Sunday, December 23, 2007

Update on Gluten and Dairy Free Break

Well I am eating gluten and dairy right now and I don't feel any worse. I am currently awaiting the results from some additional tests.

I have not made any long term decisions on what I am going to do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A break from Gluten and Dairy Free

I am taking a break from being gluten and dairy free today. My plan is to go back to following the diet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then try to evaluate how things have gone. So far I feel fine (normal) and have gotten to enjoy a few foods I am missing.

Will be interesting to see where this goes!

Hempmilk - another dairy alternative

I wanted to try another dairy alternative besides rice milk that was of course gluten-free as well. I looked through all the options and hempmilk was the only one I came up with. (I would have had more options but my son is allergic to nuts and soy so I don't like bringing it into my house)

I was nervous about whether or not I would like it so I bought the vanilla one. I think that was a bad choice. It is sooooo sweet - it tastes like melted ice cream. IF I decide to try this again, then I will try the original. I have no idea why they would make it so sweet. Surely the original would be better...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, I've done it now...

Now that I have done it - I am not so sure it was a good idea.

After 6 weeks of being 100% dairy and gluten free, I just had a half a glass of milk.

I don't have a good reason - nothing particularly logical - but after 6 weeks of completely avoiding gluten and dairy and having no positive effect on my health, I guess I am a bit discouraged.

Gluten-Free Waffles

Another product to add to the not so yummy list! I am really struggling with breakfast here!!

I have tried 2 brands of GF waffles - Trader Joes and Lifestream and I am not happy with either. If I had to have one, I prefer the Lifestream.

Ok, I should have said "Not Much Sugar"

I had to laugh when I read back through my blog. Just before I declared I was "off sugar" I mentioned how I like my cornbread sweet and added a few tablespoons of SUGAR to the mix. Seems like someone is confused!

Well I am a bit, to be honest. My doctor suggested eliminating sugar and seeing what effect that might have on my health. But right now I am not really up for that, I don't believe. Sugar is in a fair number of things and I don't think I can add something else to my strict avoidance list.

So I have decided to "drastically reduce" my sugar intake. So in addition to bits of sugar here and there in products, and the sugar I added to the cornbread, I have only had one (large) marshmallow and no other sweets in 4 days.

Believe me, that is DRASTIC!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Sugar!!

Ok, I am off sugar now as well as gluten and dairy. I think this is going to be way harder for me than gluten.

Don't ask what that means because I am not quite sure. So far what it means is I am not eating any desserts. That is big for me. I like to have at least a little treat each day.

But today was day one with no sugar.

Gluten Free Product Reviews : Hot Cereal and Cornbread

I tried 2 new Bob's Red Mill products today. Both turned out pretty good, thankfully.

For breakfast I had the "Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal" which was pretty good. It was like the grits I am used to eating only more flavorful and more nutritious. I originally tried the sweet approach with some peach preserves and pecans but didn't like it much. Perhaps because of the similarity to grits, I prefered it the way I grew up eating them - with margarine, salt and pepper.

At dinner I made a vegetable stew in the crockpot and cornbread to go with it. Where I come from there may not be sugar in the grits but there certainly is sugar in the cornbread so I snuck in 3 tablespoons of sugar when mixing it up. This took a bit longer then it said to cook. I think I may have put it in an 8" pan instead of 9". I'll pay more attention next time! Overall I was pleased with this too.

Another Gluten-Free Product Review : Chicken Tenders

Today for lunch we had Bell and Evans Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders. I haven't bought nuggets in quite a while so it is hard for me say, but I would say they were likely comparable to other gluten-ful chicken tenders. There was nothing "odd" or "unusual" about them and I don't think a person would know they were gluten-free unless you told them. Both my kids ate them up without complaint.

Bell and Evans actually has a whole line of their products in gluten-free versions, not just the nuggets. I bought mine at Whole Foods.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Restaurants

Here are some more restaurants with gluten-free items on their menus.

Chili's Restaurant
I really do appreciate companies who take the time to identify the allergens in their foods. It is so frustrating to not know what is in something. Chili's has a page for each of the big-8 allergens and their listings "expire" each month so they are up to date. But it is still frustrating for someone trying to figure things out when they include statements like this (for all 8 allergens)

We have prepared this suggested list of menu options based on the most current ingredient information from our food suppliers and their stated absence of wheat/gluten protein within these items. Please be aware that during normal kitchen operations involving shared cooking and preparation areas, including common fryer oil, the possibility exists for food items to come in contact with wheat/gluten proteins. Additionally, fried food items could pick-up wheat/gluten proteins during the cooking process. Therefore, we recommend that individuals with dietary allergies and intolerances avoid all fried foods. Due to these circumstances, we are unable to guarantee that any menu entrée below can be completely wheat/gluten-free.

