Posts Tagged ‘food’

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food

November 23, 2009

I think it’s been a while now since I wrote about food but it’s right near the top of the list in what I’ve been working with lately. When I first got to school I was excited to get back to baking budget friendly snacks; crackers and muffins in particular. It was all going well for a few weeks and then I started to notice that it wasn’t all agreeing with me. Of course I continued baking for a little while longer.

At the same time, the naturopath I’ve been seeing here was pointing towards my possible challenges with gluten. Having been wheat free for the better part of 7 years I didn’t listen very well at first. Doh! During this time the variety of grains I’ve been using has been on steady slide with spelt being the only thing in my cupboard here. I didn’t truly wake up to my possible gluten challenges until after a couple of restless nights in late October when I was using barley rather than the usual buckwheat in a magic bag to warm my bed. It was as if I’d just eaten an offending food before slipping into bed. It took hours to fall asleep, the sleep never lasted for long and I would feel soooo tired the next day. Quite simply, I should have known better.

I’m hopeful that my body will accept spelt, barley etc. more pleasantly after a bit of a sabbatical so lately I’ve been testing out gluten free. I started with Bob’s GF rolled oats* that I was grinding up in the blender to make flour. This form of oat flour doesn’t take up as much liquid as spelt but it seemed to work well for cookies. Then I had the nerve to try making muffins. Fail!

I was quite defeated by the muffin failure and it took a good 10 days or so for me to recover enough to start looking at what else might work. Fortunately I have some familiarity with the other options since Kevin has been gluten free for the past few years. Mind you, he can’t have corn or soy and I can’t have rice. He’s been doing his own baking ever since his gluten discovery. I’ve helped find recipes but that’s about it. I’ve often felt bad about this but somehow unable to get past it and just try making something I can’t sample. Sadly, I think this new hyper-sensitivity to gluten may be just what I needed. Being able to provide food, especially of the baking variety, has been so important for me and I’ve really felt the void these past few years.

This weekend I got Kevin to share some of the recipes he’s got at home and I’ve stocked up on almond flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour and xantham gum. No doubt it’s going to take some work but I suspect there are far more vegan GF baking resource out there now. If you know of any I’d be happy to learn.

Oh, and after about 3 weeks of searching I finally found buckwheat pasta for less than $10 a package. It’s made in China but at this point I don’t much care. I can eat pasta again and we’ll be able to share the same pot of food when I get home. Yay!

* Oats are a problem with some GF folks but so far so good for me. I also know from tests that I had done in university that I don’t have celiac disease.

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meal plan

September 14, 2009

I started doing weekly meal plans long before meeting Kevin so that I would have a few days break from each type of food.  It was a way of trying to cope with all the food sensitivities I had been building up.

To accommodate my after school/work activities I’d have a loose description of what things were okay for each day of the week and when I lived in Nanaimo my Wednesdays usually included a salad with a variety of bean sprouts, and some version of tofu.  I remember because I had to make sure it was something my friend who came to town every Wednesday could eat and he was a vegetarian who really liked tofu.

I no longer stick to such a regimented diet but I do like to plan for the week ahead so that I don’t waste food or end up eating junk because I’m too hungry to think of something good.  For the past couple of months Kevin has been doing most of the food planning but now that I’m away from him and our home I’ll have to do this food planning thing on my own.  Yesterday I loaded up on staples and ingredients for the following meals:

Sunday – salmon with corn on the cob and broccoli.  (According to my old diabetic food chart, corn is more of a starch than a vegetable and since Kevin can’t enjoy corn I thought I’d try it while I’m out on my own and it’s still in season)

Monday – chicken tacos with homemade seasoning, salsa and lettuce

Tuesday – chick pea salad with stir fried veggies and almonds

Wednesday – zesty garlic pasta from How it all Vegan with chicken and broccoli (because I would have paid the same price for 1 stalk as I did for 3)

Thursday – tomato lentil soup (this might be adapted from HIAV) and maybe some bannock

Friday – jerk chicken from Grazing, quinoa and tbd vegetable

Saturday – pizza!

I also plan to make more crackers from Grazing and perhaps some berry bundles from Vive le Vegan.

Here’s for another string of warm days and some great food for the third week of September!

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back to food

January 26, 2009

It’s so easy for us to get in a rut and make the same meals week after week. Same goes with getting accustomed to buying snack foods that someone else has prepared.  It’s so expensive and thinking about the changes this next year is going to bring I’ve finally convinced myself that it’s time for a change.

In the past month we’ve been eating more vegan meals (three to five days a week) and I’m getting back to baking.  It’s so great to have more than 2 cookies to choose from and to revisit some of my favourite muffin recipes from before.  And of course saving moolah never hurts!

