Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar Free Delectable Chocolate Cake

For anyone out there who got scared away by my crazy dark chocolate gingerbread cake this recipe is the perfect chocolatey cake recipe for you.  No funky flavors going on here, and best of all, absolutely no sugar.  This cake is sweetened with Chocolate Stevia drops only.  The particular brand I used is NOW but from what I have heard, NuNaturals Cocoa Stevia is the best by far, or SweetLeaf Chocolate drops.  This makes a small 8x8 cake and is not very thick.  Double the recipe for a layer cake or for a larger pan.  You could decorate it any way you like, I chose to glaze mine simply with 2 ounces of melted sugar free dark chocolate and about a tbsp of coconut oil.  This is very simple to make, but it does require you hang onto your leftover coffee from the morning!  Use decaf if you prefer.

Dark Chocolate Cake, Grain, Gluten, and Sugar Free
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 room temp eggs
1/4 butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp milk of choice
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50 drops chocolate stevia
3/4 cup coffee

Mix your coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl with a fork or whisk to break up any lumps.  In a small microwaveable bowl, place your unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 cup butter, and 2 tbsp milk of choice.  Melt chocolate, in 10 second increments to prevent burning.  When chocolate is melted, dissolve your instant coffee granules.  You can totally omit this, or purchase coffee extract instead.  While the chocolate cools off a bit, mix your room temp eggs with vanilla extract, stevia drops, and coffee.  Combine with chocolate and mix well.  At this point, I suggest that if sugar does not bother you, you add in 1 1/2 tbsp of molasses, just for a deeper, richer, more decadent flavor.  It is absolutely not necessary and you won't taste it, it will simply give the cake a more round flavor.

Mix wet into dry and pour into greased and lined 8x8.  Bake at 330 for 15-20 minutes, checking at 13 minutes or so.  You want a knife or toothpick to come out NOT QUITE clean.

To glaze, melt sugar free chocolate in the microwave with some coconut oil.  Add some more coffee granules or coffee extract to really bring out the chocolatey flavors.

This is a simple cake.  Nothing crazy going on here.  Despite all the coffee going on in here, it is not a mocha cake.  The coffee is not detectable, and neither is the cinnamon.  They just all work together for a harmonious blend of flavors.  The chocolate stevia drops work very well and I suspect NuNaturals cocoa drops would be even better!!  I couldn't find any in store and really wanted to buy some asap, so went with NOW.  I was able to purchase the two other most-oft cited stevia products, SweetLeaf English Toffee and NuNaturals Alcohol Free Liquid Stevia.  I purchased both of these products because they are alcohol free, as many reviewers had said the products with alcohol tasted off.  The one product I have yet to purchase is NuNaturals Alcohol Free Vanilla Stevia.  For now, english toffee will have to do.  Does anyone have any stevia recommendations for me?  Please let me know what you are using!

I hope you enjoy this cake!  Definitely try this out at the lower temperature!

Happy holidays to all, and a happy healthy New Year to you and yours!  Much love, XoXo GFG

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! How 'bout a quick and easy last-minute cookie?

 It's probably a little late for another cookie recipe.  But just in case you need to throw something together in two seconds to take with you today, this is the cookie for you.  Honestly, you could eat these for breakfast if you wanted.

This is a nutbutter cookie with not much else to it, and they are faintly sweet, with most of the sweetness coming from the dried fruit.  They are quite crumbly, but have a wonderful crispness to them that only a nutbutter cookie can have.  I am calling them generically a nutbutter cookie because I had three different jars of nutbutter that were all almost empty, which combined gave me one cup of nutbutter.  Combine different kinds, like almond, sun, and cashew, or hazelnut, almond, and walnut, whatever!!

Dried Fruit Nutbutter Cookies (dairy free, gluten/grain free, no added sugars)
1 cup of nutbutter (mix it up!!)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
45-50 drops of NuNaturals Alcohol Free Liquid Stevia
1/3 cup chopped dried apple
1/3 cup raisins, cranberries, or other dried fruit

Mix your egg and stevia and vanilla extract in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix up your nutbutter. If it's cold, microwave it for a minute.  Mix your nutbutter and egg mixture, and then add in your dried fruit.  Incorporate well.  Form into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Flatten cookies with your fingertips and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.  They'll seem undercooked but after cooling for an hour or two they will have firmed up.  This made 17 toddler sized cookies.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to all the grain-free groupies out there!  May your day be full of love, laughter, family, and joy.  Xoxo!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Carrot Coconut Apricot Muffins, Grain/Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free

The winter solstice has officially passed!  Hallelujah!  Even though its mostly symbolic, I still love knowing that everyday the sun will shine just a minute or two longer than the previous day.  Did you celebrate the solstice?  One of these days I'd love to do 108 Sun Salutations to mark the occasion.

However, this year to mark the solstice, I instead chose to make these incredibly sunny little bites of summery muffins.  Only a handful of ingredients, super healthy, and comes together in a flash.

Carrot Coconut Apricot Muffins (Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Grain, and Gluten Free)
7 ounces of creamed coconut, or coconut butter (it's the same thing.  Let's Do Organic sells 7 ounce boxes of creamed coconut, or use just shy of a half 16 oz jar of coconut butter, or make your own.)
2 4 oz containers of organic carrot baby food
45-50 drops of Sweet Leaf English Toffee Stevia (or your fave vanilla stevia)
2 eggs
pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup chopped dried apricot

This couldn't be easier.  Mix everything together in a bowl.  (You will most likely need to melt your coconut butter in the microwave first.  Make sure you've cooled it a bit before you add in your eggs.)

You don't need any oil because the coconut butter already has a good deal of oil.  This will be a super wet batter, spoon into paper lined muffin tin and bake at 350 until the tops are starting to turn golden brown.

This is an easy, incredibly healthy and delicious muffin.  This recipe makes 8 muffins.  Double or triple the recipe, or make a cake instead!  You can't go wrong.

Enjoy! XoXoGFG

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Whole30 Week 3 Eats/Update

I am going to be totally 100% honest here.  How am I doing on the Whole30?  Good and bad, in equal parts.  Here is the good:

-I have finally broken free of my desire for sweetened coffee!  This is huge, probably the biggest thing for me.  I don't care to sweeten my daily cup o' joe anymore and I am truly ecstatic over this.  Some cinnamon and cream and I am good to go.
-I am totally dunzo with peanuts and beans, and don't miss them in the least.  They make me uncomfortable and give me crazy nausea.  Good riddance.
-I'm fine with drinking water, tea, or decaf coffee, whereas I used to crave  diet drinks.
-I do not miss treats, cookies, etc at all.
-I do not miss cheese at all, goodbye cheese.  (I do continue to use cream and butter though.)
-Starch is a big problem for me, intestinally.  Anytime I ingest any amount of starch I pay for it big time.  I have felt much better eliminating starches from my diet.

The Bad:
-8 weeks of absolutely nothing sweet at all has been rough.  It was fine the first 6 weeks or so, but now I am just dying for a little dried fruit.  That's all I want!  No cookies or treats, just some dried fruit as a snack.  I have had some here and there and then felt really guilty.  I have been able to stop myself, but a few times I have soooo wanted to go to town on something and just barely been able to walk away.
-I am tired of snacking on nuts and I overindulge and then feel gross.  It is annoying to only be able to snack on protein and nuts.  I keep lots of veggies in the house but they need some sort of preparation/thawing and that is not really what a snack is, essentially.  Snacks are my downfall!
-I have not done as good a job as I hoped I would.  Taking bites and tastes of things I shouldn't.  However, I have been 100% faithful to the no peanuts and no beans.
-My blood sugars have been a little wacko, I can't pinpoint why exactly.  I feel like things I used to ingest without issue are now giving me a lot of trouble.  I'll have to continue to monitor this.  I have not been using any sweeteners of any kind, so I know it's not that.  It could just be my diabetes progressing, who knows.
-My tummy has actually been kind of bothering me.  No discernible pattern to it, it could be anything, I could have a bug, not be drinking enough water, I don't know.  I'm not sure why, but I felt amazing during my sweetener detox, and then now that I am doing Whole30 I've had some problems.  It very well could be that I was super strict on my detox but once I got into Whole30 mode I relaxed a little, and that's whats bothering me.  I am going to try to be way more compliant and see if that helps.

All in all, I'm still pretty happy with where I am.  No sweetener in my coffee is great, and I think I've broken my treat-addiction, which is thrilling, for serious.  I'm not sure there is a way I'll be able to incorporate any amount of fruit back into my diet without some major blood sugar issues, but I'll try, once Whole30 is over.  I am also stoked to have successfully rid my diet of cheese, beans, and peanuts.  That is major improvement for me.

Annnnyyyways folks, lets talk Whole30 eats shall we?  This week is an interesting one!  I whipped up some cod with an onion curry sauce on Monday, and some crazy good spiced carrots.  These carrots will change what you think of carrots forever.  Make them ASAP!  Here is the recipe.   The cod was super simple.  Saute some onions until browned, sprinkle about 2 tsp of curry powder over, pour in two tbsp of broth, reduce, and pour over sauteed cod (which I also sprinkled liberally with curry powder).  Takes maybe 20 min. tops.

We are also going to have some Nom Nom Paleo inspired bacon-avocado sammies with a fried-egg topped salad, and tomorrow I am super pumped to make some slow cooker ribs with my own Paleo Barbecue Sauce recipe.  The sauce is simmering on the stove right now and smells awesome.  With the ribs I'm going to make a quick side dish of sauteed cabbage and 'shrooms.

And that's about it folks.  I am thrilled to officially be on vacation through 1/3!  I'll be in Chicago with family for a wedding for about a week, so I'm not sure how much cooking I'll be doing, but hopefully I'll have some fun posts and positive Whole30 updates for you.  I also need to do a Justus Drugstore restaurant review, an amazing locovore farm-to-table nose-to-tail joint located in bumblef*ck Smithville, MO.  Truly an incredible meal.  I'll do a recap when I have a bit more time.

Lastly- some stupid fun pics.  What do you think- have I gone off the deep end?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Grain Free, Gluten Free Spicy Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

This cake is not playing around peeps.  This is some serious spicy ass cake.  If you are not into bold flavors, have a weak palate, or don't enjoy getting a little freaky with your ingredients from time to time, then move on!  This cake is cray cray.

I wanted a deep, dark chocolate cake, but I also wanted a super spicy gingerbread.  Every gingerbread recipe I've made thus far has not been nearly spicy enough.  Every recipe calls for like, a measly 2 tsp of ground ginger.  Sorry, that is not going to cut it!  Certainly not when you've also got 100% dark chocolate to contend with.  If you are an adventurous eater and enjoy teasing your palate, try this crazy cake.

Grain Free Gluten Free Spicy Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp instant coffee
5 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup butter
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup neutral liquid sweetener of choice

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, using a fork or whisk to break up lumps.  In a separate, microwave safe bowl, microwave your unsweetened chocolate, butter, and milk of choice, until chocolate is melted.  Stir in instant coffee. Let cool and then mix with your room temp eggs, molasses, vanilla extract, and additional quarter cup of sweetener.  Add wet to dry and incorporate.  I fully encourage tasting of the batter at this point.  Add more spices if desired and stir well.  Pour into parchment lined and greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Start testing at 15 minutes because you do not want to overbake.  When a toothpick comes out almost clean, remove from oven.

If you like, frost with a quick chocolate glaze.  All I did was melt a bar of 90% dark chocolate with some coconut oil, and whipped for a minute or so until thickened.

A note about the pumpkin pie spice- it's a really great spice mix to have around as it already has all the spices necessary for gingerbread- cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice.  It's a wonderful shortcut.  Using it in this recipe allows me to get the right flavor combo, but then bump up the ginger and cinnamon as desired, without the whole recipe getting overpoweringly clove-y or nutmeg-y or allspice-y.

Regarding the additional sweetener, a SF sweetener will work of course, as will many other liquid sweeteners.  A mild honey, coconut nectar, date syrup, brown rice syrup, probably even maple.  If you use stevia powder or drops, you'll need to add enough liquid to cover the 1/4 cup called for.

This would make a fantastic Christmas dessert, and if you don't want to make frosting, a sprinkling of powdered sugar would be great.  I have seen a  zillion recipes for sugar free powdered sugar, most just calling for pulverized xylitol or erythritol in the high powered blender or food processor.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Paleo Tart Jumbleberry Jam, with Chia

As promised, today's post is a homemade jam recipe, perfect for DIY holiday gifts.  Jam sounds kind of blah and hillbillyish, i know, but I swear once they are comfortably ensconced in their absolutely f*ing adorable little 4 ounce bar jars and some cute little clear cellophane bags, they will be perfectly holiday appropriate.

See? What could be cuter???  So adorable.  And I'm almost embarrassed to admit how ridiculously easy it was to make.  I did make quite a large quantity, but nonetheless, this was EZPZ peeps.

Paleo Tart Jumbleberry Jam, with Chia
-7 16 oz. bags frozen berries, mixed varieties (I used a combo of blueberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries (!!!!), and strawberries.  DO NOT OMIT CRANBERRIES!!)
-40 drop vanilla creme stevia (optional, depending on who you are gifting)
-1/2 cup chia seeds

This yielded roughly 70 ounces of jam when all was said and done.  Because the fruit was frozen, you start out with tons of juice in the pot.  That's ok, do not pour it off, you'll simply reduce it down.  Thaw your frozen fruit and transfer to a very large pot.  Turn the heat up and bring to a boil.  Add your stevia, if using, and then turn the heat down a tad and simmer until it has reduced considerably and the juice has cooked off.  At this point, with the back of your spoon start mashing the fruit, making sure all the cranberries have burst.  Add your chia seeds, and then continue to simmer until the jam has reached your preferred consistency.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes or so, and the jam will continue to thicken.  Spoon into your sanitized jars and you are done done done!  Can you believe there are basically just two ingredients??  I don't know why people think you need to add sugar.  You sure do not!  Although sugar does act as a preservative, so be advised that this jam will not last long as the store bought variety.  I believe you can freeze this jam in freezer safe containers.

I used all 12 little 4 oz. ball jars, and still had enough left over to fill an entire 16 oz. jar, plus another 3 or 4 ounces or so to spread on some random things.  It would make a fantastic filling for thumbprint cookies or a spread for a cake.  With the dark, tart flavors, it's really the perfect gift for the holidays.  I hope you try it!

Not a whole lot else to report.  I am dutifully Whole30ing this week- as evidenced by this yummy crab salad from last night.

Ok folks, have a wonderful day, and enjoy the last few nights of Chanukah if you are participating! XoXoGFG

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paleo Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, for Lazy Folk

Want some delicious thai flavored chicken soup?  Are you a big ol' lazy person like me and don't want a lot of fuss but reaaaaally want some hot yummy soup on a cold wintery day?  This soup is PERFECTION I tell you.  It is the ultimate lazy person soup recipe.

Paleo Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
1 can coconut milk (all I had was lite, it worked fine.  Use what you got!)
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp red curry paste
1 inch of ginger, grated (If you start out with frozen ginger, it grates very easily)
2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos for truly paleo
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of one lime
zest of one lime
4 green onions, sliced
5-6 carrots, noodle-ized with a julienne peeler
1 bag frozen bell peppers
frozen chicken tenders

This soup could not be easier.  Open your can of coconut milk, pour into large stockpot, add chicken broth, red curry paste, green onions, and bring to a boil.  Add in your ginger, soy/coconut aminos, fish sauce, lime zest and juice, and then throw in your frozen bell peppers, chicken tenders, and carrot noodles.  Bring to a boil once again and then reduce to a simmer for at least 40 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  You may want to make it saltier or spicier or more gingery at this point.  This is not a thick creamy soup at all, more like your favorite chicken noodle soup from childhood, just paleo-ized and with a delicious Thai kick.  This made about 4 servings.

In other news, I've decided to do some DIY holiday gifts for my coworkers.  I debated about doing spiced nuts, or homemade chia fruit jam.  After making homemade spiced walnuts, I decided they were too delicious to share.  So chia fruit jam it is!  The spiced nuts are CRAZY amazing.  I chose walnuts only as they have a favorable Omega 3:6 ratio.  The recipe I used is available here: and the only difference in my recipe was that I used EVOO and added lots and lots of kosher salt.  Well, that and I also used twice as much spices as the recipe indicated.  I don't know if it's just me or what, but whenever I follow I recipe I end up using at least twice as much spices as directed.  Are my tastebuds totally whack or do people just enjoy blandish food?

This week is sloooooooowly crawling along.  OMGGGGG I wish it would be over!  I feel bad saying that because it's Chanukah but holy crap it is moving at a snails pace.  Ever have one of those weeks?  Sure you do.

And now for a gratuitous nail polish update:  OPI Wooden Shoe Like to Know.  Loooving it!  It's brown with a hint of golden sparkle to it and it's just gorgeous!  Ok the pic does not do it justice at all- but google it and you'll see, it's beyond.  Up next, Essie Butler Please, one of the new winter collection colors.  Dying over this one!

