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!

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

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!

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.

Yuumm!

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

YUM