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Quick, quick… not much time!

14 Jul

Ok, so I don’t have a lot of time. I am training someone to replace me at work and I am spending my free time trying to finish up my Nutritional Symptomatology course (hopefully get it mailed out tomorrow and start my new course;  Anatomy)….I gotta make this quick!

 On Monday, I continued with my gluten-free trend. For breakfast I had 2 Mesa-Sunrise waffles with greek yogurt and sliced banana.

 

Snacks consisted of fruit, almonds and flourless peanut butter cookies. Oh, and I might have munched on some dark chocolate. I made grilled sausages with polenta and sautéed swiss chard for dinner. It was delicious!

Dessert was a beautiful bowl of cherries. Sorry, no pics!

Tuesday, I changed things up and made a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, paired with 2 scrambled eggs. My morning snack was cottage cheese and a pear and my afternoon snack was a couple of flourless peanut butter cookies with a tall skinny vanilla latte. I knew I had a big night, so I figured a little bit of caffeine will help. Dinner was a big treat. We headed over to my parent’s house where my mother had made a feast! I had barbequed shrimp, potato salad, ribs, green salad and grilled veggies. All gluten-free and excellent!

 This morning, I made myself 2 Mesa Sunrise waffles with greek yogurt, but instead of a banana, I thawed some blueberries! It paired together very nicely.

My morning snack was a green apple with Apple Cinnamon peanut butter.

As I am writing this, I am munching on a gigantic salad with tuna. I hope it will keep me full for at least a couple of hours! After reviewing how much I eat in a day, I decided I need to cut down a little.  I think that sometimes I eat out of boredom and that this might be the source of my weight gain. Time to crack down and use my will power! For dinner, I haven’t planned much. I musty admit, I am running out of ideas for my gluten-free “Italian” week. This morning I pulled some pork loin chops out of the freezer.  I am trying to think of something I can do with it that has an Italian vibe. I could pair the chops with a delicious risotto, but I am not sure I will have the time. I’ll keep thinking…

Gluten-free update

Ever since returning to gluten-free eating on monday, I feel much less bloated. I have to attempt some glutinous food soon, but I am really preparing myself for the worse. I am going to wait a few more days before trying again.

Oh, by the way. The hubby and I finally booked our romantic weekend getaway. We are heading to New York City! I can’t wait! Only 2 1/2 weeks away.

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“gluten-free” results

12 Jul

What a weekend! I have lots to write about so I better get started!

Friday evening we headed to my parents-in-law’s house for dinner. We had delicious roasted chicken with potatoes, green beans and salad. For some reason, whenever I eat at their house, my stomach is a bottomless pit! I can just eat and eat and eat! After dinner, I played LEGO with my son. A perfect Friday evening J

 Saturday morning we went to COSTCO to stock up on some essentials like maple syrup, yogurt and cottage cheese. My husband had already made a run to the local ethnic grocer to pick up fruits, veggies and nuts; so that was already covered. 

After shopping, we went out for lunch with my extended family and my 92 year-old grandmother.  The company was good but the food wasn’t L Lunch had to end early because my son was getting cranky. Time for a nap! 

We went home and enjoyed relaxing on a Saturday afternoon, guilt free! Once my son woke up from his nap, we headed out for a long walk in the woods. Despite the heat, under the canopy of the trees, the air was fresh. It felt really nice to be active again. It has been so long, too long. We used our Chariot bike trailer/jogging stroller to push my son, it made it really easy to go over the roots and rocks! What a great way to end the day! Afterwards, we headed home to prepare for a feast, an Italian feast! 

We decide to break my gluten-free fast tonight instead. We planned a meal of taglietelle with marinara and BBQ Cod smothered in pesto.

I bought some Trader Joe’s Pesto while visiting friends in Boston in April. It’s a shame that we don’t have one here in Montreal, they have some really great products! We got the pasta boiling, the sauce cooking and the fish grilling.

It was a beautiful meal. As I sat there enjoying my food, my mind was on gluten. How will I know? What am I supposed to feel? I decided to throw caution to the wind and just ENJOY my meal.

The next morning I woke up feeling fine. I decided to dine on a bagel with cream cheese. Well, the bagel was definitely not as good as I remembered! I ate the whole thing nonetheless. Well, about an hour later I began to feel nauseous and bloated. Is it psychosomatic? Not sure. I didn’t let it ruin my day so we headed to visit a train museum for the day.

