Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry GF and Dairy Free cake

In addition to my work as a musician, I also have a "day job" working in an office.  At my office, we have one other person who is gluten free.

She recently had a birthday, and I brought in this Gluten Free-Dairy Free Chocolate Raspberry Cake!  I had a lot of help from my friend Jen, another Ohio girl who bakes a lot and lives Gluten Free and Dairy Free.  It is a chocolate/chocolate cake, and it has a raspberry filling. 

It can be done!  Anything we had before the dietary change of becoming gluten free (and dairy free, and soy free, etc. etc.)--anything we had before, can be made again, in a safe way.

Keep inspired!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The newest in cookie fads

At my house, anyway.  I wanted to make some cookies to share with neighbors and somehow got a hankering for M&M oatmeal cookies.

Straight out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, the recipe for oatmeal cookies (flour blend of Rice, Potato and Tapioca--or use your favorite pre-made blend).  Used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats, too, and a cup of M&M's.

So easy, yet so good.  The reviews were positive!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This morning, I made one of my favorite gluten free treats!  Blueberry Buckle!

I use the recipe directly from my betty crocker cookbook, and where it calls for 2 cups flour, I use a mix of 4 different kinds of GF flours (1/2 cup each), and a tsp-ish of xantham gum.  For the topping, where it calls for 1/2 cup flour, I just use rice flour.

Wow, it always tastes as good as I remember (I don't have a chance to make it very often).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Raleigh Bread Trial Video

Thank goodness, Paul Seelig was found guilty as charged for selling a bunch of us wheat bread as "gluten free."

Justice does help make it better.  I hope that his horrible example will help us move forward in the area of food safety and labeling improvements!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Who can we trust to keep us healthy?

Hi everyone.

You may have noticed I've remained rather silent the past few months.  It's a combination of working a lot, many personal and professional commitments, etc.  But there is also a lot of soul-searching I've had to do about what I am doing here, with this blog, and how to do it best.

When I set out to start a blog about my experiences living gluten-free, I came with great excitement to my computer keyboard, full of the ideas that are working for me in my life, and wanting to inspire others that it IS possible to live a full life that is gluten-free.  To live a life that doesn't feel like something is missing.

That's still what I believe, and still what I'd like to do.

However, some of my faith has been shaken.  In the past year or so, it's really come to light that you cannot trust every product, you cannot trust every company, and we do not have stringent enough food safety and labeling regulations in this country to ensure that not all "gluten free" products can be trusted.  While I don't think it should be like this, I have to face reality.

Last time our celiac group here in Raleigh toured the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse, I remember that they were telling us that they test every single ingredient that comes in, and some have tested positive for gluten.  And they refuse to use, return these ingredients to sender and won't use their company in the future.  I applaud and am relieved by their diligence.

One of the earth-shaking experiences I've had in the last year or so was being duped by the gluten-free claims of Paul Seelig, who is on trial this week in Raleigh.  I was quite ill for some time, after eating wheat bread sold by this man as "gluten-free."  It is unfathomable to me that anyone would do such a thing, but the overall lesson from this might be that the world is still the world--some people are looking out for themselves, no matter what the cost to others.

So who can we trust?  Good question.  I don't have the answers.  I'm navigating through just the same as everyone else.  Quite frankly, though, I do not like the reality that it might be better for me to expect the worst, until proven otherwise.  For example, I'm so glad I can feel pretty confident about the Whole Foods Bakehouse items.  But I haven't toured every gluten-free facility and do not have that assurance from other companies.  So I guess a skepticism is healthy for my body.

Even more reason to keep eating the naturally gluten free foods--your vegetables, fruits, meats, rice, nuts, etc.  The outside aisles of the grocery store, as they say.  It's fairly unlikely that someone's gonna pour flour all over broccoli by accident...but I guess, you know, never say never...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gluten Free in France, Part II (Alsace)

A day or two after arriving in Paris, my friend and I took a trip out to Alsace for a couple days.  I went to France to visit this friend from college, and she is also originally from the Midwest, like me.  I mention that to explain how we came up with the idea of going to Alsace.  We both have ancestral lines that originate in Alsace-Lorriane.  She had never visited Alsace, and we thought it might be fun.  And of course, it was.

Alsace is on the eastern edge of France, bordering Germany.  In fact, Alsace-Lorraine has historically been both part of Germany and France.  Lots of war, fighting for territory, in this area, for thousands of years.  My aunt told me that our ancestors, the Voniers, would be at the dinner table and hear fighting, they'd gather up all the food in the tablecloth and go hide out until it was over.  A young lady in a bar that we talked to said that her Alsatian grandfather had been forced to fight for the Nazis in World War II.  Hard times for these people.  You can start to see the allure of an Ohio farm life...

When we got into Strasbourg, we went out to find dinner.  After a little walking around the square, we found a restaurant.  I got something that is a traditional Alsatian meal, called "Choucroute Alsacienne."  You don't see any resemblance to German food, do you?

I was glad to find something without bread, flour, you know.  But I sort of thought to myself, "where are the vegetables?"

That was the first evening.  The next day we were off to the Route du Vin (Wine Route--it's a country drive through the small winery towns of the region, and it's beautiful!).  But not until we had a big breakfast of an omelette.  You can find omelets most everywhere.  This one was pretty good, if not a little bit salty.

So we picked up our rental car and got going to the Wine Route.  We saw villages, wineries, churches, cathedrals, castles, vineyards, and it was breathtaking.  We stopped in the little village of Barr, and found a home cooking restaurant.  Just one young lady was waiting on the whole restaurant.  It was very popular!  We said our usual, "Mon amie a une allergie au blé" (or, "j'ai une allergie au blé") and we asked if the fish was made without blé.  The kind lady came back and said, it had wheat in the sauce, but they would make sauce without wheat just for me.

Oh my god!  How nice!

Here's a pic of my meal.  I think it might have been my favorite meal of the trip:
After we left the restaurant, delighting in the niceness of the people we were meeting, we stopped at a bakery and I got a big bag of meringues, which I proceeded to eat in the rental car, leaving a white powdery dust all over!  Meringues are made with egg whites and sugar, so there are no gluten ingredients.  It might be possible to be cross-contaminated because they are made at a bakery.  But I am VERY sensitive, and I never had a problem with them.

So, I could find restaurant meals, bakery goods--what more could a hungry celiac want, anyway?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gluten Free in France, Part I (Bon Appétit!)

I got back from France about a week ago.  It was WONDERFUL!  I had a terrific time.

I said I would let you know about eating gluten free while there, and here's the first installment.  On my first day, I met my friend Sarah at the airport.  Because my suitcase did not arrive with me, we decided to go into the city, rather than go straight home to her place (in a suburb).  My first gluten free meal in Paris was at a cafe across the Seine from Notre Dame.  Here it is:

At the time, I was a little jet-lagged, so it didn't really occur to me that I should eat something substantial.  But that was some good sorbet and wine.

After walking around a bit, we asked some people if they knew where the closest "Bio" (Bee-O) was.  That's what the French call their health food stores.  The people we asked directed us to a regular grocery store (they said it had bio kinds of foods).

I found a small gluten-free section that contained items of the name brand "Gerblé."  I purchased boxes containing Baguettes, Bread, Strawberry Cakes, and some pasta.  I do believe that the French word "Gerblé" translates into English as "Awful."  Sorry, I didn't really like any of these.  The strawberry cakes were somewhat tolerable, the pasta cooked up alright.  But the Baguettes and Bread were horrible.  They made the entire apartment smell funny when I warmed them up in the microwave.  They were pretty hard and bland on their own.

I did finish the baguettes, and half the box of bread.  If you slather anything with goat cheese, it will be edible, which is how I did it.

So that was the first day of gluten free adventures.  Not so hot.  But there are always things, not specifically labeled gluten-free, to eat that are OK, anyway.  (Fruits, Vegetables, Rice, etc).

Sarah has family from the U.S. who have Celiac Disease.  This was so nice, because she knew how to talk to people at restaurants, for me.  My French is OK, but she knew the right words, and that was a pretty big relief for this weary traveler.  She would say, "Mon ami a une allergie au blé" and she would say that "C'est très sèrieux, elle ne peux rien manger la farine de blé."  It was nice that she had been through this before.  She could also advise me on some important details, such as most restaurants mix their own vinaigrettes, so I felt comfortable trusting most salads (because they usually come with the dressing already mixed in).

And for all you purists out there, my friend is also aware that Celiac Disease is not an allergy.  She said, though, that it is so uncommon for people to be diagnosed in France that people normally react like, "Ça n'est pas possible," (it's not possible) that someone can be allergic/intolerant to wheat.  So she simplifies by saying "allergie" rather than going into all that about what Celiac is (which would be a lot harder for those of us not fluent in the language).  You do what you have to do, I think.  And I don't think I was ever glutened on the whole trip, hooray!

Here's a wonderful French salad that I enjoyed (a few days later):

Did I mention that wine is gluten-free?!?  If you go to France, I assure you, you will be able to eat.  That's a start to my story.  I'll post more as I am able.