Category Archives: food

Implant in

So I have officially had my implant implanted.  It’s be doing its implant stuff in me for a week now.  The procedure to get the implant into me turned out to be a lot more complicated than I first understood it to be.  I thought they were just going to find the right spot and stick it in.  Turns out there was more to it than that.  I had to get my uterus scrapped out and then she did a biopsy on a part of my small cyst.  She didn’t touch the hemorrhaging cyst because she wasn’t sure how much it would bleed if she tried to take a portion of it.  And then she found the right spot and jammed in the implant as far as it would go.  All while I was awake and feeling every damn thing she was doing.  None of what she was doing was pleasant and I thought I could be brave and not request the pill to calm me down but I should have.  Even with the pain killers, I still felt everything and it hurt more than I thought it would.  She showed me the part of the cyst afterwards.  It was the size of a loonie all the way around.  It filled up the jar she transferred it to.  I know a loonie doesn’t sound that impressive but actually seeing it and seeing that it was big enough to hold.  I felt really woozy and had the worst headache after the procedure, which I didn’t expect.  There was some fantastic bleeding and cramping after as well but I did expect that so I had prepared myself to deal with it.  All of the physical side effects went away within the first couple of days.  Even the bleeding and cramping stopped.  I thought they would have lasted longer.  According to the doctor the bleeding and cramping could last as long as three months and given my track record of abnormal bleeding, I really thought that would apply to me but it turns out it didn’t.  Hopefully they stay away.

It is weird I feel like I am going through some sort of obstacle course, slowly defeating side effects as they raise up to oppose me.  Or it could be I have been watching too much American ninja warrior.  Whatever it is, I am feeling like I am going through the labyrinth waiting to face the minotaur.  I have made it through the physical side effects now it is time for me to battle* through the next set of side effects.

Right now it feels like I am going through all the emotional and hormonal side effects.  I can never be sure of these things though.  I make the assumptions based on what the doctor told me to expect and compartmentalize because that is what I do.  If these are the hormonal side effects, these ones are harder than the physical side effects.  With the physical side effects I can take pain killers if the cramps are too bad or I can take Advil if my head hurts too much.  There is nothing I can take if the radio commercial makes me cry.  There is no magic pill you can take to stave off hormonal eating binges.  It feels like the week before my period where I am not quite myself and I need to ride through curled in a ball crying at P & G commercials while eating Costco sized bags of all dressed chips.  I am not sure how long it will last but if it lasts more than a week that won’t be good.  My family has been conditioned to deal with my crazy for only a week or so at a time.  Anything longer may drive us all up the wall.**

The whole purpose of the implant was to introduce a new kind of concoction into my system so my body thinks I am going through menopause but that means I will feel like I am going through menopause complete with mood swings and cravings.  It could take up to six weeks for my body to get used to be in menopause and until it gets used to it the emotional and hormonal side effects will be sticking around.

My cycle is supposed to restart in a couple of weeks, if it follows the pattern it has always followed, all this emotional stuff will be over in the next couple of days.  If it doesn’t then it will be interesting to see what happens next.  It’s not all negative though, I only have to go through this once.  Once everything settles down, I should be set for the next five years, no more worrying about fibroids, cysts or a warped uterus.  I might finally go back to normal.

And that will be nice.

*slightly dramatic on my part, I know, but in my head it seems like that is the right word.

** again, slightly overdramatic but an accurate description of what we are capable of dealing with and what may potentially happen if we exceed what we are capable of bearing.

Portion Control

I am the horrible hybrid of a binge eater meets a grazer.  I have the awful ability to eat all day long and still overeat at the end of the day.  It is horrible.  I know I am an emotional eater but I am also never seem to get that full sensation until I cross that invisible line into uncomfortably full.  Millhouse has his own eating issues.  He is a social overeater.  When he is at work that is when he eats the most and it is because everyone around him eats.  They treat meals like a eating contest and the group of them will try to outdo each other by eating large amounts of burgers or pizza or burritos.  He will gorge himself on foods but only when other people can see him.  We each have our own food vices and I have always believes this is something I dealt with on our own but it turns out it is not.

The boys eat have their own food vices.  Maks is just like me.  Maks can eat all day long, never seeming to get full, and then overeat at the end of the day.  And unlike me, he doesn’t just eat bad things.  He can binge on healthy foods too.  In fact most days he grazes on healthy foods throughout the day and then at night he will binge on unhealthy foods.  He can spend an entire day eating sandwiches and fruit and then decide he wants a big plate of nachos an hour after he has had dinner.  If I try to replace the nachos with fruit or vegetables, he will still eat it but he will stay hungry and get up at night to tell me he his hungry.  I have been trying really hard to control what Maks eat but no matter what I do he just eats and always seems to be hungry.

