Are you a risk taker?

It occurred to me this past weekend that I am a bit of a risk taker.  At least when we are talking recipes.  Oh, and anything related to gardens or flowers.

I very rarely follow written recipes completely, modifying them with favorite, gluten-free, or on-hand ingredients. For family dinners I usually try out at least one new recipe, and this past (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner was no exception.

I made the perennially favourite pumpkin pie as well as cherry and butter tarts, but instead of apple pie or crisp,  I tried a strawberry rhubarb crisp.  My brother had commented on Facebook a while back that he was craving strawberry rhubarb pie and no one would make one for him, so as he was hosting dinner this past Sunday I took the bait.  One of my clients donated the rhubarb and I had frozen strawberries on hand.  The recipe called for fresh strawberries, so I just let mine thaw on the counter before using them. I do believe the dessert was a favourite at the table; the bit that was left in the pan was scooped up by my nephew to take home for later.

 

Tired of the popular vegetable dishes this time of year too, I decided to try roasted zucchini as my vegetable contribution.  It too turned out delicious; I will definitely make it again.  I simply sliced 3 yellow and 3 green zucchini lengthwise into about 6 spears each (you could slice them into coins instead) placed them on a greased cookies sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with a parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano and dried basil mixture, and baked then broiled them to perfection.  Yummy!

 

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels (forgot to take some of my own)

 

Someone asked me after I volunteered to make my daughter-in-law’s wedding bouquets if I wasn’t nervous they wouldn’t turn out.  My new daughter-in-law is wonderfully laid back, so I knew if the bouquets weren’t exactly perfect, she would not stress over it, otherwise, I might have been more nervous and (probably) would not have offered my services.  All five were different and definitely unique creations…

 

I consider cooking or baking and gardening to be artistic adventures, and I think most will agree that artists of any kind have to take some risks to be unique.  I guess I do tend to fly by the seat of my pants (as I call it) or like to take (some) risks, but it is (almost) always worth it!

 

 

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Sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread

Did you know that sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread for those of you on a gluten-free diet?  Even if you are not eating gluten-free, slices of sweet potato make a much healthier and lighter alternative than bread.

Simply slice a sweet potato length wise as thin as you can slice it, pop the slices in the toaster (keep the slices long enough so you do not lose them in the toaster), toast until they soften and start to turn brown at the edges and voila!  You could also roast them on a BBQ rack or matt.  I brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic before BBQing them. Of course, I omit this step if using a regular toaster to prevent a fire in my toaster!

I made a hamburger last weekend:

sweet potatoes

As the meat part of the hamburgers were cooking on the BBQ, I made my sweet potato “bun”   I cut the meat patty in half to accommodate the shape of the sweet potato slices. The results were delicious!

I also tried some toasted sweet potato slices topped with peanut butter and jam for breakfast recently.  I was so eager to eat my concoction, I forgot to take a picture!

I am addicted now and can’t wait to make:

  • toasted tomato sandwiches
  • pizzas
  • wraps and any other kind of sandwich
  • eggs benedict
  • egg mcmuffins

 

I would love to hear any other ideas; please share your suggestions!

 

Get real results by eliminating wheat from your diet

For several years, I suffered from various symptoms for which my doctor could find no solution.  Although my low ferritin or iron stores level explained my chronic fatigue and low energy, the supplements prescribed did not help boost the level, but it did make me constipated.  I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac since none of my symptoms could be reasonably explained or alleviated.

This chart summarizes the blood work and various tests before and after eliminating wheat from my diet…

 

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The primary change, at least for me since I first went to the doctor because I was tired all of the time, is the ferritin or iron stores results.  The normal range is between 80 and 300.  In 2007 my ferritin level was 9, extremely low.  By adding more iron to my diet I was able to get it up to a whopping 18.  I then discovered a wheat allergy that was preventing my body from absorbing iron from my diet or supplements.  Two months after eliminating wheat from my diet, my ferritin or iron stores result was up to 42, one year later up to 63 and four years later to a normal level of 100.

A second  major change was the disappearance of my asthma symptoms.  At my last visit to my respirologist he was amazed at how my pulmonary function tests were completely normal.  I didn’t tell him about the wheat-free diet until after he expressed his surprise at my results.  He was skeptical of the fact that a naturopath figured out my problem, but agreed I should continue avoid wheat.

Another healthy change is the difference between my before and after cholesterol results that went from slightly high at 545 to a mid normal range of 315.  My weight had also been creeping up over the years hitting 140 pounds before the wheat elimination.  I dropped 5 pounds within 6 weeks of eliminating the wheat and currently weigh in at 130 pounds four years later.  At five feet and five inches in height, I am satisfied with my current weight.  The biggest bonus to the weight loss has been the loss of flab and excess fat around my middle.

I have experienced similar positive results with arthritis symptoms which were getting worse every year until I eliminated wheat.  I currently suffer from very minimal arthritis symptoms. Although I have not have repeat ultrasounds or chest x-rays to see if the ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and lung hyperventilation are no longer present, the symptoms associated with those three conditions have disappeared.

My white blood cell and platelet counts still remain low, results I have been aware of for many years.  Having worked in the field of laboratory medicine for thirty years, I had many opportunities to test my blood.  I have always suspected some form of autoimmune action within my body; someday I may investigate this suspicion.

 

Avoiding Wheat? Read the Labels!

Another reblog from the first days of my blog (2012) that I started to share my experiences with my wheat allergy…

Source: Avoiding Wheat? Read the Labels!

What’s better than your own tomato harvest?

What can get better than harvesting your own tomatoes?  Taking home someone else’s tomato harvest!  I was cleaning up a client’s garden recently and came across a few grape tomato plants in amongst the perennial flowers and shrubs. I picked them off the frost-bitten vines and left the tomatoes in the sun to dry while I finished working on the garden.  Sun dried tomatoes must need a whole lot of sun to dry them out as these grape tomatoes were still soggy and soft three hours later.  My client didn’t want to bother collecting and cleaning the tomatoes to use in her kitchen, so I brought them home with me.  I shared my bounty with another client that lives next door to the tomatoes…

I took my share of the grape tomatoes home, washed and strained them, then cooked them up in a pasta sauce for dinner…

I sauteed crushed garlic, onions, olives and turmeric in olive oil for the main ingredients, added cooked and drained pasta (gluten-free for my wheat allergy) then stirred in a beaten egg and parmesan cheese to make the sauce creamy.  I seem to use turmeric in just about everything these days, since I read it is a powerful anti-oxidant.  I would have added roasted red peppers if I had some in my fridge to roast that day.  The pasta dish was reasonably good, although I think I left too many green tomatoes in the sauce as it had a bit of a sweet and sour taste.