Friday, June 7, 2013

Allergy Elimination Challenge- Day 5

We're coming up on one week of the diet and still going strong. I think the hardest meal is breakfast- I miss eggs and English muffins! We're making do and discovering some fun recipes on the way. I'm already prepping for our dinner party on Saturday and will finalize the menu when I see what's looking tasty at the farmer's market tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing if this challenge can hold up for company!

Day Five Menu

Sauteed plantain with garlic
Fresh fruit

Quinoa squash cakes
Mixed green salad with lemon juice
Steamed green beans

Grouper cheeks in garlic and olive oil
Brown rice
Green beans

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Allergy Elimination Challenge- Day 4

Today I tried amaranth for breakfast, and I have to say, I'm not a huge fan. Of all the grains I'm eating- millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth- it's my least favorite. That said, I have about three more cups of it to use up, so I'll be searching for tasty amaranth recipes. This Saturday will be another fun challenge as we're having friends over for dinner! They're vegan so we'll be making a meal that is vegan and allergy-free. I foresee quinoa and plenty of veggies!

On day four I can't say that my tummy troubles are 100% healed, but I can say that I have more energy and am generally feeling great! If we feel this much better after only a few days, I can't wait to see how we feel in a few weeks!

Day Four Menu
Amaranth porridge with banana and agave nectar
Fresh papaya

Tuna on mixed greens
Rice crackers

Fish with broiled tomatoes  and herbs
Brown Rice
Steamed broccoli  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Allergy Eliminiation Challenge- Day 3

Let me take a moment to say that this is my third, I repeat, THIRD day without any coffee. I was really concerned that I would have headaches and severe crankieness, but I'm doing great! I am still drinking a few cups of green tea, but that's it for caffeine. Here are a few more recipes to get you through your mid-week slump!

Day Three Menu
Red potato skillet fries and onions
Papaya with lime

Tuna salad (no mayo) on kale
Rice crackers

Quinoa and squash cakes
Kale, carrot and avocado salad
Jasmine brown rice

Coconut Banana Bars
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup unsweetened ground coconut 
3 TSP baking soda
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TSP nutmeg 2 tbs ground flax seed, plus 4 tbs water (substitute 2 eggs if you don't have flax) 
3 bananas mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup dark agave nectar
3/4 cup brown rice syrup 
3 TBS apple juice

Combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients and blend until mostly smooth. Beat together dry and wet ingredients, careful not to over-beat. Bake in greased, floured pan at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. These coconut banana bars are moist and delicious! They're a perfect breakfast on the go, or can even be dessert. Yum! 

Here are some recipes I'm scoping out for the next few weeks!
Garlic Zucchini Salad
Amaranth Breakfast Porridge
Creamy Avocado Potato Salad
Strawberry Mango Salsa
Parsnip Chips
Millet Cake

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Allergy Eliminiation Challenge- Day 2

Kevin has taken to calling this our Allergy Elimination Challenge, rather than a diet. I think it sounds much better! I'm loving the fact that this new regiment requires me to cook new things! Today I'm experimenting with arrowroot, brown rice flour, coconut oil and xantham gum. Hopefully I'll be able to turn all of those things into a cookie..... Here are a few more recipes from our Challenge! 

Day Two Menu
Sweet potato and banana saute
1/2 grapefruit
1 slice of Food for Life Brown Rice Bread

Millet and vegetables
Fresh watermelon

Sauteed cod loin with lemon herb sauce
Steamed green beans
Brown jasmine rice
Coconut cookie bites for dessert

Quinoa Vegetable Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped roughly (I used parsley, oregano and thyme)
1 cup red grapes, halved
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
Olive oil
Cook quinoa according to package. Meanwhile, saute celery, carrots, onion, and herbs in olive oil. Combine with cooked quinoa. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add kale. Kale should be wilted, but not cooked. When slightly cooled add grapes and chicken and serve. This is a great way to get rid of your leftover veggies and oh, what a tasty summer salad! This meal is gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, nut free and could easily be vegan by omitting the chicken.

Coconut Cookie Bites 
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 TBS ground flax, 3 TBS water (substitute for 1 egg if you're not on the diet)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup ground unsweetened coconut, plus 1/4 cup set aside
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot
1/4 cup potato flour
1 tsp baking soda
Dash of salt
Dash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until easy to handle. Using an ice cream scoop, make dough balls and roll in reserved coconut flakes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes or until browned and cracking. Note- these are not super sweet cookies. If you want more sweetness, just add additional rice syrup.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Allergy Elimination Diet- Day 1

So I'm changing gears here for the next month or so, because Kevin and I are tackling an allergy elimination diet! Which means I can't eat lots of the things I normally make on this blog... So, for the next few weeks I'll be posting recipes, stories and information on how to eliminate most common food allergy culprits from your diet. For a great crash course on allergy elimination, check out this link!

This morning was already a challenge! Normally, we have half an English muffin and peanut butter before our 6am workout, followed by half an English muffin and an egg after our workout. Absolutely everything in that breakfast is off limits in this diet! So, we substituted with Food for Life Brown Rice Bread and a tasty sweet potato spread, instead of peanut butter. After our workout, we had tasty and hearty millet with fruit. Recipes for both are below.

Day One Menu
Food for Life Brown Rice Bread
Sweet Potato Butter
Millet Breakfast Cereal

Organic chicken soup with rice

Quinoa Vegetable Salad
Avocado & Banana "Pudding" for dessert 

Sweet Potato Butter
1 sweet potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup all natural applesauce (just mashed fruit, no additional anything!)
2 TBS dark agave nectar
1 TSP cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of pure vanilla extract

Mash all ingredients together for a tasty, healthy fruit spread!

Millet Breakfast Cereal 
(Serves 2)
1/2 cup millet
1 cup water
2 TBS dark agave nectar
Dash of cinnamon 
Fruit for topping, we used blueberries and raspberries

Lightly toast millet in a pan until the millet smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Add remaining ingredients to your taste. Millet is only approximately 150 calories per serving, so dig in!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keeping healthy in the new year!

Why, hello there blog! I'm putting together a few recipes to help stick to diets and new years resolutions. First up is a healthy banana bread. This recipe uses no butter, oil or eggs and still manages to be tasty!

Lightened Up Banana Bread
3 bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
2 tbs ground flax seed, plus 4 tbs water (substitute 2 eggs if you don't have flax)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs maple syrup (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp salt

Combine bananas, sugar, applesauce, flax/water, maple syrup and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Combine dry ingredients and banana mixture, but don't over do it on the mixing. Bake at 350 in a lightly greased baking dish. Depending on the dish it should take 30-40 minutes. I used a bundt cake pan for fun! If you serve 10, this will run you about 200 calories a slice.

Friday, January 11, 2013

On gardens, gifts, and cookies

This Christmas I received a wonderful gift from my darling and exceedingly handy boyfriend- a handmade, cedar garden bed! It's absolutely perfect for my new urban-ish home. A few weeks ago I put in my first winter crop: collards, arugula, spinach, red leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach beet chard, and rainbow chard. Here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure! The arugula and spinach beet chard are just asking to be eaten!

Now to change gears entirely! This Christmas I tried to make the majority of gifts I gave family and friends. Mom got a terrarium and cranberry compote, Dad got gravlax (recipe below) and dilly beans, and boyfriend got a bloody mary gift set and homemade sketch book. Across the board I'd say homemade gifts were a huge success! I plan on doing the same next year....only starting a month earlier.  Here are some of the recipes and instructions from my gifts. I hope you enjoy them! 

Gravlax is a traditional Scandanvian dish and translates to "grave salmon". The internet tells me that this refers to the ancient practice of burying fish in the sand, above the high tide line, to preserve it. Okay, try to get past the name, because it is darn delicious! 

Here's a totally solid gravlax recipe on which I based mine. A few important notes: I am a absolute salt freak, and this was still too salty for me unless you rinse it off before eating. I also recommend letting this marinate for at least 36 hours. Slice it thin and serve or crackers, bagels, or open faced sandwiches (smorrebrod).  I served mine with bagel chips and a dill cream sauce (fresh dill, cream cheese, sour cream, salt, black pepper). Delish!

Bloody Mary Gift Set
For all you bloody mary connoisseurs out there, get ready to have your mind blown. The gift set I created contained: one bottle of Zing Zang Mix (if you haven't tried it yet your quality of life is severely diminished), homemade pickled dilly beans, and a bottle of homemade pepper/bacon infused vodka.

I followed this recipe for my vodka and holy moly, is it good! I used jalapenos, habaneros, and thick-cut smokey bacon. Mine only marinated for about six days and that was plenty. Any more than a week would render this vodka too peppery for human consumption. I also recommend straining the mixture through cheese cloth a couple of times when you remove the bacon/peppers. Several reviews online complained that bacon liquor can be very greasy. While I didn't find that to be the case, I did make sure to blot my bacon very well after cooking and strained the mixture three times.

Here's my go-to dilly beans recipe.  I added some extra red pepper flakes for heat. Any type of pickle would be a great accompnament for this gift. Next time I'm going to try pickled asparagus!

PS- Now that I know how to infuse vodka, expect a lot of posts on the subject!   

Vegan Molasses Cookies! 
Here's a cookie recipe I came up with today. They're chewy, tasty, and vegan!

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable spread or butter (I used Earth Balance since these are vegan) 
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbs flax seed (ground)
3 tbs water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cups Bisquick mix
1/2 cup golden raisins 

Combine sugar and vegetable spread with a hand mixer, add flax and water. Blend well. Add molasses and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg). Once well incorporated, add Bisquick and mix well. Finally, stir in the raisins. Let dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Roll into balls and coat with white sugar (I used and ice cream scoop and made quick work of these cookies). Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Chewy, spicy, tasty, yum! Enjoy!