Friday, July 22, 2011

Pizza Bites

Need a quick lunch or snack?  I'm all about quick and easy, and not heating up my kitchen in the summer heat as well!  This hit the spot for a small quickie after a 4 mi. walk this morning.  Didn't need much, since I had a protein shake before I left.  Just a little something.

Here it is:
1 slice provolone cheese, microwaved on parchment paper, on high about 35 to 40 seconds or until crispy but not burned.  Take it out and spread your sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice.  I used ketchup for sauce since I didn't have any pizza sauce on hand, and I had just made some home made ketchup.  Turned out pretty good!  I topped it with Fiesta Blend shredded cheese, bacon pieces crumbled, and 3 pepperonis.  Broil it in your toaster oven for just a few minutes.  Watch it cuz it doesn't take long.  It's great!!  And it's cheesy! Gotta love that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cool Cauliflower Vegetable Salad

As the heat wave continues here, doing a lot of cooking just isn't on my top of the list.  This was a nice cool summer salad that was easy to make.  You can make cauliflower "rice" for this, or sliced in your food processor or chop it.  However you like it, I think you'll enjoy the salad.  There is a lot of room for coming up with your own salad here as well, using whatever veggies or dressings you have.  The cauliflower base just  gives a good start for many salads.  Here's what I did for lunch today.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                     Cool Cauliflower Vegetable Salad

Recipe By     :Ginny Larsen
Serving Size  : 6  
Categories    : Main dish, Salads, Side Dish

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1           pound  Cauliflower -- (frozen or fresh)
  2           Roma tomatoes -- diced
  4           small  artichoke hearts -- chopped
  3           green onions -- chopped (or shallots)
  1           tablespoon  minced garlic
  1/4        cup  black olives -- sliced
  1/2        cucumber -- diced
               salt and pepper -- to taste
               sprinkle  garlic powder
               sprinkle  onion powder
  1/2        tablespoon  italian seasoning
  1/2        tablespoon  dried parsley
  2           tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  1           tablespoon  red wine vinegar
             Queso fresco -- (or feta or Parmesan or another cheese if you prefer)

If using frozen cauliflower, thaw in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Put through the food processor using the slicing or shredding blade, or if you don't have a food processor chop up in small pieces. If fresh cauliflower is used, you don't need to microwave it unless you want it slightly cooked. Otherwise, just shred it or chop it, whatever you want.

Place in a medium bowl, and add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, olives, and cucumber. Sprinkle over the top, all the seasonings next.  I did not actually measure the EVOO but I drizzled it across the top... about 2 TBS.  Then I did the same with the red wine vinegar.  Sprinkle it across the top.  Now toss and mix until it is all mixed together and the vinegar/oil is well incorporated with the spices throughout the salad.

Serve 1 cup on  a plate sprinkled with some crumbled Queso Fresco (Mexican cheese), or cheese of your choice, and serve as a side or as I did adding some left over roast beef in the mix and had it as my main course for lunch.

                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 118 Calories; 6g Fat (40.5% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 138mg Sodium.

Results--My Wheat Free Experiment

Ok, well, way back here in October, I decided to test myself and go wheat free to see if wheat had an affect on me.  I have been off it and back on it and off it and on it and off it since that time to see if I could tell any difference.  I have told myself there is no difference and my health issues were not related.  I really hated jumping on a "bandwagon" because if there is nothing truly scientific about some "health fad" I want nothing to do with it.  I did it to prove to myself, I guess, that this was just something I could write off as another health fad I need not be concerned with.  It seemed like everyone was going wheat free suddenly, whether they needed to or not.  I'm sorry, but I really like wheat! I love being able to still use some low carb products that have wheat in them.  But...

To my surprise, my sinus inflammation began to clear up.  Hmmm... was it the wheat or my imagination?  I wasn't really keeping a journal, which I should have to truly see. But then there were times when I'd go back on wheat and every time my sinuses would become inflamed again.  I'd go off the wheat and sometimes it would clear up and sometimes it wouldn't.  So I told myself, well since it is not clearing up every time, it must be coincidence.  But then this little voice in my head said, "what about traces of wheat in ingredients you are using, or cross-contamination? You haven't been checking for that."  Hmmm... so I realized I was still using my family toaster for my gluten free bread to toast it in the morning.  I quit using it and my sinus inflammation cleared up.  NO!!!  You're kidding me! I have to be that careful????  NO!  But yes, it seems so.  I began reading labels also, and looking for what those hidden wheat sources are in things.  *Sigh* -- really, I didn't think I had to go that far!

Unfortunately, every time my sinus inflammation is bothering me I check everything I've eaten and read labels for ingredients and find some trace of wheat in something.  So, I'm facing facts now.  Wheat seems to be the culprit.  Also, much to my surprise, I suddenly began to notice that joint pain was pretty much gone.  Now, I'm no scientist or doctor, and I've also added cod-liver oil and turmeric to my diet recently which is anti-inflammatory, and so it may be what I've added and not what I've taken away.  My IBS (for my daily diarrhea and having to use Immodium to get out the door), began to clear up, but I also have been using kefir daily in my diet and when it really improved was after doing a Grapefruit Seed Extract enema along with the kefir use.  I was having problems with yeast infection from antibiotic use for strep throat back in the Spring, and all this got me finally through it, together with taking Oil of Oregano daily.  So since this has not been a scientific, controlled study, I can't say for sure the wheat thing was causing the IBS problem and going off has helped, I don't know, but I suspect that since it seems to cause inflammation in my body, that it certainly has helped in getting me through all this, to go off it as well as using the other treatments.

I've had sinus inflammation and stuffy nose ever since I can remember.  I became addicted to nasal spray in my teens, and after reading scare stories of what that can cause started to seek answers for it later in life, but nothing helped.  I developed Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction in my 30s and was bedridden for a couple years much of the time.  I got better, had a hysterectomy at 43 and relapsed really bad.  I began searching the internet for answers at that point.  I read about candida infections and went on a candida diet, using natural antifungals and started taking lots of supplements, and slowly but surely began to improve.  I regained my health to some degree and was able to function again, normally, for the most part, but never to the point where I did not have to be careful to get my nap or resting time daily, and to be careful of not over-doing.  I eventually was able to get a part-time job and work again.  But one thing I noticed while on the candida diet was that my nose was more clear.  I sort of went, "hmmmm..." and blew it off. I eventually went back to eating wheat.

I ended up having to have surgery on one side of my nose because I was breathing through a pin-hole, as the dr. put it.  I was miserable.  He did a turbinate reduction to reduce the turbinates and open up the passage way so I could breathe again.  It worked and for 8 yrs. I was doing great.  In the last 2 years however, it has again been problematic, and I did not want to go through another surgery!  The surgery meant panic attacks and misery for 2 weeks after with complete blocked up nose--no way!  So it's been wonderful to find that this is clearing up and I can breathe by just changing my diet!  Even though I love my wheat, I really grieve losing it, I am also happy to discover there is something besides surgery or drugs with horrible side affects that I can do to feel normal.

As for my energy level, that has not improved.  Maybe it will in time.  I don't know.  I can hope. I can function normally for the most part, and have energy in my mornings, but afternoons--forget it.  I have to have my nap in the afternoon, and evenings I have enough energy to cook supper and clean up and then try to stay awake until bedtime.  I have to have my days when I stay in bed and stay quiet and lay low and let my body recover when I've had a lot of activity or a lot of social interaction.  I suspect I have adrenal fatigue and things normal people don't consider stressful, are too much stress for my adrenal system and wipe me out.  I find even good stress wipes me out.  Good times with family and friends can put me in bed for a day or so to be absolutely quiet and still until I feel strength again.  I don't know that not eating wheat can remedy that.  It's not a cure-all.  It would be nice if there were a cure-all, or a magic bullet.

I was feeling a bit down and depressed that I can't go to a family gathering or social event, or eat out and enjoy all the good food, but I was reminded, by the Lord I believe, that I can be thankful for all the good gluten-free, low carb foods I have available to me to tickle my taste buds and fill me up and make me healthier.  God has provided so many good foods for me to enjoy.  I have nothing to feel sorry for myself for.  I have much to be thankful for.  I am very thankful that I seem to have an answer for pain and inflammation that has been causing me misery for years.  I'm wondering what else I'll discover as I continue to leave the wheat behind.  When I was missing a particular food yesterday, at a family reunion, I realized that the food I make for myself tastes just as good as the food I've given up, and maybe even better.  I've discovered new foods, and new tastes along the way that I would not have.  Some of my taste has changed.  One day I indulged in some bread when I went out to eat, and was surprised to discover it didn't taste all as great as I thought it would.  It wasn't the treat to my taste buds I thought it would be.  It wasn't any better than what I am able to enjoy every day.  It certainly wasn't worth what I suffered after.  I think we fool ourselves sometimes.  We make ourselves believe the "forbidden fruit" is so good and we must have it.  We really don't have to have it.  I'm finding out I really am not deprived at all.  I've just fooled myself to think I was.  It's all in how you look at it.

I went into low carbing kicking and screaming inside.  I knew I had to when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but did it very reluctantly.  It took me a year to quit feeling sorry for myself.  Then I actually began to like it.  I wasn't hungry anymore and I felt better.

I have also gone into this gluten free way of eating kicking and screaming inside.  But I'm finding the benefits far out weigh the little bit of pleasure to my taste buds for a few minutes.  I am also finding I have many good things to please my taste buds that are better for my body.  So my wheat free experiment has now become my wheat free way of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Raspberry Coconut Milk Sherbet

We are having 110 degree heat index today.  Just the right weather to want to eat nothing but ice cream or sherbert or anything cold.  This was pretty simple to put together.  I put it together around noon and left for the county fair.  When I got home I ran it through my ice cream freezer and it didn't take long at all.  It was very good right away to eat.  Just the right consistency for me.  Very smooth and creamy.  It hit the spot!

Raspberry Coconut Milk Sherbet

Serving Size  : 6  

0 .3 ounces  raspberry flavored gelatin, sugar free
       dash  salt
1/2  cup  artificial sweetener -- (I used 1/4 cup xylitol and 1/4 cup Splenda for this)
1 cup  boiling water
2 cups  coconut milk -- (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon  dry red wine

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiled water.  Stir until dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients except the red wine, and mix well with a wire whisk.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

When chilled whisk it again and follow your instructions for your ice cream maker.*

About half way through the freezing process in the ice cream maker, add the dry red wine while it is still churning.  Continue to process until it's done. Serve soft-serve or freeze until it ripens more.

* If you don't have one, freeze it in ice cube trays and then put through your food processor when it is mostly frozen but still slightly soft.

  "3 cups"
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Per Serving: 242 Calories; 19g Fat (78.2% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber

NOTES : Nutrition info is determined without counting the sweeteners.  Use what sweeteners you like and figure it in to the carbs.  If you use no calorie and carb sweeteners, then it is 2 net carbs per 1/2 cup.

Notable Posts

I have a few recipes I've been working on and still tweaking.  They were pretty good as they were but I think they can be better yet before I share them.  But I have been reading some notable posts on others' blogs that I just thought I'd share here, that I definitely enjoyed...

Some interesting facts and a great recipe for healthified "Cheese-Its"

Chocolate After Dinner Mint Log by Jennifer Eloff.  This looks wonderful!
Oh and her Curried Walnuts.  Gotta try those!

Kent's (Bowulf) Weiner Schnitzel video:  

Lisa's Coconut Almond Blacks and Whites at her Low Carb Diner:

Cashew Turtle Ice Cream Pie from "All Day I Dream About Food".  Oh this looks good!  

Lots more yummy things out there.  Check them out!!  


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