Grandma Bercher’s Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma Berchers Cinnamon Rolls ©2013 La Domestique

Cinnamon rolls are a Bercher family tradition. It all started with my great grandmother, Frances Bercher. Born Frances Schuster in Germany, she immigrated to America with her family in 1908 at 13 years of age. Eventually she married my great grandfather and settled along with other German immigrants in Arkansas, where most of our family still lives today. I never knew Grandma Bercher, but she was a legend in our family and in the town. She was famous for her cinnamon rolls, but even more famous for her welcoming, generous spirit. A devoted Catholic, she baked trays and trays of cinnamon rolls for parish functions. Sugar was rationed during the Depression before Word War II, but that didn’t stop her. She and Papa Bercher tended a vegetable garden in their yard and people would bring their sugar to trade for home grown produce so she could continue baking for the community.

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Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce

Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce ©2013 La Domestique

Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here on La Domestique, but right now can find me over on Contemporary Living with a festive recipe for Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. It’s a quick seared duck breast paired with a tangy, sweet sauce spiced with Christmasy cinnamon and clove. For the full recipe pop on over to Contemporary Living.

I wish all my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s my first Thanksgiving in Ireland, and the husband and I are planning a relaxing weekend getaway. Feels strange not to have the turkey and all the trimmings, but I know the most important thing is to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. Thank you for reading La Domestique!

Learning From The Cleanse

Eat the rainbow of vegetables (c)2013 La Domestique

The husband and I made it through the cleanse, learning a lot in the process. It was challenging, but so rewarding. For one week we followed a meal plan inspired by the Whole Living Action Plan and Dr. Junger’s book, Clean: smoothie for breakfast, satisfying vegan meal for lunch, pureed vegetable soup for supper. We were hungry, but it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. I gave up caffeine, and was surprised to find that once I got through the first few days, I actually have more energy without it. I also feel more calm and focused during the day. More than just a week- long detox, the cleanse caused major upheaval in our physical and emotional lives. Planning meals and preparing all the fresh produce took a lot of time and effort. The first four days were the toughest, with us crashing into bed at 8:00 p.m. most nights and a nagging fatigue. Towards the end of the week energy returned with renewed vigor and we both felt a spring in our step. Here are five lessons I took away from cleansing:

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The Cleanse Begins

Winter Fruits (c)2013 La Domestique

Remember when I said the husband and I were going to do a cleanse? Well, today the cleanse begins! So many of you commented on my last post, showing your support and desire to follow along – I thought you might like to see what our first week looks like. As I mentioned before, we’ll be doing a combination of the Whole Living Action Plan and the cleanse from Dr. Junger’s book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.

Why combine two plans? I like how the Whole Living Action Plan is vegan during the first week, and their meal plan provided a guide upon which I could personalize the cleanse. I think Dr. Junger’s Yes and No food lists in Clean might be good for helping me avoid reflux-causing foods and plan on incorporating some of the recipes from the book into our detox diet this week. Also, I’m going to try a few of Dr. Junger’s recommendations, like taking probiotics during the cleanse and drinking 2 tablespoons olive oil every evening. Dr. Junger suggests sauna and deep tissue massage to help the body get rid of toxins during the cleanse, and I’ll be making time for that too. This week is all about eating fresh, unprocessed foods and trying to avoid toxins (pesticides, artificial ingredients) so the body has a chance to heal. Two liquid meals a day and a more substantial lunch gives the digestive system a rest so energy can be put toward detoxifying. I won’t go into much detail here, but encourage you to check out Clean and the Whole Living Action Plan to learn more.

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Cleansing and a Recipe for Salmon Cooked in Parchment

Ingredients for Salmon Cooked in Parchment with Tarragon and Peas (c)2013 La Domestique

I’m stubborn. I don’t like to be told what to do. Try to push me and I’ll probably do exactly the opposite. Luckily, my husband finds this quality endearing. Was I born this way? Is it genetics, birth order (I’m the eldest), or ingrained in my Southern roots? Maybe my obstinate nature became stronger after I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of nineteen. The chemo, the radiation, the doctors – I had to follow orders or die. I fell ill over the course of a weekend and was transported on an emergency jet from a tiny college town in Arkansas to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. The next day I got a diagnosis of cancer and my first round of chemotherapy. Like a dog backed into a corner, I had no choice but to do what I was told. Months of chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant followed. The doctors handed down mandates. Because of the treatment, I would never be able to bear children. My chances of survival would be 20% at best. The treatment would destroy my body and cause lifelong side effects. If the treatment was successful, my body would heal and I would survive.

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