Category Archives: Friends and Family

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d write a post centered around a food I always used to bring to my mom (breakfast in bed of course!) on madre day. What about those gluten free moms out there? They deserve breakfast in bed too! So, here is a recipe for delicious, healthy, flourless pancakes.

Pancakes used to be one of my favorite things in the whole world before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. In the land of gluten free…pancakes are definitely not the same. So, I pretty much didn’t eat pancakes for years (sad).

A few months back, a friend of mine posted about “protein pancakes” and I thought it was interesting. The ingredients seem weird, but I wanted to give it a try. Healthy pancakes seemed impossible to me, but I tried it and I’ve made a few modifications.

The recipe:
Coconut oil (for cooking)
1/2 cup oats (I use Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup egg whites (if you don’t have egg white substitute, I’ve found that 4 large egg whites works well)
Cinnamon (to taste, I use a pretty generous amount…at least 1 tsp)
1/4-1/2 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Put oats, cottage cheese, egg whites and cinnamon in a high speed mixer (I use one of those magic bullet things – mine is off-brand – and its perfect). Mix until smooth. Stir in berries (by hand).

Place a pan on medium heat and put in the coconut oil. I know this means you can’t use a griddle…but trust me…the coconut oil brings a flavor that is totally worth it.

Pour in 1/2 of the batter and spread the blueberries around (especially necessary when using frozen berries). Cook like a regular pancake! It will get the air bubbles and “dry” around the edges the same way. I’ve eat mine as is (no toppings) because I’m cutting out sugar, but give mom her favorite toppings on these. I’m sure she will love them!

I’ve been thinking about playing around with other fruit, like banana or raspberry or peach. Did you try any variations you liked? What did you (or your mom) think of these?

And, again, have a happy Mother’s Day!

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Filed under Cooking, Friends and Family, recipes

Gluten Free for Your Dog

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So, if I wasn’t gluten free myself, I never would have thought about needing a GF option for this little lady, but when she was always sick and had uncontrollable itching, I started doing some research. In addition to the human counterparts, dogs can be very intolerant to gluten. This article has some good info on the type of symptoms dogs can have from eating gluten. I love that this vet figured it out when he was diagnosed with celiac disease!

Like a dog in the article, my Pomeranian would scratch until her skin was bloody she itched so much. We tried medicated shampoo and hypoallergenic shampoo and tons of other remedies, when I suggested to my hubby we try going gluten free. He thought I was crazy at first, but it had made a world of difference.

In addition, my dog never seemed to like eating and would throw up all the time. And I mean all the time. now that she has switched to GF, she likes to eat and almost never throws up.

Now, all her food and treats are GF (which makes me feel good about in a cross-contamination sense as well) and she is 500% better. For Coach, we buy Natural Choice food and Wag More Bark Less dog treats. There are many wheat an gluten free options for animals, so find one that your dog likes and see how it goes! Like anything GF, it’s a little expensive, but totally worth it.

Is your dog gluten free or have you thought about a gluten free diet for your dog? How is it going?

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Filed under Changes, Daily Life, Friends and Family

Should We State the Obvious?

I have heard people complain when they see a food that is “obviously” gluten free advertise this information on their packaging. Their argument is usually something about consumers being smart enough to “know” that mustard or frozen peas are gluten free just by their nature.

I disagree.

For someone with celiac disease, 1/4 tsp of gluten in 24 hours is enough to cause a reaction. Since gluten is more than just “wheat” (wheat, barley and rye) how do you really know? Maybe, someone thought barley malt added a nice flavor to that mustard – or lightly dusted those peas with flour to make them less likely to stick together. Or, if they were in a facility that processes wheat, that could be enough.

I like seeing “gluten free” on any label because to me, it means the company at least thought about it. Of course, seeing the certified gluten free logo means it is absolutely the one to buy.

For me, if one product (regardless of what it is) says “gluten free” on the packaging and the one next to it doesn’t – there is no question which one i will buy. And, I will probably talk about it here on my blog.

