Friday, January 25, 2013

Open-face avocado sammie on beet toast

What do you think of my new digs?
I've become a detective to scope out foods that might be triggering my chronic muscle pain. It's part of The Plan, an elimination diet and eating regimen developed by Lyn-Genet Recitas.

According to Recitas, certain foods, even healthy ones, can trigger symptoms such as joint/muscle pain, weight gain, headaches and many more. I started with The Plan's three-day anti-inflammatory cleanse and moved on from there to test foods that might be reacting in my body in a negative way.

During the cleanse, one only eats from a limited list of low reactive foods, such as squash (winter and summer), kale, greens, onions, broccoli, carrots and some others. Then, over a course of 17 more days, you add a new food, followed by a rest day with no testing.

At this point, I have built up this list of okay edibles for me: onions, chard, spinach, radicchio, blueberries, cranberries, broccoli, carrots, kale, zucchini, winter squash, beets, mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, avocado, sunflower seeds, arugula, cucumber, cilantro, coconut, garbanzo beans, brown rice, chicken and some white fish. I tested negative for chocolate (boo hoo), mainly because it aggravated my candida.

Open-face avocado sammie on beet toast.
I stayed with Recitas' plan for a few more days but found that many of the planned tests were for foods that I already know I cannot eat because of food sensitivities (e.g. bread, dairy). One day there was an open-face sandwich on the menu, of course, with regular bread. I decided to improvise and came up with my Open-face Avocado Sammie on Beet Toast.

Here's what you need:

Beet Toast Ingredients:
  1. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  2. 1/2 cup coconut flour
  3. 1/2 cup raw grated beet
  4. Optional: 1/2 clove minced garlic
  5. 1/2 tsp. dry cilantro
  6. 1 T. olive oil
  7. Salt to taste
Sammie toppings:
  1. 1/4 avocado
  2. sprinkle of sunflower seeds
  3. grated carrot
  4. sliced cucumber

Here's what you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grind the sunflower seeds in a food processor until they form a coarse flour. Add the remaining toast ingredients and process until the mixture forms a sticky ball.
  3. Spread the mixture onto a well-greased baking sheet. Divide into two or three portions and form small flattened dough circles rather than one large one. Score the dough with a knife into triangle-shaped pieces. (Note: you also use this recipe for a pizza crust.)
  4. Place in the preheated oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Leave the toasts in longer if needed.
  5. When the toasts are done, remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes.
  6. Add you toppings and voila, your sammies are ready. Serve with a green salad.

Doesn't that look delicious? Get more healthy recipes here:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thai stir-fry pizza on cauliflower crust


Welcome, snow-dog style
There's never a dull moment around my house with the two snow hounds. I mean, have you ever gotten a welcome like the one pictured in the photo above? It makes you feel pretty special, provided you don't get knocked over by all the leaping and jumping about.

I have learned to leave all my stuff (purse, grocery bags, etc.) out in the car until the greeting is over. It's far better to have your hands free to "dance" with the duo, rather than being jostled about. 

Thai stir-fry pizza on cauliflower crust
Ritalin Boy, my husband, often says I am a smart women. I guess meeting the duo, hands free, might be an example of that. But when it comes to candida, I definitely have been a slow learner. It was only recently that I discovered I need to be taking more betaine HCL to correct my low stomach acid. Individuals with candida issues usually have low stomach acid and I am no exception. Without stomach acid, candida can continue to flourish. Read more here

I have been taking this supplement for some time but have always held back on how much I took. I guess the only explanation was that the word "acid" made me extra cautious. Now, I am taking as much as I need. My stomach and sinuses feel better.

With my stomach feeling better, I can easily polish off a nice meal of Thai stir-fry pizza on cauliflower crust, ACD-Phase 1.
Here's what you need for a single serving:
1 cauliflower flatbread (get the recipe here:
Stir-fry veggies (1/2 carrot in matchstick pieces, 4 asparagus stalks cut into one-inch pieces, handful of shredded red cabbage, 2 green onions in half-inch pieces, 6 snap peas)
Raw veggies for garnish (sliced radishes, cucumber slices,)
Sunbutter dressing (get the recipe here: Note: There will be lots of dressing leftover for salads, etc.

