Featured

Gluten Free Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

shrimp stir fry
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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:

Doritos
Other Chips (some Lays)
Campbells Soups
Frozen Dinners
Seasoning Blends (Not Mine :-)!)
Cold Cuts
Gravies
Ranch Dressing (Most Restaurants)
Salty Snacks
Johnsonville Sausages
And MANY MORE!
Other possible ways MSG may be listed:
Hydrolyzed Protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Glutamic Acid
Yeast Extract

 

****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.

Ingredients:
Sauce:
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
Shrimp: 
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
chicken and broccoli stir fry
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Directions:
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.
7. Enjoy!

 

chicken stir fry
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Featured

Gluten Free, Stuffed Green Bell Peppers and Green Tomatoes

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%
Iron              4%

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!

Ingredients:

Ground Beef:
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80% lean)
3 tbsp. Sofrito
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (optional)
Rice:
1 cube Massel Vegetable Bullion
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Sage
3/4 cup Long Grain Rice (Rinsed)
1 1/4 cup Water
6 Green Bell Peppers 
And/Or
6 Green Tomatoes
Gluten free Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
3 Large Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 Yellow Onion
Equipment:
9×13 Baking Dish, Aluminum Foil, 16 qt Steam Pot (optional)
Directions:
1. Marinate meat with Sofrito and #1 Seasoning Blend.
1. Cut tops off Tomatoes and/or Peppers. Remove insides, seeds, “guts.”
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2. Fill steamer pot with steamer attachment and 2 inches of water (or boil in large pot.) On Low/Simmer, Steam Peppers (only) for 30-40 mins until pliable.
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3. Add Seasonings and Water to Rice Cooker and stir in Rice (or cook in pot, add 2 tbsp Olive oil to pot with rice, cook 2 mins, then add water, cover, cook 20-25 mins.)
4. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 350°. Chop Onion and Mince Garlic. Simmer in pan until opaque and slightly browned, then add in Meat.
5. Brown Meat, then drain grease, taste, season further if necessary.
6. Remove Peppers from Steam Pot (CAUTION, will be EXTREMELY hot!) And drain upside down to remove excess water.
7. Stir in Cooked Rice, Browned Meat, 2 tbsp Gluten Free Worcestershire (optional,) and spoon into Tomatoes and/or Green Bell Peppers.
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8. Place in 9×13 baking pan filled 1/2 inch with water (to steam during baking.) If you are only making a few, as seen in the photo, use a ramekin filled 1/2 way with water to hold them in position.
9. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes, then remove foil, and bake for 10 additional minutes.
10. ENJOY!!
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Stuffed Green Tomatoes pictured above with Homemade, Baked, Gluten Free, Macaroni and Cheese
Featured

A Celiac Must-Have for Eating Out

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.

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card Spanish

Celiac Restaurant Card English

Celiac Restaurant Card English

Celiac Restaurant Card English with Table

My card:

The Gluten Free Wife Restaurant Card

The Gluten Free Wife Celiac Card Sample

Directions:

  1. Copy and paste images on a text or word document, or print the photos (or download the word/pdf document I have provided.)
  2. Use the Blank Table for yourself, referencing my table to fill in your “Can’t Eats.”
  3. 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.”
  4. Print card, fold or paste sides together. Laminate or use clear tape to seal. (This card will pass through many hands.)
  5. 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: theglutenfreewife@gmail.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!

Featured

Atlantic Salmon en Papillote

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%
Niacin              30%
B-6                    25%
Vitamin D       49%
Thiamin          10%
***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!
Ingredients:
1-1.5lb FRESH Salmon Filet (skin on)
3 slices Lemon
4 Fresh Basil Leaves (chopped)
1 tbsp Fresh Parsley (chopped)
Salt
Pepper
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 ab20170522_121642out 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!

Directions:
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.
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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.
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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.

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**Serves well with a rice side dish (photo is served with Risotto Florentine) or fresh vegetables**

Featured

Gluten Free Black Bean and Beef Tostada

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!

Black Beans:
Calories: 45
Folate:     5%
Fiber:      12%
Copper:    4%
Protein:    3%
Iron:         2%
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:):
Calories: 45
Folate:     5%
Fiber:      12%
Copper:    4%
Protein:    3%
Iron:         2%
Ground Beef 80/20% (Serving size 2oz for 2 Tostadas:):
Calories: 145
Protein:  20%
Iron:         5%
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Serving size 1/8cup for 2 Tostadas:)
Calories:  50
Protein:    6%
Calcium:  10%
Sliced Hass Avocado (Serving size 1/2 Avocado for 2 Tostadas:)
Calories:    120
Fiber:         27%
Vitamin C:34%
Iron:            6%
Protein:       8%
Potassium:20%
Folate:         5%
Fat Free Sour Cream (Serving size 2 tbsp.)
Calories: 30
Tostada Shells (Serving size 2)
Calories: 150
Protein:    20%
Iron:          4%
Fiber:        8%
Total:
Calories:    540
Folate:       10%
Fiber:         27%
Protein:      57%
Iron:           17%
Potassium: 20%
(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!
Ingredients:
Ground Beef:
3 tbsp Sofrito
1 1/2 lbs 80% Ground Beef
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Sweet Onion
Black Beans:
1 can Black Beans-Drained (I use low sodium)
3cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Cilantro
1/4 cup Parsley
1 tbsp. Seasoning Blend
3 tbsp. Sofrito
1/4 c diced Yellow Onion
1 tsp Chili Powder
Sour Cream:
1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream (I prefer Breakstone)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 cup Cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup Parsley (chopped)
1/4 tsp Paprika
1 Hass Avocado
Lime Juice (Real or Organic)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Cheese of Choice
Sliced Scallions
Tostada Shells (Corn, Gluten Free)
Directions:
  1. Massage Sofrito and Seasoning Blend into Ground Beef. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Saute Onions and Garlic until opaque and fragrant.
  3. Add meat and brown. Drain grease.
  4. Place Black Beans and all their ingredients in food processor or blender (if you do not have either, simply pulverize with meat tenderizer, chop ingredients separately, and add all together.)IMG_20170321_194017_355.jpg
  5. Microwave Black Bean mixture for 2-3 minutes or until hot, stirring halfway through.
  6. Chop Sour Cream Herbs and Mince Garlic. Whisk Paprika, and other herb ingredients with fork into Sour Cream.
  7. Slice Scallions.
  8. Slice Avocados. Squirt with Lime juice, and salt and pepper.
  9. Shred Cheese.
  10. Build Tostada: Shell, Beans, Cheese, Meat, Sour Cream, Avocados, Scallions.
  11. Enjoy!

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Featured

Cinco de Mayo Queso Blanco con Carne

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!

Ingredients:

Beef:

3 tbsp Sofrito
1 1/2 lbs 80% Ground Beef
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Sweet Onion
Queso:
1 Jar On the Border Monterey Jack Queso
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Shredded Cheese of Choice
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Directions:
  1. Massage Sofrito and Seasoning Blend into Ground Beef. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Saute Onions and Garlic until opaque and fragrant.
  3. Add meat and brown. Drain grease.
  4. Meanwhile empty jar into pot and warm.
  5. Add chopped Herbs.
  6. Once brought up to temp, add browned meat and shredded cheese. Heat until melted.
  7. Pour over corn chips, and top with your favorite toppings.
  8. Enjoy!

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Featured

Gluten-Free Ricotta Stuffed Meatloaf

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!

Ingredients:

Meatball Mixture:
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80% lean)
3 tbsp. Sofrito
4 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Parsley
2/3 cup Breadcrumbs (gluten-free Italian, 4C is a good brand)
2/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs
Ketchup (to top before baking- I use Organic)
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (optional)
Ricotta Mixture:
1 (15 oz) tub of Ricotta (Galbani brand is gluten-free and sulfite-free)
¼ c Grated Parmesan
1 tsp Paprika
1/3 c fresh Parsley
1 tsp dried Oregano
2 cloves minced Garlic
1 tbsp milk (I use 2 % Lactaid to reduce Lactose as much as possible)
1 tsp chopped Shallot (optional)
Directions:
1. Mix Ground Beef in Sofrito, Onions, Garlic, Basil and Parsley with hands, until just incorporated. Cover, and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours to marinate.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Add remaining ingredients to ground beef, and mix with hands until incorporated.
4. Flatten out into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle, roughly 7x10inches.
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5. Mix Ricotta ingredients together thoroughly (I use a food processor, add all ingredients, and puree.)
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6. Place Ricotta mixture into center of meat rectangle, using the parchment paper, fold the meat rectangle over the Ricotta mixture, forming a “Log.” Seal the Seams of the “Log.”
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7. Spray the 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place Log SEAM-SIDE DOWN. Cover top with thin layer of Ketchup. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until cooked thoroughly and no pink remains.
8. Let rest 10 minutes. ENJOY!

Gluten-free Plantain, Sofrito Ground Beef, and Andouille Nachos

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:
200 calories
0.4 grams of fat
36% Vitamin A
36% Vitamin C
27% Potassium
24% B6
16% Magnesium
6% Iron
% 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!

Ground Beef Ingredients:
3 tbsp. Sofrito Marinade
2 tbsp. My #1 Seasoning Blend
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef

Plantain Ingredients:
2-4 Large GREEN Plantains (2 feeds 2, 4 feeds 4)
Oil for frying (I use vegetable oil)
Andouille Ingredients:
Andouille Sausage (2 links-not Aidells, I had a reaction twice, even though this brand states gluten-free, I’d be weary.)
1/4 cup Yellow Onion
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
Mayo-Ketchup Ingredients:
1/8 cup Mayonnaise (I use Kraft Light Mayo, no lemon juice concentrate means no sulfite preservative.)
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use Organic)
1/8 tsp Adobo
1 Clove Garlic
Toppings:
2 Scallions/Young Vidalia Onion Stems
1-2 Roma Tomatoes, Seeded
1/2 cup Cilantro chopped
1 1/2 cup Gouda Cheese (or cheese of your choice, Shredded)
1 tbsp Gluten-free/Sulfite-free Sweet Chili Sauce (optional)
Directions:
1. Mix Ground Beef with Sofrito and #1. Seasoning Blend. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
2. Heat oil in skillet. Cut plantains on the bias, in 1/4in thick slices.
3. Fry Plantains, near-fully submerged, until brown “freckles” show, flipping over once. Roughly 6-10 minutes.
Frying plantains
4. Drain on paper towel.
5. Meanwhile, Brown Ground Beef.
6. Dice Andouille, and sauté along with onions and garlic for 6-8 minutes.
7. Chop Cilantro and shred cheese. Mix together.
8. Seed and Dice Tomatoes, Slice Scallions.
9. Mix Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Adobo, Garlic, and Sweet Chili Sauce (optional,) and whisk together.
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**Pictured above is the Mayo-Ketchup with 1/4 the Cilantro and Scallions
10. Plate as follows: Plantains, Ground Beef, Andouille/Onion/Garlic mixture, Cilantro/Cheese, Scallions, and drizzle with Mayo-Ketchup Sauce.
11. ENJOY!
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Featured

Gluten-free/Dairy-free Peanut Butter Truffles

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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!!
Ingredients:
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
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Directions:
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.
4. Melt chocolate 2 ways: Microwave, 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, until fully melted.
Or, Melt on stovetop on double broiler. Boil water in pot, melting chocolate above boiling water in separate bowl until melted.
5. Add Cinnamon and Honey and stir well.
6. Roll balls into chocolate until fully covered, place on parchment paper.
7. ****Decorate as desired (see ideas below.)
8. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 5-7 days.
***Decorate with gluten-free Graham Cracker Crust crumbles, Nuts, Icing, Sprinkles, etc.

Gluten-Free Homemade Pecan Pie

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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!
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Filling Ingredients:

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)

Crust Ingredients:

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

 

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Dough Directions:

  1. 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.)

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  2. 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.

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  3.  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.)

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  4. 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.

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  5. Bake 60-70 minutes (I baked the full 70.) Let rest 10-20 minutes and enjoy!
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****If edges begin to burn, you may cover EDGES ONLY with aluminum foil to prevent overbaking.