I have taken him to the doctor and medically, there is nothing wrong with him.  He is healthy but husky.  He is not big boned but he is going to grow up to be a thicker person.  The doctor is not worried but I am mostly because I know that my bad habits are the reason why he eats the way he does.  He sees his father and I eating this way and he thinks it is OK.  When we try to change our eating habits, he notices that and he sees we are trying to make a change but because we can’t make the change stick, he doesn’t change either.

 Mats is nothing like his brother.  He is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum.  Rather than eating too much, he hardly eats at all.  Most days it is a miracle for him to eat half a hot dog.  Half a hot dog to Mats is the equivalent of a large turkey dinner to another person.  I can put plate after plate in front of Mats and he won’t eat any of it even if it something that he really likes.  The most he will eat is a couple of bites before he goes back to doing other things.  I have taken him to the doctor as well and the doctor says Mats is healthy.  He won’t be a bruiser when he grows up but he is a perfectly normal, slim little boy. 

 It is frustrating because as much as I want Maks to stop eating so much, I want Mats to start eating more.  It’s as though they don’t listen to what I tell them instead they are internalizing what I am saying to their brother.  Mats hears me tell Maks not to eat so much so he stops eating.  Maks hears me tell Mats to eat more so he starts eating more.  They are doing the opposite of what I want them to do.

 I can’t seem to find a happy middle ground.

Jack Sprat and his brother

Maks is a big kid.

Like a big kid.

He is eight years old and weights 100lbs. He is over five feet tall. He is taller and heavier than just about every other kid in his class. He is bigger and heavier than most of the kids in the grades above him as well. He is routinely getting asked if he is older than ten. Most people just do not believe he is eight by looking at him.

But he is eight.

Mats is a little kid.

Like a little kid.

He is five years old and weighs less than 40lbs. He is just over three feet tall. He is smaller and lighter than just about every other kid in his class. He is lighter and smaller than most of the kids in the grade below him as well. He is routinely getting asked if he is younger than five. Most people just do not believe he is five by looking at him.

But he is five.

Having a really big kid and a really little kid makes things complicated when it comes to food, eating and dinner time. Maks will eat everything that is placed in front of him and then he will go on and eat something else after he has had his meal. He will generally have a pre-dinner snack, followed by dinner followed by an after dinner snack. His eating isn’t just about junk food either, he has no problem finishing off containers full of fruit, smoothies, cereal, or crackers and cheese. He eats continuously throughout the day and he is starting to show just how big he is.

Mats, on the other hand barely eats; he will nibble occasionally but unless he is forced he routinely never finishes his very small meals. Mats refuses to eat anything that is wet, has a sauce, cannot be held or is hot. He needs to eat handheld foods that leave his hands dry and cool. Pasta, soup or rice is not something he eats. In fact, suggesting pasta, soup or rice leads to meltdowns and tears and the occasional throwing up. He also cannot eat large portions of anything. If his dinner is larger than a hotdog, he won’t be able to eat it all. It is as though his stomach just will not allow that much food.

I am the proud parent of Jack Sprat and his little brother. If you don’t know the nursery rhyme; Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. In between the two of them, they ate the platter clean.

In this case Jack Sprat is Mat and since he does not have a wife, Maks is the partner in crime. Between the two of them, I spend almost $1000 a month on groceries but neither of them has the same dinner. Most nights Maks will get a large plate of food with protein, carbs and a bit of veggies. But Mats will get a considerably smaller plate with a few pieces of protein (if I am lucky), a bit of carbs and loads of vegetables and salad.

It seems so odd to me that either will eat what the other one likes. The both refuse to eat like the other. The doctor assures me that they are both healthy and not to worry about how or what they are eating. He says when it comes to food, as long as they are eating, they are OK but I still wonder if they are getting enough.

For now though, I have the living version of a nursery rhyme at my dinner table.

Latest update

I saw my family doctor yesterday and he broke down my diagnosis. I will not be seeing any more specialists. He is not going to be treating the fibroids or the swollen lining because they are no longer a priority. He says try to lose some weight and see if that helps with the fibroid issue but he is going to leave it at that.

