Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sunday Reflections - The End of Something Amazing or the Chance to keep Growing?

It has been 14 months.

Fourteen awesome months since I have had my baby. Fourteen months that I haven't had to "work". Oh, I guess I've been working here and there. Three kids plus no processed food equals work. But not doing accounting. Fourteen months of not having to be in a suit at a specified location at a certain time....without drool or baby food on my shirt. 

I just have days left now before my our life completely changes again and I go back to work. 

I am full of emotion. Sad to leave my kids. Freaking out about losing control of their eating - this is a way bigger deal to me than it probably should be and I know they are in good hands.  Excited to get back into a routine. Nervous for them as they get new teachers/friends/caregivers. Excited for all the new experiences they will have. Grateful for the wonderful year we had.

Scared SHIT-LESS that all the hard work I have done on my health this year will instantly fall apart as soon as I start punching a clock. 

How do I stop that from happening? How do I continue to put my health first when I have a very challenging and demanding job that requires tons of mental energy. A job that likes to spill into every aspect of my time and mind?  Can it be done? Can I have it all? The better question is do I really need it all, and if no, what can go? Can I stay healthy and fit and happy while having a career. Can I still be a good Mom? Or at least as good as I am now which isn't always stellar I know (damn Candida). What will happen with my adrenal fatigue? Will it come back? Will forcing baby to wean actually solve some of my health problems? Will having the kids at school/daycare full time while I work part time actually give us more freedom? Will my shoulder tension come back instantly? 

Lots of questions. Lots of unknown's. 

I have changed this year. Not just my diet has changed. Our whole life has changed in a way. But did I really change? Did I change enough not to fall back into some of my old, very unhealthy, behaviors. Like eating things I know don't agree with me, even if they are "healthy", or because I don't have time to eat clean. Like not working out even though it makes me so happy. Like not knowing how to let go of work when I walk out the doors. Like checking my blackberry fanatically even at times when I don't have the ability to do anything about it if an issue/situation were to come up. Like not watching, listening, being with my kids even when I am right in front of them because my mind is still at work. Like sometimes doing things for all the wrong reasons.

I had the will to give up chocolate and sugar and fruit and ___(fill in the blank as it changed several times). I had the will to keep working out even when baby was up 4 or more times a night and my iron was so low I could barely stand up. I had the will to take 20 some supplements everyday. 

But do I have the will to put myself first when I'm working. To choose a workout over spending time with my kids or answering emails or whatever other million demands there will be on my time. To pack my lunch and snacks and more snacks (because I'm still hungry all the time) everyday and not cheat when I don't have a kitchen and stocked pantry to rely on. To keep eating clean all the time - not because I want to prove to everyone that I can but because I know that's the only way my digestive system works properly To be in the moment when I am with the kids. To actually play with them. To hear them when they tell me about their day. To enjoy my time with them. 

I don't have the answers. But I know that this year has been awesome. A transformation of my health. A re-aligning of my priorities. I haven't solved all of my health problems - damn Candida. But I sleep now - like I have never slept in my life. My adrenal fatigue is gone. My chronic shoulder and neck pain is pretty much gone. I went a good part of the year with NO STOMACH ACHES.  

This is going to be a challenge. But it is also an opportunity. An opportunity to see how much I have really grown. To challenge myself to make better decisions. Not to challenge myself to do more but to do the right things. To change how I look at things and deal with things. Especially the stress I create for myself by setting my own expectations too high. 

And prove that I have the wisdom to know when something is not working, when something is not worth it or when I am doing something for entirely the wrong reasons. Reasons that have nothing to do with necessity and everything to do with me trying to keep up an image or meet an expectation that is not in line with my values.

The wisdom to kNOw when to say NO.

I could go on and on and on. I had planned to write myself a big letter. Something I could go back to and remind myself how good I felt. How great it was to wake up feeling rested, with no shoulder pain or stomach aches. How committed I was to fixing my stomach so I don't end up on the slippery slope to autoimmune disease.

But I have this blog. So I will just come here and remind myself of where I was at before I went back to work.

And I am giving myself permission to try and keep blogging the best I can, but not to freak out if I miss a post or a week of posts. I hope you don't mind. I don't want to stop because journalling has been a huge part of my health journey and has been so therapeutic. And fun. But it will be one of the things that might have to go here and there. And that's okay. I plan to still be here Tuesday, Friday and Sunday..............but maybe not every-week. We will see how it goes.

So I didn't write a letter, I just made myself a picture to come back to. A picture is worth 1000 words right.

If I'm still as fit as I am now that means I'm still fueling my body with clean food, I'm following my sleep rules so I have the energy to work out and I'm taking time for myself to do something I love. A good litmus test of how my transition back to work is going and whether I am still committed to putting my health first....................

This is what I can do - August 2013.  I'm working on my handstand push ups and I'm actually making progress. I'm lifting 12.5 pound weighs easily. I can do 10 pistol squats on each leg consecutively. I can do 20 full push up burpees with tuck jumps no problem. I feel fit. I feel strong. I love it. If you (that's me) can't do this anymore why is that? Is your shoulder crumbling under the stress you take with you everywhere and haven't learned to let go? Are you tired because you aren't eating properly, taking your supplements or getting proper sleep? Do you think you don't have time? Stop and question where you are using your time, what you are putting in your mouth and what you are saying YES to. Take action to make a change - no one else will do it for you and it won't happen on its own. Its up to you Mama! Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for hubby. Just do it. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Pound Cake - Grain & Sugar Free and Candida diet friendly

I have a slight obsession with zucchini. The lady at the Farmer's market recognizes me as the "girl who keeps buying all the zucchini's". She gave me a free bag of apples this week. Maybe she thinks I need to eat something other than zucchini.

