Living the Gluten Free Way…Worth the Effort!

Let me update you on my gluten free life style. I have been gluten free almost two and a half years. I initially bought every freaking flour under the sun.  Some I still use, some I have abandoned for specific reasons: generally they make things taste odd; like someone from another universe baked it!  I no longer use many bean flours, just occasionally; too weird tasting.  Ditto for quinoa flour.  I like quinoa as a starch/side and use it occasionally but that flour…rarely. Same goes for teff flour…odd tasting. I make a few flour blends and two mixes; for cobblers and for buttermilk biscuits.  The mixes are really handy for quick baking.

My diet centers around eating healthy; lots of veggies, fruits, proteins and a few oils like olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and canola oil.  I try to eat seasonally when it comes to produce – get the best tasting stuff when it is local and fresh.

cropped-spagetti-and-raspberry-muffins-0051.jpgpavlova rhubarb 006

I make a fair amount of muffins for snacks and a lot of my desserts are fruit based.  I found a pie crust or two that work great, same goes for muffins and brownies.  I love my cobbler recipe; it gets a lot of usage. Pasta does have a place but not as much or as often as when it was wheat based pasta.  I am a fan of Barilla gf pastas and long for them to bring out a linguine.

fennel italian bread 012lentil stew, turkey meatballs 006I have figured out gravy, chicken and dumplings, meat pie, quiche and white sauce.   I have a few great bread recipes I made upon occasion.

The cookbook I (still after 2 years) cannot live without is Annalise Roberts, Gluten Free Baking Classics; Second Edition: where the basic recipes for my muffins, brownies, pie crust, angel food cake and cupcakes come from.  Her flour blend is the same as King Arthur all purpose gf flour.  There are lots of great baked goods recipes to be tried out.  She has a new cookbook with the focus on heritage baked goods. I can’t wait to make some of those recipes!  I have a bunch of cookbooks but that Baking Classics is full of stuff I crave and enjoy. I find that I can modify her muffins to fit what I have available and create more variety in my baking.

My focus in this blog is on encouraging healthy cooking that is gluten free, easy to do and tasty.  I avoid as much processed food as possible and that includes snacks, cakes and other already baked goods.  I do eat some crackers and confess to a shameful love of gf cheese curls! I like to increase the amounts of veggies in dishes I make and I add beans whenever it works.    I don’t eat fast food except rarely.  And eating out is now a treat; too chancy and my geographic area doesn’t have that many safe gf restaurant choices.  So I reserve dinner out for once in a while meals. Cheaper too!

I still get glutened occasionally, recently by a bite of bbq at a friend’s house. She didn’t realize her bbq sauce was not actually safe for me.  I also ate a big chunk of chocolate bar with almonds that was cross contaminated.  Not a fun day; yes; both on the same day.

Once in a while, I long for wheat baked goods.  It is hard to be around them knowing that even one bite will make me terribly ill.  I have had dreams about bread…kinda nightmares actually.  For me, a lot of days at school are like being constantly exposed to poison that I am craving desperately. You have to have a good amount of will power to be eating lunch next to a big tray of wheat bagels and a plate of cookies And a pie! No other empty seats in the lunchroom.  Suck it up and try not to think about the treats right there under my nose.  Such is the life of a celiac.  You gotta be strong every single day.  And I am.  I have the will power and so do you!

apple pie 001

apple crumb pie

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homemade sandwich bread

I find that I can make great tasting treats far cheaper than the stuff at the store in the gf aisle.  Yummier than that stuff too.  Healthier since it has less chemicals and preservatives in it.  You can do that too.  There are lots of easy to make gf stuff on my blog; muffins, cookies, brownies and pies/tarts.  Main dishes too that are easy and nutritious. Sure there is some sugar in those muffins but far less than most of the store gf snack bars!  Bake up a batch and you will be thrilled with having more than a dozen snacks – freeze some so they keep for a few weeks.  I find that my wheat eating family enjoys my gf desserts, very much so. citrus chicken, blueberry muffins 009

Being healthy and feeling good are worth the effort to eat safely.  Life is much better gluten free and I know I am making the right choice to be very careful about what I eat and what I use on my skin, hair, and the rest of me!  It is doable and being gf gets better as you practice it and as you live the gf lifestyle week after week, month after month and year after year.  I promise you will be very glad as your tummy heals and all the rest of you feels better.  That’s part of why I write this blog; to help others be successful at living a gluten free lifestyle. The other reason is I just love to write.  Happy gluten free cooking and eating!

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