I celebrated my 73rd birthday Dunday with a gluten free spice cake from a mix by Namasta foods. My grandchildren were flabbergasted when they saw me eating it — they had no clue that this great cake was gluten free. When I sat down to write this post, I was surprised that not only is it gluten free, but it contains now soy, corn, potato, dairy, casein, peanuts or tree nuts, and is Kosher.
My other ‘favorite cake’ for the year was a strawberry angelfood cake (a mix from Kinnickinik) that the family enjoyed at Thanksgiving. Wonderful cake recipes came bakes returned to my gluten free life this year. Click here to read more about it.
Interested in more articles like this? Click on the category GLUTEN FREE RECIPES at the top of the page. To narrow things down further, click on the two arrows after the category title to see the sub-categories.
We’re told to “read every ingredient list” every time we purchase food. To do that effectively, we must know the what all the terms mean or at lead which of the terms are warnings that we should put the item back on the shelf and continue shopping.
An excellent list of ingredients that may-or-may-not-be safe can be found at ‘ Gluten Free Living (dot com)‘. I’ve written articles on many different ingredients. This list will grow!
This is the third and final step in choosing a gluten free restaurant. Note that this post is titled “VISIT the restaurant”. There is still a very real possibility that you will choose to dine elsewhere. In the words of celiac-maven Jax Peters Lowell, “there are worse things in this world than being called ‘fussy’.
You may wish to read or re-read the first two parts of this article. Your first step was to explore your options. The second step was to study the websites of restaurants that looked promising. The final step is to actually visit the restaurant you have chosen. Keep these thoughts in mind during your visit:
♦ Be prepared to leave if necessary. Don’t go with a large group Don’t go with anyone who would be upset by your decision to leave. The decision to leave is hard enough under the best of circumstances.
You can learn a great deal about a restaurant by “reading between the lines” on their website. Ask yourself questions like these:
♦ Is the restaurant certified? The Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP), a service of the Gluten Intolerance Group, certifies restaurants that meet fairly strict requirements. Their logo should be displayed on the site. (Oddly enough, some restaurants go to the effort and then don’t display the GRAP logo. I’m not sure what to think about those restaurants.)
At least three steps are involved in choosing a gluten free restaurant:
Here are links to several low calorie gluten free recipes. The experts seem to agree that people who live gluten free lose weight for the same two reasons that everyone else — we consume fewer calories and/or we burn more calories than we take in take in. We may disagree on whether the gluten free diet helps or hinders our weight control efforts. My personal opinion is that it makes no important difference. If the gluten free diet is helpful to you, then food that is both low-calorie and gluten free will help you in all your endeavors, including weight control.
I’m in the process of giving this site a new face. Unfortunately, anyone who visits the site is looking a my experiments. Stay and look around if you like, or come back tomorrow (Saturday) or the next day to see a more polished product. By the way, you can still submit comments and I hope you do.
On February 5, you will probably be hosting a gluten free Superbowl Party, attending such a party, or watching the game with a few friends. You may be extremely lucky and be in Indianapolis for the big event.
Today I informed the management of Romano’s Macaroni Grill that they have the dubious distinction of the “most complained about” restaurant chain featured on this website. I will continue to list them on this site because they do offer a gluten free menu. Please be aware that my articles contain both positive and negative information. Both are important.
My recent post called “Battling Gluten Free Food Costs” generated three very thoughtful comments. As I always do, I attached the comments to the article that inspired them, but it seems to me that these inputs deserve close attention. I am reproducing the comments here and providing my reactions to them. I will use a green type font to emphasize the fact that they are personal opinions rather than facts.
Our current survey about gluten free flour mixes has generated many fascinating comments. Some of you seem to be concerned about gluten free flour mixes and others are concerned about the more general question of choosing the best baking options available. “Too many options” can be confusing!
Six of your comments are added to the first article on gluten free flour mixes and others are posted below. (Sorry, there are some duplicates.)
