Roast Chicken on A Rainy Sunday

Today is the first day in Dallas it actually feels like Fall! I don’t think the cooler temps are going to stick around, but I’ll take it, even if it’s just for a day. It’s been overcast and raining all weekend so we are spending a quiet day at home watching football…and catching up on blogging.

A rainy Sunday is the perfect day to roast a chicken. It can cook slowly in the oven and fill the house with delicious aromas. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans, it’s the perfect Sunday dinner!

When I buy chicken, I try and buy organic chicken. I know it’s more expensive, but as I’ve educated myself on non-organic vs. organic, I am learning there really are benefits to eating organic.

How Foods Are Labeled “Organic”

For foods to be labeled “organic”, it must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the USDA. These guidelines indicate how fruits and grains must be grown and how livestock must be raised. In order for livestock to be labeled organic, it must meet the following guidelines:

  • Live in healthy conditions with access to the outdoors
  • 30% of the feeding must be done in a pasture during grazing season
  • Be fed an organic diet that doesn’t include antibiotics or growth hormones
  • Live on a farm that doesn’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

Reading Organic Food Labels

Food labeling can be very confusing. Something labeled “all natural” or “free range” doesn’t mean that it is also organic. Anything labeled as “all natural” means there are no added sugars, preservatives, or flavors. Eggs or chicken’s labeled “free range” or “hormone-free” doesn’t guarantee the farmer followed all guidelines for organic farming. If a product has the USDA Organic label, the food manufacturer or farmer has adhered to all of the guileless and have been certified by the USDA.

USDAorganicThe USDA Organic seal can be included on labels if manufactures can verify the food item is:

  • 100% Organic – can only be used when fruits, vegetables, eggs, or meats are grown or raised using all organic means. Multi-ingredient foods may be labeled 100% organic if all parts are 100% organic.
  • Organic – can only be used when multi-ingredient foods are 95% organic. The non-organic items must be grown or provided by manufacturers that are approved by the USDA.

The following can’t use the USDA Organic seal, even though parts of the product contains organic items:

  • Made With Organic – this verbiage indicates that one or more of the items are organic. For example, some cereals use organic oats along with other non-organic ingredients.
  • Organic Ingredients – usually on multi-ingredient items, this indicates that 70% or less of the items are organic. The label will indicate which items are organic.

Non-GMO Project Verified – What Exactly Is This?

NonGMOThe other label found on many foods in the all-natural aisles of the grocery store is the Non-GMO Project. Founded in 2010, this non-profit organization works to verify non-GMO foods and products.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are basically foods created in a laboratory. These foods don’t naturally occur in nature and have been modified to withstand things such as frost or pesticides. For example, the Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious Apples causes them to brown and scientists have figured out a way to remove this enzyme, thus causing the apples not to turn brown.

Below is a list of the most common GMO foods – I was shocked to learn that zucchini and yellow squash is on the list!

  • Aspartame
  • Alfalfa
  • Canola / Canola Oil
  • Corn
  • Papaya
  • Soy
  • Zucchini and Yellow Squash
  • Sugar Beets
  • Diary / Milk

I know many times is easier and cheaper to just buy “regular” chicken, but being aware of what goes into that chicken is important. For those of us with inflammation issues, eating more organic or natural foods can help keep inflammation away and helps to keeps us healthier in general.

Sunday Roast Chicken

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour + 10 minutes to rest
Serves: 4

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_75bIngredients
1 whole roasting chicken
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved and juiced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Kitchen Twine (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the whole chicken from the packaging. Some whole chickens include the liver and neck in a separate pouch inside the cavity; remove this and discard if you don’t want to make broth. If you want to make broth, reserve this for later use.
  3. Wash the chicken, making sure to rinse the inside cavity. Pat dry with paper towel.
  4. In a roasting pan, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil on the bottom of the pan. You don’t want standing oil, but enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Peel 10 cloves of garlic.
  6. Juice one lemon. Keep the lemon halves, as you will put them in the cavity of the chicken.
  7. Wash the bunch of thyme. Take half of the thyme and chop finely. Reserve the other half of the bunch of thyme.
  8. Place the chicken in the pan, breast side up. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity.
  9. Using a knife, gently lift the skin off the chicken. You don’t want to fully detatch the skin, but find little pockets that you can insert the garlic cloves into. Scatter the garlic cloves throughout the chicken and if you have any left over, place inside the cavity.
  10. Using a basting brush, brush olive oil over the entire chicken.
  11. Lightly pour the juice of one lemon over the chicken.
  12. Sprinkle the minced thyme over the chicken. Salt and pepper, to taste.
  13. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemons, remaining thyme, and garlic. If you have kitchen twine, tie the chicken legs together.
  14. Place the chicken in the oven and let roast 30 minutes. After roasting for 30 minutes, use a pastry brush or baster to baste the chicken with the juices from the pan. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
  15. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
  16. You can put the cooked garlic in a bowl and use it as a garnish for the chicken or use it in your mashed potatoes.

Easy Pesto

At the beginning of the past two summers, we planted a little spice container garden on the back patio. This year, we planted a lot of basil, thyme, and rosemary. We thought we had bought mint that we could eat, but discovered we actually bought catnip! That is supposed to keep the mosquitos away, but I’m not sure that it actually worked.

As the summer has progressed, the basil was very happy in it’s pots. In fact, it grew so well that I had trouble keeping up with using it. I was watering the plants, trying to figure out what to use all this basil for, and of course, pesto sauce came to mind. It is a great way to use a lot of fresh basil. Traditional basil recipe calls for parmesan cheese. I honestly don’t think it’s necessary for the pesto to still be tasty. This pesto recipe only has six ingredients and the most labor-intensive part of the preparation is peeling the garlic. If you feel the pesto is a bit too garlicky, then feel free to use less garlic.

Pesto sauce is super versatile. You can use it as a sauce over gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles, slather it on chicken, use it in place of tomato sauce when making pizza, make pesto bruschetta (on gluten-free bread, of course), toss it with grilled shrimp, or top it on a light white fish. For those that live in cold weather states and can’t get fresh basil year round, you can even freeze pesto in ice cube trays and have fresh pesto year round.

Pesto Sauce

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:IMG_7237

8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups of fresh basil leaves, washed
½ cup of roasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Kitchen Appliances:

Food Processor

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Process until all ingredients are finely minced.
  3. Store in an air tight container or freeze for later use.

Quick Pasta Pomodoro

When I was single, cooking was something I didn’t do on a daily basis. Cooking for one is really hard. I would cook a “real meal” on Sunday, along with a pan of baked chicken and vegetables to eat during the week. The problem is that I’m kind of finicky about leftovers and don’t like to eat anything more than two days old. So, by Wednesday, I would’t eat any chicken that was left…but Lulu benefitted by getting shredded chicken mixed in with her kibble.

One dish that is eat to prepare for one is pasta. Garlic and oil is super easy, since it’s just olive oil and minced garlic; you can also add capers to add a bit more flavor. When I would make my traditional tomato sauce, I always ended up with a lot of leftover sauce. I would freeze the remaining sauce, but most of the time I would forget it was there and didn’t have the patience to let it defrost. To solve that problem, I came up with a simple pomordoro sauce that comes together in the same amount of time it takes for the pot of water to boil and the pasta to cook. I also always have the ingredients on hand, so I could throw it together whenever I needed.

We have had a pretty low key weekend. I got caught up with work on Friday, so I didn’t get a chance to run to the grocery store, so our refrigerator was looking pretty bare by Saturday night. I made Brad a frittata to use the bell peppers but since I can’t eat eggs, I had to figure out what to make for myself. So, I pulled out my tried-and-true one person meal of pasta pomordoro. It was perfect for a rainy Saturday night at home.

Quick Pasta Pomodoro

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time:
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 1-2

Ingredients
IMG_7203
1-2 cups of gluten-free pasta
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon Daiya mozzarella shreds

Directions

  1. Using a 2-quart saucepan, fill with water and bring to a boil. For additional flavor, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher or sea salt to the pot prior to boiling.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the minced garlic. Make sure not to over heat the olive oil so the garlic doesn’t immediately burn when added to the sauté pan. Let the garlic cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the can of diced tomatoes and all of the spices. Stir well and let simmer.
  3. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta. Bring back to a boil and cook according to the package instructions. Typically, gluten-free pasta cooks between 7 and 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and add back to the saucepan. Pour the Pomodoro sauce over the pasta and mix well.
  5. Spoon into a bowl and if desired, sprinkle dairy-free mozzarella on top of the pasta.

Saying Good-Bye To Summer…sort of

I can’t believe that it’s September – where did the summer go? We had a great summer. We traveled a little, started some house projects, my parents came to visit, and I launched this blog. However, in Dallas it still feels like summer. Our summer temps usually stick around through September so it’s hard to imagine drinking a pumpkin spice latte and I can’t even think about buying candy for trick-or-treaters yet, even though Target and Kroger are both ready for Halloween.

IMG_6773

Boomer is helping plant the fresh herb 

One of the fun things about summer is all of the fresh produce that is readily available. While we don’t have a lot of independent farm stands here in Dallas (not counting the large Dallas Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s), our gourmet grocery stores carry a great selection of fresh fruits and veggies. And while the weather won’t feel like fall for another four or five weeks here in Dallas, fall veggies are starting to appear at the grocery stores. I was at Trader Joe’s today and the clerk told me the fresh butternut and spaghetti squashes would be arriving next week. Luckily, we still have a few weeks left to enjoy summer produce.

Fresh corn feels like summer staple. It’s sweet and when cooked right, a little crisp. I still see ears of corn at the grocery store but soon we are going to be eating corn out of a can if we want to be reminded of summer. Remember to read the labels when buying canned vegetables to make sure there isn’t anything added other than water and salt.

I also love avocado. It’s smooth and buttery when ripe and so delicious. It’s readily available year round since most of our avocados come from Mexico. Combining the two – corn and avocado with a little lime juice – makes for a refreshing salad. I made this several times over the summer when we grilled. It’s a great compliment to grilled chicken or fish. This is also a great potluck dish. It can be prepared a few hours in advance and can sit out for a few hours without needing to be refrigerated.

Fresh Corn & Avocado Salad

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour for marinating
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

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Ingredients
3 ears of fresh corn (or 2 cans of corn)
1 avocado, diced
8-10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Dressing
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. To shuck the corn, start by peeling away the outer leaves. Grasp the tops of the silk tassel and pull down in one swift motion. Break off the leaves at the bottom in one snap. Wash the corn to remove any silk strands.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. While the corn is cooking, dice the avocado and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  4. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl.
  5. Once the corn is cool to the touch, stand the bottom of the corn on a cutting board. Grasp the top of the corn and using a sharp knife, run the blade down the corn cob, removing the kernels. Repeat this until all of the kernels have been removed. Add to the avocado and tomatoes in the mixing bowl.
  6. Pour the lime dressing over the corn salad. Toss well and refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

 

Kale is the Super Hero of Foods

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s….kale? What??? That’s right, kale is the super hero of foods. It’s got so many nutritional benefits, we should be eating kale on a regular basis. I try and make it about once a week. Just like the versatile Brussels sprouts, kale can be prepared a variety of ways. But, why is kale the super hero of foods?

The Nutritional Benefits of Kale

A single cup of kale does a body good. One serving contains 33 calories, approximately 2.5 grams of fiber, and almost 3 grams of protein. Kale also contains a ton of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Phorsphorus

This is why kale is the queen of super heroes. Who knew this green, leafy vegetable was so good for us?

