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*

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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

New Purchases & Recipes

I managed to fit in a few more new recipes in the last few days as well as taking a trip to a local Asian grocery store to hunt for some hard to find items.

Yesterday, I wanted to give making milk out of oats a try.  I started with the instructions from Oh She Glows Homemade Oat Milk, and then decided to do half oats, half coconut.  I thought that might help with the flavor and thickness.   So I soaked 1 cup of steel cut oats and 1 cup of shredded coconut, then rinsed them because I guess the oats can get a slimy consistency otherwise.  I forgot that the oats would expand after soaking, so I realized I had a lot more than I meant to.  I had to kind of guess on the amount of liquid, but I think it was about a 1 to 1.5 ratio of oats/coconut and water.  Then I blended and strained with my nut milk bag (seriously, it’s worth the $10) and got a bunch of great looking milk!  I wasn’t sure what to do with the pulp, but Oh She Glows suggested keeping it and mixing it in with oatmeal.  Now I’m sure you’re wondering about the flavor.  I would say it is okay, it’s not wonderful, but I didn’t add any flavorings and sweeteners to it, so that would help.  I had it with homemade hot chocolate (using raw cacao) and I thought it tasted fine for that.  I think next time I will do 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup of coconut milk and that should help the flavor.  I like the idea of adding some oats to help reduce the cost as well as the calories and fat.

oat-coconut milk!

oat-coconut milk!

oat-coconut pulp

oat-coconut pulp

Tonight, I wanted to try my hand at making date paste and pumpkin seed butter.  The date paste will be nice to have as alternate sweetener- it was definitely tasty!  I had a bunch of dates in the freezer that I got at CostCo several months ago.  Since it seems that almond butter is not something I’m going to be able to have in large quantities, I wanted to try some other butter.  I’ve made walnut butter before and it was just okay, it just had kind of a weird after taste and never got that smooth.  So I was curious to see if you could make pumpkin seed butter, and of course, the wonderful world of Pinterest came to my rescue!  I mostly followed the “maple cinnamon” version, though added a little date paste and added a bit more coconut oil and maple syrup because it just didn’t seem that smooth.  It is tasty, though not quite the nice spreadable-ness of almond butter.  But I think it will be an interesting alternative!

date paste

date paste

pumpkin seed butter

pumpkin seed butter

For dinner, I made Chicken Curry with Cucumber Raita.  It turned out SUPER yummy!  Another hubby pleaser- yay!  I subbed water chestnuts for celery because I didn’t have any celery on hand, but otherwise I mostly followed the recipe, though I didn’t have fresh coriander.  And I used way less cumin, I find that can be overpowering so I never use as much as a recipe calls for.  It was nice to get to use my homemade yogurt!  I had mine over quinoa and my husband’s was over jasmine rice (that I found in the back of the freezer :)).  It was a fun foray into a totally different meal!

chicken curry

chicken curry

My final fun adventure was to a local Asian grocery store over my lunch hour.  There is just something so fascinating with checking out another culture’s or country’s grocery stores!!   That was always my favorite thing when traveling abroad, but I haven’t really ventured out to local ones until recently.  I had read about this coconut milk brand, Aroy-D, that was in cartons, not cans, and it was 100% coconut milk, no additives, and no BPA since it wasn’t in a can.  Now canned coconut milk can be really expensive, $3 a can, but I had heard it was much cheaper at Asian grocery stores.  Is it ever!!  I got a 33 oz carton for $2.79!!  Amazing!   I have plans to give it a try for coconut milk yogurt.

cheap coconut milk- no additives!

cheap coconut milk- no additives!

Then I wanted to check for agar powder, which is used similar to gelatin but is vegan.  It’s expensive online, so when I found these packets for $1.49, I couldn’t pass it up!

agar powder- for thickening

agar powder- for thickening

I also got tahini, which is blended sesame seeds, for super cheap, 8 oz for $2.99.  This can be used for dips and dressings.  I went ahead and got some sesame seeds too because I know when I’ve gone to buy them at Hy-Vee it is very expensive.  It is also a great place to buy spices in bulk, seriously if you are looking for some spices, check out your Asian grocery store first, they had a ton of different spices for SO much cheaper than Hy-Vee!  I had read from a blogger that you can sometimes get decent priced GF flour (like rice) and tapioca starch at Asian grocery stores, but I didn’t see tapioca starch (might have just missed it) and they did have a wide variety of flours, but most I had never heard of!

tahini

tahini

cheap sesame seeds!

cheap sesame seeds!

My last purchase there was some candy 🙂  I have gotten these coconut candies before when I went to Chinatown in Chicago and really liked them, so when I saw these ginger ones, I had to try them.  I checked the ingredients and really they aren’t too bad!

ginger coconut candies- YUM

ginger coconut candies- YUM

understandable ingredients, surprisingly

understandable ingredients, surprisingly

So needless to say, I’m going to give these new items a whirl, but I have a feeling I will be revisiting this store in the future!

Say It Ain’t So!

I think I found a food I’m sensitive to that never dawned on me as being an issue: almond butter!  NOOOOOOOOO!!!  I am so depressed… 😦  I know that the FODMAP diet says that almonds can generally only be tolerated in low quantities, but I didn’t really think it applied to me.  I hadn’t been having almond butter all that much, mostly because I hadn’t been having bread!   I did put it on rice cakes a few weeks ago, but didn’t really think anything of it.  Well, this morning I had my baked oatmeal that I’ve been having for a week and a half now and I put about two tablespoons of almond butter on top.. and now I feel MISERABLE!  This is a very sad day.. I love almonds, and almond butter was such a great way to add some protein/richness to smoothies.  I have had sunflower butter before, but it’s not nearly as tasty, plus it’s quite expensive, and Trader Joe’s version has sweeteners.  I’m still on the fence about whether or not bananas sit well with me.  I am pretty certain that my homemade yogurt is going okay, I had it again for lunch yesterday and felt decent!  I’m making up another batch right now, still with the 1% cow’s milk, not quite ready to venture into coconut milk yogurt yet.

I tried out this Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole last night for dinner, only adjustment was I used canned coconut milk instead of heavy cream.  I thought it was quite tasty and the hubby did too!  I would say next time I would add more bacon and chicken to make it feel a little more “meal-like,” it was heavy on the potatoes so seemed a little more like a side dish.

loaded baked potato & chicken casserole

loaded baked potato & chicken casserole