April 27, 2009

Do You Scream for Vegan Ice Cream?

A new vegan ice cream cookbook out from Cathe Olson. Check it out!

Also from Cathe:


You can get them all on Amazon.com.

March 11, 2009

Why Organic? Beware of the "Dirty Dozen"

I don't normally buy everything organic, but I do when I can. There was an article in the most recent edition of Energy Times that told about the "Dirty Dozen" of produce...the fruits and veggies that should be bought organic because of how many pesticides remain on them when not grown organically. You can read the article here.

You can get information on the pesticide residues on other foods here. (Click here for a printable shopper's guide.)

If you care to get a free online subscription to Energy Times, you can do so here.

March 6, 2009

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Grapeseed oil
2-3 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 teaspoons dried minced garlic
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans
2 cans (15 oz. each) sweet potato puree
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (or chili powder for a bit more spice)
Chopped cilantro
Shredded cheese
10 whole wheat tortillas

1. Put dried minced onion and dried minced garlic in a small amount of water until "puffy". (Or you can skip this step and use a fresh onion, diced, and 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced.)
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium/high heat.
3. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant.
4. Add black beans, water, cumin, and taco seasoning to skillet.
5. Cook, stirring often, until most of the water has evaporated and the spices have made a paste/sauce.
6. Put some bean mixture and sweet potato puree in each tortilla. Add a pinch of chopped cilantro and a pinch of shredded cheese.
7. Roll each enchilada and line them up in a slightly oiled baking pan/casserole dish.
8. Top the rolled enchiladas with shredded cheese and chopped cilantro (and any left over sweet potato puree or bean mixture you may have).
9. Bake in a 350 degree oven (preheated) until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted. Tortillas may be a bit brown and crispy.
10. Top with sour cream and guacamole, if desired. (I make a simple guacamole with mashed avocados, salt, garlic powder, lemon juice, and lime juice.)

Yummy and inflammation free!!!

March 2, 2009

Food allergies

In reading many things about autoimmune disorders and anti-inflammatory diets, it seems that it all boils down to what foods in particular you may be allergic to that can set off your symptoms. I recently had a blood test to determine what foods I may be allergic to (I am hoping this will be a quick route to the things that can be discovered through something like an elimination diet), and I wanted to share some information I found about how they do allergy testing via blood. You can read up on it at labtestsonline.org.

March 1, 2009

What's a gluten?

I've been hearing a lot about Celiac Disease and gluten-free diets. I know that gluten is found in wheat, but wasn't sure what else contained gluten...so I thought I'd look it up. Gluten-free and wheat-free are not the same thing. A gluten-free diet excludes more than wheat...and actually some gluten-free products may not be wheat-free. Here are some foods that contain gluten and should be excluded from your diet if you are told to eat "gluten-free" (unless of course they are prepared and labeled as "gluten-free"):

Baked goods
Baking mixes

In addition to that, there are some lesser known ingredients that may contain gluten:

Autolyzed wheat protein
Brewer’s yeast
Dextrimaltose or maltodextrin
Textured vegetable protein
Vegetable starch or meal

Look out for some of these foods that may contain those ingredients:

Malt vinegar
Malted cereal or farina cereal
Baked beans
Salad dressing
Stock cubes or bouillon
Cold cuts

(Information in this post was taken from WiseGeek and other websites.)

February 28, 2009


I had some of the ingredients on hand for stroganoff (and they needed using before they went bad), but wanted to make a dairy-free version. (And from my limited knowledge of glutens, I believe this can also be gluten-free if you just substitute a gluten-free flour for the one I used.) Of course it is not as creamy as regular stroganoff that uses sour cream and milk, but I really liked how it turned out.
Here is the recipe:


Grapeseed oil
1 pound ground turkey (I like the kosher kind from Trader Joe's)
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1-2 cups chopped mushrooms (I chop the mushrooms because my kids don't care for them and this keeps them at a similar size as the cooked ground turkey)
3 cups rice milk, almond milk, or a combination of the two (I used a combination)
8 tablespoons whole wheat flour (toasted*, if desired)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli (from Trader Joe's), cooked and drained

1. Place dried minced garlic and dried minced onion in a small amount of water until it plumps up. (You can substitute with 1-2 cloves minced garlic and about 1/2 of an onion, chopped.)
2. Heat a skilllet and brown the ground turkey with the garlic, and onion. I cook in a cast iron skillet and use a very lean turkey, so I added some Grapeseed oil to my skillet to keep it from sticking.
3. When the turkey is almost browned, add the chopped mushrooms.
4. When the turkey is fully cooked, add the rice/almond milk to the pan, stirring occasionally.
5. When the "milk" is warmed, whisk in the flour. Stir often until sauce is thickened.
6. Add Worcestershire sauce and stir.
7. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Serve warm.

