Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pamela's Zucchini Cake

I headed out to my vegetable garden once again to pick some zucchini.  Our veggie garden isn't big - about 3ft x6ft.  But, it's just big enough to fit 1 zucchini vine, 1 beefsteak tomato, 1 cherry tomato, 1 cucumber vine and some herbs.  1 zucchini vine provides enough zucchini for our family for the entire summer.  If you don't have a veggie garden don't worry, head to your local farmers market instead.
Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix has a zucchini cake recipe right on the back of the package.  I simply followed the recipe.
Everyone loved the warm, cinnamon flavored cake.  The only criticism came from my toughest food critic who declared, "just take out the hard lumps".  Meaning - the walnuts.  Well, I love walnuts so they're staying in.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Living Without Dining Cards

Living Without Dining Cards are a helpful and handy resource when dining out.  I purchased some self-sealing laminating pouches to laminate our set of cards.   My husband carries 1 in his wallet, I keep 1 in my purse and we each keep an extra in our cars.  They are so great to have on hand to present to restaurant servers.  We always ask that they present the card to the chef to verify ingredients and offer for the chef to keep it for future reference for future Celiac or gluten intolerant patrons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coconut Mint Chip Ice Cream

Well, no one ever said getting creative in the kitchen isn't without a small disaster or two.  My two youngest and I set out to make Coconut Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream from Eat Like a Dinosaur, by the Paleo Parents.  
We gathered our ingredients, cut a bunch of fresh mint from our mint garden and headed to the stove.  We measured, poured, simmered and I turned away from the stove for a moment - never a good idea - and the pot boiled over making a huge mess all over the top of my recently cleaned stove.
We continued on, straining the mint and putting the mixture in the fridge to cool.  Our impatience got the best of us and we transferred the mixture to the ice-cream maker before it was cool enough, so, it would form ice-cream.  Just a slushy, icy mix.I had to pour it back out, the the mix some more, refreeze the ice cream bowl and try again.
The result, a slightly icy, but mint infused cool coconut treat.  My kids, who say they don't like coconut, loved it!  I vow to try the recipe again, hopefully without disaster.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Envirokidz is an organic, kid-friendly line produced by Nature's Path Foods.  Many of their products are gluten-free.  However, please be aware that not all of Nature's Path products are g-free, namely and sadly, the kid friendly toaster pastries.  So, be sure to look for the Gluten Free label proudly displayed on the front of their packaging.  We love so many of their products!  The Koala Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars, Berry Crispy Rice Bars, and Koala Chocolate Crispy Cereal are our favorites!  The Crispy Cereal makes yummy marshmallow crispy treats.

What I love is how mainstream and accessible these products are.  It is typically less expense when ordering on-line.  I keep a baggie with a variety of Envirokidz Bars in my car for "snack emergencies".
Not only are Nature's Path products gluten-free, they have no artificial preservatives or additives and they do not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides.  Nature's path also donates 1% of sales towards species and habitat conservation and environmental education.  It feels great to support a company that gives back!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zucchini Latkes

WOW! Nine & a half stars for the zucchini latkes according to my toughest food critic!  That's huge coming from a child who only lies to eat white bread with yellow cheese or pasta with butter!
Our garden zucchini were ripe, so, as promised, we tested the latke recipe from Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe and Guidebook for Gluten-Free Kids by the Paleo Parents.  This was also my first attempt at cooking/frying with coconut oil.  The recipe was easy to follow, only calling for a few ingredients, my favorite kind of recipe:o)
The only thing I will do differently when making the latkes next time, is using less oil.  I did find the latkes to be a bit oily.  Other than that - a huge success and my kids ate lots of zucchini for dinner!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jason's Corn Salad

Every Saturday evening we pack up our kids, our portable grill, a bottle of wine, beach chairs and tables and head to the beach where we meet friends for dinner.  We share laughter, food, recipes and have a friendly "competition" as to who creates the best meal.  My favorite undoubtedly is Jason's Corn Salad!  Thanks for sharing Jason:o)

1 avocado - diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
2 TBSP red onion - chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup  honey
1 garlic clove - crushed
1/3 cup  olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Combine corn, avocado, cilantro and red onion in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, honey, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Whisk well until combined.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.
Chill 1 hour before serving.
Serves 4.
Optional - grill 1 pound of shrimp and toss with salad immediately before serving.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Whole Foods Market: Farmstand

