Diary of a Celiac… and it ends with an apple tart/pie…thing

I don’t think people realize what it means to have Celiac disease.

First and foremost, it is not obsessive once you get the hang of things.  There is no need for panic.

Second, it does make one much more likely to think about food ahead of time far more than your typical person.

Third, when you don’t do the second thing, you will either want to (a) eat your own arm while out and about or (b) kick yourself repeatedly and then (3) eat something less than satisfactory but still within the “safe” range of “food”.

Think of it like a Hurricane Category Scale.  It works something like this:

Hurricane Definition:  Very dangerous winds, could cause some damage.
Celiac Definition:  Celiac knows hunger will happen and therefore attempts to plan AHEAD to meet the hunger pangs.

Hurricane Definition:  Extremely dangerous winds, will cause some damage.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry Celiac has insufficient food plan, crabbiness ensues and the plan is adjusted.

Hurricane Definition:  Devastating damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry Celiac fails to plan and now dreams of eating own arm while driving to next appointment.

Hurricane Definition:  Catastrophic damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry.  Crabby.  Can no longer communicate.

Hurricane Definition:  Catastrophic damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  You so don’t even want to know….Worst of all:  I have only myself to blame if I fail to plan, *I* fail myself.

Thursday was one of the days of my life that I ended up in a Category Three hunger mode.

My diary for Thursday would read something like this:

5:40AM:  Why in God’s name am I awake?  Oh yes, because I finally fell asleep at 3:15AM (thank you, obnoxious neighbors… but that’s another story), so naturally I should wake up, right?

7:00AM:  Both girls are cuddled up with me reading a book and checking the very cool visual weather apps on the iPad.

8:00AM:  All 3 of the girls are dressed and downstairs.  Dad is off to work.  Girls are eating breakfast and pestering each other.  I am wondering where the coffee scooper is.  Guess I should eat a little Greek yogurt too (thinking the protein will sustain me a little…).

9:30AM:  And we’re off… to the bank, to the gas station, to day care and then to the airport.  (I took pictures for a couple whose newly adopted son just arrived from South Korea.)

3:30PM:  Wait, what?  It’s 3??  Holy hell!  It took forever for that little guy to make it through customs (seriously 2+ hours = unreal).  Way to go, SeaTac for planning the arrival of 8 international flights within an hour.  Oh yea.  Awesome.  But now, I thought I’d be back on the road by 2:45-3.  Attempt to call hubby to check and day care to let her know.  Cell battery is dead.  Wonderful.  Pit stop for car-charger and oh look… a Starbucks.  I contemplate the dangers of buying the “protein” plate and tossing the bread/cracker thing and eating the rest… but I can’t figure out how it is package and whether I would be able to eat anything in it after the bread is tossed?  (Is the bread packed separately or part of the mix?  There in lies the question.)  I am freakin’ hungry.

4:00PM Back on the highway for long drive home (considering traffic and that it is 44 miles to go).  Still hungry.  Seeing signs for McDonald’s, BK, blah…blah…blah… and I’m trying to hold out for dinner.  After all, if I eat now, I’m not going to want dinner but will still be cooking it… BUT if i don’t eat something, I might just have to eat my arm off before too long.

4:25PM  Reach into “secret hiding spot in car” in hopes that I have one remaining pack of nuts or jerky or SOMETHING.  Disappointed to find *nothing* remaining.  Open purse.  Eat tic-tac.  Anger at self ensues.

4:30PM  My Love calls.  Notices I’m “crabby” and responds with “just go get something”.  My “crabbiness” is somewhat restrained as I contemplate shouting “AS IF IT IS THAT EASY” into the Bluetooth.  (PS.  That would so not have been cool, I’m glad I had some reserve brain power in order to hold my tongue.)  Instead, I say… hey honey, what do you say we get pad thai or something tonight.  He responds with “good idea, I was going to suggest the same”.  See.  I do love him. 😀

4:50PM  Get kids.  Chat with CH (day care wonder woman).  Stomach growls.  Apparently one tic-tac is not going to cut it.

5:30PM  Husband is home and notices defrosted chicken.  Calls to say “Hey… should we just stay in to eat the chi….”  He is cut-off my raging hunger beasts (there are now three hungry ladies in the car) who say “HEY!  I thought we could get pad thai tonight!”  (And no, I was not alone in my response.  Zoe was gladly louder than I was too.  LOL)

6:30PM  Veggie Summer Roll (rice paper, lettuce, noodles, carrots, etc) in hand with homemade sweet ginger dipping sauce.  My brain returns to normal slowly over the course of the meal.

7:45PM  I think about being able to grad whatever/whenever.  How, with a clear head, I can easily find something to eat – and even problem-solve; but when I’m hungry I totally cannot.  I wished we had the money to start a gluten free food truck with wraps, sandwiches and soups.   Because I really needed that: sandwich, wrap or soup.  Something.  Man, it can be frustrating sometimes.

But as I said, I have no one to blame but myself.  I should have packed something – anything.  A handful of almonds, a wrap sandwich, a little homemade spam musubi in a lunch tin, … etc. .. SOMETHING.  I promise myself as I go to bed that night that I will try to avoid this in the future.

And I know full well it will happen again.

And then I wish for that freakin’ food truck again.

Hmm… if only.


Avoid hunger meltdowns.  Make these and pack one for your next outing.  I can’t call them apple turnovers (which usually use puff pastry) because they are not.  This morning it hit me:  these babies are like Hostess Fruit Pies… only minus the chemicals and gluten.  Do you remember those?

Kitchen assistant

Really – we (the girls and I) just tossed these together because they wanted to cook… and I wanted to use the apples up.  I didn’t want another apple pie and I didn’t want to look up my recipes for pie crusts; thus this was born.

Actually, the dough is super pliable.  I really like that.  I rolls easily/nicely between two pieces of parchment paper.  However, it is NOT a flaky crust.  It totally is a Hostess Fruit Pie crust.

I think I will take this dough and play around with rolling in some bread pats or shredded butter (frozen stick = shredded in food processor) to form a flakier crust.  But for now?  This completely fits the bill.  I am holding a tartlet/pie thingy in my hand as I write.  I’m in heaven.

Tomorrow the girls and I will convert this to a savory pie.  I have visions of cheesy goodness (although Zoe is dreaming of peanut butter and jelly within hers and Rory wants laver/seaweed (???!!) in hers).  I guess we will see where this takes us.

If you give it a whirl, please come back and let us know what you did with yours!

AND PS:  Next time, I’ll take pictures of us rolling it out.  Guess I didn’t get those done as I was managing my two kitchen assistants (egad!) and their love of the stand-mixer.  😀

Fruit Pie/Tartlets

Crust Recipe
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups GF Flour Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup COLD water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk PLUS 1 whole egg


  1. In the bowl of your food processor (with the blade attachment), mix together your dry ingredients.  Add the butter in pats (3 Tbsps. COLD butter cut into smaller pieces).  Blend again until the butter is distributed evenly into tiny peas or smaller.
  2. Add the cold water, lemon juice and egg.  Mix again until it comes together to form a ball.
  3. Scrap out and form into a disc.  Wrap in plastic (or insert into a plastic bag) and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to use:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces (depending on the size of your tartlets/pie thingies).  We made 4 large triangles (made from 6-inch or so squares (BIG, IMHO!) and one open tart (8″ x 5″) for Dad.
  3. Roll out your dough between two pieces of parchment paper to the desired thickness (about 1/4 inch).  Fill with 2-4 Tablespoons (more/less depending on the size of you dough) of your desired filler.  (We used mostly cooked apples with cinnamon a la apple pie filling for the ones in the photos – See below for a rough guess as to our “measurements”).
  4. Bake on a piece of parchment paper for 15 minutes at 375.  Lower the temperature to 350 and bake an additional 10 minutes until the outer edges of the crust turn golden.
  5. Top with icing, if so inclined.  (I used a pat of softened butter, 2 Tablespoons of milk and well… umm.. I didn’t measure but about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of powdered sugar.  Mix to a semi-thick glaze and drizzle over the warm pie-lets).



3 Fuji apples (hard for me to measure, as my “helpers” helped themselves to lots of apple slices as we prepped)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup of sugar (depending on the sweetness desired/sweetness of the apples)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of GF Flour mix


  1. Peel and core your apples.  Slice into thin strips (about 1/4 inch thick).  Toss the strips with the lemon juice as you go in a bowl.
  2. Preheat a pan over medium.  Add the butter.  Dump in your apple slices, sugar, cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat until the apple slices are tender but NOT mushy (8 minutes or so).
  3. Taste and adjust your sweetness level.  (Add lemon juice, if desired too)
  4. Sprinkle the 2 Tablespoons of GF Flour mix over and stir in.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until the moisture/sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.  (I had left overs, so I added them to the bottom of a oven-puffed pancake for breakfast the next day after storing in the fridge overnight.)


The Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bon

Feast your eyes on these nutritional details:

Sugar Free.
Casein Free.
Transfat, Saturated Fat Free.
(Possibly nut-free, if you so wish.)

A fudgey, delicious bon-bon.
Oh, your taste buds will thank you.

So, my friend Ginger has been on my mind. (And a little sweet birdie named Steve reminded me that tomorrow (2/11) is her birthday!).

I was thinking of all of the dietary challenges people face and how they are (or are not) accommodated by loved ones, friends or even the service industry. I started to think about Ginger and my wishes for her success as she follows her new diet.

And then I started thinking about MY diet. No, not the gluten-free version, but the healthy-living, gluten-free lifestyle. We’ve done a lot of changing in my house since the beginning of the school year in order to get our lives more organized and healthy. We’ve given up soda, drink more water, eat more fresh, raw veggies and fruit – OH! Fruit! I eat much more fruit. I think I used to be a bit of a fruit snob. Really. If I had one bad, untasty bite of fruit, I was unmotivated to eat the rest of it. Now I let my love pick out the fruit we eat. It’s genius. He picks out the fruit. I pick out the veggies.

But for sweet things?
Well, this is where the large bowl of fruit satisfies my Love usually. Sometimes it works for me too. But there are a few occasions when I really have to have some chocolate. Like *now* when I want it, not tomorrow when I can “get” it. (Okay, not really this moment because I had a wonderful fruit/yogurt/granola parfait for lunch and I am feeling quite satisfied, thankyouverymuch. LOL)

This weekend while thinking about Ginger and my cravings for sweets, I decided to make something she and I could both enjoy. It’s easy to make – and healthy too!

Those little bonbons you see? They are fudgy, delicious and unbelievably satisfying. And what makes it even more satisfying for me? It’s 3 ingredients and together they blissfully lack (1) sugar; (2) saturated fat and (3) sodium.

Go with me, now, those of you who are ready to bail. Trust me. You have to try these treats at home. I served them to two students who had no idea what was in them (they have no food allerigies/issues). They were convinced that they were eating fudge balls. Oh yea. They were shocked when I told them that they were eating dates. 😀

I hope you give these bonbons a whirl.
And if you get the chance, swing on over to wish Ginger a Happy Birthday.
Her little package of bonbons should be arriving about now too.

Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bons
Recipe makes 36 teaspoon sized bon-bons

1 pound, super moist medjool dates
3/4 cup walnut halves (optional, but they add great Omega 3s!)
1/2 cup unsweetened, dark cocoa powder (+1/3 cup for rolling)

1. Cut the dates in half and remove the seed.
2. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and process until it comes together in a large ball. (This takes a little while (3-5 minutes), but be patient – it works.)
3. Scrap the dough ball in to a bowl. Using your hands, squish it together into one large ball (if necessary).
4. Form teaspoon size balls of dough and roll them in more dark cocoa powder (to prevent them from sticking to each other) OR roll them in pulverized dark chocolate – but NOTE: this adds sugar to your recipe!). Go easy on the cocoa powder that you roll them in – you just want a light dusting or it can taste a bit dry/bitter at first bite.
5. Store in a cool, dry, airtight container until consumed (or about a week – 10 days.)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:  (Per bonbon with walnuts)
Calories:  46
Total Fat:  2g (from walnuts)  0 Saturated Fat; 0 Transfat
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates:  9g
Dietary Fiber:  1g
Sugars:  7g
Protein:  1g

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ginger!
Happy Fudgey-bonbons, All!

PS.  If your dates are not moist, try adding a squeeze of fresh OJ to the mix.  It might make it a tad sticky for forming the balls, but the flavor will be great!

Gluten Free Banana Bread…Whole Grain, NO saturated fat!

Whole Grain Banana Bread

Gluten Free Whole Grain, Saturate Fat-Free Banana Bread
Photo by Kate Chan

The other day at the market I picked up some bananas.  (Thrilling tidbit, I know.)  The deal was too good to resist:  39 cents/pound for ORGANIC bananas.  Say what?  I took a double-look to make sure I had read that right.  And yes, yes I had.  The “regular” (non-organic) bananas were selling for 88 cents/pound.  Now does that make sense to you?   Yeah.  It didn’t to me either, BUT it sure did get me to buy some tasty, perfect organic bananas.  And maybe more than I should have as I found myself with 3 overly-ripened bananas the other day.

And they were calling my name.

Big time.

Banana bread is something that doesn’t really beckon me, to be honest.  There’s something about adding a ton of butter to bread (I know.. I do it with the crescent rolls and croissants naturally are butter, butter and more butter) that just turns me off sometimes.  I am trying hard to LOSE weight – not put more butter in things.  So things are changing around here in the Gluten Free Gobsmacked household.  (And I’m not sure my meat-loving, protein-inhaling Love-bug is on the band wagon yet.  So change is slowly infused and when he can’t detect it.)

Making things saturated-fat-free is a good step.  That meant that my mom’s banana bread recipe was definitely OUT.  (Auf Wiedersehen, for you Heidi Klum/Project Runway fans.)  This doesn’t mean that flavor is out.  No way.  And if the flavors were lessened, I wouldn’t be able to sneak these new low-fat versions past my Love.  He’s way to food-smart for me to be able to do that.

So I started puttering around in the kitchen with my ripe bananas and DANG if I didn’t make the best freakin’ banana bread I’ve EVER had.  (And let me tell ya, growing up in Minnesota = eating banana bread.  It just does.)  I brought over some banana bread to share with my gluten-eating family (nephews) and some might-as-well-be-family friends last night.  I was a little worried, to be honest.  Our visiting family/friends don’t eat gluten-free and I wasn’t sure if the bread would go over well.

I worried for nothing.

The bread was DEVOURED by all.  My nephew even stopped playing guitar hero TWICE to go get more banana bread from the kitchen.  (Now THERE’S an endorsement you can take to the bank.)  And our visiting family/friends who don’t eat gluten-free?  They were all over it.

Hooray!  Success!

And the no-saturated-fat?   Did it pass my Love’s scrutiny?  Heck yea!  I’m sure he will first discover this news while reading this post.  (Bwahahahah)

This recipe has 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.  The walnuts add great Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils, but no saturated fats.  However, omitting the walnuts will lower the calories for each slice (I got a little more than 15 slices from my loaf) from 180 to 148 and the Total fat from 5g to 2g.  (You will also lose a gram of fiber if you omit the walnuts – just an FYI.)

I will be making these as mini-muffins this weekend for my school lunches or breakfasts.  Seriously.  I’m off to the store in search of the perfect bananas as soon as I get this post up and running.  These are good.  And dang are they gonna be great as mini-muffins too!

I hope you get a chance to try this too.

Gluten Free, Saturated Fat Free, Whole Grain Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf (standard bread loaf pan)
Servings: 1 slice/15 slices per loaf

3 super ripe bananas, peeled (about 1/2 pound or 250 grams)
2/3 cup non-fat, plain Greek Yogurt (or strained/drain plain, nonfat yogurt)
1 egg white
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup GF rolled oats + 2 Tablespoons of GF rolled oats for topping
1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
OPTIONAL:  1/2-2/3 cup blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, drop the peel bananas, broken in half.  Mix/mash until evenly mashed.
  3. Add the yogurt. egg white, and brown sugar.  Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together millet flour, GF rolled oats. tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet in the mixer and mix well.
  6. Add chopped walnuts and mix again until evenly distributed.  If using blueberries, stir them in gently by hand at this point.)
  7. Line a standard bread loaf pan with parchment paper OR spritz the inside with olive oil (if you use the oil, it will add a trivial amount of saturated fat).
  8. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth into the corners and across the top evenly.  Sprinkle the top of the bread with the reserved two tablespoons of rolled oats (if desired).
  9. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 205F-210F.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting for at least 10 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL DATA PER SLICE WITH NUTS (no blueberries): Calories 180, Calories from fat 44, Total Fat 5g (O Sat, 0 Trans), Cholesterol 0, Sodium 91mg, Total Carbs 31g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 12g, Protein 5g.

NUTRITIONAL DATA PER SLICE WITHOUT NUTS (no blueberries):  Calories 148, Calories from fat 17, Total fat 2g (0 Sat, 0 Trans), Cholesterol 0, Sodium 91mg, Total Carbs 30g, Dietary fiber 3g, Sugars 12g, Protein 4g.

(Nutritional Data obtained through recipe analysis at NutrionData.com)

Happy Banana Bread Baking!
I know I’m loving it!

Gluten-Free: Sun-dried Tomato Sandwich Bread

On Sunday afternoon, I made this great sandwich bread. I tend to make bread on Sundays so that I can have sandwiches for lunch the first few days of the week. It makes for an easy lunch to pack and quite honestly, I really enjoy a good sandwich. Maybe that is what I missed the most – being able to stop at Costello’s (a local grinder shop near where we lived in Chicago) for sandwiches. I would often stop there on my way home from my grad classes which kept me on campus until 9PM after a long day of teaching.

While out shopping this weekend, I found a vacuum pack of sun-dried tomatoes. After missing the sun, thanks to our Pacific Northwest winter days, I thought a little sun-kissed goodness would be in order. (If you can’t find the vacuum-packed ones, don’t worry! While I made this recipe with sun-dried tomatoes that were not packed in oil, you can easily make this recipe with the oil packed kind as well.)

Last night, my love wanted sandwiches for dinner. Normally 3-4 days after making bread, I know that I should probably make grilled sandwiches or at least toasted ones. I didn’t need to do that with this bread, though. After 4 days, I am enjoying the last of my sun-dried tomato bread and it is STILL moist and fabulous.

In fact, my husband (who eats gluten-free with me) remarked how moist his bread was last night too. He even asked for seconds. And if you ask me, when a someone who doesn’t *have* to be gluten-free asks for seconds, you pay attention.

Today I have the last two slices for my sandwich at lunch. I’ve had a sandwich everyday this week which is unheard of! Usually, by the end of the week, I am the leftover queen. And to be honest, I don’t mind the leftovers at all. My love is an amazing cook and we have fun coming up with new recipes and ideas together. I’d rather be eating my leftovers than some of the other options or previous (pre-GF) choices (like the school cafeteria!).

But oh it’s so nice to have a week of sandwiches again. 😉

Here are a few recipe thoughts and tips:

  • I made this recipe with the 1.5 pound bread pans (10″ x 5″). (You can find some here.) But this recipe is really a better fit (and would make a taller loaf) in a regular bread pan – so no worries. I just grabbed the first one in the cupboard and the larger one was there because I had just made some Millet andQuinoa Bread. (Go Natalie!).
  • Let the bread rise in the pre-warmed oven, but be sure to turn the oven off. I tend to turn the oven to warm while mixing the ingredients and then turn it off while the bread is in the final 5-minute mix. That way the top of the bread will not begin to bake or dry out.
  • When the rising time has finished, don’t bother taking the bread out. Just turn the oven up to the baking temperature and bake from there. It you are worried about it, be sure to check back at the half-way point. If the bread is browning faster than you would like, cover the top with aluminum foil to slow the browning down.
  • Bread storage: I know some people slice and freeze their gluten-free bread. Since I don’t make a lot of bread (usually only what we will consume in a week), I do not slice it until I need to. I store my bread (unsliced) in an airtight Ziploc (with the air squished out) on the kitchen counter. This method keeps the bread perfectly fine for the week. With this loaf, even after 5 days of being stored like this it is still perfectly moist and chewy.

And now the recipe:

Gluten-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwich Bread
1/4 cup buttermilk powder
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
1 cup warm water
2 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomato
1 Tablespoon olive oil (omit if using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to warm (200F).
  2. In a deep bowl (enough for 2 cups+ of liquid), proof the yeast in the cup of warm water and 2 Tablespoons of agave nectar (or honey).
  3. Blend together dry ingredients with a whisk or in the mixing bowl of your mixer.
  4. Once the yeast has gotten foamy (about 5 minutes), add the eggs, oil and cider vinegar to the mixture and whisk together to break apart eggs and blend the liquid ingredients evenly.
  5. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix together a low-medium speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn off the oven but leave it closed.
  7. Turn the mixer to high and beat together for 5 minutes.
  8. While the bread is mixing, spray the bottom (and a little of the sides) of your bread pan with olive oil/cooking spray.
  9. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared pans and even it out.
  10. Slide the bread pan into the warm oven to rise for 45 minutes.
  11. Turn the oven to 350F and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and/or a temperature of 190F is reached.
  12. Turn out on to a cooling rack and allow to cool mostly before slicing (if you can stand it).
  13. Allow the bread to cool completely before storing. Store unsliced bread in a Ziploc or airtight container on the counter. If you wish, you can slice and freeze the bread as well.

I’m off for now with visions of my sandwiches dancing in my head.
Who needs sugar plums when you have soft gluten-free bread? lol

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