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Sugar and Spice? Not so Nice

June 1, 2011

Nursery rhyme it may be, but I’m beginning to notice that little girls are not the only thing made of sugar and spice. It also applies to pre-packaged seasonings, dressings and sauces.

A had the brilliant idea the other day to make taco wraps using lettuce as the wrap. Since most store-bought tortillas are made with wheat or some other glutenous grain (not to mention sugar), and I’m not ready to delve into making my own quite yet or scour health food stores for expensive alternatives, I thought this was a genius idea, but it required some tweaking.

My usual routine of making fajitas/tacos is to use a pre-packaged seasoning mix from Old El Paso with chicken or ground beef, then top with salsa, sour cream and a variety of vegetables. I knew immediately that sour cream was off the table, and that the vegetables and meat would be OK, but I questioned how well the seasoning mix and salsa would fit in with my yeast-sugar-gluten-dairy-free diet.

Side note: I really need to come up with an acronym for that. YSGD-free? If only there were vowels!

I went to my cupboard to check out my taco seasoning packet (I learned my lesson after the vegetable bouillon incident last week…check labels BEFORE you make something), and as I suspected, not only was there sugar on the ingredient list, but yeast extract as well, which I just recently learned is added as a flavouring…are the spices not enough? One would think so.

Old El Paso, you fail me!

The salsa as well, had sugar as a main ingredient (I think I’ve been using the generic store brand). I’m sure you can trek out to health food stores and buy both seasonings and salsa that would fit my needs, but I’m not willing to spend a fortune on such things when it’s easy enough to make my own or substitute something else.

Through the wonders of Google, I  found myself a quick and easy recipe to follow to create taco seasoning. I adapted the original, omitting the onion powder since I didn’t have it on hand:

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Add to meat/chicken with some water and boil until sauce is reduced.

In The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch, I found a recipe for Pico de Gallo sauce I thought would be fun to try instead of salsa. It called for jalapenos, which I didn’t use (too spicy for us) and lime juice, which I didn’t have and substituted lemon instead. Here’s my version:

Pico de Gallo

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

A squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Mix all ingredients and serve!

How did it all turn out? Not too bad. The taco seasoning was a tad spicy, so next time I would reduce the amount of chili powder called for. I quite enjoyed the Pico de Gallo sauce, but would use a little less than a squeeze of lemon juice, as it was a bit tart. However, all the flavours mixed together quite nicely.

A and I both agreed that using the lettuce as a wrap was somewhat challenging. We think that next time it might be a better option to make a taco salad instead, using chopped up lettuce as the base and the ingredients sprinkled on top. All in all though, it was a solid attempt! Go us!

Lettuce tacos on the right, kale salad on the left...more on that another time!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 2, 2011 8:07 am

    ‘Y’ can be a vowel, so how about ‘DYGS free’

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