I’ve been POISONED!
The other day, after a long morning and afternoon of appointments in the city, I was making my way back home. I hadn’t really anticipated the length of the appointments, and having had to be up at 5:30 am to make it on time, I was exhausted and famished. As I was making my way home via public transit (I’m brave like that!) and a long freeway drive (two hours total), I heard from my older sister. I was ecstatic when she told me that she had prepared dinner for me and that it was waiting for me at her house, about halfway between the city and my house.
I am always really careful to make sure that my food hasn’t been contaminated with gluten. I usually cook my own meals, but when my sister cooks for me, I know it’s safe, because she is very diligent in checking ingredients and asking me for clarification on anything that she is unsure about. So I asked her what she had made, and she told me it was a Butternut Squash Curried Rice. She proceeded to tell me all of the ingredients, and when she got to the vegetable broth, I asked her what brand it was. For some reason, some broths contain gluten. Perhaps it is used as a thickener. In any case, I am always really careful when it comes to broths. She told me that it was the Knorr vegetable broth, that I had checked it out before for her, and that it was definately gluten free.
Fast forward two hours. After having an amazing supper, I was feeling super tired, which I just attributed to my long day. I went into her family room to just lay on the couch and keep an eye on my neice. But suddenly, I started getting a really intense stomach ache…it seemed to come in waves of pain, but each time a cramp struck, I couldn’t move. The pain was unbelievable. I started racking my brain as to what it could possibly be…food poisoning? the flu? a rare but highly contagious disease from taking public transit?! And then I thought….no….gluten contamination? I went over everything I had eaten during the day, trying to find a culprit, but because I had packed a lunch to take with me, I knew that was impossible. Then it struck me: the rice curry?! No!! It couldn’t possibly be! She guaranteed me!
I couldn’t sit up because of the pain, so I rolled off of the couch and limped, hunched over like Quasimodo, to her pantry. I was scouring her spices when my eyes fell on the vegetable broth package. I picked it up and turned it over. And there, in large and quite obvious text, was the word ‘WHEAT.’ Ahhh!! I was furious, but not so much at her as myself. I should have been more diligent and double checked all of the ingredients. Gluten contamination is so frustrating, because if I have to get sick from gluten, I would much rather live it up with something delicious and gluten-ey that I have been craving for four years and not been able to have! When I get contaminated, I usually have a little pity party for myself for a few hours while I writhe in pain, resenting my lousy DNA and predisposition to celiac disease (did you know that it is genetic?!)
My sister was very apologetic. But she suggested that since I was so sick anyways, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try a cookie from the batch that she had just baked. She claimed they were the ‘best cookies ever.’ The rest of the family concurred. So I did….I had a warm, gluten-filled cookie. I figured that the damage was done, I was already in excruciating pain. Interestingly, I wasn’t a fan of the cookie. There was something about the flavour and the texture that I wasn’t really crazy about. I guess since I haven’t had a real cookie since I was diagnosed, my tastes have changed. I really prefer oat and almond flours to wheat now. This made me feel quite a bit better about having a gluten allergy. It made me realize that my body and my tastes have adapted to my diet. I realized that all the foods that I dream about eating if I wasn’t celiac probably wouldn’t taste good to me anymore anyways. So some good came out of all of this!
Actually there was more good than that, because an awesome recipe also came out of it! Don’t worry, I have adapted it so that it is actually gluten free! Courtesy of my sister, and Country Living, from whom it is adapated, the recipe for Butternut Squash Curried Rice Casserole!
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (why I use Canola)
- 1 cup (about 1 medium) diced onion
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth Poison warning-ensure it is gluten free!
- 1 can (14-ounces) reduced-fat coconut milk
- 2 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds (a yummy varation is to use roughly chopped cashews; they really add a distinctive flavour that works well with the spices used!)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large, deep pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, shallot, curry powder, salt, coriander, and pepper. Sauté until onion has softened — 5 to 7 minutes ish.
Stir in the broth and the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cook for one minute. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the squash, rice, almonds (or cashews!) and raisins. Transfer to a baking dish. Cover tightly and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake 10 minutes longer. If you want to top to be more ‘crust’-like, you can broil for a few minutes with the lid off. Serve immediately.
If you are watching your calories and fat, FYI this recipe has 310 calories per serving, and 7 grams of fat. Pretty great stats for such a hearty dish!
This recipe is so filling and satisfying. I had it with a large salad and it was really the perfect meal. I might even say that it was
worth the pain and agony of almost worth getting sick to eat it. Thanks sis, for nearly killing me an amazing meal, despite the consequences!
In other news, my short short hair has grown really fast. Now it almost feels like long hair again! I don’t know what I should do…now that I know how fast it grows back, and also how easy it is to take care of when it is short, I kind of want to re-cut it. On the other hand, I am also considering growing it out long enough again to cut it for a really great cause, like I did before. Survey: cut it for the convenience, or grow it out again for the cause? Enjoy the last bit of the weekend!