Product review: MimicCreme Cream Substitute

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My impressions
I've mentioned before that I have been unwilling to completely give up dairy because I could not find a suitable substitute for use in coffee (okay and maybe the odd slab of organic butter). Did I mention that I LOVE coffee? Love it. I would drink decaf if I had to, because I just love the taste. And I am unwilling to compromise on that taste. In my coffee, I have tried soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc. but they are just no comparison to real cream...until now. I'm not going to tell you that it tastes exactly like cream, but it lightens to about 75% of what cream does, and it adds a slight taste that while mildly noticeable is not in the least off-putting. It cuts the bitterness of coffee without washing out the flavour. This rocks. And did you notice the label? This is free from cholesterol, lactose, gluten, and the product is also non-GMO, vegan and kosher.

More on the product
MimicCreme is made from the following ingredients (this is the unsweetened version):

Purified water, almonds, cashews, dipotassium phosphate, bicarbonate soda, rice starch, salt.
The only one there I have questions about is dipotassium phosphate. Here's what I found on that: it's used mostly in non-dairy creamers for viscosity. Anyone know anything further on that?
And here are the nutrition facts for the unsweetened version:
I'd say that's not too bad!! Give it a whirl. I suspect that with the unsweetened version, you could easily add it to baked goods, soups, etc. calling for cream. Give it a good shake because it settles, and then give 'er. Once you open it, the company suggests using it within 14 days.

Cost: This product cost me about $4.50 (give or take). Sadly, MimicCreme did not send me this product to review- I bought it myself just like everyone else. That being said, if the company has others they'd like me to review, they can always contact me... ;)


Vegetable soup (simple, gluten free, dairy free)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hello all! With a sick lil' boy, I stretched my imagination and came up with a quick soup.
Here's the skinny on how I made soup in about 30 minutes (start to finish!):

Quick vegetable soup
1 box Pacific natural foods organic chicken broth
1/2 cup Eden Organics pasta and pizza sauce
1/2 an onion, diced
1 Tb grapeseed oil
2 cups chopped veggies (mine included green beans, fresh peas, carrots, peppers)
3/4 cup brown rice pasta mini shells

Saute onion in oil until translucent. Add the rest, bring to a boil and simmer until the noodles are soft. Yep. That's it. ;)

Kitchen tip: Every week I make a HUGE container of chopped veggies and leave it in the fridge to pilfer from for lunches, snacks, etc. That was one of the reasons this was so quick to make: I grabbed handfuls of carrot sticks, peppers etc. and gave them a quick dice. I strongly recommend you invest an hour to chop everything at the beginning of the week and keep it in a container like this Rubbermaid one- they will keep throughout the week (though you may want to lay a damp paper towel over the lot to keep them from drying out).

My latest obsession: ZUMBA!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My blog posts are typically not about exercise. I must admit that I am not one for sweating...seriously. I walk at least 20-30 minutes, at least 4 times a week, but on Fridays I do ZUMBA!!!! 

Remember when you were a kid and went to dance class and boogie'd your heart out? Then you were a teen/twenty-something and you were rockin out on the dance floor of whatever club you were frequenting? Then you meet someone special...and you decide that it's become kinda inappropriate to go to clubs anymore, then this tiny part of you dies. Not the part that liked to flirt, or drink, or whatever, the part that DANCED!! 

Then my lovely friend Tammy suggested we join this mother/daughter Zumba class. My daughter wasn't old enough but Tammy has a brood of them, so we all signed up together. Wow. Wow wow wow. I totally figured out what had been missing, and in the process I found a way to incorporate a pretty vibrant, challenging hour of fitness into my week. In addition, dancing has become my partner as I cook. I am most often in the kitchen for at least several hours on Saturday and Sunday, and a handful throughout the week also. I plug the iPod in and totally rock out while I cook- which most of the time, really gets my heart rate up and yes, I even admit to sweating. ;)

Not everyone is a runner, or wants to go to the gym, but you just have to find that one thing that gets you moving, and spills over into the rest of your life, spreading happiness along the way.  This isn't us, but you'll get the idea...This is international, people. Find a class near you and remember what this felt like... 


What colour is YOUR dinner?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remember when you were choosing your dinnerware? What is the perfect colour? What would go with your kitchen? What is the most versatile?
Well, it seems that for most people, the plate has become more important than what goes ON the plate...
Have a look at this:

 And remember this poor woman from the Jamie Oliver specials who was suffering both physically and emotionally? Check out what her week's worth of food looked like!

Notice anything? Brown. Beige. Ecru. Off-white. White.

This disgusting sea of nasty food is anemic...Where the heck is the colour???

Now have a peek at these:

Can you say YUUUMMMMMM!!!!!

Let the passion that you displayed in selecting your dinner plate, spill over to the selection of what goes on it. Choose your food for its bright, pleasing colours, and make sure you get a variety of colours in each meal. Colours and the brightness of those colours, is a pretty easy indication of how many varied nutrients are present in your food. Let your eyes, your sense of beauty, colour, composition, guide you as you construct your meal choices. Let's have a peek at exactly what the colours mean:

  • Orange/yellow foods (oranges, pineapple, tangerines, papaya) - Antioxidants like vitamin C: improve health of mucus membranes and connective tissue. Help prevent heart disease by improving circulation and preventing inflammation.
  • Orange (carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes) - Lutein, which cannot be created in the body, beta carotene and vitamin A help eye health, promoting night vision and warding off cataracts 
  • Green (broccoli, kale, romaine, spinach)- A rich source of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins K, C, E and many complex B vitamins-  powerful anti-cancer compounds. 
  • Red (tomatoes, watermelon, red cabbage)- Lycopene: anti-cancer, prevents prostate problems and reduces the effects of sun damage on the skin.
  • Blue/purple (red apples, beets, blueberries, strawberries, grapes)- Anthocyanins: powerful antioxidants that protect against heart disease by improving circulation and preventing blood clots. Also have anti-aging phytochemicals that help counteract the processed and trans-fat rich Standard American Diet (SAD...this is pretty ironic).
  • White/Green foods (onions, garlic, celery, pears, chives)- Allicin: Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal phytochemical. 
  • Yellow/Green foods (corn, green peas, collard greens, avocado, honeydew)- Lutein and zeaxanthin: help reduce degenerative eye conditions and the risk of osteoporosis. 
This is but a snapshot of what Mother Nature has to offer. So next time you sit down to a meal, check out the colours on your plate. If you're having a dinner that varies in shades of brown (we all have the odd french fries, chicken fingers, etc.), why not take ten seconds and cut up a red and green pepper to add some raw veggies to your meal. A treat doesn't have to mean a completely nutritionless meal- why not have that slice of pizza or chicken wings with a bright stir fry or salad? Your body will be very glad you did.


RANT: Food intolerance is real, serious, painful, and scary

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Warning: rant ahead!!!

For those of you who are totally blessed, and can eat whatever you please, GOOD ON YA. You are lucky, and in a way, I'm totally jealous. In another way, I see these past months (coming up on two years soon!) since I've eaten gluten as a real gift: because of feeling terrible, two things happened:
a) I stopped eating the things that were making me sick and I don't get sick anymore, and as if that wasn't enough (!!!)
b) It inspired me to learn more about nutrition than many people will ever know during the course of their their entire life.

NEWSFLASH: Just because a person doesn't die as a result of a food intolerance, or Celiac Disease (at least in the short term, the long term is something altogether different) doesn't make issues like cross-contamination any less serious. If their food ends up tainted by whatever substance they are meticulously trying to avoid, they will be ill- and in some cases extremely or violently so.

For me, eating gluten and dairy (any more than a splash of cream in my coffee) make me feel ridiculously bad: foggy, dizzy, nauseous, bloated, constipated, crampy, stomach pain, tired, angry...and they give me migraines (well, the one cracker I ate gave me an eye-splitting migraine. I can assume it'd happen again but you'll never catch me trying!). Do you not think I might enjoy a slice of extra old cheddar on crusty baguette? Of COURSE it would taste good, but I choose not to eat it not because I will die, but because I end up feeling terrible. We're not talking like when you eat too much turkey dinner...this is pain folks. For me, it's hard ...core...pain.

So, that thing in your head-- the one that says "Hey, food cross-contamination is only a big deal if the person will drop dead on the spot with something like a peanut allergy"? How bout the next time you to go a restaurant I tell you that there might be a little salmonella in your food... But don't worry- you won't die...

I'm done now.

Appetizer recipe: Salmon cakes (gluten & dairy free)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone is off to a great, healthy start in 2011.

Over the holidays, I had two occasions to host gatherings at our house, and I came up with these little bite-sized jobbies to share with friends, and also to make sure I'd have something to munch on that would take the edge off before dinner. As much as I enjoy a veggie plate, it is kind of sad when that's your only option at a get-together. I wanted to have something more substantial.

These do take a while to make (maybe an hour start to finish), but the recipe will make a lot and your guests (or family!) will love them. Here's how I made it.

Salmon Cakes (gluten and dairy free)

2 stalks CELERY
2 cans SOCKEYE SALMON (pick the skin out but keep the bones for ++ calcium)
2 tbsp DIJON
1 tsp dried DILL
1 EGG (sub flax/water or chia seeds if you are not into eggs)
1/3 cup GLUTEN FREE BREAD CRUMBS (sub ground crackers, croutons etc.)
2 tbsp CAPERS
1/4 LEMON (juiced)
1/2 cup QUINOA FLAKES (optional)

1- Chop potatoes with skin on and set on stove to boil until tender (note: if you have leftover mashed potatoes, this would be a great way to use them up).
2- Meanwhile, to your food processor, add the celery and onion and grind. Then add these ingredients: salmon, Dijon, dill, egg, bread crumbs and lemon.
3- Empty your food processor into a bowl to make room for grinding the potatoes.
4- Once the potatoes have stopped cooking, you'll want to drain them and cool them down a bit. Once they're not so steamy (we don't want them to cook the egg in the mix on contact) put them in the food processor and give 'em a wazzz. You don't want it to be smooth- this dish is a bit more rustic, and chunky potatoes work well.
5- At this point, you should pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
5- Add the contents of the bowl back in plus the capers and give it a final mix.
6- If you have quinoa flakes, sprinkle some on a plate and as you grab small handfuls (think golf-ball size) roll them in the flakes, then press them down on parchment paper on a cookie sheet to make small "discs".
7- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, flipping at 15 minutes or whenever they've solidified a bit (if you flip them too early they'll fall apart). When you take them out of the oven, give them a minute before transferring to a plate as they may still be fragile while they're super hot.

Serve them with a garlic style dressing for dip. I highly recommend the Spunky Coconut's Italian dressing which is gluten and dairy free also and really REALLY yummy.

Before you go, have a look at today's smoothie- SUPER yum... (kale, spinach, parsley, coriander, mint, cashews, lemon and chia)
Enjoy and take care everyone!

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