Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Gluten Free Pizza?  Don't worry, silly Homer.  You can do it.  Here's how

Gluten Free Pizza Dough

1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Cups Instant Oats (gluten free of course, silly Homer)
1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 Cup Very Hot Water
Dash of Garlic Salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fast acting yeast for bread machines

Pour cornmeal and water into microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 2 minutes.  Pour into bread machine.  In a blender, add Oats and pulse until a fine flour is formed.  Add to bread machine, with rice flour, yeast, salt, sugar and using the dough setting start machine.

You may need to add water or extra brown rice flour to get a good consistency.  It should form a play doh like dough.

Spray pizza pan with oil and pat dough into pizza shape.  Pre-bake five minutes in 375 degree oven.  Add the toppings you like and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Cooking time may vary depending on the temperature and efficiency of your oven.

I used marinara sauce, provolone cheese, portabello mushrooms, jalepenos, and a few sliced olives.  A person who is not avoiding gluten also enjoyed this pizza!  :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Eat my gluties.

In the day and age of all sorts of dietary preferences, I must admit that I was that person who rolled their eyes when I heard people say "gluten free,"  or "allergic to soy."  Because Americans are spoiled--overly fussy and absolutely ridiculous about food, I did not take any of these things very seriously at all.

A funny thing happened, though.  That allergen thing nearly killed me last summer and since then I am starting to see the world differently.  It was a beautiful summer day (yes those exist, even where I live) and I was outside like every red blooded person who lives above the 45' line of latitude should do in the summer.  Warm, sunny days where I live are few and far between in the area I describe as: "basically Canada, but people aren't as nice."

My garden last year was pretty good and I was noticing some bees helping pollinate my flowering plants.  To my dismay, I also noticed some yellow jackets (bee's bitchy cousin).  While a honey bee will go on his merry way without much as noticing you most times, a hornet gets really upset when you walk too loudly or come anywhere near his nest.  I knew there were hornets, but unfortunately I didn't know where.  The next thing I knew I was being taken to the hospital against my will.  My futile protests were: "I'm fine!  I've been stung before.  It's no big deal."

It was a big deal.  Most of the time when you go to the ER because more serious things are happening to other people, you watch a talk show, then get an ex ray or stitches and then go on your way.  When I walked in I could hardly breathe.  The orderly ushered me into a room.  Everything got dark.  I hear voices around me and feel an IV slide into my arm.  Hours later I awoke to a nurse trying to teach me how to use an epipen.  Disoriented and cranky I growled, "yeah, yeah....whatever."  That poor woman was actually really nice, but being conscious was really hard for me at that moment.

Today I have more respect for allergens.  Recently, I uncovered an article about gluten allergies and it made so much sense to me that I decided to try the gluten elimination diet.  Basically, no wheat in any of my food to see if my symptoms are alleviated.  Gluten allergy symptoms can include nausea, Keratosis Pilaris, mood disorders like anxiety and depression, arthritis, weight gain or loss, vitamin deficiencies, low thyroid function, slow metabolism, diarrhea, and high levels of blood inflammation to name a few.  The most serious forms of gluten allergy are diagnosed as Celiac Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroidosis where ingesting gluten can cause severe discomfort and death.

Many people are allergic to gluten without even realizing it and the exposure is so frequent that it can make the symptoms feel unbearable.  At 24, I was diagnosed with arthritis due to high levels of blood inflammation.  Having to work out really hard to be able to move at all with minimally reduced pain was a reality I accepted, but the payoff should have been fitness.  Sadly, I battled my weight even harder and the scale barely budged.  I've tried every diet imaginable even a vegetarian version of Atkins which was nearly impossible and but weight still remained the same.

When a person allergic to wheat eats something that has wheat in it, their digestive system does everything possible to fight off the allergen.  The digestive walls attempt to absorb the allergen and then attack it using white blood cells.  This inflammation of the blood causes surrounding tissue to also become inflamed--arthritis.  Constant exposure(wheat at every meal) to the allergen makes reducing that inflammation impossible and the body remains in a constant state of attacking itself.

Beer, pizza, noodles, and bread are just a few things I've had to give up to be gluten free.  Sure, there's tons of substitutes out there, but I am just not a processed food person.  I've made a pizza from cornmeal (polenta) that was pretty cool, but sorghum beers are totally gross.  Maybe down the road I will give corn noodles a whirl, but for the most part I try to eat natural things.  It's not too shabby so far--a way easier diet than most I've attempted previously.  However, gluten elimination needs to be 100 percent in order to take an effect on your overall health.  No cheating!

From what I can tell, eliminating gluten has made a huge difference in my overall feeling of health.  Before I took gluten out of my diet, I ate because of necessity thinking that my dizziness and nausea were caused by hunger.  Now I actually feel hungry and my body is communicating with me.  My anxiety and arthritis feel lessened and well....lest I become too graphic, other things are working better too.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sandalwood Rose Rain Soap

This summer I made rose oil.  I have beautiful roses in my garden.  So many types and kinds, I cut a rose every time I go see my grandmother.  She loves pink roses.  I always bring her a rose to put floating in a bud vase.
As flowers dwindle on the vine, I pick the petals and save them as my futile protest against summer's fading paradise.  These petals I put into a jar and through winter's tyranny, found a solace to last me until spring.

One bar soap grated
two cups water, hot
essential oils

This recipe is barely a recipe at all.  I used a bar of sandalwood soap grated it and added hot water.  I let it sit for a long time and finally it gelled.  Then I added my essential oils and it's heaven.  I make my own essential oils so that makes things gorgeous.

Creamy Lentil and Potato Stew

Recently, I encountered an unbeatable price on potatoes, but it was the sort of thing I had to dare myself to buy.  Twenty pounds of potatoes for three dollars was too good a price to forgo, but holy smokes!  What am I going to do with twenty freaking pounds of potatoes?  I must say they are beautiful local red potatoes to boot, so it was definitely a good deal.  I am Irish.  Challenge accepted.

Everyone in my house has been sick lately, so soup is the thing that smacks in my mind about sickness.  In another bargain adventure I found lentils for 55 cents!  There is no better price for lentils than that, so here's a recipe that would put the most frugal chef to shame.

Four Small Potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a knife then microwaved on high until soft.
One cup dry lentils
One small rutabaga, peeled and chopped
Three large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
Four small carrots, scrubbed and chopped
Chopped celery, about one cup
One half a large onion, chopped
Mrs. Dash
Salt and Pepper if desired

First of all, scrub the four small potatoes, pierce with a knife and put in microwave.  Place lentils in a large pot and add about four inches of water and turn heat to boil.  Add rutabagas, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion as you are chopping them.  Stir as vegetables cook.  When the microwaved potatoes are cooked, put them right into your blender and add very cold water to cool them.  After a few minutes, pour the water into your soup leaving potatoes in the blender and refill the cold water.  Cover the blender pitcher and pulse until a nice consistency is achieved.  It should look very much like whipped potatoes.  Pour contents into your soup and stir. This creates a nice consistency without the fat of a traditional cream soup roux.  Season to taste.  I try to avoid cooking with salt.  People can always add that later to their liking.    

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Buffalo Cauliflower won't you come out tonight?

I am the sort of person who usually gets a song stuck in their head.  It could be anything, but usually there are triggers that make me think of a song then it plays ad nauseum.

Buffalo Cauliflower, won't you come out tonight

One large head fresh cauliflower, broken into florets (Save the base of the Cauliflower to make soup)
One cup flour of your choice (I used 2/3 white and 1/3 fine cornmeal)
One cup water
Garlic Powder or other seasonings
Dash of nutritional yeast

Hot Sauce of your choosing or you could do really any kind of sauce you like here: BBQ, Sweet and Sour, Thai Sweet Chile....

Mix flour, water, nutritional yeast, and seasonings to form a batter.  Dip into batter and place in single layer on a baking sheet in preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake 20 minutes, then remove, toss in sauce and replace in oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Hot sauce goes well with a nice ranch dressing for dipping, or what ever you prefer.  It's so easy and so good, but totally filling!

A caveat about white flour, it is nearly nutritionally void. If you happen to have some other fancier healthier flour laying around I suggest you use it instead.  I make this recipe often, and the last time I used regular gluten flour (different and cheaper than vital wheat gluten) and cormeal.  I was very pleased with the results and gluten flour has about 35 grams of protein to offer this recipe when used in the 2/3 C recipe.  I have had some luck using soy flour in recipes that require a roux, but I do not recommend it here: the flavor is quite beany.
My recipes are for anyone, not just veggies, so I try to put it in plain ingredients that anybody could find.  Family and friends tease me incessantly regarding all the weirdo health food stuff I add to recipes. But in my defense, I make treats for people I love.  Why wouldn't I want to use healthy ingredients?    

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Red Lentil, Yellow Lentil


 Lentil experimental!  Lentils are so pretty and they pack the highest protein per calorie punch of any legume, so they are my favorites.  They are rich with isoflavones that fight cancerous tumors and folic acid: an essential nutrient not found in any other plant source.   This soup is so delicious that you will be glad that the weather's awful, because it makes it twice as good.

Red Lentil Yellow Lentil Soup--Vegan, and Low Sodium
One cup each red and yellow lentils, dry
One 28 ounce can of tomatoes, preferably the type with chiles or garlic
One Cup Brown rice, dry
One onion chopped
One cup chopped celery  *see note*
Garlic powdered or fresh
Hot pepper flakes

In a large pot or slow cooker, place the lentils, rice and tomatoes with their tinned liquid.  To make things easy, I usually fill up the empty can with water and pour that into your cooking liquid.  You could use about three cans of water as your lentils and rice will double in size when cooked.  It's important to keep enough water in the soup, so don't throw the can in recycling just yet.  You may need to rehydrate your soup as time passes.

When the lentils and rice seem about halfway cooked (maybe a half hour into cooking), add your celery.  It's dense texture will need more time to soften than the onions.  At this point, a trick to neutralize the acidic nature of the tomatoes is to shake a little baking soda in the top of your pot.  It will fizz up like crazy and you need to stir to incorporate the soup.  This will give your tomatoes a naturally sweet flavor without needed sugar.  

An important thing to remember is that when cooking, the seasonings you add at the beginning will have a mellow taste and then ones added toward the end will be more robust.  Hot peppers added in the beginning make for a smokey flavor, toward the end have a spicier kick.  Fresh garlic added in the beginning of cooking can almost develop a sweet flavor, but added at the end has a sharp taste to it.  I like a lot of garlic, onion and spicy flavor so I add these things in the last 10 minutes of cooking to make the flavors pop.  Conversely, if you like a mellower flavor add the seasonings earlier.  There is no right or wrong, only preference here.  Personally I don't cook with salt anymore.  It's a health measure for me and I don't miss it.  If you like salt, please feel free to add as much as you like.  Same goes for the pepper flakes: only add them to your liking.

*Note* I use the outer celery for sticks and the inner leafy part, I save for soup.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

But can you spike your hair with it?

So, I am awake.  It's four thirty-five AM Eastern Standard Time and I am doing what everyone does at this time of night when they can't sleep: reading vegan recipes.  Okay, so maybe I am alone on that one.  In reading a recipe for vegan pepper jack cheese(!!!!!! Right?) an ingredient caught my eye.  It's called Pomona Pectin.  I've never heard of the stuff, but hey it looks pretty cool.  So, check it out fellow non meaties.....and maybe you can even use it to spike up your hair all punk rock style?  Seems like it would work, I think.