Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taking it down a notch.

I've been checking out the blogs listed in that Coping with Crohn's article that I mentioned the other day and I came across Farty Girl. I can definitely relate to what she's going through and I like reading her blog. I was reading old entries this morning and I came across this little snippet and had to post it here because I love it.

"While I try to support my nutritional news with proof, it's hard to know what justifies as proof nowadays. Every day, journalists report different health trends. These trends all cancel each other out. Think back to the eighties, when nutritionists claimed that fat was causing Americans to become obese. Now, post-millenium nutritionists claim that fat is good, but bread is bad. We can argue anything and find proof for it.

A few posts ago, my IBS-BFF left a comment that has been reverberating in my guts. She said something along these lines: Listen to your body. Eat what makes you feel good. Don't diet. Work on making yourself feel better."


Listen to your body. Eat what makes you feel good. Don't diet. Work on making yourself feel better. Oh how I love that line. It made me breathe a little sigh of relief. I put so much pressure on myself about being gluten free and maybe casein free and perhaps I should be sugar free too? And what if I'm soy intolerant?? Because they say it's very close to gluten and casein so I must be right?!?!?! And geezus I've put on a lot of weight this year, should I start counting calories again? Even though you know you're not going to stick to it, be serious, you haven't lost weight via calorie reduction since 2002. It's not gonna happen girl, just give it up. Oh gosh for heaven's sake, relax already!!! You know what makes you feel bad and what doesn't. Listen to your body. Eat what makes you feel good. Don't diet. Work on making yourself feel better.

Here's to a healthier, happier, more relaxed 2009. Happy New Year's Eve Everyone!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Autoimmune Disease and Food Intolerance

As most of you know, I'm a firm believer that there is a significant link between autoimmune disease and food intolerance. Lately as I've been trying to decide how to proceed in my journey to find a doctor that agrees with me, I've been looking into what kinds of food intolerance testing is out there. After reading this story about ALCAT testing, I became curious. I had been looking at Enterolab before but the thought of giving more stool samples was not at all something I wanted to do. ALCAT is done by blood test. Well I'm an old pro at those! In fact, the phlebotomist at the lab that I go to weekly remarked about how good my arm looks after weeks and weeks of blood work.

Anyway, so I was on the ALCAT website today and I came across this pdf that is for understanding your test results. I downloaded it and read through it and discovered that it's quite helpful for anyone that is curious about food intolerance, so I thought I'd post the link so you can read it for yourself.

I'm hoping that I can find a doctor that supports this type of testing so that I can have it done through my insurance company, it's quite costly but seems to be the most comprehensive testing out there. I would really like to have it done.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just a few more days til 2009

The past few days have been filled with family and friends and it's been great. Christmas was very nice, I got my new camera! It's a Canon Powershot A590 IS. I love it, I'm still getting used to the settings but I know already that it's going to be so much better than my old Nikon Coolpix. I also got an iPod shuffle for the gym which I had totally forgotten I wanted so that was a nice surprise. The rest of the weekend was spent with friends. My friend Neli is moving back to Bulgaria so Friday night we took her out for a "not goodbye, but see you later" dinner at Chili's. Saturday I went to kickboxing, had a great workout, and then some of us decided to go to iHop for lunch. (I know how ridiculous that sounds...) I had read recently that they put pancake batter in their omelets (why?!?!) so I was ready to be very cautious about what I ordered. I asked the waitress if they could make an omelet without the batter and she was all confused and said that the omelet mixture is premade and she didn't think they could change that. It didn't occur to me at that moment to ask her to ask the cooks to make an omelet with fresh eggs, she was already too confused, so I orderd two eggs over easy and when I told her I didn't want the toast or pancakes she got even more confused so I said, just send them over, I'll give them to someone else. Someone later made a comment about iHop being the Burger King of breakfast restaurants and I laughed, so true. I didn't expect much from them so I wasn't too bothered by the situation. I'm still learning to be more assertive at restaurants.
Last night, my cousin and I went to Uno's. I have been excited to try their GF pizza but as it turns out, my body needed protein so I ordered a steak instead. This was the most pleasant restaurant experience I've had so far. The waitress brought the gluten free menu right over and told me that she loves the pizza, she orders it all the time and that did I know they also have gluten free beer? (Redbridge) I was so happy and so comfortable knowing that I was having a safe meal and it was absolutely delicious. The steak was the right choice, it was excellent. I'll get pizza next time!

