Archive for January, 2010

My husband, Tim,  is a musician (drummer to be exact) and with the current band he plays with he gets these great gigs at places like used book stores.  Going through the cookbook section while the band plays Irish-like folk in the backround is quite an amazing experience.  Not only do you tend the find the craziest books (Aspics and More!) that offer great conversational pieces in and out of the store, but they’re dirt cheap, too!

While roving around, our former massage therapist and fellow non-yeasty found what must be one of the first modern books for Systemic Yeast.  Published in 1986, by Annette Annechild & Laura Johnson, Yeast-Free Living is packed with recipes, research and quite an impressive mound of information for its time.

I know what you’re thinking: “’86 wasn’t that long ago.  Why I was only in 11th grade, or um, something close to that….”

But the thing is, compared with the immense research and marketing concerning our nation’s wide-spread gluten intolerance, and even that isn’t nearly where it needs to be,  yeast issues are something that hardly anyone has heard of now, no less 24 years ago.

This is why I’m amazed at how much these ladies knew.  Granted, you can tell they were in the very first years of systemic yeast research, when no one in the modern world really knew what was causing such a strange and wide variety of symptoms.  They didn’t yet know that there was a difference between the good and not-so-good bacteria, and that some strains of yeast, like the ones found in certain fermented foods, were actually good for you when it came to building up the system and fighting off those pesky overgrown colonies of microscopic baked bread.  It’s funny to read that tofu and sauerkraut, for example, are on the forbidden list.  There is also no mention of probiotics, and since whole wheat pasta was so hard to come by almost 25 years ago some of the recipes include plain ‘ol refined semolina noodles.

25 years ago.  Are you kidding me?  Wasn’t it just 1986????  Anyway…..

Now that I’m almost past the throes of die-off, which I recently learned can be worse the second time around (sista fell off the wagon and went for the comforts of pasta, pasta, pasta, sushi), I’m starting to feel better about the yeast-thing and better about myself.  I’m grateful for those who paved the way for us fungi-fighting citizens of the human body and do hope soon that I can find more recipes, websites and blogs dedicated not only the wide world of gluten redemption but yeast deliverance, as well.

In the meantime, enjoy tonight’s wonderful dinner, courtesy of my brother-in-law, Jack, and a sweet little grain called millet!

Butternut squash for two with peppery millet polenta and broccoli with saute´ed garlic – yum!


  • one big ‘ol butternut sqaush
  • a tbs of coconut oil per halve
  • savory spices, such as whole or ground cloves, allspice, ground cardemom, sea salt and cracked pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Half your squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  In the well of the squash and around the hard flesh spread some softened coconut oil.  Sprinkle in your spices and if you have whole cloves, push them into the squash halfway.  Dust with a few pinches of the sea salt (coarse works well) and fresh pepper.  Wrap both halves in foil and place them on a foil-covered cookie sheet.  Cook for about 1 hour.  After an hour, remove the foil wrappings and cook for another half hour as the natural juices start to boil.  Take those babies out, smash the flesh with a fork and let stand for about 5 mins before devouring.  Mmmmm.

Now, onto the “polenta”

Millet rocks the hasbah.  It really does.  It’s an amazing little grain that most people don’t realize is edible by humans  ’cause they’re busy feeding it to their parrots.  Millet is so edible in fact, that in soups and stews it resembles barley, but is better than barley if you are strictly gluten-free.  It’s also great served like rice for side dishes and porridge-style for breakfast.  Ah, millet.  Now, that’s what I call a grain!

Peppery Millet Polenta

If corn gives you the riot act like it does to me, then you’ll love this recipe.  Bring on the Mediterranean Diet – I dare ya!

  • 1 cup whole millet
  • 2 1/4 cups water or stock of your choice
  • 1tbs coconut oil
  • dash or so of salt

Put all ingredients in a saucepan on high and bring to a boil.  Lower the temp to simmer and cover for about 20 mins. Remove from heat and let sit for a good 5 mins.

Then, spread the millet evenlyonto a baking sheet and let cool.  As you do this, get creative with your spices.  I love, love, LOVE parm on my polenta, but it’s too moldy for regular use so I imitate the flavor by using ground red pepper, garlic powder, black pepper and rosemary. Be careful with the garlic powder so you don’t over salt your creation.

Let the mixture cool and then slice into short rectangles and fry until crispy and golden.  The millet will pop a bit like popcorn and your stove will get messy, but it’s worth it!

recipe based off of Rebecca Wood’s awesome website!

Broccoli-how I love thee!

  • a good bowlful of frozen or leftover broc
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic

I use the pan I’m gonna use for the polenta and sweat my garlic real slow (oooh, steamy). Then I simply mix it with my broc and save most of the oil for the polenta.  That way, it’s infused with the flavor and scent of garlic and I don’t be wasting no oil, honey child!

Eat it all together till you can’t move and save some for the musicians who will be in and out, practicing their beautiful tunes upstairs in the drum room as you joyfully listen downstair while typing out your blog til 10:18 at night…….or something like that.

Love, luck and butternut (no not sugarnut) squash,


The Hopeful Foodie


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I dreamed a dream……of yeast gone by.

It’s ironic that the uncontrollable urge to write would come upon me today –  sick in bed with a serious stomach ache, up to my knees in the throes of die-off.  How fun.

But it did come to me.  So I dragged myself downstairs, heavy footed as usual, and ravenously hungry –  not to eat, but to write.  Oh, how I love artistic urges!

I’m thinking about die-off and of all the things I have yet to try.  I call myself a foodie not because of all of the five star restaurants I’ve dined in, but because of the unsustainable urge to sink my salivary glands into every vegetable, carb, protein and other that sounds, well, good.  I’m a cultural buff at heart, unlike my mother who was a history buff ( woman could rattle Gettysburg dates off the top of her head while eating chili from a can) or my husband, Tim, who’s a geography nerd true and true.  When something sounds good, in other words undeniably interesting, I have to try it – just for the principle of it.  Yeast or no yeast, it must be done.  I’ll do it my way, thank you Frank Sinatra, but I will do it.

My list of goals goes far and wide.  While barely twenty I vowed to have Bejing duck in Bejing; fresh coconut from a cart in Barbados, split down the center by a thin, leathered man with a big knife; fish pulled right out of the water, gutted and grilled in front of me on an ocean-side island somewhere; and everything imaginable in Sicily, Greece and New Orleans, respectively.  I haven’t experienced any of these dreams yet, outside of my own mind, and whether I do or not doesn’t matter.  I’ve dreamed them.  I’ve tasted them.  I’ve written them down.  That’s all that matters.

See, when I was dreaming and tasting and writing these things I was damn near sunk.  Sick.  Not doing well.  I thought it was severe Asthma.  Then, Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Then, Fibromyalgia. Then, All In My Head.  Then, Anxiety.  And it was.  Finally, it was Systemic Yeast (along with Post Traumatic Stress and all of those fun things that cause crazy imitative symptoms of serious bodily malfunctions).  I was in hell and still I dreamed.  Today, with die-off, I still do.

I dream of eating shabu shabu in black pot with the one that I love.  I dream of quail eggs atop a boiling soup, breaking the yolk and stirring it all around like a child – amazed as the yellowing liquid turns solid and light.  I dream of going from village to village on foot, eating in homes over kettle fires, watching my hosts dig up their gracious meal out of the cinders and tasting the best game that money just can’t buy.  I dream of dingy little holes in the wall that boast of the best (fill in the blank) you’ve ever had, and licking my lips afterward knowing that never in my life will I ever taste it the same way again.

I dream of the experiences I’ve had that can’t be repeated: Wearing a crab shirt with the printed phrase, “Have you had a hard one lately?” and having my 95 yr old grandfather misunderstand the question and sigh, “Not for a long, long time.”  Dining at a fancy restaurant, home to some little town’s historic hotel and not feeling awkward or out of place thanks to a waitress with more ink than Lydia the Tattooed Lady and her stellar recommendation for the olive oil cake, which in turn, knocked our knickers off.  I treasure being in that same restaurant and dropping my fork to the table as my hand cradled my forehead because the fire-roasted churrasco steak was just that good.  I will never forget the first date, six months into relationship-dom, when Tim and I went to a favorite sushi place a few neighborhoods away, and how we were so scared due to Tim’s restaurant anxiety that we brought his best friend, and future best man, along with us!

These are the memories that must be treasured.  These are the dreams that must be dreamt, even if never quenched.  This is the heart that must write and eat and write again, die-off or no die-off,  ’cause in the end, I’m still me, and no microorganism can take that away.

Love and luck (and shabu shabu) in 2010!


The Hopeful (if long-winded) Foodie

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