Friday, August 26, 2016

Gluten-Free Cupcakes, CookBook

50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour
By - Elana Amsterdam

I don't normally 'read' cookbooks.  I have a tendency to pinpoint what I'm looking for, just to grasp the general idea of the recipe.  My Mom always called me the 'experimentor' because I seldom follow any recipe to the letter.  But this was the second CookBook that I've received with a request to review.  So read it I did :-)

I'm glad that I did...I was pretty impressed with what I read.  First of all...there were pictures.  I like pictures, they give me a goal to strive for.  Pictures tell me right up front if this is something I might like to eat.  Secondly, I liked all the pre-cookbook information...CupCakes 101 - Equipment, Tips & Ingredients.  There was a lot of great information there written in simple, easy to understand language.  Considering that Almond and Coconut Flours are so new it's very important to read Elana's suggestions and tips on handling them.

Thankfully, I received two copies of this little book because as soon as my friend saw it she snatched it up and took it home with promises to try each and every recipe in the book.  Not only is she trying all the recipes, but she's keeping notes and bringing samples!!  I just love the samples!!  Right away we were both impressed with the fact that while these are all still delicious, even decadant treats...they're still healthier than most we've had in the past.  Both flours have more fiber and/or protein than the standard white-rice based flour. Fiber is crucial to healthy digestion and cholesterol levels.  Adding them to baked goods lowers their glycemic level for blood sugar maintenance.  Both are grain- and gluten-free and both flours are lower in calories per 1/4 cup.

My friend prefers her Cupcakes without frosting.  She feels you can appreciate the taste of the cake much better that way.  So far I've gotten to test the Pumpkin CupCakes...they were very tasty.  A bit heavier than I'm used to but tasted wonderful just the same.  She made the Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins and gave them to me just in time for a four hour road trip across state.  Boy those little babies were life savers!!  And just recently she brought over the Chocolate Peanut Butter CupCakes and laughingly told me she'd be making those much more often since they were her favorites so far.  I have to agree that for a sweet treat they were just wonderful!!  She's having a grand time going through the entire book and I'm certainly looking forward to more 'left-overs'.

•50 gluten free recipes for cupcakes and savory treats
•14 recipes for frostings, fillings and toppings
•25 cupcake recipes that use coconut flour
•9 cupcake recipes that use almond flour
•4 flourless cupcake recipes
•12 cupcake recipes that use both almond flour and coconut flour
•41 dairy free cupcake recipes
•8 dairy free frostings, fillings and toppings
•5 vegan frostings, fillings and toppings
•38 nut free recipes
•10 cupcake recipes that use arrowroot powder

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dinner Done! Gluten-Free

Get your Dinner Done!
Often end up grabbing fast food or spending a lot to eat out?  Wish your family sat down for homemade meals more often?  Let us help bring dinner home.  Prepare healthy meals in our professional kitchen, order ToGo or have it delivered! 

I’m sitting here at my computer enjoying a bowl of Pulled Chicken in Honey Chipotle Sauce that I just pulled out of my Crockpot and paired up with some broccoli.  Out of the fridge, into the Crockpot on low for a few hours and I have a wonderful dinner…absolutely no prep time.  Now that’s the way I like to cook.  And it tastes delicious!

About a month ago I heard through the Celiac grapevine of a great place in Tampa that understood good food prepared at home and Gluten-Free.  For a set fee you can choose 4 meals from a full menu and make a reservation to attend a prep session.  You show up on time, receive an apron, your chosen menu, and instructions on how to put it all together.  Then you work in their kitchen, follow their recipes, use their ingredients, tools and storage materials and walk out the door an hour or two later with some incredible food ready for the freezer and simple instructions for preparing your own wonderful meals at home.  And did I mention they understand Gluten-Free?

So I got in touch with Audra, the owner, and asked her for a list of safe meals that I could have.  Of the 12 or so items on the menu I expected to find only one or two that would be suitable for a Gluten-Free lifestyle.  I was astounded by what I received…not just one or two but this:

•Argentinean Flank – OK as is
•Farmers Market Chicken -- Use gluten-free chicken base
•Goat Cheese Herb Stuffed Chicken -- Use corn meal instead of panko
•Hong Kong Pork Tenderloin - Use gluten free soy sauce; use corn meal instead of panko; OMIT dipping sauce (contains a soy sauce that DOES contain a little gluten)
•Marsala Mushroom Chicken -- Use corn starch instead of flour
•Salmon with Piquant Dill Sauce -- OK as is
•Chicken Parmigiana -- Use corn starch instead of Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs. Lightly season it with salt and pepper
•Chops with Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta - OK as is
•Grilled Lime Chicken with Black Bean Salsa - OK as is
•Pulled Chicken in Honey Chipotle Sauce - OK as is

Now that’s an impressive list of choices!  And it was very difficult to pick out just four!  But I finally settled on the ones I wanted and then set about putting the recipes together.  There were fourteen prep stations altogether.  Each one specifically set up for one entire recipe.  So it was just a matter of moving from station to station for my four meals.  Everything I needed was within easy reach, and there were helpers aplenty to answer questions and whisk away dirty dishes and utensils to replace them with clean in the blink of an eye. Each meal feeds 4-6 people and we were given the option of splitting them in half for smaller portions.  So I actually got eight meals to bring home…two of each of my four choices.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that because of my lapband each meal provided one dinner and two smaller lunches.  And if my meals taste as incredible as my dinner tonight I am one very happy camper :-)  My daughter and I are already looking over the March menu and trying to figure out when we can make it back to Tampa for another prep session.

They do have the option of picking up already prepared frozen meals, or having them delivered to you within their delivery area.  But being Gluten-Free I fully understand the possibilities of cross-contamination so I actually prefer to prep everything myself so that I can see what’s going into my meal first-hand.  I’m willing to accept those risks myself and for the price of my meals I am extremely happy with what I received.  We will definitely be returning to Dinner Done!

Dan and Audra Nasser
Dinner Done Carrollwood

Address: 10330 N. Dale Mabry, Suite #120, Tampa, FL 33618-4404
Phone: (813) 264-7700
Directions: Dinner Done Carrollwood is located in the Promenade Plaza in Carrollwood.  Directly on N. Dale  Mabry, just north of Busch.  We’re in the same plaza as Avant Gold Jewelers and Peter Glenn Ski & Sports, just south of McDonalds.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, August 12, 2016

Gluten-Free Snack Cake, Single Serve or Share

UPDATE:  WhooHoo!!  Seems that Florida now has a new Cottage Food Law that will allow me to sell my little snack cakes :-)  Yahoo...going to have to look into this a bit more but it sounds really promising!!

My challenge was simple.  I wanted a quick n easy snack that didn’t create a huge mess, didn’t have a ton of leftovers, didn’t have all the sugar/fat of regular treats, and might actually be a bit healthier than most snacks.  AND it had to work in a toaster oven or microwave.  AND it had to be Gluten-Free!!  It took a bit, many trials n errors, about 5 lbs on my behalf and then I just started passing them out to family and friends and begging for feedback.


What I ended up with is great!!  It’s a little Gluten-Free Snack Cake that comes in two flavors…Chocolate and Vanilla…that’s just big enough for one person, or to share.  You can prepare it with Applesauce if you don’t want the fat…or your favorite Greek Yogurt for the extra protein.  I prefer the Chocolate done with the Applesauce, and the Vanilla done with Pineapple Yogurt.

Ok…so now I’ve got the recipe perfected.  What shall I do with it?? 

I’m thinking that I can certainly sell these little gems locally.  No problem there - $4.00 per Snack Cake seems about right.  But I’m also wondering if I can sell them by mail??  I’m thinking $5.00 per Snack Cake allows for my shipping and handling too.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Ingredients:  White Rice Flour Mix* (White Rice, Tapioca, Sorghum, Potato Flours, & Corn Starch), Raw Sugar, Buttermilk Solids, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt (*White Rice, Tapioca, Sorghum, Potato Flours, & Corn Starch)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Ingredients:  Brown Rice Flour Mix* (Brown Rice, Tapioca, Sorghum, Potato, Garbanzo & Fava Flours), Raw Sugar, Dark Cocoa, Buttermilk Solids, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt

A warm delicious, single-serve (or share) Gluten-Free Dessert that’s ready in minutes straight from the microwave or toaster oven! Now you can treat yourself to a warm indulgent dessert without all the preparation, time and clean-up.  Just add two simple ingredients and pop it into the microwave or toaster oven. You’ll have a warm treat in no time.  They’re the perfect size and are so quick and easy!! These cakes are so quick, easy to make that Celiac Teens can make them as an after school snack, and they’re just big enough to satisfy two or three toddlers without any waste.

Bring them to work for a quick and warm treat. But the greatest thing is that you don't have to worry about finishing off an entire cake. Just one satisfies your sweet tooth and you don't have all of the guilt from overeating.

Toaster Oven:  30 Minutes at 350, One 4” Ramekin
          (Oven Proof or Microwave Safe)
Microwave:   3 Minutes on High, One 12oz Coffee Cup, or Two Smaller Coffee Cups
Allow time to cool

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Celiac Disease Epidemic - Why Gluten-Free isn't enough

(Re-printed without permission)

On June 10th 2005 my mom died from Cancer at the age of 52… and I miss her every single day.

I was devastated.
It tore me apart.
It didn’t make sense.
It wasn’t fair.
How could this happen?

But looking back, the signs leading up to her cancer revealed a pattern:
Lifelong “nervous stomach” (diarrhea, gas, and bloating)

Fertility problems
Graves’ disease
Frequent illness
Gallbladder cancer
Bile duct cancer
Liver cancer

And my own Celiac Disease diagnosis in 2007 affirmed my suspicions.

Lifelong untreated Celiac Disease killed my mom…

Celiac Disease is an exploding epidemic
The latest research estimates 1% of the western population has Celiac Disease (1 in every 133 people) with nearly 3 million people suffering in the United States. Lot’s A LOT of people… but what’s worse is the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center estimates 97% of those with Celiac Disease remain undiagnosed.

So why are so many people unaware they have Celiac Disease?
The diagnosis itself can be expensive, time-consuming, and misunderstood. The “gold standard” Celiac diagnosis looks for a positive antibody blood test confirmed by an intestinal biopsy.  The biopsy is typically ordered by a Gastroenterologist and gathered in a hospital setting during a procedure called an Endoscopy, costing anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000.  For some people, that’s just not an option.  It isn’t necessarily a lack of tests that’s the problem - it’s the lack of doing tests in the first place.  But I’ll get to that in a moment…

I used to think the Celiac Disease epidemic was there all along… that this meteoric rise in the disease was the result of new medical technology and the growing awareness in mainstream media. But I was wrong… well sort of.

We are getting better at finding it - but recent studies provide solid evidence that a Celiac Disease “explosion” is happening because more people are developing the disease, not just because of better testing.  In fact, one study performed at the Mayo Clinic suggests the incidence of Celiac Disease in men has increased 4X since 1948!  If that’s not enough to convince you that there’s a tidal wave of Celiac Disease headed for us, let’s follow the money.  Private Industry has taken notice of the rising population of gluten-free dieters (not all of which have Celiac Disease). 

Look at this data:
Gluten-free foods and beverages, once considered specialty items, had a compound annual growth rate of 30% in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010… $2.64 billion in total sales in 2010.  New reports estimate it will be a $5.5 Billion market by 2012!  Corporations wouldn’t be pumping millions of dollars into a market if they thought it could shrink or slow down anytime soon.  Not only have that, but pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop several drug treatments for Celiac Disease.  The worst part of this story isn’t just the growing epidemic…

You Could Have Celiac Disease and Not Even Know It
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition of the gastrointestinal system triggered by gluten, the protein found in wheat.  When people with Celiac Disease are exposed to Gluten it stimulates the immune system to attack and damage the intestinal lining, waging war against its own intestinal tissue (villi).  The challenge with Gluten is that it’s virtually ubiquitous in today’s world, found in just about everything… from cereal to lipstick.  And because Gluten is in just about everything we eat, drink, and bathe with – it can be tough to avoid.  We could conceivably consume Gluten in every aspect of our daily lives.

Lately, public awareness has been growing for the digestive symptoms related to Celiac Disease like diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating.  It’s a good sign, but one problem lies in the fact that only ½ the people with Celiac Disease actually have significant diarrhea as the primary symptom.

Additionally, the disease has been linked to over 300 different symptoms, many of them subtle and seemingly unrelated to digestive problems.  Other symptoms include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, depression, anxiety, joint pain, seizures, muscle cramps and many more.

That’s the problem with undiagnosed Celiac Disease… 
It’s not a lack of available testing - but a lack of recognizing the need to test for it in the first place.  The disease is like a chameleon, sometimes manifesting into symptoms that don’t exactly scream out, “Hey Doc, I’m Celiac Disease.”  Couple that with an average family physician 10-20 years out of medical school that’s not current on the latest Celiac Disease research and it’s a losing equation for everyone involved.

That’s what my story was like.  After losing my mom in 2005 I started having diarrhea more and more every day… sometimes 10 or more gut-wrenching sessions.  I was losing weight and malnourished.  And even though I had some “classic” Celiac Disease symptoms, I also had a history of depression, anxiety, “nervous stomach”, chronic fatigue, and low iron.

Over the next year, I continued to go to the doctor with worsening diarrhea and received a different diagnosis each visit.  First I got sent home with Fiber, then drugs for IBS, and then a colonoscopy looking for Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.  It was only because of my emotional pleas the gastroenterologist agreed to take a small intestinal biopsy for Celiac Disease.

The bottom line is this: you could have Celiac Disease and not even know it - and your Doctor might not realize it either.

What Happens in Untreated Celiac Disease?

If Celiac Disease goes untreated… it’s not good.  Here’s just a few of the increased risk factors from various studies:
  • 30% increased risk for GI cancer
  • 40X increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the small intestine
  • 77X increased risk for lymphoma
Then there’s the percentage of people with Celiac Disease that have the following associated conditions that aren’t going to go away if the Celiac Disease isn’t treated…
  • Anemia (3-6%)
  • Arthritis (20%)
  • Ataxia (40%)
  • Cows Milk Intolerance (24%)
  • Dermatitis (5%)
  • Diabetes-Type 1 (12%)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (20%)
  • Liver Disease (42%)
  • Migraine Headaches (4%)
  • Nerve Disease and/or Peripheral Neuropathy (51%)
  • Obesity (30-40%)
  • Osteoporosis (4.5%)
  • Low Bone Density (70%)
  • Pancreatic & Thyroid Disorders (5-14%)
The important message here is this: it’s a good idea to rule out Celiac Disease if you have any of these problems… and it’s a REALLY good idea to treat Celiac Disease if you do get diagnosed.  A diagnosis isn’t the end of the world… as you can see, it could save your life.

The Gluten-Free Diet will save your life (maybe)…
It’s widely accepted that the first step in treating Celiac Disease is removing gluten from the diet with 100% strictness.  In fact, this is the treatment plan copied right from the National Library of Medicine and typical of most doctor-patient conversations after a diagnosis:

Celiac disease cannot be cured. However, your symptoms will go away and the villi in the lining of the intestines will heal if you follow a lifelong gluten-free diet. Do not eat foods, beverages, and medications that contain wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. You must read food and medication labels carefully to look for hidden sources of these grains and ingredients related to them. Because wheat and barley grains are common in the American diet, sticking with this diet is challenging. With education and planning, you will heal. While removing gluten exposure is critical to the treatment of the disease… it isn’t THE only treatment.  It’s just part of it.  The danger lies in the promise that people with Celiac Disease who follow a strict Gluten-Free diet for life will fully heal. I followed a strict Gluten-Free diet for two years with only minor symptom-relief.  And it turns out I’m not alone….

The Gluten Free Diet Isn’t Enough…
New research suggests that the small intestines of up to 60% of adults never completely heal from Celiac Disease despite following a gluten free diet.  In one study of 241 Celiac Patients – small intestine mucosal recovery 2 years after following a Gluten-Free diet was 34% and 5 years later was only 66%.  The authors stated: “Mucosal recovery was absent in a substantial portion of adults with CD after treatment with a GFD.”  Another study of 465 Celiac patients after 16-months on a Gluten-Free Diet found that:  “Complete normalization of duodenal lesions is exceptionally rare in adult coeliac patients despite adherence to GFD”

So in other words, many of these people followed a gluten free diet for years without completely healing the intestinal damage caused by the disease.  If the intestinal damage never heals it is no wonder Celiac Disease patients are more likely to experience cancer or some other debilitating disease.  That’s incredibly depressing for people with Celiac Disease… especially if their Celiac Disease diagnosis went anything like mine:  I’d finally convinced my Gastroenterologist to order an endoscopy after years of horrible diarrhea, fatigue, and depression.  A few weeks after the procedure I got a pamphlet in the mail from her called “Living Gluten Free” with a hand-written note that said:  “Jordan – tests showed you have Celiac Disease.  Follow a Gluten-Free Diet and you’ll be just fine.”  Ummm, what?  What’s Celiac Disease and what’s gluten?!? How could gluten be causing all these problems in my life?  I’ll really be just fine if I change my diet?  I can’t help but wonder how many people around the world get thesame prescription I did and feel desperate when the Gluten-Free Diet doesn’t work.

