You’re Baking Me Crazy

If you had met me a few years ago, you would likely have discovered my abhorrence for all things cooking-related. Kitchens were a waste of space (although a coffee maker made them acceptable). Sure, I “knew how to cook” thanks to my lovely and patient mother, who taught me all the basics at a young age. Did I like cooking? I thought it was a waste of time and energy. So no.

woman-cooking-in-kitchen
Then I started a diet called the Paleo diet, as instructed by my MD. I knew right away I had to do this well, and do this right if there was a chance of it making a difference. I’ve been on many diets before but the Lyme disease had reached such a horrible stage, it was determined that going carb-free (and sugar free and dairy free) could drastically improve my symptoms and overall health.
It wasn’t easy at first, I cannot tell a lie. My time in the kitchen was not enjoyable and I struggled to find food that fit the restrictions yet tasted good. That is actually a tall order.
Fast forward a year or so. After losing 75 pounds and improving so dramatically (going from being bedridden to having good amounts of energy combined with significantly less pain), I was hooked on the Paleo lifestyle! And that is exactly what it has become too me: a lifestyle, not a diet. I plan to adhere to this lifestyle for the remainder of my days.

baking-ingredients-1
While working an average of 30 hours a week and looking after my dog, not to mention my health, I have managed to put in quite a few hours in the kitchen. Check out my “punchcard” below for hours spent cooking and baking:

September 2016: 40-45 hours
October 2016: 25-28 hours
 (I was very sick this month but still managed to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen)
November 2016: 45-50 hours
December 2016: 60-65 hours
January 2017: 40-45 hours

Let’s break that down. Besides working a “real” job those months, I essentially employed myself on more than a full-time basis in the kitchen. That’s nearly 222 hours/5 months.   If I had been getting paid, I would have made about $17000.00.

(That’s getting paid at a low rate, however; if you’re interested in the exact math and calculations based on experience, location and standard salaries in this field, message me).
Despite my new skills being worth a fair penny, I have not employed myself in order to pursue a career as a chef…although that might be fun! Worth more then a salary is the knowledge and skill to make meals that follow very strict guidelines while also tasting incredible. I have it on good authority from family, friends and co-workers that my food tastes good. Many were shocked to learn that they had just eaten something gluten/sugar/dairy free…and enjoyed it.

Here are a few more statistics you may find interesting:
In the past 5 months I’ve made approximately…
  • 84 c. Soup
  • 36 c. Applesauce
  • 10 dozen Cookies
  • 14 dozen Muffins
  • 8 Casseroles
  • 10 loaves of Banana Bread
  • 5 types of Granola
  • 5 types of Protein Bars
  • 4 different paleo Dog Treats
  • 15-20 other various Paleo desserts

In the past 5 months I’ve also learned to can…did I tell you about that?!? Another time. 

muffins
For the majority of my time spent in the kitchen, I’m enjoying myself. Mostly I’m so grateful to have found food I enjoy that falls within strict guidelines. And my self-confidence has been undeniable boosted. Makes me believe in miracles! 

 

For more information on the Paleo diet, check out these links:

https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/

http://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/

http://thepaleodiet.com/

Also, check out a few of my other recent blog posts:

Feverfew…a migraine miracle?

The Issue with MOLD

My First Day

Still Working, Still Baking

 

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Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables!

vegetables picLet’s face it: when you go on a low-inflammation diet (which is often recommended for chronic illness), life becomes all about the vegetables.

Yes, there is meat…eggs possibly…a few baked goods. But doctors and nutritionists push the greens.

Aside from fresh salad, I was at a bit of a loss as to creative vegetable ideas. Steaming frozen peas? Done. Cutting up celery sticks and filling them with peanut butter? Done.

Now what?

Lately I have come across some excellent recipes for creative veggie ideas. Last night, for example, I made zucchini chips (yummy – definitely making them again!) Asian-infused vegetables, made in the oven, were a big hit with my family – search for those on Pinterest. Vegetable shakes, like squash smoothies, have proved equally popular. Grilling a medley of vegetables, like in this recipe, is a great way to add some variety to dinner.

Since I’m ill, the crock-pot gets used fairly often. Putting some cut-up veggies in the crock-pot along with olive oil and some seasoning is a simple and easy way to get greens into your diet.

If you try something or have a favorite vegetable recipe, share! I’m always looking for new ideas!

Baking Favorites

When you are chronically ill, you often have to stick to a restrictive diet.baking fav pic

This usually translates into, “you do all the cooking.”

Previously, I hated cooking. My mom, bless her heart, taught me how in my teens but I just didn’t see the point.  Then, I went on the Paleo diet.

Suddenly, not only was I gluten-free, I was grain-free, dairy-free and of course, sugar-free. It was all about the vegetables, nuts and meat.

Since going on the Paleo diet I have become a much better cook and an even better BAKER. Granted, most of the things I make are considered “weird” by the average American, but I make “weird” taste good!

Take, for example, the dessert I made this week: Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie. Yes, it was sugar-free, dairy-free and grain-free. And, it was amazing!

Or consider the smoothie I made that had cauliflower and squash in it.  You couldn’t even taste the vegetables and it was nutritious as well as delicious.

Let’s be honest, when you feel sick all the time, healthy bakes and yummy shakes are an easy way to uplift your spirit.

I love Coconut Flour Cookies, Lemon Blueberry muffins, and Banana bread.

If any of my readers try these recipes, or have favorite recipes of their own to share, message me and let me know – I would love to hear from you about your own baking experiences!