Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food: good. Hunger: bad.

My last post triggered some questions which I am going to sit down and write about in the next couple of days, but for now, I wanted to put this out there:

I am starting a new side-project.  It's not a full-blown project, because I think it's going to be a long-term undertaking and I don't need to feel the guilt that will inevitably follow if I have to put it aside for a while or if I give up on it.  This side-project is an inventory/sorting/cataloging of my recipes.

 I don't have a lot of recipe books.  My kitchen shelf contains a few really really really good ones:

  • The Best of Chef at Home, by Michael Smith (who, besides being an amazing chef, is also just a really really nice guy)
  • Dinner Tonight, by Lucy Waverman
  • Home for Dinner, by Lucy Waverman
  • Pantry Raid, by Dana McCauley
  • The Wheat-Free Cook, by Jacqueline Mallorca
But other than that, I am subsisting on a selection of old family recipes (some of which I revamped and posted online - see the sidebar at the right of my blog), gifted recipes from friends, and a really great collection of Inspired magazine, which is a free publication put out by my local supermarket, Sobeys.

Problem is, a lot of the recipes in these books and magazines are really gluten-intensive (in case you didn't know, I have am gluten-intolerant).  I get a little discouraged when I'm looking for suppertime inspiration.

So now, I've bitten the bullet.  I discarded a couple of cookbooks that didn't pass muster and I'm going through the rest, tagging anything that looks like something I could realistically make for supper (that's my main concern, at the moment).  I don't have a concrete plan as of yet, but I think I'm going to get a nice, good-quality, three-ring binder with some plastic sleeves and start clipping the recipes I like and sorting them into categories.  The rest of the magazine/calendar/whatever is going in the recycling bin.  The interesting cookbook recipes are getting copied out and placed in the binder, so I'm not forced to constantly page through the entire cookbook to find the 5 recipes I can actually make.

There are so many options online, that I don't think I really need to dish out for new books, at the moment.  With the exception of Extra-vegan-za,  which was recommended to me by a friend, Maureen (who is a recipe developer for Michael Smith and fellow GF-er).  A totally vegan diet would be pretty tough for me to follow (a LOT of vegan alternatives are loaded with gluten), but not impossible.  She said the book contained some really amazing ideas, so I'm putting it on my wishlist.

So, here's where you come in (I'm serious, I want some feedback or I'm going to start taking names):  I want some ideas for suppers/lunches.  I need stuff that is quick, nutritious, low-fat, low-sugar, high-protein, as full of whole foods as possible, non-processed and delicious (no, duh).  Stuff like taco salad with ground turkey, mango salsa and low-fat cheddar.  Baked squash, stuffed with wild rice, pecans and raisins.  Chicken pesto with black olives and artichoke hearts.  You know, the good stuff.

I eat everything that does not contain gluten (wheat, oats, rye, spelt, kamut, barley all contain gluten), with the exception of cilantro **BAAAAARRRRRFFFF**, brussel sprouts **shudder gag**  and bell peppers (bad memories of acid reflux from my gluten days).  I am notoriously un-picky (I just asked my husband to list out the food I don't like and he couldn't think of one single thing {ETA: My sister just chimed in and remembered that I detest perogies.  I know, I am the only person on the planet who can say that and technically, it's not even an option anymore - what with them being made primarily of wheat dough and all.  I strongly suspect that may hatred has to do with the slimy gluten content.}) and will try everything at least once (for instance, I could eat an entire plateful of pan-fried chicken livers, like RIGHT NOW - does that make you want to hurl?).  I have eased way off soy, corn, dairy and eggs, but I'm not averse to having them from time to time.  I L.O.V.E. ethnic food.  LOVE IT.

Ethnic food, a not-quite-sonnet
by dw
India, I love you.  
Thailand, I love you.  
Morocco, I love you.  
Lebanon, I love you.  
France, it goes without saying.  
Japan, I love you.  
Italy, you are dead to me.  
Unless you can figure out how to perfectly duplicate your entire cultural menu without using a fleck of flour, of course.  
Then, I will love you once more.