The biopsy results are in and my doctor is treating that as a priority. Turns out there are four spots in my stomach that have irregular cells. These cells are in the process of turning into ulcers and if left untreated will turn into stomach cancer. Now, not all ulcers turn into stomach cancer but there is some marker in these cells that pretty much confirm they will turn into cancer if they turn into ulcers. So he is treating me pretty aggressively with a crazy cocktail of drugs to get these spots not to turn into ulcers and to correct whatever damage that has been done so far. The plan is to get my stomach to a place where these spots heal themselves. He figures that the constant pain is due to the forming ulcers not really the fibroids or lining and that is why he wants to treat that more aggressively than the other things.

I start two weeks’ worth of drugs tomorrow and hopefully, it makes the pain go away. The pain is the marker for his success; if the pain remains in two weeks then he will need to get more aggressive in his treatment. If the pain goes away, then the treatment worked and I have to have scopes of my stomach done every five years to make sure the cancer stays away.

I also have gastritis which is caused by stress. He says as soon as I stop stressing out, that will work it out. I say puhsah to that one but maybe I’ll take up yoga or something. But unless the insurance company develops a heart, I think my stress levels will be as elevated as ever.

Given that I love food more than I love some people, I am not going to screw around with this. I will happily take this drug cocktail and hope for the best because the thought of giving up all the different kind of food out there would break my heart. It was not the diagnosis I was expected and hearing all this threw me for a loop at first but like everything else, I am going to roll with it.

I find it so ironic that someone who loves food so much ends up with serious stomach issues.

Recipe: Plantain Waffles

The quest for gluten free continues.

The latest adventure has taken me into the world of breakfast foods. I need to have some sort of carb goodness when it comes to breakfast. I have tried to just have protein and fiber that just leaves me not feeling full.

So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do, I googled. And then I found a recipe of plantain waffles. Now plantain is a staple in a Trinidadian diet. We have it green or ripe, boiled or fried, on its own or as a side dish for something. We also have it for breakfast, so making it into a waffle is not that far-fetched. It is just a new way of looking at an old food. This recipe you need really ripe plantains, the kind of ripe where the plantain peel is almost completely black. Having the peel that colour, pretty much guarantees that you will have a super sweet waffle.

The recipe itself is a total win. It has no gluten, no dairy and no soy so it was perfect for me. Me being me, I tweaked it a bit, here and there. I used my friend’s Turon* recipe to make it more to my liking and viola; I now have breakfast. I make a big batch and keep in it the fridge for during the week. When I leave for work, I just grab a container and some syrup and I am good to go.

Here is the recipe. This recipe makes two regular sized waffles. Double it up for as many waffles as you need.

Plantain Waffles

Ingredients

1 ripe plantain

1 egg

1 tsp of oil

1 tbsp of brown sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of vanilla

Directions:

  1. You take all the ingredients and throw them into a blender.
  2. Blend until you get this really smooth, runny batter.IMG_0674
  3. Pour into your waffle maker and make the waffle according to your waffle makers instructions.

And that is it.

You get these wonderfully light, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside waffles. I was expecting the waffles to be dense but they were not. They were very light, not greasy and reminded me of carb goodness waffles.

And it is the easiest recipe ever!

You can tweak the waffles to your liking. I have a sweet tooth so I use the full table spoon of brown sugar. But since the plantain is sweet to start with, if your sweet tooth isn’t as advanced as mine, you can reduce the sugar. Plus, I have thrown in other sweet spices; nutmeg, allspice and almond extract and they all work just as well in this recipe.

And if you don’t have a waffle maker, no worries, pour your batter into a skillet and make pancakes. It takes a while for them to fluff up but be patient, it’ll work.

This is a definite win for me.

*Turon is a Pilipino spring roll that is filled with plantain, brown sugar and cinnamon and then deep fried. It is fantastically wonderful.

Recipe: Chia Pudding

 

So my new “lifestyle” means that I have to start experimenting with all kinds of new foods and first up on my list was chia pudding.

Chia pudding gets a lot of hoopla on the foodie blogs that I have been checking out lately so I was excited about trying out a chia pudding. A lot of the blogs said that the chia seeds have a texture that is very similar to tapioca and I absolutely love the tapioca bubbles in bubble tea so I figured that I would like chia as well. But unlike my past experiments, I didn’t let myself go too crazy with my first chia pudding. Instead, I decided to go with something a little simpler than most of the recipes out there and I chose an almond milk chia pudding. It covered all the bases that I was looking for; it was sweet, simple and I had all the ingredients. It was a four ingredient pudding that was super easy to put together and I just had to be patient and wait for it to “bloom”.*

So I took out my favourite mason jar and combined all the ingredients and just waited for it to be ready.

This is the recipe that I used this time around.

