Archive for gluten-free

Gluten-Free Biscotti Recipe

What special treats does your family enjoy for your Christmas breakfast? I’m looking for ideas. I tried a recipe for gingerbread pancakes that was okay, but there are a few things I’ll be changing the next time I try it. Once it’s just right, it will be on here for you to enjoy.

In the meantime, still looking. Last night I baked this lovely biscotti to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. The recipe calls for chocolate and dried cranberries, but it occurs to me that you can add whatever you like to the basic dough. I went with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. It would also be beautiful for the holidays with white chocolate, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries.

Here’s what you need:

½ cup agave nectar or honey
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups almond flour (also called almond meal)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup chocolate chips or chunks
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

And, here’s what you do:

  1. In a large bowl combine agave, eggs and vanilla and blend with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together almond flour, salt and baking soda
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined then fold in chocolate, cranberries and chopped pecans
  4. Transfer dough to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and form a log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide
  5. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes
  7. Transfer log to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch slices on the diagonal
  8. Place the biscotti on the parchment lined baking sheet
  9. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, turn slices over and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Remove from oven, let cool until crunchy about 20 minutes and serve

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Source:  http://www.elanaspantry.com/cranberry-chocolate-biscotti/

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This Maple-Glazed Salmon recipe could make you love fish!

I like most kinds of seafood, and especially salmon. This recipe is super easy and quick to make. With a scoop of brown rice or quinoa and some nice steamed veggies, it makes a great gluten-free meal that everyone can enjoy – even those who do not usually care for fish!

Here’s what you need: 

1/4 cup maple syrup, preferably the real stuff
2 tablespoons soy sauce – I used San-J’s gluten-free
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt – I skipped this, since the soy sauce is fairly salty already
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon

and here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork (thicker pieces of salmon take a little longer).

maple salmon

Source:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/maple-salmon/

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Simple and Great: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Don’t you just crave a cookie sometimes, even if you are eating gluten-free?  Me too. I made this recipe to take to a dinner party with a few friends recently, and it is pretty awesome! There are only four ingredients for the classic cookie, and only 5 if you sprinkle coarse salt on top. It’s hard to tell these from “real” peanut-butter cookies.

Click here for the gluten-free peanut-butter cookie recipe!

Get the kids into the kitchen too. These are super-simple to make, and they taste like home. Enjoy!

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‘Tis the Season For Soup

Most of the US has been cold for the last week or so, with the exception of Florida. My friend Jan pointed that out in a Facebook post. If you happen to be reading this from the back deck of your house in Florida and you’re enjoying a sunny day, you are still welcome here – we love you anyway – but this particular post is intended for those of us who are freezing our assets off lately.

When it’s cold outside, the last thing in the world I feel like eating is a salad. Salads are good, salads can be really healthy, but this is the time of year for something hot. Soup warms a body from the belly out. A former co-worker of mine used to make soup in the microwave of our breakroom with leftovers she’d brought from home. It always smelled delicious, and I never quite figured out how she did it. A little hot water, soy sauce, leftover chunks of meat, rice, vegetables, and a big dose of magic, I think.

Around our house, the big guy makes the soup.  I asked him for the recipe so I could share it with you.  He said, just put it all in the pot. It really is about that simple! You can easily customize it to your taste, and to use what you already have in the house.

Here’s the basic recipe.  The vegetables can be cut up to whatever size you like in your soup, they don’t need to be in teeny little pieces unless that is your family’s preference:

1 leek, chopped – or you can use a medium mild onion, or a couple of shallots
about 3 ribs of celery, chopped
a handful of baby carrots, chopped – or one full-size carrot
2 or 3 potatoes, chopped – we use the little red potatoes
1 can (15-ounce size) beans, drained and rinsed – white beans, Great Northerns, black beans, whatever you like
1 cup or more of diced ham or Canadian bacon – this is optional

Put all the goodies into a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add chicken broth and water, roughly half and half, to cover the vegetables, plus a little. Salt and pepper to your taste. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender.

I love that this soup can be customized so every bowl you serve is different. Chunk up some leftover chicken or turkey and add it to one bowlful of soup for a little extra protein. We also like to add slices of leftover sausage, like Aidells chicken sausages. Sprinkle on some shredded cheese – we’ve used Cheddar, jack, and Parmesan and they are all good.

So, that’s it – put it all in the pot and within an hour you have a hot, filling, nourishing, and belly-warming soup. Bon appétit!

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Bacon vs. Veggies: A Surprising New View?

lettuce in garden

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor. We talked about how I’m doing and checked some vitals and some tests to see how I’m really doing. It turns out that the tests agree with me – I’m doing just fine, thank you.

We had a short chat about cholesterol that stunned me. I asked whether it needed to be checked, since it’s been a couple of years. (At last check, it was nice and normal.) He said he was not too concerned about my cholesterol. Apparently it’s all about inflammation these days. He mentioned that my chart says I eat gluten-free. This is true, I do – because when I don’t, my sinuses go haywire and I catch every bug within 100 miles. Well, he said, it turns out that grains can create inflammation in the body for those of us who are sensitive to them, so avoiding them is key for me. Inflammation triggers my sinus issues, and makes my immune system less effective.

So, I made some smart-ass remark about eating bacon. He did not miss a beat. He said that many doctors don’t even scold people about eating bacon any more because what they really want to stress is that we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables. A little bacon apparently won’t hurt you as long as you are eating lots of veggies too. Fruits and vegetables help to control inflammation.

