Gluten Free & Pup Friendly

When I went Gluten Free in December of 2012 and Brian joined me a few months later, our traveling lifestyle changed.  We’d never been huge fast food people, but going Gluten Free eliminated most fast food restaurants…. which made traveling a bit more tricky. The Find Me Gluten Free app (iOS & Android) has been priceless.  We’ve discovered several amazing little places that we’d have never discovered on our own.  We picnic a lot too. Fill a small cooler with deli meat and cheese and a bag of chip and you’re good to go.  There are a lot more Welcome Centers and nice rest stops along the road than I ever realized. Brian has become a master at locating cute little parks and picnic areas for us to eat our picnic lunches.

Well…. now we’ve added another challenging element….. Our Pomeranian, Boo has started traveling with us.  Mom is traveling with us too, but she’s pretty easy.  Mom is GF too and our travel style works for her, but since she’s going with us we’ve lost our baby-sitter for Boo.  I just can’t stand the idea of leaving Boo in a kennel and most of our friends know how neurotic I am about Boo and they’re too afraid (of me) to baby-sit. So Boo has to become a traveling pup.

I wanted to introduce Boo to road trips gently, so we took her on a day trip to Alton, IL to see the eagles.  She was a bit nervous at first, but but got bored pretty quickly and slept through most of the ride home.  We didn’t see any eagles… I don’t think she was too disappointed…. she does look like a little fox, so I don’t think she’s a huge fan of eagles.

I’d been thinking of a short weekend trip for Boo’s next excursion, but our ‘short trip’ turned into an 8 day adventure all around Texas and into New Orleans.  Boo was nervous for the first 20 minutes and then got bored and fell asleep…. which is pretty much how I travel too.

IMG_7577

Boo had a great time.  She was totally relaxed in the hotels… Love the Holiday Inn Express (some are pup-friendly) and Candlewood Suites… (Most were pup-friendly).  Boo snoozed in the car and had a great time running around the parks and rest stops.

Breakfast is always easy.  Since we like to stay at Holiday Inn Express’ we usually grab breakfast at the hotel. The omelettes, sausage and bacon are usually GF. The scrambled eggs make me nervous.  I haven’t been able to get a hold of the packaging for the scrambled eggs to confirm that they’re GF and I’ve heard that some places add flour to their eggs to make them extra fluffy.  So on the mornings where my option is scrambled eggs I grab a banana and peanut butter from the breakfast bar instead.  When we stay at the Candlewood Suites we usually opt for Cliff Bars or Laura Bars brought fromIMG_7757 home.  We’d get our food from the breakfast bar and then eat in the room since fur-babies aren’t invited to the dining room. 😦

Lunch is easy too… Boo is a huge fan of picnicnicking at parks and rest areas.  Dinner is the bigger challenge.  By dinner time I want real food… I want to try the local foods and sit down for a real meal.  Finding a sit down place that accomidates fur-babies and offers GF food is a bit more of a challenge.  Most places with a patio or outdoor seating are likely to allow pups (always ask first!).  I found the BringFido app (iOS) which lists pup-friendly hotels, parks and restaurants.  We didn’t bother using it for the hotels, but it really helped finding restaurants.  I do wish it had a section for Gluten Free restaurants.

Boo was super well behaved at the restaurants.  She usually sat under the table and then sat on our lap after the meal so she could join un while we finished our drinks and chatted.  She loved the attention from the waiters and waitresses… especially when they’d bring her a fresh bowl of water and talk to her.

I’m pretty sure we’ve made a spoiled monster now.  She’s never going to want to be left home alone again.

Some of Boo’s favorite places were:IMG_7773

Freebirds in Waco, TX

Austin Terrier in Austin, TX

Cafe Amelie in New Orleans, LA

The Rum House in New Orleans, LA

Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop in New Orleans, LA (We ordered take out, since it wasn’t actually pup-friendly, just GF, but we took it back to the hotel and had a fabulous dinner… and Boo got to try a bit of Cajun food.)

And, of course, Starbucks!  Boo is now addicted to the Puppuccino on the Secret Starbucks Menu.  Just ask for a Puppaccino and they’ll give you a little cup of whipped cream…. Boo thought it was the most fabulous thing ever!

Confessions – Days 11-14

Mayhem

Sharing lunch with Mayhem (from FBO Cats.) 

So I have a confession… I cheated.