Stay tuned for my chia fruit jam recipe!  I bought a case of Ball jars in the 4 ounce size and I'll be wrapping them in cello bags with some holiday ribbon.  I hope my coworkers enjoy my paleo hippy dippy jam as much as I think they will.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Whole30 Fail- and Apple Pie Muffins

I soooooo wish you guys could smell these suckers.  I could not believe the crazy apple deliciousness coming from the oven yesterday.  Better still, they took mere minutes to throw together.

Grain Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Apple Pie Muffins (makes 11 small muffins)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of clove and ginger, if you like
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup, or SF liquid sweetener

Combine with a fork or whisk your first 7 ingredients.  Break up those pesky coconut flour lumps!  In a separate bowl, mix your eggs, applesauce, oil, and sweetener together.  Add wet to dry and stir well.  Scoop into muffin tin and bake at 350 until golden brown.  20-25 minutes or so.  Feel free to throw in some mix ins at the end, cherries, raisins, walnuts, whatever!  Because of all the applesauce, these are pretty crumbly.  You really don't want to overbake them though so if a crumbly muffin isn't your thing, maybe just skip this one!

So- onto my Whole30 update.  I definitely got off track this weekend.  I am pretty bummed about it.  I went on a cooking/baking bonanza with Chanukah and have not adhered as strictly to my detox as I'd like.  And wow, am I feeling it today!  I feel sluggish and bloated and pretty uncomfortable.  Anytime I eat starches, in even the smallest amounts, I really pay for it the next day or two.  Those sweet potato/carrot latkes?  Yeah, they are pretty tasty, but I seriously just cannot tolerate them.  Those sweet potato fries that came with my daughters burger over the weekend?  Sorry, don't even think about it.  Ugh what a mess I feel like today!

Is it the end of the world?  No.  I am not going to beat myself up about it.  It's one or two days out of the month.  I'll survive.  But it is a great reminder of how much better my body functions when I adhere strictly to my plan and dutifully avoid starches and treat type foods.  The havoc it wreaks on my tummy and blood sugars are just not worth it.

It really is too bad though because last week I was thinking to myself how much more comfortable I have felt after eating from eliminating any extra starches, sugars, and legumes in my diet.  I was really feeling triumphant there for a minute!  So hopefully by the end of this week I'll feel back on track.  Again, it's not about winning or losing, failing or succeeding, its how you feel.  If I felt absolutely no change whatsoever after eliminating these foods, would I continue to avoid them?  Probably not.  But I can tell you I feel waaayyy better not eating legumes, peanuts, and peanut butter, and I most likely will not be adding them back in.  I don't feel that cheese is an issue for me, but the jury is still out, and I still see no reason to eliminate butter or cream.

An ongoing problem is still munchy time, and that is where I ran into issues this weekend.  I do my grocery shopping on Mondays, so by Saturday/Sunday night there is seriously nothing Whole30/Type 1 diabetic/GFG snackable.  There is food, but nothing to eat, if you will.  So I am tempted to eat stuff I shouldn't, right before bed to boot.  Baaad idea folks.  Do not eat stuff your body doesn't like before bed, unless you want to sleep like crap and wake up feeling like poop.   So this is an ongoing journey, and I keep discovering new issues and fixes and side effects and this and that and the other.

Lastly, I have decided I'll be adapting my baking slightly.  For one, I have eliminated baking powder.  It is not a paleo ingredient as it contains corn and can be quite problematic for some people.  Secondly, since most of my baking recipes will be eaten by others, and not myself, I see no reason to only use non-sugar sweeteners.  Certainly when stevia or erythritol will work I will continue to use them, but I will be using real liquid sweeteners more often, in the form of maple syrup, raw honey, and molasses where I can.  I am still a proponent of stevia products and quite like erythritol in certain applications, but honestly, since I've found that any type of sweetener, nutritive or not, raises my blood sugar, I guess I don't see the point of using the fake stuff anymore.  It seems to me that I am simply not able to eat anything sweet in any amount, however infinitesimal so I may as well bake with wholesome, pure, organic real ingredients.  Honey, maple syrup, and molasses contain some vital minerals and nutrients, albeit in very small amounts, and are considered "paleo/primal" to a degree, right?

This is my thinking for now.  Agree?  Disagree?  What sweeteners are you all using these days?  Any diabetics out there that have also experienced blood sugar surges after eating foods made with non-nutritive sweeteners like xylitol, sucralose, stevia, etc?  Please share!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

(Not) Sugar Cookies, Gluten, Grain Free

Looking for a recipe for chewy, crumbly, buttery grain free sugar cookies?  These are it!  Better yet, you can roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to create fun shapes.  You can see I did not, but after a some time in the fridge you can be rolling in no time!

(Not) Sugar Cookies (makes 20 small cookies)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup chestnut flour (or just use another cup of almond flour.  Hazelnut or pecan flour will also work)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup preferred liquid sweetener
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract, lemon extract,  or almond extract (optional)

Combine your melted butter, extracts, and liquid sweetener.  In a separate bowl, mix your flours, baking soda, and salt.  Add wet to dry and incorporate, then refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.  You can roll into a log for easy uniform slicing or just leave as is in the bowl if you'll be rolling it out.  Bake at 350 until golden brown.  15-25 depending on your oven.  An easy frosting recipe I just discovered is to simply mix raw honey, vanilla extract, and butter or coconut oil together.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

One Week In on Whole30- and Paleo Carrot & Sweet Potato Latkes

So easy and yummy!  Buy organic pre-cooked sausage and you'r dunzo!
I am cruising along on my Whole30.  It is only fractionally more difficult than my detox because cheese is totally off limits, as is peanut butter, a go-to for me.  But I have noticed much less intestinal upset lately and I feel less bloated for sure.  We'll see if that's just a coincidence or not as the month progresses.  I am starting to get a little irritated that even little bites of fruit are off limits, but those little bites of fruit, if eaten at the wrong time, wreak havoc on my blood sugars, so it's really for the best I avoid them altogether.  This week we've had sausage/shrimp with peppers (which could not be easier.  Roast some shrimp and cut up sausage in 380 degree oven for 20 minutes and serve over sauteed peppers and onions), chicken thighs with salad and cauli puree, and on a particularly lazy night of the week I had deli meat wrapped around a pickle.  Hey, no one said Whole30 was glamorous amirite?

But on to the real meat of this post.  Chanukah is HERE people.  And while I am not super into Chanukah or anything, it is a fun and festive time, especially with a munchkin, and while I am not ok with her devouring starch and gluten filled potato latkes, and traditional sugar cookies, I am just fine with her having some Paleo Carrot & Sweet Potato latkes prepared by yours truly, as well as some grain-free (not) sugar cookies (recipe coming soon).

Paleo Carrot & Sweet Potato Latkes (makes 18 good sized latkes)
3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and grated (I used my grater attachment in the cuisi)
8-10 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated (I used my grater attachment in the cuisi)
4 eggs, beaten
4 tsp coconut flour
salt and pepper
EVOO for drizzling

This makes quite a large amount!  I decided to freeze half for next week and keep half for this weekend to bring to a party.  Halve the amount if you like, or just freeze the extras for munching.  Feel free to play with spices and herbs too.  I kept mine plain since I was making them primarily for S, who will no doubt be eating them slathered with applesauce.

Toss your grated carrot and sweet potato into a really huge, really large bowl.  In fact, you may need to divide this into bowls, like I did.  Pour in your beaten eggs, and sprinkle your coconut flour throughout, and toss in some salt and pepper.  I totally eyeballed the amount so you'll have to do this on your own, but I'd suggest at least a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Stir stir stir!  You want the egg and flour very evenly distributed.  With a large serving spoon, spoon the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet, using the spoon to flatten and form into circles.  Once you're done, drizzle a healthy bit of EVOO over each pancake so they brown up nicely.  Conversely, if you want to be truly authentic with these bad boys, fry them up in a large saute pan.  This will not only take a hundred and ninety years, but you and your house will stink like nobody's business and you will likely never make latkes ever again.  Your choice!

Bake at 400 until golden brown.  If you're like me, you'll want the edges to burn a bit.  I love that extra crunch!  If you aren't eating these right away, you'll simply re-drizzle them with some EVOO and pop in the oven to crisp up, at 380ish or so.  Serve with applesauce, or sour cream if that's your thing, or nothing at all!

