Easter Menu

Easter is upon us.

I am not ready whatsoever. Graduate school is kicking my butt, however I’ll be down to one internship in the summer so I should be less frazzled.

I have been racking my brain for the last few days about what to eat on the day the prodigal son rose. Bryan hates ham so the traditional Easter meal will never happen in this household.

I also wanted to make something easy since it’s just the two of us. Last year I didn’t even remotely got within the same room as what I had planned to cooked. It’s the overachiever in me.

Also, the gluten free thing makes things a wee bit harder. I have like 9 pie crusts and puff pastry in my freezer. So one of the desserts will not be gluten free.

So completely not traditional, and quick and easy,  and remotely gluten free. Sounds complex somehow.

Easter Menu

MAIN
Sausage, beans, and rice
Corn on the cob

DESSERT

Strawberry and creme pie – not gluten free
Greek custard.

Glutino Decadent Chocolate Cake

You know how you try a product and it’s really good, so you try another product of the same brand.

What you don’t realize is that the high expectations you gained from trying the first product influences your feelings when you try a second product. And, in all honesty, it dooms the new product to fail from the start.

A long time ago, Mumika and I tried a gluten free chocolate cake box mix. Why? I don’t know. Probably to try something different. This was before gluten free became all the rage that it is today. It was one of those, it’s supposedly healthy, why not try it? What’s the worse that can happen?

It was the most god awful tasting chocolate cardboard posing as cake I had ever had. Flash foward a good few years, technology, and the time to create a better method of gluten free flower blending, and one would think there would be a better tasting cake.

One would think.

I ended up making cupcakes instead. The thought process was chocolate cake with a strawberry mascarpone cheese frosting, but that totally didn’t happen.

First and foremost, when making this box mix, the batter was extremely runny to the point that I feared it would end up being a hot soupy mess. Also, it had to be baked longer causing the cake to dry out. On top of that, the cake was extremely dense and not that fluffy awesomeness we all know and love of cake.

In a nutshell, it failed on so many levels that when it came to taste, I didn’t really care that much. It tasted better than chocolate cardboard but not by much.

Which means, I’ll have to experiment with different flours or flour blends before finding the perfect cake.

Grrrr……

I would try to make this again but I fear it would end the same causing me to waste money on it. Maybe I’ll try a different cake box mix next time.

Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Pouch

As I was walking down the baking aisle at HEB, looking for anything gluten free, I came across Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin mix pouch thing.

I hate muffin pouches. They are as pointless as cookie pouch mixes. But I was like, you know what, what the hell, lets try it. It was only $1.50, how could I say no.

When I got home and looked at the ingredients, much to my horror, I realized my mistake. On the list of ingredients, I found artificial blueberry bits. What.the.FUCK does that mean?

Seriously?

I don’t get it. Why claim there’s blueberry, if there aren’t blueberries in the bloddy thing.

But I made it anyway, because this is all about trying new things and gaining a better understanding and what have you. Although, part of my understanding now is that homemade where you physically had fresh blueberries to a muffin mix is the way to go. This way you know that there is actual blueberries in it and artificial, imitation, blueberry bits, pieces or whatever it claims. These so called blueberries is nothing but dye, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. So basically, they are adding extra sugar and calling it blueberries. I don’t know how that works, or even how on earth they get it to remotely smell like blueberries. Must be that artificial flavor or in this case smell.

So yeah.

Um, no. No no no no no. No. NO. NO. no. Did I say no? Because I mean no. No. NO. no. No. Just no.

Don’t do it. Don’t ever do it.

And if someone offers you blueberry muffins and the bits look oddly round and small and questionable and bubbly blue colored melted sugar, kindly say no thank you. Because it’s a facade, a horrible blueberry muffin facade. It’s not real. It never was real. I never will be real. Boycott it. Yes, boycott it.

Sadness.

Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

As Bryan and I were looking at protien powder, a few weeks ago, I found myself staring at gluten free box mixes. The gluten free area shares an aisle with the fitness health and homeopathic stuff.

Before this journey, I was dead set again the whole box mix crap. But, I had an epiphany as I looked at brownie, white cake, chocolate cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana bread, pizza crust, and pie crust box mixes.

I have no idea what I’ve truly gotten myself into.

I needed to try these box mixes to see if the baked goods of the gluten free lifestyle were even remotely edible. And, there was a coupon. Most gluten free box mixes are an absurd $3.99 and up. The $1.50 off coupon sort of made it remotely worth it.

So I made it.

AND.

Oh.My.God. Most amazing brownie ever created. It’s gooey, collapse in your hand and shape it into what ever yummy of awesomeness. Almost every part of the brownie was the awesome middle part people everywhere fight for and rejoice over.

Screw brownies with wheat in it. They never come out this perfect.

So moist. So chocolatey. You can actually see the chocolate chips in the mix.

Bryan ended up eating pretty much the whole pan in one sitting. He claimed he was saving me from the evil brownies. But I knew better.

What in it? SUGAR, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, COCOA POWDER PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, WHITE RICE FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, CORN STARCH, XANTHAN GUM, SALT.

Hmmmmm. Maybe I can figure how to make this on my own and cut the sugar down. Yep, definitely need to figure out how to do that.

Despite being on a gluten free diet, I’m still trying to figure out how to tweak things. There is always room for tweaking. Always.

But until then, if you have $4 on you and want to make the best brownies in the universe (thus far), go ahead and get a box. You won’t regret it.

Gluten Free pasta round 2

Bryan and I are huge pasta lovers. We could eat spaghetti everyday. Literally.

After the first attempt of pasta, Bryan brought home a different brand to try.

Ronzoni.

This gluten free pasta is amazing. And it tastes better than regular pasta.  The flour blend used is quinoa, white, and brown rice.

I think the biggest thing is that it cooks correctly.

And it works great in pasta based casseroles.

I wouldn’t mind trying Barilla gluten free pasta, but until I can find it Ronzoni works perfectly for me.

Gluten free pasta round 1

Something I definitely was no where close to giving up in the gluten free live I found myself in was pasta.

Luckily, despite living in a small town, I found gluten free pasta. The downside is it cost roughly twice as much.

I already knew this was going to be an issue because healthy food always cost more the junk food. Hence the whole fast food trillion dollars industry. Junk sells because of deflated costs and what will most people pick: a dollar cheeseburger or a seven dollar sit down meal. The cheeseburger because it’s cheap, mobile, and fast to make.

So we get the pasta. The HEB brand and I read the directions. Boil water, put pasta in water, and boil for 11 minutes. Previous to this adventure, I had been warned of the gumminess gluten free pasta possessed.

However, now I know why. The bloody pasta was no where close to being cooked. Therefore, it comes out gummy.

So I cooked it for a total of 20 minutes and ended up overcooking the dammit thing.

Maybe this pasta thing isn’t worth the hassle.  I don’t know. Maybe I got the wrong pasta? Either way,  HEB gluten free pasta is a no go in this journey.

A little experiment

There is a lot of things going on right now and I’m starting to believe I’ve bitten off a wee bit too much than I can chew. It’s not that I haven’t cooked food, I have, I just haven’t had time to post these new recipes. Especially considering, we’ve been doing the whole gluten free thing. I am doing 3 internships, taking 4 classes, and I have a part time job. So if I’m not at school, I’m at an internship or at work. I hardly have time to do the school work let alone type a post.

The other reason for the lack of posts is because of the gluten free lifestyle I am trying. What was originally a week was extended into two weeks and now may be more indefinite.

Why?

I did a little test yesterday. Bryan and I went out for chinese food and I ended up eating a few things with wheat in it. I decided to do this to find out if I got sick and how long it took to get sick if I did.

The answer: I did get sick but it was roughly 6 hours later instead of immediately. What does this mean? It means that I am healing. This diet is actually working. It also means that I will probably do another check in about a month.

Why am I doing these experiments? A) It is impossible to go on a diet or lifestyle change without falling off the bandwagon. So if I give myself a little lee way, I’m less likely to give into my gluten cravings. I’ve always believed in moderation, but in this case, it’s more of a rewards system for doing so well and sticking with it. B) I want to see when my stomach and intestines are fully healed. I started with 2 weeks, next will be a month, the time after that will be three months, then six months, and then a year.

I do realize that technically each time I eat gluten it will be causing damage, but I think the amount of damage will be limited and would therefore allow me to figure out when I can, if I can incorporate some gluten in my diet. Even if it’s a twice a year sort of thing.

In the next few posts, I will be talking about what to expect of the gluten free lifestyle, reading nutrition labels to see if a product is gluten free, gluten free pasta, gluten free pizza, gluten free cake and brownie box mixes and how to make your own gluten free all purpose flour (hopefully).

In between these posts, I am hoping to finish posting recipes I made before the gluten free lifestyle change. So please bear with me. If this ends up significantly reducing my insulin intake, the name of the blog may be changed as well.

Gluten Free Week Menu

Starting February 1st (Superbowl Sunday), I will be on a gluten free diet for a week.

Where is this coming from you ask? Good question.

I blame my husband.

Bryan has been on this build a better body be ripped quest and in this quest he’s been researching a lot about diet, how to gain weight, how to trim, food, and what have you.

In this quest with extensive research, Bryan found information pertaining to what a gluten allergy or insensitivity looks like. And the side effect described me to a T. If I have a gluten enriched day like eating at Fazoli’s, or an abundance of flour, my stomach disagrees with me and I’m running to the toilet every hour. I know it’s too much information about my bowels, but who knows, maybe your going though the same thing. I’m helping people here, damnit.

He also found out that this gluten whatever can imitate diabetes. This is major for us. When I was first diagnosed, after all the extensive blood work and tests, my endo informed me that beta cells were intact, however, they were inactive. He didn’t know what caused this and suggested I find a way to destress myself.

Why is this important? So with this gluten thing, what happens is that the gluten blocks the stomach from signaling to the pancreas to that it needs insulin. This causes sugar to get into the blood creating high blood sugar. The stomach tries to repair itself, but the more gluten you eat, the harder and slower it is to repair. I have beta cells. Diabetics don’t have beta cells, which means I’m abnormal. If I have beta cells and they aren’t working, it could be because they aren’t being signaled to produce insulin. Which means, I might have this gluten thing.

So the theory now is, if I go gluten free, it will allow my stomach to heal and be able to signal the need for insulin and this signal would actually reach the beta cells causing them to wake up and activate.

If this works, it means I will have to have a gluten free lifestyle for a while.

BUT!

It could mean that my husband CURED ME!!!!

I’m hopeful. But not looking forward to this new dietary restrictive diet. No more cake, cookies, brownies, bread, croissants, cupcakes, pasta, and what have you.

Gluten Free Menu

Meals:

Ground Beef and Hummus
Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snap peas
Chicken with zucchini noodles and avocado cream
Fajita Style Chicken chili
Coffee rubbed steak with balsamic vegetables
Chicken Cacciatore RisottoSomething with polenta I’m sure

Desserts:

Banana and Berry Terrine
Flourless Chocolate Cake

We will see what happens.

Deconstructed Steak and Cheese

When I was in undergrad, my college had an amazing cafeteria that we shared with MassArt. Everyday was filled with yummy food that I forgot I had an eating disorder and started eating again.

If it wasn’t a blt with swiss, or a salad, I was eating a steak and cheese. Which is essentially a cheesesteak. Boston likes to have their own lingo and whenever I called it a cheesesteak someone would correct me. I loved the steak and cheese. Add BBQ sauce to it and it was perfect. I would eat it every day for weeks. I’m pretty sure that’s what helped me balloon up to 165.

I came across this recipe and was like, OMG, it’s a steak and cheese without the bread! Meaning, it’s carb free and gluten free. I’ll be honest, I got excited. I got really excited. It’s one of those, I can’t really eat it unless I take extra insulin due to the amount of bread in it. Instead of the bread, the bell pepper is the bread and you stuff the cheese and steak and onions into it.

Pretty amazing!
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Deconstructed Steak and Cheese

1 pound of thinly sliced steak
1/2 onion, sliced
6 bell peppers, halved and deseeded
12 slices of provolone cheese
1 tablespoon lawdry’s seasoned salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder

Directions

Season steak with Lawdry’s, garlic, and onion.

Cook steak with onions in a skillet until steak is fully cooked and onions are translucent. Stir occasionally to make sure you don’t burn the onions.

Stuff steak and onion mix into each half of the bell peppers.

Cover steak mixture stuffed in bell pepper with a slice of provolone cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Makes 12. Per Bell pepper half.

It’s portable. You don’t have to use a knife or fork.

And it tastes like steak and cheese.

I love it. I love it so much.

It’s so much fun to eat. Great for lunch. You could technically put these things on a grill and grill it. But baking works as well. If you need a bread of some sort, make Pao de Queijo. It’s also gluten free.

Yay gluten free meals.

Pao de Queijo

The World Cup is going on the Brazil…still.

Despite being raised European, soccer is definitely not my sport. I think it might be because there is too much running and in 5th grade our PE teachers ran us to death. TO DEATH. If we didn’t complete a mile by a certain time, we had to run another mile. This went on for what seemed like 3 months. Running and running and more running and guess what!?!?!? More running. It was endless. And so started my hatred for running.

Brazil made it to the quarter finals and was destroyed by Germany. 7- 1. Ouch.

I was first introduced to these amazing little breads and a Brazilian Steakhouse that had opened near my apartment in Houston. The old steakhouse had closed down and the new one popped up. Bryan and I went when they started giving out coupons and we immediately fell in love with these.

A few months later, the steakhouse started getting a bad rep so I haven’t been there since. But I’ve been craving these stupid little cheese breads.

Pao de Queijo is sold everywhere in Brazil but mainly in bakeries and food stands. What makes these different is the use of tapioca flour in lieu of regular flour. Hence gluten free. Yay gluten free.
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Pao de Queijo
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed shredded Mexican like cheese

Directions

In a large bowl combine egg, oil, milk, flour and salt.

Add cheese, and mix until well combined.

Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and pour batter into wells until full.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Makes 23.

I used a melting Mexican cheese for the cheese. Some people use parmesan, others queso fresco. I decided to use queso asadero instead.

You could also use a blender instead but I have no clue where my blend was so I did everything by hand. It still came out amazing.

If the middle of the cheese bread concaves, that’s normal. No need to worry.

I absolutely adore these little breads. I love how cheesy and chewy they are. They will come out chewy so don’t freak out and pop them in the oven to cook them more.

This is not your normal sort of bread. However, it’s great to serve with stews, meats, and in my case a deconstructed Philly cheesesteak. It would work as an appetizer.
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