Simple Veggies!: Kale

Vegetables are so delicious, they often need little preparation. Kale is my vegetable love. There are many ways to prepare it, but this is my fave. 

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Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

1-1.5 Tbs Toasted Sesame oil

Salt

Directions:

1. Place a steamer basket inside a large pot or dutch oven. Add enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer basket. Turn on med-high heat so water can heat up.

2. Wash the kale and tear into pieces. I usually toss (or compost) the real thick part of the stem. Throw kale pieces into steamer basket. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to do this in two bunches. 

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3. Cover the pot and let kale steam for 10-12 minutes, depending on how done you like it. Some people like it a little more well done.

4. transfer kale to a large bowl. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and toss. Add salt to taste and enjoy!

 

Easy Black Beans with Bell Peppers

If you have a restrictive diet or try to eat healthy, there’s a problem you likely run into. That is, what to do when you’re in a hurry? It’s hard to find good, healthy options that are also quick and easy. This is a little something I’ve come up with when I’m hungry and don’t have a lot of time to cook a meal. 

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Ingredients

1 can of beans (black, pinto, other)

1 bell pepper (any color)

1 avocado

salt

black pepper

onion powder

cumin

Directions:

1. Place half the can of beans in a bowl, add a few shakes of all the spices, vary it to fit how spicy you like. Microwave bowl for 1 – 1.5 minutes.

2. Dice half the bell pepper and half the avocado, mix into beans. Add more spices to taste.

3. Enjoy! Save the other halves for later (or for seconds)!

Notes:

The tea in the picture is Vanilla Rooibos tea, iced. I have IC and find that I tolerate it well, although it hasn’t been analyzed for the IC diet list. It pairs very well with this meal. 

Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is fun and can be customized however you wish. I use potatoes and sweet potatoes, but you can use whatever veggies you like. It’s a hearty dish and I think it’s very filling.

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Yields: 6 half peppers, stuffed

 

Ingredients:

1lb ground turkey*

1 onion, chopped

2-3 Tbsp oil (safflower or coconut)

1 medium size golden potato, diced**

1 medium size sweet potato, diced

3 bell peppers (any color)**

2-3 avocados (optional

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp celery salt

salt & pepper to taste

1. Cover the bottom of your skillet with a good high heat oil (coconut, safflower). Add the chopped up the onion and sauté over med-high heat until onion starts to become translucent.

2. Add the ground turkey and all the spices.  Using a wooden spoon stir it around in the pan to make sure it cooks evenly. When about half the turkey is done, add the potato and sweet potato. Make sure they are chopped up pretty small so they cook fast. 

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3. Continue cooking the turkey mixture until potatoes are not quite done (they will continue to cook in the oven).

4. Cut peppers in half, remove the seeds. 

5. Spoon turkey mixture into hollowed out peppers. 

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6. Place peppers in baking dish, hollow end facing up. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on how tender you like your peppers)

7. Top pepper with sliced avocado, a dash of salt if you wish, and enjoy!

*I use free range, antibiotic free turkey. 

** Potatoes and bell peppers have lots of great nutrients, but also soak up high levels of pesticides. I always get these vegetables organic if possible.

Banana Pancakes!

Alright, let’s start by saying this is not low fat and it’s not low sugar. I try to be low sugar as much as possible, but sometimes you just miss some of that comfort food from childhood. And who doesn’t love pancakes?!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2c Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake Mix

3/4c Coconut Milk

1 Banana

Dash of Cinnamon

a little water

Any add-ins you want (blueberries, etc)

Directions:

I use Bob’s Red Mill GF pancake mix. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of mixes, but I like this one. Here is a list of ingredients if you want to check to make sure it’s okay before you head out to the store:

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1. Using a big spoon, mix up pancake mix, coconut milk (I use the canned stuff. It has extra fat in it, so you don’t have to add oil), well-mashed banana, and dash of cinnamon. This makes a pretty thick pancake. If you prefer thinner pancakes, add a little water.

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2. Add any additions you might want. This time, I chose blueberries from the farmer’s market (yum)!

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3. Now we are ready to cook the pancakes. Special note: GF PANCAKES WILL STICK TO THE SKILLET LIKE IT’S THEIR JOB. So be sure you use enough oil in the pan (I use safflower or coconut oil) and use a good spatula to flip them.

Pour some batter in the pan (I always use a cast iron skillet :). Like regular pancakes, wait til bubbles appear all over before you flip the pancake. Like so:

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4. After flipping, cook another minute or so, and then done! I put my pancakes on an oven-safe plate and stick them in the oven on warm until I am done cooking so they don’t get cold or dry as I cook.

