Tag Archives: diet

The Daily Bitch…I Was Born This Way

9 Feb

Lady Gaga

The other day I happened upon a conversation between a gluten-free woman, her husband, and a young shopkeeper.  I had literally just finished a meeting with Enid about launching this blog, so it was very serendipitous. This gluten-freer was in the middle of explaining how annoying it is for people who can’t have gluten to be put in the same boat with people who won’t have gluten.  I don’t know how they got on the subject. I can only assume that the gluten-freer, like so many marginalized and slightly bitter people, wanted to be heard, validated, and perhaps *pitied just a little bit. I imagine she worked it into the conversation as smoothly as butter on a nice warm piece of bread (the kind with gluten).

I listened for a few minutes and considered walking out of the store. But then I asked myself  what would a gluten-free bitch do-would she walk away? I think not.  I think she would belly up to the bar, make some new gluten-free friends, spread the news about her blog  and make sure that shopkeeper never asked a customer how they were doing ever again.  So that’s what I did.  Also, I saw a really cute dress I wanted to try on.

And yes! It is so annoying to hear about people like Gwyneth Paltrow who choose to be gluten-free.  They give the rest of us a bad name. Like in a restaurant for instance, asking about every ingredient, explaining what gluten is, seeing the glazed or annoyed look in the waitresses eyes.  You don’t really want to have to say, “I’m not doing this  because I want to look like Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s just that if I eat even one crumb of gluten my immune system will go all crazy on my small intestine and start destroying my cilia [cut to horrified waitress].

Also, I do not:

  • have a personal chef (which would possibly make up for the whole celiac thing)
  • already have years of veganism under my belt
  • spend 4 hours a day doing Pilates
  • have a ton of money to spend on whatever I want to make up for the fact that I can’t eat bread (I’m not saying she does this I’m just saying she could if she wanted to)

So what is my point?   I didn’t choose this “lifestyle”   I WAS BORN THIS WAY

So what are my other points?

  1. I hate to cook
  2. I like eating animals and things that come from animals
  3. I’m not good at Pilates
  4. I have a shopping problem

Todays Treat: A new dress  (retail therapy, it’s more expensive than psychotherapy but just as fun.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Pity and especially self-pity has gotten a bad rap. Sometimes a girl (or a guy) just has to wallow for a while.  Look for my Pity Party Planner, coming to  a blog near you soon!

The Daily Bitch…. Celiac. It’s a Good Thing. Six Reasons for Gluten-Free Rejoicing.

1 Feb

Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac, everyone has been telling me how great it is that I’m going gluten-free.  They bring me gluten-free muffins and send me links to new recipes for cornbread and piecrust.  They’re waiting for me to embrace my new reality, and I want to be grateful, really I do.  But try as I might, I still haven’t discovered the upside of giving up gluten.  Maybe I’ll get there, but right now I’m working on making it through my errands without having a mini-breakdown.

For example, today I really felt like making angel food cake with chocolate frosting.  It’s a favorite of mine.  But angel food cake is all about fluffy, airy stretchiness and, as we all know, if you want a cake like that, you need gluten.  So when I walked down the aisle with the angel food cake mixes (okay, I don’t bake this from scratch – shoot me), I had to put on my dark glasses so all the other shoppers wouldn’t think I was going through a bad divorce.  Yesterday was similar, except yesterday I was fantasizing about chicken pot pie with a buttermilk biscuit crust.  Different aisle, same sunglasses.

Angel food cake.

You think I’m exaggerating, and I wish I were.  I’m not proud of my obsessive focus on food, or my inability to recognize – no matter how often I’m told – how fortunate I am to be eating the same diet as Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’ve been working on a little list of reasons I should be grateful I’m gluten-free, a list I can pull out every time I start to feel pissed off about never, ever again taking bite of sourdough bread without feeling guilty.

In case you ever start feeling sad about having celiac disease, I will share my list with you.  I’ll give you a sneak peek right now, of just the first reason.  Tomorrow and the next day, I’ll tell you the rest.  Then you, too, will be able to look on the bright side of gluten-free. In a world without angel food cake, you need a nice list every now and again.

