Posts tagged ‘recipes’

5 Tips to Get Out of a Food Rut

[Diane Eblin is a Certified Health Coach who helps her clients achieve easy, healthy gluten-free living. She is also a professional recipe developer, author of The Gluten-Free Diner e-cookbook and founder of The WHOLE Gang. Diane and her entire family, including her dog, all live gluten-free, so we asked her for tips on keeping meals fresh and fun.]

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “I’m in a food rut.”  What does that really mean?  Well, the definition of a rut is a settled or established pattern, habit or course of action, especially a boring one. You know  – the daily grind, same old stuff, the same meals over and over, yada yada yada.

So, if you’re in a food rut, how do you get out of it?  Well, the simplest answer is to eat something different.

Before you punch me for such a lame suggestion, I’m going to give you 5 tips on exactly how to do just that.

Diane Eblin - The WHOLE Gang

Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang

1. Use Real Food Ingredients

This is the No. 1 most important tip for staying out of a food rut.  Use single ingredient foods, whole foods or real foods.  They are naturally gluten-free, have no labels, and are in the produce, meat and seafood sections of the grocery store.  If you keep making meals out of a box, you’ll keep making the same meal.  If you don’t believe me, Google “chicken recipes” and you’ll get back 77,000,000 results.  They call for chicken, not chicken in a box.

Using real food ingredients will save you lots of money.  You can purchase those organic meats on sale, in bulk and, for beef, choose those less expensive cuts that take longer to cook. Pull out that crockpot and let it cook while you sleep.  Then portion out the meats, freeze what you’re not eating now, and you’re ready to make a few of those millions of recipe results you just Googled.

2. Be Inspired

There are so many inspirational resources for recipes and ideas for your meals.  The list includes wonderful cookbooks, both gluten-free and not, along with websites, magazines and cooking shows. You can even work with a health coach to both inspire and inform you.  Not a food magazine junkie? Then just take a look at the covers to see what the latest and greatest food trends are out there. If you like what you see, get the magazine and the recipe. Learn how to substitute non-gluten-free ingredients with ones that fit your diet. This way, you can grab any recipe and start cooking!

Peppers

3. Menu Planning

Get out of your rut by planning a weekly menu so you’ll have the ingredients on hand to make unique meals and know what you’re doing with them.  Without a plan, you’ll end up grabbing the same old thing, which you’re already bored with and tired of making.  It only takes 15 to 20 minutes to plan out your week and another 15 to 20 minutes to plan out the whole month. Use the resources mentioned above for creative ideas and recipes. I like to start with an inventory of what I have on hand so I can build that into the menu and save money. I often end up with more than a week’s worth of ideas.  Make a multi-week menu to keep those good ideas from going to waste.

4. Variety is the Spice of Life

If you’ve never compared ethnic recipes side by side, you might be surprised to learn that there are common ingredients that span the world.  What changes are the spices and herbs used, which change the flavor profile of each dish. For instance, let’s take a simple chicken stew. You can make it Italian with tomatoes, Mexican with cilantro and green chilies, French with white wine, Indian with cardamom, turmeric and coconut milk, Moroccan with raisins, cinnamon and ginger, Greek with olives, and so on. So gather up your spices and travel the world on your dinner plate.  My two favorite sources for spices are Penzeys and The Spice House. As with any spice, you must make sure they are gluten-free.  These two companies will tell you which ones are not and which ones are gluten-free, as are most.

5.  Pre-made Menu Plans

If you have just plain run out of ideas and nothing is inspiring you, then you can use a menu planning service or you can visit the many blogs that post weekly menu plans and use theirs.  For instance, on my website you can search on Menu Plan Monday and find many weekly menus or Monthly Menu Plan and have your whole month planned out.  A few of my favorite sites sharing menus include Celiacs in the House, Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom, and Celiac Family.  If you use a menu planning service, you can have the menu plan, recipes and shopping list all created for you on a weekly basis.

So, if you are in a food rut, grab some new sources of inspiration, plan out your menu, shop for real food ingredients and spices and get cooking.  You can have a different meal every day of the year!

- Diane Eblin, CHC, AADP

May 14, 2012 at 8:15 am 5 comments

5 Tips for Baking Gluten-Free From Scratch

[You're ready to bake from scratch, but don't know where to start. Fear not! Shauna James Ahern, better known as Gluten-Free Girl, is here to share her tips and tricks for baking delicious gluten-free goods.]

1. Let go of your expectations.

You’ve probably been baking one way your entire life: by scooping out a cup of flour from the 5-pound bag of all-purpose bleached white. It was simple to bake this way. Even mindless. However, that bag of flour is now like a bag full of poison for you. Don’t go near it.
When people begin to bake gluten-free, they expect that the process will be exactly the same, but with different flours. (And more expensive flours, too.) Guess what? As is true of everything in life, those expectations are going to hurt you.
As soon as you can clean the gluten out of your kitchen, sweep away the notion that anything will be like it was. And why would you want it to be, when the old way made you sick?

2. You have to combine flours.

Here’s where people also get stuck. Because AP gluten flour works for a multitude of baked goods — and it’s the only flour most people in this culture know — it’s easy to long for that one magic flour when baking gluten-free.
There are a few places where you can use a single flour. I adore these brownies made with teff flour, much more than gluten brownies. And you can make great buckwheat crêpes, with only buckwheat flour. There are a few other examples. (Make socca your friend.)
Gluten-Free Brownies from Gluten-Free Girl
However, for the most part, you have to combine 2 or 3 flours together to make a flour mix that will work for gluten-free baking.
It’s not hard. Take a bag of sorghum flour, a bag of millet, a bag of sweet rice flour, and a bag of potato starch. (We use Bob’s Red Mill flours and all their bags contain about the same amount of flour.) Pour them in a big container. Put on the lid and shake. Shake that flour until it is all one color.
What do you have? Flour. Use that flour for baking cookies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, and biscuits. You’re done.

3. Learn to bake by weight.

Americans are VERY tied to their cups. We believe that all baking has to happen in 1/2 cup measurements. Ounces? Grams? That seems like math.
Believe me, if you want to become a confident gluten-free baker, able to make adaptations to all your favorite recipes, substituting one flour for another when you’ve run out of your favorites?
Buy a kitchen scale.
This will tell you why.

4. Play.

You’re going to make mistakes. This is a funny business. Eventually, it will feel like rote, and you’ll wonder why you ever worried.
But this space? This place of jarring differences and new experiences? This is where we learn.
Open yourself to it.
What’s the worst that could happen? A few bad baked goods? Eh, there are worse fates.

5. Psst! Here’s a secret. Most baked goods are actually better without gluten.

You read that right. Better without gluten.
Think about your favorite cake recipe. What’s the last instruction before you put that cake in the oven? “Mix until just combined. Don’t over-stir.”
You know why? Because that lovely recipe writer was trying to protect you from activating the gluten. Gluten in a cake can make your birthday celebration treat tough.
But without any gluten? You don’t have to worry. Let that stand mixer spin. Leave the room and play with your kids. You’re not going to hurt anything.
Gluten-free cakes can be far fluffier and more wonderful than the gluten ones.
Trust me. It’s worth the initial, shocking investment in flours to learn how to do this.
You don’t want to go the rest of your life without making chocolate chip cookies.
- Shauna James Ahern

May 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm 5 comments

Gluten-Free Cookies in 5 Simple Steps

[If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, you probably have yet to try gluten-free baking. (Yes, we all know xanthan gum bears a rather intimidating name.) Fortunately, there’s a little wonder known as gluten-free cake mix that can do much of the work for you.

