Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Broccoli beef

Sometimes, I feel like I need an hourly reminder to keep working, and cooking, or the urge to comply with the diet fades as laziness rears it's ugly head. Really, it doesn't even have to be laziness, just a desire to rest for a moment. I cooked up a storm yesterday, and had so many dishes it took three loads in the dishwasher plus about a half hour worth of washing by hand on top of that.

And then I had to cook again just twenty minutes later, and in almost no time at all (maybe 2 nanoseconds?) I had two sinkfulls of dishes all over again, spreading out from the sink to encroach on my counter top. I thought they might be considering the cat as a late night snack.

Really, I am not used to this many dishes, produced this quickly.

I wonder why I never hear about this on the gluten free forums I haunt: how do you cope with the increase in dish washing when you're still trying to find the time to cope with gluten-free foods? I think this is a legitimate concern for many of us!

So, yes, I'm house-cleaning challenged as well as cooking challenged. Is that really a surprise?

I thought not.

However, I am choosing not to dwell on this. I'd rather take note of the positive things, at the beginning of the year now. My first Gluten-Free January. There'll be plenty of time to whine later on, anyway.

So, the Current Good List
- I am 6 pounds away from the ideal weight that I've been trying to reach for about 13 years. I just dug out my old clothes in storage and fit into clothing I haven't worn since I was 23 (I'm 37 now). Of course, the fat I have left seems to have taken up residence in my backside, and the fat that I'm losing seems to be all cleavage. I seem to be missing THAT memo on the gluten-free boards as well. Go Gluten-free and Cleavage-free, a two for one deal! Ah well, feels better to have shed all this weight anyway!
- with less weight, my plantar fasciitis is a thing of the past. Not even a little, bitty twinge of pain, there. It's awesome.
- I don't feel depressed, for the first time since I was a teenager (when I started pigging out on sugar, which we have since found out I'm allergic to. Hmmm.). I'm frustrated, overwhelmed at times, tired, healing, and whiny, but STILL not depressed. It feels like a minor miracle.
- I have been doing a darn good job on this cooking thing this year (Yes, it's been less than a week. Let me say it this way and feed my ego for the moment, eh?) I've put in the hour or two that it takes to find GF recipes that the kids will eat and I can make, or afford to buy ingredients for. I've done the shopping, which usually involves 1-1/2 hours of driving, 4 separate stores and 3-4 hours of actual shopping. And I've sucked it up and made it all, no matter how tired I've been, or how grumpy the kids are. Which is more crucial than it might seem, considering that all the foods I'm making are things that make me react. So I can cook 'em, but I can't taste them! I have to get the kids or my husband to tell me how the food tastes, and what it might need as a spice. Or more important, what a substitute ingredient tastes like so we can try to find something that goes with it. I'm feeling rather proud of myself that I've managed it all this week.

And on that note, let me recommend an ingredient!

Food Recommendation
Coconut Aminos - This bottled stuff can be used as a substitute for soy sauce, and it's only got two ingredients: coconut sap and sea salt. Since we were off soy, my husband grabbed this at Whole Foods when he found it (You can see it here: ). It's a little less salty than soy sauce, maybe a little sweeter, according to my kids. It worked great, though!

Today I attempted to make broccoli beef for the family, and was able to use this coconut stuff for the first time. It was a bit harder, as I couldn't taste how different it might be. But we used the Broccoli Beef recipe from 'Chinese cooking for dummies' - kinda made for me, with that title - and I was substituting all over the place. Rice wine and dark agave nectar and coconut aminos - I was a substituting fiend. And the great thing is, it worked! The kids liked it, the hubby liked it, and there's just enough left over to send with my husband for work tomorrow.

I even added some stir-fried baby bokchoy that turned out as well - my husband took pictures because it looked so 'pretty.' The stir fry is relative easy. Quick, not many ingredients, gluten free, soy free (if I understand the coconut amino labels correctly) and tasty.

Stir-Fried Baby Bokchoy
Get 2-4 baby bok choy, rinse them and chop into pieces. Heat a teeny bit of oil in a wok or frying pan, then add some minced garlic and stiry-fry for a few seconds, until you get a nice smell from it. Oh, sorry - until it is 'fragrant.' Dump in the bok choy and then add a little coconut aminos (or GF soy sauce, if you can have it) and cook enough to wilt the leaves, or until it's as firm or mushy as you like. Take off the heat and serve.

Nice and easy, yeah? Also, if you're looking for prettification? Cut off the base of the baby bok choy as you're chopping, and it tends to resemble a small, green rose which looks nice as a garnish.

It was a nice dinner to have today. One where, even though it was a lot of work, and generated a stunning amount of dishes, it still actually turned out right! The kids liked it - the broccoli beef part - and I even finished my buffalo meat with avocado in time to eat with the family instead of sitting down just as everyone is finishing.

A good day to blog, people. A very good day.

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