The Downfalls of Making Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

Yesterday I felt kind of brave and decided to attempt something I usually leave to the aisles of the grocery store…making gluten-free tortillas. I was just in San Diego and spent some time in Old Town where I was able to watch some serious tortilla making pros. These women make the whole process look incredibly easy and the portion of my brain that has an issue with knowing my limits was like yeah I can do that.

So after researching several recipes and making sure I have all the correct ingredients, I set out to make flour tortillas. Here is the thing, a product is only as good as its recipe and recipe is only as good as the person who executes it..I am not completely sure where my experience took a turn..maybe it was my over confidence? I am not sure where things went wrong, however the thing is the tortillas actually tasted pretty good. The problem was they were more of a pita bread consistency AND (this is a BIG and) I am not sure if my skills with the rolling-pin are inadequate or working with gluten-free flour was the issue. The recipe I settled on was Alton Brown’s easy tortilla recipe from food network.com http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/flour-tortillas-recipe/index.html
my tortillas looked like some kind of misshapen mess, absolutely nothing like the goodies made on the streets of san Diego.
I wish I had a photo of my attempt but I was so disappointed with my results that I never bothered to even snap a quick shot of that hot mess.
there is a first time for everything and now I need to get back in the kitchen and figure out if the problem was the lack of gluten that gives flour its elasticity, my measurements are off due to the fact that I did not weigh the flour or if it was the recipe itself.
I am now using Pinterest as a source for inspiration and came across a new gluten free tortilla recipe that I am hoping to try..IF I can find the time..

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The Pillsbury Doughboy goes Gluten Free

Finally gluten free is going mainstream..for really real! Finding decent gluten free food that is ready to make is often a challenge, historically the available options included small companies that are big on price and low in taste..that was until…I found myself in my local Walmart Super Store on Thursday.

I am admitting here that my relationship with Walmart is very love/hate. I hate going to Walmart.  The store is big, bright, a pain to get to and they never have enough people working the cash registers so the wait time to check out really makes me think I am crazy for subjecting myself to this torture over and over because nothing changes ..ever.  However there are times like Thursday when I find something new in the store I have not seen elsewhere and the end totally justifies the means. So as I grabbed paper towels, cleaning supplies, snacks for school and a few other staples I wandered over to the aisle with yogurt and the cookie doughs and what caught my eye was a small tub that said Gluten Free. I looked over and it was actually a container that said Pillsbury, I nearly wet my pants with excitement. The Pillsbury Doughboy is GLUTEN FREE!!! WOOHOO!!! So of course me being me, I bought every item available to give it a whirl without even looking at the price. However the love part of Walmart kicked in when I looked and the price was $3.99 for a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough..finally reasonably priced gluten free, it was enough to restore my faith in why I venture to Walmart every now and again.

Of course, once again me being me..I got home and instantly started doubting my purchase. After all, I have managed through much trial and error to come up with a method of making gluten free chocolate chip cookies that not only look good, but they also taste really good so if this dough is good, my ego was getting a swift kick. I decided yesterday to give the cookie dough a shot and baked a small batch.  Just like regular pop n fresh dough all you do is take the container out of the fridge, preheat the oven to the recommended temperature (in this case 350 F) and spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet. I used a melon baller like I usually do to get a smaller cookie that is nice and rounded and the cookies are evenly sized. IMG_0776IMG_0773

 

Yeah I hate to admit this..but these were probably some of the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. They even passed the fussy girl’s taste test so I will be buying these again in the future.  So now that we have tried these I have a tub of their gluten free pizza crust and pie dough waiting for me to give them a whirl.  I am going to make a calzone and some pop tarts in a bit..I will let you know how they turn out in a post very soon.  In the meantime..get yourself some of these cookies..even if it means going to walmart..I kid

 

Crackers

ImageYou know things in life we take for granted? Oh come on you know what I am talking about…simple things like family, home and yeah food. There are things we have all eaten or had that we cherish or just do not enjoy, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for example. We have all had a PBJ on white bread with the crusts cut off and most people think of it as a fond childhood memory..me not so much since I am not a fan of peanut butter, never have been probably never will be..but I have downed my fair share of PBJ, with grape jelly or better yet with Fluff. Well if I happened to have a peanut allergy that PBJ would be something I never experienced…well same thing goes for kids who are Gluten Free. My younger daughter has never really experienced a diet with gluten since she was diagnosed very young.  There are a lot of things my daughter has missed out on as a result of her celiac disease…things I have taken for granted as part of my diet (many in limited quantities) from my earliest memories..things like Oreos and Pepperidge Farms Goldfish. I am a huge fan of goldfish, those little crackers can make me happy in small quantities , are an easy snack to toss in the lunch box..ok let’s face it they are just yummy in any flavor. My daughter, she has never had them and until recently it never occurred to me that maybe some soul out there created a recipe for someone like me.

I scoped out the gluten free blogs and found a few new ones. There is one called gluten free on a shoestring that really looked promising. In order to get the recipe for the author’s gluten free version of goldfish crackers I got suckered into buying her cookbook. That is $9.99 I really did not want to waste…so I got the recipe, and with my food processor and silicone baking mat set out to make goldfish..or something small enough to be a cheese cracker. Let me just say that using velveeta and salt in a recipe together is not something I recommend..WAY too salty. Going to admit the first batch was nothing shy of nasty..I even used the flour blend the site author uses and the result was not great…so back tot he drawing board I went..I found a recipe for homemade goldfish crackers that uses traditional flour and decided to combine the gluten free recipe and this one. This time I used real shredded cheddar cheese and butter vs shortening and velveeta  as well as Cup4CUp flour, and the first batch tasted way better..but they were not exactly crispy in the middle. This was actually the same issue I had with the first batch. So what to do to remedy this?

Real cheese and butter helped to improve the taste, I am not 100% positive that the true CUP4CUP flour was a factor, but I am not sure it hurt the recipe either. The key was to refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes and to roll it out as thinly as possible before cutting the shapes out. as soon as I get the recipe absolutely perfect I will post it here. I do not have a little goldfish cookie cutter so I used little stars that are actually fondant cutters and baked until nice and crisp about 14 minutes.

I have a way to go with my recipe, every batch is getting better and my daughter and her friends are willing victims..i mean taste testers..

Snowed in

ImageAs we in the Northeast  kept hearing about the fast approaching storm supplies in the local groceries stores began to dwindle fast and furious. Staples like milk, bread and eggs were kind of running low, but really those things did not bother me …I was more concerned about finding gluten free staples and what to cook Friday in case the power was gone by Saturday. I needed foods that could be easily put in a container and stored in snow if necessary and easily heated up on a gas cooktop.

I decided to make a baked chicken, some chili and a beef stew. Sounds pretty daunting to do all 3 on one day, but honestly, I was lucky that school was cancelled, the governor banned people from driving and there really is only so much storm coverage a person can watch before even I needed a break.

The easy thing to do was prep the chicken, I long ago found my go to recipe for baked chicken..I use a mortar and pestle and combine 2 cloves of garlic, a handful of kosher salt, a teaspoon of pepper or more ( I like more) a few sprigs of thyme leaves off the stem, some paprika and olive oil and make a paste to lather all over the chicken inside and out and put it in a baking dish and back into the fridge to dry the skin out (makes for a super crispy skin) and before I bake the chicken I stuff the cavity with half of a lemon, 2 smashed garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme and bake first bake at 425 for 30 minutes and then turn it down to 375 until a thermometer reads 180. SO that was easy.. then it was on to the beef stew and then everyone’s favorite (well in my house) chili..

Once upon a time when I was still figuring out how to cook, my mother in law gave me guidance on how to cook chili, she browned some hamburger with garlic salt and then added a few seasonings, whole California Tomatoes, tomato sauce and we had chili…well I started having babies, and then those babies started getting busy and I thought I did not have the time to figure out seasoning etc..so I started buying the chili starter seasoning packets and browning a little meat, add packet, open cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce and dinner is served. well here is the thing…a lot of those quick and easy packets have wheat stabilizers and flour in them. That is ok when you do not have an issue with gluten .. but once the little one was diagnosed with celiac well using the packet was out the window..so to come up with my own recipe that took into account my mother in law and then add my own spin on it.

I also decided to make some beef stew, comfort food at its best! The trick to a delicious gluten free beef stew is to use the slow cooker and to find a  very good recipe. I also find using a decent all purpose gluten free flour (1/4 cup for about 2 lbs cut up stew beef) seasoned with garlic powder, salt, pepper and put into a large ziploc bag works really well..kind of like a shake and bake technique. The rest is all about putting the ingredients like vegetables, a little red wine and seasonings into the crockpot along with some beef stock and the meat..put on low and let it cook for about 8-9 hours.

Of course there were some left over potatoes and veggies and I figured why let them go to waste so I was even able to crank out some home fries and a chicken soup ..Today I was able to make a non gluten free wonton soup from my leftovers…I think the rest of the week we might visiting the new takeout restaurant near my daughter’s school (Gluten Free take out oh yeah)

So the blizzard did come and we were snowed in..however we never lost power for a significant amount of time. We were well prepared and well fed for a couple of days..I swear I gained at least 5 lbs from the food alone. I am not really looking forward to spending quality time in my kitchen for a few days.

So for now happy eating and here is to hoping you are not snowed in

Super Sunday..Just another day in our house

ImageI am going to confess that I am not a huge football fan. I like the game well enough to sit down and watch our local team play, but once we were eliminated form the playoffs, yeah I was done. I also can not stand the constant coverage on game day that talks about everything irrelevant to some interesting game day facts..play the damn game already  and stop talking about it!

Still, the boys in my house are going to watch the game and I guess I have to feed them. So I decided to have a clean out the fridge day and conjure up some gluten free meals/goodies to keep everyone satisfied and out of my hair…you know so I can go on Pinterest, get ideas from others who are far more creative than I can ever dream to be…

I started the day off and made guacamole thanks to Ina Garten, got even more ambitious and decided to skip opening up a jar of Tostitos and make my own salsa (which is incredibly easy and I have no clue why I do not do this more often ..and then it dawns on me that not only I am incredibly busy, but i am seriously lazy/unmotivated) and somehow after reading the awesome Joanne at Fifteeenspatulas.com I got the crazy notion to make copy her and make Huevos Rancheros. I am going to admit this was the first time I have ever made this recipe in any form and it was also the first time eating it..yeah I am that chicken when it comes to trying new foods/recipes. Usually things sound good when I look at them or read them but the actual trying tends to go by the wayside. Today I decided what the heck, it is time to take the plunge, and the results were pretty darn good.

Right now simmering on the stove is a pot of gluten-free broccoli cheese soup. I am hoping the darn thing comes out well. Here is the issue, usually if I make something like the filling for chicken pot pie using gluten-free flour (and I have tried every gluten-free flour I can think of) it comes out great, usually  it is a little thick and then it gets watery. I am not sure if the flour is the culprit or if I get nervous and add too much extra liquid..but so far so good with the soup.

i will post a picture of the soup soon

Gluten Free Grocery Shopping

OK so let’s talk about the first things you must do when you or someone you feed is on a GF diet…clean out the kitchen. Sounds simple enough but it is a pain especially when you lack space in your kitchen.I live in a house so small that it is actually a shoebox masquerading as a house (i am serious here) and hence I have zero pantry space. I quickly became best friends with a fairly inexpensive label maker and a great lady who works at The Container Store (www.containerstore.com). I also have found alternative ways to handle my kitchen storage like buying fairly inexpensive wire racks at a local box store or Target. If you have a lack of storage space then something like one of these racks placed in a garage, a basement or spare room is going to help considerably. I do not have a garage or a pantry and my racks are in the basement holding all those kitchen gadgets that I do not use every day but when I need them..I need them. This frees up space on my counters and in my cabinets for our Gluten Free foods and products.

After you clean out a dedicated space think about a few staples that are important to have in the kitchen. These can include condiments like mayonnaise, peanut butter, applesauce etc..and then look a little deeper. You quite possibly need to replace cereal, chicken stock, soups and definitely any and all bread products. once you go shopping look for some staples to add to you kitchen. Besides adding fruit and vegetables and other natural and healthy  Here are some that I recommend

Corn tortillas..these are excellent for tacos, for making ham and cheese roll ups,  quesadillas and a host of other items with bread

Frozen/fresh Pizza Crusts..In my family the kids love kinnickkinnick foods brand frozen pizza crusts. These pizza crusts are excellent when cooked according to package directions, but my kids like to toast the crusts before adding their favorite toppings and then broil the cheese it makes them look and taste like they come from a pizza shop.

http://consumer.kinnikinnick.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.home/productcategoryid/34

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour..So far King Arthur has a good flour mix but the best thus far is a new one I found this week Cup4Cup flour available at Williams Sonoma…this is a great staple so you can make items like pancakes, muffins or use in making bread or just for adding butter and flour a pan when baking

Xanthum Gum…Gluten is what gives flour its elasticity xanthum gum is what helps gluten-free flour

Frozen Dinners/Soups..Amy’s has a very good frozen macaroni and cheese, if you can get it foods by George has a good GF pizza..Udi’s has great bagels available in the freezer at many stores including Whole Foods Market..Van’s frozen waffles are good…Kettle Cuisine has some very good GF soups, Bell and Evans makes GF chicken nuggets and patties, these are excellent for making an easy GF chicken Parmesan or crispy chicken salad or just to eat alone

Bread…A tough category…Udi’s makes bread and bagels, my kids love their plain as well as their cinnamon raisin bagels, Udi’s also makes hamburger buns and other ready-made bread products…Schar makes several bread products that we have tried including par baked ciabata bread and baguette both are VERY good, they have par baked pizza crusts and sandwich bread all very good…and if you can find it there is a small bakery that makes a fabulous italian bread called Joan’s…it is so good I have served it to non GF friends of my kids who really enjoyed…especially right out of the oven

Baking Mixes…King Arthur has some good mixes available to make cookies, chocolate cake, pancakes and bread..Betty Crocker has a very good line of GF mixes to make cakes, cookies and brownies, these are great bases and can have ingredients added to make creative baked goods. If you go to their website they have recipes available for you…Pamela’s has a great all-purpose baking mix, the really great food company also has a lot very good mixes available…Now my new discovery has been the mixes available at Williams Sonoma. I have  plans to make the chocolate layer cake mix this weekend (if it cools down a little) the plan is to make part of the batter into whoopie pies and the part into cupcakes with a salted caramel butter cream frosting, this ambitious project may have to wait until next weekend because it is warm and muggy here and I do not have central A/C)

Pasta…I am not going to lie Gf pasta is nothing like the real thing but there are great alternatives that are GF. After many, many samples of GF pasta we have come down to 3 brands that are consistently very good..the first is a brand called Tinkyada, the second is from Schar (Schar makes other

Finally Cereal and snacks…You can not go wrong with Chex cereal..Most flavors of Chex are GF and if eating cereal is not your thing you can make a GF Chex mix. Glutino makes really good bagel chips and pretzels and if you look hard there are GF cheese nips as well. Snyder’s makes the best GF pretzels and are available at walmart..Amy’s has pretty good GF bunny cookies too

This is just a sample of what is out there and some of the best we have tasted. Nothing beats some of the home made items that myself and others have learned to make ,,but this is a start

So until next time HAPPY EATING

Flour, Cakes, and Pie …Oh My

This morning I had plans to go into the city, see an older relative and maybe catch some lunch at one of the local joints in the neighborhood. Half way up my phone rang, it was UJ on the other end dumping me for one of his cronies..( I will tell you about UJ another time…) and to be honest I was kind of disappointed because for a moment I had no clue what to do with my time. I actually do not even recall the last time I had a moment where I was in a situation trying to figure out what to do with my free time!

It so happens I was near the shopping center where our local Whole Foods Market is located and I figured what the heck I will be semi organized for once and go get something for dinner. I also realized that I needed a birthday gift for one of my carpool kids and a new meat thermometer while I was there so off I went. I am going to admit I am really frustrated by the disorganization at our Whole Foods when it comes to Gluten Free products. They are literally all over the place and you have to look really hard to find what you are looking for. The process is not only time-consuming but also irritating. GF crackers and cookies are in separate aisles, the GF flour is mixed in with regular wheat based products, even the GF pizza is in a case away from the other GF frozen foods. Get a clue Whole Foods and organize the products and LABEL the GF sections even the local grocery chains do this…I go to Whole Foods to get better quality foods to feed my family and it ends up sucking up my time more than anything. Ok rant over..

I figured I would be nice seeing it is the second week of school and make a favorite so I bought a whole chicken. Our local chain grocery store in our town has a special that they run every Thursday called “five buck cluck”, basically it is a whole rotisserie chicken that they sell for $5. The problem is I am not sure of all the seasonings that they use and die to the high volume of birds they are cooking they do not look all the appetizing..so for a few dollars more I made my own version of “five buck cluck”…only this one cost me $9.77…

Oh and about that meat thermometer…I have one but the problem is I usually have to stick it in a glass of ice water for the darn thing to work so I decided to splurge since there is also a Williams Sonoma in the same shopping center. My big issue is I can never just GO IN to WS. You see I have to browse and once I have what I came in for then I recall about 12 more things I “need”…so I did get the thermometer, but then I recalled that I needed a scale since I did indeed find a macaron recipe that looks promising. Oh yeah and I also needed pink grapefruit hand lotion because I tried the hand soap (side note here that stuff is awesome! No matter how bad my hands smell from onions, garlic… you name it….this soap neutralizes it) and while I was waiting for Kathy the sales associate to get me a new scale from the back I decided to go and look at the cookbooks ( I am a self-professed cookbook junkie) and the baking mixes and that was when I spotted some items the piqued my interest..

This is a chocolate cake mix that is from Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant…it looks good. M and I plan to give it a try this weekend, provided it not too hot or humid. I will be honest the darn thing better be good considering it cost $21.95 for the mix alone, you still need to add cocoa powder, eggs, oil ,milk and water …I will let you know the verdict as soon as we make it… the cake was not the only add-on in my basket I also spotted a GF pie crust mix

The last was a big surprise  Cup4Cup flour. here is a link to their site…http://cup4cup.com

I am looking for a really good GF flour. Many times I have settled for whatever is available but it has not always been the best choice.Point in case is when I make chicken pot pie, the mixture tends to immediately come out at the correct consistency but after a few minutes it is like the mixture falls apart and just thins out and does not taste as well as it did immediately after cooking. I am going to admit I am pretty excited about this since many of the online reviews are good.

I am going to admit that I did in fact try this flour out while I cooked dinner. You can not have roasted chicken without gravy and since all gravies available in the jar, the packet or the can (even the ready-made stuff at the grocery store) are all wheat flour based I have to make gravy from scratch using GF alternatives. I am going to admit I was always a bit intimidated by making gravy until I became a Food Network devotee and saw Ina Garten make gravy on the show..when she said “How easy was that?” I got the courage to tackle gravy making 101…first batch I made was a little scary but since then it has gotten much easier and tonight for the first time the gravy did not taste GF.

I think I will have to make a recipe like a coffee cake or some muffins before I am a complete convert but I am willing to give this a go…

So as a FYi here is the recipe for making gravy thanks to Ina Garten and food network.com. I gave this a try going cup for cup

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-gravy-recipe/index.html

Until next time Happy Eating

So Now What?

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Going home from the doctor’s appointment after my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I simply felt overwhelmed. All I could think was now what? On one hand I was feeling blessed that the “only” thing wrong with this little lady was celiac and it could be controlled with diet.On The other had I had no freaking clue what this all meant and I was frustrated and feeling guilty that I could do not more fast enough to make M all better.

Finding information online was a bit challenging at the time (this was 1998) and I was forced to rely upon people at the health food store and a few pamphlets from the doctor before our appointment with the nutritionist at Boston Children’s Hospital a few weeks out from that time. The doctor also informed me at the end of our appointment that my daughter would need to temporarily follow a dairy free diet to allow her gut to heal for at least 6 months. So for 6 months my 18 lb 15 month old child was gluten and dairy free and miserable that she could not have a cookie like her siblings or chicken nuggets. The other kids were frustrated because they were forced to eat their snacks or nuggets in stealth mode, and I was frustrated because this whole gluten free thing was so much harder than I imagined.

The simple question was …what do I feed this child? I tried all the baking mixes available in the store and most were terrible. The muffins tasted like sand, the bread was terribly complicated to make (I was a newbie) and my daughter did not want to eat any of it. There were some gems…Foods by George had pre made frozen pizza and brownies that tasted pretty good, Gorilla Munch cereal was a great replacement and the good news was the other children in the family were willing to eat it as well. We had a start, and then I realized that there was plenty of foods we eat that are naturally gluten free including popcorn and hence M’s love affair with popcorn began. We were starting to navigate the waters of eating GF and while it was still tough it was definitely getting easier.

Getting involved with the Celiac Support Group at Children’s Hospital in Boston definitely was a step int he right direction for us as a family. We learned about mail order specialty food companies that sold better foods than the ones available at retail and there were people who tried the products and gave advice.

Today theer are more options since gluten free eating seems to be a much more mainstream issue. The number of available foods has exploded and there is loads of information available on the internet. However nothing really replaces that moment when someone says I have been there and let me help you out.

Today I have to admit all of my hard work paid off. I have learned to adapt recipes using GF ingredients and really wish my darling daughter would be a bit more adventurous but I get it…there comes a point when you realize you are a master at reading food labels, you think constantly about how you can make that recipe gluten free. I have a great idea of foods that kids will eat and not eat, what brand of GF pretzels are the best, how to make breadcrumb toppings from potato chips, GF pretzels and stale GF bread. I can make a darn good pizza and even use those pizza crusts to make cinnamon sticks (like the ones advertised by big food chains) or garlic bread sticks…I can make crust out of crushed cookies and make a great pie.

By the way the picture at the top of the post is a box of French Macarons that we bought at Lauderee` patisserie inside Harrods in London earlier this year. It was AMAZING to be able to get a GF treat like this. M loved these so much that we went back to Harrods before we left for Heathrow and our flight to Dublin with little time to spare. I will post about our adventures in London another day…but in the meantime I am on the hunt to get a great macaron recipe so I can repeat that great experience…

Until next time…Happy eating

Getting Started

GF Baked Mac and Cheese

Getting Started

You have been told by your doctor that you should try a Gluten Free dietto help with migraines or digestive problems, your child may have been diagnosed with autism or you or someone close to you was diagnosed with Celiac disease and you walk away from your appointment thinking now what? Well now what starts here in this little blog.First of all I want to say I am NOT a registered dietitian and do not claim to be in any capacity. Who I am is  a mom who has been feeding a child diagnosed with celiac disease for fourteen years and now a second child who is following a Gluten Free diet after conventional medicine failed to help her alleviate migraine headaches. I am sure I should be on the diet as well as I have  digestive problems including bloating and bouts of diarrhea, lactose intolerance and headaches. When I was a child my mother always claimed that I had a “nervous stomach” and had to take some awful green liquid medication. Chances are that my issues are gluten related, but I am too lazy and too old to make changes, more lazy than old if I am being completely honest here.Our family’s journey into the world of Gluten Free eating began when my youngest child was diagnosed with Celiac Diseaseat the age of 15 months. This child suffered from frequent bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, slow weight gain, reflux, and was diagnosed as failure to thrive. I breast fed this baby and so anything I consumed was passed right on to my daughter. Our pediatrician  advised at different times that I eliminate foods from my diet such as onions, broccoli and other “gassy” foods as well as dairy and yes this helped a little but the digestive problems persisted. Eventually we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist specialist who was a God send. I all children have a 50% chance of developing reflux, add in the fact that this child was born 11 weeks premature and their risk increased and finally if we took into account the medications I received to help stop and slow down my labor the baby was at high risk for developing reflux. Reflux explained some of my baby’s symptoms but not all and so we went in for further testing. My baby was tested for everything and anything you can think of including cystic fibrosis. I was impressed when the GI doctor asks about our Irish heritage and explained that he suspected my child has Celiac Disease. 1 blood test and a small bowel biopsy later the answer was clear my child has Celiac Disease. The doctor explained to me there is no cure  and the only way to help is to put the child on a Gluten Free diet. I had NO freaking clue where to start in my quest to feed my child. I searched online, read anything I could get my hands on, consulted a nutrtionist and joined a support group. It was in the support group where I was able to connect with other parents coping with the same issues as I was. In those days Gluten Free foods were available primarily by mail order and the selections were far and few between.Eating Gluten free has been a 14  year learning experience and I feel like I am still learning as I go along. SO here we are and you have been told to try out the GF diet the question is still…Now what..you will get advice from a variety of people but here are a few basics…

Well the first thing you need to do is educate yourself. You need to learn how to read food labels because gluten can be found in sneaky ways in a multitude of ingredients. As I develop this blog a bit more I will add links to this information

Next after you have some idea you need to clean out your refrigerator. The biggest setback to a GF diet is cross contamination. Cross contamination happens when people use the same toaster or share condiments with non GF  eaters. A rule to remember is 1 crumb of gluten causes six weeks of damage. If I were to cook in 2 separate pots a serving of gluten-free and non gluten-free pastas and strained them , if I drop 1 single piece of regular pasta into the gluten-free batch,that whole batch is contaminated and is unable to be eaten by the person(s) on the GF diet. SO…a sharpie and labels will become your friends at the start of your journey. Get a fresh jar of mayonnaise, mustard, jelly,peanut butter etc..whatever you use and label them as GF and if you need to only use clean utensils.

My family has a dedicated toaster for GF breads and items that we use. i would advise using a toaster oven as this will allow you to toast your bread on a piece of tin foil if need be.

Cleanliness and constant attention to what you are eating are very important,avoiding cross contamination is the key here. Make sure that you clean your dishes and pots and pans in a dishwasher if at all possible. The dishwasher sanitizes your eating and cooking dishes, pots and utensils so there are no traces of gluten.

Now it is time to go shoping..what do you eat? Here is a simplified version of what you need to cut out, WHEAT, oats (there is debate about oats as by themselves they do not contain gluten, but most oats in the USA are processed with wheat and hence they are contaminated with gluten) barley,rye. what this translates to you in the beginning is no bread,pasta or pizza…well none of those products that are available at pizza shops or in most aisles at the grocery store.

the good news is this…going GF is not a death sentence and it does not mean that you can not eat flavorful foods. You can eat pizza (GF of course) and bread, pretzels and even pasta. There are meals that you probably already make now that are GF. Things like baked chicken (no bread crumbs or stuffing) or grilled steak or pork chops with sweet potatoes or regular potatoes, rice or salad. The key to eating GF is all about flavor.

So for now I am ending this, I will add  grocery items that we use often list as I attempt to find to time to write this. I will also start adding recipes. I can convert almost any recipe in any cookbook into a GF version including my favorite cook Ina Garten from The Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa(love love love Ina) Along the way I have developed my own secrets and shortcuts to cooking, eating and living Gluten Free..I hope to share this all with you

Until Next Time Happy Eating