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!

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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!

Long Run Pre-Fueling

During my marathon training, I played around with a few simple foods to eat the day before a long run/the big day.  I stuck pretty closely to the following:

pre-marathon meal!

pre-marathon meal!

Barley Protein Bowl

Cooked barley
Half a can of water-packed tuna
Chopped fresh spinach
Half an avocado
Lime juice
Salt & Pepper
Smoked paprika

All of this mixed up and warmed!  Served with boiled sweet potatoes sprinkled with ginger powder and raw honey, with a glass of water mixed with some tart cherry juice and apple cider vinegar.

More FOOOD

In addition to my girl CCK, I have found lots of other fun recipes that work with my diet on Pinterest.  Here’s a list of the ones that I can recall that I’ve tried in the last month or so, again with a rating of 0 (inedible) to 5 (no one would believe it was healthy):

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Banana Glaze: 5 (made this for my husband for Valentine’s Day.. he thought it was good, but not as amazing as I did.. def need to warm it up before eating though, that made a big difference!)

Coconut Lime Roasted Chickpeas: 4 (very good, I just don’t know what it is about roasting chickpeas, but mine never get “crispy” like I think they should! still good.. but I always expect a nice crunch and don’t get it…)

Kale, Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Salad: 5 (I didn’t put it over polenta like the recipe specifies, I just sauteed the other ingredients and we ate it as a salad- even the hubby enjoyed!)

Sweet Potato Bites: 2 (I don’t know what I was expecting, but these were extremely underwhelming, especially considering all the time and mess they took!!)

Lemon Avocado Chickpea Salad: 5 (I actually didn’t add the quinoa, I’m sure it would have been equally good with it, I just didn’t find it necessary.  Made this twice and was again something the hubby liked!)

Chickpea Burgers: 4 (pretty good, though the “burger” quality was iff-ish.. I just ate them with fork and knife and it was fine :); obviously I omitted the pepper and I used green onions instead of white since that’s what I had and prefer)

Avocado Hummus: 5 (I only used one avocado and of course used SMOKED paprika- turned out great!)

Moroccan Braised Chicken with Carrots & Golden Raisins: 5 (no, not vegan but otherwise worked with my diet! good flavor and husband approved)

Walnut Butter: 5

I basically just looked at how to make nut butter and then added the flavors I wanted. Here’s what I did, it was SOO easy!  This was the number one thing I wanted to make with my new food processor 🙂

4 cups of raw walnuts

A drizzle or two of canola oil (walnut oil would be better, but used what I had)

BIG shakes of pumpkin pie spice (I like to FEEL the cinnamon hah!)

About 1 tsp of salt

1-2 tbsp dark agave nectar

Blend the walnuts in a GOOD food processor for like 5 minutes.  I actually did 2 cups first, then added the second set of 2 cups.  Don’t know if that was necessary, but I thought it might be easier on the food processor.  Once it was all very blended, I added a little bit of oil and scraped the sides of the food processor, then blended again.  After that I added the spices and salt and blended a little bit longer.  Then I transferred it to the storage container and added the agave nectar, stirring it up till it was mixed in.  Then it went into the fridge!  I have been enjoying it thoroughly on apples and celery!

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.