Monthly Archives: June 2009

Lemony Gluten-Free Pancakes

Lemony Gluten-Free Pancakes

For breakfast this weekend, my husband and I made yummy gluten-free pancakes.  They would have been completely grain-free if we had followed Ricki’s recipe correctly as posted on Diet, Dessert and Dogs.  But I didn’t have chickpea flour so I used Millet, and I substituted Xylitol for agave to make it more anti-candida friendly.  I’m going to get some chick-pea flour soon though and make these again completely grain-free, because they were yummy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup finely ground flax meal
2/3 cup soymilk
1 Tbsp xylitol
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup millet flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds and flax until you have a very fine meal the texture of coarse cornmeal.  There should be no large pieces of almond visible.

Add the milk, xylitol, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and whir again.  Allow to sit for at least two minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the processor and whir just until blended.

Using a small ice cream scoop or 2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml), pour batter onto hot griddle over medium heat and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until bubbles appear and then pop on the surface of the pancakes and the edges look dry.  Gently flip and then cook another 2-3 minutes on other side.  Keep cooked pancakes warm while you continue with the rest of the batter.  Makes 6 small pancakes. May be frozen.

Note: these are still pretty moist in the middle, even when done.

I had mine with Trader Joe’s bruscetta topping and Matt had his with maple syrup.  We both gave them a 4/5 happy monkeys, and we will be making these again, next time completely grain-free and made with chickpea flour.

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Filed under 4/5 Happy Monkeys, Breakfast, Cheating, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

I’m on a boat

I'm on a boat!I’m on a boat.  I got my flippy-floppies.

Actually, I’m wearing sneakers, but that’s beside the point.  I’m in the UK for work and one of British colleagues offered up the fantastic opportunity of going for an evening sail off the coast of Portsmouth.  Turns out her boss is boat-sitting for a guy that has been stationed in Cypress for the year and didn’t want to take his sailboat with him.  Apparently, he “has a few boats down there already.”  I have no idea what someone that fantastically wealthy is doing in the military, but I’m glad he is, because it gave me the opportunity to sail on his boat.  And what a boat it was!  It was definitely the fanciest private sailboat I’ve ever been on (the polish tall ship the Dar Młodzieży doesn’t count) with a huge “steering wheel” instead of a simple rudder and a complex winch and pulley system that managed the sails practically for you.

Our meetings ran a little late and so WGCDR Heycock only gave us six minutes to run up to our hotel rooms, change and grab everything we needed for the evening.  In addition, I had to figure out how to make my dinner and make it back down to the lobby within those six minutes.  Our host was being exceedingly kind enough to bring dinner for everyone, but of course, turkey sandwiches weren’t going to cut it for me.

I grabbed a bunch of stuff from the fridge, threw it in a bag and ran out the door.

Quickest Dinner Ever – Black Bean Avocado Salad
Suitable both on and off sailboats

– 1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
– 1 avocado
– handful grape tomatoes
– one green onion
– half mini-red onion
– couple large pieces dill
– tablespoon olive oil infused with basil
– juice of a quarter lemon
– salt, pepper and seaweed gomasio (mixture of sesame seeds, sea vegetables and sea salt) to taste

Chop everything, mix it all together and enjoy!

Caveat: When sailing, this is of course easiest to make below decks in a kitchen, if you’re on a boat with such facilities.  Be careful though, the seasickness can really creep up on you when you’re down below chopping.  A word to the wise!

This is yummy enough that I’m going to make it a lot more often, even when dockside.  It reminds me of a coarse black bean guacamole.  I give it 4/5 happy monkeys.

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Filed under 4/5 Happy Monkeys, Anti-Candida Diet, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Journal, Lunch, Sugar-Free, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

I love Tesco

I travel internationally quite a bit for work, and, as you can imagine, this has become more stressful as my diet has gotten more restrictive. I go to conferences where typically lunch is included and dinners are social group events.  One time, in Luxembourg, I basically starved for a week because there was no food I could eat.  At the formal dinner, they actually served me a plate of hot raisins, pickles and cabbage.  It was disgusting.  And this was after over an hour of waiting for our food.  I was so hungry and disappointed that tears came to my eyes.  My boss actually took a picture of me and the expression on my face as I gazed at the food they served me.

