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Hello {!firstname_fix},

I have started writing this newsletter around 20 times. Something is always interrupting me. So today I ran away and hid so no one could find me.  It's a rainy day today and I really just want to curl up with a good book and take the day off. But being so behind on writing, I thought I would get to it and share some tips, stories and a recipe. I hope you find something useful. Feel free to pass this along.
 
Have a wonderful day!
- Diane


In This Issue..

How to Adapt Recipes

Recipe CardDo you often see recipes that have ingredients in them that you can't eat and just roll right past them? Something you may look at and think looks delicious and you would have loved to eaten that "before". All you need to know are a few tricks, a go to list and toss out the fear.

First let me say that there is probably already an adaptation to the recipe you are interested in somewhere on the internet. There are also tons of resources on blogs dedicated to food without that ingredient you can't eat. No gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, grains, tree nuts, peanuts, seafood or meat. Plus you can find blogs on living Night Shade Free, on a Candida Diet and the list goes on. So when the first stumbling block comes, go online and research.

Next, know what ingredients you can have and what they swap out for. I'm sure those specific blogs will have lists for you. When you are just starting off find and make your list, post on the refrigerator or wherever you plan meals.

Now, play with your food. Take one of those recipes that looks so good but has ingredients that you can't have, and substitute it with an ingredient you can have. Give it a try. You will never know how that substitute will hold up unless you give it a try.

As you give these substitutes a try, make notes. Make a note on the recipe, on your list, anywhere that you need to so when you give it a try the next time you have learned more about the cooking properties of that ingredient.

Lastly, please have fun in the kitchen. Don't be scared it will taste awful. Sometimes it will but more often than not, you will have found a new way to make the foods you like and can eat. If it is so bad that you just can't eat it go to plan B, eat out. :-)

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What I'm Finding in a Food Journal!

Food journalAs I shared with the world, I'm working on changing my health and my body over the next year. One way I am working on this is by journaling everything I eat. This means writing down what I ate and how much. I also keep track of how I feel physically.

This helps with trying to weed out the culprits to what I am currently experiencing which seems like a total rebellion from my body. Lately I seem to swell up with every meal. So that tells me that my systems are not working properly and they are not going to take it anymore.

When I have a day where I feel tired, sluggish, puffy, or have any of those wonderful bowl issues we most likely have all experienced, I take note.
At first I was using an online system through Spark People. But I found I couldn't be as detailed with my notes as I wanted to be for certain meals. Now I'm using a journal, a pen and a highlighter. Any issue gets the highlighter.

If I have a meal with lots of different ingredients that I end up feeling really tired after or the other issues, it then becomes a process of elimination.

1. I'll see if any of the foods were eaten on other days when I had
no problems.

2. Whatever foods are left I take a 4 day break from eating.

3. I eat just the food in question to see if I experience any problems
with it.

I'm finding out really interesting things like corn kernels are not making me happy, but if I eat a corn tortilla I'm OK. Sometimes I think I have the craziest body in the world.

I've also found out I eat too much. Ouch. My portions have gotten way out of control and I would not really have noticed if I wasn't taking the time to journal my food. There is also a pattern taking shape in my journal too. If I eat something that makes me feel bad, my eating habits start to change immediately, and not for the best. I head for sugar, breads (gf) and comfort foods. I also head for a glass of wine which for some reason I thought would counter balance any bad stuff because it was alcohol. Where do I dream up these things?

Well it's only been a couple of weeks and already I'm able to make changes that are making me feel better, have more energy and drop a few pounds. It's a process that is a lot more work than just finding out I can't eat gluten anymore. That was easily identifiable, well if you eat real foods and not processed. I'm a processed convert. Gluten was defined, but not knowing exactly what is upsetting the applecart, well that's work. It's hard for me to deal with the doing great, then something doesn't sit right with my system, gain weight and try to figure it out.

But being healthy is worth any amount of work I need to do. Life is so much more enjoyable and I plan on having a lot more life than I've already had.

Now I know many of you are also working on this process of getting healthy. Are you keeping a food journal? What are you tracking? What have you discovered? What changes have you made as a result? What have been the benefits?

