Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Resolutions for a New Year - Eat LOTS of Vegan Gluten-free Queso Cheese Dip - Because It's Awesome

This is my New Year's gift to you. A really EASY recipe for a dip that will make you forget you had to give up dairy. According to friends at work, "soaking cashews" doesn't qualify as easy, but they have obviously not given up major food groups and/or processed foods. This is relatively simple for those of us that are used to cooking from scratch and know how to boil water. I got quite a laugh out of that conversation as I sometimes forget that the average person eats a ton of pre-packed/prepared foods. It's all relative and for me this is relatively simple. 

I am so excited about this recipe. I've made it three times in two weeks and I'm making it again tomorrow. Its great with gluten free chips. And I used it to make nacho super fries. French fries smothered in nacho cheese and salsa............something I haven't had in almost three years. And it was damn good.  I can't wait to try this in all kinds of recipes.....watch out 2015. 

I was going to do a big New Years post on all my goals for 2015, my reflections on 2014, blah, blah, blah. But you know what, I've got a great recipe to share so I'm just going to send out a challenge instead..................soak some cashews and make this dip to celebrate the new year! 

And I left you a little motivation/tip just for fun! 

Happy New Year! Bring it on 2015!

Vegan Mexican Queso Cheese Dip

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour to soak ca
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes
Keywords: blender saute appetizer vegan gluten-free nutritional yeast cashews green chili
Ingredients (serves a crowd)
  • 1 cup raw soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk substitute)
  • 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot starch - optional
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning (I used homemade so low salt)
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacement)
  • 1/4 cup onion finely diced (I used red onion)
  • 1/4 cup pepper finely diced (I used orange)
  • 1 large clove garlic - finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 can mild green chili's
You can either soak the cashews for 4 hours in cold water or speed things up (if you are impatient like me) and soak them for 1 hour in boiling water. Drain.
Add almond milk, nutritional yeast, starch and taco seasoning to cashews.
Blend in blender or food processor until full pureed and smooth. I was able to do this using my Magic Bullet.
In a frying plan, melt Earth Balance over low/medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Saute until vegetables are softened. This will just take a few minutes. Add sauteed vegetables, can of green chili's and Cilantro to pureed cashew mixture. Mix by hand until fully combined.
You can refrigerate mixture at this point. When you are ready to serve, warm up in microwave for 1 - 2 minutes - stopping to stir every minute.
Serve with gluten free taco's or crackers. You can top the dip with diced tomatoes, green onion or additional Cilantro if you want to jazz it up.
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Little Vegan Gluten free ginger bread man.........

Hello Everyone!!!
Just wanting to send out a big, huge, gingery Merry Christmas to you.

I am finally finding some time to "slow" down. Okay - kind of impossible with three kids but spending some time at home at least.

We've got one sick kid but we still managed to get them all helping with baking some cookies. I originally posted this recipe last year. I decided to dust it off and try it again.........still works. My 7 year old still loves them "Mommy this is the best batter ever....even better than cupcake batter". And she knows her batter.

I added an extra tablespoon of maple sugar this time. They are still not super sweet but they did the trick for my kids. If you want more sweetness - go for it. Or add some sugary toppings.

December was trying to do me in but I survived and now I'm ready to catch my breathe. 

I hope this finds you all well. Take some time for yourself. Slow down. Breathe. 

And eat a cookie..........................Merry Christmas!
Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Bread People or Cookies

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegan almond flour coconut flour gluten-free flour
Ingredients (18 - 24 cookies)
  • 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp Almond flour or Almond meal (I just grind blanch slivered almonds in my coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 cup All purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Cloud 9 brand from Costco)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp molasses (I used Blackstrap)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine Chia seeds with water and let stand for 5 minutes to gel.
Combine all dry ingredients.
In a seperate mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients including Chia gel.
Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. It should form a ball (like dough).
Let stand for 5 minutes. If it seems sticky add some additional coconut flour.
Roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thickness on a piece of parchment paper. Cut shapes out of dough and transfer to lined baking sheet. I just kept reusing the scraps (forming into a new ball and re-rolling out) until there was no dough left. I let my kids choose and cut the shapes. They loved this job.
Bake for about 12 minutes.
Let cool and decorate.
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'll Run a Marathon When Pig "eon"s Fly!

My Saturday night adventures....................working on my flying pigeon arm balance pose.
My idea of a fun way to get your heart rate up!

I hate cardio. Like I REALLY hate cardio.

If you know me.........in "real" life you know that I detest running.  Always have, always will.  Yet I've always felt that I should put "run a marathon (um, I mean half)" on my bucket list. SO many other people push themselves to do it........why can't I?

Well, because I hate it. And I was just comparing myself to other people and feeling like I was not measuring up to some imagined expectation I made of myself. My competitive spirit felt a little (big) streak of jealousy each time I heard about someone else's accomplishment of running 13 or 26 miles and not dying.

I swear I would die. Physically, and more importantly mentally. Running is mental torture for me.

So I've given up on my non-dream. And now "run a @#$#'ing marathon" is on my non-bucket list. The list of things I am promising to myself I will never do.


I don't like running. I don't generally like cardio, not the traditional kind anyway.

So I don't do it. I don't do aerobics anymore. I don't even do much HIIT anymore. And I certainly don't turn on my treadmill anymore.

Those of you who think I'm a fitness fanatic might be scratching your heads. No cardio. How can that be?

I've changed my approach to exercise. I don't punish my body anymore doing things I don't enjoy. I don't work out like a madwoman when I'm exhausted. I don't constantly PUNISH my very weak adrenals by working myself to the point of severe exhaustion. And I don't punish my mind anymore by feeling like I'm not measuring up.

Don't get me wrong. I work out hard. When, if and how I feel like it.

I started dancing again. Joy.

I do yoga - hot, intense, flow, yin, gentle - whatever class I can get to. Esctasy.

And I go to the gym to lift some weights, stretch, do yoga poses, balance on the Bosu. Whatever I'm in the mood for.

The reward of not punishing my body with exercise that I hate is that I crave my workouts. Not just the end - the sense of accomplishment when its over. The actual process. I can't wait to get to my next class. I guess because I'm doing things I love, and I know that if I'm not up for it, I will just take it easy. And that's okay.

Its working for me. I feel fit. I feel strong.

I'll see you at the finish line...................but I'll just be cheering you on or stretching in the cool down area!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wow - A Grain Free Vegan Pizza Crust the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

coconut flour, garbanzo flour, chia, flax, nutritional yeast
This pizza crust has made me very happy..............a pizza crust the WHOLE family can 1) eat - yay - no eggs, dairy or grains and 2) enjoy. Even my hubby loves it. My gluten-dairy pizza loving hubby!

I know I haven't been blogging much lately. I promise to be back with an honest to goodness update REALLY soon. Things are good...............I'm feeling good. Life is good. But I'm continuing on my journey and part of that has been working on slowing down. S.L.O.W.I.N.G.D.O.W.N. Which means a lot less blogging..................

But I have still been cooking and sticking to my diet (no grains, no diary and low sugar) since it works for me. I don't experiment as much as I used to but I did play with this pizza crust recipe that I got from Primally Inspired to make it vegan and to work for my families tastes. It is incredible given all the restrictions.

I've tried several pizza crusts since changing my diet. I loved pizza crust #1 from the Wheat Belly cookbook but, unfortunately, that one contains dairy and eggs. Since I no longer eat dairy and my daughter doesn't eat eggs it didn't last long.

I've also experimented with cauliflower crust pizza on several occasions and it never worked for me.

Well, I've made this one now at least 5 times and it seems to be fail-proof. Consistent. Delicious.

I'm pretty excited about this recipe. So I thought I better get blogging and get this recipe in the archives.......because I think we will be eating this for years to come.


If you don't eat dairy and you are wondering about toppings, I usually use a combination of Daiya (non-dairy cheese) and nutritional yeast for my kids. For myself I usually use a combination of goat cheese and nutritional yeast. I find the goat cheese goes better with non-traditional toppings so I like to use a sun-dried tomato pesto for the "sauce" and toppings like chicken, leafy greens, cilantro, red onion or whatever happens to be in the fridge. Its pizza. You can't go wrong.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Looking forward to catching up soon!

Grain Free Vegan Pizza Crust

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake entree dairy free vegan gluten-free wheat belly chia seeds chickpeas coconut flour arrowroot powder
Ingredients (12 inch pizza crust)
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean (chick pea flour) - I get it at Bulk Barn
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ⅓ cup grapeseed oil (or other oil)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cu warm water mixed with 1/2 tbsp ground Chia seeds and 1/2 tbsp ground golden flox
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine your flours, spices and nutritional yeast.
In a small pot bring the oil, broth or water, apple cider vinegar and minced garlic clove to a low rolling boil. Just let it boil for 1 minute or so before removing it from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes.
Add boiled mixture to flour mixture and mix thoroughly until fully combined - it will be really thick and pasty. Don't worry if its not completely smooth.
Add in the water/Chia/flax mixture. Stir well.
Add in your coconut flour. Stir to fully combine. It will start making a dough as the coconut flour absorbs the moisture. I find it best to take it out of the bowl and gently kneed it on a piece of parchment paper. It should form a ball.
I use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on the parchment paper. I usually make it about 12 inches in diameter. I then transfer the dough (on the paper) to a pizza pan.
I bake the crust for about 10 minutes.
Then I remove it from oven to add toppings. Depending on the type of toppings I usually bake it for an additional 8 - 10 minutes and then use the broiler to crisp it up for 2 minutes.
Then we eat...........yummy!
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Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall is Here........and so is a Silkken Pumpkin Pie Slice - Grain fee and Vegan

Hey Folks!

I know I haven't been around much lately. Sorry. I've been focused on getting the family back into a routine with back to school (and activities) and doing a lot of self care. Yoga, yoga and more yoga. Dry brushing. Steam room. Massages. Chiropractor. Supplements. Adrenal pills. Magnesium oil. Clean food. Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. Its all very time consuming.

But its working. After a VERY rocky monthly cycle (beginning of September) when I had been trying to go off my adrenal support, I think I have things back in balance. Thank goodness. I was really not a fan of Crazy/Grumpy/Moody/BrainFog MamaChanty. This month was MUCH better, not perfect, but better.

In the meantime, I continue to have to feed my family and satisfy my never ending hunger.

So I have been doing some baking and continue to experiment with Silkken tofu. I love this stuff - low calorie, high protein, creamy, non-dairy. What's not to love. Yeah - I know all about the phytoestrogens and negativity surrounding soy. I don't go crazy on the stuff and I always stick with non-GMO/organic so I think its okay in moderation.

Anyway - with Fall here and those gigantic pumpkin pies tempting me at Costco I thought I better come up with a pumpkin pie alternative for Thanksgiving. And every weekend. And sometimes for breakfast. Its high protein. Its okay.

This recipe is super easy. And guess what. Costco is now carrying Silkken tofu at a crazy cheap price. So no excuses...........try it. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Vegan Grain Free Silken Pumpkin Pie

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 70 Minutes
Keywords: bake blender dessert candida-diet friendly dairy free gluten-free vegan almond flour pumpkin silkken tofu
Ingredients (1 8" pie)
    • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, ground fine (I use my coffee grinder)
    • 1/4 cup almond flour
    • 1 Tbsp ground golden flax
    • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
    • dash fine sea salt
    • 1 Tbsp sweetener (I used Truvia)
    • 4 Tbsp Coconut oil
    • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger or pumpkin pie spice
    Pie Filling
    • 1 14 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
    • 1 12.3 ounce package of Silken tofu (firm) - Non GMO/Organic
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (more if you like it spicy)
    • 4 Tbsp sweetener of choice (I used 2 Truvia and 2 Maple Syrup) - add one more if you wish
    • 1 Tbsp arrowroot
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    Mix together all dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and almond milk and combine until crumbly. Press into a 8 inch glass pie pan or 8" square baking dish.
    Bake in oven for 6 minutes.
    In the meantime, put all the filling ingredients in a high powered blender (or food processor). Pulse/blend until fully combined.
    Pour into pie shell.
    Bake for 25 minutes at 425. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 - 35 minutes.
    Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before putting in fridge to chill before serving.
    Serve with whipped coconut milk.
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    Friday, September 12, 2014

    My Accidental Experiment - Weaning off Adrenal Support? Good Idea?

    EPIC Fail.


    I have been on herbal adrenal support non-stop (save 11 days this August) since December 20, 2012. I can recall the date very vividly as I was having SEVERE anxiety about the "end" of the Mayan calendar. Two months of severe anxiety that vanished with the passing of December 21, 2012 and co-incidentally my starting a high does of adrenal support. At that point I was on 4 pills a day.

    Over the next two'ish years my goal has been to get off those adrenal pills for good. I have done everything they tell you to heal your adrenals.................

    I eat clean and have fully eliminated my trigger foods - for me that's banana's, yeast, grains and dairy. I eat protein regularly and I watch my sugar and carbs (especially early in the day).

    I don't drink. At all. I even gave up decaf coffee. Painful but I'm committed..........although sometimes I feel like I need to be committed:)

    I take my supplements faithfully - Probiotics (Align), B6, B12 (injections), Calcium/Magnesium, C, D and Iron. And of course my  beloved Adrenal Balance.

    I exercise regularly. Four times a week. I gave up the high intensity interval training that I love (for now) and have been opting for yoga and weight-training to give my adrenals a break. I even go to gentle yoga classes. And restorative yoga classes. This is big for me as there was a day (not that long ago) that I could not sit through a yoga class without feeling like I was going to lose my marbles - I could not sit still. Now I love it although I do still crave the burn and endorphin high of pushing my body to the brink. But I'm behaving. And breathing instead.

    I go to bed by 10 or 10:30 EVERY day.

    I even quit my job for something less stressful (but stress seems to follow me in that regard so although relatively less stressful I still manage to get myself worked up fairly regularly). Not so easy to retrain my brain to just go with the flow at work - type A to the Nth degree.

    Anyway, all of this got me down to one pill a day. Although I have had some bumps in the road (anxiety flare in May that seemed to have been "grain" related) I thought that I had finally nailed it.

    I was feeling great over the summer. FINALLY. Yay. Way to go Mama Chanty!!!! I even got a big gold star from my doctor on my blood work - things were finally looking almost normal.

    Until, Drum Roll...................I made a huge mistake. Kind of accidental. Kind of on-purpose.

    We went away for a few days and I forgot my adrenal pills. And then I got the stomach flu and I didn't feel like ingesting anything at all.

    So I was "accidentally" off all my supplements for 6 days. And I actually felt okay. Woo hoo. I saw my chance to finally break free and I took it. I felt kind of smug.

    Co-incidentally on day 9 of being off adrenal supplement I happened to have a Naturopath appointment. She said that if I made it past 10 - 14 days and was feeling fine that I was probably good to go. I had been feeling a big fatigued but I have three kids I didn't put too much stock into that.

    And then day 10 hit me. And I mean HIT. ME. HARD.

    It happened to correspond with the second half of my "cycle". Great. Two weeks of hell. I barely slept for the whole two weeks. I had moodiness that ranged from weep-iness to rage and everything in between. Brain fog. Exhaustion. Leg cramps. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.

    Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.

    No. Thank. You.

    So I think its fair to say there IS a connection between hormones and the adrenals. A strong connection. I had been working on my hormone issues (hence the addition of B6 and Cal/Mag to my arsenal of supplements) and they were getting much better. Until BAM.

    So the morale of the story is that I am not ready to be off my adrenal support. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit disappointed in my body. But grateful that I have the means to afford those little herbal miracle pills.

    And I have a new determination to actually CURE my adrenals. I know I can manage them. But I want to heal them for good.  So I'm going to try some new stuff.....reflexology might be next. And more work on my mind-body connection because I can't blame all this on my digestive issues any more.

    Stay tuned!

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    Happy Birthday to Me with a Silkken Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie! Vegan and Grain Free!

    I can't believe its August 23rd and this is my first post of the month.  There are two main reasons:

    1) We have been soaking up every bit of summer so we have been busy playing. I haven't exactly been hanging out in the kitchen experimenting with recipes; and
    2) Other than the stomach flu that has been circulating our house and normal monthly hormone fluctuations I have been feeling really good.

    Throughout our summer adventures (and there have been many) I have managed to stick to my grain-free, dairy-free, low sugar diet. I actually can't believe I did that given how much time I spent away from my kitchen. Yes - I am proud of myself. It would have been very easy to let things slide but after my anxiety fueled spring I was pretty motivated to stay off the crazy train. And its working. If I stay away from grains (okay - I have a couple bites here and there but never a serving) I don't have anxiety. Low grade stress and worry - yes. Honest to goodness fear and anxiety - no. 

    So that's what I have been doing. Along with banishing my anxiety I've noticed a few other benefits of "keeping it clean". My skin is clearer, my moods are WAY more stable, I rarely get grumpy, my stomach works properly, I have more energy and my monthly cycle is way less volatile. And I haven't had brain fog all summer. 

    This all translates into THE MOST AMAZING SUMMER OF MY LIFE. Its crazy and hectic and the kids drive me crazy lots of the time but I'm in the right frame of mind and have enough energy to sail through the madness and appreciate the all the beauty and blessing around me. Over the past 7 years its not that I haven't enjoyed my kids - I have. But more often than not I went through hours, days, weeks or months of just struggling to get through the days. Fighting to feel like myself, trying to shake off fatigue, stomach aches, brain fog, moodiness, anxiety, etc, etc, etc. This is the first time in a while that I have felt CONSISTENTLY good for hours, days, weeks, months. Yay! 

    So as I turn 38.....................

    I am grateful for my new job that allowed me to keep all three kids home for the summer. 
    I am grateful that all three of my kids are healthy and FINALLY sleep through the night.
    I am grateful that we have the money to do so many fun things with the kids. 
    I am grateful that my husband has been so supportive of my lifestyle changes and even thought his inclination is to hang out at home he lets me drag us around the city and province to enjoy summer out and about.
    I am grateful that I was able to figure out my food sensitivities - it has changed my health but its very hard to do.
    I am grateful that I "hit rock bottom and burned out". It has made me completely change how I live my life. And although I have had to "give up" many things I have gained so much in return. 

    Giving things up doesn't have to mean losing...........it can just force you to make new discoveries. And its worth the effort.

    One of my discoveries has been Silkken tofu..............................its magic! So I made myself a magical pie - because the chances of someone else making me a grain and dairy free Birthday cake are slim to none - and that's okay! Now I gotta run................there's still a week of playing  summer to enjoy!

    Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Tofu Pie with a coconut walnut crust

    by MamaChanty
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Keywords: bake blender dessert dairy free vegan gluten-free Silkken Tofu Peanut Butter chocolate walnuts
    Ingredients (1 pie)
      • 1/4 cup walnuts
      • 1/3 cup organic coconut flour
      • 1 Tbsp ground golden flax
      • 2 Tbsp Earth balance (dairy-free butter)
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 6-7 Mejdool Dates, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water
      • 1 container extra firm Silkken Tofu
      • 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 1 Tbsp arrowroot flour
      • 1/4 cup peanut butter
      • 3 squares unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted
      • 3 - 4 Tbsp sweetener of choice - I used a combination of Truvia and maple syrup
      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch pie plate (I used a glass one).
      I roughly chopped the dates before soaking them. I used my coffee grinder to roughly chop/puree both the dates and the walnuts. I then mixed all the crust ingredients together (including the leftover water from soaking the dates) until the earth balance was full incorporated throughout. If my food processor was working I would have just thrown everything in and processed it together. Work with what you have.
      Press the crust mixture into the pie pan - including up the sides. Make sure it is not loose or it will crumble later.
      Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
      Meanwhile, while the crust is baking you can make the filling:
      I melted the chocolate squares in the microwave in a glass dish (60 minutes, stir and then an additional 30 seconds) to have it ready.
      I then blended the tofu in my high speed blender until smooth. Depending on your blender you may have to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times. I then added all the remaining ingredients, including melted chocolate, and blended until smooth. Again you may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Blend until JUST smooth. Do not over-blend.
      Add the filling to the baked pie crust and put it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
      Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
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      Thursday, July 31, 2014

      Hopelessness, Hormones and Hickey's!!!

      Embarrassing. It should be except for the fact that these "hickey's"
      are the cure to my shoulder and neck agony. So I wear them with pride. And let people think I have
       a really exciting life................

      My neck and shoulder have been completely flared up for all of July.

      Funny how that happened just after I had a stress/adrenal flare up in June.

      Not so funny actually but a lot less traumatic this time.

      Yes. I have been to this rodeo before. I had chronic neck/shoulder pain for over 18 months when I went through my rock bottom-burn out-looked and felt like shit phase in 2010/2011. Read all about that here.

      The difference this time is that I KNOW that it can get better. I have HOPE. Its still annoying as hell and hurts like a bitch but its a lot less scary.

      Why all the swearing? I really shouldn't but I just finished reading I HEART MY LITTLE A-HOLES and man there was a LOT of cursing in that book. So I blame her for my bad behavior........and the fact that my shoulder is throbbing.

      So if you aren't feeling great - depression, anxiety, pain, whatever - have hope. You can get better. It might take a lot of determination. Some trial and error. A few $$$$. For me it even took a whack-load of hickey's.  But I know it can be fixed.............and not with a shit-load of pharmaceuticals.

      How did I cure my shoulder issues last time? And how am I planning on doing it again?

      Well, as my chiropractor reminded me "Chantel, it all comes back to stress management for you". Yes. If he weren't so darn RIGHT and so darn good at what he does I would be annoyed. I hate hearing stuff I don't want to hear.

      But I need to hear it. Again. And again. And again.

      I broke my adrenals once and they will probably never be the same. I need to baby them. I need to reduce mental and physical stress as much as I can. I need to know when to chill out. I need to eat properly for me - which means no grains, dairy and little sugar. I need to exercise - moderately, not over-train like I tend to. I need to go to sleep by 10. I need to take my supplements. I need to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

      When I fail at those things and my neck and shoulder get really pissed at all the tension I am carrying around I need my chiropractor. He is a miracle worker. He uses a combination of Graston(the sad and much less interesting source of my hickey's), Active Release and Adjustments. Not sure what I would do without him. I was so hormonal the other day I started crying on the way there. Not because I was in pain, but because I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that I found him. Its cheesy but if you have ever been in constant chronic pain (for almost 2 years), tried every kind of treatment you could think of and are looking at a lifetime of painkillers..................you would know why it makes me cry. And the hormones of course.

      So don't give up. Keep trying. Keep working at it. And hey, if you get a few hickey's along the way............that's just a bonus!

      And by the way, if you carry your stress around in your shoulders and neck and are wound so tight you feel like you are going to snap...............find someone that does Graston. Give it a shot. I tried everything and its the only thing that worked for me. It is painful, your neck will look like a mess, but it works!

      Saturday, July 26, 2014

      My Attempt at Clean Camping

      A sample of some of our eats. Left - Just one of our mean and clean breakfasts - scrambled eggs, toast (none for me and GF vegan bread for my 6 year old), bacon, blueberries and some veggies.  Top right - I pre-marinaded and froze chicken thighs which we roasted on the fire with some fresh beets - delicious.  Bottom right - S'mores made with GF Oreo cookies, dark chocolate and marshmallows. Two of three of our kids had a complete meltdown that night. Hmmm - too much sugar maybe? Two of three of our kids said the best part of camping was the S'mores. Sigh. The third one can't talk. Damn that sugar is evil.
      Hello Everyone! Hope you are having a great summer. 
      I have been super low on the recipes and blog posts since I have been spending a lot less time in the kitchen and on the computer. Yay - I'm doing something right. 

      After a rough start to our summer with my shoulder/neck problem reappearing, my severe anxiety in May, my adrenals taking a beating in June and my Candida problem trying to come back I am happy to say that I am feeling pretty great. For now. 

      I have been working really hard at sticking to my no-grain, no-dairy, low sugar diet which is key. I have been trying to stay active without overdoing it. And I have been trying to get to bed on time. 

      And it is working. For now. 

      It is an ongoing battle. Especially during the summer. 

      We just got back from a 5 day camping trip in our new (used) pop-up. Five people living in a 10ft tent trailer and eating out of a super small fridge and coolers for almost a week. And we still managed to keep it pretty clean. Well the food anyway. I didn't shower for 6 days so I wasn't very clean.

      And I managed to stay active and still get in some workouts. So I really should have had a shower. Sorry to my fellow campers. 

      I guess I am bragging a bit. But I'm also telling you it can be done so you are encouraged to try it. Don't just assume it can't be done and give up on eating the foods that make you feel your best (and more importantly staying away from the ones that make you feel the worst). 

      It is hard to stay on track during the summer when you are surrounded by chips, alcohol, S'mores. When everyone else is eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs. We had some cheats here and there, but we also ate lots of veggies and good, clean, nutritious foods.

      After the way I was feeling in June I was highly motivated to "stay on the wagon". 

      You just have to plan. Plan. Plan. Plan. I'll say it one more time. PLAN. 

      It won't happen if you don't plan for it. I pre-made high protein smoothies and took my Magic Bullet for a quick and healthy breakfast. I baked vegan GF muffins for my kids and my Chocolate pumpkin loaf and vegan GF bagels for me. I marinaded and froze meats before we left so we didn't have to rely on hot dogs. I pre-made lots of salads. We ate apple nacho's and nuts for snacks. 

      That's just a "taste" of how we did it. But it can be done. It was a heck of a lot of work but this time after coming home from a week away from the house I didn't need a 5 day detox to get rid of my brain fog. In the big picture of things it was probably a lot less work - detoxing is harder that prepping food. And my moods were stable so I actually, really, truly, whole-heartedly enjoyed my kids. I relaxed not because I was too tired to move but because my mind felt still. I felt happy. 

      I needed that.  Now let's hope I can keep it going. 

      For exercising we did a LOT of biking. I love biking. Biking brings me joy and I have hardly had my bike out this summer so I got my fill. And I did lots of yoga. I had one of my best yoga practices ever right on the beach (see pics). Yes, my kids were talking and "fishing" nearby so I didn't have solitude but I had fresh air and water and it was fabulous. Thank you Rhea for introducing me to ALI KAMENOVA yoga. All you need it a smartphone and you can do your yoga anywhere.  Or your HIIT. Or whatever moves you.  No excuses. And for the record mosquito's love yogi's.

      Monday, July 14, 2014

      Red Velvet Brownies - Vegan and Gluten Free with Beets and Black Beans

      Hello everyone.

      I'm finally back with a recipe.

      I have been busy enjoying my summer and dealing with the roller coaster that is my life with adrenal fatigue and Candida. I've had to go back to a strict "grain-free and very low sugar" diet so I can't actually eat these brownies anymore. Tear. But I'm feeling much better so it is worth it.

      But if you can handle some non-glutenous grains then I say go for it..........I enjoyed them while I could and now its time for someone else to enjoy them.

      I'll be back with an update on how my battle with adrenal fatigue and Candida is going soon. In the meantime hope you are all enjoying your summers...............

      Vegan and Gluten Free Red Velvet Brownies with Beets and Beans

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 25 minutes
      Keywords: bake blender dessert vegan sugar-free low-carb almond flour black beans coconut flour beets cake
      Ingredients (16 small squares)
      • 1/2 cup almond flour
      • 1/2 cup GF quick oats
      • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
      • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
      • 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
      • 2 Tbsp oil (melted coconut oil or grape seed oil)
      • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree
      • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 2/3 cup cooked & shredded beets (I used ones that had previously been cooked and frozen)
      • 1/4 cup black beans drained and rinsed
      • handful non-dairy chocolate chips (more if desired)
      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
      In a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja), blend the almond and coconut flours, oats, cacao powder, salt, and baking powder. It should basically turn into a flour.
      Add in the milk, vanilla extract, oil, pumpkin puree and maple syrup, and blend until fully combined.
      Add in the cooked beetroot and the beans and blend until the mixture has formed a thick batter.
      Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chips or just toss them on top after pouring in pan.
      Pour the batter into an 8 x 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. I just cut a square to fit the bottom and didn't worry about the sides as I greased the pan first. Smooth the top with a spatula.
      Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is fully cooked. Let cool. I dare ya to wait. Although we really liked these a bit warm with some toppings (coconut cream, cool whip, berries).
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      Monday, June 30, 2014

      RCMP, Brain Fog and Stress

      I did something really embarrassing this weekend that resulted in me being asked "Did you get a call from the RCMP yet?"

      You know your adrenal fatigue is getting bad when...........

      You go to the gas station. Fill up your van with $75 worth of gas. Use their bathroom. And 2 1/2 hours later think "Weird - I don't remember paying for gas". Complete and utter brain fog.

      For the record I did not pay for the gas but I did go back (on my own without the knowledge that the RCMP were looking for me) 3 hours later and say sheepishly "I'm $75 on lane 1". With a big smirk the attendant says "oh hi - you're back - we saw you on the surveillance and didn't think you looked like a criminal". But they called the police anyway.

      The morale of the story is that I still "look" fairly put together on the outside but I'm back in brain fog land in the inside. Adrenal fatigue land. Candida land.

      Big. Huge. Sigh.

      This was not how I was hoping to spend my summer. I DON'T WANT TO DO THE CANDIDA DIET AGAIN. It sucks. If you come here for inspiration. Sorry. I'm not in the mood. I need to wallow for a day in self pity. And then tomorrow I'm tightening up the diet and slamming back some anti-fungals.

      I know I can do this. I've done it before. I'll go back and re-read some of my old blog posts and recipes and get myself refreshed on how this thing works.

      Its partly my own fault that this happened. I started letting the grains and sugar back into my diet a while back. I had been sneaking grains off my kids plates and pounding back my "healthy" dark chocolate like it was going out of style. That resulted in my GRAINXIETY episode in the spring.

      Well in June I cut both out the grains and most of the sugar - and my anxiety went away. But I fell back off the wagon this weekend - I was travelling with the kids (alone) and just didn't have the time, foresight or willpower to stay away from them. Poof - my anxiety was back as quickly as it went away. Three days seems to be my magic number.

      So the diet problem was my own fault.

      But I have also been under a fair deal of stress lately. A little here. A lot there. Coming at me from every angle. Its all piling up on me and a lot of it is out of my control. Not the kind that you can make go away by making different decisions. And generally the end of the school year was pretty crazy - we have been running around and I haven't been babying myself like I used to.

      So it all accumulated and caught up with me.

      And now I have to deal with it because I'm not going to lie - I don't feel great. I'm by no means the best version of myself.

      But I think I can turn things around quickly. I'm correcting months of abuse this time, not years. I hope I can bounce right back.

      Wish me luck because I want to have a good summer! All the ingredients for a perfect summer are there - 3 great kids, lots of time off work, hopefully some sun - the question is will I be there. Or in some brain fog trying to explain to the RCMP that I'm not a criminal. Just a Mom with broken adrenals and a will to be better!

      Friday, June 27, 2014

      Tears, Disappointments and Cheers!

      Well, the good news is my GRAINXIETY is fully and completely gone. Gone. Really. Seriously. Gone. Its a miracle. Well, its actually a result of some hard work and willpower to eliminate grains from my diet. And for the record I have not had a dark chocolate bar in almost two weeks - pat on the back!

      So my anxiety is gone, but in the meantime I had a weepy, sob-filled, emotional week. Darn did I cry a lot this week.

      Beats being scared and it beats feeling nothing - I've been to both those places and don't care to go back.

      I really don't mind a good cry once in a while.

      christian quotes encouragement | crying quotes, encouraging sayings, Crying doesn’t indicate that you ...

      That being said, I don't think I need a good therapeutic cry every darn day.

      But relationships are tricky. People are tricky. Life is tricky. I'm an accountant and I must say - numbers are a lot easier than people.

      I had some bad news this week. Such bad news about someone I admire. An extra-ordinary person who is being dealt an extra-ordinary challenge. My heart broke a little. And I cried. And cried. And then cried some more (damn - here I go again). I think I'm finding it hard because there is just NOTHING I can do. I'm not good with that. I'm a take action kind of woman so I just want to DO something. But there is nothing I can do. So I'm just going to pray really hard and have hope that this person will have an extra-ordinary amount courage and strength. And I'm going to pray for them!

      And life has thrown me other disappointments this week.  Everything doesn't always work out how you expect it to. People will disappoint you. Being a Type A, perfectionist, I have very high expectations of myself. As part of my journey to health I have struggled with that part of myself and tried to accept that I need to disappoint others sometimes, and myself in a way, in order to be truly happy.

      I also struggle with expecting too much of others. I can have high standards. I push people. I know that sometimes I need to step back and make sure what I expect is reasonable.

      But sometimes I don't let myself get disappointed with people because I think its just my Type A and I need to cut them some slack. But THAT's just not reasonable. People will disappoint me and I am entitled to feel it. I can cry when it happens. I don't need to dwell on it. But I do need to let myself feel it. Some people like to pretend things don't happen, to bury it - that's just not me.

      So there were a few (ahem - lots) of tears this week but there was alos lots to cheer about in life. In between the tears there have been lots of smiles. Lots of laughs. Lots of times when my heart felt like it was overflowing with love. Lots of feelings.

      It feels good to FEEL. I'm embracing it. Its called living!
      Tagalog Sad Love Quotes | Best Tagalog Sad Love Quotes – Heart Broken Quotes Tagalog Sad Story – Malungkot

      Tuesday, June 17, 2014


      If you have been following along my periodic blog posts (sorry - blogging is taking a back seat to life) you might know that I was recently going through quite a severe bout of anxiety. I was walking around with constant fear that would get progressively worse as the day went on.

      By bed time (I use that term lightly as sleep was pretty elusive) I was in a complete state of utter terror.

      Not a fun way to live.

      Quite frustrating as I was eating "clean", exercising, taking my supplements and most importantly my stress levels were relatively low. Yes, I'm busy. I have three young kids and a job.............and I eat clean, exercise and take my supplements.......all very time consuming ventures. But I'm busy doing things I enjoy and know when to say "no" so I'm not stressed out like I used to be.

      So why the anxiety?

      I don't believe I have an anxiety disorder that is "starting in my head". I continue to believe that my body gets out of balance due to digestive issues, food sensitivities, toxins, sleep disturbances and/or hormones. Where one begins and the other ends I don't know.

      But I did know that I needed to look at my diet and supplements to figure out what was going on. I tried/adjusted lots of things but here are some of the biggies................

      At first I thought maybe it was my B12 levels. But, although I would feel better for a couple days after a B12 injection, it wouldn't hold. So not my B12. Or not entirely.

      Then I looked to my diet.

      After about a year of not drinking any caffeine, or coffee at all, I had recently re-introduced decaf coffee into my morning routine. Yummy. But maybe not the best plan. It was lovely while it lasted but once my anxiety started to spiral out of control I thought it just wasn't worth it. Just in case. And my anxiety ebbed a little. But again it didn't hold. So maybe the coffee wasn't the trigger but it certainly wasn't helping.

      So I had to finally REALLY look at my diet. And admit to myself that the only thing that had really changed was that I was eating way more grains than I had been since I first started this clean eating journey two years ago. Rice, rice cakes, quinoa, bites of my kids GF pancakes, GF cookies, etc, etc, etc. All very "healthy and clean".

      I find it very difficult to eliminate grains from my diet. VERY DIFFICULT. They are portable. They are cheap. They are convenient. They taste good. They are everywhere. Tempting me.

      Grains didn't actually come up as a food sensitivity on my IGG tests. That would have been so much easier in a way..........then I would KNOW.

      Well. I do know. I have tested (through elimination and re-introduction) it in the past and I know they don't agree with my system but I somehow always end up convincing myself "they can't be that bad".

      I finally got fed up with my GRAINXIETY and decided to fully and completely give up grains for 30 days to see what would happen. Three big things happened within about three days:

      1) I had thought I had gained some weight - my pants had been tight and I felt uncomfortable. Guess what - I was completely and utterly bloated. As soon as I ditched the grains my belly deflated. And my system started working properly again. I hadn't realized how poorly my system had been working until it started working again. [For the record I did gain some weight but that didn't explain my Buddha belly]; and

      2) My sweet cravings. My out-of-control, over-the-top, can't-get-enough sweet cravings dropped off significantly. Not gone but significantly reduced; and

      2) My anxiety lifted. Poof. Gone. Just. Like. That.

      Its incredible. I'm now on Day 17 and it hasn't returned. I'm anxiety free.

      I chose a 30 day challenge for a reason. I am not 100% sure that the anxiety couldn't have something to do with my monthly cycle and hormones. So I still have another week and a half to go before I can for sure, without a doubt, cross my heart declare that grains caused my anxiety.

      I suspect I know what the answer will be.  And then I can encourage others not to run to their doctors for anti-anxiety medications. Not to just accept/assume that this is something out of their control that they have to live with. Maybe there is something YOU CAN DO to cure your anxiety (or a gazillion other indirect symptoms of food sensitivities and/or digestive issues).

      Wish me luck. I'm living again. And it feels great to be back!

      Friday, June 6, 2014

      Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Muffins - Chocolate Chips optional

      My kids are LOVING these muffins. I've made this batch about 6 or 7 times in the past two weeks so its definitely a new family favorite. They disappear pretty darn quick.

