Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some wonderful things that are gluten free!

It is so easy to get wrapped up in what is or isn't gluten free - what is this made of and how is it made, cross contamination??  MSG - yes or no w/gluten?  The list of questions go on and on.   Granted - Grace will only eat a few things on this list but when I think of gluten free I think of pre packaged foods - fact is there are many WONDERFUL things that are naturally gluten free.

A Steak dinner with a loaded baked potato and fresh asparagus and butter.

Strawberries and whipped cream.

Really good cheese served with Granny Smith apples. 


Creme Brule.

Fresh from the tree cherries.



Sweet Potatoes - baked and topped with butter.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

500 Posts!

I am pretty excited about this  - this blog either is gathering steam or I have a lot of kind friends.

Thank you to all who visit.  It is nice to know I am not just talking to myself.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jiminy Crickets - did I just say that??

Yesterday I was talking to my dear friend Allison.  She was telling me her 7 year old daughter is convinced she has Celiac after hearing her Mom talk about Grace with friends etc. - why not want what someone else has?  We chuckled.  Then Allison said "You know - she does often have tummy troubles - we have chalked it up to stress.  She doesn't have any other symptoms of Celiac.  I have thought about it before."  I suggested she try an elimination diet - wheat and dairy are a good start.  Her response "I could never do that - wheat is in EVERYTHING!"

Here is where it gets freaky - my response?  "It really isn't that hard."

There I said it.  

I remember in the beginning being SO VERY overwhelmed - wheat IS in everything - isn't it??  Four short months and lots of research later it really isn't that hard.  Not that it isn't a pain, not that it can't be hard "sometimes" and not that we don't have to be diligent about it - just that now that we got the hang of it - it really isn't that hard.

I do think "one" of the reasons it isn't that hard is Grace has taken charge of her own diet - we don't have to fight about her wanting things she can not have.  She knows if it has gluten in it it will make her sick - she choses not to eat it.  For this I am thankful.  

So with a pocketful of knowledge, an agreeable Celiac and the willingness to "just do it" living gluten free isn't really that hard. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pao de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread

So yummy.  So easy.  

I recently found out that the cheese bread from Texas de Brazil (TdB) and Fogo de Chao etc. (Brazilian steak houses) is naturally gluten free!  It has been a few years since I last went to TdB but I remember the cheese bread fondly.  

It is made of tapioca flour - not wheat flour.  It is soft, chewy and really good. When I say chewy I mean chewy!  Sort of like fried cheese sticks - chewy in the middle, and crisp on the outside.  

Here is the recipe I used - I modified it from another recipe.  

Pao de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread

1/2 cup olive oil or butter 
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs - beaten


-Preheat oven to 375.
-Heat butter/oil, water, milk and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Immediately when it comes to a boil remove and stir in flour until smooth.  
-Stir in cheese and egg.  It may be lumpy.  Let rest for 15 minutes.  
-Drop rounded tablespoons sized balls onto ungreased baking sheet. 
-Baked until the tops are lightly browned - about 20-25 minutes.  

Things that worked for me:  I used a mix of butter and olive oil.  

I had a hard time mixing the batter by hand so I stuck it in my Kitchen Aid mixer w/the dough hook - worked like a charm.  

I used my Pampered Chef scoop sprayed with non stick spray to make the balls - it was a perfect tool and made for quick work - you could also use two spoons. 

The original recipe called for much bigger balls/rolls - since I had bite sized rolls at TdB I wanted to recreate that - you could try it bigger if you wanted to - just adjust the cooking time.  

These are great with dinner or would be a nice appetizer alone or w/with a dipping sauce (marinara?)   Also - a purist may disagree - but I would think garlic or herbs would go well with it for something new.

Years ago I tried the frozen ones in a bag but when I checked the package they were made in Brazil and they had Maltodextrin in them - not safe enough for me now. 


Cake Wrecks - Gluten full fun!

I love this site - it cracks me up every time I see it.  

It may make some of you thankful you can't have gluten.


NEWS FLASH! All Chex Cereal is now Gluten Free!

Except for Wheat Chex for obvious reasons  :)

I had heard on the interweb that someone found Corn Chex that was gluten free - but my store didn't have it.  I checked the Chex website and there was no mention of it - so I called them.  I was "let in on a little secret" that supposedly just came out today (really??) that ALL Chex Cereal (minus wheat) has been reformulated to be gluten free!  This includes their Chocolate, Strawberry, Honey Nut, Corn, Rice etc.  That said - their "Multi Bran" does state wheat bran on the label - always wise to check before eating. 

She said that by June of 2009 all of the cereal will be changed out - start looking for it in your grocery store.  It should have "Gluten free" right on the front of the box.  

While on the phone Grace walked into the room.  I asked the lady to hold for a second while I told her the news.  She heard a big clap, then a YEA!  

