Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gluten Lite Update

Last night we tried another new recipe that is naturally gluten free. It was a recipe I would have tried before this adventure because it read like a good dinner but it was sort of a flop. I may try it again when I can limit the crock pot time to the 4 hours stated in the directions because having it go to warm and then sit for awhile made the chicken very, very dry. Live and learn!

If you want to give it a try here is the link.

A quick update - Heidi hasn't had a stomach ache since the weekend but yesterday she had a chicken patty on a bun at school and she was fine. Last night she cried because I limited the number of Ritz crackers she could have. And she is really mad that she can't have waffles for breakfast.

I am a bit overwhelmed to learn that almost everything has gluten in it. There is an additive called Dextrose that is in almost every thing it seems and Dextrose is made from Gluten. My thought out naturally gluten free menu is working for dinners this week but we are either going to have to start looking at gluten free subs such as different flours or draw a line on what Gluten Lite really means to my family.

I was telling my friend the other day that I am not really feeling like this is the right thing for our family after my shopping trip on Sunday. I don't know if it is because it is so overwhelming or if it is something else.

I am watching what Heidi eats and weighing my options here. I don't want to give up after only a week but I am really starting to think that limiting processed foods and fast foods will probably give us the same results and allow this to be more of a lifestyle change my family can actually stick with.

I realize it sounds like I am giving up easy but I am not. I am going to keep trying because I really do need to figure out how to stop Heidi's stomach aches. I am just giving an honest update of what's going on in my head right now.

Chicken Gyro's with homemade cucumber sauce on the menu tonight! Yummo!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's For Dinner? Twice Baked Potatoes and Roasted Balsamic Onions

Another Gluten Free dinner is in the books! And I am happy to report that Heidi hasn't had a stomach ache since Saturday.

Last night we had Steaks on the grill, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Roasted Balsamic Onions.

I followed the Twice Baked Potatoes recipe from the Food Network website and I have to say they are the best potatoes I have had in a very, very long time! This is a recipe for the binder for sure.

I doubled the recipe since I feed 7 people but otherwise it's by the recipe which can be found here.

The Roasted Balsamic Onions, also from the Food Network site, were very good. I swapped large yellow onions for white because I don't use white onions and I used two instead of three because it really made a lot if your onions are huge, but otherwise I followed this recipe.

This one is a keeper too!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's For Dinner? Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes

Sunday night was our first Gluten Free dinner and it was truly Gluten Free, not Lite and it was a hit! Everything on this menu was natually Gluten Free, I didn't use any tricks.

I took a pork tenderloin and sliced it into Medallions then placed them on a baking sheet and baked at 450 for about 8 minutes, flipped them over then baked for another 8 minutes. This was much easier than doing them in batches in the cast iron skillet but I like the flavor from the skillet better.

We had salad, taking care to make sure Heidi's dressings didn't have gluten in them, and cottage cheese.

Our main side dish was Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes which I adapted from a recipe I found on Food Networks site.

What you need:
3 pounds red potatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 smashed garlic cloves
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 450 degrees a baking sheet in the oven so the baking sheet gets hot.

Wash the potatoes then slice lengthwise into eighths. Place in a large bowl.

Rinse the cherry tomatoes and add to the potatoes.

Add in the olive oil, smashed garlic cloves, Italian Seasoning, and Salt and Pepper. Toss lightly until the seasonings and oil are evenly distributed.

Remove your hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the potato mix evenly on the sheet. It will sizzle a bit which is kind of fun!

Roast for 15 minutes then flip the potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes. Stab the potatoes with a fork to test for doneness. If the fork slide easily then they are done.

Serve warm. This recipe makes a full baking sheet full of potatoes which was a good side dish for the seven people in my house. If you are only cooking for two to four then use one and a half pounds of potatoes and half everything else but keep the full pint of cherry tomatoes.

I was surprised by how good the tomatoes were! This dish was very easy and a keeper for the recipe binder. Prep was about 10 minutes and the roasting process is about 30 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Starting To Prepare...

I spent some time yesterday looking around the internet for information on how to become Gluten Free due to my decision to give this a go.

I knew right away that since we do not suspect that Heidi actually has Celiac Disease we should go Gluten Lite, not totally free. At least to start with.

Here is what I learned...

Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (cross between wheat and rye). Wikipedia also says it's used as a food additive in the form of flavoring, stabilizing, or thickening agents called Dextrin.

Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines - this is Celiac Disease

Foods that are always gluten free:
  • Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Chia Seed
  • Flax
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy (corn)
  • Millet
  • Montina
  • Lupin
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Taro
  • Teff
  • Yam
Foods that need to be avoided:
  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat
  • Bulgur
  • Durum flour
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
Foods to avoid unless specifically labeled Gluten Free
  • Beer
  • Breads
  • Cakes and pies
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Matzo
  • Pastas
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, including soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups and soup bases
  • Vegetables in sauce
It is possible to miss out on vital Vitamin's when on a Gluten Lite diet such as the following:
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
On I found a link to Gluten-Free Recipes but even more importantly I found an article on how to substitute a mix of Gluten Free flours for standard wheat flour. This means I can still make homemade soup and sauces since the roux would be made from this "safe" mix.

I mentioned this experiment to a co-worker who has had Celiac for her entire adult life.  She was one of the people who gently nudged me to this decision. She offered her shoulder to lean on and then casually mentioned that Lactose intolerance goes hand in hand with Gluten intolerance. Well, who knew?! It just happens that I do have a Lactose intolerance.

I walked away from this research with a better understanding of what I am up against. I need to find a weeks worth of recipes and make a good shopping list. I am almost tempted to do my shopping for the week at Whole Foods in on Lake Calhoun instead of my local Cub but if I want this to work I should learn what my Cub Foods has on hand right out of the gate.  I am also not going to be crazy and start baking Gluten free brownies or anything like that. We will start with the basics, normal meals that do not have any of the forbidden ingredients listed above. We can save swaps for next month.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just One More Thing - Gluten Lite

If you are my friend and you know me in real life, you know my trademark phase is "I just can't do one more thing!" But I am also known for saying it as I am taking on two more things.

This is one of those times. I know we are crazy. And yes, it is one of my goals for the year to figure out exactly what all my commitments are and then trim the fat so I can have a reasonable life. But I feel this one more thing is worth it. And I thing that blogging about it might help others too.

My daughter, who will be seven in a few short weeks, has struggled with stomach issues her entire life. As a baby she had to be held certain ways to relieve gas. She eventually started taking gas drops. When she out grew those she just suffered through until about three years ago when after many discussions with her Montessori teacher about the post lunch stomach aches I put her on a daily probiotic. It had been working for me for years and it worked for her right away.

Over the last few years I have met a number of people who are gluten intolerant and I even met a woman with Celiac Disease which is a complete allergy to gluten.

I generally see a sign when it first appears but sometimes I need it to jump up and slap me in the face. I have had so many people who really know my daughter tell me that I should try a Gluten Free diet with her. I think it overwhelmed me because she is not the only person in this house and I am not the only person in this house who cooks dinner. With two families sharing the food responsibilities under one roof not only do I need to figure out what a Gluten Free diet means but I have to sell it to the other half of my house.

That was just way to exhausting to even think about. And the probiotics are still working as long as I remember to give her one every day.

Then the other main cook in the house goes away for the weekend and meets a chef who specializes in Gluten Free diets. This chef goes on to sell my other cook on the Gluten Free diet so she is totally on board. That was easy!

But to top that, we are down to two weeks of probiotics and then we are out. I can't find our brand anywhere! That was the slap in the face I needed.

Over the next four days I will be scouring the internet to learn what a Gluten Free diet is. I am almost certain right now that we will go Gluten LITE, not Free but again, what does that look like. I will bring the "What's for dinner" section of this blog back to life to review and post pictures of the recipes we try out and maybe a little about if we think this is working.

We are going to take it one week at a time starting Sunday.

Wish us luck and check back for updates and recipes!