Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life

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What’s Working for me Wednesday



My regular WWW pic wouldn’t load today..guess I’m meant to use this one.
© J Morton Photos

I’m beginning to really like Wednesdays. Typically, my Wday goes like this:

  • 10 minutes of meditation and gratefulness
  • an hour+ of baking
  • take Master T to school
  • yoga
  • food shopping
  • an afternoon of work (may include research….magazine reading)
  • blog post
  • tap dancing class
  • an early night

I almost consider Wednesday to be a “day off”. I usually don’t schedule too much and never get bogged down with details. Today, I submitted an article – 2 days before deadline (yes!) and submitted a pitch to a new (for me) national health magazine. And all that is great but what I really loved the most was baking.

Today I made chocolate-banana muffins, muesli bars and gluten-free almond biscotti. Even though I need to eat some gluten daily, I like having gluten-free food. I did try a muffin and a muesli bar – they’re both delish but it’s the GF biscotti that’s working for me this Wednesday!

I’m not even big on biscotti but I love my coffee and the two go hand in hand. This biscotti has been adapted from a recipe I picked up somewhere along my travels. I suited it to what I had so that is what I will present. I like to mix things up and I alter recipes all the time. So, here’s my own version of GF Almond Biscotti. Enjoy with a good espresso or latte.

GF Almond Biscotti

WW GF with coffee

GF Almond Biscotti with coffee

1 tsp baking powder

170g pure icing sugar

100g coconut flour

180g quinoa flour

100g almond meal

20g blanched and toasted almonds

2 eggs + 1 yolk

1/4 tsp almond essence

1 egg white (for brushing)


Combine all the dry ingredients together

Slowly add eggs and essence

Mix to combine well – add a little water to bind if needed (1 tsp at a time)

Knead to make a dough

Mould dough into a log shape

WW GF biscotti before baking

going in the oven

Refrigerate for 15 minutes

Brush with egg whites

Bake for 8 minutes at 160

WW GF biscotti half baked

almost ready

Remove from oven and slice to desired size

Return to oven and dry out  – when hard, they are ready.

I left the oven on 160 for 20-30 minutes then turned off and left them in there to dry out. That seemed to work but they were a little soft in the middle so more time could be given.

Hope that recipe works for someone else!!

Happy Baking!








Why I have to eat gluten


For the past 2 weeks or so I have been eating the occasional gluten product. Cookies, cake, flour tortillas, beer; I even had pasta last night.

It started off so innocently but has escalated to contribute to increased gastrointestinal issues, low energy, sore throat, heaviness, body aches, lack of concentration and motivation; irritability, bloating and laziness.

Last night was the wake-up call I needed. I way overate: 2 beer, angel hair pasta, carrot cake and anniversary chocolates. My belly was so swollen and bloated that I looked 5 months pregnant. I woke up this morning swearing off gluten again.

Then I remembered…I have to keep eating it!

I’m getting tested for coeliac disease soon.

My sister, Christine was recently diagnosed which gives me a 25% chance of having the disease. I already know that I’ve spent the past 8 years on and off gluten in an attempt to “cure” my sinus issues and tummy problems. Never once was coeliac disease ever mentioned to me.

It’s been 18 months since another sister, Virginia died of cancers that attacked her bowels then the rest of her body very rapidly. Could she have been coeliac? Could a coeliac diagnosis have saved her? I can’t help but wonder.

When Christine was diagnosed, I went into denial mode. I thought they (the doctors) were wrong and urged her to ask questions. I said that I wouldn’t be tested. I’ve changed my mind.

I already know I have issues with gluten.

I have major sinus problems.

I have had 3 miscarriages.

I have had gastrointestinal problems with included pain for years now. 

I have a sister with the disease and another one dead to cancer.

I’m preparing myself for a positive diagnosis. 

Although I have been on & off restricted diets for 8 years, I am the one in control of when & how much I restrict. I am resisting the disease dictating my diet. I can’t expect my family to go gluten-free as well and I don’t think they will. Obviously, Master T will need to be tested if I am positive.

With the impending tests, I must remain on gluten products for up to the next 6 weeks. It makes sense. If there’s no gluten in my system, it will be hard to see if my body is reacting to it.

What I hate the most about eating gluten (besides the bloated tummy) is how I crave it more and more. I haven’t eaten anything healthy today at all.

Gluten also makes me lazy and heavy feeling. I couldn’t even get up out of bed this morning to do my fitness regime. So, along with the over-eating last night, I’m pretty upset with myself.

Coeliac Awareness Week is coming up. This year’s theme is Sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m learning lots about the disease and how it is still highly under-diagnosed. According to Coeliac Australia, 4 out of 5 people with the autoimmune disorder do not even know it!

Could you be one of them? 









What’s Working for me Wednesday



It’s Wednesday again. Hard to believe it rolls around so quickly.

Lots has happened since last week. Some great stuff and some not so great stuff. Here’s the good stuff:

  • I spent some time at the beach
  • I baked cookies
  • I sold an article
  • I got a YES to write for an online parenting website
  • I got confirmation to cover a local performance festival that may see a 2-page spread!!
  • I received my tap shoes in the post
  • I received my order of organic, additive free dried fruits

And that is definitely what’s working for me….the organic dried fruits.

I’ve tried for many years now to eliminate additives from my diet (and my family’s) but sometimes I just forget and end up with a package of something in my pantry that has numbers like 220, 202 or 110.

I’m working on a piece about this very subject and have once again been inspired to check every label before buying. My local supermarket does not even carry additive-free dried fruit, that’s why I had to order it online.

After a google search, I found a fantastic website called Organic Road. I love them already and I’ve just received my first order today. It was fast to arrive and I think their prices are great (Mr M disagrees).


feb 27organic roads

the loot from Organic Road

I bought:

  1. dried apricots 1kg
  2. dried cranberries 340g
  3. dried mixed fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries) 340g
  4. dried sultanas 250g
  5. shredded coconut 200g
  6. black sesame seeds 250g
  7. virgin coconut oil 250g

With postage the total bill was $75.90 AUD.

What really prompted the shopping was that I could not find coconut without a preservative in it at my local shop. I know to stay away from the dried fruits but I was shocked that shredded coconut could not be purchased without a number attached. But, to my delight and surprise, I did find coconut flour in the shop today. To give them credit, they are stocking more and more organic and gluten-free foods.

feb 27 coconut flour

Oh, I have plans for you…

Tomorrow I have an interview set up with Tanya Winfield, founder of Additive-Free Pantry. She is also inspiring me to cut out some of the crap that I feed to Master T. It will be hard because some of his favourite foods are loaded with additives: ham, bacon and salami. I just have to explain to him that these foods are not good for his health. He’s 7 now, so I hope he will understand.

Do you read labels? Are you concerned with the amount of additives in food today?


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What’s going in my mouth

I’ve been on a bit of a binge (meaning I’ve been eating more than my usual) this past week. I blame  PMS. It’s shocking how the prelude to that time of the month can affect eating habits!! I’m all good now….until next month that is!

Aside from that, I am doing well on the 80/20 regime. That is 80% of my intake is very healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free and yeast-free and the other 20% is carefree and guilt-free!! This does not mean I eat donuts, cakes, fast food or drink beer, not every day….anyway! Even my guilt-free 20% is fairly healthy stuff. I do eat a little chocolate everyday.

So, here was some (just some) of what’s been going in my mouth.

Feb 24 muesli and yogurt raspberry

A breakfast favourite: Yogurt and my homemade muesli…love..

Feb 24 popcorn

Who doesn’t love popcorn?

Feb 24 GF pizza

Veggie pizza on a polenta base (yes, gluten free!). I did use a little cheese. It was nice to be able to share Friday night pizza with the boys.

Feb 24 Banana coconut bread

This gluten and dairy free banana and coconut loaf is delicious…stay tuned for the recipe in another post.