Plus she wanted to know what I was doing with them..............

Well, other than baking and making relish, I have been chopping and freezing a ton of it for my smoothies. I can't have banana (damn, damn, double damn) because of my food sensitivities and the fact that I'm still on the Candida diet which excludes fruit. So I put frozen zucchini in my smoothie. Every morning.

And guess what..... I like it.

But this week I decided to do some more experimenting (i.e. trying to find sweet snacks and treats that are legal on the Candida diet) and I came up with this chocolate zucchini pound cake.

And guess what..... I liked it.

I used almond and coconut flours to keep it grain free and low carb. I did add a bit of yogurt as I'm introducing it back into my diet. If you are avoiding dairy I would just sub it out for full fat coconut milk. It should work.

This is a very simple recipe and an easy and quick way to use up some zucchini if you have it in abundance. And here are a couple other zucchini recipes that you might like to try:

Black Bean Veggie Cakes with Zucchini and Hemp Hearts - Candida diet friendly
Grilled Zucchini - Candida diet friendly
Coconut Flour Zucchini Dark Chocolate Brownies 
Zucchini Frittata - Candida diet friendly
Paleo Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread

And you can always shred it and freeze it for some fall baking..........or for a smoothie perhaps.

Chocolate Zucchini Pound Cake - Grain, Sugar Free and Candida diet friendly

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake bread candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo almond flour coconut flour chocolate zucchini
Ingredients (1 loaf)
    Dry Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (I used sliced blanched almonds that I ground in my coffee grinder - much cheaper than buying blanched almond flour)
    • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder - 100%
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    Wet Ingredients
    • 3 free run eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini, packed tightly
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened high protein Greek Yogurt
    • 2 Tbsp Truvia (Stevia/Erythritol blend or sweetener of choice)
    Combine all dry ingredients.
    Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined.
    Let stand for about 10 minutes to let coconut flour absorb liquids. 
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter. Optional - also line the loaf pan with parchment paper. 
    Pour batter into loaf pan.
    Bake for about 1 hour or until knife in the center comes out clean.
    Let cool COMPLETELY before removing from loaf pan and slicing. I know its hard to wait but it will give you the best results. Enjoy!
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    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

    Taco Explosion - Low-Carb Corn Free Black Bean Taco Salad with Avocado Cilantro Green Chili Dressing! Ole!

    Woo, hoo. A surprisingly delicious salad that is super low carb and full of clean and Candida diet friendly ingredients. 

    I was heading to a potluck barbecue this weekend and needed to bring something that I could eat. Something that would have sufficient protein to fill me up in case I couldn't find any other Candida diet friendly foods to eat (which I did but you never know). 

    And I was hoping it would taste delicious - given I'm a food blogger and all. I didn't want it to taste like a desperate attempt to make a sugar, grain, yeast, starch, corn & vinegar-free taco salad. Sometimes my experiments can be a bit "off". Didn't want to have an off night in front of my hubbies colleague. Colleagues I was meeting for the first time. 

    But this one seemed to be a hit. I got one "it tastes like a taco exploded in my mouth". Need I say more. 

    The base of the salad is zucchini. Super low calorie and low carb.

    And black beans, that are well rinsed and drained, are relatively low carb and legal. 

    And if you love Cilantro and Avocado then you will love this dressing. 

    And sorry to Cathy about the red wine on the carpet and to Michelle for the red wine on her previously awesome yellow shirt. Damn baby...........I don't even get to drink these days and I'm still causing spills everywhere I go. 

    Low-Carb Corn Free Black Bean Taco Salad with Avocado Cilantro Green Chili Dressing

    by MamaChanty
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes plus chill time
    Keywords: salad candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb avocado beef black beans zucchini
    Ingredients (Large family size salad/Potluc)
      Veggies & Beans
      • 4 cups chopped yellow or green zucchini
      • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
      • 1 cup peppers (I used red and yellow but use whatever you want)
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro (adjust to preference)
      • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I would add these just before serving)
      • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (19 oz - organic if possible)
      Taco meat
      • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
      • 1 1/4 lbs organic ground beef
      • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
      • 1 tsp onion powder
      • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 tsp oregano
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • 2 tsp cumin
      • 2 tsp fine sea salt
      • 1 tsp black pepper
      • 2 tsp chili powder
      • 1 ripe Avocado
      • 1 can green chili's
      • 1/2 tsp Truvia (or sweetener of choice - optional)
      • 1 Tbsp lime juice
      • 1 tsp dry mustard
      • 1 tsp coconut vinegar (or apple cider if not on Candida diet)
      • 4 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
      Wash and chop your vegetables and put them aside.
      Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic. Fry for 1 minute before adding ground beef. Fry beef until browned and cooked through.
      In a separate bowl, combine spices: onion, red pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and chili. Add spices to browned beef and continue cooking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until most of the juice has evaporated. If your beef is really dry you might want to add 1 - 2 Tbsp of water just before adding the spices. Let beef cool completely before layering your salad.
      While the beef is frying make your dressing. I just put all the ingredients in my magic bullet and pulsed until it was fully combined. Chill in fridge before serving.
      I layered my salad with veggies, beef and then cheese. Just prior to serving I added the dressing and mixed the salad thoroughly. Enjoy!
      We also ate this the next day after it had been sitting with the dressing over night and it was still delicious and held up well.
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      Sunday, August 25, 2013

      Sunday Reflections - Don't Rock the Bloat - Beating Candida while Breastfeeding

      Actually I'm rocking the bloat and the boat..............

