Apple Butter Low and Slow

Yay for Saturday! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend so far.

How about I preface this post by saying it was nearly impossible for me to take any appetizing photos of what you are about to see. I just couldn’t. With that being said, I want to share with you how I made my first every batch of homemade apple butter in the crock pot, with the help of one of my wonderful reader’s suggestions and Google for extra guidance.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

1. Peel, core and dice apples. Place into large crockpot. Sprinkle heavily with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey if you wish . *Next time I will probably add in some nutmeg or cloves.

2. Cover the pot and set on low. Let it go for 24 hours, stirring occasionally when you around the house.

3. Add 1 cup of water, stir and cover. Repeat this process 2 more times for a total of 72 hours or 3 days.

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4. By the end of day 3, the apple butter will take on a deep brown color which frankly, looks very unappetizing. At this point, you could leave your apple butter a little lumpy like in the photos below…

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Of you can blend until smooth. I chose the latter. I used an immersion blender right in the crockpot to work it until smooth.

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If you make a small batch of apple butter and plan to use it within two weeks or so, you can ladle it into an air-tight container and store in your refrigerator. If you make a humongous batch like I did, you might need to do some canning.

The Canning Process

This was my first time canning and it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I thank Google again for getting me through this process…

1. Wash canning materials in hot soapy water. Place glass containers in hot boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize, making sure they are fully dispersed with about 2 inches of water on top and that the jars do not touch. Place lids in a separate pot of hot water but not boiling.

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Fill jars with apple butter leaving about 1/2 inch space on top. Cover with lids and screw on top.

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Place back into boiling water for 10 minutes, again making sure that water covers the tops of the jars by about 2 inches and that the jars do not touch.

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Remove from water carefully and let cool on cooling rack. You will hear a popping noise from the lids once they start to cool which means they are sealed tight!

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Store in your pantry and enjoy all winter long! Refrigerate after opening.

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Some recipes for apple butter call for pectin and added sugar, but since I am following the SCD, I chose not to include those ingredients. The result is a very subtle apple butter with the perfect amount of sweetness, perfect for topping toast, muffins, crackers, or right off of a spoon. The great thing about this 3-day crock pot process is that your house smells amazing the whole time. Can’t beat that cinnamon apple smell! So fall, so comforting.

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I’m off for a run and a few other errands before some crazy fun festivities happen this weekend including celebrating me and my honey’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! The actual date is October 1st but since that is a Monday we are celebrating this weekend. I look forward to filling you in later.

Hope you all have a super Saturday. Catch up with you soon!

Spinach Zucchini Cakes

No way is it Thursday already. For real? I’m definitely okay with it, I am just blown away by how fast this week has flown by once again.

U.C. Update and SCD

I am almost afraid to say this because I don’t want to jinx myself, but I truly think I am beginning to heal. My ulcerative colitis symptoms are beginning to calm down and I am feeling so much better. It is unbelievable how making changes in your diet can so significantly improve the way you feel. Okay, it’s believable. I believe it , that’s why I became a Registered Dietitian. Eating clean makes you feel clean. You are what you eat. I can hear my body thanking me for treating it so well. It’s working over time to get me well and heal me, the least I can do is thank it by feeding it kindly.

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I continue to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as best as I am capable of but will be the first to admit I’m not perfect. I ate 3 pieces of candy corn yesterday at work. I just wanted to taste them because they are one of my FAVORITE fall treats (especially with peanuts). I do plan to incorporate them back into my diet some day, but will make sure and limit my intake, just like any sweet treat. Moderation.

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I am having an easier time this time around with the SCD. I continue to use it as a time to experiment in the kitchen rather than stressing about it.

I always have salads as my fall-back meal if I am not in the mood to make anything exciting for myself. I made myself a batch of SCD yogurt so I am again incorporating smoothies into my diet. I’m not enjoying the smoothies as much as before only because it’s cold here in the morning and drinking a cold drink isn’t the most comforting way to start the day. I am drinking my coffee weak and my body handles it just fine so I’m thrilled that I don’t have to cut it out all together.

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Let’s see, what else? I am finding legal, ready-made salsas from the grocery store, making my own simple salad dressings like honey mustard, creamy avocado, and Greek vinaigrette, and finding that I don’t need to use as many condiments as I used to. I am enjoying cooking with more spices and herbs to enhance flavors rather than extra additive-packed condiments. I do miss my Heinz Ketchup however. Yes, I’ve made SCD ketchup, but it’s just not the same to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking this whole deal day by day, and not letting myself get overwhelmed by it anymore. I’m teaching myself to relax, stay calm, and trying to listen when my body tells me to rest.

