I have been wanting to try baking with quinoa. I love cooking with quinoa, and what a great way to inject some healthiness into your dessert? This recipe is actually off the back of the box of Quinoa Flakes. I figured I would try it as written since this was my first foray into quinoa baking. The verdict: Yum-o (to quote the cooking lady on my TV right now.) So here you go...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I have been wanting to try baking with quinoa. I love cooking with quinoa, and what a great way to inject some healthiness into your dessert? This recipe is actually off the back of the box of Quinoa Flakes. I figured I would try it as written since this was my first foray into quinoa baking. The verdict: Yum-o (to quote the cooking lady on my TV right now.) So here you go...
Sunday, December 16, 2007
There is nothing that is more indicative of the holiday season than the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. The aroma permeating the air, wafting from a freshly baked pie or loaf of bread. The scents wrap themselves around you like a thick down blanket. Warmth, security, contentment.
At this moment my kitchen is a mess. It is in a bad way. I was sick for nearly two weeks. This is the fallout that occurs: too much garbage, piles of unwashed dishes, lots of yuck. But my appetite has returned with a vengeance. What to do? Slow cooker! Someone over on livejournal posted a rough sketch of a recipe the other day that had snagged my interest. Yesterday I wiped out the slow cooker and dug out the Pumpkin Pie Spice. Mmmmmm... Pumpkin Pie Spice. After playing around with seasoning amounts, here is the result:
(Picture coming soon...as soon as blogger quits being a punk!)
Pumpkin Rice Porridge
8-9 cups milk
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 T pumpkin pie spice
1 can pumpkin puree
3 cups rice
Put the first 4 ingredients in your slow cooker. Mix to blend completely. Add in the rice. Cover and cook. (I set it on high for 6 hours.) Occasionally mix to ensure even cooking.
Hint: I used a Reynold's Slow Cooker Liner. These things are lifesavers! Cleanup is a breeze. I can't imagine how horrible it would have been without the liner. Some much scraping! Instead you just lift it out and throw it away.
This is truly a porridge. Thick, dense, slightly sweet. Yum! It has a consistency similar to a bread pudding. The only problem is that it makes a HUGE batch. I am going to have to try making it much smaller. I may try it with a slightly higher ratio of wet ingredients. If you play around with it, please let me know the results. Hmmm...I wonder how it would taste warm and topped with maple syrup?
Saturday, December 15, 2007
In an effort to get the ball rolling I am asking for your help. We are well and truly into the holiday season. I am planning on doing some holiday baking with Mom tomorrow. Since I intend to share the cookies with you all (um, the recipes), I thought I would expand this a bit. If you have posted or are planning to post any holiday baking recipes, please let me know. Drop me a comment and include a link. I will put them all into one post. Kind of a round up, but more like a really convenient place to look for a bunch of gluten free holiday goodies. Cookies, cakes, candies, whatever sweet stuff you are concocting to celebrate the holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa.)
Now to pick out the recipes I plan to make. And I think I need to play with my dog. He has been trying to snag my attention at the most inopportune times: while I'm on the phone, as I try to do work, as pictures are being taken...
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
While this does not completely make me happy ("special diets" can still be medical necessities), it is nice to have what I said recognized.
Thank you for sharing your concerns about the recent "Survival Guide for
Holiday Hosting" story. We realize now that we should not have included
"gluten-free" as an example in the "Diva" category, as a gluten-free diet
often is a medically diagnosed need, not a choice. On our website, we have
changed that sentence to say: “The Diva has driven us crazy with high-maintenance demands like special diets and fresh towels every day.” In past articles, we have taken great care to address the importance of gluten-free diets, and have even printed recipes for those needing alternatives. That said, your note
is a good reminder that we need to stay mindful of this issue.
The Seattle Times
Weekend Living Editor
Monday, November 19, 2007
I just sent off this email:
Dear Ms. Tsong,
I was rather disturbed after reading your article regarding house guests and surviving the holidays. In the article you listed a handful of guest stereotypes. One in particular, The Diva, is grossly unfair and inaccurate. You have lumped together individuals who make excessive personal requests (fresh towels) with people who are on specialized medical diets. I can understand your frustration over a guest whose requests inconvenience you for no other reason than that they prefer things done a certain way. However, I cannot understand or accept that you would open your home to someone and then begrudge them that fact that, if they were to eat a certain kind of food, would be ill for the remainder of their visit.
The Gluten Free diet is not a fad diet. It is not something a person adopts by choice, but as a matter of medical necessity. For those of us who live with Celiac Disease (a genetic auto-immune disease that attacks the small intestines) a gluten free diet is THE ONLY course of treatment. We cannot pop a pill and eat your stuffing and pies. Would you vilify a guest who lives with peanut or lactose allergies? While they may have more immediate and outwardly visible reactions (vomiting, anaphylactic shock, etc.), a person with Celiac can have intestinal damage that may take 3-6 months to heal. This can occur from just one mouthful of gluten-filled food. This damage (and the resulting mal-absorption of nutrients) can lead to such long-term problems as bone density loss (osteopenia and osteoporosis) and lymphoma. Please do not diminish such serious health issue by referring to them as Diva tendencies. Not only is it rude, but it illuminates your ignorance on the topic.
Gluten Free since Oct. '06
The journalist's contact information is listed at the bottom of the article. Let's see how large of a presesence we can make known!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
It seems that, more and more, Trader Joe's is becoming the leader in gluten free retail marketing. Every time I walk in that store I see new products. Products proudly displaying the label "gluten free". Here is a list of some new faves:
Gluten Free Granola
Gluten Free Black Forest Cake (freezer section)
Gluten Ginger Snaps (OMG, so good!!!)
Chicken Gorgonzola (freezer section)
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
I also bought the Gluten Free tiramisu. I am saving for this weekend. I am hosting an Urban Family Thanksgiving. Eeek! I will be cooking a turkey by myself FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! I am planning on making gf stuffing out of Kinnikinnick bread. Anyone use that bread for stuffing a bird before? How did that work for you?
Friday, November 09, 2007
- Today I made a long overdue stop at Trader Joe's. All month I have been hearing great things about their new gluten free granola. I bought one bag (they have three flavors) and the verdict? OMG fantastic!!! Crunchy, great texture, slightly sweet. I can't wait to try it over yogurt.
- A couple of weeks ago I attended a gluten free and food allergy fair at a local hospital. There were so many great vendors. I had the opportunity to try so many gf products. Here is a list of some must-buy treats I tried: Pamela's Chocolate Cake mix, 123 Gluten Free pound cake mix (it tasted better than most "regular" pound cake), chocolate K-Toos, some local gf bakeries, gf Full Flavor cheese sauce (for fast mac & cheese) and turkey gravy, and some spice and dip mixes from a company called Cali. There was an amazing biscotti, but I can not remember the name of the company. Oh! Also, I tried Pamela's PB Chocolate Chip cookies. So delicious!
- I am really starting to get into wine. My friends and I have been trying new wines each month during my movie nights. I went to Sam's (a HUGE wine and liquor store near my place). There are so many wines there that it is a bit overwhelming. Luckily, there were some reps available conducting tastings. I have never really done a side-by-side-by-side tasting before. It was really neat to taste a variety of wines and to be able recognize differences between them. I'm looking forward to the next movies and wine night.
- Speaking of the next movies and wine night...it is a week away. I am hosting an Urban Family Thanksgiving Feast. For the first time ever, I will be making the holiday turkey. EeeeeKkkKKk!!! I'm so nervous about this. I want it to turn out juicy and tasty (duh). I want to succeed at making gf stuffing. I am thinking of using Kinnikinnick bread and my mom's stuffing recipe. Have any of you used that beard for stuffing? How did it turn out?
- I got glutened earlier in the week. My poor tummy has been sensitive ever since. Even food that I know is completely safe has been bothering me. Hopefully this won't last much longer.
- I will be trying some chicken mango sausages this weekend. I bought them at Trader Joe's. GF is right there on the label. They sounds interesting. I need to think about how and with what I will serve them.
I think that covers quite a bit for now. Hope all of you are doing well. Hugs and GF kisses!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
That being said, you would think I would have been much more aware of what this weekend was: my one year anniversary. I was sitting here about to crawl into bed when I realized (belatedly) that the anniversary of the day I started my gluten free lifestyle had come and passed. It is almost an afterthought. Strange. Also strange that I am sitting here thinking about being GF for a year while all bloaty and with a big case or gurgly tummy. Can't imagine what I ate. Nothing should have had gluten. It could just be too much fat or dairy. Cheese, pasta with a heavy cream sauce, and...oh. duh. White Chili. Sometimes I am quite dumb.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The reason for my writing today is food related, but not cooking related.
A little over a year ago, after a relationship I quite enjoyed came (sadly) to an end, I decided I needed to focus more on my friends. I always seem to feel that way after a breakup. While I may not have been smart about the dating decisions I made after that, I did make a smart decision by starting what has become a bit of a tradition. Once a month I host a movie night. I cook an entree (usually something big and meaty) and everyone else brings a side dish, dessert, appetizer, etc. It is a big old potluck. I baked my first ham, made chili, created a taco bar...among other themes. A few moths back I added a new element to our monthly gathering: wine. There was usually at least one person who would bring a bottle along. Month after month I would hear people say "I wish I knew more about wine." So why not? Movie Night became Monthly Movies & Wine. I try to pick a theme for each gathering: West Coast Wines, US Wines (not West coast), and College Wines (nothing over $5). It has been fun and interesting. Perhaps not educational yet, but that may change.
Last week I was watching Nightline. Why? I never watch Nightline. It usually depresses me with all of their child predator stories. I teach children all day, that topic just depresses the hell out of me. For whatever reason, the show was on. They featured a segment about a gentleman on the east coast and his web site. Gary Vaynerchuk owns and runs a wine store that his parents started when they moved here from (I believe) Russia. It is now a monstrous wine superstore. About a year or so ago he started video blogging about wine. The result is Wine TV. He is crazy. A huge football fan, he often talks about the Jets and how terrible they are doing. He is not a wine snob, sounds like your average Joe. He presents wine in a way that is entertaining and approachable for the average person. If you want to learn about wine, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned wine connoisseur, this is the place to go. Check it out. Nd if you have any wine suggestions of your own, pass them my way. I am always looking for a good wine to share with friends.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
So I will be the first to admit I have a sweet tooth. On occasion it will rear it's head. "Feed me!" I dip into my candy reserves. As I have gotten older it seems to take smaller and smaller portions to satiate the beast. Usually. Sometimes I can ignore the monster. Other times it is more insistent. "FEED me!!" And into the freezer I dive for some ice cream. A couple of candies. An extra scoop of ice cream. The creature is more adamant. Then there are the days that my sweet tooth roars. "FEED ME!!!!!" Lord help me on those days. No matter what I put in my mouth it does not seem enough. Chocolate, ice cream, sweet tea, bakery goods. I need more! Today is one of those days. I am sure in a few days I will have a hormonal...visitor that will explain this intense craving, but for now there is no reasoning with the beast.
The beautiful thing is that in the (almost) year since going gluten free, I have found many safe options for feeding the cravings. On my way home from getting my hair cut (it's so cute!) I passed by the Vosges store. Yes, a store completely devoted to amazing, decadent chocolate. Amazing, decadent, expensive chocolate. Nearly all of it is gluten free! (I'm telling you, my sweet tooth is developing expensive tastes.) I sampled three "exotic candy bars" (remember my post about the Naga Bar?) One was white chocolate with kalamata olives, another with dark chocolate and Mexican peppers. The third was one I had already tried and LOVED. It is going to sound gross, but you must try it: milk chocolate, smoked salt and bacon. Heaven!
So there I was, looking all cute fresh from the salon, and surrounded by chocolate. What a blissful morning. :) By the time I walked out of there I had also tried a white chocolate-olive oil-kalamata olive truffle. Amazing. It should be for $3 a piece. The very nice (cute) boy working there gave me a free sample. Oh, and it pays to chat up the employees. He gave me a 10% "teacher" discount on my purchase of a Naga truffle and two candy bars. I have not yet tried these bars, but don't worry, I'll let you know how they taste. I anticipate more ooh-ing and ahh-ing.
Since I was in the neighborhood I also swung by Swirlz (the cupcake bakery that has GF offerings every day.) I had a coupon for a free cupcake. Which one should I get? Grasshopper mint-chocolate? Vanilla-chocolate? Cinnamon-chocolate? I asked the employee for his opinion. Mint-chocolate it was. Oh my! The cake is great, but the frosting is amazing! Light, creamy, slightly sweet. Perfect. Is my craving fulfilled? Well, it has quieted down for the moment. Although it does seem to be eyeing that Naga truffle with undue interest.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I can't wait for October. I am done with September.
So here's the thing. Yesterday I went to our annual full-day meeting downtown. Usually this is a great day: no kids, no driving (I get to take the train), a room full of fine arts teachers and principals, and it is held at the Cultural Center. And they always provide food. Up till this year I have loved that last part. This year I could not partake. Actually, I should have risked the salad. Here's why...I went down to the local Thai restaurant. I have eaten there before. The Panang Curry is to die for. SO GOOD. Yesterday it tasted amazing. I ate way too much. About two hours after eating I started feeling icky. Damn, gluten...or so I thought. I left at the end of the meeting and started feeling worse. By the time I got off the train out by my apartment I felt horrible. I thought I was going to faint. Super queasy. Bad deal. I had to nearly push a guy out of my way on the stairs so I could get to the top and not risk passing out on the stairs. I got through the turnstiles and that was it. My lunch made a reappearance. Ew. The only times I have puked in the past 15-20 years have been due to reactions to anesthesia. This was not cool. Very embarrassing! People just stood and stared. Anyhoo, the reason I am sharing this is that I have a question. This could definitely be food poisoning. My body made sure there was not a single bit of lunch in my belly. I felt a bit queasy and shaky afterwards, but 100 times better. I was even able to eat a light meal last night. Today I am fine. I would have thought there would be lingering effects with food poisoning. As for gluten, I have never reacted this way. My symptoms are rather mild by comparison to other Celiacs. Have you ever (after going GF) had symptoms that were exponentially worse? Could it be the amount of gluten consumed? I normally just bloat and feel some heartburn and such. This was WAY worse. Any input?
Friday, September 07, 2007
That is all I can really say. Seriously. OK, I am a typical girl. I love chocolate in nearly every form (although not chocolate ice cream so much.) About a week ago (during a fairly emotionally trying time) my best friend and I got together for some girl time. We ran over to Whole Foods to pick up some munchies that I could partake of. I bought many treats. Many. I finally got around to trying one of them today. Again, an emotionally draining day. (I swear my fellow teachers are worse than the students!) Anyhow, I busted into my emergency chocolate supply. OH MY GOD! Vosges Haut-Chocolate. I love it. It is one of their exotic candy bars: Naga Bar. "Sweet Indian curry powder, coconut flakes, deep milk chocolate". It is heaven. It melts on your tongue. Smooth, creamy, decadent. The chocolate itself is divine, the "exotic" ingredients put it over the top. They have a bunch of different flavors (all gluten free!) I can't wait to try more!
Now, I go eat more chocolate.
Monday, August 27, 2007
1) I have the worst eating habits ever. One day I will eat non-stop, shoving food (really unhealthy food) into my mouth at an ever increasing rate. The higher in fat and lower in nutritional value, the better. The next day I will wake up, have a glass of oj, and then not eat anything until 4:30. I either don't feel hungry or I get so busy that I lose track of time. It's bad.
2) I am a music teacher who has a weakness for pop music. It doesn't even have to be good pop music. I will listen to the Pussy Cat Dolls. Horrible! Although, I draw the line at Beyonce. NO!
3) We moved around a bunch while I was growing up. Once we lived in Colorado for only 10 months before moving. Due to this I get "itchy feet" if I live in one place for too long. I have been in my current apartment for three years. The feet are itching pretty bad.
4) When we lived in Colorado I attended Columbine High School. It was nice. Good school, nice teachers. Pretty average. That was years before the shootings. For me the school is still that place where I spent freshman year.
5) I have never been out of the country. Not really. No offense, but I don't count trips to Canada and the Cayman Islands as "out of the country".
6) I feel like a grown up more often than not. This is a new development. I have felt for a while as though I was straddling the line between post-college-20's and adulthood. Maybe it was turning 30 that did it. Maybe I have reached a new phase of my life. Instead of feeling like I should know what I am doing, I actually feel as though I do know what I am doing...most of the time.
7) Adulthood scares me. I've reached it, but feel as though there is so much I didn't do before getting here. Life rarely turns out how you think it will, but my 21-year-old self would cringe to see which milestones I haven't reached. At the same time, I think she would be proud of some of the ones I have unexpectedly reached (I am getting a student teacher this fall!!!)
8) I have two main guilty pleasures: stinky cheese and bad sci-fi. My perfect Sunday afternoon would be spent in front of the TV watching Star Trek the Next Generation or Quantum Leap and eating brie on crackers. Oh yes.
OK, who to tag? I'm not sure who all has done this. If you already have, ignore my tag.
I think everyone else has done this meme. If you haven't and I didn't list you, consider yourself tagged!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
My second stop was a long time coming. A new grocery store had opened up in my neighborhood a few months back. I ignored it, figuring it was just another Whole Paycheck... I mean Foods. My landlords told me otherwise. So off to Sunflower I went. THANK GOD!!! (This is where I nearly wept.) They have your typical selection of Amy's frozen foods, soy and rice milk products, etc. What did they have that threatened to activate the tear ducts? Glutino cereals and cookies, GF protein powders, a whole section of frozen Kinnikinnick foods, and a line of products from a company called World Foods. I actually had to make a choice between two types of bagels, three types of bread, and two types of donuts. Heaven!!! World Foods almost made me cry because right there on the label it states (not just that it is gluten free) that it is "suitable for Celiacs". They give us a shout out! And OOOH Baby! The yummy stuff they have. Salad dressings and stir fry sauces from numerous cultures. I purchased the Coconut Lime dressing and Lemon Grass Pineapple stir fry sauce. They had over a dozen products. I think I may have fallen in love with this store. They carry my new favorite yogurt, Cascade Fresh (also labeled GF) in about 6 flavors and the yogurt smoothies. I could go on and on listing the great foods I bought...or I could go eat some of it. Sorry y'all, but you lose out to my appetite. :) But if you live in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio you can enjoy the wonder of Sunflower for yourself. What are you waiting for?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
That being said, there was no way my stove or oven was going to be turned on. Nuh-uh. I could order some Thai food, but my favorite place (that does not make me sick) has moved and not yet reopened. I am in desperate need of going to the grocery store. I am out of the staples in a big way. Well, I could microwave something. Or...I could eat a meal that does not require cooking. OR...rice cooker to the rescue! Thai food ala rice cooker:
Quick Curry Shrimp and Rice
1 cup white rice
1 can coconut milk
½ cup milk
2 t Silk Road Spice Blend or Curry Powder
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1-2 dashes/splashes fish sauce
pre-cooked, tail-off defrosted shrimp
salt to taste
Combine in a rice cooker the first 6 ingredients. Press cook or white rice button. When the rice is done mix in shrimp and peanuts. Salt to taste. (You could even garnish with cilantro!)
Monday, August 06, 2007
I toyed with the idea of adding diced red bell peppers to this salad. You could double the dressing and mix in 1-2 cups of brown rice. Hmmm... What would you add to this salad to make it your own?
Sunday, August 05, 2007
I have been cooking my rice on the stove. The stove method works just fine, but it does require a certain amount of attention. My new Aroma rice cooker is wonderful. I am sure most of you have owned a rice cooker for years, but this great machine is still a novelty to me. I love that you can just put everything into it, push a button and walk away. I suppose it is a bit like a slow cooker in that way...except much faster. So far I have made plain white rice and a rather tasty Cherry-Pomegranate Rice. I need more ideas! Those of you veteran rice cooker users who are out there, I implore you! What are your favorite rice cooker recipes? Either post it here or give me the link. I can put it all together in a "Rice Cooker Round Up" (totally stealing the idea from ByTheBay.)
In the mean time, here is my first installment. I use the measuring cup that came with the machine and the fill lines marked on the inside of the pot:
My rice came out slightly tart and sticky. I was very pleased. It is best right out of the cooker, freshly made. Leftovers aren't too shabby, though. I need to experiment a bit more. I want to make sure I used this gadget often. I have to say, Costco is becoming my go to place to purchase small kitchen appliances: stand mixer, blender, rice cooker. I think next on the list to purchase will be a food processor. Hmmm...soup anyone?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I have to say, though, that my absolute favorite is still zucchini bread. What??!!?!? You say you have never had it? That you think it sounds icky? Scandalous!!! Never speak ill of my beloved 'chini! Zucchini bread does not, in fact, taste like zucchini. The shredded green stuff gives the bread a great moist texture, and some wonderful healthy vitamins. (Makes it easy to justify eating an entire mini loaf by yourself in 24 hours.) We have been using the same recipe for my whole life. After doing a bit of research it looks as though most of the recipes out there are variations of the same one. So with four ginormous zuchs sitting on the counter, Mom and I began the Zucchini Cooking Royale. Ok, maybe it wasn't so grand as all that, but it sure turned out tasty. We started with the Zucchini Stuffed with Ham and Cheese (the recipe linked above.) I used Ener-G Bread Crumbs for the first time and thought they were pretty good. Even Dad thought they were the real thing. Next we tackled zucchini bread with Kinnikinnick flour. I only had the Pastry and Pie crust flour mix at my parents' house. It turned out fine, I just omitted the salt (since it is in the mix.) Mom then made a "regular" batch so that I could have the GF loaves all to myself. Yay Mom! Sadly, I do not have my camera with me. No pictures for you! But I do have the recipe. Enjoy!
If you are like me and my father you will love topping this bread with butter or, better yet, cream cheese.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Anyhow, Dr. Demeo is great. He took him time, talked through everything. He actually read my chart and referred back to items in it. While he never flat out said it, based on his reaction to the fact that I was severely anemic in college and I was diagnosed with an IgA deficiency when I was 8 years old (although that went away), he feels that I have probably had Celiac far longer than I have had GI symptoms.
I finally got a bit of a translation of my blood work. The normal range is a ratio of 1:10. My level is 1:160. I would say that is a bit high. Unfortunately, he does not use the same blood test as my previous doctor. Dr. Demeo uses the TTG. While he is not going to run that one right away, I had blood drawn to check my folate and B12. I need to schedule a DXA scan. He is requesting the results of my last CBC, and he is asking for copies of the slides from my endoscopy. I will probably be going in for a follow up in a few months.
He has a strong belief that the GI system, and especially Celiac, effects more than just stomach and bowels. I believe he referred to Celiac as being a multi-system disorder. Just by touching my shoulder he was able to tell me I have allergies (if you scratch your skin and the color changes to super pale, that is an indicator.) He also knew that I would get cramps (sorry guys) mid-cycle during ovulation and was able to point out exactly where I felt the cramping. Incidentally, the pain is not located near the ovaries. This is apparently connected to Celiac. Eh? Not sure if it is 100% true, but the man knew these things before asking me.
He said in all likelihood that I have been eating fine, but the extent of the damage is probably severe enough that it is taking a while to heal. The long and short of it is that I need to continue the diet and food journal (possibly adding symptoms to the journal), do the tests, pray I do not have osteopenia or (worse) osteoporosis. The strongest order from both the doctor and the dietitian (who came in and spoke with me again) is ti eat more and gain weight. When was the last time you heard a doctor tell a patient to gain weight?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I you do ever happen to head to that fair city, you MUST try a restaurant we went to. It is called The Real Chow Baby. It is one of those make-your-own-stir-fry places. The wonderful thing is that, on their regular menu, each sauce is labeled if it is sugar-free, low-sugar, vegetarian, vegan, or... gluten free! My boyfriend, who has no dietary restrictions, loved the place. You can be as creative or conservative with your ingredients as you want. All of the rice noodles are cooked separately from the wheat-filled ones. If you indicate that you have a food allergy/are gluten free, they cook your food on a separate wok. All you can eat for $12.99. A great place to take someone who has a hearty appetite. Avoid the mojitos, though. Among the worst I have had. (Very disappointing.) Oh, and do not go there if you are in a hurry.
In my effort to make sure I had gluten free options for the trip I over packed a bit. We brought along a cooler that we filled with cold cuts (Applegate Farms has the best turkey ever!), cheese, drinks, mayo, etc. I baked some Chebe flatbread to use for sandwiches. Chebe is officially my favorite GF quickbread. So tasty and easy. Even the boyfriend liked it. The only problem is that I now have more trail mix than I could ever possibly eat. What was I thinking? It is rather good. Cashews, hazelnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cherries and dried blueberries. Mmmmmm... Because of all the food we brought along, and the free continental breakfast at the hotel, we only had to buy one meal a day. We saved a ton of money that way and I did not have to worry about finding tons of places to eat that could accommodate my diet. For my first vacation since going GF, it was a resounding culinary success. Oh, and the city was pretty darn great, too. ;)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I have cut out all commercially available baked goods, I read labels, my grocery bills have skyrocketed. All for what? To be gluten free, to be healthy, because I have Celiac. It takes thought and attention to detail. You can't slack, you can't cheat. I thought I had been doing pretty good. Sure the last month and a half have been less than healthy. I'm an emotional eater. When life gets stressful I eat whatever I crave. Ice cream. Cheese and crackers (GF, of course). Candy. See! I keep telling people that you can eat super unhealthy on a GF diet. I am proof. My diet has been wretched. Balanced nutrition? Heck no. BUT, I thought I was being careful about gluten. Apparently not. My doctor's office called me yesterday. I had my 6 (ok, really 7 or 8) month blood work done. My Dr. just got back from vacation and discovered that my blood levels HAVE NOT CHANGED. What the..??!!?!!??! But I have been eating GF! I swear!!! Crap! I knew I had been having tummy issues again, but they felt different. I thought it was strictly IBS problems. Damn. So now I have to keep a food diary again (for real this time). 6-8 weeks. Yikes. Then I go back to the doctor. The thing is, I was not happy with my doctor. He is very old school. Does not communicate well. What are my blood levels? "Abnormal" What number is it and what is the range it should fall into? "It is abnormal." uh-huh. So I called the office where my dietitian is located and made an appointment with the GI she works with for Celiac.
It just figures that I need to start this food diary just as I am about to leave for vacation. Grrr! So now I am brainstorming a list of items to bring along for the drive (11 hours!) and for lunches during the week. I am planning to make some Chebe flatbread for sandwiches. Cheese, cold cuts, fruit, veggies, hummus, lots of Larabars and ThinkThin and ThinkOrganic bars. (Those things are CRACK!) What else should I bring along? What do you have to bring with whenever you travel?
Friday, June 15, 2007
Summer break has officially begun. Thank God! It has been a...stressful two months. It felt as though the end was never going to arrive. What now? Relaxation. Some organizational stuff (yes, this requires going in to school, but no kids.) Summer book club. More cooking! Job interviews (hopefully). And vacation. An actual trip! In about a week I will be hopping in the car and driving to Atlanta. I'm pretty excited about this. I have never been to Georgia. I have heard wonderful things. The only anxiety inducing thing is that this is my first real trip since going GF. Where will I eat? Eek! Have any of you been to Atlanta? Any suggestions?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I think I am going to start logging my food again. I haven't done that in a very long time. Time to start paying close attention again.
Friday, June 01, 2007
So it was quite the nostalgic treat this past Monday when I attended a burger and brat BBQ. No, my family was not revisiting the past. It was someone else's family. The new boy's family. (I don't want to say much about him. Don't want to jinx things. Let's just say he is interested, he's sticking around and I have met his whole family. It is good.) He knows about and understands my dietary needs. Monday was a big deal. Not only was I seeing his whole family congregated in one place, but they were cooking. I was eating. A bit nerve wracking.
Now, my momma taught me that you bring food to a party. It is polite and you just do it. These days I make sure to bring a couple of dishes so that I know I can eat food and the host does not feel the full burden of making a GF meal. Anyhow, they kindly set aside a brat for me (did not soak it in beer.) There were potato chips. I brought along a large fruit salad. Watermelon, grapes, raspberries, pineapple, and bananas. Yum! While the fruit salad is nice, it is the dressing I want to share.
I'm not sure when I started doing this, but if I make a fruit salad there must be a yogurt or sour cream dressing. Put it on the side, mix it in...I don't care. It began as sour cream and powdered sugar. Simple and tasty. This has since evolved. I have realized, though, that I have a bad habit of cooking and not measuring my ingredients. I mix things together and adjust to taste. For those of you interested, here is a rough sketch of what I made:
Ginger Lime Fruit Salad
juice of one lime
ginger (powdered, paste, or a combination of both)
a mix of fresh seasonal fruits
Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl. Start with a little bit of the honey (1 T) and ginger (1 t), adding more to taste. Serve with salad.
Wow, not exactly specific. Mainly I just wanted to share the ingredients/flavor combination. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo. I assembled some of the fruit at their house. They might have thought it a bit strange if I started photographing the food the first time I ate with them.
The cool thing is that nearly every person in his family had a friend or co-worker who is gluten free. We are everywhere! After tasting the salad and (later) the GF cookies I baked, I was told I was invited back for dinner again since I brought such wonderful dishes. Yay! Don't worry I will share the GF cookies soon.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
While completely repugnant, it got me to thinking about all those foods I had never eaten before or would have sworn I had hated prior to going gluten free. I always have thought of myself as an open-minded diner. But let’s look this over.
Quinoa (LOVE it!)
The Spice House
Cinnamon Dulce ice cream (OK, it’s new and I would have discovered it anyways)
Coconut flour (I'll have to share a recipe soon!)
Re-discovered/Gained a greater love for:
Sushi (it is now a dietary must-have)
Not an extensive list, but one that is sure to grow by leaps and bounds since I am only seven months gluten free. So I ask you, what new dish or ingredient have you tried as a result of going gluten free?
Friday, May 25, 2007
Have you ever been glutened by kissing a loved one who is not GF?
Do we really have to be that careful?
Is it more theoretical that you could be glutened?
Have any of you experienced this?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So in the battle against stress, I took off on a small road trip with the girls this past weekend. We were girlie and geeky. We were on the road longer than we were awake at our destination, but that was ok. You see, we had a purpose. This was not some idle trip. We were on a mission. We had a date with destiny. Robbie Williams was in Iowa. Who is Robbie Williams, you ask? Why only the biggest pop star in the world. You have never heard of him? Sure you have, you just don't realize it. See, he never really cracked the American market, despite signing a recording contract in England for 80 million pounds. Not dollars my friends...pounds. That is a hell of alot of money. Damn! Anyhow, I have loved him since his one and only US hit back in '99 called Millennium. I have all his music, both pop music and his swing CD (Swing While You're Winning. Go buy it!!!) He is am amazing musician and is SUPER SEXY!!! He absolutely never performs in the US. He lives in LA because he can be a nobody there. He is part owner of a soccer team over in England and has an LA version of the team that he plays on. So, long story short-ish, the LA Vale were playing an exhibition game in Des Moines. A six hour drive to see a musician I adore who will never perform live in the US? Hell yeah! Not only did I see him, but I got his autograph, talked to him, and HE TOUCHED ME!!! ehem. I was dazzled. I lost my cool. I giggled at him. oh lord. I acted like a little teenager. It was sad. Then again, I have an autograph and lots of pictures. If I was in England, this would never have happened. His concerts draw monstrous crowds of people who pay hundreds of dollars per ticket. You couldn't get within 20 feet of him. On Saturday I stood next to him. If I had been very brave (and wanted to risk the wrath of his security guys) I could have grabbed his ass. Oh yeah. Good times.
So yes. That is why I have been absent. I have been in a post-Robbie haze. It is a good thing. Cooking? Not done much of it. I baked some bread that I will share with you all later. It is tasty, but (typical) has almost zero shelf life. But that is for later.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Knock on wood, but it seems that those tiny blue pills my doctor gave me are actually working. For the past few days my belly has been feeling better. Not perfect (although that may have something to do with the fact I have been eating foods a bit high in fat) but scads better. Even while my body is reminding me that I am female I have very little bloating. (Hmmm...where is my heating pad?) This gives me hope. This gives me energy. This gives me the urge to cook! It is amazing how, when my belly is being friendly, I want to cook up a storm. I want to bake, broil, grill, saute, and slow cook. The only problem is that I have no one to share these recipes with. No one to help eat up the leftovers. No one to wash all the dishes for me. I love to cook, I hate to clean. Sadly, they go hand in hand. This is the down side to living alone. Never mind needing a boy around for love and comfort, I need one to help eat food and hand wash dishes!
Luckily, I have been out at my parents' house alot lately. Their big, beautiful kitchen inspires me. All those bare granite counter tops just beg to be used for food prep. One of these days I shall post a pic of my sad little kitchen so you can see the challenge I face when it comes to cooking. My next apartment WILL have a better kitchen: more counters, more cupboards, a dish washer, laundry, a/c... Ehem, sorry. Kitchens. That's right. So I was at mom and dad's using their kitchen. The time their was fruitful. So much so, that I have a gift for you: product reviews!
Namaste Pizza Dough Mix: I must say that I was leery about trying this. I have had two GF pizzas in the past 5-6 months. Not good. I am sorry to those of you who like Amy's gf frozen pizza. I just did not like it. Da Lucianos (an incredibly GF friendly restaurant in the Chicago-land area) offers GF pizza on their menu. Four of the owners children have Celiac, so they have developed an extensive GF menu. Their pasta dishes are divine. Their pizza is not. I did not like the texture of the crust. Ew. So I did not have much hope for the mix from Namaste, but figured it was worth a try. Dad has been on a homemade pizza kick lately. Well, semi-homemade (dough purchased from Trader Joes). So I mixed up a batch of Namaste dough. Since Dad was making grilled pizza I shaped my dough and slapped it on the grill (they left an area just for me so there would be no cross-contamination). We topped the pizza with grilled eggplant, onion, zucchini, roasted garlic, cheese....Yum! And you know what? Best GF pizza I have had. No, it was not quite like the pizzas of my past, but it was darn good. Crusty, chewy, not that crumbly, grainy texture so many GF products can get. It may not look like the prettiest pizza around, but it was tasty! I am going to make some more later. A bit of a warning, though. Use your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, this dough is thick! A hand mixer barely gets the job done and you may burn out the motor on it.
Breads From Anna: While at Fruitful Yield I picked up a package of banana bread mix. I miss bread liek whoa! Sweet, savory, yeasty, you name it. I am a bread girl. There was many a night that Dad and I polished off a loaf of crusty french bread topped with olive oil and parm, a good stinky brie, or smothered with Nutella. I was a breadaholic. Sometimes I could not wait until arriving home from the store before tearing into a warm, fresh loaf. Driving with one hand on the wheel and the other breaking off hunks of french bread is a tricky maneuver. Hmmm...perhaps Chicago drivers are safer now that I am GF. I eagerly mixed up a batch of banana bread. My bananas were not as ripe as I wished, but they were good enough. Super quick and easy to make the batter, much longer to bake. One hour!!! So long to wait. I wasn't sure how well the bread would raise up, but boy howdy! did it look good. The pan was full to the top with a nicely browned, fragrant loaf. Fast forward to the taste test (it was still piping hot from the oven, I could not wait). Lightly sweet, moist, yum! I will definitely get this again. Two days later the bread is still good, but (typical) is better when toasted and buttered. I am at this moment enjoying two slices with a cup of peppermint tea. The perfect Sunday morning nosh.
One last quick review: Mrs Leeper's Tuna Noodle...thing (can't remember the exact name.) This is one of those tuna mac/hamburger helper type deals. I have to say, not bad. With the added tomato and green onion I threw in I was actually quite good. Easy, too. It made enough for me to have dinner (and Dad to try it), lunch and dinner the next day. Basically, it would make enough for a family meal if you had a veggie on the side. If you need a quick, easy, tasty, low fuss meal...this is it.
OK, now that I have gone on and on about food...I want to cook more. Menu planning time, then grocery shopping. I'm on Spring Break, baby! I actually have the time to cook, bake, broil, and slow cook. Oh yeah!
Friday, March 30, 2007
Here's the problem, I bought the coconut flour because I remember someone posting a recipe for coconut cupcakes that called for this special flour. Problem is...I can't remember who posted the darn thing. Help!!!Do any of you remember seeing this elusive recipe? Can you point me towards it? If not, do you have any suggestions on how I can best utilize said coconut flour?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
In an effort to get back on the wagon of good healthful eating I have agreed to be part of a research study that Rush Hospital is conducting. They are investigating the economic impact of the GF diet. I need to keep a food diary for 28 days. In addition, I need to collect all food receipts for the same duration. I think writing down all of my food intake will make me eat better, if for no other reason than not wanting the doctors at Rush seeing how gross my eating habits have become.
The real reason I should be more conscious of what I am eating is that I am still having symptoms. The pain is gone. I don't have upper belly bloating. Lower bloating and a few other symptoms are still hanging around (I won't mention those in detail...ew.) The thing is, before changing my diet, the symptoms were chronic, constant. Now it is intermittent. Sometimes it flares up, other times I am fine. I started considering the possibility of Candida. I have heard from many folks online that individuals with Celiac often have a Candida overgrowth. No thank you! Talk about not being able to eat anything. I contacted my dietitian to inquire about this. Good news, bad news. She doesn't believe in the connection between Celiac and Candida. She did, however, say that 25% of females diagnosed with Celiac have residual IBS. This does not shock me. Stress related IBS is somewhat common in my family. The past 2-3 weeks have certainly been stressful: National Kodaly Conference (for which I was on the planning committee), grades coming up, grant deadline, project deadline...to name a few. Once my dietitian mentioned IBS I called and refilled the prescription for the pills my GI prescribed when I first went to see him. I remember that they had helped at the time (my GI was surprised they had worked since my tests came back positive for Celiac.) Well, when I make sure to take them 5-15 minutes before I eat a meal...little or no problems! So I think I am going to keep taking the pills, try a fiber supplement, and start exercising again (all recommended for individuals with IBS.) I have also heard good things mentioned about taking probiotics. Have any of you tried these? What do you think of them?
So yes, the journey to a healthy gut continues. Hopefully more successfully in the next few months. Months...wow, it has nearly been 6 months since my diagnosis. Nearly 6 months gluten free. Bot, time sure does fly.
Friday, March 16, 2007
"You can just pick off the croutons."
