Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bacon and Leek Quiche: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free (Cow)

I set out to find some quiche recipes I could reconstruct. I have successfully converted quiche recipes to gluten-free and dairy-free (cow) ones but wanted to elevate the flavors.  I made two different quiches, both of which got raving reviews from my dinner guests. I made a Bacon and Leek Quiche and a Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (recipe to follow).  

Let's start with the Bacon and Leek Quiche. The house instantly filled with the aromas of bacon cooking. Then the addition of leeks, onion, and spices took this mouthwatering aroma to a whole new level. The best part was the 1st bite. My mouth filled with the tastes from the perfect combination of savory and sweet ingredients. There was silence around the table, then a lot of chatter about the wonderful rich flavors each quiche created. 
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free:Bacon and Leek Quiche

I always make Pie Crust first since it has to be refrigerated for 2 hours.  
I prefer to make my own gluten-free and dairy-free pie crust but if you don't have time there are several pre-made and  frozen options in the stores. For my Flaky Gluten-Free  Pie Crust click on the words or go to my recipe section on this blog

The quiche ingredients can be prepared several hours ahead of time and refrigerated. 

Bacon and Leek Quiche  This version is gluten-free and dairy-free (cow)
      Bacon - 8 slices ( I used turkey bacon but pork would also work well)
      4 eggs (well beaten)
      1/2 cup leeks - chopped
      1/2 cup onions - chopped
      1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
       salt and pepper to taste. 
      2 tablespoons of Earth Balance or Coconut Oil 
      1 1/2 cups of goats cheese or dairy-free alternative
         ( I use 3/4 cup of grated hard goats cheese such as goat Gouda or cheddar and 3 ounces of soft goat cheese)
       1 1/2 cups of milk alternative
          ( A combination of almond or cashew with coconut milk works well. 3/4 of cup of 2 of the milk alternatives) 
       1 tablespoon of melt Earth Balance or Coconut Oil 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
2. Place the prepared crust in the pie pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and place dried pinto beans in the pie pan so that it prevents the crust from bubbling when being pre-baked.
Bake the pie crust for 7 minutes and remove.Remove the beans and parchment paper.Cool for at least 5 minutes before putting quiche mixture into the crust.
3.Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
4. In a frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and allow to cool. Break the cooked bacon into small pieces and set aside. Remove most of the bacon oil form the pan. 
5. In the same frying pan, add leeks, onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 7 minutes. Add a little Earth Balance if needed. Take off heat.
6. Add soft cheese to onion mixture so it can begin to melt from the heat of the mixture. 
7. Combined the eggs, milk, and the 1 tablespoon of melted Earth Balance or Coconut Oil. 
8. Layer the ingredients in to the pie crust a third at a time. 1/3 onion mixture, 1/3 grated hard cheese, 1/3 milk mixture, until pie crust is filled.
9. Bake at 325 for approximately, 40-45 minutes. I always place the uncooked quiche on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil so that any spillage lands on the foil and not on the bottom of the oven.  The quiches should be firm but not solid to the touch. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Flaky Gluten-Free Pie Crust by eZG

Flaky Pie Crust:  adapted from Gluten-Free Girl
makes enough for  top and bottom crust

Gluten-Free Pie Crust: Photo By

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 sorghum flour ( I used Brown rice flour)
1/2 cup potato starch
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup or 8 tablespoons cold butter ( I used Earth Balance or Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening)
1/4 cup ice-cold water, or just enough to make the dough stick together
1 cold extra large egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave

1.Sift together white rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, and salt.  Place into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Working quickly, dice the butter into small pieces and place it evenly around the flour.  Turn the mixer on stir until the flour has a mealy texture and the butter has worked itself into chunks about the size of small peas.
2. Put ¼ cup water in a 1 cup glass measuring cup and add ice.  Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg.  Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and mix well.  Pour egg mix into the flour with the mixer on and stir just until incorporated.
3. With mixer on stir, drizzle water into flour mixture just until the dough starts to come together.  You can push the dough together with your hands, so don’t worry about loose pieces.  It needs to be just wet enough to stick together.
4. Turn dough out onto a piece of waxed paper.  Depending on what you’re going to make, shape the dough accordingly.  If you’re going to make a pie crust, shape the dough into a ball.  If you’re going to make a rectangle tart, then shape it into a rectangle.
5.  Wrap in waxed paper, then again in saran wrap, and place in the refrigerator for several hours or up to one day.
6. Remove dough from refrigerator about 20 minutes before you want to roll it out.  Place between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into desired shape and about 1/8 inch thick.  If your dough cracks around the edges, just take a wet finger and repair the crack.
7. Place one layer in pie pan and the other on top after the ingredients are added. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is Functional Medicine?

I have often referred to, Dr. Cynthia Costa D.C. who is a chiropractor and functional medicine doctor.  Most people know about chiropractic medicine but the term functional medicine has only recently begun to be used in reference to medical care. Just yesterday, my husband, who has be seeing Dr. Costa for 4 ½ years, asked me what a Functional Medicine doctor was.  As I researched a complete explanation, I found pages upon pages of complicated definitions. I am attempting to put those explanations into simpler terms.  For a thorough explanation please go to The Institute For Functional Medical website.

What is Functional Medicine?

"Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and the treatment of complex, chronic disease." (Institute)

The terms Functional medicine, alternative medicine,and/or integrative
medicine are interchangeable. They all address the "whole person" rather than just the symptoms being presented. Each and every one of us is as individual as a snowflake. None of us has the same generic background or the identical make-up.  None of us have the same background story and history. Who are we, where and how did we grow up, what kinds of physical events shaped our lives up until now, what symptoms do we have, what medical and emotional issues have affected our lives, how do we respond to stress, what are our sleep patterns -just a few of the many questions functional medicine doctors address while figuring out the best approach for “you” to begin healing.

"By taking in account the patient's medical history, environment, and lifestyle and combing this information with bio chemistry tests the doctor can consider the long-term health goals of the patient as well as the current chronic medical issues." (Institute)

'The focus of Functional Medicine is "prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques."' (Institute)

Dr. Mark Hyman: Chairman of The Institute for Functional Medicine:
DR. Mark Hyman
     After 15 years of practicing functional medicine and witnessing the extraordinary clinical results from applying this new operating system to chronic disease, I am clear this must be the model for medicine going forward...(Hyman)
... I believe that functional medicine is one of the most important ideas of our time- an idea that can help relieve the unnecessary suffering of millions." (Hyman)
     From heart disease to diabetes, from depression to dementia, from attention deficit disorder to autism, from asthma to autoimmune disease, from digestive disorders to cancer, we must change not only how we do medicine, but the medicine we do...(Hyman)


Please note chiropractors do not prescribe prescription drugs.

Dr. Mark Hyman, Why Functional Medicine? (October 18, 2014) Retrieved from

The American Chiropractic Association, What is Chiropractic ( 2015)  Retrieved from level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=61

The Institute of Functional Medicine. What is Functional Medicine?(2015) Retrieved from

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Reading Food Labels

On a recent shopping exercise with one of my clients, I was reminded that reading food labels is one of the most important steps in learning to live gluten-free and/or allergen free. Reading food labels is second nature to me now BUT it was not always that way. 

My goal with this post is to make this as simple as possible. I have 2 references below for a more detailed explanation. 

This random label is a great example of what to look for when reading food labels. There are some correct things about this label and some blatant mistakes. Reminder, the * Top Allergens are (wheat, soybean, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and crustacean shellfish.)

1. The 1st thing I do when looking at labels is look under the main ingredient list for the word: "CONTAINS." This immediately alerts me to the food allergens in the ingredients. 
Note:WHEAT after the word "CONTAINS".
Stop...I do not have to go any furtherWHEAT=GLUTEN

2. If there is no "CONTAINS" then I go back to the beginning of the           ingredient list. 

3. I look for words in BOLD. These are usually allergen alerts.
 NoteWHEAT on the first line.

4. Let's pretend that neither the "CONTAINS"  or BOLD is there. Can you find any mistakes? 
 a) Line 7 & 8: palm oil, soybean oil, and/or 
                                 interesterified soybean oil
 SOY is a top 8 allergen and should have been either be BOLD or Under "CONTAINS"

 b) The last line for all us Gluten-Free people out there. 
                                malted barley flour, yeast
Though barley is most definitely gluten (wheat, barley and rye.)The FDA does not consider it a top 8 allergen therefore it doesn't need to be BOLD or under "CONTAINS." 

c) Barley is one of the most difficult ingredients to spot since it can fall under several names:
                      Barley Grass
                      Barley Hordeum Vulgare
                      Barley Malt 
                      Malt or Malt Flavoring
                      Malt Barley
                      Pearl Barley
                      Caramel Coloring ( Can be made with malt barley)

I have written in detail about the pitfalls of reading food labels for allergens and gluten-free foods on pages 22-24 in my book, Gluten-Free Living 101: A Step by Step Guide
The FDA has very specific details about allergen labeling on their website: this can be found at Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (6. Ingredient Lists.)  For specific information about gluten-free food labeling go to the FDA website, Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods. The FDA has detailed explanations of how foods must be labeled. Below is an example of the label requirements from FDA site. 
"FALCPA requires food manufacturers to label food products that are made with an ingredient that is a major food allergen in one of the following two ways:"

To learn about gluten-free labeling for restaurants and bakeries, please go to my post written in January 2015, Gluten-Free Labeling in Restaurants and  Bakeries detailing the new FDA laws labeling laws in reference to gluten-free foods for restaurants and bakeries.