Archive for December, 2010

A Little Light Reading

Posted in advice, reading, travel on December 15th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I’m ready to go!  This time tomorrow, I’ll be heading to the airport with my mom, jetting off to Tyokyo.  It’s only a 14-hour flight.  NBD.

I’m actually looking forward to having some uninterrupted reading time.  So, what am I taking with me to read?

thousand

First, I’m going to finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet which my sister-in-law, Alden, sent me in August and I’m embarrassed that I still haven’t completed it.   This beautifully written book is about Japan in the late 1700s, a Dutch merchant, Jacob deZoet, and his Japanese love interest.  Very fascinating read.

girl_dragon_tattoo

I still haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so Elaney has let me borrow her copy.  Am I going to be freaked out if I read it?  I figure this book (and the entire series) is such a part  of pop culture right now, that I need to read it.

oisnb-cover

To feed my fascination with prisons, I’m going to read the memoir, Orange is the New Black, about a woman who spends a year in prison and her experience.  Nothing beats prison non-fiction.  (Yes, I love prison documentaries on the Discovery channel too.)

squirrel-meets-chipmunk

And finally, for a good laugh, I’m bringing Squirrel Meets Chipmunk, the newest book by my favorite humor writer, David Sedaris.  While I do have an irrational phobia of squirrels, I’m hoping this book will make me a little more sympathetic (and less terrified of) those awful creatures.  Maybe this read will be scarier than Dragon Tattoo for me.

I’m probably being a little overly ambitious with this book list but whatever I don’t read en route to Japan, I’ll devour when I’m on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, recovering from jet lag.

What are you reading on your vacation?  Any good reads to recommend?

Have a wonderful holiday!  See you in 2011!

Cecilia’s Bake Shop

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, Uncategorized on December 14th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

cecilias cooked

A local, Atlanta bakery, Cecilia’s Bake Shop offers gluten-free and vegan desserts to their customers.  Their treats are also dairy-free and egg-free too.  Last night I tried their chocolate chip cookie dough and these cookies were amazing.  So chocolatey, perfectly gooey, and no weird textures or after tastes.  David devoured two!  I didn’t tell him until afterward that they were dairy and egg free, in addition to being GF.  He had no idea.

cecilias cookie dough

cecilias label

Also, when I ate that remaining, lonely, cookie this morning with my coffee, it still tasted delicious!  It didn’t harden overnight and again, no weird aftertaste.  These might be some of the best GF chocolate chip cookies I’ve tried, which is crazy, since they’re free of so many other things.  Good work, Cecilia’s!

I love supporting local businesses, so if you’re in the Atlanta area, you should definitely check out Cecilia’s.  You can find their cookie dough at Whole Foods and Sevanandah, or you can order directly from them.  If you call ahead, you can stop by their store too.  Cecilia’s sells cookies, cakes and ‘raw pies.’  I’m itching to try their gluten-free carrot cake.  Yum!  Check out all of Cecilia’s offerings by clicking here.

cecilias tin

A pack of cookie dough would be a great last minute holiday gift for a gluten-free friend!  Always a treat for us gluten-free folks to easily bake something that requires no prep time: just preheat the oven, put dough on cookie sheet, and bake.  Tastes like homemade, because it is!

Katz Bake Shop Giveaway

Posted in bakery, GF product on December 13th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

rugelach

Last Friday, I received a package from Katz Gluten Free Bake Shoppe.  I felt like it was Christmas as I dove into the package full of goodies!  This certified gluten-free bakery offers a huge variety of different treats to order.  Not only are Katz’s items gluten-free, but also dairy and nut free.  Many folks who stay away from gluten, also try to avoid dairy, so Katz is the perfect option.  (I try to limit my dairy, but it’s not completely banned for me…I love ice cream and cheese too much.)

katz gf

Recently Katz came out with two new products, which I got to sample: Rugelach and Chocolate Cupcakes.  For those of you that don’t know, rugelach is a traditional Jewish dessert, involving a crescent roll with some type of filling.  Katz sent me the vanilla and cinnamon varieties, but they also sell a chocolate flavor.  These sweet treats are perfect with my afternoon cup of tea.  I’m particularly a big fan of the cinnamon and I really enjoy the texture.  Our friends, Scott and Meredith, (who are gluten eaters) also enjoyed trying them!  The Rugelachs are a great item to bring to a party, if you don’t have time to make your own.  It’s a little something different than the typical holiday cookies.

katz rug 1

rug 2

The chocolate cupcakes (with sprinkles!)  were also a nice Saturday afternoon treat, but I could taste the ‘dairy-free’ aspect of them more than in the rugelach.  After letting mine thaw, I heated it in the microwave for a few seconds, which was a nice touch.  Definitely chocolatey and the cake part was nice, but I usually go for a creamier frosting.  (Since Katz ships their items, this isn’t necessarily an option for them.)  My favorite GF cupcakes are from Buzz Bakery and Cake Love in Virginia, but if I can’t get them fresh from the bakery, Katz is a nice option to have.

katz cupcakes 1

I also have a loaf of their marble cake in my freezer now that I’m going to wait and enjoy in 2011, when I return from all of my travels!  I love looking forward to treats!

