Preventing the Holiday Bulge

Thanksgiving turkey

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Roast Chicken , Rice Pilaf, Squash
Monday - Chicken and Rice Soup, Tortilla Crisps
Tuesday - Burgers, Green Salad
Wednesday - Migas, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Thursday - Thanksgiving Dinner
Friday - Turkey Tetrazzini and Leftovers

Avoiding the Holiday Bulge

The Holidays are here and it's time to eat some good food, but is there a way to prevent the extra pounds that often come with the holiday season? This year my husband and I have been trying to prepare for the holidays by tracking our weight and trying to get a handle on it before the holidays. How are we doing it? Well, by recording our weight everyday and there are all sorts of cools ways to do it. I've been using a mobile app for my phone called Happy Scale. It's free and pretty easy to use. There are plenty of other cool weight loss apps to explore if you want to do the research as well. My husband has a more elaborate system where he tries to keep his weight between an upper curve and lower curve with all sorts of excel spreadsheets, but it's similar in that we just weigh ourselves everyday. When we do that we can quickly see patterns that are causing things to go in the wrong direction and we can correct them by taking extra long walks or avoiding something sugary.

The other thing that we've been doing is not avoiding fat. It seems unintuitive because we've been taught to eat a low fat diet for so many years, but a big trend now is to not be afraid of fat. The theory is that the higher fat foods actually help you to keep your weight down because most people eat less with a high fat diet! I'm not ready to eat lots of fatty meats (fyi there are plenty of people who believe in this theory who are), but I am ready to give things like coconut oil and coconut milk and high fat vegetables like avocados more of a chance. I've even started drinking 2% milk instead of skim or 1% and the added benefit is that it tastes so good!

So Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your families and friends and your food, but if you're afraid of gaining weight, try tracking it!

Chilly Week

Brrr ... it's getting cold out there and we have lots of entrees on the menu to keep us warm. We have chili on the menu, gumbo, chicken tortilla soup and chicken marsala.

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Chili , Rice Pilaf, Broccoli
Monday - Chicken Gumbo (plus oysters), Tortilla Crisps
Tuesday - Southwestern Salad
Wednesday - Chicken Marsala, Green Salad
Thursday - Pork Chops with Mushrooms , Red Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts
Friday - Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Dessert Week

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Roast Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Cooked Spinach
Monday - Chicken and Mango Salad , Tortilla Crisps
Tuesday - GF Ham, Lentil Soup, Gluten-Free Corn Muffins
Wednesday - Steak and Pear Salad , GF Crackers
Thursday - Ham and Potato Casserole, Broccoli
Friday - Tacos

About This Week's Menu
This week we're starting the week off with some lighter meals. Maybe there will be room for dessert on those days! Later it the week it's going to get cold so we're preparing for that with some warmer comfort type meals. This week there was a Spiral Cut Double Glazed Ham at Aldi's that said gluten-free on the label. Very exciting! We're using it in the Ham and Potato Casserole and I'll also serve some on Tuesday with the Lentil Soup. I'm going to cook the casserole in the crock pot this week.

Dessert
I wouldn't call myself a huge gluten-free baker, but I do bake sometimes. Mainly I bake for birthdays and for entertaining. I often bake birthday cakes from scratch. There are a lot of mixes that exist now, but somehow I don't think they made the process much easier. I've made pies before too. The fillings are easy enough to make gluten-free, but as far as the crust I've had the best luck with the Whole Foods crusts. I've also made crusts from scratch, but it's no easy task and I'm not sure I've ever created a crust that tastes or looks as good as the whole foods crust. With gluten-free products available at so many stores now I don't usually have a need to go to Whole Foods anymore, but the holidays are an exception.

I've made Paula Dean's Fruit Tart before but with a gluten-free crust.
Fresh Fruit Tart (crust is not gf)
GF Shortbread Tart Crust (use a crust like this)

Here was my attempt:

It was my dad's 74th birthday. I made this crust from scratch using the Pie Pastry recipe from the book :

125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt

Often however, I try to avoid baking altogether. Here is a dessert I've made when company is over. It went over really well!
Coconut Ice Cream Sundae

Other desserts that we have that are a bit more low-key are fruit with whipped topping, ice cream, and gluten-free cookies.

This week's Gluten-free Menu Swap is hosted at Celiac Family.
Or check out OrgJunkie for more ideas about menu planning (not all gluten-free).

Bread Week

Gluten-Free Breads

This week's gluten-free menu :
Sunday - Beef Strogonoff
Monday - Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday - Mediterranean Crock Pot Chicken, Rice, Greek Salad
Wednesday - Almond Crusted Salmon, Asparagus, Drop Biscuits
Thursday - Chef Salad, Corn Muffins
Friday - Gluten-Free Pizza, Green Salad

About This Week's Menu
I've started cooking warm meals now that the weather has started to get cold. Beef Strogonoff, Chicken Spaghetti and Mediterranean Crock Pot Chicken are all on the menu this week. The Mediterranean Crock Pot Chicken looks really easy and it has rave reviews so I'm excited to try that. It really looks like I'll need to throw just a few things in the crock pot before the work day.

Breads

Bread is one of the things that we missed most from our meals when we first started cooking gluten-free. I tried lots of different gluten-free bread recipes, especially before there were a lot of gluten-free breads like Rudy's and Udi's on the market. One of my favorite bread recipes came from Gluten Free Cooking School.

Finally Really Good Sandwich Bread

I love how good this bread is when it first comes out of the oven.

There are a lot of other good bread recipes from Gluten Free Cooking School. You may want to check them out. There is even a gf doughnut recipe there. More GF Bread Recipes

Usually however I make really easy gluten-free bread recipes. Some of my favorites are :

Drop Biscuits
Corn Muffins

This week the Gluten-Free Menu Swap is hosted by Celiac Family. For more thoughts on Gluten-Free Bread check out this week's round-up.

Fennel Week

fennel

This week's gluten-free menu :
Sunday - Chicken and Fennel, Rice
Monday - Sloppy Joes, Steamed Broccoli
Tuesday - Crock Pot Pork Chops With Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday - Turkey and Squash Pasta
Thursday - Chicken Apples Sausage, Pan Cooked Fennel, Corn Muffins
Friday - Gluten-Free Pizza, Green Salad

About this week's menu:

This week we have fennel on the menu. I've explored fennel before and it has a very nice flavor just as a vegetable on it's own, but I think it adds kind of a sausage flavor to meat too. This week we're using fennel in a chicken recipe and as a vegetable, just chopped and softened by sauteing over the stove in olive oil. Also the Turkey and Squash Pasta recipe that I got from my mother in law has fennel seed in it. The fennel adds so much flavor. Also this week we're having Sloppy Joe's with this yummy home-made recipe. We're also going to have a crock pot meal for Tuesday night. I'm hoping to do the preparation the night before and just pouring the contents of a ziplock bag into the crock pot on Tuesday morning. Hope you all have a great week. It's beautiful weather in Dallas so I hope you all are enjoying some nice fall weather too!

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Apples Week

This week's gluten-free menu :
Sunday -Pork Chops, Baked Apples, Steamed Vegetables
Monday - Pork Stir Fry
Tuesday - Waldorf Chicken Salad
Wednesday-Turkey and Squash Pasta
Thursday - Chicken and Rice Casserole
Friday - Hamburgers and Sweet Potato Fries, Salad

This week is apples week. For Sunday dinner we're having Baked Apples. Yum! I don't really have a recipe for this, but just add some cinnamon and sugar and a little butter and bake on 375 for about 50 minutes. How could you go wrong? I'm also going to make a Waldorf Chicken Salad that has apples in it. That's it for apples this week, but I'm also excited to try a Chicken and Rice Casserole. Hopefully I can post a recipe and picture later in the week when I make it. I need some easy recipes that I can make ahead and just put in the oven when I get home. Hope everyone has a great week!

Sweet Potatoes Week

This week's gluten-free menu :
Sunday -Taquitos, Veggie Plate
Monday -  Chicken, Green Beans, and Cranberry and Sweet Potato Bake
Tuesday - Chicken Cacciatore, Steamed Vegetables
Wednesday - Beef and Sweet Potato Stir Fry
Thursday - Chef Salad and Tomato Soup
Friday - Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Wedges, and Green Salad

It's soccer season for us so we are in need of some quick meals and crock pot meals for some of the nights. This week is sweet potato week. I'm glad to get back to some familiar recipes so we can focus on relaxing at night. I'm trying to make the nights a bit easier. Tuesday is a crock pot night with Chicken Cacciatore. It's just a little bit of effort in the morning but it pays off huge dividends in the evenings. For Thursday I actually found a gluten-free soup in the grocery store so I'm going to use that instead of making the soup from scratch on Thursday night. There are some really nice gluten-free soups that can be found in boxes at the grocery store these days. Hope everyone has a great week!

This week's Gluten-free Menu Swap is hosted at Mom's Plan.
Or check out OrgJunkie for more ideas about menu planning (not all gluten-free).

Asian Food

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Asian Beef Skewers (but using gf soy sauce and gf hoisin sauce), Bok Choi, Rice
Monday - Bok Choi Stir Fry
Tuesday - Gluten-Free Chicken Apples Sausage, Steamed Veggies, Crispy Corn Tortillas
Wednesday - Chicken Pho
Thursday Veggie Packed Pizza Wraps, Watermelon and Cucumbers
Friday - Turkey Burgers, Sweet Potato Wedges, Green Salad

I love Asian food. Thai Food, Vietnamese food, Chinese Stir-Fries. All of it. Some recipes are harder than others to achieve. One thing to remember about many Asian foods is that the recipes often use soy sauce and there is typically wheat in soy sauce so make sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce. Here are some pretty easy recipes I regularly cook are :

Asian Peanut Pasta
Chicken Pho
Chicken Stir Fry
Bok Choi Stir Fry
Chicken Pho

I like a lot of other Asian recipes but some I haven't attempted to cook. I'm a bit scared to handle sushi. I figure I should probably just let the experts handle that. Like I've mentioned before we bring our own gluten-free soy sauce packets when we got out to sushi and make sure to avoid the imitation crab and fish found in some rolls which contain wheat. I love Pad Thai especially with a lot of vegetables but I haven't attempted that either.

This week's menu has been shared on The Gluten-Free Menu Swap hosted by Celiac Family and OrgJunkie.

Indian Food

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Chicken Masala, Saag Paneer, Brown Basmati Rice
Monday - Baked Salmon, Rice, Broccoli
Tuesday - Chicken Curry
Wednesday - Lentil Soup, Crispy Corn Tortillas
Thursday - Spiced Chicken Salad with Plums and Chickpeas
Friday - GF Pizza, Green Salad

Most Indian foods do not have flour in them so Indian food is a great food for people on a gluten-free diet to explore. I've been eating Indian food mostly since grad school when I had many Indian friends cook for me. At first I couldn't tolerate the spice but by the end of grad school I definitely liked it. As I started to look through the Indian recipes this week one thing became clear - I needed to get some new spices. One that shows up a lot in recipes is Garam Masala. In the past I tried to make my own mixture but it never came out tasting very authentic. This time I invested in a jar of Garam Masala. By invested I mean that I spent over $7 at Sprouts. The investment paid off though and my Indian dishes are definitely tasting more like the real thing. I'm looking forward to trying a few new recipes this week. The Spiced Chicken Salad looks pretty easy and healthy and the Hurry Curry from Real Simple looks good too! Hope everyone has a great week.

This week's Gluten-Free Menu Swap roundup will be hosted at CeliacFamily. Or for other ideas check out OrgJunkie (not all gluten-free).

German Week

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Schnitzel, Potato Pancakes, Vegetable Medley
Monday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches with GF Bread, Green beans
Tuesday - Simple Weeknight Chicken, Zucchini and Squash, Rice
Wednesday - Sausage and Sauerkraut, Broccoli
Thursday - Hamburgers, Home Fries, Green Salad
Friday - Chef Salad

This week is Portuguese week in the Gluten-Free Menu Swap, but don't know much on this topic so I'll be looking to other people's posts to learn about it. Recently we went to a Bavarian restaurant and I've been meaning to try to make Schnitzel, so I'm going to have German Week instead. Schnitzel doesn't seem like a very difficult meal and so it would work well for a weeknight meal. For the rest of the week, we're going to keep it simple. For most nights we're just going to have simple meat and vegetable meals.

Oktoberfest is just around the corner up so if you need ideas for gluten-free recipes I found a great article that talks about lots of great German foods.

Oktoberfest Recipes

This post includes lots of links about everything from gluten-free German appetizers, to desserts and even gluten-free beers. There are some delicious looking gluten-free cakes and desserts. Yum!

Make sure to check out the Gluten-Free Menu Swap at Celiac Family this week. Also check out OrgJunkie for other menu ideas ( not all gluten-free ).

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