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 )

 

 

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!

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!

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread

In January, we became a gluten-free household.  I realize it’s a sort of controversial subject sometimes, or at least it seems that way when I read online news stories about it recently.  “It’s a fad.”  “It’s a trend.”  And those are the nice things they say about people exercising their choice to control what they put in their bodies.  Until I read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, I didn’t give it much thought honestly.  But the past year I had been dealing with some significant shoulder pain issues not to mention weight had been creeping on.  The hubcap and I both read the book and decided that we would give it whirl to see if it made any difference.  The pain issue resolved itself within a few weeks.  Seriously.  Pain free.  That alone was worth it right there.  I told you it was significant pain.  It is TOTALLY worth no wheat pasta to feel good again.  AND since January I have lost 23 pounds and it’s still coming off even though I do eat moderate amounts of corn (we try to get non-GMO products but that’s more vague) and rice. We have committed to this.  Our friends say we eat like hippies, but my doctor tells me that I’m on the right track. 

That said,  the hubcap really likes sandwiches and did miss his bread.  The store bought stuff is not very good so I tried a few gluten-free low-carb bread recipes and wasn’t thrilled with the results either.  The ones with a lot of flax meal taste fishy to me.  Blech.   I do like fresh, home-made bread but can live without it.  So I just shoved finding a good bread recipe to the back burner.  But then I was browsing around in Pinterest and found this.  I ordered myself a bread shaped sandwich keeper (because yeah, we like our bread to look like bread) and got to work.  It took 85 seconds in the microwave and we had bread that hubby was happy with. 85 seconds, peeps!  And it toasted well too.  I think I owe Jillee at the One Good Thing blog a big thank you!! 

 

Jillee's Gluten-free bread. onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Jillee’s Gluten-free bread.
onegoodthingbyjillee.com