Tuesday, December 11, 2012

guilt, gluten & goodies

So all last week I was in pretty awful pain constantly due to my eczema. My pinkie was bent right over, it was really flaky and raw and itchy and just, yikes, I had to curl it up inside of my dishwashing gloves because straightening it out made it feel like the nail was being pulled off. The pressure & increased blood volume to the area was making that nail grow faster, so when I trimmed it I saw that there was also an underlayer of fine nail growing over my finger's skin, which I had to peel back (ouch) and trim - some relief followed, thank God. I decided to do gluten-free again (I've been back on the wheat-free bandwagon for awhile) and it's just incredible. Stretching it out with no discomfort at all. My eczema is still present, and dry, but NO PAIN. Hard to explain how that feels. I share all these gruesome details because I am constantly amazed at the food/symptom connection, and how the mainstream medical profession does not explore this enough. I don't really have answers on why gluten seems to do this to me, but whatever. We can't afford fancy testing or naturopath visits right now, and while maybe MDs also test for food sensitivities, I don't have a family doctor, and waiting around in doctors' offices for 1-2+ hours with a toddler is not how I want to spend my afternoon, only to risk disappointment, especially when I can use trial and error to sort of figure things out. Plus, gluten allergy testing is quite complicated and mainstream methods seem controversial, so again, it seems easier to just try a GF diet and see what happens (who knows! Maybe Tony's IBS will resolve as well!). That's the gluten update.

Here's the guilt - I am trying to relearn how to make breakfast without gluten, and really preferably without grains, and I've realized that I grew up with, and have interiorized, the idea that while breakfast is important to eat, it should be as CHEAP AS POSSIBLE. This goes with our culture's whole obsession with cheap food. I've grown into a healthier understanding of the value of nourishing food, but breakfast in my mind is still best when cheap. When we have company, I splurge on eggs, or meat, and whatnot, but for just myself I usually stick to simple grains (which yeah, usually have me hungry again by 10). So I am trying to think outside the box (and now I am excited with something I have in the oven, more on that later!) but there's kind of this false guilt I am trying to put in its place. Yes, I deserve good food for breakfast!

Now the goodies! I am making a modified version of these - I used about 2lb 5oz sausage, cooked in the microwave and broken up, 10-15 oz spinach, 1 leek, presliced and frozen, maybe a cup of grated cheese, about 2-3 c leftover cooked quinoa, and a ton of eggs (a dozen eggs plus 10 egg whites from the freezer), and some seasoning (not a lot, as the sausage has quite a bit - just oregano and pepper). I've been planning something like these for awhile for Tony, as he often leaves in the morning without breakfast, and I'm constantly trying to brainstorm how to better entice him to eat. The fact is, he'll only be bothered for something fairly exceptional, preferably with meat, so we'd been toying with sausage dishes that could be made ahead... and reading lots of gluten-free stuff last night, then finally just googling "paleo sausage muffin" today made the light go DING! (Why did I google paleo rather than simply gluten-free? Several reasons, but definitely motivated in large part by an overall impression I have that the gluten-free world is a lot about imitation goods - about using somewhat denatured products to "fool" you into thinking you're not missing out. But you know, that never works in life. I've been trying to just accept that gluten-free means no noodles, no bread, and less grains in general, trying to replace those things with meat and vegetables, rather than try to live life as normal. This entry on gluten-free girl about guar and xanthan gums had me nodding along last night, as did this one on living a truly healthy GF diet. I'm not saying I'll never eat bread again, but I'm trying to see bread as a somewhat finicky treat, rather than a staple.)

Okay, all this (virtual) yipping & yapping later, the first batch is done!! Behold:


Will Tony get up 3 extra minutes to heat up and eat these? I daresay he will, if I don't eat them all first! Muahahahah! Now back to the kitchen for me, for batch #2!


  1. These look fucking amazing. fucking brilliant. I actually am unable to use intelligent language because I am so dumbstruk. dumbfounded at these beauties.

    SO AMAZING for people on the go in the early AM! In just a couple of weeks, I will be far away from home and food and will need to buckle down and face the reality of making stuff like this!

    Are they fluffy or gooey? are they quiche-like? RECIPE PLEASE OH MY GOSH!!!

    Where did you buy the sillicone "tins"? didnt we pick up the flower ones at bulk barn?

    1. Lol! I was pretty dumbstruck too! I was like oohohhh my gosh. Yes I will try to perfect and then share the recipe, but the one I linked to is a good guide! Next time I want to use corn... mmm... and roasted tomatoes. Mmm... but... like quiche, it's basically very possible to just have proportion-based recipes (so many eggs, so many cups of meat, so many cups of cheese, so many cups of veggies, so many tbsp seasoning) and make it work, whatever veggies and cheese and whatnot you do use. Soooo I will work on it.
      Yes the flower ones are from BB. The red ones are from Canadian Tire! They are cheaper. Actually the flower petals are cumbersome, I recommend the red ones only.
      They are sort of... dense? At first they really swelled out of the cups, as you can see in the first picture, but once they cooled down they shrank a little. They were basically quichelike, but my experience of quiche is so defined by the pastry mouthfeel that it feels misleading to call them that. But basically yeah. I had one cold today. I will have one hot tomorrow and tell you how it is. I think ketchup might be a wonderful addition (which makes me feel the balance of flavours in the recipe is in fact inadequate; hopefully I'll play around and be able to give a more definitive master recipe soon).

  2. why would you forgo bread though? didnt you make kamut bread once? it was amazing!

    1. Yes but kamut has tons of gluten, more than wheat I heard, I think! (Basically GF means no wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, or oats; oats being controversial, but functionally it means no oats for me.) Cray cray eh! Basically gluten is the proteiney glue of flour, which allows bread to stick together. If the grains don't have gluten, the mainstream GF thing to do is use xantham and/or guar gum to make it stick, but there are health issues and the naturalist in me objects somewhat. So the blog Gluten Free Girl has a balanced flour recipe, 70% protein based, 30% starch based... I'll get there. I think we need to go to the bulk barn actually! They have lots of GF stuff and I'm hoping to find a better selection of GF flours there.

  3. whoa! I thought spelt was gluten free? and kamut? and oats? I will sound stupid right now but millet flour maybe?

    I have a bag of coconut flour if you're interested--I am so not going to get around to using it!

    and mm...potatoes. mushrooms. man possibilities are endless. maybe swirl in some of Matt's bbq sauce to imitate ketchup tanginess?

    I wish I'd read this sooner, I do believe im out of any breakfast meat of any kind...

    FAB find Amy! Thanks for sharing!!