Going Gluten and GMO-Grain Free


Grain, sugar, and dairy -free PANCAKES!

Ingredients:

Oil or butter for griddle/skillet

Wet:
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened almond milk* (or more to reach desired consistency)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

*easily substituted w/ other “milk” products that suit your dietary needs

Dry:
1 ½ cups almond flour (I prefer blanched)
1 tablespoon coconut flour
½ tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon stevia powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Combine all wet ingredients in blender and blend thoroughly on a low speed.
Add all dry ingredients and, again, blend thoroughly until batter has a smooth consistency.
Set batter aside and let stand for 5-10 minutes
Lightly oil and preheat a griddle between 300-350 degrees (or use a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat)
Ladle heaping tablespoonfuls onto griddle and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side; until golden brown.

Serve with any toppings you like:
•    Just butter
•    Butter and syrup (organic maple or agave maple)
•    Fresh fruit
•    Jam

Tips and ideas:

These would be great used as a miniature “flatbread” for tuna, chicken, or egg salad. Just skip the cinnamon.

Make a double batch and freeze leftovers for quick weekday breakfasts.



Taco Salad
August 12, 2010, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Dairy free, Egg-free, Grain-free, Main Dishes, Recipes | Tags: , , , ,

So.. I’m on a yeast-free and sugar-free kick after reading The Yeast Connection Handbook by William G. Crook, M.D. Click here to check out his website.

This first week has been pretty tough because I had to go back-to-the-basics and eliminate all things convenient; reverting back to a more “paleo-style” diet of meat and vegetables. I never realized how much I rely on fruit and sweeteners to liven up my daily eats. This has really been an eye-opening experience and I feel great!

Next week I will slowly start introducing the non-grain grains (i.e. quinoa and amaranth) and starchier veggies.

Even if you are not avoiding yeast and sugar, this grain-free and dairy free taco salad is amazing!

I have separated the recipe into meat, pico di gallo, and avocado dressing and put them in the order of how I make them.

Start here:

Rinse and chop lettuce. I like to mix iceberg (for its crunch) and red leaf

(for its higher nutritional value)

Pico Di Gallo

4 medium tomatoes, diced
½ large yellow onion, finely minced (another ¼ will be used with the meat)
1 jalapeño (or other pepper of choice)
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt

1-2 small handfuls of cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Refrigerate while preparing meat and dressing.

Avocado Dressing (my favorite part of this meal)

2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup olive oil (or more depending on what consistency you like)
3-4 basil leaves
1 green onion
½ teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor (I use a mini processor for this) and blend on low for 1-2 minutes; until smooth. Add more olive oil if necessary.
Refrigerate while preparing meat.

*I like this “dressing” a bit thicker for my taco salad… but it can always be thinned out with a ¼ cup of water and/or a tablespoon of lemon juice for use on a green salad.

Taco Meat

This part of the meal is so versatile. Choose any ground meat that fits your lifestyle – turkey, chicken, beef – and season to taste.

1.5 lbs ground meat
¼ large yellow onion, minced
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
Garlic powder, red chili pepper flakes, cayenne pepper

In large skillet, combine meat, onion, and seasonings of choice over medium-high heat. Cook until just browned. Drain if necessary. Add tomato paste and continue to cook on low heat for 5 minutes; mixing well.

Now the fun part… putting it all together.

Fill a bowl with a large handful of lettuce. Top with taco meat, pico di gallo, and then avocado dressing.

Yum!

End note: I have given up on trying to work with “conventional” doctors. This last round of appointments cost me another $100 and landed me right back at the starting line. Pretty big disappointment but made me realize that what I really need is to listen to my body and go with my first instincts. Naturally. I refuse to “cover up” the real problem by taking two allergy medications daily and using a topical cream that causes my skin to thin. No thank you!



Easy, slow-cooker chili

This chili is so easy and so good. It is meaty, chunky, and has a slight kick! If you prefer a less spicy version, try using half the chili powder or omitting it completely, depending on your taste buds.

