Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weird Food Names

While in Trader Joes today I was looking through some of their candies. I noticed that several had an ingredient called Glucose syrup. Have you heard of this? It is made from wheat! It can also be made from corn, barley, potato or rice.
I would not have thought that given the name. Nor would I have guessed that the box of jelly beans I was looking to buy had wheat in them.
Thankfully, Trader Joe's does a great job with their packaging.
 The label read like this... Glucose syrup(wheat).  Can't get much more clear than that.

Always read the lable. If you don't know what something is, look it up. If this product had glucose syrup made from barley, it would still contain gluten but since it wasn't from wheat, it would not have to have an allergen warning.

**Sigh** when did food get so weird???

Wednesday's What do we like?

There are so many great Gluten free products out there that we like, today's post includes several.

Yesterday, I made Chex Mix. Yum! My husband gave it two thumbs up (He almost ate it all before I could get a picture, lol!!) At first, my son didn't really like it but then later decided it was "pretty good". My daughter didn't care for it. I loved it as much as the hubby.

Here are the great products I used.

Chex are great because, well, they are just chex! Familiar and easy, we were eating them before going gluten free. The only downside is the preservatives they use.

Glutino products. I love the pretzel sticks you see here. They have a great taste and texture. For some reason, I do NOT like their "pretzel" shaped pretzels, they have a funny after-taste. But the sticks are great. So far the best price has been at Wal-mart. This is the larger bag and it was a bit over $6.00. We don't generally buy these for straight snacking, I try to use them in a mix of some kind.
The glutino bagel chips are great. They taste good and have good texture (my son will sit and eat the box if I let him!). But, at just over $4.00 a box at wal-mart, I also try to use these in a mix. (my son ended up eating the rest of this box!)

Earth Balance butter spread. Works great in baking, tastes great. The only thing we don't like it on is melted on popcorn. It tastes a bid "odd" that way. This is our go-to "butter". Trader Joe's sells it for $3.64 a tub. They do sell a soy free version as well. I haven't tried it since Trader Joe's doesn't carry it and it is more expensive in the grocery store. The soy free version is the same style container but the label is red.

Peanuts. Simple salted peanuts from the bulk section at Fred Meyer.

Here is the recipe for making the Chex Mix.

In addition to the above products, you will need Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and seasoning salt (I don't use seasoning salt so I just put in 1/4 tsp salt).
I followed the lower fat version and did mine in the oven.

I used a wooden spoon to break up the pretzels and the bagel chips since the recipe calls for "bite-size"

Here is the finished product

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sharing our struggle

I know that when you have an allergy or sensitivity to a food, you simply stay away from the food and all is well, right? It really isn't that easy, as some of you may know.
In our house, we have been attempting to be Gluten free/Dairy free for several years. I say attempting because as much as I know we need to eat this way, I get frustrated sometimes with the difficulties and financial challenges of sticking with it. Sometimes I just want to drive through McDonalds and be done, you know? So, I have been going through the McDonalds phase again. I would say we have been eating Gluten/dairy on and off for about 2 weeks now, but more on than off.
The results? My son is back to having regular, repetitive twitching, sleeping disturbances and bowel issues. He is also back to having issues with sensory overload, mostly to noise.
My daughter is back to having bowel issues and as for myself, I am having skin issues (I break out on my face and look like I have Rosacea when I eat gluten).
So, as of two days ago, we are back to Gluten/Dairy free 100% at home and the only exception will be birthday parties & holidays. I find that if my kids and I stay off G/D 95% of the time, our symptoms retreat to a tolerable level.
I am sure for others with Celiac, they would rejoice in being able to do the "sometimes" thing. For me it is a difficult compromise I have come to with my kids. I used to insist on staying GF/DF even at parties. It was VERY difficult. My kids were to the point of not wanting to attend parties rather than stay GF/DF at them. I am not sure I am sending the right message when I allow it "for special occasions" as if gluten is a treat they are being denied. I hope as they grow and mature, they will choose to stay off G/D on their own. My son is now able to identify the symptoms he suffers as a result of eating the offending food but is not always able to make the choice he knows is best for his health.
My goal is to control our home environment and keep us away from fast food for the moment. I am going back to stocking up on the many, many great GF/DF foods that are out there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday's "What do we like?"

I thought it would be fun to start posting about some specific products that my family likes. I realize of course that everyone's tastes are different and what we like may not appeal to you or your family. But, one of the most daunting things about beginning a Gluten-free diet is figuring out where to start. Hopefully this will help.
Products can be expensive (not all are!) and it is so frustrating to throw out a product that cost you $6.00 (I say this from experience!). My intention here is to not only recommend products but I will also do my best to describe why we like something (taste, texture, cost, etc) so you have a place to start.

Enjoy Life Semi-sweet chocolate Mini chips.
These are Dairy, nut & Soy free!!!

These are our favorite chocolate chips. When going dairy free, it was very difficult to find chocolate that wasn't a dark bitter flavor that my kids can eat. These have the smooth "milk" chocolate taste and texture we were used to.  These little mini chips are great for gluten-free cookies. I find that gluten free cookies hold together better when you use the mini's. My kids also eat these straight from the bag. Other uses include melting them down to make candy, or using them to top homemade granola bars or rice crispy treats.

Now lets talk price. I almost choked the first time I found them in a store. I think they were over $5.00 a bag. Not happening on this household's budget!
I found them on for a much more reasonable price. I paid $21.65 for a 6-pack. That works out to $3.61 a bag. I bought them along with something else so there was not shipping charge. The only issue is that they are not always this price. I keep an eye on the price and when it drops, I buy them. I have been able to keep us stocked at this price for over a year. 6 bags lasts us a LONG time.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Enjoy life company. This is a product that I purchased with my own money and am simply offering my own opinion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weird, Gooey baked goods

We have been using my All purpose flour mix for a long time now, maybe close to 2 years. It has always worked perfectly for us, until recently. I mixed up a batch and made muffins. They were weird. They had sort of a gooey, bouncy texture to them.
I was baffled to say the least. I shrugged it off, figuring I had measured the wrong amount or something. So I made cookies. Again, weird texture.
It (finally!) dawned on me that what was different was that I had run out of Xanthan gum and was using all Guar gum! I had always thought the two were interchangeable. For me, they aren't. It is possible that the guar gum would work ok alone but just in different amounts but I just don't have the patience to try. I really favor a mix of guar gum/xanthan gum in my baked goods. I always use 1/4 teaspoon of each per 1 cup of flour.
Needless to say, my pantry is again stocked with xanthan gum!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great Price Alert!!

Right now has Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Flour at a GREAT price!

If you use the subscribe & save function you can get 12lbs (!) of Brown rice flour for only $16.76 shipped!
That works out to $1.39 per pound. Thats a better price than I can find locally.

I am not sure how long it will be at this price, so make sure you double check before purchasing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Did you miss me?
I had decided (for several personal reasons) to stop writing this blog. But, through encouragement and requests from some of you wonderful readers, I am back!

Since I have been gone so long, I thought it fitting to return with something else that has been out of my life for a long while....PASTA!

Since going gluten free, I have not found a pasta that I loved. Or really liked. Or could really even stand. I had pretty much just given up on it.

That changed tonight when we tried Schar brand Fusilli (the little spiral shape). I was literally amazed! Schar brand is Corn based rather than rice (although it does contain some rice). There was no sticky, slimy feel. Nothing fell apart. Great flavor. Literally amazing. I will be adding this to my regular shopping list. I think I am going to try a cold pasta salad with it.

Schar also makes fantastic sandwich rolls by the way.
I buy Schar products at my local Super Wal-Mart but I know they are also sold at most Albertsons stores.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Schar. I purchased this product with my own money and am no way being compensated for my review.
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