Friday, March 11, 2011

Probiotics R' Us

I have been very sick lately.  It seems I have been more sick than healthy since December.  I can't shake it.  I have decided that I am going to start taking tons of probitics to help heal my gut and hopefully start to stregnthen my immune system.  I bought two containers of kefir and I take some a few times a day.  I also have yogurt, sauerkraut, sour pickles (fermented) and something else I can't think of right off....  I am trying to have some fermented food with each meal and sips of kefir in between.

I was told that the kefir grains I have should be ok for making water kefir.  They got lost in the fridge and I was paranoid to use them.  I was told after making and tossing a few batches, they should be fine.   I need to let the chlorine evaporate out of our tap water first and I saved some egg shells to put in it.  I need to remember to always leave water out if I am going to give this a good go.  Water kefir will be a lot cheaper than buying or making dairy kefir.

I need to ask about my kombucha.  I am embarrassed to say that it has been in my fridge since December.  I made it, it brewed for a few days, I put it in the fridge with the scoby, covered it and basically forgot it.  I checked it a month ago and it grew a few babies so I know it's probably doing ok, but I don't know why I am so scared to try kombucha.  Probably because I read it is very detoxifying and if you drink too much with amalgam fillings, it can have a bad effect on the body.  Of course if I made it and only drank small amounts, it shouldn't be so bad.  I will have to think on this.

I still have some OCD driving me crazy.  I hate it.  I don't want to be scared of my food.  Food is essential, healing and a big part of life!  I just wish I could be as scared of junk food as I am of ferments, lol!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Creamed Peas on Toast

I've still been sick.  Getting tired of it!  It's hard to think of good, easy meals that I feel like eating.  Today, I thought of a childhood favourite, creamed peas on toast.  I have made it once as an adult, the way I knew how.  A can of mushy peas heated with some flour to make a sauce.  With some things, you can't go back.  Mainly because what may of tasted great as a kid may not be so good when you're grown up.  Once when I was on a liquid diet for a stomach problem, I pureed a can of peas and it was the best thing I ever consumed!  Of course, hunger was a great seasoning when you have gone days on just clear liquids, lol!

I decided to shake it up a bit.  Of course, I used homemade rustic soaked brown bread for the toast instead of the "classic" white toast.  Adds a lot of body.  But the creamed peas, mmmm!  Today, they stole the show :)

This goes together really fast.  It is something that is good even without the toast!  It is too bad I cannot find my camera is it was a lovely meal in taste and sight :)

Creamed Peas on Toast

3 cups of peas (I used frozen but fresh would be good too!)
1 cup of milk (or more if you like a lot of sauce)
1/3-1/2 cup cream cheese (depending on how rich you want it)
1/2 cup chopped onion (red, spanish or sweet)
1 tsp arrowroot powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Put peas and milk in a pot and bring to just below the boiling point.  Turn down the heat and add the cream cheese and onion.  Stir until melted and let simmer for a few minutes.  If there is a lot of liquid, add the arrowroot powder to make a thick creamy sauce.  Season to taste.  Serve ladled on slices of toasted bread.

Note, if you do not like a strong onion flavor, you could either omit the onions or you could sautee them in butter before adding the other ingredients.  I love raw onions and in ours they were just slightly cooked.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cake

I don't think I ever had a snickerdoodle cookie, although I have heard of them.  They sound yummy.  The other day, I came across a recipe for a soaked snickerdoodle cake and I thought that I could make that.  Then the prospect of digging out some flour deterred me until I realized it would be easy to make a gluten free version (and all the ingredients were in the kitchen instead of having to find the flour in the food storage, lol!).

So I made it....and the kids didn't like it.  I thought it was good but it tasted like pumpkin cheesecake to me, even having the consistency of cheesecake, lol!  I meant to put in one cup of yogurt but I accidentally put two since I was kind of pouring it from the container and the whole container plopped in.  I tend to measure by eye when I bake; a little of this, a little of that.  If you want it to taste more like cake, only put one cup of yogurt!

So here is my spin on Snickerdoodle Cake!

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 to 1 cup of honey (depending on how sweet you want it; I didn't measure)
8 eggs
1 or 2 cups of plain yogurt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. coconut flour
generous pinch sea salt
cinnamon and sugar to top

Mix the melted butter and honey together until well combined.  In a separate container, beat the eggs until they are well mixed.  Beat in the yogurt and mix well.  Add to the butter and honey mix.  Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add into the wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into desired cake pan (greased if not using silicone).  Sprinkle with a combination of cinnamon and sugar to your desire.  Bake at 350 degrees until it is cooked through, about 40-45 minutes.

Since I can't find my camera and my old one isn't working, I can't share a picture.  I don't know if I'll make it again but not because I didn't like it since I really enjoyed it!  It made too much for just me and DH, although I may make it sugar-free and just freeze pieces for something different when I get low carbing again.  I find the kids mostly like gluten free goodies if they are chocolate flavoured.  Can't blame them but it is good to branch out and try new things too!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Butter Is Better

I love butter.  I wouldn't even consider using margarine anymore, even though it is roughly half the price if there is a sale.  There are a lot of health benefits to using butter and despite what you may of heard, it is much healthier than margarine.  Healthy saturated fats have been unfairly villanized as they have not been proven to cause heart disease but heart disease has actually been on the rise since butter and other animal fats have been replaced with  vegetable fats (just how fatty are vegetables anyway?  Yeah, I know, it comes from the seed.  Trust me, I watched a disgusting video showing how canola oil was made and it made me wonder how ANYone could think it was healthy!).

