Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 26 - Can it REALLY be????

I cannot believe that I am 5 days away from finishing out my first month. I feel a lot better so far, and I know the rest will come in time.

Last night, after being sick all day with a stomach bug, I decided to make some Chicken Soup to make it all better. It's a pretty standard recipe, I've used a lot. I didn't put noodles in like I used to, but I used some cooked brown rice we had leftover in the fridge. It was really good.

Chicken Soup for a Gluten-free Soul

1 lb ground chicken
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
1/2 onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt Imagine Free-Range Chicken Broth
2 cups cooked brown rice

In large pot brown ground chicken (do not drain off liquid). Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and allow to sweat, saute in the chicken juices, until the onions are clear/translucent. Add chicken broth. Reduce heat, cover and ignore for an hour. Add brown rice, cook for about 10 more minutes so the rice has a chance to get warmed thru.

Enjoy! :D

Monday, January 22, 2007

Party Mix

Another discovery was gluten-free "Chex" type cereals. I made a party mix b/c it's my favorite snack food! Easy to make, cheap (well, not as much as the original now).

Gluten Free Party Mix

4 Cups Health Vally Rice Crunchems
4 Cups Health Valley Corn Crunchems
1 Cup raw almonds
1 Cup Ener-G Gluten Free Mini Pretzel twists
1/4 Cup Butter
4 tsp. Seasoned Salt (gluten free option of course!)
4 tsp. French's Worchestershire sauce (on company's gluten free list - so is Lea & Perrins)

Preheat oven to 250.

Measure cereals, almonds and pretzels into a large bowl.

Melt butter in the microwave in a glass bowl (or another microwave safe dish). Mix in season salt and worchestershire sauce, stir well.

Gently pour over the cereal mixture while mixing well. Continue to mix well to coat each piece as much as possible.

Place into a 13 X 9" pan. Place in the 250 degree oven. Stir every 15 minutes - cook for 1 hour total. When you remove from the oven, pour out onto papertowels to allow to cool.

Store in an airtight container once cool. me and let me know it's there, I'll bring the party with me! :D

I HAD BREAD!!!! Okay, it was gluten-free bread, but... was bread none the less!

Thru the miracle of I received a practically brand spanking new bread machine that I used. I bought a package of Gluten Free Pantry Sandwich Bread mix. Honestly, I have been afraid to try it. Last Wednesday, I made their Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix. It was AMAZING. This was after the flop of their corn muffins that day (now, I think that I undercooked them and maybe they'd be better if I baked them a little bit longer - so I'm not saying I won't try them again or that others shouldn't.).

So, yesterday, I decided to pull out the bread machine and give it a try. It took three hours for mixing, rising, kneading, baking. Tortorous. Each time I walked into the kitchen, I smelled bread baking. And it smelled good. I have not had good bread in three weeks. Pathetic attempts at bread, but not actual "I can make a sandwhich from this" bread.

At 9:05 the beeper went off, and I let it cool. That was difficult, let me tell you. It smelled TERRIFIC! And I mean, like a real loaf of bread. And it was springy and spongy and textured like real bread. My first slice, while slightly warm still, was just a slice of heaven. Crunchy crust, oozy warm butter slipping into the nooks and crannies. Before I went to bed, I had a PB&J.

Today, my kids had it for lunch. I felt good that they liked it too, I'll say....just incase we decide to go full fledged gluten free on them - my only hitch was bread. I've found gluten-free varieties of cereals and other foods that they find yummy. Bread would be an issue! Not anymore!

I am very happy that I have found bread. Even if I have to bake it, I will be happy. My next trial will be a recipe that is floating around the Celiac website. I'm looking forward to trying.

I'm off to have another sandwich!!! :D

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Apple Cobbler

Yes. Gluten Free Cobbler. Again, it was a recipe that surprised me, it was even better made with the lighter rice flour. I'm am stunned.

There was none left. We just kept eating it!

