My Twin Babies Turned 32 Yesterday

….a hectic but fun day

The day started early with a visit to Sherway Mall to look for a winter parka for Az and a birthday present for my son. I had already purchased his sister’s present long before Christmas but we didn’t know what B needed or wanted so I waited until his arrival to Canada to find out.

It turns out that B really needed new shoes. It was his lucky day. Between his fiancé, Az and me, he ended up with three new pairs of shoes, 2 casual and one dressy. We also found a warm and stylish winter parka for Az, which will come in very handy when they go to Montreal later this week. It’s always colder in Montreal.

After our shopping spree we headed to Costco for gas and groceries. Az wanted to prepare an Iranian feast for us and what better time than for a birthday celebration. We were expecting 10 people for dinner and even though they had picked up a load of groceries at the Iranian grocery store (who knew) we still still needed a few extra items to round out the meal. One of the things we bought was a birthday cheesecake for B and G. I know that’s not very Iranian but it’s a bit of a birthday tradition in our house. Turns out that more desserts were brought by others and I have a lot of cake left over.

The girls hard at work.

The girls hard at work.

Once we got home Az and our daughter, G started to cook and cook and cook. When Az told me that 1 kg of rice wasn’t enough, I was shocked so when I picked up our other daughter, A, her partner J and our son-in-law we made another stop at a store to purchase more basmati.

The green olives were the best I've ever eaten. They were purchased at the Iranian market. The marinade included ground walnuts and it became a great dipping sauce as well.

The green olives were the best I’ve ever eaten. They were purchased at the Iranian market. The marinade included ground walnuts and it became a great dipping sauce as well.

When all the guests arrived the place was buzzing with activity. I noticed that Az was not happy with one of her dished and was quite upset. I tasted it and I thought it tasted wonderful. I passed it around to a few more guests to sample and they all agreed that she needed to serve it. Ignorance is bliss. It really did taste devine but I’m sure if it had turned out the way she wanted it would have been better but we didn’t have anything to compare it to. The whole meal was an explosion of taste in the mouth. I’m sure I could never recreate it on my own but our daughter G has a little more experience and hopefully I don’t have to wait for another visit from B and Az before we can experience this meal again.

Of course there was way too much food, especially desserts. My husband is hoping we don’t have to go grocery shopping for awhile. My fridge is jam packed with leftovers and the cheesecake is sitting outside in a cooler bag on the deck where it is frozen solid.

Thank goodness there aren’t anymore major birthdays now until the summer. My waistline can’t afford more days like this.


Baking in the BBQ

…..and wheat free doesn’t mean carb free

After reading Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, one quickly realizes that eating gluten and wheat free foods doesn’t guarantee weight loss. There are more and more gluten free products on the market than ever, especially in the snacking and bakery sections of the grocery store. If you were to read the ingredient lists you would discover that many of these products are high in sugars, fats and alternative starches and the calorie count is high for what you’re getting. IMG_0373

I was feeling somewhat liberated when I found gluten free flour at Costco and I was somewhat disappointed when I couldn’t find a gluten free banana bread recipe in Dr. Davis’ book. After using a regular recipe and substituting the gluten free flour for regular flour it started to dawn on me that I don’t normally eat bananas, let alone banana bread, even though I love both. I’ve always known that bananas are high in carbs and the bread goes without saying. It was when I added the 2 cups of sugar, the 1 1/2 cups of butter and 6 cups of flour that I started to question what I was doing.

So why was I baking banana bread when I’m still trying to lose weight? It just so happened that we were going to celebrate my friend D’s birthday on Sunday and she suggested that we bake something special. Besides she had some sour milk that needed to be used and I had some very ripe bananas. I went through my cottage cookbooks and lo and behold I found a recipe that used both those ingredients.

As you know from previous posts I don’t have electricity and I do the bulk of my cooking on the BBQ, including any baking that I might do. Over the years D and I have developed a knack for baking muffins, cakes and breads in the great outdoors. One of the tricks is to use smaller pans so that dough cooks through to the middle in a shorter length of time. The bread in the bundt pan was finished first, or so we thought. If you look closely at the cut slices you can see that the middle is a little too soft.P1020936P1020934 P1020937

The two breads in the loaf pan took a little longer but were a better texture. One of the differences with using gluten free flour is that the bread was much denser than a normal banana bread and for some reason tasted much sweeter. If I were to do this again (for my friends who are truly gluten intolerant) I would definitely add less sugar and maybe even experiment with some kind of substitute that isn’t aspartame or saccharin. I’ve heard that applesauce is a good replacement for sugar in some baking recipes.

I had one and a half slices of the bread on D’s birthday and I ate one slice for breakfast the next morning. I’ve always found that if I’m going to eat carbs it’s best in the morning and then avoid them for the rest of the day. Maybe I should clarify that when I say carbs I mean breads, pasta and primarily flour products. I still eat lots of healthy carbs in the way of vegetables, some fruit and dairy products along with lean protein and healthy fats.

I’m going to have to read the Wheat Belly book a little closer and try to figure out how to fit it into my daily diet without increasing my carb intake. Maybe some of you have a gluten free, wheat free recipe, low in carbs, fat and sugar that I could try. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

The following pictures are of D and D’s birthday/anniversary dinner that they kindly invited me to. Afterwards we relaxed around a beautiful bonfire as the sun set over Christian Island.

Delicious lamb, fresh tomatoes, green salad with avocados and Ontario corn on the cob. Yum!

Delicious lamb, fresh tomatoes, green salad with avocados and Ontario corn on the cob. Yum!

Happy Birthday, D!

Happy Birthday, D!