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Macro Monday: Happy Holidays!

The holidays are wonderful. Family, friends, snowy cozy evenings...
Unfortunately they can also be as stressful as they are enjoyable.
But it doesn't have to be that way!

Last year's Christmas baking extravaganza.

Last year's Christmas baking extravaganza.

MM: Reducing Stress over the Holidays

  • Skip the presents

    • If you've never done the whole "no presents" thing, and can't imagine Christmas without it, but feel overwhelmed with all the buying...trust me, it's pretty liberating and worth a shot. The "loss" of gift giving & receiving is easily replaced with no more fighting your way through busy malls and stores with crazy drivers, and long line-ups. And also, the focus shifts to hanging out with friends and family. I'll admit, it does feel a bit strange at first, but honestly, you just get over it, and a lot quicker than you'd think.
    • Give the gift of you instead! Spend time with the people you care about...at the end of the day, that is much more important than anything you could wrap up.
  • Don't worry about so much about your eats

    • If you're on a strict healing diet, then obviously, follow your docs / health counselor's guidelines... but being stressed out about or with food over the holidays simply adds stress to your day. And stress shuts down your digestive system.
    • So, eat your best when you can, and enjoy out of the norm treats when you feel like it. ENJOY being the key word here! Savour your indulgences. And then move on. Don't worry or over think them. Just enjoy & move on.
    • A few treats enjoyed here and there sprinkled into your regular diet will allow you to enjoy the season without being overly restrictive. You are much less likely to go crazy binging if you just follow your cravings responsibly.
  • Find & then do some holiday activities that you like

    • Whether it's ice skating, going for a snowy (or ocean) walk, making crafts, sledding, Christmas movie marathons, or playing board games...putting some energy into enjoyable activities will help reduce stress, as it will help to engage you with that feeling of "joy", and will be a great distraction from your to-do list.
  • Buy the best quality ingredients, that you budget can afford

    • As I mentioned above, don't worry so much about having some treats here and there...but if you can (and ONLY if it doesn't add any stress) think about quality.
    • Christmas cookies baked by my mom or nana are absolutely worth a splurge for me... packaged christmas cookies from the grocery store aren't. To each their own...all I'm trying to say is: try to enjoy and savour the highest quality of whatever it is you want to splurge on.
    • Love chocolate? Get some GOOD chocolate!! Want a boozy treat? Buy some high quality wine or whatever you like. Love cookies? Make some with your friends! Need some cheese & crackers? Put down the kraft singles and buy some high quality cheese, and good crackers. Go all out, and enjoy the whole decadent experience of acquiring and enjoying high quality food.
    • Usually higher quality treats are more satisfying because your body actually recognizes it as something edible versus strange substances that it doesn't know how to process.
  • Don't sacrifice your routine

    • Routines are very very important.
    • If you've found certain things that make you happy and feel your best...continue doing them over the holidays.
    • If you continue on with your regular routine, but throw in a few parties, treats, and activities here and there, you will still feel great! In my experience, sacrificing your whole routine and just giving up over the holidays does not make you feel so great.
  • Put effort into the experience

    • It is worth the effort to make a nice table setting, spend time getting dressed up nicely, and doing fun things.
    • Don't just focus on the "what" focus on the "how".
    • Okay, so we're going to have 10 people over for dinner (the what)...let's make it enjoyable in all aspects, from start to finish (the how): think happy thoughts while you're cooking & your food will taste better (it's true!), envision your guests sitting at your table and set up the prettiest table you've ever seen, put on some nice music, light some candles, and simply savour and be in the moment for the whole experience. Don't just rush towards the goal of getting everything done.


Okay friends, I wish you a truly magical Christmas and holidays and am sending each of you a giant hug! Feel free to share any holiday survival tips you've gathered over the years in the comments below.

Crustless 10 Minute Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie

Oh my pumpkin pie. 

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I decided at 4pm on the day of our Thanksgiving dinner, that I actually did indeed want a pumpkin pie for dessert. But, I didn't feel like making the ones from last year (so so so delicious btw), as I didn't have enough flour to make a crust, or enough time.

I had saved this recipe I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, and decided to go for it, as I had just enough time to make it and try it for dessert. 

10 Min. Crustless Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pie

Oil Free, Refined Sugar Free, Crustless, Vegan, GF if desired, & Delicious

As mentioned above, this recipe is entirely inspired by and based off of this one here, by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Such a good find. I jess-ified it a bit, and made it more macro-friendly. This crustless pie actually forms an almost-crust on it's own. Way to go pie, gold star for you!

Ingredients

  • 398ml (15 oz) can of organic pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 cups soymilk (I used Eden brand original, but I'm sure other milks like almond or coconut would work as well)
  • 1 heaping TBSP Kuzu Powder
  • 2 Chia "eggs" - 2 TBSP white chia seeds, whisked into and then soaked in 7TBSP water for about 10 minutes.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oat flour {I ground about 3/4 cup regular oat flakes in high speed blender to make the flour}** See below for other flour options.
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar (coconut palm sugar would also work here)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

Directions

  1. Turn oven on to 350F.
  2. Prepare dry ingredients: Mix together everything that's dry, except for the kuzu powder, in a bowl.
  3. In a blender, combine the soymilk, chia "eggs", vanilla and kuzu powder. Blend on high until combined.
  4. Add in the pumpkin puree and blend on high until combined.
  5. Add in bowl of dry ingredients and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until everything is combined. Stop if necessary and stir/scrape sides so everything gets mixed in.
  6. Oil a pie pan - I used a glass pyrex pie dish, and I oiled it with sesame oil.
  7. Pour the blender contents into the pie dish. 
  8. Bake for 60 minutes. 
  9. Let cool before serving. (I let it cool down enough to put it in the fridge, and then let it set and cool for a few more hours before eating it.) *Tastes even better the next day. 
  10. Serve with tofu whipped cream or coconut whipped cream, if you like. 
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**The oat flour makes this "pie" a bit more dense. Whole wheat pastry flour also works, as does regular old unbleached flour. I'm sure the white rice flour option would be awesome, and I'm looking forward to trying this with other flours such as light spelt flour and sweet rice flour.  The texture was nicest with the the unbleached flour, so I want to try it again with light spelt flour next time. :)

This pie got a 2 thumbs up from T, as well as a regular pie eater too. I also got a request to bake this pie inside the crust I made from last year. And I made it last minute on a whim. I think I'll call that a win.

Eating this pie for breakfast the next day? That's for SURE a win :)

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Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

On Monday, I talked about KUZU - Macrobiotics' secret thickening ingredient that is also very useful when prepared medicinally for healing and helping many conditions. I promised you a recipe using this ingredient.

Seeing as how it's Autumn, almost Canadian Thanksgiving, and there are as many beautiful colours of leaves as there are beautiful pumpkins, I thought I'd stick with the theme. I've had pumpkin pudding on the brain since my Pumpkin Pie Showdown last Thanksgiving. I've made quite a few different variations and random throw-together quick puddings in the kitchen, but this time I sat down and wrote it all out, so I'd remember it for next time. The extra filling from one of my pumpkin pies last year, that I ate the next day pudding style, was my inspiration behind this recipe.

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Macrobiotic Pumpkin Pudding / Custard

Dainty Pig Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pumpkin (398ml or 14 fl oz.) 
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or your choice of milk - coconut or soy would make it a bit creamier) 
  • 4 TBSP maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (this amount is for cinnamon lovers, so reduce to 1 or 2 tsp. if you'd like it a bit more subtle)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/3 cup (6 TBSP) Kuzu diluted in 1/3 cup water.  *** Edited to add: I tried this again, and you can totally get away with 4 TBSP Kuzu diluted in 1/4c water
  • Maple flakes, cookie, cinnamon, pecans! as an optional garnish
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Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan combine the pumpkin and almond milk (I used a fork, but you could also whisk it together). 
  2. Add in your sweetener - I used maple syrup - and mix it in. 
  3. Heat it up, stirring often, over medium-low heat.  Mixture will begin to bubble a bit, so be careful of splatters.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and spices. 
  5. Prepare the kuzu: in a small bowl or mug: add 1/3 cup water to 6 TBSP kuzu, and stir until liquidy and combined. 
  6. Add kuzu mixture to the pumpkin mixture on the stove, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. 
  7. Continue stirring until mixture thickens - maybe 3 minutes or so, and then simmer for 1-2 more minutes (it may get a bit translucent, depending on the kind of milk you used).
  8. Pour into 4 separate bowls or ramekins. 
  9. Enjoy warm, or leave (covered) overnight in the fridge to thicken and for the flavour to develop.  {I had a bit warm & it was delicious, but then I left the rest in the fridge overnight to see what it was like the next day}

Enjoy! 

If you eat it right away it has more of a pudding texture (my favourite). If you wait until the next day it is thicker, like a custard. I topped mine with a store-bought macro friendly ginger cookie, and a few sprinkles of maple flakes and cinnamon. I recommend serving it with a nice cup of chai tea. Divine!

***This makes a lightly sweetened pudding, so if you're planning on serving this to regular eaters, you might want to consider adding in a bit more maple syrup :) 

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I'd love to know what your favourite pumpkin recipe is! 

Hi 2013!

Happy 2013 everyone!

December / January were a bit busy, but pretty delightful. I think it's gonna be a great year :)

I baked away all December, working on macro versions of my family's traditional swiss cookies.

I made most with oat flour, and some with a mix of spelt & oat flour---using whole grain varieties. I played around using a bit of brown rice syrup in some, maple syrup & granulated maple syrup in others, and even a bit of coconut palm sugar that seems to be all the rage these days. Instead of butter I used a mix of tofu and olive oil, or a bit of high quality vegetable oil or coconut oil.

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Christmas was lovely, but I am ready for warmer weather! Thank goodness I am in Victoria, BC right now, for a week! I'm here visiting & working with my dad. It's a great place, and I sure have missed the ocean air.

It has been soul-reviving to see green on the ground and on the trees. I even saw some daffodils beginning to poke their head up in gardens. Victoria reminds me a lot of the winters I experienced while living in Japan.

Victoria is lovely, and this time around I have been able to check out some great veggie/vegan/gluten free places to eat. I was really excited to try out Green Cuisine, as the natural foods shop I frequent back home carries their amasake, mochi, tofu and tempeh. The cafe/restaurant is set up buffet style, and includes things like brown rice, steamed and fresh veggies, soups, a few kinds of bread, homemade sauerkraut and pickles, and lots of delicious treats. All options are vegan, and as far as I could tell most things were baked with brown rice, oat and/or spelt flour. Basically, LUCKY ME.

There are many more things to see, including a yoga studio I hope to check out if not this trip, then the next one when I return in May for another week. I've been doing lots of walking to see the ocean, as that is something I can't do back home. My sister & her boyfriend are joining us out here tomorrow---it'll be lots of fun.

Right now i'm about ready to devour a Green Cuisine brown rice flour & fresh blackberry muffin for breakfast, and it's shaping up to be a great day.

I forgot my camera on this trip, but when i'm home, expect some more posts of new-to-me macro recipes i've been playing with. 

Lots of love from the land of waves & greenery,
Jess