Friday, January 29, 2010

Photo Phriday: Guess Who's A Derby Girl?

Me! I'm all about trying new sports, and this one has been a challenge (let's just say I'm not a natural on skates). I'm part of a small group of women that's starting a league in my college-town. It's been a blast so far. I was even thinking about my derby name being The Good Eatah :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Clean Eating 2

In an effort to give my liver a break, I've been attempting to eat healthier: no sugars, no processed foods, and no alcohol.

And, so far, so good. However, I've taken my sister's approach on dessert and I'm allowing myself to indulge on the weekends. The jury's out on this: my dessert cravings are pretty severe right now, so I might have to go with no dessert for awhile. But for now during the week it's whole food, lots of veggies and lean protein.
I've been eating lots of citrus too. Oranges, grapefruits and lemon in my water. I honestly am not a big fruit person, but cutting out dessert has made me crave fruit more.

I thought my diet would be very boring since starting this, but really, you just have to get a little creative. Stuffed acorn squash was a simple and flavorful dish I threw together when I wanted something substantial.

Stuffed Acorn Squash (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeded and baked at 350F for 35 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 loosely packed up of chopped kale
1 lb ground chicken
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Add the oil to a saute pan over medium heat and add the onion and celery and cook for about five minutes. Add the chicken and cook until slightly brown. Add the rice, kale, spices and dried cranberries and cook for another five to ten minutes. Pile the mixture into the halved squash and put back in the oven at 350 for another ten minutes. They're good to eat after that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clean Eating

Like many Americans, the weeks surrounding my Christmas were spent eating, drinking and socializing. And then I went away and ate and drank too much again. It could be the winter "blah's" and lack of vitamin D, but my body is telling me get back on track. So I am.

Starting yesterday I decided I'd cut out all refined sugars (cookies, cake, sugary cereal..) and processed carbohydrates (chips, traditional gf bread, french fries...). And dairy too. I've been eating dairy in small amounts in social situations for a few months now without any instant reactions, but I don't think it's necessarily meant for me in the long run. So that's out too. And then there's alcohol -- sigh. I do love wine. I'm not planning on restricting all of these foods completely from my diet, but just for a week or two to give my liver a bit of a break, and then they'll be incorporated back in small amounts.

So, I'm hoping to chronicle what I've been eating here -- on my food blog. Crazy, huh?

Breakfast Day 1: 1 cup oatmeal w/tablespoon almond butter, green tea & green smoothie (spinach, frozen blueberries, fresh ginger, cucumber)
Lunch Day 1: a whole lot of Mexican chicken soup (recipe below)
Dinner Day 1: a whole lot of sauted veggies (onion, carrot, kale seasoned with salt, red pepper and garlic powder) & a cup of cooked pinto beans

Breakfast Day 2: 1 cup oatmeal with 1 tablespoon sunbutter (tastes amazing on oatmeal), 1 grapefruit & small cup coffee

Before I get to the simplest. recipe. ever. I have to give a shout out to my two healthy eating inspirations: Ricki of Diet, Dessert & Dogs and Melissa of Gluten Free for Good. I have been reading both of their blogs for quite awhile now and their recipes and insight continue to inspire me to eat well and healthfully. Thank you ladies.

This recipe was given to me by my mom who was inspired by Mexican soup she had here at a local IL restaurant. It's good stuff - and perfect for a "blah" day.

Mexican Chicken Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2 quarts of Organic, Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (homemade would be great)
Shredded meat of one small roasted Organic chicken
1 jar of salsa (or fresh salsa would be great here too)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro

Bring the broth to a boil, add the chicken and salsa and simmer for at least ten minutes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro (this really adds freshness to the dish)

So simple. And so tasty.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo Phriday: Oh Henry

Whipped cream. On his nose. Poor fella.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sloppy Joe

Like many people this time of year I've decided to start *eating healthy: no refined sugar, no processed foods, no alcohol. But not yet. Not before I get in some good, bad food. Like a gosh darn sloppy joe.

(*I'm not going on a diet really, I just feel like I need to detox a bit from the many alcoholic drinks, sugary treats and restaurant meals I've indulged in over the past month -- more on this on Monday, when it all starts)

Though, I guess you could say I've already begun my health kick -- I used bison meat after all. I've talked about the benefits of bison here before, but the take away is that there's less saturated fat than beef and I have yet to hear about a bison being injected with hormones. Then again, I think the ketchup in the recipe slaps the dish right back into the non-healthy category.

I adapted mine slightly from one I discovered on recipezaar.

Sloppy Joe's (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2 lb ground bison meat
1 onion, chopped
8 oz of crushed canned tomatoes
3 tbs worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbs brown sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the bison and onion together in a pan on medium high heat. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix. And simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Serve on it's own or on a gluten-free roll. I used Gramma Mill's gluten-free roll mix (they were delicious fresh out of the oven)

I also served it with a side of my kale salad

Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo Phriday: Christmas Toys

My niece and Henry playing (er, chewing in Henry's case) with their new Christmas toys.

On another note, a big shout out to the Boston gluten-free girls whom I had dinner with last night. We went to Burton's Grill ; they have a gluten-free menu and take it seriously. It would have been my photo Phriday picture, but I forgot my darn camera. We'll just have to do it again soon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gluten-free in the Swiss Alps

You may have noticed that I left out the words "casein free" in the title of this post. I did eat dairy on this trip, and have been incorporating some dairy back into my diet as an experiment. Fortunately, I've had no reactions, which is a big change from a few years ago when I absolutely couldn't tolerate it. I'll probably continue to eat it when out, but when cooking for myself I'll leave it out. But enough with the explanations and on to the travel.

My husband is deployed right now and I had prepared myself not to see him for over six months. For reasons that can't be shared on the internet, we were able to meet up in Germany and Switzerland for a week of leave (vacation). I actually didn't believe I was going to see him until I got off the plane in Germany and saw his smiling face, but my goodness, this was exactly what we needed. After three months of him away, being able to spend a full week together in Interlaken, Switzerland -- quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been -- was close to heaven. And what I needed to recharge after a long semester and many moments of missing him.

We stayed in Hotel Rossli, a great hotel/B&B/hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland with an English speaking (and German and French...) owner/host. That was key since neither of us speak the two main languages of the country. This really wasn't a problem throughout the region either though, every service person we spoke with spoke English to us. We attempted to use the little French and German we know, starting a conversation with a "guten tag" or a "bonjour", and they'd reply in French or German which we didn't understand, so to keep things less confusing, we had to be the ignorant Americans who only spoke English. It didn't seem to be out of the norm because English seemed to be the most spoken language in the tourist areas. So a tip if you don't speak the languages fluently: use English and it seems to make everyone's life easier.

At Hotel Rossli a buffet breakfast was offered each morning that consisted of boiled eggs, cold cuts, hard cheese, yogurt, assorted cereals and rolls and croissants. I had to steer clear of all of the starches obviously, but because of the time change, I often wasn't ravenous in the morning. So, I ate some eggs, some cold cuts, a little cheese and I purchased some gluten-free muesli from a local health food store that I brought with me and ate with yogurt each morning.

That brings me what you can buy. I'd recommend on your first day to find a health food store (there were two in the town of Interlaken) or a regular grocery store ("coop" is the name of the store we frequented) and stock up. Schar is the big gluten-free brand there (and it's starting to become a big brand in the U.S. too) and they have a huge variety of foods: from ciabatta rolls to cookies, to bread to breadsticks to muesli -- they were all great. The health food store had more of a selection of gluten-free foods, while the grocery store had some of the staples. For hikes and skiing, we packed some meat (pepperoni-type meat and/or proscuitto) and some hard cheese. As well as a few gluten-free bars and some cookies.

But we were also able to get some vegetables in. Weight Watchers brand foods are surprisingly big there. They have lots of pre-made, packaged foods like marinated zucchini and cut up carrots with dips and lots of salads. Those were a great go-to food when we were out and about.

Eating out was always a pleasant experience in Switzerland. We got some great recommendations from the owner of our hotel and partook in fondue on more than one occasion. Bread is served with cheese fondue, but you can also order other foods to dip in the cheese. We got small, boiled potatoes, gherkin pickles and pickled onions. The potatoes were great, but the pickles and onions were surprisingly delicious. This was at a restaurant/cafe in Interlaken called De Alps. Laterne was the name of the traditional Swiss restaurant on the outskirts of town where we partook in meat fondue. Meat fondue or, chinois fondue is raw meat served with lots of condiments and a large pot of boiling broth or oil to cook the meat in. I really loved this meal, mostly because I love social foods, but it was quite tasty too: there were different dips to put on your meat, like curry, mayonnaise, tartar sauce and cocktail sauces and they all were good.

But perhaps the best meal we ate was on the mountain after a few ski runs. The A-man had an awesomley hearty meal of fried eggs, bacon and rosti (the delicious hash-brown like potato dish that I was obsessed with during the trip), while I had a "fitness" salad. Which, could have had more fat than my husband's dish. The salad, with it's mayonnaise-based dressing came with a chicken breast and little portions of potato salad, cucumber salad and carrot salad. It was awesome. And to get a little carbs, I ordered some pomme frittes (french fries) as a side. I didn't feel too horrible though -- with the not-so-great conditions skiing, I was working hard on the slopes skiing.

Just look at the color of those yolks!

I can't end this post without a huge shout out to British Airways. For my overnight flight to London, they upgraded me to business class (which was absolutely amazing -- they have seats that completely recline so they're flat like a bed) and I spent my five-hour layover in their fancy lounge. And their gluten-free meals are great: full with gluten-free rolls and sandwiches.

But I truly can't end this post without a dog photo: the friendly retriever we encountered on a hike through Bratenberg in Switzerland.

She was a bit of a shedder...