Feb 24 tuna on quinoa

Tuna salad on GF quinoa crackers…quite yummy

Feb 24 tuna on rye

Hummus, tuna, baby spinach and tomato on rye (not the best for my tummy so I need to give these up and go GF)


Gluten-free lemon cake

I’ve had this recipe for years and have made it several times. It’s delicious and gluten-free but I’m not saying it’s low in calories!! For anyone on a gluten or wheat free diet, this really hits the spot when you’re missing a piece of cake!!

Lemon Polenta Cake

Feb 11 cake

250g soft butter

rind of 2 lemons

1 cup sugar (I reduce this to max 3/4 of a cup)

3 eggs, separated

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

150g ground almonds

1 cup fine polenta (cornmeal)


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of sugar

Heat together until sugar is dissolved. Pour over warm cake.

Cake Method

Beat butter, rind and sugar until fluffy

Add egg yolks

Stir in juice, almonds and polenta

polenta 3

polenta 2

polenta 1

Whip egg whites to make fluffy

polenta 4

Fold into polenta mixture

polenta 5

Bake for 45 minutes @ 180 C

Pour syrup over cake

Serve warm

This cake keeps well in the fridge for several days. Enjoy!



What’s going in my mouth!

Last week, I skipped my post but let me assure you, I have been eating! I was in Sydney last week and Fremantle the week before, so you will notice some not-so-healthy but delicious items in the photo log.

I have also reintroduced some complex carbs like, brown rice and rye crackers on occasion. And I am sure I’m consuming too many simple carbs. So many things to figure out……who’s to know what’s the best path to health.

Anyway, it’s been a yummy fortnight!

feb 11 cider

A trip to Fremantle is not complete without a stop at the Little Creatures Brewery. I chose the cider over beer…a decision that may have turned me off beer!! It was so delish!

Feb 11 date rolls

I love these fresh date rolls…great snack.

Feb 11 frozen yoghurt

SYDNEY – Frozen yogurt from Yogurberry on George Street

Feb 11_BF cake

SYDNEY – A pure indulgence – it was yum and I’m so glad I didn’t want more.

Feb 11 great coffee

SYDNEY – decaf, soy flatwhite…this one was the best and at the airport even!!

Feb 11 Thai food

SYDNEY – Thai food (forget name of dish). It was yummy and not at all spicy. This was my re-intro back to complex carbs – I was so full!

Feb 11 wine

Wine and OJ…refreshing

Feb 11 brown salad

Brown and wild rice salad with greens beans, corn and kale

Feb 11 cake

Homemade lemon polenta cake with berry sorbet…a gluten-free treat

Looking at these photos, it looks like I’ve been on a binge!!! I did eat healthy food too…..sometimes ya just gotta give in to temptation!!

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WWW – What’s Working for me Wednesday


I missed the last 2 weeks of WWW. I had too much working for me those past weeks because I was on holiday in far north Queensland!!! This Wednesday though, I am back to reality and back to writing. Believe me, I was surprised to not have written at all during my holiday. That was not my intent at all.

I’m on day 3 now of my healthy eating and all is well. My diet consists of dairy-free smoothies, vegetables, some fruit, probiotic yoghurt and protein(nuts, free-range chicken, salmon and eggs)..and decaf coffee..lots of coffee. I have been wanting something sweet so today I made a flourless chocolate cake. It’s more like a brownie and very yummy. It’s definitely what’s working for me this Wednesday!!!

I found the recipe in the pages of a past House & Garden magazine. There was a 3-page spread by Teresa Cutter on chocolate treats that are good for you. She says

Chocolate comes from the antioxidant-packed cocoa or cacao bean, which is also a source of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chromium and iron.

Great news, Teresa!!!

So far, I’ve tried 2 of the 8 chocolate recipes that she provided and both have been easy, healthy  and delicious. The cake has very few ingredients and I whipped it up in less than 10 minutes. Even Master T liked it. I just wish I could have had a glass of cold milk with my piece like he did!! If you want to try it, here’s the recipe.

you'll need this

you’ll need this

and this

and this


280g quality dark chocolate ( I used 70%)

2/3 cup organic coconut oil

4 free-range eggs

2/3 cups almond meal

2 Tbsp cornflour or arrowroot flour (I used potato flour)

Preheat oven to 180. Grease and paper a 20cm springform pan.

melt chocolate and oil

melt chocolate and oil

Place chocolate and oil in bowl and set over a pan of simmering water.Stir to melt the chocolate.

add eggs

add eggs

Remove from heat and whisk in eggs.

