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!

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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

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!

Orange, orange all around!

As I was making my latest creations today, it occurred to me that one side effect from this diet may be that I turn orange!  I’m kidding of course, but it does seem like I’ve been eating lots of orange veggies: carrots, pumpkin (as always!), sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.  At least they are all super tasty!!

Instead of making my usual breakfast smoothies for the week, I decided to try a baked oatmeal that I could eat on all week.  Since I had  5 lbs (yes FIVE) of carrots, I thought I would use some of those to make Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal.  It sure looks amazing!  I used the chia seed alternative to eggs (which BTW I just found these milled chia seeds, awesome!) and I used pecans and pumpkin seeds for the topping.

5 lbs of carrots peeled!

5 lbs of carrots peeled!

shout out to amazon prime- got these in two days!

shout out to amazon prime- got these in two days!

carrot cake oatmeal

carrot cake oatmeal

So you remember my not so successful adventure with goats milk yogurt?  Yeah, well I hunted around for something to make with it so I could use it up, and I found this Yogurt Carrot Cake recipe.  I decided to make this and if my husband enjoyed it, then keep some of it for him, otherwise I’m planning on bringing the rest to work.  He tried a sample bite and thought it was tasty, though I’m a little concerned it was overcooked, but I followed the directions, well except I just used regular flour instead of whole wheat.. maybe that was the difference?  He thought it would be even better with frosting, so I’m currently straining the remaining goats milk yogurt to attempt to use as a frosting.  And then goodbye goats milk yogurt, my excitement over you was overrated!

carrot cake

carrot cake

Since I was doing so much baking, I figured what was one more thing?  I wanted to make up another healthy dessert for myself so that I wouldn’t be tempted to reach for something off limits.  I settled on Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars, which I’ve made before and LOVED.  SO I guess I’m adding chocolate back to my diet this week..?  🙂  There really isn’t that much chocolate in this, just enough to make them nice and gooey, and they are vegan chips, so no lactose to worry about.  I wanted to try out my newly purchased dextrose, but was afraid to use it as a 100% substitution for the brown sugar, so I tried a 1/4 cup brown sugar and a heaping 1/4 cup dextrose.  Dextrose is supposed to be not as sweet as regular sugar, so that’s why I added a little extra, but after tasting one, I could probably get away with less.  I also substituted an extra 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixed with some maple syrup in place of the applesauce.  Hey, bring on the pumpkin I say!   Dextrose is supposed to be better for people with fructose-absorption issues because it is just straight glucose whereas regular sugar is one molecule glucose with one molecule fructose and therefore can cause issues.

pumpkin choc chip oat bars

pumpkin choc chip oat bars

The other night I had a hankering for some hot chocolate, I love the stuff!  I think what I really like is just to have a warm, creamy drink to finish the evening.  So I thought about just heating up coconut milk and adding some cinnamon and maple syrup, then I realized I had an open can of pumpkin in the fridge, so I added two scoops of  that with the cinnamon and maple syrup and warmed it up.  YUM and almost as satisfying as hot chocolate!!

hot pumpkin coconut milk

hot pumpkin coconut milk

Can you tell that I’m in love with pumpkin?  I just did a “find” in my massive (as in 1043 pins…) recipe board on Pinterest and found 163 pins with the world “pumpkin” in the title!!  Yeah I’m in love, what can I say?

My other recent purchase, thanks to my Amazon Prime signup, was some GF flour.  I didn’t actually use it today since the two recipes for me both just used oats, but I’m glad to have it on hand!  It seemed the most reasonably priced that I could find as well as not containing any issue ingredients.

GF flour blend

GF flour blend

Day 7

I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’ve been feeling better.  I would say that I have had a bit more energy, even despite staying up a little later and being stressed with homework.

A few more foods I’ve made/tried this week.  I made my own pumpkin spice granola!!  This will be super nice to have on hand for snacks and breakfast!  I mostly followed the recipe, but didn’t add any flax seeds or sesame seeds and instead added chia seeds and oat bran.  I think next time I do it, I’m going to omit the sunflower seeds (just not a huge fan), add more almonds and pecans, and  less dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and dates).  Especially since I recently realized I’m not really supposed to have any dried fruit!  Argh..  too bad!  This is tasty!

pumpkin granola

pumpkin granola

I also made an olive tapenade, I thought it sounded good to have to put on burgers and rice cakes.  I followed the recipe, except for the anchovies, using a mix of kalamata and black olives.  It is tasty!!  I used it for my lunch which was inspired by this Spinach and Feta Quesadilla recipe.  I used the GF tortillas I bought and added half a can of salmon to the spinach/herb/feta mix, then put a layer of the olive tapenade on one of the tortillas.  SUPER yummy, though I would say that the GF tortillas are a bit disappointing, I really like a good crunchy flour tortilla and these were just okay.

olive tapenade

olive tapenade

spinach, feta, salmon quesadilla

spinach, feta, salmon quesadilla

I also tried out using this “coconut powder” that I picked up at the Indian supermarket, it was super cheap at just $3.99 a pound, where the shredded kind at Hy-Vee is $5.99 a pound.  Plus I thought with it being finer it might make a better milk!  I think it worked great and it definitely makes a much better, finer flour than the shredded, so I might have to go back and stock up!

coconut powder

coconut powder

I finally tried some of the goat’s milk yogurt, I wanted to go a week without any yogurt before I tried it.  So a small bit of it sat all week mixed up with maple syrup, cinnamon, and some berries, to get the flavors well-melded.  It was okay.. I don’t know, goat’s milk just has a weird flavor to it!  Plus, I’m not so sure I’m feeling that great after eating it..  I think I might try to find some recipe that I can use it up with, but I am going to continue this week without yogurt.

For dessert, I had some raspberries, but really wanted something WITH them (ahem: chocolate!), so instead I spread some almond butter on each.  Tasty!  Kind of like a de-constructed PB&J.. except.. without the peanut butter, or really jelly.. or bread.. HAH!

pseudo-PB&J

pseudo-PB&J

Day 1 Foods & Lessons Learned

I started my morning with some oatmeal for breakfast:

yummy oatmeal!

yummy oatmeal!

Then I ran all over town to gather ingredients so I felt prepared to tackle this first week.  I read LOTS of ingredients labels and discovered many surprises, like you can’t get sun-dried tomatoes in oil without garlic.  The most pleasant surprise I found was that Trader Joe’s carries goat milk yogurt!!  And it was a reasonable price!  I decided to give it a try, since I’m eliminating yogurt for a few weeks.

goat milk- who knew?

goat milk- who knew?

I did a quick taste test of it and well, I wouldn’t recommend it plain!  I mixed it with some berries and maple syrup to bring for lunch this week and it seemed more palatable with the maple syrup.
**FOLLOW UP**  So ya know how I thought goat’s milk was lactose free??  WRONG!  Darn it, I had it in my head that this was okay on the FODMAP diet, but it’s not!  Boooo..  I will aim to give it a try at the end of the week and see how I feel.  I suppose I might not be able to stand the taste anyways! But definitely a bummer, I thought for sure I might have found a reasonable, lactose-free yogurt, but no dice.  I might end up biting the bullet and buying a yogurt maker.

For my lunch today, I had some spaghetti squash that I cooked up earlier this week with my homemade marinara, spinach, tomatoes, and feta.  Feta supposedly is lactose free, so I’m keeping it in the diet at least this week.

yuummm

yuummm

A sad lesson I learned today from my cupboard is that I do not have as much GF flour as I thought.  My homemade coconut flour went bad!!!  I should have known better, next round will definitely be kept in the freezer.  Also, I bought a big bag of GF flour mix from CostCo a few weeks ago, before I had started thinking about this diet.  Well, I looked at the ingredients closer and it unfortunately has flaxseed AND buckwheat in it!  Argh..  I haven’t opened it yet, so I might see if it is returnable.  What a bummer though, it was a pretty good deal.

I just made up one of my favorite pumpkin bar recipes, using GF flour from Trader Joe’s and Ener-G Egg Replacer and they sure are smelling good!  That will make a nice treat to have on hand when I need something sweet.  I did use brown sugar because I wasn’t sure how well replacing it with maple syrup would turn out.

Dinner is a  little tricky because we are bringing food to my friend who is in the hospital.  She requested pizza, which since she is GF, narrows down the locations to buy from.  Since we will be downtown, I knew that Fong’s Pizza has a GF crust option, so I checked to see if any of them would be something I could have.  My main concern was marinara sauce since it is a 100% guarantee that would have garlic and onions, but they have a Mediterranean pizza that just uses olive oil and all of the toppings are things that I can have except onions, so that’s an easy fix!  Yay, I thought I was going to have to get a salad or bring my own food which would have been a bummer.

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!  🙂

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.

Getting through Christmas

Trying to find fun things to eat at Christmas has been pretty tough..  We attempted to make a caramel sauce to use for dipping apples that didn’t have any dairy in it and it proved impossible.  We used a recipe at first but that never thickened and then we tried just making it from brown sugar and coconut oil but that just burned.  So instead I looked up some other apple dip ideas and finally decided to just mix canned pumpkin with vanilla frosting (no dairy or soy in it!) and spices.  Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good, though maybe a little runny.  I also made up some more of my lentil-walnut spread to use as a veggie dip.  I don’t think anyone else tried it (it isn’t real pretty looking) but at least it gave me some more options!  I also tried out some gluten free, egg free rye bread from Trader Joe’s and it was just okay.  It was very crumbly and didn’t work well for a sandwich.  The oat bread I made a few weeks ago was better.  When I’m back in Dubuque, I’m hoping to try out another GF bread recipe and bake it in the oven to see if I have some better luck.  I managed to stay away from the multitude of cookies!!  Buutt.. today, it is Christmas.. and I just couldn’t say no to a homemade cinnamon roll!  So that will be my one indulgence 😀