Latte Cubes; Snack of Champions

25 03 2014

People think I am slightly crazed about jello. I eat it maybe 4 times a week. Whether people call it jello or panna cotta, it is all delicious to me. I have always eaten sugarfree jello but recently started to make versions of it for my nephew Sam. sam's birthday

Sammy loves texture in foods, and while he wasnt fussed about cake on his birthday and really preferred the paper plate, we made him tropical juice flavoured gummies for his birthday that he sucked them back. I have since tried a chocolate-banana-almond milk smoothie gummy that was a huge hit, and raspberry-coconut milk gummy. He is teething and so these are one of the only things he eats when his mouth is off.
The last batch of raspberry-coconut milk gummy cubes were fantastic, and Ken and I ate a bunch before I brought them over to my nephews-niece. I said to Ken, “I should make some adult versions of these for snacks.” and so the espresso latte gummy was born.

You could do green tea, or chai or whatever fruit you have in the freezer. My creative wheels are turning. Cool refreshing snacks that have a whack of side benefits.. WIN WIN! I just recently found unflavoured gelatin at Bulk Barn. I have included the measurements for whatever you end up using below.

Gelatin is fantastic for you.. no lie. I grabbed the list below from Wellness Mama. Tell me these aren’t good reasons to eat gelatin especially since a lot of WLS patients experience these things?

Why Gelatin?
– Supports skin, hair and nail growth
– Good for joints and can help joint recovery
– Can help tighten loose skin
– Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track
– Great source of dietary collagen
– Source of protein (though not a spectacular one) but its specific amino acids can help build muscle.”

Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids glycine and proline, which many people don’t consume in adequate amounts as they are found in the bones, fibrous tissues and organs of animals and as a population, we don’t consume these parts as much anymore. These amino acids are needed not only for proper skin, hair and nail growth, but for optimal immune function and weight regulation!

Glycine, which makes up about 1/3 of the amino acids in gelatin powder is anti-inflammatory and evidence is finding that it can help speed wound healing. Glycine in gelatin can also help improve sleep ease and quality.

PSA for gelatin – over

Latte Gummies

2 cups of strongly brewed coffee (or any hot liquid of choice)
2 packages of KNOX gelatin (or 2 tbsp of bulk gelatin)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of Splenda

1 can of coconut milk
2 packages of KNOX gelatin (or 2 tbsp of bulk gelatin)
1/4 cup of Splenda OR 8 drops stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract

If you make this with hot coffee or green tea, then you dont have to boil anything! What you do need to start with is a hot liquid. Add the 1/4 cup of splenda to the hot liquid, and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the gelatin over the hot liquid and really whisk it in. Gelatin likes to sink to the bottom, so really make an effort and give it a good stir for at least a minute. Prep a 8 x 8 pan (or whatever shape you want to make) and wipe a the bottom and sides with a paper towel that has a slosh of oil on it. This will help with the set jello popping out from the pan and not creating a mess.

Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours. Once the first layer is gelled, open the coconut milk, heat it up to almost boiling on the stove, add the Splenda and stire until dissolved, add the stevia, vanilla and unflavoured gelatin and give it a good stir.
jello coffee and milk
The only difference on technique from above is THAT YOU NEED THIS TO COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE before you pour it over the set espresso layer. If it is too hot, then it will start to re-melt the bottom layer and you will have mixing. Which isnt really a big deal because it will taste the same going down mixed or unmixed.
Pop back into the fridge for a couple of hours. Once everything is set, run a knife along the outside edges of the pan, and invert on a cutting tray. It should just slip right out of the pan. Mine stuck a little bit in the middle.. which Ken used as an opportunity to say “those are for me. You can’t eat ugly food!” and gobbled them up.
jello flipped out of pan

I got 54 squares out of a batch in an 8 x 8 pan. I calculated a per square nut so you can eat lots or some… up to you. On average, I can squish 6 cubes into a half cup container for work.
Calories 17, Carbs 1g, Fat 1g, Protein 1g
jello finale


HELLO Spring & Easter Lemon Bars

23 03 2014

Winter 2014 – please die!

My head space is into spring, and while the weather doesnt actually reflect Spring, my need to make springtime treats and foods is full on. We have had our first protein salad this past week and I am fixated on Easter treats, like carrot cake and lemony things.

When I am take out my KA food processor, I usually like to use it a couple of times before I wash it, because washing all those components are a DRAG. I decided to whip these up and then wipe out the processor to shred some carrots, daikon radish and cabbage to make a “bitey” coleslaw. I call it a twofer. Best thing about this recipe is that is NO BAKE!!

Paleo Lemon Bars

2 cups raw cashews (pieces are cheaper and whole cashews)
1.5 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
8 drops vanilla stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice**(see edit)
2 tbsp lemon zest

**EDIT(May 29th, 2014) My friend Lisi has an aversion to coconut and asked whether you could sub in large flake oatmeal. I tested this out last night and the answer is yes. Add the cup of oatmeal at the beginning as per the instructions. Reserve the 1/2 cup until after all the liquid goes in. IF after you add the last of the oatmeal, the mixture isn’t coming together as a dough, ADD another tbsp of lemon juice

Grab your food processor and throw in all the cashews, 1 cup of the coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for the end), and pulse until it is broken up. Throw in the lemon zest, lemon juice, stevia and maple syrup and whip it up until you start to get a dough forming. Add the last 1/2 cup of coconut flakes and pulse until incorporated.

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax or parchment paper and press into the pan picking off a bit to pop into your mouth. YUM. Let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and cut into AT LEAST 16 pieces.
lemon bar

Nuts on this are dependent on how large you cut your tray of spring goodness. I am quoting for 16 squares but ended up cutting my squares in half again.
So for 16 squares:
Calories 149, Carbs 6 (NET 4g), Fat 12g, Protein 5g, Sugar 2g
Suck it winter!

Cabbage Roll Soup & Bulk Barn Addiction

28 02 2014

I can’t be trusted in Bulk Barn. This is a hard place for a recovering sugar addict.. I cruise the aisles looking at all the candy and remembering how it all use to be my best friend. I can’t go into these places without some morale support and wont kid myself to think I can just “pop” in to buy some nuts and be done with it. The memories are too strong in those places, that I need a buddy.
The sobering truth is while I am healthy and almost five years out from my W.L. surgery, I have to be more vigilant about where I came from and how easy it could be to slip back into old ways.

It has been f-ing cold this winter so after my dodging and weaving at the Bulk Barn, I needed some comfort food. Enter Cabbage Roll Soup. It has all the components I love, cabbage, chorizo, and horseradish bitey-ness. I will also add it is pretty darn low in calories and mighty delicious. Ken had two bowls and said “blog worthy” so we make it again. Fart-tastic as well.. your colon loves cruciferous veggies. This is like kimchi in soup form… YUMMO

Cabbage Roll Soup
adapted from Anna Olsen’s recipe

3 strips diced bacon or pkg of PC chorizo
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef or pork
1 clove garlic
6 cups diced green or savoy cabbage
1 28oz tins diced tomato
2 cups sodium reduced chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
to taste salt and pepper
garnish sour cream

Cook diced bacon or chorizo in heavy bottomed soup pot until crisp and the fat renders out. Add chopped onion and let the onions cook for 5 minutes until they start to get soft. Add celery, carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and garlic and let it all brown. Pull off any excess fat coming off the meat (or not) depending on how you are feeling.
pork cabbage
Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes, chicken stock, cider vinegar, horseradish, paprika, and bay leaves.

Bring to a strong simmer and then turn down to low simmer and neglect until the cabbage is yielding. This soup gets better the next day so let it simmer all day or make it the night before and reheat. Garnish with sour cream and serve.

This makes about 10 cups of soup, serving size is 1 cup. Ken, who doesnt believe soup is a meal, ate two bowls and told me he really liked it.
Nuts are as follows made with chorizo and ground pork. This will change with bacon and lean etc.
Calories 217, Carbs 10 (7g NET), Fat 12g, Protein 18g, Sugar 5g

Sweet Potato Pie & Public Television

27 02 2014

While I do get to do cool things at work all the time, and every day is something cool which makes you feel grateful for working at such an interesting place, I sometimes get asked to do SUPER cool things, like be on TV. So a year ago the metals conservator at work asked me to participate in this segment of Fakes and Forgeries on Museum Diaries. She has an Asian Zun metal pot that was a pastiche, meaning it was a Frankensteined piece put together from one excavation site. Back then, they werent as exhaustive about grid-ding up a site as today.
blog pork
So part of the gig was to see if all the parts of this pot that had been shoved together were compositionally the same, or not.
You’ll have to watch the episode to find out whether the Zun pot was real or not!
me on tv

So while we watched the episode, we ate Sweet Potato Pie. How does one deal with leftovers post WLS? It is a reality, because you dont eat the way you use to, and pork shoulder is usually a pretty meaty-large cut. You make a pie out of it!

Sweet Potato Pulled Pork Pie

(say that 10 times fast)

1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed (~1.5 to 2 cups)
Cooking spray
salt and pepper

2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 bunch of green onions
2 tbsp oil
2 cups shredded leftover pork or any meat you have going

3 to 4 eggs, scrambled

So I did this in parts because I wanted to hit the gym on my way home leaving Ken to assemble this and pop it into the oven. So the night before I sprayed a pie plate with cooking spray, pre-heated the oven to 375 and molded the mashed sweet potato into the dish like a pie crust. I squirted the pie with some more cooking spray and popped it into the oven for 20 minutes to bake up.

While that was baking in the oven, I heated the oil, and sauted both the onions and mushrooms until they were yielding. Threw in the leftover pork, gave it a good mix and plopped the whole thing into a storage container for the night. Pie crust came out of the oven, I left it to cool, and them saran-ed it and popped in the fridge for the next night. I can make this all in one shot, just read on. No cooling necessary.

The next night, Ken pre-heated the oven to 375, plopped the pork-veggie saute into a bowl, cracked 4 eggs in and mixed it around. Poured that into the sweet potato crust and popped it into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.. just until the eggs set.
sweet potato pie

The interior “Money” shot. Look at all that crispy pork. SO delicious.
sweet potaoe pie 2

This makes 8 servings and would be fabulous for a brunch crowd.
Calories 257, Carbs 15(14g net), Fat 16g. Protein 14, Sugar 4g

2014 Goal: To Meet Mr. LottoMax

2 01 2014

I had an up and down year in 2013 that tested my resolve to put myself first and to not let life throw me into a whirlpool that forced me to keep my head above water.
After spending time with family over the holidays, taking a break from work, and looking back on my year, I have come to the conclusion that “working” Katherine dominated 2013. Once I step away from my daily career job, I put on various other “work” hats on my ‘off’ hours. I haven’t taken a night off to just watch TV, or sat through an entire movie, read a book or started a new knitting project in 2013. I moved away from blogging because people expected it from me, which sucked the fun out of it.
This past weekend just before the New Year I was sick… super sick. I usually push through sickness but this Saturday I just couldn’t and ended up taking a nap. When I woke up Ken said to me “you must be super sick because you never nap”. He’s right.. it was my first nap of 2013 and the first time that I wore my pajamas past lunchtime. Ridiculous that I am that structured.


This year I have decided to just have more fun, to hit a knit night at the Purple Purl at least once a month, to take a course just for the fun of it and not because I should or need to for work, to allow myself one day off a week that I am not running to a class at the gym or a cooking class for someone, to avoid people who just take and take and never give, to do more Yoga and to laugh. I have always struggled to live in the moment. I currently live in the ‘next steps’ of any future projects, planning my workouts for the week and my next day’s dinner and sorting out next steps in ongoing projects.

I started doing Joga each morning and committed to a month of practice to get back into a routine. This is my 30 day Yoga Un-challenge :). Every day I get up an hour early and start my day off with something that I love. I am grateful for my life, my work, my family and friends, my existing cat Kelvin.. all of the above is just fine-tuning.

Happy 2014 everyone and let this be a year full of hope, looking good naked and meeting Mr. LottoMax 🙂

Cookie Butter = Spreadable Dessert

28 11 2013

Whomever thought crushing up cookies, adding a fat and shoving it into a jar was a genius. I first had some cookie butter when I was in Tucson last year and saw it in Trader Joes. The back label was marginally friendly for me and I was excited promising myself I would smear it on celery as a carbs with extra carbs.

I ended up using a spoon. Needless to say the half eaten jar remained in Tucson because it was so darn good and the amount I was eating was putting me over my surgical sugar limits.

I was getting a bunch of recipes together for the holiday “Survival” series for the York Region WLS group and I came across an unfriendly DIY cookie butter recipe. I thought “this would make a great hostess gift if it turns out” and set out to make a batch to see if this was a good gift or a recipe that just doesn’t ‘cut it’ as a lower carb-sugar free option. Ken and I love this stuff and smear it on everything. I have given it to friends who are “OMG this is fabulous”… on and off plan friends. The true testament to how good something is is when people who aren’t sugar free consume massive quantities! Make some for yourself and see what you think!

Homemade Cookie Dough Butter
adapted from wickedgoodkitchen

1 cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia butter, sun butter…)** I used cashew butter as it has the sweetest taste
1/2 cup butter, salted or unsalted
3 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup *whatever sweetener you care to use given your diet
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
A dash of nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt or less (not course ground)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla
3 tbsp mini chips (optional)

Brown the butter by heating it up in a sauce pot on low heat until it becomes golden brown. Take the butter off the burner right after it reaches this point to prevent burning. In a medium sized bowl add the melted browned butter, nut butter and coconut flour and stir.

Next, add the sugar free maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and vanilla and stir. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out of the fridge and stir in the chocolate chips. If you add the chocolate chips before going in the fridge they will just settle to the bottom. Store the cookie dough butter in the fridge in a mason jar or an air tight container.

Use this as a gift for a hostess OR serve with fruit or crackers for a sweet dip at your next party.
cookie butter

40 Cloves of Garlic Roasted Chicken – Vampires Beware

28 10 2013

Ever since we went to the garlic festival a couple of months ago I have been wanting to make this recipe. I have read about it in Larousse Gastronomique, which is hailed as the ‘World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”. My brother and Sister in Law bought me a 70s edition for my birthday a couple of years ago and I love it. If you love cooking, this is one of the must-have books on your shelf. It outlines every French cooking technique and provides recipes on all classic French dishes. So I have been thinking about this recipe for some time.. waiting until Ontario garlic is in season. That stuff from China in the grocery store isn’t really worthy and I hate to buy it. I was holding out.

There are many species of garlic, all producing slightly different flavours and clove size. I used 4 heads of garlic which produced about 7 cloves of garlic per head. It wasn’t anywhere near the 40 clove count, but these were monstrous cloves, so it made up for it.

This recipe also outlines the perfect way to roast a chicken (capon). I will NEVER roast a chicken any other way from now on. I have, in the past, had dry chicken with crispy skin, OR juicy chicken but no crispy outer bits. This was the perfect combo of OMG juicy and OMG crispy chicken skin to pick at.

I also will always buy a capon. They are larger than a roaster chicken, and usually start around the 5 lb mark. They are slightly cheaper per pound, and because of the added size, I think come out juicer when you roast them. The extra chicken I have left over I will translate into another night’s dinner. See my post later this week on chicken and broccoli casserole. A comfort food classic that I have de-carbed and paleo-ized.


40 Cloves of Garlic Roasted Chicken

adapted from Larousse Gastronomique

1 chicken/capon, 5 lbs (I prefer a capon, as they are juicer & slightly bigger)
1 lemon, sliced in half
4 bulbs of garlic, dismantled and skins removed ~ loads-o-cloves
1.5 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
fresh thyme
salt and pepper

(not an exhaustive list of ingredients, right??)

Plop chicken on a plate on the counter for 20 minutes to bring up it to room temp and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Give the bird a good rinse, and pat dry. Get the butter out of the fridge and work it until it is soft. Lather up the bird on both sides with butter, like you are applying suntan lotion.
Wash hands.
Separate all the stems from the thyme by running your pinched fingers up the stem and pushing off all the leaves of flavour and use maybe 3 tbsp of fresh thyme and smear it all over the bird. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and tie bird up if you so choose or leave as is. Place cut lemon inside of bird cavity and plop bird into roasting pan.

Add the cloves of garlic around the bird, and the stock. Pop into the oven.
So the times and temperature will seem a bit crazy, but there is a method to my madness:

~ so for the next 15 minutes – uncover chicken into a 350 degree oven

~ timer beeps

~ cover chicken with foil-lid, and cook for the next 25 minutes at 350

~ timer beeps

~ baste chicken with fluids & uncover chicken and roast chicken at 450 degrees from 35 – 50 minutes**

**I set the timer for 20 minutes in, and shoved a meat thermometer into the bird so I could tell when it hit 165 plus degrees. I checked it to baste and to top up stock around the chicken. At this point all the garlic cloves are all squishy, so I smeared some on the outside of the chicken skin. Delicious.

Take out and leave on counter for 20 minutes so the internal temperature comes up to 170 and all the juices re-distribute into the bird.

NOW.. the pan juices – OMG the pan juices are nusto yummy on this. I skimmed off some of the obvious fat, and then proceeded to MASH the yielding garlic cloves into the pan juices scrapping all the bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. No thickener required.

We carved the bird, threw some broccoli on the side, nibbled on some garlic chicken skin and poured garlic pan juices over the whole thing.
There was complete and utter silence last night at dinner. Best chicken I have ever eaten.