Showing posts from 2013

Of Breakfasts; or How Good Food Takes Time (Recipe: Stuffed French Toast)

Spend time on yourself. Being celiac has made me slow down. Before, I rather had the tendency to run roughshod over myself at madcap speeds -- raw bagel snatched on the way out to fencing practise; noshing but forgetting supper; leaving for a day without packing a lunch, or supper.
Breakfast could be hardest.
But having celiac has given me the opportunity to re-examine that behavior; and oy, it didn't work so well. It certainly doesn't work when I need to maintain a wheatless, uncontaminated, gluten-free and dairy-free diet.
Out of that introspection, Chocolate Stuffed French Toast (GF, DF, Soy-free) was born.

It's purty, isn't it?

It's also a good balance between self-care and gentleness and self-indulgence. I find one can indulge fairly easily these days -- although perhaps not while shoe-stringing it budget-wise. But it's harder to eat consciously, slowly, gently, and with friends.

This recipe takes a little preparation time. But it is cheap, easy, and make…

Recipe: 'Tis the Season Smoothies!

I've been ill. But that's no excuse for neglecting my blog...though it is a solid segue way into the ups and downs, and in-betweens of Celiac disease. Identity and anxiety play hugely into any disease -- but perhaps especially into one so intimately linked up with food, since food is wrapped into family, community, social interaction and Pan-knows-what-else.

For lighter things, though -- Pumpkin Pie Smoothie! [GF, DF, NF]

And it is light, not to mention delicious. This simple blend of fresh organic pumpkin, light spicing, and vanilla protein powder makes an amazing facsimile of true pie-out-of-the-pan. Except better. Perhaps.

Well, you ought to try it.

Simple ingredients, clean, and easy and good on the gut -- after all, ginger heals all things inside, or so they say. It certainly soothes an upset tummy.
1/2 or 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin 1 cup ice 1/2 cup chopped fennel (optional) 1/2 teaspoon diced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 serving protein powder of ch…

Recipe: 7 Layer Bars, Shoestring-Style, Tumble-in-Your-Tummy

Cookies. It's all I'll say.


1 1/2 cups crumbled GF Puffins cereal or Tumbling Homemade Graham Crumbs*
2 tbs cashew butter plus 1 tbs coconut oil (or 3 tbs coconut oil)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup dairy-free GF chocolate chips (EnjoyLife = brill)
1 cup unsweetened grated organic coconut
1 cup nuts, roughly chopped (pecans and walnuts tend to be my favourite, but any will do; sunflower seeds as well)
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 tbs water
2 tbs organic agave syrup
1/4 tsp stevia powder


Take your crumbs, and sprinkle evenly over either greased or parchment-papered deep square pan.

If using cashew butter, add at least 2 tbs water, place in small saucepan, and over low heat allow to melt until well-combined and liquid. If coconut oil is solid, do the same. Drizzle over crumbs.

Next, combine agave, stevia, coconut milk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle 2/3 of nuts over crumbs. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of coconut flakes over nuts. Sprinkle 1/3 choc chips. Go b…

Recipe: Donburi (Almost Sekihan), or Adzuki Beans and Rice

Donburi (Rice Bowls)

One of the most comforting foods in the world is a bowl of rice. Perhaps it's a Japanese thing. Perhaps it's a coeliac thing.

Perhaps it's simply a fact.

But this recipe I've cobbled after many meanderings in the kitchen is a wonderful blend of sweet and biting, with the adzuki beans traditionally used in desserts, and short grain brown rice or mochi -- it's satisfying, full of flavor, and yet mild enough to be gentle on a gluten-ed or overworked gut.

To prepare, either quick-soak or overnight the adzukis. (They're small, they cook in an hour - hour 1/2 either way.)

To quick soak:

[ Take care not to over-boil, or accept you'll have bean paste more than beans.]

1/2 cup dry adzukis
1 1/2 cups water
strip kombu (kelp seaweed)
1/4 diced yellow onion
fennel seeds (optional)

Place in small saucepan. Boil on high for 15 mins. Turn off heat and let sit for 15. Drain. Add 1 cup water, seeds, and kombu, and simmeruntil the beans are tender, but st…

Product Review: Food [Truly] Should TASTE GOOD

As a celiac, I am sometimes expected to eat the tail-end, so to speak, of the taste spectrum. I'm expected to eat tasteless, to eat left-over, to eat inept imitations of gluten-containng food -- and perhaps even to wallow in self-pity.
This is not a self-image, or life-style, I want to embrace or encourage. In fact, it's false, and based on bloody false presuppositions and a never enough mentality. It is not my identity. Being celiac does not require eating less well, eating less variety, or eating less taste-tantalising food.
[ My recent review of Silver Hills GF breads highlights how very well san gluten can be done, without trying to imitate gluten-full options. ]
But a brill example of naturally gluten-free food made with panache, and made safe, is Food Should Taste Good.
These chips (crisps if you rather) do more than chip the illusion of gluten-free always being bland or a few wickets short of a win. They blast the idea that celiac-safe means no variety. They make textu…

Product Review: Sweet Silver Hills! Bakery Bread (Omega Flax) [ Take 2 ]

First, Chia Chia . . . could it get better? Omega Flax matches it, if it doesn't actually one-up it.

Silver Hills Bakery makes two gluten free options: Chia Chia, an excellent blend of sorghum and chia seeds, and Omega Flax, similar but that it blends the sorghum with whole flax seeds. I can't repeat often enough how much I enjoy the Chia Chia (you can read that review here).

It's a bread that takes being gluten free to heart, plays up its own strengths, and doesn't make a daft dodge at trying to be mistaken for gluten-full. Soft, flavourful, versatile; doesn't crumble; good toasted or plain.

And I'll keep this review short: Omega Flax is just as good, if not better -- and has the added subtle nuttiness of the flax which complements the sweet sorghum perfectly.

I've been having a ball toasting it with soft-boiled eggs in the morning. For lunch, I've made open-faced sandwhiches with salmon or toasted tofu.

It makes a wonderful strawberry-almond-butter sna…

Product Review: Sweet Silver Hills! Bakery Bread

I have not been so pleased with bread since I was a baby, and got to chew a wad of French baguette with steak. Though even that may not touch my experience with Silver Hills and their  GF Chia Chia Bread.

A quick and emphatic caveat: It is not at all like proper wheat bread. Second and more emphatic caveat:  Thank God -- it has all the more room to explore its own flavour, texture and excellence.
One bug at the bottom of the bread basket in any and all GF products which seek to imitate, emulate, fake their little toddles into being exactly like wheat is that they are always stuck at just comparable. They must always be compared. They can't ever branch out, enhance and celebrate their own unique flavour, texture, shape -- or the creativity of their baker. And they are always just a crumb short -- if not quite a bit more than that -- from their gluten-gilded cousin.
But it is an honest itch on my celiac mind -- the imitation of all the gluten. It hasn't got gluten. It will be d…

Product Review: Tortillas to a 'T'

Rudi's [ Tortillas ]

So a bit of a tortilla claims it can bend and fold and wrap like a rubber band -- well, why not? That's what gluten does. It sticks and goos, so to speak. So this bit of tortilla claims it, but it hasn't got the gluten going, and we're supposed to believe it?

I got samples of Rudi's Plain and Fiesta Tortillas at the recent celiac expo, and I gave them a very skeptical eye. (But I was working the Rudi's table (photos to come), and I thought -- I really ought to give this a try, or I'll be a dead-duck of a product ambassador.)

After all, they might bend. They might wrap. But my experience has been that any product trying to imitate gluten is a poser and prat from the get-go. And these products fall into two categories: a) Those that do what they say, but are filled with a boot-load chemical conglomerates, and taste like tar or b) Those other ones that taste all right, even good, but can't do a back bend (or whatever else they claim) t…

Celiac Expo! Tumbling Hits San Diego

Let's break this post up a bit prior to  diving in:

Expo (experience)


San Diego Gluten Free Scene

I got the grande olde pleasure of being driven down the Southern California coast to Del Mar, where the Celiac Disease Expo was set up at the fairgrounds.  It was also free since I'd volunteered to be a brand rep and all-around helper at the show.

First, I ran into several familiar brands. Udi's was there, with their new Harvest Crunch Muffins, and a plenitude of cookie samples. GoldMine and Ohsawa were around the corner -- will have to come back to them; Veganaise had its table. Happy Family Brands was showing off GF fruit smoothie-packs for adults and tots in BPA free squeezers, along with rice cakes and puffs. [Luna and Larry's ]Coconut Bliss froze a whole section with towering tubs of dairy-free, gluten-free organic ice cream. Pamela's was also there, with cookie jars and the amazingly ever-popular baking mix. Also, Hilary's Eat Well, …

Recipe: Onigiri and Sweet Adzukis (Beans)

This is a go-to dinner for me, and one that costs less than a drive to the nearest grocery at current gasoline prices.

Adzuki beans:

1/2 c. adzuki beans
1 strip kombu (kelp)
1/2 white onion
1 tsp dried fennel seed

Boil beans in 2 cups water on high for about twenty minutes for a "quick soak"; allow to sit another ten. Drain water, refill with 1 cup water. Simmer for an hour, adding fennel, onion, and kombu. Cook until slightly tender (if cooked longer, the beans will dissolve and lose shape, which makes a nice paste--if you prefer them so, cook on high another twenty or so minutes).

Rice (onigiri):

1 cup short grain  brown rice
2 cups water

Bring water to a boil. Add rice, leave heat high until boiling again, then turn down to allow to steam. The rice should have absorbed all the water in 45 mins to an hour. Turn heat off, allow to cool 10 mins. Fill an extra bowl with warm water, and a teaspoon of salt. Fluff rice with a fork or chopsticks, and then using hands dipped in th…

Restaurant Review: Red Brick Pizza

I rarely eat out. But when I do, I research exhaustively, and after weeks calling different locations, reading reviews online, and looking at ingredient lists, I decided my date could take me to Red Brick Pizza. They make quite a fuss about their gluten free options (as well as their healthy outlook and natural ingredients).
Good sounds, yes? Not only that, but they had been certified by GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group), and trained, so as to know the risks of celiac disease, cross contamination, and safe food prep.

It follows then that they have separate pizza stones, and utensils, for the gluten free crusts. The crusts come wrapped and frozen, and are set on their own "screen" before being shoved onto the safe stone in the far corner of the brick-oven on a dedicated spatula-like shovel.

Everything is prepared directly in front of you. So I stood sentinal. And watched.

Being dairy-free also puts rather a kink in my dining out. (The truth is, budget is more important. It is e…