Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!

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Health Allergy Challenged Foodie: Handling Holiday Gatherings

You know who we are.  We are those who constantly ask what is in that and say we can’t eat that.  There was a time in my life where I had just the one food allergy. It was glorious.  Along the way I have built a nice collection of allergies that completely altered my diet, care routine, and trust.  It affects everything. And its nothing compared to my stepson who has bakers dozens of food and environmental allergies. Then we have intolerances of the ridiculous kind that might as well be allergies.  We are well stocked in antihistamines.

We DO NOT wish to be these people.

At Holiday functions we must be these people.  On Halloween our children will say thank you politely and bring their bags home to meticulously inspected.  It kinda sucks the fun out of it.  Except for parent taxes.  If you have food allergies then you are our people.  I have hard learned suggestions for those holiday gatherings for us.   If you do not have food allergies then having your meals picked apart is as annoying for you as us. Sorry. I have some hard learned suggestions on how to handle us in these gatherings.

 Holiday Gatherings with Food Allergies

For the food allergy people-

  1.  Ask. Ask. Ask and apologize once for inconvenience it might cause. It’s just being polite but not apologetic for doing what you must to survive.  Ask what is being served, if their are alternatives (don’t expect it), etc. You give kindness in your situation, usually your host reciprocates it.
  2. Plan ahead. When you can, bring food.  My bag, my kids’s bags, and travel bags have food that accommodate our allergies.  It is your and our responsibility to be sure you have what you need and work within your food issues, not someone’s else.  You can always ASK (see number one), but ultimately it is up to you.  Our families and friends are great at working with us.
  3. Be proactive and offer a dish or two that you know you can eat and share.  It is helpful to you and your host.
  4.  Get ingredient list and read labels. Ahead of time when possible and if available.
  5. Have a medical plan and supplies in case of an oops or emergency. Know where the nearest hospital is and be well stocked. Epi pens only buy you time and you may need more than one pen to make it.

For the non- food allergy people

  1.  Please do not be insulted by our questions.  We have to ask.  To survive.  It is not a reflection on your cooking skills (we haven’t eaten it yet) or hosting skills. I’m sure you are lovely.
  2. Please do not take offense if we bring food or offer to bring a dish.  We are trying to help you help us. It’s really awkward when we can’t eat anything or just the one thing.
  3. Please be gracious as our bruised ego has to be meticulous in ingredients.  We are trying not to use our number five.

A little goes a long way when our food allergy people are prepared and our non-food allergy people are accommodating.  It can be enjoyable with flexibility and understanding on both sides.

Namaste and Share for Foodies of All Types

Upcoming: tackling food icons and hoping not to completely %*#*! it up. Vegan hacks are not just for vegans. Then whatever inspiration is thrown at me. 🤣😜🙏

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Simply because cannot take “no” for an answer- I had to find answer to this pasta dish and my every changing food life.  Largely because of the sauce.  So what’s wrong with the sauce? Puttenesca is a tomato sauce with a specific combinations of plants, veggies, and (most of time) anchovies.  I HATE anchovies. If I was desert and had a choice between those greasy, tiny fish and bugs.  I choose bugs. Then there is the acid factor in tomatoes.  With a few quick switch outs with some veggies, I have a delicious alternative.   I opted for campari tomatoes as they are sweeter with lower acid.  To reduce acid more, you can add in some carrot puree.  The tomatoes didn’t irritate my reflux.  Since the anchovies got to go- I went with capers to give that briny, salty taste.  Best part, is more concentrated veggies means more nutrition.  The instructions are for the sauce, your base is dealer’s choice. As complex carbs can help absorb stomach acid, I opted for a brown rice/ quinoa gluten free pasta but zoodles are just a good. 

Ingredients and Prep

  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • Oregano 1 tablespoon dried
  • Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
  • Campari tomatoes, 16 oz, quartered
  • Green or black olives sliced (2.25 oz can or I eat a specific green type, about 10 olives)
  • Capers 1-2 tablespoons
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of carrot pure

Cooking

  1. Put in diced garlic and olive oil and gentle stir for about 5-7 minutes on medium.
  2. Still on medium heat, place in diced tomatoes and oregano and cook until tomatoes have broken down plus a few minutes (25 minutes). In the last 5 minutes you can put in optional carrot puree to lower the pH level.  
  3. Put in olives and capers for additional ten minutes.  1 1/2 tablespoon of capers is enough for me. Start with 1 tablespoon and add to taste.  Do let it cook for a minute before adding. 

So what’s up with the letter’s in the title? As I began typing this recipe I realize how many dietary concerns this addresses. Basically it is a flag for whatever need you have.  Vegan- follow the V, no animal products were used in the making of this meal.  Vegetarian? VEG means no meats.  If you are gluten free, then GF.  Dairy free or watching the lactose? DF is for you because cow’s milk didn’t want to get involved.  This recipe is all of them with an low acidic conscious. Plus it’s an easy yum.  

My soul honors your soul’s individuality in your food relationship 

Namaste

Health Foodie: Teal Pumpkins and Candy Safety 👻 🎃

Health Foodie: Teal Pumpkins and Candy Safety 👻 🎃

From intolerances to “this could be an ER visit,” we are that allergy family.   We hit all of them.  Restaurants require research.  Dinners are a cultivated art of allergy free.  We meticulously plan for BBQs and get togethers.  Halloween is a search and find of labels and parental taxes.  We gotta get something out of preparing for the festivities, right?  Fortunately for the food allergy challenged, there are easy options.

  1. First things first.  Know your candy.  Know what your favorites are to negotiate taxes and know how to practice candy safety.  This means check packaging (sealed?), reading all labels (known allergies on it?), and if you’re not sure, trash it.
  2. Look for safe candies (free from top 8 allergies): DOTS, Ring Pop, Dum Dums, Skittles, Smarties, Starburst, and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.  Yes brand matters in this case.
  3. Get in the project!  Food Allergy Research & Education has an amaze Teal Pumpkin Project The site contains a map across the United States of homes with Top 8 Allergy friendly candies or non candy items.  We are on that map!!img_1616
    • There are great kid friendly activities
    • Print outs for your home are on this site!
    • Stores like Target and Michaels are carrying Teal Pumpkin items for purchase.
  1. Offer allergy friendly candies that do not contain the top 8 allergies or have a prize option:  Stickers, rings, slime, pencils, any party favor.
    • I am finding multipack prize options at a reasonable cost at Target and Walmart.

Below are the Top 8 Common Allergies for your  in  the know.  Food allergy challenged or not, awareness for the sake of safety in important.  Please consider going teal in the festivities.  This act of kindness will treat you in the future.

Top 8 Allergies

  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Gluten
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Soybean
  • Shellfish

Namaste 🙏 and  ❤️ teal 🎃

The kid’s teal pumpkins

Curve balls and Making Boomerangs

Curve balls and Making Boomerangs

Our life is rarely quiet and recently was no exception. While I was pulling a late evening volunteer shift, my husband was putting a shift in the carpool and kids activity. Then our carpool collided with nature. Unfortunately for the deer it didn’t end well and the car took a beating. Over a year ago, the anxiety and stress would’ve undone everything then permeated every where.  Not to say it wasn’t present in the action of the accident, aftermath, tons of phone calls, waiting for the tow truck, logistics, etc.  We live in a world where conflict and stress happens. It’s what we do with it that impacts our bodies and minds.  From there it leaks into every else you are in contact with.  How did we keep the pieces together that night?

First of all, deep breaths.  Lack of oxygen to your brain and body affect your decision and coping ability.  Pause.  When you are in a place do this, acknowledge your emotions and take a gratitude inventory.  It was sometime after the event before I got to the accident and picked up the kids.  We discussed the event, how everyone felt.  We didn’t just name, we acknowledged, ” this is how I feel and it’s okay.”  It ends there.  We have emotions and they can guided us.  However, when we are emotions, they rule us.  The conversation shifted to gratefulness.  Everyone was safe, #hubby had the situation handled, we have great neighbors to check on the dog,  and our car was on it’s way to be fixed soon. Was this a blissful moment, absolutely not.  Yet, it was moment of growth and one was gained a bit more control over us.  It was an attitude shift in a curve ball that made a boomerang affect.  In situations, how we react comes back and we can benefit or hurt ourselves and others.  We still had the next day of tiredness and more logistics to get through.  Our attitude and perspective gave way to ability to cope, production, and even humor at times.  It’s not perfect, but steps in the right direction.

Breathe. Acknowledge. Take Inventory. 

Curve balls happen, what kind of boomerang effect do you want?

Namaste and I’m napping today

Aside

Health Foodie: For your Heart

A lot comes through my media and email with shockers like “number one killer” or ” this could kill you.” Yes death is a reality and even a fear.  Matter of the heart are serious and, seriously, when your heart is cared for, it does much to amplify the quality of your life.  What if we shift our focus to finding habits to enhance our heart health?

A lot of the following suggestions of physical habits are general preventative measures or maintenance.  Everyone is different and a sit down with your doctor, nutritionist, health coach, etc for individual guidance is important.  Especially if you are seeking treatment for heart or blood conditions.  According to American Heart Association, the best heart diet is one full of fruit, veggies, whole grains (think ancient), lean meat, low fat dairy, and nuts.  Across the board, for most this is a great guideline for any one.  What any heart and food relationship needs restraints in are limited: saturated fat, red meat, sodium, sweets, and sugar sweetened beverages.  Kick trans fat to the curb. Period.  Why these guidelines? Fiber and Omegas found in many veggies, whole grains, and lean meats are important for gut thus heart function.  Too much processed foods, sugar, fats can damage your gut, build up in blood vessels, then affect your heart.  Your food relationship is your daily healer.  Physical activity is important and looks different for everyone.  The important thing is to find something you enjoy.  There are lighter ends like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yin/Restorative Yoga to walking, Hatha Yoga, Pilates, biking, zumba, Refit, and more.  If you want to run, run.  If you want to box, box.  If you like the gym and it holds you accountable, then make time for it. Take a class.  Find an app or youtube at home.  Find what you like and take limitations into account.   I am rarely in the mood for the gym.  Yoga in its many forms is my thing and other than an relished and occasional class due to time constraints, my practice is at home.

What you do for your physical health impacts your mental well being.  Your mental care habits affect your body and heart.  It’s a never ending circle to represent the whole you.   There isn’t solid study evidence to date on the link of mental to heart health. Yet.  However, many professionals support this link as found on heart.org.  Prolonged stress effects many things from gut to brain to your heart.  Since stress is a natural part of life and many times can’t be avoided, you need stress busters.

Ways to bust

  • hobby
  • journaling
  • physical activity (two for one!)
  • time with loved ones
  • coloring/ creative activity
  • play dough (its for adults too)
  • prayer/meditation
  • water feature or sounds
  • Essential oils: peppermint and lavender
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Practice or journal gratitude
  • Breathing apps
  • Self care: baths, massage, reiki, spa day, nails
  • Find your limitations and stick with them.  Yes is potent. No is potent. Listen to yourself to know when to use what and when.
  • Community service

This isn’t a pick one and done list.  And you have the freedom to rotate, pick a few, or pick many.  Your inner voice and preferences are powerful.  Listen to them and begin building those stress busting habits.  Your food relationship, activity level, and mental care are essential for your heart health.

Your heart matters

Namaste

I am not affiliated with above link to the American Heart Association.  Their website is wonderful, check it out at Heart.org