please don't blame the butternut squash!

Since starting my detox diet, I have been inspired and encouraged by Shawna James, the "Gluten Free Girl". Reading her blog has reminded me how much I love food. And what I am realizing is that by limiting the foods I can eat, I am being made to use some creativity and a little more love and intention when eating. In order to really help you understand, let me tell you what I can't eat. Not as a means of complaining or gaining sympathy (but you can still send me condolences and gift certificates for massages if you would like!), but rather, to help you really understand why the foods that I CAN eat are becoming more exciting to me. Here's the list: wheat/gluten, soy, corn, sugar, dairy, alcohol, eggs, beef/sausage/pork, tea/coffee, chocolate, oranges. I am sure there are more, but this gives you some idea.

All of these restrictions made my cooking experience so much more rich. I felt so decedent as I sliced open a butternut squash in the middle of the day for roasting. Seriously, who roasts butternut squash at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Apparently I do.
Later the squash was pureed and put in the refrigerator. The absence of wheat in my diet inspired me to pull out my rice cooker. The rice cooker I have had for a year and a half. The rice cooker I have never used before. In the end, the squash was lovingly stirred into the brown rice. Then I added pine nuts and formed the concoction into small patties which were fried to a crisp in a pan of olive oil. People, I must be honest. They were kind of gross. But that is only because I didn't take the time to toast the pine nuts. And maybe some sauteed yellow onion . . . no, no, shallots! . . . would have added the perfect something. And the rice to squash ratio needs some work. But you see, the problem was not the ingredients. I just need to work out some kinks. And I can, because I am free as a bird to play with these ingredients.

Next came the coconut chicken. I dipped the strips in a mixture of almond and coconut milks with a little chili paste. Then the strips where rolled in organic, no-added-sugar, super-fine coconut shreds. Also less than memorable, in the end. But again, only for lack of experience on my part. You see, I have been cooking for years. Like, 20 years. Seriously. When I was in middle school, I remember calling my dad at work to ask him to brain storm the perfect homemade fried mozzarella stick recipe. What I am new to is cooking with restrictions. From the restrictions, I have opened my eyes to ingredients I am unaccustomed to working with. And learning to play with them will just take some time.


Blogger kim brimhall said...

ohhh sweet girl. big hugs to you. and its so good that you are finding new ways to enjoy food. i might be emailing you for recipes. i have been dealing with health problems for years and they are leaning towards a few things now, and they both have food restrictions:) so good luck with that! thanks for the sweet comments on my blog. i'll be back soon!

8:42 AM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger katie said...

oh cara...i love food too. love food. but i lack discipline, so props to you for at least attempting it. i might ask for recipes too...to see if i can make something healthy...but i guess it might cost a fortune? good luck :)

10:54 AM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger Cara said...

katie . . .
if you look at the dinner last night, it was rice, squash, nuts, chicken, and coconut. not to pricey at all!
email me anytime!

11:29 AM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger Melanie said...

can you eat mangoes? they are my new favorite fruit! i loves me some butternut squash. i made some amazing butternut squash soup.

6:19 PM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger shelly b said...

well good for you for trying this out...first no tv now no food (at least to me)...I'm afraid we can't be friends. (BIG LAUGH AND SMILES).

7:10 AM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Kelly said...

have you tried quinoa?

10:43 PM, April 07, 2008  

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