Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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How to make apple pie

kaichronicles-make apple pie

It’s Sunday. And Sunday is my regular baking day. I’ve always loved to bake and now that it’s winter, I find myself in the kitchen a lot.

Growing up in Canada, dessert was a constant. Especially fruit pies. I really miss seeing fruit pies on menus in Australia. It’s rare so I make them at home. Expect to see a flow of dessert pie recipes here on Kai Chronicles. It’s my way of helping the world. One pie at a time.

Let’s start with a classic: apple.

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How does my garden grow? The pros and cons of growing your own food.

herb basket

fresh coriander and broccoli ©Jennifer Morton 2014

Growing your own vegetables is not an easy thing to do. Well, not for me anyway.

I love the idea of growing my own food. I love to just pop out to the herb patch and steal fresh snips of coriander, basil and parsley any time I’m in need.

Right now, my celery is flourishing  – it obviously loves the Australia winter. The stalks are finer and thinner than the ones from the supermarket and a bit more chewy but it’s nice to know that there are no sprays or nasty stuff on it – maybe a few ants.

celery

Gorgeously green celery. ©Jennifer Morton

I do struggle to keep the broccoli going. It seems to go to flower before the vegetable has time to grow much bigger than my thumb. It’s still edible and great for stir-frys.

broccoli

The snails and caterpillars love my broccoli leaves. ©Jennifer Morton

I’m quite keen to pull my biggest leek and make a leek and potato soup before it gets too warm here in Western Australia. It’s beautiful with fresh or dried Thyme. Yum.

leek

Soon to be soup. My biggest leek is almost ready. ©Jennifer Morton

I want the goods but I don’t want the work involved.

This is a bone of contention between Mr M and I. He moans because I don’t spend any time in the garden (he does most weeding and maintaining).

I just don’t have a green thumb, which is shocking considering my mother and step-father were both professionals gardeners!!

I remember being a teenager and sulking because I had to help weed and pick vegetables. If I had only paid attention and soaked up that education (that I saw as punishment at the time)!! Regret is a bitch.

So, I don’t like weeding, pruning, watering, sun protecting, planting or getting my hands dirty.

But I LOVE picking, preparing and eating freshly grown, chemical-free herbs and vegetables (and it feels like it’s FREE cause you forget how much the boxes, seedlings, soil and gardening tools cost).

carrot

My first carrot. How cute it that? ©Jennifer Morton

I think I’m getting better at it. I get out there, if only for 5 minutes, every few days to maintain my scattered gardens. And I reap the rewards at dinner time!

If I can do it, surely anyone can!!

Do you grow your own food? Why?

 

 


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Kai time

I love food. Love to eat it and love to cook it.

Kai means food and I know I have not written much about it lately. And well, I’m still not going to write much about it because I think looking at food is much better than reading about food.

So, feast your eyes upon this. (©Jennifer Morton)

pancakes

Pancakes: A classic Canadian breaky

Harira

Moroccan Harira…I love this sooooo much.

choc muffins

Chocolate muffins: my guilty pleasure

Feb 24 popcorn

Popcorn: A healthy snack

salmon dinner

Salmon with rice and sautéed veggies: A clean and delicious dinner

strawberry tart

Strawberry tart: bright and beautiful

lemon tart

Lemon tart: pucker up

sticky date pudding

Sticky date pudding: a favourite classic

It’s pretty clear that desserts are favoured in my household. I do love to bake and cook and my family and I are well fed.

What’s your favourite meal or dessert?

 

 

 

 


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Foods I cannot live without

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photo courtesy of Kraft Canada

Since I’ve upped my  commitment to fitness, I have found that I can eat almost anything and not feel horrible: physically or mentally.

And believe me, I love that.

Because I love food.

All those times I had to “restrict” food items was like torture.

Now, I do not restrict certain foods because my body rejects them but because I just don’t want to put that crap in my body.

Crap food to me is:

  • sausages and sausage rolls
  • meat pies
  • hot dogs
  • commercially made cakes & muffins
  • colourful breakfast cereal
  • fast food

You get the idea.

Even though my diet is quite varied at the moment, I do generally eat quite healthy.

But there are some non-health foods that I simply love and refuse to give up forever. I may not eat these everyday or even every month, but if it’s around I cannot resist.

  • peanut butter on white bread
  • chocolate (ok – so I do eat this one most days)
  • ice cream
  • donuts
  • cakes, cookies, dessert pies – now the saving grace here is that 98% of the time, I make these from scratch
  • cheese
  • pizza
  • lollies

I love baking so my biggest downfall is the homemade treats I make. At least I control what goes in there and I almost always reduce the sugar. If my sense of taste and smell wasn’t ruined by nasal polyps, I’d be a baker by trade.

banana cake

banana cake with cream cheese icing

I think much of my food issues are mental. A control thing.

Food’s not killing me so why do I treat it with such contempt sometimes?

Acceptance is key but I do realise I cannot have it all. If I want to eat whatever I like, I must do the work to keep the excess kilos off my body. It’s that simple really.

What not-so-healthy food  can you not live without?

 

 

 

 


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Discipline Master or Control Freak?

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My latest restriction was planned as 14 days with no sugar. To me, no sugar means NO SUGAR, including all sweeteners and fruit. I lasted 2 days then I had to have low-sugar fruits and honey. For those 2 days, I felt incredibly hungry and I didn’t sleep well. Since adding the fruit and honey, I’ve been fine.

In spite of this failure of mine,  a friend called me a Discipline Master. I thought this term was so much friendlier than Control Freak.

Now that I have had all my test results back and there is nothing physically wrong with me, I wonder, ‘Well, what the hell is wrong with me?’

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I do not have food allergies.

I do not have a bacterial infection.

I do not have a major hormone imbalance.

I do not have bowel polyps.

I do not have cancer.

I have read several times over the past few months about how restrictive diets are becoming a health trend but if there is no medical reason for the food restriction, you could be adding to your issues by eliminating certain food groups. I am so very guilty of this one.

Every time I restrict, I do it in the name of my health. And I do feel better, eventually. But now, I am beginning to think that all my restrictions are more about power over food, not about my good health.

So, I’m loosening up a little. I had pasta the other night and today I had one piece of chocolate.

All my restrictions started in 2005 when I was in search of relief for my chronic sinus problems (nasal polyps). I knew I had polyps but controlling them was difficult. My former boss had much success with Ayurveda, what Indians call the science of life, so I decided to give it a go.

Each week, I would drive myself from Te Anau to Queenstown (New Zealand) to see the practitioner. She would massage me to work out the toxins. I took many herbs in tablet form. I restricted my diet on her recommendation. I was Vata so I had to stick to a Vata reducing diet. I lost 4kgs (8lbs)  rapidly but I was not overweight at all. She said it was toxins. I was now underweight and extremely thin (which I loved). Within a month, I felt great. It didn’t do much for my polyps, if anything but I felt and looked like a million bucks.

I stuck to this new regime for about 5 months before I caved. Two months after starting the Ayurveda sessions, I moved to Fiji which would be great for an Ayurveda diet. Did you know that half the population of Fiji are of East Indian descent?

I was very unhappy there. I was living and working with my new husband and it was not going well. I started to eat bread. Not all the time but I did have some. I also had the odd cocktail,  those were the days when I rarely drank but alcohol was definitely not part of my Ayurvedic regime.

Not long after that, I got pregnant and once that was confirmed, I allowed myself to eat whatever my body wanted, including meat (I had been a vegetarian).

Eat-No-Meat

The first time I became  vegetarian, I was 12 years old. My family had moved from the city to the country and my stepdad started to kill dinner. I was certainly influenced by an older sister who refused to eat anything “off the farm”. I remained I veggo until the age of 16 when I was a runaway and McDonald’s hamburgers were the cheapest things to eat, but that’s another story.

My issues with food are long and varied. I was a very skinny kid and remember being scrutinised for not eating enough. I was so shy, I didn’t like to eat in front of people, not even my family. I’m sure that is another story as well.

When I was 18, I got a job at Dairy Queen and became the Queen herself. I ate so much ice cream and chicken burgers, I gained 20 pounds (9kgs) in a matter of a coupe months. I had never gained weight before and eventually it got me down. It was gone by the time I was 23 thanks to stress and a prescription of Fluoxetine.

The next 7 years were food obsession free. I ate whatever I wanted, I drank like a fish (some of the years),  I didn’t have a weight problem and besides my sinus and respiratory problems I  was healthy.

When I lived in Sydney in 2001, I fell back in to the obsessive food wars with the added title of exercise freak attached, just for fun. The crazy thing about that is when I look at the photos from that time, I was puffy and not thin or healthy looking at all. I used to binge eat because I couldn’t cope with the restrictions I put on myself. When I think of that time now I think, that was crazy.

But is what I’m doing now any more sane and stable?

Mr M has “suggested” more than once that I have disordered thinking when it comes to food. When it all comes down to the hardcore facts, the truth is this.

I don’t want to be fat. I don’t believe obesity is a disease. I believe it’s the result of gluttony and disrespect to your body. This is not a scientific fact, just my opinion.

I don’t need to go to see a “doctor” to look at my history and see the signs that I have body issues. I certainly don’t need to go on some BIG PHARMA lab concoction that will keep me down and dumb.

So what is it I do need to do? I saw this on Facebook today and I think it sums it up nicely.

Live it up


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In search of good health and a flat tummy: Day 1

dinner party

 

Last night Mr M and I  had company over for dinner. I made a whole BBQ chicken, BBQ sausages, chicken gravy, steamed carrots and broccoli; a very dairy potato bake and two desserts: chocolate brownie sundaes with homemade hot fudge sauce AND creme brulee.

I ate everything except sausages (I don’t eat hotdogs or sausages), drank 2 beer and nearly an entire bottle of white wine. See, it was my last night of culinary bliss and over indulgence.

Today, I am on a strict diet as my body gets ready for the “procedures” on Tuesday. Today, I am allowed to eat the following and only the following:

  • Rice Bubbles (Rice Krispies for you North Americans)
  • Corn Flakes
  • Skim milk (on cereal)
  • White bread
  • Plain crackers
  • Rice
  • Boiled chicken
  • Steamed fish
  • Clear soup
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Spaghetti with no sauce
  • Boiled eggs

I also must consume clear drinks every hour for the next 2 days. I am falling behind on this. Right now, I’m drinking a black Americano. I used to like black coffee but now, not so much. Since living “Down Unda” I have become very accustomed to flat whites (like a latte with more milk and less foam).

I am making chicken and rice soup for dinner. I will have 2 glasses of white wine – Hey, I’m allowed.

Tomorrow, I can have NO solids. None. Not a cracker, not a piece of toast…nada. But I must continue with the hourly glasses of clear liquids.

I will be admitted to hospital at 3pm and at 5pm the bowel ridding concoctions are begun. I must say, I am looking forward to the “clean out”. I hope I don’t miss too much of The Voice with all my back and forth to the toilet. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to my bloated tummy. I am not going back to eating gluten.

Starting tomorrow, when I can have no food, I am going gluten-free for the sake of my body and overall health and wellbeing. It’s the only committed restriction I will have, though I will limit dairy as well. I find I cannot keep up with a long list of dietary no-nos and I think it is wheat and gluten that is playing a big part to my issues. I may be wrong. I may have something horribly wrong with me but I am confident that it’ll be nothing more than IBS. It’s not only the internal problems that are my concern. It’s also what I look like on the outside.

I don’t like having a protruding tummy. I like to wear form-fitting clothing. I like to wear bikinis in the summer, sometimes all day long if it’s really hot. I like to feel sexy. I don’t feel or look sexy with a gut the size of a 5-month pregnant mother-to-be. I know it’s vain but it is what it is. So it’ll be me and Tracy Anderson back at it later this coming week. I’m changing my mindset. I need to remember that I eat to live not live to eat. It’s so easy to confuse the two. I do love food though so I’ll never be one to be too fanatic about it. And chocolate is in my diet to stay.

What is the one indulgence you refuse to give up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Why I have to eat gluten.

I’m back on gluten. It’s not by choice but I must admit, I am enjoying my freshly made blueberry lemon scones. Even though I said I wouldn’t over-do it, I already have. I feel fine – full maybe but nothing horrible has gone on or wrong with my body…so far.

blueberry scones

homemade blueberry lemon scones

The reason I am back on gluten is because my Gastroenterologist has suggested it. More than suggested it, I guess. See, I need to have a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy  and he said that it is best for me to be on a gluten diet before the procedure.    Which is fine, obviously I jumped right back to wheat when I found out. I love baking and I have been missing muffins and toast. Last week, I made a gluten-free loaf of bread (pre-mix) and it was good. Would have been better if the whole loaf had of cooked the entire way through but.

I can’t get stuck on gluten though. And I need to realise that after the operation, I will need to restrict it again. The specialist said that if nothing major turns up, it’s mostly likely going to be that I have IBS and there’s no cure all for that. Let us wait and see what happens.

I’m in the process of checking with my insurance and booking the hospital. I could go on the public wait-list but it may take up to 3 months and if I go public, I don’t get an anaesthesiologist. I think it worth the $250 insurance excess to go private and have the right people administering drugs.

I’m not looking forward to the procedure but I am looking forward to a few more gluten-based meals over the next few weeks.

It’s Friday people!! Have a great weekend. Let us eat cake.

 

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What’s Working for me Wednesday: Choices

 

WWW


It’s been 3 days since I gave up gluten and dairy again and I can feel the benefits already. There are other things that I avoid, like sulphites, yeast, food colouring and additives; and sugar but I’m not going all anal about never consuming a spec. It’s obviously that being really strict with myself doesn’t work long-term so I’m being a bit easier on myself this time.

With the change of seasons, I find myself not as motivated to stick to my fitness. I mean, I’m not jumping up at the crack of dawn and straight into my runners but I am still doing a daily work-out. Sometimes it’s 60 minutes but other times, it’s only 20. My bed is pretty cosy at 6am.

I’m sure that when my body is rid of all the excess gluten and sugar I ate in March, I will be back at it in full-force. I have a new Tracy Anderson DVD (dance Cardio 2) and 3 more dvds on the way. Plus I have a couple new Lorna Jane fitness/casual outfits so I can’t stop now!!

This is the life I want; the person I want to be. I know I am committed enough and already healthy enough to achieve my goals, which is to maintain my health and my petite figure and to be a health writer. I can’t really be a health writer if I am eating cake and donuts while sitting on my bum all day.

It’s not easy, I know. I’ve been doing this yo-yo thing for 8 years now but I finally “get it”. It dawned on my last week when I wrote How to set yourself up to succeed ‘s #6 tip – “If it makes you feel good, keep doing it. If it makes you feel bad, stop doing it”.

Giving up gluten doesn’t make me feel bad. Eating gluten makes me feel bad.

Giving up alcohol forever makes me feel bad, so I haven’t given up alcohol. I just choose drinks that do not contain the things that make me feel bad. A cocktail makes me feel good and like I’m Carrie Bradshaw.

If I gave up all chocolate, I’d fall into a depression. That’s why I refuse to give up chocolate but again, I choose my chocolate wisely. Dark rules. The higher the cocoa %, the better.

It’s all about choice. We all make choices everyday that make up our entire lives.

Take today for instance. I made the following choices that have me pretty chuffed with myself:

  1. I got up at 6am to meditate.
  2. I did a 60-minute dance cardio class (on DVD)
  3. I went to a yoga class (90 minute class)
  4. I bought some fresh mango and broccoli
  5. I made a delicious mango/banana smoothie (it was to die for)
  6. I made cream of broccoli soup for lunch (no cream needed)
  7.  I sent a 3rd submission follow-up to an editor who has ignored my previous 2. She replied within 10 minutes (she’s yet to read it but has said she’ll get back to me)
  8. After this post is complete, I will make a decaf coffee and read a book for an hour
apr 3 mango

Mango & Banana Smoothie: fresh mango and any juice it produces while cutting, 1 ripe banana, 2 heaping spoonfuls of natural or greek yogurt, 6 ice cubes and cinnamon to taste. Blend all together. Enjoy!

apr 3 broccoli soup

Cream of broccoli soup: saute fresh garlic and chilli in oil (omit chilli if you want). Add clean and dry broccoli (cut up, stems and all), salt & pepper and a bouquet garni bag or bundle. Add enough water to not quite cover the broccoli. Simmer until soft. Cool slightly. Remove the bouquet garni bag before blending to a smooth texture. So simple, so delicious.

It’s these choices that are working for me this Wednesday.

Anyone have any fitness or health regimes working for them today?