Posts filed under ‘How to become a gluten-free goof!’

Friend to Friend Advice on Going Gluten Free

I wrote this as an email to a friend who did an elimination diet and discovered that gluten messes with her moods as well as other things. She wants to try going gluten free with her teen kids and see if they feel healthier too. She also had specific questions about Thanksgiving. Hope this helps Gina!

Think substitute or make from scratch instead of cutting things totally out. For example, need carbs? Corn, rice (careful of boxed rice), potatoes. This should help with thanksgiving. Instead of packaged gravy, make it using corn starch! Many, many gluten free foods are BETTER because they don’t rely on processed food. Watch your ham and instead of an injected one or some fancy stuffing that no one eats, get an organic one and make a rice and craisins stuffing.

What else? Need dessert? Ice cream is almost always a go and you can make a mean crockpot applesauce with brown sugar for it to go on. You can get mixes for the things you just can’t live without. Look at the new Betty Crocker gluten free line, (sold at WalMart) she has brownies and cakes and may even have a pie crust. If not I’ve made naked pumpkin pie before in a pinch.

As for now, with you kids, get some special treats to curb the munchies. Things you don’t usually buy but you can say I know it’s tough without… but here have a snickers! LOL

Another great option for a quick pick me up is a protein and/or fruit smoothie. When I’m really lamenting the lack of options my hubby whips up a dessert smoothie with peanut butter, chocolate, protein powder and milk. MMMM!

I keep stocked on protien stuff, yogurt, nuts, cheese and then definitely invest in some good gluten free noodles. You can get a case of Tinkyada noodles (by far the best texture out there IMO) on Amazon. Its spendy but definitely worth it if you really want to go for it. I just buy elbows and use them for almost everything. Sometimes I grab some spaghetti noodles.

Check out my no noodle lasagna “recipe”. We make it in advance and freeze it. Stick to meats and fresh veggies. We do a lot of salmon or chicken on the bbq, and when it comes to taco night we make our own seasoning and use warm corn tortillas. Cumin is the “secret” to the flavor.

Chex has gluten free cereals and if you can develop a taste for grits you can still have hot cereal too. Eggs are a go.

Speaking of eggs, you can boil up a dozen or so at a time and have another quick protein. Hard boiled egg, or egg salad sandwich (on rice cake or gf bread) etc.

Just plan ahead! That’s the best way to stay on top of it. Don’t let yourself get hungry without having an idea of what you will eat. It takes dilligence and probably at first you will be longer at the grocery store but just make sure you always have something that IS ok. That’s one of the hardest parts.

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October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm 5 comments

Gotta go gluten free?

A friend of mine was told she has irritable bowl syndrome. She wanted to try the gluten free diet to see if it relieves her symptoms. I’m no expert but I have had a five+ year struggle making gluten free, family friendly and PICKY eater friendly. 🙂 So here are some of my tips that don’t involve running out to the health food store and laying down a small fortune for a mini cart full of cardboard food. Though, I will say there are some things there I definitely splurge on from time to time that are delicious!

First things first. Write out your regular “go to” foods. What do you eat under stress? That’s a biggie because going gluten free is stressful… then replace them with something productive that actually sounds good so if for the time being it needs to be something not so good for you, give yourself some slack and go ahead and eat the ice cream! Girl, you know what I talking about. Just go easy and in time you will find a more suitable alternative. Don’t get all crazy on me now.

So, for example you eat a lot of meat and casseroles.

  • Find casseroles with tortilla ingredients and tomato base instead of cream base.
  • Meats are great, grill them in minimal marinade something like salt and lime instead of basting.
  • Use hummus in place of creamy dressings if you need to cut out milk with gluten.
  • Tempted to go for soups? Buy Amy’s broth and tomato soup in the box at Costco and use it to make home delightful home made soups.
  • Are you in a time crunch? Pre-make a big batch of trail mix. Again, Costco has all kinds of nuts, berries and such. Most commercial trail mix has a large chance of being cross contaminated but if you make it yourself you can read every label.
  • Chips get you into trouble? Go for corn chips or potato chips (carefully read the label for teriyaki or BBQ flavorings that might contain wheat)
  • Crackers? There are some decent rice crackers available.

Having trouble reading labels? EDITED TO ADD… Here is a great post by one of my favorite Gluten Free Bloggers on this subject. Read the comments, there is a really helpful discussion going on over at Gluten Free Homemaker!

  • Look first for the bold GLUTEN FREE usually located at the bottom of the ingredients box or sometimes scrolled across the front of the item near the title.
  • Next check the allergen warning under the NUTRITION FACTS box. It usually says CONTAINS: egg, milk, gluten
  • If that still checks out then scour the ingredients looking for hidden sources of gluten like malt or malt flavor, whole grain, spelt, barley, soy sauce, oats etc.
  • Does the label say “processed in a facility that also processes wheat”? Skip it then, it’s not worth the chance.
  • Remember Wheat Free is not Gluten Free

Do you have any other blind spots like… “I always cheat with a piece of toast in the morning.”

I’d say splurge on a box of gluten free frozen waffles at the health food store.

What else? I needed to remind myself of these simple ideas and get back to the “What CAN I eat” mentality instead of focusing on what I can’t eat. Thanks to my friend for this reminder.

Post those blind spots and we’ll brain storm!

May 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm 4 comments

Cooking Strike and Probiotics Work

I’ve been having strange dreams about ready made food and lamenting the ability that others have to just eat what they want whenever they want. With more get to gethers and being away from the home lately I’ve gotten mildly glutened on several occasions. Boy, what I’d do for a Stouffers lasagna or a cup of noodle that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. As a result I’ve been on a cooking strike. Not really, but my creative energy, my small bit of determination (when it comes to meals) is “gone with the wind”. I wish I had started out with a love of all things kitchen and then discovered the celiac. Unfortunately the kitchen, on most days, is the last place I want to be.

What have you been eating lately? Rice cakes are myfaithful friend. So are nacho’s and Tinkyada pasta. How about you. What do you do when you want a TV dinner or frozen hash browns?

As a small aside I did re-discover that probiotics can help reduce the negative effects of getting glutened. Twice in the last couple weeks I’ve had to rush home and take a couple tablets loaded with healthy bacteria and then guzzle tons of water. It seems to speed up the digestion process and while it doesn’t stop the discomfort it definitely helps!

April 27, 2010 at 9:48 am 10 comments

Tips for making gluten free bread

bread6

It took me almost a year and at least twenty terrible loaves (probably closer to 100), nearly as many that were edible but looked horrible and finally a successful gluten free bread recipe.  Another few months to make it into something reproducible.  Just because the stars all line up for that one wonderful loaf of bread doesn’t mean it can be done again and again!

I’ve been told that mine is the best gluten free bread ever!  One of my customers reports that her husband has given up wheat bread in favor of my gluten free version.

Here are my tips:

Mill your own rice (and other grains) to save considerable expense.

Using a favorite recipe, mix the dry ingredients in advance to make a “big batch” version.  I make a 4 loaf mix put that in a gallon zip loc bag in the refrigerator then every couple of days I make the loaves one at a time in my bread machine.  Or you can save in gallon canning jars.

It is also possible to bake gluten free bread the conventional way but the best results require a 400 degree oven, an hour to rise and an hour to bake so I rarely have that kind of time or want to heat the kitchen like a … well an oven! 

To make a gluten free loaf in a bread machine…

  1. Place wet ingredients in the bread machine first.
  2. Cover the liquids with dry ingredients.
  3. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and put the yeast in that (don’t let it touch the liquid)
  4. With gluten free bread choose the bread machine setting with the longest rise time.
  5. You will need to mix the ingredients at least once with a spatula during the mix cycle. Resist the urge to add flour.
  6. When possible remove the paddle (mixer in the bottom) after the mix cycle but BEFORE the first rise.
  7. At this point you should be able to leave it alone and wait for yummy, hot bread!

 

Whether you have a GF setting or not your best loaf will result if you do at least these two things… (mentioned above and expanded on here).

  1. Give your dough a little attention in the mixing stage.  During the first 10 min most bread machines are warming and the next 20min or so is the mixing stage.  During the mixing stage it will serve you well to take a spatula and scrape the sides once or twice.  Gluten free dough is very sticky and wet it will never “clean the sides” like regular dough so you have to help it along.  The dough should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.  If it seems lumpy or if it does not stick to your spatula it most likely needs a tablespoon or two more water.  If it is quite runny and falls right off the spatula when mixed you may need to sprinkle in more rice flour. But in general you should resist the urge to add flour.
  2. Remove the paddle:  Bread machines have several cycles. One of the first cycles is mix, next is rise, then they go into a “knock down” cycle before the final bake stage.  Since gluten free bread will only rise once you will want to remove the paddle before the knock down stage or the result will be a dense loaf.  Once it is finished mixing you can remove the paddle by wetting a spatula and your hand, scrape most the dough away from the mixing paddle and then slip it off.  Wet the spatula again (or your hand) and smooth the dough back into a recognizable shape 🙂 then allow your bread machine to complete your gluten free wonder undisturbed!

This is the dough as it mixes…mix

Here is what the dough should look like when it has finished mixing…mix done

If you choose to bake your loaf you can spoon it into prepared loaf pans like this…bread1

Spread the dough with a spatula until smooth like this…bread2

Next allow to rise…bread3

Then bake.  Cover the bread with tin foil. Bake until the internal temp is around 180 or a toothpick comes out clean.  To get a darker crisper crust brush with olive oil and remove the cover for the last 5 min.bread4

Remove from the pan within 15min-20min of baking to avoid a soggy crust (even if you use a bread machine).  Allow to cool, slice and serve.bread5

Gluten free bread will usually only keep a couple days left out on a bread board covered with a towel.  If you keep it in an airtight container it will last up to 1wk.

March 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm 13 comments

100 Random Gluten Free Foods

  1. chex cereal
  2. corn tortillas
  3. apples
  4. chicken
  5. rice
  6. coffee (is that food?)
  7. chocolate (okay that’s better)
  8. rice cakes
  9. peanut butter
  10. milk
  11. cheese
  12. steak
  13. potatoes
  14. green beans
  15. salad
  16. eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, omelets, green, “on a train”)
  17. sunflower seeds (careful of seasonings)
  18. hot dogs (read label)
  19. salsa
  20. corn chips
  21. fruit snacks
  22. nuts (but not all trail mixes)
  23. ham
  24. red hots 😉
  25. apple sauce
  26. yogurt
  27. soup (some Progresso brand or homemade)
  28. beef
  29. Frito’s
  30. cucumbers
  31. jasmine rice
  32. fish
  33. sushi (most- but beware of soy sauce)
  34. cheese sticks (definitely a different food group than plain cheese)
  35. spaghetti sauce (read label, try Classico Brand)
  36. ice cream
  37. M&M’s
  38. pears
  39. bananas
  40. humus
  41. black beans
  42. pinto beans
  43. refried beans
  44. carrots
  45. corn
  46. lettuce
  47. cabbage
  48. salad dressing (NOT asian dressings, most have soy sauce)
  49. tapioca
  50. jello
  51. bacon
  52. potatoes
  53. turkey
  54. rice noodles
  55. mushrooms
  56. sprouts
  57. zucchini
  58. Reese’s (I had to counter all those veggies)
  59. pudding
  60. peaches
  61. melons (and I don’t mean the Hooter’s kind)
  62. grits
  63. onions
  64. eggplant
  65. french fries (if they are fried in a dedicated vat- and no it’s not the same as potatoes!)
  66. non wheat flour alternatives – sorghum, rice, tapioca, corn starch, buckwheat (technically a cousin to the rhubarb family), potato starch.
  67. raisins
  68. popcorn
  69. pepperoni
  70. carrots
  71. snickers
  72. pop (D.P, Coke, Pepsi translation for you non Northerners)
  73. fudge (some)
  74. gravy (if made with corn starch and drippings)
  75. Ahhh I’m stuck…  oh how about berries
  76. shrimp
  77. lobster
  78. tartar sauce (I don’t know about all but I think so)
  79. cereal that is simply the puffed grain ie. puffed rice (check label, kamut and durum are WHEAT)
  80. some brands of rice cracker
  81. larabars
  82. nachos (okay people I’m running low on ideas)
  83. peaches
  84. tomatoes
  85. garlic
  86. chocolate chips (did I already say that?)
  87. fruit smoothie drink (be careful with protein powders)
  88. hamburger patty’s
  89. ketchup
  90. mayo
  91. salt and pepper
  92. crisco, butter
  93. creme cheese
  94. peas
  95. chick peas
  96. yams
  97. dried fruit (ha ha, not really another food but hey)
  98. alfredo sauce by classico (many have wheat as a thickener so beware)
  99. craisins
  100. pistachios

So call me obnoxious 🙂  It took two days to come up with this list and I’m sure I’m missing key items.  Do you have any to add?  Maybe we’ll make a secone 100 list!

November 24, 2009 at 10:21 am 15 comments

Tips for making gluten free bread

bread6

It took me almost a year and at least twenty terrible loaves (probably closer to 100), nearly as many that were edible but looked horrible and finally a successful gluten free bread recipe.  Another few months to make it into something reproducible.  Just because the stars all line up for that one wonderful loaf of bread doesn’t mean it can be done again and again!

I’ve been told that mine is the best gluten free bread ever!  One of my customers reports that her husband has given up wheat bread in favor of my gluten free version.

Here are my tips:

Mill your own rice (and other grains) to save considerable expense.

Using a favorite recipe, mix the dry ingredients in advance to make a “big batch” version.  I make a 4 loaf mix put that in a gallon zip loc bag in the refrigerator then every couple of days I make the loaves one at a time in my bread machine.  Or you can save in gallon canning jars.

It is also possible to bake gluten free bread the conventional way but the best results require a 400 degree oven, an hour to rise and an hour to bake so I rarely have that kind of time or want to heat the kitchen like a … well an oven! 

To make a gluten free loaf in a bread machine

  1. Place wet ingredients in the bread machine first.
  2. Cover the liquids with dry ingredients.
  3. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and put the yeast in that (don’t let it touch the liquid)
  4. With gluten free bread choose the bread machine setting with the longest rise time.
  5. You will need to mix the ingredients at least once with a spatula during the mix cycle. Resist the urge to add flour.
  6. When possible remove the paddle (mixer in the bottom) after the mix cycle but BEFORE the first rise.
  7. At this point you should be able to leave it alone and wait for yummy, hot bread!

 

Whether you have a GF setting or not your best loaf will result if you do at least these two things… (mentioned above and expanded on here).

  1. Give your dough a little attention in the mixing stage.  During the first 10 min most bread machines are warming and the next 20min or so is the mixing stage.  During the mixing stage it will serve you well to take a spatula and scrape the sides once or twice.  Gluten free dough is very sticky and wet it will never “clean the sides” like regular dough so you have to help it along.  The dough should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.  If it seems lumpy or if it does not stick to your spatula it most likely needs a tablespoon or two more water.  If it is quite runny and falls right off the spatula when mixed you may need to sprinkle in more rice flour. But in general you should resist the urge to add flour.
  2. Remove the paddle:  Bread machines have several cycles. One of the first cycles is mix, next is rise, then they go into a “knock down” cycle before the final bake stage.  Since gluten free bread will only rise once you will want to remove the paddle before the knock down stage or the result will be a dense loaf.  Once it is finished mixing you can remove the paddle by wetting a spatula and your hand, scrape most the dough away from the mixing paddle and then slip it off.  Wet the spatula again (or your hand) and smooth the dough back into a recognizable shape 🙂 then allow your bread machine to complete your gluten free wonder undisturbed!

This is the dough as it mixes…mix

Here is what the dough should look like when it has finished mixing…mix done

If you choose to bake your loaf you can spoon it into prepared loaf pans like this…bread1

Spread the dough with a spatula until smooth like this…bread2

Next allow to rise…bread3

Then bake.  Cover the bread with tin foil. Bake until the internal temp is around 180 or a toothpick comes out clean.  To get a darker crisper crust brush with olive oil and remove the cover for the last 5 min.bread4

Remove from the pan within 15min-20min of baking to avoid a soggy crust (even if you use a bread machine).  Allow to cool, slice and serve.bread5

Gluten free bread will usually only keep a couple days left out on a bread board covered with a towel.  If you keep it in an airtight container it will last up to 1wk.  

September 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm 14 comments

Gluten Free Me…

and super size me while you’re at it!  Unless you are aware that McD’s fries are NOT technically gluten free according the their own website. 😦  I have been informed however that the celiac foundation tested them and found them to be within the limit to be considered gluten free.

On other business…

Summer is officially over since Sunday marked the last day of the fair!

I can still smell the kettle corn cooking.  I’ve still got chicken poo stuck to my boots.  Thing 1 still has artificial freckles on his face, the kind you get from falling off the sheep in Mutton Bustin’ and yet it is time to get back to reality.  Time to eat meals from my own table and time to blog again lest the blog police shut me down. 

Every year I cling to the last morsels of the fair just like Templeton in Charlotte’s Web.  I love the fair; bad food, creative crafts, huge pumpkins and the rodeo!  “The bulls and the blood, the dust and the mud!”  Gotta love it.

What do you eat when you are on the go?

Thinking back on the fair and the mirage that was summer I wondered if it might be helpful to compile some of the fast food orders I make over and over and over again. 

When you have to eat gluten free you tend to avoid fast food like mothers across the nation avoid having to change dirty diapers on the primitive floor of the fair bathroom where there is no warm water, no soap and likely no towels when you are down to your last wet wipe!  None the less when the occasion arises most every mother will just get the job done.

Here is my “menu” for those times when fast food is inevitable.

What can I eat at McDonald’s?

  • yogurt parfait (NO oatmeal) 
  • salad (NO croutons and NO chicken- not even the grilled one!)
  •  fruit and walnut salad (DON’T eat the candies walnuts the second ingredient is wheat)
  •  100% beef patties (NOT the Angus patty)
  •  McRib Pork Patty.

The salad dressings do not contain gluten ingredients. All but one are soy free. The Italian dressing is the only one that does not contain milk.

I usually order a yogurt parfait and fries but I just read on the McDonald’s website that the number 2 ingredient is a vegetable oil which includes Natural Beef flavor in which one of the ingredients is hydrolyzed wheat.  And all this time I though fries were gluten free!  WAAAAAA!

I rarely order a plain meat patty because the chances that somebody puts a bun on accidentally then yanks it off and sticks the patty in a boat (crumbs and all) is something I don’t like to gamble on.

What can I eat at Wendy’s?

Wendy’s is my favorite.  In my town it is the best fast food bet if I don’t want to get sick, though I have had the occasional cross contamination issues that go along with chancing it “out on the range”!  Truly only 1 in 100. That’s pretty good.

  • grilled chicken patty
  • 100% beef patty
  • potatoes
  • gogurts
  • fries (I think but can’t verify online right now)
  • salads (minus croutons, NOT including the Asian salad-or just leave off the noodles)
  • most of the dressings are without wheat (be aware that soy sauce has wheat so stay away from Asian dressings/marinades)

I usually order one of their wonderful salads.

OR

A chicken patty with my favorite dressing to dip, a sour cream and chive potato and a big swig of good ol’ Dr. Pepper!

What can I eat at Carl’s Jr?

  • The low carb $6 burger-
  • fries

There is still hope for french fry eaters (unless you are allergic to soy).  I had stopped eating Carl’s fries when they changed to the “fresh cut” version because I noticed the breading and assumed it was wheat.  I actually spit a couple out in a panic and threw three boxes of fries away on that assumption.  Browsing their website I found that the “breading” is actually rice flour so it appears that french fries are still in my future! Don’t eat the zuccini or crisscut fries though.

Since they have the low carb option Carl’s will make any of their sandwiches on lettuce!  They even have real  lettuce!  The chicken (even grilled chicken) is not okay the marinade contains soy sauce.

View the complete Carl’s ingredients list here.

I hope this helps. Here are some other fast food chains and restaurants I’ve left off since I don’t have much experience with them,  our little town doesn’t offer a lot of options! 🙂

Please visit Linda’s new and improved “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free” and don’t forget to check out the other great recipes this week!

August 31, 2009 at 10:22 pm 16 comments

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MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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