Gluten Free Taco Shells

October 16, 2013

Recipe for Easy Homemade Tacos



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SERVES: 1-4

TIME: 30 minutes


Ingredients


  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound organic ground hamburger or ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons GF Worchester Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder  (use less for more mild Tacos)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and sugar
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • GF taco shells
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or smoked cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Pepper Jack cheese
  • Shredded Romaine lettuce, 2 hearts
  • 2 sliced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion as a topping
  • GF sour cream
  • GF salsa


Preparation


1.  In a medium skillet preheated over medium high heat, add oil, meat and Worchester Sauce.  Brown meat 2 or 3 minutes, then add onions. Cook onions and meat together for another 3 to 5 minutes, until meat is brown.

 

2.  Add the seasoning (chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and sugar) and 3/4cup water. Stir and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Adjust seasoning per your taste.  

 

3.  Warm GF tacos shells in the microwave. Spoon in the meat and garnish with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, chopped onion, sour cream and/or salsa.

 

Printable Version

 

Looking for Gluten Free Taco Shells?

 

  • Mission soft shell Corn Tortillas.  I love these soft shell corn tortillas.  They work great as a wrap for lunch. Labeled GF and according to the website:

Mission Foods Corn products are produced with 100% corn flour; wheat ingredients are not added to the formulation. These products include Corn Tortillas, Corn Tortilla Chips, Taco Shells, Tostadas, Corn Gorditas, and Sopes. These products are produced in plants that also process wheat tortillas.

Are wheat flour tortillas produced in the same lines as corn products?

No, our corn production lines are dedicated to corn products only. Wheat Flour tortillas are produced in dedicated lines.

Is wheat used in any way to make the corn products?

There are no wheat ingredients or incidental wheat present in the products or on the lines that produce corn products.

Is there a potential for cross-contamination of corn products with wheat ingredients?

All Mission Foods plants have strict food safety programs in place, including a very comprehensive Allergen Control Program.

 

  • Guerrero Tostados are also labeled GF and a fun alternative to regular corn tortillas.    According to their website:

Guerrero corn products are produced with 100% corn flour, wheat ingredients are not added to the formulation.  These products include corn tortillas and tostadas. These products are produced in plants that also process wheat tortillas.

Guerrero Tostados is owned by the same parent company as Mission Tortilla, not to mention Maseca Corn Flour, and their website includes the same information as the Mission Site. 

 

We appreciate your concern.  The shells are not produced in a gluten-free facility.

Cross contamination is not a problem. It would be most unlikely any gluten product would be able to contaminate any other product. The manufacturer makes every attempt to prevent any type of contamination by washing and sanitizing all lines at the end of the fill cycle for each product. We have inspectors who constantly monitor our lines to avoid any type of product contamination.

 

 

For a special treat, serve them with homemade Guacamole!

 

 

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This summer, Chex introduced its seventh Gluten Free Cereal – Vanilla.  The new Chex vanilla flavor contains 10 grams of whole grain rice and is fortified with additional vitamins and minerals and has 8 grams of sugar per serving.

 

Vanilla Chex joins the gluten free flavors Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex and Apple Cinnamon Chex. 

 

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General Mills “follows the FDA guidelines for a product being gluten free. We do clean the lines and we do test regularly."  If the cereal is not clearly labeled GF, then you should not consider it as such, as they state "if there are no gluten- containing ingredients listed in the product ingredient label, but the product does not make a gluten free claim, it is because we cannot fully assure that this product is gluten free. While we have not added gluten-containing ingredients, factors such as sourcing, conditions of manufacture, etc. do not allow us to provide the full level of assurance that a gluten free claim requires."

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My 10-year-old son is the cereal boy in our family.   

 

What can I say; he loves the Chex’s cereals.   Chocolate is his favorite but he gobbled up the Vanilla Chex almost before I got a taste!

 

 

 

 

Looking for some other breakfast ideas?
 

You can find information on the following on our Gluten Free Products Breakfast Items page

 

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Gluten Free Halloween

October 10, 2013

It's no wonder that going GF can be hard for some people because food is such a huge part of family traditions.  It is when we gather around the table or the kitchen counter that we make memories.  For our family, the roasted pumpkin seeds that we make while carving our pumpkins are just as important as the Jack-O-Lanterns that we end up with.  Already my kids have reminded me that it is time to make Pumpkin Bars.  These traditions are what make families strong.  They are what your kids will remember and pass down when they have their own families.  So don’t feel like you need to give up your traditions just because of your GF diet. 

 

Here are some fun and easy Halloween Traditions

 

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Chocolate Spiders 

 

These Halloween-themed treats are as fun to eat as they are to make.  

And, Mom, it is not a huge effort to make them! 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

Preparation


Have a dozen GF cupcakes frosted and ready to go.  For quick and easy cupcakes, use a Gluten Free cake mix to make the cupcakes and frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

To Make the Spiders:

  1. Prepare a cookie sheet with waxed paper. 
  2. In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate chips and milk.  Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth.  
  3. Reserve about one-third of the chocolate mixture for the spider legs. 
  4. Stir the GF cereal into the remaining chocolate.
  5. Form the spider bodies by dropping oval teaspoons of the chocolate and cereal mixture onto the waxed paper.  Sprinkle with orange colored sanding sugar (optional).  Let cool.
  6. Place a spider body on top of each frosted cup cake. 
  7. Warm up the remaining chocolate mixture in the microwave.  Break the pretzel sticks to form curved legs and stir in the chocolate to coat.  Attach the pretzels as legs. 
  8. Sprinkle with orange sanding sugar (optional).

 

Printable Version

 


 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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It would not be pumpkin carving night without some roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on. 

So easy to make and such a great treat. 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter or olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional additional seasonings: garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and chili powder

 

Preparation

 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. Remove seeds from the pumpkin and rinse.
  3. Toss the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or olive oil, add optional seasonings and spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F until golden brown - about 40 minutes.

 

Printable Version

 


 

Pumpkin Muffins

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A fall treat that is perfect for breakfast or for a class party. 

These muffins are a hearty breakfast-like muffin. 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 ¾ cup Gluten Free Flour
  • ¼ cup GF coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if included in GF Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground ginger 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (use Earth Balance for dairy free)
  • 1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk  (use almond, soy or coconut milk for dairy free)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts or raisins (optional)

 

Preparation

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  2. Generously grease 24 mini-muffin cups or 12 regular sized muffin tins.  
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the Gluten Free Flour, Coconut Flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt until it becomes one uniform consistency. 
  4. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer cream the butter until white. 
  5. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  8. Stir in the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk.
  9. Add optional chopped nuts or raisins.
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Give the muffin tin a good tap or two on the counter to settle the mix. 
  11. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 -18 minutes.
  12. Let cool and drizzle with Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Printable Version

 


 

Pumpkin Bars

 

The easiest of all of the treats to make and my kids' favorite.  When we need a quick and easy go to treat in the fall this is the one.  Just buy a box of 123 Gluten Free Sweet Goodness Pan Bars and follow the directions for adding pumpkin.  The result is a batch of really delicious, moist pumpkin bars.  For an extra treat you can top them with frosting.

 


 

Halloween Night

 

Finally, the night that is all about the candy.  There is an abundance of Gluten Free Candy and it is really easy to find out what is Gluten Free and what is not.  In years past, I have spent hours tracking down what candy is safe.  Now our friends at Gluten Free Facts do all of the work for us.  

 

Gluten Free Halloween Candy List  2013

 

We have a very ideal neighborhood that we trick or treat in every year.  The neighborhood sets on top of a big hill that has a perfect mile or so loop.  The houses are all on expansive lawns so the kids have to run to make the loop before the night ends.