Most importantly, butter tastes way better!  Since we have used it exclusively, I notice a difference when eating food at other people's houses that use margarine.  I am always tempted to bring some real butter but don't want to offend.

This is the butter I got :)
Anyway, we were at Walmart to get Shaylee a pair of sneakers ($5 on clearance, yes!) when I noticed they had cultured butter.  Hmmm, never tried that before.  Not only did they have it but it was on sale for $4.48 (I think).  I bought a couple because I know that cultured food is more beneficial than regular food.

The taste was kind of bland but it is unsalted.  After a couple of tastes I did grow to like it more but since I'm used to salted butter, it was kind of plain to me and I was eating it off the spoon.  I don't know if I would switch outright to it since it is more expensive.  The regular price is $5.49 (or so) and I stock up on butter when it is $3.49 a pound for the regular stuff and we're good for a while.  Plus we are watching our pennies so we can go away for March Break :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Loosening The Reigns

I can be hard on myself.  I am prone to setting high standards and being upset at myself up when I can't keep them, even if they weren't realistic for me.

I have read a few blog posts from others who do the same thing (well, maybe not exactly the same) and it made me realize, it's ok to not be perfect.  We should certainly try to do the best we can but if we don't reach perfection, it is ok, life goes on.

I really haven't felt like cooking lately.  It is a chore, mainly because I got behind on dishes and am finding it hard to catch up.  We've been using paper plates on occasion  *gasp*.  Sure they're compostable and I bought them from a store that would probably just throw them in the garbage if they didn't sell (Christmas clearance stock), but it was making me feel bad.  I try to be a very green person and I am using a disposable product.  Well, today I will get the dishes finally completely done and I will make it a priority to do the dishes after every meal or as need.  My family always keeps a sink full of water and washes everything as it gets dirty but having OCD, I keep thinking of all the germs breeding in that dirty water sitting there all day, lol!

This morning I promised the kids I would make cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Shaylee even woke me at 6:45 since I didn't hear my alarm, lol!  It has been so long since I baked with regular flour that it had gone rancid.  Not a surprise since flour loses it's nutrition at an alarming rate and since I was "good" and bought whole wheat, it goes rancid very quickly.  As a side note, I think I am going to save my swagbucks for a grain mill :).  Anyway, rancid flour.  I have flour in the basement but I didn't want to get it.  I wanted to go back to bed, but knew my kids were looking forward to yummy cinnamon rolls (yes, we were going to have gluteny ones since I couldn't find a quick gluten free one-yet).  So I used spelt and rice flour and they were wonderful.  The kids wanted frosting but to bad.  I made a caramel sauce on the bottom by melting butter and maple syrup on the bottom of the pan, then placing the rolls on top to bake and together it made a yummy, ooey gooey treat.  I pushed on, went with it and everything worked out.

So I need to be easier on myself, go with the flow and loosen the reigns a little.  However, I know I need to do something to keep it all together.  Right now my primary role as a mother is to nurture and nourish my family, both in body and soul.  So one of the things I need to do is meal plan again.  I have proven once more that failing to plan leads to planning to fail.  We've had quite a bit of food waste due to my carelessness and we can't afford that.  I need better planning, especially once we start our CSA.  I need to prove to Mark that it is a good value :)

So today I am going to take inventory and start planning what we will be eating.  I will be back soon with meal plans.  Oh, it's so hard for a disorganized person like me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nutrition Experts Critique of the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines - Weston A Price Foundation -

Nutrition Experts Critique of the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines - Weston A Price Foundation -

If you have 2.25 hours that you want to spend enriching your mind, be sure t check out this video. It is the Valentines Day conference of the Weston A. Price Foundation discussing the new USDA dietary guidelines and discussing the WAPF Healthy 4 Life book. Lots of information. Wow, lots of great discussion and I highly recommend watching it. Some I only paid half attention to because I was cooking supper and listening, then eating and listening (Ethan and I had bacon and salad, I had a yummy pastured egg on mine :) . Shaylee isn't feeling well :( ). It was long, but so, so informative.

Random Thoughts Wednesday

Not much has been cooking in my kitchen lately, which is why there aren't many recipes being posted.  Our Valentines Meal was delicious!  I used the honey garlic sauce recipe I posted earlier and slowly cooked two large blade steaks, one which we ate and the second (after lots of snacking on it ;) ) was used for a stir fry.  I am trying to use up the food in our fridge freezer so I just heated the steak cut in slices, added a bag of frozen veggies (carrots, asparagus and peppers) then added the leftover sauce with a little water and arrowroot powder.  Oh, it was even better than the first time around!

Our dessert was based on Lauren's Red Velvet Cake.  I didn't add the food colouring because I am trying to avoid food dye but added more cocoa (like half a cup).  I also used about half a cup of brown sugar and vanilla yogurt instead of plain.  It was gooooood!  So very yummy and even the kids loved it!  I made it in a bundt cake pan with white cream cheese frosting and valentine sprinkles.  It's gone now but it served as a few meal replacements around here, lol!

The whoopie pies I made were very good!  The cookies alone are so soft and moist.  I have a lot left that I am thinking about making cake pops out of if no one eats them up soon (Elana's pantry has a bunch of gluten free cake pop recipes which are healthier than the first link provided).

I have been interested in Bento lunches for the kids for ages.  I first started finding out about them when we were still homeschooling so I never really made an effort to bother.  I loved reading blogs about bento lunches, but lost all the links I had.  A low carb blog I read, Your Lighter Side, sometimes mentions bento lunches she prepares.  When I got to remembering, I knew I had to do it.  Funny thing is the container I use for Shaylee's lunch is a bento lunch container but I never realized it, lol!  I just bought it because it was super marked down for a dollar at Sobeys.  I put bits and nibbles of things she likes in the top and bottom half.  I am having a hard time finding containers for sauces that don't leak that are smaller than half a cup but I am still looking locally before I check online.  I did order a set of two egg/rice molds and I can't wait to get them!!  After discovering they would be $28 to ship from (eeep!) I scoured the internet.  I found them at dealextreme and they are only $3.99 with free shipping!  I needed some Wii nunchucks anyway :).

Apparently Shaylee is feeling pressure from her friends not to eat much.  I thought she was losing weight from being gluten free (around 8lbs) but she said her friends don't eat much lunch so she doesn't either.  I tried to explain that her friends are small little girls and of course they would eat less (she weighs nearly twice as much as her friends but she is also a *lot* taller and very solidly built, not fat).  She is still hungry after lunch and since she is a slow eater, she doesn't have much time to eat anyway.  I want to find nutritious, nutrient dense foods which will keep her full longer.  I always stick in cheese and yogurt, but I think cute little eggs will both delight and nourish :)

Today I was shopping for yogurt and my eye caught something that looked yummy.  Stouffer's frozen foods has little cheeseburger sliders, like little pizza pockets.  I grabbed a box (sound familiar?  lol!! I never learn).  I put it in my cart then thought to read the ingredient list.  For your amusement, here it is:



Um yeah, I put it back.  This is something I am going to attempt to make if the kids want.  They like the homemade pizza pockets but I'm not sure how well this would be received.  I will attempt a soaked flour version and a gluten free/low carb option.  I haven't been sticking to low carb lately but I know I need to get back at it.  I feel much better when I do.

So that is a wrap up of my random thoughts of the day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Healthy 4 Life 4 Valentines Day

I was waiting for this and it is finally here! Weston A. Price Foundation released their Healthy 4 Life e-book! Be sure to check it out. I haven't read through it all yet, but what I have read is clear, concise and very understandable. The information you need that cuts right to the chase.

I highly recommend downloading it or even just reading it online, especially if you are looking for more information about what it all means like I still am. You can also order the actual book for $10.

There is information, it discusses the various food groups and there are even recipes. Yay! Love new recipes :)

I have misplaced my camera so I haven't been able to post some pictures of things.

Our Valentines Day supper is cooking and smells so good! Mark and I are having honey garlic steak (I'm cooking a plain one for the kids). I'm also making rice and red chard; I love swiss chard! Ethan is on a salad kick so he'll probably have that instead. For dessert I made a gluten/grain free chocolate cake. I put gluten free whoopie pies in their lunches! (I got the recipe from a menu mailer I bought from Cooking Traditional Foods so I shouldn't share it, but there is a similar one here, which is paleo, which is probably closer to what I want anyway, minus the red dye).

Today I gave myself permission to buy an unhealthy TV dinner for lunch since I was going to be home alone. Hungry Man dinners were on sale for $1.99 (regular $5). I picked up the Mexican one, then put it back. Picked it up, looked at the ingredients, which was a mile long and put it back. After looking at the other ones, I walked away. Then I went back, lol! I put one in the cart and started to go to pay but I just couldn't. I just couldn't do it. It just wasn't worth it. I kept thinking that the meal just wasn't food anymore, it was so distant from its natural state. And the Mexican one was probably the healthiest of the bunch! I'll have to make some homemade, which will be healthier and probably yummier :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Confessions of a (Food) Shopaholic

I am not a man but I probably have
 that blissful look on my face while shopping.
There, I admit, I am a food shop-a-holic.  Even though I just live in a little town with not much variety for shopping, I feel my day is not complete unless I do some grocery shopping, no matter how little.   It is so easy to shop and fun.  It gets me out of the house for a little while, I am able to be in different surroundings, I bring home food and I enjoy it.

What's wrong with that?

Well, one thing is we really can't afford it.  Some days I spend more than others and since switching to gluten free, I find I spent a lot more this week than I should of.  It just seems like we never have anything to eat, mainly because there are a lot of days I just don't want to cook!  I am trying to get away from packaged foods in general but right now I'm using them as a bridge (crutch?) to a new way of eating and hoping to wean us off soon.  Unfortunately, these foods are more than what we usually spend and it's adding up.

Second is I realize that I am getting more and more away from local eating.  Our family will never be 100% for a number of reasons, availability and cost are the two big ones.  But while the cereal the kids like is made in Canada and so are other things, I know I need to make more of an effort to make things from scratch and try to get more local ingredients.

Another is I should be finding other things to do to occupy my time to get out.  That is hard.  I'm a very shy, introverted person.  I find it hard to make friends and when I have friends, I don't like doing things.  There, I said it.  I am also getting too old to feel terrible about it.   Yeah, I said it, lol!   I am not going to be a fakey person for the sake of having friends, IYKWIM.

Well the reason I'm thinking about these things again is I submitted my application for our CSA on Saturday.  A deposit and a whole years worth of post dated cheques.  Mark wasn't very thrilled but he consented.  Right now because of my shopping habits, we tend to waste more food than I care to admit.  Some is from cooking disasters, other waste is from not planning.  Some of it is a case of it looks good in the store but we either forget about it when we get it home or we don't feel like eating it.  So yeah, he's scared of the waste.  Waste of food and waste of money.  I only signed up for a half share, which is $68 a month which I think will be plenty for us.

