After six months gluten free, I finally had my blood work yesterday. I’d be a lot more excited about it if it weren’t for the fact that nothing changed. Nothing. Antibodies are still exactly where they were before. The doctor’s advice? Do it again.

Seriously? I’m not sure if this falls into the “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” category or the “insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” category.

Whatever. Either way, I have six more months of quizzing unsuspecting waiters about what gets fried in their oil and whether my food might have sat downwind from something with wheat in it. That’s the nasty thing about gluten intolerance–staying away from wheat and barley isn’t enough. You have to stay away from anything it cozied up to, as well.

Fortunately for me, other than the obvious problems associated with having to play twenty questions with a guy that just wants to get you up from his table so he can collect his tip, clock out and go home, there’s not a lot of suffering involved in a gluten free diet—a lot of inconvenience (and I do mean a lot) but not much suffering. In fact, having a butcher shop at my disposal is the perfect way to plow through a gluten-free diet. If I can’t have bread, I can take the edge off by eating a really good steak. Of course, if you go overboard in the wrong direction, there’s always the possibility that you can swap gluten intolerance for gout. My mother has both. Bless her.

On the other hand, my grandmother will be 93 years old in three weeks, and she swears the secret to long life is baked chicken. First…ew. While I’ll admit that I can find a way to bake chicken that doesn’t taste like flavorless shoe leather, I’ve mentioned in past posts that my mom’s mother isn’t much of a cook. So she can’t. I don’t think I want to live to be 93 if I have to eat baked chicken every day—especially if she cooks it. And, as an aside, if I do live to be 93, you can bet I’ll eat whatever the heck I want, and it won’t be baked chicken. I mean, let’s face it, by the time you reach that age, should you really be worried that a pork chop is going to kill you? The grim reaper is just around the corner no matter what you do. You might as well enjoy your life.

Second, I fall into the category of picky eaters that can’t even eat the same category of food two days in a row. If I eat Mexican food of any variety today, it’ll be three days before I want it again. If it’s Chinese, it’ll be at least a week. If I ate chicken every day of my life, I’d want to throw myself into a swamp after a week.

Having said that, I do eat a lot of chicken. My mother used to raise chickens. I hated those birds. Whoever said they crow at dawn didn’t know that they were talking about. Those spiteful little featherheads used to strut around outside my window at two in the morning, crowing their fool heads off. I was happy to eat them. It felt like revenge.

But, if I’m going to eat a lot of anything, I have to find a way to give it some variety. This is one of those ways. This sausage is amazing. I make a big enough batch to freeze leftovers for later, but my stepson usually doesn’t let it get to the freezer. As you can see, it browns up nicely, just like regular sausage. But it’s a lot better for you, especially if you skip the bacon. Which I don’t, because, well, it’s bacon.

Chicken Apple Sausage

Chicken Apple Sausage

1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/4 pound bacon, cooked

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, grated and squeezed dry

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

Place chicken, in small batches, in a food processor an pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add bacon and butter to processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add to the chicken and combine by hand until blended. Add apples and spices, then stir by hand until well blended.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat, then pinch off a small amount of the meat mixture and heat it in skillet until brown, flip and brown the other side and cook until no longer pink on the inside (don’t overcook or it’ll be dry). Sample to ensure spice mixture is to taste, then add more spices, if necessary, and blend again.

Once mixture is to your liking, pinch off portions of the meat mixture and pat into patties. Heat the patties in the oil, flipping as needed, until brown on each side and no longer pink in the middle.