Showing posts from January, 2008

The GFCF Restaurant Guide

Ok -- here it is, as promised. This is the start of my free online restaurant guide. It is only a guide. You must -- I repeat, must -- check these places on your own. The info here will arm with you with valuable knowledge but every restaurant has its own practices and each store within a chain is managed differently. So, be careful.

I will continue updating this as I learn more. Let me tell you what I've found. I've determined a lot of places will tell you that they have GFCF food, but they don't tell you that it's prepared along with non-GFCF food, so there is a cross-contact issue. Be careful of that -- always ask!

By the way, what we're really concerned about here is called "cross-contact," not cross contamination. But, you'll notice that I slip back and forth on that phrasing. Forgive me.

Also, many restaurants are heading toward having Gluten Free Menus, but not GFCF menus. It's not the same, of course.

Below is my list. Next to each is a grade…

Healthy GFCF pancakes

I'm going to post two recipes this week that are very similar -- one's for cookies and the other, pancakes. Today, it's the pancakes. It's a slight variation of my standard pancake recipe. I add applesauce and ground flax seed.

So, here it is:

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp applesauce (I used Mott's)
Dash of cinnamon
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup CF milk or water (I used Darifree liquid)
2-3 tbsp more of Darifree, depending on consistancy

Mix dry stuff. Add liquids. Blend together. Heat a tsp of oil on a skillet. When hot, dump by the tbsp. Flip when browned on one side.

Allergen listing for Herr's products

Hey guys -- just came across this today on the web and thought I'd share. It's the allergen listing for Herr's snacks -- chips, etc. Herr's products are mostly sold in the eastern U.S. The allergen page, which you can link to by clicking here, is very useful. Until now, I've relied almost completely on Frito Lay products because Frito Lay is very good about listing allergens. It's good to have choices.

Here's the direct link:

A handy store-bought soup broth -- free of everything

As you know by now, I like to point out products I come across that help make our lives easier and healthier. It's so difficult finding food that you trust is free of the allergens and ingredients that we, and our kids, are intolerant to. I found Kitchen Basics broths one day at our regular supermarket as I looked for a soup for my kids. Couldn't find one in the organic section that I really trusted was free of MSG, gluten and dairy. (Amazing, isn't it?) So, I glanced without much hope at the soups in the regular soup aisle. And there it was. Clearly marked on the box -- no MSG, no glutens, no dairy, no soy. Wow! I bought it.

I generally make my own broth at home and freeze it for later use. But, it's good to know I can grab this at the local store when I'm in a rush.

Burger King wins the gluten-free test

So, I plan to post my results for finding restaurants that really can provide -- safely -- gluten and casein free food, and even soy free. Consider this an interim report as I've found something surprising on the fast-food front. I checked Wendy's, McDonalds, Burger King and Arby's to see if I could buy a burger (no bun) and fries for my kids at any of them. I'd always heard that you couldn't. Well, you can. Burger King specifically fries its fries in a dedicated fryer -- or the restaurants are supposed to. However, the chain has a policy and it's detailed on its website - find it by going here and clicking on 'Allergens'. The allergen listing online even shows potential cross contamination risks. I spoke with the company's nutrition guru. They are organized. Still, she -- and I -- recommend calling the store manager to make sure they really are doing this. She also told me a plain burger is OK on the gfcf diet -- they're cooked on a broiler. So…

Coming -- a GFCF restaurant guide

Sorry for not posting much this week. I've been busy at home with some personal things. I had a recipe failure -- a pumpkin recipe really flopped. But, I'm in the process of doing something very exciting that will benefit many of you. I've been discouraged trying to find a restaurant that I could take my kids to eat -- just a burger and fries. I know it's not the healthiest nutrionally and some may object to that. But, I think it will be very healthy mentally. They've not been to a restaurant and most places, just like the supermarket, don't make it easy. So, I've set out to research all of the restaurants in our area just like I researched food products a couple of years ago. I called, wrote and badgered every company that makes the foods my kids eat to determine exactly what's in them. I made them back up their ingredients. I'm doing the same thing with the restaurants. And, I have some surprising results. So, what I plan to do in the next week is…

GFCF Breakfast cereal bars

This recipe is so great. For one, I like these and will eat them for a quick breakfast on the go. And, the recipe really worked like I had hoped. I should've guessed thought, that only one of my kids would actually eat them. Oh well. That's the way these things go.

This is a recipe for a cereal bar that's very healthy. I found a basic recipe on the web, modified it for GFCF, and added a couple things of my own. Here's how:

1/2 cup honey (or other syrup)
1/2 cup nut butter (I used Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter)
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups gluten free rice krispies cereal (I used Barbaras)
1/3 cup raisins (dates would work too)
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
1-2 tbsp ground flax seed (I used golden flax)

Grease a 13x9 cake pan -- I used organic Spectrum shortening.
Into a pan, heat honey, nut butter and sugar to boil. Stir on medium heat a couple of minutes.
Add the other ingredients and stir until combined.
Dump into the greased pan and use a spatula to press down.
Let cool. Af…

GFCF mashed potatoes with a hidden surprise

OK -- no new recipe here, but another win (for the parents) on sticking some veggies in everyday food. This one -- mashed potatoes. Again, inspired and based on a recipe in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. Just modified for GFCF -- and soy free. The added veggie is cauliflower.

Add a 1/4 cup of pureed cauliflower to my mashed potato recipe.

It worked here without a hitch. The only difference in my original recipe, other than the cauliflower, was using some veggie broth and Darifree for liquid.

Again, a great idea, which I modified for the GFCF diet, from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

I'll try not to bore you with this cookbook, but it's turning into a great help in our home right now.

GFCF Pumpkin cake

I avoided baking with pumpkin, but I'm not sure why. It's actually very convenient. Canned pumpkin (Libby's) is ready to use and affordable. I modified my basic cookie recipe to make a pumpkin cake that's really very healthy, and also could be made into cookie bars.

SORRY -- that I left out the key ingredient in my original posting of this. This version includes everything. The ingredient I forgot? -- pumpkin, of course.

1 cup sorghum flour (or brown rice or chickpea)
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or other starch)
1/2 cup sugar (or other sweetener)
2 tbsp ground flax, golden
2 tsp xanthan gum (or guar gum)
2 tsp baking powder (corn-free, if desired)
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp. canned pumpkin (I used Libby's)
1/4 cup molasses, honey or cane syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Darifree or other milk sub

Mix the dry stuff well. Then add the liquids. Mix. You want this to be smoother, but not liquidy.
Beat with blender until mixed, sc…

GFCF banana bread with hidden veggies

Since Christmas, I've been tinkering with recipes based on ideas I found in a new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife). This is not an ad and I don't benefit either. But, the premise is interesting: hiding veggies and fruits in everyday food so our kids get the nutritional benefits. This especially is a problem for kids on the autism spectrum, as many of you know. So, I thought I'd give this a try. Neither of my kids are big on veggies or fruit, and they're very rigid about the ones they will eat. So, I've had a few successes and I will share. I will not reprint Seinfeld's recipes here. But, I've modified a few for GFCF land. Here's one that was a big hit tonight for banana bread -- with cauliflower.

- Spectrum organic shortening
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 ts…

Marking it gluten free - finally

Happy New Year everyone! I learned some cool things about everyday foods over the holiday. I've just been in awe of how major companies -- who are driven to find any market edge possible -- have not latched onto the "gluten free" thing yet.

Anyway, I see Tyson chicken is now labeled CLEARLY on the front as being free of antibiotics and hormones and additives. And, it was only priced 20 cents-per-pound more than the store brand. Very cool. And, our Honeysuckle turkey also had a big "Gluten Free" label slapped right on the front for all to see. So, I bought that simply because of their effort. I just don't understand why more companies are not taking advantage of this market by making the simplest of efforts -- noting what's gluten-free and what's not. My suspicion is that they don't want to start down the path of revealing what's in their foods.