See, my thinking is if we get a CSA I can cut down on a lot of my shopping.  I won't have to run to the store to get overpriced produce, some that isn't local, I won't have to buy it from the farmer's market and since we are signed up for a full year, we will have produce available in the winter too.  We won't have to go on produce hunting farmers market trips, which often end up in wasted food (as what happened last year).  I expect to have to supplement it some, like fruit, but I think it will cover most of our needs.

If we get a side of beef and a side of pork or two and figure out a way to afford pastured chicken, we would almost never have to shop in a grocery store!  I would do some bulk shopping for my baking needs at the health food store or bulk barn and watch the sales for our dairy. Oh and I found someone with cheap free range eggs (Dad told me about him; it's where he gets his eggs and they're a dollar cheaper a dozen than I was paying!)

That brings me to my biggest problem; I don't plan well enough.  I have been suggesting to Mark for a long time we need a grocery budget.  I don't even know how much I spend right now.  A lot.  It is for groceries and entertainment, my entertainment.  I need boundaries or I will rebel and spend.

So I am hoping it all comes together that we can get real food, spend less money than we're spending now and instead of shopping for my entertainment, I can plan, cook and clean with the delicious reward of knowing I am feeding my family well.  Sounds good, let's see if I can stay on task with that!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Kraft Dinner, not Gluten Free, or healthy for that matter!
Here in Canada we call it Kraft Dinner.  It is a staple in most homes.  They come up with clever ways to make it look better....Kraft Dinner with Whole Wheat!  Kraft Dinner Smart!  I imagine there will be new versions soon.

At my kids school, so many kids were bringing the small containers of them where you add water and cook they had to send a letter home asking parents not to bring them as they were clogging up the lines to reheat things in the microwave (I figure the kids have little enough time to eat that I send things in thermoses or  things that don't need to be heated).

Unfortuntately, this is one of Shaylee's favorite foods.  She often asks for it.  We never ate it a lot, maybe once or twice a month, but more than I liked.  We would often go months without it but it is one of those fast easy foods so I always had a box or two kicking around, even if Shaylee and Mark were the only ones who ate it.  I even used it as a math lesson last year where we would take a box, weigh it into serving size portions so we could cook just a small amount when Shay was the only one who ate it at all.

Anyway, that is behind us now that we're eating gluten free.  I don't have to feel bad giving her an inferior food with food like substances in it because now I can make something a little more nutritious.  Well, I guess the gluten free version isn't the most healthy food on earth but it is miles better than a chemical cheese product with funky noodles.

Her main requirement was that it not be stringy, like when you eat pizza and you get those long stretchy strands of cheese.  I made baked macaroni and cheese before and she didn't like that.

I used brown rice macaroni for this.  I had trouble cooking it as it kept boiling over, even when I only had enough water to just cover the noodles.  Then I had to add more water so it could cook enough.  I even drained them at one point when I thought they would be done and they weren't .  I bought them in bulk so I had no instructions.  In the end, it all came together.  Even though the noodles were very mushy, it was still tasty.

Shaylee claimed to like it but she didn't eat much saying she would rather have white cheese next time.  Sigh.  I thought it was pretty good!  (not low carb but I needed to try it out ;) ).

Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 cup brown rice elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of choice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot flour (or other starch, optional)
Served with a side of pan fried haddock, mmmmm!
Cook macaroni according to package instruction or until done.  Rinse well with cold water.  Put back on the stove on medium.  Add cheese, milk, butter and salt.  Heat until cheese and butter are melted.  If it is runny, you may add the arrowroot flour to thicken it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Grain Free Meal Plans

Link: Grain Free Meal Plans | Health, Home, & Happiness

Grain Free Berry Scones
Cara's Grain Free Berry Scones
As you know, we are going gluten free. Things are going well enough that I hope that it will become a permanent thing around here. At Health, Home &Happiness, Cara has prepared a grain free meal plan offered as a weekly mailer by subscription! She wanted an easier way for families to become grain free since it helped her daughter with learning and developmental delays.

From her site:

Grain Free Meal Plans, a menu subscription service, includes:
  • Menu plans for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, plus snacks and sweets
  • Kid-tested recipes
  • Complete shopping lists
Meals are based on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and Specific Carbohydrate Diet diets.
The recipes serve a family of four, but can easily be halved or doubled as needed.
Members only forum to discuss going and being Grain Free.
Special introductory price of only $16 a month or $130 for a year!

I am seriously considering signing up! She offers a sample plan that looks really good. I don't know if my kids would go for everything on it...but it's worth a try :). If this is something of interest to you, check it out!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Healthy Brownie Waffles

I was going to post this tomorrow but it's too good not to share.  Healthy.  Brownie.  Waffles.  Three words that most people love.  So can brownies be healthy?  Waffles?  Sure, why not!  This is the same recipe I posted earlier with a slightly different method.  Mark thought it was a totally different recipe even though I only added cocoa.

I was asked to share this with the blog Food With Kid Appeal and I am more than happy to!  While I am always interested in things that I like to eat, I am always on the hunt for things that the kids will like.  It is even more challenging now that we are doing our gluten free trial.  Waffles are one of those things that are quick to put together and are always good.  Chocolate adds an extra specialness to them.  Ethan loved them and for him to love something makes me very happy :).  Shaylee said she liked the other ones better but I suggested making marbled ones some day and both the kids cheered.  Yay!

Chocolate Brownie Waffles

1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple sugar or honey (mix sugar with dry and honey with wet)
6 eggs
1tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp  melted butter or coconut oil (or a combination of the two)

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the eggs, one by one, mixing thoroughly between each egg. Add vanilla and melted butter (and honey, if using) and continue mixing until well combined.  Let sit 5-10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the wet ingredients.  Let your waffle iron heat during this time.  Cook as per iron instructions or to desired doneness.  Serve with your favorite toppings.  We used real maple syrup but whipped cream and/or berries would be a nice addition.  So would a chocolate sauce or banana slices, or a combination of all of the above!  It would make a nice dessert as well as a main dish.


Part of It's a KeeperSimple Lives Thursday, Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise Platter

It's a Keeper

Coconut Flour Waffles

My kids love waffles.  They are easy and delicious.  Going gluten free, I wondered how I would make them.  I looked at tons of recipes and to be honest, I don't want to be cooking with lots of different starches and flour of this and that.  I want simple.  Many gluten free recipes call for a ton of ingredients and aren't very nutritious due to all the starch and type of flours used.

I saw a coconut flour recipe before but lost it so I googled and found one here.  It certainly looks really good so I gave it a try.  It was spectacular!  It rose to fluffy proportions, it got slightly crispy on the outside and best of all, the kids loved them!  Ding ding, we have a winner!  Best of all, it has lots of eggs, which are sometimes hard to get into the kids.  I want them to have more fat and protein since they are always hungry and those two things help with that.

So here is my take on the recipe:

Coconut Flour Waffles

4 tablespoons melted butter 
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2tbsp vanilla (I love vanilla!)
1/3 cup maple sugar or honey
1/3 cup coconut flour plus a tablespoon or two to thicken if too runny

Blend these ingredients well.  I used beaters but a blender would work well too.  Let sit for 5 or so minutes while your waffle iron is heating up to help thicken.  If it is still runny (mine was), add another tablespoon or two of coconut flour.  Cook on the waffle iron until risen and cooked to desired texture.  Serve and enjoy!  Makes 6 square waffles.  Note, I do not have a picture since they got gobbled up so fast, but they looked like normal waffles.  Also, this could be low carb with the subtraction of the sweetener.  Yum!

I am going to try a chocolate version.  I read how some people replace 1/2 cup of flour with cocoa powder in their waffle recipes but since you don't use much coconut flour, I will probably just add a couple of tablespoons, maybe instead of the extra coconut flour.  It is meant to be like a brownie.  Sounds yummy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Gluten Free Adventure

I finally convinced the kids to give gluten free a try for two weeks.  I explained it the best I could, no flour, no bread, no cereal or anything that contains these ingredients for two weeks unless Mommy says it's ok.  Gulp!  I am mostly doing it for Shaylee's benefit but I have a feeling everyone has some degree of gluten intolerance, just with different symptoms.  I'm not sure if Mark is playing along but I hope so as I know it would help him.

We will be starting on Monday, so I'll have a few days to get ready.  They "liked" the banana bread but Ethan was convinced there was something pink in it.  It was just banana that wasn't fully mushed in but he wouldn't eat any more.  I think the muffins would go over better overall so I'll just make them in muffins for the kids from now on and maybe try some variations (like cinnamon, blueberry and/or other fruit, ect...).  I will also get some gluten free cereal since I won't make them go low carb, just lower (as in I am not shelling out a fortune for a bunch of fake foods but a few things are ok if it will make life more tolerable ;) ).

On the homefront, I finally decided something else.  Not as life changing.  I bought two crockpots as gifts for relatives this Christmas, only $10 each!  They weren't as big as I thought they were and I lost the sales slip so I couldn't bring them back.  I was going to save them for future gifts, like a wedding gift or something (I think crockpots are awesome!) but I decided that even though I have one, I would really like to have a second one.  So I opened one up and I have both on the go today.  I have a chicken roasting in the big one and scalloped turnip in the other.  If the turnip comes out, I'll share the recipe because it's different from anything I've seen online.  The smaller crockpot is the perfect size for vegetable dishes and desserts so I have a feeling I'll use it quite a bit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Low Carb Gluten Free Bread (banana bread version too!)

I debated about putting both these recipes here since I rarely post recipes but why not.  I am too excited not to share.  Anyone who low carbs know how hard it is to get a good bread, especially those not filled with fakey things.  I like my food real, thank you!

There are good recipes out there to be sure but many are filled with things I am trying to avoid.  Vital wheat gluten comes to mind.  A variety of low carb mixes with things I can't pronounce nor get without an expensive order over the internet.  Why can't there be a recipe with ingredients I can get at the store?  Is that so hard?

Apparently not because here we have an easy bread recipe that is low carb, gluten free and has simple healthy ingredients I can get at the local health food store, grocery and/or bulk food store.  Bread!  See:

Slices of nice warm bread, very good with butter.  Not only that, I was able to adapt it to make banana bread for the kids.  That isn't so pretty in pictures but sometimes very ugly things are very, very good.  This isn't as low carb but low enough that I feel comfortable eating it (just so you know, there were 6 muffins when I made them and I am home along. Just saying).
So where did I find this great recipe?  Well, I was cruising blogs having to do with paleo and primal blueprint diets and recipes and came across one called "Primal Journey" where she had a recipe for Grain Free Bread. She got it from a blog called "Joyful Abode " (found hereand now I'm sharing it :).  Recipes sure can travel around the internet and I'm sure its been seen in other places too.

