Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PERFECT Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Nut Butter Cookies

Sorry for the potato of a picture...I was too busy gobbling up these delicious cookies (for dinner, no less!) to reach for the SLR. I've been on my Endo Diet for about a 5 weeks now, and I've done pretty well sticking to it. No gluten, dairy, soy, chocolate, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. I typically eat fruit if I get a sweet tooth, but tonight...fruit just wasn't cutting it! So I whipped up these tasty treats with what I had in my pantry, expecting them to be pretty boring and unsatisfying. Low and behold...they're amazing! Here's the recipe. 

Perfect Organic Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Nut Butter Cookies

2 1/2 cups gluten-free oatmeal
3 tbs gluten-free flour (almond, coconut)
1 cup nut butter of your choosing (watch out for soy if you have endo!)
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
1-2 tbs agave nectar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 375*. Prepare two baking sheets with non-stick spray, or a thin layer of coconut oil. Run the oatmeal through your food processor for about 2 minutes, pulsing occasionally to ensure all oats are processed. This should look like a rough powder, not as fine as flour, but as fine as you can get it. Toss in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Pulse to combine evenly. Set aside. 
Combine the coconut oil, nut butter, and honey in a large bowl, and mix on medium speed until creamy and well incorporated. Add the egg, agave, and vanilla, and mix on medium until smooth.  
Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing on low-medium speed. When finished, the dough should be soft, but moldable. Use an ice cream scoop to portion out 12 cookies, evenly spaced on two baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes, rotating for even cooking. 
Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before devouring! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Day on the Endo Diet

When I first decided to tackle a major diet change, I was intimidated, anxious, and a little indignant: why should I have to restrict myself so much? That's not fair! that I've put in a couple of weeks of change, my body looks and feels totally different. maybe it is worth it. And to be honest, it wasn't that hard! The biggest difference I've noticed is a more regular...ahem...digestive system, and a huge decrease in belly bloat. I can't say for sure what exactly this is a result of: less inflammation, 5 lbs of weight loss, less...ahem...digestive trouble. 

Whatever it is...I feel this diet is doing something good for me. So I'd like to share what a day on this diet looks like. ('s not all bad!)

A Day in the Life without Gluten, Sugar, Soy, Dairy, Chocolate, Caffeine, or Alcohol

This is the biggest change for me. I'm not a morning person (blame persistent nausea, fatigue, and back pain), and I am not known for waking early to make a big, healthy breakfast. However, on this diet, I can't eat what I used to have for a quick, on-the-go meal: cereal, yogurt, waffle, donuts! None of my go-to foods. So, I've made the commitment to wake a little early and make myself something healthy. This typically includes (all foods organic):
1 serving of gluten-free oatmeal made with rice milk
a handful of fruit (berries, peaches, banana) 
wild, raw honey to taste 
1 cup of fresh-brewed decaffeinated tea (usually herbal)

This wasn't a hard change. Lunch is typically my throw-away meal anyway, since I'm either running after kiddos, or busying myself with sewing or projects at home. My lunches are usually fairly small. Also, if I'm home, I sleep in pretty late to make up for my fatigue and exhaustion from work (hopefully this will change after my surgery!). So I usually eat a good, late breakfast, and don't need a big lunch. So I usually eat:
fresh veggies with hummus
fresh fruit
home-made granola or gluten-free muffin
leftover dinner from the night before

This is the meal I actually don't usually cook. I've been so exhausted lately that by the end of the day, I'm done! We try to make large meals that can be eaten the next night, or as lunch. I've been known to make a crock pot meal and eat it all week. If you don't get tired of leftovers, it's a great way to take advantage of a good day when you have energy and make a great, big meal that can be picked on for several days. There are a LOT of foods that follow the diet, and I try to make sure my dinners include 1-2 types of veggies, a protein, and a grain or bean. Here's a list of foods we might eat separately or prepared in a stew, casserole, or stir-fry:
steamed veggies, like broccoli, corn, carrots, squash, parsnips (I like to microwave corn in the steams itself in 3 minutes!)
organic beef, turkey, or chicken (organic is super important, especially for chicken, at least with endo)
gluten-free grain, such as rice, quinoa, barley
gluten-free pasta (I like to make a creamy sauce of avocado, basil, lemon juice, and a little olive oil)

I also snack on nuts and fruit when if I get the urge during the day. I allow myself to have honey or agave as a sweetener, and because I have to drink baking soda each night, I don't restrict myself from drinking juice or diet sodas. I use my Soda Stream to make sodas at home, and I try to drink 100% juice with no added sugar. 

Do you have any great recipes that follow the diet? Feel free to follow me on Pinterest as I grow my inventory of great tips and meal ideas!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Endo Diet: Lemon Poppy Seed Blackberry Muffins

I recently began following the Endo Diet, after reading Dr. Cook's book Stop Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain. I had thought about the diet before, but it wasn't until reading exactly why the diet is suggested that I decided to give it a try. The Endo Diet cuts out inflammatory foods, that could add to a inflammation caused by an existing disease. It also cuts out foods that would increase the amount of estrogen in the body, which feeds the disease. The Endo Diet involves cutting out gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. It also involves eating organic foods as much as possible. Talk about a BIG change! I'm two weeks into the diet, and I'm finding it doable. I allow myself honey and agave as sweetener, decaffeinated tea, and fruit juice or diet soda for my kidney treatment, which is drinking a teaspoon of baking soda a day. That is the only thing I won't give up. Do you know how terrible baking soda tastes? I have to have a decent cover-up!  In any case, today I made a couple snacks that follow what I call the "No Fun" diet. I thought I'd share the recipe for the Lemon Poppy Seed Blackberry Muffins.

I adapted them from this recipe from The Lemon Bowl. They turned out fairly good, considering that there wasn't any sugar or butter. They are a little drier than I am used to, so next time I might add something like applesauce or banana to give them a bit more of a moist texture. With a little sugar-free jam, I bet they would be fantastic! Sadly, I have none. :(

The Endo Diet: Lemon Poppy Seed Blackberry Muffins

Ingredients (all organic): 
2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Trader Joes' brand)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 cup raw wild honey
2 tbs coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs poppy seeds
1 cup blackberries

1. Preheat the oven at 350*.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. 
3. Combine eggs, egg whites, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice with a mixer until well incorporated. 
4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, combining well each time. When batter is smooth, add poppy seeds.
5. Fold in blackberries and ladle evenly into muffin pan. My mixture made 10 muffins, filled almost to the top.
6. Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, and enjoy!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Train Conductor Vest

I recently bought Oliver and S Little Things to Sew, and the first pattern I tried out was the Explorer Vest. Her version is so cute and whimsical...all teal and yellow and so perfectly vintage. One of the little boys I take care of is really into trains, as many little boys his age are. I told him I wanted to make him a vest, and together we came up with the idea for the Conductor Vest. I chose a grey pinstripe I had from a dress idea that I never got around to, and incorporated his favorite color: red!

I had the red lining left over from my attempt at making holiday bears a couple years ago (wow...a couple years ago. Sheesh, time flies!). The pattern doesn't call for lining fabric, but I wanted to give the vest a special touch!

I think it is perfect for a little conductor! He likes to pretend he is taking us to the North Pole on the Polar Express. :)

I added his formal title to the back pocket. ;) Sorry for the photo quality...hubby was switching lenses on his camera, so I had to use my phone.

I didn't have any bias tape, so I tried using ribbon instead. While very cute, it didn't work that well around the arms. Trying to mend that this weekend, since it started pulling away when he wore the vest. Overall, the pattern was pretty easy. I adapted it a bit to how I wanted to use it, but I definitely recommend checking out the book. There are some really cute ideas!