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.

Eggless Egg Salad

Eggless Egg SaladOn our last day in Cleveland a few weeks ago, we had lunch at our hotel before walking down to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. My steak salad included hearts of palm which struck me as texture-wise as similar to hard-boiled eggs.

BINGO!

I really do miss eggs. Runny eggs for breakfast, over leftovers, or in soup/stews. Hard boiled eggs for salads, sandwiches, and snacks. Raw eggs to add to batter for baking. I’m making it through, but I think anyone who had to give up eggs will agree with me about missing them.

The hearts of palm went quickly from idea to plate. That’s how much I miss eggs.

My first round topped a salad. The second round was wrapped up in lettuce after my tester said one of her people was curious about it as a lettuce cup. My grocer didn’t have endive to do a nice little cup, so I used Boston lettuce instead and made a wrap. Just as good.

My recommendation to you, if you make this, make sure you have diced avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds to go with it. The diced avocado gives it the creaminess that hard-boiled egg yolks would. The toasted pumpkin seeds give it the meatiness. I use ground mustard because I cannot have prepared mustard. If you use prepared mustard in its place, it will have a much different taste. Eggless Egg Salad 2

Eggless Egg Salad – serves 2-4

2 14 ounce cans hearts of palm, diced (it’s easier to get the long stalks to dice rather than the chunks)

1 avocado, halved

2 teaspoons ground mustard

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon raw local honey (or your sweetener of choice)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

salt to taste

squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of ground coriander and ground cardamom

olive oil

Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast until fragrant. Set aside. Place diced hearts of palm in a small mixing bowl. In a blender or food processor add half the avocado in large pieces, ground mustard, hemp seeds, 2 tablespoons of the toasted pumpkin seeds, raw honey, turmeric, salt, lemon juice, ground coriander, ground cardamom, and a little olive oil. Start your blender or food processor and remove the center piece of the lid or push through. Drizzle olive oil in until you have your desired consistency.  Pour over the hearts of palm and mix well. Refrigerate if you want to serve it cold. Serve over lettuce leaves, on a salad, or between two slices of allergy-free bread. Garnish with the remaining half of avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds.

If you want to serve it on the same salad I did in the first picture you’ll need: 2 romaine hearts, chopped; 1 cucumber, de-seeded, quartered, sliced; 5 radishes, halved, sliced, and one cup shredded carrot.

Autoimmune Hell

SnowI am struggling. Getting answers to help you move forward doesn’t always propel you forward at a breakneck pace to recovery. I am knee-deep in snow without snowshoes. It is a battle to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Fatigue keeps me from being as productive as I want to be. I don’t know whether it is the adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, the food allergies, or the Sjögren’s which finally decided to join the party. I woke up Monday morning and did not want to get out of bed. It was like back in my full-blown hypothyroid days when I had to drag myself out of bed. Somehow I managed it. And somehow I managed to do 20 minutes of yoga then three full hours of cleaning and projects without a break. Normally I stop and sit between tasks to give me a little recovery. It came at a high price. Food Board

My altered diet is slowly driving me into a new kind of insanity that I don’t think the world has seen yet. No gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, crab, soy, sunflower seeds, sesame, peanuts, pineapple, cranberries, and bananas. Sounds easy, right? Think again. There are also foods I need to avoid to help my body recover from adrenal fatigue. Foods like high potassium fruits, caffeine, oranges, grapefruit, and sugar just to name a few. Now, go to your bathroom and pick up your lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and/or makeup and check for sesame, sunflower, or soybean oil. I use Bare Minerals makeup and knew everything I already had was gluten-free. Turns out most of the lipsticks, lip liners, and lip glosses have at least one of those oils. I nearly cried when I tossed them all in the trash can. The lotion, shampoo, and conditioner my doctor wanted me to try because there was no gluten or soy in it had sunflower oil. Now, go check your favorite potato chips you have hiding in the back of the pantry. Sunflower oil. Just when you think it couldn’t get harder, clean out your fridge of all condiments, pickled veggies, and any meats/fish that were smoked or cured. Clean out the wine rack and vinegars in your pantry. That is just a fraction of what it takes to go yeast-free. I nearly dropped out of my chair when I was looking up online what I needed to do for a yeast-free diet. Everything pointed to the anti-candida diet (ACD). There is some overlap between the allergies, adrenal fatigue, and ACD. I had to resort to the boards to keep everything straight and to help Chaz remember. I’m still not getting it all right, but I’m doing my best. If I have more than I’m supposed to of limited foods I don’t beat myself up, I remind myself to plan better.

RaindropsMy life seems to be a contradiction of illnesses. On the one hand I have a leaky gut. On the other, I am allergic to yeast and can’t have the fermented foods that would aid in healing my gut faster. Sjögren’s is typically treated with different medications which would worsen my leaky gut and the adrenal fatigue. I need sleep to recover from adrenal fatigue but the dry eyes and dry mouth keep me from a full night of sleep. Oh, there is more, but my head is about to explode. I’ve already decided that oral medications for the Sjögren’s will be out of the question. Thankfully, I was able to text with Dr. Cuz about Sjögren’s on Sunday while we drove down to Louisville for a birthday party. She’s the one who called what I’m going through right now “autoimmune hell.” She assured me that a friend of hers (whom I’ve met) has been med free for two years with acupuncture. Now if only the rheumatologists office will call me back! I went in for AAT yesterday and got a list of the rheumatologists use for referrals. The woman who gave it to me recommended the first on the list. When I Googled her after I got home I found she went to UCLA School of Medicine for acupuncture. I like her already. CALL ME BACK, DAMMIT!Happiness

Through it all, I just want to lie down and cry. But I can’t. Sjögren’s won’t let me form the tears to cry. Do you know what it is like to grieve the loss of someone and not be able to cry? Detached. Crying is such an essential part of dealing with sadness and all the emotions that stem from it. I can’t cry and i want to cry about it. But I can’t cry and I still want to cry. Yes, it’s an endless cycle of wanting and being unable.

The bright side is my thyroid, Vitamin D, and iron levels are all within normal limits. Soy has proven to be the bane of my hormones. Last cycle was the first time in a long time that my cramps didn’t have me curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor after tossing the contents of my stomach. No hot flashes either. I’m more thankful to be work-free as I work through all this.  And even as another type of brain fog has seemed to settle, I am still managing to write creatively.

It is a struggle. A big one. I have to remind myself to take everything one day at a time. I have to remember I didn’t get sick overnight. I have to count spoons again in the morning and throughout the day to make sure I can make it to the end. I have to shut myself off from thinking about the future and focus on the present because that tick-ticking of the clock keeps getting louder and louder. If nothing else, I can finally relate to Captain Hook.