As I’m sure all you Gluten Free Eaters know, yummy Gluten Free Asian food is a HARD find! Over the last two years, my cravings have only grown. I’ve even had to take up Sushi Rolling (did you know the vinegar most restaurants/stores use for their “sticky rice” is made with WHEAT?) I couldn’t figure out why every time I ate Chinese food or Sushi, I kept having a reaction! #1. Gluten/Wheat is in the Vinegar/Oyster Sauce/Fish Sauce, and of course we know Soy Sauce! #2. MSG! Not only does it make those non-intolerant and non-Celiacs hungry in an hour or two, but Monosodium Glutamate also causes a reaction in those with an extreme, super sensitive gluten sensitivity. MSG is not just common in Asian food, but in nearly everything we enjoy! It can be found in snack foods, dressings, seasonings, etc. If you find yourself ordering/buying/cooking “Gluten Free” and still getting sick, it may not be a cross-contamination issue. Check your labels and ask your restaurants. A MSG reaction for me, is a much milder gluten reaction, but it may be different for everyone. I have the same digestive issues, inflammatory response, rash, and headache as gluten; however, it only lasts 24 hours as opposed to 3 days. If you are concerned with MSG, you may take one of my restaurant cards with you to prevent this ingredient (and others) from getting into your food. You can download one here, and simply fill in your allergies/foods you cannot eat. Hand it to your server, and they will pass it onto the kitchen. This is in hopes to prevent and educate more chefs on our condition/disease (Intolerants/Celiacs.) You can find these cards in both Spanish and English. I apologize, for getting off topic…back to MSG…
Common products containing MSG include:
Other Chips (some Lays)
Seasoning Blends (Not Mine :-)!)
Ranch Dressing (Most Restaurants)
And MANY MORE!
Other possible ways MSG may be listed:
****Many Fast Food Restaurants use MSG on their Fried Chicken Sandwiches (not that we can eat them,) Hamburgers, and French Fry Seasonings.
Because of how common both gluten and MSG is in all foods, but especially Asian cuisine, I have been working on a recipe as close to the “real thing,” and as delicious as that take out we all use to enjoy (before this infliction presented itself.) So here it is. Feel free to play around with the sauce ratios until your favorite salty to sweet taste is met. Also, always remember to taste as you go! Every brand of Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Sweet Chili, and Ginger Dressing is different, so your measurements may need “tweaking.” Also, you can purchase all the ingredients at Whole Foods (more expensive,) or my favorites, and for the best price, at Sprouts, Kroger, Ingles, and if my overseas readers could please post where they shop for their Asian sauces, I’d be so grateful! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I have.
1 tbsp Ginger Salad Dressing
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 package Noodles (Thai Rice Noodles)
1 Package frozen Broccoli (or fresh)
1-2 Chives or Green Onions
1. Pour all sauce ingredients and simmer on low, stirring frequently. (Taste to be sure you have the taste you’re looking for. Every brand of Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Sweet Chili, and Ginger Dressing is different, so your measurements may need “tweaking.”)
2. Boil water for noodles. When boiling, add noodles, remove from heat and cook 8-9 mins stirring occasionally.
3. Once noodles in, Season each side of Shrimp, and Cook 2-4 mins on each side in skillet. When Shrimp have 1 min left, add 1/4 sauce and stir into skillet/Shrimp.
4. Cook/Microwave Broccoli (I put into bowl with 1 tbsp water, 2 tbsp GF soy sauce, and additional 1/8 tsp ginger.)
5. Optional, after Shrimp, cook egg to desired doneness. If over easy, break membrane (clear liquid around yolk, without breaking yolk.)
6. Place noodles in Wok (or Pot/Skillet,) add remaining sauce, Broccoli, Chives/Green onions. Top with Shrimp and Egg.
I have hereditary Celiac Disease. There are many different genes for Celiac Disease, but the gene I have inherited is called Refractory Celiac Disease. Sadly, this means that diet alone doesn’t control my Disease. I inherited the Celiac gene from my grandmother. She was one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. She was diagnosed in the 70’s, when there weren’t special aisles in grocery stores; she had to special order her gluten free bread; she didn’t have the luxury of FDA rules and regulations we have now protecting us and our bodies. Because of these reasons, along with the type of gene we both share, she ended up suffering from inoperable esophageal cancer, and passed away in June of 1996. I can’t stress enough, the importance of following our diet to reduce reflux, inflammation, and the damage of our autoimmune response (even if you’re suffering from the Refractory gene as I am, it is still of the utmost importance to continue the diet as directed to reduce the damage as much as possible.) Now, how do you know if you have Refractory Celiac Disease vs. the more common Celiac gene? If after 9-12 months of a gluten free diet, with no gluten (0 ppm) intake, your Alkaline Phosphatase levels still haven’t normalized (AP is a liver function test, in which normal levels are 42-98IU for a 20-50yr old woman; however, mine normally sits around 26-30IU at 34 years old.) Another symptom to consider is if your chancre sores haven’t disappeared, even after eliminating Sulfites and Sulfates from your Toothpaste (a common intolerance for Celiacs.) Is your tooth enamel still softening? Do you still suffer from regular headaches/migraines (1-4 per week?) Joint pain? Do you still have rashes on your skin or scalp that won’t go away, even after changing to non-irritant skin and hair care products? If you have COMPLETELY eliminated gluten, no cross-contamination has happened, and no accidents for at least 9-12 months, and still have all or most of these problems plus Vitamin deficiencies and Anemia, you may suffer from Refractory Celiac Disease. Speak with your Rheumatologist, Endocrinologist, or GI specialist (only if GI is a Celiac Specialist.) Many GI physicians do not know enough about Celiac Disease to help with the intolerances that follow, etc. It is always best to find someone who has studied this disease, its complications, and knows its different complications. My old GI in Orlando, bless his soul, was unaware that if you are on a gluten free diet, you’ll get a negative result on your endoscopy. I was gluten free for 5 months when he performed the endoscopy, still ended up with duodenitis, plus all the above symptoms and lab results I listed for Refractory Celiac Disease, and a positive genetics test…2 months later, I had lost 30lbs (from 145 to 115,) couldn’t hold down my food, and thought I was actually dying. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Thank goodness I had a physician at the hospital who looked over everything, and officially gave me my diagnosis. Moral of this story? Never lose hope!
