Friday, September 2, 2011

Gluten-Gone, my way...

A month ago, a blood test said something was amiss with my liver.  That led to some talks about anemia and severe vitamin B deficiency, which then led to daily vitamin B injections, (I'm now having them weekly) which has led to more testing for gluten intolerance, which then led to inconclusive results and now I'm doing a 30 day gluten-free gig to see if that's the likely culprit.  So there you have it.  The full deal. I'm prepared for this to be a life-style change, and I'm really okay with that.  I just want to feel good again and if that's what it takes, then I'm all for it.  That said, I went to a couple of my gluten-free girlfriends, and my buddy Betsy answered and explained the many questions I had, gave me food and recipe ideas, told me about websites, and was just generally supportive.  I basically got off the phone thinking, "Gosh, I can totally rock this."  I've actually had more fun in the kitchen with this, than I've had in months.  I think it's pushing me to get creative and out of my food-box.
Gluten-free tropical trail mix.  I like to buy naturally dried (unsweetened) fruit and ingredients when I can.  For this mix, I chopped up dried mango, pineapple chunks, coconut flakes, and added cinnamon-coated almonds, (not sugar-free) macadamia nuts, and some dark chocolate chips.  (For the chocolate chips, I used "Fair trade organic 65% cacao bittersweet chips."  I love them, because there are only 5 ingredients in them.) I like to make my own trail mix, because I can control what's in it, and it's perfect for lunch boxes.
Gluten-free after school snack.  My hoodlums are crazy for this treat.  I split a banana in half, and spread a thin layer of natural almond butter on each half. Then I sprinkle a little dried, unsweetened coconut over all  (I do not like sweetened coconut.) It's completely delicious and so good for you!  They scarf it down and then lick their little fingers, smiles lighting up those faces I love so much. 
Gluten-free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip cookie. (I use the same chocolate chips I noted above.) This is Emeril's recipe and it's second only to Nurse Nicki's peanut butter cookies, which are not gluten free, and are the best peanut butter cookies on the planet.  I kid you, not.
 1 c creamy peanut butter (I use natural no-stir peanut butter and it works just fine.)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
*Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients and beat with a spoon until combined.  Divide dough into 24 portions.  Roll each piece between your hands to form a smooth ball.  Place on baking sheets and use a fork to press down, forming the classic crosshatch pattern.  Bake cookies 10-12 minutes.  (228 cals per cookie.)  Can ya say, "Yum?"

Gluten-free Crispy coconut chicken with mango sauce.  Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens, I was able to adapt this shrimp recipe for chicken.  (I'll be making it with shrimp very soon.)
 1 chopped mango, handful of cilantro, 1/4 cup honey, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, splash lime juice.  Blitz til smooth.  Reserve about 1/4 c for dipping. 
(Excuse the blur- little man on camera) Pour sauce into shallow dish, and some unsweetened flaked coconut into another shallow dish.  Dredge chicken tenders (or shrimp) into sauce, then into coconut.  Lay on baking stone or foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.  (8-10 minutes for shrimp.) Serve with the sauce you set aside and enjoy!

Do you have any gluten-free recipes, advice, or ideas?  I'd love to hear them! 


  1. Her blog is Gluten Free...

  2. No flour at all in the pb cookies?

  3. Theda, Nope- no flour and no butter! I REALLY love this recipe. Simple and yummy!

    Thanks Jen, Lissa is a sweetheart and a friend of mine. I'll be using her blog when I'm in need of a good idea for sure!

  4. Hey Sasha,
    I've been gluten free for 3 years. Both my daughter and I are Celiacs. I too am very anemic, so much so they want to give me iron infusions. I wasn't shocked to hear that your blood tests were inconclusive. The best way to test for Celiac/gluten intolerance is a endoscopy or colonoscopy. Though if you test while you are eating gluten free the test will be inconclusive too-So if you decide to go that far eat gluten before testing. It took about 3 months of eating gluten free for me to see a BIG difference in my health. I'm still anemic though. :(
    Truly I have to tell you...Even if I did have a choice to go back to eating gluten I wouldn't. I have learned how to make amazing gluten free food that tastes better and is healthier. In fact I fix gluten free food for family and visiting friends and they don't even know it~
    I hope you start feeling better either way.

  5. I have tons of gf resources, as I cook g(luten)f(ree), d(airy)f, s(oy)f, e(gg)f and many other "frees" for my lil' guy. You can totally do it!

  6. I have this sneaky feeling that I might need to try a gluten free diet for a month and see what happens with my energy levels, my moods, my overall health. :)

  7. I love and (her cobbler recipe is to die for!) :)

  8. Check out Living Without magazine. I love it and there are some great recipes in there.
    We also love Pamela's gluten free flour mix. Is is a great convenience and Amazon carries it in large bags that are much cheaper than buying the small ones at the grocery store. Once you get the hang of it you may come up with a blend you like better but it is nice to have something with reliable results.

    I second
    Another one I like is

  9. Hi Sasha,

    Have you been told about Lissa's website?

    I think she lives in Seattle. She has alot of easy receipes that are gluten free as she has been gluten free since 1991!

    i just saw at Target that Betty Crocker has gluten free cake mixes! Or was it Duncan Hines??

    anyway check out Lissa's website - lots of good ideas!


  10. Those were the first peanut butter cookies I ever learned to make...definitely trying it again;) I've been doing gluten free and mostly gluten free for awhile now and also dairy free, and I try low sugar. Another great cookie are those chocolate peanut butter no bake (not sugar free). I always get the recipe off of allrecipes.

    I'm not such a gluten free baker though. My friend experiments with flours and starches and it seems too complicated for me since I don't even bake much in the first place, but I do love store bought Flax 4 Life gluten free blueberry muffins....yummy! (Don't try to chocolate chip ones though, yuk!)

    Everyone around her loves my version of swimming rama and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Cook 2 chicken breasts and cut into cubes. In sauce pan mix 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 Tbls of soy sauce, some honey & a little red pepper until blended over low heat, then stir in a cup of almond or cococut milk and blend well. Mix in your chicken and heat until warm. Top brown rice with fresh chopped spinich and then top that with the chicken mixture and some cilantro if you have some. I usually have to double the recipe around here and all the ingredients are easily tweeked.

    We also eat a lot of salads, soups and lettuce wraps.

    On another note I've dealt with different health things for the last couple of years (thyroid, edrenal, liver, digestion...basically everything you can blame stress on). A couple things that have also really helped and I think would help everyone is a good probiotic. I started on 50 billion cultures...called critical care probiotic from a local co-op. It has to be kept in the fridge and it has to be slow dissolving to make it into your instestines. Something else is L-theanine. I take a couple before bed and I've been getting the best sleep in years! Okay, sorry for the long reply;)

  11. Hi Sasha,
    I have been gluten free for almost a year and have never felt better. There are so many great blogs out there to find recipes.
    These cupcakes are AMAZING: They taste just like gluten-filled cupcakes: Cheers, Laura

  12. Interesting, I hope this helps you feel better!

    Those recipes look awesome!

  13. At the moment, my son is being tested for celiac and my theory is if he goes, we all go with him. Sounds like a project and I love a good project.