Gluten Free v.2.0

I went gluten free, mainly to address joint pain,  in January of 2014 after reading the Wheat Belly book.   It was life-changing with regards to the joint pain I had.  Flash forward to last October.  I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease after a really long journey with my doctors.  More than one of my doctors.  Let me just say that you know your body better than anyone else.  Be your own advocate.  I had to switch doctors to find one that truly listened to what I had to say about my body and how I felt.  I finally found a doctor that ran the right tests and not just a TSH.  What I found was that I would absolutely need to be gluten free.   I was already gluten free. No problem, right!?

Not so fast!  With some thyroid symptom’s worsening still, I was compelled to do a little more research.  Research that led me to a little thing called the AIP diet.  Well, it’s not so little.  It’s HUGE actually.  And daunting.

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet.  It would seem that there are actually proteins found in other foods that are similar enough to gluten to cause a reaction.  Who knew?  Not this girl.  Cross reactivity.  The list of cross reactive foods contains a lot of things I eat – including a few that I’d already suspected that I have an issue with.  Corn is not my friend.  I’ve suspected this for the past couple of years.  I thought it was an allergy but testing showed that it wasn’t.  I still eat corn because really, who can pass up warm tortilla chips and salsa?  But I knew that every time I ate corn I would pay for it later.  Ditto for potatoes.

So when this AIP thing showed up on my radar a few weeks ago I said, “Nope.  Nope.  Nope. Not doing it.”  You see, eggs are on that list.  And I have chickens.  Chickens that live in an adorable coop.  Chickens that I fought city council to have.  Chickens who should start laying in a month or so.  I am clearly committed to eggs.   But as I started to read more and more, I decided that I can try anything for a short time.  I’m not giving up everything on the list at once.  I’m going to do this gradually.  After spending a couple of days getting my head around it, I made a decision.  As of today, I will not be eating dairy, eggs, corn, rice, oats, or potatoes for the next two to three weeks.  Coffee either.  But I don’t have more than one cup of decaf a week anyway, so that’s no stretch.

But breakfast seemed to be an area of concern.  What the heck was I going to eat?

More research.  Google is my best friend.  A few clicks and voila:  Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash.  

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Yummmm.

I made a smaller batch and told myself I wasn’t going to eat much of it.  But it was just so good.  And just maybe this is going to be a little easier than I think.  At least if we eat at home.  Eating out may be even more of a nightmare than it was anyway.

So today begins another journey toward wellness.  And you know what they say about a journey:  The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

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Vincent van Gogh, Path in the Woods. Paris, 1887 )

 

 

New Favorites (and a few old ones too)

Holy cow!  Has it really been a month since I wrote a post here??  I’d like to say I have been really busy.  Really, really, super busy.  But maybe not.  So what little thing triggered the response that led to this blog post?  Well, another blog of course!!!  Which is my first new favorite.

Rubber Shoes in Hell.  Seriously, what a great name!  I love quirky titles on anything.  Yarn.  Books.  Blogs.  Wine, even.  And this one is a gem.  Maybe it’s the fact that we are both women of a “similar age”?  Or that we the share experience of raising a son?  Perhaps a similar sense of humor.  Or that some of the discussions with her husband remind me of the tenor discussions with my own?  Or that we both think Donald Trump is a narcissist? Whatever the reason, I love this blog and encourage you take a peek.


“Captain Serious” kisses the cup.

Blackhawks Hockey.  My gosh, what a long dry summer without hockey to watch especially on the heels of the Stanley Cup win.  But theeeeeeyyyyy’rrrrre baaaaaack…but without a few of my favorites.  Losing Brandon Saad was heartbreaking.  Same with Patrick Sharp.  And there were others.  Several.  The words “SALARY CAP” are definitely not favorites of any hockey fan.  Or player.  Or team for that matter.


Photo credit: Jessfuel.com

Photo credit: Jessfuel.com

Zoodles.  A.K.A. Zucchini noodles.  I’ve been making them for years now using a vegetable peeler for ribbon-like noodles.  But they got so much better when I bought a spiral slicer.  If you want to see how I make them, check it out here on the Against All Grain blog.  She has some great grain free recipes.  I wrote about the slow cooker Moroccan chicken recipe some time ago.  Since then I’ve made it again. . . only not in the slow cooker and I found it to be better.  And the “cauliflower cous cous” is the best stuff for those who’ve given up grain.  But back to the zoodles.  I use them instead of spaghetti and they are awesome!!  Just make to use at least one zuke per person because they sort of shrink down a bit.


I love it so much!!

I love it so much!!

A song from this album came on the radio last weekend and I fell in love with it all over again.


Biscotte Yarn

Now I haven’t actually touched this yarn.  I hope it feels as nice as it looks.  The self-striping colorways are just beautiful and I can’t wait to knit with it.  (If you read the Rubber Shoes in Hell blog post from above, this might make great fin mittens for homeless sharks!)

Clown fish colorway will become a pair of Dory socks!

Clown fish colorway will become a pair of Dory socks!


An Experiment in Scones

Grain-free Cinnamon Pecan Scones

Grain-free Cinnamon Pecan Scones

So calling these a scone might actually be a stretch.  I think maybe I need to research recipes for gluten-free scones rather than grain-free (and also gluten free).  These came from the Wheat Belly 30 Minute (or less) Cookbook.  I guess they tasted okay.  My husband said he liked them – but he hardly ever says he doesn’t like something I make unless it’s cauliflower. I found the texture to be a bit too crumbly.  Not dry at all, but it just wasn’t what I think of when I think of scones.  I can make a traditional, awesome scone with wheat flour. (sigh).  The quick mug muffin from the same cookbook is amazing though.  So I will continue my quest for a gluten free scone that tastes and feels like a “real” scone.

