Some more new foods!

Pinterest has really inspired me to try some new recipes!  It’s kind of funny because a large majority of them are vegan, which works great since that means there’s no dairy or eggs, but I just find it rather hilarious since I still eat meat!  I guess I’m on a vegan plus meat diet??  Haha!  I have found several fun recipes that I want to try but until I find a new blender and food processor, I won’t be able to make them..  I never realized how hard it would be to find decent and inexpensive blenders and food processors!!  I know for heavy users the expensive ones are worth it, but gosh I just can’t justify spending $150+ on these things right now.  Hopefully something will come up that will work for me for now at least.  I also had two recipes I wanted to try that used cacao nibs, which I had heard of before and could have sworn I’d seen at Hy-Vee but on perusing every single square inch of the Health section at Hy-Vee, I did not find them.  I might end up ordering some from Amazon.

Well, here’s what I’ve whipped up this week!

                                          

Pumpkin Biscuits

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Pumpkin pie spice

3 tbsp Earth Balance coconut spread

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 tbsp dark agave

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer wisked with 2 tbsp warm water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin pan (9-10).  Mix the dry ingredients together first, then add the coconut spread, pumpkin, agave, and egg replacer.  Beat to combine; dough will be smooth and sticky.  Spoon the dough into the muffin cups; shape the tops with wet fingers.  Bake for 15 mins.  Remember, these are biscuits so they won’t be very sweet.  They were very good- I added pumpkin butter to the first one, because I’m uber-pumpkiny like that 😉

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Well I guess I was on a pumpkin kick, because I also made this pumpkiny treat from the genius over at www.choosingraw.com:

Pumpkin Chia Pudding (serves 1)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup rice milk + more as needed
Stevia to taste
Pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients together. Wait for it to gel, stirring every few moments. As you go, eyeball it to see how much extra almond milk it needs. It may need a few tablespoons; it may need 1/3 cup more. It’s hard to predict! As soon as the texture matches what you like, the pudding is ready to serve.

Okay so mine looked nothing like the picture above from her site!  I don’t know if it’s because I used only black chia seeds and maybe she used white?  Mine looks pretty ugly, but it tasted okay from the few bites I had.  I stuck it in the fridge thinking it’ll probably taste better cold, though I’ll probably have to add some more rice milk since it will probably continue to set a bit.

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I’m a little tired of all the walnuts I’ve been eating, so I wanted to make another healthy protein item for snacking.  I found this recipe on vegetariantastebuds.blogspot.com:

Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

1 15 oz can chickpeas
3 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
Pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp agave/honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and keep aside. In a small bowl mix together oil, cinnamon and sugar. Now mix this paste with chickpeas so that beans is evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas on  baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, shake the tray in between for one or two times. After 45 minutes check for the crispiness. If more crispiness is required then bake for few more minutes.  After the beans are baked take them out of the oven and pour maple syrup/ honey on it while it is still hot. Evenly coat the beans with the syrup and let dry for sometime. Store in an airtight container.
I think mine turned out pretty good, though as I was typing this I realized that I thought it said 3 TBSP oil not 3 tsp!  I also substituted the sugar with Truvia.  Sooo.. no wonder my mixture wasn’t really a “paste”!  Hahaha oh well, should still work as a tasty snack.
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Earlier this week I made up a new flavor of smoothie that I got the idea for from a post on Pinterest:
Avocado-Banana Smoothie
1/2 avocado
1 frozen sliced banana
Handful of spinach leaves
Squirt of lime juice
Scoop of vanilla hemp protein
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
Coconut milk, as much as needed to thin it out
My husband thought it sounded gross, but I liked it, it was very creamy and filling- and GREEN!
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No huge surprise I guess, but food in general hasn’t been sounding all that great to me.  So several times this week I’ve made up variations of:
Sauteed Baby Bella Mushrooms & Spinach
Add a swirl of olive oil to frying pan and heat up.
Wash & slice 5-6 baby bella mushrooms and add to the oil.
Add your choice of spices, I like a good dose of smoked paprika (the best seasoning out there!!), salt and pepper, some dried oregano, and a little bit of garlic powder.
Add a few splashes of lime juice
Once these are cooked a bit, add spinach leaves a small bunch at a time until you have the desired mix of spinach to mushrooms.
Optional add-ins: canned beans, canned tomatoes, etc.
Pour the entire mixture over buns, bread, barley, rice, or quinoa! I don’t know, but this has been about the only thing that has sounded good to me this week.
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Since my husband was home, we needed something with some meat in it for dinner!  I found this recipe on www.chef-in-training.com:
Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste

Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.  Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice.

We were a little disappointed.  It sounded so good and the chicken shredded really nicely so I thought it would be really flavorful, but it was a little dull.  Now granted, it originally had cayenne pepper and some green chiles, of which I hate so I didn’t add, but I don’t really think that would have added a whole lot, especially since my husband added those things to his and still was a little underwhelmed.  Part of the problem may have been that I didn’t have a full can of black beans AND we put in more like 2 1/4 pounds of chicken, so the chicken to veggie ratio was a little high.  We put it over some black rice, which is REALLY good if you’ve never tried it before (I had to buy it on Amazon; no store I looked at carried it).  I think tomorrow I’m going to use it kind of like chicken salad and put it over spinach and maybe add like some carrots, etc.
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Oil Cleansing Method-slightly unrelated to the stomach..

Okay, this is rather unrelated to stomach issues, but it is health related so I wanted to track my progress in this venture as well!  I read about the “Oil Cleansing Method” for washing your face with oil.  It’s a combination of castor oil and other oils such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil, or jojoba oil; the castor oil cleanses your skin of the dirt, makeup, etc. and the other oil helps to keep the naturally occurring oil in your skin in balance.  It makes a lot of sense since our skin naturally makes oil and most face cleansers are trying to strip your skin of oil, which actually causes your skin to try to make MORE oil versus just keeping it in balance.  So I found grapeseed oil at my local grocery store for $5.49 for 8.45 oz and combined it in a 9:1 ratio with castor oil.  I reused an old lime juice bottle and put in 18 tbsps of grapeseed oil and 2 tbsp of castor oil.  Tonight I rubbed it into my face and then put a warm damp wash cloth on my face to open up the pores and did this three times till the oil was removed.  My face feels very clean and actually a little dry, surprisingly!  The info says that in 14 days you’ll see dramatic results, so here it goes!

Cornbread part 3? or 4?

I know I have made cornbread SEVERAL times over the last month or two and each time I vary it just a little bit, mostly based on what I do or don’t have on hand 🙂  This is a variation the walnut-cornbread I’ve made I think twice before?  I found another recipe online that I’d like to try sometime, but it called for applesauce which I don’t currently have.

Walnut-Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/3 cup sugar (could probably add less next time)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup rice milk (all I had on hand was the vanilla, would def use plain next time)

1/2 cup coconut milk (same as above)

4 tbsp warm water mixed with 3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer (aka 2 eggs)

4 tbsp canola oil

1 cup frozen corn, thawed and then pulverized

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8X8 pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, walnuts, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.  In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, oil, and corn.  Add to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the mixture into prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown- this took longer than I thought! The original recipe said 15 mins for muffins, I started at 18 mins and added in 4 min intervals for a total time of 30 mins.  So I’d say start at 22 mins and see what you think!

Homemade Granola round TWO

Since we are trapped in the house for at least the next like 18 hours because of snow, I thought I’d do some baking!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out to the grocery store before the snow hit, so some of the things I wanted to make will have to wait until I can get the ingredients.  I did finally make up a second batch of homemade granola- complete with photos and a few variations!

Uncle Steve’s Granola

4 cups old fashioned or quick oats

1 cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup vanilla hemp protein

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup ground flax seed

Several shakes of pumpkin pie spice

Mix well and then add:

1/3 cup canola oil

½ cup honey/agave nectar

Mix well and then spread onto two cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and stir in about 1 cup of dried fruit (I did a mix of chopped banana chips, dates, and golden raisins and about ¼ cup of coconut flakes).  Remove promptly onto a separate cookie sheet to cool, then store in bags or sealed jar.

 

Yuumm!

Out of the blue, I bought some baby bella mushrooms just because I haven’t had any for awhile.  I didn’t really have any plans for them other than maybe adding to salads or something.  But then one day I thought that I’d try sauteing them, so I added a little olive oil to a pan, sliced em up and threw them in.  On the fly, I decided I’d put them on one of my millet buns and also realized I had some fresh spinach that I could wilt as well.  To get a little more flavor, I added some smoked paprika (seriously the best spice EVER!!), dried basil, salt and pepper and tiny bit of garlic powder.  I let it all cook down until there were some juices, then I poured the whole thing over the millet buns and ate as an open sandwich.

YUM

One and a half months in…

I know I’ve been a little MIA lately.. just haven’t had a lot of new things to report!  I would really say that my stomach has been completely hit or miss, which is no different than before I even started on this diet, so I’m a little perplexed by that.  My husband keeps saying that if it’s not working, then just stop doing it, but I really am trying to see this thing through.  Plus, I’m waiting to hear the results from my urine test to see if that tells us anything, one way or the other.

I was a little inspired yesterday after hearing the Hy-Vee nutritionist speak at a luncheon about how eating right is really the “cure” so to speak for all the illness in our society.  If people would just put good, natural stuff into their body in the first place, so much disease could be avoided!  So even if my stomach is still a little “wonky,” I know that it is helping me, for the most part, put better quality food into my body.  One person at the luncheon asked about how to go about buying healthy food when it’s so much more expensive, and the nutritionist talked about how good for you foods may be more expensive, but they keep you fuller so you don’t need to eat as much.  Plus, she added, when people say they can’t afford healthy food, but decide they simply MUST have the latest designer shoes, that maybe we need to get our priorities straight here and think about how the food we eat today affects how our body will be years from now, whereas the latest fashion will be gone quickly.  That really helped me to realize that I want to eat healthier and try to cut down on the chemicals and additives and just try to eat healthy grains and produce and meat, even if that means spending more money on groceries and cutting back in other areas.

One change that I do think has helped is trying to eat protein at breakfast and cutting out the cereal completely.  I do feel like in the mornings I have more energy and while I still need a bit of a snack before lunch, I’m never starving.  SO I would highly recommend trying to add more protein to your breakfast!!

I have also been finding inspiration for recipes and healthy living on my latest obsession- Pinterest!  This weekend I might give a few a whirl, possibly to include Black Bean Brownies.  I realize also that if I could just get myself to plan meals more often, then I wouldn’t get into such ruts, but that’s just something that I continue to struggle with.

My final thought was just a very quick, easy meal that I made last night that turned out well:

Black Bean & Butternut squash Pasta

  • 1/2 butternut squash, cooked
  • 2 servings of rotini shaped brown rice pasta
  • 1 can salmon, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • A swirl or two of olive oil
  • Tiny bit of garlic powder
  • Shake of dried basil
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice pasta in boiling water. Do not overcook. Al Dente is at 7 minutes from the boil. You want the pasta to have a very very slight crunch. (Rice pasta has the tendency to turn to mush when overcooked.).
  2. Drain pasta. Add oil to prevent sticking.
  3. If haven’t already, remove squash from skin. Add the butternut squash, black beans, spices and salmon to a bowl and microwave (this cools quickly, so make sure it’s hot).  Add this mixture to pasta and eat!

The Bad and the Good

The weekend started out not so great for my GI tract or for sticking with my diet.  Saturday I was plagued with stomach issues and I have no idea why!  I was good all day Friday as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday, so I was very discouraged to have such problems even when I was doing a good job of sticking with my diet.  SO, since I was already miserable and we were going out for dinner, I splurged on pizza!!  And boy was it tasty 🙂 🙂  Amazingly, I did not feel sick immediately after eating and even today, while I wouldn’t say my stomach is fabulous, I actually feel better than I was feeling most of the day on Saturday.  It all seems a little strange to me because I have not seen much consistency in that on the days where I’m really good at sticking with my diet, I don’t consistently feel good.  And same with the days where I’m maybe not as good, I don’t necessarily feel worse than on the days where I’m “being good.”

After being “bad” for a night, I thought I’d be good and make up some baked goods that follow my diet.  So first  I decided to give the GF Bisquick that my mom gave me a try, along with the Ener-G Egg Replacer.  I made up biscuits and pancakes, which sadly used up my whole box.  Neither item got very brown like you’d be used to seeing, but they both tasted pretty good!  So after making those up I got them into the freezer for later consumption.  Here’s the recipes:

GF Bisquick Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick GF Mix

1/3 cup coconut butter

2/3 cup coconut milk

3 times 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water

Heat over to 400 degrees.  Cut coconut butter into mix using a fork until particles are size of small peas.  Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 16-18 mins (never really got golden brown..).  Makes 10 biscuits.

GF Bisquick Pancakes

1 cup Bisquick GF Mix

1 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp veg oil

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water

Stir ingredients until blended.  Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup onto hot greased griddle.  Cook until edges are dry.  Turn; cook until golden.  Makes 10 pancakes.

Next up, I made some GF Bread in the oven instead of in the bread machine.  I think this was pretty successful, though maybe a little sour tasting and a little short for sandwich bread.

Delicious GF Bread Recipe

2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup potato starch

2 tsp xanthum gum

1 1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp rapid dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp rice vinegar (can also use is white wine cider vinegar or lemon juice)

1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tbsp warm water till frothy

Whisk dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix with electric mixer using the paddle attachment for 2 minutes.  The bread dough will be more like cake batter than traditional bread dough.  For rising, create a proofing box in your microwave.  Microwave a small mug of water until it boils.  Leave the water in the microwave.  Pour the bread dough into one well-greased bread pan and then put in the microwave.  Allow to rise until batter extends a bit over the top of the pans (about 50 mins).  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins, then remove loaf and cover with aluminum foil.  Return to oven and bake for additional 40-45 mins.

The final thing that I made tonight were some energy bars, thanks to the idea from HyVee’s most recent “Seasons” magazine.  They gave several different things you could use to make them, so I used what I had on hand.

Homemade Energy Bars

2 cups quick oats

3/4 cup agave nectar

3/4 cup sunflower nut butter

1 cup ground flaxseed

1 cup vanilla hemp protein powder

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dates

Mix all ingredients together using an electric mixer or food processor.  Press evenly into a greased 8-inch square glass dish.  Refrigerate to firm bars.  Makes 16.

1/6 Food Diary

Breakfast

  • Pinole-chia waffle with sunflower butter and pumpkin butter
  • Homemade granola and coconut milk
  • Acacia senegal tummy fiber with water
  • 25 mg Pregnenalone; 2 Optivite PMT, 2 ProGreens pills
  • 1 mg Testosterone lotion

Snacks

  • Diet Ginger Ale
  • Roasted seaweed

Lunch

  • Bakery on Main walnut cappuccino bar
  • Pear
  • 3 tbsps rosemary walnuts

Dinner

  • 2 slices millet-zucchini bread with 3 slices canadian bacon and 2 slices fake American cheese and lentil-walnut spread
  • A few handfuls of Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws
  • Approx 1 tbsps of Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
  • Iced tea with Acacia senegal tummy fiber
  • 2 Ambrotose; 2 Optivite PMT; 2 fish oil pills; 5 mg DHEA; drop of Vitamin D

GI Rating: 3

(scale of 1-5, 1 being frequent bathroom breaks and gassy, 5 being no rumbly tumbly!)

Energy level Rating: 3

(scale of 1-5, 1 being utterly exhausted, 5 being bouncing off the walls with energy)

One month in

It’s been one month on the new diet and most days I’ve been pretty disappointed with the results.  I know this takes time, so I’ll keep at it, but I was hoping that I would be feeling a good deal better by now.  There have been a few good days more recently, though I would say that today felt like a bit of a set back.  One observation I have made is that actually sticking to the diet actually has gotten easier!  It isn’t that hard anymore to avoid the things I’m supposed to avoid and find other things that I can eat, though I know that I probably should be varying my diet a little more than I am.  It’s just hard because I tend to make things en masse, like the most recent bean-rice-salmon mixture.  But I do think that even after the three months are up, I think there will be certain things that I still avoid just because they’re not all that healthy for me anyways.  Lately, I’ve been thinking that I would like to also try to avoid additives as well, since really these are things that our bodies weren’t meant to process in the first place and certainly can’t be helping my GI issues.  Probably one of the harder ones, sadly, are the artificial sweeteners..  the occasional times I have pop, which has decreased, but when I do, I have diet.. and when I have coffee, I usually add sweet n low.. One solution with the coffee is that I’m going to bring some of my Truvia to work.. supposedly the Truvia is better since it’s made from the stevia plant.. I know that’s still up for debate too.  One of the biggest issues I’ve found with food is that we keep trying to make new kinds of foods and then we keep finding out that these things are bad for us!!  Ugh, it really would be easier to just eat fruits and veggies..

1/5 Food Diary

Breakfast

  • Apples & Cinnamon Better Oats oatmeal with ground flaxseed, walnuts, raisins, and splash of rice milk
  • Acacia senegal tummy fiber with water
  • Pea protein mixed in coconut milk
  • 25 mg Pregnenalone; 2 Optivite PMT, 2 ProGreens pills
  • 1 mg Testosterone lotion

Snacks

  • Peppermint mocha Nescafe with coconut milk
  • A few handfuls of Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws
  • Boomi Bar by Divine Foods Products, Perfect Pumpkin flavor (not  very good, not buying again)

Lunch

  • Wild rice, canned salmon, black beans, bean sprouts, spinach, avocado with lime juice and balsamic dressing
  • Banana
  • 2 Dove dark chocolates

Dinner

  • 2 hot dogs with 2 millet hot dog buns, mashed avocado, and ketchup
  • Approx 1 tbsps of Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
  • Iced tea with Acacia senegal tummy fiber
  • 2 Ambrotose; 2 Optivite PMT; 2 fish oil pills; 5 mg DHEA; drop of Vitamin D

GI Rating: 2

(scale of 1-5, 1 being frequent bathroom breaks and gassy, 5 being no rumbly tumbly!)

Energy level Rating: 3

(scale of 1-5, 1 being utterly exhausted, 5 being bouncing off the walls with energy)