdoors? My driveway has a constant evening breeze, is shaded, and I can add a fan. Clients wouldn’t come in to my house at all. And if 15 min indoors is the max, how would I feel with 15 min outdoors, at least to start?

For the month of July, I’ll be offering Massage: the Driveway Series for current clients only. Sessions will be limited to 15 min. Cost will be $22.50/session (30 min if $45), and there will be 15 min in between clients so you avoid being here at the same time and I’ve plenty of time to wipe down & sanitize. Please note this means arrive on time, not early. I’ll initially limit the number of sessions I do – partly to keep my risk down, partly to see how it does, and partly to honor our extended Stay-in-Place, and partly to rebuild my massage strength slowly. There will be a list of rules to follow, a questionnaire to fill out the day of your appointment, and everyone will be required to wear a mask. I’ve also come up with a way, when you’re face down, to reduce transmission (thanks to my vet!) and be more comfy (ie no mask!) – please see the photo. After I receive & approve your questionnaire, I’ll send an invoice that you’ll need to pay prior to coming. You will not have access to the bathroom. I’m debating if you bring the sheet & pillow case, or if i’m providing; anything else that is needed as well (pillows, bolsters, etc). It has to go straight into the laundry either way. Depending how July goes, I’ll consider opening up to a 30 min driveway session in August. Yes, it’s warm out there, but very manageable. Cool, loose clothing will also help. All clients stay fully dressed, no face work, no feet work. It’s gonna take me a little bit to get this on the calendar, and paperwork completed, but appointments should be up by Fri, 6/19. This link will take you directly there.

What do YOU think? Would you be interested in trying? I realize 15 min is short, but if there is something very specific you need addressed, and we know going in, it is totally doable. It’ll get you through til later, right? I will get all the details out to you next week.

Here’s the new massage space! Your car would be parked in the driveway to create some privacy. The plants help too.

Pilates sessions, while not in as close a proximity, are similar because of duration. I acknowledge that I’m so fortunate to have more than 1 thing that I do, that I’m diverse, and willing to take on the virtual studio. 

If you are looking for a virtual session time that is outside my current availability as listed on my scheduler, please ask!

I am also realizing that I need to be really cautious with my neck. As I teach these classes online, I’m having to be extremely mindful of minimizing time in neck rotation, balancing out which way I’m looking, and minimizing time on the computer. It’s all a challenge. I’ve had to take a big chunk of time off from the computer work I need to do to get the neck back under a good maintenance program. 

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain. Unknown

Amazon Affiliate

In an effort to maximize income, I’m also become an Amazon Affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I’ll be inputting links for various things I use – in virtual classes, in the new “Amber Eats” section of my website, in my YouTube channel descriptions, etc. You don’t have to purchase that exact item, but if you’ve gone in thru a link I’ve posted, I get a small % of our purchase (that extends to 24h beyond that initial click). So YES! You can help me in other small ways too 🙂

Amber Eats

A new section to my website! i get lots of interest from the food pics & ideas I post in FB/Instagram, so I’m gonna start blogging my food journey. More to come!

That’s if for this one… I so appreciate you all, and your continued support during these times!

Mid Summer updates 2019

Two Medicine Lake – yep, we ran by this!

Glacier Half Marathon is done!

Talk about a gorgeous setting!  I had the privilege of 3 of my Austin YTri teammates joining me for Glacier, and that just made the whole experience just that much more amazing. I’ll be back in 2022 to do Glacier again – and actually be able to run it all out! 

I’m definitely going to be doing more Vacation Races events. Already looking into the Mt Rushmore half marathon in Sept 2020, Yosemite HM in 2021. Want to join me? Let’s talk! 

Shortest work zone EVER  – we need some of these here in TX!
my Austin YTri teammates, pre-race

Totally amazing Craniosacral Therapy workshop is done!

My second trip this summer was for another CST workshop – the 2nd part of the Glial work. I ended up with a partner, Karen, that worked on me the whole weekend. We really meshed well together, and she’s still working on my from a distance. This work continues to amaze. I’m not sure I can put into words the profound healing I’m already experiencing as we peel off layers (like an onion). I’m sure I’ll be tossing in some of it for those of you receiving massage, and feel free to book your own full CST session to see what it’s all about.

Shifting my schedule

Spreadsheet representation of my work calendar. Purple boxes are where I am more likely to have open spots. Yep, running pretty full these days thanks to YOU!

I am currently in process of shifting my schedule to accommodate your shifting schedules, as well as to get my whole thing back under control. I’m doing my best to keep my work day to an 8-hour shift, from start to finish – what you don’t see below in the new hours, but do see in the picture, is my coaching & yoga class (indicated by *). I’ve added a slot on some days, taken away a slot on others. You’ve already been contacted if this shift affects you. This new schedule will be in full effect as of August 1.  I’ve also got some “emergency” slots reserved cuz those seem to happen. Realize these are for true emergencies – “I hurt myself” or “I had a flare up”, “I’ve got a migraine coming on”, not for “I can’t find an opening for a few weeks”. This new schedule also allows me to take better care of myself.

I’m asking you to plan ahead as much as possible. You can book out 6 months in advance. Realize I have most of my slots taken with weekly client, and then I’ve got rotating every – other – week clients, and then I’ve got monthly clients in regular slots as well (the purples boxes). I do check in with the weekly clients before the start of each month to get any edits to their schedules. If you’re looking, the last week of the month is the time to check in for openings the following month.

I’m also starting a new running program thru the Northwest YMCA – a Run for the Water 0-5k and 10-Mile training program. It starts mid-August and runs (hahaha see what i did there?) thru the first weekend in November.  Members & non-members are welcome to play!

While I adapt to this addition to my schedule, I’m going to keep the studio hours as below. I’ve already had new requests for weekly slots, and I’m going to wait a little bit to see how I do before I expand the schedule a bit again. 

Updated Schedule
Monday*: 1-5p
Tuesday*: 745a-130p
Wednesday*: 215-5p
Thursday: 745a-330 or 4p (depends on the week)
Friday*: 730a-115p

And, i gotta admit, I’m also shifting my schedule to be feeding the cats at the times they seem to have chosen – 10a & 3p. Cuz if you’ve experienced a hangry Gypsy… its not pretty.

The Rest of 2019

I currently only have a few days planned off for the remainder of the year – I’ve missed enough, right? If this affects you, I’ll be sending an email about a month out.

Sept 26 (starting at 12n) – 27 (all day). Thursday & Friday

Nov 27-29 (Wed – Fri). Taking Wed off cuz I need to set up the course for the Amber Moon Studio Turkey 10-miler! AKA run for the PIE!

Christmas & New Year’s Day