Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Speed Reading Challenge

Test your reading speed and compare it with the national average.   I took it and was surprised by the results! 

The image link will send you to the testing site...

Friday, October 06, 2017

Chocolate Cream Pie and Coconut Whipped Cream

Chocolate cream pie recipe - Dr. Axe

Chocolate Cream Pie

Got this fabulous recipe from the DrAxe.com site.  Dessert is a delicious opportunity to step back and truly enjoy life. When you are trying to responsibly manage your health and weight, it can feel less like a happy opportunity and more like a moment that throws away all your hard day’s work. But, it is possible to have the best of both worlds. Which is awesome for us!

Being a chocoholic and coconut lover, this recipe is the best combination of cocoa, coconut oil, and coconut milk. You can read more about it on Dr. Axe's site (click on the Chocolate Cream Pie link above).

This chocolate cream pie recipe makes a truly tasty dessert or a yummy alternative to a birthday cake.

Total Time:
Prep & Cooking: 30 Minutes
Chilling: 3 Hours or Overnight

Serves: 8–10


½ cup pecans
½ cup almond flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon raw local honey
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
⅔ cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 can full fat coconut milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons raw local honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder, sifted together with cocoa
½ cup coconut shreds
2 egg yolks, beaten
Coconut Whipped Cream (checkout video below)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a high-speed blender, blend pecans into coarse meal and place in a bowl. Add almond flour, salt, honey and coconut oil, and mix together thoroughly.

3. Press crust mixture into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. Melt chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler. Stir together, remove from heat and set aside.

5. In a medium pot, heat coconut milk, salt, honey and vanilla over medium high heat, whisking often.

6. Once mixture starts steaming, add cocoa and arrowroot and whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth and thickened, 2–4 minutes.

7. Remove from heat and add chocolate-butter mixture. Stir to combine, and add coconut shreds.

8. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of chocolate mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly so as not to cook yolks. When combined, add this back into the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly.

9. Pour chocolate filling into pie shell, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

10. When ready to serve, sprinkle coconut shreds over the pie and top with coconut whipped cream.

You're also going to want to make the Coconut Whipped Cream, the best homemade whipped cream versus the store bought kind:

Total Time: Overnight
Serves: 2

1 can full-fat coconut milk
stevia or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.Allow can of coconut milk to sit in fridge overnight, untouched.

2.In the morning, open the can and scoop out the solid cream on top. Pour the liquid into a different container.

3.Add vanilla and stevia or syrup to taste and use a high-powered hand blender to whip the cream into soft peaks. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Full of Words - Axis Dance Company

The AXIS Dance Company is based on Oakland, California.  And when I lived in southern California, I desperately wanted to attend their classes and workshops.  Who knows, maybe even audition for the company... My one biggest regret seeing what I was missing.

These are excerpts from "Full of Words", choreographed by Marc Brew in 2011.

Choreography:  Marc Brew in collaboration with the dancers
Choreographic/Rehearsal Asst: Andrea Basile
Dancers:  Rodney Bell, Sonsherée Giles, Sebastian Grubb, Juliana Monin, Alice Sheppard
Original Score: Composed by Dan Wool, cello by Jessie Ivry and Theresa Wong
Costume Design: Sonsherée Giles
Lighting Design: Heather Basarab

Full of Words has been created as a series of physical conversations, encounters and interventions that reflect what it is to be human. 

To learn more about AXIS and how they change the face of Dance and Disability visit www.axisdance.org

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Long and Winding Road

Hi all!

It's been a long road (15 years!) to reverse the spinal cord injury I've had which was caused by cancer treatment from a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health. I moved 2 years ago from southern California to get treatment at the Mayo Clinic's spinal cord injury program, but things are as complicated as ever dealing with uninsured expenses for a power chair, transportation, and personal care services.

In the meantime, I've tried to make the most of it in Minnesota by visiting an awesome vintage store, the annual Todd County Fair, downtown concerts at the Veterans park, not to mention taking a few online classes on writing and painting (among other things)...

But with limited transportation (buses only run weekdays til 4pm), I'm a shut-in without a way to get out and around. The apartment building I'm living in is a secure, senior-only housing and had inaccessible entry doors. Imagine me trying to use a key to unlock the main door, pull it open, and roll myself into the building before the door closes on me...

Having said that, I always like to end on a good note...

I was nominated by the rehabilitation department at the local hospital to attend a Leadership in Ethnically Diverse Communities program, and invited to attend an annual mental health conference by a woman who is a leader in the community. I've made wonderful friends who are motivated to help me navigate the rocky road and travel along it with me....

Isn't that something?  😄

By the way, if you'd like to help me get back on my feet again, you can lookup my GoFundMe page,  checkout the Wishlist (treatment and wheelchairs), and Make a $10 Donation: 

Monday, October 02, 2017

AXIS on So You Think You Can Dance 2011

On June 30th, 2011 AXIS dance Company was featured on Fox Tv's "So You Think You Can Dance?" AXIS dancers Sonsheree Giles and Rodney Bell performed an excerpt from "to color me different" choreographed by Alex Ketley.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers

Dark or semi-sweet chocolate can make you smarter and keep you healthy

Chocolate or, more specifically, cocoa powder made from ground, defatted cocoa beans, contains compounds that have the potential to protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

A new report analyzing 14 studies on chocolate, published in Frontiers of Nutrition, found that brain function may get a jump from the flavanols, or antioxidant compounds, in cocoa. In one study, participants showed an uptick in working memory 2 hours after consuming 773 mg of cocoa flavanols; in another, the antioxidant compounds appeared to counteract cognitive impairment from a poor night's sleep.

When you eat healthy, there is no need to diet - the pounds will drop off naturally.

Enjoy This Eating Tip: Melt ¼ cup of dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Drizzle over fresh strawberries for a belly-flattening dessert.

Enjoy this flat belly recipe with no deprivation!  Repeat after me: No more dieting. Ever. Instead, learn how to eat clean—with zero deprivation!

Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers
A creamy, sweet-tooth-satisfying dessert--and it's good for you!

Flat Belly Diet Recipes

TIME: 20 minutes + chilling time

3 whole graham crackers, crushed
1 lg ripe banana, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups 1% milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

1. DIVIDE graham cracker crumbs evenly among 6 custard cups or ramekins. Press into bottom. Top with banana, reserving a few slices for garnish.

2. MIX sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in large saucepan. Stir in milk. Whisk over medium heat until pudding thickens and comes to a boil.

3. COOK 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into prepared custard cups. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Top each serving with 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips and garnish with reserved banana.

Nutritional Info Per Serving
391 cal, 7 g pro, 65 g carb, 4 g fiber, 15 g fat, 8.5 g sat fat, 6 mg chol, 150 mg sodium

Monday, September 25, 2017

Reversing A Spinal Cord Injury caused by Cancer Treatment

Make a $10 Donation and Get a special Thank You! Gift from me :)


Checkout the Wishlist Items and details.  Here's a sneak peek:

 Hello, Alii, Aloha kakou!

My name is Lydia Smith-Lenardson.  I am a Pacific islander, former teacher, choreographer, dancer, network analyst who became paralyzed with a spinal cord injury from cancer treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  I’m calling out to the hearts and minds of friends, family, and folks everywhere to Join My Campaign and help me Get Back on My Feet again!

Starting with:
* Transportation and personal care assistance
* Standing and Portable power wheelchairs
* Treatment and Rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic's spinal cord injury program. 
My previous fundraiser in 2014

Join My Campaign to Walk Again

The Steep Canyon Rangers Album - Lovin' Pretty Women

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