Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stuffed acorn squash with walnut butter drizzle

Sheree backpacking in October and telling fibromyalgia, "You've met your match."
 Life is a series of ups and downs, a study in contrasts. Just a few months ago, I was the Sheree in the photo above. I felt strong and as if I had, not conquered, but at least learned how to manage my fibromyalgia and other health issues, through diet and exercise.

Sheree post injury in serious need of therapy dog Misha
In an instant, I was the Sheree in the photo above---injured with a broken wrist from hitting a patch of ice and flying off my bike. The injury, coupled with the pain medicines and surgery, and being unable to continue my regular routine brought my fibromyalgia and stomach problems back with a vengeance. I tried to walk out to the mailbox and my neighbors wondered who was that slowing-moving, hunched over lady.

It was during this rough patch that I realized I wanted to change the direction of my blog to reflect by journey with fibromyalgia and the assorted accompanying health issues. Fibromyalgia is one of the most under treated chronic health issues, and I feel it needs as many voices and advocates as possible.

I plan to change the name of my blog to Fibromyalgia: Meet Your Match in the new year. My blog will still feature recipes, good for those with bacterial overgrowths, as well as pix of my favorite therapy canines and felines. I will discuss all the health issues that I have dealt with in my efforts to relieve my chronic pain.
Roasted veggies on acorn squash with walnut butter drizzle
Stuffed acorn squash with walnut butter drizzle is a recipe good for anyone but it also works for me as a holiday meal.

Here's what you need:

1 roasted acorn squash (you will need about 1/4 for a serving)
for the stuffing: 1/2 stalk celery, 1 baby carrot, 1 radish, 4 mushrooms, 1 small zucchini, 1/4 cup cauliflower, handful spinach
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T. walnut butter mixed with 2-3 T. water
1 handful baby greens

Roast your acorn squash, halved, on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Dice or slice your other veggies. Place them on another baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.Saute the spinach in olive oil in a small skillet.
To serve, place the roasted veggies and spinach in and around acorn squash on a bed of greens. Serve with roast turkey and drizzle all with the walnut butter.
Here is a finger stretch I have been doing as I rehab my hand from my injury. I call these photos below my hand and finger selfies. Spread your fingers out wide and press them on a counter or desktop edge.
Repeat one finger at a time.
Do a similar stretch for your wrist by flexing the wrist while pressing against your desk or countertop.
Then, stretch out your fingers, spreading them apart.
Draw your fingers in to make a fist and repeat by extending your fingers.

Make a fist, extend your fingers out, and repeat about eight times.
And don't forget to get plenty of rest during the holidays or anytime---words according to the husky Misha.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Healthy pumpkin spice coffee

One-armed Sheree with cast hidden under giant jacket borrowed from hubby
 If you've been wondering where I've been the past few weeks, I wasn't taking a relaxing trip to a tropical island. The only flying I did was off my bike when I hit a patch of ice. Now, I am recovering from a broken wrist and surgery to repair it. Yes, that's me in the photo above, all glamorous with my one-armed look and my mountain-woman attire.
Pumpkin spice coffee
One-armed or not, I can still prepare a good cup of coffee, thanks to a Keurig. Right after my accident, I was in need of some serious comforting pumpkin spice coffee. Yes, I think I mentioned in a previous post that I too am addicted to all things pumpkin spice.

 This beverage is so easy to make even a one-armed lady can prepare it. First, gather your ingredients.
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups milk beverage of choice
  • 4 cups strong coffee
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • stevia or other sweetener of choice
Pumpkin spice coffee in crockpot
 Put all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir to mix. Turn on your crockpot and walk away. Pretty soon, your house will be filled with a wonderful pumpkin spice coffee aroma. Allow, the mixture to heat and meld for about one hour.
Store extra coffee in fridge for days of delicious pumpkin spice coffee
 Pour a nice cup for yourself, share with others or store extra in a container so you can enjoy pumpkin spice coffee for days.
This brew was so warm and comforting in the early days of my injury. But I could enjoy it just about anytime.
Where's my cup of joe?
Wow, now I can even use a keyboard again, albeit it's more laborious than my pre-injury days.But my doc says keyboarding will help stretch out the ligaments in my fingers and hands. I'm also doing lots of other hands and finger stretches, good for anybody. I'll post some pictures and stretches next time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Zucchini pumpkin boats

