Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Sweeties

Both of these recipes were served to the people in my home who are not gluten, dairy, or egg challenged and they liked them too!

My first treat is adapted from a recipe for Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake, which was given to me by my sweet friend, Carol. It was published in the August 2009 edition of Guideposts, page 84 and there is a lovely story behind the recipe. The recipe that follows is my own gluten free adaptation.

Chocolate Craisin Pecan Spice Cake
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup Safflower vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray Craisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder

Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Make sure all of your spices are gluten free (click on Spices label for possible options - I am picky about using pre-GF days spices from my cupboard due to cross contamination issues).

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine maple syrup, water, oil, Craisins and spices in a saucepan, and boil for three minutes, stirring frequently. Take the pan off of the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes. Dissolve the baking soda with the salt in the 2 teaspoons of water and mix into the Craisin mixture (this foams up, which is almost as fun to watch as when the cherry liquid thickens in the next recipe...I love chemistry experiments in the kitchen!).

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and xanthan gum well and then pour into the saucepan with the Craisins and mix together. Pour into a greased 9 inch square pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips and then garnish with pecans.

Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

In my opinion: This is really yummy, and I do want to try it with raisins some time. I believe the next time I make it I will add either 1/2 cup of pumpkin or unsweetened applesauce to make it a little bit more moist. Enjoy!


This nice little Cherry Pie is adapted from a delightful recipe from one of my favorite GME chefs, Mel from France - Untidy Apple Pie - whose blog is called Pig in the Kitchen (I had to do some digging to find Mel's name and picture).

Mel uses metric measurements and some ingredients we can't get in the states, so I am posting my conversions and changes below.

Cherry Pie
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy*, No Kidding

The Crust
(You need to get the full recipe from Pig in the Kitchen - linked above)
1/2 lb sweet potato (which is exactly what this little guy weighed!)

1 1/8 cup rice flour (with up to 5 tablespoons extra/I used brown rice flour)
A scant 1/2 cup of lard
(When I first made Untidy Apple Pie, I had not found any truly dairy free margarine in my town. Since that time I have discovered that Earth Balance and Fleishmann's salt-free margarine both fill that description; for my cherry pie, I used lard in the dough and Earth Balance to coat the dough before baking. If you can't use soy, use butter; if you can't use soy or dairy, use lard.)

For this particular pie, I also added 1/4 cup freshly ground almond mill (I grind my almonds fine in a coffee grinder) and some cinnamon.

Follow Mel's directions to put your crust together. I don't know if it was because of the lard, but I did't roll out my dough. Instead, I just pressed it into a pie pan I had coated with cooking spray. The back of my spoon worked very well. For this pie, you should press the dough all the way to the top of sides of the pan.

Cherry Pie Filling
1 - 14 1/2 ounce can tart red cherries, reserve juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 cup sugar
Reserved cherry juice and apple juice to equal 3/4 cup liquid, divided

Place 1/2 cup of liquid in a saucepan over medium heat.

Place the cornstarch in the bottom of a coffee cup and pour 1/4 cup liquid over it, stir to mix well - add more liquid if needed.

Pour cornstarch liquid into the saucepan and mix together, stirring until it thickens (which is fun to watch!). When thickened, fold in cherries and add 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla.

Assembling the pie
Put your cherries into the crust, exactly as you would expect they should go. Then using the back of your spoon, gently fold the dough over the cherries. I actually pressed the edges so that they stood up a little, making a wall around the cherries, as I was afraid the juice might boil over. Not sure that was necessary, but it turned out nice anyway. Then I pressed almonds all around the outside of the crust and coated it with about a 1 teaspoon of melted Earth Balance and then sprinkled the entire pie with sugar and bake at 350°F, according to Mel's time table.

In my opinion: this pie turned out very nice. The crust was quite light. My husband thought it was quite cakey and cobbler like.

*To adapt this to be soy free, use lard in the crust and use apple juice instead of Earth Balance to coat the outside of the crust before baking

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


No Gluten, No Egg, No Dairy, No Soy, No Kidding

If you have a hankering for some yummies, go here and scroll down to the bottom of the article where you will find three lovely recipes:
Snap 'em Up Ginger Snaps
Two Tone Temptation Cookies,
Thumbs Up Thumbprint Cookies,

all from Better Nutrition: the Shopping Magazine for Natural Living. Make sure you watch your ingredients. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips are gluten free and Sunspire puts out a gluten-free chocolate chip as well.
Want ANOTHER Thumbprint Cookie recipe? Go here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sleuthing again

I have been wanting to get to this, but it is such a busy time! I am going to put up a couple of posts as fast as I can.

Product information:
First, Tammy expressed concern about the soy status of Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies. I just called the company and was told that all of their products will clearly state if they contain soy or gluten AND if any ingredient is derived from soy or gluten. This is their standard policy, so consider them a trusted company! You will find no helpful allergen OR ingredient list on their website, only a list of products. It took a phone call to find out.

Some of the Better Than Bouillon products are gluten free and they appear to be soy free as well. The site this is on has comprehensive list of the items they sell which okay for particular dietary restrictions. Soy is not listed specifically, but that may be because it is the law that labels must say "contains soy." What bothers me about the FDA site, is I see nothing about gluten. I was told the law changed to include gluten on the list.

I contacted Hickory Farms and was told that they do not have a list of gluten free products, but they have lots of them. The particular product I wanted to know about was their Beef Summer Sausage (formerly known as Beef Stick) and they said it is gluten free. However, if I want to know about any other product I must contact them again. NOT USER FRIENDLY...and I have suggested they change their policy. They sent it on to the department that makes that sort of decision.

A friend contacted Crest and was told that none of their toothpastes contain gluten. I should note here that my husband and I have separate toothpaste tubes to avoid gluten contamination issues. I take no chances and he doesn't mind!

Labels: Diligence is still a necessity when you are purchasing products that say they do not have gluten in their ingredients list or say they are gluten free. I thought the labeling laws were a done deal, but from what I am finding it seems to me that this is still coming. The Celiac Sprue Association has this information posted. The FDA seems to still be working out the kinks. Never trust a label that says Gluten Free. Check for more information. Does it say in the fine print, processed in a facility that also produces products containing gluten? Because of the information contained in the next section of this post, my reasoning is if there is flour used to produce a product in a facility in the morning and then the lines are cleaned and a "gluten free" product is produced in the same location in the afternoon, cross contamination is a real possibility. As I said, diligence is important. Call the companies. Ask questions. If you have any better information about what is going on with labeling, please comment and I will post it.

Concerning airborne gluten: I have a friend who knows a man with Celiac who toured a flour mill that was not running at the time. After leaving the facility he had to find a bathroom because he was "reacting" (you know what I am referring to here) to the flour in the air. Check out Melissa's response to this issue here. [See updates below]

Another resource on Celiac and gluten intolerance. This is a gastroenterology site and it has some good (though not exhaustive) information on the page. Don't assume when you get to the resource list that you are done. Keep scrolling down, there is more to come Mordecai.

This is from the UK. I found it through Pig in the Kitchen (second entry under For your surfing pleasure below). There is lots of information on this site, so look around. Keep in mind that if you are not from the UK, their product lists, restaurant lists, etc. are not applicable. I like this site for its general information about the disease, cross-contamination issues, etc.

For your surfing pleasure:
Since I found out I am unable to eat dairy or eggs, I have been searching for others cooking for peeps with the same problem, so I could gather some recipes and figure this animal out. Thanks to Professor Google and Elizabeth at Ditch the Gluten, I have found a few that are very helpful.

I absolutely love this blog out of France, Pig in the Kitchen, by the Pig (that is the only identification I have been able to find so far). I have tried several recipes. You have to use the measurement conversion calculator she links to--unless you have a handle on metric measuring and the utensils to match. I made her Untidy Apple Pie for Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. As I was eating, I was tweaking it in my mind; perhaps I will make a variation for my husband's birthday and post what I come up with.

Yummy Allergen Free, by Food Allergy Mom, looks like another great source for recipes. I just found her, so I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I plan to!

I am a fan of Nutella, but it has milk in it, so I was pretty excited when I ran across this recipe! I will probably try it over Christmas when my kids are home from college.

Gluten Free in NC, by Jill, doesn't have all the allergy issues I have, but she posted a granola recipe that I can use. She also has a lot of product reviews. She hasn't posted anything since July, but her blog is still a nice resource.

I bookmarked this link from Dessert Obsessed in my "blog this" folder and this particular recipe is gluten/egg/dairy free; it is under the subtitle Gluten Free Decadence. Click on the labels on the recipe for links to other resources. Please note that most of her recipes are NOT allergen free.

Life, Gluten Free, by Sophie, is another blog stuffed with recipes and good information. She does not cook dairy and egg free, but I am not going to stop posting gluten free blogs that don't. I am not going to be a narcissist about this. I have plenty of just gluten free readers (like gluten free isn't enough to deal with). turns out there was nothing quick about this at all!

UPDATES: I have been looking for more sources that agree with the airborne gluten problem this morning. Here is a guideline from the with a lot of good information on it, including the possibility of airborne contamination. About dot com weighs in on cross contamination here. On that site, there is an article on symptoms. My main symptoms are severe abdominal pain and sores in my mouth. It includes a good list, but I know there are more than that. I have a friend who has migraines and she gets puffy (including her face) when she has gluten. Some people have no symptoms at all. Here is a conversation about pizza places in New York that cater to the gluten challenged. Scroll down on the first page to Ben Cappel's two cents. One of his tell tale signs of exposure is swollen gums. I have never heard of that one before.

If you are one of those people who have been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance and you would rather just eat gluten than be a bother, or you think a little bit won't hurt you, or you are not looking into the cross-contamination possibilities because you thing what you don't know can't hurt you: things can get worse folks.