Chick-Fil-A - Gluten
Chick-Fil-A - Allergies
I don't live near a Chick-Fil-A now but I sure wish I did. Or I used to wish I did, anyway. My favorite thing there is the Chick-Fil-A Sandwich and clearly that is breaded in flour so definitely out. They did have some interesting info on their website. Probably more helpful for my son's allergies than for me.

Hot Cocoa Mission

I am on a mission to make Hot Cocoa that I like! I grew up on the packets and apparently that taste has grown on me. I don't like the homemade stuff near as much at this point.

Also, I feel like a bit of a dork because I did not really realize that lots of people make Hot Chocolate with real milk instead of making a Hot Chocolate Mix with dry milk. In fact, when I grabbed my cocoa to give it a whirl, there was a recipe right on the side.

Since I did not want to mix up a bunch in case I did not like it, I ended up just making 1 cup worth. Here is what I did but it wasn't quite right.

1.5 TBSP sugar
1.5 TBSP cocoa
shake salt
1 cup rice milk
1/4 tsp vanilla


Amy's Mexican Tamale Pie

I know I said I don't eat much of this kind of thing, but here we go again. Perhaps I have just been planning poorly this week!

This one I was not happy with at all. I won't be getting this one again. Instead I will stick with the shepherds pie, which I really did like. And maybe I'll look again to see if Amy's has any other options.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Amy's Shepherd's Pie

Ok, I don't eat much of this sort of thing but this was really good. A gluten-free friend of mine suggested some foods to keep on hand for emergencies and this was one of them. I was not prepared for lunch yesterday and find it is so much harder to wing it on a restricted diet. So I pulled this out of the freezer and heated it in the oven. It was very good.
And the ingredient list is full of actual foods, words I can recognize and the nutritional information looks good for this sort of thing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hot Chocolate - Take Two

I got really excited when I read Cathy's hot chocolate post at Chief Family Officer. Her point was that she doesn't have dry milk powder but she always has milk on hand, so why not make a mix with the other ingredients and mix it into milk instead of water. Brilliant!

And it solves my problem of trying to find dairy-free, gluten-free dry milk substitute. I am looking forward to trying this. Here is the recipe from her site, edited slightly by me.

Homemade Hot Chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar

1 1/8 cups cocoa

1/2 tablespoon table salt

Rice milk for serving

1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Store the mixture in an airtight container.
2. For individual servings, pour 1 cup milk into a microwave-safe mug, and microwave on high just until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix, and stir to dissolve.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Very Tasty!

Yes... more chocolate chip cookies! They really hit the spot after having to watch everyone eat birthday cake for days and days....

I made The Cravings Place Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix. These are cool because they are gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and bean-free; great for those with multiple allergies. Plus they are made in a dedicated facility which gives me even more confidence.

They were easy to mix up - just add water and Earth Balance. When I was done mixing that up, I decided that they could use more chocolate so I added a nice amount of TJ Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips. I am glad that I did! They taste really good and with the extra chips - quite rich!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Called about Kroger Product - Mustard

I called about my Fred Meyer brand mustard and they said it containes no gluten.

I am taking companies at their word right now but I am starting to get paranoid based on some things I have been reading on the internet. It seems to me that products could just be tested for gluten, I have no idea why there is so much controversy.

I called this # 1-866-632-6900 and gave them the UPC and the customer service rep consulted a dietician.

Gluten-free Bacon

Q: Do Bar-S products contain gluten?
A: Bar-S products are gluten free with the exception of Bar-S Corn Dogs and Chuck Wagon brand franks. The source of modified food starch in Bar-S products is from corn.

Q: Do Bar-S products contain MSG?
A: ALL Bar-S products are MSG free.

Q: Do Bar-S products contain casein or dairy products?
A: All Bar-S products do not contain any dairy products except Bar-S Corn Dogs which contain whey protein.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hot Chocolate?

I miss having hot chocolate. I am going to try to make my own hot chocolate mix.

I believe I can make it with just Darifree, sugar and cocoa. I've not tried Darifree before but it appears to be free of all of our allergens.

I just need to find some Darifree and figure out the right amounts of each thing.

Hmm! According to the Darifree site, the only place around here that has it is Good Health Ever Young which is a store I have NEVER heard of. If I buy from the Darifree website and get one can for $9.45 then I pay $8.45 in shipping. Hmm!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trader Joe's List of Gluten-Free Foods

I am so excited! As you can tell, I LOVE Trader Joe's. I have since the first time I went, and I love them even more now that I am eating gluten-free because they have LOTS of options for me at reasonable prices.

I ran across their gluten-free list today:

A couple of items I want to highlight:
Chocolate Chips (Semi-Sweet, Milk, & White Chocolate)
Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
Guacamole (All Varieties)
Hummus (All)
Spiral Ham With Glaze Pack
Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Vanilla Extract (All)
BBQ Sauce
BBQ Sauce, Kansas City
Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips
Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cracker
Lightly Salted Rice Cakes
Savory Thins (Original, Minis or Multiseed with Soy Sauce)
Pumpkin Butter

Under Trader Joe’s Brands, ingredients listed as “natural flavors” or “spices” do not contain gluten or gluten derivatives.

Joy! Joy!

Cold Stone Creamery

It's nice that there is something to eat if you are with a group of people going to Cold Stone and can't eat gluten or dairy. There are actually quite a few things you can eat that are gluten-free, although I wonder now how well they clean their tools and work surface between customers.

I always think it is awesome when companies provide this kind of extensive allergen information.

I had the lemon sorbet and thought it was pretty good. Not quite my usual sweet cream ice cream...

Black Bean Tacos

One of the Default Dinners is Mexican night.

More often than not, lately we have been doing tacos. I have a recipe from a recent issue of vegetarian times that I use the most. Basically you make a bean filling out of beans, tomatoes and onions and then add lots of toppings like : avocado, lettuce, tomato, roasted peppers and onions, cheese (for those eating dairy).

My kids love these because they get to choose their own toppings. I was excited to discover that the taco shells I already buy are gluten-free.

Pasta with Clams

When we are not eating turkey, we are mainly having good-old Default Dinners.
Another one is pasta, which initially I thought would be difficult when going GF but actually isn't. There are lots of options in GF pasta, including the cheapest I have seen so far at Trader Joe's. So for our default pasta meal I make some pasta and then do one of the following:
  • add Spaghetti Sauce
  • add veggies and italian seasonings (and parmesan for those eating dairy)
  • add clams and garlic (and parmesan for those eating dairy)
This week we had the Pasta with Clams. I have been making this incredibly simple recipe for years - it came out of one of those 5-ingredient cookbooks. I have not seen any Angel Hair rice pasta yet, and that is what I typically used for this recipe. I think I have made it twice now, once with penne and once with spaghetti. Turned out nice! The whole family seems fine with the GF pasta which is great!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gluten-Free Products at Kroger Stores (QFC, Fred Meyer)

Kroger's website has some good info on eating gluten-free

Live Well with Gluten-Free Foods
Products with no Gluten‐Containing Ingredients
Gluten-Free Resources

Kroger Brands are :
Kroger Private Label Products. Kroger Private Labels include the Kroger® , Private Selection®, Naturally Preferred®, Value™, Fred Meyer®, Ralphs®, Food 4 Less®, King Soopers®, Buena Comida®, City Market®, Fry’s®, QFC®, Smith’s®, Dillons® , and First Choice® brands.

The number to call to ask about Kroger brand products - 1-800-576-4377. It's a good idea to have the UPC handy.

Updated: I found this new number that I think might be a better one to call.
We are continually updating this information and encourage customers to
call the Kroger Registered Dietitians available to answer questions regarding gluten in Kroger products at 1-866-632-6900.

Are Sara Lee Products Gluten-Free?

Here was my response from Sara Lee:

In response to your inquiry, Sara Lee takes quality and allergens very seriously. All of our ingredients are listed on the packaging. We recommend to always read our labels. If the product contains any gluten, it would be listed on our ingredient label. In addition, if we change ingredients in our products, the changes would be reflected on the label. If there is someone in your household with an allergy, we have found the Food Allergy Network to be very beneficial to our customers. They can be reached at 1-800-929-4040.

Should you wish to speak with a Sara Lee Representative via telephone,we can be contacted toll-free at (800) 323-7117 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Central Time).

Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce

The response I received when emailing Huy Fong :

Our vinegar supplier has ensured us that the vinegar used in all of our sauces is gluten-free.

I had just generically asked if the sauce contained gluten and the response was focused on the vinegar. I have to admit, I am a bit confused about the whole vinegar thing. I have read a couple of different thoughts about it. I guess I need to check with the company that makes the white vinegar I have in my pantry. I think that other kids of vinegar are ok. But I am really not sure??

Updated to add this from here:
Note About Vinegar - Most Celiac Disease Resources state that the distillation process would remove the gliadin and that distilled vinegars are now safe for people with Celiac Disease. The Celiac Sprue Association advises being extra cautious if you are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and they recommend waiting until the gut is healed before proceeding to use distilled vinegars.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Note about Turkeys

I typically buy the inexpensive (or sometimes free!) turkey that most supermarkets offer around Thanksgiving. I was really concerned this year that I would have trouble finding one that I could be sure was gluten and dairy free.

I was originally planning on getting the Private Selection Turkey at Fred Meyer and was about to call and inquire about gluten when I notice that it was called butter-basted in the ad.

Instead, after reading this I headed out to Safeway to get their 27 cent per pound turkey. I was so excited that not only did I not see questionable items on the ingredient list, it actually said gluten-free right on the label.


We eat enchiladas quite often. I typically have made them with whole wheat tortillas. I was pretty excited when I was at the store and saw that the corn tortillas they had were labeled gluten-free.

So I made enchiladas tonight (with leftover turkey, spinach and corn) using the corn tortillas instead. They turned out pretty good although the texture turns out pretty different with the corn tortillas. I think I will get used to it though. It struck me after I rolled them and they started to crack that I have read somewhere to dip the tortillas in enchilada sauce before rolling so perhaps I will do that next time. Or just layer it as a casserole.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Yummy Snack!!

Today I found a very yummy snack!

I started with the Sun-Dried Tomato and Cannellini Bean Dip (thanks Sher) and then dug in with my new find Glutino's Gluten-Free "Ritz" Crackers... The dip was great, very zesty and alive, but I think next time I will cut down on the garlic - mine was pretty strong. The crakers were the best GF crackers I have had! They are pricey, but it was a welcome change from rice crisps and more rice crisps!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Leftovers

We enjoyed another round of turkey and all the fixings today for lunch. So good! But, really only one leftover turkey meal is about all we can handle - at least in the same state.So I sat down and made a list of ideas of things to do with the leftover turkey etc. and then got to work dicing up the meat, separating out portions, and freezing.

Here is what we will be having in future weeks:

Turkey-Rice Soup Made with broth from cooking the bones after dinner. I just froze the broth with some turkey in it and will add onion, carrot, and rice when I pull it out for dinner.
Turkey-Black Bean Enchiladas I am going to go ahead and make these up tomorrow and probably have them early next week. If that does not work out, I will just pop them in the freezer too.
Turkey-Dressing Casserole I already layered Dressing, Turkey, Gravy and Mashed Potatoes using up the end of the dressing and potatoes in a casserole dish and put it in the freezer.
Turkey-Mushroom Chowder I am going to go ahead and make this up tomorrow too and probably have it early next week. If that does not work out, I will just pop it in the freezer too. I saved out some of the broth from cooking the bones for this.
Tortilla Soup I froze the remaining white meat turkey in some diced tomatoes and will pull it out in a few weeks. (I don't like to freeze dry cooked meat, I would have frozen in the broth but I had already used it all for other things.) I even taped the recipe to it so I would know what to do with it when I find it in the freezer.
Turkey and Gravy on toast or rice or eaten with a spoon (so good!). I used all the remaining turkey and gravy for this. It is still in the refrigerator as I am planning to have some for breakfast in the morning on GF toast with a little earth balance. Serious comfort food! There will still be alot left as I made a HUGE pot of gravy so I will probably freeze it in small portions for snacks or breakfasts.

And that accounts for every bit of my Turkey Day leftovers with nothing going to waste!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Successful Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

Forunately, our plans for this year were to have a simple family dinner at home, with just my immediate family. I am pretty experienced making a typical Thanksgiving dinner, having done it about 6-8 times over the years. I don't make anything fancy, just stick to the basics. I am also fortunate that my family is totally not picky so there was no pressure on me.

I really only had to make a few changes to leave out the dairy and the gluten as follows:

Use GF bread for dressing (this was the biggest change by far and the only noticeable one)
Rub turkey with small amount of oil instead of butter for browning.
Thicken gravy with cornstarch instead of flour
Replace butter with Earth Balance in Sweet Potato Casserole.
Leave butter and milk out of mashed potatoes.

Everything turned out really well. The only problem was the dressing. It is typically my most favorite part and I always make it the same way, and the same way my mother made it, and the same way my grandmother made it... You get the drift. I think it turned out fine but definitely is no longer my favorite part of the meal. Fortunately the gravy was excellent and everyone knows that gravy covers a multitude of sins.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tomato and Spinach Soup with Brown Rice

Another of my Default Dinners tonight!
I make soup quite often and use several soup recipes from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special regularly. This one is typically Tomato and Kale Soup with Barley. My grocery was out of kale so I substituted spinach and I subbed in Rice for Barley to make it gluten-free.

It was really good - especially with a little sheep's milk feta sprinkled on the top.

Yet another Product Review

We're sampling a new snack this week. Or I should say "sampled" as the bag is already empty. These TINGS by Roberts Gourmet are really tasty. The taste a lot like cheese puffs but are made from corn and nutritional yeast instead of wheat and cheese. (And NO SOY!)
And I am always a fan of things with short ingredient lists.
(In fact, I still read the ingredients on every Larabar I eat, just because I get such a kick out of the list - so short and simple.)

Yet another Restaurant Possibility

Stumbled upon another local possibility for dining out


And this one is closer to our house than the other one I found.

Their website is not so great but apparently they have GF pizza and desserts too!

Looks like we will have to try Pizza Works in Bothell one day soon!

GF Bread

Well I've tasted a few GF breads at this point.

I started with Gluten Free Pantry Sandwich bread which I made in my bread machine. I wasn't crazy about it. Then I had some Trader Joes brown rice bread and I wasn't crazy about that either. The other day when I made Gluten Free Pantry french bread, my husband said that maybe I should take a break from bread for a while.

I already had a loaf of Ener-G White Rice so I thought I would go ahead and try it out. I actually think I like this one the best of the bunch. Not sure I will get into eating it on a regular basis but I did manage to eat a whole piece of toast which was a record.

Good thing there are so many good things to eat besides bread out there....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shrimp Lo Mein

We used one of my Default Dinners tonight and had a really yummy and simple gluten-free and dairy-free Fried Rice or Noodle Night.

This week for noodles I used Rice Sticks that I had bought at Trader Joes for 99 cents. I cannot believe that price! It was a pretty large package. I cooked the whole thing and I still have plenty left over for lunch tomorrow. I just add whatever vegetables I have on hand which this week was - onion, mushroom, shredded cabbage, and carrot. Lots of times I make it vegetarian but this week we had shrimp which made it extra tasty.

Added 11/21/07: I left a few things off my list by mistake, and I realized when enjoying my yummy leftovers for lunch. I also added frozen peas and corn and of course wheat-free tamari. I also add a little chili-garlic sauce for spice, and it occurs to me I should double-check it is GF, although I don't see anything suspicious on the label.

Default Dinners!

I am a planner. I always plan my menus for the week and try to do basically one shopping trip a week, although I do make periodic extra trips to Trader Joes and Costco. Some weeks I really enjoy doing this and some weeks I just cannot get into it. Nothing sounds good, I'm too busy or not feeling adventurous, or I don't want to spend a lot of money and buy a lot of new things. Lots of times I just end up doing a poor job planning and we end up eating junk or doing take-out in that situation.

Last month, I was reading this post and was inspired to make a list of default dinners. Basically, it was a weeks worth of dinners to fall-back on when I could not come up with something else for whatever reason. Note - this was before I went GF and dairy-free.

Here is what I had come up with:
mexican night(tacos,beans and rice,enchiladas,burritoes)
pasta night
pizza night
fried rice or noodle night (asian)
Soup (winter) or Salad (summer)

When I found out I needed to stop eating gluten and dairy I found myself really struggling to make my menu plans. I originally thought I would just have to throw out my default dinners and start from scratch but soon discovered that having this list was a lifesaver. Most the items on this list (except pizza) are not that hard to tweak to make them gluten- and dairy- free.

And now, without much effort, I can put together a simple menu of things I can eat and my family can enjoy.

I give up! (At least for a while!)

I wanted to make pizza yesterday so I tried to make the crust using Gluten Free Pantry French Bread and Pizza Mix and it did NOT go well.

I want to preface this by saying I am no super-skilled baker but in my pre-GF days I did make loaf bread and pizza crust at home every week and never had any trouble. But so far my GF baking has been really bad.

I followed the directions on the box for pizza crust, which involved mixing it up in my stand mixer and letting it rise for a while before rolling it out into a crust. After mixing it up, it was apparent that I was NOT going to be able to roll it out. It looked like cake icing. There was no cohesiveness at all. After rising, when I tried to scoop it out to roll it out, it would not come out at all. When I touched it, I got just little sticky bits. It was completely the wrong consistency.

It was at that point that I realized that I had read somewhere that GF crusts are really hard to roll out. Since I did not have time to research that, I just baked it as a loaf with the intention of making french bread pizza instead. I have to say I did not like it at all. I think I have some texture sensitivity issues or something as I just can't seem to eat GF bread. (I have tried several now - mixes and storebought to no success)

But here is the question:
Was my dough "right" and would it have rolled out if done correctly?
or, as I am inclined to think, Would it never have rolled out?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Quest

Still looking for great cookies!

This week I sampled Pamela's chocolate chip cookie. These were decidedly better than the Enjoy Life ones I blogged about before. I would defintely have these again although the quest continues....

I also bought another cookie mix to try so I will post results of that....

Gluten-Free Dining Out Experiences

Well, we have dined out at 2 restaurants that offer gluten-free menus. It is of course further complicated by having to avoid dairy as well but overall the expereince went well.

The two places we have dined are Pf Changs and Lombardis We were please with how kind and helpful the staff was in both cases. The menu at Lombardi's turned out to be pretty limited when considering both gluten and dairy. The PF Changs menu had more options.

On a sad note, my dear husband dropped by our favorite Thai restaurant to ask what I might could eat there and did not come away with much. Although they were kind and helpful, it seems most all is cooked in butter and all those yummy curry sauces have not just coconut milk but half-n-half as well. No wonder they are so tasty.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Newman's Own Products

Found some good info on their website in the FAQ ! This link goes directly to the question on gluten but if you scroll down past that, you will see more information about other allergens.

There is a heap of information there about all their pasta sauces, salad dressings, salsas, microwave popcorn and beverages.

And I am excited that the 2 varieties of salad dressings that I already have in my fridge are safe for me to eat!

Kraft Products

I was pretty impressed with this two-page article on Kraft's website explaining how to make gluten-free food choices. It explained a lot about how Kraft labels its products. This labeling thing is confusing to me because I don't believe it is required to list gluten or all of the gluten-conatining grains, just wheat on food labels. So I was happy to see that they claim to:

If a Kraft product contains gluten, a source of gluten will be listed in the ingredient statement, no matter how small the amount. For labeling purposes,we include wheat, barley, rye and oats as sources of gluten.

To help you make appropriate food selections, ingredient statements of Kraft,Oscar Mayer and Nabisco products clearly identify any product that contains a source of gluten.

I probably should not confess this, but the reason I was checking was that I wanted to know if my Kraft marshmallows are gluten-free or not. Looks like they are!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Store-bought Cookies

I've been sampling the gluten-free and dairy-free cookie selection.

The Ginger Snaps at Trader Joe's are excellent.
The Soft Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Enjoy Life are not that great.

I'll have to keep sampling. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yummy Pancakes and Not-so-yummy Muffins

Bobs Red Mill GF Pancake Mix is AWESOME! My husband made a big batch last night for dinner and it was super with some Earth Balance and some Maple Syrup.

I am so happy with the options that are out there, althought it appears our grocery budget is going to rise significantly.

I also did my first GF baking - Banana Muffins. They did not turn out so well. I triple-checked the ingredients - I think I got all those right but mine did not turn out so well. I figure it is something I did, as the ones posed on GingerLemonGirl look totally different than mine. Hers rose really tall and look like they browned a bit and mine are very short and pale and taste a bit chalky.

Maybe I should stick to mixes for a while!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cooking Gluten-Free

It is amazing how much work it takes! I went through my standard recipes and picked a couple that were already gluten-free or seemed like they would be close to make this week. But then starts the job of working through each ingredient to make sure they don't contain any suspect ingredients.

I know things are supposed to be labeled if they contain wheat, but I don't think there is a requirement for gluten to be listed from another source.

Today I wanted to use Swansons Natural Goodness Chicken Broth. I looked up dextrose and autolyzed yeast extract (the two unknowns I noticed on the label) and if this site on the internet is correct,they should both be gluten-free. So I went ahead and made dinner and it is cooking in the oven now.

But now as I look back through the ingredients on the broth, I see "flavorings" and I have no idea what that is either or if I should be concerned for that or not. Aggh!

Update: I called the manufacturer (campbells) and gave them the barcode # and was told that the broth is GF. Yeah!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Gluten-Free Condiments

Whew! It is taking me forever to figure out if I can make my standard baked beans recipe or not. I have to record all this data here because I am getting really confused with all this new information.

Details below, but it looks like I can't since Heinz is not willing to say their chili sauce is GF. I'll have to track down my mom's old recipe and see what it has in it.

Where can I find gluten-free products? Heinz Ketchup and Heinz Organic Ketchup do not contain any gluten (the distilled vinegar used is from corn sources). Also, Wine Vinegar, Distilled White Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar are gluten-free. Heinz Hot & Spicy Ketchup Kick'rs is gluten-free as well.
As for our other Heinz products, we are not able to guarantee that all ingredients would be gluten-free, since the source of an ingredient may change from time to time. We understand how difficult it can be finding foods that meet the requirements of a restricted diet, and we continue to look for ways to meet the dietary needs of our consumers.

Is Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce gluten free? Lea & Perrins Worcestershire is suitable for a coeliac diet, for further information on Nutritional and Allergy queries please contact us.

Are Best Foods mayonnaise products gluten free?At this time, All Best Foods mayonnaise products are gluten-free (Real, Canola, Light and Reduced Fat). Since product formulations change from time to time, the best advice we can give you is to check the ingredient list on the label. Ingredients that may contain any of the top eight allergens as defined by the FDA, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, seafood, wheat, eggs, and milk or dairy, as well as any ingredient that may contain gluten, are always listed on the label.

No, I don't put mayo in my baked beans, but while I was investigating condiments...

Trader Joes Gluten-Free Items

I am a bit encouraged after my first visit to Trader Joe’s looking for Gluten Free and Dairy Free Foods. They had a fair number of items that were clearly labeled Gluten-Free.

I purchased the following:
Rice Dream (at a way lower price than the other two stores where I have bought it)
Gorilla Munch Cereal (ditto on the way lower price)
Ginger Snaps (yummy!)
Brown Rice Penne Pasta
Seasoned Rice
Brown Rice Rice Tortillas

Gluten Free Restaurant Menus

Ran across this site today, , where you can enter your zip and find restaurants serving GF food

One of the restaurants near us is Outback Steakhouse.
I went to their website and found a posted GF menu!

Bonefish Grill too!

And it appears that the regular menu at Cafe Flora has notations on it for things like vegan and GF, how nice!

It is nice to know that I can eat out some although I have to remember that I need to avoid dairy as well. It also looks like you still need to be really clear on what you need and make sure you are on the ball, as many times the notations on the menus were to be sure to ask for the item without something or to be made in its own bowl.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

GF Baking

I am really craving some chocolate chip cookies. Not sure I am ready to enter the world of gf baking (think I will go buy another cookie mix) but it did make me start wondering which common items may contain gluten.

