17 posts categorized "Bloom" Feed

No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

  No-Mac  Cheese and Cauliflower Storybook Woods

    This recipe all came about because I miss mac and cheese. I wanted a low carb version and tried several recipes, but honestly they were too much work, relied on a roux (I do not eat flour) and I was not happy with the results. In mac and cheese your cooking a pasta that absorbs the sauce, cauliflower does not absorb, so you need a different type of sauce. I learned a long time ago just thickened cream makes a simple sauce. Add some cheese, bake until thick and bubble and it is quite good, and easy :-)

    I have made at least 5 different versions of this with cook /frozen/riced/not and this is the version my family liked best. The second recipe is the one I like the best, because it is easier. I did not have to prepare and par-cook the cauliflower. They are both good though. The only kind of cauliflower I would not use is frozen florets. We all agreed it was too mushy. I do not know why the frozen riced cauliflower is not mushy, but it is not. Par-cooking the cauliflower florets gave a perfect textured with the finished dish. I like to serve this with a steak and salad on our weekends. If you hate cauliflower, make the second version, you will never know there is cauliflower in there, if you use strong flavored cheddar.

No-Mac  Cheese and Cauliflower 1 Storybook Woods

No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

makes a 5x10" pan

 

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups cauliflower, small flowerts, par-cooked *see my notes below

1 tsp. dried granulated garlic

½ tsp ground pepper

½ sea salt

Pre-heat oven 350°F

In a sauce pan mix all ingredients, except the cauliflower. On low heat stir cream/cheese until cheese is melted. You do NOT want to boil this, just melt the cheese. Pull sauce off heat and stir in cauliflower. Grease a 5x10" pan and pour cauliflower in prepared pan. Cover pan with heavy lid or foil. Bake 50 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crispy brown around the edges.4

 

Quicker version No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

makes a 5x10" pan

 

I cup heavy cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups frozen, riced cauliflower

1 tsp. dried granulated garlic

½ tsp ground pepper

½ sea salt

Pre-heat oven 350°F

In a sauce pan mix all ingredients, except the cauliflower. On low heat stir cream/cheese until cheese is melted. You do NOT want to boil this, just melt the cheese. Pull sauce off heat and stir in cauliflower. Because the cauliflower is frozen the sauce with glop together, but do not worry it will bake fine. Grease a 5x20" pan and spread cauliflower in prepared pan. Cover pan with heavy lid or foil. Bake 50 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crispy brown around the edges.

 

*Notes

1. Par-cooking cauliflower. Cut your fresh cauliflower into small florets, about the size of your thumb nail. In a small pan on your stove or in a microwave set on high, boil cauliflower about 3-4 minutes. Until it starts to become transparent in color but still firm. Run cauliflower under cold water and set aside. This can be done earlier in the day too. Just refrigerate until you make you no-mac, cheese and cauliflower.

2. If you want to keep it really fast and quick, make the second version but cook the sauce and riced cauliflower on the stove for about 5 minutes, until the frozen cauliflower is cooked. Then enjoy. I make this for my dinner on nights, when I am cooking something for my family I cannot eat. With a salad it is lovely. Not as lovely as the baked, crunchy version but still good.

3. Lastly, this dish is only as good as the cheese you use. Use a strong cheddar with lots of flavor!

 


Bloom-Making The Hard Choices

 

 

A Storybook Woods

     I get asked a lot what tricks I use to keep my weight off. A big one is stopping and really thinking about what I want to eat. How to have treats without going whole hog. I tend to have my treats on the weekend, so I so that cuts of a lot of the week. I will also try to plan it out. If I know I am going to have a really carby meal on Saturday let's say, I try to make sure I eat really good the day before and after to make-up for it. But I also look at what is being served, what I would really like and try to make it as healthy as I can, while still enjoying what I want. I will give you two examples.

    Example 1, last weekend we had hot dogs topped with bacon, guacamole and monterey jack cheese (which is a fab combo by the way). I served nacho chips in the side because my family loves them. I looked at that meal and thought what was the problems with it? First there is the hot dog buns, second the chips and third no veggies (I don't consider avocado's veggies  ;-). The buns were cheap ones and I did not want them, but the chips were calling to me. So this is what I did. I used a romaine lettuce leaf for a bun (do it all the time, I am fine with it) and took a FEW (& I mean like 4 chips each hot dog) and crushed them on the top. Added some raw veggies on the side and the dish ended up not being too bad. Also I did not feel cheated.

BacHdog Storybook woods

     Example 2, hubby's birthday last month. He loves biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. I have discovered how to make the gravy without flour and it is delish. Now I could have made mine with a gain-free biscuits but I did not have any on-hand. I decided I did not want a plain biscuit to be my treat, because I wanted the rosemary bread I was baking later to me my treat. So I just had gravy over eggs and thoroughly enjoyed my homemade bread later.

    So see? Stop, think about what you love? What can you give up? Try to pick just one indulgence and not go hog crazy with it. This has served me well and I hope it makes sense to you!! 

Sausage Gravey Storybook Woods


Bloom, 2 Years Later

  Appletree Storybook Woods

    Well it has been 2 years since I found out I was pre-diabetic and made a drastic lifestyle change. I am pleased to say I am still staying strong. I am completely comfortable eating a very low carb/paleo diet now. My cravings do not get the best of me (most days ;-). I have treat days and seem to make it all work. I was re-reading my 1 year post where I talked about gaining confidence and I have to say I feel even more confident now. Over Christmas I gained 5 pounds (not a big deal) but I was able to drop that weight off in 3 weeks. I have NEVER been able to do this before, unless I did something extreme to my body. It just shows me I am doing what my body needs.