Lots of fun was had! Sasha loved riding the old street car and miniature train. We stopped for lunch. I enjoyed ate a baguette sandwich with chicken, lettuce and mayo. Again, not as delicious and satisfying as I remembered! We continued our visit and left just when the heat was beginning to get to us!

I am not sure if it was the heat or the food, but I was wiped! My head was all foggy and I could barely keep my eyes open. Luckily it was a short ride home.

I got work making cookies as soon as we walked in the door. I made one of my favorites, Cape Cod Oatmeal! These never disappoint!  The only modification I made was no walnuts; my son doesn’t eat nuts yet. I munched on a few and savored every bite! Shortly afterwards, I was hit by another wave of nausea. Not pleasant! 

I decided that I should probably go back to gluten-free for a few days. I a not sure if what I am feeling is due to the gluten, but by refraining from it for a few more days and trying again might help. Everything I have read regarding gluten intolerance symptoms is very vague. I am also concerned that maybe it is a coincidence or that it is all in my head. I guess, time will tell!

 For dinner, it was quick and tasty. I wanted to stay within my Italian theme, so I made this. Hey, it may not be traditional Italian food…but who said Italians don’t BBQ? I paired it with some simple steamed baby potatoes and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil.

After dinner, I even whipped up a batch of these flourless peanut butter cookies. A tasty gluten-free treat!

That’s it folks! Have a great day!

A happy “gluten-free” ending

8 Jul

Following my meal plan for the week, last night we had Tortilla Espanola scheduled. I was quite excited to tackle it. As soon as I got home, I went to the kitchen and got to work.

I chopped up the Spanish onion and pealed and sliced the potatoes. I threw them in the pan with lots of olive oil, just like Mario Batali suggests.

After the onions and potatoes had cooked for 15 mins or so, I added the eggs. I let that cook for 10 mins or so and then put it in the oven.

Voila! This is what the finished product looked like. Yummy!

I then had to flip it on to a plate. Woops! Looks like it didn’t quite work.

When I put it on the plate, I simply turned it over. No one will notice, right? Paired with a salad. A delish and light meal, perfect for this heat. And look at the potatoey layers, perfecto!

 

I really enjoyed Spanish week! The flavors were really nice. The brand of smoked paprika I bought was La Chinata and it was amazing! I was really smokey flavors and I can see using regularly in the future. 

Perhaps you noticed that yesterday (Thursday), I didn’t make my weekly meal plan. There is a method to my madness! The reason is….this week is my last week gluten-free! 

That’s right folks; it has almost been a full 4 weeks. And let me tell you, my husband is celebrating! I guess this week at the grocery store, I will “wing it”. I will buy my favorite foods (mostly fresh veggies, fruits and nuts!) I would really like to select a  theme for next week, I am thinking Italian

We are planning to celebrate on Sunday with a gluten-filled day. The plan is to enjoy a toasted bagel for breakfast, a sandwich (panini?) on a baguette for lunch and pasta for dinner. To “test” the effects of the gluten, I must then refrain from eating any again for another 12-24 hours. I am supposed to observe any effects. This can range anywhere from digestive difficulties, fatigue, headaches to difficulty concentrating. I am secretly worried that I will misinterpret something I am feeling to be a sign of gluten intolerance or the opposite, disregard something I feel. I want the past 4 weeks to be worth something and to be an accurate “test”.

I will certainly keep you guys posted!

 

Feeling Hot

7 Jul

We are having a heat wave here in Montreal. Temperatures are averaging over 40 degrees Celsius (104 f) with the humidity.  It’s hot, really hot… Too hot to make homemade tortillas, but we did it anyway.

Last night, we followed the recipe on the bag of Maseca and they turned out really well. But without a tortilla press, we just can’t seem to get them thin enough. Time to start shopping for a tortilla press! Like last time, my husband pressed them using a cutting board and serving dish.

 

It did the trick, but it was a little time consuming. To cook them, we had 2 pans going. Now what should we pair with these fine tortillas? My delicious slow cooker pulled pork nonetheless!

Before leaving for work yesterday morning, I threw into my slow cooker:

1 3-4 lb pork shoulder
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar (more if you like it sweet)
1 package dry onion soup mix

Turn on to low for 8 hrs.

When it came time to eat, I shredded the pork using 2 forks and let it soak up the sauce.

We paired the tortillas and pork with some refried beans (not homemade). The result? A south of the border meal, perfect for hot days like we are experiencing now.

My husband was in heaven and asked permission to pig out! What a silly question! It was a great meal and one I will definitely make again!

P.S. It’s also GLUTEN-FREE!

Weekend roundup

5 Jul

Wow, it’s hot out there! Thank goodness I have planned a hot weather-friendly meal plan for this week.

 Here are the highlights from the weekend.

 Friday night, as planned, I made Flank steak with my famous and long awaited Corn-Avocado Salsa! It was delicious and my husband said “I really nailed it”. The flavors, that is. I just love the color!

 Saturday morning, I enjoyed a bowl of Vanilla Sunrise with a sliced banana, one of the new favors from Nature’s Path. Here’s how they describe it:

“A delicious warm real vanilla breakfast cereal taste with a variety of crunchy textures from flakes, puffs and crispies make this a genuinely tasty gluten free breakfast.”

 I have to say that I agree! A nice light vanilla taste…and makes a wonderful combination with the banana.

 Saturday, my husband and I got to make our Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken. We swapped out the fish because we were invited to parent’s house for dinner on Sunday, and salmon is on the menu.  Now, for those who don’t know how to make beer-can chicken, it is quite easy.

 Step 1

First, get you supplies. You need a BBQ, a can of beer, a pie plate and a chicken.

 Step 2

Open the can of beer and drink ½. Because I am eating gluten-free, we replaced the beer in the can with white wine. Normally, you drink only half the can of beer, and keep the other half in the can to infuse into the chicken. You don’t get a beer taste, but instead a tender, moist chicken.

 Step 3

Fill your pie plate with water, and place under the grill of your BBQ, pushing it to one side. This will be the side you place your chicken on.

 Step 4

Wash, dry and season your chicken as you wish. We followed this recipe.

 Step 5

Place your can of beer on the grill of your BBQ (over the pie plate) and place your chicken over the can. Stuffing the can up into the chicken. Make a tri-pod with the legs of the chicken to ensure the chicken is stable and doesn’t fall over.

Step 6

Turn the burner on the opposite side of the BBQ to medium-high. You want the BBQ to reach a temperature of about 400 degrees. Close the lid and wait.

 Periodically check the temperature of the BBQ. Depending on the size of the chicken, it usually takes about 1 ½ hrs. Be careful when you remove the chicken because the can is hot! We use tongs.

 

The chicken was delicious! We paired it with baby potatoes and grilled zucchini. The paprika was really nice and smoky; it added a really nice flavor to the chicken. By the way, I shared that entire breast with my son, it wasn’t all for me!

 

 Sunday morning we treated ourselves to bacon and eggs. I even scrambled the eggs in the little bacon bits that were left in the pan. Delicious! My only complaint was that the bacon was way too salty! Paired with gluten-free toast and sliced tomato.

 

For dinner, I headed to my parent’s house where my mother made Salmon baked in the oven with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and maple syrup. Paired with broccoli and rice, very tasty! Sorry, no pics!

 I have another modification to our menu. Tonight, we’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner. We just found out that some friends of ours are moving to Belgium for 2 years. We are having a goodbye dinner in their honor. It should be a challenging meal because they aren’t aware that I am eating gluten-free. Hopefully there will be something for me to eat.

That’s all for me right now! Enjoy the heat! And I’ll be back soon for some random thoughts 🙂

Feeling a little Spanish….

2 Jul

Hello! 

Yesterday was Canada Day so no meal planning was done. Instead, I participated in the annual tradition of helping people move.  I am proud to say I unpacked several boxes. That means today, I have a lot to catch up on! Better get started!

 First thing first, breakfast!

 Today I enjoyed 2 Mesa Sunrise waffles smothered in Greek yogurt, sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yummy! And, I didn’t have to share it because my son slept in! Lucky me!

Today for lunch, I had a delicious salad. Check out all that color!

 After that, I was pretty stuffed! For dinner, I have planned Flank steak with corn-avocado salsa. Pictures to come!

Next up, meal planning.

So next week is my last week gluten-free. Due to the heat, I am feeling a little….Spanish.  I hope to pair these meals with LOTS of sangria! Here is the menu I came up with:

Saturday

Grilled Spanish-Style Snapper with Tomato and Green Olive Salsa with rice

Salad

Sunday

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken (Cooked on the BBQ, beer can chicken style!)

Mini-potatoes

Veggies

Monday

Smoky Red Rice and Chorizo with Black Beans

Tuesday

Spicy Spanish Mini Meat Loaves and Piquillo Pepper Rice

Wednesday

Pulled pork w/corn tortillas  or Yucatan-Style Panuchos

Salad

Thursday

Tortilla Española with a salad

I have a confession to make.

Over the past month or so I am been gaining weight little by little….and I don’t like it one bit! The problem is,  I have a little too much on my plate (pun intended) to do anything about it. I have overwhelmed myself in the past by setting big and unattainable goals and I have promised myself that from now on, I will take baby steps. That is the only way to make new and lasting habits. Whenever I have tried to make many changes at once, it never works. I think it’s best when things are done slowly. But, I am not sure if now is a good time because, like I said, I have a lot on my plate. Perhaps I can start small? I can work a little harder at reducing my portion sizes and making healthy food choices. I think that is a great start!

Question: What other small changes do you think I can make?

 

The turkey and the eagle

28 Jun

So I thought long and hard about this. Do I want to include posts that contain my thoughts regarding my life challenges, my feelings of battling depression or other “not so happy” thoughts? Perhaps some readers only want to read about happy things? What I have decided to do is both. I can’t fight who I am. I have been doing it for too long. I just want to be “me” and this is who “me” is.

First, let’s talk about the weekend!

Saturday night I made a delicious dinner that I just absolutely have to share with you! I swayed a little from my original plan of making salmon with dill, potato patties and roasted Brussels sprouts and gave in to my craving for Asian food! I adapted a recipe that I got from a Rachael Ray cookbook for MYOTO. Grilled salmon with homemade teriyaki sauce for basting paired with Asian style noodles with carrots, ginger and garlic. Wow! Tasty! Even my son loved it! I will post the recipe later. Until then, here’s a picture to get your mouth watering. Paired with some white wine….a perfect meal! Oh, the noodles were brown rice noodles. GF of course! Really good and had an amazing texture.

Sunday morning I was feeling a little creative. While doing my groceries on Saturday I bought this. Maseca corn flour! So the husband and I decided to whip up homemade corn tortillas, without a tortilla press. Not as easy as we thought! With some strong muscles and problem solving skills, Frank managed to “press” the tortillas using a cutting board and a serving dish. I should have taken pictures but I was too busy cooking them up in a frying pan. The result? Authentic tasting corn tortillas! We decided to fill them with ham and cheese. I think I have a new love, Maseca! There are so many delicious sounding and gluten free recipes! Like Panameño Susupiros, Almojábanas and Andaluz Tamale Pie. I can’t wait to try some of them out!

The rest of the week should go according to “schedule” except that tonight I am swapping the Mustard Maple Chicken for tomorrow’s baked beans.

So now, I am sure you are asking yourselves, what about the turkey and the eagle? Well, here is the story.

Today is a little like yesterday. As I took a walk during my lunch hour today, one thought kept circling my mind. Why can’t I live a different life? “Because I have my own”, seems like a logical response. But that response doesn’t change the way I feel. I still feel inadequate compared to others. There is this really great expression my husband told me (it’s kind of funny actually!), “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys”. That is almost how I view my life. I am trying so hard to soar; to improve myself, make changes, create new habits….but something keeps preventing me. These “turkeys” aren’t actual turkeys (obviously!), nor are they people around me (well, at least I don’t think they are)…..I think the turkey is me; the other side of me, my depressive side. Just as I am beginning to gain speed, see some confidence or improvements, the turkey pulls me back to the ground. And, I have to start all over again. I feel that I am never “feeling good” long enough to be able to make those changes I need to gain confidence, more self-esteem or resilience to battle life’s challenges. Before too long, I get into another funk and loose all the momentum I have gained. I have to figure out how to avoid the turkey and soar like the eagle I know I am.