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Food inspiration? YES!

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Food inspiration? YES!

I know I’ve been gone from this blog for awhile. It wasn’t intentional, but rather…. I felt a lack of inspiration to write about food. Until recently. I’ve been thinking about food in general… okay, I do that ALL the time. But more specifically, I thought about what about food excites me? EVERYTHING. So why haven’t I wrote anything? When analyzing myself, the answer was simple. I was too busy and too lazy. I was focused on getting licensed at my job, welcoming a new niece, getting ready for my best friend’s wedding and just enjoying life in general!!!

But know what? I’ve been trying SO many new recipes! I’ve come up with a few on my own but I will save that for another time. I wanted to share what I DID try and loved! I mean, I’ve had times where I’ll take a bite and I’ll groan with delight, declaring it’s my favorite. Over and over.

How’s that for somebody with 8 food allergies? A few years ago if you’ve told me that I would have had a culinary adventure while exploring food sans gluten/dairy/sugar/corn/soy/sesame/cranberry/baker’s yeast, I would have laughed at you. Seriously. Flat out laugh in your face. It sounds horrible but it was difficult for me to even imagine enjoying food. Well, guess what! I proved myself wrong.

Here’s a few recipes, or more accurately, links to recipes that I’ve fell in love with and strongly encourage you to try!

http://paleomg.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-ice-cream/

(I used actual peanut butter… I loved it!)

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-macaroni-casserole

(I adapted the recipe, using quinoa rice pasta from Trader Joe’s- WIN!)

http://www.agirlworthsaving.net/2013/01/paleo-garlic-bread.html

Garlic bread/rolls

I added freshly dried oregano and extra raw garlic to this recipe and it was HEAVENLY!

I found that recipe through Pinterest. I also found another one for zucchini lasagna at http://healyeatsreal.com/lasagna-rolls-vegan-paleo/

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

But seriously… I found so many more recipes! But I won’t bore you with them all. I take that back. Bore is the wrong word. Overwhelm is more like it. I’m amazed by the options I have before me! What I’ve posted here’s not even… 0.000000001% of what I’ve found. I’ve tried so many more! Invented a few (they weren’t all successful) but basically I had FUN with food. I hope you did as well! Keep exploring and share what you’ve found that works for you!

Enjoy your next bite, otherwise what’s the point?

Now it’s time to go off backpacking and enjoy our new finds! Tip for backpacking- pack bags of quinoa with spices in it. All you have to do is boil water and throw it in, wait maybe 10-15 minutes and viola!

 

I’ll be back SOON and that’s a promise! Not just to you all, but to myself as well!

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An Adventure with Cookbooks: SUCCESS!

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Earlier I said I would try cooking 5 different recipes from 5 different cookbooks or websites. Well, I did it! I consider it a wild success!!! I felt AWESOME. I actually had a decent lunch. I typically grab whatever leftovers I have so I end up eating the same thing twice a day often. Alex, my husband, asked that I make a meal for myself to eat for lunch. So I did.

It was an-one-time shopping trip, without going back to the store at all for the rest of the week. No quick trips, which helped us SO much considering our long commute! No more wondering what we’ll cook that night. It was all planned out. We did this last Sunday.

Here’s the menu for 11/4-11/10, including where the recipe’s from:

 

SUNDAY

Fall Vegetable Stew with Moroccan Spice

(Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, p. 258)

 

Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Quinoa

MONDAY

Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Quinoa

(Going Wildly in the Kitchen, p. 155)

Sweet Acorn Squash

(Healthy College Cookbook, p. 124)

 

TUESDAY

Leftovers

 

WEDNESDAY

Roasted Veggie Wrap (my best friend created this, with roasted carrots, beets and onions in brown rice wraps)

Broccoli Pizza

 

THURSDAY

Broccoli Pizza

(Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, p. 57)

 

FRIDAY

Leftovers (We ended up throwing all vegetables left into a soup along with brown rice. YUM!)

