Eight years ago, my doctor said to me, “You must go on a gluten free diet and you must start today.” I had no idea what gluten free meant, but once my doctor explained it to me, I was sure I was going to be eating nothing but salads for the rest of my life!
Later, I called my mother and she assured me I would survive and would become a healthier person as a result. Mom was right! As I concentrated on naturally gluten free food and--admittedly--ate a lot of vegetables, it completely changed my health for the better.
One in 133 people in the U.S. have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition that damages the villi of the small intestine. People with the disease have difficulty absorbing nutrients from their food and often suffer with digestive issues. Healing from the symptoms of Celiac Disease* can be found by following a gluten free diet. The gluten protein is found in wheat, rye, and barley. By not eating gluten, the intestines can heal.
Eating gluten free is currently a popular option or diet for many people, but it is a necessity for those who have Celiac Disease or an intolerance to gluten. If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease, the diet changes may seem overwhelming at first. Just remember, eating gluten free is the solution, not the problem.
I encourage you to base your food choices on naturally gluten free items such as meat, potatoes, rice, veggies, fruit, dairy, and other healthy options. Occasionally though, you may need or want to adapt a favorite recipe to be gluten free. This allows you and your family to enjoy favorites that have been passed down for decades.
To adapt recipes, consider recipe adjustments. For example, if the recipe calls for flour tortillas, swap for corn tortillas or your favorite gluten free tortillas. If your recipe calls for flour, use a gluten free variety or your favorite blend of gluten free flours. We recommend Cup4Cup as a great place to start. Be sure to check sauces, broths, condiments, marinades, and other items for hidden gluten. (Tomorrow: MeLissa will review four Cup4Cup products.)
Here are some pointers for adapting your favorite homemade baked goods to be gluten free:
Adapting your favorite recipes is a trial-and-error process. One complaint I often hear is that gluten free products are too dry. Consider adding an additional egg, substituting brown sugar for white sugar, or increasing the moist ingredients slightly. A splash of milk or a little more butter can go a long way to bringing that moisture back.
Once you find that perfect combination for your family, be sure to weigh your flours instead of using measuring cups. Gluten free baked goods have less room for error than traditional flour.
So, the next time your kids ask for Grandma’s famous cinnamon rolls, give that family recipe a try, gluten free style! You have nothing to lose.
*Common Celiac symptoms include: bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, weight trouble, iron-deficiency, fatigue, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, mood swings, menstrual problems, infertility, thyroid problems, osteoporosis or osteopenia, headaches or migraines, memory problems, joint pain, skin rashes, fibromyalgia, brain fog, infections, arthritis, cancer history, autoimmune diseases.
4 1/2 cups certified gluten free oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick margarine
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup M&M’s (Note: M&Ms packaging labels differ. Double-check ingredient label for allergens at each purchase.)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Cream together brown sugar, white sugar, and margarine with a hand or stand mixer. Add baking soda, vanilla, peanut butter, and eggs and blend well.
Next, add the gluten free oatmeal. Stir in the M&M’s, chocolate chips, and walnuts, if using.
Shape into balls, place on baking sheets, and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or until brown. Watch closely.
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
This batter is made entirely in a food processor.
Drain and rinse the beans and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Process them until smooth and creamy. It should look similar to mousse.
Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and process until smooth.
Add 1/4 cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8-inch x 8-inch pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing with a plastic knife.
1 pound almond meal made with unblanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Zest of one orange
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
4 cups pitted tart red cherries
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
Butter a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch, set aside. In a large covered saucepan, heat cherries over medium heat with the lid on for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often.
Once fruit has released it juice, pour sugar mixture over the fruit and stir thoroughly to combine. Reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, stirring continuously, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cinnamon.
Using a fork or pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Pour fruit mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread the rice mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. Place in pre-heated oven and cook 45 to 50 minutes until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling around the edges. Serves 10 to 12.