Tag Archives: cooking

What She Ate (Naughty but Nice)

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I’ve been eating nothing.

I wish I was writing this post a few days ago when for a brief moment of time I was feeling very positive about this whole experience.  But yesterday I hit a wall.   19 days with no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no red meat, nothing with preservatives, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no peanuts, no wheat/gluten, no oranges/grapefruits, no strawberries or bananas, no tomatoes or potatoes or mushrooms or peppers.  blah!  I have 11 days to go and than I can slowly start to add things back in.  But honestly, just when I think my stomach is starting to feel better and that all of this will result in a grand discovery that will lead me to a lifetime of feeling great…I eat something and my stomach gurgles and churns.

There have been actual improvements.  My skin is improving with less redness and fewer rashes,  the fatigue that threatened to derail me from doing anything and everything has finally lifted, and for the past few nights (after weeks of insomnia) I slept.  and for those of you who have experienced insomnia for any extended amount of time…you know that a little sleep can go a long long way.

anyone who knows me knows that i have a weakness for all-day breakfast (and beer, but we won’t go there for now).  oh how I’ve been craving a greasy spoon breakfast.  So for my “Naughty but Nice” meal I decided to whip up a batch of Buckwheat (vegan, gluten-free) Pancakes and some delicious Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I’m allowed to have maple syrup in small amounts…so I drizzled it deliciously over these beauties and dug in.  Sigh.  11 more days.  What will I add in first…you may be wondering…well, i’m wondering that very same thing.  Bananas are pretty high on the list.  Surprisingly, even higher on my want list than coffee.

Turkey Breakfast Sausage (Gluten-Free)

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine and mooosh all together.  Form into small breakfast sausage sized patties.  Fry em’ up in some olive oil and enjoy.

Buckwheat (Gluten-Free Vegan Sugar-Free) Pancakes

1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/4 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water (egg replacement)

You know what to do.  Mix it up.  Pour it out.  Flip Flip.  Eat.

P.S  there will be pictures.  my picture card reader thingy is broken…again!  i’ll upload them soon.

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You have to head over to Abhaya and check out the delicious What She Ate: Naughty But Nice recipe she posted for Cauliflower Crust.  Drool.  When I can have cheese and eggs again…I’m so making this!

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What She Ate (Hello! It’s a Link Up!)

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As some of you may already know, I was recently diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease.  Yep, my immune system is a rock star in the bad sorta binge drinking kinda way.  But moving on.  My naturopath suggested that I do a therapeutic diet for the next month to help ease the inflammation in my body, give everything a chance to heal/rest and in the meantime potentially identify some foods which may need to be completely eliminated.  The diet is pretty restrictive, but in reality is still full of great healthy options.  If you know me, though, you know I’m a high-fructose corn syrup in the form of candy candy candy kinda girl.  So that part of the elimination diet list that said ‘no sweeteners’ hit hard in my candy crack fogged brain.

fruit salad

It’s the end of my first week and I think so far I’m doing good, but the real test will come tonight when I go to the movies sans-goodies.  Oh my!  Oh wait, I can sneak a bottle of 100% pure fruit or vegetable juice.  Poo.

We already eat pretty darn tootin’ healthy.  (with the exception of the previously professed candy problem).  We make most of our food from scratch, eat a diet full of whole foods and a good variety of fresh fruits and veggies.  However, when it comes to cooking I don’t know the first thing about laying off the cheese.

curried rice apple chickpea salad

I thought this would be a great opportunity to invite some fellow bloggers to join in a link-up.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t suggest that anyone embark on any kind of diet without first talking to your doctor).  It seems that there are many of you out there who are making the choice to either eat healthier or for one reason or another have had to give up some type of food.  So why not link up together and spend a little time every couple of weeks sharing some healthy eats, new recipes and naughty (but healthy) indulgences.  You don’t have to be on a special diet to join, you just have to share an interest in home cooked deliciousness.

vegan chocolate mousse

So if you are interested in joining this link up let me know in the comments below and I’ll send you all the info you need by email (including the little banner guy up above and the button).  We will have a new theme every couple of weeks…like a culinary challenge.