How lucky am I to have celiac? Let me count the ways…

  1. I’ve been diagnosed!  A lot of people with celiac go to doctor after doctor trying to figure out why they feel so lousy, only to be misdiagnosed or told it’s all in their head.  So, and this is what my doctor says, how wonderful that I know for sure I have celiac.  But here’s the thing: I got my diagnosis out of the blue, when I felt just fine.  What would you rather do: feel fine and eat whatever you want, or feel fine and order “grilled chicken, no sauce,” when you go out for Thai food? I know it’s wrong, but in this case I would definitely go for blissful, glutinous ignorance.

Tune in tomorrow for more reasons to be glad you’ve got celiac.   Woo hoo.  Really.

Today’s Treat:  Black Salt Caramel Bar, by Vosges.  It is ridiculously expensive, so expensive I am too ashamed to tell you how much it costs.  I hide the bar in my desk and my daughters find it.  Then we have a little fight about how to divide it up.  Then I go back to the store the next day and buy another one.  It’s better than Oxycontin (not that I would know). www.vosgeschocolate.com, but I buy them at Whole Foods and New Leaf in Santa Cruz.  BTW – Vosges sells gluten-free truffles, too.  And yet they don’t identify my favorite candy bar as “gluten-free.”  Which makes me wonder….  But not enough to do anything about it.

Black Salt Caramel Bar, hiding with the flashcards.

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

But to be nice for just a minute… First things first.

30 Jan

When I told the kids I had to go gluten-free, one of their first questions was, “What about the pancakes??”

We’re big into breakfast around here, and when we have something besides eggs it is usually pancakes.  Baba’s cottage cheese pancakes.  Baba is my mother.  Her pancakes are amazing, very high in protein (you’ll see), and just basically perfect in every way.  Light like a crepe, but toothsome, and a bit sour (again like a crepe, or like a very smooth sourdough pancake).

So, within 48 hours of getting the dreaded diagnosis, there I was, mixing up a test batch of pancakes with my new g-f flour mix, hoping against hope that they would taste at least okay.

And here’s the good part:  they taste just the same as when I made them with wheat flour. 

Moment of surpassing joy.   Let’s all pause and enjoy it, because since I’ve gone gluten-free those moments don’t happen too often, at least not in reference to food.

Baba's Cottage Cheese Pancakes, after two Margaritas! Did I mention they're good for dinner, too??

So, even though you aren’t going to see a lot of recipes on this blog, in this case I’m going to make an exception.  I hope you enjoy them!

Baba’s Cottage Cheese Pancakes 

8 extra large eggs

2 cups (16 oz) small curd cottage cheese  (one medium container)

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons oil (I use melted coconut oil, but canola works fine too)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup  gluten-free flour (see my favorite concoction, below)

To Do:  Add all ingredients to the large bowl of your food processor.  Blend well (until you don’t see any more curds).  Melt butter on the griddle and cook as any other pancake recipe.  Finished pancakes should be about 3 inches in diameter.

Serves 4.

My friend Terry, who is a gluten-free chef, came running to my rescue right after my diagnosis.   I’ll talk more about her later.  But for now, here is her gluten-free flour mix:

Terry’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix

½ cup rice flour (white or brown – I use white)

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup corn starch

 

Mix it up – and do a good job, because this stuff won’t work if it isn’t blended.  Then put it in a jar. Presto – you’re a gluten-free baker!

Today’s Treat:  I went out to lunch in Los Gatos today with my friend Allison, and because she is so wonderful she asked the waiter if they had any gluten-free desserts. And they did!  So my treat today was pomegranate panna cotta on an almond meringue crust.  Delish!  Go have some yourself (and share the ridiculously priced but fabulous Steak Cobb Salad with a friend.)  www.steamers-restaurant.com.

