Recipes Roundup

As I mentioned in my past post I’m on another borrowing kick, checking out tons of gluten-free/paleo cookbooks at the library – I love that there are so many of them, both print and ebooks!

I loved the “Against all Grain” cookbook from Danielle Walker. I made the┬ádark chocolate cake brownies and they were fantastic. I subbed butter for palm shortening and 70% choc for unsweetened (only because I didn’t have any unsweetened on hand). SOOOO good and definitely couldn’t tell they are grain-free. I also made the┬álemon vanilla bean macaroons and while I wasn’t bonkers about them, everyone who tried them absolutely loved them.

I revisited Elana Amsterdam’s almond flour cookbook and made the apricot tea squares – and those were a bit hit too. I also borrowed her new paleo cooking cookbook and thought her crepes recipe was pretty good. Elana’s primal chocolate chip cookies are back in high rotation at my house, too. I make them with butter instead of vegan shortening and they turn out great. Last time I was at Costco here in Winnipeg I noticed they are now selling blanched almond flour. Awesome! I usually make my own because it’s so much cheaper…luckily Costco has started selling blanched sliced almonds again for a very reasonable price, and those are easy to grind in the food processor.

I dusted off my Wheat Belly cookbook and found some old favourites – the creamed spinach recipe is so good, and I can’t believe you can use an entire carton of spinach in one go. I could probably eat the entire batch myself. I also got the new Wheat Belly 30-Minutes or Less cookbook from the library and made the coconut strawberry biscuits…. meh… probably wouldn’t make them again.

As for online recipes, I discovered this recipe for paleo KFC chicken tenders over the holidays and have made it several times since… yum!!

I made PaleoPot’s chili cilantro lime crock pot chicken for a potluck and thought it was delicious. Will definitely be making that one again. Also made the mashed cauli potatoes with garlic & dill… really good too.

I’ve also made Paleo Spirit’s pizza crust recipe several times and really love it… it may be my favourite grain-free pizza crust recipe so far. So easy to work with and sturdy enough for a nice topping-laden pizza!

And I just love these General Tso’s meatballs from I breathe, I’m Hungry. I also love her meatballs alla parmigiana.

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It’s been a while

Yikes. It’s been almost a year since I last wrote here. But my diet has really been slipping in ways I’m not comfortable with so I think coming back to this space will help with some renewed enthusiasm and maybe even accountability!

So. I was pregnant this time last year; now I have a beautiful 7-month old daughter in addition to my spirited 3 1/2 year old son. My pregnancy was so much easier this time around, and I think at least part of that had to do with my diet, despite a few changes to my pre-pregnancy eating patterns. I did start eating a lot more starch (mainly white rice and oatmeal) during my first trimester to combat nausea, and I also developed a wicked sweet tooth. Until then I had always much preferred salty snacks, but seemingly out of nowhere I was craving ice cream, chocolate, anything sugary. The more the better.

Despite this I stayed within the recommended weight gain range of 25-30 pounds. I felt great at the end of my pregnancy – nowhere near the number of aches and pains as the first time, and sleep was much easier to come by. I just glowed inside when people told me I looked great; one acquaintance even told me I should just stay pregnant forever, it suited me so much. Those things were just wonderful to hear. I really was not used to compliments on my body. Within three weeks of giving birth all but a few pounds were gone, and I was back down to the low 160s, which is what I weighed when I got pregnant.

Through what I can only assume is the miracle fat-burning powers of breastfeeding I continued to lose weight effortlessly. By mid-December I was down to the low 150s… somewhere I hadn’t been in 10 years. I felt great and continued to enjoy lots and lots of compliments on my figure… well, I enjoyed them but they were still strange for me to hear. My body hasn’t ever really been a point of pride for me – more of a neutral area – so this took some getting used to. Still, it was nice to hear. During the fall I did Zumba and yoga somewhat regularly – usually one or the other at least once a week. I bought some new clothes and decided I should take a little more care with my appearance… staying in jammies till 5pm is not good for one’s self esteem.

Then Christmas happened. After the last year’s pregnancy-induced gorge-fest I vowed not to eat so recklessly. But… I did anyway. Not as much wheaty stuff as the year before but plenty of sugar and chips. And I knew within a week that I had gained some weight, and by the time we came back home another week later I had gained a full 10 pounds… yikes – 10 lbs in 2 weeks. A month and a half in, I have dropped 2 or 3 pounds but that’s it. I don’t feel like I’m eating crazily but I think overall I am making more frequent poor choices that just compound.

But there are also a few other things going on here.

1. I’m not getting enough sleep. My little one still eats a couple times overnight and I am sure that having such poor quality of sleep is getting in the way of me losing the weight. I also have a hunch that when I’m tired I am much more likely to snack at night – actually trying to keep myself awake. Not good. I need to be much more vigilant about being in bed by 9, reading a book for half an hour, then lights out. (Of course, the moment I drift off to sleep is when the baby wants to eat, but not much I can do about that right now.)

2. I’ve been sick. We got back from our holiday and immediately all got bad colds. Then we got over them and a couple weeks later got sick again. Between sick me, sick kids and nursing overnight I’m going on a week and a half of very poor sleep – like, maybe 2-3 hours of sleep per night, and that’s not even in one chunk. I am exhausted and I’m sure my body is not in its ideal state to repair and maintain itself.

3. To go back to the food aspect, I know I have really drifted. I’m not even sure I’d call my diet Primal-ish these days. I can’t seem to shake the starch and snack habits. Actually, it’s not the habit of snacking I am concerned about, it’s the snack food itself… eating a giant bowl of popcorn every night is ridiculous. But it’s my downfall. I remember when I started the PB I went for probably six months without making popcorn. Then I would make it every now and then. Then the last couple of months I’ve been eating it with alarming frequency…sometimes every night. Eesh. I need to get back to being much more mindful of what I eat. My initial success on the PB was definitely an 80/20 affair so I need to remind myself that a better diet doesn’t mean no treats at all.

So… it’s time to be more careful. I started reading “Grain Brain” and have been busy checking out the newest crop of Paleo cookbooks at the library for inspiration. I made eggs for breakfast this morning… baby steps back to normal.