Archives for September 2012

  • Butternut and Mushroom Steel-Cut Risotto | 09.25.2012

    Recipe submitted by Member/Owner Maia Dickerson, “The earthiness of the mushrooms combined with the sweetness of the roasted squash makes this a great fall dish. The steel-cut oats re-place traditional Arborio rice lending a little chewiness to the creamy texture, making this one of my favorite comfort foods.”

    Serving size: 3-5
    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
    Ready in: 60 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 small to medium squash, peeled and diced
    1/2 T. oil
    11/2 tsp. sage
    1/8 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    3/4 c. water
    14 oz. vegetable broth
    1 tsp. butter
    1/2 onion, diced
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 c. sliced brown mushrooms
    1 c. steel cut oats
    1/2 c. white wine
    1/4 c. shaved parmesan

    Toss squash with oil, 1/2 tsp. sage, and salt and pepper. Roast squash at 400° for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from oven and let sit. In a small sauce pan, heat water and vegetable broth, simmer on low making sure not to boil.

    In a large skillet, melt butter and add onions and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until the juices are released, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the oats, add wine, and cook for 1 minute. Next, add 1/2 of the broth mixture to the skillet. Stir frequently, cook until liquid is mostly absorbed.  Add broth mixture a 1/4 c. at a time, stir frequently, be sure all the liquid is absorbed between each addition.  Remove from heat, add squash, parmesan, 1 tsp. sage, and salt and pepper to taste.


  • My Gluten-Free Story by Carl Solberg | 09.12.2012

    Some twenty years ago, my frail, emaciated 120 pound frame forced me to struggle. Forcing myself, I would vomit several times getting into the car to drive to work. Usual activities, like mowing the grass, were very difficult. I would make one pass with the lawnmower and have to go inside and rest. Numerous tests showed nothing unusual, until a family practice physician finally told me, “I don’t know what is wrong, I suspect it is something in your diet, but we’ll send you to someone who can find out.” That someone happened to be Dr. Mark Rumans of the Deaconess Billings Clinic.

    Carl SolbergDr. Rumans diligently completed his routine exam and scheduled a colonoscopy. His findings indicated that I had celiac disease. Dr. Rumans told me, “Lay off the bread and you will do just fine.” At this time much less was known about celiac disease, and I thought it was a rather rare disorder. I thought that I simply needed to cut back on my foods containing gluten. Thinking I was doing what was best, as long as gluten wasn’t the main ingredient in a food, I thought it would be fine if I consumed a little gluten. In fact, I wasn’t sure what gluten even was.

    I cut back on eating gluten, but many baked foods were too inviting. I had the belief that eventually my body would again be able to tolerate gluten, but I simply had to give myself time to heal.

    My gluten-ignorant life continued until I was diagnosed with an agent-orange related cancer from my previous Vietnam military duty. The surgery caused my body to again react. My celiac disease again “raised it ugly head.”

    Some understanding co workers noticed my extreme agony and saved my life by taking me immediately to the Deaconess Billings Clinic. My body felt like it was on fire. At first I brushed it off by thinking that my problem would go away just as quickly as it started. By the time I reached the Deaconess Billings Clinic, I was too weak to transfer with out assistance from a wheel chair to an examining table. It felt as if there was a civil war going on inside me. After some testing, the ER physician said, “I am not sure what is going on down there, but I see a lot of inflammation so we are going to have to take you upstairs for immediate surgery.” It took anesthesia to relieve my intense pain.

    After surgery, medical staff at the Deaconess Billings Clinic discovered that gluten had eaten a hole about the size of a pencil eraser in my small intestine. Surgeons removed several inches of intestine and spliced it up again. They did their best to control the peritonitis that ravaged my body. No food or drink allowed for days. I was told that if there was a problem, having food or drink could be fatal. No ice chips, no coffee, no nothing.  This Norwegian likes to have his coffee, but all was forbidden.

    Recovering at Deaconess Billings Clinic gave me some time to think. My first thoughts were, “I am going to quit leading a gluten-ignorant life.” While recuperating at home, I spent my days on the internet, trying to learn as much as I could about celiac disease and I tried to learn how I could learn to live a healthy gluten-free life. During my internet search I made some telephone contacts. When I was strong enough to get out of the house, I made some personal visits in my attempt to become more knowledgeable.

    During one of my computer searches I found Montana Celiac Society on the internet and made a call to Jean Powell, the founder of the organization. She asked if I was interested in helping start a gluten-free support group inBillings. When she mentioned this, I was delighted knowing that others should never have to suffer the pain I had just suffered. I was hours away from death, and no one should have to go through that agony.

    Now, feeling stronger, I made more contacts and more phone calls. The subject of all these conversations was always gluten – what is gluten-free and how can I learn more about ways I can stay healthy?

    During my search in ways to stay healthy, I came in contact with a very knowledgeable staff person at Montana Harvest Health Food Store on 17th & Grand Avenue. This exceptional person, Joan Dannenberg, was very “gluten-smart.” We talked gluten-free healthy foods and places to purchase these foods. Our conversation soon turned to the subject of working on a gluten-free support group in our area. I could see Joan’s enthusiasm grow, and some weeks later we had our first support group meeting on a Saturday sitting in chairs in the middle of the gluten-free aisle at Montana Harvest. Joan and my goals were similar in nature. We both had an extreme desire to reach out to others and provide support and education for others who needed to live a gluten-free life in order to stay healthy.

    Our “gluten-free walk” continued, our enthusiasm for educating others who suffered our health issues began to grow in numbers. We teamed up with Montana Celiac Society for advice and direction, and shortly thereafter we became members of the board and assisted serving in leadership positions.

    Before realizing what was happening, our gluten-free support group, which was first sparked by my near death, had now reached places outside of Billings.  Montana Celiac Society had a goal of bringing Dr. Allesso Fasano to Billings to speak at the Deaconess Billings Clinic. Our group rolled up it sleeves and went to work to see that Dr. Fassano could come. We realized that having the physician who heads up the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland would be a huge asset to all of us. It would take money to do this, but that would not keep us from accomplishing this task. In the end, Dr. Fasano made a presentation at a packed conference room at the Deaconess Billings Clinic. Our group spent an eventful evening with Dr. Fasano and he was given a generous check by our organization to be used for celiac research.

    Since its beginning in Billings, our leadership and members of our support group have placed educating members as its number one goal. In so doing, it always adheres to having programs which are highly worthwhile to everyone in attendance. In keeping up with these principles and goals, we have assisted people with gluten issues in Kalispell and have worked with them to start a gluten free support group. A number of Support Group people from Billings recently  attended Kalispell’s first meeting. More than 50 people in Kalispell attended their first meeting. There were 74 people attending Kalispell’s last gluten free educational presentation. My goal is to now get similar support groups started in Missoula, Great Falls and other places in Montana. Why do we do this? We do this because I nearly died from gluten. Deaconess Billings Clinic saved my life, and no one should ever have to lead a gluten-ignorant life and experience the extreme pain that I had by not following a gluten-free diet.

    Stay tuned for our monthly gluten-free blog!  So what is this thing called Celiac Disease? I shall try to explain in layman’s terms in my next blog, “A Hidden Killler”.

    Carl Solberg, president of the Montana Celiac Society, is passionate about educating people on a gluten-free lifestyle.  The Montana Celiac Society offers information and support to those with Celiac disease, hosting conventions and regular support group meetings and providing other resources.  For more information, visit their website at www.montanaceliacsociety.com.  Stay tuned right here for a monthly blog from the Montana Celiac Society!


  • Heal Your Skin with Fall Foods | 09.10.2012

    Do you know that food is good for the skin inside and outside? When I look at seasonal foods that are beneficial for the skin, I love to find new ways to integrate nature’s Elements into a skin care routine. These Elements are connected to the seasons that influence our foods and our bodies.  Learning how to choose a seasonal food for topical use in order to produce smooth and healthier skin appearance can motivate all of us towards a healthier lifestyle.  

    Soup for Sagging Skin

    Our skin transitions through the seasons and we may find we need to use a different product or have a clinical facial to boost the cellular process.  The transition period, according to some traditions, is called the Earth Element.  During the late summer, we experience a brief pause between the high energy of summer and the hot sun to shorter days and cooler nights.  The Earth Element is associated with the colors yellow and orange -foods like pumpkin, squash, butternut squash, yellow peppers, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pineapple, mangoes, and corn benefit the bodily organs of Earth, the spleen/pancreas and stomach.  The fall has a tendency to see dry and scaly skin as the skin may not be exfoliating fast enough and the metabolism of the skin may be slow. The Earth Element manifests itself around the mouth and a weak Earth Element (digestion) shows up on the face as sagging eyelids and jowls, and loose skin under the chin.

    So, help! It looks like my Earth Element is sagging!  What can I do?   Here is a list of spices and seasonal foods that can help to tonify and warm the earth (digestion): ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, and nutmeg.  Fall foods that can be added to your meals are carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, pumpkin, rutabagas, onion, leeks, and barley.  The best way to eat these foods are cooked and made into a soup.  Soups are comfort food, since they are easy on the digestive track.

    We  now have a basic understanding of what foods to eat from the Earth season that will help from the inside.  So which food would be a great all around topical treat to give our skin that healthy glow we are all looking for?  I definitely have a favorite.  It is a food that has multiple uses and functions all season long.  It is high in vitamin C, Vitamin A, anti-oxidants, enzymes that exfoliate, has emollients, phospholipids, Vitamin B,  Salicylic Acid, sugar, zinc, and on and on.  This food has an amazing oil that is awesome for the skin. 

    To discover this exemplary food that is nutritious for our body inside and outside, join me for the first in a seasonal series of “Food and Skin” workshops, “Fall Foods that Promote Healthy Skin“, (Saturday, September 15th at 1 p.m.).  I will share recipes and provide tastings for Soup for Sagging Skin and a facial/body mask.  This workshop explores foods harvested in the fall that we can use to help manage problematic or aging skin.

     Susan Reddig,  B.S., is a Licensed Esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings .