Saturday, January 26, 2008

Soup's On!

What do you do with those left over veggies? You make soup. That's certainly a better idea than wasting your hard earned money on quality produce that ends up in the garbage. What is in your vegetable bin? I saw a green pepper, white onion and garlic. Not to mention a sweet potato. That is a perfect start. In the freezer were canned crushed tomatoes and GF broth. I picked up a can of Goya beans at the market and fresh carrots. Now I was cooking. I sauteed, I added sofrito, beans, etc... and will soon put some GF fusilli in the pot. I thought about putting left over rice but the noodles sounded better. Add more seasoning to taste. I often grate Parmesan cheese on to the soup just before serving. It does not take long to cook and is perfect on a cold winter night. When you are on the GF diet you cook most meals at home if you want to eat healthy. This soup is very satisfying and freezes well. Enjoy.
I plan to try meatballs soon. I haven't eaten them since diagnosis but I think I am prepared to attempt them with GF bread crumbs and a little of Pamela's mix. Stay posted.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spanish Style

Pork chops, rice and beans. Now there is a GF meal that is satisfying. I marinate the chops in Goya Mojo marinade for beef, chicken and pork and I also season the chops with pepper. Of course, I cook the chops on top of the stove in a little extra virgin olive oil. The white rice comes from the Chinese take out. They do it perfect every time. I am not a big fan of brown rice, I'll pass on that. I always use Goya beans. Now here is the tricky part. You heat some of the extra virgin olive oil in the pot and then you add the sofrito. I don't care for the store bought ones and the authentic version is a lot of work. So hopefully you have an Hispanic friend who makes their own sofrito all the time and they will give you some, sell you some, whatever it takes. It is a wonderful blend of peppers and cilantro with many other delicious ingredients. You can also put green Spanish olives stuffed with minced pimientos (from Goya) in the beans. I cut them in half. You can use the sofrito when you make soup. Many Hispanics say that they cannot cook without it, and I know exactly what they mean. A good quality hot sauce sprinkled on this meal is the finishing touch. A just-right avocado would be the icing on the cake. Who needs dessert?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Italian Style

Tonight I will make sausage and peppers. On top of the stove not in the oven of course. I'll add some white onion and garlic and a little seasoning. This does require attention, keep moving everything around in the pan. I do start out with a little extra virgin olive oil so the sausages don't stick. I think I'll make the polenta with this.
I purchased Michael Eberhart's Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts book. It is the best GF book I have ever purchased. The quality of the book is a sight to behold. Don't be put off by the title. The recipes are not difficult. I may start with the award winning carrot cake. This does require purchasing several different GF flours. But once you have them in the house you can do almost anything.
This cold weather really is conducive to baking. Maybe I'll do some muffins tomorrow with Pamela's mix. They are so good when they first come out of the oven. And they stay well for a few days. I only make six at a time so what ever isn't eaten up will go into a zip lock bag.

Sunday Breakfast

On Sunday morning I have a chance to eat something I don't have time for during the week. This morning it was maple flavored sausage and a cheese omelet with Prairie Jack cheese with parsley and chives. I picked the cheese up yesterday at Whole Foods and even though it cost $5.99 for 8 ounces I consider it worth the price. I also purchased cinnamon and currant english muffins from Foods By George while I was there. I had one last night with butter, peanut butter and orange marmalade. That was a nice treat. The Prairie bread was not in stock again, I was told that they expect a shipment next week. Unfortunately for me, by the time I get back there again who knows if there will be any left.
Since tomorrow is a holiday, I have the day off. Maybe I'll have an english muffin with eggs over easy. I haven't planned any further than that yet but stay tuned. I have polenta in the house and I'm still thinking what I want to serve with it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

GF puddings

When you have a sensitive stomach, it is nice to come across a dessert that actually makes you feel better! Tapioca pudding and rice pudding are perfect examples of this. I use 2% milk and when making the tapioca I use slightly less sugar than the recipe on the box calls for. I add golden raisins, vanilla extract and sprinkle on the nutmeg and/or cinnamon. This dessert stores well in the refrigerator as does rice pudding. I use arborio rice but you can also use jasmine rice. Of course, a cinnamon stick would be even better than ground cinnamon. You don't need whipped cream but a few fresh strawberries on top certainly wouldn't hurt.
I think I have gained back a few pounds and I'm going to blame it on the junk food in the teacher's lunch room. Skittles and Starbursts may be gluten free but I sure could do without them. I may have to think about how I'm going to eat less/burn more calories. That is a whole 'nother blog and as a former certified personal trainer I do know what works with out torturing myself. My excuse is the cold weather, having a job, obligations but the bottom line is-if you want to do it-you will do it.