      Its that time of year when we need portable snacks - picnics, playing at the park, bike rides, soccer, etc, etc, etc. We are often away from the house and the kids are always hungry.

      It's so easy to get into the habit of "grabbing" a pre-packaged, pre-wrapped, processed, sugar-filled, nutrient deficient snack on the way out the door. Convenient - yes. Healthy - no.

      That's okay once in a while. But I find muffins are a great alternative if you want to throw something a little more healthy into the rotation. They freeze well so do a double batch and freeze them..........if there are any left to freeze.

      These are refined sugar free and even have some almond flour for a bit of a protein boost. They will fill them up and keep em happy. And they are vegan and gluten free for all those egg, dairy and gluten sensitive ones out there.

      Have a great weekend everyone!

      This was us out for a picnic supper before soccer the other night............we ended up at Target. Three minutes after we arrived at the park someone needed to use the toilet. They always either need a snack or the potty.............muffins and Target to the rescue!

      Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Muffins - Oh YEAH

      by MamaChanty
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 20 minutes ish
      Keywords: bake breakfast dessert snack vegan sugar-free banana chia seeds almond flour oats
      Ingredients (10 - 12 muffins)
        Wet Ingredients
        • 3 ripe banana's, mashed
        • 1/3 cup organic palm coconut sugar
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • 1/3 cup grape seed oil or melted coconut oil
        • 1 chia or flax egg (1 tbsp ground chia or ground golden flax gelled in 3 Tbsp warm water)
        • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
        Dry Ingredients
        • 1/2 cup almond flour (I grind blanched slivered almonds in my coffee grinder)
        • 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
        • 1/2 cup GF quick oats
        • 1 tsp baking powder
        • 1 tsp baking soda
        • vegan chocolate chips - optional
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
        Combined wet ingredients.
        Combined dry ingredients in a seperate bowl.
        Gently mix dry and wet ingredients together. Fold in chocolate chips.
        Place batter evenly in a lined muffin baking pan.
        Bake for 25 minutes (or until center is fully cooked).
        Let cool completely before removing from liners or they tend to stick.
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        Monday, June 2, 2014

        Grains and Anxiety - Is there a connection???

        Hey Folks.

        Thought I better check in. I have been busy enjoying our instant summer. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine so we have been busy riding our bikes, playing with water, flying kites, making dandelion bouquets - you know - PLAYING. After our looooooong winter my heart feels so happy to feel the warm sun on my face that I want to soak up every second. Which means less time in the kitchen experimenting with recipes and less time on my computer. Great but it means my blogging is taking a back seat to summer...........

        I thought I should at least check in and give you an update. An update on my health. Because if you are going to use all my recipes you probably want to know if this "clean" eating even works.

        Okay. So. Hard to explain.

        I actually feel HAPPIER is lots of ways then I have ever in my life. The kids are fabulous. Hard work and a constant challenge but so fun and cute and awesome. My husband is great. Busy and overwhelmed at times but we are "besties" and always on the same page so it gets us through any bumps in the road usually with a giggle.  My work is awesome. Changing jobs and working half time is the best thing I ever did for our family.....for me. I love my job. I love having time with the kids during the week. I love having time for myself. 

        Fitness wise things are going great. I'm still at it about 4 times a week and it seems to be working for me. A little hot yoga, a little high intensity internal training, some light weights. Things I love and things that give me energy. I've even thrown some dancing back into the mix. My heart is doing a happy dance. More on that another time.

        Now for the fun stuff. My digestion? My Candida? My Adrenals? My energy? My anxiety? My sleep?

        Well, I seem to have entered into a new era of my life (post being constantly pregnant and/or breastfeeding). And let me tell you it has brought me a whole new list of benefits and challenges. To say I have been all over the place would be an understatement.

        So I have basically been studying my body and my symptoms to try and figure out how I can optimize my health in my new state of monthly hormonal fluctuations.And let me tell you........its a ROLLER COASTER ride. Since I'm only about 5 months in, I'm still just trying to figure things out but here's what I've come to realize so far:
        • HUNGER: Breastfeeding was making me crazy hungry and low blood-sugarish. As soon as I stopped these issues just dissappeared; 
        • ANXIETY: I have been having CRAZY anxiety. Brutal. And annoying because whenever I don't feel anxiety I am happier than ever. So I want it gone. Now. I suspect two things might be at play: 1) I significantly upped the amount of non-glutenous grains I was eating (purely a convenience thing) - correlation? Maybe. I'm on day 3 of no grains and my anxiety has dropped off significantly which could also be a result of 2) my hormones. As much as I don't relish giving up grains indefinitely at least that is something I can control. So I hope its the grains and not the hormones. I need to go through a whole month (cycle) with no grains to see if it helps. I had also been back on decaf coffee when the anxiety first came back. Another possible factor but removing that didn't fully take it away so not sure. I'll let you know how this plays out.
        • SLEEP: Yeah. I don't sleep well the week before my monthly visitor. Especially days -4 and -3. Its really bad. But at least I'm down to a few days a month and I can kind of predict when its coming so it makes me feel a little more in control about it.  And the rest of the month I'm still sleeping well if I stick to my sleep rules and I'm not having an anxiety attack; 
        • ENERGY: Like everything else this is generally fluctuating at different times of the month. Obviously, when I don't sleep I feel tired. But I have also confirmed (well in my mind anyway) that I can not go longer than 4 weeks with a B12 shot. And I have also confirmed that YOU SHOULD READ SUPPLEMENT LABELS. I bought a new B6/B12 combo and didn't notice that it had 125 mg's instead of my usual 1000 mg's. Whoops. Interestingly my energy levels are better now that I'm back to my usual 1000 mg's a day. Basically, if I have a steady flow of B12 in my system my energy levels are pretty darn good when I sleep. 
        • CANDIDA: It still seems to be gone. My moods (all month) are holding steady. I'm very rarely grumpy. 
        • DIGESTION: Yeah, a little off in this department. Which brings me back to the grains. I know grains don't work well with my system. I know this. I KNOW this. But sticking to it has been really difficult. But I'm back on the wagon for now and I hope it will improve quickly. I also know that ALIGN probiotics work really well with my system but they are $1 per day so I tried swapping it out with a much cheaper brand for a couple of weeks. Mistake. I'm back on ALIGN.
        There are patterns if you watch for them. Your moods, sleep, digestion, etc are not usually just random occurrences. But it takes hard work. Diligence. Patience. Keep listening to your body. Don't accept anything less than your best. I'm not. I refuse to live in constant fear. I'm going to figure this out. Watch me.