      No more Sunday week in review where I recap my week through pictures of all the clean food we ate.

      I'm changing my Sunday "Week in Review" Post to Sunday Reflections. Which lets me use my Sunday post to reflect on my week, share something I learned, commit to something that needs to change. Or share my favorite foods from the week.

      Whatever. I.  Feel. Like. It's my wild card. You will still get recipes on Tuesdays and Fridays. But Sunday will be a surprise - even to me I'm sure.

      My Sunday week in review was getting too time consuming and with only 1 WEEK LEFT UNTIL I RETURN TO WORK, I just don't have time to be snapping pictures of all the food I'm eating. And my clients and colleagues might think its weird when I'm pulling out my camera at lunch time. "Let's discuss the problems you are having with your consolidation process..........right after I snap a picture of your salad?" I don't think my boss will go for it.

      So I'm rocking the boat on my blog.

      And I have unfortunately been ROCKING THE BLOAT for about three months now. I have been bloated and constipated. A lot.

      There I said it. I hate discussing these matters in public so I have avoided mentioning it for three months. But I guess if I want to help someone else going through what I am then I have to give you the straight poop. Or lack of it.

      If this is your first time here, sorry, I swear I don't usually discuss these things.

      But, my digestive system is not so happy with this Candida diet. Which is very upsetting given that I have pretty much been on a permanent cleanse for almost four months. Four months. Four difficult months.

      And my stomach had actually been working - really well - for the first time in my life before I started this diet. BIG HUGE SIGH.

      My digestive system is a hot mess. A moving target. I fix one thing and something else goes haywire.

      And with constipation comes severe bloating and general discomfort. Oh yeah, and did I mention I'm skinnier than ever but I look 3 - 5 months pregnant at any given time. A lovely combination of bloating and diastastis recti (muscle separation in my abs from pregnancy #3 - I'll get into how I'm trying to fix that another time).

      And if you have been following along you might have noted that I was starting to get frustrated with the Candida diet and was researching my options - mainly the GAPS and SCD diets. I was considering throwing in the towel on the Candida diet.  I'm not perfect. I cheat. I want to give up. Sometimes.

      But I have re-grouped. And reflected. And reflected. And reflected.

      About the past year. About my diet. About what I have changed that could be causing this stomach upset. And here is what I came up with.





      So there you have it. I think that until I get my little man weaned and stop being so damn hungry all the time, I don't think I will get this Candida under control. Even if I am eating Candida diet friendly foods my stomach can not handle the volume of food it takes to keep my hunger at bay. You would be disgusted with how much food I eat some days. I am.

      I know some of you are thinking "Eats some damn carbs girl - and then you won't be so hungry". I know you think this is the answer. And maybe it is for you. But its not for me. I do eats some carbs - I'm low-carb, not no-carb. But Candida loves carbs and adrenal fatigue loves carbs. And I don't love Candida or Adrenal fatigue. Or blood sugar swings and crashes.

      I am struggling to get my little guy weaned. His 13 month old brain (and heart) wants no part of that process. But he'll have no choice in one week so its going to happen soon. Or at least get significantly reduced. I love breastfeeding so its not that I desperately want to finish. I will find it very emotional and an end of a precious and special phase of my life (I'm tearing up now). But I need to fight this Candida to be the best mom I can. Some people can breastfeed multiple kids for multiple years with no problems. But I have food sensitivities, severe leaky gut, low stomach acid, mal-absorption and vitamin deficiencies. So my system just can't seem to handle 41 months of it in the past 6 years. I suspect that my adrenal fatigue, low iron, etc, etc could all be related to breastfeeding as well.

      I also reflected some more and realized a couple of "legal & healthy candida diet foods" are not agreeing with my system. Some new things I introduced after I started the diet. Here are the ones I "know" are causing problems - I think - maybe:

      1) Chicory Root - I was using this as a replacement for coffee. Took me a while to figure it out but I think that stuff is poison in my body. So now coffee, decaf and chicory are out of bounds for me. I'm just a plain old tea and water girl.
      2) Phsyllium - Holy Dinna, did I get sick when I tried using this in my baking. Yuck. Could have been a coincidence with the chicory root but I'm not willing to test it out again.
      3) Grains - I knew this early on. Limited non-glutenous grains are allowed on the Candida diet but I can't handle them. Other than a bit of rice.

      And here are a couple of other items I suspect could be causing problems but I can't say for sure, and I REALLY don't want to give them up so I keep trying:

      1) Xylitol - I actually tend to get a bit of a headache after eating this. But I really like how it bakes. However, I recently discovered TRUVIA (a combination of Stevia and Erythritol) and I really like how it bakes and it doesn't seem to be bothering me so I made the switch.
      2) Coconut flour - this is really upsetting me. I LOVE COCONUT flour for baking and cooking. But for people with leaky gut too much fiber can be a bad thing (see psyllium above). So I'm not sure but I think I need to scale it back. Tear.

      The morale of the story is that you need to listen to your own body. What one person thrives on can be poison for someone else. And following any "diet" religiously isn't very often the right answer. Question, reflect, pay attention and then tailor your own diet to you. Because you know your body best. Or you can if you listen to it.

      So to sum it up. My first Sunday Reflection is all about TAKING TIME TO REFLECT on what's going on in your life. In your body.

      Because if you actually pay attention you will notice things that can be changed, fixed. Or at least make an informed decision about how to deal, or not deal with things. It can give you peace of mind.

      I'm kind of caught in a vicious cycle of hunger and Candida right now. It sucks but now I feel I know what's going on. I will be out of the cycle soon and I can give this Candida a proper fight. So I have hope that I can get better. And that this diet is going to work eventually. So I"m sticking to it. And hopefully I won't be rockin' this bloat for much longer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      PS. If you see me, don't ask if I'm pregnant. I'm not. And if you don't notice - Thanks. I'm probably sucking it in something fierce. But Thanks!

      Thursday, August 22, 2013

      Happy Birthday to me! Vega One Chocolate Protein Cookies - Raw, Grain-free, Sugar-free and Low Carb

      Well - I'm 37 today! 

      I was going to take the opportunity to take a day off from blogging.............but I decided you deserve more clean recipes. And I love sharing recipes if it will help someone else eat clean and feel better. 

      Everyone was asking me what I was going to do for my birthday. Well, nothing out of the ordinary. Everyday that I am feeling better is a gift. I'm not feeling 100%. I'm still struggling along on some aspects but my adrenal fatigue is gone (for now) and my Candida is somewhat under control. So I'm just going to celebrate by doing what I have been doing all year. 

      I'm going to the gym for a short and intense high intensity interval training session. And by the way - I did 10 one legged squats consecutively on each leg this month. NOT BAD FOR AN OLD DOLL - as my mom would say. Yes - I'm bragging. Its frigging awesome. And kind of unbelievable considering the shape I was in a year ago. Any suggestions on a new fitness goal?

      Then I'm going to make lunch for a friend and her kids. Because who the hell can make us lunch - way to confusing and stressful with our list of restrictions.  And I don't see this friend often so its going to be a treat.

      And then I'm going to hang out with my kids and hubby for the rest of the day. Enjoy some sunshine and probably bake myself a cake. And supper. Because what restaurant serves Candida-diet friendly food. None. 

      Actually I tried baking myself a grain, egg and dairy free cake yesterday. It didn't work (at all) so we ate it as a pudding. Black bean and zucchini pudding. Yum. 

      Another regular day in our house. And that's okay.  I don't need over-the-top birthday celebrations. What I need is to get myself healthy so EVERYDAY is worth celebrating. So I have the energy to enjoy each day. And I'm doing that by eating at home, eating clean and getting to bed by 10. Even on my birthday.

      So here is a quick recipe from my archives..........................its quick and easy and will help fill you up when you are desperate for a low-carb, Candida-diet friendly snack. 

      Have a great day! I know I will. 

      Vega One Chocolate Sport - Hemp and Coconut Protein Bites

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 5 minutes
      Cook Time: None
      Keywords: raw snack candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo sugar-free vegan wheat belly chia seeds chocolate hemp seeds vega one
      Ingredients (12 - 16 bites)
      • 7 Tbsp Vega One Sport - Chocolate - Protein Powder
      • 3 Tbsp hemp hearts
      • 1/4 cup coconut oil
      • 1/4 cup unsweetened milk (almond or coconut in carton)
      • 1 Tbsp ground Chia
      • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
      • 1/2 Tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
      Combine all ingredients.
      Roll into balls or roll out and then cut with cookie cutter into shapes. About 1 Tbsp of mixture for each ball.
      Store in fridge and serve chilled. But these were okay when left out on counter so they are somewhat portable.
      Snack away!
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      Tuesday, August 20, 2013

      What to do with all them Apples? Slow Cooker Sugar Free Apple Sauce - EASY!

      Okay folks. One more preserve recipe before I get back to the baking and cooking. 

      My neighbors gave me another huge bag of apples. Organic, fresh, sweet apples off their tree. Happy dance. 

      If you don't have nice friends or neighbors with an abundance of apples you can also look into volunteering for a Fruit Share or a similar organization in your area. Or buy some at the Farmer's market.  

      The kids love applesauce. I love using applesauce in their baking. Sugar-free. Organic. Chemical free.

      So of course I needed to make some homemade applesauce.

      But I wanted it simple. 

      So here is what I was easy. Anyone can do it. 

