Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lunch Break - Thursday

MASHED POTATOES / vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free / The stars were seriously aligned when I made these. The only thing I did differently than my pre-crazy diet days was use almond milk instead of vegan sour cream, so maybe that was it. Or maybe it was fairy dust. I don't know. If it was the almond milk, I'm a newly converted almond milk in mashed potatoes girl from here on out. I took regular peeled and boiled russet potatoes, blended with a bit of soy-free Earth Balance and unsweetened almond milk, added a touch of onion and garlic powders, and then a fair amount of salt and pepper. That's it! Magic, fairy, unicorn mashed potatoes.

OVEN ROASTED VEGGIES / vegan, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free / Oven roasted broccoli and asparagus with shallot oil and Coconut Aminos. I was on the fence about Coconut Aminos, but with the shallot oil, some salt and pepper, it was pretty tasty on these roasted veggies.

BAKED SPAGHETTI SQUASH / vegan, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free / Leftovers from spaghetti squash dinner the night before. Nothing fancy, but spaghetti squash, is always a winner.

TERRA CHIPS / vegan, paleo (I think), gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free / These are some of the few packaged snacks (that we've found) that are soy-free, corn-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, oat-free, etc. Luckily, they're delicious and perfect and it's way too easy to eat the entire bag in one sitting.

YOGURT AND RASPBERRIES / vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free / Refer to Tuesday's lunch. This is just unsweetened coconut yogurt, with agave syrup and vanilla extract, topped with raspberries.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lunch Break - Wednesday

This lunch took about 10 minutes to put together. Leftovers, fresh fruit, and crackers for the win!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO // This is actually a pre-packaged mix from Costco. It takes forever to make, but it is tasty. Which is a good thing, because we have about 10 lbs of it.

TUNA AND PICKLES // This is real tuna since it's for my husband, but I just found some vegan "toona" at Whole Foods made from pea protein, that I'm pretty excited to try.

RICE CRACKERS // By the people who brought you wheat thins, the saltier, less addicting cracker. They're great with things though. Such as tuna. Or chickpea tuna.

APPLES // Nothing fancy here, just apples.

Italian Bean Balls and Spaghetti Squash

This meal is a family favorite and probably one of the easiest so far to convert to adhere to all the rules of the elimination diet. I made the tomato sauce from scratch, as I usually do. If you're more of a canned type of person, I think there are a few brands that don't have sugar, but you're going to have to look a bit. As for the bean balls, this is one of our favorite recipes. I've made it in the past with white beans and regular oats. But since oats are banned, I used gluten-free all purpose flour instead and because I had no kidney beans or white beans, I used black beans. I haven't tested this theory yet, but I'm pretty sure you could use any type of beans or nuts that you like and they would still be amazing. I did puree the mixture a bit too much since I was being lazy and trying to make it all in one batch in the food processor, so ignore the consistency in the pictures. One of those do I as I say, not as I do sort of situations.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lunch Break - Tuesday

From left to right:

CHICKEN FRIED RICE // Includes broccoli, carrots, peas, Cocnut Aminos, sesame oil, and a teeeeeensy amount of chili garlic sauce. Also some chicken, because my husband eats chicken on occasion and with this diet he's eating whatever he can, but you could easily leave the chicken out for a vegan fried rice. It was decent, but I still need to figure out a better mixture of sauces. Coconut Aminos is good, but it doesn't deliver the same flavor punch as soy sauce.

CHIA SEED YOGURT PUDDING // Unsweetened coconut yogurt, which I sweetened with agave syrup and vanilla extract. This is easily kind of gross if you don't add some sort of flavor to the yogurt. So you must add flavor. You must! Almond extract and maple would also probably be pretty tasty. Chia seeds left to soak overnight making a nice pudding consistency. And blackberries on top.

VEGGIES AND HUMMUS // Grape tomatoes and carrots with homemade hummus. Most store-bought hummus - including our usual favorite, Sabra - add soy ingredients, or sugar, or who knows what else...womp womp.  After some research I've found that to up this to Sabra level, I maybe should have creamed the tahini and lemon separately before adding to the chickpeas. Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. I event went through the trouble of taking the skins off of every single little chickpea! Despite my inexperience in the art of hummus, this was definitely above average. I will post a recipe later!


Some weeks start off perfectly normal and you can tell that it's just going to be another week where the only goal is to get to Friday. This week though, this week was not one of those weeks.

My husband may or may not have a food allergy. After about 30 gallons of blood drained and the whole gamut of tests, he saw a new doctor on Monday who suggested an elimination diet for 3 weeks to completely clear his system. Which, in a nutshell, is the you-can't-eat-anything-that-you-usually-eat diet. You get rid of all the common trigger foods and then at the end of the three weeks, start re-introducing them back to your system and see which ones accompany the return of your symptoms. When he came home and handed me the list of ingredients he couldn't eat anymore, I basically resolved that all I could make for him was salad, hold the dressing. Three weeks of lettuce.

Thanks to Pinterest, Google, my mom, my sister, friends who have gone through similar troubleshooting, and the mega-popularity of gluten-free and paleo diets, we have a plan and it doesn't completely revolve around lettuce! We're a few days into this thing and we're not completely starving!

If you ever get in a rut with your cooking, try to plan a meal that adheres to this diet. This diet changes everything. Do you even know how much corn, soy, and sugar is in everything? Because I didn't. It does take a lot more thought and planning since everything has to be made from scratch. Grocery trips also take longer and you spend a lot of time reading every single ingredient on every single label. Finding a can of tomatoes that don't have added sugar is a struggle.

So far I'm still having fun thinking up new recipes and re-working old ones. I don't know though, check back in after the three weeks is up and I might be singing a different tune.

Anyway, here it is, the comprehensive list of all the no-no foods:

Processed meats
Canned meats
Hot dogs
Dairy products
All soy products
All animal milks
All cheeses
Soy yogurt
Soy cheese
Creamed vegetables
Peanut oil
Corn oil
Soybean oil
White sugar
Brown sugar
Corn syrup
Barley malt
High fructose corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Artificial sweeteners
Tea (excluding herbal)
Hot chocolate
Soda pop
Soy sauce
Most ketchup
Teriyaki sauce
Pepper products (Tabasco, hot peppers, etc.)

See what I mean? What is there left to eat? Well. Here goes three weeks worth of ideas. The good, the bad, the amazing, and the downright inedible.

Image source: The New Yorker

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vegan and Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

Holidays are a funny thing right after you get married, suddenly you have to figure out how to combine the traditions you spent the better part of your life upholding. Fortunately for us, Thanksgiving didn't present too much of a challenge since we both had a pretty standard menu growing up. Turkey (later replaced by tofurkey for me), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing/stuffing, and so on. But one thing I never had growing up that he did, was a green bean casserole. My dad does not believe in "ruining good vegetables" in a cream sauce, and since he did most of the cooking in my house, the creamy green beans were never offered. Luckily for my husband though, I do not have the same hang ups with ruining vegetables and was happy to incorporate his family staple into our Thanksgiving.

I wasn't really sure how to go about making this recipe without the cream of mushroom soup since my cream sauces are mostly soy milk based and I didn't want to have that flavor profile in the casserole. But after a little Googling, I found a recipe that I thought might do the trick. I altered it slightly by reducing the vegan sour cream and mayonnaise since I personally found it to be a bit too runny and a little too rich for my taste, but other than that I kept true to Beth's original recipe (thanks Beth!...also check out her site, Delectably Free, she offers a lot of vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free recipes!). 

If you are looking for the Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup and canned green beans taste, look elsewhere. But as my husband said, this version is better and tastes more fresh. I'll take that as a success.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vegan Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Apple pie is pretty much a staple around these parts during the holidays (evidenced here, here, and here), but lately I've been a bit discouraged by how runny my filling has been. So for this year I decided I'd try cooking the apples on the stove with some corn starch before putting it in the crust. I'm so happy with how it turned out, I don't think I'll ever go back to my old ways. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

(P.S., I would just like to take this opportunity to point out that those leaves, those were cut by hand, with a butter knife. Watch out Martha Stewart.)