Health · Uncategorized

How to enjoy a Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated by sitting around the family table with your extended family eating a huge, calorie laden dinner. It’s easy to eat until you’re bloated and too full/ tired to function but it’s a huge pain when you’re on a gluten free or any other restricted diet and need to avoid getting sick. You see the sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and stuffing and already know you can’t eat those but what are your alternatives? Are there any other foods to watch out for?

Main Dish

The turkey (or ham) is the default with Thanksgiving. Make sure the seasoning is safe. If they use anything other than normal herbs and spices, it could have hidden gluten and not be safe. The gravy is another big no- unless you make it specifically yourself, you cannot be sure what it’s thickened with and it’s best to avoid.

The best ways to be safe are to make sure your turkey has no skin and no topping but spices. Keep away from gravy, or take some broth before it’s made into gravy and add your own ingredients to thicken it.

Sides

Stay away from stuffing, unless you get a gluten free bread or stuffing mix and make it your own. Stuffing is bread, so it’s obvious that it will not be safe traditionally.

Stick with normal veggies. You can ask about the ingredients in the sweet potato pie and there is a decent chance it’s safe, but is it worth the risk? To know you’re safe, stick with green beans, spinach or any other side that contains no additives. If that sweet potato pie only contains sweet potatoes, brown sugar, marshmallows and a few other items they can easily list (or show you) it’s safe. (Yes, sweet potato pie is my favorite dish)

Stuffing- gluten free version

Stuffing isn’t hard- take your favorite gluten free bread and tear it up, add it to broth (or gluten free gravy) and let it soak, then toss it with the celery, onions and anything else you use and wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it the way you normally bake your stuffing.

They also have gluten free stuffing mixes for people who don’t cook it totally from scratch- located in the gluten free section of the local grocer.

Hot Rolls

Rolls are another obvious issue- they are nothing but flour but there are gluten free options out there, more than other subs. You can find frozen gluten free rolls, normal rolls in the bread aisle and there are countless recipes out there for gluten free rolls, so you have many options. My personal favorite is to take a normal hot roll recipe and convert it- they taste almost the same and are a tried and true recipe.

Deserts

Pumpkin Pie

I think it’s safe to assume, the pumpkin pie is one of most peoples’ favorites. The pumpkin itself is fine- pumpkin, milk (or milk sub), cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/whatever other spices you use, sugar, eggs- all of that is gluten free. You can bake it all in a pan to make a pumpkin pie pudding type of dish or you can head to the local Kroger (it’s the only store around here that sells them) and pick up an extra gluten free frozen pie shell. (Wholly Wholesome makes a really good crust- but pay attention to the label because some of their crusts are whole grain- meaning wheat and they are usually together in the frozen coolers).

Pecan Pie

There are plenty of recipes out there to make gluten free pecan pie and I’m not sure, besides the crust how much needs to be avoided.

Use your other Wholly Wholesome pie shell and find one of the many pecan pie recipes and test it out

 

It may be a bit more time consuming on your end and you may end up offending family members by your “diet choices” but it is very possible to be included in the big family Thanksgiving meal while staying safe and not getting sick.

If this is your first year, it will be more challenging but just remember- your body won’t care if your aunt was offended by you not wolfing down her rolls. Your body won’t care that you had a moment of weakness and took a few bites of that pie or stuffing- your body will mind that you just put an ingredient in it that it cannot tolerate and your comfort is more important than someone’s feelings. If it’s store bought, always look for the gluten free label and if you’re in doubt, keep away.

 

Health · Uncategorized

Beginner’s Guide to Starting Gluten and Dairy Free

It took me a few months to fully adjust to the taste, texture (and price) differences between the gluten free and regular foods but now it comes second nature. I have been doing the gluten free thing for a while now.  I spent (and still spend) tons of times on forums for gluten free living as well as leafing through magazines, books and cook books as well as Pinterest boards and blogs. I did not just start this journey as a way to lose weight (I have lost, but it was a pleasant surprise when I was gearing up to gain). I started after getting the diagnosis of Hashimotos Thyroiditis and having the gluten free diet recommended in both support forums and by professionals. I did a simple four month elimination from June until November then retested gluten. The results were obvious- all my digestive problems cleared up and symptoms I didn’t realize I had went away. Those problems came back for the holidays, so on January 1 of this year, I made the switch to a fully gluten free lifestyle for life.

I was well researched by the time I committed, now it’s second nature but I still have some things I wish I had been prepared for going into it. It’s much more expensive (add in a toddler who has severe lactose intolerance- and put yourself on the lactose free diet as well- then end up having to be on it with her due to your minor intolerance getting worse) and you will end up doubling your food budget if you’re not careful. You don’t need all the replacements, but they are good to use when you’re getting used to eating gluten free.

Here is a small list of some things I consider either either essential or good to have on hand for a snack/meal (I’m a baker with a huge sweet tooth). As I’ve gotten further into getting used to the change, I have been not buying so many processed foods and baking more.

  • Several varieties of gluten free flour. Bob’s Redmill is good.  They have an all purpose flour that goes well with cakes, cookies and nearly anything else and you don’t have to mix. I did find white, brown rice and tapoica works well in a lot of baked (1/3 of each). Walmart’s generic brand gluten free all purpose, in my opinion, tastes like regular flour. I have gotten desserts mixed up using that flour.
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I use the mini chips in chocolate chip cookies and mixed into my vanilla almond milk yogurt
  • Enjoy Life cookies/chocolate candy/etc- when you’re wanting chocolate candy, it’s great. They also go well with gluten free grahm crackers for s’mores.
  • Silk Almond milk vanilla yogurt- it’s a great go-to as a snack or breakfast if you don’t have time to make a proper breakfast. It’s gluten and dairy free
  • Katz makes really good gf/df doughnut holes- for when you’re craving a doughnut
  • Earth Balance makes vegan “butter” their butter spreads are both gluten free and vegan and one version is also soy free.

There are tons of resources online that can give you gluten and dairy free menu items from most restaurants and a lot have special menus now- if you ask. Thanks to gluten and dairy free being fad diets, there are more options than years ago. I personally check things on the Celiac.org support forums if I am questioning them. I’m not a member, but the boards are usually on the first page when you google any food to see if it’s gluten free.

One of the best ways to help adjust is to find good recipe books, magazines, Pinterest boards or other resources and test out recipes. Baking from scratch is the best bet- you can control what subs you use and all the ingredients. If you work a lot, a lot of people found batch cooking on a free day works wonders. You cook a large amount of food and freeze it in single portion sizes- that way you can heat it up like a microwavable meal when you’re rushed for time.

Holidays are the worst, same with family gatherings- it’s best to eat before you go.

 

Gluten Free Flours

!. Almond- Good to use while baking or breadcrumb alternative.

2. Buckwheat- Good to use for breads

3. Sorghum- Normally mixed with other flours or small amounts used due to being a heavier texture.

4. Amaranth-  use it to replace 25% or less of the regular flour in normal recipes but this flour works best mixed with other flours.

5. Arrowroot-  thickener or mixed with almond, coconut or tapioca in baked

6. Brown Rice- thicken sauces or bread foods, is often used to make noodles and combines well with other flours

7. Oat- gives a chewier texture, goes well in baked foods

8. Coconut- breads or baked desserts

9. Tapioca- thickener, mixes well with other flours

10. Cassava- Most similar to white flour, works well replacing all purpose flour

There are many more, but these are some of the easiest to find in most stores. Most grocers now carry a supply of gluten free products. You can get gf pasta almost as cheap as regular at Walmart and Aldi also has gluten free products. Around here for me, I have had more luck finding dairy free products at Kroger than anywhere else. They have Tofutti brand products. Tofutti has dairy free subs for sour cream, cream cheese and many other items.

The common items you’ll need to replace for dairy free

  1. Sour cream
  2. Whipped cream (there is a coconut whipped cream that is so much better tasting than any other whipped cream I have ever tried, it goes beautifully in flavored coffee)
  3. Milk- milks come in lots of varieties now. For baking, I prefer vanilla flavored almond and unflavored almond for anything else. My kids drink chocolate cashew, almond or soy or regular soy.
  4. There are a lot of flavored gf/df coffee creamers out now. Most of the International Delight flavored coffee creamers in stores have both the df and gf label.
  5. Cream
  6. Heavy whipping cream
  7. Evaporated milk
  8. Sweetened condensed milk
  9. Butter

There are great subs for all those items and if you need one and can’t find them, there are recipes for everything on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

These are a few of my favorite things

I’m wanting to step up my diet a bit more.

I have been strict gluten free for a year now, I’m almost fully dairy free but soy is my problem.

I think I’m going to fully take dairy out at home and out of home then work on soy.

Already- those homemade lattes I posted- just as good and cheaper than Starbucks doubleshots

Earth Balance instead of butter

20180702_2230432071125857565148264.jpg

Silk Almond milk for baking and for my kids (and me occasionally)

I use the nonflavored and unsweetened for cooking

Enjoy Life as a snack

 

It’s delicious and dairy, soy and gluten free- full winner

and you have to have salad dressings when you eat as much salad as I do

They aren’t perfect, they do have soy but I’ll phase soy out like I did dairy. I do use replacements for sour cream and cream cheese as well and I’m really liking Daiya cheese on sandwiches.

Other than that, I bake deserts from scratch- that way I can control what is in the cookies and cake and I try to always cook my lunch for work before I go. I’ll possibly do that for my younger daughter when she starts school since she’s restricted.

I’ll be posting more of my favorite gluten/dairy and/or soy free products as well as more recipe conversions and recipes as I make them.

Health · Uncategorized

Homemade Mocha Latte

I love mocha lattes from Starbucks and finally found a recipe for it a while back. It tastes just as good as the ones from there.I was able to make it Gluten/Dairy/Soy free

Fresh brewed coffee

Cocoa Powder

Sweetened Almond milk

Sugar

Brew your coffee then mix a spoon of cocoa powder, 2 spoons of sugar and add milk to your preference.

The alternative I found was to use chocolate almond milk and it works almost as well (not as good, but still good)

If you don’t need it to be dairy free, add some whipped cream on top and toss in a few df/gf/sf Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips on top.

Health · Uncategorized

Home made Pumpkin Spice Latte

I know this is early, but the coffee post made me think of it.

I found a great recipe for gf/df Pumpkin Spice that tasted as good as any you’d get professionally. I played with it and tweeked it til I found a great combo.

Ingredients-

Coffee

1 tsp Pumpkin (canned or pureed)

sprinkle cinnamon, ginger or the pumpkin pie mix

1 tsp sugar

add in as much sweetened almond milk as you want (or instead of cocoa powder and sugar, add sweetened almond milk)

Brew your coffee as normal

Mix the pumpkin, spices, and sugar together

Add the pumpkin mix to the coffee, add in milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

The pureed pumpkin doesn’t always mix in fully with the coffee (sometimes it does) so most of the time, it’ll be a weird texture but it tastes just as good- has a lot less calories and is allergy friendly.

Uncategorized

Day 6- your favorite recipe

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m gluten free and my 2 year old is dairy free. I have managed to find all the replacements we need for both of us and that includes a delicious gf baking flour that makes snacks that taste just like normal.

Gluten and dairy free Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal/chocolate chip) are my absolute favorites.

2 cups gf baking flour (I use Walmart generic- it’s the best I have found.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup regular sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup crisco

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups steel cut gf oatmeal

1 cup gf/df chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat the oven to 350

Mix the 2 cups sugar with the crisco, add in the eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and soda and a sprinkle of salt. Add in the oats and chocolate chips. Make small balls and grease a pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

Gluten and dairy free salmon pasta salad

I made this for dinner and it turned out great.
It’s a gluten and dairy free pasta salad.
I just threw it together, so I didnt measure things.

This will be an unprofessional recipe, but I made this tonight and only measure when it’s important

Gf/df pasta
2 tomatoes
1/2 package of celery
1/3 bunch of green onion
1-2 cups mayo
1 full sized shredded piece of cooked salmon (2 cans of tuna would go well as well)
Cook the salmon and boil the pasta
Shred salmon while cooking
Chop celery, tomato (chunks) and cut green onions and combine in a large bowl
Toss, add in salmon and drained noodles
Mix in mayo and serve

Cant tell you exactly how many servings it made either but it was fast and extremely easy- and my two year old had fun helping me mix.

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

Uncategorized

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (gluten and lactose free)

When I was gluten free years ago, I mixed tapioca, brown and white rice flours and made my own baking flour. I do not know if it would work for all cookie recipes, but these cookies look, feel and taste the exact same as they do with normal flour.

1/2 cup oil (I use EV olive- use whatever baking oil you normally use)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (gf mix or all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder

Mix oil, chocolate and sugar and blend one egg at a time until well mixed
add vanilla
stir in salt, flour and baking powder
chill
drop tsp full of dough into confectioners sugar
shape into balls (roll in sugar)
Bake 2 inches apart on greased sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes

I will post other recipes I find are good or as good as normal that are dairy, gluten or other allergy free.