Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash & A Health Update (gluten-free, vegan)

I got my test results yesterday. The bloodwork shows inflammation and anemia, and the stool samples show inflammatory markers and blood in the stool. My doctor suspects Crohn's, but we won't know for sure until December when I have an endoscopy and colonoscopy.

I'm not going to pretend that this hasn't thrown me for a loop, because it has. Some days I feel like it's not a big deal, and others, well . . . I'm a little scared. I won't know for a while exactly what I'll be dealing with. Uncertainty is not my friend.

But you know what? It's my favorite time of year. There is so much to look forward to, and be thankful for.  I plan on having as much fun as possible this holiday season, and I hope you are, too!

My current favorite thing is butternut squash. Not only is it allowed on my low-residue diet -- I can't seem to get enough of it.

I've been eating very simply, and this recipe is super-easy. Sometimes I eat the squash as a side dish, and other times I eat it with rice or gluten-free pasta. So go ahead and enjoy your beta-carotene! It's delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash (gluten-free, vegan)


1 lb. Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place cubed squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (do not forget the parchment paper or the squash will stick -- trust me).

Pour the olive oil over the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning once.

Here's the end result; crispy and carmelized on the outside, and soft on the inside. Yum!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Southwest Quinoa Salad (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan)

My digestion situation is still the same, and as I await my gastroenterologist appointment, I find myself trying to find nutritious recipes my system can tolerate. This recipe is one of them -- although, the next time I make it, I'll leave out the corn, since that caused a little bit of a problem. :)

I adapted this recipe from Clean Eating Magazine, and you can see the original recipe here. I left out the lemon juice (can't have ctirus) and reduced the olive oil from 1/3 cup to 2 tablespoons. The result is a remarkable light, fresh and delicious dish. Even my husband (you remember, the one who doesn't like quinoa) loved it. I added a lot of cilantro because I love it! If you're like me, I don't think you can add too much.

Please feel free to customize this recipe for you and your dietary needs. Trust me, I understand! :)

Southwest Quinoa Salad


1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
2 cups water
1 tsp cumin

1 cup organic corn
1 cup cooked black beans
1 large organic zucchini, sliced and quartered
1/2 an onion, diced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cilantro (at least 3 Tbsp chopped, but add as much as you like)
salt to taste

optional additions
1 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes
juice of one lime or lemon

Place water, quinoa, and cumin in a medium pot and cook according to package directions.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat a pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and zucchini. Cook, occasionally stirring, for 5-7 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. Add beans and corn and heat through. Set aside.

Combine the quinoa and veggie-bean mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the fresh cilantro and stir. Serve warm, or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

What's New?

You may have noticed that my posts have been few and far between lately. That's because I haven't been feeling well. Lately it seems that no matter what I eat, I get abdominal cramping, bloating, and . . . other stuff.  In addition to gluten, dairy, and nuts I've cut out soy as well as all nightshades and still feel awful.

I have an appointment to see a gastroenterologist at the end of October (earliest appointment available) so until then I am subsisting on foods that seem okay. I am completely baffled by my current situation. In the past I've been able to identify a specific food issue through an elimination diet. That has failed me this time, as this problem is more pervasive.

My fun of experimenting with recipes has been curbed, since I am unsure of what I can or can't eat. So I haven't had much to write about. And the last thing I want to do is become all whiny (where's the fun in that??).

I am such an impatient person. I wish there was a special medical office you could go to where you could see all necessary specialists in one day and have all required testing done so you could find out what the heck is wrong with you sooner. *sigh* But I suppose if such a place existed, they wouldn't accept my insurance. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what was going on, and I'll keep you posted on any developments. Maybe I'll even be able to share a safe recipe or two. :) -- Tina.