Ingredients:

1 15-16 oz. can kidney beans*
1 15-16 oz. can pinto beans*
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes*
1 1/2 pound of ground meat (grass-fed beef, turkey, or chicken)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used half of a yellow and half of an orange for more color)
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

Directions:

Brown the ground meat in a skillet and drain if necessary. Drain beans. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stir thoroughly, and cook for 4-5 hours on medium setting.

Serve with shredded cheese, green onions, or sour cream if desired.

We ate two huge bowls of this for dinner last night and then used the leftovers this evening for chili fries.

*As always, remember to choose canned items carefully. I prefer organic, with no salt or unnecessary ingredients added. I stock up on the Whole Foods 365 brand organic beans and tomatoes (diced, paste, and sauce) when they are on sale.

For chili fries:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper

Cut two large Yukon potatoes into 1/2 inch strips

In large, covered bowl, toss with two tablespoons EVOO and seasoning salt

Place in single layer on cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes; turning once at 15 minutes

Place fries in bowl and top with re-heated chili

Serves two

**My cookie sheets will not fit side-by-side on one oven rack so I position one rack in the center and the other closer to the top. At the 15 minute turn, I switch racks. This ensures they will cook evenly.

First appointment with a new doctor….

After all of my preparation, my doctor’s appointment is just around the corner. I randomly selected an in-network doctor and just as much as I am going into this knowing nothing about her, she has no clue what she has gotten into having me as a patient. I only hope she has the patience and skills it is going to take to help me. I hope I will have made her job at least a little easier with the “packet” I have put together for her. It includes prior medical records, photos of my different rashes at their worst, and the laundry list of ailments and concerns I have. Makes me feel quite neurotic but I refuse to leave another doctors appointment feeling like I was rushed and not taken seriously. No more wasted co-pays!



Stuffed Bell Peppers
July 9, 2010, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes, Recipes | Tags: , ,

These bell peppers were a huge hit! And best of all, they are great leftover. The hubby and I both had them for dinner one night and lunch the next day. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
6 medium bell peppers
1 cup uncooked, well-rinsed quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium carrot
1 small zucchini
1 celery stalk
2 green onions
1 lb lean turkey meat
1 cup diced yellow onions
2 cloves diced garlic
15-16 oz can of tomato sauce
Parsley, black pepper, sea salt, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender; 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry on paper towels.
Combine quinoa, broth, carrots, zucchini, celery, and green onions in medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
While quinoa is cooking: In a large skillet, combine meat, yellow onions, garlic, and seasonings over medium-high heat. Cook until meat is just browned. Add almost entire can of tomato sauce (reserve a few tablespoons for later). Reduce heat to low and stir well. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Combine meat with quinoa.
Pour reserved tomato sauce and a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of a deep, oven-safe dish; just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/8 inch deep.

Use a large spoon to stuff bell peppers with quinoa/meat mixture and place them “standing-up” in the baking dish. Bake until peppers are tender and filling is heated through; about 25 minutes.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes and serve!



It’s pronounced Keen-wah
July 6, 2010, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Dairy free, Egg-free, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sides | Tags: ,

I have a new obsession with quinoa. I find it versatile, light, and easy-to-digest. Not to mention, it is a complete protein with an essential amino acid balance that is close to perfect. Some varieties of quinoa are over 20 percent protein! More commonly found with a 16 percent protein content, quinoa still far surpasses other grains in protein power. It can replace rice in almost any recipe and is great in cold salads. AND it is super easy to make… just make sure to rinse it well before cooking!

Here is a recipe I threw together for dinner:

Quinoa Pilaf with Sausage

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 green onions
1 carrot
1 zucchini
4 sausages (I use fully cooked chicken sausage)
Salt and Italian seasoning to taste

Dice all veggies

*I used the veggies that I had on hand but this recipe should work with just about anything. Peas anyone?

Combine quinoa, broth, and veggies in medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, cut fully cooked sausage length-wise and then into bite-size chunks. Lightly brown sausage in a skillet.

Add sausage to quinoa and season to taste (A dash of salt and a teaspoon of Italian herbs does it for me).

Serves 2-3 as a main dish; would work well as a side dish also!

Keep an eye out for another quinoa recipe later this week.



Preparation is key!
July 2, 2010, 9:19 am
Filed under: Finding the cause

As I was replying to Amanda’s comment on my last post, I realized that a new post had been sparked.

Thanks for your great comment and advice, Amanda! This one’s for you!

I’ve suspected eczema for sometime now… but have been told repeatedly by doctors that it isn’t the case. Although, with most of the doctors visits I’ve had in the past I was highly unprepared. One of the hardest parts in the diagnosis process has been that my symptoms come and go and are more visible right after eating and showering. It is almost impossible to “make” myself have a reaction so that the doctor can see it with his or her own eyes. Now that I am REALLY serious about finding the cause of these ailments, I have thought a lot about how I can better prepare for a first visit with my next doctor.

Some of my ideas are:

Gathering recent (and old, if significant) medical records

Taking pictures of the outbreaks as they occur

Listing the different types of reactions and making a note of when they occur most often
I have definitely considered doing an elimination diet. I’m just a little confused on where and how to start. Right now, I am working on finding a doctor who will be able to help me gather a list of “safe” foods. My main problem with compiling this list is that I suspect some fruits and veggies are the cause of these ailments. Did any of you who have tried this process include any grains in your diet when first starting or were those completely eliminated? What foods did you start out eating? How often do you introduce a new food?

I completely agree with Amanda’s idea about the food cravings being linked to the intolerance we suffer from. For the longest time, I was “addicted” to oatmeal in the morning. It is fast, filling, and could be stored in my desk drawer at work. Come to find out, I am severely allergic to oats! Similar story with shrimp… I had my food allergy test done on a Friday and that weekend I had shrimp three times! Shrimp skewers, shrimp tempura, and shrimp cocktail. By Monday afternoon, when the doctor called with the results, I was doubled-over in pain. I can’t remember for sure, but it is a good possibility that I had oatmeal for breakfast that morning too!



I am tired….
June 30, 2010, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Finding the cause

Tired of feeling like crap that is! Blunt, I know! But those of you who know me, know that I really can’t spit it out any other way. I am so frustrated with my daily ailments. I haven’t had a “good” day in weeks and I could really use a break from feeling so awful.

Here’s the scoop:
My stomach problems have improved so much over the last few months and I am positive that it has something to do with the lack of gluten in my diet. I have limited my grains, began buying local and organic, and listened to my body. Even after all of my effort, I still have fairly frequent tummy issues that I just can’t seem to resolve.

I have become quite accustomed to the stomach problems but what really has me down is the constant itching and redness of my skin! I get welt-like, itchy, red blotches all over my body (more profound on my face, neck, chest, and back) after showering and white (almost zit-like) , extremely itchy bumps in the same areas (but mostly on my jaw-line and neck) after eating. Pretty much all day I am suffering! I have to take Benadryl just to sleep at night.

I do see a connection between some of the stomach and skin issues.

I have tried to eat the same foods and meals repeatedly to see if the reactions are the same, but I just can’t find the pattern. My only hunches are possible reactions to mushrooms and garlic. Anyone have a good, safe at-home food allergy testing method? I’ve read about taping a piece of the suspect food to your inner wrist overnight and watching for a reaction… anyone tried this?

So enough with the complaining… here are a couple of my next steps:

Find a naturopathic doctor who is willing to listen to my laundry list of complaints without judgment and be able to provide some solid feedback. Any recommendations in the Portland area?

I am researching how to plan a structured elimination diet so that I can one-by-one introduce foods back into my diet. I think this will help me pin point some of my allergy foods. I just need to work up the will-power to be as strict as necessary for this plan to work.

I would love to hear any of your experiences or suggestions!




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.