Monthly Archives: October 2010

I’m GF, now what?

Ever since going GF, I’ve found that people are always fascinated by the concept. At any party or gathering, the topic comes up and the conversation changes from, “I could never eat like that,” to “I need to eat GF but it’s too hard. How do you do it?”

Most recently, my sister has decided she needs to eat GF. Since this kind of thing runs in the family, I’m not surprised. But she’s highly intimidated by making the leap to GF eating and I don’t blame her. It’s a big change.

Below, I’ve listed helpful info for those going GF for the first time. I’m also listing a few tips I always give when advising people on GF eating. Of course, please consult your doctor if you’ve been told you have medical issues and need to eat a certain way. I’m not a doctor, I only play one in my kitchen!

1.  First bit of advice…don’t panic. Most people think they will never eat anything tasty again. The thought of going out and not eating pizza and beer with your friends, or skipping the wedding cake or birthday cupcakes is depressing sometimes. But in reality, you don’t really need those anyway, do you? And by not eating these things, you will feel so much better that you won’t want to eat them anymore, no matter how lovely it looks for smells.

2.  Give yourself some time before eating GF cookies, cakes, etc. It won’t taste as good as the real thing at first and you need to give your gut some time to heal. Give up grains for a bit and stick to whole foods without labels…lean meats (if you eat meat) veggies, fruit, tofu, eggs, beans, Quorn, etc. You may spend more time cooking, but it will be worth it.

3.  There are plenty of GF frozen foods out there and you can find just about anything in a GF variety these days. Just don’t go overboard. Most GF items have added sugars to give them flavor, so losing weight is not always a side effect of going GF. Don’t do it just to lose weight, do it to feel better.

4.  Don’t trust anyone or anything. That means that even if you’ve read the label of a product and eaten it before, check it again before eating it. You can never be certain.. For instance, Lipton Onion Soup mix used to be GF but is not anymore after adding barley to the recipe. If you’ve been using it for years, you may wonder why you’re feeling sick now. Check this out.

5. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings. So many people have the right intentions and will cook what they think is a GF meal for you, only to find out that they added soy sauce (which has wheat as a main ingredient) or used a mix with flour or barley in it. I know you feel badly for this person because they worked so hard to please you, but don’t eat it just to make them feel better. You’ll get sick and they will feel even worse. Just politely refuse the food and tell them how much you really appreciate their effort and caring. Move on…

6. Don’t cheat. This goes along with #5 in a way, but whatever you do, don’t cheat. Give your body a chance to heal before you sneak that piece of cake or brownie. It’s not worth it. There are brownies and cakes out there that are GF if you must have them. Find something you like to snack on that’s GF and carry it with you for these weak moments. Everyone in the office celebrating a birthday with whipped cream icing on a lovely chocolate cake? Pull out some lemon wafer cookies or trail mix with chocolate chips from your purse.

7. Google gluten-free foods and be prepared to be overwhelmed. There are lists, foods, mail-order foods and mixes, blogs, etc. to keep you busy for years. Weed out the ones you don’t need and follow the blogs and sites that have what you need. If you have other food allergies, make sure you take those into account when ordering food and following recipes.

8. Watch your wallet. GF is just so much more expensive. I know the ingredients are more expensive, but it’s amazing how much you can spend in your first few months. Four cookies for $5? They must be pretty damn good cookies! And they are the size of oreos? Oh hell no! They can’t be that good, can they? Well, I’m here to tell you they are not that good. No cookie is that good!  You can buy loaves of bread for $10 or more, but is bread that important? Udi’s bread is just about $4.99 at Whole Foods. It tastes great and doesn’t break the bank. Go ahead and try things out, but just be aware that we are a niche market and prime for companies to take our money.

9. Check out the blogs listed on this page and look up more on Google. There are zillions right about now. The best I’ve found are Gluten-free Goddess and Elana’s Pantry. There are plenty more, but start there. There are also zillions of cookbooks out there. Don’t freak out, you don’t have to cook everything.

10. If you’re a vegetarian, as I am, this gets a little more difficult. Since the wheat is missing, everyone things you can just go to a restaurant and eat grilled chicken or steak. NOT! You will end up eating a lot of salad and grilled veggies, trust me. (Make sure the salad dressing is GF and the grill is not used for wheat products.) You might even want to bring your own crackers or bread with you to bulk up your meal, that’s up to you.

11.  Don’t be afraid to ask. When you go to a restaurant, ask everyone. If the waiter is not sure what gluten is, ask for a manager. If you ask, “Is there flour in this?” and the waiter doesn’t know, make him/her go and find out. Sometimes it’s surprising what has flour added. Most notorious…soup. Most places will add flour to soup to thicken it so you can’t be safe just assuming it’s clean.

12.  Check out this site for a list of foods that have hidden gluten. For instance, licorice is not GF, soy sauce has wheat, baking powder and even chocolate chips can have gluten.

13.  This article from Suite101.com has a great intro to GF eating.

14.  Follow celiac/gf people on FB and Twitter. I’m on FB here and list some wonderful treat ideas and restaurant picks. Also, I have found so many wonderful tips and recipes just from following people who are in the same situation. I recently discovered Celiac Diva on FB and follow many GF people on Twitter. The best way to get a list is to follow me at /vdemetros and look up my GF listing.

15. Finally, if you do get glutened, ride it out. You may find that once you haven’t eaten it for a bit, you have a much stronger reaction to it when you do eat it. Give it time, eat clean and learn from this.

Good luck…let me know how you’re doing.

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Low carb? Are you sure?

 gluten-free lemon/chocolate-chip muffins

For someone eating low carb, I’ve been posting a lot about muffins and pancakes lately. What’s the story with that? Well, quite simply, carbs are not your enemy. If you eat them in very little quantities, you can get away with just about anything. The secret to eating anything fattening (such as carbs, including sugar, grains, etc.) is to eat just a little. Don’t go overboard.

With that said, I had a craving to read a good book, grab a cup of tea and eat a warm muffin. I had everything but the muffin. Normally, I would grab an Udi’s Blueberry Muffin from the freezer, but Daughter made sure those are all gone. Second best thing is to make some. I use Authentic Foods Lemon Cake mix and doctor it up my way. Add the two eggs, 1/2 cup milk (I use rice milk) and 1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil) called for on the package. Add a little more vanilla, lemon juice and a handful of chocolate chips and fill about 24 mini muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes and viola! You have a lovely snack for that tea and good book.

Now find a comfy chair and relax. Just pace yourself and put a few in the freezer for the next time this craving strikes.

Enjoy!

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Filed under chocolate, gluten free, lemon, muffins

Pancakes are on the menu!

Pancakes hot off the griddle

It’s raining here in Phoenix, with a cool breeze and a chill in the air. Know what that says to me? Comfort food. I want a warm cup of tea and something comforting in my tummy. Normally, I would have said that I wanted pancakes, only to remember that I can’t have them. But not anymore…

Oh wow. That’s all I can say, wow! Now that Bisquick has a new Gluten Free mix, I know what I’ll be eating for breakfast. Yes, I know I’m eating low carb, and yes I know I’m trying to lower the amount of grains I eat. But you don’t understand! This stuff is gold, pure gold.

Yes, the box is smaller than the non-GF version and cost $4.99 at Fry’s, but trust me…it’s worth it.

Following the directions on the box, I made one batch of pancakes (using 1 cup of mix, 1 cup milk (almond milk), 2 Tbs olive oil and 1 egg. I also add 1 TBS lemon juice…trust me, it’s what takes these from good to great!) I got about 10 pancakes out of that, about 3 inches in diameter. Just enough for now and a few left for tomorrow morning. They were golden brown, fluffy, light and tasted like the best pancakes I’ve ever had, even before going GF…seriously.

Cook them up and watch how everyone loves you. Daughter couldn’t stop smelling them and saying, “If I could eat these every day for the rest of my life, I’d be happy!” I had to stop her from eating 8 of them for dinner! Now I know what to make after a sleepover. We used to make pancakes but had to stop when we went GF.

I like mine with just a spray of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or nothing at all. Daughter likes her plain also…we’re not syrup people. But if you are, go for it. Let me know what you think after you’ve tried this.

The company site has recipes for coffee cake and pizza crust using this mix. I’ll be trying those out in a few days. Can’t wait…

Enjoy!

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A lovely GF Trifle

Gluten-free Trifle

Last night’s book club meeting was at my place. What to make? The book, based in England in the early 1930s, gave me a great idea for dessert. How about a trifle? I’d heard of them, but never had one. First, I don’t eat non-gf cake, and second, it always looked like so much trouble. So, being the clever girl that I am, I made one up for myself.

Wow, it turned out so beautiful and tasted wonderful. This is very unconventional and if anyone out there reading this is the least bit British, I apologize. But don’t scoff too much until you’ve tried it. There were 9 of us eating (and my Daughter) and this giant bowl was empty in 20 minutes! The cake was moist and had a touch of lemon and the meringue cookies gave it a wonderful crunchy sweetness. This is not a diet dish at all, but for a special night it’s worth the effort. It doesn’t take long at all and is quite impressive, not to mention delightful!

GF Trifle
1.5 tubs Cool Whip
2 cups strawberries, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 lemon GF cake (I used Authentic Foods cake mix)
   (two eggs, 1/2 cup milk/almond milk, 1/4 olive oil)
4-6 vanilla meringue cookies
1/4 cup sugar or simple syrup

1. Mix berries and sugar in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.
2. Make lemon cake as directed on the package. Let cool on rack completely and then slice into squares about 1 inch sq.
3. Assemble trifle in a glass bowl in order to show off the layers. Start with a layer of cake, dipping each piece in the syrup from the berries.
4. Next layer is berries (about half the berries)
5. Next layer is cool whip, spread evenly to cover all the berries.
6. Crumble 2-3 meringue cookies over the Cool Whip layer.
7. Repeat the layers of cake (dipped in syrup), berries, Cool Whip and cookies. (Save a little of the fruit for the top)
8. Top with remaining berries.
9. I added a little shaved dark chocolate on top for presentation and taste. I had a dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s and just grated it over the top. This is optional, of course.
10. Refrigerate till you need it. I wouldn’t make this any more than about 1.5 hours before eating since the meringues will lose their crunch after some time.

Caprese with a twist

Also on the menu, a little twist on the typical Caprese salad. Add a little cantaloupe to the mix. It adds a touch of sweetness to the dish and with the balsamic, it’s a wonderful new taste sensation. This is a photo of the dish before adding the aged balsamic just before serving. Also, add a little salt. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Filed under blueberries, cake, dessert, gluten free, strawberries