Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

eZG's delightful pumpkin bread will fill your home with the aroma of the holiday's.

eZG Gluten-Free Flour Mix:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch (not flour)

2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup of apple sauce or canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 can of organic pumpkin
chocolate chips (Enjoy Life)

  • Instructions 

    1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
    2.  Place sugar and applesauce (or oil) in mixing bowl and blend.
    3.  Add eggs and beat well
    4.  Mix together flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk
    5.  Add flour mixture to liquid mixture and blend
    6.  Add pumpkin and hand mix until blended.
    7.  Add optional ingredients and stir
    8.  Put mix into a bread pan, lined with parchment paper or well oiled.
    9.  Bake at 350 for 50 -60 minutes.
    10.  When the bread is done, remove as soon as possible, and place on cooling rack.

  • Thursday, November 28, 2013

    FDA New Gluten-Free Label Rules and Restaurants.


    According to the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Nation's Restaurant News, on November 26, 2013 the FDA announced new gluten-free labeling laws that pertain to restaurants. In August 2013, the FDA made a final ruling on gluten-free labeling laws which they have now expanded to restaurants. 

    In the article, on Nation's Restaurant News by Bret Thorn,  he quotes Betsy Craig, Founder of Nutrition consulting Firm Menu Trinfo, " Many “gluten free” items at restaurants now fail to meet the FDA new standard, according to Craig. She said that 90 percent of the menu items claiming to be gluten free actually contain quite a bit of gluten."
    “These chefs’ hearts are in the right place and they think they’re doing the right thing, but when we look under the hood we see that they need more help,” she explained. “There are so many ingredients that mean gluten that don’t say ‘gluten’ — things like malt, or malt vinegar, or barley or rye.

    The new label laws will help these chefs to be sure that what they are purchasing for gluten-free food is actually gluten-free. It also requires restaurants to be responsible for the gluten-free claims they make.

    The FDA answered this question on the FAQ page:  

    9. Does the final rule apply to gluten-free claims made for foods served in restaurants, including cafeterias and buffets? 
    FDA recognizes that compliance with the gluten-free rule in processed foods and food served in restaurants is important for the health of people with celiac disease.

    In August 2013, FDA issued final rule that established a federal definition of the term ‘”gluten-free” for food manufacturers that voluntarily label FDA-regulated foods as “gluten-free.” This definition is intended to provide a reliable way for people with celiac disease to avoid gluten, and we expect that restaurants’ use of “gluten-free” labeling will be consistent with the federal definition. The deadline for compliance with the rule is not until August 2014, although we have encouraged the food industry to bring its labeling into compliance with the new definition as soon as possible.
    Given the public health significance of “gluten-free” labeling, we encourage the restaurant industry to move quickly to ensure that its use of “gluten-free” labeling is consistent with the federal definition and look forward to working with the industry to support their education and outreach to restaurants.

    In addition, state and local governments play an important role in oversight of restaurants. We expect to work with our state and local government partners with respect to gluten-free labeling in restaurants. We will consider enforcement action as needed, alone or with other agencies, to protect consumers.

    The terminology requirements will be the same for restaurants as they are for food manufacturers.

    FDA  Gluten Free” Terms are:
         "Consumers may also see the terms:

    • “Gluten-free”
    • “Free of gluten”
    • “No gluten”
    • “Without gluten”
         The new FDA regulation applies to all of these variations."

    The new FDA terms apply to foods products. especially processed foods. Manufacturers have until August 2014 to comply. 

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    Holiday Temptations

    During the holiday's people are often tempted to justify eating foods they are not supposed to eat. This includes people who are supposed to be gluten-free for health reasons, Celiacs included. Do not let the temptations of the holiday derail your health. 

    I know how difficult it is to walk into someplace that is filled with the fragrance of wonderful foods and know that I cannot eat them. I have gotten past the temptations because I have suffered too much in the past, from eating gluten or dairy. Now I enjoy the aromas and sights. I love looking at a beautifully made meal or a gorgeous chocolate mouse pie. 

    Try to find the joy in the experience. For me, the holiday has always been about the people and the food is a delightful addition. Now those foods have changed, but I am so thankful to still have so many people I love with me on the holidays.

    I just read a 6 part article on the Living Without site called, "Why Celiacs Cheat?" by Erica Dermer. Though the article addresses Celiacs, it could easily be titled, "Why People Cheat When They are on a Restricted Diet?" It is worth reading and may help you stay on course through this holiday season.

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Are You Thankful to be Living a Gluten-Free Life!

    The holiday's can be a warm, loving time or it can be a challenging time, especially for people with food  restrictions. I remember my 1st gluten-free Thanksgiving. I was going to a family friend's home, who was kind enough to allow me to bring gluten-free (GF) and dairy-free (DF)dishes. 

    My family had only been GF for 6 months and I was very new at cooking GF. I made a stuffing, gravy, a vegetable dish and 2 pies and then transported it over to my friends house. They had cooked a complete Thanksgiving meal, so we set the buffet area up by dividing the GF and non- GF foods. The GF & DF food was okay but not great and it was obvious by the leftovers. 

    By Christmas I was in full "Poor Me" mode. I am Italian and for me, like many  people, part of what makes the holiday's special are the traditional foods we eat. I had not mastered GF & DF cookies yet, I had to recreate a GF & DF lasagna and everything was feeling a bit overwhelming. And then I received an amazing gift. One of Gratitude!

    During Christmas dinner, someone asked me if living GF had improved my health. I started to rattle off all the symptoms that were now gone or at least much better.  I spoke about the brain fog lifting and how clear life seemed now. At that moment, I realized even with all the challenges of living GF, I was THANKFUL. Very, very thankful that my body and mind were healing. I have not allowed "Poor Me" back in again. (Well, that may not be totally truthful)

    How about you? Do you find the Holiday's challenging?  Is your food restrictions stopping you from fully enjoying this season?

    If you are struggling to find the gratitude in living GF, I suggest you check out, The Gratitude Habit's blog and Pinterest. They are filled with wonderful "gratitude" craft ideas, for the whole family. 

    Happy Holiday's !

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Dedicated Gluten-Free Bakeries in Southern California

                                             Southern California's Local Gluten-Free Bakeries

                   These are a few of the best Gluten-Free Bakeries in Southern, CA

                                                             Los Angeles Area, CA:  

                             Breakaway Bakery
                             The Gluten-Free Goddess Bakery:
                             The Good Cookies:
                             Rising Heart     
                             Whisk Gluten-Free Bakery

                                                           Orange County, CA
                             Fountain Valley, Ca: 
                                                  Sensitive Sweets
                             San Juan Capistrano, CA:                                                              
                                                  Cloud 9 Bakers

                                                         San Diego County, CA
                             Encinitas, CA:   
                                                   2 Good 2 Be    
                                                   Healthy Creations
                             San Diego, CA:                                                                       
                                                   Paula’ Gluten-Free Bakery
                                                   Stephanie’s Bakery

                             WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE BAKERIES? 
                             Please share your favorite gluten-free bakeries, so that we can        
                             build a library of great gluten-free bakeries around the country. 
                             Thank you!

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Gluten-Free Baking Hints

    When I first started baking GF, I assumed it would be an easy transition but I was wrong. My GF baked goods came out either too moist, too crumbly, burnt and/or the flavors often tasted off.  I set out to find out the secrets to successful GF baking.  After many failed attempts, I started to get the hang of it. I love to bake and enjoyed the process of learning to create gluten-free baked goods. These suggestions can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made. Have fun exploring the world of GF baking.

    1.  If you are converting a gluten recipe to a GF recipe YOU CANNOT directly substitute one, gluten- free flour, for a gluten flour. In order to have a success GF baked good, it will take a combination of GF flour, starches and gums. 
    2. Gluten-free flours can lack nutrient and fiber, so learning to play around with healthier flours such as  almond, hazelnut, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and sorghum flour  can add the fiber and nutrition that is lacking in white and brown rice flour.  Many of these flours have a distinct flavor, so use them as an addition to white and/or brown rice flour. For every cup of flour, I often substitute ¼ cup of one of these healthier flours. 
    3. GF flours made from legumes or nuts such as almond flour or garbanzo bean flour need to go in the refrigerator after opening or it will go rancid. According to Beth Hillson of Living Without Magazine, (Aug/Sept 2013 issue): “Whole-grain flours, such as amaranth, millet, brown rice and quinoa “… need to be stored in the refrigerated (6 months) or freezer (9-12 months). Nut flours need to be stored in the refrigerator (3 months) or freezer (up to 6 months).  
    4. Allowing the flours to warm to room temperature will help the equality of the end product.
    5. All GF flour mixes need starch such as potato starch (not flour), tapioca starch or arrowroot. The ratio is usually 70% flour to 30 % starches. These starches are necessary for consistency and texture.
    6. The recipes will need a gum product such as Xanthan gum (derived from corn) or guar gum. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes.  
      Most baking powder contains corn, so if you are avoiding corn you can purchase FeatherWeight Baking Powder by Hain Pure, which is corn- free. 
      Measuring all ingredients exactly is essential. You cannot eyeball the amount of flour, etc or the recipe will not come out as intended.    
    7.  I have found that the pans you use can make a big difference in the quality of the baked goods.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *Aluminum or tin pans allow the product to brown evenly by reflecting the heat away 
      for the product.
      *Glass pans conduct heat and will brown the product quickly, so the product will be denser. Reducing the heat by 25 degrees will help.
      *Non-stick pans also require a lower heat to prevent the product from getting too dense and dark.
    8.   If you are using a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper to prevent the product from sticking and the bottom of the cookies from burning.
       After your baked goods come out of the oven, remove them from the pan, as soon as possible, to prevent moisture from increasing and the item from getting mushy.
       GF baked goods can only be left on the counter for 24 hours. Putting it in the refrigerator changes the texture and moisture content. It has to be frozen, so I cut the items in individual sizes and use wax paper or parchment paper to divide them. This way you can take out one piece at a time.
    9. Just a side note: GF flours are denser than gluten flours therefore have more calories.  
    10. Please use the comment section to add any GF baking hints that you have discovered.                                                                                                 
                                     Baking is fun, so relax and enjoy the process.

    For additional information about gluten-free baking visit:
    Gluten- Free Goddess  (Gluten- Free Baking Substitute List)

    Living Without Magazine  (Gluten-Free Baking Substitution List)

    Living Without Magazine  (Gluten-Free Flours)

     An excerpt from Gluten-Free Living 101, A Step by Step Guide by Marian Z Geringer

    "Any person that is very sensitive to gluten or have other food allergies should review all information in order to make an informed decision"