This boggled my mind. I have long thought of bacon as the poster-child of bad food choices. Even though I like it, I very rarely eat it any more. The perspective that he shared was that what we need to eat MORE of may be even more important for good health than the things we need to eat LESS of. Very interesting idea. I’m not planning to run right out and buy a pound of bacon, but it makes me even more aware of how important it is to eat plenty of produce every day.

I should add that my GP happens to be a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) – because I run and work out, and DO’s have more training in sports-medicine and nutrition than most MD’s. They also are trained to think more holistically, and to focus on prevention rather than just cures, which I appreciate. (Click here for a short article that describes the difference between a DO and an MD.)

Here are links to a couple of articles about inflammation for anyone inclined to read more:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021115742.htm

http://nutrition.about.com/od/dietsformedicaldisorders/a/antiinflamfood.htm

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Considering a Change to Gluten-Free

I often meet people who are in the process of removing gluten from their diets. Others are thinking that it might be helpful for them, but they are struggling to figure out how to do it. I was chatting with a lady a couple of days ago who told me that there were several people in her extended family with celiac disease – and that she herself often felt bloated and sluggish when she ate certain foods. I suggested it might be worth it to just try to avoid gluten for a couple of weeks to see how she felt. She shrugged, said something like “Yeah, maybe . . .” and changed the subject.

Her lack of enthusiasm is understandable. Changing the way you eat is not easy. Gluten is in a lot of different products, including some you would never guess. Reading labels becomes an absolute necessity, and in many cases an exercise in frustration. Going out to eat becomes a challenge as well. Asking a teenager at a fast-food place what they have that is gluten-free does not usually work out well. Family restaurants are getting better – many have a menu that advises about safe choices for various food allergies, including safe gluten-free choices.

So, if it’s hard and you’re not sure whether it will help, why bother? After three or four days without gluten, I was already sold on making the change. That’s how much of a difference it made for me. It still wasn’t easy, and I still occasionally ate something that I knew had gluten. Every time I slipped up, I felt lousy again. Those incidents were just stepping stones for me, concrete reminders of my reasons to make this change.

I no longer have “hay fever”, sinus infections, and I haven’t had a bout of bronchitis since making the change. I can go outside and breathe without Sudafed, what a wonderful thing! Others have different symptoms: stomach issues, depression, and migraines. (Shari Lieberman’s book, The Gluten Connection, lays out many of the chronic diseases that seem to be linked to gluten.)

The simplest way for me to get the gluten out was to keep everything as simple as possible. I mean, an apple only contains apple and there is no gluten there. A grilled chicken breast is safe – it only contains chicken, plus maybe salt, pepper, garlic, or rosemary. Gluten-free pasta is easy to find, and most of it is so good that you can even feed it to the rest of the family without them noticing a difference. Add jarred marinara sauce and a little Parmesan cheese, that is a simple meal – or a side dish to enjoy with your grilled chicken. Steam some broccoli, scramble some eggs and serve with a slice of ham. Like I said, I went very simple!

The hardest meal for me was breakfast. A friend of mine suggested that I try Shakeology, from the same company that produces P90X, Insanity, and many other well-known workout DVD’s. I tried it, and loved it – it is still my go-to, every-day breakfast. Besides being gluten-free, it packs in a ton of good nutrition! Click here for a short, entertaining video that gives a sense of what all is in this awesome shake.

There are some simple recipes on this blog, and all of them are GF. See the Food caption along the top of the page, then choose Recipes. Choose the Gluten-Free selection for more information and help. Post your questions and comments to keep the conversation going too!

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Day 28 – Happy Thanksgiving! Are You Planning For Leftovers?

I was thinking today was the perfect time to post an easy, delicious, gluten-free recipe to use some of the tasty leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner. Alas, the recipe ideas that sounded easy were either loaded with iffy ingredients like 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, or relied on gluten-free items like GF stuffing or bread. The ones that were more health-conscious were also more complicated.

You are already spending hours in the kitchen preparing a feast as if royalty were coming. The last thing you want to look forward to doing tomorrow is more cooking!  Or maybe that’s just me. The day after Thanksgiving should be restful. Or a shopping day in a noisy, mobbed mall somewhere if that is your tradition. My personal preference includes parking myself on the couch with a knitting project or a good book.

My favorite way to use up leftovers is to pull the goodies out of the refrigerator, serve what sounds yummy onto a plate, and microwave the plateful of food until it’s nice and hot. Some turkey, sweet potatoes (or mashed potatoes and gravy), a scoopful of those roasted Brussels sprouts, for example. Add a salad and some leftover pumpkin custard and – voila! It’s déjà vu all over again, and as good as you remembered. Keep it simple.

Too simple, or you just don’t like to eat the same thing two days in a row? On any other day, I would agree. I also like variety in my diet. Thanksgiving is one time I make an exception, since it is such an exceptional meal. But, there are other ways.

You already know about turkey sandwiches and turkey quesadillas (use corn tortillas to keep them GF). The sweet potatoes can be peeled, mashed, and used in place of pumpkin for a second batch of “pumpkin” custard. I don’t know about you, but at my house the custard will be gone before Friday happens, so this idea has merit for me too. The Brussels sprouts will keep for three or four days, so come back to them on Saturday or Sunday. Enjoy the leftover fruit salad with your breakfast eggs, or the green salad tucked in with the turkey between two slices of GF bread for lunch.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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