Kitchen Confessions

We all have that one go-to source when it comes to the kitchen. A lot of my recipes and inspiration come from Pinterest, but there’s one source I just can’t live without! Years ago, I can’t even remember when, my mom bought my sister and I the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Seriously. I don’t often use actual recipes from the book, but the reference and cooking basics it includes are invaluable. Each section in the binder style book includes cooking references based on the section (fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, etc). I can look up whatever we’re making for dinner, and get the oven temperature and cooking time needed for just about everything! Even if I already know approximations, this gives me the comfort that I’m doing it right. I know, I know, Google is faster, but there’s something so comforting about knowing just where I can find the information.

The other night, I stumbled into the easiest recipe I never knew existed. We were making a tomato soup with chicken, but I wasn’t willing to wait the time required to slow cook the soup (recipe loosely followed from here). We’d just gone grocery shopping, and hunger was hitting hard. I quickly threw together all of the ingredients, except for the chicken, and went to my trusty cookbook to see what options I had. Flipping to the poultry section, I realized I could broil chicken breasts in a casserole dish, giving the soup plenty of time to simmer. I covered the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper, cooking it for a total of 30 minutes (flipping halfway through). As I took the chicken out to chop, I was surprised by how much moisture it had retained. Why had I never done this before?

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Our finished chicken tomato soup

Using this new found way to cook our chicken, I gave it another shot last night. This time, I opted for more spices to dress it up, including smoked paprika and a barbecue rub from Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, TX. For our sides, I roasted broccoli with salt and pepper, and mashed potatoes with ranch seasonings. I have to say, this is one of the most “normal” and delicious meals we’ve had since starting the whole30 this year. Take a look for yourself 🙂

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Broiled chicken, broccoli, and mashed potatoes

What’s your kitchen confession?

Note – we were using thicker (2 – 3 inch thick) boneless skinless chicken breast. 15 minutes per side may be too long for thinner cuts.

Simple Pleasures?…Maybe Not!

The 12 year old version of me cried last night.  What used to be such a simple pleasure, has unfortunately become another victim of celiac disease.  After dinner, my husband and I had an unshakeable craving for ice cream.  You know, the delicious kind that comes with a few different flavors and toppings, and is served to you without any of your own hard work.  Let’s be honest, there really isn’t any other kind!

So why is this such a big deal as a celiac you ask?  Because that meant we had to start googling.  First we searched for our options in the area.  Unfortunately we didn’t have too many local choices, but Baskin Robbins nearby looked promising.  Then began the search for whether or not I could eat some of their flavors…and that’s where my 12 year old self got incredibly disappointed.

Think back to the last time you had ice cream from a specialty shop…you request a couple flavors, so does the person in front of you.  The workers grab a scoop from a bowl of water and start to pack it all in.  Did the person in front of you get a cone?  Did they order chocolate chip cookie dough?  Was the same scoop used after they touched the cookie dough, and presumably bumped the cone as well?  Let’s not forget the toppings, all crowded close together in small bins on a buffet…where do they keep the cookie crumbs? Or the candy bars? Are they close to the chocolate fudge or fresh fruit you were planning to add to your ice cream cup?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of it, that’s right, every last flavor and topping is at HIGH risk for cross contamination.  And in my world, any risk is too high to chance 😦

There was a bit of a silver lining, we were able to scan a couple different flavors of Edy’s ice cream that were safe for me at the grocery store.  In the comfort of my own home, I knew the ice cream scoop was safe to use, and nothing had been crossed in the fresh tubs of ice cream.  These are the things each of us battle every day as we deal with celiac disease.  It’s so much more than no beer, pasta, or bread.  It affects even the smallest decisions and the simplest pleasures of our lives.

Glutened

As I sat there writing my previous post, I was recovering from my latest glutening.  For anyone that hasn’t heard the term before, “glutening” or being “glutened” refers to any time I’ve accidentally eaten or had my food cross-contaminated with gluten.  I had gone almost a full month without any accidents, yet here I am laying in pain on the couch.  For those of you that are new to the disease, it happens to all of us!  It doesn’t matter how careful you are, or how long you’ve been doing this.  Sometimes things just work out for the worst.

How did I get glutened?  Believe it or not, by eating a gluten free lärabar!  Yesterday marked my first day training for a half marathon with Team in Training, and I’d made myself a delicious veggie omelet when I got home.  My lunch was a helping of leftover sauteed vegetables, and I’d packed two lärabars in my purse just in case.  My husband and I were out visiting the DC Auto Show when I started to get hungry.  Knowing I couldn’t last until dinner, I pulled out one of the lärabars to hold me over.  The last time we’d gone grocery shopping, I picked up the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor (labeled gluten free) because they just looked too good to resist.  I can’t remember the last time I was able to actually enjoy cookie dough!  I had never tried that flavor before, but eagerly opened it as we waited in line to ride a Jeep through an off road course.

About thirty minutes later as we wandered through the luxury car exhibits, some of my initial reactions started to show up.  We each have our own unique reactions which we’ve come to know and hate.  Immediately I knew I’d been glutened, and having not eaten anything else within four hours of the lärabar, it was the only explanation.  After a rough car ride home, I made myself comfortable on our couch for the long haul.  Problem is, I typically lose my appetite when I’m glutened, and I hadn’t had dinner yet.  Gluten makes me feel so awful that it takes a while to get my appetite back.  Knowing I won’t recover any faster if I starve myself, I usually try to find something that’s very bland and settles my stomach.

I’ve since sent an email to the company to find out what’s changed, or how they source their ingredients that could have caused my reaction.  So  far they’ve been responsive and are looking into the production of the bar.  I’ll certainly let you all know what I find out.  I’d like to open this up for comments and thoughts since I’m starting to get some regular readers.  What is the one food you crave or the only thing you can stomach when you’ve been glutened?

For me, it’s plain white rice. Nothing special, but to me it has the same stomach settling effect as plain toast when you were sick as a kid (pre-celiac of course!).