Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Dairy free lasagna? I thought it was going to be impossible, or at least a $50 dish. I’m fortunate to be able to tolerate goat and sheep cheeses in reasonable amounts, but spending $30 on specialty cheeses for one dish is too much of a hit on my budget.
And gluten and dairy free lasagna? I may as well give up. But gluten free lasagna noodles exist for a reason, right?
The tofu ricotta was simply made with two blocks of extra firm silken tofu, honey, apple cider vinegar and salt mashed together with a fork.
I cooked 2 medium sized sweet potatoes and then mashed them with my electric hand mixer.
The noodles (I used the entire 8 oz package of Maplegrove Gluten Free Foods Inc's brown rice pasta lasagna) were cooked with the Glutenfreechops hint borrowed from The College Housewife. My secret to prevent the noodles from sticking together? Add some olive oil to the water first. I had no issues!
I browned some ground beef mixed with some Italian seasonings and drained it. Then I sautéed some sliced zucchini and diced onions and red peppers with salt, pepper, and some more seasonings.
In my Corning Ware casserole dish, I placed some olive oil on the bottom and then laid out three pieces of lasagna. I poured my store bought basil spaghetti sauce on top and layered in mashed sweet potatoes, beef, tofu ricotta, and more noodles until my ingredients were almost used up. The last bits of spaghetti sauce and tofu went on top and the dish (with the glass lid on) went into the 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. For the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, I took the lid off to brown the tofu.
This definitely wasn’t my mom’s lasagna recipe. I think I used almost a whole dishwasher’s worth of dishes and pans and bowls making this. But the lasagna was heavenly. My first bite made me forget that I even had food intolerances. I was able to make a delicious gluten and dairy free lasagna without ruining my budget and made it guilt-free with the extra veggies. My lasagna made about 8 servings – some more is already packed away in the freezer for the next time my lasagna cravings hit!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Taking the class with food allergies was actually not a big deal at all! I went into the class terrified that someone was going to accidentally glutenize my food (I pictured cake flying everywhere - not the case at all) and was so relieved to have an incident-free experience. The icing (assuming you don't use milk and go with water or a milk alternative) is dairy free. Wilton has been fantastic with answering my questions regarding products' milk and gluten statuses (their products tend to be "same facility as" wheat and milk). My frosting behaved just like everyone else's did and I was never at a disadvantage in class. When my friends on Facebook asked if I made it "edible (by us) or poison?" I was excited to answer that it was entirely gfdf. I maintain a strict dedicated gluten free kitchen (I live alone - it's easy) and could not imagine the emotional stress of working with wheat.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"What's a blog?"
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
"Well, where CAN you eat?" my sister asked. She was in charge of choosing a restaurant for a family dinner and had to juggle my gluten and dairy intolerances, my dad's spicy food intolerance, my stepmom's vegetarianism, and her love for a good meal. I told her there are pretty much two ways to go: small hole in the wall restaurant where the chef can easily create a dish for me or a chain restaurant where corporate headquarters likely started outlining the allergens in the foods. She chose the later and started naming off restaurants nearby while I was google searching the name "+ gluten". Cheeseburger in Paradise came up. Not too bad, I could always get a bunless burger or a salad. Whatever. And then I went to their website...
Monday, August 15, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Almost immediately after an appendectomy, I started having abdominal pain that no doctor could figure out that soon grew to a laundry list of problems. In the six months leading up to my gluten intolerant diagnosis, my medical bills (before insurance) soared over $20,000.00. My only treatment to prevent excessive bowel movements, extreme abdominal pain, nausea, brain fog, migraines, grogginess, lack of energy, difficulty breathing, chest pains, raised lumps on my abdomen, and more is to maintain a strict gluten free diet.
Every month, more manufacturers are providing gluten free labels on their products so I am thankful to have started the diet a year ago. There is currently no standardization on gluten free labeling, which means that despite a colorful "gluten free" label taking up prime space on the front of a package, the entire ingredient list must be read for offending allergens. Products are labeled gluten free that are made on the same equipment as wheat. Others only declare that “no gluten ingredients are used” but does not provide any indication of efforts set forth to prevent cross-contamination, let alone using wheat flour to prevent items from sticking together. There should be a uniform symbol, such as the Kosher symbol, that easily demonstrates that a product tests below 20 ppm for gluten, wheat, barely, rye, and oats and efforts are made to prevent cross contamination.
The widely accepted definition of gluten free means free of wheat, barely, rye, and sometimes oats. Since regulation is not yet in place, any manufacturer can label a product as gluten free. Tasty Bite recently labeled their Barley Medley as gluten free, even though barley is listed as one of the first two ingredients (behind water). Their mistake was thankfully easily caught by informed consumers, but what of “natural flavoring” that can currently easily hide malt flavoring without any allergen declaration?
Gluten free labeling needs to extend beyond the supermarket shelves and into the pharmacy. Before I take any medicine, I need to call the company and ask if gluten is used as a binding agent otherwise what is supposed to cure me can cause considerable damage to my health.These phone calls, which often can only be placed during the manufacturer’s business hours which are impractical for the average 9-5 worker, can easily take twenty minutes or more and I have even had to wait three days to get confirmation on a product’s gluten status.
With the gluten free diet, my health has dramatically improved and I feel better than ever. Every reaction I have to gluten now has me wondering if I simply need to take the rest of the day off from work or if I need to head to the emergency room. Standardizing and regulating which products are labeled gluten free is essential for the health of so many individuals, whether they have Celiac disease, non-Celiac gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, or have found their health improves on this diet.