How nice to have wider choices at the grocery store with "regular food." 

Yea!!  Thank you General Mills.  A small formulation change on your part means SO MUCH to those with Celiac!   

Uno Chicago Grill - aka Pizzeria Uno

In one word - AWESOME!!

We went to Uno and asked for a GF menu. When the waitress came we said "She has Celiac - we need to be VERY careful everything is gluten free." We were told no problem. A bit later the Manager came by and assured us everything would be taken care of. He also told me about a local "Chef to Table" that the local Celiac group was putting on (and they were going to be a part of.)

On the menu were two choices - cheese and pepperoni. The manager also stated most of the toppings were GF - except for the sausage. Needless to say Grace wanted plain cheese with light sauce.

It came out on its own - not sharing a tray. She tried a bite, then another and said "This tastes like PIZZA!!" Not sort of like pizza or OK for gluten free but like REAL pizza! I had a bite and had to agree - it was delicious. She had 3 pieces of pizza - THREE PIECES!!

They have a whole GF menu and are very accommodating. Sam can't have dairy so they made him a cheese free pizza but said if we wanted to bring our own soy cheese next time we could. Everyone in my family left happy.

I would highly recommend Uno Chicago Grill - we will be going back.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Traveling with Celiac

I started writing a blow by blow of our trip to our niece's wedding but decided it came down to just a few points:

- All I have to say is if it were not for cheese sticks I don't know what we would do.   We took a cooler and kept them in the hotel fridge.  It was the staple of her weekend.  

- Cereal from home in individual size baggies was really helpful at the hotel.  Milk from their breakfast along with fruit made a fine breakfast. 

- We went to two buffets for dinner - the only thing she could eat was the salad.  One I got ahead and pulled the salad before it could be contaminated by the bowl of croutons next to it.  At the wedding I spoke to the waiter and they said the only thing they could guarantee was gluten free was a salad - when dinner was ready they brought out a beautiful salad and brought it to the table.  

- I learned it doesn't hurt to ask - most people are really accommodating.

- A "snack bag" filled with wrapped snacks (crackers, cookies, chips) is really helpful - it can pull together a quick lunch or just a snack on the road.  

- I spoke before about the shortbread cookies decorated with icing - I did this in the hotel room before the wedding and we brought our own dessert for Grace - she was really happy with this because it was "special" and different than a wrapped cookie.  

Don't be afraid to travel!  With limited supplies, a little planning and asking a few questions at restaurants you can go anywhere.


Monday, March 16, 2009


We have had 400 visitors to this blog - how exciting!

Thanks to everyone who has visited. I hope you came away with something you can use - or at least a chuckle or two. I also want to thank those of you who have posted comments. I get giddy when I get comments - being new to the blog thing and all. I especially love getting helpful tips we can use - and share.

Now a word from Grace:

Since I found out that I could not have gluten, I have been eating cheese because there are lots of healthy food that have gluten in it. Cheese is the best food to eat if you can't have gluten!!!!!!!

Thank you for visiting my blog!!!!!

FWIW Grace is OBSESSED with cheese. She makes up songs and stories and draws pictures of Cheeseland. I thought "I" loved cheese. Grace loves it more :)

Thanks again.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Uno Pizza - Gluten free menu!

Someone recently told me that Uno Chicago Grill (forever known to me as Pizzeria Uno) has a gluten free menu! I was excited and checked it out online - here is the link:


I called the Ft Worth restaurant and spoke to a manager - he said the crust was made out of rice flour and they take care to prevent cross contamination using different shelves, tray's and paddles to pull the pizza out of the oven.

There were several toppings that were gluten free for the pizza - mostly veggies but they also have pepperoni. The pizza is about $11 - more than I really want to spend for pizza for one small person but would be nice for a sometimes treat and we can take home the leftovers.

I wish I had gotten the guys name - he was really helpful. He said he had tried it and it was pretty good - didn't taste off. I would love it if anyone has tried it "in real life" and can give their review.

A Taco Bueno mistake.

We recently went to Taco Bueno thinking we remembered the chips and cheese "nachos" to be gluten free. They are not. Grace had a bad stomach ache shortly after eating them and looked at me pitifully and said "Celiac."


Apparently their chips are fried w/other stuff - including flour tortillas. Lesson learned - the HARD way.

Grace's current favorite snack - EnviroKidz Organic Chocolate Crispy Rice Bar

Grace LOVES these! They taste like a cross between Rice Krispy bars and Coco Pebbles. I have found them at Sprouts and at a Target in San Antonio (but not at all Targets.)

They are just a little more expensive than the Rice Krispy bars but not by much - I got them on sale for $2.99 for a box of 6 - I think they are $3.20 regular price. They also have fruit and peanut butter flavors - but she likes chocolate best.

Grace has them w/a glass of milk in the mornings or for an after school treat.