Five Amazing Benefits of Adding Kale to your Diet

In addition to fueling our bodies with vitamins and minerals, kale also helps us in many ways. Here are five reasons why kale is the super hero of foods.

  1. Promotes Eye Health. Lutein is an antioxidant that filters harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light. Our bodies don’t naturally produce lutein so we have to get it from either taking a daily vitamin or eating green leafy vegetables. Kale contains the highest natural source of lutein. In addition to filtering out harmful wavelengths of light, lutein also helps to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the development of cataracts, and overall decrease of vision.
  2. May Slow The Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles. Collagen is found in bones, muscles, and is what keeps our skin firm. As we age, our body decreases the amount of collagen produced, which can lead to development of fine lines and wrinkles. A healthy diet that includes vitamin A and C can help produce more collagen. Kale contains both vitamin A and C; in fact, a serving of kale has more vitamin C than an orange.
  3. Keeps Your Bones Strong. For those of us that can’t eat dairy, we need to look to other foods to get our daily dose of calcium. Kale contains 9% of the recommended daily value of calcium. You can add kale to a smoothie (don’t worry, it won’t taste like kale) or mix it with ground turkey or sausage to get both protein and calcium.
  4. Diabetic-Friendly Super Food. If you are a diabetic, or are pre-diabetic, kale is a great food to add to your diet. Kale won’t spike blood sugar levels and only contains six grams of carbohydrates (and two of those grams are fiber). And, since it has a higher percentage of fiber, kale will keep you feeling fuller, longer.
  5. Can Help Lower Cholesterol. According to the CDC, approximately 78 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol. Since kale is high in fiber, it can help lower cholesterol levels.

 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sautéed Kale

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

IMG_0398Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 head of kale (or one bag of pre-chopped kale)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with one tablespoon olive oil and kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, making sure not to overlap any of the pieces. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, toss the sweet potatoes and continue roasting for another 15 minutes, or until soft and roasted with a nice brown coloring.
  • As the potatoes are roasting, finely dice the yellow onion and mince the garlic.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium/low heat. Once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook until translucent and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
  • Once the onion is cooked, add the kale, Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir, cover and let sauté until cooked down, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked kale to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and mix well. Serve immediately with your favorite protein.

The Versatile Brussels Sprout

When I was younger, I did not like Brussels sprouts. But, I don’t really know too many kids that like Brussels sprouts. They smell funky when cooking and can have a bitter taste if not cooked properly. As a result, my mom rarely made them. Our vegetable of choice was steamed broccoli with a little olive oil and lemon juice. And, we ate a lot of frozen peas. My dad traveled a lot for work, so we had fish sticks with peas at least once a week.

Right before the Whole30 hit big, and everyone was trying it, I decided to do this diet. I had just moved to Dallas and was coming off a two month “goodbye tour” of New Jersey and living in Hoboken. Needless to say, I was ready to detox and start fresh in a new city. As many of you know, the Whole30 is very strict and you can’t eat a lot of the things you enjoy. Luckily, I like vegetables but this diet caused me to try foods I didn’t normally eat. Brussels sprouts is one of those vegetables. I guess my taste buds changed because I discovered I liked these little cabbages!

The History of the Brussels Sprout

Brussels sprouts were indeed grown for the first time in Brussels, Belgium, in the 1500s. They spread through Europe and came to the United States in the 1800s when French settlers came to Louisiana. They were grown mainly in Louisiana until production moved to California in the 1930s. Today, the majority of Brussels sports that are consumed in the US are grown in California, with some grown in Washington state and Long Island, New York.

Nutritional Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are so healthy for us! As part of the cabbage family, they are considered a non-starchy vegetable. They are rich in vitamins A and C, folic acid, and fiber. In addition, Brussels sprouts also contain iron and vitamin B6.

 The Versatilely of Brussels Sprouts

You can cook Brussels sprouts a lot of different ways. For the longest time, I would sauté garlic and Brussels sprouts in olive oil and finish them in the oven with cubed butternut squash. But then I learned there are different ways to cook this tiny cabbage. You can eat them raw in salads, roast them, boil them, grill them, smash them (like smashed potatoes), fry them, wrap them in bacon, bake au gratin (with dairy-free cheese, of course), make chips, and stuff them (like stuffed mushrooms). Also, when you roast them, you can put so many different spices and sauces with them!

One day I was thinking of a new way to serve Brussels sprouts. I had a bag of them in the fridge, along with butternut squash, but I wanted to do something different. I decided to mix them with quinoa and a maple-dijon dressing. OMG this was so good! I ate almost all of it in one sitting! This can work as a main dish for lunch or be used as side dish with chicken, pork or steak. You can serve it with fish, but the Brussels sprouts might taste a bit heavy agains the lightness of fish. I used my rice cooker for making the quinoa. I followed the directions and the quinoa came out perfect. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can cook the quinoa on the stovetop. Just remember to keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of your pan. If you want leftovers, I recommend doubling the recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash & Quinoa and Maple-Dijon Dressing

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

IMG_7090Ingredients
6-8 Brussels sprouts, washed, with the ends cut off and quartered
1 butternut squash, cubed (or one 12-oz bag of precut butternut squash)
1 cup cooked quinoa
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  1. Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to the package directions. You can also cook the quinoa in a rice cooker. Using vegetable or broth instead of water adds extra flavor.
  1. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.
  1. If you are using a fresh butternut squash, peel and cube the squash. Here is a linkto a quick instructional video on how to cube a squash. If you are using precut squash, place the squash in a large mixing bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  1. Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and quarter each sprout into four pieces. Place in a strainer and rinse the sprouts. Pat dry with a paper towel. Add the Brussels sprouts to the butternut squash. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss all together until mixed well.
  1. Place the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on a medium baking sheet. Make sure none of the ingredients are overlapping.
  1. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes; at 15 minutes, gently toss the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until the butternut squash and sprouts are cooked.
  1. While the sprouts and squash are roasting, prepare the dressing. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  1. Once the quinoa, Brussels sprouts, and squash are done cooking, combine all together in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve.

The Calorie Myth

I have always enjoyed reading but sometimes life just gets in the way. I have easily read a book a day on vacation. I have also found myself spending too much time staring at my phone when I could be reading or doing something more productive. Last month, I decided I needed to focus more on reading to continue to educate myself on health and wellness topics that are important to me.

Instead of downloading a bunch of books to my Kindle, I decided to go to a brick and mortar bookstore and browse through the stacks. It was really fun! I was specifically looking for books that focus on inflammation, metabolism, and thyroid health. I also wanted to pick up a few books on gardening because we are going to try and revive our front yard and plant a vegetable garden.

TheCalorieMythI found several books that interested me and I ended up purchasing The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor. I found this book incredibly interesting and want to share a little bit of what I learned. I hope you find this information useful and beneficial.

What I liked about this book was that it’s not a “diet” book in the sense that the author is trying to sell you a fad diet that promises immediate wight loss. This book was grounded in science and years of research. The author explains why many of the nutrition guidelines we were told as children are outright wrong and is causing our bodies more damage than good.

He also asks the question – have you ever lost weight, only to gain it back, or worse, gain even more weight? I answered YES!!! I learned the reason is that your body has a “set-point” and no matter how much weight you lose, your body will want to return to that weight. But, don’t lose hope – the author explains how you can change your set-point and it all goes back to the types of food you eat.