But here’s what I do know: when I followed a strict Gluten-Free diet for 2 years believing I would be “just fine” and STILL had diarrhea 5-10 times a day, I came face-to-face with insanity.  In fact, things got a little scary when I was absolutely convinced I was getting “gluten contamination” from everything (like the dishwasher, cooking pans, silverware, water, air, kissing, breathing, whatever).  It reached the lowest point when I thought I couldn’t eat anywhere but my own kitchen without getting “glutened.”  But the reality is: it wasn’t gluten contamination at all.  The gluten free diet wasn’t working for me…

How to tell if The Gluten Free Diet isn’t working for you
If you have Celiac Disease and you’re following a Gluten-Free diet - but still experiencing any of these symptoms, the Gluten-Free Diet isn’t working for you either.  (Remember: Celiac Disease symptoms may or may not occur in the digestive system).
Recurring bloating and cramping
Chronic or recurrent diarrhea
Liver and biliary tract disorders
Weight loss
Pale, foul-smelling stool
Iron-deficiency anemia unresponsive to iron therapy
Tingling numbness in the legs
Sores inside the mouth
Skin rashes/acne
Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
Unexplained infertility or recurrent miscarriage
Osteopenia or osteoporosis
Anxiety or Depression

Each of these symptoms can present themselves as part of Celiac Disease and simply removing gluten can help.  Many people even see a disappearance of random symptoms after they go gluten free.  However, if you have Celiac Disease and any of the these symptoms are still present… even on a Gluten-Free Diet, it’s likely gluten free isn’t working for you.  It might be providing some relief, but it’s not healing the underlying damage in your gut… which dramatically increases your risk for cancer and the other diseases I just mentioned. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost either…. 

Why My Mom’s Story Matters to You
My mom is a prime example of what can happen when Celiac Disease goes undiagnosed and untreated.  She suffered through stomach pain, an irradiated thyroid, rounds of chemotherapy, and an early medical retirement from her career.  Above all – we lost her too early.

That’s part of the reason I fought for my diagnosis - why I pressed my doctors to get the tests I wanted.  Why I followed my Gluten-Free prescription with the strictest adherence.  Yet I still suffered from life threatening symptoms.  So much so that I wrote my first will at the age of 24 because I didn’t think I’d live much longer unless they miraculously figured out what else was wrong with me.  Then I got lucky and found a new doctor with new ideas about what it meant to treat Celiac Disease.  A new doctor, that finally helped me stop my diarrhea for the first time in 6 years.

I’m one of the majority - One of the 60% that didn’t get better from a Gluten-Free diet alone.  I needed to do more to treat my Celiac Disease.  Jordan

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, July 29, 2016

Nature’s Food Patch Named One of Top 12 Right-To-Know Grocers

Nature’s Food Patch 
Clearwater, Florida
Named One of Top 12 Right-To-Know Grocers
advocating for the labeling of GMO ingredients

CLEARWATER- July 2, 2013 – Nature’s Food Patch is proud to announce they have been selected as one of the top 12 Right-To-Know grocers in the United States by the Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance (ORCA).  Out of 156 customer nominations, Nature’s Food Patch was chosen to be part of the “diligent dozen.”  The top 12 stores were chosen to honor those companies which were transparent about their GMO labeling on items carried in-store.  These stores are considered to be pioneers in the area of truthful labeling, and are seen as encouragement to other grocers to provide transparent labeling as well. 

Nature’s Food Patch employs GMO researcher Patience Melton, who is responsible for researching all products to verify if genetically modified organisms are present, as well as educating employees and consumers on GMOs.  If a product is found to contain GMOs, Patience will actively seek out alternatives to find a non-GMO replacement for those items. If there are no alternatives for a product containing GMOs, these products will be labeled as GMO on the pricetag in the store to ensure customer awareness.

Genetically Modified Organisms are plants or animals derived from genetic engineering.  One example is commercial GMO foods that are engineered to withstand direct contact with insecticide.  While many countries around the world have significant restrictions or outright bans on GMOs, in the US, the government has approved the sale of GMOs, and it lies in the hands of consumers and grocers to educate themselves and actively opt out of purchasing GMOs. 

About Nature’s Food Patch
Nature‘s Food Patch Market & Café (est. 1987) is a community grocery store located on Cleveland Street in Clearwater, FL and is dedicated to offering a complete selection of quality organic and natural products. The store has been enthusiastically embraced by the health minded community and is known for its commitment to organic foods, quality natural products, community involvement and health education. Their vision is to serve and inspire their community in order to build a healthier world.

For More Information:

Cheryl Rosselle
Marketing Director, Nature’s Food Patch
(727) 443-6703 ext 240

Carolanne Le Blanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, July 22, 2016

P F Changs China Bistro, Gluten-Free

We're truly glad that you're here and we will do everything we can to make you want to come back.
On a recent trip to Jacksonville, Florida my girls decided to treat me to an experience that I'd missed for over 20 years now.  We went out for Chinese Food!!  OMG  I didn't realize how much I had missed some good Chinese Food.  I'd heard about P F Chang' fact we have one right in my own neighborhood of Tampa, Florida.  But for some reason I never had the urge to try...probably because it had been so long since I'd had any.  So we packed up the family, kids and all - four generations, and headed out to P F Chang's for dinner.  Seven of us and we were seated almost immediately...that was nice considering the place was packed.  It was a Monday night and the kitchen was hopping.  In fact the kitchen had a big glass wall that allowed everyone to see what was going on.  I told my girls it was like watching Chef Ramsay on Television.

Right away we ordered drinks and my daughter ordered the CHANG'S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS - Their signature appetizer. Wok-seared minced chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts served over crispy rice sticks and served with cool, crisp lettuce cups.  Gluten-Free of course - Oh My!!  Our waitress also brought out a variety of dipping sauces.  Also Gluten-Free - apparently my youngest daughter had informed the waitress of my needs as soon as we sat down.  Have I mentioned that I love my daughters??

When they handed me the menu I was absolutely blown away!!  I honestly expected only a few token items, nothing too complicated.  What I found was a menu with so many Gluten-Free options that I couldn't decide.  There was even a dessert!!  I had to get help choosing something to try.  I ended up with GF MOO GOO GAI PAN - Sliced chicken breast and tender shrimp served w/mushrooms and sliced vegetables in a mild sauce.  My 6yo Granddaughter ordered GF P F CHANG'S FRIED RICE - Wok-fried rice blended w/egg, gluten free soy sauce, carrots, bean sprouts and sliced scallions w/chicken. She wanted to share with me so ordered something safe for me to eat.

We had a wonderful meal.  But we all ate so much that no-one had room for dessert.  My oldest daughter has promised me we'll take a ride over to the Tampa restaurant some day just to try that dessert :-)

On the way out one of the evening Manager's stopped to ask if I had enjoyed my meal.  I told him that because of being Wheat-Free and Gluten-Free I had not been able to enjoy Chinese Food until that night.  I told him my meal was incredible and I couldn't describe how happy I was to be able to eat out in confidence with my family.  He told me that not only was P F Chang's working on expanding their menu even further...but that they were working on bringing their Gluten-Free dishes to the local Grocer's Freezer too!  Happy News!!

STARTER - GF Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps
NOODLES - GF Singapore Street Noodles
VEGETARIAN - GF Buddha's Feast
SOUP - GF Egg Drop Soup
RICE - GF P F Chang's Fried Rice
SIDES - GF Spinach Stir-Fried W/Garlic, GF Garlic Snap Peas, GF Shanghai Cucumbers
ENTREES - GF Chang's Spicy Chicken, GF Mongolian Beef, GF Ginger Chicken W/Broccoli, GF Moo Goo Gai Pan, GF Beef W/Broccoli, GF Norwegian Salmon Steamed W/Ginger, GF Shrimp W/Lobster Sauce, GF Beef Á La Sichuan, GF Pepper Steak
DESSERT - GF Flourless Chocolate Dome
NOTES ABOUT THIS MENU - All Gluten Free items are served on a special plate with the P.F. Chang’s logo. These menu items are either gluten free as prepared, or are modified to be gluten free.

Carolanne Le Blanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, July 15, 2016

King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Mix - and Donuts!!

King Arthur Flour is proud to introduce the very best gluten-free bread mix you’ll ever bake.  Certified Gluten-Free™ by the non-profit Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG®).

I’ve been Wheat-Free then Gluten-Free for over 25 years now.  And the two things that I desperately miss are donuts and bread :-(  I’m afraid to admit it…but I’m a bread snob.  There is NOTHING on the market that can beat a really great Wheatfull, Glutenfull bread or donut. {{Sigh}}  But I keep trying.  And I’ve found one or two that are actually worth buying or making on my own.  Rudi’s Raisin Bread is actually one of my favorites.  And I absolutely love my Chebe Rolls. 

So when I received some King Arthur Bread Mix I decided to just plunge right in and give them a chance too.  The other day I made up some of this new-to-me bread for our Gluten-Intolerance Support Group.  I followed the directions using coconut oil and coconut milk - I’ve been experimenting for a friend who is Dairy Free.  As it mixed up I watched in fascination as it all came together and actually began to look like bread dough!!  Not really the knead it on the counter consistency…but certainly not the pour it in the pan consistency I was used to.  It actually had a glutenous look…some elasticity.  I watched it for a minute and then began to wonder – Hmmmm, could I make donuts with this??  Needless to say, when it came time to put it into the pan I scooped some out and hid it in the refrigerator for after the meeting.  My loaf was a little small…but no-one seemed to notice :-)  It was actually a hit!  Everyone loved it; it was soft and not grainy at all.  It didn’t crumble when touched.  And true to their word three days later it was still really good bread.  I was impressed and put this on my list of possibilities for my future bread cravings.

The next day was Sunday...and the perfect time to experiment with some extra calories.  I remember my mom making Fried Dough or Doughnuts on Sunday mornings.  She'd actually stop at a local bakery and pick up a bag of their dough so we could make them fresh at home.  So out came my pot, my favorite cooking oil and the left over bread mix I had tucked away.  While I waited for the oil to heat up I mixed up a bit of cinnamon and sugar to coat my finished donuts with.  Since I didn't want to mess with the dough to much I decided to simply drop spoonfulls into the hot oil.  I was just tickled silly with the results!!  Within minutes I had several donuts sitting on paper to drain...then rolled around in the cinnamon & sugar mix...before taking my first bite of a still warm, wonderfully tasty, slightly sweet donut!!  They were perfect...golden brown on the outside with just a bit of crunch...white and incredibly soft inside...and topped off with a bit of sweet. MMMmmm!!

Egg Replacement Tips: We recommend using the flax egg replacer . We tried a commercial egg replacer, and our recipe based on starches, but found the flax gel worked the best, plus you get the added benefit of flax. The commercial egg replacer and the starch based recipe was slightly more dense. Use finely ground golden flax if you want a mild flavor, brown for a more “whole grain” taste.

135 US Route 5 South
Norwich, Vermont 05055-9430
phone: 802.649.3361
fax: 802.649.3365

Ingredients: Specialty Flour Blend (Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch), Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Sugar, Emulsifier (Rice Starch, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Mono- And Diglycerides Of Fatty Acids), Salt, Xanthan Gum. Dry Yeast: Yeast, Sorbitan Monostearate, Ascorbic Acid.
Produced in a dedicated Gluten-Free, Allergenfree* Manufacturing Facility.
*Free of the 8 Most Common Food Allergens

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, July 8, 2016

My personal experience

Nearly 30 years ago I developed this horrific rash that managed to cover nearly 75% of my body.  It started slowly enough…but two dermatologist, a walk in clinic, and two primary care doctors later it had nearly taken over.  I was suddenly several hundred dollars poorer and no-one had a clue.  I had tests, creams, lotions, wraps and nothing worked.  I was panic stricken.  Finally I received a verbal referral from a friend to go and see a Naturopath.  Back in those days it wasn’t unusual for a Naturopath to stay hidden in the shadows.  At the time I received my referral the FDA (or some other Government Agency) was busy closing as many Nature based offices as they could terrorize.  So I went to see my new Naturopath…and she literally saved my life!!  I left with a bag full of ‘stuff’ and still had money in my pocket!!  Wow!!  Within two weeks I could tell that I was well on my way to healing completely and I’ve been devoted to my Naturopath ever since. 

I didn’t realize it right away…but my skin issues were my body’s way of making me understand that I was one really sick puppy!!  I think that one of the saddest days of my life was when my Naturopath finally told me that I was allergic to Wheat and that I could never eat regular bread again.  I was just devastated.  I remember driving home in this sort of numb cloud.  To never eat bread again…how was I going to do that?? Up until that point I had never heard of a Health Food Store…let alone walk into one.  And what I found for wheat free products was enough to make me cry.  And I discovered it wasn’t just bread…but cakes, cookies, and pasta…all the things that I absolutely loved.  I was alone…there were no support groups then…I had no-one to talk to…and no-one had even heard of a wheat allergy…let alone know how to deal with one.  So I went without…but I felt better every day and that was such a blessing it was worth the loneliness.

There is no proven medical study. But in my research online I keep finding references to Celiac being passed down through the Celtic line - Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.  And the closer the family ties are to any of the Celtic Nations…the higher the probability that you do have Celiac.  I’ve read that it can be like Diabetes in that everyone has it…but it takes a traumatic event in life to trigger it.  I’ve also read that for many people they didn’t have any issues with Celiac until after an accident or physical trauma, or some sort of mental/emotional stress.  Many people support that it can be triggered by a life changing event.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, July 1, 2016

Did You Know? Facts about Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance

Here are some of the most staggering facts about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Each statement highlights the need for education and awareness among the Medical and Culinary Communities as well as the General Public.

An estimated 3 million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from Celiac.

You don’t need to have Celiac Disease to be affected by it.  There are many different Diseases that can co-exist with (or because of) Celiac Disease.  Autism - Infertility – Migraine - Thyroid Disease – Depression - Intestinal Cancer - Osteoporosis/Osteopenia - Turner Syndrome - Dermatitis Herpetiformis - Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Peripheral Neuropathy - Type 1 Diabetes - Down Syndrome - Liver Disease -Sjogren's Disease - Williams Syndrom

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune digestive Disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  Because of this constant malnutrition many areas of the body can be affected making Celiac Disease one of the hardest Diseases to diagnose.  1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease, as many as 95% of Celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with any number of other conditions. Celiac Disease can lead to any number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune Diseases.

6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed.  Once a person is diagnosed 5-22% of Celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has Celiac.

$5,000-$12,000 is the average cost of misdiagnosis per person/per year of Celiac, not including lost work time.

There are NO pharmaceutical cures for Celiac Disease. A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for Celiac today.

The Celiac Disease diagnosis rate may reach 50-60% by 2019, thanks to efforts to raise public awareness of Celiac Disease.

Gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015.

It’s all in the numbers…
The number of people with Celiac Disease in the U.S. would fill 4,400 Boeing 747 airplanes. It would take 936 cruise ships to hold every American with Celiac Disease. The number of people with Celiac Disease in the U.S. is roughly equal to the number of people living in the state of Nevada. Alaska, Delaware, Washington DC, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont all have populations that are less than 2,200,000 - the number of people living with Celiac Disease in the United States.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chebe Gluten Free Bread Mixes

Slightly Unusual...Unusually Good
All Chebe Products Are Produced In A 100% Wheat Free Facility
Original Chebe Bread mix is unlike any other bread. Based on the Brazilian pao de queijo ("cheese bread"), its main ingredients come from the topical manioc plant (aka cassava or yucca).

These little rolls are simply the best!!  My friends and family affectionately call them “Yuckie Rolls” at my house…but there is nothing yuckie about them!!  In fact we never have a get together when someone doesn’t go looking for them on the table…birthdays, holidays, BBQ’s.  It doesn’t matter…I have to make certain these little Gluten-Free Cheese Rolls are always on the menu.  I’ve been creating with this mix for quite a while now.  I love to try different cheeses & herbs.  I’ve even used those mini pepperonis and cheese, or finely chopped onion & garlic right in the batter…even some minced ham with cheese. MMMmmm…wonderful!! 

At first…getting the batter right was a challenge.  The directions were fine…but I’m lazy when it comes to getting my hands into things…kneading dough…and cleaning up the mess afterwards.  So I have a Kitchenaid…with a heavy duty beater…and I’ve discovered that if I put all the ingredients into the mixer and set it to run for several minutes that everything blends up just fine.  I don’t know if it’s because of where I live…Florida…or just my personal preference…but I do add a bit of extra liquid to the dough to get it just right.  I use those tiny muffins tins - when the rolls puff up they tend to roll around on a flat surface.  The muffin tins work perfectly to keep them under control.

One day I was searching for new ideas to use and read where someone described the final appearance of the dough as very similar to the dough used in making Éclairs.  Whoa!!  I hadn’t had a decent Éclair in years and I thought that the finished rolls might be just perfect…if I just made them plain and didn’t add the cheese.  They would be nice and soft inside…with a perfect, crispy crust outside. So I made up a batch without the cheese…used Kefir for the liquid just to get them to puff up a bit extra…and grabbed my favorite Gluten-Free Vanilla Pudding and Chocolate Frosting in anticipation.  It was a bit of a challenge waiting for those little puffs to get cold...but I managed.  I filled them up with the pudding, added a touch of frosting to the tops and Oh Boy!!  I was in heaven!!  I just had to share them with everyone...or I would have eaten them all by myself.

Chebe Bread Products
1840 Lundberg Drive
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

PH: 1-800-217-9510
- or -

Ingredients: Manioc (tapioca) flour, modified manioc starch (100% manioc), dry milk, iodine-free sea salt.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771