Anne Byrn, better known as The Cake Mix Doctor, discovered just how versatile gluten-free cake mix can be when she was creating recipes for her first gluten-free cookbook. We hope her story, and her simple 5-step recipe, will inspire you, too!]

While working on The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free, I was making gingerbread out of a yellow gluten-free cake mix, adding apple cider, molasses, cocoa powder, ginger, nearly the kitchen sink! The taste of that gingerbread reminded me of my grandmother’s gingersnap cookies, and all of the sudden the most wonderful and nostalgic flashback came into my mind. I was 12 years old and in my grandmother’s kitchen snatching a cookie from the cooling rack.

So, I thought, could I turn this gingerbread recipe into a cookie? I grabbed a clean mixing bowl and wooden spoon, poured a fresh box of cake mix into the bowl and carefully added just one egg, vegetable shortening, molasses, ginger, and other spices. Dropped onto baking sheets, these cookies baked up crisp and spiced with ginger.

There is something unexpected and magical about rice flour and what it does to cookies. Rice flour makes it possible for you to turn a gluten-free cake mix into light, crisp cookies. And because it is flavorless, it is a blank canvas allowing big, bold flavors such as ginger to come through.

-Anne Byrn

Gluten-Free Gingersnap Cookies

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps

(From The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free, by Anne Byrn)

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Prep: 10 minutes
Chill: At least 2 hours
Bake: 9 to 11 minutes
Cool: 10 to 16 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package (15 oz.) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the molasses, vegetable shortening, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg. Increase the mixer to medium and beat until smooth, 30 seconds. Set the molasses mixture aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the cake mix mixture to the molasses mixture, a little at a time, beating on low speed until everything is just combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the cookie dough in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Place the sugar in a shallow bowl. Form the cookie dough into generous 1-inch balls. Roll the balls of dough in the sugar and arrange them on the baking sheets, about 4 inches apart.
  5. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies until they are crisp around the edges, 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for 1 minute. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough, if any.

April 30, 2012 at 8:20 am 2 comments

I Took the Alternative Appetites Cooking Challenge. Will You?

How many times have you watched a cooking video and didn’t try the recipe? Guilty. I’ve been known to watch my share of The Food Network, “Lidia’s Italy” and YouTube cooking shows only to admire, sigh, and move on to the next episode.
Time to change that.

When we premiered the latest videos in our Alternative Appetites series, I was determined to make one of the gluten-free recipes at home. I’ve made several recipes from the show before (Eggplant Casserole, anyone?). This time, the Amaranth and Black Bean Salad, a recipe sponsored by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., caught my eye.

Black Bean and Amaranth Salad ingredients

Ingredients gathered. Ready to cook!

Let me start off by saying, this recipe makes a big batch. So big that is nearly overflowed my largest mixing bowl. If you’re sharing with a friend, it’s a good amount to last you a few days. If you’re single, I’d recommend halving the recipe.

The trick to this recipe was cooking the amaranth properly. Like many of you, I’ve just discovered the grain, so I’m still finding that point where it goes from undercooked to just right. Once the amaranth was done, I popped it into the fridge for a quick chill.

Amaranth on stovetop

This looks like a small amount, but it goes a long way.

While the amaranth was cooling, I prepped the vegetables. It took some time, but shortcuts like using canned black beans and corn helped. I also took the lazy route and used a jar of roasted red peppers, but I highly recommend roasting your own (I learned a snappy way to do it from this Alternative Appetites video).

chopped vegetables

Bring on the veggies.

Then it was on to the vinaigrette, which was done in a matter of seconds. I forgot to pick up mint (it’s always something), so I threw in a bit of tarragon and chives just to freshen it up.

Finally, it was time to assemble – all of which I completed within the length of a commercial break. Then, the first bite.

Amaranth and Black Bean Salad in bowl

All done!

You ever get that feeling when you eat something that’s filling, yet light and refreshing at the same time? Well, that’s what I got when I ate this. I consider it my mouth’s way of patting me on the back for doing my body good. The beans, tomatoes, walnuts and grains offer different textures, while the peppers and onions lend strong flavors. In fact, if you’re not a fan of red onion, I’d suggest using only ¼ of an onion. The vinaigrette and corn layer in sweetness, though I could have done with a little less dressing.

Black Bean and Amaranth Salad_close up

What's a food post without a close-up?

The best thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. You could easily add crumbled feta cheese or swap in sliced almonds for the walnuts. I added sliced beets when I scooped some out for work the next day.

So, now that you’ve read my experience, I want you to share yours. Try one of the recipes from the videos posted at www.celiaccentral.org/cookingvideos, then make sure to click through the video and leave a comment on the video on YouTube.

If you have a blog, share your experience just like I did and we’ll enter you in the Alternative Appetites Cooking Challenge. Just email cmcevoy@celiaccentral.org with the link to your post. (Cooking wins and fails welcome!)

- Cheryl

Related Content:

March 1, 2012 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

A Gluten-Free Holiday Treat, No Baking Required

I’m always prepared to bring an appetizer, salad or main dish to social gatherings and holiday functions. Like many with celiac disease, I quickly learned that if I wanted to eat a safe gluten-free meal, it was up to me to tote along at least one item I knew I could eat.

But dessert? Despite my sweet tooth, more often than not I have opted to forgo dessert simply because baking and I are not friends. So fruit has served as my go-to pick, and the nutritional benefits are always a plus. Alas, sometimes a fruit salad, no matter how fresh the ingredients, just won’t cut it. This Christmas, I wanted to join my family at the dessert table with something more substantial than pineapple and berries, even if topped with whipped cream.

Enter these no-bake coconut balls.

Gluten-Free No Bake Coconut Balls

Gluten-Free No Bake Coconut Balls

I’m sure you can guess that a recipe with minimal ingredients and without an actual “baking” process were both requirements. Fortunately, I stumbled across this simple recipe while performing the perfunctory Google search: No Bake Coconut Balls

The recipe called for nut butter plus chocolate chips or nuts of your choosing, but I opted for a combination of the two. My secret ingredient? Justin’s Nut Butter. This brand has been a pantry staple of mine for the past 2 years so I knew that their Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor was delicious. (If you are not already familiar with their line of nut butters, please head to your local grocery store immediately).

Making Gluten-Free Coconut Balls

All you need for a delicious gluten-free dessert.

Not only did they fulfill my sweet tooth, but my family was impressed too. Who said you need flour to “bake” Christmas cookies?

- Kristin

Related Content:

December 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Dream Team

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]

Dream Team

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Off-season for the Phillies players means strictly business for the team’s management.  The spotlight is on Ruben Amaro Jr. and his colleagues, as they invest in talent and, consequently, the team’s future.  If the destination for a 2012 Phillies Dream Team is the World Series, then the journey begins now.

November is an exciting time of the year for my dream team, as we celebrate special milestones. Birthdays, anniversaries, an engagement and Thanksgiving festivities call for delicious gluten-free sweets. One memorable dessert is chocolate-covered pumpkin donuts from Sweet Freedom Bakery located in Philadelphia, just minutes from Citizens Bank Park.

Below is a new restaurant dish review on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single- Fair
Double- Good
Triple- Very good
Home Run- Must try
Grand Slam- Sublime

Grilled Lamb Chops with Seasonal Fruit Chutney at Steve and Cookie’s- Grand Slam

Grilled Lamb Chops with Seasonal Fruit Chutney

Grilled Lamb Chops with Seasonal Fruit Chutney at Steve and Cookie's

Overview: A sublime foodpairing of grilled lamb chops and seasonal fruit chutney completed the perfect meal.

The Scene: It was a special occasion at Steve and Cookie’s in Margate, NJ.  As the Phillies management continued negotiations, we enjoyed an off-season dinner at the shore.  The desirable, relaxed ambience included candles in the fireplace and live piano music.

Safe Dining:  At Steve and Cookie’s, the chefs in the kitchen are educated in gluten-free and allergy friendly dining. The Weekly Specials Menu on Monday and Wednesday evening feature a 3 course gluten-free meal. Also, Steve and Cookie’s website includes gluten-free recipes from an October Celiac Awareness dinner the restaurant hosted.

Presentation:  The three juicy, grilled lamb chops were plated in a stackable formation.  The shine and char conveyed freshness from the grill. In addition, seasonal fruit chutney and green garnish accompanied the lamb chops. The cranberry, raisin and apple chutney resembled comfort food and offered a holiday-style element to the dish (Note: Seasonal fruit chutney was the chef’s gluten-free alternative to the pomegranate demi-glace on the appetizer menu.  Also, I ordered with an additional potato side to replace the risotto and mushroom cake on the menu.)

Taste:  The lamb chops were crisp and succulent – cooked to precision! The cranberries, raisins and apples in the chutney added a delicious playfulness and texture to the dish. Ginger, lemon, cider and cinnamon accompanied each tender bite.

Result:  The Dream Team combination of grilled lamb chops and seasonal fruit chutney are “out of the ballpark” delicious. (Tip:  I ordered two memorable gluten-free appetizers from the dinner menu in place of an entrée.  Be creative when dining out and inquire about tasty, gluten-free recommendations from the chefs).   

www.steveandcookies.com

Everyone have a happy, healthy gluten-free Thanksgiving!  Stay tuned for new restaurant and product reviews to enjoy during the baseball off-season.  Be-Lee-ve it—spring training is just a few months away!

- Nadina

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the info@celiaccentral.org email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

November 23, 2011 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Tailgating (Plus a Giveaway!)

Congratulations Ashley Pelley and Schmidty! You are the winners of our Thai Kitchen gluten-free giveaway. Please email cmcevoy@celiaccentral.org with your mailing address to claim your prize.

When I think of tailgating food, most of it is, well, gluteny. For a morning game, it’s donuts and bagels. In the afternoon, the list consists of burger & buns, hoagies, and soft pretzels. Then there’s the beer, the cups that always seem to get mixed up, and the one friend who insists on touching everything while taking bites of his sandwich. It certainly doesn’t make it easy if you need to be gluten-free.

When Thai Kitchen contacted us about doing a fall campaign, it was the perfect opportunity to create a Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide to help everyone make going to a game less stress and more fun.

tailgating

Tailgating on a very cold day.

I’ll be honest, Whitney and I racked our brains for a few days while creating this guide. Sure, there were the usual food safety tips, like keeping meats and dairy in a cooler. But avoiding cross-contamination? That required some crafty thinking.

Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide

Our Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide

The guide is now posted in the Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Recipe Box on our website. It even has a recipe for Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa, because if you volunteer to make the burgers (Warning: some people put breadcrumbs in their burger mix), you might as well impress the crowd.

Gluten-Free Giveaway!

We had such an overwhelming response to last week’s Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Giveaway that I was thrilled to host another round. This week, we’re giving away the Thai Kitchen products needed to make Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa and Chicken Satay Skewers – another gluten-free recipe that’s great for the game. Here’s what you can win:

  • Coconut Milk (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Fish Sauce (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Red Curry Paste (for Chicken Satay Skewers and Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa)
  • Peanut Satay Sauce (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Sweet Red Chili Sauce (for Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa)
  • 2 Thai Kitchen chip clips
  • 2 Thai Kitchen pot holders
  • Thai Kitchen coupons
  • Tailgating Recipes

To enter, leave a comment sharing your best gluten-free tailgating tip. (We know how resourceful you all are!) We’ll randomly select 2 winners and announce them right here on Friday afternoon.

October 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm 14 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts


Recent Posts

Follow Us on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 166 other followers

Gluten in Medications Survey
Nourished Blogger Conference

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers