Posts Tagged ‘gluten free’

This week I am just hurriedly posting my plan…my brain hasn’t been in meal planning mode, nor much of  a cooking mood. Not sure why. But we still have to eat and I still have to get groceries tomorrow night. So here it is, nothing too extravagant:

Veggie Burgers with Wild Rice Tabouli

Roasted Tofu with Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Asian Vinaigrette

Roasted Fennel, Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Potato and Green Bean Sambar with Brown Rice – from one of our tried and true cookbooks, one of the oldest in our ‘collection’, Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad.

Five Spice Chicken (Tofu) Noodle Salad

Pierogies with Salad

Be sure to jump over to Celiacs in the House to check out some other menu plans. The theme this week is cauliflower and I think I might have to add that roasted cauliflower with curry to a future plan – it looks delicious!

And in more exciting news, I am finally buying a Kitchenaid stand mixer since the hand mixer I have had since college, and my celiac diagnosis, has finally died after 16 happy years together. Hubby keeps asking for tamales, and I think last year when we made tamales, that it was the beginning of the end for my mixer. So there may be tamales in our (very near) future!

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This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is Valentine Treats, and our hostess is Angela at Angela’s Kitchen. What kind of treats do you like for Valentine’s Day? Me, I love chocolate anything. But I also can say that I pretty much love anything sweet…

This weekend I made two sweet treats, sugar cookies from a mix (1-2-3 Gluten Free) that was in the cabinet and some mini Strawberry Cheesecakes. The cheesecakes aren’t really blog-worthy as they aren’t especially pretty, despite tasting great! But maybe if I can get a decent picture of them later this week, I will add them.

I have been trying to focus on what’s in the pantry and freezer (don’t I say this almost every week?) and use up some items that are just hanging around in there. This week, I want to use some of the frozen paneer. I also have a partial bag of potatoes that need to be eaten before they grow legs and some fresh broccoli.

Simla Mirch Paneer (Cashew Cheese with a Bell Pepper Sauce) with steamed broccoli and rice – paneer recipe from 660 Curries.

Rosemary Potato Soup – cooked up in the pressure cooker, with some grilled cheese on the side, maybe?

Roasted Tofu with Brussels Sprout and Apple Hash – probably will use Book of Yum’s marinade for the tofu.

Yellow Curry with Chickpeas and Rice

Pierogies and Salad

What sweet treats are you giving or hoping to receive this week?

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This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Wendy at Celiacs in the House. Her chosen theme is root vegetables. I just happened to have bought my first parsnips ever this week. I was thinking of just roasting them but what is your favorite way to eat parsnips? Let me know below.

Also on the menu:

Yummy (Grilled) Tofu with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, Onions and Carrots – We’re trying parsnips for the first time. The marinade for the tofu is our all-time-favorite marinade, thanks to Sea at Book of Yum. This time I will probably just make the marinade and place the tofu slabs in a foil lined pan, drizzle with the marinade and then put in the oven to roast with the vegetables. Yum.

Creamy Pumpkin Seed and Green Chile Posole with corn tortillas – a delicious sounding recipe in the latest issue of Sunset magazine.

White Bean and Greens Stew and Grilled CheeseI have been craving grilled cheese!

Roasted Rosemary Potato Soup – I need to use up some potatoes in the pantry.

Pasta with Artichokes, Fresh Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Balsamic – this is a make-it-up-as-you-go, throw-it-together dish. Might toss in some pine nuts too.

Pierogies and Salad

Be sure to hop over to Celiacs in the House and see what everyone else has up their sleeve this week.

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You may have noticed that I have been on a Kahlua kick lately, what with the Mocha Kahlua ice cream and now these. What can I say? I love the flavor of Kahlua, even though I don’t like coffee. But I’ve always loved coffee-flavored treats.

The initial inspiration for all of this Kahlua-ness was the two lovely women that hold down the fort (the front desk) and keep us all in line at my office. Apparently they often make Kahlua Chocolate cake for the administrative staff birthdays. One day we were talking and they were ooing and ahhing over this cake and so I asked for the recipe. Of course it was a standard gluten-full recipe but I knew that it wouldn’t be hard to convert. And typically they make it as a bundt cake. But I require portion control with something so decadent in my house, and so I made cupcakes!

And of course once I made the cupcakes, I had to take the ladies a plate to taste-test for me, to make sure that they stood up to the gluten-full version. They were declared a success! But I mean, really, how could you go wrong with all that chocolate, anyway?

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

I can’t find the exact gluten-full recipe to link to, although if you search for Kahlua Chocolate cake, you will find many variations. Here’s my gluten free version.

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup sour cream

1-15oz pkg of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

3 oz instant chocolate pudding mix (part of one small box)

3/4 cup Kahlua

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, oil and sour cream. Stir in cake mix, pudding mix and Kahlua. Beat on low for one minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 18-23 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes approximately 18 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the liners. Frost with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting, below.

Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

3 Tbsp butter, softened

2.5 oz cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp Kahlua

8 oz powdered sugar

With a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Mix in Kahlua. In small amounts, begin mixing in powdered sugar. Continue adding and mixing in powdered sugar until frosting is consistency that you desire. If it gets too thick, add a bit of milk or more Kahlua to thin it out.

Frosts approximately 18 cupcakes, depending on how much frosting you use per cake. If you want to get all fancy and use a frosting applicator and fancy tips, you might want to double this recipe.

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I have written and rewritten this post a few times now.

One would think that it shouldn’t be so hard. So many people out there in the blogosphere already share so many intimate details of their life. Me, not as much. At least not here.

If you know me in real life, you probably wouldn’t say that though. I’m pretty open – a sharer. Yes, I can talk too much sometimes. And so yes, this post is long and wordy. Skip it if you’re not interested.

The past year has been a bit of a struggle for me. And indeed, as of last week, it has officially been an entire year since we got the news.

And then I realized that January is Thyroid Awareness Month.

So, I figured it was time to put this out there and talk about it.

Last January, I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. Another autoimmune disease, in addition to the celiac disease. I’ve had a hard time accepting it. And I’ve spent a good part of this past year trying to figure out what it means.

In the early years after my celiac diagnosis, we always heard, and as a support group leader, I often repeated, that we must take our gluten free diet seriously, lest we end up with another autoimmune disease due to continual agitation of our immune systems by digesting gluten. “If in doubt, go without.” Right? So imagine my surprise when after fifteen years of being on the gluten free diet, and feeling like my celiac disease and gluten free diet was under control, I am told I have another autoimmune disease.

Needless to say, I took it pretty hard.

But at the same time it was nice to know what was wrong with me. That I wasn’t crazy and overly anxious. That I didn’t have a progressive neurological disease. That gluten wasn’t sneaking into my diet.

You see, I went in to see my primary care doctor in October of 2010 with severe hand tremors and digestive issues, mainly gas and bloating. I also went to the dermatologist with severely dry, itchy skin and a horrible rash on my shins, that same month.

I had also been trying for months to figure out what was sneaking into my diet. Every day after about 3pm, my digestive system was in an uproar. Like clockwork. I put myself through a modified diet, eliminating things that I thought could be bothering my tummy and causing the late-day gassiness. When I told my primary care doctor, she said that I should just take some Gas-X, that happens when you eat a lot of vegetables. Uh, sure.

And when I showed her my hand tremors, within five minutes she diagnosed me with Essential Tremor (ET), a progressive neurological disease that is usually familial in nature.

My primary care doctor prescribed some low-dose propranolol, a beta blocker, to help calm the tremors. Desperately wanting some relief, I started taking the medication. The medication helped, but it also caused my calves to swell up and I had a scary instance of blurred vision, which I had never experienced before. When I called to tell her, the doctor said that the propranolol shouldn’t have those side effects and told me to take a break from it for a week and try again, since it was helping my tremors. But the swelling in my legs still wouldn’t go down despite going off the medication, but yet I didn’t know what else to do.

Now, I’ll admit, the ET diagnosis felt like it fit, at first. But at my follow-up appointment with her a month later, I again mentioned my tummy troubles and again she told me again to just take some Gas-X. I reminded her of my celiac disease and that I felt like I was pretty strict on my gluten free diet. And then she asked me if I had ever *really* been tested for celiac!

Now, I’d only seen her maybe three or four times in three years or so, so it wasn’t like she has been seeing me for a long time, but… We had talked about celiac at all of my previous visits and how long I had been dealing with it and such. Every year I would bring in info from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center for her to read and to make sure I got the proper follow-up testing. (Apparently that hadn’t made an impression.) Well, to say the least, I got a little upset with her. I told her exactly when I was diagnosed, that it was with a very conclusive biopsy, and that I would be happy to bring in the paperwork to prove it to her. At that point she told me that the only thing she knew to do was to send me to a gastroenterologist.

I also requested to see a neurologist at this point since the propranolol wasn’t working for me and the tremors were affecting my daily life and ability to do my job. She agreed and suggested I see one within their practice. Unfortunately this neuro was on maternity leave until January 1, 2011.

So in the meantime, I got in to see the gastroenterologist, but I had him stumped. He sent me off with a big long list of tests to have done at the lab and scheduled me for an endoscopy in late-January. (It was now just before Christmas.)