5. Top the pancakes with whatever you wish! Maple syrup, powdered sugar, agave, applesauce. Your choice! And enjoy… :) :)

Italian veggies with red bell pepper sauce

Sometimes I get a hankering for some good italian, which is hard when you can’t have tomatoes or gluten or dairy…So here is an alternative I came up with….some really nice, full flavor with the bell pepper.

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Ingredients:

-2 red bell peppers*

-1 onion

- Oil for high heat (I use safflower)

-3/4c chicken or vegetable broth (be sure to check the ingredients, or make your own)

-2 heads broccoli

-1/2 lb fresh Spinach*

-1-2 tsp Oregano

-2-3 tsp Basil

-Salt to taste

-Black pepper (if you tolerate it well)

Preparation:

1. Cover the bottom of a skillet in safflower oil. Slice the onion and sautée for a few minutes on med-high heat. After the onion is beginning to brown, add the red pepper (sliced), throw in basil, oregano, and some salt. Cook until tender (the more tender, the smoother your sauce will be).

2. Throw the onion pepper mix into a blender, add broth, and blend.  This will be your sauce. Give it a try and add more basil, oregano, salt, pepper, or whatever you want. Some people like to strain their red pepper sauce to make it a smooth consistency. I like to eat it as is, get as many nutrients as possible.

3. Add a little more oil to the skillet you used in step one, turn to medium heat. Chop up your broccoli, throw it in. Sautée broccoli until it begins to turn bright green.  Add the spinach, turn and stir constantly until spinach wilts (this will happen quickly, be careful not to overcook). Set aside.

4. Pour your red pepper sauce over your veggies and enjoy!

Note: Some of you may choose to enjoy this over some gluten free brown rice pasta shells. Also, feel free to be creative with what vegetables you include. This sauce would work great over some grilled asparagus.

*Red bell peppers and spinach are vegetables that are very good for you, but also soak up a lot of pesticides when they are grown. It is important to buy these vegetables organic if at all possible.

 

A freaky diet…but it works

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! FOREVER? Seriously!? Surely not…I mean…surely your diet will be back to normal one day! Don’t worry! It will!” ….

No, my diet will never be normal, yes, this is the rest of my life….

…A typical conversation when someone learns about my crazy diet. So many restrictions, so much frustration. Why do I eat like this? Well, here’s the short version of the story…

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (IC) – a chronic bladder pain condition, and chronic pelvic pain. There is very little research about IC or pelvic pain and treatments are minimally effective at best, draconian at worst. But the one thing that does seem to help patients across the board is the IC diet; A diet free of bladder irritants. These irritants include acidic foods such as tomatoes, oranges, coffee, and ALL types of alcohol; preservatives such as MSG; spicy foods; and then other seemingly random foods such as soy. Here is a link to the IC diet food list: http://www.ichelp.org/page.aspx?pid=390

So I started on the IC diet, and my symptoms improved quite a bit. But my health still wasn’t good (and I was only 23-24)! My pain was still apparent and I had many other symptoms. The most important thing I did at this time was destress my life (which helped tremendously)!  But, in addition, I found a new doctor who performed a blood allergy test to see if I had any food intolerances…Oh man…did I have intolerances…

I found out I was allergic to:

Gluten, dairy, wheat, garlic, ginger, beef, eggs, and much more.

HOLY SHIT.

WHAT THE HELL WILL I EAT?! I will admit, I felt extraordinarily overwhelmed. I thought the IC diet was bad, and now….now…I have to eliminate even MORE!? What about delicious pizza?! Pasta!? Muffins?! All of my favorite things…

But I buckled down and did it. My aches and pains have improved tremendously. My IC flare ups are fewer and farther between. I am off all of my prescription medicines. The past year has been a journey and a struggle. I still get down about missing my favorite foods, about missing out on things I love like going out to eat, having a beer or glass of wine with friends. Sometimes I get really bummed out about it…but in the end I remember…

With some time and creativity, my life can still be full of wonderful and delicious foods!

I want this blog to be a resource  for people with restrictions like me!  Maybe you have a gluten intolerance, maybe dairy, maybe you have IC….or maybe you’re just like me and you’ve got it all! Hah. So let the delicious culinary endeavors begin!!

Most importantly, let’s stay positive, and have fun533666_10101411733616440_585762875_n