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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

This is what we do with the Halloween candy in my house. Just an idea I have reposted if you have too much of it too! I also don't buy any candy, since we are gone all evening with the kids and I always eat half the bag ;-) Happy Halloween!
We love Halloween in my family, but I don't like all the Halloween candy in our house. It isn't good for the kids and it is a temptation for me. I think the whole Candy Witch or Great Pumpkin idea is over the top: Put out your candy and it's replaced with a toy. My kids have enough toys and a birthday is just around the corner.

I read about an idea at Stephmodo, one of my favorite blogs, to trade candy for coupons. The coupon ideas were so sweet and family oriented I decided to do this myself! They are things that the kids love, but we never do enough of (a few are are just straight up bribes to get rid of the candy though). They don't all the candy, but most of it. I made most be a 5 candy trade and a couple 10 candies.

Some of Our Coupons are:
1 Silly Bandz
Stay Up Late 30 Minutes
1 Hot Chocolate
In n Out For Dinner
Trip to the Yogurt Shop
Daddy Cleans the Playroom
1 Lunchables for School Lunch
Family Game Night with Popcorn
Family Movie Night - DVD & Popcorn
Mom Does Bedtime Reading

Last year when I told the boys we would be doing this they were so excited. I was thinking through the ideas as I told them, and when I got to "Daddy will clean the playroom" they went crazy!! "Daddy!?!" The idea was ludicrous apparently. Mind you, Daddy was in Moscow at the moment and had no idea of this plan. So I knew it was a hit and I'd get all their candy in the end. Hahaha! (Daddy on the other hand, was not thrilled. But that coupon finally came out he did clean the playroom.)

I just thought this was a great way to sneak in quality family time AND get rid of your candy. I once overheard them plotting to give me only "bad candy" or try and trade empty wrappers, but over all it was a big success. 


October Challenge and Half Marathon


Today is my last official weigh in the for October Challenge, and drum roll... I don't lose any this week. Wonk, wonk, wonk. I thought for sure I'd have at least another pound off, but no. That is 5.5 lbs for October on the Fast Track. I committed to 30 days and I've decided I will stick with the Fast Track until the other 5 lbs are gone. Right now I am at 148 lbs. Even though the scale isn't reflecting it, my body is. I look and feel like I've lost 10 lbs, so I'll keep working until I actually have. How did everyone else do this week? I LOVE the quote to the left and feel like it really applies to the changes I've made in my life.

I had not taken the time you tell you all about my 2nd Half Marathon. So I thought I would concentrate on something positive and do that today! My friend Winnie ran it with me. She only started running recently and she did great! So if you have never ran before and think it's not possible to do something like this, she (if not myself) is a great example. This time I finished in 2:22, a couple of minutes slower than my first half, which I had trained better for. Several friends ran this race and they finished in just under 2 hours, which I cannot even imagine. But they are "real runners" and an inspiration to me! Maybe someday...


The race started off on the wrong foot: A.) I got my period that morning B.) My playlist was somehow corrupted and contained voicemails and Frank Sinatra (and I don't own any Frank Sinatra music!) instead of my carefully planned running songs. The first 11 miles clicked by pretty quickly, but Problem B kept me from really enjoying them. However Problem A made the last 2.1 miles seem longer and harder than all the 11 combined before them. I won't go into details, but let's just say it wasn't pretty. In the finish line photo I was so ready to be done and not enjoying it AT ALL anymore. When I first saw the finish line photo, I was actually confused by all the other runners celebrating as they cross the line. They all look so happy to be finishing and I was not happy. I didn't feel like celebrating until later that night (as I iced my knees) and then I realized "Hey, I did it!"

