Friday, December 31, 2010

Diabetes insipidus

This HHP that I have been seeing says that I have a chloride toxicity. I don't know what to make of it. My blood tests from the past year say my chloride serum levels are normal. He "treated" me (with AAT) for chloride. But when I ate a bunch of salt last night, I burst into a reaction. Then, my shower this morning made me miserable. I've been horribly thirsty since then. A member of a forum I visit a lot is always talking about Fluorine, which is a related chemical, so I thought I would look into this more. My research into chlorine levels links it directly into balancing sodium and lithium and potassium levels, balancing body acidity, diarrhea (despite dietary change and medications), muscle twitching, irritability, excessive urination, excessive sleepiness and confusion. If you have read much of my blog I complain about these (most of them) here constantly! I dropped out of college because of this! But no one could tell me what was wrong. One of the causes of high chloride levels may be diabetes insipidus.

I didn't know what diabetes insipidus was. And when I looked it up, I burst into tears because its me. It is diabetes like symptoms that are not caused by sugar. It causes high urine output and concentration irregularities. It also causes dehydration and a host of other problems. One of the drugs used for treatment is carbmazepine: the drug that I was on for bipolar that virtually solved all of my diabetes problems.

Now I want to cry even more. My credit cards are maxed out. I'm $500 short each month to cover rent. My whole family except me has health insurance. I can't eat or shower or even freaking leave my house because I get sick. Someone or something please have mercy on me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Sushi" Varieties & Seaweed Salads

Sushi Rice

Sushi Rice
Kelp/Dulse/Nori flakes (crumble to small flakes if bought in larger pieces)

1) Cook sushi rice according to desire. If you tolerate rice vinegar, add a splash to the water.

2) When done, top with seaweed, salt and sugar.

3) Serve with sashimi if desired.

Nori Snacks

1 nori sheet

1) Lay out nori sheet on a baking sheet. Gently brush with a LIGHT film of oil.

2) Sprinkle sugar and salt liberally.

3) Place under broiler until just starting to brown. Remove quickly. Let cool.

4) Serve broken into pieces, or cut into strips and put sashimi and/or rice on top and roll.

Seaweed Salads

1 package kelp noodles
1 package wet sea veggies
rice vinegar
lime/lemon juice

1) Prepare noodles and veggies according to directions.

2) Toss with vinegar, lemon/lime juice, and oil.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I CAN eat

I think I have finally worked out a diet.

As much as I want:

Pears (Peeled)
Apples (Golden Delicious)

Black-eyed Peas
All meat (fresh)
White fish

White rice
White sugar
maple syrup

Kelp & Seaweed
Iceburg lettuce
Brussel sprouts (Boiled)


Canola Oil
Safflower Oil
Sunflower Oil

Also In Moderate Amounts:

Split peas
Green Beans
Limes (only 1/2, NO PEEL!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cabbage and Brussell Sprouts

Irish Cabbage

Green cabbage, chopped
salt, chopped or sliced

1) Heat oil in a pan and warm onions.

2) Just as the onions start to cook, add cabbage. Cook until cabbage just starts to loose it's crisp.

3) Add salt and cook just a bit more.


Red & Green cabbage, chopped
Poppy seeds
Rice vinegar

1) Combine cabbage with mayonnaise.

2) Add splash of vinegar, liberal amount of sugar and LOTS of poppy seeds, to taste.

3) Refrigerate several hours before eating.

Plain Brussell Sprouts

Brussel sprouts
chicken stock

1) Soak sprouts in stock for several hours.

2) Boil like normal and serve with salt and butter/oil.

Broiled Brussell Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts
rice vinegear

1) Cut sprouts in halves or quarters. Sprinkle oil and vinegar on top.

2) Broil until just starting to char.

3) Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Brussell Sprout salad

Brussell Sprouts

1) Put sprouts in food processor. Chop until fine.

2) Pan fry with butter/oil, vinegar, onion & garlic and spices OR use to make coleslaw

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WTF is in Millet?

Given how limited my diet has been lately, I have been experimenting with different gluten free grains over the past week or so. It has been disastrous. A quick porridge of millet or rice, or buckwheat pancakes makes for easy, quick, and cheap. But, the higher carb load has made my candida come back with a vengeance. Granted, being on a sal-free diet has contributed to a more stable mood and higher spirits than I have ever had in my entire life (who knew happiness came from the chemicals in food?). So, I've been munching along on my pancakes and mixing up porridge and what not. Last night I dug out some flatbread recipes and tried out millet bread. It didn't turn out that well, but it has high potential! I tried to make it again for lunch too, and here is where the disastrous comes in. I got really sick from the millet bread! I know it was the millet because I ate it last and was fine up until I ate it. It was like instantaneous.
So, back to the drawing board. WTF could possibly be wrong with millet? I've been eating it all week. I stumbled upon oxalates. People who are sensitive to salicylates often have problems with other chemicals, including amines and oxalates (and many, many other things). I seem to have been eliminating oxalates pretty well from my diet this whole time already. Which is good, but if I am having problems with so many chemicals in plants, I'm kind of curious as to why. Its not like they just showed up. They have probably always been there but my gluten, dairy, and soy issues have masked the problem. One thing I read about oxalates is that celiac disease is a primary cause of leaky gut, which is one of the primary causes of sensitivities to chemicals such as oxalates, which in turn causes blood sugar issues... which all sounds very familiar to me! However, I'm becoming seriously concerned that I am not getting enough nutrients in me. The last thing I need is a relapse into malnutrition. My appointment with the AAT therapist in an hour can not come soon enough.....
My goal here is to address my food issues, then address the lyme and coinfections. In turn, addressing both of those should make me even less sensitive to foods and most of everything should then resolve on their own. I'm not asking for perfect. I honestly wouldn't mind being gluten free for life, and maybe lactose intolerant or something. Just, please, I need some slack here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pear ketchup and jam and a sweet and sour sauce

Pear jam

Several ripe pears
thickener (starch or Agar flakes)
lemon or lime juice

1) Cook down a 2:1 ratio of fruit and sugar (ie: 2 cups of fruit would require 1 cup of sugar), for 45 minutes until 220F.

2) Thicken with starch or agar flakes in a little water.

3) Add a tad bit of lemon or lime juice to keep it from going bad.

4) Pour into jars with tight lids. Set out to cool. When cool, store in fridge or freezer.

Pear Ketchup

pear jam
butter or oil
lime juice

1) Cook onions in a small amount of butter or oil.

2) Add and warm up pear jam (or cook down fresh pears... this will make a slightly chunkier ketchup).

3) Add lime juice and salt to taste. Cook down to a paste.

Sweet and Sour sauce

garlic, chopped fine or a paste
onions, chopped very fine
stock (or water)
lime juice
parsley (if tolerated)

1) Heat oil and add garlic and onions until golden brown and starting to crisp.

2) Add a small amount of stock/water to deglaze pan. Then add a bit more until you have about twice as much as you want of the final amount of sauce.

3) Add sugar, lime juice, salt and parsley. Cook down on low, stirring often.

