Post 82 – Birthdays

 

Growing up my birthday always felt like it lasted more than a day. Perhaps it was the anticipation, the build up, or the spread of celebrations with school friends and family and extended family. I used to count down the days until my birthday, write a birthday list at least a month in advance, plan with anticipation the cake I would eat (and often make), and feel giddy the night before thinking about my special day. And then it would be my birthday! And something about the day would be happy! and joyous! Everyone would wish me happy birthday and I would feel a glow of love and attention unlike any other day.

photo 2(27)

Birthday buckwheat pancakes instead. And eggs!

Birthdays are different now.  There are fewer parties and no cake, (this year at least) and since moving to Boston family is farther away. Each year the days go by faster and there’s less anticipation and more grown-up problems to worry about (wah wah).

Homemade sushi that fits the restrictions of the elimination diet!

Homemade sushi within the restrictions of my elimination diet! Fresh avocado, fresh ginger, brown rice, smoked salmon, and nori.

Nonetheless a birthday is still a reason to be grateful for another year of life and a wealth of love and support. So despite a slightly different attitude toward birthdays now, I am grateful for all of the birthday love (so much love). Thanks for the text messages and phone calls and facebook messages that came pouring in, for my sisters sending me pictures of their goofy “missing you” faces, and the awesome voicemails with original rhyming raps from one of my best friends (you know who you are).

The Beatles said that all you need is love and I think that’s mostly true. Thanks for all of the birthday love and support. Here’s to another great year – the year of the spatulas! The year of scraping every last drop!

photo 3(24)Cheers!

Advertisements

Post 81 – Recipe experimenting!

I like experimenting with recipes – especially when they turn out well the first time! Here are some loosely written “recipes,” more like guidelines, for making three delicious dishes (say that 5 times fast!)

Baked Fish in Parchment Paper

Inspired by the cod we enjoyed over the weekend while visiting my aunt at her new home in Connecticut, I decided to try my luck at poisson en papillote or fish baked in parchment paper. It keeps the fish moist and requires very little work and time.

You simply put the fish on a square of parchment paper large enough to fold into a package, season as desired…

photo 5(6)

fold it up and bake it…

photo 4(14)(make sure you put it on a sheet pan or in a baking dish). I recommend baking at 375 for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness) or until the fish feels slightly firm when you press it.

And voila! Moist fish!

photo 3(22)

If you can tolerate lemon, onions, and garlic these would be lovely additions.

 

Summer Squash Gratinee

Since I had bought some summer squash, I also made a tasty squash “gratinee” based on this recipe. Usually gratinee is a dish baked with cheese that gets nice and browned and crispy and tasty, but since I can’t eat cheese right now I found an excellent substitute thanks to some recipe browsing: almond flour.

Start by salting your squash. Slice the squash into even slices (about 1/4 inch thick) and place in a colander. Toss with a fair amount of salt (about 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt for 3 medium squash) and let drain for at least 15 minutes. The salt will draw out the excess water in the squash so as not to water down your dish. Shake excess water out and pat dry with a paper towel. Oil or spray your baking dish. I used a pie plate for mine. Place the squash in a pretty pattern, seasoning each layer with fresh ground black pepper, oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil.

photo 1(29)

photo 2(25) Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of almond meal (3-4) and lightly drizzle with olive oil OR spray with an oil spray. Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes until desired doneness is reached and it is slightly browned.

Let cool slightly and enjoy! The topping looks like cheese and even tastes slightly cheesy from the nuttiness of the almonds. I would definitely make this dish again.

 

Almond Butter Bites

My final experiment was a recipe based on a comfort snack food my mom made growing up: peanut butter balls. She would mix an indiscriminate amount of peanut butter, oats, honey, powdered milk, raisins or chocolates until it became a dough like consistency with the right amount of sweetness and the right texture. Then she would form the dough into balls and we would eat them for a snack. Delicious!

photo 2(26)

Since the ED eliminates peanut butter, oats, chocolate, milk, and raisins (I can have honey in small amounts) I had to come up with my own version using almond butter, cooked buckwheat, coconut, flax, and honey (mixed in unknown amounts to achieve the flavor and texture desired). I rolled them in unsweetened coconut so they looked pretty. I’ll be taking these tasty buggers to my all day frisbee tournament tomorrow for a nice little treat! Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain.

photo 3(23)

Happy weekend and hope you do some kitchen experiments!

 

Post 80 – In Praise of Good Food

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

Sage advice tells us to be grateful for what we have and think not of what we lack (or something like that). Nonetheless no matter how hard we try, it is all too easy to be envious of others – of one person’s beauty, another’s wit, or someone else’s fancy house. In my case, the temptation lately has been to envy my neighbor’s plate and think of all the delicious foods that I cannot eat and that I have missed in these past 3 weeks.

Ravioli

Ice cream

Grilled Cheese

Even pickles

Blueberry scones for Sam to take to work

Blueberry scones I made for Sam to take to work (never again!)

 

Yet in between brief periods of self-pity, one lesson that I have learned in these past three weeks is appreciation for all of the delicious flavors, colors, and foods that I still do get to enjoy.

 

Avocados

Fresh raspberries

Almond butter (something I’ve grown quite fond of)

Seared Steak

Sweet Potatoes

And the list goes on.

 

So in an effort to be grateful…

IMG_4168

The makings of black bean hummus! Yum!

I am sharing photos of food that I have enjoyed in the past few days and weeks. Not only does it showcase the beauty of good foods, but it also helps me to recognize the diversity of the foods that I can eat.

Like this raspberry-stuffed mochi, with its ruby hue and individual seed pouches

IMG_4177

Or this colorful plate of fresh cod, potatoes, asparagus, and quinoa, simply prepared with olive oil and herbs and fresh-from-the-garden snipped chives

IMG_4179

And these adorable mochi waffles with almond butter and raspberry and blackberry-mango smoothie on the side.

IMG_4180

 

I am grateful!

While it has been challenging to consider every bite I take (am I actually hungry? is this something I am allowed to eat? will this make me feel bad later?) I have begun to appreciate my food more and I have stopped obsessing over it. In my quest to heal myself I have confirmed my interest in wanting to heal others through food and food issues. I hope that I can take what I’ve learned and share it with all of you in the near future.

In other news – SPRING!

I am grateful that the weather has warmed and the warm hues of greens (and pinks and purples and blues!) have returned to this scenic neighborhood. I can tell that the cats enjoy it too.

IMG_4184

 

 

 

Post 79 – Gluten-free Meatballs

Today is the first of May and here in Boston after a bout of rain, the sun has finally shown its face again, thank goodness! Two days ago though, the chilly air and gray skies made me long for a cozy wintery kind of meal – meatballs. It didn’t help that we served pasta with marinara meat sauce at school and of course I couldn’t eat it. I decided that there certainly had to be a way to make meatballs despite my dietary restrictions.

IMG_4150

IMG_4143IMG_4144

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe that uses shredded veggies to keep the meatballs moist when breadcrumbs and eggs are out of the question. These make for delicious and colorful meatballs and add some extra vegetables into your meal. Other than seeing veggie confetti, you will hardly notice the difference (Sam approved!) These tasty morsels can be enjoyed with tomato sauce or for me – vegan pesto!

IMG_4146

As an experiment I also made a batch with cooked quinoa to see how that would affect the texture and moisture. In a side-by-side comparison I thought the meatballs without the quinoa were actually more moist (the quinoa soaked up too much of the moisture?), but when they were all mixed up it was hard to taste the difference between the two kinds.

If you want to make the quinoa version add a 1/2 cup of COOKED quinoa (from about 1/6 cup dry quinoa) to the recipe below. Next time I also might try sauteing the onions so the raw flavor wasn’t so strong. If onions bother you (as they do me) feel free to leave them out.

IMG_4147

 

Gluten-free Meatballs

adapted from healthhomehappy.com

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup each shredded carrot, minced onion, and shredded zucchini

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. each oregano and basil

ground black pepper as desired

olive oil (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet tray with parchment paper or foil.

Shred your veggies (you can either shred or mince the onion) in a food processor or by hand. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and gently form into golf-ball sized meatballs. Lay them out on prepared sheet pan, not too close together, though they shrink as they cook. Drizzle with olive oil if desired and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 165. Let cool slightly and serve with your favorite sauce. Enjoy!

IMG_4150