Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Joy, Peace, Gratitude... Bliss!

This week has been rough.

It's to be expected when you're in ministry and about to put on an event to fight for women's hearts. Yet, it's still hard when it happens.

Weeks like this can sometimes leave me feeling worn out and depressed.

But this time, I've chose to give it all up to God and let Him fight the battle for me. So, now I'm instead feeling things like joy and peace...emotions that don't make sense in the midst of battle, right? Well, that's the beauty of God.

Another emotion I've been experiencing is gratitude. So, I thought it was appropriate, to do another Bliss List!

I am grateful for...

1. My DD discovering how to clap!
video

2. My DD discovering how to stand!

3. Attending my first homeschool conference, finding and purchasing our curriculum for next year! (more in-depth post to come)

4. Watching my DD give kisses to Grandma and then to herself in the mirror!

video

5. Discovering Kale Chips for the first time! I can't get enough!!!

6. Getting my girls to successfully share a room!!!

7. Watching my DD in her in-studio dress rehearsal for dance and seeing that she knows most of the steps.

8. Having the revelation that "Healthy eating isn't about deprivation; it's about healthy substitutions!" (recipe for Homemade Peppermint Patties to come)

9. That I have people in my life who make me feel good about myself, who believe in me even when I don't believe in myself, who have grace for me when I don't have it for myself, and who appreciate me.

10. That I can add lemon extract to my protein shakes and make them taste like a lemon cookie!

11. That I got a second opinion on running, bought my first "real" running shoes, bought a knee compression and will be signing up for my first Warrior Dash!

12. That I won my first blogger giveaway!

13. That my Dr approved lucuma powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and tomatoes for my diet again!

14. That I can make Homemade Sugar-Free Chocolate Bars! Whoop-whoop! (recipe to come, as well as a Homemade Sugar-Free Salted Chocolate Bar recipe)

15. Discovering alcohol-free Vanilla extract (as well as other alcohol-free extracts)! I'm never going back!!!

16. That my DD is starting to form words like, "Da-Da" and "A-Ga" (all gone).


What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lemon Lemon

Yesterday was filled with lemony goodness.

You all know how I like to start my day with my infamous Breakfast Protein Shake. However, I can't have the whey protein that I usually enjoy in those shakes while on The Candida Diet. So, I made a new option!

Lemon Cookie Protein Shake

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 T Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein 15 grams
4-5 drops liquid stevia
1 tsp cold-pressed Coconut Oil
splash Lemon Extract

Notes: This tasted exactly like a lemon cookie! Hemp protein isn't exactly my favorite. It tastes likes peas to me. Not the first thing I want to be eating in the morning. But, with the lemon extract, I hardly noticed the pea taste. I'll be drinking this with the lemon extract from now on! (and might even experiment with different extracts, as well)


For dinner, we continued with the lemon theme.

PaleOMG's Lemon Poppyseed Waffles


Substitutions:
6-12 drops liquid stevia instead of raw honey
omit syrup
added a bit of water so the batter wasn't so dry

Notes: I love that these are loaded with protein-packed almond flour!


Since we are unable to eat any kind of syrup or honey at this time, I decided to get creative. I made my own topping and made my waffles into a strudel!

Lemon Icing

1-2 T raw coconut butter
3-4 drops liquid stevia
lemon extract, to taste

Heat up the coconut butter, so it's runny and has the consistency of icing. (I like to scoop out the amount I'll use into a microwave-safe dish and cook at 50% heat in 15-30 second intervals. This helps prevent burning the coconut butter.) Once you have the right consistency, add 1 drop of liquid stevia at a time, tasting after each drop until you get the right sweetness. Then repeat with the lemon extract.

Notes: This was excellent on my Lemon Poppyseed Waffles and made it more strudel-like. This would also be good as an icing on top cookies or muffins, or just eating it straight off your spoon! Of course, I didn't do that. ;-)


My DD is still able to eat sugar freely (we, of course, monitor that) so we gave her this recipe to top her waffles with. I was incredibly jealous.

Our Best Bites' Buttermilk Caramel Syrup


Substitutions:
raw honey instead of corn syrup

Notes: I first heard about this recipe when my dear friend Janelle made it for us after our All Things New team sleepover! (Yes, we still have adult sleepovers. What's wrong with that?! ;-)) It was to die for! So, I knew I needed to make it again. I didn't know if would work with the honey, but it worked out just fine. I didn't substitute the sugar, because I honestly wasn't sure that any other sugar would dissolve into a creamy syrup for me, but when I'm able to have coconut sugar again, I may try this recipe again using that.

Speaking of All Things New, I just wanted to plug one last reminder that today is the very last day to register for this event! Did you know that our entire team does these events on a volunteer basis? Why do we do it? Because each of us has been to a similar event and had our lives totally and completely changed by them. We believe in the message and we believe that women can experience the same freedom that we did from these events. Please consider attending. Your life will never be the same. And you don't have to live in Minnesota! Make it a weekend vacation away with a friend or two!


Okay, back to the food!

I think yesterday I must've been on a breakfast/brunch/brinner kick, because this is what we had for lunch!

Whole Life Nutrition's Morning Millet Cereal

1 cup millet, whole
4 cups water
pinch sea salt

First rinse the millet in a fine mesh strainer under warm running water for a minute or two. Drain off any excess water. Then place millet into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir and keep millet moving in the pan so the moisture will evaporate, about 5-10 minutes. Once this process is complete place millet into an electric grinder and grind into a fine powder.

Place ground millet into a medium saucepan with the four cups of water and pinch of sea salt. Whisk together then turn heat to medium high and continue whisking until bubbling. Turn heat to low and continue to stir occasionally until cereal has thickened and millet is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Substitutions:
already ground millet instead of whole millet - it skips the entire first step! If you do this, make sure you use about 1 and 1/4 cups of ground millet instead of the 1 cup whole millet.

Note: Millet has a lot of flavor on its own, so you really don't need to top it with anything. However, I like to make an (almost) complete meal out of mine, so I topped it with Cinnamon Vanilla Sunbutter (see below for recipe) and some Raw Coconut Butter.


Cinnamon Vanilla Sunbutter
Getting tired of the same old plain Sunbutter? Why not spice it up a bit! This recipe was inspired by Naturally Nutty's Organic Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter.


1 jar Sunbutter Organic Unsweetnened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

First start by adding your vanilla extract. Stir well. Taste and adjust to your liking. Then repeat with the stevia powder. Lastly, repeat with the cinnamon.


Did you know that you can freeze avocados? I didn't believe it the first time I saw it either! So, I had to try it! And guess what? It worked!!!

The trick is that you have to use them right away as they start to thaw out from the freezer, cause they turn brown on hyper-speed after being in the freezer!

For snack, I filled myself with one of those delicious avocados.

Detoxinista's Vanilla-cado Milkshake


Notes: If you're craving a thick, creamy, milkshake and dairy is not what the Dr ordered, this is a great alternative! You can even play with the flavors by adding different flavored stevia or perhaps some lemon extract? ;-)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting The Hang of It

Like anything new, including a diet, there's an adjustment period. I'm starting to hit my "stride" with this anti-candida diet.

Sure, I still have those darn sugar cravings. But it is getting easier and more "the norm" for us.

When I switched to eating The Endo Diet, the key for me, was to find healthy substitutions for the foods I already love.

For instance, I love Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. But, they are a "no-no" on most diets, for many good reasons. However, in my spare time I read other food blogs or do searches on Google for good recipes that I have cravings for. So, when I came across this recipe, I was so excited to try it! It will be the first thing I make when my Dr gives me the green light for oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate again! (I'll sub stevia for the maple syrup and if that doesn't work, I'll sub raw yacon syrup or raw honey).

Heathy eating is not about deprivation; it's about healthy substitutions!

Quick housekeeping issue... there are two new tabs on my blog! "Ingredients" will be a series of posts where I write in depth about different ingredients, so you can make the most informed, healthiest choices when grocery shopping. I've already added my post about the healthiest sweeteners. And "Homeschooling" will have posts about just that! We are officially a homeschooling family. I'll start writing posts about why we chose that way, which curriculum we've gone with, things I've learned at homeschooling seminars as well as how our year is going with homeschooling. We'll begin our first year of homeschooling this fall and we are very excited about it!

Now, onto some delicious recipes that I've been enjoying the past week or two...

Pure2Raw's Gluten & Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins


Substitutions:
*brown rice flour instead of amaranth flour (I don't like the flavor of amaranth)
*already ground buckwheat flour, instead of buckwheat groats and grinding myself
*1/3 tsp of stevia powder for the xylitol

Notes: Here's the deal with this recipe. The first time I tasted these, I didn't know if I liked them or not. But, the more I ate them, the more I liked them. I think the problem was that the cardamom flavor was almost overpowering for me. I'll be making these again this week and I'll be substituting Pumpkin Pie Spice for the Cardamom. However, the consistency of these were spot on. They were really moist!

Almond Cream-Filling or Frosting
This recipe was inspired by Pure2Raw's Cashew Lucuma Frosting. This makes a great frosting to the above Pumpkin Muffins, or as a cream filling to any dessert or top your oatmeal with it for a fun twist!

1 cup raw almonds, soaked (I soaked them for about an hour)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1/4 - 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 - 1 tsp stevia powder
1/4 - 1/2 T vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 T almond extract

Place the almonds, cinnamon and water in a blender and blend on high. Start adding almond milk, a little bit at a time, until the almond mixture starts blending smoothly. Once the consistency is like a smooth cream or frosting, add in the stevia a little bit at a time. Blend. Taste. Add more, if needed. Repeat with the extracts.

Elana's Paleo Bread



Substitutions:
*6 drops liquid stevia instead of honey

Notes: My search for amazing gluten-free bread is over, I think! For well over a year, I've been making all kinds of recipes for gluten-free bread. The results have been less than desirable, from overpowering flavors to short loaves. This one, however, tastes great! And though I still ended up with a short loaf (which is still taller than other loaves I've made), I realized I need a smaller pan! So, I'll be trying this recipe again this week in a smaller pan to see if that makes that difference. But, hands down, this is my family's favorite gluten-free bread recipe to-date!

Pure2Raw's Cinnamon Cardamom Sugar

When you were a kid, did your Mom ever make you "Cinnamon Toast"? You know, toast with butter on it and then she'd sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on it? Well, this is the health version of your cinnamon and sugar sprinkling!


Substitutions:
*1/4 - 1/2 tsp stevia powder instead of sugar

Notes: I first mixed up the cinnamon and cardamom, then I slowly added stevia powder a little bit at a time and tasted it. Remember that stevia powder is 300 times more sweet than sugar, so you really don't need a lot.

The Candida Diet's Quinoa Meatloaf

Substitutions:
*ground turkey instead of minced beef
*1/8 tsp chili powder instead of chilies (add more if you like it spicier)

Notes: We doubled the recipe so that we had leftovers.


And last, but not least, for today...

I have a confession. I have a new obsession. I have a new addiction.

Luckily, this is a good addiction to have!

Kath's Kale Chips

Substitutions:
*Bagged Kale from Trader Joe's is already torn into pieces instead of the heads from your local produce section.
*Spray bottle filled with olive oil instead of drizzling. So much easier!
*Sea salt instead of kosher salt

Notes: I am notorious for getting bored with foods very easily. Rarely will you see me make the same recipe twice and leftovers? No, thanks! I want something new and exciting at every single meal. However, every once in awhile a recipe comes along that I fall in love with and I can't get enough of! That has been Kale Chips for me. I seriously think it's been my main vegetable at the past 4 meals and I want more! haha

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids Culinary Adventure: Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

Materials Needed:
-A good caramel recipe, prepared
-apples on sticks
-toppings: sprinkle, crushed up Oreos, mini chocolate chips, etc
-parchment paper

Method:
Have the kids dip their apples into the caramel and then spoon their toppings onto  the caramel-dipped-apple. Set it on wax paper to dry. Then enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Top 10 Workout Songs for March


Awhile back I was contacted by Chris Lawhorn from Run Hundred. Chris' website is an online workout music database. People vote on the top workout songs each month and Chris compiles the top 10 for the current month. I'll be featuring each month's top 10 here on my blog for you! Enjoy and Get Active!!!

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The Top 10 Workout Songs For April

This month in the gym, radio hits ruled. Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Madonna all released singles destined for workout playlist glory. But, it's not just pop divas who prevailed. Carrie Underwood's latest retains a few country touches. Skrillex and Sirah cranked out a boisterous dubstep anthem. And, although most hip-hop is too slow to make the cut, J. Cole's aptly-titled “Work Out” proved to be an exception. Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music site.










To find more workout songs--and hear next month's contenders—folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine. 

-Chris Lawhorn, Run Hundred
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Please note that by featuring these songs I am not condoning anything the song lyrics may promote. These are posted for you to decipher appropriateness  for yourself and to hopefully motivate and inspire you to get active! Thanks, Amy

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anti-Candida Diet

Silly me. I forgot to include the delicious dessert recipe that my husband made for my birthday!

Paleo Carrot Cake 
with Coconut Frosting
Changes:
*We used 1/2 the ingredients and made them into cupcakes, instead of a double-decker cake.
*Added the optional ground flaxseeds.
*Omitted the Coconut Ice Cream recipe


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As you all know, my husband and I recently failed our Candida test. So, this week, we started the dreaded diet. Dun, Dun, Dun.

Okay, so moments are hard, but it hasn't been too bad, actually. My DH is having detox headaches everyday, but I'm actually doing okay. I've had to eat very restricted before, so it's nothing foreign to me. It is, however, even more restrictive than what I was eating before. So, as long as I can find my healthy cheats substitutes, I'm good!

Here's how I'm surviving! Enjoy!


Notes: I used cold-pressed coconut oil in the recipe. And I also used coconut oil when making these. They stick to the pan like no other, so be generous in your oil amounts when cooking and flipping them. Also, I totally loved that these are primarily made with nothing but healthy protein. As my picker eater daughter scarfed them down, I smiled inside with delight! Muhahaha!

I totally wish that I could've topped mine with bananas, like the original poster did in her picture, but the diet strictly requires no fruit (which is killing me, by the way). So, I topped mine with almond butter and then I had to get creative, which is why I developed this...

Vanilla Frosting
1-2 tsp cold-pressed coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Pop in the microwave for about 10 seconds and stir. Yum!


Next, my dear friend Andrea has been on the anti-candida diet for 3 months, so she shared a wonderful almond bread recipe with me. She got the recipe from this source: Naturally Savvy.

Naturally Savvy's Easy Almond Butter Bread

Notes: I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, given the ingredients. When I turned mine out of the pan (I greased my pan with organic butter since I didn't have parchment paper and I've learned the hard way that you're not supposed to put wax paper in the oven!) I was shocked at how light and airy it was. The consistency of this bread is more like a souffle than a bread. This bread, admittedly, doesn't have much flavor on its own, but I've toasted it and topped it with a thin layer of more almond butter and it hit the bread spot beautifully! 



Changes:
*1/8 c Vega Vanilla Chai instead of the Sun Warrior
*omit raw cacao
*We didn't have allspice so we ended up only using cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
*4 tsp of plain ol' chia seeds instead of some being sprouted.
*1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

Notes: My DH wasn't impressed with this recipe, but I really liked it. It reminded me of eating red hot candies with the cinnamon spice in there. Anything that resembles sweetness to me and I'm on board!


Turkey Asparagus Macaroni Bowl 
I was craving some spaghetti, but tomatoes aren't allowed on the diet, so I had to get creative. Hence, this delicious masterpiece for lunch today!

1/4-3/4 c Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, cooked
1/4 c ground turkey, cooked
1/2 c Sauteed Asparagus (see below for recipe)
1 pat butter, organic
pizza seasoning, to taste (mixture of oregano, basil, marjoram and granulated garlic)


First, get your noodles cooking. Then, ground your turkey. And also make your sauteed asparagus recipe, if you haven't already done so. Once everything is done cooking, toss it with a pat of butter and enough pizza seasoning, to taste.

Whole Life Nutrition's Sauteed Asparagus (with Garlic and Lemon)
This dish would be lovely by itself or as a side to any protein. You can also serve it, like I did above, with cooked pasta or over cooked quinoa.
Serves 2-4

1-1.5 pounds asparagus
1 T extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp sea salt

Trim the bottom ends off the asparagus. The ends are usually too tough and woody for consumption. Cut into 3-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add crushed garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add asparagus and saute for 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and sea salt; stir well and serve immediately.

Note: I wanted to eat all 4 servings of this by myself! My asparagus got a little black coating in spots from the sautéing and it was pure heaven in my mouth! Yum! I'm salivating just thinking of them. Bedtime snack, anyone?


The weather in Minnesota has been so incredibly beautiful, that we decided to do something easy and bust out the grill for dinner tonight. DH came up with the following two recipes all by his lonesome. He's a great cook!

Basic Grilled Curry Chicken

chicken breasts, organic and hormone free
sea salt, to taste
garam masala, to taste
curry, to taste

Sprinkle salt, garam masala and curry over the uncooked breasts. Put directly on the grill for approximately 10-15 minutes. Turn halfway through.

