Tag: gluten free

Perfect Saturday

So I’m a very social person but to me the perfect day is one that combines activities and ‘veg’ time as I like to call it.  Today is a perfect example.  I woke up early and then went to pick up my bountiful basket.  The last few have been a bit skimpy but not this week.  It is huge!  We went with the tropical and blackberry addition but it ended up being still just under $40.  Pretty incredible.  The tropical basket has little tiny coconuts.  I’m not sure how to use them but that’s part of the fun. The blackberries are divine.  I’ve already eaten 2 containers!

All of this for under $40!

It was funny when I was picking up my basket a girl looked at the artichoke and said ‘What the heck is that?’.  I guess spending a lot of time in California I was introduced to artichokes from an early age.  I can understand never having tried them but to have no idea what they are?  Funny.

After picking up my basket I went to Boxing is for Girls and it was intense but awesome.  They have you do around a half hour of circuit training and this time it was relays with various tasks.  Its amazing how something that looks so easy like moving on your feet and hands with your but in the air is super hard. Wow! The last half of the class is punching practice and its my favorite.  You do some sets to practice your form and then they bring out the punching bags and you can go at it.  It really is a blast.  My friend Polly came last week and I didn’t know if she was really liking it but after the punching she was psyched.  She even signed up for a pass.

Love this photo
Jab Jab!

After boxing I came home, made lunch and watched my DVR of Say Yes to the Dress (the Atlanta version really isn’t as good!).  Then I made some almond flour cheese crackers.  I was reminded of them by my friend Jill who had them when I taught my class on low glycemic cooking.   This time I didn’t have quite enough almond flour so I had to use some brown rice flour.  I also tried a spin on the recipe and added some Tabasco.   Yum!

cheese crackers. Loaded with protein and flavor. Don’t overdo it because they do have a lot of calories from the almond flour. Still delicious.

Cheese Crackers with Almond Flour (Gluten Free)
(Makes about 30 crackers, recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. This recipe is half the amount in the book, so double it and make the full recipe if you prefer.)

2 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (not the same as almond meal) (I use honeyville farms made right here in Utah).
1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar and lightly packed it into measuring cup)
3  T  grapeseed oil (or olive oil works great if you don’t have  grapeseed)
2 large egg

 Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grate 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Put one piece of parchment on cutting board and put dough on top, or half the dough if baking on small baking sheet. (I made the dough into the shape of the parchment.) Put second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll out with rolling pin until dough covers the parchment sheet.Remove top parchment and cut dough into pieces 2 inches square.  Slide the parchment with the cut dough onto baking sheet and bake crackers 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.Let crackers cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes (or if you need to bake another batch like I did, carefully slide first batch off to cutting board to cool while you use baking sheet to bake the second batch.)

I had kind of gotten out of my low glycemic baking.  Not sure why but I think I’m going to dive into it again.  Elana Amsterdam certainly has lots of recipes for me to try! :).

Now I have the rest of the day to relax, rub essential oils on my wounds (another banner exercise week, 4 workouts.  Next week I have one planned every day except Sunday.  If I can pull it off it will be one of the only times I’ve done that.  It’s the home stretch.  My swim is coming in 14 days!)

To me this is the perfect Saturday.  Got enough busyness to feel productive but enough relax time to feel relaxed.  After the week I’ve had I need to feel relaxed. Maybe I will even read for a while.  Luxury!

(I was just reading over the post and wondered- who is interested in the various activities of my Saturday?  Well, maybe nobody but there it is. Enjoy!)

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Twin Cakes

As all my facebook friends know I’ve found a new obsession.  Twin Cakes raw gluten-free snack bites.  These delectable ‘cookies’ are low glycemic, low sugar, low carb and despite their small size they pack a ton of flavor.  I like them so much that I emailed the owner (one of the twins Lori) and she agreed to give me a bulk rate.  I now have 16 bags coming this week- that’s 160 balls in various flavors:

the brownie bites are very rich. Under 100 calories, 6 gr sugar, 9 carbs. For strong chocolate lovers only.
mint chocolate coconut bites
spiced hazelnut dough balls

And I ordered the Cinnamon Coconut bites which they do not have a photo for on their site.  I will sell bags to anyone who is interested at cost. This is really just a way for me to get healthy goodies at a discount.  I’m not making anything. Call me for the prices. They are between 8-10.

Spiced hazelnut dough ball –  4 bags for
Brownie bite – 4 bags
Cinnamon coconut bite – 4 bags
Mint Chip coconut bite –  4 bags

There are 10 bites/balls per bag.

If you are lucky enough to live near certain stores that carry their product I am very envious.  I can’t say how delicious I think they are.  I just love them so much!   If someone tried to tell me I couldn’t eat them I think the fangs would come out.

Ingredients for brownie bites (as an example) maple syrup, cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour (all organic).

Ingredients for cinnamon coconut bites- coconut flakes, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut butter, cinnamon (all organic).

Most ‘healthy sweets’ taste just awful which leaves me craving for the bad stuff.  These bites are full of flavor.  You really don’t need to eat more than one.  Plus they last forever.  If refrigerated could have them for many months. They are also vegan for anyone interested in that.

It actually means something to me to be able to eat something sweet and have it not ruin my diet.  Something sweet that actually tastes GOOD! It really does add to the quality of my life.  The first time I tried one I literally had a few tears. I had just finished the sugar fast and it was like yes! This I can live with.  This is delicious! This is the sweet life!

Now, you cant eat bags and bags.  They are still a sweet but they are all pretty strong.  The temptation to eat more than 1 is usually not there for me.

If you come by my place ask to try one.  I want to get as many of my friends hooked as I can so I can make more bulk orders, possibly lowering costs even more or convincing Whole Foods or someplace around here to stock them.  They make me very happy.

So, if you are interested in any of the above items at the above prices let me know.  Again, I’m not making anything on this.  In fact, I will absorb the minor shipping charge.  No pressure because any that aren’t sold will be saved for me to gladly eat but if you want let me know.

I applaud people like the twins at Twin Cakes and Elana Amsterdam at Elana’s Pantry because they make good tasting products/recipes despite their dietary restrictions.  They aren’t happy with a ‘kinda, sorta, tastes like the real thing’ treat.  No,  they wanted something genuinely delicious.

I admire that type of thinking.  Too often I feel discouraged because something has been removed from my diet.  I don’t think ‘how could I make it work and make it still taste delicious’.  People like this inspire me to do better and be more adventurous.

I’ve got sweets coming…Life is good! :).

Btw- anyone who comes new to book club will get to try them.  This should definitely entice you to come!  (It sure would entice me!)

Teaching Low GI

Today I had a fun experience.  I was asked by my ward to do an activity explaining all I’ve learned about low glycemic cooking.  It is something I was excited to do because I have learned so much in recent months that I have wanted to share with others.  Teaching all of you on this blog is fun but it is nice to gab on with others in person also.  Part of it is I wish others had shared the information with me much sooner- hopefully I can enlighten someone else much sooner than me.

To help with the lesson I prepared a packet of information explaining how the cell membrane works, what insulin is, and how the glycemic index was developed.

Here are links to the packet info I used.  I hope you find them helpful:

http://www.glycemicindex.ca/glycemicindexfoods.pdf

http://www.diabetes.ca/Files/diabetes_gl_final2_cpg03.pdf

http://www.iristrial.org/teleforms/documents/insulin_resistance.pdf

Aside from explaining the biology of the glycemic index, I also focused on making little choices that have a big impact on our sugars  For example, you can use agave instead of sugar or alternative flours (brown rice, quinoa, or other flour)  instead of regular refined flour.  I showed them many of the different flours and sugars I have and gave examples of healthier choices:

1.  I showed ketchup, steak and bbq sauce and asked which one had the most sugar?  If you don’t know, its bbq sauce (6 gr per tbsp), then ketchup (4 gr per tbsp), finally steak sauce (2 gr per tbsp).  So, by choosing the steak sauce over the bbq saue we are significantly cutting our sugar on that item.   By making a thousand little choices like that we become healthier.  (of course no sauce would be even better but I love a little sauce!)

2. I showed two cans of soup- Chicken and Stars vs.  Split Pea and Ham.  While both have a lot of sodium, if I want a can of soup the split pea is a much better choice with 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber compared to chicken and stars with 3 and 1 respectively.  I then explained that by reading labels we can make better choices.

3. I introduced them to quinoa.  One of the problems I noticed as I went low glycemic is my need to have a starch with my meals.  It didn’t seem enough to have a piece of chicken or steak on its own.  I needed rice or potatoes or some kind of starchy side.  This is something I have had to ween myself off  of but I have found that brown rice and quinoa are good alternatives.  Particularly quinoa because it is a complete protein.   Most of the girls had never experienced quinoa so it was fun to see their reaction!

4.  Finally I did some cooking!  (You will have to excuse the bad photos.  I still haven’t learned to take good food photos.  I’d love to learn if someone wants to teach me!).

We made individual flavored lemonades with fresh squeezed juice, agave and either ginger or mint (the more flavoring you put in things the less sweetener is required).

flavored lemonades

Then I made homemade cheeze-its!  This is a recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  They were very easy and delicious. Here is a link to the recipe:

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/09/recipe-for-cheese-crackers-with-almond.html

Serving with it I had ranch spinach dip made with greek yogurt.  The point of this item was to show how snacking can actually be healthy (crackers and yogurt have protein, spinach is loaded with goodness).

gluten free cheese crackers with spinach ranch yogurt dip. It was super good!

Finally for desert we had strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Elana’s Gluten Free Cupcake Cookbook.  I think these were mostly a success.  They are made with coconut flour and agave for the sweetener.  They were a little dry so next time I might try cooking them less and I would puree the strawberries because I find their texture when heated to be odd.  Still the frosting is to die for!  It is cream cheese whipped, folded into whip cream sweetened with agave.  Holy cow is it good!

http://t.co/HpJABC0

strawberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Any treat should be eaten in moderation but it is so fun to find ways to make things healthier.   If I have learned anything in the last year is that being a healthy person involves a thousand little decisions that cumulatively add up to good health.  I’ve also learned to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how my body reacts to certain foods or medicines and only I can feed it correctly.   With the counsel of my doctor (but mostly my own research) I have learned what it means to truly feed my soul and help make me feel good.  What a blessing that is, and how fun to share it with those around me.

I hope that all of you have fun trying these recipes and enjoy looking at the handouts (if you are close by I can give you one- I have extras).  If you want to learn more call me- I love talking about this stuff!  I would also love to cook with any of you as I am dying to try out more recipes (particularly from Elana’s cookbooks and blog.  They are such good recipes).

Product Recommendation Almond Flour

Hi out there! I decided to try something new for my product recommendations.  I’m really excited about this almond flour from Honeyville Farms.  If you want to order go to the Honeyville Farm website. If anyone is interested in buying it in bulk with me I’d love it.  I have enough to last me a few months but after that I’m confident I will want more!

I just got Elana Amsterdam’s cookbooks and they look fantastic (and are priced under $10 each!). I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to explore them.   Her new one is called Gluten-Free Cupcakes and her old one is the Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  It would be cool if someone else got these cookbooks and we could dive into them together.  It will take me a while to get through them all by myself (but don’t worry I will persevere through all the yummy baked goods!).  Most of her recipes call for agave which still must be eaten with moderation but at a glycemic index of 38 it is pretty good.

Anyway, I’m just grateful for products and companies that help me to feel good, eat right and still enjoy life!

.

Brownies

seriously brownies that are actually good for you- omega 3s and protein from the almond butter, flour and sugar free! Wow! May be the best day of my life.

Yes you read right.  Brownies.  Have I flown off the diabetes band wagon?  No sir!

The last two days I have not felt well and been a bit depressed.  Actually I don’t know if depressed is the right word- exhausted is more accurate.  Exhausted in every sense of the word.  I feel wrung out emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Today for some reason I feel a lot better.  I don’t know if it is seeing my sister or having voice lessons or what but I just feel a little more energy than the last 2 days.

I am particularly happy about a new recipe I tried for BROWNIES!!!  You won’t believe this recipe actually works.  It has NO FLOUR and NO SUGAR!!  How can that be?  I was skeptical but it is delicious.  The chips have a tiny bit of sugar but you can use chips with cane juice, agave or other sweeteners.

Chocolate Chip Brownies
1 (16) ounce jar salted almond butter, smooth roasted
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup cacao powder
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao

  1. In a large bowl, blend almond butter until smooth with a hand blender
  2. Blend in eggs, then blend in agave and vanilla
  3. Blend in cacao, salt and baking soda, then fold in chocolate chips
  4. Grease a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish
  5. Pour batter into dish
  6. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes

I wish I could take credit for this recipe.  It is from an amazing blog called Elena’s Pantry written by Elena Amsterdam.  Ostensibly she is a gluten free author but her recipes also are low glycemic and use natural sweeteners.  She’s even introduced me to new sweeteners/flours such as yacon powder and spelt flour.

These brownies are AMAZING!!!!!

I feel I have been blessed to not care much about food but after two bad days I must admit these brownies made me happy and smile. One thing about being a medical freak show is it makes you appreciate the little things. 🙂

Try out these brownies and other recipes from Elena’s Pantry and let me know what you think.  I have been blown away.  (Unfortunately these are not cheap but you can’t have everything!)