Save Some Room for Pie

I have to say this, as my first gluten-free holiday season winds down, at least I don't feel like I've overindulged. Well, not too much, anyway.  

Now, I  haven't exactly been the social butterfly I've been in years past, but still. Instead of worrying about eating too much at parties, I'm wondering whether I can eat...

But if anything this season has been an indulgence, it's been the sweet potato pie. Keep your pumpkin pie if you like. I'll take the sweet potato pie any day. Mike even thinks it tastes better than pumpkin pie. And he likes just about everything.

The cookie crust is a revelation, if I do say so myself. At Christmas dinner, my dad declared, "I don't even like pie crust. But this is good." You can use any kind of gluten-free cookie you like (or regular cookies, if gluten-free isn't a concern), but I like to use a blend of gluten-free gingersnaps and honey-graham cookies.

We had this pie for Thanksgiving. We had it on Christmas day. And we'll be having it again on New Year's Eve. An indulgence, indeed.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Pie

For the Crust:
  • 2 cups crumbs from gluten-free cookies (I use these and these)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all ingredients until well mixed. Press into a 9" pie pan so the mixture covers the bottom, and pinch up the sides. You can press the mixture down with the tines of a fork too.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to burn. (My rule is that it's done when it starts to smell good.)

For the Pie:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 9" pie crust
Beat together eggs, sugar, and sweet potato. Add milk, cream, butter, and vanilla. Pour into the crust and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve cold.

What Did I Eat?

Some gluten-free folks cheat. Not me. Sure, sometimes the smell of freshly baked bread, or pizza, or beer makes me wistful. But I know what would happen if I cheated. So I don't.

But sometimes, gluten finds me, no matter what I do to keep it out of my life. Yesterday I had fruits, veggies, cheese, and bacon. Both the cheese and the bacon were brands I know I can trust. Then I made boeuf bourgignon, again with ingredients I know I can trust. 

So why did my stomach hurt last night? Why did I feel bloated? Why is this morning miserable? What did I eat?

When life gives you kale... make kale juice.

Yesterday was oh-so-much-better than the day before. It probably helped that I was out and about, but it definitely helped that I had my morning coffee. The whole juice diet probably does work better without any coffee (especially when the coffee comes with milk and sugar), but it doesn't work at all if you can't follow it, now does it?

Despite the three glasses of "grape juice" of the fermented kind last night at a birthday party, the scale is starting to notice this little project. Not that that was a major goal of this experiment - it's more about feeling healthy and getting enough nutrients - but it would be nice to lose those last few pounds.

Today is theoretically the last day of my juicing experiment, but I think I'll keep going for a while. I'm in between projects at work right now, so it's a little easier to manage the whole juicing thing when I don't have to tote bottles of juice all over the city. And I'm sure my body can benefit from more nutrients.

Juicey Goosey

Yesterday, I didn't drink any coffee. Instead, I started the day with hot lemon water, followed by carrot-ginger-apple juice. Both tasted surprisingly good.

Then there was the "mean green," juice from kale, celery, lime, and a bunch of other things I can't remember right this second. That was ok...

And then, there was the "gazpacho juice." Celery, tomatoes, bell pepper, and a quarter of an onion. That one I poured down the drain. It tasted like raw onion and nothing else.  And around that time, I got a splitting headache, which was probably caffeine withdrawals.

For dinner, we had a salad. Solid food. And it was good. I made it the whole day without grains, alcohol or caffeine, but I did succumb to the ice cream (dairy and sugar) after dinner.

Today, I'm drinking my coffee as I write this. I don't think I can manage three whole days of just juice, especially when there's no caffeine. And dinner doesn't seem to be going away, although I'm making a point of making them healthy dinners based primarily on veggies.

It's still too early to say how good I feel, but I do feel lighter, maybe a little less bloated.

Oh Hey!

How long has it been?

I know, I know. When last I left off, I was tying up a cookbook kick, reading cookbooks like there's no tomorrow. I still love cookbooks (always have, always will), but I'm on to a new kick.

Remember that Happiness Project? That sort of fell by the wayside too. I'm still very interested in doing one, but it wasn't the easiest thing to fall into the habit. For now, I'm focusing on being mindful of my mood. Maybe another Happiness Project will surface later on.

What I'm really doing right now is trying to plan a wedding (gluten-free) on a budget, from halfway across the country. Without going crazy. Sounds like fun, right?

Add holiday craziness to wedding planning craziness, and most days I'm just beat. I know I'm not getting enough fruits and vegetables (especially the vegetables). Maybe what's even sadder is that I eat more fruits and veggies than the average American, but I still don't get enough. How does that happen?

Anyways, I had toyed with the idea of doing a Whole30, but I just couldn't get behind it. No dairy for 30 days? No sugar? No alcohol? No way. But then yesterday, I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. One of my professors had raved about it and her juice diet while I was in law school. I thought it was interesting but never got around to looking into it.

Well. The film is fascinating. Of course I know you can change your life with food. I've done it. But the results these people have had are incredible. I especially like that the program lets you choose the iteration that's right for you (three days, ten days, etc.). And I noticed something as I watched the film - nowhere do they mention it, but this diet is also gluten-free. Unless you go adding wheatgrass (I know some folks say it's gluten-free, but I'm not taking my chances), the whole diet is not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well. And grains, be they gluten-free or no, seem to be our biggest downfall. It's cultural, it's taste, it's something that keeps bringing us back.

I'm starting with a three-day juice fast, but if it goes well, I might just go for a full ten days. Hopefully I'll remember to let you know how it goes.