Barbecue Sauce for Chicken

barbecue-sauce

I always thought tomato sauce and onions were essential in any recipe for barbecue sauce, but here is a recipe that we have worked out without these migraine triggers.  We enjoy it with this potato recipe.

Barbecue Sauce

Makes 1 cup sauce, just right for shredded chicken from 2 breasts

barbecue-sauce

1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup molases
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 cup distilled white vinegar
1/6 cup honey
1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

  1. Blend all ingredients together and pour over shredded chicken from 2 breasts.
  2. Stir to evenly coat and serve warm.

Migraine Control: Fragrances

Several weeks ago, I had one of my worst migraines following a visit to a doctor’s office.  A Glade Plug-in was running in the waiting room, and I smelled it the instant I entered.  I requested to be taken back to a different waiting room with the hope that I could avoid the pain that these little tormentors have caused in the past.  This fast escape wasn’t fast enough or far enough though.  Even though I spent less than 5 minutes in the waiting room, I had a migraine that lasted for the next 5 days.  Evidently, people had smoked in the waiting room since I had last been there, and the doctor didn’t want the room to smell like smoke.  This thought just blows my mind!  Isn’t smoking inside a public place prohibited?  Why not deal with the root cause of the problem rather than just cover it up with neurotoxins and carcinogens.

Seriously, air fresheners contain formaldehyde (which is a known carcinogen), xylene (a neurotoxin), toluene (known to cause kidney and liver damage), etc.  In this article, manufacturers claim that the levels of chemicals that are emitted by air fresheners, laundry detergent, fabric softener are “not known to cause any problems.”  Well, let me testify – it’s a problem for me!  Other migraineurs also have this problem as reported on migraine.com.

Lavender growing in my garden

Lavender growing in my garden

Lavender wands

Lavender wands

There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about the world outside of my house with regard to fragrances, but here are 3 things that I do at my house.  First, I enjoy natural scents such as lavender.  I enjoy growing it in my garden and using it to make lavender wands to bring inside my house.

Secondly, I use shampoo, conditioner, and cream from National Allergy Supply.  These products have no fragrance or masking fragrance and have the double advantage of not causing allergic reactions or migraines for me.

Lastly, I make my own laundry detergent so that I’m not carrying a migraine-inducing fragrance around with me all day long.  The recipe for the laundry detergent included below does include borax which is noted to cause skin and respiratory irritation for some people, but I haven’t had these problems.  The amount used is so minimal per load, and it is washed out by the washing machine.  I also try to minimize the amount of time it is heated on the stove by making sure that the water is already simmering before I add it.  And – there’s rarely a perfect solution to a problem.  We just do the best we can.  Here’s the plus side:

In the same way that water tastes like nothing, my clothes smell like nothing:)

It Smells Like Nothing Laundry Detergent

1 cup water
1/4 bar grated Kirk’s Fragrance Free Castille soap
1/4 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/8 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

  1. Fill a 2.75 qt. (or so) container (like a pitcher) 3/4 full with hot water.
  2. Heat the water in a small saucepan until simmering.
  3. Add the castille soap and stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until completely dissolved.
  5. Remove from the heat and add to the pitcher.
  6. Fill the container the rest of the way with tap water and allow to cool.
  7. Note that the detergent will thicken over the next few days, but not completely turn to get as with other similar recipes.  This is already thinned so that I pour from my pitcher into the machine.  I use 1 to 2 Tbsp. per load depending on the load size.
  8. When your clothes are finished, smell NOTHING:)

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Stuffed Chicken 1I really wanted to post this week, but I have been struggling to get through and recover from a migraine.  July 4th was definitely not the day to have a migraine in the United States.  However,  that was the day that a storm moved through.  Explosions were going off in my head as they went off throughout the city.  The storm didn’t slow down the fireworks, but it slowed me down!

This post was almost ready to go, but I had hoped to get a better picture before publishing it.  So, please forgive the picture and trust that this is a good one.  My whole family enjoys it.

I used to love making a dish similar to this with loads of Parmesan cheese.  My cravings for cheese are actually starting to diminish since I haven’t been able to eat it for several months now.  However, I wasn’t initially sure about how to modify my original recipe to replace the flavor of Parmesan.  It really didn’t end up being that hard to simply substitute some other tasty herbs and add a little salt to create a dish that is just as good as the original.  I hope you enjoy it:)

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Stuffed Chicken 1

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

  1. In a small bowl, stir olive oil and spices together.
  2. Add spinach and red bell pepper and stir.
  3. Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create pockets.
  4. Place spice and vegetable mix in the pockets and place breasts in a baking dish.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until no pink remains.
  6. Slice and serve warm.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup light

I used to only have 3 soup recipes.  This new adventure of figuring out what to eat on a migraine diet has opened my eyes to so many more options.  My sister-in-law sent the original idea for this soup to me, but I have made several changes to accommodate our dietary needs.  We love this served as a side dish with chicken recipes.

The garlic scape that I have used for garnish in the picture is a delightful replacement for onions or mushrooms.  The difficulty is finding scapes, which are the stalks for the flower buds of the garlic plant (see one of mine here).  They are usually removed from a garlic plant to allow the bulbs to grow larger.  However, I usually let a few scapes grow so that the flowering buds develop for planting the next year.  I used to compost the others, but have recently begun using them in dishes such as this one.  This year, my plan is to freeze them for use all year long.  If garlic growing is something you would like me to include in a future post, please comment below.

Note that this recipe fits nicely in a blender.  However, if you want to make a larger batch using the entire cauliflower head, you could use a stick blender right in the stockpot.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup light

1/2 of a large cauliflower head (or 1 very small head), chopped
1 medium white or yellow potato, peeled and diced
2 cups broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash cumin
diced and sauteed garlic scapes for garnish (optional)

  1. Place the cauliflower, potato, and broth in a small stockpot and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Place vegetables, broth, and spices (except garlic scapes) into a blender and blend until creamy.
  3. Serve warm as a side dish with sauteed garlic scapes for garnish as desired.

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets 2

This recipe is great for a supper meal, but I have also found it to be particularly helpful at lunch.  If I don’t eat more than a salad at lunch, I start getting that “migraine coming on” feeling mid-afternoon.  I make a double batch for supper and freeze the leftovers to be warmed for lunches throughout the week.  The original inspiration for this recipe included several migraine triggers and a dipping sauce.  I’ve replaced the trigger ingredients and think these nuggets are great without a dipping sauce.  I frequently serve them with roasted cauliflower and steamed beets.

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets 2

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 pound ground chicken
1 “egg” (1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G powder & 2 Tbsp. water)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
coconut oil

  1. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup rice flour and 1/4 cup coconut.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine ground chicken, 1/3 cup rice flour, Ener-G egg, and spices.
  3. Form desired nugget-sized patties and roll in flour/coconut blend.
  4. Fry in coconut oil in a hot skillet.  I keep the amount of coconut oil to 1 or 2 tablespoons, but you could use more if desired.
  5. Optional step – When fully cooked, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for a few minutes for a crispier crust.  Update on 8/15/17 – We have found that this step tends to dry out the nuggets.  We microwave instead if necessary.

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Granola

Ever since I stopped eating cheese, I have found that I can snack more without worrying about weight gain.  YEAH!  Don’t we all dream of this?  The only problem has been figuring out what I can snack on that doesn’t trigger my migraines.

Although we are still working on recipes, my daughter and I have worked out several options including quinoa crackers, kale chips, and quinoa bread.  These are all great, but this granola is one of my primary go-to options (every day:)).  The original inspiration for this recipe was a bar using most of the same ingredients.  However, we needed to take out migraine triggers, and we were interested in granola rather than a bar.  It’s a good thing that my daughter enjoys cooking; we love this so much that she makes it several times a week!

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Granola

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice blend
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Craisins (if tolerated – cause migraines in some)
1/3 cup brown sugar

  1. Blend pumpkin puree, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice blend, and brown sugar.
  2. Add oats and stir with a spoon to coat evenly.
  3. Add CranRaisins and toss.
  4. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and press firmly.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and stir, leaving chunks.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then stir.
  8. Repeat step 7 one more time.
  9. Turn off the oven and place the baking sheet into the cooling oven to dehydrate the granola to a crunchy texture.  This will take 15 to 30 minutes during which an additional stir may be required to prevent the granola from burning.

Quinoa Bread

Quinoa Bread Slices

Per my doctor’s recommendation, I eliminated wheat from my diet several years ago in an attempt to reduce my overall body pain.  This definitely helped, so I have not reintroduced wheat or other grains that include gluten.  However, I have missed bread.  Since I have more recently eliminated so many other foods, I have been looking for something to eat!

My daughter found this recipe which has given me a tasty bread option:)  We like it so much that we make it every day or two.  Obviously, we eat quite a bit of it.  In fact, because of the volume we eat, we have had to eliminate the chia from our recipe because it introduces….well….too much fiber.  Evidently, chia can absorb up to 27 times its volume in water – enough said.  The recipe is great with or without the chia though, so I have included it as an optional ingredient.  I use distilled white vinegar instead of the lemon juice to eliminate this migraine trigger.  There is no vinegar taste to the bread; the small amount of vinegar is necessary to activate the baking soda.

Quinoa Bread

The final change I have made is to bake the bread as 3 mini loaves rather than 1 full-size loaf.  Since this bread is rather dense, a full-sized loaf ends up being flat for us.  We prefer having small but square-ish pieces rather than long rectangular pieces.  This is just a matter of personal preference, so I have included baking times for each version.

We like this bread warm or toasted in a skillet.  Since the pieces are small, it is difficult, but possible, to toast them in a vertical toaster.

Links to some of the ingredients that we use are included, but please contact companies to confirm for yourself that they will meet your food allergy needs.

Quinoa Bread

Quinoa Bread Slices

1 3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water (if needed for batter consistency)

  1. Place the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water and a lid.  Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. In the morning, drain and rinse the quinoa.
  3. Place the quinoa, olive oil, sea salt, baking soda, and vinegar in a food processor and blend until a batter forms.  If you need to add water to get the batter to form, do so gradually up to 1/2 cup.  Due to the size of our food processor, we do this step in 1/2 batches and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Blend for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Spoon into 3 small (or 1 large) loaf pans lined with parchment.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes (45 minutes for the large pan) at 350 degrees.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
  8. We like this bread warm or toasted in a skillet.  Since the pieces are small, it is difficult, but possible, to toast them in a vertical toaster.