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Gadget Envy April 14, 2013

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Dear Santa: I want a Vitamix, a mandolin,a cold press juicer, an ice cream maker, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a rice cooker, a stick blender, and a puppy.

Here’s what I would concoct if I had these things:

Vitamix

Vitamixes are for smoothies. I would make an orange-less orange smoothie with golden beet, carrot, ginger, mango, and a dash of turmeric for color. The green smoothie: spinach and/or kale, honeydew, zucchini, mint, fava greens (when they are in season). Purple smoothie: beets, red grapes, strawberries, blueberries and purple cauliflower. I also hear that Vitamixes make great soups. I think a spicy cauliflower, sunchoke and celery root soup, using a home-made beef gelatin broth, would be awesome.

Mandolin

Chips! Beet chips, sunchoke chips, squash chips. Chips chips chips. And I would bake them. They would be chippy. A chip off the ol’…chip.

Cold Press Juicer

I would juice fruits and vegetables. Duh. Favorite combination: carrot, apple, ginger.

Ice Cream Maker

Sorbet. See aforementioned juices.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Meringue. Marshmallow. Sausage. Not at the same time. Allow me to explain:

I love meringues and marshmallows. They are the bomb, dairy-free, gluten-free, headache safe, an excellent source of sugar and a rockin’ vehicle for any flavor you choose. It takes a long time to beat the egg whites into submission, however, so I don’t make these very often because I’m lazy and impatient.

Also, I hear these Kitchen Aid things have attachments for making sausage. Sausage is one of the best foods on the planet, but it’s hard to find a sausage that I know for absolutely sure is safe for me to eat. And I’m pretty sure you can make sausage out of anything (maybe even meringues and marshmallows).

I think the Kitchen Aid also has an attachment for making ice cream, but why have one device when I could have two? And what if I want to make sausage and ice cream at the same time?

Rice Cooker

Not sure. The rice button on my microwave works pretty well. I’ve just always felt deprived because everyone else has one. Gotta keep up with the Joneses, bitches.

Stick Blender

Again, soups. There are some soups that have to start out on the stove, and then get blended. If I can avoid transferring a hot soup into another receptacle, I’m fine with that. Also, sauces. Purees. Oh, yeah. I would use a stick blender every day.

A Puppy

I really want a dog to go running with. I want to run outside more, but I”m paranoid about my safety. I don’t like running outside when I’m alone. I’m also slow (and proud of it) so I don’t want to slow down a human companion. But I figure any human would be slowing down any dog (except maybe a pomeranian – even I could outrun a pomeranian), so I’d better get a doberman.

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Gefrishte Oatmeal March 31, 2013

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Cooking for Passover is hard. No bread, no grains. Thank god for the Internet. It is chock full of ideas for creative uses of matzo. Today I found a total winner of a recipe for a No-Bake Matzo Chocolate Cake that makes the two biggest banes of Jewish cuisine palatable: matzo and kiddush wine.

Sometimes, the oldies really are the goodies, though. One of my all-time favorite preparations of matzo is fried matzo, aka matzo brei, aka gefrishte matzo.

To make fried matzo, you soak the matzo in hot water, break it up, mix it up with egg and fry it. It’s so simple, but so good. I used to eat it all year round (sometimes for dinner), not just on Passover. Then of course I gave up wheat and no more gefrishte matzo for me!

Poor petite moi, now I’m jonesing to fry something in egg. Oh, sure, you can order gluten-free matzo off the internet, and if you’re lucky you might find a local store that carries it. I happen to be entirely too impatient and lazy for that. Plus, have you ever read the ingredients and nutritional info for gluten-free products? Just because it doesn’t have gluten does NOT mean it’s good for you.

The Internet tells me that gluten free matzo is often made from oats so I figured I could just skip the middlemen (that would be the Rabbis and all those other people who know what they’re doing) and decided that my gluten-free oats would do.

Gefrishte Oatmeal

Servings: 1

1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/3 cup uncooked, gluten free oats
dash cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
drop vanilla extract
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 tbsp maple syrup

Beat egg and egg white thoroughly (this will help you resolve any lingering negativity from that rotten week you had). Stir in oats, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Let oat and egg mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes, or as long as you can stand before going psycho waiting to fry up your breakfast. While popping sprogs because you are impatient, lazy, and hate to wait for anything, heat up your pan with a spritz of cooking spray, wash and slice your strawberries. It’s good to stay busy.

Finally, after waiting about a century, pour half of your oat/egg mix into the hot pan. I like to spread it around and get a thin pancake. Cook til it’s solid around the edges, and just getting brown on the bottom and flip. You’ll know when it’s done on the other side, you’re no dummy. I mean, you’ve cooked eggs before, right?

I ended up eating my first pancake by rolling up the strawberries in it like a soft taco and eating it with my hands. Rude, yes, but no one was watching. I had a teeny bit more self control for the second one, and sprinkled the strawberries on top of the pancake and drizzled maple syrup on top. I ate that one with a fork. Both the syrup and the fork were totally not necessary, by the way. I preferred it as a taco.

Calories 287.6
Total Fat 7.5 g
Cholesterol 186.0 mg
Sodium 360.9 mg
Potassium 364.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.8 g
Dietary Fiber 6.3 g
Protein 14.1 g

WWPPV: 7

Celebrating Saintyday the Jewish Way March 17, 2013

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Normally, I poo-poo holidays named after saints. They’re not my holidays, after all. Was St. Patrick a Jew? I think not.

But this year, instead of closing the drapes, hiding in my living room, and watching the Science Channel all day, I signed up to do the St. Pat’s Dash. Not because I want to dress in sparkly green clothes or drink beer, but because my company is a sponsor and I wanted to show some support. Plus, I won a free registration.

I was not excited about the Dash when I woke up today. I paddled yesterday for the first time in weeks (I’m such a dope) and woke up with a very sore back. Also, it was cold, and when I looked up the weather it said it would be in the upper 30s and raining all morning. And I don’t like crowds. When they say 15,000 people sign up for this thing, they aren’t kidding. And anyway, it’s not even my holiday!

But I dragged my sore and scroogey ass over to Seattle Center anyway, and the universe rewarded me for the effort. The sun came out, and it turned out to be a pretty good run. I liked it better than the Magnuson series and the Seattle Marathon 5Ks. Oh, and people dress up in some wild costumes which is quite entertaining. I only saw one Pope,though. I suppose it would be pretty awkward to run in that hat, although the guys dressed as cans of Guinness didn’t seem to have a problem.

I finished ahead of the 6 pack of Guinness, by the way, so even though I wogged it, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

Directions for a successful wog:

  1. Load up your trusty Nano with your favorite running songs.
  2. Run for a song.
  3. Walk for a song.
  4. Rinse and repeat for almost four miles.
  5. Go home and ice your knees.

Meh. I guess I still poo-poo the saintydays, but I figure since I Dashed in the morning, I might as well dine appropriately in the evening, all in the spirit and whatnot. But I can’t do most of the traditional foods and beverages one would expect on this day. Guinness, whiskey, corned beef – all migraine triggers.

Never mind the corned beef. I’m taking it back. Yes, I’m taking back March 17 for the Jews (and migraine sufferers). I made green kugel.

Green Lokshen Kugel

Servings: 9 (makes 18 kugels)

1 12 oz package Tinkyada Spinach Spaghetti style brown rice pasta
2 cups baby kale (packed, about 1/2 of a 5 oz package)
1.5 cups chopped red grapes
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Dash of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with a generous application of non-stick spray.

Break dry spaghetti into thirds and cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale for last few minutes of cooking. Drain. Do not rinse, but allow to cool (I am impatient and spread the pasta/kale mixture on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge for about 10 minutes).

Beat eggs, add spices, grapes, pasta and kale. Fill muffin tins evenly. Spray tops with non-stick spray, and sprinkle with some additional kosher salt, if desired (I did).

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool only as much as you have to before devouring.

Figuring two kugels per serving, that’s a mere 5 Weight Watcher’s PPV. Yenta go braugh!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

Chicken Mustardos March 10, 2013

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3/16 Update – This makes a huge amount of food and could easily feed 6. Also, my husband reported that it needed more curry (What? There’s 2.5 tbsp in there already!) and could use some lemon. The sauce was thicker than I anticipated. Next time I’m going to try leaving out or reducing the amount of potato, which was really intended to be a thickener, and give him a lemon wedge on the side that he can sprinkle over the top. StEx

Many years ago, my husband introduced me to his favorite (maybe only?) family recipe, Chicken Mustard. Family lore tells of a happy accident where his mother messed up a recipe for Chicken Divan, apparently by forgetting the cheese and adding a whole jar of curry powder. Oops, it slipped.

If you’re familiar at all with Chicken Divan (or my mother-in-law), then you can probably guess most of the ingredients in Chicken Mustard: chicken, broccoli, disgusting amounts of mayo, several cans of cream of mushroom soup, and a jar of curry powder, all baked up in a casserole and served over white minute rice.

It should be noted that unless there’s mustard powder in the curry, there’s no actual mustard in Chicken Mustard. It just looks like mustard. My husband comes from a very visual family.

It should also be noted that Chicken Mustard is DELICIOUS. It is sick and wrong and one of the tastiest meals on the planet.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for our waistlines and general well-being), I discovered that mayo and cream of mushroom soup are both headache triggers, and so we haven’t had Chicken Mustard in years. (It’s probably just coincidence that I’ve lost 50 lbs since the last time I made Chicken Mustard. Really.)

Well, bitches, I’ve been pondering a way to make Chicken Mustard headache-safe. All the usual healthy substitutions for the mayo and creamy soup are still migraine triggers. Coconut milk? Can’t do it. Yogurt? Migraine city.

This will not come as a surprise to any of you, but once again I find myself reminded that I am in fact a genius. Yes, it’s true. I have figured out how to make a delicious, healthy, headache free Chicken Mustard. Below is my version of Chicken Mustard, which is really a version of Chicken Divan. Actually, the version of Chicken Divan my MIL was attempting was a quick version, utilizing canned soup and jarred mayo. So this is really a bastardization of a bastardization of a bastardization of Chicken Divan. Enjoy.

I give you: Chicken Mustardos.

Servings: 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into cubes
1- 2 head(s) broccoli, cut into florets
1 head cauliflower
1 medium sweet potato
2.5 tbsp curry powder (make sure you get a blend that doesn’t include msg or any migraine triggers like dehydrated onion)

Preheat oven to 350.

Place cauliflower in covered microwave safe dish with 1/4 cup water and nuke til soft. Remove from microwave and nuke sweet potato til soft.

Saute chicken in batches, if necessary, in non-stick pan with a little dash of canola oil. The chicken should be a bit brown, but doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. 

Gently steam the broccoli for about three minutes. Place the broccoli and chicken in a 9×13 casserole.

Put cauliflower and it’s cooking water, the sweet potato (no skin), and the curry powder in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Mix puree into casserole with broccoli and chicken.

Bake, covered with foil, for about 30 – 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve as-is or over rice.

Calories 268.3
Total Fat 4.6 g
Cholesterol 73.1 mg
Sodium 153.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.6 g
Dietary Fiber 10.4 g
Protein 35.2 g

WWPP: 6

If It’s Orange, I’ll Eat It. February 21, 2013

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Unless, of course, it’s an orange. Citrus of all kinds is a potential migraine trigger. But that still leaves a lot of orange ground to cover. I have more to say on the subject of orange food than you might think possible (particularly carrots) but if you make it to the end of this post I promise there’s a really delicious soup recipe that involves chicken balls.

Because heaven forfend I should run out of orange food.

Because heaven forfend I should run out of orange food.

My favorite (migraine-free) orange foods:

  • Carrots
  • Garnet or Jewel Yams (I think these are technically varieties of sweet potato, but whatevs, they’re tasty)
  • Golden beets
  • Persimmons
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Hubbard Squash
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Butternut Squash

I am specific regarding my winter squash preferences, because IMHO, certain other squashes can take a flying leap, including pumpkin. I once tried a pumpkin oatmeal recipe. Grossest. Thing. Ever. And don’t even get me started on Acorn squash. (I do like spaghetti squash, but technically it’s yellow and so not listed here for the purposes of this post).

But let’s take on a happier topic than pumpkin (shudder). Let’s talk about carrots. The myth around carrots is that they’re good for your eyes. It’s true, but there’s more to them than that. Carrots are high in both alpha- and beta-carotenes, which transforms into Vitamin A in the body. They also have a lot of fiber and phytonutrients, a goodly amount of potassium and a bit of calcium and magnesium. These are all good things.

Oh, but now we need to address the elephant in the room: baby carrots. Or to be more specific, “baby-cut” carrots. These nasty little nuggets are big carrots that are cut down and shaped to look like baby carrots. True baby carrots are actually just tiny carrots. Baby-cut carrots are an abomination. Don’t eat them.

I used to buy bags of so-called baby carrots because I felt like I should, but they were so sour and awful that they would rot, uneaten and forgotten, in the fridge. Just thinking about baby carrots makes me wish I could throw up every one I’ve ever forced myself to eat. Oh, unless they’re used as a vehicle for hummus. Then they’re ok.

Listen here: go to the store, buy a bag of regular, full-sized, organic carrots. Wash, peel and eat. Have a nice day.

This week, I had an abundance of orange food that I need to use up. I also had an eggplant and some kale in my fridge that needed a new home. As usual, it all went into the soup, but this time I roasted the vegetables first.

Chicken Ball and Roasted Veggie Soup

Servings: 9

13.3 oz ground chicken breast
1 tbsp oat bran
1 egg white
1/4 tsp fennel and salt
1 medium eggplant, peel on, cubed
1 large garnet yam or sweet potato, cubed
2 cups cubed winter squash
3/4 lb carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
5 oz uncooked baby kale
cooking spray
10 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cover two baking sheets with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay vegetables (except kale) on sheets in single layer and roast for 40 – 50 minutes.

Mix ground chicken, oat bran, egg white, and fennel & salt together. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm up the mixture.

Heat up dutch oven over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Form chicken mixture into small balls just a bit larger than the tip of your thumb. Brown the chicken balls on all sides.

Add stock and roasted vegetables. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

I got 9 generous 1.5 cup servings out of this, but I could see getting anywhere from 8 to 10 servings, depending on how much liquid cooks off and if you have big veggies.

You may have noticed that this recipe is extremely, how do you say…lightly seasoned. I’m good with that, because I enjoy the flavor of vegetables and the chicken balls did not get overly assertive, but others might enjoy more seasoning.

It should also be noted that I used home-made chicken stock, which included some pan drippings (fat removed) from roasted chicken. As a result, there was lots of garlic, paprika, bay leaf and gelatin involved in the construction of that stock. So, a touch of fennel and salt was really all I needed. BTW, in case you’re not familiar with it, this is fennel and salt.

One final note: I added the egg white and oat bran to the chicken balls with the theory that they would help hold them together, but I have no evidence that these ingredients are in any way necessary. Feel free to experiment.

I don’t have nutritional info on this one, but the Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value per serving is 4.

We are fine but becoming dangerous January 20, 2013

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We are fine but becoming dangerous.

That was the sum total of a text my dad sent me one fine day. Well, that and a self-portrait of him and my mother looking kind of gangsta. (I blame his employer for giving him an iPhone.) I admit, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out they were picking a new floor for their kitchen.  Oooooo. Scaweee.

My parents are pretty awesome. If you want to get some of your own, apparently they’re highly rated on Amazon.

AmazonGramps

After the past two days of migraines, I felt a lot better today. Started out not too bad, and got better as the day progressed. By the time of this writing, I am almost fine. Practically dangerous, even. Day three of migraine recovery went like this:

Bitch research.

Yesterday I realized I’m something of a frugivore. That means I like fruit. A lot. Since I’m eating anything I want while getting over this migraine, I’m pretty full of it right now. Just keep that in mind.

Here’s today:

Science Project Breakfast

1/2 gluten free, old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 frozen, pitted cherries (sweet dark variety, unsweetened)
dash cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
1 cup water

  1. Place ingredients in large-ish, microwave safe bowl (or you can use a cereal bowl, and watch oatmeal erupt all over your microwave like cherry-colored lava)
  2. Nuke for 3 minutes
  3. Add cold water if needed to thin it out or cool it down

Why Bother, We’re ALL GOING TO DIE ANYWAY Lunch

2 cups arugula
4 HUGE strawberries, sliced
1 egg + 1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place arugula and strawberries in bowl. 
  2. Scramble eggs.
  3. Scrape the hot eggs into bowl right on top of arugula and strawberries.
  4. Don’t judge me, it’s not THAT weird.
  5. Season and enjoy.

One, Two, Snack, Too

Apple
Pear
Leftover roasted butternut squash

There’s not really a recipe here, or even a single meal. These are just the things I snacked on throughout the day.

I must be feeling better, because I actually cooked dinner. Plus, I discovered the Rice button on my microwave. I’m intimately familiar with the Popcorn and Potato buttons. I’ve toyed with Defrost and Auto-defrost with varying degrees of success. But I have to admit, in the 10 years I’ve owned that microwave, I never even once noticed the Rice button. Makes me wonder what other buttons I’ve been ignoring all this time because actually, there are a lot of them.

And dayum, it makes good rice. All these years, I’ve been moping around, feeling deprived because I didn’t have a rice cooker. What a waste of good angst.

Beef Stir Fry with Rice Button Rice

Servings: 4

1 cup Jasmine rice
1 3/4 cup water, plus extra for stir fry
1 lb beef, cut up for stir fry
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 small bunch of baby broccoli (or maybe they call it broccolini?) cut into bite size pieces
powdered ginger, salt, pepper, powdered garlic, oregano, to taste

  1. In microwave safe container, combine rice and water. Cover, place in microwave and hit RICE button.
  2. Mix stir fry beef with seasonings. Spray pan with canola oil and get it hot. Throw beef in pan and get it nice and brown. Remove beef.
  3. Throw veggies in pan. Season with whatever you like. I just threw in more of what I put on the meat.  I put about 1/2 cup of water in with the veggies to scrape up the good bits and make some juice. We like juice.
  4. Drop meat back in pan, and mix everything together. Everything should finish up right about the same time. Serve in bowls, with some of the pan juices spooned over the rice.

This is not trying to be amazing cuisine. This is plain old, headache-free food. I served my husband his bowl with a bottle of sriracha on the side, so he could en-spice-ify it to his heart’s content.

I Ate a Squash January 20, 2013

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Ever said this? “Sure, it’s hot, but you don’t really feel it because at least it’s a dry heat.” I’ve said it myself about Seattle in the summer, on those three days a year (on average) that we have 90+ Fahrenheit degree temperatures. Boy, am I a dupe. YOU DO TOO FEEL IT. Stop lying to yourselves, bitches!

Fortunately, Seattle doesn’t get hot very often. Actually, it’s kind of too bad. For the last week, Seattle has been choking in a miasma of fog, a beautiful and damp blast of frigid meh. Ok, wet cold (being the opposite of dry heat) ain’t so grand, either. I have had a headache on and off for days, and I think the weather isn’t helping (also not helping: the bananas, peanut butter, and Chinese food I ate this week).

I recently discovered a mad pash for wet heat. I know, right? I hate hot weather. I hate humidity. Or do I? That day in hot yoga when we had so much steam rising off of people’s bodies that we actually formed a cloud inside the studio, that was awesome. And recently I had the opportunity to go into a wet sauna, and it was like I could breathe for the first time in forever. It was hot in there, people. And wet. The migraine I’d been feeling finally started to go away. Ok, when you’re butt naked in a room full of women you don’t know, it’s awkward to lay on the bench and put your legs up the wall, but I did it anyway. Best. Savasana. Evaaaa.

Conversely, when I went into the dry sauna…nope. Head hurt more. Hated it.

Today I’m less headachy than the past few days, but it’s there, lurking in the background, ready to come roaring back if I eat the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, think the wrong thing, whatever. There’s headache and then there’s migraine. Headache is just one symptom of migraine. As long as I feel pressure at my temples, my eyes are tearing, or I get that crawly feeling inside my head, I’m going to watch what I eat. That means no migraine triggers at all, even the ones that are safe in small quantities.

No bananas. No citrus, no sake, no PB2. Dammit.

So, what’s a girl to eat? I’m usually pretty careful to make sure I’m getting all the right amounts of protein, veggies, etc, but when I feel like this I give myself permission to eat what I feel like eating, as long as it’s not a migraine trigger. This usually means lots of fruit. Like, bordering on unhealthy quantities of fruit. Partly, because I love fruit. Also, because the last thing I want to do when I have a headache is exert myself, and fruit is usually pretty easy. Just wash and eat.

Well, here’s yesterday:

Go Away Stupid Headache Breakfast

1/2 cup leftover brown rice
2 cup fresh spinach
1 egg + 1 egg white
Salt
Garlic Powder
Oregano

  1. Spray big bowl with canola oil (not cooking spray, that stuff has soy; fill up a Misto if your local grocer doesn’t sell pure canola oil in a spray bottle)
  2. Beat egg, mix in remaining ingredients
  3. Nuke 40 seconds. Mix, nuke again for 40 seconds. Mix, nuke for 10 or 20 seconds. Repeat until cooked to desired done-ness.

Not Really Hungry Lunch

Fresh blueberries

  1. Wash
  2. Eat

My Head Hurts, Might Skip Dinner Snack

One small Kabocha squash (botanically speaking, squash is a fruit)
kosher salt, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Wash skin, because it’s totally edible.
  3. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds
  4. Place cut sides down on baking sheet with sides, because there will be liquid
  5. Roast for about thirty minutes
  6. Let cool for about 20 minutes
  7. Sprinkle with kosher salt and eat

I’m still not very hungry but more just peckish Second Snack (What am i, a hobbit?)

Fresh strawberries

  1. Wash
  2. Eat

OK, Now I’m Hungry Even Though it’s Almost Bedtime Dinner

Oven roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 large Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1 inch dice)
Oven roasted asparagus (about 10 spears)
Fried egg (One egg)

  1. Prepare two baking sheets with tin foil and canola oil to prevent sticking (I spray mine on).
  2. Scrub and cut potatoes. Arrange on baking sheet and roast in oven at 375 for about 40 min or until done.
  3. Wash asparagus, arrange on baking sheet and throw in oven for last 10 – 12 minutes of potatoes cooking.
  4. You know how to fry an egg, right? I like mine over-easy, so the yolk runs all over and I can sop it up with the potatoes.

Confession: The potatoes and asparagus were left over from dinner the night before. All I did was re-heat them and fry up an egg.

Dammit, I Want Pie Dessert

One bag frozen mango
Water

  1. Put mango in food processor. Turn on.
  2. Slowly add small amounts of water until mango is smooth.
  3. Add whatever spices you like. I put in some maple syrup and cinnamon. It was just ok. I think I’m going to try this with frozen cherries next.

This Soup Stinks Good January 19, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food, Uncategorized.
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I love fish sauce. It has this awesome funk to it that is so funky…it’s actually fonnnnn-kaaaay. Anyhoo, I like fish sauce a lot, but it’s a migraine trigger on oh-so-many delicious levels. It’s fermented. It may contain gluten (some do). It’s tasty. Ok, ok, flavor isn’t necessarily a migraine trigger. I’m just feeling sorry for myself.

Not all triggers are created equal. I can tolerate some foods in small quantities, like bananas and citrus. Too much, though, and wham! Headache. There are some foods, though, that I can’t eat any of and fish sauce is one of them. Or, maybe there is a safe amount, I just love it too much to restrict the amount I consume. Whatever, the result is a headache, so why split rabbits?

I do pretty well, food-wise, and although my long no-no list inspires sympathy every where I go, I generally don’t feel deprived. There are so many great foods I can eat, I see the restrictions more as a logistical challenge to be solved.

There are a few things, though, that I miss terribly. One of them is pho, which is rife with fish sauce. I even used to make my own pho (it’s EASY, by the way). I love it enough that when I first went on the elimination diet, I tried making fish sauce-less pho.

WRONG.

Pho really needs that stinky/sour/salty taste, otherwise it’s just soup.

Well, I’m tired of doing without. It’s taken about five years of hard thinking (or maybe I just needed five years to forget what real pho tastes like), but I finally came up with an acceptable alternative. While I was at it, I decided to skinny up the recipe by replacing the traditional rice noodles with shirataki noodles.

Disclaimer: don’t expect this to taste just like pho. You’ll be disappointed. It is delicious, but it’s a pho-alternative, not a pho-replacement. Also, I’m missing some garnishes: bean sprouts, fresh jalapeno and basil would all be traditional, and delicious. But I don’t have any of those today. And the right sauces would be sriracha (rooster), hoisin, and fish sauce, which I have but I can’t eat, so they’re not listed in the ingredients. But by all means, if you have the access and inclination, dress up your soup with all sorts of accessories.

Quick Faux Pho

Servings: 4

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
2 cinnamon sticks
3 dried star anise
3 large cloves garlic, halved
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup unfiltered sake (do not use sweet cooking sake, you want the strongest, sourest sake you can find)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb total)
2 14 oz packages of Shirataki noodles (I use the yam variety, but the tofu ones are easier to find and are therefore more convenient if you can have soy)
lots of salt, to taste
1 cup shredded carrot (for garnish)
fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Preheat broiler. Toast ginger, cinnamon, anise, and garlic under broiler for one or two minutes, or longer if needed. Check frequently. Anise in particularly can go from zero to crispy very quickly.

Bring stock up to a simmer. Place ginger, cinnamon, and anise in a large coffee filter (contents should be loose), and tie off with one end of a long piece of kitchen twine. Tie the other end of the twine to one of the handles on your pot. Drop the garlic straight into the soup. Bring back up to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken breasts, sake, and lemon juice, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add salt and taste it to make sure it’s salty enough.

Meanwhile, break open those shirataki noodles. Drain them in a colander, rinse them well, and dry em off as best you can. You may need to cut them, sometimes shirataki noodles are really just one long noodle wound around itself a million times (sort of like every necklace in my jewelry box). Divide the noodles equally between four bowls.

Salt the soup, and when it tastes right, remove the chicken breast and garlic. Chop and divide between four bowls. Garnish with carrot and cilantro. Ladle the broth into each bowl, enough to cover the contents.

Stinks pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Calories 338.4
Total Fat 6.1 g
Cholesterol 80.2 mg
Sodium 1,200 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Protein 33.9 g

Weight Watcher’s PPV: 6

I Am A Flank Steak Ninja with Superior Marinade Foo January 18, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Marinades are the bane of my existence. They make things (especially meats) more tasty, but they are generally full of migraine triggers, and it’s the triggers that make the marinades work. Without the acids (i.e. vinegar) or enzymes (i.e. pineapple) to break the meat down and pull in the flavor, what’s the point?

One of my go-to recipes (for other people, cuz I can’t eat the stuff) has been flank steak marinated in salsa, lime juice, and a little canola oil. Well, I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines, people. I want me some flank steak!

Salsa’s not so bad, you know. Take out the tomato and onion, you’re basically left with cilantro. A smart girl can do a lot with cilantro.

I made dinner for a party of 6, and since they were good friends I felt compelled to experiment on them. I wanted to make a flank steak, marinated with ingredients that I could tolerate. In the end, I used two ingredients from the headache list: sake (all alcohol is a potential trigger) and lime juice.  These two ingredients, however, I have found that I personally can tolerate in limited quantities (every migraine-eer is different, so be careful). There are other, more traditional marinade ingredients which can give me a headache just from being in the same room.

By the way, this is divine.

More Tasty Sake-Marinated Flank Steak

Servings: 6

1 1/4 lb flank steak, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup sake*
1 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
1 fire-roasted mild jalepeno
5 cloves garlic, rough chopped
5 cloves garlic, rough chopped
.5 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Using a sharp knife, score a shallow diamond pattern in the steak, across the grain. Put meat in ziploc freezer bag. Buzz all non-meat ingredients around in a food processor. Pour into bag over meat. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, depending on how good you want your meat to stink.

Preheat broiler. Make sure your top rack is positioned as close to the heat as possible. I like to heat up my pan under the broiler so I get a nice sizzle when I slap the meat on it. When everything is nice and hot, put the meat under the broiler for four minutes. Turn meat over and broil for additional four minutes. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing, cross-wise against the grain.

Calories 184.4
Total Fat 7.9 g
Cholesterol 47.3 mg
Sodium 117.5
Total Carbohydrate 2.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Protein 19.6 g

Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value: 5

* Some sake is made with additional Koji enzymes derived from barley to impart extra flavor, and there is some debate regarding whether this is safe for Celiacs. If you’re sensitive, there are certified GF sakes available.

All You Bitches are Gonna Eat Squash December 6, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Consider yourself warned. Squash must be  in season, because my CSA box is full of it. So am I.

Uh. Maze. Ing Sausage and Squash Soup

Servings: 5

1 mild Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
1 lb baby bok choy, raw and cut into bite-size pieces
.5 butternut squash, roasted and cut into bite-size pieces
.5 delicata squash, roasted and cut into bite-size pieces
3 medium carrots, roasted and mashed
1 cup home-made chicken stock, skimmed of every speck of fat
5 – 6 cups water

Roast your vegetables on baking sheets in a 375 – 425 oven (depending on how much of a hurry you’re in). When the squash is soft to the touch, but not yet mush, pull it out and let cool. In a dutch oven or soup pot, brown crumbled up chicken sausage. Add chopped bok choy and cook down a bit.  Add roasted veggies. Add stock and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook at a low simmer long enough for the squash to start breaking down and for the flavors to come together. This isn’t rocket science, you figure it out. I did.

If you want a spicier soup, use hot Italian sausage and/or add some red pepper flake.

Sneaky Squash and Potato Muffin Thingeys

Servings: 12

2 small-medium russet potatoes
.5 acorn squash
2 egg whites
granulated garlic, paprika, salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with generous amounts of non-stick cooking spray. I’m serious here, go to town.

Using your super-handy-dandy food preparation device on shred mode, shred up the potato and acorn squash. You should wind up with about 3 – 4 cups total. Mix in egg whites and seasonings. Divide the mixture into the muffin tin, and spray the tops. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

The squash flavor in this is very subtle. The only tell-tale sign is that they’re a bit sweeter than if they were made with all potato. They should be soft on the inside, with a brown crust on the outside.

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