Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Coming Clean

It has been way too long, I know. Some of you may have even given up on me. I wouldn't blame you one bit...

In one of my last posts, I mentioned that we had some family stuff going on and that I started working on a project that takes me out of the office 3 days per week. That has only been part of the story...the rest is that I'M PREGNANT! Our due date is July 4th (fun, huh?). We are incredibly excited, but it's taken a lot out of me - some days, I haven't been able to get off the couch. Whoever called it morning sickness was lying I've decided. The nausea has been incredible and it usually lasts all day long. I have found that sea sickness bands help stop the gagging so that I can actually get food down. I can't remember the last time I was hungry.

I haven't cooked anything since early November and have only done the grocery shopping a couple of times. (My poor husband!). I have lost all interest in food. As you can imagine, this makes many parts of my work difficult - blogging, meal planning... Oye. I was able to do about a month of the rotation diet before the symptoms set in. It's been impossible ever since due to a million food aversions that I'm coming across and my inability to do any food prep. I spoke with the Queen of Rotation herself, Nicolette Dumke, and she advised that I just rotate grains. Easy enough, because I don't want any grains anyway. It's fascinating me, actually.

I find that the nausea increases rapidly if I wait too long to eat, but when I do eat, I don't feel well afterwards. They say that your digestive track goes through a multitude of changes. I know that I cannot digest lactose at all, and there have got to be other things...but it feels like it's everything - just like it did before I figured out that I have celiac disease (I became afraid to eat for fear of feeling sick and lost 20+ pounds overnight). It's back to a food diary and symptom tracking for me!

There have been some signs that I will start to come around to my old self - after losing 8 pounds, I haven't lost any weight this week, which means I must be eating more. I also don't need to nap as much as I had been. I can't wait to get back into the swing of things - blogging and publishing away! Thanks for hanging in there with me! I'll be in touch soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dec 1st Edition of the Gluten Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival

Welcome to the December 1, 2009 edition of the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival...posted one day early b/c I'll be out of the office yet again tomorrow. Sorry for my lengthy absence! I'm coming up for air to publish this wonderful collection of recipes, product reviews and tips.

Product Reviews

Ginger Carter Miller presents They'll Never Know...A GF Cake with an Edge! posted at Ging Recommends!.


Kim, The Food Allergy Coach presents Corn Bread: Straight Up & As a Stuffing posted at The Food Allergy Coach, saying "Two great gluten free recipes courtesy of my mom!"

Ginger Carter Miller
presents A delicious turkey pot pie recipe from Whole Foods GF Chef Lee Tobin. posted at Ging Recommends!.

Tamara Duker presents Pão de Queijo (and other reasons to meet your Hispanic Roots) posted at What I'm Eating Now, saying, "If you like Mexican food for its gluten-free corn tortillas, you'll love learning about the delicioso GF goodies you can make with Hispanic root vegetables...including this beyond-easy recipe for Brazilian Cheese Buns."

Amy Green @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free presents Homemade Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Taco Seasoning posted at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, saying, "A simple and frugal taco seasoning - tastes so much better than anything out of a packet and you get creative license over the final outcome."

Annette Berlin presents Orange Smoothie posted at Craft Stew, saying, "This recipe came from Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas."


Nancy Lapid presents Tips for eating out gluten free. posted at Celiac Disease.

Linda Simon presents X is for Xanthan posted at Kitchen Therapy, saying, "Where and when to use xanthan to convert wheat bakery to gluten free treats."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Email me if you would like to host! We'll be skipping January 1st due to the holiday craze, but please check out the Feb 1st edition, which will be hosted by Shirley at Gluten Free Easily.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gifts of Good Taste - Holiday Cordials & Vanilla Extract

This week's Holiday Food Festival theme is Gifts of Good Taste, which is hosted by Phoebe at Cents to Get Debt Free. I love this theme, as I strive to make edible gifts each year. I think it's so fun! I am famous for my homemade fudge in many varieties and peppermint bark. I've also experimented with making candied popcorn. Last year, we made Holiday Cordials, which are always a big hit. I've had the recipe for years - I copied it out of a friend's cookbook, but have no idea which one.

Please forgive the lack of pictures. My husband used the camera and changed the settings, so my pictures are not coming out clear. I can't figure out how to undo it, so the pictures will have to wait until later.

Ingredients (makes about 6 C)

  • 1 lb mixed dried fruit

  • 1 bottle (750 ml or 3.5 C) dry white wine

  • 1 C brandy

  • 2 C sugar


  1. Place fruit in a glass, ceramic, or stainless steal container. Stir in wine, brandy, and sugar until well blended. Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 week to allow flavors to develop. Stir occasionally for the first few days to dissolve sugar.

  2. To give, pack in small jars. On the gift tag, note that the liquor is for sipping; or the cordial is delicious poured over ice cream or pound cake. After about 6 weeks, the fruit should be removed or it may become too soft. The cordial alone keeps indefinitely.

This year, we will be gifting homemade vanilla extract. It's so easy and makes a great gift for the bakers in your life!


  • 5 vanilla beans (look for good quality beans online - you'll get a great price)

  • 1 750 ml bottle of vodka


  1. Split beans in half.

  2. Pour a small amount of the vodka out of the bottle.

  3. Fit all beans into the bottle.

  4. Shake every couple of weeks. In about 2 months, it's ready for prime time!

I will be pouring the extract into pretty, small bottles decorated with ribbon. I will put 1/2 bean in each bottle and add vodka to make sure each one is full. The tag will say that, as you use the extract, just add more vodka and it will regenerate! Cool, huh?

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tapioca Apple Pudding

Sorry for my absence over the last week. I've been under the weather, and we had a death in the family. I'm also temporarily working on a new project that takes me away from the office 3 days per week...this likely means that my posts will be fewer over the next couple of months.

This recipe is something I discovered as I continue to search for rotation diet-friendly things to eat. It's warm and comforting and fills the house with a wonderful aroma. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients (makes 2 large servings):
  • 1/2 C quick cooking tapioca cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 T honey or 4 t agave
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 C milk (whatever kind you can tolerate)
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced


  1. Oil 2 large ramekins and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix first 6 ingredients together.
  3. Arrange sliced apples in each ramekin.
  4. Pour tapioca mixture evenly over each.
  5. Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes. The apples will rise to the top!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Mondays and What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free. Check out these great recipe roundups!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Interview with Food Allergy Expert, Susan Engle, MOE, RD, LD

The question I am asked most often is "do you know any medical professionals that actually 'get it' (food allergies, celiac, etc)???" They are a rare find, aren't they? So I asked my colleague, Susan Engle of Nutrition Matters, to answer a few key questions. I've gotten to know Susan quite well. She was a guest speaker at the Going Gluten Free series put on by Food Sensitivity Resources. Susan is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to food allergies, intolerance, and sensitivities and enjoys helping this special population.

1. How did you become interested in the field of nutrition? I was always interested in health promotion and disease prevention. I started my professional career as a dental hygienist and took a nutrition course during my training for that. As soon as I graduated and started working I took another course in human nutrition. Eventually I went back to school to earn my degree in nutritional sciences and become a registered dietitian. I love food and eating and enjoy helping others discover delicious foods that nourish them and keep them healthy. (You can read more about Susan's background here.)

2. What has been your experience treating patients with food allergies, intolerance, sensitivities, and celiac disease? This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my practice as a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Often when I work with these patients and help them discover the foods they are reacting to they come back to me with big smiles and gifts of thanks. They are so thankful to be able to eat without painful consequences. People with food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances need to search for dietitians/nutritionists who specialize in this area so they can get good help. Unfortunately many traditionally trained medical personnel are not specialists in this area and don't know how to help.

3. What services to you offer to help people who have dietary restrictions? It depends on what is going on for them. For people who come to me with a new diagnosis of Celiac disease or single or even multiple food allergies, I can help them with meal planning to ensure a nutritionally adequate diet. I enjoy taking people through their local grocery store and helping them find foods they can eat safely. For people who come to me sure that something they eat is causing them health problems but they can't figure out what food or foods is causing the problem - I can help sleuth this out. If it is just one ingredient in foods, fructose or lectins for example, these are found in multiple foods. Most people are not aware of the foods that contain fructose or lectins. Because I am familiar with this, I can look at a 2 week food and symptom diary and identify the food(s) that are causing the problem. My specialty is food and nutrition so I can help people find tasty foods that meet their food allergy/sensitivity needs. For example, we will talk about how to choose foods when out of the home, either on the run or at a restaurant. We talk about how to choose a variety of foods in order to provide the most nutrition for the diet. I make suggestions for what kind of vitamin and mineral supplements to take. For people who are still experiencing symptoms after a few months on the diet, I can help them problem solve what else might be going on - small bowel bacterial overgrowth? or other food allergies/sensitivities? lactose or fructose intolerance? inadvertent gluten exposure? Some people need help gaining healthy weight back, I can help with this. Reducing cross-contamination in the kitchen if there are other family members who consume gluten. These are a few of the services I can provide to people with food allergies/sensitivities.

4. How do you keep up with the latest research regarding food allergies/intolerance/sensitivities/celiac? I attend national conferences provided by nationally and internationally recognized experts on a regular basis. I teach continuing education courses to health professionals on these topics and so it is essential that I keep up to date with new research.

5. What are your thoughts about the current research going on in this field? It is very exciting. They are working on "curing" anaphylactic allergies, finding ways for people with celiac disease to tolerate small to moderate amounts of gluten, and learning more about food sensitivities and how to diagnose and treat them. I believe they will accomplish these goals and more given time.

6. What is the most useful advice you have for people new to dietary restrictions due to food allergy, intolerance, and/or sensitivities? Find out about the foods you CAN eat safely, search them out and enjoy them. Pay more attention to these foods than to the ones you need to avoid. Eating should be pleasurable even if you need to avoid some foods. Meet with a registered dietitian to ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs whenever you have to cut out a whole food group or a major source of an important nutrient (ex: milk products are our best source of calcium and Vitamin D).

To contact Susan, please click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Oonagh Williams, award-winning chef, culinary instructor, and expert in all things gluten and allergen free. Oonagh has a bunch of delicious looking recipes on her website, so I thought I would give one a try. She has a pumpkin roll listed. When I told her that I would be adapting it to gluten free, she sent me the following recipe.

I wanted to pick a dessert from Oonagh's collection in honor of the Holiday Food Festival, which kicks off today. Stop by Hoosier Homemade to check out the dessert edition!

Oonagh's Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll/Layer Cake

Ingredients for cake
  • 2/3 c 100% pumpkin from a can (not pumpkin pie filling). Don’t increase amount of pumpkin, cake won’t work.
  • 3 large or 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 c sugar (I used honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder and pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1+1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • ¾ c gf flour blend
Ingredients for Filling:
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened -lite is fine but gives a softer texture.
  • 1 c powdered sugar (I used honey + cornstarch)
  • 4 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp bourbon - if you can tolerate it, otherwise rum or brandy or none
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • You can also use only ½ c powdered sugar and add 1 cup cool whip.
  1. Mix filling ingredients together with a beater until smooth.
  2. Toast ¼ c chopped pecans in 350° oven for 10 minutes (optional - for cake topping)
  3. Line 10 x 15” jelly roll pan with parchment paper or foil. Grease foil or paper.
  4. Mix together pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and sugar until well blended.
  5. Add baking powder, xanthan gum, spice and flour and mix well.
  6. Pour onto lined jelly roll pan, gently spread out, it might seem as if you don’t have enough batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes until well risen (but it won’t be very high), springy but still soft to the touch.
  7. Remove cake from oven, sprinkle with sugar, place cooling rack topped with parchment paper on top of sugar sprinkled cake and turn it upside down. Carefully remove paper or foil from base of cake and roll up pumpkin roll with sugar sprinkled parchment paper caught inside. Or cut cake into 2 or 3 sections to create long thin pieces or short fat pieces and leave flat to cool.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Unroll, retain about ¼ c filling, and spread remainder of filling on cake.
  10. Re-roll or stack. Don’t worry if the cake has cracked. When you drizzle remainder of filling on top, it will hide cracks.
  11. Thin ¼ c of filling slightly with cream and drizzle on top of roll. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and refrigerate.
For layer cake, spread flat pieces of cake with cream cheese filling, stack, spread more on top and sprinkle with toasted pecans or chopped spiced pecans.

Different filling:
  • ¾ c heavy or whipping cream
  • 8 oz tub of Mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp liqueur, rum, brandy to taste
  1. Whisk cream, sugar, vanilla and alcohol until cream forms soft peaks.
  2. Turn mascarpone into bowl and gently break up with a fork.
  3. Gently fold cream mix into mascarpone until well blended and very creamy. Don’t use electric mixer, the mix will almost curdle. Use as in #9 above.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Corn Bread - Straight Up & As A Stuffing

I'm 9 days into the rotation diet. Up until today, I was managing ok - pretty good actually, with minimal whining. I've been getting creative - making yogurt out of goat milk, making buckwheat pancakes without eggs, enjoying teff chocolate pudding and amaranth banana bread... I've even been out to eat twice without much planning time and managed just fine, to my surprise. ...and my husband has not felt too inconvenienced, which is a bonus.

