Chickpea Tagine

Last night we had chickpea tagine. I’ve been wanting to do a tagine but I don’t have a tagine cook pot, and I just can’t justify buying one. Every time I look at one I can hear the Hubs nagging in the back of my mind, so I’ve never bought one. This recipe lets you cook a tagine in a regular pot so I jumped at the chance to cook it. I’ve adapted the recipe from Amy Chaplin.

She calls for a butternut squash but I couldn’t find one since spring is upon us. So I opted to use an acorn squash instead. I thought it would be fine because an acorn squash is small enough for the three of us.

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You can see how it gets its name. Acorn squash is a winter squash and is VERY similar to a butternut squash and pumpkin. You can roast or bake it and they’re good in stews and soups. And like carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash the acorn squash has beta carotene. That’s what gives the squash its yellow/orange color. Just like with a butternut squash you’ll slice it open, but be careful. I find that squash is hard to initially get your knife in and then slice it. Make sure all of your fingers are safely out of the way when you slice it open.

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Scoop out all the insides, slice the skin off, cut the flesh into cubes, drizzle olive oil on them with some salt and pepper and roast them for half an hour.

While the squash is roasting, I went ahead and chopped up all of the vegetables. I also had a can of chickpeas. I just couldn’t be bothered starting out with dried ones and letting them soak all day. Yes I’m a bit lazy. The canned chickpeas worked just fine. When she calls for 2 cups of the chickpea cooking water, just use 2 cups of water.

The recipe does call for the stalks of parsley to be mixed in. Parsley is one thing that’s on my no-no list. What better way to reintroduce it than with a delicious dish? You chop up the stalks and save the leaves for later. You’ll find that with most herbs you can eat the stalks. I just wouldn’t do it with rosemary because those are a bit woody. In fact, you can use rosemary stalks as a type of toothpick for some dishes to add extra flavor. I can’t remember what I did but I did a roll of some kind and used rosemary stalks as a toothpick to hold them together.

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Most people will think of parsley as the little green stuff that’s on the side of your dish as a “decoration” at restaurants. That’s what I thought when I was younger. Once your plate comes out, you automatically push it to the side. As I got older and started cooking, I found that the little green stuff adds a bit of a peppery flavor to your dish. I find that Italian parsley has a different and stronger flavor than regular parsley, and the leaves of Italian parsley are broader or more flat.

This is what my Flavor Thesaurus says:

Parsley’s fresh, green, woody notes are described as “generic” by Harold McGee, which is, according to him, why the herb complements so many foods. It is as its best with briny ingredients, especially ham and all types of fish, to which it brings a welcome coolness, and a bitterness that offsets the salt-sweetness in meat. Its generic herbal flavor also makes it great for mixing with other herbs. The flat-leaf variety usually has a stronger flavor and leaves that are more tender than those of curly parsley.

Parsley amazingly has vitamin K, C, A, and is also a good source of folate and iron. Who knew that a little bitty green thing that’s usually pushed off to the side of our dish has so many nutrients?

Once you saute your vegetables and mix in the spices, parsley, acorn squash, and crushed tomatoes you let it simmer for a while. I ended up adding salt and pepper to taste. I let my pot simmer until the carrots were cooked through. When it’s done you can serve it with whatever you want. You can serve it a la tapas like she does in her recipe, with rice, or with quinoa. I servedours with quinoa. You’ll also notice that I left out the harissa. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste. I’m WAY too chicken to try it. Besides, it’s hard to find here in town but the Hubs picked up a few jars when we were back in the U.K. You’ll chop up the leaves of the rest of the parsley that you had, and sprinkle that on top of your dish and then serve it.

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The dish was easy to make and I was done in an hour, which includes the acorn squash roasting time. I didn’t actually start working on anything else until 4:30 and was done by 5. It was really good and the little one ended up eating 1.5 bowls of the stuff! We finished his first bowl and then he said “more!” Unfortunately I felt a bit spacey an hour after dinner (which is due to the parsley), but it was good. If I make this again, I’ll definitely leave out the parsley and maybe add some harissa in to the Hubs’ dish.

Week Four Progress Report

I should start off by saying I’m sorry. I’ve neglected you for an entire week! It wasn’t intentional I promise. The Hubs was out of town until Thursday which isn’t a problem because I usually post while the little one is napping in the afternoons. What really knocked me sideways was the gas I was experiencing. Yes gas. I mean it was like something died in my gut and was slowly rotting. It was that bad. Sorry if it’s TMI for you.

I have no idea what happened. I had some corn tortilla chips and carefully inspected the ingredients. I wanted something salty to snack on that was a close to chips as I could get (remember white potatoes are off the list). The really bad gas started either Sunday or Monday. I thought it was nothing at first and continued to eat the corn chips. Then I thought, “I didn’t get sick I’ll try regular chips.” I bought a bag of Kettle Salt & Pepper chips. Then the gas just grew. I thought maybe it was the potatoes or the safflower (another no-no) oil that was used in the chips. I was careful with what I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had pretty bland meals in order to give my stomach a break. Another reason why I didn’t post anything for y’all. However, the gas just didn’t let up. I was SO thankful the Hubs was out of town for the worst of it, and I’m pretty sure he’s thankful too.

When the gas didn’t let up I started to think maybe it was the probiotics and other medicine I was taking for my leaky gut. So, yesterday marked week 5. I decided to start reintroducing foods back into my diet because of my medicines is running out and I’m to take it until I reintroduce foods. So, here I am. I started with almonds which is the first thing on my list of foods. I just bought a bag full from the grocery store and I’ve been eating a handful three times a day. I’m writing down the times I eat them and if I feel anything in my food diary. It’s become a habit for me to continue my food diary. So far the gas has let up so maybe it was due to the meds!

Yesterday was probably a bad day to start it. The Hubs made a hamburger and fries for supper and my stomach was bubbly all day. Then I started to feel a bit spaced out after supper. I don’t know if it was the fries or the almonds that made me feel that way. So I decided to try the almond experiment again today. This morning I felt fine but a little bit after lunch I felt a bit spacey. I put a handful of almonds on my salad. We’ll see how I feel again later this evening.

Tomorrow I’ll be introducing green beans. I’m not a huge fan of lima beans or pinto beans so I think I’ll skip reintroducing those two. I bought a can of green beans so I’m just going to sauté them with a bit of salt and pepper and eat them three times a day. There’s nothing like having green beans for breakfast I guess. What I’d really like to do is cook them in some butter with some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt…Southern Style, but that ain’t gonna happen.

I also have some cashews in my pantry and I bought a block of tofu so I could reintroduce soy back into my diet. I don’t know if I’m going to reintroduce egg yolks or not. I’m not sure if I want to reintroduce cola back in. I haven’t drank coke for years! We Southerners say “coke” for everything. After you say “coke,” then you specify which one like Sprite, and you NEVER EVER drink Pepsi if you’re a true Southerner.

I have no idea how I’m going to reintroduce safflower. Do I eat a teaspoon of safflower oil three times a day? I don’t like licorice so I won’t reintroduce that. I guess I’ll cross each food bridge when I get there.

Tonight we’re having chickpea tagine. I hope you all have a fabulous Monday. One day this week I’ll have a post about where vegans get protein. Recently I had a friend ask me that. That’s a very good question actually. So, I’ll pick this up later this week after I do some homework so I can have some sources to back me up.

Chickpea Dumplings in Curry Tomato Sauce

Last night we had this lovely dish from Vegetarian ‘Ventures. I was intrigued by it. Chickpea dumplings? I’ve been wanting to experiment with chickpea flour for a while because it’s gluten free, and everyone in this house loves curry so it was a win-win situation for me. Although, I know how chickpeas have a special effect on the Hubs and I knew he’d be flying out to Ontario the next day (Sorry Hubs!), I really wanted to make this dish.

I made some more vegetable broth yesterday and while I was at it, I decided to try to make some homemade tomato sauce. I only had a few tomatoes but that would work ok. After what happened last week with the hidden gluten, I didn’t want to take a chance (although I decided to take a chance with the chickpea flour). I have a can of tomato sauce, but these are the ingredients listed on the back: tomato paste, water, salt, sugar, citric acid, garlic powder, onion powder, spices, herbs. And this is for just a regular can of tomato sauce with supposedly no herbs.

Making the tomato sauce was SUPER easy. So I’m going to try again but with more tomatoes. I think I only had four to work with which was fine for what I needed it for. I did end up using that can of tomato sauce just because I needed more to cook the dumplings.

I found a HUGE bag of chickpea flour at the grocery store yesterday morning. I was a bit hesitant to buy it because it didn’t say gluten-free. I just wasn’t sure about the product and didn’t know if any wheat starch was being used as an anti-caking agent or what, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and get it. I figured if I was going to get sick at least I’ll get sick while the Hubs is here and he can watch the little one. Plus, I didn’t feel like buying dried chickpeas and making my own flour.

I didn’t have cumin or coriander seeds, so I just used dried cumin and coriander for the recipe. The smell from all of the spices was just wonderful. I’m starting to like this toast-the-spices-first thing that I’ve run across in a few recipes now.

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Then you throw in your tomatoes, turmeric, and ginger. She also says to add some water but I didn’t. I felt like the homemade tomato sauce along with the canned tomatoes were fine. However, if you wish to add water then go ahead. After that you let it simmer for a bit while you work on the chickpea dumplings.

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This is the big bag of chickpea flour I got:

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I told you it was a big bag, and all you need is 1 cup of flour for this recipe. I’ve got to find some other things to make with this. I can’t just let it sit in the cabinet.

The recipe for the dumplings says to use oil and yogurt. I used hemp milk instead of yogurt. I also ran out of cilantro. I did a purge on the fridge earlier that day and threw out the cilantro totally forgetting that I needed it. Oh well. When I mixed everything together, I found the batter to be stiff/sticky. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t use yogurt or if that’s just the way chickpea flour behaves.

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The recipe says to dump a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the tomato sauce and let it simmer. You’ll need to cover the dish so the dumplings can steam for 5-7 minutes. I found that it took way longer than 5-7 minutes for those little things to steam. The tops didn’t seem to want to steam or cook.

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See how glossy the tops looked? I also had to crank the heat up from a simmer to medium high. I eventually ended up flipping the dumplings so they would cook fully. When I did flip them I saw that the bottom of the dumplings were cooked. It was just the tops that needed a bit of help.

Instead of serving it over rice, I served this with quinoa. I love quinoa and so does the little one. The quinoa adds a hint of a nutty flavor (as if this dish needed any extra flavors!).

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This dish was REALLY good. The little one ate all of his, the Hubs ate all of his, and I finished up what was left. Even if it’s a busy week night, you’ll have time to make this. Whether you decide to serve it with rice or quinoa, start that first because each one needs 20-30 minutes to cook. Then you can get to work on the tomato sauce and dumplings. You’ll be done with everything in half an hour. I’m definitely going to be making this dish again, but I think I’ll add some water to the chickpea batter to thin it out a bit.

I forget what we’re having for supper tonight. On the plus side, I didn’t get sick after supper last night so I know there wasn’t any wheat anywhere. Now I’ve just been paying attention to see if I get really tired which would be a delayed reaction to any gluten in last night’s supper. So far I’m ok. YAY!

Enjoy your Monday!

Week Three Progress Report

Today officially starts week four. Week three started out great got sour towards the end but ended on a high note. I am glad to see week three behind me.

As you know I was craving sweet things so I baked a strawberry and rhubarb muffin and made some buckwheat cocoa puffs. I felt great because I got to have something sweet and I knew what ingredients were in them. Yay, right? Wrong. Every time I ate a muffin or puff, my stomach would get a bit bubbly and I was getting tired in the afternoons. Like REALLY tired. Sometimes I’d start yawning at around 11am and just want to go lay down. I even drank a second cup of coffee the other day and that didn’t help at all. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was being careful with what I was eating. I started to think my oats weren’t gluten free but the package says wheat free and oats are really gluten free. What was going on?

I eventually emailed my naturopath and said that (beware this is TMI) my stomach had been a bit bubbly lately and my stool was taking on a pale color. I wanted to know if this had something to do with the meds I was taking. He advised that I should take a HCL pill (the stomach acid pill that I eventually got off of). He said that sometimes the need goes up and down. Ok. He knows what he’s talking about so I followed his directions. I took one pill in the morning with breakfast but my bubbliness and extreme tiredness continued.

So what was wrong? I was googling the other day because I was starting to think I had Celiac Disease and it just hasn’t been diagnosed. Then I ran across a site for things that have hidden gluten. Baking powder was on the list. Baking powder has gluten you ask? I asked that same question. Wheat starch or other starches could be in the baking powder to stop it from caking. It’s the same with some spices like curry powder. Pure baking powder is ok but I got my baking powder from the bulk section and wasn’t sure if it was pure or not. It’s the same with baking soda. So I guess it was the baking powder and peanut butter I used in the treats. I used baking powder in the muffins and peanut butter in the cocoa puffs.

For the peanut butter, I checked the ingredients and “maltodextrin” was listed. It’s a sugar that’s plant derived but it can be made from wheat, potato, or rice starch. I always thought peanut butter was safe. I mean I love my Skippy! I guess it doesn’t help that there are bread crumbs in the jar either. Sigh.

The other day when I made blueberry pancakes for dinner, I had two pieces of bacon. I found a delicious gluten-free pancake recipe and was feeling good and thought: “I’ll have two pieces of bacon. It won’t hurt and I’ve done so good lately.” WRONG! About 1.5hrs later I was so nauseous. I couldn’t understand what was wrong. I made gluten-free pancakes so I know it wasn’t because of them. When I dug the bacon package out of the trash, I was “dextrose” listed as an ingredient. Again, it’s a sugar but it can be derived from wheat starch. I was sick for about hour or so and then a headache came and lasted all night. Two pieces of bacon knocked me on my butt all night.

I bought a bag of vegan coconut bacon too. I’ve run across it before in recipes and I was really curious about it. Coconut that tastes like bacon? After what happened when I ate real bacon, I wanted to give this a try. Surely the coconut bacon wouldn’t make me sick. It did make me sick! I had some sprinkled on my salad yesterday and about 30 minutes later my stomach was SUPER bubbly and generally wasn’t happy. All the ingredients were natural except for the liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is captured when the smoke is cooled down and turns to water. Then that water is captured and you have liquid smoke. Seems pretty straight forward. But I round out that barley and malt are often used to capture the smoke. It may be vegan but it wasn’t gluten free and I didn’t see it labeled on the bag. I just immediately assumed that it was safe for me to eat. So that was set back number 2, and I paid $8 for that bag too!

So, I was feeling a bit down last night but you know what? I’ve made it half way through. The Hubs was trying to encourage me and said that I’m finding yummy recipes, the little one is eating everything I’m making, I’ve lost some weight, and he’s lost weight as well. I guess it’s not too bad when you look at the grand scheme of things and things could be worse. I did end the week on a high note though. I made some garlicky kale white bean soup in my new Le Creuset pot. It was Bay Days at The Bay again (where every thing in the store is marked down) so I decided to spend some of my tax refund. I have been lusting over a Le Creuset pot for years! I got a cherry red pot and I am absolutely in love with it! I don’t have a place for it in the cabinets yet but it just looks pretty sitting on my stove all by itself.

I’ve rediscovered The G Free Diet book I had bought ages ago when I suspected something was wrong. I bought this book years ago! I was flipping through it last night and she points out foods that have hidden gluten that I totally forgot about. I now keep it on top of some of my other books so it doesn’t get hidden again.

This week I’m determined not to have a set back. I’m going to make some more vegetable broth and I’m going to look up how to make my own tomato sauce. I don’t trust pre-packaged stuff anymore. I have a few new recipes picked out this week. The Hubs will be out in Ontario and Nova Scotia until Thursday, so I’m going to save the more adventurous stuff for the little one and myself. He’ll like it. He ate kale last night!

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and a great start to the work week.

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

The other night I was feeling kind of down because I wanted something to snack on but there’s not really anything I can have. I didn’t want to snack on nuts or fruit, so that leaves nothing. I was looking at some food blogs and found a few recipes. I wanted to have some snacks on hand for when I feel snacky and have that snack craving satisfied without having any chips (oh salt and pepper kettle chips how I miss you!). So this blog post is going to be all about snacks.

Rhubarb. How do I describe it. It looks like celery but it’s pink and it has a bit of a sour taste. I’ve never encountered this plant before moving to Canada. The first time I was introduced to it was in a strawberry and rhubarb pie from a local cafe, Fifendekel. The cafe is known to Edmontonians. It’s a simple place that serves simple sandwiches (subway style where you pick the ingredients you want), a soup, cookie, or pie. It’s simple but it works and it is good food. If you go during lunch on a weekday, you better be prepared to wait in a long line. And if you see an open seat, you better grab it or it’ll be gone.

I’ve never cooked with rhubarb and I saw it at a grocery store yesterday and decided to pick up several stalks. I found this recipe from Vegetarian Ventures and decided to give it a go.

According to the Flavor Thesaurus:

Rhubard is a vegetable native to Siberia. The leaves are poisonous; it’s the pink petioles, or stalks, that we eat. Once its intense sourness has been countered with sufficient quantities of sugar, the flavor becomes fascinating–a combination of aromatic, candied strawberry notes with a cooking-apple fruitiness, plus a strong, thick note redolent of a greenhouse full of ripening tomatoes. The fruity notes are able to withstand cooking, and retain their freshness even after sugar has been added. Rhubarb is best paired with overtly sweet ingredients, such as maple syrup, honey or anise, then smothered with even more sweetness in the form of vanilla, almonds, cream or butter. Some take advantage of its gooseberry/cooking-apple sourness to pair rhubarb with fatty meat and oily fish.

So there you go. I’m really intrigued by the rhubarb and vanilla pairing. And there’s even a pairing for rhubarb with saffron!! That, I think, I might have to try sometime soon.

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You have to roast the rhubarb with strawberries coated in sugar. I didn’t want to use the white sugar so I used brown sugar. Brown sugar is just sugar with molasses in it.

The recipe calls for spelt flour. Spelt flour has less gluten than regular wheat flour and can be tolerated by some people with a gluten intolerance/sensitivity and even by some people with Celiacs. I didn’t want to take a chance of throwing my elimination diet out of the window, so I opted not to use it. I saw some buckwheat flour at the same grocery store I got the rhubarb from and it was about $14 for a kilo (if I remember the weight right). I bought half a kilo of buckwheat groats on Sunday for about $5.

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Up close they look like little triangles and they have a nutty flavor. The groats (seeds) aren’t related to wheat at all despite its name. Buckwheat has no gluten, some consider it a super food (you can read about the nutritional benefits here), and the groats are actually seeds of a flower that’s more closely related to rhubarb.

I put the groats in a coffee bean grinder to make my own flour.

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I was actually quite happy with the results and I was proud that I made my own flour. I made buckwheat flour that’s pure buckwheat with no chance of contamination from anything else, and there’s nothing else added to this. Plus, this was less than half the price of a bag of ready-made flour!

I mixed all the dry ingredients and then added the wet ingredients. I used hemp milk in my muffins instead of coconut milk. The recipe does say that “any milk will do here.” So that’s what I did. Then you toss in the strawberries and rhubarb. You fold everything together and then bake them.

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The recipe says to bake them for 18-22 minutes. I think I ended up baking mine for a good 30. I didn’t know how the buckwheat flour would react and I wanted to make sure the muffins were baked through. The muffins were good but I think next time I’ll add more sweetness, more strawberries and rhubarb, and something to make them more moist. Maybe it’s the buckwheat flour but I found the muffins to be a bit dry but not overly. I’d make this again.

I also ended up trying to make the quinoa and cacao crispy treats from Deliciously Ella’s youtube video. I bought a box of buckwheat puffs and decided to give it a try. I won’t post photos because it was an experiment. She doesn’t give the recipe by calling out measurements or anything. She just says you need a few ingredients. I had the buckwheat puffs, peanut butter, cocoa, agave syrup, and vegetable oil. I tried to watch the measurements she used but it didn’t work out exactly like hers. However, it was still good. I just ended up doing mine by taste. They’re good and they’re satisfying without being overly sweet.

Tonight we’re going to have breakfast for dinner. We’re going to have gluten-free blueberry pancakes and the Hubs and little one will have bacon. I’ve just been craving sweet things lately and I’m trying to get all the sweetness I can in two days.

I hope you all enjoy your Thursday. It’s almost Friday!!

Split Pea Sunshine & Saffron Soup

I found this recipe from My New Roots and immediately fell in love with it because saffron is involved. Besides, I haven’t had a good pea soup in a long time and I was also looking forward to using the vegetable broth that I made. The bags have just been sitting in the freezer waiting to be used.

I had to soak the dried split peas for at least 8 hours. So as soon as the little one finished his breakfast, I put the peas in some water to soak all day long. I actually had to add some more water by early afternoon.

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I remembered to soak the peas but I forgot to defrost my broth. So, I just filled the sink up with very hot water and put the broth in to defrost a bit. Each bag has 2 cups so they were ready by the time I actually needed it. While they were defrosting, I went to work chopping up the carrots, leek, and butternut squash.

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Before I actually started to chop up the vegetables, I put a pinch of saffron in a bowl with about 4-5 tablespoons of hot water. I actually turned the kettle on and turned it off right before the bell dinged. I poured the water in a mug and let it cool a touch and then spooned it over the saffron.

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I didn’t have 2 leeks, as the recipe calls for. I just had 1 left in the fridge and I thought that was ok. As soon as I rinsed the carrots off, my dog, who was upstairs, came running down and stood next to me in the kitchen hoping for a piece of carrot. I have no idea how he knows I’ve got a carrot but he just knows. I also didn’t want to use 4 garlic cloves so I just minced 1 clove.

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When I was done chopping up the butternut squash, carrots, and leek I was ready to start my soup. I got a big pot and heated up some oil and threw in the cumin and paprika along with the bay leaves. I had the pot on one of the eyes in the back of the stove and I kept leaning over the stove because the aroma coming from the spices and bay leaves were just wonderful.

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I’ve never really used bay leaves in cooking before. I’ve never seen them used in Southern or Korean cooking. I could be wrong about Southern cooking though. It wasn’t until I started to really cook and saw them in Jamie Oliver’s recipes. They’re leaves. I didn’t see anything special about them at all. In fact, sometimes I went so far as to leave them out completely because I didn’t understand the flavors they impart nor the nutritional value. Surprisingly these benign looking green leaves have vitamins C, A, and B-6 as well as calcium. And as for the flavor they leave, this is from my Cook’s Wisdom book:

Elongated gray-green leaves used to flavor sauces, soups, stews, and braises, imparting a slightly sweet, citrusy, nutty flavor. Usually sold dried, bay leaves should be removed from a dish before serving as they are leathery and can have sharp edges.

The aroma that came from them, if you just smell one leaf, is nice.

Once I was happy the spices and leaves were mixed well, I threw in the vegetables and tossed them to coat with the spices as best as I could. I tried stirring as delicately as I could without breaking up the bay leaves in the process. Then you throw in your split peas.

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By the time the peas were ready to go in the pot, they were soft. So, the actual cooking time of the soup didn’t take long at all. I was kind of worried about that because soups usually take a while to cook. But this one didn’t take long at all. Next, I added my newly thawed-out broth and saffron water.

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The saffron water immediately changed the color of the soup. It already starting to look like the color of sunshine! Because my broth wasn’t completely thawed out, I had to wait for the soup to come back up to a boil. Then I let it simmer until I felt the butternut squash and other vegetables were soft enough to use the immersion blender. But before you use the blender, you have to fish out the 5 bay leaves. I managed to pick out 4 1/2. I couldn’t find the other half! I think it got blended up which is ok. I stood over the pot for a good 10 minutes tying to find that half of a leaf!

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After I blended everything, I added some salt because I felt it needed something. You don’t have to. I just happen to love salt and I felt that the soup needed a bit of seasoning or an extra oomph. Then you squeeze the juice of half of a lemon and OH…MY… WORD! After you squeeze that lemon juice in and stir, the flavor just POPS. Oh my! Trust me when I say it. The lemon juice just…WOW. You’ll just have to make the soup and taste it for yourself.

When you’re ready, spoon some in a bowl with a swirl of olive oil. I put some pepper on top of mine as well.

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The soup was SUPER easy to make. I think the longest part for me was fishing out the bay leaves. The little one ended up having 2 bowls for supper! If you’re eating bread, this would be good with a nice baguette. I didn’t do the little carrot flowers as a garnish like Sarah Britton did. I just didn’t have any more carrots to do that and I didn’t have time because the little one was anxious to eat after he had a taste of the soup. I let him do a taste test after using the immersion blender because the blender scares him. I’m definitely going to make this soup again. The little one had 2 little bowls, I had a bowl, and ended up with 4 cups of leftovers as well as some to freeze. It’s even good for lunch the next day!

Week Two Progress Report

Well, I survived week two of my elimination diet. Just barely! I had a MASSIVE craving for a big, greasy, cheesy pizza the other day but I know that ain’t gonna happen. I didn’t think I’d get through week two, but today marks the beginning of week three which is half way there!

It’s hard to find recipes or dishes that I can actually eat. Also, there’s the thing about food in the grocery stores. If you look at the ingredient list, just about everything contains soy, milk, eggs, or brown rice. With recipes, most vegan recipes call for almonds, cashews, flax seeds, mushrooms, or soy. Sigh. Thankfully, by some miracle I made it.

My breakfast still consists of oatmeal. I’m enjoying it actually. I’ve added a teaspoon of vanilla to the mix and it’s good. The little one always comes up to me and asks for some oatmeal. Our local grocery store has hemp milk marked 30% off. I don’t know why but I’m not going to argue. So when we see it marked down, we grab a few cartons and are stocking up every week. I have a feeling that they’ve marked them down to shift them pretty quickly to make room for more rice and soy milk on the shelves. Because I don’t see the hemp milk on the shelves next to the soy and rice milks where it used to be. Either way, we now have like 10 cartons of hemp milk in my pantry.

Lunch is usually some quinoa, salad, one tablespoon of sunflower seeds, one tablespoon of walnuts, one tablespoon of chia seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil. It might sound like an odd mixture but it works for me. I get protein from the quinoa and all of the nuts and seeds. I use lemon juice and olive oil instead of salad dressing. I’ll sprinkle some pepper on top of my salad too. It keeps me full until dinner, so I must be doing something right.

Dinner has been a mixture of things. I’ve mainly cooked from My New Roots. The Hubs and the little one seem to like the dishes I prepare. The Hubs has even gone so far as to say that they’re tasty! I do get frustrated with some things though. For instance, because I can’t have a lot of things, I have to research what dishes I can have for the week. It’s not like I can say “oh we’ll just have spaghetti” and buy a jar of pasta sauce, spaghetti, and beef. Besides the obvious (beef and pasta), a jar of pasta sauce has a whole bunch of stuff in it. There’s all kinds of seasonings, cheese, and sometimes milk. I did buy cans of crushed or diced tomatoes and try to make my own version of pasta sauce, but even canned tomatoes has a bunch of “spices” in them that I don’t really trust. They labels don’t say what particular spices are used, it just says “spices.” So, this week I just bought a bunch of tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. So my point is, I really have to watch what ingredients are in my foods. I can’t go for the easily-packaged, processed foods anymore. I have to make my own stuff because I don’t trust what’s in the packaged foods.

Buckwheat flour is another rant. Well, buckwheat flour and buckwheat noodles. My local grocery stores don’t carry buckwheat noodles. They just carry rice noodles or wheat noodles. So, I went to a Korean grocery store. I looked at all of the buckwheat noodle brands they carry and every single one of them has wheat mixed in. I had a rant about this to my Mom the other day. She never realized that wheat was in them either.

Despite it’s name, buckwheat is gluten-free and it’s super healthy for you. It’s not like rice noodles or vermicelli noodles. It’s shorter, brownish in color, and has a different texture. I grew up eating those noodles. They’re a bit chewy but they’re REALLY good. If I could find a pack buckwheat noodles that’s pure buckwheat, I’d buy a whole bunch. But alas, that’s not going to happen.

Buckwheat flour is something that I’ve run across in a lot of gluten-free recipes. It’s a good alternative to regular wheat flour. However, (surprise surprise) I can’t find it anywhere. Maybe it’s because the Prairies here in Canada is still a bit backwards in terms of food. Wait, let me explain. Think of Texas ok? Now think Texas and steak and potatoes kind of people. That’s like here. They call Alberta the “Texas of the North.” Alberta is all about the beef. Being health conscious and concerned/interested about the origins of your food isn’t something that’s caught on here just yet. Well, I shouldn’t say that. The idea is out there and there are some people who are health conscious but the majority of the Prairie folk are steak and potatoes kind of people. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. If that’s how they want to eat and they’re happy like that, then more power to them. I believe people should be happy with the way they eat as long at they’re healthy. I’m complaining because finding other good foods is hard to come by because of the way the majority of the Prairie population eat. Thankfully, I’ve managed to find some buckwheat and I’m just going to make my own flour.

On the plus side of week two, I’m not taking my HCL pills anymore. The HCL pills were to help with my stomach acid. I was to take them until I felt heartburn and then cut down. I got up to 6 pills at one point. These aren’t little pills. These are big horse pills and I was taking 6 at a time. Then sometimes one or two would go down sideways in my throat. It was starting to get to me…taking all those pills. But thankfully, I started to feel heartburn and got down to one and then finally got off of them for good. I’m still taking the probiotics and glutamine though. I’m to take those until I start reintroducing foods back into my diet.

I hope week three goes better than week two. And I’m also not sure when I should start reintroducing foods. Should I do it at week 4, week 5, or go all the way to week 6? I don’t know if I can last all the way to week 6. We’ll see how things go I guess.

I hope you enjoy your Sunday. I’m currently watching the final round of the Masters.