Friday, September 27, 2013

Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti: Seriously Simple and Delicious!

Ok, this is a seriously happy discovery.  One of my favorite comfort foods is spaghetti.  I saw that you can make noodles by using this tool: spiral  vegetable slicer
it has a hand crank and it is really quite simple and easy.  I got it on sale for about $22.00
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007Y9WHQ/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In any case; I sauteed the noodles briefly in garlic and olive oil, added the sauce and it was DELICIOUS!  better than semolina pasta and certainly much much more healthy (rather than negatively healthy and heavy carb adding)..  I like the texture and the taste and it filled me up on very little.  My kids didn't really go for it (yet)  (-;  They are a little prejudiced against zucchini in general. There's time to encourage this transition.



Real Life Snippets


The Crazy:
Last night, we had open house. It was one more thing to fit into our day.  The routine has been becoming a comfort, but sometimes when there is one more thing, it throws things off.  We got home later than usual.  No time for a story. Straight to bed.  Today was picture day and I had forgotten to fill out the form.  On top of getting breakfast, kids up, etc, I had to figure out the picture thing; encourage the kids to pick out something nice for their pictures and to brush their hair a little better than the usual garbage pail mop expectation.  As I was filling out the forms; the toddler woke up and would not be happy if I was not the one to hold her.  There was no choice this morning as I tried to fill out the forms, she sobbed and hung onto my legs.  At the same time, we could not find the gentle hairbrush. My eight year old daughter would not accept using a regular brush. It hurts too much. She had to find it, but finding it was not realistic. She would not accept reality and continued to refuse to brush with the harsher alternative. Of course, it was missing on picture day.  Meanwhile the clock ticked.  Fortunately, my son was compliant this morning, dressed in a Minecraft tee shirt,  hair wetted down and brushed(for a change).  Oh, but where did he go last minute when it was time to get out the door?  Finally, middle daughter, accepted her fate and allowed me to brush and braid her hair. Crying toddler, placed in stroller for the walk to school and we somehow managed to make it to school on time(barely).  (of course, my hair was hurriedly thrown into a ponytail; and my own teeth unbrushed; and the only thing I put into myself was coffee)  This is real life.  The crazy rush of morning. Not having even a chance to really say anything to my husband before going separate ways; other than reactions to the harried stress of getting everyone ready; and answering to his frustrations, as he also tried to keep up.

The Contemplative:
But real life is this too: Through the Eyes of a Two Year Old.  Walking home from school; after dropping off the kids; we slowed.  We walked by the grapevine.  Yesterday, we had stopped there after school. Toddler-Kei had noticed a fallen grape, and was very concerned about it. She picked it up and carried it home.  This morning, she thought of the grape again, and looked for it, very concerned that it was no longer there.  She talked about the grape. "oh no, grape"  We walked away, but she stopped. She started to cry.  There was something about the fallen grape. Did she want another one?  Was she thinking of the grape as a living being, hurt?  Or did she just feel hungry for a grape?  Or something else entirely?  I slowed enough, to walk back there with her to find some small ones still growing and talked to her about how there were more.  She reached out to touch them, and picked two of them and held them in her hand; satisfied.  I wonder what about it made it better?  And why the grapes were so important to her.  It was so tender to me how a simple thing like grapes were so important to her.

Then we walked further, and a neighbor had a bunch a blow up ghosts in their yard, "what's that?" she asked.  "ghosts," I said. "they goo whoooo whooo boo," and she laughed.  We walked closer and she shivered.  She was fascinated, but also scared (or cold).  She repeated, "what's that?" and I repeated my answer and she laughed again.  She was so affected by the ghosts too; both fascinated and scared and humored.

Epilogue:
While I was writing this; my 2 year old, got into her sister's room, rummaged through her things, found a lollipop. I found her gleefully rummaging with sucker in mouth!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Made it to the Grocery Store and Back

Ok, I did it.  My first run with grocery shopping on my Xtracycle with toddler.  She weighs about 30 # and the groceries weighed about 40#.  The grocery store is about 1.5 miles away (with a hill involved)  One of the good things about doing it this way; I am motivated to limit what I buy because I have to haul it back!  (-;  I also got much more of a work-out this way than I would have by going to the gym and no gas involved.

I'm not going to pretend it was easy for me, though.  I was nervous.  Mainly worried about tipping over with "my most precious cargo"  I packed bungees and lots of bags; not sure how much grocery I could fit into the panniers.  I wasn't sure if it might rain. I had to make sure I had some diapers (just in case).

  It took me about an hour and a half.  It takes a little while to load/unload especially with a child.  She enjoyed the ride until the very last part; when we were about 2 blocks from home and she decided to pull off her helmet.  I had to stop; put up the kickstand and fix it; which was a pain.  It also seemed that today was the day for obstacles to bike around; trucks parked everywhere; construction, etc. This certainly isn't the easiest way of going shopping! "inconvenient food" I am hoping it gets easier!  I'm committed either way.  Scarily committed.  The first time was not quite as fun as I hoped; but I think as I gain some confidence, it will feel good after a few runs.  I do not feel "elated" quite yet. I am still feeling, "Holy S@#$, what have I committed myself to!"  I need to do this; though; on many levels doing this is sooo good for me.

It isn't really much, but it is a start.

BTW, I just happened to run into the guy who sold me the bike in the store and he recognized me and the bike.  Kind of funny.

PPS. I didn't break any eggs.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Holy Moly What am I Doing?

Day 21: of 21 day sugar detox

I have lost about 5 pounds.  I haven't been totally wheat free, or 100 percent no sugar, but I have drastically changed my diet.  I am happy to say, I am eating very little wheat(and only whole wheat)..and very very little sugar.  And I am not ending today.  I feel better, much better.  More energy, and I feel thinner.

I am also at the same time, going to go by bike whenever I can.
I picked up my (new to me) Breezer Xtracycle on Saturday and tomorrow will be my first time taking it grocery shopping. I took it out for a spin today to practice a little.

I am fighting a cold and feel a bit out of sorts and having a wave of fear about the whole thing.  It has started to rain. What am I doing?  yikes!  (nervous about lugging baby and groceries on hills tomorrow)  I'm having a down-day..a hurtle day.  Having a cold is taking away some of my steam; courage..  I think I am at the next phase of this change. I got through the first 3 weeks and accomplished quite a bit, but now I am worried about backsliding; worried about failing myself, now that I have made this commitment.  Tomorrow will hopefully help me gain some confidence.  I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

This morning I made pumpkin pancakes with no wheat and no sugar.
http://balancedbites.com/2012/10/easy-recipe-pumpkin-pancakes-from-practical-paleo.html
It felt good to also attempt enticing my children into eating this way too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

On a Roll: Fitting Exercise in Daily Life. Saving Gas. Being an Example.


21 Day Sugar Detox: Day 14


I'm on a roll.  

For two weeks, I've been on a sugar-detox and I am feeling really good.  I am finding ways to find new ways of cooking without sugar and white flour and with minimal wheat and grains.

It did not stop there.  In the back of my mind, I have had the idea of getting groceries by bike.  I have tried it with a bike trailer.  I have lugged my youngest on the back of my bike in bike seat.  Neither option was very comfortable for me.  My bike was too large and my baby felt unstable in back.  I did not like the bike seat for her either.  The groceries rolled around and dragged inside of the bike trailer.  There were too many obstacles to my going through with the idea.  

More and more I have been seeing people in town on cargo bikes and I've been salivating at them for quite some time. Years now, but I was not ready to take the leap. I knew if I did my husband would hold me to a commitment to biking as much as possible rather than driving.  I wasn't ready.

Now, I am.  Before the weather completely turns and while I am on a roll and energized, motivated to change. I am leaping.

I rented a Breezer/Xtracycle and tried it out for a couple of days.  I fell in love.  Not only could I ride with my toddler on back.  I was also comfortable with my 84lb son, and my 60 pound daughter. (not all at once).  I also did not take my older children on hills either, but taking them on the bike will mostly be for fun.  This is for me, my toddler, and groceries.  I took them bike up to Trader Joes up a very big hill 3 miles away, bike home, biked to Sellwood to drop off the bike, and walked home. That day I biked 7 1/2 miles and walked 1 1/2 miles.  

My plan. I will cancel my gym membership.  I will no longer need to "drive" to the gym to get exercise.  Instead I will bike wherever and whenever I am able to.  With this bike system, I can bike the way I would drive around town, on errands, shopping, trips to library, knitting group, parks, little trips, etc.

I will: 
1. Save money on gym membership
2. Save money on gas
3. Reduce my carbon footprint
4. Model exercise for my kids
5. Maybe motivate my kids to bike more, themselves
6. Exercise as a part of my daily life rather than as an accessory activity that takes money and time
7. Extend the life of our car and need less frequent oil changes
8. Get in shape (hopefully)
9. Be able to go on family bike rides. 
10. Have biking as a joint hobby with my husband (who bikes 10 miles to work everyday)



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Buttermilk Zucchini Bread Pancakes (Wheat Free: includes GF, Paleo, sugarfree version)



Buttermilk Coconut Zucchini Bread Pancakes (wheat and sugar-free)
 (Paleo/GF/sugar-free, Wheat free or non paleo versions) (made 22 pancakes) feeds 5-7

 this is my own recipe I created today.. I adapted a favorite pancake/waffle recipe with ideas from paleo zucchinni bread.  It worked really well, texture a little between a pancake and a thick crepe. It has its own sweet-spice flavor without even adding syrup. 


