Monday, March 16, 2015

Requested Sandwich Bread Recipe

This is a basic bread recipe, very reliable and once you have it mastered you can introduce all sorts of flavors to the recipe by changing the high protein flour you use by using buttermilk or goat milk powder and by adding nuts and seeds.  It will keep for about three days double wrapped in cling wrap in the kitchen counter or freezes beautifully.  You can also use this recipe to make bread rolls.

Gluten Free Bread                                                                                                                   

3 cups flour mix                                 1 tablespoon yeast   

½  cup high protein flour (oat**)            ½ cup lukewarm water                       

¼ cup sugar                                        2 teaspoons sugar

2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum              ¼ cup shortening

½ cup dry milk powder                       1 ¼ cups hot water

¾ teaspoon salt                                  1 tsp apple cider vinegar  

                                                            1 egg plus 2 egg whites                           


Grease 9 x 5 loaf pan. Make foil collar about 1 1/2 inches in height and place around loaf pan to allow bread to rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flours, sugar, xanthan gum, milk powder and salt in the large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.  

In a separate bowl, sprinkle yeast into the lukewarm water with the 2 teaspoons of sugar added and let dissolve.

Melt shortening in 1 ¼ cups of hot water.

Pour vinegar and shortening mix into dry ingredients and blend on low.  Add egg and egg whites and beat for a few seconds.  Add the dissolved yeast.  Beat at highest speed for 3 ½ minutes.

Pour dough into pan. Let dough rise until doubled in bulk (about 35 minutes).

Put bread in oven for 1 ½ hours until internal bread temperature is between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  It must be about 200 degrees internally to ensure the bread is cooked through.

If the outside browns too much before the 1 1/2 hours, cover with foil and continue to bake for the full time.

** use any high protein flour you like such as sorghum, oat, quinoa or any bean flour.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Offerings!

Luckily for us celiacs, the traditional St Patrick's Day dinner of corned beef, cabbage and mashed potatoes is totally, naturally gluten free.  However, many Americans like to have a slice of Irish soda bread with their dinner.

Here is the recipe I always use adapted from the Ballymaloe Healthy Gluten Free Eating cook book.  Remember there is no yeast in this recipe and so it relies on baking soda and buttermilk to give it lightness.  Once the wet ingredients have been added to the dry the baking soda starts to work and to get the best airy bread you must work fast and with a light touch.  Do not over mix or knead in any way or your bread will become tough.  Anyone used to making southern biscuits will know this.  Here goes and best of Irish luck!

White Soda Bread

14 oz gluten free flour mix
 (mine is rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch to keep the white soda bread white)
2 oz dry milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your flour mix contains xanthan gum just add 1/2 teaspoon)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
10-12 fl oz buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Whisk all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and the buttermilk.  Make a well I. The center of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk mixture all at once.  Using one hand, with your fingers stiff and outstretched (like a claw), stir in a full circular movement from the center of the bowl to the outside in ever increasing circles, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary.  The dough should be softish but not too wet and sticky.

Mix as quickly and lightly as possible and as soo. As the dough all comes together turn it out onto a gf floured surface.

Wash and dry your hands.  With rice floured fingers, roll the dough lightly, just to tidy up the shape. Pat the dough into a round about 2 inches in height.

Place the dough on a baking tray lightly dusted with flour.  With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread.

Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F for a further 25/30 minutes or until cooked.  To check if it cooked, tap the bottom of the bread.  It will sound hollow when it is cooked.  Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dairy Free Too?

Something that has been coming up a lot recently with my clients is sensitivity to dairy.  Many celiacs have this problem.  Some have the issue from the very beginning of their diagnosis, others develop it over time.  

Contrary to what many people think, the issue that celiacs have with dairy is not related to lactose.  Cows milk contains a protein called casein. Casein is very similar in structure to the gluten protein and as a result the body mistakes it for gluten and rejects it as it rejects gluten.  

When you have been dealing with a gluten free life style and have finally gotten used to it, it can be really daunting to suddenly find that you have to go back to the start and eliminate dairy as well. Well, this has been our story with Daniel for a number of years and 6 months ago I got to a point where I had to go through the same thing.

So, in case, you are going through this yourself right now, here are some options that I found helpful in eliminating dairy from my gluten free diet, and I hope they will help you too.

1.  Unsweetened almond milk is delicious with granola and shakes in the morning.  

2.  Rice milk is better in baking as it doesn't have a strong taste that would change the flavor profile of the cakes or breads you are making.

3.  Dairy free butter spreads often contain soy so if you are sensitive, be careful.  I have found a pure palm oil shortening that is perfect for baking and doesn't taste bad on bread.  It is available in Kroger and is not too expensive.

4.  Goat and sheep cheeses are a great option if you can tolerate them.  There are some delicious options in the grocery stores, experiment to see which one you prefer. 

5. Coconut milk and icecreams are delicious but be careful, they are high in calories and, if that is the only option you are using, you can be taking on much more fat than you expected.

Another big issue when we can't have dairy is how to get enough calcium into our diets.  Especially when we are dealing with growing children.  Here are a few of the non-dairy sources of calcium that I have found very effective for making sure that Daniel grew to his full potential.

White Beans, canned salmon, sardines, bok choy, kale, almonds (in any form), oranges, sesame seeds  and goat or sheep cheese if you can tolerate it.

If these are not ingredients that you usually use, try to include them in your daily diet. 

Here is a recipe for a healthy white bean dip that is great with corn tortillas or vegetables for an afternoon snack.  It contains 5% of your daily recommended calcium per serving:

White Bean Dip (serves 5)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (or parsley, if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced (add gradually, to your taste)
salt and pepper

Put beans, coriander, garlic and olive oil into blender and process until chunky, add some of the lemon and process again, taste and add more if needed.  Taste again and add pinch of salt and pepper, process until you get texture you like.  I like it mostly smooth with a few beans that are still chunky.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Raleigh Celiac Support Group Meeting

Hi Guys,

A number of people couldn't attend the meeting last night and asked me to take notes and write this blog to let them know what happened.

We had an excellent meeting last night.  We had a guest speaker, Dr Melissa, Garrett who is a gastroenterologist at Duke University.  She was very knowledgeable and gave us some information that none of us had known before.  I will do this as bullet points or this blog will go on forever.

- They used to think Celiac Disease was a North European disease but they are finding it more and more across all ethnic backgrounds.  Asians are the ethnic group with the least number of cases at present.

- Celiac Disease is diagnosed by its effect on the digestive system.  Gluten Intolerance is diagnosed usually by its effect on all parts of the body, exhaustion, aching joints, etc.  Even though celiacs suffer from these symptoms too, they must have the digestive issues to be diagnosed as Celiac.

- Many people who suffer from Diabetes 1 develop celiac disease and thyroid problems can complete the triad.  Celiac disease sufferers are not at a higher rate for suffering from Diabetes, only the reverse.

- After being diagnosed as Celiac, usually by the tTG-IGA blood test, and going on the gluten free diet, the digestive system will usually heal itself with 6-12 months. 

- If you are on a gluten free diet and still feel a little unwell, Dr Garrett recommended that you try the FODMAPS diet.  This diet takes out foods that contain fructose that can cause bloating and discomfort in the digestive system.  Many of the attendees are planning on trying this.  The FODMAPS diet sheet can be found online, just google it.

- Dr Garrett recommended that Celiac Disease sufferers and their offspring (either symptomatic or not) should have blood test annually to ensure that good health is maintained.

After Dr. Garrett presentation and the many questions that we fired at her, Hadassah Patterson spoke to let us know about the NC Triangle Gluten Intolerance Fair being held in September.  I will put a picture of the flyer she gave us at the bottom of this blog.  

Then we had a discussion regarding the annual Gluten Free Expo that is being held in Raleigh on August 9th (check the calendar in for details) and Pat let us know that if you want to attend the Whole Food Gluten Free Facility tour being held on August 28th, please let her know via email (her email is on the website).  This is always a good evening with lots of good samples to be tasted.

We heard about another excellent Italian restaurant that is doing gluten free food. Vivos Italian Restaurant on Six Forks Road.  The owners son is celiac so they have a separate area in the kitchen for gluten free meals.  Details on website.

Really a very informative meeting.  I recommend that if you can, attend these meetings, they do keep us up to date on the latest news on Celiac Disease.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crazy for Bananas

We love bananas in our house.  We go through a least two bunches a week! And I, for one, am happy to encourage this.  Bananas are a great fruit, especially for celiacs.  Did you know that bananas contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, magnesium and folate, all of which we can be lacking in our gluten free diet.  

How do we eat them?  We eat them plain, we use them in smoothies, when they are beginning to turn we make banana bread, banana pancakes and then we freeze the bananas and make dairy free banana ice cream.  Here are a couple of the banana recipes that we love (these are also dairy free because that's how we are eating right now).

Banana Pancakes

This is the easiest pancake recipe ever, no messing with flour or even much measuring when you are still half asleep!  These are requested more often than my normal pancakes this summer.

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes (from the Simply Gluten Free magazine)

2 ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 cup peanut, almond or cashew butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl.  Add the nut butter, eggs and baking powder.  Mix well.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium-low heat.  Brush the pan with oil.  Ladle 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto pan for each pancake. Cook until bottoms are golden brown and edges appear dry, about 5 minutes.  Gently flip and cook for another minute or until bottoms are browned and pancakes feel firm to touch.  Serve warm, delicious!

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix with xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 c sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola or sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 4 x 8 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  In a small bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, bananas, vanilla extract and oil.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.  Transfer batter into loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean.  Let cool completely in pan before turning out.

Banana Icecream (can be doubled) adapted from Daily Bites Recipe

2 medium ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
3/4 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)
2 Tablespoons Dutch Cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Turn into plastic container and freeze until solid (about 5 hours).  This is delicious as is but if you like your ice cream a little smoother, freeze your mix for about 2 hours, then remove from freezer and blend again until smooth, then put back in freeze and freeze for another two to three hours.  You can also make these into healthy popsicles by dividing mix into Popsicle molds.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Is Gluten Free making us Fat?

Its a funny thing!  I never thought I would say that I was glad that I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease before "gluten-free" was a phrase that everybody knew. But I am.

When I was diagnosed, there were no gluten free flours in the stores, and no gluten free pizzas, cookies or bread were readily available.  And this was difficult.  I had to figure out how to eat a fresh, unprocessed diet.  I had to learn what nutrients I was lacking in my gluten free diet and find replacement foods.  I had to learn how to use the different types of gluten free flours that I bought online, and how to make that flour taste as good as "normal" food.  It took time and effort but I learned so much about good nutrition and good diet in the process.

Now, gluten free food is readily available in almost every grocery store.  Gluten free hamburger buns, hot dog rolls, pizza, bread, cookies, pretzels - you name it, you can probably get it gluten free.  

Great, you think! and yet I have spoken to so many people who have been put on a gluten free diet and have gained 10 to 20 pounds in 6 months and can't understand why.  A gluten free diet can be a healthy diet as long as you stay with fresh unprocessed foods, limiting your bread foods and taking a good multivitamin every day.  

However, what is happening to many people is that they are told they need to go on a gluten free diet and then they just go to the stores and replace their old glutenous diet of breads, pizzas etc with gluten free breads, pizzas etc.   

This just does not give you a healthy gluten free diet.  Gluten free bread products tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutritional value than the enriched wheat breads you used to eat.  Because they are lower nutritionally, you can get hungry again sooner and need to eat again to maintain your energy level throughout the day.  However, this means that your intake of calories per day can increase dramatically and result in the weight gain that so many people are complaining about and also in the lack of energy and tiredness that is the result of  a nutritionally deficient diet.
It is really great to have the selection of gluten free products that are readily available, but it is also really essential to know the specifics of a nutritious gluten free diet, so we can make educated choices about what we eat, and can knowingly choose a healthy gluten free lifestyle.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gluten Free Cooking Class in Cary

Hi everybody,

So sorry for taking so long to get back to this blog, blame the Summer, Daniel heading to College and a very busy time baking and teaching gluten free cooking classes.      

Last week I had my first cooking class in Whisk Kitchen Store in Cary.  What a great set up!  A lovely new kitchen specially set up for teaching with counter top, cameras, the whole shebang!

I was very encouraged to have thirteen participants and really enjoyed the class.  We talked about the different gluten free flours and how they should be used, we sampled some of gluten free food we will be making in future classes and finally, we made delicious, light and airy cheesy, garlic biscuits!  

I have to admit that at that stage of the evening I was a little tired and without the reminders of the class we would have had cheeseless, garlicless biscuits!  Luckily, they were more attentive than I was and everything worked out great in the end.

I promised the class that I would put the recipe for the apple cake we sampled on the blog for them to try at home so here it is.  This is a recipe I got from the Silvana Nardone on her website 


Apple Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

1 cup GF Flour Mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (dairy free if necessary)
1/2 chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly great a 9- inch springform pan or round cake pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl, toss together 2 tsp flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, chocolate chips, walnuts and cinnamon.

In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar until smooth.  Whisk in the oil and vanilla.  Stir into the flour mixture until just combined.  

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and top with half the apples and half the chocolate chip mixture.  Repeat with the remaining batter, apples and chocolate chip mixture.  Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Let cool in the pan set on a wire rack.