"It only has a little bit of flour to thicken it."
"You can cheat every once in a while."
"But Grandma made this cake for you. Do you want to hurt her feelings?"
"Well, it is just soy sauce!"
They mean well, really they do. It can be difficult to understand the effect of glutening on the body if you yourself don't have Celiac. So often it is associated with allergies, where there are short-term issues, but in the long run no damage is done. It can be easy to believe that, too. You see that hot, steaming slice of pizza. It tantalizes you with it's oozing cheese, sweet-savory sauce, and delicious toppings (of your choice.) Why not? Sure your gut will be painfully bloated for 24-48 hours. And no, there are no pills you can take. But it is worth it, right? WRONG!!! While the obvious effects are "short lived", the damage done to the small intestines can take 6 months to heal. That is six months of decreased nutrient absorption. We Celiacs have first hand experience with "brain fog", mood swings, and skin sensitivities. Really, not worth it.
Most friends and family are well meaning. They try so hard. They purchase foods labeled GF, get the GF shopping lists from local stores (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), and look online for GF recipes. It is sweet and wonderful and loving. It almost makes you feel not so bad if they accidentally cross-contaminate your food. Hey! No one told them that their wood spoons could make you sick.
Then there are those people in your life who go above and beyond. At my parents house I have my own shelf in the pantry. Dad makes homemade salad dressing every time I come over. My best friend is getting married in a year and has already started asking the reception hall about making my food GF. She even has mentioned getting a super fancy GF cupcake from Swirlz so that I can have wedding cake. (Love ya, hon!) And then there is the friend who, whenever we go out to dinner, goes online to find a restaurant with a GF menu. Being able to choose from an entire menu of safe dishes is fantastic. (The ironic thing is that we have eaten out many times. When I choose the restaurants they have no GF menu. When he has chosen the restaurant they always do.)
What have the people in your life done to make living with Celiac a less challenging experience?
Monday, March 12, 2007
There are those times when life seems to take over. Busy does not even begin to explain it. Crazed, perhaps? I have been going non-stop for the past couple of weeks. This week starts the beginning of the Diva Stress Fest: full-time teaching, chorus rehearsals, dance club rehearsals, and play practice. Oh yeah, and attempting to have a normal social life. I am supposed to cook during all of this? My energy to experiment in the kitchen has vanished. I feel no inspiration. This saddens me. I love to cook! I love trying new flavors! I hate doing dishes. There are just so many piling up. Tonight I must wash some of those bad boys and work on a grant application (the life blood of a fine arts program.) I need to figure out some kind of easy, tasty dish to eat. I shudder to think of how many meals I have had lately consisting of apples, cheese, chips, and salsa. BAD Diva!!! Save me from unhealthy, if GF, dining.
So what quick and easy dishes do you make when feeling low on inspiration and energy?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Now back to my normal day. I drove to school. It really took no longer than normal. Thank god they got the main roads cleared! I left early, so I had enough time to quickly stop at Starbucks for a chai (why didn't I think to pick up the giftcard then??!?!?!) Normal kids, although fewer of them since the school buses were not running. They were not too crazy considering. Lunch: leftovers. Yum! I taught fifth grade. Fine (even if it took them forever to do one of the activities. Think kids, think!) Then the fifth graders were lining up and I was paged to come to the office. I sent a student. As my kindergarten babies were lining up to enter my room she returned...with a florist box. What the what???!?!!?!?! Flowers? Surely not for me. I'm not in a serious relationship. I can't even say that I am in any relationship. A few dates, but dating? Nope. Hhhmmmm? I open the box and see a beautiful bouquet of tulips. ::sigh:: I adore tulips. I check the card. Well, bowl me over! How sweet and unexpected. How slightly odd. A boy I know, and have been out on two dates with, sent me flowers. Two dates does not a relationship make, but I guess this means he really likes me. Wow. Hrm... I need to think about this. Am I interested? Not so sure. Must consider carefully.
That was treat number one. Number two was one I gave to myself. Tonight's dinner: fancy mac n' cheese. But I did not want to make a huge meal. Too tired to do any "real" cooking. What is in my fridge? Ah ha!
Make Tinkyada pasta, drain
mix in three slices (minus a chunk for the dog) of gross Borden's singles
half of a package of goat cheese
great mounds of fresh grated parm
a good splash or three of milk
a couple good spoonfuls of pesto.
(I know, not very scientific, but what can I say?)
Monday, February 12, 2007
Tonight I needed to cook up some salmon that was sitting in my fridge. I hate to see a good piece of salmon go to waste. We had reached the moment of cook it or get rid of it. What to make? I have never poached salmon before. I'm not entirely sure tonight's meal would qualify as such, but that is where my idea came from. Take the salmon (two "portions"), a can of coconut milk, can of tomatoes, onion and spice. Simmer. You are done. So easy! The most time consuming part was slicing the onion.
Sadly (for you), it was so yummy that I forgot to take a photo before devouring it all. Try flaking the salmon once it is cooked. You can get a wonderful mouthful of salmon, sauce, and veggies every time. I will definitely be repeating this recipe. Next time, red bell peppers!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
As for chocolate chip...homemade is still best. A couple of weeks ago I tried the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were ok. Completely soft. Iffy texture. Passable flavor. I have to admit to being a Toll House girl.
Today I decided to brave the Enjoy Life and their cookies again. This time I tried their snickerdoodles. Now these are tasty. They probably have the same texture, but I am used to my snickerdoodles being soft. The flavor is sweet and strong. Yum! I finished the two-cookie snack pack and wished I had more. My only beef is that they are tiny! Tiny, I say! But oh so good.