Basic Grilled Green Beans

haricot verts (french green beans)
extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Take a handful of green beans and place them into a sheet of tin foil. Fold up the edges of the tin foil. Drizzle the green beans with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with another sheet of tin foil. Put on the grill for approximately 10-15 minutes. Turn halfway through.

Hope those are a good start to enjoying your journey with anti-candida, or just to enjoy some yummy recipes. There is more to come!

For tonight, I'll leave you with two other things that are saving me on this diet right now.

Coffee is strictly forbidden, unless it is chickory coffee. I'd never heard of that before, so for the past 2 days I've gone coffee-free and it was not fun. Imagine my delight when I went to Trader Joe's and found this!

And tea is also very restricted to only a few certain kinds that are allowed. I ran out of cinnamon tea, but found this Aveda Comforting Tea in my pantry! It leaves you feeling like you're drinking sugar with a sweet aftertaste. Ahh... :-)

Goodnight, all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Golden

This past weekend was my golden birthday.

It was the best weekend ever!

It all started Thursday afternoon, though, when I got a text message from my husband saying he has a new boss and his new boss wanted to reward him for doing so good at work! He told him to take me out on the company card. It's so funny how God works, sometimes. I didn't even know I had the desire in my heart to go out to a fancy restaurant with my husband for my golden birthday, but apparently God did.

We even had a babysitter already, because friday afternoon my parents came and picked up my girls to take for the whole weekend, so just my honey and I could spend some time together.

Friday night I had some friends over, we fondued and played Court Whist. So fun! And best friend, Jen, knows me so well... look what she got me!

A Wusthof chef's knife!!!

Saturday was my actual birthday. I woke up with a massive migraine, so I rested most of the morning. My best friend from college bought me some fun bath stuff, so I thought I'd soak in a bath and see if that helped.

It did! So, I got myself all dolled up and ready to celebrate being 31!

First, we began the tour de free stuff.

First stop was Caribou Coffee where I ordered a Medium Dark Chocolate Turtle Mocha (not so hot).

And it was gooooooooodd!

Next we stopped at few more places, one of them being Denny's to get the FREE Grandslam Breakfast. We took it to go because we had a few more stops. We made a big donation to Goodwill, so we sat in their back parking lot (which overlooks a wooded area) and enjoyed the food.

Nothing like a Denny's breakfast in your car in the parking lot of your local Goodwill. Pure class. haha

The real fun began when we arrived at Hotel Sofitel, where the restaurant we chose to go to was located.

We chose to go to Colette!

This is the front of the house at Colette. And some of inside the restaurant. Everything in this restaurant is top notch, from the service to the food to the ambiance!
 

We ordered one of my favorite drinks...a Lava Flow. (the ones in Minnesota don't hold a chance against the ones in Hawaii!)

Then they brought out our bread basket. Three kinds of bread: French, Onion and hmm...sorry, I can't remember the last one, but it was good. Along with three kinds of dipping options: butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar was to die for!

Next, we decided to share the traditional French Onion Soup.

So, cheesy and soo good. We think this was made with some sort of turkey broth instead of beef broth.

Next, we our entrees.
 

DH ordered the Halibut on Ratatouille (pictured left) and I ordered the Filet Mignon with a Peppercorn Sauce (pictured right). Simple.To.Die.For.

Around this time, I overheard the gentlemen sitting at the table next to us say to his guest, "I just don't understand why people take pictures of their food." Clearly he was talking about me, since I'd been happily snapping away the entire night (without a flash, so I'm not sure why it was bothering him). I just laughed it off and when his dinner arrived, I jokingly said to my husband, "Should I ask him if I could take a picture of his food?" haha

Back to dinner. Or dessert, rather. I ordered the Vanilla Creme Brulee for my birthday dessert.

My husband couldn't decided so, he ordered two! Gosh, I love him.

Cheesecake Pops - the chocolate one on the far left was ah-mazing and I'm not even a cheesecake fan.

Tour de Chocolate - Tiramisu, some sort of Coffee Torte and a Chocolate Mousse.

When we left we walked around a little bit and discovered this adorable little bakery tucked behind Colette.

After dinner, we headed home to watch the movie, "The Rum Diary" with Johnny Depp. Horrible movie. Very boring. Don't waste your time.

All in all, this was the best birthday weekend ever! I feel so blessed to have such amazing people in my life.