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Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

The following guest post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

There is a local farmers’ market near me in New Jersey that carries these little zucchinis that are a different shape from those you typically see: these are round! As soon as you see ’em, you think “I’m gonna stuff them!”  They are probably picked early, though that’s only my guess, since I’m not familiar with the manner in which they‘re grown or harvested. I’ve only grown the usual zucchini which are long and thin, of course.

Now, if this recipe appeals to you and you aren’t able to find these round ones, you can certainly stuff the long shaped zucchini. Slice them horizontally and using a spoon, scoop or scrape out some filling creating an almost boat-like appearance. Save the filling to use in the stuffing as I’ll describe later.

Don’t be turned off by the steps involved. It really is worth the effort!

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Stuffeed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • A few fresh zucchini ( I used 3 for this recipe.)
  • Save the filling that’s removed, as directed, and dice it.
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ shallot- diced
  • 1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs (Gillian’s Gluten-free are my favorite)
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese (or Parmesan grated is fine too)
  • Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small button mushrooms or baby crimini‘s – diced
  • 1/5 of a red bell pepper – diced.
  • Dash of garlic powder, not garlic salt

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 can (28 0z.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fresh basil leaves – slivered or chopped
  • 1 garlic clove- minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use a dash of each)

Directions:

  1. First, wash the zucchini and then cut off the top, about ¼ from the top, trying to create a little “hat.” Using a sharp paring knife, remove some of the center to make space for stuffing. We’ve included lots of photos for this recipe to guide you. You need to leave enough zucchini inside though to provide some body to stand up.

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Raw Zucchini

    The raw zucchini.

  2. Save the filling you cut out. We’ll incorporate it into the other items for the filling.
  3. Place the hollow zucchini in a saucepan of water, but don’t submerge them. Water should only meet the zucchini half way up.

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Zucchini in Water

    Be sure to not submerge to zucchini in water!

  4. Cover pot. Simmer them for approximately 15 minutes, but keep carefully pressing the side to see if they are softening. Do not allow them to become mushy. We need some “body” in order to handle and stuff without falling apart.
  5. Using a ladle, gently remove from water and allow to cool on paper towel.
  6. Now make the filling:
  7. In a skillet, add the oil and when heated saute the shallot and then garlic for a short time. Don’t allow either to brown. While they are doing this, mix the bread crumbs and grated cheese in a small bowl. Add the Salt & Pepper to this and combine. Set aside.
  8. Into the skillet with that onion & garlic, now add the chopped zucchini you removed from the centers, and the small amount of red pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the diced mushrooms and do the same.
  9. Lastly, stir in the bread crumb mixture and incorporate into the vegetables.
  10. Remove to a bowl or dish to cool slightly-just long enough to be able to handle.
  11. Take the cooled, empty zucchini and “stuff!” Use a teaspoon or whatever is easy for you to manage and fill the zucchini as in the photo.(I know this seems like a lot, but it’s really an easy dish and worth it! )

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Stuffed Zucchini Uncooked

    Looking good, right?

  12. In a skillet that has a cover, place 2 tbsp Oil, and when warmed, saute the garlic and onion. Don’t brown, juts allow to become translucent.
  13. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and basil, a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well.
  14. Lastly, place the filled zucchini in the sauce, and over a low heat, cover pan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring the sauce all around them frequently, making sure they don’t stick to bottom of pan. The zucchini stay in an upright position during the cooking. Never tilt over. I put the “hats” we cut off at the beginning, in the sauce as well to soften them. The hats aren’t essential to the recipe, they just look cute! LOL!

Serve as a side dish with any entree, whether the meal is Italian or not…doesn’t matter. We love this with some crusty bread for sauce-dipping!

Hope you’ll try this! And let me know if you do.

– Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

June 19, 2013 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Trials and Tribulations – My First Experience with Gluten-Free Baking

New to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team, Healthcare Relations Intern Josh Goldberg has developed an interest in all things celiac disease and gluten-free related.  Eager to get more involved, Josh took to the kitchen to put his gluten-free baking skills to the test.  Read on for Josh’s account of his first try at gluten-free baking.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.

I glared at my monitor incredulously.  It sounded like the sort of thing you would make on a dare.  I had wandered into this recipe while searching for something gluten-free to bake.  If I had a lick of common sense, I would have stuck with something a little more traditional for a dessert.  My eyes darted down to the ingredients and baking steps.  The recipe only required three ingredients: a large avocado, coconut flour, and some salt.  All I had to do was mash up the avocado, mix it into the coconut flour and salt, toss the concoction onto a tray, and leave in the oven for a bit.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.  Three ingredients.  Seven steps.  What could go wrong?

I scrambled over to Whole Foods and picked up the necessary ingredients.  Once I got home, I pre-heated the oven and got to work.  The avocado peel came off easily and I attacked the fruit with all the precision of Norman Bates.  Some of the resulting mess ended up on the floor where the cat sniffed it curiously and then retreated.  I tried not to think of it as a bad omen and dumped the appropriate amount of coconut flour into the avocado’s bowl.

After the salt was added, I grabbed a big spoon and started to mix.  It felt like I was pushing sand.  The flour and avocado were adhering to one another, but the product was crumbling and barely clumping.  It took a good long while to bunch the mixture into what can only be described as The World’s Saddest Cookies.  Despite their less-than-perfect appearance, the bright green of the “cookies” brought me some level of optimism.  I pursed my lips and guided the cookie tray into the oven.  Surely, the baking process would instill some flavor into these little green lumps.

All signs should have pointed to me lowering my expectations for the cookies.  I caught a sniff of the coconut flour and began thinking about sharing these cookies with my family.  I would now have a signature dessert that I could bring to my in-laws when we ate at their residence.  Their fears of the bizarre-looking cookies would dissipate with a single taste.  I would be the new gluten-free baker on the block.  The thought was as savory as I hoped the cookies would be.

Beep!

I vaulted off the couch and grabbed the tray with a gloved hand.  The little green lumps that I had sent in were now…little green lumps with a tan.  I could still smell a hint of coconut, so my hope for a good, savory flavor remained intact.  After giving the lumps time to cool, I brought my fiancé into the kitchen to take a taste test with me.  She was surprised by the appearance of the cookies, but tentatively took a bite with me.

I didn’t even have time to ask her if she liked them before she placed what was left of the lump in my hand and ran to get a drink of water.

Dejected, I got in touch with my stepmother-in-law.  My fiance’s father and sister were diagnosed with celiac disease over ten years ago and it largely fell to her to figure out how to cook and bake without gluten.  Surely, she would give me some guidance as to what went wrong with the recipe or my cooking method.  My stepmother-in-law listened to my story and shrugged.  She had recently spent a Saturday making cookies of her own.  She made the cookies multiple times with different ratios of ingredients to get the right level of consistency and texture, but the end result was the same.  This woman, who had been cooking and baking gluten-free for so long, still struggled to perfect a recipe.

I was stunned.  Having eaten with my in-laws on numerous occasions, I knew her cooking was top-notch.  My stepmother-in-law noted my surprise and told me that cooking and baking is a constant learning process.  You rarely ever get the recipe right the first time.  The issue is compounded in gluten-free baking.  It is important to not be discouraged when a recipe does not go as planned.  Instead, take stock of what you have learned and incorporate it into your next try.  The reward of having a go-to baking recipe is worth the effort.

My discussion with my stepmother-in-law soothed my bruised ego.  She had spent an entire day on a cookie recipe that went nowhere and I was upset over one simple recipe gone awry.  I went back over the avocado coconut cookie recipe and checked some similar, more complex recipes.  It turns out that I need to add some additional binding agents to the recipe to bulk up those green lumps.  It would also help to add chocolate to enhance the flavor.  My lesson has been learned.  I don’t feel embarrassed about the experience anymore.  I feel empowered.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.  I’ll give you another try…someday.

–          Josh
Healthcare Relations Intern, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

June 13, 2013 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

The following recipe is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

Summertime means pie!   New Jersey, my home state, is the nation’s largest grower of blueberries. And you know what that means? We get ‘em fresh and in abundance!

There’s a Blueberry Pie recipe on my blog already, but this one is slightly different; it’s semi-homemade using prepared Gluten-Free Pie Crust from Whole Foods Brands, and of course, it’s sporting a crumb topping.

I love this one more than my first blueberry pie recipe…the crumbs get toasty and have a nice “bite” to each mouthful! And it doesn’t hurt that it was less work. HaHa!

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie: Finished Pie

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made gluten-free pie crust (This is the bottom crust.)

For Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (Such as Bob’s Red Mill, or Namaste All-Purpose, or your preference)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. cold salted Butter or Vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. cold water ( More if dough feels very dry)
  • ½  tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup light brown sugar

Pie Filling:

  • 3 pints fresh blueberries, picked clean of stems, washed and dried
  • 1 tart apple, cored, peeled and grated. After grating, squeeze apple shaving in a towel to remove moisture or pie will be very wet
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt (not sea salt)
  • 1 tsp. butter (To dot on top of berries before baking.)

Directions:

  1. The first thing you need to do is prepare the dough for the Crumb Topping.  Combine the dry ingredients for the topping first, and then add the butter, “cutting” it in with a pastry blender tool or 2 forks.
  2. Now add the wet ingredients and combine, using the pastry blender or forks, and eventually with your clean hands, until you have a ball of dough.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 45 min. to 1 hour.

Now prepare the filling:

  1. In a saucepan, place half of the blueberries over low heat. As they begin to warm and then simmer, mash with a potato masher or anything that will crush them. Keep simmering until they’re reduced to half of the amount you began with. Stir well and keep an eye on them. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool for about 15 minutes.
  2. In a larger bowl, place the remaining ingredients, including the other, raw blueberries, lemon zest & juice, salt, cornstarch.  Add the first berries and combine well with a spatula or wooden spoon, folding under as you combine well.
  3. Pour in the pre-made pie shell and dot with the teaspoon of butter (separated into 4 tiny pieces) scattered about the top.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Remove the chilled ball of dough, unwrap and place in a medium sized bowl. Using the pastry blender tool or forks, create crumbs. What we’re doing is crumbling the dough until the tiny balls of it are about the size of peas. Sprinkle all over the berry mixture.Here’s a photo of the raw pie at this step.
  6. Place the pie on a baking sheet (this promotes even distribution of heat and helps the bottom crust bake) and then place in that 400 degree oven on the lowest shelf for 20 minutes.
  7. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes.  The crumbs should be a golden color and rim of pie also golden.  Cool the pie on a rack for at least 2 to 2 ½ hours, before serving.

My Tip:

I use a pie “protector ring” on my crust so it doesn’t burn.  These are available at most kitchen specialty shops. Here in the Northeast we have “Bed, Bath and Beyond” where I got mine! If the crust seems to be getting too brown, you can even cut a few strips of aluminum foil and make your own protective cover for the rim. Don’t cover the whole pie, just the outer crust.

Hope you like it. I love this and have to force myself to stop eating it! But then again, we  do have a major sweet tooth in my family!

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

June 5, 2013 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Pasta in Bolognese Sauce

The following recipe is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

Would you like to surprise Mom with dinner on Mother’s Day or on any day, for that matter? Why not an Italian dinner that you can easily make from scratch?

Bolognese sauce is pretty easy and this recipe shortens the time to 1 hour. There are various recipes out there, some simmering the sauce for 2+ hours, but you can achieve similar results with this one, which shortens that by half.

Bolognese sauce also varies in which meat you choose to use. Some recipes call for ½ ground beef and ½ ground veal. I’ll leave that up to you.

Here I used just ground beef, so feel free to follow this exactly or combine the two. Just use half as much of each, if you combine them.

I also don’t use “naked” ground meat. I prepare the ground meat as I would for meatballs. Then instead of rolling into a ball, you just leave it un-shaped and brown it in your saucepan, so its result is a loose meat within the sauce.

Please let me know if you prepare this and how you like it! Bon appetito!

Gluten-Free Pasta in Bolognese Sauce

Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognese

This dish will taste like you slaved in the kitchen for hours, but no one has to know this recipe cuts your cooking time in half!

Ingredients:
Meat Preparation:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Italian-flavored gluten-free bread crumbs- (I like Gillian’s)
  • ¼ cup grated Italian cheese
  • 1 slice of white gluten-free sliced bread that has soaked in small amount of milk. (You will use the center of the slice, the white part, and gently squeeze out the milk. It’s ok if it’s still wet, no need to get it too dry. It adds moisture.)
  • Dash of salt & pepper

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion- minced
  • 2 garlic cloves- minced
  • 1 carrot- shredded. (Use a food processor for speedier preparation or shred by hand.)
  • 1 celery rib, minus the green leafy end – minced or shredded in a food processor
  • The above-prepared ground meat
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Grated Italian cheese to garnish when ready to serve.

Directions:

  1. First, prepare the ground meat, as you would for meatballs.  (It’s easy! Place all of those ingredients in a large bowl, use clean hands and combine well. Don’t form meatballs, just leave it as combined.)
  2. Take a frying pan and brown the meat in the hot vegetable oil, loosely stirring as you brown it, and turning over to brown all parts. Drain off any fat and oil and then set aside until it’s time to add to the saucepan.
  3. In a large saucepot, place the olive oil and when hot, sauté the onion and garlic. Don’t allow to brown. After onion is translucent, add the shredded carrot and celery and sauté for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Now, add the browned meat, and stir into the vegetables.
  5. Add the can of Crushed Tomatoes, the basil ,salt & pepper.Here’s a view of the simmering sauce:

    Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognes: Bolognese Cooking

    Your Bolognese sauce should start to look something like this!

  6. Cover and begin to cook on a low-medium heat. Keep checking. When it’s simmering, reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently and touch the bottom of the pot when you stir! This isn’t something you can set and forget. It will stick to the bottom and burn if left unattended for more than 10 minutes. So, if you feel you may forget to stir, set a timer for every ten minutes so your results will be the best!
  7. When it’s done, you can remove from heat and leave covered until your gluten-free pasta of choice is cooked.
  8. Boil the pasta until “al dente”.  Drain pasta and place it in a large bowl so you can pour this yummy sauce on top and fold into the pasta to coat well.
  9. Add grated Italian cheese on top and enjoy!!

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

May 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Chicken with Broccoli over Rice

The following guest post and recipe are from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer, Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

 I am a former New Yorker, where there are more restaurants than you can shake a stick at! And quite often we enjoyed frequenting a Chinese place serving both Sechuan and Cantonese dishes, with all of the various tastes that just make your mouth water.  So, when I wanted something similar, (don’t get me wrong-I’m not that familiar with Chinese cooking, after all, I’m Italian-American!) I fiddled around until I was happy with this dish.

This is a really quick chicken recipe that’s a one-dish meal, ready in about 30 to 40 minutes. And with the warm weather months ahead, that’s perfect for supper after a day outside enjoying yourself!

The trick to this recipe? Cook the white rice on one burner while the main dish is going on a second. Then everything’s ready at the same time.

Gluten-Free Chicken with Broccoli over Rice

Gluten-Free Chicken with Broccoli on Rice

Gluten-Free Chicken with Broccoli on Rice

Ingredients:

  • White rice (Cook as directed, amount is per your needs)
  • 6 or 7 chicken tenderloins, cut in half on diagonal
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, washed and stems removed.
  • 2 scallions sliced, but do not use the last 2 inches of greenest ends
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ lb ( or more if you prefer) sugar snap peas, washed
  • 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (Natural Soy Sauce Alternative)
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions: 

  1. Put up the rice, as we said, to be cooking while you’re making the chicken-broccoli dish.
  2. In large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. When melted, saute the chicken tenders on a low to medium heat until there’s a golden tinge and there’s some golden-brown bits in the pan from the butter.
  3. Remove chicken and place on a plate, but keep the butter residue in the pan.
  4. In the butter residue, saute the scallions first, then add the peas and broccoli. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until starting to get a golden color.
  5. Add the broth, spices, amino liquid, and cover pan.
  6. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove cover and pour out about ½ cup of liquid into a measuring cup or small bowl.
  8. Add the cornstarch and hand-blend until combined.
  9. Add to the skillet and replace pan on low heat. Cover and heat for another 5-7 minutes until it only thickens a little. You should have a gravy-like liquid now. Shut heat.

The rice should be done and ready for your plate!

Quick! One-Dish! Ready to go!!

Enjoy!

– Annette Marie

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

April 25, 2013 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

A Personal Celiac Disease Story and Gluten-Free Recipe

Introducing Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free!  Annette will be sharing her gluten-free recipes here on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) staff blog. Read on to learn more about the cook behind the gluten-free recipes at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

My name is Annette and I live in the “Garden State,” the lovely state of New Jersey! I was actually a New Yorker most of my life, growing up there and learning to cook and bake at the hip of my Italian-American Mom. (I must admit that when I was twelve, I wasn’t too happy to forgo the soda shop after school in order to learn how to make marinara sauce!) But looking back, I’m glad she did it.

Like many others, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after much suffering, pain and anguish, wondering what could be wrong with me.  As a kid, we visited the doctor so often that when he saw me he’d exclaim, “Well, it’s the belly-ache kid!”  Later in my life I had 3 ulcers and always suffered with stomach issues in one way or another.

For years I was embarrassed, frustrated and down-right mad!  Why couldn’t they fix what was wrong?  However, unlike some people with celiac disease, I wasn’t diagnosed as a child…nor as a teen…nor even as a young woman.  Mine was diagnosed well after 50! Talk about a medical mystery!

It was so severe that I was unable to make a 30 minute drive without plotting the route and discovering if there was a shop with a restroom nearby.

Thank God for the gastroenterologists, who have been caring and supportive, have provided information, guidance and so much more. Yes, it was difficult the first few months, but I took it on as a challenge to be met.

That’s why I’m really hoping to “Pay-it-Forward” by helping anyone who may need some guidance or reassurance. My recipes are both “semi-homemade” and “scratch,” and if I can provide photos along with as much description as I can to help you get cooking gluten-free, then that’s what I’ll do.

My biggest message to people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is, please don’t feel isolated.  More and more, it seems as if gluten intolerance and celiac disease are coming to the forefront. And thank goodness for strides being made in our behalf by organizations like the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Here is just one of my gluten-free recipes that I’m so excited to share with you!

Cheese-Filled Coffee Cake

Cr. Cheese Coffee w Whole

Ingredients:

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese – room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Gluten-Free Bisquick
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used Lactaid 2%, but any is fine)
  • ¼ cup butter – softened, room temp is fine)
  • 1 tsp. gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter – room temp
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill is fine.)
  • Small amount of confectioner’s sugar for dusting on top when it’s done.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease a round 9 in. cake pan.  (I used margarine)
  2. Well, you’ve greased the pan liberally, so set it aside.  First, mix the filling in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar.  Gradually add the flour and mix until well combined.  Spread about a little more than half of the batter in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Next put the cream cheese filling on top and try to spread around. (It may be difficult, but using the back of a tablespoon works well.)
  5. Lastly, put the remainder of the dough batter on top.
  6. In a small bowl, using a pastry blender tool or 2 forks, combine the topping ingredients until it resembles crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter in the pan.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes. Ovens vary so take a peek after 20 minutes. A tooth pick inserted into it should come out clean and dry when done.
  8. Cool well before dusting the top with sifted confectioner’s sugar, if you like.  After cooling, be sure to keep covered for freshness.

That’s it!

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie
Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

April 3, 2013 at 9:26 am 1 comment

3 Tips for Coping with a Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Recently, I posted this question on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Facebook page: Do you agree that people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can feel excluded from social life?  I posted the question after seeing an article on Celiac.com from a gluten-free college student who feels like celiac disease can isolate her from social activities.

I was blown away by the response on Facebook.  Obviously, this is a hot topic.  As of now, there are 81 comments in a thread that’s still active.  It’s so interesting to see all of these comments.  Some people adamantly disagree that celiac disease impacts their social life while others struggle to stay included in activities and events.  There were lots of parents concerned for their young children with celiac disease and the implications it has on them socially, both now and in the future.  It appears that many people believe the impact of a celiac disease diagnosis directly correlates with your attitude about the diagnosis.  Positive attitude, positive life with celiac disease.

No matter which side of the fence you fall on, there’s no denying that celiac disease changes your life once you receive the diagnosis.  Here are my top 3 tips for coping with a diagnosis of celiac disease or NCGS:

Read. Then read more.

There is no better way to navigate the gluten-free diet than to learn and understand all the ins and outs of the lifestyle.  The more you know, the more you can keep yourself in good health.  Learn what gluten is, how it affects the body in people with a gluten-related disorder, where gluten can hide and how to prevent cross-contamination.  It might sound intimidating at first, but NFCA is here to help.  Browse www.CeliacCentral.org to get started.

Get support.

Do you know one of the great things about being gluten-free?  The online community is amazing!  There are so many advocates on the internet who can help with everything from delicious gluten-free recipes to lifestyle tips.  NFCA is always around to answer questions and provide resources on Facebook, Twitter and the new Celiac Central community on Inspire.com.  Check them out to connect with other people who are living gluten-free.

Get more support.

The gluten-free diet can be confusing at first.  There are a lot of gluten-containing products out there that you might be surprised to find out actually have gluten in them.  (I was probably most surprised to find out soy sauce and some chicken broths have gluten.)  With so many things to look for on a product’s ingredient label, it can be really frustrating at first.  I highly recommend seeking support from a registered dietitian that fully understands the gluten-free diet.  They’ll help set you up with the tools and knowledge you need to get started.

If you don’t have access to a dietitian (or even if you do), check out the book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case, RD.  It’s one of the most helpful gluten-free resources available.

Feel free to comment with some of the difficulties you’ve faced after the diagnosis and how you’ve learned to overcome them.  You’ll certainly be helping out the newly diagnosed reading this post!

– Alicia

February 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm 4 comments

When Life Hands You Lemons…

The following is a guest post by Dhanu Thiyagarajan, a student at University of Pittsburgh and founder of Gluten Free My Campus, the university’s gluten-free student group.  Dhanu is also a Campus Ambassador for Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. 

Being gluten-free is difficult, but being a gluten-free college student is even harder. I found this out the hard way – from experience. I came to University of Pittsburgh unaware of the city, college-life and, worst of all, where to get safe gluten-free food.

I did come under one assumption that turned out to be very wrong; I believed that there would be a gluten-free club. So many people are gluten-free and especially on a college campus in the city, how could there not be a gathered group of people who know the best gluten-free restaurants and the inside secrets? Once I got there, I realized this club didn’t exist and that scared me a lot.  I wasn’t sure why there wouldn’t be a group on campus.  Was I the only gluten-free student?  Was finding gluten-free food so easy that there was no need for a special group or club?

I gave the situation some time, but finding gluten-free options was terribly difficult. This led me to think there couldn’t be any other gluten-free students, but statistically that made no sense. So, I decided to form the club myself.  It didn’t exist, but it needed to. The university needed improvements and I needed help finding gluten-free options. I talked to the nutritionist and the chef at the dining hall (among other people) and found ways that I could connect with other gluten-free people on campus. I was able to engage roughly 10 people and set up a casual meeting.

The day of the meeting came, and I was so excited to meet these other people and talk about the struggles of being gluten-free on campus.  To my dismay, nobody came.  Not a single person.  I figured they didn’t have any problems being gluten-free, and that this didn’t matter to them.

Thankfully, my parents and friends convinced me to try again, so I did. This time, fellow gluten-free students came to the meeting!  I am so glad they convinced me to give it a second try, because now Pitt has a fantastic gluten-free club: Gluten Free My Campus!

Gluten Free My Campus Officers

It all worked out in the end; meet the officers of Gluten Free My Campus!

Have you had a similar experience, or do you know a gluten-free student who did?  I’d love to know what their experiences are like on other campuses!

– Dhanu

January 3, 2013 at 9:59 am 2 comments

3 Tips for Making Gluten-Free Food Better Than the Original

The following post is from guest blogger Annsley Klehr, owner of Gluten Freedoms, a gluten-free consulting business. Annsley is a teacher, a mom, and a volunteer with NFCA.  You can read more on her blog, Gluten-Free Food and Fun.

Some people have the misconception that “gluten-free” means “taste-free.”  Here are 3 tips to make your gluten-free dishes delicious:

Choose the Best Tasting Brand

Try as many gluten-free products as possible, and choose the one that reminds you of the good old gluten-days.  Remember that quality matters.

Choose the Naturally Gluten-Free Ones

So many foods are naturally gluten-free, and so are plenty of recipes.  Focus on those for best bet recipes like Catch-All Roasted Root Vegetables.

Pay Attention to Other Cultures

Choose the gluten-free foods that other cultures eat as part of their everyday diet.  That way, you know that you’re not just “substituting,” but rather using foods that have been loved and enjoyed for hundreds of years.  Quinoa was considered the mother grain to the Inca and cultivated by the Bolivians over 5,000 years ago.  It’s been tested for a lot longer than some of the other shelf products!  And the Brazilians make a tapioca cheese bread that is just heavenly.  You can find it on the table at the Brazilian steakhouse chain, Fogo de Chao.

Don’t give up on your diet or your belief in gluten-free!

–  Annsley

December 17, 2012 at 9:59 am 2 comments

Holiday Wish List

The following is a guest post from Amie Valpone, a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Marketing Consultant, Whole Living Expert, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook.

Looking for a few fun stocking stuffers or gifts to get for your loved ones?

Look no further!  I’ve got a list of fun surprises that were carefully curated for your home, kitchen and beauty routine.  Many don’t take up space so you can stuff them into Christmas stockings with no problem.

The perfect gift isn’t easy to find so let me do that job for you. I’ve scoured the web for my 2012 gift guide to streamline your holiday shopping and keep you jolly!

Happy Holidays!

Foodie Favorites

YS Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey

Offer your honey the gift of raw honey in its true, solid state. YS Eco Bee Farms is a pioneer in organic bee farming and you can taste the purity of their product in every bite of this rich, creamy, decadent treat. Packed with natural antioxidants and healing agents, raw honey is amazing in hot teas, on toast, in desserts, with peanut butter—and quite honestly, on a spoon. You can also use this product to make your own beauty products.

Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark semi-sweet Belgian chocolate + whole dry roasted almonds + sea salt = a chocolate lover’s dream! All Chocolove bars contain a love poem inside. How sweet is that?!

Pamela’s Products Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Gluten and Wheat Free)

Tantalizing, decadent cookies by Pamela’s Products are gluten-free, wheat-free and non-dairy—and sure to delight dark chocolate lovers (even those with dietary limitations.) The box is adorable and very “giftable.”  (Hint: these cookies are deliciously scone-like in their dryness and taste and are especially yummy when dipped into icy cold almond milk from Blue Diamond Almond Breeze!)

Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and White Chocolate Wonderful

Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams is indeed the stuff of dreams. All natural no-stir peanut butter blends with rich dark chocolate for an amazing spread, ice cream topper or BFF to organic fruit.

Give as a gift along with Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful (soooo good with a cold, fresh pear) and reinvent the experience of peanut butter for someone you love.

Navitas Naturals Raw Chocolate Organic Cacao Nibs

Give the gift of antioxidants, iron, magnesium…and let’s not forget dark chocolate with this certified organic, raw, vegan treat. A foodie must-have, raw chocolate nibs are packed with flavonols and polyphenols. These nibs are also great for baking, delicious in smoothies and decadent in oatmeal or yogurt.

Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic Extra Bold Dark Roast Keurig K-Cups

For serious coffee drinkers, Dark Magic by Green Mountain Coffee is truly a magical java and bound to become a favorite of anyone closely attached to their Keurig machine. This 100% Arabica coffee blend offers an intense, bold start to your morning.

Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-Free Dreams Pancake and Waffle Mix

There’s no better treat than fluffy pancakes, hot off the griddle. Free of gluten, nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy and peanuts, this decadent mix by Cherrybrook Kitchen offers a home-cooked treat for people with special diets that will delight everyone else at the breakfast table, too.

Vitacost Extra Virgin Certified Organic Coconut Oil

This super-food is an amazing butter substitute in baking, adds a lightly sweet taste in high-heat cooking and can be used for skin and hair health, too.

The Gift of Gorgeous

DevaCurl Volumizing Frizz-Free Foam

Curly-haired friends will love this frizz-free volumizer, which is free of sulfates, parabens and silicone.

Deep Steep Candy Mist Foot Cream Dynamic Duo Gift Set

Tired feet and legs? This energizing gift set is infused with cooling essential oils and rich Shea butter for a healing and rejuvenating lift. Plus, the deodorizing mist gets rid of foot stinkies! You’ll appreciate that it’s already adorably packaged to fit right under the Christmas tree or beside the menorah.

Alba Botanic Hawaiian Sea Salt Body Scrub

Baby, it might be cold outside, but you can feel as dewy and smooth as if you just emerged from a tropical getaway with this delightful, invigorating citrus scrub. Hypoallergenic and gentle enough for all skin types, this exfoliating medley of tropical oils is scented with jojoba, kukui, macadamia and sweet almond.

DermOrganic Leave-In Treatment with Argan Oil

Made from certified organic argan oil from Morocco, this cruelty-free and vegan hair helper revitalizes and repairs strands, adding softness and shine.  Not only does it protect your locks from thermal damage, it speeds drying time by 30% so you won’t need that hair dryer in the first place!

Earth Therapeutics Neck Pillow

Soft, fleecy U-shaped pillow snuggles around your neck to take you away to your relaxing, happy place. Heat it in the microwave to intensify the scent of lavender and chamomile for an added dose of aahhhh…

Desert Essence Organics Coconut Hand and Body Lotion

This 100% vegan and cruelty-free body lotion is exceptionally kind to your skin, as well. Rich, tropical organic extracts give it its scent and sheen.

Monoi Tiare Tahiti Vanilla Coconut Oil

It sounds delicious—but this light, delicate oil isn’t for eating. Turn any massage into a tropical experience with this exotic body oil, enhanced by the scent of fresh Tahitian gardenias.

Organic Figi Lemongrass Tangerine Nourishing Lotion

This GMO-free, paraben-free lotion pampers skin with cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil infused with a delectable lemongrass and tangerine scent.

Earth Therapeutics Dream Zone Sleep Mask

With a gossamer-soft blend of silk and cotton resting coolly above your eyelids, sweet dreams are easy. Perfect for frequent travelers, light sleepers—and that significant other who complains that you need to sleep with a light on.

Home Sweet Home

Numi Teas Glass Teahouse Teapot

Unique, hand-blown glass teapot captures a flowering tea in bloom and serves up to 14 oz. of delicious, individually brewed tea.

Kiss My Face Peace Candle in Lemongrass Clary Sage

Adorably boxed in 100% recycled packaging, this clean-burning candle is made from hand-poured soy wax and scented with delightful essential oils. It has a 38-hour burn time and 10% of profits support Seeds of Peace.

Aloha Bay Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

A warm, peaceful glow emanates from this 110V light fixture, which is made from crystal salt mined from 200-million-year-old salt layers located at the foot of the Himalayas. When the crystal heats, it purifies the air by removing dust, pollen and cigarette smoke.

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Room Diffuser

Deodorize, naturally. This plug-in unit uses low levels of heat to volatize essential oils. Perfect for rooms inhabited by pets!

Bodum Chambord French Press 8-Cup Coffee Maker

Designed by Normandy craftsman, this coffee maker has been a favorite brewing method of diehard coffee aficionados for decades.

“If the Shoe Fits, Buy It” Coin Purse by Blue Q

Too cute for words! The perfect gift for the shoe addict in your life, this adorable vintage-inspired woven bag is made from 95% post-consumer material.

Aloha Bay Chakra Candle Healing Jar

Made from 100% pure essential oils including lavandin, orange and tangerine, this healing jar is the perfect gift for someone who is dealing with heartache or grief, because it is inspired by the “heart chakra,” the center of compassion and love.

Want more gift ideas?  Check out the  2012 Gluten-Free Holiday Gift Guide from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

– Amie
www.TheHealthyApple.com

December 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

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