Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yoga Jeans

I know I know …  why am I posting about yoga jeans? What do they have to do with you? Well let me tell you! These jeans are amazing and the creative genius behind them is missing a whole other market, the celiac market. They should be called, ‘grow with you‘ jeans or ‘celiac friendly’ jeans or the ‘you don’t have to undo the top bottom while seated’ jeans.  Seriously, these things are amazing.

To be fare I am a bit of a yogi and totally fell in love with the idea of jeans that looked good, but also felt like yoga pants … because, let’s face it, yoga pants are the bomb when it comes to comfort. So, the person who pretty much only buys clothing while it’s on sale took the plunge and bought a pair at regular price (in black/straight leg). These jeans are not cheap starting at around $119 plus taxes. I’m pretty sure the sales person had to rip the debit card out of my hand when I went to pay for them. I have not regretted spending that much money on a pair of jeans for a single second.  In fact I have just bought a second pair (in indigo/boot cut).

Why are they so amazing? Well, if you watch the video above, you will note that they are stretchy. But not the, I’m so stretched out I’m going to fall off you way. The, I’m stretchy when you want me to be way. As in, these things will grow with you, but shrink with you too.

As a celiac that sits at an office desk most of the day, I find it hard to find pants that will look good and feel comfortable. Most of my nicer pants get painfully tight if I accidently gluten myself at work (which happens a lot). So then I opt for the pants that will fit with an inflated belly, but are constantly falling down because either the belly is forcing them to sit lower on my hips, or my belly is fine and they’re too loose. I have other pants too that start out fine and by the end of the day are too loose and only go back to fitting well after a round in the washer and dryer. Why must it be so difficult!

But not anymore, these jeans will stretch with your belly and stay on and stay flattering. They even help reign in the belly a bit, without having the need to unbutton and unzip while your seated. How many times have you sat down at your desk with your pants about to explode (because you aren’t allowed to wear traditional yoga pants to work) and undo a button and maybe even the zipper, because if you don’t the button will pop off and fly across the room? Or how many times have you checked to see if your stomach is bleeding because the waistband on your pants is trying to permanently imbed itself into your belly button? Well my friends, these yoga jeans are the answer to your prayers.  They expand and contract with your belly, ensuring no missing buttons or belly scars, or embarrassing moments where you find your pants around your ankles. The fact that they are also made in Canada is a nice plus.

Don’t worry, my little ‘ol blog isn’t big enough for anyone to offer me products to endorse; this shout out is entirely because I love them so.

Update: In case you actually want to seek out a pair, here is the store locator/website

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Tuna and Green Beans ... and a little bit of camping

I am addicted to Well, actually, it’s more like I’m addicted to cookbooks, and is my enabler. I recently received a batch of three new cookbooks, two of which are paleo (naturally grain free) and the third is called “The New Trailside Cook Book: 100 delicious recipes for the camp chef.” This camping cookbook is not specifically allergy friendly, in fact it’s loaded with gluten and dairy. However, I figure most recipes can be converted and I love camping so I bought it any ways.

I’ve read through the non-recipe sections and found them to be useful. To the novice camper, it would be perfect. To me, who has been camping for years, most of it was refresher; however, there were a few gems in there that I wasn’t aware of.  For example a fun camping cook off that encourages gourmet cooking while camping with your friends, or the looser has to wash the dishes for the rest of the trip, and which types of meats are best for dehydrating.

Part of the book goes into meal planning and encourages you to shoot for the stars. The quality of your food while camping can make or break the trip, although sometimes the weather has something to do with it too.

My boyfriend and I decided to try and get one last camping trip in this season, this past weekend. It’s been a very lame camping season for me, as my health is not great and I’m very limited on what I can do. Which is also part of the reason that I’m lagging behind in my blog posts. I just don’t have the energy to make dinner some days, never mind take pictures of it and write about it too.  Any ways, I’m sucked it up for this trip and spent one evening prep.

It was actually a very quick turn around for planning. I had mentioned the idea of camping to the bf and Friday morning he texted me to ask if I still wanted to go. So I said yes and that I would go grocery shopping for the trip. We decided to leave early Saturday morning and just spend the one night, so I had two breakfasts, two lunches, one dinner and snacks to pick up. Again, during my healthier days this evening of prep would be nothing, but it was exhausting and totally worth it. I think I made the best food this car camping trip!

For breakfast I made a lemon blueberry scone (in advance) from one of the other cookbooks mentioned above, “Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining.” This scone is super filling because it’s made of almond flour and I modified it from this recipe: I needed extra cooking time because I had added moisture to the recipe with the blueberries. But they were yummy. This recipe worked for both days.

For lunch I made (in advance) a Quinoa Salad with beans and tuna. The recipe is inspired from the back of the truRoots bag and from a meal that is served on many Batstar Guided Kayaking trips. I was trying to guess at their recipe really and made a delicious version myself. That recipe is posted below. Again I made enough that it used it both days, with the addition of mini cheeses, nectarines and Udi’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Yum.

For snacks I boiled up some eggs and included chips and dip.

Finally, for dinner I marinated steaks in Cattleboyz BBQ sauce. Then once we were camping I sliced up some potatoes and onions and added small pats of garlic butter to them, wrapped them in foil and put them on the grill. Once the potatoes were done (they cook quickly when thinly sliced), we grilled up the steak and then ate it all up with some coleslaw that I had also made in advance.

Having most of the food prepped, made the time it took to get eating much faster and allowed me to enjoy more time in the out of doors, instead of trying to prep something for a meal. I really enjoyed it.

Quinoa Salad with Tuna and Green Beans
-based on recipe on truRoots bag


1 cup truRoots quinoa
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cashews
1 handful of fresh green beans, chopped into 1" pieces
1 can of flaked white tuna
1 handful of fresh pea shoots, chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
6 tablespoons lemon juice (or orange juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
rind of one lemon, grated (or orange)
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt


Cook quinoa first by adding 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa in a pot and bring pot to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Just like rice. In this case I actually used home made bone broth to cook the quinoa instead of water. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients, stir and serve.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cardamom Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

Hopefully, you would never be able to tell from these pictures that the dessert that lies under the ice cream was a total disaster! No seriously, I have very little luck in my attempts to make upside down cake and this was one of those attempts.

As it is the season of fresh BC Cherries right now I bought a bag and wanted to do something fun with it. So I decided to try my hand at cherry upside down cake, and once again failed miserably.  The top looked to be gold brown and the bottom was oozing caramel sauce, but when I took the cake out the middle was not baked through. What a let down! But who wants to waste $10 worth of cherries and who knows how much gluten free flour mix. That stuff isn’t cheap (speaking of which I hear rumours that Costco is carrying gluten free flour now … I have yet to check it out though). 

On of my favourite shows on TV is called “Chopped,” and the chefs on that show, can always fix a disaster. So I decided to tear it all apart and throw it into a 9x13 baking pan and threw it back in the oven. Some bits got quite crispy, and I lost the beautiful caramel, but my cake was baked. Next I did up a quick batch of caramel using coconut sugar and butter and poured it back over my former dessert disaster. The moisture helped soften the crunchy bits, making it turn into quite the yummy dessert. It just wasn’t the dessert I started out making.  So hopefully that will help you over come future dessert disasters … as with learning to bake gluten free, they will happen! Don’t throw away all your hard work straight away, as you may be able to salvage it.

On a completely unrelated note I’ve never had cardamom ice cream before, but I saw it in a Vancouver grocery store and at once decided I needed to have it. Of course, it was full on ice cream and I’m lactose intolerant, so I would have to make my own, and that is what I did.

Cardamom is used quite frequently in Indian cooking and has a very distinct and somewhat floral flavour to it. I think you either love it or hate it, and I love it.  Since I had this lovely cherry dessert and it was a hot summers day, I figured why not top it off with some cardamom ice cream. So that is what I’ve made for you today. You may need to play with the amount of cardamom to suite your tastes … if you like it stronger add more, if it’s too strong try adding more coconut milk.

Cardamom Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

1 - 14 oz can of Coconut Milk (light or regular)
3-4 Cardamom Pods (I used black, but green works too)
1 Vanilla Bean
¼ cup Maple Syrup

Using a pestle and mortar crush the cardamom pods and place in a small or medium sized glass bowl. Cut the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds into the bowl and then throw the rest of the pod in there too. Pour coconut milk over the spices and refrigerate overnight or while you are at work for the day.  Using a strainer (or spoon) remove the cardamom pods and vanilla bean from mixture. Next whisk in the maple syrup and then pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reading Reports

I meant to write about this ages ago, but it’s not very glamorous, so I kept putting it off. However, I think it’s a very helpful thing for Canadian Celiac’s to know about, and I bet you most of you don’t.

