November 28, 2011

Souper-Duper

The Monday after Thanksgiving.  Hello. What an icky-ish day in Chicago.  Cold and dreary.  I just wanted something warm and delicious for dinner tonight.  Not too long ago I bought a head of cabbage to make one of my favorite soup recipes and tonight was the perfect night to finally whip that up.

Four years ago on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a co-worker and I came into work and said to each other, "Let's join Weight Watchers." Just like that.*  We went online, found a meeting that met Wednesdays during lunch across the street at the Merchandise Mart, and each signed up then and there.  It was within one of those little Weight Watcher booklets that one of the best recipes for vegetable soup was found.

Mise en place!

Behold...the Zero Point Garden Vegetable Soup**!  This soup is sooo easy to make, soooo delicious, and gives you room to play around with the ingredients.  Don't like carrots, skip 'em!  Love celery, go ahead and add it!  Wanna add some more herbs, OK!  Want some chicken or beef or pork or beans or tofu?  Well...you get the idea.  This is a very healthy soup to recharge your bod after a weekend of stuffing, pies, and whatnot.

Garden Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
Big ol' pot of soup!
  • 4 cups of gluten free broth (I use CelifibR Chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. green beans
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. If making broth with bouillon, boil the water and prepare as package directs. If using a pre-made broth, cool, you're one step ahead!
  2. Heat a large pot until warm (if you flick a little water in the pan and it sizzles, it's ready), add the oil to coat the pan.  Add garlic, onion, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. The onions and garlic will begin to brown.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, green beans, cabbage, basil and oregano. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The vegetable will be nice and tender.
  4. Add zucchini and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
I added some Great White Northern Beans, yum!

* Well more like "ugh...what DIDN'T we eat this weekend? We gotta do something about this..."

** This soup is no longer zero points, since WW switched to Points+. They don't even list this recipe in their eTools database anymore, just a similar "Italian Inspired Soup" which omits the cabbage (the best part!!!) which is 1 Points+. Also if you add anything extra (like I did with the beans), that cranks up the points/calories value.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I'm so thankful for my readers, fellow bloggers, the amazing Celiac Disease and Gluten Free organizations who are such value resources to us gluten free rockstars, and the wonderful companies that make gluten free foods (and of course, the ones that offer me the chance to sample their products).

This little blog wouldn't be what it is without all of you, and for that I am so grateful for all of you.  I hope you all have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day!

-Betsy

November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Rollin' With The Homies

First off, I have to thank everyone who commented or sent me emails about my last post regarding the changes in my diet. I'm so grateful for the suggestions on dairy free, sugar free, and low carb recipes. I haven't tried all of them yet, but promise I will soon and let everyone know how they went. Now on to Thanksgiving...



Since I haven't been blogging as much as I would like to, I've been trying to update my Facebook page with links to recipes, articles, and other gluten free goodies. This past week I've posted some wonderful gluten free menu ideas from Cooking Light and Silvana Nardone, as well as recipe links for stuffing, desserts, and pie crust.  Go check it out.

While I went out this weekend and bought the coconut palm sugar that was suggested for my alternative sugar baking, I have yet to experiment with it yet.  Until I do, I'm digging into the archives of "recipes I never posted" for one of the desserts I'm most looking forward to this Thanksgiving, pumpkin roll.  For some reason whenever I make this, as I'm rolling it up, I think of that once scene in Clueless.  You know....



My grandma Beverly used to make this dessert often and was the one that introduced it to my at the time non-gluten free palate. I've only attempted to make it once with gluten free flours and it turned out decently.

Recently Babs made it for a work party and it turned out beautifully.  As she peeled the foil away, it came off in one smooth, delicate lift.  Both of us couldn't believe how cleanly it it separated.  In all of the times she's made this gluten free and gluten full, it's never turned out as perfectly as it did then. She used Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour and her co-workers couldn't even tell the difference, in fact it was a huge hit.  Here's how you can make your own and dazzle your dinner guests:
Not the perfect pumpkin roll as mentioned above, but still tasty!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll
adapted from Libby's

Ingredients
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
c. canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¾ c. Gluten Free Flour (I use Jules)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) - optional

Filling Ingredients
1 c. shifted powdered sugar
6 oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp butter/margarine
½ tsp vanilla

Directions
* Preheat oven to 375 F
* Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease and lightly dust with GF flour (or just rice flour)
1. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 5 minutes on high.
2. Gradually beat in sugar.
3. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
4. In another bowl shift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Fold this into pumpkin mixture.
5. Spread mixture into pan and sprinkle with nuts.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. When cool, turn out onto a kitchen towel (clean, obviously, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and roll that baby up. (Rollin' with the homies!)
8. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
9. Make the filling by beating all of the filling ingredients together until smooth.
10. Unroll cake, spread on filling and re-roll (this time without the towel!)
11. Wrap the entire roll in foil and chill again for several hours.
12. Slice, serve, and ENJOY!

*Note, since this recipe is totally cool and needs time to chill, I recommend making it either the night before serving or the morning of.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?  Are you a pumpkin pie person? Cake? Gingerbread? Let me know!

November 8, 2011

Red Light, Green Light!


This hasn't been my year in the health department. I can't really pinpoint when I started to feel like crap all of the time, but I'm sick of being sick. I've been bouncing around doctors all year and when I was referred to the same naturopathic doctor by a handful of people I decided to give her a shot.  I made an appointment in the spring and the earliest I could get in was a full six months later, no joke.

As it turned out, gluten is not my only problem. My body is so stressed that dairy, sugar, and too many refined carbs are wreaking havoc on my systems as well. Yikes!

Too many reds!!!


The solution: a few supplements and a major re-haul of my diet.



It's been a couple weeks now and while it was going well in the beginning, I'm getting kind of bored with what I'm eating. I've been eating the same thing day in and day out.  Lots of chicken breast, turkey breast, steamed veggies, and some non-starchy fruit.  My lunch for an entire week was a lettuce wrap with turkey and hummus.  I ate eggs with pico de gallo for breakfast every morning.  I can't even stomach another egg right these days.  I've been eating an apple with almond butter every morning this week, but we're now out of apples, so I'm in trouble come tomorrow. 


I have been feeling better, so I know I'm doing something right.  I'm obviously not 100% better since I just started this healing process, but I am finally on the road to recovery and feeling healthy again.

Is anyone else following a diet such as this?  No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, and low carb-ish?  What are your meal ideas?