Now, wasn't that beautiful?  Yes, I thought so, too.

To be clear: I do not need dessert ideas.  NO SWEETS FOR ME!  I can't eat refined sugar right now (still sick) and the hubbie is allergic to chocolate.  I have no idea how all of you foodies can eat so many cupcakes and cake pops and pies and ice cream sandwiches and tarts and chocolate truffles.  My idea of dessert is two Medjool dates.  Two.  Dates.  Or maybe a dried fig.  And a mouthful of roasted pecans.  Maybe twice a week.  C'est tout.  I would weigh 400 lbs if I ate the desserts I see on some websites (Pioneer Woman and Elana's Pantry, I'm looking at you).  Butter and fat are also on the persona non grata list, though my conscience can be convinced to occasionally look the other way...  Baked goods are ok, but I have a lot of recipes for those, already.  Plus, I'm only allowed to have a small amount of them, anyway.

Oh, and I want to know: do you think my three-ring binder is the way to go?  Do you have a better system (keeping in mind that I'm VERY visual and need to see photos with my recipes)?  Send me e-mails, not just comments, ok?  I want to be able to reply directly.  So, you ready to help me?  High five?  Ready, set, GO!


  1. I did exactly this last summer, and it made finding a recipe much easier! Everything is in a 3-ring binder, organized into very general categories, with pocket dividers for holding any smaller-sized papers that I haven't figured out how to file yet. All of the recipes from those recipe books Mom made us are in there, along with the many recipes I've picked up over the years.

    Good luck and have fun with it, and I'll send along any recipes I think you might be interested in!

    Oh, and J forgot about how much you hate perogies (which is not gluten-free, I know!). :)

  2. I'm Celiac, too and I also don't miss desserts whatsoever, so since most recipe books people have given me focus on sweets I don't bother using them (although there are some awesome locally-made mini cinnamon buns I sometimes make an exception for). I really like your binder idea!

    I have sometimes wandered over to this website:
    and I have a good book from the library right now: '100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes' by Carol Fenster. Both have lots of good main dish ideas.

    I like sushi, edamame, salads with chicken or beef,GF pasta with pesto, etc. and the nationalities you mention above.

  3. Hi Chris! I didn't know you were a Celiac, too! Where do you eat out in Wpg? I would love to get a shortlist for the next trip I make out there (due to go and visit family in the next year or two...). I totally have some tried-and-true recipes to share with you - I'll send you an e-mail at some point when I get organized. I just discovered the blog you mentioned so I'll be stalking - I mean perusing - her archives shortly. For what it's worth, Apartment Therapy just did a top ten gf blog list this week (which is kind of what got the ball rolling for me).

    Here it is:

    I just took a closer look and AT have SCADS of gf stuff going on there!

  4. 1) The three ring binder is a great idea. That's what I do...though, mine is so used and abused that I need to replace the binder.

    2) Italy doesn't have to be dead to you, you know. I've seen quinoa pasta in the supermarkets here, and I know that you can grind your own quinoa to make flour and from that you could make pasta. I got the idea from a great blog--Canelle y Vanille. She's from Spain and she does do quite a lot of desserts, but mostly fruity stuff with minimal sugar. She also does a lot of other gluten free stuff, she has some autoimmune disorder, I'm not sure what.

  5. Too bad you are shifting away from corn because polenta (grits to me) is fast, easy and yummy. And many of those lovely pasta sauces work with it. If you cook it the day before and leave it in the fridge it will firm up so you can slice it and brown it. I just started avoiding gluten (a month and 2 days but who's counting?) and I've been amazed at the wealth of gf food. The kicker is that you have to make it rather than your local restaurant. Re sushi - be aware that most soy sauce contains wheat but I bet most places would have Tamari if you asked (or bring your own). Thanks for the post, I'm heading over to Apartment Therapy to check out the post dw linked.