iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Miso Glazed Eggplant – A fitting end to an experiment

duskSeptember has been a good month.  I’m starting to feel like I can really love September, if the looming threat of snow and cold weather wasn’t apparent in every brown leaf scattered across my doormat.

I’ve been able to get in a lot of great runs so far this month and while I’ve yet to topple the 5 mile mark (I do get really close with 4.5 mile jaunts), I’m not worried about breaking or setting any records.  The random surprise deer spotting, the (sometimes) invigorating music beating away each stride and the crisp air cooling my breath make running one of my favorite ways to unwind.  The spectacular summer evenings are also a good reason why I am an evening runner.  🙂

dorayakiThe whole “what can we eat?” question is also starting to become clear.  Here’s what we think we’ll stick by until further notice (or headaches get worse, whichever comes first).

  1. Gluten is “okay” IF (and that’s a huge, Kilimanjaro, IF) we only have it rarely and in small doses.  Pizza one night a month is fine.  Sandwiches and other gluten items from restaurants once a month or so is “okay”.  I know that large doses of gluten sets my tummy aching and even small doses make me crave like I’m going to have twins for days afterward.  I’d rather not crave or ache so we’re keeping the gluten to “special” times (aka restaurant trips where non-gluten items are hard to come by or that piece of cake begging to be eaten). Our house, though, is gluten free.  And you know what?  That’s actually just fine with me. 🙂
  2. Soy is “fine”.  Neither of us saw any reaction to soy, so it’s back on the menu!
  3. Dairy is “okay”.  My hypothesis about feeling blue once eating dairy didn’t pan out the other times I’ve had it, so I’m bringing it back in.  We’re not chugging it down like we used to (now we get through 1/2 a gallon of almond milk a week vs the gallon of milk), but we’re having things like yogurt or the odd slice of cheese here and there. We don’t really react to it, but I’d like to keep it in moderation.
  4. Chocolate is “OUT”.  We’re going to give it one more test later this month, but the hubby’s had a “test” day twice now and both times have landed him with 3 day migraines.  😥 That seems pretty definitive to me, but chocolate is the hubby’s first love and it’s hard to give up.  Personally, I don’t react at all except to the craving the sugar inspires.  It’s fine with me if we do give it up, but it does make baking non-chocolate goodies a bit harder. I didn’t quite realize how much chocolate based food there is out there.  We tried to go to a local coffee shop to have an iced drink and NONE of the options were without chocolate.  :/ Still, I’m managing to bake yummies for us that fit all of our diet needs.

This little experiment is about to come to a close and I’m so glad we did it.  Our menus are more varied (I made delicious gluten free dorayaki for dessert the other day) and we’re actually eating and buying better balanced food (like the miso glazed eggplant below).  I’m especially happy to see the hubby getting more “normal” headaches from time to time (like stress, dust, etc), than the repeated migraines.  People might think we’re crazy, but at least our lives are happier for it.

misoeggplantWe don’t have a lot planned this month, but that’s okay. I’m soaking up as much cool air as I can before the weather turns and scarves come out.  It’s also pie season soon, so I’ll be brushing up on my gluten free crust making!  🙂

Miso Glazed Eggplant

(Note: Recipe is adapted from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning.  All of the ingredients I used in this recipe were gluten free and it came out beautifully.)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large eggplant or 4 Japanese eggplants

Directions

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.  Quarter each slice.
  3. Turn on oven broiler.  Move rack close to the top of the oven.
  4. Place eggplant cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Brush half of the glaze over eggplant and place in oven.  Broil for about 5-10 minutes until it begins to brown.  Watch closely as it might burn.
  6. Turn eggplant slices over and brush with the remaining glaze.  Broil for about 10 minutes, again, watching carefully so as not to burn.  Once nicely browned, take out the pan and serve eggplant with rice.
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Gluten Free Lemon Chia seed muffins

lemonpoppy

Some things about elimination diets that you should know:

  • You might find that you haven’t eliminated enough.  *sighs*  We’re 7 weeks into our elimination diet and the hubby has added soy and chocolate to his list.  The headaches, while not worse, aren’t really better so we’re taking out a few more possible culprits.  It was always a possibility that dairy and gluten weren’t the sole offenders, but it’s even more restrictive with the addition of soy.  Chocolate is easy to spot (although a LOT more painful to give up – bye, bye chocolate chip cookies!), but soy is sneakier (especially if you’re wanting to eat out).  Still, we’re fighting the good fight and it’s another 2 weeks before we start to reintroduce foods slowly to see how we react.
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Fight-O!

  • Everyone will think you’re crazy and they’ll ALL tell you (or give you “the look”). o_O Some might even make tasteless jokes about not being able to eat anything and starving to death.  Ha.  Ha.  Others might give you their horror stories of not eating such and such or give you dietary advice. In fact, be prepared to be looked at like wierdos for trying to do something about your health.  Only those that have gone through it are supportive about your endeavors and everyone else will continue to ask you if you can eat cake when you’ve expressly said no.  Again.