Low Carb, Gluten Free Bread
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 cup flax seeds, ground and sifted 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 11 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut oil, yogurt, and vinegar.  Pour  the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small amounts to incorporate well, mixing after each addition.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to soak up the wet ingredients.  Turn into a greased loaf pan or a silicone pan.  I used a silicone bundt pan for the bread.   Bake until a toothpick comes clean (this depends on what kind of pan you are using.  It took about an hour and a half for mine to come out)  Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a plate, wire rack or a cutting board. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

For the banana bread, the biggest difference is I used one less egg and I added 5 mashed very ripe bananas, 1 tbsp vanilla and 1/3 cup of honey to the wet ingredients.  I also used 1/2 cup of lard left over from when I recently made donuts instead of the coconut oil since I'm being frugal with it (the fat still had a donut flavor and scent to it).

It could of used more sweetening and possible more bananas if you like a strong banana taste.  I found even with 5, the banana taste didn't carry as well as I had expected.  With the chocolate chips, it was delicious!   I will probably only make them as muffins for the kids from now on.  Oh and I baked this in a silicone loaf pan and used a silicone muffin pan.  I love silicone as you do not have to grease it and things pop right out.

I really recommend giving these recipes a try.  I look forward to seeing how my kids like them since I can put them in their lunches.  So many low carb recipes call for nuts as a base and their school is rigidly nut free.  

Part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cauliflower Pizza

This has generated a lot of interest on Facebook, where I mentioned in a few places that I got the kids to try it and they liked it (well, Shaylee really liked it, Ethan said he could taste the cauliflower but that is probably only because he knew it was in there).  Mark thought it was way better than the traditional crust pizza I also made.  I admit I snuck a bite to compare and he was right.  The flour (well, whole wheat and spelt) crust was bland and it was the pizza Shaylee put together so there wasn't much sauce on it, so it was kind of dry.

I used to make this before when I was low carbing.  I heard there is a similar recipe on the Dr. Oz site but it has little cheese and it is a low fat one at that.  You need fat, baby!    Cleochatra from  Low Carb Friends was the one who first came up with the recipe and shared it with the world.  It caught on like wildfire because it was good, gluten free, it was the perfect neutral base for pizza, it was very low in carbs (suitable for induction for those on Atkins) and what isn't there to love about a good tasting pizza that has a vegetable for its base!  If you get the excess moisture out of the cauliflower, you will be able to pick it up and eat it like pizza (sometimes even if you don't).

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed cauliflower (make sure it isn't too watery; it doesn't have to be packed down)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • italian spice to taste (I usually don't bother)
Mix well and pat into a pizza pan.  I usually cover with parchment paper to make for easier removal otherwise you should grease the pan.  It will cover a 12 inch pan  just pat it down well and make sure it is thin and even.  

Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes or until it is golden brown.  

Take it out of the oven, cover in sauce and top how you like (meat, veggies, cheese, ect... make sure there is nothing that needs cooking, like meat as it is not in there long enough to cook the second time around).  Put it back in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted.  

Remove, let sit about 5 minutes, slice and eat!!  Yum yum!  It's even good cold, as I am experiencing right now.  

I also made garlic fingers but they weren't as good.  I just put some garlicy butter and cheese on top before the second bake.  I used granules so real garlic would of been better as would the addition of bacon!

This would make a very good freezer meal.  I used to make the crusts and freeze them so they would be ready to top when I wanted pizza.  Cauliflower is only $1.99 this week at Sobeys so I bought three mainly for this reason.  I may have to buy more!  I plan to cook it and freeze in one cup portions as it is also good for other recipes, as I will soon share :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Promised Recipes

Here I promised recipes last week and I didn't come though.  Well, today I will finally post a couple since I am feeling better and I want to do something other than clean the house and do the dishes I keep putting off, lol!

White Castle Hamburger Pie is one of my favorite recipes.  I found it on Linda Sue's website ages ago and it is a staple when I low carb.  I always add a lot more eggs to it and use real onion because I'm not too picky about vegetable carbs.  Here is my version:

White Castle Hamburger Pie
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 medium onion, grated (or you can use a seasoning packet or onion powder and dried onion flakes to taste)
  • 6 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or full fat yogurt
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown the hamburger with about half  onion or seasonings and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add remaining onion, stir and place into a casserole dish (a deep dish pie plate works well or an 8x8 baking dish). Stir in half of the cheese, then top with the remaining cheese. Whisk the eggs, mayonnaise, cream and a dash of pepper well; pour evenly over the meat. Bake at 350ยบ for 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

The Cabbage (un)Roll casserole came about because I used to love cabbage rolls.  It was actually the meal I ate on our 10th anniversary at the Steak and Stein restaurant in Halifax.  When I was a child, one of my neighbors would often make it and I didn't know I wasn't supposed to like it (the stereotype that kids won't eat that kind of thing).  This is more of a flinging it all together thing as I wanted something without egg as the structure of the dish.  My only complaint is it didn't have a strong enough tomato taste and I wasn't sure how to season it.  So you can season it to taste and maybe add some tomato paste if you want a stronger tomato flavor.

The Cabbage (un)Roll Casserole 
  • 1 lbs hamburger
  • 0.5 lbs spicy italian sausage
  • 1/2 head thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1 cup grated raw cauliflower
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 large can tomatoes
  • seasonings to taste
Remove the sausage from the casing if applicable and brown with the hamburger until cooked through.  Add remaining ingredients and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the cabbage and cauliflower is cooked through.

Very easy recipes.  They freeze well and are great for lunches.  I think we'll be having the cabbage casserole for lunch with some more tomatoes added and a salad on the side.  I love me some veggies lately!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sick...Again! and a yummy recipe

I don't know what is going on  but I have been sick again this week.  Sinus, chest, head, blah!  The healthier I eat, the sicker I get!  I'll keep on trucking though.  I haven't seen results in weight loss since my initial big dip, but that's ok.

I wanted to get a few recipes up this week, but it fell to the back of my to do list behind resting and getting better.  I am glad I did my day of cooking as I have been able to enjoy good food without much work.

Right now I'm baking a coconut cream pie, low carb style!  I plan to turn it unto coconut cream pie ice cream and I cannot wait to see how that turns out!  I made the pie before and it was sooo good that I nearly ate the whole thing in a day with a sliver here, a sliver there but this time I'm going to be smart and portion it off and freeze pieces so I won't be nearly as tempted.  I am getting better at controlling myself around food than I used to (I have wanted to gorge on kettle chips for ages and haven't!).  I also won't be using splenda like I used to since I don't care of it and it makes me crave more.  I am using a small amount of xylitol and stevia.  I am trying to get used to less sweetness.

Well, before I give the whole thing away, I will post the recipe I used, even though I do not have a picture nor have I tasted it.  It smells amazing cooking though! (edited to add a picture and that it is yummy!)

Coconut Cream Blender Pie

1 cup full fat yogurt or cream (I have yogurt to use up so I used that)
1 can coconut milk (not light)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking power
pinch salt
1/4 cup xylitol
4 packets stevia (equals sweetening to 8 tsp as each packet is equal to 2tsp).

Blend well in a blender.  Pour in a large pie plate or a round casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until top is golden brown and it is set.  Refrigerate overnight to help crust develop. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Big Cook

Ha, ha!  I just saw a double meaning in my post title.  The big cook had a big cooking spree on Monday.  I've been putting off writing about it because I have a ton of pictures to post and for some reason, I hate posting pictures.  I would love to be one of those people who could do step by step tutorials of everything, with lovely pictures. I do what I can.

So I spend most of the day on Monday cooking.  I prepped all my vegetables and browned meats while watching La Bamba on Netflix.  Then I baked, baked, baked.  It is a fun process where you are constantly making something.

Last Friday I made a turkey.  The first thing I did was strip the meat off and freeze the bones.  Then I cup up the veggies.  Next I sauteed the veggies with sausage for the turkey casseroles.  I put them together and baked while I browned the hamburger for the hamburger pies and cabbage casseroles.  I took out the hamburger for the pies and baked those with the meatloaf muffins while I sauteed the cabbage and other veggies for the casserole.  I assembled the muffins and they went in the oven with the cabbage casserole when the second batch of oven goodies came out.  When I had spare moments, I whipped up the ketchup, assembled the extracts and drained the soaked almonds.

I broke down and bought 5lbs of lean ground beef at the grocery store because it was on sale for $1.99/lbs and we are nearly out.  What a waste.  I doubt I even got 3lbs of meat out of it due to waste and shrinkage (they say its lean but there sure is a lot of fat in it!).  When I was able to present the evidence to Mark, I think he finally saw what I meant when ground beef from the farmer is a much better deal at $2.50 or even $3.00 a pound as there is no waste.  It is not injected with water and it is pretty much the same volume when done, not to mention it tastes so much better and is way healthier, better for the planet and local economy too!

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I also finally made my extracts.  I don't know why I put it off.  It was so easy.

So without further ado, here's the fruit of my labour:

Here is a wide view of everything I made.  Lots of delicious, yummy low carb food for the freezer and immediate use.  Don't mind my messy kitchen as I had so much stuff on the go (as you can see).  To the left are the cabbage (un)roll casseroles.  Then the white castle hamburger pies are in the front. In the large pan to the back of the fridge is the turkey and "stuffing".  The row next to it are my extracts, salmon muffins and tuna muffins and my soaked almonds.  Finally, the mushroom turkey and stuffing casserole and the meatloaf muffins.  The ketchup I made isn't in the picture.

This is a close up of the white castle hamburger pie.  I've probably mentioned it tons of times as it's my favorite low carb casserole.  So good!  Yes, I took a little bite in the corner.  Quality control, you know ;).  I made one pan this size and four small ones which are each about a serving size.

Too lazy to turn picture

Here is a close up of the cabbage (un)roll casserole. I will be posting the recipe soon as it was very good.  I would of liked a stronger tomato taste but that is easy to adjust.  These are the little baking dishes I mentioned in my previous post.  They remind me so much of the Le Creuset petite stoneware baking dishes that I had to buy them.  They were $2 each at the dollar store and are perfect for a single serving and heat up great in the toaster oven!
Search for le creuset petite stoneware

Soaked Almonds that I shelled myself

For these meatloaf muffins, I just filled the muffin cups with ground beef that I worked a bit.  These were level to the top when I baked and they shrunk a lot!  It is very easy to add extra ingredients.  I like them with spinach and feta cheese or you could put a piece of cheese in the middle or wrap in bacon.  Seasonings add endless variety.  I was going for simple though :)

This is one of the turkey stuffing pies I made.  The only difference between the two is one has cauliflower and the other one doesn't.  See, not much difference.  They are very good and it was a good way to use up the leftover turkey I had on hand.

Again, too lazy to turn picture.  I'm too used to face book where you can just rotate pictures after you upload them.  Some day I will remember.  So the top half are salmon muffins, just using salmon instead of tuna in the recipe.  I decided to put some in large ramekin dishes which would be enough for a good sized meal, easily heated and add a veggie or salad.  The bottom ones are a half batch of tuna muffins.

These are my lovely extracts.  I have two vanilla, one lemon, one star anise and one waiting to be turned into orange.  I would like to make some mint but I think I will wait until it is fresher.  I have dried but I am not sure how it will turn out.  After 24 hours, the lemon and the anise smelled amazing!  You could barely smell the alcohol.  I especially love the anise one!  Yum :)

Sitting on the stove until I can find room in the cupboard
 I had a lot of fun doing all this cooking.  I love it because you can reuse pots and bowls and there aren't many dishes when you are done.  It is also good for saving energy as you can cook several things at a time and save time by doing everything in big batches.  What I love most about it is there is lots of food for me to eat when I don't feel like cooking something low carb for me.  It makes it easier to stay on plan.

I will be posting recipes for the new things soon.  I linked most to Linda Sue's site in my previous post but as always, I made some alterations.  That's the best part about cooking; it's pretty flexible!

Monday, January 17, 2011

11th Heaven's $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

link: 11th Heaven's Product Reviews: $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Here is a chance to win something awesome! Click the above link to enter a contest to win $100 CNS stores giveaway. I love looking at their site, and yes they ship to Canada :)

So check it out!

I am in the midst of a big freezer cook and will be back later to write about it and come up with a meal plan for the week. What am I making?

-white castle hamburger pie
-meatloaf muffins
-cabbage un-roll casserole
-salmon and tuna muffins

As usual, I've made adjustments to these recipes so I'll post more about them later and also show pics of the cute little baking dishes I got!  They are so cool!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Different Kind Of Coleslaw

I have not been sticking to my meal plan or my diet very well this week.  I am finding it really hard for some reason.  Yesterday I kind of had a big carby blowout and today I got back on track.  We can make mistakes but we also need to forgive ourselves and move on.

So I finally roasted a turkey!  I have been waiting a long time for turkey in my home.  We had two turkey dinners at relatives houses over Christmas so I didn't want to make one here too.  Mark gets sick of turkey quickly.  I never get get sick of turkey.  I love it!  I love picking at the leftovers and one of my favorites is turkey sandwiches, heavy on the mayo.  I also like them with a bit of cranberry sauce.  Yummy!

Canned cranberry sauce is mostly sugar.  I thought I would make my own but I added a bit of a twist.  Rhubarb!  I have bags of it in the freezer but I only have one bag of cranberries.  Both are tart and add a nice taste, why not!  Since Mark is still a very heavy sugar user and doesn't care much for tart things, I made it plain to add sweetner after.  I bought some Kirsda stevia and added it to my sauce before eating.  It is probably the best option for stevia I have without ordering online.  Plus it's made in Canada :).  Always a bonus.

Cranberry-Rhubarb Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 pound chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup chia seeds

Cover the bottom of a saucepan with a thin layer of water.  Bring the cranberries and rhubarb to a boil.  When the cranberries split, remove from heat.  Add the chia seeds to help it gel (I added when it was warm but I am not sure the best consistency for absorbing the extra liquid).  Chill and serve. Sweeten to taste before serving.

As you can see, I didn't consume mine as a sauce but mixed in with my coleslaw.  It was really good!  It had a nice crunchy bite to it that went well with the turkey. I cooked the turkey from frozen for most of the day so it doesn't have that nice crispy skin I like so much.  All in all, it was a berry good meal and I look forward to lots of yummy leftover!  

It made a lot, nearly a liter and a half.  You may prefer to remove some liquid before serving rather than gelling it all but I don't mind the excess.

Just some notes on Cranberries and Rhubarb:

Glycemic Load of Rhubarb

  • ½ cup of diced rhubarb: 1
  • 1 medium rhubarb stalk (a little over 2 ounces): 1

Health Benefits of Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin C.

Glycemic Load of Cranberries

  • 1 oz of cranberries: 0
  • ½ cup chopped cranberries: 1
    ½ cup whole cranberries: 1

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and manganese. They are rich inphytonutrients, especially antioxidants which can protect cells from damage, lower risk of cardiovasular disease, and provide other health benefits. Cranberries also have an antibacterial effect in the mouth and GI and urinary tracts.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

Link: How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

I thought this was a very interesting article. Eating out and especially fast food has just exploded over the years. When I was a kid, it was a rare treat, usually reserved for when we were out of town or once or twice a year otherwise.

I remember waiting at Kentucky Fried Chicken (A.K.A. KFC these days) for half an hour while we waited for our food to cook and it was usually on Mother's Day to give Mom a break from cooking. They even had a place to sit if you were getting take out since it took so long to cook. Now you go in, get your food and you're good to go, almost no waiting any time of the day.

McDonalds is in my backyard and even in my little town, they have a steady stream of traffic around the clock. Tim Hortons, a popular coffee chain, causes traffic problems on one of our main streets in town, despite the fact we have three of them within a few kilometers of each other.

A very simple concept, real food at home! What is all this eating out doing to us? Just look around. It's killing us!

He also touches on other things which are very important for good health. I highly recommend reading it!