Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brussel Spouts with Coconut Milk and Toasted Pecans

I've been searching for new healthy ways to cook vegetables so I don't get bored with my new eating plan.  This one was tasty and fairly easy.  It's a keeper.

I found the recipe on Pinterest.  It's posted on the Rachel Schultz blog.  It looks like I'll need to explore her recipes page.

I followed her recipe with no modifications.  Her post has great photos and step by step directions.  She gets the credit here, not me.  I just wanted the recipe on my blog so I can pull it up easily in the future.   Here's what I did -

I bought 1 pound bag of fresh Brussels sprouts.  I removed the ends and cut them in half.  I put them in a skillet (Rachel says medium-high heat).

Then I poured 1 cup of coconut milk over them.  I used organic  coconut milk that comes in a can.  There was a little left over for me to use making something else.

I also had a carton of coconut milk in the frig.  I wasn't sure which to use or if it even made a difference.  The canned version is thicker and probably contains a good bit more coconut oil.  I thought it would stick to the bottom of the pan, but nooooo.  That was no problem at all.

Fast Update:  I just came across this interesting post on The Sprouting Seed about making your own coconut milk.  I used to make my own almond milk and this looks almost as easy.  I need to get back to doing that.

The milk slowly disappears.   I needed to stir occasionally, but I didn't have to stand over them.  I probably watched them closer than necessary this first time since I wasn't sure what to expect.  I continued cooking ‘til I don’t see any more white from the milk.

Next I added 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ cup pecans and stirred those around and let them toast until golden brown.  Interestingly, the pan only started getting icky on the bottom after the olive oil was added.
When done Rachel says to remove them from the pan and season with salt and pepper.

If you put them in a really pretty dish, people will be even more impressed.  :-D  My Hubby was impressed even before I got them over to a pretty dish.  I looked like a gourmet cook!  Ha!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bobbi Brown's Secrets For A Kick-Ass Life

I just came across a very inspiring article about Bobbi Brown.  She's in her 50's, which she refers to as the "F*ck-It decade". (That's exactly how it was written in the article.)  I'm in my 50's and can totally relate. Her reasons for calling it that are more positive than mine would be.  She gave me lots to ponder about her take on it.  The article is actually made up of 30 slides.  The link will hopefully take you to slide one.  Just turn the pages and enjoy.

By the way, you don't have to be in your 50's to enjoy this article!

There's lots of eye candy.  Her style is very clean and simple.

There are some interesting thoughts on various things. Here's a wrote that caught my attention because even though I have no business, I am obsessed with marketing and the tricks businesses employ to promote their products.

There's even a tasty looking smoothie recipe.  I love smoothies and plan to try this one soon.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Salad Cheat Sheet

It's easy to get in a salad rut and end up with a boring salad. When I walk in the door starving, any food creativity I might have flies out the door.  To that end, I have made what I think of as my Salad Cheat Sheet.  I can quickly skim the list and see what all I have on hand to add.

Note:  This is a fair start, but I consider this list "under construction".  I am still in the process of trying to figure out what foods I truly need to eliminate to get myself back to good health. Plus, I feel sure I've left off some salad additions.  I'll update as I learn.

Greens - Base
lettuce (There are too many good lettuces to list.)

Greens - Xtra
dandelion greens

Pizazz - Fruit

Pizazz - Veggies

beef (grass fed only)

Dried Fruit
dried cranberries

Nuts & Seeds
Walnuts, pecans...
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
poppy seeds

Easy Dressings
I definitely hope to add to this list!
Blend oil and vinegar with a berry

Things I shouldn't have, but someone else might like
bell pepper
orange wedges

I am avoiding gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, peanuts .  

The verdict is still out on:
nightshades - Eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Butternut Squash - Baked Quarters

I'm still in the process of finding foods that my allergy over-loaded body can tolerate with punishing me.  I'm finding the need to keep things simple and make things that aren't made with recipes.  Mostly, I am preparing foods as they are with just a bit of seasoning.

I love butternut squash, but I hate peeling it.  There must be an easier way.  I did a quick search and came to a trio of butternut squash recipes on the Clean Cuisine website. By the way, I can't wait to explore that site more, especially the recipes page.  Anyway, one of her recipes just called for quartering the squash.  No peeling.  Wahoo!

I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.  

I may be the only middle-aged person in the US who hasn't made butternut squash that way before, but I'm still posting about it!  After peeling and cubing it for years, this is a real break-through for me.  Sadly, it's one that should have occurred to me.  I've prepared other squashes this way.  I blame the gluten brain fog I've suffered with for ages.  That will be my excuse for everything stupid I've done in the past!  :-D

I followed the recipe for quartering the squash almost to the letter.  It took less than 5 minutes prep time. The only thing I did different from her recipe was that I omitted the brown sugar and substituted a dash of cinnamon instead.  Butternut squash is fairly sweet already.  Also, I'm avoiding refined sugar at the moment.  If you aren't, by all means add it - I'll bet it's yummy!

Here's the quick How-To -

CUT a butternut squash in quarters. -  Clean Cuisine recommended putting it on a towel while cutting it so it doesn't slip.

SCOOP out the seeds with a spoon.

SEASON - Place the four squash pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet, flesh side up. Rub a little extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil on top of the butternut squash.  I used the coconut oil.  Season with some or all of the following - unrefined sea salt, pepper, cinnamon and/or a little bit of brown sugar.

BAKE - Roast at 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until flesh is fork tender.

I don't think you're supposed to eat the skin, but it was quite tender.  I didn't taste the skin, but our dogs seemed to like it.  :-D    Maybe I should look into that.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What the Heck I CAN Eat

When people see the list of foods I've dropped with my elimination diet, they wonder what the heck I CAN eat.  No need for concern. I eat lots of good fruits, veggies, herbs and some meat (which I often consider dropping, but not right now).  I'm only deprived of what I now call junk.  No more concoctions and casserole-type recipes.

The elimination diet is actually quite similar to the Paleo eating style.  The Paleo premise is to eat like your ancestors... food that was available to them, but prepared with today's cooking methods.  You shop mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store.

Source???  Or did they borrow it from elsewhere???

This new way of eating is taking a little getting used to, but I'm up for the challenge.  I'm exploring simple, back-to-basics cooking and trying to include a variety of foods that I might not have cooked much (or at all) in the past.  I'm having pretty good luck finding good things to eat by searching Paleo sites.

There are some Paleo sites that are better than others.  Many who say they are going Paleo seem to be trying to continue cooking their favorite recipes and baked goods with food substitutions.  Others are still cooking with things that are not in the Paleo plan.  As if just a little isn't so bad. According to my body, just a little can keep me in the bathroom half the night.  No cheating for me!   If I don't stick to the elimination diet, my body eliminates the offending foods with great speed and efficiency.  :-D

Watch for upcoming posts with recipes for foods hubby and I are both enjoying.  Hubby is my tester.  We BOTH need to like it for it to be considered successful.

I created this picture.  Feel free to copy!  Hippocrates won't mind.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Elimination "Diet" - Feeling Beyond Great!!!

Apparently, my body has found a new technique to make me eat better.  I have to say, it's very motivational.  If I eat certain foods, I get swift and unpleasant reactions.  I'll spare the details.  Let's just say that this may be a diet plan I'll be able to stick to. :-D
Photo Source - Houzz

For now, I've dropped all my likely food suspects - wheat, dairy, corn, peanuts, eggs, and a few others.  I also can't tolerate onions and garlic (sigh).  I am trying to clean out and give my body a rest for bit  

Dropping all the common allergy suspects
is called the elimination diet.  
It should be named the
Holy Cow I Feel Great diet.

Couldn't find the exact source for this picture, but the source for the top
section is somewhere on this site (which I have NOT explored at all)

Down the road, I could test the waters again by introducing a few things.  Maybe I will or maybe I won't.  I might not want to because, truthfully, I am feeling pretty great right now.  I've had a couple of mild headaches as my body adjusts (mostly when I didn't drink enough water), but the stomach issues have all but ended (Hallelujah!).

Also, of note, my body is rewarding me for good behavior with a couple of extra bonuses.  First, I am feeling fully awake and energetic during the day.  It's very Rip-Van-Winkle-ish!!!   I've been sleeping-walking for years and now I'm waking up.  Secondly, (knock on wood) I am sleeping better.  That's huge.  I don't think I've slept well in years.  It's too soon to think my sleep issues are cured, but so far, I'm really, really happy!

When people see the list of things I've dropped, they wonder what the heck I CAN eat.  Stay tuned to my up-coming posts.  I plan to share my favorite finds as I come across them.  Maybe I can make it easier for someone else with similar issues down the road.

I hope all the recipes I post will be ones anyone could enjoy, regardless of whether they have food issues or not.


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