Most of you know that I spent last year learning how to cook all over again once our daughter's wheat allergy sent us to gluten free living. I shared The List of my most basic 5 ingredient or less, family approved recipes a few months back. We've been getting by. We aren't starving or totally left feeling cheated after meals now, but I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to learn how to make some really good gluten-free foods. Ones you look forward to like you do a New York Bagel.
I enlisted Alyssa Davis to help me. After hearing her online Health Makeover series last month, I knew how passionate she was about healing foods. She said in one talk, "If it doesn't taste great, you are doing something wrong!" I had no doubt that I am often doing something wrong when it comes to the kitchen. My friend Marion says her food tastes so good because she infuses it with love. I am usually pissed off while cooking, hence my totally average results at best. Nevertheless, I was ready to try.
Just a back story. Alyssa had Crohn's Disease so severely that by the end of high school she had received two operations and was on numerous medications. They weren't working. Down to 90 lbs and desperate she set out on her own research journey and discovered how to heal herself through food, lifestyle, and supplements. That was five years ago. She's been doctor and symptom free ever since. She became a health coach to help others find their way to a happy, healthy life. I am so totally impressed with her results that I asked her to come over and teach me two days last week.
The first day we made gluten-free Sloppy Joes and flax seed chocolate chip cookies. While this might not sound gourmet if you eat gluten - believe me it is! So many of our American favorites rely on the carbohydrate and sugar that accompanies them. To fill these simple foods with taste and nourishment is an accomplishment. Alyssa explains while we are baking that combining the protein of flax and almond meal in the cookies regulates your blood sugar from spiking from the honey and chocolate chips. I am fascinated by all the things she shares off-handedly as we work.
The next day we made a roast chicken and veggies with a marinade so tasty I almost fell out, along with sweet potato bread and berry cobbler. Finding marinades and desserts that don't have gluten or high fructose corn syrup is really hard. Learning to make a few simple ones is a big boost for taste. She has a bunch listed on her website.
Because I don't cook well, I don't know things like mixing the wet ingredients together first before you add them to the dry ingredients matters. Substituting different gluten-free flours means different measurements. I don't know how to cut a lemon restaurant style. I don't know that letting something cool completely if the recipes calls for it means the difference between success and a total flop. I am learning, but these things mostly require patience, of which I am in in short supply.
What I am in long supply of is reality. I want us to eat five dinners a week at home. This is crazy-hard with three kids in after-school activities. On some nights it means we either eat at 4:45 or 8pm. I am not even going to kid myself that we could eat more than 5 meals a week at home. But it occurred to me that I could pay Alyssa the same amount I pay for a crappy Pepper's meal once a week and have one meal taken care of. Yes, she delivers!