That Overwhelming Feeling

Wow oh wow I have been stressed out this week. I’m so far behind at work that I’m starting early and finishing late almost everyday and it’s taking it’s toll. I’m coping, I think a huge thanks to my elimination diet for that, but I am noticing that I’m more tired than I have been for the last couple of weeks and I’m a little irritable. Nothing compared to how I used to be, but enough to notice.

I’ve also had heaps on outside of work. Dinner is getting later and later and more rushed because of everything I have to do. I had my depression support group last night and I almost didn’t go because I was exhausted. But I’m so glad I did. If I had stayed home, I would have spent the night up and down doing little chores like I always do, instead of relaxing. I decided that I needed to go, because I knew how mentally tired I was getting and I figured I’d regret not going.

We did an exercise I haven’t done with the group before. They layed out a heap of random photos and asked us to choose the ones that best represented how we had been feeling for the last few weeks and then to explain to the group why.

I chose a picture of a busy market in Vietnam or Cambodia or somewhere, I’m not too sure. It was a very full picture, lots of people bustling around, lots of stalls, bikes and karts. It was also a little blurry which spoke to me as well.

I chose this picture, because that’s how I feel at the moment. I told the group I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. I told them that I felt like my days were blurring together. I explained that I was coping very well considering, but that I was berating myself for the mistakes I had been making at work. I have the full support of my company, as we are all in the same boat at the moment, so I’m not worried about getting into trouble, I just get angry at myself for making mistakes in the first place.

It all came rushing out and I felt better almost instantly. Obviously I’ve been sharing my feelings with Zombie, but there’s something about the people I go to group with, I feel like they completely understand and I’m comfortable telling them anything even though three months ago I hadn’t met a single one of them and I’ve actually only seen them about 8 times.

The point of the group is not to offer advice, or ‘fix’ people, but just to give us a safe environment where we can feel comfortable talking about what we’re going through without feeling judged Or looked down on. We all share as much or as little as we want, there’s no pressure. Sometimes just listening to how the others are dealing with life is enough to make me feel better, because even though they are on their own journey, I can relate to aspects of it.

We are all different ages, sex and race, with different backgrounds and different stories. I am the youngest which is not a situation I’m in very often, but I like it. It makes me feel almost nurtured. We meet once a fortnight and I always look forward to them. I was so nervous the first time but everyone was so welcoming and friendly that the nerves left pretty early on into the session.

I’ve seen a few counsellors over the years and they’ve certainly helped, but I really feel like I get more out of group than I do from a counselling session. These people understand completely. They don’t say “do this, that’ll fix it,” instead they say, “it’s ok to feel this way.”

They have helped me to understand that I am not broken, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with me, I am just struggling a little. They have helped me be strong enough to smile even when its difficult. They have given me the guts to share my story, on this blog and my Instagram account. They have given me hope that it won’t always be this way.

I recommend anyone who is struggling with depression to research support groups in your area. You don’t have to tell people that you are going, they are 100% confidential and completely safe. Every group is different, so you might have to try a few different ones before you find the one that suits you, but when you find that group, you will know.

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                          Still Smiling

Today at work was probably the worst day yet. There was a power outage last night in our area and while it was sorted within a few hours, it wrecked havoc on our servers. I spent the whole day doing everything manually and I will have to start early again tomorrow to catch up on what I couldn’t do today, but I felt calmer throughout the whole day because last night, even though I couldn’t be bothered, I went to group.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week, whatever it may bring. I’ll check back in on Sunday with my recipe of the week, no idea what it will be yet though.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Recipe of the Week: Smoothie Time

Happy Sunday all, I hope it’s been a good one. Mines been pretty ordinary. I worked yesterday (1st Saturday overtime I’ve done in forever!) So today was filled with weekend tasks that didn’t get done yesterday, including cleaning out the turtle tank, which is my least favourite. But it’s got to be done.

A quick update on my fifth week: I’m pleased to report that my Eczema is nearly all gone! For the first time since I was 17, I almost don’t have any affected areas on my skin. It’s amazing. I’m not sure why, but last night and this morning it did flare up around my eyes, but it’s almost gone away again. The only difference this week was I wore makeup three days in a row which I don’t usually, but I’m hoping that that’s not the reason.

Other improvements are catching a cold that only lasted one day and was very mild in comparison to every cold I’ve ever had! I thought I was going to be slogging through it for days but a hot lemon and honey drink and an early night cleared it all up!

I’m still sleeping really well and not having to deal with daytime fatigue. I have been a little more tired this week, but I think that is because work has gotten crazy busy and I’ve been running in overdrive to keep up. I wake up earlier now though. I find it difficult to sleep past 5.30 am now, but it’s ok because I’m not drained all day for it.

My hair doesn’t need washing as often. I used to have to do it every second day because it would start getting oily. Now I’m able to leave it for four days before it needs work, which is handy because I have very thick hair and it’s a pain to dry. Also my split ends are few and far between which is crazy since I hardly ever cut my hair.

My nails are stronger and shinier. I usually wear nail polish but when I take it off my nails are no longer dull underneath. They’re also not flaking and snapping like they used to. It’s nice.

I’m not using my asthma inhaler as often, I’ve only had one headache since day 3 and that was when I had a cold and I’ve been calmer and happier and achieving more on a day to day basis than ever before. I generally had no idea how awful I felt all the time, I thought it was just normal!

So due to the success of week five, I’m happy to announce that week six will be my final week of the detox period, before I start reintroducing foods. This will give my eczema a chance to go away completely before I add anything new into the mix. And I’m starting with eggs, because if I have no reactions to them, a huge amount of doors recipe wise will be opened to me.

So onto this weeks recipe of the week. Smoothies!

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I love smoothies. I used to like them because I thought they would help me lose weight. Of course they didn’t because I was creating them with all the wrong ingredients. And I was always still hungry after.

When I started clean eating about 5 months ago I discovered new flavours and additions that made my smoothies not only filling, but guaranteed to taste good as long as I didn’t add beetroot (sorry all you beetroot smoothie lovers out there, I just can’t stand them.)

I started buying bananas ahead of time, over-ripening them and then peeling them before wrapping individually in cling wrap and freezing them. Not only does this thicken my smoothies up, but it gives them a natural sweetness from the word go.

Banana is the base in all my smoothies, but I wanted to share with you a few of my regulars that I can still have on this elimination diet. Pre diet I would add nuts and seeds to give them nutritional boost, but I’ve temporarily stopped that as a lot of those are off the menu for now.

I do top all my smoothies with a teaspoon of chia seeds tho. Chia seeds are a nutritional super food rich in protein that can be added to so many different foods, so why not? Moving on to the recipes.

Banana Mango

This is my favourite and I have it at least once a week.

1 frozen banana
1 chopped mango
1 tsp liquid honey or vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
200 ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy. This is a sweet tropical tasting smoothie, creamy and delicious.

Banana Kiwifruit

1 frozen banana
1/2 chopped mango
1 skinned kiwifruit
1 tsp liquid honey or vanilla extract
200ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes

This is a zesty tasting smoothie.

Go-to Green Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 peeled green apple
Large kale stalk and leaves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lemon squeezed
200 ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes

This is the first green smoothie I ever made or tried and I love it. It never fails and I have it regularly.

Pimped Out Green Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 skinned kiwifruit
1 large kale stalk and leaves
1 cup fresh spinach
1 tsp liquid honey or vanilla extract
200 ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes

I created this one this week and I was blown away by how wonderful and zesty it was. Will definitely be adding it to the rotation.

Avocado Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 skinned kiwifruit
1/2 ripe avocado
1 large kale stalk and leaves
1 tsp liquid honey or vanilla extract
200 ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes

Wow, just wow. The avocado made this the thickest creamiest smoothie I’ve ever had. I gave it a go this morning and I wish I thought to try it sooner. It’s so good! The downside was that Zombie wouldn’t give me a kiss after because I was “all yucky and bananery”, his words not mine

So that’s my top five for my detox stage of my elimination diet. I am a little fussy about my fruits which is why a lot of the ingredients are reused in several recipes, but I also am quite limited. I am looking forward to being able to add berries and seeds and peanut butter to these the most.

