Dinner is served

Despite still failing to get back to meal planning, I threw together three tasty dinners this week!

The first dinner I made was burgers!  I pretty much made up the recipe:

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef
2 cups (ish) fresh spinach
1/2 cup (ish) sun dried tomatoes, soaked in garlic olive oil
1/2 cup (ish) coconut-oat pulp (leftover from homemade milk)
1/4 cup (ish) shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp (ish) fresh cilantro
Smoked paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper

I put the spinach and cilantro in a food processor and got that chopped up, then added it to the meat.  Then I added the sun dried tomatoes to the food processor with a little of the garlic olive oil and processed that as well.  Then I mixed all of the other ingredients together!  I ended up with 15 patties, but they were rather small so 12 would probably be a more realistic number.  You’ll note the many “ish”s above, and that’s because I don’t really measure that sort of stuff very well haha🙂

burgers for the freezer!

burgers for the freezer!

whoops, a little small :)

whoops, a little small🙂

Another night, I wanted to get rid of some leftovers, so I boiled up a bunch of sweet potatoes that were about to go bad and threw some of those together with some smoked chicken from a few nights before, added leftover green beans and smoked gouda (love this stuff!) and added a little bit of balsamic vinegar.  Sounds weird, but actually turned out to be quite tasty!

pot of leftovers!

pot of leftovers!

We were going to have friends over one night, so I wanted to find something fun to grill.  I came across this veggie & chicken kebabs recipe that sounded yummy!  I made quite a few adjustments, big surprise, so below is my version.  Hubby gave it two thumbs up and said it’s a keeper!!

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size cubes
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
1 can artichoke quarters (if doing it again, I would use two cans)
1 bunch asparagus, cut into fourths
1 zucchini cut into wedges
1/2 red pepper cut in to chunks (for the hubby)

Lemon Vinegarette:
2 small to medium lemons, grated + juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 a lime, juiced

Yogurt-Cheese sauce:
2/3 cup homemade coconut milk yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 ounces feta cheese

Instructions
1. Place the chicken in a gallon size ziploc bag.
2. To the bowl of a food processor add the ginger, cilantro, parsley, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Process 1-2 minutes or until everything is finely chopped. Stream in 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup garlic olive oil. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss well. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Meanwhile make the vinaigrette. Add the lemon zest and juice to a small sauce pot. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer, about 1 minute or until the zest absorbs the juice. WATCH CLOSELY, you do not want the zest to get burnt to the pan. Spoon the zest out of the pot and into a small bowl. Add the olive oil, parsley, salt, honey and lime juice. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. To make the yogurt-cheese sauce, mix together the coconut yogurt, chopped mint, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
5. Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates. Thread the chicken and veggies onto wood skewers that have been soaked in water. Place the chicken on the grill until the chicken is golden and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes each side. You may also cook the chicken in a skillet if needed. Serve the chicken with the the lemon herb vinaigrette and
the yogurt-cheese sauce.

chicken kebabs!

chicken kebabs!

chicken kebabs with sauce

chicken kebabs with sauce

For a side, I made this coconut roasted carrot salad— it was really good!  I omitted the garlic, used dried cranberries instead of cherries and did not add the feta or mint since we already had that to go with the kebabs. They did seem a little greasier than needed so next time I would probably use a little less oil.

coconut carrot salad

coconut carrot salad

Busy Busy Bee

Even though I got things wrapped up for my spring coursework at the end of April, May has been a busy whirlwind for me!  I’m already leaping ahead trying to make sure I’m prepared for my summer capstone and independent study, so I haven’t really felt like there has been much of a breather between semesters.  On top of that, lots of traveling in a week’s time and I’m still a little spun around.  When I’m busy and I’m not in my own environment, eating well and making any attempting to sticking to the FODMAP diet are pretty tough!  The conference I went to had some pretty limited food options; for example, breakfast consisted only of muffins/baked goods or a horrific looking “egg”-croissant sandwich!  Ew..  Luckily I had thrown in some bananas at the last minute and of course had my trail mix handy, so that was my breakfast both mornings.  Lunch the one day was also a little rough: choice of chicken, beef, or veggie burrito!  Come on people, where are the GF options here??  I was thankful that avoiding gluten is simply a choice for me and not a requirement since I did not have time to go hunt down a better option.  Definitely nothing low FODMAP about these burritos (wheat, beans, onions, garlic, etc??).  Luckily dinner had some more options and then the second lunch was open choice of restaurants in town.  But yes, my GI system was not feeling so hot all day Saturday!

The one meal I made between trips was inspired by sage I bought a little while ago because I thought I had tons of recipes that I could use it for, but then really didn’t have time to hunt down said recipes.  Plus the sweet potato fries appetizer from the prior trip really got me digging sage! I used this ravioli recipe as inspiration, but made quite a few tweaks.  Here’s my recipe:

Brown Butter Pasta with Chicken, Walnuts & Sage

4 chicken breasts (only needed two for the pasta, so two were leftover)
Rubbed with a mixture of smoked paprika, thyme, salt and pepper.
4ish servings of pasta (I did two servings of GF pasta and two of regular spaghetti for the hubby)
1/2 cup walnuts
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
1 thick slice of smoked gouda, chopped into small chunks
2 tbsp (ish) of grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub herb mixture over both sides of the chicken.  Heat a skillet sprayed with garlic olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook for two more minutes. Transfer chicken to oven-safe dish and continue cooking  in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Boil and drain the pasta according the to package directions.

Place the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove and chop. Wipe the skillet clean, and melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. When the butter just starts to turn brown, add the sage and stir constantly for one minute. Immediately add the pasta and stir to combine. Add the chicken, chopped walnuts, smoked gouda, and parmesan and stir. 

GF pasta with chicken & sage

GF pasta with chicken & sage

Ended up very tasty- I asked the hubby if this was a repeater and he said yes!  Again, the smoked gouda may have played a role…🙂

Otherwise, we have been nibbling on leftovers or going out to eat or just having salads this week so far!  I’m hoping to make up some burgers tonight for something different!  I did make up another batch of coconut milk yogurt with a slightly different formula.  4 cups Aroy-D coconut milk, 4 cups of homemade coconut-oat milk, 1 heaping tsp of agar and 3 tbsp tapioca starch (with half a container of SO Coconut yogurt as starter).  I wanted to see a) if using half “real” coconut milk and half homemade would still work and b) if having less agar would still make it fairly thick.  I just felt like the last few batches I could see little pockets of agar (like a small clear ball of gelatin), so I thought perhaps it didn’t need as much.  It seems to have turned out just fine, perhaps slightly less “firm” but I always felt like it wouldn’t hurt for it to be a little more runny!

My other project has been trying to get my granola to clump, without having to add more sweetener!  I think I have had success, though I still want to experiment a bit!  Still using the oats & amaranth granola recipe as a base, I again replaced the amaranth with sesame seeds as well as some sunflower seeds, did 1/2 cup hazelnuts and 1/2 cup pecans, and still used the egg white.  Oh and I also added some cardamom and smoked salt for slightly different flavor.  The big differences I made were I lined my pan with parchment paper (most recipes say to do this but I was lazy before) and I left it out overnight to cool.  When I went to break it up: tada!

granola clumps!!

granola clumps!!

So much easier and yummier for snacking!!  I will say, it tastes just a touch stale, so my next batch I’m going to just use the parchment paper, but not let it sit out overnight and see if that still yields clumps but keeps the crunchy-ness.  I also found a granola recipe that uses homemade milk pulp, so I might give that a try since I have a full gallon ziploc in the freezer full of coconut-oat pulp!

I really gotta get back to meal planning, that was so nice!!  The summer is going to be hectic, so it would be nice to have some meals already planned out to reduce brain-strain..🙂

Racing, Traveling, and Picky Stomachs

Eating while traveling is always tough when there’s a picky stomach involved, but adding to that the challenge of running a race while traveling, and wow!  I had a really rough time figuring out what to pack and what to plan to eat, etc.  I was almost frozen with indecision and even though it was a short four hour drive, I decided not to pack anything for dinner.  At the last minute, I threw in a big container of homemade coconut yogurt with some strawberries and granola to eat for lunch.  It felt pretty sad pulling that out to eat at the Mall of America, sitting in front of Johnny Rockets!

this is totally normal to eat at the mall of america, right?

this is totally normal to eat at the mall of america, right?

The rest of the day, basically I ate pecans, walnuts, and raisins.  I ate so many nuts that day that I’m surprised I didn’t turn in to one!  But I was so fearful to eat just about anything else..  For dinner, I had decided I would go somewhere that I could make my own salad, like Subway, so that’s where I went.  Problem: I accidentally ordered balsamic vinegarette, thinking I was ordering JUST balsamic vinegar.  Plus, she of course poured way too much on, and so by the time I got my salad, it was the saddest, limpest looking spinach, tomato, tiny slices of cucumber, and black olive salad I had ever seen.  I tried to eat as much as I could, but the vinegarette was overpowering and I kept thinking about how it surely had a bunch of crap that I shouldn’t eat.  I threw most of it away and went to my car, where, horrifically, I decided to straight shot warm apple cider vinegar in an attempt to fend off any potential ill effects from the vinegarette.  I tell you, I love vinegar more than any normal person should, but straight shotting warm apple cider vinegar might be the grossest thing I’ve ever done.  This is why having a picky stomach and being a runner makes me a little insane.   I know that I have to fuel properly the day before a half marathon in order to have energy, but if 90% of what I eat causes stomach problems, it’s a really tough battle!!

For my pre-race “breakfast” (hardly qualifies), I had dry brown rice crispies and two clementines.  Luckily, those seemed to be enough so that I wasn’t starving but also not too full.  The race went decently, though I still got a side cramp despite all of my best efforts!  It’s hard to tell if side cramps are caused by upset stomach or not, I sure get them a lot but they feel much different than a usual upset stomach.

The rest of the weekend I just decided to eat what sounded good, since with the race behind me I didn’t have to worry quite so much about an upset stomach holding me back.  I munched on a banana, trail mix, and a bag of potato chips post race, and then after a nice nap, I ventured out to find something for lunch.  My first try at a salad shop turned up empty, so I went in hunt of something like Au Bon Pain or Panera and found Cosi.  I had a yummy salad with chicken, bacon, and gorgonzola that hit the spot!  Dinner was a bit more of a problem, I searched yelp for something but nothing was sounding good.  I finally found a place and went out to find it, and again came up empty!  So I wandered aimlessly, also waiting to see if the hubby would be able to join, and let my hunger get away from me and got to that scary place that is beyond hunger.  It is the spacey, I need to eat but everything sounds horrible phase that usually ends with me crying and/or getting very angry.  Hangry, as it were.  Luckily, my hubby came to the rescue and we found somewhere quickly that had some good options.  I scarfed down almost the entire plate of sweet potato fries that were smothered in turkey gravy, cheese curds, sage, and cherries.  I know it sounds weird, but it was SOO tasty!  We also got dessert, chocolate torte, which was yummy!  I didn’t feel that great going to bed, but woke up feeling fine.  In fact, for brunch, I decided to try out an egg white omelette (with quinoa, spinach, tomato, and goat cheese) and I have felt fine all day, surprisingly!!

Only new food I have to share was something I whipped up before we left because I was afraid my coconut milk was going to go bad.  It was Coconut Milk Panna Cotta and it was very yummy!!  I didn’t have any cardamom (which I remedied today), but otherwise I followed the recipe.  I would say it makes four servings, I put it in to two bowls, but it was very filling and I only ate half.

coconut milk panna cotta

coconut milk panna cotta

More travels are ahead of me and I plan to bring at least lunch for the first day.  Some of the meals are included, so while that doesn’t always mean there will be something that I can/want to eat, I also don’t feel like trying to pack three days of food with me.  So I will just have to try my best and make sure I have trail mix handy at all times to avoid turning in to Hangry.🙂

Pizza!! Cheese!!

This week I never got around to doing a meal plan.. le sigh..  Luckily, that’s what Pinterest is for!  I found this pretty easy sounding GF pizza crust using quinoa, so I thought I would give it a try.  I soaked the quinoa overnight; I decided to make two because I always figure if you’re going to make a mess, might as well make double the mess!  I omitted the garlic and seasoned it with dried rosemary and some tumeric.  To give it a little more flavor, I used garlic olive oil to cook it in instead of just regular.  I cooked it on the stove in a full size cast iron skillet and thought it worked great!

quinoa pizza crust

quinoa pizza crust

double the yum!

double the yum!

I froze one and let the other one sit out, awaiting toppings for dinner.  For the sauce, I mashed up half of an avocado with some lime juice, garlic olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Then I topped it with tomatoes, black olives, spinach, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and some dried rosemary.  It was awesome!!  It is pretty filling crust, so even though it was only about 9 inches, I still was very satisfied just having half for dinner and saving the other half for the next day.

GF pizza!!

GF pizza!!

I also made tacos this week, which really weren’t any different than I always made them: with no taco seasoning.  I’ve never liked taco seasoning, so several years ago I just started making my meat separate from the hubby’s and that works fine.  I added smoked paprika, tumeric, some garlic olive oil spray, and salt and pepper.  I used corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s and just warmed them up on the stove.

Tonight I made Gouda & Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops- they turned out great!  I found the recipe in a random magazine and made some adjustments based on what I had on hand and my dietary needs.  The recipe called for thick pork chops and we only had small, thin ones, so instead of trying to stuff anything into them, I decided to just stack them!  This worked out very well, though eating “one” was really too much since it was really two pork chops, so we each just ate a half.  Here’s my recipe:

6 thin pork chops
3 slices smoked Gouda
3 handfuls of torn, fresh spinach
1-2 tbsp dijon mustard (Hy-Vee brand actually is low FODMAP safe)
1/2 cup or so of almond meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a glass dish.  I spread a small squirt of mustard on each pork chop then dipped it in the almond meal.  I placed one pork chop, almond meal down, in the dish then put a slice of smoked Gouda and then piled on a handful of spinach.  Then I stacked another pork chop, almond meal up, on top.  Cooked for 35 minutes.  Husband approved!!  Though I do have to admit, I think anything you put that smoked Gouda on is going to taste good🙂

gouda & spinach stuffed pork chops

gouda & spinach stuffed pork chops

I’m doing some travelling over the next week and so eating will be an interesting task.  I’m mostly worried about this weekend and what to eat on the road the day before my half marathon.  I think for my pre-race breakfast my plan is just to have some Erewhon brown rice crisps and a small clementine, but I know that the entire day before I’ll need to be careful too.  Might just be eating some carefully selected salads!!  I did just make up another batch of granola, so I’ll have that on hand for snacking at least.  This round I followed the oats & amaranth granola recipe that I used before except instead of amaranth I used sesame seeds.  I also decided to experiment by adding some almond butter, yes I know I said that it may be giving me problems, but I just can’t live 100% without it and I figured having only about 4 tbsp throughout the whole granola shouldn’t bother me too much.  The reason I decided to add it was that I really want this granola to have some good chunks in it!  It has been successfully crunchy ever since adding the egg white, but it has been crumbly and therefore hard to snack on.  Good for cereal and on yogurt, but not so good for trying to just eat out of the bag🙂  It is cooling now, so we’ll see if adding the almond butter was successful or not!

And now for something…completely different

I’m still trying to figure out this whole blogging, tagging, SEO, following, gobbly-gook, so forgive me if I’m a bit clueless about some of these things.  But a friend and fellow blogger, Little Runner, Bigger City, nominated me for a “Liebster Award,” so I figured hey, go with it!  I was very curious about what exactly this was, so a quick 30 second Google led me to this other blogger’s research behind it: Liebster Award history.  Essentially, it started in like 2010 and is just a fun way for smaller bloggers to connect and recognize each other.  Okay sounds good!  Now supposedly, I have to nominate TEN other bloggers for this- I’m not sure I really even “know” ten other bloggers, plus my guess is many of them received the “award” long ago.  But I’m happy to play along and answer some non-food related questions for once!  Here are her questions for me:

1. What place would you submit to Runner’s World’s “rave run” feature?
Hmm, well for places that I’ve ACTUALLY ran, I think the top would be in La Quinta Vergara in Vina del Mar, Chile.  It’s a small little garden with this cool mansion and amphitheater in it.  It was right next to the apartment I lived in there and I looped around and around in there because I felt relatively safe, though I think the groundskeepers thought I was a bit odd.🙂  Surprisingly, the second place that came to mind was the Heritage Trail in Dubuque, Iowa.  I was very familiar with this trail during my first marathon training and it is a very serene location.

la quinta vergara, chile

la quinta vergara, chile

heritage trail run

heritage trail run

2. What race would you tell others to put on their bucket list?
The Des Moines Marathon, of course!!🙂 I have done the half three times and the full twice now and I just think it such a great race.  Big enough that it is fun and there are plenty of crowds, but not so big that it is overwhelming.  I also am a fan of the Capital Pursuit 10 miler, I think mostly because I have found that 10 miles is my sweet spot.  I have also had a BLAST at Run4Troops marathon relay the last two years with my Dubuque running buddies- it goes the length of the Heritage Trail.

3. What’s your worst race experience?
I was not a fan of the new Drake half marathon route, which I ran last year.  It was the first long race after winter and I just hadn’t trained all that well and then hills were just terrible.  I was just disappointed with how I did and felt.  I also got myself into a bit of an adventure inadvertently when I decided at the last minute to do a random Thanksgiving race in Pittsburgh.  I knew that it was on trails, but I had no idea just how ridiculously hilly it was and there were several times where I was very close to injury.  It was exciting and I felt proud to have survived, but it was definitely a gamble!

4. What food is a must-avoid leading up to a run?
Oh geez, I have a list a mile long!  It’d be easier to give my short list of what I CAN eat haha!  Definite things that I avoid are dairy, eggs, soy, chocolate, fatty meat, onions, garlic, alcohol and definitely no junk/processed food.  During my marathon, my staple was very lightly seasoned barley with spinach, avocado, and tuna and sweet potatoes with raw honey.  Now, with this new diet I’m trying, I would add avoiding wheat and barley and limiting avocado or too much fruit.

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a run?
Wow I’m sure I’ve seen some weird things, but I’m really blanking!  The only thing that springs to mind is recently there was a possum running around my neighborhood.

6. Do you have any special pre-race rituals?
Does toe taping count?  Haha, I do make sure my feet are blister-proofed the best they can be.  My feet are ridiculously blister prone, I swear!  Otherwise, it’s just making sure I have the right clothes out and ready to go and pre-race, light and easy food figured out.

7. What foods/drinks do you crave during or after a run?
SALTY, I always crave salty things after a long run.  So usually crackers or now tortilla chips are a must for a quick fix.  After a few of my longer runs last fall, I craved avocado grilled cheeses mmmm.

8. How do you pamper yourself after a tough workout or race?
Occasionally I take epsom salt baths and I try to roll out on my foam roller.  Otherwise, I suppose a nap would be my definition of pampering!

9. Who would play you in a movie?
Audrey Hepburn of course!

10. What was the first concert you ever attended?
Amy Grant!  She’ll always be my all time favorite artist🙂

amy grant!

amy grant!

 

Back at it!

I have had a seriously crazy couple of weeks in regards to homework, holy cow!  I had some major cheat days (hello flour tacos from Tasty Taco??), but have been for the most part sticking to the low FODMAP diet.  Despite the chaos, I still had some time to try out a few new recipes and tried to snag some pictures when I remembered!  Here are the ones that I can remember:

Skinny Baked Lemon Dill Mahi Mahi: I didn’t have fresh dill so just used the dried that I had and I subbed my homemade coconut milk yogurt for the cream cheese.  It turned out super yummy!

mahi mahi

mahi mahi

Roasted Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad: I made this as a side for a family dinner and everyone thought it was great!  The roasted fennel was really good and all of the flavors and textures melded together really well.  I think I might make it again this weekend, especially now that I have a HUGE bag of quinoa courtesy of CostCo!

fennel quinoa salad

fennel quinoa salad

Carrot Fries: This looked really tasty and super easy, though it was harder to find the matchstick style carrots than I expected.  I found a bag at Trader Joe’s for $1.69.  I was very underwhelmed by it, not as crispy as I had hoped and they shrunk up super small- did not look like the picture on the website.  They weren’t bad, but I wouldn’t bother making them again.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Thighs with Tabbouleh: I have use this recipe before for chicken thighs and it is so easy and they turn out so yummy!  If you are afraid of grilling chicken because you think it will dry out, try thighs.  I always overcook chicken breasts on the grill, but thighs have enough fat that they stay nice and moist.  For the tabbouleh, I used quinoa instead of bulgar and added some chopped spinach.  Great meal!

Parmesan butternut squash: Yum!  I’ve had a squash hanging around for probably a month now that I keep meaning to use, so I finally had time to chop it up last night and decided to give it a try with parmesan cheese instead of my usual cinnamon and ginger.  I liked it!  The hubby said he liked it better with cinnamon, so I guess it’s a matter of preference.

Pumpkin Quinoa Flake Microwave Muffin: I’ve been wanting to make something like this since I got my quinoa flakes, so I finally had time one morning when I had off work.  I used ground chia seeds instead of flaxseed and 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup instead of Truvia.  It was very tasty but very filling so I saved half for the next day’s breakfast.

pumpkin quinoa muffin

pumpkin quinoa muffin

Oats & Amaranth Granola: I went through my last granola batch super fast- it was so good!  I wanted to try a slightly different variety and was wondering if steel cut oats would work.  I found a recipe that used steel cut oats as well as amaranth, which I bought quite a while ago.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, though added some pumpkin seeds and ground chia, as well as an egg white.  I added golden raisins and dried cranberries after it was cooked because I felt they stuck in my teeth in the last batch since I had baked them with the rest of the granola.  It turned out very good again, though honestly, I could do without the amaranth.  They are these tiny seeds and get stuck in my teeth, though do help to give a little bit more of a crunch.  I’ll probably use them again at some point so I can use up the bag, but don’t think I’ll use them every time.

oat & amaranth granola

oat & amaranth granola

Mint Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream: Just tonight I made this up- sooo good!  I had bananas already frozen in the freezer and several avocados hanging out from my trip to CostCo.  I made a pretty big batch so that my family can try some this weekend, so it was probably 5-6 frozen bananas, 1.5 avocados, 1 tsp mint extract, 1 cup homemade coconut-oat milk, and 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.  It was awesome!!  I used a mix of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and EnjoyLife’s dark chocolate chips.

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

This week has mostly been eating on the chicken thighs that we grilled up as well as the whole chicken I roasted in the crock pot.  I used some of the chicken to make my version of “ave paltas,” my favorite Chilean sandwich.  It is just chopped up chicken, avocados, lime juice, salt and pepper, and a little bit of garlic olive oil mixed up and put on bread with a tomato.  For my bread, I made the GF instant flatbread several times.  This is a great, fast bread especially now that I’ve been mixing dried rosemary into the dough.

I haven’t had much brain power to do meal planning the last few weeks, but hope to get back to that this weekend.  I have a lot of options now that I made it to CostCo!

Meals this Week

A couple of new foods I tried this week:

Lime & Coconut Chicken: This was SUPER tasty!  Rave reviews from the hubby!  I obviously excluded the chili and I also didn’t add cilantro because I didn’t have any on hand.  I would say the only strange thing was the sauce turned out lumpy, it was still tasty, but definitely not a smooth sauce.  My guess is this was because I used my homemade oat-coconut milk instead of just straight canned coconut milk.  (forgot to take a picture of it)

Instant Flatbread: It definitely seemed crazy to try to make bread in the microwave, but I thought it was worth at least giving a try.  It was very good!  I doubled the recipe and made two both last night and tonight.  Even the hubby wanted one!  I think next time I’m going to try mixing the rosemary and maybe some tumeric into the dough so that there is more flavor incorporated throughout instead of just sprinkled on top.  I smeared some garlic-infused olive oil on top with the salt and rosemary.  It was so easy that I think I’ll be making it a lot!  And I think it is soft enough that I could almost use it as a wrap as well.

GF instant flatbread

GF instant flatbread

Greek Style Quinoa Patties with Tzatziki Sauce: I still had some tzatziki sauce leftover from the tandoori fish I made last week (okay so it wasn’t really called tzatziki sauce then because it was for an Indian dish, but seriously they are the same thing!), so when I stumbled upon this recipe I thought it would be a great way to use that up.  I made some adjustments to the recipe to make it low FODMAP.  I sauteed some green onions in garlic infused olive oil and then added the fresh spinach, I used chia eggs to substitute the actual eggs, and I used almond flour instead of the bread crumbs.  Oh and I didn’t have a lemon for zest so just sprinkled a little bit of lemon juice.  I thought they turned out great!!  Not really hubby’s style, but he had leftover chicken to eat.

quinoa patty w/ tzatziki sauce

quinoa patty w/ tzatziki sauce

Side note: My most recent recipe for homemade granola has been SOOO GOOD!!  I want to eat it all the time, breakfast, snacks, lunch!!  So note to anyone who wants to make their own granola: a) it’s easy, b) it’s so much healthier, and c) ADD THE EGG WHITE, it makes all the difference!  *crunch munch munch*

Week 5 Meal Plan

On to Week 5!  I made it, mostly, for my original 30 day challenge and it really hasn’t been that hard to omit some of the issue causing foods, so I’m going to keep at it, for the most part.  This weekend I did have a few cheats; in class, one group gave a presentation about Japan and brought so many fun-looking Japanese treats that I just had to try!!  And I quickly paid for it, oof.  Not sure if it was the peanuts or possible wheat or soy, but it was almost instant stomach pain.  Darn.  Today I cheated a bit at PF Chang’s, I had their chicken lettuce wraps, which have mushrooms and I’m sure there was probably a few other things mixed in there that I shouldn’t have had, plus I had a little of my husband’s chicken and broccoli.  Surprisingly, I didn’t feel all that bad!

week 5 plan

week 5 plan

week 5 plan cont.

week 5 plan cont.

week 5 prep

week 5 prep

Today I made up another granola recipe as well as making a savory porridge.  For the granola, I followed this “how to” from Buzzfeed to create my own mix.  I used a mix of rolled oats and quinoa flakes, pecans, almond slivers, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, ground chia seeds, coconut chips, golden raisins, and dried cranberries.  And of course CINNAMON, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.  I used maple syrup with some vanilla for the sweetener, melted coconut oil, and an egg white.  The egg white was what was supposed to make it crunchy, so I thought it was worth a try.  It turned out GREAT!!

DIY granola

DIY granola

For the savory porridge, I mostly followed the recipe, but used homemade coconut milk instead of whole milk and I added chopped, fresh spinach because I thought it needed some more GREEN.  Looks tasty, should make for fun lunches this week!  Great way to use some of the homemade chicken stock in my freezer.

savory porridge

savory porridge

Even MORE New Foods!

I tackled a few more new recipes this week as well as buying some new foods to try through Vitacost.  My first new recipe was a Spaghetti Squash Veggie Bake, with several adjustments.  First, I omitted the red pepper, second I used garlic olive oil, and I used my homemade Turkey Tomato Basil marinara for the sauce.  I thought it turned out tasty, the hubby was just okay with it, but I supposed I wasn’t surprised by that.

spaghetti squash veggie bake

spaghetti squash veggie bake

Next, I wanted to find something that I could use some of my date paste for, especially since I just recently realized that it’s not something I should really be having, per FODMAP.  I knew dried fruit was technically off limits, but I guess I thought it was more because it can be hard to digest, not because of the fructose content, but apparently dates have VERY high fructose content.  Darn.  I found this recipe, Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I ended up also using my leftover oat-coconut pulp from making milk instead of just oats. I had to play with the amount of liquid since the pulp was more moist than oats would be.  I thought they turned out okay, not wonderful, but a good use of things I had on hand.

oat-coconut pulp, date paste cookies

oat-coconut pulp, date paste cookies

We had leftovers a few nights this week, which was really nice- I love knowing that I have several kinds of already cooked veggies in my freezer to choose from at any time!!  I did make this Tandoori Spiced Fish last night and I thought it turned out pretty tasty.  I think the chicken curry I made last week was much better though!  A good use of my homemade yogurt though🙂  I had the fish with a side of this awesome pumpkin, ginger, rice pasta that I just got through Vitacost- yummmy!  I wanted to see how flavorful the noodles were by themselves, so I just melted a little bit of the coconut manna I also got (aka coconut butter- yes different than coconut oil) and some salt.  I didn’t necessarily get an overwhelming taste of pumpkin or ginger, but they were very good even as plain as I had them.

rice pasta; coconut manna

rice pasta; coconut manna

Some of my other findings at Vitacost, which had some products cheaper than Amazon but definitely not everything, was raw pumpkin seeds for only $5.79/lb (almost a dollar cheaper than Amazon), organic pumpkin for almost the same price as Hy-vee brand, and quinoa flakes cheaper than I’ve seen anywhere else!  I definitely am going to stock up big time on pumpkin come the fall, I use it all year round so it’s really dumb to be paying twice as much for it right now!

organic pumpkin- no BPA!

organic pumpkin- no BPA!

pumpkin seeds

pumpkin seeds

quinoa flakes

quinoa flakes

I’m excited to give the quinoa flakes a try, they can be used similar to oats and I have several recipes pinned that I want to give a whirl!  Since I finished off my homemade yogurt, I was able to do another batch of yogurt, but this time I wanted to try coconut milk yogurt!!!  I used the Aroy-D coconut milk that I got at the Asian grocery store, plus a bit of my homemade oat-coconut milk.  It ended up being about 6 cups Aroy-D plus 2 cups of homemade, mostly because that was all that I had of my homemade.  I used this thick and rich coconut milk yogurt recipe, but doubled it and like I said, used a little more coconut milk than she did since I didn’t have much homemade on hand.  I was very nervous if this was going to work, I had read other blogs that said never to mix in things like tapioca starch or agar while it’s cooking!  But I think it turned out GREAT!  It has a natural bit of sweetness, so I didn’t really need to add a whole lot of maple syrup to make it palatable.  I do think I might try next time to use less tapioca starch, it was plenty thick and I feel like I could kind of tell there was a starch in it.  But maybe I would need that much tapioca starch if I had had more homemade milk, not sure..  OH and I used a store bought SO Coconut milk yogurt as the starter, since the starter I have is dairy based and I wanted to make this one with no dairy whatsoever.  In any case, I think it was a success!!  A return trip to the Asian store to stock up on Aroy-D will be made next week!  :)

homemade coconut milk yogurt!!!

homemade coconut milk yogurt!!!

I swung out to Trader Joe’s tonight so that I could gather some more ingredients to make another batch of homemade granola this weekend- can’t wait!  I think I’m going to try a version that uses egg white, I know I don’t really eat eggs, but I think it wouldn’t be all that much and supposedly that is what makes it nice and crunchy, which I missed with my last version.  While there, I was looking at beer for my husband and came across this NGB gluten free lager!  I’m enjoying it now after a chill in the freezer and it’s pretty good🙂

ngb GF beer

ngb GF beer

Week 4 Meal Plan

On top of my game again this week, though it helped that I already had a few ideas for meals this week leftover from last week!

week 4 plan

week 4 plan

week 4 plan cont.

week 4 plan cont.

week 4 prep

week 4 prep

Bonus pic: GF pumpkin aebleskivers!  I followed this recipe, which I used before at Christmas, I just swapped in my GF flour mix.  I would say that it was very thick, I’m not sure if that was because of the GF flour mix or because I used my homemade oat milk, but I had to add some more water to get to a better consistency.  Oh and I used melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  The trickiest part with these is just knowing how long to cook them without burning.  When I made them the first time, many of them were still gummy in the center, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.  They turned out WONDERFUL!  Now I have a whole bag in my freezer🙂

GF pumpkin aebleskivers

GF pumpkin aebleskivers