Then there are the wait staff who ask you if it’s a “real allergy” or if it’s, and here they trail off.  As if it’s something they can’t even bring themselves to mention.  Personal choice.  Diet.  Fad.  Or, in other words, just weird.  Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I’d like to think that it doesn’t really matter whether I’m “actually” allergic or doing this for my own good – the food should be prepared with the utmost care.   So far we’ve explained that we’re trying to determine if we are allergic and everyone smiles and walks away with our order.  Call me paranoid, but I don’t trust those smiles.

zsofi

Eating on the wild side.

  • Food will become a joy again.  You’ll get yourself out of that cooking rut of recipes and suddenly you’re making quinoa with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes or gluten free moussaka for dinner and loving every nutritious bite.  Food hasn’t been this varied since I overhauled my diet years ago to combat my cholesterol.   I’m cooking a LOT more than I used to, but it’s all been so delicious and we’ve both enjoyed our meals.  I feel so much more freedom now than before.  And that’s odd because you’d think it’d be the opposite.  You know, like how everyone keeps reminding me.  🙄

lemonpoppy2

Here’s a recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins I made today.  They have a great crumb, they’re moist and the chia seeds do an excellent job of subbing for poppy.  We didn’t notice a difference and we loved them paired with the bright lemon.

I used a homemade flour blend that consisted of:

  • 700 g Brown Rice Flour
  • 250 g Potato starch
  • 50 g Tapioca starch

The blend worked really well in this recipe, but go ahead and try any gluten free flour you have on hand.

Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

(Notes:  Some measurements are in grams since I found it easier to do my tweaking with the weights rather than with tablespoons.  Original recipe was for Orange Poppy seed mini muffins in the William-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book.  I tweaked it so much that it hardly resembles the original.)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 280 g gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup splenda
  • 25 g vegan butter + 65 g applesauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended.  Add sugars, butter, applesauce, and milk and stir until mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Pour dry into the liquids bowl and mix carefully – when dry is almost incorporated into the wet, add chia seeds and mix until incorporated.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin, bake for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a cooling rack and drizzle with icing made from powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Cool and munch.  🙂

 

 


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Sun-dried Tomato Hummus and Lentils

hummus 2I’m learning a lot about myself on this gluten and dairy free journey.  I’ve been shocked by just how “routine” our meals had become.  After ditching a lot of processed foods years ago (or so I thought!), it was a real eye-opener when I found that the only gluten free “meat substitute” was Quorn tenders.   😮   My entire repertoire of substitutes contained wheat and I was stuck in a very scary situation.

What’s for lunch??

I hadn’t realized just how much my lunches depended on some form of sandwich.  Of course, homemade soup and salad were still the shining stars, but I was dependent on the “quick fix” meat substitutes provided.  Want a quick meal?  Just heat up a few chik’n tenders and voila!  Not sure what to eat but starving?  Fix up a quick veggie burger and you’re done.  While a bit healthier than, say, eating out or gorging on high fat red meat, it honestly wasn’t much better. :/

Enter gluten free eating and suddenly I had to actually cook.  And here I thought that was what I was already doing!  Ha!

So, lunches and dinners around this house have really changed.  I’ve started making meals from my vegan cookbooks that I’ve never tried before and we’re eating a much more varied green diet.  It wasn’t like we weren’t eating kale before, but we’re eating it with quinoa now!

Here’s my latest discovery: homemade hummus!  I’ve never bothered making it before and I’m not sure why.  I guess I thought it’d be easier to just buy it, but honestly, I find the store bought hummus to be a bit too much – too salty, too oily, too something.

This hummus, on the other hand, is delicious!  I snagged the recipe from a blog I discovered called The Simple Veganista.  Julie’s blog is both beautiful and packed full of really delicious sounding recipes.  This was a definite winner and has converted me over to making homemade hummus for life.  🙂

(And that piece of bread holding it all together?  That’s my first loaf of gluten free bread.  🙂  Not too bad, but I can’t say it was a definite winner.   I’ll be experimenting more with different recipes and hopefully come up with something that I can post.)

hummus

Sun-dried Hummus with Lentils

(Notes:  This recipe hails from The Simple Veganista.  I don’t buy tahini so I opted to leave it out.  I also used the 1/4 cup or so of soaking liquid from the tomatoes as part of my water count.  Julie suggests adding more olive oil to replace the tahini, but I didn’t bother.  It tasted wonderful to me, but suit your own tastes.)

Ingredients

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 6-8 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes, diced (I used dried ones without the oil and followed her advice of soaking them in water for 15 minutes before proceeding)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup water, as needed

Directions

  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the water, to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mashed. Add water as you pulse to reach the right consistency for you. 🙂