Tag Archives: gluten-free

A Crazy Day with Gluten-Free Burgers

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Yesterday was just weird. I don’t know what was going on, but my body refused to listen to me. It’s hard to describe.

I went to sleep at about 1130pm Thursday night and didn’t wake up until 4pm yesterday/Friday! I slept for 17 freakin’ hours, that’s just insane. It woke up 3 times for about 15-20 minutes at the most, just enough time to use the bathroom and let my dogs outside. It was so crazy, everyone knows the feeling of trying to wake up and just not being motivated enough to actually get out of bed, but this wasn’t like that. I literally could not make myself stay awake. Here is what my “wake up” experiences were like: I would initially feel like I was starting to become more alert, but then the progress would stop. Then, I would start to get a “high” type of feeling. I couldn’t think straight, and I felt like I was in a haze. The more I tried to fight it in attempt to stay awake, the worse it became. This went on until I finally just passed out.

That happened all three times. On the fourth time, when I finally woke up and stayed up, I still felt like I needed to take a nap, but I was able to fight it. I immediately went to the conclusion that I had somehow been glutened, but after thinking about it more I don’t think I was. When I have been glutened, I get abdominal pain in 30 minutes and bathroom trips in about an hour. Then, I get really sleepy. Usually a two-hour nap then and then a good nights sleep will suffice. When I wake up I have a hangover feeling and no energy, that feeling will last at least two days. This time none of this happened. I had no abdominal pain, no nap right after eating something, and when I finally woke up I had energy and my mental clarity was not diminished. I felt great. So I don’t understand what caused me to sleep like that. I’ve had times before that I couldn’t make myself wake up, but it’s usually only about 11 hours, not 17.

Anyway, the rest of the evening/night was kind of crazy. I had rushed around to get ready for a baby shower at 6:30. No one particularly likes baby showers, I don’t think, but I was so happy when she decided against playing the silly games. So that was good, but I still had to sit there for two hours and watch everyone enjoy the food that I couldn’t have. This wouldn’t have been too bad, but I didn’t have time to eat anything before I went, so I had not eaten anything all day. I was starved. I had looked for something quick and easy before I left the house with no luck. (note to self: find GF snacks to keep around the house.) I left the shower at about 8:30 and went straight to the hospital to see my dad, who had just came out of surgery. Stayed there until about 9:30 and then rushed to a pharmacy to try to get his prescription filled before the pharmacy closed. Then, I went back to give it to my mother. I stayed there a little while longer and finally went home. Once home, (about midnight) I managed to throw together some burgers and fries. Yay, food!

burgers: ground chuck with diced onions mixed in. (I was really in the mood for turkey burgers, but beef was all I had)  I put feta cheese, tomato and sautéed mushroom and onions on top and wrapped it up in a big piece of lettuce. I also fried some ore-ida french fries in my deep friar. Something so simple has never tasted so good, I was so hungry. I ate two of my burgers and a small handful of fries. Then, I went back to bed. What a crazy day! Here is my burger: Nothing spectacular, but definitely satisfying.

Gluten-Free Pizza!!

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So I’ve been planning to make pizza all week and finally got around to it. I loved it. I love pizza, and I’m thrilled to have a recipe that I can enjoy and still keep to my GF diet. I actually wasn’t expecting much out of it. From all of the personal experiences I’ve read, most people seem to go through several different recipes or prepackaged versions before they find one they enjoy.

My crust was pretty easy, all I used was: Arrowhead Mills GF all-purpose baking mix, dry yeast, water, 3 eggs. olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Then I spread it out on two greased pizza pans.

Then, I let it rise on top of my warm stove top for about 50 minutes.

I baked them at 400 for about 12 minutes. Then, I loaded them up with toppings! First, I made my own sauce(sour cream mixed with a little bit of parmesan cheese and ranch dressing). I cut a couple of Roma tomatoes and put them on after the sauce. Next, I put on some awesome italian sausage, onions and mushrooms that I had fried/sautéed earlier. Then came the sliced jalapenos, pineapple and feta cheese. Yum!

I turned the oven to broil and put them in for another 12 minutes while I chilled a bottle of Moscatto. It was so yummy, pizza and wine night might become a weekly event. :)

Gluten-Free Lasagna!

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I wish I could say this was non-dairy as well, but I can’t. Sorry. :(

However, this turned out amazing! I was even able to win over 3 gluten-eaters with it, two of which were not told it was GF until half-way through the meal (hehehe). Like with everything else I have been making – this was the first time I have ever attempted to make lasagna. When I think of lasagna, I think of Stoffer’s frozen lasagna or lasagna you order at a restaurant. I never dreamed I would be making a homemade lasagna! But I had a craving, so I knew it had to be done.

I’ve noticed that when I get a craving for something “gluteny” that I use to eat, I need to delve into the “make it yourself & make it yours” world. I really think if I didn’t have this attitude that I would be purposefully glutening myself everyday and going crazy trying to eat all of my favorites one last time. Instead, when I think of something I use to love I try to figure out how to make it and then how to make it gluten-free. I’m all about experimenting, and it’s amazing how good of a cook and baker I have become just in the last couple of weeks. I think I was an ok cook to begin with, but now I’m so much better. Plus, I’m learning to cook GF and healthier. To me it’s an even greater challenge, so I’m that much more proud of myself when I’m able to do it.

Anyway, back to the lasagna…

….yum! This thing tastes so much better than this picture makes it look.

Anyone can make this, it’s really not very hard. I didn’t even use a recipe to get me started, I just went with it. Here’s what I did:

In a large skillet, fried 1 lb italian sausage, 1 small diced onion and about 6 diced mushrooms until the meat was done. I poured 1 & 1/2 cans of GF spaghetti sauce into the pan with the meat and stirred well. (Yes, I’ll admit that I was too lazy to make my own sauce.) Set that to the side.

I combined a large container of cottage cheese with about 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese. set that to the side.

Then, I cooked my rice lasagna noodles until they were almost done, but still a little firm. (I made sure to rinse them after boiling them, I think the film they get is nasty, and rinsing them gets rid of it.)

Here’s the fun part: I sprayed a 9×13 glass baking dish with olive oil, then covered the bottom of the pan with a layer of noodles, covered them with some meat sauce, and covered that with some of the cheese mixture. I repeated : a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of meat sauce and then the cheese mixture. Next, I added another layer of noodles and another layer of sauce. That was the top, so I just covered it with shredded mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese. To cook it, I covered it with aluminum foil(sprayed it with oil so the cheese didn’t stick), and baked it for an hour at 350 degrees. Once out of the oven, I let it stand for about 5-10 minutes.

Nom nom nom, Enjoy!

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Zucchini Bread

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I bought a loaf pan today and felt it neccessary to put it to use. I made zucchini bread…yummy! I will post the recipie the next time I make it, because I have to tweak it quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really good. But I know I could make it better. I think next time I will put in less cinnamon, and more zucchini. But I promise to post a recipe later, I just thought it looked so yummy and needed to share the picture.

No measurements, but here is what I put in it:

GF baking mix, shredded zucchini, canola oil, eggs, cane sugar, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, unsweetened applesauce

Sacrifices vs. Rewards

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Nothing spectacular to blog about today. I just kind of wanted to talk about my feelings after two weeks of my mandatory gluten-free diet.

On one hand, I am depressed. I can’t help but think of all the amazing food that I can no longer enjoy, most of which is at restaurants. There is also some awesome family recipes that I’ll miss. Let’s just say, I’m glad I have almost a year to get use to this lifestyle before Turkey day and Christmas come along. But these awful thoughts seem to be decreasing each day.

On the other hand, I can see my mental attitude toward food changing. I’ve noticed that I am eating a lot healthier. Not only am I gluten-free but I am using better quality of food. Examples: I was making my sweet bread  and it was time to add the sugar, and I couldn’t bring myself to put nasty refined sugar in my precious muffins. So I ended up going out and buying pure cane sugar to put in instead. Also, when I went to the supermarket to buy this week’s grocerys, I bought stuff to make my first GF pizza. I was standing in the store staring at the pepperoni and could not allow myself to buy them, the ingredient list literally made me a little nauseous. So instead I bought some awesome italian sausage(with fresh,amazing ingredients, no chems) and lots of fresh veggies to put on my pizza. I’m also not eating out as much, which is always a good thing.

Another aspect of my new diet that I’m thrilled about is my appetite. Before my diagnosis I was always hungry. I felt like my life was the same process over and over again. Eat, feel horrible, start to feel better, eat, feel horrible, start to feel better, eat…etc. I was never satisfied and getting the nutrients I needed. So I was constantly hungry and always tired. (If you haven’t come to the conclusion yet: Yes, I am a Celiac that gained weight instead of lost weight, unfortunately.) However, on my new diet I have energy and I feel nourished after I eat. I’m not constantly hungry and my mental state is so much better. I can concentrate and think clearly again. It’s remarkable, and it keeps getting better with each day that I’m not glutened. I had a couple of days where I was glutened and felt horrible. but I’m getting back to my new normal.

Speaking of normal, I think my new-found energy and mental clarity is what amazes me the most about my diet so far. For the past three years I have felt horrible mentally, always tired and generally weak. I became so use to feeling that way that I considered it normal and forgot the way I should feel. So now that I’m starting to feel better, I can actually remember that this is how I SHOULD feel. I love it!

So my mind and body are starting to reap the benefits of GF….I can easily give up gluten if I concentrate on how I feel vs. how I felt. :)

Gluten-Free Curry and Jasmine Rice

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I have one word – - yum!

So, I have been wanting Indian food for about 3 weeks now and didn’t make it in to the local restaurant before my Celiac (Coeliac) diagnosis. This past week I have been adjusting to the GF diet and craving all of my favorites. Of course, Indian has been at the top of my list. I thought about going to my local Indian restaurant, but I’m worried that they might use wheat flour as a thickener. I know I could always call and ask…but I’m just not ready to do stuff like that yet. (I’ll write a separate post on that subject later) Anyway, I couldn’t deny my taste buds any longer.

I have never made curry before, but I decided it was time to try. So, I picked up some mild curry powder at the store, came home and got creative. I really wish I could tell you guys the recipe for this awesome dish, but I was just throwing things in randomly. I can tell you what I put in it, but not the amounts/measurements. I can also give you all some advice: – be playful when cooking it, don’t take it too seriously  – check all your spices to make sure they are GF. Most single spices seem to be fine. However, you should watch out for the cheaper brands and the store name brands. I’ve noticed store brands (ex. Wal-Mart & Aldis) are made in the same factory as other products, so worry about cross-contamination. I didn’t pay any attention to my spices until my mom accidentally glutened me with cheap chilli powder the other day. Bless her heart, she tried so hard, she even made her own BBQ sauce to keep from it….it just didn’t work out so well. :( Her brand of chilli powder actually had wheat in the ingredients, not just as a CC warning. Crazy.

Here is what I put in my curry:*Chicken Breast  *diced onions  *broccoli   *mild curry powder  *paprika  *coriander  *cayenne pepper  *pepper  *cummin  *extra-virgin olive oil  *tomato sauce  *water  *tiny bit of heavy whipping cream (I think coconut milk would work great too)

Even when I make this dish again, I doubt that I will be able to give you guys the recipe. For me, it is just one of those dishes that can’t be measured out…I just have to go on intuition. During the process of making it I will add things, add more things, correct a mistake by adding something else, then add even more things. haha. I’m kind of crazy when I cook.

Good Luck Guys! Hope you can spice up your life a little with this dish, after you figure out the ingredient puzzle that is.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Banana Nut Bread

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Super Simple, Made From Scratch, GF Banana Nut Bread….muffin stlye!

To be completely honest, the only reason I made them “muffin style” is because I do not own a loaf pan yet. :) Anyway, I am so so proud of myself! I have never attempted to make any type  of bread before this, and it turned out amazing! I wish everyone could smell it.

I am still new to the GF world and imagined that everything bread was going to be dry and crumbling. I was wrong! These muffins are amazing, they are moist and sweet. You just have to make them for yourself.

This is my first experience with GF baking, and I was thrilled to find an all-purpose flour. I was stressing out before I went to the store. I was trying to imagine trying to find all of these different types of flours, and how big of a bill they would lead up to. Then, I found the all-purpose GF flour and it made my day.

Ingredients used to get ^^this exact muffin:

2 cups Arrowhead Mills GF All Purpose Baking Mix

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda (I actually forgot that the mix had some in it already, but the muffins turned out great so I will probably screw up on purpose and keep adding in extra)

4 eggs

1  cup of Florida Crystals pure organic cane sugar

1/2 heaping cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 medium)

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (1/4 cup and 1/4 cup)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and bananas. Whisk wet ingredients together and then add them to the dry ingredients. Stir 1/4 cup chopped walnuts into the batter.

Place paper baking cups into the muffin pan. Fill the cups almost to the top with batter. (this will produce a nice top on the muffins) Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on the tops of the muffins.

bake at 350°  for about 20-25 minutes. Do the tooth pick test.   It will yield 18 large muffins, like the one pictured above.

The Diagnosis…

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I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last Tuesday…happy Valentine’s Day to me.  I have basically been plastered to my computer screen researching Celiac Disease(CD) and gluten-free(GF) diets for a week. I especially love reading about personal experiences. From what I gather, most people spend years and years trying to get a proper diagnosis for themselves. I feel very fortunate that I did not have to go through the pain for a long period of time. For those people who did: I call you warriors. I thought it was unbearable living with the pain and confusion for 2 months!