What’s your favourite smoothie? I’d love to hear about it and give it a go when I’m able 😋 I also share all my smoothie recipes on Instagram, @katie_tron7

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

The Day That Changed My Life

I’ve been feeling a little stressed today. Nothing compared to how I used to stress out, but enough to put me on alert. I had a cold earlier in the week. A mild one, but enough to knock me out on Tuesday. I woke up feeling fine on Wednesday though so that was a bonus. Not a fan of getting colds in the summer!

Work has been exceptionally busy this week. I work in logistics and export so it’s an expect the unexpected kinda job,  but this week it has been especially so. We’ve recently opened a new warehouse, which is fantastic for the company. This week we welcomed a new client so everyone has been particularly busy making sure that everything gets done, while still keeping on top of everything else.

It’s made for some long hours and a challenging week. Today I discovered that I had made a few mistakes, one of them which could have had serious repercussions. Luckily I was able to smooth it over and come up with a solution, but I still felt a bit down and anxious over it. On the plus side, not as much as i would have a few months ago. I left work late, but still smiling.

I was tested again while I was cooking dinner. I was trying to improve a recipe that I’d created last week and I completely messed it up. I managed to make it edible, just, but it was another blow in my difficult day. I was feeling a little low and I saw the warning signs of anxiety creeping in, which had the potential to sink me even deeper. So I stopped, took a breathe, counted a few blessings and continued on my way.

It made me think of how far I’ve come and why. Nearly eight months ago it was a very different story. It was then that I experienced the darkest day I’ve ever had. And it changed my life.

My depression and anxiety had been dragging me deeper and deeper for about a year and I was in denial. I was ruminating to no end and convincing myself that everything was terrible. I was canceling plans left and right and my friends were getting sick of it. Partly because I wasn’t being honest about why I was canceling and I think they knew it.

I had convinced myself that Zombie didn’t want me and that he only kept me around to help with the rent which of course was ridiculous. I’d lost interest in everything I enjoyed, except eating. I couldn’t be bothered cooking, but I just wanted to eat crap all the time. I sat around most of the time, drowning in my own thoughts. I came up with elaborate plans on how my life could get better and blaming everything on other people.

I went to work, but only because I couldn’t afford not to. It wasn’t a distraction. I spent most of the day on autopilot with my tasks and ruminating to excess. Sometimes I would cry at my desk. I tried to hide it, but there were a couple of times that people noticed. I would brush it off, I wasn’t ready to share. I made a lot of mistakes and freaked out over every little thing. And of course some days I just couldn’t bring myself to go to work so I wouldn’t. I’d spend the day wallowing in my own sorrow, alone and sinking deeper.

I am very grateful to have never been suicidal. I couldn’t be bothered living, but the actual act of ending it wasn’t something that crossed my mind. I was irritable and snappy all the time and just not interested in helping myself change. I thought it would always be that way. It wasn’t ok with me, but I had accepted it.

Zombie tried to help. There were times he would be talking about something, anything, when all of a sudden I would start crying. And when he asked me what was wrong I could never answer. He was very supportive but it must have been so hard on him. I’m very lucky to still have him in my life. I his it from my family and friends. I honestly think the only reason I didn’t hide it from Zombie is because I couldn’t.

The worst part about all this, the catch 22, was that I had no valid reason to feel this way and I knew it. Which of course made me feel even worse. I kept saying to myself, “you have a good job, a good partner, a roof over your head” but it never worked. I viewed my emotions as selfish, which made me hate myself even more.

One day in July I woke up, knowing it would be a bad day. I just knew. I was in a foul mood, I spent the entire time I was getting ready for work crying and I ran incredibly late.

