Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Continuing on with this elimination diet (see previous post) has had it's ups and downs. The baby is happy, which is an obvious plus, and I surprisingly feel better. Not that I would continue with this diet were it not for fear of having a screaming child on my hands (it is far too boring and I don't feel that good) but I have a remarkable amount of energy for a woman that gets very little sleep.
The downsides are fairly blatant—I don't get to eat or drink anything.
I've heard many health-enthusiast say that if you stop eating sugar your body won't crave it anymore. Well I've found that nugget of wisdom to be completely false. All I think about is sweets. If there were a written transcript of the thoughts going through my head right now it would look something like this....cheesecake, cheesecake with blueberries, cheesecake swirled with blueberry sauce, chocolate, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, rocky road bars, the baby's awake, God, Dora the Explorer is annoying, banana bread.
I need cake. Warm, straight-from the oven tea bread and maybe a couple Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.
I have been scouring the web for dessert recipes I can actually eat, you know ones that don't contain dairy or gluten or eggs or nuts or chocolate or soy or corn. I am eternally grateful to those blessed individuals who experiment and develop these recipes so I don't have to, because I would have no idea how much xanthan gum to add—I had to Google xanthan gum just to find out what it was (a polysaccharide derived from bacteria used as a thickener and stabilizer, for anyone that is interested).
I have made this zucchini bread recipe a few times now and it is not bad considering it has nothing in it. It is a little gummy, but I've found that to be hard to get around in gluten-free baking. It seems you can reduce this undesired characteristic by beating the batter pretty vigorously with a stand mixer and using as little liquid as possible. The dough will seem pretty stiff, but it will bake up fluffier in the oven if you don't add too much liquid.
The batter should look something like this....
Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess
Makes 1 loaf
1 rounded cup grated zucchini
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk
1. Heat oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch loaf pan. Place zucchini in a clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess moisture.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the brown sugar and mix (breaking it up with your hands is easiest). Add the oil, lemon juice, egg replacer and coconut milk and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed for two minutes, or until batter is smooth and sticky. The batter will be very thick and almost stringy, it is better to beat it a little longer if necessary. Remember, this recipe is gluten-free, so there is no risk of making the bread tough by beating it too long.
3. Beat in the zucchini then scrape the batter into the loaf pan. Bake in the center of the oven until golden and firm, it should feel slightly springy when touched with your finger, about 50-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Friday, May 18, 2012
For the first couple months of the baby's life he wouldn't stop crying, except I guess when he was grunting or spitting up, I'll give him that.
For a while I was blurry eyed and asking myself, this is normal right? I don't know, I don't really remember, I'm kind of incapable of thinking right now.
We started out with remedies used to cure slightly upset babies—watered-down chamomile tea, gas drops, gripe water—they all worked for approximately 15 minutes. We took him to the doctor who recommended Zantac even though the baby seemed happier when he was lying on his back, something anyone suffering from acid reflux will tell you is the opposite of a comfortable position. We tried a chiropractor who confirmed that he was in pain (thank you) but who's adjustments offered no relief. Finally I did what I should've done all along—the only thing that has ever worked for me when I find myself bewildered by my children—I called another mom.
She mentioned food allergies, something all three of her daughters suffered from as babies, and told me to try an elimination diet. She explained that this technique of removing all but five or six foods from your diet would stop the crying, start some sleeping, and diminish the constant trail of spit-up that went over my shoulder, down the back of my shirt, and splattered all over the floor.
Simple, right? I began immediately. Coffee the next morning? No thank you. I'll just fix myself a nice warm bowl of rice, sprinkled with salt, a few slices of pear and a tall glass of ice water. I followed that satisfying meal with slices of turkey, some roasted sweet potatoes, and seared zucchini. And guess what? It worked. He was quiet, calm, he even smiled. Whatever I had been eating had been getting into my breast milk and making him sick, the poor child.
The idea was that I do this for two weeks and then I can start introducing other foods into my diet to see what causes a reaction. Okay, great. This is fine, I can do this. I like rice. I'm a cook, time to get creative.
I don't make too many things that are blog worthy or that anyone not on this diet would actually get excited about eating—rice cakes with avocado anyone? But occasionally I've made some things that I would make again when my life returns to normal.
Thin slices of beets and pears sprinkled with salt and baked to a crisp in the oven are one of them. Although I do recommend a tangy goat cheese dip to go with, that recipe however is not included because I can't eat that so we'll put goat cheese dip in the category of things I've dreamed about and not actually made.
The only kind of pain-in-the-butt thing about making these chips is that you can't fit very many on a baking sheet then they shrink down to half their size leaving you to think, why couldn't they start out that size so I could fit twice as many on this stinking baking sheet. Instead you have to do several batches to have a significant amount, which is not that big of a deal, just a little time consuming.
Beet and Pear Chips
Makes 4 servings
1 medium beet, unpeeled
1 medium underipe pear, unpeeled
olive oil and salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Scrub the beet to remove any dirt and wash the pear. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife slice the beet and pear somewhere between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick (I found 1/8-inch to be too thin and 1/4-inch to be too thick).
2. Oil two baking sheets with olive oil and lay the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 200°F. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning the slices over every 20 minutes or so until crisp and dried. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
This technique can be used with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, try with sweet potatoes, parsnips and apples.