Let Food Be Thy Medicine...
Since starting this blog, so much has happened: I went from Culinary school to Grad school, we moved three times, changed jobs a few times and have had ups and downs with our health. One thing that I have learned is that food has a powerful impact on our lives. Sometimes we take this for granted, but over the past few years both my husband and I have taken healthier strides to keep our diet on the cleaner side. We are not perfect, but continue to take baby steps towards staying healthy. My next few posts will be focusing on the healthier side of gluten and dairy free living. To start, I would like to share the beginnings of this year's garden. We have planted a garden everywhere we have lived since we first got married. Fresh herbs in the store can get pricey and so can produce! We love having our own on hand. So far we have planted cilantro, Italian flat leaf parsley, basil, thyme, peppermint, sage, rosemary, lettuce, eggplant, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and watermelon! Hopefully you will be inspired to start a garden! if you do not have very much space, go for a container garden. Hopefully your weather is conducive to beginning your garden so that you can have a fabulous gluten and dairy free day!
A Gluten, Dairy, Grain and Nut Free Christmas
October - December is my absolute FAVORITE time of year! The baking the crafts, the movies, the family time feels so awesome! We spent Christmas in the country, which was very relaxing.
One of the most awesome things about spending Christmas in the country, is the quite. Everyone slept so peacfylly. One of the neighbors brought two large beautiful bags of oranges over...they smell and taste like gluten & dairy free heaven. We had so many in fact that we decided to make some fresh pot pourrie in the slow cooker!
To do this, I lined the slow cooker with a "slow cooker liner" to make clean up a breeze. Next we filled the pot with fresh apple slices, orange peek, a few whole oranges, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, nutmeg and whole cloves. This concoction is literally holiday in a pot! The spells of Christmas and Autumn and wafting throughout the house.
For dessert, I decided to make Juli Bauer's Paleo Magic Brownie Bars. I have been having serious trouble with nuts and grains lately, and I have been a bit down about celebrating the holidays without my normal grain laden fare. However, Juli's site: paleomg.com never disappoints. She makes amazing recipes and this recipe in particular does not disappoint. My parents were my test tasters. They NEVER lie if they do not like something. They loved these. My dad actually had a few! Sometimes you need a treat that does not make you feel as if you are under any dietary restrictions. The only change I made was adding enjoylife chocolate chips ontop of the brownie layer. The recipe can be found here.
We made quite a few fun treats. My mom made rub balls (not gluten, grain, nut or dairy free). I made gluten & dairy free rice treats for some of the neighbors kids. I used envirokidz cereal and Christmas cookie cutters to shape them. I had fun making these and personally think they are adorable!
We also made a gluten, grain nut and partially dairy free chocolate house. I have never made a gingerbread house and although I would love to make one, I was a bit intimidated by making a gluten free one. Next year, I will be up for the challenge. Fortunately, I do not react if food touches dairy, so we were able to use enjoy life chips for the chocolate parts, and white candy melts for the top. We had such a blast making these!
I pray that God blesses you all with a fabulous 2014!
Gluten Free Tea
Did you know that not all tea is gluten free? When I first learn that after going GF I was in disbelief. Although many teas are naturally GF, if they are not process on lines that are dedicated GF they run the risk of cross contamination. Additionally many fiber or tummy teas include gluten in their formulas. However, there are a number of gluten free teas out there and here are some of my favorites.
I have recently moved and when I was in the process of packing my tea, I realized that I may be a little tea obsessed. You see, I have ALWAYS loved tea. I was totally the tea party with my grandmother kinda girl. When I got older though, I wouldn't buy it as often because lets face it, some teas can be a bit pricey. Fortunately, I have found so many on sale, which has fueled my addition.
I enjoy tea for a variety of reasons. Since I do not really drink sodas or sugary drinks apart from the occasional iced tea or GF DF hot cocoa, tea is my go to comfort drink. I also like more holistic approaches and think that tea has great properties for various ailments. Its great hot, cold, sweetened or unsweetened (which iw mainly how I roll). I usually only purchase tea that is clearly labeled gluten free, but I have a few that are not labeled but found out they were gf after calling the companies. So lets look at my tea shall we? Oh and don't judge me. I know I have a problem :).
