I’m popping in today mid-Lucky Comestibles to tell you about a fellow blogger’s fabulous giveaway of Sweet Freedom!
Win a free copy of the book simply by posting a comment, a mention on Facebook, or a tweet on twitter. To enter, click here. COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT CONSIDERED AS ENTRIES! You must click the link to enter.
(And don’t forget that the book is still available on sale ($25US including taxes, shipping and handling) until December 1st! )
Well, it’s Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, which can only mean one thing: Star Trek marathon on Space Channel! Or maybe: Ellen Page gets a surprise celebration from buddy Justin Long? Or how about: only 257 more days until summer?
Okay, in reality, Thanksgiving means that, like it or not, the holiday season is already upon us. Orange and black streamers hanging from gift shop ceilings, Hallmark stores overflowing with turkey cards and placemats, Christmas muzak on every elevator and wafting through every shopping mall, heart-shaped chocolate and chocolate eggs at every checkout. . . yep, the holiday season is already upon us, and will continue pretty much unabated until somewhere around May 1st.
Okay, then: let’s party!
Before I get to today’s recipe, however, I’d like to wish all my Canadian compatriots a very Happy Thanksgiving! And in honor of the onset of the holiday festivities, I’m happy to offer a very special sale of Sweet Freedom.
I found myself with some extra stock of books and think these would make excellent holiday gifts, whether for a friend, family member, or even yourself! Until December 1st, 2009, you can purchase a signed copy (dedicated to the name of your choice) of Sweet Freedom that I will ship directly to you, for just $25.00 US (a 35% discount). There are no extra charges to this price–no shipping, no taxes!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Sweet Freedom at this special sale price or would like to learn more about the book, simply click on the “Cookbook” tab above or the book icon to the left. Choose the first (sale) option. There! You’ve just completed your holiday gift shopping–more time to have fun!
* * * * * * * * * *
As much as I appreciate living in the 21st century, in some ways I am decidedly old-fashioned. In fact, in many ways, I tend to cleave to the archaic (and not just because I use words like, “cleave,” either). For instance, I don’t care how convenient bread machines may be; to me, it’s not really bread unless it’s mixed, kneaded and shaped by hand. When I was younger, I used to carry handkerchiefs with me rather than tissues (but had to stop the practice because too many people just got grossed out. Even though I washed them after only one use–I swear!). Ever since living with Mr. Audiophile (aka the HH), I’ve come to prefer LPs to CDs (they really do sound better!), though I suppose both will become antiques in the very near future.
And while I’m comfortable using a computer (sure comes in handy when one keeps a food blog) and I participate (nominally) in Facebook and twitter, I have never really warmed up to the concept of a PDA. I don’t own a Blackberry, iPhone, or any other similar electronic device. What I use is an old-fashioned, faux-leather bound, paper daytimer.
I love my daytimer and couldn’t imagine giving it up for any reason. I mean, it’s 100% portable (slips easily into my purse); it’s easy to use (only basic language skills required); and it never requires recharging (which means I can use it anywhere, any time, even during power failures or while in a root cellar during a tornado). When I want to know what’s planned on December 17, for instance, I simply flip the pages to that date and–voilà!–”dental cleaning” (ugh! has it been six months already??). If the HH sidles up to me and murmurs, ”Ric, sweetie, honey, um, can you drive me to my follow up eye surgery appointment next Wednesday at 10:45?” all I need do is flip, flip, flip, and the answer is immediately forthcoming (yes, HH honey sweetie, I will drive you.).
The other day, I realized that I’d soon need to acquire a new, 2010 version of my book. While flipping through the last few pages of 2009 (where a few blank sheets are reserved for “Notes”), I happened upon a recipe that had been hastily scribbled on the last page. Well, what do you know–it was in my own handwriting!
I do remember, vaguely, copying a recipe from a magazine in my doctor’s waiting room one day. Which doctor? Can’t remember. How long ago was this appointment? I have no idea. Which magazine? Hmmm, my mind’s a blank. Was the dish something I’d still like to make? You betcha!