Stir in dry ingredients and combine well.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

Pour into pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs. Cool slightly in tin then refrigerate for 3 hours (I did 1 hour and it was fine). I sprinkled the cooled cake with pure cocoa powder before serving.



Keep in mind that this cake is very, very moist and quite oily. It does taste of coconut and has a mealy texture due to the almond meal. To me though, any dessert that contains chocolate and no gluten, yeast or dairy is a winner!!! Maybe I really can have my cake and eat it too….



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How to start a “restricted” diet.

When you start on a restricted diet of any scale it’s easy to think, ‘What am I going to eat now?’

I used to get asked, ‘So what DO you eat?’ all the time. Many people, especially the ones who do not cook for themselves or rely on boxed or pre-made meals, think there simply is nothing left to eat when you cut out gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar, malt or whatever the impairing ingredient. But there are many choices available and once you wrap your head around it, it’s easy and you will get to a point where you want the “free”, healthy stuff.

But the truth is this: If you want to succeed, you will have to start cooking for yourself. I’m sure in the big cities, there are plenty of specialty cafes and restaurants who do or will cater for special diets. If you have a high deposable income, then that may work for you. But for everyone else, here are some easy cook-at-home meal ideas that will keep you on track without feeling deprived.

 Firstly, you need to shop. Even the smallest of supermarkets have a health food section these days. This is where you will find the gluten-free, yeast-free, wheat-free whatever you are restricting; you will find it in this section of the shop. Yes, the products are more expensive so just get over it now. And start reading ALL labels. Be careful because so much “processed” foods including flavoured potatoes chips have yeast extract, milk powder or wheat starch in mix. I eat plain, salted chips or natural corn chips only.


Here’s a list of musts for the pantry:

  1. Gluten-free pasta
  2. Organic gluten-free falafel mix
  3. Korma paste
  4. Gluten-free pappadums
  5. Coconut milk or cream
  6. Tamari sauce (wheat-free soya sauce)
  7. Tomato puree
  8. Tinned tomatoes
  9. Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pine nuts…..
  10. Seeds: Pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower…..
  11. Gluten-free crackers
  12. Corn chips
  13. Lentils
  14. Chickpeas
  15. Tahini paste
  16. Quinoa
  17. Rice: Brown and basmati
  18. Organic, sulphur-free dried fruits
  19. Oils: Olive, vegetable, sesame
  20. Spices: cumin, Italian herbs, cinnamon…whatever your fancy

And a stocked fridge of:

  1. Fresh vegetables
  2. Fresh fruits
  3. Fresh spices: chilli, ginger, garlic
  4. sheep’s feta
  5.  olive oil spread (must say dairy free)
  6. Gluten-free bread (if yeast is allowed)
  7. Free-range eggs

Now, with all that at your finger tips, here is a list of possible meals.

  1. Vegetable or chicken (free-range of course) korma (with coconut cream instead dairy) with rice and pappadums
  2. Pasta with a simply tomato and garlic sauce and salad
  3. Falafel balls and salad served with homemade hummus
  4. Dahl with rice and pappadums
  5. Quinoa salad with toasted seeds, nuts, dried fruits, salad greens/herbs and roast pumpkin
  6. Egg fried rice with vegetables and tamari (add meat if you wish)
  7. Pumpkin soup with coconut milk instead of dairy. Serve with gluten-free crackers.
  8. Potato and leek soup
  9. Pasta (spaghetti is best here) with oil, garlic and chilli
  10. Brown rice salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion, lemon, oregano, seeds, nuts and sheep’s feta

BONUS SNACK IDEA: Corn chips with homemade guacomole and/or hummus

So, there you have it. Ten easy meals that you can adapt as your own and add what you like. Experiment with flavours, textures and enjoy the process of creating a healthy lifestyle that may just change your life and certainly your health.

