My two year gluten free journey


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I cannot believe that I have been writing this blog for two years.  How time flies.  It seems just yesterday that I began this gluten free, dairy free journey.   I have learned a lot about not only living a gluten free lifestyle but also a lot about blogging.  I would like to share my insights with all of you.

ON BLOGGING:

  • Find your own writing style.  You will grow into it as time goes on.  Don’t try to emulate anyone else.  Your true self will shine through in time.
  • It takes time to grow your audience.  Wordpress has a wonderful community of bloggers who will support your efforts.
  • Once you have established your blog, you can grow your audience with Adwords.  I believe it is worth the small investment it takes to reach a wider, worldwide audience.
  • Don’t clog your blog up with ads.  Most people find them annoying.  If I land on a blog that has a lot of flash ads, I tend to leave that site.
  • On that same note, don’t expect to get rich.  Blog because you love it, and want to get your message out there.
  • You can blog about anything you wish.  You can make it public or private.  You don’t need experience, and you can have a free blog.  Don’t let anything stop you from expressing yourself.
  • Take some free WordPress classes.  There are numerous topics, and taking them will help you to learn about how WordPress works, and how you can get more comfortable using it.
  • If you are thinking of moving your blog to wordpress.org, do your homework. Most widgets cost extra.  You might lose subscribers.  You have to do your own website maintenance.  These are just some of the pitfalls.  But you will also maintain complete control of your content and will be able to grow.  It’s an individual decision.
  • I do believe WordPress premium is worth the $99 per year cost, if for no other reason than to be able to chat with experts when you have a problem or question.

Continue reading

In the news: A gluten-free diet can cause heart disease. Or can it?


 

junk science

Is it junk science?  Judge for yourself!

 

 

This post is meant for informational purposes only.  The opinions and views herein are strictly my own. 

Science and the media have done it again; a new study by BMJ is making headlines.  It basically states that eating gluten free diet increases your risk of heart disease, and you should only stop eating gluten if you have celiac disease.

Depending on which website you click on, there are different excerpts of the article. Some show that only those with celiac disease should be gluten free.  This is why you need to read more than one source to get the full picture.  At first, I was really angry to see that those of us with non-celiac gluten intolerance were left out again, until I found the article posted on CBS.com.   But it turns out that the person who did the study did acknowledge that part of the population.

But does a gluten-free diet contribute to heart disease?

Continue reading

Conquering my fear of Hollandaise sauce, with thanks to Gordon Ramsey


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I confess, this is not my picture

Until I sailed on Norwegian Cruise Lines, I had no idea you could make hollandaise sauce with olive oil.  It’s because of the butter that I had to give it up.

Before I went dairy free, I used to meet a friend of mine in a local diner.  I always ordered eggs benedict.  It always made me sick, but I had no idea why at the time.

Hollandaise is an emulsion of eggs and oil, much like mayonnaise.  If you do it right, it results in a thick, creamy and eggy sauce.  If you do it wrong; scrambled eggs.

Hollandaise can be difficult for even the most accomplished chefs.  I wanted to replicate that wonderful, creamy hollandaise I had onboard the ship.  So I did some reading up on it, and found that Gordon Ramsey’s recipe is the most straight forward.   But you can only do so much reading before you actually have to take a deep breath and just do it.  I didn’t follow his recipe exactly, and my sauce curdled.  But I was able to save it.

Continue reading

Shared article-how to improve the quality of the gluten free dining experience


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I’m always happy to see articles and websites that address the concerns of those who live with gluten and dairy intolerance or celiac disease.  I have practically given up dining out due to the sheer exhaustion finding allergen-free meals causes me, and the danger of getting glutened.

Karen Broussard, the founder of Glutenfreetravelsite.com,  has written a great article outlining ways that restaurants can serve those suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease better tasting and safer meals.

Dining out can be a real challenge, especially when you are faced with either bland food or worse, contaminated food due to just plain ignorance on the part of staff.  This doesn’t have to be the case.

You can read her informative article here.

What do you think about dining out with gluten or dairy intolerance?  Please share your experience!

Easy gluten free pumpkin bread


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I’m posting this as part of my experiment with video/pictures in conjunction with making recipes and teaching techniques.

I find myself on the brink whether to continue making YouTube videos.  I really want to share my expertise when it comes to gluten-free cooking and baking.  Not knowing how to convert a recipe or how to make a really good gravy could be the difference between having a great gluten free life or throwing your hands up in exasperation and going back to eating gluten, to the detriment of your health and well-being.

Making videos requires quite the learning curve, not to mention the patience of a saint when trying to get “the angle” with a tabletop tripod.  Although I am getting better at shooting and faster at editing without tearing my hair out.

In the interest of covering all of my bases, I am including both pictures and video in this post for making gluten free pumpkin bread.   On with the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) measure for measure flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar (or sub 1 1/4 cups brown sugar for the sugar and molasses)
  • 4 ounces (1 stick, 112 g) dairy free spread melted (can sub 1/2 cup light olive oil)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons molasses or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

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Whisk together all wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Add to dry ingredients.

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Stir together until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

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Scrape batter into greased loaf pan, spread evenly, and bake for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

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Cool in pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to complete cooling before cutting.

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Here is the YouTube video:

Making gluten free pumpkin bread

 

Review of Enjoy Life Foods Proburst Bites, Soft Baked Minis and Baking Chocolate Snack Packs


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I received free samples of the products I am reviewing here from Enjoy life foods. This in no way influences my honest opinion of their products. 

I have been singing the praises of Enjoy life foods products since I began writing my blog almost two years ago.  Their soft baked cookies were one of the first products I fell in love with when I went gluten free.  When I began baking gluten and dairy free treats, I came to rely on their delicious dairy-free chocolate chips.

I would like to share some information with you regarding Enjoy Life Products:

  • ALL of their products are certified gluten-free and are free from the top 8 most common allergens (wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish).
  • ALL of their products are verified Non-GMO, certified Kosher and Halal, and made with no artificial ingredients.
  • Their Baking Chocolate Snack Packs are single-serve pouches of their Baking Chocolate – perfect as a topping or on-the-go chocolate fix. They are also certified vegan and paleo-friendly.
  • Their ProBurst Bites™ are packed with 6-7g of plant-based protein per serving and are certified vegan.

Today I will be reviewing their Proburst Bites, which are a relatively new product, their Soft Baked Mini Snickerdoodles, and their Baking Chocolate snack packs.

 

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Sunseed Butter Proburst Bites

These bites are relatively new to the Enjoy Life family of products.  I have been wanting to try these.  Most protein bites I have found have either nuts or dairy in them, which precludes me from trying them.  I am so glad the Enjoy Life added these to their lineup. They are tasty indeed.  They have a nice, smooth, nutty taste (from sunflower seed butter) and are not too sweet, with a hint of chocolate.  They would be great for traveling when you need a snack on the road that is gluten and allergen free.

Soft Baked Minis Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorites.  I love Enjoy Life snickerdoodles, and I am glad to see them available in minis.  Again, a great travel snack.  They are just as good as their bigger cousins; soft, sweet and bursting with cinnamon.  Delicious.

Baking Chocolate Snack Packs

What would I do without Enjoy Life dairy free chocolate chips when I make my pumpkin bread and chocolate cake with ganache?  Now I can just eat the chips out of the bag, not that I haven’t done that before!  They make the best chocolate ganache you have ever tasted and will satisfy your chocolate craving.  You will never know these are dairy free!

If you are looking for a chocolate or dessert fix, look no further my friends.   Enjoy life foods products are delicious, free from most allergens, and are reliable.  What more could you possibly ask for?

Gluten free Cornbread sausage stuffing


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I have written before about this stuffing in other posts, but I have not actually done a dedicated post about it.  This recipe is a bit involved, but it is easy.  It just has a lot of steps.  It’s easier if you make the cornbread the day before.

Stuffing, or dressing, depending on where you are from, is an essential part of Thanksgiving.  It is also an essential part of a good old fashioned chicken dinner.

The original stuffing recipe is for a full pan of cornbread.  I usually only use half of the pan, as it is only my hubby and me.  You will have leftover cornbread to snack on.  If you are making this for a crowd, go ahead and use the full pan.  You will need 3 cups of broth if you do.

I have done a how-to video, which you can watch below.

How to make gluten free sausage cornbread stuffing

Here is my version for half of the original recipe:

Cornbread Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free Bisquick
1 cup fine ground cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Instructions for making cornbread

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl

 

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mixing dry ingredients for cornbread

 

Mix together wet ingredients in a large measuring cup

 

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mixing wet ingredients for cornbread

 

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix completely, making sure that all dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

 

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incorporating wet ingredients into the dry ingredients

 

Pour batter into a greased 8×8 baking pan, and bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool, then cut into squares (this will make it easier to cube later)

 

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batter into the pan, ready for baking

 

 

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after baking

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut 5 pieces of cornbread into cubes and put in a single layer on a non-stick foil-lined or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until dried out.  Make sure not to burn it! It’s ok if it’s browned.

 

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toasted cornbread

 

 

Ingredients for stuffing

6 oz ground sausage
one small onion, chopped
one small granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken broth (use 3 cups if making a full pan)
one egg ( you can leave this out)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions for making stuffing

Put your bread cubes in a large mixing bowl

In a large skillet, brown sausage in one tablespoon vegetable oil until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In the same skillet, heat an additional tablespoon of vegetable oil.

 

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sausage, onion and apples after sauteing

 

 

Saute onion until soft.  Add in the apples and saute until apples are soft.  Add spices and pour over bread cubes.  Mix to combine.

Mix together chicken broth and egg, and pour slowly over bread cubes, allowing chicken broth to be absorbed.  This may take a few minutes.  Mix until bread softens and starts to hold together

 

cornbread mixing

mixing the cornbread

 

Turn into a greased casserole dish and dot with dairy free spread.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, stirring once to ensure entire casserole is hot.

 

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ready for the oven

 

Tips:

  • You can use your favorite cornbread recipe in this stuffing, but you don’t want it to be too moist.
  • You can leave out the egg-I forgot it and it turned out just fine.
  • I left out the celery as I don’t care for it.  Celery seed will give the same flavor.
  • I left out the carrot.
  • You can make the cornbread the day before.  You can even toast it the day before. Store in a ziplock bag in your pantry.

Don’t be without your favorite stuffing ever again!