Saturday, December 31, 2011

Veggie seed crackers

Nika, the little baker
Happy New Year from the now mostly Canines in the Kitchen with an occasional cat.

Can you believe my little baker, Nika, pictured above? In case you were wondering, my kitchen has gone to the dogs.  The situation is only going to get worse as the twosome, Misha (8 months) and Nika (4 months), get bigger and stronger.

 Actually, the muffin tin that Nika is removing from the counter is her new dog-food dish. I'm not exaggerating but Nika is a shop-vac when it comes to eating her food. We tried spreading her food all over the floor and she still manages to vaccuum it up without chewing in less than 45 seconds. Taking her food and distributing it in the sections of the muffin tin forces her to slow down just a bit. Now, it takes her two minutes to eat.

Hey, Mom, I love my canine buddies.
Bailey really does love all his canine pals. This picture was taken at night when they all had been sleeping together on the floor with Bailey in the midst of his rather large dog buddies.

Nika with her latest heist
Along with shop-vacuuming her food, Nika enjoys "stealing" Ridalin Boy's cup now and then. In this case, it was filled with water when she pilfered it from where he was sitting watching a football game. Instant, game intermission to mop up the mess.

Misha models his new backpack from Santa
Misha, modeling his new backpack from Santa, looks huge compared to Nika in this Christmas Day photo. Actually, Nika is rapidly closing the weight gap. Misha weighs in at 55 pounds at eight months and Nika is 35 at four months. Do you think she is going to be a bit large?

As 2012 approaches, I am still sticking with my low-glycemic diet in an effort to keep sinus problems and candida from returning. Recently, I made these Veggie Seed Crackers and saved some in the freezer for New Year's snacking.

Veggie Seed Crackers

  1. 2 T. hemp seeds
  2. 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  4. 1 T. chia seed
  5. sea salt to taste
  6. 1 T. olive oil
  7. 1/4 cup water
  8. 1 T. coconut flour
  9. 1 cup chopped veggies such as carrot and zucchini
  10. 1 tsp. cumin
  11. 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Spray a large cookie sheet with pan spray.
  3. Grind all the seeds to a coarse grind in a coffee grinder.
  4. Grind veggies in the food processor.
  5. Add the ground seeds and other ingredients to the food processor, containing the veggies.
  6. Pulse to mix to somewhat wet dough.
  7. Spread the dough with wet hands to keep dough from sticking on the cookie sheet.
  8. The dough should be about 1/4-inch thick and in the shape of a large rectangle about 10 X 15 inches.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and use a pizza cutter to cut cracker shapes.
  11. Spread the crackers and return to oven.
  12. Continue baking the crackers until they are hard and crisp. Turn the crackers over and turn the pan from time to time to facilitate crisping.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mystery ingredient (cauliflower) truffles

Happy Holidays from dog buddies: Misha, Kona and Nika. Also pictured Sheree and son, Brian.

Here's the gang wishing you a Merry Christmas. It looks like we're ready to go on an Arctic expedition because, even though we have no snow, it's burrr cold outside.

Misha takes over the couch.

Misha looks relaxed here but he's really on Santa's naughty list. He's not supposed to be on the couch at all. Yesterday, he and Nika made our living room into a track and chased each other around and around. It's a good thing we have put off replacing our 12-year-old carpeting. Maybe that will be a Christmas present next year when the two are a little more tame.

Nika sneaking food
Nika is high on Santa's naughty list as well. Here she gets busted trying to sneak some extra food out of the container where it's kept.

My toy. No, my toy.
They're not trying very hard to get off Santa's bad list. Here they fight over a toy that actually belongs to Bailey, our cat.

Keep it a secret. These treats contain cauliflower.

I love winter, especially if it snows, but the season of being more indoors creates issues for me, healthwise. During the warmer months, I can get away with relaxing my low-glycemic diet but not so during the winter. Too many carbs and I start experiencing stomach and sinus problems. That's why I have to keep away from even low-glycemic sweeteners and grains during these months.

I'm focusing more on veggies, basically the anti-candida diet with a few exceptions. You know just a bit of chocolate here and there. I got to wondering if I could make a treat with veggies as the centerpiece but still include enough chocolate to get my fix. It worked in the form of Cauliflower cookie dough truffles. To be perfectly honest, I can't tell the truffles contain cauliflower.

Freeze these up once you've got them made and keep them on hand for your treat fix. Just pop one in the microwave for about 12 seconds and it's perfect to eat.

