Wednesday, June 20, 2012

seriously, summer?!

Alrighty, friends. It is straight up 97 degrees in the city. Craziness, and I'm craving breezy summers by the lakeshore. What the heck does a girl do when the temps climb...and there's no air conditioning? Eat popsicles? Take showers (hourly)? Run around in minimal clothing? Create a person windstorm with fans? 

I'm seriously considering wimping out and just buying a window air conditioning unit. 

In the meantime, it's smoothies and showers and fans for me.

And cold food. Only cold food is allowed this week. Lately, the simple Mediterranean combo has been appealing. Cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado, and a splash of red wine vinaigrette. It's great by itself but even better on top of a giant pile of lettuce. 

Beverages in ball jars: classy summer. This is how I'm drinking everything from now on. I think this recipe or this one would be pretty amazing. And I'm still drinking gazpacho...

Another fantastic use for ball jars...soap containers. Use a hammer and screwdriver to punch a hole through the lid of a jar until wide enough to fit an old pump from a soap container or lotion bottle. It makes washing your hands so much more exciting; I promise. 

In case you still need chocolate, here's a no-bake recipe for you (based on this recipe). This is probably the easiest recipe ever. Beware that they will not set if your apartment is 86 degrees; that's what freezers are for. Not the prettiest cookies ever, but they make great pre-run fuel. 

no-bake {vegan} cookies
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or mixture of PB and tahini
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. In a small sauce pan combine the first four ingredients and heat over medium-low heat until the peanut butter/coconut oil is melted and the mixture is hot (4-5 minutes.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  1. In a separate bowl combine the rolled oats, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour the hot peanut butter mixture over the oats and stir until every piece of oat is covered and chocolate is well incorporated. Use a spoon and drop cookies onto a surface covered in parchment paper and flatten them out slightly. Let cool.

p.s. I'll be here this weekend, among other activities. What are you doing this weekend? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

things that make me happy when life is crazy

Today was a crazy day in clinic., so naturally, chocolate chip cookies seemed like a good idea. Made with ethical (non slave-children, as Dave likes to say) chocolate nonetheless. This was 70% cacao, but I could have definitely gone with 80%. Btdubs, I could only make these because it cooled down from 87 to 77. You know things are desperate when you're turning the oven on in that kind of heat...

This is the recipe I use 99.5% of the time for cookies. They almost always turn out. I say almost because they don't fare well when you bake 2 trays on racks one above the other. Or maybe that's just a general baking rule and something I've failed to remember from food science class.

To avoid a sugar high, I rounded things out with a salad. I don't care what Coca-Cola says...sugar makes people hyper. This ended as a fresh spinach salad with sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and almonds. Balsamic vinegar is great when you're craving something salty because it tastes salty but has no salt.  Then you can make up for the lack of salt with some goat cheese; it's worth it.

Elements of a successful salad:
  • separate dressings/any juicy components from rest of the mix
  • include all the macronutrients: carbs (dried fruit), protein (beans or nuts), fat (avocado)
  • use a giant container to prevent messes 

It's no secret that sunsets are one of my favorite views in Michigan. Despite icy winters of getting sprayed with overzealous snowplows and dumped on by crazy lake effect snow, these nights kind of make everything worth it. There's something quite amazing about seeing the patterns of nature and recognizing the vastness of it. For me, it serves as a reminder that bigger things are always happening, and my problems are insignificant in the scope of a cycle that continues to write its own history. Looking forward to spending some more time here this weekend.

How is your week so far? Any exciting plans for the heat wave to come? (or tips to stay cool when you don't have central air and live in an ancient hot apartment that holds heat like crazy??). 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

gluten freeeeeeee

Another weekend of brunch with my sister, who just got a job working at an ad agency. Fancy schmancy. So lucky to spend another weekend with her. Maybe she's not so lucky to spend another weekend chasing me around thrift stores, convincing her that everyone should own a terrarium, reaching new levels of hyper off too much coffee, and getting excited about giant bottles of sriracha at marie catrib's.

Which by the way was absolutely fantastic. This was (half?!) a portion of  local eggs in a tortilla with hand seasoned potatoes and homemade salsa. There's something kind of fantastic about brunching outside while watching everyone come back from the farmers' market carrying awkward plants and bags of produce. It's comforting, kind of like we're on the same wavelength despite being complete strangers. I like that.

So although May (and nat'l celiac awareness month) just passed us by, I decided that it's not too late to write about Celiac disease. I see a lot of patients with this disease at work, and it's always amazing to me how families adapt//don't adapt to a new eating lifestyle.

what is celiac disease (CD)? 

CD is a genetic autoimmune disorder which affects ~1% of the US population. When a person with Celiac disease consumes gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, and rye, their body's immune system attacks the cells of the small intestine, causing inflammation. The small intestine contains many small finger-like projections called villi, which serve as sites of nutrient absorption. In CD, the villi are often blunted or show signs of cell overgrowth, causing malnutrition. 

how is it diagnosed? 

Blood tests for antibodies (TTG and EMA) may indicate a negative response to gluten. A person then undergoes an endoscopy biopsy (scope), where samples of their intestinal tissue are harvested and examined for presence of CD. A positive response to a gluten-free diet confirms the diagnosis. 

how is it treated? 

Those with CD must follow a life-long gluten free diet. Even a small amount of gluten in the diet can be harmful; not everyone will continue to experience symptoms, but they will continue to damage their intestinal cells if they consume gluten-containing foods. 

what about the weird//questionable ingredients?

  • Dextrin – May be derived from corn, waxy maize, waxy Milo, potato, arrowroot, wheat, rice, tapioca, or sago.  Avoid wheat sources.
  • Caramel Color – Safe in the U.S.
  • Modified Food Starch – if wheat is used, the ingredient list will state, “Contains wheat” or “Made on equipment that processes wheat”.  
  • Starch – if wheat is used, the ingredient list will state, “Contains wheat” or “Made on equipment that processes wheat”.  
  • Seasonings and spice blends or mixes (check labels, call companies
  • Baking powder: may contain wheat starch; Rumford Baking Powder - Non-Aluminum and Clabber Girl Baking Powder are gluten-free according to website

Cross contamination is a huge issue when trying to discern safe foods. Even if a food does not contain gluten, there is a chance (especially for grains) that it has come into contact or been processed in a facility that process a gluten-containing grain. The best way to find out if a product is safe is to directly call the manufacturer.

references and resources 

And here's one gluten free recipe I've been experimenting with. Sort of like Larabars in a different form (based on this recipe)

gluten free granola bites

1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup almonds 
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon

*make sure all ingredients are GF//not cross contaminated!

Blend in food processor until moderately smooth. Scoop into bite sizes portions. Pack as work//school//whenever snacks. 

Let me know if you have questions or good recipes (especially for gluten free breads) that you think others might love to try...