Friday, April 19, 2013

Recipes I have been enjoying.

I have been experimenting with a low carb diet, but not the type of low carb using those processed flour mixes, breads and tortillas and other ready made low carb products. The exception is whey protein and some safe sugar alternatives. My food is made at home and with real food!

So far, I think it is going well, I feel good and not deprived. My husband and kids have liked several things I have made which is a huge plus! Here are some of the recipes we have been enjoying that are available free on these people's blogs...

Healthy Living How To Chia Seed Jam

 You can find the recipe here. In my version, I use the Organic Antioxidant Fruit Blend available in the freezer section at Costco. It contains strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries and pomegranate, how's that for healthy!! It makes the best tasting Chia Seed Jam, my kids love it and it gets eaten real fast (you can tell there is not much left lol).  Because there are so many seeds in the pomegranates and raspberries, I will thaw out the amount I want to use, then put into my vitamix along with the water (for example if I am making 3 cups, then I will use 3 TBSP of water) you need for the recipe and blend well, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. I usually have to use a spoon to push the juice through because it is thick. I then follow the directions to the recipe. When the jam is cooling, I will stir in 21 drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia.

The Spunky Coconut Dairy Free Yogurt #2 

Made with 4 cups of Cashew Milk and 2 cups of Coconut Milk...thick and delish!

Chia Seed Jam makes the best yogurt topping!

You can find The Spunky Coconut's Dairy Free Yogurt #2 recipe here. In her recipe she calls for 4 cups of coconut milk and only 2 cups of cashew milk, but I made a batch of her cashew milk (here is a video that shows how to make it) and it makes 4 cups so I decided to use it all and use only 2 cups of coconut milk. I am so glad I did, because unless you love the flavor of coconut, I think it will really stand out. If you eat my version plain, you can taste a hint of coconut, but with toppings like the Chia Seed Jam, it will not be noticeable at all and you will still reap the benefits of coconut. Thankfully my two youngest love it (my oldest has not tried it yet) and I do too...I am out of Chia Seed Jam too :)

Amy Loves Her Life!!!! Oatmeal Packets

Aiden putting together the Oatmeal Packets.
My younger son Aiden loves oatmeal. When he finished eating the Quaker Brand flavored oatmeal packets, I brought up the idea of making our own, which he was very receptive to. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a simple recipe to make your own (click here). For the sugar, I used coconut/palm sugar, it's much healthier than brown sugar and actually does contain minerals and nutrients and tastes pretty much the same as brown sugar anyway. We made 27  1/2 cup bags, I know we saved quite a few pennies! The verdict on taste...Aiden and Eilan say they love it, especially with the Chia Seed Jam.

I hope I have inspired you to give some of these recipes a try and if you do, I hope you find them as tasty as we do!

Here is the new Karate Kid...


Showing off his new sparring gear courtesy of his Grandpa, his chest guard is the only thing missing and has been ordered and is on it's way.
My Husband and I bought him a gear bag as an early birthday present.
Aiden and Lily sparring today.

 If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that I am now a Karate Mom. My younger son, Aiden is taking Taekwondo at a local studio. He absolutely loves it and we spend a good 8 hours a week there. He rather recently got to try sparring and really liked it, so my Dad purchased the gear for him (thanks so much Dad and Bekkee!) Last Friday however, his gear had not come in yet and all he had to borrow was some gloves, but that was ok, there are other kids who do not have the gear either. He however was paired with a feisty, little 8 year old girl (he is 10), who has been doing karate for 3 years AND who had full sparring gear on. Boy she let loose on Aiden and got him in the jaw/neck area a couple of times till he was seeing stars almost. He said he felt like crying but sat down and took a few deep breaths then got right back up again. He managed to get a few good licks in at Lily too (don't worry she has full protective gear on).

I thought it was cute when Lily came up to me yesterday asking if we would be there on Friday (today) and I assured her we would. 

Today, Aiden was much more prepared for Lily lol. No seeing stars for him today!

Have a terrific weekend!


Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm back! Trying something new this month.

I'm back from taking a bit of a break from blogging...sometimes you just need to recharge for a little while till those creative juices start flowing again.

I have been fairly productive during my absence, relearning how to bake, but with sugar free sweeteners...the safe ones that is. I still am not real comfortable yet, but I have some tried and true recipes that my kids love as well as I do. I have been experimenting with the low carb lifestyle and I have to say, I like it! My body seems to agree with it as well. However, I have not done it for longer than 2 weeks at a time, so this month is  going to be my low carb, sugar free (with acceptable, safe sweeteners) experimental month. I will be continuing to eat gluten free of course.

