Blood Boiling

If you haven’t had a chance to read the latest happenings in the Celiac community, grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in.  This so-called “chef” out of Denver, has basically admitted to poisoning Celiacs on his Facebook page.  The posts have now been removed, probably at the direction of his attorney after the onslaught of messages he was probably receiving from the Celiac & gluten-free community.  You can read about them here, though.   Here are a couple of his rants from his page:

"May god help the Liberal hippie idiot whos going to ask for gluten free pasta this weekend."

"Gluten free is bullXXX!! Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, THOUSANDS of years. People who claim to be gluten intolorent dont realize that its all in there disturbed liitle heads. People ask me for gluten free pasta in my restaurant all the time, I tell em sure, Then I serve serve em our pasta, Which I make from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what? nothing, NOTHING! ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what, They just had a full dose! Idiots!"

Seriously?  You are knowingly feeding people with Celiac Disease gluten?  What is wrong with you?  I sure you wouldn’t find this as amusing if someone were poisoning you. 

I particularly like this open letter/response by Injera & Chocolate Gravy. 

I guess my Wednesday wasn’t so “wordless” after all. 

Wordless Wednesday–32 Days

Today I am taking part in Wordless Wednesday & linking up to the Accustomed Chaos Post.  I have already broken rule #1 b/c clearly this post isn’t “wordless”.  LOL! 


My entry – my new Saucony Ride 3 running shoes.  They will hopefully carry me injury-free over the finish line in The Flying Pig Marathon 32 short days from now. 

Guest Post: Jules Gluten Free

Please welcome a very special lady to many of us in the gluten-free community – Jules Dowler Shepard.  Not only is Jules a brilliant baker & cook, but she is a great friend.


People often ask me how I got started in the gluten-free business. It’s a question that always makes me pause. It’s not an easy answer, but I’m clearly where I’m supposed to be.

Life takes its twists and turns, and sometimes you just have to let go and get taken on that ride.

I was raised to be a Southern Woman – I know how to be genteel when I want to be, and I sure do know how to bake. From Easy Bake Oven to my college dorm toaster oven, I have always baked treats to share. The baking part is what I loved, not necessarily the eating part. That’s served my hips well since I have always enjoyed baking sweets more than savory meals!

Aside from the social benefits of spreading cookie and cake love to those all around me, I’ve come to realize that baking is a stress reliever for me as well. In graduate school to become a lawyer (boy did I go down the wrong path, there!), it was my habit to leave the library at the wee hours of the morn, and come home to wind down … by baking! I did so much baking, in fact, that it became expected that I would show up each day with treats to share! The school café eventually invited me to sell my baked goodies there, and thus began my first-ever taste of baking as a career.

Meanwhile, my health had taken a turn for the worse in college and I could not seem to get well, despite the efforts of expert physicians and myriad tests. Doctors eventually threw up their hands and diagnosed me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) – the catch-all diagnosis given to people with chronic gastrointestinal distress. I was simply told I needed to eat more fiber (i.e. wheat and bran).

Fast forward a decade later. I was working as a prosecuting attorney in domestic violence — one of the most stressful jobs I could imagine – and my health became even worse. A new doctor eventually put all my symptoms together — chronic sinus infections, migraine headaches, iron-deficiency anemia, IBS symptoms – and properly diagnosed me with celiac disease. I finally understood all these health problems, and I seemingly had the solution: living on a gluten-free diet. However, I had no idea how to live gluten free.

I struggled for a few years with the depressing reality that I could no longer eat lunch out with my co-workers, I sat with an empty plate at Thanksgiving, and I could not bake anything palatable any more. At some point though, I decided that I could no longer live that way. I bought as many gluten-free flours as I could get my hands on and decided that I had to find a way to create just ONE gluten-free all purpose flour so that I could return to my old favorite recipes.

It literally took me two years of experimenting in my kitchen, but I finally succeeded and at last was able to make all my family recipes again, without anyone missing the gluten! When I met my first celiac friend a while later, she encouraged me to compile my recipes in a gluten-free cookbook so that others could benefit from my philosophy and my hard-earned learnings in the kitchen. This encouragement was the impetus for my first book, published in 2006: Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating. In this book, I also shared my original homemade all purpose flour recipe, which earned the attention of such media as The Washington Post and Woman’s Day.

I soon began hearing from folks who loved the book and my flour recipe, but who didn’t want to have to mix the flour themselves, so I embarked upon yet another adventure and began manufacturing a new all purpose flour mixture for all those who wanted the perfect ready-made gluten-free flour.

My second book, The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free, came out in 2008, and gave me the opportunity to share my story of success with celiac disease, as well as the stories of others’ transitions to this medically-necessitated diet. My third book and labor of love — Free for All Cooking — was just released in the fall, and takes gluten-free cooking to another level, teaching readers how to modify recipes to make them gluten-free as well as free from other food allergens, when necessary.

My flour business is now a flour and mixes business (Jules Gluten Free), and three books plus 7 e-books later, I am a busy author and blogger as well ( But through it all, I remain a gluten-free consumer who buys food, shops the aisles and eats at restaurants just like everyone else living gluten free.

Jules mardi gras 2011

It has mystified me that in this day and age, with food allergies as rampant as they are and with the incidence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity as frequent as it now is (gluten sensitivity is now believed to affect as many as 18 million Americans, and celiac as many as 3 million Americans), that there is no federally regulated standard for “gluten free” on food labels.

It seems everyone knows someone who has been sickened, or has been sickened themselves from gluten contamination. So why is it that we do not have an established level of gluten on foods so that we as gluten-free consumers know which foods are deemed “safe”?

In 2004, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Law (FALCPA) to protect food-allergic and celiac consumers from having to decipher ingredient listings. The law, which requires the top eight allergens (including wheat) to be clearly listed on ingredient statements, did not require disclosure of barley or rye — the other grains that are toxic to those with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. The 2004 mandate for the FDA to develop and implement gluten-free food labeling requirements would fill that void … but the FDA has not seen fit to meet that mandate yet. It has been seven years since FALCPA passed and we still are without a federal standard for “Gluten Free.” This is inexcusable.

My friend John Forberger (@GlutenFreeTri) and I were speaking of this travesty last fall in the midst of a conversation where he had challenged me to make the world’s largest gluten-free cookie. As we joked about the spectacle that would be, we realized that maybe this kind of attention-grabbing event was what was needed to highlight the FDA’s inaction. Maybe by doing something on a grand scale, we could point out that the FDA has done nothing on ANY scale to help the gluten-free community, despite the Congressional mandate under FALCPA.

Such began our brainstorming session which has culminated in the event we announced today – 1in133 – The Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit – in Washington DC on May 4 (kicking off Celiac Awareness Month). We are building the world’s tallest gluten-free cake, which will be unveiled at our VIP reception for federal lawmakers, concerned members, friends and supporters of the gluten-free community and gluten-free food manufacturers. Noted experts like Dr. Alessio Fasano, of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research will be featured guest speakers, and the petition signatures of the thousands of gluten-free consumers who care about food labeling will be presented as well. We are thrilled to have sponsors signing up every day in support of this event and this movement. Already, event sponsors include Whole Foods Market, The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America and many, many others. Individuals have been making pledges and bloggers are already united to gather as many petition signatures as possible to prove the importance of gluten-free food labeling and the numbers behind the movement.

Anyone can help our cause, simply by signing the petition, by donating in increments of $11.33, and by joining our Facebook Causes page. Sharing information with others is also key to this event’s success. We only have 5 weeks and we have a lot of work to do to show the FDA that we are watching and that we are mobilized to make a difference!

I’m thrilled to be a part of this movement and to be helping to make a difference for my friends in the gluten-free community. This is truly where I am supposed to be.


I am so excited about this event 1in133!  I can’t wait to do my part to try to get as many people as I can to sign the petition.  Will you help spread the word & gather signatures?

Weekly Menu Plan–March 28, 2011

Here we are in the last week of March.  We have been spoiled with some warmer weather sprinkled throughout the month, but tortured with some super cold temps this past week.  22 degrees to be exact on Saturday AM.  I sure hope that April brings us some warmer temperatures and fast!  Check out my Facebook status from earlier this week:

33% DONE.
Install delayed….please wait.
Installation failed. Please try again.

We are performing a system reboot right now.  Winking smile

I would like to thank all of the guest bloggers who helped me over the past week while I was in Atlanta visiting with my sister and her family.  If you missed any of their posts, please make sure you go back and take a look:

We have settled back into our routines and almost finished unpacking and the kids are getting ready to head back to school tomorrow for the 4th & final quarter of the year. 

