gluten free cooking

The Wonderful World of Kale

kale

This post is about various kale recipes and preparations I’ve tried. Why? Because I have a crap-ton of kale in my garden maturing all at the same time! Not that I’m complaining. I was super bummed when my kale was destroyed by aphids last year.

Kale is so good for you, too. It’s low in calories, high in Vitamin K, C and A. It’s an antioxidant and it has calcium. It’s also tasty and incredibly versatile.

One morning for breakfast I sauteed some kale in coconut oil and seasoned with a little salt, pepper and paprika. I topped the bed of kale with two fried eggs and called it good. I was surprised at how tasty it was! It might make a regular appearance in my breakfast rotation.

There’s of course Kale with Bacon (everything is better with bacon, right?). Kale sauteed with onions or shallots is great and easy. But the best use of kale, so far, has been the Cheesy Kale Chips I discovered last summer. They are massively addicting and all my neighbors were begging me to make them some! It was also a good snack that you didn’t have to feel guilty about eating in massive quantities. 🙂

Thankfully the wild bunnies that frolic in our yard have not discovered our veggie garden. How is that possible? For three years our garden has been bunny-free.  And he’s been eating our weeds! YAY!

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Anyway, here are a few more recipes I’ve discovered or created lately:

Sauteed Kale with Pistachios

Simple ingredients: 1 garlic clove minced, 1 bunch of kale, 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, Grapeseed oil, Salt and pepper to taste. Cook down the fresh kale in a skillet with the grapeseed oil until wilted.

I had the kale with blackened salmon (one of my favorites) and some raw peppers with ranch dressing (I was craving it). It was really good!

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Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika Recipe

Ingredients: fresh kale, coconut oil, chopped onion, dash of paprika and dash of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I tried cooking the kale with coconut oil spray this time and it worked really well.

My dinner was Israeli Couscous with the kale and topped with a spicy bratwurst. Mixed all together it was a spicy, flavorful dinner.

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Gluten Free Baked Macaroni with Kale

This was Michael’s creation. He got some gluten free macaroni and mixed it with a can of season tomatoes, spicy sausage, a ton of kale from our garden and mozzarella. He baked it in a big pan and the second I walked into the garage I could smell it baking in the oven. The aroma of spicy sausage, garlic and red sauce is one of my favorites.

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The gluten free macaroni was  little weird in texture. I’m not sure what it was made out of but it wasn’t the brown rice noodles I got for the spaghetti (seen below) and those GF noodles were great.

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Kale

I have so much kale in my garden I’m getting mighty creative! This time: spaghetti with kale. I bought some gluten-free spaghetti noodles from Trader Joe’s for my man since he’s trying to do the GF thing for good now. It was brown rice noodles and they actually tasted pretty good! There wasn’t a lot of flavor but the texture was exactly like regular spaghetti noodles.

I sauteed some diced onions in a pan with grapeseed oil and added the kale. I let it cook down then added the marinara sauce from a jar. I added two cloves of minced garlic and some extra herbs to it and let it just simmer while I cooked the pasta.

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It was delicious! I loved the texture and flavor that the kale added to the dish. This is a keeper!

I’m going to try adding some kale to some post-workout smoothies soon. It’s been way too long since I’ve enjoyed my protein shakes! I think the kale would work great.

QUESTION: What is your favorite way to prepare/eat kale?

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?