I also had some time this weekend to think about what I want to do with myself now that I'm getting so much healthier. I have been wanting for so long to do more yoga so when I was shopping I picked up the 2009 yoga magazine guide to getting into yoga at home. I can't afford to pay for classes and would prefer to practice at home anyway. The magazine was great, I've taken yoga classes before but I've always felt like the instructors never really explain exactly how your body should be alligned and all that stuff. The mag really walks you through all the steps. I'll be starting with sun salutations for a while to build up but then there are 9 other sequences to work on. This should keep me busy for a while!

I also dusted off my Clean Eating books by Tosca Reno. The cookbook is full of great recipes and many of them are already gluten free, clearly marked so, and the rest can be converted. I really want to work hard to get into optimum health and well being this year!

New Year's Resolutions...

I know that making New Year's Resolutions isn't the best idea since most of the time they are forgotten by the second week in January, but I've been setting some goals for myself that I'm hoping to achieve in 2009. This year was such a struggle and I really just waded my way through the sludge but I feel that now I have a clear mind and am ready to make next year the best ever. I started making a list of things that I would like to do but then changed it, I will...

I will get back into the shape I was in a year and a half ago, healthy and strong, lose the 20 pounds I gained this year.
I will do more volunteer work.
I will step it up and take charge at work and pull us out of this rut, make sure that we stay strong through these difficult financial times.
I will try to be less self centered and focus on others.
I will take advantage of the opportunities that come my way.
I will be more tolerant.
I will tell people how I feel instead of keeping it inside.
I will pay off my credit cards!!!!
I will not get new ones...
I will fix my car window and air conditioner and take better care of it in general.
I will be an advocate for Crohn's disease and other auto-immune diseases.

I could go on all day, but you get the idea. Just make 2009 better than all the years before. New Year's Resolutions may not always stick, but there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of the clean slate that January First brings.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!!!

I'm all caught up and ready to head out for a nice long holiday weekend! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday it is that you celebrate this time of year. I know posting has been light lately but I have found some new inspiration and should be back with a vengeance very soon. It's safe to say that 2008 was the most difficult year of my life so far, but at this point I'm feeling great and ready to take on 2009 with a positive outlook and make it the best and HEALTHIEST year ever!!!

Happy Holidays Everyone and Thank You for reading!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting the word out for Crohn's Disease.

I admit, I have WAY too many different email addresses: two yahoos, one gmail, one msn, photography email, two work emails, comcast... Needless to say, I am constantly missing out on emails. Last month I missed an evite to a party. My friend probably thinks I was just ignoring her, but I wasn't! My gmail account is supposed to forward to my yahoo account but apparently it drops the ball sometimes because today I found an email from last Wednesday that I really wish I had received! Kelly from Nursing Assistant Central sent me an email to let me know that I was included in this article: Coping with Crohn's Disease: 100 Helpful Resources and Communities. What a great resource for people dealing with Crohn's! Even though I'm one of the resources, I could totally use this list as well. I find that there's a ton of resources out there for Celiac but not so much for Crohn's. I think this is because with Celiac you're kind of left up to your own devices to figure out how to heal yourself, so people get out there and build up this community while with Crohn's you're told that the only way to feel better is to medicate, medicate, medicate so people just do what the doctors say and don't go too far outside the box. I hope that as more research comes out about autoimmune disease and the effects of diet, more people will be out there like me trying to find alternative healing methods.