I definitely suggest checking out Katz’s website to see for yourself just how much they have to offer.  And, for those of you that want to stock up, they offer free shipping for orders over $30!  (Remember, you can freeze GF baked goods easily so you don’t have to worry about items spoiling.)  Their cinnamon strip looks absolutely ridiculous.

So not only did I get to sample Katz’s items, but I want YOU to try them too.  I’m hosting a Katz Giveaway on Gluten Freedom for a free sample pack of Katz items.  If you comment on this post, or become a fan of Gluten Freedom on Facebook, you will be entered in the raffle.  I will do the drawing for the Katz gift pack at noon on December 31st.  (I’ll be in Japan between now and then!)

And, there’s an even bigger giveaway!  Drum roll, please…

Click here to enter Katz’s January 3rd raffle, for your chance to win a goodie box, with one of everything Katz makes.  That’s a lot of stuff.  Amazing, right?

In the midst of all of the holiday parties, full of glutenous items, I’m thankful to have my supply of Katz goodies to keep my sweet tooth satisfied.

What? It’s almost Christmas?!

Posted in baking, event on December 10th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I feel like I was just writing about Thanksgiving.  (Well, I guess I was.)  But now we’re well into the Christmas season and I’m feeling a little behind in all of my preparations and Christmas spirit.  I did get my Christmas cards in the mail and the holiday shopping is a work in progress, but I feel like I’m going in a lot of different directions right now, not able to fully take in all the fun of the season.  Since I’m leaving for Japan on Wednesday, I didn’t get a Christmas tree this year, so I’m giving you a shot of last year’s tree.

Last Year's Tree: I miss my ornaments

Last Year's Tree: I miss my ornaments

With three holiday parties this weekend (rough life, I know) and my students gearing up for exam week, sadly there hasn’t been much time for holiday baking either.

cookies all

I thought I would give you a sample of recipes from past years that might inspire you to do some baking of your own.  Maybe I’ll get inspired too!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookies white cran

Cinnamon Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookies cin gin 2

Monster Cookies

cookies monster

Teff & Amaranth Apple Muffins with Brown Sugar

cookies apple muffins I hope you’re doing more baking than I am.  What are you making?

Happy Holidays!

Where in the World is Gluten Freedom?

Posted in travel on December 8th, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Next week I’m going on an adventure…

Click here to find  out what I’m going to be needing eight days from now.  That’s right.  I’m going to Japan.  My mom and I are spending a week with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, who live overseas.  My brother’s navy career has put them temporarily in Japan and I can’t wait to see their new digs.  My sister-in-law, Alden, writes this amazing blog, Wattsabi, about their adventures in Japan so I’ve got a little taste of what is to come in the next week.

While in Japan, we’ll visit Tokyo, Kamakura (where Obama recently visited), and a Japanese hot springs for a night.  And we’ll get to see Rob’s ship as well as stay in their home, near the Yokosuka naval base.  Maybe we’ll even get to ride a few trains.

I’m a little nervous about the food situation in Japan.  (Not while I’m staying at Rob and Alden’s, but when we venture out to restaurants.)  I’m BYOSS (Bring Your Own Soy Sauce), and planning on using the restaurant card and Iphone App that explains Celiac in Japanese.  This is my first trip to a foreign country since my diagnosis, aside from a disastrous trip to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic.  So I’m packing snacks and Alden is stocking up on groceries at the Naval Commissary (which she tells me is about the equivalent of a 1980s grocery store: probably no GF bagels or Bob’s Red Mill but they do have Chex and peanut butter).

I have found this blog, which seems to be written by a woman who is gluten-free.  Would love any thoughts or advice people have about international travel. There’s plenty of rice in Japan so I won’t go hungry!

Stay tuned for photos of our Pacific adventure!

Moving Through the Thanksgiving Leftovers

Posted in cooking, recipe on December 6th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

We purchased a huge bird for Thanksgiving, in order to ensure that there would be plenty of leftovers for the rest of the holiday weekend.  And leftovers there were…lots of them.