After hearing the Whole foods buzz for the past few years, I was thrilled when Whole Foods opened a "farm-stand" in an old car dealership this past spring.
The variety of gf foods is excellent!  I'm able to find a greater brand variety as well as more varieties across brands.  For instance our supermarket only carries Udi's bagels - little did I know that an Udi's gf whole grain and cinnamon raisin bagel existed.
Unfortunately, the Whole Foods Farmstand is a seasonal market established to serve the needs of our vacationing public.  Hopefully, Whole Foods will reconsider and will be here to stay.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Frozen Yo'nana Star Pops!

A simple, fun, naturally gluten-free, healthy frozen treat!
These were so much fun to make, my kids loved the treat and I was so happy to serve them a healthy dessert.
Supplies and Ingredients

designated gluten-free cutting board
mini star shaped cookie cutter (if you have one)
silicone star mold or any fun shape
6 popsicle sticks
1 large banana
16 oz organic banana yogurt
After gathering our ingredients and supplies, we simply peeled and thinly sliced a large banana.  Using a small, star shaped cooked cutter we made banana stars.  But if you don't have a small cookie cutter - don't worry - you don't need one.  Just use the thinly sliced banana round.
We placed a star 'nana inside each silicone mold to secure the popsicle stick. Insert a popsicle stick into the center of each star 'nana.  Spoon in the banana yogurt, freeze for about 4 hours and enjoy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eat Like a Dinosaur

Fascinating food for thought.  An interesting introduction to the paleo inspired diet.  Eat Like a Dinosaur, written by The Paelo Parents, has caused me to think about food differently, has caused me to question my food sources and has served as a debatable topic of conversation among me and my foodie friends.
Truly more than a cookbook, Eat Like a Dinosaur is a guidebook full of advice on kitchen tools and accessories, explanations of different ingredients such as arrowroot powder and coconut aminos, and helpful tips on how to get your kids involved in the kitchen.
However, I do not eat red meat and haven't in over 25 years so I wont be making half of the recipes in this book.  But, Eat Like a Dinosaur does offer over 10 gluten free, dairy free, peanut free and soy free recipes.  A full color photo accompanies each recipe along with helpful hints and instructions for how your kids can help.
I have bookmarked 5 specific recipes to try.  The first one being Zucchini Latkes.  I'll get back to you as soon as my garden zucchini are ready to harvest!
To connect with the paleo parents please visit them at:
paleoparents.com or paleo parents on facebook

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stonewall Kitchen Gluten Free Brownies

Delectable! Delightful! Delicious!
My parents recently hosted a family dinner for our family of five and my three siblings.  Although we were in the middle of a heat wave, and it was 93 degrees outside, I chose to bake Stonewall Kitchen Gluten Free Brownies to bring for dessert along with coffee ice-cream.

I like to modify boxed mixes to create semi homemade treats.  The Stonewall Kitchen gluten-free brownie mix calls for 7 tablespoons of melted butter.  I substituted 4 tablespoons of coconut oil 
and 4 tablespoons of Sunsweet Lighter Bake.  Sunsweet Lighter Bake is essentially pureed prunes.  It can be difficult to find.  It is located in the oil section at my grocery store.  If you can't find it, you can boil and puree your own prunes - or just purchase a jar of organic baby-food pureed prunes.  I have used baby-food prunes many times and it works great!  I also added 1/2 cup of gluten-free milk chocolate M&M's.
The brownies were delicious!  A huge hit with everyone - g-free or not!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eating Gluten Free with Emily

Although I have been able to check out a variety of books pertaining to Celiac Disease through the inter-library loan program, our local library didn't carry a single childrens' book pertaining to CD.  So, I submitted a short list (4 books) to the childrens' librarian and asked if she might be able to purchase them.  Suzanne happily obliged.
He deserves to be able to go to both his local and school library and find books that he can identify with.  It's so important for children to know that they aren't alone and there are other kids out there - just like them!
The first to arrive was Eating Gluten Free with Emily by Bonnie J. Kruszka, a picture book for kids ages 3-7.  My son will be 7 in August so I was looking forward to sharing this book with him and hearing his critique.  Of course, I previewed the book before sharing it with him.  Emily's story mirrored our own journey and brought a tear to my eye.  I think almost every young child with CD will easily be able to identify with Emily.  The language of the text is age appropriate and easy for young children to understand.  The full color illustrations complement the story beautifully.  After reading, Eating Gluten Free with Emily to my son, I asked for his critique.  He looked at me with a huge grin on his face and declared, "I liked it a lot!".
Every young child with CD should have a copy of this book.  Every elementary school classroom with a child with CD should have a copy as well as this book so that they can feel empowered and can identify with other kids just like them.  The addition of this book to a classroom can serve as a wonderful tool to help peers and classmates understand why their friend doesn't always eat like they do.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feel Good Foods Gluten-Free Dumplings

