Lemon-Mustard Chicken (gluten & allergen free)

This recipe is based on the Lemon-Mustard Chicken recipe from the retro-pink (breast-cancer addition) Better Homes and Gardens© cookbook that’s sitting on my shelf, pages stained with brownies and pancakes.  Much like the velveteen rabbit, it’s on its way to becoming real.  This cookbook has pretty much taught me how to cook because, even though it never mentions food allergies or celiac disease even once, I’ve learned how to modify recipes and I’ve gained a best grasp of some of  technical jargon in cookbooks that used to scare me.  I’m still learning how to cook and it’s still proving to have some pretty tasty recipes between its covers; a pretty good combination.  

The original recipe calls for removing the skin (something I couldn’t bring myself to do, which meant I had to be careful not to charcoal the skin but it turned out nice and crispy). 

The original recipe also only makes just enough sauce to cover the chicken lightly but I wanted to have enough lemon-mustard mix leftover in the pan once the chicken was done to use as a sauce on my basmati rice, which tasted pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  If you’re not planning on using the drippings/lemon-mustard mixture for a sauce, just cut all of the ingredients (besides the chicken) in half.  Easy peasy.


Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 to 3 pounds Chicken (drumsticks, breast halves, or thighs)
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Directions:

  1. Broil chicken about 5 inches from heat on high for about 15 minutes on each side. 
  2. While the chicken is cooking, stir oil, mustard, lemon juice, lemon-pepper seasoning, oregano/basil, and ground red pepper together in a small bowl.
  3. Brush mix onto one side of the chicken.
  4. Meanwhile, lower the baking rack back to the middle of the oven and turn the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees.
  5. Bake chicken for 10 minutes.  Then, take chicken out, coat the other side with the mustard mixture, and bake chicken again for another 10 minutes.  Or until chicken is no longer pink (turn the heat down on the oven if you’re afraid the skin will burn). 
  6. Serve chicken with basmati rice, cooked veggies, or salad.  And enjoy.
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Moroccan Chicken (gluten & allergen free)

As a result of being gluten-free and having more than my share of food allergies, I tend to eat a lot of chicken and rice, so finding a new way to serve it is a plus.  I’ve now made this recipe twice, and it’s a keeper!  It was even a success when I served it to several wheat-eating friends who don’t have food allergies, which seems a good sign.


Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil (a couple tablespoons; depends on how much sauce you’d like to have)
  • 1/2 a small zucchini, chopped (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning (I used the McCormick© blend, but you can also find tons of recipes for Moroccan seasoning mixes online)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon honey (or 1.5 tablespoons Wax Orchards’ Fruit Sweet©; a sweetener made out of fruit juice that’s supposed to be diabetic friendly)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (however much you like)

Directions:

  1. Slice chicken (both horizontally and vertically) into small strips.  Add olive oil, chicken, zucchini, and onions to pan.  Cook on a medium to high heat until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are soft.
  2. Mix Moroccan seasoning, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Then, add to the chicken and stir.  If the seasoning is sticking to the bottom of the pan or there doesn’t seem to be enough sauce, add more olive oil.
  3. Stir in honey/Fruit Sweet©.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a little water.
  4. Stir in golden raisins.
  5. Top with fresh cilantro, then serve warm over rice (I recommend basmati).  And enjoy!

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More Crunchy Posts:

Gluten-Free 101: What is Gluten Anyway?

Are you feeling confused by all the “gluten-free” labels popping up on everything from cereal boxes to sandwich meat?  Do you think celiac disease is an allergy to gluten?  Are you unsure whether it’s all a big hoax or maybe just a new celebrity fad diet?  Unsure what gluten even is?  Well, my friend, this informative yet entertaining little video is just what you need!

I kind of wish he would’ve gone into a bit more detail about what it feels like to get glutened when you have celiac disease: I end up in bed for a couple of days, miss work and school, and have the worse stomach pains I’ve ever had in my life.  And it takes a good week before I can eat normally again (I have to eat super soft gentle foods) and about two weeks (sometimes closer to three) before my stomach completely stops hurting after eating or drinking (water is the worse, it hurts so much).  And all of that drama and pain can happen if I were to just pick croutons out of my salad. 

But I suppose going into all of that would’ve made for a much longer video.  Check it out.  And let me know what you think. Smile


What to know more about living gluten-free?  Check out these posts:

Allergy Baby’s First Word

food-allergies_thumbYesterday afternoon—a notable day because for the first time in, well, a while Seattle was the hottest major city in the country, the poor little Washingtonians weren’t quite sure how to handle all that foreign sunshine—was spent catching up with my friend Aubrey.  She told me about her retro-themed wedding, their hippie landlords, gardening, and eating gluten-free (something we both share).  I tried to convince her to start a crunchy, foodie-ish blog.  Even promised to comment.  But we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, the story that stood out to me the most as we got caught up was about a little baby Aubrey knows. 

He’s a year old now but when he was only a couple of months old he had food allergy testing done because he’d been having some unusual skin irritation and general health oddities.  The poor little guy came up with 10 food allergies (exactly how many new ones I found out about when I had testing done back in September). 

Aubrey showed me a picture on her phone of Allergy Baby’s back after the testing—so many bright red, itching-looking bumps from where he’d reacted to the test.  Poor little guy.  I remember exactly what that feels like; at least I was big enough though to understand what was happening.

His first word was even … drumroll please … allergic.  As in, “No, baby you can’t have [insert yummy-looking food].” 

“Allergic?”

“Yes, allergic.”

In his little mind allergic might just be a shorthand for “not for babies” or “not for you,” but soon enough he’ll know how in addition to being disappointing the word can also be frustrating, annoying, and even scary.  I hope he also learns though how to stand up for himself and keep himself safe even when people think he’s just being dramatic or weird, to not be embarrassed about being the only allergic kid and to define himself apart from his allergies, and that a limited diet—and all of the other limitations food allergies impose on him—doesn’t mean he can’t live a full, satisfying life.   

What would you want someone new to the allergic life to know?

What to Never Say to Someone with Allergies

PeanutsAfter informing me how she’d forgotten about my peanut allergy and had almost brought peanuts to class (despite the fact that DSS has plastered the door and front of the classroom with peanut-free signs on my behalf), the student next to me proceeded to tell me a terrifying story.  A teenage girl she’d known of had died at prom as a result of a peanut allergy.

The story came to a jarringly conclusion with something to the effect of: “Her family looked frantically for her Epi-Pen and, when they couldn’t find it, decided to take her to the ER. But she was already dead.”

Holy crap! How does someone forget about their classmate’s life-threatening airborne peanut allergy when they know of someone who has died from one? Ugh.

And before you worry, yes, I always carry my Epi-Pen.  My sister Shannon, who will be the maid of honor at my August wedding, has been given the extremely important task of carrying my Benadryl and Epi-Pen on her person.  The only thing that’d be scarier than having to use my Epi-Pen at my wedding would be not having my Epi-Pen if I needed it.

I still can’t believe someone felt the need to tell me a death-by-peanuts story.  I spend my life running in fear of peanuts, not because they’ll make me feel yucky (although they certainly do a great job of that) but because I could die.  I could be anywhere—strolling through a local park, enjoying the ballet, or studying in the university library—when I hear the frightening hushed crinkle of a wrapper opening.  If it’s peanuts, I go into crisis mode and get out of there ASAP.  If my throat starts to close up and I start gagging, which almost always happens if I’m that close to peanuts, I remind myself to be calm and handle things careful and quickly because, otherwise, I could die.  Dying from peanuts is a regular, realistic nightmare; I don’t need to be reminded of it.

After the traumatic story was over, I made my way outside only to run into three separate students chowing down on a PB & J.  I almost cried.

Please, for the sake of those of us with life-threatening allergies, don’t eat peanuts in public.


Other Articles of Interest:

Is a Peanut Allergy a Disability?

PeanutsWhen a lot of folks hear the word “allergy” they picture someone from a Claritin commercial–sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes.  While sneezing isn’t exactly how I want to spend my day, it’s also not life-threatening.  But a anaphylaxis is a whole different animal.        

I’m allergic to peanuts, but this isn’t your watery-eye-level allergy.  Once, while standing in line at Disneyland, the woman in front of me opened a jar of peanut butter.  I got my butt out of there as quickly as possible, took fast-acting allergies meds.  But I still had to use my Epi-Pen and call 911 to come escort me off to the ER.  And all because of a jar of peanut butter that I didn’t eat or even touch.

It Effects My Whole Life

The impact my peanut allergy has on life is not limited to vacations.  Due to displays of peanuts, most of the grocery stores are so unsafe for me that I can’t even walk in the door.  And when I want to shop at one of the “safer” stores I have to bring someone who is trained on how to operate my Epi-Pen and the importance of calling 911 to act as lookout and bodyguard; they scout out the grocery store, checking for peanuts and figuring out the safest route for me through the store, before I’m even able to venture inside.  And, once inside, they have to literally stay at my side while I figure out what kind of shampoo or veggies I want. 

I even have to bring a scout or call ahead if I want to swing by a coffee shop.  I’m unable to go to most people’s houses, due to the likeliness of running into peanut products.  Going to holiday or birthday parties aren’t options (unless I’m the one hosting it).  If I go to the movies, I have to bring Epi-Pen trained friends or family members and I have to wait until the movie has been out for a bit and go to a morning showing to make sure there will be less people.  And going to my university is the scariest of all (see Food Allergies: When College Isn’t Safe). 

In short, my peanut allergy has gotten to the point of being disabling.  It impacts where I can go, when I can go places, what I can do, and even if I can go grocery shopping by myself.  Personally, I feel like my allergy is a disability but having it “officially” count as one as far as my school is concerned is another matter.  But as of today I’m starting the processes.

Allergy Prevention

I talked with a very helpful woman at Disability Support Services (DSS) at my university about having my peanut allergy count as an official disability.  This would mean that I wouldn’t just be pleading with my classmates to not eat peanut-y products in class; it’d be required.  It also means that if someone cracked open a bag of peanuts behind me while in the middle of a test (something that’s actually happened before), I’d possibly have a better chance of being able to reschedule my test. 

But the main thing I’m looking for is allergy prevention.   And some support.  It’d be so helpful to not be at the mercy of my teacher understanding that when I say I have a life-threatening airborne peanut allergy I’m not saying it’ll make me sneeze (how seriously the teacher treats my allergy impacts how seriously the whole class treats it). 

The first step is getting my regular doctor to write a note explaining the severity of my peanut allergy and what accommodations he recommends (peanut-free classroom).  Once I get that letter, which will hopefully be very soon, I get to plead my case to DSS.  Wish me luck!


Other Articles of Interest:

Allergy Bulling: When Food is a Weapon

Allergy bullyingAccording to CNN’s article, Allergy Bulling: When Food is a Weapon, “35% of kids over age 5 with food allergies have endured bullying, teasing or harassment. Parents of children with food allergies reported in the study that these incidents—both physical and verbal—happened because of food allergies” (Landau).

Thanks to my own life-threatening peanut allergy (anaphylaxis) I spend a lot of time and brain energy at college trying to keep myself safe.  It’s challenging and scary.  But at least, as an adult, school isn’t nearly as dangerous for me as it could be for a child with my allergy because I don’t deal will allergy bulling.  I can’t even imagine how scary that’d be.

“It’s hard for parents of food-allergic children to keep them safe at school when there are so many opportunities to eat snacks and meals with unsafe ingredients.  For some kids, just touching a certain food or inhaling particles of it could cause a reaction” (Landau).  That’s something Mr. Munger and I have talked about before.  Hopefully, if/when we have kids they won’t share my peanut allergy but if they do, school would be a very unsafe place for them.

Elementary schools are unsafe even for me as an adult. I used to volunteer to read with second graders, but I can’t risk it anymore because so many of the kids have peanut products for lunch.  If I read with a child who’d just eaten something with peanuts, I could end up in the ER.  So I can’t even imagine how scary it’d be as a kid to be bullied with something that could literally kill you.

Do you or your kids have any experience with allergy bullying?  Thankfully, my peanut allergy started later (I was 21 when it decided to join my list of food foes), so I never experienced living with a life-threatening allergy as a child.  It sounds terrifying for both the child and the parents.

A Year in the Life of a Food Blogger

New YearsBreak started off at such a brisk pace I’d expected it to be full (maybe too full) with get-togethers, holiday-related outings, and attempting new recipes.

Well, that’s what I’d thought it’d be like.  But then everyone came down with the flu right over Christmas.  Thankfully, family was flexible and presents keep, because the festivities had to be put on hold for a couple of days this year.  And that’s the long-ish explanation as to where I’ve been.

Now that I’m feeling quite a bit better (managing to eat solid food providing it’s mild and relatively soft), I’ve been thinking about what a lot has happened in the last year.  And how quickly it’s gone by!  The Crunchy Cook was my new years resolution from last year (this was when I  had a very small handful of food foes), which means my blog is almost exactly a year old.


Biggest Changes:
1. Discovered I have 10 additional food allergies (including eggs, soy, dairy).  This was a HUGE challenge that impacted my entire family.  And it’s still something I’m learning how to work with.

2. Graduated from community college with a two-year transfer degree.

3. Completed my first quarter at the University of Washington (I swear, it’s not nearly as hard as figuring out how to cook with food allergies).

Favorite Foodie Reads:
1. Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found Food that Loves Me Back … And How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern.  I found this book very encouraging.

I don’t know that I’d love it quite as much now that I can’t eat the majority of food mentioned, but Shauna’s advice to use food restrictions as a reason to say “Yes!” to foods you’ve never tried has been very helpful in my own food journey.  And a good reminder that there is still a world of flavors out there waiting to be tasted.  Even for allergy girls like me.

Firsts:
1. Started my food blog, The Crunchy Cook.

2. Went on a cruise and was actually able to eat (I got to hand it to Disney, they sure do handle dietary restrictions well).

3. Took a junior-level class at the university (it was awesome, and also not nearly as mentally challenging as figuring out what to cook for dinner when you have a whole collection of food allergies).

Goals/Hopes for 2013:
1. Learn to cook more gluten-free/allergen-free food.  I’m hoping to attempt a new recipe every weekend (not all of them will show up on the blog because not everything will work, but it’ll get me in the habit of trying out new things and being fearless in the kitchen).

2. Blog more regularly about the food I’m learning to cook; I want to have a record of all the recipes that have worked.  And just generally what it’s like being gluten-free/allergen-free.  I’m new to the blogging community, but loving it already.

3. Finally be able to set the date for the wedding (fingers crossed!).

Well, what about you?  What are your goals, hopes, or resolutions for the coming year?  Anything you’re hoping to learn or cook?

The Week in Review: Graduation & Gluten

2012-12-14 16.48.55Mr. Munger is now the proud owner of a BA.  He’s been out of the area for the past two years, so I haven’t even begun to fully adjust to the idea that he won’t have to head back up north once 2013 rolls around (this also means we’re one step closer to being able to finally nail down a date).

My immediate family and I all spent last weekend in Bellingham in order to be there for Mr. Munger’s graduation.  The graduation ceremony itself was the usual mix of extremely exciting and extremely boring.  We also had fun looking at Christmas lights and doing a little last-minute shopping. 

But the most complicated and painful aspect of the trip involved, of course, food.

I hadn’t really gone out to eat since I learned about my 10 newest food allergies a couple months back, so going to Anthony’s Homeport in Bellingham, even though we’d previously had good luck with the place, was a little worrisome.  I brought an index card listing all of my major food allergies (soy, eggs, dairy, shellfish, tomatoes), ordered off the gluten-free menu, and stressed the importance of my food being safe to the waitress.  Everything seemed fine.  But later that night the unmistakable, makes–me-feel-like-I’m-going–to-end-up-doubled-up stomach pain kicked in.  Glutened again.

I’d been feeling kind of blue the last couple of weeks about the fact that going out to eating (whether at restaurants or even a friend’s house) really isn’t an options; my list of food foes is too long and the risk is too great.  The funny thing is that even though my latest glutening dashed my dreams of eating out, I also don’t feel like I’m missing out anymore.  Sure, I’d love to go out to a nice restaurant during the holidays but one evening out is not worth the stomach pain (that, at the moment, has been going strong for a solid week and a half).          

Guess this means that my New Year’s goal of learning to cook more recipes (hopefully trying a new one or modified version every week) is now even more important.  And, since Mr. Munger is back in the area again, I have another person to take me grocery shopping (grocery stores are dangerous due to peanuts so I have to take someone with me) and someone to help remind me of all the good tasting food that I can still eat.

My Allergen-Free/Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Yes, I know it’s now December and this is no longer seasonally fitting to talk about Thanksgiving.  I’d planned on showing off pictures of my Thanksgiving feast sooner, but the combination of coming down with a cold that just didn’t want to go away and attempting to get back into school mode enough to finish out the quarter meant that blogging has taken a backseat the last couple of weeks.  Thanksgiving was great though, so it at least deserves a quick mention.

My immediate family—mom (several allergies), sister (gluten-free and multiple allergies), and brother (practically vegan and also a couple of food allergies of his own)—is, needless to say, pretty gosh darn hard to feed.  And with the addition of my 10 newest food allergies, we weren’t sure how we were going to work out Thanksgiving.  Not to mention, the extended family has never really understood allergies (they’re getting better) but having a meal at their house felt like I would’ve been risking a trip to the ER.  

Thankfully, Mr. Munger’s parents invited us over for dinner.  This meant that there were more heads trying to figure out what would be Kelsey-safe and less food for any one person to make.  And it worked out great.  

What I had for dinner: turkey, cranberry sauce, peas with onions, stuffing (my future mother-in-law actually found gluten-free/dairy-free/egg-free/soy-free bread!), smashed red potatoes, sweet potatoes, pickles, and even rolls (made by yours truly).

I’ll try and get the roll and cranberry recipes to you soon because they turned out great.  And the cranberries are super easy to make! 

So how was your Thanksgiving?  Any tips for working around food allergies this holiday season or figuring out how to explain your dietary restrictions to the people you’ll be celebrating with?