I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

Apple Cobbler

3 medium golden delicious apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup rice flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

To prepare the apples, core, peel and slice into crescent shapes. I used an apple wedger, it cores and wedges it into 10 slices. I then peeled them, and cut each slice in half. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon over it. Mix well to cover all the apples.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Add milk and whisk until well mixed.

Cut butter into a baking dish (I used a Pampered Chef deep dish round baker - but you could use an 11 X 7 pan), Place in a 350 degree preheated oven. (careful not to let it scortch). Pull pan out of the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Lay in the apple slices pressing into the batter. Pour the juice created in the bowl of apples over top.

Return pan to hot oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (after 45 minutes, check every 5 until a toothpick comes out clean).


Of course, best enjoyed ala mode!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Day 17 - Has it really only been 17 days???

It is hard for me to believe that it has been only a little over three weeks since going gluten free. I am astounded at how much better I feel and that it's only been that short a period of time. What time of my life I have wasted not knowing what was wrong with me. I feel hope that someday I'll actually feel 100% better. I still have the fatigue and a lingering headache, and I still have some joint and muscle pain. Of course, even the lingering symptoms are at least at 50% improvement. The fact that I am able to stay awake all day without having to take a nap is absolutely amazing. I awake around 7:30 and go to bed around 10:00 or 11:00. I used to wake the same time, take a nap for an hour around 2:00 and then go to bed around 9:00. So being able to get thru the day without a nap is nothing short of a miracle. I'm adjusting to my new vitamins too, so I'm sure as I continue to heal, I'll absorb some more.

Today's treat was Artichoke Spinach dip which I had with corn chips rather than my normal bread croustinis or crackers. it was still very yummy!!!! The recipe is on my other blog, . I was able to adapt it so that I used ALL gluten free ingredients. It was delicious, nutritious (okay, at least the veggies were!) and well worth the effort.

Looking forward to continued healing!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day 15 - still hanging in!

We went out to eat on Friday night. I was so excited, we were going to try Outback because they had a Gluten-free menu. WELL, I didn't realize that even with call ahead seating we would have to wait 80 minutes. So, needless to say, we did not go there! LOL :D We ended up going to Ruby Tuesdays. The word gluten-free might as well have been German or Spanish because they looked at me like I was a foreigner! I managed to make it thru my order okay. But it was stressfull. I don't know if I got glutened or if I'm just still fighting this cold. My stomach was a mess, but I didn't end up getting sick as usual. I was VERY tired though. And I tossed and turned all night.

Saturday I went to Whole Foods and stocked up on my gluten free goodies. We had a mexican fiesta at my husband's co-workers house. My husband did tell them ahead of time about my dietary constraints and that I would be bringing my own food. They were fine with that. I'm betting a lot of it would have been okay to eat because it was made from scratch, but I didn't want to chance it. I don't think anyone noticed that I wasn't eating the food, and that I was eating my own. The party was a success in that light! YEAH.

Sunday, I was excited to try doing Chicken Cheesesteaks gluten free. The bread I used, however, was I had breadless ones! Oh time.

I'm going to attempt to bake a loaf of bread in my new bread machine today. I have a package of Gluten Free Pantry's Pizza & French Bread mix. I'm putting the baby down for a nap this afternoon and going to start it in the machine. We'll see how it goes! I'm probably going to do it in the dough cycle and then make it into roll sized portions, just in case it's awful! LOL :D

I should be posting some recipes this week as I'll be trying some new things.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Day 12 - Taffy Apple Salad

FINALLY Feeling better from my dinner fiasco the other night. Today's gone very well. I didn't get a chance to share my recipe from yesterday. It was a salad, but oh my was it so good I almost fainted! :D I hope you enjoy. Don't look at the ingredients and say "ewwww". TRY IT FIRST. It's got a the right mix of salty/sweet/savory/crunchy/soft), It was really yummy.

1 small head romaine, cut in strips (I cut in thin strips accross the leaf)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 golden delicious (or red, fuji, or gala - a sweet apple), cored, cut into bitesized chunks
1/2 cup walnuts
2 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut in 1/4" discs (or 2 oz mozz cut into chunks)
4 Tbs Annie's Natural (or comparable) Raspberry Viniagrette Dressing
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and sliced in strips

In a large bowl combine lettuce to dressing. Toss with the dressing well and separate into two plates. Lay chicken over salad - 1 breast per.

And yes, you CAN lick the plate, if you like. I know I did!!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Day 10 was a fiasco!

Day 10 was a fiasco!!!
Well, if I needed confirmation, I got it! I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream in a recipe last night. I got so sick. Read after the fact that the yogurt contained modified food starch. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I still have a headache today. I'll share the recipe, but be sure if you are gluten free to make sure all your ingredients are gluten free too.

Sour Cream Chicken w/ Mushrooms and Peas

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1" chunks
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic

2 cups chicken broth (I used Imagine)
1 cup sour cream

Saute chicken pieces. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to saute until chicken is done and mushrooms are soft. Add peas. Mix broth and sour cream together. Pour over chicken, mushrooms and peas. Cook on low heat until bubbly and thickened.

Serve over potatoes, rice or brown-rice noodles.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Day 9 - did well today

Think I'm finally over my glutening from McD's fries on Saturday. Had a bit more energy again today. I was REALLY cautious today and ate only fresh foods. Need to go food shopping as there are not many choices left for me! :D

I'm excited to pick up my bread tomorrow. There's a bakery not too far from me (Bakers on Broad in Souderton, PA) that bakes gluten free bread. I talked to the owner/head baker today. She only does it one day a week because the equipment needs to be scrupulously clean to avoid cross-contamination. I'm going to give it a try. She does a few different varieties as well as some muffins and cookies. I'm just trying the bread, for now. I figure I can try the muffins and cookies myself.

I'm also picking up my bread machine tomorrow. This will help me so that I don't need to depend on others. Hoping to create a really bread like texture! I figure I have time to experiment, so I'm going to get a little more comfy with the diet before I try anything out.

I made a peanut butter treat for myself today. I scooped them like cookies and put them in the fridge. I bet they'd be awesome if they were covered in chocolate!

Power Sticks (or balls, depending on shape you make)

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I used 365 All Natural)
2/3 cup crushed cornflakes (Nature's Path)
3 tbs honey
1/3 cup non-fat dried milk (label says "gluten free" on it, but it's a non-brand name)

Mix all the ingredients together and shape into 1" balls or roll into sticks. Store in fridge.

They're really yummy, and very filling. I made 12 out of 1 batch. Great for a snack.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Marbled Cinnamon Swirled Quick Bread

OH MY! It turned out great! I'm really riding high today, I'm so excited! Here it goes folks, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! As with all my recipes, make sure the ingredients you choose are gluten free!

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Swirled Quick Bread

1 1/3 Cup sugar - divided
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups White Rice Flour (that's what I used, but I bet you could used whatever you like)
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix 1/3 Cup of the sugar and the cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 Cup of sugar together in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Combine egg, milk and oil and add to flour mixture.

Stir by hand until just moistened.

Pour half the batter into a prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle in half of the cinnamon sugar blend. Pour in the rest of the batter, top with the remaining cinnamon mixture. Swirl a knife thru the batter to marble it.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 1/2 hour - you want it to be pretty cool so it doesn't fall apart - but not so cool that it doesn't come out at all! original recipe for this said to wrap and store overnight and slice the next day. Yeah right, good luck with THAT one. I took mine out of the pan too soon, so it broke in half! Oh well...we sliced it and started eating. Oh man, it was just too good. Seriously, the loaf is half gone! It's dense, moist and sweet! I bet you could even frost it! LOL :D So good. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did/are, LOL!!!!

Day 6 & 7 - I got GLUTENED!!!

Well, if there was any question in my mind whether or not I have gluten allergy, this weekend has proved it and confirmed it!

We had hamburgers for dinner on Friday night. I thought they were 100% beef...they were not. I was sick and it took me out for the rest of the night. Yesterday, we went to McD's. I was careful to order a salad with no dressing and a small fry. It was not as immediate, but I did get sick after - either a carry over from the night before or maybe the fries & nuggets were fried in the same oil? I don't know....

The success of the weekend was finding a pizza place about 20 minutes from us that have certified gluten-free pizza. And it was really good. We got it take out for dinner last night, and I had it for lunch again today.

The other success of the weekend was our pancakes. We had rice-flour pancakes today and they were great!

So, here's the recipe for the pancakes!

Saturday Morning GLUTEN FREE Pancakes

1 cup rice flour
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 egg
2 tbs oil
1 cup milk

Mix together well. Pour in puddles on a hot skillet. Flip when bubbles really come up to the surface. Only flip once!

They were GREAT!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Day 5 - I'm still here....

I think it hit me last night the reality of being gluten free is that I will never have some of my favorite foods again. Ever. Hmmmmmmm. Is life without Philly Soft Pretzels worth living? I'm determined to have an I CAN attitude about this so I'm trying really hard to get out of this brain freeze about it.

You see, I'm not one to attract attention to myself. I try hard not to be in the limelight as much as possible. To blend in and be part of the woodwork, almost unseen, and it works most times....most people don't see me. The more I read, the more I'm afraid this is going to put me somewhere where I can be seen, or attract attention to myself. I'm not liking that at all.

I'm still on it...I'm not losing faith....I DO feel better. Not running to the bathroom as soon as I'm finished eating has been the only major improvement I've seen so far. That's a big one for me though. That has been a symptom as far back as I can remember - i mean 5 or 6 I remember doing it, jr. high, high school, always. Oh my thoughts are in cyberworld.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Day 4 - All is right with the world again!!!!

I have to say, when the possiblity of having to go gluten-free came up (over 6 months ago and I'm FINALLY giving it a try!), the thought terrified me. I am passionate about food. I am passionate about baking. I like to cook, but I LOVE to bake. I prize myself on my desserts and being the ooooh and ahhhh at every function. My apple cobbler is legendary in the pot luck circuit among my friends, asked for at almost every gathering. The thought of never eating my apple cobbler again absolutely struck fear into the core of my being.

Baking has always been a source of relaxation to me. In the face of even the most stressful situtations, i have been known to shut myself into the kitchen and emerge with chocolate chip cookies, banana bread or cupcakes. Because of the need for precise measurements for the "science" of baking, you have to pay attention...full focus. That's always what I've liked. I can lose myself in baking. It has never been a chore and I absolutely adore it!

Of course, everyone I meet with Celiac or who is gluten-free tells me not to focus on this yet, to sit back, relax and try the already premade products out there that are so plentiful. But this was the point that vexed me all will I bake? How will I do my stress relieving if I can't bake? And what's the point of baking if you can't enjoy it yourself? Sure I could bake for others, and I do enjoy that, but if can't test the batter to make sure it tastes good. Can't try the finished product, what's the point???

Well, today, I baked. Something that is one of my favorites. I've adapted a recipe from my sister-in-law, Anne ( And it turned out not just well, but terrific, you'd never even be able to tell that there was no wheat flour in it at all. I was going to keep them a secret, but have decided to share it with you anyway! Here it is!

Decadent GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Brownie Bites

1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs White Rice Flour *see note below

In a microwave safe bowl, melt choclate chips and butter together until smooth (I did in 30 second bursts, stirring until it was really smooth). Allow this to cool.

Stir in eggs, vanilla and flour. Mix well, it may be a little lumpy, but that's okay.

Spoon into mini muffin pan OR baking cups spritzed with allowable cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Today, I spooned them into my new silicone baking cups which were a standard size, i had to bake for 19 minutes. Be careful to not overbake, and allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

*note - I used white rice flour b/c it was what I had, but I imagine you could use brown rice, soy, sorghum or another flour. I wouldn't use a real beany flour, though, I'm sure that would affect the taste too much.

So good, so good! I hope you enjoy them!!!


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Dinner Tonight....

WOW...I'm fish for the first time in a long time. Aldi had Orange Roughy and it was not horrendously expensive. I'm going to saute it in a butter/garlic sauce. Green beans and brown rice.

A person on freecycle today has a breadmaker I can have! I'm so excited, I'm going to learn how to make my own gluten-free bread. This is going to be a long process.

My question do you do this without driving everyone around you crazy. THANKFULLY, I have 100% support of my husband who's even willing to go gluten-free himself. He's amazingly supportive. To the jaw dropping extent. I'm worried about telling my Mom & Dad or other friends. I don't want to become a huge issue, but family events are going to be. There will not be an event for a while, my daughters 2nd Birthday will be the first major event, I think. I'm hoping that I can come up with a gluten-free menu that they won't even realize is gluten-free, so I won't have to say anything. I'll get her a real cake, though, I just won't have any.

Anyway, these are the things keeping me up nights! :D

Day 3 - Riding a victory wave!

I'm riding high today. First official Gluten Free dinner with my husband and kids was an astounding success!!! No one would have guessed it was gluten free! I was so excited! So here it is:

Brown Rice Pasta Bake

8 oz brown rice elbows (I used Tinkyada)
1 lb ground chicken (u can use beef, turkey, whatever you like)
28 oz spagetti sauce (I make my own, check my other blog
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded

Prepare pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.

Brown ground chicken in a medium pan. Add sauce and cook a few minutes to get the sauce warm and the flavors blending. Turn off heat. Add pasta to pan and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and mix well. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until the cheese is really bubbly.

I served it with a fresh salad.


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Day 2 - hmmmmmmmm.....

A little discouraged today. But that's okay. Trying to think of the I CAN's in my life. The things I CAN have.

Tonights dinner is a big I CAN.

Homemade spagetti sauce, mixed with mozzarella and brown rice pasta. And a salad.

I went to the health food store today and bought some gluten free tortillas, crackers and waffles. Trying hard not to go overboard. Before I take my foray into relearning to bake, I'm going to get my feet wet and get used to being gluten free first.


Monday, January 1, 2007

Day 1 - Going Gluten Free

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. After being sick for over a decade, it seemed empty and hollow. One thing they tested for that was inconclusive was Celiac. My GI doc wanted to do the upper gi test to look for damage to the small intestine. In order to save money, I'm going gluten free instead. If I feel better after a few months, I'll know for sure that's what it is.

I've been reviewing, studying and getting ready for months, and today is the day. Day one. I'm going gluten free. Want to join me?

I hope to blog my experiments and escapades to see how well it goes. And being a person who loves to cook, I'm going to have to learn ALL over again how to do it gluten free.

Here's a breakfast I like to make, as long as the grits are from a reputable source that does not cross contaminate, you'll be fine!

Cheesy Grits with Fried Egg


1 3/4 cups water
6 tbs white hominy grits
dash salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I personally like a combo of gouda and white sharp cheddar)
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 tbs butter
dash salt & pepper (for after preparation

4 eggs - pan fried to desired doneness

To prepare grits: place water, grits and first dash of salt in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 6 minutes, stopping to stir every 2 minutes. Cook 1 minute more and pull out of the micro. Add butter, shredded cheese, scallions and salt & pepper. Mix well until all the butter and cheese is melted in.

Divide grits evenly among 4 bowls. Top with fried egg. ENJOY!!!

Another way to serve this is to prepare the grits the day before and spread into a pan to allow the grits to resolidify. In the morning, cut into large squares or triangles and pan fry them before the eggs. They get crispy on the outside, but warm and creamy on the outside and oh so yummy!