What It’s Not

Recipes will be coming this week, along with videos over the next month. Pictures (thanks to my husband’s new toys) will be accompanying the recipes – as I know from personal experience that if I can’t see the food the person I’m reading is babbling on about… I’m likely to not bother cooking it. It’s a bit like a personal ad that keeps insisting the poster has a GREAT personality but refuses to mention their looks beyond the vague “medium build, medium height, average looks” that tends to translate in everyone’s head to “Quick! Hide the children, Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy is coming for dinner!”

Tomorrow, I’ll explain just what this site is. What I’m hoping to share, the how and why’s of my cooking style. But today? Something a little different. Today… is what this site isn’t. And what it’s never going to be.

First off… I’m not a doctor. Not a chef. I don’t play either on tv, and while I’ve considered the latter at various times in my life, the former? Yeah. Not gonna happen. My interest level in the insides of other people is pretty much a solid nil. Other than a desire for those around me to keep their insides inside, I’m good without the details. So, any and all medical items that get covered on this site? Consider them “items that have been researched for Jenna’s own personal use and she figured she would share what she found – but her body is weird… and you need to cover the bases for your own and not take her word as gospel”. I’ll do my very best to be accurate, I’ll make sure to tell you when I’m just running on my own personal experience, and if you ARE a medical professional and can prove I’m wrong… I’m a big girl and more than willing to listen.

Secondly – this isn’t a diet website. Celiac and the gluten-free diet has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years or so, becoming downright trendy with the “I wanna be a size 2” set. And, I have to admit, I’ve lost about 100 pounds (sheesh, the room gets a little dizzy when I type that. Didn’t notice an extra 100 clinging to my backside, didn’t notice it coming off until I flashed the world at large by stepping out of my pants. I’m apparently not the most physically aware woman in the world.) in the last 18 months, due in a lot of ways to going gluten-free. But NOT the way I think a lot of people are assuming. This ISN’T a magic carpet ride to the land of sample sizing. Instead – I stopped eating crap (no more junk food), am too cheap to buy much of the overpriced GF convenience items, and for the first time in decades – I felt healthy enough to get OFF my assets and do things. If you suddenly are able to run for something other than the bathroom – weight starts to shift. Also, my body started finally getting real nutrition OUT of food, rather than (sorry to be blunt here) losing everything but the fat a few moments after eating as I rushed to the nearest bathroom. But – weight I’ve lost aside… I’m going to be using butter here people. Sugar too. Meat (albeit mostly grassfed and local). Olive oil. CHOCOLATE. Between celiac and some other allergies (you’re never going to get a recipe for shellfish, bananas, treenuts, and a few others here. Sorry about that, but I kinda like breathing, ya know?) my eating and cooking is already restricted. I’ve had to accept that wheat, barley, rye, and others will never pass my lips again – so I have no interest in limiting myself further. The recipes on this site are all going to be gluten-free, all are going to be made from scratch as much as I can (I’m buying my soy sauce, not crushing soybeans in the back yard and leaving them to ferment. There are SOME lines even as a foodie I’m not interested in crossing and my neighbors already look at me funny as it is!), I’m going to be doing my best to make them affordable and not relying on a thousand odd ingrediants that make you start looking at a 2nd mortgage in order to afford… and they will be Real Food.

But sometimes… into everyone’s life, a little double chocolate salted caramel brownies must fall. If life is to be even considered worth living. I don’t believe in strict calorie counting, I don’t particularly care about how many “Super Foods” I can shove into a recipe, and I absolutely refuse to post anything that is healthy merely for health’s sake – or horrors “Good… for Gluten-free”. I just want it to taste good. I think if we all just relax about about the numbers and instead just eat reasonable amounts of things AND get our butts up off the couch, food isn’t the enemy. It isn’t something to be beaten into submission and sanitized. It should just taste good.

And carob is of the devil.

Last, this isn’t going to be a product driven site. Going gluten-free is a challenge, both in relearning how to cook… and balancing the budget for it. In my mind, you can go GF one of two ways – buy all the new GF products and convenience items that are popping up on the shelves and always have dinner just a 15 minute microwave beep away (oh, yeah. AND triple your grocery budget. There is that little downside.) OR…. be cheap. Make as much as possible at home, and be really really picky on what convenience items are really such a convenience. I buy as good a quality as I can manage, we eat almost only local grassfed meats, tons of fresh produce, and as cleanly as possible on about $60 a week for both myself and my husband (who is gluten-free at home by his own choice. He is amazing… and also not wanting to cook his own dinner – so smart too!) There are a few GF convenience items I keep on hand, and I’ll be honest about them. But mostly, I cook from scratch to keep the cost down, the flavor up, and fears of cross contamination in the manageable. When I find GF products in my own daily cooking and weekly shopping that I like enough to toss into the pantry – I’ll let folks know. In the same vein, when I stumble onto a “Oh… My…. GROSS!” item that is being marketed towards the GF folks, I’ll be pretty vocal about the misstep. I’m not looking for items to review – just items I want to cook with. And, in the fullness of time, if anyone has something they WANT my opinion on, feel free to mail it to me and I’ll give it a whirl. But on the understanding that if it is terrible, what gets written might be a bit more colorful than you were hoping, AND I’ll be stating I got the item for free. (Although, if the meat market I go to wants to cut me a deal to pitch their wares for a free side of beef? Call me.)

But for the most part? I cook as much from scratch as I can to keep my own budget low. And I’ll try to limit the number of esoteric gluten-free ingredients required. Yes, my pantry looks like a medieval alchemist’s cave full of oddities – but I’ll try to not post a lot that requires items that you’ll only use once or something that needs you to figure shipping into the final cost. I understand that not everyone views grocery shopping as entertainment, and my desire to collect hundreds of little bottles of weird and wonderful ingredients is not a quirk everyone shares. (Sadly.)

So. There is my list of what this nonsense isn’t… tomorrow, we get to the good stuff.

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About atwheatsend

Amazonian Betty Crocker and a Gypsy who found roots. Determined to eat wonderfully, even if celiac DID kick sand at the picnic.
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