Saturday, January 19, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012
One of the side benefits of being on the Candida Diet, and eating much healthier in general, is weight loss.  I lost over 25 pounds in 2012 by cutting out sugars and eating whole foods.  I did not increase my exercise routine, I didn't starve myself, and I did not eat a low-fat diet.  Still, it was not easy.  It does take commitment and dedication, but for my health it is totally worth it!  My migraines have lessened, my sensitives are way down, and I am just much more healthy in general.

My goals for my health in 2013 are to continue eating healthy, whole foods and to increase the amount that I exercise.  Since I have been reintroducing whole grains and dairy into my diet, I know it will be important to keep my metabolism going if I want to not regain the weight I've lost and to just be and feel healthier in general.  I feel I am getting close to finding the end of the Candida Diet maze, but I am also realizing that getting out "the maze" is just the beginning.  Healthy eating is not a maze to be solved, rather it is a journey to be traveled.  It is a journey that I am learning to enjoy and one I hope that you will join me on.  Trust me, it is worth it!

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

I came up with this recipe for a going away party at work and everyone loved them.  They are great on salads, on top of Greek yogurt, or just as a tasty snack.  Be careful, though, they are addicting!

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

  • 2 cups raw pecans (and/or walnuts, cashews, or almonds)
  • 2 TBS raw honey
  • 1 TBS Wildtree Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoningmore or less to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt honey and coconut oil in sauce pan over low heat.
  3. Add salt and spices to the honey/oil mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour honey/oil mixture over pecans and stir until nuts are completely coated.
  5. Pour nut mixture in to a 9x13 baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, stirring mixture every five minutes.
  6. Let mixture cool completely before serving.  Store in air tight container for up to two weeks.
  7. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Please let me offer my most sincere apologies for not posting this in time for the holidays.  I was too busy making and eating these cookies!  (On the positive side, I could eat these year round and the Cookie Cutter Cookies can be cut in to any shape for any holiday or occasion.)  The star shaped cookie and the tea cake cookie are super simple to make and are gluten free and vegan.  The darker brown cookie is a Snickerdoodle from Trader Joe's.  The Snickerdoodle is free from all eight common allergens, but it is pretty high in sugar so I didn't eat too many of those.  The star cookies and the tea cakes are both candida diet friendly!

My Cookie Cutter Cookie Recipe 
adapted from Holiday Cookies in "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook" by Elana Amsterdam

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (NOT almond meal)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup hazelnut infused olive oil (regular olive oil or grapeseed oil work as well)
1 TBS sugar-free vanilla extract
3 TBS coconut or almond milk plus 1/2 tsp liquid stevia
Cinnamon and Xylitol to sprinkle on top (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.  
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oil, vanilla, milk, and liquid stevia.  Mix well, and then our over dry ingredients.  Mix all ingredients until fully combined.  Mixture will be somewhat dry- if it is too dry and falling apart, add an extra tablespoon of milk. Be careful not to add too much milk or your cookies will be dense and chewy.
  4. Place the dough in the freezer for one hour.  
  5. Once dough has hardened, take out half of the dough and put the other half back in the freezer.
  6. Carefully roll out the dough on a baking mat or sheet of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thickness.  
  7. Very carefully cut out the cookies, dipping the cookie cutter in cold water between each cut to keep the cutter from sticking.
  8. Put cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and Xylitol if desired.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  
  10. While first batch of cookies is baking, take second half of the dough out of the freezer and repeat steps 6-8.
  11. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for ten minutes, then move to cooling rack.  Cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks*.  
*Because these cookies use almond flour, they will spoil if left at room temperature for extended periods of time.  

My Tea Cakes
adapted from

2-1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup grape seed oil or EVOO
1 TBS sugar-free vanilla extract
3 TBS coconut or almond milk plus 1/4 tsp liquid stevia

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  (I use a wire whisk in the dry ingredients to make sure they are fully blended.)
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Mixture will be fairly dry and crumbly.
  4. Roll dough in to 1 inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  6. Allow cookies to cook on baking sheet for 10-20 minutes before moving to cooling rack.  Cool completely and then store in air tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
These cookies remind me so much of my mom's Russian Tea Cakes, minus the powdered sugar coating.  I was so excited to find a familiar (all be it altered) Christmas cookie that I didn't even care about the missing sugar.  You can also roll them in a cinnamon/Xylitol blend for a little added flavor, but I like them just the way they are.  Served with a cold glass of almond milk, I could eat these every day, all year long!

*To make Snowball cookies, make powdered sugar by pulsing Xylitol in a small food processor or coffee grinder. (I have a small coffee grinder that I used exclusively for making flax seed meal and it worked perfectly for making the powdered "sugar.")  Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes after taking them out of the oven, then roll in the powdered "sugar."  Xylitol has a naturally cooling taste, hence the new name, Snowball cookies!  My gluten & sugar loving hubby keeps snitching them, so they must be good! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I made this recipe with my in-laws when they came to visit us in November and it has been a favorite of ours ever since.  Everyone we have made it for loves it, and we will usually make a double batch so we can have left overs for lunches during the week.  This recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy free, and is perfect way to take the edge off a cold winter's night!  

White Chicken Chili
Adapted from a recipe by PaleOMG - 
Paleo Recipes at 

2 lbs chicken, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp. baking soda (to soften & moisten the chicken)
1 15 oz. can of Great Northern Beans
5-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (depending how spicy you want it)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (not light)
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1. In a large soup pot over medium heat,  saute the minced garlic and onion in olive oil.
2. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the chicken and baking soda and begin to cook. Mix as needed with a wooden spoon to cook on both sides.
3. Once your chicken is half way cooked through, add in all of the remaining vegetables. Mix together and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk, along with all of the spices.
5. Stir together.
6. Cover and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
7. Enoy!
Recipe by PaleOMG - Paleo Recipes at
Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  I was very blessed to be able to take a week and a half off from work and spend most of that time with family and friends.  I was also very blessed, and very excited, to lift many of my dietary restrictions in time for the holidays.  I was able to lift my restrictions on the number of servings of gluten-free whole grains, add back legumes (beans and peas, including chick peas which means hummus!), and add back dairy in moderation.  It made for a much more relaxed and enjoyable Christmas and New Years.  

You would think that having nearly two weeks off would have given me time to update my blog and make some posts, but here's the thing you might not know about me... I am horrible at keeping a journal.  I always have been, but it is something that I am working on.  So please forgive me for the two month hiatus in posts.  My goal is to do at least one post per month.  It sounds exceedingly simple, but for me it will be something I have to focus on and work to accomplish.  

Which brings me to another point, I am making it my goal to blog more regularly, not my resolution.  Every year people make "New Year's Resolutions," and every year, it seems, we fail to follow through.  (This is especially unfortunate given that most of our New Year's resolutions revolve around becoming better, healthier human beings!)  So why a goal and not a resolution?  A goal is "the end toward which effort is directed," whereas a resolution is "the act or process of resolving."  One of the definitions of resolve, according to Merriam-Webster, is to "reach a firm decision about something."  A New Year's "resolution," then, is the act or process of reaching firm decision about something.  If I get stuck in that process of reaching that firm decision to make a change, I'm not really going anywhere.  

A goal also has an end to work towards, it has focus and purpose.  Having a goal gives you something to work towards and therefore allows you to know when you have accomplished what you have set out to do. Instead of a  resolution to "eat better," make a goal to have at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with every meal.  Instead of a resolution to "exercise more," make a goal to start taking the stairs at work and park at the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.  Be realistic in what you can accomplish.  Small successes encourage us to try more; major "failures" (not making it to the gym 3 times/week after the first week, anyone?) cause us to give up and go back to our old way of doing (or not doing) things.  Have someone to help keep you accountable, it makes the journey easier and you are more likely to stick to your goals.  In the case of this blog, I have my Post list and all of you to help keep me accountable.  Wish me luck!