Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

Review: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Supergrain Pasta — Veggie Curls

Yet another GF pasta that is supposed to revolutionize our lives.

 I made GF skillet lasagna with these noodles tonight, and I must say… not horrible.  I was terrified when I took the lid off of the pot and the stench of boiled corn chips wafted up at me… but after that inital shock, it’s been all smooth sailing.  Unlike rice pastas, these guys are very fast cooking.  The box warns not to overcook, but as firm as they are now, I am not sure what would happen… maybe they set off nuclear detonations.

I must say that I approve, especially when you consider the price.  For roughly half the cost of rice pasta, you get a box of quinoa.  Hoorah!!

 Here’s what we had for dinner tonight:

 Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1.5 c water
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tblsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper (to taste)
1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta (Veggie Curls)
3/4 c small curd cottage cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

1.  In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2.  Add the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, parsley, oregano and salt; mix well.
3.  Stir in pasta; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes (check pasta regularly!!)
4.  Add cheese when pasta is just almost done, but still a little bit hard.
5.  Cover and cook 5 minutes, immediately remove from heat, stir and serve.

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Reflections on a GF life…

I woke up this morning dreaming about Steakburgers.  Soft, warm, toasty buns, meat that’s probably chock full of fillers… absolutely divine.  Maybe a nice strawberry malt on the side…

Of course, this isn’t the first frustration I’ve had in my life as a Celiac.  At restaurants, my friends eagerly chomp down on whatever is today’s special while I’m still asking questions about what’s in the food of a waiter whose eyes have long since glazed over.  The obligatory 25% tips… fear of Chinese food… my chronic obsession with which restaurants are using what kinds of fillers… it’s tough for us, and the rest of the world doesn’t really realize it.

For some people, eating is something they do just to stay alive.  For others, like me and probably you, too, it’s about FLAVOR and TEXTURE and new combinations never tried before.  It’s a culinary adventure!!  We, however, are more like culinary couch potatoes, confined to specific food families when eating out, mixing things that were never intended to be mixed when staying in.  I just thank my lucky stars that unlike a lot of Celiacs, gluten appears to be my ONLY issue.

Oh, how I love a muffin!  How I swoon for cheesecake and bagettes and biscotti!  Al dente for my pasta and another dunk from the soy pot for my stir-fry.  Oh, the days and nights I miss it… the greasy, sleezy dreams of Big Macs.

I have figured out a pretty sure-fire way of determining what foods I used to regularly eat that contain gluten.  If I crave it, deep down to my bones, it has got to be chock-full.  At first, I thought it was just a coincidence.  Being the anal retentive I am, I decided to do a statistical study of this theory.  I’d have a food craving, record it, research it and look for offending ingredients.  95% of the time, I was craving that thing that used to eat my insides.  It’s like crack (on a bun)!

How do we detox 100% from gluten?  How do we leave those gluten-filled lives of happiness and delicious wonder behind?  I’m trying to smother my cravings with corn, quinoa, rice and nut flour.  It’s just not the same.  Grandma’s Snickerdoodles just taste funny when I make them with rice flour.  They neither snicker nor doodle.  More cinnamon, more cream of tartar?  Maybe.  Only time and experimentation will say.

I might get married this year, if I can bring myself to make my own GF wedding cake.  GF appetizers, GF place settings, GF wedding decorations, GF envelopes, GF invitations… is this the center of my life now?

We went out for Thai food yesterday to a place where I hadn’t been since I was diagnosed.  My favorite, absolute favorite there was the pineapple fried rice.  I knew that was a no go.  I asked the waitress what was GF, frustrated because I knew the likely answers.  I ended up getting a greens salad with a sticky, sweet and spicy dressing made by the owner herself.  My mate later commented that he had no idea there was so much gluten in Thai food.  I held back the urge to remind him that there’s so much gluten in anything that’s served in public.

Of the restaurants we frequent, the only one that doesn’t make me feel like I’m in an internment camp is the Indian place.  They have a buffet going on and it’s always a really generous spread.  There are never fewer than 4 dishes that I both love and are GF.  Of course, places like our local Shoney’s are kind enough to try to accomidate me, but I always feel so bad for the waitress.  I have been there and if the cooks are having a bad day, special orders hurt all the way down.

As if that weren’t bad enough, I am in the middle of finishing my BS in history (I returned to school after I became too ill to work anymore) and wanted to also study archaeology.  However, due to the length of time spent on digs and the limitations to what can and cannot be accomidated, that dream is out.  Gone, gone, out the door all because of gluten.

Damn you, Gluten!  DAMN YOU!  Damn you cookies and cakes and bread and bologna and anything else that makes life easier to deal with.  Damn you wine coolers and restaurant margaritas and beers!  Damn you Hamburger Helper and pre-seasoned chicken and hams and microwave dinners!  Damn you all!  Damn you food manufacturers who don’t properly label your food!  DAMN YOU POTATO CHIP MAKERS WHO USE WHEAT FLOUR!  Damn you for making me feel like a weirdo, like an outcast.  Damn you for making my friends embarrassed to eat in public with me.

But, we have a leg up on our fellow Americans, too.  If you think about it, we generally eat a healthier diet (GF products are expensive and aren’t for every meal), we probably have a higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, beans and other grains like rice and quinoa.  While we were malnourished, we are now better nourished than our American counterparts.  We can’t just run through McDonald’s or Wendy’s for a greasy burger… we have to plan our food out carefully and eat salads and delight in the many fantastic fruits that many Americans have never even heard of!

By the Gods, we have Boomi Bars and toasted coconut and macadamia nuts and corn flour and all sorts of beans and potatoes and onions.  We are blessed with abundance (even when we’re wearing our restaurant blinders) and good, healthy food.  We cannot, like other Americans, make owning stuff a higher priority than eating good, healthy food.  We have the unique opportunity to treat our bodies and our spouses and our children with good nutrition at home.  We are not McDonald’s Mothers.  Our children know what celery is and they love it!

Review: Food for Life Rice Pecan Bread

Let me say, first off, that this is not bread in the sense that you people new to being gluten-free will recognize.  It is dense, it is tough and it is loaded with calories!  But, for being a gluten-free bread, it is the best I have yet to put in my face.  Be sure you freeze this bread, because it just doesn’t last, even in the refrigerator.

This rice pecan bread had a nutty flavor, sweetened with fruit juice.  It is excellent toasted (set your toaster on dark!), or used for sandwiches.  Unlike old-fashioned wheat bread, though, each slice has 210 calories… no light lunch.  Like all GF breads, it has problems with being crumbly and will fall apart if stressed.  However, unlike many GF breads, it is tolerable for the newly GF because it has a more ‘bready’ flavor than most products.  It’s not bread in sense that we have been used to, but it is a good substitute.

Good for sandwiches, with soups, for bread crumbs, toast and with jelly.  Ummm… jelly.

Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats

Bob has made us oatmeal.  Goddess bless you, Bob. 😉  Bob’s oatmeal comes in a 2 lb bag (11 cups dry) and is, in most ways, regular oatmeal.  Gluten free oatmeal, as you may know, is specially processed so as not to mix with nasty wheat bits that are a huge risk with regular oatmeal.  So, it’s really just oatmeal.  HURRAH! 😉

 Tonight, I made granola bars and oatmeal out of it, both are delish!!

Granola Bars:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup raspberry M&Ms (optional)
pinch of salt
1 tblsp melted butter (cooled to room temp)
1 egg, brought to room temperature and beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 F
2.  Combine oats, raspberries, chocolate, M&Ms and salt in a large bowl.
3.  Combine butter and brown sugar until sugar dissolves.  Add egg, honey and vanilla and mix until smooth.
4.  Stir wet in to dry until the dry ingredients are evenly glazed.
5.  Press mixture firmly into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
6.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm.
7.  Cool before cutting.

 Delish!!  And food on the go-go, how often do we have that for less than $3/bar? 😉

Blown Away!!

Last night, tornadoes ripped through my city for hours.  I had never seen anything like it.  Apparently, some had winds in excess of 100 mph.  I haven’t gotten out yet to see how much of the outside of my house is missing, frankly, I’m a little afraid to find out.  We had baseball sized hail, so much rain that the stormwater run-off backed up in to my yard, backed up below my 3/4 ton pickup about 3 inches short of the door.  We’re talking MASSIVE water.  And it just kept coming in waves… the street looked like a tiny Colorado River.

Several people were blown away… we’re very lucky.

I love Tacos.

When I say it, I mean… I LOVE tacos.  Bean, cheese, chicken, beef, pork, fish… whatever you’ve got.  A warm corn tortilla with a little meat and veggies and you’ve got my vote.  There is nothing finer than a taco, nothing more simple or delicious.

I love tacos.