Early on in our relationship I was introduced to a beat up version of the Purity Cookbook that Kevin’s mom used religiously when he lived at home.  When I saw a reprinted version of it last year I decided to take a chance and try it out.   The organization and index aren’t overly user friendly but I’ve found some great traditional cookie recipes that are hard to find anywhere else.  On Sunday night I tried  these:

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Thimble cookies, but not the way my mother made them (she always used blackberry jelly which I never liked as a kid).

The wheat free version I created is definitely going in the next edition of my cookbook, although I’ll likely double the recipe.  Here’s what the 16 cookie recipe I tried last night looks like:

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/4 cup raw sugar

2 tsp lemon juice (that’s not even a substitution!)

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp water)

1 cup whole spelt flour

1 cup crushed nuts

a little bit of berry jam

It’s pretty simple.  Cream margarine and sugar, then mix in lemon juice and HALF of the flax egg.   Add the flour and you’ve got a fairly gooey cookie.  Roll the dough into 2-3 cm diameter balls and then roll them in the remaining flax egg, before coating them in the crushed nuts.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Before popping them in a 350 F oven, use your finger to create a divot in the middle (the jam will go here later).  They bake for 15- 17 minutes and while I didn’t need to deepen the hole partway through the cooking you might want to check after the first 5-7 minutes of cooking.  As soon as they come out of the oven, fill the holes with jam. Mmm mmm good!

I know they contain a good amount of oil but I’m preferring this nutty raspberry jam cookie to the margarine coated popcorn I eat when there’s nothing else in the cupboard.  Plus they’re surprisingly quick and easy to make with ingredients we always have in stock.  They’re going quickly too – I’m already down to 9 and I’m the only one who can eat them.

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crazy pizza

January 22, 2009

When we started making dinner tonight I had no intentions of turning the process into a blog post.  Oh, I love how things change like that.  I was relaying to Kevin how a friend of mine from university was making pizza today too because I noticed her facebook post.  That made me happy.

Usually I buy these ridiculously expensive spelt tortillas for me but today I was in the mood to make them from scratch, just like in the old days.

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pizza production

While we were preparing the pizzas that our funny diets require we started singing Charlotte Diamond’s “I am a pizza”.  We couldn’t remember the French words for oregano so you know what that would mean… yep we went to Youtube, because the whole song is available there.

You’re probably wondering why this dink pair would be singing kids songs and I love the story so here goes.

Since Kevin is gluten free among other things, we  sometimes check in on gluten free girls blog.  I’m sure we’d visit more if there wasn’t so much dairy but I digress.  In the fall I came across this post.  Reading Shauna’s post, I realized just how many of the songs I knew – every single one!  I was reading out some of the post to Kevin and he recognized most of them too so of course we had to find e versions of the songs to singalong with.  It was so much fun!

That takes me to Charlotte Diamond and pizza.  We just couldn’t get our fill of songs from our childhood so we started looking for what our French Immersion sisters listened to, and well, the pizza song stuck.

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My crazy spelt tortilla pizza

Our pizza today rocked, thanks to some happy coincidences and the song “I am a pizza”.

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Kev's "bread" pizza

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Freedom from Allergies

January 7, 2009

There certainly have been times in my life when I wished I was free from allergies and the like but lately I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve gained courtesy of having to watch what I eat and where I spend my time. The crazy part is that I’m writing this while suffering from a food induced headache right now, thanks to a work lunch earlier in the day.

Dietary restrictions have the biggest impact on our daily lifes since Kevin and I both have them. It turns out the impacts aren’t all negative. Some of the great things we’ve gained from having to watch what we eat include:

  • how to cook!
  • how to make things from scratch
  • how to balance our diets
  • new friends (it’s easy to spot another special diet person when you are one yourself)
  • proficiency in adapting recipes to our own tastes
  • a greater awareness of where our food comes from and what’s in it
  • a taste for ethnic dishes (sort of – I can’t eat rice)
  • an appreciation for local foods
  • the knowledge for where to find “odd” ingredients
  • increased environmental awareness
  • increased social awareness
  • less packaging
  • less waste
  • a commitment to growing our own produce
  • motivation to maintain our own compost – more on that in another post!

… and I’m sure many other things I haven’t thought deeply enough about yet.

All this is not to say it’s all peaches and cream having special diets, but really, the benefits are now starting to outweigh the annoyances of bringing our own food or dealing with inept kitchen staff on those rare occassions when we eat out.

There are some handy things we’ve come across in our journey to eat healthy. By far, the most helpful cookbook has been Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer’s How it all Vegan.

How it all Vegan

No, we’re not vegan but vegan recipes are a great place to start when you can’t tolerate milk or eggs. This book is especially helpful because it includes recipes for the sorts of things most people buy in a jar with a label of foreign names. Some of my favourite recipes are zesty garlic toss for pasta, cajun spice and perogies.