Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The toss about

When I have no clue what to make, I always opt for a toss about.  A toss about is just that - a mix of items I have laying around all tossed together to make a dish.  This meal had chopped eggplant, onions, bell peppers, green olives, tempeh, mushrooms, roasted diced tomatoes and quinoa spiral pasta.

If I ever am blessed with a gas stove my first purchase will be a wok.  You know where I am going with this....stir fry!  The ultimate toss about.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Burger Time!

I received a text from Chris at work today about how much he loved his lunch!  It was leftovers from last night.  He also mentioned how he would love some more spinach. 

So I happily obliged.
Chris also wanted to try out those bagels, so I thought it would be a great night to make some burgers.  Here we have adzuki bean burgers on those yummy Udi's bagels.  Fully loaded with mixed greens, tomatoes and onions.  Now that I type this...I can't believe I forgot to put dill pickles on them!

I made a bigger batch of wilted spinach with garlic (so we would have more for work tomorrow) and also a toss about of corn, hominy, red bell peppers and onions.

It was really good!  Those burgers I have been getting are rockin!  They are Hilary's brand "Spicy Green Chili Adzuki Bean Burgers" packaged two to a pack.
These are great in a pinch and all you really have to do to cook them is pop them in the toaster!  I can surely make them myself right?  Next time, I think I'll give it a try.  Here are some recipes I may be choosing from:

Adzuki Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers
Curried Quinoa and Aduki Bean Patties
Brown Rice & Adzuki Bean Patties

The first one really sounds good doesn't it?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Instant Gratification

Gluten free now means I have to also find out what products are out there to appease my instant gratification needs or alternatives for baking. Thanks to Bob's Red Mill products, there are many options for flours, cake mixes, grains, seeds, etc to choose from.

For those instant gratification needs for items like bread, pretzels, frozen waffles or other snacks, I'll need to try some new products out.   I make sure to ingest plenty of plant life, but on occasion just want a handful of salty pretzels, some tortilla chips and salsa or crispy rice crackers with hummus.  I understand that grabbing a "product" also means there may be ingredients that I have to pay attention to.

I did find a good frozen bagel! 
I found these in the freezer section with a whole assortment of other Udi's gluten free products.  They were not the same consistency of traditional bagels but where quite delicious in their own way.  Kind of like, bagel meets cornbread. 

I smeared a little Tofutti - Better Than Cream Cheese on top.
I was surprised how closely the Tofutti cream cheese tasted like cream cheese.  It was a great little tasting.

I do have two issues.  One more severe than the other.  The bagels have egg whites in them.  I can live with that.  The cream cheese; however, had the second ingredient listed as hydrogenated soybean oil.  That's more of an issue.  It's dairy free, gluten free and cholesterol free but hydrogenated oils are bad news for the old ticker.

My thought process behind enjoying these two "treats" are that I'll only consume in moderation (while savoring every second) and just hope that the fact that I abstain from animal fats 99.9% of the time will make up for the 1% I do consume those not so healthy ingredients.

I can't win them all and frankly it can be overwhelming to try.  I have to pick my battles with food just as I do with my kids or other elements to life.  The bagels and cream "cheese" tasted damn good and I'll eat them again.  And that's my story and I'm sticking to it!  :)

Some the same, some better

Day nine being gluten free and have finally taken my last antibiotic pill so I should hope to get a better read on how I feel once they have completely cycled out of my system.

I can't tell entirely if the cessation of any symptoms are due to lack of gluten or the medicine.  Time will tell and that's what I am looking forward to discover.  So far for the better I have been able to wake up in the morning without hacking up goobers and my nose hasn't been runny either.  I have been feeling a bit lighter and feel a bit more alert.

As far as something seeming the same; well, I again began experiencing the sore to the touch upper abdominal pain.  Not free standing pain, but when pressed or if I turn a certain way, it feels sore or bruised.  Not sure what the hell that is.  Gas?  Pancreas? Meds? 

According to the MRI I received in February, the pancreas, stomach, liver and such all looked normal and the endoscopy the year before stated the same.  So...what's the deal?

I guess that's why I'm taking this route.  I'm sure it takes more than just nine days to clean up 40 years of gluten intake and especially my most recent gluten bonanza diet that I was enjoying.

Here is dinner for day nine. 
  • Wilted spinach with garlic.
  • White beans sauteed with roasted red peppers, garlic, herbs and white wine
  • Roasted potatoes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The sixth day

It's day six!  I was super lazy with this one.  No, wait.  Not lazy, pressed for time.  Alright, a little bit of both.
This was simply a jar of Barilla roasted garlic red sauce (gluten free!), a bag of mixed frozen veg, a can of cannelinni beans, handful of green olives, handful of frozen petite peas, a chopped onion, some sliced mushrooms and boiled quinoa spaghetti pasta.

I cooked the onion and mushrooms until translucent, added everything but the peas and let simmer while boiling the quinoa in another pot, just as you would regular pasta.  Threw the peas in at the end and served!

I have admit.  The only way to have enough quinoa spaghetti pasta for four dishes is to use two boxes.  It's a little more expensive than regular pasta but still way cheaper than going out! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 5

Threw together another salad.  This time it was mixed greens, broccoli slaw, onions, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, petite peas, brown rice, black olives and topped with a adzuki bean burger (cubed after cooking).  The dressing was a tamari ginger dressing that had a nice umami taste.  The handful of rice crackers I had with this complimented the Asian tone.  Didn't have enough of those!

Wanted more of that adzuki burger too!  It reminded me of a falafel, was thinking of next time making some vegan tzatziki sauce the next time I purchase those.  I will be buying those again. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gluten Free Day 4

Wilted collards tossed with mushrooms, roasted potatoes, spiced corn with chick peas, peppers and onions.

I love, love collards.  They are one of my favorite greens.  They are very easy to prepare and allow you to flavor them in many ways.  The potatoes were easy and I made sure to squirt some ketchup on my plate for dipping. 

The corn dish was very flavorful.  I chopped an onion and red bell pepper and cooked them with chopped rosemary, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin until the onion was translucent then added a can of corn, and a small can of chick peas and let that simmer about 15 minutes.

I'm still taking my meds and I can tell they are working.  I have been waking up with my ears popping and adjusting as the pressure must be changing and hopefully getting relief.  So far I have noticed that I feel lighter somehow and so far, my upper and lower abdomen are not feeling tender to the touch or sore with movement.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day Three

Gluten free day three was easy.  Tossed together some chopped kale, broccoli slaw, cherry tomatoes, olives, red bell peppers, kidney beans, onions and brown rice.  Tossed with some gluten free Goddess dressing and a handful of rice crackers.  Yummo.

I'll have to find a way to take some better pictures....

I'll have to keep a close eye on things not plucked direct from the Earth.  Gluten is often used in sauces, salad dressings, as binders and fillers in foods.  It's not just about bread and pasta.   More of a reason to try and stay away from too many prepackaged foods and to specifically look for "gluten free" if I do choose to select from them.

I have been starting my research and I have to say I am so excited to learn more.  I'm convinced I am going to feel better in the upcoming weeks.  I can't wait to find out.

I wonder what day four will bring!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gluten Free

Within the last couple of years so much has changed.  I don't want to use the term "gave up" because that would make it seem like I am suffering in some way.  I no longer eat processed or fast food, dairy or meat.  I hate to put a label on myself, but I suppose I am sort of a vegan. 

Not fully vegan.  Maybe plant strong is a better term.

I also eat honey because I like it, it's healthy, the bees make it and it's suppose to help with allergies to consume local honey.  The bees are doing what they do and most beekeepers take very good care of them.  I really love animals and I hate the factory farm machine and I am proud to say I no longer help fund their operations.  But I don't have an issue with a beekeeper or my friend Kimberly who adores and appreciates her chickens and the eggs they lay.

There are times where I have slipped, those times away from home or on vacation.  One thing I have stayed away from completely is dairy.  Because I can't have it really.  Now there is another thing I need to omit.

Wheat Gluten.

I have recently been battling this occasional sore abdomen and sinus problems. I am currently taking meds for another sinus infection.  This time stronger antibiotics and prednisone.  I'm tired of taking pills and tired of feeling anxious, bloated, sore and having pain.  I don't like having a close relationship with my pharmacist or worrying about what crazy or dangerous side affects these pills may cause or not cause or what organs will get pissed from all of this.

So I looked into the link between sinus infections and gluten.  I can't believe I just now dug into this.  There it was, in black and white for pages and pages.  The testimonials, the research, the documentation regarding the link between wheat gluten and migraines, (which I already knew because my friend Janet and a relative of mine no longer suffer from them since they stopped) digestive problems, depression, anxiety, eczema, and sinus infections. 

I am still in research mode on this subject so I don't have a full list of facts to serve you.  It all makes sense now. When I went fully vegan I began consuming more seitan and vital wheat gluten as meat subs.  So eating actual wheat gluten tossed with pasta (more gluten) and dipped with bread (even more) I ended up getting more and more of these symptoms.

I am going to abstain from gluten to see what happens.  It's only a grain.  Too bad it's added to just about everything, and that means no bread or traditional pasta but still I have tons of alternatives.  I have fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, rice, tofu, quinoa and plenty more to choose from.  I'm not afraid.  I love a food challenge in the kitchen.  Now there are many gluten free options and I'm excited to see how I will feel and what food I will make.

Here are day one and day two for dinner.  I was thinking of creating another blog and calling it Crazy Gluten Free Vegan, but I'll just number my meals I guess.  I barely have time for this blog, I don't know if I can manage another!  :)
Day 1.  Seared tofu with avocado "cream", roasted cauliflower and wilted dandelion greens
Day 2.  Red Thai coconut curry with kale, tempeh and assorted veg with rice noodles

June, July, August....

Yeah, it's been awhile hasn't it?  I won't bother with the details right now.  I'll just skip to this moment and slowly catch you up with pictures.  Pictures from our trip to the mountains, summer fun, great dishes and Bella's birthday.