Category Archives: food and drink

The Celiac Dinner Menu volume 1

Congratulations, y’all are the blessed recipients of my new blog series (over/under on how long it will last? And can someone tell me what over/under means?). It starts today and will probably be erratic and happen on whichever day I remember to do it. I’ve wanted to do this for a while to help out newly diagnosed celiacs (like Kate, who I’m sure does not need my help, kitchen queen that she is) and/or bored old hat celiacs. Anyway, it’s my gluten-free menu for the week. You’ll notice several menu items that will pop in almost every week and sometimes twice a week (I’m looking at you, roasted garlic potatoes and avocado chicken salad). This isn’t because gluten-free limits you on variety (on the contrary, I eat a bigger variety of foods than I ever did when I was on gluten) but because we love these dishes.

The other reason I want to do this (besides the helping people) is so people can rid themselves of the notion that gluten-free means eating naked (with no seasonings, breading, sauces, gravies) and choking down a plain chicken breast with a couple of lettuce leaves every night.

You may thank Kate for inspiring to get off my butt and do this and another series I’ve been planning. More on that one later. See, sometimes I just need motivation and something to talk about.

Alright, so I’ll give you my menu (planned or unplanned, depending on the week) each week and then try to include recipes once or twice a week for some of the items on the menu.

Keep in mind that I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-limited, and egg-limited. People out there who are gluten-free only have it even better.

This week’s menu:

Monday
*Baked BBQ Chicken
*Roasted Garlic Potatoes
*Fresh fruit

Okay, I know that sounds boring, but it’s not. This is one of my standby meals for when I just don’t feel like cooking or I work late or whatever. I use Wal-mart brand chicken and keep a couple of bags of it in the freezer. Wal-mart is really good about marking their food gluten-free if it is, and their holding solution doesn’t contain wheat (as of today), so it’s safe for me. I also bought a case of Maull’s barbecue sauce a couple of months ago, because all of their sauce is GF except the beer sauce, and because Lou went out of his way to verify his sauces are GF. We’re big fans of the Jalapeno (it is our favorite so far) sauce. We also like the Sweet & Smoky and the Kansas City Style (not so much the Genuine, and we haven’t yet tried the Sweet & Mild or the Onion & Garlic). Once we have a grill, I’ll do this on the grill, but for now, I slather the chicken in the sauce and bake it on the broiling pan. I like to make this with the potatoes, because I can do both in the oven at the same time, and dinner is ready in about 45 minutes — also because we like to dip the potatoes in the BBQ sauce. I’ll post the recipe for the potatoes this week.

Tuesday
*Avocado Salad with Orange-Wasabi Glazed Chicken, with modifications. This is one of the meals that Frank considers a “special” meal, even though I make it every week. I’ll post all of my modifications soon, because I make several.
*Fresh fruit

Wednesday
*Hamburgers – yes, we can eat hamburgers, and the buns taste so much better! I made buns (giant muffins, really) from Pamela’s bread mix this weekend, so last night we ate hamburgers (or muffinburgers, as Frank calls them).
*Broccoli (for my calcium)
*Fresh fruit (see a pattern here?)

Thursday
*Sushi – California rolls and shrimp sushi
*Wasabi (powder mixed with coconut milk)
*Tamari (most soy sauce contains wheat. La Choy doesn’t. I buy reduced-sodium Tamari, because the fully loaded stuff is way too salty)

Friday
*Chicken Tikka Masala
*Basmati Rice

Saturday
*Chicken chimichangas (make sure your enchilada sauce is wheat-free — the old standbys are not). I fry mine in Nutiva coconut oil and leave out the cheese. I also top each chimi with La Costena salsa verde before topping with the guac. And instead of the guac mixture called for in the recipe, I top it with SarahK’s Super-Awesome Guacamole.
*Fresh fruit

Sunday
*Some kind of salmon
*And we’re going to have parsnips. I’ve never had them. Ever. Suggestions are welcome.

So many

Oh yes, this will be WTMI. It’s one of those dumb health posts y’all hate, but this is where I track my small intestine’s progress, so what can you do? If you want something more interesting and less graphic, you can jump over to SRM! and see my thoughts on sci-fi and fantasy.

So many rants are fully formed in my head. The news is making my noggin bleed purple fury. Supreme Court says child molestation isn’t all that bad (how much do I love Scalia and his scathing dissensions? Let me count the heart flutters.). Morons say it’s okay to poke fun at presidential candidates as long as they’re not black, which is totally retarded. And I have a ton of pictures to post and lots of thoughts on how World War II would have been a disastrous loss if we’d have had it today with our anti-American media.

But you know what keeps me from doing all of that?

Celiac. No, no, I’m not blaming celiac for my lack of blogging, and I’m not all woe is me for having celiac (it was actually the best diagnosis I could have wished for, honestly). I’m blaming the IBS that comes along with celiac, that comes along with identifying even more things besides wheat that apparently constipate you for years on end until you think that there’s no way you will ever be able to poo again. For pete’s sake, all you really want is to be able to drop the kids off in the pool, but they’re just hanging out in your most un-motile small intestine, waiting for you to drink a whole carton of heavy cream so they can skate on down.

So I’ve been listening to my body more lately. I know that wheat stops me up, and dairy runs right through me, taking everything else along with it. Corn has the same effect as dairy. I didn’t think I had much, if any, of an egg sensitivity, but yeah, I’ve noticed that when I have eggs, whether boiled or scrambled or baked in a loaf of bread, I’m at least as constipated as when I eat wheat. But so far that’s the only symptom I’ve noticed with eggs — no seizures, no migraines that I’ve picked up on, no whole-body inflammation, no skin that screams when you touch it. Like comes with the wheat, dairy, and corn. But after three days of no-going, I’m staying as far away from eggs as I can, at least until my intestine is healed.

You know, they say it can take six months to heal. It can also take two to three years. I’m guessing I’ll fall in somewhere around the three years. I had the migraines and diarrhea for three years before going gluten-free, and two years in was when I developed the epilepsy, muscle pain, nerve pain, and skin tenderness. So I think I’m still in for a long haul before I can even try dairy again (have I mentioned how much I crave cheese now? Much.). That is, except when the discomfort and pain of not being able to doooo anything makes me resort to drastic measures, as I did today. Yep. I know that tomorrow I will have seizures, migraine, inflamed body, etc., but if I’m able to get a little relief, it will be worth it. I ate cheese on my avocado chicken wasabi orange salad tonight. A decent helping of cheese, at that. Colby Jack. It was so good. My only regret is that I didn’t have shredded parmesan on hand when I resorted to my drastic poo-helping measures.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ve missed cheese more than anything I’ve given up. All other dairy is replaceable with something that tastes better. But cheese can only be replaced by more cheese. Pizza? Bah. Give me a broccoli salad topped with parmesan, Chebe rolls with parmesan baked inside… cheese inside a chicken chimichanga…

Ok, I have to stop now, because I made myself promise that the cheese tonight was for emergency purposes only and that I wouldn’t have any more. And there’s a giant block of it in the fridge calling my name.

Anniversary

Reader Dan emailed yesterday morning to congratulate me on a year of gluten-freeness. I’m glad he did, or I probably would have missed the milestone (like I miss every single blogiversary).

Wow. A whole year. About ten months of that has also been dairy-free. Man, do I miss cheese. Actually, that is the only thing I miss of the things I’ve given up. Okay, also the flour tortillas from Rosa’s, but we don’t have a Rosa’s here, so no big. And Fiery Habanero Doritos. Everything else is replaceable with better-tasting food (including, holy cow, the donuts we had the last three mornings). I haven’t talked much about this, but I’m still having occasional setbacks. I’ve started cutting way down on eggs and trying to cut out corn completely, at least in kernel form. I hardly have any corn syrup in my diet as it is. At least for baking, I can use egg replacer, but there is no replacement for egg salad or deviled eggs or tostada shells. It’s okay, though — if I start healing faster then I’ll be able to add everything but gluten back into my diet sooner rather than later. I love corn so so much, and occasionally I crave deviled eggs with all the urgency I own, but it’s only temporary.

Anyway. I feel worlds better than I felt a year ago. And four years ago, when I couldn’t even get out of bed from the migraines. And three years ago, when the fatigue was starting to settle in… Yeah, I’m much better now. Still have some healing to do, but I’m not complaining.

The following is not a paid advertisement

You know who’s awesome? Lou Maull, that’s who’s awesome. He’s been a reader here for awhile (I hope he doesn’t mind my saying so), and a few days ago (okay, a couple of weeks — this one has been sitting in my drafts for a while), I got a most wonderful email from him. See, Lou runs a family barbecue-sauce-making business that’s been around for more than a century. Apparently all the peeps in St. Louis buy Maull’s barbecue sauce, because they know it’s tha bomb. I’ve meant for a while to try it but for some reason never got around to it (because I’m lazy). Well, the company gets a few emails a month from gluten-free sauce lovers asking if they can consume Maull’s barbecue sauce, and because of that, and because Lou has read about all of my gluten problems… he decided to find out. Even though there are others emailing him, I take full credit. ;-)

Lou went to his suppliers and asked each one if all of the ingredients he buys are gluten-free. (I’ll stop for a moment while you applaud.) And he didn’t stop there. He got the ELISA testing supplies (accurate to 10ppm) so he could be sure that his sauces are clean. He tested every flavor that they make, and only his beer-flavored BBQ sauce tested positive for gluten (and I conclude that since the others did not test positive for gluten, he runs a well-segregated shop).

I have been making my own barbecue sauce lately, because I hardly ever see prepacked bbq sauce marked gluten-free, and they all contain some language like natural flavors, spices, or flavorings… and when I’m running around the grocery store, I don’t usually have a laptop and wifi for checking out certain brands. I have found a couple of organic sauces marked gluten-free, but let’s be honest — they might as well be labeled “bland ketchup flavor.” And I do like my own bbq sauce (but I like most of my own cooking). But it is pretty inconvenient to have to make my own every time (and since I’m scared to try canning for fear of exploding glass, making it in advance and storing it is not an option), which means that we don’t have barbecue and barbecuey things very often. And we plan to get a grill soon, so I know there is a lot of smoking and grilling in our future.

So I’ve just ordered a lifetime supply (okay, twelve bottles) of Maull’s sauce. Every flavor except beer. I will report back later on how it tastes. It had better be good! ::shakes fist::

Dulcia Domestica

Also known as pure bliss.

