Tuesday, March 3, 2015

brown bag lunch: a gluten free necessity

I work VERY hard to keep a totally 100% gluten free diet.  (It's funny that I just used to word "diet".  My grandma drives me NUTS when she calls my "gluten free lifestyle" a "diet".  LOL.  none the less.)  I have the privilege (/ curse) of having lunch provided at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Which seems awesome but truly it blows...

I know I sound like a control freak (and a jerk) BUT it's really important for me to know ahead of time what's on the menu so I know if I need to pack my own lunch or not.  Sounds easy enough.  However, sometimes even if I think I can eat with the group I still get sick.

All the time I find myself saying things like, "No, I can't eat that.  It's ok.", "Don't worry about me.  I'll bring my own lunch.", "No, thank you.  I don't want any cake."  It's like people feel compelled to offer you food.  I don't want your food.  And I find myself constantly fielding, "Well, can't you eat that?!", "Well, why can't you just pick off the croutons?" and "Would you like some?"  I know people think it's polite, but it also drives me nuts.

It is certainly NOT like I asked for this.

This is the best way I can express how being (not just eating) gluten free makes me feel sometimes:

  "Dear Friends, Family, and acquaintances:
  • I am not eating gluten free as part of a fad, or because the latest celebrity has decided to jump on the G-free bandwagon.
  • I am not eating gluten free to annoy you, inconvenience you or to make things difficult when we go out to eat.
  • I am not eating gluten free to be the center of attention or to put a damper on your party.
  • I am not eating gluten free to pay outrageous prices for a single cookie, cupcake, or a tiny little pizza.
  • I am not eating gluten free to pay a lot more for a little bag of gluten free flour.
  • I am not eating gluten free to worry about what I can eat when I go out to eat.
  • I am not eating gluten free because I love to analyze every ingredient on every item I pick up to purchase.
  • am eating gluten free because that little protein that you cannot see in your muffin, cookie, cake, pie, beer, pizza, soup, and yes, even your soy sauce makes me ill.
  • am eating gluten free because that little protein hurts my stomach, my joints, my muscles and yes, even my brain.
  • am eating gluten free because I have a disease.
Any questions?"
I say all time that I'm going to just bring my own lunch.  It sounds easy and it probably is but I can manage to make it hard somehow.  It is especially hard when a room full of people don't understand why you need a special salad.  Or they think you don't want to have what they're having.  (Like I'm too good to eat the lunch provided.  Yup, I'm too good all right.  LOL.  At least I can laugh about it.)  
Well.  Today, I put my big girl pants on and I bought my own lunch from home.  YAH!  I've been doing research (on Pinterest, of course!) and settled on the idea of making my own "Bento Box" style lunch.  (See, I make it hard.  Instead of just packing a simple lunch; I had to do research first.)  
{slaps own forehead}  
Yes, I ate ALL of that and it was spectacular.  It was good; I'm going to make another one for tomorrow's lunch.  :)
Do you have any tips, tricks, suggestions, or go to's for packing a healthy, gluten free lunch to take to work?  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

leftover use up quiche

It's been almost a year since I've blogged.  No excuses; just busy and not making it a priority.  It's something I like to do so, I'm doing it again.

I thought I would share a recipe that I made this morning from things that I had in my pantry, fridge and freezer.  Earlier in the week I had made some "pesto chicken" for a Pesto Chicken Pizza (I just checked my Pinterest, so I could link to that recipe but I must have made it up, so the next time I make it I will blogg about that.)  that was awesome!  To make the "pesto chicken" I just took chicken tender pieces and baked them with store bought pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper.  With the leftover chicken still in the fridge on Sunday and not wanting it to go waist... I thought QUICHE!!

Quiches are really the answer to leftover use up.  Naturally, I went to my Pinterest boards and got to work finding a recipe that I knew I had pinned a while ago.

Basic Quiche Recipe! Nice to know just the basic ratios.
Here is the link to the pin:  Basic Quiche Recipe

With this recipe in mind I got to work... I knew I had a Whole Foods GlutenFree Bakehouse Gluten Free Pie Crust (since Thanksgiving, yikes.  Great option if you don't want to, or have time to make your own pie crust) in the freezer, eggs, Trader Joe's Original almond milk (I don't usually keep regular cow milk on hand), the leftover chicken, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.

The pie crust instructions tell you to bring the crust room temperature.  In the mean time I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and got everything else ready.

Next, I began to layer the ingredients into the now room temp pie crust... first the leftover chicken chopped into small pieces, then halved tomatoes.  I then seasoned the layers with salt and pepper.

Then, I topped that with the Parmesan cheese!  Yum.  (The recipe called for a cup of cheese but I just kind of eye balled it.)

After that, it was time to make the egg and milk mixture... I measured the one cup if milk into a two cup measuring cup and then added the four eggs.  I used a fork to break the egg yolks and whisked to combine the milk and eggs.  I added salt, pepper, and a couple dashes of Italian seasoning to the egg and milk mixture.

I did NOT want to carry a filled pie crust to the oven, open the door and risk spillage... so I opened the oven, carefully pulled out the rack and placed the pie crust down and then filled it with the egg and milk mixture.  I carefully put the rack back into place, closed up the oven and set the timer for 50 minutes.

After a little while, I started to smell the quiche.  It smelled amazing!  (I checked on it a couple times to make sure it wasn't burning.  It was fine.)

TADA!  It looked and smelled delicious right out of the oven.  Now to try and wait the 10 minutes to let it cool before eating!  (Torture.  LOL.)

The quiche cut nicely even though the tomatoes added some extra moisture.

It tasted as good as it looked and smelled.  The seasoning was spot on and the texture was good.  I get worried sometimes that the pre-made crust isn't going to match the flavor of the filling.  However, it tasted great all together.

I hope you try making your own gluten free leftover use up quiche.  Enjoy!