Roasted Lemon Chicken (gluten free)

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In honor of my mom’s birthday, I made roasted lemon chicken for dinner (it’s one of my “fancy dinner” options when it comes to Kelsey-safe recipes).  The best part about roasting a chicken is that the Mr. Man and I easily get a dinner, two lunches, and a soup out of it.  I’m planning on making chicken stock from scratch a little later today.  How do you use up chicken leftovers?

Ingredients: 

  • Whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary (or 4 sprigs)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • two medium yellow onions
  • A couple potatoes, celery, and carrots (optional)

Direction: 

  1. Rinse chicken (inside and out) and remove giblets and liver, and pat dry.  Then, trim excess fat from around the cavity.  Let sit at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 450.
  3. Cut the onions into 1/2 inch thick, round slices.  Lay onions in two rows in the middle of the roasting pan (the onions should all rest on the lower onion — it’ll look like onion dominoes that fell over).  Make sure the rows of onions right next to each other; place chicken on top of onions.
  4. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper (freshly ground is nice) inside the chicken cavity.  Then, stuff garlic cloves and rosemary in the cavity, too.  Roll lemon firmly against the counter with your hand. Afterwards, use a fork to poke holes all around the lemon and then place it inside of the chicken cavity.
  5. Tie legs together with twine (optional). Rub outside of chicken with olive oil.  Sprinkle chicken with rosemary and salt and paper (optional).
  6. If you want extra veggies, cut up cleaned potatoes, celery, and carrots and put them around the chicken (you’ll want to put a little bit of olive oil on the veggies so that they don’t get to dry, and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice).
  7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes (you’ll want the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh to be 165 degrees).
  8. Let it rest for about ten minutes before serving (this keeps all the juices from coming out, which means your chicken will be more moist).

An Allergen-Free Thanksgiving: Healthy, Safe, and Yummy

pumpkinsWhen I first found out about my newest assortment of food allergies a couple weeks back—10 new food allergies, baby—I felt like the floor had just dropped out from under me.  What will I eat?  Will I ever bake again?  Will I be able to eat anything that actually tastes good?  Ugh!  I’m starting all over again!

I felt like I’d finally reached a point where I didn’t have to constantly think about celiac disease, I’d gotten used to reading every single ingredient label before popping even the smallest thing into my mouth, and I was slowly coming up with new favorite recipes.  But now I was starting over from scratch.  It was very discouraging.  Very discouraging.

As a result, I’m thankful for my family, fiancé, and future in-laws.  They’ve all made the transition to allergen-free eating a lot easier by sportively helping me find food and never making me feel like an inconvenience. 

It’s so nice to know that tomorrow I’ll not only have a plate full of Thanksgiving food but that I’ll feel safe eating it because everyone has gone out of their way to insure it’s Kelsey friendly.  Not only will my food be safe and decently healthy (junk food is pretty much off limits now), but it tastes good too!

And, perhaps one of the best reason to be thankful, since I’ve been avoiding all my many allergens I’m feeling a lot better and my stomach has stopped hurting continually.  I may not be able to eat all of my usual Thanksgiving-y favorites (couldn’t figure out how to make a pumpkin pie but maybe I’ll do one for Christmas), but I feel like I have my health back.  And my family and family-to-be have made this Thanksgiving not just something to survive, but something to enjoy.

What about you?  What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Huntin’ for Pumpkins: An Allergen-Free Adventure

Friday was interesting to say the least.  I had food allergies testing, found out I have ten (10!) new not-so-lovely food allergies, and then I had a bad reaction to the testing, itself and consequently felt pretty crummy afterwards.  I also just felt pretty darn overwhelmed.   But, luckily, it’s fall and I’m not allergic to pumpkins.

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Pumpkins!  So pretty, colorful, and not one of my allergens.  The perfect cheer-Kelsey-up-by-focusing-on-things-that-she-is-not-allergic-to outing.

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Despite the relatively clear skies, the ground was extremely muddy. My boots still bear the scars (err … mud).  Made it even more authentically fall-like for the greater Seattle area though.

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It was a good day to break out the gloves and a scarf.

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Mr. Munger getting ready to haul the pumpkins.

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Our lovely little pumpkin pals.  We ended up with four total.

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Now that we have the pumpkins, the next step is to finish carving them (one left to go!) and post pictures.  Prepare for more pumpkins.

Recommended Read: Ten Tips to Building a Better Burger

BurgerDeborah Taylor-Hough, author of  Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month, says on her blog: “Never—I repeat, ‘Never!’—poke your cooking burger patties with a fork or other pointy object.  It’s a guaranteed trip to Hockey Puck Hamburger Land when all those delicious juices pour out through that hole.”

And to that I give a hearty amen.  I couldn’t agree more.  Even though I can’t eat beef, I’ve found these tips on how to make a mean burger to be extremely helpful when cooking turkey patties. 

So check out the article, Ten Tips to Building a Better Burger, and may all your burgers not even come close to resembling hockey pucks this 4th of July.  Happy cooking! 🙂

Cake Brownies (gluten & sugar free)

DSCF0357[Update: As a result of new allergies, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But I’ve decided to leave it on the blog because they’re still yummy] I’d made gluten-free, egg-free, lactose-free brownies before (see the recipe) and they’d turned out well, but today I was in the mood for brownies that had a more brownie-like consistency.  So I decided to try a completely different recipe. These cake brownies are a bit lighter than usual brownies (they’re more like mini cakes in some ways than brownies), but they still hit the spot and they were very easy to make.


Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Splenda or generic brand of sucralose (if you don’t need it to be sugar-free, you can use 1 and 1/4 cups sugar)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown rice flour (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Microwave butter until melted (or you can melt it on the stove in a saucepan).
  2. Stir melted butter, Splenda, and cocoa powered together in a bowl.
  3. Add the two eggs and vanilla, gently mixing until just combined.
  4. In another bowl, combine rice flour, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  5. Now, take turns adding the four mix and milk to the cocoa mixture and stirring after each.
  6. Pour the batter into a pre-greased 15x10x1 pan.
  7. Frost the brownies once they’re cooled.  I used Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Flavor Frosting but you could also make homemade frosting.
  8. After you’ve frosted the brownies, let them sit in the refrigerator so the frosting can set (it’ll make it easier to cut through).  Then, serve and enjoy.

Gluten-Free 101: Foods and ingredients to Avoid

Gluten-FreeSo, you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease or you’re starting an elimination diet to determine the future state of your relationship with gluten.  You’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to go from here.  It’s normal to feel overwhelmed because learning to be gluten-free—thinking about what’s in everything you eat, reading ingredient labels—is more than a diet, it’s a completely new skill.

The very first step to getting you on the road to recovery is learning which ingredients and foods to avoid and then clearing out all the gluten from your life.  I’m not a medical or dietary professional, but thanks to my many food foes I have a lot of experience reading ingredient labels and looking things up.  While this isn’t a list of absolutely everything that contains gluten, hopefully it’ll help you identify some of the main food foes in your life and give you a better idea of what to watch out for.

If you’re like most folks and don’t have a lot of experience with allergies or food sensitivities, figuring out what’s in your food likely sounds challenging or even downright impossible (start off by learning how to read ingredient labels).

Here’s what to do:  Print out the lists of ingredients and foods to avoid before going to the grocery store (if you try to keep track of it all in your head at first you’ll likely forget something).  Then, before you put anything in your cart, flip over the package/box/can and carefully look over the list of ingredients.  Don’t assume anything (not even something like processed meat or tea) is gluten-free without first checking.


Ingredients to Avoid:

  1. Wheat flour (yes, this includes white bread)
  2. Whole wheat flour
  3. Barley
  4. Rye
  5. Oats (due to cross-contamination, unless it specifically says it’s gluten-free)
  6. Spelt (Only an option if you’re wheat-free and not gluten-free)
  7. Bleached flour
  8. Kamut
  9. Triticale
  10. Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  11. Malt-Vinegar (flavoring, syrup, and extract)
  12. Wheat germ or bran
  13. Wheat starch-modified
  14. Hordeum vulgare extract
  15. Hydrolyzed wheat gluten
  16. Hydrolyzed wheat protein

Questionable Ingredients:

  1. MSG (can be made with wheat gluten, but I honestly don’t know enough to tell if it’s safe so I just avoid it)
  2. Artificial coloring (sometimes it’s safe, sometimes it’s not)
  3. Carmel coloring (I’ve heard a  lot of different thoughts on this, so I try to always avoid it just to be safe)

Foods to Avoid:

  1. Baked goods that use a non-gluten-free flour (hamburger buns, cakes, bread, most corn bread, donuts)
  2. Pasta made from wheat flour
  3. Ramen noodles
  4. Cornbread (unless made from a gluten-free recipe)
  5. Beer (unless labeled gluten-free)
  6. Barely malt
  7. Breaded foods (you can make a gluten-free version at home)
  8. Bread crumbs
  9. Couscous (sometimes you can find a gluten-free version at the grocery store but avoid it completely when eating out)
  10. Flour tortillas
  11. Graham crackers
  12. Sauce or teriyaki sauce (unless wheat-free, read the ingredient list)
  13. Teas that contain barley (always read the ingredient list)
  14. Ice cream containing cookie dough and other chunky things (rocky road can be a problem, too)

Once a Month Freezer Cooking

One of the things I really notice about being gluten-free is how expensive and time consuming food has become.  As a fulltime college student, I don’t want to spend all of my time in the kitchen.  And buying the pre-done gluten-free meals is extremely pricey.

So, in order to address this issue, I interviewed Deborah Taylor-Hough, author of Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month.  Her once a month cooking has saved her time, money, and sanity and she even has tips for catering your freezer cooking to a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.).

Interview with Deborah Taylor-Hough