How To Have A Gluten-Free Halloween

Smart-Idea1If you or a family member is on a gluten-free diet then Halloween can be a nightmare. Fortunately, not all candy contains gluten but many do.

To make things easier why not create your own gluten-free Halloween treats?  Check out the following links for ideas and let us know how it turned out!

Gluten-Free Halloween Recipes On Pinterest
10 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Recipes
9 Spook-tacular Gluten-Free Halloween Recipes
Halloween Recipes
19 Gluten-Free Halloween Recipes
Boo! Cute (and gluten-free) Ghost Meringue Cookies for Halloween
Gluten-free Halloween Cookies
Gluten-Free Halloween Guide
20 Gluten-Free Halloween Treats

Gluten-Free Baking Tips Roundup

Last month we did a round up of tips for eating gluten-free. We found our favorite twelve and shared them with you. This month we’re doing a follow-up of tips for baking gluten-free. Learning to bake gluten-free is important for most people because baked goods normally containing gluten are no longer an option. There are many recipes for baking available but it’s important to learn the basics and we hope these tips will help you.

  1. Invest in a few gluten-free baking cookbooks.  Amazon.com has just about every cookbook available but we suggest you read reviews before making your buying decisions.
  2. Manage your expectations. Gluten-free baked products taste different but they can still taste good.
  3. Measure dry ingredients in measuring cups and use liquid measuring cups for liquid.
  4. If someone in your family cooks with gluten you’ll need baking implements and pans that are kept separate and washed separate from other supplies.
  5. Gluten-free flours do not taste like conventional flour. You’ll have to experiment to find your favorite flour blend but you can also use spices and extracts to make the results more favorable.
  6. Smaller baked goods have better consistency because gluten-free baked food tends to crumble easily.
  7. You can buy commercial flour mixes that are gluten-free but you may get better results by combining two or more mixes together.
  8. Learn how to use xanthan gum and guar gum as a thickening agent or as a stabilizer. You will have to experiment when using them as some people can get side effects from consuming them.
  9. When your gluten-free bread is cool, slice it, cover it with foil and put in a plastic bag to freeze.  This will keep the bread fresh and you can thaw it easily.

As always, please let us know what tips we have missed by commenting below!

Gluten-Free Tips Roundup

gluten-free tipsThere is a great deal of information, both good and bad, available in books and on the internet. We’ve weeded through page after page of advice and decided on pulling together twelve of our favorites.

  1. Don’t focus on what you can’t eat… focus on what you can eat.
  2. Find a local support group for gluten-free people, join and participate.
  3. Don’t run out and buy a bunch of new cookbooks. Visit your local library and look through their selection to get ideas of what types of cookbooks you would enjoy.
  4. When shopping read food labels thoroughly.
  5. Look for gluten-free food that is all natural like fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, poultry and fish.
  6. Eat gluten-free grains like quinoa, teff, rice, amaranth, buckwheat.
  7. Remember that gluten can be found in products other than food like alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, cosmetics and medications.
  8. Avoid eating out and learn to cook healthy gluten-free meals at home.
  9. Bring your own gluten-free food when attending a social event. Let your friends know that you will bring your own food when you are invited to dinner.
  10. Buy and use your own utensils, tableware, cooking implements and appliances so that you don’t get cross contamination from food prepared by other people in your family.
  11. Wipe down counters and sinks with soapy water before cooking a gluten-free dish.
  12. Plan and create your meals in advance to prevent snacking on food containing gluten.

What tips have we missed? Use the comment section to let us know your favorite tips for eating gluten-free.

It’s Gluten-Free Picnic Time

gluten-freeJuly is always a hot month but this year it seems like August.  You might feel like spending the rest of the summer in air conditioned comfort but then you’ll miss out on all the summer fun! You might spend time at the local swimming pool, attend family gatherings or travel and to do all that you’ll need gluten-free food that can travel.

We’ve done the research and found some gluten-free picnic food that you can pack and take with you all summer long.  Remember to follow all the food safety guidelines for gluten-free food that you would follow for any other food.

Sweet Savory Strawberry Avocado Salad
Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette
Summer Squash Noodles with Basil Lime Dressing
Red Quinoa with Mango Salad from Taste Love Nourish
Gluten Free Burger Buns
Quinoa and Bean Burger
Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble Pie
Snap Pea Slaw with Creamy Cashew Dressing
No Bake Blueberry Custard Pie

Eating Gluten-Free On A Budget

The availability of gluten-free food is now widespread.  Grocery stores have dedicated gluten-free food sections but something that hasn’t changed is the outrageous price.  On average gluten-free versions of food are often about 450 percent more expensive than the non-gluten free version.  We’ve done some research and come up with a few tips to help you save money!

  1. Plan your meals at least a month in advance.  This allows you to search for sales in advance because you know what you will need.
  2. Always use a list.  Never leave home without a list and don’t impulse buy.
  3. Stick to natural gluten-free food.  Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, tofu, eggs, nuts, legumes and dairy are less expensive than processed food and may often be on sale.
  4. Prepare and cook your meals at home.  Use a slow cooker as much as possible and pack lunches to take to school or work.
  5. Learn to bake at home.  Buy a few cookbooks, on sale or second hand, and give baking bread and pastries a try.
  6. Shop at international grocery stores.  These stores may offer big savings for items such as gluten-free grains and spices.
  7. Create your own flour blends at home.  There are prepared gluten-free flour blends but they tend to be pricey.  Check the internet for instructions and prepare your own.
  8. Check out store brands in grocery store chains.  Many chains are creating their own brand of gluten-free foods and they likely already have their own brand of canned vegetables and other items.
  9. Buy in bulk and use sales and coupons.  Look for opportunities to double the value of your coupons.  Join some of the coupon forums on the internet and consider coupon swapping with other members.
  10. Shop on the internet.  There are many grocery chains offering gluten-free products online and specialty stores that feature only gluten-free options.  Amazon.com and Vitacost.com offer good deals on gluten-free staples.
  11. Use your freezer to store food you buy on sale and food that you prepare in advance.  Many people cook food in large batches on the weekends and store it in individual containers in the freezer to defrost during the week.
  12. Shop around.  Start by visiting all of your local food stores and keeping a notebook of non-sale prices.  Then watch for sales and determine where you will get your best buys.  To save the most money you’ll need to shop from more than one store at least twice a month.

With a little preparation and some research you can reduce your food budget despite being on a gluten-free diet.  If you have any tips we missed let us know by leaving a comment!

The Skinny On Gluten-Free Beverages

gluten-free beveragesYou’ll find thousands of articles in print and online covering gluten-free options for food but what about beverages?  Most people are concerned about the sugar content in their beverages but never give much thought to gluten.

The same rules apply to beverages that apply to food.  You must read labels before purchasing a beverage to rule out that they contain wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer’s yeast and oats.  You can learn more about reading labels here.

Some of the safe gluten-free beverages (but still check those labels) are:

Coca-Cola beverages (claim to be gluten-free for the US market)
PepsiCo beverages (claim to be gluten-free for the US market)
A&W Root Beer
Gatorade and Powerade
100% Fruit Juice
Carrot Juice
Tomato Juice
Cider
Vitamin Waters
Kool Aid
Tang

If you are unsure if a product is gluten-free even after reading the label contact the manufacturer.  Consider posting on their Facebook Fan Page (if they have one).  This is often a way to get a quicker response!

Case Study of Nima – Gluten Detector

Popular Science author Sara Chodosh has celiac disease and tries very hard to avoid even the smallest amount of gluten in her meals.  Her nightmare literally is of eating an energy bar that didn’t seem to have gluten but did.

For many years Chodosh and many others hoped for a detector that could verify the amount of gluten in any food.  This was nothing but a dream until now.

The gluten detector, Nima, was created by 6SensorLabs of San Francisco.  In order to test your food for gluten you need to take a small portion and put it in a disposable capsule and place it in the device.  It takes two to three minutes to yield the results.

Chodosh was excited to take the Nima on a test drive and she shares her results in any article here!

Who Doesn’t Love Bread?

Warm, yeasty bread fresh from the oven or from your favorite bakery.  What could be better?  Most people would say nothing… but those with celiac sensitivities and celiac disease could not agree.  They might have memories of enjoying bread but the side effects of eating bread are unpleasant and dangerous.

Thanks to the innovation of companies like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur bread is back on the menu for the gluten-free.  There are many recipes available on the internet and we’ve gathered our favorites.  So get your ingredients ready, pull out your mixing bowls, warm up your ovens and get ready for some delicious gluten-free bread.

The Best Gluten Free Bread Recipe
Gluten Free Apple Bread
Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread made with baking mix
Soft Gluten Free Sandwich Bread Recipe
Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
Gluten-Free French Bread
Dark Teff Sandwich Bread
Gluten-Free Challah
Gluten Free Artisan Bread

Gluten-Free Holiday Leftover Recipes

Now that the holidays are nearly over what do you do with all the leftover turkey or ham?  Can you recycle some of the side dishes to make them appetizing again?  Every cook has holiday fatigue and family members may not want to each just regular leftovers again!

What to do, what to do? The answer is clear… you need some gluten-free holiday leftover recipes.  Following are some of those we like the best and if you do some research you’ll find many more on the internet.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole (substitute with turkey)
Mexican Casserole with Chicken & Corn (substitute with turkey)
Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Gluten Free Leftover Turkey Casserole
Gluten Free Leftover Turkey Casserole
Broccoli and Ham Frittata
Gluten Free Savory Muffin Recipe
Ham & Swiss Puffs with Smokey Honey Mustard

Don’t Overlook Lentils!

Most clients that I work with know that I am a very big fan of lentils. Besides the fact that lentils are gluten free, the nutritional profile for lentils is excellent! Lentils are not just for lentil soup. Try using lentils in salads or casseroles. One of my favorite sites to visit is the Canadian Lentils site. It’s the perfect place to pick up new recipes and ideas.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a good video showing how easy it is to cook lentils: