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Broccoli and Tofu

You can’t really ever go wrong with tofu and broccoli, at least in my oldest son’s opinion. His favorite way to eat that healthy combination used to be wrapped in a spelt tortilla with garlic sauce. He even wrote an essay about that dish in third grade when asked about his favorite thing to eat, but sadly, he can’t eat spelt anymore and corn tortillas are just not the same. They are great for soft tacos, quesadillas, and ‘beandillas’, (a quesadilla made with refried beans instead of cheese) but corn tortillas just do not complement the broccoli and tofu like the spelt did. He missed that dish terribly, along with countless others, once his gluten intolerance was discovered, but now he’s found a new favorite way to enjoy broccoli and tofu. Here’s the recipe:

broccoli and tofu with pasta


1 package brown rice fusilli

½ yellow onion

2 crushed cloves of garlic

3-4 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

1 package extra firm tofu, drained and wrapped in paper towels to get out extra water

Approx. 2 T. olive oil (1 for the stir fry and 1 for the pot of pasta)

1 T. balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

1 T. gluten free Tamari

Dried basil and oregano to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

For this dish, I start the water boiling for the pasta as I begin the cutting up process. Pour in at least one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan, and then add the onions, cooking until translucent. Next the garlic should be added in, with the broccoli following. Pour the vinegar over the broccoli while stirring the veggies. Add the tofu then cover the tofu with the tamari. While cooking, stir in the herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and the tofu is warm throughout with a bit of browning. Meanwhile, make the fusilli according to the package directions, and when all is done combine into approximately 4 bowls. This is one pasta dish that doesn’t require parmesan, but feel free to add it if you prefer, or if you like just drizzle on a bit more olive oil. For my son and I, we do not add anything but our forks.

baking · children · dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf bread · gf foods · gluten free · gluten free bread · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · kids

Gluten-free Sourdough Bread cont.

First GF Sourdough bread Well, there it is. The first gluten-free sourdough bread we made. After stirring the ever-funkier starter for several days complete with cabbage leaves and apple skin, my son was not feeling too confident about actually trying the bread. To be honest, neither was I. I really had no idea if the starter we’d made was going to work because it wasn’t ever as bubbly as I expected it to be, but we both were pleasantly surprised. The bread is pretty good!

First taste of GF SourdoughAs you can see from this picture, it did not rise much though. I am guessing as the starter sits for a few more days there will be more yeast activity, and we will try again on Wednesday to make another loaf.  My son thought the bread was more than “pretty good” incidentally, probably because he helped make it and felt ownership in it. That loaf is a blend of teff flour, millet, brown rice and tapioca and he pointed out that the hard crust tasted like cereal and he was right~ it really did. Next time I might do less teff and try gluten-free oat flour for a lighter loaf~ more trials to come!

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Some New Gluten Free Finds

I don’t know how long I’ve been overlooking this bread, but I have a feeling it’s pretty new to the scene, but boy has it made a splash. I’d say about half the time I go searching for it, there’s none to be found:

olivias super free This is Olivia’s Super Free Baguette and that picture is from their site: http://oliviasuperfree.com/home.html. I’ve been making garlic bread with the baguettes~ olive oil, Tuscan salts, garlic, 425 degrees for 10 minutes, and it turns out really lovely. I can imagine making a big sub sandwich with these too. The texture is great, the flavor is good, and the lightness makes it easy to use in meals (as opposed to being so heavy that all you can do with it is slice and eat it.) The kids whole-heartily approved.

The other bread I’ve found lately is Flying Apron’s new white bread which tastes even better than their old one and they are actually finally making enough that you have a decent chance to buy one on white bread days, (bonus!), which at the Redmond location are Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Flying Apron's White Bread This is a hearty loaf made with quinoa, oat, and I think sorghum flour though I could be wrong about that last one. It has the whole grain goodness of stand-out healthy grains which is so rare in a gluten-free loaf. I love this bread but surprisingly, my sons are not full-on excited about it, though my oldest adores the white rolls made from the same ingredients~ go figure. I think they have gotten so use to the fluffy lightness of gluten-free breads that this denser loaf seems strange to them, like a child who’s been eating regular white bread suddenly tasting a whole wheat loaf~ not exactly the same thing. That’s fine for now because it means more for me! I’ve been making veggie sandwiches with this bread~ one side gets hummus spread on it, the other gets avocado, and in between goes spinach and lettuce, tomatoes, red peppers and whatever else I can find. I haven’t had a fulfilling sandwich like that in so many years I can’t even begin to remember~ until last week that is, at which time I started having them almost every day. Seriously, if you are in the Seattle area and haven’t tried this loaf because you aren’t in the habit of buying a ‘white’ bread~ this loaf will surprise you.

Those two breads above are also vegan, soy, and nut free~ it can be done!

The last product is a granola bar from KIND. These are not the same bars that have been around for a long time, they are different~ flatter and wider for one thing, but the best part is at least one flavor, the oats and honey, is nut free.

kind barThis pic is from their website.

Trying to find a gluten-free, dairy-free protein bar that doesn’t have any nuts in it, especially almonds, is extraordinarily difficult. We eat some bars from Nugo and Enjoy Life Foods, but having a new one to throw into backpacks for snack time is extremely welcome at this point.

If you have any new gluten-free favorites, let me know~ I’d love to hear about them.

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Brain on Gluten

This is an interesting article about one neurologist’s belief that gluten and carbs are responsible for many brain ailments, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADD and such. He talks about inflammation being caused by carbs which in turn is the root of many brain diseases, with gluten being especially damaging because of blood brain barrier issues. The part I found most personally verifiable is where he says many gluten intolerant symptoms are not felt in the digestive track at all, but in other parts of the body, and I can readily attest to that. Other foods majorly affect my stomach and such, but when I eat gluten I feel it almost immediately in my head. I had a low-grade headache from childhood until my 20s when I began to figure out the wheat connection. It is like clockwork, eat something with gluten and I start to feel ‘off’, like maybe I’m coming down with something and need to sleep it off, but then I slowly realize it isn’t just fatigue, but the a headache that is different from a normal headache, which incidentally I rarely get now that I don’t eat gluten. My whole body feels fatigued, I feel slightly depressed, and my head hurts for 3 days, and then it all fades into feeling good again. Very predictable. As for Doctor Perlmutter’s assertion that gluten and carbs are innately bad for us, I tend to disagree. It seems he’s stumbled upon some truths, (carbs cause inflammation, inflammation is bad for our brains, gluten causes the worst problems, etc) but he made some suppositions that go to far. There has long been a link between brain and gut health~ this has been long-established and shows up in products such as MindLinx, a probiotic that emphasizes the link between a healthy intestinal tract and the mind, hence the name, and before gluten intolerance was recognized it was thought that all carbs were equally responsible for digestive troubles. People have singled out gluten, sugar, PH balance (remember that craze?), blood type, fat, and many other things as the be-all-end-all deciding factor in health, always just until the next thing comes up. Granted, they usually have at least a nugget of truth in them, but they are never the golden nugget that they are made out to be. If you look at the world’s healthiest populations with the least amounts of disease you find communities that focus on whole foods~ fruits and vegetables, grains and vegetable fats, with small amounts of meat/fish/poultry. A fantastic book (with recipes!) about these healthiest cultures and their diets is The Jungle Effect by Dr.Daphne Miller. Real food, despite valiant efforts, could not be improved, and in fact has only deteriorated in nutrition and taste since the industrial revolution. We live in an age of amazing medical technology and knowledge, and goodness knows I’m happy to not be living in the middle ages with leaches being the latest and greatest, but sometimes the old ways, the jungle ways, can teach us more than any doctor.

children · cleansing · dairy free · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free lifestyle · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · health · kids


caterpillarI’ve heard a certain expression all my life and never realized the acronym was k.i.s.s. until I just recently put it together. It was one of those moments when I thought, “does everyone already know this?” Anyway, if you’re like me and a little late to the party I’m talking about the expression, “keep it simple, stupid”. That line goes through my head a lot because I have a natural aversion to complications, which is a bit of handicap in this quickly complicating world. That is probably my least favorite part about our family’s food intolerances~ it adds a layer of complexity to what seemingly should be a very simple, straight to the point thing~ eating. When you add in eating while out, or eating while on vacation, the complications add up and complications mean stressers and stress and sometimes I just feel like saying, “let’s just eat whatever we want, shall we?” Actually, I know quite a few families who operate like that~ their children stay away from wheat and/or dairy while at home, but if they are at school and there is trigger food, they can eat it, or if they go out and there is not an easy option to avoiding it, they will just eat it and deal with the consequences. I can see doing that with my own kids once they have been off their trigger foods for a good year so it is totally out of their system and then maybe the bits will help to desensitize them, but for now it just isn’t worth it. They are so much healthier now, with better skin, brighter eyes, more energy, and happier outlooks it’s hard to imagine just letting them slide back into the funkiness of food intolerance~ I should know because I was funky for decades before realizing my own intolerances. It makes a huge difference, and in a way, it has it’s own simplification aspects that I appreciate~ the more natural the ingredients and the fewer the ingredients, the better. This time of year we hear a lot about food and diet programs, Paleo this and cleanse that, and again the idea of ‘keep it simple, stupid’ comes to mind. If something feels drastic, and difficult, and not doable for the long haul, it’s probably not the best option. I’m all for a cleanse every once in a while, as long as it involves real foods and helps to reset healthy eating habits, but it’s far more important to eat real food, mindfully, every day. I’ve mentioned how picky my youngest is, and in an effort in reinforcing healthy food choices we’ve started a sticker chart for him~ if he tries a new food he gets one sticker, if he eats the whole serving he earns another sticker. Once he reaches 50 stickers then I give him $10. So far it’s helped him with the trying part, though less so with the whole serving part~ but it’s a start, and this is a good time of year for new starts. Good luck with your own New Year’s resolutions, and remember to check in regularly with yourself and make sure you are being ‘kissable’.

Food allergies · gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant

Gluten-free Pasta

Normally when I make pasta for the family I just make whatever gluten-free kind I happen to have, which is most often Jovial brand but really we like it all. It’s hard to get pasta wrong, gluten-free included, in fact it is one of the few gf things my gluten tolerant husband does not mind eating with us, his family of 3 intolerants, so it was with some surprise I realized I had some regular old wheat kind in my cupboard. When I decided to go ahead and make it the other night, along with our rice pasta, it dawned on me why I consistently do not make enough pasta~ wheat pasta doubles, or triples, or I don’t even know what in the boiling water, while gluten-free pasta just gets a tad bigger. After years of cooking half a bag of fusilli that becomes dinner for three people with leftovers, I haven’t changed my ways to gluten-free fusilli which just doesn’t expand as much. Aha! So, now I know when I make gluten-free pasta, use the whole bag if I want leftovers. Speaking of Jovial Brand, they have gift baskets for the holidays if you are wondering what to get your favorite gluten-intolerant people in your life. I think you have to order them through their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/jovialfoods. Nice idea!

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Gluten-free Vegan Cornbread

I made these to go with some chili but they were all eaten before the chili was even ready. Now I know to make a double batch, and intend to do so later today. For now I thought I’d share the recipe which is an adaptation of Annalise Roberts’ recipe in her book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics. I changed a few things to make it vegan, and changed the flours slightly, and also eliminated the xanthan gum because I always try to eliminate the gums that gluten-free recipes call for, and most of the time I find they perform well without them. Xanthan gum and guar gum are often added to gluten-free recipes without thought, but they are one of those food-like items (not a real actual food) that I try to avoid in my own baking. Some people react to the gums adversely, and although neither my boys nor I seem to have immediate reactions to them, why eat them if they are not needed…? Xanthan gum sounds like an opening band for Metallica, not something that I want to ingest on a regular basis. So, here’s the recipe:

Cornbread (Gluten free and Vegan)

1 cup cornmeal

2/3 cup Brown rice flour

1/3 cup Tapioca Flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Real Salt)

1/4 cup oil (canola, sunflower, whatever is in your cabinet)

3/4 cup coconut milk or other milk alternative (or you can use regular old cow’s milk if you are from hearty Northern European stock and can digest the stuff)

1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 Tablespoons of warm water (mix these together in a separate bowl and let them sit a moment)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the ingredients until just mixed, no need to overdo it. Pour into muffin pans that have been sprayed with oil, or oiled in the old-fashioned way because if you happen to be avoiding soy you shouldn’t be spraying your oils. (There seems to be soy lecithin in every oil spray I can find which doesn’t really surprise me.) I used small muffin pans in the shape of owls and they held together excellently, but I imagine if you try to make big muffins they might be crumbly, so keep them on the smaller side. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The above recipe made 12 small muffins and 3 happy bellies.





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Gluten Free Bakery in Bellevue

Eden B bakery is not your typical gluten-free bakery. In fact I’d bet that it’s the only bakery in the greater Seattle area, gluten-free or not, that could ask, “Would like a Jeep or Dodge with that muffin?” The location, inside a Jeep dealership, makes it an awkward place to stop by, unless you relish navigating between smiling, over-helpful, car salesmen so much  that you choose to do so even when not in search of a new car. The place is worth the trip though, because it’s location isn’t all that makes it unique~ they also make salads, sandwiches on gluten-free bread as well as offering a nice selection of muffins, sweet breads, and the like. Some of the goodies are also vegan, but not all (maybe 1/3 of the selection) and my sons both picked the gluten-free, vegan ding dongs. I’ve never seen a homemade ding dong before, and they had never even heard of a ding dong, so that was a fun find. My oldest loved it but my younger, pickier son…not so much. I probably should have guided him to the big gf, vegan snicker doodle cookies that they had because you can can’t go wrong with straight sugar on top, but maybe next time. Along with the sandwiches and bakery goods they also have espresso drinks plus bags of gluten-free chips and such to round out a pleasant lunch. We’ll definitely go back though I’d go back more often if it were in a less awkward place~ something about going to a Jeep dealership for a sweet-fix just doesn’t feel right.

