Gluten-Free Frugally, Is That Possible? Part 3

I’m back today with my third and final part of Gluten-Free Frugally, Is That Possible?  In case you missed them you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

So I’ve been doing some research the past few days on the subject of finding gluten-free food on a budget, and I’m back today to share my finding with you.

I found the results of a study that was done by Dalhousie University Medical School that was published by The Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research back in 2008.  The study was designed to assess the differences in the cost of gluten-free foods in comparison to their glutenous counterparts.

What the results of the study showed, is basically what we as consumers of gluten-free products already knew.  Gluten-free food costs more!  Just how much more?  According to the study, on average gluten-free foods cost a huge 242% more!!

With the growing demand, there is big money to be made in gluten-free food items.  Just how much?  By the year 2015, Packaged Facts, a leading publisher of market research in the consumer packaged food and beverage goods and demographic sectors, predicts that the sales of gluten-free foods and beverages with exceed $5 billion  in the United States alone!

Hopefully the growing demand and growing availability will help to drive down the price of gluten-free foods, but, that is small consolation right now to families that have to eat gluten-free, with prices of everything from food to gasoline going up and the worth of the dollar going down. 

So the question is, Why are gluten-free foods so expensive?  Well I don’t think that it is just because the manufacturers think they have us over a barrel.  (We need the gluten-free food to live, so we will pay whatever they want to charge.)

I really think the reason is because of all the extra steps they have to take to ensure that the gluten-free product remains gluten-free throughout the whole process.

They have to source the raw materials, mill them in a dedicated gluten-free facility or have all the equipment cleaned extensively before using it for gluten-free foods, they have to test the product for gluten, then they have to package it.  All of this takes time, money and manpower, which leads to expense.

So how can we combat this dilemma?   There is some light at the end of the tunnel for those of us forced to eat gluten-free.  In my search, I found that General Mills Chex Gluten-free Cereals, Kellogg’s Gluten-Free Rice Krispies Cereal and a gluten-free pasta company I have never heard of before, Sam Mills sell their products at about the same price as their glutenous counterparts.

I found some Sam Mills pasta on Amazon for about $2.71 a package.  You had to buy a case of 12 and that doesn’t factor in the cost of shipping, but I know that in some instances you can get free shipping on Amazon.  So $2.71 sounds a whole lot better than upwards of $5.00 or more per bag for some of the other gluten-free brands.

I also found that Delallo just introduced a Gluten-Free Pasta and if you go here they are offering a 50% discount on their gluten-free pasta.  Just enter the code GFSAVE at the checkout. 

I was a little concerned about cross-contamination since they make regular glutenous pasta until I read this statement that I pulled right off of their website:  ”

“In two varieties for the gluten-free consumer—Corn & Rice and Whole Grain Brown Rice—DeLallo Gluten-Free Pasta boasts a desirable “al dente” texture and flavorful bite. Like all of our pasta, our gluten-free varieties are made in Italy with only the finest raw ingredients. Our mollino and pastificio, mill and pasta maker) are located in one gluten-free facility with no risk of cross-contamination. Crafted with generations of experience and the artisanal methods of Italy’s fine pasta-making tradition, DeLallo created a gluten-free pasta so good, the whole family will indulge.”

 The pasta is $4.99 for a 12 oz. bag and they offer elbows, fusilli, orzo, penne, spaghetti and shells.  I don’t know if there is a limit or a minimum order but it may be worth a look see.

Hopefully, with all this competition starting up within different companies for the gluten-free market, we can look forward to a future of more reasonably priced gluten-free food products.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.

While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Gluten-Free Frugally, Is That Possible? Part 2

This is a guest post by Mary Blackburn of EasyGlutenFreeLiving.com It’s packed with valuable information about living well while eating a gluten-free diet. Please read and be sure to pass along to anyone you know who is struggling with this same issue. Thank you!

Well I’m back today with some more ideas on how to be frugal, while living a gluten-free lifestyle. You can read yesterday’s post by clicking this link: Gluten-Free Frugally, Is That Possible? Part 1

One of the easiest things to do, is buy as much main stream food products that are also gluten-free as possible.  I wrote an article here on HBHW called Is There Life After Gluten-Free? in that article I talk about the foods that you can buy that are either naturally gluten-free or made gluten-free.

If you are reading labels to find gluten-free on the shelf food, just remember this:  If you are in the United States all labels of foods sold in the U.S. has to list on the label if it includes any of the eight known allergens.  Which are:  milk, wheat, soy, egg , tree nut, peanut, fish and shellfish.

However, just because it says wheat free, does not mean gluten-freeBarley has gluten, but they do not have to list that as an allergen, so just be aware of that and check the ingredient list carefully.  I had to educate my husband on that.  He picked up a package of something, I can’t remember exactly what, but in huge letters it declared, “Wheat Free”.  He put it in the cart and said I got this for you.  I said “That’s not gluten-free”.  “Really”?  “Really” I replied.  So again, just be careful.

Get creative with substitutes.  Instead of couscous, use quinoa.  It’s naturally gluten-free, with no worries of cross-contamination, because it is grown high in the Andes mountains above the freeze line, and is actually better for you because it has phyto-nutrients, is a complete protein and supplies all nine essential amino acids.  It is high in lysine and is an excellent source of a complete protein.  Which means you could pretty much live off of nothing but quinoa and be quite healthy.

You can find a recipe for a quinoa and turkey recipe here that I posted here on HBHW a while back.

I make a fantastic lasagne using zucchini for the noodles, and if you slice it thin enough, the kids may not even realize there are extra vege’s in there. ;)

You will need to watch out for condiments, seasonings, and sauces, but if I stick to straight dried herbs and spices I’m usually okay.  If you’re in doubt, ask the manufacturer.

I have found that LaChoy Soy Sauce is gluten-free, but it is the only one that is.  Heinz ketchup, French’s Yellow mustard, and Grey Poupon mustard, just about all Kraft salad dressings, and Miracle Whip Salad Dressing.

I have a lot of recipes over on my website, Easy Gluten Free Living.com and more in my cookbook Gluten-Free Get-Togethers.

One of the biggies for me was corn flake crumbs.  Before I was diagnosed I made my own corn flake crumbs by smashing up Kellogg Corn Flakes cereal, but after my diagnosis I couldn’t do that.

I don’t know about you but I use a lot of corn flake crumbs for everything from chicken nuggets to crunch topping on casseroles.  A cheaper substitute for more expensive gluten-free corn flake crumbs is Corn Chex. 

Just throw a bunch into the blender, or food processor and crunch them to the size crumbs you want.  Don’t have a food processor?  No problem just put them into a sealed ziplock bag, with all the air pushed out and use your rolling pin to smash them.  So much cheaper than buying a small container of g-free corn flake crumbs.

I hope this gave you some frugal alternatives and helps you all to live a little more Gluten-Free Frugally.

 

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.

 

While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

 

 

Gluten-Free Frugally, Is That Possible? Part 1

This is a guest post by Mary Blackburn of EasyGlutenFreeLiving.com It’s packed with valuable information about living well while eating a gluten-free diet. Please read and be sure to pass along to anyone you know who is struggling with this same issue. Thank you!

When I was first told I had Celiac Disease, my first feeling was that of relief.  What was wrong with me had a name and it wasn’t Cancer.  Because I had lost so much weight in such a short amount of time, (about 35 pounds in just over two months), everyone thought I had some kind of cancer.

Celiac Disease, they told me, would be controlled strickly by diet.  Easy Peasy!  I love to cook, I can do this, no big deal!

Since this was back in the winter of 1987-’88, gluten-free labeling didn’t exsist and neither did very much pre-packaged gluten-free foods.  No gluten-free sections in the grocery store, no Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s, or even Jules Gluten-Free flour.  I was told I would have to read labels, all labels, for any ingredient with gluten.  Okay, no biggie, right?  Then I went to the grocery store.  What I found, or more like, didn’t find, was a whole lot of anything I could eat.

Did you know that there is wheat flour in foods you would never suspect, like chicken broth and soup?

That first day I came home from the grocery store and sat down and cried.  What was I going to do?  What was I going to eat?  I suppose being diagnosed back in those early days was a blessing in disguise, because it forced me to learn how to find hidden gluten in ingredients and made me experiment with my own concoctions of flours and such.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What the heck does all this have to do with Gluten Free Frugally?”  Well I’ll tell you. ;)

In the years since then, gluten-free foods have become more prevalent, but they are often expensive, sometimes almost double the price of their glutenous counterparts.  But with a little thought and experience you can come up with more frugal alternatives.

Like Annie said here, you can get some good deals on certain flours and starches at Asian stores.  At my local Asian store you can find white rice flour, Tapioca flour and starch and Potato flour and starch.  I personally tend to steer clear buying any unpackaged items like rice or flours in bulk simply because of the cross contamination threat.

If they have the barrel of wheat or wheat flour sitting next to the barrel of rice or rice flour, there is the possibility that an unwitting customer just may use the same scoop to scoop out the rice that she just used to scoop out her wheat flour.  Now the rice barrel is contaminated.

There are many ready to use gluten-free flours available out there, like the ones I mentioned above, but they can be expensive and personally I don’t care for the taste of bean flours which some of those premade flours use.

I think a bean flour in the mixture makes your homemade gluten-free foods taste, well, gluten-free.  I find this expecially true for gluten-free baked goods.

I learned how to mix up my own flours, by using different gluten-free flour mixtures.  Like CharlieAnn said here, you can even grind your own flours using a coffee grinder or even a food processor if you have one.

No matter what kind of gluten-free flour you use, you always want to keep it in the freezer for any long term storage.  Because gluten-free flours usually have the whole grain incorporated into them, they will go rancid very quickly.

That being said, you always want to bring your gluten-free ingredients to room temperature before using.  I’m not exactly sure why, but your baked goods will turn out much better if you let the ingredients come to room temp.

Come back tomorrow for Gluten-Free Frugally, Part 2

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.

While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Frugal Gluten Free Cooking

This is a response from Annie, a HBHW reader, to a reader who posted a request asking for help with gluten free recipes. You can read the request and other comments here: “Desperate For Frugal Gluten Free Recipes.

I want to thank Annie for sharing all this valuable information. Because there was so much detail, I wanted to be sure anyone struggling trying to find truly frugal gluten free recipes would find the help they need. You may also want to check out our other gluten free cooking articles here: Gluten Free Living Articles on HBHW

You’ll see several articles written by my friend Mary Blackburn. If you click on the following link, you’ll also find her blog with a lot more information: Easy Gluten Free Living by Mary Blackburn

Again, thank you Annie for sharing these tips for finding frugal gluten free foods. I hope Annie’s gluten free ideas are helpful. Here they are:

Hi.

For starters, search online “gluten free flour recipe”. These are combinations of various flours and binders to make a gluten free substitute of wheat flour. Try to find one that will suit what you can get, as sometimes ingredients are little obscure.

The best place to get the ingredients are bulk stores and Asian markets.

GF flour will be your answer to pies, pastries, cakes, cookies and biscuits.

Secondly, you need to make sure all your condiments etc are gluGFten free. Check labels – many spice mixes or seasonings contain a thickener/binder/etc that isn’t gluten free. You can just make your own with bulk spices, omitting the gluten-containing ingredient.

Many sauces have gluten-free options available. E.g. Soy sauce can be replaced with Tamari (a type of light [in flavour, not calories] soy popular in Japanese food.

Health food stores will be the best to find condiments and sauces, but these are often pricey. Read labels in the supermarket and look up recipes for the less time consuming stuff.

Thirdly, you need to plan meals. In some instances, you’ll want to make a GF replica (such as gravy with GF biscuits). But often, you can just replace the starch of the meal with something that’s GF. These can include: Rice, rice noodles, polenta (Italian corn mush, like hominy or fine grits – very cheap), potatoes, sweet potato, etc etc. So, you can serve your favourite meals with a GF starch.

For example:

Bolognese and wide cut rice noodles (find these in Asian markets – much cheaper than the supermarket and generally cheaper than store-bought gluten free pasta), Crockpot chicken (almost any dish) and rice etc.

Then there are ways to achieve the same taste in different ways. For example, if you love macaroni and cheese but gluten free pasta is expensive in your area, try making a cauliflower cheese bake served with hamburgers and salad. You still get a baked, cheesy dish, without paying for expensive GF pasta.

Or if you love lasagne, here’s a way to satisfy your craving without paying for lasagne sheets. Cook a batch of polenta. While still hot, spread out a baking tray so that it’s a level 1/2 inch sheet. Put in the fridge and allow to set. You now have a reasonably firm sheet pf polenta. Slice the polenta into smaller sheets to fit your baking dish, and use them in place of the lasagne sheets.