I can't even begin to fully express my joy at finding feel good foods gluten-free asian style chicken dumplings during my last visit to my "local" health food supermarket!  

Every March our elementary school hosts an international food festival.  Last March, before our son's diagnosis, we attended the fabulous affair.  A mom from China made delicious dumplings that my son couldn't get enough of!  At 5 years old we was experiencing true culinary delight.  He has been asking for dumplings ever since.  Unfortunately, I don't possess the skills necessary for making gf dumplings from scratch.  This past March we once again attended the fabulous International Food Festival hosted by our school.  My son was devastated that he couldn't have the dumplings that he remembered so well from the year before. 

So, it was with sheer delight that I cam across Feel Good Foods Asian Style Dumplings in the freezer section at our natural foods supermarket.  I grabbed a box and gasped at the price - $7 for 8 dumplings.  But honestly, I didn't care - I knew he would be thrilled.  I served them for dinner with the provided dipping sauce and steamed soybeans.  My little guy absolutely loved them!

Six months later he's still asking for them.  So, I make the 40 minute journey to the natural foods market when I can, and stock up on several boxes so I can quickly cook up a box when requested:)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gluten Free Grilled Pizza

Not much is better than sitting by the fire-pit on a Saturday night with grilled pizza and a glass of wine.  I have these collapsible, plastice wine glasses that are perfect for out on the patio, or for toting to the beach!

Our pizza was made with Gillians Wheat, Gluten, Dairy Free Pizza Dough.  Gillian's dough is found in the gluten-free freezer aisle at the market.  We topped the pizza with fresh mozzarella, fresh sliced garden tomatoes, fresh basil, chives, rosemary, steamed broccoli and a drizzle of sun-dried tomato oil.

Put your pizza on a pre-heated grill, light your fire, pour your glass of wine & enjoy!
So yummy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide

Not at all a fan of her political views, I be-grudgingly read, The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  My personal/political feelings aside, I have to give Hasslebeck credit for writing a comprehensive and informative book.
She devotes an entire chapter to understanding Celiac Disease, it's symptoms, possible long term health complications, and getting an accurate diagnosis.  Another chapter briefly explores conditions associated with CD.  The figures that always alarm me the most when reading about CD are the numbers referring to cancer.  The figures always differ somewhat from publication to publication.  Hasselbecks book, written in 2009 states that people with CD are 9-34 times more likely to develop a malignancy than the general population.  Strictly adhering to a g-free diet significantly drops these percentages.  However, it's still frightening.  Cancer is the biggest motivating factor for me, in ensuring to the best of my ability that we carefully avoid all sources of gluten..
Our pediatric gastroenterologist recommends simple blood testing once a year to monitor IgA levels.  When our son was initially diagnosed his IgA level was 164!!!! That number is supposed to be between 0-19!!! After six months of being on a g-free diet, that number was down to a 5!!! Phew!  
A chapter devoted to Gluten provides a lot of helpful information regarding foods, additives and preservatives that may contain gluten.  Vitamins, supplements and medicines are also explored as possible hidden sources of gluten.
If you are a life partner, a spouse or a parent of a child with CD, I highly recommend The G Free Diet.  I think it's critical for those of us who love someone with CD to educate ourselves and to try to understand the challenges they face living g-free so that we can support them as much as possible.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Beat the Heat with a Watermelon Icy

This is a fun and easy way to get your kids involved in the kitchen!

8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
4 TBSP Agave Nectar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup ice cubes
fresh mint - for garnish

Have the kids help measure and pour all ingredients(except the mint) in the blender.
Pour into a cup - add your garnish and enjoy immediately