 

The scene in this neighborhood reminds me of the scenes on TV of Halloween night – there are hundreds of kids running door to door.  It is a tradition for us to start with our next-door neighbors, but we seem to pick up more neighborhood friends along the way, so that by the end of the night we are in a huge pack of parents and kids.  One family in the neighborhood even puts their RV in the front drive as a pit stop for parents to “refuel.”  And this neighborhood has a few key houses that give out huge pieces of candy – not the bite size pieces but rather full sized Hershey bars.

 

Handling the non-Gluten Free candy is pretty easy in our family – it is our tradition to dump all of the candy out on the floor, we print off the list from Gluten Free Facts of safe candy, and then the trading begins.  The trading is almost as much fun as the Trick or Treating.  The kids that can have gluten, trade their GF candy with my kids and vice versa.  There is so much good GF candy that my kids have never felt deprived.  Any non-GF candy that is leftover goes to Dad to take to work the next day. 

 

The problem is that even after all of that trading my kids still have gigantic stacks of candy.  I am okay with splurging on Halloween night, but bottom line is that I don’t want my kids to eat all of this candy.  Usually I leave the candy in the kitchen pantry for a week at most, but then it disappears.  Last year when this happened I got “why did I work so hard to get all of that candy if you won’t let me have it?”  I have even tried offering money or toys in exchange but bottom line is my kids want the candy!

 

What a problem to have!  Too much Gluten Free Candy!  How does your family handle it? 

 

Find the products to make all of these Halloween Treats at

 

Gluten Free Mom's Amazon Store.

 

 

 


Review of Brazi Bites

October 07, 2013

Brazi Bites come to you as a local story with a touch of international flair (I consider Portland close enough to be local).  Junea and her husband Cameron formed Brazi Bites after she moved to Portland from Brazil.  Longing for a touch of home, Junea started playing around with her mother’s recipe for cheese bread.  It took a couple years of experimenting, trying countless cheeses, hoping to re-create “the perfect cheese bread.”  Then one day in the spring of 2010 they succeeded when the most delicious and perfectly shaped cheese bread came out of the oven – it was so good they devoured the whole tray within minutes.  And so Brazi Bites was born! 

 

So what are they?  Ready made little balls of gluten free goodness! 

 

 

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Ready Made:  They go straight from the bag - to the cookie sheet - to the oven - and are ready in 20 minutes.

 

Little Balls:  They are about half the size of a standard roll.  Perfect for popping in your mouth.

 

Gluten Free Goodness:  Naturally gluten-free and made in a dedicated GF facility.

 

Brazi Bites come in three different flavors: Original, Fire-Roasted Jalapeño, and All-Natural Bacon. 

 

My family loves them.  The first time we ate them with Chicken Tortilla Soup while we were watching the Seattle Seahawks!  Another time we used them to soak up some pasta sauce

 

I think these ready made little balls of gluten free goodness have the perfect holiday accompaniment written all over them.  Looking ahead, I am picturing them on the spread of appetizers at our annual New Year’s Eve party, or alongside our breakfast casserole on Christmas morning. 

 

Where to Buy

 

You can find Brazi Bites in the freezer section of grocery stores throughout the West Coast.  Check HERE to see if they are in your state yet. 

 

You can also order them online

 

Your chance to sample Brazi Bites!

 

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I am excited to share the opportunity to sample Brazi Bites with you!

One person will win a package that includes one of each flavor of the Brazi Bites Cheese Bread including one Fire Roasted Jalapenos, one Original and one Bacon flavored.   

This giveaway is open to:

  • Residents in the contiguous United States.
  • The giveaway begins now and ends on Monday, Oct 14th at 12:00 pm Pacific Time.
  • One winner. 

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  Rafflecopter will randomly choose the winners.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Brazi Bites for providing us with samples to try and for the product for the giveaway. 

