Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Chicken Tortillas and Taco Salad


I think you will love Quick Chicken Tortillas (see P. 104 of my cookbook).  I created this recipe to compare to an appetizer I used to get at Applebees before I went on a gluten-free diet.  When I made this recipe yesterday, I realized I only had about 2 teaspoons of ranch dressing in the fridge.  We go through homemade ranch pretty quickly.  :)  It is smooth and creamy--instead of the tangy kind from the store.  (For the ranch dressing recipe, see P. 65 of my cookbook.)

I needed to improvise, so I combined 1/2 cup sour cream with about 1 tablespoon milk (adjust according to how thick you want the dressing).  I added about 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free taco seasoning, and 1 tablespoon La Victoria Green Taco Sauce.  We all enjoyed it as a dressing for the Taco Salad and as a dip for the Quick Chicken Tortillas.  Enjoy!

Quick Chicken Tortillas

2 corn tortillas for each serving
chicken, cooked and cubed
bacon, cooked and crumbled
cheese, grated
onions, diced
cilantro, chopped without stems
canned green chilies
tomatoes, diced
salsa, fresh or canned
sour cream

  1. Butter one side of a tortilla per serving. Put butter side down in non-stick frying pan.
  2. Cover the tortilla with small portions of each of the other ingredients, except tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.
  3. Butter one side of a second tortilla and place it, butter side up, on the covered tortilla in the pan. Lightly brown tortilla using medium heat until cheese melts. Turn over tortilla stack and brown the second buttered tortilla.
  4. Serve with tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.

Tip  Warming the tortillas in the microwave keeps them from breaking up. This will help the butter to spread more easily.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grandma's Pure Joy!

I am now a Grandma!  I think I am beginning to understand why people can't wait to pull out photos of their grandchildren to show to anyone who will take the time to look at them!  :)  I can't get over how wonderful and joyful it is to have a new member of our family.  I wish everyone in the world could have this experience.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Burger King Fries...Gluten-free or Not?

When we travel, it is always tricky to find food that is gluten-free.  The wonderful thing is...there are more and more restaurants that are willing to work on a gluten-free menu.  For example, check out this link to see what Little America in Salt Lake City is doing to accomodate those of us on a gluten-free diet:

My daughter loves to get Burger King French fries when we travel, because she knows we can't eat them at our local Burger King.  They haven't conformed to corporate Burger King's policy to cook the French fries in a separate fryer with cooking oil used just for French fries.  (Our first clue was when our French fries came with a breaded onion ring).  I called corporate Burger King and hope they will help our local Burger King to realize how important it is to get the problem rectified. 

After writing the above paragraph, I decided to see how things are coming along.  I can't wait until my daughter gets home from school, because I just called our local Burger King to see if they have done anything about the separate fryers for the French fries, and they now have two separate fryers for their French fries!  Yes!!  She will be soooo excited! 

Well, now I feel a little silly about typing the paragraph about how we are deprived locally and love to get BK fries when we travel (since we can now go just a few miles down the road from our home), but I suppose it could be helpful for someone.  :)  The main idea here is to ask each Burger King restaurant how they are doing at keeping the oil separate for breaded food.  See the following link for the gluten-free foods on Burger King's list, and be aware of the warning (which can be found on their web page) listed after the link:

Actual gluten content may vary depending upon the supplier, product handling and each restaurant’s food preparation practices.

