Health


My co-worker asked me twice if I had seen the news about a drug for Celiac’s before I remembered to look online.

The short story is that a new drug, Lazarati will apparently allow those with Celiac’s to eat gluten without having any reaction, by preventing the intestine from getting damaged.  The article notes that Lazarati is not meant as a cure, but rather as a means to “ingest small amounts of gluten without fear of falling ill.”

I would be skeptical of a so-called cure, but since I already use digestive enzymes, which seems to help when I eat suspect foods, the idea of a drug that allows for small indiscretions actually sounds like a pretty nice deal to me.  What do you think?

Read the full article here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been awaiting an opportunity to try a number of recipes from Living Without Magazine.  I have had fresh pasta exactly twice since going Gluten-Free and both were delicious.  First, I had homemade corn pasta at Cafe DeVille in Edmonton, AB and second I had homemade rice pasta at Pagliacci’s in Victoria, BC ever since then, I have wanted to try and make my own.

I followed the instructions for Gluten-Free Handmade Pasta exactly as they are listed, using the flax seed egg replacement (so that I could share with my little man who doesn’t eat egg whites yet), however I didn’t have the patience to go over to my parents to borrow their pasta maker.  Instead, after reading a bunch of ravioli recipes, I decided to divide the dough and roll it out as thin as possible using a rolling pin between pieces of saran wrap.  This worked reasonably well, but I need a LOT of extra cornstarch to ensure the dough didn’t stick and to be able to transfer it to parchment paper.

I rolled each piece into an elongated rectangle and then placed 3-4 teaspoons of filling (depending how well I rolled the pasta) in a row along the pasta sheet, dabbed watered down egg yolk around each dollop of filling and then folded the dough over, gently pressing the dough together.  I did not use a fork or anything fancy to mark the edges, I just used my fingertips and the dough stayed together well through the cooking process.

The end result was delicious, if a bit chewy, however I’m pretty sure that if I had rolled my pasta thinner using a pasta machine that chewiness may not have been an issue.  I’m also positive that the ravioli was delicious and as good as I could have hoped for considering that it was my first attempt EVER to make pasta.  I did have to cook the pasta for a good 15 minutes, flipping the ravioli a few times, which is considerably longer than I expected based on the recipe citing the noodles would cook within a few minutes.

All in all, a good recipe and a delicious meal…and my little boy liked it too!!  Good luck making pasta, I hope yours also turns out great.

As for filling, I decided to make my own up, here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • ~3 oz of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
  • ~1/4 onion diced fine
  • 3/4 of a 500g package of feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat, until no longer pink.
  2. Add onion and chopped spinach, and ook until the onions have softened and the turkey is fully cooked.
  3. Remove meat mixture from heat and stir in the cheeses (I had goat cheese on hand and it really helped hold everything together, you could also add one egg yolk.)
  4. Use to fill your homemade ravioli and enjoy!!

ps. I also used the leftover filling on a pizza!! Yum yum!

When I first went Gluten-Free I had been feeling sick for so long that I gave up everything.  Anything that was on a list that said it MAY contain gluten I avoided.  This included things like maltodextrin (which is in everything), however I eventually learned that like many other ingredients, it is usually derived from corn and will be labeled accordingly if it is made from wheat.

Since that time, I have started feeling better and find that I am a little more adventurous with my eating.  I certainly don’t go out and eat a croissant, bagel or something equally delicious (though sometimes I really want to), but I do occasionally try something new at a restaurant where I have dishes I know are safe to eat, or I might try something with an ingredient that may be questionable such as worchestire sauce or malt extract.

I have a friend who is Celiac and I remember being so surprised when she showed me her secret stash of Corn Pops in the cupboard at work exclaiming, “we can eat these!”  I was so excited, the next time I was at the grocery store, I scanned the box and was saddened to see that just like the rice krispies and corn flakes, the corn pops contained Barley Malt Extract.

As you likely know, Barley contains gluten and so does Barley Malt.  I had tried eating Corn Flakes while on a cruise in Italy (it seemed like a safe bet to nick a box off of the boat to take on the excursions) and though it didn’t give me a full blown attack of stomach pains and trips to the washroom, I didn’t feel good, so I knew better than to eat the Corn Pops (though I really wanted them).  Of course in time I would find my Panda Puffs, so really it all worked out.

