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Kale Kraze – IT'S EVERYWHERE!

Kale is a gluten-free leafy green vegetable that contains numerous nutrients while being low in calories. This vegetable is easy to find at grocery stores or roadside stands. While shopping for produce, you should look for kale’s distinctive curly purple or green leaves. It is also possible to grow kale in a home garden to have the freshest leaves to make a tossed salad with cold pressed olive oil, tomatoes and onion slices.

Kale is a versatile vegetable that is easy to prepare in a variety of ways with steaming, boiling and frying methods to provide vitamins C, B and A along with the minerals iron and calcium. Enjoy kale’s antioxidants by juicing this vegetable to make a tasty green smoothie each day.

Juicing to Complement a Gluten-Free Diet

One of the things I noticed after embarking on the gluten-free lifestyle was the amount of energy I had. For me, the decision to cut gluten out wasn’t based on celiac or any particularly debilitating effects of gluten but rather just to be healthier. After a short dip in energy while trying to figure out my full diet it came back and I felt better than ever.

It had been almost a full year of feeling great when my energy started to dip again. It wasn’t easy to figure out...

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger – Gluten Free Easily

Shirley from Gluten Free Easily When I was first diagnosed, I searched for recipes and found Shirley’s blog, Gluten Free Easily. Something about her posts made her seem friendly so, when I wanted to create my own blog, she was one of the first people I contacted and asked to be part of it. The

Gluten-Free Travel: Tips

Top 5 Gluten-Free Travel Tips Brunch: Veggie frittata, sweet potato fries and bacon at Asheville, North Carolina’s gluten-free Posana Cafe. My first gluten-free trip didn’t go well from a food standpoint. I was hungry a lot because I couldn’t find food that I both liked and that fit my diet. My next trip went much

Gluten-Free Love: Promoting Health & Finding Your Self

It had been a year and a half since my husband and I had divorced and I was finally getting settled into being with myself. Life changed a lot in the time on my own. It was an opportunity for me to redefine my life and make it what I wanted it to be. I had heard about

Cookbook – Healing Foods: Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn’s and IBS by Sandra Ramacher

Gluten-Free & Grain-Free Cookbook While the name of this cookbook – “Healing Foods” – might conjure up images of boring, tasteless, but oh, so healthy food, nothing could be further from the truth. Sandra has managed to infuse flavor into everything from beverages including Raspberry Cordial and Chai Tea to sauces both sweet and savory

Tropical Escape Mini Muffins – Gluten, Grain, and Dairy Free, Fruit Sweetened, Paleo, SCD, GAPS

A Nutty Holiday Recipe and Giveaway  The giveaway is now closed. The winners are Cathy, Carol and Anna. Thank you all for entering! I created a great mini muffin recipe for Bob’s Red Mill’s blog. I’d love for you to check it out. In honor of the recipe, Bob’s Red Mill has offered to give three of my

Gluten-Free Travel: Charleston, South Carolina

Eating Gluten-Free in the Lowcountry I have to tell you that it wasn’t as easy for us to eat gluten-free (and also stay on the budget we’d set) in Charleston as it had been in Asheville. The two cities have very different personalities. Oh, and I didn’t take many food photos in Charleston so I’m sharing

Gluten-Free Travel: Asheville, North Carolina

Gluten-Free Restaurants in Asheville Asheville was our first stop on a vacation that also took us to Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia. Asheville has a vibe similar to Portland, Oregon, what I’ve often seen called “crunchy granola.” A lot of restaurants have a natural, sustainable, local agenda. That often makes for a gluten-free friendly

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger – GAPS Diet Journey

Healing and Eating Well   For those who haven’t heard of it yet, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is a monthly event where bloggers (and others) can adopt a blogger, make a recipe or two then share about it. This month, Kate at Eat Recycle Repeat is hosting. It’s fun and I encourage you to join

Donielle Baker from Naturally Knocked Up

Hope for a Family When diagnosed a decade ago with poly-cystic ovary syndrome, a condition that can make conceiving difficult, Donielle Baker didn’t give up on her dream of a family; she started looking for answers. Those answers changed the course of her life. Now the parent of a boy and girl, and a baby in

Cheerful Wednesday – Sunshine Awards

Sharing the Sunshine Last summer, I was honored when Heather at Gluten-Free Cat nominated me for a Sunshine Award. A blogger awards this to 10 other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” I waited a bit to post mine – on purpose – so that the fun could start up again. Recipients first answer

Butternut Squash Apple Saute – GF, DF, SCD, GAPS

Squash for Squash Haters I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love apples in the fall. But squash is everywhere right now. I wondered about combining the two. Turns out it was a good idea. Even my husband, who doesn’t like winter squash, liked this. It could convert someone in your home into

Cheerful Wednesday – Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Balls, Gluten-Free, SCD, GAPS

 Making the Middle of the Week Better Every week I’m going to have Cheerful Wednesday. You’ll find an upbeat post, a fun and/or simple recipe, or just good news about eating gluten or grain-free. On this first Cheerful Wednesday I have a Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Ball recipe for you that has three ingredients

Kale Kraze

IT'S EVERYWHERE!

