Posts tagged ‘salami’

April 12, 2018

Free-Range Grazing in My Kitchen

My family just spent a couple of days free-range grazing in my kitchen. That wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. All I wanted to do was have a large pot of something prepared before my out-of-town guests arrived so that there was food within reach if anyone got hungry.

I don’t know about your family, but you don’t ever want mine to get hungry. We don’t just get hangry, we go ballistic. It is not a pretty sight!

I settled on beef stew and bought stew meat, small purple and white potatoes, various colors of carrots, and boiling onions. So that my sauce would thicken on its own, I coated the meat with a mixture of corn starch, tapioca starch, sweet white sorghum flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper before browning it in olive oil.

A couple of hours later, I had traditional beef stew boiling on the stove and a plane to meet at the airport. The crew arrived hungry and started on the beef stew immediately. I threw together some cornbread. All was well.

The next morning, two more sections of the family would arrive. Instead of fixing breakfast while the LA crowd slept, I made pasta sauce enhanced with salami and pork chops with rice. At the time I thought I was prepping for the following days. That’s not how it worked out.

Somehow, as the crowd gathered food started disappearing. I brought out the left over stew and cooked gluten-free pasta to add to my sauce. Before long everyone had a plate of something. A few hours later, everyone had a plate of something else.

The snack bucket I had stocked with gluten-free pretzels, trail mix, peanut butter, crackers, and chips began to empty. Green banana eaters and ripe banana eaters grabbed bananas. The left over cornbread got slathered with honey.

Food disappeared in waves. I ran out of bowls. We grabbed mixing bowls. I cooked frozen gluten-free pizza to fill in the pasta gap once the pasta was gone. The extra salami not used in pasta sauce ended up on crackers.

The kids played, we laughed, and no one ever got hungry. In fact, no one even got fussy much less hangry. Eventually, the dishes got washed. And after a couple of days of free-range grazing, most everyone went home to graze in their own kitchens.

I still have some clean-up to do, but it was a great visit proving a little food can go a long way toward building happy families!

May 8, 2017

Let Yourself Be Surprised

Sometimes it’s best to let yourself be surprised! I write a lot about planning, being prepared, and managing expectations. When you have to follow a specific dietary plan, those are important concepts. It’s hard to stick to a gluten-free regimen without preparing in advance. While that’s a reality, sometimes it’s nice to drop the preparation and let the universe provide.

When circumstances require us to focus on what may be missing, lacking, detrimental, or dangerous, it’s easy to slip into a perpetually defensive posture. For some of us this will feel like hopelessness, futility, or defeat. For others, it may feel like anger, stress, or frustration. Whatever its manifestation, the more time and energy we devote to seeing what’s wrong, the less we see what’s right. This can eventually erode our sense of safety, well-being, contentment, and happiness.

Perhaps it’s an innate desire to protect ourselves from this eventuality that leads patients newly diagnosed with celiac disease to respond in overwhelming numbers to the diagnosis as if it were worse than cancer. That brief glimpse down the road of constantly being on guard every meal of every day for the rest of your life – that’s overwhelming. To top it off, often while you’re still trying to get your mind around the idea, some medical professional is telling you it’s hard to follow a gluten-free diet.

Holy crapoly! How are you supposed to deal with all this stressful news when you’ve just been told to eliminate your favorite comforting cookie, doughnut, brownie, cinnamon roll or cupcake?

A large number of patients choose to ignore the diagnosis, or partially comply with a gluten-free diet. While this may alleviate some of the immediate stress, it ultimately creates more misery as the autoimmune system continues to assault and damage the body. It is especially important for patients who do not experience or attribute their symptoms to celiac disease to recognize that by the time they understand the importance of being gluten-free, they may have developed irreversible damage and/or have shortened their lifespan.

But what about those of us who feel so much better without gluten that we’re not tempted to cheat, but sometimes get weary from always trying to stay one step ahead?

Having to round up a snack hours in advance to make sure you won’t get too hungry if your after work event doesn’t serve gluten-free food can affect your sense of well-being on an already overbooked and stress filled day. By itself, packing that snack is no big deal. On top of a series of pressing deadlines, that snack can mean the difference between feeling content and feeling overwhelmed.

One way to help balance, and even offset, the weariness of wariness is to occasionally let your guard down and trust the universe to provide. The risk is that you’ll miss a snack or a meal. The advantage is, you may discover a new restaurant, convenience store, or product you’d otherwise miss.

I just finished two back-to-back road trips. Although I had a night in my own bed in between, I was home less than 24 hours. Because the second trip had come up suddenly, I had little time to prepare. I threw a banana, some almonds & some raisins in the car and headed out.
Three hours into the trip, I was hungry. I needed something more substantial than a banana. I stopped at a convenience store resigned to the possibility I might just need to finish off the almonds. I walked over to the refrigerated cases looking for water, and discovered an unfamiliar gluten-free snack – CHEESEWICHTM.

All four CHEESEWICH options contain one piece of salami sandwiched in between two pieces of cheese. A 2.5 oz serving has 0 carbs, 16 grams of protein, and 210 – 260 calories depending on the cheese flavor chosen. The product comes vacuum packed in a peel apart plastic package that’s convenient for travel or packing a lunchbox. Ready to eat as is, the combination can also be put between pieces of bread or placed on top of a cracker.

The salami is paired with your choice of Mild Cheddar, Colby Jack, Provolone, or Pepper Jack. I saw the cheddar first, so that’s what I grabbed. I ate it on the road because it was late in the day and I didn’t want to be too tired before I arrived. The CHEESEWICH was easy to hold with the package and eat without any mess, and the protein gave me plenty of energy.

Not only did I feel reinvigorated, I felt provided for. It was a great reminder that I often find what I need when I quit worrying about not having it. Reflecting on this makes me feel safe, positive, and calm.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. I once flew into Canada spur of the moment. We parked the plane, rented a car, and headed out with no food, no hotel reservation, and no Google. About the time I thought we’d be sleeping in the car, we happened upon Pond’s Resort. There was dinner with a prominent New Brunswick resident, a room, and world class fly-fishing awaiting us. And that’s not the only time travel flexibility has delivered a great experience.
Even with this recent reminder that I can relax my efforts, I won’t stop planning altogether. That’s not the way I’m wired. I do intend to carry forward the good feeling that comes with letting go of expectations then being pleasantly surprised…at least until I need another reminder. Then I’m sure the universe will provide.