Grain-free Bacon & Veg Quiche

QuicheI haven’t shared with you how my health is lately for the simple reason that it changes EVERY DAY. Or at least it feels that way.

We keep peeling back layer after layer on the onion in allergy treatments. We’ve peeled back so many layers I keep thinking that onion should be nothing by now. Evidently, it’s an ogre-sized onion. I can now have dairy and eggs, but my body hates corn and coconut oil. I had peanut butter last week for the first time in a year. It took three treatments for my body to finally accept the electrolytes in water as good for me. I had to buy distilled water to drink and cook with during the reactions. There are many things that live in our bodies that mine thinks are foreign invaders. The reactions range from sinus problems to upper GI gas and pain. That last one is a doozy. I think if I just have one good belch it will stop, and sometimes it does. Next on my list is Vitamin B. I thought I never fully recovered from the adrenal crash in December. Turns out my body is attacking the Vitamin B I’m getting from my food instead of using it like it’s supposed to.

This is what happens when we go through decades of being misdiagnosed. Our bodies get so used to attacking what it thinks is bad, when we take it away, it targets something new. Sometimes many things new.

Physically, my body decides to throw out pain signals every few days. Lately it’s been in my shoulders. It started at the shoulder blades, but now it’s the joints. I get a massage and I’m fine for a day. I see the chiropractor and I’m fine for a couple of days. Right now, I’m at frequent visits to the chiropractor to lick this thing. It really sucks when it impedes my ability to write or chop vegetables. There are days I spend all day just trying to relieve the pain naturally.

I’m having a parting of the ways with grains. It’s causing the inflammation in my hands which prevents any fine motor skills, especially in the morning the day after. This leads me back to why you’re really here – grain-free quiche.

It was the second week of having eggs back in my diet when I realized I could have quiche again. I have not had it since going gluten-free four years ago. I remember having a conversation with Shirley of gfe – gluten-free easily about gluten-free crusts. I was still fairly new and my adoration of quiche really rested on the crust. The buttery, flaky crust that just melted on the tongue. I would lovingly roll out that dough and meticulously place it in the tart pan. I knew it was best if I just didn’t even try. It turned out to be a good thing. While I still have those memories of the gluten-full crusts I used to make, they no longer rule my desire. I am content with things being different on my gluten-free diet instead of exactly the same.

Enter, grain-free crust. It’s not perfect. It will crumble a little from pan to plate, but it feels every bit as good on the palate as a gluten-full crust. At least to me. I could’ve spent more time on perfecting the crust, but the taste of it was more important to me. Plus, I wanted to give you something easy. Press it in once it is doughy and voila! Pie crust. You will need pie weights or dried beans to weigh it down for the par baking or it will rise and get fluffy. If you have a crust you prefer to use, by all means, use it. Don’t feel beholden to use mine.

If you want to make this dairy-free, use your favorite dairy-free milk. I’m used to using hard cheeses with quiche. I used cheddar once and it was okay so you could use a dairy-free cheddar, I just can’t guarantee how it will turn out since I rarely used dairy-free cheese while I was reacting to dairy. You could leave the cheese out and have something more like an egg pie or frittata in a crust or whatever you choose to call it. You will also want to sub the butter in the crust for Earth Balance or palm shortening.

If you don’t like bacon or you are a vegetarian leave out the bacon!

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche – serves 4-8
Crust:
2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
1/2 cup butter, softened (or palm shortening or Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons chilled water (I used the full 2)
Filling:
6 ounces bacon, chopped (roughly 6 strips)
1 leek (approximately 3 inches of white and green part) quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped
salt & ground white pepper for seasoning
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or dairy-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Parmagianno-Reggiano, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 350º and set a 9″ pie pan to the side with pie weights or dried beans and parchment or wax paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour and salt. Add butter or shortening and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized balls of flour and butter. Add the chilled water a little at a time with a fork. The pea-sized balls should start sticking together like a dough. Don’t panic if it doesn’t, just set aside the fork and use your hands. Once it comes together, place it in the pie pan and press into the bottom and sides as evenly as you can. Place the parchment paper over the crust then pour the pie weights on top. Par bake the crust for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Remove pie weights and parchment paper then set aside until ready to fill.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon. Cook it until it is browned to your liking and fat has been rendered. Do not worry about anything sticking to the bottom of the pan (if you use stainless steel like me). Add in the leeks, season with ground white pepper and cook for two minutes. Add in the the red peppers, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until softened. Add kale, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl add eggs, milk, salt, and ground white pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Add half the bacon and vegetables to the pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle half the cheese over the mixture then add half the egg mixture. Repeat with the remainder of the mixtures and cheese. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes. At the end of the baking time, remove and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Grain-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ginger Molasses CookiesIf you follow me on social media, you heard about my allergy treatment last week. I had enough of the headaches and wondered if they were a reaction to something. I couldn’t pinpoint it myself because I wasn’t eating the same thing all the time. If it kept trying, I never would have figured it out.

