Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spicy Ice Cream and Finally Reaching Goals cream. On the anti-Candida diet, I've had a hard time dealing with the loss of so many dessert items. But I finally managed to get one back.

I've been familiar with coconut ice cream for a while, thanks to my sister, but all the store bought ones I've seen are packed with sugar. So I set to find a more ACD-friendly version. Inspired by the recipe over at Caveman Food, I sought to make something creamy and delicious, while still being sugar-free.

It certainly looks like ice cream (it's soft because it just came out of the machine). Mmm...the flavor is creamy and refreshing, not too sweet but sweet enough. Ahh, yes. But wait...why is my face burning? I have a solution for that! More ice cream. Lather, rise and repeat your way into deliciousness.

This is not your average scoop of vanilla. I wanted something with plenty of flavor, but without the additional carbs offered by filling it with fruit (not that there's a problem with fruit). What started with cinnamon quickly spiraled into an unusual, tasty concoction. Baker beware, but it is an enjoyable, if unexpected flavor combination.

A bowl of ice cream was a great way for me to celebrate the long-anticipated success at meeting my weight loss goal. It took me three years, but I'm finally down to my 'ideal BMI' and am 30 pounds lighter. I have been down and back up over the long stretch, but the most recent loss (due to my new lifestyle) has put me 20 pounds lighter since Thanksgiving 2010. It was the perfect pace for me, fast enough to see progress and slow enough that I stayed healthy. I know my revised eating plan may seem extreme to some, but it is pretty balanced and I make sure to get enough healthy calories and nutrients.

The long and short of it is I am super happy to have reached a goal I've had for a good while, but I don't see any reason to let up now. Instead of a focus on weight loss, I can now look to muscle toning and shaping, as well as continuing to nurture a healthy digestive track and overall wellbeing. I look forward to seeing how things progress in the future. I would like to thank my loving husband, family and friends that have supported me and been patient as I've continued to stumble through this process. You all are amazing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

90 Days and Mexican Omelet

Hey ya'll! I know it's been a while since I've checked in, but I'm back with news and a new recipe. I have been out of town, visiting my folks and managed to do some amazing things (at least for me). I found I can comfortably eat out at more than one restaurant. I must admit, one of them is at salad bar buffets, but the other was a 'real' meal at a local steakhouse. If any of you live near a Logan's, I really recommend there Health Nut Menu (on the back of the regular menu). I had a pretty guilt-free, flavorful sirloin and all I had to do was substitute lemon and oil for the lite dressing. Delicious!

I also spent two whole Saturdays judging for a children's creativity competition. I dreaded it, as it's a long day when you have to bring your own food, but I managed much better than expected. I made a few staples that I hoarded, and my wonderful parents provided additional healthy snacks for the whole appraiser team. It was awesome to see normal people happy to have healthy snack alternatives I could enjoy with them. (Not to say they weren't also nomming down on some chocolate. ;) ) I was able to reheat a filling lunch of ground turkey, steamed veggies and brown rice, which helped me avoid the temptation of the provided lunches. Over all, an amazing experience. And the best part of all was I finished my first 90 days on the anti-candida diet.

Since I've been home, however, there's been a bit of a dry spell as far as food goodness has gone. I haven't been recipe browsing as much (mainly because I've actually had the energy to get back to painting) and meals have been pretty simple. I did try reintroducing goat cheese (since it was post 90 days), but even in small amounts, I seem to react poorly to it. It was very discouraging, as regaining any form of cheese was one of my big deferred rewards I was looking forward to. Oh well, I'll try it again some day down the road and see if it's still disagreeable. I still seem to have no problem with yogurt, so I have contented myself to the substitution.

Which leads to today! I've been eating a lot of eggs because they're quick and easy and don't require an actual recipe. But today I found one I will definitely be making again. Full of veggies and flavor, this omelet is very satisfying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf

Valentine's...a day for love. A love of meat! Mmm....meatloaf. It's like meat. In a loaf. With other yumminess. What's not to love?

Unfortunately, a lot of that yumminess is not friendly to an anti-Candida diet. And with all the hidden high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals in many traditional ingredients, most of the rest of us could stand to partake of a healthier version.

I really missed it, but I didn't want to compromise something I had enjoyed so much previously. It took me a long time to find a meatloaf I liked originally (I tend to enjoy beef un-ground), and when I did, I wanted it to be ketchup and Worcester sauce indulgent. Replacing those flavors became a little bit easier when I added yacon syrup to the mix. It gave me back a bit of sweetness that I craved to complement the tomato flavor.