Today was Mother’s Day, and my MIL loves pasta more than pretty much everything else. So I decided to make pasta, garlic broccoli, appetizers, and a dessert. I went on allrecipes.com, one of my favorite recipe-inspiration sites, and looked for anything Italian. I came across this recipe for dulcia domestica, and it sounded pretty non-blase and yummy.

Holy smokes, kids.

If you ever come to our house, you can fully expect to have dulcia domestica for dessert. It will be a staple around here for sure. I was a little worried when I was cooking it, because it wasn’t very aromatic. And then I poured the dates into a serving dish, and all the scents fused together at once right in front of my nostrils. From the smell, I knew we were in for a treat.

I was right.

It’s such a simple recipe. Dates stuffed with pine nuts, sprinkled in black pepper and then sauteed in red wine and honey (I, of course, also used coconut oil so the dates wouldn’t stick to the pan, as I’d read in the reviews that they do).

I try to do recipes as written the first time I make them, and thereafter, they are open to interpretation and tricking up. I’m already thinking of new things I can do to this one. For example:

Served over softened cream cheese (after I can actually consume dairy products).
Over goat cheese. Cottage cheese. Ricotta cheese.
Add balsamic vinegar to the red wine and honey, or drizzle the finished product in a teensy bit of balsamic.
Cooked with red chili.
Rolled in batter and deep fried (after the honey and red wine have soaked in).

And so on.

Anyway, try it, peeps. You won’t regret it.

Sushi!

I made sushi again last night. We’ve decided it’s happening at least once a week here at the House of J. This was my best attempt yet. I made California rolls and smoked salmon rolls (also inside out). I finally googled to see what I was doing wrong rolling the inside out rolls, and that article was a load of help. The bowl of water — right on. I always get tired of going to the sink while laying out the rice. That wasn’t the only good advice. I was having a hard time getting the rice to cover the whole outside following other directions (the ones off the box the bamboo mat came in), but last night, no problems. The wet knife advice was great, too. You should read the article if you’re having trouble rolling sushi.

I think another thing that helped was the rice. Frank made it perfectly last night, and through the help of our intern at work, I learned that everything is cheaper at the Asian grocers. And since we couldn’t find sushi rice anywhere else (the Co-Op has it, but we don’t like going there for only one item), Frank picked some up at a Korean market. A giant bag for under $5, compared to the $5-$8 I paid in Florida for about half the poundage at Publix. I don’t know if it was this particular rice or just the fact that Frank is getting better at it, but this rice acted exactly the way it needed to.

At a Thai grocer this weekend I found black sesame seeds, so I even rolled the rolls in those. The rolls were tight enough, and everything was pretty enough, that I decided we needed to take pictures.

Along with the two rolls, I also made seven pieces of shrimp sushi. It would have been eight except that one of the shrimp flopped out of my hand and right down the garbage disposal while I cried, “Noooooooooo!” in slow motion. I used this article for help on how to make the shrimp for the sushi (I only had metal skewers, though). I remembered that one of the sushi restaurants in Florida put wasabi between the shrimp and the rice, so I did that. Haha. Um, yeah. When you do that, use a little bit of wasabi, just enough to help the shrimp stick to the rice. I gave it a nice dose of wasabi, and by about the third or fourth piece, we were both crying, and I was starting to peel the shrimp off, brush off the wasabi, and put the shrimp back on. So yeah. Only a small dab is plenty.

I served it with wasabi drowned in Tamari, and we had a great, lovely dinner. And with Frank cooking the rice for me while I finished working, it only took about 50 minutes to make the sushi. Yummeh.

Something I never thought Id hear him say

“We’re gonna need more quinoa.”

Warms my heart, peeps. I’ve actually found a healthy whole grain that Frank likes. He’s not crazy about brown rice, which I love for its nutty taste and its whole, healthy graininess. So I cooked whole quinoa a while back and was astonished that he liked it so well. This week, we had a green curry for dinner one night (he cooked it!), and Frank soaked the quinoa for me all day (because it’s healthier soaked) so we could eat it with dinner. Friday night I made chicken tikka masala, and I served that over quinoa. As we ate Friday night, I heard these words come out of his mouth: “I’m really liking this quinoa.”

Well then. I know what our grain of choice is around here.

Frank fixed me

He rolled back SP1 for me while I was at work. Good man.

In other news, I made sushi tonight! First time ever and whatnot. Everything tasted good, and I really liked this seaweed, because it wasn’t too strong-tasting, and it wasn’t tough. I had no trouble biting through it. Before we ate, Frank suggested maybe I take a sushi class. That would be so much fun! Days like this I wish we had a Central Market here. They have all sorts of fun cooking classes.

I only made California rolls, figured I’d start small. I forgot to put plastic wrap down before I loaded the seaweed with rice the first time, so my first roll had the seaweed on the outside. I told Frank that was his (I only eat inside-out rolls). Everything kinda tried to fall apart but stayed together well enough that we could tell it was in roll form once upon a time.

All in all, I’m pleased. I told Frank that I might start making it once a week since seaweed is so good for you. He didn’t argue. I’ve felt really bad that we haven’t ventured out for sushi for fear of the unknown — can we get it with tamari instead of soy sauce and all that.

gluten-free barbecue chicken pizza

I made my first ever barbecue chicken pizza last night, and it was pretty yummy. So here it is:

What you need:

1 gluten-free pizza crust (I used an Arrowhead Mills mix, my go-to pizza mix)
1 cup gluten-free barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought)
2 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil and 1 tbsp extra-virgin palm oil (you can use olive oil for all the oil if you prefer)
2 chicken breasts (we precook them so I don’t have to wait on that), shredded into bite-sized shreds
3 cups uncooked spinach
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large red onion, cut into 2 inch slices (see here for how to cut the onion, and you want your slices roughly the size he’s making in the sixth picture)
2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces (I cut around the core until I have several long pieces, then cut those pieces up)
4 pineapple rings (optional), cut into small chunks
Shredded Colby Jack cheese

What you do:

Make the pizza crust per the instructions. If you’re using the Arrowhead, my experience with it is that I always need to have a lot of white rice flour on hand, because the dough is too sticky and wet when I’m kneading it. After the dough is made, while it is resting, heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet. When the oil is melted and warm, add the garlic, onions, serranos, and spinach. I should note that the reason I use the palm oil in conjunction with the coconut oil is because they’re both the same kind of oil, basically (medium chain saturated fat like the fat in avocados), but the palm oil has a very strong olive oil flavor. So I use just a teeny bit of that so it doesn’t taste like I poured olive juice all over the food but does have that nice hint of olive, then supplement with the coconut oil to have enough oil. Add the chicken once the garlic is cooked. Let all of that saute until the spinach is nice and wilted and everything is warm. Make the barbecue sauce while everything cooks.

When the dough is rested (mine rests half an hour), the veggies should be done. Wet your hands and spread out your pizza crust onto your baking stone (I would say roll it out, but my mix doesn’t roll so well). Arrowhead says to split the dough and make two crusts, but I always use the whole thing for one large, thick crust. Curl up the edges. Pour on the barbecue sauce, then spread on the veggies. If you chose the pineapple option, spread around the pineapple now. Cover the pizza with cheese to your liking and bake according to your crust’s instructions. (I made Frank’s half with cheese and mine without.)

Enjoy.

gluten-free barbecue sauce UPDATED

I wish I had measured for this recipe, but basically what I do when I’m making stuff up is just throw things together in what I *think* are the right proportions and then keep adding back and forth until it tastes right. For me cooking is about 60% science and 40% feeling (art, if you won’t gag on that). Anyway, I made this last night for my barbecue chicken pizza (which my father-in-law says — tongue in cheek — is absolutely un-American, but really, what’s more American than barbecue and lazy food put together?), and I was pretty pleased with the results. Makes one cup.

What you need:

Ketchup
GF Stone-ground mustard (I use inglehoffer)
Blackstrap molasses
Thai chili sauce
GF Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder
Dry mustard powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt

What you do:

Well, I started with the ketchup. I think in the end it turned out to be more than half a cup but less than three quarters. Just do what tastes right. And taste often, yo. Add the wet mustard… 4 Tbsp… ish. Then somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of molasses, but definitely not all the way up to 1/4. Enough that the sauce is good and sweet, but not so much that the sauce tastes like molasses. Several generous shakes of garlic powder (probably 1/2 tsp). 2 Tbsp of chili sauce, maybe a little less, depending on how hot you like it. A few dashes of Worcestershire — not too much, because you want your sauce thick and not runny. About 1/2 tsp of dry mustard. Roughly 1/2 tsp of cayenne, more if you like your socks rocked and/or grew up on my Grama’s hot sauce and therefore have dulled heat sensors. A few shakes of chili powder. Add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. About one tsp fresh ground pepper. Salt to taste. Fiddle with all the amounts until it tastes like yummy barbecue sauce.

the best coconut oil

Kris has ordered Nutiva’s EV unrefined coconut oil and also Nutiva’s hempseed oil (I don’t know much about hempseed oil except that it is also good for you). And I don’t think I’ve ever told y’all which brand of the coconut oil I prefer. Kris reminded me that you all need this information.

Nutiva is the best coconut oil I’ve had. I’ve also tried Spectrum refined coconut oil (before I knew that it’s only good for you if it is *unrefined*). That oil has no flavor and basically tastes like canola. And the refining process takes away all of the good stuff and makes it unhealthy. I’ve also had another brand that I bought at the co-op when it was on sale. I don’t remember the brand, but it had a bluish label. It was EV and unrefined as well, but the flavor wasn’t quite as good as Nutiva’s. I’ve never tried Garden of Life EV coconut oil, so I can’t opine in that case, but I’m particularly fond of the Garden of Life company and its founder, Jordan Rubin, who wrote The Maker’s Diet book. That book and his probiotics cured someone I dearly love who was dying, and they’ve helped me a lot as well. I know there are sites that call him a quack, but real life results are pretty darned convincing.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, Nutiva is my coconut oil brand.

pasta sauce

Okay, so I had a massage last night. It hurt, because George is trying to fix my gimpy leg, and he was really digging on the knots around my knee. That has nothing to do with anything, but I had a massage, just so you know. (My leg was great last night, but it’s worse again. George told me to try stretching it often.) I should move my massages from Tuesdays, though, because I don’t like getting a massage and then screwing up my massage by blogging Idol for two hours.

Came home and cooked a fantastic and simple pasta sauce using very few ingredients (coconut oil, three cloves garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, couple splashes of white wine, fresh parsley, coconut milk).

Ate dinner, watched Idol, ate coconut milk ice cream. Which is perhaps the best thing ever made in the history of the world. History of the world. Yummeh.

Wish I could say more, but until Idol is down to twice a week (next week, yay!), most of my blogging time is spent on that. Gotta go close some books, lovies.

does bread bake differently here?

Before we went out shopping today, I made a loaf of bread. Put the dough in the bread pan, put the bread pan in the oven. Set the timer on the oven to come on an hour later (so the dough would have time to rise) and bake for seventy minutes.

Just got home, and the house smells like bread. But I opened the oven, and the dough never raised. It’s a loaf of flattish bread, about half the size of the loaf I would make in Florida. Is it because it’s so cold here? What is the dealio?

sick

Ick. My temperature went back up last night, and this morning it was down in the 97s again, almost normal. I don’t know what it is tonight (don’t have the energy to take it), but I’m exhausted just from grocery shopping and don’t even have the energy to cook dinner. Poor Frank, he’s been living on Amy’s Organics meals the last two days. First I thought I’d make a pizza tonight. While I was grocery shopping and my sexy husband was getting his sexy hair cut in most sexy fashion (those Wal-Mart hair salon peeps do a really good job with his hair!), I realized I was starrrrrrving. Weird, because I’d had a big bowl of soup not five hours earlier. So while I finished the grocery shopping, I decided I’d make chicken tostadas instead, and Frank said he would never complain about chicken tostadas, because he loves them almost as much as he loves me. And then I was too weak to go through the line when I was all done with the shopping, so Frank had to check out while I sat on a bench and felt completely awful. BTW, WHY does Wal-Mart put Six-Flags-grade trashcans (i.e., they smell like throw-up) right next to their benches? Yuck.

Anyway, we had Larabars on the way home, and that made me feel better, so I thought I might be able to cook by about 8:30. At 8:30 I told Frank he should go ahead and have some Amy’s Mattar Paneer for dinner (it’s his favorite). Since 7:30, I’d been snacking on Fiery Habanero Doritos and Wal-Mart’s Indulgent Trail Mix (which is so yummy). And as soon as Frank pulled his Mattar Paneer out of the microwave, the smell made me absolutely nauseated. Meaning I ran to the powder room to make sure I had a place to throw up if needed. I wretched a few times, then I burped a lot (you wanted to know, admit it!), and I didn’t throw up, but I even had to come to the den to type this blog entry just to get away from the most nauseous smell ever. And I love the smell of Mattar Paneer, even in the freezer-food variety.

Hopefully, Frank won’t talk on the phone long and will take his tray right to the trash when he’s done eating and take the whole kitchen trash to the garage so I can make it through the evening without barfing all over the rent house.

Oh, here’s a convo for you:

SARAHK: Sweetie, when you get your food, will you also grab my glasses from the powder room [which is right next to the kitchen]? I left them on the sink so I could hold my head over the toilet.
FRANK J.: Sure. [I couldn't see him.] Rowdi, come here! Good girl! Now take these to Mommy! No, take them… Good girl!
SARAHK: You can’t give the dog my glasses! Stop it, get them back from her!
FRANK J.: Good girl!
SARAHK: You can’t put those in her mouth! She’ll slobber all over them!
FRANK J.: Now take ‘em to Mommy, Rowdi! Good girl…
SARAHK: YOU CAN’T PUT A $200 PAIR OF GLASSES IN THE DOG’S MOUTH!

This is when I swung around the corner and saw my husband cracking up. Rowdi was running along beside him, and he was holding the glasses, laughing, telling me he never gave her the glasses. What a butthead!

Anyway, I feel like crapola. My mom says Pappy has the same thing (fever, headache, no cough, no runny or stuffy nose, no stomach problems), and my step-sis had the same thing this week.

Ugh. I hope to be better soon. I don’t like feeling like I don’t even have the energy to go up to the reading room and stare at the sunset (which was most spectacular today, if you were wondering).

the most important thing I will ever tell you

Frito Lay sunflower seeds are far superior to David’s sunflower seeds. I’ve been suffering through David’s seeds for most of the trip, because I accidentally bought a giant bag of them and didn’t remember that they’re not so good until I was eating them on the trip. David’s are way too salty — so salty that my tongue burns after eating more than a couple of handfuls — while Frito Lay seeds have the perfect amount of salt. Also with David’s, you get a rotten seed about every third or fourth seed, and rotten seeds are very rare in a bag of Frito Lay seeds. Anyway, I stopped to use the bathroom at a gas station yesterday, and I feel bad if I don’t buy something or gas up when using a random bathroom; the first thing I thought was, “Oooh! I can get good sunflower seeds.”

I thought y’all should benefit from my thoughtful analysis. You’re welcome for this most informative post.

hi self

When you make your totally awesome potato soup, make sure you don’t throw in the contents of just any can that has a picture of coconuts on the front. A whole can of creme of coconut will make your soup inedible.

kthxbai.

chicken tostadas

Frank put these on the same level as the chimichangas I make him now and then. Which is saying something, yo.