The first time was mostly by accident.  During the first week of detox Dad and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and I’d avoided the nacho chips because I wasn’t sure whether  they were made with flour or not…. Well, Dad and I went there again for our weekly Father/Daughter lunch…. and I thought, “what the heck, they’re probably all corn”… and I ate the nachos.  Afterward I got that pain in my side again.  (It’s not my tummy, exactly… more like just off the edge of my hipbone… I had no idea what was causing it and was pretty surprised when it went away after I started the whole detox… it was another one of those good “side-effects.”) I got a tiny bit of a “buzz” in my head and a bit of stomach upset…. nothing huge.  I did not eat the sour cream or the guacamole this time since I was already concerned about the chips.

The second time was totally premeditated.  My little sis is engaged (eep!) and we’re doing the whole Wedding Show thing….. I was NOT going to miss out on trying all the delicious wedding cake samples!   So, I learned two things: 1) I am a cake snob.  2) I didn’t really want it as bad as I thought I would.  The first, I already knew, really… If it’s not amazing, why eat it?  The second was a HUGE surprise!  I expected that I would CRAVE cupcakes (one of my particular weaknesses)… But, I haven’t really had any bad cravings, except for the chocolate in the beginning… and I found milk-free chocolate, so that’s no big deal now.    I ate the first piece of cake (we’re talking about 1.5″ square…. not a PIECE of cake, by any means…).  Oh!  I was so delighted with the first taste…. Oooooohhhhh…. cake!  Then I drug myself out of my sugary daze…. and actually listend to Skye talking about the cake and how she liked the icing….. Ummm… wait a minute…. I didn’t actually like the icing (gritty)…. hmm….  The second sample was actually better and I really did like it….  Skye didn’t (this is going to be difficult)… by the third sample… Enh….. and when we got to the ice cream samples… I didn’t even bother… it wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d convinced myself it would be… Gee!  A revelation.  Afterward I had a bit of a headache, but that could have had something to do with having skipped breakfast (Brian made my oatmeal really soupy and I didn’t eat it…) then cake for lunch… and no dinner until 6:30….. (I told you this wasn’t going to be super scientific.)  The big thing was I didn’t sleep well that night and my hands hurt the next day.

The third cheat was yesterday.  Since today is officially my last day of the two week detox, I didn’t think it would be catastrophic if I had chicken for diner.  (Remember, poultry has the same proteins as eggs, so chicken and turkey are out too.)  I didn’t have anything else with wheat, milk or egg, so I thought a piece of chicken would be a fine.  What I really wanted was the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce that we’d had the night before with the rib… so good!  and I thought the chicken would be a good surface for the BBQ sauce.  It didn’t bother my head or my stomach, but I didn’t sleep well last night and my hands hurt today.

It was good though.

So as the two week detox comes to a close I can say that it seems like I had a lot more bad side-effects from the food allergies than I realized:  Stomach upset, killer joint pain (hands and knees), headaches, bloating, weight gain and sleep disruptions.  Wow! That is just what I have recognized in two weeks.  I won’t be surprised to discover there are other side-effects that I just haven’t caught on to yet.  When I started the detox, I’d hoped to be able to work wheat, milk and eggs back into my diet a bit more.  Taking them out of my diet really wasn’t as bad as I had expected.  I’ve found a numer of great substitutes and I’m enjoying experimenting with all the new recipes.  Frankly, anything that screws up my sleep, I can do without.  I’m planning to stay as gluten-free as I possibly can.  I’ve found some great substitute flours  and milk is so easy to replace (as long as I’m doing the cooking).  Eggs are a bit harder to replace… and I miss cooking with ground turkey.  I’d like to have mozzarella cheese back…. That’s really about it.  Of course if my hands are going to swell up and I won’t be able to sleep after I eat those things…. maybe I can do without.

BBQ Chicken

No measurements… just kind of eyeballed

  • Chicken Breast
  • Corn Flakes, crushed
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (I like Hickory Smoked)

Combine the corn flakes and spices in a medium bowl.  Place the chicken in a small bowl and coat with the BBQ sauce.  Next, squish the sauce coated chicken in the corn flake mixture; cover completely.

Transfer coated chicken to a greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (depends on the thickness of your chicken).

Day 5 – Identity Chrisis

I think I may be turning into a Vegan.

It all started with the chocolate cravings… I just wanted chocolate so bad…. and Brian wanted me to have chocolate pretty bad too. Yesterday he was all tough… He even told my mom to not give into me!  Today Brian’s resolve was wavering a bit too… perhaps the incessant howling …. mine… about chocolate was having an effect?  Before long Brian was beside me at the computer googling for a recipe with chocolate… without eggs or flour.  I figured I could use the Almond Milk to replace any milk.  And I can’t use just any chocolate… but I can use cocoa powder.  (I remember Mom used to let me have semi-sweet chocolate chips when I was a kid, but now they have milk in the ingredients list.)  Who would have thought it would be so hard?

To replace the eggs we found we could use bananas or applesauce.  I’m not a fan of using strange chemicals as replacements…. I’m trying to go clean (I know I can’t go totally chemical free, but I’m aiming for chemical free-er).

SUBSTITUTIONS: 

1 egg – 1/4 cup applesauce PLUS 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

OR flaxmeal (Make flaxmeal by grinding flaxseed in a blender until it has the consistency of cornmeal.) Use two tablespoons flaxmeal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.

OR bananas – Substitute 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.

Woo Hoo!

Now we just needed a recipe that didn’t need flour. I know there are recipes that use black beans…. and different kinds of flour…. I’m just not desperate enough to go to beans…. and I’m willing to try the different kinds of flour, but I just don’t have them in the house at the moment.

You know how your Google searches get better the longer you search?  I started out with “Chocolate” and then added “Flour-less” and then I noticed I kept getting Vegan recipes… Umm…. Google?  I’m not Vegan.  I love cows… to eat.  Then again… Looking back at what I’ve been eating lately… OMG!  I’m turning Vegan! (Actually, I”m probably more of a Pescatarian – basically a vegetarian that still eats seafood…. I don’t like pork, I like steak, but not super fond of hamburger, can’t have turkey or chicken….. but I’m more vegan since I can’t have the eggs or milk… does that make me a Pescan?)

We found this recipe for Flourless Fudge Brownies and thought we’d give it a shot and try out our egg alterations.

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Our first attempt came out really oily and wouldn’t solidify…  Brian was ready to pitch it and give up… until I started sniffling… Not cute, or anything… sorta desperate… with wide blinkie eyes.  “Yeah, sure… I’ll try another batch. No problem!”  And so we made a few more adjustments and into the oven batch number two went.

It wouldn’t solidify either…. I’m guessing it really needed eggs.  *sigh*

Brian tried to perk me up with Starburst…. so not chocolate.

Chocolate cravings continue.

Wheat Free Me

Something is wrong with me… no, seriously.

For the past year my allergies have been halfheartedly trying to kill me.  At first I just though it was a hormonal screw-up… lots of trouble with foods and smells… I’m still not sure where the whole “smell” issue came from, but it’s mostly gone now.  The bigger, more evil issue is that I am suddenly having allergic reactions to things that I’ve always eaten and never had a problem with before.  Sometimes I can eat the offending food item again without issue… but I’m usually too scared to try it again.  I’m loosing menu items all the time!

Now, food allergies are nothing new for me.  As a kid, I had terrible food allergies.  At the age of six I was tested and on a scale of 1 – 5 I was a SEVEN with eggs…. my doctor said that I was SO allergic to eggs that it could kill me…. Wheat and milk were bad too, but eggs were the devil.  My poor, poor mother…. she had the worst time trying to feed me.   For over a year I couldn’t touch wheat, milk or eggs…. do you know what that leaves?  Fish… corn chips…. ummm…… oranges?  Poor, Momma… poor ME!  We ate a lot of Kosher food…. lots of seafood (’cause ya know chicken and turkey are egg products… uh huh… seriously).

Thank goodness Mom was dedicated and creative enough to go through all that with me…. I’d have just smothered me with a pillow if I was Mom.

Luckily, I have more options available to me now than when Mom was trying to feed me as a kid.  A lot more people are recognising that wheat and gluten are major allergens.  I love that wheat and milk are being listed as allergens on products.  Now I have access to soy and almond milk…. gluten-free pastas and breads…. and I can eat sheep and goat cheese!

My plan is to go completely without wheat, milk or egg foods for the next two weeks…. after that I’ll try to reincorporate those foods back into my diet and see how it goes… hopefully a detox time will let my body readjust…. hopefully I won’t have to give up wheat, milk or eggs forever…. sigh.

LOVE Global Foods Market…. wish it was a little bit closer to me… but it is worth the drive!  Also love Pinterest!  I’ve started a board for recipes without wheat, milk or eggs (I’ve left in foods with feta cheese because I can use sheep or goat’s milk cheese).  Also love my hubby who is totally supporting me as I try to detox over the next few weeks…. he’s promised (he offered!) to go wheat/milk/egg free with me (he’s free to eat as he pleases when he’s out of my sight…. I understand).   Gotta love Mom too…. for getting me through the first time…. and encouraging (badgering) me to quit being a baby and cut out the things that are making me sick!

Exciting recipes to follow… Know a good recipe that is wheat, milk and egg free?  Share!