I give my running almost ZERO credit for my weight loss. Readers ask me this all the time. It has helped to tone my body as I lost the weight, and mentally it really helps clear my head. That helps with stress eating I think too. While training for this race I even gained a few pounds. I know some conventional wisdom disagrees with this, but it is true for me. For now I am going back to running two short runs a week until it is time to train for a new Half next year. I would like to figure out how to tone my upper arms and thighs in the meantime.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coconut Care Package Give Away



Diana with comment #2 is the winner of some great Coconut Products! Diana blogs about the Belly Fat Cure too and hopefully she will share with us what she makes with the Coconut Oil, Flour and Unsweetened Flakes from CarbSmart.

Thanks so much for sharing your motivation with me and for sharing my two year anniverary on the BFC! 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cauliflower Power

I have a confession to make: I'm not really a vegetable lover. I only eat them because I should or I'm supposed to. But recently I've discovered new ways to veggies that I really enjoy. I have found cauliflower to be very versatile and an easy vegetable to add to any meal. It can also mimic the texture and taste of several grains and starches.

Here are a few recipes and ideas to get you started, but don't let that limit you! You can replace frozen cauliflower with fresh on any of the recipes. Frozen cauliflower will be impossible to shred with your cheese grater so use a food processor with it. A pound of cauliflower has 24 grams of Carbohydrates, 10 grams of Sugar and 11 grams of Fiber

Riced Cauliflower - This is super fast and simple and can be added dozens of different recipes. Break apart the cauliflower head into individual florets. Steam cauliflower florets in the microwave for aprox. 4.5 minutes with a small about of water. Drain the water and use a potato masher (that is what I do) or a hand mixer until it is the consistency of rice. Now you can have it on its own or use it use with one of the meals below. You could also use a cheese grater on the head before you microwave it. But I like the consistency better with the potato masher. You could add Parmesan cheese or herbs and have it as a side dish.

Chili over Riced Cauliflower - I LOVE chili and I was missing the beans in my Chili once I went grain-free, but served with cauliflower solved that. Riced cauliflower satisfies the need for that missing texture and makes it very filling.

My Fast Track/Grain Free Chili Recipe:  I make my Chili with Ground Turkey, 1/3 Cup diced onions, 3 garlic cloves diced, 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1 can water, 1/4 Cup pumpkin puree, chili spices, 1 fresh jalapeno, balsamic vinegar. I got the pumpkin idea from a BFCer on Facebook and it is a great addition! I promise you will not taste pumpkin, but instead it adds great flavor. I brown the turkey, with onions and garlic first, add seasonings and then the stewed tomatoes, water and pumpkin. Let simmer. Before serving add a scoop (aprox. 1/3 Cup) of riced cauliflower to a bowl, topped with the Chili and grated cheddar cheese.

Mashed Cauliflower -  A great substituent for mashed potatoes. Steam the cauliflower longer and mix it with whatever you add to normal mashed potatoes (cream, butter, cream cheese or salt). Use a hand mixer, mixer or even a blender to make it creamy and smooth. A little liquid, like olive oil or chicken broth with help mix it smooth.This is very easy to do! A little bit of Coconut Flour will be a great thickening agent for gravy too.

Cauliflower Couscous/Tabouli Salad - Chop raw (uncooked) cauliflower into very small pieces, the size of couscous. Toss a 1/4 Cup with your regular salad to give it new texture. I saw a similar salad in the Make it Paleo book pg. 258 and it looked great. You can also use it just like you would bulgur (which is not allowed on Fast Track) in a tabouli salad.

Cauliflower Sushi - This is another GREAT idea from Make it Paleo (pg 244). Just replace the sticky rice in your sushi roll with rice cauliflower. I bought all the tools to make sushi for the Hubby's last bday, so I will definitely have to try this out. This is brilliant idea!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole - This is an easy favorite that is usually made with rice. Shred a 1/2 pound of raw cauliflower with your cheese grater and use it to replace rice in your recipe. Bake it in the oven with with chicken breasts, broccoli florets and a cheese sauce. You kids probably won't even notice the rice isn't actually rice.

These are two cauliflower recipes that I've been using for awhile and have complete details at the link:
Cauliflower Cream Soup - We love this soup in my house and it is perfect for the Fall. The Vegan Hubby especially likes this recipe.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust - The trick with this one is getting the crust crispy before you add the toppings. It may take a few times to get it right, so don't fret if the first time isn't great.

Leave a comment if you have an inventive way of using cauliflower. It has really made my transition to grain-free much easier! If you haven't entered my Coconut Care Package giveaway, be sure and do so before Friday evening right HERE.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Year Blogiversary and Coconut Giveaway

This week I am celebrating two years of blogging about the Belly Fat Cure! That's right, I've been on a diet for two years... and I'm quite happy about that. Here is a link to my first Belly Fat Cure blog post. I reread it today and it seems like yesterday. I didn't have any readers then, in fact there isn't a single comment on that first post. Today between 500-1200 readers stop by my blog each day! I find it hilarious that on my first day in the BFC I was already plotting a "Skinny Photo" with Jorge Cruise (really?!). That gives you an idea of my mind set! I've been in it, to win it since day one apparently. (I also had a spreadsheet to track everything just a few days later! It appears I'm a little nuts...)
Me & Jorge
Rachael Ray Show Jan. 2011
I am really excited because my friends over at CarbSmart have agreed to host a Coconut Giveaway as a way to celebrate my Blogiversary! It is a THANK YOU to my readers for taking time to support me in my weight loss journey. I've been posting a lot about coconut products, and I realize they can be expensive and hard to find. But I really think these items are worth the splurge and will be put to great use towards you weight loss and health.


The Giveaway is for US Residents only and will include free shipping of these items:
1.  Jar of Coconut Oil - so you can oil up your coffee and fry up your eggs in style
2. Package of Let's Do Organic Coconut Flour - so you can make coconut pancakes, bread and pumpkin muffins
3. Package of Let's Do Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes - so you can make yummy frosting, Chocolate Balls and pancakes with texture

Here is how to enter:
1. Leave a comment and tell me what MOTIVATES YOU ON A DIET. If it is a 'skinny photo' with Jorge Cruise I will totally relate :) Please make sure you SUBSCRIBE to my blog so you will know if you win!
2. Bonus entry: Follow me (@meandjorge) and CarbSmart (@carbsmart) on TWITTER and send us a tweet to say "Hey!" Leave another comment here to let me know!
3. Bonus entry: Like my Belly Fat Cure page on Facebook. Leave me another comment here to let me know!
4. Winner will be chosen by Random.org on Friday at 5pm Pacific.

If you all didn't stop by and read the blog, send me messages, emails and tweets, I'd stop writing it. So thank you for keeping me going and motivating me with your stories and weight loss success every day!

October Fast Track Challenge: Week 3

Week 3 and I am down another 1 pound. I was hoping for a little more, I felt like it was going to be more. But I'll take it! That is 5.5 lbs lost in Oct and just 5 lbs to my original goal weight. The Hubby has been out of town for two weeks and just returned and said he saw and felt a noticeable difference in me. He also said I seemed really excited about cooking and happy. The main thing I have noticed is that I have "de-puffed" all over.

My clothing is very loose all the sudden. Really cute cargo pants I got this summer (from the Loft, they are onsale for $23 now!) fit perfectly or a little tight and now they have a baggy butt and the Hubby said I shouldn't wear them anymore. They're my favorite pants! But I think I lose these last pounds from my upper thighs and rear-end. w00t! to that! I carry quite a bit of weight there. My waist measures at 28 inches this morning, but my hips as 39 inches. I'm curvy. Even at 196 I was curvy.

No cheating or going off Fast Track this week. I did have 4 Dark Chocolate squares a few days, instead of the limit of 2. But I don't consider that any big sin. I have been getting really creative with my food and feel I can recreate any missing grain or starch with a veggie. It seems that I have a social event once a week and probably have 2 glasses of White Wine those nights. Otherwise I don't drink alcohol. I don't have Zevia or any sugar alcohols on Fast Track either.

The folks over at Zevia asked me to write the first article for their new Weight Management Blog. I was really honored to do that! I hope you all are still doing great on the Fast Track, Belly Fat Cure or whatever you are doing. The key is to KEEP DOING IT EVERYDAY. Even on days you don't want to, or when you don't think it's working.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Recipe: Grain Free Fettuccine Alfredo

The key to going grain-free is to be creative. Craving something? Then satisfy that craving and make a version that fits the plan.I dreamed one night of Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, the kind no diet would allow. I woke and thought, how good would that be with ribbons of zucchini for the pasta? I love it when you imagine a meal and it turns out just as good as you thought. And this one did for sure!


Grain-Free Fettuccine Alfredo or Chicken Fauxccine Alfredo
Fauxccine Alfredo
Ingredients: (Serves 1 depending on size of breast and zucchini)
Chicken Breast
1/4 Cup Onions
1 Small Zucchini
2 Garlic cloves, pressed
1/3 Cup Alfredo Sauce (make your own or use pre-made)
1/2 Cup Mushrooms, mushrooms

Pinch of sea salt
Spinkle of Parmesan

How To:
Grill the chicken with onions until browned. Cut the ends off the Zucchini and peel (with a potato peeler) the outer layer and discard. Make two cuts on the zucchini down the middle, like an X, but not all the way to the end, and continue to peel. This should make long, thin ribbons of the zucchini that aren't too wide. It should look like the photo below on the left. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the pressed garlic, zucchini and sprinkle with salt. Add sliced mushrooms and saute. The more you stir, the more torn up the "noodles" get, so be gentle. When the zucchini appears translucent add the sauce and let it bubble. Chop up the chicken breast and place on top, sprinkle with Parmesan and enjoy!


I've had Spaghetti Squash before, but this tasted so much better. For me, this has the same texture and taste as fettuccine. It LOOKED like it too and I could swirl it around my fork. Who knew zucchinni was so versatile. Belly Fat Cure, Fast Track, Paleo or Primal - I refuse to think of them as extreme or think I am denying myself. I feel better, I sleep better and I'm pretty sure I look better. You might even say I'm eating better. If you are new to a low sugar diet or have just given up grains, this might not taste as good. So come back to again in a month, when your taste buds aren't expecting the same old thing.

I hope you enjoy it!

Carbs: 10 grams
Sugar: 4 grams depends on your sauce and size of zucchini really
Fiber: 2 grams

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Coconut Balls

Here is my favorite snack for the last month or so. I found it so difficult to find UNSWEETENED coconut flakes (or shredded coconut), but my local grocery stores leave a lot to be desired. Eventually I found them at Whole Foods and Sprouts, but better supermarkets should carry it too. (Look closely, most say sweetened and that will not do for this). I also upgraded from regular unsweetened cocoa powder to raw cacao, which really is worth it.

These little babies are great on the Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track, since they contain no grains. But I'm been having them since way before I started doing no-grains. One warning, if you are sensitive to caffeine, don't have them at night! On that same token, they are a great little energy boost.

Chocolate Coconut Balls
Chocolate Coconut Balls
Ingredients:
1 Cup UNSWEETENED Coconut flakes
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter (I typically use Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I use raw cacao)
1 tsp stevia (or stevia sweetener of your choice)
2 Tbsp coffee (or water is fine too)

How To:
Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon, making sure that everything gets covered. If you don't like your coconut flakes chunky, you could put it in the food processor, but I did not. Roll into several tight s balls, place in a plastic container and freeze. They don't stick together well right away, but are great once frozen  the will be fine. Don't be tempted to taste one yet, also wait until they are frozen. They totally remind me of the No Bake Cookie we learned to make in Jr High Home Ec.

If you try them, definitely let me know!

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Fast Track Challenge: Week 2

Week 2 of the Fast Track and I am down 1 pound. My scales were all over the place this week, and I honestly didn't think I would have a loss this week. I weighed everyday, and most of the week I was up 1-1.5. But weigh in day is what counts and I just kept on. That is a total of 4.5 for my two weeks, with about 6 more pounds to go. I have also added back a short run (3-4 miles) twice a week and am trying to figure out how to tone my upper thighs and arms.

I am not eating anything fancy, it is SUPER simple. I notice I'm eating less and am less hungry. I am eating my meals on small dessert plates, instead of my regular big plates. And making a real effort to eat more greens, even when I don't want to.
Breakfast: Coffee with cream and coconut oil first thing. About an hour later I have a Pumpkin Muffin with the icing.
Lunch: Sausage or another protein, sliced cucumber or spinach salad, Cottage Cheese with chia seeds sprinkled on top. Often the protein is leftovers from the previous nights dinner
Snack: I usually have my dark chocolate in the late afternoon, when the kids are home from school and driving me nuts. If not I have a cheese stick, sliced salami and/or celery.
Dinner: Fried egg, meat, green veggie (brocolli, zucchini, spinach) or riced cauliflower
Snack: Pot of tea, sometimes with cream or a stevia packet. Chocolate if I haven't had it yet.

Are you still with me? If not, that's okay too. You have to do what works for you and the Fast Track can seem pretty extreme. I would encourage you to finish out the month though. Pushing through the hard parts of something is where you really learn and grow. But like I've mentioned before, this is my 3rd time to try the Fast Track in 18 months. And it works for me, so I'm not going to argue with that. My own Mom quit, said she was having trouble combining it with her Weight Watchers program. So go back to regular BFC if you need to, and live with this new knowledge. Maybe the next time you hit a plateau you can try it again, or at the very least apply this new knowledge about grains to your menu. We are all on our on journey! So let me know where you are, your success and struggles. I know it is not easy, but I also know you can do it!

If you cheat with Fast Track, it is going to show on the scale. It is very much like Atkins in that respect. You cannot "kind of" do it. You need to do it with gusto! :) Knowing I cannot have a single chip, not a nibble, is actually, strangely freeing for me. I feel completely released from the power those freaking chips have over me. Sound silly? Well, 2 years ago I'd eat a whole bag of chips in the hour I had alone and then hide the bag deep in the trash can. I also made brownies for my boys this weekend, and I didn't have a crumb! That is a HUGE HUGE thing for me. They were a binge food for me and I hate it when my problems with food get in the way of a little fun for them. The Hubby is (still) out of town and nobody would have known if I'd had some... but I didn't. I'm proud of that.

One confession, or at least it feels like a confession. I am still using Benefiber. I stopped taking it for about a year, around the time I first did FT. But I'm happier when my bowels are moving, it's that simple. Without it I am completely constipated on the Fast Track. I do about 1/3 of the recommended dose in my morning coffee and it keeps me semi-regular. If I ate MORE greens this wouldn't be necessary and I'm working on that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Recipe: Coconut Pumpkin Muffins

If it isn't obvious already, I'm in love with coconut! What's great about coconut? It's low in sugar and carbohydrates and in flour form it makes a great substitute for grain flours. Plus it is high in fiber. Oh, and did I mention it tastes great? It does. Coconut milk, flour, oil and flakes are taking over my pantry and so far I've enjoyed them all. I'll be having one of these for breakfast each morning, but they make a great evening treat or dessert for the holidays. Coconut flour is not explicitly listed as an "approved" Fast Track food. But it IS for Paleo and Primal diets, which FT is based on. In my opinion, it is simply an oversight on Jorge Cruise's part that it is not included. And note, I'm just having one a day.

These are incredibly moist, dense and not too sweet. Please adjust your Stevia amount depending on your taste for sweetness, I'm using less next time.

Coconut Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Stevia
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Seasoning (if you have it)
1/4 tsp All Spice
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie filling!)
1/2 Cup Butter or Coconut Oil melted (I used the oil)
4 Eggs
3/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk (coconut, hemp, rice, etc work also)
1 tsp Vanilla extract

How To:
Mix all wet ingredients: eggs, milk, pumpkin, melted coconut oi/butter and vanilla together. Add all dry ingredients to sifter and sift into wet mixture, stirring as you go. Mix until lumps are gone. Let it set for a few minutes fully mixed so the coconut flour can absorb the moisture. Grease muffin pan and fill 3/4 full.  Mine made 6 large muffins. I use the silicon muffin pan (which I hate, worst purchase ever) and it takes much longer to cook. Mine took 25 minutes at 400 degrees to cook through, but keep an eye on them, with a better pan and smaller sized muffins they could be done sooner. To make them a little sweeter and special, try icing them or adding your favorite chopped nut (add nut before baking). This icing is heaven!

Icing:
1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp Stevia Sweetener (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Finely chopped mint from my garden

Cream together and top each muffin with after they have cooled. If you made your muffins with very little of no sweetener, the icing could be a way to add that back in.

These are SO good, and I mean really good. I am having one of these a day on the Fast Track, because the carbs can add up. On the Belly Fat Cure it S/C Value of 1/1 with about 1 gram of sugar, 6 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber.

Next up I'm making Pizza Muffins with about the same recipe, minus any sweetness, plus a little sauce, cheese and pepperonis. Oh and Coconut Cheese Biscuits? How about Chocolate Coconut Zucchini Muffins and Chocolate Coconut Flake Balls? Please, stop me if I'm boring you. But that's what's baking up in my kitchen. That's right... I seriously think I can do the Fast Track much longer with these options.

Feel free to link back to my recipe and if you reprint it, it is common etiquette to ask first and to link to the original :) I got the idea for these muffins from Balanced Bites. Diane is a Nutritionist and Paleo enthusiast, whose recipes are too high in sugar for the Belly Fat Cure. But a few thoughtful changes and they are perfect! Girl Gone Primal is also an excellent source for grain-free ideas (with a few sugar tweaks).  They are both thoughtful, well written blogs that I find useful on the Fast Track especially. And a special thanks to Dawn and her Daily Chocolates for making me take a second look at Coconut Flour and reminding me that the 130s *might* just be possible me too.

Update: I finally made the with 1/2 of melted butter instead of coconut oil and found them to be not as good. I highly recommend picking up coconut oil. I'm on my 3rd jar. Also a few people have mentioned these aren't sweet enough. The recipe is not sweet, but as much stevia as YOU need. I recommend keeping the muffins stevia the same and make the icing sweeter or use a little more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fast Track Food List

Confused about the differences between the Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track? Basically the Fast Track is the BFC without grains. No pasta, rice, bread, etc. But there is more to it than that. It's about Skinny Fats and getting your fiber from Super Carbs. It's about controlling your insulin and leptin levels. We like specifics though, so I've put together a food list with the differences in the two plans. The list comes from reading the book and participating in the original FT group over a year ago.
Click HERE to download PDF version

This list is a work in progress. Please leave a comment and let me know if there is a food I missed or miscategorized. I am super charged with writing about the Fast Track. I have several new recipes (Fast Track Coconut Pumpkin Muffins!), meals (photos galore) and recipes from the book that my readers and I have made all coming up! To read all the posts I have written on the Fast Track click HERE.


Monday, October 10, 2011

October Fast Track Challenge: Week 1

Have you checked out the preview on Amazon?
Today is my weigh in day for the October Fast Track Challenge and I am thrilled to say I am down 3.5 lbs! w00t! That leaves me 7 lbs to get back to my lowest weight of 143. I almost instantly noticed I look and feel less puffy and my clothing fits better. I am sleeping better and overall happy to be on a diet (crazy, right?). If you aren't feeling the same way, I suggest you aren't doing the Fast Track correctly and are possibly depriving yourself too much. Eat those Skinny Fats, make sure you have plenty of protein and have something green with every meal. This is my 3rd time on Belly Fat Cure FT, so I've learned a lot from my other experiences. (The first time I was miserable the first few weeks)

I weighed myself pretty much everyday (awful habit I know) but it was interesting after not weighing for months. I actually had to blow dust bunnies off my scales! Actual. dust. bunnies. One day I noticed my weight was up, when my eating the day before had been noticeably light and that was perplexing. But I've come to learn that my weight on the scale in the morning is not a direct reflection of the day before's eating habits. It has more to do with my eating several days before. But I have completely* avoided grains and legumes this week and gotten really creative with my meals. You really have to plan ahead and have the right attitude on this. I am aiming for 1 lb  loss this week, and am setting my expectations there.

Side note: I did not exercise a lick last week, other than my normal stroll back and forth to the kids school to take, pick up, volunteer.

* There was an incident at the mall (my boys go to the monthly Lego Free Build, first Tues of each month) where we waited in line for 90 minutes at dinner time. My boys had "mall dinner" which was a Pepperoni Pretzel from Wetzel's. I did not plan well for myself or for the delicious smell of Pepperoni Pretzels, and I ate some (but not all) of their's. Bad Mommy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grain-Free Coconut Pancakes

I've have been struggling with breakfast since giving up grains for the month of October. Between Mark's Daily Apple and Dawn's Daily Chocolate I've been dying to try out a few recipes with coconut flour, which is a great substitute for regular flour. (BTW Dawn should totally rename her blog Dawn's Daily Coconut!) I tried the coconut bread and really liked it, and I was ready to make coconut flour a staple of my low carb diet! I now believe these coconut products (water, milk, flour and flakes) are a way to really think outside the box (or book) when it comes to giving up grains and a low carb/sugar diet. So here are my Coconut Pancakes, great for the Belly Fat Cure, Fast Track, Paleo and Primal diets:

Coconut Flour Pancakes
Ingredients:
1 Cup unsweetened Almond Milk (Hemp or Coconut milks work too)
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp Stevia (varying this depending on your need for sweetness, this is a minimum)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon or Nutmeg (or both or neither)

Heat your griddle or waffle maker. Mix the eggs and other liquids together, then add dry ingredients. If you let pancakes cook too long on one side, they won't brown on the flip side. So be sure and flip them in time, although these took longer to cook than regular pancakes. I eat a 1/3 of these pancakes and store the rest for another meal or quick snack. I prefer them with Nature's Hallow Preserves and they were fluffy perfection.

Coconut Flour Pancakes
Variations: If you like this, try using 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes and 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour. This variation has more texture and is much thinner, more crepe like and they cook faster. When I make them like this I roll them up with cream cheese. Also try adding a handful or Blueberries or Blueberries mashed up to the mix.
Coconut Flake Pancakes - Thinner more Crepe like, still good
I purchased my coconut flour and unsweetened coconut flakes at Sprouts and Whole Foods. I even greesed my griddle with coconut oil. These recipes are grain and gluten free, prefect for Celiacs. It can easily be made Vegan by substituting ground flaxseed and hot water for the eggs. You can also try my Vegan Flaxseed Waffles HERE.

Coconuts are a mystical thing in my family. When we first moved to California my then 5 yr old was fascinated with the palm trees and coconuts. He REALLY wanted to know what was inside those hairy pods. Sadly he was extremely disappointed when we bought one and broke it open. Not at all what he was expecting. But whenever he is in the middle of a tempter tantrum, still to this day, I can say "Coconut!" and he will burst out laughing. Because they are just that funny... and yummy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fast Track Ideas

How is everyone doing on the Fast Track? I am not missing the grains, but I had lots of time to think about alternatives. But if it is your first time giving up grains, it can be hard. Also having done the Fast Track before, so I knew what to expect. I even joined a local rancher's CSA and got a delivery of local grassfed, free range, antibiotic free meat and eggs. I can't really say if the eggs taste better (I'm not a egg lover) but the meat is 100x better than anything I've had before. Breakfast is the most difficult meal for me, I love my Uncle Sam's cereal in the morning. I am experimenting with coconut flour pancakes and muffins, which I'll post more about later. But for now I think I'm going to start having a protein (Jay Robb or MRM) or Amazing Grass shake for breakfast.

For this dinner I started with the recipe from pg. 119 Black and Blue Burger. I used Goat's Cheese instead of blue cheese, added chopped jalapenos and I probably had more than 4oz of sauted mushrooms. I also attempted mashed cauliflower, and it was GREAT! I'll post the recipe, but I totally winged it. Favorite meal so far and I wolfed it down.
Black and Blue Burger w/ Mashed Cauliflower
Filet Mignon and (green) eggs, how fancy pants is that? This steak melted in my mouth. The eggs were from Araucanas hens that naturally lay bluish green eggs. Confusing at first, but kind of cool. I should have had veggies with this meal, but I was low on time that day. I only ate a little more than half of this and seasoned it only with pepper. I can't stomach eggs in the morning, but I can for dinner.
Steak and Eggs from the CSA
My Mom, who is 70, is also doing the Fast Track with me. She is combining it with Weight Watchers, but I'm not really sure on those details. She made Jorge's Chocolate Lace Cookies from pg. 113 and said that were very good. She was worried when she made them that they didn't look so great and she mixed the ingredients together incorrectly. She baked them longer than it said (but thought that was related to the mixing mixup). This is her photo of the finished product.
Jorge's Chocolate Lace Cookies
This is my favorite dessert, dark chocolate squares and sometimes a little whipped cream. You can only have two squares of the chocolate on the Fast Track and often I have them in the afternoon. As the weather has turned cooler and rainy, I making a hot pot of tea in the evenings again. If snacking at night is a problem I REALLY recommend this. I put the tea kettle on when the kids start getting ready for bed and set it to steep (1 full sized tea pot, 1 tea bag, 1 packet of stevia) while reading to them. It's ready to go by the time they are tucked in. A little cream in the bottom of my cup and I'm set. (For lots of ideas with tea click HERE)
Midnight Reverie 86% and Whipped Cream
Things have been crazy here. I actually live right near Cupertino, CA and our community (neighborhoods, offices and schools) were on lockdown on Wednesday. You know the hills I go run and hike in? That is the same hills the quarry is in where the shootings started. So yesterday would have been prime stress eating with my kids' school in lockdown. Very stressful for the community and so tragic for the families directly affected. It puts my stress last week in real perspective.

But I've been doing good and feel certain I'll have a  loss to report on Monday morning. How is everyone else doing on the challenge? Remember to concentrate on all the foods you can eat and not what you are leaving out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fast Track Challenge

Today I am starting the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track. I'd love for you all to join me! I promise, it is easier to do with a group of like minded people. I will share with you my food, menus, ideas, recipes, struggles and cravings - I hope you will the same in the comments. So let's start today - right this minute! No excuses, no tomorrows. Just say "I'm in!", it's as easy as that (it really is)!

So here are my stats: I am in maintenance mode and would like to take off 9 lbs. I lost my weight with the BFC and the Fast Track got off the final 10 lbs or so. I've done the FT twice now. The first time, I hated it and honestly hadn't totally bought into it. But it worked. I also used the Fast Track again at the beginning of the year to get off 5 lbs that had crept back on (maintenance is hard people!) and I was "all in" this time and really understood the plan better. And it worked even better that time around. I am embarrassed about those 9 lbs and I know some of it is probably muscle from running. But mostly it is binge eating my kids after school treats (I'm an awful Mom!) in August. But I'm ready to buckle down for 30 days.

How about you?

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