Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to Make Healthy Low Carb Gluten Free Cloud Bread for Kids

One of the first things people do when they attempt to lose weight is to cut out bread. The idea that bread is fattening is not just an old wive's tale. As I have learned and observed many times over, cutting out bread is a very effective strategy for weight loss. Bread is fattening not simply because it is a source of calories, but because it is very high in glycemic index. It is the most common source of wheat flour in the typical American diet and the most prevalent source of fattening carbohydrates.

Oftentimes, weight conscious individuals switch from breads to wraps. Have you ever eaten a wrap and felt somewhat cheated? Wraps simply do not give us the pleasure that bread does. The reason is wraps take out the best part of bread--air. If you are worried about calories, switching from leavened bread to flat bread doesn't really help. That just takes out the air from your food, and air doesn't have any calories. Also, switching to wraps doesn't take out the offending high glycemic processed flour that causes all the weight gain in the first place.

Taking out the air also takes away a lot of the taste. Air is a very important part of the pleasurable experience of eating. Air adds volume to our food, which is important because bigger food is visually more appealing than smaller food. Air also confers a lightness and softness to food, which can be texturally pleasing.

And while you can't see air, you certainly can taste it. As Michael Pollan points out, air pockets in food transport the flavors from the food as gas into the back of our mouths and sinus cavities. Because nearly eighty percent of the pleasure of food comes from our olfactory senses, air is a significant contributor to the pleasurable sensations we get from eating food.

I have been searching for a decent low carb, gluten free, low glycemic index bread substitute for a long time. Thanks to my patient, Meredith, I have finally found one. This recipe for cloud bread is a game-changing bread substitute. In contrast to my previous failed attempts to mimic bread, cloud bread gets the most important factor right--air. Infusing air into eggs and cream cheese results in a light and fluffy bread substitute that you can use for sandwiches such as a gluten free egg salad sandwich

For my cloud bread, I skipped sweeteners like sugar and honey and went completely savory, adding salt, garlic powder, and rosemary. I split my batter into six bun halves and baked the buns at 350 degrees. But watch your cloud bread closely during baking and subsequent broiling, as it can burn easily! 


Pollan, Michael. 2013. Cooked: a natural history of transformation.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How to Sneak Greens into Healthy Gluten Free Zucchini Bread For Kids

The theater was eerily silent. You could hear a pin drop. The main character had just shared a poignant and heartbreaking story about two lovers. The story had just reached a climax. The entire audience was waiting with baited breath to hear what would happen next. What happened next was the very distinct and articulate voice of my three year old asking, "Daddy, why did she say that?" 

If I am guilty of anything when it comes to my children, it is sneaking them into museums and restaurants stating that they are younger than they actually are. I look young. And so do my children. No one ever questions me and no one seems to mind. 

However, on this particular trip to New York, I had actually snuck Cailya in to see Matilda even though she was younger than the minimum age of four. The last time we went to New York, I took Colin to see Finding Neverland. I specifically instructed him not to tell Cailya about the show. Of course, he couldn't help but tell her how much he enjoyed the show. I spent the rest of the afternoon hearing her moan, "I want to see a showwwwww!"

So I decided to take my chances and sneak Cailya in. I put her in a nice dress, did her hair up a, and even prepared a whole back story. Then I casually handed the usher four tickets and made as if all was natural. For a brief moment the usher paused. But then, after seeing that we had four tickets, he let us pass. It was that simple. Aside from a few embarrassing moments, we had a great time watching a broadway musical together. 

You can sneak in some good stuff into your kids' diet as well. Try making this gluten free coconut flour zucchini bread. My kids enjoyed munching on this throughout our trip to New York. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork For Kids

My first time was in college. I was scared and nervous. I didn't know what to expect, but everyone around me was doing it. So, I closed my eyes and tried pork butt. I was at my first Hawaiian luau, sponsored by the Northwestern University Hawaii club. After Hawaii and California, Northwestern is a popular college destination for Hawaiians. After all, we had enough Hawaiians to form a club!

One of my college roommates was from Hawaii. Trenton is a Hawaiian through and through. He has that quintessential aloha smile and is always thinking of others. He gave me a positive impression of the people and culture of Hawaii right from the start. Now, whenever I think of Hawaii, I think of warm sun, playful personalities, and open hearted people. 

When people think about Hawaiian food, they may think "Hawaiian" is synonymous with pineapple. Throw on some pineapple slices onto that pizza and call it Hawaiian! The same sweet transition takes place when Chinese food crosses over to Chinese American food in the likes of such dishes as sweet and sour pork.

Hawaiian food is much more than pineapples and coconuts. Hawaiians also love shaved ice and SPAM! When I think of Hawaiian food, I think of luaus and Kālua pig. Kālua literally means "to cook in an underground oven." Traditionally, a whole pig is salted, wrapped in banana leaves, and cooked in a pit underground over heated rocks.

However, you can make an easy version of slow cooked pig by using your slow cooker. Try this recipe for Slow Cooker Kalua Pig by Nom Nom Paleo. To punch up your pork, you can try adding some spices and acid from citrus fruits.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

How to Make Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Balls For Kids

This past week, I went to the happiest place on earth. But while Disney World may be the happiest place on earth, it isn't necessary the most relaxing place on earth. Fortunately, with a little planning, we were able to enjoy our day at Animal Kingdom. 

The key to our day was getting to Africa first and early. We arrived at the parking lot about 830 am. Even though the park didn't officially open until 9am, we were able to go through ticketing and get halfway into the park, past Oasis and deep into Discovery Island well before 9 o'clock. We then waited in a crowd at the giant tree in the center of the park, roped off like the Disney cattle we were.

When the clock struck nine, we raced off like marathon runners into the heartland of Africa. Our number one priority was getting to the Safari ride before 920 am, when wait times significantly increase. Going on the Safari ride while the morning was still relatively cooler also helped keep the kids in their happy place. The safari was a lot of fun, and definitely a highlight of the park.  I enjoyed the jeep like feel of the ride and the open fields. However, I wish we saw some more exotic animals that I don't already see routinely at zoos. Also, there wasn't a lot of opportunity to stop for pictures. 

After the Safari ride, we headed right into the first show of The Festival of the Lion King at ten o'clock. This show was spectacular, filled with songs from the Lion King, costumes, circus performers, and fire. My kids said it was their favorite part of the park. After the show, we went to the Tusker House for an African buffet. This was the best food I have ever eaten at a Theme park. My kids enjoyed taking pictures with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. Unfortunately, my kids enjoyed taking the pictures much more than the actual characters did, who seemed to be in a rush to move onto the next table. 

Getting one solid meal was a key strategy to keeping the kids happy. Another important factor that helped keep the kids from going to their unhappy place was having a reliable portable snack in the ready. For this trip, I made PB&J balls. This no bake snack is simple to make ahead of time and ideal for packing on trips.  

After lunch, we made our way across Asia. We used our fast pass to bypass the eighty minute line for Kali River Rapids, and I'm glad we did. The ride was fun, but quite short. It was still worth it in the end, because my brother got absolutely soaked. We got in line at Finding Nemo a half an hour before showtime, which turned out great since they quickly let us into the air-conditioned theatre. This was a visually stunning show featuring amazing puppetry. After Nemo, we hit dinosaur land. We also used our fast pass for the Dinosaur ride. I thought this was a fun ride, but it was a bit too scary for the five year old and seven year old kids in our party. 

We finished up our day visiting Discovery Island and seeing some more animals. All in all, we had a great family vacation at Animal Kingdom. My kids literally were skipping as they left the park. Indeed, both myself and my kids reached our happy place. 

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