I’ve Gone Crackers!

I have another recipe to share.  I know that grains are not my friend, but since coming home from Germany, I’ve eaten far too many.  Remaining gluten free. . .but eating far too much rice and corn. A few were okay – as I actually needed to put a few pounds back on that I lost while in the hospital.   I bought some great blue cheese at Whole Foods in St. Louis last week and needed a cracker. Need?  Want?  meh.  A soft, cream cheese like this just screams for a cracker!

St. Agur blue cheese.  A new favorite!

St. Agur blue cheese. A new favorite!

So a quick search turned up The Nourishing Home and these little gems. (How did we cook before we had the internet??)

Simply Herb Grain-Free Crackers

Simply Herb Grain-Free Crackers

They were a hit with my husband as well. They were quick to make (I threw everything in the Kitchen-Aid mixer) and only require a few simple staples from the pantry. I didn’t modify the recipe at all and they turned out quite well.  I added dried rosemary and parsley this time.  Next time, who knows.  I do think Herbs de Provence would be terrific in these. Or maybe garlic and Parmesan?   My only issue is that the ones along the outside of my baking sheet got way too dark  compared to the ones on the inside.  But maybe I rolled them a little thin? She says to store them in the freezer but I don’t think they are going to last that long!

Nom! Nom!

Since my accident I have not been so inspired in the kitchen.  It’s more a matter of getting a meal fixed.  Necessity – but nothing much inspired about it.  But today was different.  This recipe came across in my email recently and sounded so good that I decided today was the day.

http://againstallgrain.com/2015/06/03/slow-cooker-moroccan-chicken/

Slow-cooker Moroccan chicken with almonds, apricots, and cauliflower “couscous”

I can’t take credit for the recipe.  It came from the Against All Grain website. (Check it out. Lots of good stuff there.)  It was delicious and even my cauliflower-hating husband agreed.  The “couscous” was wonderful and I will be adapting it for future use with other recipes.  The chicken was spicy and fragrant; my house smelled amazing all afternoon.  Definitely a keeper!

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!

Urban Chickens.  They seem a little trendy these days, but I’ve wanted chickens for quite some time.  There’s nothing like a farm fresh egg.  Right now though our city ordinance is preventing my dear, stubborn tenacious, law-abiding husband from jumping on board.  (I and optimistic though and have the place and the coop all picked out for when I finally get the go-ahead.)  Our lot is very long but narrow and it just isn’t possible locate a coop 200 feet away from other houses.  In fact, I would guess that most lots in our town would have the same problem.  The solution?  Change the ordinance!

I know that there are people out there that would support the change, including some of our aldermen.  So I’ve been gathering information about the benefits of urban chickens.

1.  Fresh eggs that are free of pesticides and antibiotics when fed organic feed.  Eggs are a more efficient source of protein than the other four top sources, higher in value than cow’s milk, fish, beef, or soybeans.  Raising a handful of your own backyard chickens, gives you complete control over the quality of your eggs.

The nutritional comparison showing eggs raised commerically in chicken farms versus those raised in backyards or as free-range chickens.

The nutritional comparison showing eggs raised commercially in chicken farms versus those raised in backyards or as free-range chickens.

2.  Chickens produce poop high-nitrogen, rich fertilizer that can be used for gardening.

3.  They eat table scraps – reducing waste.  This directly impacts landfills but also, reduces the “carbon footprint” of eggs.  Recycled nutrients at it’s simplest.

4.   Chickens eat insects that are pests such as crickets and grasshoppers.  Ticks beware!!!  Nature’s exterminator is on the job.

5.  Heritage-breed city chickens can act as an extinction-prevention task force by allowing those breeds to thrive.

Barred Plymouth Rock

Barred Plymouth Rock

And besides, how cute is this coop??????

Chicken Coop

Bites!

No-Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

B is for bites.   Since choosing a gluten-free lifestyle over a year ago I really miss cookies.  A lot.  I love cookies.  Every now and then I buy some Glutino sandwich cookies for a treat.  But I feel a little guilty about those sometimes.  A search for something easy turned up the recipe for No-Bake Energy Bites.

These little jewels are a nice substitute. They have just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy my cookie craving.  And they are fully customizable to suit your tastes/needs.  Use whatever nut butter or sweetener you like.  I used peanut butter and honey with some added dried cranberries.  The hardest part is waiting for it to chill to roll them into the balls.

I think next time I will use almond butter and some chopped dates.  Or maybe some dried apple bit?  Decisions.  Decisions.

Mmmm. Mmmm. Good.

Gluten-free penne with fresh tomato basil sauce.

Gluten-free penne with fresh tomato basil sauce.

I’m not one of those people that photographs food all the time.  Promise.  But this was just too yummy not to document it.  My father brought me a big box of tomatoes last weekend.  On Saturday I used many of them along with fresh jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and onion to make fresh salsa.  SO delicious.  Not sure why I’ve never made it before.  No recipe really, just chopped until I got tired.  Tonight I looked at the box of tomatoes and decided to make a fresh pasta sauce.

It was company-worthy.  It was pretty.  And it was wonderful.  So I decided to share it with you.

Fresh Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

5 medium to large tomatoes – peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped.  (Take the time to do this, it makes a difference.)

2-3 T butter or olive oil  (I used butter.)

2 cloves of minced garlic.

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped.

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmasan cheese

Melt butter/heat oil in skillet.  Add garlic and cook briefly.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Give it a few grinds of salt and pepper.  Simmer for 20 minutes or so on low.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.  I served it with gluten-free, non-GMO corn pasta with fresh-grated Parm on top.   I don’t usually measure much unless I am baking so these amounts are kind of rough and subject to personal taste.  Bon appetit!