gluten free roundup 2

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yikes–one month in already!  Except for a slip of beer (I was so curious to know what J’s new brew tasted like, I forgot it had gluten in it…) and a decision to not be crazed about whether things like salad dressing or oatmeal have gluten in them, it hasn’t been very difficult at all.  Here are a few of my favorite things, now that I’m practically a pro:

1. butternut squash soup, above.

2. french toast – using udi’s bread, and if you forget to put the best part (the spices!) in the egg batter, sprinkle them in the syrup before you warm it up (everyone warms up their maple syrup, right?)  Warm up your non-stick skillet, combine 2 eggs & about 1/4-1/3 cup milk, 1/2 t cinnamon & 1/8 t nutmeg–if you remember to!, and whip them good.  Soak the bread for a few minutes on each side (mine came straight from the freezer, so it could use a healthy dose batter).  Then cook on medium heat for 2-4 minutes on each side.  It tastes just the same, at least to me!

3. oatmeal (five-minute oatmeal from A Beautiful Mess)- as the mornings get cooler, I relish a warm breakfast; oatmeal is my favorite, especially because the toppings are endless!  Of course, The Refectory’s Baked Oatmeal is a fave, too.

4. spaghetti squash carbonara – Jordan headed to North Dakota last week to see his family, and before he left I made a hot-dish to help him acclimate to the Upper Midwest.  Unfortunately, I liked it about as much as my camera did (if anyone knows how to make hot-dish photos look hot, let me know):IMG_0372

5. kale salad (Official version) – LIVING on this (my bastardized version).  Quinoa is the bomb.

IMG_03486. No-Bake Cookies  via A Beautiful Mess; a Midwestern classic & fave of mine since childhood.  What a chance that there isn’t any gluten in them–no substitutions needed!

IMG_03927. Roast Veggies & Polenta: chop up whatever’s in your fridge–broccoli, peppers, tomatoes (please don’t store them in your fridge!), onions, carrots, combine with olive oil, salt & pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare some polenta–hint: it’s just grits, yellow cornmeal in boiling water, stir in some cream cheese or goat cheese at the end, if you’re feeling fancy.

 

P.S. check out my gluten free roundup #1, and my new recipes page!

gluten-free roundup number 1

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(a little reminder to help me in my first week)

1. gluten-free gnocchi & 2. spicy pork ragu  the latter is a fail-safe favorite, first made for a cold, dark, windy Valentine’s Day in St. Louis; the gluten-free gnocchi, at least this recipe, wasn’t super successful (as in, keeping it stuck-together), but I’m curious to try this one next time.

3. veggie pasta a favorite from pre-gluten-free days, because it’s so veggie-rich.IMG_0280-2

4. apple and raspberry crumble (I subbed oat flour for the regular flour, and made about 1/2 recipe–just 4 apples, etc, for a smaller batch)

5. raspberry oat muffins I used oat flour instead of regular flour in the recipe, and put the batter in a muffin tin (baked for 20 minutes) instead of a loaf pan.  Though the muffins were more delicate, they firmed up enough to handle as they cooled down, and I love the oat-y texture.

6. chocolate meringues a naturally gluten-free dessert, a la Manger, my favorite French cooking & lifestyle blog.

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7. vegan brownies another pre-gluten-free favorite that has made the jump naturally–an easy, easy use for languishing bananas.

this morning

as I spent Monday morning sleeping the weekend off (in a facilitating-a-junior-high-retreat way, not in a Duke-girl-socialite way), my dear husband ran to CVS to buy more Allegra-D (the only way to survive autumn in South Carolina) and then sat in the next room, reading “his friend” (we use this phrase very liberally in the Hylden household) Rod Dreher’s blog.  When I awoke at noon (maybe I’m becoming the junior-highers with whom I spent the weekend…), I checked my email and found this excerpt:

“I started it on Sunday September 3. Here’s why I bring it up now: I found that after doing without wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes, the mono symptoms had dramatically declined. Not gone away, but gotten a lot better. Normally I have constant inflammation in my nasal passages, and feel worn down, as if my body were doing all it could to fight off an invader. That still happens, but not nearly as often. Every day I was having to take a nap several hours long, in the middle of the day. I’ve only had to do that once since I began this diet. I even noticed that symptoms of Raynaud’s Syndrome, an autoimmune condition with which I was diagnosed six or seven years ago, have become milder.”

While his wife was starting up the seasonal sudafed regimen and sleeping several hours in the middle of the day (of course, those two alone are probably related), Jordan stumbled upon the witness that broke the camel’s back.

IMG_0203I’ve been wondering about the relationship between gluten and autoimmune diseases for years (having activated my Rheumatoid Arthritis about this time of year 13 years ago), and toyed with going gluten-free two or three years ago.  In the end, my passion for baked goods, pasta, pizza, and all the good things in life (even a burgeoning affinity for beer) won out over trying a lifestyle without wheat.

The voices in my head of my doctor-father and my common-sense-filled (child-of-a-farmer) Midwestern husband, had helped my rationalization, along with colloquial witnesses that attested at least a six-month cleanse period before any effect was noticeable.

With the shift of Jordan’s vote and my generally-antsy feeling at this seasonal shift, I’m ready to try it.  Maybe not for six months, but if changes are noticed in a mere 5 days (as in Rod’s case), surely a few weeks is a reasonable goal.  Starting today (for better or worse, I didn’t have a croissant or any gluten this morning before my resolution), till the end of October (coincidentally, the anniversary of the day my RA went full tilt), I’m giving up gluten.

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As last November dawned, I remember thinking to myself, “Good lord, where did September and October go?!”  Trinity had hosted the former Archbishop, Lord Carey, I’d started up with the Canterbury College Ministry at USC, launched a monthly Drinks & Discussion, and I turned around, and autumn was gone almost without a mention or moment of reflection.

May this intentional and somewhat terrifying commitment demand a bit more attention to the present this season.

How are you mindful about what you eat and how it affects your general well-being?

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Entertaining a dairy-free friend a few weeks ago (and knowing that Smart Balance, though awesome, doesn’t melt into pastry very well), I took the deep plunge into gluten-free/dairy-free baking.  What better than chocolate and coconut to soften the no-butter, no-flour blow?

They were so delicious, there aren’t even any photos.

(super adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies)

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Combine 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened, if possible), 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 egg whites (egg-white-beaters–in the carton–are great).  Best to mix with hands, as it’s a sticky, strange batter given to clumping.  When thoroughly combined, wash hands, line a cookie sheet with parchment, and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Wet fingers (perhaps fill a small bowl with water to facilitate a little finger dip while shaping the macaroons) so that the batter doesn’t stick (as much…) and mold 1-tablespoon servings into balls, pyramids, or whatever inspires you.  Place on cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart (you can pack them in pretty well–usually all on one sheet), and then bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

Let cool–at least a little bit–and enjoy!  Next batch, I’ll try to snap a photo before devouring them…