Weekly Meals

Sunday – Pei Wei and salad

Monday – Grilled chicken w/ pasta, steamed broccoli & salad

Tuesday – Salmon with brown rice, roasted asparagus & salad

Wednesday – Tacos (Gasp!  It isn’t Tuesday!  What will Jon do?), refried beans, corn & salad

Thursday – BBQ pulled pork in the crock pot, baked potatoes, broccoli rabe & salad

Friday –Personal pizzas, sugar snap peas & salad

Saturday – Leftovers or out

Weekly Recap

Blue Turtle Tea & Spice Co. offers gluten-free menu items

Review: A Taste of Thai meals

Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressings review

I hope you all have a wonderful week and the weather warms up where you are.  I don’t think we have much of a prayer of getting above the mid-40s this week.  Perhaps next week. 



Conquering Fears

Have you ever conquered a fear and felt like a huge weight was lifted off of your shoulders?  How about conquering a fear that you didn’t realize beforehand was a huge fear, but once you moved past something, it seemed as if all the planets & stars were aligned?  That happened to me yesterday.

I haven’t written a whole lot this year about my marathon training.  I began training for The Flying Pig Marathon in December 2010 and am coming to the end of my training program in the next few weeks.  I joined a local running group called “MIT” (Marathoners in Training) at the recommendation of my sports doctor to try to ensure that I was training smartly and not putting myself at increased risk for injury.  After suffering from plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture last year after running in the Cleveland Marathon, I had no desire to travel down that path again.  I have really enjoyed getting to know the other runners in my pace group and truly appreciate the selfless dedication that our amazing pace coaches show week after week. 

The beginner plan spans 19 weeks and gradually takes the runner from a long run of 7 miles to 22 miles.  While I always get somewhat nervous about longer runs (usually over 12 miles), I was really nervous this time around as our long runs increased in distance.  We had a really tough day we ran our 16 miler – it was pouring down rain and the trails were partially flooded.  This was probably the worst run of my life and I seriously considered dropping down to the half marathon distance for the race.  I reasoned with myself that making decisions while miserable was not wise, so I pushed on. 

Yesterday was one of our longest runs on the schedule – 20 miles.  Last year I developed plantar fasciitis after running my 20 miler (which I now know I ran way too fast) and I fell apart during my marathon right around the 20 mile point.  So, needless to say, I had some anxiety about the 20 miler.  I didn’t realize how much anxiety I had about this particular distance until after I ran it yesterday.  All week long I had prepared by eating & hydrating properly and evaluating how my legs & feet felt.  I was so worried and didn’t even realize it.  I slept horribly on Friday night, waking every hour.  I thought that the run may have been the cause, but I didn’t wake thinking about it, so I brushed it off.  I was clearly wrong.

I got up at 5 AM and followed my pre-long run ritual of eating a bowl of Kix cereal (gluten-free, low in sugar, not too high in fiber, doesn’t mess with my GI system) and drinking some water.  I got dressed for the weather, which was way too cold for the end of March in Ohio, but I was just thankful it was not raining.  22 degrees and sunny out?  I’ll take it.  I met up with 2 of the MIT pace coaches and a couple of other girls and we started our run at 6:30 AM.  It is so surreal running on the trails in the dark.  Yes, one of the coaches had a light, but it almost seems as if it really isn’t happening at the time !  LOL!  Nothing like knocking 6 miles out before the “official” starting time for MIT.  I think breaking the longer runs into pieces like this really helps my mentality.  Now I only had 14 miles left to run. 

We used the potty, ate GU and met with our fellow MITer’s and began our run.  These are the only runs that I run without music.  I use my ipod on all of my other runs, so it is nice to chat with other runners or just zone out and listen to the sounds of our feet striking the trail.  We ran out the same way we had gone for our first 6 miles, but since it was now light out, it was as if we hadn’t been that way yet!  We continued on to a monster hill that we hadn’t run previously in our training.  I was not looking forward to this at all, as I had run hills earlier in the week at my sister’s house.  I prayed that my IT band/knees/feet would make it through okay.  We took the hill slowly.  It was a long gradual climb, but we did it.  I think going down a couple of miles later was worse than going up.  The grade of that hill was really steep.  Check out this image below…while it is hard to read the specifics, the green graph in the middle shows the elevation and you can see that massive hill!


