Thursday, January 29, 2009

More sweets than I know what to do with

This has been a pretty busy week, and something gluten-related comes to mind almost every day, even though I haven't had a chance to post everything.

Yesterday at work, someone brought me a Whole Foods GF Bakery cupcake. What a nice surprise! It was delicious. I am glad someone gave me only one, because I probably don't need the temptation of a package of 4. But it was good to try one; I only recently have seen them and I think these are a new product. I don't know what the ingredients are. This would make a nice treat, and it would be a great thing to take along to a party where they're having cake if you didn't want to feel left out (or for a non-GF host to have at a party with GF people).

Also, I made some GF chocolate chip cookies, just to remind myself that I can, and they came out tremendous! I used Vegan Buttery Sticks as the margarine/butter, so mine were Dairy/Casein free too. I took these to rehearsal and all my section-mates thoroughly enjoyed them, said they were better than "real cookies." Whatever that means. But they didn't take a bite out and throw them away when I wasn't looking, which is the real test. They gobbled.

Did you know you can click on my photos and they supersize? You can see the detail of the pics this way.

Underground tip: When you bake cookies, remember that because they are so hot in the oven they continue "baking" after you take them out. I take the cookies out once I notice the top appears dry all across but not any later. This way they do not overbake and dry out. They are soft and delicious.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Flour Power

Whenever I go to a grocery store looking for flour or mixes, I get sick to my stomach when I see the prices. All the time we read about how more of us are getting correctly diagnosed, and our niche market for GF products is growing.

But as demand goes up, supply has to work to meet the demand, and then as supply grows, prices go down....right? I wasn't an economics major, but I think we talked about this in elementary school. So--why when I go to Whole Foods or another store, the lowest price for GF flour is still somewhere around $4 a pound? Do you remember when we ate wheat, and you could get a huge bag of the stuff for 89 cents?

So here's one of my secrets: You can buy flour at INTERNATIONAL GROCERY STORES! Think about the diets of people in other countries. Think of all the places where, for centuries, WHEAT has NOT been a staple. Asian places. Eastern European places. Africa. To name a few.

For example, I like to buy a Polish bag of potato flour, which last time I believe was 1 kg (2.2 lbs) for 2.99, from the International Market in Cary, NC (they were out last time I was there, but the flour worked GREAT in my christmas cookies).

But really, the pot of gold is waiting for you at the Indian Grocery Store. In addition to buying lots of delicious Indian items (instant meals, pappadons, etc.) and giant bags of bulk spices, I buy ENORMOUS bags of Gluten-Free flours.

Please note that many of these are manufactured in facilities that also process wheat (so use them at your own risk). But I think the products are really nice, and I have never had a reaction, bag after bag. Rice flour 4-lb bags are 2.99, or 2 for $5 at the Around the World Market in Cary, NC. So that's less than 75 cents for one pound. (How do you like that, Whole Foods?) Other prices vary. I got Teff--4 lbs for 6.99. Sorgham--4lbs for 4.99, Corn was pretty cheap (2.49), and Millet too.

The rice flour is, in my opinion, FAR superior to many US brands, it is finer and acts much more powdery. Baked goods are finer and don't have that gluten-free flour "grit".

I think our GF manufacturers here in the USA ought to take note that these products are available, and strive to bring their prices down and/or match the quality offered in these products (Hey Bob from the Red Mill, why not take a lesson from Deep Rice flour and grind your Rice flour until it's flour, instead of a sand-like consistency?).

Because my dollars are voting for the products that are serving me, the Gluten Free Consumer, best.

Going Bananas

I mentioned that I used to drive 35,000 miles/yr the last couple years. Fortunately, I don't have to do that anymore. But I am on the road this week. Every evening this week I have rehearsal about 1-1/4 hour away from home. This is a challenge to eat well because I get home from job #1 and have about an hour to eat/pack/email/etc. then straight out the door, onto the highway, to job #2.

Leave home at 7:30, get home from job #1 at 4:30, leave for job #2 at 5:30, return home at 11:20.

Then write a blog.

So, how do you I eat gluten-free on the go?
Lunch, at job #1 (microwave available at lunchtime):
  • Frozen lentil stew (from crock pot that I made last week)
  • Frozen green beans
  • Yogurt
  • Banana
Dinner(?) between #1 and #2:
  • Finish leftover tomato basil pasta
  • Apple
  • Banana Bread (See recipe and photo)
But I wasn't that hungry, because it was only 4:30. So, road snacks to fill in the gap:
  • One slice banana bread in a ziplock
  • bag of Ener-G gluten free pretzels
  • one yogurt
  • Fruit leather
  • Soynuts
I only ended up eating the fruit leather, banana bread and yogurt. but I had some choices!

So that worked out for eating today. I will be having an overnight later this week and will talk about some things I take in a cooler.


Here's my recipe for Banana Bread, which is scrumptous, and easy.
  • 2 cups Flour (1 cup Rice, 1/2 cup Corn, 1/2 cup Sorgham)
  • 1 tsp Xantham Gum
  • 1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Blend together the above. In another bowl:
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups Mashed Bananas (4 or 5)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cooking Oil
Spray a 9" loaf pan with Pam. Mix the two bowls together. Fold into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until knife comes out clean.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Weekend from the Underground!

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by. I hope at some point I may have some helpful info for you here. If we all share, we can all learn, and I'm so excited about this.

Please be patient with me as I learn to manipulate the blog settings to be most user-friendly. For example, I just learned, a few minutes ago, how to unlock the comment settings so it will allow anyone to leave a comment.

If you have any thoughts or comments, either about this blog itself or the content within, please do not hesitate to email me at:

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great Fresh Basil Pasta

Tinkyada makes amazing pasta! It only contains: stone-ground brown rice, rice bran, and water.

This is a very easy recipe that a chef friend of mine, known as "The Lady" taught me how to make:

A bunch of Fresh Basil, probably about 1/8 c.? More or less to taste
Handful of small tomatoes, grape or cherry
Fettucine noodles (cook with a pinch of salt and olive oil)
Fresh Mozzarella (opt.)

While cooking the noodles as directed, cut tomatoes in half (bite sized pieces).
Cut up basil (I use kitchen shears).

When noodles are finished, toss together. Garnish with fresh mozzarella.

Serve immediately. This is an amazingly flavorful dish.
I eat the leftovers cold, it's like a pasta salad.
Underground tip: Make sure to add oil to pasta water. Stir immediately when you add the noodles to keep them from sticking together.

Enjoy! Grazie!
(p.s. my camera ate the photo of the pasta it was so good! Sorry I don't have it, I will add another photo to this entry the next batch).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Super Fast Tostada lunch

Ok, get ready: this one's really hard!

  • large package of tostadas from the Mexican Foods aisle at a regular grocery store.
  • can of refried beans
  • package of shredded cheese (or lettuce, tomato, guacamole, whatever)
  • Open Tostada bag, remove tostada.
  • Open can of beans, scoop out into a container (container optional, you could leave in the can)
  • Spread beans onto tostadas with knife.
  • Optional: sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  • Microwave approx. 1 minute, until beans are hot and/or cheese melts.

Voila! Instant lunch.

You could dress this up with some lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa. Or just eat plain. Soy cheese could be used. Vary however you like.

The bottom pic is the finished tostada, prep time: 3 mins, cook time: 1.5 mins. And the rest of my lunch--yogurt (0 min.), bag of carrots and dip (0 min., can be substituted with Hummus, which is probably healthier!).

Underground tip: Heluva Good makes some real good GF dip!

Enjoy some pancakes on a cold morning!

I am not exactly a pancake person, but now and then it is a nice morning treat, especially on a SNOW DAY, like we're having in Raleigh NC right now!

So I thought I would share with you the product that I believe is the BEST tasting pancake mix. Hands down. The flavor is amazing, and the consistency is fluffy and light!

Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake Mix

My GF brother gets this mix at Giant Eagle in Columbus, Ohio. I found it once at Big Lots in Greenville, NC, and stocked up several boxes for $1.70 per box! Unfortunately, I haven't seen it at any of the groceries here in Raleigh. The Maple Grove Farms website says the 16 oz. box retails for 3.65, but their online store is currently unavailable.

Maple Grove Farms (scroll down to see the Gluten Free mix at the bottom) Ingredients: Rice Flour, Soy Flour, Dextrose, Leavening (Monocalcium Phosphate, Baking Soda), Salt, Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum.

I'll bet we could lobby Whole Foods or another local grocery (maybe Kroger--they have lots of great GF items, and reasonably priced) to start carrying this. The taste is amazing. The plate in the photo shows one batch, that's about 1/2 the mix, it made about a dozen mini-pancakes.

Pure maple syrup is Gluten Free. I haven't successfully found a cheaper option, but at least it is a delicious special treat! I bought this last bottle from an International Grocery store in Cary NC.

Underground tips:
When I make these, I add a little extra water (about 1/3 cup) because I prefer thinner pancakes.

Also, freeze in a ziplock and enjoy all week long for breakfasts!

Monday, January 19, 2009

First and Foremost: LA PIZZA

First of all, upon diagnosis, you think of everything you will never have again. Oh, how depressing.

Probably the first thing that comes to mind: PIZZA. It used to be so easy to just dial up the pizza joint (or order online) and voila! there was dinner.

Believe it or not, it seems that the days when you can order up a gluten-free pizza are just around the corner. If not already here, in some metropolitan areas. So there's no reason to be depressed!

But here is one of the most important basic recipes to keep on hand. This has passed the test of approval by wheat-eaters. Very much like the homemade pizza mom used to make us back in the 70s and 80s when it was too expensive to order pizza (much like the direction of our economy today). So save yourself a few bucks and cook this one up at home!

* * * * *

3 cups GF all-purpose flour blend
(I use 1 c. Rice flour, 1 c. Potato flour, 1 c. Corn flour)

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. xantham gum

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

Sauce and toppings

* * * * *

Blend the flour, sugar, salt, xantham gum and yeast (works very well to mix in a gallon size ziplock bag).

Put the flour in a bowl, add the water and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon, and then knead as much flour into the dough as possible. I usually add a little (a tablespoon or two) extra water to moisten. Dough should be moderately stiff but smooth and elastic.

Cover and let rest at 10-15 minutes.

Get one large jelly roll pan (this is a cookie sheet with edges). Grease or spray the pan with PAM. Press the dough into the pan. Cover with Italian sauce, mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings (I like mushroom and onions).

Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, or until edges are golden brown.

This is actually just an adaptation of a recipe in my famous-name, generalized cookbook.

Underground tip: After enjoying this delicious pizza, cut the remaining pie up into 3" squares and place pieces in ziplock bags. Freeze. Now you have a week of lunches, or food for your cooler when you go on the road!


Hello there and welcome to the Underground! My name is Emily, and I'll be your guide on this delicious journey.

Since I got the idea to start this blog I have been very excited about sharing some of my tips and tricks for keeping up with a busy lifestyle while maintaining a gluten-free diet. I have some great news: It can be done!

I have some more great news:
It doesn't have to be expensive!

My training in the Arts has taught me to be a creative problem-solver, and I have a lot of helpful hints that I can share, that I hope will make your adjustment to living on a gluten-free diet easier and happier.

One of the things I have learned in my life is that if you have the desire to achieve or become something, and commit to the learning process, nothing can stop you. Being a happy, healthy Celiac is no exception. Many of my gluten-eating friends will vouch for the delicious foods I make and share with them. Simple and fast recipes. Life has never been so good--eating well and feeling well, what more can we ask for?