But today, I don't feel well. Everything I had planned to eat today is making my stomach turn just at the thought. It's one of those things where I don't want to eat, but I'm feeling so weak that I need to have something. So, I resorted to toast - a kind that is off the rotation plan. I'm thinking that I will get right back on the rotation horse as soon as I can. Right now, I just need some plain calories so that I don't faint or puke (sorry!)...

A good day to answer some requests I've had for a gluten free cornbread recipe. In my family, we grew up eating homemade cornbread every Saturday. When four of us discovered we could not tolerate gluten, my mom adapted her recipe for us! This past Saturday, I asked her if she was making a batch and she said "yes!" I ran right over to take a picture (and grab some for my freezer for when it fits into my rotation schedule).

Mom's Saturday Cornbread

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 C oil
  • 1 C milk- whichever you can tolerate
  • 1/4 honey or sugar, or 2 T agave
  • 1 C GF flour mix (preferably a kind without bean flour in it)
  • 1 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9X9 baking sheet.
  2. Mix together first 4 ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together last 4 dry ingredients.
  4. Add the wet into the dry and combine, but not too much.
  5. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until it's slightly golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
This goes great with chili! Or make it into a stuffing...


  • about 2/3 of the above cornbread recipe, cubed
  • 2 C chopped and peeled apples
  • 1 C diced carrots
  • ¾ C diced onions
  • ½ C diced celery
  • ½ C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries (optional)
  • ½ t ground nutmeg
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • ½ C butter or oil
  • 1 C GF chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Spread cornbread cubes on a cookie sheet and bake 10 – 15 min or until dry.
  3. In a skillet, place the butter or oil along with the carrots, onions, and celery. Cook until beginning to turn translucent.
  4. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Turn off heat.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the bread, veggies, apples and nuts.
  6. Pour mixture into a baking pan and pour chicken stock all over. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sweet Potato Sausage Stew

Couple of things to tell you about first:
  1. The Nov 1st edition of the Gluten Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival is up at Sustaining Health Holistically. Check it out for some great recipes, product reviews, and more!
  2. A fantastic recipe roundup of pumpkin treats for "Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free" is up at Life Gluten Free.
  3. Today is Monday, so swing by Simply Sugar & Gluten Free for a collection of Slightly Indulgent recipes. You could also win a great give-a-way - new e-cookbooks!
One week of the rotation diet down! It's not so bad, I've decided. The thing that has bothered me the most is the difficulty with being spontaneous. With practice, I think this will get easier. A big plus is that we are both eating healthier (even though Brian is not doing this with me) - a lot more veggies and vegetarian meals in general, though I'm posting a meal-filled recipe today...

Soups and stews are among the most wonderful aspects of the cool weather season. I love to toss some things together and have them meld into a tasty, warm, comforting meal. We had this for a couple of dinners recently.

  • 1 T oil
  • 1/2 pound sausage, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (1 pound) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 small hot green chile pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chic peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 apple - peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  1. Heat oil in bottom of soup pot or dutch oven. Add sausage and allow to brown for about 7 min, breaking it up occasionally.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and red pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, chili pepper, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in chic peas, apple, cilantro, salt, and pepper and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes.

This post is linked to What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free (Soup Theme)?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teff Chocolate Pudding - wheat, gluten, egg, soy, dairy, corn, refined sugar, peanut, and tree nut free!

It's day 4 of my rotation diet, and I'm not losing my mind! I'm definitely learning a lot, and I'm eating much healthier - lots of veggies! I'm making it into a game, sort-of - like "I know I'm going out to eat Saturday, so how do I 'save up' food groups so that I can eat what I want?" I'm also becoming very aware of foods that I was over-relying on, like onions, peppers, tomatoes, turkey...

Today will be the completion of a full rotation. To start out, foods are rotated on a four day schedule, so tomorrow, I go back to the food groups that I ate on Monday. I can tell that, as I get more comfortable doing this, I will be a bit more "free" with my meal planning - right now, I'm planning my meals mostly based on the rotation that is suggested in the book, but soon I will think about meals I want to have, then assign food groups accordingly. That will work out much better!

I ended up feeling a bit hungry on day Monday afternoon (rotation day 2), and started to panic a
bit - I didn't plan for that! I checked day 2 food groups and saw that I could have teff. I've always wanted to experiment with teff, but just hadn't yet. I looked at the back of the Bob's Red Mill Teff package for some inspiration and saw a recipe for Teff Pudding. It contained few ingredients, all of which I could incorporate on rotation day 2, so I went for it! I'm glad I did - it was so yummy and comforting...definitely something I will eat even when I'm not on rotation! The cooked teff has a texture that lends itself to pudding - almost as if it contains gelatin, but it doesn't.

Before the recipe, a word about teff:
Teff is packed with nutrition. It is higher in protein than wheat and has a high concentration of a wide variety of nutrients, including calcium, thiamine and iron. A cup of cooked teff contains 387 mg of calcium which is 40% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance. Teff has twice as much iron as both wheat and barley; the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. Since the grains are so small, the bulk of the grain is germ and bran. It is very high in fiber and is thought to benefit people with diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels. Teff is available as a grain or as a flour. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of teff here.

Teff Pudding (serves 2 - 3) - wheat, gluten, egg, soy, dairy, corn, refined sugar, peanut, and tree nut free!


  • 2 C water
  • 1/2 C teff grain
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T maple syrup or honey, or 1 T agave
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (my addition, since it brings out the sweetness!)
  1. In a small pot, bring water and teff grain to a boil, then cover and simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend cooked teff and remaining ingredients until smooth and light. Add additional water if it's too thick.
  3. Pour into serving bowl, chill, and serve.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Mondays.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Allergen Free Baking: Baked treats for all occasions

I was recently sent a copy of the book Allergen Free Baking: Baked treats for all occasions by Jill Robbins to review. I liked it, so I thought I would pass it on to you.

As I was giving it a once over, I noticed a quote on the back cover from the Seacoast Food Allergy Group, which I have become involved with. Upon further investigation, I realized that this book is published in my home state - New Hampshire - and it was written by the same woman who developed Gaks Snacks, now called Home Free Treats (Jill and her treats were recently featured on Fox News Boston). The headquarters is right in Windham, NH, which is only about 40 minutes from me - I have an aunt and good friends that live there. Ok, ok, enough with my hometown pride...

Allergen Free Baking is geared towards parents. It is organized into sections to make life raising food allergic kids easier. As you peruse the cookbook, it is obvious that a mother who has been in your shoes is talking to you. There are recipe ideas for something to bring to morning play group, play dates, school snacks, birthday parties, various holidays, and athletic events. From the introduction: "Most of the recipes in this book use fruit and/or fruit juice, many use at least some whole grain, and none contain peanuts, tree nuts, egg, wheat, dairy, cholesterol, or trans fat. Soy lecithin is the only soy ingredient."

Robbins also includes a helpful key of grains, gluten, and sugar. For example "GF" indicates that the recipe can be prepared gluten free (suggestions are made), "Co" indicates that the recipe contains corn, and "Oa" denotes oats.

Although there are no pictures in the cookbook (except for the adorable drawings done by a young child), the pages are filled with delicious, tempting treats. Robbins shares ideas for breakfast, quick breads, bars/brownies, cookies, cakes, pies, frostings, and more. When it fits in my rotation diet schedule, the first recipe I'll be trying is the Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread. My mouth is watering already!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rotation Diet Day 1 & Some Things of Note

I debated about whether or not to shout from the roof-tops that I'm starting the Rotation Diet today. Truthfully, I'm wondering how well I'll be able to stick to it... Perhaps blogging about it will help to keep me on track. That's my hope anyway!

For those of you not familiar with rotation, it's a system of controlling food allergies/sensitivities by eating biologically related foods on the same day, then not eating them again for four days because they contain similar antigens. Some believe that any food, if eaten repetitively, can end up causing problems. People with food allergies, intolerance, and sensitivities are often told to just avoid the problematic food, but they are not told that they could be susceptible to developing issues with more foods over time.

The idea is that this way of eating can help to heal a leaky gut (which I've made progress on but am not convinced that I'm done, hence trying something new!), which may prevent developing problems with more foods. Rotating your diet can also can help discover foods that you are currently sensitive to that you are unaware of. In addition, it may allow you to eat foods that you have a "borderline" sensitivity to (for me that would be peanuts, tree nuts, rice, and cherries), though potentially on a longer rotation schedule, like 7 or 10 days. [This does NOT mean that I will be able to eat gluten - I have celiac disease, which rotation won't change. Sugar is something I am highly sensitive to, so I'm not even going to try rotating it in anytime soon - no need!].

I became interested in rotation when a client of mine asked for help and support with creating and sticking to a rotation diet. My first step was purchasing Nicolette Dumke's book The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide and read it cover to cover. I had some questions, so I emailed Nicolette, which began our e-friendship (see part one and part two of my interview with Nicolette).

I saw myself in the pages of the book, so I let the idea of doing rotation percolate for a couple of months. I experimented by eating some tree nuts after a long, long time of going without - I just had a minimal amount - and found that I did not experience symptoms. When I ate them again the next day, I did have symptoms. It made me think that there is something to this rotation stuff - and I would LOVE to be able to have tree nuts and peanuts again!!!! To bake with almond flour is something I have been dreaming about...

Experimenting with different foods, alternative grains, etc. and making many of Nicolette's recipes has given me the hope that, with some planning and preparation, I can do this.

...and so begins my rotation journey. I've set my first goal at sticking to rotation for one month. This felt right to me. Truth be told, my hope is to go longer than that - in fact, Brian and I are planning to start a family. I would like to stick to a rotation diet for the duration of pregnancy and breast feeding. Although there isn't a ton of hard evidence out there about what a mother should/should not eat to lessen her child's risk of food allergies/intolerance/sensitivities, rotation seems to be a way to reduce those chances. I plan to chronicle my journey here, so please stay tuned!

Some other things of note:
Today is Slightly Indulgent Monday at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. Be sure to check it out for delicious recipe ideas! This week, Amy is also giving away two subscriptions to her favorite magazine, Eating Well.

I got an email that is offering an extra 15% off of Hain Gluten Free products including Arrowhead Mills, Imagine, De Boles, and more. If you use subscribe and save, you get an additional 15% on top. Might be worth checking out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Honey-Buckwheat Pancakes

Haven't discovered buckwheat yet? I have to say that it was only recently that I have begun to appreciate all buckwheat it has to offer. I loved Nicolette's buckwheat brownies, so I thought I'd see what else it would be good in. Buckwheat pancakes seemed like a natural next move, since I love a good pancake (see coconut flour pancakes and flourless pancakes)! They turned out delicious, if I do say so myself... Buckwheat lends a nuttiness that I think perfectly pairs with honey - it's like they were made for each other.

Ingredients (makes about 5-6 pancakes):
  • 1/2 C GF buckwheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder (if you cannot tolerate corn, click here for a corn free baking powder recipe)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 C whichever milk you can tolerate (yogurt would be nice, too)
  1. Mix together the first 3 ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, egg, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir a little.
  4. Start adding in your milk a bit at a time until the desired consistency is met.
  5. Cook batter on a preheated pan or griddle that has been greased.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Monday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chili with Roasted Peppers

Chili is a cool-weather staple around here. It's one of those great meals that can be adapted many different ways to suit tastes and dietary restrictions. It can also give you a hand cleaning out your pantry! This version is made with roasted hot peppers (not too hot for me - I make extra peppers for my husband to sprinkle on top b/c he likes his mouth to be on fire...). Roasting the peppers takes their flavor to a different depth in such a wonderful way and tempers the heat a bit.

  • 2-3 hot peppers (jalapenos are fine; use more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground meat (I use turkey)
  • 1 C juicer pulp (optional - it's a good way to use it up!)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T cumin
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 t pepper
  • 1/4 C ground flax seeds (optional)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 can black beans (or whatever you have on hand - I used kidney this time)
  • 1 can corn (optional)
  • 4 tomatoes, diced or 2 C canned tomatoes
  1. Place whole hot peppers on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they get char spots on them and blister, like in the picture above. Once cool, split a part and remove the stem and seeds (unless you like more heat). Dice and set aside.
  2. While the peppers are roasting, place heat olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add ground meat to the pot. Allow it to begin to brown, using your stirring spoon to separate it. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. If you are using juicer pulp, add it in.
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, ground flax seed, salt and pepper to the meat and mix around.
  5. Add the bell peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the beans, corn, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  7. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  • I like to top mine with yogurt - whichever kind I've got. My favorite is Greek or coconut.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Took the Kale Chip Challenge!

On October 13th, Celiac Chicks issued a throw-down - a Kale Chip Throw-down. I have been reading about these things for a while and just letting the idea of them stew. When I saw this challenge, I had to accept, especially because they expressed their initial hesitancy, thinking "how could these be any good?" ...and that's where I've been at!

I followed their recipe and used the oven this time rather than the dehydrator, which I plan to try in the future. I made just one batch at first because why waste perfectly good kale if I didn't like these chips? But...I loved them! They are light and crispy! My first batch was olive oil and salt, which just pairs nicely with the flavor of the kale. For my 2nd batch, I added cumin...YUM! The pictures show before and after - they are a bit like shrinky-dinks! I actually could see these squashing a chip craving.

In other news...Go Dairy Free reported today that one of my favorite cereals, Perky's Nutty Flax (which actually does not contain nuts), is now being branded as Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax. Click here to read about that transition. The flavor, crunch, and low sugar grams better stay the same, is all I can say!

This post is linked to What Can I Eat That's Gluten Free over at the Gluten Free Homemaker.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Product Review: Edward & Sons Exotic Rice Toast

Don't forget to check out today's Slightly Indulgent recipes at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. You could win a $25 gift certificate to! Who couldn't use that?

While checking out our local wine and cheese shop for the first time the other day (for some reason, we always go to one that is further away), I happily noticed a few gluten free products among all of the wonderful-looking gifts and cheese accompaniments. Among them were Edward & Sons Exotic Rice Toasts. I hadn't seen them before, so naturally I scooped them up to try with our yummy cheese purchases. I loved them, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I also loved the Edward & Sons website, which has an easy-to-us allergen chart!!! Check out my review on The Examiner.

PS - I purchased these for my own individual use. No compensation of any kind was received in exchange for this review.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Home Free Cookies on Fox Boston News

Jill Robbins, founder of Home Free Treats, was featured on Fox News Boston. I'm not generally a fan of Fox myself, but I've got to give them kudos for giving food allergies center stage...and not just for a couple of seconds - it was for several minutes. Check out the clip:

Buckwheat Brownies

In my 2nd interview with Nicolette Dumke, she named a couple of her favorite recipes, one of which is her Buckwheat Brownies. I got to thinking that if an author of multiple wonderful, allergy-friendly cookbooks says that something is her favorite, it must be worth a try. ...and I always love to satisfy a chocolate craving!

These brownies are wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, refined sugar, and corn-free. I substituted a mix of honey and maple syrup for the maple sugar, which resulted in a more cake-like brownie. Brian and I both gobbled them up! They are sooooooo good! Next time, I might try a few adjustments for a more fudge-like texture, but then again, why play with a good thing?

You can find the recipe at the end of my interview with Nicolette. ...and if you are interested in learning more about the nutritional value of buckwheat, click here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ode to Some Wonderful Bloggers

We had company last night - a few folks that I used to work with. They have all been amazingly supportive of me, so of course I would want to throw them a nice dinner party. We tend to get together about once every 6 weeks or so. We rotate houses and do it potluck style. Last night, I needed to create a main dish, side dish, and an appetizer. Three bloggers were the inspiration:

For the appetizer, I made Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks. For these, I used Shirley's Flourless Pizza Crust recipe posted at Gluten Free Easily. I added garlic powder to the mixture and instead of making it into pizza, I cut it into long rectangles and served them with marinara sauce. They were a big hit!

Knowing that I'd be busy with work and running around all day, I wanted a fairly no-fuss main and side dish. Diane at The Whole Gang pointed me to Ali and Tom's recipe for Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs and Onions posted at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. I brined the chicken first to ensure that it would turn out moist, using water, salt, maple syrup, onion, and fresh rosemary. I used onions and figs, but also added turnips, carrots, potatoes, and parsnips from our farmer's market. For my guests, I actually used split chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken so that I didn't have to carve it. The picture shown here is actually the same recipe with whole chicken that I made just for us last week.

We also had a lovely salad to go with it all. My friends rounded out the meal with stuffed grape leaves and roasted artichokes for the appetizers and various sweet treats for dessert. We had a fun evening and they left feeling full and satisfied. Did I mention that they don't have any dietary restrictions??? That's always a great test for "special" recipes.

Thanks again, fellow bloggers!

One more thing - Amazon sent me an email stating that they are running a special - Enjoy Life Foods 15% off.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Millet Banana Bread

Yep, you guessed it! Another recipe from Nicolette Dumke's latest cookbook. I can't help myself. I'm enjoying experimenting...and the results! My husband and I both loved this one...I have to confess, I haven't shared much of it with him. It's just too good!

Millet Banana Bread (free of the top 8 allergens, gluten, corn, and refined sugar)

  • 1 1/2 C millet flour
  • 1 C tapioca starch
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t baking soda + 1/2 t unbuffered vitamin C powder (or 2 1/2 t baking powder)
  • 1 t cinnamon or 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 3/4 C mashed ripe bananas (about 3 1/2 bananas)
  • 1/4 C oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Oil and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Stir together flours, salt, baking soda + vitamin C powder (or baking powder), spice, and nuts (if using) in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the mashed bananas and oil and stir them into the dry ingredients until they are completely mixed in, but be careful not to over mix (the batter will be stiff). Put the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan to cool completely. Makes one loaf.
  • I did not have millet flour on hand so I ground my own. Nicolette offers a caution about this - if you are grinding your own, you'll want to adjust the liquid. I added more banana and a bit more oil, but next time I might add a couple T of milk, too. Nicolette also says that she has found that even different brands of the same product can yield different results, so she provides where to find the brands that she uses.
  • The cookbook also provides recipes for banana bread using spelt, barley, or amaranth.
  • I was sent a free copy of this cookbook by Nicolette to review.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies - free from the top 8 allergens, corn, refined sugar, and gluten!

If you haven't read my interview with allergy author, Nicolette Dumke, you might want to (click here for part 1 and here for part 2). Nicolette is an incredible person who is brilliantly coping with multiple food allergies, and has graciously chronicled all she has learned in her series of books. She sent me a copy of her latest book I Love Dessert but NOT Sugar, Wheat, Milk, Gluten, Corn, Soy, Unhealthy Fat... to review. I have been baking my way through it to see how her allergy-friendly versions of yummy deserts match up. Click here to see Traditional Apple Cobbler with Amaranth Topping.

I was attracted to this recipe for Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies because I know that quinoa is considered somewhat of a super food, especially for those of us on the gluten free diet. Quinoa brings many essential nutrients to the party that might otherwise be lacking in the traditional gluten free diet. Also, I wanted to further experiment with the use of apple juice concentrate as a sweetener in baking.

My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised these cookies. They have a wonderful texture, and the use of concentrated apple juice helps to mask the flavor of the quinoa in a way that really works! The chocolate chips bring it all together. I'm not saying that they taste just like regular chocolate chip cookies - they definitely taste healthier, but in a wonderful way. Otherwise, my husband would not have finished them all on me!

Ingredients (recipe is being reprinted with author's permission)
  • 3 C quinoa flour
  • 1 C tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda + 3/8 t unbuffered vitamin C powder (or just use baking powder)
  • 2 C apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 1 1/4 C chocolate or carob chips (optional)
  1. Boil the apple juice down to 1 3/8 C in volume and allow it to coll to room temperature or cooler. If you are in a hurry, put it in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa flour, tapioca starch, baking soda + vitamin C (or baking powder). In a separate bowl or cup, stir together the juice and oil. Immediately stir them into the dry ingredients until they are just mixed in. Fold in the chocolate or carob chips. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten them to about 1/4 inch thickness with your fingers held together. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly browned. Makes about 5 dozen.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Mondays along with lots of other delicious guilt-free recipes. This week, Amy is giving away Le Creuset mini gratin dishes!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Curried Pumpkin-Apple Soup

My husband is an excellent cook...I'm very lucky! Last weekend, he bought two sugar pumpkins because they were on sale. He excitedly told me that he planned to roast them and make soup out of them. The weekend came and went and all he was able to get to was the roasting part...the poor guys works full time, is in grad school, and is doing all the construction on our home, so I wasn't upset that I had all this pumpkin and no idea what to do with it. Time to get creative!

After reading about how to prepare fresh pumpkin, I came up with a game plan: make a pumpkin soup and add flavors that *hopefully* go well with it. The end result was a fabulous, comforting soup that we both couldn't get enough of! Good thing, because I made a double batch and still had left over pumpkin, so I made Amy's Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe...yum! (If you use fresh pumpkin for this, strain it over two nights).

Oh yeah - at the New England Celiac Conference this past Saturday, pumpkin made a short list of "super foods" that the two nutritionists talked about being sure to add to your diet if you are gluten free. Nice! Pumpkins dishes are also the theme for this month's Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free recipe round up which will be hosted by Heather at Life, Gluten Free. Not sure yet if this will be my entry...
  • 4 T butter (or oil)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 C pumpkin (canned would work, too)
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T honey (or 2 t agave)
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1 T curry powder (make sure it is gluten free!)
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 1/2 C milk (any kind that you can tolerate)
  1. Heat the butter or oil in your soup pot or dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin, apple, salt, honey, nutmeg, and pepper and stir.
  4. Add the chicken broth 1 C at a time and stir well in between additions.
  5. Use an immersion or stick blender to make the soup real creamy and smooth.
  6. Add milk and stir to incorporate.