Cauliflower Cookie Dough Truffles

  1. 1/2 medium cauliflower, riced in food processor (just toss small pieces of your washed and trimmed cauliflower in the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice).
  2. 3 T. unsweetened sunbutter or other nut or seed butter of choice
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  4. 2 T. cacao nibs
  5. powdered stevia to taste
  6. Options: if candida is not an issue, throw in some agave nectar and/or vanilla extract.
  7. For chocolate glaze: 1 T. coconut oil, 2 T. cacao powder, 1 T. sunbutter, stevia to taste and other sweetener if candida not an issue.
  1. Rice the cauliflower and add in other ingredients and pulse to mix.
  2. Shape the dough into balls and freeze on cookie sheets in the freezer.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the chocolate dip by melting the coconut oil and blending in the sunbutter, cacao powder and stevia.
  4. Dip the frozen truffles in the chocolate sauce. Remove to wax-paper covered cookie sheet to allow chocolate the harden in the freezer.
  5. To eat, thaw the balls out slightly or place in the microwave for about 12 seconds.
Recipe contributed to:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kale chips with the works

Misha and Nika workout in preparation for their assault on our Christmas decorations.
Christmas is approaching fast and we have yet to put up our tree. Do you think our procrastination has anything to do with the dynamic duo, Misha and Nika (pictured above)? I think they have been working out in preparation for their assault on our Christmas decorations. Fool you guys. The Christmas decorations and tree are going to stay safe and sound in their boxes in the garage.

"But mom, we'll be the only ones in the neighborhood without a tree."

Don't call me a Grinch. I'm just trying to save the cost of a huge veterinary bill. Seriously, our veterinarian told us that every year she sees lots of pets around the holidays who have ingested Christmas tree ornaments and other decorations. The bill for surgery can be pretty staggering. A friend's cat swallowed a glitter ball and the bill for vet care amounted to $2,000+. Better to forego the tree.

Cheer up guys. We'll spend all the money we saved on vet bills on dog treats and chew toys.

No tree? What's a fun-loving cat to do?
Where has December gone? My normally energetic hubby (nicknamed Ridalin Boy for being ADHD) and I have been sick with the cold/flu for what seems like most of December. And of course, every day is pure mayhem with Team Destructo---Misha, Nika and Bailey. Kona is the good one.

Does this mean I get some extra treats because I'm the good one?

It's really been a drag with everyone sick with a cold/flu. For me there's a double whammy because I have to worry about the dreaded sinusitis coming back. I decided my best defense would be skipping the Christmas goodies and mainly eating veggies and low-glycemic fruit, fish and seeds, and whole grains, and drinking lots of broth and herbal teas. So far, my strategy seems to be working. I've found myself healing from a cold much more quickly than those in my family who ate whatever they wanted.

Here's what I've been eating:
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, which support the body’s ability to resist and heal from infection.
  • Fish, nuts and seeds provide valuable nutrients, including zinc, which play an important role in the immune system. They also are good sources of essential fatty acids which may reduce inflammation and production of phlegm.
  •  Whole grains provide more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and antioxidants than refined grains. Individuals who ate more whole grains and passed on processed and fatty foods produced less phlegm when sick, according to studies.
  •  Warm fluids are recommended to fight a cold because the vapor from the liquids helps open up the sinuses and thin out mucus. Best choices are herbal teas, broth and dairy-free beverages. Skip caffeinated drinks.
What I've been avoiding are sweets and anything high in carbs. Sugar reduces the effectiveness of your immune response to fight infection. With that in mind, my series of snacks continues but the focus is on low carbohydrate.

Kale chips with the works
I loved kale in all forms but especially kale chips. I gave them a makeover and poured a veggie blend over the top before drying them in the oven. It gave them a creamy, nutty texture.

Kale Chips with the Works

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and dried
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 unpeeled carrot
  • 1 T. raw tahini
  • 2 T. Bragg's amino acids
  • 2-4 T. lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Spray a large cookie sheet.
  • Remove the washed and dried kale from the stems. Break the leaves into small pieces. Place half the kale pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Prepare the coating by blending the red bell pepper, carrot, tahini, Bragg's, lemon juice in a food processor. (Note: This makes enough for another batch of kale chips the next day.)
  • Spoon several large tablespoonsfull of the coating over the kale in the bowl. Toss to distribute the mixture and coat the leaves.
  • Spread the coated kale on the cookie sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake until dry but pliable.
  • Once the first batch is done, repeat with the remaining kale leaves.
This recipe has been entered in:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sweet nori crisps

Nika waits for the snow while I spin indoors.
Snow...that's probably what Nika is dreaming about as I pedal my legs off on my indoor trainer. Can you believe she can sleep this close to a spinning wheel that sounds like a jet taking off? If only the rest of us could sleep this soundly.

I think I'll nap while you spin.
I'm looking forward (the dogs too) to going snowshoeing or cross-country skiing but instead the dogs and I are spending more of our time indoors. We've got an inversion or high-pressure or something. The explanation by the weather people changes every day. In the meantime, it's freezing outside but no snow. I have to put on numerous layers just to take the dogs outside for their many daily walks.

The bundling up is one of the things that I don't like about winter. I also suffer from chronic pain which is made worse by excessive cold.  The only thing that helps with my pain is myofascial release.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. In my case, the problem has been caused by injury and overuse.
Irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation which in me shows up as knots in the fascia or muscle. These knots don't go away with inactivity or stretching or even massage. That's where my husband comes in. My physicial therapist, whom I see from time to time when I have severe flareups, has taught my husband how to do some basic myofascial release treatment, which involves sustained pressure over the affected areas.

Bailey joins in giving me "myofascial release" treatment.

Myofascial release can benefit just about anyone but for me, it's a lifesaver. It's the only thing that keeps me able to walk my dogs and ride my bike. Several years ago, before myofascial treatment, I wasn't able to do these things without severe pain. And it's a good thing I can keep on walking those dogs. Instead of bouncing off the walls, they are relaxed and sublime (ha ha).

Nika looking all relaxed.

The holidays, cold weather and winter usually take their toll on my waistline. This year I have decided to snack smarter. I have made up a list of 30+ snacks for those like me who must eat free of gluten, dairy, egg, nuts, legume and some other food allergens. I will be sharing these snacks in the weeks ahead. The first one on my list is Sweet Nori Crisps.

Sweet nori chips

4 sheets of nori
raw sesame seeds
1 T. coconut syrup or agave syrup
1 T. olive oil
sea salt

Begin by preheating the oven to 250 degrees. Lay two sheets of nori side by side on a cutting board. Lightly spray or paint water on the sheets, just enough to make them a little sticky.

Sprinkle the dampened sheets with salt. Cover each dampened nori sheet with a dry one so that the two sheets fit together. Use kitchen shears to cut the sheets into rectangular-shaped chips.
Lay these strips on a cookie sheet.

Combine the coconut syrup and olive oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the strips with the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the strips when they are slightly crisp. They will continue to crisp up while they are cooling.

More healthy ideas at:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows

Bailey loves our drippy faucet
It seems like my world has gone to the dogs lately but yes, there still is a cat in the kitchen, pictured above. Bailey loves our drippy kitchen faucet. It delivers just the right amount of water with every drip to keep him fascinated.

Nika and Misha wait eagerly for me to get clumsy and drop food
Bailey enjoys the faucet while the canine kitchen helpers prefer waiting underfoot to see if anything is dropped by accident during food prep. I feel like I am cooking in a tank of sharks waiting to pounce. I am surprised by how fast they can scoop up a dropped piece of lettuce or carrot peel. Veggies aren't their favorite but they will force them down just to keep the other one from enjoying the spoils.

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter cookies
Here's something I'm not planning to drop, vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows. These are so scrumptious I'm glad the recipe only made eight cookies, otherwise I'd be tempted to keep on eating when I should be stopping. These combine my two favorite ingredients: chocolate and sunbutter. Before food allergies and candida, chocolate and peanut butter used to be my sweettooth craving. Sunbutter fills in perfectly for the peanut butter.

Vegan chocolate-sunbutter pillows
(makes 8 large cookies)

Ingredients for chocolate outside:
  1. 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  2. 6 T.  raw cacao powder
  3. 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1/4 cup coconut syrup
  7. 2 T. coconut nectar
  8. 3 T. unsweetened hemp milk
  9. 3 T. olive oil
Ingredients for sunbutter filling:
  1. 1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter
  2. 1/4 cup dry soy milk (unsweetened)
  3. 2 T. hemp milk
  4. 1 T. coconut syrup
  5. stevia to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray.
  2. For the chocolate cookies, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the filling ingredients.
  4. Use about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Form balls and then flatten on the cookie sheet.
  5. Place a teaspoon of sunbutter filling in the center of each cookie and fold up the sides of the dough to encase the filling.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Note: These say nice and soft even when placed in the freezer.

I have entered this recipe in Weekend Wellness at: