234 Tart or Quiche – I don’t know

Had quite an efficient day don’t you know; Sleep-in, walk on the beach, I even folded the mountain of washing that had been taunting me for weeks.

Mum dropped off two dozen happy-chicken eggs so I thought I’d share a recipe for a Sunday eh? I don’t know what you call this – it has no crust – ensuring it is gluten-free but follows the line of a quiche. Not dairy free. Tart or Quiche? I dunno.

You need;

  • 10 eggs
  • one red onion
  • 2 cups pumpkin peeled and cubed
  • 1 block of feta
  • one pottle thingy of sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Cube the pumpkin roughly, chop the red onion into big chunks and coat the liberally with olive oil. Set in the oven to bake until tender at 180 degrees.
  2. While the veg is cooking whisk the sour cream in with all of the eggs.
  3. Chop the Feta in to chunks and grease the base of your quiche dish.
  4. Layer the feta with the pumpkin and onion, pour the eggy mixture over the top and bake until golden brown on top.
  5. Serve with Salad and ice cold white wine (if you drink).

YUM.

It was so yummy that I had a conversation with the GD about having a couple of meat free days a week – you know because environment and budget stuff – and we agreed that I could probably make yummy things that this once or twice a week.

Then the smallest child woke up and cried for nearly an hour because he wanted Meat. ‘MEAT I WANT MEAT! WHERE IS THE MEAT. WHY DIDN’T YOU COOK MEAT, I WANT MEAT, NO HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICH ISN’T MEAT. I WANT MEAT’ (quiet sobbing) ‘meat, meat, snuffle snuffle, meat’ Real tears streaming off of his chin.

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221 – green smoothie success!

It’s been aaaaaaaaaaaaaages since I used my blender – something about a cold smoothie first thing in the morning has NOT appealed in this recent weather (oh my god the HAIL today – like freakin’ snow! Aucklanders went in to shock all over town and forgot to how to drive). Anyhoo, hot brekkies have had way more appeal – especially after boot camp in the freezing cold – and today was no exception.

However, part of me getting back on track is being prepared for stuff. A ‘treat’ I have been loving recently is the v good green stuff smoothie at Kokako. And as the GD pointed out the last time he brought me one to work – they are waaaaaay too expensive for what they are – so I hatched a plan.

This morning I made a smoothie to GO. I made it and put it in my little glass jar with the straw that I got from the warehouse for $2.50 and stashed it in my work fridge for morning tea – which is EXACTLY when I felt like it – win!

I tried a new combo;

  • one and half handfuls of spinach leaves
  • an inch thick round of pineapple with outside bits cut off, cubed
  • one cup coconut water (check the box – heaps have added sugar – I get the one that has the lowest sugar content and def no ADDED sugar)
  • one frozen banana
  • one tablespoon LSA
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Whack it in and smash it all up together – I give it two blasts because the LSA can be a bit gritty. Water will suffice instead of the coconut water – it is sweet.

It was great! And the best bit is that Master 4 tasted it this morning and then this evening – after refusing a perfectly delicious gf pasta and meatballs – requested it for his dinner! I took out the coconut water and upped the greens and he could hardly tell the difference. That’s one way of getting spinach into a pre-schooler.

Monday is done. Thank the gods.

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220 – Sunday prep

Kia ora koutou and I hope you are all feeling fine on this here Monday eve,

Or have you got the Sunday horrors too? I get ’em every weekend now but I have many and varied ways in which I ‘deal’ with them. The best used to be to just day-drink. Ahhhh… just keep a nice slow beer buzz on all day. But, you know, parenting, and being old and shite means children to feed and hangovers that last for DAYS now. I’m nearly 40 you know. Fuck it.

Some of the things I do; I rush about madly trying to ‘get the most out of the weekend’ OR I lie around doing absolutely nothing until nagged sufficiently by children or the grumpy Dutchman. I try to organise ‘good for the gut’ food in advance for the week/I shave/dye/trim or wash any hair that catches my attention (no I don’t shave my legs in winter because cold and the GD complains but he puts up with it just fine – a hairy ankle isn’t going to put my man off his dinner). I read books (ha ha – I plan to read books but I have mentioned I have children haven’t I?). I clean things randomly – very randomly. I try to spend as much time with family where possible AND I try to catch up with friends. I try not to think about work until I really really have to. It’s quite a bit to fit in to two days.

It really makes you wonder why we work for FIVE days and only rest for TWO days. Surely we’ve got that ass about face?

This weekend in between family stuff I have been to the movies with a friend who wanted to escape me from Nana and work stress bless her – I highly recommend ‘Amy’ the doco about Amy Winehouse – it is a tear-jerker for sure – not a dry eye in the house. It’s probably very wrong, considering her struggles with addiction, but I did leave really wanting a glass of wine and a ciggie…. Lucky Nana didn’t have any.

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This evening for dinner I made a yummy recipe that I like to make every now and then; Salmon Patties with (random) greens. It’s great because it makes a bunch of them and I can have them for lunch the next day. It’s not my recipe and I’ve added and taken out some stuff to suit my ouchy gut – a good one to play with.

You need

  • two 200gm cans of pink salmon
  • a couple of Kumara, peeled and cut in to cubes
  • 2 tblsp of Capers (drained)
  • a handful of coriander chopped
  • spring onion chopped up (I think you are meant to use red onion but I can’t tolerate it)
  • 1-2 eggs whisked
  • breadcrumbs (I use almond meal because gluten)
  • you could add peas/grated courgette – although courgette would make it wet so add more almond meal I reckon
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

Steam and mash the kumara, wait to cool then add the salmon, capers, coriander, almond meal, egg, spring onion and any other veges you are adding.

Roll in to balls, then flatten in to patties, coat in almond meal/breadcrumbs and shallow fry in coconut oil until golden brown. They are GREAT with mayonnaise. You should get about 8. Serve with random steamed greens – we had beans and spinach and broccoli.

And two left to have with my lunch tomorrow – win!

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171 – Ham hocks and green lentil soup

YUM.

It has been a good weekend. We caught up with a good friend out in the rainy hills of Huia. Snaffled one of her children away for the night to play with ours. Is it just our kid who turns in to a complete dork when they have friends over? Master 7 gets all hysterical and turns his younger brother in to a target for pranks and general fun. We all camped in the lounge – fur children and all – watching animated movies until the lads were all asleep, and the grown ups could sneak off to our bed. This morning we took the boys plus dog up the mountain to have a run around in the rain and then we headed home so I could get dinner started.

I love slow cooking meat on a rainy wintery weekend. The house fills up with warmth and the delicious smells and you know you can relax and do stuff. While dinner was cooking I managed to proofread reports, hang with the kids – and we still had time to head up the hill to visit Nana this afternoon.

Anyway – this recipe was so delicious that I didn’t have time to get a photo – it was eaten up so fast! I got it from bite.co.nz and because our slow cooker is broken I just did it on the stovetop in a big saucepan.

Ingredients;

1.8 kgs Ham hocks
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 Leek, white part only, well washed and finely sliced
1 stick Celery, strings lightly removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1cm dice
1 Bay leaf, few sprigs fresh thyme and a few parsley stalks, tied with string
1 Ltr Chicken stock, hot
1 can Chopped tomatoes, 400g, in juice
½ cup Green lentils

Method;

  1. Soak the hock in cold water overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the slow cooker for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain hock and place in a large saucepan. Just cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, drain again and rinse. Set aside.
  4. Place the carrots, leek, celery, herbs and hock in the slow-cooker. Pour in the hot stock and cover with the lid.
  5. Cook on high for 2 hours. After 2 hours, add the tomatoes and lentils. Cook for a further 2 hours.
  6. Remove the hock to a chopping board and when cool enough to handle remove all the skin and bone. Shred the meat and return to the slow-cooker. Remove herbs and taste for seasoning.
  7. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve with bread and butter.

It was SO yummy – I highly recommend it!

Tomorrow I am starting a 3 day course called ‘Restorative Justice in schools’. I am really looking forward to having three days to LEARN stuff and chat with other Deans. I have no doubt you’ll hear about it!

No photos of soup but here are some of the fam on the mountain;

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129 – hibernating or the nearest possible thing to it

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Recently my eldest has become obsessed with the idea of hibernation – following an article that we read about a 90 yr old tortoise that had been given wheels after her front legs were EATEN OFF HER by rats in hibernation. He is bummed, as am I, that humans don’t get to hibernate. That we, as a society, tend to look down upon people who take to their beds for winter – refusing to get up for anything other than food or ablutions. That we throw around labels like ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’ or ‘depressed’ simply because someone cannot bear the thought of crawling out of bed on another cold and rainy day for work or school or whatever. Well I think that attitude sucks tbh. Obvs it would be even better if we could slow our heartbeats down to one beat per minute and not require food or the bathroom during this time period as well and really settle in for good snooze (imagine the un-intentional weight loss and gut healing that would happen too without all the food! I’d wake up able to tackle all of the delicious-ness pain free!).

However in the absence of human hibernation, because – you know – I have to work and raise my children and boring responsible shit like that, there are a couple of things I do when the (slightly) colder days of Autumn kick in, to keep myself snuggly and at optimum comfort level no matter where I am.

The first thing is manipulation of the wardrobe. In order to ‘take the duvet with me’ wherever I go, I employ two rules when clothing myself in the morning;

  • Volume
  • Layers

The larger and more shapeless the dress or pants the better – like swimming around in a sheet – and then if you add an oversized cardi or coat it’s just like a walking around in a well dressed bed. If it’s raining I wear my rubber high top chucks. Interesting shoes and jewellery are key so you don’t look like a toddler who escaped daycare. This look is neither sexy or even vaguely figure flattering but it is damned comfortable. I also like to mix up fabrics and textures, wool with silk with leather etc. Very satisfying, very comfortable. I feel like I can cope with almost any weather Mother Nature throws at me and my clothes feel like they are giving me a cuddle all day long – Bliss. I’m really IN to clothes – I don’t know if you’ve picked up on that yet? Really, really in to clothes. Totes shallow and totes ok with that.

Number 2? Food. Comfort food to be exact. Cups of tea with toast. Hot soup. Roast dinners with heaps of roasted root veges. Mince and baked potatoes. Gf Pasta or rice dishes. This is not a diet that is kind to the waistline, but as I am wearing what amounts to a silk muu-muu most days anyway it’s a win win!

Speaking of food, I have been better at being sugar free for the latter part of this week. I had a splitting headache on Thursday to show for it which was to be expected but still sucked. And I have been trolling through old recipes.

Here is my favourite cold-weather breakfast, Brown rice porridge;

  • One cup brown rice
  • 400mls full cream coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  1. Cook the rice using the absorption method – bring to the boil in three cups of water, turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the water has gone.
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon and simmer for another 1o minutes

Store in the fridge in a plastic container, this will yield about 6 servings. The sugar doesn’t bother me because I figure it’s such a minimal amount when split 6 ways. I eat it heated up with a banana cut up on it or frozen berries (low fructose) to add some fruit. This brekkie keeps me full until lunchtime! Yum!

Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo
Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo

123 days. One third of the way through.

Wowsers. I am one third of the way through my year of trying to heal my gut. And although things haven’t been quite the same since Easter (ahem) I am confident that I am on to a good thing. And I am this close to jumping back on the wagon again, I promise. Particularly as, when my youngest drew me today, he drew me complete with a ‘food baby’. I believe the universe is trying to tell me something.

So in order to go out with a bang, and to scratch a ‘try something new’ itch, I tried a new recipe today – for a cake – which is off the list I know, but it was a request – and who am I to turn down a request for cake?!

It’s called the ‘Magic cake’ and it is pretty cool. Whilst baking it separates and ‘magically’ forms a custard layer on the bottom and a sponge layer on the top. I was skeptical but it was surprisingly easy and straightforward. I got the recipe from a ‘Made that way‘ post on facebook and she got it from ‘Kitchen Nostalgia‘.

Anyhoo, here is the recipe;

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Ingredients
  • 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons  sugar
  • 125 gms butter, melted
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
 Instructions
  1. Mix egg whites until stiff. (boy my arm got tired at this bit – we have an ‘analogue’ beater – no electric whisk for me!).
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, water and vanilla until light. Add melted butter and continue beating for another minute. Then add the flour and mix it in.
  3. Add the milk (it has to be lukewarm, otherwise the butter will harden) and beat until well incorporated.
  4. Gently fold in beaten egg whites using a spatula.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 8 inch x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish (do not use spring form because batter is too liquid and the pan could leak) and bake in preheated 325 F oven for about 60 minutes or until the top is golden.
  6. Cool in the pan for at least 3 hours. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

It worked! Annoyingly I started making it before I saw that it had to sit for three hours before I could cut it. This made it impossible to take to my grrls house for her and the family (leading to one very disappointed teenage boy, her son) and I only just got to cut it open half an hour ago. And it worked!

It was ok, I think next time I will sprinkle it with lemon juice and granulated sugar while it is cooking – the vanilla was subtle but needed something to lift it – I sprinkled lemon juice over my piece and it definitely improved it.

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IMG_1235   IMG_1236Now I am sitting with my fingernails one third covered in medical tape each, and have painted gold nail polish on them. Going to be totes classy yo.

Have a good weekend – I’ll write again tomorrow!

111 – Did someone say chocolate?

I’m not doing so well at the whole not eating sugar thing again. I am trying really hard not to think about it and I do really well until the afternoon – which is normal I guess. I have cut out the coffee again, and am feeling the mid afternoon ‘slump’ HARD. Meetings after school don’t help of course! Taking it slow – being mindful, non-judgemental and kind to myself while I try. That sort of shit.

So tonight instead of taking myself ‘for an evening walk’ to the dairy for a little ‘pick-me-up’ I decided to try something else. You remember the goodie bags from yesterday’s IQS event? Well, they had a cacao butter sample in them and I have always wanted to try making my own ‘healthier’ dark chocolate – mwahahaha…

I asked Aunty Google and found this recipe on the chockchick.com, I adapted it because I didn’t have Agave syrup (and SW and her crew don’t like it anyways so there) and after a tweak mid-experiment I think I have a hit! Here’s what I did;

you need;

  • 100gms Cacao butter
  • 6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • sweetener of choice
  • vanilla essence and peppermint essence
  1. Melt the cacao butter on a double boiler like you would with any choc you want to melt – it melts fast so watch it and don’t let it burn.
  2. Add the Cacao powder and mix with a metal whisk (cos’ the recipe said to that’s why) until it is all beautifully blended.
  3. This is where I added the pinch of sea salt and a smidge of vanilla essence.
  4. Now, she uses Agave or whatever, and I didn’t have any so I thought I would try two tablespoons of the Rice Malt syrup that I got in my goodie bag but I was dubious; Previous experiments with this in baking have failed dismally.
  5. I then split the mix in half and added a few drops of peppermint essence to one batch. You totally don’t have to do this – you could just go with all one flavour – it’s your life man don’t let me tell you how to live it.

Once it is all blended pour in to your mould/cupcake cases and pop in the freezer. They are ready for ‘sampling’ after about 20? mins. (I poured the peppermint half in to green cupcake cases so I would know which ones were which).

My first batch failed. I tried them after the required 20 mins and they were bitter as – no sweetness whatsoever and a bit ‘muddy’ tasting. Yes I know proper super dark choc is a little muddy but there should have been a ‘hint’ of sweet you know?

SO I melted them again – yes – it worked, I did it in two halves – the peppermint-y half and the plain, and added MAPLE SYRUP. Just a splash in each half and refroze it. Whacked them back in the freezer and let them set for 20 mins.

SUCCESS!!! Delicious and in danger of not lasting the evening. The peppermint ones are especially nice. The are very quick to melt so they will live in the freezer… but not for long….

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Day 78 – the best bliss ball recipe I know

So I finished the block of dark chocolate. It was inevitable. Over the course of the week and when I think about it, it may have been the cause of my unshakeable headache all week. But I don’t regret a single square. I enjoyed every second of it and was ‘mindful’ of every bite.  (you see what I did there?) Part of my reckless lack of food-guilt came from having logged in to the forums on IQS today only to find like-minded women who were not in fact skipping through fields of tall grass and flowers all skinny and glowing and feeling all unburdened from their hopeless addiction to sugar. No. Like me these women felt pretty much the same. No real weight loss to speak of. Skin the same, spotty or not, and mostly they were staring down the barrel of a lifetime without Whittakers and thinking about ending it all. Like me their cravings had not in fact fucked off in to the dark and gloomy past and they were having little tiny battles with themselves every day.

These women, like me had been logging on intermittently to the forums – which are described to subscribers as a great support and most of what we are paying for – and finding testimonial after testimonial of ‘AMAZING RESULTS’ and ‘I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY NOW I RAN A MARATHON BEFORE BREAKFAST’ and ‘I USED TO BE 300 kilos BUT NOW I’M ONLY 34 kilos AND I AM SO MUCH HAPPIER NOW’ (even if my body can’t support the weight of my head). Disheartening to say the least when, like me, you are plodding along and every thing feels sort of ‘Meh?’.

Please don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the change up of food, and I mostly signed up for food ideas – not weight loss and glowing skin – but a girl can dream can’t she? And the temptation to beat myself up over not doing it right somehow has been strong. But reading the thread gave me heart. I think it is helpful to hear all of the experiences – not just the ones that serve to promote the program itself and I have to acknowledge the respectful and – yes supportive – way the moderators of the threads let the conversation happen and the legitimacy they gave to the way these contributors were feeling. Not everyone who gives up sugar will lose weight, not everyone who gives up sugar will notice massive changes in their health, not everyone will start glowing like a pregnant supermodel on a macrobiotic diet.

And probably there are a multitude of reasons but I think what you were eating before you start the program has a lot to do with it. One man was drinking 6 cans of pepsi max a day. A DAY! And he lost 32 kilos in 8 weeks. No fucking shit.

So. I am going to try to keep sugar out of my diet. I am going to keep cooking some of the family favourites out of the program and I am going to remember the headache I have had all week from the dark chocolate. But I am not going to beat myself up over the odd slip. I am not going to see my lack of weight loss as failure and I am going to share with you the best bliss ball recipe I have found on the magical interwebs. I can’t take credit for this one and I can’t remember where I got it – sorry! I haven’t been making them this year because they have dried fruit in them (strictly banned by IQS) but I have decided these are better for me and the fam than shit, nutrient deficient junk sugar and if I am going to ‘slip’ I would rather it was something I had made myself.

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You will need;

  •  1 cup of medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Soak the dates in warm water for ten minutes if they are hard (don’t bother if they are soft and squishy). Add the nuts, cacao, shredded coconut, coconut oil and chia seeds to the food processor and blitz. Add dates to the mixture and blitz again. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes. Roll into balls (about a soup spoon worth each time). Roll the balls in more shredded coconut. Pop in to the freezer for about an hour before eating – I keep mine in the freezer – best place for them!

They are just the thing after dinner or for a mid morning snack – yum!

Ooooh I almost forgot! Guess what arrived in the mail today! Almost a good enough reason to take up coffee again ha ha

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Day 22 – Sites I look at for good recipes, Facebook pages I follow and various

I feel better today thank goodness. I didn’t get out of bed for Yoga this morning but that was vanity – my hair still looked good from my appointment yesterday and I didn’t want to get it all hot and mussed up ha ha – Yoga tonight though to make up for it.

Nothing to report food wise – I had a good day – no glutening – no starving moments because I remembered to pack snacks AND I went out for lunch with my HOD to a place I know I can eat at. OOh! I forgot – I tried my first Kombucha tea. It was yummy. BUT I didn’t like the snotty little piece of ‘mother’ (maybe?) floating around in it – was a bit gross – but I get the impression that it was meant to have been strained a wee bit more carefully because Katy’s didn’t have any snotty bits.

Today I got my first email from I Quit Sugar; my week one shopping list, meal plan and recipes and all the other stuff you need to set up. Had a happy twenty minutes printing everything off and binding it and sorting out clear-files – I do like a little play with stationary. The recipes look good and varied – and all can be adapted to not have gluten and dairy – although I might have to find substitutes for the salads etc for the first wee bit, until I start to re-introduce raw food.

Anyway – even if you are not doing the 8 week plan the website is a mine of information for recipes, low fructose/high fructose info and she has a couple of e-books with recipes etc that aren’t going to break the bank. Here is the link;

https://iquitsugar.com

and here are some other pages I have saved or sites I look at occasionally;

My Facebook feed is so full of stuff about food now I am almost getting food fatigue! The coeliac disease group is great – I can be in the stupidmarket and ask about an ingredient and one of the members will have answered me within minutes! It’s great. And it’s good to know that other people out there are struggling with this stuff – it’s not just me! I thought I was really special needs when I started to list off the things that I would be avoiding in order to heal thyself, but there are a lot of people who have coeliacs like me and and other things as well. It’s really supportive – and it means less whinging to my friends and family! So lucky you guys 😉

This grrl seems really cool – she has a blog (way more fancy than mine!) and has lots of great info on it – I can only aspire to be as ‘bloggy cool’ as her.

Anyways… I’m off to sort out my shopping for the week, and to see if I can wrangle the GD in to cooking dinner while I go to the mall…

Day sixteen – I killed Kermit

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This afternoon, after I broke down from my sugar withdrawal and inhaled a packet of Neurofen, and was feeling human again, I googled more smoothie recipes because I am getting a teeny tiny bit sick of my peanut butter chocolate smoothie…

And I found a green one that looked yum and tried it out. Typically if I offer the boys anything that looks even vaguely healthy or has evidence of green vegetables in it they run screaming to the Dairy for a nice comforting steak and cheese pie.

Tonight we had a breakthrough – they loved the ‘Kermit the frog’. I named it but it’s someones elses recipe of course. I got it from http://www.simplegreensmoothies.com in the ‘5 ingredients or less’ bit. I changed it up a wee bit – going by what we had in the fridge. Here it is;

  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup baby Spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • 1.5 frozen banana
  • 1 whole small avocado or half a big one

Whack the spinach and kale in the blender with the liquid and whizz until it’s whizzed. Then add the fruit and avocado and whizz it up some more – voila! (in the past I have not whizzed the leafy greens separately from the other bits and it has been bitsy and yuck – this time it was a revelation! not tiny bits of greenery in my teeth afterwards).

Then I told the kid it was a ‘Kermit the frog’ and, once I had calmed their fears that there was an actual frog in it – they drank it and Master 7 liked it! success! He said ‘Mum we can drink these in the morning after we go running eh?’ and I went all warm and fuzzy. We got him running shoes today so he is a bit keen on it.

That’s all from me – melting in the heat but loving it – withdrawing and aching and nearly died in boot camp this morning – got the shakes HARD. But, like I said, I know why and I know how long it will last roughly so I’m not freaked, just hanging out for it to be over. Another Bootcamp session tomorrow – on the beach so it will be lovely and good for my soul – if not my poor old shaky legs….