Gluten & Dairy Free BAKED Meatballs

Makes 20 meatballs

1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
2 minced garlic cloves
1 egg
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons organic ketchup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley 
Olive oil cooking spray (or just olive oil)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray large cookie sheet with olive oil spray or coat lightly 
Mix everything BUT the meat in a large mixing bowl 
Add the meat to the bowl and mix gently 
Form 1 inch balls

Bake 20 minutes 

img_0990

Easy Chicken Fajita Salad

I knew I wanted to do a one pan chicken and veggies meal because let’s be honest – one pan cooking is pretty awesome.  I pre-cut the peppers and onions as well as minced the garlic the other day storing them in a glass container, so that I wouldn’t have to do that when I was ready to make this meal.

All you do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees, spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray (or you can coat with olive or coconut oil – totally your preference) and then spread out the peppers and onions topping with the chicken (I use organic chicken tenderloins).  Sprinkle with garlic, olive oil and some spices, toss and then throw in the oven for 10 minutes – toss around again – then cook for another 10 minutes.

Put the chicken and veggies on top of lettuce (this was a spring mix).  I added in some gluten-free spanish rice and boy was I satisfied and full and very happy there will be more for leftovers!

  • Recipe:Ingredients:
    1 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins
    3 bell peppers sliced into strips – you choose the colors!
    1 medium onion sliced into strips
    3 minced garlic cloves
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Lettuce – your choice

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil cooking spray or simply coat with a light layer of olive or coconut oil
    In a small bowl, mix the spices (including s&p)
    Spread the peppers and onion onto the baking sheet then top with the
    chicken
    Sprinkle garlic over food, drizzle with olive oil then toss everythingMake sure that everything is spread evenly and the chicken is not
    overlapping prior to putting in oven
    Put in oven for a total of 22 minutes tossing once halfway through
    Voila! Done! Add atop lettuce with a side of gluten-free rice if
    you would like and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Baked Meatballs – Gluten & Dairy Free!

I knew that I wanted to try a new recipe today for a marinara sauce and put it on top of spaghetti squash, but I also knew that if I did not give my husband and son some meatballs I would not have myself some happy campers.   I did not anticipate how delicious these BAKED meatballs were going to end up tasting!  I have been trying to avoid meat for the most part because of the added hormones.  Even if I get grass-fed and organic, it is still an animal that produced hormones naturally and for me with endometriosis it is something I need to be careful with – but that’s for another write up.

The recipe for the marinara sauce is from the cook book “One Part Plant” by Jessica Murnane and is seriously so easy.  I am actually still in shock at how easy it was to make.  The only thing I added was some oregano because I personally love me some oregano in my sauce!

 

So I then looked on my “boards” in Pinterest and I find that I have a recipe for baked meatballs that CLAIMS to be EASY and DELICIOUS.  I am normally skeptical of anything that says easy, but will always give it a shot.  I tweaked the recipe (as I normally do – people hate that!) to make it gluten and dairy free which was super easy to do!  Just changed the regular bread crumbs to gluten-free breadcrumbs and instead of using parmesan cheese I used nutritional yeast (if you have never heard of that before I will write up something on that another time but it is a FANTASTIC substitute for a cheesy flavor (non-dairy) and has a ton of nutrients – don’t get grossed out by the name!).  I had to taste one to see what they tasted like.  I think I then ended up eating like 4 – they were too good!!

Now, I’m not the best photographer and I am learning very slowly but I figure you won’t be too harsh on me.  I know this picture doesn’t look like the food would be absolutely amazing, but I can tell you this – my husband ate a huge portion and my son LOVED the meatballs and they are my toughest critics!

 

Endo Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to me!  Today I am 34 years old and to be honest with you – I am feeling it!  I am not feeling young and energetic, but rather tired and trying to smile through the pain I’ve been feeling a lot more lately because of my endometriosis.  This is exactly why I am so committed to sticking with what we call the endo diet.  People say “you can’t deprive yourself” or “It’s your birthday! Live a little!  No alcohol?  No cake?”, but they don’t live with pain everyday they believe can be changed with food and I do.

It isn’t like I wouldn’t love myself a nice espresso martini with baileys in a chocolate rimmed glass, and a box of Entenmann’s raspberry cheese danish.  I didn’t always eat this current way.  I completely understand that life gets in the way and sometimes you just want to do certain things, but on a daily basis if you want to feel better it is important to remember you have control over your choices when it comes to food.  I just want to be out of pain, and really – even if you don’t have endometriosis this kind of diet is what everyone should be at least trying to incorporate into their lives at some level.

So let’s talk about the cake! My daughter is a total sugar freak (she and my son are 18 months apart so I gave into so much more regarding the sugar – I will get a handle on it at some point soon but man is she feisty).  She and my son decided to bake a cake literally first thing this morning with my husband and then somehow they were diving into this mess at 10am.   I need to get my son in some pictures, but he is a little on the shy side which clearly my daughter is not.  How cute is this:


I did not partake in that cake, although it really did look delicious especially after those grubby little hands were all up in it don’t you think?  I did, however, explain to them that I loved the cake but it really was not good for my body.  Then of course my son, who is 4 and very analytic, wanted to know what was not good and that opened up the whole discussion about food dyes and flour, etc.  He may not understand everything but it is important to me to teach my children as much as possible as food because I’m not confident that is going to be happening in school.  I say “you can have that cake but you should know what is in it and why it is not good to eat it all the time and why you should definitely not eat a ton”.

Anyway!  My husband has been extremely supportive of the way that I am eating and he called all over the place where we live to try and find a gluten and dairy free cake.  Now, we live in a small town in CT so this is not really that common for places to carry but he never gives up and found this little beauty:

It may not have been the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, but when a girl is trying to do what I am when it comes to diet it tastes pretty delicious.

Remember to celebrate you especially on your birthday!

 

Stop picking!

kids-leftovers

You will hear me time and time again stress the importance of planning, but remember – I am human and I sometimes don’t plan well either.  Today was sort of one of those days.  It is cold, dreary and just plain depressing to look out the window here in CT so it would have been totally easy for me to pick at my kids’ leftover chicken nuggets. Yes they are organic, but they are not gluten-free and really Julie? Chicken Nuggets for lunch and that’s it?  You’re just going to go down that road of picking then for the rest of the day!  This is the conversation I have with myself more often than I’d like to admit.

I hadn’t thought about lunch for myself and was starving.  I’m sure many of you reading this are in the same or boat or have been before.  I remembered that I had some lettuce in the fridge and looked to see what else. I didn’t really feel like just lettuce and some veggies so what kind of protein could I throw on top since I didn’t have anything … or so I thought!  Why not quickly boil up some hard boiled eggs? And figure out what else I could throw in that would be appetizing to me.

So I came up with the following:  a mix of kale and spinach, raw broccoli, carrots and a tomato with the hard boiled eggs.  Look how beautiful it came out if I do say so myself,  although I am clearly not a great photographer:

betterlunch

If you can’t whip something up in the middle of the day like I did for whatever reason then this is ESPECIALLY important when planning.  If you were to plan a salad like this for a few days for work then my suggestion would be to hard boil your eggs before your work week starts (make your life easier and peel them when you do this) and then put tomatoes and/or cucumbers in a separate bag so your lettuce doesn’t get soggy.  And of course put your salad dressing in a separate container.

Please feel free to post what you had for lunch today.  I’m more than happy to provide some feedback if you want!

Coffee for breakfast? Please! 

At this point in your life I’m asssuming you have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but throw real life at you with invisible pain from endometriosis and maybe a kid or two, and breakfast can seem absolutely impossible.  

I tried doing the whole just coffee thing for breakfast (snack and lunch) and at first it was great. I felt awake, I didn’t feel hungry and I felt like I could make it through the day and maybe even lose weight!  This sounds insane coming from a Health Coach (which I am), but it’s just being honest.   I wasn’t making time for myself. I was making sure everyone else was taken care of and knew it was going to catch up with me, but I chose to wait. Hey – I was functioning.

I went to see my endometriosis specialist (who I had put off seeing for my follow up for months) and don’t know why it surprised me to hear, but the pain I was experiencing was in fact caused by my endometriosis which was pushing my uterus toward my left ovary hence why I had left lower pelvic pain like I had years ago prior to my deep excision surgery. 

It was overwhelming to hear what I knew had to be true – the endo was back. Not only because the endo was back because I knew I hadn’t been helping myself by the way I was eating and drinking especially all the coffee I was drinking.  There was a direct effect of the coffee to my pain and I chose to ignore it just to get through my day. 

I’ve made a lot of changes and we will talk more specially about coffee and coffee alternatives, but here is an example of what I am currently forcing myself (it won’t be forced once it becomes habit) to eat for breakfast: Apple Cider Vinegar drink with water and ice with eggs and veggies. This morning it was mushrooms and broccoli sautéed up in coconut oil. Add a little Himalayan Sea Salt and it’s delish!  


Yes, first thing this morning I would have much rather had a Starbucks Americana coffee, but this evening am very happy with myself that I didn’t. 

Gluten Free? How? I’m Italian!!

Uggg gluten free?! That is the worst thing to hear especially when you’re Italian. What am I going to eat? How am I going to survive? And how I am going to survive in winter in New England when I love comfort food!!! 

Ok pump the brakes, Julie. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. I know from my education that eating gluten is really not necessary, so why does it feel so hard right now? Well reality has set in and I’ve allowed myself to take care of everyone but myself, so I’ve got to pump the breaks and remember that I can do this and so can you! 

Gluten wreaks havoc on our bodies and causes so much inflammation that for someone, especially with endometriosis, it truly isn’t worth it.  When I was told to go gluten-free I actually said no I’m not doing that. You want me to go dairy-free AND gluten-free? No. Can you believe that as a Health and Wellness Coach I actually said that? 

I then took a moment (a day, a week or maybe even almost 6 months) and thought about all the money I was spending on supplements and on Naturpath visits and still not feeling fantastic. That’s when I had to kick my own self in the butt and say “get it together and go gluten and dairy-free”.  I told myself that it didn’t mean I couldn’t indulge every once in awhile (instead of every week or maybe every day), but this was ridiculous to spend so much money and not make these 2 quite large changes. 

I’ve gone dairy-free before, but this gluten thing is hard especially if I’m not prepared because it’s just so easy to “pick”.  I’m actually only on my first full week of being gluten-free and I’ve had a little slip up or two but I also have to tell you – I was so itchy! I forgot (how could I forget?) about the DETOX from gluten! My skin was hive like, my skin was so itchy I wanted to scream and thought it had to be from a new supplement. Nope. Gluten detox. I will have to remember this for whenever I feel I want a piece of bread or a Stacy Pita Chip (my favorite).  

It’s important though in order to feel better and really our bodies don’t need gluten.  I’m going to start to compile recipients for you and just different items I eat for each meal and snacks to help you that are gluten free and I will continue to be brutally honest about my feelings while I go down this gluten-free road.