 DRY ingredients
3 cups of coconut flour

½ cup of tapioca flour

1 TB baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

dash of ginger

 dash of allspice
  
Wet Ingredients
2 cups of shredded zucchini

1-3 cups of buttermilk/or coconut milk (depending on how thick or thin you want your batter)

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2TBcoconut oil



Add Ins

(if you are not concerned with sugar, you can also add)

honey/syrup

chocolate chips

walnuts

raisins

 mix the dry ingredients together
Add wet ingredients. Add the oil last

Fry over medium to medium-lo heat


Friday, September 6, 2013

Wheat and Sugar Free Pizza



I adapted a recipe from this blog:  http://www.paleocupboard.com/paleo-pizza.html
the author of this blog also has instructions for making paleo cheese as well!  I wasn't  that adventurous..nor did I have the time tonight to try that.  I'm not eliminating cheese from our diets anyway.  but, her recipe for cheese looked quite tastey!

to make the crust for this pizza.  It was really really good.  The crust was like a really good pie crust (to me)

I doubled the recipe from the blog because I have 5 people in my family to feed.

For 2 pizzas to feed 5-7 people.
I used 4 eggs
3 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of almond flour/plus more to put under the pizza while rolling it. (you really do need parchment paper to roll it on top)
salt
oregano
basil
garlic powder

I am not putting all the instructions here, because I think it is not quite my recipe. I encourage you to visit her blog.  I may play around more with the recipe to see how these different flours work and taste and see what works best for us.  I am quite happy, however, with this first attempt!

21 Day Sugar Detox and Learning about Paleo. Day 4



Apple spice buckwheat coffee cake
I adapted the recipe from this link and used buckwheat instead of coconut flour

On a new journey.  When I was pregnant with my third child; I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  I was put on a strict diet where I had to have a very careful combination of carbs and protein combinations.  My servings were small and frequent and I had to measure my blood sugar three times a day.  It was HARD and I did not like it and I felt very skeptical about it.  I did; however learn something, a pattern of being conscientious of the quantity of the food I ate and how each food affected my blood sugar and how long it took for my body to process carbs.  I noticed a huge difference between white bread and whole grain.  The white bread would spike me very high and I could only eat a very very small amount of it. I could get away with quite a bit more when I had whole wheat.

Well, now that my child is two and a half and I am forty; I am suddenly putting on some pounds.  My body is not being very forgiving anymore.  It is an obvious change and only just recently.  I am convinced it is the sugar and the wheat.  I realize I have to do something about it and cannot go on the way I have been.  Since my third child; I have gone back to short-cutting for survival.  No more.  She is older now, and it is time for me to put some effort back into making things more from scratch.

For me, I need something dramatic and different to really get excited about it and to mark the change. That it will be different. So, I am trying the 21 day sugar detox  .http://the21daysugardetox.com/  Today is day 4.

I have not been completely on track these past 4 days.  It has been a process of learning what I am doing and figuring out substitutions.  In this process I am also learning about Paleo and the concept of being wheat free.  I don't think I want to go grain free.  In my gut, I think we need grains too.. However, wheat, is perhaps a good idea to go without...and corn too.  A friend gave me a couple of other resources that I am in the process of learning about:  http://www.elanaspantry.com/ and http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

So, I have purchased some coconut flour, and almond meal, and tapioca flour.  These I will experiment with when making my pizza crust tonight.  (I also think my kids and husband could use a sugar/wheat detox) My middle child is especially a bagel/white bread addict, and she craves sugar all the time.  I am reading that wheat can stimulate your appetite..make you want to eat more.  So, I am hoping to improve my energy and to lose some weight. And also, find ways I can get my family on track too. I am on a new journey I am excited about.  I love learning new things!   While this is day 4, it has been more like each day, I've eliminated one more food while finding substitutes.  Day one-three-no sugar..  And now, I am working on eliminating wheat and corn.  I do not know if I have lost any weight yet.  I hope so, but I think my biggest goal is more of a long term change.

I hope this pizza recipe is good!  http://www.paleocupboard.com/paleo-pizza.html  I am using regular cheese, but I want to see what this crust is like.

This week, I also make a buckwheat/apple/walnut coffee cake. The original recipe called for coconut flour, but I used buckwheat instead because I did not have coconut flour yet.  It turned out pretty good. http://nummyformytummy.com/2013/05/13/apple-spice-coffee-cake/


I am also wary of substituting one ingredient for wheat--like using too much almond or coconut..  I am guessing it may not be too good to eat too much "nut"??  Therefore, think it might be good to use buckwheat or spelt?  How much almonds, cashews, coconuts are okay to have on a daily basis?  I also do not plan to eliminate dairy either.  I have used whole organic milk, cream, and butter for a long time. Currently we are not drinking raw milk, though.  We used to.  

Sausage-Cabbage Casserole
I have not eliminated potatoes--only minimized them so far.

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