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!