What you need:

1-2 Tbsp oil (I use EV coconut)
2 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
garlic powder
ground cumin
ground cloves
ground cinnamon
chili powder
salt
ground black pepper
1/2 can corn
handful cilantro, chopped
1/2 small can salsa verde (I used La Costena, Herdez is good too)
4 tostada shells
refried pinto or black beans, your choice
super-awesome guacamole

What you do:

This is so easy to make, and quick, too. Heat the oil on low-ish heat (3) in a medium saucepan or skillet. Add the chicken. Add a decent amount of garlic powder (a few shakes), a few shakes of ground cumin, two pinches of ground cloves, about a shake of cinnamon, and a lot of chili powder. I’d say a couple of tablespoons of chili powder, maybe more — I don’t usually measure my spices. Add a couple shakes of salt and some black pepper. You can’t taste it yet, because the chicken isn’t quite done, so stir it up and go make the guac (for four tostadas, two avocados is a good amount). Also, heat about a cup of refried beans in the microwave.

While you’re making the guac, stir the chicken occasionally. When the chicken is cooked (this doesn’t take long, because you’ve cut it into small chunks), add the corn, cilantro, and salsa verde to the chicken. Stir really well to blend all the flavors and coat the corn with the spices. Now you can taste it and tweak the spices (I added more chili powder and salt when I tweaked). Turn heat up to 4 until corn is heated.

For each tostada, put the heated refried beans on each shell. Add 1/4 of the chicken mixture, spreading out the chicken. Top with guacamole. If you can have dairy, you can add shredded cheese to the top, but it’s really not necessary.

i heart Publix

I went to Publix last night, and our Publix isn’t one of those Publix Greenwise stores, but they’ve added a ton of organic foods, gluten-free foods, natural meats, etc. I’ve been able to get natural bacon there for the last few months, and the Amy’s freezer meals (which I keep on hand for Frank in case I don’t feel like cooking or am not inspired to cook) are cheaper there than at our teeny Whole Foods (previously Wild Oats). Oooh, and last night, I found all beef natural franks! Which means I can eat a hot dog! I get headaches every time I have regular cured hot dogs, even beef ones (I assume from the nitrates/nitrites), and I’m trying to stay away from pork as much as possible.

Every time I go to Publix, I somehow end up walking down the vitamin aisle, which is also where they keep the “healthy” snack bars (healthy is in quotes because all of the ones Publix was carrying are very very bad for my body). Well, last night, I was walking by, out of habit, scanning the snack bars to see what they had. I actually didn’t even realize I was doing this until something jumped out at me. Larabars! At Publix! And they were four cents cheaper than on Amazon, twenty cents cheaper than the Whole Foods sale price, and forty cents cheaper than the non-sale price! I was so excited!

I will miss Publix.

Carnival of the Recipes

The Tricks and Treats edition of the Carnival of the Recipes is up over at booklore. Go check it out, there are a lot of interesting things going on.

what am I eating, you ask?

I’d love to tell you! I’m eating pretzels!

PRETZELS.

If you don’t understand why this is a big deal, we need to talk. But anyway, I’m eating pretzels! They’re a little crunchier than “normal” pretzels, but they’re pretzels, and they taste like pretzels, and I bought them for our cross-country trek.

Also for our cross-country trek, I have two twelve-packs of Clif Nectar Bars, three boxes of Pamela’s wheat-free, dairy-free cookies, three loaves of bread (I’ll make it ahead of time and they’re small loaves — we’ll go through an entire loaf in a day between the two of us), a pan of brownies (will also make those), peanuts for Frank, and a few bags of GF beef jerky. What else should we bring (I mean, besides the PB&J for the bread)? I have on my list: Starburst, Skittles (ick, not the smoothie ones, those are gross), pickles (for some reason they are so necessary on road trips), fresh fruit, cokes, natural cokes, water…

bad Leno!

Jay Leno made fun of gluten-free pancake mix on his show. I heard people clap when he mentioned GF pancake mix. Frank and I said, “Hey!” when we saw it. It was Bob’s, btw. Jay said it should really be called “Mouth Grout.” Booo. Bob’s mixes are awesome. (Pamela’s are even more awesome.)

Most Excellent Potato Soup

Funny, I won several spelling bees, yet every time I type “potato,” I type “potatoe” and have to backspace over the e.

Anyway, I improvised this soup yesterday for lunch and I made it again for dinner tonight. You can add any meat (I’m suspecting even beef would work for this), or add shellfish for a nice, thick, winter-nights chowder. *sigh* If it were cold and there were a fire going in our non-existent fireplace, this would be perfection.

What you need:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil (or olive or vegetable, your choice)
potatoes (I used 6 or 7 red potatoes, it’s what I had on hand), diced small
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 large shallot, minced, or 1/2 cup diced red onion
about 1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
2 cans coconut milk (not lite, and make sure you shake well before opening, and don’t forget to scrape the thick cream off the can lid)
green onions or chives for garnish, chopped
cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped (two slices per bowl, and this is optional)
salt and pepper to taste
optional: meat, poultry or shellfish (I added chicken yesterday, and it was awesome. Tonight I made it plain, and it’s just as awesome.)

What you do:

Heat the oil over low heat (3). Add the potatoes, coat in the oil, and let them saute while you chop, dice, and mince everything else. Garlic first — mince it and throw it in with the potatoes. Then the carrots, dice and add those. Then the onion. Then the parsley. Stir, let it all saute for a bit. Come back later, add one can of the coconut milk (don’t forget the cream!). Turn the heat up to 4 and bring to a boil. Boil boil boil (stirring and tasting occasionally) until the potatoes and carrots are tender (it takes a while — the soup takes about an hour total prep and cooking time). Smash the potatoes right in the pan with your potato masher if you have one. It’s still very chunky after. Add the second can of coconut milk and the salt and pepper (to taste). If the soup is too runny, you can add a Tbsp or two of GF flour mix (I did yesterday, didn’t today). Cook the bacon (I zap it in the m-wave) and chop it and the green onions.

Fill the bowls, top with the bacon & green onions.

If you can eat dairy, you can add cheese or a dollop of sour cream to the top. But it’s really not necessary. Even Frank said tonight, “This is quite possibly the best soup I’ve ever had.” Later he proclaimed, “Best. Soup. Ever.”

So there you go. Coconut milk is what does it, I’m sure.

And if you’re wondering, I do *not* miss canned soup. Nevah!

yummy for my tummy

Turnips are now officially my very favorite vegetable. I may cook them every day. They have iron and potassium, and if you cook them with coconut milk, raw sugar, coconut oil, your choice of green herb, and garlic? Well… let’s just say I’m addicted.

ya know what else is gluten free?

Steak and fried okra (I dredge it in masa with a little bit of gluten-free flour mixed in). And since I fried the okra in coconut oil, it’s totally healthy. At least, I am going to tell myself that.

creamy tomato basil soup

I made a most yummy tomato soup from scratch for lunch today. Well, I didn’t crack open a coconut and get the milk out or anything, but I also didn’t open a can of Campbells (completely off-limits — even their tomato soup contains wheat), and I didn’t even use a gluten-free soup base. I found a recipe on allrecipes and changed it up a lot. So here you go.

what you need:

5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced tiny
about 1 cup coconut milk (not lite — lite is less creamy)
about 1 cup chicken broth, more if the soup gets too thick
2 or 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 slices of yellow onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 whole cloves (you can use equivalent of ground cloves, I probably will grind mine next time)
8 whole peppercorns (I used white and black, though next time I’ll probably grind those, too)
2 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour (or white flour for you gluten eaters)
salt to taste

what you do:

Toss the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chicken broth into a deep skillet or dutch oven. Cook for a few minutes and add the coconut milk. Bring all of it to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. After the soup is boiling, add the basil, cloves, and peppercorns. Next time I make this, I will probably use 1/8 tsp or so of ground cloves to get more flavor out of them. Keep stirring and add the salt until it is to your liking. Taste often to make sure it is yummy. While it is boiling, use a potato masher to get your tomato bits even smaller. You can run everything through a food grinder to get rid of the pieces and bits of everything, but we loved this chunky. After the soup has boiled for 20 minutes, turn it down to a simmer and whisk in the flour.

Note: the basil was a little strong at first, so I kept adding salt, a little at a time (I do NOT like things oversalted), and eventually the flavor balance was perfect. Serve with warm GF bread for sopping or a nice caesar salad (hold the croutons or make from GF bread). ;-)

SarahKs brand-new mexican chicken soup

Also known as my tricked up tortilla soup without the tortillas. This will be a wonderful soup to make on cold fall and winter nights. :-)

So tonight I just started cooking. I knew we were having chicken, and I hoped to use coconut milk (my new favorite thing to use). Other than that, I didn’t have much in mind. So I started with the two lovely breasts (that was for you 12-year-old boys out there) sauteeing in coconut oil. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use in cooking, so I’ve been testing it out. It has a neutral taste, so I can use it when I don’t want that olive oil flavor in my food (which isn’t often, but I’m using the coconut oil more and more because I can). I went and looked in the pantry, and I had a can of La Costena green sauce… So I went with it and just threw in whatever felt right. And here’s how it ended up. So good.

what you need:

2 Tbsp or so coconut oil (or your vegetable oil of choice)
2 chicken breasts
1 small can La Costena green salsa (Herdez would work too, but our Publix seems to have stopped selling it, and actually, La Costena has better flavor)
1 tomato (normal-sized)
1 can corn (no salt added)
3 green onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
handful cilantro
2 serrano peppers (with or without seeds, I used the seeds, your choice), diced tiny
cumin, several shakes, to taste
1 can lite coconut milk
avocado (optional)
salt, your choice, to taste

what you do:

Saute the chicken in coconut oil over low heat (3), and start chopping up the veggies. Add the can of salsa verde (green sauce), coating the chicken well.Chop and throw in the tomato. Drain and add the can of corn. Chop and add the onions. Mince and add the garlic. Chop the cilantro and stir that in. Dice the peppers finely and add those. Add the coconut milk and cumin, turn the burner up a notch (4) and cover the skillet or pot (I used my deep skillet). The thing I love about coconut milk is that it tends to thicken when boiled. Almond milk doesn’t do that for me. Also, the coconut milk tastes like coconut before it is cooked, but once you boil it, it has a neutral flavor and basically works like a cream substitute. And it’s lower in fat, I think. Coconut is also very healthy for you. /tangent

After the chicken is cooked, cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Add avocado if you have it. I served it with a nectarine and Amy’s refried beans w/ green chiles.

I didn’t even miss the cream or the cheese (I would normally top this with a bit of cheese). I also didn’t miss the tortilla strips. The only thing I missed was the avocado (which I didn’t have on hand), and I didn’t miss that until just now. I was too busy licking up the bowl remnants. Mmm mmm good.

mustard-garlic taters n turnips

Isn’t that a totally awesome name for my latest concoction? I made it tonight. I love it. Frank said they were good, too, so I guess this one is a winner.

what you need:

olive oil, liberal amount
fresh garlic, your choice of how many cloves
2 tbsp-ish stone ground mustard
3 turnips, diced
2 yukon gold potatoes, diced
Kosher salt to taste

what you do:

Heat oil on 3 in saucepan or skillet. Chop up and mash the garlic with your super-awesome chef’s knife, sprinkle in salt to help with the chopping and mashing into little pieces. Add the garlic to the oil. Also add the mustard. Stir. Let the garlic sautee while you peel and dice the turnips and potatoes. Dice them small so they cook faster. Toss those babies in with the garlic and mustard. Now you can turn the heat up to 4, the garlic won’t burn by this point. Saute, stir occasionally until the veggies are soft. Salt to taste if you still need more salt.

This worked really well. I put the steaks in to marinate (I bought one big steak and cut it into four pieces so we can have it two nights) before I did the veggies. After the potatoes and turnips had cooked for a few minutes and started to turn soft, I put the steaks in the oven on the broiler pan for ten minutes (five each side). When the steaks were done, the veggies were perfect. Medium steaks, yummy veggies, and fresh nectarines and pears. Mmm.

who made pizza yesterday?

I did, that’s who! I wanted to make something fairly quick. Hahahahaha. Pizza, quick. Yeah. In the future, I’ll make the crust ahead of time and freeze it.

First, I fried up some sausage, because Frank likes meat on his pizza. I don’t, but the Publix country sausage was so good that I had it on my part of the pizza anyway. While the sausage was cooking, I made the crust.

I used Arrowhead Mills Pizza Crust mix. It took my working in lots — I’d say a good half cup — of Tapioca flour and working with Tapioca flour on my hands and the cutting board (they recommend white rice flour, but for some reason, I can’t find mine) to finally get it to the point where I could even work with it. It was very sticky. When I finally got it dry enough to knead, etc., I was so over it. BUT! The good thing is, the mix makes two thin crusts. So I flattened half the dough in cling wrap right away and stuck it in the freezer so I could make pizza again today.

While the pizza dough was rising, I did the vegetables. I cannot stand to have a pizza where the mushrooms are barely cooked, the onions are practically raw, all that. Even though that’s healthier, I go for taste over anything on my pizza. For several years I didn’t like pizza at all. Too greasy, tastes yucky, all that. Anyway, I cut up some small tomatoes, about 1/4 of a red onion, mushrooms. Sauteed all that in olive oil until it was done, which is right about when the dough was ready.

So I used half the dough, rolled it out into a thin crust, topped with Bertolli olive oil and garlic pasta sauce (I haven’t had problems with their sauce yet that I know of), shredded mozzarella (not too much, because I’m cheating on my no-dairy thing eating pizza), sausage, sauteed vegetables, and voila. Popped in the oven for fifteen minutes, and we were ready to eat some pizza.

The great thing is, I only used half the sausage, so today when I make the pizza, all I have to do is use my pre-made pizza crust and the sausage that’s already cooked, and sautee the veggies. I also have about half the jar of pasta sauce left, too.

And there you go. The pizza was great, the crust was excellent, and Frank was so pleased with it that he must have thanked me about five times for making him pizza.

we ate bagels!

Who needs wheat when you can have tapioca and rice flour bagels? They taste at least as good, and I can eat them! Frank had his with fantastic-looking cream cheese, and I just dashed on Louisiana hot sauce since I can’t have cheese for now. Never have I missed cheese so much (the hot sauce was fine, but that creamy goodness would have been even better).

In other news, Fred Thompson met the Hate-Filled Lefty.

Bette Hagman

Bette Hagman, the author of several gluten-free cookbooks and a GF baking pioneer, passed away a week ago. I don’t have a big story or anything — as y’all know, I’ve been gluten free a little over two months (not counting the three before my gluten challenge), so I’m still fairly new to gluten-free cooking. I do have two of her cookbooks and have my eye on the bread book as soon as the house is up for sale. I’ve learned a lot from her books already, though, and I’m sad to see her go. And my heart goes out to her family.

In her honor, I’m going to participate in Book of Yum’s blog event. Sometime before September 3rd, I’m going to bake Frank and myself something delicious from her desserts cookbook. It’s the least I can do.

question answered

“They” say that some people with lactose intolerance (I am apparently one of those people, at least until my body starts to function correctly) can eat yogurt, because yogurt contains a higher amount of lactase, the enzyme we need to process lactose. I have doubted that I’m one of those people who can have yogurt, because I don’t do well with cream or cheese, even extra-sharp cheddar, which has almost no lactose in it. Of course, it’s possible that I have a problem with whey or casein, but either way, milk and cheese don’t work for me.

Yeah, I forgot I couldn’t have the McDonald’s parfait (w/o granola) anymore until after I’d ordered it two days ago. We were huuuuungry. Well, I’m not one to change my order at the payment window, so I had to get it. And I’m not one to waste a tasty treat that will go bad if I don’t eat it right now… so I had to eat it. And I have been paying for it ever since. Tuesday night, I had one of those pulsing twinge-y migraines where I just get pulsing, stabbing pains in the upper right side of the brain (my right). It didn’t actually make it to the point where it sits right between my eyes and ruins my day, but it was annoying and not pleasant nonetheless. Yesterday, I had seizures all day long. Which completely wiped me out. I’m still having seizures. Oy.

So that answers my question. I most definitely cannot have yogurt right now.