Here are two recipes from my first week that I wanted to share.  Easy-Peasy my friends and so gooooood!  For starters,  I can’t give up chocolate.  I just can’t.  I was lucky to have my friend Steph stop by for a visit and she brought with her this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  I believe it was originally intended to be served in a chocolate tart of sorts, but it makes a pretty good imitation of a pudding.  And you all know how much I love pudding.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

2 cups avocado
1/3 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
2/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste.  I used honey and a lot less)
1 tbsp peanut butter or tahini
1 tbsp arrowroot or coconut flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

whir it all up in a blender and enjoy.

And here is a lunch staple in our house (which I had to modify slightly because I can’t have peppers or dried fruit or mayonnaise or Worcestershire sauce…ho hum).

Curried Rice, Chick Pea and Apple Salad

2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
5 green onions, sliced
1 apple, seeded and chopped
1 cup or 1 can cooked chickpeas
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil

mix. mix. mix. voila. eat.

* adapted from the cookbook “Beyond the Moon” by Ginny Callan.  I love this book.

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I can’t get the link-up thingamajingy to work…hopefully up for next time.  In the meantime, you should really head on over to Abhaya to check out the gorgeous Indian Slaw recipe that Sondra posted.  It looks absolutely yummers!  Coconut and Lime and Roasted Peanuts…need I say more!

You can also head on over to the What She Ate Pinterest Board to see all the delicious healthy eats!

Rye

Our Daily Bread

Oatmeal Wheat and RyeWe are now making all of the bread that we consume.  This was a recent decision, spurred by our shared desire to one day grow, bake and create as much of our food as possible.  It can seem like such a daunting thing, especially when there is so much other work to do.  So instead of diving right in and getting completely overwhelmed, we decided to chip away at it one piece at a time.  Our new home has blessed us with more garden space than we have had in previous years.  The potatoes are planted, the seedlings in waiting and the seed packets lined up anxiously. Already there is a bounty of asparagus spears sticking up out of the ground and rhubarb coming out of our ears.

The first piece of our food plan was to learn how to bake bread and to completely Ryeeliminate all store bought bread from our shopping list.  We looked up a few recipes, grabbed up a jumbo bag of flour and some yeast…and away we went.  In hindsight, with only one loaf pan and one tiny wee little cookie sheet…we likely should have stocked up on some extra bakeware.  And almost as if it heard us discuss this plan…the breadmachine that I got second hand…finally decided to call it quits.

The results so far have been great.  The first Sunday we made a small loaf of rye and a large loaf of Oatmeal Wheat Bread.  This Sunday we decided to go all the way Rye Bread and PB&J Cookieswith the rye and made a small free form loaf and one loaf in the bread pan.  Check out my Pinterest “Bread” board for recipes and notes on the loafs we have tried so far and recipes we have lined up for our next Sunday Bread Adventures.  I’m studying up now on sourdough and will share the results of our first starter soon.

Oh and the cookies next to the Rye Bread were a little extra treat I whipped together:  Peanut Butter & Jam Drop Cookies!

Butterscotch-ish Pudding

Pudding: Butterscotch-ish and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon

Butterscotch-ish PuddingMy most recent addiction is homemade pudding.  I have always loved pudding and my boyfriend fondly remembers the grand ‘pudding’ affair I had when we first started dating…those little cups of store-bought chocolate pudding were, i’m ashamed to say, a staple in my diet for months.  He thinks my pudding obsession is cute, because he loves how ridiculously excited I can get sometimes about even the simplest homemade project.

So the pudding obsession is back.  Full force.  But because we are trying to make more and more of our food from scratch, I’ve been working away experimenting and inventing my own homemade pudding bliss.  It seems it has been a while since I’ve shared a new recipe…so here are two to try.  The first:  “Butterscotch-ish”.  I made this one up today when I couldn’t decide if I wanted vanilla or butterscotch.  So it lies somewhere delightfully in the middle.  It’s not exactly a ‘skinny’ version of pudding, but doesn’t exactly fall into the naughty category.  I’ve convinced myself that as a woman I need to up my calcium intake…and hey, isn’t pudding just like eating my milk?  The second recipe:  Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pudding.  This one is a little lighter and can be made with any kind of milk you prefer from whole milk to skim.

Butterscotsh-ish Pudding

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups 2 % milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 generous glop of butter

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a small to medium pot.  Add the two cups of milk and put on medium-high heat.  STIR CONSTANTLY.  Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low.  Continue stirring on low-heat for a 3-4 minutes.    At this point the milk will have come to a boil and the whole thing will be started to thicken.  During the last minute, add the vanilla and continue stirring.  Turn off heat and stir in the glop of butter.  Scoop into pudding cups, mugs or bowls.  This tastes good served warmed or chilled.  If serving cold, let set for a couple hours before serving.  If you want to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the pudding, place a piece of plastic directly on the surface of the pudding.

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pudding

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Add the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and cinnamon to the pot.  Mix and add the milk.  Bring the milk to a boil over medium heatSTIRRING CONSTANTLY.  Once bubbling, bring the heat to low and continue stirring.  The mixture at this point should be starting to thicken.  Continue stirring and cooking on low heat for another 3-4 minutes.  In the last minute add the vanilla.  Scoop into pudding cups, glasses, mugs, or one giant greedy bowl.  Serve warm or let cool.  This one tastes particularly good served warm.  If serving cool, put in fridge and allow to set for a couple of hours.  If you want to avoid having a skin form on the top of the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the pudding.  Enjoy!

The STIRRING CONSTANTLY is very important.  Milk will burn easily.  And burnt pudding makes me sad.

Crafting the “Home” in Homemade: Part 3: Winter/Spring Canning and Preserving

February 23, 2011-  Anxious to start Canning or Preserving?  Looking to gain some preserving skills before the height of the fruit and veggie season hits?  Thinking that there is no hope while you gaze out the window at a snow covered driveway…I mean, if you’re in the northern part of anywhere right now odds are there is nothing local or fresh about the fruit and veggies at the store. Here are a few ideas for getting in the groove of preserving and filling your pantry with new delights (even before the snow melts):

1)  Give mustard a try.  There are many condiments that don’t require fresh ingredients, but are rather made out of simple items found year round at the grocery or bulk food store.  I made my first batch of mustard in December and all it took was vinegar, mustard powder, mustard seeds, sugar and some frozen cranberries.  I stumbled on the site for the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission and found recipes for cooking with mustard, making your own whole grain mustard…along with info on the health benefits of mustard.  Seriously, there is a development commission for mustard..who knew!Yellow and Brown Mustard Seeds

2)  Even in the winter months there are still some good sources of fruit that haven’t travelled too far.  Any fruit or vegetable that stores well in a cold room can generally be found from a local or nearby source throughout the winter months.  It’s not likely that you’ll want to pickle potatoes (you could can them…but why?).  Apples can be used in a variety of ways to make jams, jellies, chutneys, barbecue sauces, etc.  Rule of thumb:  stay clear of anything that is not going to taste as fresh or as good as it would in peak season.  So ignore the imported strawberries or blueberries that are on sale.  They’ve travelled really far, have been sprayed with a lot of unmentionables and are known to really absorb chemicals.  How about canned apple pie filling or apple preserves.

3) And well, if you do find a tasty orange or pear that has travelled from away but is too delicious to be resisted..go ahead and take a stab at making an orange marmalade or a pear jam.  I found not too long ago a bunch of pears on the reduced rack (but not overripe…because you should never make any preserve with fruit that is too ripe) and made a delicious cinnamon pear jam that was tested in less than 48 hours…I can confirm, it tastes amazing on pancakes.

4) Back to the roots.  Dilled carrot pickles…need I say more!

For more tips and tricks check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  This site is full of useful information for everything from making jams and jellies, canning, freezing, drying, smoking, curing, pickling and fermenting.  They’ve also got some additional tips and guidelines for seasonal selections.