There were a lot of ACD meatloaf recipes to go through, but none of them really captured what I remembered. There were flavors and textures (breadcrumbs, especially) that I just didn't see accounted for. So throwing caution to the wind, I decided to pick some from column A and B, smush it together and throw it in the oven. And the result was...well, meatloaf! Firm but moist, speckled with veggies and topped off with a sweet tomato sauce. It may still be tweakable, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. What do ya'll love in your meatloaf? I'd love to hear ideas to improve this recipe.

But if you would rather just get to the eating, by all means, read on and get in the kitchen! :D

Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Bean Chili

I have a confession.

I hate beans. I have since I was young. They're bland and gritty and just...ew. I've tried to like them, really I have. In college, I learned to tolerate them if they were covered in sinful sugar (aka baked and ranch-style), but with the new dietary restrictions, those went right out the window. But beans are good for you, you say? Believe me, I know. I want to eat more of them.

What about in chili? NEVER! Chili is something I love. Something dear that I have always been appreciative of, whether slow cooked until chunks of beef melted into deliciousness or just that satisfying glob of grease that was scooped from a can. Chili dogs, Frito pie or just on its own with lots of cheese, I wasn't too picky. Well, except for one thing. No beans!

So what on Earth drove me to try a black bean chili? Honestly, I'm not sure. But I have been wanting to eat more beans and I wasn't going to if I didn't start somewhere. I found a recipe in The Mayo Clinic Willians-Sonoma Cookbook that looked doable. I was short a can of black beans, but I did have an extra of chickpeas. I figured stock would add more flavor than water. I didn't have oregano or cilantro, but hey if it was decent I could always try it next time. I was a bit wary about the bell pepper (which I also hate) and celery (which seemed counter-intuitive to what I think of chili as a Texan), but I gave it a go.

First taste, ew. Super bland. I looked back at the recipe only to realize there's no salt listed. I guess that makes sense for a health cookbook, but it also makes for a lackluster chili, in my opinion. Salt added, I tried again. Better, but still missing something. A lime really woke it up. And I couldn't resist trying some yacon syrup in it, as I have a weakness for chilies with just a touch of brown sugar.

Wow. I am genuinely surprised. These beans...aren't so bad actually. I would eat them again. Hell, I have no doubt I'll finish off this pot. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how it ages (as chili tends to improve, for those that aren't as familiar with it). It even excited me to try more chili recipes and see what else I can do to improve it. If ya'll have any ideas (I know some of you make fierce chili), please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Coconut Curry Chicken

First off, I apologize for this picture. It's just a tricky dish to photograph in a bowl. A deliciously tricky one, I might add.

I really try to be adventurous (within the limits of my diet, of course) but there are some dishes that make me nervous. Curry was one of those dishes. I've never found my palate for Indian food, but I figured I should give it another go, as my experience was still limited. Turns out that not all curries are created equal and that some are actually quite tasty.

This experiment also gave me a chance to try out more cooking with coconut oil, which I'm really enjoying. Even the nice virgin variety has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which is most helpful. Plus it's a quite unique saturated fat, one that's benefits seem to be numerous. And I can use it on my skin to boot! Awesome stuff and something that I'll write more about at length some other time. Now it's curry time!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chard Taco Salad


I know I'm a bit overdue; I tried to get to this all week. But at least I'm here now and with a delicious way to get in some of those healthy leafy greens. And I'm definitely always looking for more of those. The base of this recipe came from a Chard Taco recipe over on I had never eaten chard and after a disaster with mustard greens, I have learned that not all greens are created equal, especially as far as flavor is concerned. There was a bit to tweak, but it certainly seemed do-able.

I haven't come up with a manageable bread-like wrapper yet, so I figured I'd make this a salad. Of course, if tortillas are on your menu, by all means, wrap these puppies up! I hope to try it myself, having just heard about Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortillas (or even if I wait to try corn again). I made a pound of ground turkey ahead of time, just seasoned with a little salt. I like to have it in the fridge for a quick bit of protein for a meal or snack. Otherwise, the rest is actually pretty easy and not that time consuming (by my somewhat skewed whole food standards).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green Soup and Black Bean Fudge

Ah! So many recipes. What a delightfully delicious backlog I'm developing. I hope to get at least a few more out this week. But in the meantime, I would like to make a few recommendations if you're looking for something nutritious and delicious. I'm not going to copy out the recipes (though I will fill you in on the changes I made). Just follow the links for the full list and directions.

First, this super healthy Detox Green Soup from Gluten-Free Goddess. This soup surprised me so much. Surely something so healthy had to be...well, you know...not something you would necessarily choose to eat for the benefits of your taste buds. But even the rest of the test kitchen was surprised by its astounding flavor. And of course, it's full of wonderful things for you. Even reheats well. The only change I made was completely on accident.

In my rush between wanting to eat healthy and actually wanting to get to the eating, my brain translated '2 Tbsp of diced onion' into '1 diced onion' And of course I didn't even see my mistake until I was far past the point of no return. With only the option to go forward or abandon things completely, I chose the former. While eating on this diet I've learned that I can stomach quite a bit and I would just deal with it if it was too onion-y. But it wasn't! That was the best part. It was still wonderful and made (what I assume to be) another serving's worth of finished soup. I topped mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, which was lovely, but for those that can have cheese, I understand it's a marvelous pairing.

My only other tip is manage your ginger. I have found a new love in fresh ginger so I was thrilled it was in this soup. I chopped it and added it, knowing that everything would be blended in the end. What I didn't realized at the time was that this recipe makes a lot of soup. And well, my emulsion blender was rather intimidated by this fact. I did my best, but next go around I will try even harder. Or at least cut my ginger up more before adding. There's something unnerving about expecting a delectable lump of parsnip and biting down on a face-burning chunk of ginger. Consider yourselves warned.

The other recipe I would like to recommend is the Black Bean Fudge from Cats in the Kitchen. When I first looked through this recipe, I must confess to some reservations. But it also looked cheap, fast and easy, so I figured, what was there to lose?

The answer was nothing! Just toss everything in the food processor and go. This is definitely my kind of cooking. The resulting paste was smooth and not too sweet. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't chocolate (because I'm currently cocoa-free and was limited to carob). It was still yummy! And also guilt-free. Overall, definitely something that I'll make again. I hope to translate it into a frosting recipe if possible at some point.

The only changes I made here were actually recommended variations. First, I did use the sunbutter/coconut oil blend (instead of just coconut oil). I might try the coconut oil on its own at some point, but was happy with the texture. The other addition was peppermint extract. I found it to be a vast improvement in my fudge, though that might be due to the fact that I didn't get to use real cocoa. The peppermint helped convince my taste buds that it was at least more like chocolate. Which, by the way, I haven't had since Thanksgiving. :(

Still, you might like it more with cocoa (or a cocoa/carob blend if you want to limit your caffeine intake). I look forward to experimenting with other flavor combinations and practical applications for this particular recipe.

I hope ya'll enjoy one or both of these at some point. Check out both blogs for other great recipes and ideas. And in case you didn't notice, I've also added some awesome food blogs to the side bar. Just be careful, it's easy to get lost looking through mouth-watery recipes. Have fun! :D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Zucchini Bread I

Bread. Holy crap, I love bread. And I've been without it and its lovely derivatives for almost two months now (save an attempt at savory zucchini bread and pumpkin muffins that were both made of pretty epic fail). But I wanted to try again. I was at least armed better, sporting more GF flours, guar gum and some new sweeteners. It seemed the ideal time to try again. That's not to say that I wasn't terrified of the potential failure.

I did my research, going through tons of recipes and trying to find one that was the closest to what I was looking for. I would probably need to substitute something at some point, but at least I had some idea how to do it. I finally found this recipe over at Celiac Teen. I'd have to fudge the sugar and the sweet rice flour, but I figured it was worth a try. I also took the opportunity to change the flavorings around a bit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PSA (About Exercise and Other Things)

It has recently been brought to my attention that I might actually use this blog for more than just recipes, that I might also bring forward some thoughts as I'm going through this lifestyle modification. Normally I would be hesitant about things like that, as I'm a strong believer that people need to make their own decisions and shouldn't be nagged, bullied or preached at. At the same time, however, I know that a lot of information is just coming to light for me, so I don't see any reason I shouldn't pass it along. Maybe it will inspire you to make a change for the healthier. To be honest, it's becoming more difficult for me to sit by idly and see my friends and loved ones suffering when I feel that there's something they can be doing about it.

If you don't want read this series, you won't offend me. If you do read it and feel it doesn't pertain to you, that's fine. I just want to put the information out there so those that can benefit from it have the opportunity to make their own decisions.

I'll even put in a jump-cut so it doesn't take up too much space.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carob Protein Snacks

Hi again!

I've been wandering the realms of the internet since I started this new way of eating and as of late, I've actually hit a spot of luck. Normally one can find blogs dedicated to cooking gluten-free, but that uses sugar; or a sugar-free blog that depends on the stretchy gluten. And forget trying to make any sort of bread without that yeast. ~sigh~

But hope is not lost. I have come across the awesome blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs. What's not to love, right? I haven't managed all the way through it, but I did get to try a recipe based on their ACD-Friendly, High-Protein, No-Bake Snackin’ Orbs which turned out delightfully. They apparently host a monthly Sweet or Savory Challenge as well, so I might have to give that a try in the future. But for now, I'm happy to have a quick pick-me-up snack living in the fridge.