Brussel Sprouts

Here is another example of how I adapted a recipe more to my liking. It called for bottle chestnuts which I did not come across. I cut up the red pepper in strips but also added yellow pepper and may have added green pepper as well. It calls for garlic, I may have added white onion. All these veggies go well together, especially since you are coating them with the extra virgin olive oil. Salt, pepper and the best part-caraway seeds. They add a most wonderful flavor. If you are like me and miss rye bread, it was the caraway seeds that make that bread so good. This recipe does require me to take all the pots and pans out of my oven and cook it at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, stirring as needed. This is high in fiber, can't eat too much at a time but you will want to!
I am guilty of running (not literally) through the supermarket and grabbing the familiar items I usually make. So I treated myself to a pretty recipe file and I try to go through it from time to time to choose one of the recipes in it and write down what I need to buy for it. Even if I don't get the items that day, it is written down and sooner or later I will make that recipe.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday night dinner

It had been a while since I cooked my grilled chicken with arugula and tomatoes. I firmly believe in making a recipe your own. Take out what you don't like, add what you do. I added cucumber to this one. The chicken is marinated in red wine vinegar, olive oil (always extra virgin) honey mustard, pepper and garlic. I toss the salad with oil, salt and pepper. I often serve this with canned corn. I've made this for family and friends and they all loved it. Quick and easy and pretty healthy if you ask me. The cheeseburgers I'm planning for tomorrow night are not quite as healthy but I will cook up plenty of white onion in extra virgin olive oil to put on top of the burger.
Speaking of healthy. Many people do not like veggies because their first exposure to them was a disaster. Canned or frozen or undercooked or overcooked or plain or poor quality. What a shame. I really think that veggies are my favorite food. I want to do more with them and will share my brussels sprouts success in my next blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. One of the benefits of the GF diet is that you can not go to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast or grab a buttered bagel from the local deli on the run. I really enjoy oatmeal or cream of rice for breakfast. I hook it up with raisins, chopped walnuts, syrup and nutmeg or cinnamon. It is delicious and does not take long to make at all. A glass of juice, your vitamins and you are good to go. I try to have a healthy morning snack as well. I tend to gravitate towards dried fruits and nuts. They are very satisfying and a great balance of protein and carbs to keep your blood sugar steady.
Of course, I need my coffee too. Thank goodness that my Starbucks double tall caramel macchiato is gluten free. Sometimes I'm in the mood for tea and I like Tetley orange pekoe hot or iced. I stay away from the hot chocolate because all that milk does not agree with my stomach. I rarely eat ice cream any more but it is good to know that Baskin Robbins has gluten free ice creams. In February I like their Love Potion 31.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chili for dinner

I haven't made chili for a while so this chilly weather felt like the perfect time do so so. Contrary to conventional wisdom you do not have to cook chili for hours to get great results. I personally do not like fire-hot chili, in fact I like it a tad sweet. I use chop meat, not the lean meat either, and after I brown it, I drain off the fat. I add in the chopped green pepper, then the chopped white onion and then the garlic to cook along with the meat. I add Goya canned red beans (I love Goya products) and canned crushed tomatoes (Red Pack is good or any well known brand). Then the chili powder and other seasonings as desired (pepper, maybe a pinch of sugar and salt). Let it simmer at least a half hour, stirring often, add a little water if needed and taste until it is cooked to your liking. You can serve it with white rice and/or a salad but I like it just as it is and the left overs are even better!

I've mentioned Pamela's products before and I enjoy her cookies as well. Try the peanut butter or the expresso cookies or the chocolate chip cookies. They are all excellent. I also make muffins with her baking mix, adding raisins, walnuts and a bit of spice. Wonderful!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gluten Free Living Magazine

I was diagnosed with celiac about 8 years ago. At that time I dealt with it pretty well. I did miss pizza but I soon found Foods By George and ordered his GF frozen pizza crust and made pizza with veggies that was pretty good. I also discovered Gluten Free Living Magazine and had the pleasure of meeting the editor Ann Whalen. I have been subscribing to her magazine ever since. I even wrote a few articles about exercise and GF foods that were published in her magazine. This magazine is the definitive source for reliable information on GF everything. Whether you are newly diagnosed or an old timer like me you would do well to subscribe to this magazine. It keeps evolving. The info is cutting edge. Ann and her staff are on top of things when it comes to the latest legislation, product information etc...

Which reminds me, continue to read labels because products do change. Kellogg's Corn Pops for example. Once GF -now not. I am now eating Enviro Kids Frosted Flakes. I like them with raisins and 2% milk. It sure beats puffed rice. The GF menu is getting better and better, thank goodness.

Monday, January 14, 2008

GF pasta

I love Tinkyada pasta. I buy the spirals, fusilli, penne, elbows and the lasagna. Tonight I had the spirals with a wonderful sauce cooked for 4 hours with sausage and fresh basil added. I also had leftover chicken cutlets and I made sure to put fresh grated cheese over the pasta. The fusilli will go in homemade soup. I often make shrimp scampi on Monday but I wanted to use up the chicken cutlets leftover from yesterday. My secret ingredient for the scampi is a touch of dry vermouth. Actually, I adapted the recipe from Emeril so I really can't take the credit for that one. I don't use any butter for the scampi, you don't need it, the lemon works like a charm.
When I have a day off I will do the lasagna. Maybe with eggplant or zucchini. The leftovers stay nicely for days. It is such a treat. When the ricotta and mozzarella go on sale I will pick them up. Lucky for me my boyfriend does the 4 hour sauce. We often do a quick marina sauce as well. That takes less than an hour. I watched Chef Lydia squeeze the whole canned tomatoes with her hand on public television so now I do the same but I wear rubber gloves. These are the meals that make you want an espresso afterwards with a slice of ricotta cheesecake.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ready For Monday

On the GF diet you must always think ahead. I do keep Progresso Chicken Soup with Rice and their Manhattan Clam Chowder on hand since they are gluten free. Of course, you could always just make yourself a nice omelet in a pinch for dinner as well. Work days require some thought because how many grilled chicken cesar salads (without croutons) can you order from the local coffee shop? One a week is plenty. My fall back lunch is tuna salad. It has to be Progresso tuna in olive oil. I add a lot of chopped white onion, mayo, mustard and pepper and those Kame rice crackers come along for the ride on the F train to work. One of my coworkers gave me her mom's cole slaw recipe and I do that once in a while with packaged shredded cabbage. It is sweet, better than the recipe on the bag! My left overs from dinner are often my lunch. I try not to waste too much food and I think I do a pretty good job. I really love almost every vegatable and beans. There's another option-bean salads. Chickpeas with cucumbers and onions seasoned up with salsa or black bean and corn salad. I've even done a great lima bean salad. Those salads go to the beach with me during the summer. How many more months?

Sunday Dinner and more

After having grits with salt, pepper and butter and fried eggs over easy for breakfast, I was off to the eye doctor. It took a while so on the way back I stopped at the original Nathan's in Coney Island. The hot dogs are not GF but the french fries are (skip the processed cheese) and the lemonade is slammin'. I met up with a few friends on the boardwalk and took in some fresh air for a while. Then it was off to the supermarket. I had cheeseburgers on my mind but this rinky-dink store had no chop meat out and I'm not a turkey burger person. So I ended up with thin chicken cutlets which are now marinating in the Goya Mojo marinade and black pepper. I'll use Pamela's mix to lightly flour the cutlets and when I cook them up in a little extra virgin olive oil they will be delicious. I also picked up some broccoli that I will saute with garlic in the extra virgin olive oil of course. I do most everything on top of the stove. It is quick and easy. Since I'm feeling lazy I'll just open a can of corn. I love corn in any shape or form. They actually sell corn on the cob on the beach in the summer in Coney Island rolled in mayo and paprika and believe it or not it is good. Another lady comes by on the beach with little corn tacos. They are predicting a snow storm and I'm reminiscing about the good old summer time!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

GF on the run

After running errands and getting a manicure, my stomach really was grumbling. So I headed to McDonald's with my son who is not on the GF diet. He had a number 7 which looked good. However, I went with the grilled chicken salad-no croutons of course. I did order small fries and they were not bad with my diet coke. Then it was off to Met Fresh to pick up dinner. I got a nice piece of fresh salmon which is now seasoned with pepper and lemon. Baby spinach will be sauteed with garlic in extra virgin olive oil. I use extra virgin for everything except baking. I use canola oil for baking.
Of course, it was now cocktail hour. I cut up some white cheddar cheese with chipotle in it and put it on Kame sesame rice crackers. They go with everything. I poured myself a glass of burgundy and what more could you ask for? This gluten free lifestyle certainly has not cramped my style.


I think I have eaten more pancakes since my diagnosis of celiac disease than I did pre diagnosis. I have to thank Pamela for that. I don't know her personally. However, her GF pancake and baking mix is the bomb. Today I made pancakes with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts for breakfast. I use reduced calorie syrup to cut down on the calories. Ha! It is all about portion control of course. I only eat one but it is a nice sized one at that. Actually, I make so many things with her mix that it is my number one favorite GF food. I also make pancakes with chopped canned pears and melted chocolate. Those don't require syrup.
For a change, I also make ricotta pancakes. I'm pretty sure I got the recipe from Cooking Light magazine and adapted it. Pamela's mix has baking powder in it already. These pancakes are more work to make but WOW they are so light and delicious. I've also made pancakes with berries and I like to use the frozen ones as well because the syrup is so good. Of course, pancakes are a weekend treat, usually Saturdays. I'm thinking about grits and eggs for tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I've been reading several GF blogs. Some are very good. However, I seem to notice that the emphasis is either on desserts or the lack of convenient packaged foods. There really are other options out there if you think outside the box. I never was a bread person so the lack of a good GF free bread does not bother me. However, I do intend to try the Prairie Bread at Whole Foods. It was out of stock on my last visit to the Union Square store in NYC. That being said, I'd like to share some of the foods I enjoy for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the GF diet and I hope that there are others out there who enjoy ethnic foods that are healthy (or not so healthy) and are a little more creative with their every day cooking.