Thursday, December 30, 2010

God Jul!

Ok, so I'm little behind in regards to this post. I meant to share this before Christmas. But as is usually the case at this time of year, things were quite hectic & busy. Plus combined with the fact that it was my first White Christmas, & first Christmas in Sweden, my thoughts weren't exactly on updating my blog.

So the day may have passed, but I still want to share with you what I had for Christmas. Being the only one in my (new) family who is heavily intolerant to a lot of foods, I decided to make myself some sweet Christmas treats, so I wouldn't feel like I was missing out on anything. Here's my spread:

I do wish I had taken more photos, I apologise for that not being the best shot. But you get the idea. I made myself choc-hazelnut truffles, Scandinavian thumbprint cookies, gingerbread cookies, & blueberry raspberry blondies. The gingerbread was my own recipe concoction I've been playing around with for a while (since so many of the spices in gingerbread are so very good in helping to combat Candida). The truffles I made where another bit of guesswork, based on Elana's various truffle recipes; the Scandinavian thumbprint cookies were my alteration of Kelly's recipe, & the blondies were another alteration of a recipe, this time courtesy of Amy

I'll post my altered recipes for each soon, as well as my yummy gingerbread. H was very impressed with my spread (even helping me eat my blondies & thumbprint cookies!). His mum tried my gingerbread & said that it tasted just like pepparkakor, just without the crunchiness the original ones contain (mine are rather soft, as there is no syrup in them to harden them).

Sugar-Free/Gluten-Free/Flour-Free Gingerbread Cookies
½dl (50g) coconut flour
½dl (50g) soy flour (can alternate with other bean flours if soy is not tolerated)
1 tablespoon (15g) psyllium husk
½dl (50 mls) water
½dl (50 mls) milk (for dairy free, use soy/oat/rice/almond/coconut milk)
1 egg
2 teaspoons liquid sweetener (equals 100g sugar)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardemom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 mls vanilla essence
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

- Sift the flours into a bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients & mix well.
- Melt coconut oil & butter. Whisk egg in another bowl, & add the rest of the wet ingredients. Stir together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & stir together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or place the dough into an airtight container & leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
- Roll dough flat with a rolling pin, then cut into cookies using cutters. Place the cookies on a tray covered with baking paper & bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy! Writing about this now makes me want to go & bake another batch...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strawberry Mookies

I'm making my first recipe submission! A little exciting & nerve-wracking. I don't know if what I make is really for other people's tastes besides my own, but I'm never gonna know if I don't throw myself out there & take a chance, now am I? I'm going to submit it to Amy's great site Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. I've been following her site for a few months now, & have tried a variety of her recipes, so I'm a little nervous & excited about doing this.

I made these after some experimenting with coconut flour. As I've stated before, coconut flour has opened many doors for me food-wise. Most flours I cannot tolerate, as with most nuts. & I'm not too keen on nut flour only mix in my baked goods. I can't enjoy an indulgence in them, as the fat content lays heavy on my mind (even if they are good fats. I still like to keep this to a healthy limit. & I like to have the 'freedom' to indulge when those whims hit without the mental guilt barrage I put myself through - silly, I know).

I call these 'mookies', as they're about cookie size but oh-so soft & fluffy like muffins, therefore mookies. The light & fluffy consistency is thanks to the coconut flour. & because of this ingredient, these are also high in fibre & oh-so nutritious. Sweet, healthy, tasty food is fun :)

Again, this is a small serving recipe, as I tend to bake for myself. H doesn't have a sweet tooth like I do, & I figure having a small amount to indulge in is better than too much. Feel free to double the ingredient amounts as needed. As for sweetners, I use liquid sweetener. Stevia in Sweden is hard to come by, where I am located, anyway. I'm still on the lookout, & will use it once I find it (I was using it in Australia). But until then, I use a liquid sweetener that I buy at the supermarket here.

