Homemade Hot Chocolate – dairy and sugar free

Hot ChocolateI am very excited to share this post and recipe with you today. You get to hear about one of the best days I’ve had all winter and a special moment between me and one of my precious kiddos that ends with my favourite winter drink, hot chocolate.

This recipe is dairy and sugar free and can be made with cocoa or carob for a yummy variation.

Click here to read the post and get this yummy recipe! (You will be taken to my Whole New Mom contributor post).

Enjoy!

Crockpot Beef and Root Veggie Stew

Crock Pot Beef and Root Veggie StewThis post which is part of my Crockpot, Casserole and Cook Ahead Series is not exactly as I had planned.

I had started a post about my on-again off-again “relationship” with my crockpot, which I thought was rather entertaining, although I may be the only one =) (do you share my sense of humour?). But sadly things are a bit hectic around here so I am not able to finesse that post to where it should be.

However, I still wanted to bring you a great recipe this week so I am keeping this post super simple…kinda like this dish.

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Soaked Buckwheat Waffles (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

Soaked Buckwheat WafflesI love waffles. Always have, always will.

Well, honestly for years waffles were just a vehicle for maple syrup, I mean isn’t that what those little squares are for? Fill to the brim with maple syrup, I say, each and every one of them? =)

But alas, I am sugar free and even healthy sugars are out for now so I have now come to appreciate the waffle for being more than just a boat to sink with syrup.

Waffles are the crispy cousins to the pancake and I will always choose waffles over flapjacks as I prefer crispy to soft, crunchy to soggy, overcooked to undercooked…I have a texture thing.

As you know from my previous posts, I am new to soaking nuts, seeds, legumes and grains so I wasn’t sure if waffles would ever make if on my menu again. I mean, how does one make a soaked waffle?

Well I found out that it’s pretty easy…like crazy easy. I found this recipe on Pinterest one day and I had NO idea if I would like it. Actually, I expected not to like them as I wasn’t sure I’d like waffles made solely with buckwheat. I hoped they wouldn’t turn out soggy.

I was so pleasantly surprised. These waffles are light, crispy and have such great flavour, they are not at all overpowering. Continue reading

Candida and Candee: A Reprieve – Wellness Update 3

wellness_update3

After writing my last wellness update I was pretty giddy as I was starting to feel so much better and was so very excited to report that I had finally beat this candida thing.

Well, I am sorry to say that this is no longer the case.

You’re probably thinking that I ate a bunch of sugar and relapsed but that could not be further from the truth. I was diligent and eating the same as before, or perhaps even better.  But before I get into that, let’s rewind for a bit.

I was feeling great, yes it’s true and it was amazing. I was on top of the world. I felt like I had beaten what was possibly my toughest candida battle and what I had determined to be my last.

My Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM) had tested me for adrenal fatigue, high mercury levels (even though she said I wouldn’t be able to treat it until I was done breastfeeding, if it showed positive), hormonal imbalance, candida overgrowth and they all came back negative. AMAZING. I wouldn’t have believed her except I felt amazing!

What had I done right?

I was following the candida diet of course but there were a couple of things I was doing differently.

1. I was seeing my DTCM regularly for allergy elimination and acupuncture visits. She was also helping treat my hormonal imbalance – which I have learned can really impact candida.

2. I was taking kelp to help balance said hormones.

3. I had introduced kombucha and water kefir to my diet.

4. I was eating foods my DTCM insisted I eat even though I was terrified to because they were deemed “unsafe” by most candida diets (including my own). These were pumpkin, apples, berries and sweet potatoes.

5. I was not eating any hard, rough or crunchy foods. (Think nuts, crackers, rough greens, raw veggies, popcorn, etc.)

So…what went wrong?

