Crusty Country French Bread

Hey all!

I’ve been doing lots of research on my stomach symptoms, and I’m 99% sure that I have some type of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  This hit home when I read over the list of “trigger” foods (those that set off IBS) and totally did a – “THIS IS ME!!!”

For example:

1. Fatty and fried foods (I LOVE nut butters, but they make me feel bloated and terrible, most of the time)
2. Anything with artifical sweeteners or sugar subs (if you give me anything with splenda/fake sugar, I am running for the bathroom within 30 minutes of eating it)
3. Alcohol (beer makes me the most sick, though more than one glass of wine gets me, too)
4. Dairy products (this one should’ve been a no-brainer, seeing as most things with cream either make very sick or just feel crappy)
5. Insoluble fiber like wheat, bran, starchy veg, brown rice, bulgur, dark leafy veg… (of course, all of the things I love, but I have noticed that after eating less wheat-heavy things, I feel better)
6. Carbonation (if I drink a soda, I’m running for the bathroom or have horrible cramps soon after)


So, I’m going to really concentrate on not eating these trigger foods.  I’ve been doing this since only last night’s dinner and today’s breakfast and lunch, and I already feel 100% better.

I haven’t eaten bread in quite awhile because I was straying away from wheat, but most of the websites I’ve read about IBS say that French bread is pretty safe.  I’m obviously not going to eat the entire loaf (okay, this might be a struggle, so I promise I won’t).  I also love baking bread.  Perfect excuse to make this beautiful, crusty country French bread!


I used one packet of active, dry yeast, mixed with 1/2 tbsp of white sugar in warm water.  Stir, then let sit until it gets foamy, like the above picture.  This usually takes about 10 minutes.


Stir in about 2-2.5 cups of AP flour or bread flour, with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt.  Mix with fork.

Confession: I hate getting my hands dirty.  I refuse to knead things.  This bread was made entirely by whipping the dough about with a fork.

Cover the bread with a moist towel and let it double in size.  I believe this took roughly 15 minutes.  Pour into bread tin and place in a 375F oven for 30 minutes.



Ding Ding!


Note: I added a handful of rosemary sprigs to mine, because I’m obsessed with rosemary.


I couldn’t just eat bread for lunch (I totally would, but let’s be real, that’s not the best choice on my part…), so I whipped up some tricolor bell peppers, onions and spinach.


Mixed with some basil, pepper and salt.  I made an open-faced sandwich with Sara Lee basil encrusted chicken.


Bon appetit!

Workout note –

My TFL (both sides) is absolutely killing me, so I’m just suiting up for a 60 minute walk/fast walk interval around my country roads.  I checked out The Great Gatsby on audiobook from the library, so I’m excited to give audiobooks a try!  I already know that I love the story, so we’ll see if the narrator is any good.  I’ll also do some free weight upper body exercises when I return, as I have two 10lb dumb bells in my basement.

Flaxseed Pizza Crust!

I’ve been greatly reducing the number of grains I’ve been eating, and my stomach/lower gut feel ten times better!

I’ve also had a mad craving for pizza.

Cue flaxseed!


6 tbsp flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Mill)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp egg whites
sprinkles of your favorite spices: rosemary, oregano, garlic powder

Bake in a greased pan (I used a shallow 10×10 pan) at 350F for approximately 10 minutes.  Remove and place desired ingredients on top; place back in the oven until ingredients are warm and cheese is melted.


We didn’t have any marinara sauce, but that’s totally fine – I’m more of a “white” pizza person, anyhow.  I’m that strange girl who likes “dry” things, too.  I topped mine with a few spritzes of butter, pepperoni and reduced-fat swiss.




The crust has a nice, chewy texture, and a mild, nutty flavor.  If you want a crispier crust, bake 15 minutes instead of 10.

You could easily eat this whole pizza if you’re extra hungry (as I did, since I didn’t have breakfast).  This recipe (with my additions) came to ~440 calories, 33 grams of fat, 14 grams of carb and 27 grams of protein = damn good for a pizza.  The crust itself is ~270 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of carb and 8 grams of protein.


Pilates Inspiration

I’ve always liked the idea of Pilates, but was so terribly inflexible that I struggled during the classes, and I certainly can’t make myself watch a DVD.  Not that inspirational.  However, I’ve found that doing a few routines with difficult moves (like the one I show below) isn’t too bad, and brings a great challenge.  I’ve also been told by my physical therapists –  many times – that Pilates would be good for me.

Alrighty, then.

