Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let the Adventures Begin!

Welcome to Gluten Free Adventures!!!  My name is Sarah and I'm a single mother of two.  My kids, Bubba and Marti (NOT their real names) and I live with my wonderful parents.  Recently, my father and I both started having stomach problems that our doctor diagnosed as gallbladder troubles.  We both went through multiple tests, including ultrasounds, HIDA scans (radioactive stuff), and endoscopys, only to find out that neither of us had anything wrong that the doctors could find.  My doctor recommended that I have a colonoscopy, to which I said "NO, thank you."  I'm not even thirty, I don't see me doing that before I absolutely have to, thanks.  So I stuck to taking my Prilosec and keeping the Zofran handy for nausea.  Not the ideal way to live, but I figured I had to do it.  A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers asked if I had tried taking the gluten out of my diet.  I told her no, that I really didn't think that was my problem and didn't think I could handle giving up my carbs.  She explained that she had gone through much of what I had several years ago.  Then they determined that she had a wheat allergy (not the same as having celiac disease).  So for years, she's gone wheat free.  After giving it some thought - and spending the weekend going crazy on carbs and pasta - I decided last Sunday, October 10, 2010 would be my day.  I gave up wheat products.  It hasn't been easy at all but it has been worth every minute.  After a week, I realized that I had not had to take my nausea medicine or my reflux medicine all week.  This was HUGE!  So my mom, Melissa (and co-author of this blog), and I talked about the whole family going gluten free.  Her massage therapist has a son that can't have gluten or dairy.  And supposedly, this diet helps kids with ADHD, which my son has.  So we decided we should all try it.  And thus began our Gluten Free Adventure.

We started on Saturday.  I'd been on the diet one full week and was loving it.  We went shopping together and found lots of food.  She bought a book called Cooking For Isaiah by Silvana Nardone.  The book is chock full of amazing recipes using gluten and dairy free products.  And of course, the pictures look great and all.  But I was skeptical.  How good could it really be?  Well, Mom got her shopping list together using this book and off we went.  We went to Publix, Wal-Mart, Target, and Kroger.  She went to EarthFare and a small local store called Garden Cove.  We have yet to make it to Fresh Market.  Surprisingly, we found the most at Kroger.  We bought several things to make our own gluten free flour mix, as well as some Amy's frozen dinners.  We found gluten free bread, crackers, cookies, cake mixes, soups, pastas, you name it.  It's amazing.  Here's a sample of what we bought:

Yes, that's correct!  Fritos are gluten free.  You'd be surprised what is.

So we got started on our first gluten free dinner as a family.  Thanks to Silvana, we had Grilled Peach BBQ chicken (supposed to be wings, but we just cut up 3 chicken breasts and used that instead), Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Lemon Dip, and brown rice.  Now, not being an asparagus person, I really didn't know how this was going to work out.  Mama and I made prepped the chicken and the asparagus:

And made the sauces for each. The chicken sauce was very similar to a sauce Mom and Dad brought back from Belize called Lisette's Secret Sauce.  We actually had quite a bit left over and put it in the fridge to save for other stuff.  And it was wonderful on the rice, as well.

The sauce for the asparagus was really different.  It's got lemon zest and lemon juice as well as mayo, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil in it.  It's supposed to have red pepper flakes, which we didn't have, but also didn't really need:

After that came the grillin'.  That's my Daddy's area.  He grilled the chicken and the asparagus.  And in less than twenty minutes, we had dinner.  I took pictures of the finished products, but for some reason tonight I can't upload them.  Anyway, let's just say the meal was AMAZING.  Even my picky kids ate it.  Marti didn't care for the asparagus at all, and Bubba only ate one, but they tried it.  After dinner, Mom made Silvana's Super Fudge Brownies.  If you're not a fudgey, gooey brownie kind of person, then these are not for you.  The recipe only uses 1/2 cup of Silvana's all purpose flour mixture, so they're pretty flat and fudge like, but OH. MY. GOODNESS.  I could eat the whole batch.  Just fantastic.

So we moved into day two of the adventure today.  Breakfast was a mad dash because the kids and I overslept and were running late for church.  It was still gluten free, though - Chex cereal and milk.  Lunch, though, was spaghetti.  We used DuBole's rice spaghetti and regular spaghetti sauce (check the label!).  We always cook ground meat - very frequently turkey, almost never chicken, and rarely beef - and mix in with our sauce.  I'm not a meatball person, and honestly, that's just the way we've always done it.  So today, we had rice pasta and sauce with ground turkey breast.  Wasn't a big hit.  Daddy and I liked it, Mama didn't.  The rice pasta is tricky.  Silvana recommends undercooking the pasta a bit to avoid it getting mushy.  Except we undercooked it just a bit too much, so it was kinda stiff instead.  And the ground turkey breast...might I just suggest you not try it.  It was a little dry and just didn't taste right.  However, I was just so darn excited to have pasta, I didn't care.  And I have the ability to think to myself, "If this was just a little more *blank* or a little less *blank* it'd be perfect," and eat it anyway.  Mom and the kids weren't huge fans.  So next time we try it, we'll do it differently and let you know how it goes.

Dinner tonight was all me.  Mom and Dad go to a small group Bible study on Sunday nights and the kids and I stay home.  This is kind of our "family" night for the three of us.  I've always liked doing breakfast for dinner.  Last week, I tried scrambled eggs, brown rice, and bacon roll ups with corn tortillas.  Needs some work.  When I figure that out, I'll let you know.  But this week, we had Banana Pancakes with Warm Cinnamon Goo.  Um, fabulous!  The pancake mix has mashed banana and cinnamon in it.  The cinnamon "goo" is brown sugar, water, and cinnamon melted to a syrup.  It was delicious!  Plus it made enough to freeze and put up for tomorrow morning, which is extra cool.  I had a picture of that, too, but again...Blogger won't let me put it up.  I'll try to post a blog tomorrow of just the pictures for these meals.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this adventure.  What amazing special diet recipes have you tried or come up with lately?  What's your favorite gluten free food?  What's your favorite restaurant dish that's gluten free?  Tell us about your adventures!