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Guest Post: Diane Bramos and Trout with Almonds, Grapes, Quinoa, and Kale with a Lemon-Marjoram Vinaigrette

I am really excited to share my first guest post with you today!  I “met” Diane Bramos quite some time ago on Twitter, when she was still known as @pilateschik (Diane’s new Twitter name is @MrsAwwsum), and we have had many wonderful gluten-free “life conversations” ever since.  I love Diane’s enthusiasm for leading a healthy gluten-free life and her attitude is downright infectious!  Diane is the beautiful wife of Dan and mother of two happy gluten-free kiddos.  She does a phenomenal job of showing how a healthy gluten-free life can be a lot of fun…once again proving that attitude is everything! :-D


Do You See What To Do With The Almonds?

Thank you, Heidi, for allowing me to take over and write all over your blog!!  I love cooking and experimenting with food.  We lived in Sicily (where daughter was born) for three years.  I was huge.  I had stomach issues.  But, I LOVED their food and learning how to make it!  My name is Diane Bramos and I am a Celiac.

I have had stomach troubles ever since I can remember.  I always wanted to be “normal,” which to me, meant not having to be near a bathroom.  College was terrible since we shared bathrooms. When I finally married my love, Dan, I was lucky enough to learn how great military medicine can be *sarcasm.* I was first diagnosed with IBS, whatever that meant.  I was not given any information.  We moved to Sicily, then back to the States and I just quit pursuing the issue since I would always be deflated with an IBS diagnosis.  By this time I had two children so it was harder to find a babysitter and see a doctor.  We would eat boxed foods like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Campbell’s Soups and Wonder bread.  I was obese for my height, closing in on morbidly obese.

My husband was leaving for a year-long deployment.  I decided I could not care for these kids and myself if I did not actually care for myself.  I joined a gym, got a personal trainer and a nutritionist.  I started to phase out the boxed and canned goods and started to cook from scratch (except for Whole Wheat bread).  I lost about 70 pounds in 10 months time.  I was half the wife my husband left.  I looked better.  I still felt bad.

I continued to exercise and work on ways to get more whole wheat (good for you, right?) into my diet: bread, pasta, cereals.  I started to have eczema show up, which generally only happens to me in the winter time, but this was spring.  It had pustules that, when broken, would burn and sting. This was on my ankles, backs of knees, wrists and elbows.  I dealt with it until I had to show skin.  My primary care doctor sent me to an Air Force dermatologist.  Nothing against the Air Force, my son was born at Andrews, but this guy had no clue what he was doing and was beyond narcissistic.  He told me I just had eczema and food would not affect it.  No longer good enough for me.  I wanted answers!!  I was given a blood test that covered so many things my doctor actually had to write justifications for them.

From those tests, I was sent to an allergist who informed me (thank you to his dermatologist wife!!), I had Dermatitis Herpetiformis which is usually associated with Celiac.  He sent me to a gastroenterologist and here I am today, a happy Celiac.  I also had both of my kids tested since it does run in families.  Son is Celiac; daughter has an allergy to wheat.  We have to be wary of other allergies in our house, as well, that we never knew about before I was fed up.  I definitely began to cook more whole foods because of this.

Have you noticed the ingredient lists found on Gluten-Free processed foods?  A lot of rice (white), corn, and nut flours.  My son has a corn allergy.  My daughter has a peanut and tree nut allergy (except almonds).  I can rarely do processed gluten-free foods.  Manufacturers are getting better, especially the smaller companies, but I do not think it is good enough for my family.  So, I cook whole foods and I bake most of our baked goods (exception is Liz Lovely cookies – NOM!!!). I actually took the October Un-Processed food challenge to see what else I could do to eliminate processed foods.  My rule was if I could recognize every ingredient and there were not any preservatives in it, it was good for this challenge.

Now, bring in a special something I was lucky enough to win from this very blog just a few weeks ago.  I won the gluten-free girl and the chef cookbook package!  When I saw I won, I screamed “YES” and I jumped up and down all over the place.  I actually scared my family.  You see, I WANTED this cookbook (it was in the Amazon cart just waiting for the click, but I thought I’d try anyway).  It was whole foods.  Right up my alley.  I am comfortable enough with my cooking/baking skills to substitute whatever needed substituting.  Perfect timing??  I’ll say, YES!

Heidi was nice enough to ask if I’d like to be a glutadoodle and I excitedly agreed.  I have already made a few recipes from the book: Multigrain Waffles (NOM!!), Seared Scallops with Boulangerie Potatoes and Bacon Butter (NOM!!!), Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread (redundant in a GF book? Still NOM!) and tonight was Trout with Almonds, Grapes, Quinoa, and Kale with a Lemon-Marjoram Vinaigrette.

Pardon the socks, I had just returned from a kid birthday party and didn’t have time to change. This trout recipe was very good.  We used local rockfish (which is suggested in the sidebar).  I live along the Chesapeake Bay, so it is rockfish season!!  I got some local kale and shallots. I could not find fresh marjoram so I used dried.  It came together very quickly.

I made the vinaigrette earlier in the day so the flavors could blend and the dried herbs could reconstitute.  I started the quinoa in my rice cooker before anything else.  I then began on the fish which was super easy to do (always should be).  The fish tasted buttery and melted in my mouth!  Get local seafood if you can.  No “fishy” taste.  I had never cooked kale before so it was a new ingredient.  I have cooked collard greens before, so I figured it would be similar.  I was right.  It was easy and fast but too tart for the kidlings.  Easy!  Six thumbs up (eight if you include mine)!!  We’re going to use the leftover fish for fish tacos tomorrow night.  Thanks to very little seasoning on the fish, it is easy to use in another dish.

My only problem with the recipe was I did not know what to do with the almonds!!  It was listed under the quinoa.  It only said to set aside once toasted then no other mention of the almonds.  So, does anyone see what to do with the almonds??

Diane just began a blog of her own, called “A Walk in the Park,” so be sure to stop by and read about her amazing life adventures.

If you are interested in sharing your gluten sensitivity story and/or a favorite gluten-free recipe on my blog, please contact me at:

heidi AT adventuresofaglutenfreemom DOT com.

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Comments

  1. shauna says:

    You two women are amazing! Heidi, thanks for allowing Diane to guest blog on this.

    Diane, we are so excited that you won the book! And that you are cooking so much from the book. That's what we want!

    Your rockfish looks so good. So glad you can use the leftovers in fish tacos.

    And the almonds? Oh dear, did that get left out of the recipe? SHOOT. But it's easy. Just sprinkle them on top. They add a great crunch to the quinoa.

    I love the socks, by the way.

    • Hi Shauna!!!

      It was an honor to have Diane do a post and share her experience cooking one of your and Danny's AWESOME recipes! Your cookbook is officially broken in at our house, with lots of Garlic Almond Sauce drippings splattered throughout, LOL! (That sauce really is something, I have been using it as a mayo replacement in chicken salad ever since my youngest son was diagnosed with an egg allergy)! :-D

      You're the best and thank you for commenting on Diane's post. I am sure she is giddily jumping up and down the same way I am right now! :-D

      xo,
      Heidi

  2. Kim says:

    I have no idea what to do with the almonds – perhaps add to the finished quinoa? There was another recipe in this book with a similar issue – I know how it is when I write recipes on my blog…you get so used to doing something and then accidentally leave that step out.

    Thanks for sharing your story! :)

    Kim

    • Diane says:

      Funny thing, I actually make kale with almond slices. Sweetens them up a bit so the kids will eat it. I thought about the quinoa as well, but it's good with the vinaigrette. I asked my husband that question and he said that should be my title!! LOL!

  3. What a terrific post, Diane and Heidi! I was so focused on that amazing fish dish that I didn't even notice there were socks in the photo! LOL Now, looking at the photo again, it looks like a plate stand with "stocking" feet. ;-) Too funny! Anyway, so helpful that you told your and your family's story, Diane. I know it will help many! Thanks to Heidi for clueing us in on your new Twitter handle and blog. Somehow I missed those. :-(

    Happy Friday all!

    Shirley

  4. Patti S says:

    I love the socks in the photo. You are keeping it real. ;)

  5. Diane, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us on Heidi's blog. I am looking forward to following your own now as well!

    I have not made that recipe yet from the book. Not sure why, since my boys love, love trout. Now I am going to have to do it! ;)

    And, by the way, I noticed the socks right away and love them!! My sister and I have always had this thing that we love wearing silly socks (at home). My collection over the years has gotten quite interesting and funny. My boys love them….

  6. Maggie says:

    I'm jumping up and down too – how cool that Shauna came to your blog and commented Heidi! EEEEKKK!!! And Diane too! I'm excited for both of you. Thanks Diane for sharing your story – another negative that turned into a positive. I'm beginning to think we're the lucky ones – even better, the enlightened ones :) I know a few people with dermatitis who are doing nothing to treat it – other than steroids. I will definitely point them in the direction of this post. Thanks girls. xo

  7. Dan says:

    OK, this is where I gotta chime in. The title of the post was indeed my idea, somewhat out of frustration. "Read this and tell me where to put the almonds".

    I dunno. I don't see it.

    "Read it again and tell me where to put the almonds"

    Umm, if you tell me to read it again, I'll tell you where to put the almonds, allright…

    In all seriousness, thank you to both Heidi and Shauna for these recipes and affording Diane the chance to do this. And thanks for putting up with me, but you bought the whole package on this one without realizing it.

    By the way, I intentionally botched all the pictures except the one with the sox so she HAD to use it (but that's our secret, so don't tell her).

    • Dan,

      The "whole package" is certainly a delight! I love it when men comment and share their refreshingly fun perspective!

      I am trying to talk my husband into doing a guest post…maybe you might be interested too? :-D

  8. First off, I LOVED the socks in the photo. Very charming use of "accessories" in a food picture. The humor was delightful. Second, trout is one of my favorites and I don't have it very often (last time was at IFBC, Heidi — remember that plate with the whole fish on it). You've inspired me to make a trout dinner. I have lots of kale and the almonds can be added in anywhere along the way. No need for directions on that! And last, but not least, your story Diane, was inspiring. Thanks for sharing it. You two did a great job on this post!

    Melissa

    xo

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