My name is Toni Markette but my Emma calls me YiaYia. YiaYia is Greek for Grandma. We are not Greek, but I really love to cook with fresh foods and enjoy growing my own herbs and vegetables and fruits just as a Mediterranean grandmother likes to do with her recipes.
My husband and I are primarily Pescatarians (meaning we eat a mostly plant based diet but also eat seafood, eggs and dairy) but I like to pepper our menus with Vegan and Vegetarian offerings as well. I have to confess that we are not 100% committed to not eating meat so you will find the occasional meaty offering here as well.
I believe that our earth was created in a perfect way and that all that we ever need can be found here, for eating, for healing and for our enjoyment, because our Father Jehovah is a loving God and he cares for us. I have used food and herbs and essential oils to feed and care for myself and my family. I have been sick a long time due to too many toxins in the environment and I have sensitivities, but these can be managed with clean eating and natural therapies in combination with secular medicine. Among the recipes you will find here are healthy, delicious dishes to feed both your body and your soul. Like you I enjoy going out to eat, but I do not enjoy how I frequently feel afterward. It is because I have no control over what was put into my food; too much salt, sugar, preservatives, flavor enhancers, even the quality of the ingredients. Here you will find recipes for restaurant style food that you can make yourself and know what you are eating! I also want to share some family favorites and time and money saving options for this hard pressed economy.
Outside the kitchen I am a third generation artist. I paint and design and make jewelry. My work is for sale on my art page artmarkette.com feel free to browse (update – this was recently taken offline as we are working on an all new version). I am married to a loving, intelligent, generous man who inspires me to live, to love, to laugh and to dream. We have one amazing daughter who has given us the best grand-daughter in all the world. We also have two fur babies that we love; 11 year old Riho Naughty Puss and 9 year old Zazoo Kisses on Parade. We currently reside in Jacksonville, Florida.
Update: Over the course of a year in 2016 I followed a strict series of diets beginning with a month long juice fast. Next I spent two months as a starch free Vegan, then a starch free Vegetarian as I needed to increase fats. I lost 60 pounds between January and May and was very committed to continue to lose. I made a bad decision to do a severely calorie restricted fat free diet for 6 weeks which I lost 20 more pounds, but I also found I lost quite a bit of hair and my skin dried up like a sponge in the dessert. The discovery of how my body really needed fats to not only lose weight but maintain healthy skin, hair, nails and more was surprising but solid. My doctor was urging me to do a low carb diet, but I had done the Atkins diet before and was not particularly a fan. Not surprising since I prefer a plant based diet naturally. After some research I decided to try the Ketogenic Diet. I remained strictly keto for six full months and over that time I shaved off another 18 pounds for a total loss of 98 pounds. The weight loss was not nearly as amazing as the health gains. My HbA1c (diabetic average) was lowered to 5.2, which I have maintained now for over a year so I am technically no longer diabetic. My cholesterol and triglycerides were also brought down to normal levels and several fibroid tumors and skin tags completely disappeared. Plus the keto lifestyle is rather easy to maintain and can even be plant based! Here is the biggest win, or non-scale victory: last June I spent two weeks with my grand sweetie and I was able to pick her up and swing her around, to run and play with and chase her, and to teach her salsa dancing on the patio. I can dance again! There are some really amazing differences and so many things I can do now that many take for granted, like playing with a grand child, sitting in a chair with arms, fastening an airline seat belt without an extender, sitting in a booth at a restaurant with room to spare, crossing my legs and more. I am turning 55 in a couple of days and want to do the rest of my fifties and beyond the right way!
I came off the keto diet at the end of December 2016 because I had to take some antibiotics and steroids to deal with a nasty sinus infection, but had every intention of going back to it. Sadly, we had an unseasonably hot winter last year so all the microbes that Hurricane Mathew deposited on us in September 2016 got to grow and multiply and so while putting in my 2017 garden I breathed in spores that set up shop in my lungs. This has been a really rough year health wise, but I spent 2017 maintaining my loss and toning and strengthening my body. I am now recovered from my fungal lung infection (who knew that was a thing!?) and ready to hit the keto train again in 2018. I plan on dancing like Ginger Rogers and looking and feeling fabulous at my neice’s Gatsby themed wedding next December!