 


Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

October 04, 2013

Alex will be leaving for college next year.  I am a little sentimental because this is the last year that we will have all three kids in the house.  I am not sure where all of the time has gone, as it seems like not that long ago we were going to pumpkin patches and now we are filing out college applications and taking ACT test.

The food we eat is a huge part of our traditions, including these pumpkin muffins. Maybe I will just UPS a box of them to her at college next year.   

 

Recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins
 

These muffins are more like a hearty breakfast bread than a cake-like dessert muffin.

 

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YIELDS: 24 mini-muffins


Ingredients

 

  • 1 ¾  cup Gluten Free Flour
  • ¼ cup GF coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (use Earth Balance for dairy free)
  • 1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk  (use almond, soy or coconut milk for dairy free)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts or raisins (optional)

 

Preparation

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease 24 mini-muffin cups or 12 regular sized muffin tins.  I prefer making min-muffins.  Perfect bite-sized muffins that are also great for sharing.  I use Baker's Secret 116424001 Basics Nonstick 24-Cup Mini Muffin Pan.


In a large bowl, whisk together the Gluten Free Flour, Coconut Flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt until it becomes one uniform consistency.

 

If you do not have coconut flour, you can replace it with more Gluten Free Flour.  I like the coconut flour because it increases the fiber content of the muffins, which makes the kids feel fuller after eating them.  It makes the muffins seem more like hearty breakfast bread than a cake-like dessert muffin. 

 

 

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In a separate bowl using an electric mixer cream the butter until white. 


Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.


Add the eggs, one at a time.


Stir in the pumpkin puree.

 

 

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Stir in the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk.

 

 

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Add optional chopped nuts or raisins.

 


Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Give the muffin tin a good tap or two on the counter to settle the mix. 

 

 

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 -18 minutes.


Let cool and drizzle with Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Printable Version

 

Wouldn't these be perfect for a Halloween Treat?

 

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I will be trying this recipe this weekend!

And don’t forget to enter the drawing for Gift Certificates to Chef Howie’s signature restaurants.  This wonderful dish is currently being served at both Seastar locations. 

 

Chef Howie's recipe for Zucchini Linguine



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SERVES: 4

TIME: 1 hour

by:  Chef John Howie, Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar


Ingredients

 

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
  • 3 Tablespoons shallots – fresh, minced very fine
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic – shaved slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Chili Flakes
  • 2 cups Roma Tomato -  diced to ½” 
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Pink Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon + 3 Tablespoons GF Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup Artichoke Hearts – sliced into ¼” wedges
  • 1/2 cup Calamata Olives – pitted, quartered
  • 2 lbs (4 cups) Zucchini – sliced ¼” x ¼” x 5 - 6" long 
  • 6 Tablespoons Basil – fresh, julienne to 1/16”
  • 4 Tablespoons roasted Pine nuts

 

Preparation

 

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the shallots, shaved garlic and crushed red chili flakes.
  2. Sauté for 2-3 minutes with light browning.
  3. Add Roma tomatoes, salt, and vegetable stock, cook until tomatoes are tender and the sauce thickens a bit.
  4. Add artichokes and olives and warm through.
  5. Add zucchini and cook until warmed through but do not overcook.
  6. Remove from heat and toss in basil.
  7. Mound high evenly in pasta bowls and sprinkle with pine nuts.

 

Printable Version

 

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This recipe is a family favorite – it shows up on our kitchen table about once a month and everyone loves it.  Can’t have dairy?  No problem.  Keep reading and I will tell you how I have adapted it to be not only gluten free, but also vegetarian and dairy free.

Ingredients
  • 1 box Tinkyada gluten free lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pound GF sausage
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (use dairy free "cheese" option for dairy free)
  • 4 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (use vegan cheese shreds for dairy free)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated (use vegan cheese shreds for dairy free)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Preparation

To make the lasagna, start with Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, Lasagne, 10-Ounce .

You can find it at some local grocery stores (my local Top now carries it) or order online from Amazon.com

 

Fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water.  I like to use my soup pot.  Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes.

 

 

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Drain.  Rinse with cold water and sprinkle with some olive oil to keep them from sticking. They will look something like this.

 

 

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Don't worry about the extra layer of starch that forms on the outside after they have soaked.  It goes away when you cook them.  Set aside. 

While the noodles are soaking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the GF sausage and cook until it is no longer pink (8 to 10 minutes).  Use whatever kind of GF sausage you like.  Beeler’s Italian pork sausage works well as a crumbled sausage. Beeler's raises its pigs without antibiotics or growth hormones.  Additionally, the company does not make “anything that isn't gluten-free. There is nothing with gluten produced anywhere near our products." 

My family’s favorite is Hempler’s Kielbasa Smoked Sausage – it has a wonderful taste and the entire line of Hempler products is free of gluten and MSG.  With this sausage, I can slice it up and keep the sausage on one-half of the lasagna, so one-half of the lasagna is for the carnivores and one-half for the vegetarians.  Find out more about GF Sausages

If you are going to use the Kale, add it about 5 minutes into cooking the sausage.  I usually omit this because even though you really cannot taste it, when I add it my kids will pick all of the kale out with their forks before they eat the lasagna. 

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  This is when it really starts to smell good!

Busy Mom’s take note – nothing tastes as good as a homemade tomato sauce and it is very easy.  But if you are in a hurry and want to cut out a step, you can replace this step with a 24 ounce jar of GF spaghetti sauce. 

While everything is simmering, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

 

 

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Ladle 1/3 of the tomato sauce into a 9 x 12 inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. 

 

 

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Next add the layers as follows:

  • Half the pasta (if it is sticking add some olive oil to loosen)
  • Half the cheese mixture,
  • One third the sauce,
  • Rest of the pasta,
  • Rest of the cheese mixture
  • Rest of the sauce. 

 

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Sprinkle with ½ cup Mozzarella cheese. 

 

 

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Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F, until the sauce is bubbling.

 

 

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Modifying for Dairy Free

This recipe can be easily modified to make it dairy free.   I am the only one in my family who cannot eat dairy but this lasagna was simply too yummy looking for me to pass up.  Whenever I make it, I make a 9 x 9 version that uses the recipe above and I make a 9 x 4 version that is dairy free for myself.

To make it dairy free, simply replace the ricotta cheese with this dairy free "cheese" option and the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with a vegan cheese shred such as Go Veggie Mozzarella Shreds.

Here are the two lasagnas side by side. 

 

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The one on the left is the dairy free version. 

 

Finally, here is what the family thought of the lasagna.

 

 

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Printable Version

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The New Gluten Free Mom Website

September 24, 2013

 Pop the Champagne!  Today we are launching the new and improved Gluten Free Mom website!


Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

September 12, 2013

September 13 is National Celiac Disease Awareness day, in honor of Dr. Samuel Gee, the physician who recognized in 1888 that celiac disease was related to diet.

 

I call myself the Gluten Free Mom and the information that I provide is valuable to anyone who is on a gluten free diet for whatever reasons.  But for us, we are Gluten Free because my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease eight years ago. 

 

For those of you who do not know, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by gluten.  Undiagnosed, it can have life threatening complications. 

 

Although there have been great advances in the last several years, more still needs to be done.  Up to 90% of those with Celiac Disease still do not know that they have it! 

 

In addition to a lack of awareness, one of the reasons that Celiac Disease is hard to diagnose is because it can present with up to 300 different symptoms.  And some people do not have any symptoms at all.

 

In light of this day, I thought I would share our story of how we were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. 

 

Summer 2005

The Diagnosis

No one ever forgets the day you find out your child has a genetic, life-long, life changing autoimmune disorder. 

Alex, now a healthy, beautiful, vibrant 17 year old, was once a non-thriving, somewhat depressed, shy and often sick child.  We really are not sure when it all started.  She entered the world on Leap Day as a bubbly almost ten pound baby with hair you could almost braid.  Looking back now, there seem to be several instances that were somewhat unusual; she was a colicky baby; the projectile vomiting in the ER in Iowa one Thanksgiving; the pot belly stomach; the not too infrequent "blahness" when other children were running, laughing, exploring and having fun.  Whenever the subtle signs started, by the time Alex reached third grade her illness became more serious. 

She was so addicted to Pepto Bismal that she would drink it like it was chocolate milk.  The doctors attributed it to school-related stress.  Sometimes the stomachaches were so bad she could not play in the games with her basketball team – these pains were attributed to nerves.  She was frequently constipated – the doctor said she needed to pull her underwear all the way to her ankles when she went to the bathroom.    

And then the flu-like symptoms began.  At the beginning of third grade, every two months she would get what seemed like the flu and vomit for four to five days.  We took her to the doctor who would run your standard blood tests.  They would all come back normal, not even anemic.   The doctors answered our questions with "it is just the flu; it has been a bad season."  The almost ten pound baby was now so thin and dehydrated you could count her ribs and she had to have IV's to be rehydrated.

Finally, when she had the "flu" for five days in June, it was time to go to the doctor and not leave until we had some kind of an answer.  They did stomach x-rays and ran additional blood tests.  As an afterthought, as he was walking out the door, the doctor threw in a test for "celiac" - a word we would soon get to know very well. 

We left to go on a summer trip but all I could do was pray for an easy answer.  Not wanting anything serious.  The first round of test from the blood work came back normal again, but I still had a nagging feeling that not all was well. 

Then the call that answered the nagging feeling - one of the tests, something called celiac was positive.  Silly what?  How do you spell it?  Autoimmune? Gluten what? 

Thanks largely to the Internet; all of our questions were soon answered.  Even while we waited through more tests that summer, more blood draws to test for absorption, the endoscopy at Children's Hospital . . . I did not want to believe it but deep down I knew that Alex had celiac disease.   And finally we received the news (on the day that Alex also fell and broke her arm).  The endoscopy was conclusive for celiac disease. 

As a parent, my prayer every night was for my children to be healthy and happy.  So how could it be that my daughter had a genetic, life long, life-changing disorder?  Why did she have to live a life that would now be "different" and more difficult?

Yes, what parent would not be relieved to know why their child had been sick?  Even better yet, the illness was completely treatable by something as natural as a change in diet; but oh, what a change.  

It sounded simple enough; just eliminate gluten from your diet.  While no longer eating wheat flour was challenging enough for an elementary-aged child, determining what we could eat in this gluten-laden world was a monstrous task.  Especially back in 2005 before Gluten Free became a household name.  Our transition to the gluten free life was before you could find gluten free pizza crust and even gluten free bread.   Eating out at restaurants was soon to become a rarity for our family.  It initially took hours of research to determine just what we could put on our plates for dinner.  So much more than a diet change, going gluten free was a lifestyle change! 

 Mom_alex

Even though I ached inside for a pizza delivery van on Friday night, I made the commitment to be as positive as possible on the outside so that Alex could accept her new diet and life style.  A new diet and lifestyle she would have to life with forever. 

I started this blog to help those on the Gluten Free diet and to help spread Awareness of Celiac Disease. 

Help to spread Awareness by sharing your story in the comments below or on my Facebook page.   Maybe someone will hear your story and realize they should get tested!

 

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If you are young, hip and gluten free in Seattle then you need to stop in at Capitol Cider.Actually, my husband says that even if you are not young and hip, you still need to check it out.  We did!  We went there Wednesday night for a tasting of Square Mile Cider.  I am a new fan of the pub and of naturally GF cider!

 

The Restaurant

First about the pub style restaurant – open for only a few weeks it was packed last night (a Wednesday night) with a young 20 to 30 something crowd.  A former art gallery, the space is now a 4,000 square-foot cider bar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.   It features 30 ciders on tap, another 100 bottled ciders and gluten free food.  They also serve a variety of beers and wines.

 

The atmosphere was less of a pub and more of a cool urban dining and drinking spot. 

 The first floor is the main dining area – bistro style tables and wood booths, dark painted walls adorned with original Masterpiece replicas painted by the atelier students at Gage Academy of Art.  We ate dinner at a window table. 

 

They don’t shout that they are gluten free, but the entire kitchen is 100% GF!  Everything on the menu is made in-house.  In other words, everything on the menu is safe for anyone who is gluten free and there is no chance of cross-contamination.  I had the Pub salad – the salad was enough of a meal to leave me feeling full with a nice bed of lettuce topped with crusty prosciutto and a generous serving of white chicken.   

 As anyone who is celiac knows, truly GF French fries are hard to come by since most are contaminated when fried in the same oil as say wheat-breaded chicken nuggets.  After confirming the fries are truly GF, I had to order a side of them to go with my salad.

 They were tasty -  real potatoes (not some overly processed potato-like substance) with peppery flavor.

 My husband had the Fish n Chips that came out looking pretty crispy. 

After tasting them, he discovered they were cooked to perfection – it is just the GF batter they are using that makes them look . . . well burned.  His meal also looked a little skimpy for the price, compared to our American standards; it was two pieces of fish with a bucket of fries. I think the appearance of skimpiness was as much due to how it was served, as it was to the amount of food.  On a plate it might of looked like a full meal, but two crispy pieces of fish on the wood plank with the bucket of fries next to it looked more like an appetizer than a dinner.   A side of salad would have made it more of meal.  In fact, I ended up letting him finish off my salad.   However, my husband was more than satisfied.

 

The Cider

 

We went down to the basement for the cider tasting.  The basement is definitely the party area with a long wood bar and an impressive row of taps featuring a huge selection of cider.  They call this area the Ballast Bar and Gameroom as it is adorned with two shuffleboard tables, a stage with a piano, a fireplace and plenty of big tables for large groups to gather.

 

I am not a connoisseur of cider – I like a bold red wine with my meals.  In the summer when it is hot out, I do enjoy white wine and will settle for a Pinot Grigio as long as it is not very sweet and pretty dry.  As such, I was not sure I would like the cider.   For those of you new to cider, it is made from apples that are harvested and fermented in the fall, aged over the winter and then the beverage is released in the spring. I was surprised by how much I like the Square Mile Cider.

We sampled Spur & Vine and The Original.   The cider is sweet but not like some white wines where you grow tired of the sweetness after a few sips.  It has more of a texture of light beer than wine, so I found it quiet refreshing.   I am so used to drinking wine that I enjoyed the ease with which the cider slid down my throat – a very welcome relief from all of the tannins in wine.  At 6.7% alcohol the cider sits nicely between wine and beer with less alcohol than most wines but less than beer.  It would be the perfect drink for a summer evening. 

 

My favorite was the Spur & Vine Square Mile Cider - this cider starts with the same apples as The Original but they add Galaxy hops to it during the cold conditioning.  The result for me was a light bubbly drink with a slightly citrus flavor, but not too sweet.  

 

We also had a few sips of Anthem Pear and Reserve Nat’s Newtown Pippin.  Anthem Pear was my second favorite – more sweet than Square Mile, not sure I could drink more than a glass of this one.  But again I enjoyed that it was light and fruity and somewhat bubbly.   Reserve Nat’s was very dry – a bit too dry and bitter for me. 

 

Did I mention that the Pub was packed!  At 7:30 pm we snagged the last two stools at the bar, by 8:30 pm it was standing room only – and everyone was drinking cider.  The bar tender said cider sales have increased by 50% in the last few years as cider is the new hip drink among the younger crowd.  That was pretty obvious, as my husband and I had a good ten years on the fellow samplers. 

 

Want to find more of our Favorite Places to Dine out Gluten Free in Seattle?

 

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