Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vegan Pancakes

Woo hoo!  This morning I made pancakes that actually taste like pancakes, my father-in-law even asked for seconds!  I started with the pancake recipe from Elana's Pantry (which is the starting place for most of my current cooking attempts) and modified little by little.  These pancakes are made from blanched almond flour and use chia seed meal plus water and arrowroot starch as egg replacers.  I also substituted a Xylitol/ Stevia blend for the agave nectar and then added an extra 3/4 cup of liquid to get the batter to the right consistency.  These are best made on a griddle for even cooking, but I used a junky skillet on an electric stove and they turned out fine.  Also, keep in mind that I am NOT a professional anything in the kitchen - this is just how I made this recipe work for me.  Happy breakfast!

Vegan Pancakes (Candida Diet approved!)

2 TB. chia seed meal + 6 TB. hot water (egg replacer)

Dry Ingredients:
1&1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 TB. arrowroot powder
1/4 cup Xylitol/Stevia blend (I use my own 60/40 blend.)

Wet Ingredients:
1 TB. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1/4 cup of water to start, plus up to 3/4 cup additional liquid to thin batter

  1. Make egg replacer by mixing the chia seed meal and hot (but not boiling) water.  Set aside while mixing other ingredients and allow mixture to gel.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. After egg replacer has gelled, add remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add extra liquid (I used coconut milk) to batter until is resembles normal pancake batter.
  6. Using a table spoon from the silverware drawer, scoop one spoon of batter onto griddle and use spoon to spread batter around to thin pancake.
  7. Cook until edges brown and pancake bubbles.  Flip pancake and allow to cook until it rises and then collapses.  This is how you know the inside of the pancake will be fully cooked.
  8. Serve with Coconut Manna and crushed almonds or other sweeter nuts.
Makes approximately 20 small (2-3 inch) pancakes.

PS.  Many thanks to my in-laws and my hubby this weekend for all their support, encouragement, and culinary knowledge. They helped me improve a couple of my recipes and answered many cooking related questions.  Most of all, they enjoyed the food that I can eat right along with me- from purchase to prep to plate.  It's really nice to be able to share what I am doing with others who are willing to try something new!  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Case of the Crazies

I knew this treatment diet would be difficult and expensive.  I knew it would be frustrating and time consuming.  I did not realize just how much of an emotional roller coaster it would be.  One minute I am doing well and feel like I've got it all under control, the next I am in tears on the edge of a melt-down.  (I guess I'm getting a good idea of how it feels to be a three year old.)  Little things like not being able to find real, whole foods at the grocery store can send me in a tail spin.  My husband asks how he can help and the truth is I just don't know what to tell him.  

One thing that I have realized is that I am, in a sense, going through a grieving period over the loss of "my foods."  The K├╝bler-Ross Model, commonly known as the Five Stages of Grief, include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I can go through all five stages in the course of an hour.  Denial:  "YEAH, I'm fine, I can do this, this is no big deal!  It's only for a few months." Anger:  "This SUCKS.  I HATE THIS.  I'm going have to be on this diet FOREVER."  Bargaining:  "I just need to find a new doctor.  Maybe if I do this differently, it'll be over sooner.  I just need to go hard core and it'll all be good."  Depression:  "No one understands what I am going through.  No one really cares.  I'm just going to curl up in a little ball and hibernate until this stupid diet it over."  Acceptance:  "Yes, this does suck but you are NOT alone and it is only for a period of time, not forever."  I know that it is no where the same as loosing a loved one (it doesn't really even compare to that), which is what these stages were originally developed for, but it is still a loss and it does leave a big hole in your life.

This may sound silly if you haven't been told that if you continue eating what you have been eating you will continue to be sick.  This is NOT a fad diet.  I'm not doing this to lose weight or to clear up my complexion.  I am doing this because my body was shutting down and I am sick all the time.  So, yes, I can cheat and sneak one of the forbidden foods here and there, but then I get to feel like junk the next day.  

Here's where the loss comes in- our culture, our lives, revolve around food.  Imagine birthdays without cake, Thanksgiving without stuffing, Christmas without cookies.  Imagine never being able to go to your favorite restaurant again because you can no longer eat anything on they have on the menu.  Imagine all your favorite recipes from your childhood are no longer a possibility.  We have an emotional connection with our food, traditions and memories accompany much of what we eat.  I am mourning the loss of those traditions and future memories.  I am trying to learn to make new traditions and to look forward to new memories.  And I am still looking forward to reintroducing some of those favorites, just in a new and healthier way.  So if you are going through this, know that it is okay to grieve, to cry, to get mad.  It is difficult, but you will learn new ways of doing things and it will get easier.  At lease that's what I am hoping for.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Salad Dressings

Here is a few of my "Go To" salad dressings.  Store bought salad dressings are full of preservatives and additives- making your own salad dressings is both very easy and very good for you!  I've had to cut out tomatoes completely because of my acid reflux, but I love the Tomato Basil dressing and look forward to adding that back into my diet someday.  The Green Goddess Dressing is smooth and creamy and goes great with spinach and chicken.  The Italian Dressing is super versatile and can be kept in the fridge for up to three months.  The recipes below are how I make them, but feel free to experiment with seasonings and ingredients to make your salad dressing just right for you.

Tomato Basil Dressing 
from Maximized Living's Nutrition Plan

1 medium tomato, roughly chopped, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
2-4 TB Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, raw & unpasteurized is best)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Basil Leaves (whole) or 1/8 cup dried basil
1/2 Clove Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  This dressing is also great as a substitute for ketchup on burgers or steak.  I love it over steak with fresh avocado!

Green Goddess Dressing

1 avocado
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon herbes de provence
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
3-5 drops stevia or 1/2 tsp Xylitol
1 cup water

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or a blender
  2. Process on high speed until smooth and creamy
  3. Pour over your favorite salad greens
  4. Store remaining dressing in a glass jar in fridge
  5. Keeps for up to 5 days 

I love Elana's Pantry!   I have had to modify them to fit my Candida Diet plan, but many of my recipes are from her blog.  If you are getting in to clean eating or just want delicious food that is much better for you, check out her site!

Perfect Homemade Italian Dressing

1 cup of the vinegar (any type is fine, whether ACV, wine vinegar, rice vinegar, etc...)
1 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon Xylitol, optional (I prefer it without)
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoons salt

1. Pour ingredients into a glass jar or bottle with a cover. You may need to use a funnel, in which case pour the dry things in first before the liquids.
2. Cover and shake well.
3. Use, or refrigerate for up to 90 days.
4. Enjoy!

When using after it has been refrigerated, you will need to let the dressing get to room temperature as the dressing solidifies when cold.  This usually takes just a few minutes.  This dressing is also great as a marinade for chicken or fish and on cold salads, such as quinoa salad or a pasta salad.