Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter! Skip the Paska - Fill Up on Eggs!

Happy Easter to everyone! This is a picture of our traditional ukrainian easter basket from a previous year that I am sharing. This year I will be skipping on the paska (bread - top left) and babka (bread - middle).

On the holidays, sticking to my self imposed low-carb, wheat-free lifestyle can be a challenge. Firstly, because we are eating away from the house and its hard to expect others to stock the fridge, pantry and dinner table with mama-friendly clean food. Its confusing for people -what don't you eat again? I could send them to my "MamasFoodGuidelines" page on my blog but really its my issue, not theirs. Second, I grew up on these foods. I have a very strong sentimental attachment to the traditional foods of my Ukrainian heritage - paska, babka, perogies, my grandma's famous noodle casserole, cheese rolls - the list of wheat-filled goodies goes on. I associate these foods with happy memories of big family gatherings. Some of those people are gone now like my Grandma that ALWAYS packed the biggest Easter basket in the church. We were, and are, a big hungry food loving family. So its kind of sad to turn my back on all of these foods.

But I also associate the holidays with a guaranteed stomach ache. And with the stomach ache comes tiredness, bad sleeps - this list also goes on. And I'm not the best mother and not making the best memories with MY new little family if I don't feel my best. So I will be skipping the wheat, saying no-thanks to the sugar and filling my plate with the clean stuff.

Luckily, the easter basket is actually full of lots of things I can eat: eggs, ham, pork, kolbassa, cottage cheese. They don't even need to make anything special just for me. So indulge if there is something you MUST have but don't do it at the expense of a stomach ache.  Enjoy your family and have a very happy  easter.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Low Carb GF Mexican Fiesta Chicken - Ole!

Hey Everyone! Hope you all have a hoppy Easter weekend. After 93 consecutive posts I am taking a few days off for the weekend to focus on my family and take pictures of my kids instead of my food. Ha - I'm sure I will still be snapping pictures of my food but I'll make sure to also take some of humans (as my 3 year old likes to call us). Hope you have a great weekend and don't overdo it on the treats - its not worth it. 

I'm leaving you with an awesome recipe. Even my husbands wheat-loving "how do you live like this man" friend enjoyed it and ate seconds. Its low-carb, wheat-free and fabulous. Hope you enjoy it! Buy some organic salsa to whatever heat level you enjoy. 

Almond Breading

1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/3 cup ground golden flax
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili flakes

Mix all ingredients together.  Tip - only use what you need in the dredge pan so if you have any leftover you can freeze it and use it as breading for fish or chicken on another day.

Fiesta Chicken

2 eggs, well beaten, in a shallow pan
1 cup salsa (organic)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 small chicken breasts or 4 large chicken breasts butterflied or cut into 2 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel (so the egg will stick). Dredge the chicken first through the beaten eggs and then through the almond breading. Fry the chicken in a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat on a griddle or skillet (I used my griddle so I could do all the chicken at once). Fry each side until the breading is crispy - about 5 or 6 minutes per side.Transfer to a greased (I used a combination of olive oil and butter) 9 x 13 glass pan. Top each piece of chicken with a couple tablespoons of Salsa and Cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Finish it off by broiling on high for 2 minutes to crisp up the cheese if necessary.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easy Way to eat your veggies - Chopped Salad!

Wow, I feel really good today. My iron deficiency seems to be behind me for now. My stomach is a little bit off but I think it is slowly adjusting to the iron pills. I went to the gym this morning and felt incredible. I had so much energy - I felt almost high so was probably a bit annoying. Baby also slept in his own bed for the entire night for the first time ever (yes - he is 8 1/2 months old) and I only fed him 3 times (one was a dream feed so that doesn't really count as a wake up). Sounds pathetic but it was wonderful to me because he has been getting up every two hours for the past, well, since he's been born. Amazing what some B12 shots, iron pills and sleep can do for a person. I love feeling this energetic - I just want it to last - please let it last. If you don't feel good try to figure out why - don't just accept it. I wish I wouldn't have done that for so long. So I'm going to keep clean and eat my veggies...............and hope it sticks.

If you are like me and eat a lot of salads for lunch you might not want another "lettuce" salad for supper. But filling up a dinner plate (and a hungry belly) when you don't eat grains, white potato's or rice can be a challenge. So this is a great alternative salad you can easily make with whatever veggies you have in the fridge.  It can be made ahead of time or you can do all your chopping the night before so its a great recipe for all you busy ladies and gents that need to get dinner on the table quick. I still haven't learned to make mayo so I used bottled miracle whip - bad, I know but I have to pick my battles. I can't do everything from scratch. I had some jicama in the fridge and it went really well in this salad - the sweet crunch is awesome. If you don't have jicama you might want to try apple instead, or even grapes.

Easy Chopped Salad

Veggies - I used about 6 cups of veggies in total - use what you have in the fridge - anything goes
1 cup chopped brocolli
1 cup chopped jicama
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp red onion, finely minced
3 cups chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup plain unsweetened high protein Greek yogurt
1/3 cup miracle whip or mayo (I know not clean but I still can't make my own - pick your battles)
3 drops liquid Stevia
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp fresh/frozen dill
pepper to taste

Chop all your veggies and mix together in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Combine veggies and dressing about 1/2 hour before serving. Voila - easy chopped salad.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Toxin Tuesday - Dig In Manitoba Challenge

Weird, usually I know exactly what I'm going to blog about all day and can't wait to get to the computer to write. Today - blank. I actually have ideas and recipes to share but I said Tuesdays would be all about toxins (and I'm so literal & Type A that I can't veer off course too far). They aren't toxic recipes they are squeaky clean so I will save them for another day.

Maybe I am liking PINTEREST too much. Are you on PINTEREST? Get on there and follow me (see upper left hand corner). Its fun. And it really is quite addicting. I actually just want to look at modern white kitchens (drool) all evening. I have a modern white kitchen that I just redid that I love - why am I still obsessed with kitchens. Oh - maybe its because I am obsessed with food.  And I am a bit obsessed with making my food clean and non-toxic. Okay - I'm getting back on track here.

So I found a website called Dig In Manitoba that has a Dig In Challenge going on right now. I'm going to challenge all of my readers (ha, ha - hopefully there is more than one of you) to take a look at the pledge activities. You don't need to sign up but there are lots of great ideas on things you can do to eat closer to home, learn new food skills and take action for fair food. You don't need to do all of these but  its a great way to get yourself thinking about where you want to make changes in the way your family shops and eats. I plan to go back there once a week or so to try to keep some of these ideas top of mind.

I'm especially interested in the section on learning new food skills. Fresh veggies and fruit have obviously taken a much more prominent place in our weekly shopping list so I've all the sudden developed a strong desire to plant a garden and preserve food for the winter (all non-toxic and organic of course). I'm also really keen on learning how to properly compost. So with spring approaching this is the time for me to start really putting "legs on my dreams" and figuring out how and if I am actually going to do this. It might not logistically be possible to plant any significant garden in my yard, but there are other ideas like joining a community garden, regularly getting to a farmers market, buying local at the grocery store or taking part in a fruit share. The options are there I just need to take action. I'll be sure to let you know how I do.

So you don't have to take the challenge but you can read through the list of pledge activities and really think about whether there is something that interests you. A way to make your food choices less harmful to the environment (by eating local and organic) and less toxic to your body. And for those of you that live in Manitoba there are lots of links to helpful resources close to home for some of the activities you might be interested in.

Finally, I've had a few people (okay - I know I have more than one faithful reader - thanks for tuning in) wondering how my local meat purchase went. The payment went through on my credit card properly, I met the unmarked van in the parking lot of a local community center (I felt like such a bad ass) and I got my meat. It was all nicely packaged and ready to go. After months of thinking about ordering local grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free meat I actually did it. It wasn't difficult. Just an example of the changes we can make if we take action. It can be hard to change habits that are ingrained in us from years of doing things a certain way (i.e. buying meat at Safeway) but it can be done. I haven't tried anything yet but I will be sure update you on the taste aspect of the transaction.

So I challenge you to take will be happy you did! And I will be doing a lot less blogging if I end up a gardener this summer. Just an FYI!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fruity and Nutty Chia Seed Coconut Milk Mousse - Paleo friendly, Wheat-free and Low-Carb Yumminess

Today was a long day. I had an awesome work-out this morning, my iron induced dizziness is completely gone and my energy levels are good. But having three kids at home all day (yay for spring break??) - one fussy, one whiny and one hard-to-describe difficult - makes for a long day. Okay, and I was a little grumpy and short-fused. I was trying really hard to enjoy the day (life is good, I am blessed - I KNOW this) but I was finding everyone annoying - let's blame my adrenal glands. Its not me, I am a kind loving woman.

There was a lot of crying and fighting which would try anyone's patience but I do feel a bit off mood wise. We ended the day with some peace. We had to divide and conquer - my 3 and 5 year-old could not play today without someone getting violent so they each got some one-on-one time with Mom and Dad before bed and things settled down. They went to bed with angelic smiles on their faces. So a quick post because I need some rest myself. And I got the new "Young, House, Love" book from the library this week and need to find some DIY projects to dive into or dream about. 

I am determined to curb my sweet indulgences this week as my sweet tooth was taking back over. So I whipped up this sugar-free mousse. It was darn good -- satisfying and surprisingly filling. My mom actually gave me the idea based on a cool whip recipe she makes so I cleaned it up with some Chia seeds and coconut milk and here we go. Delicious! Have I mentioned I love Chia?  You could sub the walnuts with any kind of nut you like. Same goes for the grapes.......Enjoy!

Paleo Nutty Fruity Chia Coconut Milk Mousse 

1/2 can coconut milk (full fat canned) - about 200ml
1 1/2 Tbsp black Chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 drops liquid Stevia
1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped grapes

Mix milk and Chia seeds together and let stand for 5 minutes to give time for the Chia to gel. Add vanilla, Stevia, coconut and cinnamon. Using a hand mixer, blend on high for about 3 minutes (until soft peaks form). Add walnuts and grapes. Mix. Let chill. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Week in Review - To Dizzy and Back

That's my boy! He is a sweetie - I'm glad I'm feeling better again so I can enjoy him. Check out his drool - poor dude - I must have been too tired that day to find a bib or change his shirt.
When my friend gave me that "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug she said she saw it and thought of me............I still don't know what that meant. I need lots of coffee? I need to calm down? or I am calm? I was too scared to ask. If she saw inside my brain I'm pretty sure it would be Number 2. 

And if I drank caffeine (which I don't) I could have used that big mug full of caffeine laden coffee to get me through most of this week. I was feeling pretty crap. I got the dizzies last weekend and figured out by Tuesday my iron had bottomed out. This coincided with said sweetie regressing back to regular 1 1/2 to 2 hour wakings so I was TIRED. I don't like dizzy/tired me - I'm not a great mom or wife and I don't really enjoy my own company so much.  

Luckily, the iron pills kicked in and I started to feel more normal by the weekend. Today I even felt energetic enough for a full high intensity workout which didn't kill me and I actually had fun with the kids. I am hungry as heck, my stomach is not 100% (the iron pills) and my sweet tooth is a little out of control right now but I still managed to keep it clean for the most part. I ate more dark chocolate and fruit than I'm supposed to but considering how I was feeling I am pretty proud I stayed on track. It definitely gets harder to not indulge in processed foods when you get tired. I did pick up a little Caesar's pizza for the kids one night and the in-laws ordered Chinese food but I didn't indulge in the "dirty" stuff. 

I also finished my stomach acid test today and as predicted I had no reaction (not good). More on that another time but basically my stomach is probably not acidic enough and not absorbing very well. That's why I get B12 injections instead of taking pills. So the adrenal fatigue mystery continues........

Here are some of the clean meals I managed to squeak out in my iron depleted haze........hope it inspires you to keep it clean even when you aren't feeling 100%! And don't beat yourself up if you get off-track - I'm setting the re-set button on the sweet tooth tomorrow. It happens.

Spring mix with goat cheese, pork loin, and my home-made strawberry dressing.

Spring mix with I have no idea what. That must have been Monday or Tuesday - I felt like crap - I can't even identify what that is - maybe  ham and cheese?

In a desperate attempt to appease my sweet tooth I whipped up this low-sugar chocolate peanut butter brownie experiment - Looks good? Nope - so dry I think I almost choked on one piece. But we still ate it - it was edible with jam and a hot drink to wash it down. I would take another go at this recipe as it had potential but I think I lost my notes. Darn.
Leftover chicken taco meat and avocado topping on spring mix. With 4 rice and brown rice gluten free crackers. I usually try to stay away from this stuff but a taco salad needs a taco. It just does.

Another salad with strawberries and strawberry dressing and egg I think. The thing with homemade dressings is that it has a shorter shelf life so I had to eat a lot of strawberry salad dressing this week.
Zucchini noodles. Yum. This was so good. Kids were having brown rice noodles with meatballs and I needed something low-carb so I whipped this up. Maybe I'll post the recipe  one of these days.
Zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce and meatballs. What a great substitute for noodles. I love it. But I could use a mandolin or a snazzy vegetable peeler thingy..............that's a lot of chopping.

Roasted Beets, sweet potatoes and turkey meatloaf. Recipe for meatloaf coming soon.

Hot chia and hemp porridge. I was eating lots of this high fiber concoction to try and combat the stomach disruption from the iron pills.

I made homemade chocolates (dark) - look how nice they are. I am PUMPED about this. But the recipe needs some tweaking before I share. I used too much coconut oil so they melt immediately when you take them out of the fridge. You gotta eat these FAST - not a problem for me luckily.
I had a bit of leftover chocolate from the chocolate experiment so dipped some strawberries in it. A little weird to have peanut butter on strawberries but this sweet tooth doesn't shun anything with chocolate on it so I ate it up anyway.

Another Frittata - this one with bacon, broccoli and black olives. These are so easy to make, high in protein and even kid friendly (5 year old anyway). Definitely one to keep in the rotation and a good weeknight meal if you get stuck this week.

Have a good Spring Break week! I'm so glad I was feeling better before have my 5 year old home for 10 days - its better for all of us!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coconut Flour Zucchini Dark Chocolate Brownies

Aghhh, my sweet tooth is acting up again. I had a piece of cake tonight at a first Birthday party - didn't want the little peanut to feel bad that I didn't partake in the festivities. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. And it wasn't a "clean" one but a wheat and sugar loaded one that was very tasty. Lots of books say that once you cut out sweets you won't like the taste anymore  - it will seem too sweet - LIES, LIES, LIES.  It tasted darn good and I wanted more. Which has always been my problem with sweets - I always want more. It would be pretty near impossible to satisfy my sweet tooth.  I can have a serious belly ache from overeating and I still crave sweets. What a curse. 

So I keep experimenting with clean desserts for myself and for something to give my kids. I first made this chocolate zucchini brownie last week but tried way too hard to make that batch sugar-free. It was so bitter we couldn't choke it down. So I have modified the recipe and used a modest amount of agave and this one turned out AWESOME. I still need to have this in moderation but its nice to have a treat here and there. 

I love that its made with coconut flour (cheap and accessible) and the zucchini makes it really moist. Try it out - I think you will like it!
Coconut Flour Zucchini Dark Chocolate Brownies

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes in oven
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free low-carb paleo wheat belly coconut flour chocolate zucchini
Ingredients (8 x 8 pan)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (preferably >70% cacao and organic)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini, packed (about 1 1/2 small zucchini with skins)
  • 1 egg (free run)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup nut butter - I used sunflower
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the 1/2 cup choc chips in the food processor and pulse until they are the consistency of sand (course). Then add remaining ingredients, except walnuts, and pulse until fully blended.
Put into a 8 x 8 baking pan greased with butter.
Top with chopped walnuts. Bake for 35 minutes.
Let cool before slicing. I dare ya.
Serve and enjoy!
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Wheat Free Low Carb Chicken Taco's with Avocado & Cilantro Topping

I'm happy to report that this is the first day since Saturday that I don't have the dizzies and I made it through the afternoon without a nap. I had extreme fatigue and dizziness that I learned on Tuesday was being caused by "dangerously low iron" levels in my blood. So I started taking iron supplements on Tuesday evening. As promised they took a few days to kick in but I feel MUCH better - not 100% but definitely better. My stomach is not too fond of them - big surprise - but I'm hoping it also just needs some time to adjust. The Naturopath assured me that this brand/type are well tolerated by everyone she has ever given them to with the exception of one person...........make that two. Seriously, my stomach sucks. 

I am also taking it easy at the gym. I'm only going to work out every second day for a while and not do any high intensity training until I have my feet back under me.  And I am eating lots (not that I wasn't - I'm always hungry so I always eat a lot) and I'm adding some extra fat in here and there to make sure I'm getting enough calories. I just had two chocolate brownies - recipe coming tomorrow - its taking all my willpower not to eat the whole pan. Darn they were good.

I'm feeling a bit defensive as I'm finding people are very distrustful and critical of this giving up wheat and carbs business. They assume I would only be doing it to lose weight and now its the first thing anyone thinks of if I have an issue. Low iron - must be the diet. Losing weight - must not be eating enough. It is pretty unlikely my clean eating is the source of my problems (plus I'm under a doctor's supervision in case it were). I eat a ton - its just that I'm still breastfeeding a hungry little monster and I don't think my stomachs working properly so don't know what I'm absorbing (update on that tomorrow as I will have my stomach acid test results). What I do know is that eating a low carbohydrate diet is helping me with my blood sugar issues and stomach aches and could be the reason I didn't notice my low-iron symptoms way sooner. Because I was actually still feeling better than I ever used to even with plummeting iron levels. So I'm sticking with it and here is another awesome recipe that we really enjoyed. The leftover chicken taco meat is also awesome on a salad - that's why I made a big recipe. Yummy. 

Chicken Taco Meat (Can be used in a chicken taco with butter lettuce or on a salad)
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1  lb Lean Ground Chicken
1 tsp fine sea salt
pepper to taste
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
3 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 to 2 tbsp water (depending how moist/lean the chicken was)
1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper (optional)

Fry ground chicken (in oil) over medium heat until browned - about 10 minutes. Add onion, garlic, spices, tomato paste, water and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes to let the spices wake up and for the juices to evaporate. 

Avocado Topping
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp Cilantro (we buy fresh and then freeze it)
1/2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt - unsweetened

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mash together until creamy. 

Serve the taco meat on a piece of butter lettuce, top with fresh tomato, green onion, shredded cheese and avocado topping. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Flooding & Clean Low Carb GF Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie

This is a great all-in-one meal that has no wheat, no white potato's and lots of flavor.
I'll have to admit this recipe is a bit involved. It might be something you want to make the night before and assemble the day you are serving or save it for a weekend meal when you have some time to cook. Next time I will be doing a double batch and freezing one for another meal. I will be making this again because it was AWESOME. I loved it, hubby loved it and my 5 year old liked it. Win.

If you are wondering why I don't eat white potatoes anymore its because they are starchy and high in carbohydrates. I avoid the carbohydrate roller coaster at all costs because of my ridiculous blood sugar swings. Cauliflower only has a fraction of the carbs and calories of white potatoes so it is a great substitute if you have blood sugar problems like me or if you are trying to lose weight. I actually added a fair amount of butter and oil to my recipe because I need the calories but you could cut that back if you are counting. 

On an unrelated matter, we had some spring flooding in our basement last night. Unusual since its was still in the minus 20 degree Celsius range last night and it hasn't started melted. Actually not so unusual when you have a 3 and 5 year-old who plug up the bathroom sink with Kleenex, turn the faucet full blast and decide to "build a skating rink" in the basement. Yep - they got a little crazy with their playing last night. They apparently forgot about it after they got in trouble about another matter on the main floor and went upstairs for their bath. I discovered it about 3 hours later...........3 hours of water gushing over the floor. Thankfully they were sleeping when it was discovered (or I might have lost my mind). Its a huge mess, a few things will be thrown out, but we don't think too much costly damage was done. 

Clean and Low Carb GF Cauliflower Shephard's Pie

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake entree candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb nut-free paleo sugar-free wheat belly beef cauliflower
Ingredients (Serves 4 - 6)
    Mashed Cauliflower for Topping
    • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and cut in florets
    • 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1/2 Tbsp dried or fresh Parsley
    • Sprinkle of pepper and garlic powder
    Base for Shepherd's Pie
    • 2 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2/3 cup carrots, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
    • 1 lb lean ground beef (organic grass fed if possible), browned
    • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
    • 1/2 cup GF vegetable or beef broth
    • 1/2 tsp organic GF soy sauce (optional)
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1/2 Tbsp parsley
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    Assembly of Pie
    • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
    • Paprika
    Step 1 - Prepare Mashed Cauliflower for Topping
    Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 - 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn't get watery. Don't skip this step.
    Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor with butter and spices. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes (you might want to do it in two batches depending on your food processor size). Instead of butter I have also used plain Greek Yogurt or cream cheese - its pretty versatile so use what you've got. Set aside.
    Step 2 - Prepare Base for Pie
    Brown the ground beef over medium heat. In a separate pan, fry the oil, garlic, onion and carrots over medium heat until softened. About 3 -5 minutes. Add celery and mushrooms and cook for one additional minute. Add browned ground beef, salt, Worcestershire, broth, soy sauce, tomato paste and parsley to the mixture. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes until cooked through and some of the juice has cooked off (so its not runny). Add frozen peas in for the last 10 minutes or so. I didn't need to thicken mine but if your beef was not lean you may have to thicken with guar gum or another thickener or continue simmering until thickened to your liking.
    Step 3 - Assemble and Bake Pie
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the beef mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with mashed cauliflower. I dolloped it out evenly over the top and then smoothed it down with the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it over the top. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and a dash of Paprika. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until bubbling and cheese is cooked. Broil cheese for a couple of minutes if it doesn't crisp up - it will depend on the type of cheese you use. Let stand for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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    Its a bit of an involved recipe so a good idea is to just make a double batch of mashed cauliflower one day - use half for as a side for dinner that night and use the other half to make this on the second day. Or double the recipe and freeze one for another day!

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Easy Sugar-Free GF Low Carb Strawberry Salad Dressing

    Okay - I have an awesome Shepard's Pie recipe to share with you but I can't get the energy to type it up tonight so for sure its coming tomorrow. I feel a little bit better today but still had a dizzy spell from 11 to 2 and couldn't make it through the day without a nap. I have had a baby waking up 4 - 8 times a night for 8 months and haven't needed naps. I think I took about 5 naps in 8 months and now I've had a nap 5 days in a row. Apparently when your iron levels bottom out you hit rock bottom pretty fast. It really sucks but hopefully the iron pills kick in and I feel a little more normal by the weekend.

    So I'm going to keep this short and SWEET. I got the inspiration for this dressing off a picture I saw on PINTEREST. I cleaned it up a bit and made it sugar-free. If you have been following my ramblings you will know that I have pretty much eliminated all processed foods except salad dressings - that was the one area I was having trouble kicking the bottled habit. So obviously I am so proud of myself for making this dressing. And it was really easy and really good so anyone can do it.

    I served it on a salad of mixed greens/spinach, almond flakes, strawberries and goat cheese. Next time I think I might try it with a tablespoon of Plain Greek Yogurt and a teaspoon of poppy-seeds just to change things up. Hope you enjoy it!

    I LOVE getting comments so please leave one if you have any musing/thoughts/recipe revisions/whatever that you want to share.  I heard from a couple of you today - and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you are following along.

    Easy Sugar-Free GF Low Carb Strawberry Salad Dressing

    4 Large Strawberries - washed, trimmed and cut in half
    3 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 Tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
    1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    4 drops Liquid Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
    1 tsp dried parsley flakes (for fresh/frozen if you have it)
    1/4 tsp salt

    Bake the strawberries in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 375. Try to do this when you have something else cooking and adjust the temperature/time accordingly - they should be just starting to soften/bleed juice.

    Once the strawberries are cooked, add all the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. I used my immersion blender but your blender or food processor would work too. Chill in fridge before serving. This stored really well and didn't separate in the fridge.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Toxin Tuesdays - A little off topic - Low Iron and B12

    So if you just come here for recipes - see my mama's recipe page or come back tomorrow - we had an awesome Low-carb Shepherds Pie for supper I will be sharing. Or if you want to hear me rant/journal about my health then feel free to stay....

    So I don't have the flu. If you haven't been following my blog, since going
    clean,  my energy levels had been amazing for someone with a poorly
    sleeping baby. But I started to get some symptoms of adrenal fatigue popping
    back up - mainly anxiety and night sweats. And my energy levels started
    dropping slowly over the past month. I've been taking herbal adrenal
    support which helped significantly with the anxiety but even a B12 shot and
    literally eating pounds of Chia seeds wasn't helping my energy. And this
    past weekend I started feeling dizzy (all day) and really tired. Oh boy -
    I've felt like this before. What a piss off - I am being such
    a good girl - eating clean, exercising, detoxing - why oh why am I still
    being punished. Well I got my blood work back today and I have seriously
    low iron and B12 levels. So I've got some highly absorb able iron to add to
    my supplement list (which is getting way longer than I like) and will be
    going for weekly B12 shots until my levels get better. If you think you have absorption problems like me, pay attention to whether any supplements you are given will help (can you absorb them?) or whether you might need an injection. 

    So pretty treatable problems but still no answers on what the cause is. I'm thinking either breastfeeding/sleep deprivation is sucking the life out of me or food sensitivities/poor absorption/low stomach acid isn't allowing me to absorb

    all the clean goodness I'm eating. Or maybe some combination of all of them is
    doing it. So I'm going to go ahead and spend the $300 to get my food panel
    redone to figure out if I've still got major food sensitivities and where
    my candida levels are at. And I'm also going to do a stomach acid test. 

    Good news was that my liver, thyroid, blood sugar and kidneys were happy.
    The high protein diet is agreeing with my kidneys which was a concern I
    had (and something you should be mindful of if you go on a high protein diet). Doesn't hurt to have a doctor checking on these things when you change your diet - especially one that's pretty far from the recommended Canada Food Guide.

    Why am I telling you all this. Because I've been through this before and
    let myself suffer for over a year with these symptoms before I went to a
    naturopath. And I don't want other people to suffer when they don't have to
    or think they are going crazy. Last time this happened, I spent a good part
    of a year thinking I was a bad mom, dying of some disease and/or going
    crazy. You have to advocate for your own health - push your doctor for
    tests/diagnosis if they aren't sure what is causing your symptoms or look to alternative forms of medicine. But either way you have to take an active role in managing your health - do your research, push for answers, look outside the box. Its not okay to feel tired all the time, you probably aren't crazy, and pills and anti-depressants are not always the cure.  Surprisingly, all sorts of problems start with poor digestion but lots of people and doctors don't consider looking there first. 

    I have digestive problems that have wreaked havoc on my whole system and
    give me some weird symptoms that seem totally unrelated to digestion - like
    dizziness and anxiety.  And I truly believe that for
    me, putting more toxins (prescription drugs) into my system is not the
    answer. Not for this anyway.

    So on Tuesdays I said I would do a post about non-food related toxins - my side project to clean eating. And this is a little off topic but what the hell - maybe it will help someone out there who is feeling lousy and doesn't know where to start looking for answers. Or maybe I am a little crazy some days............. 

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Hot Pumpkin Protein Porridge with Hemp and Chia

    I sure hope I have the flu. I feel like S_ _T. It's freakin me out because I was getting more and more low energy over the past couple of weeks and I kind of feel like I used to feel when I had severe burn-out. Really dizzy and tired as heck. So either my adrenal fatigue (and probably really low blood pressure) has suddenly decided to get really bad or I have the flu. Please let it be the flu. I've got another Naturopath appointment tomorrow to go over my blood work. I think maybe the breastfeeding is starting to suck the life out of me - but baby won't take a bottle so not much I can do about it until he is old enough for milk. Oh the mystery and joys of it all. 

    So clean eating has helped me significantly but even it has its limitations if greater forces are at work - I guess the point is to not accept feeling like crap, stick with the clean eating because I KNOW its helping and keep looking for the answer. Well, if anything is going to give me energy its this porridge recipe. I'm still loving the Chia and Hemp porridge for breakfast and this is one of my favorite variations. I'm going to make it again tomorrow for breakie because I love it SO much!

    Hot Pumpkin Protein Porridge with Hemp Hearts and Chia Seeds (1 -2 servings)

    2 Tbsp Black Chia Seeds
    2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
    1/2 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (good tasting)
    1/2 cup milk of choice plus an extra 1 Tbsp if its too thick
    1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
    3 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree

    Just mix everything together and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes for the Chia to gel. Warm over medium heat on the stovetop, stirring often, until the mixture is warm and bubbling. Serve warm with a dallop of Vanilla Greek yogurt, unsweetened raisins and coconut. So delicious! If you have leftovers, it makes a nice afternoon pudding snack once its chilled. I can never finish mine so I look forward to the left-overs. 

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Sunday week in review - Clean Fuel not getting me far!I

    On Sunday's I like to reflect on my week of clean eating and maybe re-evaluate where I need to make some tweaks. My sweet tooth was fairly under control this week - always my biggest struggle. I still ate my fair share of dark chocolate and this weekend I overdid it a bit on the fruit. Pretty good overall and my cravings weren't off the charts so I'm happy. Otherwise it was a pretty typical week - lots of Chia seed, protein shakes, eggs and salads. Dinners were pretty basic - I was too tired and busy baking. I will try and get cooking a bit more this week so food boredom doesn't set in and I start craving my old comfort foods. 

    My energy levels are not what they were a month ago. I got a B12 shot early in the week to see if that would help - it did a bit but still feel pretty low energy this weekend. I actually think I'm fighting a flu bug so we'll see how I feel in a couple of days. In the meantime I'm upping my daily dose of Vitamins C & D to try to combat it. And man do I hate this time change - that could also be contributing to my low energy - having trouble getting to bed at 10 but baby still getting up early (and often) so overall in a bit of a sleep deficit. Or maybe its just the breastfeeding that's zapping my energy? Who knows.

    I am meeting my new doctor tomorrow - I think I finally found a female GP to take me in - not easy in Winnipeg.  And getting some blood work back from the Naturopath on Tuesday - will be interesting to see how my kidneys are responding to my new high protein diet and whether it will give any indication of why I'm still having adrenal fatigue even though I have no stress and eat clean? 

    Anyway - not an exciting week eating wise but we kept it are some of the eats that didn't make the blog roll.....

    Chia Banana Almond Pancakes - one with yogurt and blueberries and one with dark chocolate/almond butter spread and strawberries. I was testing to see which way I liked it better before I topped pancake #3 - the chocolate won of course.

    Hubby made a batch of ham and cabbage soup - we eat a pot of this pretty much every week. Maybe because its one of the only clean foods hubby cooks? His was actually better than mine - hmmmm, maybe he snuck in something on the banned list?

    Had lots of Chocolate Chia Protein smoothies this week with dark chocolate chips and cacao. I'm kind of addicted to them. 
    Of course I ate more chia and hemp porridge. 

    Greek salad with grilled shrimp. The shrimp was chewy?

    Lunch - I'm telling you - some really unexciting meals this week. 

    Another Greek salad with leftover shrimp this time with a side of twice baked spaghetti squash. 

    I made two more batches of Banana bread on friday - the girls love it. Seriously an awesome recipe - try it!

    One of the kids meals. I get tired of making them a separate meal so this is what they get lots of times when they don't want to eat what we are having - a snack meal. A little of this and a little of that and no wheat if possible. That's to balance off all the wheat heavy meals they have at other meals. 

    Rotisserie chicken (one each week), zucchini cakes and a broccoli salad.  The broccoli salad was really yummy with some jicama in it for crunch and a hint of sweetness. 

    Yep - more apple nacho's. I might be starting to slow down on these....or maybe not. I could use one right now.

    Lean pork breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs and sweet potato and spinach skillet. Breakfast for dinner saves the day yet again.
    Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - don't they look awesome - WRONG. Sometimes I try too hard to go sugar-free. These were an awesome texture and good taste but bitter.  I'm going to try these again this week with some Xylitol or Agave so keep posted for a possible recipe.
    A snack for the girls. A little banana/apple/cookie nacho's. Anything shaped as a face is a hit with those two.
    A craft we did today - why reindeer in March - well its still full on winter here and because my 3 year old saw the picture on google images (we were supposed to be making egg carton Caterpillars)  and insisted she made a reindeer. They turned out cute and she had fun so its all good.
    My friend brought me tulips yesterday - lovely aren't they? They perked right up when we cut the stems. Now if only spring would arrive outside as well. 
    Dinner - spinach with turkey taco meat, cheese, tomato, onions, a couple gluten-free rice crackers and salsa/ranch dressing. Yummy.
    I tried to salvage my chcolate zucchini brownies by making them into a frozen yogurt parfait. They were still bitter. Oh well!

    A spinach, broccoli, jicama and chicken salad for lunch.

     So that's a wrap. I'm going to do my nightly detox ritual - dry-brush and a hot Epsom bath and then off to bed - hopefully before 9:00. I'm exhausted!