If you, like myself find yourself reading boxes of things you know you probably can’t eat such as cornbread, corn shake & bake and teriyaki sauces, you’ve probably been suprised a few times by something you’re sure you’ve examined many times, yet this time you realized you might just be able to eat it.  That happened to me with the Corn Flake Crumbs; they contain “malt flavoring” but it doesn’t actually say malt extract.  I decided to chance it and try them out and FOR ME they seem to be a-ok.  I kind of assume that malt flavoring is artificial whereas extract is actually derived from barley, but in truth I have no idea, except that I seem to be able to eat the corn flake crumbs.  I don’t eat them too often (just to be safe) but every now and then they are a great treat, and my dear husband loves the occasional breaded chicken breast or the like.

PLEASE NOTE:  Since I have not been diagnosed as Celiac, I believe myself to be gluten-intolerant (granted I was given the Celiac test after being Gluten-Free for a year, so really it was garbage) so I feel safe experimenting in this fashion.  I am no doctor, but I know that for true Celiac’s cheating (even without symptoms) can be very hard on the body and lead to increased chances of bowel cancer, so please make your own educated decisions about your eating.

While shopping yesterday I found unbreaded turkey cutlets (a rarity) and was instantly reminded of the pork cutlets my Mom used to feed me as a kid.  Brown and crispy, dipped in honey mustard, I was salivating in the store.  Remembering the Corn Flake Crumbs in my cupboard, I hoped I could make a reasonable facsimile and I was more than impressed with the results.  Unfortunately, my husband was also excited to have breaded meat and we ate it all before we had a chance to take a photo – hopefully I will find these unbreaded cutlets again so that we can eat them and I can show you a picture.  They browned, crisped and crunched exactly the way I remember.

Gluten-Free “Breaded” Cutlets

Ingredients:

  • 2 unbreaded cutlets (turkey, chicken, pork, veal…whatever suits your fancy)
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup Corn Flake Crumbs (or GF Corn Flakes pulsed in a food processor)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of grapeseed (or vegetable) oil

Directions:

  • Mix rice flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plastic bag; coat cutlets and allow to rest on a plate for about 5 minutes.
  • Dip floured cutlets into egg then immediately coat with Corn Flake Crumbs.
  • Allow cutlets to rest for another 5-10 minutes if possible, this will allow the coating to really adhere together.
  • Heat oil in non-stick frying pan over med-high heat, and cook cutlet until crispy and golden before flipping (~8 minutes).  Cook second side ~5 minutes.
  • Cutlet should be crispy and golden on both side and middle should be cooked throughout with no traces of pink.
  • I like to enjoy this “breaded” goodness with honey mustard.  I usually mix mayo, mustard and honey to make a sauce, but this time I just used French’s Honey Mustard and it was great.

After making that delicious pumpkin cheesecake pie, I found myself with a fair amount of pumpkin puree and no recipe to use it. I HATE throwing away food, so instead I decided I would find a recipe to use my leftover pumpkin, fortunately I didn’t have to look far, Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook” had a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had my doubts about how tasty they would be, but my practical side convinced me that it was worth a try.

And I need not have worried, the cookies were soft and cake-like with just a hint of pumpkin flavour – absolutely delicious!

GF Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook”)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sorghum
  • 2/3 cup bean flour (I used garbanzo fava, but the recipe called for whole bean)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 tbsp grated orange zest (I don’t like citrus so I didn’t include it and they were still delicious)
  • 1 – 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Mix first 9 ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Blend the pumpkin, sugar and shortening together with an electric mixer for 3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, blending well.
  4. Stir in orange zest (if using) and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls, approximately 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a fork. Let cookies stand for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease cookie sheet(s).
  7. Bake cookies in pre-heated oven for 10-14 minutes, or until set. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  8. ENJOY! Mmmm

As you may know, one of my favourite Gluten-Free treats, is pepperoni pizza. I’ve made it time and time again, never tiring of the simple toppings – until recently.

Surprisingly, I found myself in need of vegetables, the rich mingling tastes of artichokes and carmelized onions and I l knew that Pizza would be my base. I had a landlord when I was in University and occasionally she would invite me upstairs to have homemade pizza – this was literally the best pizza I have ever had. Her secret? ALWAYS sautee the vegetables first to lock in the flavour and prevent watering on your pizza.

Carmelized Onion, Mushroom and Artichoke Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gluten-Free Pizza Base, partially cooked
  • Gluten-Free Pizza sauce
  • ~ 2 cups of Grated Cheese (I like a mix of mozza and cheddar)
  • ~1.5 cups of mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • ~1/2 can of artichokes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut lengthwise into strips
  • ~2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Oil for sauteeing
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Directions:

  • Using a small amount of oil, sautee the onions over medium until they become translucent (~ 5 min)
  • Sprinkle onions in brown sugar, and continue to sautee until they smell-sweet and have a lovely caramel colour (~10-12 minutes) – place in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Sautee mushrooms in a small amount of oil over medium heat, until they have watered and shrunk in size – place in a small bowl and set aside.
  • If using fresh basil, chop finely and mix into the pizza sauce for extra flavour.
  • If you have timed things right, take your pizza base out of the oven, spread with pizza sauce, spread onions evenly over the pizza, top with sauteed mushrooms, artichokes and then cheese.
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Allow pizza to cool slightly before cutting, and enjoy!!

This Thursday was a big day for me;
June 19th marked my 1-year Gluten-Free-Anniversary.

It has been 1-year since I willingly, chose to eat a piece of toast, a slice of bagel, a muffin or a plethora of other food. It has also been 1-year since my body stopped hating me – since I stopped running to the washroom within an hour of every meal, since I had stomach pains and cramping so constant they weren’t even worth mentioning when someone inquired how I was feeling.

I’ve come a long way since that first day, when I was filled with frustration, anger even over the constant battle that I hadn’t even known I had been fighting. I was filled with doubt, uncertain that removing a long list of my favourite foods could possibly result in improving the current state of my stomach. This is understandable of course, my doctor had previously diagnosed my pain as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and when I followed the diet and took the medication, the symptoms did subside somewhat, however as soon as STRESS reared its ugly little head, both the diet and meds showed themselves to be utterly useless for me.

As I mentioned on my ABOUT page, within approximately 5 days of stringently following a gluten-free diet, my stomach cramps started to subside, my irritation and frustration began to decrease and I started to feel functional and human again. Not to say it was easy, for the first month all I ate was rice, chicken breast, vegetables and rice crackers…and I continued to be hungry and angry, asking questions such as why me, what am I supposed to eat and will I ever be able to eat out again? I think this blog is helping me to address my previous frustration and share my answers to those questions.

Fortunately, support was not far away. My direct supervisor’s husband has Celiac Disease and she has been wonderful to have around; providing tidbits of information, suggestions for gluten-free meals and as a wife that chooses to eat GF the majority of time, she has been a source of inspiration that a family can function with a gluten-free parent.

I had a dream last night. I remember very little, except for the fact that I was at some sort of function, a dinner party perhaps, and the food was delicious. When dessert came around there was this lovely chocolate cake, layered between fudgy chocolate icing. I ate about half of the piece of cake, before suddenly realizing that it was certainly not gluten-free. I swear I had stomach cramps in my sleep and that’s why I remember this portion of the dream so vividly.

It’s only been a year, but I know that at this point in my life, I would never eat baked goods without assurance it was gluten-free, I’m happy and healthy living the Gluten-Free life, but it turns out that says nothing about my dreams and my sub-conscious mind.

It is with great pleasure that I write this post – I just finished installing a brand new hard drive (courtesy of my warranty) in my 8-month old laptop. I hope that for the first time in its short lifespan, it may actually function properly.

I want to start off by adding to my previous post. I awoke the next morning, only to realize that I had forgotten to mention that I had managed to find some P.A.N. (pre-cooked white cornmeal), and as such had a chance to make some Arepa’s. I think I added a “glug” too much oil, as my arepa’s were consistently slightly goopy in the middle despite longer cooking and/or baking time. Regardless, they were delicious – in fact I may just make some more tonight.

I’m home alone tonight, and softball has been canceled due to rain. I’m trying to decide whether to bake or just chill, at this point, I’m leaning towards the “do-nothing” option, but time will tell. I did in fact, once again, bake up a storm this weekend. In celebration of Mother’s day, I baked a double batch of gluten-free Biscotti for my Mom (who can eat gluten, but loves them), I baked a supposed-to-be-fluffy (but mine wasn’t) gluten-free sponge cake that I layered with mangoes soaked in maple syrup and whipped cream and after “stealing” some over-ripe banana’s from my mother-in-laws, I also made another batch of banana bread.

Then, yesterday a co-worker plopped a container of hemp hearts and a recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Hemp Cookies from a magazine, in front of me. Although I can’t find the recipe on the website, the recipe was courtesy of http://www.poweroffood.com . Of course, I made those too and boy were they easy to make and delicious!

But I digress, after promising in my last post, I am finally ready to share my Banana Bread Recipe.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from Erin McKenna’s Cinnamon Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour
  • 1/4 cup Potato Starch
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp milk or non-dairy substitute
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 F and lightly grease a large loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl mix together all of the wet ingredients (except the mashed bananas and chocolate chips).
  4. Gently fold the bananas into the wet mixture.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; just before all of the dry ingredients are moistened, fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over-stir, it’s ok if the batter is lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow the banana bread to cool a minimum of 20 minutes before turning out, allow to cool completely before slicing.

Next Page »