Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to live a wheat-free-corn-free-milk-free-soya-free-organic-eco-friendly-superfood life as a poor renter in an urban location with minimal healthy selections

Alright, long title but is quite self explanatory as to what I'm about to write about today.

First, I need to complain. This part of town sucks! No organic produce. Gluten free flour mix is costly. Coconut water/young thai coconuts are tough to come about. No bulk deals on, well, anything. And we live on the ground floor which is 90% appealing, minus the ability to have pots with growing veggies as those will be stolen (our BBQ was stolen).

Ok. I feel better-ish.

Sometimes we are given challenges in life so we can problem solve unique ways to accomplish the former easy things in life. Hence me living here instead of the land of the free and everything wonderful..."O Canada, our home and native land...." I miss you my baby and look forward to living there again in a few years (eish!).

So here's what my past 3 years so far have taught me.

1. Wheat free, corn free, soya free (basically GMO free): easiest way is to avoid packaged foods. That's where that stuff lies. Learn to cook from scratch. Luckily, that was something I learned in grade 7 and have loved since. It just tastes better! The wheat free thing is the most challenging. Um hello, pizza anyone?! Heck, yes, who doesn't love Italian food. And toast for breakfast is so standard in the westernized civilations you really have to think outside the box. Let's start with breakfast

A. free range eggs to the rescue. you can simply scramble em, or make a fritatta, or an omelette. have a side of fruit or veggies and your done.
B. gluten free muffins. this is my standard recipe. 2 c "flour" (gluten free mix with rice/potato/tapioca/chickpea/xantham gum. I also stretch it out with 1/2 c ground golden flax to save some money), 1/3 c sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, pinch himalayan salt (from now on anytime I talk about salt, it's this pink gem I'm talking about cuz I don't wanna write it out in full everytime), 1/2 c blueberries (frozen are cheaper in this city), 1 c "milk", 1 free range egg, 1/4 c sunflower oil (never use or buy canola, it too is a bad boy), smack vanilla. bake about 20-30min depending on your oven and weather (totally affects my baking if it's wet or dry outside). Spread with cold pressed coconut oil and some raw honey if you like.
C. cold rice cereal with "milk" or hot millet/rice cereal with "milk" and dates and honey and seeds too if you want...I'm gonna get to the milk so don't worry
D. smoothie. take some "milk" and add some seasonal fruits along with a frozen banana to give it some thickness and chill factor

So who still wants toast??? I can testify that once you stop eating bread for a couple weeks, the smell of hubby toasting a slice on the rare occasion is enough to make you queezy (and that's not the pregnancy talking!)

As for pasta and pizza, there are wheat free options and recipes out there. Google em! I personally don't even eat either anymore as I have a rotation of the following lunch/dinners:
free range chicken n lentil breyani with cooling cuke n tomato salad
chickpea n millet greek inspired bowl
organic potato salad n roast free range chicken wings with beet salad
sweet curry lentils n rice
cauliflower/carrot/pepper/tomato/fish pot n rice.

That pretty much sums up my main roster of go tos. Every once in a while I mix it up with a thai coconut curry or quinoa risotto with fish or something interesting. These are all affordable too as we use chicken/fish more like a condiment and the veg are the main feature. As you know, free range meats are more expensive so luckily we are happy with just a small tasting of it as a part of our meal. You too can teach your taste buds the cheaper yet healthier ways of life :)

2. Milk free
Cooking and baking can be challenging without milk especially if you are used to it. So here are some things I do. I make nut milks. As nuts are costly, I use these tastey/healthy/pricey milks soley for pouring on my rice cereal. 1/2 c nuts (almonds or cashews are best), 1/2 c dates, 4 c water, pinch salt, smack vanilla. Blend. My blender comes from a second hand shop so you can imagine how much it is not like a Vitamix (one day, when I'm rich, I 'll own this gem!). So I get ground almonds to help my poor baby whip this into a milk. It does separate as it sits in the fridge but a good ole swirl gets in homogenous again. As for baking, I use a cheaper milk option. Currently I have rice milk powder in my pantry. It on its on is not tasty but works beautifully in my muffin recipe. I'm going to make some coconut milk this week as dried coconut are much cheaper than nuts and maybe that can be my milk for all recipe. 2 c coconut, 4 c water. Blend. Of course you can get ready made coconut milk in the can but have you ever read the ingredients. Surprisingly little coconut in it. Some brands only show coconut extract and a bunch of other crap. Yet still costly. Hmmm. But I'm looking into where the H I can get young thai coconuts on a regular basis. Then I can have lot's of fresh coconut water and then use the meat to whip up a real nice milk. Oh dreams.

3. Organic
I just can't get over how shops don't have organic produce. I went in to Checkers one time and asked if they have any organic produce. The woman looked at me like a parrot before eating a peanut. Then she sqawked "what?" Then she lead me to oregano. close honey but no. She asked her manager. Neither knew what organic was! What? I say, WHAT! There used to be an organic farm stall inside the waterfront market. But the last time I went there they were gone. Some other farmer who not only doesn't sell organic produce but looked at me like I was some kind of crazy woman to dare ask if he did! So, hubby brought home a flyer from Nature's Deli for an online organic order place. They're not bad. Each weds you can get a pre selected bag of 10-12 seasonal items. You can also add on real full cream organic yogurt and what not. I don't mind them. Some of their stuff is pricey. There pre selected bag is obviously the better deal but you dont have much control over what you get. One week week we got leeks. Don't know how to do much with leeks other than vichysoisse. Baby loved it. It was quite dang tasty. Sadly, we cant order every week due to our finances and it's more of a treat to get a bag from them. Once a month seems to be the ticket right now. If we were rich, ya, weekly for sure! So that leads to the clean 15 vs the dirty dozen list. I try to avoid getting produce from the dirty dozen list. I also am going to grow some greens on my kitchen window sill (best sunny spot and least likely to get stolen or visited by the neighbor cat). I did it a couple months ago. Just need some more soil. I also want to make a compost under our kitchen sink. We got a juicer for christmas present and it's sad to toss out all that pulp. I have made a batch of muffins from the pulp and some lentil pulp burgers (sounds gross but tastes decent). But really, can't keep up with the pulp to recipe ratio so vast majority goes in dump.

4. Eco friendly
I've just finished talking about the compost plan and indoor garden plan so we're done there. Now to move on to my exciting big eco friendly move taken last month. We invested in presewn pocket nappies! They are cotton/hemp/bamboo goodies in fun colors. I love them! There was only one night I didn't love them cuz I had a cold and had no desire to throw them in the machine and hang them out to dry but if I dont, I fall behind and then she'll just have to pee on the floor...no thanks. I actually want her little nappied bum to show as the colors are cute and I match her outfits to them. Plus in a couple months, we'll have another wee one in nappies so that'll just save us tens of thousands in cash to use these healthier nappies :) we also do them standard things-hot water tank off unless hour before showering, use stove with thought (bake, cook all at once so it doesn't have to go all day and re heat or whatever), re use, recycle...you know, that kind of earth friendly stuff. I also got some soapnuts. I made some soapnut liquid out of some of it. It washes the dishes nice however, you have to use it full strength. It does a decent job on clothes. I used it on the floor too. I haven't yet tried it on my hair. Thats next. However, the soapnuts aren't cheap and get used up faster than I anticipated. So they are not cost effective. I've gone back to using vinegar water to clean the house. I'm saving the soapnuts for the nappies only now as they are pretty particular on which cleansers to use to keep them lasting long and keep from detergent buildup.

Well, that's all I got for now. Little miss is gonna wake from her nap soon so I gotta get it together up in here. Toodles.

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