What am I talking about? Well sometimes the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does random surveys to test for allergen contamination, sulphites, melamine and other food related issues that come up. Once the surveys are complete, the results are published to the public here: Look for any headlines that have the word “Tests” or “Tested” and go from there.

For instance there is one in December 2012 for testing sauces for undeclared allergens. In it the CFIA states, “The CFIA analyzed a total of 250 sauces, marinades and dressings for the presence of allergens (soy, milk, egg, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts and sesame) and gluten. For this survey, products collected included BBQ sauces, vinaigrettes, hot sauces, steak marinades, salad dressings, sweet and sour sauces and dipping sauces. Of the 250 samples tested, 11 contained one or more of the undeclared allergens. Broken down by allergens, five tested positive for milk protein, four for gluten, one for hazelnut and one for egg. There was no undeclared soy, sesame, peanuts or almonds in any of the samples.”

The headliners are fairly brief and not that detailed, but they usually contain a link to request the full report. These reports can be very interesting. They do not tell you what product was contaminated, but they will say by how much. It’s just good to add to your arsenal of knowledge if you are ever trying to track down a culprit for your current symptoms. If everything you’ve eaten appears to be safe, perhaps you can see trends in these reports that may help you narrow your search. For instance one BBQ sauce in the above mentioned report was found to contain 920 ppm of Gluten. The allowable limit is 20 ppm.

Another report was published in August of 2012 for testing of gluten in ground spices. In the executive summary the CFIA states “Of the 268 samples analyzed, 63 samples (24%) contained detectable levels of gluten ranging from 5 ppm to 20,000 ppm. The majority, 62, of these samples had a level of gluten that would not pose a risk to a sensitive individual. One sample of mace was determined to be in violation of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and was recalled.” Again you can request a copy of the report and see for yourself what the results are. It may help you see a trend as to what types of foods may be making you ill. For instance a sample of Cloves was found to have 590 ppm. Also, samples of Coriander, Fenugreek and Cumin were found to contain gluten … some samples just above 20 ppm and some well above 100 ppm. Spices are generally used in small quantities which would be mixed in with other ingredients diluting the final parts per million outcome; but if you are making a curry or festively fall dessert and like me, tend to use heaping tablespoons of many different types of spices, and you are super sensitive, it may just be enough to cause a reaction in you. So take advantage of these reports, request the free detailed versions and get an idea of what it is that might be making you sick, if you just can’t seem to figure it out. The spices report helped me decide to start buying whole spices and grinding my own as often as possible!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Creamy Salmon and Dill Pasta

I love cream sauces, but they are often hard to find without wheat added to them to thicken them up. So I mostly, and sadly, go without. However, having tasted a glorious salmon with capers gf pasta at a restaurant I wanted to imitate it at home. At the restaurant they actually just served the dish without the cream sauce and used olive oil and capers to flavour it, which was surprisingly pretty good. However, sometimes you wish you could just have the item as it was listed on the menu. So this is my attempt to make it at home. I think it is pretty tasty, with a lovely fresh spring feel to it. The next step will be to find a dairy free alternative. Any suggestions?

Creamy Salmon and Dill Pasta

GF Pasta
1-2 salmon fillets (or canned salmon)
1 lemon (for juice and rind)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons of capers
1 cup fresh beans, chopped (or use frozen peas or asparagus)
½ cup gf chicken stock
¼ cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then place some foil on a cookie tray and place your salmon fillets on the foil. Salt and pepper the fillets and drizzle with the juice of half a lemon. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until light pink and flaky.

Meanwhile prepare your gluten free pasta as the package directs.

While the salmon is baking and the pasta is boiling, place a few tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and turn to medium-high heat.  Place the onions, garlic and capers into the pan and fry until the onions are golden. Next add beans or other optional vegetables and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Next add the chicken stock and sour cream and stir until creamy. Lower the heat to medium and allow it to simmer. While it’s simmering you can add the rind of half a lemon, freshly chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste.  Now flake your salmon fillet(s), leaving the skin behind, into the sauce and stir.

Once the sauce has reached the consistency you like and your pasta has cooked, strain the pasta and add it back into the pot. Pour your sauce over the pasta and mix well. Plate the pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and pepper. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chocolate Doughnuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

You wouldn’t know it from the activity or lack there of, on here, that I bought a doughnut baking pan after Christmas. My family tried to find something local for me, but couldn’t find one anywhere. So I went to my trusty old Internet and bought all the stuff I didn’t get for Christmas and could actually afford after. That includes a lovely new doughnut pan.

Lately I have not been doing very well health wise. All of a sudden I have no energy and a bucket load of other not so great symptoms of who knows what. I’m getting a bunch of tests done and starting to feel somewhat better, but it doesn’t make me want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Or come up with fantastic recipes on my own.

So out of a little effort to do something over the weekend, other than sleep, I made a recipe from Easy Eats Magazine. It’s a great electronic magazine that comes out bi-monthly and is full of great information and recipes for those of us who have to be gluten free. The only thing I modified in this recipe is the type of sugar I used, gluten free flour blend and the topping … only because I didn’t have any roasted peanuts on hand.

The doughnuts turned out pretty well, but they are doughnuts so after a day or two they start going a little dry. I’d either eat them up quick or microwave them before eating them once they are a day old. Also, I’m not a fan of the icing. I think I would prefer vanilla bean glaze or to go all out with a chocolate glaze and just indulge in a double chocolate doughnut. But you have to find out one way or another! What icing would you pair with this?

Chocolate Doughnuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

Chocolate Doughnut

¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ cups boiling water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups Bob Redmill’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut sugar

Peanut Butter Glaze

½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup agave syrup
1 cup butterscotch crunch 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease two nonstick 6-doughnut baking pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water; let cool completely. You can place it in the fridge to speed this up. Whisk in the eggs, oil and vanilla.

Next in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; fill the prepared pans with about ¼ cup batter in each doughnut mold. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

While the doughnuts are baking, melt together the peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar and agave syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and top with the butterscotch crunch.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thai Seafood Soup

My freezer is chocker block full of food I don’t eat. It’s a horrible habit that I have. I buy meat and fish when it’s on sale and put it in the freezer to use later in the week. Then I find other food to make. The next week, instead of using what I just put in the freezer the week before, I go and buy new stuff that doesn’t require the forethought to defrost it. I don’t like defrosting food in microwaves because it usually half cooks it. The other methods all require time. I am a very lazy person at the root of it all.

However, the other day I was determined to make something healthy and something that used up some of my freezer stores. I have a lot of seafood in there, so I decided to try and make a delicious soup that a friend makes for me whenever I visit her in Prince Rupert. It was her sister’s recipe and I quite liked it. I had it written down somewhere, but do you think I can find it now? No. So I browsed the Internet for something similar and I found Thai Seafood Soup … sometimes known as Tom Yum Talay Soup. It is very tasty and I highly recommend you try it.

Thai Seafood Soup

6 cups gluten free chicken stock
12 medium raw shrimp, shells removed
2 fillets of black cod (also called Sable Fish), cubed
2 fillets of salmon, cubed
1 stalk of lemongrass
2 kefir lime leaves
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 red chili, sliced and seeded
1 - 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch of bok choy, finely chopped
1 - 14 oz can of coconut milk
4 tblspn of Braggs Soy Amino’s
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. sugar
Cilantro (to sprinkle on top)

First pour the chicken stock, lemongrass and lime leaves into a deep soup pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Next add ginger, garlic, and chili and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for a few minutes. Next add the seafood, tomato and bok choy. Simmer until the shrimp turns pink and fish becomes flakey. Reduce the heat to medium low and add coconut milk, soy amino’s, limejuice and sugar. Continue to simmer for a few minutes. Remove lemon grass, kefir leaves and chili from soup. Then ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
Note: You can switch up the seafood component as you like. You can use crab, mussels or scallops instead of fish or shrimp. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tidy Drawers

Lately, I’ve been on an organizing kick. Well, actually, it’s been more like the past year. You can’t really tell by looking around our house on any given day, but I have been slowly trying to organize or update or cut back on things.

I think the biggest kick started after I went for yoga teacher training. When I went to the training I had no intentions of actually teaching yoga. I just wanted to improve my personal practice and some how decided those 6 days a week of 8 hours a day of yoga for four weeks straight was the best way to do that. Sometimes I am a bit of a sucker for self-punishment, although I don’t think of it like that until I’m in the middle of it. You may see this reflected in what I call a “vacation” when I go on 5 day hiking or kayaking trips where I end up working harder then I do at my day job. Ha.

Any ways, after yoga teacher training I actually wanted to teach yoga. I love teaching yoga. I love the idea that I can help people discover how awesome it makes a person feel and I get to feel good too. In order to teach though I needed some room. As my day job’s schedule doesn’t allow me to be reliable enough to go to a studio I brought a studio to me. We emptied our spare room out and I converted it into a very small studio.  Then I decided that it was too small so I switched the studio to the master bedroom and we moved into the spare. It’s a bit squishy in our bedroom, but now I have a studio to teach.

In order to do all this we (mostly my bf) had to sell a bunch of stuff and take a bunch of stuff to our local thrift stores. It felt great to get rid of all these extra things that we didn’t need. This cleansing feeling has continued as I slowly find things that we don’t need anymore or I replace with better quality items. Or in one case (this was a few years back) I switched 3 kitchen appliances for one that did all 3. It got the Hulk Hogan Grill that grills, does pancakes, Panini’s and waffles.  So I saved a little bit of space.

Recently in my quest to be tidier, organized and have fewer things, I discovered a wonderful idea on how to put your laundry away. Now I have folded my laundry and stacked it in neat little piles in my dresser drawers all my life. Then I go to look for something to wear and dig through the neat piles making a big mess. I can never find shirts at the bottom of the pile, because it’s too dark to see and I forget I even own certain shirts because who can find anything when your dresser drawer looks like this:

Well, thanks to my regular blog wanderings, I discovered a new way to put my clothes away.  Of course, I didn’t do it right away because it meant re-organizing all my clothing and I had much more fun things to do. So when I finally got around to doing, I had to go by memory. I cannot find the original blog that inspired me. I have a sneaking suspicion it was Shelterness or Sqwakbox, but I’m at a loss. Whoever wrote the original post; I owe you a debt of gratitude. It’s a simple idea really, but who would have thought stacking your clothes horizontally instead of vertically would make all the difference in the world? It is amazing. Each morning I open my dresser drawers and simply gaze … my eyes dart from the long sleeve section, to the yoga section, to the t-shirt section, pick a colour and voila I have something to wear for the day. So much easier than the old dig and find way. It’s also a whole lot easier to look at:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Upside Down Apple Cardamom Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Recently I fell in love with a new gluten free bakery, Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery. For the last few months, I’ve had several people ask me if I had heard of the new gluten free bakery in New Westminster, as it’s been in the news a lot lately. I may go to Vancouver a lot these days, but I don’t venture out that far. So when I was sent to Burnaby for two weeks for work training recently, I made sure to make a token visit to this new bakery (as it was 8 minutes drive from my hotel). Well I made my token visit and then several more because it’s so good! They make mostly dessert treats, but so far everything has been delicious. Their Nanaimo bars, peanut butter brownies, and cupcakes are all perfect. They don’t make a lot of breads, but the ones I tried were what kept me going back. They have an amazing cheese/onion bun and piccalo mini loaves, which go so well with melted butter and soup/chilli. Yum.

On my last visit (sad face) there before returning back to home base, I noticed that they were having a baking contest. Since it’s small and local I thought I’d give it a shot. Here is my contest entry:

Mini Upside Down Apple Cardamom Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce 
(can be turned into cupcakes or doubled to make one large cake)

1 1/2 cups Cloud 9 All Purpose GF Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 apple, sliced or rings

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix first 8 dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together remaining 4 wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry and mix until evenly incorporated. Get out a 4-6 ramekins and grease them. Place slices or rings of apple on the bottom of the ramekin and then pour in cake batter on top. Bake for ~45 mins. Once cake springs back upon touch and toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 mins. Then place upside down on a wire rack and cool further. Remove from ramekin. 

While cake is baking you can make your salted caramel sauce.

2 cups granulated sugar
12 tblspn unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt

Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as it melts. Continue to whisk sugar as it turns a deep amber colour and reaches 350 degrees F. Once the caramel reaches temperature add the butter and whisk until completely melted. Then remove from the heat and whisk in cream and salt. Set aside and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Pour caramel sauce over cake and serve.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Well folks, I only made it 17 days out of 21 on my sugar free diet kick. As I mentioned before, the first time I did the diet the first week was hell but after that it was pretty good. This time was different, this time I only got better for a bit and then went straight back to feeling unhealthy. I was showing all the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. As soon as I went back to eating normally (with a few less sweats) my headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, exhaustion, etc all went away. I still think the diet is a good one if you are trying to break the habit of eating junk food all the time; it just wasn’t working for me. I get that you are supposed to detox and get similar symptoms for the first bit, but I was pretty sure you were supposed to feel better at some point. 

Once I brought some of those lovely carbs back in, like quinoa pasta I was able to create some relatively healthy homemade food. One dinner recently was just spaghetti sauce and quinoa pasta but I’m starting to enjoy making my own homemade sauces. I can’t trust most of the prepackaged sauces as the creamy ones upset my stomach, and other ones usually have something in them that’s not quite right. So today I bring you home made pasta sauce. The basic recipe is simple and you can do all sorts of variations with it.



1 – 156ml can of tomato paste
75 ml water
1 – 796ml can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons (or more) of Italian Herb mixture or Herbs Du Provence
¼ teaspoon of sugar (optional, takes away the bitterness of the tomatoes)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 sweet pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 – 398ml can of black olives
1 package of Hertel’s gluten free hot Italian sausage, sliced into bite size pieces


In a large deep skillet, pour enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom and prevent anything from sticking. Next place sausage and fry at medium high heat until almost cooked and then add the onions. Once onions are golden and soft and the sausages are cooked, place a lid or plate over the pan and strain any excess grease away. Place the skillet back on the stove and lower to medium heat and then add your can of tomato paste. Fill the can half way with water and add that to the skillet. Stir in the water and paste until it comes to a saucy consistency. You may need to add more water, but wait until the diced tomatoes are added (doing that now) to see how much water they add to the mix.  Next add herbs, salt and pepper and remaining vegetables. Allow too simmer (you may need to lower the heat even further) until vegetables are tender (approximately 10-15 minutes). Scoop finished sauce onto gluten free pasta of your choice and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

If you want you can just do the base recipe and add any other ingredients you like or keep it plain.  Make this base thicker by adding less water and cutting out the diced tomatoes and you’ve got a nice pizza sauce as well. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

21 Day Sugar Detox

Image from

Immediately after the Christmas holidays I decided to go on a 21-day sugar detox. I did it last year and made it to 17 days. I probably could have done the whole thing, but I was going to be travelling and it was too much effort to keep up while away from home for so long. I vaguely remember feeling pretty good after doing it, with one exception. The program offers modifications for athletes and pregnant women and I chose not to consider myself an athlete. That was fine for the majority of the detox until one day I went for a big hike and half way through started feeling nauseous and dizzy and really not well. I had my one piece of fruit, a green apple, that I was allowed that day and lunch at the top and started feeling better immediately. I new from then on that I would need to consider myself an athlete on those types of days.

This time round, I felt worse.  On days 5 and 6 I had no energy and I could barely walk on a flat path without whining that I was tired and could we turn around yet? Then when we got to a city hill I was exhausted. I grabbed onto my boyfriends arm and had him drag me up. I was huffing and puffing, and light headed. It was ridiculous. He was suggesting that this program wasn’t doing me any good and perhaps I should quit the detox and just add more exercise.  I was definitely showing signs of hypoglycemia. I was short of breath, nauseous, light headed, grumpy, confrontational, weak, exhausted, etc. I was almost there with him, with the idea that quitting might be a good thin, but something made me stick to it.

I told a bunch of co-workers knowing that one of them in particular would keep me on track. So when I told everyone at work I was thinking of quitting, the one I was counting on suggested I might just be going through the actual detox side effects. Since that is supposedly the point of this, I stuck to it. Now on day 9 I am feeling a bit better. I didn’t get winded on a coffee break walk, and my food is FINALLY starting to fill me up.  I thought it was bad trying to quit gluten so many years ago. This is almost harder. I was constantly eating and never feeling full, or only feeling full for an hour before getting hungry again. I still go through moments of that, but my food is starting to become filling and I’m snacking much less. Also, I am in love with the banana smoothie I eat for breakfast every day.  Yum.

My goal is two fold; one, to stop the cravings for desserts and two, to loose weight. My cravings are much better. Regular food is starting to taste sweet to me, so the constant donut cravings are gone. I’m not sure about the exercise bit as I keep injuring myself enough to not be able to exercise (back spasms, sprained knees).  So I’m not sure the weight is coming off as quickly as I would like. But it’s more like a reset button, so that I train myself to eat healthier (supposedly it takes 21 days to build a new habit), and crave desserts less. We’ll see how far I make it. The no fruit is killing me. I can have one green apple or one green tipped banana a day, but I’ve found out I’m kind of sort of allergic to uncooked apple, so that pretty much leaves me at one banana.

If you are interested in putting yourself through a sugar detox torture session like me, I use this one:

It provides email support and a facebook page to help keep you on track. It’s so easy to just stop doing it, so I need all the support I can get! 

I'll keep you posted on if I make it or not and at the end of it I will make some of those pesky donuts I craved the first week for you!