With Resolution

My landlord brought us two MASSIVE bunches of collards, so for dinner last night I made black rice, sauteed collards, and red skinned mashed potatoes. It was simple and nourishing, which has been my main prerequisite for meals this past month, and will probably be dinner for the next two or three nights. Maybe a couple of lunches too.

In the time I have not been posting I have been reading a lot of other blogs. I am still not certain that I have figured out exactly how to best fuel my body, and whenever I feel like this I find myself perusing raw, vegan, paleo, food-combining and scd blogs side-by-side and I struggle to make sense of it. And I haven’t yet.

I was actually pretty solid to my body this holiday season, with the exception of a couple of (potentially yeasty) glasses of wine. I took time to do yoga and pilates and go on walks. As suggested by those ascribing to the food-combining method of eating I have been consuming the majority of my fresh fruit separate from my meals (you can read the reasoning on that here). The problem is I have also been under a fair amount of stress, a little under the weather, and (a lot) sad. And these things all effect my stomach and general feeling of wellbeing just as the foods I eat do.

So while I was going to make some food and blogging resolutions, I offer up instead my commitments to myself in the spirit of self-care.

  1. Make time and space for rest- This includes walking, yoga (Joshua got me a month pass to Bikram for Christmas), somewhat regularly scheduled massages (also a Christmas present), and napping. I also want to focus on meditating and bio-feedback, two interests I have held but not pursued deeply before. 
  2. Share more food- Whether this looks like hosting potlucks, taking meals to sick friends, or baking cookies for a neighbor doesn’t matter. All of the above would be great. I love sharing food, and I want to make it a priority. Build community.
  3. Try something new once a month- Even when life is at its busiest there is time for some exploration in the kitchen. It’s the spice of life. And make these meals important, cloth napkins and place settings to boot. Celebrate new things.
  4. Make things outside of the kitchen- Craft! Just do it. And do it with other people. Build community.
  5. Make my own probiotic foods- I am excited about this project, I just need to find the space and time to get it started. I think my body will really thank me for it.
  6. Journal- Daily. Or at least semi-daily.
  7. Work on a farm- We’ve talked about joining WWOOF and farming somewhere overseas for awhile. Which would be great! In the meantime I want to get my hands in the dirt here and now. Come spring, expect to see me at Peacehaven Farm regularly. What a beautiful space, and such beautiful people. And I find working in a garden to be very relaxing.

So there is my list. What is on yours?

A Lot Like Christmas

Honestly? I haven’t been much of a foodie these last few weeks. I’ve been living on vega protein shakes, spaghetti squash, and salad.

What I HAVE been is a crafting fiend. December 1 found me with Christmas spirit, which is fairly remarkable; just ask my poor Christmas-loving husband. So I directed my energies toward the decorating of our cozy home (see the exhibitions below).

I also decided that the majority of my gifts this year are going to be homemade. Expect a post soon on homemade lip balm, vanilla extract, and citrus ornaments. Also on my to-do list is a homemade dairy free eggnog, and I have not forgotten about the spiced pumpkin creme recipe.

In the meantime, someone inspire me! What is your favorite gf/vegetarian recipe for the season?

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Eating healthy and gluten-free on a budget

I had a friend message me a couple weeks back asking how I afforded to eat the way I eat. It’s a great question! For sure most products advertised as being gluten-free cost more than the products they imitate. And certainly organic gets expensive. But I believe that eating healthy (and gluten-free) is possible with any budget. Here are a few tips that have worked for me.

