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Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations

The following guest post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer, Candice Clifford of Embrace G-Free.

What does, “expect the unexpected,” mean to you? This was an exact interview question, which was given to me during my international service trip (ISP) interview.   As I heard these words I felt both fear and a thrill of excitement.  However, as I thought more about this central ISP theme, I began to realize this phrase could describe my life for the past eight years.

I don’t understand why certain events have happened in my life, but I certainly know that each hardship has taught me valuable life lessons. While dwelling on the “why question” was a part of my grief process when I was first diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), I quickly realized this was not going to help me live my best life.

As Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” says, “make your mess your message.” Whether big or small, we all have our own challenges.  In the end I truly feel that you will not be defined by your “something,” rather people will remember you for what you did with your life after you faced adversity.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Meeting the Group

That’s me starting my journey of empowerment (Keep reading, I’ll explain).

After I was diagnosed, I was full of fear. Food, going out to eat and getting sick again were fears hat controlled my life. However, in 2011 I made a choice to make a change by starting my blog, Embrace G-Free. Not only did this help get me back cooking in the kitchen, but it also empowered me.

Empowerment is one of the words which is continually tossed around in my counseling classes. However, I truly believe empowerment is a concept that you can’t fully understand until you personally experience it.   As a future counselor I feel blessed that I will have the opportunity to help my clients become empowered. However, it is possible to discover self-empowerment without the guidance of a professional.

One of the best things you can do to achieve self-empowerment is set a goal; big or small, size doesn’t matter. What makes the difference is your attitude. Throw the self-doubt out the door. “I can’t” isn’t an option. By no means am I saying you will achieve all your goals. I for sure haven’t; failing is part of life.  It is possible you may discover a barrier which prevents you from achieving your goal. However if you take all the proper steps and know you did everything in your power to try and achieve your goal, consider it a success. In taking action rather than letting your dreams pass you by, you will begin to feel more empowered.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, self-empowerment is something I am so passionate about because becoming empowered has moved my life in such a positive direction and has provided me with experiences which I am forever grateful for. Finding empowerment through my diagnosis was one of life’s “unexpected” moments, eventually leading me to achieving a goal which I was ready to give up on. However, a long-term college dream was achieved this past May when I was blessed to go on an international service trip to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  ISP Group

Me and my fellow students in the El Salvador ISP group

It was a long process to see if this goal could even be achieved. I started back in April 2012 and continued when I returned to school in September to make sure the sites could accommodate my needs. It was one thing to want to go on an ISP trip, but I needed to ensure I could do it safely. Patience, diligence, determination and an incredible program director helped me get through step one. Once I got the green light, it was onto getting over the hurdles of application selections and an interview process.

I will never forget the day I received the e-mail notifying me that I was selected to travel to El Salvador. I cried and would have screamed if I wasn’t at work. The planning process was incredible and in May 2013, my group and I were ready to head off to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Candice Clifford

How amazing is that view?

While many people see a service trip as a way to serve others, I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give to the people I served. Although I felt empowered prior to ISP, this experience truly allowed me to take my feeling of empowerment to a new level.  Not only was I faced with the challenge of new food allergy diagnoses a month before the trip, but while in El Salvador all my fears that I had prior to leaving happened. Despite this, I was OK.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  Building

I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give the people I served.

I truly believe it was my individual choices, which helped me overcome the challenges I faced. For example, rather then crying when I walked in the first night and realized I couldn’t eat the main meal, I took a deep breath to calm myself down, told myself it was going to be OK, and made an almond butter sandwich.  Overall that was one of the only meals I couldn’t eat and when I was unsure, I did without and turned to a safe option I brought with me.

After going on this trip I really began to realize even though food is our medicine, it doesn’t have to make or break our experiences. Of course enjoying some of the cultural dishes was wonderful and delicious, however, when I look back 20 years from now, I will not remember the foods I ate. Rather my memories will be of all the wonderful relationships I built during those 7 special days in El Salvador.

Food is our medicine, but don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals.  Become Empowered!

– Candice

About Candice Clifford & Embrace G-Free

Visit Embrace G-Free where you can find empowering tools to live your happiest and healthiest gluten-free life! Browse through great recipes, product reviews and helpful resources. Candice Clifford started Embrace G-free in January 2011, after being diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Follow her journey as she rediscovers her passions for baking and cooking. Candice shares her story with others to spare them from years of misdiagnoses and to inspire hope.

Follow Candice on Twitter (@CandiceRose90) and like Embrace G-Free on Facebook.

August 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm 2 comments

Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Scones

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

I had no desserts or snacks on hand today, and for me, that’s a horrible situation! I have a tremendous sweet tooth. So…out came the measuring spoons, cups, and other essentials.

There are certain flavors that go so well together…and these two are a perfect example: Cranberry and Orange.

I had a Cranberry-Orange Scone that was commercially made, gluten-free of course, and loved those tastes together. So, rather than spend $5.00 on one (“gulp!”), I decided to experiment on a recipe at home.  And you know what? It didn’t involve that much work or even that much time.

So, if you have the desire, and a little bit of time, try my scone recipe. And I’ll bet you can even change up the flavors once you’ve made this recipe and come up with something special that you’ll like just as much as I love these.

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (such as Arrowhead Mill), plus additional for dusting your board or surface.
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (Omit if already added to flour blend)
  • 1 stick cold sweet butter (8 Tbsp.) cut into small pieces. Keep cold until ready to begin adding.
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (If you like, use ¾ cup Half &Half instead of milk & cream)
  • 1 egg1 tsp. gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange juice- from a fresh orange
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest – from same orange of course.
  •  1/3 cup cranberries – dried
  • Small amount Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. No need to grease or spray.
  2. In large bowl, place all dry ingredients. Mix by hand just to make sure they are all incorporated together. Add the zest and combine.
  3. Take out the cold butter and “cut in” to the dry ingredients with pastry cutter tool or forks. Don’t use mixer here.
  4. In another smaller bowl, hand blend the wet ingredients including the egg and orange juice.
  5. Add the wet to the bowl with the dry. If you use a hand mixer, don’t beat too much. Once it gets a little stiff, stop and use clean hands. Form 2 balls. It should be easy to do this, since the batter will stick. If you feel it’s really too dry and doesn’t “stick together,” add a drop or two more milk. But not a lot of additional milk.
  6. On the dusted surface, place the two balls and flatten into 2 discs. They should be about 7-8 inches wide.
  7. Brush top with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
  8. Cut with a sharp knife into triangles and using a flat spatula, gently lift off board and place on the parchment paper on your baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden in color.
  10. Cool on the paper, and store in air-tight container when cooled. (Don’t cover while warm or moisture beads will form inside.)

This is really easy to do, and makes a great breakfast treat on a weekend morning! Actually, it’s a nice treat at any time of day!

– Annette

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.

August 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm 1 comment

Gluten-Free BBQ Shrimp with Lime Marinade

The following guest post is from NFCA volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

I love jumbo shrimp and this is an easy way to have them on the barbecue, with just a few steps beforehand.  After they’ve soaked up the marinade, just thread through skewers, or even place in one of those metal baskets for the grill.

The lime adds a great “tang”!

Gluten-Free BBQ Shrimp with Lime Marinade

Barbecue Shrimp with Lime Marinade: Finished Shrimp

Barbecue Shrimp with Lime Marinade

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. extra-jumbo shrimp (approx. 16 per lb.)
  • 1 lime (you need the grated zest from it and all of the juice squeezed from it)
  • ½ Tbsp. finely diced poblano pepper (You can freeze the remaining pepper for the future)
  • 3 Tbsp. light extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt (Sea salt preferred)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley flakes, chopped in small pieces

Directions:

  1. First, peel and devein the shrimp, trying your best to leave the tails on.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all of the remaining ingredients, stirring well.  Add the shrimp and toss so they’re coated all around.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Thread on skewers (or use a metal barbecue basket that will allow you to rotate the shrimp so all sides get cooked). If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water before threading, so they don’t burn on the grill.
  5. Place on a hot grill, and grill for about 3 minutes on each side, until turning pink.  A lovely side dish is a saffron rice, but whichever side dish you choose, these are great!

For tips on safe gluten-free grilling, check out the Gluten-Free Summer Safety Tips blog series from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

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.

July 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

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

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