Monday, March 29, 2010

Unsafe "Gluten Free" Product Alert!

You need to go to this post at Gluten Free Mom and read about why you don't want to use ANY "gluten free" products from Snyders of Hanover. Unless you don't mind getting gluten due to pretty much guaranteed cross contamination.

Go back to Gluten Free Mom for more information.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We finally tried out FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES! I have been wanting to go there since I heard the rumor that they cater to the glutenless, but I like to check it out ahead of time and kept thinking I needed to call them and just hadn't gotten around to it yet.
This week both of our children are on Spring Break and my husband and I, along with our daughter who is home, went to see our son and of the restaurants in his town that are safe for me, Chili's was our target. We got the address and headed off to lunch. Much to our surprise, the FIVE GUYS live right across the street. I suggested that I run in and see what they had to say.

I was impressed. Not only do they accommodate a gluten-free diet, they planned it that way from the get go. Their fries are gluten free and nothing gluteny is cooked with them. They put their buns on the grill, but in a separate area than everything else; to be sure, they have a built-in divider on the grill. The breads are on one side, the burgers, and grilled toppings are on the other. The burger is wrapped in lettuce and then in foil. The only thing I would suggest is that you bring a paper plate and a fork. With no bun to absorb the juices, some might sneak out if you don't manage your foil right. Yes, I speak from experience. They also serve peanuts in the shell. How gluten free is that?

Celiac Family has an extensive list of gluten free Easter candy.

That's all I have time for right now. Happy One-Hundredth Post to me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pie's and their crusts

I was thinking I had already posted my pie and pie crust recipes, but I can't find them anywhere on here, so apparently not. Normally this would take a long time, but because of a helpful tip a friend made, I am now able to copy and paste from other programs without having to retype everything. He suggested I paste the text into Word Pad first, as it gets rid of any background formatting which would hinder a smooth transition. It works great!

First up is my own recipe for an almond meal crust. I also use it for cherry cheesecake (which I am no longer able to eat, but for those of you who can eat dairy, this is a delicious crust)
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding
1 cup almond meal
(I grind raw almonds in a coffee grinder. If you want a thicker crust, use more almond meal.)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
(Precise measurements are not necessary; I really just pour some in. Adjust it to taste.)
About 1/8 cup of almond milk
(I don’t measure this; I use enough to hold the almond paste together. The dough is actually sticky enough that when I press it into the pie plate, it is gooey. I sprinkle more dry almond meal on the dough so the dough doesn’t stick to my hands.)

Mix the ingredients thoroughly, making sure you use enough almond milk to get that gooey texture. Dump dough into pie plate (I have never greased mine, but I have always baked them in a stone from Pampered Chef, I don’t know that it would be necessary in a regular glass pie plate because of the natural oil of the almonds. If you make it without grease, and it sticks, grease it next time) and with the heel of your hand, press it out until it covers the bottom and comes up the side. I don’t press it all the way to the top because when the dough is higher than the filling it burns more quickly. You can use the tines of a fork to press a pattern in the upper edge of the dough if you wish. Set aside.
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg (next time), No Soy, No Kidding
It just occurred to me that I can't eat this next recipe either, but I hope you can!
No Gluten, No Soy, No Kidding
Pumpkin Filling
1 ½ cups fresh or canned pumpkin puree (Always check the ingredients on anything processed. You never know where that nasty gluten might turn up.)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup unsulphered molasses
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger (I have not used ginger yet. I am out, so I have used about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice instead. Be brave, experiment!)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I don’t know if they ever use caramel coloring, which has gluten in it, in artificial vanilla extract, but always check your labels.)
Chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 °.
Combine filling ingredients in the order listed, beating with a wire whisk.
Pour filling into an Almond Pie Crust (recipe above) and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce oven heat to 350° and bake for 45 minutes, or until custard is set. Pie filling is very dark. You might want to cover the crust with foil when you turn down the temperature, but with it so low in the pan, it does get dark but not terribly so.

Serve with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream or Rice Dream, etc., as your diet and taste allows.

Sleuth's Up

Too much to accomplish this week to do a proper post, but I want to let you in on a few things I have run across.

The gluten free life
First, through facebook I have found a very helpful place on the web: Gluten Freeville. You need to read this important information concerning an FDA recall of Gluten Free Naturals mixes there. Then if you are on facebook, you should become a fan of their page. The posts and discussion topics are extremely helpful. It is a great place to offer and receive information about this gluten free life.

I don't completely understand about the IgA deficiency discussed at the Merck Manuals website, but it is important information.

You can order gluten free baking mixes from Astoria Mills.

Gluten Freeville has been talking about these Sandwich Petals. Today they are half price (BOGO). I am not sure if this is the case every Monday, or just this one, but they look pretty good.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brownies and Buddies

Welcome to the yellow brick road, Sharon and Peaceful Dusk (who has been following for a while now)! Perhaps one day I will have so many followers that I won't notice when someone new joins in, but I hope that doesn't happen. I hope I always take note when someone is kind enough to be on the lookout for my gluteny news.

I haven't acknowledged my friend Jennifer as a follower either, but that is because she has been doing so for a long time and when she finally got a profile, I was already used to her. She went from invisible, to visible, to being a fellow blogger. She is my friend who can't have gluten or corn (some other things too Jenn?). A difficult combination, but she does really well and she encourages me a lot.

I have a recipe to share, and it is a surprising one. My buddies are always looking out for gluten free options and my friend Heidi recently passed on this recipe. I made it for a church event we attended tonight and my friend Vicki actually ate one without realizing it was gluten free. She couldn't tell and she loved it. High praise indeed; my friend Vicki is pretty particular about her chocolate. The recipe given here is my twist. I plan to make some additional changes in the next batch. Sarah (of the Sarah bakes again label, of course) suggested I swap out some of the oil with applesauce and I want to make it with pure maple syrup instead of the sugar, but this was so new to me that I wanted to make it (mostly) as suggested the first time. The result is a very fine and light cake-like brownie and as I said before, surprising.

Black Bean Brownies
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg (next time), No Soy, No Kidding

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinse and drain well
2 eggs* (2 eggs worth of egg replacer)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup Saco cocoa powder**
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon Argo baking powder**
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips**
1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease an 8x8 inch glass pan.
Put the eggs, the olive oil and the well-drained black beans in the blender and blend on puree until the mixture is smooth.

Add the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla and blend until smooth again.

Pour the batter into your pan, using a rubber spatula to scrape out the excess (this is a clingy batter). Sprinkle nuts and Craisins over the batter and gently mix in and smooth with spatula. Sprinkle chocolate chips even across the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the brownies are pulling away from the sides of the pan and it passes the clean tooth pick test. Allow to cool and enjoy.

Now that you have finished reading the recipe, did you notice what isn't in it? There is no flour! When I was making it, I was too busy following the directions, making sure the batter got mixed up, and thinking about needing to go shopping to notice that little detail. My first bite was not long after it came out of the oven and I thought they were too dry. It was then that I wondered if I had forgotten to put the flour in, because I couldn't recall doing so. I went and checked the recipe and that is when I saw it didn't have any.

What I love about these brownies is they have all of that good protein from the beans. Healthy and delicious. A nice change for this gluten free gal. I just hope they do well with an egg replacer. I believe I will use a flax gel rather than Ener-G Foods' product for this recipe. I will update this post to let you know how it comes out.

No picture this time. Imagine a delicious-looking, dark brown, cake-ish thing with partially melted chocolate chips scattered across the top and you're there.

*Yes, I said eggs. I tried the organic free range ones again. The problem is that my stomach has been hurting since last night, so I won't be able to tell if these bother me, but I don't think they ever have when I have baked with them, mostly it was when I had a specific egg dish, like an omelet. I won't use eggs all of the time, but I will use them on occasion. This occasion seemed right.
**These brands are gluten free

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In my mind, I am not gluten free

Last night I fixed a really tasty meal. It was a variation on the rice dish in Four Recipes and a Seuss Allusion, but not long after, my husband and I were watching television and there was a commercial with food on it. Food that I used to enjoy, but now is forbidden. Then I remembered that I can safely think about eating that food. So, for the next few minutes I did a little gluten-eating mind exercise. I imagined myself eating that food (I think it was Subway, but after the brain buffet I indulged in, I have forgotten what the trigger was). Then I imagined myself eating an Arctic Circle hamburger and French fries. After that, I enjoyed a milk shake and then a big, melty cheese, with all my favorite toppings piece of pizza, with a crispy, gluteny crust. I imagined myself eating real strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream. I think at that point, I was content, so I stopped. This might seem like a silly (sinful?) thought process to engage in, but you can't imagine how much it helps me. One of the things I do when I go through an imagination session of this sort (usually, I limit it to one food only) is remind myself how awful I used to feel after eating those types of foods; remembering that settles everything and I can get back to my gluten free life.

P.S. So you know. I didn't sit and imagine every bite of an entire burger, every fry, etc. If I really get to craving the old foods, I just remember what they taste like and it helps me get over it. Remembering the yucky after-effects really does help put it all into perspective.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In-N-Out? IN!!!

At Gluten Freeville, you can learn why it is okay to have a burger and fries at In-N-Out, in spite of that gluten thing!

New to the Gluten Free Life? Here are some general thoughts I have for you.

This post is a result of a question from Ginger, a lady who is new to the gluten free life. My "add" button traditionally has been used to welcome new followers (though not faithfully, I fear; if I missed putting up a welcoming post for you, I welcome you now!), but it seems appropriate here as well. Though perhaps the option should be "-remove" since the gluten free path is about taking things away.

Ginger's question is, "I am new to the gluten free world. Do you have any encouraging tips or websites you would recommend?"

This post is really an expansion of my "Welcome to Gluten Free Sleuth" note to the left of my blog, with some added thoughts, concerns, and a few sleuth finds thrown in for good measure.

Search Engine
The purpose of this blog is two-fold. I use it as a reference myself, all the time. I am constantly coming here while I am putting together a new dish or revamping an old one, using the search engine to see if or what I posted concerning a particular ingredient, etc. The second purpose is to share my findings and thoughts with others out there who are looking for information. The gluten free (and other food allergies) life is a complex one and our best weapon we have is information. The Google search engine is a wonderful invention.

Sleuth Reports
Whenever I find new websites, I usually post them and add the "Sleuth Report" label. The title to those posts vary (my most recent was from February 26, Just Sleuthering About). The best way to find those is to look at my labels which are listed in the left-hand column and click on "Sleuth Report." All of them will come up and you can look through them at your leisure.

I especially encourage you to read the one for February 8th. Go to the link under "The Gluten Free Life" which is an article entitled "The Gluten Free Kitchen." The best thing you can do for yourself is work to make your home safe. We finally made the difficult decision to eliminate any glutenous flour from our home. If there is any baking, it is either with gluten free products, or else it is with prepared doughs, such as those that Pillsbury puts out in the dairy case. Flour gets everywhere and it only takes one molecule of gluten to cause damage. Here are links to a couple of sites where this is discussed: the article, "How much gluten is in a normal diet and how much gluten does it take to cause damage to a celiac?" is at and at the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, read the paragraph under the second heading in this article, How Does Gluten Cause Damage?.

In my search for that information, I ran across an article by Ron Hoggan. In the article he speculates the possibility that there might be a link between atherosclerosis and gluten. The author says at this point it is just speculative, but I link to it because of information he gives about Celiac itself. Be warned, this is heady a heady discussion. I should mention that I had a lady who works in a pharmacy and is very up on Celiac caution me of the danger of atherosclerosis due to the inflammation a Celiac has and I notice there is no date on this article, so perhaps clinical studies have been done by now.

The article is linked to from this page, which has links to a lot more information that looks like it would be useful. I have not explored it as yet, beyond the link to Ron Hoggan's book, Dangerous Grains, which my friend and follower of this blog, Jennifer has mentioned to me before.

I have heard of many people who start out not being able to eat gluten and later become unable to have other foods, such as dairy, soy and/or eggs, as has happened to me. Early on, it was recommended that I cut back on my dairy consumption, but I love cheese and yogurt and such (haven't been a milk drinker since I was little) and just wouldn't do it. Now, I wish I had heeded that suggestion, as I wonder if consuming smaller amounts would have enabled me to avoid the extreme reaction I now have. Moderation is always a good idea.

Honestly, some of the most important information we need is far from encouraging, but it is needful and can keep us out of trouble later on. My December 7, 2009 post, Sleuthing Again, has a serious warning in the Update. Warnings are depressing, but important.

I have spent a lot of time researching the web for all things gluten, from medical findings to makeup to recipes. My labels aren't as organized as I would like, because I tend to make them up as I go along, but I believe they are thorough. You can look through them and find the categories that interest you.

I was just alerted to an article on make up by my friend Sarah (of the label, "Sarah bakes again"). It is called, "Is it Time to Break Up with Your Gluten-filled Make Up?" It comes from Gluten Freeville, another site I will add to my blogroll and will be exploring. It looks fantastic.

Another site I ran across recently is called Strawberries are Gluten Free. I confess that the berry itself is indeed gluten free, but I have long been wary of where my strawberries are grown. At this point, I only eat them if they are grown in California or by me. The reason for this is that they are grown in a straw mulch and if that mulch is wheat, rye or barley, they can be glutenified. There is a discussion here where many people weigh in on this issue. I haven't been able to locate any definitive scientific findings on the web anywhere yet. Sometimes the trick is in the wording of the search. If you have anything to add, please do so in the form of a comment.

In spite of the confusion, I plan to add Strawberries are Gluten Free to my blogroll as well. :)

Pondering the Gluten Free Life
The truth is that the gluten free life is not an easy life. There are so many issues that do not occur to us in the beginning and mostly we learn the hard way. For me, this has been a path strewn with physical pain (for more reasons than getting gluten, I believe), but the Lord has sustained me. Many Celiacs do not experience any symptoms if they get gluten, which I believe is more dangerous. Even without symptoms, the body is damaged every time a Celiac consumes even a single crumb of bread, but the lack of symptoms gives them more confidence than they should have.

We live in a fallen world, corrupted by sin. Because of this, we are not going to experience optimal health for our whole lives. Some people have problems sooner than others, but we are all in the process of dying. We will all die because in one way or another, or bodies will cease to function. This is why it is important to look beyond the grave to eternity and seek forgiveness from our sins from the Lord Jesus Christ while we may (for more information about this you can go to my other blog, All We Like Sheep, or spend some serious time in the Holy Bible).

I hope this has helped you, Ginger. Be sure and check out the links all along the left side of this blog to medical doctors who are familiar with our condition, to other bloggers with recipes to share, and to great websites with pertinent information. I pray that you do well.