I am an overgrown child during the holidays! Okay, there! I said it! I love Christmas treats, Just use cookie cutters and your favorite gluten and dairy free rice cereal treat recipe. I made these with Envirokids cereal.
Paleo Pumpkin Waffles
Paleo recipes can come in really handy for those of us who are gluten and dairy free. Since gluten and dairy are avoided when living the paleo lifestyle, I find that it makes it easier to discover delicious things that are Jaye Tee friendly. One of my favorite paleo sites is http://paleomg.com/. Juli Bauer is a amazing gal who knows how to make food taste very good! She makes food that people actually want to eat. In the fall she posted this lovely recipe and I thought it was amazing! Try it out and let me know what you think!
Gluten & Dairy Free Pound Cake
Pound cake is a fun summer treat! It is dense and great paired with summer fruit! This recipe was on the back of Bob's Redmill sweet rice flour bag and it is actually very good! It totally hit the spot for my pound cake craving. I used Earth Balance buttery spread, but I think I may try it with coconut oil next time to see how that works. It would be a great addition to any summer celebration or get together. Grilling the pound cake is another way to add more depth to the flavor. If you try this recipe let me know what you think!
Make Ahead Meals
If there was one thing that I miss about being able to have gluten it would be the convenience of going out to eat or being able to pick up a quick meal. It was easier for me when just dairy was out of the picture, but the absence of gluten makes things a bit more difficult. Not that I went out to eat alot, but there are those days (you know those days), when the day has been hard, you have no idea what to eat, and your stomach is constantly reminding you that its dinner time.... I loathe those days. I am a huge supporter of meal planning, but even a well thought out and detailed plan can not always prevent the days where you do not feel like cooking!
To remedy this in our house, I started making meals ahead of time.
Between work, school and daily obstacles, this makes it much harder to get dinner on the table than when I was simply doing one or the other.
Reasons for making meals ahead of time:
Last year when I started a new job, I literally realized three days after working, I completely failed to eat lunch and dinner because I was so busy. I just felt as if I did not have time to eat and my husband was forced to visit a few fast food and take out places for about a week. I find it a bit difficult to make dinner now that I am GF and DF because I make almost two of everything. I refuse to deprive my husband of certain things because lets just be honest folks, sometimes cheese just tastes better!
Six months after my Celiac diagnosis I began to see many blogs that discussed once a week, once a month, or freezer cooking. I was very intrigued and a bit skeptical, but decided to give it a try. Once I did, I honestly became hooked. It worked so well for us, that my husband always suggests that we do it.
The first time, I made three weeks worth of food. Not only was the food very delicious, but we saved soooooo much money on our monthly budget because we were not shopping every week or picking up quick meals because we already had some ready to go.
Unfortunately, there tends to be a stigma about cooking food ahead of time. Many people believe it will taste disgusting or they simply feel weird about it. Whenever I encounter people who feel this way, I ask them if they eat anything from the frozen food section. When they say yes...and they always do...I remind them that there truly is no difference. Whenever something tastes "off," it is usually because it was incorrectly handled or stored improperly. One of the first things that you learn in culinary school is about food storage, and freezing meals is not as horrible of a thing as many people think. I also read about people who say that they do not have the time or the room to do this, but as cliche as it sounds: "where there is a will, there is a way". Foods that freeze beautifully are:
I try to keep these meals healthy. Sometimes you find recipes that are loaded in calories and sugar. Try to come up with tasty and healthy recipes. I always pair many of these dishes with salad or some type of vegetable. It does not take very long to prepare.
I will provide a more detailed post about my healthy e but if you are interested, simply google freezer cooking or make ahead meals and tons of tips, tricks and recipes will pop up.Hopefully this will help you have an easier gluten and/or dairy free evening!
Last Minute Gluten/Dairy Free