In fact, the recipe–a roasted plum and baby spinach salad topped with bacon–sounded perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving table. A novel departure from cranberries or pumpkin, the salad still featured a seasonal fruit, as well as pure maple syrup, one of Canada’s most beloved domestic products. As a bonus, I happened to have a bag of organic plums from our organic box waiting patiently on the kitchen counter and had been looking for a way to use them (since my all-too-frequent tendency is to wait until they’re on the verge of spoilage before sussing out a recipe). I made a quick switch to tempeh bacon–and had a great recipe to try out this long weekend!
The salad came together very easily as the kitchen was flooded with the dual sweetness of warming plums and crackling bacon. The crisp, young spinach is the perfect foundation for the slightly softened plums and smoky tempeh. When roasted, the plums just begin to caramelize; tossed in maple syrup, they offer a lovely contrast of sweet, crusty exterior and tart, juicy inner flesh. Punctuated by thin slices of red onion and the sharp piquancy of dijon dressing, the salad offers a pastiche of flavors that was–well, plum delicious. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
In this second phase of the ACD, I’m allowed one (non-sweet) fruit a day, so I decided to revamp the original recipe so I could eat it, too. I prepared the original version for the HH, set aside a few plum slices for me, and whipped up a separate dressing for each of us. I’m including both recipes here for those of you on restricted diets so that you can enjoy a little sweetness of your own at Thanksgiving. One serving of this, and I guarantee you’ll be ready for party season.
“Um, Mum, you forgot to mention that Thanksgiving weekend also means one more extra long walk for us Girls. . . we love the holidays!”
Tempeh Bacon-Topped, Roasted Plum and Baby Spinach Salad
adapted from a magazine in my doctor’s waiting room (ACD version below)
A perfect first course to a holiday dinner, the salad is substantial without being overly filling. To make a meal of it, increase the amount of tempeh per serving, and add a side of rice pilaf or quinoa.
1 batch (about 12 slices) tempeh bacon, homemade or store bought (I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, with the ACD-friendly alterations listed below)
8 plums (not black prune type), cut in half and stone removed
8-10 fresh sage leaves
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp (30 ml) dijon mustard
1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) pure maple syrup
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 pkg (20 oz or 570 g) baby spinach
Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place the plums cut side down on the cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil. Scatter the sage leaves onto the sheet around the plums. Bake for about 12 minutes, until plums are softened and cut side is beginning to caramelize, but plums still hold their shape. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature, then slice into half-moon shaped slices. (If you are using homemade tempeh bacon, you can keep it warm on a heatproof platter; cover with foil and reduce oven temperature to 250F (120C) before placing in oven to keep warm.)
Meanwhile, mix the dressing: In a small jar or bowl, combine the minced garlic, red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Either whisk the mixture or shake the (closed) jar vigorously until well combined.
To assemble, place spinach leaves on a platter and scatter the onion slices over it. Toss the plums with the maple syrup and place over the spinach. Top with the warm tempeh. Drizzle with dressing, then crumble baked sage leaves over all. Serve immediately. Makes 6-8 servings.
Set aside 1 serving of plums before tossing them in the maple syrup; have yours without syrup.
Instead of the dressing above, mix (per serving): 2 Tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp (1 ml) mustard powder, and salt and pepper to taste with 1-2 drops stevia liquid.
Make these changes to the tempeh bacon recipe: omit apple cider, tomato paste, and liquid smoke (unless it’s sugar and alcohol free). Instead of apple cider, use 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with enough water to make 1/3 cup (80 ml); add 5 drops liquid stevia. Use tomato paste that is free of sugar and wheat (or use puréed tomato). Instead of liquid smoke, use smoked paprika. Otherwise, follow the recipe as written.
Last Year at this Time: Mini Coconut Loaves or Cupcakes (gluten-free)
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Look! It’s Ricki at the Vegetarian Food Fair again!
Nope, I didn’t take a spin in the Time Tunnel. Nope, I don’t have a twin sister who demonstrated a recipe at another Veg Food Fair this weekend. Nope, I haven’t figured out how to implement Einstein’s theory of relativity and traveled back in time. And nope, you did not unwittingly ingest some strange form of hallucinogen, which is now showing its effects in this blog post.
This post is simply a means to re-post last week’s Butterscotch Blondies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries recipe, which was lost when a *&%$!!! hacker broke into my blog site and hijacked the page for a few days. I contacted my service provider and they cleared it up–minus a couple of entries (and minus all your wonderful comments about the Food Fair–sniff, boo hoo!).
I’ll post another recipe tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are those blondies again. And nope, I didn’t eat them this week, either.
Butterscotch Blondies with
Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries
from Sweet Freedom
These are a favorite dessert in our house. They are rich-tasting, chewy, and the combination of rice syrup and maple syrup mimics a butterscotch flavor extremely well. Use the suggested cranberries and chocolate chips, or any of the variations, below.
1 cup (140 g) light spelt flour
3/4 cup (90 g) barley flour
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) brown rice syrup
1/3 cup (80 ml) pure maple syrup
1/3 cup (80 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1 ml) rum or butterscotch flavoring (optional)
1/2 cup (100 g) non-dairy chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried tart cherries (45 g) or cranberries (40 g)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line an 8” (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper, or grease well and then flour the pan (flouring is essential, as the blondies tend to stick to the bottom of the pan without the parchment).
In a medium bowl, sift together the spelt flour, barley flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice syrup, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and flavoring (if using) until well blended. Gently stir in the chips and cherries.
Pour the dry mixture over the wet and stir to blend. You will have a fairly thick and sticky batter. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating pan about halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center comes out just barely clean (a moist crumb or two is fine). Take care not to overbake, or these will dry out! The batter will fall a little as it cools; this is as it should be. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. Makes 16 squares. May be frozen.
Variations: use 1/3 cup each pistachios (or nut of choice) and dried cranberries, or replace the cranberries with raisins and add about 2 tsp (10 ml) freshly grated orange zest.
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Last Year at this Time: Banana-Berry Breakfast Cakes
[Recent ACD-friendly dinner: Gena's Raw Cream of Zucchini Soup].
It’s now been approximately five months since I began this round of the ACD, and, over this time, I’ve slowly been coming to the realization that, well, it’s not likely to end any time soon.
As I may have mentioned before, the last time I pursued this regimen, it took two years to eradicate the yeastie beasties. Why so long, when for most people, six months is more than adequate? I’m just lucky, I guess. (Either that, or those childhood PB and chocolate milk breakfasts, teenaged May West and coffee-with-Coffee Mate breakfasts, 20s-era birthday cake and oatmeal cookie breakfasts, and 30s-decade Weight Watchers mousse and Diet Pepsi breakfasts really weren’t that healthy, after all. Seriously, I couldn’t have done worse had I walked into a pesticide factory and started downing beakers of random chemicals). When it comes to eating foods that nourish and strengthen my body, it seems I still hadn’t quite learned my lesson.
While I was able, eventually, to reintroduce gluten and sweeteners to my diet last time (and my naturopath assues me that will happen again, even this time), I fear that eventually, as with any addict reintroduced to a source of the addiction, I began to abuse the privilege. When I last went off the diet, rather than enjoy an abundance of fresh-fruit based desserts or an occasional (ie, less often than 5 times a day) sweet indulgence, I went the whole tofu and chowed down on a daily injection of chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate (in fact, I even considered changing the name of this blog to reflect that fact). And while I still dearly love desserts, even healthy ones (heck, I just wrote a whole cookbook devoted to them!), like any addict, I really have no self control when it comes to my trigger foods.
[What I should have eaten more often: fresh and fruity sorbet. . . and even easy to make!]
I mean, have you ever heard of an alcoholic who can stop at just one drink? I think Denis Leary’s character, Tommy Gavin, a firefighter who can’t seem to avoid getting sauced, is a prime example of the principle:
Week One: “I’m handling it. It’s just one drink.”
Week Two: “I’m handling it. I’m only having one a night.”
Week Three: “I’m handling it. I only drink when I feel like it, but so what if that’s all day? I can stop any time.”
Week Four: “Muh habble it. Dwnn tuh meh naw drkkeng drurving!” (Please do not adjust your set. Comprehensible dialogue will return once he sleeps off the inevitable hangover).
And so, dear readers, I’ve finally decided to just accept my own shorcomings as well as my current situation (after all, self acceptance is the first part of healing, right?). I’m determined to embrace the ACD, limitations and all. If I have to stay on it for a year, so be it. If I have to stay on it for life, well–I won’t be happy, but I can live with it (and I wasn’t living too well without it, come to think of it). It’s not as if I’m malnourished, or even that I dislike the foods I’m consuming; and I’d never share a recipe on the blog that I didn’t think was appealing to anyone’s taste buds, special diet or not. It’s just that I miss baking. I really, really miss baking. And I miss eating what I bake.
Still, given the choice, I’d rather continue to see my health improve (about 85% there at the moment) and continue to see my weight decrease, than eat chocolate every day. Besides, I’m learning to think of the ACD as just another culinary challenge: it’s time to begin creating delicious gluten-free, maybe even grain-free, stevia-sweetened desserts for a while. Let the kitchen games resume!
As I mused about the situation, I was reminded of two experts whom I admire and respect, albeit from two completely divergent fields.
The first is Geneen Roth, acclaimed author of When Food is Love and a regular columnist in Good Housekeeping magazine. When the HH and I relaxed up north this past weekend, I brought a slew of magazines to peruse by the pool, and came across Roth’s latest column, entitled, “Reality Bites.” She wrote about how she’d recently been diagnosed with allergies to both milk and chocolate–two of her very favorite foods.
At first, Roth rebelled against the diagnosis, thinking, “I refuse to give up the foods I love.” Eventually, she came round to the reality of the situation, stating, “It’s hard enough to have. . . allergies. But when you can’t stop thinking about how much you hate the fact that you have to spend your time doing what you need to do, you double the difficulty.” Well, I reasoned, I have quite enough difficulties in all the other areas of my life at the moment, thank you very much; I’d hate to convert eating into yet anohter hardship as well.
The second expert I thought about was Jon Kabat Zinn, who penned Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living. To Zinn, a champion of, and pioneer in, stress reduction and mindfulness meditation, living in the moment and appreciating the here and now is paramount to a happy life. Again, I couldn’t help but think, “Look at all the other wonderful things in my life right now–a secure job in these crazy economic times; a (rather appealing) roof over my head; a loving HH; long-term, close friendships; and two of the most adorable canine kids I’ve ever encountered (okay, I may be a tad biased on the canine thing).
["What do you mean, 'a tad biased,' Mum? We're crushed."]
The point is, I decided it’s time to focus on the positives in my life rather than the deficiencies. I may even resume the practise of keeping a gratitude journal (in which you enumerate at least 5 good things that occurred each day, every day. Over time, believe it or not, your mood is elevated just by focusing on such things.). It’s much more productive, and healthy, to maintain a focus on what’s good in life instead of the list of foods I have to give up for a while.
Roth said it beautifully when she wrote, “Giving up certain foods doesn’t mean giving up what you want to feel when you eat them. Staying away from sweets doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself of sweetness or comfort or joy.”
And so, I will continue to forge ahead with the blog in this new direction and hope all of you who’ve been reading for a while will stick with me, even though my recipes will be geared toward more gluten-free and low sweetener recipes for a time. And to all the new readers who’ve found my blog by searching for anti-candida recipes or allergen free foods, welcome! The gluten and natural sweeteners will return eventually.
But for now, I hope you’ll all join me on this often challenging, necessarily innovative, and naturally sweetened healing path.
“Mum, don’t worry about not eating sweeteners–we do it all the time, and our food still tastes great! Then again, we eat poo.”
First, THANK YOU to everyone all for your amazing comments and emails during these past few weeks as I’ve been absent from the blog and working on my health. I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate the good wishes and support! (And if you sent me an email which I haven’t answered, I apologize–I’ve been horrible at keeping up lately, so please email again and I promise to answer!).
I’m doing much better and hope to be back to blogging next week with more details. Even though I’m not 100% better yet, I simply miss blogging too much!
Now, for some exciting news: TWO fellow bloggers are giving away copies of Sweet Freedom! If you’ve been meaning to get the book and haven’t yet, here’s a chance to win one of three books. And while there are lots of baked goods in the book, there are also summery berry flans (see photo above), pies, raw desserts, puddings and a killer chocolate pâté, perfect for casual BBQs, picinics and summer entertaining!
Dr. Winnie Abramson, ND of Healthy Green Lifestyle is giving away a hard copy. Enter here.
And the lovely Shelly of Musings from the Fishbowl is giving away two copies–one paper (hard) copy, and one ebook! To enter, visit Shelly’s blog, here.
Good luck, everyone, and can’t wait to “see” you all again in July!
[Simple dal with basmati rice on dandelion greens. . . definitely ACD friendly!]
I have a recipe in the works for later today, but after my last muffin post and all the questions I received about my anti-candida diet, I thought I’d post a quick update. First, thank you all for your ongoing support and encouragement–it would be a lot harder to stay on a restricted diet like this without the support of fellow bloggers and readers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–the blogging world is, truly, magical.
About the diet, many of you asked: will I have to be off fruits (or sweets, or sweeteners, or flour) forever? Will this *&%$@!!^ ACD diet ever end? Will I ever be able to eat my own baked goods again? And isn’t the HH just so darned lucky to have me bake for him when I can’t even partake?
The short answers are no, yes, yes, and ABSOLUTELY YES.
The (not entirely) Bad News: As I’ve posted previously, I have once before been on this diet, about ten years ago. At that time, I stayed on this first phase of the diet about 2 months. Given that I started the ACD this time on March 7, I’ve been on Phase I a lot longer than I would like. But there is change on the horizon! After visiting my naturopath last week, I was given a slightly altered regimen. He also did a live blood cell analysis that can determine the levels of candida and any other critters in my system, which can speed up diagnosis and treatment. I’ll be finding out the results at an appointment later this week.
Once Phase I is over, I will begin to reintroduce all the foods I’ve now cut from my diet, unless tests indicate that I’m allergic to any of them. Since I’ve never had proper allergy testing, I am about to undergo those as well. As a holistic nutritionist, I find my “case study” immensely interesting. As the unique individual who must undergo the tests and follow the diet, however, I find it to be a collosal drag.
Ah, such is life.
And now, the good news: Candida, it seems, has done for me what my own willpower never could: it has kept me on a healthy eating regime for three months (and counting). And, as a result of that, my weight loss tally has now reached 23 pounds (10.5 kilos)!
So, in a bizarre way, candida is the silver lining in my weight loss journey. With the exception of one or two nagging candida symptoms, I am feeling better than I have in ages. My back woes have disappeared. My achy knees are spry and springy. My sinus problems are about 70% improved. And–best of all!–I’ve discovered some favorite old clothes that I haven’t been able to wear in years (it’s been about six years since I last weighed this little).
For now, I’ll continue to cook and experiment with ACD-friendly foods, and post mostly about those, with the occasional baked good thrown in. (And if you’re yearning for some whole foods-based, naturally sweetened, delectable baked goods before then, there’s always the new cookbook!).
It’s become a bit of a challenge to delve into my culinary creativity and see what I can come up with that’s tasty, aesthetically pleasing, and still appealing to “regular” eaters. Surprisingly, I’m finding many recipes on other blogs or in my existing cookbooks that are ACD-friendly. More to come!
Oh, and if you’re interested in finding out more about candida and how to treat it, I’ve discovered a wonderful website by a woman who’s been there herself. The site contains a plethora of well researched, up to date information. Check out Yeast Infection Answers.
To those of you celebrating, hope you’re having a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!
It’s been a while coming, but today is the official launch date of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar–and the giveaway winners are announced below!
Thanks, everyone, for being so patient about the book and putting up with my many posts about it–and for all your support! It really would not exist without all of you.
If you’re interested in owning a copy (well, except for those eight people listed below, who’ll get one gratis, from me!), I’m thrilled that the book is now available to purchase online through the publisher, Trafford.com. Just like amazon.com, Trafford offers a secure site and will ship anywhere in the world, so please don’t hesitate to use their site if you’d like to order the book!
The book will also be available through amazon.com, but not for another month.
You can also order the e-book (pdf file), identical to the paper copy except, of course without the paper! Great for those who are trying to save paper (or finances!).
To order either the hard copy or the e-book, simply click on the icon of the book cover, at left.
And now, with the help of Random.org, the winners are:
- Entry 144: Lynn
- Entry 128: Daniella
- Entry 130: Patti
- Entry 72: Jvegefirl
- Entry 213: Rosie
- Entry 153: Vegan on Stage
- Entry 25: Lindsey
- Entry 240: Emily Stahl
Congratulations, everyone! I’ll send out emails to each of you today to confirm your wins and gather contact information.
And thanks to everyone for participating!
First of all: Wow. I am truly bowled over by the enthusiastic response to the giveaway, and thrilled that so many of you would like my cookbook! Thanks, all, for your entries and your comments. I have been slow in responding to comments, but have read them all and will respond to any questions later today. (Oh, and the contest continues until May 15th, so if you haven’t entered yet, you still can!)
I did want to clarify one point about the recipes, though: while there ARE some gluten-free recipes in it (about 25%), the book does not include gluten free recipes exclusively. Spelt does contain some gluten–though about 30% less than wheat–and it is often suitable for people with gluten sensitivity such as myself. Most of my recipes employ spelt, barley, or oat flours (much like any of the desserts on this blog). I thought it important to mention this, in case some of you are expecting a gluten-free cookbook (that will have to be next time!)
[My typical dinner these days: raw collard rolls with bean spread; fresh tomato; green beans. No wonder there are no new recipes!]
I’m afraid I don’t have a new recipe for you all today, as much as I’d intended to post one a few days ago. After a whirlwind high school reunion last weekend in Niagara Falls, I came home to discover that the charming candida in my system was being its opportunistic self and took advantage of my slightly altered diet and shift in regular routine while away from home. Ever since I got back, I’ve been feeling sapped of energy and spending more hours in bed than Sleeping Beauty (no prince for me, though. . . unless you count Chaser licking my ear as a magical “kiss”).
(“But Mum, I have to keep licking your ear! All beauty aside, how else am I supposed to let you know it’s time for a walk?”)
My (conventional) doctor has now prescribed an oral anti-fungal medication for me, something about which I’m not at all pleased (even though it does confirm candida as a culprit), but which, it seems, is entirely necessary since virtually none of the other methods I’ve tried have worked. On the ACD site where I found my current diet, they do caution that a candida problem can never be entirely eradicated with diet alone; so I’m okay with the pills. I will see my naturopathic doctor next week, so perhaps he’ll have a new idea.
In the meantime, I am determined to continue with the regime, and have faith that it will take effect eventually, bringing about a healthy change–as it did the last time I followed this diet (for a duration of two years!! Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long this time round). The only bright spot so far is that the weight-loss lull has finally been shattered: as of this morning, I’ve lost 17 pounds (7.7 kilos) since I began the diet on March 9th (just about 8 weeks). My weight hasn’t been this low since 2003. Yowza!
[Butterscotch blondies with chocolate chips and dried cherries]
I did bake some goodies from Sweet Freedom for the gang at the reunion, though (still can’t resist baking something for any gathering!). There were about 60 of us. And while I’m still in regular contact with my own (female) friends from that era, such as Sterlin (who flew in from England to room with me!), the Geminis, Phil, Babe, and so on, I haven’t seen any of the guys since grade eleven (the highest year of high school in Montreal). And when I did finally see them–Quel Surprise!
[Miniature orange-cranberry scones]
There were a few blank stares as I first spied some of the men, but once they introduced themselves, it was easy to spot the sixteen year-old in the forty-something faces and there were hugs all around. Within minutes, we all assumed our old, familiar camaraderie and went on to enjoy a raucous weekend with tours of the Falls, karaoke (I didn’t sing, but Sterlin and I did hop on stage as backup “dancers” for a pair who sang “Addicted to Love”), and a goodbye brunch complete with awards for everything from “Guy you’re most surprised is a parent” to “Person who brought the most photos of family” (that was Sterlin).
[Easiest Almond Cookies--grain free and gluten free]
Am I glad I went? Absolutely. I reconnected with a couple of people with whom I’d been very close in high school, and with whom I’m sure I’ll be in touch once again. And it was terrific to hear, “You haven’t changed a bit! I’d recognize you anywhere!” repeatedly, despite my own sense that I’d changed dramatically in the past 30 or so years. There’s already chatter on Facebook about the next reunion!
[Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies]
For the next little while, my posts may be a bit less regular or more infrequent than usual, as I feel I need to concentrate a bit more diligently on regaining my physical health and equilibrium. I will still be cooking, though, and will post recipes whenever I have them! And I’ll continue to read all your blogs and comment whenever I can.
As always, I am deeply grateful for all of you out there who read this blog and continue to provide support and comments. Because of all of you, these health issues have been made to seem manageable. Now it’s time to really kick that candida’s butt once and for all!
Last Year at this Time: Vanilla versus Vanilla (cupcakes and muffins)
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
[WARNING: This post is all about my cookbook. If you're here for a recipe, you can skip this entry (or check today's earlier post on Vegetarian Veggie Burgers that Are Made from Vegetables--and new food will return next time!]
I’ve been telling you about it for some time now. . . finally, I’m able to announce that my cookbook will be released and available for sale on May 15th! I am beyond excited!
Before I provide details on how to purchase a copy, I’d like to say again how very, very grateful I am for all of you out there who read this blog regularly, who leave comments, who test out the recipes and provide feedback, and who’ve offered the most incredible support for this project over the past year or so. This book would never have happened without all of you! So thank you, most sincerely, again. I wish I could bake up a bunch of recipes from the book for all of you–but for now, at least you’ll be able to bake them up on your own, too.
And so, if you’d like to purchase a copy, here are the details:
Order online: Amazon.com
- Around the middle of June, the book will be listed on amazon.com and all the other amazon sites (for some reason, there’s a delay to amazon after it is released from the publisher). Amazon doesn’t automatically keep copies in stock, but will order it from Trafford when you place an order online. However, if enough people order the book, then amazon will begin to stock it (which will speed up delivery).
- At the same time, you can also ask any bookstore to order a copy of the book for you. Since this is a self-published book, it’s not automatically stocked in bookstores. By asking them to order a copy for you, you’re also helping to spread the word about the book! (And I am guessing that they might not charge shipping fees through a bookstore, though you’d have to check with them first).
Order directly from me (Toronto area only–sorry!)
- You can order a book directly through me, payable through PayPal. Just click on the book icon at the top left of this page and follow instructions. There’s also a discount for anyone who buys more than one book at a time. (hey, they make great gifts!).
There will be an electronic book (ebook) as well!
- If you prefer not to have a bound, paper copy; if you’re trying to economize a bit at this time; or if you simply would rather print the book out yourself, I will have an electronic version available shortly after May 15th. This version is a pdf file and it is identical to the bound version (including all photos and index), except that it’s electronic. It will be available through this blog.
AND YOU CAN ALSO GET YOUR OWN COPY–FREE!!!
To celebrate the book’s release, I’ve decided to give away three paper copies and five electronic copies of the book! Anyone, anywhere can win. I’m really happy with the final product and would love to share copies with some of you!
All you need do to be eligible to win a free copy of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar is leave a comment on this post, mentioning why you’d like the book.
Now, I’ve noticed that many blog contests offer additional contest entries for those who have a blog and post about the giveaway. Great idea–but I’ve always wondered about people who don’t have a blog–how do they earn extra entries? Well, I think I’ve figured out an ”extra entry” option for you, too–just see below!
To earn two extra entries (if you have a blog), simply mention the book and this giveaway on your blog and link to this post (let me know you’ve done this in the comments); or you can bake one of the desserts on this blog (check the recipe index) and post about it, also linking to this post and letting me know.
To earn two extra entries (if you don’t have a blog), simply send an email to a friend, colleague, family member, or anyone else you think might be interested in Sweet Freedom, tell them about it, and add a link to this post (y copying and pasting the URL at the top of the page) into your email. Copy me as well (at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com). That’s it!
On May 15th, I’ll choose EIGHT names at random and will announce the winners!
I will be away for the weekend, as I’m attending the high school reunion I mentioned back here–but can’t wait to catch up on blog reading when I return (sorry I’ve been so remiss about leaving comments as well).
Have a great weekend, everyone!
[EDIT, MAY 10] JUST A REMINDER: ONLY ABOUT 25% OF THE RECIPES ARE ENTIRELY GLUTEN FREE. THE REST DO CONTAIN SOME GLUTEN AND ARE MADE WITH SPELT OR BARLEY FLOURS (though many can be easily adapted if you substitute all-purpose GF flour for the spelt).
* Or, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad (sorry, Girls)
[Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from Sweet Freedom]
Okay, let’s get to the dessert first (really, we should all eat a meal that way at least once): I received my cookbook’s (paper) proof in the mail today (the sample that I must approve before production can begin) and I’m thrilled! Now that the publisher has the approval, they can swing into action and the book should be ready by May 25th (the date by which they’ve promised it will be available). On that date, you’ll be able to purchase it directly from the publisher or (for those in the Toronto area) from me! The book will be available through amazon.com about a month after that. I’m also hoping to offer an e-book version at a lower price, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you need a reminder of what types of goodies will be represented, take a peek at the cookbook blog.
As always, thanks for your patience–and thanks for indulging me by allowing me to blather on about this on DDD! I’ll be providing all the specifics about how to order, cost, etc. as soon as I know them.
And next, our “diet” update: This week marks the end of Phase I (six weeks!) of my anti-candida diet.
Having spent the last six weeks without the company of any fruit, baked goods, desserts, sweeteners of any kind (save stevia) or any other foods that could feed candida, I’m happy to say that I do feel I’ve made progress. In a nutshell, over the past six weeks:
- I rediscovered the versatility of beans, the allure of cauliflower popcorn (minus the bucket), how much I like fresh beets, and the pleasing simplicity of millet (more on that in a future post).
- The overweening lethargy and muscle heaviness I’d been experiencing has lifted; I now find it easier to walk around, easier to walk up the stairs, easier to complete my workouts at the club (hey, septuagenarian couple with the matching T-shirts! Howdy, punky chick with the spiky hair! Nice to see ya, burly guy with the black ankle socks!), and have even extended my time on the treadmill a bit.
- Many of my sinus problems and much of my nasal congestion have evaporated. I’d estimate that my sinuses are about 70% better than when I began the cleanse.
- I’ve lost about 12 pounds. I say “about” because I wasn’t certain of my exact weight the day I started the cleanse–but I do know it was an all-time high. I’m now at the lowest weight I’ve been since I started this blog in October, 2007 (yikes! Has it been that long?)
On the other hand:
- Many of my original symptoms remain. I’m still experiencing other rather unpleasant side effects of excessive yeast, such as absentmindedness, “foggy thinking,” rashes and absentmindedness (oh, wait, did I say that one already?–ah, you see what I mean).
And so, what’s next?
Well, according to most ACD sites and experts, one should remain on the diet until all symptoms have abated, or at least six months, whichever is shorter. Six months?? Honestly, as much as I may be keen on quinoa, think tofu is tops, am enamoured of arame, or even cherish chia, I can’t see living without fruit or most whole grains for that long. On the other hand (seems I’ve got several hands, here), it’s become abundantly clear to me that I feel better physically, have more energy, and am able to lose weight when I follow a very “clean” and healthy diet such as this. As long as my system is overrun with that scourge, candida, I’ll be drawn back again and again to unhealthy eating.
And believe me, the irony of the situation isn’t lost on me: I’m about to publish a desserts cookbook, yet I suffer from an overabundance of candida–typically caused by too many desserts. And while the bulk of my diet is composed of incredibly healthy foods–ones I truly enjoy–that’s not to say that those wholesome, healthful foods are the only ones I eat. My weakness is chocolate, and more than once I’ve been hoist by my own Lindt 70%. (I’ve probably ingested enough of it over the past year, in fact, to supply all of Switzerland on Valentine’s Day). Add to that my own baked goods and treats–albeit healthy–and you’ve got too much of a good thing, as they say.
And so, I’ve decided to forge ahead with the next phase of the cleanse (which allows a wee bit more variety in the diet) and keep at it as long as I can. The basic approach on the blog will remain the same, and I’m going to attempt to include desserts in moderation (even if I won’t be eating them as much). I’m still determined to achieve that elusive ”normalcy” I wrote about way back when the major focus of the blog was the “Diet” in “Diet, Dessert and Dogs”–to be able to eat like a “normal” eater , consuming a wide variety of foods and courses (including dessert) in moderation–to kick this sweets addiction once and for all! (Or, at least, keep trying).
And when I do reach that goal, promoting a dessert cookbook–even baking all the samples that will go along with it–will be not only possible, but enjoyable.
Because really, never having dessert again would surely suck all the sweetness out of life.
“Um, Mum, while we understand that your book and your diet are important to you and everything, forget about blog updates–how about dog updates? We have some exciting developments going on, too, you know. What about my new white hairs on my muzzle–or how Chaser managed to catch that Frisbee over the fence yesterday? ”