Almond Milk Chia Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups of unsweetened almond milk

½ cup of chia seeds

A sprinkle of cinnamon

A tablespoon of brown sugar

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and let set in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours.pudding

Now, I am nowhere near being a patient person so I checked on the jar every half an hour waiting for it to be ready to eat. But just like the recipe said, it took almost twelve hours for the pudding to be ready.

So I waited and checked and waited and checked and finally had some.

The next morning when I woke up.

I scooped up some pudding as soon as I woke up and had it cold right out of the fridge. The taste of the pudding itself was very delightful. It was creamy and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. It was absolutely a soothing combination that was comforting but the texture just through me off.

It reminded me of frog’s eggs. I have watched a lot of Kratt’s creatures and have become very well acquainted with the reproductive processes of amphibians and the look of the pudding reminded me strongly of an episode about reproducing amphibians. And then the actual texture of the pudding, reminded me even more of frog’s eggs. The outer layer was mushy and slippery and when you bit through the seeds you hit a crunchy centre. It felt like I was committing amphibian infanticide.

I have to admit that the first bowl was difficult for me to eat. It took some getting used to. I had to add some contrasting textural elements to the pudding before I could really start enjoying the pudding. It needed some crunch and chew before it truly became enjoyable. I took some to work today for breakfast. I added some frozen fruit to the portion that I took to work and that really made the pudding more enjoyable. Amphibian infanticide aside, I will be making this pudding again. The next time it will be made with coconut milk and dried pineapple, and I am really looking forward to that.

*as N would say.

Spare Time

Somewhere on the internet I read about a study that said whatever you spend your free time thinking about the most is what you should spend your time doing because the thing that you spend all your free time thinking about is the thing that you are passionate about.

And that makes sense.

I spend all my free time thinking about food. And even time that I should be using to do something moderately productive, I use it to think about food.

Part of me believes that my heart is in food. That if I did something food related that I would be beyond happy with my life. But there is a part of me that believes that if I dedicated my life to food that I would start to hate it. I feel like if I spent my entire night making mass quantities of cupcakes that eventually I would start to hate making cupcakes and then that would be the end of my dream.

But then is that the thinking that I want to have? Should I be thinking that I am going to fail before I even start?

But what if I do fail?

Recipe – Nut Free Granola

I don’t like nuts.  *insert witty pun here*

But I do like granola so that began my quest to find a really good nut free granola recipe.  So I started googling and I found a recipe for nut free granola over at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures*.

I liked it because it was easy.  I didn’t have to stand there mixing and waiting for things to happen.  I could do what needed to be done and then just walk away and let what was supposed to happen, happen.

But I did end up changing some of the ingredients so that the granola was filled with things that I knew the kids and I would eat.  Since I am not a fan of coconut, I swapped out the coconut for dried apricots, dried cranberries and dried mangoes.  The recipe called for one cup of coconut but I used three cups of fruit; one cup of each kind of fruit.  I chopped up the fruit very fine and just mixed them in with the oats.

Other than the addition of the fruit, everything else in the recipe stayed the same.  Using this recipe, I made enough granola to last for about two weeks and that was with us eating it almost daily.  It was really crunchy and held its crunch even when I covered it with yogurt and fruit.  Overall it tasted pretty good and had a nice blend of crunchy oats and chewy fruit.

This is something that I will definitely be making again.

Nut Free Granola

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats ( I used gf)

4 cups quick oats ( I used gf)

1 cup (each) of your favourite dried fruit

1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small saucepan mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.

In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, and sugar/oil mixture.

Stir until oats are well coated and everything is combined.

Spread into 2 9×13 pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Stir, turn off your oven, and put the granola back into the oven for 3-4 hrs. The heat left in the oven will finish cooking this. I love this because I can make this and walk away for a few hours without having to continually stir the granola.

Remove from oven after 3-4 hours. Let cool and store in an air tight container.

 

*http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2010/09/nut-free-homemade-granola.html

A Jamie A Day – Breakfast Edition

Now, I know it looks like my Jamie A Day adventure ended after two meals but in reality I have been keeping up with all the meals.  I have just been really slack with posting my progress on the blog.  But if you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I have been posting all the meals that I have been making.

So instead of me trying really hard to post days and days worth of recipes in separate posts, I am just going to post some of my favourite meals so far.

This is the breakfast edition.

