Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ultimate Hot Chocolate Heats up Winter

Winter blues getting you down?  Usually around mid-February, many of us in the frozen land of the Midwest begin to suffer from a little something called "cabin fever".  Thankfully this winter has actually been extremely mild.

One of my favorite drinks to make on a winter night is hot chocolate.  But this version of hot chocolate will require you to be 21 years of age in the U.S.  It's simple yet relaxing.

Ultimate Hot Chocolate
- 2 TBSP of hot chocolate powder or syrup (your preference or find a gluten free mix)
- 10 oz. of milk or water (again depending on your preference)
- 1 shot of Creme de Cacao (optional)
- 1/2 shot of Vodka (6 times distilled is gluten free)
- Whip cream

Pair with a wafer or cookie and it's the perfect evening treat!

Be safe... don't drink and drive.  That's all.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Out With the Gluten, In With the Free

I have been have been creating pasta concoctions since I was a young teenager.  My favorite side for a warm bowl of soup is toasted wheat bread.  I am infatuated with assembling unique American pizza's in my kitchen.  And recently I have decided to say farewell to some of my most favorite foods....

This is not to join the latest diet craze or for an attempt to lose weight.  I never thought of myself as a "health nut" and definitely didn't think I would ever be considering a wheat-free diet.  In fact, up until the last couple of months, I have been rather closed-minded about it.  However, after a lot of research and consideration, it is apparent that I would benefit from cutting wheat from my diet.  Although I do not suffer from a full blown wheat allergy... it is proven that some of my medical conditions may improve by simply not eating wheat.

To begin my research process, I knew the person that I needed to call.  My good friend, Amy, has been eating gluten-free since last July.  She suffers from a wheat-allergy known as Celiac (among other food allergies).  Her overall health has benefited from the change in diet.  She told me that it is a huge adjustment, especially considering how many food products have wheat.  She suggested that I experiment with certain foods and learn to read nutrition labels in a new way.  And so... I began a food experiment...

One night, I made grilled cheese sandwiches on wheat bread for myself and Jon.  The next day, I cooked a wheat-free dinner with grilled lean beef, kidney beans, jasmine rice and salad.  The day after that I cooked another wheat-free dinner with grilled asparagus and chicken.  To put it simply... the difference was amazing! 

Celiac and wheat-intolerance has become extremely prevalent in our current society.  Thankfully, most food companies are catering to this type of food allergy and intolerance.  Gluten-free products have their own aisle at grocery stores and many well-known brands will clearly label a product "gluten free".

Unfortunately, not all products will have an allergy label.  The following food products should be avoided:  barley, bran, bulgur, couscous, emmer, einkorn, faro, graham flour, kamut, matzo flour, panko, rye, spelt, udon.  The obvious wheat products should also be avoided:  pasta, beer, croutons, breading, luncheon meat, soy sauce and more.

With my hypothesis proven true... I set out on a grocery store adventure.  I would go to the aisle that I have not gone before.  I would discover food that I have not known before.

I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by the choices in the gluten-free aisle at Festival Foods.  There is a surprising amount of options for individuals that have eliminated wheat.  How fantastic!  The only set back would be to my wallet.  Eating gluten free is fairly expensive.

Going completely gluten-free may not beneficial to all and can sometimes do more harm than good.  I would suggest doing a lot of research before embarking on this lifestyle. 

As I begin this new adventure of eating gluten-free, I plan to take you all along with me on this journey.  The new recipes, the trials, the success and the change.  It's going to be a big difference.  To this day, I have been eating gluten free for 18 days and absolutely loving it.

It's not easy for me to put myself out there and reveal this change.  But I appreciate all the support so far from my friends and family.  I certainly hope that it might inspire others.  If you have enjoyed reading Hint of Thyme, I hope that you will continue to return and cook with me!

Take care, readers!  Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

Shout out to my friend, Amy!  Thank you for being such a good friend to me over the years.  You have inspired me more than you even know.

"The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful
form of medicine OR the slowest form of poison."
- Ann Wigmore

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2012 A Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

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