Sunday, June 30, 2013

What if we're wrong about obesity?

Everyone needs to watch this until the end. I cried.

a tale of two dishes

chicken feet, kombu, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt, and water, simmering all day...

and the resulting stock cubes! (this is how it's done)

making cinnamon rolls. in a way, it's easier than with gluten dough to form a rectangle, because you pat it into place; with glutenous dough, if it gets a bit lopsided you can't just reconfigure it the way you can with GF dough because of the gluten bonds. The dough is rice flour, almond meal, milk, butter, honey, salt and yeast. I formed the dough, chilled it a bit, then applied the filling...

butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

rolling... slowly, gingerly. you expect tears in a GF dough... but actually it went really well!

I got into the flow.

the completed log. not torn to pieces!

then cut, placed in a buttery dish, left to rise, and baked. wow! they were yummy! Sam and I are starting a 21-day sugar detox tomorrow, so I wanted to go out on a sweet note :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

pizza & ice cream pie

This was last night's supper, made with a chickpea flour crust, and baked first without cheese to let the veggies roast - tomato, red pepper, zucchini & onion, with herbs and oil - then with strips of mozzarella. It smelled wicked good! As usual, the mouthfeel of the crust was kind of dry and crumbly, and once one has had the pleasure of glutenous crust one simply can't help but compare, but one does get used to being GF, and so all things considered it was a success.

It's technically my birthday tomorrow, but really that means it's my birthday all weekend. Obviously! Growing up I always chose ice cream cake on my birthday; I've never really been a grain cake kind of girl. I saw this incredible recipe right after eating all our berries yesterday, and I've been toying with a modified version in my head since then. So I went with Magic Bulleted pecans, melted butter, and sugar for the press-crust, followed by two bricks of cream cheese, two pureed peaches, probably about 1/2 c to 1 c maple syrup, and about 2 tsp vanilla extract, all whipped, with the extra peach slices on top. It's freezing in the basement freezer now. Oh boy! I will decorate it with wildflowers and take some more pictures when we serve it. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013


Gluten-free oats from Bob's Red Mill!! Okay, the bag says wheat-free. I was very nervous about buying them for that reason. But the package has a heck of a lot of detail about how they are specially grown and harvested, it seems really legit, so I bought them and researched at home. Funnily, their "wheat free rolled oats" don't seem to exist in the States - could this be a legal packaging thing? I looked it up and this website explains the legal stuff for Canada (as well as the whole oats question for gluten-allergic folks in general). So basically... YES I have GF oats!! Oat cookies here I come!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

WTF is Paleo, and my new nutrition plan...

When Amy posted a while back about her awesome egg breakfast casseroles, the recipe blog she referenced (Chow Bella) had some paleo recipes. I thought , "what be dis?" I looked into it briefly, found it to creepily resemble Atkins, and thought "didn't that fad die a slow death in 1999?"

Some of you know that I've strugged with weight gain (for probably as long as you've known me). Being in the high-stress, no-exercise, no-friend environment that is Missouri, I gained 15 pounds over the semester and literally cannot fit into anything. I feel heavy and tired, and I hated having my picture taken on my vacation in Tennessee this summer because I looked so different.  It's an awful feeling.  I'd rather spend my money on flowers and seafood BBQs than new clothing. 

So naturally, I was excited to talk to my Montreal fitness trainer yesterday for a session, and we discussed a new nutrition plan for me. The nutrition plan is meant to be long term, and the basic idea is to eat extremely naturally, avoiding refined foods as much as possible, as well as reducing portion sizes. Very chill. I'm into that. But when I heard that the plan focuses on a higher-fat to low-carb no-carb-ratio, I was like "SOMETHING SMELLS fishy here and we're not at the fishmonger, kids." 
Admittedly, I am scared of consuming fats, esp animal fats on a regular basis, and am skeptical as to how the plan can actually contribute to weight loss.

I want and need to share this with you ladies because I'm conflicted about a lot of the foods suggested, and I know how much the pursuit of good, whole foods means to us all, regardless of how we negotiate what that entails. 

shit! quick! must hide the Irish coffee!
My trainer has tried eating this way herself, and has actually gone from being a sworn pescetarian from when I last saw her in December, to now eating bacon and liver! Her other clients have tried it too, and they claim they have much more energy as a result. Even though the plan may not be entirely "paleo", it's pretty similar, and the first thing that comes to my Coptic mind is "I'm on the fast-track to a massive heart attack at 32."

 List of NO

-no wheat 
-no fructose or any refined sugars 
-no grains, even quinoa! (supposedly because they aren't terribly nutritious and bloat us--except for white rice? which is most mind-boggling) 
-nothing cooked or coated in vegetable oil or soybean oil
-no pasteurized cheese
-no milk or soymilk (apparently because there is research that that actual milk, unless it's raw and whole, actually has so many nutrients stripped from it?)
-no peanuts
-no stevia
-no beans
-no dried fruits

List of YES 

-cooking in coconut oil and olive oil (though not at high heats for olive oil)
-MCT oil (SOMEBODY please look this up with me and tell me what you think? Looks like a body-builder fad. I Wiki'ed it this morning and to me, it still counts as refined. I don't think I'd touch this anyway.)
-ONLY organic bacon (I could cry with joy)
-ONLY organic meats and organic animal organs (liver, etc)
-grass-fed butter 
-plain walnuts and pecans (no soybean or vegetable oil on them)
-seafood and fish (even smoked salmon, which has high levels of sodium, and to me would lead to water retention and bloating?) 
-maple syrup and coconut sugar is ok on occassion (but doesn't the body process these as refined sugars anyway?)
-avocadoes regularly if possible
-full creme fraiche to put in my coffee (I'm like wtf here)
-completely natural almond, hazelnut, macadamia nut butters, etc
-kelp and dulse seasonings
-fermented foods
-apple sauce
-coconut shreds 
-Sweet potato

Sample breakfasts: 

-1.5-2 egg veggie omelet or fritata with bacon


-A mix of almond butter, coconut milk, blueberries, walnuts, pecans (maybe fermented sour cream if I can make it at home )

The thing I've always liked about my trainer is that she's open to change, and I'm generally bound by conventional wisdom on most things. She suggests I try the plan for a month and see how I feel, and we can adjust accordingly, and I know she will respect my feedback on how the plan goes for me. I will research more and try it, particularly to see if my indigestion (ahem) problems are better or worse. Frankly, I am wary of avoiding grains and legumes (they're good sources of insoluble fibres and proteins!), and I never wanted to be one of those people who "diets". I hate restrictions. I never, EVER want to pass on that kind of mentality to my family or children. I love good food, good company, and lots of laughter, but I also want to start feeling better again in my skin. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

zucchini lasagna!

Omnom! I precooked the slices (made with a mandoline) until soft and lightly browned, just straight in a cast iron pan, no fat needed. I kind of forgot that lasagna usually involves a creamy layer, so we just forewent that. SO GOOD! I bought and sliced way more zucchini than we ended up needing, so I froze a bunch for next time. I've requested lasagna for my birthday, so I also made a ton of sauce to freeze some for that occasion. I have rice lasagna noodles ready for the occasion, but I will definitely do zucchini again! Yum!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

a welcome lunch for Sam

The spread.

Bacon-wrapped asparagus...

Cashew-based vegan boursin (from this book) on rice crackers

A close-up. It was delicious, though more like a pate than boursin.

Cashew-based cheesecake, from the same book! I didn't make it vegan; I fermented the cashew paste with dairy yogurt (you just need a little), and I used eggs to bake the cake, because the real aim was being as dairy-free as possible for Sam (who doesn't tolerate dairy well) and eggs are more readily available than agar-agar! Probably cheaper, too.

It was wicked good! The crust was hazlenut and prune with vanilla.

The topping was cranberry, banana, and a bit of sugar, cooked and poured over the baked cake. SO GOOD!
Okay, admittedly, we started lunch at 3 PM, because our morning errands didn't commence briskly at 9 AM as I had foolishly hoped, but you know, it was a good meal, and we didn't faint away while we waited for it, so, whateva whateva!

Welcome, Sam!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Mmmm bruschetta. Im a little confused as to the correct pronounciation of that word (broo-sketta, bru-shetta?) but its still tasty as anything! Its something that Jeff and I discovered toguether, I knew and sort of liked it before, but once Jeff got into it, we were adding some crazy variations that were sometimes so far from the original stuff that Im not sure it still qualified as bruschetta... but I called it that anyways and let anyone give me a better word for what it was and I will stand forever corrected LOL!

I made this particular recipe for Mother's Day, and although the picture probably doesnt look all that tasty, it was friggin delicious. I fell in love with these beautiful locally grown early tomatoes that were varied in sizes and colors (which I found at the Atwater market btw, but which I know that IGA has some in smaller packets) and decided to make a colored version of bruschetta with.

Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
  • 1lbs of multi-colored cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2-3 tsp of dried italian herbs
  • 3 oz (more or less depending on your own taste) of crumbled goat cheese
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Cut the tomatoes, onions, and pepper in bite size pieces. Alternatively, you can roast the tomatoes whole, just remember to make a slit in the tomato skin or your going to have a joyous mess of exploding tomatoes in your oven.
  2. Put the pieces on a cooking sheet and mix maybe 2 tsp of E.V.O.O. on it. Using your hands or a fork, mix it toguether to make sure that the oil is evenly spread.
  3. Roast in preheated oven (375C) for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on it to gauge the time to pull it out depending on your oven's strength. The smell and sight of the readyness of the tomatoes will be quite apparent.
  4. Pull the pan out, sprinkle half the herbs, mix and flip, and sprinkle the other half. If your tomatoes are sticking, add another tsp of EVOO. Put back in the oven for another 10 mns or so.
  5. After its done, just put in a pretty dish and crumble the goat cheese right on top. Grind some pepper right on the top of everything and voila! As an alternative to the oven, you could try pan frying the veggies as well, its a nice texture change.

And thats it! Spoon onto your vessel of choice, a nice grilled piece of flatbread, or even directly onto meat as well. Play around with it and discover all the different tomato varieties that are out there, they all have different tastes and textures and will completely alter the bruschetta. Try a different color pepper, or different onion as well. Ive added freshly shucked sweet corn for a delightful sweeter taste too!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

why not to use glutenous recipes with GF baking

These mutant cupcakes were made, foolishly, with the One-Egg Cake recipe from my mother's Joy of Cooking. I used 2/3 rice flour and about 1/3 almond flour. FAIL. I made them just two days ago at my mom's house, with refined wheat flour, for her birthday, and they were BEAUTIFUL. I didn't taste them, obviously, but they were perfect, fluffy, fragrant little puffs of magic. I iced them with, at her request, a basic butter and icing sugar frosting (I hate icing sugar, I never use the stuff), with a dollop of sour cream, and she said they were the best cupcakes ever. I wanted to recreate the magic at home... and failed. So, kids, lesson learned - it's worth looking up official, tested gluten-free recipes if you want to bake GF goods.