Tag Archives: Gluten Free

Gluten Free Everyday Eats: Day 5

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Day 6

Have I really been doing this for 5 days already?  Amazing.  I have gotten some happy feedback via email for this effort.  Thank you for that.    My working parent blogging absence has been hard for some, but it is nice to be back and have the time to write/communicate more.

A question raised as well in the email responses was this:

Quinoa is a protein, right?  
So should I be serving it instead of having a meat or fish?  
I have been adding it to my meals like a side-dish, like rice, etc?  

 

You know what?  That’s usually how we enjoy quinoa too:  as an accompaniment for a meat.  I will ask Cheryl what role quinoa should be playing.  I’ll let you know what she says.

As far as my days of photographing food has been, this one has been interesting and better.  I’m not running for the phone to snap a photo – I’m remembering!  LOL.  And taking pictures of my lunch today brought about conversation….LOL.  The girls and I went to Costco today to get the necessary things for the house.  Since we were there at lunch time, my choices included (1) feed them there and make for happy campers or (2) feed them later (after errands) and set them up for a tough afternoon.  My littlest one has been having a tough adjustment since the party on the 3rd.  I didn’t want to set her up for a bad afternoon. (She’s my protein-every-3-hours or she’s a beast, kid.   Yes.  Like me.  LOL)  So, we ate at Costco.    I am fairly certain I am the only person on the planet to snap a photo of their bare-naked Costco polish with ketchup and mustard.  Awkward, but hey!  I remembered!

GFEveryday

Breakfast:  Celery, peanut butter and a banana.  Coffee to drink.  (Man, I love crisp celery with peanut butter!  I am the only one in the house who likes celery, so I don’t buy it all that often.  But yum!)

Breakfast Day 5

Lunch:  My “naked” (no bun) polish sausage (mustard/ketchup) and water.  

Lunch Day 5

 

Snack:  After Costco, our last stop was picking up a flat of fresh strawberries and another of raspberries.  No better snack that eating a ton of berries after had just a polish sausage for lunch.  As you can see, I had help.  They each pulled up a chair to their favorite berry and polished off a pint of each.  (Now you know why I bought 2 flats.  LOL)

Snack Day 5

Dinner:  Cuban-style baby back ribs (no sauce… just awesome seasoning), potato salad, 4 bean salad, and more berries.  Water to drink.

Dinner Day 5

 

Dessert:  A gluten-free ice cream sandwich.  I probably should not have eaten this.  However, I *did* walk the dog an extra mile today for a grand total of 4 miles with the dog.  That counts, right?

Dessert Day 5

 

What did you eat today?

Hope you gluten-free goodies were tasty and satisfying!
-Kate

PS.  If you want to know more about this series of posts, read this.
PPS.  If you want to see more of my “Gluten Free Everyday Eats” daily posts, scroll through these posts (oldest listed first)

Udi’s – Sample Package…put to good use

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Blurry - sorry!

So now that school is out – I have a bit more time to catch up on my posts.  Honestly, I’m so far behind it’s ridiculous.  I’m sorry to fall behind and lose touch with a few people via the blog.  That’s life with two working parents and little people.  :D  

Last month, Udi’s sent a sample box of incredible proportions to me.  Honestly, I was super surprised and wondering what the best way to taste-test and share out would be.  I decided to bring the goodies to work (high school) to share them with my newly diagnosed students and a few old-timers.  No, not any adults.  Just “old timers” as in now my  15+ year old students who have been gluten intolerant or have had their diagnosis for several years if not since they were babes.  I don’t have any pictures because I did not want to compromise the privacy of my students.  Instead, i have used the images from either my cell phone (of the box…and it’s blurry- SORRY!) or from the Udi’s website.  The reviews are from my students.

I don’t buy so much pre-packaged foods.  Not that there are not good choices in the gluten-free world any more but more because my budget does not allow for the expense.  However there are a few things that I do enjoy when money allows:

  1. Pasta (Jovial or Schar’s)
  2. Rudi’s tortillas (o.m.gosh good when torched a bit over an open flame…LOL),
  3. Glutino Yogurt Pretzels (also in my Udi’s box)
  4. and now FRESH Udi’s burger buns.  They were a hit!

Included in the sample box were the following:

  • Udi’s breads:  cinnamon-raisin, sandwich, hamburger buns and hot dog buns
  • Udi’s bagels:  Mighty Bagels and Everything Inside
  • Udi’s granola:  Blueberry Cashew & Cranberry Granola
  • Udi’s  sweets:  Brownie Bites & Snickerdoodles
  • Udi’s muffins:  Vanilla & Blueberry
  • Udi’s granola Bars:  Ancient Grain
  • Udi’s pizza crusts
  • Glutino:  Strawberry Toaster Pastry
  • Glutino:  Original Bagel Chips
  • Glutino:  yogurt-covered pretzels & regular pretzels

I gave items to the students to take home and try, eat for lunch (I have a gluten-free designated toaster in my classroom) or have at break.  Kids tended to just eat the items at their desk (unless it was sandwich/bun related).  I tasted several of the items myself (Mighty Bagel, Brownie Bites, Ancient Grain granola bars, toaster pastry, bagel chips and pretzels (both kinds, of course).  Yes, I took one for the team.  :D  Here’s our collective review of the items:  (NOTE:  all images (but the blurry one) belong to the company Udi’s or Glutino and are used with permission.)

 

  • Udi’s breads:  cinnamon-raisin, sandwich, hamburger buns and hot dog buns
    • REVIEW:  Students loved the FRESH quality (and I agree!) of the breads.  Maybe because we tend to get Udi’s breads here out of the freezer at the markets, this was a different experience.  The breads were soft and moist and much to the surprise of most – they didn’t need to be toasted!  Some felt the sandwich bread was just “meh” (I’m quoting here…lol).  But the hamburger and hot dog buns were big hits.  Once student even marched herself  down to the cafeteria to see if they would sell her a plain (no bun) burger with cheese.  (No luck for her there as all the burgers are already on buns in the cafeteria.)  I brought a hot dog bun and burger bun home for a family taste-test.  I didn’t think my kids would like it (they peel their buns off just to eat the cheese off the burgers or just the hot dog/brat).  However my girls LOVED the buns too.    GRADE:  A (if fresh); B- (if frozen)

  • Udi’s bagels:  Mighty Bagels and Everything Inside
    • REVIEW:  These were good.  (I liked my Mighty Bagel toasted and slathered with peanut butter.)  Students thought they were HUGE and more like reshaped bread than the bagels she used to eat (ahhhh…the newbie with only 6 months under her belt of gluten-free has no idea how she has been spared the dense gluten-free chews of years gone by….LOL0.  One student checked the calorie count on the side of the bag and freaked out.  She ate half a bagel (Everything Inside) and declared it delicious but that it has better flavor when toasted.  Another student (not gluten-free) overheard us talking about toasted bagels and informed us that you are not supposed to eat bagels toasted (ha!).  We offered taste tests.  He caved and agreed.  Better toasted.  OVERALL GRADE:  A- 

  • Udi’s granola:  Blueberry Cashew & Cranberry Granola
    • REVIEW:  Two students took these cereals home to gluten free family.  Both students said the granola was good but that they weren’t the granola-for-cereal type eaters.  However, their gluten free moms LOVED the cereals (one with hemp milk and the other just plain as a trail mix/snack).  These are definitely crunchy with some big bites, so I see why she chose to use it as a trail mix/dry snack.  Both moms like the fact that they could find whole grain goodness in a gluten free form with great flavor.  OVERALL GRADE:  A

  • Udi’s  sweets:  Brownie Bites & Snickerdoodles
    • REVIEW:  These treats were enjoyed during a break by several kids (gluten free and not).  All of the kids said they would not choose to eat another snickerdoodle.  They thought the cookies tasted odd and were a bit doughy. The Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites were a hit with some and another miss with others.  The semi-doughy and dense brownies were a hit with kids who like their brownies most and dense (and “barely cooked” were the words of one student).  Other students felt the brownies were far too undercooked and “pasty” for them.  They debated the grade a lot for this one.  Since they felt there were other treats out that they fit their “sweet tooth” better, this grade suffered.  OVERALL GRADE:  C+

  • Udi’s muffins:  Vanilla & Blueberry
    • REVIEW:  I think the kids (mine and the students) would have liked to have eaten just the tops off all the vanilla muffins.  The sweet topping just about sent them sailing.  The muffins were good – moist (moreso than the frozen variety we can get here) and delicious/flavorful.  High school kids said they wish the muffins would come as mini-muffins for easier packing/snacking at school.  I think I have to agree. The muffins were huge and we (my girls and I) didn’t finish ours.  GRADE:  B+

  • Udi’s granola Bars:  Ancient Grain
    • REVIEW:  Okay…. these are good.  I like semi-soft, slightly sweet granola bars.  The students liked these too but reminded me that they were “healthy”.  They are sweet though – 10grams of sugar per bar/serving.  Honestly, I could have eaten more than one.  I put two of these in my desk drawer for those days when I lose my mind and forget lunch or under plan.  Honestly, these might make the purchase on a rotation list for me.  I will stash a couple in the car for days when I’m out running around with the kids.  (Seems I always plan their meals but forget my own.)  GRADE:  A

  • Udi’s pizza crusts
    • REVIEW:  I used these to make cheese pizza for the kids one night.  They loved the crust (and hated my choice of cheese:  straight mozzarella).  I did brush the bottom of the crust with a bit of olive oil and put it on a preheated HOT HOT pan to make the bottom crunch up a bit (like a pizza stone would…. but alas, mine broke ages ago).  They are labeled “thin and crispy”.  They are thin.  But they will need your help to make them crispy.  Overall, they were decent, but not sure they would make our precious purchase list.  However, if our kids were gluten free and the rest of us were not?  It just might.  Since I am gluten free – our house is gluten free (minus the stash of kid crackers/one loaf of bread) for all things baked/cooking if from scratch.  Since I would end up making one pizza for the whole family, it would be a bit larger than these crusts are.  The crusts are perfect for 2-3 little people (with an adult helping….thanks, Dad, for cleaning up the errant cheese pizza slices that were eschewed).  GRADE:  B+

  • Glutino:  Strawberry Toaster Pastry
    • REVIEW:  Personally, it’s been way more than my years of gluten free living since I’ve eaten a toaster pastry.  Even then I think I ate a different brand of breakfast toaster thingy – but the ones I like were filled with egg/sausage and were also slightly sweet.  (How does that work?  Sweet sausage?  Ah, how little the pre-gluten free me really knew about the things in my food!)  A couple of students pocketed these toaster goodies for later – and did not toast them to eat them.  They said they wish the pastry had more filling as in “I wish it were EXPLODING with strawberry goodness…but it really wasn’t”.  Both the “ate them toasted” and “ate them raw” camps thought they were a bit chewy and wanted me to be sure to mention that one should definitely have a beverage on hand.  Another student said that she liked “feeling normal” in class when she pulled this out of her bag for a snack.  She said often kids ask her what she is eating when it “looks obviously different”.  Not a single question when cracking out the toaster pastry = inconspicuousness.  This is a golden attribute sometimes – but especially when you are simply eating because you are hungry.  And you’re a teenager (or me….LOL).  And you really are eating just to eat, not to engage is conversations about digestive ailments.  :D  GRADE:  B+

  • Glutino:  Original Bagel Chips
    • REVIEW:  “These things are ….. hard!  Well…not like ‘hard-hard’ but like “Wow.  Crunchy, dried toastette hard!”      And yes.  My student was right.  These little toasted crackers are crunchy and hard.  They reminded me a bit of seriously oversized croutons from the salads of my youth.  You know, the ones that could float on your pea soup for quite a while before becoming soggy?  Yes, these are those.  Just bigger.  Since I didn’t really bring a bunch of extra goodies to school to have the taste-test, the kids and I thought these might be nice with a tomato-basil bruchetta.  Personally, I’m going to try some for an appetizer for a party we are having soon with goat cheese and Thai sweet chili sauce, another topped with a cream cheese and salmon, etc.  You get the idea.  Nice little crudité bases.  They have other flavors – garlic parmesan and cinnamon-sugar.  The garlic-parmesan interests me the most.   The cinnamon-sugar one reminds me of some vague memory of eating crunchy toast-like things that were dry as a kid.  I cannot remember what they were…but I remember the dry crunch with the slightly sweet cinnamon-sugar flavor. (Anyone know what I’m talking about?)  KID GRADE:  D (Because they would just never imagine themselves cracking these out for snack time.)  ADULT GRADE:  B+ (Because of the potential there to build on!)

  • Glutino:  yogurt-covered pretzels & regular pretzels
  • REVIEW:  Look out.  These guys (the yogurt covered ones) are dangerous for your waistline.  I don’t know why – but I love them.  Too much, actually.  I think I ate a half a bag before I realized it.  I went out about bought two bags for students to try.  And they didn’t like them as much as I did.  I think I had a sugar-high overload and crashed after eating these…but that is what happens when you convince yourself that it is REALLY YOGURT and PRETZEL.  Ha!  Overall, these guys are a super sweet treat and they will make the list of possibly purchase for us.  Especially if I am on the road or packing a lunch.  That way I can pack a FEW in my lunchbox.  Honest to goodness, if I pack the bag, I *will* eat it.   :D   Students with a sweet tooth (self-professed) thought these were great but they also thought they were a bit too sweet.  To make up for it, everyone was munching on a combo bite:  one yogurt-covered pretzel + one regular pretzel = perfection.  I sent the rest of the pretzels in little baggies off with several kids for the day.  We mixed them half and half.  One student even added his raisin and peanut mix.  Another snack-on-the-run.  GRADE:  B+

 

One thing was clear, Udi’s and Glutino have truly heard the gluten free market demands:  soft breads, versatile treats, nutritious ingredients (those granola bars and cereals!) and good.  Simply good food.  May might be Celiac awareness month, but the truth is, those of us who live this life are educators about our life and gluten free living everyday.  Just this week a friend called telling me that she/her husband/son are going to “go gluten free for a week” to help alleviate his intestinal/digestive trouble.  (A week to clear up digestive/intestinal stuff???!!?  Don’t worry – she’s hip, she’s reading, she’s asking questions, and we are talking.)

Her first question was “Do you have any brand of Gluten Free Bread that you love?”  

Love?  Ummm…no.  Not really.  At least not one that you buy in a store.  I told her that she should most likely start by not just trying to replace their gluten-filled menus with gluten-free filled “same” because it (1) won’t be “the same” and (2) it will bust her budget.  And then it hit me… you know… the Udi’s bread we ate?  That was pretty good and if I were starting out on the gluten free diet again?  That’s a great place to start.  

THANK YOU Udi’s and Glutino for the sample package.  My students and I had fun eating “special food” with other students in the mix.  It is great fun to have something special to share with the kids who watch dozens of cookies, bagels, and other snacks be passed about on campus everyday.  The rest of the class began asking great questions about the diet and several more talked about parents, uncles/aunts, cousins, friends, etc who are gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease.   Sharing in such a public forum certainly brought about a lot of dialogue and awareness.  

Thank you for sharing with us!  I am very grateful for the chance to share and gift your goodies to students/families who are starting out, in need of  help/advice/food, etc.  You (Udi’s and Glutino) have helped some families more than you know with your timely donations.

Happy Gluten Free Life, all - 
Kate

 

 

Gobsmacked: Lessons in Living a Gluten Free Life #1

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GF Pancakes

How long have you been gluten free?

What prevents you from digging in and baking/cooking like you used to?

See those pancakes?  I’m proud of my weekend pancakes.  My chickadees love pancakes on the days we get to wake up in a lazy fashion (READ: 6:30AM instead of 5:15AM).   I used to be so stuck.  I would fuss over a recipe or dig one out and carefully measure, etc.  And guess what?  They didn’t care if the pancakes were perfectly fluffy or “exactly” like the ones I made last week.  They just wanted pancakes.  (In particular, pancakes cooked in olive oil that have a bit of a crunchy outside are perfect for dipping.  Or so I am told.)

Well before I was diagnosed and right before I went off to college, I sat down one afternoon with my brand spanking new typewriter (Take that, technology!) and my mom’s boxes of recipes.  Her recipe cards were from friends, family, and collected over the years from magazine clippings.  Most of the things she cooked for dinner were not on any recipe card in any box.  They were in her head.  But alas, foolish teenager that I was, I did not realize how much I would want to know about our dinners.  Instead, I focused on getting the cookies, breads, rolls, appetizers, etc from my youth onto recipe cards of my own. 

Yes, I typed them onto recipe cards.  For some reason, I didn’t think my handwriting would “last”.  I’m certain that impression came from watching the cards from grandmothers and great-grandmothers having been scribed in pencil smear and fade a bit with time – and more importantly – use!  Oh, I spent the entire afternoon typing up recipes at the kitchen table onto those cards and sliding them into sleeves within my own recipe book!  I was a GROWN-UP for sure, now!

Upon my diagnosis more than a decade later, I shoved those family recipes aside.   Once, I even “weeded through them” and threw many into the recycle bin.  I was angry.  I thought I would never need those recipes again.  After all, my doctor had told me that my future meant not a single crumb of bread, cookie, cake nor pasta would pass my lips.

 

After my first forays into the gluten free market, I became convinced that he was right.  Now only would I never bake again, but if I did happen to find a gluten free version in the store of whatever baked good I wanted, it would be disgusting.  It would be hard as a rock and as dense as a skyscraper.  (I know these weights to be accurate because my Love and I schlepped a giant amount of gluten free rolls purchased on the internet in 2000 with us on our honeymoon to Rome.  Trust me.  Dense + heavy + disgusting = doctor was right.)

 

Flash forward to this weekend.  As the girls began stirring from their sleep (hello 6AM… oh how I wish you were 8AM….LOL), my Love so graciously (HA!) offered to have “Mommy make some pancakes”.  Both girls popped up and out of bed in a flash.  Ah yes, the weekend has arrived if pancakes are on the menu and they know it.

 

Getting pancakes together absolutely no longer means even cracking open a recipe book.  Honestly.  I simply mix together ingredients as I go.  I have more memories of my grandmother and great-grandmother recipes noting ingredients in quantities of smidges, pinches, etc.  I totally get that now.  Save for the fact that mine would be measured in scoops from the flour bin, shakes of the baking soda container (always a tad more that what I think looks “right” just to be sure),  pinches of salt, couple spoons of honey or sugar and milk to the right consistency.  Everything is adjustable.  Make one practice pancake.  Taste test.  Adjust (if needed) and go!  Turn on the oven to warm and make pancakes.

 

If you had told me in October of 2000 that one-day I would again be back in the kitchen just preparing food rather than worrying about recipes for every little thing, I would not have ever believed you.

 

I still focus when baking bread.  That is something that the balance of ingredients must be “ON” for – or you will have a disaster of a loaf of bread on your hands.

 

I still write up recipes for breads, muffins, cupcakes, etc –but it feels good to be back in the kitchen and not so worried like I was before I started blogging in 2005.  I guess the best part about blogging for me has been forcing me to learn the recipes and the consistency of the doughs and mixes so I know what I am doing again.

 

So….. How long have you been gluten free?  If you are feeling like you will never get your kitchen mojo back, don’t worry:  it will come.

 

Promise.