The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

Anti-Inflammation Diet Update

I’ve been doing pretty well on the anti-inflammatory diet. Well, pretty okay.
I’m breaking it up into four steps, because it’s too difficult to completely renovate a diet in one go.

My first step was fat: my goal was less than 20% of daily calories coming from fat, with less than 2 mg from saturated fats. I succeeded 10 out of 12 days.

My second step was carbohydrates: 40% of daily calories, with at least half from fruits and vegetables. I was close on the first part every day (out of 6 so far), with my daily intake ranging between 40 and 50% (usually hovering around 45%). But most of my carbs came from grains and sugar. I think only 1 day I hit the 50% goal.

My step for next week is protein. After that is sugars/processed foods. I think I’ll do okay with protein, though it will difficult cutting down the red meat, as I don’t eat chicken, turkey or fish. Hmmm… We’ll see how it goes.

Also, one part of this diet is to exercise more. I get a lot of exercise at work (retail: I’m on my feet all day, moving heavy boxes, carrying stuff) but I decided to try *real* exercise. I got a Groupon for a local gym with a pool. When I got there today, a water aerobics class had just started, so I hopped in and did almost an hour, then I did ten laps. I’m gonna try to get to the pool three times a week. They say swimming is one of the best exercises for fibro. Hopefully I can keep up with it and this diet. I hope it helps me feel better.

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Epiphany

I’m always asking “why is my body being such a dick to me” and today I finally came up with the answer.

Because I am a dick to my body. First, there’s the negative self-talk, like “ugh, I’m getting so fat, that’s gross”, or “I’m the worst”. (Luckily that second one doesn’t come around so often, but it’s there enough, like when I make mistakes – even small ones.)

But there’s the physical way I treat my body. I eat horribly. I don’t have one sweet tooth, I have 32, and I often use that as an excuse to chow down on candy. I eat way too much candy. I probably eat more than your average 3rd grader.

I eat veggies and fruits, but not always the recommended 3-5 servings a day. (Actually, I only get that maybe 40% of the time.)

I don’t exercise, beyond the movement I need to do to go about my day.

When I’m not working, I’m normally sitting in bed, watching TV or reading. I snack throughout the day, even if I’m not hungry.

And I wonder why I get sick so often? Why I always feel like crap?

I got the stomach flu last week. I had to leave work early one day and call in sick the next. I didn’t eat for almost two days. It was bad. And that was when I had this epiphany. I need to treat myself better in order to feel better; in order to BE better.

So I’m starting the anti-inflammatory diet. This basically means no sugar, no saturated fats, limited processed foods. Which is pretty much my entire diet, so I’m going slowly. I’m starting with the fats this week…

We’ll see how it goes. But I really want to feel better.

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Red Velvet Part 2

I tried that vegan red velvet recipe again. This time, I baked it a little less time (I started with 20 minutes, then put it back in for 5 minutes) and I baked them as cupcakes instead of a cake.

And they were marvelous. Moist (which is my least favorite word, unless it’s describing my cupcakes), rich and red. (Remember last time, the cake was hardly red at all?)

I had some issues with the frosting. The taste was really good, though I think I put in one too many drops of peppermint extract. But it was lumpy. I either didn’t whip it enough, or I over-whipped it.

I plan on entering this recipe in my county fair this weekend, so I need to make sure it is perfect. If I can recreate this dough, and fix up the icing, I fully expect to see a ribbon next to my name when I go to the fair next week. 🙂

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Julia Child’s French Bread – Gluten Free

I’ve made Julia Child’s French bread before, and it always turns out really good. Golden brown, flakey, crusty, buttery, even though there’s no butter to be found anywhere near it.

Not this time.

And it wasn’t because of the gluten-free flour. At least not the flour itself. It’s how I used the flour…

I know exactly where I went wrong.

I put all the flour in at once.

I don’t know why this changes things, but you’re supposed to add 2 1/2 cups of flour before the water, then slowly add the remaining cups.

I didn’t do that.

The dough came out too sticky to knead. I added more flour. And more flour. And more flour, until I could knead it.

So of course it came out hard as a rock and too grainy. Unless it was drowning in butter, it tasted pretty gross.
I was making this for a competition at my county fair, and I knew I couldn’t serve it to the judges like that. (I feel like I’m on a Food network show when I say that.)

So I redid it. I added the correct amounts of flour at the right times.

It looked pretty good when I took it out of the oven, but I haven’t had a chance to taste it yet. It smelled great. I hope that’s a good sign.

I made one loaf for the fair, and a few smaller (biscuit-sized) pieces for myself. Those came out really hard too, but the loaf was soft enough when I pressed on it. I hope they can be eaten…

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I love baking

I really do. Cooking, too. I love being in the kitchen. I’m an artistic person by nature, and cooking is one of the best way I showcase my creativity. Because, let’s face it, there’s no more satisfying way of enjoying art than by eating it, right? Standing in front of the Mona Lisa was amazing, but what was even more amazing was the boeuf bourguignon at sidewalk cafe I went to afterwards.

I’ve been cooking and baking my whole life. I come from a family of cooks. My nonni makes an amazing pesto sauce, and holidays at my other grandma’s house always involve spectacular food. My father used to work in a restaurant, and he knows his way around a grill. And my mom has never made a bad dessert in her life.

My youngest brother’s birthday was last week, and I wanted to do something special for him, so I decided to bake the cake. The only problem is that his favorite cake is Funfetti, and I haven’t quite figured out how to make that gluten free. So, I made two cakes instead. A Funfetti for the “normals”, and a gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar red velvet for the “Others” (which was basically only me.) I found a recipe and set to work. Now, I’ve never made red velvet from scratch before. So attempting it vegan, and gluten-free, and low sugar, all at the same time? Very ambitious.

And it turned out probably how you’d except a first time red velvet cake might turn out. It wasn’t red, and it wasn’t velvet.

I added too little red food coloring. Which is easily remedied. Plus, I frosted it with swirls of red and white frosting, so at least it looked really pretty.

But it was dry. It was like biting into week-old donut. The flavor wasn’t bad at all. You just couldn’t get through one whole slice. And the frosting was way too vanilla-y. (I expected that; the recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of vanilla. That’s an entire container of vanilla extract.) So for the next time I make the cake, I know how to fix the color and the frosting. I just don’t know how to fix the moisture.

The Funfetti cake was easy. All I had to do was buy the mix, mix it, and plop it in the oven. That cake was gone almost right away. (There were four 19-year-old boys and a 23-year-old boy eating it.) But I wanted to make it even more special, so I tried decorating it.

Usually when I bake cakes, I just spread some frosting, write “Happy Birthday” and throw some candles on. Sometimes I’ll use some sprinkles. But this time, I drew a picture. It’s not the best thing. It would certainly never win me a prize, and I doubt anyone would want to buy it (though it is better than some of the things you see on CakeWrecks…) My brother is really into motorcycles and heavy metal. So I drew the first thing I thought would be appropriate: a motorcycle jumping over flames. Although I drew the motorcycle a little too close to the fire, so it looks like it’s driving <i>through</i> it. But it still looks cool. And I found these awesome skull sprinkles, so I put those around the edge. It looked pretty cool, I have to say so myself.

My cakes!

My cakes!

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