4) Serve over rice, chicken, or vegetables.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advanced Allergy Therapeutics

I'm at the end of my rope. I can't shower without soap. I can eat about 30 things, but now I am reacting to something else. I am miserable in my apartment and my roommate is absolutely miserable to deal with. I want a studio apartment! I can't handle this roommate thing any more!!!
About 2 years ago, my boyfriend at the time convinced me to try N.A.E.T., a weird energetic/acupressure protocol that treats sensitivities and allergies. It actually worked and I felt so amazing that I took a job that required me to travel all over California during elections working 80 hours a week. It only took a month before all the $ and hard work reversed itself. So, I have been skeptical ever since about the actual effectiveness. But, today I found out that there are a few different programs that are similar to NAET and perhaps not quite as kooky. I am going to try AAT: Advanced Allergy Therapeutics. There are two practitioners here in San Diego and one is right near my school. I'm desperate. Desperate to even do NAET again and drive all the way to Los Angeles if necessary.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I got my brain back!

This salicylate free diet (sal-free) is unbelievably difficult. It has been rewarding, but challenging. I am finding lots of hidden sources of gluten in places I never expected, having trouble assimilating water (this has always been an issue, but didn't resolve like almost everything else did), and starting to react to amines. Unfortunately, since I have been eating more carbs (gluten free carbs are have a much higher carb load), my candida is coming back with a vengeance. This catch 22 leaves me unable to eat lots of meat because of the amines and unable to eat lots of carbs because of the candida. I'm pretty much allergic/intolerant to dairy (casein intolerance), soy (soy intolerance), veggies, nuts and fruit (the sals) and I certainly can't just drink oil. So whats a girl to do?
All that being said, I'm tolerating all this pretty well and am in really high spirits. My brain is functioning again at levels I haven't seen in years, AND the dyslexia is gone. My mood is much more stable as well, to the point that my therapist thinks that since I am "pseudo-bipolar" and don't have a true bipolar phsycho-anatomy, I might be able to get away with behavioral modification to manage it during my recovery from Bipolar, instead of meds AND behavioral modification. yippie!
One thing that is unique about my brain is that I have an abnormally fast processing speed. (I know this because of all the damn psych tests they put me through to see what is making me sick) Being sal-free actually has made it go even quicker. The past month or so I have been so sick and stressed, and grieving, I haven't been able to do any homework or concentrate on my school work at school. But we have been doing review in all of my classes for final exams and since going sal-free, I am literally absorbing 5 weeks of material in less than 4 hours of class time. I'm piecing together 60+ bones, plus the geography of every bone, nearly 100 muscles, their corresponding actions and attachment sites, and 60+ acu-points, their functions and locations, and how all of the above interacts with the entire human anatomy and physiology (and I have had to learn both western and Chinese systems) and how it can be used to diagnose and treat any disease, injury or imbalance known to man (of which I have had to memorize over 300 so far) and the corresponding proper treatment via massage, bodywork, energywork, herbs and nutrition. It's pretty crazy! In my spare time I have been studying how the emotional, spiritual, and psychological systems interact with all that we have learned in class, as well as researching the biochemistry and molecular biology of the human stress reaction, certain food/nutritional/absorption interactions, and how music can modify and change our emotions and vibrational frequencies. I love learning, and I LOVE BEING SAL-FREE!!!!!! I love thinking! My only problem now is balancing my life and brain so that I am not thinking all the time, cuz my insomnia and panic attacks are starting to come back. It makes sense though, because my bipolar med was a major sedative, and now I am not on them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


1 cup oil (I use canola)
1 egg
juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon) or vinegar

1) Separate egg. Toss white.

2) Mix in lemon/lime juice or vinegar.

3) Slowly (!!!!) add oil to egg mix while beating with an electric mixer on high. Best to drop a small amount in at first, beat well, and drop a little more in and beat well a few more times to make sure it is setting up before pouring in slowly.

4) This should result in a thick and fluffy off-white mayonnaise. If it never thickened, then you have to start again. There was not enough acid (from the citrus or vinegar) or you added the oil too fast.

5) Add a liberal amount of salt (to taste).

Use to make tuna salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, egg salad, potato salad, a salad dressing base, chicken salad, or on sandwiches.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 4

This is getting much more complicated than I expected. Let me summarize the past few days.
Day 0: got rid of 3 grocery bags of toiletries and 3 trash bags of food. restocked with "safe" stuffDay 1: made homemade applesauce, roasted some garlic, and bravely attempted making mayonnaise (which turned out rather successful!)Day 2: finally mastered a good bowl of black beans! Unfortunately, I had rice tortillas with vegetable cellulose in them (the xantham gum). I got violently ill.Day 3: I spent the day recovering. Moderately better by evening.Day 4 (today): i'm sensitive to amines too. FUCK!
Ok, so i suspected I was sensitive to amines when I started the salicylate-free diet. I was hoping that the salicylate thing would be all that was necessary. My list of "safe" food is about 50 items long (and that includes the salt). Amines only cuts out about a half dozen more things and means I can only eat FRESH meat and fruit and veggie. I mean absolutely killed/picked this morning fresh. I knew I should have stayed in the country.
So.... on goes the experiment. I am terrified to go to my naturopath and tell her that I stopped taking all the meds she gave me. Terrified because I'm not looking forward to trying to substantiate myself about this sensitivity, and terrified because if she actually believes me, what kind of meds/drugs/herbs would she actually be able to give me? (almost) ALL plants have salicylates in them. This is making my stress levels high. ... it doesn't help that I'm having roommate problems again. *sigh* i'm feeling like I am about to have a heart attack and/or dying.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3

Something went seriously wrong. I think it was the tortillas I ate last night. I got a stomach ache, then severe anxiety, a bit of mania, a killer headache, weakness in my right half of body, pain in all of my joints, gut pain & bloating, ringing in my ear, and thirsty as hell and needing to pee every hour (even when I didn't drink water).

I don't think that any of the severity levels were worse than normal....but it felt HORRIBLE because I have been virtually symptom free for a few days. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't sleep well. I was having nightmares about being poisoned and trying to figure out the culprit. I seriously feel like I am falling apart. I'm a mess.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 2 of Salicylate-Free Diet

Day 2 of my salicylate free diet. My anxiety levels are way down, pain is the lowest it has been in months, digestion problems are not as bad as usual, and my emotions and mental clarity are much more stable! This might be worth it! I'm going to keep going for a week and then reevaluate to see whether I should stay on the diet and keep going, modify it so that it isn't as strict, or go back to what I was doing.
I wrote down all of my food options and they fit neatly in two columns on one sheet of paper. It makes me immensely happy to say that "this is what I can eat, nothing else, and I will be happy and healthy". I am actually rather impressed with myself and my ability to be creative with the limited list. I made myself homemade applesauce, chicken broth, and mayonnaise last night, along with a crumb crusted haddock fillet. I even managed to make coleslaw and I roasted an elephant garlic that I mixed up into some green beans. I made up a decent salad dressing with tahini and lime juice and plan on trying to make rutabega chips and frenchfries. I will need to make some pear jam soon and invest in some cashew butter.
Interestingly, my new diet has also brought up a lot of old memories of my food habits from when I was very small. It feels nostalgic, as if I am going back to my roots. My goal is to do everything I can to not feel restricted, rather feel like I am in abundance. I realized this morning that my Parmesan cheese recipe is still safe for me. I can still eat my meager sandwiches and I still have some room to make pies (with a cashew nut crust and apple and pear filling?). I can eat almost any meat (except processed, seasoned ones) and I still have ALL of my gluten free grains and starches (yay?... I haven't been excited about them yet, maybe this is my chance!) and most of my baking supplies are safe. I still have most of my favorite veggies and any kind of split pea, lentil or bean. And can have rice vinegars (there are several kinds too!) and limes and bean sprouts and tamari. It looks like I will be eating more indian/paki food and stir-fries and thai and such. And that is my favorite food anyway! (I'm trying to cheer myself up here, bear with me) So... a small investment into a few cookbooks I have been putting off on getting and a new hope that I am FINALLY eating food that makes me feel good, and I may end up all right in the end.
In order to do this right, I have decided to put off taking my math class until summer. This has been a very rough semester and I feel like I need a bit more breathing room. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Old enemies

