Tag Archives: Weight Watchers

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Ann Arbor Food Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes are a great example of a traditional gluten free dish. These light and floffy flappers will have folks wanting more and not missing their wheat flour.

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe: Makes 6 large pancakes

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. Combine the buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the mixture. Stir until mixed.

The batter is on the thick side, but the pancakes come out fluffy

Scoop in about 1/3 of cup of batter onto a hot onstick skillet (if you have one).

Cook on one side until the side look dry and the top starts to bubble. Flip and cook for about another minute.

Butter and serve right away or keep warm in a 300 degree oven.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and fruit and berries.

Vegan Option:

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy buttermilk (squeeze half a small lemon into soy milk, let sit for 30 minutes until in cuddles)
2 Table spoons of apple sauce or pumkin puree (instead of egg)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Serve with veggie margerine, maple syrup and fresh fruit and berries

Follow the same in cooking instructions above


Gluten Free: The Evolution of Classic Cuisine

Ann Arbor Food Gluten Free

Gluten Free Brownies at WCC Sweet Shop Bakery

Readers of this blog who have read my pizza making at home post and a series of baking recipes including posts about my pie business might think what gives with the new gluten free focus.

Well, I am trying to go gluten free to see if it helps with my arthritis. It has been a few weeks now going gluten free and it has not been as hard as I thought.

And it is too early to tell, but I do feel my arthritis on my hands is better (less symptom, more range of motion.)

At home, I have been using my rice cooker on over-time and I still have a ton of potatoes and squash from the garden to satisfy a carb fix.

The hard part is outside of the home. The world seems to be gluten obsessed. The center piece of American cuisine is breakfast pastry, sandwiches, pizza and bread/cookies/cakes/cup cakes…or battered fried foods.

So can one live a happy, healthy gluten free life?

My thoughts on the subject turn to my culinary arts school days when I was obsessed with learning how to make awesome sauces.

I read Escoffier, the founder of classic french cuisine and what stood out was that he predicted that toasted flour and butter roux, the traditional thicker for three of the five mother sauces, would eventually be replaced by pure starches like corn starch, arrow root or kuzu…etc.

Well, that never happened, cause in point, we were still using roux, but Escoffier had a point.

Flour in sauce has always be a cheap fix, which is what Peterson said speaking about the history of sauce.

For me, most sauces I make these days are pans sauces.

Pan sauces are made by simply deglazing the pan fond (dry tasty bits in the pan after searing meat) with some wine and thickening it with some starch if needed.

So what does my rant here mean for the foodie who is O-pinning for his Gluten mother sauces.

Two sauce gurus all but say it’s fine to have your classic french cuisine a la gluten free and eat it too.

I say that the time may be right for Escoffier’s roux-less (gluten free) sauce vision to be realized.

Why not simmer your beef/veal stock longer and make a demiglaze?

For Bechemal or Veloute’  (Milk  or Stock gravy/sauces), why not use half and half instead of milk or finishes it with a pure starch?

Does the toasted wheat flavor add a lot to the finished dish? And if it is the taste of toasted grain is all you want, why not add a little toasted rice tea to the stock with the shachet?

It seems weird to spend hours skimming a stock, cooling it, and scrapping the fat off, so you can have a clean product only to add a scoop of butter and flour later to oil and cloud it up.

Why not simply go for a clean cooked down stock and thicken it with a pure starch like corn starch?

Butter or cream can be added if you need some extra richness or you can thicken it with an egg york.

In other words, we can make many tasty dishes without missing the wheat flour, and I am not talking a handful here. I mean us gluten free folks can have most if not almost all of the classic french library.

But what about the crispy breaded coating for dredging meat, fish etc?

I say think Rice flour. Rice flour is used for tempura batter and many o-fish-n-chips use rice flour instead of wheat.

As for the world of bread, that is another story.

I had not ventured too far into the gluten free bake good world. Dare I even say gluten free pizza.

The thing is, like most on a new diet/lifestyles, there is a tendency at first to want to gravitate to a like version of the food we just gave up, or even to want to eat the same way.

A classic example is a vegan eating “fake meat.”

With gluten free it maybe Gluten free bread (which are well….I am not sure yet.)

On other programs it is the health bar. Every lifestyle seems to have their own candy like health bar that fits into their new diet, high carb, low carb, vegan, gluten free, carob

These “fake” substitutions help make the transition easier, but the key word is transition. The transitional foods eventually will be limited or mostly phased out.

For example, I would much prefer beans over tofu.

For me the idea is to transition towards the new diet/lifestyle.

To do this I feel the best strategy is to limit the faux food for traditional foods/recipes that already  fit with the program.

So think foods that are already gluten free.

Here is a quick list:

Southern Grits
Southern corn bread w/B B Q
Pad Thai Noodles
Roasted Potatoes w/baked chicken and green beans
Wild rice pilaf with fish
Saag Paneer (Cream spinach with fresh cheese) most indian dishes can be made gluten free
Nic’e salad
Grill meat or seafood w/veggies
Roasted veggies
Sushi (with tamari instead of soy sauce…soy sauce has wheat)
100% buckwheat pancakes

Ice Cream
Rice Pudding
Chocolate Pudding
Indian Pudding
Short Bread cookies (w rice flour traditional)
Chocolate (Yes, a Gluten Free life includes Chocolate…Hell Yah!!!)
Gelatin and aspics

And for the most part, many traditional dishes could be made with a simple thickener substitute like chowders and cream soups could use potato or corn starches.

So to my Gluten Free Brothers and Sisters out there, take hear there is still a huge world of good eat waiting for you.

Gluten free recipes are on the way.

Macrobiotic Redux

Ann Arbor Food

Tilapia with ginger orange and soy, steamed rice and miso/chili cabbage with red pepper

A few years back, I used to eat a Macrobiotic diet. The diet consisted of a lot of brown rice, veggies, beans and occasional fish.

At the time I was on the diet, I was very over weight and unhealthy and I turned to the program for health and weight loss. And it worked. In about a year, I had lost 90 pounds.

I was healthier and felt great.

Now, I find myself in pretty much where I was back then. I am 80-90 pounds over weight again. My bad habits kicked in over the years, but the Macrobiotic program in retrospect seemed too strict, which caused me to rebel against it.

But looking back now, I might have thrown out the baby with the bath water as the saying goes,

Instead of adding some items to a strict macro diet, I gave it all up. There were a lot of things that actually work, some that didn’t, but as a based diet it worked.

Macrobiotic introduced me to brown rice, sea vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, the use of miso, and dark leafy green veggies like kale and collards. It also got me into radishes, turnips and winter squash.

And macro introduced me to beans and fermented food like quick pickles.

I also learned about macro desserts, which using rice syrup, barley malt and maple for sweeteners instead of crystal sugar. They also use fresh and dried fruits and whole wheat flour or rice for sweet puddings.

With that said, the  version of the Macrobiotic diet I followed did not allow:

Meat, dairy, Eggs
Spices (including black pepper)
Garlic, Ginger
Very limited use of oil in cooking (non preferred)
Most herbs (except parsley)
Raw Food (no salad, or raw fruit)
Limited baked good, limited use of baking for cooking
No nightshade veggies (eggplant, tomato, potato, and peppers)
No spinach or chard
No chocolate
No tropical food (coconut, fruits)
No Coffee
No fried food (limited)

Fish was allow, but limited (non preferred)
Nut butters were allow (to be avoided or limited)

For those not familiar with macro who are looking at the No list, you might ask, “What the heck can you eat.”

My new approach to Macro is a hybrid. I plan to use the items on the No List, while keeping to the foundation of the Macrobiotic Diet of brown rice, veggie and bean based meals.

The meal above represents my new take.

It has the macro brown rice staple and includes a veggie dish with steamed fish. But I include a little oil in the rice, ginger with the fish, and red peppers and chili sauce with the vegetable. And for good measure, I have a (raw) orange with the meal.

The meal was tasty and uber healthy.

I can’t help but think if I allow myself a little more leeway with macro and ate meals like this one, I would not have gained back the weight.

Weigh-in Update: This week(????)

OK. I have not posted for a week.

So what is going on with my weight loss?

Last weeks weigh-in resulted in Plus 2.4 pounds and I did not weigh-in this week because of tornado warnings at the time of my meeting. (true story)

I have been doing a lot of soul searching about my weight loss and Weight Watchers and I am not sure WW it is a good fit.

And that is not just because I have not had big results.

I get little from the meetings themselves and I don’t feel the program provides any added motivation, or accountability.

I feel good on weight loss weeks.

But on weight gain weeks, I get the added bonus of “motivational public shaming” which does very little for me.

It is indirect, but do get looks from the person who weighs me in and they do announce the people who lose weight at meetings, so it is a last chair left when the music stop situation if you gained weight.

“Guess who I did not call this week.”

I can weigh myself once a week at the gym in private thank you very much.

As for the system, I found it to be cumbersome with looking up and writing down everything I eat with a lot of mostly guessing the “Points” for someone like myself who does not eat at chains or packaged foods.

I guess it works for accountant types like a guy who I take a class with you teaches physics at U of M, but it really does not fit my personality.

The whole point is to eat healthy and to exercise and to avoid the junk food, but even the junk food with WW is on the program if you can justify it with the point system.

You can use up all your points for the day on peanut M & M’s and Ben and Jerry’s if you want. How healthy is that?

So WW does little for me to break from junk food, which I feel is a major block towards my weight loss.

And WW does not come out and say it directly, but the program is really, really about what they call the power foods. These are whole grains, lean meats and fish, fruits and veggies, low fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds and small amounts of healthy fats.

If you eat mostly these foods you do not have to write anything down. They pretty much say as much in the meetings.

But, WW knows most will not eat the “power foods,” so they have everyone factor points and track everything and weigh-in each week.

The “power foods,” for me are basically a throw back to my vegetarian/macrobiotic days with the occasional meat dish thrown in.

That is fine by me.

I used to eat healthy. I know how to cook and I actually like fruits and vegetables.

So where does this leave me with WW?

Their system of trackers and points and meetings and including junk food and weigh-ins provides little help in my opinion.

And my weigh-in results show that.

That is my take on it.

This is not to say I will not eat healthy and work towards my weight loss.

I just don’t feel WW system offers any real help to me in the process.

Weigh-in (Plus .4)

Weigh-in (Plus .4)

I feel I need to do more and that I am staying about the same.

This week is about getting to the gym and moving my body.

Weight loss Weigh-in (Lost 3.8)

I am back under 230 again.

This puts me in the one pound a week range. But the ongoing drama of my up and down weight loss continues. Last week I was up four pounds. The week before, I lost 5.4.

So, we will see what happens. The plan is to go to the gym this week and to bring some weights to my cubical to do a few reps while I am at work.

I have one of those rubber band things for lifting.

I am also starting to switch from cereal to oatmeal and less bread and more brown rice. I have a rice steam, so we are going to make a big batch or rice and steam it up through the week.



Weigh in: (up 4.2)

I am up 4.2 pounds???

The deal with weigh-ins is that you want to weigh less or at least stay the same. My weigh-ins have been a roller coaster.

Last week I had a 5.4 pound loss. A few weeks before that I had also had a 5 pound weekly loss only to have gains the next few weeks.

I felt good to have the loss last week, but I felt that it will be followed by a gain while doing the same thing I did the week before.

My weight loss could really only be water weight, which can change from week to week, but does not result is real weight loss.

These big weekly loses followed by big weekly gains makes me question the process or at least the scale. Each week they seem to bring in a new scale.

And being six weeks in I wonder if I will stick with WW or find another system.

I mean I can get a scale and weigh myself once a week. And I feel that WW is simply food journaling and calorie counting in disquising with Points. You still have to look everything or use a special calulator.

Maybe if I had a weight watcher buddy, I would feel better and more accountable.

I have been better at avoiding snacks, eating more fruit and staying away from soda.

But, I am one high weekly weigh-in from being where I started.