Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Gluten-free vegan, or, as I like to refer to it, glugan. For the month of Januaray, you can all affectionately refer to me as glugan, for that is what I am. I have been wanting to cut gluten out of my diet for a while, since doing some research and thinking that it could have something to do with health issues I have been dealing with. I decided to take the opportunity to try it for the first month of the new year. It has been more difficult that I originally intended, and I have accidentaly slipped up a coulple of times. But, all around I feel better, and much lighter. I also have fewer stomach aches and digestion problems. I might carry on with it past Janurary, to see what else happens. Here are a few meals that I have enjoyed so far. As you can tell, I'm still in baking mode.

Baking can be pretty frustrating when you are omitting not only binders like eggs, and fats like butter, but also gluten which offers structure and balance to your baked goods. But, having gained some impecable vegan skillz over the last year and a half, I have found ways to handle the seemingly unavoidable disaster that would ensue from these missing links. Lucky for me, my favorite baked good- cornbread- is just as good without any of these things.

I made the Mole Skillet Pie from V-con, using brown rice flour for wheat flour, and blue cornmeal. It looks a little dry on top, but the mole sauce, and all the sour cream you will put on top moistens it right up.
Shown with yummy fried plantains in the background, and Joanna's homemade sour cream. Yummm!

Next, I tried attempting my second favorite baked treat-sweet bread. I made zucchini banana bread, following the banana bread recipe from Gluten Free Goddess. I used Arrowhead Mills All-purpose GF mix, and subbed much of the oil for applesauce. I also didn't have any xanathan, and used cornstarch instead of arrowroot, and raisins for chocolate chips. The result was, well...
..a bit of a crumble mess, but still edible and pretty fantastic with dabs of whipped earth balance. I ate my pieces with sweet tangerines from the farmers market, and a fork to make it easier to get from the plate to my mouth.

We were jonesin' for pizza during the week, and I had a bag of Pamela's GF Bread mix in the pantry. I was going to make a loaf of a bread for sammiches, but decided against it when I saw how simple the pizza crust recipe looked. It made enough for two crusts, but I decided to take one half and turn it into a foccacia.
Patted the dough out, poked around with my fingers, and sprinkled on some olive oil, garlic, salt, and dried herbs before baking.
The pizza, spread with pesto and tomato sauce, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta from V-con.

Both were so fantastic. We couldn't keep our hands off the focaccia while waiting for the pizzas to bake. I will definately be using Pamela's mix again, even if I go back to eating gluten. (*Disclaimer: the mix does contain honey.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New year, same me

It's a new year. With that comes new things. New foods to try, new posts to type, new people to meet, new challenges to face, new resolutions to stand by, new chances to make a difference. Even with all of this, I still can't manage to write a regular post. I hit somewhat of a lazy streak (lying in bed as we speak), but have also gotten many things accomplished. Above all, I have devoted myself to finding ways to keep myself happy. This has meant taking a little time. Time to unwind, relax, and do what's best. My relationship with food lately hasn't been very healthy. Veggies took a backseat, and baked yummies came to the forefront. Although this is fine for a while, it can reak havoc on your digestive and immune system. So, I have taken a big step to start the year off right. I decided to be gluten free for the month of January. I have been wanting to do it for a long time, believing it might be contributing to some health problems. It has proven to be a bit more difficult than I originally intended. It has also been exciting, interesting, painful, annoying, frustrating, and delicious.

So, just because I haven't shown my face around the blog world for a while, I have still kept myself busy making and eating good food. First of all, I want to start with Christmas dinner. Even though it is so far behind us and I'm sure we all just want to forget about the craziness, I think it was a pretty good dinner, and worth showing off. Since we only had 24 hours in Houston due to work schedules, our original holiday plans for Christmas eve dinner didn't work. Instead, it was a small dinner with me, my mom and Candy. For that reason, I made a very modest, yet super awesome meal.

First, the non-meat loaf, made with beef style TVP, sauteed carrots, celery, onions, and garlic with herbs, nooch, breadcrumbs, and ketchup. Glazed with yummy tomato-lemon preserves I picked up from the farmers market the weekend before. Looks just like the loaf of my childhood. For a different kind of side dish, I wanted to combine the savoryness of roasted vegetables, with the crunchiness of fresh vegetables. I picked up fresh green beans from work, and roasted them with baby beets from the farmers market, and fresh herbs. I got small red radishes from the farmers market and thinly sliced them, then lightly sauteed some arugula I picked up at the same time. I added some toasted walnuts, and garnished with sliced oranges. Delicious, fresh, and fun!Here is the whole plate. The "meat" loaf crumbled a bit more than I would have liked, but it still had an amazing flavor and texture. We also had roasted garlic mashed potatoes, just to add to the comforting feeling of the meal.

Since my birthday is so close to Christmas- New Years Eve- it oftentimes gets overshadowed by all of the rest of the holiday madness. This year, though, it seemed like it was in a totally different month. I asked my family a few months prior to meet us in Ft. Worth for a special lunch. Since my aunt and uncle live in Ft. Worth, my grandparents live 1 hour outside of Dallas, and my mom was visiting them for Christmas, they all humbly agreed and made it happen for me. I was so excited that I would finally get to try out The Spiral Dinner, and share the experience with my family.

I had the Viva Las Migas, basically a tofu scramble chocked full of beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes and spices, topped with avocado and sour supreme and served with corn chips (or tortillas). I had mine with a side of potato salad, just because I heard it was awesome...and it was! This was one of the best brunches ever. I can't wait to go back and try the other amazing food they offer.
Here is Candy and the family-minus me (I was taking the picture). I was a bit disappointed that they all ordered just a bowl of soup (except Candy or course, she knows the value of kickass vegan food), but they look happy enough, huh? In the background is the soda machine- all natural and organic soads, and the condiment dreams of vegan's dreams- braggs, nooch, natural sweetners, and organic ketcup and mustard.
Here is the birthday girl (middle) with her Nanny and Lovely Lady in front of the diner. I just want to show off my birthday outfit. Too bad you can't see the kick ass red boots I got for Christmas..
I also want to show off what I got my mom for christmas. Her name is Sparky, and she is a gift sponsorship from Farm Animal Sanctuary. Her flock got attacked by a bear on their farm and the survivors were sent to the sanctuary for safety. I think she is beautiful, and mom was showing her off like a grandchild. How cute.
After all was said and done, Candy and I ordered a Jamaican Jerk Tempeh sammich for dinner since we had an 8 hour drive to New Orleans ahead of us. It was yummy and everything I could ask for, as was the delicious piece of carrot cake. Go to Spiral Diner as soon as you can! It won't disappoint, seriously.

There is more, but we'll save that for another post. It's good to be back! See ya around in the blogworld, ya'lls.