gluten-free? you mean me?

My mom has always hated to cook and my dad has always hated to eat. Perfect pair, right? Sure, but that also means that I never really picked up many useful cooking tips and tricks. In the 3 years since I've been married, I've come a LONG way in my cooking adventures. For the first year, Dave protected me from the horror that I considered cooking to be and did most of the grocery shopping and dinners. Ignorance is bliss. Eventually though, it became obvious that I couldn't avoid cooking forever. I started to become frighteningly curious about cooking and I wanted to incorporate new foods and healthy recipes into our healthy lifestyle.

One of my first infamous experiments involved a soup that called for 3 cloves of garlic. It was then that I learned a very valuable lesson: the difference between a BULB and a CLOVE. Idiot, I know. Another incident for a family picnic involved me turning on a pot full of corn-on-the-cob (sans water) only to smell burnt popcorn 20 minutes later. I could go on all day assuring you that from crock-pots to hard-boiled eggs, I've truly failed it all.
Did you know that eggs will explode the entire way out of the pot if left unattended?

These exploratory trials progressed varying in degree of severity, anger and success, but over time, I did develop a recipe book and became comfortable with a handful of go-to dishes. I also worked on setting timers.

Just tryin to toast some freakin bread...
This year, when my husband decided to go gluten-free for health reasons, I obviously planned to join him for support. I started a Gluten-Free Pinterest board and assured him that everything would be fine, but internally, I flew into a panic. Gluten was in everything! It haunted me from every label. What would we eat? Why me!? And the worst shock of more pizza delivery to bail us out!

Flash-forward to now, much to my surprise, the months that followed have not been as hard as I'd thought. In fact, going gluten-free has forced me to think about cooking more. Perhaps it's partially due to my obsessive nature, but 6 months in, I've tried tons of new recipes, become slightly more comfortable with deviating from the exact directions of said recipes and have ended up with many more successes than failures. I've found plenty of gluten-free substitutes, helpful gluten-free blogs (see the right of this blog) and even a few local places to buy discounted gluten-free things, like cereal and flour. Although it definitely takes more planning, thinking and reading labels, I've become a better and more informed cook because of it. 

Goal vs. Results - 2011 Halloween Party

Goal vs. Results - 2011 Halloween Party
Don't get me wrong, I still get freaked out if I'm cooking more than 2 things at one time and I can't say, "I love cooking" without sneering, but where would I be had we not made a gluten-free commitment? (I think these photos can answer that.)

The bottom line is: don't be afraid to experiment, especially when it comes to your health and diet. Unless you have a personal chef, you're never going to escape the chore that meal preparation can be. But the more prepared you are for the challenge, the less of a chore it will be! Dietary restrictions can be freeing! :)