    What thrills me more than anything, and is my biggest goal, I am maintaining what I have lost. If I do NOTHING else, I want to at least maintain. I have yo-yo'ed all my life from 96-240 something pounds. If I can keep this 40/50 pound weight loss off, then I have succeeded. So after 2 years, I would say I am succeeding.

Goal1

    This brings me to what I wanted to share in this post. I have talked a lot about what I eat, how I move, what food owns me. But what I really want to talk about today, and what I feel like nobody talks about, is being positive. When it comes to lifestyle changes, diet, exerciser, goals, I see so many negative statements. Food is called bad, a goal is not meant unless it is done perfectly and no matter how much weight someone losses they are not happy unless they have hit their target weight. I wonder if this negative talk, unrealistic goals and self-loathing is undermining our health in the long run. I mean sure we can do something extreme, trick our body for a while and get some weight off. But in the long run are we really making true changes that will last?

    I was determined this time around to set small goals, go slow with my weight loss (I did not even weigh myself the first year), and be positive about food. I never say I cheat, I say I have a treat or gave into cravings (which does happen. I acknowledge it and move on). I never look at a day as a failure. Even if I ate something I shouldn't or didn't exerciser or gained weight, I know what went wrong that day, I do not need to point it out to myself. Instead I point out what I did right. I had a great breakfast or I drank lots of water or I did my deep breathing. I keep my focus positive, I keep my talk about myself positive!

    For every wrong thing we do, there is something we did right too. I am glad I set small goals for myself and hold them very lightly. I think this leads to feeling more positive about myself, which I think leads to a healthier body and weight loss. Becoming healthy is lifelong trek. It really never stops, and it is not like we hit some certain line in the sand and then we are done. Everyday is about choices, learning and getting a bit healthier than yesterday. I do not think it is some final destination we arrive at, but more of a journey we are on. So I wanted to encourage everyone to love yourself, be positive about food and look at what you did right today. Be proud of yourself because nobody is more invested in you, than you xox

Win

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bloom, Being Slayed

  Molly20

    So I have been doing this super low-carb thing a good 18 months and over all it is not too hard. I have lazy days where I do not want to deal with it, but still it is not hard. I have found ways to make, or curb, or substitute the foods I love. At first, any food I could not eat, I missed simple because I could not eat it but over time I made it work or just did not want it more. Having said that, there is one food that is my nemesis, bread! Oh, and bread that had been deep friend, a double whammy. I have tried making grain free versions and they are good (actually love them) but they're not the same. Unquestionably not the same!

    I have found out over time, when it comes to bread, I have NO self-control. Luckily my food snobbery helps me a bit. It has to be good, fresh, just made bread. Wonder bread is no temptation to me, thank goodness. Normally I would say, "just have a bit, a treat, like once a week". This is what I do with other foods I love but are not healthy for me. I have a bit, savor it and wait a couple of weeks. Bread though goes into a whole `nother category. When I eat bread, I think about it for days, weeks. It calls my name in dreams like my first love. I have come to realized I have no boundaries where bread is concerned. So having a bit of bread is not going to work. Now the idea of never have bread, or a croissant, or a funnel cake ... okay, sorry, I got off track. Well it is just too tragic to think about but I am not sure I can have bread even once a month.

    We all have that something we love, crave and no matter how much we talk to ourselves, pin quotes and write goals, it owns us! I do not think feeling guilty or bad, does any good. It is just a truth, not shame or a label. Besides being truthful is what sets us free. I think the best chance I have at controlling my bread cravings, instead of them controlling me, is being honest with myself. I really do not know yet what I am going to do about bread. Wish I had the answer, I do not. I know that I do not like that I scarfed down a third of the rosemary Parmesan boulé the other night. I do not want to be that girl. So I guess my first step is to be honest. I need bread-anonymous! Is there a food undermining your health? Something you just cannot get control over? Be honest with yourself but do not feel guilty either. Just own it. One day at a time, we will fight the good fight!


Bloom, Browned Butter Trick

  132

Here is a note I posted on FB about my health and weight lost. Thought I would share it with you!!

"Well I weighed myself :-O

    As I have said in the past, when I started this almost a year and 1/2 ago, I do not weigh myself. I do not want to be defined by a number, nor do I want to focus on losing weight. Yes, I need and want to loss weight but even more so, I want to be healthy and I think by focusing on a number is counterproductive for me. Having said that, I know I weighed around 240 lb, give or take. So I finally weighed myself at my dad's and I am proud to say I weigh 203lb. I have lost about 40lb, give or take ;-) Which is wonderful, and not really important, all at the same time.

     I want to share for a couple of reason, first to encourage others. I do not know about you but it really inspires me when I see others meet their goals. Second I wanted to say, low carb and HIGH fat is working for me. Not that you are me. You need to play with what works for you but I tend get a lot of pull back from others who feel that eating fat is bad. Yes, you have to eat the right kind of fat: coconut oil, avocados, grass fed meat and dairy, etc. But I make sure I get a good dose of fat every day. As a matter of fact I am lowering my protein intake (including nuts. I eat them but less now), and upping my fat. I mostly eat veggies with healthy fat. If I eat something like a boneless, skinless chicken breast I make sure I eat a big pat of grass fed butter or half an avocado on the side.

     For me it is eating very low on the carb scale, cutting out most sugar and exercising is what has worked. I will also say I think it is 50/50 on diet and exercise. When I do not do one or the other, I get the same results: bloating, stomach aches, munchies and I'm sleepy. So if you are skeptical about eat fat or just like to hear how others are doing, I hope I have encouraged you. It is not easy, I am not going to lie but there is a sweetness knowing I have lost 40lb. And that I am getting stronger. Thank you for letting me share xox"

    So in-keeping of my love of butter, grass-feed butter that is ;-) I though I would share a simple way to bling up those veggies or plain piece of fish or chicken breast. Brown your butter. It is so simple and easy, and it adds a lot of flavors. It is one of my go to tricks for dinner. The other night we had salad and rockfish filets. I just panned fried them in brown butter, instead of plain butter and it added so much more flavor. I could tell you how to make it but I think it is nice to see, so here is a great video on how to brown your butter.

    Now I will give you another TIP. In the video he pours the butter over his cooked veggies but you can cook your veggies or meat in the butter. Here is what you do, have some oil in-hand, olive or avocado, or whatever you like. When the butter is browned, foaming and smells nutty pour a splash of oil in the butter. This helps the butter from burning. Then you add the meat or veggies. Just make sure you are using something that cooks fast and is thin. If the butter is cooked too long, then will still burn eve with the oil. That is it, a yummy way to get healthy fat into your diet!

Also thank you for the congratulations on my 9 year bloggiversary, I am so grateful for all the friends I have made over the 9 years.  The winner is Dianntha, congratulation xox

 


Bloom, A Year Later

  1bloom

"Saying no leads to confidence and confidence opens up the world and that is a liberator!"

    Gosh it has been a year since I started dealing with my blood sugar/pre-diabetic stuff.  A year ago I was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, panicked, sick (even though I pretended I wasn't) and thought it might be the end of me writing about food. I was having HUGE sugar/carb withdrawals, wondering what I could eat and having a pity-party. But boy what a difference a year can make!

  • I now am walking 3+ miles 1-2 times a week (when I started I struggled with ½ mile).
  • I continue to let an incident a year ago (almost crashed the car w/ my daughters in it), be my wake up call. When I do not want to do something, I remind myself what will happen if I go backwards.
  • I am weight lifting 5# dumbbells for 10/15 minutes (when I started I struggles w/ 2 ½# dumbbells for a minute. I have really weak and flabby arms. It is the one part of my body I am focusing on).
  • David and I go hiking now!
  • I made myself run. I often have to push in with buff 20yrd guys to get the weights and lift in front of them (really hard to do :-O
  • I have dropped 2 sizes. (I bought size 14 jeans the other day. I was a 18/20 a year ago) PS. I do not know how much I weigh because I refuse to weigh myself. I guess I do not want to be defined by a number.
  • I have figured out how to eat without eating things like pasta, rice, bread, etc. (It is not hard. A little weird but not hard once you figure it all out).

    But the biggest thing I have now is confidence. I am confident that I can do whatever needs to be done. I can get healthy. I am getting healthy. I feel clearer, lighter and stronger. It is a nice feeling. I mostly spent this past year reading, listening and learning about our health, blood sugar, how to eat, etc. and I think what I learned the most is we are all different. Sorry, wish there was some magic one way pill for all of us but there is not. However I do think there is a few things that are true for all of us.

  1. “just eat less and move more?”. This idea is pretty outdated and NOT true. Yes, most of us should probably eat less (at least less junk) and should move but it is just not that simple. Really!!
  2. Sleep. Getting sleep is just as important as what you eat!
  3. Handing stress. It is not so much having stress, as it is how do you handle your stress?
  4. Veggies. We all need to eat more vegetables, I mean wayyyy more. 60% of my diet is vegetables.
  5. Water. Drink more of it. First thing every morning I have is a glass of water with a TBL of raw cider vinegar and lemon oil. I try to carry a bottle of water with me all day. I find it helps me drink more.
  6. Over-exercise, DON'T! Yes we need to move more but over exercising can shut down your metabolism, especially when you first start out. So take it slow. Take days off so your body can rest. Also work on building muscle. Strength training is very important to your health.
  7. Active lifestyle. This is not the same as a concentrated work out. Look for ways to have to move more, like parking farther away or taking the stairs or standing when working on your computer.

    1bloominsta

    The reason why you need to look first at your sleep and stress is it can mess with your hormones and metabolism. If they is not working right, then you will struggle to get healthy and loose weight. Your body needs to get "back in-line" so to speak to work efficiently. I really did not lose much weight the first 6 months but after that it just sort of started coming off. I think that is because my body was/is healing. Healing takes time. Repair takes time. So remember to look at your sleep/stress, drink more water, eat a lot more veggies and move but do not feel like you have to kill yourself everyday in high energy exercise. Build up slow, do something for a while and then take it up a small notch. I think these are rules we all can live by and can make a huge difference in our lives.

    I get a lot of notes asking what program I use?.  I do not use a program. My mom has type 2 diabetes and has been able to control it through diet, so I followed her example and then tweaked it for myself. Also I get lots of notes telling me "I love my carbs! I cannot have a meal without bread or potatoes or cereal". I love carbs too and there are some really healthy ones. You do not have to cut out carbs but I do. For me it is simple. I eat high carbs, it turns into sugar in my system, raises my blood sugar too high and my body cannot handle it. I cannot argue with this fact. But I will say this, it sounds like some of you are having some problem and do not feel healthy. I think most of us know in our gut what we need to do and change. I did, I just did not want to do it because lets face it, it is not fun.

    But this is what I have learned this past year. There is something stronger than "having fun and my cravings". That is confidence! It takes work to say no to things we love but are bad for us. Just like I have written about in the past that frugality is not a killjoy but a liberator, well the same rule applies to discipline. Saying no leads to confidence and confidence opens up the world and that is a liberator. When you believe you have it in you to do what you need to do, you suddenly own your life. Croissants do not own me now. They are an amazing part of my life (I had one for Valentines day, it was heaven) but I choose when and where to indulge. I guess what I am trying to say is at first you feel like so many things/foods are being taken away from you. You feel helpless and angry, well I did. It takes time to see that yes, you may be loosing something but you are gaining so much more. Something, that as time goes on is much more satisfying. I do not know what this up coming year holds. All I do know is I am sure I will learn even more about my myself, I can say no and will try to grow a bit everyday. I will continue to bloom where I am planted!

 


Bloom, I Love Food Too Much To Eat That

  Nastur sald

     I have been thinking about some chats I have had with friends recently. All were congratulating me on sticking with my diet changes and asked how I avoid food temptations. Like how have I not eaten pasta in 8 months or how do I avoid popcorn at the movies theater and so forth? Well there are a lot of reasons but it mostly came down to two things. First, I do not want to be sick anymore. Second, I like food too much. See, in case you do not already know this about me ;-) I am a food snob. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE food but I love good food, real food, well made food. Some old popcorn with oil and powdered butter does not tempt me. Well honestly, it temps me when I walk in the movie theater but I know when I get it in my mouth I will not be happy.

   That is it! When I have a treat, I want it to be worth it. I want to savor it. When I am running around and am tempted to just pick up anything to eat, I stop and think. "Do I really want this to be my treat?" Because I only get a few a week. If it was more than that, it would not be a treat but a lifestyle. And if I am going to have a food lifestyle it is not going to be on cheetos, grocery store doughnuts and coke! No it will be salads freshly picked from the garden, perfect pastured bacon and artisan cheeses. Well those foods take time and thought.

    When you have time and thought, you can really think about what you want to eat and what you should eat. It gives you time to decide how much you want those doughnuts. For me the question is also, how good are those doughnuts? I will love them? Are they worth ruining the 3 miles I walked? How much will they set me back? Nine times out of ten the answer time ends up being no and that keeps me on track. It also frees me up to really enjoy my splurges. Which by the way you will never hear me say cheat. This is another post I will write soon but I do not talk bad about food anymore. Well real food, I do not talk bad about real food. So I do not cheat, I spurge and when I do, I do it with a full heart. I stop, enjoy every morsel and feel no guilt.

    Do you struggle with saying no to food that makes you sick? Are you feeling pulled all over the place like a small child by foods that is unhealthy for you? Do you not know how to say no? Well first you need to unhook yourself from those foods. Which I will not lie, it is not easy. I suggest not eating them for 4 week. Yes a month! You need to curb your cravings. You need time to heal your gut. (By the way did you know that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system? Keep getting sick? It might have to do with what you eat and how it affects your gut.) I also found when I stopped eating certain foods I did not want them anymore. Take pasta for example, I did not eat it for 8 months and when I did it tasted weird to me. I do not miss it.

    Mostly what I wanted to say in this long post is to pull out your food snob. When you are tempted, when you body is screaming for something you should not eat, when you feel lazy, stop and think. Ask yourself if it is really worth it? Do I want to sabotage my goals, my health for that? Now the answer to that ding-dong might be yes but then SAVOR it. Plan for it, make it your treat, not a last-minute-give-in. Love what you eat. Love it unabashedly. I have a saying (ask all my friends) “What if I die and this is my last meal?” Do I want to have died after eating a micky d’s burger? Heck no! I love food too much to eat that. More importantly I love myself too much!

 

 

 


Bloom, A Detox Plan

  RedQheart

    Well after 11 months of eating really low carb, I was wondering how I should handle the holidays. I decided to eat what I wanted but in moderation. Actually if I eat too much carbs now I get really sick (which is interesting because I was not like that before I started this whole thing). I had treats this holiday because I did not want to feel deprived. In my opinion feeling deprived undermine long term health goals. So I enjoyed my homemade popovers but had a bigger helping of salad. Having said that over the month my starch/sugar carvings have been creeping up and up. I have been waking up in the middle of the night this past week wanting cookies (which I normally never do). So I need to detox but first I need a plan.

    I would like to acknowledge that it is NOT easy detoxing. Cravings are a strong thing and do not feel bad about your cravings.  Do not feel bad if you feel unhinged, out of control and crazy woman when you cut out sugar or bread. That first week, 11 months ago, I cut out sugar was awful with a capital A. I was soooo grumpy, could not sleep and nothing made me happy. The good new is it does get better and in time (but not right away) you even loose a lot of those cravings. Heck if I can do it (I have NO self control. As a girl I would unwrap my Christmas gifts, look at them, re-wrap them and no one was the wiser on Christmas day because I could not wait) you can do it!

    Now I could just cut everything out at once but I plan to break it up in 2 parts. First I am cutting out starches, like bread and potatoes. I am not craving them as much as I do sugar. So I will will deal with the smaller hill, so too speak, first. After a week, if my cravings are still really bad then I will wait another week before tackling sugar. Next I will then cut out all sweeteners (including most fruit). Which will be really hard for me. I do have one treat I allow myself that is 90% chocolate. When I think I am going to buckle and cave in, I take a nibble of really dark chocolate and that seems to help. After about 2 weeks of feeling really bad and grumpy, I will start to feel better. The cravings will calm down and the sun will come out!!

    So I encourage you to own your health and make changes in a way that works for you. Detoxing all at once might be best but feel free to break it down if it seems too overwhelming. I found as I succeeded in one area, I felt more confident as I moved to another. Really if I can conquer my sugar cravings, then everything else seems easy after that. Look at what you really crave. It is probably what you should NOT be eating. Everyday is a new start, a new choices. If you messed up yesterday, you can do better today. Remember a hill is climbed one step at a time, not all at once xox

RedQhert0

Some tips to help you detox

  • Drink LOTS of water. If you can handle a tsp. or two of raw cider vinegar in your water, that really helps too.
  • Make sure you have nothing big happening in your life those first few days, like a Dr appointment or visitors.
  • Find something non-food to pamper yourself. For me it is flowers. I buy myself fresh flowers every week.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Read. This seems counterproductive but reading about cooking makes me feel better (I know I am weird). Do what works for you!
  • Deep breathing exercises really help. And long bubble baths too!
  • Keep a journal. Write down why you are doing this, so in weak moments you can remind yourself why you started this whole thing.
  • Tell your family what you are going to do. Tell them to be patient with you. Tell them you need their help. Ask them to hid their candy. Let them know you will not be cooking treats for a bit. Do not feel bad doing what you need to for you and including them in this. I made my girls make the bread for a while. I just could not do it.

You can read about my whole lifestyle change journey here !

PS if you have not, you should check out 21 day sugar detox


Pumpkin Custard, grain/gluten free

  Pumpkin cus

    I have not written much lately about my pre-diabetes. I am doing good. It has been 7 months or so. No symptoms, I am working out and doing pretty good on my diet. Which to reiterate is a low carb diet, lots of veggies and some protein. I am not eating quite as low carb as I was. I am adding small amount of beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa , etc. You cannot not eat super low carb long term. If I eat a really bad, carby meal I try to eat real low carb the next day to balance myself out. I find now if I eat too much of something like bread I get a terrible stomach ache, so I satisfy myself with a small slice now and then.

    It if funny the some of the carbs I thought I would miss I do not like pasta and other surprises me like I really crave corn tortillas. It is a constant balancing act. Plus I have my family (if it was only me to feed, it would so much easier ;-)  This dessert came out of trying to make something for my family but also for me. They have been in pie mood lately. Which fine, I just eat the filling and leave the crust but I was sick of the lovely crust calling my name. So I decided to make a pumpkin custard. Which honestly is just pumpkin pie filling but it is all in how you cook it. Very simply you cook the filling at a low temp in a bain-marie. This will give a softer, silkier custard. I used mason jars but did NOT have the lids on while baking. After they cooled I added the lids. This is simple. You can even keep bags of filling in the freezer, waiting to defrost and bake off!

Pumpkin cus2
 

Pumpkin Custard

makes 4-6 servings

 

1 pumpkin pie filling, most fillings that have eggs in them will work. I like to use my simply rich filling.

 

Pre-heat oven to 300˚F (if you know your oven runs hot, then 275˚F)

Fill clean mason jars 1/2 or 1/3 way depending on how big you want each serving. Make a bain-marie (water bath). What I do is take a baking pan big enough to to hold your jars or custard cups and set the pan in my pre-heated oven and pour hot water in pan filling about a third of the way. Then I add the jars. I do not like to add the water after the jars are in the pan because you risk getting water in your custard. Bake anywhere from 40 minutes until 60 minutes. You want the center to be cooked. It may be jiggly but nothing liquidy when you insert a knife in the center. Pull out jars and let them sit on your counter until cool. Then add your lids and store in fridge. All that is needed is a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I barely sweeten mine and add a splash of dark rum!


Bloom, chocolate

  Blomcho0

    Well if you do not like chocolate, than this post will probably do nothing for you. But since I cannot imagine anyone not liking chocolate, I will continue on :-) Granted you may not be a chocoholic like me. Red wine and chocolate have their own food group in my life. Since wine raises my blood sugar, I have had to imbibe lightly (which is probably a good thing) but dark chocolate has been my life raft on this journey.

Blomcho2

  As I posted before, the first 6 weeks of my diet I did not eat sugar but I ate dark, very dark 80-90% chocolate. I would have a square, which I would take tinyyyyy nibbles off when I thought I was going to break down like a small child (which I felt like a lot, especially those first 2 weeks coming off carbs and sugar). Luckily I already liked really dark chocolate. Which has very little sugar and is good for me, so as long as I do not eat the whole bar in one day.

Blomcho3

   My appreciation of chocolate is beyond a candy bars. Really started in my teens when my mother and I went on a day-long chocolate excursion. Can you imaging a whole day learning, tasting and cooking with chocolate? It was heaven and opened up a whole new world for me. The tasting showed me there is so much more to chocolate besides just sweetness. In the morning, we visited two chocolate makers in San Fransisco. Then had a lunch prepared with all dishes, savory and sweet, using chocolate. In the afternoon was a chocolate tasting. Starting with white ending with unsweetened. We tasted at lest 20 chocolates.   Have you ever done a chocolate tasting? If not I encourage you to. It will open up your world, like it did mine. Chocolate, like wine, has many different characteristics. It can be fruity, peppery, coffee, herby, acidic or sweet. It is not until you start tasting them side by side can you really see the difference. Once you see the difference, you start to slow down and really enjoy that piece of chocolate. You notice the texture, how it melts and of course the different nuances of flavor. After all of you are going to eat chocolate you should really stop and savor it. Eat the best you can get your hands on. Look beyond those grocery store candy bars. Chocolate is sooo much more. Have a tasting party. It is fun and you will find how you and your friends all like different things. Here is a chocolate tasting sheet you can download.

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    I believe in the power of chocolate. Cocoa is good for your health. They have flavanoids, are full of  antioxidant and high levels if magnesium. Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings. If you are eating modest amounts of dark chocolate, it should not raise your blood sugar. As I said in the beginning of the post chocolate has been my life raft on this low carb/sugar lifestyle change. And that is a life raft I can live with!!

PS, my all time fav chocolate for eating is Madacasse 80%. It is pricey and hard to come by but soo good. Dark cherries, slightly acidity and long finish. Amazing!!

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Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5455986_benefits-cocoa-beans.html
Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5455986_benefits-cocoa-beans.html
Cocoa beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body's adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5455986_benefits-cocoa-beans.htmlf you are eating a dark chocolate, it can be a friend and not raise your blood sugar

 


Blooming, carbs

  Cake

    I look at cake or a loaf of homemade bread and it calls to me. Sadly I cannot answer! Carbs: bread, potatoes, pasta, corn, cakes, they all raise my blood sugar and I had to say goodbye to them (except for a rare treat). To me the hardest part about cooking low carb, it is just that low carb. I mean it is easy to find some meat dish to cook for dinner and there are now a zillion low carb dessert recipes but what about the rest of the meal? Sure there is salad but day in and day out, it is hard to eat the same thing. Plus so much of how we eat is cab based. Bread or potatoes on the side with that roast, sandwich for lunch, pancakes for breakfast or pasta for our red sauce? There are carb free options and I will list a few of my favs below but still it is HARD!

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    I just want to put that out there and acknowledge it. One of the things I have had to embrace is just eating different. I mean do I have to have pasta with my sauce? Is a sandwich a sandwich if there is no bread? Can I look at something like a fruit cobbler in a new light, if there is no flour in it? Sure I do not like it but I have had to embrace eating in a new way to make this work. I can make grain free bread (which I will share soon) but it will NEVER be like homemade white bread, Never and I have to just embrace that. Really it comes down to this, my health or cake!! Which do I want? Of course the logical answer is my health but there are days (many of them) where I would pick the cake over my health but I do not listen to that girl. That girl has no boundaries when she wants something. That girl would sell her left arm for a cronut with rose glaze. That girl never wants to get off the couch. That girl also does not listen to her body, when it is screming it is sick and needs help. So I have chosen to not listen to her. I choose me, not cake!!

Carbs guys

Carb replacement ideas.

1. My favorite carb replaces for things like pasta or rice is thinly sliced raw cabbage. If you put hot sauce over it, it slightly wilts the cabbage. It is quite lovely!!

2. My new find is kelp noodles. I get them in the Asian section of my grocers. They do not taste like anything (no seaweed taste). They are clear, a little hard and for those who do raw, they are perfect. You soak the noodles in warm water for 30 minutes and then drain. They are really wonderful for an Asian salad but I eat them with red sauce too. They are a bit firmer than pasta. Think of them as super al dente!

3. I have discovered spinach with balsamic vinaigrette is lovely under stew or meat sauce. It sort of cuts the richness a bit. Stew served over the spinach (which will wilt from the heat of the stew) with some gorgonzola cheese on top is heaven!! Of course you can use spaghetti squash or raw zucchini noodles as a carb replacement too. Zucchini/cheese fritters makes a lovely side dish.

4. I keep bags of almond flour biscuits in the freezer ready to bake off; just like I do with regular biscuits. They bake up beautifully. Although they can be crumbly, so be gentle with them.

5. I think eggs are the best meal for breakfast but some days I just cannot look at another egg. On those days I love grain free granola with 1/2 cup of fruit and some of my raw milk yogurt.

6. This is messy but works for lunch. Take a slice of lunchmeat fill with veggies, some Dijon and cheese or avocado, then rolled up. A sandwich with no bread!!

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Bloom, sweetness

  Bloom sweets

    Well this post will be short and sweet ;-) I have gone around and around on what is the healthiest sugar and honestly I cannot find a clear answer. Except,  you really should eat as little sugar as possible. Second if you are going to eat sugar, eat the purest form you can. At this point, I still eat coconut sugar and some stevia. If you want to know more about how coconut sugar is made (very similar to maple. I am told a flower will put out sap for 20 years, so it is quite sustainable) this video is interesting. I have tried honey and maple but they spike my blood sugar too much. But that is me (and not you).

    The real problem ... and we all know it, is the stuff is so additive. It sooths one nerves, give comfort and calls to us day and night. At least that is how I feel about sweets. So I am "trying" to work on having a healthy relationship with sugar. I had none for a couple of weeks. Now I am trying to be balanced and when I crave it, I look elsewhere. I look to something not food related to find that comfort. Lately fresh flowers, baths and working on my photography is my non-food comfort. So test your blood, try to eat as little sugar as you can, learn to love less sweet sweets and find sweetness in life that has nothing to do with food!!

Sugr

PS. While agree with everything I just wrote, treat yourself now and then. They say try to do 80% of your diet but if you never have a treat (something you adore) you will go crazy and long term will fail. If this is a life long change, then you have to have a plan you can live with the rest of your life. Do not go too extreme!!


Bloom, protein

Protien2 

   In my last post I talked about vegetables, fruit and their carbs. My diet consists mostly of vegetables but protein plays a big part too. I basically eat a paleo diet (w/ a few exceptions). I drink raw cows milk. We eat LOTS of fresh eggs. I consider vegetables and eggs (yoke and all) the most perfect food there is. We also only eat grass-feed beef, pastured meat (we purchase 1/2 a cow and 1/2 a pig at a time) and wild fish (which has help Chloe to not have any more ovary cysts and trips to the ER).

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    BUT here lies my problem. Pastured, grass-feed and wild protein is expensive, at least where I live. A gallon of raw goat’s milk is $16.00. A dozen eggs can be $8 (I pay $4 and consider that a bargain). I feed 4 adults and cannot afford to serve us meat every night. We do eat a lot of vegetarian/vegan meals but they can be pretty carby. All these restrictions has really challenged my cooking skills. Having said that, I need meat. Not every day but if I go more than 4 days without meat, I do not feel well. I feel stronger when I eat meat. So I will be honest, this is a constant balancing act. My family has had to embrace meals with no meat. They have had to learn to live w/ smaller portions of meat. My husband's favorite food is steak!

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    A dinner with no bread, no, meat, almost no carbs. It is a hard sell but I encourage you to keep trying. Do it in baby steps. I will have carbs on the side for my family but cook small amounts, so they have to eat more veggies or go hungry. I am finding what they love and what they hate. For example they LOVE Asian peanut sauce . I can put it on any veggie and they devour it. I have created a raw (as in fake, no meat) taco meat that my family loves, along with some other tips and recipes. I will share soon. If you are not on a tight budget then buy the best pastured meat and fish you can get and enjoy! Mostly listen to your body, be open to trying new things and when you hit on something your family loves, brainstorm how to make the most of it. These changes are a sacrifice but in the end, the good news, we are eating more veggies. That is a win/win!!! More to come.

 


Bloom, Making a Choice

Veggifru
 

Before I get into what changes I made in my diet, I would like to point out what works for me, may not work for you. We are all different and need different things. Plus I am still learning and a year from now, I may have a very different take on all this. Basically I am letting my body tell me what to/not to eat and I encourage you to do the same.

Veggiecarb

    So after finding out I had problems with high blood sugar, what could I eat? Sugar was out, most carbohydrates were out. I read food falls into three categories; fat, protein or carbs. Fat and protein does not affect my blood sugar. So it was carbs I needed to look at. I started with vegetables. All vegetables are healthy but some have a heavy carb load. Granted the fiber content helps but the first 6 weeks I wanted to eat as low on the carb as I could. I made a list of veggies (with a little drawings of each veggie because I have to be creative about this). I made a list of each vegetable, working with a ½ cup amount. If the carbs were over 10 grams, I would list the vegetable (or fruit) as high carbs. Just a note; you do have to look at the fiber too. For example a ½ cup of raw cabbage is 1 gram carbs but it is 1 gram fiber. You subtract the fiber# from the carb #, so cabbage is 0 carbs. I eat a LOT of cabbage, luckily I love it. Now corn for example is 20.6 grams of carbs for ½ cup and 2.3 grams of fiber, so it comes to 18.3 carbs for ½ cup. When you are trying to only eat 3-5 carbs a meal that is high!

    As I stated in my last post, I do not plan to eat this low on the carb scale the rest of my life but I do not plan to eat high on the carb scale either. I am/will be slowly testing healthy carbs, checking my blood, looking for what and how much I can eat without spiking my numbers too much. It takes TIME.

    I never thought about how much the American meal is based around carbs. Right now I do not eat rice, potatoes, most gluten free flours, beans, lentils, even my favorite quinoa (which I really love and still think is a super food). It is hard to think of a dinner with no bread or rice or pasta. It takes a whole new way of thinking. I have come up with some dishes that help me feel like I am still getting those carbs, even though I am not (and will share more). But my diet now consist of 65% vegetables, 20% proteins, 10% healthy fats and 5% everything else. My plate has more veggies on it than anything else.

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    About fruit! There are lower carb fruit but basically the sweeter something is, even naturally sweet, the more fructose it has. And therefore it will probably raise your number and cause you body too look to you blood system for its energy (instead of your fat and therefore you are less likely to lose weight and bring your numbers down). So the less fruit you eat, the better in the beginning. I have blackberries or strawberries 2-3 times a week (w/ homemade, raw milk yogurt). I make sure I do not eat more than 1/2 cup.

    Now you may not have a problem with your blood sugar spiking, so this does not apply to you. BUT I would make the argument that no matter how healthy you are, balance is always a good thing. Plus knowledge is power. Looking at what we eat, how much we eat and what is in those foods is always a good idea. The reason I was baking gluten-free was not because we were allergic to gluten, it was because we generally had too much gluten in our diets. I wanted my family to eat more balanced, so baking gluten-free was a simple way to replace some of the gluten in our diet with a healthy alternative. Now, I cannot eat those gluten-free items (I need to bake grain-free now) but for my family I still think gluten-free is a good for them because it will create a more balanced diet for them.

    Sorry this post it so long. My little list not only gives me a creative outlet for this lifestyle change but helped me see clearly what I cannot and cannot eat or at least how much I can eat. Sure I will have some watermelon this summer. Will I have the two thick slices like I use to have? No! More like a 1/2 a cup. I will eat it slowly, I will savor it and really that is a good thing, high blood sugar or not!! More to come!


Bloom, Eating

  Bloom journey2

Strong, adventurous, determined, thankful, joyfull in ALL

(& be styling at the same time ;-)

    So after I established I had high blood sugar and bought a pretty scrapbook, what next? Well what should I eat? Luckily (but not luckily) my mother has diabetes and was able to bring her levels way down by eating a low carbohydrate/no sugar diet. She is a wealth of info, support and "that did/did not work". Now when I say low carb I mean it! Like 3-5 carbs per meal. I decided to take 4 weeks and eat low carb/no sugar for a couple of reasons.

  • 1. To unhook from carbs and sugar. I actually do not eat a lot of sugar BUT carbs, that is a different story. I ate a lot of gluten free BUT most GF grains are still carby. For 1 1/2 weeks I was really going through withdrawals. It was not easy. So like I said I needed to unhook myself from my cravings (which honestly is a forever battle).

  • 2. I needed my liver to heal a bit. Did you know your liver is like the maid of your body, cleaning up all the toxins you put into it? Think of the the highways of your body, converging together and running through your liver. If you are eating refined sugar and refined carbs, you have been taxing your liver, so it will not be functioning as it should.

  • 3. Even if I do end up eating more healthy carbs down the road (which I will), I know I need to know how to eat as low carb as I can. I need to not be dependant on those carbs or sugars.

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    Let me say from everything I have read, you do not want to eat super low carb for long periods of time. What I did for the first 6 weeks, was check my blood 3-4 times a day (I thought sticking myself would hurt so bad, I am a big a baby about that kind of thing BUT it does not hurt. Not at all!) and started eating as low carb/no sugar as I could. Even if you do not have the same problem as me, I would encourage you to look at how much carbs you consume on a daily basis and how healthy those carbs are. I was surprised at the amount I was eating because there were so many cabs I did not know about. Next time I will talk about what I did and did NOT eat? And what I am eating now. Not that I want you to copy me but I am hoping to encourage to be brave and honestly look at your diet!!

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Bloom Journal

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    So the first thing I did after I figured out I was having serious problems with my blood sugar was to buy a journal (also a glucose meter) and some cute scrapbook paper, of course. I always handle challenges with creativity; it is just how I roll ;-)

Bloom4

    I decided my journal should be more that just my current health issue. This is a pivotal time in my life. As I said before, no more "mom", no more homeschooling, soon no more driving everyone everywhere. I need to record, vent and explore my feelings about all of this. That phrase "Bloom where you are planted" came to mind. I want to bloom in this new season and that is the theme of this journal; to bloom, not just with my health but in all areas. My faith, my marriage, my girls, me!

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    The first thing I wrote is what happened when I was driving and all that started this. I wanted to write a blistering, honest account because I know human nature. Over time we tend to alter and downgrade what happens. So now every time I do not want to work out (which is just about every time) or tempted to pig out on bread or cake, I read what happened to remind myself why I am doing this in the first place. I will be sharing more from my journal but if you are not journaling I encourage you to start. You can writing, drawing or painting about who you are and what you feel xox

ps. My favorite journal, it is actually sketch book. It is nice, thick paper and you can even pull out pages. I like it because I can write, paint or scrapbook.The scrapbook paper is from Michaels crafts.

Bloom


Bloom

She carefully

"And lives them"

    Well, that is what I have been trying to do these past 3 months. I suppose you might have noticed I have not been around much and definitely not posting recipes as much. Life for me has taken a bit of a turn and I needed some of time to adjust before I shared with all of you. Because even though I want my blog to encourage and speak to you, it is still a reflection of me.

    As I have mentioned my mother had several cancer scares but she is fine now. Chloe turned 18, I am not a mom of kids any more. I am still a mother but not a mom, if you know what I mean. Chloe will also be graduating, so I will no long be a homeschooler. I have been part of the homeschool community for 22 years. Lots of changes, a new season!

    The biggest change for me is a lifestyle change. I have discovered I am pre-diabetic; well ... I have problems with high blood sugar. I had an incident while driving that scarred me to death and that was a wakeup call. I was ignoring signs my body was telling me. I have to make changes and it is hard!! At first I was really depressed (& going through huge sugar/carb withdrawals). How can someone who writes about food and creates recipes not be able to eat everything? I thought maybe it would be the end of the blog and what I do. I can see over time now it is not. I have hesitated to share with all of you because I am not sure if what I will be posting will be relevant to most of you. But I need to be me and this blog needs to reflex that. Even though some future posts (thoughts, recipes, even crafts) may not be relevant to you, I am hoping you will still be encouraged in your day to day life. We all struggle with making healthier choices, we all struggle with life changing, we all struggle with says goodbye to one thing and hello to another. So as I posted at the beginning, this is a new season.and as I share my heart and struggles with you, I hope you will do the same with me xox

Quote by Jessica Kirkland of Pen N' Paperflowers