Kale is a gluten-free leafy green vegetable that contains numerous nutrients while being low in calories. This vegetable is easy to find at grocery stores or roadside stands. While shopping for produce, you should look for kale’s distinctive curly purple or green leaves. It is also possible to grow kale in a home garden to have the freshest leaves to make a tossed salad with cold pressed olive oil, tomatoes and onion slices.

Kale is a versatile vegetable that is easy to prepare in a variety of ways with steaming, boiling and frying methods to provide vitamins C, B and A along with the minerals iron and calcium. Enjoy kale’s antioxidants by juicing this vegetable to make a tasty green smoothie each day.

Recipe-Gluten-Free Juice

Juicing to Complement a Gluten-Free Diet!

One of the things I noticed after embarking on the gluten-free lifestyle was the amount of energy I had. For me, the decision to cut gluten out wasn’t based on celiac or any particularly debilitating effects of gluten but rather just to be healthier. After a short dip in energy while trying to figure out my full diet it came back and I felt better than ever.

It had been almost a full year of feeling great when my energy started to dip again. It wasn’t easy to figure out.

Long story short: I had started up yoga again after several months away and realized there were still key nutrients I needed more of. Just down the street from me was a juicing store called Juicecrafters, which I would go to from time to time with my girlfriends. I knew that juicing was good for me but the next time we went in I took time to pick their brains to learn great ingredients. After some testing at home, I came up with this, my favorite recipe:

1 Cucumber

3 Celery Stalks

1 Apple

5 Leaves of Kale

Squeeze of Lemon

A Thumb of Ginger

The great thing about buying fresh juice or making it at home is that you’re assuring that there isn’t any gluten. Store-bought & packaged juices often contain gluten. So give juicing a go and feel great!

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger – Gluten Free Easily

Shirley from Gluten Free Easily

AGFB - GFE 005 Blog

When I was first diagnosed, I searched for recipes and found Shirley’s blog, Gluten Free Easily. Something about her posts made her seem friendly so, when I wanted to create my own blog, she was one of the first people I contacted and asked to be part of it. The second post on my blog is an itnerview with Shirley and a review of her Magic Oat Bars so I’m no stranger to her recipes. I’ve made those bars several times and they always make my sweets loving husband happy. When she posted her Black Magic Bars last summer, I made them that day, substituting pecans for the black walnuts she’d used. Once again, I knew my husband would love them and he did.

Shirley’s type of cooking, what she calls GFE, is based on naturally gluten-free foods but she mixes in some mainstream products that happen to be gluten-free and some, but not too many, of the pricier gluten-free specialty products. Her attitude is always down to earth and she makes you feel like you’ve found a friend when you spend time reading her posts.

For the adoption, I made her Big and Rich Brownies. They’ve been on my must-try list for a long time. They not only sound good but every time I go through her list of recipes, the name jumps from the page for an unusual reason.* I made the recipe with Better Batter and the result is a dense, chocolatey brownie which received husband approval.

Spend some time on Shirley’s blog and try a recipe or two. I think you’ll be glad you did.

 

*When I first moved to Nashville, Music City U.S.A., I worked publicity for a concert. It was pro bono so don’t get visions of grandeur :) I’m a writer so becoming a publicist and setting up radio interviews for performers was new to me. I had to learn the difference between an in-studio and a phoner. (It seems obvious as I write this but an in-studio is an interview in the studio and a phoner’s on the phone.) I didn’t know much about country music but had to get up to speed quickly. The host of this concert for charity was Big Kenny Alphin of the popular country music group Big and Rich. Hense the connection with Shirley’s brownies. (I’ll have a name dropper moment here with some of the other performers for the concert – Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Dierks Bentley, Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down.) I had my music moment with this concert and decided that was enough. Here’s a photo from the concert’s press conference – left to right – two of the lost boys of Sudan, Big Kenny and his wife.
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Gluten-Free Travel: Tips

Top 5 Gluten-Free Travel Tips

Brunch: Veggie frittata, sweet potato fries and bacon at Asheville, North Carolina’s gluten-free Posana Cafe.

My first gluten-free trip didn’t go well from a food standpoint. I was hungry a lot because I couldn’t find food that I both liked and that fit my diet. My next trip went much better. These are my road warrior tips for traveling gluten-free.

1. Plan ahead. Research restaurants at your destination when you have time – before you leave home. If a restaurant doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, I find it’s best to call them to get a feel for their ability (and desire) to make something gluten-free. Ask questions both before you arrive and when you’re there. A restaurant is there to serve you, so you aren’t being a bother if you ask questions. If they act like you are, it’s time to move on.