I took GU for energy at miles 6, 13 or so and 17.5.  In addition to my legs & feet carrying me through 20 miles, I need to perfect the fueling part of the run.  I had many issues with this during the marathon in Cleveland, so it is imperative that I get this figured out and not stray from the plan during the race.  The GU is gluten-free and contains caffeine, which is an added little boost of energy.  I drink only water when I run.  Gatorade is gluten-free, but Powerade is not.  The Flying Pig has powerade on the course and I am not interested in carrying my own Gatorade for 26.2 miles, plus it doesn’t always agree with my stomach. 

Before I knew it, we only had a couple of miles left.  Susanne, Beth & I were on our own at this point.  Not all of the runners in MIT run the same distance every week; the distance you run depends on what race you are training for.  Additionally, some of the runners opted for more sleep and didn’t start their 20 miles until 8 AM.  If I wasn’t crazy, I would have opted to sleep in as well.  We arrived back at the school and still had about a half of a mile to hit 20, so we went for a lap around the school grounds.  I was not going to stop until my Garmin said 20 miles!  LOL!  The rush of relief I felt when I finished is indescribable!  While I didn’t want to go and run another 6.2 miles right then, I felt that I could.  That is the key – still having something left in the tank at the end.  We walked around and stretched for a while so that our muscles didn’t immediately stiffen up.  After hugging & thanking Susanne, I headed home to stuff my face.

Lots of foam rolling and stretching took place and then I assessed how I felt.  Yes, I could tell I ran a lot, but I didn’t feel injured.  After getting roughly 12 hours of sleep last night – yes, I was in bed before 8 PM and had several glasses of wine before that – I actually feel pretty good today.  “Normal” soreness, but nothing that is screaming out “injury” at this point.  I now have 2 rest days in a row to help with recovery. 

Now that I can check the 20 miler off of my schedule, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  I had made myself terrified that something was going to happen and I wouldn’t be able to run anymore.  I know now that sounds ridiculous and completely irrational, but that is how my mind works.  Now I have one more long run of 22 miles in 2 weeks, but I am not nearly as worried about it.  Yes, I still need to prepare mentally and physically, but I know that I can do it

Product Review: Jovial Cookies & Pasta

There are new gluten-free brands popping up all over the place these days.  I have many favorites that I like to stick with, but I can’t help branching out to try these new brands, as some are debuting some pretty phenomenal stuff.

We all know that gluten-free pasta is either good or bad, and there really isn’t any in between.  Bad gluten-free pasta sticks together if you overcook it, and seems to not hold its shape well.  Good gluten-free pasta can be served to even the pickiest non-gluten-free family members and not even make them flinch until they realize that you are eating the same pasta as they are.  That is the kind of pasta I like to eat.  Jovial is a new brand on the market and their pasta ranks right up there with Schar, Bi Aglut & Tinkyada.  I was able to cook this pasta for the time stated on the package and then bake in a casserole for another 30+ minutes without compromising taste or texture.  Additionally, this pasta doesn’t taste bad cold.  I can’t eat Tinkyada pasta cold in a pasta-like salad – it seems to change when it is cold into something that is not very appealing to me.  That is not the case with the Jovial pasta.  It is actually good cold! 


I decided to try this pasta out with a recipe that I found from Rocco Dispirito called “Penne alla Vodka”.  You can read more about the recipe in my post over on, but until you do, here is a picture of the yumminess that this dish was:


The pasta comes in five different shapes – spaghetti, capellini, penne regate, fusilli and caserecce.  I love funky pasta shapes, so this line is right up my alley.  Okay, enough talk about pasta, onto the cookies. 

*Photo courtesy of Jovial Foods

Did you see what that says?!  “Fig Fruit Filled”  Yep.  Fig Newtons.  I don’t even know if I need to say more.  I first read about these cookies when Tiffany Janes, another author at, reviewed them and I knew that I had to get my hands on a package of them as soon as I could.  Well, I finally found them last week and I was far from disappointed.  These cookies brought me right back to my childhood! Fig Newtons.  There was a time that I was into the flavored varieties of the Fig Newtons like apple or strawberry, but my one true love is the original Fig Newton.  I couldn’t believe that I was eating a gluten-free cookie that resembled my love so closely.  Genius!  There was a slight difference in the “crust” of the cookie.  In addition to it being round and enclosed, as opposed to open on the ends, it was a little softer than I remember the traditional variety being, but who cares?!  Not I!  There are 2 other varieties in the Jovial cookie line, but they are overshadowed by the amazingness of the fig cookies!  The other cookies are Chocolate Vanilla Cream & Chocolate Chocolate Cream.  I am sure they are equally as yummy and I plan to pick some up the next time I am at the store, as I know that Jon will like them.  Jon won’t touch the fig cookies, which is a big plus for me! 

Jovial Foods not only makes gluten-free foods, but Einkorn products as well, which are not gluten-free.  Since they also make products that are not gluten-free, there are ingredients that are not gluten-free present in the facility.  Please read the following allergen statement from Jovial and more information on gluten-free products at Jovial:


Jovial™ brown rice pasta is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group at a level less than 10PPM. This product is made in a dedicated facility free of gluten, casein, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts, but may contain traces of soy.


Our facility was specifically designed to ensure an absolutely safe product, but it is not dedicated gluten free. We bake with dedicated equipment on separate production days. Each batch is tested and certified for gluten at less than 10ppm.

Gluten Free

If you have been led to a gluten-free diet, you are not alone and you have not gotten there because your body is defective in some way. We were told by a scientist in Italy that has devoted his studies to gluten intolerance that everyone is unable to digest gluten to some extent-some more than others. Achieving high levels of gluten in modern hybrids has been a goal of plant breeders over the last century. It does not seem surprising to us that modern wheat varieties with higher levels of gluten have coincided with a sharp increase in wheat intolerance and Celiac Disease. Gluten is what makes wheat different from any other grain. Gluten is a protein, making up close to 80% of the total protein content of wheat, which gives dough stickiness and is preferred for bread and pasta production. More and more people are eliminating gluten from their diet and an increasing number of individuals are being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Gluten-free diets have also been used in conjunction with the treatment of other medical conditions, such as Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Others report not having any particular medical condition but feeling better when limiting wheat consumption.

Put simply, gluten sensitivity is caused by the inability to break down wheat protein or gluten during digestion. Large proteins remain undigested in the small intestine, creating inflammation. This creates damage to the walls of the intestines and the inability to properly absorb nutrients. As more and more undigested proteins become present over a period of time, the body’s immune system eventually begins to see them as invaders and starts to fight them with an autoimmune response. Years of this hidden internal activity can lead to many symptoms and additional serious health concerns. When symptoms overcome good health, it is time to completely eliminate gluten from your diet. The good news is that restoring and maintaining good health is more important than eating gluten. Eliminating gluten is the only way to heal and if your immune response has led you to a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, you must eliminate gluten from your diet completely. More and more delicious tasting gluten free products are available these days, so maintaining a gluten free diet is becoming less of a sacrifice.

Jovial™ gluten free products were developed out of a heartfelt compassion for all of us who have had a food intolerance critically effect personal health and wellness. We believe eating gluten free should be pleasurable and not feel like a sacrifice. It is not that products formulated without gluten can’t taste great; it’s how relentless you are in developing them.

Jovial Foods gluten-free products can be found in many health food stores across the US.  Click here to find the closet location to you.  I found the cookies here in Columbus at Raisin Rack.  If you can’t find the cookies or pasta close to you, you can order them both online from a few different sources, including 

Guest Post: Katie of Healthy Heddleston

Today we are going to learn about more from another runner & Ohio blogger – Katie!  Welcome Katie! 

Hi Gluten-Free is Life Readers!! I’m Katie from Healthy Heddleston and am excited to provide you with a quick guest post while Kim is visiting family —hope you’re having fun!


My Transition to Gluten-Free Lifestyle
About three years ago, I started noticing a lot of abdominal discomfort when I ate certain foods. The discomfort was very off and on and the intensity of the discomfort varied depending on what foods I ate. At this time I was in school to become a Registered Dietitian. It wasn’t until about two years ago when my discomfort started getting really bad that I went to the GI doctor, was diagnosed with gluten intolerance/pre-Celiac, and started the gluten-free lifestyle.

The last two years have been a whirlwind. I started this gluten-free life style and all that comes with it, finished up my schooling and became an RD, got married, moved, and started my own business. Things have been crazy but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Staying Active While Being Gluten-Free

Among all the hustle and bustle of life and learning to eat a new way, I’ve always placed an importance on having an active life. I was a “sports girl” growing up, but it’s kind of hard to find enough players to fill a volleyball court! I took up running about a year ago and will never look back now! I’ve completed two half marathons thus far and have two more on the schedule in the spring. An active lifestyle helps me in so many ways; I hope you benefit from staying active as well!


A Favorite Gluten-Free Recipe
I love experimenting with gluten-free cereal in recipes – and love that they make great breadcrumbs! This recipe is one of my favorite creations! I hope you enjoy it too!