I will post some recipes in my recipe folder over the next few weeks. I do have some good ones but I mostly cook by experimentation. I do suggest getting at least one good cook book for more ideas.

Here are the main ones I use and recommend:

Cooking Without by Barbara Cousins

Cooking Without Made Easy by Barbara Cousins

Any questions? Feel free to ask me.



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I’m a control freak when it comes to food.

So, I’m not on my restricted regime anymore. The demise started last weekend when I was feeling like absolute crap.


I was taking Panodol just to stay upright but still felt the effects of a mysterious internal infection. The day before, I made chocolate chip biscuits for Master 6 and the kids I was looking after for the weekend. Well, I decided that I wanted to try one…just one to perk myself up a bit. One wasn’t enough. However, I did stop at two. They were delicious.


The next morning, I made bacon and cheese tea biscuits (similar to scones) for the boys’ breakfast and lunch boxes. I had one. I could not resist it. Today, I made chocolate banana muffins. I thought about resisting but I choose not to and had 2 mini muffins ( baby size).


The chocolate banana muffin (regular size not the mini version).

It was the third time in 10 days that the word resist came to my present moment. When asked by my yoga teacher why I did not go to the doctor I said, “I resist western medicine.” As soon as I said it aloud, I knew I had to reflect upon it.


Then when I thought in my mind ‘I can’t resist that tea biscuit’, I knew it had to end; the controlling relationship I have with food. I remember what Eckhart Tolle said, “What you resist persists.”


It doesn’t mean I went on a binge and devoured all restricted items. I did not. But I’m over with being such a tight-ass. I don’t do this strictly because of my health condition, although that has always been the premise. I think I do it out of the need to control a situation that only I can. I know this sounds vaguely like the mind of someone with an eating disorder. I am now on a mission to change my thoughts about food. I know I have conditioned myself enough to moderate food now…in the name of my health.


That is why I made an amazing dinner tonight including one thing I normally would not eat and haven’t eaten in 8 months: Wheat Pasta. I normally insist on eating only gluten-free pasta.


The dish I wanted to create is nicer with a fresh egg fettuccine. The Garlic Lovers Pasta Sauce is a recipe handed down to me from my very good friend, Gillian McKenzie. She used to make this when we were flatmates in Vancouver, Canada. Now, it is a regular menu item at her restaurant,The Seaside Shanty in Chester, Nova Scotia. It is easy, fast and yummy!  Here’s how to make 2 servings (or 3 small).



  1. Mince 5 cloves of garlic. Add it to 2 TBSP of oil in a saucepan; sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Do not burn.

Step 1

2. Add 1tsp of dried basil or mixed Italian herbs (that’s what I use)

Step 2

3. Add 1/5 tsp of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper. ( I use a little less)

4. Add 1tsp each of salt and pepper.

5.Add 2 cans of chopped or crushed tomatoes. (I use chopped)

6. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take lid off pot half way through.

7. BBQ 2 free-range chicken breasts. I season with salt, pepper, and olive oil only before cooking. Cut into slices when cooked.

Step 7

8. Cook a package of fresh fettuccine pasta according to the package instructions. Or make your own if you’re real keen. Sometimes, I am that keen.
9. Twist pasta onto a large plate.
10. Top with 2 large spoonfuls of sauce.
11. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the sauce.
12 Top with sliced chicken.

13. Serve.

Step 13….don’t serve with recipe card!!

14. Eat.
15. Enjoy.
16. Love


One item I am not ready to resume is alcohol. I love a cold beer on a hot summer day so I can wait until those days arrive. My goal is November. I will try the moderation thing with alcohol again. I used to do it so there is no reason I can’t again.


I know I have said all these things before and then I go and stick myself back on a restricted regime that I don’t really enjoy.


I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to eat the foods I make out of love and joy. How can that be wrong?

I do have a respiratory condition that I need to monitor but I am so grateful that I am not celiac or diabetic or have a condition that calls for me to never have the foods I love again. I think it’s time I let go of my control freak ways and just enjoy life. Isn’t that what we are all here for?


By the way, I finally gave in and saw a doctor on Friday, August 24th. I am now on 2 medications: prednisolone (which is great, I’ve been on it several times over the past 17 years) and clarithomycin tablets, which I believe is an anti-biotic*. The doctor said 17 days with a cold or flu is not the norm and he even took some swabs of my throat and nose for testing. Two days on and I am feeling much better although I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep. I’ve been awake since before 4am this morning and it’s now 9pm. My early morning coughing fit has not subsided yet. Maybe tonight’s the night.


If you are maintaining a new eating regime or trying out a restricted diet for weight or health reasons, I urge you to stick with it for a minimum of 3 weeks. Often new habits are formed around this time and you just may not even want the “bad for you” foods as much or again. If you fall off, get back up there the next day. I have been up and off that wagon so many times now that more often than not, I will choose gluten-free, dairy free, yeast free and alcohol free items first anyway. It’s about your conditioning and priorities. If your health is in question, then it’s a no-brainer. Yes, it’s damn hard especially when you’ve lived your entire life eating the foods that are making you ill.


The question is: Are you living to eat or eating to live?



*always take a probiotic supplement or have some live culture yoghurt daily while taking as away to maintain good bacteria in your tummy.


Inner Health for ummm inner health


I love this yoghurt.It may be dairy but it’s good for the tummy!


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Confessions, Obsessions and Regressions

The view from my confessional window.

Well, I’ve finally cracked. I’ve been eating gluten-free  bread…..for nearly every meal over the past 3 days.

We all know that as of January 1, 2012 I’ve been back on my restricted diet. I have toyed with these kinds of “diets” and eating regimes since 2003 and have never been able to  last more than 4 months. If I dug into the vault, I would find food horror stories dating back to my early childhood but I’ll save that for another post.

I’ve been struggling to stay on this thing for about 2 weeks now. Easter chocolate stares me down every time I enter the supermarket, cakes taunt me at the cafe and ice cream calls to me in my sleep.

So far, I’ve stood my ground with these mental cravings but the bread got me.

Vogel's Gluten-Free Bread.

I was shopping and I just picked it up and put it in my basket. There was no contemplating, no stressing over it and no feelings of guilt.

Until I had eaten half the loaf.

I’m now on my second loaf and just loving the extra food choices I have. Toast (with peanut butter and/or jam) and sandwiches (cucumber, tomato, tuna, egg salad, chicken salad…yum) have never tasted so good.

Toasted cucumber and mayo sandwich.

I know what many of you may be thinking….What is wrong with eating some bread?? And the answer is: Nothing…but…..

Yeast is on my list of restricted items and you just cannot find yeast-free bread in the world…not the world that I live in anyway!! So, I do feel like a failure.

I was so determined to make it until my goal day of May 1, 2012 that I cannot help but to feel like I’ve failed myself in some minor way.

I’m currently reading Portia de Rossi’s book, Unbearable Lightness, which is about her unhealthy obsession with weight loss and  body image. Of course, she had an eating disorder. I do not.

I’m happy(ish) with my body and do not do this for weight loss. I do like the fact that I do lose weight when on it but I NEVER EVER count calories!!Even so, my hubby thinks I have some sort of eating disorder…..in a joking kind of way.

Yes, I restrict certain foods in the hope that it will correct my sinus issues. So far, it has not proven to be greatly effective unless I’m all the full-on anti-candida diet (which is extremely hard and grueling).

Even so, I feel more healthy overall. But I would love to find a happy medium to my food dilemmas.

Honestly, I’m scared that if I allow myself to eat pasta, cake,  chocolate or have a beer, I won’t be able to stop myself until my health gets so deflated that I’ll have to start this regime all over again. I’m also scared of not being able to go back to those foods with a clear conscious.

I know I’m not alone here. We have so many food choices today, many of which are unhealthy and health depleting,  that it is causing mental, physical and emotional problems; something I am aware of in myself.

I’m going on  holiday on May 1 and this thing will end then (?). I’m looking forward to eating and blogging about food and travel. I already have a lunch date booked in West Vancouver where I plan to order whatever takes my fancy!!

Gotta go…..my toast in burning!