2. Take whatever food you can with you. This is easier when driving than when flying so an option is to go shopping right after you arrive. The drawback is that you may have to hunt down the right store. But, it’s doable.

Carrot Walnut Muffins

My mistake on my first gluten-free trip was not taking food because I assumed that attending a gluten-free event meant easy access to gluten-free foods. Yes and no. During the Expo (I went to Chicago’s in April), you had seemingly infinite choices of snack foods but that didn’t help when it came to breakfast, lunch and dinner. On my second trip, I took Carrot Walnut Muffins, Banana Muffins (recipe not yet posted), Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Balls, coconut cashew butter balls, cashew butter (both a jar and single serving packets) and dates. My husband likes to snack on nuts so we took a pound of roasted cashews. These foods gave us part of breakfast, if needed, and snacks.

3. Stay in a place with a kitchen, if possible. On our last trip, we chose to stay in Marriott Residence Inns in both Charleston and Atlanta. I’ve personally found that breakfast is the most difficult meal to eat out so we ate breakfast – eggs, etc. – at home. We also had a couple of easy dinners in our room – a salad topped with turkey breast from the local Whole Foods. I put everything we might use – plates, glasses, pans, utencils – in the dishwasher when we arrived so I knew it would be safe to use. Remember that non-stick pans can hold onto gluten so don’t use any of those. Oh, and the two nights of the trip were in a Hampton with a mini-fridge and a microwave. I cooked eggs in the microwave and they weren’t amazing but they were acceptable. If you stay in someone’s home and the home isn’t gluten-free, you’ll need to be very, very careful because they aren’t used to being careful with flour and crumbs. Only you will know if it will be possible to cook and eat there.

4. Don’t ignore restaurant chains. While it’s true that some chain restaurants have failed to deliver safe food (a couple that I’ve heard repeat stories about immediately come to mind), my husband and I have found that some are good and they’re often less expensive which is a bonus in a pricey place like Charleston, South Carolina. Both O’Charley’s and Ruby Tuesday have allergen menus. We always speak to a manager before ordering to make sure they understand what we need and we’ve never had a gluten problem with our food. The cedar plank salmon and steaks are good at O’Charley’s. I like the idea that the salmon cooks on the cedar so never even touches the grill. We’ve had several different meals from Ruby Tuesday including chicken salads, steaks and ribs.

5. Most Important – Be willing to change your mind! For one lunch in Charleston, we walked to a restaurant I’d researched before leaving home. After reading about them online, I thought they’d be a winner. When we arrived and looked inside, the lunch that included a lot of sandwiches was made in what appeared to be a tiny kitchen and left me cautious about possible cross contamination with the gluten-free bread they were supposed to have. When I asked the waitress about gluten-free and emphasised that this was for medical reasons (what I often say so that it’s understood as important), she said that for severe celiacs they would change their gloves. So they were reaching into the bag of gluten-free bread without changing them before? How many people didn’t emphasize their need and got gluten? We went to another restaurant.

Two trips. Zero gluten. You do have to be careful but it’s totally possible to travel, eat well and enjoy yourself on a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-Free Love: Promoting Health & Finding Your Self

It had been a year and a half since my husband and I had divorced and I was finally getting settled into being with myself. Life changed a lot in the time on my own. It was an opportunity for me to redefine my life and make it what I wanted it to be. I had heard about love psychic readings and sought advice from Tana Hoy. My friends thought it was funny but I was told that I would find someone through my new, healthy path if I had enough faith to commit to the lifestyle fully.

This may sound trivial but the only way I knew how to meet people was when alcohol was involved. It made sense to go to a bar or party to meet people in the past but over time we change and the things we do (or don't do) change. Just as my spirits got low because I wasn't meeting anyone new, I remembered the advice I had been given and vowed to commit to being myself. The rest would have to work itself out.

What followed was the best 6 months of my life to that point. I couldn't remember a time where I got to learn more about myself or a time when I felt as healthy. I was back and then some!

I went on several dates with someone who we will call "Jason." He was great but in the end it just wasn't meant to be for us. BUT we remained friends and talked about life and living positively and healthfully. Jason had recently found Gluten-Free Meetup online and told me all about it. After taking a chance I found a group and had a blast.

After attending for several months the man of my dreams appeared. We've been going strong for two years now and the sky is the limit. The moral of my story is that when you're questioning the path you're on because you feel alone, stay strong and have the courage to explore a new life. Things will be OK!

Cookbook – Healing Foods: Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn’s and IBS by Sandra Ramacher

Gluten-Free & Grain-Free Cookbook

While the name of this cookbook – “Healing Foods” – might conjure up images of boring, tasteless, but oh, so healthy food, nothing could be further from the truth. Sandra has managed to infuse flavor into everything from beverages including Raspberry Cordial and Chai Tea to sauces both sweet and savory – Caesar Dressing and Honey Caramel Sauce. Her strawberry jam is wonderful – see the recipe below. Not only do the recipes sound good, but the book is filled with beautiful photos that make you want to cook her recipes.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1998, Sandra discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) in 2004 and just two years later was able to stop taking her medication. (Here’s more of her story – and her reminder not to stop taking medication without speaking first with your doctor.)