I arrived at work and hadn’t even turned my computer on when a workmate show me some paper and said “what’s going on here?” I lost it. I snarkily said “oh yeah I know all about that seeing as I’ve just walked in and haven’t turned my computer on!” This was very out of character for me. He responded by snapping back and as he walked off I started crying. Another workmate asked me to pass the stapler or something innocent, but I couldn’t even look at him. He asked me what was wrong and I told him I didn’t know. He asked if I needed to talk to someone and I nodded. He told me not to worry about the other guy and to take a few minutes.

So I did. I pulled myself together and got to work. I felt horrible but I was good at faking it by now so it was business as usual. Until I had to go into the warehouse to talk to one of the forkies. He noticed right away how distressed I was and asked me about it. Again I burst into tears. I ended up running off and went straight to my supervisors office and managed to slowly tell him what was going on, through my tears. He sat me down, got me some water and told me he was going to talk to HR to get me some help.

After a while he came back and told me that they were going to organize a counsellor for me. I agreed, so he took me up to the board room and sat me down, offered me a biscuit and some more water and left me while they sorted something out. I’m not sure how long I was there for, but I cried the whole time. I text Zombie, told him what had happened and that i wanted to go to the local mental hospital. He responded well considering, but he was stuck at work so couldn’t do much.

A while later the door opened and my mother walked in. I was stunned! If they had asked me if I wanted my mother called I would have said no, but it turned out to be the best thing they could have done! Finally I had to be honest with mum, even though I’d kept it hidden. She knew of course, but hadn’t known how to approach it.

They sent me home with mum and a counsellor came to my house to chat to me. I told her that I had no reason to feel this way and she said “yes, but you do feel this way. Sometimes you can’t question it and you just have to let it happen.”

At the end of the session I felt a little better. We made another appointment then I was alone again. My supervisor called and said I could take the rest of the week off, stress leave. Zombie came home and we talked, a lot. I finally was as honest as I could be about what was going on with me.

After that day, I slowly got better. Work payed for some of my counselling and offered to do everything they could to help me, which I am so grateful for. Mum checked in on me regularly which made me feel good. Zombie gave me pep talks in the mornings and hugged me tight when I cried. My counsellor set me up with some support groups, which I still attend now, they have been invaluable. I went to my doctor and started on medication. I started eating less junk and exercising. Slowly at first but then getting regular.

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I didn’t change overnight. I still cried a lot, I still had dark days, and I still hated myself for a while. But slowly I got better. I’m still on medication now but I’m handling life so much better. I look forward to the future instead of dreading it.

The best advice I can give anyone feeling the way I did is don’t ignore it. I did and I ended up way worse than I needed to. It wasn’t the first time I’d been depressed, but it was by far the worst. I couldn’t have gotten through this without the support of my workplace, Zombie, my family and the professional help, but I’m so glad I finally asked for that help.

Wishing you all a happy Friday tomorrow 😋

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Recipe of the Week: Three Vegan Pancakes

It’s that time again!

But first, wow, what a busy week! And today! This is actually the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down and take a break all day. But, the house is looking amazing, the garden is doing fantastic and all my meal prep for next week is done and all I need to do is cook dinner so it’s all worth it. That’s one of the good things about following this diet. Yes, I am tired from how full on today has been, but I’m not ‘done’ like I would have been a few weeks ago. It’s a good feeling knowing that I have the energy to get everything done, instead of just bits here and there.

I’m sorry to report but my eczema is still very up and down. It is definitely a whole lot better than it usually is, but it’s still not close to being gone. I’ve been doing a bit of research this week and I’ve read that there can be a link between PCOS and eczema, which may be a good sign for me. This diet is not ideal for my PCOS. It’s not bad, because its incredibly healthy, but because I’m so restricted as to what I can eat. While i’m not having any refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, I can’t restrict my carbs. I wouldn’t be eating much at all without carbs at the moment! So I’m going to do another week on the first stage just to check if I do have any more results with my eczema. If not I will start reintroducing foods the following week and slowly swing my diet to lower carb and see if that helps my eczema.

I haven’t had any stomach pain since the first week, which is great, I used to get it almost daily. And something else I noticed this week, I haven’t had a headache since day 3. That’s 3 and a half weeks without a headache. I usually get 3-4 headaches a week! Very very pleased about this!

But on to this weeks winning recipe.

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Three different gluten free, sugar free, nut free vegan pancake flavours with one base recipe!

I’m particularly excited about these, I’ve finally gotten my ratios right and made some elimination diet friendly pancakes, that are super yum! I’ve made a whole heap of them and frozen them for quick breakfasts over the next few weeks. Simply microwave (thawed or frozen) or pop on a toastie grill and reheat to desired temperature.

The three different flavours are: apple and cinnamon; banana; spiced pumpkin. So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Base Batter:

1/2 cup quinoa or buckwheat flour
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Apple and Cinnamon flavour:

1/2 green cooking apple, cubed, or 3 tbsp apple pie filling
1 tsp cinnamon

Banana flavour:

1 very ripe banana, mashed

Spiced Pumpkin flavour:

100 gm pumpkin, boiled or baked
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Heat a very non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Beat all batter ingredients except the oil together and add your chosen flavour. If the batter is too thick add a little more coconut milk and water, in equal parts until you reach desired consistency. It should be smooth but not too runny.

Pour some of the oil onto your pan and spread around. Spoon batter onto the center of the pan until desired size. I made 6 small pancakes out of the batter.

Cook until bubbles appear on the top then carefully flip. These can be a little sticky so make sure you unstick the pancake before flipping. Cook until underside is desired colour.

I serve all of these with fruit of my choice and top with liquid honey.

I really liked these. I offered a taste to Zombie but he said he’d only eat them if he was in a Bear Grylls situation and his survival depended on it. He’s very fussy when it comes to fruit and veggies.

I’d love to hear any other ideas for flavours so please comment with your suggestions and hopefully I’ll be able to try them soon 😋

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

How Instagram Helped My Journey

It’s been another busy week for me. Work still hasn’t calmed down, which is great, because February is usually very quiet. There’s a lot going on within the company too which is pretty exciting, makes for long days which is tiring, but I love my job so it’s very rewarding. It makes such a difference to work for a company that actually cares about it’s employees.

I’ve had a few early starts and late finishes this week, not entirely out of the ordinary but it’s not usually this regular, which has made being prepared and staying on track with my diet all the more important. I’m in the middle of my fourth week and I’ve noticed some wonderful changes so I’m pretty keen not to mess it up. I haven’t had a lot of time for experimenting in the kitchen this week but I’ve still got plenty of ideas so I’ll be making time over the weekend.

I wanted to talk today about social media and in particular Instagram, because I truly believe I would not be doing as well as I am without it.

I’ve had a Facebook for years, like so many others. I’ve been through all the stages, rediscovering people i went to primary school with or hadn’t seen for years, collecting friends just to appear popular, adding people because they would water my crops (I admit, I let Farmville take a year of my life) and putting up a gazillion photos a day to the point where I think people might have blocked me.

I still love Facebook, but I’m definitely not even remotely as hardcore about it as I used to be. I was definitely addicted, but realistically I didn’t gain anything from it.

Enter the ‘discovery’ of Instagram

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I didn’t really know anything about it at first. I’d heard that all people did was post pictures of food on there, which is ultimately why I downloaded it and chose the username @katietron_7. I love food, in case you hadn’t noticed. I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, even when I was really depressed, because trying something new and then seeing people enjoy it always gives me a huge buzz.

I quickly discovered hash tags. We all know what they are and I swear they opened me up to a whole new world. Suddenly people from all over the world were ‘liking’ the picture of my shoes that I’d just posted. OK admittedly not many people, but enough to make me notice.

I started searching using words I thought might be hashtags and my mind was blown. Here was a whole community of people like me, trying to lose weight and have a healthier life. I started following a few people. Within a few weeks I started seeing healthy recipes, workout tips, inspiring transformations and words of encouragement left and right.

People started commenting on my pictures and I started to make instabuddies. I have quite a few now and I always look forward to seeing their posts, everyone is so encouraging and motivational and helpful!

I discovered through a friend that there are yoga challenges run constantly and some of them you can even win prizes. I haven’t won anything physically, but I still feel like a winner because I’ve learned so much about yoga in the process.