As a quick note on carob, if you are not diet-restricted and prefer using cocoa, give it a go. I know that carob isn't 'chocolate-y' enough for a lot of people. But man, when you haven't had chocolate since Thanksgiving, carob comes in pretty close. And no caffeine, for those that are looking for that sort of thing. Apparently the roasted variety tastes more like cocoa, but I haven't tried the raw.

You can also substitute other sweeteners if you like, I'm just doing my best to be good about no sugar. It's tough, but I feel so much better!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Faux Apple Smoothie

I must confess, I love fruit. I am so happy to be past the first month of my detox, so I can have a bit of it back in my diet. It has so many nice antioxidants. But I'm still really limited on fruits to keep my sugar levels in check. During the last few months, I've been making a lot of green smoothies (I find it an easier way for me to get less palatable greens into my diet), but I confess that I've been longing for a sweet smoothie. And now I have it!

I know, it's still green. But that's one of the best parts. I can satisfy my sweet tooth, have a meal (or hearty snack), and still get a great dose of green. There's actually no apple in this (hence the faux), but there has been a general consensus in the test kitchen that it has an apple-y taste that is delightfully unexpected. Combined with cinnamon and it's got a great holiday/autumn flavor. I don't actually measure a lot when I make smoothies, so these are estimated. You're welcome to adjust them to fit your palette.

A couple of quick notes though, I use avocado instead of banana to create thicker texture in my smoothie. It's full of nutrients and healthy fat, without the high sugar of bananas (which I still can't have). I'm not a huge lover of avocado flavor on its own, but I really don't taste it blended into smoothies. You should try it out!

The other note is about sweet potatoes. There are many breeds of sweet potato. I'm most familiar with the orange-fleshed variety (think traditional Thanksgiving fare), but they only had its paler cousin the last time I was at the store. After trying both of these, I've found the orange sweet potatoes more friendly to this recipe, both in flavor and in softness for mashing. The apple taste is more pronounced with the orange variety (though it is still pleasant tasting otherwise).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coconut Smackies

Cookies? On a sugar- and gluten-free diet? Hell yeah.

Many thanks to Kelly E. Keough and her book Sugar-free Gluten-free Baking and Desserts; a book that I am super-excited to try more recipes from, by the way. Technically, I shouldn't have started with them just yet, as her recipes call for agave which I shouldn't have in my diet until the end of February. But they called for 4 egg whites and I just happened to have them from the hollandaise from the night before. And besides, there's only 2 tbsp of agave for the whole batch, so as far as being bad goes, it's still way ahead. And it's so very awesome to be back in the cookie-making/eating world. (I do limit myself to two a day.)

These little cookies are awesome! With the addition of protein powder, they actually are quite satisfying as a quick sweet snack, which is definitely something I could use more of in my life. They are sweetened with Stevia, made from the extract of the Sweetleaf plant. It does have a distinct flavor that some people don't care for/requires some getting used to. But considering it's natural (read labels, as some companies use chemical fillers) and zero calories, it's super rad. It's up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it does take some getting used to with ratios and such. But it's such a Godsend for people looking to cut sugar out of their diet. Like me. And when used with the agave, I found the flavor to be much less noticeable.

I have included a link to a clip of Kelly Keough making them on I'm sad I don't get this station on tv, but they have a lot of clips from many of their shows. The recipe in her book and that in the clip do vary, so I've included the ratios I used.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Noms

Oh, my poor blog, I truly had the best of intentions. I had plans for a family-oriented holiday entry last week, but it was just not to be. I've found myself in a bit of bad luck as far as food experiments are concerned. It seemed like there would be no end to the frustration of failure. Even cooking directly from diet-friendly recipes just wasn't working out.

But then there was hope! In Ann Boroch's book The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health, there was a recipe for Homemade Chicken Soup. It looked easy enough and had kale in it, which is super good for you, but is a little unfriendly eating sometimes. I made my list and shopped, excited to try something that should be nutrient dense and easy to reheat into multiple meals. Unfortunately, when I got home, I found that some of the ingredients had been missed. No worries though! I had picked up ingredients for other recipes and well, so I just made a few substitutions. Her recipe calls for red potatoes and tomato sauce, which I was missing, so I added parsnips (my first go with them) and left over tomato paste from another experiment. All in all, it was a wonderful success (especially after so much failure). It's easy to store and makes a healthy (if less traditional) breakfast or quick dinner. My only complaint is the difficulty I had removing the bones. If anyone has a tip, I'm all ears. Here's my modded recipe, based on hers.