Lifestyle Guide : "Recipes"

Traveling Gluten Free and Grain Free, No Problem!

Traveling with food intolerance can create many challenges and is one of the biggest headaches we have to face.  With a little forethought and good planning, your road trips can be painless, well as far as eating goes that is 🙂

The best thing you can do to avoid problems is to be well prepared.  The first step in becoming prepared is planning ahead and avoiding the problems in the first place.  It all begins with your destination. Are you  visiting relatives/friends, camping,  or staying in a hotel/resort? In this article I will provide you with some tips for road trips that can take the headache out of your journey.

Staying with relative/friend:

Staying with a relative or friend can be hassle free if they are on board with helping you stay faithful to your food restrictions.  The best way to find out is to have open communications with them. Based on these discussions, you should know ahead of time the environment you will be staying and how accommodating your host will be to your needs.  If they are not accommodating, I would recommend the tips that I will be providing for hotel stays and camping.

The following are questions you should have answered before you embark on your trip.

  1. Are you open to the use of your kitchen to make foods prepared for our food restrictions? (remember you will need to make sure it is well cleaned to prevent cross contamination)
  2. Do we need to bring any supplies with like pans, utensils, etc.?
  3. What grocery stores do you have nearby?
  4. Will you be willing to share space in you refrigerator and shelving for us to store our food?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions you will have a better idea of what you need to bring with and what you can get once you arrive at your destination.  A tip that my family uses is to always bring a cooler with.  even if you can share refrigerator space, you may want to bring items you are unsure you will find once you arrive.

Camping and hotel stays:

The larger challenge comes when you either camp or stay at a hotel. Choosing the right location is key.  For camping, if you are able to choose a site with electric hook up, it will make the stay a lot easier.  Here are some more helpful tips.

  1. When booking for a hotel, look for one with a kitchen/kitchenette.  It will cost a bit more but the money you will save by making your own food will even out. Plus you won't have the risk of cross contamination or accidentally eating foods you are trying to avoid.
  2. Get a room with a refrigerator.  If you can't find one in your destination, your cooler you brought with will come in handy.  You will need to refresh the ice in it more often, but it is still manageable to keep refrigerated foods cool. (see why we bring a cooler when we travel) Also, most hotel refrigerators or smaller than normal unless you have a full kitchen.  It's nice to have the extra space a cooler provides.
  3. Bring a slow cooker with you.  Most hotels don't allow toaster ovens, but slow cookers are fine.  You will be the envy of all the rooms around you as the meals you make give off their wonderful aroma.
  4. Make some of your meals ahead of time and bring your meats frozen.  They make a great way of keeping your cooler cold as you drive to your destination without the headache and watery mess of using ice.  Some ideas for this are frozen meats- roast, whole chickens; pre-made and frozen- taco meat, pulled pork, soups.
  5. Bring dishes, utensils, spices and other kitchen sundries the hotel or campground may not have.
  • Plates/bowls
  •  Cups
  • Silverware/sharp knives
  •  Can opener
  •  Garlic press
  • Paper towels/coffee filters
  • Cutting board
  • Cheese cutter
  • Dish soap
  • Wine bottle opener
  • Coffee grinder
  • Water purifier (no need to get bottled water)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Sugar (coconut)
  • Coconut creamer

6. Plan meals ahead of time and stick to the plan.

 

Recently my family had a dance competition t a resort which took us from home for a week.  We had a room with a full kitchen. Here is what we made for the week. All of it was gluten free, grain free and dairy free.

Breakfasts:

Cranberry crostada

Pancakes with bacon

Sausage links with eggs

Sweet potato, sausage, and egg scramble

Omelettes

Sausage onion, mushroom, artichoke and kale egg bake

Sweet potato hash with rosemary and bacon

Lunches:

Taco salad

Tuna salad wraps (coconut wraps)

Pulled pork salad

Egg salad

Bacon hamburgers with green beans

Dinners:

Slow roasted chicken and vegetables

Roast beef with carrots, mushrooms, and onion

Pizza (homemade paleo crust)

Maple glazed rosemary salmon and broccoli

Steak and Greek salad

Chicken tenders with side salad

Snacks:

Paleo crackers

Grapes

Apples

Bananas

Nuts

Coconut macaroons

It takes a little more preparation and planning, but traveling grain free can be easy and enjoyable.

 

Want the menu plan and recipes? Sign up here to be notified of when my menu plans become available this fall.  The recipes and shopping list for the meals in this post will be included in the meal plans.

Paleo All Purpose Flour

 

When people go grain free they may lament over not being able to have breads and bakery items any more.  Thankfully that is not true.  Although it is a bit different to use the flours in a paleo flour mix, you can enjoy the same things you have grown up eating. I think it makes better pancakes than our gluten free all purpose flour.  They turn out a beautiful golden brown and look just like glutinous pancakes.

So you might ask, what is in a paleo all purpose flour?  It is actually really simple.Just 4 ingredients.

  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Arrowroot
  • Tapioca starch

There are some commercially sold paleo flour mixes, such as Bob's Red Mill.  But I feel they are way over priced.  If you purchase the 4 flours in large enough quantities, 2-5 pounds each, it ends up being way cheaper to make it yourself.

Here is where the fun begins.  In some recipes it may work as a one to one replacement of flour, and in other recipes you may have to make adjustments to your liquids. Coconut flour tends to absorb liquids extremely well and is what may make adjusting your liquids necessary.

I tried using the flour mix we have in an old gluten free almond bread recipe we used to make often.  It actually ended up very  runny, so for that one I still need to experiment with that recipe to get the mixture correct.  That will be shared once I have perfected it.  It still turned out well, but I ended up making it with xanthan gum, which can be obtained from grains.  Like the pancakes, it had a beautiful golden brown color to the crust.  We don't make bread often and the 2 loaves went in one day 🙂

 

[yumprint-recipe id='22']

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

 

The first step in becoming gluten free is to get rid of gluten containing foods.  The most effective way is to remove all grains.  That can be a very daunting process for most people.  Taking smaller, gradual steps to being grain free may bring you the most success.  It has taken me over 8 years to get there, so don't worry if this is the route you choose.

In those 8 years, I learned how to eat a strict conventional gluten free diet (still eating grains).  My husband and I came up with a great gluten free flour recipe that could replace regular flour one-to-one.  One of the great things about that is we didn't need any specialized, gluten-free cookbooks.  We just used the ones we had before going gluten free.  The only thing we haven't been able to make gluten free is croissants.  Everything else, we have been extremely successful in using this recipe.  In fact, those who don't know it is gluten free don't even notice.  We even did a whole Thanksgiving meal gluten free and no one knew the difference.  You can get all the recipes we used and more here

My kids say everything tastes better with the gluten free flours.  This is because wheat has an intense flavor and when that is removed, all the other flavors come through. I never noticed the intense flavor wheat had until I eliminated it.  Now foods taste so much more vibrant.  

My husband and I even used the flour to make homemade gluten free baklava.  Now that's a labor of love! First time we made it, it took us 8 hours!!!  I hope you have fun making memories with your family and enjoying your favorite recipes together.

 

[yumprint-recipe id='23']

Grain Free Baking Powder

Baking Powder, a simple baking ingredient, right?  We shall see.

Numerous people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance find they are still reacting to their foods even while eating a strict gluten free diet.  I was on a strict gluten free diet for over 8 years and still was not finding much relief from my symptoms.  It can be a frustrating spot to be in.

Many have found more success and better health when they eliminate all grains. I have learned through lots of study and research that grains can illicit the same kind of response on the immune system as gluten does.  (But that's for a different post)

Eliminating grains can be difficult because grains are used as fillers in so many things and a lot of them you wouldn't even think have grains.  Why would you ever question nuts. they are just nuts right?  Nope, most are dusted with some kind of flour.  I find rice flour used a lot.

Another one of those is baking powder. I know, I, never thought of what was in baking powder.  It's just baking powder, right?  Nope.  Do you know what is in baking powder?  I looked it up when I saw that it was not an acceptable paleo/primal food on one of the paleo sites I frequent.  Commercially produced baking powder (unless stated) is made from baking soda and cornstarch.  Since cornstarch is made from corn, a grain, it is not paleo/primal and if you are eating grain free it should be avoided.

When I found this out, I was like, “great, another baking item to eliminate.”  With a little digging on the internet I found a way to make a grain free baking powder.  Now I can provide my family with wonderful baked goods that I know are grain free and so can you. I hope you find it useful. 🙂

 

[yumprint-recipe id='21']
Cobb Salad

Gluten-free Paleo Bacon Mayo

Cobb SaladI am currently testing out a meal plan for another blogger and it is paleo.  Some of the recipes use mayo and when my husband and I went to the store to buy some, we couldn't find any without either soybean oil or canola oil. Both of these ingredients are not healthy for you in a variety of ways, so we chose to not purchase any.

We searched the internet for some homemade recipes and many used olive oil.  I am not against olive oil, but I am not fond of the flavor and in mayo it would definitely be tasted.  My husband found a recipe that uses half coconut oil and half olive oil.  On that site they had a recipe that used all bacon fat.  SO we decided to combine the recipes and make on with coconut oil and bacon fat.  I mean who doesn't love the flavor of bacon, right!

It turned out amazing and we used it right away to make the egg salad portion of our Cobb Salad pictured above.  It was so good we made a double batch right away so we would have plenty on hand for the coming week.  I don't thing I will ever purchase mayo from the store again.  It is super easy to make and tastes better than any store bought that I have had in the past.  The great thing is knowing all the ingredients that went into it and that it is naturally gluten free.

[yumprint-recipe id='19']
Brussels sprout gratin

Bacon Brussels Sprout Gratin

Brussels SproutsBrussels sprouts were something I never tasted until I was an adult.  I think my mother didn't like them, so it wasn't something we ever had for dinner.  My first experience was when I was 21 and doing an internship in Australia.  I stayed with a family for a period of time while for the 2 months I was in Australia. They served it with a lamb roast(also another food I had never had).  I instantly fell in love with them.

They have a flavor similar to broccoli, but yet different. While they look like miniature cabbages, they definitely do not taste like cabbage. A few years ago I gave growing my own a try and failed epicly with a huge infestation of aphids and cabbage moth larvae.  The next year was only slightly better.  I gave up for a couple years and then tried again this year.  My oldest daughter loves them.  I was diligent with the homemade non-toxic insecticidal soap and was rewarded with a bumper crop.  So what to do with all those wonderful Brussels Sprouts?

Brussels sprout gratin

I had seen a recipe floating around on Facebook for Brussels Sprouts gratin, but I never clicked on the post.  I decided it sounded delicious and just made my own with what I thought a gratin might have in it.  If you follow me on Instagram (be.glutenfree) you probably saw pictures of the final product.  I think it turned out well and my whole family loved it.  I included bacon, which for me is like the duck tape of cooking.  So here is the recipe as I promised to my Instagram followers.

 

[yumprint-recipe id='18']

Divine Double Chocolate Cookies

cooking-chocolate smallChocolate(Latin- Theobroma Cacaois; which means Food of the Gods), is loved by many, even to the point of being an obsession for some.  Luckily it is naturally gluten-free. It has been around for centuries, believed to be popular with the Mayans and Aztecs.  It was brought back to Europe by the Spaniards but chocolate did not gain its popularity for eating until around 1874.

Chocolate is even thought to have health benefits.  It needs to be dark chocolate.  Sorry to all those milk chocolate lovers out there.  This superfood's benefits are from polyphenol antioxidants, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.  These components help with mood, heart health, appetite control, and even anti-aging and inflammation.

There are several kinds and everyone seems to have their take on which is the best.  From the rich,creamy flavor of white chocolate to the stronger flavor of dark chocolate, there is something for everyone.  This recipe blends a couple forms of chocolate into a rich cookie with s mild mint flavor that will satisfy the pickiest chocolate lover.

 

[yumprint-recipe id='17']

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin sconesOh, my gosh has it really been that long since I posted.  I am so sorry it has been that long.  I took on some new roles this fall and it has been difficult to schedule everything.  One of those new roles is caring for my infant twin nephews three days a week.  I forgot how little free time you have with an infant and double that with twins and I have had to accept nothing gets done on those days but loving and caring for them .  So I have to pack everything in to the other 4 days of the week.

Another thing that has been keeping me busy is my Holiday cookbook.  I never knew how time consuming it would be.  It is almost ready to go to print, Yay!  So with that finishing up, I have a little more time and I am back blogging for you again.  I am grateful to be back.

 

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and we are busy preparing for a gluten free turkey day.  I recently had a request for pumpkin scones for Thanksgiving.  What an awesome idea; a perfect way to start to the day with a rich, warm and decadent scone.  Not too large to fill you up, but enough to keep you satisfied until the turkey is ready to eat.

I had never made pumpkin scones, but I leapt at the challenge.  I love trying out and experimenting with new recipes.  I said, “I can do this and it will be great!”

It began, like so many of my recipes, with a search of the internet for pumpkin scone recipes.  There are a lot of them out there.  I chose one that I thought would be the most flavorful.  Then began the task of modifying it to be gluten free and my own creation.

I am very pleased with the result and I am thankful you all kept with me and I am able to share this with you. I know scones are not exactly a health food, but I wanted to create something that was somewhat more healthy than your typical sweet scone. especially since Thanksgiving is loaded with a lot of traditionally indulgent foods.

The first thing I did to improve the nutrient value was to use half and half instead of whipped cream.  I am all for the full fat in most cases, but there will be plenty of that later on in the day.  

I also switched out the molasses for coconut nectar.  Coconut nectar comes from the sap of a coconut tree and has the benefit of being in its pure raw state, retaining all of its health benefits.It contains 17 amino acids, many minerals, and vitamins B and C.  Its glycemic index is lower than most sweeteners and makes it a great choice for diabetics and anyone who wishes to maintain a healthier, more consistent blood sugar level. Compared to brown sugar, coconut nectar has twice as much iron, four times as much magnesium, and ten times as much zinc. ¹

Additionally, I replaced the dark brown sugar with coconut sugar.  It is still a sugar and should be used in moderation, but it is not the completely empty calories that cane sugar has.  That is why I substituted for coconut sugar.  Like the nectar it has many minerals, vitamins, and fiber adding a little more value to the scones.

Finally, as with all gluten free adaptations, the flour measurement had to be modified.  I found I needed to add more flour.  This could be for various reasons, from the moistness of the pumpkin puree to the humidity of the kitchen.

Just in time for Thanksgiving morn, here it is. Enjoy!

[yumprint-recipe id='16'] 

 

 

 

 

 

¹ 22 Days Nutrition

 

Gluten Free Season Salt

Being gluten free brings with it many challenges.  One of the challenges is that gluten can sneak into foods in very unlikely places.  One of these places are in spices and natural flavors. It is a constant vigilance with checking labels to ensure what you are purchasing is safe for you and your family.  One of the ways I use to make it a little easier is to make a lot of things from scratch and whenever possible with ingredients I have grow in in my garden.  Some of the things I make are soups, breads, desserts, and spice mixes.

When I went off gluten, I soon discovered I reacted even more severely to MSG.  This meant even more vigilance.  I also had to learn alternate names for MSG  and discovered that if a mixture was added to a product, it did not have to say the product had MSG in it, because they did not add MSG specifically.  One of the spices I discovered that said they had “no added MSG” but in reality contain MSG in it was Lowry's season salt.  The MSG hides in the chicken bouillon.  So I set out to find a recipe for this seasoning.  We usually only use it at Christmas time when we make our version of gluten free Chex mix. (recipe to be found in our upcoming holiday guide, stay tuned for more info on this).  Although our recipe does not have any chicken flavoring in it, my family likes it better than the Lowry's.  May you find enjoyment in making your own spice blends as well.  It is really easy.  You can take your favorite dried herb/spice (either one you grew and dehydrate yourself or one you know is from a gluten free source) or a mix of herbs/spices and blend them to your liking.  You may add salt if you want a flavored salt, or just use the herbs/spices as a spice blend. I always recommend organic whenever possible and sea salt over ordinary table salt.  It provides more minerals and nutrients.

 

[yumprint-recipe id='15']

Gluten Free Rhubarb Surprise

 Rhubarb with icecreamOur family has a rhubarb patch across our drive way nestled under a couple of box elder trees.  I feel blessed to know that it is grown organically and is conveniently just out our door. My second oldest adores the tasty treats we make with the rhubarb.  He willingly goes and harvests the stalks for me. This recipe was devised by taking the favorite parts of several recipes.(I find that is how a lot of my recipes are developed 🙂 )

It has a crunchy nutty bottom layer, followed by a creamy slightly sweet cream cheese layer and then topped with the sweet/sour rhubarb topping.  It is a wonderful combination of flavors waking all areas of the tongue.  It is light enough for those really hot summer days but still is perfect on the rare cool days of summer as well. You can eat it plain or pair it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  It will be tempting to scoop out some fresh from the oven, but it will be a bit soupy.  If you give it the recommended 3-4 hour cooling time in the refrigerator, you will be much happier with the outcome.  In the recipe given here the crust uses pecans but you can use your favorite nuts.  We have used almond meal and hazelnut flour with excellent results.  I actually liked the hazelnut flour the best.   Please feel free to comment below if you try different different nuts.  Gluten free cooking is fun!

[yumprint-recipe id='14']
1 2 3