Day 12 of our 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Lauren of Celiac Teen. When faced with the diagnosis of celiac disease, Lauren of Celiac Teen turned this potential hardship into a new passion for gluten-free food. Lauren has been blogging her recipes and experiences as a gluten-free teen for 2 years. She is currently a 17 year old high school student in Canada who loves to play with flours.
Lauren’s Recipe: Pasta Bake
Lauren’s Tip: Healthy changes rather than quick fixes.
The other day, while searching for my tip, a friend decided to go on the lemon juice-cayenne pepper-maple syrup-water diet. I quickly convinced her that that was in fact, not good for her. If she really wanted to be healthier, it was all about the little changes. A whole orange rather than orange juice with breakfast. Fruit as your snack when you get home rather than lots of cheese. Not buying a fast food lunch each day (even if it’s a smoothie), but bringing one from home. Eating meatless once a week. It wasn’t as though I was telling her things she had never heard before, but her eyes were wide with wonder. Healthy modifications rather than quick fixes. Simple changes rather than yo-yo diets. Good delicious fresh food rather than food that just happens to be near.
The next day, she brought a bagged lunch. I know that Jamie Oliver is fighting for school lunches (among other things) that are healthy and delicious, but when people are going off-campus anyways and a bagged lunch will control what they eat and make sure that they get everything they need, it’s a good thing. The first day, she didn’t have enough to eat in her lunch, so she went to the vending machine. And although that’s not the best plan in general, my school recently got a healthy vending machine, or at least a healthier one. There are even gluten-free and kosher items, so that all of us can enjoy it (although some of the other machines do serve gluten-free things such as riceworks chips).
Now, I won’t claim to be the healthiest high-school student out there, but I am very aware of my food. I have to be.I was sick for two years. Two long years. Pneumonia gave a handful of diseases the kick-start they needed to wreak more havoc in my body. First came thyroid. The crazy little thing went overactive then underactive. Then, about 6 months later, celiac (the source of my daily stomach aches) was proven. Unrelated, I have a minor blood disorder. And there are those gall stones. Teeny, tiny, sludgy gall stones, at 16. Not to mention the postural hypotension. When everyone else is racing away from salt, I have to take salt pills just to maintain my blood pressure and blood volume.
Suffice to say, I have to read every label. I have to know if wheat may have come into contact with it. I also like to know how much salt is in something, because I take 1500 mg a day, and am always happy to have more. I wouldn’t suggest that you increase your salt intake unless directed to by your physician. My GP, GI and Cardiologist all said that this was a good thing for me. It lets me feel normal, rather than my arms feeling funny. They start to feel not solid otherwise. It’s weird, and bad.
But we make it through. I’m still eating well, thin, healthy. So (for that one person that managed to read all of this but not the bolded tip) what is my tip? Make healthy changes, not quick fixes. Each night, we have a nice huge bowl of veggies before dinner. My brother and I will often fight over them. They are fresh, colourful, and delicious; what’s not to fight for? Especially that elusive last piece. Another great thing is a glass of milk at dinner. I even drink skim – it doesn’t take long to get used to it. I enjoy it now. We eat dinner as a family. If it’s one of those nights where people are running out the door, eggs or bean dishes are what we enjoy for dinner.
Some nights, you want something warm and comforting, with cheese and tomatoes but not quite as involved as lasagna. So, here is a pasta bake. It’s warm, delicious, and all I heard as we ate was the tapping of forks against the plates. We didn’t need to talk. It was delicious. I even reheated some for lunch the next day. In fact, I’d love a bowl right about now :).
Adapted from Bon Appétit.
2 cups gluten-free penne pasta (Tinkyada)
3 cups broccoli florets (1-inch)
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook penne in boiling and salted water for 12 minutes until almost tender. Add in broccoli and cook for one minute, then drain.
Combine the sauce, half of the cheddar, ricotta, basil and 1 tbsp parmesan in a large bowl. Toss drained pasta and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an 11 by 7 baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Let rest for 5 minutes, then enjoy!
More from Lauren today on her blog, Puffed Gluten Free Pancake.
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
- Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
- Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
- Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you #30days2 #foodrevolution
When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.