Cheesey Meatloaf Balls


Ingredients for Balls

  • 1 pound of ground turkey meat
  • 1 cup crush gluten free crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • Dash of pepper

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the balls. Mix well.
  3. Roll ball mixture into 12 standard meatballs or 24 mini meatballs.
  4. Combine and whisk together all ingredients for the glaze.
  5. Gentle apply glaze to each meatloaf ball with a pastry brush.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Thanks for having me guest post Kim! I hope your readers enjoyed learning a little about me!

Guest Post: Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

Did you all enjoy Shirley’s guest post yesterday?  I know that I did.  Today I would like to introduce Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

Baked Quinoa Pudding with Raisins

This is my gluten-free, refined sugar-free, healthier take on traditional rice pudding.

It’s funny how food works in my life…I seem to love the foods that keep me close to my roots. Not that the dishes don’t grow and change over time, because they do, but somehow cooking the foods I grew up with keeps me connected to where I came from.

That’s the case with this dish. My dad had a sweet tooth and rice pudding was one of the foods he loved. My Grandma Ruth would often make it for him when she came to visit. I remember my dad standing at the kitchen counter eating right out of the baking dish. He rarely bothered to put his rice pudding in a bowl. It drove my mom crazy but that never stopped him.

As a kid, I never appreciated the addition of raisins to rice pudding. Today, though, I love the texture and flavor they add. Depending on what I have on hand, I use currants, golden raisins, and even dried cranberries too.

I updated my Grandma’s recipe using quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is often considered a grain but it’s actually a seed and packed with nutrition. It’s a complete protein and contains phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and iron among other important vitamins and minerals.

I serve it for dessert and, since it’s a healthy dish, I eat the leftovers for breakfast. Sometimes I even stand at the counter and eat it right out of the dish just like my dad did.

Quinoa Pudding 1

Baked Quinoa Pudding with Raisins
makes 6 to 8 servings
from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup quinoa
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
berry sauce or ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set a kettle of water to boil for the bain-marie (water bath). Once it boils, reduce the heat and keep the water very hot.

Pour the 1 1/2 cups cold water into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Once the water in the pan is boiling, add the quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Remove the pan from heat and let the quinoa cool slightly.

While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, agave, vanilla, salt, and raisins. Mix cooled the quinoa into the egg mixture. Pour the pudding mixture into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish. Make a bain-marie by placing the filled baking dish into a larger, steep sided 4-quart casserole dish that’s set on a large baking sheet. Put the baking sheet with the pudding in oven and, with the oven door open, pour hot water from the tea kettle into the larger casserole dish until it’s halfway up the side of the pudding dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the pudding is baking, mix the cinnamon and nutmeg together in a small bowl. After 25 minutes, stir the pudding and sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for another 25 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle of the pudding comes out clean.

Carefully remove the pudding and the bain-marie from the oven. Remove the smaller dish with the pudding from the larger dish and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold plain, with a berry sauce, or with ice cream. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Make It Dairy-Free: Use your favorite nondairy milk instead of cow’s milk and use full-fat coconut cream or other rich nondairy milk instead of half-and-half.

Quinoa Pudding 2

Amy Green, M.Ed., authors Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, ( a blog about eating well, eliminating refined sugars and wheat, and maintaining a healthy weight. Her first cookbook, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, has been on Amazon’s best seller lists since its release in February 2011.

Amy has been living free from white sugar and wheat since 2004 and, as a result, is maintaining a 60+ pound weight loss. Over the years she’s learned that eating healthier doesn’t equal deprivation. She was recently interviewed on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Talk 980 USA, appeared on Channels KTEN and Channel 33 News, was featured in The Plano Profile, and will be in the April Edition of D Magazine. She is a field editor for Healthy Cooking Taste of Home, freelance writer, does recipe development, and teaches local sugar-free, gluten-free baking classes. Amy lives with her husband and four dogs in Dallas, TX.

Guest Post: Shirley of Gluten Free Easily (GFE)

While I am taking some time off to spend with my family this week, I am going to share some posts from some wonderful inspiring bloggers this week.  First up is Shirley of Gluten Free Easily.  I love Shirley’s approach to gluten-free living.  Simple.  You can read a little more about Shirley here

Shirley-Braden-Self-240x300 (1)

Top 10

My Top 10 Reasons (Plus One!) to Live Gluten Free Easily (GFE)

On my blog, gfe—gluten free easily, I share my gfe approach via my recipes and discussion posts. The gfe approach means that one eats real food, first and foremost; some mainstream processed foods that are gluten free (like tortilla chips); and only a few gluten-free specialty products (like gluten-free pasta) on occasion. Now that might sound intimidating to some folks—like way too much cooking—but really it’s not. However, it is definitely a shift in thinking if you are currently loading your grocery cart with packaged foods. But, consider that the old adage is true, “Less is more.”

Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store will give you your fruits, veggies, dairy and non-dairy products, meat, and seafood. From those alone, you can make a multitude of phenomenal meals … you will not just have one choice which is typically what packaged foods offer you. Brief trips into the inner aisle of the grocery store here and there will yield products that are naturally gluten free or come from a manufacturer that offers a gluten-free product, like balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, gluten-free soy sauce, etc.

How do I apply my gfe approach to real life? Well, today, I’ve enjoyed leftover pizza omelet (eggs, almond milk, pizza sauce, and pepperoni) for breakfast and a small amount of tuna salad with pecans for a light lunch. I’ll be meeting friends for afternoon tea so I’ll enjoy a mixed greens salad topped with chicken salad at the tea room. Our dinner is marinating as we speak—London Broil. The main ingredient is the beef, of course, but the marinade consists of soy sauce, honey, vinegar (or wine), oil, ginger, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce (you can see the recipe here). I’ll serve oven fries and green beans as our sides. As you can see, there’s nothing difficult about my day of food. It included food I’ve made (omelet, tuna salad, London Broil, oven fries), purchased products (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, frozen green beans), and eating out, and exemplifies my gfe approach.

For further consideration, here are my top 10 reasons for living gfe below.

  1. I don’t have to shop at a special grocery store and usually not even in a special gluten-free section. I can almost always find something to eat while I’m out and about.
  2. I don’t have to keep tons of gluten-free specialty products stashed in my pantry, in my freezer, or under my bed. More importantly, I don’t break into a cold sweat if I find out that a specialty product is no longer being carried by my store or even produced.
  3. I only cook one meal for dinners, parties, etc., but still everyone is happy—gluten-free and non-gluten free folks. If you have to cook two meals because everyone doesn’t like your gluten-free food or you say it’s too expensive to feed everyone gluten free, then you are not following the gfe approach. Please read on.
  4. With few exceptions (and those typically occur when I eat out), I know what’s in my food. I don’t have to stress over reading lots of labels and learn what castoreum extract is (check out Melissa’s explanation at Gluten Free for Good here) or what carmine or cochineal extract (the pink coloring in pink-colored products like Good & Plenty candy) really is. I don’t have to worry about other ingredients like sorbitan monostearate. Even if such ingredients are gluten free, I don’t want to eat them.
  5. I almost never face disappointment with gluten-free specialty products because I use so few of them. Whole, real food is the best and, again, I don’t have to read labels when I’m eating real food. An apple is an apple. An artichoke is an artichoke. Shrimp is shrimp. And so on. When I combine those foods to make a meal, I not only know what’s in the meal, but I also know that it will taste good to all. There are no textural and flavor differences for others to adapt to; gfe food and meals taste great!
  6. When sticking to my gfe approach, I rarely get “glutened”—either when eating out or at home. When eating out, I’m going for foods that are naturally gluten free and will have the least chance of containing gluten. At home, on the very rare occasion that I do get glutened, it’s always due to a processed product and it’s pretty easy to do the detective work, figure out the culprit/cause, and banish it from my gfe life.
  7. Because my desserts are often flourless and crustless (like flourless peanut butter cookies or crustless apple pie)—and even dairy free using coconut milk (like this pumpkin pie)—they tend to taste like the decadent ones you’d eat at an upscale restaurant. They are super easy to make and a small portion satisfies in every way, and not just for the gluten-free eaters, but for everyone.
  8. You can teach others to feed you safely using the gfe method. And again, they won’t turn up their noses at your “special” food, they’ll want to eat what you are eating. With proper instruction, there should be no need to make you a separate meal. I’ve taught both family members and very good friends how to feed me safely. Of course, this instruction comes more easily when your family members and friends are already focusing on real foods. With Easter coming up, think about dishes like ham, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and corn pudding—all of which are naturally gluten free or can easily be made gluten free.
  9. If you have other food intolerances, it’s fairly easy to make adjustments for those as well, instead of looking endlessly for products that are free of a, b, c, d, x, y, and z. Many of my gfe recipes are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, soy free, and peanut free, and it’s pretty easy to make adjustments for other allergens like corn and tree nuts. There are truly so many possibilities when you are at the helm so to speak, and not relying on a food manufacturer to produce a product that safely meets your needs.
  10. My food bill is no higher than that of the average gluten-eating person. That’s always a good thing, but especially during these economic times. It breaks my heart when folks tell me that they are cooking two separate meals because they can’t afford to feed their entire families gluten free. Using the gfe approach, one meal that satisfies everyone and keeps all the gluten-free folks safe is perfectly “doable.” But you do have to “do it” …. as long as you keep relying on higher cost gluten-free specialty items, you won’t be taking the gfe approach. Stop buying specialty products and start focusing on real food and the gfe approach will slowly fall into place for you and your whole family.
  11. I am healthier eating the gfe way. One of the primary health issues related to celiac/gluten intolerance is inflammation. It causes or contributes to so many of the symptoms related to gluten issues. Packaged products, even gluten-free ones, contribute to inflammation and many other health issues. They are high in refined ingredients and carbs, often high in sugar and bad fat, low in fiber, tend to have a high glycemic index, and usually just don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. Real food that’s naturally gluten free gives you all the good stuff and combats inflammation and so much more. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not perfect with my eating and, therefore, my health is not perfect. I’m a work in progress. I love to bake so too much sugar often finds its way into my diet, which causes its own issues including the aforementioned inflammation. But I am in control of everything that I consume with my gfe approach. With the gfe approach, that doesn’t mean just choosing one product over another. To reiterate, it means focusing on real, whole foods; adding in some mainstream foods that are gluten free; and using very few gluten-free specialty items.

For more specific foods and meal ideas, you may also want to check out gfe’s tip sheets (on my blog’s sidebar and all in PDF), including 50 meals that are gfe, 50 foods you can eat today, 50 gfe sweet treats, and the gfe pantry.

Costco Membership

Costco moved into our area a year or 2 ago.  We have never had a membership because we don’t usually buy in bulk and we use coupons.  Aaron loves to cut coupons & price match, so we save lots of money each week at the grocery store.  I love walking out with the receipt saying we saved $50+ in coupons! 

Last week I found out that I needed new tires on the van.  I had a quote from the dealership and wanted to get some prices from other local stores.  Costco ended up being the least expensive, even after we purchased the membership ($50).  I brought the van in and decided to browse the store while my tires were being changed.  That left me approximately 1.5 hours to walk around the store with my mouth hanging open.  Needless to say, I am not sure that we actually saved any money by purchasing our tires at Costco because I believe I spent what we would have saved on groceries. 

What did I find?  Perhaps a better question would be what didn’t I find.  I didn’t even make it to the non-grocery side of the store.  Sigh.  I think I have a problem. 

First, one of the things I liked best about Costco was their labeling.  Kirkland Signature brand Loratidine (Claritin) was clearly labeled “gluten-free” and was $12.65 for 365 pills.  Folks, that is one year!  I stood there and read the label & sign over & over again because I was certain that I couldn’t be seeing or processing things correctly.  The cheapest place I have previously found generic Claritin was Walmart and they charge $4.99 for a 30-day supply.  Not only did I buy one for myself, but I called my mom to see if she needed any!  Most of the Kirkland Signature brand medicines and vitamins were very clearly labeled “gluten-free”.  I love when companies make my life easier. 



Onto the food.  While I never did find the organic or gluten-free department that the membership guy claimed they had, I did find plenty of gluten-free products throughout the store.  I picked up a rotisserie chicken that said “gluten-free” on the label.  It was only $4.99 and was very moist & flavorful.  Maranatha Almond Butter was less per ounce than the Trader Joe’s I had been buying; the produce was priced well, as were the meats & cheeses.  I can see spending a lot of time at Costco in the future.  A couple of products that I have to spotlight before I run….

Naked Nuggets were spotted in the freezer!  We loved the Naked Nuggets and will be buying some again very soon.  I also found these products when searching “gluten-free” on Costco online. 

Okay, are you ready for one of my favorite deals?  Check out the size of this jar of Vlasic Pickles – $3.69 for this (put a Blackberry in for size reference):


See why I have a problem?  Funny thing is that these pickles will be gone in no time, as Jon has developed an obsession with them lately.

Do you have a Costco close by?  Do you shop there? 

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