Sunday, November 27, 2011

And the winner is....

...of last week's giveaway of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook is...

Nicole of Nicole's Special Diet Creations. Congratulations!! Nicole, please email me at, so I can get your contact details and have your new cookbook mailed to you! I think you will love it.

Thank you everyone for entering, and reading my blog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giveaway: The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen

Recently, I wrote about how much I loved The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook by Laura B. Russell. I was so excited about this cookbook that I contacted the publisher and they have generously offered a copy of the book for me to giveaway. I know others will be excited by this book too.

To enter this giveaway*:

1. Leave a comment, with your name, on this post and tell us what Asian dish you miss most being gluten-free. Or an Asian dish that you have never been able to try, but would like to if you could make it gluten-free.

2. Retweet this giveaway on Twitter, and mention me @gfreemusings.

3. Follow cookbook author, Laura B. Russell on Twitter.

The winner will be chosen at random next Saturday, November 26th, and announced Sunday, November 27th.

Good luck!

*Open to US residents only.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chatting with President one does....

...on a Thursday morning.

If someone told me I was going to meet former President Bill Clinton, I would never have believed it. Especially while dressed impeccably in my walking morning sweats, sporting messy pig tails, and completely make-up free.

Though, something tells me that no one who knows me would be surprised that when I did get the chance to meet the former leader of the free world, I used my two minutes to ask him about eating gluten-free. I probably even received a few eye rolls. But, this is exactly what I did!

I found out yesterday morning, as soon as I returned from my morning walk, that he was doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble just down the street. It took me about 5 minutes of debating whether to brave the crowds until I bolted out the door. I knew I would regret this opportunity if I let it slip.

I really had no clue what to expect, I wasn't dressed for it, and was honestly a bit grateful when I learned cameras and phones were not allowed in the store. But then I guess it would be ├╝ber cool to have a picture with a President even if I was in a potato sack.

While waiting in line, on a very chilly Atlanta November morning for 3 hours and trying to stay warm with my Starbucks, that I vowed to stay away from...but hey, I needed the warmth, I had lots of time to think of what would say when I finally got the chance to shake President Clinton's hand and be in his personal space.

3 hours passed, and we were finally able to enter the building and regain feeling in our hands and feet, and I was getting closer and closer, I just knew I was going to stutter, and probably pass out when it was my turn. I tried to soak him in, since cameras weren't allowed so I could remember him clearly in my mind. He was tall, slim and looked to be in good health, and had on good shoes.

Most of the people in front of me grabbed the book, shook his hand, said thank you and walked on their way. When it was my turn.....

I did not pass out!

I did not spontaneously combust!

I did not throw up!

He was very sweet and smiled as he shook my hand. But, I didn't want to just walk away. I asked him if I could "ask you an off the wall question?"

He said sure, I bet he was a bit worried what it would be, as I am sure he has heard it all. I explained that I read his daughter had a gluten-free wedding cake, and was wondering if he ate gluten-free as well. Was he going to look at me like I was crazy? Was he going to give a signal to his secret service to remove me? Was he going to just refuse to answer me?

No, he actually seemed very engaged and wanted to talk about it. He explained that while he does have a wheat allergy, he does try to eat wheat-free all of the time, and to eat gluten-free when he can. He added that he is dairy-free, and vegetarian, but that he does eat fish sometimes. (Note: he is not vegan). He also emphasized that his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, is very "vigilant" about being gluten-free. The frustrating part was that he was just about to tell me more, and started to tell me something... but the people behind me were getting antsy and I had to move forward. D*mn those people! (I kid, I kid).

I may not have had the chance to ask more questions, but it was thrilling just to be able to ask what I did. I left with a huge smile on my face, and was getting looks from people who were amazed I got as much time with him as I did.

I love how when people have an increased awareness of what they eat, and how it affects their bodies, they just love to talk about it.

Now, I must read my signed copy of his book!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin pancakes with caramelized bananas

What is better during the season of pumpkins, colorful falling leaves and hot chocolate than pumpkin pancakes, or pumpkin anything, for that matter. There is something about pumpkin that is so hearty and warming, and putting that into a pancake is the perfect package.

Pancakes are something that are so fun to experiment with, especially throughout the seasons. My favorites are my eggnog pancakes, oatmeal pancakes with balsamic strawberries or juicy peaches, and buttermilk buckwheat blueberry pancakes. These rich pumpkin pancakes will definitely become a part of my new favorites collection. One ingredient I always use in my pancakes is buttermilk, I just find it gives them a rich texture. If I don't have buttermilk on hand, I will send M out to the neighborhood market, or we will just not have pancakes, that is how serious I am about my lait de buerre.

And the caramelized bananas just seem like the perfect topping for this hearty pancake, and definitely takes the place of any syrup you could use. You can just leave your syrup in the fridge where it belongs.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 T grapeseed oil
2 T sugar

2 cups favorite pancake mix (I use Pamela's for this recipe)
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 T flaxseed meal (optional)

1 cup canned, or fresh roasted and pureed pumpkin

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, add the pancake mix, spice and flaxseed, if using, and mix until just smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin. Stir until combined.

Let batter sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat an oiled griddle on medium heat.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.

Keep pancakes warmed in stove until you are finished with all the batter.

When about halfway done with pancakes, start on the bananas......

Caramelized bananas

3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
3 T butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar

Melt butter in shallow pan, add brown sugar and stir until combined on medium heat.

Add banana slices and stir to coat and cook until the bananas reduce and become saucy, about 5 minutes.

Spoon banana mixture onto warmed pumpkin pancakes and serve.

Serves 4-5 people.

(the photo below is how they should look just before they start to break down and get saucy.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen & Laura B. Russell

I recently received this most fabulous cookbook written by food writer, Laura B. Russell. I was so in awe of the photography and the recipes, it has really given me some new inspiration. I really do miss eating out at Asian restaurants. And while it may still be possible, the availability of safe items can be seriously lacking. Some seem to be easier...Vietnamese seems a bit easier to me than Chinese, sushi seems easier than other types of Japanese cuisines, but this book clearly guides us how to make these necessary, and easy changes so that we can enjoy these once again in our homes.

For a full gushing review, please read my article on

After exploring, author, Laura B. Russell's website, Notes from a Gluten-Free Kitchen and her bio, I am even more in awe with her, and will definitely be following her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, whatever social media outlet I can read her ideas. I am not stalking... I swear!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A sore recovery

I decided to document my glutening yesterday, because not only was it the first time since going gluten-free that I knew exactly what the offending gluten-filled item was, but I haven't eaten this much gluten since before I knew I had celiac, so I had no clue how my body would react.

Typically when I get glutened, I will feel it within 30 minutes of the offending crumb or cross-contamination, I get very bloated, and I get what feels like slowly creeping heartburn that turns into full stomach burn, cramps and discomfort. I always have Pepto on me in such emergencies, and I will take this and drink a couple of cups of hot chamomile tea.

So, what I have learned is in this type of situation where I ate like 1000+ times of the usual gluten if I get glutened, it was a game changer, and my body reacted completely different.

Actually it took over 2 hours before I felt anything at all. The heartburn, stomach cramps never happened....I kept waiting, and after 2 hours thought maybe my body was in such shock, nothing would happen. Maybe I didn't even have celiac??!! <-------Insert hysterical laughter here. If only I could be so lucky. After about 5 cups of hot chamomile tea trying to flush the poison out of my system, I started feeling nauseous. I figured this was because I was getting sick and tired injecting this dang tea down my throat.

I was getting bored, so I thought I would take a soon as my head hit the sheets I felt like I was on a slow moving, very wobbly boat. I could not lie horizontal. I got up, paced around, tried again, same deal. No dice, no sleep. And then the waves got worse, and then the toilet became my best friend. I had no clue I could throw up so much. Finally, when I had a few minutes of calm, I took some Pepto hoping that would do the trick...nope, instead, I received a lovely pink reminder. I felt utterly miserable, I just wanted to hide in a corner and for it to stop. I was literally poisoned. Finally when I did get relief the migraine came, and at that point, I was scared to take medicine worrying that, that would not stay down. When the pain got too bad, and I was blinded by the vision crappiness that comes with a migraine, I gave in, took the pills and got some sleep.

I struggled to get up in the afternoon to get to a meeting and then came home and crashed. I woke up today feeling very sore from all the upchuck, and still a bit fragile.

I hope this post doesn't make me out to be a whiner, but this was an entirely new experience for me, and definitely one I do not wish to repeat. I find it curious that in all of that, I never had the stomach ache, cramping, or bloating. Now, I just worry, the next time I do get accidentally glutened by a crumb, which way will my body react?

I am also very grateful that I feel so much better today. I imagine, my stupid mistake caused some damage to my interior. But I am very appreciate of not having to be in bed today, and being able to help out in my daughter's art class, pick her up from school, and run to Whole Foods to pick up some yogurt. I am very thankful for those things.

Let's just say, I won't be making that mistake again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The awful waffle!

By complete accident, I ate a gluten-filled waffle this morning. How does that happen you ask. Because I am an idiot.

Friends will comment how extreme I am when checking ingredients, asking questions at restaurants, asking friends about cooking methods when they cook for me, so for this to happen to me makes it even more ironic.

I typically buy gluten-free waffles for Z for her to have a quick breakfast, it is not ideal, and full of empty carbs, but sometimes it is all I can get her to eat in the morning. I usually stay away from them, because I know in an hour I will be starving, and they are just not the best nutritional choice. And I buy gluten-free, because our house is gluten-free, end of story. So it is not like I grabbed the wrong one out of our own freezer.

The other day on my day of running errands...Target, Publix, Whole Foods, Old Navy, H&M, and finally Trader Joe's, before running home to eat quickly and pick up Z from school, I got to the frozen section at Trader Joe's and I just picked up the waffles quickly from where they always are, next to the gluten-free pancakes, I didn't even think about it. Typically, I look the box over to be sure I picked up gluten-free instead of gluten waffles, but this time, I just took it for granted.

M is the one who makes Z's breakfast and gets her lunch ready while I get her and I dressed and out the door to get her to school. I usually eat nothing, but this morning, since I was planning on going for a long walk, and am avoiding Starbucks, I knew I needed calories to get through the next hour or so. I yell at him, from the bedroom, to make me a waffle too.

I grab the waffle and my tea as I run out the door. I take a bite of the waffle in the car, and it has a strange texture, a bit drier and grainier, maybe flax seed. Maybe Trader Joe's is using a new waffle manufacturer? I call M to ask him to check to make sure I got the right waffles. He doesn't answer, so the idiot that I am, I eat the rest...thinking why in the world would I have bought gluten-filled waffles, when it is just second nature for me to check everything that comes into the house. He calls me back, and goes to check in the freezer....and I get the horrible news "they are not gluten-free". ARGH!!!!!! All the sudden I had major anxiety and wondered if I should hurl on the side of the road to get it out of me. The kids walking to school would love that! I felt extremely violated, and the worst part, I did it to myself! I was in tears. In almost three years I have not accidentally had more than a crumb, and I am pretty sensitive. And now I just had a full waffle!!

I got Z to class, raced home, and now I am on my 3rd cup of chamomile tea, and took 2 probiotics. I am full of anxiety, because I am not sure what to expect with ingesting this much. I usually feel sick within 30 minutes, but now it has been 2 hours, and I am waiting on pins and needles when it is going to hit. I mentally feel as if I swallowed poison.

I was joking that since I had this much gluten, I might as well go all the way and get that slice of Fellini's pizza that I drool over, or a baguette, or matzo ball soup, since I am getting sick anyway <-----but let me be clear, this is just a joke, I would NEVER intentionally eat gluten, this was purely a joke. I am full of such anxiety of how this is going to affect me, I am just trying to be humorous about it, or I will cry.

I thought since this is the first time I actually know when I ate the gluten, and it was such a large amount, relatively speaking, I would document it, for my knowledge as well as for others. I will come back periodically throughout the day to revise.

7:45 - ate offending gluten-filled waffle

8:30 - took 2 probiotics, drink 2 cups of tea

8:30 - perhaps the start of a headache way under the surface. very anxious, is it from the gluten or from my own nerves?

9:20 - getting chills

10:00 - feeling a bit nauseous, but it could be from the endless stream of tea that is getting hard to swallow now.

10:20 - throwing not fun :( Won't get into details here, let's just say nothing helped. Nothing stayed down. Continues for a good hour.

11:30 - migraine.

12:00 (noon) - nap

1:00 - woke up groggy and had to start my day.

Part 2: the waffle conclusion.