Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easy Curried Vegetables

I have been trying to come up with new ways to eat all of the cauliflower I have been buying! 

I like to have some on hand, in case I get a yen for pizza and need cauliflower to make a crust… or to make paleo cauliflower ‘rice’ to go with whatever stir-fried chicken and veggies or almost any othr dish I am having… Every time I see cauliflower on sale I cannot refrain from buying a head or two!

But sometimes a head of cauliflower sits in the fridge, staring me in the face when I open the door, taunting me… just daring me to use it before it starts to get little specks of brown, indicating it is losing its freshness and needs to be eaten!  Fresh cauliflower really doesn’t stay fresh for more than a few days in the refrigerator.

This Curried Vegetable dish was born of that need… I had a head of cauliflower and a butternut squash that I wanted to turn into something fabulous!  I decided that I really couldn't go wrong with a curry.

 So I washed up the cauliflower and broke it into florets, and I got The Captain to peel the butternut squash and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks… and then I combined them in a large pan with some garlic, onions, mushrooms, green bell pepper, canned tomatoes, and some spices.

It was delicous!  And it smelled wonderful while it was cooking, too.  You could use coconut oil to saute the veggies if you like, but for this dish, I chose to coat the skillet with a non-stick spray to keep the P+ count down to zero.

I do like coconut oil when cooking veg.  But once in a while I like to keep the fat content down, so that I have more leeway in the rest of my meal.  And let's face it... sometimes I would just rather spend my fat grams on almond butter during the day!

I portioned out the leftovers and froze them in individual servings.  They thaw quickly on the counter, and are still a really nice texture afterward… even heated up in the mike!

Mar 16 curried veg 003

Curried Vegetables
Makes 6 servings

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 cup onions, cut into large dice or chunks
  • 1 head cauliflower, washed and broken into florets, about 6 cups
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks, about 1 pound
  • 6 mushrooms, cut into large chunks, about 1-1/2 cups
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (28 oz/796 ml)
  • 2 Tbs curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Lightly coat a large skillet with non-stick spray and set over MEDIUM heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onions and saute till translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  3. Add the curry powder and stir to coat the onions and garlic,
  4. Add the cauliflower, squash, mushrooms, and green pepper, and canned tomatoes.
  5. Stir well and bring to a light boil.
  6. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Vegetables should be soft but not mushy when the dish is cooked.
  7. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 0.
Calories 113; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 25g; Fat 0g; Fibre 6g.

2013-03-16 001 001
A large skillet full of veggies and spices!  Mmmmm.  Smells so good when cooking!

Mar 16 curried veg
The day I made up this dish I served it with some slices of lean roasted pork loin and some green peas…
Mar 16 curried veg 002
And then enjoyed some leftovers with a few Spicy Meatballs.
Do you like to experiment with veggies and combinations of veggies?
What is your favorite go-to cauliflower dish?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coloring Eggs for Easter... This Year Something New!

It's that time of year again!  Easter or Passover, whatever you celebrate.... it is SPRING and that means rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation.

There are baby goats at the local petting zoo, ducklings on the lake across the street, and I know we will be spotting baby peachicks as soon as their mama peahens bring them out of hiding!  The herons are nesting and the geese are already sitting on their eggs.

I love to make colored eggs for The Captain at Easter.    I normally hard boil them and then use the dyes in my food coloring kit to make lovely pink, blue, yellow, and green eggs... and you can find my method in this post.

Ap22,11eggs 008banner

 This year, I decided to try something a little different... yes, the pastel colored eggs are lovely, but once you crack them open, and discard the pretty shell, they are basically just a plain hard boiled egg.
So, here is the surprise!

I have colored the insides of the eggs!
Instead of coloring the shells on some of my hard boiled eggs, I cracked them and discarded the shells and dyed the actual egg instead!
I used a spoon to remove the shell, then rinsed the egg in cold water to get rid of any shell remnants.
Mar 27 Easter Eggs 001

I used the same method  that I normally do to hard boil the eggs and mix the dyes... but I took the shell off the eggs before I dyed them.... just have a look at these beauties!
Mar 27 Easter Eggs 003

 Mar 27 Easter Eggs 006
And when you slice them, they make a pretty presentation... the outside edges are colored but the inside slices are still white.
Mar 27 more eggs 001

And here is another idea for dying them.
If you are going to make devilled eggs, you can cut the eggs in half and scoop out the yolks before dying them... and then they add a really different look to your buffet or lunch table!  What fun and your guests will be so surprised!

 Mar 27 Easter Eggs 004

Mar 27 Easter Eggs 005

The Captain was really pleased when I presented these pretty devilled eggs to him for lunch!
To make the filling, I just mixed the egg yolk with a bit of homemade mayonnaise, and some salt and pepper and used a piece of caper for garnish... very simple.
Do you dye eggs for Easter?
Do you have a favorite devilled egg recipe to share?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Purely Classic Recipes from the Purely Twins

Over the past couple of weeks I have had an opportunity to take a sneak peak at Lori and Michelle Corso's cookbook!

Our First Ebook Cookbook

Such a lovely collection of 22 of the Purely Twins favorite recipes...  All are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy, with some grain and sugar free too! There is a mix of raw and baked goods.  These are recipes that they have never shared previously.

As I leafed through it, I realized that there were a couple of ingredients that I was not familiar with at all, but then realized that there is a great resources guide along with easy subtitutions, too.  The pictures are beautiful, and there are lots of helpful tips and intstructions along the way.

The book is very nicely put together and I will be trying even more of the recipes as the weeks go by.

If you are looking for delicious and healthy baked and RAW treats, you really should get over to their site and download your own copy of this fabulous book.

Congratulations to Lori and Michelle..... you reallly have a hit on your hands!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easy Flax Pancakes

Sometimes my oddest kitchen experiments turn out just great!

I have been trying different combinations of ingredients in order to come up with a really good grain-free pancake.  So far I have had a couple of successes.

I love pancakes.  I used to love the big fluffy white flour pancakes that, for years, The Captain cooked for us every Saturday or Sunday morning.  Then I gave up gluten and turned to protein powder as the base for my cakes.

In January I did a Whole30 Paleo Challenge and discovered that grains and whey are not really my best friends…. so I was without pancakes for some time.  But recently I have been doing lots experimenting with coconut flour, and almond flour and have come to rely on milled gluten-free flax seeds, a lot!

These pancakes are the result of a lucky experiment.  I started out by mixing some egg whites with my ground flax seeds, along with a bit of baking powder and vanilla… but quickly realized they needed somethig to add bulk, so I mashed up half a banana and stirred it in to the mixture.

It worked!  These cakes are fluffy cause the baking powder makes them rise up.  And they are delicious… just a bit sweet, too, from the banana.  A win win and I will be making them again!  Of course I love my Vanilla and Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes too, but these make up quicker and are great when I am in a bit of a hurry.

Mar 19 Easy Flax Pancakes 003

Easy Flax Pancakes
Makes 2 cakes.
  • 3 Tbs milled flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup egg white
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. Mix everything together in a large bowl and use half the of the batter for each pancake. 
  2. Pour into a pan that has been coated with non-stick spray and allow to cook about 3 or 4 minutes oer side The edge will be dry when it is time to flip.
  3. The cake will puff up as the second side cooks.
  4. Remove cake to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Repeat for the rest of the batter.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit or syrup or even yogurt if you like.
Per serving of 2 pancakes.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 265; Protein 18g; Carbohydrate 20g; Fat 11g; Fibre 6g.

If you only want to have one, I am sure the other could be refrigerated and then reheated later, however I have cut the recipe in half and made just one, as well.

Mar 19 Easy Flax Pancakes 001
After flipping it over, the cake will get puffy.
Mar 19 Easy Flax Pancakes 002
Top and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Another Hot Grainfree ‘Cereal’

I haven’t been eating grains for a few months now, but every once in a while I get a yen for a bowl of hot cereal in the morning. 

In the past I would have whipped up a pot of my Hot Flax ‘Cereal’ but I wanted something that didn’t have any protein powder in it either… I came up with this and we were both pleasantly surprised.

The Captain is a good guinea pig, but sometimes his enthusiasm is somewhat lacking... I am always very happy when he is surprised in a good way!  He approached this bowl very tentatively, I must admit, but ended up finishing it with great relish and asked if there was more!

Feb 27 Paleo hot cereal 002

Hot  Grainfree  ‘Cereal’
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 Tbs gluten-free milled flax seeds
  • 2 Tbs almond flour
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tbs raisins to sprinkle on the top
  1. Mash the banana in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the flax, almond flour, egg whites, and coconut milk and beat well.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan over MEDIUM heat, and bring to a very gentle boil, stirring continuously to avoid burning. It will take about 5 or 6 minutes and will thicken as it cooks.
  4. Remove to 2 serving bowls and sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbs of shredded unsweetened coconut and 1 Tbs raisins.

Per serving with toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 235; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 26g; Fat 10g; Fibre 5g.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shamrock Soft Serve

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day
This is the only day of the year where the world turns green and everyone claims some ties to being Irish…. well, I have always been proud of  my Irish heritage.  My paternal grandfather was an Orangeman and we have always celebrated our Celtish roots.
But no Shamrock Shake or even dark red beer for me this year… so I decided to celebrate with a Shamrock Soft Serve instead.
Mar 17 shamrock soft serve 002a

It was so easy....  I just put a handful (about 1 cup) of fresh spinach into the bowl of my food processor with a splash (about 2 Tbs) of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze and set it to whizz until the spinach was cut up into small bits… then I tossed in a cu-tup frozen banana and pureed the works for a couple of minutes.
It is delicious!  Sweet from the banana but no banana flavor at all… or spinach either.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 120; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 29g; Fat 1g; Fibre 4g.

Mar 17 shamrock soft serve 001
Just look at that awesome color!
How are you celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tender and Juicy Balsamic Crock Pot Chicken

I don’t think of using the crock pot to cook chicken breasts very often but when I saw this recipe a week or so ago on a blog called Run to Munch, I knew it was a keeper and so I pinned it.. and finally made it.  The Captain and I  both liked it, A LOT and I am sure it will be a favorite in my kitchen for years to come.

Who doesn’t love easy crock pot dishes?  And especially when made with ingredients you likely already have on hand?

I thawed 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts and cut them in half to make up this dish…. the prep took about 15 minutes, and 4 hours later we were sitting down to the most tender chicken I have ever eaten.  Absolutely delicious.  The sauce is really tasty but not overpowering.

I  did leave out the olive oil. Instead, I lightly coated the bottom of my crock pot with a non-stick spray… but followed the rest of the recipe and the instructions as written.  You can find them here.

As I made it up the N.I. per serving is as follows:
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 246; Protein 35g; Carbohydrate 6g; Fat 9g; Fibre 1g.

I stored the leftovers in the fridge and heated them up in the mike for a quick meal a couple of days later.  Just as good; just as tender.

Mar 5 Balsamic Crock Pot Chicken 001
Served with roasted kabocha squash and Frenched green beans…
Mar 5 Balsamic Crock Pot Chicken 003
The sauce is so tasty.
Mar 5 Balsamic Crock Pot Chicken 002
The Captain enjoyed his on an oven roasted white potato.
Have you cooked chicken in your crock pot?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vanilla and Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes

I have to admit that these pancakes made with coconut flour take a bit of time and patience to make. 

But they are so worth it!

I used to make pancakes with protein powder, and they tend to cook up very quickly.  But since I did my Whole30 Paleo Challenge in January, I have been making a real effort to eat few processed food items… so coconut flour and almond flour have become a lot more prevalent in my cooking and baking.

But coconut flour can be tricky to work with until you get used to it.  Sometimes recipes need a bit more or less liquid than the ingredient lists calls for.  And these pancakes are a bit dense and the batter doesn't bubble up like a normal pancake batter, so you don't see that particular signal to see when they need to be flipped.  Instead,  if you watch the edge, you will see that it is drier and cooking!

The finished pancakes are really tasty and the texture is pretty good, too.  I really like them and so does The Captain, but I only make them when I feel like don’t mind lingering in the kitchen!

These early strawberries were so tasty... with kiwi and banana! Is there a better fruit combo?  Since fruit is about the only sweet thing I eat these days, I have come to really enjoy it so much more and find that vanilla and cinnamon really enhance it.

Feb 26 other coconut pancakes 004

Vanilla and Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes
Makes 4 pancakes
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Add the coconut flour, water, vanilla and cinnamon, and mix well.
  3. Lightly coat a skillet with non-stick spray and set over MEDIUM heat.
  4. Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon the batter into the pan.  Allow to cook 4 to 5 minutes till the edge dries a bit. It will not bubble like a regular pancake. 
  5. Flip over and cook the second side for 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Remove to a plate to keep warm while you cook the rest of the cakes.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit and a bit of syrup if you like.

Per serving of 2 pancakes, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 209; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fat 12g; Fibre 6g.

Feb 26 other coconut pancakes 001
Each cake will be about 4 inches in diameter.

Feb 26 other coconut pancakes 002
Served with fresh fruit
Feb 26 other coconut pancakes 003
The Captain had a bit of syrup on his, too.

Are you a coconut flour fan?

What is your favorite combination of fruits?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sweet and Savory Crock Pot Pulled Pork

We found some really nice lean pork loins on sale recently so we bought one that was about 9 pounds in weight.  I had The Captain cut it into 4 equal size pieces and then I put them in the freezer so I could cook them up individually.  We like lean pork ... there are so many ways it can be prepared. 

I have been craving roasted veggies lately so I thawed one of the pork roasts and cooked part of it in the crock pot to go along with them… it was so simple… just added a few onions, some garlic, a couple of apples and lots of spices and let it all cook for several hours.
The apples and the onions made a nice juice and the pork just fell apart when we took it out of the crock… very similar to pulled pork actually.

I added a handful of raisins to it and then served it with the roasted vegetables. Lovely.  Tender. Juicy.  Delicious.

I have made this a couple of times lately and the leftovers freeze nicely and can be easily reheated in the mike when you want to a quick and delicious meal.  So versatile, too... can be served with so many different vegetables, or even on a roll 'sloppy joe' style.

If you like, you could probably use pork chops in this recipe. I think after they are cooked that they would pull apart quite nicely, too.

Feb 16 roasted veg and pulled pork 002

Crock Pot Pulled Pork with Apples and Onions
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 pork loin, about 1 pound
  • 1 medium onion, cut vertically, about 1 cup
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Dashes of salt and pepper
  1. Coat the bottom of your crock pot with a light spritz of a non-stick spray for easy clean up.
  2. Place half the onions, apples and garlic on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Set the pork loin on top and then sprinkle it with the herbs and spices.
  4. Cover the pork with the rest of the onions, apples and garlic.
  5. Put lid on the crock pot and cook on LOW for 6 or 7 hours.
  6. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup of raisins to the crockpot.
  7. Stir everything together pulling apart the pork roast as you do so.
  8. Serve 1/4 of the mixture per person, with your choice of vegetables or over cooked squash halves or baked sweet potatoes.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 254; Protein 26g; Carbohydrate 23g; Fat 7g; Fibre 3g.

Feb 18 crock pot pulled pork 001
Pile everything in the crock pot and cook for several hours.
Feb 18 crock pot pulled pork 003
When it’s cooked and still steaming, shred the pork with 2 forks.
Feb 18 crock pot pulled pork 004
Served with a variety of veggies…
Feb 18 crock pot pulled pork 005
So tender and juicy and the raisins offer just a bit of a sweet taste.
Feb 16 roasted veg and pulled pork 003
The Captain had his served over a baked white potato.
Feb 28 pulled pork leftovers 001
I also like it heaped into a roasted squash ‘bowl’.
Do you like to use your crock pot for quick and easy meals?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway

I hope you read my review of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil on Tuesday, February 26th.    I know if you did that you will be as excited about this news as I am!

This giveaway is now closed to entries. 

Tropical Traditions is sponsoring a giveaway... that’s right!
Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
You might win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality

coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil The generous folks at Tropical Traditions would like you to try a jar of this coconut oil by offering a giveaway to one of my readers.  If you are the lucky winner of this giveaway, you will receive a 32 fluid ounce jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, shipped directly to you from Tropical Traditions.  This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S.

To enter, you must complete this mandatory entry: 
and leave a comment on this post that you have done so.  Please include your email address in your comment so that your entry can be verified by Tropical Traditions.

- - - 

 You may also receive one bonus entry into the giveaway by doing the following:
  • Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter @troptraditions and @ttspecialdeals
and leave a comment on this post that you have done so.  Please include your twitter id in the comment so that your follow can be verified.

- - - 

You may also receive one bonus entry into the giveaway EVERY DAY until Sunday, March 10th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT by doing  the following:
  • Tweet about the giveaway including a link to this post and @WeCanBegin2Feed and @troptraditions in the tweet.  You must compose a tweet - a simple RT of another tweet will not qualify as an entry.
and leave a comment on this post that you have done so (maximum number of possible bonus entries for tweets will be 7). 

- - - 

Maximum number of possible entries in total will be 9.

All entries will be verified.  Any that cannot be verified will not be counted.

This giveaway will run until Sunday, March 10th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

I will attempt to contact the winner by email and also publish the winner’s name on this post.  I must receive an acknowledgment from the winner, by email, by Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT or another winner will be selected.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

The winner selected entered under tha name BETH ELDERTON and subscription to the Tropical Traditions newsletter has been validated.  I have already heard back from Beth so her prize will be on the way to her very soon!

Congratulations and thank you to Tropical Traditions for sponsoring the giveaway!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Spicy Meatballs

We found a really good buy on extra lean ground beef a little while back and I picked up 6 pounds,  brought it home, divided it into 1-pound packages and then put it into the freezer… I have been trying to decide what to do with it ever since.

I did make a meatloaf that we thoroughly enjoyed with 1 pound of it. And I used 2 pounds to make a huge pot of spicy chili so we  have lots of that in the freezer for easy meals on days when I am busy or uninspired to cook!

I decided to make some meatballs, so I took one of the packages out of the freezer and thawed it in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning I put together a few simple ingredients and made up the meatballs, baked them in the oven and then let them cool a bit before putting then into a storage container to refrigerate.

We had some of them later for lunch… I decided that 3 each would be a good lunch portion and I heated them for 1 minute in the microwave oven…  they are very good... very meaty, and the texture is actually a bit drier than I thought it might be.

In the past when I made meatballs, I used oats or breadcrumbs and egg in the mixture. I knew I didn’t want grains in these so I left out the egg as well and hoped that they would hold their shape.  And they do, quite nicely!

I have been eating them on fried cauliflower 'rice' and on pizza, and The Captain has enjoyed some on noodles and in soup... I am going to be making another batch very soon.

Feb 10 Spicy
Spicy Meatballs
Makes 16 meatballs
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. For easy clean up, cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat it with a non-stick spray.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together well in a medium bowl.  Get in there with your freshly-washed hands and make 16 golf ball-sized meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, till cooked through.
  5. Allow to cool slightly and then remove from baking sheet.
Per meatball.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 52; Protein 6g; Carbohydrate 0g; Fat 3g; Fibre 0g.

Feb 10 Spicy Meatballs 001
Ready to pop into the oven.
Feb 10 Spicy Meatballs 002
And after baking and cooling a bit.
Feb 10 Spicy Meatballs 005
I had mine on a bed of cauliflower ‘rice’.
Feb 10 Spicy Meatballs 006
Just right for a lovely and filling lunch!
A couple of people suggested that I try lettuce wraps with some of this ground beef, too.  Do you have a recipe or a method you would share?