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Going Gluten Free

Let me just say here first: I love bread. I love pasta. I love cake. But sadly it may not love me back. So for many reasons I’ve decided to try a gluten free diet for two months to see if I may have a gluten intolerance. I’ve also spoken to a nutritionist and my doctor about this so I am not doing this on a whim or weight loss attempt (although that wouldn’t be a bad side effect). If I see signficiant benefits to some health issues, I may be gluten free forever. In that case, I have a lot of work to do.

I’ve survived one week of gluten free and it was actually pretty easy since we eat at home a lot. The hardest part was my nephew’s fifth birthday party — no birthday cake for me! Controlling what we eat at home is not difficult. I already cook quite a bit with brown rice, quinoa, millet, veggies, fish and meat. However, eating out is going to be the real challenge. Did you know that there is gluten in soy sauce? Neither did I. On the flip side, I didn’t realize that rice is gluten free. Thank god.

So if you are in the same boat as me and are looking to explore gluten free living, here are the resources I am using to get up to speed. In the meantime, I will share some recipes on gluten free baking (and we know I’m not much of a baker) once I take that leap. That will be, by far, the most challenging part for me. If you don’t want to go without bread or a little treat forever and don’t want to spend money on store bought gluten free products, you need to make them yourself!

For the most part, I’m still cooking like I normally do. I’m just more mindful of what I eat outside the house.  And for the record my mother is full supportive of this experiment but I’m quite sure I won’t be able to eat at her house for the next couple of months!

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My Zucchini Runneth Over!

I’ve probably shared the story of my one farm experience as a kid. Smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood was a farm, a small one, but a farm nonetheless. I’m not sure if anything came out of that farm other than corn. But we loved our corn and we loved walking to the farm, buying the corn, and sitting out back on the “stoop” to husk the corn. I think it was the only truly “fresh” vegetable we ever had other than tomatoes and cucumbers. After many years of saying we were going to, we finally joined a CSA. Now I haven’t received any corn, but I’ve eaten more kale in the past three weeks than I have in 40 years of life. As you can imagine, my mother’s kitchen didn’t have a whole lot of kale in stock. This week I’m overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t love either and since there is just two of us I need to find a few good ways to use it up before next week when I get more!

Since I’m trying to lay off the sweets (except ice cream since that doesn’t count in the summer!), I opted for savory vs. sweet because yes I did think of zucchini bread. I decided on three dishes for my crop – A zucchini/squash gratin and a zucchini, basil, and pine nut frittata for the weekend and a zucchini soup to go with last night’s “cook-in” leftovers of tabouli salad, corn and chicken sausages. As you know, I love me a good soup, but I’ve never made zucchini soup. I decided to go with something that might work hot or cold given the 100 degree temps here this week. And I always love an excuse to use my immersion blender.

I found a simple Curried Zucchini soup recipe along with dozens and dozens of other zucchini/squash recipes at Martha Stewart.com. Definitely check it out if, like me, have an abundance of squash this summer.

This soup would have been pretty bland without the garlic and curry powder so feel free to add more spices to meet your test preferences and maybe even a dollop of plain greek yogurt and some nice toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish!

Happy Summer!

Curried Zucchini Soup (Martha Stewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish (I used roasted pumpkin seeds)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 tablespoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, potato, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In batches, puree soup in a blender (do not fill more than halfway) until smooth; serve immediately, or let cool, and refrigerate in an airtight container until chilled. Garnish with toasted almonds. (or roasted pumpkin seeds!)
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