      Slow Cooker Apple Sauce - Sugar free and Easy

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 20 minutes
      Cook Time: 3 hours
      Keywords: slow-cooker preserves gluten-free sugar-free paleo apple
      Ingredients (6 - 7 cups)
      • 8 - 10 cups of apples, peeled, cored and chopped.
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 2 tsp lemon juice
      As I was prepping the apples I put them in the slow cooker with the water and lemon juice mixture. About every 3rd or 4th apple I gave the pot a stir so they would get coated with lemon water and not turn brown.
      I slow cooked them on high for 3 hours (could take up to 4). I broke the sacred slow cooker rule and opened it up to give them a good stir once every hour.
      After the third hour the apples were bubbling and breaking down on their own so I didn't even have to mash them. I just gave them a good stir and I had applesauce.
      If the applesauce is browner than you like you can always add cinnamon to camouflage the color.
      I let the applesauce cool and then I put it in glass jars and froze it. If you are freezing in glass jars just make sure and leave a 1/2 to 1 inch of space at the top for expansion as it freezes.
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      Voila - fresh, organic, easy peasy applesauce. 

      Oh yeah - did I mention I love preserving fruit. 

      Sunday, August 18, 2013

      What? No week in review? Sugar Free Apple Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread with Chia Seeds

      Hey Folks, if you caught my last post, you will know that I have a new obsession - canning and preserving fruits and vegetables. 

      Yep - I'm in love. I can't describe the deep sense of satisfaction I'm getting from seeing the fresh fruit (right off the tree and straight to my kitchen) in those little mason jars lined up on my counter. 

      So much satisfaction that peeling, chopping and simmering is all I did with my spare time for the last four evenings. In 4 days I did 7 batches of jam, two batches of applesauce and a batch of relish. Plus an apple loaf, apple muffins, apple scones, apple pancakes, apple strudel, blueberry thumbprint cookies and sweet potato muffins. Plus I've been freezing vegetables for the winter. 

      I've been in a bit of a obsessive haze. I'm like a pioneer woman desperate to get the pantry filled up before winter. Ya - I know - there's a Giant Tiger, Target and Safeway just down the street. No need to get crazy - we won't starve when the snow flies! But I get in obsessive mode once in a while and I go into overdrive. My adrenals probably won't be happy about this little pet project. 

      But it has been seriously fun. I am loving it. It is kind of embarrassing. However, my friend (the only one who also does canning and who will remain anonymous) did say she likes to just go visit her cupboard full of jam and beets and beam affectionately at them. So I'm not alone? Right? 

      And because I have been obsessively canning fruit and baking (and eating of course) I have no time left to do my Sunday week in Review. 

      But I ran a little poll and most people want RECIPES anyway. So a recipe is what you will get. A good one.

      This fruit spread is SO EASY TO MAKE. Just because you haven't done anything like this before is no reason not to try it. I had no idea what I was doing 4 days ago. And last night I actually properly sealed my first batch of jam. And it had no sugar or chemicals in it. 

      So you aren't getting a snapshot of all our clean meals this week...............but you are getting a snapshot of how I spent every spare second when I wasn't caring for my children. Why don't you try it. I think you might like it. Let me know if you catch the canning fire. And if anyone has fruit or vegetables coming off their garden and they need a good home I will gladly accept donations.................or maybe its run its course. We'll see................

      Apple Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread with Chia Seeds - Sugar Free

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 25 - 30 minutes
      Keywords: simmer breakfast dressing gluten-free paleo sugar-free chia seeds rhubarb strawberry apple
      Ingredients (Approx. 6 cups)
      • 2 lbs fresh ripe strawberries, sliced
      • 2 stalks rhubarb, chopped
      • 8 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
      • 2 Tbsp ground Chia
      • 1 Tbsp Chia
      • 1 Tbsp Truvia (or sweetener of choice)
      Place apples and rhubarb in a large sauce pan.
      Add water and lemon juice. Mix to combine.
      Cover with lid and once it reaches a low simmer cook over low/medium for about 8 minutes. Stirring frequently.
      Add sliced strawberries. Cook for an additional 10 minutes (or until fruits are fully softened), continuing to stir frequently.
      Add Truvia and Chia seeds and combine thoroughly. Remove from heat.
      Mash mixture to a desired consistency. I only half mashed it so it would still have some chunks of fruit.
      Place in glass jars. Keeps in fridge for about a week.
      For freezer jam, leave about 1 inch of space at the top of jar for expansion. Should keep for 6 months at least.
      I did a batch with sealed jars as well. I warmed the jars in the oven (about 20 minutes at 200 degrees). I boiled the lids for 5 minutes. I placed the HOT jam in the hot jars. I wiped the rim of the jar to ensure they were clear and then I put the hot lid on the jar and tightened. I then let them sit. They all sealed. Yay!
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      Friday, August 16, 2013

      Its Official - I have a new obsession (I mean hobby) - Freezer Blueberry Chia Fruit Spread

      No - my obsession is not blueberries. Or Chia. Actually it is Chia but I've had that obsession for a long time. 

      My new obsession is preserving fresh fruit and vegetables. It started with a trip to the farmer's market on Wednesday. By Thursday evening I made four batches of jam, one batch of zucchini relish and one batch of applesauce. Not to mention the baking I did.

      Yes, I am obsessive compulsive about things. Can't help myself. I get excited. 

      And preserving fruit just marries some of my greatest loves: being cheap, minimizing food waste, eating clean and experimenting with food. Its kind of a dream come true for me. 

      But I don't have any proper canning equipment so for now I'm just doing food we can refrigerate, eat fresh or freeze.

      This recipe is so easy. Anyone can do it. Even someone like me that two days ago had no idea how to preserve fruit. 

      I love that I can make "jams" where I know exactly what is going in them...........and it ain't sugar. And it ain't chemicals.