Happy Chanukah to my fellow MOT, and stay tuned for some easy and yummy (not) sugar cookies!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's Up Whole30? Plus- DIY blush, and an Emi-Jay Headband Review

I am four days in on my Whole30.  Piece of cake, haha.  No really, it is no big deal.  I find myself wanting to snack on nuts all the time, except, we don't have any, so I don't.  Which can be annoying because when you're on Whole30 there isn't a whole lot to snack on that is acceptable if you want your blood sugars to also be super tight.  Certain "treats" like green apples are allowed on Whole30, which would be a great snack for someone else.  So, that is really the only complaint I have.  My best suggestion for how to overcome a Whole30-induced snack attack would be to make sure you always make more than you need for your meals so you have leftovers to munch on.  Every single blog says that, I know.  And every time I read it I roll my eyes a little because honestly, if you just ate a chicken thigh, or a pork chop, or whatever, do you really want to eat it again cold in a few hours?  Maybe you do. If so, I'm jealous.  But I am really digging no legumes and no sweeteners.  My blood sugars have stayed consistently lower, and I lost 2 lbs, which was not my intention, but I think speaks volumes about how our brains perceive sweeteners and how we metabolize them.  This also coincides with me going to Chicago for 5 days for a funeral, Thanksgiving, and a bachelorette party, all instances where I can assure you I overindulged as much as the next paleo T1D.

Speaking of pork chops, I made them last week.  Can someone tell me why people eat these things?  I guess I probably got the wrong kind.  I don't remember what cut they were.  They tasted like chicken, only even less flavorful.  Like tougher chicken breast, that forgot to be tasty.  It was fine, I marinated it for a whole day in a mixture of dijon, red wine vinegar, and herbs, but geez, definitely not a fun meal by any stretch.  I even seared them on the cooktop first and then stuck them in the broiler.

On this week's menu is a shrimp/sausage bake with peppers, chicken thighs with cauli puree and salad, and slow-cooker ribs.  I'm also going to attempt some yummy GF sweet potato latkes for my angelface for Chanukah, and some GFG snickerdoodles to take to a party.

In other news- how many times have you been using one of your favorite blushes, and used up just about all of it so that you no longer use it, but there's just enough left that you feel bad throwing it out?  I think I had about three different blushes in this same stage.  Plus a little bit of sad bronzer languishing in my makeup drawer.  So I decided to DIY a customized shade of blush.  It was super easy.

Customized DIY Blush
1.  Assemble your (powder) blushes you'll be combining.
2.  Get an empty blush container.  (If there's a little bit still left, don't worry about it)
3.  In a small bowl, combine all your leftover blush.  Feel free to add a pretty shade of eye shadow, or some shimmer dust if you like.  I had a tiny bit of MAC ricepaper and also added some Bare Minerals shimmer mineral veil to lighten up the shades.  I used some bronzer too, so didn't want it to be too dark. (did you know you could use cocoa powder as bronzer?)
4.  With a small spoon or cap, crush all the powder and mash it around, stirring occasionally.  Once the colors are evenly distributed, you are ready for the final step.
5.  Get some rubbing alcohol.  If you have an eye dropper, even better, but I just poured a little bit in the cap from the bottle.  Transfer your powder to your blush container, and then either drip your alcohol in with your eye dropper, or pour in slowly.  You only want to pour enough to cover the powder, you don't want to overfill it.  Swirl your container a bit to even it out, and then let it sit on your counter top until dry, probably overnight.  If you did overfill your container with alcohol, it will simply take longer to evaporate.
6.  You're done!  Now you have customized blush, and don't have to feel bad about throwing away 12 almost used up blushes.  This also allows you to create that perfect color you can never find.  Like a pinky brown.  Why can I never find a pinky brown?  Not red, not orange, not purple.  A nice brown with pink undertones.  Geez.

Lastly- I'm sure you have all seen Emi-Jay headbands by now.  I have avoided them thus far because I felt stupid paying $5 for a piece of ribbon.  But, you can adjust them to your head and they do stay put during my grueling hour long workouts at Fusion.  Pick one up!  They are cute to wear even if you're not working out, and they come in a thousand colors.  It's hard for me to find headbands that actually stay put, because I have a pin-head, just like my daughter does, and headbands are always flopping around and I spend more time readjusting them than wearing them.  These ones you can just retie to fit your needs. Score!

Is anyone out there dumb enough to be doing a Whole30 right now too?  How's it going?  Let me know in the comments!  I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sugar Detox/Phase 1 Complete! And Curried Chicken Salad with Cashews, too

Phase 1 is in the can!  It was not as hard as I thought.  I am still amazed at how easily I fared without treats.  Instead of dessert, I drank decaf tea.  I am ready and psyched for Phase 2- my first Whole30!  The biggies for me will be cutting out all cheese, peanuts and peanut butter, and other legumes.  Although I have been avoiding legumes for awhile anyways because I noticed they made me pretty uncomfortable.  So peanuts and cheese, buy-bye!  Also, nothing with MSG, sulfites, carageenan, etc.  Let's do this!

Another interesting effect of the sugar detox, is I am totally beyond bored by the million and one paleo #faleo treat recipes in the blogosphere.  I can't eat them, and I wouldn't anyways since most of them contain a bunch of dates, honey, or maple syrup, but now I'm not even tempted to GFG them.  I made a small batch of peanut butter cake the other day for my munchkin (which is really so healthy she can eat it for breakfast) as well as some pumpkin mousse (that darn half can of pumpkin in the fridge was starting to irritate me but I'll be damned if I'm going to throw it out!) and was so bored by the recipes I can't even bother to post them.  If it's not REAL FOOD then I DON'T CARE.  For now, anyways.

I am looking forward to seeing how eliminating peanuts and legumes is for me.  I do believe those foods are troublesome for me and I'm frankly pretty excited about hopefully kicking them to the curb for good.  Besides, I've eaten enough hummus these past few years to last me a lifetime.  Other than that, I really don't expect this Whole30 to be too terrible.  I've already ditched sugar/sweeteners/fruit, and also have been faithfully avoiding anything starchy.  I think I'll be ok!  The question is, what will happen on #JAN1???

So folks, what's for dinner at Chez GFG these days?  Fridge clean out soup (a turkey leg, two frozen sausages, a bag of leftover kale, leftover beef/chicken stock), Curried Chicken Salad with Cashews, and my first time ever cooking pork!  Not bacon, but pork.  Entirely different.  The last time I had a pork chop or pork tenderloin I must have been 5 years old.  This will be inneresting eh?  If it's decent blogworthy look for the recipe next week.

Curried Chicken Salad with Cashews (makes 3-4 servings)
cubed/chopped/shredded roasted chicken breast, about 2 cups
7-8 stalks of celery, chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayo
2 tbsp curry powder
1/3 cup cashew pieces
S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve atop baby arugula.  Nummy!  If you eat fruit, throw in some halved red grapes too.  But feel free to skip the fructose and enjoy this as is.  You won't miss the sugar with all that yummy curry powder.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lemony Kale Avocado Salad, and DIY Legwarmers

I waffled about posting this recipe because it's so darn easy- but hey, when searching for it, I couldn't find anything like it, so maybe this will be helpful to someone looking for an easy kale salad!

Lemony Kale and Avocado Salad
1 bag washed and chopped kale (TJ's has a great product)
juice of half a lemon
kosher salt
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 avocado

In a very large salad bowl, dump your kale and pour about 3 tbsp of EVOO in and start massaging with your hands.  This will take probably 3-4 minutes until the kale has wilted a bit and is bright green.  Do not skip this step!  Then squeeze your juice from the half lemon and massage for another minute.  Sprinkle liberally with sea or kosher salt, then toss in cubed avocado and your pine nuts.  This is a delish salad that you CAN make ahead of time, as the kale is quite firm and won't get soggy very quickly.

In other news, I finally tried the DIY legwarmers for under your boots as seen on Pinterest.  DO IT!  Cut off the sleeves of an old ratty sweater and put them on under your boots for extra cuteness and extra comfort.  It's fun!  I have to careful I don't get carried away cutting up all my sweaters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap, Detox Update, and Tangy Bacon Brussel Sprouts

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?  Now that we are almost a week out- what were your successes and downfalls?  Any amazing recipes?  Any not so amazing recipes?  Hopefully regardless of the food you all spent a happy, healthy, wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I had quite the week, with my twin 3 year old nephews in town, Thanksgiving, and a quick trip to Chicago for a bachelorette party, it was definitely an eventful few days!

Before the food, just a few updates.

I got a gel manicure the day before Thanksgiving.  I believe the brand is CND Shellac?  Here is a pic a week later.  I don't think I would do it again- for one, it's pretty expensive.  And yes, I appreciate the no chip and I do like that it stays shiny, but the thought of wearing it for another week is a little tiresome.  Plus, by then the rest of my nailbeds are going to be prettttty worked.  Ew.  I have had a few little chips here and there, but nothing like what my normal manicure would be looking like by now.  I also really loved that it was totally dry by the time you left the salon.  But unless you are absolutely in love with your color, and your salon has a really good selection, you will probably be dunzo with your mani before it's done with you.  But hey, if you are a nurse/cook or use your hands a ton and can't deal with chipping manicures and have the extra $$$, go for it!

Detox Update:
I have 3 more days before I finish my sweetener/sugar detox and move on to Whole30.  Since giving up sweeteners, treats, and cutting out most starches, my blood sugar has been consistently lower.  I thought for awhile it might be due to my off-week on birth control pills as hormones can raise your blood sugar, but that ended over a week ago now.  While my sugars weren't necessarily out of control before, it's definitely been interesting to watch them go down.  The only modification I have made is cutting out sweeteners and eating minimal starches.  And my A1C was even lower, 4.9!  Crazy!  Are sweetener the devil?  No, not necessarily.  I still have the Whole30 to get through before I can even think about using them again.  But lower blood sugars are great.  And I really don't miss the treats too terribly much.  The one time I did, was over the weekend at my cousins bach party when everyone was eating tons of crap and candy.  But I got over it.  Have I snuck a few tastes of things here and there?  Yup.  I have.  I'm not perfect.  Am I totally in love with unsweetened coffee and tea?  Not really.  But we'll just have to see what happens after Whole30.  I will be cutting out cheese, all legumes including peanuts, anything with "gums" in them, and continuing to abstain from sweeteners, any kind of fruit, starches, treats, and anything else not Whole30 approved.  Looking forward to it!

Thanksgiving was strangegoodbadfun.  I loved having some time off work.  I spent some quality time with my super cute little nephews, and S had a great time playing with her COUSINS all week.  I enjoyed some great QT with me, myself, and I on Wednesday, and went on a date with MKG.  I slept in once or twice and we had great weather.  It was nice!  I also had a very strange doctors appointment, where I learned more about my 57 autoimmune diseases, and was two hours late (due to said doctors appointment) for family pics with my in-laws.  Thanksgiving day was kind of weird.  I was home by myself most of the day cooking and packing for my trip, which is kind of an odd way to spend T-Day! I got to my in-laws in the afternoonish.  I know I am picky and have a modified diet and yes I guess I am a bit of a snob when it comes to food, but seriously- if you are ever going to bring out the big guns and put 100% into your food, put your heart, soul, and complete effort into it, it should be Thanksgiving right?  If you aren't going to do that, then you should really leave the cooking to someone else.  That's my honest opinion.  No one wants to eat an afterthought.  Or a a table full of afterthoughts. Ick.  Ok, that's off my chest.  I made a couple items- Kale salad which I may or may not post, pumpkin bars which were good but just your run of the mill paleo pumpkin bars which you can surely make on your own, and a DELISH brussel sprout dish, which I share below.

Tangy Bacon Brussel Sprouts
2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 shallots, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
8 ounces bacon, chopped into lardons

Roast your quartered sprouts in some EVOO, salt and pepper in a 450 degree oven until they are nice and browned.  20 min or so.  Remove and transfer to a large bowl.  In a saute pan, fry up your bacon lardons, and remove lardons when crispy.  Cook shallots in the bacon fat until translucent and starting to caramelize.  Add in your garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add your mustard and red wine vinegar and cook for just another minute until well incorporated.  When ready to serve, toss your sprouts with the dressing.  This is best served warm but it's still quite good at room temp!

The morning after T-day I was on a plane, Chicago-bound for my cousins spa bachelorette party in Lake Geneva, WI.  We stayed at the Grand Geneva and all enjoyed some amaze spa treatments.  If you are ever in that neck of the woods, I definitely recommend it!  Lake Geneva is a quaint, sweet old resort town just an hour and a half outside Chicago.  The six of us had a blast, and I even was able to squeeze in a haircut!  And I'd like to mention, that if someone wanted to build me a steamroom, I probably wouldn't say no.  #justsayin

Ok folks.  Hope you have all recovered from T-day.  I am happy to report I seem to have made it through the detox.  Now, on to Whole30!  Who's with me????

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Detox Updates, Eats, Thanksgiving Planning

Hey GFGs!  We are T-minus two days until the big day.  Being dialed in to all the blogs/tweets/posts in the paleosphere is fun and super informative, but I have to say I am reaaaaally starting to tire of the Thanksgiving recipe roundups, advice columns, turkey talk, and the same recipe for mashed cauliflower over and over again.  I am getting sick of Thanksgiving and it's not even here yet!

So I am going to spare you another recipe roundup.  God knows if you need a recipe there are seriously thousands and thousands of paleofied treasures to be had.

Instead, I'll give you a little update.  The coming week will be the true test of my detox powers.  Will I survive?  Nobody knows.....  haha actually, I'm not too concerned.  I am preparing well by making two GFG approved Thanksgiving sides so I know if nothing else, I'll have some yummy veggie side dishes to snack on.

I am still kind of just plugging along.  Because phase 1 of my plan isn't about eliminating potential irritants/inflammatory/allergenic foods, I don't really feel any different, nor did I expect to.  It is really more about just purging myself of all the sweeteners in my diet and trying to sever the ties I have with them.  Like I said last week, I think it's been a great lesson for me in learning to elevate meals from just food I stuff down my throat, to something that's wholesome, enjoyable, well-rounded, nutritious, and satisfying enough that I don't feel like I need a GFG treat afterwards.  I am also finding that over the last week my blood sugars have been lower and not as up and down, which is nice.  I'll keep watching to see if there is some discernible trend to this.

So what am I eating?  A lot of hard-boiled eggs for one.  I finally made the perfect hard-boiled eggs last night, complete with easy to peel-off shells.  It has taken me years and years to figure this out, I wish I were lying.  I put 6 eggs into cold water with 2 teaspoons of vinegar on the stovetop, brought to a boil, and then removed from the heat and let sit for exactly 9 minutes.  I then rinsed them in very cold water and peeled them, while submersed in cold water.  The shells came off super easily.  Yay! The whites were hard-cooked (which is essential as I am allergic to undercooked egg whites) and the yolks were not quite cooked through, but not runny either.

Another staple that I am finding I just couldn't live without is frozen shrimp and frozen seafood.  Trader Joe's has a blend of different frozen seafood, squid, little scallops, shrimp, that are terrific with some sauteed diced tomato and garlic, shown below with a side of lemony organic spinach (also frozen).

Another great staple to have on hand is The Clothes Make The Girl's Whole30 compliant Paleo Chocolate Chili.  Good lord this was good!  I was not expecting it to be as delicious or as easy as it turned out.  I would advise you to make a double batch and freeze half to thaw as needed.  It is so good.  I served mine on top of steamed (again, organic/frozen) cauliflower for a complete balanced meal.  Lastly, one night last week when I was beyond tired I simply threw together some diced cucumber, sliced grape tomatoes, boiled eggs, avocado, and green onion with some salt and pepper.  Salad doesn't always need lettuce people!  As you can see, detoxing/whole30 doesn't have to mean bland boring chicken and broccoli every night.  Explore your organic grocer's freezer section and stock up on seafood and veggies.  You'll be just minutes away from a healthy, satisfying, and fun meal every night of the week.  And unless you are doing an autoimmune protocol Whole30 there is no reason to hold back on spices.  I am shocked at the rate I go through cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, oregano, and seasoned salt.

So what am I making for Thanksgiving anyways?  After lengthy deliberation and tonnnns of recipe hunting I have settled on these three dishes:
-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with a mustard, bacon, and red wine vinegar dressing
-Massaged Lemony Kale Salad with Avocado and Pine Nuts
-Pumpkin Pie Bars with a Pecan and Walnut based crust and a custardy pumpkin filling.  Easier than pie and a little less conventional.  Sadly, this dish is not one I'll be indulging in.  No worries though, more kale for me!  

I'll post the recipes later this week.  I'd love to hear what you are cooking for the holiday.  Share your GFG/Paleo recipes with us!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This week's Paleo/Sugar Detox Eats

I am plugging along with my detox.  Unsweetened coffee, treatless evenings, and no tasting the baked goods I make.  Meh.  It's not that big a deal.  I have some peanut butter after dinner instead of a GFG cookie or whatevs (only until Dec. 1 when I start Whole30- then no PB! eek!!!)

I am the tiniest bit bummed that I will not be able to eat the pumpkin pie bars I am so excited to make next week, but that just encourages me all the more so to make sure the foods I make that I CAN eat are  super delicioso.

That's the interesting thing about this detox that I have figured out.  Because I can't rely on treats, I am spending more time and thought on my actual meals.  Before I would just scarf down some raw veggies and deli meat because what I really wanted was my paleo dessert, but now I am putting a bit more effort into what I eat, to make sure it's nutritious and super yummy.  It's kind of neat!  It's an unexpected effect of this detox, and I'm really digging it.

For instance, here are two recent detox meals:

These are not elaborate meals by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, the top meal was a total last minute, just got back into town and have no fresh food spur of the moment thing.  Everything you see pictured was frozen.  Well, not everything.  The fish, green beans, and cauliflower were frozen.  Then I had some sad looking baby carrots that I knew we wouldn't eat, so I decided to puree them too for some lovely orange mashed cauli.  Below are some romaine hearts with smoked oyster salad.  YUM.  If you are like me and can't get too excited about tuna salad, try an oyster salad.  Open a tin of smoked oyster, mush it up with a hard boiled egg, some sliced green onion, salt, pepper, and top with grape tomatoes and you're done.  In the past, I probably would not have taken the extra time to make a little salad to eat on a cute little romaine taco, but given the fact that there was no dessert to be had later, I had to get creative and make dinner more fun!

So that's been a great lesson in all this.  Maybe if I spend more time and energy on healthy meals, I won't care so much about the sweet snacks for after the meal.  I am going to concentrate on this and see where it takes me.

Another fun detox takeaway so far?  This one is also a very welcome side-affect.  In the past, any deviation from my normal routine would cause a fair amount of anxiety on my part.  Holidays, travel, family gatherings, etc.  How would I adapt?  How would I avoid the incessant comments and remarks from well-meaning but obnoxious friends and family?  How would I would summon the will power NOT to eat forbidden foods and so on.  Well, after traveling home last week at the last minute for a funeral followed by days of being surrounded by crappy SAD food, I can say that this detox is incredibly helpful in navigating the minefield that family gatherings can present.  Not only should I not eat that stuff, because you know, I'm diabetic, I follow a more ancestral, unprocessed, gluten/grain/sugar/starch free diet, all the usual stuff, but I CAN'T eat that stuff.  I am doing a detox!  It's not allowed!  That is the whole point of this detox!  It's not just, oh gee, I shouldn't.  It IS the whole god damned point.  And if I slip up, that erases the weeks of detoxing I've already done!  This works for me.  It may be counterintuitive to others, but for me, this really works.  I have a very real and tangible reason to say NO.  It's like that part of my brain that says to just have a bite, a taste, is turned off.  I wouldn't recommend doing a 2-phase, 8 week detox over the holidays to anyone, but if you are the kind of person that appreciates structure and rules and doesn't have emotional attachments to food, this might be a good way for you to avoid a lot of the frustrating aspects about the holidays.  And it's also a great way to ensure excellent blood sugar control and weight control over the holidays.  Rather than freak out about getting into shape after the new year, losing those couple pounds you put on, why not just buckle down a bit and prevent the entire situation to begin with?

So, those are my findings so far.  As for the cravings, I still miss treats.  I miss a little sweetness in my coffee.  I'm not sure if those things can be overcome.  Ask me on January 1st.  But I am enjoying the extra care I am putting into my meals and I am finding that I get more excited about meals than I used to, which is cool.  I don't know if I can live my whole life like this, if for no other reason than I truly enjoy baking and experimenting with different ingredients, but a little palate-reset now and then certainly can't be bad.

Until next time GFGs! Xoxo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies, & a Sugar Detox Update

We just had a whirlwind week.  Full of happy, sad, strange, funny, experiences.  My 92-year-old grandfather passed away last week, and we traveled to Chicago where my family lives to take part in the funeral, shiva, and Friday night Shabbat services that he dutifully attended every single week for the past, I don't know, 50 years or so.  Of course everything was sad, I hadn't truly said goodbye, the last time I saw him was in July, but it was also a relief, to know he was at peace and no longer suffering.  We were surrounded by family and loved ones, and were able to grieve in comfortable surroundings.  The trip wasn't all grieving and tears though, we had some fun along the way, and I would like to think we were honoring his memory (and my grandmother's too) by the good times we shared with our family.  We were able to spend lots of quality time with family from California, I was lucky enough to be able to go to a floral appointment for my cousin's upcoming wedding, we tried on flower girl dresses for S and got to visit a few of our favorite haunts.  All in all, an exhausting trip, but worth every minute.

Yikes- being away from home AND at a funeral/shiva is NOT the place for someone doing a detox.  My parents didn't have much time before we arrived to get supplies for my GFG family and once we got there, it was go go go.  I won't lie, being away from home, without all my GFG gear and food items, surrounded by tons and tons of crap food was rough.  So how did I do?  Ok.  I had one major fail- a diet coke friday night.  I was super stressed out, it had been a long tough week, I was struggling. Am I going to cry about it?  No.  It happens.  Given the other slip-ups I could have had, I say, no big deal.  Other than that, the sugar detox is going pretty well.  I really like not fixating on what treats I am going to bake/consume.  The hardest part is actually beverages.  I would pretty often have sweetened beverages (no sugar of course) and that has been a bummer to do without.  But desserts, snacks, and treats are surprisingly easy to give up I am finding.  Especially if there is plenty of yummy protein lying around.  And speaking of yummy protein- we were able to sneak in a quick visit to my FAVORITE deli in the entire world, where a plethora of amazing protein choices abound.  If you are ever in the Skokie area, stop in to Kaufmans, you will not be disappointed!  Duh, bypass the pastries/bagels and head straight to the meat/fish.  Have you ever smoked whitefish?  It is a delicacy beyond description.  I can pound through a half pound of fish in a couple minutes.  And the lox?  It makes the junk we eat here in Kansas downright embarrassing.  Ahhh!!  So good!  And don't get me started on the "new pickles" or "half sours" as they're called.  They are still bright green and have a strong cucumber taste, rather than just vinegar and garlic like regular pickles.

So, we're home now.  What was the first thing I did?  Whip up a batch of cookies for my little angel, who spent most of the week treat-less due to a less than stellar selection of gluten-free goodies.

Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies- Gluten, Grain, Sugar Free
3/4 cup peanut flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp organic peanut butter (just peanuts!)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp preferred SF liquid sweetener
1/4 cup SF chocolate chips, homemade or otherwise
2 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

This was a great recipe because I seriously threw everything in a bowl at once and mixed it up, well, except for the chocolate chips and bacon which I added at the end.  I chose this time to omit baking powder, as I knew they wouldn't spread much regardless.  This made 12 good sized cookies, which I baked at 350 until the bottoms were just starting to turn golden.  I wanted them underdone so they'd still have a little under baked taste, but the outside is crispy.  And no, I am not eating one!

It's hard to believe we have one full week ahead and then Thanksgiving week will be upon us!  What recipes will you be making?  Anything new you'll be trying?  I'd love to hear!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ground Beef Fajita Bowl

You know those nights when you have no fresh food, practically no food to speak of, you're stumped on what to make, you don't want to go to the store, you don't feel like making anything difficult, you're tired, hungry for nothing in particular, and need to to please an adult and a picky toddler?  No? Really? Geez I thought everyone had nights like that!

Gorgeous pic isn't it?  Maybe not.  But it's a slam dunk recipe, using minimal ingredients, all of which were frozen/pantry ingredients.

Have you tried Trader Joe's grassfed ground beef?  It's in the frozen meats section.  Ummm, hello awesomeness!  It's delicious!  Great to have on hand for nights like these.  This meal could not have been easier, all it used were the items to the right- ground meat, frozen fire roasted peppers, guac, salsa, and beans.  For those of us adhering strictly to whole 30/primal protocols, please abstain from the beans.

Ground Beef Fajita Bowl
1 package grassfed beef
1 bag Trader Joe's fire roasted peppers and onions
some guac, or just some sliced avo
some salsa
some beans (or not)
shredded lettuce if you have any (I didn't, no bigs)
and the following spices, to taste:
onion powder
garlic salt

Brown your meat and spice accordingly once it's browned.  Remove meat from pan onto plate.  Sautee thawed veggies in your leftover fat from the meat, and spice to taste.  Warm up your beans.  Throw everything in a bowl and enjoy!  Easy peasy.  Dinner done in 20 minutes or less.

This post is admittedly not very fun, truthy, or challenging.  We are in chicago for my grandfather's funeral this week, and so at the moment I am not feeling up to digging deep.  Rather, I'd like to dig deep into my bed, snuggle in, and not get up until I damn well please.  But, LGO right?  However, look for a sugar detox update soon.  Is anyone doing it with me?  Or something similar?  Don't be shy!!  And if not now but you are planning to, let me know too!  I am anxious to hear how everyone does.

Thanks a bunch, XoXoGFG

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins- Grain, Sugar, Gluten, Dairy Free

Told ya I wasn't going to stop posting #faileo type recipes!  Actually, these are little nutritional power houses, which is great because typically for breakfast, S will have a muffin every day.  Or, a nuffin as she calls them.  I make them every weekend because they are fast, portable, and delicious, and she can eat them once she gets to daycare/preschool.  This particular muffin is really great because it's full of carrots (I am having a rough time getting her to eat veggies these days) but they taste and smell pretty decadent.  No, I did not eat one.  I'm sticking to my sugar detox guns!

Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins- Free of sugar, grain, dairy, gluten
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
3-4 tbsp preferred liquid sweetener
1/4 cup oil, like walnut or melted coconut
2 eggs
2 4 oz. containers organic carrot baby food
1 tsp vanilla
handful of raisins- optional

Mix the first 5 ingredients together well, get out any lumps with a fork.  In a separate bowl, combine your eggs, oil, vanilla, carrot, and sweetener.  Mix well, and add wet to dry.  Fold in your raisins, and spoon into lined muffin tin.  This made 8 good sized muffins for me.  Bake at 350 until the tops have browned nicely.  These will be pretty dense little guys.  Feel free to replace raisins with chopped nuts, chopped apple, chopped pineapple, or just leave out entirely!  These do not have a cakey consistency whatsoever, these are unmistakeably muffinish in texture, so don't be fooled by the name.  They just have that familiar, warm, and lovely carrot cake flavor profile.  But, feel free to have one for dessert, with some coconut cream frosting!  That is, unless you are detoxing along with me!  I should probably call this detox what it really is- a sweetener detox, since I don't technically eat sugar anyways- but sugar detox just sounds so much cooler doesn't it?

Regardless, this is a health snack or toddler breakfast you can feel good about.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Changing Things Up!

As I alluded to last week in my Aspen Recap post, I think it's time to make some changes 'round here.  More transparency, less pump and dump recipes, more variety, more fun, and more challenges!  By fun, I mean, this is a blog about my GFG lifestyle, so if I want to do a post about nail polish, or shopping for toddler shoes, or shit I want to buy, or shows I watch, or whatever, I'm going to do it!  I am more than the sum of my recipes!  And by challenges, I mean, I want to grow through this blog.  And hopefully, you want to grow too.  Recipes one after another aren't going to help anyone grow.  Sure, they are a great resource when you're in a pinch, but emotional, mental, psychological growth?  Uh uh.  I want to challenge myself, challenge myself to be healthy, to embrace a healthier lifestyle, to put my health first!  To stop justifying poor choices I make because of this or that, to stop letting little things slide all the time when I know I shouldn't, but am too lazy.  I can be better, I can do better!  And this isn't a vanity thing, (well, partly it's allllways a vanity thing isn't it?) it's a make-positive-sustainable-changes-now-before-it's-too-late thing.

So in reference to more transparency- here's some truthiness for ya.  I was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes- LADA.  It's a rare form of diabetes, making up a very small amount of total diabetics worldwide.  It's also relatively newly discovered, and many people are either misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed until disaster strikes.  So I am extremely lucky to have been diagnosed early, and correctly.  Regardless, it was quite a shock, and I'm still processing.  It also came on the heels of a few other diagnoses, of which I am also still processing.  I need to think about my life and my health in a totally different way.  I need to come up with new mechanisms, find new tools and resources, and challenge myself to grow, change, and adapt so I can live my healthiest life, be my best self.  I am going to successfully manage my chronic illnesses, I will NOT let them manage me.  I am going to have a life!  These things will not become my life.  I am going to overcome and have fun doing it!  There's more to this story (there always is) but that's for another day.  Today is about getting the ball rolling on these changes, being more truthful, more accountable, and upping the fun factor.

So- truthiness, check.  Next up- accountability.  I want to be more present when making food choices.  I want to make wiser decisions.  I want what I eat to have a positive impact on my overall health.  I want what I eat to be essential to my health.  I know this sounds a bit high and mighty, I'm totally aware.  I'm not saying I'll live the rest of my life like this.  But for now, I really feel like I have some big changes that need to be made.  I have been thinking about this for awhile and finally came up with a plan today.  Probably not the best time of year to be making some fairly radical changes, but hey, don't want things to get too dull around here do we?  Here is my  8-week plan:

This plan was designed in stages.  The first stage is just really about eliminating sweeteners.  This is going to be rough!  I love my paleofied/gfg'd treats as much as the next blogger.  So stage 1 is entirely about tackling this issue.  There are some supplements I lean on for extra protein that I'll still be relying upon until I begin Stage 2, but other than those, I am going to be pretty stringent.  In Stage 2 I'll tackle a few other pesky problems.  Dairy (I looove cream in my coffee), legumes (peanuts and peanut butter ahhhhh!  and beans etc) and I'll get into the nitty gritty of food additives.  All the while reducing my intake of unnecessary starches and carbs that are wreaking havoc on my blood sugar levels.  I am hoping to achieve a number of things here.  First- I really feel like I am too attached to my sugar substitutes and sugar-free treats.  Haha perhaps you've noticed?  I'm ready to cut the cord.  For now anyways.  I'll still be posting recipes for treats (yes I'm aware I'm doing a sugar detox right before the holidays) and I'll still be making healthy snacks for my family, but I feel that as a diabetic I need to keep sweetened foods at an arms length.  For the time being.  I'm currently not on insulin, managing this on my own, so I just don't have the luxury of being lax with my diet right now.  Second- I'm hoping to identify some food sensitivities I may have.  Does dairy bother me? Does it cause blood sugar spikes?  Are legumes responsible for intestinal upset?  Is fructose? (This I already know is a big fat yes.)  And thirdly- I am always on a quest to banish bloat for good.  Eliminating grain and gluten was a biggie, but I could still make some improvements.  I'm not crazy enough to think anyone is going to want to do this with me.  But just in case you are interested- Jenna at The Paleo Project has also just begun a 21 day sugar detox- so pop over to her site and join in on the fun!  It's actually a really great time to do the 21 day detox because it will end right before T-Day.

Alrighty- truthiness, check.  Accountability, check check.  Now for something fun/frivolous!  We had a fun Halloween with my little Fairy Princess!  And as you can see, I think she had fun too!  (And no, S did not have any candy.  I did however let her have a pretty junky "dinner" of celery and peanut butter, and squash chips.  I figure it's still better than a sugar coma.)

That's it for today folks!  Hope you dig the changes I'm making, and if not, I apologize!  But I want to live my best life, and squeeze every ounce of joy and contentment and success I can out of this one.  Join me!  Tell me how you are going to try to live your best life!  XoXoGFG

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spicy Cinnamon Roll Cookies- Lower Carb Recipe

A few months back I posted this recipe, for reaalllly yummy pecan cinnamon roll cookies.  They were sooooo yummy.  But, a bit too carby for me these days unfortunately.  So, back to the drawing board.  These new and improved cinnamon roll cookies have the same yummy smell and taste as a cinnamon roll, with none of the guilt (or mess/time in the kitchen) and would be great with coffee.  It makes four hefty sized cookies, and they are super low carb.  So diabetic folks out there, don't you worry!

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Spicy Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup preferred liquid sweetener
2 tsp vanilla

Mix your dry ingredients, and in a separate bowl, mix your wet.  Add wet to dry and form into balls.  Bake at 325 until golden brown.  Like I said, these get better after a day or two.  But you can't beat this recipe in terms of carbs and ease of preparation that's for sure!  As usual, I suggest baking on a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet.  Of course you could add pecans or another nut to this, or even top with some coconut cream icing.

What else is new chez GFG?  Well one of our favorite weekends of the year, KU Homecoming, was last weekend.  We had a blast enjoying the homecoming parade friday night, and even better was our trip to THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH, The Burger Stand at The Casbah in downtown Lawrence.  OMG.  Get yoself to The Burger Stand immediately if you are anywhere in the midwest region.  You will not be disappointed.  Want some delicious, local, 100% grassfed organic burgers?  With like, totally original combinations like avocado and habanero cactus jam, or brie, barbecue sauce, and bacon?  Or a to die for falafel burger?  This place is crazy.  They have duck fat fries people.  'Nuff said.  Here is a piccy of my amazing protein style kobe burger on a beet salad.

S thoroughly enjoyed herself and has been talking about "big floats" all week. 

Lastly, a no-recipe recipe for green bean salad. Pictured here. 
Throw green beans, grape tomatoes, blanched sliced almonds, chopped red onion, mayo, dijon, salt and pepper together, and you've got an awesome side dish, best served cold.

Adios gfg's!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Aspen Trip Recap

A friend and I recently were talking about our shared love of blogging/blogs and I lamented the somewhat sad state of affairs over here at Chez GFG.  Recipes are great and all but personally, my favorite blogs are the ones that weave delicious recipes (with equally delicious photos) into a larger, more complex quilt of genres- travel, fashion, mommy-wisdom, fitness, nutrition, holistic living, etc.  I am going to try to move in that direction.  I say try because honestly, some days it's all I can do slap up a recipe in 2 minutes before I forget it.  I'm sure you can all relate.  I feel idiotic for even complaining, since there are so many women/moms out there with far more on their plates than I and still manage to turn out informative, beautiful, entertaining, enlightening, and FUN pieces.  Stacy at Paleo Parents is a great example.  How the heck does she/they do it?

Part of this starts with more transparency.  I started this blog with the intention of sharing grain free, sugar free, low carb, no starch (etc etc) recipes because I had SO much trouble finding anything online that suited my needs.  If I am having trouble, there have got to be a few other people out there facing the same dilemma.  I think I have pretty well accomplished that goal, mostly anyways, and I am happy to say I feel pretty good about this blog being a decent repository of recipes for those of us needing or wanting to eliminate grains, sugar, processed junk, and live more healthfully.  But posting recipe after recipe is boring, and can feel like a chore.  And if it feels like a chore to me, I can imagine it must be a chore to my readers.  So I am resolving to become more transparent.  With so much going on my life, I sometimes feel like I am hiding, lying, or at the very least, omitting more than I ought to.  So in future posts, you'll see more truthiness, haha.  I hope this is helpful to you, or enjoyable, or something like that.

I wholeheartedly believe that food is probably the single most important aspect of living a healthy, whole life.  Besides sleep, I believe that food takes precedence over every other thing you can do in your life.  What you eat does truly define you, and while I'm sure many will disagree, that is my belief system.  Should you spend all your time cooking, recipe testing, ingredient sourcing, researching, etc?  No, of course not.  But food is love, food is medicine, food is life.  Embrace it and enjoy it!

But as large a role as food plays in one's life, it is not everything.  And someone who makes it their everything probably does not lead a very interesting life.  We want to be well-rounded after all, don't we?  So, that's where I'm at.  This blog is about me living my grain free life.  And my life is more than just recipes and ugly food photos!!

OK- Now that that's all over with- time for a recap of my Columbus Day weekend trip to Aspen.  OMG folks- that was the first time MKG and I had been to Aspen and it did not disappoint.  We live in Kansas City and decided we were going to drive.  Have you ever driven across Kansas?  Uggggg.  There are rungs of hell that are probably more hospitable than western Kansas.  My apologies to anyone that I am offending.  But holy crap!  Horrific.  But everything after that was crazy awesome.  Starting with:

Boulder, CO
We arrived in Boulder at 6pm ish on Thursday evening.  We drove around town a bit and wondered aloud about what it would be like if S went to school there someday- how neat it would be to visit all the time.  Boulder is hella cool.  And also, I think, probably the Gluten Free capitol of America.  I had soooo much fun researching places to have dinner prior to our trip.  Ultimately we ended up eating at The Kitchen- Upstairs.  Located in the trendy pedestrian mall on Pearl Street, we enjoyed perambulating down the street with cute shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and requisite college kids/hippie folk/townies.  Everything was closed, which was probably for the best, and it was also like, 1 degree out, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.  Our meal was spectacular.  Probably our best meal of the trip actually.  The ambience was soooo warm and inviting, but still chic and sophisticated.  We were seated directly next to a blazing fireplace, which only intensified that warm and rustic feel.  We got a couple items to share, awesome lamb meatballs, fresh mussels, roasted veggies, fresh greens, and the portions were just right.  I highly recommend it.

The next morning we got up early to make the drive to Aspen, taking I70 to Vail and then taking the Independence Pass the rest of the way, as we had been assured that was the most scenic way to go.  Scenic does not begin to describe it folks.  Here are some images from the Independence Pass route.

 The drive took about 4 and a half hours, and we stopped to take TONS of pics.  But nothing prepared me for just how gorgeous, quaint, cute, and charming Aspen was.  Granted we were there probably the slowest weekend of the entire year, but that ended up working to our advantage (except for it being frickin' cold!) as it wasn't overrun with tourists, or douchey billionaire wannabes, etc.  Here are some ridonc Aspen pics.

Our first afternoon in Aspen we took an easy hike to get acclimated, and enjoyed a casual dinner at Ajax Tavern, which I am not going to bother linking to because it was pretty meh.  But since this wasn't really a foodie trip, we didn't care much.  In fact, this was like, the budget trip to end all budget trips.  Don't even get me started on the ramshackle lodgings we endured at Mountain House Lodge.  YIKES is all I have to say.  But for $89/night (in ASPEN PEOPLE) I can't complain.  Here are some images from our easy little hike- on one of the many clearly marked trails in Aspen.  

The next day we set our sights on Ajax/Aspen Mountain.  As in, climbing the damn thing.  Everyone I talked to said it was was very very difficult, but could be done in 2.5 hours ish.  I was terrified.  Not of heights necessarily, but you know, extended bouts of strenuous physical activity is not really my thing.  I am a pussy, basically, and exertion is just not my fave.  But goddamnit I was determined to do it.

Holy shit.  It was harder than I could have imagined.  The first third of the way is pretty much STRAIGHT UP, on switchbacks.  You are on the edge of a cliff most of the way.  And because it's switchbacks, you have no idea where you are in relation to your destination.  You are just hiking up this goddamned mountain totally blind and ignorant.  Horrible.  Yes, it was pretty, I guess, I don't know I don't remember!  It was just sheer torture for me!  I could lie to you and say how magnificent it was and bullshit you, but I won't.  I was scared to death, thought I might die from exhaustion and/or falling off the mountain, and was scared I wouldn't make it.  Thankfully, after the first third of the way, the path straightened out, so at least we weren't teetering on the edge of a cliff anymore.  The kicker in all this is that I routinely was passed by small dogs, teenagers, large groups, etc, just to make me feel like more of a loser.  Eventually even MKG left me behind as my snails pace was just too much to handle.  The final two-thirds was just as hard physically, though much easier mentally.  And at long last, or, 2.5 hours later, we reached the top!

The view from the top is sick.  If you aren't the hiking type, take the gondola up to the top and enjoy the glorious view.  There is an awesome restaurant at the top and you can hang out, eat, and stare out the vast windows for hours.  We took the gondola back down, and spent the rest of the afternoon on a scenic car ride.  Dinner that night was at a newish place Justice Snow's, where I had a fucking amazing salad with kale, beets, trout, and hazelnuts.  It was crazy good.

The following day was the highlight of the trip.  Maroon Bells.  Oft sited as the most photographed destination in Colorado.  Words really do not it justice.  It was incredible, gorgeous, breathtaking even, and it was probably the most not-pretty time of year to visit!  I can't imagine what it must be like when the leaves are changing, or in summer with meadows of blooming wildflowers and lush green leaves as far as the eye can see.  I absolutely, 100% cannot wait to get back to Maroon Bells.  I could go a million times and not get sick of it.  We chose a fairly easy 3 mile hike along the ridge, and then had a fun picnic at the end.  I could post probably a hundred pictures just of the bells.  After that, I did a little (too much) shopping and then we had a casual dinner in a stupid dumpy place, Little Annies or something.  Blah.  I got a salad.  Boring.  Like I said, not a foodie trip.  This was a save our pennies and have one meal out a day trip.  We went to bed early as we were getting up at 4:30am to drive home, so the evening was pretty uneventful.

Our trip was so much fun.  We were fortunate we had the time to make the drive, and we were lucky to find such an affordable trip, and thank goodness my MIL was happy to watch S for the weekend.  The stars really aligned for us on this trip and I am so grateful.  But gosh darn it of course something had to go wrong right?  I got a motherf*ing ticket in stupid Aurora, CO on the way back.  OMG for real people?  With your speed trap?  Awful.

I can't recommend this trip enough.  Get yoself to Aspen pronto!  I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the trip- of the Bells of course.

I am already planning another trip to CO- this time to Estes Park.  Can't wait!