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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snacking and tasting can be such fun!

It’s been about 4 months since I began eating gluten free. Most of the time I do pretty well with it. The thought of feeling as tired as I used to and breaking out with ugly acne around my jaw line, keeps me away from gluten for the most part. I can’t lie though, I have cheated. Until I got caught, that is. I was tasting some, warm just out of the oven, oatmeal cookies that I baked for the kids, you know, just making sure they were edible. When I was about to grab a third one my son, Christian, says to me, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be eating that! It has wheat in it!”  I know, I know…shame on me! So, yes, I have my kids to thank for keeping me on track, making sure that I don’t eat wheat (or their goodies).

With today's hustle and bustle , it seems like I'm constantly running out the door hungry...not so good when you're about to pick up a car load of wild children. So, I had to find something quick, yummy and gf to snack on while on the road. I stopped by my local Fresh & Easy to see what I could find. I found the most delightful and nutritious little snack ever, the KIND bar. These little bars are sooo good and have protected the children from the wrath of a hungry mommy...I just love 'em! BTW, they can also be found at your local Starbuck's now!

If you're like me, I can't, for the life of me, think straight when I'm hungry. Keeping easy snacks around is  helpful since I don't really sit down and have a full meal when its just me. So here are a few ideas to keep the bear away. I keep a few hard boiled eggs in the fridge, getting your five (or is it 8 now?) servings of fruits and veggies is also important. Yogurt, especially Greek style yogurt, helps to satisfy hunger pangs. But my favorite is Riceworks chips with a side of delicious home made hummus! The really nice thing about hummus is that it stays good for 7 days when refrigerated in an air tight container.  Below is a recipe, courtesy of for thee best hummus!

Cilantro Lime Jalapeno Hummus
1 cup washed cilantro
1 jalapeno (seeds removed, reserve some slices for garnish)
1 16oz can garbanzo beans (drained)
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup lime juice
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
olive oil (garnish topping)
paprika (garnish topping)

In a food processor add garbanzo beans, garlic and salt and blend until smooth.  Next add, lime juice, tahini, sour cream, salt, pepper, jalapeno and blend until smooth. Lastly, add cilantro and pulse until cilantro is mixed in.  Garnish with olive oil and paprika.

And before I sign off today, I have to share my midafternoon snack with's a little Mexican/Japanese fusion...edamame sprinkled with Tajin, d'lish!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thank you Zee!

My name is Michelle. I’m 38 and have 3 beautiful children. I have a wonderful husband of 8 years, surprisingly he's still around. I say this because having a wife who was never in the mood for anything, and I mean anything, he has been the most patient and loving man I could ever ask for. 

Thanks to Facebook, today I am gf*. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have gotten in contact with my long lost friend Zeneta, aka Zee, whom I haven't seen in years and lives way up in Oregon. She had noticed my wall posts where I was constantly complaining about being tired…I really was tired. No...I was exhausted! Dangerously exhausted! I would wake up tired, drive my kids to school and upon returning home had no energy to do anything on my long to do list. So, sluggishly, I’d make myself do laundry, wash the dishes, do my shopping, never doing as much as my mind wanted to do. I had no energy to do anything with my kids. I didn’t spend time with my husband. I began gaining weight because I couldn’t bring myself to exercise. It was all getting very depressing. For years I wondered what was wrong with me. People would say “You’re a mom, of course you’re tired!”, but I knew that falling asleep at the wheel on a daily basis was not normal, even for a busy mom.

So, there I was on Facebook, posting another comment about how tired I was and that’s when Zee sent me a message. She asked if I was gluten intolerant…never did I think I was intolerant to any kind of food. I loved food! Especially pasta, cookies, cakes, pies and everything that had gluten in it! Of course, this was bad news for me. How in the world would I adjust? No more pancakes? No more buttery croissants or beer bread? No more beer?!? How could this be???

After the initial shock, I began researching gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease. While reading the symptoms, I got goose bumps realizing that I had many of the symptoms. Could this be the end to my chronic fatigue and forgetfulness, the bloating, the joint pain and even the (sorry) constipation? And I came to know that the annoying little rash on my arm, which has been haunting me for at least 9 years, has a name, Dermatitis Herpetiformis…I was blown away! Is there still hope for me to lead a normal, active life?  I believed it was definitely worth a try and so began my journey.

I had no idea where to begin so I hit the World Wide Web. I found a gazillion web sites full of information and recipes and gluten free stores. Gotta love the WWW…what would we do without it?  But boy, it was a bit overwhelming. So, I started simply by eating what I had here at home. I just read labels, avoiding anything that had wheat, rye and barley. I even called a few manufacturers if the label was confusing. Needless to say, I didn't eat a whole lot. 
After about 3 days, the acne that had been around my jaw line for months, disappeared! Then after a week, I stopped falling asleep while driving! This was all the convincing I needed to give up gluten for good!

My only dilemma now, was finding ways to have the same food that I was used to eating but, without the gluten. Many of the sauces, dressings and marinades out there have hidden gluten. What to do? Search, search, search! Now, I am literally obsessed with looking for ways to make my old faves gf and new dishes to satisfy this gluten free girls’ appetite. So my mission is to share my findings and experiences with all those gluten confused people out there. You are not alone and there is hope!