Monday, May 16, 2011

Celiac Disease Vaccine? Sign Up or Sign Off?

I just was alerted to a news story that is hitting the airwaves (blogwaves?) today from our local news station that is about a vaccine for celiac's disease sufferers. The way I read it, it looks like it will cure the disease. What? How is this possible! I'm dying, in case you can't tell. You can read about it here, on's website. I'm interested to know from my readers: if it were safe and proven to cure celiac's disease, would you get the vaccine? Or would you keep on keepin' on the way you are now? Let's have a little conversation about it here.
I'm just adding this cute picture of my little girl at Temple Square in Salt Lake City because I can't stand to post without a photo, and who wants to see a photo of a vaccine? Not me.

Happy reading!

Warm Fuzzy Feelings

Rarely do I take the time to talk (much less think) about the beautiful things in life on this blog. Yesterday I noticed that the lilac bush in my backyard, although beautiful, was beginning to lose its blossoms already. And the crabtree down in the corner was close to having no bright pink flowers on its branches. Spring has decided to show up for the last two weeks of the season where I live, thanks to heavy snow and rain up until a few days ago. We've almost missed the beautiful spring flowers and weather because of the cold, damp days we seem to be perpetually stuck in lately. The sun came out and suddenly I realized there was a carpet of green grass in my flower beds and the tulips were starting to wither. So I took my scissors and brought in a bouquet of my favorites to bring the beauty inside for a while. I started to realize that thinking, planning, and strategizing are useless unless you stop and, literally, smell the flowers.Summer is my favorite time of year to be a gluten free eater. Grilled meat and fresh vegetables and fruits are abundant at every gathering and roadside stand. I seem to be more open to trying new flavors and tastes in the summer. No heavy casseroles with cream and cheese and 14 ingredients, just good, honest food that is at the height of flavor and freshness.Throw out the recipe book and just try something fresh. That's what I call smelling the food flowers, if you will. Have a plan, but be willing to throw the plan aside if you find the world's best corn on the cob by the side of the road and eat that until you feel silly. Leave the cookbook behind and try something new that you might just make up on the spot at lunchtime. That is how most of my recipes have come about. I've thought of what flavors sounded good at the moment and tried out a combination of them on a whim. Voila! A new favorite. What food are you most looking forward to this summer? Leave a comment and even a link to a recipe that uses it if you have one. Now I'm going to get back to enjoying warm breezes, capri pants, swimsuit shopping, and chalk drawings by talented 8-year-old artists living in my midst.Happy eating!

Friday, May 13, 2011

If You Don't Have One, Get One!

My mother in law has always had the softest brown sugar. I, on the other hand, have always been breaking up clumps of cemented brown sugar with a hammer for my cookies over the years. One time I looked inside her brown sugar container and thought, aha! She has a huge clump in here! But it was just one of these guys. Made of terra cotta pottery, you soak them in water for about 15 minutes and then put them in your brown sugar tupperware and it keeps it nice and soft. I'm sure most of you already have one of these, but if you don't, you can order one here. If you don't have one, get one! It will be good luck for you on Friday the 13th!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Attention! Gluten Free Treat Sighting!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a stalker of sorts when it comes to gluten free treats. I'm sure that's why some of you are still reading my scattered posts, to see what I have nabbed in my grimy little hand that's gluten free. Usually I am stalking the Sweet Tooth Fairy in Draper, looking through the window to see if they have my favorite flavor of French Macarons in the display case. (It's lemon, in case you're wondering. What a shocker. Maybe if we all go in en masse and ask for them they will just make them a standing option! Yay!) The other day someone was standing in front of the case so I had to park my car and go inside to find out what was there. Boy, am I glad I did! Now they have a tray marked "Gluten Free Treats" that holds not just French Macarons, but Coconut Macaroons dipped in chocolate on the bottom: here is what is left of mine from the drive home. And they also carry...drum roll please...gluten free cupcakes! I know we all look the other way when we see those cute cupcakes at the bakeries with the sky-high frosting. Sigh. Now, we can get some for ourselves! Or you can get some as a gift for your gluten free sweetie and they will put them in these cute little containers so it looks like you made even more effort for them. Mine tipped over in the car so it looks a little smashed in the picture up there. I am not sure at this point if they will offer different flavors of cupcakes daily or if these are the two they will offer all the time, but on the day I went in they had chocolate and Fairyfetti (vanilla with sprinkles in the batter). Hooray for gluten free eaters all over the Wasatch Front! If you live elsewhere in the U.S. and you know of a bakery that has similar gluten free cupcake offerings, please leave a comment so others can know where to go in your area!

Happy eating!

Monday, May 9, 2011

King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix...Worth Every Calorie

It seems to me that most people out there aren't really concerned with how to make gluten free things like All Bran or Fiber Bars. We want dessert! We are really concerned with how to enjoy the good parts of a meal, aren't we? Don't get me wrong, getting dinner on the table and making sure there's adequate nutrition are important to me, but there's no magic formula for that. I could survive on wheat free food just fine. But to live without wheat free food, that's another thing entirely.

I teach a class every other month at Macey's grocery store on gluten free cooking, and at the last one someone asked me if I had tried the new King Arthur line of gluten free flour and mixes. I said that no, I hadn't (and immediately felt as though I had been slacking on my research) and that I thought it was probably really great flour without having tasted any of it. King Arthur has been arguably the best wheat flour around for a long time. I know they use it at the Viking Cooking School where I took a gluten free cooking class, and that place is gourmet with a capital "G." I told my student that the fact that King Arthur had waited this long to come out with a gluten free line meant that it was probably pretty good, since they have taken their time to develop a blend of flours that is delicious and performs well when baking. I decided I needed to find out for myself. Of course I tried the chocolate cake.I am amazed at how easy both King Arthur and Betty Crocker have made their gluten free mixes to be. It's pretty much like a regular cake mix, no fancy extra ingredients, everything contained but the wet ingredients. Here's how my cupcakes turned out. They look dang close to regular cupcakes, don't you agree? I frosted half of them simply with chocolate frosting, and my children ate most of them before I could take a picture. If my children will eat them and not notice they taste different than a regular chocolate cupcake, I think that's saying something. I froze the rest individually and pull one out when I need a chocolate fix. They are actually really good without any frosting at all. I've even used one for the base of a Brownie Sundae with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and it was so delicious. If you're looking for a moist, delicious, gluten free chocolate cupcake, give these a try. I'm pretty sure they won't disappoint!

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Margo's Gluten Free Meusli

Rarely do I make something in my kitchen and then immediately write about it. But today, I took one bite of this and knew I needed to share this simple breakfast dish with you. I am by no means the original architect of Meusli, which is a combination of oats, fruit and nuts, but rarely have I eaten it in the past. Apparently Meusli is a simple, super-healthy breakfast loaded with cancer fighting ingredients that has been around for a long time in Switzerland. I have usually associated Meusli with the packaged version that is in the cereal aisle, and those are almost all not gluten free. Today I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at preschool and it finally felt like spring in the mountains, I was craving some sort of a Swiss breakfast, and this is what happened.

My friend Aimee makes a version of this that is quite elaborate that she eats every day. She adds strawberries and cottage cheese and even soaks dates to make them plump before she adds them. All I knew today was that I wanted pecans and I didn't have a lot of gluten free oats left, so I was going to make something up as I went. This is also not such an exact recipe. You can add or subtract any ingredient to taste. I really liked this flavor combination today, which doesn't mean I won't like something else tomorrow, but try it if you're looking for a healthy, easy filling breakfast.

Gluten Free Meusli a la Margo

1/3 of gluten free oats (Auguson Farms)
lowfat milk
handful of raisins, dates, or other dried fruit
handful of chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, or other nut of choice
1 T or so of brown sugar
1 pinch salt
fresh fruit, like apples, strawberries, peaches, raspberries (optional)

Place the oats in a microwave safe bowl. Add enough milk just until the oats are moist and a little bit runny. Microwave 45 seconds or until no longer runny. Add raisins, pecans, brown sugar, and salt. (Don't skip the salt! It brings out the flavors. Use sea salt if you are worried about sodium.) Mix well.

So easy. So not precise. I wish I was better at writing recipes that were free flowing and organic like the cooking process itself, but that skill may come later.

Happy eating!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Simple Gluten Free Low Cholesterol Salad that uses Leftovers...An Unsimple Name for a Great Lunch!

Since I am now reading not one but two ingredients on every food label I come across, I have been extra conscious about having healthy foods that are low in cholesterol as well as gluten free. It's actually not that hard. I want to say there's a whole other process of food selection, but I'd be lying. You just read the label like you always do. Since chicken is fairly low in cholesterol but not completely cholesterol free, I have wanted to use zero cholesterol sauces and toppings just to not add any extra to the chicken. I found this gluten free, no cholesterol Bull's Eye barbecue sauce at the grocery store and decided to try it since I had no idea what a Carolina barbecue sauce tastes like. It has a hint of mustard in it, so it's a little sweet and tangy at the same time. I had some leftover chicken, so I decided to chop it up and add it to a mixed greens salad with pistachios (nuts help lower cholesterol), and English cucumbers. English cucumbers are those long skinny ones that usually come wrapped in plastic in the produce section. I added a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil (which also helps lower cholesterol.) I ate it with my leftover sweet potato. I love the crunch of the nuts alongside the crunchy cucumbers. It's nice to use a simple dressing and not have to think of anything fancy when you are rushing to eat lunch. And, I ate up the leftovers, which is every cook's dream. No wasted chicken for me. I'm sure this will be on the menu for dinner next time we have leftover chicken.

Happy eating!
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