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

Day 3

Well what can you say on Day 3?  So far so good!  Day 2 was same breakfast and lunch and then for dinner I had some leftover pork from earlier in the week.  The downside with the pork was that it was kind of dry but I couldn’t put barbecue sauce on it.  I thought about mustard that I had bought, a smooth Dijon from Trader Joe’s and one with seeds from Hy-vee (their brand too, all of the “brand name” ones had added crap), but they were both SO spicy!  Clearly I was spoiled with my Dijon+white wine/sugar kind.. So I thought about what I could add to the mustard to cut some of the bite and settled on some coconut oil and maple syrup.  This actually worked out great!  And it make the pork much better.  I had a sweet potato with almond butter for the side.

Today was a smoothie for breakfast, made without banana or yogurt… I was a little worried it wouldn’t be as filling, so I had three slices of Canadian bacon as well.  Lunch was a salad with tuna and feta with sides of mashed carrots and strawberries.  For dinner, I had a whole chicken roasting in the crock pot, so I had that with green beans and a baked potato w/ coconut oil.

who said diets had to be boring??

who said diets had to be boring??

I also made up some quinoa to freeze and for dinner and/or breakfast later in the week.  As far as how I’m feeling, I really think it is too soon to say a lot.  I did feel like this weekend I was not nearly as fatigued or foggy as I usually am, especially considering that I ran 8 miles, my longest run since October!  So on the brain front, things are tentatively looking up!  For my stomach, it has been mostly better, I wouldn’t say perfect, but for sure better than it has been in the past.  I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve!

Below are some of the products I bought to give a try:

snack for work- i liked em!

snack for work- i liked em!

haven't tried these yet, they are kept in the freezer

haven’t tried these yet, they are kept in the freezer

garlic-infused olive oil, supposed to okay since garlic is water soluable

garlic-infused olive oil, supposed to be okay since garlic is water soluble

mmm rice cakes.. always top on anyone's list

mmm rice cakes.. always top on anyone’s list

nut thins.. not as good i remember them!

nut thins.. not as good i remember them!

haven't tried yet, but sounds tasty!

haven’t tried yet, but sounds tasty!

I call these guys my 3 amigos from Trader Joe’s- absolutely favorite things to buy there because they are good quality AND a reasonable price!

the three amigos

the three amigos

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.