When Life Gives You Limes…

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When life gives you limes…you make Pad Thai

I do make A LOT of my meals but there are many days where I am tired and lazy and I just want to eat take-out out on the couch.

One evening we were craving chicken Pad Thai but there lies one issue…Pad Thai contains soy sauce which contains gluten. After calling 5+ Thai spots in Houston, none said they made their Pad Thai with GF soy sauce or Tamari (gluten free equivalent). Insert the huge void that filled my heart. Damn you Celiac Gods…you finally got in the way.

That is, until I decided to make my own Pad Thai at home aka my GF safe zone. I wanted to create something simple but still extremely satisfying. The ingredients may seem like a lot at first but once you have the staples for the sauce in your fridge, you will be able to whip this up in no time, time and time again. This truly has become our households staple comfort meal–The leftovers are even awesome.


GLUTEN FREE CHICKEN PAD THAI

(FEEDS 2-4)

1 box of rice noodles/pad thai noodles

2 eggs, scrambled

1 shallot, minced

green onions, diced

2 limes

1/3 cup peanuts, crushed

2 chicken breasts, cubed

1/8 cup rice vinegar

1/8 cup fish sauce

1/8 cup sriracha (gf)

1/8 tamari (gf soy sauce)

1/4 cup brown sugar

sesame oil

  1. In a medium sized skillet, on medium heat, add 2 tbs sesame oil, minced shallots and chicken. Cook through (10-15 minutes). Set aside in a bowl.
  2. In new skillet, heat 1 tbs sesame oil and scramble eggs, set aside in another bowl.
  3. Dice 1/3 of a group of green onions, set aside in bowl.
  4. Crush peanuts, set aside in bowl
  5. Boil large pot of water, bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off heat, add rice noodles and let sit for 8-10 minutes. Strain noodles, rinse with cold water and toss in 1 tbs sesame oil. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl add rice vinegar, fish sauce, tamari/gf soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, juice of 1 lime. Mix and set aside.
  7. Place noodles, chicken, peanuts, green onions and pad thai sauce in large sauce pan. Place on low heat and cook 5-10 more minutes. Stir until mixed.
  8. Garnish with green onions, limes wedges and peanuts, serve when ready.
  9. Enjoy!

12 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY! (PERSONAL RECORD SINCE CHANGING MY EATING HABITS: 214 DAYS)

 

-C

What Do You Mean He Don’t Eat No Meat?

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If you aren’t a Big Fat Greek Wedding fan, then you probably don’t understand today’s post title. If you are, then I hope you are firing me up some lamb on a spit in your front yard 😉

Let’s be honest, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding we all judged Ian Miller a little bit when we found out he “didn’t eat no meat.” When it comes to dietary trends or “fads” that we don’t understand it’s very easy to judge if they don’t fall in line with our own beliefs.

Did I ever think I would go meatless or at least attempt it, no? Did I also think I would be diagnosed with a genetic mutation of my collagen, definitely not. Before I had educated myself I thought animal protein was our only protein source. Not only that, but I felt there was no a way a human could be healthy without it. Boy, was I wrong.

I realize that .05% of my friends will cut meat because of me but next time you’re buying meat, all I ask if that you buy for the quality and not from the discount bin. We spend so much money on material things like designer clothing, the latest Apple product, Daily Starbucks runs and maintaining our car(s) but we roll our eyes at locally sourced, non hormone injected food because it’s priced too high? Why do we care more about making sure our car runs properly or outfits are on point but won’t splurge on what it makes us well? I don’t understand that.

WHY GO MEATLESS?

Some of you may have noticed a new trend going around called #MeatlessMondays on social media. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. And going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. Not only that, but you can save some money when grocery shopping!  Tip: avoid the aisles and stick simply to the produce section. I went shopping for the week on Sunday and guess what my bill was at Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck? $21! You know why? Because I didn’t buy packaged, processed crap and I didn’t need to buy meat.

I truly did not become passionate about this until my Geneticist encouraged I go meatless but the onion has been peeled and now that I am informed, it truly cannot go ignored. I feel better than I ever have by eating mainly fruits and vegetables and encourage this dietary lifestyle to anyone who feels ill often, or has any family history of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc.

Start slow and see the changes for yourself.

For this upcoming Monday, Go Meatless with this delicious taco recipe. DO IT!

COCONUT CRUSTED AVOCADO TACOS

INGREDIENTS

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KIWI SALSA

3 kiwis. peeled and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped

1 small red pepper, sliced (or to taste)

1/2 fresh lime, juiced

pinch of sea salt

CASHEW LIME CREAM

1/2 cup raw cashews

2 tbs lime juice

pinch of sea salt

COCONUT CRUSTED AVOCADO

2 avocados, pitted and sliced

a squeeze of lime juice

3/4 cup shredded coconut (or as needed to coat)

THE BEANS

1 tsp coconut oil for cooking

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 can of beans (depending on party size)

1 tbs tomato paste

1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed

Prepare the kiwi salsa:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, set aside in the fridge.

Make the cashew cream:

  1. Rinse and drain the cashews. Place them in a blender with all of the ingredients and blend on high. Add water as needed, small amounts at a time, until you get a nice smooth consistency. Set aside in the fridge.

Cook the beans:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until tender (2-3 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add cooked beans, tomato paste, jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes and leave heat on simmer until the entire meal is complete.

Prepare and cook the coconut crusted avocados:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pit and slice the avocados into thin wedges and place onto a cookie tray lined in parchment paper. Squeeze lime juice all over the avocado slices, getting them nice and soaked. With your hands, sprinkle the shredded coconut covering the avocados until fully coated. Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Assemble the tacos:

  1. Warm up the tortillas in either the oven (wrap in foil) or microwave (wrap in damp paper towels). Place a spoonful of beans in the center of each tortilla, top with 2-3 avocado slices, top with pico, drizzle the cashew cream and enjoy!

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196 IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

 

-C

Scream + Shout for Brussels Sprouts

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BRUSSELS SPROUTS // maintain the health of your skin, teeth and gums

Vitamin C is essential for normal growth and development. This nutrient keep your immune system strong and helps maintain the health of your skin, teeth and gums.

Vitamin C protects your cells from damage as well, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

A 1/2 cup serving of brussels sprouts contains 48 milligrams of vitamin c, which is about 50% of what men need each day and about 65% of what women need.


I have been gluten free for 15 months now and I could not be more happy with that decision. I haven’t felt this healthy in a long time and I know this is just the beginning. With that being said, it still is hard eating outside of my safe gluten free kitchen because it truly seems like EVERYTHING has gluten in it.

My sweet and thoughtful friends always attempt to eat gluten free around me to not torture me but I assure you, it’s just not worth it for me and my body of oddities.

When we go out and there are brussels sprouts on the menu, you know those bad boys are getting ordered. What’s unfortunate for me and other Celiac’s like me is that 9 times out of 10 these delicious brussels sprouts have soy sauce in them which has gluten in it.

After coming across this issue so many times while eating out, I decided to take matters into my own hands…replicate the very delicious dish that plagues me at most restaurants. Since I was already happy with my current brussels sprout recipe I decided to just add some tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce) to the recipe.

The stars aligned for this one ya’ll…you’re welcome 😉 I have officially made it multiple times this week and am craving it to the point where I will be making sandwiches and tacos stuffed with these brussels sprouts. So happy about this tweaked recipe. This is what I like to call glass half full…because of my crappy diagnosis, I have found something delicious and enjoyable that will in return boost my immune system. Suck on that, Celiac.

Here you go!

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SWEET TART BRUSSELS SPROUTS

INGREDIENTS

brussels sprouts halved

3 tbs grapeseed oil

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 lemon juiced

1-2 tbs tamari sauce or soy sauce

S + PP to taste

  1. Cut the bottoms off of the brussies and then cut in halves, place into saute pan
  2. Once all brussies are cut up, add oil and turn to medium heat
  3. Add your salt, pepper and tamari/soy sauce
  4. Once the brussies start turning to a light green and softening, turn the heat to low, add the juice of the lemon (zest, too if you’re feeling fancy) and sprinkle the brown sugar on top
  5. Cook on low until you are ready to serve dinner
  6. Enjoy!

185 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

-C

You Mango Me Loco

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MANGOES // rich in beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is a powerful carotenoid. This element of mango helps to enhance the immune system and make it impervious to bacteria and toxins.

Excess beta-carotein is also transformed into Vitamin A. This is another antioxidant vitamin and gives you additional protection from the free radicals that harm your internal systems.

Mangoes increase your chances of living a disease-free life.


Today’s post is one that is near and dear to my heart currently.

Starting around 2005 I was getting sick nearly every 30 days. I paired it with living the life of a college student; poor sleeping hours, binge drinking  at Bogie’s bar and Canes chicken fingers on repeat.

Fast forward to my post college life where I started cleaning up my diet and drinking less. I was still getting sick almost every 30 days…colds, light fevers, bronchitis, sinus infections, repeat.

When I had learned I had Celiac Disease, it finally made sense as to why I was always sick. Celiac disease wrecks your immune system but not only that, I was not fueling my body with the correct nutrition. For starters, I was harming my body by eating gluten but also I wasn’t making fruit and veggies the main focal point of my meals.

After my Cardiologist and Geneticist both encouraged new dietary restrictions, I knew it was time to take the plunge; take the sarcastic comments from those who aren’t in the know on nutrition acting as medicine nd heal my body the right way..with clean eating. Think gluten free + Vegan + fish…but sometimes chicken and beef. Moderation and source is key with your animal products. I one day hope to be solely vegan plus fish but until then I will ingest the best local sources of my animal products.

After being committed my new diet (lifestyle) I now can say I am 5lbs from my target weight set by my Geneticist and have not been sick in 174 days!!!

You guys seriously don’t understand how HUGE this is for me and others who struggle with this disease(s). Imagine being sick for over 10 years around the clock, struggling to gain weight, dealing with the harshness of people/strangers comments that can’t see the struggle and still moving forward with a plan people don’t fully comprehend.

I have made it my life goal to live well and feel well despite my diagnoses and I love seeing the strides I have made.

With that being said, let’s get started on this delicious Mango Salsa recipe!

The other weekend, I got to spend some time at my sister and her husband’s beach cabin. With the weather being so hot, we wanted to have something refreshing for dinner. Whenever I think of refreshing meals, I always think of lime juice which then makes me think of ceviche. After some more brainstorming, we settled on shrimp tacos with a mango salsa. Yum!

This salsa is super versatile. It can be paired with shrimp, scallops, salmon, white fish, chips, etc. etc.

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MANGO SALSA

1/2 mango diced

1 heirloom tomato diced

1 small red onion diced

handful of chopped cilantro

1 fresh lime juiced

  1. Add all above ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until main dish is cooked
  2. Top desired dish with mango salsa or use as a dip
  3. Enjoy!

174 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

 

-C

 

 

Life’s a Peach

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PEACHES // the zen fruit

Peaches are often referred to as the “Fruit of Calmness” in Hungary.

Peaches are a healthy stress-reliever that help reduce anxiety. Who new something so tasty could be so beneficial?


There are two things that I love so much…summer salads and peach season! Today’s salad basically encompasses both of my loves and it’s also a crowd -pleaser.

Who doesn’t love something cool and refreshing during the Houston melt-fest that is our summer?

This past weekend, I got to spend sometime with my family at the beach which was so nice but we all couldn’t help to notice that even the nice coastal breeze was hot! When we were planning dinner, all we were craving was light and refreshing. I knew it was a great time to whip out this salad recipe.

I am a big fan of simple recipes and quick to whip up –this salad is definitely those things. If you’re in the market for a new summer salad, see below!

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PEACH SUMMER SALAD

2-3 peaches

2 heirloom tomatoes

1 ball of mozzarella di bufala

1 small bundle of basil

6-8 slices of proscuitto

 2 heads of greens of your choosing (I now have used kale, arugula and spinach)

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  1. Rinse and dry the lettuce and rip larger leaves in shreds
  2. Slice the peaches and tomatoes into wedges
  3. Assemble the salad by laying the lettuce down on the bottom, scatter the peaches and tomatoes over the lettuce
  4. Tear the mozzarella over the salad
  5. Spread the basil over the salad
  6. Lay slices of prosciutto throughout the salad
  7. To make the dressing, whisk together the EVOO and balsamic vinegar
  8. Drizzle desired amount on top of the salad
  9. Enjoy!

169 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

-C

 

Guac-Amoré

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AVOCADOS // contain more potassium than a banana

Potassium is a nutrient that most people are not getting enough of. This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells and serves various important functions.

Avocados are actually very high in potassium…with a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14% of the recommended daily amount (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food.

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.


Today’s meal share is not just one recipe but THREE! I normally only share one but this pic shows the entire meal, so why not share the whole thing? They all can be whipped up in no time, so sharing them all is no big thang.

On the Menu:

-White fish tacos topped with guacamole and pomegranate seeds

-Black beans topped with goat cheese

-Chopped kale salad with mangoes and toasted pumpkin seeds, lightly tossed in grapeseed oil

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It all may sound complex but it was one of the quickest meals to make and for this night’s case, it was for a lot of hungry mouths!

What makes these dishes so nice is that they each have that one ingredient that really makes the flavors pop. For the salad, it’s the mangoes, for the tacos, it’s the pom seeds and for the beans it’s the goat cheese. You don’t need to focus on much seasoning since its all right there in the ingredients.

So, the next time you’re wanting to cook for a large group or just don’t have the energy to put some time into dinner, try out this meal.

CHOPPED KALE SALAD

1 bunch of kale (feeds 2-3 people per bunch)

1 thawed bag of frozen mangoes (highly recommend the Trader Joe’s version)

Half a bag of toasted pumpkin seeds

2 tbs of grapeseed oil

  1. Remove kale from stems and pulse briefly in a blender/food processor until the entire bunch has been blended. Add to salad bowl.
  2. Lightly toss the salad with 1-2 tbs of grapeseed oil, massaging it into the kale (this helps you get more nutrients from the kale)
  3. Pour the entire bag (juice, too) of mangoes on top of the salad
  4. Lightly toast pumpkin seeds in a saute pan on the stove. Make sure you keep your eye on these bad boys, if they sit too long they will burn…take my word for it. Stir occasionally and then once lightly toasted, pour on top of the salad
  5. Place in the fridge until the rest of your meal is cooked and plated.

BLACK BEANS

1 can organic black beans

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Heat beans on stove and when ready, serve in a bowl and top with goat cheese

WHITE FISH TACOS

fresh Halibut filets (or any other white fish of your choosing)

pre-made guacamole

packaged pomegranate seeds

corn tortillas

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

paprika

Side Note:  I meant it when I said this was a quick recipe. The guacamole was pre-made from Whole Foods and the pom seeds had been removed from the pom itself for me and placed into a plastic container…expensively contained but worth every penny. Have you ever tried to remove pom arils yourself? It might be worse than cutting up a mango. Just buy them pre-packaged from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Place your fish on a large metal tray lined in foil or parchment paper and season with your S, PP, paprika and sprinkle lightly with your red pepper flakes.
  3. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes (or until flaky)
  4. When you have a few minutes remaining, wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and place in the oven until warm.
  5. Once the tortillas are ready, top them with the fish, guac and then the pom seeds.
  6. Enjoy!

 

163 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

 

-C

If Looks Could Kale

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KALE // packed with vitamin c

Vitamin C is an important nutrient. It is a water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body’s cells. For example, it is necessary to synthesize collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the body.

Kale is much higher in vitamin c than most other vegetables, containing about 4.5 times much as spinach. The truth is kale is actually among the world’s best sources of vitamin c.

A cup of raw kale even contains MORE vitamin c than a whole orange!


The one time I will ever be grateful for a long delayed flight is because of this recipe right here!

I had purchased only so many magazines and had scored a sweet spot to sit and charge my work iPad, so obviously I was not getting up until my flight came…or extreme restlessness ensued. So, there I was reading my Martha Stewart Living Mag for the third time and my eye caught this very small blurb about an easy kale pesto recipe.

Kale is a staple in our house for 2 very simple reasons–Ryan is obsessed with Morgan’s Kale Salad and I love it in my smoothies, ergo, we keep it in the fridge on the reg. So, when this recipe came into my life after skimming over it time and time again, I knew it had to be made for the upcoming Meatless Monday.

There is nothing more exciting than reading a new recipe and realizing that all of it’s ingredients are staples in the house.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Above it discusses how vitamin c is crucial to the body’s cells, it is necessary to synthesize collagen. Something that I am curious about when it comes to my own (genetically mutated) collagen, is mine being synthesized? Is the vitamin c intake truly benefiting towards the protection of my collagen? I ask this to myself often when healing my body with food because since my collagen is genetically mutated (Ehlers’s Danlos Syndrome) it cannot be altered back into a “normal” state. So, the question is, Am I eternally doomed and I will just deal with the natural degradation of my collagen or can I maintain it with diet? Time shall tell, won’t it?

Until then, let’s stuff our face with some really great food that will keep us alive and happy forever 😉

KALE PESTO PASTA

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INGREDIENTS

(feeds 2)

1-2 gloves of garlic

1/2 cup almonds toasted

1/4 cup Parmesan finely grated

10 oz kale (or any leafy green)

1/2 cup EVOO (I use grapeseed oil)

sprinkle of coarse salt (I use Celtic sea salt)

1 box of linguine pasta

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

cherry tomatoes

  1. In a food processor, pulse garlic and almonds until finely chopped.
  2. Add cheese and half of greens, pulse until combined.
  3. Add remaining greens, pulse to a paste.
  4. With the motor running, pour in the oil.
  5. Season with salt
  6. Top with goat cheese and tomatoes
  7. Enjoy!

119 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

 

-C