Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

Alright! Now that the holidays are almost over and resolutions abound, I resolve to actually update this blog again to be helpful. In the past few months, I've discovered new restaurants, cookbooks, and products, but none of that information will do anyone good trapped in my head!

So NaBloPoMo it is--going to try to post every day in January. The theme is 'best' which is a positive lense through which to view the limited food options around me. Sounds great!

EDIT: Maybe every other day is more realistic...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 15: Broccoli

I brought my broccoli to work with the best of intentions. The little florets are not overly nummy, but I liked the idea that I could get some crunchiness from a snack. But like a recalcitrant child, I could not motivate myself to eat the poor veggie and it went bad.

Round 1 - Broccoli 1, celiacsings 0

And then inspiration struck! What if I melted cheddar cheese on the broccoli, like a loaded baked potato without the potato part? So the next time I brought the broccoli AND shredded cheese to work. Lunchtime approached and I realized that the broccoli on potatoes is usually steamed or cooked in some way. Could I risk just sticking it all in the microwave without cooking the broccoli? Indecision battled with hunger and the certainty of the rest of my food won out.

Round 2 - Broccoli 2, celiacsings 0

But today is the day. The broccoli is still crisp; the cheese is still sans mold. Half our staff is off-site so if the disaster smells terribly, I have fewer apologies to make.

I looked up how to steam broccoli in the microwave. It's as straight-forward as one could probably get:
  1. Wash broccoli.
  2. Chop off stalks so you get cute little tree-like pieces.
  3. Place florets and 1-2 Tbsp. of water in microwave safe dish, ideally with lid. I have no lid here at work so I'm going to use our microwave safe plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave for 3-10 minutes depending on microwave.
  5. Broccoli is done when still slightly crisp, very aromatic, and bright green.

Alright, reading audience. Wish my office luck, that this doesn't have dire olfactory consequences!!


And SUCCESS! (for the most part...) The broccoli with light cheese is actually quite good. I should probably get some plastic wrap that is more microwavable, though. Thankfully, because I only had one small stalk I only needed to microwave the plastic wrap for a little less than 2 minutes. The wrap had only started to melt to the bowl. Sigh.

Round 3: Broccoli 2, celiacsings 1, plastic wrap -1

Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Snack (serves 1)

  • 2 stalks of broccoli
  • 1-2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt to taste
  1. Wash broccoli and chop florets of stalks.
  2. Place broccoli & water in microwave safe dish. Sprinkle with salt as desired. Cover with lid or microwavable plastic wrap.
  3. Microwave on high for 2-4 minutes, depending on microwave strength and amount of florets. Broccoli is done when still slightly crisp, very aromatic, and bright green.
  4. Uncover. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  5. Microwave on 80% for 25 seconds or high for 15 seconds. Again it may be more or less depending on your microwave and how melted you want the cheese.

And there you go. It took a few rounds, but eventually there was veggie success!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Food tasks tomorrow

Tomorrow I am going to try to cook the lamb/Fage recipe, biscuits with no xanthum gum since my friend asked if they would work, and maybe even a green apple & chicken recipe. Fitting this in around rehearsal, a long dog walk, cleaning, sleeping, catching up on my 30 days (of which I am woefully behind), and my Grandmother's birthday may be tight...but what can I say? I'm a dreamer!

Fast (?!?!) Food

It's very hard to find quick, allergy-friendly meals on the go. I've slowly learned which fast food restaurants have work-around options. I've been very busy recently and have, sadly, had to revisit some of these options. They may not be "kosher" for everyone of my allergies, but they avoid my major triggers.

McDonald: Apple dippers
Thank goodness for some place finally having developed a "fast food" fruit. I don't use the sauce, but it's nice to get something sweet while on the go. Warning: DON'T get the fruit & walnut salad! The walnuts and, I think, the sauce are not gluten-free.

Subway: Grilled chicken
Funny thing about Subway - I actually had employee leave his station to go ask his manager to approve giving me a sandwich with no bread. Sigh. You can order a salad with the grilled chicken on top (I like using spinach leaves instead of iceberg lettuce), but it costs significantly more for less chicken than a 12" sub.

But what about the common language barrier? I have resorted to this more than once: I asked for a 12" sub on whatever bread I feel like, catch them before they put the chicken down, and have them microwave just the meat. Then while it's heating up, I have them put on LOTS of lettuce and LOTS of cucumbers. Once the meat is ready it goes safely against the greens. Then I only eat the interior items that have not been gluten-ified.

This really only works if you need a hefty dose of gluten to set you off. If you have problems breathing near flour, do not try this approach!

Baja Fresh: Original Baja Taco Chicken with no salsa, onions, or cilantro
...which means it's just the corn tortilla and the chicken. I actually strongly suspect there's a hint of garlic on the chicken since it's so yummy and flavorful on its own, but it's not enough to cause a reaction if I have one or two.

The big thing that varies from store to store is the amount of cross-contamination on the grill. I've learned which stores are better than others (around the DC area) within the chain and try to frequent those most. If I have to eat at a Baja Fresh that I haven't patronized before, I try to do it when I'll be home in a few hours (when my reactions tend to hit), just in case.

Monday, September 21, 2009

RECIPE: Gluten-free Biscuits

In the current economic climate, it probably surprises no one that money is tight. Added atop of the general cost of living is the additional medical bills and cost of food. It's not a pretty sight!

Consequently, when I decided I wanted biscuits this evening, I needed to:
a. make them from ingredients I already had and
b. keep it simple so I use as little energy as possible

I mixed together 3+ different recipes and came up with a decent option. Here it is!

Gluten-free Biscuits
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp egg replacer (no water)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/8 tsp dextrose-free salt
  • 1/2 stick (aka 4 Tbsp) of unsalted butter, chopped into little pieces
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Corn oil
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix together dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, replacer, xanthan gum, & salt). I used a plastic whisk.

3. Drop in chopped butter. Use fingers to work butter into dry mixture, until it's a coarse meal.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in milk, 1/4 of a cup at a time. After each 1/4 cup, mix in the milk with a fork.

5. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. I used corn oil poured on a paper towel. A number of the recipes indicated the sheet should be ungreased, but I found no difference from one to the other (so I err on the side of greasing).

6. You can now roll out the dough and use a cutter or a glass to make biscuits. I personally dropped about two Tbsps worth of dough per biscuit on to the sheet and molded them into acceptable biscuit shapes.

7. Place in the oven for 10-13 minutes, depending on your thickness. Mine were about a 1/4" thick and they only needed 10 minutes. Note: the biscuits don't really rise any.

8. This makes about 12 2"-wide, 1/4" thick biscuits. Enjoy with butter or honey!

Variation: Add 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar to the dry ingredients for a sweeter biscuit. Top with cinnamon sugar & melted butter for GF dessert.

Fallling behind...

My play closed this weekend and I fell behind on my posts. Bad me! Now I'm a bit too tired to catch up today but on the horizon:
  • Broccoli
  • Recipe for GF biscuits
  • Turkey
  • Green apples
No all at once though...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 14: Fage Yogurt

Yogurt is good, in general, for those dealing with candida and is often gluten-free (beware fruit concoctions with modified food starch, though). Yogurt encourages the growth of positive bacteria. Of course, if you have dairy issues, you've probably avoided yogurt for years like me.

However, last summer my nutritionist recommended Fage yogurt, because the lactose-level is low. It settled well when I didn't eat it with blueberries (I'm allergic, it turns out, to blueberries).

Fage's site lists a bunch of recipes: This one struck me as very yummy. I think I will try to make it this weekend!

Lamb Cutlets with a Herb Crust and Yogurt Dressing


This recipe is very simple, but looks spectacular, and so is ideal for entertaining. Serve with Mediterranean-style rice, cooked with a little onion, tomato and herbs, and a generous helping of thick, creamy FAGE Total Yogurt.

Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes Serves: 4


Small bunch of thyme, stalks removed
1 tbsp each mixed peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds
Large bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Lamb cutlets 2 – 3 per person, depending on size
7 oz FAGE Total Yogurt
1 1/2 lemon


  1. Place the thyme, spices and parsley in a pestle with the oil and grind for 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Press this seasoning into both surfaces of each cutlet.
  3. Grill or cook the cutlets in a griddle pan for about 8 minutes until thoroughly cooked, turning once.
  4. Mix the FAGE Total Yogurt with the lemon juice and spoon over the cutlets, just before serving.
  5. Serve with rice or mashed potato.

Chef's tip

If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, crush the spices with a rolling pin and chop the herbs, then add the oil. To make a great, creamy mashed potato, add FAGE Total Yogurt in place of milk and butter.

Day 13: Shrimp

It's actually quite surprising to me that with all of my food issues, I am not allergic to shellfish or seafood of any kind. I really don't care for the fishy tasting critters, but at least they won't kill me or make me wish I'm dead!

I went to a Tex Mex restaurant with my cousin a few months ago. After some confusion (and a not-so-quick jaunt to the manager's office's printer), the server gave me a gluten-free list of foods. Of course, almost nothing was garlic-free. All of the meat was marinated with garlic. All the rice & sides had either garlic or flour. And the non-garlic or gluten items were beans. (This was my own fault for agreeing to eat at this genre of restaurant, but I digress.)

So there's nothing to eat on the menu, but their staff was dedicated to getting me food. (I wish I could remember which restaurant it was.) They finally came up with shrimp. Their shrimp is not marinated already so fajitas could be made with oil and no spicing. Corn tortillas rounded out the hard-earned feast.

It was great and a triumph for the staff as well as me.

Next on my restaurant-shrimp visiting list: Romano's Macaroni Grill so I can try their "Jumbo Shrimp Spiedini." Has anyone tried it yet?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 12: Tapioca

I have a box of tapioca starch in my cupboard. However, in beginning this entry, I realized I had no earthly idea what tapioca actually was or where it comes from. So off to the internet I went!

Much like canola oil does not come from a canola (it comes from rapeseed), I hypothesized that tapioca may not come from a tapioca plant, mostly just because I'd never heard of one. I was right! (for once...) Tapioca is a starch that comes from the root of the cassava plant aka yuca (one 'c') plant aka manioc. It's native to South America.

It takes a lot of processing to get to the tapioca. The root itself contains cyanide toxins and you really don't want to be eating that in your pudding!

Speaking of which, I've never had tapioca pudding. Some people rave about it. Others never mention it. I'm going to try to make it.

I've decided to create a version that does not have the 1/3 or 1/2 cup of refined sugar in it. I don't know whether the coconut milk will compensate enough. However, I feel like it's worth it, because if I could make an edible sugar-free dessert-like object, I would be very happy! I'll post the recipe if it works...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RECIPE: Sticky Rice with Mango & Sesame Seeds

A favorite gluten-free dessert of mine is mango with sticky rice. It has been a favorite at Thai restaurants for years, but tonight was the first time we tried to make it at home. It was remarkably successful. YAY!

Here is the recipe I found a few places online, that we used this evening:

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Thai sticky rice (1 pound)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 mangoes (chopped up)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a sauceboat and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice: In a large, microwave-safe bowl, cover the sticky rice with water; let soak for 1 hour.

Drain the rice and return it to the bowl. Add 2 1/4 cups of water and cover the bowl with plastic wrap**. Microwave the rice on high power for 5 minutes. Pull back the plastic wrap and stir the rice. Replace the plastic wrap and microwave the rice for another 5 minutes. Pull back the plastic wrap to stir the rice a second time. Replace the plastic wrap and microwave until the rice is just tender, about 3 minutes longer. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot coconut milk over the rice, folding until just combined. Spoon the rice into bowls. Top with the mango and sesame seeds and serve, passing the sauce at the table.

**Instead of plastic wrap, we used a microwaveable, ceramic casserole dish with a glass lid. This worked well for us.

It took us about 90 minutes total, with all of the soaking and cooling. But it was well worth it. YUM!

