Recipe Revision

I think I mentioned in my first post that I like to bake, but I don’t think I made it clear how much I love to bake.  My family and friends know this well and over the years it has pretty much been assumed at any gathering I’ll bring the dessert.  Hmm, tough spot to be in now that I’m gluten-free and limiting fructose, so what’s a girl to do but adapt.

It all started at Thanksgiving, shortly after I informed my mom (queen of Thanksgiving pie making) that I was trying this thing out just before the holiday.  Fortunately for me we had some other family members joining us this year who are also gluten-free so I wasn’t the only one.  Mom accepted the challenge of making not only gluten-free pies, but also regular pies for the “normal” people.  I went about searching the internet for info on making a gluten-free pie crust, since even before going GF buying a pie crust was forbidden in my family.  I found one that turned out awesome (pie crust recipe here).  I did a test run with a pie before the holiday and it was a success, even my dad approved, and for me that’s like Mikey liking his Life cereal (he’s not that hard to please, but his stamp of approval is always a good thing).  I used the Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour for that recipe, but since then have tried the Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour since I bought  living social deal for it.  Both worked well and made a crust that held up as well as a traditional crust, although neither one browned very much.  I haven’t made my own flour mix yet, but am thinking that will be my next endeavor to hopefully save a little money.

Anyway, recently I’ve adapted 2 recipes to be gluten-free and thought I’d share them with you so you could try them out as well.  The first was a Tomato Ricotta Tart from Cooking Light.  The only real change was using the GF all-purpose flour in place of the regular flour.  It turned out really well and was a hit with my mom and dad.  My only complaint would be that it seemed like there needed to be more filling for the tart, because it didn’t really come very far up the sides of the pie plate, otherwise it’s definitely on the make again list.

The second recipe is one that i really revised, not only to  make it GF but also dairy free for a friend of mine.  On Monday night I was getting together with some friends and we decided to have a Pinterest theme night & all make something we had pinned.  If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, you are missing out on an awesome resource and time sucker 🙂  So I looked through my recipes and tried to decide what to make, it was so hard to pick one thing because I have a lot of recipes on my page.  I finally settled on Fresh Rosemary Muffins, which was not a GF or DF recipe, but I was determined to make it so!  Here are my changes:

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk for Regular Milk

1/4 cup chopped pecans for regular raisins (not to be GF, but b/c I don’t really like them and am really supposed to avoid dried fruits)

Vegetable Shortening for Butter (as directed on shortening label)

Left the goat cheese out of one muffin, but turned out my friend was ok with goat dairy, just not cow.  I’m sure there’s some non-dairy substitute out there you could use like s DF cream cheese like thing

The muffins were awesome!  Everyone who tried one said they were really good and of course since I hadn’t tasted them before I had to agree, it was a great balance of sweet and savory and I don’t think you could tell they were GF.  I had a few leftover so I had one for breakfast yesterday morning, just heated it in the microwave for a few seconds (I stored them in the fridge since they had the goat cheese).  I also delivered a couple to my friend/hairdresser yesterday and he called me today asking for more!  Definitely a hit and on the must make again list.

I look forward to more challenges involving recipes and will be sure to share my experiments with you all!

Getting Started

I owe it to my mom that I am starting to write this blog, she suggested I write about my experiences and thoughts as I travel down the newly paved road of being gluten free.  As Julie Andrews sang in Sound of Music “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning”

I have not lived my entire life on a gluten free diet, in fact my food loves revolve mainly around bread, pasta and desserts, so as you can imagine having to switch what I have known for my entire life has taken some getting used to.  About a year and a half ago I began an odyssey to figure out why I why I was suffering from intestinal problems (I won’t go in to detail, no worries, we’ll just say I wasn’t feeling well most of the time).  I started by seeing my regular doctor and went through tests for celiac (negative), h. pylori (negative), and an abdominal ultrasound (normal).  At that point I was referred to a GI doctor who decided to do an endoscopy (normal) and then in lieu of a colonoscopy (thank goodness!) a CT scan with contrast (normal).  After ruling out any physical abnormalities we decided to try to modify my diet by avoiding creamy foods, foods high in insoluble fibers, among other things.  I saw some improvements but still wasn’t feeling a whole lot better.  Last November when I went for a check up with my GI doctor he suggested trying a gluten free diet.  I was up for anything that would make me feel better so I decided to give it a try.  I read a lot on the internet about what exactly was involved and also met with a nutritionist.

The transition was hard and took me some time to make, but I feel like now I’m feeling better most of the time and I’ve really gotten a handle on it and thought I would share my discoveries with the rest of the world.   I’m definitely no expert but I am learning how to adapt recipes and finding places and things to eat that taste good!

When I met with the nutritionist she mentioned that I might want to look in to getting tested for a fructose intolerance as well.  I did a little experimenting and read a lot online about it and felt strongly that I may primarily be suffering from that and the gluten was an outgrowth of that.  I went back to see my GI doctor in March and mentioned that I wanted to be tested for it he agreed, but thought it was a small chance.  I was sent home with a test kit, which involved blowing in to glass tubes after drinking a high fructose drink that was sent off to a lab in Massachusetts.  The results came back and were positive.  So what does that mean?  I have to limit my intake of fructose (since I think it’s basically impossible to totally eliminate it) which means I watch the amounts of fruits and vegetables I eat, avoid corn syrup, honey, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, anything with excess fructose basically.  Sucrose (table sugar) is ok because it’s a combo of fructose and glucose, but I still try not to eat too much at once.

So that’s my story in as much of a nutshell as I could manage to squeeze it in to, hope you’ll stay tuned for more.  Oh and I’m not an expert on any of this stuff, just know what works for me.