Super Simple Raw Berry Pie (vegan, DF, GF, PF)

ImageMy friend Sandra turned me on to this recipe a couple of months ago and it has soared to the top of my “super easy-to-make, but fancy looking dessert” list. Friends who stress that they can’t make a fancy dessert, pay close attention. I swear this recipe takes less than 15 minutes, doesn’t even require baking! and everyone will rave about how delicious it is.

Super Simple Raw Berry Pie (vegan, DF, GF, PF)

Crust:

  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 8-10 dates (you can also throw in some figs for added deliciousness)
  • a pinch of sea salt

Throw all ingredients into a Cuisinart or blender. Run for a few minutes until everything is pretty pulverized up. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a pie pan and press against the pan into a “crust”.

Filling:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh mixed berries (I do 1 carton of each of the following: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey or sweetener (you also use dates if you want to avoid processed sugar) – if your berries are super sweet, you may not even need sweetener.
  • Optional – fresh basil or mint (just a small handful)

Take half the berries and throw them into the blender with the mint/basil and honey. Puree for just a couple of minutes. Pour the berry mixture on top of the “crust”. Pour the whole berries on top of the pureed berries. And that’s pretty much it!

It is best to chill the “pie” until it is served. Simply pull the chilled pie out of the fridge and serve to your impressed guests. I like mine with a dollop of almond milk praline crunch ice cream.

Please note that the “pie crust” is more like a loose, delicious crumble – it will fall apart as you scoop it out of the pie dish. Another way to serve this would be to reverse the order of ingredients in your pie dish – berries on the bottom, puree and then crust on top – this will create more of a berry crumble presentation.

The best part about this recipe (other than it being ridiculously easy to make) is that it is really very healthy. It’s basically nuts and berries – so yes people, it is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly 🙂

Enjoy!

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Ultralite – week 5: The End!

instagram me
instagram me

I made it y’all!

Five weeks on the Ultralite program and I had my final meeting earlier today. It has been an  incredibly rewarding weight-loss program. I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost inches. I’ve learned about portion control and how to ratio my protein and carbs to maintain good energy through the day.

When I started the program, I had completed four weeks of crossfit (including eating more paleo-style). During the crossfit month, I lost 7lbs, plus a total of 7 inches from various body parts. At the end of the Ultralite month (while still doing crossfit), I lost a total of 11lbs. And in terms of inches, I lost 3.5 inches from my chest, 2.5 inches off my waist, 2 inches off my bootie and 2 inches of my thigh (yep, that’s 10 more inches off my body!). Best of all, I am below my pre-pregnancy weight; I have great energy; and I fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Yay! The only thing I’m missing is pictures. boo 😦

Next Steps

For the next month, I will slowly incorporate back higher carb veggies and fruits. In general, I’ll aim for a cup of veggies and about 120 grams of protein at each meal. Generally, I’ll avoid grains, dairy and legumes. I am allowed one serving a day if I want it, but my body just seems to feel so much better without the stuff. It’s nice to have tools that I can use in the future if my energy starts to flag or if my weight starts to creep up.

And now, I’m looking forward to a more varied diet and more varied workouts at the crossfit gym!

p.s. The worst part of doing the diet was not the portioning or the eating tons of green vegetables or depriving myself of sweets and starches. The worst part was the surprising lack of support at my office! My coworkers were constantly trying to get me to go get treats with them. They gave me a hard time about how strict the diet was and they kept insisting that it was just water weight and that it would all come back as soon as the diet ended. It was kind of shocking because on the one hand they would cheer me on about going on the diet, but on the other hand they would try their hardest to drag me to froyo and to get me to cheat. Luckily, I was really committed to following the diet and was prepared for the challenge. In reward, I have gotten a lot of compliments around the office on how much weight I’ve lost and how good I look. In fact one woman signed up with Dr. Tara Skye-Goldin to do the program herself!

Things I will attempt to make GF and DF…

Maybe it’s because I’m on a food restricted diet right now,  but I keep seeing things that I really want to try to make gluten free and dairy free once my five four weeks are up. So, I’m going to start a list. Are you drooling too??

Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart

That is a garlic/beet tart! (above)

BREAKFAST CUPCAKES (original non GF/DF recipe below)

1 20 ounce package pre-shredded hash brown-style potatoes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons flour
1 small sweet onion, coarsely grated
2 thick slices deli ham, chopped into small bits (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 dozen eggs, scrambled*
chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F., and lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Mix the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon potato mixture into each prepared muffin cup until about 1/3 full. Gently press the potato mixture down in the middle and up the sides of each cup. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. If the nests have puffed up too much in the center, scoop out a little with a teaspoon. Spoon a few tablespoons of scramble eggs into each nest and top with chives.

Yep, Pigs in a Blanket…

But I’m gonna try tapioca starch (imagine a hot dog wrapped in Brazilian cheese bread  – come on, that has real potential!). By the way, did you know that April 24 is National Pigs in a Blanket day?

I wonder what else I will come up with in the next month or so! Is it lunch time yet??

Gluten Free Dairy Free Strawberry Almond Tarts

Strawberry almond tarts

Ooh – in this one the conversion work has already been done! and she has many other delightful looking GF/DF recipes….

Week 1: on the Ultralite program

Breakfast of champions - eggs, ham and kale
Breakfast of champions – eggs, ham and kale

As noted in my last post, I’ve begun a weight loss challenge for the month of May. I’m working with a trained practitioner and focusing on a very clean, allergen free diet while experimenting with carb/protein ratios to maximize fat burning. Translation: I have to eat veggies and meat and I have to weigh everything to better understand portion sizes. Boo! It’s a lot of work, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

As noted in my last post, I’ve begun a weight loss challenge for the month of May. I’m working with a trained practitioner and focusing on a very clean, allergen free diet while experimenting with carb/protein ratios to maximize fat burning. Translation: I eat veggies and meat and I have to weigh everything to better understand portion sizes. Boo! It’s a lot of work, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be, though Lee is pretty much on his own for meals since I’m carefully counting out all my grams of food each meal.

What are my stats so far? I just met with Dr. Skye-Goldin this morning for my one week check-in. Here’s what has changed in one week:

  • neck: -0 inches lost
  • chest: -1 inch
  • arms: -0 inches lost
  • waist: -1.5 inches
  • hips: -1.5 inches
  • thigh: -1 inch
  • weight: 3 lbs lost

How’s being on a portion controlled, foods restricted diet?? Because I was already eating pretty cleanly during my crossfit paleo month, the transition has been pretty painless. I eat three meals and then drink 4 small protein/vitamin drinks throughout the day. So far my meals have consisted of various combinations of the following:

  • grilled chicken breast
  • beef
  • beef, chicken or pork burgers (lean)
  • lean ham
  • tuna fish
  • eggs
  • chard
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • tomatoes
  • carrots
  • sugar snap peas
  • pickles and cucumbers
  • onions and garlic

Puh-retty darn healthy if you ask me! While I do contemplate all the things I shall eat in 5 weeks when this is over, I don’t have any overwhelming cravings.Plus, I’m still doing crossfit 3-4 times a week and I have good energy.

Did I go through a cranky detox period? I did have a brief three day spiral into congested angry-at-the-world-ness (sorry Lee!) but it turned out that it wasn’t a detox period at all. It was completely tied to taking the whey protein powder instead of the non-dairy stuff. It tasted so much better but man did it make me super moody and mad at the world. As soon as I stopped taking it, everything in me evened out again. How weird?! Note to self: Your body REALLY doesn’t do well with dairy!

General note: you can eat seafood on this diet, I just hate seafood. And here are the deets on the Ultralite program for those who are interested or just plain skeptical 😛

Martha’s vineyard, I’m gonna be so ready for you in July!!

One month of Crossfit under my belt!

nav_logoSome of you may or may not know that I signed up at CrossfitSanitas for the month of April to jumpstart my somewhat plateaued baby weight-loss. I’ve officially completed a month of doing crossfit 3 times a week. and I have more energy; plus I’ve lost weight and inches! Yay!

I started with their 8 class foundations/basecamp course where we learned technique on the more commonly used crossfit moves – push ups, squats, clean and jerks, etc. And, it turns out that Crossfit really works for me. The workout is always under an hour – love the efficiency! It’s high intensity and works your whole body plus there is a real focus on mobility which is especially useful for us desk laborers.

Typically, you have a 15 minute warm-up which gets your heart rate plus warms up the various joints you will be using for the WOD (workout of the day). Next, they spend some time having us break the moves for the WOD to get technique perfect and to figure out how much weight to use. Finally, we do a high intensity workout that can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.

Day One!
Day One!

The moves are based on Olympic lifting and gymnastics. It’s a coach-led class and all the moves are scalable so you can work at your own pace and level. I suckered my dad into joining with me and he’s seen improved core strength, balance, mobility, energy and endurance from what I can tell. Here’s a sampling of some of the moves we’ve done  modified pull-ups, push ups, hand-stand push-ups (modified!); squats, clean and jerks, push and jerks, running, rowing, and the list goes on.

I also decided to follow a mostly paleo diet for the month of April which for me meant mostly avoiding dairy, gluten, grains and sugars. Not everyone responds well to a paleo diet, but I felt so much better on it! So, lots of eggs, meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. I did have the occasional cambric with soy milk and honey, and on one particular date night we shared a molten flourless chocolate cake with marscapone gelato – which was amazing!!

So here are my weight-loss stats at the end of month 1:

  • Neck: -0 inches
  • Chest: – 1.5 inches
  • Arm: – .5 inches
  • Waist: – 1.5 inches
  • Hips: – 1 inch
  • Thigh: -0 inches
  • Weight: – 7 lbs

My challenge for May is to continue Crossfit but to also do a fat-burning/detox/elimination diet with a local naturopath for 5 weeks! It’s very similar to paleo but I get to learn all about portion control and ratios of carbs to protein for optimal fat loss. I’m a little nervous, okay very nervous, so I hope I can get through it! Supposedly I’m not supposed to feel hungry or have a loss of energy. The challenge will be to take the time to measure and prepare foods which sound exhausting to this working, exercising mommy, but I’ll give it my best shot.

p.s. I love my crossfit gym! the coaches are so supportive and helpful. Boulderites please check it out!

Potsticker burgers

Potsticker burgers
Potsticker burgers

Ok, I’m still working on the title of this recipe but OMG it is soooo delicious!! So, I’m on this pseudo paleo sort of diet for the month of April. It mostly means that I’m trying to avoid refined sugar, starches, alcohol, legumes and dairy – which really means I’m mostly trying to avoid sugar since I dislike legumes and I’m already gluten free and generally dairy free and alcohol free. Anyway, I also try to make ground meat recipes so I can break the cooked meat apart for little B to eat.  Not to mention, I can always sneak in bits of greens for both of the boys when I make ground meat meals!

I’ve done a lot of beef lately and so I decided to branch out to ground chicken thighs –  after some recipe exploration courtesy of google, I was immediately sold on the “tastes like the inside of a delicious Chinese dumping” comment for this recipe. I haven’t had potstickers in almost three years. Sigh! Here is my modified version of deliciousness:

Potsticker Burgers (aka Asian Chicken Burgers) – makes 4

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce (tamari)
  • 1 1/2 tsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. white wine
  • 1 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c. gf breadcrumbs (or panko crumbs if you’re not gf) – you could probably omit this if you had a little more meat otherwise, it’s too wet
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 handfuls of finely chopped baby spinach
  • 1 handful of finely chopped fresh basil

Combine all ingredients lightly.  If the mixture is very wet, add more panko.  Shape into four patties, and cook in a large skillet for about 5 minutes on each side.

On a side note: I decided to bake a package of bacon per a paleo suggestion…. I did not know you could overcook bacon quite that much. hmm. oh well.

Delicious, delightful lactation bars (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.)

The other day, I had an epiphany. I crave sweet desert food all the time now. I’m constantly obsessed with keeping my milk supply up. Why not make a delicious dessert-like treat that will help keep my milk supply up? An apple a day, heck no! How about a dark chocolate chip oatmeal bar a day or maybe even two a day? Win, win.

Allergy free lactation bar with chocolate coconut milk icecream

Now, the trick was to make a delicious lactation bar that is also gluten free and dairy free. Darn food sensitivities.

After a quick google search, I found this recipe at http://rumbleinthekitchen.blogspot.com, modified it a little and ended up with delicious results. My oatmeal bars are dairy free, gluten free, egg free and soy free.

Let’s back up for a second, what is this lactation bar you speak of? A lactation bar is made of ingredients that supposedly will increase your milk production. For example, oatmeal is supposed to make a difference, but unless you’re my dad, oatmeal gets old after a few days. Seriously dad, I can’t believe how much oatmeal you eat!

Anyway, back to these lactation bars. This recipe is really easy and it makes a lot! We’re talking a 9×13 pan and another 8×8 pan, but hey this is all for the good of the baby, so I just made it all and froze the bars from the 8×8 pan for later. TIP: GF stuff tends to keep better frozen.

Basic Ingredients

  1. Vegetable Oil (1.25 cups)
  2. Sugar (1 cup)
  3. Brown sugar (1 cup)
  4. Coconut flour (1 cup)
  5. Oat flour (3.5 cups)
  6. Baking soda (1 T)
  7. Nutritional yeast (2 T)
  8. Steel cut oats (2 cups)
  9. Salt (.5 t)
  10. Cinnamon (1 t)
  11. Ginger (1 t)
  12. Clove (.5 t)
  13. Water (.5 cup or more as needed)

You also need parchment paper, one 9 x 13 pan and one 8 x 8 pan.

Extras (some combo of the following to delici-fy your oat bars)

  • Chocolate chips (1 bag – look for dairy free, etc.)
  • Candied ginger (.5 cup – cut into little bitty pieces)
  • Walnuts (.5 cup – chopped up)
  • Dried Cherries (.5 cup)

Putting it together

  1. Set oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients 1-3 together in the biggest bowl you have. Seriously.
  3. Add ingredients 4 and 5 and mix.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients plus your choice of extras and mix it up some more. The mixture should have a moist yet slightly crumbly consistency, so after adding that half cup of water, you made need to add more but add just a tablespoon at a time to not over do it.
  5. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. You may need a second 8 x 8 pan as well.
  6. Pour mixture into each pan, and pack down a little bit.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. Cut up the bars and enjoy.
  9. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer in a vacuum tight container.
Fresh out of the oven

p.s. even if you’re not trying to increase your milk supply, this makes a pretty decent, healthy treat.

Results

I’m on day four of my supplemental lactation bar diet, and I actually woke up engorged this morning (which hasn’t happened in months). So, yes, I think it is working for me. Give it a try if you’re a lactating mom and let me know if you see results!