Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


2 Comments

Would you give up chocolate, booze and coffee for your health?

“She turned to the sunlight    And shook

Okay, so I’m back on a restricted diet. Not by choice but by extreme necessity.

My sinuses and I assume, my nasal polyps have been quite bad for months now; 18 or so actually. I was  getting on with life but the past couple months, my health has declined to a point where I am having sinus headaches, my ears are blocking up and aching and I’m not sleeping well. And I need sleep.

So, as of July 23 I stopped eating sugar, wheat, dairy, most fruits, booze, coffee and most processed foods (when you give up sugar, wheat and dairy that cancels out processed foods anyway). Now, I will admit to having a couple beer and 2 cookies since but those were my only slips.

Although a miracle hasn’t happened (yet), I do feel better. I actually slept through the night once since *fist pump*

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Recipe of the week: Buckwheat pancakes with blueberry sauce

Growing up in Canada meant pancakes every Sunday morning. It’s a tradition I’ve brought to Australia. Although I’m not living gluten-free anymore, I still like to try alternatives. Plus, I have 2 sisters who are Coeliac so I like to try out recipes to pass on.

I can’t imagine going without pancakes for the rest of my life and luckily I don’t have to – and neither do my sisters or anyone who has a health reason for not eating gluten. I’ve tried gluten-free pancakes in the past but the recipe I’m about to share is by far the best one ever!! I’ve adapted it from a recipe I saw in the February 2015 edition of Women’s Fitness magazine. Enjoy!!

Continue reading

Recipe of the week: Banana Bread Free-style

Leave a comment

 
 
I collect recipes. I have for years. This one came to me via Facebook. I do not have the recipient’s name or link but this “free-style” banana bread is too good to not share. Photo and design by me.

bb1

bb 2

 

 

For PDF click Banana Bread Recipe


1 Comment

Review: Greenhouse Perth

I’ve been wanting to go to Greenhouse in the Perth CBD ever since the trendy eatery was featured on last year’s Masterchef Australia.

It’s rare that I find myself sans family in downtown Perth and on a Saturday no less. I was afraid Greenhouse would be too busy to seat a trio of friends but we were in luck (and Perth is dead in July).

As soon as I walked inside, I knew I would love the place. It’s warm and the kitchen is open, leaving no room for sloppy cooks or dodgy practices. I scanned the place for head chef Matt Stone but I couldn’t see him. Damn.

Nevermind.

We three sat down at the end of a long slew of tables right in front of the bar. Right away, I was entranced by the creative way they displayed the bottles of booze.

 

BLOG GH bottles

Our waitress was young, friendly and approved of my photo taking. I liked her until she broke the news: NO decaf.

Though I’ve been primarily off coffee since early May, I have started to partake occasionally and I really felt like a decaf soy flat-white. I do not fancy ingesting caffeine so I declined a regular. Instead, I ordered a fresh juice: grapefruit and orange. It was delicious; I downed it in about 2 minutes. That was a fast $5.50 spent.

I reviewed the brunch menu over and over searching for something that appealed and that was of course, gluten and dairy free too.

There were a few options but in the end I (and both of my meal companions) chose the tea-cured ocean trout. I also asked for a side dish of sauteed wild mushrooms.

BLOG GH meal

I kept myself busy taking photos while I waited for my meal to arrive. When it finally arrived, I was very pleased with the visuals.

The portion looked sufficient, but I could have eaten more at the end of it all. My friends ordered bread with theirs, which may have helped a little. Mr Male had 2 pieces of toast and 2 extra eggs and said he was still hungry. Probably why he grabbed dessert on the way out.

But the meal was divine, really.

The trout was soft and moreish and although I cannot comment on the taste per say, my friend noted the lack of tea flavour.

Because I have no sense of taste or smell, it makes it hard for me to comment on food but I use texture a lot and I do still have the ability to detect the basics: sweet, salty, bitter, spicy and sour. I can often “sense” a flavour.

My favourite element by far was the wild mushrooms. They were cooked to perfection and gave a real earthy distinction. I’ve been hooked on a variety of mushrooms ever since: portobello, oyster, shitak, enoki…..

The meal came with a 62 degree egg. If you don’t know, these eggs are prepared in the shell. They are cooked to, you guessed it, 62 degrees and when cracked open into a dish, they look like a poached egg.

I’ve never been one for very runny eggs. It’s only the past few years that I can stand to eat a slightly runny yolk. Therefore, I asked for a longer cooked egg – “this will come well done,” said the waitress.

“Okay then”

Well, it certainly did come well done. It was no longer a poached egg, it was hard-boiled. So, they do not cater to your egg preference. It’s either 62 degrees or hard-boiled. I still ate it.

My friend ate hers too (same as mine) but did ask about it. She was offered another one at no extra charge but because the meal was not super fast to arrive, she declined the offer. Okay, so our eggs were too hard but the salad was yummy.

It was fennel, herbs and dill;  crunchy and refreshing. It was a nice contrast to all the soft food on the plate.

 

BLOG GH popcorn machine

The retro popcorn maker filled with desserts mocked me the entire time but as I had only just come off my elimination diet, I did not want to return to sweets so quickly. Nothing was really tempting me anyway. I was impressed that they had gluten-free choices though.

All up my meal coast approximately $26, which I thought was quite reasonable for a meal out with friends.

I loved the trendy, cosy feel of the place; the food was yum and the service was pretty decent considering Western Australia has a ripe reputation for lacking in this area.

Greenhouse score: 8/10

Will I return? YES

BLOG GH tables

Have you been to Greenhouse Perth? What did you think?


Leave a comment

When the end is just the beginning

Today is the last day of my 6-week elimination diet. I did it!! (again)

Instead of celebrating with a chocolate cake with extra whipped cream, I’m doing nothing.

Sure, tomorrow I will relax my strictness, mostly about sugar (choosing natural only) but I am not running back to my old habits.

I have new habits now and I love the way that I feel.

I have NO physical reactions to foods I consume and any body image issues I had, are gone.

My muffin top tummy is gone and I don’t feel I need to exercise like a demon daily to keep myself looking good.

I am getting together with friends on Friday night and wine will be involved.

But as far as food is concerned, I’m quite happy to stick to my fruit, veggies, proteins and grains.

There are plenty of food choices out there that were not formed in a test tube or come from a factory. Just think outside the box. Pun intended!!!!

Breakfast was hard but I’ve found a couple hot winter breakies that I LOVE.

hot breakfast

Sauteed veggies with almonds and poached freerange eggs

quinoa

Quinoa flakes with banana, fresh date and chopped nuts

I do realise that quinoa flakes are processed but going 100% fresh produce only is near impossible in the Western world. I also drink almond & rice milk from a box..tsk tsk tsk.

I’m still addicted to organic peanut butter but have cut down on my consumption. But just typing that out has made my mouth water.

Off to get a celery stick with PB now.

Here’s to great food and good health!

 


Leave a comment

5 delicious healthy snacks

So, I’m 15 days into my health kick and I’m doing well and feeling pretty good. Sure, I ate pumpkin pie 2 days in a row and some chocolate but that’s just the way I roll.

Mostly though, I am enjoying eating better and saying no to alcohol. Here are my favourite top 5 healthy snacks.

honeycomb

Fresh honeycomb…yum

5. Honeycomb – loaded with enzymes and antioxidants, eating honey still in the wax is a great immune booster! Just chew the wax up and toss it when the honey is gone. Of course, I get this from my local beekeeper. One small piece daily is plenty.

choc PB

No added fats, oils, salt or sugar!! Gotta love that!

4.  Mayver’s All Natural Peanut & Cocao Spread – This is absolutely delish and now that chocolate is considered healthy, I eat usually only eat the dark, pure stuff! Just a teaspoon of this all natural spread satisfies a chocolate craving. It’s also great spread on banana slices if you’re looking for something sweet.

PB and apple

Lovin’ organic peanut butter at the moment

3. Organic peanut butter on celery or sliced apple. Nuts are a great source of protein, rich in energy and antioxidants!

hummus

Ok, so the hummus is not with crackers or veggie sticks but this is also a great snack or meal!

2. Hummus with rice crackers or veggie sticks. Comprised of chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil and spices, hummus is full of protein, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids!

Smoothie 2

Daily smoothie ritual

1. Smoothie – I’ve always loved a good smoothie after my workout. They are filling and yummy. The benefits of my smoothies are protein, probiotics, antioxidants, potassium, fibre, oleic acid, vitamin C, B vitamins, amino acids and they are quick and easy to make!

What are your favourite healthy snacks?

 

Btw, it’s Kai Chronicles’s 2nd birthday today! WordPress sent me this in honour.

anniversary-1x


5 Comments

Easy lunch idea: Spicy lentil soup

I love soup.

It’s heating up in Australia so my soup season is coming to an end but this is so delicious, I may keep it as a year-round favourite. It’s super easy and it contains many pantry staples so no special shopping is required.

I’ve adapted this recipe from the original that was published in  The Australian Women’s Weekly 21-day diet planner. They call it spiced red lentil soup. I’ve never had their version but my version is simply delicious. Enjoy!

blog oct 4 spicy lentil soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegetarian*

1 large onion, diced

fresh red chilli, sliced (amount depends on how spicy you like it)

1 heaping tablespoon of mild curry paste (I use korma)

2 cups of chicken stock (*use veggie stock for vegetarian)

2 cups of water

400g canned tomatoes (or chopped fresh romas if you have them)

100g (1/2 cup) red lentils

Large handful of washed baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup of fresh coriander (I use 1/2 tsp of ground if I don’t have fresh)

METHOD:

Saute onions and chilli over medium heat until soft (in a little oil of your choice if preferred). Add curry paste and ground coriander (if using). Stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add stock, water, undrained tomatoes and washed lentils. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir in spinach.