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

The Daily Bitch…Let Me Eat Cake

29 Jan

I know, I know, I told you I was going to drink my cake from now on, but I guess I didn’t think it all the way through. Drinking a cupcake is fine once in a while and if you don’t have to be any where or do anything. But these posts don’t write themselves.  I have deadlines, I have tastings and things.

some days I really just want to eat cake. Like today. I was craving something sweet and I like to bake so I decided to make a cake. I use the term “cake” loosely. Since I am no longer allowed the pleasure or simplicity of flour, this “cake” was made from hemp seeds, you heard me right, hemp seeds, and coconut flour, yes there is such a thing, and a variety of other interesting ingredients. It wasn’t bad, in small doses, if you’re a really big fan of coconut and you have a good imagination.

the real thing

My family wouldn’t go near it so I froze most of it. Then a few days later I was craving something sweet. The only sugary thing in the house that I could eat was the coconut cake. Cravings are bad enough but when you know you can’t have the actual thing you want, desire turns to desperation and this is how I found myself sitting on the couch watching Dr. Phil (is he really a doctor?) eating frozen coconut hemp seed cake. This is what my life has come to. Somehow this whole scenario would be easier to digest if I had been devouring a frozen Sara Lee cheesecake or raw cookie dough. I can’t even binge like a normal person. But hey, I’m going to have to learn to work with what’s in front of me. And right now it’s a half-eaten, very cold, coconut hemp seed cake, and an aging bald guy with a lot to say.

Today’s Treat: A good old-fashioned, naturally gluten-free macaroon.  All of the coconut and none of the heartbreak of hempseed. Get it where you can.

Let Me Drink Cake

28 Jan

Enid brings up an excellent point in her last post, Alcohol.  A lot of alcohol is gluten-free. And a lot of alcohol can help you care less about the fact that you are gluten-free.  Now if I were an alcoholic, I would be singing the praises of gluten right now and feeling very grateful that gluten is alcohol-free. But since that is not my situation I have decided to not have my cake but to drink it instead. So the next time you (Enid) find yourself craving a moist piece of chocolate cake, hot apple pie or creamy carrot cake (do people actually crave carrot cake?) try these yummy recipes instead. You’ll find yourself coming back for seconds and signing (literally) the praises of the gluten free lifestyle!

*Chocolate Cake = Godiva Chocolate Martini

1 oz. Godiva Liqueur

1 oz. Smirnoff Vodka

Rim a martini glass with something sweet. Put ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Pour into martini glass and visualize chocolate cake.

Cupcake = Cake Martini

Cake vodka

Betty Crocker vanilla frosting

Rim a martini glass in frosting. Add sprinkles if it makes you happy. Pour ice cold “Cake” into martini glass and try not to think too much about weird it is that you’re drinking a cupcake. 

 

*Carrot Cake = Carrot Cake Martini  

1/2 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Goldshlagger or cinnamon schnapps

2 oz. Bailey’s

2 oz. Butterscotch schnapps

a few splashes of cream

ice cream

Rim a martini glass in cream cheese icing and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Put some ice cream in a bowl and eat that instead.

*Apple Pie = Appletini

1 1/2 parts vanilla liquor

1 part Belvedere Vodka

2 parts apple cider

1 tsp cinnamon

squeeze of lime

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake and bake!

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*these recipes have not actually been tested by me or any one I know but they sound good, except for the carrot cake one.

The Daily Bitch… Goodbye to all that.

27 Jan

Here are two things I’ve been meaning to do: 

Learn to make a perfect, killer, fluffy, rich chocolate cake, and become the kind of woman who is always pulling a loaf of gorgeously rustic, crusty-yet-tender homemade bread out of her oven.

I was waiting to learn both of those skills until I had a little bit more time, until my children were in college, until I found the right friend, or book, or teacher.  Sometimes I would fantasize about learning to bake these things, and I would see myself  (a thinner, wiser, more beautiful and evolved version of me, wearing a cute apron) standing in my kitchen admiring the perfect cake or bread I had just produced.

Yep. Look at that beautiful, crusty bread.

I have aunts and cousins and friends who bake cake and bread frequently and well. Just as I have friends and relations who run marathons, keep immaculate homes, and curl their eyelashes.  I would like to be a tidy, wide-eyed long distance runner too, but what I really focused on during my fantasies was the cake and the bread.  Tall, fluffy, toothsome cakes and breads.  Yum.

But now it’s too late. 

While I was busy in my dream state, planning all those delicacies, cutting out all those recipes, creating files for them, reading New York Times articles about the new, fool-proof bread-making method, so easy that even a child could make it, my body was busy screwing me over.  Silently.  I was trying to decide whether I wanted to begin with a francese or a sourdough, and wondering if Cousin Wendy would give me some of her twenty-year-old starter, while unbeknownst to me the cilia in my intestines were lying down and playing dead.

I guess that’s what they mean by Carpe Diem.  All the time I was supposed to be seizing, all I was doing was dreaming.  Now I am a celiac person (I really don’t like that whole “patient” thing), and my reality is gluten-free.

At least there are cocktails.

Today’s Treat:  Lillet blanc on the rocks, with a tangerine twist.  Dark chocolate-covered almonds for dessert.  www.lillet.com (I buy it at Whole Foods); http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/954 (almonds available online, at Whole Foods near you, or at Trader Joes).

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

The Daily Bitch…..The Good, the Bad and the Gluten-Free Spittoon

26 Jan

Enid and I have been meeting a lot lately to bitch about all things having to do with gluten. After our meetings we sometimes have a tasting of local gluten-free “treats”.

Our first tasting was quite successful; peanut butter cookies, and raspberry muffins from Heather’s Patisserie in Aptos. I had already been enjoying these goodies for several months. But I needed a gluten-free newbie to try them because I cannot trust my own judgment anymore. Once you’ve been eating non gluten substitutes for years your tastes buds change, your standards get lower, you become desperate. Much to my surprise and delight, Enid found them quite tasty. The cookies were crunchy on the edges and softer in the middle with a yummy peanut butter cookie flavor. The muffin tasted like a muffin and was almost the same consistency as one with gluten, our only suggestion-more berries.

Our next tasting was at a lovely little bakery on the west side of Santa Cruz. They had several gluten-free options, so naturally we had to try them all; the brownie, the buckwheat scone, the macaroon and the granola bar. We set each one out on a napkin in front of us, asked the very adorable bakery boy for a knife and cut them all in half. The difficulty in cutting them was our first clue. The crumbly texture our next clue. Sadly we knew before biting into them what we were getting into.

  • First the granola bar, not bad if you’re craving globs of granola and fruit stuck together and eaten without milk.
  • Next was the buckwheat scone. I can think of nothing to say that is not already evident by the name.
  • The macaroon should have been a shoe-in. Macaroons are naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious so I can think of no excuse for a bad one. Its best quality was its very small size.
  • The brownie was the most disappointing mainly because a friend had said they were delicious, and stupidly, as gluten-free people tend to do, we got our hopes up. And it looked promising. It looked like a real brownie. If you’ve ever had a brownie made with black beans than you will understand. It lacked chocolate or richness or any other discernible flavor.

Enid has a rule that I have adopted, the “take one bite and throw it away” rule. This is an especially good rule for people who do “tastings” on a regular basis. Much like the wine taster who swishes the wine around in his mouth and then chucks the rest in a spittoon. That’s what we need- a gluten-free spittoon- but with none in sight we carefully wrapped up all of our uneaten crumbs and chunks in napkins and discretely tossed them. Although Enid took the granola bar with her. I think she was going to use it in an art project.

I do want to say that this bakery was very sweet, the ambiance, the service, everything was lovely, except for everything we ordered. It’s hard for me to give a bad review.  I know I can’t really call myself a bitch if I’m not willing to go there. Still I just don’t think I can name names. I realize this makes the review both bad and unhelpful, but you get what you pay for. Also, I think I have given you enough clues to figure it out for yourself.

Today’s Treat: Always keep a really good chocolate  bar in your purse, you can nibble on it slowly throughout the day, or scarf it down all at once, who cares-it’s gluten free and it’s good! My current favorite  Green & Black’s milk chocolate with almonds .  www.greenandblacks.com

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