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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Homemade Chipotle

So I had the brilliant idea of making homemade Chipotle.  Well... I'm not going to lie... it's a lot of work.  But it was fairly successful and very delicious.  It's definitely too much work for a one night dinner but I made it for a week of lunches!

I used rice I had on hand: a mix of regular white rice and wild rice cooked according to directions.  Then I added fresh cilantro and the juice of 3 or 4 limes.

I just used canned black beans, heated on the stove with fresh minced garlic and cumin.

The corn salsa is under neath - frozen corn brought to room temp with diced fresh jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice.  I used purchased hot tomato salsa.

Instead of sour cream, I used plain greek yogurt with siracha stirred into it.

I bought my guacamole. (trader joes) - well everything in the recipe is from Trader Joe's.

I sauted sliced onions and green peppers in a little olive oil and seasoned with oregano. 

Pepper jack cheese to finish it off! -I ate this bowl for dinner.

The rest I dished into lunch portions for the rest of the week :)

If you're feeding a crowd this is totally worth the work - and to be honest this really took less than an hour so it wasn't that bad.  But I managed to get every pan in my kitchen dirty and I hate dinners that make that happen!! 

But I am excited to have chipotle for lunch this week and honestly I feel like my version might be just a little little bit healthier, but I have no idea :)



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tweet Tweet Pillsbury!

So I've been tweeting with Pillsbury recently, who I might add have been a little late to the gluten free game.  However after pounding them on their online message boards - I think we're getting just a little closer :) 

I started following them on twitter lately and was very impressed with their social media response.  They are efficient on the twitter.  Good news as follows...

I sometimes dream of pillsbury's orange rolls.... I sure hope it's on their product list.  But at the very least I'm expecting a gluten free crescent rolls to hit the shelves summer of 2013!  I will keep you updated - don't you worry!  


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trader Joe's Cookbook

I'm a huge Trader Joe's fan so of course I would buy one of their cookbooks!

I love the full color photos!

Each recipe is notated whether it's gluten free with this little orange symbol.

If the recipe isn't gluten free, it gives you substitution options - now that's handy. 

You should grab a copy today! 

Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon


Monday, February 25, 2013

What Causes Celiac's....from the NY Times

February 23, 2013

Who Has the Guts for Gluten?

WE know that the proteins called gluten, found in wheat and other grains, provoke celiac disease. And we know how to treat the illness: a gluten-free diet. But the rapidly increasing prevalence of celiac disease, which has quadrupled in the United States in just 50 years, is still mystifying.
Scientists are pursuing some intriguing possibilities. One is that breast-feeding may protect against the disease. Another is that we have neglected the teeming ecosystem of microbes in the gut — bacteria that may determine whether the immune system treats gluten as food or as a deadly invader.
Celiac disease is generally considered an autoimmune disorder. The name celiac derives from the Greek word for “hollow,” as in bowels. Gluten proteins in wheat, barley and rye prompt the body to turn on itself and attack the small intestine. Complications range from diarrhea and anemia to osteoporosis and, in extreme cases, lymphoma. Some important exceptions notwithstanding, the prevalence of celiac disease is estimated to range between 0.6 and 1 percent of the world’s population.
Nearly everyone with celiac disease has one of two versions of a cellular receptor called the human leukocyte antigen, or H.L.A. These receptors, the thinking goes, naturally increase carriers’immune response to gluten.
This detailed understanding makes celiac disease unique among autoimmune disorders. Two factors — one a protein, another genetic — are clearly defined; and in most cases, eliminating gluten from the patient’s diet turns off the disease.
Yet the more scientists study celiac disease, the more some crucial component appears in need of identification. Roughly 30 percent of people with European ancestry carry predisposing genes, for example. Yet more than 95 percent of the carriers tolerate gluten just fine. So while these genes (plus gluten) are necessary to produce the disease, they’re evidently insufficient to cause it.
Animal studies have reinforced that impression. In mice engineered to express those H.L.A.’s, tolerance to gluten must be deliberately “broken.” Without an immunological trigger of some kind, the rodents happily tolerate the protein.
A recent study, which analyzed blood serum from more than 3,500 Americans who were followed since 1974, suggested that such a trigger could strike adults at any time. By 1989, the prevalence of celiac disease in this cohort had doubled.
“You’re talking about an autoimmune disease in which we thought we had all the dots connected,” says Alessio Fasano, head of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, and the senior author of the study. “Then we start to accumulate evidence that there was something else.”
Identifying that “something else” has gained some urgency. In the United States, improved diagnosis doesn’t seem to explain the rising prevalence. Scientists use the presence of certain self-directed antibodies to predict celiac disease. They have analyzed serum stored since the mid-20th century and compared it to serum from Americans today. Today’s serum is more than four times as likely to carry those antibodies.
BLAME for the increase of celiac disease sometimes falls on gluten-rich, modern wheat varietals; increased consumption of wheat, and the ubiquity of gluten in processed foods.
Yet the epidemiology of celiac disease doesn’t always support this idea. One comparative study involving some 5,500 subjects yielded a prevalence of roughly one in 100 among Finnish children, but using the same diagnostic methods, just one in 500 among their Russian counterparts.
Differing wheat consumption patterns can’t explain this disparity. If anything, Russians consume more wheat than Finns, and of similar varieties.
Neither can genetics. Although now bisected by the Finno-Russian border, Karelia, as the study region is known, was historically a single province. The two study populations are culturally, linguistically and genetically related. The predisposing gene variants are similarly prevalent in both groups.
Maybe more telling, this disparity holds for other autoimmune and allergic diseases. Finland ranks first in the world for Type 1 autoimmune diabetes. But among Russian Karelians, the disease isnearly six times less frequent. Antibodies indicative of autoimmune thyroiditis are also less prevalent, and the risk of developing allergies, as gauged by skin-prick tests, is one-fourth as common.
What’s the Russians’ secret?
“It’s a remote territory of Russia,” says Heikki Hyoty, a scientist at the University of Tampere in Finland. “They live like Finns 50 years ago.”
At the time of this research, roughly a decade ago, Russia’s per-capita income was one-fifteenth of Finland’s. Analysis of house dust and potable water suggests that the Russian Karelians encountered a greater variety and quantity of microbes, including many that were absent in Finland.
Not surprisingly, they also suffered from more fecal-oral infections. For example, three of four Russian Karelian children harbored Helicobacter pylori, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium, while just one in 20 Finnish children did. The bacterium can cause ulcers and stomach cancer, but mounting evidence suggests that it may also protect against asthma.
Professor Hyoty suspects that Russian Karelians’ microbial wealth protects them from autoimmune and allergic diseases by, essentially, strengthening the arm of the immune system that guards against such illnesses.
Meanwhile, Yolanda Sanz, a researcher at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology in Valencia, Spain, makes a compelling case for the importance of intestinal microbes.
Years ago, Dr. Sanz noted that a group of bacteria native to the intestine known as bifidobacteria were relatively depleted in children with celiac disease compared with healthy controls. Other microbes, including native E. coli strains, were overly abundant and oddly virulent.
How to determine cause or consequence?
In a test tube, she found that those E. coli amplified the inflammatory response of human intestinal cells to gluten. But bifidobacteria switched the response from inflammation to tolerance.
In rats, the E. coli again intensified inflammation to gluten, prompting what’s sometimes called a “leaky gut” — the milieu suspected of contributing to celiac disease. Conversely, bifidobacteria protected the intestinal barrier. Microbes, it seemed, could influence the immune response to gluten.
Bifidobacteria occur naturally in breast milk, which, along with protective antibodies and immune-signaling proteins, conveys hundreds of prebiotic sugars. These sugars selectively feed certain microbes in the infant gut, particularly bifidobacteria. Breast-fed infants tend to harbor more bifidobacteria than formula-fed ones.
All of which may explain a curious historical phenomenon — an “epidemic” of celiac disease that struck Sweden some 30 years ago. Anneli Ivarsson, a pediatrician at Umea University, recalled a sudden wave of “terribly sick” infants.
Sleuthing revealed that, just before the spike, official guidelines on infant feeding had changed. In an effort to prevent celiac disease, paradoxically, parents were instructed to delay the introduction of gluten until their babies were six months old. That also happened to be when many Swedish mothers weaned their children. Coincidentally, companies had increased the amount of gluten in baby food.
This confluence produced an unwitting “experiment with a whole population,” says Dr. Ivarsson — a large quantity of gluten introduced suddenly after weaning. Among Swedes born between 1984 and 1996, the prevalence of celiac disease tripled to 3 percent. The epidemic ebbed only when authorities again revised infant-feeding guidelines: keep breast-feeding, they urged, while simultaneously introducing small amounts of gluten. Food manufacturers also reduced the gluten content of infant foodstuffs. Dr. Ivarsson found that, during the epidemic, the longer children breast-fed after their first exposure to gluten, the more protected they were.
Not all subsequent studies have found nursing protective, but partly as a result of Sweden’s experience, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that infants start consuming gluten while still breast-feeding.
Research by Dr. Sanz of Spain again illuminates how this may work. Some years back, she began following a cohort of 164 newborns with celiac disease in the immediate family. By four months, children with celiac-associated genotypes — 117 of them — had accrued a microbial community with fewer bifidobacteria compared to those without. If bifidobacteria help us tolerate gluten, these children appeared to be edging toward intolerance.
There was one notable exception: Breast-feeding “normalized” the microbes of at-risk children somewhat, boosting bifidobacterial counts.
Dr. Fasano of Boston has made another potentially important find. He followed 47 at-risk newborns, regularly collecting microbes from 16 of them, which he analyzed after two years. Like Dr. Sanz, he found these genetically at-risk children to accumulate a relatively impoverished, unstable microbial community.
But it’s a secondary observation that has Dr. Fasano particularly excited. Two of these children developed autoimmune disease: one celiac disease, another Type 1 diabetes, which shares genetic susceptibility with celiac disease. In both cases, a decline of lactobacilli preceded disease onset.
Assuming that the pattern holds in larger studies, “imagine what would be the unbelievable consequences of this finding,” he says. “Keep the lactobacilli high enough in the guts of these kids, and you prevent autoimmunity.”
The caveats here are numerous: the tiny sample size in Dr. Fasano’s study; Dr. Sanz hasn’t yet revealed who actually developed celiac disease in her cohort; and even if these microbial shifts reliably precede disease onset — as they do in larger studies on allergic disease — they’re still bedeviled by the old “chicken or the egg” question: Which comes first, the aberrant microbial community, or the aberrant immune response?
Bana Jabri, director of research at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, notes that immune disturbances change the microbial ecosystem. But here’s the catch: Even if the chicken comes first, she says, the egg can contribute. Rodent experiments show that intestinal inflammation can select for unfriendly bacteria that further inflame. “You can have a positive feedback loop,” she says.
SO your microbes change you, but your genes also shape your microbes — as do environment, breast milk, diet and antibiotics, among many other factors.
Such complexity both confounds notions of one-way causality and suggests different paths to the same disease. “You have the same endpoint,” Dr. Jabri says, “but how you get there may be variable.”
The intricacies don’t stop there.
Not all breast milk is the same. It varies according to diet and other factors. One study found that milk from overweight mothers had fewer of those bifidobacteria than milk from thinner mothers.Another observed that breast milk from farming mothers, who inhabit a microbially enriched environment, carried more anti-inflammatory proteins compared with urban mothers’ milk. “All these things are going to matter,” Dr. Jabri says. And they’re all potential nudge points in the quest to prevent disease.
The tangled web of possibilities should not, however, distract us from the facts on the ground. In a far-flung corner of Europe, people develop celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases as infrequently as Americans and Finns did a half-century ago. The same genes exposed to the same quantity of gluten do not, in that environment, produce the same frequency of disease.
“We could probably prevent celiac disease if we just give the same environment to the Finnish children as they have in Karelia,” says Dr. Hyoty. “But there’s no way to do it now, except to move the babies there.”
Moises Velasquez-Manoff is the author of “An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Steel Cut Oats

I've really been loving steel cut oats from Trader Joe's lately.  

I make them in a huge batch on Sunday and keep it in the fridge.  It reheats surprisingly well!


Oatmeal is only made better with a little peanut butter :)  Nothing fills you up better - gives new meaning to "sticks to your ribs!"

Give them a try!  



Monday, February 18, 2013

Magic Flute Gala @ KANEKO

On Saturday night, Corinne, Alex and I attend the Magic Flute Gala with Aileen and her husband BJ at the Bemis table.  This was a beautiful black tie event with many Omaha VIP.

These are some of the character from The Magic Flute designed by Jun Kaneko.

As soon as we sat down, I looked over the menu and went to chat with the Caterer - he was more than willing to make up a special gluten free plate for me.  This isn't always an available option when attending an event like this and it's hard to plan ahead of time but it was nice they were able to accommodate me!

We annihilated the sushi station!

It was a wonderful evening and I can't wait for the Opera Omaha after party next Friday and I'm going to the Magic Flute on Sunday!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Kolaches + black tie event

Sometimes my family really surprises me.  I received these gluten free kolaches as a christmas gift from my uncle Bobby.  I'm not incredibly sure how he made them, but they were delicious and they brought back many many wonderful kolache eating memories.  Now don't get me wrong - these taste nothing like the pillowy goodness that is traditional Czech kolaches made by someones grandmother with love.  But these were deeply thoughtful and lovingly made just the same.

I have a big weekend ahead with an exciting black tie gala event plus a breakfast date with my best friend and a hair appointment with a new stylist so I'm very excited plus I've scheduled in lots of writing and reading time!  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend also!


Thursday, February 14, 2013


Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

I love you bloggie readers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Preface to previous post

I suppose I should have prefaced that post with “here comes an extremely personal post!”  I was encouraged by my blogging guru to interject an occasional personal post on my blog and I realize I started off a little strong - but that was something very relevant to my current life and what has been going on recently.  I apologize for catching anyone off guard or if anyone was a new reader!  I have another blog that no one reads where I write creatively and write more personally and also try to never mention food - I just felt like sharing on this blog for something different.  I hope I didn’t scare anyone off!  Thanks for reading :)


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tribute Post - Reflections on death

I’ve had three different friends lose younger siblings to cancer in the last couple weeks - this is just a horrible coincidence but one that really in a cliche sort of way makes you consider your own life.  One of my friend’s mother posted a picture of her when she was very young with her little brother - they are both sitting on the front steps of their home, the little brother is staring straight ahead smiling into the camera, she is looking over at him - watching.  Her mother’s caption: “you’ve gone from being “watched” to the one watching.”  I can’t stop staring at the photo.  It’s making me so sad but at the same time I’m greatful he’s not suffering anymore - dying is always hardest on the living.  
As the ones left behind, you’re told to be strong, and remember the good times, but really you just want to melt into a deep earth-shattering grief and you deserve that - you lost part of your life story.  Part of your life suddenly became a memory.  Eventually your grief will become less and you will forget the suffering, the loss, the void, and the cancer and only the funny stories, the family vacations, the inside jokes, the sports games, and the holidays will remain but this can take weeks, months, possibly a lifetime.  Grief is it’s own terrible disease..
These experiences have been different for me as I don’t have any siblings so I don’t have any comparable relationship other than the deep bond with my cousins but even that is different.  Oddly enough I have an insatiable fear of losing my parents - perhaps it is because I am an only child.  Sometimes when I know they are going somewhere together, I get this twinge in the pit of my stomach... I want to call and plead with them to drive separate cars because I cannot bear the thought of losing both of them in some tragic accident, then the moment passes and I feel stupid for thinking about it.  Fears are strange feelings - things we have no control over.
For my friends and their families who have suffered and struggled long drawn out battles with cancer - I’m divided between the thought of them understanding that they had limited time left with their loved ones and could have that time to savor last experiences, moments, birthdays, and holidays - or did that just make it worse?  Was knowing there could possibly be a deadline make it harder?  Would the shock of someone being suddenly ripped from this earth be easier because you didn’t have to prepare for it?  
I understand a reflection on death is a little heavy, but honestly I’ve been to more funerals in the last six months than I’ve been to in my entire life and it’s just started to sink in recently.  The funeral ritual is for the sole benefit of the grieving family and it’s that ritual and rite that helps the grieving process begin.  From the rosary to the internment, it is for the benefit of the living - to help them cope with the process of death, to make it easier.  From the instant our earthly bodies release our soul to salvation we no longer experience grief, or suffering, or pain - those feelings are only for the living.  As the ones left behind, we must remember only we are feeling the pain and grief now.

Death is always hardest on the living. When our loved ones suddenly go from the one being watched to the one watching over.


Cherry Berry Omaha

A number of Cherry Berry's opened in Omaha recently - this one at 87th & Pacific in Countryside Village.  They are your typical yogurt bar - I do like this one because it is sweeter and tastes a little more like ice cream.  A great way to indulge your sweet tooth.  You just have to use your brain when picking out flavors.  You obviously shouldn't have the red velvet cake flavor - stick to the safe flavors!

I really like that the topping are in their own separate canisters - this makes them even safer!  Some of the other yogurt bars have them all next to each other where they can spill over.  These canisters win big points with me!! 

I like lots of candy toppings on my vanilla yogurt but I did throw in a couple raspberries!

Overall - I really liked my experience here and would definitely go back!  

You should try it!

Enjoy :)

Cherry Berry Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 11, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

For your reading pleasure...

Happy Friday!!
Here are a couple articles from my twitter feed this week that I thought I should share!

America's most popular Gluten Free Restaurants - great for traveling!

More to my point - not everyone should be gluten free.

The risks of cheating on your gluten free diet -

This is my Dad's fancy wine aerator - make even bad wine delicious.  Lesson learned - we all need to breathe a little :)

It's Friday - go have a glass of wine!
Happy Weekend - Enjoy :)


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Whoopie Pies

When I was in third grade, we had a chocolate themed valentine's day party for my class at school and each student was suppose to bring a treat to share.  My mom found this recipe in a magazine - it was the star of the party!  We have made these whoopie pies every year around valentines day ever since.  I always took them to school as treats and my friends always requested them.  

A year or so ago I attempted converting them to gluten free by simply substituting Domata flour - it worked pretty well - the cookies dome up a little so they are pretty rounded but they taste absolutely delicious, and that's the important part.  Who cares what they look like!

For the Cookies:
2 cups Domata flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cocoa
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl.  Cream together wet ingredients in separate larger bowl.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Because you're using Domata flour - the batter will be super thick, you can start using a mixer but you might have to finish using a wooden spoon.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Using a one inch or one and a half inch scoop place cookies on pan.  They won't spread out much so they can be close together.  You could flatten them out a bit (this might help with the rounding issue I mentioned - I just forgot to do this).  Bake for 12 minutes (this was perfect in my oven).  Let cool completely. 

For the marshmallow filling:
6 tablespoons butter (as soft as possible)
1 7ounce container of Marshmallow Creme
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional: you could tint the filling with food coloring to be extra festive

Cream together until smooth.  Put filling into a ziplock bag and snip off the corner to make a piping bag for easy distribution.  

One the cookies are cool - match them into pairs.  Pipe the filling onto one cookie and place the second cookie on top.  

Keep in the fridge!

Enjoy :)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vegetable Biryani by Trader Joe's

I love all things Trader Joe's but this maybe the very best purchase ever!  

If you search recipes for Vegetable Biryani - each has about 50 ingredients which would be pretty expensive to collect, then another 2 hours to make the dish.  

Well at Trader Joe's you can get some of the best biryani I've ever tasted!  And the whole package is $2.29 - now that's a freakin great deal.  Each package is about 2 full meals.  

In the freezer section with the other indian options.

I like to dress mine up a bit - can't go wrong with a goat cheese medallion

I also toss in some cashews!  I love the crunch.

You should certainly give this a try!  It's perfect for a quick dinner or lunch.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Corner Creperie

This may be hands down my favorite restaurant in Omaha - and it's brand new, so go check it out!!

The Corner Creperie is located on the southeast corner of 24th & Chicago - that's just north of Joslyn Art Museum at 24th & Dodge.  

I saw an article announcing this new place on the food review pages of the Omaha World Herald - I immediately headed there for lunch.  I've since been back another time and I just can't stop thinking about these crepes!  

Best news?!  They can do almost their entire menu gluten free!!  Savory crepes, dessert crepes, and a couple of their soups.  Also this may be the only place on earth that doesn't charge extra because you have a food disability.  Bonus.

The service was beyond spectacular.  I went in for the second time about two weeks after my first and they remembered me!  Now that's customer service.  A husband and wife team own this restaurant and they make you feel right at home.  The place is bright and cheery, super clean, and best of all friendly!

Both times I went with people who were more than willing to have gluten free crepes so we could order different ones and share.  I'll have to admit the second time I went with my mom and we ordered exactly what I had the first time because I wanted her to see how incredibly amazing it tasted!

I had a root crepe (roasted beets!) and a grain crepe (quinoa & chickpeas).  Honestly I cannot explain how delicious these were - I've never eaten beets before and now I love them.  The quinoa and chickpeas was quite a surprise, the texture is incredible and I would have never thought of using them together.

The dessert crepes were absolutely delicious - I couldn't believe how the "spice" crepe melted in your mouth and was so wonderfully flavored with just cinnamon & sugar.  Also you MUST try the "citrus" - I've never had lemon curd so perfect.  

If you're out west or in Lincoln - this is worth the trip downtown.  Please please go try them!  


The Corner Creperie on Urbanspoon