RECIPE: Rice Crust Pizza

So I tried the rice crust pizza from the AICR's website tonight. Since the combination of veggies would make me a very unhappy kt, I went for a basic cheese pizza version. Now, cheese is technically not on the approved list in any quantity and tomato sauce is very limited. So this is a kt-friendly dish, but not necessarily a kt-approved one...

Adapted from recipe originally posted on AICR by Dana Jacobi

Rice-Crust Cheese Pizza
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (this risotto rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Equivalent of 1 egg of egg replacer
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim milk mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Coat 12-inch round pizza pan, or baking sheet, with oil. The original recipe called for cooking spray, but I don't use cooking spray because there's often soy or other odd things in the propellant that I can't eat.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine rice, water and salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover, and cook until rice is soft, about 18 minutes.
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine hot rice with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and egg replacer and use fork to mix until well combined.
  5. Mound rice mixture in center of prepared pan. With back of fork, spread rice out to cover pan, then make edge neat. The rice is really sticky at this point. I had to use fast, quick motions with the fork to get it to spread out and not pull up off the pan.
  6. Bake crust until surface feels dry and firm, 18 to 20 minutes. (It took me only 18--I cooked it on the middle rack of the oven.)
  7. Remove crust from oven. Spoon tomato sauce over crust.
  8. Sprinkle on basil, oregano, and remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with mozzarella.
  9. Bake pizza in oven until cheese is melted and starts to brown. Without the veggies, this only took me about 6 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Cut pizza into wedges and serve immediately.
It was very good, and now I have a few meals for the work week!

Unfortunately, rice doesn't really freeze very well so this doesn't fill my need for a pizza crust recipe I could make multiple of and then freeze. But it's a very nice diversion.

It took about 80 minutes to make.

Day 11: Olive Oil

I thought about this item long and hard on Saturday...and then didn't get around to posting it. Ah well!

I don't like olives. And I much prefer corn oil for cooking. But that being said, olive oil certainly has its place, especially in Italian dishes. For me it seems to make more "taste sense". I often use it when making pizza or pasta recipes.

I am always envious of my fellow diners when I go to a nice, often Italian restaurant and they provide a basket of bread and olive oil. I've never successfully remembered to bring my own bread in advance.

Only one time did I go to a gluten-free friendly restaurant (prior to the yeast diagnosis) in New York City, that had gluten-free bread that I could use. They warmed it in the back and brought it out and felt a bit like a queen. It was heavenly.

And because I only visit NYC once every 2-3 years, I can't tell you the name of the restaurant. I wish I remembered it. Actually, I may be able to find it online (you can find everything on line these days).

[pause while katie goes searching]

No luck for sure. It could have been Sambuca (, but I wouldn't swear by that. They do have a gluten-free menu and it is a nice Italian restaurant.

In searching for my gf olive oil dipping source, I found a great resource: the Celiac Handbook blog. It's got a great list of GF restaurant options in New York city.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SITESEEING: Rice Crust Pizza on AICR

The American Institute for Cancer Research has an intriguing recipe for pizza up on its site today: (The AICR is, in its own words, "the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results.")

I find it intriguing because the recipe doesn't use rice flour, but actual rice. Strike everything I'm allergic to and there's a chance I may have found a decent pizza crust recipe. If nothing else, this gives me hope for something to look into!

The whole article is definitely worth reading.

Day 10: Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain. It comes from the Andes Mountains of South America, but the Quinoa Corporation ships it up here. ( I think it's a funny grain, in many ways.

  • It's got a funny name. Though it looks like it should be pronounced qwinn-no-uh, it's actually pronounced keen-wah.

  • It's funny that it's not actual a grain. Technically, it's a seed, but here in North America we use it as, and refer to it as, a grain.

  • It's funny in that every six months or so I think, "I should make something with quinoa!" And then I do. And then it's just ok, not fabulous, not horrid. Just kind of there. I have yet to find a recipe that makes quinoa pop for me.
But, as someone pointed out to me, this is a record of 30 days of things I can eat, not necessarily things I like. I can eat quinoa. And I don't dislike it, not really. I'm on the fence.

Anyone have any good quinoa recipes? I'd love to hear them and find a way to make quinoa yummy for me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 9: Brown Rice

I'm already grasping at straws (or grains, as the case may be). But brown rice is an approved food, in moderation, so it's a valid entry.

There's not much to say on brown rice. Or rather not a ton that's interesting.

"brown rice" gets 2,470,000 hits on Google. Lots of recipes and lots of debate brown vs. white rice. (brown is healthier, but can be more fatty...) If you switch to images, the pictures are just as prolific.

My nothing can really come close to the reach and dissemination of brown rice and rice, in general, through my diet these past few years. Rice is my wheat. Brown rice is a side dish, a main dish, and a flour. It is a cereal, a bread, and Rice milk replaces dairy and soy for me. Rice pasta is the cheapest gluten-free pasta option I've found and if you use the right brand, it only falls apart a little.

Six years ago, I'm not sure I had ever made brown rice. If I had, it was because I picked up instant brown instead of instant white in the store. With the Celiac diagnosis in 2004, everything shifted and now I use brown rice and brown rice-based ingredients in everything!

I made this recipe below before lentils were scratched from my list, but it's so wonderful I wanted to share.

I adapted it from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; it's a recipe for mujadarrah.

Lentils & Rice with Fried Onions
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved, sliced moderately thin
1 and 1/4 cups of lentils (brown or green - I used brown)
3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
Salt & pepper
  • Heat the oil & add the cut up onion.
  • The recipe says to cook the onion until rich, dark brown. We tried that; it didn't work so well for us. It made the onions very harsh in the mouth. Instead the second time, we just brown them slightly, about 5 minutes. MUCH better!
  • While you are futzing with the onion, stick the lentils in a pot with 1 quart water and salt to taste (~1/2 tsp.). Bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add rice , pepper, and any additional water needed to cover the lentil & rice combo.
  • Add lid and cook over low heat until rice is done. The recipe says about 15 minutes. It took us about 25 with brown rice.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the carmelized, not blackened onions. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

P.S. This makes a fabulous potluck dish since:
  • legume allergies are not very common,
  • it's vegetarian and filling unlike a plate of lettuce,
  • can be a main course or a side dish, and
  • it takes so few ingredients that you can often whip it up in under an hour from stuff you already have around (if you have a basket of onions like we do)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 8: Eggs

When I was working with the nutritionist last summer (of course, not covered by health insurance), egg whites were something we used for a great source of protein. I've never really cared for the texture of hard-boiled egg yolks, but the whites were always very yummy. But again not something I cooked myself.

I must have called my mother the first six times I tried to make hard-boiled eggs. The 7th time I just faked it. Now I continue to fake it with some regularity. But now I've found a new method I have to try!

Recently my friend & coworker forwarded to me a website on how to cook hard-boiled eggs IN THE OVEN! Has anyone ever done this? The idea fascinates me. I'll let you know how it works!

Here is the link to site he sent me:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 7: Corn

Internet sites and even the candida books I have differ on whether corn is approved or not on the anti-candida diet. But, to the best of my knowledge, I am not allergic to it and since it shows up as approved on some lists, I'm going to go for it!

Ah, corn. It shows up in so many forms: corn on the cob, frozen nibblets, cornmeal, corn flour, corn oil, and the forbidden corn syrup.

It's not nearly as good for you, but I much prefer the taste of corn oil when cooking. Vegetable oil is often soybean oil and with my legume issues, soy is "right out". But even though olive oil is the healthier choice, corn oil is always the first one I reach for.

I freely admit that I had to look up how to cook corn on the cob recently. It's straight-forward enough that I could have (should have?) faked it, but there's always a part of me that wants to know what everyone else "normally" does before I go off on my crazy cookin' own.