food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · Gluten free eating · picky kids · vegan · vegetarian

Lentil Love Affair

I’ve written about lentil soup enough to signify I’m no casual lentil-liker, and I’ve seen several recipes for lentil salad this season which makes me think they might be having a popularity surge…I don’t know that for sure, but what I do know is that I’ve just been cooking up lentils like a mad woman lately and my husband and oldest have been eating them up just as fast (when I share that is.) Here’s how I’ve been cooking them: 1.5C French green lentils cooked in a pot with 4C veggie stock, 1 chopped leek, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot and a bay leaf, plus some olive oil poured in there too. Once the lentils are cooked through (about 20-30 minutes) I add some cracked pepper and Mediterranean salts to taste. They are good in a bowl, wrapped up in corn tortillas, spread on slices of gluten-free bread or crackers, or served over rice. Another thing I’ve found that has been making my life a little easier is a vegan cheese my youngest actually likes on pizza. Yay! I thought that was a lost cause because everyone seems to like daiya cheese best but he doesn’t like it one bit (I do though!). He likes follow your heart brand, so I guess I learned to try different brands when they refuse to eat something. He’s also loving Amy’s brand gluten and dairy free frozen pizza with spinach. That is the first time ever he has voluntarily eaten a green vegetable and liked it. I’d even say loved it!

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Olympic Peninsula Travel

Traveling with food intolerances to the Washington coast is not something to be done without your car full of groceries. You can always find grocery stores, but they aren’t going to be the kind with a ‘gluten free section’ and restaurants are pretty typical gluten/dairy laden places. We stayed at Seabrook and my sister saw that the menu at the restaurant there did include gluten-free options, but I did not inquire if they were also dairy and egg free. We had enough corn tortillas, rice, and beans to keep everyone fed enough until we hit our next destination on the north side of the peninsula where we knew there would be more to choose from. (The ocean was phenomenal by the way, despite some drizzly days and cooler temps then we ideally wanted. It is called Juneuary here though so I wasn’t too surprised. We enjoyed it anyway.) Between Port Angeles and Port Townsend is Sequim, and we found at least gluten-free options in all three places, plus in Port Townsend there is a great Co-op with which to stock the car back up with groceries, if that be needed. In Sequim we ate twice at the Sunshine Café where there was a great gluten-free, egg free, soy free, dairy free bread from a nearby bakery. I meant to get some bread before heading leaving Sequim but forgot. It was a great place though, for breakfast and lunch. In Port Townsend which is a beautiful Victorian town on the water we ate at the Owl’s Spirit Café which had a great menu and tasty food, but it wasn’t the best choice for children. The adults all had delicious meals though and you can get fresh juices there also while you wait for your food which is a nice bonus. In Port Angeles we ate at  Next Door which boast gluten-free buns and notes foods that are gluten-free. Other than that we ate in our “fake homes” as my youngest called them and although it took a bit more planning, we made it a whole week without anyone being too upset over any food issues. Yay! Another thing I’ve noticed with this whole food intolerance thing is that my both my sons are surprisingly ok with the fact they are for instance the only ones who can’t eat the pizza at a get-together, or the cake at a party. I just tell them I’ll make whatever it is for them when we get home, and that seems to satisfy them, and more often than not they don’t even ask for whatever it was later. It makes me think about how often we just mindlessly eat whatever is in front of us. The other day at a party my son would have eaten pizza, cake, ice cream and rice crispy treats. Instead he ate the protein bar I had packed him and the rice crispy treats. He was a little sad, but I assured him I could make him pizza and ice cream (what he most wanted) at home, and then he happily forgot about it all. Just an observation. Another thing that’s been very obvious is both the boys’ skin issues are clearing up fast.  My youngest has had red bumpies on his cheeks since he was about 4. I always suspected food issues but the pediatrician and dermatologist both insisted it was Keratosis Pilaris, something 1/3 of the population has on the back of their arm, and kids can have it on their cheeks. “It’s hereditary,” they said. “It’ll go away.” It hadn’t by age 7, but now it is indeed going away~ his skin is looking beautiful  and his eyes are even brighter. My other son had bumpies on this arms and back, probably the same thing, and they are going away too. A friend of mine told me this happened to her husband after going off gluten also, plus his asthma completely cleared. Pretty amazing! It makes me wonder if 1/3 of the population has gluten sensitivity…

pink cheeks this winter
pink cheeks this winter
Clear cheeks with his grandfather.
Clear cheeks with his grandfather.