I have some pretty bad memories growing up of trying to get rid of my acne. My mom would pin me when I was little to squeeze out a blackhead. When I was older, she made me wear makeup to cover it all up and bought me all sorts of medicated face washes. I would often wake up in the morning having felt like I didn't sleep, my face swollen and puffy, and in tears with pain. I eventually determined that I was sensitive to Salicylates. They are in aspirin, acne medications, and anything mint. So, I did my best to avoid the obvious culprits. But I regularly got guilted into using my acne facewashes, would wake up before school in tears and pain, and get shamed, yelled at, or occasionally thrown out of bed and across the room to motivate me to "get my ass to school".
At this time, I also simply stopped eating. I was too sick in the mornings to eat, would eat what I could tolerate at lunch, be half-starved by afternoon snack, and then devour whatever was given to me at dinner even if I hated it. I rarely felt good after dinner. I would get extremely tired for about a half hour, then anxious and jittery and incapable of sleeping for HOURS later. It worked out ok for me though, because it meant that I could stay up later doing homework. I never could concentrate on my homework while my mother was awake and in the house. Thankfully she went to bed early most nights. I had to get up at 6am though for school, so I rarely slept more than 6 hours.
We also had a "bread drawer" where we kept all the bread, cookies, chips, etc. By the time I was in High School, I had long ago refused to eat sandwiches or anything out of the drawer. I also refused to eat cereal and pretty much any fruit that was in the house (usually only grapes and apples). I had either oatmeal, a waffle, or nothing in the morning. I tried convincing my parents to let me go vegetarian at one point because I hoped that would make me feel better. Their response to that was to prepare ONLY pasta and meat dishes for a month. My mom refused to even prepare our normal veggie side dishes.
I was wild, unpredictable, moody and emotional as a child and teen. I had poor concentration, was easily provoked into a screaming rage, and would go days spinning out of control in a manic whirlwind followed by weeks and months of depression so deep, I didn't even have the motivation to try and kill myself. I knew something was wrong. But the doctors said I had a clean bill of health. I apparently wasn't "crazy" enough to be allowed to see a therapist. If I tried to utilize the school therapists or go to the nurse, my mother would guaranteed find out (she worked at the school) and would harass me until she found out my "reason" for going and then would yell at me that I was just fine. Needless to say, I don't have fond memories of growing up.
Since then, I have been searching for the answer to what was causing me to feel so bad and act so out of control. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and that answered a lot of questions. I've found many more food intolerances since then too. I've always avoided salicylates outright (like aspirin and face wash) but never more than that (except a brief time in college when I only used salicylate free soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, etc). The problem is, and I've said this over an over.... the healthier food I eat, the sicker I get.
Guess what?!?! Salicylates are found in MOST fruits and vegetables. Growing up, I didn't eat a whole lot of flavorful foods that have natural salicylates in them. We had a pretty crappy diet of nothing but pasta and meat and salt and pepper. We didn't eat veggies or fruit or have nuts and seeds and spices, teas or condiments. But as I have searched for "safe" food in my gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, oat free, and corn free diet.... I have started to eat a lot more veggies and oils and vinegars and spices and all sorts of things. But I still stay up late wracked in pain (and there are no "safe" pain meds for me to take) and wake up feeling like shit. I go through the day in a stupor and my 6 years of chronic diarrhea is only getting worse. Granted, I'm a hell of a lot healthier and more functional (at least cognitively) than I was growing up. But you know what!?, I just want to have a good solid crap and a restful night's sleep. Is that really too much to ask???
I'm not happy about trying an elimination diet to see if salicylates really are my problem. There is a pretty good likelihood they are though. This is going to be really tough. Its kinda crappy to realize this on Thanksgiving and going into the holiday season. I finally thought I had figured out something so that this year I can FINALLY partake in the festivities and not just stand around starved watching everyone else pig out. As much as I don't like it, I also don't have the luxury of throwing out all the food in my house and restocking with "safe" salicylate free food because I am beyond poor. Its going to be a tough journey of negotiation and gradual replacement of the most troubling culprits to start with. The salicylate diet is much more complicated than a gluten free diet. Wish me luck! I am going to need it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is a great (and easy) pancake recipe. they also make good leftovers.

1 cup buckwheat four
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 T maple syrup
~1 cup rice milk (give or take a 1/4c)
butter or ghee
1 egg

1. Whisk dry ingredients together.

2. Whisk wet ingredients together (except egg and butter)

3.. Separate egg white and yolk. Add egg yolk to other liquids and whisk. Beat egg white (with an electric mixer) until firm set and forms solid peaks. Do not over beat.

4. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix together. It should be liquid enough to flow relatively slowly from a spoon. Add more milk if needed.

5. Fold in egg whites. Don't mix too much, or you will negate the egg white power!

6. Drop by 1/4-1/3 cupfuls in a hot, oiled/buttered skillet. Flip when entire pancake is bubbly. Remove and top with butter.

7. Enjoy! (these are great with more syrup, with jam/jelly, or warmed up in the toaster as leftovers. They make a great bread for a PB&J sandwhich too!)

You can make a less healthy version with rice flour too. Use 2/3 cup rice flour, and 1/3 cup starch (tapioca, arrowroot, corn, potato), plus 1/2 tsp guar gum or xantham gum. Reduce liquid to get the right consistency (about 3/4 c milk instead of 1 cup)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chickpea Bread & Homemade Roast Beef

1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 T oil
onions/chives/aromatic spices

1) Stir flour and water together. Add salt. Let sit for several hours, covered with a towel. Skim off foam on top.

2) Pan fry onions, spices, flavorings with a little oil in a small 10inch cast iron skillet.

3) Add 1-2T more oil and swirl in pan. Pour half of flour/water mix in (mix well before pouring). It should make a medium to thin layer in the pan.

4) Bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes or until crisp on the edges. Flip if necessary and cook on the other side until entirely cooked through. Cooking longer will make a crispy cracker like bread.

5) Remove and cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Roast Beef

1 lean roast (fresh meats graded for raw consumption best)

1) Place meat on a rack or spear it on a spit. Lightly salt.

2) Cook on a slow, low heat in the oven (~250-300F) until cooked through. Make sure you look up cooking times. I recommend cooking it until rare because it cooks further when you let it cool.