Now the first recipe that I absolutely love is the superb box grater fruit salad.

grater salad

This was under the breakfast section of the 15 minute meals but I eat it all the time.  I love it as a snack throughout the day or as a really light dinner.  It is super easy to make.  You get a bunch of hard stone fruit* like apples, pineapples, peaches, and plums and grate them all up.  The recipe says you can add some bananas and berries also but I’m in Ontario in the middle of winter so berries are not the best quality right now.  In the summer, I will add some berries into the mix but not right now.  And I don’t like bananas so I left them out.  Also, you are supposed to squeeze the juice of an orange on top of everything but my fruit tend to be juicy so I don’t add the orange juice.  The one time I added the orange juice, it turned out pretty soupy.  And I didn’t enjoy that consistency.

Once you have all your fruit grated up, you melt some honey and mix in some toasted sesame seeds and pour it over.  Then serve with some plain yogurt.  I added some torn up mint leaves to mine because, I like the flavour of the mint so it just seemed like something natural to add.

Here is Jamie’s recipe:

  • sesame seeds
  • bananas
  • honey
  • nectarines
  • oranges
  • strawberries
  • pears
  • apples
  • natural yoghurt

My next go to breakfast idea is soft boiled eggs with bacon and avocado on toast.

soft eggs with avosThis is made up of everything above.

The original recipe called for the eggs to be poached but most mornings, I don’t have the time or patience to poach eggs so I soft boiled the eggs instead.  The eggs came out runny in the middle with a thicker white but I absolutely did not mind that.  Nothing is as awful as a slimy egg white.  I love runny yolks but don’t like mucous like egg whites.

Then you fry up some bacon and toast a slice of your favourite bread.  Be sure to butter your bread and layer on you bacon, eggs and slices of avocado.  Be sure to season with salt and pepper.  Or in my case a good dash of cayenne pepper and you are good to go.

A Jamie A Day – Day 2 Grilled steak ratatouille & saffron rice

steak5Today’s recipe is Grilled steak ratatouille & saffron rice.

There were a couple ingredients in today’s dish that I couldn’t find in the grocery store and I didn’t pick up so I had to get creative and do some omitting and substituting.

I don’t know what harissa is and I wasn’t able to find anyone at the grocery store who knew what it was either so I just left it out of the recipe.

Also, I forgot to pick up zucchini.  Kind of.  I thought that I had some zucchini at home and I didn’t want to buy some if I had some at home so I didn’t pick any up.  But then when I got home, I saw that I didn’t have any.  And because it was so cold, I didn’t want to go back out so I just omitted it from the recipe.

The last of my omissions was the sweet paprika oil.  My grocery store doesn’t carry that so what I did was make my own.  I mixed in some paprika with olive oil and even though it isn’t exactly what the recipe called for, it worked out pretty well.

And finally, I thought I picked up flat leaf parsley but it was actually cilantro.  Since I am a fan of cilantro, I just used it anyway.

steak1Now for how long it took me.  The timing on this one was 23 minutes.  And that is only because Millhouse requested that the steaks be cooked well instead of medium well.  The extra cooking time, is what put me over the 15 minute mark.  If I had cooked the steaks medium, I would have been done in 15 minutes.

Now for the recipe.

  • For the ratatouille

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 2 mixed-colour peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 heaped teaspoon harissa
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 700 g passata
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ bunch fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
  • For the rice

  • 1 mug (300g) 10-minute wholegrain or basmati rice
  • 1 good pinch saffron
  • ½ lemon
  • For the steak

  • 2 x 250 g quality sirloin steaks, fat removed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika olive oil
  • ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon
Method

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Griddle pan, high heat • Small lidded pan, medium heat • Shallow lidded casserole pan, medium heat

START COOKING
Halve the courgette lengthways, slice the aubergine 1cm thick and place both on the griddle pan, turning when charred • Put 1 mug of rice, 2 mugs of boiling water, the saffron, lemon half and a pinch of salt into the small pan, cover and cook until fluffy, stirring occasionally • Tear the seeds and stalks out of the peppers, then roughly chop with the peeled red onion and put into the casserole pan with the harissa, anchovies and 1 teaspoon of their oil • Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and stir regularly

Remove the charred courgette and aubergine from the griddle pan, leaving it on the heat, and roughly chop them on a board • Add them to the casserole pan along with the passata and vinegar, and boil with the lid on • Rub the steaks with salt, the paprika and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and place on the hot griddle pan, turning every minute until cooked to your liking

On a board, finely slice the parsley stalks and roughly chop the leaves • Add the mustard and extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice, then mix together and spread over the board • When the steaks are done, transfer them to the board, turn in the dressing, then slice • Tear the top leafy half of the basil into the ratatouille, season to taste, and serve with yoghurt and saffron rice