Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Moxies in Lethbridge :)

We (and by we I mean I) decided that we wanted to go swimming.  It was a sunny September day and I wanted to try out my new swimsuit before vacation in January.  We were in Claresholm and we contemplated a few places, every place that had outdoor swimming was at least an hour away.  We decided on Park Lake Provincial Park because we could then go out for supper afterwards in Lethbridge when we were done.  The ambient temperature was beautiful; I never thought that the water temperature wouldn't be beautiful.  It was so unbelievably cold.  Didn't really get to try out the swimsuit, just a quick dunk but it was fun and worth the trip.

I found Moxies by going on my phone searching for gluten free Lethbridge while we were driving into town.  I found a list and Moxies was on it.  I have to admit, I was disheartened when I first got there.  There was no gluten-free menu.  The waitress said to just pick something off the menu and we will check with the kitchen.  So I stared at the menu.  I contemplated leaving.  Every item had something in it that I couldn't eat.  After a while the waitress came back and I told her that I felt lost looking at the menu.  Then the manager came over.  I told him my sensitivities, allergies and intolerances.  Then he did something wonderful.  He started communicating with the kitchen staff over his ear piece.  We went back and forth and they came up with a wonderful meal for me, checking the ingredients with input from the kitchen and myself.  The manager also had a great grasp on what was in each dish already, I would never have guessed that their jasmine rice had onions in it.  I had a wonderful maple salmon with steamed asparagus and a side salad with oil to use as a dressing.  It was delicious.  It was safe.  I was happy.  It inspired me to start using maple on my meat.

I would recommend that Moxies to anyone with special food needs.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Yummy Dinner, Yummy Leftovers

It was soo good that the picture had to go first.  I decided that I needed to eat up the things in my fridge.  I am trying to prevent throwing out any food or leftovers.

I had carrots, zuchini, mushrooms, daiya cheddar style shreds in the fridge, thick rice noodles in the pantry and steak in the freezer.

Boiled the carrots in the microwave (they were a bit dry).
Zuchini with some coconut oil on the BBQ
Mushrooms with some coconut oil, sage and parsley in foil on the BBQ
Steak with parsley and rosemary on the BBQ (can you tell I like the BBQ?)
The thick rice noodles are from superstore in the asian section, first time I had used the thick ones and I like them.

Cheese sauce.  I had to start twice cuz the first one didn't work.  Working with almond milk and gluten-free flour is challenging.  It got clumpy the first time, and the cheese style shreds thicken the sauce as well.  So lesson learnt.  Melt 3 tbsp of crisco, stir in 3 tsp corn starch and 3 tsp potatoe flour, add almond milk really slowly to avoid clumping, like 1/4 c at a time, I think I used 3 cups, when sauce is a little runny stir in 2 c of cheese style shreds, then wait for it to melt on low, it will take a while, stir a lot, maybe add some more almond milk, let it sit for a while.  I added lavender and salt.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Week full of soup

Even though it's only 2 soups, it has lasted me most of the week.

Soup # 1 - Chicken Soup
So Monday afternoon I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold.  Since there was no way I could have come into contact with onions, it must have been the real thing.  So I went home and made myself some chicken soup and went to bed at 9 pm.

  • brown rice
  • wild rice
  • quinoa (black and white)
  • chicken cut into pieces 
  • carrots
  • spices: turmeric, cayenne, pepper and salt (if I remember right)
  • I also used some frozen chicken stock (likely had carrots, celery, chicken bones, parsley, thyme, oregano)

Note: do not keep the soup at boiling for very long or the wild rice will explode, should cook for at least 35 min to cook all the rice and quinoa
Chicken Soup
It seemed to do the trick, I didn't get a cold and the leftovers sure are yummy!

Soup # 2 - Savory Pumpkin Bacon Soup
Tuesday I came home from a frigid game of soccer and decided that I wanted pumpkin soup with bacon and cheese.

  • cook bacon and cut into pieces, remove from pan
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • soy milk to get right consistency (this was pretty thick, kinda like a stew)
  • whatever veggies I had on hand (zucchini, mushroom, snap peas)
  • spices to taste (sage, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, pepper, salt)
  • bacon
  • stir in "cheese" (I used Daiya cheddar style shreds)

Pumpkin Soup (before cheese)
Looks a bit like reconstituted crap but is actually quite savory.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A week or so of food

Well I had some good things to eat this week and thought I'd share them with you all.

Monday August 29 - Red snapper in foil on the BBQ, mixed veggie stir fry and rice.
Monday August 29

Thursday September 1 - Lunch - horrible experience at Saigon Y2K downtown followed by sushi at Sakana Grill to at least get something to eat.

Thursday September 1 - Tacos with a side of kale chips and BBQ corn. (I did a post the next day about how to make this).  This lasted me for two suppers and two lunches.  All yummy.

Thursday September 1

Saturday September 3 - Grilled chicken, stirfried chard and green peppers, corn, rice with spinach parsley and almonds.
Saturday Sept 3

Sunday September 4 - Breakfast - Nature's Path Corn Flakes, apple sauce, cut up apples and peaches, topped with cinnamon.  (I didn't have my almond milk on me but didn't really need it.)
Sunday September 4 Breakfast

Sunday September 4 - lunch - Stir fried chard, zucchini and sugar snap peas with grilled beef and leftover rice.
Sunday September 4 - lunch

Sunday September 4 - dinner - Xan Mongolian BBQ!!! :)

Monday September 5 - Cereal and fruit for breakfast, sushi for lunch, leftover tacos for supper.

Tuesday September 6 - lunch - So because of the long weekend I forgot to get my lunch ready.  This is what I was able to piece together at Community Natural Foods near work.  Yellow peppers, corn tortillas, baba gannouj, apples and carrots.  Also had flourless cashew cookies (Sweets from the Earth) and some chocolate for desert.  Not a bad vegetarian spread.
Tuesday September 6 - lunch
Tuesday September 7 - supper - After soccer I was so hungry I couldn't wait to take a photo before starting to eat!  Beef and salad.  Dressing was avocado with Bragg's Soy Seasoning and to make it more like dressing I added coconut oil and basil.  Not a bad combo.
Tuesday Sept 6

Friday, 2 September 2011


Last night I got inspired after work, mind you I was at work until 8 pm.  I found some great gluten-free, white corn tortillas at Planet Organic.  I also had some ground beef from an independent Alberta farm in my freezer so I decided on tacos.  I even found some dairy and casien free "cheese", it's even soy free.

So we have white corn tortillas, spinach, guacamole (avocado & lemon) and daiya mozzarella style shreds.  The meat is 1 package of ground beef, 1 can of chick peas, kale stems, celery, cumin, oregano, paprika, pepper, salt and chili flakes.  Very yummy.  And the "cheese" was even good too.  I paired it with corn roasted on the BBQ and kale chips.
Kale chips were really easy: kale, olive oil and salt baked on parchment paper.  Make sure to coat both sides of the kale with oil or it doesn't turn out as good.


I finally had my follow up with my GI specialist today.  I now have a diagnosis.  I do not have chrones; I do not have collitis; I do not have celiac disease.  So I must have IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Joy of joys, I have the disease that means: we acknowledge that your stomach has issues but it's not something that we can categorize into a disease, therefore you are on your own.  I know I should be happy that I don't have one of those nasty diseases but I was hoping for a definitive:  this is what you have, this is what we can do.  Western medicine is so disappointing.  It also means no meds or supplements covered by the health plan, no unlimited appointments with the doctor that is treating me, and no gluten-free tax breaks.

I guess my next step is following my alternative therapies as I have been since January.  At least Dr Patti has gotten my gut to a manageable level and at least she has a plan to get me to a healthy state of being.  I can now identify causes and effects and have added some foods back into my diet.

