Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunshine Banana Muffins

After a sad couple of weeks without bananas, I added them back into my diet this week. I've also really missed baking, so I decided to make a gluten-free banana muffin. My limitations were that it had to be dairy free and free of any added sugars. So what to use? Bananas and sweet potatoes! The perfect combination of natural sweeteners. For inspiration, I went straight to The Gluten Free Goddess, and found a banana spice cake recipe that I could play around with. The result is a muffin so moist you would never guess it was made without added sugars. These are great for breakfast, although I'll admit I had them for dessert also.

Sunshine Banana Muffins
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1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 large egg
1/8 cup olive oil
1 baked medium sweet potato
2 medium ripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins. This recipe only makes 6 muffins, so double it if you want more.
  2. Process the sunflower seeds in a food processor, just until they start to mix. They'll add some crunch to your muffins if you don't process them too much.
  3. Put the rest of the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt) in a mixing bowl, and whisk together. Whisk in the sunflower seeds.
  4. Put the egg, olive oil, sweet potatoes, and bananas in the food processor (no need to wash it in between) and beat until thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Pour in the dry mixture and process until completely mixed.
  5. Drop batter into muffin tins with a large spoon.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the outside just begins to brown and a knife inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
Makes 6 muffins.

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Simply Hot Recipes.

And speaking of sunshine, Julie at Gluten-Free Vegan Family awarded me with this sunshine award! Thanks, Julie! This came at the perfect time because my exams are starting up this week, and I need some positive energy to get me through! Now I get to pass on the sunny vibes to twelve other bloggers who inspire me. First, I'm bouncing this right back to Julie because her supportive comments have always made me smile. And:

2. The Gluten Free Homemaker
3. Gluten Free Gidget
4. Simply...Gluten Free
5. Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
6. Farty Girl
7. Chocolate Covered Katie
8. There Can Be Only Juan
9. Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog
10. Living Free11. She Let Them Eat Cake12. Healthy Green Kitchen

I highly recommend you check out these blogs for some wonderful recipes and entertaining commentary!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Did You Know?

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers recently awarded me with this Kreativ Blogger award! Alea has quite the creative blog herself, with some amazing gluten-free recipes. She recently posted a recipe for a tomato soup cake that she assures us tastes amazing! I'm really intrigued by a cake with tomato soup in it! As part of this award, I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about me that you don't know. So here goes:

  1. This photo was taken by my friend Spanky Aguirre, famous photographer to be. I pretended I was on America's Next Top Model during our photo shoot, and kept imagining Mr. Jay yelling at me and telling me to "smise."
  2. I'm obsessed with Scotland. I did a semester abroad in Scotland, and took a twelve hour bus ride to the northernmost town in Scotland (John O'Groats), then took a ferry to The Orkney Isles. Since it was Easter weekend and their buses weren't running, I walked three hours to get to the Standing Stones so I could listen to Loreena Mckennitt's song, Standing Stones while being in the midst of them. I wanted it to be really peaceful, but mostly it was just really cold.
  3. I love Robbie Williams. I think I was supposed to be born in the UK. I do a really bad Scottish accent though.
  4. I blush at the drop of a hat, sometimes for no reason. Sometimes I blush at the thought of blushing.
  5. I'm multiracial, of Caucasian, African American, and Native American descent. Although some people don't like this question, I enjoy being asked what I am. It gives me a chance to tell people, rather than them making assumptions.
  6. When I started college, I planned on being a history major and specializing in medieval history. I wanted to be a museum curator. I let go of that dream when I kept falling asleep in class. I chose my major (psychology) because it was the first class I didn't fall asleep in.
  7. I'm secretly fascinated by Leann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian's affair. I'm not really sure why, but I really want them to work out.
And now, to pass on the award... Of course it's hard to pick only 7 bloggers, but here they are:

Shirley of Gluten Free Easily
Lauren of Celiac Teen
Heather of Life, Gluten Free
Alta of Tasty Eats At Home
Stephanie of Hope For Healing
Chelsey at The Crazy Kitchen
Dee of Zippy Takes Pictures

Monday, February 15, 2010

Elimination Diet Phase One Recipe: Lentil Quinoa Burgers

My phase one recipes have finally come to an end. If you're new to my blog, you can read more about the elimination diet I'm doing here. If not, you know that this is a "28" day elimination diet. I'm currently on day 31. I've learned that lemons, almonds, and maple syrup seem to be a problem for me. I tried maple syrup again two days ago, and ended up with a ridiculous headache that still hasn't gone away. Of course after being sugar free for a few weeks, I'm sure it was quite a shock to my body. I miss cheese like it's my long lost best friend, and I bought my boyfriend Valentine's Day cheesecake, partly just so I could stare longingly at it. I'm a bit pitiful these days. While being gluten-free always seemed like a fun challenge to me, right now I'm just feeling challenged.

The good thing is that I've become very in tune with my body and what it likes and doesn't like. The bad news is there seems to be very little my body actually likes. I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor after taking a food allergy test, and I'll be meeting with a gastroenterologist next week to see if he can shine any light on what's going on. My own online research points to candida and/or leaky gut. Leaky gut? Who wants something called Leaky Gut?! I've tried a few crazy things to calm my stomach down. Things I probably shouldn't tell you about, like pureeing my food so it's easier on my digestion. Yes, I ate baby food for a day. And it actually did help. But it tasted gross, so I'm not doing that again. Do you know how gross pureed chicken is? I don't even know what I was thinking that day. Do you think I'm crazy yet? My boyfriend says it's cute. I'm not so sure.

I've also started taking probiotics (Thanks for the advice, Jessica!), enzymes, a vitamin B complex, and vitamin D. Originally, I was trying not to take any supplements so that I would know exactly what was going into my body. Eventually my headaches forced me to the grocery store where I spent more money that I ever wanted to on supplements. I have noticed the enzymes making a difference though, and I'm taking it on faith that the other supplements can only help as well. For anyone looking for vitamins that are allergen-free, Blue Bonnet is pretty much everything free.

As for my mental health, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I was always that student who did exactly what the teacher told her to. I follow rules a bit too religiously for my own good sometimes. So when I started this diet, I wanted to do it perfectly. Unfortunately I've realized that extremely restricting diets aren't the best match for a former binge eater. I had a little "ah ha" moment the other day after crying to my mom on the phone about how I couldn't eat anything. I realized that I would never be as strict with any of my weight loss clients or as unforgiving as I have been with myself. I'm very compassionate with my clients. Not so much with myself. So I've decided to practice a little of that compassion, and give myself a break. I'm going to continue to add in foods one at a time, but I may add in some challenge phase foods, like eggs, before I finish up adding everything from phase three. I've got enough on my plate working full-time and going to school part-time. Stressing myself out over food is the last thing I need to be doing right now.

Oh yes, and the lentil burger recipe. I've made these twice while on the elimination diet, and it was a revelation the first time I had it. Of course I was dying to put ketchup on it, but avocado worked just fine. If you can eat eggs, I definitely recommend adding one to the mixture so it holds together better. If not, you can avoid having them crumble (like they did a bit in the picture below) by making sure you don't overprocess them. You want the mixture to be lumpy, not completely smooth after you've processed them.

Lentil Quinoa Burgers
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2 cups cooked lentils (save the liquid)
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsps. lentil cooking liquid (or water)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked quinoa

  1. Add all ingredients except the sunflower seeds and quinoa to the food processor. Process just until mixed and lumpy. Add in sunflower seeds and process another 30 seconds. Put mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir quinoa into the mixture until evenly mixed. Form into patties.
  3. In a pan, saute 1 tsp. olive oil and cook burgers until browned, a few minutes per side.
Makes approx. 6-8 burgers
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Elimination Diet, Phase One Recipe: Simply Savory Collard Wraps

Although I've moved on to phase three of the elimination diet, I have a couple more phase one recipes to post here first. I added in lemons in phase two, only to discover that I was having a reaction to them. So lemons were out. Next on the list was tamari, but I decided to hold off on that until I was ready to add in soy. Yesterday, I tried almonds but I didn't handle those so well either, so out they went. Next on my list is chicken, but in the meantime I'm mostly sticking with phase one recipes.

One of my favorite meals these days is collard wraps. Since the elimination diet was designed by Ali and Tom of the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, I've been getting many of my ideas from both their blog and their cookbook. This particular recipe was inspired by their recent post on collard wraps. I didn't have all the necessary ingredients (and am staying away from lemon now), but I did have some leftover roasted acorn squash and brussel sprouts. So they went in the food processor, along with sunflower seeds, fresh basil, and mung beans for some added protein. The result was a delicious spread good enough to eat on its own (which I did, the next day). If you read my last post, you might have noticed that my friends weren't as impressed by these wraps as I was. One commented, "What's the flavor? Plain?" I like to call it simply savory. In all honesty though, I thought they had a lot of flavor...

Simply Savory Collard Wraps
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8 roasted brussel sprouts
1 chunk of acorn squash (you can use more or less depending on how sweet you want the spread to be)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
1 cup cooked sprouted mung beans
1/2 tsp. sea salt

collard greens
1 carrot, grated or thinly sliced
pea shoots
1 avocado, sliced

  1. Pulse all ingredients (except collard greens, carrots, pea shoots, and avocado) in the food processor until smooth.
  2. Boil water in a large pan. Place collard greens one at a time in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Take out and spread on surface. Top with a large spoonful of the spread, along with some grated carrots, pea shoots, and avocado slices. Roll up like a burrito, folding the edges in. Cut in half.
Makes 4-5 collard wraps.

In blogging news, Lauren at Celiac Teen has completed A Hand for Haiti. All proceeds for this e-cookbook will go to the Canadian Red Cross for Haiti relief. The cookbook contains 87 recipes from bloggers, including one of my dessert recipes. All proceeds donated by February 12th will be matched by the Canadian government. You can buy the book here.

And as always, I'm linking up to two of my favorite carnivals, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, and What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free. Stop by and see what everyone has to share this week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussel Sprouts: Or What To Eat During The Superbowl If You're On An Elimination Diet

So, what are your plans for the Superbowl?

This is a necessary question if you're a weight loss counselor. Are you going to a party? Hosting your own party? How do you want to handle the food? Give yourself a pass for Sunday and eat what you want? Bring your own veggie platter and fruit bowl to share? Make a small plate of food and then stay away from the food table the rest of the night?

Personally, I don't have to worry about any fattening foods at the Superbowl. I doubt I could gain weight on this elimination diet if I tried to. Well, not to mention that I couldn't eat anything at a party anyway. I'll actually be having a few friends over this Sunday, but I'm not going to make anyone else be on the elimination diet with me. My boyfriend will be buying beer and Mexican food for a more traditional Superbowl spread. But what am I going to eat while everyone else is having nachos?

It might sound strange, but I'm planning on making my latest favorite snack: roasted acorn squash and brussel sprouts. I love these hot out of the oven or cold the next day. The brussel sprouts are especially good cold. Now, it's come to my attention that my taste buds may not be exactly the same as the average American's. Last night, I offered a bite of my collard wraps to a couple of friends. I loved them! They wanted water to wash down the taste. So I know not everyone out there will be as happy with snacking on brussel sprouts as I am. But I imagine if you're reading this blog, you probably have a taste for food that's a little bit different...

So, here's how I make roasted brussel sprouts and acorn squash. If you haven't made this before, definitely give it a try.

Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussel Sprouts
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1 acorn squash
approx. 20 brussel sprouts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt

  1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Then, using a peeler, peel the skin off, cutting it into chunks as you go along. Rinse off the brussel sprouts.
  2. Place squash and sprouts on a baking pan, and drizzle olive oil and salt over them. Toss to coat evenly.
  3. Roast in the top rack of the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 60 minutes. Occasionally turn the veggies with a spatula so they roast evenly. The time could be shorter or longer depending on how hot your oven gets. The brussel sprouts will begin to turn black and the squash will start to crisp a nice dark color.

Do you have any special dietary needs that keep you from enjoying the same dishes as everyone else at parties? What do you like to bring if you know you'll be going to a party where you can't eat much?

This post is linked to Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance, Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom and Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Not surprisingly, the theme this week is Superbowl food! I'm also linking to Simply Recipes at The Crazy Kitchen. Chelsey has some deliciously healthy recipes to share there.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Elimination Diet Phase Two Recipe: Apple Pie

While I'm stuck in elimination diet limbo, anyone who's doing this diet can reap the benefits with recipes. I can't say I'm having the best time coming up with elimination diet recipes, but it's certainly making me get creative. It's also forcing me to simplify. In this case, simplicity turned out to be a good thing. This is an elimination diet phase 2 recipe that I would happily make all the time. It's an apple pie with very few ingredients that come together beautifully. Because it's not a traditional sugary apple pie, I would put this in the category of breakfast/brunch rather than dessert, but it all depends on your taste preferences. Personally, I've been having it for breakfast or dessert, depending on my mood. I made two versions of the apple pie, and liked them both, so I'll include the variations in the ingredients.

Apple Pie with acorn squash crust and agave nectar

Apple Pie with sweet potato crust and plum sweetener

Apple Pie
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2 cups just cooked brown basmati rice (should still be hot)
1 cup mashed sweet potato (substitution: any type of winter squash)
4 medium apples
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 ripe plum (substitution: 1 Tbsp. agave nectar)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Coat a pie pan in olive oil and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, blend the rice for about 1 minute, until it starts to have a gelatinous texture. In order for the rice to get the right texture, it still has to be hot from cooking. Add the sweet potatoes and process just until mixed. Scoop into pie pan and shape like a pie crust.
  4. Peel the apples, then quarter them. Cut them into thin slices. Put them in a large mixing bowl and stir in the cinnamon and fresh lemon juice. Do your best to coat the apples evenly. Drizzle in the agave nectar if you're using it. If you're using the plum (which I felt gave it a richer flavor), clean out the food processor and blend the plum until it's liquefied. Pour the plum juice over the apples and stir to make sure it's mixed in evenly.
  5. Place the apples on top of the crust and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Cover the pie with foil and put back in the oven for another 25 minutes.
Serves 8-10

Elimination diet update: I promise that tablespoon of agave nectar was the only sugar I had all week (aside from fruit)! After thoroughly enjoying my pie, I've taken lemon juice back out of my diet, along with cinnamon. I have a suspicion that one of them was causing the headaches and fatigue to come back, but I'm not sure which. So I'll be adding them back in individually in the next couple of days. And later in the week, I'll be back with a new lentil and quinoa burger recipe!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, What's On Your Table, and 5-Ingredient Mondays.


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