Monthly Archives: February 2013

iced tea

(Slightly) Sweet Fresh Iced Tea

This recipe is really a no-brainer. A lot of my recipes are, though, like the smoothies, and the popcorn, and the cardamom milk. They’re not so much recipes as…ideas.

But, ideas is the whole reason I have this blog! To give people ideas about what to eat – or drink – when they go on a diet like this. Sometimes all you want is someone to give you a list of things and to say, “Here. This is what you can eat! Go!”

So, you can add this one to your list of “Things I Can Drink.” You know, along with water, and milk, and…water. Yeah. The list of drink options on this diet isn’t very long. Which is why it’s nice to have this in your repertoire!

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Child Brainwashing 101

I have completely brainwashed my children. It’s official. I just had no idea how effective it was until yesterday.

Because yesterday during his piano lesson, on his own and without me even in the room, my son refused some candy that his teacher offered to himI heard him exclaim something about “that’s full of sugar!” through the door, but had no idea what had happened until he told me about it later.

heartsIt was valentine conversation hearts. Their piano teacher likes to give her students treats on holidays, and I would have let him take them out of politeness had I known what was happening. But when she handed him the box, do you know the first thing he did? He flipped over the box so that he could read the ingredients. And since it was (of course) completely made of sugar and high fructose corn syrup… HE TURNED IT DOWN.

Turned it down! The kid is given a box of candy and I’m not there to stop him from scarfing it down, but instead it refuses it because it’s sugar!

Then, wanting to give him some sort of treat, she offered him some yogurt instead. Now, my son loves yogurt and eats it all the time, but he still flipped it over to check the ingredients anyway. It was the “kid” kind of yogurt that’s filled with junk, though. When he was telling me about it later he said, “Sugar was the FIRST ingredient! AND there was high fructose corn syrup and soy something-or-other!” So he turned that down too.

I didn’t even know that he knew about the whole problem with soy. Apparently he’s been paying attention. And apparently he’s actually remembered all my talks about how the order of ingredients in the list matters!

So, he didn’t end up having anything. And when my daughter went in for her lesson after his, the teacher didn’t even bother offering anything to her. I guess she figured it was a lost cause! (I can only imagine what she thinks about all of this….)

I was absolutely shocked by this! But I guess I shouldn’t be. When I think about it, both my kids have started making better choices about food. I just didn’t realize they had accepted it so whole-heartedly.

I am REALLY good at brainwashing. Apparently.

My kids are 11 and 9, and they’ve had just as much of a sugar addiction as anyone else. And they have the same kid craving for candy that all kids have. They love the stuff! So, really, this transformation is very remarkable! I’m not really completely sure how this happened, but I have a few in-hindsight guesses.

If you’ve been reading this blog for long at all, you’ll know that I love a good numbered list of hints. It’s so orderly! So convenient! So I figured I’d make a nice list of all my guesses for any of you other parents who might like them!

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Affordable Almond Flour!

When I first started this diet, I used almond flour a lot, and that’s reflected in my early recipes. I used it a lot because most of my recipe ideas were coming from Paleo diet blogs, and the Paleo diet doesn’t allow any grains.

However, at $11/pound, it just wasn’t practical to use almond flour very often, so I gradually dropped away from using it. It’s just SO expensive! I mean, when you’re trying to eat Real Food, you kind of have to pick and choose where your budget goes. And it’s much more important to me to spend money on buying good quality milk and butter than almond flour. So almond flour in recipes basically got ditched.

But then I found this at Trader Joe’s!

almond meal

 

It’s not quite the same as flour – it’s almond meal, which is coarser than almond flour. But I can still use it for most things, and it was only $3.99/pound! This is a HUGE difference from what I was paying for a bag of Bob’s Red Mill.

So, that’s why I’m starting to use almond flour in my recipes again. I like the texture almond flour gives baked goods, and it’s also a good idea to decrease grain consumption when possible. I might even go back and try some of my recipes with some almond flour subbed in for the spelt (I’m especially thinking of the banana bread, since I eat so much of it.) If you are unwilling/unable to buy almond flour, though, don’t worry. Usually it can be replaced with another flour, and I’ll try to make a note of that in the recipes.

But if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, then just go buy yourself some cheap almond meal!

 

gingerbread muffin tops

Ginger Molasses Muffin Tops

The other day my daughter made cookies. They were gingery molasses cookies sweetened with dark molasses and sucanat (unrefined whole cane sugar) so they weren’t as bad as other sweets, but were still much higher in sugars than is good for me to eat. So, of course, I shouldn’t have had any.

I ate six of them.

SIX!

Very obviously, I cannot be trusted around sugar-sweetened foods – even if it’s whole, unrefined sugar.

I set out to make something that had the same flavor but without the addictive sugar punch. What resulted was a soft, pillowy muffin-like cookie. Something more like muffin tops than anything else – but the most tender and light muffin tops you’ve ever eaten! They’re packed with flavor, and the perfect sweetness for what you’d expect from a muffin. I’ve found that my enjoyment of a food is directly impacted by what I expect them to be, so calling them muffins instead of cookies immediately made them more delicious!

gingerbread muffin tops

They’re really good. So good that my son is – at this very moment – BEGGING me to let him have another one, falling to the ground in mock hysterics, pretending to be heartbroken over the fact that he has to wait until he’s done his spelling homework first. (He thinks he’s funny.) My daughter, in her more subdued way, said in agreement, “Yeah, Mom. They’re REALLY good!”

So. There you go.

However, while they’re very tasty (and obviously kid approved), they don’t make me want to wolf down the entire batch. I can eat one, enjoy it, and think it’s delicious – and then be done. It’s so much easier to have self-control without the sugar-drug!

I don’t have a step-by-step photo session of these, because I just threw them together last night and didn’t feel like bothering. (Yeah, I’m lazy sometimes.) But it’s easy, and I’m sure you can figure it out just fine!

gingerbread muffin tops

Four notes:
1. My new printable recipe thingee won’t let me put links within the recipe, so if you need a tutorial on how to make date puree, you’ll find it here. And if you need a tutorial for browning butter, you can use this one from How Sweet It Is.
2. I know I extolled the virtues of blackstrap molasses on my last post about baked beans, but it’s too bitter for this desert recipe. Use dark (sometimes called full flavor) molasses instead.
3. This recipe uses some almond flour, and it gives it great texture, but all grain flour can be used instead if desired.
4. And, while these are a very nutrient-dense and relatively healthy dessert, molasses IS still sucrose (dark molasses is 60% sucrose.) So you still have to be careful about your consumption if you’re fighting inflammation!

Ginger Molasses Muffin Tops
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 30 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz. dates, or 1 cup prepared date puree
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, preferably unrefined
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup molasses, preferably dark (sometimes called "full flavor")
  • 1½ cup whole grain spelt or whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup almond flour or meal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • scant ⅛ tsp Stevia powder
Instructions
  1. Soak the dates in very hot water for 10 minutes. Drain, and refill with fresh hot water and let soak for another 10 minutes. (or use previously prepared date puree).
  2. While the dates are soaking, brown the butter. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until it's lightly browned. Turn off heat, and stir in the coconut oil until melted.
  3. When the dates are softened, put them in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour in the melted brown butter/coconut oil mixture and pulse until relatively smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses, and process for about a minute, or until consistently smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, baking soda, Stevia, and spices and stir together. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and mix until completely combined. (At this point, taste the batter and if you want it sweeter add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup.)
  5. Cover the bowl, and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
  6. Heat the oven to 375 F. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil, or line it with parchment paper. Using two small spoons, scoop small spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet, about an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

(This recipe is a part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday)

three meat chili

Hearty Three Meat Chili

I found this chili recipe at How Sweet It Is about a year or so ago – back when I could actually still eat most of the food on her site. She cooks with sugar a lot, so I can’t really ever make her desserts, but her main-meal dishes are really good – and this is one of them! In the first week that I was on this diet, before my body got used to burning fat for energy instead of glucose, I was starving constantly and needed to eat huge amounts of protein to stay full. I made a giant pot of this chili and it was a life-saver! So, this is a great recipe to keep in mind for the start of this diet, or for generally having protein-heavy meals on hand.

It is, by far, the absolute best chili I’ve ever had in my life. You will die of happiness when you eat it. I love it so much that – get this – I DIDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE RECIPE! I know! It’s shocking! I always change something. But not this time. It’s that good.

There is ground beef. And chuck roast. And pork roast. And chili peppers. And dark ale. Need I say more? 

Now, this reads like a fairly involved recipe. After all, it involves three cuts of meat. But, as with any chili, it’s not really that big of a deal: it’s just throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot, after all. Don’t be intimidated. And if there are things you don’t like, or want to add, go ahead. Don’t like beans? Leave them out. Love beans? Add a can of cannellini beans too. Whatever. Chili’s easy like that.

And the only thing I want to make sure to highlight is that, for the beer, using a dark ale like Guiness is best. She just says to use beer, but the flavor from dark ales really is best in stews and dishes like this! Also, her recipe makes an ENORMOUS pot of chili, so feel free to cut it in half. Or make the whole thing and freeze half for the future!

So, go make this chili and prepare to be impressed! Find it here. 

IMG_2088

We ate it recently with some crusty whole wheat sourdough rolls from Trader Joes. (They’re delicious, by the way, if you have a Trader Joes near you!)

 

baked beans

Barbecue Baked Beans

Along with a bunch of other tasty, healthy treats, I made baked beans for Superbowl Sunday.

It was my daughter’s specific request, so how could I say no? My recipe is pretty much the same one my mother made while I was growing up, and it’s the bomb. If I do say so myself. If the only beans you’ve ever had is the kind that comes from a can, you owe it to yourself to make these. Not only is it delicious, it’s also fool proof: all you have to do is soak the beans, and then throw everything in a crock pot and leave it on all day. That’s it!

baked beans

These beans are full of flavor and smell DIVINE while they’re cooking. They’ll drive you nuts waiting for them to be done.

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herbed corn

Herbed Corn

I found this recipe many years ago in Taste of Home magazine, and it’s been a family favorite ever since.  All that’s involved is sticking a bunch of stuff in a pot and heating it up – it’s that simple. The dill is what makes it especially delicious, I think. Once you try this you’ll never have just plain old corn again!

There’s really not much else to say about this! I wanted to put it on here because it’s such a great staple vegetable dish that I thought you’d all enjoy!

herbed corn

Herbed Corn

  • 6 cups frozen corn (I like Trader Joe’s Organic Sweet – delicious!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp thyme

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until corn is hot and butter is melted. Stir together well and serve!