I started the gluten-free thing this week. On Monday I thought I just may shrivel up and die. Although this plan has been a long time in the making, I was still completely unprepared and had NO idea what in the world I was going to eat to survive. Part of the problem was that I gave up sugar (just for a month of detox) at the same time and after eating pretty much nothing but cookies and plain m&ms for a month (you know I’m exaggerating but not too much..) I think I put my body into a state of shock. I know. I am wimpy. But I am doing it: something I’ve been scared to death to do but felt I should ever since I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and multiple people told me going gluten-free would help. I’ve just been too scared to do it until now. I mean, I live for baking cookies and breads and all that jazz. My sweet friend, unaware of my new quest to eliminate gluten, happened to bring over a fresh-baked loaf of home-made bread on Monday morning right as I was getting going for the day. All I could do was smell that bread and salivate and wonder what in the world I was doing to myself. Pathetic, right? But then I pulled myself together and remembered the reason I ‘m doing this: I want to feel better. I want my hair to stop falling out. I want to figure out good, healthy alternatives to so many of the things we eat around here for all of our sakes, especially Lucy. And I wasn’t figuring it out well enough just trying to add new, good stuff to what we eat. I just wasn’t hungry enough for it and had to figure a way to jolt myself into action. My master plan is to have Lucy join me in this but I’m still paralyzed as to how to get a stubborn-six-year-old to have will power that she does not possess an ounce of at this point. Still formulating ideas on that one. Anyway, the point of this post is to say that I am thankful with all my heart for quinoa this week. (Now, please don’t burst my bubble and tell me that quinoa isn’t technically gluten free because in my fragile state right now I’m just not ready for that! I know some super-strict gluten-free people are starting to wonder, but Sprouts says quinoa is gluten-free with pride so I’m going with them.) Ok so I’m sure I’ll have more to add to my gluten-free drama in the future, but for now I must leave you with my two fav. quinoa recipes. They are recipes I’ve had and loved for a while now, but haven’t felt the full, overflowing gratitude I do for them now that I’m trying this gluten-free business. This first one is from my friend Suzanne who made it for a party and I embarrassingly couldn’t stop eating it it was so good. Quinoa Salad 3 C. cooked quinoa (=1 c. raw rinsed and cooked in 2 c. water…I mix the water with “better than bullion” for a much better flavor) I cook quinoa in our rice cooker. It’s easy-peasy that way. While we don’t need a closer picture of all the fingerprints on that thing, we could maybe use a close up of these gems (from Costco): let cool add 1 can black beans (drained) 1 c. white corn (drained…I use frozen white corn) 1 c. grape tomatoes (sliced in half) 1/2 red pepper (chopped) red or green onion (to taste) 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro I like to add avocado chunks too because I LOVE avocado. My friend says she sometimes adds feta and one time I added Craisins….shredded chicken would be really good too…just whatever you want to put in. Dressing: 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar (my favorite) 1 tbs. olive oil 1/4 c. lime juice a little pinch of sugar Mix it all together and eat it up. The next recipe is from my friend Angela: Garlic Chicken and Quinoa 1 c. quinoa prepared with chicken stock according to package directions with 2 c. chicken broth 4 chicken breasts 4 tbs. olive oil 1 small onion, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 yellow bell pepper, diced 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 20 leaves fresh basil grated parmesan cheese salt and pepper to taste Cut chicken into one inch pieces. Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil. Add chicken and sauté for 5 minutes or until just golden brown. Add onions, peppers, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add garlic and sauté until peppers become slightly limp, but still bright, about one to two more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from heat. Add basil and quinoa. Toss until basil wilts and garnish with parmesan cheese. Serves 5. Once again, couldn’t resist adding avocado. Another quinoa salad recipe I’m gonna try soon because it looks mouthwatering is here. If I don’t post for a while, just know I ran out of quinoa and I’m withering away from lack of fluffy home-made bread. This isn’t going to be a cake-walk I tell you!