After four days of turkey sandwiches, I decided I needed a change in my diet.  I don’t like to waste anything, so I was determined to use every piece of Tom the Turkey.  Normally, I would just make a big batch of chili with my leftovers, but I had made chili prior to our family’s arrival, so we’d been eating our fair share of chili too.

Now that it’s cold outside, though, the idea of a hearty soup or stew sounds yummy to me.  So I went through my mental cookbook and decided to make Brunswick stew.  This dish always reminds me of winters during my childhood.  Who would think that lima beans could be yummy in a soup?  Well let me tell you; they are.

brunswick stew 1

I made up this recipe, based on what I remember my mom’s Brunswick stew to taste and look like.  I was afraid that my stew would be overwhelmed by the turkey (as I was already weary of eating any more bird), but the other veggies and spices made a nice mix.  I really liked the combination of cayenne pepper and Worcestershire, but added the brown sugar to balance out the heat.  Don’t worry too much about the specific size bag or box of frozen corn and lima beans.  Just use whatever the store has.  This is one of those stews that I was just throwing in whatever I happened to have in my kitchen.  (Same goes for the tomatoes.)

brunswick stew 3

Brunswick Stew (Makes 8-10 servings)

  • 3 cups (or as much as you’ve got) leftover turkey, chopped into small pieces (you can use cooked chicken as well)
  • 4 cups GF chicken broth (I use Pacific brand)
  • Chopped bacon or pancetta (this is totally optional but I had leftover pancetta that I wanted to use…a great addition!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen corn
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen lima beans
  • 1 16 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Heat olive oil in dutch oven on medium heat.  Add bacon and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add chopped onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes and potatoes.  Bring to a slow boil.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  Add cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, lima beans, corn and turkey.  Stir, bring to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  You can’t really overcook this soup so I found that making it a day ahead, and then reheating, made the stew even better and the turkey more tender.  This dish  is a great use for your dark turkey meat too.

brunswick stew 2

Makes a perfect week night dinner, served with GF cornbread or biscuits.  Or top stew with leftover gluten-free stuffing.  This dish freezes well so I will be enjoying my Brunswick stew throughout the winter months.

What do you like to do with your leftovers?

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Posted in baking, cooking, recipe on December 2nd, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

I’ve been in a food coma for the last week… stuffing turkey

We had a very successful and fun Thanksgiving with all of the Metcalves, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about the food yet.  David and I are still going through the leftovers, but we’re almost to the end of the feast remains.  (Stay tuned to learn what I did with the leftover turkey once I got to the point where I could no longer look at another turkey sandwich.)

Here are a few pics from the meal…

Brussels sprouts with pancetta

Brussels sprouts with pancetta

Manchego & Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Manchego & Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Simple Green Beans

Simple Green Beans

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

And of course, Tom the Turkey

And of course, Tom the Turkey

I think the family would agree that it was yummy.

I’m particularly proud of my first experiment making stuffing.  Sally’s gluten-free sandwich bread worked perfectly, and I added some Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bake House stuffing cubes to ensure that I made enough food.  In retrospect one loaf of Sally’s is plenty for a family of eight.

stuffing dish

I followed the basic stuffing recipe from the November issue of Real Simple.  In the article, they include ten variations on stuffing, but since we already had a lot of action at the dinner table (i.e. Brussels sprouts with pancetta and turkey wrapped in a bacon lattice), I decided to keep it simple.  I think it worked well.

Gluten-Free Stuffing (adapted from Real Simple Magazine)

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large loaf gluten-free sandwich bread, cut into ¾ inch pieces (I wouldn’t go with the frozen, store bought bread.  I’d either use homemade or a loaf purchased from a GF bakery)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • S & P

Heat oven to 375/  Butter a baking or casserole dish.  Divide the bread between two baking sheets.  Bake until dry and browning a little, 10-12 minutes.

stuffing bread cubes

stuffing bread cubes 2

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add onions, celery, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 2 to 4 more minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

stuffing veggies

Add bread, broth, eggs, and ½ teaspoon of salt to the veggies.  Toss to combine.  Transfer to greased baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until browned, 20-30 minutes more.

stuffing dish

I made the stuffing on Thanksgiving morning and reheated before serving for dinner.  Before reheating, we added the vegetables that the turkey cooked in, and its pan juices, as a top layer for the stuffing.  Amazing.

stuffing w veggies

The stuffing was delicious and a great addition to the feast.  And it was a perfect addition to turkey sandwiches the next day.  When reheating the stuffing, I would add a little more chicken broth, so that it wouldn’t dry out.  I was very impressed by how well the gluten-free bread held up and was easily used in this typically gluten-filled recipe.