What do I consider safe acceptable sweeteners? That would be stevia, Swerve (stevia, erythritol), Just Like Sugar (chicory root), small amount of xylitol and maltitol. I have been using these sweeteners for a couple of months now and have no problems with them. Everyone is different of course, so you need to listen to your body when trying new things.

I am also starting another "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" this month, I hope you will join me!
Check out my Facebook page

I will be sharing with you soon, some of my favorite low carb recipes and cookbooks for those who may be interested.

Last month, my younger son, Aiden joined karate and is loving it! He told me he wishes he could take karate every minute of the day. Right now he is doing 6 hours a week...whew, but I enjoy watching him. The plan right now is to let him have 3 months doing karate alone to help him work on over coming his shyness, then the rest of the family will join him in taking classes. I am really looking forward to learning, but am so out of shape...another reason to get my "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" going again!

Aiden mid kick.

Have a wonderful April Fools Day!
No, this post is not a prank :)


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Very first "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" Starts tomorrow November 1, 2012!!

The very first "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" starts tomorrow, November 1, 2012! I hope that you will join me. Who knows, we may be able to avoid packing on the typical holiday pounds!

The "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" was created to help me learn to make exercising daily second nature, just as eating lots of veggies is now a breeze thanks to the Whole30. I realized many people may be in the same boat as I am and need a starting point, a goal that is achievable. I hope you will find the "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge" to be just that.

The Rules...

Do at least 10 minutes of exercise a day, preferably working up to 30-45 minutes a day (or more) doing any kind of activity you like, such as yoga, walking, biking, dancing, running...etc. You may divide the time up through out the day, but you run the risk of don't forget!

Exercise each day for 30 days in a row. This will give you the repetition that will help you make exercising a new beneficial habit which is the goal we are striving for.

Now get up and move! You can do it!

Here is the link to my Facebook page dedicated to the "30 Day Get Up and Move Challenge"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Fruits of My Labor So Far...

If you have been following my blog or my facebook page, you will know that I had been doing a Whole30 (my second attempt) last month. I am very happy to say that I successfully completed it on Sunday! It was a huge accomplishment for me and I am extremely pleased with the results.

I have learned to prepare and eat a lot of veggies, much more than I have ever eaten in my life lol. But I now can see the benefits, my nails are strong and healthy looking, my skin is clearer and looks more even toned. I don't feel bloated and yuck (sorry, that is the best word to describe it). I have learned to love a nice, relaxing cup of herbal tea at night instead of a big bowl of ice cream (can you envision all the empty calories I am saving there).

All these benefits sounds great and wonderful (they are), but did I lose any weight? You betcha! I weighed myself the day after completing the Whole30 and found I lost 8 lbs.!! Not too shabby at all, especially when I do the math and calculate how much weight I have lost total since last year...50 lbs...gone!! Whoa baby, I have never lost 50 lbs before, this is a new record for me. I am also only 5 lbs away from my latest mini-goal too.

I chose this as my reward for persevering :)

Lord willing, next week, I will post after pic's to compare with how I looked when I started. I will also post my tips for a successful Whole30.

I hope the rest of your weeks is wonderful!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Easy Baked Apple Recipes

With Fall fast approaching, baked apple and pumpkin dishes are sounding so good to me right now! I decided to focus on apples first and have come up with a couple of delicious, easy and satisfying recipes for anyone doing a Whole30, eliminating sugar from their diet or just simply loves the comforting goodness, warm baked apples have to offer.

You don't need me to remind you all of the nutritional benefits of eating a whole food like apples right? I mean, you probably already know all about the terrific soluble fiber, vitamin A, iron and calcium that is present in baked apples...of course you do...whew, glad I don't have to explain :)

Baked Spice Apples with Coconut Cream

Serves 1

2 small baking apples (I used Granny Smith) sliced into 8 wedges each, preferably peeled (I did not peel mine, too lazy)
1 Tbsp of melted Ghee or butter (I used ghee)
1/2 tsp of Pumpkin Pie spice or Apple Pie spice (I used pumpkin pie spice)
pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp of Coconut Cream* (or as much as you want)
Optional: chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Add your apple wedges to a 8x8 baking dish.

3. Drizzle melted ghee or butter over the apples.

4. Add Pumpkin Pie spice or Apple Pie spice and sea salt to the apples.

5. Stir apples together with the spices and ghee to coat.

6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until for tender or as soft as you like.

7. Add baked apples to serving bowl, top with coconut cream and nuts if you are using.

8. Enjoy!

*To get coconut cream, put a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for 24 hours (sometimes overnight is not long enough to harden the cream). Open can and scoop out with a spoon the white coconut cream that has solidified in the can. Whisk cream in a bowl till nice and creamy and smooth.

If you are not on a sugar detox of some sort and feel the apples themselves are not sweet enough for you, add a little maple syrup or raw honey before topping with the coconut cream.

Baked Cinnamon Apples and Wild Blueberries

Serves 1

2 small baking apples (I used Granny Smith) sliced into 8 wedges each, preferably peeled (I did not peel mine, too lazy)
1 Tbsp of melted Ghee or butter (I used ghee)
1/4 tsp (rounded) of Cinnamon
About 4 swipes on a rasp of whole nutmeg or a good pinch of powdered nutmeg.
1/4 Cup of frozen, wild blueberries (Trader Joe's has some), I'm sure regular blueberries will work just fine
pinch of salt
Optional: Coconut cream, nuts

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Add your apple wedges and blueberries to a 8x8 baking dish.

3. Drizzle melted ghee or butter over the apples.

4. Add spices and salt to the apples and blueberries.

5. Stir with a spoon to coat fruit with spices and ghee.

6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until for tender or as soft as you like.

7. Add baked fruit to a serving bowl and top with nuts or coconut cream or both.

8. Enjoy!

If you are not on a sugar detox of some sort and feel the apples themselves are not sweet enough for you, add a little maple syrup or raw honey before adding your toppings.

Other topping ideas are:

shredded coconut
dried cherries
dried cranberries
raw honey
maple syrup
Caramel Sauce-homemade and without High Fructose Corn Syrup
Coconut Nectar
Brown Rice Syrup

Or you can make the Baked Apples a topping for:

Vanilla Ice Cream
Pork or other meat
Baked sweet potatoes

However you decide to eat these baked apples, I hope you find it yummy!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

While perusing through Facebook the other day, I came across a post by Paleo Parents for Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons. The recipe looked very easy to make and only called for 5 ingredients and pretty healthy ingredients at that (ok, except the chocolate chips).  I'm not a huge macaroon fan, but Stacy and Matt's raving about these cookies made me decide to trust them and give the recipe a shot.

Wowie Zowie! They are so good, so buttery tasting, even though there is no butter! I now love macaroons!! Well these at least :)

I used Artisana Raw Coconut Butter instead of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (they are basically the same thing).

I did not have any course salt, so I used regular, granulated sea salt...I would only use a 1/2 tsp. next time as it was just a tad saltier than I would like.

Here is a link to another macaroon cookie recipe that inspired the Paleo Parents to make their cookie. Clean Macaroons with Coconut Strawberry Glaze, I have not made this version yet, but I'm pretty confidant, it will knock my socks off!

Some of you may be wondering why I am consuming sugar when I am supposed to be doing a Whole30. Well, I have decided, or I should say the perfectionist in me decided that I would rather start my Whole30 again at the first of the month instead of at the end of a month. So, Sat. Sept. 1st, I restart my Whole30 again. I have decided this time around not to do the Auto Immune Protocol, but a regular Whole30. I can always revert back to the AI Protocol if need be.

Despite only making it to day 21 on my last Whole30, I have been enjoying increased energy and creativity, which I have put to good use decluttering my house and rearranging some of the furniture in more pleasing positions. I do have more projects up my sleeve pending my husbands approval of course. I am excited to see what benefits I will reap, completing a whole 30 days!


Friday, August 24, 2012

My Whole30 was thwarted by a piece of cheese!

Actually it was two pieces!

I'm back to Day 1 on my Whole30,  I mistakenly ate two pieces of cheese in my what-was-supposed-to-be In & Out double patty, lettuce wrapped with grilled onions burger. My poor hubby, felt so bad since he was the one who goofed my order. I trusted that he had ordered correctly when I received my burger, and proceeded to eat it, after a few bites, I knew something was off, as the burger seemed so much more tastier than usual. I took a good look at my burger and saw cheese! Ahhhh, I was only 9 days away from completing my first Whole30! My husband suggested I just don't worry about it and continue on, but I couldn't, my conscience would not let me. In the book It Starts With Food, they state you need to be off all gluten, dairy, legumes, grains and sugar for a whole month at least to let your body heal properly. I really do want to give my body that chance of uninterrupted healing, so that is why I am starting at day 1.

I will not however, be doing the Autoimmune Protocol of the Whole30 this time around. But if I start having problems, then I will go back on it again.

Not making any excuses, just letting everyone know why I am starting over. I don't look at it as a failure either, it's just a setback, something to learn from (always check your food before biting into it).

I've had to make an ice cream cake for my son and his cousin's birthday party and guess what!? I felt no desire to eat any of it, or lick the spoon or bowl! I'll be enjoying my Prosciutto Wrapped Dates while everyone else is eating the ice cream cake and I'll be feeling perfectly content! :) If that is not progress, then I don't know what is!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!