falling off the wagon

30 Apr

Finish exams and stuff my face sums up my week. Not only was it my momma’s birthday this week, but I also went back to work at the grocery store. Paycheck = great, constant supply of unhealthy snacks = not good. I can’t resist a good sour jujube or caramel corn, or anything dipped in sugar, especially when I hit the afternoon slump. There was just no discipline this week. At all. I did get all my workouts in and I’m up to 6km as I train for an 8k run on the May long weekend. However, I undid all of that with the ridiculous amount of crap I ate. Starting today, I’m writing down everything I eat. Lots more discipline. No more snacks at work unless I bring something from home or it’s a fruit or a veggie.Done.

Anywho, for momma K’s birthday I made her a normal vanilla cake with lemon curd (my fave!) and a whipped cream frosting topped with lots of yummy berries. I use the joy of baking recipes for all of these items, but I wasn’t so impressed with the cake. It was really dense. I was looking for something that would stand up to the lemon curd and not get soggy, but I didn’t want something I could build a house on top of either. Not impressed, still on the lookout for a great cake recipe for my non-g-free family and friends.

I also made a pavlova, just for me ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, I did share, but I could have eaten the whole thing. It was beautiful, and perfect, all marshmallow-y with a crispy crust. Topped with whipped cream and berries! If you’ve never made pavlova it can be super tricky. And it’s best to make it on a day that isn’t humid or rainy so it doesn’t get sticky.

Pavlova:

3 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 250. Line a pan with parchment paper

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar by tablespoon as you continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla. Sprinkle vinegar and cornstarch on top of the eggs and gently fold in (I use a whisk to do this so that I don’t kill the lift in my egg whites). Spread egg whites over parchment paper in a circle with a little bit of a well in the middle to hold the whipped cream and fruit.

Bake in oven at 250 for 60-75 minutes, until a very light brown colour. Turn off the oven and leave the door open a bit until the Pavlova cools. Store in an airtight container on the parchment until ready to serve.

Top with whipped cream and your choice of fruit!

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“They don’t taste gluten free at all”

21 Apr

I love chocolate. In any form. At any time. Especially during final exams.

With the advent of 2 exams back to back my craving for chocolate had peaked. One problem. We actually have bare bones food in my house right now. Moving out means eating everything you have so you don’t have to throw it out or take it home. So I was left with 1 cup of gluten free flour and one ounce of bittersweet chocolate. I spent probably an hour searching for a recipe for chocolate gluten free cookies when I stumbled upon this one: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.ca/2011/04/gluten-free-chocolate-cookies-with.html

I was afraid it wouldn’t taste right without the chocolate chips — gluten free stuff is weird like that. Leave one ingredient out and bam, nasty cookie. Also, the gluten free flour blend I bought in bulk isn’t the greatest. I kept forgetting my good mix at home so I thought I’d make do with an all purpose blend. Yeah, not so much. It’s great for texture, but if whatever you’re making isn’t super chocolatey or strong flavoured, it has a really off-putting flavour.

Anyways, I made a half batch. Added a little more cocoa than I needed and chopped up that bittersweet chocolate and added it to the mix. I also used regular skim milk and shortening. They turned out pretty good actually. A little dry if anything. But they were tested by my normal food eating roommate and she said “they don’t taste gluten free at all”. Success.

Of course success is much better with frosting, so I whipped up a quick cream cheese icing for these. Not even close to having a recipe for this. Basically just softened some cream cheese, added a splash of milk and a ton of icing sugar. Tah Dah. Just what I needed!

You only live once,

Karla

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

16 Apr

I love all things curry, and coconut, and spicy. Hence this soup.ย  It was time consuming, but worth every second. It’s got some heat, and the coconut milk makes it a little bit sweet. I added in lots of veggies to make this super nutrient packed and yummy.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

2 chicken breasts – skinless, sliced thin

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp oil

Heat the oil in a pan, add the chicken and curry powder. Cook through. Set aside.

1/2 head broccoli – cut into tiny florets

1/2 bell pepper – medium size chunks

2 carrots – sliced

1 cup mushrooms – slice thick

1 tsp oil

Saute until tender but not mushy.

1 medium onion – diced

1 jalapeno or thai chili – minced

1/2 inch ginger – grated

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tbsp curry paste – red or yellow

2 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 large sweet potato – cut into cubes

1/2 cup lentils

2/3 can coconut milk

5 cups chicken broth

lime – for garnish

Add onion, chili, ginger and garlic to a big pot.ย  Saute until onions are translucent. Add curry paste, curry powder and brown sugar. Heat for about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock, lentils and sweet potato. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add chicken and veggies, simmer for 5 more minutes. Reduce to low heat, slowly add coconut milk. Heat for another 10 minutes. Serve with a lime wedge!

The cutest little dinner you ever did see

11 Apr

Okay, so it doesn’t involve puppies or babies, but these meatloaf muffins are pretty cute and tasty! This is not dry, bland, icky meatloaf. Its full of flavour and nutrients. On the side are some quick stir fried veggies in hoisin sauce and sesame oil.

Meatloaf Muffins

1 lb lean ground beef

1 onion – caramelized

2 handfuls of baby spinach – chopped

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup quinoa – cooked

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp italian seasoning

1 egg – beaten

1/2 cup chili sauce, or salsa

Salt and pepper – to taste

Caramelize the onion with a little bit of butter, salt and a bit of white sugar. Toss all ingredients into a bowl, mix until just combined.ย  Press mixture into muffin pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.ย  Top with cheese and put back into the oven until it is melted.

Serve with extra salsa or chili sauce ๐Ÿ™‚

 

you only live once,

Karla

Adventures in [vegan] baking

3 Apr

This post qualifies my earlier statement about my insanity — see post on running.

To explain: our clinical group at school is having a potluck to celebrate the end of our rotation and the semester. I thought I’d bring a dessert. I offered to make something for theย needy people who have special diets in our group because it was going to be gluten free anyways. Then a classmate told me one of the girls in our group is vegan and would never say anything about it. Challenge accepted.

So after shuffling through countless blogs I found this:

http://thevegmom.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/decadent-gluten-free-vegan-brownies/

Now normally, I make substitutions and change recipes as I see fit. Not this one. I followed the recipe exactly, added only a few minutes of baking time to help it set and voila. SO DELICIOUS. Their only downfall — they are super crumbly. Moist and fudgy, but they fall apart.

No pictures this time. It was a mess…but trust me, this is an incredible recipe. It doesn’t taste vegan-y or gluten-free-ish at all. 100% chocolatey, even with the coconut cream!

You only live once,

Karla

Questions and Lemon Muffins

29 Mar

At the beginning of December I made the decision to eat gluten free in hopes of fixing the digestive problems I’ve had for a while. It worked. I feel great. Since making this decision I get the following questions all the time:

1. Is your diet that much healthier than before?

Actually, yes. But not because I cut out gluten. Along with deciding to remove gluten from my diet I’ve changed the way I eat completely. Lots of fruits, veggies and lean proteins. I have a smoothie almost everyday for lunch and oatmeal every morning for breakfast. I drink tons of water and limit myself to one extra special treat per week. A gluten free diet is not necessarily a healthy diet. I could eat tons of gluten free prepackaged meals, and most gluten free flours are refined and not whole grains at all. Plus most things like potato chips, chocolate and candy are gluten free. I changed my whole diet, not just the gluten free part.

2. Is it hard to be gluten free?

Yes and no. It’s hard when I’m not at home. Although most restaurants have a menu with some options for me, it’s more difficult when I’m at a friend’s house for dinner or need a quick snack on campus. I don’t like to ask for special meals, or enjoy explaining what I can and can’t eat. It makes me feel whiny and needy. So I carry lots of snacks and bring my own food, or a substantial gluten free dish if I’m going to a potluck. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy. I miss cupcakes and garlic bread, but I’m finding ways to make those gluten free as I go. If I’m not prepared or plans change at the last minute it is hard.

3. So, you can’t have any gluten?

Well, technically I can have all the gluten I want. I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac, so other than an intolerance the gluten isn’t destroying my intestines. I try my best to avoid all foods containing gluten including sauces, dressings, and condiments. I pay for it if I eat something that I should have avoided.

Oh and this week I was looking to venture into the world of muffins, so I started with a pretty basic lemon muffin recipe adapted from gingerlemongirl.blogspot.ca. I halved the recipe because I only wanted to make a few muffins, omitted the stevia, and kept the milk amount the same because the dough was pretty sticky. I also used gluten free flour instead of almond flour; I just don’t have almond flour in the house. They turned out pretty well. Pretty dense. So I think next time I’d whip up the egg whites to see if they could add a little more lift to the batter.

You only live once,

Karla

Lemon Muffins adapted from gingerlemongirl.blogspot.ca

2 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp lemon gelatin

1/2 cup demerara or dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp lemon zest

1/2 cup milk – add more if the batter is really thick

Mix together and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Let cool and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Sunshine and Fish Tacos

21 Mar

Since today was absolutely gorgeous and I spent the whole afternoon outside working onmytan. I was in the mood for one of my favourite light, but also super flavourful meals. FISH TACOS! I adore spicy food, and guacamole, and cheese, so they all made it into this super quick dish.

I whipped up a quick guacamole (recipe below) with avocado, tomato, lime and because I didn’t have any jalapeno, a little cayenne pepper for some heat. Seasoned with a little salt and it was perfect. Avocados have become one of my favourites lately. They’re so versatile and are a great source of healthy fat to keep me full between meals!

I pan seared some fish in lots of spices (cayenne, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder) and a little olive oil. Threw it and the guac in a toasted corn tortilla and topped with a little feta. Of course mexican cheese like queso fresco would have been ideal, but feta did the trick. If only I could have a fridge full of lots of different cheeses all the time. Silly student budget.

On that student budget note, I should mention that most of my meals are based on what I can get on sale. We stock up on frozen fish and other proteins when they’re on sale. I got 4 good sized filets for 3.99 this week, so this meal rings in at about 2.00 per serving (2 tacos).

You only live once,

Karla

Guacamole:

1/2 ripe avocado – mashed

1 small tomato – diced

juice of 1/2 a lime

salt and cayenne to taste