Here's what you do:
In a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil. Stir fry veggies until tender crisp.
Spread sunbutter dressing on the flatbread. Top with stir-fry mixture and enjoy.

Or make it a salad. Place stir-fry veggies on a bed of greens and drizzle on dressing. Slice up the flatbread and serve on the side.

How about dessert? Try a grain-free carob brownie for ACD-Phase 1. Get the recipe here:

Recipes contributed to:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Grain-free carob brownies with fudgy frosting, ACD-Phase 1

Grain-free carob brownies with fudgy frosting, ACD-Phase 1
The snow and cold temperatures haven't gone away. No wonder I was craving brownies but of course, they were grain-free and suitable for ACD-Phase 1.

Good thing I enjoyed a batch of these before starting the Plan elimination diet. Now I have to avoid carob until I test it. More on the Plan here Pardon me while I drool over the photo of the carob brownies.

Grain-free carob brownies with fudgy frosting, ACD-Phase 1

Here's what you need:

1/2 cup squash puree (I used pumpkin)
1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter
2 T. tahini
2 T. coconut oil, melted
1 T. ground flax seeds
1/2 cup carob powder
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
dash of sea salt
stevia, powdered or liquid, to taste

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an eight-inch square pan with cooking spray.

In a food processor, blend everything together. (Note: the dough will be thick.) Spread the dough in your pan using wet hands.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking often. When done, the brownies will be dry on top but still soft. A toothpick should come out clean. Better to underbake these, then overbake.

Allow the brownies to completely cool before topping with fudgy carob frosting, if desired. Get the recipe for the frosting here:

Here's what you need for the carob  fudge topping:

1/2 cup carob powder

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 T. tahini
3 T. sunbutter
pinch of sea salt
stevia powdered or liquid to taste (I used combination of powdered stevia and vanilla stevia drops)
optional: 2 T. vegetable glycerin of food grade

Make the fudge topping in a small saucepan. Add the carob, coconut oil, tahini, sunbutter and sea salt. Heat over medium heat until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the stevia and optional glycerin.

We'll be ready for brownies too after our nap!

For more carob fudgy goodness, check out this recipe:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

No-grain flax cereal for ACD-Phase 1

Snow-covered Misha
Certain foods, even healthy ones, can trigger symptoms such as joint/muscle pain, weight gain, headaches and many more. The hard part is doing the detective work to find out which foods are the problem. Lyn-Genet Recitas has developed a three-day anti-inflammatory cleanse that can make your detective work easier.

Recitas is author of the The Plan: Eliminating the Surprising "Healthy" Foods that are Making You...
I am on Recitas' three-day cleanse in hopes of identifying foods that contribute to my chronic muscle pain and interfere with weight loss. During the cleanse, one only eats low-reactive foods. Talk about a short list of foods. I thought the anti-candida diet was restrictive. Once I am finished with the cleanse, I will begin adding one food item per day in hopes of figuring out the trouble-makers.

The information in Recitas' book challenges beliefs about popular healthy foods (which are healthy) but not for everyone. Some of my favorites are on her list of  reactive foods (e.g. asparagus, cauliflower, black beans, peppers).

Follow these links to get more information about the book and cleanse

No-grain flax cereal
One of my favorite breakfast recipes from The Plan is the no-grain flax cereal. It's super simple to make, delicious and suitable for ACD-Phase 1. It uses whole flax but is digestible because the flax is soaked overnight.

No-Grain Flax Cereal
(makes three one-half cup servings)

Here's what you need:

1 cup whole flax seed
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon, allspice and whatever else you choose
Seeds, nuts
1/2 cup blueberries or cranberries
Coconut milk

Here's what you do:

Add the flax, spices and water to a container. Place in the fridge to soak overnight. In the a.m., heat the oven to 275 degrees. Spread the flax in a thin layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes until dry and crispy. During the last 10 minutes, add your seeds/nuts of choice.
No-grain flax cereal on baking sheet

When ready, break the flax into small pieces. Add to a bowl with coconut milk, stevia and blueberries (or combo of blueberries and cranberries). Note: It seems like a treat to eat cold cereal in a bowl. Yum!


Friday, January 11, 2013

G-f breakfast brownie cakes

We love snow days!
Misha and Nika love the snow but I'm not sure I love it as much as they do. The snow is always a good excuse to have a hot cup of cocoa (or carob) to warm up after having a early morning romp with the dogs in the zero-degree weather.

G-f breakfast brownie cake (mini version) with hot spiced carob
Even better is enjoying the hot cocoa (or carob for those of us in ACD-Phase 1) with a g-f breakfast brownie cake that uses squash instead of grains. Did I mention you can make these breakfast brownie cakes in mini or regular sizes? Did I mention they are great for a dessert too?

Hungry girl-sized brownie breakfast cake with blueberries

Yes, that's the hungry girl size, pictured above. I actually enjoy the smaller one as a dessert and the larger one for breakfast. After all, you burn off quite a few calories trudging through the snow with Misha and Nika.

"I'm loving this snow. Keep it coming."

G-f Brownie Breakfast Cakes
(makes one large or two-three smaller ones)
suitable for ACD-Phase 1 if using carob

Here's what you need:

1/2 cup squash puree (I have used pumpkin, delicata and spaghetti squash but any winter squash will work)
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy beverage, such as coconut
1 T. tahini or other seed or nut butter
2 T. carob powder (or cacao powder  if suitable)
1 T. coconut flour
1 T. ground flax
1 T. chia seeds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
stevia to taste
Optional: 1 scoop vegan rice protein or 1-2 T. hemp seeds
Top with blueberries.

Here's what you do:

Couldn't be easier. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, just put everything in your food processor and blend to combine. Spoon the dough into your pre-sprayed containers (either mini or regular-size ramekin). Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Start checking after 30 minutes for the tops to be slightly firm. Note: I like making these the night before so breakfast will be ready in the a.m. They also store well in the fridge for up to four days so consider making an extra one or two.

"This snow tastes good too!"
Here's an update on my candida progress:

  • I've been in Phase 1 for about six weeks. I'm sticking with it a little longer than recommended. I'm not especially brave after this being my third flare-up. Normally, you can start reintroducing a little grain, starchy vegetables, low-glycemic fruit and legumes after 21 days, as long as you monitor your symptoms.
  • One thing I've learned is you need to be in tune with your body. I thought I was, but apparently I just wanted to ignore the obvious as my symptoms returned.
  • Not everyone needs to be as careful as I have to be but unfortunately, I am an extreme case.
  • I will be avoiding for life: sweeteners other than stevia, mushrooms, anything with yeast, alcoholic beverages, caffeine (well, except for chocolate), vinegar and condiments with vinegar(except for organic apple cider vinegar), dried fruit, high glycemic fruit such as bananas, and of course, foods that I am sensitive to.
  • It sounds harsh but I am so much healthier without that stuff.
Contributed to:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Creamy spaghetti squash with miso red pepper sauce

Creamy spaghetti squash with miso red pepper sauce
My New Year's resolution is to use up all of my spaghetti squash from last summer's garden. I have a gigantic pile of them in cold storage in my garage. Current temp outside is zero. I'd say there are no problems with them not holding up. Most of last year's crop lasted all the way through July but alas, a few of them went by the way side.

Here's my plan to make sure all of my precious beauties make it to my dinner table this year. Oh, did I mention I am the only one in my household who goes nuts over spaghetti squash? Spaghetti squash lovers, unite, I say.)

  • Bake at least two each week. Scoop out the squash and freeze in muffin tins (1-cup portions) for use in a variety of recipes. Or use one immediately for a recipe. Check out my two newest spaghetti squash creations below or click on the tag, "spaghetti squash," at the bottom of this post for more ideas.
  • There is a chance your freezer may get filled up with spaghetti squash. If so, back off on baking two each week.
  • Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?

For newbies with spaghetti squash, the hard part is cutting one in half for baking. Do the best you can or get a strong-armed person from the household to do the job. You also can bake them whole but I have never tried this. Maybe that should be on my list above of things to do.

Once the squash are halved, scoop out the seeds. Salt and pepper the squash halves, rub with olive oil and place face down in a large baking pan. Add about 1 cup of water to the pan before placing in a 350-degree oven for about one hour. Allow the squash to cool before you scoop out the insides. Use immediately or place in muffin tins to freeze for future use.

Here's my spaghetti squash recipe round-up for this week.

Creamy Spaghetti Squash with Miso Red Pepper Sauce

Here's what you need: (serves two; or one for now and one for lunch tomorrow)

2 cups spaghetti squash (follow baking instructions above)
1/2 of a medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup snap peas
6 stalks of asparagus, chopped into one-inch pieces
1/2 medium red onion,  sliced

Miso Red Pepper Sauce:
1 red pepper, roasted
1 T. tahini
1T. miso paste
salt and pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets on a sprayed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil  and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30+ minutes or until roasted.

Roast the red peppers on a separate baking sheet. Remove when slightly charred on one side. Set aside to cool.

Place the other veggies on another baking sheet and be prepared to add them to the oven about 15 minutes before everything else is done.

In the meantime, prepare the creamy miso red pepper sauce. (This is soooo good!) Put the cooled red peppers in a food processor or magic bullet type device. Add the other ingredients and puree until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Final prep: put the spaghetti squash in a medium bowl. Toss with 1-2 T. of sauce. In a separate bowl, toss the other veggies with another 1 T.  of sauce.

On a plate, pile on some spaghetti squash and top with veggies.
(Note: you can mix everything together in one bowl if you like but it doesn't come out as visually appealing but it still tastes awesome.)

Spaghetti squash grain-free crackers

Spaghetti-squash grain-free seed crackers:

Here's what you need:
  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 spaghetti squash puree
  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. Puree spaghetti squash in a food processor.
  5. Add the ground seeds and other ingredients to the food processor, containing the squash.
  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.

Recipes contributed to:

We're the shoe patrol but we love spaghetti squash too!

Grain-free energy bars, ACD-Phase 1

Best buds, Misha and Bailey, wish you a healthy New Year!

The holidays are all about decadence. Then, suddenly poof, it's Jan. 1, and time to make resolutions; time to lose weight; time to change your life. The ads are filled with exercise equipment, diet products and healthy foods. I guess it's all about a chance to start over or at least, improve on things a bit. How about you? What are your plans for the New Year?

Grain-free carob energy bars for ACD-Phase 1

I will continue my anti-candida journey in 2013 with an emphasis on finding ways to add more carob or chocolate to my diet. Just kidding! I do have other priorities but eating more carob, until I can eat chocolate again, ranks pretty high. So without further adieu, here is my latest carob (also can be chocolate) breakfast or snack favorite. It was inspired by recipes from and is actually a combination of the No-Bake Snackin' Orbs and Carob Fudge with some alterations. Thanks, Ricki, for helping to add to my ACD-Phase 1 carob recipes.

Grain-free Carob Energy Bars
(suitable for ACD-Phase 1)

Here's what you need for the bars:

2 T. coconut flour
1/2 cup rice protein (I used SunWarrior Vanilla)
3 T. carob powder (or use cacao powder if appropriate)
stevia to taste (I used combination of powdered stevia and liquid vanilla stevia drops)
2 T. ground flax
2 T. chia seed
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunbutter (or other seed or nut butter of choice)
2 T. coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk or other milk alternative

Here's what you need for the carob (or chocolate) fudge topping:

1/2 cup carob powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 T. tahini
3 T. sunbutter
pinch of sea salt
stevia powdered or liquid to taste (I used combination of powdered stevia and vanilla stevia drops)
optional: 2 T. vegetable glycerin of food grade

Here's what you do:

Grind up the seeds. In a medium saucepan, melt the seed butter and coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk and liquid stevia if using. Then, mix in the dry ingredients. Pat the dough into an  8 X 8-inch square baking pan. Place in the fridge to firm it up.

In the meantime, make the fudge topping in a small saucepan. Add the carob, coconut oil, tahini, sunbutter and sea salt. Heat over medium heat until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the stevia and optional glycerin.

Spread the fudge topping evenly over the firmed-up dough. Return to the fridge. Once firmed up, cut into bars. These bars are great for breakfast or snacking. Enjoy!

I've been peeking and those bars look good!