Calorie Myth #1: Weight Loss = Calories In – Calories Out

The author explores the diet and nutrition guidelines that we were taught growing up and why many of them are inaccurate. How many times have you heard “weight loss = calories in – calories out”? To this day, this is still ingrained in my mind. I am constantly looking at my iWatch to see how many calories I have burned. However, this in fact is not true. Our bodies need calories to function. When we decrease our caloric intake, we are sending our body into starvation mode. This can have long lasting effects on your body – and may cause your set-point to rise. When you enter “starvation mode”, your body wants to hold onto stored energy, which is body fat, and get rid of metabolically active tissue, which is muscle mass. In order to prevent this, we need to fuel our bodies with foods that are rich of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty and amino acids. This includes non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense proteins, whole-food fats (like avocado), and low-fructose fruits.

Calorie Myth #2: A Calories Is a Calorie

Not all calories are created equal. There are two types of calories – a quantity calorie and a quality calorie. A quality calorie is what we want to be eating. These calories keep us fuller longer because they are full of nutrients, don’t increase the glucose in the bloodstream (which leads to body-fat storage), and can easily be converted into amino acids, fatty acids, or glucose.

Calorie Myth #3: All Foods Are Fine In Moderation

Many diets suggest that you can eat whatever you want, as long as it is in moderation. If only this were true. The author argues that when we are told to focus on calories and moderation, we forget about eating healthy. I am guilty of this – I have told myself plenty of times that it’s okay to eat the tortilla chips when I know I just ate them the other night!

What To Eat To Reset Your Set-Point

In order to reset your set-point, the author says to eat non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, and low-sugar fruits. Half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein should cover 1/3 of your plate, and the remaining should be filled with whole-food fats and low-sugar fruits.

Examples of Non-Starchy Vegetables

Artichoke
Asparagus
Avocado
Bell Peppers
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cucumber
Garlic
Green Beans
Kale
Mushrooms
Onion
Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Proteins

Bison
Chicken
Seafood
Grass-Fed Beef
Lamb
Lean Conventional Beef
Pork
Tofu
Turkey
Venison

Examples of Whole-Food Fats

Almonds
Avocado
Cashews
Coconut
Hazelnuts
Pecans
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts

Examples of Low-Sugar Fruits

Apricots
Blackberries
Cranberries
Grapefruit
Honeydew melon
Lemon and lime
Peaches
Strawberries

After reading this book, I realized this is very similar to the Paleo and The Whole 30 diets. It’s all about eating nutrient-dense foods that help our body turn these quality calories into energy. I always try to eat as healthy as possible, but it’s so hard! My biggest weakness is corn. Being gluten-free, corn is a great alternative. But, as I know (and try to forget), corn is basically sugar. I’m going to work to decrease the foods I eat that are naturally higher in sugar, like corn and potatoes. But, who doesn’t love a potato?

Interested in purchasing a copy of The Calorie Myth? Click here.

Easy Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble

Where is the summer going? I can’t believe that it’s already the second week of August! Last week, we made a honey-do list of all of our projects we want to complete over the next few weekends and we realized it will take us until the end of the year to get our list completed! We have some things that can be done in one weekend, but we also have some bigger projects on our list – including finishing the floor from where we removed an interior wall last year. Since I’m a super planner, I bought us a desktop calendar so we can plan out all of our projects for the rest of the year. I even color-coded our tasks (which Brad just kind of rolled his eyes lol). But, we stuck to our schedule this past weekend and got everything checked off our list.

After a weekend of chores and working around the house, I wanted to reward us with homemade dessert – but after spending the day in yard pulling weeds, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I like to keep frozen fruit on hand for smoothies but also in case I want to make a quick dessert. Since I had two bags of organic frozen blueberries in the freezer and plenty of gluten-free oatmeal, I decided to bake a blueberry oatmeal crumble. It’s really easy and these ingredients can be kept on hand so you can make it on the spur of the moment. This crumble is sweet and crunchy. If you are using frozen blueberries, you will need to let the bags thaw completely. I usually put the two bags of frozen blueberries in the sink to thaw. Once they are completely defrosted, I empty the bags into a colander to drain – but don’t rinse the blueberries! You want the little bit of liquid that will be left. I use brown sugar in the crumble topping and white sugar in the filling. If you make this and find it has too much liquid for your liking, add little more gluten-free flour to the filling. I have made it with a half of a cup of flour and one cup of flour. The one cup of flour version absorbed all of the liquid but the half cup was perfect for my taste. If you have dairy-free ice cream, add a scoop when it’s still warm.

Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes

IMG_0380

Ingredients

Filling:
(2) 12-oz bag of frozen blueberries, or 24 ounces of fresh blueberries
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Crumble Topping:
¾ cup of dairy-free butter or shortening
1 ½ cups of quick cooking oats
¼ cup of brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. If using frozen blueberries, let thaw. Drain in colander but don’t rinse the blueberries. If using fresh blueberries, rinse and remove any stems.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the blueberries, vanilla, cinnamon, gluten-free all-purpose flour, white sugar, and lemon juice. Pour the filling into a 1.5 quart oven-safe baking dish.
  4. In a skillet, melt the dairy-free butter or shortening over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted (be careful not to burn the sugar!). Add the oats to the pan and mix until combined. Spread the oatmeal crumble mixture over the top of the blueberry filling mixture.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, until the filling is bubbling. Let cool and serve with dairy-free vanilla ice cream.
  6. If you have ramekins, you can also make individual crumbles.

Oven Baked Beans

Backyard barbecues are a fun way to bring together friends and family during the summer. Last weekend, while my parents were in town visiting, we had my future father-in-law over for a barbecue. There are several side dishes that just go with barbecuing – like potato salad and baked beans. We smoked pork and beef ribs and I made mayo-free potato salad and my dad made his famous baked beans. He has tweaked this recipe over the years and made adjustments when I discovered I had gluten sensitivities. I love his baked beans. They are not overly sweet and have a thick sauce that doesn’t run into other foods on your plate.

Have you ever read the ingredient label on canned baked beans? I was shocked when I discovered many brands use additives such as modified cornflour or corn starch, caramel coloring, dextrose, and soybean oil. While some of these items contain traces of gluten, and don’t contain dairy or eggs, they are still really bad for us.

Many homemade baked bean recipes call for soaking the beans overnight. You can do this, but we have found it’s not a necessity. If you boil the beans for about 40 minutes, you can get the same results as soaking the beans. The important thing is to have the beans cook until they are al dente. You don’t want them to be too mushy because they will continue to bake in the oven.

Homemade baked beans are not hard to make – it just takes several hours to bake. But, the end result is do delicious it’s worth the long cooking time. These beans also travel well and are a great dish to bring to a pot-luck barbecue or summer party.

Oven Baked Beans406

Author: The Food Allergy Foodie’s Father
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 hours
Serves: 6-8 people

Ingredients:

3 cups of French Navy beans
9-10 cups of water (enough to cover the beans)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce“>Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of Ketchup
1/2 cup of Yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Molasses
1 yellow onion, peeled with the ends cut off
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3/4 cup of gluten-free beer
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions:

  1. Add the three cups of French Navy beans to a 2-quart saucepan with 9-10 cups of water. You want enough water so the beans are covered. Bring the beans to a boil and let cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the beans are al dente. The beans should be a bit firm to the bite and not too soft or mushy. Stir the beans periodically, about every 15 minutes while cooking.
  2. Once the beans come to a boil, preheat the oven to 325°.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beans into a Dutch oven or stockpot that is oven-safe. Reserve the cooking water, as you will use that as the beans bake in the oven.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients with the beans in the Dutch oven. Mix well to combine. Place the yellow onion in the center of the pot.
  5. Cover the beans and place in the preheated oven. Bake for three hours. Check the beans every 30 minutes and add a ladle-full of reserved cooking water as needed. The sauce should be thick so only add as much water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

 

Pizza Party!

What a crazy two weeks it has been! Time management is one of my stronger skills but trying to balance working, blogging, and entertaining my parents who were visiting for 10 days was definitely a challenge! Luckily, I’m finally caught up and getting back into my routine.

If you haven’t heard, we are having a bit of a heat wave here in Dallas. Last week, my car temperature got up to 116°! We have had over 10 days in a row of 100°+ heat. You know when you open your oven and get a burst of hot air? That’s exactly what it feels like when you step outside. So, we decided to cook inside a few days last week to try and stay out of the heat. A fun family-friendly activity is making homemade pizza. My parents have their own “pizza night” on Friday, so we decided to have one during their visit.

When I was diagnosed with my food sensitivities, I had to give up or make adjustments to a lot of my favorite foods. One food that I thought I had to say good-bye to was pizza – it has all three of my allergens. However, I have found that while I can’t go out for pizza or order it for delivery, I can make it in the comfort of my own home. It does take a little bit of prep but making your own pizza is fun and can be creative.

I have found the best pizza dough is Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix. I can usually find it in the gluten-free aisle at my local grocery store, but you can also order it on Amazon. It is easy to prepare, but just remember that the dough needs to rise for at least 20 minutes. I usually make the dough and then prep all the ingredients while the dough is rising.

The fun part about a homemade pizza party is getting to pick your own toppings. I love lots of veggies on my pizza and Brad likes a meat-lovers style pizza. My parents like fresh mozzarella and basil. We each got to make our own pizza and enjoy it just the way we like it.

While I don’t ever use jar tomato or pasta sauce for my pasta, it does work really well for pizza. Just make sure to read the ingredients! Like so many canned and packaged foods, there are lots of ingredients that don’t belong in it – like added sugar and soybean oil.

The size of the individual pizza crust makes about six medium slices so you will have enough for leftovers. Anyone else like cold pizza for breakfast?

Pizza Party!

Ingredients:

APC_00221 package of Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix (note: one package makes two individual pizza crusts)
3 teaspoons of Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer plus 4 tablespoons of warm water (the equivalent of two eggs)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1-1/2 cups of warm water + one package of yeast (included in the pizza crust mix)
1 8-oz package of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce. I personally like Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce with Italian seasonings.

Toppings:

Whatever you want! For this particular night, I loaded up my pizza with fresh basil from my herb garden, olives, turkey pepperoni, artichoke hearts, and fresh tomatoes. I also put my cheese on last for optimal melting.

Directions (based on the pizza crust package):

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the warm water and the package of yeast that is included in the pizza crust. Let rest for five minutes.
  2. In small bowl, combine the 3 teaspoons of the egg replacer with the 4 tablespoons of warm water. Mix well to dissolve any clumps.
  3. In the large bowl or stand mixer, add the olive oil and the egg replacer to the yeast. Add the pizza dough and mix well. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix on medium for about 3 minutes. If you are making two pizza crusts, divide the dough in half and place in two separate bowls. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 425°.
  5. As the dough is rising, assemble your desired ingredients.
  6. Use either two 12-inch baking sheets or one 16-inch baking sheet. While the package says to put the dough on the baking sheet and use a piece of plastic wrap and a rolling pin to spread the dough, I find it easier to use my fingers. The dough will be sticky, so I dust my hands in gluten-free flour and work the dough to the edges of the baking sheet.
  7. Bake the dough (with no toppings) for about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and add all of your yummy toppings and cheese. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. I usually set the oven timer for 15 minutes and then bake in 2-3 minute increments after to make sure nothing burns. The Daiya cheese can take longer to melt than dairy cheese but you don’t want to burn the crust. If you are enjoying your pizza party with someone who can eat dairy cheese, your pizza will take longer because of the way the cheeses melt differently.
  8. Once the cheese is melted to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Slice the pizza and enjoy with a glass of wine or gluten-free beer.