Now, back to my favorite Celiac… My grandmother always made me delicious, well-balanced meals. One of my favorites, her Stuffed Green Peppers! Did you know even Cooked Green Bell Peppers are packed full of nutrients?
1 Bell Pepper Cooked=
Vitamin C: 197%
Vitamin K 18%
Vitamin B6 15%
Also, they are packed full of Amino Acids, a very good source of Fiber, and Antioxidants! Sadly, my mother is holding my grandmother’s cookbook hostage in Arizona, so I had to wing-it last night! But from what I remember it was as close to the real thing as possible. So here is yet another tasty recipe of mine (that is good for you too!) Now the protein that I chose is Ground Beef. It is cheap, and very easy to manipulate flavor into; however, feel free to experiment! You can use Lamb, Italian Sausage, Ground Pork, Ground Turkey (though this is a bland protein, so be sure to over season,) and Soy Crumbles/Tofu, etc. Whichever you choose, please comment below to let us know how it turns out? I always like to hear and learn different variations of my recipes. For instance, the Green Tomatoes were created because my husband DESPISES peppers. Hey, at least he’s a Gluten Free, Celiac supporter…we can’t have everything, right? So I decided to stuff the Tomatoes for him in place of the peppers. I tried them, and they were yummy! I’m partial to the peppers myself, though. I think they add more flavor, but to each his own :-). I hope you found this information helpful, and enjoy my recipe. Have a wonderful week!
As “Celiac Awareness Month” comes to an end, I’ve decided to share with you my way of making others aware of our disease. We all know going out to eat can be a challenge. Whether it be at a restaurant or at a friend’s house, allowing others to cook for us is literally putting our health in their hands. I know when I’ve tried to explain the severity of my disease to my family and friends when they’ve offered to cook for me (this is after I’ve begged to cook for them,) they look at me several ways, #1. Like I’m crazy. I don’t choose this. My brother-in-law is a classically trained chef, and even he isn’t aware that certain products contain wheat. My husband and I went to a demonstration and cookbook signing by a Food Network chef. When I asked if any of his samples were gluten free, and explained I had Celiac Disease, he stated Celiac Disease was really rough (I was thankful he was aware of the disease,) and in front of the entire audience offered to make me something “safe.” I was honored he was making ME something special, but even he had to ask about EVERY ingredient he put in and whether it was “Celiac Safe.” So the answer to #1 is no, I’m not crazy, you may think you know what gluten free and cross contaminated is, but I rather be safe than sorry (when it is my next 72 hours in bed, with a 102 degree fever, nausea, vomiting, intestinal distress, etc.) If you felt the effects of Celiac Disease, you’d be extra protective of your body too! #2. Have you ever been to a restaurant (usually a family owned, or located in a smaller town,) when you communicate your allergy/disease to your server and they A. Pretend to know what it is, yet still bring bread on your plate/croutons on your salad, or B. Tilt their head to the side and a glaze comes over their eyes? I believe I have come up with a method to help limit, not only our cross contamination or gluten risk at restaurants and family and friends’ homes, but also help educate them for those who come after us. I realized I was communicating everything to my server “I have an extreme reaction/allergy to wheat and gluten (such as bread products,) due to an autoimmune disease. Because of this, my food needs to be prepared separately, with clean hands/gloves, surfaces, and utensils.” The question was, though I was communicating this to my server, were they communicating it to the kitchen? But that wasn’t my only concern. I don’t know about you, but every business dinner, work meal I attend with my husband, or first time eating with new friends, I’m almost embarrassed. I feel like I nearly harass our server, forcing them to take multiple trips to the kitchen (delaying our dinner, drinks, etc.) Again, we understand the need for special precautions; however, those we share a meal with aren’t always as understanding. I feel like I spend more time apologizing to servers, friends, and coworkers than I do enjoying my meal. This is why I’ve created the Celiac Card. This card doesn’t guarantee a complete gluten free experience; however, it is meant to reduce the risk of cross contamination by educating your server, chef, friends, etc.
Copy and paste images on a text or word document, or print the photos (or download the word/pdf document I have provided.)
Use the Blank Table for yourself, referencing my table to fill in your “Can’t Eats.”
Insert a Text Box into each table square with each ingredient you cannot have (gluten ingredients are in BOLD.) If you print the photo directly, you may handwrite your “Can’t Eats.”
Print card, fold or paste sides together. Laminate or use clear tape to seal. (This card will pass through many hands.)
At every restaurant, hand it to the server (when they take your drink order,) and ask them to take it to the kitchen and find out which dishes would be safe for you to consume based on your “Can’t Eat” ingredients.
**Disclaimer, not meant to prevent cross contamination and gluten ingestion 100%.
I’m no longer as worried the message isn’t getting to the kitchen, that I’m consuming unlisted (from the menu) hidden ingredients, that the location is uneducated on Celiac Disease vs. the gluten free diet, and that I’m embarrassing the non-family members that I’m dining with.
If you speak (and write) another language, other than Spanish, and would like to translate the paragraph for me to post for others, please email it to me at: email@example.com and I will be sure to post it! I know many of you overseas travel, and it would be helpful to have it in as many languages as possible. I hope this helps all of you as much as it has helped me!
Salmon is my absolute favorite fish! When I was a child, my mother and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington. That’s when I tasted my first Alaskan King Sockeye Salmon, and it was delicious! We all know there are many different types of Salmon, but did you know they also have many different health benefits?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: The human body cannot make this nutrient on its own, so you have to receive them by either the foods you eat, or by taking a supplement. This nutrient promotes healthy joints, skin, reduces the risk of heart disease, and aids in the neurological development in unborn children (so it is essential in a prenatal diet.) “The American Heart Association recommends adults have 2 servings of Omega 3 per week to maintain optimal health benefits.” Omega 3 also improves heart function and reduces the risk of deadly heart arrhythmias.
Protein: As I’ve discussed in previous recipes, Celiacs tend to have some form of Anemia, and therefore require a high protein diet. Salmon contains up to 58% of the daily intake of protein in just one 4oz serving! It also contains amino acids that promote growth and helps maintain muscle mass. It helps maintain metabolism and promote weight loss, and if you eat it three or more times per week, it will help you feel fuller longer. Who knew Salmon could be an excellent weight loss tool, and aid in prevention of weight gain as well?
Vitamins: (in one 3oz baked filet %DV)
Vitamin B-12 40%
Vitamin D 49%
***A huge thank you to www.livestrong.com for all of the above extremely helpful information, as I was researching the health benefits of Salmon!***
Now, there are many ways to cook Salmon: baked, broiled, seared, or grilled. Today, we will baking our Salmon en Papillote (French word for “in Parchment.”) Simply put, a method of cooking, in which the food is put into a folded pouch of parcel and then baked. This method holds in moisture to steam the Salmon. It insures it is SUPER moist (which when cooking fish, drying it out and overcooking is a common occurrence.) If you’re serving this dish at a dinner party, to a client, etc., open at tableside so they may enjoy the aroma as it pours from the pouch…it truly is magical! You can also use this method on Vegetables, Lamb, Poultry, and other types of fish. So grab your Parchment Paper, and let’s get to baking, and enjoy the tasty life with the Gluten Free Wife!
1-1.5lb FRESH Salmon Filet (skin on)
3 slices Lemon
4 Fresh Basil Leaves (chopped)
1 tbsp Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1/4 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 tsp dried Sage
1/8 tsp dried Oregano
1 tbsp Butter (I use Earth Balance)
Egg wash all around the parchment paper
2 tbsp Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing (I use Garlic Expressions)
A little about Garlic Expressions…This Dressing/Marinade is WONDERFUL!!! I use it on my Kale Salads, as a Marinade, to baste for Garlic Bread, etc. It is 100% gluten free, preservative free, dairy free, and DELICIOUS!!! You can find it at Kroger in the produce section (near the minced garlic shelf,) and if you do not have Kroger, not to worry, you can purchase directly from their website at: www.garlic-expressions.com. Coming from an Italian family, this dressing reminds me of my Grandmother’s! As soon as I tried it, it took me back to my childhood. Finally a delicious marinade/dressing that a Sulfite-intolerant, Celiac can enjoy. Give it a try, and I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!
1. Preheat to 400°. Cover Baking Sheet with Aluminum Foil.
2. Place Salmon Skin side down over Parchment Paper, pat dry, season both sides with Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano.
3. Place sliced Lemon on top, sprinkle with chopped Basil and Parsley.
4. Top Lemon with pads of Butter (sliced butter.) If Dairy/Lactose Free, use Earth Balance or Lactose-Free “Butter.”
5. Pour Garlic Expressions over fish.
6. Brush Egg Wash (1 Egg whisked) along edges of parchment paper.
7. Fold parchment paper in half over fish (skin side down) and push to seal all edges.
8. Seal by:
Fold corner near inside seam in toward fish.
Then next to corner, fold toward first corner.
Then fold bottom towards fish.
Continue folding each corner into fish all along sealed edges.
Tuck last corner under (while other folds were folded on top.) *See photo above
9. Cook 10 minutes for medium rare, 15 minutes for a more medium doneness.
**Serves well with a rice side dish (photo is served with Risotto Florentine) or fresh vegetables**
Black Beans offer many beneficial nutrients. They are a great source of cholesterol-lowering Fiber, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Protein. They are also a good source of Zinc and Folate, which are two very common deficiencies found in Celiac Disease (see my blog post Benificial Breakfast Banana for more information on this subject.) Here is a breakdown of the nutritional value of Black Beans and the rest of the ingredients found in this recipe. Whether you are dieting, intolerant, or Gluten-free by necessity, there is no need to cut out all tasty foods from your diet. You can still enjoy them in moderation!
Fiber and Protein are extremely important in our diet. They help regulate the passage of food through our digestive tract and steady the flow of digestion. This can help regulate blood sugar and overall digestive tract health. So let’s breakdown the other ingredients:
Black Beans (Serving size 1/5 cup for 2 Tostadas:):
Ground Beef 80/20% (Serving size 2oz for 2 Tostadas:):
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Serving size 1/8cup for 2 Tostadas:)
Sliced Hass Avocado (Serving size 1/2 Avocado for 2 Tostadas:)
Fat Free Sour Cream (Serving size 2 tbsp.)
Tostada Shells (Serving size 2)
(Among other Vitamin and Nutrients listed above.)
So, not only does this dish look, and taste delicious, but it is only about 540 calories for 2 stacked Tostadas! I can only eat 1, so 220 calories fills me up. Moral of the story? Gluten Free Mexican can be HEALTHY, DELICIOUS, and REWARDING! If you’re dieting, there is no need to cut out all of the tasty ingredients out of your diet. Keep the delicious foods in your life, just know what you’re putting into your body, and always in moderation. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Cinco de Mayo, or the 5th of May, is a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. It is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico; however, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican heritage. In the Battle of Puebla, Benito Juarez, the elected president of Mexico, gathered 2,000 men and sent them to Puebla to face off against 6,000 French troops (led by General Charles Latrille de Lorencez.) Though greatly outnumbered, the Mexican troops, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, prepared for a battle that began at daybreak. This battle lasted the day and into the early evening. Eventually the French retreated, after losing nearly 500 soldiers, although the Mexican troops lost less than 100. Though not classified as a major win, this battle on May 5th represented a great symbolic victory for Benito Juarez and the Mexican Government. With support from its Northern neighbor, the United States (after the Civil War,) France finally withdrew in 1867.
In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mainly observed in Puebla. Their traditions include military parades, battle recreations, and other festivities; however, it is not celebrated as a federal holiday. Here in the United States, it is interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Many celebrate through parades, music, traditional foods, dancing, festivals in U.S. cities (such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston,) and many local bars run specials on their Mexican beers and cuisine (try and find a bar NOT running a Corona special on May 5th!)
As a Celiac, we commonly cannot eat Queso, due to it containing a “Rue” (a flour mixture used to thicken liquids,) that restaurants use in their dips, soups, and sauces. It took me some time, but I have found a tasty, Gluten-free, Sulfite-free, and MSG-free pre-prepared product from On the Border. With my recipe, you can no longer taste the processed flavor commonly found in pre-prepared dips and sauces. It tastes just like homemade, in half the time! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I have. We use to have it every Friday. We called it our Dip, Date Day <3. Enjoy your Dip Days and Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Meatloaf is a staple in nearly every American household, but did you know it has European origins? It was mentioned in as early as the 5th century in the famous Roman cookery collection Apicus. Made of minced meat, it is a traditional German, Scandinavian, and Belgian dish, and a cousin to the Dutch meatball. It can be made with ground beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry, or seafood. But did you know that American meatloaf was originally Gluten-free? Its origins came from a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since as far back as the Colonial times. You can get as creative as you want with it! Some cultures add vegetables, wrap it in ham or bacon, many stuff their meatloaf with hardboiled eggs, and sometimes they stuff them with cheeses (which is what we’ll be doing today.) Meatloaf can commonly go two ways: Delicious, or Dry. I prefer the first, of course, so I make my meatloaf like the Dutch: as a giant Meatball (except Italian-style!) So grab your Parchment Paper, 9x13in Baking Dish, and let’s stuff us a DELICIOUS Meatloaf!
There are many foods we “intolerants,” those suffering from food allergies, autoimmune diseases, etc., have to give up enjoying: certain donuts, chocolates, cupcakes, candies, and the list goes on. I want to find and create as many of these recipes, and to ensure they taste as delicious (if not better) as “the real thing.” We need to stop missing out on the tasty things in life! I remember after my diagnosis, It had been two years since I had enjoyed a donut. The first time I made my Gluten-free Beignets (this recipe will post at a later date)…I cried…crocodile tears! I thought my husband was going to laugh himself silly. He couldn’t understand why I was crying- well let’s take his PlayStation away for 2 years, and watch those crocodile tears fly off his face! I know some of you can understand my passion for the food that I have missed these past few years. That is one of my goals with this blog. I want to bring my love of good, real, and delicious gluten-free food, that is FULL of taste into your homes and hearts, so you don’t have to suffer the crocodile tears and laughter at your expense. You do not have to have a longing for what is forbidden any longer.
One of the recipes that I am sharing with you today is for a creamy, salty, and surprisingly not overly sweet Peanut Butter Truffle. It is 100% Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, MSG-free, sulfite/sulfate-free, and DELICIOUS! So grab your stand mixer, baking sheet, measuring cup, and parchment paper. Let’s roll some Truffles!!
5 tbsp Dairy-Free Butter (I use Earth Balance)
2 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup Honey Roasted Smooth Peanut Butter (I use Skippy or Peter Pan)
1/2 tsp Vanilla (Pure Vanilla, I use Madagascar Bourbon)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
Dairy-Free Chocolate Covering
1 cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life or any Gluten-free/Soy Based Chocolate)
1 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1. Mix Peanut Butter and Powdered Sugar in mixing bowl on low speed until blended well.
2. Add Vanilla, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Blend on low speed until fully blended.
3. Roll into 1/4-1/2 inch balls. Cover, and set in refrigerator to cool for 30 mins.
My husband is what I call a “Celiac Supporter.” Our house is 100% gluten-free. Due to my intense cross-contamination complications, we even ask our guests to leave their gluten at the door. The good news is, that our appliances were brand new when we moved in, so they have only had 100% gluten-free foods in them. This being said, when my husband gets the chance to eat out of the house, gluten is ALWAYS on his mind! So much so in fact, he has jokingly had a full conversation with a basket of bread at Longhorn (which has a FANTASTIC gluten-free menu, by the way.)
My husband works in Audio/Visual equipment rentals. His offices rent nationally for conferences, concerts, events, etc. At times they need to leave the office to drop off equipment, set up a show, etc. and will grab lunch out of the office. Being the amazingly supportive husband he is, he always does two things: #1. Checks for a gluten-free menu, or gluten-free options; and #2. He sends me a picture of whatever delicious, glutenous concoction he’s ordered. Sometimes it sounds and looks so delicious that all I want to do is try it. Well, as those of you with Autoimmune Diseases, Intolerances, or Food Allergies know, we can’t always have what we want without paying for it dearly. That’s where my fun begins! First, I ask: What was in it? I study his photos intently. I read the description on the restaurant’s menu. Then, I begin to write my recipe, making it gluten-free, sulfite-free, MSG-free, and as little Lactose as possible. Next is my favorite part: The taste test. Of course, as a Celiac with multiple intolerances, I’m happy just eating anything. The REAL test begins when my husband tries it. If someone without dietary restrictions can’t taste a difference, and still thinks it is just as good (if not better,) then you know you have a hit!
This is how it all started with this next dish, the Creole Cajun Au Gratin. His description was “Potatoes, Andouille, Spicy, and Cheesy.” Not too much for me to go off of. So there I was in the supermarket, Smartphone in hand, looking at his picture, and going off his memory of a dish from 2 months ago, trying to create my own gluten-free recipe. I am so glad I did! It is absolutely DELICIOUS! It is hearty, spicy, and cheesy. We both loved it (and he agreed it was just as good as the non gluten-free version.) Now my husband doesn’t like a lot of heat, so this is a very MILD version. If you like heat, feel free to add Cajun Seasoning to each component (instead of just the potatoes.) I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
If you have any other dish you have been dying to try, that is not inherently gluten-free, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to take a look at it. All I need is the name of the dish, the restaurant it is located, a photo (if available,) and I will be happy to give it a try for you (be sure to include your intolerances in your email.)
Here it is…The amazingly spicy, cheesy, and absolutely yummy GLUTEN-FREE, SULFITE-FREE, and MSG-FREE Creole Cajun Au Gratin!
Equipment: Baking Sheet, Aluminum Foil, 1 Gallon Ziploc Bag, Skillet, Medium Sauce Pot
1 Package Gluten-free Andouille Sausage, sliced on the bias/angle or coins (***I used Aidells Brand, and both times had a reaction-though labeled gluten-free!)
1/2 cup Yellow Onion Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Green Bell Pepper Sliced
1 6oz Package Gluten-free Canadian Bacon (I use Jones Brand)
3 Medium-Large Russet/Idaho Potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp. Cajun Seasoning (McCormick is what I used with no reaction- a lot of seasonings contain wheat/cross-contamination)
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Gallon Ziploc Bag
My Cheese Sauce (also used for a delicious gluten-free “Alfredo”):
1/4 cup Chives
1 cup Fresh Italian Parsley (if you can’t find flat leaf, curly will suffice.)
4 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 8oz pig Softened Cream Cheese (I use Greek Yogurt/Cream Cheese Blend)
1 stick Butter or Margarine
1/2-1 cup Milk (to thin sauce to desired consistency)
1 c Freshly Shredded White Cheese of Choice (I use 3/4 cup Gruyere and 1/4 cup Gouda)
1/2 tsp Annatto Seasoning (for coloring) ***leave out if using as an Alfredo
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Scrub Potatoes. Slice Vertically, down the center, then cut into cubes. Put into Ziploc.
3. Stir Cajun Seasoning and Olive Oil together. Pour into Ziploc, seal bag, Shake until every potato is coated evenly.
***If more Olive Oil/Seasoning is needed to coat all Potatoes, repeat step 3.
4. Cover Baking Sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place Potatoes in single layer on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping potatoes over every 10 minutes.
1. Melt Butter on Medium-Low Heat.
2. Add #1 Seasoning Blend/Cajun Seasoning (if adding extra heat,) Chopped Chives, Chopped Parsley, and Minced Garlic.
3. Add Cream Cheese in cubes, stir consistently until melted, and incorporated into butter.
4. Shred Cheeses. Stir into Sauce. It will be really thick and Cheesy. Add Milk to thin it out. Keep adding Milk 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, slowly, stirring vigorously, until desired consistency is reached. Reduce Heat to Low.
5. Add 1/2 of the cooked Canadian Bacon. Cook 5-8 minutes until all Cheese is melted and Sauce is at desired consistency. Stir frequently.
1. Place Peppers and Onions in Skillet over Medium Heat.
2. You will cook until Onions opaque and Peppers softened, stirring frequently to be sure they won’t burn. Cook 5 minutes.
3. Add Garlic, Chopped Canadian Bacon, and Andouille Sausage. Cook additional 5 minutes.
4. Flip Sausage. Cook last 5 minutes. (If the Onions, Peppers, and Garlic begin over cooking/burning, remove them while you finish cooking the Sausage.)
1. Toss the Potatoes with the Peppers, Onions, Remaining Canadian Bacon, Garlic, and Andouille Sausage.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many nationalities these days, not just by the Irish. In talking with my husband, he told me it is not a holiday celebrated by Puerto Ricans (however, they do celebrate Cinco de Mayo- a Mexican Holiday.) So when he moved to the states, he began adopting a few of our traditions…and who wouldn’t want an excuse to drink green beer (other than a Celiac, of course?!) A little about the Patron Saint Patrick: Did you know he was British? He was taken captive to Ireland, converted to Christianity, where he eventually became an ordained priest. He is also the person to impose a sun onto the Christian cross, to create what we all know now as the Celtic cross. However, it is only a myth that he eradicated all snakes from Ireland. He is believed to have died on March 17th, 460 AD, which is where we get our St. Patrick’s Day!
So where did we get our St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Symbolizing the rebirth of spring, the Shamrock: Near the 17th Century, British rule had begun to seize Irish land and outlaw their Irish language and Catholicism. Irish Nationals began to wear the Shamrock as a symbol of national pride and to rebel against the English rule. Corned Beef and Cabbage: Though Cabbage has long been a staple in Irish food (and as we learned in Scrumptious Slaw, is also INCREDIBLY healthy for us,) Corned Beef only began since the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living in the lower east side of New York substituted Corned Beef for Irish Bacon in the diet to save money. They learned this substitution from their Jewish neighbors. Green: why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Actually, Green wasn’t the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know it was blue? There is actually a color called St. Patrick’s Day Blue. Green came from the Shamrock, the Emerald Isle, and in 1798 they had the United Irish Uprising and wore Green uniforms. Only here in the United States, did we adopt green as the color of St. Patrick’s Day.
Now, back to my husband…I decided last year (after not being able to go out and partake in the drinking of the green beer,) that a new tradition must begin, and I started making Stuffed Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. I told my husband we’d start our own tradition. He, of course, had never had Stuffed Cabbage, so I was excited to introduce him to a new favorite of mine. This meal is easy to prepare, reheat, and the best part: it is GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, AND MSG-FREE!! So grab your cabbage, throw on something green, and enjoy the tasty life with the gluten-free wife!
1. Marinate Beef in 3 tbsp. Sofrito,1 tbsp. #1 Seasoning Blend, 2 tbsp. Minced Garlic, and 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
2. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
3.Chop 2/3c Onions, sauté until opaque in color.
4. Add 1/3c Onions in medium sauce pan with jar of sauce, 1 tbsp. Garlic, 3 tbsp. Sofrito, and Italian Seasoning Paste. Bring to Boil, reduce to simmer, stirring frequently.
5. Boil a large “Pasta Pot” of water. Remove the core of the Cabbage, and submerge head first into pot for roughly 2 minutes. Remove leaves with tongs, one at a time (you’ll need 14-20 leaves.) Cut out the “rib” of the leave from the base of the Cabbage leaf with a knife, and set aside.
6. Combine the 1 1/2lb Ground Beef, 1/2c uncooked White Rice, 2 Eggs, 1/2c Breadcrumbs, remaining 1/3c cooked Onions. Mix with hands (like making meatloaf.) Then add 1c Sauce, mixing thoroughly.
7. Place 1c Sauce on bottom of 9×13 pan. Place 1/3-1/2c filling in an egg shape near where you cut the rib off of the cabbage. Roll up toward the outer edge, tucking in the sides as you roll (think like a burrito/egg roll.) Place each roll, seam side down onto the sauce. (if you run out of space, pour 1c sauce over previous rolls, and place next rolls into the seams on top of the previous rolls.)
8. Finish by pouring sauce on top of last row of rolls.
9. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked, and rice is tender.
10. Have a Safe and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Enjoy!
I love to cook, but most of all, I love to create. Most of my recipes have come from my head and heart. Sometimes I will try something I see online, television, from a friend, or something passed down from family, but I always put my own spin on it. This is one of those recipes…My husband isn’t a huge fan of sweets, and I really wanted to make him something special this past weekend to show my appreciation and love for all the support he provides (so I got creative.) Food Imposter: Food that isn’t exactly what it seems. Ex: Meatloaf Cupcake/Ice Cream Taco. Food Network posts on their blog, “These fake-out foods may look more difficult to make than they really are; broken down into steps, they become a fun and easy project to make on the weekend.” Now this isn’t your normal “Boring” Meatloaf. I have adapted my grandmother’s recipe (my family came Straight Outta Sicily, also whom I’ve inherited the Celiac gene,) to make it “Italian Style.” Like one giant Meatball! It stays moist, seasoned to perfection, and absolutely scrumptious! One of my favorite memories growing up, was watching her cook Sunday family dinners. She’d cook the Meatballs, and Sauce for HOURS! When she passed away, my Mother received her cookbook, and passed the recipe down to me. Now I am passing it onto you, with just a few alterations. Below, you will find my ingredients and step-by-step instructions, for this fun, tasty, and attractive dish! They can be made for potlucks, dinner parties, appetizers, and family mealtimes. Best part is that they can be eaten with your hands, and they reheat without drying out!
Equipment: Food Processor/Blender, 18ct Cupcake Pan, Piping Bag fitted with Large Circular tip
1 ½ lbs Ground Beef
¼ tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
½ tsp Ground Thyme
½ tsp Ground Mustard
¼ tsp White Pepper
½ tsp Salt
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Finely Chopped Shallot
4 tbsp Sofrito (see Sofrito Recipe in “Marinades”)
Measure out and mix all dry ingredients, listed above, together in large bowl, add Ground Beef, Sofrito, Minced Garlic, Chopped Shallot, and combine. Massage well with hands until all seasonings are incorporated into meat, thoroughly.
Cover, and put into refrigerator for at least an hour, no more than 4 to marinate.
Remove Meat mixture from refrigerator, and preheat oven to 350°. Add the following to blender/food processor:
2 leaves Fresh Basil
2/3 cup Fresh Parsley (I use Curly leaf)
6 leaves Fresh Oregano
½ cup freshly (shredded) Parmesan Cheese
Blend well, then add to meat mixture, and again Massage well with hands until all seasonings are incorporated into meat, thoroughly.
Spray 18 muffin tins with non-stick spray, and pack meat into muffin tins until ¾ full. (If making a traditional meatloaf, using a bread pan, form meat mixture into a log shape, and top with ½ cup Ketchup.)
Bake for 35 minutes for Muffins, 45-60 minutes for loaf.
Remove from oven and set on paper towels to drain grease.
LOADED MASHED POTATOES
*Organic Instant Mashed Potatoes (If you use Organic, this insures Sulfite-free!)
*Organic Chicken Broth (substitute this for the water, I prefer Imagine brand, GF, and SF.)
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
½ tsp Onion Powder
¼ tsp Celery Salt
¼ tsp White Pepper
3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
Follow directions on bag/box of mashed potatoes for the first four ingredients, substituting the chicken broth for the water. This will add amazing flavor and color to your “icing,” adding a yellow hue to it.
Add the minced Garlic to the broth as you bring it to a boil, then add the rest of the seasonings and Parmesan after the potato mixture has thickened. Whip with fork thoroughly.
Putting them together:
Place potato mixture in piping bag fit with a large round tip. Pipe in a circular motion, beginning around the outside, and spiraling inward, into a peak in the center (looking like soft-serve ice cream.)
Pipe all “Cupcakes.”
Gather your favorite toppings, bacon bits, shredded cheese, chives, etc. (the more colorful, the better!)
Top each “Cupcake” with your “Sprinkles,” and enjoy.
Remember, if you try out this recipe, please leave a comment below with how it turned out, and if there were any alterations you made. As always, if there are any questions you may have regarding this recipe or others, please email me at: email@example.com.
Plantains are a close relative to bananas. Studies show they help boost the immune system, regulate digestion, and are rich in Potassium (among other vitamins and nutrients.) All three of these facts are extremely important in the diet of someone with an autoimmune disorder, especially one effecting the digestive system and vitamin absorption. So what is the nutritional value of plantains?
1 cup of cooked plantains equals:
0.4 grams of fat
36% Vitamin A
36% Vitamin C
% in Daily Value
As you can see, they make for a great vitamin-enriched, low-fat side dish. Now, if you’re not familiar with Plantains, unlike bananas, they must be cooked to be enjoyable. Preparing them to cook, may be the most difficult task, which is why I leave this task to my husband! As I’ve stated before, he is originally from Puerto Rico, and Plantains are a staple in their diet, as well in many other Latin and African cultures. The best way to clean and prepare your Plantains varies, based on which dish you are preparing. If you’re preparing a savory option, as this recipe calls for, slice a vertical cut down your dark green (you do not want any yellow) Plantain, then cut off each end. While running them under warm-hot water, peel off the rind. Now, if your recipe calls for “Sweet” Plantains, you’ll want to pick plantains that are solid yellow and black, with no green whatsoever. For sweet plantains, simply peel as you would a banana. There are many ways to eat Plantains: Tostones, Sweet Plantains, Mofongo (I’ll be posting my Mofongo Burger recipe next week,) or my new recipe: Plantain Nachos!
Did you know there is a National Pecan Pie Day on July 12th? Well, after you try this recipe, you’ll want every day to be Gluten-free Pecan Pie Day! Living in Georgia, we’re known for our Peaches, but did you know we’re also known for our Pecans too? I’ve come to learn a lot about Pecans lately. For instance, Pecans came on the scene around 1500. We get the name from the Algonquins meaning: A nut that requires a stone to crack. Now, I know that Pecan Pie isn’t “Healthy” by any means, but we can stretch the truth a little and tell ourselves a slice every now and then is okay. For instance, did you know that the healthy fats in Pecans are powerful in the production of antioxidants, reduction of inflammation, lowering of cholesterol, and taste great in nearly any dish? You can add them in Salads, Granola, Oatmeal, Side Dishes (such as Brussel Sprouts and Macaroni and Cheese,) or my favorite…Pecan Pie!
For those of us with Celiac Disease, of their more specific functions, Pecans aid in our health. They are a significant source of Manganese, Copper, Thiamine, and Zinc, but also offer Phosphorus, Iron, Vitamin B6, and Potassium. Now let’s break down each of these (so we can validate having more than a slice every now and then!) The role of Manganese is to prevent bone loss (Osteoporosis,) Anemia, as well as help treat the symptoms of PMS. Now how can this help someone with Celiac Disease, well we have a higher risk for Osteoporosis, due to our lack of absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D in the Small Intestines. Celiac Patients also have a higher risk of Anemia, and if you’re a woman surviving with Celiac Disease, then it’s possible you also can have symptoms of PMS as well! Now, onto Copper. This nutrient helps in building stronger bones (Osteoporosis) and aids in wound healing (which as Celiacs, we tend to have poor circulation- due to low blood pressure related to anemia and low body temperature.) Thiamine, also called Vitamin B1, can be found in your B complex vitamin (if that happens to be the vitamin supplement suggested by your physician.) I know that my physician suggests a B complex vitamin, since most patients with Celiac Disease have a multiple B Vitamin deficiency. Thiamine, though it is not proven, is suggested to help treat Canker Sores (common with Celiac Disease,) Colitis, Diarrhea, Stress, Kidney Disease, Painful Menstruation, Memory Disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and poor appetite. The last nutrient we will discuss specifically will be Zinc. Zinc aids in muscle cramps, Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, and boosts the immune system (which is greatly important for those of us with an already compromised immune system.) So back to what I was saying about stretching the truth about Pecan Pie being “Healthy?” Here are the facts:
1 Slice of MY Pie:
63 % Daily Value Manganese
17 % Daily Value Copper
12 % Daily Value B1/Thiamine
8 % Daily Value Zinc
8 % Daily Value Phosphorus
4 % Daily Value Iron
3 % Daily Value B6/Pyridoxine
3 % Daily Value Potassium
So why not grab the ingredients pictured below, and get to baking! Let us all enjoy living “healthy” a little more every now and then!
1 cup Karo Dark Syrup
3 Large Eggs
1 cup Sugar
2 tbsp. Margarine Melted
1 tsp Vanilla (I use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
6 oz Pecans (I use Fisher brand)
3/4 cup White Rice Flour
1/2 cup Cornstarch (plus 1 1/2 cup for dusting surface to not stick)
1/3 cup Tapioca Flour (1/3 cup; 42g)
1/4 cup Almond Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 sticks Dairy/Lactose Free “Butter,” cold
1/2 cup cold water
Whisk White Rice Flour, cornstarch, Tapioca Flour, Almond Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Xanthan Gum together in a medium bowl. Cut “butter” into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with flour mixture to break up the pieces (until completely coated.) With your fingertips, smash each cube of “butter” into a thin sheet-like structure. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball (like pictured above.)
If you have a silicone baking mat, USE IT! It is definitely a lifesaver! Now, dust the work surface with an intense amount of cornstarch, roughly a 10×15-inch rectangle, sprinkling more cornstarch above and below to prevent sticking. Roll out your dough-ball into a 10×15 rectangle, then Fold the 10-inch sides to the center, then close the newly formed packet like a book. Fold in half once more, bringing the short sides together to create a thick block (see photo below.) The dough will crack along the creases, but that’s just fine. Divide in half with a sharp knife or bench scraper (you only need 1 of your 2 “books” per pie.) If dough is very soft or if you are working in a hot kitchen, refrigerate for 15 minutes before continuing. I wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 15 minutes due to a southern climate. ****If you have a hard time getting it off the work surface, dust a spatula with cornstarch and work it slowly between the dough and mat.
Remove from refrigerator for and lay 1 “dough book” on parchment paper. Roll into 10 inch circle (depending on size of pie pan.) This is where the silicone mat comes in handy with its measurements. **See photo above. If you overshoot your rolling pin, you may cut your dough to fit your pan. Once it is smooth, and fits the size you need, simply pick up the parchment paper, and slide the dough into the pie pan! Then cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 hours or overnight (See below.) Any extra dough can be removed at this time. Simply cut around the edges, once you’ve placed your pie crust. Do not worry about excess cornstarch at this time (you won’t taste it! (If you’re only making one pie, you may refrigerate the other unused portion for 24 hours.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling: Wisk Eggs, Sugar, Syrup, Melted Margarine, and Vanilla together until fully mixed together. Then stir in Pecans. Pour into unbaked Pie Crust. Using a fork, press down sides of crust, giving “lattice” effect pictured above.
Bake 60-70 minutes (I baked the full 70.) Let rest 10-20 minutes and enjoy!
****If edges begin to burn, you may cover EDGES ONLY with aluminum foil to prevent overbaking.