gluten free beer

Mourning Pasta

As many of you read, I did a gluten-free and dairy-free challenge in February. If you’re a new reader, I did it because I wanted to see if I had any food sensitivities or allergies. My mom had done something similar and found that she lost 14 pounds, her sinus issues cleared up and she didn’t crave sugar. I also heard from other people that going dairy-free cleared up their skin. All of those things sounded good to me! Unfortunately that didn’t happen for me. I lost an inch and 2 pounds but my sinuses and acne didn’t clear up. I realized that I didn’t need to go dairy or gluten-free.

One thing that did happen was that my boyfriend Michael discovered he had a sensitivity to gluten. He’s now trying to be gluten-free because he saw such a difference. I had no idea that this little experiment would end up changing our lives.

While Michael is doing the gluten-free thing, I’m not really doing. I found that not feeling restricted made it easy to abstain from gluten. I can eat it IF I WANT TO–but most of the time I skip it.

That being said, there have been a few times where I kind of felt sad that Michael’s diet was so restrictive now. It’s not like we ate pasta all that often but suddenly realizing that we COULDN’T eat it together made me pause and think “oh.” Oh. Disappointing. Sure, there are alternatives and gluten-free products we can try but…it’s just not the same.

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And it’s not like I did a whole lot of baking but as soon as I realized Michael wouldn’t be able to eat anything I made, I suddenly wished I could bake! I tried some gluten-free recipes but they really aren’t the same. The results ranged from “just ok” to “this is pretty good as an alternative” to “how are these brownies both raw and burned?”

I realized that I was going through something I had gone through before. When I first started losing weight and was using calorie counting to achieve that, I had to stop eating a lot of things that I used to love. They were just too high in calories for me and I knew I wouldn’t lose the weight if I kept eating them. For example: the decadent white chocolate mochas with caramel syrup and whipped cream on top. That was my coffee drink every day. I was consuming around 500 calories in a drink! Absurd! When I realized that I immediately made the switch to black coffee with flavored creamer. It was around 100 calories and satisfied my coffee craving (to a point). Of course I missed those desserts I called coffee.

Speaking of beverages…Michael’s dietary change also includes BEER! He’s been trying the various gluten-free beers that are out there and Omission is actually pretty decent. But it’s kind of a bummer that we can’t drink the same beer now. What happens when we go beer tasting? Or to the Brewfest? I just don’t know. Yet.

I went through a short period of mourning when I realized I couldn’t consume all the things I wanted to. I think it’s normal. It’s a mourning of your past, your old habits. Every once in awhile I feel a sense of longing for the days when I didn’t have to schedule a gym session into my day when I’d much rather go home, sit on the couch in my PJs and watch TV. I always feel better going to the gym, but still.

I never really ate that oftenThose feelings of longing don’t last. I don’t mourn the “bad” foods I don’t eat anymore because I don’t really miss them. And this pasta thing? Bizarre. Why would I miss something to begin with?

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Am I alone in this? 

QUESTION: Has your significant other/partner had a dietary change that effects you?

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

I don’t really cook food of the Asian persuasion very often and I wish I did. It’s so healthy and delicious. The problem I face is that I often don’t know what certain ingredients are, or how to use them. This recipe was relatively simple and had ingredients I was able to buy at my local grocery store. When it came time to make it, I admit I had to google “how to cut bok choy”.

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I still don’t think I did it right, despite watching a video. Oh well, it tasted the same. (I think.)

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

From: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/spicy_tofu_hotpot.html

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces firm tofu, preferably water-packed
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 4 cups thinly sliced tender bok choy greens
  • 8 ounces fresh Chinese-style (lo mein) noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the block into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sugar, broth, soy sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add bok choy and tofu, cover and simmer until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the noodles, pushing them down into the broth.
  4. Cook, covered, until the noodles are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.
  5. Note: Chile-garlic sauce is a spicy blend of chiles, garlic and other seasonings; it is found in the Asian section of the market.

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Serves 1.5 cups

Amount Per Serving
Calories 251
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7grams 10.8%
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=36968

Two things I should point out: this was not a soup recipe like I thought it was and it could have been spicier. I also think I bought the wrong tofu. I rarely cook with it and it kind of fell apart instead of cubing when I cut it. Tips? Tricks?

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It’s odd when you have a picture of the final product in your mind and it was completely different. Like I said, I thought it was soup. So when I was adding the noodles at the very end, I panicked. “Oh my god! It’s soaking up all the liquid!” I added some more chicken broth and it soaked that up too. Then I realized, oh maybe it’s NOT soup…I think because I added more liquid it diluted the Sriracha.

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Despite my mistakes in making this recipe, it turned out really well. It was a noodle dish and despite diluting it with chicken broth, it still had some bite to it.

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It was also gluten-free and dairy-free. I would definitely make this recipe again and I’d add a lot more sriracha to it. If you aren’t a fan of tofu, you could easily substitute chicken or shrimp and I think that would be fantastic. The recipe says it makes 6 servings but I got about 7 out of it.

Before we got home from work Tuesday night, Michael and I stopped at New Seasons (kind of like Whole Foods) here in Portland. We picked up some too-expensive GF and DF items.

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We found dairy free chocolate! And it was divine. I got two flavors: dark chocolate with orange and dark chocolate with lemon. Michael and I ate the whole thing for dessert between the two of us. The dark chocolate was rich and the hint of orange went well. It was much more satisfying than those gluten and dairy free cookies I bought earlier this month.

Above you can see we also got a tofu jalapeno spread by Toby’s.  I was reluctant to buy it. It was spendy and I was nervous about committing to it in case it was disgusting. It wasn’t. It was…odd…but not gross. It tasted like a cross between guacamole and egg salad. Odd, right? I had a few bites to sample it. I don’t think I’d buy it again but it will work for this challenge.

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The big win of the night was GLUTEN FREE BEER! Woohoo!!!! I am happy to report that it was REALLY TASTY. Surprise, surprise. I was resigned to giving up beer for the month of February and was okay with it. Michael really wanted to try Omission and I’m glad we did. It was a decent substitution to the rich IPAs I like.

I’m really happy to report that there are lots of decent alternatives if you are gluten-free. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

QUESTION: Do you cook Asian food very often? Any favorite recipes?