Monthly Archives: March 2008

Flax in my bread

Normally I would think of flax only in the context of “linen”.

Flaxseed, as it turns out makes a tremendous sort of bread. Bread I can actually eat.  I really detest the “allergy” breads on the shelf at the store. That stuff is bullet proof. or something. yuck.

So, I did without any sandwich bread for almost a year-until I tried this.

It makes pita pockets, pizza crusts, sliceable buns in any shape you want. Mostly I like the thinner version, with a melted slice of Leerdammer cheese  on top, sometimes with ground mustard, sometimes not. Variety you know. Spice of life and all that.

Usually I double the recipe and make an assortment of “buns” and when they are just cooled, I put them in the freezer. If you take one out at breakfast time, it’s just thawed enough for lunch. Perfect.

I did try “cinnamon rolls” with the dough……and it was delicious. Eating them straight out of the oven is recommended, somehow it lost it’s appeal when cool. The dough needed to be rolled more thickly than I rolled it, but it did behave like a wheat dough otherwise.

 The bigger problem was that I am allergic to cinnamon. So next time, I’ll just have brown sugar rolls or something, maybe nutmeg?  Sure, just “try it this once”, “once can’t be a problem”, “you should try what you are allergic to after awhile”to “see” if you are still having a reaction……..”one bite can’t hurt you”……. um…..yeah…. we aren’t trying that strategy again. no.

It’s bad enough when the family starts in on the “but, just try it this one time” routine. From now on the answer is definately “no”  And when the DOCTORS  (for pete’s sake) start in on the “try things that the allergy testing shows that you are allergic to” – I just have to wonder about the sanity of that one. Yeah.. oh, okay and so when I am then down for the count for hours because I tried eggs again- what then? gimme a break. the answer is no.  and um. no.

Flaxseed Bread- 

  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1  C warm water
  • 1/4 C ground flax meal
  • 1 C rice and potato flour mix
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 T rice milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 C potato starch
  • 3/4 C tapioca starch
Mix ingredients.
The dough is really thick,  let rise 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in a covered bowl. Punch down the dough and knead a few times. Seperate into small balls of dough and shape them into buns. Let rest for twenty minutes. Preheat the oven and the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Bake at 500 for 12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, covered by towel (keeps them from drying out in weird ways)

I wrap them individually and stack them in the freezer.

Rotating menus

Wow. I didn’t think I would get sick of my spicy lamb meatball curry.. but after three days of eating the leftovers, I am getting really tired of it. Oh well.

Back to the rotating menus.

What I was doing before was easy enough, I’ll just go back to that. I set up a spreadsheet for the week and listed Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks across the top.

Then we just plugged in the various recipe ideas and planned for leftovers to go in the freezer to rotate later. It was easier to see what the grocery list really should have on it rather than wander the store aimlessly trying to concoct menus off the store shelves.  This is impossible to do anymore because of all the restrictions, but old habits are hard to break. “oh, that looks good. I’ll just throw that into the basket and keep shopping” … um.. not anymore without reading the label first. LOL

I actually go to seven different grocery stores, because NONE of them carries the whole line of gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free everything that I need to create food in this house. Some of it, like coconut milk from the international market I stock up on once a month or so, and so “no ” I don’t actually go to seven grocery stores every week!-  that would be crazy. I just stock up on what each one of them has that works here, and get the fresh veggies once a week. More like that. I can’t wait for the farmer’s market season to open!!!

It is actually getting easier, but keeping a running record of what I do eat along with  the planning ahead menu chart is the only way I can keep it sane. Well, sane enough for me anyway. Your mileage may vary.

The best thing that I have done really is keep track of what recipes work in a large three ring binder.  Some of them just don’t work out. Or they were gross. So it’s a work in progress. Like the muffins that are new this week. That’s a keeper recipe! 

So I keep the recipe until the ingredients cannot be found. What is up with the guar gum anyway? The “how to be corn free” stuff keeps mentioning using guar gum as a replacement for xanthan gum (which is based on corn)……….. where on the planet is this stuff located?? Four health food stores so far, and I am giving up the search for it. Maybe as a last resort, I’ll order some online. The shipping is ridiculous, but then I would have some anyway.

Just as a side note… Plumgood foods – online grocery store that DELIVERS… actually carries the enjoylife choc. chips that I have been looking for!! six months at the store? or two minutes online… let me think. And they deliver. Whoo!

Grilled Pork Loin

 Since I can’t have all the preservatives in the pre-packaged, pre-marinated pork loin that they sell at the market, I have to make my own.

Fine.

It’s not that hard to do exactly,  just takes some thinking ahead. Can’t just open the plastic package from the store and throw it on the grill. But it’s just about as easy… plus maybe four hours.

This is where PLANNING comes in. I know, I know. We don’t want to have to plan ahead- because we might want to eat something else at the last minute. Tough. This isn’t a restaurant. Close, but not. And I hate to shop for groceries. I actually try to limit my trips to the store to one a week. Sometimes that works. Ususally it’s two. whatever.

Here’s what I do…

Marinade:  mix in a large ziplock bag, with pork loin. Marinate several hours, or overnight.

1 cup of orange juice- just enough to surround the pork when the air is pressed out of the bag. your mileage may vary.

1 small onion- chopped

5 cloves of garlic- chopped

a bunch of chili powder, I suppose it’s about 3 or 4 tablespoons

maybe some cumin, some pepper and sea salt or italian seasoning if I have it.

Close the ziplock bag while trying to squeeze out all the air. Flip the bag every 1/2 an hour or so while it’s in the refrigerator, if you remember to. It helps circulate all the flavors around. mmmmmmmmmmm

Then you can open the plastic bag and throw it on the grill just like the other kind.

*poof* dinner.

Dinner- Fast and furious

I don’t always have the dinner plan, or have planned ahead enough to know what everyone is eating, when they are eating it. Or what. So I have a back up dinner hidden away in the pantry for me. It’s becoming more of a staple menu item though- hmm.. 

That way everyone else can have tacos and I can have my other dinner- or whatever.

I cook on a “sort of” rotation basis and throw half of it in ziplock containers into the freezer for later. That way there is usually some pizza sauce, chicken and rice or lasagna to choose from for dinners when I don’t want to cook. And now that it’s spring (although it did snow today!) the cook-out season has started.

I made a really yummy pork loin on the grill the other night… hmmm- another post about that I suppose.

Anyway, for my fast and furious dinner- I round up a pre-cooked curry food in a pouch from India Kitchens (thank you Whole Foods) and saute some onion and garlic in a bit of oil until browned and then toss in whatever veggie is still around the fridge- zucchini is fine, maybe some bamboo shoots, and shredded spinach leaves are fantastic. Whatever you like or happen to have on hand, really. The curry is spicy, so I throw it over some rice and there is dinner. Hot- fast and tasty. The package is 2 and half servings, so I just save the rest for either lunch or dinner the next day. *poof* fast food.

Being Veganistic

Vegan – vegetarian… hmmm. I am vegan by allergy, not by choice. (Egg/dairy)Mostly I am veganistic. 90% vegan, with occasional changes to test a recipe for the family and whatnot. Although I am sure that it’s the right thing to do for everyone and the planet and all that, my dietician person recommended that if I could include “some sort of” meat in my diet to some extent that I should do that, since I am so limited in other things that I can have.

So far, acceptable meats are pork and lamb. On occasion. Limited. Sometimes. Like once a month kind of deal. I am so leery of a reaction that I just don’t want to try it. (Don’t make me explain the reaction to the turkey at Thanksgiving… whoa.

Corn fed beasts are OUT!)

That’s it for the meat selections. And I have to work myself up to lamb. It’s not a meat that I grew up with, and it takes a definate learning/tasting curve to enjoy it. I have found that the spicier it is the better I like it, so that’s a plus. And I am learning to cook all over again. wheeeeeee. New recipes, new spices. fun fun fun…

Using ground pork is an easy substitute for ground beef, or turkey for things like tacos or casseroles. Only the one switch at the market and dinner looks the same. *Poof*

I really hate that they add “up to 12% solution” in the packaging of the stuff though. That really bugs me. What is in the solution anyway? gross.

So I am looking for an alternative to prepackaged ground pork. But there is just a limit to butchering an animal in the suburbs. Way out west? no problem, lay ’em out on my kitchen table and hack away at it. Used to fill my freezer every fall with former woodland-forest creatures. Butchering now? in the burbs? not so much.

Now that I think about it… All that venison saved me for years. Not only was it cheaper- it was more of a perfect (for my allergies) food. Organic meat. Deer eat grass. I am not allergic to grass as a foodstuff. Corn is a different problem.  I just didn’t know it until I “had to” buy meat at the market again. ick. It’s been ten years of trying to get used to it and I just can’t. I avoid store meat like the plague. All the recent recalls help to make the choice for the rest of the family too.

Hmmmmmmmmm…*note to self*…. Find a local hunter willing to give me some venison so we can go back to that maybe.

I think that I saw some wild bison or something in the meat case at the market. I might try that, but I am tired of buying “food” that no one here will try with a ten foot pole. Let them eat peanut butter and jelly! ha. They should just eat their veggies.

HFCS

Why is high fructose corn syrup in everything? and when did this happen?

Apparently because it’s cheap, and at some point in the 1980’s it started creeping into our food supply. Why is it in Ketchup? I don’t know. Shouldn’t that be tomatoes? maybe some spices? eww.  I remember old coke…. you know the kind with cane sugar from the olden days? yeah… good times, good times. Like when I wasn’t sick all the time from “lunch”

When I discovered the allergy to corn, I made a cruise through my kitchen and was shocked at what all it was in. I understand “corn” in cornmeal. But powdered sugar? Shouldn’t that just be sugar? apparently not.

So no wonder simple things like frosting make me sick. It’s full of corn and corn by-products and for what reason? Simply to make it easier to sell. And sell cheaply. Thank you wally world grocery market that sells everything so cheap. Who wants lumpy powdered sugar? The American consumer is spoiled and full of corn. Gross.

So now my kitchen is a wheat free- and soy free- and a HFCS free zone.

I have made my own baking powder in the past, but recently found a commercial corn-free version that seems fine so far.

Good thing I never liked grits.

Converted Macaroons

I love macaroons. The ones with cream cheese and eggs along with the coconut that we make at Christmas are very yummy. Make that deadly. Yeah. Who knew eggs were such a problem.

So, after dinner today I decided to convert the basic macaroon recipe in the basic all purpose recipe book that’s been in my kitchen for 25 years. Old faithful. It’s red.

Anyway.

So, converting the eggs to flax meal whipped with hot water. VIOLA! cookies!

I even dipped them in chocolate, safe kosher choc. chips melted a bit.

and it WORKED! I think I even like them better.

1 1/2 T ground flax meal

3 T HOT water

let that all gel for a minute, and then whip it with the handy kitchenaid stick blender until creamy and frothy.

Add:

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3 C sugar- a little at a time

Again, blend until you get fussed at that the blender is making too much noise.

Add 1 1/3 C coconut flakes (unsweetened)

I wasn’t impressed with the dryness of the mix at this point so I added about a Tablespoon of orange juice to make it hold together.

Baked at 350 for 12 minutes, on parchment paper. Cool completely and dip in melted chocolate. Let them again completely cool on the parchment paper so that the chocolate sets up properly.

Yummy.

Organic

I grew up on the WEST COAST. … in the 60’s….::::gasp::: and, yes, I know some hippies. People who forty years ago started eating organic foods and living a cleaner lifestlye. HA! turns out that much of what the general west coast lifestyle screams about is turning out to be true for me. Drat. I will admit to actual wearing birks, and wearing organic cotton clothing.. but organic food? no. It’s a gimmic.. it’s expensive… blah blah… no, it’s my new reality. I can’t do preservatives. Or MSG, or a zillion other things.

I loved the years that I could cruise into fast food lanes and have my dinner handed to me out of that little window. But now, it turns out that the actual food value of those “value meals” is exceedingly low. Drat.

So back into the kitchen I go. ….. to cook endlessly from scratch, and back to the grocery store to search endlessly for food I can eat. I am really getting tired of reading labels on the backs of “food” products.

I have a new rule. If I can’t pronounce it- I don’t buy it. And if the list of “ingredients” is more than about five things… I don’t buy it either.

::::sigh:::::

I don’t want to actually plant a garden… but I may have to.

Gluten free Easter dinner menu

This is what is on the table tomorrow:

Baked ham

Potato salad-w/ mustard dressing

mashed potatoes and gravy

green beans baked with onion

choc chip/raisin muffins for dessert

What is it with wheat?

Gluten free blogging… so trendy. Unfortunately, for me completely necessary. Wheat makes me sick. So does anything dairy related. Oh, and also anything soy related, or seventeen other things formerly known as “food”…like eggs, corn, tomatoes, and anything else tasty.

Gluten, (masquarading as wheat, rye, barley or oats) makes me sick. So that means that anything that is manufactured and placed in a box at the market for sale I can’t eat. Oh, well… sure I can eat it- I just get violently ill if I do. So my life now consists of planning menus for myself and a usually a separate one for the rest of the family.

They just don’t always like “my food”.  But I HAVE to like it or starve. So they are eating heathier at least (like the ban on HFCS in my kitchen)

I am currently exceeding tired of rice noodles. :::sigh:::

I have a recipe file that is way too large, containing things I thought might work, combinations of spices to try. Whatever. It needs to be weeded out again.  LOL The last time I went through I got rid of anything that said “corn”.

Yep. That’s out too.

So I make all these lists… create menus and find edible recipes… and the dietician says to me… “you know more about this than anyone on the diet for 5 years.”

huh? well.. I thought I was paying for her advice. Turns out she wants mine. So here goes. I will be randomly adding recipes that don’t have all the things in them that I can’t eat….like all the top ten allergens known to man…. and random samplings of what I am knitting…. or any thoughts I have about cabbage.

I have had three doctors ask me what in the world I do eat. One of them had zero advice for me- other than saying that I should pray.

Um. sure. that is so helpful. thanks.

How about pointing me to the nearest farmer’s market instead! sheesh.

Have you ever seen a cabbage net? If you have please contact me. Thanks.