Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Food Fun

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Whole Foods stores in Texas are better than any of the other stores across the country that I've been to. This is especially true for the brand new store in Dallas that I visited yesterday. They had so many unique things interspersed throughout the store - we walked around for over an hour before getting lunch!

I was also extremely impressed with their gluten free options in the store. There was a dedicated GF freezer with breads and other treats, an entire aisle of gluten free products, and in the pasta aisle, a designated gluten free section that was clearly marked as such. I could just imagine doing my weekly shopping here and how much easier it would be!

Lunch was a huge salad with spinach, kale, artichoke hearts, cabbage, a dolma, and beets. I also sampled some barbeque from the smokehouse in the store - I only ate a few bite each of the chopped beef and beef short rib. My body just isn't used to eating as much meat anymore.

I ran a few errands with my dad after and then went to get fitted for my bridesmaid dress for an upcoming wedding in June.

Then it was off to our first Passover Seder at my grand - parents' house. The tables were set with plates of charoset, radish (bitter herbs) and parsley (karpas).

The seder plate and matzah cover

And dinner. I love my grandmother's cooking - it's a special treat. I only ate about half of everything on my plate: brisket, cornish hen breast, squash mix, broccoli, and potatoes.

I had a small dessert of some berries and a little almond cookie (gf!) and was stuffed.

Had my coffee this morning and a yogurt mess of a pear, 1/2c berries, 1/3c Greek yogurt mixed with a tsp of raspberry preserves, cinnamon and almond butter.  I waited til I was really hungry to eat and am now feeling super stuffed. That's one thing that's tough about the holidays - balancing normal eating with the special treats. Hopefully tonight I'll balance better.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Can't Hardly Wait

Good morning from the Gluten Free Grazer household! Cody says hi!

I got a bit of a late start this morning, which was just fine by me!  My mom is amazing and pre-set the coffee machine to brew me a cup for when I woke up this morning. How nice is that?! I enjoyed my coffee alongside a pear topped with cinnamon and PB (which won't be enjoyed again until after Passover next Wednesday).

Why did I keep my breakfast to a light snack? Because my dad and I are having lunch at the new Whole Foods that opened here in Dallas. It's said to rival the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin, and I can hardly contain myself!  There have even been newspaper articles about what makes this store unique! I am most excited for the 40 shelves full of gluten free goodies... and of course lunch! Expect a full report later.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quite the Picnic

Well, I did it! My apartment is clean from top to bottom, my kitchen has been prepped and cleaned, and my pantry stocked for Passover! The reason why I left it until the last minute is that I wanted to be able to finish up leftovers of things that won't be eaten on Passover like beans, rice, etc. Since it's a pretty dreary day, I didn't mind the cleaning at all!

Breakfast this morning was a pear and an egg white sandwich on a small English muffin. Good protein and carbs to power my cleaning!

I broke for lunch about 4 hours later and made myself a picnic-style lunch, thanks to leftovers and my freezer. I finished off my last couple of Gone Crackers and hummus first. Then I steamed some cauliflower and okra which I had along an Amy's GF veggie burger topped with bbq sauce, hot sauce, and a pickle.

To celebrate the end of my cleaning I finished off this last drop (~1/4c) of vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream.

I'm off to shower, finish packing, and maybe treat myself to a quick manicure if there's time. Then, it's off to the airport and Dallas!

Whirlwind of a Weekend

This weekend seems to be flying by, which I don't mind since I'm headed to Texas this evening! I'm taking a short break from my Passover cleaning to give y'all an update, and if I have time, will tell you all more about yesterday's adventures. Let's just say, it involved this:

Friday was a pretty normal day, except for my trip to the foot doctor once again. Despite all of my best efforts to remain patient, those feelings seemed to wear off as my doctor shared that my broken sesamoid isn't healing. He fit me for orthotics which hopefully will help but I'm still boot-bound for now. It should make for an interesting flight to say the least.  If the pain doesn't go away, even after wearing the orthotics, then I will have to have surgery to remove the bone :(   I'm just hoping to get my life (and exercise routine!!) back to normal soon. I really am done waiting and can't wait to get moving again.

Pretty upset, I found myself stress eating for the rest of the day. I snacked on a small bag of popchips and a cup of mixed berries and pineapple.

Got home and had some chips and salsa, x2

When I was hungry again, I whipped up a repeat dinner of veggie fried rice

And snacked on an apple with AB and a serving of vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream.

Got Saturday started on the right foot with an egg white and blueberry hot cereal. T'was delicious and kept me full while sightseeing for over 4 hours!

A late lunch was eaten at Good Stuff Eatery which is gluten free friendly! I had the Greek salad and shared the rosemary thyme fries with my adventuring partner-in-crime, Shelby. I loved my salad and the fries had such a great flavor!

I had a pear after coming home and immediately icing and elevating my foot, and then I headed to babysit for the night.

I brought dinner with me - leftover black beans (~1/4c), corn (~1/4c), and brown rice, with some broccoli, bbq sauce, and salsa added.

Sorry for the rushed post but I have lots more to do before I leave for the airport this evening. Hopefully I'll be back soon with a better recap!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Passover's Coming!

It happens every year. Passover (and the massive amounts of preparation) simply sneaks up on the unsuspecting, demanding that attention be paid to this holiday. Now, I must say that I really do love Passover - 24 of my 25 years of celebrating this holiday have been the same: sitting around the dining room table at my grandparents' house withe friends and family. The one year I didn't make it was when I was studying abroad and I celebrated in London with some very good family friends.

I love celebrating this holiday at my grandparents'. My bubbye (Yiddish for grandmother) deemed this the "kids holiday" a long time ago and it's the one time of year when the kids got to sit close to the head of the table and the adults were banished to the other end of the table. Over the years, some of the faces around the table have changed but most of our family's ritual of Passover has stayed the same. I sit to the left of my zayde (Yiddish for grandfather) and together, the two of us lead the seder (meaning order in Hebrew, the meal where we tell the story of the Jews exodus from Egypt). On the first night, we have brisket, and on the second - turkey. My brother and cousin have a matzah ball eating contest and all of the grandkids have fun looking for the afikomen mid-meal. All of this brings back wonderful memories of food, family, and celebrating my religion.

This year I debated going home for the holiday since my office won't be closed for it. Nevertheless, I will once again be flying home (American Airlines: if you want to sponsor one of my many trips to Dallas, that'd be great) for the holiday, but only staying for the seders. This means that for the first time since college, I've had to plan for keeping Passover here in DC.

In addition to cleaning and prepping my apartment for the holiday, I've been giving some serious thought to my menu for the week. Most people assume that since I'm gluten free, keeping Passover is a breeze. Wrong! A majority of my diet involves rice, buckwheat, legumes of many varieties, and PB, all of which are not consumed on Passover. Matzah, matzah balls, etc. all have gluten, so it's kind of like going carb free for 8 days. My approach to food on the holiday has evolved over time and most drastically in the last few years as my regular eating habits have changed as well.

I want to share with you some of the recipes and foods that I plan on eating during Passover this year. Lucky for me, only 20% or so of my diet has to be altered for this 8-day holiday. I love vegetables, fruits, and nuts; all of which are kosher for Passover (except peanuts...) and make up a majority of my diet. A lot of the Passover are highly processed but some are less-so and even gluten free! I am excited to pick up a few goodies to keep on hand for the year. If you are gluten free, check the kosher for Passover (K for P) section of your store for gluten free products (all of which will be free of high fructose corn syrup and other corn derivatives!)

I have spent copious amounts of time perusing recipes, blogs, and magazines compiling some exciting meals to eat. I'm looking forward to sharing them all with you throughout the holiday!

I did Part 1 of my Passover shopping, purchasing a few essentials: salad dressing, pickles, sesame candy, and K for P and gluten free pasta shells. Part 2 will take place when I'm back in DC.

For a sneak peak, here is a very rough plan of my shopping list and meals (based on my eating habits and schedule) that I'm looking forward to whipping up!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Small Victories

The past couple of days were a series of small victories. Nothing too monumental or extraordinary, but small wins that made the days good with those warm fuzzies along the way.

Yesterday began with strawberry "oats" in a jar! I cooked 1/4c of BRM hot cereal and buckwheat groats on the stove with 1c water and 3 diced strawberries. Towards the end of cooking, I stirred in a couple of drops of maple syrup, a bit of Earth Balance, pinch of cacao nibs, and chia seed "pudding." I let that cool and then added it to my almost empty (~1/2T left) PB jar. I enjoyed about half with my egg before work and brought the rest for a morning snack at work. I wasn't too hungry when I first woke up.

It was bright and sunny on my walk to work which triggered thoughts of spring, summer, and iced green tea (bc I'm cool). I picked up a treat from Starbucks which made my morning all the better.  I typically don't post my usual drinks on the blog because they're not too exciting: at least 2.5L of water each day, one mug of either green tea or coffee in the morning, and the occasional sparkling water. I like to stay hydrated!

Part 1 of lunch was a small victory: a salad from the student center with carrots, bell and banana peppers, carrots, artichoke heart, and spinach.

Part 2 was the last of my lentil sloppy joes with a sprinkle of brown rice.

Munched on a pear yesterday and an apple today - the fresh fruit in the afternoon is the perfect, crunchy pick-me-up for the afternoon!

I picked up some items for Passover next week with was a win - the stores near me haven't had any of the gluten free items I needed and this trip completed my Passover food shopping. When I get back from Dallas next Wednesday I'll be buying all of my fresh foods (fruits, veggies, yogurt, etc).

Finally got hungry around 7 and had some chips and peach salsa along with a Mexican "stir fry" of black beans, corn, spinach, and broccoli.

A friend was in town for a couple of days so I met up with him and his group in Georgetown to catch up. It was great to see him, and I crashed as soon as I got home.

Despite it supposed to have rained for much of the day, the current storm is just now starting to roll in, which made for another nice spring day - victory!

Mine began with blueberry hot cereal:
  • 1/4c BRM hot cereal and buckwheat
  • 1/4c almond milk and 1/2T chia seeds (soaked overnight)
  • 1c water
  • 1/4c frozen blueberries
  • few drops of syrup
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2T almond butter
  • sprinkle of sliced almonds

As I shared earlier this week, my appetite has been missing for most of the week. Today it seemed to have returned to its normal self - success!

I had decided to walk home for lunch instead of packing it to bring to the office. By the time I made it home, I was quite famished. I heated up a frozen Amy's veggie burger (GF) which I topped with mustard, BBQ sauce, and about 1/3 of a slice of provolone in a lettuce bun. That was inhaled enjoyed alongside a serving of baked beans and kale chips.

Snacked as usual, came home and had a few crackers and hummus, then did laundry, which is part 1 of my Passover cleaning. Success!  The biggest success of the day though was injury-related. My doctor told me to try walking (with tons of padding) in a sneaker since the cortisone shot seems to have worked. I could not wait to take off the boot as soon as I walked in the door and am happy to report that I could walk (not perfectly - I'm still not putting my full weight on my foot) in a sneaker!! This is great progress and I will hopefully hear more good news at my appointment tomorrow.

Having laundry out of the way is a huge relief! In between all of this I made the quickest stir fry ever:
  • Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and heat frozen stir fry mix until defrosted
  • Season vegetables with garlic and onion powder and dried basil (this was key!)
  • Add 1/2c cooked brown rice and ~tablespoon of GF low sodium soy sauce
  • Stir and allow mixture to heat through
  • Make a well in the center of the mixture, add 1 egg white, stir until semi-cooked, and then mix into rice
  • Voila!

This had such a great flavor because of the basil and was quick and easy. I topped my fried rice with hot sauce and sliced almonds.

Snacks tonight were delicious- pear drizzled with chocolate PB and another English muffin. Yum!

I'm going to wrap this up with my last small victory - heading to bed early for over 8 hours of sleep!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Off my Rocker

There's no other way to describe the day but feeling a little out of sorts and "off my rocker." It must also be Southern-ism week here at the Gluten Free Grazer because my use of the word "y'all," cravings for bbq and other Southern delights, and use of idioms is out of control. This is one week that my brother can't call me a Yankee though ;-)

The day started off routine enough with blueberry maple hot cereal, topped with mostly almond butter because I'm out of peanut butter. You know what's coming soon...

Worked through the morning and nothing was unusual or uneventful. I got hungry for lunch and had a large, simple salad of romaine, carrots, banana peppers, and 2 pickles. I was expecting to get to eat leftover lentil sloppy joe mix as well but only had about 1/3 of the serving I brought before getting full.

That's when the quirkiness of the day began. I couldn't sit still for the life of me! For the rest of the day, I must have been up and down every 20 minutes, in addition to walking to a few meetings in other buildings on campus. I guess a month of not running, walking, and ellipticalling is finally getting the best of me. My legs were utterly restless!

I also figured that I would be hungry before snack time especially since my lunch was pretty light. That feeling of hunger didn't hit until right before the end of the day. I munched on a delicious Fuji apple as I headed to the store to make a return.

Since I was around the corner from my gym (at the Jewish community center) I stopped in to pick up a pool schedule (in anticipation of getting to do something besides abs and arms soon!). I chatted with the trainer for a while and realized how much I miss it there! Not just the workouts but the people as well. I've built a whole group of friends through classes, etc. The trainer encouraged me (if the dr. says it's ok, of course) to come to class for the arms and abs part and to skip the cardio. Just being in the gym reminded me of how good I feel when I work out. Yes, I do enjoy spending a lot of time being active, whether that's walking around the city, taking class, or running / cross-training. It is a great outlet for my energy, I feel confident and strong after a  tough workout, and I find that my mental clarity is better, I sleep better, and all around feel good. It's not my drug but my happy pill!  This might make me a bit off my rocker for enjoying some of the torture of some of my workouts, but it's just like pampering yourself with a pedicure or shopping - it's treating myself to something I deserve and love!

Coming to this realization over the past month has been a process and at this point, I simply cannot wait to resume (read: slowly ease back into) my normal activity. Being forced to slow down and spend my time otherwise has been good, yet I've also realized that exercise and being active contributes to my happiness and quality of life!

I came home from the gym and was actually hungry (!) so I started on dinner. I wanted to use up some lima beans I had in my freezer so I threw together a succotash stew.

  • 1.5 c lima beans
  • 3/4c corn
  • 1.5c chopped orka
  • 1/3c chopped onion
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4c water
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika, chili powder, oregano
Saute the onion and carrot in a pot sprayed with non-stick spray until soft. Add the rest of the  vegetables, water, and spices and stir. Allow to simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until the carrots are tender. Makes 4 1-cup servings.

I topped a bowl of this with a light sprinkle of cheese and hot sauce, and also had one of these new multi-seed English muffins I discovered at Whole Foods. I don't think I've ever had an English muffin before and this was really good! They come frozen which means you don't have to worry about them going bad. I ate one half with my stew and am saving the second half for "dessert" alongside my pear.

I'm watching the Biggest Loser and taking care of a few things. It's funny, the show used to motivate me to stay active (and it still does) but I've been loving the non-exercise parts of the show since my injury! Kinda crazy but I swear I'm not too far off my rocker!