Getting back on track

Last week was awesome! I started running again, with my friend Suzanne. On Tuesday, I went for a run, then did two yoga classes, back to back. Power yoga and yin. Wednesday was yoga. Thursday, another run. I ate well: no sugar, no gluten. It was a good week.

Then, the weekend happened.

There’s only one word to describe this weekend: indulgent.

It was a great weekend, packed with family, friends and sunshine.

Friday, there was a surprise girl’s night for my aunt’s birthday. Enter red wine, bread and cheese, and lots and lots of laughing!

Saturday, another girl’s night, this time with friends. Fish and chips, beer, lattes and cookies. Again, lots of laughing and fun times. We even bought a lottery ticket, convinced we were going to win 17 million dollars. Sadly, we did not win.

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Sunday morning, I woke up with great intentions. I went to yoga, went for a run and drank a really tasty sugar-free electrolyte water thing to counter the effects of the booze.

The thing is, Sunday was a perfect srping day. Nice and sunny. The kind of day that’s best spent on a patio with your best friend, eating more fried food and drinking more beer. Followed by ice cream. Oh my. When I got home, I sat on the couch and couldn’t move. Not good.

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So today, Monday, I decided to get back to the awesomeness of eating right. It just makes me feel better. I did have a piece of cheesecake with lunch, but hey, I’m not perfect! I stopped for groceries on the way home and stocked up on delicious, non-gluteny, non-sugary, non-alcoholic food.

Here’s to a great week!

All I want is a cookie!

I’ve been eating sugar-free for a couple of weeks. It’s not as hard as I thought and also way more difficult than I imagined.

Let me explain.

When I’m at work, I bring a lunch and snacks, so I just eat what I have with me. When I pack my lunch, I’m super motivated, so it makes for a well balanced, no sugar-added day. Until the school day is done. Then, it’s a little harder. If I run errands, I have to use all my willpower not to buy a chocolate bar. If I go to the health food store to get some gluten free flour, I have to avoid the aisle with the power bars. Then there’s the kid who made me chocolates for Easter and the kid who brought cupcakes for his birthday. (So even at school, I’m not safe.) So much sugar, everywhere!

I’ve been craving something sweet this week. I knew I had to do something about it, or risk inhaling a kit kat bar. I looked up recipes for sugar free cookies, but most used artificial sweeteners. Then I found one for raw cookies and raw brownies using dates. I don’t like dates, but I figured I would give it a try.

I adapted to recipes because I didn’t have all of the ingredients.

First, get all your healthy sugar free ingredients together.

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Dates are not pretty.

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The brownies were pretty simple. Dates, cocoa powder, vanilla, ground almonds.

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The cookies, which I have named “raw apple pie” have a few more ingredients. One of them was raisins. I don’t like raisins, so I decided to use dried apples instead (I know I don’t like dates either, but they’re my cookies, and I can do whatever I want to.)

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Turns out, these cookies are amazing! And not just as a healthy, sugar free option. No, they’re good. I promise.

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I adapted this recipe. They’re vegan, gluten free and sugar free. Also delicious. They’re raw, meaning they’re not cooked, but I’m not sure if they would be raw-diet approved.

Enjoy!

Raw Brownies

1 1/2 cups ground almonds

3/4 cup dates

1/3 cup cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend in food processor. Add a a teaspoon or two of water so the mixture sticks together. Roll into balls. Eat.

Raw apple pie

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup dates

1/2 cup dried apples

2 tbs cashew butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Blend oats in food processor until finely ground. Add the rest and blend. Add a teaspoon or two of water. Roll into balls. Try not to eat all at once.

Did you yoga today?

Yes, I am using yoga as a verb. As you may or may not know, today is world yoga day! I have no idea what this means, because I only saw it mentionned online somewhere, but yay for yoga!

To celebrate, I went to a yang/yin yoga class this morning taught by my friend Edith. Ok, it was half to celebrate yoga day and half because I went snowboarding yesterday and I fell a lot, so today everything hurts. Also, it was half because I like yoga. And I like Edith. Too many halves, I know, but never too much yoga!

To commemorate this event, I’ve created a little collage of yoga moments. It’s time like these that I’m grateful for all the times I’ve asked friends, family and strangers to take my picture.

yoga collage

After class, Edith and I went out for coffee. We talked about yoga (among other things!), so yay for world yoga day again!

When I got home, I momentarily crashed on the couch and really, really wanted to stay there, but instead baked some tasty gluten free goodies. I like baking muffins and snacks so that I’m not tempted to go out and buy unhealthy things during the week.

I also made this unbelievable curry chicken salad for dinner. I made enough for lunch tomorrow and I’m already looking forward to it!

Oh, and I made more vitamin water. Raspberry cucumber. Delicious!

How did you celebrate yoga day?

Raspberry bites

I’ve been experimenting with gluten free baking for a while now. However, I’m not a the point where I make my own flour blend, or have different kinds of flour. I buy a pre-made blend. I have realized that not all gluten free flour blends are equals. I found one I really like, from the health food store down the street, but last time I was there, they didn’t have my flour! I went to the bulk barn and bought some there, thinking I got a great deal. Yes, it was cheaper, but I like the other one better. I guess I have expensive taste (when it comes to flour).

I wanted to make raspberry muffins, but not with pieces of raspberries. I don’t like cooked, mushy fruit, unless it’s apples. I found a recipe for vanilla zucchini muffins, and played around with it a little. I pureed frozen raspberries with some frozen, grated zucchini. They are good, but not excellent. I’ll have to keep playing with it before I share. Preferably with my favourite flour.

The batter had a nice colour, but it wasn’t as vibrant as I thought it would be.

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Once cooked, the colour wasn’t really noticible. Well, they are kind of purple. But who doesn’t love purple?

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Sorry if you came to this post looking for a recipe. I’ll share as soon as I find a way to make them taste amazing!

Superbowl Sunday without the Superbowl

I’m not a huge football fan, so Sunday was just a Sunday for me, not a event. When I woke up, I was feeling pretty lazy, so I watched an episode of Homeland. Have you seen this show? I’m still at the begining of season one, but I am hooked!

I realized soon enough that I had to get out of the house, otherwise I would lose my Sunday to the fight against terrorists. I decided to go to an afternoon yoga class, but before I left, I made dinner in the crockpot so that when I came home, it smelled heavenly.

I made orange curry chicken, and it’s so easy, it’s crazy.

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That’s it! Well, almost. When the chicken was cooked, I cut it into bite-sized pieces, then put in back into the sauce, along with some cream. I served it over jasmin rice. So good! Also, it’s gluten free.

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Simple and delicious.

My yoga class was perfect for a Sunday afternoon. It was an intro class, so there wasn’t too much flowing. It was very chill. Baby yoga. Not that it was easy, because we held poses for a little longer than we do in a regular flow class. I think it’s a good idea to do a beginner class every once in a while. It really makes you think about your alignment.

Homeland, easy chicken and yoga. Better than the Superbowl.

Orange curry chicken

– juice of 4 oranges

– tablespoon of curry powder

– 2 chicken breasts

– 1/4 cup of cream

Place juice, curry powder and chicken breast in crockpot and cook for three hours on high or six hours on low. Add cream and heat for 20 minutes. Serve over jasmin rice. Enjoy!

Rabbit food

I like carrots, but only when they’re raw. Cooked carrots are just not my thing. However, I’ve noticed that if I add grated carrots to cooked food, like spaghetti sauce or soup, I’ll eat them. It’s kind of like hiding them from myself, because they’re so small and I can’t taste them.

In November, I decided to try going gluten-free. It was going really well for a while, until Christmas. Cookies, pie, quiche…there was no controlling myself. I don’t have an issue with gluten, so it wasn’t so bad. Going gluten-free was more of an “everything in moderation” thing. I still have Christmas cookies in my freezer, but other than that, I’m trying to cut out gluten as much as possible.

So, where am I going with gluten-free carrots? Simple. Gluten-free carrot macaroni and cheese. That’s right. Sooo good!

I bought this corn pasta to replace regular pasta, and it tastes the same. It’s a little yellow, but once cooked, it’s not so neon.

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Not the best company name, if you ask me. It’s too close to leper.

Grate a couple of carrots. If you’re super into carrots, feel free to add more.

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Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the carrots to the boiling water.

Drain the carrot/pasta mix and set aside.

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Mix your sauce any way you like. I used flour for my roux, since it was only a small amout, but you can thicken your sauce with cornstarch. I used 2 or 3 cups of milk. I like mild cheese, so I used mozzarella and cheddar, but you can use whatever you have. I used 2 or 3 cups, I think. I really have no idea. This is not a precise recipe, it’s more of an idea. I also added cream cheese.

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Mix everything together, then pour into a baking dish. Add more cheese, of course. I used rice cereal for the crispy topping.

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Put in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or the time it takes to clean the kitchen and check your e-mails. When it smells so delicious you can’t stand it, it’s ready.

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Enjoy!

The gluten-free experiment

We all know someone who’s gone gluten-free, for health reasons or maybe because it’s trendy, and it’s completely changed their life! How can, all of a sudden, wheat be responsible for so many problems? I’ve been pretty skeptical about this whole thing.

So I started paying attention to what people around me were saying. There’s the friend who cut out gluten (among other things) to help control her asthma. And it worked. There’s the friend who’s no longer tired. Imagine that! The friend who never felt quite right, and now feels amazing most of the time. These aren’t people trying to sell me something, these are my friends.

It got me thinking I want me some of that. But, there was a small problem. A huge problem, actually. I love cake. And cookies. Also, brownies, muffins, waffles, bread and anything else made with flour. If it’s got gluten in it, chances are, I love it. I asked no-longer-tired-friend Don’t you miss the foods you used to eat? Her answer was pretty clear. No. So many gluten-free options are out there, there’s no need to cut out anything you like.

I decided to try it, but with my own rules. My experiment is not to go completely gluten-free, but more gluten-reduced. I’m not doing this for health reasons, so if I want a scone, then I’ll eat one.

It’s been a week. So far, so good. I’ve cheated, but since I’m allowed, it’s not cheating. I tried to make bread using arrowroot flour. Yeah, that didn’t work. It was like baking glue. It came out of the oven looking good, but then it collapsed onto itself and died. I threw it out and put the garbage bag out on the porch. A squirrel got into the bag and dragged out the loaf, then left it there. He didn’t even take a bite. I don’t blame him.

Today, I tried again. I bought some gluten-free flour and found a recipe for pumpkin muffins. Most baked good made with gluten-free flour have a grainy texture, but these muffins are awesome! I think it helps that there is very little flour in them.

The recipe called for pumpkin pie spice, which I do not have. I used cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. My measuring technique is quite precise: a few shakes of everything, heavy on the cinnamon. Bliss. I also used butter instead of oil. More bliss.

It looks like a muffin, smells like a muffin, and best of all, tastes like a muffin!

I’m very new at this, so if you’re gluten-free, I would love some tips! And recipes. I’ve been eating a lot of salad.