*To toast the flour, place it in a dry skillet and heat until it is slightly darker than normal. This just intensifies the flavor a bit.

February 27, 2009

Crock-Pot White Chili

A tomato-free chili! I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds good.

Crock-Pot White Chili (from GE Recipes)
Serves 6 - 8

4 cans (approximately 14 ounces each) navy beans
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
3 cups chicken broth
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (approximately 4 ounces each) diced green chilies
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

1. Place beans, chicken, and chicken broth together in crock-pot.
2. Saute chopped onion and garlic in oil until transparent.
3. Add spices and green chiles to onion mixture and stir well.
4. Add to crock pot mixture and stir well.
Cook in crock- pot on low for at least 2 hours. Garnish with sour cream, chopped green onions and Monterey Jack cheese if desired.

February 20, 2009


This is a wonderful "meat"loaf recipe (I call it lentil-loaf). It will take a few modifications to get it completely in line with an anti-inflammatory diet...mainly finding a good non-tomato based sauce to substitute for BBQ sauce. Maybe some Worcestershire sauce would accomplish the same "tang"?

{Started with this recipe and adjusted.}
2-4 servings
1½ hours - 10 min prep

2 cups water
1 cup lentils
1 small onion, finely diced (or to taste)
1 cup oats
3/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, jack or american)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I think substituting with 1/2 cup applesauce would be tasty, but I haven't tried it yet)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Sauce/Topping if desired (but it is great without it):
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-4 tablespoons dark brown sugar (to taste)
1/2 cup ketchup

(or mix some brown sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce to taste)

1. Boil water in a saucepan.
2. Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes or until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.
3. Drain and partially mash lentils.
4. Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
5. Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
7. Add egg, BBQ sauce, garlic, basil, and parsley.
8. Mix well.
9. Spoon into loaf pan that has been well-greased.
10. Smooth top with back of spoon.
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
12. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.
13. Run a sharp knife around edges of pan then turn out loaf onto serving platter.

February 19, 2009

Cooking Allergy Free

This site is wonderful!

When you log in as a user, you can add any food allergies (foods you want to avoid in recipes) and the site automatically will show you warnings based on the allergens your have entered.

For example, if you are trying to avoid the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers), you will go into "Edit My Allergies" and check the "Nightshade" box found under "Sugar". Now, when you look at the recipes, a big red exclamation point will show up next to recipes that contain these foods. What a great resource!

Check it out:

February 18, 2009

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Book Review

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book by Jessica Black - Find it on Amazon

I checked this book out from our local library recently and really enjoyed it. I liked the informational part of the book...not too in depth and not too sparse, either. The recipe section was great inspiration, even if you never use the specific recipes (although they do look good). It just gives you an idea of how you can modify foods and recipes to fit a new way of eating. The tips in the recipe section are great!

The author is a Naturopathic doctor in Oregon, and because of this she is not just trying to push medicine to help in anti-inflammatory living like so many books about inflammation that are written by medical doctors - she focuses on foods to eat and foods to avoid.

I was able to contact the author and ask a few questions. Here they are and the answers she gave:

"Tomatoes and potatoes are omitted in your diet plan, but what about peppers and eggplant that are also from the nightshade family [and also paprika (you explain on p 58 that it is part of the nightshade family)]? Is there a reason you chose to include these in your diet while omitting only tomatoes and potatoes? From my reading I have seen most folks say to avoid the entire nightshade family."

"I only included eggplant and peppers as a way to not have the diet be too strict. This diet is a mere suggestion for "most" people but for most of my patients, I fine tune the diet for them. If someone was having arthritis problems, then I might have them avoid all nightshades. But for someone who seems to be fine with some foods and their main concern is hormone issues and depression, they may be able to eat nightshade vegetables."

"What are your thoughts on Grapeseed (not rapeseed) oil? I currently use this as my main oil for cooking or baking and haven't heard much about it compared to olive oil."

"I love grapeseed oil - it is made from vitis vinifera. We use Vitis vinifera as a remedy and I know it is high in resveratrol which helps in cholesterol conversion. It is also high in many antioxidants including proanthocyanidins and also has linolenic acid. Also has a high smoke point so great for cooking with. I wrote this book a few years ago when I was not using grape seed oil."

February 17, 2009

I love my pill box!

In finding so much research about different supplements that might help in inflammatory conditions, I ended up with a whole gamut of supplements that I am taking daily. I found a pill box at WalMart for a couple dollars that I use to separate my morning vitamins from my night vitamins. It has seven sections labeled with the days of the week on each side. The days on one side are labeled "AM" and the days on the other side are labeled "PM". I love that I only have to open all those bottles one time per week (instead of twice a day)!

Here's my current supplement regimen:
-Odorless Omega-3 Fish Oil (from Trader Joe's) - 1200 MG - 2 (am) & 2 (pm)
for joints
-Vitamin E (from Trader Joe's) - 400 IU - 1 (am) & 1 (pm)
to be taken with fish oil and flax oil for absorption
-MSM [methylsulfonylmethane] (from Trader Joe's) - 1000 MG - 1 (am) & 1 (pm)
for joints
-Glucosamine Chrondroitin (from Trader Joe's) - 900 MG - 1 (am) & 1 (pm)
for joints
-Vitamin C (from Trader Joe's) - 1000 MG - 1 (am)
for inflammation
-B-Complex - 1 (am)
for inflammation
-Bromelain - 2000 GDU, 500 mg - 1 (am)
for inflammation
-Iron - 25 mg - 1 (pm)
for anemia
-Flaxseed Oil (from Trader Joe's) - 1000 MG - 1 (pm)
for joints
-Prenatal (from Trader Joe's) - 1 (pm)
as a general multi-vitamin

And I also chew two calcium chews (from Trader Joe's) daily. Each provides 500 mg of calcium.

February 16, 2009

Gettin' Saucy...

Since I have ditched all things tomato (including basic marinara/spaghetti/pizza sauce), I have started using some basic white sauce recipes for pastas and pizza. Here they are:

Basic White Sauce
Makes enough sauce for a lasagna or plenty for 1 lb. of cooked pasta.

1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons flour

1. Saute garlic in butter over medium heat until tender and fragrant.
2. Mix flour and some of the milk in a measuring cup well and add to butter and garlic. Add the remaining milk.
3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

-Add a large pinch of ground nutmeg for a fun flavor change.
-Add 2 or more tablespoons dried basil or other herb.
-Add about 1/2 cup (to taste) grated parmesan cheese after cooking.
-Add about 1/4 cup (to taste) prepared pesto.

Cheese Sauce
Great for topping veggies or I like to use this over breaded chicken and add some steamed or cooked broccoli and serve over rice.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 + cup shredded cheese (to taste)
Salt & pepper (to taste)

1. Melt butter over medium heat (don't brown).
2. Add butter and whisk to get rid of clumps.
3. Add milk and cheese.
4. Stir, simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add salt & pepper to taste.

-Add 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to make it zesty.
-Substitute 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard for all the cheese to make a Dijon Sauce.

Last Minute Pizza Sauce
Makes sauce for 2 pizzas

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil, but grapeseed oil is my oil of choice)
3/4 cup Half and Half or milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)

I mix the first three ingredients in a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave for a bit (watch for foaming over - it can get messy) and then add the Parmesan cheese and mix and pour half on each uncooked pizza crust.

February 15, 2009

Have MS?

In looking for ways to help me feel better I ran across some information about Multiple Sclerosis as well (my husband's aunt has MS so I noticed it). There are quite a few sites about foods to avoid with MS.

Here are some sites that I found:

If you want to find more sites like this I just typed "sclerosis food to avoid" or "sclerosis diet" in Google.

January 12, 2009

Refried Beans & Mexican Rice

I love Mexican-style foods, and sometimes that can be hard when I am not using tomatoes or tomato products. Recently I came across some recipes for homemade refried beans and Mexican style rice and altered them to my taste and to keep the inflammatory properties down, and here's what I came up with:

Refried Beans:
2 tbsp. oil (I use Grapeseed Oil from Trader Joe's)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (you can substitute with 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed, if desired)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. water
1 tsp. taco seasoning
2 tsp. ground cumin
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste (I use about 1/2 - 1 tsp. of ground sea salt)
1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice

1. Saute garlic in oil over medium heat until fragrant.
2. Add beans, water, and spices (not lime juice) and bring to a simmer/small boil. Cook until heated through.
3. Smash beans with a fork. It is okay if they don't get completely smashed, some texture is good.
4. Continue to cook until you reach the desired consistency. (Once the beans are smashed, cooking will thicken the mixture).
5. Sprinkle with lime juice and mix and serve warm.

Mexican Rice:
2-3 tbsp. oil (I use Grapeseed Oil from Trader Joe's)
1 c. rice (I use brown Jasmine rice from Trader Joe's)
2 c. chicken broth
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
minced onion, if desired (I use about 1/2 tbsp. dried minced onion and mix it with a small bit of water to fluff it back up)
1/4 tsp. taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed bay leaves

1. Saute rice in oil over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes (rice will start to brown).
2. Add liquid and spices & bring to a boil.
3. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.

These recipes make enough for our family of four good eaters and usually we have enough for left-overs for my husband's lunch the following day. When we have burritos for dinner I saute some chopped zucchini and mushrooms (or any veggies - broccoli, carrots, etc. - if I don't have those around) and wrap them up with some of the rice and beans in a tortilla and top with a bit of shredded cheese, chopped avocado, and sour cream. I think they are delicious!