  1. Find a farmer’s market near you that is open at a time you can go, and get the majority of your produce from there. Eating seasonally and locally when it comes to produce can really help drive down the cost. Also, plan on putting a good chunk of your budget here… it is worth it. Stock up on dark leafy greens that will fill you up and give you lots of nutrients. Talk to the farmers at the market too. While not all of them can afford to be certified organic, many are still pesticide free. And it’s just nice to talk to them.
  2. Shop sales and coupons. I rarely go into a grocery store with a list. I find what is on sale that fits in my lifestyle and I focus on that. I also focus way more on purchasing nuts and nut butters with my budget than on pastas or other grains. Always be on the lookout for protein powder on sale if you are as obsessed with smoothies as I am. And stock up on cheap staples like beans, frozen fruit (when on sale), and frozen vegetables.
  3. Buy from the bulk department. especially with rice/quinoa/nuts (DON’T DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE INTOLERANCE as cross-contamination is somewhat inevitable). And don’t forget POPCORN (perhaps the only reason I refuse to be completely grain-free).
  4. Purchase flours online (swanson and amazon are both great resources for this).
  5. Cook from scratch, and avoid prepackaged gluten-free products. It is a little more time consuming, but cheaper and almost always healthier. Stick with simple meals, or set aside an afternoon to cook a big dish of something you can freeze/store for the week. Curries are great for this.
  6. Make breakfast for dinner. This was a recommendation by karina allrich, aka the gluten free goddess, and I love it. You can get wonderful fresh local eggs from the farmer’s market for $3.50 or less a dozen. Breakfast is filling and delicious and, budget put aside, one of my favorite things to have for dinner.
  7. Choose to spend more on your grocery budget and cut something elsewhere. It is that important! We generally go out to eat less than once a week. We find a free show at a coffeeshop versus going to a ten dollar movie (supporting local AND saving money). Those little budget savers can make a huge difference in your grocery budget.

What are your strategies for staying on budget when it comes to food? I know there are many more creative solutions out there!

Also, something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, how do you connect community and food?

 

A long absence. A trip. A return.

I haven’t been present here recently for a few reasons: -I lost interest in food and ate a lot of frozen broccoli -I replaced breakfast and lunch with smoothies -I was working a lot, and burning myself out along the way.

But then, at the end of September, my husband and I took a ten-day trip through the pacific north west. We drove the California and Oregon coasts, the latter of which was the single-most beautiful experience we have shared. We’ve discovered that we are at our best spending most of every day together. We ate SO much food and we thrived. It was all such a restorative process of remembering how we want to live and who we are. We were also able to reconnect with a dear old friend, and make a few new ones.

I returned home to a part-time job, allowing myself the needed time to teach art at the hospital, play in the kitchen, and focus on self-care, cooking more in the last week than I had in the previous two months. I am reinspired.

Over the next week expect to see some recipes inspired by our travels, along with a falafel recipe with vegan tahini yogurt dressing.

It is good to be back.

You are {more than} what you eat

I over think. I read articles with breakthrough health claims that debunk everything I’ve thought was okay to eat, or I notice that just that one time my body felt a little weird when I ate that one food, or I need something to control so I count calories. Food allergies make this over thinking even easier. Hand it to you on a silver platter, really. You understand, don’t you?

Nourishment is really important. Because we are what we eat. The vitamins and nutrients we do (or don’t) get from our food help to determine our energy levels, the strength of our immune system, and our vitality. The fresher and less processed the food, the more likely it is to be full of things you need to live, beyond some right ratio of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

Food allergies is a lot about taking things out of your diet. Restrictions. Recently though I’ve started trying to focus on what I want to add into my diet, instead of what I need to take out. When I do this, what I add inevitably replaces what I wanted to take out. For example, on the relatively infrequent occasion I reach for a grain or pasta based meal, I automatically reach for the mason jar of quinoa versus the brown rice. Not because I don’t allow myself to eat brown rice, but because I have chosen to add quinoa, I have loved it, and I now prefer it. When people peering into my life focus on what I can’t eat they grow alarmed, and sometimes I allow their hype to seep into my being. But then I breathe deep, remind myself of how much better I feel without the foods I’m allergic to or the processed foods I used to default to. Of how much I love spinach, and quinoa stuffed peppers, and green smoothies.

We are also more than what we eat. I draw energy from my food, but also from yoga and pilates, from time spent in close community, from creating, and from deep breathing exercises. These are three activities that restore my sense of well being. And when I get too caught up in food, I have less time for the more. For the living.

You are {more than} what you eat.

 

the value of local, the value of community

I feel I value them equally. Community does not always mean local, and local does not always imply relationship. It, along with all other things in life, is a balance.

Which brings me to my lunch today. No recipes. Just an appreciation of how much better eggs taste off your friend’s farm, spinach out of a local garden, hummus made with caring hands, and muffins inspired by sisters’ recipes. Thank you Amanda, Janet, and Ali for making my lunch so simple and delicious.

