Cassava Flour Banana Bread

Since going paleo last year then falling off the wagon after about three months of the aforementioned paleo (no grains) I have realised that gluten and I are not the bosom buddies I had previously believed.  I won’t go into details of my experience of gluten after having eliminated it for a long period of time but let’s just say it was unpleasant.  I have been eating paleo again since January  and my body is back to liking me much more again. 

After a couple months I was getting bored and “needed” baked goods but wheat flour is just not an option.  I played around with almond flour and coconut flour a bit without joy.  A few weeks ago we started getting a fruit/veg delivery that included blemished fruit for juicing or smoothies.  In that flat of fruit I got about a dozen bananas that clearly had a short shelf life so had to do a big banana bread making session.  I also had an excess of apples so made jars of applesauce and applesauce muffins so it was a long session. I made coconut and almond flour recipes which were nice but nothing to write home about in my opinion.  

I ordered up the cassava flour shortly after that as it had been mentioned several times as being very good.  I didn’t have any recipes but  read on Pinterest  that it can be used one for one in place of wheat flour.  I found my old banana bread recipe and adjusted it to be primal friendly.  
125g butter

125g maple syrup

2 eggs

4 Bananas

350g cassava flour

1tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp hemp seeds
I used coconut oil to grease the pan and poured in the mix.  Baked at 180 C ( around 350F I think) until a knife comes out clean. 
It came out more moist than the coconut and almond flour options.  This one was very more-ish which meant it was all eaten within a couple hours (normally it takes a couple days for everyone to munch through it all).  This recipe inspired us to have a go using cassava flour in chocolate chip cookies today.  
I am now in love with cassava flour.  I very much recommend it for anyone avoiding gluten or grains entirely. 

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Life as I know it today

Christmas seems to have gone pretty well.  Everyone is happy with gifts and no major fights.  I have even heard giggling from the two teens in the shared room.  Shocking I know!  The food has been a bit much for me this year.  I honestly feel like I have a good hangover in the mornings.  I am also working on my New Years resolutions….or at least goals for the future.

My lovely husband likes to spoil me with gifts.  Would be fine if we were millionaires but stresses me out a bit about finances since we are very average.  I know we had the cash to buy this handy dandy iPad I am typing on since we sold the house so this is an irrational worry….one of many.  I also got a Dyson V8 vacuum cleaner which makes me a happy girl but it seems to bother others that I honestly wanted and was excited about a vacuum.  I had my heart so set on the vacuum that I was disappointed by the iPad because I didn’t expect that I would get two expensive gifts so when the V8 came out I was as giddy as a kid with a new toy.  My family seems to think I am crazy….probably so but I have my new toy and that makes me happy.

Crazy BIL didn’t start any shit while at the in law’s house (was plenty shitty beforehand though) but we were both so anxious about him starting shit that we decided to leave early rather than spend the night.  The middle kid was also jonesing for his new computer.  While we were there it was a nice day though and that is what matters.

Another thing about no major fighting is that my girls who share a room have sent quite a bit of time giggling away in their rooms.  Do they disagree and have tiffs?  Of course they do but not as bad as I have been expecting since we moved into the new house. I feel really blessed to have happy and healthy kids and the giggling brings me so much joy.

Since it is Christmastime and all we have been  eating anything we like.  There has been chocolate, cheese and lots of pastry, cake and cookies. I believe I am feeling a sugar hangover every morning lately. Chocolate doesn’t even interest me at this point as I have had so much.  I hate to even imagine how much weight I have put on in the last week.  It can not be good I am sure.  My aim at this point is to start gently get back onto my paleo wagon by New Years Day.  By then all the nibbles and treats should be long gone and I can do a full clear out of my kitchen/pantries.  I have been reading a paleo style book (eat fat get thin)and listening to a primal podcast (primal potential) trying to work on my mental state and be ready for the first of the year. 

