Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Vegetable Soup

If my apartment wasn't 89 degrees right now, despite a box fan and an air conditioner fan running on high, I'd be eating this soup. I hope this post redeems me in some of your eyes.

This came about in a fit of laziness.  I had always been afraid of soups, or turned them into weird KITCHENFAILS!!!111!! so this was a pleasant surprise when it actually turned out well.  I made this with the veggies I had in the house, but you could substitute broccoli, cauliflower or even two mixed freezer bags.

3 cups fat free, low sodium, gluten free chicken or vegetable stock (I like Imagine brand)
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons smart balance spread
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
28 ounces diced tomatoes with liquids, if canned
2 bunches or about 4 cups chopped broccolette
1 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 wedges laughing cow light swiss spreadable cheese
2 tablespoons thyme
black pepper

Chop all your veggies.  Turn the heat on under a large sauce pot and measure out your tomatoes, seasonings and liquids so everything is ready to go. Add smart balance to the pot, stirring to melt evenly.  Whisk in corn starch, continuing to whisk until mixture (roux) is perfectly smooth and starting to brown slightly and bubble.  Slowly whisk in milk and stock until the mixture starts to bubble and steam.  Add chopped veggies, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.  Stir and bring to strong simmer.  Add laughing cow.  Allow mixture to simmer on medium heat and reduce by at least a third.  Season more as needed.  Pinch of salt could be good too, but be wary that laughing cow wedges are high in sodium, which is why I omitted it.

The total will end up being 8 - 9 cups, 6 servings of 1 1/3 cups.

Each serving has 186 calories, 3.8 grams of fat (1.3 saturated), 10mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 27g of carbohydrates, 4g of fiber, 12g of sugar and 12g of protein.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Oh, man.  I was working on comfort food posts this week.  There's nothing I like more than something hearty thats still healthy.  But as you may have guessed from the title of this here post, most of them were gigantic KITCHENFAILS.

I have been having the kitchen month from hell, save for two meals I prepared last week for my boyfriend and I.  One of which was great. The other okay. There will be posts to follow.

I had been harassing my mother for her tuna casserole recipe, figuring it would be a snap to get it gluten free.  Except then I couldn't find any condensed cream based soups that didn't have wheat (certainly none that were low fat).  Since it was 9:30pm and I was starving after working and having class, I decided to just improvise.  Bad move when you're tired, hungry, and in a crappy grocery store full of invalids.

I end up purchasing a store brand light alfredo sauce in a jar to substitute. Already, this is is a disaster.  Then, I get home and realize that I didn't have celery or celery seasoning.  Aaaaand I didn't feel like putting anything in the oven or actually cooking.  So I decided that I could create a microwave version of a tuna casserole.  Which consisted of a can of tuna, half a jar of this light alfredo sauce, shredded cheese, left over cooked gluten free pasta (that was in EVOO and tarragon) that had been in the fridge for about a week and some chopped raw white onion.

*Cue screams of horror/stomach cramps*

I would have taken a picture but it closely resembled vomit.  Which is pretty much what I wanted to do after I ate it.  Though I ate all of it.  Ugh. KITCHENFAIL. It was seriously the worst thing I have ever prepared.  I won't even say cooked, because that would be a total exaggeration.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm working on a Yelp list of gluten free restaurants!

Will continue to update that!  I am starting with those that are more blatantly gluten free and will work back toward editing places I go back to that can accommodate my allergy.  Going to eventually move some of those reviews here on a separate page but that will likely wait until all of my patients stop showing up once it gets cold out and I am bored stupid at work. Sweeeet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Dreams...

Because this post is as monumental as Freud's seminal work of the same title. Duh.

Gluten is invading my dreams. I have had a few nightmares where I've woken up panicky since going gluten free ABOUT going gluten free. Literally waking up in a cold sweat that I ingested some wheat. Last night it was pretzels.

Scene: The living room. Our author and boyfriend are in their usual position.  Feet up on the ottoman, huddled together, giggling and making sarcastic comments about whatever is on the tee vee.  The room is brighter than it ever is in actuality thanks to ridiculous NYC apartment layouts that the author dares ne'er bitch about due to her apartment being very under market (yet still insanely priced) for her posh zipcode.

In this particular dream, I was cuddled up, watching football with Frank (and we were wearing matching navy blue velour sweatsuits, thank you subconscious) munching mindlessly and happily on some cheesy pretzels. 

All of a sudden, I realize that I'm eating pretzels. I run to the kitchen to read the bag and see that it says WHEATY PRETZELS on the front and still scan for the allergen warning as if it won't confirm what I already know.  I start spitting out what's left in my mouth and crumbs come pouring out, seemingly from deep in my gut.  I start to panic and choke on the crumbs but they stop with no warning as Frank runs toward me.  We hug.


Psychoanalysis in the comments? Heh.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An easy midweek recipe makes for a very easy midweek post.

I. love. to. cook.  What? I really do.

Except when I get home from work/therapy/class at 9pm or its 95 degrees outside.  Or I am just flat out feeling lazy.  And that is when having recipes like this one on hand bails me out.  The below is about enough for you and leftovers or you and a lucky second person. Check out both links for shirataki noodles in the post to be introduced to these wonders.

Lemon, Tarragon, Goat Cheese and Chive pasta

6oz dry gluten free pasta or 2 bag of shirataki noodles
1/4 - 1/2 cup reserved pasta water or hot water
1 teaspoon EVOO
~ 2 oz soft goat cheese
zest and juice of one large lemon
~ 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon (I like a little more. Go by your taste.)
~ 1/3 cup tablespoons of chopped chives
2 tablespoons gluten free grated parmesan cheese
black pepper

If using gluten free pasta (I LOVE bionaturae!) throw on some water to boil with a pinch of salt. No need to waste the oil that most gluten free chefs will tell you is necessary, just stir it frequently to avoid sticking.  If using shirataki, rinse very very very thoroughly under cold water and squeeze out excess.

While water is boiling for the pasta, do all your chopping.  Combine all ingredients (except for goat cheese) in a large bowl.  Crumble goat cheese over ingredients, not combining.

After pasta is done, pour it on top of sauce components and let sit for 30 seconds.  Add a little bit of reserved pasta/hot water at a time to help combine and evenly distribute sauce components.  Mix well, adding additional grated parm if desired.

Nutritional breakdown (using shirataki noodles):

195 calories, 13.5g fat, 20.25mg cholesterol, 273mg sodium, 14g carbohydrates, 6.5g fiber, 1.25g sugar,11g of protein

Monday, October 4, 2010


Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. And they are naturally gluten free, no substituting or involvement of 12 separate types of flour which do not fit into my Upper West Side kitchen. Golden brown. Chewy. Mmmmmm.  

Straight from my Mom's kitchen to mine.  Except I added chocolate.  Which is kind of a no brainer, since I can't think of anything that isn't better with some chocolate.  I think this would also be tasty with some toasted shredded coconut thrown in.

1 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Grease that cookie sheet.  Or, preferably, get thee some parchment paper. 

*Mix peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg.
*Once you have that all combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
*Roll into small balls, flatten slightly (I like to press them with a fork and get the hash marks like my Mom always did though I clearly forgot that in the above picture, whoops), and put on greased cookie sheet. They don't spread much, so feel free to cram them in within reason.
*Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

This dough freezes really well too.  All in all, the dough makes 24 small cookies.  I like to bake half at once this way nobody in my house overdoes it and the next time I'm craving something sweet (read: cranky), I am 10 minutes away from cookies.

Per cookie, the nutritional info as follows:
127 calories,6.3g of fat (2.3 saturated), 9mg cholesterol, 93mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 10g sugar, 3.6g protein

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The One About Making Out... (and other cross contamination).

When I was first diagnosed, my super supportive boyfriend said that he would gladly give up gluten with me.  Until he realized that there was gluten in beer. Heh.

This brings me to two weekends ago.  My man and I were hosting a my friend Michael at our place.  Michael and Frank were enjoying some beer and pizza. I was being well behaved and having some gluten free noshes of my own. As is the usual for Frank and I, there were kisses stolen here and there throughout the night.  Not to go totally TMI (I'll leave that for Vittoria...) but when we got a moment alone, we took advantage.

Toward the end of the night, I started to feel some all too familiar rumblings in my celiac tummy.  Then came the nausea, the stomach pain and cramping, the mild headache.  I was racking my brain.  I knew I had been careful. Running over the list of everything I ate that day, I came up empty.  Then it hit me:  Making out with Frank post beer guzzling and pizza eating.  I refused to believe it so I did some intense googling (what else does one do in these situations?)  finding vague reports similar to my experience.  Poor boyfriend felt so horrible, that "he" had made me sick.  I emphasized that it was the wheat/gluten and NOT his lips. Thankfully I have no allergies to sexy brown men.  Only a seductive brown grain and its friends.

Since then I've been even bitchier than normal and anytime he eats or drinks anything questionable, I make him brush his teeth and rinse.  No cross contamination since then, so even though I was unsure as to whether or not toothpaste would kill the allergen, I have been a-okay.

The implications this has for dating are ridiculous.  Thankfully my man loves me. And we've been together like two years.  I couldn't imagine meeting someone, really liking them and then as the moment turns intimate screaming STOP STOP CROSS CONTAMINATION STOOOOOP. A scary consideration.  So who is going to start an allergy friendly dating website?

Tangentially on the subject of cross contamination, the only slip ups I've had (after my first failed attempt that I documented here) have been CC (cross contamination) related.  Once, while I out I dipped my gluten free bread in the communal EVOO bowl.    Rookie move, Lauren.  The other incident was getting my salad chopped  (that sounds dirty, yet isn't...) through a machine at a chain salad restaurant.  Grr.  CC is definitely the hardest factor to consider.  Most places seem to be able to figure out gluten free food, but if its not made in a gluten free kitchen or area of the kitchen, even, it can still carry some risk.  Even when the gluten free kitchen in question is actually your boyfriends mouth.  Noted.

I feel like this could be a good place for notes on storage and avoiding cross contamination. Voila. I give you... bullet points:

  • Wheat flour should be kept in an airtight container.
  • Gluten free flours should be stored above gluten containing flours. Go figure.
  • Preferably have a designated gluten free cabinet/shelf which has been cleaned prior to storing gluten free products.
  • Strainers should be cleaned thoroughly, in a dishwasher if possible, if it is necessary that they are shared between wheat pasta/starches and gluten free ones/food.
  • If cooking gluten free and not gluten free foods simultaneously: GF food goes above wheat containing food in the oven. Use separate utensils for stovetop. Make sure GF food does not touch wheat containing food on grills.
  • If possible, purchase a separate toaster, blender and food processor as residue is difficult to remove.  This is the same rationale that warrants investing in separate colanders. 
  • Make your significant other brush his teeth when he gets done boozing with his friends.