I post a lot of different pictures, mostly food, yoga poses and fitness related pictures, but also the occasional everyday life pictures.  It helps keep me accountable. I get so much encouragement from people on my posts and in private messages, it really keeps me going.

I don’t have a lot of followers, but that’s not important to me. You get the occasional person commenting on your pictures asking to be followed, but for me it’s about the experience. Since starting my elimination diet I’ve been opened to another whole new world on Instagram, this time with people on a similar journey to me, with depression or eczema etc, who like me are trying to find a natural solution. The advice and encouragement is phenomenal.

I was talking to one of the guys at work yesterday about Instagram. He’s on there for cars and bikini models. Other people just post shoes. If you have an interest, it will be on Instagram. I follow a few non health and fitness related accounts, but for me its the food and yoga poses that are getting me through this journey and I’m hooked.

Everyone has different tools for what they want to achieve, for me Instagram has become an important one. Anything that makes me smile and motivates me to keep going is a winner in my eyes.

Hope you all have a great rest of the week, I’ll be back on Sunday with another recipe of the week.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Transformation Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! Or should I say Transformation Tuesday!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my elimination diet is not about weight loss. And it’s not, however for as long as I can remember I’ve been unhappy with my weight.

I was the fat kid in school. All my friends and schoolmates were ‘normal’ but I was bigger. It wasn’t until I got to Intermediate school that there was even another kid in my year that was ‘big like me’.

I got teased for it, of course. To be honest I don’t think it was as much as I imagined, but it was enough to make me nervous about my size. My brothers and sister have always been really skinny too which didn’t help. They knew how to upset me with it too. I was the annoying older sister and I remember once or twice being called ‘fatty molofo’, looking back I guess so they could get rid of me. I’m also sure they remember it differently, I mean siblings do pick on each other!

I remember an ex once saying in conversation, ‘someone Katies size’. I was horrified at the time, because I thought I was skinnier than a mutual friend, but apparently not. Then I got this image of me being twice the size I actually was.  I don’t blame him at all for how I responded to that comment becaus looking back my reaction was ridiculous but I think there were a lot of factors going on then. Undiagnosed depression and anxiety playing a huge part.

I used to convince myself that I was eating healthy. I worked at McDonald’s at the time, so I got cheap food. This was obviously making me bigger. The only exercise I did was walking to work (I didn’t drive back then). So I started getting salad burgers on my breaks. And chips and drink. So really, I wasn’t eating well at all. But I convinced myself I was.

I spent years obsessing about my weight but the reality was I was never going to lose it if nothing changed. I went on plenty of ‘diets’ but after two days would treat myself. It’s not a treat if it’s regular!!! I’d join gyms and go for a few weeks but that was about it.

My PCOS was (and still is) a huge factor. For women with PCOS, weight loss is not often as simple as calories in verses calories out. But I’ll talk about that another time.

And of course every time my depression flared up I would eat and eat and wallow so I’d always gain back any weight I lost. One year work held a ‘Biggest Loser’ challenge, which I won. I did really well! But then for various reasons I got depressed to the point where work intervened (another story but I’m so grateful for that) and gained a bucket load of weight in the process.

Long story short that bout of depression was when I realized that I needed to change. I got help, which I’m still benefitting from. I started doing yoga and experimenting with healthy foods in the kitchen. I started occasionally biking to work. I started looking for the positives in every situation.

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The picture on the left was taken at my mothers wedding on the 12th of December, 2012. It was not long after this that my depression hit and I gained about another 5 kgs. The picture on the right was taken tonight, the 10th of February, 2015. Just over two years apart, just under 20 kgs difference. Just look at my waist!

I refuse to be the girl on the left again. Eating well and looking after myself is my top priority. It started out as a weight loss venture but it became so much more. I now value myself, I feel good about myself and I’m positive about the future. All from wanting to lose a bit of weight. I still have a way to go but I know that as long as I continue to look after myself, I will get there in the end.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Pizza on a Cauliflower Base

It’s Sunday again and that can only mean one thing, recipe time!

