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Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

Go Ride a Bike! And a Note of Thankfulness~

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the energy to ride a bike! I know that sounds completely lame, mostly because it IS. But the daily joint pain from the unknown wheat-intolerance really did a number on my body, and my mental state as well. Being free from wicked wheat for barely 2 weeks, and I am ready to RIDE!

I couldn’t resist the slightly retro look of this bike, along with what I think of as the the Black Cherry/Vanilla coloring. But the thing that really won me over (other than a reasonable price point) was the shocks in front AND on my seat post! Like many women, finding a comfortable bike seat was akin to finding a dentist that you look forward to seeing. A myth that didn’t seem to exist for me! So far so good with this one though, and I’ve already enjoyed a couple 5 mile rides with my guys down to the local park and around the neighborhood. It’s really quite exciting! I know that there are plenty of die-hard bike enthusiasts who will snark at my paltry 5 mile outings, but I am thrilled to have the energy and even more thrilled to be pain-free even after riding!

Staying on track with relevance to eating well and feeling well…. I splurged on a front basket which snaps on, and can be removed with the push of a button. I can’t wait to take it to the Farmer’s Market when the season begins, so that I can fill it up with fresh veggies, local honey and artisanal cheeses.Yeah Baby, yeahhh!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my wonderful husband for being so supportive, and urging me to buy the bike when he saw that I was serious about feeling well enough to use it. He really rocks in so many ways! I wish that everyone was as fortunate to have a built-in support system, because it really does make all the difference to me. He was also the one that urged me to “write baby!” He has always loved my cooking whether it was normal fare or now the gluten-free variety, and he has also always tried to prod me into writing down my recipes, which I was far too distracted and/or lazy to do. I just feel bad that it took me so long to get on board with it!

So, no recipe today (since I have been eating left-over soup), just a celebratory post of feeling well, and being thankful that I found one of the keys to improved health for myself. I wish that I could reach out to every person that is feeling chronic joint and body pain, and convince them to simply TRY going wheat and gluten-free for a week, and see if they feel better. If you don’t, no biggie, but if you do…. go ride a bike!

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Southwest Style Chicken Veggie Soup (GF of course)

So last night for dinner, we grilled a whole chicken with some smoker chunks thrown in, and afterward made a homemade chicken stock (kitchen tip to follow). Tonight I wanted to take advantage of the fresh stock and make some kind of chicken-based soup. I have already admitted that I don’t use recipes to cook most of the time, especially when it comes to food that I am comfortable with, but tonight I did make note of the ingredients that I used (just for you!) This has a nice Southwest flavor without the carbs from tortillas.

GF Southwest Style Chicken Veggie Soup

  • 2-3 TB olive oil
  • 4 leaves napa cabbage, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper, finely diced
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock (or GF canned broth, or GF chicken base and water)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 TB chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder dissolved in a couple TB water (optional for body)
  • 1 C diced cooked chicken breast
  • 1 can cannelini or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and peppers
  • Cumin, paprika and oregano to taste
  • Sour cream and fresh cilantro as garnish (optional)

To make the soup: Heat olive oil in stock pot and add next 6 ingredients (fresh veggies). Feel free to add or omit anything that you choose, however if you add a tender vegetable like zucchini, you’ll want to wait until later in the cooking process so that it does not dissolve completely. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Slowly add chicken stock, followed by lime juice and cilantro, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are as tender as you wish them to be. We prefer them a little al dente’, so I use the shorter cooking time. Slowly stir in the arrowroot and water if you choose to use it. Add chicken, beans, Rotel and spices to taste, heat through. Serve as is, or garnish with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

I have always had a tendency to favor fresh ingredients and clean flavors, which has translated well to a gluten-free diet so far. If you are vegetarian, simply substitute vegetable broth and skip the chicken. Likewise, if you are avoiding legumes, skip the beans. I feel that every recipe is merely a source of ideas, and encourage everyone to get comfortable with their ingredients and experiment freely.

Homemade Chicken Stock: No need to be intimidated by this task, it is very simple. Also, I tend to be frugal in the kitchen and like to make complete use of every ingredient. I can’t imagine just tossing the chicken carcass into the garbage, when I know how delish real stock is! This works just as well whether you have cooked your own whole chicken (or turkey), or if you have picked up a rotisserie chicken at the market for the sake of convenience.

To make the stock, simply collect all the bones, skin, and waste pieces from the chicken and throw them into a stock pot. Cover with water. Add a couple roughly chopped onions and cloves of garlic if you wish. Bring to a boil and cook at a medium heat (low boil), stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by at least half. I usually add more water at this point and continue cooking to reduce again, to get as much flavor as possible. Place a colander into a large bowl or pot and strain stock. This can be used immediately, or refrigerated or even frozen for later use. If you would like to remove the fat, simply refrigerate until the fat rises and becomes firm, then remove it with a spoon. Homemade stock takes a little time, but the effort is truly minimal, and you will be rewarded with a richness that you can’t get from a can or powder!

 
 

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