This really makes me want to step up and be a better role model for the Crohn's community and the more public this blog gets, the more I want to work hard to take the best care of myself so that others will see that it's not all suffering when you have this nasty disease. Thank you Kelly for including me in your article and I will do everything I can to make this blog a great resource!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Working in a Winter Wonderland

Wally the Green Monster

Wally!! Last Wednesday night I volunteered at a Party for the Troops at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. I am a huge sports fan so this was pretty exciting for me. I hoped I might just bump into my favorite player - Mike Vrabel - but no such luck. I did get to see Joe Andruzzi though, that was cool. And I got to see Wally and snapped this quick pic of him. My friend Steve is also a photographer in his spare time and he was asked to do Santa photos and general photos at this event and he asked me to come and help him out. It was awesome. I hope I get to do it again next year!!

Since I have decided to go forward with a second opinion and new doctor, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to re-introduce gluten into my diet. Don't want the tests to be false negatives right? And all this time I'd been thinking of all the things I've been missing that I wanted to have, like real beer, and soft cushy delicious bread. Well let me tell you something. No warm dinner roll or frosty draft bud light is worth the pain that follows. I never thought I'd see the day that I wanted to eat gluten free bread, or that the thought of a simple little cupcake would make me gag.

Friday afternoon a massive snow storm hit us hard. I got out of work early and my roommate suggested going out on a snow adventure. We walked to the bar down the street and had nachos, spinach dip, and beers. I had two draft beers, nachos with breaded buffalo chicken, and spinach dip with pita chips. She's lucky she didn't have to carry me home. By the time we were finished I was practically asleep. When we got home, I laid down on the couch and almost instantly passed out. I felt horrible. I was supposed to bake those pumpkin chocolate chip bars again to take to the two Christmas parties I was going to on Saturday. I could barely muster the energy to put myself to bed, nevermind bake anything. I decided that this whole glutening for testing thing is NOT working out and I needed to go back to GF.

Saturday morning I got up, ate a good breakfast, dug myself out of the parking lot, still feeling like miserable crap and drove down to Plymouth for my family Christmas party. The weather was horrible at home but by the time I got down to Plymouth the roads were pretty clear. I stopped at Stop and Shop to pick up a dessert since I had not been able to bake the night before. I got a huge tray of cupcakes. Went to Mom's, sat around feeling like garbage all night, ate a little food as gluten free as possible, then headed up to my friends Abi and Alex's house. By the time I got back up to Brockton the roads were horrible and I was nervous about driving home but I figured I'd be fine as long as I drove very very slowly. Abi's was fun, I ate hardly anything, drank some cranberry juice, stayed til about midnight and headed home. The highways were covered in snow. It was the scariest drive of my life. I drove 20 miles an hour the whole way and practically kissed the ground when I got home!

Sunday I sat around all day. Rested, ate well, felt a lot better. Today I'm doing ok. So at this point, the plan is to stay gluten free until I get an appointment with a new doc, explain all that I've been going through, and then if they want me to have more tests, we'll go from there.

The woman that has photographed half my friends' weddings and will most definitely photograph mine someday has Celiac, which I found out in September at my cousin's wedding. I've always been very envious of her photography career and now, my aunt on Saturday hands me a baggie with cookies in it from the photographer, including a business card, she's now gotten into gluten free baking too! I am now even MORE envious! She sent me some peanut butter cookies and some chocolate chip cookies. They were great, tasted just like the regular gluten versions that Mom makes. I'm gonna email her and thank her for sending them to me. I also told her at the wedding that I'd send her the link to this blog but forgot, so now I'll do that too, so if you're reading this - Hi Jessica!! Thanks for the cookies!!!

I also had my last class of my graphic design certificate program last Thursday! I'm so excited to be done with that. It was a lot of fun but I'm really happy that I don't have any more long Mondays. Tonight I'll be finishing up my Christmas shopping. I can't believe it's only a few days away.

Also wanted to send a shout out to Sally, thanks for all the info on docs and everything, it's a big help!!

Ok it's lunch time now and so I must go. I have a few more holiday cards in the works this week but otherwise, the office is quiet. Hope you're all having a good Monday :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming

Pardon the pictures.. I'm (hopefully!) getting a new point and shoot camera for Christmas which will allow for better 'at work' photos. I don't carry my DSLR with me at all times, although sometimes I wish I did.

Anyway, last week I was stuck without a lunch so I walked down to Whole Foods and picked up one of these frozen meals that I'd been curious about for a while:
Glutino Chicken Penne Alfredo Gluten Free

Just put it in the microwave and viola!

DSCN1874Glutino Chicken Penne Alfredo Gluten Free 2

I've eaten PLENTY of frozen meals in my life, thanks to Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine (yuuuuck). So I have a lot to compare these to and as far as food from a box goes, this was pretty good! The pasta didn't cook very evenly but the part that wasn't overcooked was very good and the chicken tasted like real chicken. Not those little squares of "chicken" that come in other frozen entrees. The sauce was typical, a little watery but if you let it sit long enough after cooking, it does thicken up. Tasty, quick and easy in a pinch. I'd eat this again if I didn't have a fresh alternative, I'd like to try some of the other varieties as well.

I bought another pack of Glutino bagels and I have to say, this pack isn't as fresh, light and delicious as the last pack I bought. They have more of that gluten free taste and smell. They're not horrible, just not as good. I'm curious as to the difference? Maybe they've just been in the freezer longer?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fun..

Thanks everyone so much for the comments on my last blog. You all said exactly what I thought you'd say and of course it's what I was hoping to hear. Especially my friend Diana who reads this blog and basically just said that I've already made up my mind so just do it! We're so good at telling each other how it is, cut right through the B.S. I love having a friend like that.

I've been thinking a lot and doing a lot of research, reading up on various doctors and checking into other people that have been tested by Enterolab. I'm pretty sure my first step is going to be making an appointment with someone at the Celiac center at Beth Israel. All my medical records are there so it will be easy for them to see what I've been going through and hopefully help me to take the next step. After that, I may or may not go ahead and have the tests done through Enterolab. More than anything, I want to have the DNA tests done.

I am keeping a food journal, it's actually a blog that's private. It works pretty well so far. I wish I had started it back in May but oh well. I can start now, better late than never. The biggest theme here is "trusting your gut".. literally.. which is something I'm learning to do. Also what some of you said is so true about cheating because I'm not officially diagnosed as Celiac or gluten-intolerant, even though I know for sure that it's better to be gluten free when you have Crohn's disease.

My next appointment with my current GI is January 6th. Until then, I think I'm just going to try to enjoy the holidays, keep eating healthy, exercising and taking care of myself and then after that appointment I'll make the other appointment with the Celiac center. Their website says they treat people with Celiac and other gluten-sensitive disorders so hopefully I'll get the help that I'm looking for!

Thanks again everyone for the words of encouragement, especially from the people that have not commented before, I really appreciate it!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I need your thoughts and advice.

Ok friends, I need your thoughts and advice so if you're a regular reader of this blog and know generally what I've been going through this year, I'm urging you to please drop a comment and let me know what you think.

As you know, I was diagnosed this past May with Crohn's disease after many many years of suffering. What prompted the diagnosis was actually my quest to be tested for Celiac disease because as soon as I found out what Celiac was, I was concvinced that it's what I have. The symptoms were all there and I did lots of research and talked to a lot of people and all signs pointed to Celiac. The Crohn's diagnosis was a bit of a surprise but I figured well I guess that's actually what's been making me so sick for so long, and went along with my doctor's diagnosis and treatment (you all know how that's been going....). My Celiac bloodwork has come back negative twice but I have never had a small bowel biopsy, which I know is important for an accurate diagnosis. Ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn's I've had this sticky feeling that there's more to it and that I should keep pushing for Celiac testing but after the past six months of misery on medication, and now feeling much better being taken off the meds, I had decided that I was not going to push any further. I would not ask for a biopsy, I would just go ahead with the gluten free diet because I know it works and why bother having a tube shoved down my throat, right?

Well here's the thing, I believe very strongly in signs and yesterday a few things happened that made me question again whether or not I should proceed with further testing for Celiac. I called my Mom this morning to talk to her about it and she said that she's been thinking recently that it might be best for me to get a second opinion and that she also feels strongly that Crohn's might not be all I'm dealing with here. My reactions to the back and forth with the gluten free diet strongly show that I react to gluten. There's no question about that. The biggest sign I recieved yesterday was a connection to a family link that brought me back to my cousin's health problems. She's been trying to get pregnant for a very long time and has succeeded more than once but can never carry longer than a few months. I've thought ever since I found out that Celiac can contribute to pregnancy issues that this may be something that she should look into and I mentioned it to her a while ago. She's one of the biggest reasons I had wanted to get tested in the past because if I do end up testing positive, I strongly feel that she may have it too. There is already one confirmed Celiac in the bloodline on that side of my family (my Mom's side).

So, I'm the type of person that needs that extra push sometimes and that's why I'm reaching out to you all. If you've been reading this blog and have ever thought to yourself that I should really keep pushing, please let me know. Or if you have any other thoughts on the subject, I'd really like to hear. I've relied heavily on this community of GF bloggers to help me through this time and I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it's been to have you all around. Thank you so much for your support!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally getting into the Holiday Spirit : )

My Festive Desk 2

The Christmas music has been playing all day and so at lunch time I finally busted out the decorations. Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not getting any work done...

Wise Potato Chips, Ridgies Sour Cream & Onion flavor are gluten free. I know this thanks to the handy little chart I found on their website. They're grossly unhealthy, but they tasted delicious this afternoon when I needed a salty snack. What's that I was saying about losing weight??

Monday, December 8, 2008

I hate to rush time, but is it January yet?

I can tell that if I didn't have my monthly visitor right now, I'd be feeling great!! What a way to start a blog huh? Sorry if it's TMI but that's just how I feel right now. I spent all day yesterday curled up in the fetal position on my couch watching tv. I wish I was doing the same thing today but it's Monday so I'm at work and then it's my weekly trip to BIDMC for blood work and then off to school until 10 so I won't find the comfort of my bed until around 11pm tonight. Next week is my last week of school!!!! I can't wait to be able to just go home after work on a Monday night. Of course I will be going to the gym, not just sitting on my bum, but still, I'll be home for dinner and bed at a reasonable hour.

Friday's visit with The Doc went easier than I thought it would. First thing he asked me is "what's new and exciting?" and I said "Well..." and told him about stopping the Pentasa and how much better I was feeling. He wasn't very happy about it and explained to me that if I have a major flare we will have to go back to the beginning, steroids, weight gain, etc. etc. I said, I'll take the risk. I am up to the full dose of the long term med now and it will take about 2-3 months for it to get up to speed and then I should be good to go. As long as I am very very good about my diet then I should make it through without a problem. He said ok, I can see I'm not going to convince you otherwise so let's try it. But if you have ANY problems, call me right away. WOOHOO!! So I'm down to one medication, taken once a day, at night before I go to bed. It comes with some risks but I've done my homework and the risks are slim and the day to day side effects are virtually nothing. Of course Friday is starred on my calendar as you-know-what-day of the month and oh boy am I like clockwork. But I'm kinda glad to get it out of the way now because it will allow me to really see how my body feels over the next four weeks before my next appointment. I just hope this feeling of my lower half being stuck in a vice goes away relatively quickly. Yesterday was the worst, today is much better, I should be in the clear by Wednesday, just in time for kickboxing.

Speaking of which, I did go to kickboxing on Saturday and was very glad that I did. It felt great, I had no trouble, no weakness, I'm a little rusty since I hadn't been going very consistently for awhile but that won't last. I even went in on Sunday for some cardio and strength but I only made it through 20 minutes of cardio before I had to stop and go home and submit to the couch. Isn't exercise supposed to help?! Not this weekend.

Saturday I went to a birthday party for my twin cousins and my Mom was asking how the docs visit went and she asked if I'm going to pursue more Celiac testing. I said at this point, no. I'm going gluten free regardless so what's the point? I know there are a lot of valid reasons to keep pushing the testing and get a final confirming yay or nay but I've been through so much this year already and I know how much better I feel off of gluten, why bother having a tube shoved down my throat? I know that gluten free is better for Crohn's too and that it's very likely that my Crohn's is a result of Celiac and that my other symptoms point to Celiac too (rashes, infections, etc) but at this point I'm done with testing. I'm ok with the medication regiment I'm on now. I have faith that I'm going to start getting a lot better at this point so let's just let it be. I'll be concerned when I have children but I'll watch them carefully and make sure they get the appropriate tests if needed. That's a long way off anyway. My uncle was asking me exactly what Crohn's is and he says "so have you got the gluten completely out of your system?" and I had to be honest and say no, but I'm kinda glad he called me out. I'm MUCH better than I was in April when I started this blog but it still sneaks in here and there. Today I haven't had any gluten in I don't know how many days, (a lot!) and I plan on keeping it that way.

I have four more weeks of bloodwork and then another meetup with the Doc on January 6th and then after that I go to once a month bloodwork and once every 3 months Doc visits for a year. I'm really looking forward to next year, this year has sucked royally. But it was all worth it because hopefully next year I'll feel better than I have in 15 years. I may still look into the holistic approach but for right now, I'm going to keep things as they are. I need to just give my mind and body a rest for a while!!

I was talking to Allie last week and she asked me if I had been noticing any patterns with my diet and how I feel. I was glad she made that point because yes, there are, and one of them is all the sugar I've been consuming. I blame the holidays but I'm going to try and stop doing so much baking and focus on more healthy foods. I'm sure I'll be posting a few sweet recipes here and there but for the most part I hope to be blogging more about healthy meal ideas and that sort of thing. Plus my journey back to fitness, I'm really looking forward to losing these 20 pounds and getting my shape back! The picture of me on the upper right corner was taken July of 07 and I was looking great then, I'm hoping to be back to that shape by my birthday, Memorial Day Weekend 09!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

#206

Wow, over 200 posts!! I posted a bunch of entries this evening so make sure you read them all!!

Chicken Soup for My Soul

Chicken Soup for My Soul

Not long ago I posted about my financial woes and how I'm trying very hard to plan meals and shop with a list. Well tonight was definitely one of those nights. I had some chicken stock and celery left over from Thanksgiving so I thought this would be the perfect time to try to make homemade chicken soup. The thing that I'm loving the most about being gluten free is cooking! Now that I'm actually forced to put the effort in, I'm finally starting to experiment with all the foods I've always wanted to try cooking. This soup was so basic, I just cut up celery, onion, boneless skinless chicken thighs, opened a bag of shredded carrots, threw it all into a pot, topped with some Bell's Seasoning, salt and pepper, put enough chicken stock in to cover the rest of the stuff and cooked until the chicken was done. No measuring, just toss it in and cook it. It came out pretty good, not a ton of flavor but for a first try with no real recipe, I'm pretty happy with it. I've got plenty of leftovers for the rest of the weekend, if it lasts that long!

As far as shopping goes, I went to the store with $35 to spend. I'm going to make chicken cacciatore with rice, pasta with meatballs and sauce, chicken soup (done) and hamburgers. I also got stuff for breakfasts and lunches. I spent $34.10 and went home with plenty of groceries to get me through the week. I got everything I needed, I was really worried I wouldn't have enough money to eat.. that's so stressful, but I should be good to go now!

