Summer Dinners

One of the reasons I love summer so much, is because I no longer have to schlep through my daily 3 hour commute. Yep. Three hours. I love to slow things down and keep things simple. Don’t get me wrong, I still love layers of flavours and textures, but I like to be able to make dinner quickly.

I had some left over roasted chicken in the fridge, so I decided to whip up an egg salad of sorts. I scooped it onto some corn chips and had a lovely summer dinner.

 

  • 1 cup roasted chicken, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • a couple of scoops mayo (I usually make my own, but this time simply used Primal Kitchen avocado mayo)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve on top of some corn tortilla chips

Simple, delicious, and filling!

Potter Bars

Potter Bars

I am about to fly off to ALAMW17 (aka American Library Association Mid Winter Meeting) in Atlanta Georgia. I’m super excited as I have the honor of serving on the Caldecott Award committee this year. I love this conference because I get to see far flung librarians that I only get to see a couple of times per year if I am lucky. What I am less excited about is trying to conference with dietary restrictions. Eating when you are away from home is tough enough, let alone when you’re in meetings for hours and hours and most things getting passed around are laden with sugar, gluten or both.

I have learned over the past couple of years to come packing. This year I am bringing my granola, some maple spiced walnuts, and some Potter Bars. What are Potter Bars, you ask? They are our take on the Luna Bar.

My husband Scott started with a copycat recipe and tweaked slightly until we were happy with the results. The best thing is they are so easy to mix up. Just add different add ins, and you get a whole different bar! We have tried dried blueberries and dried raspberries with great success.

Potter Bars

  • 2 cups dates
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a few shakes cinnamon
  1. Soak 2 cups of dates in warm water until softened.
  2. Drain dates.
  3. Zip 2 cups of raw cashews around in the food processor until pieces are small, but not too small.
  4. Place cashew pieces in a separate bowl.
  5. Zip the dates around in the food processor until they form into a paste. Add in cashew pieces, vanilla and cinnamon. Zip some more!
  6. Scoop mixture out onto waxed paper.
  7. Put almond meal in small bowl.
  8. Scoop out some paste and form into a small ball. Roll it around in almond meal. Press into a small rectangle or square shape. (If you prefer, you can totally just leave them in the ball shape as well)
  9. Refrigerate and enjoy!

I don’t make them into full sized bars, because I find them too sweet and filling to eat that much.  These will be the perfect pick me up, and will be fine in my backpack when I am out and about at my conference.

Emergency Fudge

I’m not going to lie. This time of year is tough when it comes to dietary restrictions. All of those treats you grew up loving are now off limits, and honestly, many of the paleo or healthy desserts I’ve tried are not for me.

Thank goodness for emergency fudge.

There are lots of recipes around for this type of treat, but this is the one with the smallest amount of sweetener.  I love how versatile it is. Simply by changing up the nut butter, or throwing in some cocoa, you can have a whole new treat.

 

 

 

Emergency Fudge

  • 1 cup of nut butter of your choice (peanut, almond, cashew…you get the idea)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a sprinkle of sea salt
  • a sprinkle of Trader Joes Super Seed and Ancient Grain Blend

Mix together the nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla in a pot over low heat. Once well combined, portion into a lined mini cupcake pan. Sprinkle sea salt and super seed blend over the top. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes. Remove from freezer, and place fudge into a freezer safe container, and pop back into the freezer. Enjoy when you have a sweets emergency!

Granola

Weekly Jar of Granola

Before I changed my eating habits, I was on the search for the perfect granola recipe. I tried many and found a few delicious ones. They definitely includes loads of brown sugar and butter. But hey…granola has to be healthy, right?

After cutting out sugar and dairy, the search was back on. I didn’t want a full paleo recipe, because I definitely enjoy my oats.  I was super happy to find a base recipe at Kath Eats Real Food. The inclusion of buckwheat groats was new to me and added a delightful crunch to the granola. I have made a couple of changes along the way, and the recipe is flexible enough that you can pick and choose the nuts and seeds you add dependent on what is in the house.

 

Granola

  • 2 cups g-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups buckwheat groats
  • handful of raw chopped walnuts
  • handful of raw pumpkin seeds
  • handful of raw chopped pecans
  • handful of raw chopped almonds
  • handful of raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • several shakes of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and spread out over a parchment lined baking sheet at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour, stirring halfway through. If you like your granola well done, leave it in the oven a bit longer. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and store in a tightly sealed container. Enjoy over oatmeal, with nut milk and berries for breakfast or dessert.

Turmeric Tea Two Ways

beginnings

beginnings

Once you start reading about inflammation and foods, you will inevitably start reading about turmeric. I had been familiar with turmeric for a long time thanks to my university boyfriend, Dhimant.  He introduced me to the deliciousness of Indian food, and while I had included turmeric in many dishes, I had never used fresh turmeric before. Realistically, I am not going to have curries every night, and turmeric tea really is the primary way I make sure I get my daily dose!

It’s dead easy to make as well.

 

Turmeric Tea

  • Fresh turmeric root
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Whole pepper corns
  • Half a lemon
  • Cold water
  1. Slice up a thumb sized piece of turmeric. If you want to take off the skin you can, but I don’t bother.
  2. Slice up a thumb sized piece of ginger. Again, your choice to peel it.
  3. Crush a few peppercorns under a knife.
  4. Slice up half a lemon.
  5. Put all of the ingredients into a pot and fill with water. Honestly, I do not measure the water. I just eyeball it for about 2 cups worth of tea.
  6. Bring it all to a rolling boil for several minutes.
  7. Strain and enjoy.

What I love about this mix is that it can be enjoyed either hot or iced — hence two ways! If you like your mix sweeter, feel free to add some local honey or maple syrup to the mix.

Homemade Almond Milk

Mom's almond milk = Momond Milk.

Mom’s almond milk = Momond Milk.

There are several staples that I make on a weekly basis. One of those is making my own almond milk. Sometimes, when I tell folks I make my own they are surprised.  Why make almond milk when it’s so available in stores?  Well, I have a couple of reasons.

First off, I like the taste of homemade better than the store brands. I can control exactly what goes into my mix, and keep it free of added sugars and ingredients like carrageenans. And secondly, the “left overs” of the almond meal can become a breading for chicken since I no longer have gluten in my diet.

My first stop at finding a recipe was from Wellness Mama. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t want to commit to having vanilla in all of my beverages and breakfast bowls. What I have ended up doing over the past few years is keeping it basic. I figure I can always add some vanilla or date paste to individual servings of almond milk if I choose.

Basic Almond Milk

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • Several cups of water
  1. Place almonds in a glass container, and cover with cold water.  Allow to sit for several hours or overnight.
  2. Drain almonds and rinse them thoroughly.
  3. Place half the almonds in a blender and cover with cold filtered water. Blend on high for a minute or so.
  4. Pour the contents into a nut milk bag and squeeze contents into a container.
  5. Repeat with the second half of the almonds.
  6. Store almond milk in a glass container for up to a week.

As I said, I then dry out the almond meal.  This can be done by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the meal out and place in the over on low heat until the meal dries out. Place almond meal in the blender until fine. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for future use.

raw almonds

raw almonds

soaked almonds

soaking

blending almonds

blending

straining almonds

straining

drying almond meal

drying

 

Welcome

I’d like to welcome everyone to my new food blog! It has been a while in the making, and comes with quite a story. The story begins in a hospital, where I was admitted with “stroke like” symptoms. It should be noted that when all of this was happening, I was 43 years old, a non-smoker, and what would be considered relatively healthy. After months of downward spirals health wise, I had one doctor diagnose me with Lyme disease and one doctor tell me that it wasn’t Lyme, that it might be MS, but that he wasn’t sure.  The librarian in me researched the heck out of both of these things. Since I was being put on long term anti biotics anyway, I decided to change my diet. I had been reading about inflammation, and at the point when I was prescribed doxycyline, I was feeling incredibly poorly and would do anything to feel well. So I cut out gluten, sugar, soy and dairy. I’m not going to lie…it hasn’t been super easy. But it has become manageable. I have gotten quite creative in the kitchen and am looking forward to sharing some of my adapted recipes with you.