Keep in touch via Facebook and let's work on supporting each other through this journey. :-)

Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

Individual Truffle Mac & CheeseWhen I was making the Curried Macaroni and Cheese, I also made this Truffle Macaroni and Cheese just in case the first one didn't work out. Well both turned out great so we nibbled on both. Let me say they make great leftovers. Just make sure to heat thoroughly. However the Curried Mac & Cheese did not freeze then reheat well over time.

While shopping for the ingredients to make the macaroni and cheese I came across white truffle oil and black truffle oil. I've really wanted to experiment with these for some time so I thought, why not add mushrooms to a mac and cheese with a touch of this oil. How would that taste? Well it tastes amazing. The flavor of the truffle fills your mouth and navel cavities with an intense but subtitle flavor. Now if you are fascinated with truffles too, you'll want to read David Lebovitz's posts on Truffle Hunting and Black Truffle Extravaganza.

Truffle Mac & CheeseAs I was wandering the market for mushrooms, they really didn't have many to choose from that day so I choose cremini and oyster. I was hoping to find some shitake but the two I used worked great. Now if they only had some truffles, then I would have been in hog heaven.

Making macaroni and cheese is a basic recipe with a bechamel sauce, cheese, macaroni and for me an assortment of flavors to combine to take it from plain mac & cheese to a wonderful meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Butter- I use Earth Balance natural buttery spread that is dairy and
soy free

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 red onion diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 container of Cremini Mushrooms, sliced (baby bella)

1 container of Oyster Mushrooms separated and slice the large ones.

If you find Shitake Mushrooms they work great too sliced (remove stems)

3 cups warm milk- I use Almond Milk unsweetened

2 cups Cheese- Daiya Cheddar plus a little more for the top (you can
order it online
)

1/2 cup Cheese- Daiya Mozeralla plus a little more for the top gluten free bread crumbs- I used Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs (look under Food Favorites)

1 8 oz box of Elbow macaroni- I use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta (look under Food Favorites)

tsp White Truffle Oil

Sea Salt or kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Melt your butter and add in the mushrooms. Once they have cooked and browned a little remove from pan. You may need to add in a little more butter. Add in the onion and cook until soften in the pan. Make sure you have a pan with sides so there is room to mix at the end. Don't put your heat up too high or your butter will burn. If you are impatient like me, add a little canola oil to the butter so it can take the higher heat without burning. When you see the onion getting soft, add in the garlic and cook a little longer. Now take a nice deep breath. Wow that smells amazing.

OK, now sprinkle in the flour and combine well. You want to let the flour cook a little. If you find you still have lumps use the back of your spoon to break up or a whisk.

Add in your milk slowly and keep everything moving in that pan. You want to whisk it so there are no lumps. Keep stirring over medium heat until it thickens. Mix in all of your cheese and stir until smooth.

Now while you were doing all of this you had that pasta cooking. The elbow pasta I used says it takes 6-9 minutes to cook. I only gave it around 5 minutes. I wanted it just before al dente. Once mixed with the cheese sauce and baking, it will cook a little more and I didn't want it to fall apart. Mix the pasta in with the cheese sauce and a little salt. Taste it to make sure it's the right blend and then pour into your baking dish. Don't forget to add the mushrooms back into the mix.

OK, now for the finishing touches. Once the mac & cheese is in the baking dish, sprinkle it with some of the bread crumbs and a little cheese and it's time to bake.

Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes with dairy free cheese it will brown if baked too long. If you have that problem don't put that last topping of cheese on until right before you take it out of the oven. I didn't have that problem so mine went on before I put it into the oven.

The basic recipe for Mac & Cheese really won't change for me since I can't eat dairy. If you do eat dairy play with different types to give you different flavors.

For me I like to change up the flavors by adding in different ingredients. For instance I would love to add crispy Pancetta to my Mac & Cheese. Or for a really decadent evening Lobster Mac & Cheese. How about Cajun with some Andoullie sausage, green peppers and a little Cajun seasonings? Or Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. You can guess that recipe.

If you want more ideas check out S'Mac in NYC. They even offer Gluten Free options and Vegan.

 
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