Thursday, July 30, 2009

Celiac Spirits in a Gluten World

Well, I have a long list of topics to catch up on with you.

But even before I do that, I want to talk about our need to be vigilant in order to stay on the GF diet. For me, the better I do for myself at home and the more comfortable I feel relying on safe products and a growing number of GF items available in restaurants, the more I relax about asking questions when ordering and working to educate others on our Celiac needs.

For example, I went to Outback a few days ago, and asked for the Gluten Free menu. They brought out a large, laminated tri-fold menu, printed in color. It was the same size as the regular menu. They are really invested in this, I thought. How wonderful. I ordered a very simple chicken dish (grilled chicken on the Barbie, I think it was), and had a side of mashed potatoes. That might have been a mistake.

6 hours later, approx. 3 in the morning, I awoke to the uncontrollable scratching of a Dermititis Herpetiformis rash. The other food I had eaten that day was leftovers from home (I think I had grits, yogurt, coffee, maybe a leftover baked sweet potato or hamburger from my GF grill), and some Almondy Daim cake at IKEA. (which is totally amazing, more on that soon).

I have no idea where the gluten came from. But how easy would it be for a crumb to fall into the mashed potatoes? Or for a crumb to fall into the barbecue sauce I had on the side w/the chicken. Or maybe a crouton fell in there and they fished it out earlier that day. What I mean to say is that unless we are eating at a facility with a dedicated kitchen, we are still at risk of being glutened.

The week before, I went to my local tavern for dinner with my neighbor and ordered a salad with oil and vinegar, was assured by the waiter that the chicken was gluten free, after he double-checked, and then 2/3 of the way through the salad found a crouton.

In the past couple days I figured out that whatever days I was eating tostadas at home, while they do not contain specific gluten ingredients, must contain gluten in some way due to my DH reaction again. Or could it have been something else? Yes. But I don't know.

So I'm not saying I do not appreciate the efforts of the establishments like Outback and others who are trying to cater to our dietary needs. Of course I appreciate them! What I AM saying is that we still need to Trust No One to be caring about our diet as much as we should, and we need to remain attentive and vigilant. After all, it is our permanent health and well-being we're talking about here.

I want it to be easy. We all do. So these couple incidents are a bit of a wake-up call for Emily to get back on the wagon. Become vigilant again and look for more products for home that are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Ask questions. Eat at home as much as possible. Buy the more expensive, safe products. (but plan meals better so I don't buy things I don't really need).

I had the unique opportunity to tour the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse a couple weeks ago, and I was really impressed with their commitment to safety. They test every single batch of outside ingredients used in their products. They have found gluten sometimes in places it should not be. And they will tell their supplier and not use the product. They are looking out for us! Thanks, Lee and the bakehouse staff! (more on this later).

Celiac Disease is still a medical condition; our diet is still a prescription. I'm disappointed in myself for allowing myself to be glutened because I just got a little complacent.

There is still a lot of educating others that we must do in order to make our world safer for us and our Celiac friends and family.

Keep talking, keep sharing. Keep telling your story.
The world is listening.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tomato Basil Parmesan Bread


I'm trying to catch up my entries on here. This was a quick and easy loaf of delicious bread that I made a while back.

I've settled into a routine of using the 365 Sandwich Bread or Gluten Free Pantry Sandwich Bread mixes in my bread machine. So now that I trust these mixes and know they are always reliable, I've been pushing the envelope.


Anyway, all you need for this sensational loaf is this:
  • one 365 Sandwich Bread Mix
  • a large handful of fresh basil from your garden, chopped
  • one medium/large tomato
  • about a cup of parmesan cheese
  • a bread machine. (or else, some real guts to bake bread the old fashioned way, and I say good for you if you do!)
How to do it:
  • chop the basil
  • slice the tomato, and discard the seeds. Rinse. Dry the slices. Then dice into pieces. (it's important to make sure it doesn't add too much extra water, so this is an important step)

  • Add the mix to the bread machine
  • Start the bake cycle
  • On the first knead, once the batter is mixed well, add the tomato, basil and half of the parmesan cheese
  • if needed, help the machine mix the ingredients well

  • Once the knead cycles complete, and the bread is ready to rise, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top.
  • close the lid and leave it alone the rest of the cycle.
Voila, a homemade masterpiece. Fresh bread always tastes the best!

Underground tip: Because of the water in the tomato, I use about 1/4 cup less water that is called for in the mix's recipe. This worked superbly.

Monday, July 20, 2009

News Flash: Five Guys in Greensboro NC

Yep, you heard it here first. Five guys is coming to Greensboro:

It's a great burger joint, and you can read about their menu here, from a post by GF Road Warrior. Everything on the menu except the buns are GF.

Also, please stay tuned...I have fallen a little behind and have a few posts on deck that I hope to finish soon...

Hope everyone is doing well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taco Night for Celiacs!

It's been a while since I thought of making tacos--but they are so good! And doesn't Taco Night always feel like a party?

Anyway, one of the bummers of our manufactured food world is the presence of gluten hidden in items that have nothing to do with bread or flour. One of these things is meat seasoning. What in the world does meat need gluten for?

I guess the answer to that is with the manufacturers. So maybe we should ask them?

Anyway, enough Celiac-tivism for now. Onto food.

Unfortunately, most of your run-of-the-mill Taco Meat Seasoning packets contain gluten--in it's nefarious "Modified Food Starch" form. So, we have to dig a little deeper, search a little farther. Wendy, on her Gluten Free Greenie blog talks about trying her hand at a Celiac Family Blog recipe for chicken. That one calls for McCormick brand Taco Seasoning.

But I wanted to tell you all that I found another brand of Taco Seasoning that does not contain gluten ingredients--it's Wick Fowler's Famous Taco Seasoning Mix!

The ingredients: Ground Chili Peppers, Salt, Onion, Comino, Garlic, Oregano.

It was .79 at Fresh Market here in Raleigh.

Grab a pack of taco shells, shredded lettuce, a tomato, and a little shredded cheese, and you've got a Happy, Gluten Free Taco Night! Sure beats trying to ask the Spanish-speaking waitstaff at the Mexican restaurant if their items are gluten free!