Strawberry 'Mookies'
65g coconut flour
15g psyllium husk
1 egg
15 mls water
50 mls milk
50 mls coconut milk
30g coconut oil, melted
5-6 strawberries, chopped
2t cinnamon
2mls vanilla essence
70mls liquid sweetner or 70g sugar/sweetner
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven at 180 degrees celcius.
In one bowl, sift the coconut flour & mix together the psyllium husk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, & stir well together.
In another bowl, whisk the egg. Add milk, water, coconut milk & oil, sweetener & vanilla essence & mix well. Add this to the dry ingredients, & stir to get a moist, sticky batter. Add more milk or water if needed. Add the chopped strawberries & stir into the mix.
Spoon into mini muffin tins, or roll into small cookies. Bake for 25-30 mins.
Cool & serve. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Yields about 10 'mookies'.

Enjoy! Feel free to tweak the recipe as needed. You could use different berries instead of strawberries, & you could replace the coconut oil with butter (& add more to your liking). These came out soft & moist for me. I ate some with a dollop of creme fraiche on top. Yums!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Soup for Breakfast (& first recipe post!)

This is what I eat for breakfast:

Not much to the to the eye aesthetically. H gives me curious & funny looks when he finds me making this in the morning. I can't have cereal or bread, & I'm not a big egg eater, so I take what I can get. I'm also not a big breakfast eater. I never have been. I tend to have breakfast about 2 hours after I wake, sometimes longer, but always after my morning pilates/yoga workout (courtesy of the lovely Ellen Barrett, I highly recommend her Pilates Yoga Blend workout). I'm also not into heavy breakfasts. I don't like food as a general that weighs heavy in my stomach, & this 'muck' I find a perfect start to the day.

It may not look like much, but it's super healthy; a mix of broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, garlic, onion, & kale. Kale. I only started eating it recently. I ran out of it one morning & had this, sans kale. I noticed the lack of kale while eating it, & later in the day I realised I was actually craving kale. Better than the sugar cravings I get at this time of the month! (Yes, it's that time again - 'monthly fun time', as I 'lovingly' call it).

Most recipes that I'll post here will be servings for one, as I tend to make these things for myself only. H doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, & I'm not comfortable with having a cake or slice to consume all to myself, so any recipes I follow or create, I cut the ingredients in half, or even a quarter of what's listed. The same goes with this.

Broccoli, Zucchini & Cauliflower Soup with Kale
(Serves 1)

4-5 broccoli florets
3-4 cauliflower florets, cut in half
small handful of spinach, fresh or frozen (I use frozen)
1/4 zucchini, sliced
handful of kale, chopped
2 cloves garlic (I'm a big fan of garlic & aren't afraid to use a lot of it, so feel free to use less)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
splash of milk (feel free to sub with any type of milk, sometimes I just use coconut milk)
splash of coconut milk
1tablespoon coconut oil
salt, pepper & spices to flavour

Steam or boil broccoli, cauliflower, spinach & zucchini until soft. Add to a blender with the milk, coconut milk & a bit of the water from the pot used to steam or boil the vegetables. Blend together until smooth.
In a pan, heat coconut oil & add garlic, onion & kale. Sauté until onion is translucent. Transfer to a bowl, adding the vegetable puree on top.
Add salt, pepper & spices to your liking. I add garlic (anti-fungal), paprika, tumeric (anti-inflammatory), dill, salt & pepper - I like lots of flavours!
Eat! Yum yum!

I love this rather unconventional breakfast, & I look forward to it each morning. I find the combination of the lightly sautéed vegetables with the puree a nice mix for textures. But then, I'm known for eating strange food!

I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coconut Flour, You Are My Hero

My new food hero is coconut flour. So much so that I renamed this blog in honour of this miraculous food (to me, anyway).

I recently ordered some off a Swedish website, as I haven't found it in any of the stores here in the city where I live (I live in the mid-north region of Sweden. If I was in Stockholm, I'm sure I wouldn't have had any issues finding it. Alas, was not the case here where I live).

I'd had coconut flour previously in Australia, but it still stirred a reaction in me. My stomach would bloat a little, & so I would only use it very sparingly. But I've had nothing but luck so far with the 1kg bag I've bought now, so I suspect that the flour I bought in Australia was sweetened, as this is not.

Oh boy, a whole new world of food adventures has now opened for me. I had pancakes for dinner the other night with the boy. I can't remember the last time I had pancakes! They fluffed up nicely, even The Boy said that he found them good. I was very pleased by this!

The following night, I decided to do a test batch of some cookies I was thinking of making. I'd been reading up a lot on coconut flour, trying to find conversions or liquid to flour ratio recommendations. Most reliable information said to just experiment. Coconut flour absorbs a lot of fluid due to its high fibre content, so I saw that a lot of eggs are commonly used in baking with coconut flour.

So I attempted a small batch using the flour, an egg, some psyllium husk, coconut oil, sweetener plus some spices (always throwing cinnamon into the mix - love that spice!), salt & a bit of milk to test consistency & baking times. A friend of The Boy's came over during my baking session, & tasted some of my trials. He wanted more! I couldn't be more than happy with that. If people who can eat wheat & sugar try my baked goods & enjoy it, that's definitely a good sign!

So much experimentation is in order with this flour. I can now try to make things that have been a memory of the past for so long now: cake, pizza, bread, crackers. Let's see how this goes

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fault with the Flax

This upcoming 'time of the month' is always a challenge for me. My sweet tooth kicks in, taste buds go rampant, & I'm constantly revisiting the fridge in a search for what I can taste next. I have a few days of the 'bottomless pit', where nothing seems to satisfy long enough & I feel constantly hungry. Or, at least, constantly wanting. It's a state I find frustrating & boring. Mix that in with a bloated, 'oh woe, I'm so fat' everytime I put something in my mouth, my moods jumping from OK to upset. Yes, it's all fun fun fun.

This is the time when my inner baker likes to come out & play. Since going on this anti-Candida diet, it's been a constant search to find something that I can create that is sweet & fulfilling, without wavering off the wagon (though temptations to do that have diminished with each painful remission). Anything I bake tends to bloat me, either minimally or very painfully. Yesterday's venture into the oven was the latter.

I'd decided to try to bake a small zucchini bread, using a recipe of my own creation but inspired by some that I had looked up on the web. Having recently bought some ground flax seeds (considering the low carbohydrate & fat content, something to mix amongst my nut meal & soy flour), I threw a hearty lot into the mix & happily went along my way. Having sampled some of the batter, I placed the bread into the oven & then made a small sweet batter mix that I could just nibble on while the bread baked. Uh oh. Within minutes of consuming it my stomach was up, feeling like it was being stretched to the point of busting. I didn't understand it; everything that I had put into the mix I have consumed various times reguarly, & while some bloating occurred, it was never this bad. After some confusion, I realised the culprit: flax seeds. I've had this problem before, months ago when I started this diet. I consumed some flax & almonds, thinking I was doing the right thing. Technically I was, both are allowed on my diet. But there's something about both of these foods that my stomach just doesn't like. Pain with a capital P.

Once my stomach had settled a bit, I decided to test my theory. I took a teaspoon of the flax & waited to see what happened. Yup, a no go. Stomach blew up, & the next few hours were spent nestling a rather sore & groaning stomach & intestinal tract. Ahh well, all part of the discovery process.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have food allergies. This is nothing new for me; my whole life I've been allergic to yeast, mould, & lactose in foods. But in the last couple of years, the list of restricted foods has grown even further: sugar & high carbohydrate foods, most grains, legumes, starches, & processed foods. The list is loooong. What I can eat is rather short.

I didn't always have such a restricted diet, though I have lived on self-imposed restricted diets previously. I was vegetarian twice for various years. The second session evolved into a pescatarian regime, after requiring fish oil for mental health (oil tablets just didn't cut it. The reflux was nothing less than unpleasant). My vegetarian diet was heavy on grains, bread & pasta. A change in my life inspired a change in my diet, & I was suddenly a meat-eater once again. & heavily ate sugar-laden products. All of this has lead to where I am today.

I cut sugar out of my diet late last year (2009), when I found that anytime I indulged in sweets I was left in literal gut-wrenching pain. Sweets, chocolate, vinegar, beer - anything with a heavy sugar content had me in agony & feeling robbed of energy, with body aches, migraines, muddled focus, & simply feeling unhealthy. I cut out the junk & implemented more vegetables, meat, & nuts. But there were still negative responses occurring. I couldn't make sense of it. I went to a doctor & had tests done, but it showed nothing. 'You're fine', the doctor told me. But I knew I wasn't. I was only 30, yet I found carrying my own body weight around too much for my energy levels to bear. Something was wrong.

I finally got a name for it when out for lunch one day with a couple of friends. I was explaining my issues to one, & she suggested that I may have Candida. A friend of hers had recently been diagnosed, & she had been having the same issues I had. So I jumped on the net & read as much as I could find about this 'Candida'. Bingo, I felt like I'd hit the jackpot. So many of the symptoms associated with it I had. I felt so relieved at finally being able to understand what was happening with me. I read heavily about the diet that was required to overcome this illness, & my diet took another drastic change. A visit to a naturopath confirmed my suspicions, & further supplements were added to my daily regime.

Suddenly almost everything was cut out. Vinegar, gone. My beloved homemade sugar-free peanut butter & cashew nut butter was out. No more little bits of bread or crackers or chips. & my most loved of all foods, cheese, was sadly shut out. I felt... stripped. What the hell could I eat? I was now munching on lettuce, cucumber, celery - anything green that wasn't going to make my stomach feel like it was punching me from the inside & leaving me huddled in a ball for hours. Now I couldn't even enjoy carrots dipped in hummus. What the hell? But if it meant that I could overcome this & eventually bring those foods back into my kitchen, then so be it.

But boy, what a journey it's been. Eating out or at friends has been a trial. Always carrying a bag of vegetables could get tiresome at times. Explaining over & over & over that no, I wasn't on a low-carbohydrate diet out of some shallow desire to be part of a trend but merely to avoid pain became (& still does at times) rather repetitive & boring. Trying to get people to understand, especially my mother, who would always look worriedly at me because of the weight I was losing. This isn't a choice, Ma! This isn't to restrict or punish myself in any way, this is so that I feel better, feel healthy, feel able to do the things that I love.

It's not that I don't enjoy my diet either. I eat the healthiest I ever have. The restrictions can get tiring. Not being able to just grab something 'quick' can be a bummer at times when I just couldn't be bothered. But I also see it as a challenge. I now get creative in the kitchen & try to make new & exciting creations (for me, anyway) that I would never have previously considered.

So, after much scouring of the web for sites & blogs about anti-candida & gluten-free diets, recipes & lifestyles, I've decided to create my own. On the posts that will follow, I will share my own experiences, my own trials in the kitchen as I try to create foods (particularly baked goods) that I can no longer enjoy in their traditional form, but to rather recreate them in a new way. I will share when there are those days when anything I eat causes discomfort, when I can finally reintroduce a certain food, when I discover something new that doesn't react negatively within me. & when I just feel like sharing with people who understand, in this rocky path of trail & tribulation that is living allergy-free.

My days from now on (as they have been the past six months) will forever be sugar & gluten-free. While I cannot yet consume all the foods that are allowed on a gluten-free diet, the day will come when I can, & I will be happy to share the discoveries I make along the way. So to anyone who may happen to read these words & be travelling their own food journey in a similar way, I say welcome. Much love, hugs & support.