Zucchini pumpkin boats
 What is it about fall/winter? We all start craving pumpkin and anything pumpkin spice. I am no exception. Fortunately for me, pumpkin is one of the winter squashes that I can still enjoy because it is easier to digest and has a lower fermentation potential.

Ingredients for zucchini pumpkin boats

 I can't eat too much pumpkin---so sad. Combining it with zucchini to make Zucchini Pumpkin Boats gives me my pumpkin fix without going overboard. This makes a great Thanksgiving or anytime side dish.
Here's what you need for two servings:
1 medium zucchini
1/4 cup pumpkin
1 T. sunbutter
sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
 olive oil
1 T. lactose-free farmer's cheese
salt and pepper
sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
 Here's what you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare your zucchini. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the middle to make a canoe shape. Place the zucchini boats on your baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned and tender.

In the meantime, prepare your filling. Mix 2 T. of pumpkin puree with farmer's cheese, sunbutter and spices. Substitute other seed or nut butter, depending on your preference. If not using dairy, substitute more seed or nut butter, and smidge more pumpkin puree.

 Stuff each zucchini boat with 1/2 of the mixture. Sprinkle boats with pumpkin seeds. Return to the oven to heat through, about 10 minutes. Serve zucchini boats over steamed jasmine rice or cauliflower rice, sauteed with spinach.
"Get plenty of rest so you'll be ready to go bananas in the snow...." the world according to Misha, the husky

Recipe submitted to:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Almond flour cinnamon bowl filled with custard

Five inches of November snow has created lots of fun for my snow dog fur kids, Misha, Nika and pal, Bailey. I had to put on my snowshoes to keep up with them. They romped for several hours while I made the rounds on my snowshoes.

Fortunately, even snow dogs eventually get tired. After a few doggie treats, they were sound asleep on the floor, dreaming about their next snow adventure.

I decided it was time to start rehearsing for Thanksgiving by cooking up a delicious dessert, an almond flour cinnamon bowl filled with nut butter custard. It can be enjoyed by people like me who eat grain free.
 You need to start by making the almond flour cinnamon bowl. I filled the cinnamon bowl with a cinnamon nut butter custard but something made with pumpkin is next on my agenda to try.
 Here's what you need for one large almond flour cinnamon bowl or three small:
3 T. almond flour
1 T. coconut oil (melted)
1 egg white
1 tsp. cinnamon
stevia, to taste

Here's what you do:

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Then, flip a muffin pan upside down. Mold the dough around the bottom of one of the muffin pan cells.I used a silicone muffin pan and the finished bowl came off perfectly.  You could make three smaller cinnamon bowls if you use a smaller muffin pan.

Bake the bowl(s) at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until the almond flour dough is firm and crispy. Allow the bowl to cool before removing it from the upside down muffin pan. Set it aside while you prepare your filling.

 For the filling (which makes enough for 3 servings) you will need:

2-3 T. nut or seed butter of choice ( I used Artisana walnut butter.)
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1 dropper full of vanilla liquid stevia or sweetener of your choice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (alcohol free)
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon (depends on your love of cinnamon)
pinch of salt

Blend everything in your food processor until smooth and creamy. Adjust the amount of milk or nut/seed butter if needed to get custard texture. Put the custard in a bowl and place in the fridge to chill.

To serve, scoop the desired amount of custard into the almond flour bowl.

 Recipe conttributed to:


Friday, November 7, 2014

Pineapple upside down pancakes, grain-free

The new kitchen crew
Can you believe my new kitchen crew? Yes, you are seeing four dogs. Two are doggie visitors. The black one (Kota) on the yellow blanket belongs to my son who is in the midst of moving. The husky standing in the middle, Bailey, has not learned the art of pleasing the cook by laying down on a provided blanket.He belongs to a friend and is a frequent visitor to our house.

Despite all this canine "help," I managed to get a delicious meal prepared. I made Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes, grain free.

 These pancakes were ooey, gooey delicious!
 Here's what you need:

1 T. almond flour
2 T. farmer's cheese or cottage cheese or ricotta
(If not doing dairy, just use 2 T. almond flour and 1/8 cup milk of choice)
pinch of salt
stevia, to taste, or other sweetener of choice
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. coconut oil or olive oil for pan
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 thinly sliced pineapple rings (fresh is best)
1 egg

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle on olive or coconut oil. Mix the batter ingredients (almond flour, farmer's cheese, salt, stevia, vanilla and egg).
Pineapple pieces covered with batter
 Place pineapple rings on baking pan. Pour batter over both pineapple rings.

Pancakes just done
Bake the pineapple upside down pancakes for about 20 minutes, checking often. Serve with yogurt or other topping of choice.
Recipe contributed to:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin latte ice cream

Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino Ice Cream
Happy Halloween! I'm celebrating with Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino Ice Cream. It's super easy to make and contains coffee. I am a confirmed coffee lover especially since I am on such a restricted diet.  I was so happy when I found out that coffee was not a problem for me. This also be made with a nice chai tea or coffee substitute. You can eat it in a bowl like ice cream or a tall cup like a pumpkin spice shake. Yes, it's that thick!

Here's what you need:

1 cup milk of your choice
1/2 cup brewed and cooled coffee
pinch of salt
stevia, to taste, or other sweetener of choice
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (I like Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin or fresh.)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla powder (Sunfood) or vanilla extract
1 cup gelatin coffee mixture (1 cup coffee mixed with 1 T. Great Lakes gelatin and set)

 Yummy, Yummy! Here's what you do:

Blend everything together, except for gelatin coffee mixture, in your Vitamix or other blender. Pour into ice cube molds and freeze until hard.

In the meantime, prepare your gelatin coffee mixture. Note: You can omit this but it is the key to giving your frappuccino a nice, creamy texture. Mix 1 cup of slightly warm coffee with 1 T. Great Lakes gelatin. Place in the fridge to allow to firm up.

Time to make the frappuccino. Put everything in your high speed blender and pulse until smooth and creamy. You may have to use a spoon or plunger to mix things up a time or two.

This makes one huge serving. It may give you brain freeze so share with someone else. It doesn't freeze well.

Recipe submitted to:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rice tarts

 My healing diet has been helping me get back to the things I've always loved to do---like fall backpacking.

There's nothing better than hiking and enjoying the fall colors in the mountains!

The shorter days and colder nights and mornings make a yurt the perfect backpacking destination.

Is this the life or what?

Grilled veggie tart with farmer's cheese topping
How about a nourishing rice tart as a post-backpacking dinner? Actually, I can go for one of these any time.

Asparagus tart with cauliflower puree
As you can see there are numerous ways to top a rice tart.

Delicata squash tart with kale chips
This one looks like a Christmas wreath but it tasted a whole lot better.

Here's what you need for a super easy basic rice tart:

1/2 cup of cooked jasmine rice, cooled
1 organic egg

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the rice and egg in a small  bowl. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tart holds together and edges are slightly browned.

For the asparagus/cauliflower tart:

Steam 1/4 small cauliflower until florets are tender. Puree the cauliflower with a bit of milk of your choice or farmer's cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Grill 3-4 asparagus spears. Spread cauliflower mixture on tart and top with asparagus. Place in the oven for a few minutes to warm your tart.

For the grilled veggie tart:

Grill veggies of your choice, such as zucchini, grape tomatoes and yellow and red peppers. Spread tart with farmer's cheese and top with grilled veggies and sprinkle of fresh basil. Warm in the oven before serving.

Recipes contributed to: