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RA Natural Way

Sharing what I have learned about treating chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and indeterminable autoimmune disorders in the most natural way possible while maintaining a positive attitude. Hope. Faith. Love. Yoga. Travel.

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Gluten-free diet

Ultra Healthy Dinner

After eating pancakes for dinner last night, I decided to be a bit healthier today!

Typically, I cook enough food to leave plenty of leftovers for the week. As a teacher, I need to pack a lunch every day. When I finish cooking, I divide the leftovers into lunch size portions and put them in the fridge. Each morning, I can easily pop a tupperware into my lunch box!

Tilapia, kale and a brown rice, quinoa mix. Full of vitamins and Omega 3s!

tilapiaeditSOC006_XlI put the tilapia in a bowl with lemon juice, salt, onion pepper and garlic seasoning. Let it sit, while I sautéed the kale with olive oil until it wilted. This Seeds of Change mix is wonderful because it’s so easy to prepare and Organic. I dumped the whole package in a pot with a little olive oil and warmed it up on low. Finally, I sautéed the tilapia on medium until fully cooked.

This is a quick, healthy meal and with leftovers, it is also inexpensive!

Before eating this meal, I went for a long walk and did my yoga stretches! This is exactly what I need to be doing every day!

For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent,” -Tony Robbins.

Pancakes for New Years Day

This year I took responsibility for my pain and made some big changes! I also made big promises to myself, including setting lofty goals. Starting this blog was a huge part of my plan to educate others on RA and the necessary changes I’ve had to make for my health. It has been a slow and difficult process, with lots of trial and error, but progress has been made!

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2014 is full of possibilities with so much to look forward to! I’m happy that 2013 has come to close. It was a wild year, full of uncertainties and huge obstacles to overcome. Looking forward to the future, now more than ever…

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I’m planning a long road trip this summer and I look forward to writing all about it! The Trip will begin at the Grand Canyon and hopefully continue west for at least month! I have lots of training to do if I’m going to hike down to the bottom and camp the canyon with my boyfriend! Setting goals and achieving them is something I take very seriously. Over the years, I have achieved some challenging goals, but these will probably prove to be the hardest yet!

More about that later…

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It was a very rainy, yucky January 1st at my house! Therefore, I prepared a treat for dinner to cheer myself up! I used the same mix from the delicious banana bread I made a few weeks ago. The recipe called for 1 cup of mix, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp of oil. I used an organic egg and vegetable oil. After mixing up all of the ingredients, I decided to add a little more of the Mix to thicken it up. It should make four pancakes about the size of the ones below, but I only made 3 to ensure that I would have enough room to flip them. It’s been a while since I made pancakes! I cooked them slowly on low-medium heat and topped them off with a little butter/olive oil spread, organic maple syrup and sliced bananas.

The pancakes turned out to be delicious but rather filling! From this meal, I consumed about 3.5 grams of saturated fat, which is something I constantly have to monitor. Sugars are also on the bad list and must be monitored. These were a real treat and I’m glad I made them for this special day! Tomorrow begins the hard work… cutting down on my sugar intake and making this body stronger!

Happy New Year everyone!!

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Enchiladas (df) (gf)

My boyfriend surprised me recently by buying ingredients for dairy-free, relatively healthy enchiladas. I love Mexican food and I can usually modify most of it for a healthier version. I wasn’t sure how this dish would turn out… but it came together nicely!

Our Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean, organic ground turkey
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce, spicy or mild (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese
  • 1 package corn tortillas

First, pre-heat the oven to 375F. I chose the smaller Pyrex dish because we had smaller tortillas to work with (we would have preferred larger ones). We poured enchilada sauce along the bottom of the pan to help keep the enchiladas from sticking. In a 10-inch skillet, cook the ground turkey and mix in previously sautéed onions. Cook thoroughly; drain.

Spoon the meat into the tortillas and tightly roll. Fit together in Pyrex dish. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top. Bake 10-15 minutes, add cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

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I added a healthy salad: mixed greens, carrot, mushrooms, tomatoes, oil and vinegar.

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IMG_3404editThese turned out pretty Yummy!

Peanut Snowballs (v, df, gf)

Borrowed from Georgia Kate's Kitchen!

These look so good! I want to make these for my family! I’ll have to play with the recipe a little because these are definitely an indulgence!

Pamela’s Banana Nut Bread

I am a lover of banana nut bread and my mother makes the best! But while I’m not currently eating gluten, I need to find a substitute. Pamela’s comes close!

IMG_3531editHere is what you’ll need to get started:

  • 2 bananas (1 cup, smashed)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, or honey
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-3/4 cups pancake mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat together butter, sugar or honey, eggs and banana. Add remaining ingredients and mix together with a spachela. Pour into a large greased loaf pan. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. *The package said to cook for an hour but mine did not take that long. Every oven is different.

I thought this banana nut bread turned out wonderful! I plan on sharing a loaf with my family. Don’t forget to serve warm! Just in time for the holidays!

Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!
Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!

Scallops in 20!

Picked up these lovely treats at Native Sun last night. Only took me 20 minutes to whip up a delicious meal!

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Tonight I wasn’t counting calories! I baked the scallops in garlic a butter/olive oil blend at 400F for 18 minutes. Before baking, I squeezed lemon on top with salt, pepper and parsley flakes. The potatoes were garlic, instant and organic, also from Native Sun. I sauteed the organic spinach with garlic for a few minutes and then layered them all together for an incredibly delicious meal! I only wish that I had bought more scallops! I’ve never cooked my own and was nervous about how they would turn out. Don’t be intimidated, this was easy!

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Scallops in salted butter and minced garlic.
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Surprising good! I used fat free, lactose-free milk.

Spinach Dip (Vegan)

I made Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip for a football party last weekend and learned a lot!

20131202-122950.jpgI’ve never made a dip for a party without using dairy products before! I used the recipe from OhSheGlows.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece bread + 1 tbsp earth balance (processed into crumbs) OR 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 (15oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8th tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes & other spices as desired

I went back later and read the vegan recipe, from which she adapted this one, and would make a few adjustments. I would like it to be a little creamier, by adding Vegan cream cheese and only 8 oz of beans. Another mistake I made was not draining the mixed ingredients properly before adding them to the baking pan. I had to cook the dip a lot longer to compensate, which ended up being too long…

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Add 1 tbsp olive oil into a very large skillet and add in the chopped onion. Cook about 7 minutes on medium heat until onion is translucent.

2a. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the bread into crumbs with 1 tsp earth balance. Remove and set aside. Omit this step if you use pre-made bread crumbs. *or Gluten Free breadcrumbs

2b. Now process the drained and rinsed navy beans, 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp kosher salt, basil, and red pepper flakes.

*If you don’t have a food processor you can throw it in a good blender!

NOTE: If you choose to add Vegan cream cheese, I would put it in a bowl and stir in the blended bean mixture. Modify water amount if only using 8 oz of beans; may be unnecessary.

3. Add in minced garlic to skillet and cook for another few minutes on low. Add in your 4 cups of packed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts to the skillet and heat until spinach is wilted over low-medium heat.

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4. Add navy bean processed mixture to the skillet and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in 3/4 of the bread crumbs (or just sprinkle them on top). Pour into an oven safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex dish). Sprinkle on the remaining bread crumbs and cover with foil.

5. Cook, covered, in the oven at 400F for 20 mins. Now remove the foil cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes watching closely so as not to burn. Makes 2.5-3 cups. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve immediately with sturdy chips and crackers.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Cookies

My first attempt at gluten free cookies was not as successful as the chocolate brownies… but I learned from my mistakes and the second batch turned out ok!IMG_3024 copy

Making these cookies is much harder than any other cookie I’ve ever baked! The batter is so sticky that I had to ask my boyfriend to scrape off my hands for me. It says to roll the batter into little balls and this proved to be most difficult. Even using a spoon was futile. But once my hands were clean, I kept them wet and was able to to get the dough rolled…

They cooked faster than the box said and the first batch burned really fast! It’s a good idea to always do a test batch when baking something for the first time!

I used dark chocolate chips and the second batch turned out yummy!

Closer to Christmas, I will try more brands and combinations so that I can get my holiday cookie fix and remain gluten free!

Chocolate Brownies (Gluten Free)

These are the first gluten free chocolate brownies that I have ever made! I have seen this brand at many stores, but found this particular box at my local discount grocery store! It was a little banged up, but the contents were delicious!

IMG_2987editI went online and read reviews before baking. With all the gluten free baking I’ve been doing, I appreciate good tips! Many people said to let them cool on the counter, slice into bite size pieces, then cover and put in the freezer until needed.

Instead of using 1/3 cup of oil, I used part water, part oil. This cuts down on calories a bit. Real butter was used in these as well. Even though I cook from a lot of Vegan recipes, I am not one.

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I’m finding that most gluten free products are best served warm or right out of the freezer. The frozen brownie bites were a big hit at my book club meeting last week!

At my local farmers market, I found pecans and chopped them up to add a little crunch. At least I can still enjoy these favorite nuts!

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They turned out wonderful! Not too shabby for a gluten free product! I definitely recommend keeping them in the freezer unless you are going to eat them right away!

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