Blog post mash-up: genetic tests, vacations and cookbooks.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hey all,
Thanks for hangin' in there through this month. We had a big two week road/cottage trip, and since then it's been just as crazy. We really had fun, saw family and friends and just generally were together. I'm not sure we did much in the way of relaxing, but we did enjoy our time away.

There are a zillion things I could tell you about (including the all-gluten-free bakery and cafe we went to- WHAT A DREAM!) but I'm seriously exhausted. I just wanted to take five minutes to say hello, and thank the faithful that are still stopping by. I am also very excited to say that after over a year of waiting, I think the results of my genetic screen for Celiac are en route. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you think you might have a gluten sensitivity, get the stinkin' tests done BEFORE you stop eating gluten. Cuz once it's out of your diet, you no longer have the antibodies to gluten (if you ever had them to begin with!) and at this point, my only option was the genetic screen (at likely a hefty sum - still to be determined) to see if I have the genetic predisposition to developing Celiac. Whew.

So the plan is, once the results are in (DRUMROLL PLEASE!- assuming of course they're negative) I will undergo a VERY strict diet for a week or two, eating nothing out of the ordinary that could produce any gastrointestinal symptoms I might mistake for a reaction. I will eat a few GLORIOUS slices of crusty bread, cross my fingers, and hope for the best. If all goes well for a few weeks, I will do a tiny dance of joy and have a nice glass of beer to celebrate. :)  I will never EVER go back to eating the way I did a year ago (enriched wheat flour, etc.) but I will lose that debilitating fear of all potential sources of cross contamination. :) Yippeeee...I'm pretty psyched!

Hope all is well with you guys.

Oh, before I go, I have contributed to a "back to school" e-recipe book with Alisa from One Frugal Foodie. Her recent post about big food business trying to get parents to believe that what they're selling is not only food, but it is a good idea to feed it to their kids. It really rang true for me and I was dying to help out by sharing a few recipes from my blog. I didn't get the chance to come up with anything new for the project, (no time!!), but she was psyched about my sausage recipe and I think she may have used an additional one also...not sure. Whatever she grabbed I was just grateful to help out. I'll let you know once it's ready! Thanks for doing all the work, Alisa. This will certainly help lots of kids- and parents!!

Talk soon,

Product review: Mary's crackers... no...scratch that— Mary's Love COOKIES!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In short, these rock. No, Mary unfortunately did NOT send me my own free box (though if she did, I would happily accept!) but I was happy to pay. Do you see the ingredients here? Palm sugar- not processed white sugar- that one is my favourite! Plus no hydrogenated crap, no preservatives, lovely healthy chia and quinoa thrown in, all organic...seriously- it doesn't get better than this! No, this is not what I'd call a "nutritious" choice, but I would say it is nutrient neutral, and tastes like a million bucks. Two of my non-GF friends likened them to "molasses cookies" and though I'm afraid I don't remember those, I do love these "fake" oatmeal cookies- they rock!

They were about 5$ for the box, and the box had maybe 20 cookies. Not cheap, but very worth it. This is the kind of "treat" you can feel good about giving the kids. Plus they are nut free so safe for school lunches.

What do YOU have as a special treat?


Quinoa Salad (gluten free, easily vegan)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We've had a really busy social calendar this summer (as evidenced by my lack of frequent postings!) and often that involves going somewhere for a pot-luck dinner. Knowing in advance what's on the menu certainly helps, but either way I bring a lot of a dish I can eat, and preferably one that can serve as a full meal in case there is literally nothing else I trust to eat. Quinoa salad works every time.

Quinoa Salad (a meal onto itself!)

1 cup quinoa
organic vegetable or chicken bouillon (amount: whatever is needed for one cup water- mine is 1/2 cube)
1 1/4 cups water
whatever vegetables you have on hand
whatever beans you have on hand
whatever fresh herbs you have on hand
(really, it's that easy)

Soak quinoa in a wire strainer dipped in water for 5 minutes to dissolve bitter outer coat. Drain and place in a pot with water and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for about 13-15 minutes- just until the liquid has evaporated.

Meanwhile, finely dice whatever veggies and fresh herbs you'd like. My last salad had the following: red, orange and purple peppers, broccoli and quartered cherry tomatoes. If you have some fresh basil, parsley or coriander, it'll really liven up the flavours. Then open a tin of chick peas, kidney beans, etc. rinse, drain and add to the salad. You may want to cool the quinoa first before incorporating it as it can actually cook the veggies a little.

For dressing, I make my caesar salad dressing and pour it over the salad right before serving. Otherwise, I find you need ten times more dressing as the quinoa absorbs it.

Even with food allergies/intolerances, planning ahead means you can still join a meal without queueing up for what my sister calls "some killing me softly". :) Enjoy!

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