Corn on the Cob - Boiled
  • Boil water. Add salt if desired.
  • Husk and wash corn. I break them in half for more manageable pieces.
  • Carefully drop in boiling water.
  • Boil for 7-10 minutes (the only real key piece of info!).
  • Remove with tongs. Eat ASAP!
I've cooked some pieces tonight that I hope to bring to work for lunch over the course of this week. We shall see how well that goes. I'm not sure what reheating will do to the taste or consistency. I'll let you know!

One thing I did find very useful when scouring the 'net was a recipe for corn on the cob in the microwave. I've made it twice now. It helps if you can monitor it from the same room, or at least some where close by. Running down the length of your office when you hear something popping is not high on the professional scale.

I followed this site for the microwave directions:

The quick summary of the site is:
Soak corn for 30 or more minutes.
Squeeze away excess water.
Microwave for 7 minutes.
Shuck under cold water.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 6: Fresh Herbs

When buying them in the store, fresh herbs can be expensive. But some of the literature on candidiasis indicates that dried herbs gain yeast-enhancing molds during the drying process. So to be true to that, I only include fresh herbs on my list.

My favorites tend to be basil and mint. Rosemary is good too, but a little goes a very long way. My boss brought in some herbs from her garden so I got to play with some fresh sage, parsley, thyme, and oregano as well.

I was so envious of her access to the fresh herbs; I really need to start my own garden. I feel like I would find some much more to do with the herbs instead of just adding them to chicken and pasta! I think I'll start with a little basil plant. I understand mint is quite prolific and with my luck, it would overtake everything else in our yard.

At some point, I want to try Vietnamese, vegetarian summer rolls. They tend to be rice paper, mint, carrots, leafy greens, red cabbage, and a few other veggies thrown into taste. That would be a good use for mint. I'll post the recipe once I try it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 5: Salmon

I don't like fish. Generally, the taste it leaves at the back of my throat makes me gag. Thank goodness for popcorn shrimp or I never would have eaten out growing up otherwise. (Red Lobster was our family's restaurant of choice.)

But then came Celiac and my popcorn shrimp was out. What to do?! My mother concocted a simple salmon recipe for my father (a fellow Celiac suffer) to have and eventually I risked it. To my surprise, I loved it.

Since then, I've found salmon to be a common "safe" food when eating out. Instead of being marinated, it is often just glazed and they are happy to leave the sauce off.

I would love to include the salmon recipe, but my mother hasn't sent it to me yet. I know it involves salmon, butter, and lemon zest. Watch this space for more soon!

GF MENU: Chevys Fresh Mex

I do theatre. A lot. Last night, I opened an all-female production of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. I am one of the Gentlemen. If you don't know the play, it's the one referenced at the beginning of the movie Shakespeare in Love. The R&J audition monologue Gwyneth Paltrow does comes from Two Gents. So does the reference to "a bit with a dog".

Anyway, after opening night last night, my friends wanted to go out near the theatre. Usually when I plan for a meal out, I've done some research in advance about which restaurants offer what types of food. Ideally, there's a gluten-free menu involved too.

But last night, I had been working on my lines and not planning. So I went "blind" to Chevys Fresh Mex in Greenbelt, MD.

They have a gluten-free menu!!! I was so pleased. It was a print out, but it was already printed. The key to distinguish Gluten-free (GF) from Contains Gluten (CG) is small near the top. All of the restaurant items are listed with GF or CG after them. This makes the gluten-free list appear longers than it actually is, but there were still a decent number of choices.

You can find Chevys locations here: Right now, they appear to be located in AZ, CA, FL, IL, LA, MD, MN, MO, NJ, NV, NY, OR, SD, VA, WA.

(As a side note, I have garlic issues too. All of their meats, except the shrimp, are marinated with garlic, so be aware if that's also an allergy for you!)

Day 4: Almonds

Day 4: Almonds

I was a late-comer to many foods, mostly out of necessity. As the items I used to eat fell off the "Approved" list, one by one, other items had to take their places.

