Thursday, December 27, 2012

Foods I learned to love thanks to paleo

Although I'm not a full on paleo eater any more, I still reap the benefits of the few months I spent exploring that lifestyle. When taking on a new way of eating that looks "restrictive" from the outside, it's good to focus on all you CAN eat, and explore some new options. There are a few foods I love now that I might not have embraced if I hadn't explored the paleo lifestyle, and I want to share them with you.

Eggs, every day, the whole egg:  Eggs have been hot and cold over the last couple of decades; either one of the worst or one of the best things you can eat. When I gave up grains, I started eating an egg every morning. I don't toss yolks, as I now know that man y vital benefits are found there. Read more about the health benefits of eggs . I usually eat my eggs on mashed avocado, which brings me to my next favourite...

Avocado : I've loved avocado for a long time, but denied this delicious food to myself due to the fat content. I now know we need fat and avocados have the good kind. They are filling and for many applications, a great substitute for those of us who can't have dairy.
8 healthy facts about avocados

Coconut oil: Another component of my daily breakfast! It's also delicious, a great natural remedy for those of us who have digestive troubles, and also makes a great substitute for dairy.

Yams: I always thought yams were this mushy vegetable that people did horrible things to at Thanksgiving. It never would have occurred to me to cook it the way I would a white potato. The paleo community is split on white potatoes, and I do eat them; whether you eat white potatoes or not, yams are a great source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre.

Kale: A small part of why I avoided kale for so long was it's trendiness. Eventually, the health benefits, and all the wonderful things I heard about kale chips, wore me down. Like the other foods in my post so far, it has appeal to the ancestral eater, the vegan, and the more mainstream eater. Kale chips, sauteed kale, kale added to soups...the possibilities are endless.

Schmaltz : Like a good little health nut, I spent years draining all the fat from my meat as it cooked and throwing it away. What a waste! Schmaltz, which I think is Yiddish for solidified chicken fat, is delicious. Save it in a jar and use it to cook veggies, or in mashed potatoes.

And last of all...
I won't try to tell you there are health benefits to bacon. I WILL tell you that what bacon you eat matters, and that one or two servings a week are a reasonable indulgence. In a typical week, we share one pound of  uncured bacon between our five family members.Most of the bacon lovers I know eat bacon way less than we talk about it: it's just that's been so forbidden for so long it's taken on mythic proportions.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Battle of the cake rolls

It seems the biggest news this week for Americans is the closing of Hostess . Like more than one person I know, I have raised kids who've never tasted a Hostess product (to my knowledge) and found themselves curious about these soon to be unattainable cake like products.
I offered a one time dispensation, which I imagined would involve on package of Twinkies split between them, not that the small portions would matter because they're so vile, who can finish them?
The kids joyfully relayed this news to The DM, who usually does the grocery shopping. And then I went off to spend the day with one of my internet friends who was visiting the Seattle area.
Not long after I got home, Turbo asked if he could have some Twinkie substitute for dessert? Whaaat? Seems the DM had bought a WHOLE BOX of Little Deathie's Swiss rolls. What is worse, the kids actually wanted seconds. Clearly, I have failed somewhere in my training of their palettes, and will surely die some day of cancer and/or diabetes from eating pure crap once they're adults. My immediate concern, however, was how to get the death cakes out of my house without invoking the ire of my family. After some thought, it seemed there was only one recourse: make them a substitute.

I set out to make a roulade. I used the recipe from KCTS Cooks Chocolate, but this one comes close. Any chocolate cookbook worth the paper it's printed on will have a roualde or buche de noel recipe. I'm filling mine with classic buttercream, but it can be filled with ganache or mousse.

The ingredients list for my cake roll?
cocoa powder
cream of tarter
powdered sugar

The ingredients for the death cakes?
SugarCorn SyrupWaterVegetable(s) ShorteningSoybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated,Cottonseed Oil Partially HydrogenatedFlour Enriched BleachedWheat FlourNiacinIron ReducedThiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)DextroseCocoaEgg(s),Soybean(s) OilColor(s)Caramel ColorRed 40WheyLeaveningBaking SodaSodium Aluminum PhosphateEmulsifier(s)Sorbitan MonostearatePolysorbate 60Mono and DiglyceridesSaltSorbic Acid To Preserve FreshnessSoya LecithinFlavor(s) Natural & ArtificialCorn Starch

You'll also notice that foodfacts

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vegan nectarine ice cream and Lemon Angel Food Cake

Last week was hot here in the Pacific Northwest, and I found myself craving peach ice cream. I have never had it before, but it sounded like the best idea. Since my best friend's son is heading back east for his last year of college soon, I decided to make it a celebration.
When I went shopping, it turned out that peaches were $2.49/lb, and nectarines 99 cents/lb, so I altered my goals a little.
I modified and doubled this peach ice cream recipe .

1 33 oz container coconut CREAM, chilled
3 pounds nectarines, pitted and sliced (weighed after pitting)
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 TBL vanilla
2 TBL coconut oil
juice of one lemon

Blend nectarines with sugar and enough coconut milk to emulsify. Place all ingredients in your ice cream maker's tub and process according to manufacturer's directions. It was delicious, but there is no doubt that if I'd sprung for the Pence peaches, it would have been better by an order of magnitude.

I based my angel food cake recipe on the one from Jaques Pepin's Simple and Healthy Cooking . Even though the original recipe has TWO ingredients I cannot eat ( flour and almond extract) the mods were easy and it turned out beautifully!

Oven 350

10 cold egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

Beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar and vanilla and continue beating until shiny. Sift the powdered sugar,  and mochiko over the egg whites, toss in the lemon zest, and GENTLY fold into the eggs whites until just incorporated. Gently ladle into a cake pan greased with coconut oil, and bake for 15-35 minutes.
This is incredibly tender and not tough at all, as grocery store angel food cakes tend to be. My BFF suggested the mochiko might help; it's way too easy to over work gluten. I think that whether you use gluten or not, two methods are important to keep your angel food cake from getting tough: don't overbeat your egg whites, and don't fold the flour in any more than you have to. Future mods I might try with this would be using orange zest, and replacing some or all of the mochiko with flaked coconut .

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A week of food and exercise

I saw the dietician a few days ago, and she wanted me to log my diet and exercise for a week. I thought blog form would be the most enjoyable way to do this. I am also trying to remember to track my food over at Paleotrack , but that requires more precision than I tend to know about my food.

Day 1- June 11

Breakfast: 2 cups black coffee
1 eggs with 1 cup spinach,cooked in coconut and olive oil. Served with 1/2 avocado and 1 TBL flax meal.
Supplements: TJ's B 50 and Cal/Mag/Zinc
Water ( unknown qty) and 25 minutes of Zumba

Lunch: iced grande coffee with 1 packet raw sugar; 1 individual servign bag of Food Should Be Good sweet potato chips; 1 black plum; 1 serving baked chicken; 3 grande water

Supper: 1/2 spaghetti squash with home made pesto; pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, basil, lemon and the secret, some red lettuce (no-one noticed!)
garlicky onion, green beans, and carrots in EVOO, water
2 squares 85% chocolate with tsp coconut oil

Day 2-June 12

Breakfast: 2 cups black coffee
1 eggs with 1 cup spinach,cooked in coconut and olive oil. Served with 1/2 avocado and 1 TBL flax meal.
Supplements: TJ's B 50 and Cal/Mag/Zinc
3 grande water
55 minute Zumba
Lunch: 1/2 spaghetti squash with home made pesto, black plum
3/4 cup fresh raspberries with 1 cup iced green tea

Supper: Stir Fry- chicken, broccoli, green cabbage, onion, and about 1/2 cup sticky rice
2 squares 85% chocolate with tsp coconut oil

Day 3: June 13
Breakfast: 1/2 Udi's GF bagel w/butter, egg and spinach cooked in olive oil, roma tomato and 2 cups coffee
Supplements: TJ's B 50 and Cal/Mag/Zinc
 55 minutes, Zumba, 30 minutes CardioSculpt
leftover stir fry on carrot/green bean/onion mixture

2 Starbucks Berry Hibiscus Refreshers ( they were free) plus one lime with a shot of tequila. Had a few sips of the last one and decided it was a bad idea; put it in the freezer for another day.
2 black plums
Poked around leftovers, had a few bites of chicken breast with leftover veg. Felt full, so put it away. Later I felt hungry and had a spoonful of sunflower seed butter. Went for a 45 minute walk, and had a couple cups of air popped popcorn with butter while watching "Hellboy" with the family.

Day 4: June 14
Breakfast was two cups of french press coffee with 2 slices of uncured bacon and one egg fried in bacon fat.
55 minutes Zumba, and water of course.

Lunch was a small portion of chicken breast with about 1/2 cup of cabbage, a plum, and some iced green tea. I took two walks that afternoon- a two hour walk to Winco to get chocolate chips (I'm trading some made truffles for a a costume) and a 20 minute walk to take my daughter to the bus stop for the comic book store.

