Archive for the ‘gluten free’ Category

Been Cooking Up a Storm!

For someone who used to not enjoy cooking AT ALL, and we are talking as recently as a few years ago, I have come a LONG way. I started cooking a few years ago when I cut back on processed foods and then I moved overseas. Let’s just say that having a live-in cook for two years really spoiled me! When I returned neither my daughter nor I enjoyed much of the processed foods so readily available (sadly our tastes are starting to re-acclimate to the processed American way) so it was on me to do the cooking.

Yeah, that sucks.

Cooking takes TIME which I have none of but I make it a priority because I don’t want to eat junk and I surely don’t want my daughter eating it! Sure, we slip up from time to time and end up in the McDonald’s drive thru line ordering some french fries but not often. Here are a few things I have whipped up in the past few weeks:

1. This is a soup/stew I created off the top of my head. I know, it doesn’t look too appetizing but don’t let fool you. It has ground beef, chick peas, onions, carrots, acorn squash and a broth base. I also threw in some cinnamon and raisins cause I felt they needed them. I threw everything except the raisins in the crock after browning the beef first and cooked it for 6 hours or so. I didn’t follow a recipe; I was just trying to use up some of the produce in my house (I always, always buy too much) but it turned out really good!


2. This is another soup I made up. I looked online for a coconut cream kale soup and referred to three different recipes when coming up with this one. Turns out I had cooked some Swiss chard I was trying to use up but it was fine. I browned some onions in oil and spices and then added them to a pot with coconut cream, broth, the swiss chard and some broccoli. Cooked it up and used an immersion blender to mix it up. Yummy! I used to be so in awe of my mom when she could whip up a delicious soup from ingredients around the kitchen. Turns out it’s not that hard.

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3. These were interesting! I made some gluten-free brownies with black beans. I was AMAZED that  you could substitute black beans for flour but let me tell you, you can! I was so impressed with how they turned out. Yummy!



4. Cranberry sauce. Again, had some cranberries on their last legs so I whipped this up with some cane sugar and cinnamon. Still a bit tart but I am looking forward to eating it with a chicken I am going to make later in the week.

IMG_2510That’s all for now.

What have you been cooking lately?

Coming Along

Well, I have been gluten-free for a couple of weeks now and it’s getting much easier. I have  found some wonderful substitutes and I really don’t miss it at all. I have passed up pizza and spaghetti and cookies and cake and it hasn’t been bad at all! I haven’t been eating as healthfully as I hope to but it’s a process. And the side benefit? I have lost weight! I started out at 156 and without even trying I am down to 153! Woot! Imagine if  I actually tried–and worked out! That’s the next goal.

Dreaming of Pasta

Literally! Last night I dreamt that someone offered me a plate of pasta. This is ridiculous! I am thinking of wheat and my diet so much I am dreaming about it?!  Crazy.

Avoiding Gluten

So most of October I avoided wheat. What did I notice? I wasn’t bloated after a meal. And, this is clearly too much information but I will share it anyway– I got constipated. I still didn’t think I was gluten intolerant though. I mean, really, how many people really need to avoid it altogether? Thing is I have other annoying problems that I am trying to get rid of like fatigue, inflammation, my lingering chin rash and hip pain and I do wonder if going off gluten entirely might change those. And then I came across this article and it hit me like a ton of bricks. These issues really may stem from gluten after all.

The article states ten symptoms of gluten intolerance including bloating, constipation, Keratosis pilaris fatigue, a diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis (yup, I’ve got that!), chronic fatigue, pain, inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

Wow. Really, wow.

So I am back off gluten. And the sugar binges caused almost instantaneous crashes afterwards. I ate some Halloween candy and within an hour was in a heap on the sofa. It was awful. So bye-bye refined sugar again as well.

Delicious Pancakes

I found a recipe for pancakes that doesn’t contain any flour, not even almond or coconut flour!  I don’t like coconut flour and almond flour is fattening so I was looking for an alternative. These were on the Eating Rules blog (the guy who conceived of the October Unprocessed challenge) and they were surprisingly delicious! My daughter LOVED them and suggested we eat them every day for breakfast. Hey, I might consider it because they were super quick and easy to prepare as well!


And I can see them being made and used as bread for sandwiches for a delicious gluten-free alternative!


Feeling Discouraged

I have been pretty good about not eating any wheat or sugar. Really good in my opinion, but I’m feeling discouraged because I haven’t seen any dramatic changes and it’s been three weeks into eating this way. I have been really hungry so that certainly factors in (large intake of calories) and I haven’t exercised at all–so okay, it shouldn’t be that surprising I suppose, but since I haven’t eaten a single cookie, not one sip of soda, no pizza, etc., well I just thought I would have lost some weight or noticed some amazing changes. Certainly part of the problem is I have been eating maple syrup and lots of chips. Those are fattening! Duh! So, okay no weight loss for that reason (and no exercise). And although I have been avoiding breads, pastries and pastas I haven’t been 100% gluten-free so that explains why I haven’t noticed any  earth shattering changes (if wheat is the cause). So what then has been the point? I am asking myself that. I weighed myself this morning and the scale read 152.8. I started October at 153. Woo hoo!! Almost one pound in three weeks! Yay. (Yeah, that sucked). So have there been any positive outcomes at all??? Yes, in fact there have! Here are five:

1.  I am rarely bloated after a meal and have rarely gotten a stomach ache from food. When we moved back to the States this summer (after living overseas for two years) I noticed that my stomach often hurt after eating in a restaurant. Well, now that I am preparing most of what I am eating I am not having stomach aches. I still don’t know what was causing the stomach aches but it’s nice to not be suffering.

2. I have made some amazing dishes! I have absolutely fallen in love with acorn squash (baked and then broiled with butter)and I have made some delicious wheat-free pancakes that my daughter also loves.

3. I feel good about knowing what is in my food and feeding homemade dishes to my child.

4. I realize how much sugar, baked goods and processed crap I used to eat and am astounded. I honestly didn’t realize how much I used to consume before this challenge (knowingly and unknowingly). Reading labels has been an excellent exercise.

5. This one is good!! The rash under my chin is almost gone! Here is the before picture from three weeks  ago:

image and here it is right now:imageI wish I knew what caused it in the first place but I am glad to see it has almost completely cleared up. This challenge has a week left. This week I am going to drink more water and start exercising. I visited a gym yesterday and they gave me a guest pass to use for the rest of the month. At the end of the month they are running a special and I can decide at that time if I want to join. Though I prefer hiking and playing tennis, I have done that zero times since being home. Zero. Makes me sad. What makes me sadder though is the weather is starting to get colder and if I don’t join a gym I likely won’t work out much for the next six months. Ain’t no way I’m going to be fierce by fifty without exercising! So, yeah, three weeks into October Unprocessed (also known as my sugar and wheat free challenge) and progress is slower than I had hoped and that’s discouraging. But I do see small glimmers of progress and it’s just enough to keep me motivated.

Gluten Free


In an effort to try and start my gluten-free lifestyle I bought some rice pasta. It was delicious! Ingredients? Organic brown rice and water! I am SO excited! I topped it with a creamy vodka tomato sauce I bought at the farmers market last Sunday. Great dinner! (Like my boots? It’s been raining cats and dogs here!)