Two Weeks in Photos

Oak tree in colour

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to a “Whole 30” with my friend, Patrice. Two weeks have passed and, while I cannot say I’m enamored with the somewhat arbitrary program rules, I can say that there’s definitely something going on here. Something good for my health. I feel more energetic, I wake up feeling rested, I have zero cravings for sugar or, well, anything, and I am losing weight (yes, I broke the rule about not weighing…and I’m not sorry!). Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I’d share my journey to date in pictures. So, we’re halfway done and the benefits are apparent.  I’m already looking forward to next month and continuing the journey, albeit not on the Whole 30 plan, which is not intended for the long-term (and not intended for non-meat eaters). I have learned in just two weeks that I feel better … Continue reading…

Extreme Measures, or Why in the World Would You Not Eat Bread?

Avocado egg salad

Bread, as everyone knows, is the “staff of life.” Honestly, if we’re talking homemade, fresh from the oven bread, piping hot cinnamon rolls, or even – OMG – still sizzling Indian fry bread (!), I’m going to agree that there’s nothing quite like it. It’s like carbohydrate Ambrosia. It is so delicious. So why would I give it up, even for a month? People have asked me, “Why in the world would you not eat bread?” Well, here’s a little history of how I got to the point where I committed to an elimination diet that excludes grains, dairy, sugar, beans/legumes, alcohol and, sigh… even Mama Sherry’s homemade dinner rolls. When I moved back to Idaho in early 2008, I was a wreck. I was overweight, unemployed, and feeling rejected at every level. People, cities, even entire countries seemed to say, “Meh, we don’t really care about you.” I know … Continue reading…

Italian Sloppy ‘Shrooms

Italian Sloppy 'Shrooms Step 4

It seems that food mashups are all the rage these days. I mean, with the invention of bacon-flavored ice cream (an actual thing!), all rules go out the window as far as what you foods you can combine. So, as I’m currently on a strict regimen of no dairy, grains, beans, sugar, booze, or other processed crap, I’m on the lookout for new flavor combinations to keep things interesting. I love stuffed mushrooms and peppers. Yum. Yum. Usually I make them with a light cream cheese concoction that throws a little party in your mouth. However, with dietary restrictions galore this month, I wanted to think outside the dairy case. Because I also like spaghetti sauce with lots of olives, onions, and sometimes turkey, I thought, why not combine those two grand things and – Eureka!- throw a little Sloppy Joe action in there?! Heck, yes, I say! Behold! Italian … Continue reading…

Almond-Fried Cauliflower

Almond Fried Cauliflower Done

Nobody can ever accuse you of being TOO healthy when you serve this. Unlike my momma’s awesome fried zucchini, this is “Whole 30-compliant.” However, I’m not saying you should eat this every day. It is, after all, fried in oil. However, with winter just around the corner, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and dinners are getting more substantial. So bring on the goods, baby. A word about my cooking style, as you’ll note below. For a simple recipe like this, I don’t prescribe measurements; I give guidelines. I know nobody makes recipes exactly as written anyway – we all gotta tweak ’em just a little, right?! – so I’m just going to let you do your thing and be adventurous. I don’t typically measure this stuff myself, so it would just be weird and fake for me to make up measurements for you to follow. … Continue reading…

From “What Have I Done?” to “Delicious Perspective” – Committing to Better Health in October

Fast Food in Canada

Be-bopping down the Queensway in Ottawa last week, chit-chatting with my friend Patrice about food and how it makes us feel, she cheerfully asked, “So, would you like to do a Whole 30 in October?” Now, Patrice has a way of making anything sound like a good idea. She exudes optimism and inspiration, so if she had said, “Hey, would you like to go kiss poisonous snakes at the zoo?” I might have agreed, because she’d somehow make it sound FUN. And that’s how I ended up committing to a Whole 30 in October. For those new to Whole 30, it’s 30 days without grains, sugar, dairy, beans/legumes, or alcohol. It’s meant to be an elimination diet of sorts, to get common food allergens out of your system and highlight any sensitivities when you reintroduce them to your diet after the 30 days. The purpose of this blog is not … Continue reading…

Real Food

Twenty pounds of hand-picked tree-ripened peaches

Every year, we make the trek to Greenbluff, Washington, or to U-Pick farms in the Spokane Valley, to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Each time, I’m inspired by the farmers that put their heart and sweat into their crops, who take such obvious pride in what they grow. I’m also overwhelmed at the variety and perhaps get too excited reading the signs along the road. “Oooh, this one’s got peaches, corn, and watermelon!” I say as if I’ve never before seen vegetables, like corn is some sort of exotic creature. “This one’s got scapes and Azomite…What the hell is a scape? And what is Azomite?” So, of course, we have to visit the farm to find out.  A scape, I found, is a garlic sprout. I’ve actually grown them unintentionally when I’ve left garlic bulbs in my fridge a few months too long. Azomite is a mineral powder used to grow nutrient dense foods. … Continue reading…

Wheat-Free Chocolate Cookies Save Me From the Puffer Fish

Many of us avoid wheat these days, not to be difficult dining companions, but because it makes us feel oogie, puts us in a brain fog, and bloats us up like agitated puffer fish. I don’t pay attention anymore to the latest scientific data that contradicts last week’s latest scientific data on whether or not wheat intolerance is an actual “thing.” All I know is that I’ve done personal studies using a small pool of subjects, including a control group (yes, yes – okay, OKAY! They were all ME!) and my research indicates that wheat makes me feel like a certain poisonous marine creature having a really rough day. Since giving it up, I now feel less like an angry blowfish and more like the lumbering land creature I am. But I still like cookies. I have two go-to recipes for wheat-free  cookies that give me hope that the rest … Continue reading…

The Pecan Sandy Experience

I have inherited many traits from my mother. Beyond our physical resemblance, I’ve also grown up to share her love of naps, Mexican food, and repeatedly singing out loud the two lines of whatever song is stuck in your head at the moment. The other thing we share is this notion that baking is a great way to fill an hour that hasn’t otherwise been committed to something else. I’m not sure I’d call it a “love” of baking. It’s more like a compulsion. Have bananas in the kitchen that are starting to turn brown? Better bake some bread with those bad boys.  Oh dear, that rhubarb isn’t going to last forever in the freezer. Better “crisp” it up! No cookies for work lunches next week? Get on it, woman. And, today, the pecans that I bought a few weeks ago screamed, “We’re not going to eat ourselves, you know!” … Continue reading…

Project 52.37 – Fried Zucchini

Fried Zucchini Done

I’ve been known to gush about my momma’s fried zucchini from time to time, even to the point of saying that fried zucchini makes everything all better. I did stop short of saying it could bring about world peace, though. However; I’m not completely convinced it couldn’t. Here’s my take on Mom’s fantastic fried zucchini. People concerned about their hearts, arteries, or waistlines, look away now. You’ve been warned, the following is in no way healthy or wise. But it is delicious! What you’ll need to start: zucchini slices, beaten eggs, cracker crumbs (I like Ritz), salt, and pepper. The amount you will need will depend on how much zucchini is used. And, of course, a frying pan with a light oil such as canola (I find that olive tends to be too heavy and distracts from the taste of the zucchini, but that’s just me), a plate with a paper towel, … Continue reading…

Project 52.13 – Kitchen Sink Cookies

One ritual at our house is making cookies every weekend, most often for Mike’s work lunches. We typically make what I call “kitchen sink cookies” for which there is no real recipe. We start with a standard base of butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, etc. and then use whatever we have handy to fill in the rest: chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal, flax meal, wheat germ, coconut, butterscotch chips, trail mix, nuts, seeds, chopped up toffee bits, cocoa powder, you name it. Sometimes it seems like they end up with everything except the kitchen sink in them, so perhaps I should call them the “Everything but” cookies (except nobody wants to eat a cookie with the word “but” in the name). There have been days when I’ve rebelled against the ritual of the kitchen sink cookie. I’ve said to Mike, “I’m going to make something different this weekend, something basic … Continue reading…