Before legumes were kicked off the list I had discovered the joy of green beans and slivered almonds. If you like bacon and want the beans to be very tasty, but not nearly as good for you, toss in some bacon bits. For extra, bacon-ness, dump the whole concoction into the skillet you just cooked the bacon in and stir beans & almonds until coated.

Once beans were lost to me, I would use a handful almonds (~12) with a fruit, usually an apple, as a healthy, between-meals munchie. It helped sustain me and kept me body processing food by "grazing" throughout the course of the day.

But with the candidiasis, I'm supposed to be avoiding fruit sugars as well. No more apple & almond snacks.

So now I've started adding almond to my rice pasta. It makes the side dish more substantial and I eat less of it, consequently.

Pine Nut & Almond Pasta

1 box of gluten-free pasta (about ~8 oz)
1/8 cup of pine nuts
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
2 Tbsp of olive oil
Salt, dextrose-free

  • Cook pasta as instructed. I add a little salt to the water when cooking the pasta.
  • In medium to large skillet, heat up oil & salt on medium heat.
  • Lower heat to simmer level. Add pine nuts and almonds.
  • Stir them frequently as they toast. The best indicator for when the nuts are done is the pine nuts. Once the pine nuts start to brown, remove skillet from heat.
  • The pasta will most likely be done about the same time. Drain the pasta.
  • Put the drained pasta in the skillet and stir. If your skillet is too small for all of the pasta, do a few scoops at a time in batches. Not only will this help mix in the nuts, but it will coat the pasta with the oil.
  • Put the mixture back in the pot and pour any remaining nuts & oil mixture on top.
  • Toss once more for optimal mixage. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 3: Chicken

Day 3: Plain, plain, plain chicken

I used to season everything with garlic. It was wonderful on chicken. About 13 months ago though, I found out I was allergic to garlic too. Sigh! First gluten, now garlic (and yeast!)--what was I going to eat?

I've created a simple baked chicken recipe that works for me. I eat it with brown rice or brown rice pasta. It would be great with the millet & corn recipe from yesterday too.

1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 Tbsp corn oil
1/2 cup of fresh shredded basil
Dextrose-free salt & pepper to taste
Squirt of lemon juice, if you're feeling brave

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Put oil in 11 x 14 pan. Season with salt & pepper (yes, there's no chicken in there yet!)
  • Add lemon juice, if you are feeling up for it..
  • Wash chicken tenders. Roll in oil, salt & pepper (+ lemon) to coat. Lay flat in single layer in pan.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully flip over tenders with fork and sprinkle basil on.
  • Cook for 10-15 more minutes until done.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 2: Millet

I'll admit I was looking for another grain when I ran across the millet this morning. I don't know that I've ever cooked or cooked with millet before today, but I decide this would be a good one for Day 2.

Here's a simple recipe I tried this morning.

Millet & Pan-cooked Corn

  • 2 3/4 + 1/4 cups water
  • 1 + 1 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn Kosher sea salt with no dextrose added - to taste
  • Pepper - to taste

Put 2 3/4 cups water, 1 Tbsp corn oil, & a little salt in a pot. Bring to a boil.

Add millet & cover. Simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

5 minutes after the millet is done, put other Tbsp of corn oil, 1/4 cup water & a little salt into a skillet. Heat up and added frozen corn.

Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add millet to corn in skillet, stirring together. Millet will soak up the water/oil/corn "juice" mixture.

Once thoroughly mixed, scoop onto plate and serve!

If you cook this recipe, just comment and let me know! I know I've scoured the web for simple recipes with only a few ingredients and it's been hard to find.

Day 1: Sesame

OPEN SESAME!!! Or should that be "open with sesame"? Probably.

I love sesame. I use it in oil form and seed form. When the latest round of allergies was diagnosed, I would use sesame to spice up everthying I could find.

30 Days of Food I Can Eat

Another blogger friend of mine spent the month of August doing 30 Days of post about items she disliked. This month it's things she loves and a bunch of other writers have hopped on the bandwagon for September. I'm going to try to do 30 Days of food I can eat. Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with 30!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Place for Allergies

I think this is where I'll keep my recipes and experiences updated. Fun!


