Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GF MENU: A piece of Pi

I know many cool people in St. Louis, including some relatives and in-laws (as it were). Every year when I visit, we go out to eat.

This year, as in one year previous, we ate at Pi Pizzeria: http://www.restaurantpi.com/.

They have WONDERFUL gluten-free pizza. It's thin-crust. I had it with fresh basil and grilled chicken. So very nummy.

I am very excited now, because they are scheduled to open a DC location in Spring of 2011. WOOT! District of Pi (since there's already a Pi Pizzeria, sadly) will be in Penn Quarter. Check them out: http://www.pi-dc.com/!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Banana Bread

I'm going to call this recipe "Going Bananas Bread (Gluten-free)". I am quite sure I'm not the first person to cleverly think of this title, but since it fits, I'm going with it.

The need for this recipe was triggered when I had five VERY ripe bananas on my table and a potluck karaoke party on my calendar. I found a plethora of recipes for banana bread and even a few gluten-free options. But there wasn't a single recipe that had all the elements I wanted (or didn't want). So a combination was born!

The main or base recipe I used was this "Banana Banana Bread Recipe" from AllRecipes.com:



  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills GF Pancake & Baking Mix*)

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tsp egg replacer (dry part of 2 “eggs”)

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 4 Tbsp warm water (wet part of 2 “eggs”)

  • 4 to 5 overripe bananas, mashed about 2 cups-ish

  • 1 tsp GF vanilla or GF vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, egg replacer, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

  3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.

  4. Stir in water, mashed bananas, and vanilla until well blended.

  5. Blend banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. (For me, it took about 56 minutes.)

  7. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

* The ingredients for the baking mix are (copied from the bag):
Organic white rice flour, organic potato flour, tapioca starch, baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch), organic whole grain yellow corn flour, natural flavor (?huh?), sea salt, organic cinnamon.

A wonderful side effect of this bread - it smelled absolutely wonderful and filled the entire first floor of our house with yummy-smelling goodness. :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lacking Confidence...

This is a placard from a wedding I recently attended. I admit quite freely that it does not inspire confidence in me. At least, they tried, I guess...

Gotta watch out for that pesky glue!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Low Iodine Cooking on a 'school' night

Because of my busy schedule this weekend, I had to cook last night (on a "school" night!). Unfortunately on a low iodine diet, you cannot really eat out since every place cooks with salt, and who knows if it's iodized or not!

So I took my Monday to make:
  • Greek grilled chicken (good)
  • Sesame chicken fingers (salty, but decent)
  • Roasted root vegetables (tons of chopping, haven't even tasted it yet)
All fo the recipes were taken from/adapted from ThyCa's (Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association) Low Iodine Cookbook. You can find it on their website (http://www.thyca.org/) or directly through this link (PDF). I will try to post one of the altered recipes each day.

For all its restrictions, the diet is not vastly different from the anti-candida diet I'm supposed to be on. There was even one recipe from the cookbook that I really didn't have to alter and that never happens! I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to continue with some semblance of the diet past the end of the month and then maybe the yeasties will die.

You know what's sad? I barely remember when being on a diet just meant eating fruit for dessert instead of cookies; and if you cheated on the diet, all that happened was guilt. Ah, for the good old days.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Low Iodine Diet to add to the mix

In September 2008, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed. Luckily, we caught it incredibly early in the process. Because of that, I take replacement hormones each morning and have a very nice-looking scar, but otherwise it's not on the forefront of mind usually.

However, as part of the process, I have to go through a series of scans/tests and some radioactive iodine annually for the first three years. February 2010 is my thyroid month this year.

Starting tomorrow, I will be on a low iodine diet. The last week of the month, I will do lots of scans & tests...and become radioactive. I'll be given a low dose of radioactive iodine. The low iodine diet is to limit my body's iodine level so that it uptakes the radioactive version wholeheartedly come Feb.24th. If there are any remaining cancer cells, the radioactivity will pool there and show up on the subsequent scans. Here's hopin' for nothing on the scans!

I don't really diet any more dietary restrictions, but the advantage of this diet is (at least, psychologically) that I don't have to stay on it. It's only for a few weeks. We can do anything for only a few weeks, right? So here I go!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 16: Celery

I figured I probably have enough items to finish 30 days of things I can eat now. So I'm jumping back into that as well.

Today's food is celery. Celery is nice to chew because it feels like I'm accomplishing the act of eating without too many allergies or calories. Right now I am munching short celery sticks that I cut up last night. Great snack!

I've heard that celery is a "negative calorie food." E.g., the act of eating celery burns more calories than you take in from the celery. I wonder if I can find a place to corroborate that.


WOW! It's true! According to a number of resources I trust, especially www.snopes.com, celery is a negative calorie food. Check it out! The act of chewing isn't what burns the caolries, though; it's the energy required for digestion. Nifty!

I use celery to bulk up salads when I'm stuck at a buffet where I can't trust most food. I cannot have too many leafy greens, because my body cannot digest them very well. So here is the "recipe" I use for buffets when I have to make a meal out of little or nothing.

- Red cabbage, shredded
- Carrots, slivered
- Celery chunks
- Cucumber slices
- Mung beans (they are mostly water, but add some variety)
- Broccoli or cauliflower, if I'm feeling adventurous
- Sunflower seeds (or sesame seeds, if they have them)
- Red kidney beans (ok, so I don't add them right now since I'm avoiding hardcore legumes, but they were very yummy when I could add them)
- Plain chicken, if it's actually plain, which it rarely is, on top.

