Free From Grains

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Make a Healthier (and easy!) Pancake

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a pancake.  Ok, quite a while, actually.  Although gluten-free pancakes are pretty easy, grain-free is a different story, especially for those of us who find almond flour too tough too handle.  Then I saw something online (I think it was on Facebook) about making pancakes from eggs and a banana.  Seriously!  Well, I was so curious I just had to try it.  It works!  I’ve made them a few times now, and I have been pleasantly surprised.

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The recipe is easy – 2 eggs, beaten + 1 smushed banana.  That’s basically it, although I usually throw in a dash of cinnamon and a couple drops of vanilla, just because.  As you can see in the picture, they aren’t as thick as a “grainy” pancake, more like a thicker crepe. Still yummy, especially smeared with almond butter.  (Fair warning:  a pretty strong banana flavor so if you aren’t crazy about banana, this recipe might not be your favorite).

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Ask For A Gluten-Free Menu

When I first started eating gluten-free, I never would have imagined I would live long enough to see gluten-free menus in a restaurant!  It is amazing how much the food landscape has changed in just the past few years.  Sure, I still wander into places where I know that they have no idea what I am talking about.  Several months ago I was at a conference, out of town, so really no other choice but to eat at the hotel restaurant.  I was thrilled to see GF items mentioned on their menu, but I had a question about something that I thought should have been GF but wasn’t labeled as such (a basic salad with chicken – I wanted to know if it as the chicken, the salad dressing, or what the heck had gluten in it).  When I asked the waitress, she gave me the look we all dread, kind of that cocker spaniel head tilt, and started talking about how she could bring me something that even she referred to as “faux chicken” which could only be some type of vegetarian thing?  I’m not really sure, I just know I ate very little at that lunch, just in case.

Many of the restaurants in the Charlotte area (where I am living) have finally come around and after one or two restaurants started with their GF menus, many have jumped on the bandwagon.  All good news for us!  I actually eat out very infrequently, but when I do, I still ask a lot of questions and advice everyone else to do the same.  A good restaurant that values your business won’t mind, either will a really professional waiter/waitress.  I have been surprised, on several occasions, when my waiter/waitress actually tells me of something I shouldn’t eat that I was tempted to try.  They always get the best tips!

I also know of a few restaurants that, although they don’t have a specific GF menu, will just help you find something that is suitable and will talk to the chef on your behalf.  Actually, any restaurant that really has a chef should be pretty safe if you can talk with them.  If it is one of those restaurants that serve meals that they buy from a distributor and just heat up for you….. I would make a different choice.

A big thank you to Charlotte Celiac Connection (www.charlotte-celiac-connection.org) for putting together a very comprehensive list of local restaurants with GF menus (click here to see all the places you can eat!)  Another great resource for Charlotte and other areas is Gluten Free Registry who also has a long list of options (click here).

So ask for that GF menu!  Even if your favorite restaurant doesn’t have one, the more you ask, the more they will see the need and maybe by the next time you go in, they will.  If not, there are lots of other places to choose from.  Let’s support the businesses that are supporting us!

Come Join Us!

So, What Is Wrong With Wheat?!

When talking about gluten toxicity of any kind, I am always asked what is wrong with wheat, and why does it seem like gluten toxicity (gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, celiac disease) is now gotten so popular that it is often seen as a fad.  It is actually a complex answer, including better testing, more accurate diagnosis, more knowledge in the medical field, and the fact that the wheat we are eating now is nothing like the wheat we used to eat decades ago.

Mark Sisson, of Mark’s Daily Apple, has written a blog post addressing the differences between the wheat that used to be made into the bread we ate, and what is used now.  Click here to check it out – it’s really interesting for those of us who wonder about where our food actually comes from!

Amazing Bone Broth

 

I can’t believe I haven’t posted information on bone broth before now.  Ok, it is a gazillion degrees outside and it might seem like an odd time to talk about broth, but it’s really not.  Bone broth is one of the best ways to get nutrients into our bodies, and we should all be looking for ways to get more nutrients in!  It can be enjoyed as is, or as the base of all kinds of soups, stews, etc.  In the picture above, I just threw in some celery, carrots, and leeks (they were in the crisper and needed to get used, but an onion works just as well), then added some rotisserie chicken and fresh herbs.  It is yummy, and even on hot days like we’ve had lately, it’s light and soothing. Besides that, it makes the house smell great when it’s cooking!   Click here for a great article on how to make it and its benefits.

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free…. and Delicious Pumpkin Pie!

Recipe coming soon – I had to take a picture before it all disappeared!

Nothing Better Than Summer Veggies

 

Ok, it’s been crazy hot out here.  And if you’re like me, you don’t feel like eating a lot, much less preparing a big meal.  Instead of reaching for the bowl of ice cream (not that we’d ever do that!), take advantage of all the wonderful veggies that are in season.  Check your local Farmers Markets and eat locally when you can.  Cut up and serve raw or lightly steam them, and have some fun things to dip them in.  Try some homemade mayonnaise, your favorite salad dressing, even a jar of salsa works.  It’s a fun, easy, light meal and your body will be so happy to have those extra vitamins and minerals.

BLT Salad

 

A perfect meal for this hot weather, and a joyous re-uniting of flavors for those of us who are not eating grains.  I have to admit, that a great BLT is something I do miss, so luckily my sister (Dr. Cary) came up with this easy solution to solve the cravings.

Fry up several slices of bacon (nitrate/nitrite free please!  Trader Joe’s has a great one).  While they are frying, put together your favorite salad ingredients – cool crunchy lettuce, tomato (of course) then add red onion or scallion, cucumber, even avocado is great.

After the bacon is cooked and crispy, let drain on paper towels, pour out leftover bacon grease from pan but don’t wipe out all the yummy parts on the bottom of the pan-that’s where all the flavor is.  Add about two tablespoons (or more if you like a lot of dressing) of mayonnaise, either homemade or straight from the jar and let it warm up and get all creamy. You will probably have to add some water to dilute it, so start with just a bit and add in as you need to thin it out.  As you stir it around, it will pick up all the bits of flavor left at the bottom of the pan.  This only takes a few moments, so just add your crunchy bacon to the top of your salad, pour on the warm dressing and toss.  It’s a BLT in a bowl!!!  Full of flavor and makes a great summertime dinner.

For those of you who really need that bit of bread, use your favorite gluten-free (or regular if you are still eating that) bread, chop it up in big chunks, and toast in a saute pan with some olive oil and salt until crisp and crunchy. This makes the best croutons and would be fabulous mixed in with your BLT salad.

New Cookbooks

I am so happy to report that two of my favorite authors/resources have new cookbooks available.  Check out Quick and Easy Meals from Mark Sisson (the Primal Blueprint guru) and you can pre-order Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (the almond flour expert).  New recipes – I can’t wait!

Paleo Foodie

I found another great blog to check out: http://paleofoodie.blogspot.com/.  She has loads of recipes, mostly paleo type with lots of nuts, coconut, veggies, etc.  I’ve already found a few I have to try!