Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Dirt on Desserts

    So usually when I go grocery shopping I tend to get just the gluten free staples: pasta, bread, cereal, snacks (always the same ol' brand of course. I feel us anti-glutinites are petrified of ever exploring once we find something we like...ok I get it, but how boring is that!?). Need less to say I never really splurge on anything. Maybe I'll go crazy once every 3 months and get myself a cookie mix or something equally as satisfying to my ridiculous obsession with sweets but that's about it. Pathetic, I know.

     But the other day I came home from a long day and there was a large box on my kitchen table. Hmm...I pondered, thinking it must be for Fred but he hadn't opened it yet. He turned to me with a gleam in his eye and I knew he was up to something. "Open it!" So I did and then, when I saw the contents of the box, I was in shock. His parents had graciously given me a whole box full of gluten free recipe mixes! Now, getting back to my sweet obsession, let's just say I was in the Mecca of sweetness: coffee cake mixes, vanilla cake mixes, rolls, frosting, etc etc. So, I did what any other dessert lover would do, I set the oven to 350 degrees and started baking. I mean, do you blame me? I decided to try the "Old Fashioned Cake & Cookie Mix" by Gluten Free Pantry. If you haven't tried this brand before I highly recommend you do. It's gluten/wheat, trans fat, and cholesterol free (so you can have your cake and eat it too!). Now, you have to use two eggs but seeing as I am allergic, I just used egg substitute (2tbs of water and 2tbs of cornstarch). Also, for those lactose intolerant peeps you can just use Lactaid or soy milk or water. Simple! Not having a cake pan, I poured the mix into a cupcake tin and it worked perfectly! Strapped for time (and ingredients) I used a pre-made frosting that was in the refrigerator. I've done some research and Pillsbury "Chocolate Fudge Funfetti" frosting is gluten-free and oh so yummy!

     It has been YEARS since I've had a cupcake. YEARS. It was so amazing to be able to bite into something and have it remind me of "regular" food. It was so moist and tasty. Just delicious. So, if you're craving something sweet, like I do on a regular basis, give this mix a try!

As I try the other mixes, I will tell you how they are!

Not as cool as the previously described cupcakes. At all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Guest Editor that Eats Gluten and Cooks Gluten Free

     Hello all.  If you are reading this post there is a good chance that you have a food allergy to gluten or are interested in a better way of living gluten free.  If not, you may want to consider switching search engines because you may be lost.
     As it says in the title, I am a guest editor here at Living Gluten Free.  I don't have have celiac disease, nor did I just arbitrarily decide to cut a glycoprotein out of my diet.  I do, however, cook for Megan on a regular basis.  I have made a conscious effort not to make us seperate meals, and thus find myself cooking gluten-free more often than not.  For this reason I share the interest of finding better tasting, simpler, and cheaper gluten-free foods.  I will post here periodically post here sharing some of my recipes and the gluten-free alternatives that are really quite delicious.

Go have some good eats and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Breakfast Food Blues

Good morning!
Ok so everyone has a morning routine. For me, I drag myself out of bed after my alarm goes off about 5 times, wash my face, put my (gluten free) makeup on, get dressed and maybe do some work before I have to leave. But one thing that I always make sure I have time for is breakfast, I just can function without it. When I first started buying gluten free breakfast foods I was told spelt was ok. Well, it's not, which knocked out a large portion of my options. I am sad to say I have not found a bagel that compares to the real thing and sometimes the Whole Foods GF Bakery is just too expensive (but absolutely yummy!). I went through countless soggy cereals that were completely lack of flavor. However, one day I decided to try a different cereal. It is called GF Cereal: Honey Nut (brand: Glutino).

I wasn't optimistic. I poured the cereal into a bowl and it reminded me of Cheerios...but I still had my doubts. Then I tried it and wow! it was so good! Sweet and crunchy and oh so like the real thing. It's good for you too (no saturated fat or cholesterol). I used to dread eating breakfast foods because they never satisfied me and always tasted blah but this cereal is really worth a try. There is also an Apple and Cinnamon flavor but I personally like the Honey Nut better. You can find it at Whole Foods but I've also bought it at Shaws. It's about $4.99, which is the cost of most regular cereals (my boyfriend Fred has a box of Cheerios in the cabinet for $4.29). If you're lactose intolerant, like me, don't worry about the milk situation. Soy milk is always an option, however I know many people are also allergic to soy. I always drink Lactaid milk. I think it's delicious. Also, they have these Lactaid pills you can buy at any grocery store or pharmacy that are amazing. You take one right before you eat/drink dairy products and it is supposed to keep you from getting sick. It will work for 1/2 hour so you can have as much dairy as you like within that time! So if you are jonesing for some regular milk, you have that option too.

Give this cereal a try and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello World

My name is Megan and I have had Celiac Disease for about 9 years now. I also have a smorgasbord of other allergies as well. Living gluten free has been a constant learning experience (mostly through making mistakes!) and I am feeling only now that I have somewhat of a grip on my diet. But, as is with life, there are always obstacles. Aside from being gluten free (because that does NOT define who I am) I am also a 22 year old graduate student and, needless to say, do not have a very large budget. I also do not have the time to try and find the obscure, yet creative, ingredients that many gluten free recipes require or suggest. A challenge for me has been finding quick and easy ways to cook filling and delicious meals. I'm Italian so you know I love food and I'll be honest, I thought it couldn't be done. I thought I would be destined to eat cardboard pieces of "bread" that had a consistency strangely like that of cement for the rest of my life.

But this, thank goodness, was not true. There are fairly reasonable gluten free foods out there that 1. you don't have to set a whole day aside to prepare and 2. require only the ingredients you would normally have in your cupboard or refrigerator. Also, it's important to remember that it's unfortunately not just about the food. There are all sorts of wonderful everyday items that gluten free peeps need to watch out for (lucky us!).

This blog then is going to be designed around sorting through all these recipes and lotions and cross contaminations and even the dreaded, scary restaurant menus to figure out the easiest, cheapest way to live gluten free and not feel like we are settling. I will post my favorite things (I promise not to put them in song like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music...although I bet that would be really entertaining...for me probably not you). I also encourage you, my wonderful reader, to post anything you feel necessary, whether it's to tell me I'm wrong about something (I am only human and unfortunately don't know everything about Celiac Disease!) or your favorite foods, restaurants, or any other tidbits you may have up your sleeve. So, thanks for reading and I hope it turns out to be helpful for you!