Sandra’s tastes are obviously international and perhaps more gourmet than some cookbooks with recipes that include Mini Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce, Lamb Koftas and Fish Dumplings with Green Chili Sambal. There are also everyday recipes like her Cheddar Crackers which are very popular among reviewers.

In many gluten-free or grain-free cookbooks, the dessert section is larger than the others. I find it refreshing that Sandra filled her cookbook instead with main courses, interesting condiments, breakfasts, beverages, and, of course, some desserts, breads, cakes, and cookies (biscuits in the cookbook as it is in Australia). Quite a few of the recipes contain dairy but would probably work with substitutes (but I have not tried that).

This is a cookbook from Australia but Sandra gives both metric and cup/teaspoon measurements for most items. For Americans, we’ll have slight mental adjustments to make for differences such as vanilla extract being called vanilla essence. There’s also the occasional item to look up like Lebanese cucumber – an American’s best substitute seems to be an English cucumber – and Swede which is the rutabaga.

Sandra’s still creating recipes that stretch the boundaries of what you can make on a grain-free diet on her blog. She recently posted a recipe for Jaffles, a pressed sandwich with a filling that I’d never heard of in the U.S. She’s managed to make this with an almond flour crust and offers a couple of fillings including one with chicken, sundried tomatos and basil. (yum!)

 

Sandra Ramacher answered my questions about her food philosophy, whether or not she’s still following the same diet (SCD), and if she’s planning a second cookbook. She also offered some helpful tips:
My philosophy for writing Healing Foods, Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn’s and IBS was to provide IBD sufferers with recipes that would make it easy, yet exciting to eat the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. They are generally all the comfort foods I was used to, just redesigned to fit in with the diet.
 
I am still eating the SCD way, firstly because I really don’t miss refined and processed foods at all. I did for a little while re-introduce some gluten free foods such as rice and gluten free breads back into my diet, but found that I was getting quite congested and developed asthma and chronic rhinitis. As soon as I went back onto the SCD I was fine. I am now feeling quite excited again to develop some more great recipes, but am not looking at publishing another book. Instead I am developing my blog which incorporates some great new recipes.
 
You do have to love cooking to make eating the SCD a great experience, as this is the only way to get some great variety of yummy foods, because when eating out one is generally restricted to eating simple foods, such as a fillet of grilled fish with salad, or a plain steak with non starchy vegetable. My favourite trick is to take along homemade dijonnaise or BBQ sauce in a small plastic container to make my plain steak or fish more exciting. And, I also take biscuits [note to Americans - cookies], so that I don’t have to feel deprived of dessert.
 
The jelly made from the recipe below reminds me somewhat of the strawberry freezer jam that my mom made growing up. Instead of pectin, this uses gelatin and creates a quick and fairly easy jelly. My husband enjoyed it on his gluten-free waffle for breakfast. The 100 ml of water, the last ingredient listed, equals just over 1/3 cup.
 
 Strawberry Jelly
Makes about 2 cups
 
375 g (2 1/2 cups) fresh strawberries - hulled and quartered
250 ml (1 cup) water
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
150 g (1/2) honey
1 Tbs gelatin
100 ml warm water
 
Place the strawberries, water, lemon juice, and honey into a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve, gently squeezing out as much juice as possible. Dissolve the gelatin in 100 ml of warm water and stir into the hot juice. Pour into a glass, tighten lid and refrigerate overnight to set. Serve with toasted white bread or on our pancakes.
 
Permission granted to post this recipe by Sandra Ramacher.
 

Thank you, Sandra!

Tropical Escape Mini Muffins – Gluten, Grain, and Dairy Free, Fruit Sweetened, Paleo, SCD, GAPS

A Nutty Holiday Recipe and Giveaway 

The giveaway is now closed. The winners are Cathy, Carol and Anna. Thank you all for entering!

I created a great mini muffin recipe for Bob’s Red Mill’s blog. I’d love for you to check it out. In honor of the recipe, Bob’s Red Mill has offered to give three of my readers one package each of their Hazelnut Meal. I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the nut flour and think you’ll have fun playing with it too. As is typical with nut flours, it’s pricier than something like rice flour so the winners will enjoy the treat of testing it for free :)

Details of the giveaway:

Bob’s Red Mill will send three winners one 14-ounce package of hazelnut flour. To enter, please comment telling me what you’d like to try making with hazelnut flour - cookies, muffins, something savory like a coating for chicken breasts (might have to try that myself), or perhaps some sweet little mini muffins. For additional entries, subscribe to Enjoying Gluten-Free Life and/or “like” the blog’s Facebook page – or tell me if you already have. Make one comment for each for a total of three comments.

The giveaway ends the night of December 14, 2012, midnight Eastern time zone, and is open to those in the United States.

Update: A blog software upgrade in December inexplicably deleted all comments that month. Thank you to those who entered. I’m sorry all of those entries vanished in cyber space.

Tropical Escape Mini Muffins

1 ½ cups Hazelnut Meal/Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Sea Salt
3 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
1 medium Banana, well mashed (approx. 105 grams)
1/3 cup + 3 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
8 oz. can Crushed Pineapple, drained
½ cup Dates, chopped and packed in cup (approx. 90 grams)

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line mini muffin pan with muffin wrappers.

Step 2:
Mix flour, baking soda and sea salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 3:
In a large bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, banana and coconut oil several minutes, until frothy. Press the remaining liquid out of the pineapple (you want the flavor not the liquid) then add it and 1/3 cup coconut to the liquids.

Step 4:
Press the remaining liquid out of the pineapple (you want the flavor not the liquid) then add it and 1/3 cup coconut to the liquids. If using a stand mixer, mix to combine using it. If using a hand mixer, switch to a spoon to stir here and in Step 5.

Step 5:
Chop the dates finely so that their sweetness will be evenly spread through the muffins, then add them to the dry mixture. Using clean hands, break up the dates and mix them thoroughly with the flour. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix just to combine.

Step 6:
Fill mini muffin cups about ¾ full and sprinkle the remaining three tablespoons of coconut over the tops. Bake about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 32 mini muffins.

Gluten-Free Travel: Charleston, South Carolina

Eating Gluten-Free in the Lowcountry

I have to tell you that it wasn’t as easy for us to eat gluten-free (and also stay on the budget we’d set) in Charleston as it had been in Asheville. The two cities have very different personalities. Oh, and I didn’t take many food photos in Charleston so I’m sharing some photos from our trip.

Charleston and areas north and south of it along the coast are known as the “Lowcountry” and for their Lowcountry cuisine. Fried foods and butter are important elements in this food. I knew I was going to the coast so wanted fresh fish. I found that the majority was covered in a gluten containing substance and fried, or came with a butter sauce.

Am I saying you can’t eat gluten-free in Charleston? Absolutely not. We always do a lot of research so we had a list of gluten-free possibilities before we’d left home. Once there, we also asked about eating gluten-free at the Charleston Visitor Center on Meeting Street and they handed us a printout listing gluten-free restaurants. (Note: Parking is atrocious in the old part of Charleston and they have a good parking lot. You pay for it but what you save in stress as you drive around looking for street parking . . .)

We ate lunch our first day at 39 Rue de Jean in the old part of Charleston. The building is from 1880 and filled with charm. I’d found the restaurant online as I searched through menus and they had food that looked like it could be gluten-free. When I couldn’t find any reviews on line that said that, I called them. They seemed to know what gluten was and that they could handle it.

They had Nicoise Salade Traditionale (salad with tuna, boiled potatoes and green beans) on their menu and that’s a fave of mine. (When I was in Paris with my mom after high school graduation, a waiter insisted – with some disgust at the obviously uncouth Americans – that a salad before dinner was important and brought us this. He was right :) I enjoyed my salad and my husband had a burger with fries. They didn’t have gluten-free buns but they did have safe fries. (I didn’t remember to take photos of food.)

The next day, we ate at Burtons Grill in Mt. Pleasant which is across a very long bridge from Charleston and basically a suburb. I’d come across something online earlier where a gluten-free person was waxing poetically about the small chain and how they were coming to the Charleston area. Burtons Grill’s website had a gluten-free menu so we figured we had a winner here.

I got their Salmon BLT sandwich without the bun. They have gluten-free buns but I was eating grain-free at the time. This is sauteed salmon with bacon, lettuce and tomato. I don’t know if I would ever have salmon with bacon but loved the combination.

My husband, who as you can tell eats dairy, had their Mediterranean Chicken – sauteed chicken with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese and provolone over spinach risotto and served with a lemon butter sauce. He was very, very happy.

After the lunch where I had the fun salad and he had the simple burger and fries, I thought he could use a treat and he loves barbeque.

We turned to the list from the CVC and tried Sticky Fingers. They had an allergen menu with gluten and diary both listed. All of their five barbeque sauces were gluten-free. I had their half of a smoked chicken with a plain baked potato and coleslaw, and my husband had beef brisket with mashed potatoes filled with cheese and topped with bacon, and green beans. I looked them up today and discovered there are two of them a couple of hours away so we’ll be visiting another Sticky Fingers in the future.

You may be wondering about breakfast and dinner. I’ll have more about it in a later post but, for now, we chose a hotel with kitchens in the rooms so we were able to make breakfast and a couple of dinners. We ate two dinners at the chain Ruby Tuesday (they have a fairly extensive gluten-free menu) and two dinners in our hotel room - salads topped with sauteed turkey breast I bought at the Mt. Pleasant Whole Foods.

We enjoyed our trip and came back healthy. Here’s the sunset from our last night in Charleston.

 

 

 

 

 

So what about dinner? The restaurants that might have had what I wanted were priced in what we usually consider the “you must be kidding?” range – $25-$30+ for the entree for dinner. A restaurant would have to come with a great recommendation for us to want to go. We just aren’t wired that way.

Gluten-Free Travel: Asheville, North Carolina

Gluten-Free Restaurants in Asheville

Asheville was our first stop on a vacation that also took us to Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia. Asheville has a vibe similar to Portland, Oregon, what I’ve often seen called “crunchy granola.” A lot of restaurants have a natural, sustainable, local agenda. That often makes for a gluten-free friendly place and Asheville is.

I’d wanted to see the Biltmore Estate for years, had even written an article about the house at Christmas and interviewed one of their staff decorators. Seeing that palatial home was the main goal here in Asheville. The house didn’t disappoint and neither did the food. Shirley at GFE wrote about the Biltmore a couple of years ago, saying there were becoming gluten-free friendly and they were. We ate at the Stable Cafe which had a gluten-free menu. This was the actual stable; our table was in one of the old stalls. Their gluten-free menu isn’t available online.

The Autumn Vegetable Salad with roasted butternut squash, cauliflower and red peppers with an apple cider vinaigrette immediately caught my eye. It came with cheese I had to delete (dairy-free) but they added chicken for me. Oh my! The salad and the dressing were wonderful! (I dove right in before I’d taken the photo and messed up their nice presentation.)

My husband loves barbeque so he ordered their ribs which came with white beans with chorizo in them. I also took a photo of his – after we’d started eating – and the bone in the middle of the plate assures you of their good taste (again, sorry, hungry by this time). He said that they had good flavor but weren’t as tender as some barbeque is. They also came with greens and pickles.

That night, we went to The Green Sage in South Asheville (they also have one downtown). You stand in line here, place your order and it’s brought to you. We’d researched this cafe online and they appeared to understand gluten-free. Yep. They had locally made gluten-free bread and safe fries so my husband had a turkey sandwich with fries.

Since they also make breakfast all day and I enjoy breakfast foods, I had a tomato and sausage omelette. If you have any allergies or sensitivities beyond gluten, please let a restaurant know. The Green Sage’s omelette’s are usually made with half and half. That would have made for an ugly night for me if I hadn’t said something as I ordered. They made mine special and while it wasn’t gourmet, it was good.

We’d planned brunch at Posana for a while. I’d read reviews about Posana from both Shirley and Heather at Gluten-Free Cat. A restaurant with 100% gluten-free food, this is a true haven for those who eat gluten-free.

My husband had Eggs Benedict which is served here on a biscuit:

And I had a frittata with zucchini, onions, and eggplant, along with sweet potato fries and bacon, all gluten-free and all quite good. I also told them I was dairy-free so she noted it for the kitchen.

We could have chosen one of the baked goodies they had displayed on the bar but I bake so that isn’t as much of a treat for us. We had to make our way through crowds of locals lining up for a Christmas parade but it was well worth it. :)

If we go through Asheville again, I’ll be very happy to stop and eat. You’ll know I enjoy eating when I say that the meals at the Biltmore Estate and Posana were highlights of the weeklong trip.

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger – GAPS Diet Journey

Healing and Eating Well
 

For those who haven’t heard of it yet, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is a monthly event where bloggers (and others) can adopt a blogger, make a recipe or two then share about it. This month, Kate at Eat Recycle Repeat is hosting. It’s fun and I encourage you to join in next month when it will most likely be back with the founder Sea at Book of Yum who’s been working on her disseration in Japan but should be home soon.

My adoptee, Starlene, came to the GAPS diet because of health issues and has been on it three years with amazing changes in her health. She does a blog talk radio show with interviews ranging from others on the diet to the doctor who literally wrote the book on it. (See below the post.)

Many of you may not know of the GAPS diet. It’s grain-free so naturally gluten-free. That means anyone with gluten issues can use Starlene’s recipes. (Also, when you’re searching for recipes, those that say SCD are also naturally gluten-free.)

I enjoyed searching through her recipes, choosing her Coconut Peanut Butter Balls. She uses Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate in them. Since I’d recently bought some that had gone unused, the decision was easy.

The recipe works - but my time with it was a comedy of errors. :) It calls for “nut butter” with a suggestion of peanut or almond butter. I made it first with almond butter but the kind I had on had was very dense, not creamy, so it didn’t glue together well.

I didn’t have peanut butter so I went with the other nut butter I did have, cashew. I can eat this right out of the jar with a spoon but, to me, it doesn’t translate well to making goodies. It’s fairly bland compared to either peanut or almond butter so the cookies needed something. I added vanilla but then it tasted too much like vanilla. So I added cinnamon. They were OK. Then I put them in the fridge and they got fun. They almost melt when you eat them.

So the end result is that I will make them with a creamy almond butter next time. My husband’s such a coconut fan that I believe there will be a next time. And I saved the mixture from the first batch to mix in with some cookies where it will give them a great taste.

Enjoy. For anyone who is interested in this diet, or has simply found that the gluten-free diet didn’t do everything you’d hoped, Starlene has a lot of good information on her site.

UPDATE: The first batch didn’t last long. I’m making a second batch today. It turned out that the perfect snack included one of these (cashew butter and all) along with one of my Super Simple Cashew Butter Date Balls. I smear some coconut oil on these because I’m trying to gain weight. :)

Donielle Baker from Naturally Knocked Up

Hope for a Family

When diagnosed a decade ago with poly-cystic ovary syndrome, a condition that can make conceiving difficult, Donielle Baker didn’t give up on her dream of a family; she started looking for answers. Those answers changed the course of her life. Now the parent of a boy and girl, and a baby in Heaven from a miscarriage last year, she’s completely changed her life because of what she learned.

Donielle had previously eaten “healthy” foods just like many of us – skim milk, whole grain breads and cereals. Through her successful blog – Naturally Knocked Up – and a book by the same name released earlier this year, Donielle shares what she’s learned about natural fertility with key players such as whole foods, stress reduction, and natural living.

She’s also eating gluten-free and agreed to answer some questions about this for Enjoying Gluten-Free Life’s readers.

Q & A:

Q: Since this is a gluten-free blog, with related issues, please share with us when and why you started eating gluten-free. 

A: My family actually started eating gluten free because we found out that much of the health issues that my husband dealt with could be related to a gluten intolerance. Within a few weeks, we had our answer and the rest of our family slowly went gluten free over the next few months. While I still eat wheat products from time to time (every few months), when I’m out of the house, our home is gluten free. (I have gone 6-8 months completely gluten free and have found that for me, gluten isn’t an issue.)

So my blog isn’t entirely gluten free at this point, because I started it a couple of years before we made the switch. Though I often make some of my old recipes, we use gluten free alternatives for them now.

Q: Can dietary and/or lifestyle changes such as going gluten-free help someone who is infertile become fertile?

A: For some people, going gluten free can definitely make a big impact on their fertility. Not only can it cause infertility, but it’s often associated with second trimester losses as well as male factor infertility. The direct cause is sometimes unknown as to why gluten affects fertility, but there are a couple of different theories. One is that the gluten damages the intestines and the body can not absorb the nutrients it needs to function or produce hormones properly. The other is that it could be an auto-immune issue where the body begins attacking new cells. One of my blog friends actually got me researching the link between infertility and loss and gluten intolerance, when she found out (after infertility and multiple losses) that she had celiac. She has now gone on to have two more children.

Q: Is it only important for the woman to change her diet and lifestyle when a couple has been unable to conceive or is it also important for the man to make changes?

A: Whether or not the man also deals with fertility issues doesn’t matter. Half of the DNA comes from the man, so he too should do what is within his power to keep himself healthy to ensure strong sperm and genetic material. There are also ways that a man can naturally increase his fertility if he deals with low sperm count or poor motility/morphology as well. And of course, this goes the other way as well for women if the cause for infertility is due to her husband’s health – she too needs to make sure she eats a nourishing diet!

Thank you, Donielle.

Cheerful Wednesday – Sunshine Awards

Sharing the Sunshine

Last summer, I was honored when Heather at Gluten-Free Cat nominated me for a Sunshine Award. A blogger awards this to 10 other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

I waited a bit to post mine – on purpose – so that the fun could start up again. Recipients first answer 10 questions about themselves. Then they thank the person who gave them the award, linking back to that blog, and they choose 10 blogs for the award, linking to their blogs in the post and telling them they’ve won the award. Here’s the cool image of the award that each should use in their own post when they make their awards:

First, I’ll answer the 10 questions about myself. I think you’ll be blessed by checking out the blogs that follow.

1. Favorite Color: Purple. Pretty much any shade of purple.

2. Favorite Animal: Almost any baby animal. I think God made them cute so we’d want to take care of them :)

3. Favorite Number: I don’t think I have one. But I did get married on 8/8 so maybe that’s my favorite.

4. Favorite Drink: Water. Yes, it’s boring but that’s almost all I drink.

5. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. I’ve tried to get into Twitter, really I have. Heather at Gluten-Free Cat even gave me some tips but I haven’t found my Twitter rhythum yet.

6. Good Movie or Good Book: Good book. I relax every night by reading in bed. I love movies but they don’t relax me this way. Of course, that could be because I enjoy suspense/action movies.

7. My Passion: This will probably be the same for most bloggers; their passion is whatever they’re blogging about. I enjoy helping people, I want them to be healthy, I want them to enjoy their lives as they’re on that journey.

8. Giving or Getting Presents: Giving. I enjoy scouting down the right gift for someone and seeing the expression on their face when they open it. I’m also a sale/bargain shopper so that adds another exciting element to the hunt.

9. Favorite Day of the Year: I’ll have to change this to Favorite Season. I look forward to the Christmas season.

10. Favorite Flower: Almost any flower is my favorite at that moment. I love a splash of color on my dining room table.

Sunshine Awards

Now for my 10 Sunshine Awards. It’s hard to whittle this down to just 10 because there are so many great blogs out there. I have interviews with Shirley, Megan, Lauren and Jenn on this blog – just enter their name in the search box.

Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily, GFE. Shirley’s can-do, positive attitude brings me sunshine with every post she writes. You can’t help but feel that you can be gluten-free and happy when you spend time with her. Her blog emphasises a diet that’s naturally gluten-free.

Alta at Tasty Eats at Home. I met Alta this summer when we were searching for bloggers to host Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger. She’s just as kind working with something like that as she appears to be in her posts. Her blog is gluten-free and dairy-free.

Lauren at Empowered Sustenance. She’s taken what most would see as negative (ulcerative colitis) and turned that into a way to help herself and others heal. I’ll be making a couple of Lauren’s recipes for the current Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger and you’ll see more about that then. I admire Lauren and her positive attitude.

Jenn at Jenn Cuisine. Most of us have had to knuckledown and learn to gluten-free cook for ourselves or our kids. Jenn fell in love with a man who couldn’t eat gluten and not only learned to cook it but created a gluten-free blog. She’s an American living in Switzerland and takes amazing photos so her food journey’s interesting by itself.

Caralyn at Gluten Free Happy Tummy. Like Lauren (coincidentally the same diagnosis), Caralyn has a great attitude. And her food – generally vegan – looks gorgeous. I mean, it’s stunning!

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut. I bought one of Kelly’s cookbooks early in my gluten-free life. She’s creating food to help heal her autistic daughter. And she is getting better. Following Kelly’s blog feels like being part of the family and I like that.

Sunny at And Love It Too. How can I not give an award to someone who maintains a great gluten-free and dairy-free blog – with a Paleo slant to it, is a teacher and has five children? She deserves this and many more awards! She’s one of the bloggers I’ve enjoyed “meeting” as I’ve learned the ropes.

Megan at Allergy Free Alaska. Megan’s upbeat and keeps pushing ahead no matter what. I respect that. Whole Food Fridays is a feature on her blog and it always has great recipes. (And I’m not saying that just because I regularly contribute to it :)

Heidi at One Creative Mommy. When Heidi’s daughter recently received a celiac disease diagnosis, this blogger rose to the occassion and added a gluten-free food carnival to her existing blog.

Lauren at Celiac Teen. Lauren’s a teen that not only accepts her gluten-free diagnosis with joy because she now knows what’s been wrong, she makes great recipes for her blog, and has been since she was 15. This is a great place for your teen to spend some time.

Butternut Squash Apple Saute – GF, DF, SCD, GAPS

Squash for Squash Haters

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love apples in the fall. But squash is everywhere right now. I wondered about combining the two. Turns out it was a good idea. Even my husband, who doesn’t like winter squash, liked this. It could convert someone in your home into enjoying this great seasonal and inexpensive vegetable.

The dish is savory – I resisted the urge to add cinnamon – but still sweet because of the apple. I thought about adding onion but really wanted to hold onto the sweetness. Choose an apple like the gala I used, one that’s crisp and not too tart.

Butternut squash is easy to work with. Peeling it isn’t my favorite thing to do but it doesn’t take long. (Remember to keep your fingers out of the knife’s way. Please.) About half of an average sized squash gave me the three cups of cubes I needed for this recipe. The recipe could easily be doubled if you’re serving more than four.

I think this would be perfect alongside a pork roast. I have one thawing in the fridge now so I’ll have to check that out :) For GAPS, substitute ghee or coconut oil for the olive oil.

Butternut Squash Apple Saute

3 cups butternut squash cut in 1/2″ cubes
1 cup apple, peeled, cored and cut in 1/2″ cubes (about 1 medium)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Drizzle olive oil to a large frying pan, about two tablespoons, and heat on medium low. Add squash cubes and saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. If it starts to stick, add more oil. If it starts browning too much, turn the heat down slightly.

Add the cubed apples and continue cooking, stirring often, for about 10 minutes more. You want the mixture to become golden. Check the squash’s doneness at this point by sticking the tip of a knife into a cube or two. If there’s resistance then it won’t be tender to eat. (Different pans and stoves can give different cooking times.) Add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan, cover it and continue cooking for another five minutes when it should be done. Make sure to check occasionally so the pan doesn’t run out of water and burn.

Makes 4 servings.

Linked to: Whole Foods Fridays, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays,