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!


Into Week 3!

So here I am, third week in to my 30 day FODMAP challenge and it’s been going great!  I have found it pretty easy to make some massive eliminations from my diet and have actually really gotten into meal planning and trying out new and exciting things, like yogurt-making!  For the most part, I think my energy levels are better and even my attitude has been up (most days). I’m able to think more clearly about what my future is going to look like in the next year, which is a personal issue I’ve been struggling with a lot lately.  My stomach is definitely better, which is really all that I’m asking for.  I have found giving up gluten really easy and probably the only thing that I’ve needed a few mini cheats has been chocolate.  Probably my next mini cheat would be a fun cocktail, kind of have missed a little alcohol here and there 🙂

The only kind of weird thing is that I have felt like my appetite has been HUGE, I’m just super hungry all the time!  And not even with specific cravings, like I am missing sugar or something, just that I’m starving and need to eat.  A friend asked if I was weighing myself through this and I said no because that wasn’t the point, but since I feel like I’ve been eating more I did want to make sure I haven’t GAINED weight lol!  That certainly wouldn’t be my intention either!!  So far I’m normal, so I guess that’s good.  Would have been nice to see a pound or two loss from removing gluten and most sugar, though!

Despite having class this weekend, I still made some time to try a few new foods, including using my homemade yogurt to make Greek yogurt!  It was easy, I just put it in the cheesecloth that came with and hung it over the sink overnight.  It was very thick, so I think next time I wouldn’t hang it for quite so long.  I used it to make these Pumpkin Oat n’ Honey muffins.  I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup and a 1/4 dextrose instead of honey and added chopped pecans and shredded coconut.  Oh and use a food processor, not a blender, my blender definitely did not work for this!

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

Next up, I made these yummy looking Oatmeal Pumpkin Pie bars!  I haven’t had a chance to try one yet because the recipe said they were best after sitting overnight in the fridge.  I plan to freeze some since it made a 13X9 pan.  Adjustments I made included using the GF flour mix I bought instead of spelt flour, I used more pumpkin instead of applesauce, dextrose instead of coconut sugar, and milled chia instead of flaxmeal.  Oh and I sprinkled some shredded coconut on top!

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

I also made another round of the Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal because it was so yummy!  The main change I made was that I blended fresh spinach with the coconut milk, so it’s a lovely shade of green this time lol!  I just missed knowing that I was getting some veggies in the morning since I usually add spinach to my smoothies, so I thought this would be a way to add it to my oatmeal.  Turned out good, does taste a little “greener” but not terribly.

And finally I made up burgers inspired by these Paleo Sun-dried Tomato & Spinach Burgers and homemade ketchup.  The burgers are a funny story, I kind of went overboard on the spinach, so I ended up adding a half pound of ground turkey.  They still just seemed boring, per the recipe, so I decided to spunk them up with some garlic-infused olive oil, coconut flour, grated cheddar cheese, and spices including smoked paprika, ground mustard, and tumeric.  Thankfully, despite my random additions, they turned out great, including husband approval!  For the ketchup, I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except that I warmed it on low on the stove (I didn’t think the brown sugar would blend properly otherwise) and added only a tiny bit of cayenne pepper.  Tasted great, though it makes a lot, so I hope I can use it up before it goes bad.

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

mm ketchup

mm ketchup

lotsa ketchup!

lotsa ketchup!

At the end of the weekend, I had to laugh at my recycling pile: FOUR cans of pumpkin and an entire container of oats!  That’s totally normal, right???  Guess all I can say is: I LOVE PUMPKIN AND OATS!  😀

pumpkin everywhere!

pumpkin everywhere!

Week 2 Plan/Prep

I’m a little behind, but have been thinking ahead for meal planning/prepping this week!  I decided to continue eliminating the same foods, including banana, but excluding chocolate since I already cheated a bit with that 🙂  I’ll just limit it to my pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars, at least!  Taking another analysis, ya know, I do think I’m feeling better!  I have had a lot more energy despite staying up later and being frazzled with homework!  And aside from some grumbling/pain from the attempt with goat’s milk yogurt, my stomach has felt great!  In fact, I feel like I’ve been SO hungry, I have to make sure I don’t eat too much.  It can be easy to think “hey this is all healthy stuff, I can eat more!”

Week 2 Meal Plan

Week 2 Meal Plan

Week 2 Meal Prepping

Week 2 Meal Prepping



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!

Chocolate Covered Katie- food you gotta try to believe!

Thanks to my Pinterest addiction, I discovered the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie.

Seriously, I don’t know how this girl does it, but she has come up with some amazing healthy vegan and fabulous tasting desserts!  And the best part is: they are SO simple!  I mean like you look at the ingredients and think, hey I actually have all of that on hand and could whip it together in less than 30 minutes- THAT easy!

Here is a list of recipes of hers that I’ve tried with my rating on how they were, from 0 (inedible) to 5 (no one would dream it was healthy AND vegan):

Dark Chocolate Brownie Batter: 4 (contains chickpeas- no one would ever guess!)

No Sugar Cookie Dough Dip: 5 (contains chickpeas and no added sugar!)

Spinach Ice Cream: 3 (the lower score is mostly my fault, I added WAY too much mint extract and had to improvise to make it even edible)

Pumpkin Bars: 5+++ (these are amazing!! I didn’t add the “frosting” and the key is to warm them up before eating, but OMG I could eat the whole pan and I even doubled the recipe!)

Pumpkin Spice Latte: 5 (so simple, you go DUH why would I go buy this at Starbucks??)

Melty Pizza Hummus: 4 (I got a free sample of nutritional yeast, so thought I’d give this a go- pretty good!)

And here is the list of ones I want to try because they sound awesome:

One Minute Chocolate Cake

Deep Dish Cookie Pie (again has those sneaky chickpeas, but looks soo good, right?)

Chocolate Pumpkin Pizookie (pumpkin version of above)

3 Ingredient Chocolate Bars/Chips

Oatmeal Raisin Larabars

Totally Addictive Cornbread

Raspberry-Marzipan Muffins

Chocolate Almond Joy Biscuits

Pumpkin Cookie Dough Dip (pumpkin version of the batter/dip I already tried and loved!)

Blueberry Pie Pancakes

So needless to say, she’s my new best friend!!  If only I could convince my husband that seriously, chickpeas in dessert does taste good!  🙂

Tests and Trials

I have tried a few more new foods and recipes the last few days.  Breakfast wise, I’ve kind of just been sticking to the smoothie and meat option, even though I know I should be mixing things up a bit more but I am a creature of habit, especially in the morning!  I have varied the fruit a bit, bananas and blueberries a few days (oh adn I’ve been adding a handful of fresh spinach too) and then this morning I added some frozen mango since I had that on hand.

I did finally get around to making my waffles, though they did not turn out as good as the last time I made them!!  I am not sure if it was because I used a different kind of milk- I did half rice, half coconut milk, but whatever it was, those suckers stuck to the waffle iron like nobody’s business!  I ended up just peeling them off in pieces; at least they are nice and bite sized now hah!

While those were going, I also made up Nutty Oatmeal Raisin No-Bake Bites (see recipe at end) to use up some of that hemp protein I have.  I had one tonight and it was pretty good and really quite satisfying for an after dinner dessert.  Mine came out to be more like 10 balls, but I thought one was plenty.  The walnuts were a bit bitter, but not overwhelmingly so.

I did end up having a craving for some hot chocolate later, so I made that up and for anyone interested in how to made milk free hot chocolate, here you go: take 2 heaping spoonfuls of Hershey’s Cocoa and 1ish spoonful of sugar (up to you how sweet you like it) and mix them together in your mug.  Warm up in the microwave about a cup of whatever kind of milk you can use (rice, almond, coconut, etc), then pour it into your cocoa mug and mix.  It’s basically as simple as that!  I like to add some extra “flavorings” in the form of peppermint schnapps 😀 and as many marshmallows as I can cram in.  Recently at Hy-Vee they’ve had chocolate mint flavored marshmallows and they are AWESOME!  Hey gotta get your sweet kicks where you can 🙂

For dinner tonight, I made up the rice pasta I bought at Trader Joe’s.  It was pretty good, maybe a little on the gummy side, but I’m really not that picky about that sort of thing so it was fine for me!  Couldn’t have any of my husband’s meat balls, though, since those had bread crumbs, eggs, and parmesan cheese in them.

Since Wednesday is 10% off health food at Hy-Vee, I swung by there to pick up some flour because I had used all of my oat flour.  I settled on a 2 lb back of brown rice flour that was regularly $3.39, so compared to all the other flours, this seemed to be the best deal.  I also perused some other items that had caught my eye last week since now I could get them an extra 10% off woot!  I ended up getting Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks, which for 10 oz was regularly $4.49 and they are fabulous!  I really bought them for munching not for baking… 🙂  It’s amazing that there are only three ingredients in them: Evaporated Cane Juice, Natural Chocolate Liquor (non-Alcoholic), Non-dairy Cocoa Butter.  I also wanted to get some sort of bread, preferably something to use with hot dogs since we still have like 5 packages of them from our party in May!  I looked at Ener-G’s selection of breads and they just seemed so expensive and this particular Hy-Vee didn’t have their hot dog buns, so I moved on to the freezers to see what they had.  I happened upon these very basic looking breads that said they were made out of millet flour: Deland Bakery’s- Millet Hot Dogs.  It was weird though because the label said that it contained wheat, gluten or yeast, but in the ingredients list, none of those things appeared!  So just to make sure, I went back to look at the flours and the millet flour said it was gluten free and not a derivative of wheat, so, triple checking the short ingredient list on the buns, I decided to go for it!  For 6 buns, it was $4.99, so kind of pricey, but cheaper than anything else I had seen that I could eat.  My final health food purchase was Tinkyada’s Rice Spaghetti- 16 oz for $3.45.  My mom had spotted some GF Bisquick and sent that home with my husband, so that will be a handy item to have as well.  I also got the pea protein from my aunt, but am going to try to finish up some more hemp protein before starting on that.

I had a chat with a friend of mine who is allergic to gluten and she said her favorite grain has been quinoa.  I have enjoyed this grain before as well, but only in savory fashions with dinner, but she said it also made a great breakfast option.  So I need to find some time to make up some of that and give it a try for breakfast; maybe it will be more palatable than the steel cut oats!  Really not sure what my deal is with those, I love oats usually!  I did recently discover, when looking at my husband’s instant oatmeals that not all instant oatmeals have “bad” ingredients!  His (just regular Quaker Oats Apple & Cinnamon) didn’t have any soy, milk, or wheat, so it is good to know that if I’m in a jam, I can grab a pack of instant oatmeal and eat it at work.

Nutty Oatmeal Raisin No-Bake Bites

  •  4 Ounces Nuts (see below)
  • 2 Teaspoons Living Harvest Organic Hemp Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave Nectar (optional)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Living Harvest High Protein Hemp Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup Quick or Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins

Grind the nuts in a food processor or spice grinder until they begin to turn into a paste or “butter.” Place the nut butter in a bowl, and stir in the oil, maple, honey or agave (if using), and vanilla (is using). Stir in the protein powder, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Stir in the oats and raisins. Start with ½ cup of the oats, but feel free to add more if desired. Some nut butters may be a bit oilier or softer than others, so more oats may work better.

Roll the dough into 12 little balls, and flatten a bit like cookies if desired, or leave as balls. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready for a snack.

Nuts: I used all walnuts, which are tasty but slightly bitter. For the sweetest and smoothest results, I recommend using cashews, though almonds and even sunflower seeds should work well too. When using walnuts, 4 ounces was a generous cup, or a scant 1-1/4 cups. For cashews,  you will be looking at a little less than 1 cup since it is a denser nut.