Common baking ingredients:

Baking Soda - no gluten

Baking Powder - maybe sometimes, but the Clabber Girl brand I have does not
Q. Are your products gluten-free?
A. Here is a list of our gluten-free products:
Clabber Girl Baking Powder

Vanilla - sometimes, I emailed the manufacturer of mine, still waiting

Cornstarch - no gluten

Cocoa - no gluten

Sugar - no gluten

Salt - no gluten

Chocolate Chips - maybe, need to check package when purchasing
(also check for dairy-free)

Eating Out : Pizza?

I read on a gluten-free listsrv that this restaurant offers some GF options when requested. I need to call my nearby location and confirm but this could be another option for eating out

Boston's The Gourmet Pizza


I was reading some GF blogs when I ran across Fresh Ginger talking about cooking with spelt. Hmm! I thought I heard that spelt had gluten in it, so I did a little looking around. Based on the below, I guess I will not eat spelt for now but maybe try it at some later point

What About SPELT? Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat that was used as a staple food in early Europe. However spelt is now being cultivated again. It is more nutritious than wheat, but still contains gluten (a protein found in wheat.) Compared to wheat though, it is more easily digestible, rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre, and has a higher protein content than wheat. Some people with a wheat intolerance can tolerate spelt, but it is best AVOIDED during the initial stages of wheat free diet. If you have a wheat allergy, consult your doctor before eating spelt. from Food Allergy Initiative

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Eating Out

After not enjoying my first eating out experience gluten-free, I was excited when a new friend told me that PF Changs restaurant has a gluten-free menu. I am thinking I will have to check that out soon, as a little pick-me-up!

Day Two

Breakfast was more gorilla munch.

Lunch was at Baja Fresh. I already had this lunch planned before I "got the news" so I went ahead and went. I am really bad at being assertive and typically just go with the flow so of course I am not sure if what I got was actually gluten-free or not. I know I need to be more careful but I hate being "difficult." There was certainly no obvious gluten or dairy and I managed to control myself and not sneak bites of my son's quesadilla.

Of course, I was still hungry, which seems to be a constant with me so I had an apple when I got home. Then I was still hungry so I had another snack of a Larabar. Fortunately, I already had these as I liked them for a snack even before I went GF.

Dinner was actually really good, and I think I was totally full for the first time since this all started. I had a whole bunch of Tinkyada white rice pasta with clams and garlic and some broccoli. It was great and I ate way too much.

Butter / Margarine Issues

I am trying hard to find a butter substitute that both my son and I can eat.

I cannot eat any that have dairy in them which leaves out anything that contains butter plus many margarines that contain dairy. He cannot eat the soy which leaves out many of the margarines as the main ingredient is soybean oil.

I got excited when I saw Canola Harvest because it is made with canola oil instead of soybean oil but it turned out to have whey(milk) in it.

Then I got excited when I saw Spectrum but it has soy protein isolate in it.

I already have real butter for him to eat, so I bought some Earth Balance for me to eat. We just won't be eating the same things for now, but I hope to find something that works.

Day One

Ok, Tuesday was my first full day attempting to be Gluten-Free and dairy-free.

Breakfast turned out to be great. My typical pre-GF breakfast was Special K cereal with raisins and pecans and nonfat milk. This morning I had gorilla munch cereal, pecans and vanilla rice milk. I tried it with raisins too but I did not like the combination. This was a success. I also have Puffins in the house (my kids eat them) which are GF but they have never been a favorite of mine. Of course, things have changed so maybe I will like them better now.

Update - Puffins are not GF! More Info

Lunch was not so great as I ended up having an orange and a salad and was still so hungry. A few hours later I had some peanut butter and honey on GF bread which helped me be not so hungry but was not very satisfying. I am not very happy with this first GF bread I tried.

For dinner I had lentil soup and rice crackers and for another snack (still SO HUNGRY) I had some GF cookies with more rice milk. I really like the rice milk a lot but it would be nice if it had some protein in it. I would like to try one of the non-dairy milks that does, but it just makes things more complicated with my son allergic to nuts and soy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Brown Rice Snap Crackers

I'm not really intending this blog to be all product reviews but all I am doing these days is trying new foods, and trying to keep track of what I like and should buy again and what I don't.

I had these vegetable crackers today. They are ok, but I think I will keep looking and see if I find something I like better. I will keep eating these, especially if I can find something to serve with them, like some sort of dip.

Rice Dream Rice Drink

Well, I am entering the world of non-dairy milk and it is pretty confusing!

Last night I bought Rice Dream Rice Drink Vanilla Enriched. I did not know if I needed to buy the enriched one or not. I also did not know if I should buy the Vanilla or the Original "flavor." The main intended use was to have on my cereal in the morning so I went with the vanilla, figuring that if anything it would be too sweet and that should be fine on cereal. The verdict on the Vanilla Rice Dream - I really liked it on my cereal!

I was at another grocery store today and noticed their Rice Dream was less expensive so I went ahead and bought an Original flavor as well so I could taste it and see what I thought. Big mistake! The Original one is NOT GLUTEN-FREE!!!!!

Interestingly enough, it lists the amount of gluten it has. Of course at this stage I have no idea what my threshhold is but I was curious what amount is allowed for something to be called GF.

In January this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed regulation on the labeling of gluten-free foods. This proposes a single maximum gluten level of less than 20ppm as part of conditions for a 'gluten-free' claim. Before the ruling is finalized FDA is waiting for additional information from a safety assessment and public comment.

The Rice Dream lists the gluten as less than .002%. If my "calculations" are correct, than this is the same thing as saying less that 20ppm so maybe this is ok to drink. Possibly not worse than other items I am consuming that are labeled as GF.

Hmm! Now I need to figure out whether to buy the shelf-stable or refrigerated and whether to buy enriched or not.

I'm (hopefully) Gluten-Free!

Well, I am a bit paranoid about the evil gluten hiding all around me but I am hopefully gluten-free.

I started last night with dinner after my doctor's appointment. I was so hungry so I went to the natural market and asked the nice lady in the deli to help me find something gluten and dairy free. Then I did some shopping to get a few basics like rice pasta and rice milk.

Hmm - I am seeing a pattern already...

Monday, November 5, 2007

More Bad News - Dairy Too!

I had my doctor appointment today to clarify my "issues."

Not only am I gluten-intolerant but dairy as well.

I am not overly excited about this new development.

This is why I felt the need for some gluten-free, dairy-free cookies!

Cherrybrook Kitchen : Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

I need little pick me up today so I decide to give this gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix a try. For some silly reason I feel like I always have to qualify my opinions by saying - of course, it not taste the same as regular chocolate chip cookies. I think I will get over that pretty soon.

These cookies were yummy and I enjoyed eating them.

Gluten-Free Pantry : favorite sandwich bread mix

While I was waiting for my test results to come back, I ran across this marked half-off in my local grocery store so I decided to give it a try.

My first bite was very disappointing but it is growing on me a little bit. I think my expectation of the taste and texture to be like wheat bread was completely unreasonable. It helps if I think of it as something else entirely.

This was my first "gluten-free" product and bread is probably the worst thing to try to make without gluten so it probably wasn't a good place to start. I'm off to the store to get some GF pasta....

Brianna's Salad Dressing

Well, I am trying to plan my first week gluten-free and I was thinking salad would be a good lunch. Then it struck me that my favorite salad dressings may have gluten in them. So I send my first inquiry to a company and was thrilled to get a response back in little over an hour.

Here's what I got from Brianna's :

"To the best of our knowledge all of our products are gluten free, with the exception of Asiago Caesar, Chipotle Cheddar, Lemon Tarragon, Thousand Island, Monterey Ranch and Ginger Mandarin. You can enjoy Honey Mustard and Blush Wine (the ones I had specifically inquired about) without worry. The Honey Mustard is made with pure mustard flour."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Amy's Kitchen Products

It is nice to see that there are lots of GF products out there. I usually like to make most of our food from scratch but it will be nice to have some easy fall-back meals, especially while I am figuring things out! Also I just love a company that so clearly labels their products for all those people who need to know what is in the food they are buying!

Amy's Kitchen - Gluten Free Products

Unfortunately, many of the above Gluten Free products have soy in them, which my son cannot eat but these don't:

Garden Vegetable Lasagna
Rice Mac N Cheese
Cheese Enchilada
Cheese Enchilada Whole Meal
Family Size Cheese Enchiladas
Lots of Pasta Sauces, Soups and Salsas
Mattar Paneer
Palak Paneer
Vegetable Korma
Paneer Tikka

I wasn't able to confirm this due to internet issues, but Gluten-Free Fun reports they do free shipping on orders of more than $30 which sounds like a good option. Of course, I would like to get mine locally at my neighborhood PCC Natural Market assuming they carry enough variety.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Other Gluten-Free Blogs

I am beginning my research into gluten-free foods. Collecting up a list of gluten free blogs:

Simply Recipes Spotlights Gluten-Free
Fat Free Vegan's Gluten Free Recipes

Hmm... I guess I will stop there for now. Those were to top hits in my live search for "gluten-free" blog. There really are so many more, so I guess I need to just start picking through them to see which ones I like.

I have already been reading which I ran across long before I knew I would need it because I was looking for Seattle area bloggers. I also already read the first 2 blogs listed above. Those posts listed above list lots of gluten-free recipes plus other resources to find more information.

I am excited there is so much information out there although it is a bit overwhelming. I need help figuring out the little things like what to have for dinner TONIGHT!

Only the beginning....

Well, I found out yesterday that I have gluten issues. My appointment with my doctor is on Monday to talk about what this means and what I am going to need to do. I am assuming that she will say I need to completely eliminate gluten.

In the meantime, I keep waivering between wanting to make a big batch of cinammon rolls (a sort of "last meal") or going ahead and trying to get started avoiding gluten.