Monday, May 26, 2014

I Think It's Age.

The quest to get in better shape seems more important lately, and also harder.

I will be 39 in August, and I've never really been a person who "feels old" or complains about not being 20 anymore...because seriously, who wants to be 20 anymore? Not me.

But lately, I must admit that I am noticing some telltale signs that my youth is fading. (So dramatic).

* I think I mentioned this before, but my body just doesn't "bounce back" after eating something bad like it used to. Every time I have a slip up and eat something to which I am sensitive, it seems it takes longer and longer for my body to recover. My stomach stays bloated, my skin stays dull, I feel tired and sluggish for longer, etc. I am really getting to the point where I can no longer eat what I want and not care about the consequences, because the consequences are basically "feeling like sh*t for weeks".

* Aches and pains! For the last few days, it's been my feet. Especially my right foot. I thought I might have hurt myself working out but it's not that kind of pain, it's like...bone pain. And I'm STIFF when I wake up in the morning. In fact, getting up at all is annoying. Good lord. Take me out to pasture already.

* Can't sleep. I've certainly had trouble sleeping before but it usually catches up with me after a few days and I sleep from exhaustion. Not this time. Sleeping in front of TV? NO PROBLEM. Sleeping at bedtime. Nope. Not happening.

* My skin. I have good skin days, and EXTREMELY BAD skin days. I don't mind fine lines and wrinkles, they are bound to happen and I don't feel as though I need to go get Juvedermed or Botoxed just yet. But I've been breaking out lately. I never really suffered from acne in my teens, so I guess my face is making up for it now. It's all in the chin/ jaw area too which apparently is a sure sign that it's hormonal.
And the age spots. Oh, God, the age spots.

Sorry about my hair. I washed it this morning and it is just too clean to do anything with right now. And also, my blowdryer broke. 

It's like a bunch of freckles decided to gang up on me.

I think tonight, a gentle workout is in order. I think I might do Stretch 40 from Turbofire. It's like a simplified Yoga routine that warms you up and stretches everything so you feel relaxed and energized afterwards.





Seems like a good choice for this cranky grandma.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Cookies That Changed Everything.

I have a massive sweet tooth.
I don't feel like any meal is complete until I have had dessert.

The problem is, I am no longer a Spring Chicken. I am not old, nor do I feel or look particularly ancient - however, my stomach simply isn't with it anymore. It is aging. And it no longer tolerates things it used to, such as wheat, dairy, too much meat or fat.

I know, I know, they recently came out with a study that basically said that unless you have Celiac Disease, there is no way you could possibly be sensitive to gluten. I know about this study, because several of my friends have gleefully posted it on Facebook, to make sure everybody knows that Science Has Done It Again.

So maybe I'm just imagining the bloating, the joint pain, the sore gums, the fatigue and the nasal congestion that all go away when I avoid things that have gluten in them.

Anyway. The problem with avoiding gluten is, of course, that you have to stay away from the baked goods that always brought you such joy. A lot of gluten free products in the grocery store simply aren't very tasty, and gluten free baking at home is a freaking science experiment.

Until I discovered these cookies.
They are from my favourite recipe site, The Detoxinista. I make a lot of things from there, because it's all really easy.

They are grain free. They are paleo-friendly. They are vegan. They are naturally sweetened.

And somehow, they are DELICIOUS. Even my husband loves them, and he doesn't eat anything vegan on principle alone.

You will need:

2 cups of almond flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened. You can also use butter if you so desire. I do not.
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt (I use kosher salt like I do for everything)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chip

First, you preheat your oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients together - that means almond flour, salt and baking soda. For almond flour, I usually buy bags of sliced almonds at Costco and make my own in the NutriBullet. Takes seconds, and is so much cheaper than the storebought stuff. If you are using store bought, I highly recommend this brand:


It's way fluffier than the Bob's Red Mill brand.

Then, you add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix it all together - then fold in the chocolate chips.
I used this kind (I really just want to post pictures):


I didn't mean to buy bittersweet but it actually turned out very tasty.

Then it's time to plop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. I use a small ice cream scoop - look at this picture!


See? It even looks like regular cookie dough. Doesn't quite taste like it though. Trust me, I've tried once or twice.

After this, you have to form the balls into cookies. You do this with wet hands (very important step - your hands MUST be wet. Don't ask questions), picking the dough balls up one by one and flatten them into cookies. They will not spread or melt in the oven like normal cookies do.

Bake for 9-13 minutes depending on your cookie preference. In my oven, 11 minutes is the magic number. They are slightly browned on the outside, still gooey on the inside.

Why yes, I do have a picture of the finished cookies!


This plate will be gone before the night is over, and my husband isn't even home! Maybe I should save him a couple.
I might.
Maybe.

This recipe was how I realised that it is possible to bake tasty sweet things that are a bit healthier for you, and it doesn't have to be hard or take forever. These cookies are a staple in our household. I don't know how long they keep for because we always finish them within 24 hours.

And they do NOT give me that sexy "6 months pregnant" look that regular cookies do. Winning!

(Sorry, I know people don't actually say "winning!" anymore).


Friday, May 16, 2014