Archive for January, 2009

Smoked Turkey Soup

    Turkeys are part of the Central Texas landscape whether it involves hunting wild turkeys, raising domestic turkeys or watching wild turkeys fluffing their feathers across the fairway at the local golf course or perhaps in your front yard. Turkey meat is as versatile as any other and very popular with the folks who are watching their calorie and cholesterol intake. We always have ground turkey in the freezer ready to make meat loaf or pasta sauce. One of our favorite joint efforts between our gluten-free and not gluten-free lifestyles is smoked turkey soup.
    Soup can begin with the remains of a Thanksgiving or Christmas bird or with the packaged drumsticks purchased specifically for soup when an extended cold front rolls in. (Yes, there are parts of our great country that would consider our weather to be a heat wave but locally it is soup time.)
    The head cook (devotee of all things pasta) is in charge of the BIG soup pot, simmering the stock, picking the bones and returning all of the goodness to the original pot. This is where we part ways. The stock and meat are divided and I go on my gluten-free way.
    Many times I just add a package of frozen mixed vegetables from the freezer. Today there were those inevitable odds and ends of veggies and a new jar of red curry powder on the spice rack. It came together rather well. The combination of the squash and the red pepper and chili in the curry powder gives the soup plenty of color and flavor.

Smoked Turkey Soup

Smoked Turkey Soup

Ingredients:
1 quart turkey broth and meat
¼ head of cabbage coarsely chopped
½ butternut squash
Salt and garlic powder to taste
Red curry powder – go easy until you know how much you like

Mom

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GF off the shelf

While Mom is off exploring in the kitchen, I am investigating area stores, reading labels and bringing home products I can eat. But do they pass the taste test? I have already mentioned the level of cooking skill I have, so yes, I am more dependent on health-conscious food manufacturers. I recently tried three products: Amy’s Black Bean & Vegetable Enchiladas, Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth – Low Sodium and Redwood Hill Farm Strawberry Goat Milk Yogurt.

I found the enchiladas to be very flavorful and spicy, somewhere in the medium range. Along with being gluten-free, these tasty and satisfying enchiladas are also non-dairy. I also purchased the low sodium version (which is currently in the freezer) and hope that there is no loss in flavor. I do like to watch the sodium in processed foods…if you read labels like I do…it is amazing to find high amounts of sodium in even healthier choices. Find all of Amy’s Kitchen products here: www.amys.com. The website has a great product search tool…it was very gratifying to see they had so many gluten free products. Talk about appreciating abundance!

I just love the chicken broth and for me, instead of just eating whatever else came in the can, I get to pick what goes in and in what amounts into my chicken broth “soup” concoctions. It is wonderful plain or with your favorite additions, such as brown rice, cooked vegetables, chucks of chicken, etc. Find all of Imagine’s products here: www.imaginefoods.com. You will find this specific product under the “Garden Natural Broths”. I chose the low sodium version, again it matters to me for taste and water retention.

I am sensitive to cow dairy but not goat, so I try goat milk products from time to time. I pretty much stopped all dairy products…but get a hankering for something milk-based…plus a natural source of calcium. I love cheese so had tried several types of goat cheese and it was too much like eating the “hair of the goat”…very strong animal taste…so that has kept me from going wild with the goat alternative. This yogurt was definitely made from goat’s milk but once that settled on my taste buds…the creaminess and delicate strawberry flavoring definitely made me enjoy all 6 ounces. I like the added benefit of live cultures for natural probiotic health. Find Redwood Hill Farm here: www.redwoodhill.com. Now I can say: Get your daily Goat!

Rita 🙂

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Chocolate Pudding Fantasy

     My food philosophy is simply that no matter who you are or what your constraints you should be able to enjoy what you eat. Over the years that I have been modifying recipes for people there was never a challenge such as the one presented to me by Rita. She described her ‘thou-shalt-nots’ for her Candida diet and then requested that I concoct for her a milk chocolate pudding. You can actually make a simple gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free pudding using a common brand of pudding mix available at nearly any grocery store. It doesn’t do well with soy or almond milks but is quite yummy with canned coconut milk, also easily available.
    But not so easy, it also had to be free of chemical sweeteners and Rita’s preference was a brand named Lakanto. Because Lakanto is currently VERY pricey the early experiments were done with regular sugar while trying to duplicate the taste of brand-name chocolate pudding. There were experiments and research on cocoa (plain, Dutch process) and chocolate (dark, darker, and even darker, domestic, imported) before moving on to milks and thickeners.
    Thickeners: Coconut milk already contains fat (although in a healthy way) so eggs were out, cornstarch, rice and tapioca each had their own issues. On a Romanian recipe site that I have since lost there were recipes for milk puddings made with gelatin and this became the thickener.
    Pity the poor husband helping me through all of the taste-testing. Finally the result was good enough to warrant switching to the Lakanto and besides, Rita was due in town.
    If it’s not one thing it’s another as the saying goes. At that point we discovered that one of the components of Lakanto tends to crystallize out in the presence of fat. This called for melting, chilling, and beating several times as the mixture chilled and set similar to the way you make ice cream in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. But finally, we had pudding.
Chocolate Pudding Fantasy
Adapted for a Candida diet from Jeleu de Ciocolata

2 tablespoons water
4 oz. milk (from almond milk below)
3 envelopes gelatin (enough to gel two pints of liquid + 1 extra)


2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons GF vanilla
2 cups almond milk – take out 4 oz. for above
2 cups coconut milk
4 oz. (1/2 cup) Lakanto sweetener
oil (for a molded pudding)

    Soften the gelatin granules in the water in a 2 quart saucepan. Add the 4 ounces of almond milk and place the pot over low heat. Slowly apply more heat while stirring until the gelatin begins to dissolve. Then add the chocolate. 

    When the chocolate has melted you should add the Lakanto to the pot and mix well. Continue to stir while heating. Add the remainder of the 2 cups of almond milk and then the coconut milk. Increase the heat and stir until the mixture is hot and steaming slightly. Remove from the heat. Cool in the pan and then refrigerate until it begins to set up. The Lakanto has a tendency to crystallize around the edges so stir every now and then to prevent this from happening. The chilled mixture may be whipped with electric beaters if you prefer a lighter texture.

    Set up eight small dessert dishes or 1 large bowl, fill with the pudding mixture and refrigerate until set.

 
Mom

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Reasons for Recipes

Mom wanted me to write about the specifics of my food sensitivities and candida to put her recipes into some context. She is the ultimate scientist in the kitchen and first, me not having inherited that particular gene, and second, then asking for her to put said talent to work on my behalf, is where the gluten-free and other-free strategies come into consideration.

My food sensitivities include wheat, oats, cow dairy, cheese, brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, kidney beans and pinto beans. I will test again to see if they still hold in a few months, as it is prudent to re-test every two years. Sensitivities develop over time for certain reasons: eating the same foods for years (no variety/poor nutritional value), poor small intestine health (overgrowth of bad bacteria/leaky gut), poor digestive health (low or no enzymes) and others. Because of the candida, I limit my sugar intake post-treatment wherever I can. I used to have constant cravings for sugar (bags and bags of marshmallows!) and it just feels good to crave and eat more fresh foods than in the past. 

So, I have a “chicken-or-the-egg” situation…did I develop sensitivities from having candida or did I develop candida due to the impact of gluten on my intestinal tract and then develop the other sensitivities over time? I cannot answer that for myself now…only deal with the impact on my health…and discovery of these culprits. At some point, I do want to understand…that’s the reason for my continued education in nutrition and desire to learn nutrition-based functional medicine tools. I want to help myself, as well as, others gain optimal health.

By the way, here is a plug for functional medicine (FM). Through the testing my FM doctors have me do, comes the data for a health plan of action. If you are looking for answers to health problems that are eluding your regular medical doctor or other medical specialists, try this kind of healthcare professional. Functional medicine looks for the cause, not just addressing symptoms. To locate one in your area, search the FM database here: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/findfmphysician/index.asp.

NOTE: Most FM practitioners do not accept insurance…but provide receipts with treatment codes for you to turn in to yours for evaluation and possible reimbursement. I have not ever received any. However, it is worth the money you spend to gain back your health. I have spent more time and money on trying to find answers that did not solve my plaguing health problems over the last 25 years so this is not an issue for me. I gladly pay for these services and directly reap benefits.

Recipes in our blog will always be gluten-free, but could also include sugar-free, yeast-free and dairy-free ingredients depending for whom the recipe was developed. In other words, the gluten-free mac-n-cheese was NOT for me! 🙂

Rita

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Macaroni and Cheese

    Christmas delicacies are a family gift tradition. Sitting in our fridge were peppered pork loin and a block of really incredible cheese. Since discovering De Boles rice penne at the store (and not one to quibble over the shape of my pasta) I had dreamed of a real old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese. The cheese was grated, white sauce was made with tapioca flour, De Boles penne was boiled, and all combined in the appropriate layers in a baking dish. Then it went into the oven for an hour. At the last minute a package of Brussels’ sprouts was steamed on top of the stove.
    Pasta is the world’s major vegetable according to my husband. You would never expect someone thus oriented to come over to the dark side. Sometimes the unexpected happens. The meal was nearly over when the resident advocate-of-macaroni-and-Velveeta commented ‘I may be the head cook in this house but the assistant cook does a darn fine job ’. He still surprises me after all these years.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese – 325*F
1 pound of your favorite cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
8 ounces gluten-free pasta
1 ½ cups white sauce:
Heat together in a 3 quart saucepan –
    3 tablespoons GF starchy flour – tapioca, corn starch, or whatever works
    3 tablespoons butter or margarine
    1 teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    1-2 pinches powdered savory
Add and stir to blend into the flour mixture-
    1 ½ cups milk (you may want more milk, this proportion is definitely a substantial sauce)
Then continue to stir the mixture over medium heat until the sauce thickens and bubbles a bit. Remove the sauce from the heat so the bottom doesn’t scorch.

Layer ½ of the cheese in the bottom of a 9”X12” baking dish. Boil the pasta way longer than you think you should (this was a tip from a really excellent mentor) and drain it well. Immediately stir the pasta into the white sauce. Pour the pasta/white sauce mixture over the cheese in the baking dish – top with the rest of the cheese. Put it in the oven and leave it until the top is turning toasty golden brown, about an hour depending on your oven. This should probably serve 6 people at a meal – the two of us had it with dinner two days in a row and finished it off.

Mom

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Introductions

Mom loves to write a good story…and it was funny to read her synopsis of that relatively short email exchange. I have been wanting to start a blog but could never find a topic that inspired me. Having been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity (and candida) a couple years ago…and challenged with making nutrition and lifestyle changes since then…I have been self-absorbed and really in the middle of strong emotional battles within myself. However, finally I dug down deep and followed a strict treatment plan. Mom was there to supply encouragement and later, gluten-free food/goodies and recipes so that I could make them at home.

I am now enrolled at Hawthorn University in the Masters in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) program. Mom has a list of my textbooks and we were all set to share comments on the information with each other as I go through my studies. I was inspired by a fellow student to start a blog about gluten-free living and naturally asked Mom to join with me…so all of you now will be a part of our collaboration. I hope you find this effort and exchange worthwhile!

Rita 🙂

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Eeeek!

The email conversation was going something like this . . . .
‘If we had a blog what would we call it?’
‘We could call it L, M, N, X, or Y, or maybe Z?’
‘Husband likes R but I like M’
‘N kind of says what we’re about right now don’t you think?’
‘Morning, Mom, here’s the link and password to our blog – you can get started, I’m kind-of-busy this week’
Egad! How does this work??
Before I figure out any more of this I have to pay respects to Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl.  Shauna showed up on my internet searches sometime about August 2005 and I have been reading her ever since – bought her book, and then another to share with friends having the same challenges. Since then there are other bloggers found and they will be mentioned in time but Shauna was the trail blazer in my gluten-free journey. Thank you Shauna for the inspiration to take a deep breath, explore and experiment with an ever increasing array of food and techniques.
Mom

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