When we returned from the Christmas holiday, I got in to see the neurologist and she did a thorough exam. She was aware of the possibility of neurological issues related to celiac disease and tested me for those (ataxia, peripheral neuropathy). She wouldn’t say as much, but I got the feeling at the appointment that she wasn’t convinced that it was ET. So she sent me away with a lap test slip for liver function, blood glucose and thyroid function. A week or so later I was able to take time off work to go in for the multiple hours of testing, both the gastro-ordered tests and the neuro-ordered tests.

Two days later, we had a preliminary answer. Super low thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), undetectable at less than .007.

Thank you to the neurologist for ordering the thyroid test!

And I loved it when my primary care doctor called to say that “we should really thank Dr. Neurologist for figuring it out”, I wanted to scream, “Yes, Dr Primary Care, YOU should thank her, since she figured it out.” Rawr!

So, you’re probably wondering, what the heck is Graves’ disease already?

Graves’ disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism – a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck below the larynx, or voice box. The thyroid gland makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones affect metabolism, brain development, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, skin dryness, menstrual cycles, weight, cholesterol levels, and emotional & cognitive functions.

Thyroid hormone production is regulated by another hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is made by the pituitary gland located in the brain.

In Graves’ disease, the immune system makes antibodies called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that attach to thyroid cells. TSI mimics the action of TSH and stimulates the thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone. Sometimes the antibodies can instead block thyroid hormone production, leading to a confusing clinical picture.

And so now you’re probably asking – what are the symptoms? As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I had many of the symptoms, but many of them I had written off as something else.

  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) –  yes, I had been waking up multiple times in the night, unable to go back to sleep for a while. Totally unlike me.
  • Fatigue – not especially.
  • Frequent bowel movement – perhaps diarrhea –  yes, and the gassiness every day after about 3pm.
  • Heart palpitations – yes, a couple of instances of it, but at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.
  • Heat intolerance – yes, I had been joking that my internal thermostat was broken when I exerted myself, or even just blow-drying my hair in the warm bathroom in the mornings.
  • Increased sweating – I’ve always been sweaty…
  • Irritability – ha! never! (kidding…) But now that I am not so irritable, I can tell that I was. Ask my husband!
  • Mental disturbances – uh, what kind?
  • Muscle weakness – yes, it had gotten to the point where I was having difficulty making it up an entire flight of stairs. My legs were extremely wobbly.
  • Nervousness – always!
  • Problems with fertility – not an issue as far as we know.
  • Shortness of breath – yes, but I was blaming it on our elevation, even after living three years at high altitude.
  • Sudden paralysis – no.
  • Tremor/shakiness – yes, and they had gotten really bad, to the point where I dropped some things and I was getting nervous when using sharp knives while chopping vegetables.
  • Vision changes – no.
  • Weight loss – but perhaps weight gain – in hindsight, I didn’t start dropping weight until right before my diagnosis, about 6 pounds in two months, despite that I can now recognize that I was eating a LOT of food during this time and I wasn’t gaining weight like I typically would have.
  • Dizziness – no
  • Thinning of hair – not that I could tell.
  • Itching and hives – the air here in the SW is very dry, but I had gotten excessively itchy and dry on parts of my body that weren’t usually dry. As well, I was excessively itchy in a line from my thyroid, down to my belly button. A bit odd.
  • Possible increase in blood sugar – maybe.
  • Prominent “stare” of the eyes – no.
  • Protrusion of the eyes, with or without double vision – luckily, no.
  • Accelerated loss of calcium from bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures – not as far as we knew at the time of diagnosis.

So, at the end of January a year ago, I began treatment for the disease. I will follow-up with a second post about treatment and coping in the next week or so.

For now, I want you all to “Check Your Neck!”  in honor of Thyroid Awareness Month. (I did have a slightly enlarged thyroid gland that was visible after it was pointed out to me.) And if you have celiac disease, or another autoimmune disease, be sure to get your TSH tested at least once a year. Just because we have celiac disease, we are all at a higher risk for another autoimmune disease. Be your own advocate for your health. Continue to *politely* educate your doctors, even if they don’t appear to be listening.

And always get copies of your lab results! Looking back, my TSH test from a year previous was .002 away from being too low, out of the normal range. So the disease process had already begun, way back in January 2010.

I apologize for the length of this post…but I had to get it all out there. Thanks to those of you who are still reading, for sticking with me. We’ll get back to recipes soon.

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Originally I came up with this recipe for New Year’s Day but I think it would be a great anytime appetizer. And well, there is a big appetizer “holiday” coming up, you know. It’s called the Super Bowl! And it’s only two weeks away.

We don’t “celebrate” the Super Bowl but I think this would be a great addition to anyone’s lineup this year. And of course this makes a great New Year’s Day “good luck” dish too, since it contains black-eyed peas. (Which is how this recipe originally came about, I was looking for a new way to eat our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas.) I think pinto beans would also be great and even more “New Mexican”!

New Mexican Bean Dip

Inspired by Pioneer Woman

1 – 14 oz can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed *

1 small onion, diced

1/4 cup roasted and diced green chile

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

chopped tomato and cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beans in a mixing bowl and mash lightly with a fork. Stir in the onion and green chile. Add sour cream, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and cheese. Mix well. Spread into 8″ square baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to brown on top. Top with chopped tomato and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.


* Any kind of beans would work; pinto beans would be especially New Mexican!

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Just a quick post with our menu for the week:

Veggie Burgers with Kale Salad Wraps – kale recipe from Lexie’s Kitchen

Chickpeas Romesco with Massaged Kale Salad – I *heart* chickpeas!

Makhani Dal with rice and steamed broccoli – dal recipe from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer

Quinoa Vegetable Soup – recipe from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

Make-Your-Own Pizza – I think I might make a socca crust again…

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Need some inspiration? Check out the other plans over at Celiac Family for this week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap. The theme this week is smoothies but I don’t do smoothies, green or not. But no worries, you’ll find more than smoothies over there…

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Have you been introduced to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams? No? Well, me either. At least not in person. But I do have her cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. And I love it!

And surely, one of these days I will get back to Columbus, Ohio, where I spent four years of my life, and actually check out some ice cream first hand. Until then, at least I have her cookbook.

I love that her base recipe does not require you to make a custard by tempering eggs – something I am apparently not very good at – I always end up with a bit of scrambled egg in mine. And I love that her flavor combinations are so unique. So far I have made the Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt, Pineapple Piment D’Espelette Sorbet, Sweet Corn and Raspberry Ice Cream, Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries and Salty Caramel Ice Cream. All have been wonderful! The creamy texture. The richness. Truly, you only need a little bit of this decadent ice cream.

Lately though, I have been enamored with Kahlua and so I decided to make a Kahlua flavored ice cream. I used her Cognac Ice Cream recipe as the base recipe and simply replaced the cognac with 1/4 cup of Mocha Kahlua and used 1/2 cup sugar. (I am not going to print her base recipe here. You can find it in many, many places out on the web.)

The verdict – wonderful, of course! Especially with a bit of chopped chocolate on top = Mocha Kahlua Chip!

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I hope you are doing well with your new goals and haven’t fallen off the band wagon yet. If you are trying to eat a healthier diet or just eat more vegetables this year, there are plenty of resources out there. Of course there are lots of gluten free blogs out there. And lots of vegetarian blogs too.

But there are a ton of other resources, most of which aren’t specifically gluten free or vegetarian but still provide me with lots of inspiration. One of the recipes below is from Cooking Light magazine, one from Vegetarian Times magazine, another from Sunset magazine and the other from Food and Wine magazine.

I also make recipes from a lot of blogs. Most of which are not specifically gluten free. Some of my recent favorites are The Taste Space, Dana Treat, Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and Kalyn’s Kitchen. Recipes abound out on the interwebs, so don’t be afraid to look around, especially at all of the non-gluten free blogs. It’s so easy to modify most recipes to be gluten free. So if you need some inspiration, be sure to check out some of my favorite blogs over on the right as I have just updated my links.

Capitalizing on last week’s “Eat More Produce” theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap, Heather at Celiac Family chose broccoli as this week’s theme. We love broccoli here at our house. We love it steamed, stir-fried, roasted – it doesn’t matter – we eat it and love it. This week we’ll be having it roasted alongside some dal.

And I’ll probably be eating it lightly steamed for lunch at work this week too. It’s so easy to just put some in a glass storage bowl and take to work. Take the lid off, drizzle in a little water before popping it into the microwave for a minute or two, and then I like to sprinkle it with a bit of salt. I don’t need any butter or other sauce. Mmmm…broccoli. What is your favorite way to eat your broccoli?

This week’s plan:

Buttery Pigeon Pea Dal with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice – we didn’t get to this last week.

Tempeh and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce with Brown Rice

Italian Chickpea Soup with a Massaged Kale Salad

Spiced Lemon Quinoa

What are your favorite sources of inspiration? Your new favorite blog, magazine? Let me know – I can always use more!

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Here is a tasty meal to help you with eating more vegetables in the New Year! First up, spinach!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

inspired by others, long ago…(not sure where or who)

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

1-1/2 Tbsp ginger, grated

1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (more or less)

1-1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

6 cups fresh spinach, torn if large

1/4 – 1/2 cup water, (depending on how juicy your tomatoes are)

1/2 tsp salt

plain yogurt

rice, if desired

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until soft. Stir in the ginger and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the curry paste and sugar until the onions are coated with the paste and there are few lumps, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and let it simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the spinach and water and cook until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, taste and add more if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, over brown rice.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Click on over and check out the other recipes!

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