Dinner was a HUGE amount of salad, with lettuce, tomato, avocado, carrot and olive oil, and 2 pieces of delicious pork my husband grilled. Another 45 minute walk after dinner, followed by 5 chocolate covered strawberries.

Since I had not pooped that day, I drank some Smooth Move Tea before bed.

Day 5: Sunday June 15
I started the day with 25 minutes of Zumba. I then had breakfast: pancakes made with 1/8 cup each flax meal and coconut, blueberries, and  an egg, cooked in coconut oil and topped with butter and maple syrup.I had a B50 and a Cal/Mag/Zinc, 2 cups of coffee and the last chocolate covered strawberry. I washed it down with plenty of water.
I pooped, but it was hard and green.

Lunch was using up leftovers. a few bites of chicken, a bout 3/4 green beans cooked in olive oil and garlic, and 1/4 of a stuffed green pepper ( with ground beef and jalapeno) . I had a cup pf coffee and some water, and I felt snacky so I had 2 TBL sunflower seed butter with some dark chocolate chips. Went to a Starfleet International  meeting, where I had about 1/2 pound strawberries.

Dinner was taco salad- dinner plate overflowing with sliced romaine, taco meat, and a large serving of home made guacamole.

I had about a truffle's worth of truffle filling for the trade I'm making them for, and then the combo of PMS and National Ice Cream Day propelled me to go to Fred Meyer (on foot! 45 minute walk) for SoDelicious Coconut milk ice cream (GF/DF cookie dough chip). Had a couple of that on one of the chocolate chocolate chip orange brownies the hubby made while I was gone) . He made them GF by replacing the flour with mochiko- it works well because the recipe relies on baking chocolate and only contains a 1/2 cup flour.

Day 6: Monday, June 16

These next couple of days get a bit unusual. It's rare for me to work on a weekday, but it's Vacation Bible School week so I am.  I started the day with 25 minutes of Zumba (Achievement Unlocked- warm up session!) and had 2 eggs, spinach, basil, 1/2 a roma, and some guac for breakfast., followed by a plum. I only had one cup of coffee because I was leaving at the same time as my husband and had to share. Then, at church I had some mostly good snacks: about 1/2 cup snap peas, some strawberries, grapes and watermelon and yeah, some Kettle Chips.
I snacked a bit on and off on the way home, more due to the stress of my kids plus two extra boys and shopping three places. I had a tall iced coffee with one packet raw sugar at Starbucks, one coconut bon-bon from Trader Joe's. a bite of a Nu-GO free bar ( not impressed) and a few spoons of coconut milk ice cream at home. I had a bunch of water and a few baby carrots with guac.

Normally this is when I would take a walk, but I had extra kids, a lot of stuff to do at home, and had gotten home late. I swept, got dinner in the oven (roast Dijon chicken with red potatoes) and got the mail. Medical bills! Nothing like a reminder that I'm in an income bracket that needs to save ER visits for unequivocally dire  circumstances. Stressing! I grabbed some iced Earl Grey and a book and headed to the backyard, where I discovered that some kid had helpfully picked about a cup of organic raspberries and left them warming in the sun for me. Thanks, kid!

Dinner was the chicken with potatoes, and garlicky green beans and baby carrots. Dessert was more GF brownie. 45 minute walk, and a few handfuls of buttered popcorn while watching "Supernatural".

Day 7: Tuesday, June 17. Last day!
25 minutes of Zumba , 2 eggs and spinach, cooked in coconut oil ,  1/2 an avocado and TBL flax meal for breakfast.
2 coffees and water.

Snack at work: Kettle chips, cherry tomatoes, strawberries (lots and lots; they are my desert asteroid food) and grapes.
Got a grande iced coffee on the way home.
Lunch chicken thigh, about a cup of romaine, and some homemade mayo .
Dinner was lettuce rolls: spicy garlicky ground beef, cabbage, broccoli slaw, tamari and brown rice.

We took a 30 minute walk, and for a snack I had a TBL of sunflower butter with a few chocolate chips.

For those of you who made it to the end, thanks. If seeing what I eat and how I move helps anyone in any way, please let me know, and please feel free to share freely.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wackily Allergy Friendly Cupcakes

Are you familiar with the history of the Wacky Cake? some sources say it was created during the Great Depression; others say in Britain during World War Two. In either case, a cake originally born of austerity is GREAT for those with food allergies.I've gone one step further and made it gluten free ( and a bit faster). This recipe is also free of eggs, dairy and nuts.

Preheat oven to 350.
Toss into the bowl of your stand mixer:

1/2 cup each brown rice flour, mochiko, and cocoa powder
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp each baking soda and vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 TBL white vinegar
1 cup cold water.

Process until just combined, then fill up your cupcake tins. I got 14 cupcakes out of this. bake 22-25 minutes.

My gluten loving kids went back for more- in my opinion, the best review a gluten free, dairy free food can get is, "I couldn't tell it was gluten free!.

Multi-grain GF pizza crust

Pizza crust is something I and every GF cook seem to keep coming back too. There are about a zillion GF pizza crust recipes out there, yet we keep trying to make it better. I came up with this one on Thursday for my youngest son's birthday festivities, and liked it so much I made it again tonight.
Oven 425 F

Mix together :
1/4 cup each flax meal, organic corn meal, and brown rice flour (I use Bob's Red Mill for all)
1 tsp each baking powder and ground oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 jumbo eggs
2TBL extra virgin olive oil

This is a thin crust pizza:

Spread onto a pizza dish that has been generously doused with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Top as desired: I used onions, garlic, tomato sauce,mozzarella style Soy Sation  and Hormel uncured pepperoni. Return to oven for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Thick crust version:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tastyfail: Sea Salt and Caramel Chocolate Souffle Bites

I've been craving cupcakes, and I crave Pinterest. Because I am sensitive to so many ingredients, when this craving strikes I can't just stroll down to Starbucks and buy a mini cupcake, though if they had gluten and dairy free selections, I would (ARE YOU LISTENING,STARBUCKS?) . Last night I made pudding, but that didn't quite scratch the itch. Today The DM suggested I make souffles, as they would be cupcake like and naturally free of gluten and dairy.
When I got into the kitchen, I decided to get creative. Danger, Will Robinson!
I pulled out the mini muffin tins, and decided that if I needed to butter them anyway, I might as well add sugar and make caramel. Each well has 1/4 tsp each butter and sugar:

Stick these in your oven while it preheats to 400 F.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip 3 egg whites and 1/8 tsp cream of tarter at high speed. When soft peaks form, add 4 1/2 TBL white sugar. When stiff peaks have formed, add 2-3 TBL cocoa powder ( I used Dagoba drinking chocolate),
In a ramekin, mix 1 TBL turbinado sugar and 1 tsp coarse sea salt.

Pull out your mini muffin tins, and stir the caramelly goodness in the bottom.  
Place 1 1/2 TBL of souffle in each, then top with 1/8 tsp of the turbinado/sea salt mixture,  and bake for 8-10 minutes.

These stuck a bit, and the caramel did not want to stay attached to the souffles. My husband thought they were too salty. I found them tasty though, despite the problems.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sugar and me. A Dysfunctional relationship.

The more I do this paleo eating thing, with more strictness, the less I find I crave sugar on a daily basis. I typically eat chocolate in the 85%-92% range now. I'm not a carb counter, but I prefer potatoes, fruit and berries to any other sources. I feel good. And then, THEN, comes a birthday, with cake and frosting. I even made a cake with souffle layers...eggs, chocolate, sugar. No grains. But the frosting, dang. That's when I know my relationship to sugar is like that of a borderline alcoholic to liquor. Like a person who can go along, having an occasional half glass of wine, but then goes to a New Year's party where they're serving Jello shots and end up going on a three month bender. And despite the nausea, headache, elevated heart rate, etc...I want more. I don't want to never eat cake again; I just need to make myself keep it under control.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones

I rarely crave pumpkin any time but fall, but the cold snowy weather last week  gave me an exceptional craving. I'm just glad I made these *before* the power outages!
Oven 425
Mix with a pastry cutter:
1 cup each flax meal and rice flour
1 TBL baking powder
5 TBL butter or coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

When crumbly, stir in:
1/2 cup pumpkin pureee
3 TBL brown sugar
3 TBL molasses
2 eggs

Pat into a circle and cut into wedges. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Menu

I want to start sharing my weekly menus with you, both for those who might want some gluten free/real foods inspiration and so I can check back when I am stuck for ideas!

Last night, Sunday, I made coq au vin, roasted red potatoes with rosemary and olive oil, and steamed broccoli and green beans with olive oil, garlic and butter.

Tonight, mulligatawny and  Jamie Oliver;s broccoli with Asian dressing.

Tomorrow night, pork in mustard sauce, peas and balloons (pearl onions) and salad with balsamic dressing.

Wednesday, ham and potato soup, with a side salad and flax "fauxcaccia".

Thursday, I work and dinner is served there. Since I can rarely eat more than the salad, I'll take a few hard boiled eggs and an avocado and add them to the salad greens there.

Friday is always leftovers.
Please  share what you're having for dinner this week!