Everyday Granola

I call this everyday granola because I eat it everyday for breakfast. It’s my super simple, quick pared down recipe for granola. I make a big batch once a week. The method goes as follows:

Dump a bunch of oatmeal into a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, oat bran, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax and almonds. Stir it up and then add a couple drips something sweet. I use maple syrup. As well as a couple drips of oil. Stir it up again and then spread it out onto a pan (I cover mine in a silicone sheet) then pop it into a 250 degree oven for an hour. Let it sit until cool. Store in an air tight container.

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You can change this recipe, adding and subtracting whatever you want. It’s is crunchy, healthy and delicious!

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Protein Pancakes

I generally don’t worry about getting enough protein. We very rarely eat meat, but we eat a lot cheese, nuts, eggs and beans. Lately I’ve been trying to train for the CN Tour Stair Climb, so I’ve been trying to eat some extra protein. These pancakes really make it easy. They are pretty much pure protein, but still taste like pancakes.

Whisk together:
1 cup of cottage cheese
3 eggs
splash of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup sugar*
3/4 cup flour (I used a mixture of spelt and white)

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It will look a little gross, but don’t worry.

Cook in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. Make them small otherwise they are impossible to flip.

*I don’t usually put sugar in my pancakes, but otherwise you can taste the egg

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Eat with fruit, syrup or whatever and enjoy the proteiny goodness!

Marbled Chocolate Banana Loaf

I wanted to make banana bread since my freezer has more bananas in it than a Costa Rican market. I looked for a recipe to use, but I didn’t really find anything appealing, so I just made one up. It turned out surprisingly well. To make it special I melted a little chocolate and mixed that in. I tried to ‘marbelize’ it, but as you will see I didn’t do a very good job.

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Here’s the recipe:

Mix together:
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
splash of vanilla

Mix together:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (or other whole grain flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of salt

Mix the two together, just until combined.

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Melt some chocolate in a double boiler over water. I used a chunk of chocolate easter bunny, but use whatever you want. If you use really dark chocolate you may want to add some more sugar. I added a splash of milk to help it smooth out. You will want to end up with about half a cup of chocolate.

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Once the chocolate is melted, stir in about half of your batter.

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Pour the two batters into a greased loaf pan, and then run a butter knife through to (hopefully) achieve a marble effect. You may prefer to add spoonfuls of each batter to better marble them.

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Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool, then slice and eat!

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Very moist, and super delicious!

On Illness

This weekend I was struck down with my first and only sickness this school year. Not one cold, flu or bug afflicted me all through the long winter (which is a big deal to someone who works with children all day). But then Spring shows her face and bam, strep throat. Fever, aches, super sore throat, major headache and nausea were all suffered. But after a couple days of long naps, and lots of water I am already feeling better. Not one hundred percent, but just about. I think I must be doing something right, immune system wise. Or maybe after a few years of sneezing, coughing, nose running children, I’ve caught everything there is to catch!

I’m really hoping that this boasting about my run of health doesn’t jinx me, there is nothing worse than a long cold during Spring!

Hope everyone else out there is feeling well and enjoying lovely weather!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

This is something I’ve been meaning to make for a while, but I put it off thinking it would be a lot of work. Turns out stuffed peppers are quite easy to make.

All I did was cook a pot of red quinoa and amaranth (you can use whatever you want: rice, lentils, couscous, millet, etc.). Once it was all cooked I added in some chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped spinach, frozen corn, black beans, tomato paste and hot sauce. You can really add whatever you want. I let it all cook together for a bit, then threw in some cumin and chili powder.

While the mixture cooked I chopped the tops off of two red peppers, and cut out the white stuff, then knocked out the seeds (actually Kurt did all this). Once the peppers were ready I scooped the mixture in, then topped them with cheese. My peppers weren’t flat at the bottom, so they wouldn’t stand up. Next time I will trim them so that they are flat.

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I put them in a pot (to try to hold them up), in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes (until the peppers get soft). I didn’t get a picture of them after they were cooked because they were kind of a mess since they fell over while cooking. So you will just have to take my word for it!

This is really a simple meal, and you can even freeze the mixture, for a super quick meal.

It was delicious, healthy (lots of veggies!) and filling. Plus it’s kind of fun eating something out a edible bowl.

Give it a try!

What I Learned from My Diet

My elimination diet is officially over. Here are the things I learned about myself, food and life in general though the process:
– flax milk is horrible and should not have ever been invented
– despite what everyone else seems to think, Bob’s Gluten Free All Purpose flour was, in my opinion, gross
– surprisingly with all of the restrictions, what I missed most was eggs
– also surprisingly, I did not crave anything
– life without an after school snack is almost not worth living
– when offered a donut, I am capable of saying no
– the time and money needed to eat healthy on a restricted diet is really shocking
– gluten-free products are almost all rice
– the second ingredient in Rice Crispies is sugar (silly me thought they were just rice)

And the most important thing I learned (the entire point of this endeavour):

– from what I can tell I have no food allergies or sensitivities, other than those I already knew of (whole wheat flour, pork and high fat foods).

