Celebrating Celiac

 

 

Me and Peggy G

I have been gluten-free for over a year now.  It means so much to have my energy back, my brain function back (well, most of it), and migraines that are few and far between.  After living with migraines my entire life, I just came to grips with the fact that I’d have them forever and I learned to push through them for the most part and do what I needed to do rather than hole up in a dark room like I wanted to do.  Oh yeah, that pesky IBS I developed after moving to Kentucky…gone.  The spells of vertigo and heart palpitations I experienced off and on since college…gone for the most part.

 

While I haven’t been diagnosed with Celiac, I have a strong suspicion that when I finally get gene testing done, it will be positive.  Unlike many people diagnosed with Celiac, I went a bit backwards and by the time I realized gluten was my problem, I didn’t want to start eating it again to go through all the blood tests and biopsy.

It’s funny that before I discovered gluten was my underlying health problem, I made several friends who are diagnosed with Celiac.  I remember, Peggy G’s battle with her health and how much better she felt after getting rid of it in her diet.  I also remember a phone conversation with her about it when she was trying to navigate eating gluten-free.  “It’s in everything!” she told me.  She came to visit us once after the diagnosis.  I can’t even remember what preparations I took to make sure we had what she could have.  Other than coffee.  Take away her coffee and watch out.  Better yet, hide!   Oh I know why my memory is so fuzzy about that now.  She came just weeks after I had my gall bladder removed and I was still in quite a bit of pain.  I still had a fun time with her!

 

Mr. Deem and The Most Interesting Man In The World

 

Another friend, I’ll call him Mr. Deem, explained to me that he was “allergic to flour” when I first met him.  I think that was just an easy explanation to make sure he didn’t have anything with flour in it.  I felt bad for him, so during a gathering, I felt it wasn’t fair for him to miss out on dessert.  So, I made bibingka, a Filipino mochi-like dessert. He loved it and I made sure he kept some of the leftovers.  I guess you could call him one of my inspirations for being an adventurous eater.  He would go out to ethnic restaurants and try things most Americans won’t touch.  Around the time I stopped eating gluten, he was adding it back in.  It makes him grouchy though.  Or at least that’s what I’m told.  Regardless, he’s a fun guy.  Every time I hear “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” I think of him singing it at karaoke and I smile.  This picture of him was taken the weekend before Chaz and I moved to Cincinnati.  Can’t wait to see him and the rest of our friends again.

 

Me and Caity

 

Caity was diagnosed with Celiac about 6 months before I went gluten-free.  She suffered her entire life and went through repeated testing for what ailed her since she was a toddler.  Despite being under the care of some great medical institutions, like Johns Hopkins, every doctor missed the diagnosis.  Finally, she went to an appointment with a nutritionist (which required a lot of coaxing for her to actually go) and the nutritionist caught it.  Much like my naturopath caught that the Synthroid was making me worse and none of the doctors I was seeing could figure it out.  I have to brag on Caity a little.  She’s finishing up her pre-med degree this semester and will be starting medical school in the Fall.  She an amazing young resilient woman who doesn’t always see how strong she is.

Caity came to visit last Summer for 4th of July weekend.  Even though it was a short trip, I planned a lot of kitchen time for us because she doesn’t like to cook.  No wait, as she says, she’s too lazy to cook.  You can see one of the recipes I taught her while she was visiting here.  She was supposed to visit Thanksgiving week, but she changed jobs which would only let her come for the weekend.  Then Chaz and I moved and I started a new job which wouldn’t give me time for that weekend.  Hopefully, she’ll be coming to visit this Summer before she starts med school.  I have more kitchen time planned for her!

May is Celiac Awareness month.  Keep that in mind.  On May 4th, there will be a gluten-free labeling summit in Washington D.C.   After four years, the FDA still has not finalized standards for adding barley and rye to food labeling, which would help those of us with Celiac and gluten intolerance immensely when buying items that are not naturally gluten-free.  Wheat is already part of the food labeling requirements, but barley and rye are not.  Because of this, we have to know what each ingredient is on the list and if we aren’t sure, we have to call the manufacturer and hope we get a rep that knows what they are talking about.  Can you imagine how much time we spend on this alone?  And it’s not just food.  It’s medications, supplements, and personal care products, too.  Please visit the 1 in 133 website and sign the petition.  You can also make a donation on the site.  Shirley Braden at gluten-free easily recently did a post on this event after a conversation with Jules Shepard, one of the co-founders).  This is very important to all of us in the gluten-free community.  Chances are you know someone or more than 1 someone (like me) who can’t have gluten.  If you don’t, chances are they haven’t been diagnosed yet.  I’m sure you know more than 133 people.  I sure do.

 

 

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: Ginger Lemon Girl

Gluten-Free Vegan Crusty Bread

I’ve been wanting to adopt Carrie for months now, but every time I try, someone else has snapped her up.  If you know Carrie, you know why she’s so popular.  She makes good -free foods easy for the rest of us.  I’m still wanting to try her Gluten-free, Grain-free Peanut Butter Cupcakes and her Basic Gluten-free Pancakes.

I found Carrie about a year ago around the same time I started following Amy, Iris, and Shirley.  So, when I think of Carrie, I think of her being one of my top four that I went to often to look up recipes.  Carrie is a wonderful support and a great go-to with questions.  She even offered to consult with Stick over the phone or Skype when Stick was doing a gf trial for her son with Autism and was having difficulty making gf bread.  The trial didn’t last too long since he seemed to get worse off the gluten, so no more gf for them.  I was just touched she would offer that to someone she didn’t even know.

Freshly cut

Carrie was also one of the first gf bloggers I followed on Facebook.  I loved the questions she asked daily about what was on our menu or what we were having for lunch.

She is also the one who encouraged me to explore Indian an Thai food more.  I’ve become a more adventuresome eater and cook thanks to her.

This Gluten-Free Vegan Crusty Bread is something I’ve been wanting to make since Carrie teased us on Facebook with pictures.  When she finally posted the recipe, I was in the throes of packing for our move and couldn’t make it.  I printed it off and set it aside with other recipes that I intended to fix.  And here I am, 6 months later.  At least I finally made it!  I know other bloggers have made this bread for their adoption posts.  What’s the harm in one more singing her praise at an awesome bread?

This is how awesome it is.  Before it was even done baking, I was craving it.  The aroma was divine.  The little kid in me wanted to remove it from the oven and just tear in to it.  When I finally took it out and set it on the rack to cool, I still wanted to tear in to it.  I tried to sit down and focus on watching a DVD I had picked up from the library that morning  No such luck.  I held out for 15 minutes and I had to go in for a sneak.  I tore off a little piece on the end of one of the loaves.  This was pure heaven.  Ambrosia if you will.

Gluten-free Vegan Crusty Bread with Spanish Olive Hummus and Raw Veggies on the side

I took myself off for a bubble bath to let it cool more.  Otherwise, I would have stood there and eaten an entire loaf.  Good thing the recipe makes 2 loaves!

When I returned a little more sane, I slathered some of my Spanish Olive Hummus on a couple of slices and enjoyed them with some raw veggies on the side.

While eating dinner, I was thinking about how good it would be with eggs.  Yes, you know me.  And, if you know Carrie, you know how much she loves eggs.  We bonded over our love of eggs.  So the following morning I did it.

Gluten-free Vegan Crusty Bread with Eggs Over Easy and sautéed Onions, Peppers, and Radish Greens

The bread was just as good the next morning and I left it on the counter.  I didn’t even toast it!  It was a great vehicle to sop up the runny yolk.  Mmmmm.

If you aren’t following Carrie, check out her blog.  Even if you aren’t eating gluten-free, she has a lot of wonderful recipes made with whole foods.  I’ve tried many of them!

Gluten-free Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Her Gluten-free Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili is great comfort food and easy to make.

See?  What’s not to love about Carrie?

Sometimes, I Hit Perfection

Quelle suprise!

I was reminded about cooking fish in parchment paper while reading a magazine article on ways to add flavor to your food.  Even though I see it used all the time on cooking shows I always forget about it.  It’s been years since I cooked fish en papillote.

I attempted to use a folded heart-shaped parchment paper, but I had too much stuff for it.  I had to star all over and just cut big rectangles, then fold them in half.

What I love about this method of cooking fish, is it turns out flavorful and the fish is like butter in your mouth.  It’s also super easy and fast.

I spent very little time on prep.  The Asparagus was chopped into 3 segments.  Grape tomatoes were cut in half.  Part of a red onion half was sliced thin.  The cod was cut.  Voila.

I asked Chaz after he finished his plate how it was since he said I don’t give him enough time to savor the food before I ask.  He says, “Inedible.”  I said something about him finishing his plate and he said he was taking pity on me.  I should mention that I started eating before him and he finished his plate before I did.

The finished product

Cod en Papillote

1 cod fillet, cut into 3 or 4 portions depending on size

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 3 sections

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

6-8 thin slices of half a red onion

Spinach

Grapeseed oil (or other oil)

Brown rice vinegar

salt

pepper

3-4 pieces of parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350.  Fold each piece of parchment paper in half.  Place one slice of red onion on one half of each piece of parchment paper.  Place each piece of fish on the red onion slices. Add asparagus, tomatoes, and spinach to the parchment around the fish.  Add the last remaining slices of red onion to the tops of the fish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little drizzle of oil and vinegar to each serving.  Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the servings and fold the edges together several times (if you have room enough) of the side across from the fold.  Fold the remaining ends several times.  Take each corner and give it a twist or two to help keep the parchment from opening.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your fish and portions – I did 15 minutes.  Let the packages rest on the pan when you take it out of the oven for a few minutes.  Transfer the packages to a plate and serve unopened.  Tear open the packages from the middle.  This will prevent the juices from leaking out.

A side of wild rice pilaf

I served the cod with a side of wild rice pilaf.

Wild Rice Pilaf

3/4 cup wild rice pilaf mix

1 cup gluten-free chicken broth

1/2 cup water

salt, optional

Add all ingredients to a small pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn simmer with the cover on the pot until the rice absorbs the liquid.  Take the pot off the heat and give it a little stir, then re-cover.  Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

This post is linked to Amy Green’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.