Sunday, July 13, 2014

{The Healing Has Begun}

Oftentimes, life can turn out so differently from what we anticipate.  We begin on one path, sure of our direction, only to look back awhile later in awe over the curvy path that has been created. And thus, this is where I now stand, in the crux of circumstances and events, reflecting over my journey thus far.

When I began this blog, I desired to record my health journey, and sought to bring healing to others through my adventures. I began with a problem, a desire, and passion to fix the circumstances that I had been given. As I was met with each dietary struggle, I sought to conquer it through my creativity, which I enjoyed sharing with the world.  I enjoyed each moment of creating, imagining, and sharing with others what I learned in the kitchen. As with anything I do, I fully immersed myself in this task, convinced that I would do it with one hundred and ten percent effort.

Now, I recognize that desire soon consumed my life.  My struggle against my dietary limitations became obsessive and seeped into every part of my life. It coated my conversations, became a coping mechanism, allowed me to help others through my experiences, and made time slip away. 

I sought to bring healing to others, but in the midst of it, I lost my own health. I sought to advise people on healthy living, but neglected to listen to the truth I proclaimed. I became so consumed with searching for a way to manage my diet, that in the midst of it, that I let my dietary restrictions have power over, and take away my life.

 I realize now that I need to bring healing to myself, and part of that healing is to resign from my self-made position as a health coach through this blog. It has been fun sharing with the world my creations. It has been a blessing to be able to write about something I loved. There were moments of joy, as something I experimented with, after numerous failures, became a success. I learned many important life lessons in the kitchen, such as patience, accuracy, creativity, and the freedom to imagine.

But now I need to let go of the past, for the obsession that my search for "health" became is unhealthy. If I am to succeed in the goal I sought to obtain when I began this blog, of encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and if I am truly going to be the example that I claimed to be,  I need to say goodbye. I'm learning the art of moderation, of letting go, and what true healthy looks like. I am exposing the lies, and seeking true health in every aspect of life. 

So, goodbye. Goodbye to days spent agonizing over ingredients. Goodbye to the piles of reciepe ideas. Goodbye to the moments spent imagining new ideas. Goodbye to the stress of a severely restricted diet. Goodbye to the role of diet adviser, counselor, and helper.  Goodbye to obsessive habits, and any strings that I could seek to cling to.  As much as it pains me, I'm saying goodbye to these memories, and hello to the life ahead.

Hello to the healing that has begun in my body and in my mind. Hello to freedom, hello to a life beyond food. Hello to simple moments of joy that have been missed. Hello to true health, found in a lifestyle of balance and moderation. Hello, Life.

 

Monday, February 17, 2014

{Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Creole}

 Happy Monday everybody! It is a beautiful day, and even more beautiful because there is no school this week. That means I get to catch up on some homework, prepare for track season, and COOK! 

I have been so inspired by all the 21 Day Sugar Detox and Whole 30 recipes that are circulating the internet. That said, after trying to figure out what to do for dinner with an end-of-the-week refrigerator and a spaghetti squash, I decided on this spicy seafood delicacy. 





This is definitely my new favorite way to eat spaghetti squash. I love all things with tomato, and this is certainly no exception. It is really easy to make, and a delicious creation. I only made enough for myself, but this recipe is easily adjustable to an amount to feed more mouths. Simply increase ratio if cooking this for more than one serving or for making more than one batch.

One of my favorite parts of this recipes it that I have another excuse to use more bone broth. It is so yummy and so good for my health. I have added it as a regular part of my Paleo plus/21DSD/Whole 30 lifestyle. I have seen significant improvement in my health since  following a 21 DSD and Whole 30 diet for about 3 months. I'll admit, I do sometimes eat more fruit than I should- which is still only two servings in a day instead of the usual five servings per week. With so many vegetables and healing recipes, I feel so energized, healthy, and great. This shrimp creole is a new staple in my favorite recipes!

I hope you enjoy this yummy seafood delight!







 {Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Creole}

Serves 1
 Ingredients:
 1/2 spaghetti squash, baked
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon homemade taco seasoning

1/2 cup bone broth or chicken broth
4 ounces tomato paste
3 ounces cooked shrimp

Instructions:

1. Begin by baking the spaghetti squash, cut in half and with seeds removed, at 375 F for 35 minutes.
2. While the spaghetti squash is baking, heat coconut oil in a non-stick pan. Add green pepper and celery. Saute until softened, about 5 minute. 
3. Next, add the tomato paste, bone broth, paprika, oregano, taco seasoning, and garlic to the pan, mixing thoroughly. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you desire a thinner sauce, add water or more broth. If you like a thicker sauce, add coconut flour, a teaspoon at a time.
4. Remove the baked spaghetti squash from the oven and "spaghetti" it with a fork. Put the spaghetti in the pan, mixing to coat with the sauce.
5.  Finally, add the prepared shrimp and let it all cook together for at least 5 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

{Berry Coconut Yogurt}




I finally made coconut yogurt!!!!!!! I have been craving this stuff so long!! I used to eat coconut yogurt everyday until I cut out all grains, because the conventional companies use rice starch as a binder. Ugh! So for about 2 years, I have been craving yogurt, drooling whenever my brother eats his Yoplait, dreaming of the coconut yogurt I used to have. 


But now I've made it and the wait is over! "Yum" is not enough to describe the joy I felt when I took a savory bite of my yogurt this morning. Maybe sweet victory is closer...

Using a Christmas gift of Great Lakes grass-fed gelatin, I was finally able to make my coconut yogurt. I've been researching a lot about gelatin and how to make allergy-friendly yogurts, and this brand kept popping up. So far, my body is loving it! I also made fruit gummies the other day. They weren't as delicious as my yogurt, but they sure were a nice snacky treat. Though this yogurt doesn't have cultures (because frankly, they are way out of my budget), the gelatin is said to help digestion, along with strengthening and supporting joints. As a runner, I need all the joint support I can get! :)

Furthermore, this yogurt does not require a fancy yogurt maker. All you need is a saucepan and a food processor!  

Another thing that makes this yogurt so great is that it is sugar and sweetener free!! If you are able to have sweeteners, add a bit of honey. But if you're like me and avoiding sugar like the plague, you may just jump for joy. :)

For my yogurt, I blended in berries, but you can certainly omit that step and have plain yogurt. Other options include sprinkling your favorite granola on top, making parfaits, adding a bit of vanilla extract for a vanilla version, or add some seeds and shredded coconut for an extra protein punch. Be creative- it is your grain-free, unprocessed, homemade yogurt! Be proud! :)



{BERRY COCONUT YOGURT}

for a single serving 

INGREDIENTS:
 1 cup coconut milk (I used Trader Joes' canned light coconut milk), divided
1- 1.5 teaspoons gelatin (depending on desired thickness)
Juice of 1/2 a lime 
1/4 cup berries, frozen or fresh

INSTRUCTIONS:
 
Heat 3/4 cup of the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. In a bowl, combine the gelatin and rest of the coconut milk (1/4 cup) until it forms a smooth paste. Add the paste and lime juice to the coconut milk in the sauce pan, constantly whisking the ingredients until they are smooth and thoroughly combined. 

Pour the coconut yogurt into a container and let it chill in the refrigerator for one hour up to overnight. 

Once chilled, place the yogurt and the berries in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Serve and enjoy immediately with toppings or as is.

*If the coconut yogurt is too thick for your taste once is chilled, add water until it reaches desired consistency.  
 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

{Parsley-Basil Kelp Noodles with Broccoli and Chicken}

Happy New Year! I'm starting 2014 off right with a Whole 30/21DSD/AIP combo. NOT a diet, or a detox, but a readjustment. I've found myself snacking on more fruit than I would like, and occasionally drifting to dried fruit when I was hungry and looking for a quick go-to snack. I know, hand-slap! So not only am I doing this combo readjustment to rid myself of sugar, but also to heal my gut. Lately, it has taken a beating with cross-contamination from my family's "un-Sydney-friendly" kitchen and baking, despite drastic efforts. However, as the only one who has severe reactions, I've suffered the brunt og Christmas baking. I mean, if I'm going to feel sick, I'd like to actually eat something good, not just get sick off of cross-contamination!!

Anyway, so far I am enjoying this readjustment because it has sparked a refreshing new creativity in cooking. After only one day, I'm feeling a whole lot better! I'm excited to see how I feel after a month. I'm not really sure what I'll do after a month, but since it is a readjustment, I'm sure I'll continue this lifestyle, with room for some treats here and there. But mostly I'll stick to just eating the good stuff, like my beloved vegetables! :)




This kelp noodle bowl was absolutely delicious! Besides the pesto, it's kind of a loose recipe because I threw in some plain chicken leftover from another time and pre-chopped broccoli from my zoodles and broccoli. Feel free to add lemony chicken, spicy chicken, or other meats for some variety!



There will be plenty of pesto leftover for other days and other recipes. I'm so glad that I found a pesto recipe that is nut-less (because I can't have nuts...) and not chunky. Today for lunch I plan on eating zoodles with pesto! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!


INGREDIENTS:


1/4 package kelp noodles (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh broccoli, chopped into little florets
 Chicken, however much you like, prepared however you like, and chopped
                * I think I used roughly about 1/4 cup of chicken

For the Parsley-Basil pesto-
1 cup fresh parsley
handful of fresh basil (about a 1/2 cup)
1/4- 1/3 cup olive oil (add more or less depending on how thick/thin you want) 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste


INSTRUCTIONS:


Boil kelp noodles and chopped broccoli until both are softened, about 10 minutes.

While the kelp noodles are cooking, begin making the pesto. In a food processor, combine the pesto ingredients and process until smooth, adding more oil if needed.

Drain the kelp noodles and broccoli and place in a bowl. Add about a tablespoon of pesto (depending on how much kelp noodles/broccoli you used) to the noodle bowl and stir until evenly coated. Enjoy!!





Saturday, December 28, 2013

{Spaghetti Squash Vegetable Bake}





This new recipe came about because we had squash, vegetables, and chicken, and we needed dinner. Thankfully I discovered a wonderful creation from the end of the week "leftovers" of the cupboard! It was so fun to whip something together and be a bit creative. I am so excited that my little last minute experiment turned out so well.

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetable staples. I can use it for any meal in almost anyway. I've made spaghetti squash hash-cakes, "spaghetti" and meatballs, and now this bake! As I've mentioned before, I'm going crazy with love for vegetables, so of course I took this opportunity to add as much vegetables as I could. I probably would have added more, but I went a little easy for my not-so-vegetable-loving family :)

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this dish is that my whole family absolutely loved it. Even my papa, who dislikes vegetables ate two helpings! Today for lunch, instead of his favorite taquitos, my dad had some for leftovers! That's like the ultimate compliment when my family gobbles up my creations! :)




This bake is so easy and a true crowd-pleaser for all ages.  Feel free to add in different vegetables. If I had cauliflower, I would have added some "riced" cauliflower for more vegetable goodness. 

May your family fall in love with this vegetable bake as much as mine did! :)

{SPAGHETTI SQUASH VEGETABLE BAKE}


INGREDIENTS:

1 medium spaghetti squash, baked 
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped to chunks
16 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup fresh spinach, washed
1/4 cup broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat the oven to 375 F. Wash and cut the spaghetti squash into two halves. Remove the seeds (save the seeds if you want to roast them later!). Once the oven is ready, bake the squash in the oven, face up for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.

Meanwhile, as the squash bakes, prepare the chicken either by baking it in the oven or cooking in a skillet. Prepare the vegetables. 

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, vegetable broth, tomato paste, tomatoes, basil and cooked chicken. Once the spaghetti squash is done, remove the "spaghetti"  with a fork, placing the strands in the large bowl. Mix it all together, making sure everything is evenly incorporated. 

Place everything in a glass 9x13 baking dish, pressing down and evenly spreading out. Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy!



Thursday, December 26, 2013

{Zoodles with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Vegetable Meatballs}





Merry Christmas everyone! I know it is a day late, but I got to use my new vegetable spiralizer, so it was Christmas all over again at lunch! I have been saving up my zucchini, secretly hoping I would find the spiralizer under the tree. 


Can I just say, the spiralizer is AWESOME!!! I absolutely love it!! I cannot wait to try it with many different vegetables.  If you don't have one, you should definitely get one. Christmas is only 364 days away.. :)

Anyway, back to my little lunch. One word- DIVINE!! The zoodles were soft to perfect, harking back memories of my pasta days. The fresh basil in the tomato sauce perfectly complimented this Paleo Italian meal. I'm still drooling a bit as I write this. It was so good. I think I may have it for dinner too. And breakfast. And lunch. 

The tomato sauce and vegetable meatballs were really moments of creative genius. I'm usually not that ambitious, just making stuff up  without a framework or some idea of what I am doing, but I saw vegetables and canned tomatoes and went for it!


Since I've been sugar free for about a month, it has been really hard finding tomato sauces without sugar. Even the organic ones have agave syrup! So I decided if I wanted to have something sugar free, I had to make it myself. Homemade pasta sauce is not really that hard, its easy, its sugar free, and it maybe is even less expensive. So If you are looking for a sugar free option for tomato sauce, I suggest making your own.

I have made the vegetable meatballs before for my family over spaghetti squash, but I haven't posted it until now. So sorry! They are truly delicious! 

My inspiration came from a time when I was flipping through our six TV channels (which NEVER happens!) and I saw a cooking show. The chef was teaching a family how to eat gluten free and suggested adding cooked rice to the meat. Of course I thought, instead I can use cauliflower and vegetables and get the same effect with for a Paleo option with more nutrition. 

That was a moment of brilliance, for I get more vegetables (yay!!!) while using less meat at one time. Feel free to add in other vegetables with the carrot and spinach mix, such as kale or zucchini, being sure it grinds well. 

Since only I ate this, I made a single serving. I made the full recipe for the tomato sauce, but only used as much as I desired to coat the zoodles from one zucchini (which was just 1/4 of the whole tomato sauce recipe).  For the meatballs, I only used about 5 carrots, a small handful of spinach, and a spoonful or two of riced cauliflower with just under a 1/8 pound of ground turkey. 

I hope you enjoy this new favorite as much as I do! May your cravings fro pasta be satisfied by this healthier delicious dish!




 INGREDIENTS:

4  Zucchini, spiraled using a spiralizer, or julienne peeler
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets

For the Homemade Tomato Sauce-

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 leaves of fresh basil, washed and chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

For the Vegetable Meatballs-
 
1/2 cup spinach
15 baby carrots
1/2 cup riced cauliflower
1 pound ground turkey meat 
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

INSTRUCTIONS:

Begin by preparing the Homemade Tomato Sauce, placing the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste in a  nonstick skillet. Then, add the garlic and herbs. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing it to simmer. Set aside. 

For the meatballs, using a food processor, grind the carrots and spinach into pieces. In a bowl, combine the turkey, ground carrots and spinach, cauliflower, and oregano. Then, form into meatballs. Place the meatballs in another skillet until thoroughly cooked through. 

While the meatballs cook, prepare the zucchini and broccoli. Then, add the broccoli to the simmering tomato sauce and cover to steam the broccoli. Next, when the meatballs are almost done, add the zucchini to the pan with the tomato sauce, and cover the pan to breifly soften the zucchini.

After one minute, remove the cover from the pan with the tomato sauce and zucchini and add the meatballs. Mix thoughoughly, adding more salt and pepper if desired. 

Serve and enjoy!




Sunday, December 22, 2013

The How-To's: Cauliflower Rice

 I decided to begin a series of "how-to's" to explain the best way for making certain staples in my diet. So join me as I go back to basics and share what I cook up in the kitchen on a regular basis!

I began with my latest favorite, cauliflower rice. This amazing version of the vegetable is great to have on hand throughout the week. I usually make a large batch at the beginning of the week so that I can have it on hand.

I like to add riced cauliflower to many meals to add an extra dose of vegetables and nutrients. Riced cauliflower is simple to make, and when made right, makes a world of difference!

Cauliflower rice can take on almost any variation. Some of my favorites are lettuce wraps with cilantro-lime cauliflower rice and guacamole. Another recent is a tuna salad topped with guacamole and cauliflower rice. Last night, I made vegetable meatballs, and added the extra cauliflower rice I had on hand.




{A Step-by-Step Guide to Make Cauliflower Rice}


Begin by washing the cauliflower and preheating the oven to 400 F. Chop into florets and place evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until softened.



 Next, using the grater attachment of the food processor, "rice" the cauliflower. This is somewhat tedious, putting in all the baked florets, but well worth the effort.




After the cauliflower is riced, use immediately, or store to use for later. 
Voila! Your cauliflower is properly riced!!



Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice and Guacamole