It’s been an interesting week this week. I’ve still kept up completely, 3 whole weeks without a single slipup! This is especially well done this week as for some reason I’ve been craving hard! I don’t know why this week is different, but every single day I’ve wanted to cheat. I’m wondering if it is in part due to the lack of planning, as I mentioned in previous posts I didn’t make a menu for this week, so everything was a bit rushed.

I’ve been experimenting a bit this week. I managed to make some vegan pancakes which were very nom, banana flavoured and topped with mango and liquid honey, delicious! Unfortunately I just couldn’t get them to work the next day, even though I used the exact same recipe. Weird but just one of those things I guess.

I attempted to make some muffins. This was a fail!. I can’t have baking powder and I really really wanted to try it without flax/chia eggs (a vegan substitute for eggs that works very well, but takes a little effort), which basically made for tasty muffins that were rock hard. They were alright warmed up, but not ideal. Work in progress.

I did make some delicious salads, and I changed up my gf df sf ef basil sauce which made for a delicious topping for chicken and zoodles (zucchini very thinly sliced, grated or spiralized, awesome replacement for pasta) which I will totally be making a regular.

Energy wise I’ve been really good, except for one day when I was very drained. Interestingly it wasn’t the night I spent up because my hay fever and asthma were randomly playing up. I was actually feeling really alive that day, well, after the hay fever cleared up.

I even found time to bake some regular gluten-dairy-egg and sugar laden chocolate chip cookies for Zombie. They smell amazing and I tell you it was really nice to not have to worry about whether or not it would turn out, I just knew it would. I do make pretty awesome cookies if I do say so myself, just can’t eat them anymore!

I’ve got quite a bit planned for next week. I’m going to keep at the muffins and pancakes and I’m also going to experiment with cauliflower recipes.

Which brings me onto this weeks recipe. Chicken Pizza on a Cauliflower Base

This is my meal prep for next weeks work lunches, I mean who doesn’t like pizza for lunch!

I was very very iffy about the base for this. I’ve never made one of the regular ones before and I wasn’t even remotely sure I was doing it properly, all I knew was that I’d need some sort of egg replacement, some gluten free flour and  a decent amount of cauliflower.

I was so pleased when it worked out OK, I was jumping around the house and Zombie laughed at me a little, but I don’t care, this was a success!

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Chicken Pizza on a Cauliflower Pizza Base

Cauliflower Base

1/2 cauliflower head, riced
1/2 cup of gluten free flour (I used quinoa)
2 tbsp chia seeds (or grounded flaxseeds)
6 tbsp water
1 tbsp dried basil
Salt and pepper

Chicken Topping

1/2 chicken breast, cooked, sliced or shredded.
100 gm pumpkin crown
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp basil
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 zucchini, ribboned
Small red onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Rice the cauliflower in a food processer, or blender (I had to do it this way, i recommend blending one floret at a time). Pour the cauliflower rice into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 5 minutes. Drain the water and leave the cauliflower to cool for a while. I waited about half an hour.

In a small bowl mix together chia seeds and water, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for about 10 minutes to thicken. This is a good substitute for egg. You can also grind up flaxseeds but I find chia doesn’t need grinding so it’s my preference.

Preheat oven to 200℃.

Once the cauliflower is cooled, wrap it in a clean tea towel and squeeze as much of the water out as you can. Return to the bowl and mix in chia and water mix.

Combine all other ingredients. Line a baking tray or dish with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly over in your desired shape. I used a baking dish as a guide for a squareish pizza. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. If you are satisfied with the colour, turn over carefully and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 180℃.

Peel and cube the pumpkin and boil or bake until it is soft. Mash until smooth and add 1 tbsp olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and basil. Spread over the pizza base evenly. Top with spinach, chicken, zucchini, mushrooms and onion. Sprinkle with remaining basil and drizzle lightly with olive oil

Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked then serve or leave to cool and divide up for lunches.

This pizza can be eaten by hand but a knife and fork will be easier.

Hope you all enjoyed this weeks recipe.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie