Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy Peasy Refrigerated Oats

Who doesn't like easy and yummy? I am all about easy and yummy!  And here it is - refrigerated oats....there is no cooking cooking! How does this work?  Just mix a few items together, let them sit overnight, and viola!  You have breakfast, a snack, or even dessert ready to go!  I have really enjoyed these over the summer, but I will definitely continue to make these year-round.  I can't take credit for being the mastermind who came up with this sensational jar-sized snack, but as usual, I look at a bunch of recipes, and come up with my own.

These are individual 8-ounce servings, and work perfectly in small Ball jars.  I choose the plastic ones, they are cute, and I can take them to the pool.  You can buy plastic lids that fit specially on the glass version which is nice too.

I like preparing these at night, and then they are ready the next day as soon as I need a snack, and before I go for a handful of chips.  I like that these are full of fiber and protein, so they keep me going for a couple of hours.  Being gluten-free, and for the most part vegetarian, it can be really difficult to get protein throughout the day, and this solves that question.

One ingredient I love is chai seeds, one of today's "superfoods". They act as a thickener and are full of nutritious fiber and protein. And let's not forget, two words....chai pet.

The following recipe is for maple blueberry oats, but you can try any combination. I love blueberries, so this is my favorite, but I have also replaced the blueberries with raspberries and strawberries.  For my daughter, I replaced the blueberries with bananas, and the maple syrup with Nutella. She absolutely loved it. You could use cocoa powder, peanut butter, mango, agave, coconut, the possibilities are endless...

Maple Blueberry Refrigerated Oats
(recipe is for one 8-ounce jar serving)

1/3 cup uncooked old-fashioned gluten-free oats

2 teaspoons chia seeds
1/3 cup milk (I like to use almond milk)

1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh, washed blueberries

Combine the first 5 ingredients directly in the jar, cover and shake;

Add the blueberries, cover and shake again gently;

Place in the fridge overnight, and enjoy the next day!

I like to make several at once, and leave them in the fridge up to 3 days.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Perfect Omelette

This post isn't necessarily targeted just for those who are gluten-free, this little tidbit of advice is applicable to anyone who likes omelettes - like me!  I like to consider myself pretty decent in the kitchen, I can usually make things happen with yummy results, but I have never been able to master an omelette, it would always turn out to resemble more of a ....scramble, after trying to cook it forever on the stove.  I could never get one to stay together and look like they do in a restaurant.  It really was a complete mystery to me.  I can make a pavlova work no problem, but an omelette, that was apparently beyond my capabilities.

Then the other day, I heard a secret and I will share it...because it was miraculous, and best of worked!  I made an omelette (pictured above), that actually stayed together and I wouldn't be embarrassed serving to guests.  I guess all of these years I have been doing it wrong...I would whisk two eggs with some milk, and the result was never pretty.

The secret ingredient - sour cream.

I would never have thought of it, but it worked.  I whisked two eggs with a spoonful of sour cream, poured into a heated omelette pan, added my toppings, which happened to be spring onions, spinach and Parmesan.  It flipped easily and came out of the pan in one piece.  It was guest-worthy!  I would take a guess that Greek yogurt would work just as well as sour cream.

It might seem silly to have an entire post dedicated to the worthiness of an omelette that can remain intact, but being that I didn't know how to do this until I was 40 (ok, 41, but who's counting), is a pretty big deal in my book.

Happy breakfasting!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black Bean Flourless Brownies

Yes, you read that correctly.  Beans and chocolate.  All right, all right, all right!  Bizarre combo...maybe.  Does it work..absolutely!  For the cynics....there will be no bean flavor in this chocolatey goodness.  My daughter gobbled these up, and when I tried to tell her I made them using black beans, she laughed and thought I was joking.

You might be skeptical, but I promise you, you will not be disappointed, and you will amaze your friends!  Just don't tell them until after they try them.

Black Bean Flourless Brownies

1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 eggs
3 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
handful of chocolate chips for topping

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish;

Place all ingredients, except the chocolate chips in a food processor, and blend until smooth;

Pour batter into greased baking dish, and top with chocolate chips;

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean from the center;

Let cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before serving.

Don't say I didn't warn you. These brownies are yum!

Can you trust it?

Having celiac, trust is something I think about often.

Can I trust the local taqueria where I have eaten countless times, to get it right again?

Can I trust my friend who vowed they only used gluten-free ingredients?

Can I trust the gluten-free items sold at the local farmers market without a list of ingredients attached?

Can I trust the caterer who says he is knowledgeable in the gluten-free diet?

Hmm......this is a tough one.  After several years with celiac, I have decided the risk is not worth getting sick.  I will avoid most situations to avoid that horrible feeling that happens after I accidentally ingest gluten...or the vomit extravaganza that is sure to follow.  Not to mention the damage it is doing to my body.  Not worth it!

It can quickly become a sticky situation, because you don't want to offend people, yet your health has to come before other's feelings.  I am sure I have insulted friends and family who really tried to go out of their way for me, but at the end of the day.....I can deal with that. What I cannot deal with is getting sick, and then not being able to function for my family, or myself.

You may ask...."why would my friends be offended if they know I have celiac, they should be understanding, right?"  Yes, you would think this, and I really do hate to hurt someone's feelings or make them feel like their efforts were not worth it, but let's look at a few examples, and then you tell me how you would handle it...

1. Dinner at friend's house.  They talk to you beforehand about what you can/can't eat.  When you arrive, they tell you they researched it, and are so proud of the efforts they made so you could all eat the same thing.  You then ask the prerequisite questions about what ingredients were used down to the spices.  Unfortunately, you find out they missed one.  They used soy sauce.  They didn't know that was even a consideration for containing gluten.  You thank them profusely for trying, but politely decline the soy sauce laden item.  You know your friend feels awful, but what can you do?

2. Friend bakes special treat just for you.  You have a friend who is excited to try out the gluten-free diet themselves, so they start experimenting with new recipes and alternative flours.  They tell you they came up with this fabulous new treat, it only contains X flour.  It sounds safe.  But you also know this person handles a lot of gluten in their kitchen on a daily basis, and don't feel completely safe eating something made in that environment.  They are excited to try the gluten-free diet, but they won't suffer if they make a mistake. You will.  You are grateful for their effort, but again...what do you do?

3. Dinner party catered by a someone knowledgeable in allergies/gluten-free diet.  A close friend organizes a dinner party, and instead of cooking the food themselves, hires a caterer.  Friend knows there are various allergies and dietary needs, so feels this will be best solution  in handling that situation.  After arriving, you talk to caterer personally, and he tells you the ingredients in everything he made, and points out what is safe.  Seems to be knowledgable.  Then we get to desserts and caterer points out the gluten-free items...yet, they sit on the same plate as the gluten-filled items.  You try to just avoid the dessert area, but eventually the caterer brings them to you and asks you to try them. You tell caterer you don't feel comfortable about them being on the same plate.  Caterer tells you to take one from the middle of the gluten-free side.  You still don't feel comfortable.  If serving them was not handled properly, what else was not handled properly the kitchen when preparing them?  You continued to decline and the caterer was clearly annoyed.  What would you do?

I am sure the I could come up with endless examples, but these are some situations that stick out from recent months.

What sticky situations have you encountered?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gluten-Free Hostility

A fellow gluten-free blogger, GlutenDude, wrote a very timely post that I just had to share.  I have to admit, I was never really a Jimmy Fallon fan, and now even less so.  And, I will also admit that many times when I see gluten-free mentioned in TV shows or movies, I think it is kind of funny too.....but not this time. It was just a stupid skit all around.

I have heard, before, of people speaking about the negative remarks they receive from people when they know they are gluten-free, but I have never personally experienced that...until yesterday.  Sure, I have had friends that are not really aware and are skeptical, but I have never come across someone with such clear hostility and anger toward me about it.  I was shocked, confused and mostly hurt.

I really don't like to write anything negative about anyone, especially someone in my real life, so to avoid any hurt feelings (though mine have been hurt), I will try to write this as anonymously and in general terms as possible.

At an event yesterday which centered around food (don't they all), my friend, who I will call H, offered to bring a gluten-free version of what he was bringing.  He works in the food industry and knew the people cooking would prepare it properly.  When the food arrived and I saw it, I was so excited, because honestly, I never expect to eat at events that center around food, because it usually isn't safe.  I would rather eat before, or after and do without...because the consequences of getting just a little bit of gluten would ruin my night and have me puking for hours.  Not really a run way to spend the evening.

I suggested that I would take some of the food before others handled it because I didn't want to worry about cross-contamination from shared utensils.  And you know how sketchy things can get in a buffet situation, which is usually a scenario I steer clear of....unless it is an Indian buffet!  H hands me a serving spoon, which I saw was just used on something fried and not gluten-free.  I told H I was going to go get a fork, because I couldn't use the same serving spoon.  Well, the reaction I received was overwhelming....H told me that he had no other serving utensil and rolled his eyes like I had asked for a bag full of crisp hundred dollar bills.. I said, that was OK, I was going to get a fork....and I did!  But, while I did, I overheard H talking to a mutual friend standing next to him about how this was all bullshit and ridiculous.  I didn't know what to do.....part of me was so hurt I was near tears, and part of me was so angry at someone being so insensitive.  Someone who I thought I knew well.  If I had a peanut allergy would he of reacted the same way?

I always try to be super polite about my needs and any accommodations someone makes for me, and I never go into a social situation assuming there will be something for me.  After almost 5 years, I am fine with going to a social event and not eating.  It was difficult at first, but I am fine now.  I know my comfort level, and I know what will happen if I take chances...never worth it!

At the end of the night H asks me to take the plate of gluten-free food he brought. It was quite a lot of food, so I asked if maybe some other people would want to bring some home as well.  He rolled his eyes and told me no one wants the gluten-free food.  What?? This is food that is naturally gluten-free unless you add something why would someone not want it?  There was no flour in it, nothing in it to make it taste different, and he was just so sure no one would want this food.  In the end, I found plenty of takers.  No one cared if it was gluten-free or not.

Would this person of been so hurtful if someone with a peanut allergy told him they could not use the same spoon.  Why do people have to be so negative?

Have you had an experience like this?  Do you think awareness will help, or are some people just forever closed off to thinking it is a big deal?