Water.

My body wasn’t liking water, soda, sports drinks, and tea. I never drink sports drinks, I rarely drink soda, and lately I’ve only been drinking herbal tea. Water I drink like there is no tomorrow. When my doctor tested me in the subcategories, I was reacting to the glucose and caffeine in soda. He said the times when caffeine alleviated the headache, it was overriding my body’s initial reaction.

Go figure. Allergic to myself and water.

I had to not eat or drink anything for two hours after the treatment. My first sip of water I had I start to feel the first inkling of a headache and I switched to coconut water for the rest of the day. I started drinking water again the next day and no reaction. I am glad they are gone!

I’ve had a little more energy since then, too. Pumpkin Palooza is going on in my kitchen and I am churning out projects I’ve sidelined for months. Feels good.

On to cookies.

These cookies will be slightly more on the ginger side than the molasses side, which is what I wanted. If you love molasses cookies, never fear. You will still be able to taste the molasses.

I use cashew butter in this recipe because the flavor will not overtake the ginger and molasses. I did not attempt to make these with Sunbutter because of my current sunflower seed allergy. If you or a loved one has a nut allergy, you can use Sunbutter in place of cashew butter and pumpkin seed flour in place of almond flour but taste your batter first. You may need to make adjustments so the Sunbutter does not take over as it tends to do. You can add ground ginger if you need to, but only add a little at a time. You can always add more, but you cannot take away.

Grain-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)

1 cup cashew butter (I used roasted natural)

1 cup almond flour

3/4 cup blackstrap molasses

1/4 cup Ginger Spread

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat liner (I use the Silpat liners for no waste). Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets and press with the back of a spoon or your fingers to flatten slightly. Bake for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest on the cookie sheets for five minutes. Remove cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating. The longer you let them cool before trying to eat them, the better they will firm up.

Unconditional Love

Honolulu - Capitol Building, DebiI started writing this post with the intention for it to be part of the July Self-Care Retreat, but as I kept writing it became something more.

Indulge me just a little.

You would think I would be an expert in self-care by now. After all, that is why I quit my job last December. To devote all my time to take care of myself so I can recover. My self-care when I started out was reading, scrapbooking, writing (oodles of it), going to the movies, shopping, spending time with friends as I was able, sitting on the patio and enjoying the sun, painting my nails (yes, I need a pretty pretty now and then), yoga, and interval runs. However, with each new challenge thrown into my lap since comes a firestorm of emotions within. Anger, sadness, fear, doubt, grief.

I once posted on Facebook that when we go through years of being misdiagnosed then finally get on the right track it is like peeling an onion. You take off one layer and there is another one waiting. I feel like I have an onion that doubles every time I peel back a layer. Adrenal fatigue. Multiple food allergies. Leaky gut. Sjogren’s Syndrome. More allergies.

Through it all, I do what I feel I need to do each day to take care of myself. Put off doing chores because I feel like crap and go to a movie instead? Yes. Read a book instead of vacuum because I have no energy? Yes. It’s the Spoon Theory at work. There are things I have to do each day: shower, floss, brush my teeth (up to four times a day), and cook dinner. Those tasks are spoons that are spoken for as soon as I wake up. The rest of the household tasks and exercise depends on how many spoons I have left. If those are all the spoons I have for the day, then the rest of my day is spent doing whatever doesn’t take much energy.

Sjögren’s is taking a toll on me. I still fatigue easily if I’m not careful.  It’s tough reminding myself that I’m not simply being lazy. I’m not lazy. It’s tough looking at the mess that sometimes grows around me and remind myself tomorrow is another day. Even if tomorrow turns out to be like today.

The baby thing is still living in my head. I can’t seem to shake it. At least not right now. It’s reminding me of a lesson from my years in martial arts that no matter how much I think I know, I know nothing. It’s also teaching me a new lesson.

We need to love ourselves. I’m not talking about loving who we are: strong, independent, witty, talented, etc. It’s loving who we are how we are in each moment. Broken, scarred, flawed. I have to love the me riddled with health problems, may never have children no matter how much I may want them, and functions on a how-do-I-feel-right-now basis.

It’s harder than it sounds. Just yesterday I lamented out loud, “I hate being sick.” A far cry from self-loathing and yes, I’m allowed to have feelings and express them. But I beat myself up for even saying it. That’s not loving myself.

I have to allow myself my feelings without judging myself and move on. Sound weird? Maybe. But we don’t want others to judge us. Why is it okay for us to judge ourselves? Why is it okay for us to love ourselves only when we feel we are perfect or only for those traits that we feel are good? We can love others unconditionally, but not ourselves.

This is work I do every day. Accept and love me for the sick me I am right now as much as I accepted and loved the healthy me.