Sometimes I over think what I eat, but I have not had that luxury. Simple, fresh, fast. Sometimes that means tiding yourself over on the smoothie left over in the blender during a 10-hour shift. Sometimes it looks more like making one of these muffins in the microwave. Or scrambling eggs instead of making a frittata.

Simple, fresh, inspired.

Blueberry Peach Muffins {with chia seeds and coconut flour}

It took me this long to buy a pound of coconut flour. I don’t quite know from where my reluctance stemmed. Or no, not reluctance, and not disinterest either. Complacency?

Whatever it was, I got over it. I knew I wanted to make a recipe where coconut flour was the only flour. Grain-free goodness. Aside from the occasional quinoa, I have fallen out of love with grains pretty hard. And coconut flour has reassured me that that is okay. I started out to make just blueberry muffins. Then I added peaches. Then I added chia seeds. They turned out delicious. Moist and almost like a sponge cake. Joshua ate one and loved it until I told him there was stevia present. Should have kept my mouth shut.

So this will be my first of many baked experiments with coconut flour. For those of you less familiar, you can get coconut flour at your local health-oriented supermarket. Bob’s red mill makes it along with a few other companies. It is high in fiber, low in other sources of carbohydrates, is a good source of protein, and of course is gluten free. Many gluten free recipes will combine it with other flours, but I loved the texture of the flour alone in the muffins.

Blueberry Peach Muffins {with chia seeds and coconut flour} (makes 6 small-medium muffins)

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil would be even better)
1/8 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp baking stevia
1/4 cup sifted organic coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4-1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen white peach slices, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Beat together the wet ingredients
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients
  4. Thoroughly combine the two sets of ingredients
  5. Fold in the frozen fruit
  6. Spoon into muffin tins, and bake for 15-17 minutes

Cool on a rack and enjoy. I always keep my muffins in the refrigerator, and these were gone within 24 hours, so I’m afraid you’ll have to figure out the best way to store for yourself. If you don’t eat/share them all first.

Roasted Vegetable & Wilted Spinach Salad

Even before I had a blog about food, I posted recipes on my studio practice blogs. The following recipe for a simple roasted vegetable salad was scratched into a sketchbook, probably during a critique or in between studio classes, some time last year and posted here on my blog. The only thing that needs to be changed to accommodate food allergies is a change in dressing. See my recipe for oil and lemon dressing at the bottom of the page.

Oil & Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 grinds of black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground mustard seed (NOT bottled mustard. This has vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Dried herbs of choice (for this recipe I love thyme and basil)

Directions:

  1. Mix the shallot, s&p, and olive oil together with the herbs. Allow to rest and soak.
  2. Mix in the lemon juice

Makes enough for two large salads. May also be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for a few days.

Be sure to watch for vinegar in both your roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Unless, of course, you roast the red peppers fresh. So good.

 

Since I started posting my blog on facebook, quite a few people have mentioned that they too have food allergies. Unfortunately, I realize this is a growing trend. So I want to hear from those of you who have (or have not) spoken up. What recipe do you want to adapt? What have you been wanting to make?

The Super Bowl

Let’s face it, friends. It can be next to impossible to eat anything but the celery sticks intended for the blue cheese dip at parties. While many of my friends eat healthy, and some are vegetarians, very few are gluten, vinegar, or dairy free.

And after spending an hour searching the web for a spinach artichoke dip I can nibble on, I realized that neither are very many super bowl-attending bloggers. Growing up spinach artichoke dip was one of my major food groups, and this morning I woke up determined to make it for the game tomorrow. I finally found this recipe on Oh She Glows, modified from a couple of other websites. It still has nutritional yeast in it, which I have not put back on my safe list, so I am planning on substituting it out for a few tablespoons of vegan cream cheese. I’m also planning on leaving off the breadcrumbs, because of the yeast, but also because I’ve never really loved breadcrumbs.

Also on the menu is plenty of pico de gallo and guacamole.

I’ll let you know how the dip turns out!

What’s on your game day menu?

My Frustration, My Promise

Finding recipes customized for people with  multiple food allergies is difficult. Gluten free or vegan blogs are plentiful, but I often have to modify these recipes further to make them something I can eat. Processed foods are nearly impossible.

Every recipe on this blog will be yeast, gluten, dairy, coffee, pinto bean, refined sugar, meat, and vinegar free. Believe it or not, there is a diverse diet possible without these foods.

 

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