Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Lean Gourmet Eats Out at Cheesecake Factory and almost glutened!

Happy weekend everyone! I tweeted yesterday asking everyone what their plans for this weekend entailed. My folks and baby brother are visiting us in sunny Florida this weekend. My family arrived yesterday after I got off work so we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory

Friday, September 28, 2012

White Bean Burgers

I am not frugal by nature. Did somebody say filet mignon? I don't clip coupons often, but I do buy in bulk at Costco. I stock up during sales and buy most of my dry pantry staples for much cheaper prices online than at the grocer.  We eat a lot of protein and  have a serving of protein no matter if it is a snack or meal. We even have protein with breakfast everyday. I've been looking for ways to find cheaper protein sources. It is so costly to have lean organic chicken breast or grass-fed lean ground beef with every meal. I stumbled upon this recipe for White Bean Szechuan Burgers on the Spunky Coconut. I was inspired to create my own white bean burger recipe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Apple is an Apple: When to buy organic over conventional.

                                                                                         Source: via Karen on Pinterest

You may have heard about this research study  from Stanford University   a few weeks ago that revealed that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce. After all an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange. What this study doesn't reveal is what is really on that apple or what toxins that orange was exposed to on its journey from the orchard onto your plate.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tomato Tofu Bisque

Rich and I rented What to Expect When You're Expecting last night. It was such a hilarious movie! For the record nobody looks like Cameron Diaz's character Jules when they are pregnant. The movie brought back a lot of memories from my pregnancy. I remember the constant  nausea. Feeling tired after sleeping for 9 hours at night, how uncomfortable those last three months were, and the most  precious moment when I first held my daughter.
When I was pregnant tomato was the word. I craved tomato products in all its various forms. Pasta, pizza, marinara sauce, ketchup, and my favorite Panera Bread's Tomato Soup. Alas, I've tried to eat at Panera since going gluten free, but I inevitably end up sick. So I've tried my hand at coming up with my favorite tomato soup. It is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan too.

Tomato Tofu Bisque

17.6 ox Pomi Tomato Sauce
12 oz of Silken Tofu ( I use Nori-Nu)
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of garlic crushed
1 tsp of minced fresh basil

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a sauce pot and heat on medium low whisking until near boil. Serve in bowls and garnish with basil. Serves 3-4.

Stay strong and carry on!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Barbecue Chicken Salad with Poppy-seed Dressing and my "hangry" moment

 If you've been around the blog you will notice I don't blog a lot of salads. Though I eat do a lot of greens. In fact I probably have one salad as a main meal or as a side daily. I just don't post salad recipes because it is so "diet-like." This is not a diet blog. No sir. It is a healthy eating and living blog. It took me a LONG time to come up with my blog name and even longer to start writing. At first it was simply The Lean Gourmet. I wasn't referring to myself as " the lean gourmet," but rather the recipes. However, that's how it came across so the blog became The Lean Gourmet Kitchen.  I am posting this recipe because it is SO SO SO good. Just look at that picture. I know you want to pick up the fork and dig in don't you? Just look at the juicy tomato, the yummy BBQ chicken, and oh look at those pears with grill lines and all! Ok enough of my shananigans and onto the recipe.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Almond Granola

I don't buy boxed cereal often. It is just SO pricey and gluten free cereal selection is limited compared to the conventional options. I do shop sales and use coupons when I can. However, the way we eat there just aren't coupons for things like lean ground turkey meat and coconut oil. So I save where and when I can and in other ways. When is the last time you saw some wholesome gluten free granola on sale and with a coupon at your local grocer? Me neither! Often store bought granola is loaded with sugar which is a no-no for this mama. I have taken a liking to making my own homemade granola. I posted my Simple Crunchy Granola recipe two months ago here. I had this idea to create a chocolate granola for the last two weeks. I didn't have it in me to batch cook this past Sunday after working all weekend, but I mustered enough energy to  come up with a new chocolate granola recipe which I think you will enjoy as much as we do! Its chocolaty goodness harkens childhood memories of dare I say Coco Puffs or Count Chocula? All those kids went coo-coo for Coco Puffs because of all the refined sugar and God knows what else in that cereal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Skillet Tacos

I more often than not make a mess when I cook. I use lots of pots and pans and we run the dishwasher at least once a day. We eat well and often. All fresh and homemade goodness. Sometimes when I work a longer shift, but I still arrive home in time for dinner I just don't have the energy for meal preparation that takes more than 20-30 minutes. This recipe is easy, fast and supper yummy! All three of us enjoyed it even my 2 year old!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Apple Pie Smoothie

This morning I woke up and had to whip up breakfast fast! I had to be at work  early and needed to eat and get my workout done pronto. I received these delicious Macintosh apples in my organic produce delivery last week and have been enjoying them immensely.  Now that fall is officially here ,well not really in South Florida,I just pretend the palm tree frawns change color like the leaves do up north. I miss autumn in Pennsylvania SO much every year. Nostalgia got the best of me this morning so I created this great breakfast shake invoking memories of warm apple pie coming from my Grandma's oven on crisp fall days.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why I gave up Coffee

                                                          Source: via Karen on Pinterest

My love affair with java began at a tender age in my early tweens. My mom and I would have frozen coffee drinks at Gloria Jeans when we would go shopping at the mall. My favorite was chocolate chip mint. It was so good and oh the whip cream! During my senior  year of high school I would make morning runs to Cumming's Candy Shop. This place is in my hometown of Butler, PA. They make their own candies, chocolates, have a soda fountain, baked goods, and is a great place for a good'ole cup of Joe in the early morning. Cumming's is on the heart of main street and it was a quick stop on the way to school.

Then came college. Late nights and early mornings. I was a biology and chemistry major and studied a lot, but not as much as I studied to get my Doctorate of Pharmacy in pharmacy school. Coffee became a 4-5 cup a day addiction. I would drink it in the morning before class, in the middle of the day, and while I was studying at night.  Rich and I were married the summer between my first and second year of pharmacy school and of course there was a Krups duel coffee and espresso maker on our registry. What a lovely gift that was!

When I was pregnant I still drank coffee only I switched to decaf  at the advice of my OBGYN and pregnancy books. After baby was born back to regular full strength coffee I went with all those sleepless nights. Did I mention I was in my last year of pharmacy school the year my daughter was born. I needed the extra caffeine just to make it through the day.

This past year I heard this podcast from the Real Sustenance blog. Brittany the blog author interviews Dr. Richard Herbold. He discusses how coffee is made of a PROTEIN that can cause a REACTION as gluten does in those with gluten sensitivity. He is not saying that coffee contains gluten. That is false.

I had adapted a gluten free diet in July 2011 to treat my gluten sensitivity. I was doing much better, but had hit a plateau. I was still have a reaction to something, but what? 

Coffee cross-reacts with gluten antibodies.

When your body reacts to gluten your body makes antibodies to gluten.  Antibodies are like little red flags that your immune system makes for a specific invader. When you react to gluten your body makes gluten antibodies to tag gluten with a red flag. This red flag on the gluten molecules you've ingested signals your T cells(your body's SWAT team) to come attack and kill the gluten. Sometimes gluten antibodies ( the little red flags) can attach to non-gluten containing goods. Your body thinks these non-gluten foods are in fact gluten and  you have a gluten response. The most common cross-reactor is coffee.  This is because 10%  of coffee is made of a protein that cross-reacts with gluten antibodies. Does cross reaction happen 100% of the time?  No. In fact I've read several articles on this topic where people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity comment they have no problem with coffee. I am happy for them! 
I decided to cut out coffee in January this year. I lasted for 2 months and felt GREAT! Then I started drinking coffee again. Guess what? I kept having on and off glutened symptoms. I cut out coffee at the end of June.  I feel much better and have switched to drinking hot tea every morning. I still get cravings for coffee and I miss the ritual of making my own with my French press or hearing it brew in my coffee maker. However, I feel much better and it is worth stopping my coffee addiction.
Check out this great YouTube from Mama Natural  Show on how to stop coffee drinking and kick your caffeine addiction. BE warned that the Roastarome tea she recommends is made of barley which contains gluten. I didn't do my research or read the label on and ordered a whole case. Made my first cup and bam I was glutened. I only read the ingredients later that day and realized barley was the main ingredient for the tea. Don't make the same mistake I did. Read food labels on everything even on foods or beverages that are 'usually' gluten free.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Dine Out GFree

                                                                             Source: via Bistro on Pinterest

Going out to eat while on a strict gluten free diet can be limiting. I did a review a while back of my gluten free dining experience at Seasons 52 you can read that review here. I did a review of Bonefish Grill this past week here. It is one of my favorite places to eat and I have never been "glutened" there. Since my gluten sensitivity diagnosis I've had a handful of great experiences and some horrendous incidents while dinning out. There was a restaurant Rich and I went to on a double date that had a gluten free menu. When I asked the server for the gluten free menu she asked me "What's gluten. You mean like milk?" Yes. I did get glutened there, but the company was great!  I had an email from a reader recently that is visiting the Florida Keys about eating out while following a gluten free diet. This is what I recommended to this reader:

  • Look at websites of the restaurant you will be going to and/or call ahead before you dine out to see if they have a gluten free menu or can prepare gluten free food.
  • There's an App for That! I use a couple of Apps on my iPhone to find gluten free restaurants. They are Gluten Freed, Gluten Free Registry, GlutenFree, and OpenTable.
  •  Let the hostess and  server know you need your food to be gluten free and prepared to avoid cross contamination. Sometimes I even speak with the manager ahead of time about my dietary needs.
  •  If the manager or server asks "what is gluten?" graciously leave. Though I am a strong advocate of education this would not be the time.
  • Thank your server and the manager for the  great service and tip generously.
For more information about eating gluten free at parties or social engagements see this post here.

If you have any tips to share or advice while eating out and following a gluten free diet leave them in the comments below.

Stay strong & carry on,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

This is my third baked oatmeal recipe on the blog. You could say I'm slightly obsessed with this recipe. I absolutely love to eat it this way every morning.  I've had carrot cake on the brain lately. My  29th birthday is less than a month away and it is my favorite cake! This is not a rich as the real deal carrot cake, but it is sweet enough for breakfast and wholesome enough to power you up for the day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuna Melt Crispibread

I like Sunday afternoon lunches simple, fast, and yummy. I usually try to whip something up quick right after church and don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen on my day of rest. My chicken salad was one of these Sunday meals. When we got home from church this past Sunday I pureed some leek and potato soup into a nice puree and heated it on the stove. I had a huge craving for a melted tuna sandwhich. As luck would have it we didn't have ANY gluten free bread or wraps. I still had some Orgran Toasted Buckwheat Crispibread left over from my Amazon order so I decided to use that instead. All three of us loved it! Roxy did too because Isabella "shared" some of her lunch with our dog. I am also pleasantly surprised how nice the photos turned out. To be honest canned tuna looks like cat food. You may never admit it, but I know you feel the same way.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Will you Muffin Me? Apple Cinnamon Muffins (gluten free&dairy free)

I love my Blueberry Streusel Muffins and I woke up at 5 am yesterday with a hankering for muffins. I didn't have any blueberries or raisins, but I had this perfect lonely golden delicious organic apple in the crisper drawer in the fridge begging to be used. This recipe is almost identical to the blueberry recipe with a few minor changes. It is gluten free and dairy free. I used blonde coconut sugar as the sweetener which is a natural sugar derived from the blossoms of the coconut tree and has a low glycemic index. A perfect recipe for the strike sugar September initiative.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Counter Top Oatmeal

There are some days or nights( yes I make this as my late night snack too) that I just don't want to boil a pot of water to make my oats. On these days I make my "counter top" oatmeal. Its so easy and doesn't take more than 5 minutes!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I used to be a Diet Coke Girl


Back during my "diet' days of my early college years I was hooked on Diet Coke. In fact regrettably I may have indulged in some Diet Coke during pregnancy. I thought "oh its calorie free and so tasty!" The idea of ever drinking another  Diet Coke again sends my mind whirling and my stomach churning! I've been Diet Coke sober for over 3 years now AND fake sugar free as well. I knew something was up after every time I had a Diet Coke or anything with aspartame my stomach HURT for hours!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan (gluten free)

I vaguely remember my first attempt to make eggplant parmesan. I was a blushing bride only married a few months. It was a disaster  not one of my best meals. Rich hated it. I did not own a mandolin and sliced the eggplant too thick. I didn't know eggplant needed to be coated in salt and left to sit for an hour in a Hollander either. This process rids it of the phytochemical that causes the bitter taste of eggplant and can also help prevent and cure the common cold. I ended up with a thick rubbery bitter eggplant mess. I decided never again. Until I started making this moussaka recipe and fell in love with eggplant. After going gluten free I  found a recipe I love adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook from Elana's Pantry for eggplant parmesan.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sugar Strike: Recognize the Enemy

I am joining the revolution. The #sugarstrike September revolution.  The September sugar strike is an initiative started by The Eat Clean Diet Team; find out more here . I will be blogging sugar strike tips during this month on The Lean Gourmet Kitchen, posting tips on twitter @leangourmet, and on my facebook page.