So above this line was my first blog post. But about two weeks into I realized that nowhere did I explain all of my allergies. It seems crazy to list them in my profile--it would take up all of the characters!

Therefore I decided to update post one to reflect my diets & allergies. Whee!

- Diagnosed Celiac Sprue in 2004
Celiac Disease or Celiac Sprue is a genetic immune disorder whereby gluten, the protein found in wheat, barely, rye, splet, kamut, and others, gets "stuck" in the wall of your small intestines. Your body then attacks the gluten and, consequently, your small intestines to destroy the horrid interloper. Of course, all it really does is destroy itself in the process.

Probably triggered in 2000 by surgery, celiac disease has been on my father's side for at least three generations. I was the first one diagnosed. They could never figure out what was wrong with my grandmother. My father is, thankfully, still with us so I was able to help make his life easier by discovering the gluten issue.

- Additional food allergies/intolerances
In the ensuing years between celiac diagnosis and last september, I slowly kept getting more food added to my avoid or only-in-teeny-tiny-bits list. This included:
  • Dairy
  • Legumes (yes, that's all beans and peas INCLUDING soy)
  • Yeast
  • Garlic with its other family members on the only-in-teeny-tiny-bits
  • Cranberries & blueberries & other family members
  • Anything highly acidic like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar (only-in-teeny-tiny-bits)

- Thyroid cancer diagnosis in Sept.08
I had my thyroid removed and my body went haywire. Turns out your thyroid does A LOT of things. As I was recovering, I was learning to avoid nightshades, walnuts, cottonseed oil, and other things that keep popping up that affect the thyroid meds.

And then comes Candidiasis.

It's well-nigh impossible to follow an anti-candida diet and do anything else with your life. I've been trying and will continue to try. But after making myself completely miserable, I decided that I would ween myself onto the diet at a nice slow pace. This will get me used to my new extreme limitations bit by bit.

An anti-candida diet means:

  • No sugar of any kind: artificial or natural. No fructose, sucrose, sucralose, cane syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molassas, Equal, Nutrasweet, dextrose (often used as an anti-caking agent in table salt--who knew?!?!), and anything of that ilk. Stevia is allowed. Stevia is an acquired taste. Stevia is an acquired taste I have not yet acquired.
  • No fruit. This actually belongs with the bullet point above since the reason it's not allowed in the sugar.
  • No vinegar. Includes all types of vinegar, such as white vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, and any food made with vinegage, such as mayonnaise, commercial salad dressing, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, shrimp sauce, soy sauce, mustard, pickles, pickled vegetables, green olives, relishes, horseradish, mincemeat, and chili sauce. Mostly this just means a lot of options to flavor food are off the table.
  • No peanuts, peanut butter, pistachios, or dried herbs due to mold contamination concerns.
  • No coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated), black tea, cider, or root beer. Cider, root beer, and other fermented beverages are also typically eliminated.
  • No aged, moldy and/or processed cheeses. As it is, my choice cheeses tend towards mozzarella and cheedar and that's about it so most of this category doesn't concern me. Still, for posterity: Roquefort and other aged, moldy or blue cheeses are not allowed on a typical Candida diet. Also eliminated are processed cheese such as cheese slices, Velveeta, Cheese Whiz, cream cheese, cheese snacks, and Kraft dinner.
  • No processed, dried, smoked, or pickled meats including sausages, bacon, hot dogs, pastrami, bologna, sandwich meats, salami, and corned beef.
  • No packaged, processed, or refined foods. This is seems so vague, but it means that canned, bottled, packaged, boxed, and other processed foods containing yeast, refined sugar, refined flour, chemicals, preservatives, or food coloring should be avoided.
I'm already avoiding these items, but they are also prohibited on the anti-candida diet:

There are tons of other things to avoid that I can't even remember or find online at this moment. The anti-candida blog has a good entry here for more detail:

It's rough, but I'm going to push on and try to find food to eat!