Monday, May 30, 2011

New site is up

It's not gorgeous, and I am, as always, computer illiterate enough that it's going to take a while to get it how I want, but it's up and running now:

...It probably says something about me that I'm excited to have created the top artwork all on my lonesome, from foods we eat, LOL. Here's to blogging about living gluten free...and corn free, dairy free, soy free, potato free, sugar cane heck. Let's just blog about living, eh?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New blog

I've got a new URL for the blog now, so all I've got to do is set it up and I'll be switching over. I'm changing over to a bit less personal, a bit more helpful in general, so most of these posts aren't coming over with me.

It'll be interesting. :-)

And in the food realm, right now we've tried to make homemade falafel from scratch - that worked well, but the chickpeas are still not completely GF so we're searching for better ones. And I just finished drying papaya seeds for a pepper substitute since pepper seems to have bombed for us every time. They look really neat. I can't wait to try 'em!

But I think I'll have to put pictures up of these on the new blog, so ya'll will have to wait to see them. Have a good February!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What we can eat: part II

This list seems to get smaller and smaller every month, but at the same time, the kids and I feel better when we stay on it, so there is definitely a silver lining. My daughter was starting to have trouble with her stomach again, so we've geared down on the diet, with new knowledge to add to the mix in our constant search for safe food for her.

What We Can Eat List
(A gluten free list that should be safe for most Celiacs. Products' ingredients and processing can always change, however, so this list can become out of date at any time.)

Some whole, fresh, organic veggies - no wax coatings, no preservative sprays, have to be able to peel them or wash them thoroughly with GF soap, or both. For myself, have to be careful that the mulch or fertilzer that the veggies can rest on aren't CC with gluten grains or derived from gluten. Not sure how much this affect my midget. Corn is still iffy, although more for CC reasons than the corn itself, we think.

Some whole, fresh, organic fruits - Once again, no wax coatings, no preservative sprays, have to be able to peel them or wash thoroughly with GF soap, or both. Still not sure if my daughter has to be careful with fruit, or if we've been getting some with sprays that we weren't aware of. Apples, pears, peaches, and citrus are the worst 'coating offenders' we've had issues with.

Organic unprocessed meats (red meat if grass fed, possibly poultry, wild caught fish, wild caught shellfish) - If there is not organic meat, grass-fed alone will work. No hormones/no antibiotics meat works in a pinch. Poultry has to be skinless, and it's in the 'iffy' category currently due to CC issues with the skin. Fish can't be cut up at the butcher's, and the other meat we are buying in larger amounts, still sealed from the slaughterhouse.

GF organic beans - Must be triple washed in GF soap. Not sure which beans may work. We're still checking it out. Nuts have been a bit of a failure and the kids both don't like them, so we're holding off for a bit. Seeds, we're foraging for (chalk up another Yuppie on the Prairie for us, eh?)

Pre-made foods:
Bariani Olive oil
Earth Balance organic peanutbutter, smooth or crunchy - checking on this one.
RealSalt sea salt - This one makes me ill, but we believe the kids are doing okay on it.
Field Day Mediterranean sea salt - on order, but we hear good things
Madhava agave nectar - still in the maybe category
Crown Prince Brisling Sardines in Spring Water - still in the maybe category
Horokan brand wakame sea weed - still in the maybe category

Due to reactions, we've eliminated the following until we find safe brands to use, or figure out how to grow it ourself:
Grains (except in-bulk Ancient Harvest Quinoa, triple washed, but it's getting iffy)
Starch powders
herbs (growing our own, now, and those are fine)
nuts (except the periodic unshelled nut that looks safe)
soy (too high a CC risk)
eggs - iffy, not sure why there may be a problem, but still iffy when we try 'em.

Today we're heading out to the local farmer's markets to ask questions of the folks there in the hopes that some of their farms might be able to help us out. So far, it's been difficult to find produce that is completely safe and neither I nor my kids have a reaction to, but we're working towards it, slowly but surely.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gluten Free on the Cheap - Menu for a Food Stamp Budget

I came across a useful thing the other day, on the 'Talk About Curing Autism' website. As some of you know, many folks with autism do better when they go off gluten, or casein, or soy, or all three. Like most of us, however, people attempting this diet don't always have the cash to spend willy-nilly on specialty foods.

So some lovely folks at this site decided to try and offer some help. They developed a month's menu for a family of four that is gluten free, casein free, and soy free, and that can be bought on a food stamp budget. They managed to purchase their month's worth of food for $319.

I feel rather guilty and vaguely decadent, knowing how much more than that I spend a month, for just three people, too.

In any case, their menu includes the menu itself, a grocery list, and a link to all the foods you might need a recipe for (they're assuming you know what a carrot stick is, however). The article discussing how they went about this and what it can do for those with autism is here:
GFCFSF Diet on Food Stamps

The menu
Grocery list

The recipe links are on the menu page.

While this is a great resource (the grocery list even mentions brand names), if you are a Celiac, you need to double check all the brands to be certain they are gluten free. A few of the foods were a contamination risk for celiacs, or were only acceptable if purchased from certain companies.

One example is their recommendation of Quaker oats for breakfast, which is not recommended for celiacs because Quaker doesn't have GF oats.

Overall, however, I think this is a very helpful collection of information. It's inspiring to try and come up with my own. Although considering my cooking skills resemble that of taste-bud challenged slug, I have a feeling it may take me a while to find enough food to make up an entire week, let alone a month.

See what I can do, though.

[EDIT] Sadly, it looks like this site has taken down this particular article and the links, or at least put them where I can no longer find them. Which is a huge shame, as it was a great resource! If I ever hear of it going up again, I'll post it at my new site,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gluten Free on the Cheap - Tips for stretching that Food Budget

With the recession affecting us all, you can find a lot of ideas for saving money floating around the web right now, whether you're on a gluten free diet or not.

  1. Buy in Bulk, on-line, or both
  2. Buy on Sale
  3. Buy less meat and more legumes
  4. Buy less dairy
  5. Eat less processed foods and more fruits and veggies

But sometimes, it's still not enough. So here's a few ideas that might help you stretch your dollars even more. Some of these require a little extra work initially, but they'll definitely help the budget.

1. Use every scrap. Many of our traditional recipes discard potentially edible parts from our produce. A little research on what is safe to eat may find you another seasoning or side dish from these discarded pieces. With Kale, for example, rather than discarding the stalks, chop and peel them to add to a stir fry, or boil them to use as a side dish. Wash and chop green carrot tops and use like you would green leaf parsley (unless you're one of the few who has contact allergies to these). Save chicken bones and use to make a batch of chicken broth. Salt and roast any of the seeds from your winter squash.

2. Use mini-leftovers inside of bento boxes. Those leftovers that are too small to provide even a one person meal can still be used in a creative and appealing lunch. A couple tablespoons of pasta sauce, for example, are perfect for a meatball or two. A few pieces of stir-fried broccoli, a couple slices of apple, a quarter of a hotdog - most of this is the perfect size to put inside an adult's or child's bento box. For some lovely ideas on how to utilize leftovers like this, check out the blog Lunch in a Box. It hasn't been updated in a while, but it's still worth a look.

3. Start an herb garden. Herb plants cost very little, the seeds even less, but the herbs themselves are fairly expensive if you buy them in the produce section. A small pot with a few often-used herbs can save you quite a bit of money, and can be grown either inside or outside, depending on your space requirements. You can snip off the leaves and dry them for later use, if you don't use them before the plants goes to seed. And you'll know absolutely that these seasonings are 100% gluten free.

4. In the same vein, start a garden, period. Pots on a porch or patio, raised beds in a yard, or even a few hanging pots inside the house can get you some extra produce - strawberries and tomatoes are great for a hanging garden. Get a small fruit tree that does well in your area so you have less upkeep to keep it healthy. Buy infant plants at a nursery, or start your garden from seed. It's most helpful if you get plants that produce a lot, like zucchini, or that you like to eat but usually can't afford to buy. You don't even have to purchase mulch for it, if you're anything like me. I had enough grassy weeds in the yard to pull them up, chop them up, and use them as mulch for my own garden. Free and gluten-free mulch. Wonderful.

5. Learn what's native and edible in your area. In our modern world, most places have edible plants that are often looked at as weeds. These are usually gluten free, and if they are weeds, they will usually grow with little to no effort on your part. Where I live, I learned of edible flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds and legumes that were growing naturally in my small yard. I even have wild amaranth! It took a bit of time to confirm which plants were which with the local botanical gardens, and I had to make sure I hadn't used any poisonous sprays near these plants, but it's been well worth it. I don't have to water, I don't weed, I don't fertilize. I simply pick and process these foods when it's the proper season. It doesn't get any cheaper than that. Also, don't forget that you can ask some of the local large acreage property owners if they would mind if you harvested wild forage from their property.

Hope some of these ideas can help you out in your quest for a less expensive gluten free menu!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gluten Free on the Cheap - beet greens

Yes, I have no skill in food presentation.

I think this is something all of us who are going gluten free can appreciate: recipes for gluten free foods that don't use expensive ingredients. In this economy, it's more important than ever to save money, but we still need to stay gluten free so we can stay healthy so we can continue to earn a living, yes?

So, now I'll be periodically putting in tips and recipes for cheaper gluten free living. These are not the best recipes, and I'm sure better cooks than I can come up with better recipes (please, share 'em with me if you do!). But at least it may give some beginning celiacs a starting place. :-)

Beet greens

If you buy organic beets - which aren't that expensive, thankfully - no need to cut off and discard the greens. You can eat these with very little preparation time or effort.

What you need:
fresh beet greens, roughly chopped.
1 Tb, or less, olive oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil
minced garlic

What you do:
1. Heat the oil in a pan on med. heat. Add the garlic and fry it until fragrant.
2. Add the beet greens and
sauté until soft.
3. Serve as a side dish.

--We've noticed a difference in flavor between greens from the red beets vs. greens from the yellow/orange ones. I preferred the greens from red beets, personally.
--My kids preferred the flavor that we got using the sunflower oil.
-- For something to use the beets for, we've thinly sliced them, rubbed olive oil and salt on them, and baked them in the oven to make a type of chip.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nice article on what it's like to be Celiac

Just thought this was particularly nice - if a little graphic, LOL.