 I have been referred to the bariatric surgeon for gastric sleeve surgery so  really must get back into the dieting game now so I don’t get sent back down to the useless dietitian and psychologist.  Not so impressed with the endocrinologist either after seeing the letter they sent to my gp (I get a copy of the correspondence).  The doctor wrote to the gp that I had been following an extremely restricted diet of no carbohydrates at all.  I had told them that I had been following a paleo/primal diet while my eight loss was very good.  I explained how the diet works and that I was having about 100-150g of carbohydrates everyday in the form of non-starchy vegetables and fruit.  How on earth the supposedly intelligent people can see this as no carbohydrates at all is beyond me.  

Now for my goals for the future which I guess are resolutions considering the time of year.  I am going to be getting back onto my paleo diet and make sure I go to the gym five days a week so as to get my weight down.  I don’t know for sure if I will be allowed to get the gastric sleeve surgery so have have to just keep working toward losing another 120 pounds.  I don’t expect I can do it all in one year by any means and I don’t think I want to even if it is possible.  I think a none surgery goal for my weight loss is another 50 pounds this year.  In addition to the weight loss goal which I guess must be a part of any self-respecting fat girl’s New Years resolutions I also have a goal of improving my household organisation.  I want to do better about keeping my home clean as well as planning out shopping.  My last goal is to spend some quiet meditation time each day so as to help myself relax more and hopefully reduce anxiety.

Life is pretty good right now.  I have a few things to work on in the future but nothing I can’t do.  I am blessed with a husband that treats me like a queen and kids who are wonderful people.  I hope you have all had great holidays this year and that next year is better than ever before.

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Blueberry smoothie

Just a simple little recipe.  No added sugar but it does have 35g of carb so not for you Keto guy.  It also has 34g of protein though and 2 servings of your 5 a day so a good healthy start to the day.  I use my nutribullet for this with the big cup which it quite completely fills.  My big appetite is my downfall.

Now on with the recipe.


100 frozen blueberries

1 good handful (about a cup) spinach

30g shelled hemp seeds

200g Fage 0% Greek yogurt

300ml or to fill line of almondmilk

Blend until smooth.

I did say this was a simple recipe.  Often I assume something this simple isn’t worth mentioning; but then again, perhaps for those that tend to overthink and just for inspiration it is worth just throwing it out there.  Tomorrow I will using raspberries for a bit of a change as well as substituting chia seeds as I am out of hemp but that is the beauty of the basics….they are a starting point.  

I like the creaminess I get from the yogurt as well as the protein boost.  I also add the hemp mostly as a protein source though the nutritional stats for it are pretty good. Most importantly for me right now is that I had noticed my fruit and vegetable servings had been suffering a bit lately so this smoothie packs the punch I need.  I hope you enjoy this breakfast as much as I do.

Oh and for the record, the regular Greek yogurt with fat is fine too but my store only had the 0% so I made do.

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Moved and settled but OMG the laundry

We sold our house and got rid of all those pesky debts and have a still small emergency fund which all makes me feel happy and secure. The new house we are renting is beautifully decorated and came mostly furnished with good quality furniture and appliances. There have been a few teething issues but mostly getting on well.  There is only one niggle that is driving me nuts…..he house only has a washing machine and no dryer.

I know I have managed without a dryer many times in my life but I hate it.  it is the rainy season (ok that is about every season really) so hanging out is not na option most days.  When it isn’t raining the temperature is so low that all I can do is pray for freeze drying (ok the truth is that colder might actual help by causing freeze drying as it is really just cold and damp air).  There are few accessible radiators so my typical wet weather option is out and there is no dryer.  Sometimes the clothes take 2 or more days to dry and smell foul in the end.

What I need is ideas for drying faster, generally having less laundry and making them smell nice.  

I got fabric soften in sunshine fresh but not yet sure what it will smell like by the time the clothes dry. They do smell nice (though chemically) when first out of the wash.  I would prefer a natural option but the ones I have come across have been unscented.  I also don’t like the heaviness in my chest from the chemical option.

Less laundry would help too but with a family of five, of 2 adults and 3 teens, the clothes stack up to a full load or more everyday.  My husband cycles to work so has a cycling outfit, work outfit and an afterword casual outfit every workday. My eldest is now working as a dishwasher in a pub so has a college outfit and a work outfit several days a week. Middle kid helps a bit by rewarding clothes but to an extent that is just dirty….. there is a smell.  My youngest generally has one outfit a day and is a skinny thing with small clothes but that doesn’t help much.  The problem has been enough that I find myself beginning to use more paper towels than ever to avoid using up my fabric towels and needing to add them to the wash.

How do I get the laundry to dry faster.  I keep running out of tea towels and cleaning cloths because it takes days for things to dry.  I even have a heater in the back room surrounded by three large clothes airers trying to help things along.  I love having an extra back room with was meant to be a quiet reading area but it is constantly full of wet clothes . 

Clothes are the bane of my existence. It is never ending and it is burying me alive.  Perhaps it has already killed me and the foul smell is my rotting corpse buried under the wet clothes.

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Slowing down

I was reading a blog post about simple living about figuring out what that means to each individual and it got me thinking about not only what simple living is to me but about what my interests in general happen to be. Looking at my topics for blog reading on WordPress, I realised that this might be the place to start to figure out how to slow down my life in the right way. My topics are home education, paleo, and simple living.  In a way they all are very interrelated for me. 

Home education allows us to work at our own pace and individualise our children’s studies but also means we can set our on schedule or work with none at all if we want.  Home education mostly relieves stress for me.  Of course I have my wobbles at times when I worry we are “behind” in some way but day in and day out it feels like a simpler way of life.

Paleo as a way of simplifying life.  Many people would probably think this has no relation to simple living or that it makes things more complicated.  In some ways it does complicate things as I am the only one in the family that wants thus way of eating but it has great potential to simplify things.  I fell into paleo because it was easier to grab some cooked meat and s pack of berries at the shop than to pack a lunch.  I found I really enjoyed my simple quick meal and it both kept my calories down and filled me better than a sandwich, crisps and an apple.  After a while I noticed that my weight was coming down more easily too.  For me the key to paleo being a simple way of eating is not bothering with finding paleo alternatives to non-paleo foods. Right now this is an area of struggle for me though but I guess also an area to work on to get to my simpler life.

Simple living as a topic seems obvious but it is actually well too broad.  It tends to include everything from people talking of their embracing meditation to full on homesteading to finding God. Many of these things I skip over.  I know for me that religion does not equal calm. Homesteading is too much work and would drain me quickly. Meditation is nice and something I am working on but not something I general enjoy reading much about.  I haven’t really figured out exactly what I am looking for in this section.  I know I like the living with less stuff (but not white and sterile) kind of minimalism always catches my eye. Anything about saving money or working within a budget draws me in as well. Perhaps I need break down this category further to find my simple.

What is your simpler way of life?  What do you think would bring you to a calmer existence?  Have you found your simple or perhaps on the journey?

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Migraines, diets, moving house and finding jobs

Sitting in the noisy pub with a migraine waiting for my eldest to finish her trial run as a dishwasher hoping to get a job. It is 15 minutes after she was due to finish with no sign of her.

I decided to be naughty and eat a pb&j sandwich with pretzels and corn chips for dinner.  I am now regretting that choice as it sent me running for the toilet again.  Gluten seems to be running straight through me anymore which makes me sad.  I know that eating paleo makes me feel healthier but it would be nice to have a naughty treat without distress.

Our house is sold (subject to contract) and the buyers are pressuring to have us let them come in and measure up for their furniture while we are trying to get our stuff moved out.  It is chaos here and stressful as well and I don’t need this extra hassle while moving and trying to get everyone everywhere they need to be…sometimes at the same time in different towns.

Now back to the girl trying to get her first job.  She got to the pub 30 minutes early and worked 15 minutes late in her trail.  She has been told they would call her.  So far that has been a sign of a no. They did say they would discuss shifts with her on that phone call which seems a good sign but I am not holding my breath at this point.  I just hope they see her as a keen worker and hire her as she really does deserve a chance.  Happy thoughts.

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Squirrels at a Rave

Some days you feel like you are kicking education butt all over the place and others you just feel like you are getting your butt kicked.  Lately I feel the latter.

I only have the one teenager left at home for their education as the 15 and 16 year old are attending college these day.  The eldest is studying special effects makeup and the middle one is just doing general education like English, maths and science.  The youngest is focusing on English,  maths, and biology.  Since it is just the one to focus my energies on we have a very full schedule of stuff to do and little of it happens at home.

Her English is actually an online English and writing course which we have struggled to get into the swing of things. Week one we failed to figure out how to get signed in for an hour of the hour and a half of class time.  The second week we realised that we had failed to find the homework until 2 days after it was due.  Today it is week three and we discovered that we had only found half the homework and had missed 2 weeks of it for the reading part of the class. You wouldn’t think we could manage to be so scatterbrained about one class but I am sure the teacher thinks we are the biggest dipshits on Earth. 

Maths has fallen to the wayside along with biology for the last week.  See we have sold our house and last week was the lesson of finding a place to live.  As it was just youngest and I to get the job done we were house hunting all week around the activities and classes schedule.  We did find a house but still waiting for a go ahead on the referencing.  Didn’t expect it to take so long.

Every week we have a science class, minecraft club, fencing/climbing and 2 gymnastics classes.  We also have an art class once a month, St John’s cadets and cat care volunteering.  You would think I would have the sense not to leave the house without my diary but not me.  I managed a new record for over scheduling myself by quadruple booking myself for this Thursday and double booking Friday.  I have rescheduled as best I could but things are still a bit manic on Thursday morning with pizza making and a makeup tips appointment. It is only going to get worse as we start moving in earnest around everything else.  October may kill me but I am still excited about our move.

Perhaps one day I will feel like we have all our ducks in a row but I think it is more likely I will have the squirrels at a rave happening instead.  Crazy times really but it is still a great adventure!

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Update on weight loss

I am nearly 9 months into this diet now and have lost 55lbs.  I have made several changes to my diet and discovered a source of my digestive issues.  I have gotten my walking going again but still need to work on cycling again. Hard work but I am getting on.

I started off my diet doing the usual low fat low calorie diet and just tried to get moving more.  That was painfully slow and I was barely losing  a pound a week on average following a diet for losing 2 lbs a week.  

A couple months in I started eating meals of just meat and fruit/veg.  It wasn’t on purpose really.  I was just trying to get in more protein with less effort.  That month I lost 10 lbs. 

Then after a month I was feeling bad about eating so much meat so tried to go vegetarian.  I couldn’t keep my protein up.  I was hungry constantly.  I lost no weight even though my exercise was much higher and my calories lower.

By this time I had been dieting for 4 months and I decided to go back to the month that accidentally worked.  I knew it was paleo like so I read up a bit more about paleo/primal and stuck to it strictly for about 2 months.  I was less hungry again and lost about 30 lbs. 

July came around and so did vacation.  I cheated on my successful plan and had burger buns and diet soda.  I then had trouble getting back on track.  I had been struggling along until 2 weeks ago.  I lost no weight and yo-yo’d back and forth.  

I also found that every time I cheated with gluten items I had significant digestive trouble with a few red flags.  I figured out after some experimenting that it was only gluten items that caused the trouble so eliminated it.  I don’t want to give up on paleo though so kept trying to get myself onto the paleo most of the time.

About 2 weeks ago I knuckled down and have been about 80% paleo again.  I have been careful to stay gluten – free during the other 20% of meals.  My weight loss has perked back up and I am down another 5lbs.  Now I just need to stay focused.

.  I have come a long way but still have a long way to go as I am only about a 1/3 of the way to goal.  Have to keep walking and I will eventually get there.

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PB protein shake

I was thinking that you might enjoy my recipe for a peanut butter protein shake. Sometimes cooking up porridge or a fry up is a bit hot mess in the morning.  It is nice to have a few non- meat/egg based meals as well as finding something that provides a whole lot of nutrition.  It isn’t strictly paleo obviously as it does have peanut butter but you can always substitute almond butter if you like.

So here goes:

1 serving Vanilla Protein powder (I use        usn diet fuel ultra lean but any should  do)

2 TBSP peanut butter (natural is best)

2 TBSP chia seeds

400ml water 

Cinnamon to taste

Sweet and simple with no extra sugar added.  The sweetness from the protein powder does the trick.  I use a good bit of cinnamon….probably nearly a level teaspoon of it but it doesn’t overwhelm the rest.

Now let’s talk nutrition remembering this is based on used the usn diet fuel.  Toal calories are 507.  I know that sounds high but is a a very filling shake and not small either.  The idea is to be a meal in itself.  The protein is a whopping 40g per serving.  Carbohydrates are 32 with 17.2 of it fiber which is nearly a whole day’s worth.  Sugar is a measly 4.4g which is slightly under 1 tsp…almost nothing.  Fat is 22.6 grams pretty well spread over the saturate, poly, and monounsaturated fats.  The chia seeds even get you some omega 3.  As for vitamins A and C, you get 30% of your daily needs.  Over 60% of calcium RDA and 50% of your iron.  It also packs a nice potassium punch of nearly 700mg while being low in sodium.

I sometimes substitute a bit of pbfit for the peanut butter.  It is one of those powdered peanut butters that has had some fat removed.  I am not worrying about fat but as it is easy to measure and pour into a shake or porridge rather than messing with the sticky peanut butter mess I have been giving it a go.  It does a nice job. 

Hopefully this recipe will be a nice breakfast or even lunch addition to your day.   Enjoy!

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A day off

Today I have had a day off from paleo eating.  Not sure why I chose to take the day off but I thought I might share my observations about this day.

Breakfast: a cup of tea and then 2 mini cups of hot chocolate while at a car dealership.  I failed miserably at having breakfast as I was hurrying out the door expecting to be going to a farmer’s market.  Our cash car was sounding particularly bad so we redirected to a dealership and bought a 3 year old car.

Lunch: sandwich of cheese and onion chutney with a sprite zero.  Just didn’t have much in the house and grabbed quickly as this time we were going to the market.

Snack 1:  mini vegan friendly chocolate bar.  We were at the market and the other got big bars of chocolate and I just wanted some but not that much.  23g was the size.

Dinner: 5 beef and black bean tacos with lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado and cheese in corn shells. So many levels of just not paleo.  It didn’t taste anywhere near as good as I remember.  

Snack 2: cup of tea and 4 digestive biscuits.   Sort of stale tasting to me.

I really did not enjoy anything I ate.  It was bland and boring.  Well maybe not the chocolate but definitely the sandwich and tacos.  

By western culture standards my protein was low.  My carbs were mediocre so high for paleo standards.  My fat was high and mostly saturated.  My sodium was sky high my potassium was pathetically low.  I got enough calcium apparently but vitamins A and C as well as iron were way too low.  Normally when I am eating by paleo standards I meet all my vitamin and mineral standards, my sodium is low, my fat is mostly unsaturated and my protein meets the levels that My Fitness Pal requires.  The only saving grace is that I managed to stay within calories even if they were empty ones.

My conclusion is that paleo meets my needs much better than sandwiches and homemade tacos.  
Update: after a day of eating non-paleo I am now having my first migraine since I started paleo eating in May.

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