3) Slice thin and refrigerate 1 day before eating. (It should appear bloody after refrigeration, but this is not raw blood. It is a byproduct of the roasting and makes for a sweet flavor. Blood is NOT sweet tasting. It is salty.)

4) Serve with chickpea bread. Eat within 3 days of roasting.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Country livin'

I just spent well over 3 days making my lunch today, and it was amazing! German roast with root veggies marinated in a vinaigrette for 3 days, seared in clarified butter and simmered for 2 hours with whole garden fresh baby green beans and my own recipe for French onion soup made from homemade bone marrow broth from scratch. OMG yummmm. Country food is hearty, wholesome, soooo nutritious and soooooo good.

In a perfect world, I would have a salad and sandwich with fruit for lunch and soup and a hearty meal for dinner every day. My lunches would be more "raw" oriented while my dinners would be a cornucopia of international inspiration. I would have porridge with nuts and fruits, beans, eggs and the occasional pancake/waffle/French toast for breakfast and tea; a traditional English morning. Everything would be made from scratch. *sigh*.... i think the problem is that NO ONE cooks anymore, like really cooks food from scratch. That makes sharing ideas and finding whole ingredients so hard to find.

Someday I will be a good enough cook that I can make these foods and its part of my everyday life, not experimental. I realized last night that I don't eat enough calories. Often only 1000 a day. That is because I can't even find/cook myself enough food each day. It is so tiring to make things from scratch and more times than not they are too expensive or time consuming or just to complicated to make again (or make me sick). So, the hunt continues and the experimentation goes on.

In the mean time, I think I need to lay down. Onions raise your body temperature and I'm in a sweat and have a headache from putting sherry (which has yeast) in the soup...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've had a food filled weekend (but actually didn't manage to eat much at all). I've been editing my cookbook. I'm on the 3 round. It is starting to look substantial in each section! YAY! It is also taking a herculean effort. The first 50 some pages has taken me all weekend. There are almost 200 pages. My goal is to put everything in and when we get closer to the final edits, I will start taking things out. At the moment, I am working to fill out some of the sections. For example, the vegetable sections have tons on brussel sprouts and green beens, but almost nothing else substantially. The great thing though, is many of the sections are really start to come together and look great, which is in turn inspiring me even more to come up with great recipes. Sifting through so many of my materials has also pointed out things here and there I have jotted down as notes, but never followed up on, allowing me to dig and find new recipes on breads, pastas, and vegetables and more that I wouldn't have been able to use before. So exciting!

It'll be a while before it looks "done", but in the mean time, I am super excited for my future in the realm of cooking!

Italian breads?

I have found Italian bread.... and others, made of chickpeas.

Farinata (Italian- Livorno)
Cecina (Italian- Northwest areas)
Panelle (Italian- Sicily)
Socca (French)

Chestnut flour is frequently used as well as potatoes. JACKPOT! .... off to see if my experiments prove useful and easy (and tasty)!

EDIT: When it rains, it POURS! I have found 30+ (mostly flatbread) recipes using chickpea, millet, buckwheat, and rice. YAY! .... it should be an adventurous few weeks! I just needed the right vocabulary in a dozen different world languages to find them. :-/

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Almond Bread


I went on a quick-bread hunt and found a few recipes I will be trying out. I found one made of almond flour, yogurt and lots of eggs. OMG it is good. (expensive too since i don't have the equipment to make my own almond flour....) I think also a key to making this work is using the oven in my microwave (it is a kick-ass piece of machinery with not only micro settings but conventional oven and rotisserie) simply because I can get a consistent and accurate temperature and the door is glass and I can watch the bread. Some of my best yeast recipes were egg and yogurt based, so I'm really glad this worked. Yogurt in bread seems to be a key secret ingredient! I thought I would share. :-)

Almond Bread

~3 c almond flour
1/4 c starch (i used tapioca)
2 1/4c tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 lg eggs
1/2 c yogurt (i used plain coconut yogurt)
2 T butter or oil (I used 1 T ghee and 1 T canola)
1 T sweetener (I used honey)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease & flour a glass bread pan.

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Quickly add wet to dry, mix just enough to de-lump and drop into the bread pan. Smooth out (with a wet hand if necessary) and pop into the oven asap. Watch to make sure it doesn't get too brown on top. If so, drop oven temp to 300F. Bake for 40-45 min. until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

It is very flavorful and will fill you up fast (ie: it may be a small sandwich but it is a MIGHTY one. lol) Recipe says that it should be kept in the refrigerator and is good for pan frying like cornmeal mush and turns out tasting like french toast.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kale Chips & Granola

I'm gunna post two recipes here. My granola recipe and my kale chips. :-) I gave up on the bread.

Kale Chips

Bunch of kale, ripped to bite size pieces.
1 part Tamari
1/2 part Honey
1 part Apple Cider vinegar (the raw stuff if possible!)
3/4 part Olive oil


Dehydrate until crispy.
Steal pieces before they are done. Its like healthy candy, omg!

Granola (this has been a 4 year trial and error, finally ready for publication recipe!!!!)

3 c. Oats
1 c. Quinoa Flakes
1c Buckwheat Crispies (Whole buckwheat groats soaked for 24 hours and dehydrated)
1. Enjoy Life Perky's Crunchy Flax (or Rice)

1/4 c Brown sugar
1/3 c Oat or Rice Bran
~1/3 c Coconut Flakes
~3/4 c Puffed Rice cereal (I use Rice Twice by Erewhon)
1/4 c Vegetable oil
1/4 c Honey

1/3 c chopped nuts
to desire dried fruit, chopped
1/4 c sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1/8 c sesame seeds
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1. Toast oats or quinoa in oven on 350F no more than 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except fruit, oil, and honey)
3. Add oats/quinoa flakes to bowl and add oil and honey. Mix well.
4. Lay out on a baking sheet or shallow casserole dish and bake no more than 25 mins, stirring and checking every 5 minutes to make sure it isn't burning. It burns easily!
5. Take out of oven and add fruit. Cool completely (up to an hour or two) before storing in an airtight bag or container.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bread Update

So, an update on my Gluten Free bread list. The original:

- Skillet cornbread
- Corn tortillas & Gorditas
- Potato bread
- Potato pancakes
- Teff bread
- South Indian chickpea & rice flat breads
- Sourdough bread
- Muffins
- Crepes
- Quick Breads
- Something creative

In the past few weeks I have had to stop eating corn. And, after quite a bit of trial and error, I have whittled it down to a few viable options.

- Potato bread (still looking for easier recipes)
- Potato pancakes (Jewish boxed mixes or modified homemade hash-browns)
- Teff bread (still trying to perfect it)
- South Indian chickpea & rice flat breads (looking for the right recipe)
- Crepes (got a few good recipes, trying to perfect the technique to make it easier)
- Quick Breads (looking for easy and tasty recipes)
- Something creative (.... always on the horizon!)
- Something pre-made and/or a boxed mix (experimenting and some are not that bad!)
- Tortillas (store bought rice tortillas work in a pinch!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lasagna & steak update

HAHA.... update on my last post. So, yes, indeed I decided on steak instead of lasagna that night. My $50 ribeyes for $20 ended up setting my oven on fire because I gave the broiler to much oxygen and ended up with a grease fire that brought back memories of the last grease fire in my place (we ended up needing the firetuck ppl to help). yikes! We finally got the fire out though and rescued the steak which ended up in the lower end of well done and not burned flavored or tough at all! Lucky me!

The lasagna turned out pretty good. It is of course getting better the more time is spends in the fridge as leftovers, as a whole lasagna casserole is going to take me all week to finish. There are some definite improvements I want to make, but over all is REALLY GOOD! I consider it a success!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I love Ireland


I now have three staple recipes that I can start expanding on and improving. Two are from Ireland: Irish Potato Bread and the other is Irish Soda Bread. The last is a corn bread. One of the deli ladies at Whole Foods found me 10" corn tortillas to make burritos (she got them catered from a local Mexican taco shop but there is a slight gluten contamination problem from that particular restaurant.... but now I know what needs to be done to make them and that it is possible!).

Recipes are as follows:

Irish Potato Bread or "Boxty Bread"
(from The Gluten Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein)

This makes several little rounds, not a loaf. Boxty bread is traditionally a pan-fried loaf and involves pureed and chunky mashed potatoes mixed together. This much simpler but there is definite room for improvement. Onion powder can be substituted out depending on what you are going to use the bread for. Baking soda/powder could also be added for extra oohmph. A tad bit heavy, but it does not taste like baked mashed potatoes, it is lighter than that.

1 1/4 lbs peeled Idaho potatoes (or other starchy potatoes)
2 T butter (see butter substitute post... I recommend Earth Balance for this one)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup potato and/or corn starch

Boil potatoes in salt water until cooked. Transfer to a bowl and add butter, onion powder, salt and pepper (if desired). Mash until blended. Add starch and mix until smooth and well combined.

Divide potato mixture into 4" squares or rounds and place on a lightly oiled (with sprinkled cornmeal if desired!) baking sheet or stone. Make a 1/8"- 1/4 " deep X or slash across to allow it to rise. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden in a preheated 350F (175C).

Irish Soda Bread
(from 1000 Gluten Free Recipes by Carol Fenster)

I just pulled this out of the oven and made the most heavenly tuna sandwich! Has a distinctive tart flavor from the baking soda (and baking powder.... modern addition!) According to Carol, this recipe is a bit more complex than the traditional recipe. I made mine in an 8" cast-iron pan (I found at Ace Hardware) instead of a loaf pan so I've got wedge shaped slices and a cool looking loaf!

2 cups Carols Blend (3/4 cups sorghum flour, 3/4 cups starch, 1/2 cup tapioca... I keep a big batch of this pre-made in my freezer because Carol has SOOOO many good recipes and its a very stable & versatile all purpose mix)
3 T sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature(!)
1 cup buttermilk (thinned with 1/4 cup water) OR homemade butter milk (see recipe below)
1/4 cup butter (see my butter substitutions post)
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, currents, cranberries, etc)
1 T (opt toasted) caraway seeds (opt... I don't like caraway and it tasted great!)

In a large bowl, mix everything except the egg, buttermilk, butter, dried fruit & opt seasonings/flavorings together with a whisk. Then add everything else and mix with an electric mixer on low until thoroughly blended.

Spread in greased loaf pan or cast iron skillet and smooth out top. Draw a shallow X in the top to allow for rising. Bake 55-60 minutes until top is browned and it sounds hallow when tapped in a preheated 375F oven. Internal temp. should reach 205F with an instant-read thermometer. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, and then cool completely on wire rack before slicing open.

(also from Carol Fenster's 1000 GF Recipes)

1 T cider vinegar (or FRESH lemon juice)
Milk (cow, rice, soy, potato, nut, coconut, etc)

Put vinegar in a measuring cup. Whisk in enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. (Note, because rice milk will not thicken you have to reduce the amount of rice-based buttermilk by 25% in the recipe where it is called for)

I also use Carol's cornbread recipe which is a pretty basic cornbread recipe but I use a 50-50 mix of polenta (corn grits) and cornmeal, instead of just cornmeal and bake it in my 8" cast-iron pan as well. Unbelievably good. I got approval from a friend who came from the south and a northerner!

I'm currently trying to work my way through an ad-hock lasagna recipe. I'm making homemade ricotta and Parmesan (of course!) with raw cheezes that I am trying to make for the first time. The meat and tomato filling is in the crock pot and the vegetables and (rice) noodles on standby. Although when it is put together I am seriously considering letting it sit in the fridge for tomorrow because when I went to get tomato paste and ground beef at Vons, I found $50 ribeye steaks for $20!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pizza Pie!

Apparently it is possible to have TOO much flavor on a pizza. I found this great yeast-free pizza crust recipe from gingerlemongirl. I overloaded the crust with spices. Then topped it with a few too many overly flavorful pestos, dips, and toppings, and sprinkled some "Parmesan cheese" (yeast-free vegan cashew cheeze) all over the top. YUM!

If you want to see the pizza crust recipe, go here....

As for the cheeze:

1/3 cup cashews (raw, and chopped up)
1/4 tsp dry mustard (ground)
1/4 tsp salt

put in coffee grinder (they are on sale at target for $20!) and grind (after you spend 30 minutes trying to figure out why its not working until you realize the cashews are too big to get into the grinding mechanism... hence the "chopped up")

Happy Pizza Pie Birthday to me! (and then awesome gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free red velvet cake with FROSTING! for dessert.)

Friday, June 4, 2010


So.... what do you do for butter if you are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and yeast free?!?

There are actually several options.

1) A good palm oil shortening, like Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening (there are a few brands out there). This is great all purpose spread for baking and cooking when it calls for butter because of the chemistry not necessarily the taste. Light flavor, real butter consistency, holds up great to heat. Not too bad on toast either, in a pinch.

2) Ghee (if you make it at home, you can't guarantee the casein will precipitate out... so get some at the store and make sure it is labeled casein-free.) This actually clarified butter with all the "bad" stuff boiled out. Great for cooking/baking when you just want the flavor of real butter such as when cooking rice or a particular baked good or in a sauce or roux. It is very rich and flavorful. It is too powerful to use in large quantities so it is useful for taste enhancement mostly.

3) A 50-50 mix of ghee and palm oil shortening. This is very creamy, balanced and great for just about anything requiring butter. If it is sitting out, it can get very soupy. In the fridge it becomes rock hard (but would be good it you need to grate butter). Best made fresh when needed.

4) Raw (Organic) Coconut Butter- by Artisana. This is the whole coconut flesh and not just the oil. Great for toast, grits, oatmeal, or anything that you would like a "honey-butter" taste. VERY rich. Since it is RAW, it is usually better in non-cooked items.... although it makes a KILLER almond-strawberry muffin (baked- not raw)!

5) Natural Buttery Spread Soy Free version by Earth Balance. This is essentially a margarine. Use is where ever you would use margarine. Particularity good for frying food that is normally fried in butter like fried eggs or fried mush (polenta).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Apple pie and BBQ

Apple pie. I actually have never had apple pie (that I can remember). So making a gf version sounded daunting. I don't think I have ever even made a traditional pie. I got more than a dozen apples the other day and have been trying to figure out what to do with them. I attempted homemade apple juice/slush. It was not good even though I wanted it to be chunky and not a pure liquid. I ate a few with peanut butter which got rid of a few more. But even after the pie I have like 6-8 more. I'm not a big fruit person. What can you do with an apple?

For the pie I made a crust (top and bottom) from Carol Fenster's 1000 GF Recipes and followed a basic apple pie recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It is cooling on the table now. To be honest though, it took me all afternoon and into the evening. The reason is mostly due to watching two movies while cooking and not just because I had no idea what I was doing in trying to attempt gf pastries. My timing wasn't the greatest either because I was hoping to have it ready by the time dinner was ready and then eaten. I threw a pork butt chunk, some bbq sauce and some gf beer into the crock pot this morning and put it on low. Later on I cooked up some potatoes, split them open and put TONS of ghee on them with salt. Served the pork and spooned the sauce over it all. The melted ghee mixed with the sauce really well and it was all very delicious. And now I have apple pie for dessert! Albeit a bit later. But, YAY!

I am proud of myself that I went thoroughly American, which is unusual for me. It is Memorial Day weekend. First of all... I'm international at heart and just like ethnic food and languages and cultures. But also because American food is difficult to convert gluten free and dairy free and soy free!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

GF in San Diego

Ok, there a lot of gluten free restaurants in San Diego. We are lucky that we have a very up-to-date GF San Diego website and also Scripps Hospital has an outstanding list as well. But those only cover the places you can eat or get a GF drink at that are really popular. There are a TON of hole in the wall places, especially in the Uptown districts that don't make those lists. Many of them unfortunately didn't make it through the recession but a lot of new ones are opening up!

Now, I live in Uptown. I don't get out to North County often, which is where most of the active online San Diego gluten free people live. So, I want to point out some of the places around me that I frequent or have passed my very very thorough test of being "safe" yet easy to visit. I'm afraid to try new restaurants mostly because I don't like the hassle nor do I like getting sick. I'm kinda really poor right now and don't have someone to try new places with either, so I feel like my list is kinda spotty. If I do get back into my restaurant reviews before the year is out, I'll be covering everything from Coronado to Mission Valley, and everything up along the 5 until Encinitas. I love going to LA occasionally, so I might blog a bit about GF stuff there too (maybe, who knows).

This list is not complete, as until 6 months ago, my dinner dinning options were limited to the weekends or anything open past 10pm. I have for the most part omitted all Thai, Mexican, or Indian restaurants, Steakhouses and Sushi places because most of them are easy to navigate and are friendly to the gluten free diet. I want to highlight restaurants that go above and beyond. I only mentioned a few Thai, Mexican, and sushi places that are especially notable for their GF options.

North Park
Ritual Tavern
Crazee Burger (German-American)
Urban Solace
lots of good gf vegetarian places that use soy, so I can't go to them (but my veggie gf friends love them!- like Rebecca's Cafe and Veg-N-Out). a lot of new places too I haven't checked out

University Heights/Normal Heights/Kensington
Muzita Bistro (Ethiopian)
Pomegranate (Russian-Georgian)
Soltan Banoo (Persian)
Burger Lounge
Jaynes Gastro Pub
Cafe 2121
lots and lots of new cafes and restaurants opening

El Cuervo (Mexican)
Kyber Pass (Afghani)
Gossip Girl
Whole Foods
The Prado
Peace Pies (at the Farmers Market--- sometimes there is a good Ethiopian stand nearby too)
The Wine Encounter
Evolution Fast Food
several good mexican, thai, indian, greek, and sushi places
*** Pizza Fusion has cross-contamination issues, so I go to Whole Foods instead! But if you aren't overly gluten sensitive, its a great place for a gf pizza.

Mission Hills
Gelatos (Italian Ice cream & more)
Masa Japanese Restaurant (A lot more than just a sushi place, this is more like a full Japanese restaurant)
Luche Libre Taco Shop (Mexican)
Shakespeare's- (the Tea Room which is upstairs in the gift shop, not the pub)
Saffron (authentic Thai)
several fancy upscale steakhouses
** Non-Restaurant but good picnic food items: Sausage King (German Deli) and Ibis Market (North Iraqi Market)

Point Loma
Tender Greens
good seafood places on the marina
mostly a chain food restaurant area like Chipotle and various other mainstream Mexican joints, steakhouses, and In-N-Out Burger (too many soy issues for me). There are also a few shopping plazas like Liberty Station that have Greek, sushi, Thai, and other Asian (or Asian fusions), and I heard Sammy's Woodfired Pizza has gf crusts too. I find non-chain restaurants are easier to navigate, so I avoid this area usually.

Ocean Beach
Cupcakes Squared
OB Noodlehouse
People's Co-op
a few really good sushi and Mexican places on Newport Ave, a few hole in the wall hidden places scattered around the area that I haven't tried yet. Great place for a BBQ or picnic (or at Mission Bay or PB too)

Then there is always the classics like PF Changs, Pei Wei, Buca di Beppo, the Yard House, Hornblower cruises, Z-pizza, and Mexican or sushi in Old Town. Sardina's in Linda Vista is great and I heard Andre's Restaurant is too. If you are in the shadier parts of downtown, the corner taco stands run by non-english speaking mexicans are usually safe and KILLER good. There are dozens of places in La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff, and Encinitas that have gf options, gf menus, and even gf dedicated facilities too. I love San Diego.

Yeast-Free bread and Tea

I got my yeast free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free bread mix in the mail this week. It is a Breads from Anna bread mix. I gotta say, it is a WHOLE lot better than my versions. In fact, its better then most yeast versions I've made from a mix.

The $10 shipping costs are not conducive to regular eating of this mix. So, I don't think this yeast-free bread battle is over yet. OMG I hate baking. Why can't someone just blog a bread recipe that is not super complicated that I don't have to modify. I CAN bake... just not creatively. I need to follow the instructions. If I figured out how to bake gluten free, then I could manage with recipes that I have to modify. AAARRRG.

I take solace that I managed to make green smoothies and smoothies are is becoming a regular part of my diet. To boot, the East Frisian Tea set that I brought home from Ostfriesland may start getting some regular use soon. I managed to accidentally get my roommate hooked on tea. It has been more than three years since I had to stop eating sugar and watching my carbs, and 1.5 years since I had to stop eating/drinking dairy. Because of this, I could not use my tea pot/set in a traditional ostfrisian tea ceremony. There is good news! About a month ago I managed to stabilize my sugar metabolism enough so that I can have pure sugar again!!! AND, a few months ago I started using a coconut milk-drink creamer by SO Delicious. Unfortunately, I found out a few months back that my traditional east frisian tea is contaminated with gluten. BUT, today I had my first traditional tea ceremony with klunje (sugar rocks) and sahne (cream)! I nearly died with happiness.

I've had a couple of these moments in the past week. Its the little things in life that make it all worth it. :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My first smoothie

I am drinking my first green juice smoothie as I type. This may actually be the first smoothie I have ever drank in my life.... other than the sugar and ice concoctions that have a strawberry in them if you are lucky.

My bread adventure has so far been a literal flop. I tried yet again on Sunday, figuring if I cooked it longer it would cook in the middle. Nope. Apparently gluten free bread always gets more gummier if you cook it longer, not less. This is a recurring theme with me for 2 years now. I am temporarily giving up in the name of needing to eat food and the fact that I have not eaten anything but salad and rice for almost a week. I found a mix that I ordered online and paid $25 for it and a box of cereal... which is all my food money for the rest of the month! I can't subside off of salad alone though. Especially for breakfast. I need something to eat in the morning so that I can at least take vitamins to supplement the fact that I'm not able to eat enough food and therefore nutrients. The problem is not having enough food. My cupboards, fridge and freezer are full. The problem is that I get hypoglycemia so if I don't have something quick and easy to eat if I have lost track of time (I need to eat every 3 hours, exactly) then I don't have the time or energy or creativity it takes to cook up something that is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, and has the right balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables to keep me from crashing 30 min later again. There are some prepared foods.... but I'm WAY too poor to afford them. The lack of food is impacting my sleep. With messed up sleep it has decreased my immunity. And the yeast infection that i'm trying to get rid, hence the point of making yeast free bread, is getting WORSE for some reason, not better. Even though I'm on meds for it. WTF? I think I've managed to create drug resistant yeast in me. Great.

So, in comes the smoothie. I need nutrients in me. Its mango season. My roommate bought TONS of mangoes. We somehow managed to get 5 heads of lettuce and a box of baby lettuce in the fridge. I found a green smoothie recipe for mangoes and lettuce and i threw in an apple, two carrots, and a half a cucumber with coconut milk beverage and water. After mixing in everything but the lettuce. It didn't taste good. I honestly didn't think the lettuce would improve things. I added in only the green leafy part of a romaine head, more water, and somehow ended up with something that is REALLY GOOD! I have the feeling that this has the potential to impact my entire diet. If I can do this daily, especially for breakfast and in the middle of the night since I am not fond of eating hard to digest nuts and stuff when I'm groggy from sleep, I might be able to finally get nutrients in me that I need! Coping with Celiac and having my intestines so destroyed means I don't absorb much of what I need, so I have to eat way more than normally necessary.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mediterranean Girls Night

Last night I was supposed to host "Girls Night" (I know, those of you that know me will be thinking... girls night? I'm not a girly-girly. I'm a trigendered transgender) I have been going to Girls Night for 5 months now. It was my turn to host last night but as it turns out, everyone had to cancel. My theme was Mediterranean.

Now, I've experimented quite a bit with Turkish Mediterranean. There is also an amazing little ethic north-Iraqi grocery not far from my apartment (right in the middle of a very affluent white neighborhood). But for some reason I have been anti-Greece. Probably because when everyone thinks Mediterranean they think Greece. Um.... there are over 10, probably 15 Mediterranean countries! That just gets my dander up.

I decided out of lack of funds and time, to make a Greek Salad and a rice dish. Oh my god it was Amazing!


Romaine Lettuce
Seasonal Baby lettuces and Arugulas (from Whole Foods)
Tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
Cucumber, sliced into thin waffers
Leftover crockpot chicken, marinated in Italian Dressing until absorbed.
Black Olives, canned & sliced
Red Bell Pepper, diced
Green Bell Pepper, diced
Red Onion, diced and microwaved for 10-25 sec
Ground flaxseeds (optional)
Sundried Tomatoes, sliced
Croutons, homemade from my collapsed Mashed Potato bread


Olive Oil, 6 parts
Red Wine vinegar, 2 parts
Lemon juice, 1 part
Oregano, to taste
Black pepper (preferably hand ground), to taste
Parsley, to taste- usually about twice as much as the oregano

Mix together salad in a large bowl except flaxseed, sundried tomatoes, and croutons so that if you don't eat it all, the salad doesn't get soggy and messy. Mix Dressing. Serve dressing, flaxseed, sundried tomatoes, and croutons separately to be mixed in with the salad by those at the table. For fun, put the tomatoes on a plate in the middle and surround by dried fruit such as apricots, plums, dates, or figs.

The rice dish was to die for too. I've never managed to use the bottle of sage in my spice cupboard except for making tea. This recipe used up the sage and chives I have been trying to get rid of! Its so good though, I might have to go out and get more sage and chives! I slightly modified the original recipe.

"Mediterranean Rice with toasted nuts and cranberries"

1 T olive oil
1 lg onion, finely chopped
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups vegetable broth, homemade
handful walnuts, chopped fine
handful dried cranberries
chives, to taste

Warm up a saucepan, then put oil in. When heated, add onions and turn heat down. Cook until translucent. Add rice, sage, coriander, cinnamon, and salt. Stir over medium until slightly browned.

Take the pan off the heat and add broth slowly to rice, much like you would a risotto. Return to burner, bring to a boil. Then put the lid on and wait 20 minutes (or run around trying not to burn croutons in the oven when you forget about them because you are doing dishes). Put chopped nuts in a hot frying pan and lower heat to medium-high. Keep an eye on them and give the pan a good shake often until they look toasted. When the rice is done (liquid is all absorbed and fluffy.... add a bit of water if stuck to bottom or cook longer if it is still a bit soggy) throw in toasted walnuts, the cranberries, and chives to taste. Try not to get too excited about it because if you ate your (normal! sized) bowl of salad, you will probably already be too full.

YAY Mediterranean food! I love mediterranean food because it is all about small little tasty dishes that you constantly nibble on and mix and match. Its easy, quick, flavorful, and incredibly nutritious.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yeast-Free bread

My new challenge this month is learning how to bake yeast-free (gluten free, dairy free, & soy free) bread. I've been trying to come up with some options. It is important to me that I master a few breads, because at the moment, I am having trouble feeding myself lunch otherwise.

- Skillet cornbread
- Corn tortillas & Gorditas
- Potato bread
- Potato pancakes
- Teff bread
- South Indian chickpea & rice flat breads
- Sourdough bread
- Muffins
- Crepes
- Quick Breads
- Something creative

I used to make cornbread in my (now ex) boyfriends skillet all the time. When he left, I couldn't find another 6" skillet. I still can't. So, unfortunately even though that is my best option, its not one at all.

I have made indian bread before, but mostly pre-gluten free days. My only experiment with chickpea & rice breads ended terribly. It is pan-fried and ended stuck to the pan & partialy burnt and undercooked. Most of my experiments with chickpea flour has not been pleasant (other than an odd cranberry-orange muffin I made with chickpea flour). I feel this is my second best option, even for lack of my experience with Indian culiary arts. I might be able to track down my good friend from South India for help..... hmmmm.

So far, every attempt (and there have been several) with masa harina has not been palatable. This is frustrating since I live on the Mexican boarder. I live in Uptown though, so ironically my mexican food options are not as authentic as downtown (only 10 min). The lady at the deli counter at whole foods today said she would look into getting the store to contract with someone to make giant corn tortillas for me! That would be sweet! I'm sure it can't be too hard to find someone to show me.

Teff (flat) bread is the most amazing spongy stuff ever. Unfortunately, commercial bread is mixed with wheat flour because teff (its grain from Ethiopia) is so expensive. I tried to make it once. Its kinda like making pancakes. Teff is very much like a glue if you cook it. I'm sure your imagination can go from there....

Muffins. OMG muffins. I LOVE muffins. Somehow.... its the IDEA of muffins that makes me love them. I have yet to find a gluten free muffin, homemade or commercial, that doesn't make me gag. Somehow cupcakes do the same thing to me.

Potato pancakes and latkes have started becoming pretty regular in my kitchen. I can make pancakes (they are actually more like patties) from leftover mashed potatoes or a box. Latkes are so far a box only creation. They don't keep well and get kinda soggy, so not very functional for lunches or leftovers.

Potato bread has been my current conquest. I found a mashed-potato bread recipe. General Mills (the most AMAZING! company ever) has been converting much of their inventory into gluten free and labeling everything when it is not. They just converted their Potato Buds into a dedicated gf facility. So, I can make quick mashed potatoes, combine it with gf flour (I mix my own and have a store bought mix) and a few other ingredients and throw it in the oven. My first attempt several months ago was amazing. My next attempt, last week collapsed on me into a solid uncooked brick. Right now, instead of putting it into a loaf pan (I think the baking soda is making it rise faster than I can work with and I am beating it down too much) I threw it onto my pizza stone. It is in the oven now.

I've worked with quick breads in the past from Carol Fensters 1000 Gluten Free Recipes. I consistently have a "not cooked in the middle" problem with all my loaf breads.

I'm sure crepes might work in some capacity. I've seen recipes floating around in my cookbooks from the Pre-mainstream Gluten Free time. Crepes were used for wraps.

Sourdough. I was given this as a suggestion by a reader on my main blog. Thanks Sharon! Will definitely try this out.

I plan on trying some creative options that I occasionally see online, too.

It is frustrating since I consider myself a good cook that I am so TERRIBLE at baking. I've been trying for two years. It seems they have been getting worse instead of better. I have been buying store bought gf bread for the past few months because I just didn't want to be disappointed again by another failure. But the only gf yeast free loaf of bread at Whole Foods that I saw today looked like a brick. No thank you. I think my homemade collapsed in the middle and therefore uncooked Frankenstein creation might be more palatable. .... at least I have incentive now to get over this baking hump.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What do I eat?

I have been trying to think about my diet in a more comprehensive way; not just a list of "can't haves"

I follow a strict gluten free diet
I am intolerant of soy, dairy & kidney beans
I eat a low sugar diet which means I also avoid tropical fruits
I choose to avoid yeast, MSG, high fructose corn syrup
I prefer organic & local
I enjoy vegetarian & vegan meals and raw meat/seafood
I think the paleo-diet is something to aspire to
I have trouble getting enough salt, essential vitamins & minerals, and protein in my diet

So, what do I eat?

I eat lots of vegetables and salad (not as much as I want to)
I eat bean sprouts (I want to learn how to grow a variety of kinds)

I eat corn, rice & potatoes as my main starch
I eat quinoa, teff, sorghum, chickpeas, & buckwheat as supplementary starches/grains (I want to also use tapioca, amaranth, millet, bean flour, & mung bean)

I eat citrus, berries, apples & pears, and small fruits like plums & nectarines
I eat dried berries & small fruits

I eat black beans, chickpeas, white beans, italian beans (I want to explore more kinds)
I eat nuts and seeds both whole and in butters, as well as flaxseed
I eat nut/rice milks, cheese, cream, ice cream, etc (only store bought. I want to learn homemade versions)
I eat pork, fish, beef, chicken, buffalo, ostrich (I want to eat lamb & goat more)

I use canola oil, olive oil, & palm oil (want to use coconut oil, peanut oil, & other "fancy" oils and learn how to make flavored oils)
I use ghee as butter (would like to learn a safe way to make this casein free, or find store bought margarine that is gluten free, dairy/casein free/soy free)
I use fermented foods such as vinegars, kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, mustard, tamari (soy sauce) (I want to explore other kinds!)

So... all in all, I have a very natural diet. My biggest challenge is making bread and other flour based items (without yeast and gluten), making dairy products (without dairy and soy), safely making fermented items and raw meat/seafood dishes, eating MORE processed food (it seems to be the only way to get enough sodium), eating enough vegetables to get minerals and vitamins, and enough protein.

There is definitely easy room for more raw and paleo foods/diet options. I have noticed that the raw diet has "mastered" alternative dairy.... in my opinion it is WAY better than real dairy. Everything from cheesecake, to cheese, to milks. They also have a whole set of tasty "breads" and crackers. Learning how to make smoothies would help increase my vitamin & mineral intake.

Another inspiration of mine is international cuisines. You can find all sorts of things such as bread made from chickpeas or potatoes, noodles made from rice or sweet potatoes or mun beens, or breakfast patties and elegant dinner ideas from cornmeal. These are all dishes that are normal and don't need changed in order to fit my diet.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spread the word about unsafe food - CALPIRG

CalPIRG is one of my favorite non-profits. I worked for them for almost 2 years. They are starting a new division on food safety. Please sign this petition! It goes along well with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Thanks! :-)

Spread the word about unsafe food - CALPIRG

Monday, April 26, 2010

15 Celiac Facts

Ok.... so it's been a long time since I've posted! I think I am going to revive this blog sooner rather than later. Expect some changes as I reorganize the content direction of this blog and my main one. in the mean time....

The Top 15 Celiac Disease Facts

    1. 1 in 700 - The average prevalence of celiac disease in the United States 1950. (Mayo)

    2. 1 in 100 – The average worldwide prevalence of celiac disease across all races today. (NIH) The average prevalence of celiac disease in the United States today. (Mayo)

    3. $8,500 - The average annual estimated healthcare cost of each person with untreated celiac disease in the United States. (Cigna/Columbia Celiac Disease Center study)

    4. 40+ - The number of countries with celiac disease support groups.

    5. $1.56 billion – The gluten-free food industry sales in 2008. (Foodwatcher)

    6. 3-12.3% – The prevalence of celiac disease among adults with Type 1 Diabetes.

    7. 24% - The prevalence of asthma among children with celiac disease.

    8. 200 to 300% – The increased chance of developing cancer in people with untreated celiac disease.

    9. 800 to 900% - The increased likelihood of miscarriage for a woman with untreated celiac disease.

    10. 300+ - The number of signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications that can directly or indirectly stem from celiac disease. (Recognizing Celiac Disease)

    11. Celiac Disease is the most commonly misdiagnosed genetic auto-immune disease in the world.

    12. Any Age – Celiac disease is not a childhood disease as previously thought. Symptoms can present at any age following the introduction of dietary gluten.

    13. No Cure - The only treatment for celiac disease is the gluten-free diet (No Wheat, Barley, Rye or Oats). Once gluten is removed, healing and recovery occurs. You cannot grow out of celiac disease.

    14. All or Nothing - Celiac disease is a pass/fail prognosis. One either has it or they do not. That said, test results can change. A person can test negative one one day and positive weeks, months or years later. Once positive, the diagnosis is lifelong.

    15. Treating Celiac Disease Requires Treating Nutrient Deficiencies – Treating celiac disease requires removing gluten from the diet as well as identifying and correcting nutrient deficiencies. Self-management in the identification of symptoms due to nutrient deficiencies is crucial to long-term health as nutrient deficiencies can persist or arise in the future.