I say, no question. If your product is truly gluten free and you make an effort to ensure that – put it on the packaging. If its not gluten free and you just slap it on there…beware the wrath of angry celiacs everywhere.

Where do you stand on this debate?

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Filed under Daily Life, Friends and Family, Nutrition, What is Celiac Disease?

Gluten Free Valentine’s Candy

So, as Valentine’s Day is only a couple days away, I wanted to dedicate this post to gluten free candy. You can’t go in a grocery store this time of year without being bombarded with candy and chocolates galore – and many of us will give in to temptation, so it’s best to know what’s safe and what isn’t.

When I started to do some research for the post, I found an article on about.com that covered the topic very nicely. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would just link to it from here.

A couple of candies I love that didn’t make the list include:
Hot Tamales which are gluten free according to the manufacturer, but it’s important to read packaging to ensure it was processed in a GF facility.
Skittles which say gluten free on the packaging and I personally have never had a problem with.
– Swedish fish and sour patch kids are gluten free according to the manufacturer. And nothing says “I love you” like a red gummy fish. 🙂

For a full (possibly outdated) list of GF candy from the Celiac Disease Foundation. Have a safe and sweet holiday everyone! What is your favorite candy?

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Filed under Daily Life, Friends and Family

What Would It Take?

A question I often get asked is, “Is there anything that you miss so much that if you had the opportunity to eat it you would break your gluten free lifestyle?” For me, the answer is no. There is nothing I miss so much that it is worth getting sick or killing my intestines (I do miss funnel cakes when I go to the fair though!)

I am curious how other people feel about this. Would you ever break your gluten free diet for that “one thing”? If so, what is it and why? Do you do this already? Why or why not?

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Filed under Changes, Daily Life, Eating Out, Friends and Family, Nutrition

Cupcake Royale

Recently, a coworker who is also gluten free celebrated a birthday. Her boss went to Cupcake Royale and bought some boxes of mini cupcakes. I have always heard good things from my gluten-eating friends, but I had never heard that they had gluten free options available. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got a call from this coworker that there was an extra GF mini cupcake if I wanted to try one! (She works in a different department so I wasn’t on the short list of people that got a cupcake in round one of distribution).

It was the day after her birthday when I got this call, so the cupcake was a day old, which is important to remember in my review.

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First, it was a beautiful, delicious looking little morsel, as you can see. When I talked to my coworker, she said that the non-GFers that tried these complained about them and said they were “gross”. I didn’t let this deter me, I get the GF is different and so I attributed it to that. However, this was a very chocolatey cupcake…which is the best at masking GF differences in my experience.

So, I tried it and was…a little let down. It was very dry (possibly due to the second day problem) and wasn’t as sweet as I would expect. The frosting was awesome (naturally GF) but its flavor didn’t overcompensate for the not-so-chocolatey cake.

I was clearly not impressed by this cupcake, but I don’t think this review is 100% fair since it was a day old cupcake. I’m willing to try again, but with a little skepticism. Have you had the GF cupcakes from Cupcake Royale and had a different experience? The same? Any other cupcakes you would recommend?

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Filed under Eating Out, Friends and Family, Good or Bad...

Gluten Free Tip Sheet

Recently, I was asked to create a Tip Sheet for a cookbook that is going to be published here in Washington for the eWomenNetwork (which I am a proud member of). They are a really great organization and always have gluten free options available for me at luncheons!

Anyway, I think the Tip Sheet turned out pretty good and thought I would pass it along:

Cooking for someone that is Gluten Free isn’t as easy as many people would like to think. Gluten is much more than just “bread” – it is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. And, many people, like those with celiac disease have an intolerance so severe that they can’t eat food that has even touched something with gluten in it (including the spatula, your hand, etc). It is important to know who you are cooking for and what their needs are before you buy/start cooking. Here are some tips to help if you are cooking Gluten Free (in alphabetical order):

  • Alcohol – beer is pretty much off the table, but there are GF options available. Wine is ok, along with most hard liquors. However, any of the “malt beverages” (Mike’s, Smirnoff, etc) in the bottle are not Gluten Free.
  • Anything powdered – powdered items can be tricky across the board – seasonings, gravy mix, and other items often have wheat flour in them even when you don’t think they would. You can’t trust any brand specifically, or assume that just because you have bought powdered gravy before that all gravy mix is Gluten Free – sadly, it isn’t that simple. Read your labels!
  • Bisquick and Betty Crocker – these brands now offer Gluten Free options – Betty Crocker also has four mixes (chocolate cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies). These, and the Gluten Free Bisquick can be found at most supermarkets. Note, they will have different instructions than non-GF items.
  • Bread Crumbs – there are many GF breads out there – some much better than others. You can make your own bread crumbs easily using GF bread. Udi’s and Rudi’s are two brands that are similar to many “regular” breads.
  • Broth – some broths you buy in the store have wheat in them – read labels!
  • Cross-Contamination – make sure to use a clean working area when making GF food. Wash everything to avoid having something you were cooking earlier get on the food you are making now – ¼ tsp is enough to cause a serious problem for people with celiac disease. 
  • Cheese – there are a couple of things to watch for: blue cheese isn’t GF, because it comes from a bread starter. For those that are less sensitive, this could be ok. Also, beware of pre-shredded/sliced cheese as flour can be used to keep it from sticking together. It is best to shred/slice yourself when possible since this isn’t listed in ingredients.
  • Dressing and Ketchup – many dressings are thickened with flour – and some condiments are too – some ketchup is GF and others aren’t. Read those labels!
  • Flour and Cornstarch – for items like crisping chicken, crumbled desserts, or other things that call for a small amount of flour – cornstarch can be substituted. Use about ½ the amount of cornstarch as you would flour.
  • GF Pasta – there are many kinds of pasta that are GF, including those made from rice, quinoa, corn and potatoes. Note: spelt is not GF and “egg noodles” still have flour in them.
  • Marshmallows – you know the light powder on the outside of a marshmallow? This is often flour to keep it from sticking while cooking. There are GF marshmallows if you keep your eyes open and read labels. 
  • Oatmeal – oats are controversial in the GF community. Some people who are Gluten Free can eat oats and others can’t. If you do buy oats, be sure to get them where they specifically say “Gluten Free” on the label – like Bob’s Red Mill. If they aren’t they are often processed with wheat flour and covered with cross-contaminates.
  • Oil – if you cook with oil – make sure you change it before cooking GF items. The residue of items that were breaded (even in a deep fryer) can cross-contaminate any GF items for the very sensitive.
  • Other Grains – There are many other grains that don’t contain gluten. Rice, corn, potatoes and quinoa are all GF. Spelt, couscous, egg noodles, and many others are not.
  • Read Labels – even if it seems like it should be GF (no matter what it is) you never really know until you read EVERY ingredient on the label. Some things will even say “Gluten Free” across the front of the box and say “may contain wheat” in the ingredients. Also, beware of anything with a malt coating – malt coatings come from gluten.
  • Sausage and Ground Meat – many ground meats (including sausage) have a filler of flour or breadcrumbs. Labels will tell you if this is the case or not.
  • Soy Sauce – regular soy sauce is not Gluten Free, but there are options for GF soy sauce which taste almost identical. Some buy “GF Tamari” and now, many well-known brands (including Kikkoman) have a GF option.
  • Tortillas – while flour tortillas are a big no-no for the GF people out there – corn tortillas are an easy alternative (they are better for you, too!). Just make sure to read the label to make sure it doesn’t have a wheat filler.
  • Tortilla Chips – most corn tortilla chips are GF. What to look for? Corn or flour. Also, some chips are cooked in the same oil as other things that are breaded, which means they can’t be eaten by GF people. Other chips are hit or miss as well – read the labels to be sure, and be especially wary of things with a seasoning on them. BBQ chips often are not Gluten Free, but Frito’s are.

Do you have any other tips? Did I miss anything important?

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Filed under Cooking, Daily Life, Friends and Family, What is Celiac Disease?