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Spinach Zucchini Cakes

Gosh, where did that rant come from? Anyway, I wanted to share with you the recipe for those tasty zucchini spinach cakes I made the other night. They were extremely easy especially since I had already shredded the zucchini and had it in the freezer waiting for me.

In a bowl I mixed together 1 cup of shredded and drained zucchini with 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach. You want to make sure you really squeeze the liquid out of both of those veggies or you’re going to have a sloppy mess. To the veggies I added 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix all ingredients together and shape into patties.

Place onto lightly greased pan and cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes on each side.

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Plate ‘em up and top them with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese, eat them plain, try some tzatziki sauce, or put a runny egg on top. Go wild!

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Spinach Zucchini Cakes
Print
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shredded and drained zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a bowl I mixed together 1 cup shredded and drained zucchini with 1 cup shredded and drained cooked spinach
  2. To the veggies add flour, egg, onion, garlic powder, parmesan, and salt and pepper Mix all ingredients together and shape into patties
  3. Place onto lightly greased pan on stovetop and cook on medium for about 7-8 minutes on each side
  4. Top with tomato sauce, tzatziki sauce, a runny egg, melted cheddar cheese, or enjoy plain Jane style

One last thing, my friend Moe is a personal trainer and blogger, and is featuring a post today about Crystal Light. She asked for my insight on the product and has included my comments in her post. If you get a chance, go check out her blog: http://fitnessmoejo.blogspot.com/

Have a tasteful Thursday!

Pumpkin Bread to Warm the Soul

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was pretty darn nice and I have to admit, I didn’t take too many photos. Here’ the weekend recap!

Saturday

Dana, Moose, and I hit up the neighborhood for a 3 mile run. The temperature was low to mid 50’s so I dressed in capris and a long sleeve wicking top. It was a bit cool run at first, but I warmed up quickly and it eventually felt perfect. The run felt great too and I can confidently say I can comfortably run 3 miles again. Now, it’s time to progress on the mileage!

After our run we made our way to the local farmer’s market to pick up some veggies I needed for an appetizer I was making for a get-together that evening.

I made a white bean dip served with crudités (fancy word for an appetizer with veggie sticks right?). I cannot believe I did not take one photo of this dish, but at the same time I’m not surprised since I was kind of running around like a crazy person trying to get ready.

To make the bean dip I added all ingredients into the food processor (unsure of exact amounts):

  • 1 minced shallot and 1 minced garlic clove sautéed in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups white beans (I used northern)
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic and onion powder

I whirled this up and it turned out to be a nummy and creamy white bean dip. I served it with a tray of veggie sticks: carrots, zucchini, celery, and red bell peppers.

Here is a small plate of it:

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The big dish of it was WAY prettier.

We met up with three of my college friends (one being my bridesmaid Haley), their husbands and two babies. We had a blast hanging out, eating amazing food, playing with the babes, going nuts with Catch Phrase, and seeing Grace’s beautiful home.

I loved every second of it. She lives about an hour and a half from us so we called it a night at around 8:30 so we could make it home in good time. You all know I need my sleep, plus the pup still needed to eat dinner.

Sunday

We ran our standard Sunday morning errands after eating breakfast, reading the paper, and drinking our coffees.

I was thrilled to have had very few plans for Sunday. I need these days to just “be.” I’m struggling with this whole relaxation business however. I find that when I do have time to just relax that I can’t because I feel too guilty about relaxing. It’s a vicious cycle.

I feel like I should be folding the laundry or doing food prep or cleaning or running errands. I am working on getting this idea out of my head because relaxation and doing nothing is important for all of us.

You know what I like to do to relax? Bake.

I actually made this loaf up on Friday when I had about an hour time frame to bake the bread, shower and get ready to go meet up with my mom so that experience wasn’t as much for relaxation as it was I felt I needed to make the bread RIGHT THEN AND THERE! I get so stubborn sometimes. Where are your time management skills, Melanie?! But really, I do enjoy baking.

Either way, I whirled up a batch of grain-free SCD-friendly pumpkin bread. It turned out magnificent if I do say so myself. Once again I forgot to snap a photo of the entire loaf, but here is a shot of about half the loaf. I’ve been eating it for breakfast everyday. I told you I love this stuff….

**Recipe at bottom of post and is now in a printable version!**

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Slather the bread with apple butter, nut butter, honey, a light coat of butter, or eat plain. Any way you have it you’re sure to enjoy! Remember that most SCD breads do not rise well due to some limiting factors in ingredients, so you usually render a more flat, dense loaf. Yes you can be on the SCD and still eat bread! Wooo!

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Let’s see, the rest of the day was spent with some odds and ends around the house and then a bomb dinner. I won’t be sharing it with you until tomorrow but let me tell you it is one you won’t want to miss. My hint is that it involves acorn squash.

Also, I forgot to mention that one of my wonderful readers commented on my post about the cinnamon apple sauce I made the other day and said that she makes apple butter in the crock pot! I just had to try this so on Friday afternoon I started up a batch in the crockpot.

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Come this afternoon, it should be done! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thank you, Amanda! I even bought the cans to store the apple butter and everything!

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I am off to get a workout in, and then I’ll be out on the prowl in search of a dress for that wedding I mentioned. Thank you for your comments about that orange dress I found but unfortunately they don’t have the dress in my size which of course means I won’t be ordering it. It wasn’t meant to be apparently. Cross your fingers for me that I find one today. I absolutely despise trying clothes on in the fitting rooms. I get so hot and worked up.

One more thing…I bought this amazing coffee yesterday at my favorite store in the whole world, Target.

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I make it last a long time but only adding in one scoop of it to regular coffee. It is so smooth and buttery and I LOVE it. It was a good buy.

Again, this post became rather tangenty. I apologize for that and for the lack of photos. I promise there will be more tomorrow. Have a magical Monday. Catch up with you soon.

Pumpkin Bread to Warm the Soul
Print
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
(Grain-free, Gluten-free, SCD-friendly) Makes 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 3 c. almond flour
  • 1½ Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ c. egg white (or 2-3 large egg whites)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ⅓ c. honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 2 standard size bread loaf pans; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl combine dry ingredients; set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl blend together wet ingredients.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Girl’s Day and Pad Thai SCD

 

Yesterday was mom and Melanie day. We had been planning this day for about two months but hadn’t made definite plans as to how we were going to spend our day together. We wanted it to be a relaxing day, so this is why we kept it sans-itinerary style.

 

We began our day with (much-needed) manicures and pedicures.

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The last time we were at this salon was almost a year ago when I came in with mom, Betsy, and Kate the day before the wedding! The ladies at the salon were so sweet to us and served us champagne and everything. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already! Dana and I have some fun plans to celebrate…

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No champagne for mom and I yesterday however, but this is a good thing because I think we both would have fallen asleep in the chairs.

The nail esthetician complimented me on my shiny nails. She actually asked me if I had clear polish on. I told her it must be all of the fruits and veggies I eat. Winking smile I decided to splurge and get the gel polish on my hands because it lasts for a good month or so. I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks so it will be nice to have good-looking nails for that.

Before:                                                                After:

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My feet were ridiculous walking into the salon. I tweeted the before picture of them yesterday only to slightly regret it because they were so nasty. Both of my 2nd toenails were injured in the half marathon in June. They have regrown, but it is a slow process and they don’t look quite “normal” yet. Chalk off the fact that I hadn’t had a pedicure in a year and you can do the math as to how unpretty they were looking.

Now they’re pretty! I went with a dark plum color. I forgot to jot down the name of it but I may need to do set out on a scavenger hunt to find it. It’s very fitting for fall.

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For lunch we headed over to a local market in the area and dug into their salad bar. I also bought a huge bag of Cortland apples that were on sale for $0.99/lb. Guess what I’m making?? More on that in a couple of days.

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We headed over to the mall to check out one particular store that I really enjoy. I am in search of  a dress to wear to that wedding I mentioned. I found one I liked but I wanted to try on in a different size and of course they were out of that size. I could order it online and give it a whirl but I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. It is very different from any dress I own. It’a an orange-peach color, long-sleeved…I should probably just show you it.

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Like I said it’s different for me. It doesn’t hug my body every where, it just kind of hangs, but I know that is the style. It is SO comfortable and really is beautiful. Any opinions??! My biggest hangup is that I would have to order it in the other size that I was unable to try on assuming I would fit into that size. The second hangup is I’m afraid I’m going to snag the dress because of the material. Hmm…

After the mall mom and I were in need of a couple of pick-me-ups. We went home and made a pot of hazelnut flavored coffee and drank our coffee out on the deck in the sun.