Found It!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from Gluten Free is Life.

These were so yummy, gluten eaters will never know they're gluten free. I'll definitely make these again next year. Or maybe for Christmas, I have an extra can of pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving.

Coffee Cake Muffins are my favorite.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Before going gluten free, I spent entirely too many mornings standing in line at Dunkin Donuts, waiting to order my favorite coffee cake muffin. Yes, I'm well aware of how gross it is to eat that many calories, sugar and fat for breakfast every day but I didn't care. After going gluten free I've struggled to find a decent replacement for breakfast and I really wanted to figure out how to make a gf version of those muffins at home. This was my first attempt. I used the recipe for muffins on the package of Pamela's baking mix and added the streusel topping. They are not quite the same as the original, I want to tweak the streusel topping a little bit, but they were very good.

Gluten Free Coffee Cake Muffins

Streusel Topping
1/2 C brown sugar
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs cinnamon
2 Tbs melted butter

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.


Muffins
1 1/2 C Flour Mix (I used Pamela's)
2 Tbs baking powder
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C shortening
1/2 C milk
1 egg, beaten

Mix the dry ingredients together and then cut in the shortening.
In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, at this point I also took some of the streusel topping and folded it into the mix. (trying to mimic the DD's muffins)

Pour the mix into muffin cups in a muffin pan, top with streusel topping

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, makes 12 muffins.

Notes: I managed to get 11 muffins out of this mix and I couldn't really pour the mix because it was rather thick, so I used a spoonula. In the streusel topping I would add some white sugar and maybe use a little less brown sugar and less cinnamon. Next time...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frenemies.

Whole Foods Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

When I did my Thanksgiving shopping at Whole Foods I picked up a box of gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix. I figured if I had enough time, I'd make them for Thanksgiving, but if I didn't, I'd just make them for myself. Sunday afternoon I made these and by Monday afternoon they were completely gone. I think my roommate might have eaten one of them.... but yeah, I ate the rest. The box calls for 5 Tbs of butter but I accidentally put in 7 which I think is what caused more spreading. I know others have said these are not usually so flat, but that's the way I prefer them anyway and if I buy this mix again, I'll do the same thing. I'm sure I'll be buying this mix again, it was awesome, so easy to make and not expensive. But next time I'll buy them only for a special occasion and share them because eating all of those cookies has made my stomach not so happy!!

I'm still feeling a lot better and not taking that anti-inflammatory medication, I am still taking the immune suppressant though, at least until I see the doc on Friday. I have very seriously considered coming off all of the meds and trying to manage this thing naturally with diet and exercise. I know my GI won't agree with that but what if my issue is not actually Crohn's but rather food intolerance? Or Crohn's as a result of intolerance? So many questions, I just hate to take medication for the rest of my life when I could be healthier without it. I read a long article yesterday about gluten intolerance and how it can take a long time to develop and may not show up on blood tests for years. I read somewhere that it takes an average of 7 years for a person to be diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance. I know my body and I know how much my diet impacts how I feel, despite the doctor saying as long as I'm on medication I should be able to eat normally - that is just so incredibly wrong. Walk a mile in my shoes doc! Well, we'll see how it goes on Friday. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gluten Free Herbed Bread Stuffing

Stuffing

I wanted a stuffing that was as close to Stove Top as possible. This recipe is very basic but that's just the way I wanted it. I used Van's Waffles as the bread, but in the future I would try a loaf of gluten free bread instead. The texture was a little too soft for me, but the taste was perfect.

Herbed Bread Stuffing - Gluten Free

1 Box of 6 Gluten Free Waffles
1 Medium onion chopped
2 or 3 Ribs of celery chopped
3/4 tsp Bell's Seasoning
1/4 C unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 cup gluten free chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toast the waffles as dark as you like and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut into cubes.

Cook the onions, celery and seasoning in butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened. About 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together the waffles, veggies and chicken stock. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Enjoy!

Adapted from this recipe.