Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beware the hidden gluten

So, this month has been crazy. My son started going to daycare this fall, and he catches everything that comes his way. I know, I know, it's better now than when he starts kindergarten, but sometimes I feel like we've had our fill of illness.

On to the topic at hand. A few weeks ago, my dear husband brought home some delicious smelling flavored coffee from TFM's bulk coffee barrels. I drank this coffee for four mornings in a row, and after I felt progressively worse, you'd think I would have made some relation to the coffee. But no, I didn't. Not until the fourth afternoon, when my head was pounding and my upper GI was aflame. Only then did I make the connection... beware the hidden gluten!!

My coffee slip-up cost me at least 8 days, possibly more. The first few days, everything I ate made me feel gross. It didn't matter, although I found that plain chicken sat a little better than most everything else. Eventually that went away, and I was left with some residual reflux. Finally, by about day eight, I felt like I was returning to normal. I was left with some fatigue, but otherwise, the upper GI woes were gone.

Moral of the story: NOTHING can go unchecked. Something as seemingly as benign as coffee can in the end cause you unnecessary distress. So all you coffee lovers, beware. Flavored coffees, while usually safe, are not always.

By the way: I did call TFM for a listing of gluten containing or gluten free coffees, and they never returned my call. I cannot tell you how annoyed am I about this, and I feel a response coming soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Life sometimes gets in the way

Hello dear readers. I know you think I've abandoned you, but this has been a pretty busy and crazy week for me. And I've sort of been in a food rut, so it's pretty hard for me to post about food when I'm not feeling so much into food. I think I'm beginning to see the light, I hate when I get like that.

Anyway, my creation of the week is actually a recipe that I got from this website. It's a lentil and rice pilaf with caramelized onions. I made it for a gathering I attended tonight, and I was pretty impressed with how it turned out. I had never made it before, so sometimes I get nervous having other people be my guinea pigs. But all was well.

As we know, lentils are an amazing food; being a good source of protein and fiber. They're also a good source of folate, B1 and iron, which is good news if you are anemic. I find this pilaf to be fantastic for the winter because it's warm and has some substance. But you could really eat it anytime.

Hope you enjoy it!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Carol Fenster

If you're gluten free, and have not heard this name, you need to investigate it. NOW!

She is the author of a fantastic cookbook entitled
1,000 Gluten Free Recipes.
I picked this up at my local Barnes & Noble, but I'm sure you could find it at any number of bookstores, or probably much cheaper than what I payed at Amazon.

At any rate, it was worth every penny. She has created this fabulous flour mix of sorghum, tapioca starch and potato starch, which is useful in just about any recipe that you would otherwise use wheat flour.

So, anxious to try out my new book, I ran by the store and got some yeast ( I wanted to make bread) and headed home. My first endeavor was focaccia bread, which didn't quite do as I wanted it to. I'm pretty sure that was a pan issue, believe it or not. It tasted good, but it didn't rise like I wanted.

But then, still feeling sort of unsatisfied by my pizza experience last weekend, I ventured to the pizza section of the book. And after feeling brave enough to try to make my own dough from scratch, I got started. The dough was actually pretty easy to make. Yeast used to scare me... but then I found these things called thermometers. You should invest in one if you don't have one. So, I made my crust, and I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out. But after following the recipe to the letter, which is actually rather hard for me, I ended up with this pizza that was knock your socks off good! The crust was chewy, and kind of crusty; just as I remember pizza tasting. I'm not sure if it was so good because I haven't had "real" pizza in a year, or because it really is that good. Either way, I thought about sending it on to Lilly's and telling them to ditch the rice and go for this crust.

The best thing about it: It's egg free AND can easily be made dairy free! How great is that??