It’s been a long journey

Charlathennow-WEB

I never really imagined I could be a person posting a before and after photo. In all honesty this isn’t an after photo, it’s just a now photo.

I have more work to do and more goals to reach.

The first photo was taken about 2.5 years ago. I’ve learned a lot over this time and gained more knowledge than weight lost.

I started my journey on a raw vegan diet. I am no longer raw vegan, but still eat a lot of raw vegan dishes. I’ve learned I am sensitive to most grains and allergic to wheat.

I eat whole foods, try to buy my meat from a farmer and love fermenting all sorts of things.

I have spent the past two years working with my naturopthic doctor Dr. Kyle Morrison and CrossFit coach Dave Warbeck both with Back to Back Chiropractic Clinic. I owe a lot to these two men who have really helped me.

I love powerlifting, hiking and surprising enough to me, I’ve found a love of running.

If you have any questions I’d love to answer them.

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Vegan chocolate ice cream

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This ice cream is only three ingredients and it’s amazing. You’d never know it’s vegan and it’s super easy.

1 can coconut milk
10 pitted dates
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup organic cocoa

1. Boil the water, remove from heat and toss in the dates and cover. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
This will soften them up and make them easier to blend.

2. Put 1/4 cup of organic cocoa in a large bowl and pour in a little bit of coconut milk and whisk together. Once it’s mixed well add the rest of the can and continue to mix.

3. Take the date mixture and pour in the blender. Blend it well. Whenever I am blending hot liquids I hold a tea towel on the blender lid to protect me from a splash.

4. Once the dates are mixed well add the milk and cocoa and blend again.

5. Taste the mixture for sweetness. You can add some liquid stevia if you want a bit sweeter. Liquid stevia far surpasses the powdered form and I suggest spending the extra money for it.

6. Pour in your ice cream maker and follow its instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can pour it in a shallow pan and stir occasionally while it’s in the freezer.

Kombucha’s a brewing

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In our home we love kombucha. It surprised me that my three-year-old would love it as much as me.

In the store a small bottle will run you about $4, and making it at home costs only pennies. The tricky part is you will need a SCOBY for the fermenting process. A SCOBY is a pancake looking thing made up of yeast and bacteria. Sounds kinda gross, but you’ll just need to get over that.

Each batch of kombucha will yield you with another SCOBY. Sometimes they are referred to as a mother and a baby.

If you have a friend who brews the stuff, they’ll gladly give you one. If not you can grow your own. I’ve done both.

To grow your own SCOBY, boil two litres of water add a couple black tea bags and stir in 1/2 cup of white sugar. Let cool to room temperature and add two bottles of unflavoured kombucha from the store.   Cover with cheesecloth or a tea towel and secure with an elastic. Let it sit in a warm dark place (like a closet) for about one month. When you have a SCOBY about 1 cm thick you are ready to brew.

Once you have a SCOBY (an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) you are ready for your first brew.

A SCOBY is a living creature and be sure to treat it with care

1. Boil four litres of water.

2. Add two or three black tea bags. Note this must be plain tea with nothing added. Flavours including Earl Grey will kill your SCOBY.

3. Stir in one cup of white sugar. This is the only time we even use white sugar in my house. Don’t worry though it’s not for your body, the SCOBY eats it.  You can experiment with other sweeteners if you want. Don’t use raw honey because it’s antibacterial properties will kill your SCOBY.

4. Remove the tea bags and let the sugar tea mixture sit covered until it’s reached room temperature.

5. Pour in about 1 cup of kombucha and add the SCOBY to the top of your jar. Cover with a cloth and secure with an elastic. Put in a warm dark place and wait about two weeks.

In warmer months the fermentation will occur faster.

6. When it’s ready you’ll have a fizzy delicious beverage.

You can store it in pop-top beer bottles or jars in the fridge.

DOUBLE FERMENTING

If you want get really fancy you can add fruit juice to a finished brew. When you remove the SCOBY add some juice, maybe 500 ml to 4 litres. Cover and let sit at room temperature for two more days. Then move to the fridge. My favourite blend is apple.

 

Yummy toothpaste – kid approved

 

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So I saved this slideshow to the blog months ago and just never got around to the writing.

I’ve made this one a few times and don’t have any exact measurements. My daughter loves this toothpaste. I tried a few homemade toothpastes before it got my daughter’s approval.

Mix one part baking soda with one part xylitol. Then add some orange essential oil and almond extract. Stir in enough coconut oil for your desired consistency.

Let sit for one day for the flavour to develop and then it won’t have a strong baking soda flavour.

This stuff lasts forever.

Many homemade toothpastes call for sea salt, but my kid wouldn’t go for that.

I also like to make a tooth powder, and I’ll post a recipe soon, because I’ve run out and need more.

 

Gluten-free pizza crust

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This pizza crust is truly delicious. I think it’s better than any wheat or spelt dough I’ve made. The steps are a little different than a gluten crust, but just keep going and it’ll be awesome.

I have served this pizza to several people now and everyone liked it and would never have known it was gluten-free. I would consider this a must try. In the photo slideshow I doubled the recipe and that is why there are two pizzas.

Here is the original recipe list I started from. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the fancy flours. I’ve made this several times with what ever gluten-free flours I had. I am not good at adding fractions, but basically you need just over 2 cups of flours. I have used gluten-free all purpose, biscuit mix, tapioca, chick pea, and rice flour. Just make a nice mix of whatever gluten free flours you have.  You will need xanthum gum though, so don’t skip that.

For pizza crust

  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, from 1 (1/4-ounce) package
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Add all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

2. Heat milk and water on the stove just until it’s a little above body temperature. Then remove from heat and add yeast and sugar.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes until you can see the yeast is awake.

3. Whisk up the egg whites and oil and then add to the milk mixture.

4. Then combine the wet and the dry ingredients together. Use electric beaters, but don’t over mix.

5. Line you pizza pan with parchment paper and the put the dough in the centre. Cover with plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 400F.

6. Once the dough has doubled spread it out with your hands using the plastic wrap. This is the really weird part. Just keep smoothing out the plastic wrap until it covers the pan. Then peel off the plastic wrap and put in the oven for about 10 minutes.

7. Remove the crust from the oven and flip it over. Top with sauce and topping and continue to bake until it’s done.

8. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Sewing an Easter basket

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Here is guest post from my friend Vivian. We used to work in the newspaper business together and she has moved on and opened Avenue fabric studio in Victoria, B.C.

I used to be terrified to get behind a sewing machine, but Vivian has helped me through my fear and taught me the basics and even how to hem my jeans.

I hope you enjoy her post. Here it is:

DIY Easter Basket

Why spend money on an Easter basket when you can make a beautiful and practical one from fabric for less than a toonie?

I made several of these for an Easter window display in my shop. I also made some without handles for two of our 12-year-old girl students. Without handles the baskets can hold make-up, combs, whatever you want.

Instructions

Here’s what you need:

.25 metre fabric by 45 inches (45 inches or 115 cm is a standard fabric width)

.25 metre fusible interfacing

1.

For bottom: Cut 2 circles, 6” in diameter from fabric. I used a bowl as template.

Cut 2 circles slightly smaller, say 5.5” in diameter from interfacing

For sides: Cut two pieces 6” wide by 18” long from fabric

Cut the same from interfacing, but again, slightly smaller.

For handle: Cut two pieces 4” wide by 10” long from fabric. (I forgot to put this piece in the photo!)

Cut the same 4X10 pieces from interfacing, but again slightly smaller.

If you don’t have a bowl exactly 6” in diameter but have something else round but smaller or larger the trick is to cut the sides 3 times the diameter of the circle. Mathematically, it should be 3.14 but I find 3 works just as well.

2.

Using a hot iron on steam and with a damp cloth, press the rough side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the pieces. (With fabric the wrong side is the plain side.) Do each one! Press for 15 seconds, lift, and press again. If your cloth gets dry, wet it again.

3.

Fold the ends of the two individual side pieces together and sew a ½ inch seam along the edge.

You are not sewing the two sides as one at this point! You are sewing the two side pieces to make two tubes.

Pin round bottoms to two tubes you’ve made from the sides.

Sew the bottoms to the sides – individually.

If the side piece ends up being a bit bigger than the circle don’t worry about it, just tuck it in to make a slight pucker and sew over it as you sew the circles to the sides.

4.

Sewing circles to the sides is tricky because as you sew you hold the fabric with your left hand and are constantly guiding the fabric with your right. But you can do it!

5.

Fold the lengthwise edges of the handle over ¼ inch on both edges of both pieces.

Once the edges are pressed under place and pin the two handle pieces together, wrong sides together.

6.

Sew a seam down each length to create the handle. Don’t worry about the end of the pieces as that will be hidden in the basket.

Pin the handle on opposite sides of one of the side/bottom pieces, with the handle tucked around the bottom of the piece.

Tuck one side/bottom/handle piece inside another side/bottom piece, right sides together. Pin and then sew around the top of the basket, leaving a 3” space to turn the basket inside out. Once sewn and turned inside out and with one side bottom inside the other (this makes it a lined basket) either hand stitch or machine stitch the opening closed.

Avenue fabric studio is at 108, 1841 Oak Bay Ave. Victoria, avenuefabricstudio.com, 250.590.4254.

You can buy fabric, sew by the hour, or take a workshop at avenue fabric studio.

Colourful fizzing fun

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Here is fun twist on the old baking soda and vinegar activity. My daughter begs for this and it keeps her busy for about half an hour or so.

1. Fill small jars or shot glasses with vinegar and colour each one with food colouring.

2. Then pour an even layer of baking soda in  a casserole dish.

3. Give the children eye droppers and let them suck up the colours and squirt them on the baking soda. It will fizz up and the different colours make it extra fun.  Using eye droppers makes kids take their time so it lasts a lot longer.
The colours don’t mix either so if you add a little blue to a big red blob. The middle will turn blue.

After you can use the mixture to clean the tub. Kinda funny, but I’ve done it.