Leafy Greens: Gluten-Free Superfood!

I don’t think I need to tell any of you that I’m a huge fan of leafy greens. I try to eat them every day (some days, I fail, but that’s just between us). I toss spinach into my lunch. I add salads to dinners. If there’s a way for me to squeeze chard into a meal, you know I’m doing it. Heck, lately I’ve been noshing on collard green wraps filled with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, capers, and other goodness. Continue reading “Leafy Greens: Gluten-Free Superfood!”

Gluten-Free Myth 2: You’ll Experience Extreme Fatigue

Ah, Myth 2, you baffle me. The video I referenced two weeks ago, indicated that eliminating a food group like gluten — still baffled by this — can lead to nutritional deficiencies and even fatigue. Gluten, as you know if you are gluten-free, is a protein found in wheat. The similar proteins found in barley and rye have different names, but for the sake of ease, we lump them all together as “gluten.”

So, yes, gluten contributes to your overall nutrition profile (but still isn’t a “food group”). Gluten is a good thing for many reasons, not just protein. It makes breads rise, doughs elastic, and other good things for baking and cooking. On the other hand, it makes me and many, many others very sick. Because we must exist without gluten in our diets — and again, I speak only of those glutens relating to wheat, barley, and rye — we are clear and absolute proof that gluten is not necessary to maintain nutritional health. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Myth 2: You’ll Experience Extreme Fatigue”

Potato Crust Spinach Pie

My sister, except for a brief period of time, has been vegetarian her whole life. When I took over Thanksgiving duties from my mother — something that made both of us happy — I made it a point to include a main dish that worked with my sister’s dietary restriction. That dish was a riff on spanakopita, a phyllo dough-wrapped spinach dish. I made mine as a casserole, featuring rice.

What I didn’t know at the time was that I was feeding my sister — and me — something that was making us very sick. We are both now gluten free and much healthier for it!

But I do miss that dish. It was a perfect vegetarian (though not vegan) main course, packed with flavor and nutrition. I’ve finally taken the time to recreate the dish, this time using thinly sliced potatoes in place of phyllo. As with that long-ago dish, this one was a hit (and gone the next day!).

Shakshuka-Style Greens and Eggs

I’ve never been a huge fan of tomatoes, though I am trying (and finding them to be less, well, icky than I tell myself). But when I tried an Israeli shakshuka — a dish traditionally made with tomatoes and peppers — in a restaurant, I fell in love. It’s a breakfast dish, but I’d eat it any time of day or night.

One evening, I was playing with tomatillos and greens, considering a chile verde type dish. I didn’t have a plan, and I didn’t have any pork handy. I did have eggs, and it made sense to add the eggs to the dish. Voila! Later, I poked around the Internet for ideas to improve this dish; weirdly, what I found came out as a cross between one of my favorite ways to prepare greens and this final dish. The real difference is the tomatillo, which adds a lot of tanginess to the dish (and makes it a bit juicier than the greens alone).

Serve this to vegetarians and they will think you’re a genius. Serve it for brunch. For dinner. Take leftovers for lunch. You will thank yourself. I promise.

Baked Potato Ideas

Since we started on the carb-cutting journey, my body has adjusted to a lower volume of foods I used to devour. I am happy to say that the increase in fruits and vegetables — particularly leafy greens — in my diet has really helped my diet get back on track, and I feel satisfied after every meal.

That doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in carby foods sometimes, particularly after a long run. My body demands a mix of protein and carbs to get itself back in balance. Who am I to argue with myself? Continue reading “Baked Potato Ideas”

Meatballs: The Easiest of Comfort Foods

Meatballs are one of the world’s great comfort foods. And they’re one of the world’s most versatile foods. You can work with any type of ground meat, beans, or grains. Add seasonings to suit your mood. Bake, grill, pan roast, or simmer in a sauce. Eat.

Meatballs are also quick to make. The hard part is getting your ingredients lined up (ye old mise en place). Still, since meatballs generally cook up in about 15 minutes or so, it’s not hard to get them done in under thirty minutes. This makes them an attractive option for weeknight meals. Continue reading “Meatballs: The Easiest of Comfort Foods”

Scrambling Some Eggs

When my husband switched to a lower carb diet, I joined him. Since I’m gluten free, it wasn’t a huge dietary shift for me, and, frankly, it helped me cut back on the rice I’d been using as a crutch since quitting so many other foods. Since this diet modification, I’ve been experimenting with lots more vegetable-based meals. And, we’re eating a lot more eggs.

One Sunday, we had a scrambled egg tutorial (this was followed by basic poached eggs and simple fried eggs). Since then, I just avert my eyes when he makes his scrambled eggs. It’s painful. Apparently my process was too complicated for him. Continue reading “Scrambling Some Eggs”