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Once we were revved up, we headed out for our 2nd pick-me-up; a walk with Abbie. We made our way three miles through the neighborhood and enjoyed the perfect fall day. The weather was perfect, the company was even better.

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It was the perfect way for us to spend our girl’s day together. Nails, healthy lunch, a little shopping (I can’t handle a lot of shopping especially trying on clothes), relaxing with coffee, and a walk with our little baby girl Abbie May. We say this all of the time but seriously, we HAVE to make time to do this more often. It was such an amazing day!

P.S. Their neighbors have a Yorkie Pom Poo. Are you kidding me? The most ridiculously adorable dog (right after Moose and Abbie of course). I wanted to steal her. Just kidding….not really. 😉

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Pad Thai SCD

Back at home I got to work on dinner for Dana and I. The inspiration came from Tina of Carrots’nCake. She made a Paleo Pad Thai that looked insanely delicious, so I went off of that but did my own thing with it.

And here’s what we came up with!

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This is a forewarning that the ingredient list on this recipe looks atrocious but I promise you it really isn’t so bad! We REALLY enjoyed this dish. Please give it a shot!

Pad Thai SCD Style (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Veggies:
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp. sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap pea, chopped on a diagonal
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped

Directions

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place squash cut side down in microwave safe dish and line bottom of dish with 3/4 inch of water. Microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in food processor mix all sauce ingredients except milk until smooth. Then add milk and process until combined.
  3. Remove squash from microwave and carefully scoop out the seeds. Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti threads. Place in colander in sink. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. On the stove top, sauté onions and sugar snap peas in sunflower oil. After 3 minutes, add spaghetti squash to pan. Sprinkle with salt. Stir to combine and to heat squash through. Add sauce to pan and heat through.
  5. Plate squash onto plate and sprinkle with carrots, cilantro, and basil.

SCD Pad Thai! We have such a fun day ahead of us. Off to tackle a run first! Catch up with you all later. Hope you have a super Saturday!

The Easiest Cinnamon Applesauce

This morning the thermometer says 38° F. The fall weather is officially here which gives me such a cozy feeling and has me grabbing for my sweatshirts. When I think of Fall I think colorful leaves falling, pumpkins, sweaters, football, chili, cinnamon, cool long walks, and fresh delicious apples. On Sunday I dove into Fall mode.

I pulled out a bag of apples and got to working on some homemade applesauce. I used the Jazz variety because they happened to be on sale but you can use whatever apple you prefer really. I began by peeling 6 medium apples, cored them and sliced them.

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Apple peels remind me of childhood because when my mom would make apple crisp or baked apple slices, I would stand by her side and watch as she peeled the apples, and she would let me eat the peel. I loved the crispy treat.The simple pleasures.

I threw the apples into a large crock pot, sprinkled them with a large dose of cinnamon and a healthy drizzle of honey. If you don’t LOVE cinnamon you can go for a more conservative amount, but I really do love it. I’ve been using it like crazy lately. Good thing we bought a ginormous container of it at Costco.

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Cover that bad boy and set it on high for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally.

And here’s what you get!

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I chose to keep mine chunky style but if you wish you could scoop this into a food processor and smooth it out. Chunky style doesn’t make for the prettiest photo ever but I promise you once you taste it, it won’t matter.

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It tastes wonderful just as is, but I’ve also discovered that it tastes awesome on top of a piece of zucchini bread. It’s kind of like apple butter but chunky style.

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I actually didn’t measure the ingredients (whoopsie) but I will do my best to give you the approximate amounts. Feel free to experiment with it on your own too!

Easiest Cinnamon Applesauce Crock Pot Style (recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste)

Ingredients

  • 6 medium apples
  • ~1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • ~2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 lemon wedge

Directions

  1. Peel, core, and slice apples.
  2. Place apples in crock pot, sprinkle with cinnamon and honey.
  3. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the pot before adding it to pot.
  4. Cover with lid and set on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

It’s as easy as that. Yes, really. And it’s SCD-friendly. Go make your home smell like Fall. I am out to take on the day. I hope you all have a great Tuesday.

Zucchini Bread & Adjustments for Health

Goood morning to you all. Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.

I have some news to share. After my colon “procedure” vaguely mentioned a couple of weeks ago here, I have not been feeling well on the U.C. front. My body is having a hard time recovering from the invasiveness of the procedure and I feel like my progress in feeling better was set back about a month. Besides that, I have deviated further than had planned from the SCD and/or Paleo diet, specifically on the added sugar part.

After Friday’s absolutely amazing date night, I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty darn sick. I felt awful all day. My body was not happy with me.

It’s time for change folks. I am regaining control and made a decision Saturday morning that I was going back to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I am not starting at day 1 and beginning the whole thing from scratch, I will beginning somewhere around 1 month in. My body is used to the significant amounts of fruits and veggies. The biggest part I will be focusing on is watching the added sugars and starchy ingredients on food labels.

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For any new readers, I tried giving the SCD a try a couple of months ago. You can read about some of it here and here. I did my very best to stick with it, but then decided to go the gluten-free route instead because I felt like I wasn’t seeing the progress I had hoped for especially given all of the effort I was putting into it.

This diet involves A LOT of food prep, and I think with all the activities of summer, wanting to be outside all of the time (versus in the kitchen), and the immediate stress of beginning the diet, I just couldn’t keep up with it.

I am going into it this time with a different mindset. I already know what I “can and cannot eat,” I am aware that more time will be spent in the kitchen, I learned last time that I need to make large batches of foods and freeze them to cut down on future kitchen time, and mostly, I need to remember WHY I’m doing this. I want to be healthy again. This flare has lasted way too long.

This time around I will not be so hard on myself if I slip once and a while. I’m not perfect and it’s bound to happen. I also am going to be aware that this diet may not work for me, and if it doesn’t, then that’s okay, I will continue to adjust my diet so that I figure it out one day. I sure hope it works though!

Prior to the colon procedure a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling so much better. At that time I was following a mostly SCD and slightly Paleo diet, the only thing I was slipping up on was the chocolate. I was eating it daily. It’s one of my favorite treats and I’m hoping in the future I will be able to incorporate it into my diet again.

So that’s what’s happening over in my Beautifully Nutty home. Basically I spent a lot of time in the kitchen Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday

On Saturday Dana and I went grocery shopping, went to the Farmer’s Market, got the car washed, did laundry, and cleaned all of the windows in our house inside and out. It was a busy active “rest” day. I also made some “fauxmeal” raisin cookie bites. Num.

Breakfast: 1 egg and egg white omelette with sautéed bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, topped with avocado, cilantro, and salsa.

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Lunch: Sugar snap peas, an apple, and homemade zucchini bread (SCD) with homemade cashew butter and honey…recipe at bottom of post!

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Dinner: almond crackers that I burnt to a crisp(!) and tomato and olive bruschetta topping that we bought from Target a while back. All ingredients on the label are SCD friendly.

Such an ugly photo! Bleh! But it tasted great!

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Sunday

Breakfast on Sunday looked like Saturday’s with another piece of zucchini bread with cashew butter and honey.

I made my way to the gym (haven’t been there much lately) and jogged for 35 minutes on the elliptical then hit the weights for a back and bicep workout. I managed 6 hands and toes push ups yesterday! Just 4 more to go to reach my goal of 10 normal (non-knee) push ups before the end of the month!

Lunch: Apple carrot salad with a homemade rosemary honey mustard vinaigrette. Then a large spoonful of cashew butter.

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While I ate my salad I got to working on making some homemade apple sauce. This was so incredibly easy and I will share the recipe with you soon.

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In the afternoon I brought up the fall stuff from the basement and realized I have about 5 fall items to decorate my house with. Lame. I just may need to hit up the craft store with my coupons and get some more??!

I took the pup for a 3 mile walk around our neighborhood in the afternoon.

Dinner:

For dinner I headed over to mom and dad’s which is always such a nice treat. Mom and dad made pork chops, asparagus, and summer squash. I made myself a honey mustard topping for my pork chop.

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It was a really amazing weekend once again. I have the day off work today and plan to do some more food prep, hopefully relax a bit so I can HEAL, and run a couple of errands. I had planned on running today but am going to keep that tentative and see how I feel. I need to learn how to RELAX.

Here is the SCD Zucchini Bread Recipe!!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread (SCD Legal): Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded and drained of liquid
  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two standard bread loaf pans; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add remaining wet ingredients; mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. Divide batter into each prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean and top of bread begins to brown.

The bread tastes great toasted, plain, with cashew butter, peanut butter, butter, apple butter…get creative!

Have a happy, healthy day.

Gluten Free Cereal Bowl

I owe my wonderful breakfast yesterday to my new and dear, fellow blogger, fellow Paleo’er friend, Shannon. While in Boston we swapped recipe ideas, and she shared a breakfast one with  me that I knew I had to try.

You ready for this?

In the bowl: blueberries (I actually used frozen then thawed because that is what I had on hand), a heaping handful of fresh Driscoll’s raspberries, a handful of chopped walnuts, chia seeds, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a drizzle of honey.

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Oh my gosh. I loved this. It’s just like Shannon said, “it’s like eating a bowl of cereal, except Paleo style.” Coming from a gal who loves a heaping bowl of cereal with milk, I was happy to find an alternative that was more healthful and fit my lifestyle right now.

Lunch was eaten at work but it still deserved a photo because it was truly delicious. In the to-go Gladware container: mixed greens, mini bell peppers, olives, tomato, black beans, avocado, and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard. Man, I’m good. Winking smile

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After work I headed over to hang out with my babes, Bets and Emmy (my cousins who I love to pieces). They were making cake balls for a family birthday party and were pretty hilarious in the process.

Em, don’t quit your day job to start making cake balls.

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I am so proud of both of them; they are both going through major career endeavors and have worked so hard to get where they are. Open-mouthed smile

Dinner last night was embarrassing being that it was completely unstructured.

When I got home I snacked on a handful of grape tomatoes from the garden which by the way have become completely out of hand. The branches are so long that they are falling into the next plant and pushing them over. We have A LOT of tomatoes. I’m not complaining though!

After the tomatoes, I moved on to a few large handfuls of trail mix. After the trail mix, I needed something salty of course, so I dug into the pickle jar. After that, I was full.

Not a very balanced meal at all. Well, wait a minute…grape tomatoes, nuts, raisins, pickles….yes there were chocolates in the trail mix, but overall, it could have been a lot worse.

I needed to get the body moving, body movin’ get your body movin’, so I harnessed on Moose’s new leash and went for a stroll through the neighborhood.

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When I say harnessed on his leash, I mean I harnessed it on myself. We bought a new leash for Moose that attaches to his collar like normal, and the other end of it attaches to a band that goes around the owner’s waist. It is hand’s free and has a bungee cord which allows enough give that I’m not being ripped out of my shoes if he sees a squirrel, but not so much give that he is ever too far away. I’ll try to remember to take a picture next time.

This was my first time using it on a walk with just Moose and me, without Dana, who he listens to a lot better than me. It went pretty well though I must say. I will definitely be doing it again. I would love to make that an evening routine. It was gorgeous out with the sun setting and the temperature cooling down.

It was the perfect way to end the night.

Now, I am off to tackle my Friday to-do list, and then we have a wedding to attend tonight, oh and did I mention my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town from up north? It is going to be a great weekend.

Have a beautiful day!

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It’s time for the Sneaky Pete’s Giveaway winner to be announced!

Random.org picked comment #2.

Congratulations Jamie A.! Jamie if you could email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com with your full name and address I will have your beverages shipped right to your door!

Thank you everyone for participating!

Nutty Gluten-Free Bread

Happy Wednesday!  Are we really already half way through the week? Thank goodness, it has been an exhausting one.

Not that I like to wish time by, but I am seriously so excited because… I leave for the Healthy Living Summit tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s here already. The agenda looks AMAZING and I am so looking forward to meeting everyone and having a fun weekend with a bunch of new friends! I will be snapping mega photos and taking notes so that I can keep you well-informed of my adventure.

Monday

I didn’t get to blog yesterday, and really only have one photo from Monday I want to share. I earned the best wife award for Monday night because I made hubby a beef pot roast in the crock pot.

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In the morning I placed 4-5 medium carrots, chopped, into the crock pot, along with 5 mini onions from our garden, beef roast which I believe was a “round” cut but now I don’t remember, a packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup mix, and 3/4 cup water. I set the crock pot on low for 10 hours and it was ready to go at the end of the day!

Being that I’m not much of a meat lover, this actually tasted pretty darn good, and my body could probably use the extra protein and iron these days.

Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, Dana and I set out on a 4-mile run. I haven’t fully run this distance in quite some time due to the UC, and during the run, I remembered why.

My body is working in overdrive right now to fight and heal the inflammation happening inside, therefore I become fatigued fairly easily. I try so hard to push myself because I want to be able to endure activities at the level I was at before when I wasn’t sick, but it’s just not in the cards right now.

With the motivation of Dana at my side, I was able to pull through 4 miles, but I could feel my body grumbling at me as I ran. I am very proud to say that I accomplished that run now.

I have noticed that some days are better than others when it comes to my stamina and activities. Friday for instance, I ran 3 miles and it seemed to be a much more enjoyable run. My body wasn’t fighting back like it was yesterday, but  I still felt fatigued though towards the end.

I not only feel this way with running, I feel it with any type of activity: weights, elliptical, and even every day tasks. I find myself becoming very tired quickly. The docs are investigating my situation full force to make sure I am doing alright and doing their best to “fix” me when they can.

I will continue to keep you posted as I learn more. I know my limits and am doing my best to stay within those limits and not push my body further than it can go right now. I have open communication with my body and we keep each other in the loop. 😉 I listen to it when it says cool it, and it listens to me when I say keep it comin’.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I turned to another old favorite, overnight chia seed yogurt bowl! We were running very low on yogurt so I had to use a little more almond milk than usual but it still turned our great, just a smaller bowl of goodness than I would have liked. I added heaps of blueberries and strawberries to add to the volume.

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A smaller bowl but still oh SO tasty.

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That is the end of my photos for the past couple of days.

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I think this is the perfect opportunity to share with you a gluten-free bread recipe I have been making for Dana and I since we began the SCD/Paleo diets.

I experimented with a few different recipes over time, made my adjustments, and have come up with my favorite version of the bread. It uses Greek yogurt so doesn’t fall perfectly into the SCD or Paleo diets, so I will go ahead and just call it Gluten-Free.

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Nutty Gluten-Free Bread (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix together all ingredients (I use a hand-mixer).
  3. Pour into two lightly greased bread loaf pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

This bread is dense but not crumbly like some of the other recipes that use SCD homemade yogurt. The Greek yogurt really helps to make it stable. It cuts perfectly, and tastes great toasted with some nut butter! Dana has also used his for turkey deli sandwiches, or as a base for a couple of over-easy eggs.

NUM!

I did post a bread recipe here that fits perfectly into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Feel free to check it out!

I hope you all have a great day. Catch up with you soon.’

The Return of Oatless Oats

Happy Friday!

So you know when you have those nights where you just want to eat and eat and eat, and it doesn’t matter how much you stuff your face you still want to keep eating? Well, I had one of those nights last night, (says the dietitian). Hey, I’m only human!

While getting dinner ready, I munched on some unsalted roasted almonds and a few raspberries. This was my appetizer.

For dinner I sautéed zucchini and green beans (both from our garden), onion (farmer’s market), mushrooms, and a small amount of black beans. I wanted to test out the black beans and see how my body reacted in relation to the U.C. because I have really been missing my beans. The bean verdict: in small amounts I can handle them just fine as long as they are very well cooked and soft.

I sprinkled the veggie sauté with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Two minutes before the veggies were done, I got to work cooking up an over-easy egg.

Once the egg was done, I plated up my veggies, next went the egg, fresh tomatoes (from the garden too), cilantro, and Wild Harvest’s mango salsa.

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I so love veggies with a runny egg on top.

After dinner, I then made myself a big bite of PB2 with honey, followed by a couple of pieces of chocolate. I wanted more but was realizing that I didn’t need more, so I walked away. I turned Wheel of Fortune on, grabbed a couple of hand weights, and started walking in place while working the arms. This took my mind off of food and finally my body realized I didn’t need a-n-y-m-o-r-e. Reminder to myself: mindful eating.

Lunch

I jumped ahead here, so let us back-pedal it now. I am very proud of my lunch today. It was seriously awesome.

I made a Greek-inspired chicken salad which included:

  • pulled chicken breast
  • zucchini
  • grape tomatoes
  • green olives
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic basil dressing

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I loved this flavor combo so much that I made if for my lunch again today. I also had a banana, clementine, and believe it or not some cooked carrots. 😉 Cooked carrots every day keeps the doctor away? Not in my case I guess, but maybe!?

Now to breakfast.

It has been a long time since I made this one: oatless oatmeal. In the mix: 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/2 banana, somewhere between 1/4 and a 1/2 cup of almond milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Blend all ingredients together. Pour onto non-stick pan and cook over medium heat. Use spatula to stir and mix while the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. This process only takes about 3 minutes, so keep an eye on it and keep stirring.

The mixture will have a runny oatmeal like consistency when done. Pour into your bowl, top with a drizzle of honey if you wish, and a spoonful of peanut butter. This was such a nice change of pace, AND it’s SCD friendly too! It’s the return of the oatless oats. I hope to remember this one more often.

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I did make it to the gym yesterday. I headed straight there after work because I knew if I came home first, I would never make it there. I warmed up with a mile run on the treadmill then made my way to the weights to workout my back and biceps. I also did some core work.

I am off to tackle my Friday. Excited it’s almost the weekend! Have a great day my friends!

“Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites

August 1st? Really?! Holy cow time is flying by so fast I can hardly keep up.

Dehydrated Fruit and Veggies

So, remember how I told you I bought a food dehydrator? Well, it has been taken out of it’s box and gotten some action. My first attempt with the machine involved carrots and bananas.

For the bananas, I sliced them thinly, gave them a squirt of lemon juice to slow down the browning, and placed them on the tray.

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As for the carrots, I used the wonderfully fresh carrots from the farmer’s market and sliced them into thin coins as well. I was hoping that the purple carrots would be purple all the way through, but no such luck. Once I peeled them they were orange on the inside. Still beautiful though.

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I placed all of the coins onto the dehydrator, set the cover on it, and turned it on. This particular one doesn’t have a temperature setting, so you just have to monitor your food while it’s going to check for doneness.

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Considering carrots are made up of so much water, I expected them to shrink down quite a bit, and they did. They’re cute little bites. Next time, I will be using a different technique to cut them so that they are a little bit bigger. The texture of the carrots turned our crunchy, which is how I wanted them.

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There are two textures that can come of the banana chips, and probably any fruit or veggie that gets dehydrated: crisp or chewy. The outcome depends on how thick or thin the fruit is cut, and how long you let them dehydrate. I like my banana chips crunchy, and Dana likes his chewy, so I made sure to vary the size of slices so we could both be accommodated. Just kidding

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I don’t know for sure how long the carrots and bananas were in the dehydrator. Next time I make a batch, I’ll pay better attention so I can let you know.

Keep in mind that with any dried fruit, you want to watch your serving sizes. Dried fruit has a lot concentrated sugar, so you want to keep it to a minimum. I particularly wanted the dehydrator so that I could make snacks for us when we needed to be away from home because these hold up very well with traveling. Also, I absolutely love dried fruit, and although I try not to go too nuts on it because of the high sugar content, when I do eat it, I would much rather make my own and know what exactly is going into it; no preservatives, no added sugars or fats.

The banana chips at the store are often loaded with saturated fat because they add oil to the drying process (which is why the ones in the store are so crunchy like a chip). Be careful!

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Tuesday Evening

After work last night I headed to the gym and pounded out 35 minutes on the elliptical while reading the latest addition of Runner’s World magazine.  I contemplated hitting the weights afterwards but then shied away for some reason. Darnit! I need to get back on those weights.

Dinner last night was nearly identical to my lunch the day before, except for instead of chicken, I topped the salad with almonds. I swear it was even better this time around, if that’s possible.

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Now, onto yet another recipe. I have had a lot of recipes lately and I love it! These are no bake energy bites that I make in the food processor. I shared another recipe with you a while back for another version of these treats called Cocoa Craisy Energy Bites.

Here is my newest creation.

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“Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 13 dates (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. In food processor, process almonds until they reach a coarse sand texture. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In food processor, process remaining ingredients until finely ground and well combined.
  3. Add almonds in with date mixture; process until combined. Use hands to shape mixture into 1 inch balls. Store in air-tight container.

They taste like oatmeal raisin cookies hence the name. You could also roll them in coconut for an added thrill. 😉 These are perfect pick-me-up snacks. They are great if you are needing a small boost of energy and heck, they are great for a healthy dessert too!

I am signing off for the day. Enjoy your hump day and I’ll be catching up with you soon!

Random Question of the Day: What food is your biggest vice lately?

Lately, mine has been nut butter. I can’t seem to keep my hands off of it. It is getting to the point where I am putting myself on a “cool-it” time out with it. Obviously nut butter is packed full of fat and calories, so it’s important to monitor the intake. But, it also has good things too like protein, so don’t get me wrong; I am a huge promotor. Just keep your portions to 2 tablespoons or less per day.