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.