Drawing from POPilates (the blog is here), I’ll be doing one of her ab-Pilates routines.  Cassey makes wonderful printouts of all her workouts; check her out! [click picture for higher resolution]

I’ll also be doing my slightly longer elliptical routine since one of my favorite shows is on tonight (much love for USA’s White Collar).  I like to hold a moderate pace during the show bits, and up the speed and intensity during the commercials.  Frequently, I’ll also hop off during a commercial in the middle and have a good stretch – 60 minutes on one machine is a long time!

  • Do you have a favorite Pilates routine or website?


Superset style workout today!  Let’s be real, we all know we’re super anyhow, so we’re just amping it up.

Supersetting means that you do both exercises in each set once through without stopping, rest, then repeat.  When you’ve done each set two or three times (gauge how you feel, and if you think you can do the move with correct posture), move to the next set. [post-workout update: I did three times through each]


Set 1:

  • 30sec Power side-to-side jumps (squat low, power-up and jump to the side, squat again, repeat)
  • 10 Tricep dips

Set 2:

  • 30sec Mountain Climbers (keep your butt down, as in plank position)
  • 10 One-legged deadlifts with dumbbell

Set 3:

  • 30sec Plank
  • 10 leg-drops (hold your abs tight, don’t let your back come up off the floor)


Tabata Style with long cool-down, ~20 minutes.  I do elliptical.

3 minute warm-up (assuming you’ve done the strength portion first)
4 minute Tabata Intervals (equals 8 intervals, total)
– 15 second sprint, 15 second moderate
8 minute moderate work (rate of perceived exertion ~5-6)
5 minute cool-down

I’m setting to work off my delicious Mexican lunch.  If you order right, Mexican can be really filling and healthy!  My personal favorite: steak fajitas.  Skip the tortillas, load up on the guacemole, lettuce and fajitas, and dig in.

They’re also insanely easy to make at home.

Happy Monday!

Lake n’ love

Put-in-Bay Island on Lake Erie (between Ohio and Michigan) is absolutely wonderful.  It’s a tiny island, only 0.6 square miles, with 128 permanent residents.  They definitely cater to us visiting folk, who board the ferry and jet over.


My parents are the cutest.  They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary! 



You certainly can’t miss the resemblance here!  We’re crossing Lake Erie on the ferry to Put-in-Bay, where our first stop is to…


Rent a GOLF CART!  Normally I would opt to bike, but my dad hasn’t been in the best physical health, so we went with the far more suave route.


Only time in my life that I can viably say that I’ve ridden Jack Sparrow.

Ahem.  Sorry.

The island has some wonderful vineyards, such as Heinemans, whose grapes you see here.  I wish you could smell these babies through the photograph!  They have a wonderful aroma.  Their specialty is catawba and concord grapes (white and red, respectively).



Here we come to the Goat, Soup and Whiskey, a lovely pub and chocolate shop down the road from the winery.  At lunched on the “Rose Plate,” which included two cups of their homemade soups (chicken chili and seafood gumbo), plus a delightful garden salad.


Downtown we went!  The classic lake apparel store…


Some entirely random brightly colored patio chairs…


And heaven on earth.



Mom and I split a dark chocolate moose tracks bar (marshmallows and walnuts), and each had a small piece of dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt.  Divine.


Upon Put-in-Bay, hidden in the corner of the island, off the beaten track, lies a jewel.  First thing: I’m obsessed with architecture, especially unique and wonderful house architecture.  Second thing: this is insane.


The Benson Ford (this ship) was one of Henry Ford’s shipped, once used to port motors across Lake Erie.  Not wanting it to go to waste once it was decommissioned, it was restored into a HOME.  It literally appears to be a boat taking off from the island.  It’s pristine.

It’s a private home that was featured on MTV’s “Extreme Cribs.”  Cool?  Absolutely.  Check out the owner’s personal site of the shiphouse here.

After ferrying back to mainland, we went to one of the most fun stores – Cheesehaven!


They’re not kidding about the 125 kinds of cheese, either.


They always have free samples, which I nibbled on (my favorite being the salami-aged cheddar).  We got some beef jerky for the road, and also hit up a farmer’s market on the 2-hour drive back home.

I’m a bit wiped out, but it was a wonderful, sunny day.  Trying to really embrace the only three weeks that I have remaining in the USA!  Crazy.

Today was an off-workout day since we were traveling and because my legs are acting up.  Here’s hoping tomorrow brings better legs and a hard workout!  I know Mexican food is coming my way, too… excellent.