        Thursday, May 22, 2014

        SNAP............Those are some Delicious Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookies

        Yummy, yummy, yummy I've got Ginger Snaps in my tummy!!!!!

        These are so GOOD. And clean. And lowish crab (relatively).

        I made them vegan so my daughter could enjoy them with me...........and she did. She LOVES them.

        They are so soft. Yum. Yum. Yum.

        Can't you tell I like them.

        I generally try to stay away from grains but I did use a bit of gluten-free flour blend in these. Choose your battles. The coconut and arrowroot help to keep them low grain and lowish carb so there are a lot worse things you can eat. And no refined sugar of course.

        Snap.....Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookies

        by MamaChanty
        Prep Time: 10 minutes
        Cook Time: 10 Minutes
        Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegan almond flour coconut flour gluten-free flour ginger cookie
        Ingredients (15 cookies)
        • Ingredients
        • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
        • 1 Tbsp ground golden flax
        • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
        • +1/2 cup organic palm coconut sugar
        • 1 Tbsp black-strap molasses
        • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
        • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (vegan margarine - or replace with more coconut oil)+
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • 2 Tbsp applesauce
        • Dry Ingredients
        • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend
        • 1/2 cup almond flour (or almond meal)
        • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
        • 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
        • 1 tsp ground ginger
        • 2 Tsp pumpkin pie spice
        • 1/2 tsp baking soda
        • pinch fine sea salt
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
        Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
        Mix together first 3 ingredients. Let stand for a couple of minutes.
        In a second bowl, whip together oil/butter and sugar. Mix until fully combined and slightly fluffy. Add molasses, applesauce and vanilla.
        Mix together two separate bowls of wet ingredients.
        Add dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
        Scoop out a heaping Tbsp at a time. Form into balls and then flatten out slightly with the back of a fork.
        Bake for 10 minutes.
        Remove from oven and let cool before eating.
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        Saturday, May 17, 2014

        MamaGetsFit - Forearms and Fun.......with a little anxiety on the side

        Up, Up and AWAY! I can do them. If very briefly. Next time I'll wear my hair back so you can see that my head is not touching the ground.

        Hey Folks.

        Happy May Long Weekend.

        The sun is finally shining in Winnipeg. We are FINALLY getting spring.

        That makes me happy.

        And the fact that the ANXIETY that was gripping me for the past week or two seems to have left the building also makes me happy. Very happy. So happy I could do handstands.

        Actually, my cousin sent me a pin (and a challenge) that she wanted to see me do forearm handstands.

        So I have been working on them. My daughter had to take this picture when we were at the park. Poor kid..............I am really embarrassing to go places with.

        Easy. No. Do-able. Barely. Fun. Hell yeah!

        So far the longest one I have been able to hold was about 5 seconds. The falling out of a forearm handstand part is not really that fun............

        So just a little progress update for my cuz! Thanks for the challenge.............always good to get some new goals and a little muscle confusion.

        I will give another update on my anxiety when I feel confident I have licked it. Day 2 of being anxiety free so I don't want to shout my solutions from the rooftops and jinx myself.

        So if all goes well I will do a post soon on how I licked my anxiety. And my kids have been busy licking lots of spoons -  so I've got some really great new recipes coming too!

        Hope you all have a tasty, up-side-down, anxiety-free long weekend!

        Yeah - that hurts.............I like it much better when I fall back down the other way.

        Friday, May 9, 2014

        Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Glaze - Dairy-Free & Gluten Free

        Ha, ha, ha. I could barely type the name of this recipe (or say it for that matter) without cracking up. I'm such a redneck under it all that it just seems way too sophisticated for me. I'm such a fraud.

        But I have to say that this was a delicious appetizer and I felt like such a grown up serving these (I know I'm 37 but I still feel like I should sit at the kids table).

        I bought the figs at Costco. And then started experimenting because I have never cooked or baked with a fig in my life.


        The combination of sweet figs, nutty walnuts, creamy goat cheese and balsamic vinegar is just to die for. And you can prepare it and then refrigerate it so you can relax when guests arrive to play the part of super sophisticated, calm and cool hostess. Or maybe you can - I'm frazzled most of the time no matter how prepared I think I am. If only I still had a shot of home-brew at parties I'd be a bit more zen......until I got crazy. That's why I don't drink anymore. That and it was poisoning me.

        But I still like a good party. And a good appetizer. So here's a new one for the rotation. Hope you enjoy! Serve it with some red wine if you want to really endear your girlfriends..............or some home brew if you want to impress your redneck friends.............or some rooibos tea if you want to keep it clean like me!

        Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Glaze

        by MamaChanty
        Prep Time: 20 minutes
        Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
        Keywords: bake appetizer snack vegetarian Dried figs Goat cheese Walnuts
        Ingredients (20 stuffed figs)
        • 20 dried figs (I used Golden Delicious Calimyrna figs from Costco)
        • 20 tsp soft unripened Goat cheese
        • 20 walnuts (full pieces)
        • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacement)
        • 1 Tbsp organic palm coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
        • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
        • 1 Tbsp organic EVOO
        • 1/2 Tbsp organic palm coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
        To prepare figs
        The figs may be quite flattened when they come out of the bag. I formed/plumped them up with my fingers so they were full. Then I cut off the top stem and make a small incision (butter knife width) at the top of the fig. I put the top of the knife in the fig and wiggled it around to make a cavity for the goat cheese to go in. I used a knife to stuff the goat cheese into the fig.
        To prepare the candied Walnuts
        In a saucepan, melt Earth balance and then add walnuts and sugar. Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes until the walnuts are cooked through and a bit crunchy.
        To prepare the Balsamic glaze
        Bring the balsamic vinegar to a low boil over medium high heat and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Using a whisk, stir the vinegar frequently until it starts to thicken (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add EVOO and sugar and continue mixing until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
        Assemble and Bake
        I put the stuffed figs into a small glass casserole dish and topped each one with a candied walnut. I then drizzled with the balsamic glaze. When you are ready to serve, bake the figs at 325 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until warned through. Serve and enjoy!
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