I definitely understand why so many people are mis-diagnosed by doctors. I would probably still be in pain if it wasn’t for the Dr.Oz Show and the internet. My obvious symptoms started about 2 months ago and became increasingly worse and worse as time went on. The worst I ever felt was after a visit to Olive Garden. I ate bread sticks, pasta, creamy white sauce and when I got home I ate a piece of prepackaged, frozen banana cream pie. Of course the sauce and the cream pie had loads of flour in them as thickener. Needless to say, I thought I was going to die! All I ate after that and leading up to my doctor appointment was vegetarian omelets, because I realized that they didn’t bother me. So, I checked online for my symptoms and a lot of sites (like Web MD) told me I most likely had IBS. However, a couple of Google hits also came up for Celiac Disease. I probably wouldn’t have ever clicked on those links if I had not watched Dr.Oz a couple months ago and remembered him mentioning CD. So I started looking up CD symptoms and I was 80% sure it was causing all my problems.

So, I went to the doctor. He asked me what the problem was, and I told him all of my symptoms that I knew were related. I also made sure to throw in a couple random symptoms that I had, at least they would be random for someone who doesn’t have CD. He asked me a couple of questions and felt my tummy to rule out appendicitis. He informed me that I either had some type of infection or an internal bleed.  He quickly told me that some one would be in to draw my blood shortly, by this time he already had his hand on the door. I stopped him and asked if I could possibly have CD. He looked at me kind of funny and said that he doubts it because my symptoms don’t really match. I continued to stare at him until he finally offered to test for it since he was taking blood to test for his diagnosis anyway. Four days later, I get a call from an assistant telling me that I have CD and I need to start a GF diet. She also scheduled an appointment with a gastro doctor. (it’s at the end of March)

If you’re wondering why I didn’t just ask the doctor about CD to begin with: I assume that doctors get very annoyed with people telling them about how they diagnosed themselves by using the internet. It’s sort of the doctor’s job to look at the symptoms and match it with the illness. However, I really believed that I had CD, and wasn’t about to leave there without at least considering it. And I’m so glad I asked!

Assuming that all of the CD symptoms I have actually come from CD, I have had the disease for about 3 years. The symptoms that led to my diagnosis were the digestive problems that showed up just recently. My symptoms included:

*depression *exhaustion during the day  *insomnia at night *headaches *nausea *soft & floating stool *light-colored stool *severe vitamin D & C deficiency *tooth discoloration *weight gain/can’t lose weight *constant hunger *abdominal pain/cramps/spasms *diarrhea & constipation(switched back and forth) *severe bloating/fullness *acid reflux *skin conditions *mouth sores *restless sleep *mental fog *general weakness *crazy allergies *stiff hands/joints *occasional restless legs

So, I have my diagnosis and I know what I need to do. My journey into the gluten-free world will be hard, but it will definitely be worth it.

Gluten-Free Stuffed Bell Peppers

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I put gluten-free in the title because they are gluten-free and that’s what this blog is about. However, this is one of the few recipes that I have been able to keep the same, because it has always been gluten-free. I just didn’t know it. I love stuffed peppers, they are super filling and super easy to make. I went to the store a couple of days ago and found these gorgeous and HUGE green bell peppers for only 74 cents a piece (which is excellent in my area) and I couldn’t resist buying them. So, last night I put them to use. Yum!

Note: I am lazy and do not own a rice cooker yet, so I use those boil-in-bag 10 minute rice pouches and they will be my “unit of measure.” Also, I pre-cook everything that goes into the peppers. If you would rather put raw material in the peppers, my recipe probably isn’t for you. I am trying to guestimate on the seasoning amounts, I don’t measure seasoning while cooking. So, use your own judgement.

Ingredients:

4 extra-large & 1 small bell peppers  (or about 5-6 normal/large)

1 packet of boil-in-bag white rice

1 packet of boil-in-bag brown rice

2-2.5 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

1 pound ground beef/chuck

1/3 pound hot breakfast sausage

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1.5 tsp pepper

1.5 tsp paprika

Directions:

In a medium frying pan, cook the breakfast sausage(crumbled) until done. Put the cooked sausage into a large mixing bowl. In the same frying pan, cook the ground beef (also crumbled) until done. Pour off the grease then put the cooked beef in the bowl with the sausage. Let the meat cool. In a medium pot, boil water and cook the two rice packets for about 10-13 minutes. (Note: I use the brand Success and both the brown and white supposedly take 10 minutes to cook. The white rice is done in 10 mins, the brown is not, it takes about 13 mins. It doesn’t hurt the white rice to let it continue to cook with the brown, so I just leave them both in the water for about 13 mins.) Drain the water off of the rice bags and let them sit. Go back to the meat, it should be cool enough to touch with your hands. Using your hands, crumble up any large pieces of meat and mix the sausage into the beef. Then add both bags of rice to the meat and stir until well mixed.

Drain the can of diced tomatoes and put the tomatoes in the bowl. (all of this is done in the same bowl with the meat & rice, there is never a second bowl) Stir. Put 1 can of tomato sauce and the sour cream into the bowl and stir. Next, add the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and paprika and stir well. Look at the mixture, it is usually a bit too dry, so I add about 1/2 can of tomato sauce. You do not want the mixture soupy, just make sure it stirs easily and it should be perfect.

Set that to the side and start prepping your bell peppers. Wash them, cut the tops off, and clean up the inside ridges the best you can without puncturing the walls of the peppers. Find a glass dish that will hold all of your peppers when they’re standing up. The dish should have  high enough sides so the peppers dont topple over and out of the pan (trust me…that will just ruin your entire day). Pour tomato sauce in the empty dish, you want to have about a 1/2 inch layer of it on the bottom of the dish. Then, place the empty bell peppers into the dish. I usually put about a tsp of tomato sauce in each of the empty peppers, it seems to help the bottoms cook a little faster, but it is not important flavor-wise. Then, spoon your mixture into all of the bell peppers until they are full. I over-fill them a little bit.   Bake uncovered.

If you bake it right away:     425°      30-35 minutes

You can actually be really flexible with the temps, but if you go above 425 then the peppers have a tendency burn before everything has a chance to cook together. And of course, if you change the temp, don’t forget to give yourself more time to bake it.

Hope you enjoy this recipe it is one of my favorites and can definitely be considered comfort food. I also love it because it is a meal in itself, you really don’t need to fix any sides. The sides go to waste because these peppers are just so filling.

I apologize if I didn’t explain the directions very well, or over explained them. I have never attempted to share recipes with other people. So, if you have any constructive criticism I wouldn’t mind, just please try to be nice about it. :)

What’s to come and why…

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Hey guys!

I plan to make this blog about the gluten-free lifestyle. Yes, I do believe that lifestyle is better description than diet. The main theme is going to be food. I have been finding and experimenting with some awesome ideas for gluten-free food and want to share. I also want to discuss food that you can buy, whether it be at the grocery store or at a restaurant. Along with food, I will probably have posts about the gluten-free aspect of my life. This might include my feelings about it or venting about the struggles we have to go through on a daily basis. I’m still very new to this, so there will be quite a few of these in the near future.

I have never written a blog before and I do not pretend to be a writer nor a photographer. I actually enjoy taking pictures of food, but I am not attempting to be an artist when I do so. I like to let the food speak for itself. I will never put anything on food to make it look better (ex. hairspray). When you see a picture that I have posted it is purely just me taking a photo of the food that I am about to enjoy. Sometimes that food will even be on mis-matched unattractive plates or in the messy dish it was cooked in, because let’s face it: cooking is messy. Props to those people who take the time and effort to make food look like a work of art, but that’s just not me. I’m just an average jane trying to share some fabulous gluten-free ideas. I should tell you all in advance, I wont always post the recipe. I am a “playful” cook. What I mean is that I cannot restrain myself. I never follow a recipe exactly, I treat them as suggestions (even when baking). A lot of times I won’t even use recipes, I will just throw in random things that sound good. In other words, when you do see a recipe on this blog, it is the way I make it.

So, why am I on a gluten-free diet? I have just recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. If you have never heard of Celiac Disease: it is an autoimmune disease that is also a food allergy. When Celiacs eat gluten their body attacks the small intestines, killing the villi/lining. Celiac Disease influences the entire body and causes many problems. The symptoms list go on and on, and no two people with the disease are affected in the exact same way. It’s said that about 1 in every 130 people have Celiacs, but only 3% of people affected are diagnosed. It is often mis-diagnosed for other conditions, such as, IBS, anemia, or Chron’s Disease.

All gluten-free people and their relatives are welcome, not just Celiacs. Actually, everyone who’s interested is welcome. By doing this blog, I hope that someone somewhere feels supported and inspired.