Saturday, March 22, 2014

guilt-free gluten-free spaghetti & meatballs

This version of spaghetti and meatballs is better than the original for a couple of reasons! Not only is it easy to make, it's gluten-free and its healthier than the traditional version.  I know, I know - usually those things would mean 'not-as-good,' but even I was surprised how well this turned out!  

I really love a good heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, but it poses a few problems for me:

1. I find it hard to serve a vegetable "along with" spaghetti.  The pasta fits so nicely in it's own bowl, so where do you put the vegetable?

2. I try to limit how often we have red meat so I usually save our red meat quota for a nice juicy steak.  Plus, the veal/pork/whatever the third meat in the meatball trifecta is supposed to be makes me feel sad - I'm a meat eater, but baby-anything is hard for me to get down

3. Gluten-free pasta can be annoying to prepare.  If anyone ever thought it was difficult to make "regular" pasta, I say "wah!" - because it's a cinch compared to making gfree pasta. 

So, this is how I fixed those problems:


1. I put the vegetable inside of the meatballs! Cauliflower meatballs...let me see you tootsie roll (I kept singing that to the beat of the Tootsie-Roll song that I used to jam out to at high school dances...and still today in my living room.) I used finely chopped cauliflower in place of bread crumbs, just a 1 for 1 exchange - gluten-free and better for you.  The cauliflower adds nutrition and moisture to the meatballs, plus a slight hint of fart to the kitchen which will keep your guests on their toes and out of your way :)

2. I used ground turkey which cuts a ton of the fat and calories (and i just baked them: saved the calories from pan-frying first, plus less dishes & less mess/clean-up!)

3. I use corn pasta - if you don't do corn you can substitute brown rice or whatever pasta you like, but I've found that corn pasta is the easiest to work with and provides the best "al dente" mouthfeel (that word makes me feel uncomfortable!). 

As you can see, I didn't use fancy ingredients.  I'm sure I'm committing some type of sin for not using a special cheese blend or something, but I used ingredients that I already had on hand at my house. Most nights what I make for dinner is based on a restaurant commercial I saw on TV that makes me angry hungry at which point I don't have the time or patience to get the 'right' ingredients. 

Angry Hungry:  when you see something that looks so good, but you can't have it - so now you are both hungry and angry.

So there you have it, guilt-free spaghetti and meatballs! Try it out, first, before you judge...if you still hate it after you've tried it, well, then that stinks :)


Saturday, March 8, 2014

New Gluten-free Product Review!


I'm always on the look out for new gluten-free products on the market.  My friend, Kasey, recently sent me a message about a new GF snack.  Pepperidge Farms has come out with a "gluten-free" version of Goldfish called 'Puffs.' Their package does say gluten-free but no gluten-free certification accompanies this label. I haven't seen the label myself, so I decided to contact the company to ask about their manufacturing process - you know, to check out the contamination issue!

I got on the Pepperidge Farms website for more info.  Well, thank you Pep Farms for providing no information on your website! It literally just says "...and they're gluten-free" at the end of a product description.  They don't even list the ingredients for the product - that just seems shady to me! They also don't provide any statement on how they deal with allergies and special dietary needs.  There's also no way to actually call them, you have to send one of those annoying message-things and wait to hear back from them and then they don't even answer your question.

So for now, I'd only recommend these little fishies to people who are choosing to not eat gluten or have a sensitivity/intolerance.  Since I have Celiac Disease, though, and I can't verify if these are safely free of gluten then I'll just have to wait until I can find out more! Hoping to have good news about these little fishies soon! If you have any info or see something on their website that I missed let me know!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Scared Mom-to-Be, Let the Guilt Begin: A gluten-free pregnancy

These past 4 months have been amazing and overwhelming.  In October, my husband and I welcomed a baby girl in to our little family.  She is strong, active and loves to smile and sleep.  At this very moment she is snuggled in next to me, little shallow breaths, arms sprawled as she snoozes - I spend so much of my time just watching her, amazed at this little miracle.  I am thankful, every day, that she is such a happy and healthy girl.  I'd love to say that I enjoyed being pregnant, but honestly, I was worried and anxious quite a bit. 

I remember the night Austin and I found out I was pregnant - so much excitement, especially knowing that both Celiac and Thyroid diseases can cause infertility - I was relieved, but skeptical too.  Some not-so-morning sickness, extreme fatigue and one doctor's visit later I was convinced.  It wasn't long, though, before I found my feelings of "am I REALLY pregnant" had turned to scary thoughts and "what if's" about the baby's growth and health as I carried little him or her (we didn't find out :).  At first, it seemed normal that as a first time mom I would be concerned about the unknowns of this life-changing experience - but it went beyond that.  I battled anxiety throughout the entire pregnancy, mostly related to my autoimmune diseases and how they might effect that tiny person's health.  Before my pregnancy I felt confident in dealing with these diseases - but the thought that one of my mistakes (accidentally ingesting gluten or missing a dose or two of my synthroid) could harm the defenseless little-one became unbearable at times and consumed my thoughts most days. 

My anxiety was fueled when I decided to ask my OBgyn to check my thyroid levels - which had been on my mind for a few weeks beforehand, but with all that was going on I had forgotten to ask.  My levels came back way out of whack." Well, that was it - I was convinced our baby would suffer the consequences of my mistake and suddenly my anxiety was coupled with an equally overwhelming sense of guilt (I know, I'm a mom now, I should get used that feeling :).  I also found myself craving foods with gluten - not just a cheeseburger...a cheeseburger on a regular bun, a real pie crust, things I hadn't cared much about since those first couple months after going gluten-free.  I felt deprived but the last thing I was going to do was anything else that could potentially hurt our baby.  I felt selfish for even thinking about gluten foods...knowing that my body's reaction to them could do the baby harm.  Pregnancy, for me, wasn't difficult because of it's physical demands, but because of the emotional ones.  Of course, my roller-coaster thyroid hormones didn't help either!

What a lesson in faith it was the moment she was born - a healthy, alert and perfectly put together 6lb. 10oz. baby girl.  Since she's been with us I haven't cared much about gluten or anything else for that matter other than watching her grow and develop her charming little personality. Now I deal with a more "normal" level of anxiety as a new mom, and I'm already researching and planning how and when we are going to introduce gluten and monitor for Celiac Disease and Thyroid changes. 

Couldn't resist sharing some photos of her over these 4 great months.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Getting back to :)

                                         Living gluten-free can make you feel trapped :)

Well, It's been a long time coming...I've been out of the blogging game for a while (for good reason :) a post will be coming soon about all that!).  Lately, though I've gotten so many calls and emails from friends and family with questions, stories (some not so pleasant), about Celiac Disease and gluten-free - I hate to say it buuuut "I told ya so!!!" Well, not you, specifically, but more so the "world" haha.  I've been on my soap box for years now working on awareness about the gfree lifestyle and it seems like people are starting to wake up to it a bit more. Unfortunately, for all of us, the mis-information and confusion surrounding the whole topic is still a big problem for those trying to navigate this new way of life the right way.  

All this to say, I'm coming back :) I have a lot of experience and really fancy sounding accolades, but I want the new format to be more of a meeting place for people to come together, ask questions, share stories and find some reputable information - and of course I'll have my two cents (ya know, there are some cray-crays out there :).

You can be looking forward to posts about pooping dogs, angry dancing pregnant ladies, and some really good tasting gfree food :) Always a good combo!

                            Yeah, its a good thing this girl isn't gfree...cause I could just eat her up!

                                                     Even doggies need some gfree love!

Posts your questions and comments or just some fun words of encouragement and come back soon!!!