I wish there were an ending to this story, but currently there is not!

Sushi Bowl Recipe

So it turns out one good meal idea came out of my highly restrictive, not at all fun elimination diet.

This recipe is super quick, easy and adaptable to what you like/have around.

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Cook short grain rice (sushi rice); you could also use regular old rice if you prefer. I mixed mine with a little red quinoa that was in the fridge. Once cooked add a splash of rice vinegar and a tiny bit of sort of sweetener (honey, agave, sugar, etc.) to the rice and stir it in.

While the rice is cooking chop up some of your favourite sushi ingredients. I used avocado, cucumber (cut out the seeds), green onion and canned tuna. I left the chunks fairly big.

Dish up your rice and add your toppings. Add any ‘garnishes’ you want. I added sesame seeds. Then cut very thin pieces of nori (the seaweed wrappers used for sushi). I just used scissors for this and it worked great. Sprinkle on top. Add soy sauce, wasabi or ginger if you so desire.

Dig in!

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Super healthy, quick and easy, what’s not to enjoy?

Elimination Diet Update

Well it has been a little over a week and the results are in. I don’t feel better at all. My hives are still there and my tummy troubles haven’t subsided. I’m keeping it up for now because maybe something will change, but I’m also going to the doctor’s to see about an allergy test.

I was really hoping I’d have some great recipes to share with you. The trouble is with so many restrictions, making anything is really hard. Kurt made one thing that was really good. We were going to try to make tortillas, but they just didn’t work, so he somehow magically turned it all into pie. The crust was a lot like cornbread, but made out of sorghum flour. I wasn’t there when he made it though, so I don’t know what else he used.

I did make squares yesterday that turned out pretty good. Here’s the link. They are grain, dairy, egg, refined oil, and refined sugar-free. I’m pretty sure they fit in the restrictions of any diet, except a nut or coconut allergy.

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I had to use walnuts instead of almonds for the crust since I made them on Family Day and nothing was open. I slightly overcooked it, that it why the crust is so dark, opps! I also have been keeping them in the fridge, otherwise they are just a gooey mess. They really satisfy my desire for dessert though, and that makes me happy!

Here are some other things I’ve been eating:

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So, I will probably keep it up for at least another week, unless my doctor says otherwise. We will have to wait and see.

Elimination Diet

I mentioned last week that I am doing an elimination diet. For those of you who don’t know, this isn’t a weight loss diet. I am doing it in order to (hopefully) figure out what foods I am sensitive/allergic to.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had tummy troubles. I’m usually able to control it for the most part by being very careful about what I eat, drinking a lot of water and trying to keep stress down. This isn’t always enough though. Sometimes I still get really bad pains and gas after eating. This sometimes lasts for days. I also get hives. They used to just pop up every one in a while, usually on my back. For the past 3 weeks, though, I’ve had many and as they go away more just pop up.

So the plan is to follow a strict diet for 21 days. This time is to heal my body and allow everything to sort of settle and calm down. Basically I’m not eating: soy, dairy, eggs, red meat, wheat, gluten, citrus and sugar. After the 3 weeks I will introduce one food every day and pay close attention for any symptoms. This should help me pinpoint what the problem is.

Supposedly once you’ve figured out what it is, if you avoid it for 6 months you can generally re-introduce the food with success. I’m really hoping that will be the case if I find out it’s something that’s a staple to me.

So far I am feeling fairly crummy, which I’ve read is to be expected for the first few days. I’m really hoping it gets better soon.

Here are the sources I’ve found useful:

http://www.balancenaturopathic.com/resource/Elimination%20Diet.pdf

http://www.cleanprogram.com/media/files/elimination-guide.pdf

http://global.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780195371109/pdf/00_Mullin_Appendix_3.pdf

Absence

Sorry for the explained absence. I struggle this time of year with motivation to do anything. The days feel too short (especially since the sun goes down before 6), tasks seem too big and the house seems to cold. I put things off until they just go undone.

So, what’s new? Not a whole lot. We’ve been busy on the weekends with visiting others and having people visit us. We are getting quotes for new windows (expensive!) and I’m trying to convince Kurt to let me paint the living room white. I have 7 white paint chips taped to the wall and he thinks I’m crazy (they’re all the same- he says).

It is my birthday next Monday, I’m excited!

I am planning on starting an elimination diet for 3 weeks starting next week, so I’ve been planning for that. I tried one a long time ago, but I had to stop after a few days because I was just so starving! I’m hoping a lot of planning will get me through it. I will post more on this soon.

Little by little some of our rooms are starting to come together so I’d like to do a few room updates. Maybe I should wait until we have baseboards? But who knows when that will be…it doesn’t bug me enough to really get on it, not like our beige living room.

More to come!