Thursday, January 31, 2013

Veggie Quiche with Brown Rice Crust

Veggie quiche with a brown rice crust is something I fall back on about once a week when I've been busy working all day and need something easy for dinner. It does take a while to cook, but the actual prep time is minimal.

1 cup dried brown rice (to make 2 cups cooked)
2 cups water with 1-2 tsp chicken base or 2 cups chicken broth
4 oz goat, sheep or raw milk cheese
5-6 eggs
2-3 cups frozen veggies, thawed (I eyeball this. Most common veggies are broccoli, spinach, asparagus)
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Cook the brown rice with the water and base or broth. To cook brown rice, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until water is absorbed. (Even easier make more rice than you need and keep it in the fridge or freezer for future use.)

Combine the rice with 1 egg, a pinch of cheese (if using shredded, if using cream goat cheese I skip the cheese in the rice), salt and pepper to taste.

Grease a square baking dish with olive oil and spread the rice mixture in the bottom.

Then combine the remaining eggs with the remaining cheese, veggies and salt and pepper to taste. Spread over rice mixture and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tomato and White Bean Soup

I'm testing a recipe from The Gluten-Free Vegan and this is my simplified version of it.


1 lb white beans cooked
3-4 cans diced no salt added tomatoes
2 onions diced
2-4 roasted red peppers, diced (1-2 jars)
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 tsp basil
Dash red pepper flakes
Olive Oil
Vegetable Base


Cook the beans according to directions (or use equal number of cans white beans and diced tomatoes). About the time the beans begin to soften (about 2 hours of cooking after doing an hour long quick soak), saute the onion, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, dash of salt and pepper in olive oil. Add saute mix to beans with diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers and vegetable base (to taste). Let simmer at least half an hour or until beans are completely softened. I usually let it simmer a couple hours.

I'll be serving with cornbread.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yesterday while Tony and I were out playing Ingress in Fort Smith, we stopped by the farmer's market and a guy was selling local, grass-fed Dexter heritage beef, so I bought a variety of cuts including some ground. I'm so excited that I get to make one of my favorites tonight, stuffed bell peppers!

6 red bell peppers
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 lb ground beef
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 onion diced
Onion powder
Garlic powder

While rice is cooking, brown beef with onions.

When rice and beef are done cooking, mix together with tomato sauce and seasonings to taste (I usually use a tablespoon of each with a pinch of salt and pepper).

Stuff peppers and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until peppers are soft.

*If you want to do a vegan version, substitute black beans for the beef. That was my backup plan if I wasn't able to get ground beef.
*A dear friend recommends cooking the rice with a little beef broth for some added flavor.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lazy Chiles Rellenos or Poblano Quiche

I came across this recipe for Lazy Chiles Rellenos from The Pioneer Woman and I created my own version to it to make it lactose-free. Tony loves this recipe and begs me regularly to make it.

6 poblano peppers, broiled and chopped
4 eggs
4 oz shredded goat, sheep or raw milk cheese
1 cup non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil (to grease pan)
Corn tortillas or leftover rice (combine rice with an additional egg, a pinch of cheese, salt and pepper)

First, broil the poblanos on a cookie sheet lined with foil until they start to blacken. After one side is done flip them and broil the second side. Once the peppers are blackened (but not burned all the way through, I did that last night when my mom called) let them cool for a few minutes and place in a plastic bag or covered bowl to steam. After 15-30 minutes while wearing plastic gloves, peel the outer, charred skin and deseed the peppers.

Next, roughly chop the peppers and mix with the eggs, milk and cheese with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, grease a square baking dish and lay out the corn tortillas or rice as the crust, then cover in egg mixture.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beans with Turkey Bacon and Cornbread

I needed to make something for dinner tonight that would last us a few nights since I'll be running errands the next two days. So I picked up a bag of small red beans at the Mexican market in Fort Smith and a package of turkey bacon (Applegate Natural Turkey Bacon) that I found at the natural food store that is gluten and casein-free, no nitrates, msg, etc. Very yummy stuff, the beans have an amazing flavor.

Here are the directions I followed for cooking the dried beans: How To Cook Beans.

The recipe I used to flavor the beans: Pinto Beans with Bacon and Jalapenos.

And finally the cornbread recipe I'm trying out. I am out of honey, so I used a tablespoon of organic, raw sugar. I also replaced the milk with unsweetened almond milk and the butter with olive oil: 100% Cornmeal Gluten-Free Cornbread.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gluten and Lactose-Free Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Tony and I LOVE Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but being gluten and lactose intolerant makes pizza difficult for me. I was thrilled to find goat cheddar and raw milk cheddar at Aldi's and Bob's Red Mill Pizza Crust packages.

As I type this Tony is asking if I want anything besides the chicken and cheese on the pizza. We debate celery but decide against it. I told him we are allowed to splurge from time to time and not have veggies at dinner. He says there are peppers in the hot sauce and vinegar which are derived from vegetables so they must count. I'll let you decide. Thankfully we had salad for lunch with a Spring baby greens mix and tomato.

For the crust, I'm not happy with the yeast packet that is included and I keep jars on hand for when we try making gluten-free bread so I use that instead. I also mix the 1 1/4 cups water (microwaved for 45 seconds, it should be between 105 and 110F) with 1/4 tsp sugar and 4 1/2 tsp yeast (modification from a pizza crust recipe in my pre-gluten-free days) and let it ferment for 6-8 minutes. I add the yeast-water mixture to the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. I don't let the dough rise for 20 minutes like the recipe says to do. We tried it once and it didn't seem to make a difference. Otherwise, follow the recipe on the package of crust mix. 


Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix
2 packets or 4 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
8 oz raw milk, goat or sheep hard cheese (I find cheddar styles at Aldi from time to time)
Organic or non-grain fed, free range chicken
1 bottle Frank's Hot Sauce

While making the crust, cook the chicken in some of the hot sauce, leaving enough to use as the pizza sauce, then shred or dice. Top the pizza with hot sauce, cheese and chicken, bake for 15-18 minutes.

An afterthought, if you really want blue cheese, Roquefort is a blue cheese made from sheep milk.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

From time to time I get wicked sugar cravings or I really miss ice cream since I don't handle dairy well. When this happens Tony is the sweetest husband ever and makes a smoothie for us that satisfies whatever it is that I want. It is dairy free and uses frozen banana to give it a soft frozen consistency that I can eat with a spoon and feel like I'm having ice cream.

In a blender combine:

3 frozen bananas (over ripe and sliced into half inch pieces prior to freezing)
4 tbsp low sugar, low sodium natural or organic peanut butter
2-4 cups dark chocolate almond milk (start with 2 cups and increase until desired consistency)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

I've modified this recipe a little from the book Endometriosis: A Guide to Healing Through Nutrition. The original recipe calls for (sheep or goat) yogurt, but since that's difficult to find I'm using coconut milk, added a little vegetable base for flavor, and spices for nutritional purposes.

2 onions diced
1 tsp ginger grated or chopped
1 clove garlic chopped (1 tsp minced)
1 tsp curry powder (I think I used a tbsp)
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 - 15oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 - 15 oz cans chickpeas rinsed
8 oz (half bag) frozen spinach
2 tbsp olive oil (cold pressed is recommended for Endo)
Salt (small pinch)
Black pepper
1 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base

Over medium heat, sautee onions, ginger and garlic in oil with a pinch of salt and black pepper. When onions are soft, add curry powder and cayenne to taste and cook for a few more minutes. (I read that black pepper, tumeric and cayenne enhance each others nutritional properties, so I always cook with them together when possible).

Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach and cook until spinach is heated through. Add coconut milk and vegetable base and cook another 5 minutes to let flavors come together.

Serve alone or over brown rice.

A note on canned tomatoes, rumor is Hunts is in the process of transitioning to BPA free cans.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Food Journey

Over the past few years I have gradually been making changes to the way my husband and I eat. I've been posting updates on Facebook but not really blogging about it and yesterday I had two requests to start a food blog. Instead of starting yet another blog, I decided to divide this blog into different sections to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for. Family can check out the progress we're making on the house while friends can see what is going on with our diet or look for the household cleaner recipes I use. I am going to continue to keep my business blog for Penguinuity separate, but I should add a link to it.

I think I'll keep this post to how we got to where we are today with our diet. For years, Tony and I thought we could eat anything we wanted. Between IT jobs (Tony is a Network Administrator), he drove a water truck for the oil fields and had to have regular physicals in order to keep his license. Between not doing well on some of the physicals and oil field work slowing down in 2009 after Obama took office and creating a huge dent in our budget, I had to start making changes. That year I learned to use meat as a seasoning in my cooking rather than as the main dish. I began to bulk up meals with rice and oats. Then in 2010, I started selling handmade bags at a local farmer's market. Each Saturday I would leave with a lot of produce the other vendors would share with me and I challenged myself to start cooking one meatless meal a week after hearing about Meatless Mondays.

As we became accustomed to vegetarian meals, I increased the frequency from one meal a week to two, then three, four and five. By the summer of 2011, we were eating meat once or twice a week. That is when I introduced vegan meals to our diet after watching Forks Over Knives. I did the same as the vegetarian meals and started with one a week and gradually increased it until we were eating four to five vegan meals a week with one vegetarian and one meat (usually salmon or tuna).

I have been cooking this way for over a year now. Some things have happened over this past year though. First, in January 2012 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I was not aware of it being an auto-immune disease until October when I was talking to a friend with the disease and began seeing a specialist. A book was recommended to me, Endometriosis: A Guide to Healing Through Nutrition. The book suggested giving up gluten; cow dairy; conventional (confined, grain-fed) meats such as pork, beef and chicken. I had already discovered that I was sensitive to dairy and had given up conventional meat, but the thought of giving up gluten devastated me. A couple weeks after my consultation with the Endo specialist, I had a physical done with a new primary care physician (PCP). When the blood work came back all the numbers were excellent except my Triglycerides, blood sugar and vitamin D levels. The PCP told me she believes I'm pre-diabetic and need to give up sugar and carbs. I wasn't aware until that appointment that Triglycerides are a measure of sugar (carbs) in the body and those numbers have been the worst for Tony over the years often being so high they can't get a reading.

This news threw a huge wrench into how I cooked. I was relying on homemade bread as one of my main staples. It was cheap and I believed healthy. I talked to Tony about it and we decided to give up gluten. I will not lie, I cried. It has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I immediately decided to make a list of what I could eat when I was away from home running errands (grilled chicken salads and omelets are the easiest to find). The first 10 days were a nightmare. I went through horrible withdrawal. I had headaches (not migraines), nausea, pain and I was starving all the time. On day 11 though, I felt amazing. I had all kinds of energy and my daily migraines and Fibromyalgia pain were significantly reduced. The daily pain had been a 7-9 on a pain scale of 10 before going gluten-free, then it dropped to 2-3 on the pain scale.

I am now at 3 months of doing gluten-free and overall I feel significantly better and on the occasion that gluten does sneak in, I am miserable. Forget pizza, the next day I feel like I have the mother of all sinus infections and the Fibromyalgia pain flares up. French fries and bread give me migraines. Before going gluten-free, I couldn't handle weather changes. As soon as the pressure would drop, I'd be in so much pain between the Fibromyalgia and migraines I could hardly move. Now I'm unable to predict the weather like I could before. I'm still not 100% pain free. I still have about one migraine a week, some nerve pain and Endo pain.

In the coming days and weeks I will discuss various diets I have researched, share recipes I have success with, and continue to give updates on how things are going. The dear friend who introduced me to the Endo specialist in addition to suffering from Endo is battling a rare form of thyroid cancer and diabetes, so Gena, I hope this blog helps!!! We can do this!!!

Update (3/4/2013): I've noticed I do have a minor reaction to raw milk dairy, it causes some congestion and a little pain although it's incredibly minor compared to conventional (bovine) dairy.