Saturday, March 31, 2007

Passover with a positive twist!

Another Passover comes and I can't eat the matzo, I got some recipes so watch me bake, the Matzo balls will be from potatoes, I just can't wait to start! (sing that to Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody!) Ok..just pacify me. You gotta have humor to get through this, right?

Matzo...the core ingredient in most Passover dishes...matzoballs, matzo kugel, matzo this and matzo that...oy! But wait! STOP! It's not so bad after all. In comes the gluten free, caring, compassionate, and most supporting community anyone could ask for.

I have perused all of the blogs on my link list and found awesome recipes. I see that simple "substitutions" can make a lovely Passover meal. My soup, made from scratch (mom used to buy the soup from the deli, throw in a can or two of chicken broth and some dill and say it was hers - but I knew the truth), will have the gluten free chicken broth added to the stock AND the gf bouillon powder I get at a local health food store. The charoset is my favorite, representing the sweetness the Jews felt..apples, wine, walnuts - all good stuff! My sister Beth, actually wants to read me the recipe she is using for the brisket so I can eat it. Yeah! She gets it! I'll make that deadly flourless chocolate cake I made last week for dessert. The matzo kugel...well, I'll have to experiment today with the home made matzo so I can make a gf matzo kugel! Thanks to Lynn, Free to Eat, I will try the matzo on for size!
I love gefilte fish but will have to do some research to see if it is gf or not.

So there, you have it. It's not so bad now, is it? The reason for the season, as they say, is FREEDOM. The Jewish people were looking for FREEDOM from persecution. We look for FREEDOM too..a different kind, but FREEDOM....FREE from the ill health that comes from ingesting gluten. The Jewish people chose life....and so have I. Join me, whether you celebrate one of the spring holidays or not, celebrate LIFE!
Raise your glasses and celebrate LIFE! Be well, stay healthy...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nevermind! Yeah for me!

Ok, so I couldn't wait for an answer from you. It's a patience thing, or maybe an overachiever thing...either way, I went to the HELP menu (advice from big sis, Ellen), and figured it out. Meanwhile, hope your day was the best! Let's hope I can do it again!

Hyperlinks? How? Can you help?

Good afternoon....I could use some assistance with creating links that are embedded in the body of my post. Are there any "teccys" (technical geniuses) out there who can walk me through the process?

I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake on Sat. nite...it was yummy and as soon as I learn how to create a link I'll share..If I can't figure it out, I'll type out the recipe.

Take care

Friday, March 23, 2007

Carrot/Sweet Potato Soup and more ramblings!

TGIF! That just isn't enough to say how I feel. We start our Spring Break next Friday. I'll hang out for the week, experiment with recipes, and relax. Cannot wait for next Friday at 3:00 p.m! Meanwhile, last night I had a crappy experience. I was with some women playing mah jong, a tile game, handed down for generations by Jewish mothers, I mean, Chinese people. While playing, I was boasting about how excited I was that we were invited to a friend's house tomorrow night...and that I offered to bring food that I could eat. For example, I am making my own barbeque sauce for the ribs AND a flourless chocolate cake. The rest of the menu is fine....when I talked about how proud of myself I was, one of my so-called friends replied, "Well, you comply when you want," or something like that, implying that I go on and off regarding compliance.

Okay, I know that I have jumped on and off the gluten free wagon for the past three years. But, do you think she could've been supportive and said something encouraging? My mood quickly changed and I realized that we are our own community...we share because we know one another's "pain." Pain might be a drastic word but darn, (not what I want to say) was I pissed off. So much for empathy...

With that said, I'll continue to rely on my new celiac community to help me, encourage me, and give me kudos for staying compliant. Speaking of compliance, I made a yummy soup today when I got home from work. I finally got the Adobe Element Printshop program from Amazon.com so I will install tomorrow and post the picture of the soup and the recipe.

Ya know, I just wanted to vent about the lack of empathy and understanding that people have when they are unfeeling. She hurt me and I'm sad. As if God knew I was hurting....a friend called me to go out for dinner tonight. When I replied, "I hear you are going to Pizza Time," a local Italian restaurant, she said, "Yes, but if you want to go together we can go to Carrabbas!" Now, that's a friend. Well, off to Carrabbas...much love to my celiac family.....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stronger by the day!

Hooray! Each day I feel more and more confident and mostly convinced, that I can conquer this "Celiac thing." I went out to dinner last night and ordered a greek salad with grilled chicken. I explained to the waitress that the grill needed to be scrubbed carefully. I watched as she took careful notes as I spoke. She really showed me that meeting my dietary needs was important. They brought a yummy smelling basket of bread to our table. My husband and friends indulged and lemme tell ya....for the first time in a long time, it didn't faze me that I wasn't eating the oh so yummy looking, gluten infused bread. Only kidding..really, it was fine. And that made my day. I WAS FINE! Another hurdle...I feel like a track star jumping over hurdles...each hurdle that I jump over is successful experience. We went to the theater to see "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." It won a Tony Award in 2005. We have season tickets so we get to enjoy lots of great shows. If you get the chance to see it, it was light and funny as heck.

Today, I made a hodge-podge of things for dinner. We had friends over so my hubby barbequed chicken wings with a balsamic marinade that I concocted....I made the tofu recipe from Book of Yum, chicken sausage from a local deli (the woman assured me that there was nothing in the sausage that resembled gluten!...my peanut sesame noodles with Tinkyada spaghetti, the cauliflower recipe I found on someone's blog...(it'll come to me and i'll let you know who's blog)some steamed asparagus, and last but not least...the best part....salad...I was trying to make a ginger dressing that resembled that of any typical Japanese restaurant. And guess what? It worked. I loved it and hopefully, so did my family and friends. I'll share it with you so you too, can enjoy.I put my adaptations in parentheses. Have a wonderful week and may you be at peace.

from allrecipes.com
Famous Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup minced onion 4 teaspoons soy sauce (used gf tamari)
1/2 cup peanut oil (I used part sesame/part vegetable oil) 2 teaspoons white sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced celery (I didn't use) 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup

In a blender, combine the minced onion, peanut oil, rice vinegar, water, ginger, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar,lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well-pureed.

I actually doubled the recipe because it sounded so good and I wanted to have it for lunches. I also used a food processor instead of a blender.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"I don't care"

Three words I hate to hear every day...."what do you want for dinner?" or "where should we go for dinner?" "I DON'T CARE," they all reply. Actually, I haven't asked the latter question in a while since we eat home much more than before. I think that when I retire from education I will open up a restaurant called, "I DON'T CARE!" It seems to be a good catch phrase.

I am trying to be as creative as I can while I IMPOSE my gluten free lifestyle on my family. So far, so good...haven't had any complaints. For tonite, my husband defrosted boneless chicken breast. Shall I do italian, asian, thai, french? French? That sounds good...how about Chicken Francese..wait, that's not French, that's Italian. But, I do have all of the ingredients on hand...the chicken, lemon, capers, garlic, and olive oil...boil up some Tinyada pasta of sorts and VOILA! "I DON'T CARE" has taken on a new name. Chicken Francese!

I try to keep a lot of common basic ingredients on hand for days like this. But alas, to make a long story short....won't you help? Send me a list of your most common basic ingredients that you keep on hand for "I DON'T CARE" kind of days. I'll compile the list and include it in another post. Meanwhile, I'll shoot from the hip, no measurements, just experiment.

I'm excited because I ordered the Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 so I can start editing and adding pictures to my blog. Have a wonderful day....remember, "I CARE"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I fell off of the roller coaster and it wasn't intentional!

What a weekend I had...I've been eating home a lot more than before. We have more restaurants per square mile in Coral Springs, Florida, than we have residents. Most are common in every community in America...Outback, Roadhouse, Chili's, Macaroni Grill.. well, you get the idea. We used to eat out 2-3 times a week. Now, I take on a cooking challenge several times a week. Friday though, was an exception. I went to a Wing Restaurant...asked the owner if they were breaded, fried with just wings, even looked at the ingredients on the bottle of sauce. Salad too, with honey mustard dressing....no croutons....well, I went to CVS with my daugher for some things and barely made it before I had to use the restroom. I arrived home and the misery continued. Actually, on and off for 24 hours, I was reminded of the Wings and Salad. Where was I contaminated with gluten? I have no idea. All I know is that restaurant is off limits. It wasn't worth it. Last night we joined friends and went to the Grand Luxe Cafe, same owners as the Cheesecake Factory. I had the Vegetable Plate (four veggies) and rice. I had to send back the edamame because it had a teriyaki sauce on it. I was with wonderful friends who support my compliance so I was very comfortable asking a million questions. No unnecessary trips to the restroom so I was safe...whew!! After a long conversation with my sister we concluded that going to restaurants with gluten free menus is the better choice. As Ellen said, "They get it." Period. They get it. Not the guy from Wings Plus...for me, it was Wings Plus for 24 hours.

I was able to walk in the American Heart Association's 5K Heartwalk with 10 of my Student Council Representatives (4th/5th grade) on Saturday morning. What a positive experience, to see kids giving back.

This morning, I made my third Breads by Anna bread mix in my Breadman Pro. The first two experiences resulted in uncooked loaves. Disappointed but I did not give up. This time I used the BASIC cycle, not the GLUTEN FREE cycle. The bread came out perfect. Slapped on some Earth Balance spread and was in heaven.

Tonight, my friend asked me to go to a greek restaurant that I absolutely love. I just wasn't in the mood to start with the questions and doubts that I could get through the meal without getting sick. I made White Vegetable Lasagna... no recipe, just off the top of my head. Turns out, the family loved it. I'll write a short version so you can get the basic idea...and by the way, it's not low calorie but that's not my priority today.
Here goes:
Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna Noodles
Broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, zucchini
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded Parmesan Cheese
One stick butter, whipping cream, milk
Flour

Boil the lasagna noodles
Saute the veggies with fresh minced garlic in frying pan
Melt one stick of butter in a small saucepan, add flour to make a roux (I grabbed the Bob's Red mill baking flour mix)Add whipping cream or milk, or both, a handful of shredded parmesan cheese and stir until thickened.I added salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
In a 9 x 13 pan put white sauce to cover the bottom, a layer of noodles, a layer of veggies, shredded mozzarella, white sauce, noodles, veggies, mozzarella, etc. End with mozzarella.

Sometimes we have to follow a recipe, sometimes we have to follow our gut, and all the time we have to follow our hearts. This weekend, my heart told me that it's safer for me to eat at home, even if I just "wing it." I wish you all a peaceful week.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Meatloaf and other tidbits!

Happy Anniversary to me! Yes, this weekend is the second week that I have remained gluten free. Remember when your children were born (those who have them)? When they were born, we calculated their age by the day, then week, then month, then months, then years. Then, when you reach my age you want to go backwards! So you understand why baby steps are necessary in keeping track of my "gluten-free-ness." I made a few good, not just decent, meals this week. Last night, I made Carol Fenster's Meatloaf. It had brown sugar (what could be bad?), tomato sauce, chili powder, and more. I didn't have the Lea and Perrins Worchester Sauce but I didn't sweat it. I didn't think I'd miss it. Instead of rice crackers I used some ground up bread crumbs I had in the freezer. I put it into muffin tins for variety in presentation. My family laughed and shook their heads but, LOVED the flavor of the meatloaf, or meat muffins if you will! I made the Gluten Free Goddess' Polenta with Roasted Vegetables and Goat cheese...another yeah. The day before, it was Ellen's Szechuan Slaw and my concoction for marinated chicken. I punted ----marinated the chicken in gluten free tamari, sugar, rice wine vinegar and other stuff I forget. Well, when I asked my daughter Amy, if it belongs in the KEEPER file or the DON'T MAKE AGAIN file, she happily said the KEEPER file. I made the hamantashen on Monday, the day I played hookey from work. The ones with the strawberry preserves were lucious. Like vitamins, I allowed myself two a day. Speaking of allowing, I found CHEESE PUFFS at Whole Foods that are gluten free. Oy, I found love. Instead of eating slowly, like we're taught, I shoveled them in as fast as I could. I prayed that no one saw me. They come in curly or puffy - tough choice, so I tried both! I like the puffy ones more. I must go take my daughters to the doctor for the second round of the Gardisil shot. You know, that controversial vaccine to prevent the virus that causes cervical cancer. The naysayers are questioning whether after the series of three shots, the teens will become sexually active, thinking that it prevents STDs also.As parents, we need to make our own decisions about the health of our children. I'm not sure that the government should step in. As for me, I must do everything I can to keep my children healthy. I'd be remiss if I didn't give them the opportunity to prevent illness and disease. After all, I love them. They are my life! Be well and stay safe and happy.....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The "WEIGHT" is not over!

Okay, so I spent the past two days shopping with my daughter. We swept through two malls, Loehmanns, and two shoes warehouses.My sister Ellen loves to shop...she'll be jealous just reading about it! My feet are in desperate need of a massage! While shopping and trying on clothes(producing enough anxiety for a continent), the wait began. I took two sizes into the dressing room...the "I'm sure it will fit," and the "I pray this one fits." While I waited for the next available dressing room I couldn't help but think about the other wait, I mean "weight." I spent my entire childhood, "cute, but chubby," and believe me it was not pleasant. As a young adult I embarked on a Weight Watchers journey, ultimately bringing me down to a size 6-8. Aside from pregnancies I have stayed close to those sizes. Thanks to our society sizes do matter! It's hard to look away from the number on the ticket. Size has always defined who I was and I believe it still does. Anyway, as I embark on this Renewed Gluten Free Journey, a new struggle begins. Not having the luxuries of really good gluten free carbs just a few years ago has transformed into WOW, this is really good. Ask me how many Cherrybrook Farms chocolate chip cookies I've inhaled in the past three days! So now....I'm no longer taking just one bite of non-gf food and cheating. I'm clean, absolutely clean! But, one bite of the yummy gluten free bread and cookies isn't enough. I'm so terribly afraid that my WEIGHT will turn into double digits (heaven forbid). But, I've spent 5 years WAITING for yummy gf substitutions. Am I rambling on? Sorry, just venting I guess, about the WEIGHT issue that has plagued me all of my life. Anyone else out there on our planet with the same experience or struggling with the same issue? Please give me your two cents or more....Convince me that WEIGHT isn't nearly as important as health. Yes, I know it is but I don't think anyone living on a different planet really understands the struggle. With that said, I am excited because I'm making gf hamantashen (the PURIM cookie)AND I've decided to play hooky tomorrow, stay home, and drown in my cookies and milk. Then, I'll make my sister's GF chocolate chip cookies...what else could I make? Wanna join?