Further resources to use:

The internet – there are tons of people with GF diets, and many of them share tips, recipes and success and failures.

Books – these can sometimes be a pot luck, often they contain recipes that just say to use a pre-purchased GF substitute – not helpful! I suggest borrowing some from the library, to see if they’re good, and purchase them if you like them.

Low Carb diet resources – a lot of low carb diet resources have tips and recipes that don’t include gluten, as they have low carbs.

Remember, some things aren’t going to be exactly the same. Sometimes a recipe won’t translate to GF perfectly. But trial and error will get you there.

You can read even more on the topic of Frugal Gluten Free Living in our friend Mary Blackburn’s two part series right here:
Gluten-Free Frugally, Is It Possible Part 1
Gluten-Free Frugally, Is It Possible Part 2

Is Quinoa Gluten Free?

Quinoa is called a grain substitute, but not a grain at all.  It is really a seed.  The good news, it is definately gluten free.

Quinoa is a light grain with a light nutty flavor.  It can be found in most supermarkets in the pasta / rice sections.

Quinoa is very nutritious and can be used in place of rice.  Quinoa is a complete protein and supplies all nine essential amino acids.  It is high in lysine and is an excellent source of protein.

With Susanne on a spring cleaning expedition, and getting all of us fired up to get our spring cleaning done, I thought I would offer up a recipe that is easy, nutritious and delicious.  Hope you enjoy this.

                                Quinoa with Turkey and Spinach 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa Grain
  • 2 Cups Homemade Chicken Broth or (Gluten Free Store Bought)
  • 1 Teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds Turkey Tenderloin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 2 mild Green Chilies, stemmed, seeeded, and chopped*
  • 1 Squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 Cup Salsa (salsa by nature should be gluten free, but check label for cross-contamination possiblities)

Directions: 

Adjust the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Spray a cast iron Dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray, (not the kind with flour in it).  Pour the quinoa into the prepared pan.  Add the chicken broth and cumin and stir until the cumin is dissolved.  Place the turkey into the pan.  Sprinkle in the salt.  Add the onions and green chilies.  Layer the squash into the pan.  Spread the spinach leaves over the squash.  Scatter the bell pepper slices over the spinach.  Spread the salsa out evenly over the top.

Cover and bake 1 hour, or until the vegetables are fork tender.

*If you prefer a little more kick to your dish use jalapeno peppers indstead of the gree chilies.

Makes 4 servings.

Prep Time:  about 20 minutes

Baking Time:  About 1 hour

Total Time:  About 1 hour 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information:  (approximate values per serving)

Calories 402; Fat 11 g; Carbohydrates 56 g; Cholesterol 86 mg; Sodium 268 mg; Protein 14 g; Fiber 7 g.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes. 

While you're there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Gluten Free Irish Dinner

I cannot believe that February is just about over and March is on it's way.  Although it seems that winter has had a strangle hold on parts of the United States, (and other parts of the world), I realize that spring is just around the corner.

Even though spring is almost here, my family is still enjoying warming comfort foods made in a dutch oven in the oven.  I don't know about you but when I make stews and dinners in the oven, they not only warm you on the inside, they seem to warm the whole house.

So in honor of March and St. Patricks Day, I have an Irish one pot dinner for you to try.

                                          Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 2 lbs gluten free deli corned beef, sliced thick*
  • 2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 1 head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup homemade or gluten free store bought beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  • Spray a cast iron Dutch oven well with non stick cooking spray
  • Preheat oven to 450 Degrees.
  • Separate the onion slices and layer onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Scatter the celery over the onions.
  • Place the corned beef over the top of the onions and celery.
  • Layer the potatoes over the meat.
  • Scatter the carrots over the potatoes.
  • Stuff as much cabbage into the pot as it can hold.
  • Pour the beef broth into a measuring cup.
  • Add the allspice, salt and pepper and whisk until there are no lumps.
  • Pour the mixture over the top of the cabbage.
  • Place the bay leaves into the pan.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Cover and bake 1 hour.
  • Remove bay leaves and spoon the sauce over each serving.

Makes 4 servings.

*Raw corned beef can be used in place of the deli corned beef.  If you are using deli corned beef, be sure it is sliced thick enough to keep it from becoming a crumbly mess.  If you would like more sauce add more beef broth to your pan.  The amount will depend on how juicy you want your dish so just add 2 tablespoons at a time until you have reached the right amount of  juice.

Prep Time:  approximately 20 minutes

Baking Time: 1 hour

Total Time:  approximately 1 hour 20 minutes

Nutritional Information:  (approximate values per serving)

Calories 298; fat 16 g; Carbohydrates 22 g; Cholesterol 16 mg; Sodium 1422 mg;  Protein 17 g; Fiber 5 g.

Mary Blackburn is the author of Gluten Free Get-Togethers and has been gluten free since 1988.  She is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com, and invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you're there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Gluten Free Summer Treats

I don’t know about where you are but here in Pennsylvania it has been extremely hot the past few weeks.  So I thought that I would share some of the cool treats that I like to make for my granddaughters.

They are not only refreshing, but are better for the girls than the store bought frozen treats.  Besides with the Frozen Fruit Pops I control the amount of sugar.

                                               Frozen Fruit Pops

  • 1 1/2 Cups of fresh fruit  (strawberries, pineapple, peaches*, or whatever your child likes)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a blender, blend the fruit, sugar, honey and lemon juice with 1 cup of ice until mixture is semi chunky.  Add another 1/2 cup of ice and blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into popcicle holders** and freeze until firm.  About 5 hours, or over night. 

*If using peaches or other fruit with a skin on it, remove skin before blending in the blender.

                                               Frozen Pudding Pops

  • 1 small package Jello brand pudding mix any flavor
  • 2 Cups cold milk

Whisk ingredients until completely mixed about 2 minutes.  Pour into popcicle holders.**  Freeze about 5 hours or overnight.

**Run popcicle holders under warm water for a few seconds to unmold the frozen treats.  If you don’t have popcicle holders you can always use bathroom size dixie cups and popcicle or craft sticks.  Just freeze slightly before inserting the sticks into the center of the cups, and remember to peel the paper off first.

I use Jello brand pudding because that is the only brand I am certain is gluten free.  But, as always, check ingredients before using.

I hope you and your children have fun making these and enjoy them as much as my granddaughters do.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Grilling-Gluten Free

As I sit here writing this, it is hard to believe that here in the United States, it is only two short weeks until Memorial Day.

It seems that for those of us in the U.S., Memorial Day is the official start to summer.

Summer has always been my favorite season.  I love the warm weather, the sunny days, the swimming, playing and cooking outside.  Unless it’s raining, you’ll find me outside, (and sometimes even if it’s raining.  I have a black lab pup that doesn’t care about the rain).

Now if you’re talking about cooking outside, 9 times out of 10, you’re talking about grilling.  I love to grill and in fact at my house I’m the grill master. ;)

Now being a celiac, there are a few things I need to watch out for when I’m grilling or going over to a barbecue at a friend’s house.

One thing to watch out for is cross contamination.  Cross contamination can occur when glutenous foods are cooked on the grill and then gluten free food is cooked without the grill being cleaned inbetween.

It can also happen when drippings from a marinade containing gluten, drips on your gluten free food, or on the grill before you place your food on the grill.  At my house, I just don’t use marinades with gluten in them.  There are just so many marinades out there that are gluten free that taste spectacular, that I don’t see the reason for risking it.

However, it’s very easy to avoid cross contamination while grilling by taking  just a few precautions:

Clean a section of the grill where only gluten free food will be cooked.  To clean the grill, it’s just a matter of using a stiff wire brush to scrape the surface of the grill while the grill is hot, to remove any residual glutenous food particles.

If  you are a guest at a barbecue and are concerned about cross contamination, ask your host if you can have your food cooked first, have a small section of the grill kept just for your gluten free food, or if you just don’t feel comfortable with those options, wrap your food in foil before you place it on the grill.

Happy Grilling.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Easter, A Great Holiday to be a Gluten Free Kid

Easter is a great holiday for a gluten free kid.  Christmas is fun, but, no Christmas cookies for you, unless mom made them special.  Thanksgiving is nice, but stuffing and pies?  Not anymore.

Ahhhh, but Easter?  What’s not to love?  There’s ham, potatoes, and the sides, all of which are pretty much gluten free.  But the best thing?   It’s the one holiday you can feel like a normal kid.  The main attraction… the Easter basket can look like everybody elses, even if it is gluten free.

There’s a plethora of gluten free candy just waiting to be eaten.  Parents, and Grandparents, let me give you some ideas for your gluten free kid’s basket.

  • Hersheys Milk Chocolate Bunnies
  • Hersheys Special Dark and Milk Chocolate eggs
  • Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bunny
  • Double Bubble Bubble Gum
  • Starburst Fruit Chews
  • Wonka Giant Pixy Stix
  • Snickers Bars
  • Swedish Fish
  • Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee bars, small size
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Tootsie Roll Industries, posts that all their candies are gluten free
  • Ferrara Pan Candy Company
  • Skittles
  • M & M’s, all brands except the krispy kind
  • All Just Born Brand candies are gluten free.  That includes my favorite, their Peep Brand marshmellow candies, (all varieties), Mike & Ikes, Teenie Beanie Jelly Beans and more.
  • And my very favorite jelly beans in the whole world, Jelly Belly jelly beans.  Wooo Hooo!
  • Dove brand Milk Chocolate eggs, (although mom, these are so good you may want to keep them for yourself) ;)

I like to give my granddaughters little presents in their Easter baskets.  So some non-candy items that are gluten free are:

  • Crayola Brand Crayons, this includes their markers, washable markers, 3D markers, chalk, oil pastels, model magic, colored pencils, glue paint and Silly Putty.  Crayola Dough is not gluten free.
  • All Palmer Paints are gluten free
  • All Ross products except the finger paints.
  • And Books are always a good addition.  Start your children off with a love of books at an early age, to help them have a more successful school career.

I hope that gave you some new ideas, and helped to make your Easter Basket shopping a little easier.

(Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.)

A Gluten Free Valentines Day Dinner

Valentines Day is this weekend and going out to dinner can be a real hassle when you have celiac disease.  That’s why this week I have a very nice gluten free dinner for you that is delicious, elegant, thrifty, and won’t keep you in the kitchen all evening instead of with your valentine. 

Let me know how you like it, and I hope you enjoy it.

                               Lemon Crusted Pork with Chive Potatoes

For the pork chops:

  • 1 Tablespoon white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon French’s Worcestershire Sauce (it’s gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Heinz Dijon Mustard (also gluten free)
  • 4 boneless pork chops 3/4 to 1 inch thick*
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs Dash Lemon-Pepper Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter or gluten free margarine
  • Fresh Chives

Stir together the wine, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and dijon mustard.  Set aside.            Trim any fat from the pork chops.  Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning on both sides of all 4 pork chops.  Melt butter or margarine in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Cook pork chops in hot margarine for 3 to 5 minutes per side, turning once,  until slightly pink in the center and juices run clear.

Remove pork from skillet but keep it warm.  Remove skillet from heat.

Add wine sauce to skillet and stir until well blended.  Pour over meat and sprinkle with snipped chives.

*Money saving tip:  You can use a nice pork loin roast and slice it into chops.  That is what I do for this recipe.

For the Chive Potatoes:

  • 8 to 10 new potatoes or about 2 pounds of all purpose cut into small chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine, melted
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chives, snipped

Place potatoes and water in a microwave  safe bowl, covered.  Cook on 100% power (high) about 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain, drizzle melted butter over potatoes and gently stir in the snipped chives.

Serve with a nice tossed salad and a green vegetable.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Gluten Free Kid Foods

Has your family gone gluten free because your child was diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance?  Going gluten free is hard enough as an adult but for a child it can seem almost devastating.

No more macaroni and cheese, or Dairy Queen.  What about chicken nuggets?  While it’s true that you won’t be able to run through a MacDonalds drive thru and grab some chicken nuggets for the kids, I have a recipe for you today that creates some pretty good ones.  On top of that they are made in the oven so they’re healthy and good enough for non gluten free company as well.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

                                                       Oven Fried Chicken Nuggets

  • 2 large whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 Cups Gluten Free corn flake crumbs**
  • 1 Jelly Roll Baking Sheet
  • 1 oven-proof  Wire Cooling Rack

Place cooling rack inside of the jelly roll baking sheet and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Cut chicken into bite-sized, about 1 1/2 inch, pieces.  Combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a flat pan.  In a second pan, beat eggs and water together, and in a third pan place the 2 cups of corn flake crumbs.

Toss the chicken pieces in the flour, then dip them into the egg mixture, (be sure they are well covered in egg), then into the corn flake crumbs.  Arrange chicken pieces on the cooling rack baking sheet.  Being sure that they don’t touch each other.  Bake at 350 degrees, for 30 to 45 minutes until juices run clear and coating is crispy.

The key to these being crispy is baking them on the wire cooling rack.  It allows the heat and air to circulate all around the chicken and the juices to drip into the pan instead of the chicken getting soggy in the juices.

This recipe can also be used on a whole broiler/fryer chicken for the whole family.

*Instead of Bob’s Red Mill Flour, you can substitute the generic All Purpose  Baking Flour recipe that follows.

**Corn Chex cereal can be used as a more economical substitution for the gluten free corn flake crumbs.  Just make them into crumbs in a food processor or blender.

                                                     All Purpose Baking Flour

  • 1/2 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1/4 Cup tapioca flour/starch
  • 1/4 Cup cornstarch or potato starch

Sift well together and store unused portion in an airtight container in the freezer.

You can make as much of this as needed, just keep the proportions the same.

Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.

Is There Life After Gluten-Free?

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with Celiac Disease?  Perhaps your child.  Finding out that you are intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some oats, can be a very scary situation to find yourself in.

Suddenly, you’re told that everything that has been a comfort food for you, is in reality killing you.  Now you must find foods that are okay for you to eat.  Not necessarily an easy assignment.

You look in your kitchen, hmmm, bread is out, pasta…out, pizza..no.  Is there any food in your kitchen safe for you to eat?  Yes, but it’s going to take some looking around to find it.

The following is a list of Gluten Free Products that you might find already on your pantry shelves or in your refrigerator.  Since manufacturers can change their ingredient list in any product at any time, always check the labels everytime.  Just to be safe.

  • Meat:  Poultry, Fish, Canned Salmon, Canned Chicken, Canned Tuna, 100% ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken.
  • Prego Spaghetti Sauce
  • Joan of Arc Kidney Beans
  • Canned Tomatoes / Dei Fratelli Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
  • Hormel Pepperoni and Hormel Turkey Pepperoni
  • Any and all fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Canned Fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen Vegetables (Not packaged with sauces)
  • Potatoes both white and sweet
  • Pure Rice – Brown, white, basmati, (Not Rice a Roni or such, it has wheat pasta mixed in)
  • Corn Tortilla Shells / Corn Taco Shells
  • Ortega Brand Taco Seasoning mix
  • Rice Cakes Plain (not the flavored ones)
  • Salsa
  • Cereals – Chex Brand, Corn, Rice,  (or any with the Gluten Free Label) Cream of Rice, Grits
  • Eggs
  • Milk – Cow, Soy, Rice, Goat
  • Real Cheese (such as mozzerella, cheddar), Velveeta Cheese, Philadelphia Cream Cheese (plain), Cheese Whiz
  • Sour Cream (not light or reduced calorie, they sometimes have fillers)
  • Butter
  • I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter brand Margarine (there may be others but this is the only one I know for sure)
  • Yoplait Yogurt (check ingredient label not all flavors are gluten free)
  • Cracker Barrel Cheese
  • Kaukauna Cheese
  • Beans and Bean Flour
  • Nut Flour
  • Potato Chips (plain not flavored)
  • Salted or Plain Nuts and Seeds (as long as they are not seasoned)
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
  • All Vinegars except Malt Vinegar
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (in the United States)
  • French’s Mustard & Guldens Spicy Brown Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Pickle Relish
  • Be Wary of Soy Sauce there are some gluten free brands but you need to check labels.

These are just a few of the foods that can be found right off the grocers shelves.

Is there life after gluten free?  I’m here to tell you definitely yes.  And the food can be just as good if not better, because it won’t make you sick.

(Mary Blackburn has been gluten free since 1988 and is the owner of http://www.easyglutenfreeliving.com.  She invites you to visit her site for more gluten free living tips and recipes.  While you’re there, take a moment to sign up for The Gluten Free Gazette, her bi-weekly newsletter filled with articles and answers to your questions about gluten, gluten free living and celiac disease.)