Moving my blog

Thank you everyone for reading my blog.  I really enjoy writing about gluten-free topics.  I have been trying to maintain more than one blog and I have not been doing either one well.  I decided to combine my blogs and have just one blog about all the different shades of Lavender.  I would love to have you follow me to my new blog.

shadesoflavender.wordpress.com

 

Enjoy!

 

Health code

Again this is a re-post from an old blog, enjoy!

Yesterday, I went out to dinner for a birthday celebration. The restaurant was one that my gluten-free family has never eaten at before. So I called ahead to talk to the restaurant to find out what our gluten-free options were. Right away they informed me that there was gluten-free menu available. That was so great to hear, it is really frustrating when I call and the people on the other end of the phone do not know what gluten is! This manager knew what gluten was and they had a gluten-free version of their menu… bonus.
Next, I asked the manager what options were available for my children. The manager informed me that she would have to ask the chef and call me back. Great, I would rather have an educated answer then no answer. So far I was impressed by the way this restaurant was handing my gluten-free situation.
When the manager called me back she dropped the bomb. She told me that there was nothing on the menu for my children; they would have to order off the adult menu. I told her that it was OK, I would just bring food for them. She told me and I quote, “You are not able to bring any food into the restaurant because it is against the Maryland State Health Code.” I hung up the phone politely but I was beyond mad. You do not mess with Mama Bear. She offered my children raw oysters and told me I could not bring in my own food… It took chocolate and cheesecake to calm me down (Both gluten-free). What do you mean that I can’t bring my own food? As a gluten-free family we bring our own food everywhere. Were we breaking Health Code every time we brought food into a restaurant?
I had to find out. I started researching on the internet with no luck so I called the Maryland Law Library. After they researched my question, they informed me that there was in fact NO law or code stating that a customer can not bring food into a restaurant.
Please pass this on to everyone that you know with allergies. We have the right to bring food into a restaurant. I verified this with the Law Library, The Health Department, The Bureau of Environmental Health and The Food Protection Agency. Do not let restaurants tell you that you can not bring in your own food. It is a necessity when you have someone with food allergies or a special diet. Stand up for your right and if you have any trouble call the Attorney General’s Office their number is 410-528-8662.

Health code

Again this is a re-post from an old blog, enjoy!

Yesterday, I went out to dinner for a birthday celebration. The restaurant was one that my gluten-free family has never eaten at before. So I called ahead to talk to the restaurant to find out what our gluten-free options were. Right away they informed me that there was gluten-free menu available. That was so great to hear, it is really frustrating when I call and the people on the other end of the phone do not know what gluten is! This manager knew what gluten was and they had a gluten-free version of their menu… bonus.
Next, I asked the manager what options were available for my children. The manager informed me that she would have to ask the chef and call me back. Great, I would rather have an educated answer then no answer. So far I was impressed by the way this restaurant was handing my gluten-free situation.
When the manager called me back she dropped the bomb. She told me that there was nothing on the menu for my children; they would have to order off the adult menu. I told her that it was OK, I would just bring food for them. She told me and I quote, “You are not able to bring any food into the restaurant because it is against the Maryland State Health Code.” I hung up the phone politely but I was beyond mad. You do not mess with Mama Bear. She offered my children raw oysters and told me I could not bring in my own food… It took chocolate and cheesecake to calm me down (Both gluten-free). What do you mean that I can’t bring my own food? As a gluten-free family we bring our own food everywhere. Were we breaking Health Code every time we brought food into a restaurant?
I had to find out. I started researching on the internet with no luck so I called the Maryland Law Library. After they researched my question, they informed me that there was in fact NO law or code stating that a customer can not bring food into a restaurant.
Please pass this on to everyone that you know with allergies. We have the right to bring food into a restaurant. I verified this with the Law Library, The Health Department, The Bureau of Environmental Health and The Food Protection Agency. Do not let restaurants tell you that you can not bring in your own food. It is a necessity when you have someone with food allergies or a special diet. Stand up for your right and if you have any trouble call the Attorney General’s Office their number is 410-528-8662.

Gluten Free Big Mac

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a junk food junkie. BUT, I feel like a hypocrite.  I work hard to grow my own vegetables, shop at farmers markets and research where my food comes from. I raise chickens in my backyard for fresh eggs. Some people would even call me extreme! But there are times when I just love a good Big Mac.  There is something comforting in it.   I sit in my truck and stuff my face like I am committing a crime.  So to address my own guilt I have been researching how to make the wonderful special sauce at home.  Here is the recipe that I have found and made it gluten free so that all my gluten free friends can enjoy the simple pleasure of a Big Mac.

This recipe is an adapted recipe from topsecretrecipes.com

1/2 cup mayo                                                                                                                                       
2 tbsp french dressing, (I used Organic Ville French Organic Dressing)
3 tbsp sweet pickle relish (I found a gluten free, dye free relish at Trader Joes)
1 tbsp finely minced white onion
1 tsp white vinegar
pinch of salt
 

Mix all ingredients together, store in fridge until cool, it is best if left overnight to cool.  The original recipe called for sugar.  The French dressing and the sweet pickle relish that I used were so sweet that I did not add additional sugar.  If you taste it and it is too tart go ahead and add some sugar, just a teaspoon will work.

Want fries with that?  Of course!!! What Big Mac is complete without fries?  We fried up some gluten free fries from Trader Joes and served our burgers on Udi’s hamburger buns.  It was heaven…I even made myself some sweet tea.

So everyone sing with me “One locally raised beef pattie, special gluten free sauce, lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickles, onions on an Udi’s gluten free bun!”

I would love to hear how yours turns out, please leave me a comment.

 

 

Gluten-free couponing

Gluten-free living on a budget
I don’t know about you, but for us, money is tight. The cost of food is through the roof. The specialty diet foods are so expensive that you have to think outside the box. We are a family of four and we are able to eat gluten free for about $300 a month. I love sales and coupons. There are some people, and I was one of them, that because we needed gluten-free food we could not use coupons. That is no true. You are not going to be able to use all of the coupons, however, you can still shop sales and use coupons.
I am going to start breaking down the sales and the coupons each week so that you can see how we shop and live gluten-free on a budget. A major way that cut prices is I get household products, like cleaners and body products for next to nothing, but I am not going to include those sales in this blog. We are going to talk about gluten-free food sales and coupons only.
Ok FYI: The coupons come from two different companies: Redplum.com and smartsource so I will break up the coupons by which company put them out.
This weeks gluten-free coupons in the paper:
Redplum.com
Kunzler Hotdogs $1.10 off
Smucker’s Ice Cream Topping $1.00 off
SmartSource:
Chi-Chi’s Salsa .50 off
Chex cereal $1.00 off/ 2
Land O lakes Deli cheese and buttery spread there are three coupons for $1.00 off
SunSweet prunes .75 off
Masterpiece BBQ $1.00
Heluva Good Dips $1.00/2
Oscar Mayer turkey bacon, deli meats and hot dogs $1.00/2
Classico Pasta Sauces $1.00 /2
Red Hot Hot sauce $1.00/2
Dole fruit and gel cups $1.00/2
Jell-o $1.00
Kikkoman sauces $1.00/2
I will post the store match ups and sales later. I hope this is helpful to others.

Email response from Heinz

I call and email companies all the time about their products. I decided that it would be helpful to post some the responses that I get back on the blog. This way, hopefully, it will save you from having to call the company.

This is the email sent to me from Heinz, I hope it is helpful.

March 30, 2011
Dear Lavender,

Thank you for your interest in Heinz Products. We certainly understand how difficult it can be to find foods that meet the requirements of a restricted diet.

As you requested, the following is a listing of all of our products that do NOT have gluten containing ingredients. If the product you asked about is not on this list, then it may contain gluten containing ingredients.  Also, please note that recipes can change without notice.  Therefore, we recommend you always check the ingredient statement on the label.

HEINZ PRODUCTS:
Heinz BBQ Sauces  (Original, Chicken & Rib, Garlic, Honey Garlic Only)
Heinz Chili Sauce (All Varieties)
Heinz Cocktail Sauce (All Varieties)
Heinz Horseradish Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Heinz No-Sodium Added Ketchup
Heinz Hot Ketchup
Heinz Mustard  (All Varieties)
Heinz Pickles  (All Varieties)
Heinz Peppers  (All Varieties)
Heinz Relish  (All Varieties)
Heinz Sloppy Joe Sauce
Heinz Tartar Sauce
Heinz Traditional Steak Sauce
Heinz Worcestershire Sauce
Heinz Vegetarian Beans
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar
Heinz Garlic Wine Vinegar
Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauces  (Original #7, Honey Smokehouse, Hickory Brown Sugar, Spicy BBQ Only)
Jack Daniel’s EZ Marinader — Teriyaki, Garlic & Herb, Steakhouse
Jack Daniel’s Steak Sauce (Both Varieties)
Lea & Perrins White Wine Marinade
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (All Varieties)
Lea & Perrins Traditional Steak Sauce
TGI Fridays Salsa  (All Varieties)

CLASSICO PRODUCTS:
Classico Red Sauces  (All Varieties)
Classico Alfredo Sauces (All Varieties)
Classico Pesto Sauces  (All Varieties)
Classico Bruschetta (All Varieties)

ORE-IDA PRODUCTS:
UPC CODE:          PRODUCT NAME:
13120XXXXX-        ALL VARIETIES of Ore-Ida® Tater Tots®
1312001879        Ore-Ida® ABC Tater Tots®
1312000080        Ore-Ida Golden Patties® (9 ct.)
1312000258        Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (32 oz.)
1312000278        Ore-Ida® Golden Fries®  (5 lb.)
1312000286        Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (32 oz.)
1312000291        Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (5 lb.)
1312000296        Ore-Ida® Pixie Crinkles (26 oz.)
1312000377        Ore-Ida® Cottage Fries (32 oz.)
1312000392        Ore-Ida® Southern Style Hash Browns (32 oz.)
1312000428        Ore-Ida® Country Style Steak Fries (28 oz.)
1312000455        Ore-Ida® Zesty Twirls (28 oz.)
1312000469        Ore-Ida® Potatoes O’Brien (28 oz.)
1312000647        Ore-Ida® French Fries (8 lb.)
1312000654        Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)
1312000784        Ore-Ida® Steam N’ Mash Cut Russets®
1312000785        Ore-Ida® Steam N’ Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes®
1312000787        Ore-Ida® Steam N’ Mash Garlic Seasoned Potatoes®
1312000483        Ore-Ida® Golden Twirls® (28 oz.)
1312000484        Ore-Ida® Zesties® (2 lb.)
1312000800        Ore-Ida® Steak Fries® (28 oz.)
1312000801        Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (5 lb)
1312000828        Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (28 oz.)
1312000833        Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (30 oz.)
1312000862        Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)
1312001036        Ore-Ida® Crispers® (20 oz.)
1312001176        Ore-Ida® Waffle Fries® (22 oz.)
1312001251        Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Easy Golden Crinkles
1312001260        Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Crinkle Cut (26 oz.)
1312001280        Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Seasoned Crinkle Cut® (26 oz.)
1312001417        Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries (26 oz.)
1312001461        Ore-Ida® Country Fries  (30 oz.)
1312001492        Ore-Ida® Fast Food Fries (4 lb.)
1312008564        Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)
1312008565        Ore-Ida® Golden Fries (8 lb.)
1312008572        Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)  CLUB
1312001320        Ore-Ida® Sweet Potato Fries
1312001330        Ore-Ida® Sweet Potato Fries

DELI-MEX PRODUCTS
All Delimex Tamales
All Delimex CORN Taquitos
1769604640        Delimex Chipotle Beef Rice Bowl
1769604630        Delimex Santa Fe Style Chicken Rice Bowl

SMART ONES PRODUCTS:
UPC CODE:          PRODUCT NAME:
2580002011        Smart Ones Broccoli & Cheddar Potatoes
2580002247        Smart Ones Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata
2580002254        Smart Ones Fiesta Chicken
2580002360        Smart Ones Santa Fe Rice & Beans
2580002918        Smart Ones Chicken Santa Fe
2580002931        Smart Ones Cranberry Turkey Medallions
2580002290        Smart Ones Honey Dijon Chicken

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us.  If you need further information, feel free to call us at this toll-free number (1-800-255-5750).  Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM, Eastern Time.

Heinz Consumer Resource Center
Heinzconsumeraffairs@us.hjheinz.com

When contacting us, please refer to the following reference number: 003347732A

HEINZ/JNEEL

P.S. – For your convenience, here’s a recipe for a barbecue sauce without gluten-containing ingredients:

Heinz Ketchup Basic Barbecue Sauce

½ cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Brush ribs or chicken with sauce during last 10 minutes of grilling or broiling.

Makes about ¾ cup of sauce.

Gluten-free Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

I just nailed the perfect beef stroganoff!  It is wonderful.  The meat is tender and juicy and the sauce is savory and wonderful.  Did I mention that it was gluten-free and low fat…. I know you think I am crazy, but it really is wonderful.  This is going to take a leap of faith, because you are going to look at the ingredients and tell me I am nuts… but it really is wonderful.

Ingredients List:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb stew beef, (I cut them into smaller bite size pieces for the kids).

½ onion diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Dash of salt

2 dashes of pepper

About two cup of water or so

¼ cup white wine

½ package of whole mushrooms, diced

1 tablespoon parsley

2 tablespoon corn (or potato) starch

1 can of white beans, rinsed

1 cup fat free ricotta cheese

¼ cup milk

A package of gluten-free spiral noodles (I used the ones from Trader Joes)

I use a Dutch over, but I use a Dutch oven for a lot of stuff… a large skillet will work.  Heat your skillet on high. Once your meat is small bite size pieces add olive oil to the pan.  Brown the beef with the onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Turn it down to medium heat and just let it be happy for a while stirring occasionally.  If the meat starts to stick add a little bit of water to get the good happy bits off the bottom of the pan.

This is a good time to start the water for your noodles.

Once the meat is all brown and the onions are soft use the wine to deglaze the pan.  Once the pan has deglazed and the wine is all soaked up by the meat add about a cup of the rest of the water. While the meat is simmering chop your mushrooms and add them to the meat. This is also a good time to add parsley.  The sauce will reduce again; add the rest of the water.  This should create a nice dark brown sauce, if it is too thin add some starch, if it is too thick and there is no brown sauce, add more water.

For the beans, the milk and the ricotta cheese I use an immersion blender.   Whatever you have to puree the beans, the milk and the ricotta together, this is your “sauce” for the beef.   Stir it into your beef mixture.  Set the heat to low and stir occasionally till your noodles are done.  Once your noodles are done, plate and serve.  It is wonderful.  Enjoy.

Leave me a message and let me know how it worked and what you thought, I like feedback.

Awareness

It is 1030 at night.  My son is still awake because he is so pumped up on steroids and stimulants he can hardly sit still.  His Celiac Disease not only attacks his intestines but it also attacks his lungs.  He gets symptoms similar to bronchitis.  His lungs fill up with fluid and the vessels in his lungs swell, restricting his airway.  When it happens he has to be on inhaled steroids, and albuterol. The side effect of the medication is he is wired.

All of this happened this time because someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to add wheat to a chicken breast.  Why does there have to be wheat in a plain grilled chicken breast? We went out to a restaurant on Friday and my little buddy ordered grilled chicken on a stick.  Within 30 minutes he was sick.

As a Mom I sit here helpless.  I have no magic wand to make it go away.  As much as I want to, I cannot “bibi-bopi-bo”, as my daughter would say, and make everything gluten free. I cannot get rid of Celiac Disease. There is no cure.  There is no pill or injection or make them better. When they are exposed to gluten they suffer for days, sometimes even weeks.  They suffer by not being able to eat, or they have diarrhea, vomiting, and immense stomach cramping and bloating.   Nothing comforts them.  On top of the stomach symptoms, my buddy boy cannot breath.  He has to watch his friends run around because his lungs cannot handle the exercise.   And that is just the symptoms of my son. I could go on to describe what my daughter and my husband go through, but I will save that for another post.

I research every food that my family comes in contact with.  I read labels until I go cross-eyed and my babies still get sick.  I only can control my own actions.  So my actions will be prayer.   I pray that God continue to use me to raise awareness against this silent, painful disease.  I ask for strength to keep fighting even when I do not want to any more.

If you take nothing else away from my writing, please take away a piece of awareness.  Please know that there are people that are sensitive to gluten.  If you eat gluten, please wash your hands before touching my kids or other people with food sensitivities.  Please vote to have food and medication labels list allergens such as gluten.   This small protein is a huge part of my family’s life and most of the world does not even know what it is.  Thank you for taking the time to become aware.

Health Code

Yesterday, I went out to diner for a birthday celebration. The restaurant was one that my gluten-free family has never eaten at before. So I called ahead to talk to the restaurant to find out what our gluten-free options were. Right away they informed me that there was gluten-free menu available. That was so great to hear, it is really frustrating when I call and the people on the other end of the phone do not know what gluten is! This manager knew what gluten was and they had a gluten-free version of their menu… bonus.
Next, I asked the manager what options were available for my children. The manager informed me that she would have to ask the chef and call me back. Great, I would rather have an educated answer then no answer. So far I was impressed by the way this restaurant was handing my gluten-free situation.
When the manager called me back she dropped the bomb. She told me that there was nothing on the menu for my children; they would have to order off the adult menu. I told her that it was OK, I would just bring food for them. She told me and I quote, “You are not able to bring any food into the restaurant because it is against the Maryland State Health Code.” I hung up the phone politely but I was beyond mad. You do not mess with Mama Bear. She offered my children raw oysters and told me I could not bring in my own food… It took chocolate and cheesecake to calm me down (Both gluten-free). What do you mean that I can’t bring my own food? As a gluten-free family we bring our own food everywhere. Were we breaking Health Code every time we brought food into a restaurant?
I had to find out. I started researching on the internet with no luck so I called the Maryland Law Library. After they researched my question, they informed me that there was in fact NO law or code stating that a customer can not bring food into a restaurant.
Please pass this on to everyone that you know with allergies. We have the right to bring food into a restaurant. I verified this with the Law Library, The Health Department, The Bureau of Environmental Health and The Food Protection Agency. Do not let restaurants tell you that you can not bring in your own food. It is a necessity when you have someone with food allergies or a special diet. Stand up for your right and if you have any trouble call the Attorney General’s Office their number is 410-528-8662.

Pumpkin Cake

It has taken me way too long to post this message.  I baked this cake last weekend and it was so great.  It is moist and flavorful.  The whole family really enjoyed it.

OK, I use real pumpkin because I try really hard to keep it as fresh as possible; in addition I think it is really important to support your local farmers. To make a pumpkin puree is not hard, it just takes a little bit of time.  There are different kinds of pumpkins; some are more watery than others. I used a regular carving pumpkin, because that is what I had.

Wash the pumpkin skin. Slice the pumpkin in half, take out the seeds (Bake the seeds with a little olive oil and Old Bay, it is great). I then slice the pumpkin into pieces that are about 4 inch by 1 inch.  This size makes them easier to handle when they cool and you take the skin off. Now that you have manageable sizes steam the pumpkin pieces until fork tender.  A whole pumpkin could take two batches depending on the size of the pumpkin. Let the pumpkin cool and scoop the “meat” away from the skin.  Put the pumpkin “meat” into a food processor and puree. You might notice some separation and water on the top of the puree after it sits for a while, drain the water off. Now you have yourself the perfect puree, freeze extras if you have any.

When you first read this ingredients list the many different types of flour may make you want to scream.  I really struggled with why in the world a person would need to use so many different types of flour.  Why couldn’t I just use a mix?  Mixes just do not give you the flavor you always want and I do not think they stay very moist.  The different combinations help to make a moister, lighter cake without the gluten.  Please do not get overwhelmed by the different types of flours.  It is doable.  For me, after my husband picked me up off the floor when I realized how much all the flours cost, I found that I saved money and I had more freedom in the kitchen.  I mix and play around with flours now to get when I am looking for in texture and taste. Ok lets get baking!

Now the Pumpkin Spice Cake

 

2 sticks of butter at room temp

1 cup brown rice flour

½ cup white rice flour

¾ cup almond flour

¼ cup sorghum flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 ½ tsp xanthan gum

5 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 ½ cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 ½ cup pumpkin puree

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup molasses

1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

  • Heat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flour Bundt pan. I used tapioca flour to flour my pan.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, it take a couple minutes.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Beat in pumpkin puree, milk and molasses.  The mixture is going to look like it is curdled, trust me it is ok.
  • Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour mixture. Do not over mix.
  • Pour into pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean. About 55- 70 minutes depending on your oven. I found that sometimes the gluten free stuff takes longer.
  • Let it cool for 30 minutes before you invert it and take it out of Bundt.
  • In another bowl mix together the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and serve.

 

I know this is a really long post, but trust me it is worth it.  This is a really great cake and I look forward to making it again for Thanksgiving.