Grab a piece of fruit for dessert and you've survived eating out with your coworkers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GF MENU: Hello Cupcake

I was very lucky not to be a kid with Celiac Disease. I got to do the birthday parties and treats at school. Pizza parties were great and nothing tasted better than baking Tollhouse cookies. I wasn't left out of these activities.

An an adult, I'm able to handle these situations better than I would have as a child. I can bring my own pizza, if I know in advance. I can eat steamed veggies when everyone orders Chinese food and then get more food later.

But birthday parties are still rough. Unless I know in advance and want to cook my own baked goods, easily purchased celebration foods boil down to fresh fruit and...well, fresh fruit.

Slowly, though, shops and even bakeries are starting to realize the massive amount of folks with Celiacs might spend their money, too, on treats. Two bakeries in the DC area fall into this category:
  1. Hello Cupcake
  2. Cakelove

Now I'm only going to mention Cakelove, because I have not had much success with them. The store on U Street NW in DC never seems to actually have gluten-free cupcakes. They aren't ready. They're sold out. They don't have them on weekdays. (This is a new thing my coworker was told when she called.) That sort of thing.

I gave them three tries at three separate times on three separate days of the week (one was a weekend). No dice. No gluten-free delights for me.

But Hello Cupcake is a different story. I'm going to rave about them. One location only off Dupont Circle in NW DC. But they are wonderful! Each time I've been, they've had a gluten-free option or two. The cupcakes are delicious and interesting. One time it was pumpkin-flavored with a GF cream cheese-based icing. Fabulous!

And yesterday, I was a kid again. My coworker was kind enough to inquire about the cupcakes (she heard me glowing about them earlier) so she could buy some for an office birthday party. We walked over together in the frigid weather. It was well worth it. We came back with a cupcake for everyone, even me. I got to be a part of the party!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

PRODUCT: Sami's Bakery Millet & Flax Bead (best bread ever!!!)

So maybe it's not the best bread ever, but it's certainly the best bread I've had in a REALLY long time. And it's definitely the best gluten-free, yeast-free bread I have ever had. Period. Hands down!

My aunt had this tasty loaf with her over Christmas. I had one piece toasted and I was in love! Of course, I can find no store in the DC area that stocks this wonderful bread. So I've placed an order online at Sami's Bakery.

I am expecting the following items to be shipped to me in the next few weeks:

I am so excited; I can hardly stand it! My aunt says she uses the hamburger rolls to make mini-pizzas. Yum!

I will let you know what I think of all the food when it gets here. If you want to try it out yourself, here's the contact info:

Sami's Pita Bakery
2399 E. Busch Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33612
813-989-2722 (Office)
813-989-2729 (Fax)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

GF MENU: Maggiano's

You wouldn't know it from their website, but Maggiano's *Little Italy* is quite gluten-free friendly.

In searching out somewhere to eat a nice Christmas Eve meal in St. Louis with SW's family, someone brought up Maggiano's. I scoffed at them. A national chain of Italian restaurants? Are you kidding me?! Places like that would kill me on sight!

But some basic research pulled together a much different picture. The scuttlebutt was that Maggiano's was very GF friendly. Not only do they stock gluten-free pasta, but they have bread products as well as a gluten-free dessert brownie.

Still I remained unconvinced. So I called the location in St. Louis where we would be eating. Sure enough, it was all true. The woman who answered the phone emphasized that when we made our reservation, we should indicate the gluten allergy. Then the chef would come out and talk to me. Wow! I gave my "approval" to make the reservation.

Christmas eve came and Maggiano's was packed. But the chef still came out and talked to me. Unfortunately, they had run out of GF bread. Never underestimate the volumes of folks with Celiacs! Probably best for me, because I shouldn't have yeast, but I was sad that I didn't get a dinner roll.

What I did get was the chicken pesto pasta. It was wonderful! And the brownie was heavenly. It made it feel like a real meal, like I was somehow vastly different than anyone else ordering at the table. A lovely Xmas gift!

OH! Maggiano's also has gluten-free beer. I avoided the GF beer because of the fermenting process (the yeasties in my body would LOVE it), but I am very happy to say that Maggiano's stocks it. So if you drank beer prior to your diagnosis, Maggiano's has got your back.

It was a great evening. I joined their emailing list and got a $10 off coupon. I guess we'll just have to go back to eat there in the next month. Oh darn. [please note the sarcasm!] You can get a coupon, too, if you join the list; click here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I have seen a number of year-in-review memes and other such posts running around blogs and Facebook in the past few days. These seem to reflect on resolutions a lot. What were they? Did you keep them? One person referred to them merely as a 'To Do' list.

Since I didn't have this blog last year, I made no resolutions here. This year, I think I will. It will give me something to strive for as well as a point of reflection come 1/1/11.

So during 2010, I resolve to:
  • Finish my 30 days of food I can eat.
  • Try recipes from all 4 of the cookbooks I got over the holidays.
  • Have at least one month where I manage to post each day.
  • Keep track of the food I eat when I'm feeling healthy, too, so I can eat more of that and spend less time avoiding all of the items I can't eat.

And because I am like everyone else, I also resolve to:

  • Lose some weight, ideally 21lbs as of this post; and
  • Exercise more, especially sit-ups and running again come warmer weather. If more money comes through, I would love to pick-up water aerobics again. Great because it's low-impact.

I think I'll try to touch base each month on these. Keeps me honest, right?

Have a wonderful New Year, all in Internet-land!