So the month of gluten gluttony has ended, never to return.  I think I will do a post, an ode to all things gluten that I will never touch again.

My symptoms of gluten, for the record, and in case I ever think of returning to my gluten glutton ways:

  • bloating - my stomach on gluten 33", my stomach off gluten 29"
  • posture - I always stood with my stomach out, hips tilted down, and my lower back arched with locked knees.  I never knew what it was supposed to be like to "engage your abs".  Most likely because when I tried it was uncomfortable because of my inflamed gut.
  • nasal congestion - started when I was in elementary, who would have thought it was related to those yummy cakes and muffins?  I wonder if my clarinet playing will improve?
  • lower voice / whispering - for some reason I had a lump in my throat and it was easier to speak quieter and lower
  • acne & oily skin - oh the pimples, I will not miss the pimples.
  • foggy brain - "I can see clearly now the gluten has gone".  I feel so much more awake, might be related to ...
  • sleeping - I seem to sleep less soundly now, but I am more rested. I no longer do things like kick people or shove people in the middle of the night without remembering.  Sorry sis, it was the gluten not me kicking you!  Oh and because the nasal congestion is gone I no longer sound like darth vadar when I sleep.
  • female health - because of my bad health my female cycle was very inconsistent.  I guess I'm one of the few who is excited to feel the onset as I know that it's a sign that I'm healthy.  Unfortunately I now have less symptoms to mask the cycle symptoms so I feel them more.  I guess once a month is better than every day, am I right?  My sex drive has also changed. I think it has changed because I knew that adrenaline makes pain subside, with less pain comes less need for adrenaline, but also comes less distractions so more attention.  I think the result is neutral but there are effects there.
  • my mood - with less pain I am much easier to get along with and I think my moods fluctuate less, or at least the causes are obvious.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I am starting to resent gluten

Oh gluten how I hate you.  I used to be in love with you, couldn't imagine my life without you.  Now every bite I take makes me annoyed.

You see I am finally going through the celiac testing.  That means gluten overload for over a month. I think I have now separated my gluten symptoms from my yeast/dairy/casein symptoms.  Bloating, sore tummy, acne, stuffed up nose, low energy, lack of appetite and lots of grumpyness due to the symptoms.  I also notice that I sleep more soundly (when I am not sore).

I highly recommend that people get the testing done before they eliminate gluten, well worth the time.  This month is going to be a long one.

Monday, 6 June 2011


Store bought sauces are a challenge, but it is surprisingly easy to make some wonderful ones.  Sorry but I'm not one for measuring when it comes to sauces, I usually just taste as I go ...  I will have to go back and add pictures ...

Asian Avocado
Directions: Mush one avocado with a few tablespoons of soyasauce (to taste) and a splash of lemon juice.  Voila!
Works great as a salad dressing, vegetable dip or as a fresh pasta sauce, wouldn't recommend heating this one up with lefovers though.
Suggested paring: take one bag of broccoli slaw (julienned brocolli, carrots, cabbage), some chopped almonds and some raisins.  Add some cruncy asian noodles or ichiban noodles if you can handle them.  Some apple chunks would also taste great.

Honey Mustard
Directions:  Quite literally this is honey and mustard.  2 tbsp of honey, 1.5 tbsp of mustard powder, 1tbsp of white vinegar, 1/8 tsp of paprika.  I found this combo a really spicy so you will have to play with the quantities.  With the vinegar you don't even need to heat this one up to make it the right consistency.
Suggested paring: chicken drumsticks roasted in the oven with oragano, parsley and pepper oh and don't forget the sweet potatoe fries!

Honey Lemon
Mom just made this for me for lunch, I'm pretty sure it was just honey and lemon over diced, cooked pork.  She brought steamed veggies and quinoa.  What a great lunch in the park!

Apple Sauce
Plain and simple.  Use it on pork.  It adds some nice moisture to peas and quinoa, maybe add some parsley.

Plum Sauce
From this cookbook I got at a garage sale.
3 diced red plums
1/2 cup of grape juice
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp sugar
Cook in a pot for 20 minutes, then add 1 tbsp corn starch in 2 tbsp of water to thicken.
Super awesome on broiled chicken, with some white and wild rice and broiled asparagus.

Fruit Spread
Take a small sauce pan, throw in some berries or fruit, add a bit of sugar and cook it until it is thick.  Wonderful addition to corn bread.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


This problem seems to plague me every once in a while.  What to eat for breakfast?  My old standbys are a thing of the past.  Muffins, cereal, cake, cookies, banana bread, yogurt, doughnuts.  I especially found it difficult when on my cleanse in which I eliminated sugar, corn and peanuts.  It forced me to branch out.  I have noticed that without breakfast I get really really cranky.

I have found a new love in nut butters.  I started with peanut butter on rice cakes.  Then almond butter, then cashew butter.  Now almond/hazelnut butter.  There are soo many awesome combinations of nuts. Yum!  I also add fresh fruit or honey to sweeten it up.

Then there is cereal.  I choose Nature's Path Corn Flakes (sweetened with honey) with Almond Breeze.  Also Nature's Path Crisp Rice.  I have also taken to adding quinoa flakes, coconut and raisins.

Another thing I just remembered:  creamed corn!  So warm and yummy and thickened with corn starch.

This week in food

Broiled salmon and stewed beets on a bed of spinach and basmati rice.  I used lemon juice, oregano and black pepper on the salmon.

Diced sweet potatoes baked with a coating of olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, thyme and paprika.  I mix the spices and oil together then pour into a bag with the diced sweet potatoes and shake and squeeze until evenly coated.  I tried sprinkling on the spices after coating in oil but found that the spices didn't permeate the vegetable.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Mini Meatloaves

It took me a while to use ground meat.  As a child we would have ground beef at least twice a week.  Lately I have been making a lot of meat balls.  They are quite nice but they always end up so small, kinda crumbly or really over done.  This time I thought I'd try mini meatloves.  I got a mini loaf pan for christmas.  I love my mini loaf pan :)  It's the perfect size for a serving of meat.  Pictured with stir fried  cabbage/mushrooms/soya sauce and diced/roasted yams.

2 packages of dark ground turkey
2 cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup of diced celery
2 tbsp of egg replacer with 3 tbsp of water (mixed together, then added)
Thyme, parsley, sage, pepper (sorry I didn't remember to keep track of the quantities)

I had to cook for about 45 minutes at 350 (I cooked it until my meat thermometer said it was ready)  Should maybe brown the top next time ...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The beginning

So April 2010 I finally decided to figure out what has been bothering my stomach for the last 15 years.  It was prompted by my sister getting sick and landing in hospital in the spring of 2009.  Her symptoms were scarily similar to the ones that I had been dealing with for the last 15 years.  My symptoms ended up flaring in the spring of 2009. My doctor attributed my symptoms to stress.  He gave me sleeping pills and told me to find a new job.

Early in 2010 I changed jobs.  I still had the symptoms, just not as severe.  I had seen this poster in his office about food sensitivity testing and I finally decided it was time to try it.  It would at least give me a base from which to estimate which foods have been bothering me.  I had always been daunted by elimination diets because I could not tie anything to a food, some times a food would bother me, other times it wouldn't.  That and I was addicted to wheat, how could I live without my baked goods?

When I got the results back I was overwhelmed.  How could I eliminate ALL those items?  Everything that I used to eat was on that list.  It came alphabetically.  I sorted it for convenience:

  • Brewer's Yeast, Baker's Yeast, Malt (things that have been fermented and not distilled, MSG)
  • Egg
  • Cow's Milk, Goat's Milk, Cheese 
  • Rye, Wheat
  • Beans: Green, Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto
  • Yellow Squash, Tomatoe, Alfalfa
  • Blueberry, Cranberry, Cherry, Dates, Papaya, Pineapple, Lime
  • Ginger, Peppermint, Safflower, Sesame