I tried my first rugelach during the recent holiday season. About all I knew about it was that it came in a container labeled ‘gluten free’ . I enjoyed it very much. I found out later that rugelach is an important part of Jewish cuisine, particularly during Hannukah, and that it is somewhat like a cinnamon roll, a puff pastry and/or a croissant.
This article that will give you a a better description of rugelach, photographs, and a recipe for gluten free rugalach. Here is a similar article that produces vegan gluten free rugelach. Prepared rugelach is available from Katz Gluten Free (dot com). The site includes a list of stores that make it available.
I recently received this letter from a newcomer to the gluten free diet.:
“…have been on the gluten free diet for only three weeks and am starting to feel much better. My problem is to figure out which products are gluten free and which are not. Products that are labelled “gluten free” [are not a problem] but what about products such as mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc. etc. Are there key words to look for? I find it a very confusing world.”
Today I added the ShopRite and the Wegman’s supermarket chains to our “Gluten Free Supermarket Shopping” power page. I also added an independent supermarket in California and fixed two items on the page that were not working properly.
This is a time for fresh starts. I began this website in 2002 and the gluten free world has changed so much during that time. In 2002, we were desperately looking for scraps of useful information that would nourish us without causing too much discomfort. Now we have a huge variety of products (that very different in quality and price) and a wealth of information, some of it contradictory and confusing. My task is to help you choose the best possible products and services and make the best possible decisions.
“I am very baffled at how everyone complains of the higher cost of gluten free foods. The only gluten free foods that will cost you more money are the pre- packaged processed ones like these flours, cookies, cakes, tv dinners etc.. Most foods are automatically gluten free and thus do not cost us more money than anyone else such as lettuce, tomatoes, meat, potatoes, fruits, veggies etc… So if you are not relying on … pre- packaged foods (mixes and flours etc.) then there is not higher cost.” I recently received this comment from one member of our gluten free community.
Many gluten free flour mixes claim to replace traditional wheat flour in recipes for bread and baked goods. What is our best possible option? This survey will help you decide. The survey lists 18 brands and asks you to state your preferences and to enter comments that will help others make their decision.
My third and final rule for making New Years Resolutions is “Keep track of your progress. Make changes as necessary.” I strongly suggest that you do this on paper. You probably know if you have or have not been totally faithful to your resolution but not — but that is not the entire point! Are you doing better than you did last week? Did you react to your failure by giving up completely or did you get back on track the following day? Are there certain days of the week that are harder than others? Continue Reading
Yesterday we began talking about New Years’ resolutions for people who live gluten free. Yesterday’s rule was
Today we’ll talk about Rule #2: “Focus on the positives”. An example: suppose that you are concerned about the high cost of gluten free food. You have three family members who need to carry a brown bag lunch to school or work each day. If you pack sandwiches every day you’ll spend a small fortune on gluten free bread and your family will end up hating the bread.
New Years resolutions often turn out to be nothing but to-do lists for the first two weeks of the new year. Here are three rules to help you avoid what often turns out to be nothing but a futile gesture, a to-do list for the first few weeks of the new year. Her are three rules that will help you improve the situation. Continue Reading
Here is my family Christmas card. (Sorry, you’ll have to press the ‘read more button to see it clearly”. The fellow in the lower left corner is my son who is the professional computer guru who encouraged me to begin the site in 2002 and is responsible for the technical improvements. My other son is a Baptist minister and a part-time computer guru. I am the gentleman with the receding hairline in the middle of the picture and my wife is in the bottom row. It is a joy and an honor to be celebrating Christmas with them today.
“I’m overwhelmed with the number of options [available to persons looking for a flour mix for making gluten free bread] and since they’re all pretty expensive, I hesitate to try them all.” I got this note in response to the article I posted yesterday promising a survey to determine the best gluten free all-purpose flour mix. We now have 13 contenders for the title of “best gluten free all-purpose flour mix and I am sure we will add to that number before I actually begin the survey.
The ‘taste and feel’ of baked products depends in large measure by the flour(s) used to prepare them. American’s are accustomed to baked foods made from wheat flour. Most recipes are written on the assumption that wheat flour will be used. No single flour mimics the ‘taste and feel’ of wheat flour and recipes may or may not work if any other type of flour is used.
Manufacturers and cookbook authors have attempted to prepare mixtures that will solve (or at least lessen) this problem. People who live gluten free must make an individual decision about which mixtures to use. In January, I plan a survey to determine which mix is most popular.
Of course, this survey is less useful if I omit any brands. Here are the ones I am currently aware of. If there are others, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. (As you have probably noticed, I listed these in alphabetical order.)
Thanks for your help in building this list. To make this even more complicated, many experts have created recipes for cooks who wish to prepare their own by mix by combining several types of flour. I will attempt to rate these recipes in a separate survey. This survey of the commercial products will be complicated enough.
Host your own New Year’s Eve party. Making everything gluten free is the surest way to keep everyone on their gluten free diet. Serve dishes that are delicious by anyone’s standards.
I feel awkward publishing this article during the week before Christmas when all of attention is focused elsewhere, but — let’s face it — well-planned parties are the best parties and it is best to do some thinking ahead of time.
This article suggests that you host your own New Years Eve party so that if will be ‘safe’ for your gluten free friends and a wonderful evening for everyone involve. Here is a collection of appropriate recipes. The article recommends that make things simpler and therefore more relaxed by making everything gluten free. Here is another collection of recipes. The beautiful photos will certainly help you make great choices.
When I began researching this article, I had heard of this celebration but really knew almost nothing about it. I discovered that it is one of the few holidays young enough to have an official web site and that its frequently-asked-questions section contained lots of interesting information.
Today I added new material to our “Gluten Free Pizza Restaurants” power page. We now list nine national pizzeria chains plus at least 55 individually owned restaurants in at least 24 states. Eventually, we will enable everyone in the nation to enjoy a gluten free pizza in a ‘safe restaurant’.
When I was writing this article, my mind wandered back to 2007 when I wrote an article stating that my dream that gluten free pizza would be readily available. A short time before that, I reported to you that it was impossible to find a gluten free pizza in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t find that article. I assume that I deleted it in a moment of despair. Life is getting easier for the people who live gluten free!
Gluten free bakeries are wonderful places and the joy of eating a bakery product still warm from an expert baker’s oven is a pleasure that people who live gluten free can enjoy. We do need to know where to look — most bakeries are small independently owned establishments. Today I added five new names to our “Gluten Free Bakeries” power page.
My goal for December is to add to that page, check all the links and add more so that more people can enjoy a great experience at a gluten free bakery.
“Christmas time is here by golly…disapproval would be folly.” So would wasting any more of your valuable time as Christmas descends upon us. I too used the internet to deal with several issues that I need to resolve before I hang up my stocking. I’d like to share a few of the things I discovered today:
♦ If you need last minute recipes, download this “survival guide” published by the California almond board. (I hate to think that Christmas is something we have to ‘survive’, but I realize that life is not that simple.) The guide contains several well photographed and well described recipes, all containing almonds and being gluten free.
♦ This website also contains a section called “Life on the Go” which talks about using a stash of almonds to keep you going as you ‘shop till you drop’, using almonds as ‘airplane food’ and using them as an emergency meal when necessary.
♦ Are you prepared for a blizzard?” Every home should be , especially when special needs food is a necessity and the weather is unpredictable. My wife and I have been snowed in during two Christmases since we moved to Oregon. Fortunately, our son has access to a four-wheel drive truck and lives at a much lower attitude. We still need to be ready for whatever happens.
♦ Here’s an article about last-minute Christmas gifts that can be made by children with adult assistance. This can help solve two ’emergencies’ — gifts that need to be prepared and children who need something to keep their mind off Santa Claus.
♦ “The ‘gift therapist‘ is a video maker who can help you solve two ‘holiday hassles’. Most of her raw materials come from Good Will or The Dollar Store. The food used in some of her gifts does not have to be home made. Her method is to present her very inexpensive gifts in an exciting way. What a combination — gifts that look great, cost very little, and can be prepared at the last minute! Click here to see her in action again.
Dried fruit is almost certainly OK on the gluten free diet. I found nothing to suggest a problem. Of course, dried food is a food that has been processed at unsafe ingredients may have cross-contaminated the fruit. Fortunately, the dried fruit probably comes in a container with an ingredients list. Read that list, and — as the saying goes — “when in doubt leave it out”.
Here are links to recipes for gluten free fruitcake and gluten free trail mix bars. This writer recommends dried fruit as a “snack to keep in the car“. None of these experts suggest any reason for concern.
Be prepared for a challenge this Christmas, particularly if this is your first gluten free holiday season. You’ll be surrounded by family and friends that you have not seen since prior to your decision to go gluten free. Here are a few ideas that may help:
Feel free to use the term ‘allergy’, even though it is not technically correct. I usually say that I have a reaction to wheat, barley, and rye. That covers the matter without scaring people with the word ‘disease’. Besides, I don’t feel diseased. I just feel a guy who is on a rather strict diet but has absolutely no bad effects if I am faithful to my commitment to it. Even during the Christmas season!!!!
People sometimes ask me about my symptoms. I tell them what it does to my mental processes but seldom mention what it does to my gut and particularly my bowels. Rehearse your answer carefully. You’ll need it.
People will ask me whether they should try the gluten free diet. Answer: that’s a task for a physician or a dietician and in case this is not the time or place to talk about it. I do say that the gluten free diet has made a wonderfully positive difference in my life.
You may need to mention that the gluten free diet is one of the few diets where the goal is total elimination. Most diets have a more modest goal: no one would endeavor to eliminates all calories from their diet — that would be extremely difficult and probably fatal.
Always carry “emergency rations” for use in cases where I can’t get a ‘safe’ meal. I don’t eat when I am too hungry. That is a temptation to relax your standards and eat questionable foods.
Here’s some ideas about how to show hospitality to your gluten free guests this holiday season:
Rising Sun Farms produces gluten free cheese snacks and spreads that taste great and are packaged well enough so that they can be displayed on any gluten free table. I particularly enjoyed their pesto and cream cheese torta and their artichoke cheese torta. There are lots of spreads and dips that would look fantastic on any holiday table. Everything produced by Rising Sun Farms is gluten free and all products come from a 100% gluten free facility. There are sales outlets coast-to-coast. I found mine at Costco.
Christmas mixes in a jar make unique gifts in that they are relatively inexpensive, help gluten free children decide which of their favorite foods are worth sharing with friends, and are a joyful experience for gift makers young and old. Young gift makers can learn more about how to identify a recipe that is gluten free.
There are three basic steps involved
designing the gift jar. Here is a video that should be watched by every adult who will be assisting a child in preparing the gift. Older children would probably get good ideas from it. Try this article on designing the gift jars.
choosing the recipe. Here are recipes of various sorts that the gluten free gift makers may wish to transform into a gift. Think about the recipes to decide which ones are worth passing on to friends (you might have to try them to find out for sure). Bear in mind that all of the recipes are not gluten free. Perhaps the young gift makers will attempt how to modify the recipe to make it ‘safe’. Take advantage of the fact that most of the recipes have been photographed inside a gift jar. These pictures will provide more creative ideas.
Here are two collections of appropriate recipes. Click here or here. Try this recipe for oatmeal, peanut butter, and raisin cookies (be sure to use certified gluten free oats), and these recipes for Christmas cookies.
providing instructions. The recipients need to know what to do with the gift and what it will look like when it is finished. My system for doing this is to provide a two or three word description of the product and web address where detailed directions and a photograph are available.
Cafe Press is a fun place to shop. People who live gluten free, and everyone else for that matter, can see thousands of different artwork and slogans embossed on thousands of different products. Since there are six million plus options available, let me walk you through the steps of how to get started.
→ Use the link in the first paragraph to go the site.
→ Type the words “gluten free” in the search box. (You could type Obama, anti-Obama, religious humor, hemorrhoids, Presbyterians, vegetarians, democrats, southern girls, or almost anything else in the box. Let’s start with a simple and useful term like “gluten free”.
→ Look in the left sidebar and choose the type of gift you are trying to produce. This can make everything from bumper stickers to teddy bears to I-Pad cases to clocks to thermos bottles and beyond. Use your imagination.
→ Have fun.
This not specifically a gluten free website, so you can do much of your Christmas shopping here. The site says “most orders shipped in 24 hours orders or less” so it is not too late. Currently, all T-shirts are on-sale for up to 30% off.
If this is your first gluten free holiday season, I wish you well. You will face challenges! Hopefully these ideas will help you meet them successfully.
🙂 Remember that many of the people at your holiday meal will be hearing about celiac disease and the gluten free diet for the first time. I like to stress that my celiac disease has absolutely no symptoms if I stay on the diet. Most people can “suspend” their diet for one meal. I have no intention of doing so.
🙂 Don’t swallow the myth that there is some magic bullet that will make this Christmas dinner exactly like last year’s dinner with all the gluten removed. The taste and texture of many foods is affected by the ingredients used. Eating gluten free food “takes some getting used to” but it is certainly possible. (FYI, this was not true when I was diagnosed 12 years ago.)
🙂 Emphasize that celiac disease is serious but not that serious. I’m thinking about my youngest granddaughter who has a severe allergy to peanuts. She always carries medication that will keep her alive until we get her to an Emergency Room.
🙂 Don’t surprise your host or hostess. They are already under enough stress.
🙂 Bring a dish to share. Some people will be curious enough to try it. Bring something unique and unusual. Don’t try to imitate gluten-containing food. People will make comparisons. The gluten based food will inevitably ‘win’ because it is what most people are used to. Incidentally, I did not say to bring something for yourself. That just increases the sense of isolation.
🙂 Don’t use the word ‘cross contamination’. It is really offensive to a fastidious host and does not really describe what you are talking about. ‘Cross contact’ is a much more useful term.
🙂 Don’t cheat. You will spoil or at least damage your holiday experience. Your relatives and friends will make assumptions about how to deal with you at the next family gathering. They need to see that Celiac Disease is an issue but not an unsolvable problem.
Everything I have just said is personal opinion based on twelve years experience. You may wish to check out these three articles based on the experiences of others. Click here and/or here and/or here.
Amazon (dot com) offers a tremendous variety of gluten free gift basket. This article shows you 19 baskets that I would love to give or receive. If you want to do some more electronic window shopping before you decide, try The Gluten Free Palace or The Royal Basket Company This firm is currently offering a 15% discount plus free shipping.
This gingerbread house kit which includes all the ‘safe’ gingerbread and all the gluten and allergen free plus allergen free frosting and candies.
A night at a gluten free restaurant is a wonderful present, and it is even better if you are able to pay for your meal with a gift card bearing a picture of your grandchildren. The Outback Steakhouse, The Bonefish Grill, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill (members of the same family of restaurants) offer cards of this sort, I have dropped a hint to my family that I expect a gift certificate in my Christmas stocking.
The Melting Pot is a very special place for a gluten free celebration.
This article could go on forever. Many restaurants offer gift cards.
A kitchen makeover (or partial makeover) is a wonderful Christmas gift and a very practical one in homes that have recently gone gluten free. Here are four articles that may give you ideas:
🙂Seven Helpful Tools for Gluten Free Cooks
🙂 Frugal Gluten Free Cooking Tools that Stretch Your Budget
🙂 Does Your Kitchen Need a Gluten Free Makeover?
🙂 A Blogger’s Kitchen Tour
Reading these articles will generate literally hundreds of ideas for Christmas shopping. Many of them will be available at Amazon (dot com). While you are at that megasite, you might want to do more more Christmas shopping. (The best way to move around the Amazon site is to type the name of the item you are looking for in the search box at the top of the page. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to return here from the Amazon site.)
Gluten Free Angel Food Cake was one of the biggest hits at our annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Even a few of my gluten-wary friends (the relatives who eat gluten free food only to placate me) seemed to be enjoying it. To the best of my memory it is the first angel food cake I’ve had since my diagnosis in 1999, but I loved it.
The cake came from a mix produced by Kinnickinik foods and was nut and dairy free. It was made in a dedicated facility. My only concern was that it required 12 egg whites (which adds to the cost and preparation time) and the mix needed to be sifted before preparation began.
The information and inspiration in these five books will enable people to thrive gluten free. I recommend that you read these five very brief reviews and then make your choices by clicking one of the buttons that follow the article. The color that follows each title will make your choice even easier.
Cookbooks are welcome gifts for people who cook gluten free food. Click on the title of each book to read my thoughts on each book. If you decide to order the book for Amazon (dot com), click on the graphic at the top of the article containing the review.
♦ The Gluten Free Gourmet (sorry, no review available)
Your first question is probably “what’s flammkucken?” It’s a German delicacy, a bit like pizza but made with cheeses, bacon, and many other ingredients but not involving tomato paste. The term flammkuchen translates “made in flames”.
Here are three recipes for flammkuchen. Each recipe includes photos for the benefit of those have not yet had the chance to learn what this food tastes like or look like. Each recipe includes directions for preparing the topping as well as directions for making the crust. Personally, I would ignore the directions for the crust. In my humble opinion, flammkucken is the best way to top a gluten free pizza crust. I use the Kinnickanick brand, but I have a hunch that this is not important either. Experiment! FYI: My family and I lived in Germany for 22 years and I fell in love with flammkucken during that time. My wife and I were overjoyed when our son included it in our Thanksgiving feast.
Saturday November 26 has been declared “small business Saturday”, and many gluten free food related enterprises are small — sometimes very small — businesses.
There are so many of them that listing them would be absolutely impossible but are a few ideas:
most of the places mentioned on our ‘Gluten Free Pizza Restaurants‘ and ‘Gluten Free Bakeries‘ power pages definitely fit in that category. The independently owned stores on our ‘Gluten Free Supermarket Shopping‘ page also qualify.
Many gluten free support groups list area restaurants and stores that are small businesses. Here are listings from the groups from Indianapolis, western New York state, Portland (Oregon), and Denver. These are only examples.
Blogs and websites like this one small businesses. (FYI, this site is a one-man operation) Many of them are supported by advertising. Supporting these advertisers does not change your costs in any way — the firms involved have chosen to pay for advertising on our web sites rather than elsewhere. One word of caution: many of the ads are placed by computers rather than by human beings, so you need to shop defensively even when you are on a gluten free website.
FTI: Since Thursday is a holiday, I will be publishing the weekly newsletter on Friday. Enjoy your holiday!
Recipes for gluten free desserts are available on the internet. You’re only problem will be TMI (Too Much Information). Have a look at these three sets of recipes and you will find a total of 30 choices. (There may be some duplicates.) Click here and/or here and/or here to explore.
I’ve posted at least seven articles about gluten free desserts. You can find them by scrolling down to the bottom of the article and click on the tag (it’s probably red) that says ‘gluten free recipes’. Your computer will create a special page containing excerpts from each of the articles. Click on the excerpt to read the entire article. Topics cover biscotti, cheesecake, baklava, tiramisu, brandy balls, rum balls, fruitcake, and eggnog.
Holiday dinners inevitably have leftovers. Here are a number of ideas that may be useful. After all, we don’t want to waste food, spend any more money on food than we have to, and enjoy relaxed post-holiday meals. Browse through these suggestions. Click here and/or here to find ideas that I added recently.
I have written several articles about handling gluten free holiday leftovers. To browse through them, scroll down to the bottom of this page and find the tag that says “gluten free leftovers”. Your computer will create a special page including excepts from each of the articles that have a similar tag. Click on the excerpt to read the entire article.