Anyway, point being, after that I vowed never to travel without securing my own rental car.  Typically, we often travel as a delegation but I don’t like being at the mercy at other people for my food.  So now I always make sure I have a rental car and I hit the local supermarket as soon as possible when I get in town.

This week I’m at a conference in Portsmouth, UK.  I’ve been to the UK twice before but have never driven on the left, and quite honestly, would be quite happy never to have to do so in my lifetime.  But not even my fear of driving on the wrong side of the road could overcome my desire not to go hungry.  So I drove down from Heathrow, and after many inadvertent circles around round-abouts, made it to the Marriott Portsmouth.

The Marriott was nice enough to put a good-sized mini-fridge in my room, no questions asked (unlike the Westin Casuarina, which was not nearly so accommodating) but I have no microwave, hot plate or other warming implements, so it seems I will be going mostly raw this week.  I only hoped they had a decent grocery store around to buy some fresh produce.

It turns out that there is a giant Tesco three blocks away.  Oh well, guess I didn’t really need the car, but at least I didn’t have to drag my grocery bags back to the hotel by hand.

Tesco is amazing.  I never know what to expect with grocery stores that are not Whole Foods, but Tesco absolutely exceeds any expectations I had.  They had lots of organic food.. I got tomatoes, red peppers, baby lettuces, avocados, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, cherries… yum!  They also had lots of yummy add-ons for salads: basil-infused olive oil, olives, capers, sundried tomatoes.  They even had fantastic things that are hard to find in the US:  non-dairy fake parmesan cheese (which I have never been able to find in LA), bottles of lime juice, jars of sliced lemon in lemon juice, capers in brine, not vinegar, marinated olives with no lactose.  They also had a fantastic gluten-free section.. brownies and crumpets and cereal.  It made me drool, but now that I’m back on the more-restrictive diet, I had to resist.  (I know, I know, I still bought cherries, but a girl has to have some sweetness in her life.  I promise this will be my last fruit for a while.)

Tesco gets a strong 5/5 happy monkeys from this international traveler.

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Back to Basics

I always ask for copies of my medical records.  It’s information about me, so I feel entitled to it, and I always find out interesting and important things that my doctors don’t always communicate to me.  They always say things, like, “your test results look fine,” but then once you get a hold of the actual test results, you see that your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is out-of-range low and you have a bacterial infection that no one bothered to tell you about.  Which is exactly what happened to me recently.

Since the test results in question were over a month old, I decided to go to my favorite doctor, Dr. Melissa Huggins (I highly recommend her if you’re in the OC), to verify if the infection was still lingering.  Wouldn’t you know it, she called me back a few days later, and said that while the bacterial culture was still in process, the lab came back with a positive for candida yeast.  Oh yay.

So it seems like any progress I may have made during my months on the strict no sugar, no carb diet may have been deteriorated by my recent decision to start adding back some grains/fruits into my diet.   I probably should have guessed by the way my digestion/bladder symptoms were acting up again.

Candida 1, Me 0.

If I want to kick this yeast (and I do want to, badly), I’m going to have to take it back to basics and the ultra-restrictive candida diet.  That means, in addition to the No Food Diet as listed:

–          no vinegar
–          no mushrooms
–          no peanuts
–          no grains of any kind
–          no starchy/sugary veg, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots or beets
–          no sweeteners except for xylitol

I can do this.  Easy.  Bring it on.

Candida gets a big fat 0/5 happy monkeys.

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Cheating on my diet.. Bad idea

Red Robin logoThis week we had a going away for one of our friends who’s being reassigned to Colorado Springs.  We went to Red Robin, which all the guys love, but is not particularly No Food-friendly.  I researched their menu online and found out I could get the cobb salad, with no chicken, no bacon, no blue cheese, no bread and no dressing and still be true to the No Food Diet.

Of course, the first time they brought out the salad, it was covered with chicken and accompanied by bread, so I sent it back. It came back out fairly quickly (which is good because we were starving after waiting for 45 minutes for our food), and with a litle olive oil, lemon and salt, it was quite good.

But then we got to the gift-giving and speech-making part of the lunch, and Matt’s uneaten fries were just sitting there, looking at me.  I have to admit, even though I inhaled my entire salad, I was still a bit hungry and I thought one fry wouldn’t hurt.  It was just potato, right?  I mean, yeah, it’s nothing but carbs, but it’s not a grain, right.  It’s a vegetable, so it should all be ok.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that is the first step down a path towards calamity.

So one fry, sprinkled with dextrose-laden Red Robin special spices and dipped in corn-syrup heavy ketchup, led to another, and half a basket of delicious fries later, I was done, the basket empty, my stomach unhappy.

Not a good move.

I had that kind of nauseous full feeling that afternoon, and the next day the fries still sat in my stomach, feeling heavy and bloaty.  My physical therapist asked me what I ate to cause such a backslide, because I had been doing pretty well for the past few months since starting this diet.  My answer: no more potatoes for me.

Potatoes:  a definite 0/5 happy monkeys.

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My First Green Smoothie

My First Green Smoothie

As I was slurping down the delicious smoothie pictured at right, my husband asked me if I was planning on blogging about it.  Because if I was, I had better take a breather to take a picture.  Good thing he reminded me, or else I might have had to post a picture of an empty glass.  As you can see, it was already half empty!

Needless to say, my first green smoothie gets a strong 5/5 happy monkeys!

For all you that have yet to drink the raw kool-aid, let me tell you, it’s a lot yummier than it looks.  I know the green is a scary color, but the taste of the kale is pretty much drowned out by the strong sugary taste of the fruit.  It’s like a regular smoothie, only healthier and, well, more vibrantly colored.  Nothing to be afraid of.

It was delicious and a huge energy boost but I got such a hyper headrush from drinking the first half that I decided to put the rest in the fridge for later.  Here I am, 3 hours later, still wired.  Next time, I think I will use less fruit, more veg.  Too much sugar doesn’t agree with me.

My banana-mango-lemon-kale smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

– 1 banana
– equal amount frozen mango
– 3 good-sized lacinato kale leaves
– juice from half a lemon

Directions:

Blend fruit first, then add kale, one leaf at a time until you’ve maxed out your veggie taste.  Slurp and enjoy!

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Filed under 5/5 Happy Monkeys!, Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Green Smoothies, Raw, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa Cakes

First, let me say: YUM!

Second let me say: Allrecipes, you have failed me again.  I had lots of leftover quinoa (who knew 1 cup dry made so much!) and had it in my mind to try quinoa cakes.  Looking it up on allrecipes, I found nothing! I used to use allrecipes all the time, but since I changed my diet, I’m finding allrecipes less and less helpful.  I’ve taken to simply googling what I want and this time I found lots of great blogs to help concoct my own quinoa cakes (see for instance: Dishing Up Delight’s blog).

This is the recipe I used–it came out great!

Ingredients:

– 2 cups leftover quinoa (I had made mine wiht vegetable stock instead of water)
– 1 egg (beat first)
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 green onion, sliced thin
– 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
– salt and pepper to taste
– olive oil for frying

Directions:

Mix everything together in a bowl.  Use a spoon to scoop out quinoa and use hands to form into 3-in flat patties.  Place on cookie sheet covered in tin foil.  Put uncovered cookie sheet with quinoa cakes into fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.  After chilled, heat two tablespoons of oil on a griddle over medium heat.  Carefully slide cakes into hot oil and fry until crispy.  Flip, but try not to touch them too much because they are fragile and will fall apart.  Add oil as needed.  You want to get the outside nice and crispy so that it helps hold them together.  When done, pat carefully with paper towels to remove excess oil.  Makes 6 cakes (2 servings).

Although the topping from Gourmet magazine looked delicious, I just put a dollop of pre-made Trader Joe’s bruschetta on top and they were delicious!  Double YUM!

I gave them 4/5 happy monkeys.  My husband, although he liked them and said he would eat them again, only gave them 3/5 happy monkeys because they, after all, fried in oil.  They reminded him of traditional potato latkes, which are very similar, although I think these are a bit more healthy.

Next time: I would make sure I was using high enough heat.  It took a little while to fry because I think the heat was on medium-low instead of medium (so hard to tell with a gas stove!).

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Filed under 4/5 Happy Monkeys, Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lunch, Sugar-Free, Vegetarian