 

SATURDAY

Ate out with friends at this delicious Ethiopian/ Eritrean restaurant!
LUNCH

Roasted Potatoes, Shallots, Kale with Caramelized Garlic Dressing

(Epicurious)

 

SNACK

Fruit Salad

Homemade Applesauce

 

My Menu for Week 2

Know what? I loved it so much- Alex did too- so I created another menu for this week! It’s already off to an incredible start with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts (it also has potatoes and had me and Alex raving about it from our first bite! No I’m not exaggerating, I was mumbling with my mouth full and trying to sign while holding the fork). Then the Warm Red Lentils with Coriander and Currants. Wow. Just… WOW. It’s from Vegetarian Bible and Simply Delicious Vegetarian cookbooks, respectively by the way. I love love LOVE it. I’m SO excited about the fruit salad I’m going to make this week- very different from last week with pomegranate, Pink Lady apples, blackberries and red grapes. Ooooo! Why do I have to get full, can’t I just eat all the time? But then I wouldn’t be able to appreciate all that Earth has to offer. Oh the medley of flavors! The recipe that I’m most excited about this week? I will have to say it’s Kale Tart with Cranberries (I’m subbing cranberries with currants since I’m allergic to cranberries. I know! Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m not having any cranberry sauce. Boo).
And I’m going to make chocolate mini-cupcakes with creamy yam frosting. How awesome is that?!?

On the top of it all, I got to RELAX today, along with going to church, getting inspired, chilling with my adorable kitten (in fact she’s sitting on my shoulders right now).
Chow away! But be sure to ENJOY it- and one of my favorite part of it all? I know I’m keeping myself healthy. And it’s FUN! Granted, it takes time. But it’s well worth it, I guarantee it.
Monopoly time with my hubby!

An adventure with cookbooks!

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So I’ve decided to take on a challenge this week. Maybe you don’t think it’s tough, but when you’re busy, it gets hard! I’m choosing 5 recipes from 5 different cookbooks/websites for food this week. I’ve already started last night- I had this delicious fall vegetable stew! With Moroccan spices, can you say YUM?

When I finish out the week, I’ll post again with pictures and whether it was a success or not.

What’s YOUR favorite cookbook or website to go to for meal ideas? What’s the criteria you use while sorting through the bazillions recipes available out there? How do you decide?

For me, it starts simply: omit what I cannot have. It narrows down my options by a LOT which has both pros and cons. I prefer to see it as a benefit since it leads to incredible dishes! My husband and I’ll ask each other if we want meat at all or not. Recently we’ve been going vegetarian, we just haven’t wanted meat. No cravings for it and it has also been making us feel crappy. Not a good thing considering we are both very busy people with a lot happening! We need our energy AND as everybody else, we rely on food for that. I also check my food rainbow chart to see if I’ve been getting every colors or not. Each group of colors of fruit and vegetables offer different nutrition, vitamins and minerals that one another does not. This helps me stay balanced.

I’ll keep you guys posted at the week’s end!

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A cast iron skillet is crying out for recipes!

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Ladies and gentlemen, I often share or review recipes on my blog. But there’s one thing I have been struggling with- that is finding recipes for my cast iron skillet! If you have one that is free of gluten and corn, please share! Other ingredients are a bit easier to modify but not if it’s for cornbread!!!

Thanks a million!!!

And it begins…

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So the other day I had a small freak out. Okay, not small, huge! After consulting with the pharmacist about the results of my test, we found out that gluten might be the culprit for it all. My intestines have never been given a chance to heal after I gave up gluten, allowing other allergies to develop. So I will begin a regime of supplements including probiotics and flaxseed meal daily for six months.

The first month will be the most difficult one for me. I can only eat food that has been PROVEN to be okay for me, having zero antibodies show up on the IGG test. The delayed allergy test showed a lot of food that I cannot have but it also showed a LOT more of what I CAN have. So for 30 days I’m going to eat what I can have. Only what has been tested. Then for the following 5 months I’ll try other food- not what I’m allergic to, but what wasn’t on the test- slowly to ensure that I’m not allergic to it as well. After six months, it’s possible I might be able to tolerate dairy, sugar and other food again. Definitely not gluten though.

So having a plan made me feel better. And there’s hope! So of course it meant several trips to the grocery store. 5 in the last week to be exact. I’m still figuring it out. But my dinner last night was delicious! I didn’t feel like I was missing out at all.

I heated up a pan and watched fresh garlic sizzle for a bit before adding minced green peppers. I also found sausages that has only meat and spices/herbs. No sugar or preservatives in it. I cannot remember the name but if you’re curious, I can look for it. I sliced one up and heated it up in the pan. I added a can of black beans- a brand that does not add anything but sea salt- Nature’s promise, from Stop and Shop! In went red hot pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper.

I had white rice from another night, so I heated it up in a bowl. I poured the bean mixture atop. Instead of cheese, I diced avocado and put half on top. It was PACKED with flavor! Mmm the beans were so filling while the sausage tasted like guilty pleasures to be had. The avocado added creaminess that cannot be duplicated with it’s lightness.

It was so good I finished it all for lunch today. You bet I’ll make it again sometimes soon!

Do you have a favorite dish that’s “straight-up”? No chemicals, preservatives or sugar added? Please share them!!!!!

But I’m glad to say this: I have hope!!!

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I need your recipes

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Have you ever had that moment where you felt like your world was crumbling because somebody told you that you cannot have your favorite food? I’ve had that a few times now. When we found out I could not have gluten, it was not that devastating but I did struggle with the idea of not having “real” bread anymore. Fortunately I was used to the idea, having a cousin who has Celiac.

But last night, when I got the results of a delayed food allergy test, I broke down. I have already been off gluten, corn and soy for years. Many people remark about how difficult that must be, but really? It’s hard but not terrible. After all I’ve got my favorite bread made from Against the Grain Gourmet. Ah-mazing bread! We even will have it at my wedding. I was on cloud 9 when I found that out. But last night changed that.

You see, what makes the bread so wonderful, so out of this world is the fact that it is made with mozzarella.

The test revealed that I cannot have dairy. This includes cheese, milk, yogurt, casein and whey.

Bye-bye Against the Grain.

And sugar. Cane sugar to be exact. Immediately I thought of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. It uses butter and sugar. Gone.

But my fiance is amazing and reminded me that cane sugar can easily be replaced with beet sugar. So I’ll start doing that. I’m going to try it tonight after a long and needed trip to Whole Foods.

And it looks like I can have soy. Due to that, he said I can try the tofu or soy based fake dairy products. So, that’s something. But my first reaction? I cried on my way home.

So I’m asking you this: do you have a recipe that is gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free that ROCKS your world? No cranberry or sesame seeds please (yes, those too). ¬†Food is what inspires me and I want to keep it that way!

Which cookbook to use?

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I had a delicious breakfast with my fiancee this morning: oatmeal blueberry banana pancakes. Coffee. Orange juice. YUM! All thanks to this one fabulous cookbook that belongs to my fiancee’s mother: The Whole life Nutrition Cookbook. Order it online if you can. I LOVE this one. I’ve tried so many recipes and loved almost every single one of them.

Beet, Kale, and Walnut salad
Apple Cranberry Crisp with almond oat topping
Creamy Butternut Squash soup (with coconut milk!!!)

That’s to just list a few. Not everything is gluten-free but get this,

over 200 gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free recipes

?! And they aren’t difficult to make. Sure they take time, but it’s more than worth it! And it’s extremely nutritious!

I know how it is having a ton of cookbooks that you don’t REALLY use, so why invest in another one? We cook with this a LOT. It even has suggestions of which combinations to use for a complete meal.

Try a few and you’ll fall in love with it. Their blog is on my list of links. Check it out. Happy cooking!