Season with salt and pepper. Top with fresh coriander. Serve hot.

This soup makes great leftovers so keep for tomorrow’s lunch too!

 

Stay tuned for my next post about my favourite new health foods! Being healthy has never been so delicious!! 


7 Comments

Delicious food and cosy atmosphere in Geraldton

salt dish service

Looking for lunch in Geraldton? Look no further than Salt Dish Cafe. 35 Marine Terrace

When I went to Geraldton last week, I treated myself to lunch. This was only my second visit to the midwest city but I knew I wanted to try something new; something authenetic and real. Sure Dome is okay but it’s a chain restaurant and everything feels and tastes mass-produced.

As I meandered up and down Marine Terrace, I finally found myself nearing the northern end. Dome was in sight and I was beginning to picture myself sitting at a window seat over looking the turquoise water. But then, I passed a few sidewalk tables and a funky old bike that was wearing a colourful knitted jumper. It certainly got my attention.

There was an art gallery next door so I stopped there to read the notices staring at me from the large windows. I stole glances of the cafe to my right. It was called Salt Dish Cafe and it whispered my name.

I entered the cafe. There were several wooden tables full up with happy looking customers. I spied an available 2-seater beside the open kitchen and asked the waitress if I could sit. A quick glance of the one page menu and my chioce was made.

I ordered the fried spiced squid with green papaya salad and a decaf flat white (like a latte with less foam) then I asked where the toilets were. Yes, in Australia and New Zealand, we say toilet not washroom or bathroom. I grew up in Canada where this term is considered a bit vulgar. Or is it just within my family? Possibly.

I was directed to follow the tiny aisle between the open kitchen and the barister station. This led me through a small dish cleaning area then through to a quaint and dining area. There was a table of two ladies finishing their lunch but the other tables were free. I had a plan.

I went through the door labelled “Toilets” (there’s that word again) which eventually took me to a large backyard with a few more table sitting in the open sun. It wasn’t exactly a pretty setting but nonetheless, it was outdoors and amongst nature.  I stuck with my plan to scoop up the available retro red 2-seater coach.

salt dish seating

My spot

To my delight, it was still empty when I gathered my things from table #1 and relocated to the cosy room that looked like it had been untouched since 1958. My coffee arrived and the waitress set it on the coffee table in front of me.

salt dish retro cabinet

decor circa 1950s

 

The ladies at the other table prepared to pay the bill.

“I’ll get this one,” said lady #1.

“Oh, is it your turn?” asked lady #2

When they left, another lady quickly appeared and settled in to that corner table with the red bench. She ordered a piece of cake and said she was waiting for friends. One arrived soon after.

Another couple of women friends arrived with a small boy and sat at the table next to me. It was clear that this was the place for “ladies who lunch”.

My gluten-free meal arrived. It was a beautiful sight. The squid was lightly battered and delicately spiced. Not spicy at all. The salad consisted of gorgeous long curls of green papaya, vibrant carrot,  spring onions and thick pieces of sauteed celery that still had a bit of crunch and topped with bright red slivers of chilli. Not only did it taste great, it looked stunning.

salt dish meal

Delish.

I’m a self-professed coffee snob so I can’t rate the coffee highly. It was a bit too milky for my liking but this is my most common complaint. Coffee in Australia is bloody expensive so to have to ask for a double shot (and then pay extra) is something I do not often do. I simple cannot find a better coffee than that from my own espresso machine at Cafe Morton.  But nice try Salt Dish. It wasn’t terrible. Maybe next time I’ll try the tea!

salt dish tea

I love a blackboard menu

When I first arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the dessert display near the coffee station. After my meal, I toddled back there to have a look. A friendly server pointed out all of the options but I knew straight away what I wanted: Pecan Pie.

As a Canadian living in the South Pacific, I feel there are not near enough sweet pies on offer. If you tell someone you’d like a piece of pie, you are going to get something with meat, cheese and gravy in it.

The pie came served cold with a dab of thick cream on the side. The crust was sweet and more like biscuit than traditional pastry. It was simply delicious. The pie filling was exactly how I expected: gooey but firm in the centre and oodles of pecans laid on top. I  found out later that the crust was gluten-free. I would never have known. It was yummy yum yum.

salt dish pie

Gluten-free pecan pie. OMG

The only downside to the whole experience was the buzzing of the flies. I was in shoo mode most of my mealtime. In Western Australia, it’s something that is hard to escape though.

Overall, I loved Salt Dish and when I go back to Geraldton, I will definitely be stopping in again. You should too!

How often do you treat yourself to lunch in a nice restaurant or cafe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3 Comments

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

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.

 

.