      And guess what. The kids LOVED it. 

      This can be used on bread, cracker's, rice cakes, waffles, ice cream, yogurt.............the list goes on and on. It is even Candida diet friendly..............

      I also tried this same recipe with sliced strawberries. Also turned out delicious. I'm thinking it would basically work with any berry. Give it a try. 

      Sugar Free Blueberry Chia Spread - Freezer Jam

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 5 minutes
      Cook Time: 20 minutes
      Keywords: simmer dressing breakfast candida-diet friendly gluten-free paleo sugar-free blueberries chia seeds
      Ingredients (2 cups)
      • 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained
      • 1 Tbsp ground Chia seeds
      • 1 Tbsp Chia seeds
      • 2 Tbsp water
      • 1 tsp lemon juice
      Rinse blueberries and make sure they are well drained.
      Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well.
      Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes. Make sure you watch it and keep stirring so it doesn't burn/stick.
      Once the blueberries are starting to cook/breakdown you can mash them to the consistency you want. I left mine about 1/2 mashed so it would still be fairly chunky.
      Remove from heat and let cool. Place in a glass jar and refrigerate for up to one week.
      Alternatively, you can freeze it in freezer bags or plastic/glass jars. If using jars, make sure you leave adequate room for the jam to expand as it freezes.
      Done. Easy.
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      Tuesday, August 13, 2013

      Low Carb Raspberry Scones - Paleo & Candida diet friendly

      If you read my Sunday week in review you might have noted that I am starting to get a little frustrated with my Candida diet. Don't get me wrong, it is working if I stick to the rules 99.9% of the time.......Which is darn near impossible if you want to ever leave your house. And its summer.  It was easier before school let out and we got off a regular routine and actually started wanting to do lots of different activities and adventures everyday.

      We have packed LOTS of picnics this summer. I have been very diligent with baking and cooking and taking snacks and meals with us everywhere we go.

      So I am loving this new recipe. It is completely portable. The first batch of these were intended to be chocolate cookies? Yep. But a few (lots) tweaks and 3 batches later we had these scones. They are so good! Even hubby loved them and most of my "Candida treats" he finds lacking.

      I used Truvia as the sweetener. Feel free to replace with Xylitol, Stevia or any sweetener you can handle. Truvia is another controversial one, but I decided to test it out and I seem to be handling it okay.

      Ideally I would just give up the sweets (not that these are all that sweet) but I just can't seem to live on meat, veggies and nuts exclusively.

      So if you are like me and you are struggling with the Candida diet and need a tasty, portable snack to take on the go this recipe could be it.

      Hope you enjoy!

      Low Carb Raspberry Scones - Candida diet friendly

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 20 minutes
      Keywords: bake breakfast snack candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo sugar-free wheat belly vegetarian almond flour canned coconut milk coconut flour raspberry
      Ingredients (8 scones)
        Wet Ingredients
        • 2 free run eggs
        • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
        • 1/2 full fat canned coconut milk
        • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
        Dry Ingredients
        • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
        • 1/4 cup ground golden flax (I do mine in the coffee grinder)
        • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
        • 2 Tbsp shredding unsweetened medium coconut
        • 2 Tbsp Truvia (or sweetener of choice - Xylitol would work as well)
        • 2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/2 tsp baking soda
        • pinch of fine sea salt
        • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries (or blueberries work too)
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
        Beat eggs and then add remaining wet ingredients to egg mixture. Beat until full combined.
        Combine dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
        Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat together until fully combined.
        Gently fold in berries.
        Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
        Bake for 20 minutes.
        Serve with coconut oil, butter or unsweetened jam.
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        Sunday, August 11, 2013

        Sunday Week in Review - Monkeying Around - A Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free Monkey Birthday Bash

        I decided to change things up this Sunday and just post some of the party/food/theme highlights from my daughter's MONKEY BAR Birthday party. Not doing a full week in review showing you all the clean meals we ate. Hope you don't mind.  

        But you have your chance to have a say in what posts I'm doing.............I have a poll running for a couple more days to give me feedback on what kind of posts you guys want to see. See the left hand side of your screen. PLEASE VOTE. Since I'm only posting 3 days a week now I don't have time to do everything. In hindsight I should have had a Fitness category. And maybe a Sunday week in Review category. But you can always leave me a comment with feedback if you want................

        So this week is all about our party. I have a bit of a THEME party addiction - no thanks to Pinterest. And now both my girls do too. Its causing some issues because 6 and 4 year old's have trouble picking ONE idea. My 4 year old now wants a Wedding, Valentine, Hello Kitty, Monkey, Hula-hoop, Skipping, Hotel Party. Luckily her birthday isn't until April so we have some time to narrow it down. 

        My oldest daughter turned 6 this week. SIX. Going into grade one. And we live across from the a school/playground. And she is slightly obsessed with doing MONKEY BARS. 

        So we decided to have a monkey bar party. Which kind of turned into a Monkey theme party. 

        And I am currently quite obsessed with saving money and thrift stores. So of course I had to do the party on a dime. Which meant my trusty glue gun was out in full force. 

        We had 12 kids plus baby at the party. We hosted it at our house (i.e. too cheap to go off-site). The kids played in the backyard, had dinner/cupcakes and then we headed across the street to the playground for some playing, swinging and monkeying around. We had a skipping challenge and we brought chalk and water so they had a blast decorating the concrete. And we opened presents. Lots of presents. 

        Overall, it was a great day. The best part was that my darling daughter was happy..........and confident...........and relaxed. And having fun.

        A year ago her immune system was completely out of whack and she had a terrible time at her own party. She cried for about 75% of it. You can go back and read her story HERE if you want the details. Long story short we have changed her diet to eliminate her food sensitivities, put her on some supplements and try our best to keep her in a routine and she is thriving. 

        To be honest I was pretty nervous before the party - its so much work sending invites and baking/cooking/gluing and I was really worried she might shut down again. And we might have to put an end to our Birthday bashes or make them really small events. But she sailed right through it and already "can't wait for her next party". 

        So here are a couple of the highlights of our Monkey bar party...........

        Now that my daughter has to eat egg, gluten and diary free (or as close to that as possible) we can't really run down to the local grocery store and buy a cake. So once again I did my modified version of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mix. I replaced the eggs with Chia gel and used coconut oil instead of butter. For an icing I used a Betty Crocker Low Fat Chocolate Icing that's gluten free. It has "milk ingredients" but they are about the 10th item on the ingredients list and it is gluten and egg free so I went for it. 

        Once again they turned out awesome. I did two different versions of cupcakes:
        1) Version one - I found a big bag of plastic animals (including numerous monkeys) at the thrift stores. I bought some candy banana's at the Bulk Barn. Yes - we picked through the assorted fruit candies to just take the banana's. Shoot me. These were the totally egg and gluten free version. 
        2) Version two - I used Glutino Vanilla "oreo" cookies for the face, banana chips for the ears, white icing and licorice for the mouth and yellow jelly beans for the eyes. The cookies were not actually egg and diary free but they everything was gluten free. 

        The kids all seemed to enjoy them. And the birthday girl LOVED them so I'd say they were a success. Decorating was a bit labor intensive but the cake is my first priority when planning a birthday party so there is no way around it.

        I'm lovin' my kids new Crayola Window Writers. I put the menu on my kitchen window which helps me stay organized. Fun.

        We had nitrate free hot-dogs. A special treat: Ketchup - our house just recently went Ketchup-free so this was a big deal for my 4 year old. Veggies and dip, Fruit Kabobs and assorted fruit, banana chips, GF Pumpkin seed nacho chips and Jungle Juice.

        Yep - my glue gun came in handy for the pimping out the juice boxes.

        A simple menu that was fairly clean. For a birthday party.

        For the loot bags I got the glue gun out again. And lots of construction paper. This is where my cheapness really shines through and causes hours of unnecessary labor time. But I thought they turned out cute. My first attempt looked more like a bear than a monkey - which the girls were more than happy to point out.

        The kids all went home with a banana (of course), a piece of licorice, a "monkey bar" and one little toy. The loot bags probably cost me about $.50 each....................obviously not including labor costs.  I don't want to throw off my cost/benefit ratio, or give my rational and reasonable hubby any ammunition to say "put down the damn glue gun and just go buy something"

        So you can do a cute little clean"ish" theme party on a dime.

        Frankly............6 year old's don't really give a damn about the theme so you probably don't need to waste your time. Unless you are a little crazy like me and you just can't stop yourself.  At least I know I'm acting crazy and cheap. I can't stop it but I recognize it.

        And since its Sunday one quick update on my Candida diet.......................I am struggling along - its been almost 4 months now. If I cheat at all I have a flare, regroup and have to go through some unpleasant die off symptoms. And I'm hungry ALL THE TIME. Even after a huge meal. Plus I have been having some pretty bad digestive distress. Its very frustrating after 4 months on this diet.

        In addition to my occasional pity party, I have been doing LOTS of research on leaky gut and other diet and supplement options. And spinning in circles a bit to be honest. I am just wondering if starving the Candida with the Candida diet is a band-aid solution for a symptom of a bigger problem; leaky gut. Anyway - more on that another time. Don't want to give you the impression that I'm not feeling good. My good days still far outweigh my bad days. I still feel like I'm making progress on my journey of healing my gut. But I'm just foreshadowing that my idea of CLEAN eating and list of legal ingredients could very well change again in the near future..............stay tuned.

        Friday, August 9, 2013

        Week of Waffles - This Time Cinnamon Buckwheat - Gluten, Egg & Dairy Free for my Daughter

        Okay - still lovin' my new $4 waffle maker. It has given me such joy that I feel I need to share another waffle recipe with you...........

        I shared my awesome Grain-free Paleo Protein Pumpkin Waffle recipe on Tuesday. Those were awesome. But those had egg in them so they were for me.

        I came up with this recipe for my daughter. My wonderful daughter that turned 6 today. WHAT. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN. We had her "Monkey Bar Birthday Party" yesterday and it was a BLAST. [Come back Sunday for a recap of her party and all the monkey details - it will be replacing my regular Sunday week in review]. She was completely happy, confident and over the moon about everything. Especially the presents and the egg, gluten and dairy free Betty Crocker cupcakes. A great reminder and reinforcement that all the hard work we are doing with her diet, supplements and routine is paying off. That we need to keep sticking to it even though it can be so inconvenient and exhausting.

        Last year's party was a disaster. She was not a happy little girl. But she is happy now. She is thriving. And that makes me happy.

        So in honor of this milestone I'm posting the waffle recipe I came up with for her. Make a double batch, freeze some and reheat them in the toaster.

        That's what I did with these ones. Then I topped them with banana's, strawberries and a light drizzle of melted chocolate. Banana Split Waffles............who says eating clean isn't fun and delicious!

        Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free Buckwheat flour waffles with cinnamon

        by MamaChanty
        Prep Time: 10 minutes
        Cook Time: 10 (total)
        Keywords: breakfast snack gluten-free vegan chia
        Ingredients (4 waffles)
          Dry Ingredients
          • 1/2 cup rice flour
          • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
          • 1/4 cup arrowroot
          • 2 tsp baking powder
          • 1/2 tsp baking soda
          • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
          • 1 tsp cinnamon
          • 1/4 tsp guar gum
          Chia Gel (replaces egg)
          • 1 Tbsp ground Chia seed
          • 1/4 cup water
          Wet Ingredients
          • 1/4 cup unsweetened milk (I used almond)
          • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
          • 8 drops liquid Stevia (or 2 Tbsp organic cane palm coconut sugar)
          • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
          • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
          Combine ground Chia and water. Let stand for 5 minutes for Chia to gel.
          Combine dry ingredients.
          Combine wet ingredients including Chia gel.
          Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined.
          Heat waffle iron. Spray with coconut or grape seed oil.
          Pour 1/4 of the mixture into each half of your waffle maker. Note that the batter is very thick. You can thin it out by adding extra milk or just use a spatula to spread it out.
          Close waffle iron and let cook until indicator light shows it is done. I cooked mine for about 2 minutes and 20 seconds and they were perfect. It will depend on your waffle iron.
          Remove from waffle iron and serve with toppings of choice.

          Modifications: I have also done this recipe with 1/4 cup pumpkin & 2 Tbsp apple sauce instead of 1/4 cup of applesauce. Also great.  
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          Tuesday, August 6, 2013

          Grain Free Paleo Pumpkin Spice Protein Waffles

          These waffles are sugar and grain free. So they are Paleo, Candida diet-friendly and low-carb. And they are delicious. I'm SO excited about this recipe. 
          If you read my Sunday week in review you know two things: 1) I promised more Candida diet friendly recipes soon and 2) I bought a new waffle maker at the thrift shop for $4.

          So you here you go.  A new recipe. A good recipe. A great recipe.

          I used some coconut flour, ground golden flax and arrowroot as my "flour". A little bit of pumpkin, egg and milk for my wet ingredients. The combination worked perfectly. I was impressed - Paleo style pancakes are not always the easiest to work with. But the heat distribution on the waffle maker seems to be the perfect way to cook non-flour pancakes/waffles.

          If you aren't on a sugar detox this would be great topped with a bit of real maple syrup. If you are staying away from sugar, like me (sigh), then you might want to make some kind of glaze for it. There are lots of possibilities but I like to melt some nut butter, butter, Stevia and maple extract in the microwave as a topping for mine. And then sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut. Or you could make a Chia/coconut milk/butter/Vanilla/spice/Stevia blend. Whatever you are in the mood for.

          And given how hard it is to find Candida diet friendly snacks. I went ahead and make a triple batch of these the second time I made them. I froze them individually in the freezer and now I have a quick snack I can make in minutes in the toaster. It works like a charm - they taste fresh and stay crisp. Unlike when you throw them in the microwave.

          I made these a couple of ways. One time with Stevia and once with Xylitol - both worked fine. One time with protein powder and once without - both of those alterations also worked fine. So its a great base recipe and adjust it to your needs/pantry.

          So I hope you enjoy the recipe..............and if you don't have a waffle maker why not head down to the thrift shop. You can find all kinds of great things................and let me know if you see some 12 pound weights.....its the only thing alluding me.

          Grain Free Paleo Pumpkin Spice Protein Waffles

          by MamaChanty
          Prep Time: 10 minutes
          Cook Time: 2 minutes per batch
          Keywords: bake breakfast bread candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo coconut flour egg protein powder pumpkin
          Ingredients (2 waffles)
            Wet ingredients
            • 2 large free run eggs, beaten
            • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
            • 1/4 cup unsweetened milk (I used almond)
            • 1 tsp vanilla
            • 4 drops liquid Stevia (or I also did it with 1 Tbsp of Xylitol and it also worked fine)
            Dry ingredients
            • 2 tbsp ground golden flax (I grind mine in a coffee grinder)
            • 2 tbsp organic coconut flour
            • 1 tbsp arrowroot
            • 1/2 tsp baking soda
            • pinch fine sea salt
            • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon or cinnamon with ginger and nutmeg)
            • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder - optional (I used Vega One Sport Vanilla)
            Preheat waffle maker
            Mix together wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate mixing bowls.
            Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
            Mix until just combined.
            Let stand for 5 minutes.
            When waffle maker is ready. Coat waffle maker with small amount of coconut oil. I used a paper towel to do this.
            Put half the batter on each side of the waffle iron. Close and let cook until indicator light shows that it is ready. My waffles took about 2 minutes and 10 to 20 seconds to be ready.
            And why not make a double or triple batch. Cool completely. Freeze individually. Take them out and warm them directly in the toaster for a quick breakfast, lunch or snack on another day.
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