  1. My appointments ran out for my acupuncture sessions and she was booked solid until March.
  2. My baby went on a 14-day nursing strike and this was far more challenging and straining on all of us than I can tell you. Look for my upcoming contributor post on WMN on this soon!
  3. My Kombucha and Kefir ran out. The nursing strike exhausted me and I just didn’t have it in me to make it. Although, looking back I should have just kept that kefir (my personal favourite of the two) going even if it meant less sleep.
  4. My stress and exhaustion was higher than normal due to the strike and my body was just in a bad way.
  5. I ate gluten! Not totally on purpose…here’s the deal, as you may remember from my last wellness update, I have given up gluten. But as I was testing out some oat recipes (namely my Oat Pie Crust and Sugar Free Sugar Cookies) I thought, am I really that sensitive to gluten that I need to buy gluten free oats? The answer? Yes, I am that sensitive! I don’t know why I risked it but I bought a big old bag of regular oats (not GF) and boy, am I ever paying for it! I kid you not, I feel the effects for 3 weeks after, it’s insane.
  6. I started eating some rough, crunchy and hard foods again. This made it abundantly clear that leaky gut is a HUGE issue for me. I thought this issue would easily go away with eating soft foods for a bit but I think it is more complicated that that…read on…

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What is my course of action?

1. Change my approach

As I stated above I am coming to realize that leaky gut is what is really wreaking the most havoc on my system (I really hope to get a post up on leaky gut syndrome soon). Healing is now my primary concern. I am realizing that the link between candida and my leaky gut runs deep and that if I am ever going to get rid of candida I need to heal my gut first. This is a new approach for me. Maybe this is why candida keeps coming back for me? I’m not sure, I need to do more research but it is my hunch.

I had heard about GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) from Adrienne over at Whole New Mom and after a few months and a little researching online I ordered a copy of the book. By the time it reached me (only days ago), my gut was so bad I knew I had to do something. I committed to it and I am starting tomorrow morning. Mind you, I don’t have everything I need yet (I am missing juices from fermented foods and some of the supplements), nor have I read every word in the book (don’t worry I’m almost done) but I am so sick that I need to start giving some serious TLC to my bowels ASAP.

I can’t eat anything without being sick so broth and well cooked meats and veggies will hopefully do the trick and get the ball rolling until I can get the rest of the items I need.

This has become not a matter of if I can do this, or I will do this but I MUST do this. My tummy is a mess, my emotions are a mess, my energy is down, I am sluggish, and tired (ok this one is totally fair as I haven’t slept through the night since our sweet now 10-month old baby was born), I am far more negative than I like to be and I am getting anxiety symptoms, again. I need to be better for me and my kids.

What else…

2. Get me some acupuncture

I am going to book weekly appointments for the foreseeable future. I read a bit on acupuncture and how it can assist in speeding up the healing of the gut, I am totally a believer after that brief reprieve I had…sign me up!

3. Lots and lots of probiotic fermentation (also a part of GAPS).

Water kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut are top of the list!

4. Keep my hormones in check.

What does this mean? I’m not entirely sure yet but I know I will keep doing what I was doing when I felt great – taking kelp if needed, acupuncture, reducing stress, and resting (whenever possible).

5. Rest and recharge.

I know this is so hard for so many mamas and papas out there but carving out even half an hour a couple of times a week to just recharge is so important. My hubby and I just finished talking about how we can make this a reality for me. I am cautiously optimistic that it might work…I’ll let you know how it goes. I have a movie date with my sister who lives near by so that I can be close if the baby needs mommy. Wait…is it a date if we haven’t set a date and really just talked about it in passing? =)

So stick around, there is so much exciting stuff (I hope!) coming up and I would love for you to follow me on this journey!

“Cinnamon Heart” Mini Fudge Bites (dairy, gluten, grain, and sugar free)

Mini "Cinnamon Heart" Fudge BItes (dairy, gluten and sugar free)Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day…

Does anyone remember that Hallmark commercial from the 90′s that had a little boy singing “Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day” while making a dinosaur card for his grandma? I don’t know why, but every year this sweet little song runs through my head and puts a smile on my face!

Check out the video here, it starts at 2:10.

Cute, right?

Well, despite my love of this commercial, Valentines Day has never been a huge holiday for me.

Why is that? Well, I was single for the first 2/3 of my life so I didn’t have much need for it and when I was attached on Valentine’s Day (not until I met my hubby), we weren’t into the commercialism of it all. We did a few special things here and there but nothing crazy.

But, perhaps I am getting softer and more emotional now that I am a mom but I have a new view and appreciation of Valentine’s Day.

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