Has anyone tried a gluten-free Subway sandwich?  I am wishing I could head on down to Texas--where they are experimenting with gluten-free bread--to try it out.  See the following link for a little more information about what Subway is doing:

I did try a Jimmy John's "Unwich," which is a sub sandwich wrapped in a lettuce wrap.  It was good.  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dad's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

We love to make gluten-free spaghetti and pizza using Prego Original Spaghetti Sauce.  However, when I have time to plan ahead, I love to make my father-in-law's recipe for spaghetti sauce.  He was an awesome cook!  Allow at least four hours for this sauce to simmer.  Here is the recipe:

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
one 14.5 oz. can Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
one 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Tinkyada Spaghetti Noodles
garlic salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese , to taste

1.  In large saucepan, cook ground beef with onion until browned.  Add garlic.

2.  Pour cans of diced tomatoes into a blender and pulse until smooth.

3.  Add blended tomatoes and remaining ingredients to cooked ground beef.

4.  Simmer for at least four hours, stirring occasionally.  Cook the spaghetti noodles and add sauce.  Add garlic salt (if needed) and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4-6 servings.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Osteoporosis and Inflammation

I met a middle-aged woman at the book signing at Against the Grain who had absolutely no symptoms for celiac disease, but had been diagnosed with osteoporosis.  Her perceptive doctor had her tested for celiac disease, and sure enough...she has it.  Dr. Peter H.R. Green states, "Low bone density and osteoporosis are common in patients with celiac disease." (See P. 40, Celiac Disease:  A Hidden Epidemic)

Inflammation can be a problem for those of us with celiac disease, as Dr. Green explains:

"While malabsorption underlies many of the symptoms of celiac disease, the inflammatory process itself is now understood to be a major factor in the development of symptoms.  Inflammation, mainly through the increased levels of circulating cytokines, makes people feel unwell.

"It is well documented that autoimmune diseases tend to travel in tandem.  That is, if you develop one, you are more likely to develop another.  It is believed that this is most likely due to a genetic predisposition.  Approximately 8 to 10 percent of all type 1 diabetics have celiac disease, and the number may be higher as more patients are diagnosed."  (See P. 40, Celiac Disease:  A Hidden Epidemic)

Those around us who are struggling with autoimmune diseases may need to be tested for celiac disease.  It is important to let them know there is a chance that celiac disease or gluten intolerance could also be a possible diagnosis.   Even though our diet is difficult, it is worth going gluten free to feel better.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meet Me at Against the Grain for Free Samples!

Saturday, April 9, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., I will be signing cookbooks at Against the Grain in Taylorsville, Utah.  I will be serving free samples of my gluten-free banana muffins.  Come and try them!  I would love to meet you.  Against the Grain is an awesome store that sells exclusively gluten-free products.  Take the 5300 South Exit.  The address is 2292 West 5400 South.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Interview with Bethany from

I am a serious fan of Bethany!  She has a wonderful and informative blog. 

Check out her cute kids making my recipe for banana muffins! 

Enjoy reading the following interview I had with Bethany:

SLB:  Thank you for reviewing my cookbook.  What recipes do you think you will try?

BH:  There's a lot I want to try.  Brownies, corn chip candy, honey garlic chicken, carrot cake, and Mediterranean pasta are all on my "to make soon" list.

SLB:  I am excited to see that you shared my muffin recipe on your blog.  Did your family like the recipe?

BH:  Yes.  A little too much, in fact ;).  I finally had to hide them from my kids because that's all they wanted to eat and I wanted them all to myself (I'm the only one in the house eating gluten free, so I don't have to feel bad about that).  I haven't had delicious homemade muffins in years.  Next time I make them I'll give my kids each one and then hide the rest for myself.  I loved them! 

SLB:  You seem to sense the importance of helping many people by sharing recipes and information on your blog.

BH:  When I first discovered I was gluten intolerant I was very fortunate to have a close friend who had been eating gluten free since childhood.  She was a huge support for me.  She had also been my roommate for a few years, so I'd witnessed what types of food she ate and how she handled social situations when it came to the gluten free diet.  That helped a lot!  I know that most people don't have that kind of help, so I wanted to help them through my blog. 

SLB:  What kind of support have you found that would help others with the transition of changing their diet to eating gluten-free?

BH:  Most of my support has come through family and friends.  An important part of making the gluten free switch easier is to be open and honest with family and friends.  Speak up about what you can and can't eat and be open and honest about your frustrations.  It's hard at first and it's important to allow your friends and family to be there for you.

Blogs are also an amazing resource.  You can get a glimpse into the lives of how other people do gluten free on a day-to-day basis.  I've never participated in a gluten free forum or local support group, but those are also excellent.

SLB:  What do you miss being able to eat?

BH:  Not very much anymore.  After not eating gluten-filled foods for over 4 1/2 years the cravings have gone away.  As weird as this is, the longest lasting craving I had was for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  It's not like it was even my favorite food before.  I just craved it a lot.  (Susan's note:  We love adding the Kraft M & C powdered cheese packet to Tinkyada Elbow Noodles, along with a little milk and butter.  See P. 84 of my cookbook.)

Inexpensive granola is probably the biggest thing I miss now.  Luckily it's possible to buy and/or make gluten free granola.  It just costs a bit more.  

SLB:  What have you learned to like or what food or gluten-free products have you discovered since being diagnosed with celiac disease?

BH:  Thai rice noodles, spaghetti squash, polenta... these are all foods I wouldn't have normally tried before being gluten free.

SLB:  What are some of your favorite restaurants that offer gluten-free food?

BH:  Outback Steakhouse is awesome with gluten free and their food is delicious!  They were one of the first restaurants offering a gluten free menu and I'll always love them for that.  I also love that Pier 49 has gluten free pizza crust.  Yum! 

SLB:  What do you do at family gatherings?

BH:  My family is awesome about making gluten free options for me to eat.  If it's a big extended family party we usually do potlucks.  For the first year or two I either knew what was in the dish or I'd ask the person who made it what the ingredients were.  It's even easier now.  Cousins and aunts come up to me and let me know that they specially made their dish gluten free for me or they'll make sure I know that there's flour in their dish.  They're awesome!

SLB:  What was your journey like for being tested for celiac disease?

BH:  I was never officially diagnosed.  I was sick for years and couldn't figure it out.  One day at work it occurred to me that it could be a gluten intolerance (I knew a lot about it from my friend/roommate).  When I got home I looked up the symptoms for celiac disease.  Not only were the headaches, joint aches and stomachaches symptoms, but so were canker sores, foggy brain, and sinus infections, all of which I constantly had.  I did a 1 1/2 week gluten free trial and felt a lot better.  I planned to go 3 weeks, but accidentally got "glutened" and immediately felt awful.  I went back on gluten so I could do testing. 

I went to my family doctor who did the blood tests.  They came back negative for celiac disease (I'm still not positive he did the correct tests), but he told me it sounded like I had it and if I felt better off gluten then I did have a gluten intolerance.  And that was that.  I never did get the biopsy, but I have a sister who did and it was negative for celiac, but she is gluten intolerant.  I figure I'm the same way.

SLB:  What advice do you have for people who have celiac disease/gluten intolerance?

BH:  Stick with it!  It is hard at first, but the cravings for gluten-filled foods will stop and you'll find tons of gluten free foods that are delicious.  It does get easier!

The Flooring Saga Continues!

OK...this is the last post about the flooring.  Good news and bad news today.  The good news is that we should be good to go on the damaged particle board by the sink and dishwasher by using a bleach treatment and Kilz paint instead of chipping it out an inch at a time.  The bad news is that we will likely have to replace our entire back patio doors (frame and all), because they are the cause of the leaking and thus the mold in the particle board there.  The other bad news is that the valve broke off of the plumbing part under the sink when we were unhooking the dishwasher hoses.  Luckily, our hardware store is open until 8 p.m., so I can get the part we need and my husband will replace it.  I admit I am spoiled by my dishwasher!  I may end up washing our dinner dishes by hand with my girls, who love the bubbles.  It will be all right.  Luckily, dinner worked out tonight because I was able to get Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs in the oven early this afternoon.  Yum!  There's another bright spot in the day.  We need all the good news we can get.  :)